CPBD 004: Mark van Steenwyk – Missional Christianity

by Luke Muehlhauser on February 1, 2009 in Christian Theology,Podcast

Today I introduce a new segment: Myths Atheists Share. May Christians spread untrue myths to support their cause. They may say that Darwin converted to Christianity on his deathbed, or that NASA computers, in calculating the positions of the planets, found a missing corresponding to the “long day” of Joshua 10 and Hezekiah’s sundial movement of 2 Kings 20. Of course these are false. But some atheists also spread myths in support of atheism. In Myths Atheists Share, I’m going to debunk these atheist myths.

guest mark van steenwykI also interview Mark van Steenwyk, leader of a non-violent Christian community in Minneapolis, MN. Mark was a mentor to me during the last year of my Christian life, and played a role in my deconversion story. We talk about:

  • Missional, emergent, Anabaptist, and postmodern Christianities
  • His non-violent intentional community, Missio Dei
  • Mark’s challenge to atheists

Download CPBD episode 004 with Mark van Steenwyk. Total time is 39:03.


Let me know what you think about the interview, and submit your own questions for me to answer on the show!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

danielg January 18, 2010 at 3:51 pm

I agree with Steenwyk that Jesus calls us to radical obedience and difference. However, I think that there are two errors possible (at least) which can come of this, one of which I think that Steenwyk engages in. The first is fanaticism and control, which Steenwyk does not seem to have a problem with.

The second, however, is a type of Utopianism that is pietist, and rejects direct participation in the organs of culture except as an outside critic.

I was irritated by his pacifism, which I find neither biblical, nor practical in the face of serious evil. See:
Why the term ‘Christian soldier’ is not an oxymoron
Christian Pacifism, Christian War

While religious non-violence is one valid principle, so is justice by governing authorities. Pacifism may work as an alternate life for some, but it would therefore seem to be in opposition to being a law officer. In the non-pacifist tradition, it is honorable and good to be a ‘peace officer.’

The Emergent movement, though it asked a lot of good questions and tried some new things, is on the wane, for the primary reason that it essentially got soft on the authority of scripture, and in doing so, lost not only it’s divine authority, but the truth as well, becoming essentially humanist like mainstream churches that reject the gospel or reduce it so social activism and being good, as oppose to believing and obeying.

I know that they obey and are courageous in their way, I just think that biblically and philosophically, they are errant, and not doing as much good as they suppose.

I feel that your backhanded comment about Rick Warren is really naive – it confuses his notoriety and somewhat watered down books with his spirituality and impact for good in the world. I’m not sure what spiritual evil you think he is perpetuating, but I for one am glad that pacifism is not the dominant Christianity, and that people like Warren are providing ways for Christians to become more obedient, more mature, and helping with AIDS victims significantly.


lukeprog January 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Thanks for the links on Christianity and pacifism.


Garren October 6, 2010 at 7:04 am

Since most of my extended family is Mennonite, I recognized many of the attitudes but was completely surprised by the whole urban mission approach. Absolutely fascinating.

Mark is one of the best ambassadors for Christian faith I’ve heard from, and he does it without insisting on up-front doctrinal commitments.

(Yes, late comment. I’ve been listening to CPBD episodes from the beginning. Will be a while before I make timely comments.)


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