The Emergent Church camp just won’t let this issue concerning Cedarville University and Shane Claiborne die. For example today Scot McKnight emerging church theologian wrote:

(Say the Jesus Creed morning and evening during Lent.)

As some of you may know, Shane Claiborne was invited and then uninvited to speak at Cedarville University, a Christian college in Cedarville OH. Here is Shane’s comment at God’s Politics. Tomorrow I will post my thoughts on this event.(Online source)

In the comments section at Jesus Creed I responded to a personal attack directed at Apprising Ministries by Michael Cline *, a 24 year-old “Freelance pastor” who has also just written about CU and Claiborne:

“Apprising Ministries (if you want to call them a ministry), along with Trail Lights Research are just tearing people down left and right.”

I am not aligned with Lighthouse Trails in any way so I don’t know their position. However, since an ad hominem was directed at one of my labors in Christ, this my personal objection with the “gospel” Claiborne preaches.

Shane Claiborne and the Gospel of Goodness

And since Scot was under the impression I was involved with Cedarville University, I will also say that I actually have zero to do with CU. (Online source)

I mentioned above that Cline had also weighed in on CU and Claiborne. In his post “Cedarville University Cancels Shane Claiborne”, where he slams Apprising Ministries and Ingrid Schlueter’s Slice of Laodicea, calling these ministries of the Lord “angry conservative think tanks/ ‘research’ centers,” Cline shares that CU:

was backed into a corner, particularly the Vice President of Student Life, Dr. Carl Ruby. “I didn’t cancel the Shane Claiborne event because I thought it was a bad idea to have people like Shane on campus, “said Dr. Ruby. Rather, it was “canceled because I hadn’t anticipated the hostile attack by so many off-campus blogs. We weren’t adequately prepared to respond and it became a distraction from other issues facing the leadership team here at Cedarville.” (Online source)

By the way, Cline attends the Twin Cities Emergent Cohort and is friends with Mark Van Steenwyk whom I discuss in A New Monasticism. And in addition, if you look in the comments section of Cline’s piece you’ll even find Christianity Today author Chris Armstrong whining:

The Lighthouse ministry has also been slamming my CT article. They certainly do lump everyone together and pronounce the same anathemas on them. No subtlety or proper research at all—just fear peering out from every word. Sad. (Online source)

More of the emerging myth, which goes, certainly if one dares to criticize leaders within the emerging church it must because we are afraid of them. Hardly; though I’m not ashamed to admit there is actually a bit of fear involved in my writing — “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.”
(Jeremiah 1:17).

As one other example of this ongoing “CU Saga of Shane” we turn to a post at the My World (MW) blog called “Shane Claiborne & Cedarville.” It’s written by Josh Reich, “the Lead Pastor” of the emerging church called “Beginnings Church, a missional community in Tucson, AZ,” and in it Josh sets out the common misconception in the Emergent Church camp concerning why people like me are vigorously opposing Shane Caliborne’s growing acceptance within mainstream evangelicalism.

It seems good to bring it to your attention because Josh informs us that this whole CU Saga of Shane:

hit home for me. I have been good friends with Shane for almost 6 years now and my sister went to Cedarville. Shane was scheduled to speak there, but because of a few bloggers complaining about his theology, they canceled the event. Shane has offered to talk with those who disagree with him, which is Shane’s style. But has not been accepted. You can read what happened here and here.

I just don’t understand our fear as Christians to not want to hear from people we disagree with or who make us uncomfortable.
(Online source)

But we now set the record straight through what I said in my comment at MW:

Since you asked Josh,

1) Fear actually has zero to do with our contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. My problem with Shane’s theology is here:

Shane Claiborne and the Gospel of Goodness

“Shane has offered to talk with those who disagree with him, which is Shane’s style. But has not been accepted.”

And 2), you might wish to amend the above. While Shane may have offered to talk with those involved, he hasn’t tried contacting me.

I’m also good friends with Ingrid Schlueter and I know that she hasn’t been contacted by Claiborne either. So therefore we could not possibly have refused to accept his offer. (Online source)

And finally as one of the “radical watchbloggers and reactionary conservatives” in question I bring to your attention the post “Dr. Carl Ruby of Cedarville Reflects On Living As An Ordinary Radical.” In it “emerging-missional follower of Jesus” Jeremy Bouma informs us:

I was given permission to post an editorial piece written by Dr. Carl Ruby, Vice President of Student Life, that appeared in the on-campus newspaper, Cedars. As I wrote earlier in an update to my original post, a number of events coagulated last week to cause Dr. Ruby to (momentarily) pull the plug on a Shane Claiborne visit.

There was a concerted effort to sully the school and leadership on the part by radical watchbloggers and reactionary conservatives, and Dr. Ruby felt the timing was not right for Shane to come. Afterwards he wrote these words of instruction to the student body. Great words of encouragement in the midst of a crazy situation.

(Also, I’m waiting on word to post an excellent letter he sent to faculty and staff. Posting that should clear up a lot of confusion…) (Online source)

And we also note that with the Emergent Bouma’s reference above to, “a concerted effort to sully the school and leadership on the part by radical watchbloggers and reactionary conservatives,” we can put to rest the false claim that so-called fundamentalists are the only ones using name-calling in their rhetoric.

* I later received the email below from Michael Cline and publish it at his request:


We can agree to disagree, but I would appreciate if you would not pull my one quote from Jesus Creed without pulling my apology from there as well. Please post my follow up comments where I apologize and list my reasons for being alarmed at your research.

I have friends who have lost jobs over your widespread jabs at the Emerging Church. I am not trying to belittle you, but when I have colleagues who are stripped of their pastorates because people read your accusations and assume anyone who is friends with Emergent must be like your portraits, it really hurts. You are doing more than pointing out what you perceive to be “false religion” (in that, you have your opinion), but you are also messing with people’s livelihood and ability to put food on their tables for their families. That is why I reacted so strongly. Your broad strokes are strong and have wide reaching affects beyond any blog post.

Again, sorry, but I hope you will post more of my critique than what you have done, including my apology.

Grace and Peace
Michael R. Cline

New Monastic Shane Claiborne with “Litany” at Catalyst:

See also: