Skip to content ↓

Eighth Letter: My Most Urgent Message to the Church

Articles Collection cover image

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at a local event called Eighth Letter. I’ve been asked to describe the theological perspective of the event and I haven’t been able to do better than “emerging church.” I know this title brings all kinds of baggage with it and that not too many people want to be associated with it anymore. Nevertheless, it’s probably the simplest theological shorthand I can use. Which is to say that I was definitely not representative of the speakers who were there (a list that included Shane Claiborne, Leonard Sweet, Peter Rollins, and many others).

The format of the event was rather interesting. Each of the speakers was to bring a letter, no longer than 15-minutes in length, and read it aloud. The letter was to communicate our most urgent message to the church of North America. It was that simple. I spoke on the Friday night and immediately after my talk participated in a very brief panel discussion hosted by Andy Crouch (an editor at Christianity Today and the author of Culture Making).

My letter focused in on getting the gospel right. And if you are interested, I’ve been given permission to post the message here, though only for a limited time. So give it a listen and let me know what you think. What would your most urgent message be?

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

The reaction to my message was a little bit on the cold side. I was probably something of a stranger to the audience at this conference and brought a letter that was quite a bit different from the rest. So while I was not booed off the platform and did not have anything thrown at me, my impression was that the message was not particularly popular.

If interested, you can buy my talk or any of the others at the Epiphaneia web site. You can also download (for free) the brief panel discussion.

Eighth Letter


  • A Whole Batch of New Books for Kids

    A Whole Batch of New Books for Kids

    Every month I put together a roundup of new and notable books for grownup readers. But I also receive a lot of books for kids and like to put together the occasional roundup of these books as well. So today I bring you a whole big batch of new books for kids

  • A La Carte Thursday 1

    A La Carte (June 13)

    A La Carte: Were the earliest Christians illiterate? / Our new religion isn’t enough / Why do evil and suffering exist? / The missing ingredient in too many marriages / Is Genesis literal or allegorical? / The death of fear / and more.

  • Tear Down Build Up

    It’s Easier to Tear Down than Build Up

    In my travels, I encountered a man whose work is demolition. When buildings are old and decrepit, or even when they just need to be removed to make way for others, his job is to destroy them and haul them away. New or old, big or small, plain or fancy—it makes no difference to him.…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 12)

    A La Carte: Does Bach’s music prove the existence of God? / Living from approval, not for approval / A surprising test of true faith / Do you have the support you need to grow? / Who was the “black Spurgeon?” / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 11)

    A La Carte: The blessing of constant curiosity / Church discipline in the digital age / Don’t be too easy to join / Body matters in Genesis / The local church is a sandbox / Seasons in a pastor’s life / and more.

  • Trusting Jesus in The Public Square 

    This week the blog is sponsored by Moody Publishers. Parents have a biblical responsibility to protect their children not only from physical harm but also from spiritual harm. It is entirely appropriate and right for a parent to wrestle with whether they want to allow their child to continue to have a friendship with a…