19 April 2007

I am serious

...And don't call me Shirley
by Phil Johnson

ell, I did finally manage to connect with Dan Kimball by phone early this week, and I had a 2-hour conversation with him. Since the conversation was private, it wouldn't be appropriate for me to blog about the particulars. But I will say that although Dan was obviously quite busy, he was friendly and didn't sound rushed. He's a good, thoughtful listener. It was no small sacrifice for him to have such an in-depth conversation with me via phone, and I appreciate that. Dan Kimball seems like a very nice guy.

But the conversation, while helpful in many ways, did little to ease the concerns I expressed a couple of weeks ago. I still think the Emerging Church movement as a whole has shown an uncanny knack for embracing the very features of postmodernism that Christians most need to confront. And I still think Dan Kimball's chapter in Listening to the Beliefs of the Emerging Churches exemplifies that tendency; that he was disturbingly ambiguous in key places where he ought to have spoken more clearly; and that throughout that book Dan was much less militant than he needed to be.

Next week, when (I hope) I will have more time to interact in the meta, I'll come back with a post attempting to explain in some detail why that's my point of view—and why I think it's important. I'll try to clarify what I've actually said about Dan Kimball's contribution to that book. I also want to debunk some things I haven't said but have been accused of saying. And I especially want to look closely at some of the things Dan Kimball posted in reply to the controversy both in the comments here and at his own blog.

Oh. I also want to show why restating a question in completely different terms is necessarily not the same thing as asking completely different question.

I've been intrigued by the reaction to this series of posts from certain (or should I stress "normally uncertain"?) quarters of the Emerging blogosphere. I won't go into detail about it here. But I do want to say as plainly as possible that I remain unimpressed by pleas for "charity" when they are punctuated with vile cusswords, infantile name-calling, and a proliferation of the exact kind of guilt-by-association arguments our Emerging friends say they despise so thoroughly. The guilty parties know who they are (or they should.)



May I just say that I didn't sense some of you guys were affirming me in my faith-journey?

Anyway, to our Emerging friends who may be compelled to reply to this post: Please leave off the profanity completely and stifle as much of the spleen-venting as possible. I'll do my very best to post something more substantial next week, and then we'll host one of those long comment-threads where I'll do my best to reply personally to as many commenters as I can.

Today is not that day, however, so go easy.

Phil's signature

103 comments:

Nayhunni said...

your writing is interesting.

Dan Paden said...

...I'll do my best to reply personally to as many commenters as I can.

You're a better man than I. I wouldn't be willing to lose enough sleep to do that.

donsands said...

That's encouraging to hear you spoke for two hours.

This whole debate, if we're honest with our hearts, and admit our personalities have a role in the way we see things, that it seems to always come down to a human-centered theology & Gospel VS. a God-cenetered theology & Gospel.

And there are the extremes with these two views, those who bring in their immature feelings, and even cusswords.
As well as there are those who may be on one side, but are close to the other side.

I do believe there are those who will learn and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through these types of debates, and there will be those who don't.

Appreciate all you do Phil to contend for the faith.

Carla Rolfe said...

Phil:

I would never think to call you Shirley.

Okay yes I did, but only for a second. :-)

Doug said...

This is an off-topic question...

How come my "live bookmarks" in Firefox keeps bringing back old pages of this blog and bumping them up to the top? This only started occurring since Google took over. Is it something I am doing?

BTW, I am not asking this question of an Emergant type because there would not be one right answer to my question.

Doug said...

I meant "Emergent."

wordsmith said...

Doug -

Same thing happens with T-Bird News/Blog reader. I suspect that perhaps the blog (at least certain posts) was republished?

I'm not Emergent, but I am sufficiently uncertain about the reason, and hence must use a question mark :)

Touchstone said...

Phil,

After talking to DK in the meta, and on the phone, would you say you remain convinced his approach is one that entails "an ever-diminishing list of biblical truths", as you put it in the meta of the "Let me put it this way" post?


-Touchstone

bob hyatt said...

You guys are funny... Some great mocking/scoffing going on here!

But seriously, Phil. I'm all about your faith journey. I'm just not about you treating Dan as he has been treated here, both by you and the commentors. I'm glad you apologized for a couple of things and I'm glad you guys were able to talk. It's harder to do the kinds of take downs that often occur on the internet to someone you've had a good conversation with.

Tim Nussbaumer said...

I would be careful with trying to put everything in to the categories of God-centered vs Man-centered categories. I've done this for years until someone pointed out that it is a way of demeaning another person's point of view without arguing from Scripture. It's sort of like using "God-talk" in the sense that most people I know wouldn't want to admit a man-centered approach to their theology.

Kim said...

Shirley?

Phil, you are not a girl.

Caleb Kolstad said...

Can't wait!

Doug McMasters said...

Would never call you Shirley--Shirley isn't a good name for a bulldog.

Aaron said...

funny how you wanted kimball to be more militant, but no one else is allowed (i.e. spleen-venting)...

bill said...

In a completely unreleated topic, everyone should click on the first of Phils "links I have liked" titled "the last enemy that will be destroyed".

Absolutely heart wrenching. I could not make it through all of them.

A real Romans 12:15 kind of moment

Phil Johnson said...

Aaron: "funny how you wanted kimball to be more militant, but no one else is allowed (i.e. spleen-venting)... "

If "militant" had something to do with puerile anger, you might have a point.

Read the larger context of the three posts on postmodernism and the Emerging church (posted here two weeks ago), however, and I think you'll see that the point I'm making is something vastly different from "Dan Kimball should have thrown a tantrum like the Emerging people wh typically visit the meta here."

Matt & Monica said...

Doug-

The same thing is happening with my Firefox live bookmarks. I don't think it's anything you're doing wrong.

-Matt-

jsb said...

And can we acknowledge that "nice guys" can disagree with each other, even in very strong terms, in a meta like this, without upsetting delicate sensibilities? That the issues are important enough to engender serious debate?

Remember when Tessio is "taken for a ride" at the end of The Godfather? He's getting it because he tried to set up Michael to be murdered. Seeing that he can't get out of it, he says to Tom Hagen, "Tell Mike it was just business. I always liked him."

Can't we operate like the mafia here, with the same civility and dignity?

All right, maybe that's not the best example. But I do think we should be able to have good, strong verbal sparring so long as it IS fair, and DOES NOT pour over into the personal (where motives get questioned and moral charges are raised).

Dan and Phil both seem to me to be guys who are willing to take a breath, correct themselves where necessary, and move on with characteristic passion for what they believe. That's as it should be.

donsands said...

"I would be careful with trying to put everything in to the categories of God-centered vs Man-centered" -tim

I think it's safe to say what I said.
These are the two sides with a difinite line drawn in the sand. And I left room for degrees for extremes, and even people to be close to the line, but there is this line.
It's either or.
I truly believe are hearts are either sold out for the glory of God, or we're sold out to help people.

Is the glory of God the bottom line why we do what we do, or is it to help people?

Why did God deliver the people from Pharoah?

So He would be worshipped. It's not about them, it's about God.
Now we surely do receive blessings from this God, who seeks for those who will worship Him in Spirit and truth.

I need to test my heart daily to see if my greatests hearts cry is to see God glorified, or is it for people to feel good and happy about themselves.

centuri0n said...

Aaron:

google the term "church militant" and you will learn something useful.

david rudd said...

don, it sounds like you are creating a false antithesis between worship of God and love for neighbor.

perhaps you are not, but if you can separate worship/glorifying of God from your relationship with others, you are misreading God's Word.

amos 5:21-24

bob hyatt said...

"Church Militant"??
Against itself?

It's a fine term in many contexts...

But not in the context of a book of Christian brothers and sisters talking to one another about theology.

"grace" yes
"gentleness" yes
"respect" even.
Militant?
No.

What was that someone in the New Testament said about a house divided?

Ken Silva said...

I'll just remind everyone that this Emergent Church movement calls itself "the conversation." In that context Dr. John MacArthur has pointed out that a conversation never really has to go anywhere or come to a conclusion.

Now we ask ourselves, what is to be gained in a circular dialogue with "emerging" Christians who are also to be "committed" to Christ and yet are so noncommittal in what they will stand for?

Sadly, their postmodernism will prevent them from taking many definitive positions because this philosophy view holds that truth is open to the perception of the beholder. And to be too dogmatic would then also work against their ecumenicism. In truth, they are trapped by what we are warned about in Colossian 2:8.

Charles Whisnant said...

Phil

Sunday April 15th I was in Thomas Road Baptist Church. Four services and Jerry Falwell, Elmer Towns or Jonathan Falwell didn't cuss once. Jerry spoke on the danger of the Emergent Church Movement. I must say he didn't call any of them "heretics." Jerry spoke with kindness toward some of his fellow pastors, but was straight forward about his concern about the movement.

Thomas Road Baptist Church is an illustration that you don't need to be like the current culture to reach the unchurch. You don't have to preach in the speech of the world and reach the world.

You can still wear a suit and a red tie and be 74 years old, and still reach those who are unchurch.

There are preachers left who will take time to visit with you, and even take you and your family out to O'Charlie's for Sunday Lunch. To be with the President of the U>S> one week and the next you are sitting with him at dinner with his wife.

The Emergent Village Movement doesn't need to be a movement to reach the lost with the Gospel. Phil you are right to address this issue. Thanks.

Charles

donsands said...

david,

A Christ-centered gospel means that it's all about Him. It's all about the Cross. It's all about the empty tomb.

Jesus said, if we don't hate our family, and all else, even ourselves, we can have no part of Him.

This is what Christ-centered theology is, and I believe the Scriptures would have abide to.

I struggle with setting Christ first no matter what.
More often I put my own desires first. Or perhaps my wife before Christ, or my children.

And that's quite a struggle for the Church in our day to put Christ's glory before the salvation of sinners.

However, one of the ways we glorify Christ is through loving others. In fact, it's the way we show God we love Him the most, by loving the least of these.

The Confessor said...

Ironic there would be any complaint about the quality of conversation and dialogue from commenters who only have a monologue when it comes to their only web presence.

Everyone has inconsistencies, but it's just fascinating how some people can make a spiritual life out of kicking people in the shins and when someone complains then THAT's what get's labeled as mean-spirited.

It's like telling a person they ruined a relationship because they didn't want to stick around for their regular beatings.

The more I become exposed to the watch-blogging, point-counterpoint the more discouraging I find it. It is clear that most quarrels amplify a misunderstanding.

I think I've used this quote before:

It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.

danny2 said...

i'm amazed by your patience phil.

i'll try to wait patiently for your full reply.

i'll try.

John said...

I do not know why you keep "Dialoging" with these Emergent types.

It is right and correct to dialogue with them once in order to show them the truth but anything beyond that is playing in to their very cunning hands and actually raises their profile beyond what they should be given.

They actually are quite happy to dialogue and debate ad infinitem, after all it is part of their belief structure that scripture should be debated from as many viewpoints as can be put forward in a relativistic mindset . It also shows on your part, and I apologize for having to say it, should I say it? A great lack of Discernment of their intentions for conversing with you.

Just Say No!

Morris Brooks said...

I am sorry Tim, but whoever told you that buffaloed you. If that were really the case anything said without Scripture would be demeaning. It is not what you say, but how you say it, and its intention that makes it demeaning. Don was right in what he said and he was not demeaning in how he said it. The essence is that your theology is either man-centered or God-centered, and it can't be both.

centuri0n said...

Bob Hyatt:

I guess you read that one phrase, and then forgot what Phil said in his post, which was this:

I still think Dan Kimball's chapter in Listening to the Beliefs of the Emerging Churches exemplifies that tendency; that he was disturbingly ambiguous in key places where he ought to have spoken more clearly; and that throughout that book Dan was much less militant than he needed to be.

The point being that pastor Kimball ought to be militant (in the "church militant" sense) about doctrine, not passive.

Listen: you guys are the literate, arty ones (you say). Eventually, you;re going to have to read what's being said in the context it is being said rather than complain that your critics are mean or divisive.

centuri0n said...

Confessor:

What's the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian?

Sled Dog said...

Re: Tim's early post and Morris Brooks follow-up...how about a defintion of terms:

1. God-centered theology

2. Man-centered theology

This is one of those things that gets thrown into a discussion that seems to mean a lot of different things to different people.

I wonder if Phil's post was really necessary. He didn't really reveal anything new, save for revealing that a phone conversation took place, but rather offered another preview of things to come in response to the "Kimball conundrum."

And yet we have 30 comments!

Tim Nussbaumer said...

Morris, I still respectfully disagree with this. I'm not saying Don was saying this in an arrogant way or questioning his motivations. BUT, if you were to ask many people that would be similar in thinking to Dan Kimball, do you really think that they would say they are not God-centered in their theology. Whether right or wrong (and that's not my point), once they say they are God-centered, you can't argue that point. You are then forced to argue theology through Scripture, not categories. Also, I'm curious how you would categorize God-centered theology vs man-centered. For example, how would you classify a C.S. Lewis who wouldn't call himself Calvinist but would certainly consider himself God-centered in his approach?

Curious to your thoughts...thanks for the thoughful replies!!!

Also, my apolgies if this is too far off-topic.

bob hyatt said...

No- I read the whole post.

And I disagree that Dan should have been more "militant." It was neither the forum (a book with friends INTERACTING) nor the company (a book with FRIENDS interacting) for militancy. If you want to claim that what Phil MEANT was something other than "competitive: showing a fighting disposition" or "disposed to warfare or hard-line policies" then okay... but don't blame anyone for taking the clear sense in trying to determine authorial intent.

And, again, the LAST context for any usefulness of the phrase "the church militant" is in the context of believers talking to one another.

But hey, if what Phil actually meant was "a more active stance in advocating for what he believes" then great. I just wish that's what he'd said.

"Listen: you guys are the literate, arty ones (you say). Eventually, you're going to have to read what's being said in the context it is being said rather than complain that your critics are mean or divisive."

Why does it all have to be reduced to personal swipes like that? Can't you make a single comment without a personal jab?

Sled Dog said...

Frank,

What drove you to ask that question of Confessor?

JackW said...

Man-centered theology = oxymoron

david rudd said...

"Eventually, you're going to have to read what's being said in the context it is being said"

of course, "context" as has been demonstrated on this forum many times is in the mind of the author, not the eyes of the reader... and that makes this assignment from centurian virtually impossible.

people (alright...me) have attempted to understand phil's comments by reading them within the context of the surrounding paragraphs they were originally a part of. the response? ridicule.

so i would raise the question in all honest. how do we determine the "context" of any statement?

Russet Shadows said...

You are seriously saying that you do not know how to determine context? I find that statement a bit disingenuous. Surely, you can tell the context of stop signs. I doubt you have any problems with understanding the grammar on tax forms or parking tickets. It's only when the debate is a little less grounded do the objections of context come up. I have no doubt that Barthes and other pomo giants paid their taxes and filled out paperwork as well as any of us.

david rudd said...

russet,

did you read my post? do you know me? do you care?

your response, while pithy, does nothing to address my question.

and i might add, a follower of Christ ought not glorify that flag. it's a disgrace, and i don't mind speaking militantly about that!

Phil Johnson said...

David Rudd: "and i might add, a follower of Christ ought not glorify that flag. it's a disgrace, and i don't mind speaking militantly about that!"

Hence my concern about the dismal lack of passion and militancy when it comes to certain important doctrinal matters related to the gospel.

How come it's so easy to stir the passions of post-evangelicals and Emerging devotees by doing or saying things that are politically incorrect; but you can use the strongest imaginable language to question the eternality of hell, attack the propitiatory aspects of the atonement, deny sola fide, or disavow the inerrancy of Scripture, and the only kind of reaction some of the leading voices in the Emerging movement can seem to muster toward that kind of stuff is an invitation to have a pint and some friendly dialogue down at the pub?

Help me out here. Why is a Confederate flag more of a "disgrace" than someone who claims to be a Christian but denies that Christ bore the punishment for sin we deserve?

donsands said...

"You are then forced to argue theology through Scripture, not categories."

Amen Tim.

And one's theology through the Holy Sriptures is their life, and how they think, and how they speak. It's my life, how I think, and how I conduct my life.

Whatever my thinking is of God, is He more important than anything else in my life.

As the Lord said, "Anyone who does not hate his wife, and family, and own self can have no part of me".

These are some straight forward and serious words from the Lord of lords.
There's no mistake what He's saying. His words are very heavy and convicting, and yet if we receive them, then our soul is set free to then love our wives, family, and even enimies. And we will be able to deny ourselves as well.

However, and this should really go without saying, it shall be a struggle.

Phil Johnson said...

The Confessor: "it's just fascinating how some people can make a spiritual life out of kicking people in the shins and when someone complains then THAT's what get's labeled as mean-spirited."

I'm curious: Which one of the people who used gross profanity or indulged in puerile name-calling here can legitimately claim that I "kicked him (or her) in the shins"?

david rudd said...

"Why is a Confederate flag more of a "disgrace" than someone who claims to be a Christian but denies that Christ bore the punishment for sin we deserve?"

here is the rub, phil. and if you can't understand this, you're being obtuse.

i (and likely others) don't feel like Dan has denied that 'Christ bore the punishment for sin we deserve'. if i (and likely others) did think that, i would decry him very strongly... but what i see is dan consistently being misrepresented.

and the flag isn't about political correctness, it's about the image of God, and there is no reason we can't speak strongly on that and on sola fide...

and one more thing. i've made it clear here that i don't buy into the "emergent" thing, and i don't buy into postmodernism. quit lumping me there.

Sled Dog said...

"...someone who claims to be a Christian but denies that Christ bore the punishment for sin we deserve?"

Keeping with the context of the original post...is this Dan Kimball's position? If not, who's?

david rudd said...

"Which one of the people who used gross profanity or indulged in puerile name-calling here can legitimately claim that I "kicked him (or her) in the shins"?"

i will.

i didn't use gross profanity or indulge in puerile name-calling but did have four posts deleted simply because the moderators felt they were "off-topic". in reality, they were simply ironic in nature.

my attempts to reconcile this both via this forum and email were ignored... so yes, i will suggest that i was "metaphorically kicked in the shins"

or was that a rhetorical question?

Phil Johnson said...

Sled Dog: "Keeping with the context of the original post...is this Dan Kimball's position? If not, who's? "

Keeping with the context of the original post...my complaint about Dan Kimball's position is that he is one of those who can't seem to muster much visible outrage at the heresy being tossed around within the Emerging conversation.

I have not suggested that he himself is an active purveyor of the heresy.

For about the umpteenth time.

Some of you guys who are so concerned about "context" would do well to pay attention to it from time to time.

farmboy said...

"of course, 'context' as has been demonstrated on this forum many times is in the mind of the author, not the eyes of the reader... and that makes this assignment from centurian [centuri0n?] virtually impossible."

What if the author - Mr. Johnson in the case of the current post, and the previous posts which led to the current post - writes with such clarity that there is a meeting of "the mind of the author" and "the eyes of the reader[s]"? Having read Pyromaniacs from the beginning of the original version of the blog, I have had no difficulty grasping the context and content of the posts offered by Mr. Johnson, Mr. Phillips, Mr. Turk and the various guest bloggers. My take is that a person with a reasonable foundation in Christian doctrine and a commitment to careful, thoughtful reading that genuinely desires to understand the posts found on Pyromaniacs will be able to grasp the authorial intent of those posts.

Teaching at the college level there are times when I have made a concept as simple and straightforward as I possibly can, yet the student still does not understand. At this point I am left with three less than desirable options: 1) Repeat the explanation slower. 2) Repeat the explanation louder. 3) Repeat the explanation slower and louder. Given this perspective, I admire the patience displayed by Mr. Johnson, Mr. Phillips and Mr. Turk.

Sled Dog said...

Phil,

I'm just seeking to keep my ducks in a row. You've got to admit that the whole Kimball thing has covered a lot of ground, and that comments and responses have come from every side. It's been a fairly messy conversation all around. Just like to keep my facts straight. I just asked a question.

Phil Johnson said...

David Rudd: "did have four posts deleted simply because the moderators felt they were "off-topic". in reality, they were simply ironic in nature."

In reality, those four posts themselves were inanely puerile, and deliberately so—and they themselves were unprovoked by any antecedent shin-kicking.

In fact, your behavior here at times has seemed to beg for a sound and solid shin-kicking. I think you should congratulate us on our restraint.

Especially if you're seriously making this gratuitous claim about being a victim of my "bullying."

david rudd said...

"inanely puerile"

like this?

I once saw a missional guy staple himself to a chicken because he wanted to be relevant to the punk rocker on the other side of the road.

The punk rocker was also vegan, so he thought the missional guy was both cruel and stupid.


or this?

That's so fruity I think it's drawing flies. In a bad way. And we just had the blog fumigated.

i love you, phil. i appreciate your sincerity. i almost always agree with you...

but you have to get over your issues with the emerging church, they cloud your normally clear judgment.

centuri0n said...

Sled Dog:

I want to know if Confessor can enumerate the difference -- if he thinks there is one. It is possible that he doesn't think there's a difference, but I don;t want to put words in his mouth.

I'll ask you: what's the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian?

farmboy said...

"i (and likely others) don't feel like Dan has denied that 'Christ bore the punishment for sin we deserve'. if i (and likely others) did think that, i would decry him very strongly... but what i see is dan consistently being misrepresented."

The use of two different words, as if they are interchangable, in the above comment reveals much. However, "feel" and "think" are not equivalent concepts. What someone "feels" about Mr. Kimball or his writings is immaterial. Provided that the thinking involved careful, thoughtful, logical, detached examination, what someone "thinks" about the content of Mr. Kimball's writings is material. What's being examined here is the content of Mr. Kimball's writings. This examination has nothing to do with a person's feelings about Mr. Kimball or his writings.

The chapter originally referenced by Mr. Johnson was in a book that was placed in the public square. Even if the entire contents of the book were a chronicle of conversations among friends, the moment those conversations were posted in the public square, the content of those conversations became fair game for careful, thoughtful, logical, detached examination. In this regard, note how Mr. Johnson is treating the contents of his phone conversation with Mr. Kimball differently from the book chapter by Mr. Kimball.

david rudd said...

centurion,

i think this is an important question. i would wonder if you are looking for a "precise theological" statement, or simply for an explanation of the "difference"

eg.

- Christian is indwelled by Holy Spirit, non-Christian isn't

- Christian has been baptized into the body of Christ, non-Christian hasn't

- Christian has emerged from death to life, non-Christian hasn't

etc...

there are a lot of places one could go with this, is that okay?

lawrence said...

"today is not that day, so go easy."

Let's give ourselves a round of applause. 50 comments on a post about...a post coming next week.

As an aside, I'm excited about the post coming next week :-)!

david rudd said...

Farmboy, sorry i wasn't clear. let me try again.

dan has not denied that 'Christ bore the punishment for sin we deserve'

if he did (and i knew about it) i would decry him as apostate.

better?

Sled Dog said...

Hi Frank,

I guess I just wondered if there was anything confessor said that would make you wonder that. If there wasn't, it just seemed like an off the wall question.

What's the difference?

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" JN 1:12

"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." JN 3:3

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[f] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." JN 3:16

"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." ROM 10:9-10

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." EPH 2:8-9

Regeneration through faith in Christ. That's the difference. Once spiritually dead, made alive to God through Christ.

farmboy said...

"Farmboy, sorry i wasn't clear. let me try again."

Your original comment was clear. You chose to use "feel" and "think" in parallel contexts. However, "feel" and "think" are not equivalent concepts. Your use of "feel" and "think" as if they were equivalent concepts revealed one of two things: 1) You failed to use due care in composing your comment, or 2) You did not understand that "feel" and "think" are not equivalent concepts.

Since "words mean things", this is not a big deal over nothing. Blog comments are postings in the public square. Therefore, they should be composed with care and thought.

Phil Johnson said...

david rudd: "like this?"

No, it was the kind of infantile behavior in which you 1) brought up the Dan Kimball controversy in a thread where it was not under discussion (after the comments had been closed on a neighboring post, because that debate had got out of control); and then 2) after the first off-topic post was deleted, you made at least six more nonsense-posts (not just four), claiming you were just trying to be humorous, but looking for all the world like you were deliberately testing to see how far you could push it before you got banned.

Under the rules that have been in effect since the beginning of the blog, you probably should have been permanently banned. But we're really not that easily provoked. So if you are seriously going to claim now that the merciful treatment you did receive was like a unprovoked shin-kick, I'd say something has blinded your judgment.

If, on the other hand, your strategy is one of deliberate provocation so that you can eventually gain the status of a martyr, check it out: the particular strain of "martyrdom" you aspire to isn't exactly arrayed in bright glory. Our "martyrs" have been mostly white supremacists, inveterate blasphemers, a few foul-mouthed miscreants, and one truly odious narcissist. You are welcome to whatever admiration you can gain by membership in that group, but if I were you—given the point you say you are trying to make—I'd just try being a little more courteous if I were you.

david rudd said...

phil,

i will stand by the apology i sent you via email that day.

i will also stand by my encouragment to reconsider whatever is driving you on the emerging issue.

thank you.

centuri0n said...

Oh Bob ...

| No- I read the whole post. 

Let me tell you, Bob, that if your proof that you read Phil's post is your answer below, you have a larger problem than outrage over alleged insults and mean-spiritedness.

| And I disagree that Dan should
| have been more "militant." It
| was neither the forum (a book
| with friends INTERACTING)
| nor the company (a book with
| FRIENDS interacting) for
| militancy. If you want to claim
| that what Phil MEANT was
| something other than "competitive:
| showing a fighting disposition" or
| "disposed to warfare or hard-line
| policies" then okay... but don't
| blame anyone for taking the clear
| sense in trying to determine authorial
| intent. 

Let me explain something to you, because obviously you do not understand it.

The Latin word militans has a primary meaning of "serving as a soldier, military", but it acquired a secondary meaning of "to struggle, to make an effort", which is the intended sense here. Christians on earth (the Church Militant) are still struggling against sin in order that, when they die, they might go to heaven and be members of the Church Triumphant, those who have triumphed over sin. [thanks, wikipedia]

Listen: to be "militant" in this sense is not to be belligerant, but to be steadfast and adamant, unchanging, perserving. The real irony is that this is primarily a "Catholic" term, which ought to make it a really nice addition to the Emergent vocabulary -- it has all the ring of High Church and it's really dependent on its Latin root. It's like a two-fer.

It's a theology term. I'm sure that in itself is an insult, but sadly, there are no objections to be made against an Emergent pastor which are not received as insults. However, my point is that Phil used it in the sense of how one ought to behave in a theological discussion. How stupid of him to think that someone would understand him to be using that word in a theological way.

| And, again, the LAST context
| for any usefulness of the phrase
| "the church militant" is in the
| context of believers talking to one
| another. 

That's the most laughable thing I have ever heard -- seriously! You're saying that the church militant never disciplines its own, or makes clear doctrine to those who are straying? The church militant is only in contemplative prayer, I suppose ...

Listen, Bob: you need to tune up your understanding of historical categories before you run into this discussion again.

| But hey, if what Phil actually
| meant was "a more active stance
| in advocating for what he believes"
| then great. I just wish that's what
| he'd said. 

He did say that in a semi-literate way. I admire him for trying to be more classy than my chicken jokes.

| "Listen: you guys are the literate,
| arty ones (you say). Eventually, you're
| going to have to read what's being said
| in the context it is being said rather
| than complain that your critics are
| mean or divisive."
| 
| Why does it all have to be reduced
| to personal swipes like that?

So I'm being mean? Or is it divisive? If it's either one of those, I just wish that's what you'd said.

| Can't
| you make a single comment without
| a personal jab?

Is that a trick question?

Bob: what's the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian? Seriously -- tell me what the difference is. The answer can be made in one word, but there are a variety of answers all under 150 words which would suffice for this discussion.

Can you answer that question?

centuri0n said...

Sled Dog:

now, was that actually very hard? I didn't think so.

There's the question behind the question. It is completely undoubtable, then, that this definiton divides the world into two groups which have no people in an indeterminate state.

If your definition is true (it's good enough for our chat here), is it an insult to tell someone who is outside of that definition but claiming to be a Christian that they are wrong? Are you a bad person for pointing that out? Have you engaged in incivility?

Let me know ...

david rudd said...

is it an insult to tell someone who is outside of that definition but claiming to be a Christian that they are wrong? Are you a bad person for pointing that out? Have you engaged in incivility?

last time. no one is accusing anyone of being a bad person, less than civil, or insulting for telling someone outside of that definition that they are wrong.

the context of this discussion is dan kimball. nowhere in his book, on his blog, in his sermons, or anywhere has dan:

"denied that 'Christ bore the punishment for sin we deserve'"

nor has he said anything outside of sled dog's definition of Christian. he has not used the precise language we would all like to see, but that is a far cry from denying Christ and being outside orthodoxy.

if you want to have this debate about "emergent-types" who have allegedly denied Christ or are outside sled dog's orthodoxy, then lets talk about them. they are out there.

but dan kimball is not one of them. and that is the "CONTEXT" of this thread.

Sharon said...

. . . what's the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian? Seriously -- tell me what the difference is. The answer can be made in one word . . .

One word? Now I'm really curious! Perhaps one of these fit the definition:

Redeemed
Justified
Forgiven
Saved
Righteous

Am I close?

Sled Dog said...

Frank,

It wasn't hard at all...it's Good News. And I'm called to deliver it in a way that is seasoned with grace (colossians 4:6) and with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). In fact, 1 Peter is essentially a call for believers to conduct themselves in a civil manner.

There's no biblical grounds to be a jerk for Jesus. Yes, the message offends...the messenger doesn't have to.

Phil Johnson said...

david rudd: "i will stand by the apology i sent you via email that day."

See, the thing is: if you expect me to assume you really mean that, you don't get to come back and complain that you were the victim of an unprovoked kick in the shins.

Touchstone said...

sled dog,

Given Phil's comments here in this thread, I think it's now clear that his (ahem!) *new* position is that Dan Kimball may be nominally sufficient as a Christian, but he's not sufficiently *militant* in going after the (other, unnamed) Emergent types.

See above.

That said, I got what I think is the wrong impression initially from Phil's paragraph here:


How come it's so easy to stir the passions of post-evangelicals and Emerging devotees by doing or saying things that are politically incorrect; but you can use the strongest imaginable language to question the eternality of hell, attack the propitiatory aspects of the atonement, deny sola fide, or disavow the inerrancy of Scripture, and the only kind of reaction some of the leading voices in the Emerging movement can seem to muster toward that kind of stuff is an invitation to have a pint and some friendly dialogue down at the pub?


That struck me as an insinuation about Dan Kimball's theology. Maybe you got that impression too. But if you read it again, I think you will agree that Phil was *not* pinning those problems on Dan Kimball, but rather on other (unnamed) Emergents. To paraphrase:

Why can you guys get all worked up over slavery, but not over equivocation about the inerrancy of scripture???

Anyway, it seems from subsequent comments after Phil posted this paragraph that DK was again the subject of investigation for his views on substitutionary atonement (Phil's exasperation over Dan's intransigence about using "penal substitutionary atonement" rather than just "substitutionary atonement" notwithstanding).

That's not the case. The new case against Dan is that he's weak and wishy washy in dealing with OTHERS who are heretics in the ECM, even if Dan has beaten the doctrinal rap through some clever lawyering on the issue.

In any case, I'm suggesting that Dan Kimball has not been the object of the heresy allegations here in this thread, by my reading.

-Touchstone

Sled Dog said...

Hey Touchstone,

I wasn't sure who Phil was associating his comments to, so I just asked. I didn't necessarily assume it was DK who was the subject, yet the original post was about Dan. I believe it was a fair question to ask!

And yes, I believe that Phil's concern is that Dan is too chummy with other, perhaps less orthodox, emergent types. That may be a criticism DK needs to process.

It just seems that is a pretty easy thing to say...

Hey, I'm commenting so much cos my wife and daugther are on a mission trip in New Orleans. Blogging is a good way to pass the time until they return!

david rudd said...

sled dog,

funny reason for comments. i'm in a similar boat. recovering from surgery today and can't sleep.

so i'm watching hockey and phil's blog. someone more clever than i could say something funny about that.

centuri0n said...

David:

You have pretty wildly missed my point, so I'll go slow in order that anyone who is not with me can catch up.

I asked the question, "What's the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian?" I had an ulterior motive -- um, sorry, I have something else I was getting at by asking that question, but the answer to that question actually gets to the precept (shoot, sorry) the basic idea which I wanted to talk about.

(to satisfy Sharon, the one word I was thinking of was "grace", but there are others; "Jesus" would be a good one, as would "regeneration")

When we identify the basic idea that if something exists it cannot be both itself and its logical opposite (the Ayn Rand readers in the group here will recognize "A" and "not A" as her examples), we realize that ambiguity, especially about things like doctrine in a 2000-yr-old faith, is hardly a virtue, and hardly even useful.

See: all of you would agree that it's a crock to say that there is no difference between christians and non-Christians in a theological sense. But then, is it just a single binary switch that separates us, or is there more to it than that? For example, if I say "Jesus saves" and some other guys says "Jesus saves", but he means Jesus of Nazareth and I mean Jesus whom Mojo Nixon saw at McDonalds at Midnight, has one of us dropped the theological ball? And shouldn't someone tell me that Mojo's Jesus isn't the one who saves?

And isn't that the militant activity of the church?

Listen: the point here is that it is simply neglegent (um, I mean "careless", to say the least) to ignore someone's clear spiritual error for the sake of "community" or "chumminess" or even "to let the discussion hum along". When you let someone with whom you are writing in some group book take a pass on their own doctrinal vapidity (oops -- I mean "emptiness") when the readers of the book will probably miss their mistake, you're done gone and lost it.

That is my point, dude. Truth is not just about the tall skyscrapers of seriousness that make up the City of God: it is also about not stepping in the pet waste products left by the careless on the sidewalk, and also helping others avoid the same.

centuri0n said...

Sled Dog:

yes, but you have to deliver the message. You can't just pass the spliff when someone hands it to you: you have to throw the spliff out the window because it's both illegal and wrong to be smoking that junk.

You'll have to work out the details of that parable. I'm going to bed.

Sled Dog said...

Did anyone say that the Gospel doesn't have to be delivered?

I didn't. I don't think I did. Maybe I better go through the threads and check my own context...

David, wouldn't the joke be something like "I watched a hockey game and a blog fight broke out"...Something Rodney Dangerfieldish.

Wife just called. There mission trip is kickin'

Sled Dog said...

Typo: There = Their

Phil Johnson said...

Touchstone:

See, Sled Dog's right about this much: "There's no biblical grounds to be a jerk for Jesus." And one of the ramifications of that is this: You don't get to be snide all the time. Every tenth comment or so, you have to make a bona fide effort to seem sincere, either 1) by responding to something that I've actually said (as opposed to your own caricature of it); or 2) by making an actual argument (as opposed to a condescending taunt). Otherwise, all the talk about having a "conversation" and the pleas for a more charitable "tone" start to look like a masquerade.

Touchstone said...

Phil,

You're way off.

1. I'm not one who invokes the "conversation" shibboleth. You're confusing me with someone else -- I'm all for "stand and deliver" declarations, any time, all the time.

2. I really think "tone" is secondary to basic *accuracy* and *real* understanding, Phil. That's where you strike me as cutting corners -- regularly and widely. I don't think I've been lecturing you or anyone about tone; You just have made up your mind without bothering to get the facts straight, and even the author of the words you're interpreting *himself* can't disabuse you of your preconceptions.

I'd be delighted to see your "tone" get even more cutting and dismissive, if there was a compensating charity in listening, really listening to what your subject is trying to say.

Even (and especially) when it doesn't fit with a neatly cut and dried set of assumptions you began with.

I'm all for civil tone, Phil. But you spend a lot of bandwidth talking about "tone", and "cuss words", at the expense of what's *really* at issue. If I weren't so charitable, I'd suspect it was a kind of reflexive evasion technique. ;-)

Just to attempt an on-point connection here: did I read you right in the "not-down-on-Kimball-doctrine-down-on-Kimball-kid-gloves-with-heretics" explanation I gave to sled dog?

-Touchstone

Phil Johnson said...

Touchstone: "did I read you right in the "not-down-on-Kimball-doctrine-down-on-Kimball-kid-gloves-with-heretics" explanation I gave to sled dog?"

No, you didn't. That's why you are forced to resort to paraphrase and caricature.

I've already said I intend to "try to clarify what I've actually said about Dan Kimball's contribution to that book [and] debunk some things I haven't said but have been accused of saying." I'll do that by citing my actual words, if you will permit me that opportunity.

Sled Dog said...

Sounds like its time to cough up the goods. Too much accusation, innuendo and misunderstaning - from both sides -caused by a post that really didn't say a whole lot that hasn't been said. This all seems to be coming to something akin to "guess how many fingers I'm holding up behind my back?"

Phil Johnson said...

Pay me for writing, Sled Dog, and then you can set deadlines and due-dates for me. Until then, you don't get to be snide in my meta, either. Especially after wagging your finger at Frank about the lack of any biblical warrant to act like a jerk.

If you can't be patient, post about it at your own blog. We're already stocked up with people who come here mainly to taunt and play to the gallery. As a matter of fact, we're exactly two sneering grandstanders over our limit at the moment. I'm considering the options for a remedy.

Sled Dog said...

Snide: "derogatory in a nasty, insinuating manner."

Where was I snide?

Sled Dog said...

I think you're reading way more hostility into anything than I'm even close to feeling. Sneering grandstanders????

My point was simply that...ah, never mind.

Phil, you can write (or not write) anytime you please...

Phil Johnson said...

Sled Dog:

The fingers-behind-the-back wisecrack came across as pretty snide—especially set in the context of your demand that I "cough up" right now with a post I have already said I want to take time and care with.

How argumentative do you want to get here?

I'll tell you what: please read the last 2 sentences of the above post once more. Then if you really have no intention of respecting that simple request, please let me know right away. Cos it'd prolly save us both a lot of time and frustration if you just unload one long, loud, final expression of disrespect. And then I can just delete that comment and perhaps put you under a temporary ban until the Kimball threads are all finished.

I'd hate that, because I like you. But there's only a little bit of loose change left in that account, to be honest.

Sled Dog said...

I have no desire to be argumentative...and am really surprised by the characterization.

William said...

Thanks for your posts on these "emerging" types.

What is emerging certainly is not "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints!"

It seems that these "submerging" types are coming out of the wood work here in South Africa too!

From what I can gather, they love "submerging" the faith in their all-encompassing postmodern doubts to the point that only questions remain and no answers.

How depressing and defeatist!

Keep up the good work!

centuri0n said...

Sled Dog;

It's funny that when I say "deliver the Gospel", all people who belong to any kind of church will say, "amen", but when I say, "Let me be specific: you have to deliver the Gospel to the republican party and call them to repentence regarding their legalist/moralist agenda", the conservatives get their nose out of joint and say, "that's not what I meant -- we're already Christians".

And when I say, "let me be specific: you have to deliver the Gospel and call men to repentence who are in the church but are treating it like a self-fulfillment game where I'm OK and you're OK -- by correcting their doctrine on church, or ministry, or whatever," the people to whom that is said say, "dude, you're a hater -- that doesn't have anything to do with the Gospel."

The Gospel is not some little thing, or something which can be segmented off from the rest of your life. And when someone who is high profile has the opportunity to get -- let's say it together now -- militant about doctrine, so as to be clear, and sober-minded, and exhorting fellow Christians to do more and be more than superficial name-bearers, that is delivering the Gospel.

It's funny: when the Emergents get militant about the social Gospel, nobody sees them as being mean -- yet this is almost universally their sine-qua-non, the quality without which there is no Christianity. Why is it not mean for them to press this aspect of the Gospel to the place where it pushes out things like atonement, and the real beauty of what Christ did, but for someone like me to come back and say that all this good work is meaningless without the Christ whom Isaiah saw on the throne of Heaven -- that's mean. That's too much.

KARIE H. said...

Nice guy, why continue to sit in the seat of scoffers. Imposters, counterfeits, wolves in sheep clothing, know them by their fruits, by their disciples, those who defend Dan and critisize you are evidence enough of masquerade, charade, deceit and lack of a genuine love for Christ and his people. His followers and his teachings, practice, whom and what he promotes endorses and whom and the circles he runs in just proves he's already descended the slippery slope of the ECM and heresy and apostasy lie at the bottom. Jeff Noblitt of Muscle Shoals Baptist Church has a sermon on apostates, and I think Dan and his buddies should probably listen!

David said...

You people have too much time on your hands. There is nothing in this post that is worth "spleen venting" over.

Unless someone wants to take Phil to task for qouting a movie is full of the type of innuendo that would get you banned in a New York minute on this website

Which I am actually surprised no one has. I guess that makes his fundi readers more charitable than his pomo readers. Which is even more suprising because not being legalistic about watching movies with sexual content is an emerging church kind of thing.

So do we now have proof that Phil is an Emergent?

Quick, email the watch blogs.



In case any of you can't tell -- all of that is satirical. And "my campaign of mockery" is not aimed at Phil, Dan or Frank.

Get a grip folks. And coming from me, the means that some of you folks are really over the edge.

Sled Dog said...

David said: "There is nothing in this post that is worth "spleen venting" over."

Exactly.

And as far as having too much time on my hands, that's true. With the Mrs. and my daughter serving in New Orleans this week, and a son who is in bed by 7pm, and the fact that we don't get cable or satellite...yeah, the nights have been pretty quiet.

And I'm really surprised how quickly I got on the "bad list." I don't cuss. I primarly ask questions, or answer those thrown at me. The one comment that seemed to really seal my fate was:

-"Sounds like its time to cough up the goods. Too much accusation, innuendo and misunderstaning - from both sides -caused by a post that really didn't say a whole lot that hasn't been said. This all seems to be coming to something akin to "guess how many fingers I'm holding up behind my back?"

Phil read it as a demand (with a deadline) to post something immediately. Not my point at all. My point was that the two "preview" posts seemed to have stirred up a lot accusation, innuendo and misunderstaning - and that it would probably be best to talk about the real issues rather than have these little skirmishes based on posts that only foreshadow things to come. The last comment was simply a way of saying that until Phil lays it all out, people will do a whole lot of assuming around here. It wasn't snide...just a way of communicating what it felt like to have all this discussion about something that hasn't really been layed on the table.


For the record,

I have not called anyone names.

I have not cussed.

I am not EC.

I have no agenda or ax to grind.

I am not teamed up with anyone or any theological camp. I don't know any of these other guys who post or ever converse with them.

I certainly don't condone or agree with anyone who swears, baits or interacts in a childish mannner.

But I will say this. If I have any response, I am constantly surprised by the permission the hosts of this blog grant themselves in regards to conduct. I'm not saying that some folks come in here and are rude, scathing, foul, etc. But Frank's 8:44 post was full of condescending comments. And that I was categorizd with others as a "sneering grandstander" blew me away. Now, if there is a desire to have a controversial blog, great. But I don't understand all the uproar when controversy happens. It feels like there is a bit of a double standard here, IMHO.

And if I was Dan Kimball, I'd probably be shaking my head through this whole affair. Not that DK is ever above thinking through how he handles the Word and his ministry. None of us are. He's just a guy who I figure puts his pants on the same way every morning. He's done a fine job speaking for himself. I am not a Dan Kimball apologist. He can carry his own water...

Sled Dog said...

Correction. The sentence below shoud have read:

"I'm not saying that some folks DON'T come in here and are rude, scathing, foul, etc."

Point being: I'm not defending one group's actions, and condemning another's. Snarky, snide, rude and caustic is bad, no matter who writes it.

bob hyatt said...

"But Frank's 8:44 post was full of condescending comments."

Just that one? No...

Frank- let me say this- I'm preparing to preach on James 1:19-26, and feeling like I can't do that AND talk to people who constantly bait and throw around subtle insults like you seem prone to do. Seriously- who taught you this was a good form of communication?

I know, I know... I'm "whiny" (Please Ken, give it a rest). Just an artsy fartsy emergent type who can't handle the rough stuff with the big boys. Sure. Whatever.

Phil used a term without qualification. And I'm still going to insist that without a friend like you to come along and tell everyone what he really meant, in the current cultural context in which we find ourselves, advocating that anyone be more "militant" with their brothers and sisters is bound to lead to exactly the type of silly arguments we're having here. There are better ways to get your point across.

"Can't
| you make a single comment without
| a personal jab?

Is that a trick question?"

No it wasn't, and thanks for providing the answer with the rest of a ridiculously condescending reply.

This is turning into a dialogue of the deaf, and I find myself getting more worked up than I should be, so...

bob hyatt said...

"justification"

bob hyatt said...

Can I have my gold star now? :)

TheBlueRaja said...

Man - what a crazy thread. If ruffled feathers were nickels, we'd all be rich!

And, perhaps even more tragically, ducks would instantly sink to their deaths.

Sled Dog said...

"Vandal horde. Miscreants. Hooligans."

Enough said.

Ken Silva said...

Bob Hyatt said: "This is turning into a dialogue of the deaf." I couldn't agree more with this very concise description of the emerging church movement itself, and from a pastor within it.

If you agree with their nebulous views about what Dr. Walter Martin often called the historic orthodox Christian faith then "the conversation" goes well.

But once you disagree their tone suddenly becomes quite shrill. I've yet to find any who were willing to seriously consider counterpoints to those views regurgitated (to use Dan Kimball's word) by emerging writers of the books they love to read.

centuri0n said...

Bob:

I guess I find it funny that you think I'm the condescending one.

I hope you are edified by James. I hope you don't find him to be talking down to people who hear the word and then forget what they have read -- you know, people who are not in the church militant.

The Doulos said...

Has anyone noticed that anytime there is a post here that even loosely refers to critiques of the emerging movement, the meta runs rampant and turns into a tiresome deconstruction of words used, tone expressed, presuppositions presupposed and eventually becomes a sophomoric "I said/he said" exchange? Maybe there's a trend here, ya think? I guess that's what a "conversation" sounds like...

The Confessor said...

to be clear, i did not mean to insinuate that Phil is kicking people in the shins. I was referencing one of the commenters on this thread.

Ken Silva said...

*thumbs up to The Doulos*

Precisely my brother. :-)

Having personally been around "the conversation" for two years now of conversating, I will say that your comment concerning what is in essense quarreling about words is exactly what I have found as well.

candyinsierras said...

Phil. I know it seems impossible, but I was actually able to visually capture this comment thread. Check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7a3ByQjDY4

The Confessor said...

Wow. Mr. Silva has been conversing for two years?

That's what the monologue on his website "ministries" is called now?

bob hyatt said...

bbshwNo Frank, I don't find him to be talking down at all. But I do hear it in just about every comment you make. Still. Even after pointing it out to you.

And it's sad to see Ken never misses an opportunity to insult his targets...

Ken- we talk just fine with people who start with some level of respect for those they are talking to and about. It's when the conversation starts and ends (as this thread has) with demeaning comments ("I am not asking this question of an Emergant type because there would not be one right answer to my question." and "But once you disagree their tone suddenly becomes quite shrill.") that any real conversation becomes difficult.

For the record- when conversations like this happen on my blog, I do my best to defend the "other side" when it gets personal. I wish I would see that happen here. Instead, commenters are given a free pass to insinuate whatever they want about "Emergents." If you want to know why these conversations degenerate so quickly, look no further than that.

If you guys want to talk about doctrine, fine But can't we do without starting every thread with the "Emergents don't believe in truth!" lines and cracks? If you really want to talk to people, tryi leaving off the generalities and deal with what's actually being said.

I honestly think there are some who want these threads to go down in flames.

bob hyatt said...

sorry- the letters at the beginning of my last comment only look like veiled cursing. It's that goofy word verification thing gone wrong...

Jake said...

Phil- I appreciate men like yourself, who are extremely concerned with correct doctrine, but can we give this whole debate a rest? The emergent Christians are serving God as they feel led and you and your friends are doing the same. I don't think you're going to change Dan's, Bob's, or anyone else's mind on this because you're saying things they've already heard and they're not going to change your mind. So can we just call a cease fire, say God bless you but I can't go where you are ministry-wise, and go our separate ways?

May God save all of us from the need to win arguments and continue to remind us that our salvation does not rest in our ability to argue a specific point but in God's magnificent grace that is mighty to save emergents, evangelicals, presbyterians, baptists, catholics, charismatics, pentecostals, methodists, lutherans, as well as hindus, sunnis, shi'ites, buddhists, and non-theists, should God so choose.

May we then see how our specific God-given talents are to be used in order to faithfully proclaim his supremacy and to build his kingdom! The world is such a vast, beautiful place and yet it is such a dark, hurting place. As Christians isn't our call to be a redemptive force in the world? Then let us go into the world, aware of our differences but refusing to divide over them, and then be a blessing to all those God puts us in contact with.

Coram Deo said...

Sadly the contents of Kimball's disastrous tome does nothing to diminish his impressive credentials as a compromised apostate.