27 August 2007

More Signs of the Times

by Phil Johnson

he Q&A session during last Tuesday's seminar got me thinking. . .



Bonus (added 1:30 pdt):


















Phil's signature

156 comments:

Helen said...

Has John MacArthur commented on your series of posters? Has he seen them?

I'm just curious what he said, if he has.

The Doulos said...

Love the "Authority" poster. In fact, I just had a discussion about this with my 11 yr old daughter. We were talking about opinions. When we reject any authority, all we are left with is opinions. And as the saying goes, opinions are like noses (or insert your favorite body part) - everybody has one (or more).

Qjay said...

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Ephesians 5:11-14

BugBlaster said...

I like the modernity one. Good message.

ddd said...

I guess after some time, the ECMers will grow numb to it, and then the posters will lose their effectiveness. Maybe you should place all of them out at one shot before that happens.

Keith said...

These things just get better and better. Thanks for my Monday morning chuckle.

Qjay said...

My favorite is the chastened epistemology one.

I still don't get why they are insulted...

Mike said...

Anyone else think that the guy in the Authority poster looks like James White?

Tim said...

I have to ask: where the anti or pro emergy?

opn said...

"If we doubt God’s Word about one thing, we shall have small confidence in it upon another thing. Sincere faith in God must treat all God’s Word alike; for the faith which accepts one word of God and rejects another is evidently not faith in God, but faith in our own judgment, faith in our own taste". Charles Spurgeon

While some may find these posters offensive; I believe just as many have found them edifying.

donsands said...

It's tough to look at the "Attitude" poster. Man, a double piercing of the tongue. Double ouch!

My nephew had his tongue pierced, and said he thought he would never be able to eat again, his tongue swelled up so much, and it was excrutiatingly painful.

rick said...

opn - would it be edifying for teampyro to make a poster based on your comment that these are edifying? That is for them to generalize you and whoever they think is associated with you as valuing mockery or cartoons/posters or even Spurgeon as equal to Scripture for edification?

That aside, how are you being edified by thinking of a group of people in the way these poster portrait them? How accurate do you think these portrayals are of the group in general?

I sense from your Spurgeon quote that you think EC'ers in general doubt God's word. While I've read and heard things that support that from some (and to be clear, they are in grave error), I have read and heard things contrary to that from others. How specifically are you edified thinking of the group as a whole in that way?

opn said...

Rick,

Your comment is appreciated. That being said, before you wrote it, did you stop to ask yourself whether or not I may have been one that was edified.

centuri0n said...

Rick:

I am reticent in replies to you from last week, but you keep coming back to this idea that somehow it's wrong to reproach the ECMers for the problematic views of their assorted kin.

Let's think about something: is there an ECM ministry or minister analogous to John MacArthur, Ravi Zacharias, or even Hank Hanagraaf? Because let's face it: for all the ills evident in "Evangelical" churches today, what one cannot say about Evangelidom is that it is without any critics from the inside.

In fact, that's one of the horrific sins of evangelidom from the ECM perspective: too judgmental; too willing to say a person has jumped the orthodox boat.

What pricks the ECM reader of this blog and these posters is that we take the errors of those who are making them seriously enough to criticize them without any sugar-coating.

I can accept the premise (for the sake of argument) that the ECM is a diverse body of beliefs and practices. It that body wants to be taken seriously as a church, it ought to be serious about teaching (as Paul said to Titus) "healthy doctrine". If you can demonstrate that there's any kind of movement inside the ECM to do what Paul says to do in the letter to Titus from a perspective of raising up elders who are faithful teachers of the word in order to rebuke those who are unfaithful teachers, you can stake you "too broad" and "too narrow" speech about what's wrong with these posters.

Phil's jibes here come at the end of a -very- long (2 years worth) series of comments and essays about the flaws of the ECM -- which no ECM advocate has taken seriously. Yet suddenly, when it turns out that we can phrase those complaints in handbill format, it's too little or too much.

The ECM has a grave set of problems, Rick. And the worst is that it thinks being casual about those problems makes them casual problems.

threegirldad said...

FYI to Phil:

There is a typo in the "Authority" poster ("Somone").

steve said...

That aside, how are you being edified by thinking of a group of people in the way these poster portrait them? How accurate do you think these portrayals are of the group in general?

Rick: I am among those who have been edified as I am reminded of the seriousness of contending for the faith. God's Word is to be taken seriously, as is our responsbility as Christians before a watching world. The thinly veiled disdain I've witnessed coming from EMC followers is, in fact, portrayed quite well in these posters. The holiness poster especially hit home--the casualness of EMCers toward holiness has astounded me at times.

One of the most memorable comments I've ever gotten from an EMCer is, "When your kids do wrong, you should never call it sin. That doesn't help them. It stunts them and turns them away from Christianity."

Sojourner said...

Okay, I followed the links on the posters today. And I have to say this quote was the zinger for me, the author was angry at Mark Driscoll for:

nitpicking abstract theological “issues” (penal substitutionary atonement, eternal literal hell, plenary biblical infallibility)

Driscoll can't catch a break.

Everyday Mommy said...

I think a doctrine cop button for our sidebars is in order. :D

centuri0n said...

3g-Dad:

That's your opinion.

Phil Johnson said...

Threegirldad:

Good catch. I fixed it. Hit reload if you still see the typo.

Helen said...

Steve wrote: The holiness poster especially hit home--the casualness of EMCers toward holiness has astounded me at times.

Can someone define 'holiness' for me and tell me (briefly) what aspects of it ECers are too casual about? God is holy, right, so does it mean being like God? Or something else?

centuri0n said...

ED Mommy:

Done

centuri0n said...

Helen:

JC Ryle has a great book on that subject called Holiness. "Holiness" is Christ-likeness as demonstrated by doing all the things Jesus commanded.

DJP said...

Helen — have you gone through the archives and read all of Phil's articles on the EC?

Jay said...

"And the worst is that it thinks being casual about those problems makes them casual problems."

The Sphinx lives!

Helen said...

Thanks centurion.

If that's what holiness is, wouldn't ECers say they do all Jesus commanded (to the best of their ability)? I can't imagine any saying otherwise. So doesn't that mean they do care about holiness and take it seriously?

Helen said...

djp, admittedly, no I haven't gone through all of those. I was hoping for the Cliff Notes :)

donsands said...

Holiness for me is aherat attitude first.
Ever since Christ saved me, and changed my heart, and set me apart, I no longer see righteousness as silly, but a good thing, and I no longer see sin as no big deal, but I hate it.

The regenerated child of God is actually made holy by the blood of Christ. And because he is now holy, he does holy things. Godly things. Righteous things. And these are all by grace through faith.

It's the Holy Spirit working in our hearts, and renewing our minds that makes us long to be holy as God is holy.

Can we ever reach the degree of Jesus' holiness? No. However, we can, by faith, walk in the manner which He walked.

Very important teaching to understand holiness. And one we will learn about until the Lord takes us home, or He returns.

centuri0n said...

I am hurt that someone thinks my aphorisms are meaningless. That's cruel.

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

Centurion - Your literary prowess as it applies to subtle metaphors like "assorted kin" and the like is appreciated from someone like me (there are many others).

The EC movement overall has indeed loosed the moorings that can easily engender a revisionist Christianity that in some quarters has already morphed into either a disguised version or a completely different version (Burke) than most evangelicals have come to recognize.

Much of it is reactionary and must be Biblically confronted with a solemn resolve of serious Biblical teachers in the hope of assuaging the rapid dilution of some while warning others to rethink their new found spiritual path.

However, I continue to believe that humorous scorn fortifies the breach by entertaining the orthodox crowd and simultaneously inflaming the wide variety of emergent and emergent tolerent onlookers.

There is also the danger of encouraging an unChristlike attitude that is self enamored by an intellectual ability to creatively show disdain in a humorous forum while dealing with issues that should elicit tears not laughter.

If indeed the dismantling of Christianity is taking place in our generation, I'm not sure humor that even pictures "civilians" is the route that previous Biblical preachers would use. If one of your posters is intended to expose an unBiblical position from MacLaren, put HIS picture on the poster so no one will think you are making light of some lost gothic person.

One man's opinion without tears (I know, too long)

threegirldad said...

Cent,

I just spewed a mouthful of my favorite morning beverage all over my monitor and keyboard, so you now owe me. Money order or Cashier's check will do just fine.

;-)

centuri0n said...

Helen:

That's an interesting question. It's like saying, "well, if they say they're orthodox, shouldn't we just say they're orthodox and move on?"

The EC'ers tend to have a very broad view of social action as the things Jesus commanded -- which is fine as Jesus did have this big thing about justice and mercy being the parts of the Law which the Pharisees overlooked or missed. But there's also the question of things like language, dress, conformity to culture -- and while the EC'ers would say, "geez, that's something coming from middle class Americans," substituting one kind of materialism and self-indulgence (suburbia & corporate America) for another (tattoos & the "art" culture) doesn't actually solve the problem, does it?

centuri0n said...

3GD:

Nobody warned you about driving and blogging?

I don't believe you.

centuri0n said...

Henry --

I don't buy it. I don't buy into the view that comedy is dangerous, painful and divisive. And I don't buy it for two reasons:

[1] There is no other realm in which this is true. In all other spheres of human interaction, making a joke is seen as a "good humored" approach.

[2] The "other side" has used all kinds of jokes in all kinds of contexts to reprove all kinds of other matters. They have demonstrated the fact of [1] repeatedly. The problem -- as I have said to Bob Hyatt -- is not whether humor is bad but whether some people will admit that they can give it out but they can't take it. The way some people receive jokes tells on how they really feel about themselves.

Daryl said...

Cent,

That's a great point. I was thinking the when Rick replied a while ago, basically saying that he's sure the EC'ers will affirm that they believe the Bible.

It seems to me that the wrong way to identify whether someone believes the Bible is to ask them if they do.
Better to find out what they believe on a variety of subjects which the Bible teaches us about, and then determine for them whether or not they really believe it.

This seems to be a common EC thing, they say they "believe the Bible" but aren't sure on homosexualiy, the substitutionary atonement, holiness etc. Clearly the trend is to reject the Bible more and more.
The death of Orthodoxy by a thousand qualifications.

Daryl said...

Uh, your previous point, to Helen is the one I was referring to...

Helen said...

Centurion wrote: there's also the question of things like language, dress, conformity to culture

Can you elaborate? Did Jesus dress or talk differently from the people around him? Did he ever tell his followers to dress differently or talk differently?

I know about "be in the world but not of the world" but it's not very specific - it says nothing about dress or language per se.

I understand that self-indulgence is wrong, but is it possible that making a big deal about dress and language is missing the point somewhat, since Jesus (as best I can recall) dressed like others and in the same language as them?

I don't think sinners would have hung out with him if he spoke a language they didn't understand, or dressed in a way that was - weird.

Maybe some of my comments echo ECer sentiments but I'm not EC, fwiw. These are my own thoughts.

DJP said...

Donsands—Holiness for me is aherat attitude first

Well, I certainly couldn't say it any better than that.

(c;

steve said...

Helen wrote: Can someone define 'holiness' for me and tell me (briefly) what aspects of it ECers are too casual about? God is holy, right, so does it mean being like God? Or something else?

Helen, when you click on the Holiness poster it takes you to an article that states, "Holiness is not about separation from the world."

That statement flies in the face of Romans 12:1-2, where Paul urges, "Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice...do not be conformed to this world." Holiness IS, in fact, a separation from the world. Philippians 2:15 says, "Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation."

While we are unable to to perfectly holy as Jesus, still, the apostle John says, "The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked" (1 John 2:6).

Sadly, many EMCers, in the name of cultural relevancy, work so hard at "fitting in" that they no longer "stand out."

Of course, the EMCers don't have a corner on this.

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

Homor is only "good natured" when it deals with issues that are not as eternally important as you would agree are present here. Like making jokes about a serial murderer, I believe that the issues about the EC are for the most part so substantive that there should not be any "good natured" aspect in the dialogue, for that would dilute the intensity concerning what is at stake.

Assuming one agrees that core deception is at play that involves redemptive truth. Not something to be poked fun at with a "good nature" humor. The EC teachers are not our enemies, but some of the teachings emanate from the Enemy of our souls and cannot be marginalized with humor.

The attempts at humor as exemplified by Christ or Paul at error are extremely difficult to locate.

DJP said...

Is there a limit to how many times this exact question/challenge/gripe has to be answered on the same blog?

Here's my answer: you ever find us saying anything more brutal, in any form, than Ezekiel 16, drop us a note.

Otherwise, I'd say as nicely as I can, just deal with it.

One Dan's opinion.

Phil, Frank?

steve said...

The worst part about the questions/challenges/gripes that are raised ad infinitum, ad nauseum is that they're never accompanied by a biblically substantive response to the issues that are raised here about the EC.

Until such responses are offered, the gripes remain nothing more than red herrings.

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

Steve said "they're never accompanied by a biblically substantive response to the issues that are raised here about the EC."

Here is my Biblically substantive response to the issues raised by the posters:

I can see the validity of the points raised and agree with many of them.

Red Herring gutted.

Sojourner said...

I think that this entire episode serves to underscore the fact that evangelicals have underestimated the power of art. If you outline doctrinal errors in a Word document, you get a yawn. Lampoon it on a poster and people get nuts.

Actually, the EC movement has been big on promoting the value of art in Christendom. If people can get over being mad, they may want to celebrate this small victory, ironic though it may be.

Phil Johnson said...

DJP: "Is there a limit to how many times this exact question/challenge/gripe has to be answered on the same blog?"

One of these days, when time permits, I intend to address the unspoken assumptions behind the humour-is-always-cruel complaint. But meanwhile, here's a brief reply:

1. No one actually believes that.

2. That argument has been used here repeatedly as a subtle way of insisting (without actually addressing the substantive arguments that have been made against the ECM) that the central tenets driving the ECM are thoroughly Christian; that the movement is headed in a generally right direction; and that the vast majority of spokespersons for this movement are well-meaning. I reject all three premises, and have carefully explained why in scores of previous posts.

3. As we have seen in this thread already, the whole argument also hinges on accepting the fallacy that if someone says he is essentially orthodox and conservative, he must really be. Of course all true heretics would admit what they are—right?

Uh, no.

I learned long ago that whenever someone starts an introduction with "I'm not really Emerging, but. . . " or "I'm not Postmodern, but. . ." chances are, you are about to meet a hardcore pomo.

Want an example? See Peter Pike's excellent summary of Triablogue's dealings with our old friend Touchstone.

Helen said...

Holiness IS, in fact, a separation from the world.

Surely this has to be interpreted in light of Jesus' tendency to hang out with sinners - and given that we have no evidence [that I can think of] that he dressed or talked differently from the people he hung out with.

Don't we need to ask "Exactly how was Jesus separate and how wasn't he separate?" and then emulate that?

Perhaps in some cases you ?ers (sorry, I still don't know what you folks call yourselves) and the ECers are looking at different sides of one coin. Maybe the ECers are reacting against the implication that Jesus was more separate than he really was from the world.

Like I said, I'm not one of them but I think the concerns they raise are on target sometimes.

DJP said...

Sojourner, I think in large measure it's because Phil has spoken in the sort of language they think they own (creative, hip, ear-catching), and has devastatingly undone the pretentiousness that is their whole distinctive.

The evanjellybean reaction of "Oh my! Not nice!" illustrates why so much error is allowed to take root and grow.

Helen said...

Phil Johnson wrote: I learned long ago that whenever someone starts an introduction with "I'm not really Emerging, but. . . " or "I'm not Postmodern, but. . ." chances are, you are about to meet a hardcore pomo.

Hey, not me. When I say it, I really mean it.

So has John MacArthur commented on your posters?

SolaMeanie said...

Helen,

Are you meaning to suggest that Jesus indulged in sinful or vulgar behaviors when he "hung around" sinners?

Just curious, given the tendancy of EC sympathizers to defend vulgar language and other doings in which Christians shouldn't engage. I think Jesus tried to lift people up OUT of bad behavior, not engage in the same behavior so people would think He was one of the guys.

BTW, this discussion is a very old, tired one, but it keeps coming back like a bad case of psoriasis.

Jim W said...

To both "Ricks" (ianiello and fruh): Please explain to me how anything the Pyros have written is anywhere near as bad as your mocking and backstabbing on your own blogs, your cheering for the lies and twists of people like iggy (at word of mouth), your diatribes at the anti-Slice blogs, such as CRN info and Fishing the Abyss. Especially you-henry (rick). You come on sites such as Old Truth and mealy-mouth your way through a subject and then go to Fishing and scoff and mock in whole-hearted agreement with those scoffers and mockers. You can't keep talking out of both sides of your mouth. One of these days you two are going to have to make a stand. You are going to have to stand on the Word of God sooner or later. Not on the man-made jello that the emergent-types so love.

SolaMeanie said...

Another BTW, in case Phil hasn't spelled it out clearly enough. John MacArthur has nothing to do with this blog. Nor does he entertain a lot of sympathy for the Emergent Church.

rick said...

opn - yes I did. In fact I assumed you were edified and that's why I was curious regarding what edified you.

And seriously, if you say posters edify, what would put you out of the cross-hairs of TeamPyro for the next poster?

Helen said...

solameanie said: Are you meaning to suggest that Jesus indulged in sinful or vulgar behaviors when he "hung around" sinners?

Now why on earth would I suggest a thing like that?

I'm more thinking along these lines: evidently the sinners sinning didn't think "Uhoh, here comes that weirdo - let's get outta here!" when they saw Jesus coming.

Whereas I do get the sense some people who aren't Christians think that when certain Christians approach their vicinity.

Fwiw, it probably wouldn't help if those Christians threw in a few swear words and tried to look trendy - it would only make them weirder than ever.

Helen said...

solameanie wrote: John MacArthur has nothing to do with this blog. Nor does he entertain a lot of sympathy for the Emergent Church.

I just wanted to know if he's seen the posters and what he said about them, if he has. Does anyone know?

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

You are correct, Phil, no one believes humor is always cruel and most have not contended that. Here are two attempts at humor about the orthodox crowd. See if you see any difference in tone and substance.

1. As two people walked out of the Tabernacle Sunday morning one saide to the other, "Didn't you find Pastor Spurgeon's teaching great?" The other person replied, "I can't listen to his teaching while he's still alive!".

2. At the MacDonald counter two friends, one orthodox and one emergent, were deciding what to order. The orthodox friend said, "I'm going to get a Big Mac". The emergent looked at him and said,"How do you know what to get, does the Bible say specifically?".

In my view the first is light hearted while the second mocks the view of Scripture.

Poor examples, I know, but that is what I see.

Phil Johnson said...

Henry (Rick): "Poor examples, I know, but that is what I see."

Humor itself is subjective. (It always helps if it's actually funny.) But there's no question that being on the receiving end of sharp satire hurts.

Does that make it always wrong? No, else Jesus would not have called the Pharisees names and made jokes about their ability to swallow camels while picking out gnats.

...which is a good analogy for this whole discussion. What amazes me, Henry (Rick), is the amount of energy you, the iggys of the pomo blogosphere, and especially the other Rick have invested in complaints about the tone and feel of our criticisms of the Emerging church—often while using a deliberately nasty tone to do it, and while remaining virtually silent about the many rank heresies bubbling up out of the Emerging/Emergent swamp.

You guys are busy swatting gnats while rampaging camels are stampeding across the evangelical camp.

Jim W: Thanks. It needed to be said.

david rudd said...

"Holiness is not about separation from the world."

if this is the statement to be argued against...

this...
do not be conformed to this world."

and this...
above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation."

don't do it.

in fact, these Scriptures along with other such as 1 peter 2:11,12 and Matthew 5:13-16 seem to argue that we are not to be separate from the world.

Rather, we are while living IN THE MIDST of a crooked and perverse generation we are to live above reproach... or as aliens and strangers... or as those not conformed... or as salt and light... but we are not to be separate.

of course we can argue whether or not separate refers to ontology, physiology, physicality, philosophy, morally, etc...

but i think the Book is clear. Holiness, for the church, is not about separation. It's about being different without separating...

TAIHTSAT

steve said...

Red herring not gutted.

Rick, you've admitted to seeing the validity of the points raised.

The posters are not mockery. They are poignantly confrontational, taking issue with a mindset and attitudes that undermine biblical truth, the call to holy living, and the essentials of the gospel message.

The apostle Paul was confrontational against those same things, and very directly so.

Earlier, in a number of articles, this blog called attention to some of the exact same problems that are portrayed in the posters.

The posters are the same message, but a different medium, with humor injected into them. And at least from my perspective, the humor actually softens the rebuke. Which is why I find great irony in the allegations these posters are cruel and unloving.

It just goes to show no matter how concerns are expressed to an ECer, you can't win. The so-called dialogue is always on their terms, and their terms alone.

Phil Johnson said...

PS:

Helen, John MacArthur has not commented on the posters. I don't know whether he has seen them. When I have enough to make a coffee-table book of them, I'll give him a copy. I know from his own remarks about the ECM that he would appreciate and agree with all the messages the posters aim to convey.

BTW, he spoke about the ECM at length in yesterday morning's sermon. He was preaching on Luke's account of Jesus' rebuke of the Pharisees, and he explored at length the question of whether "conversation" is a better means than confrontation for dealing with false teaching.

It was a potent message. It should be downloadable at gty.org by Thursday. ECMers who wonder about John MacArthur's opinions regarding that movement's "conservative" wing will definitely want to hear that one.

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

"while remaining virtually silent about the many rank heresies bubbling up out of the Emerging/Emergent swamp."

A statement about which you have not done sufficient research. When there is a discussion about a principle of communication, the issue becomes personal and leaves the substance.

Jim W's tone is appluaded, others are rebuked. The difference being the room that is shared.

bassicallymike said...

Could these posters be considered as 21st century "shaking the dust off your feet"?

Helen said...

david rudd wrote: Holiness, for the church, is not about separation. It's about being different without separating...

That makes sense to me since Jesus clearly wasn't separated. Also, whatever way he was different didn't repel ordinary sinners, evidently.

Steve wrote: It just goes to show no matter how concerns are expressed to an ECer, you can't win. The so-called dialogue is always on their terms, and their terms alone.

From where I sit, it seems like they are not the only ones who dictate terms.

Phil thanks for the John MacArthur answer. I saw what he wrote about John Armstrong in The Truth War. Given what he thinks of a conservative who isn't in the EC but gives them a hearing, I can imagine what he thinks of people who self-identify as conservative and EC.

I guess I was curious what he thinks about the posters as a method. I understand that the sentiments expressed seem to reflect his views of the EC.

John H said...

Could these posters be considered as 21st century "shaking the dust off your feet"?

Um, no, I don't think they could. Next question?

Overall, I'm not a huge fan of these posters - though one or two of them have been pretty good (e.g. "Justice") - but that's not because I think "sarcasm is cruel", or "Phil's being nasty".

It's because this represents precisely the sort of mainstream Christian refusal to engage constructively with the questions raised by postmodernity that drives people towards the emerging church. Rather than taking the view that the "emerging church" is giving the wrong answers to questions that are, nevertheless, genuinely important questions - regarding authenticity, community, the nature of texts, the power-plays that lie behind a lot of discourse even with the church - let's just make a few posters and mock people for even bothering to ask the questions.

"You've found that the contemporary mainstream church isn't answering the questions that you have? Well, here's a poster mocking you for asking them. It won't change your mind - heck, we gave up on the idea of doing that long ago - but it'll give our Amen Chorus a chuckle and shore up our own assumptions and beliefs."

(NB: I'm not an "emerging Christian", and I'm not particularly sympathetic towards the emerging church movement. But nor am I particularly sympathetic to the attitude that the answer to postmodernism is just to shout modernism louder.)

Oh, and also it's just been going on for too long. This dead horse has been well and truly flogged. Time to move on, guys.

Mike said...

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE." Therefore,
"COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;" And I will welcome you. "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty.

centuri0n said...

Helen:

Sure I can elaborate -- Jesus dressed like a man who was in obedience to God, meaning the cultural expression he made was neither the expression of the deviants and the outcasts, and was also not the expression of those who were at the highest ranks of economic and social power. Jesus dressed in the modest fashion of the time and also obeyed the commands of God with regard to modesty. He didn't work to marginalize himself with His dress or identify with unsavory elements of society by doing the bizarre or gratuitous things they did.

The idea that the Bible doesn't tell us how to speak or how to dress is indicative of a superficial reading of scripture and/or an inadequate understanding of what it means to be given guidance by Scripture.

Mike said...

And john h,

You're another who's completely ignored the storeroom of essays, conference seminars, and articles Phil has written before these posters. How many times has everyone even said that during this discussion? People accuse Phil of just mocking, and then he or Frank or Dan talk about how this has been somewhat of a last resort. All the engaging has been done, and has been ignored. So much for "conversation," eh?

Then the posters get all this attention, and TeamPyro's railed against for being too mean and not conducive to conversation.

Martin Downes said...

Loved the modernity and post-foundationalism posters. Some ideas deserve to be laughed at.

centuri0n said...

To Dan's question and Phil's reply to that question:

Exactly. To agree with the Apostle, I wish they'd just cut the whole thing off, so to speak.

LeeC said...

John H. and others.

Please note two things.

#1. When the posters are up initially they are linked to posts written by Emergents themselves validating the poster. In light of many of those links I think the posters are often understated. (personally I do not think the posters carry near the same weight without the links myself)

#2. Phil and the other Pyros have for YEARS written thought out long critiques of certain troubling issues in the E.C. and were consistantly dismissed or ignored.

centuri0n said...

John H:

So what exactly is "modernistic" about the posters? That would be the criticism that, of all the ones posited so far, I have no idea how to receive.

Phil Johnson said...

John H: "his dead horse has been well and truly flogged. Time to move on, guys."

I keep thinking that, too. But then every time I post what I think will be the last of the Po-Motivators®, there's a new tsunami of feedback from the Post-Evangelical side of the blogosphere. And it's always filled with reminders of still more familiar fallacies that need to be exploded.

So I suppose I'll quit when the Emergents and their assorted kin run out of trite fallacies. They can't possibly have an infinite number of them, can they?

steve said...

From where I sit, it seems like they are not the only ones who dictate terms.

Team Pyro isn't dictating any terms. They're simply raising valid questions.

And they're still waiting for valid answers. So far all that's shown up is evasive pouting and crying about how mean they are.

Now, on this whole issue of separation. ECers build a straw man here and accuse non-ECers as though they were advocating some form of monasticism.

Not so.

We can and should befriend sinners just as Jesus did, but we shouldn't (as Centurion well said) marginalize our witness by embracing behaviors, attitudes, or values that undermine our distinctly Christian witness.

rick said...

Cent – first I want to thank you for your reply and the restraint you demonstrated. I sense that while both of us like to joke around, for whatever reason I have not been able to understand or feel positive about your joking. It was helpful that you adjusted to me and wrote in the manner that you did.

Here are my replies:

“is there an ECM ministry or minister analogous to John MacArthur, Ravi Zacharias, or even Hank Hanagraaf?”

I don’t know of one. There may be but as I’ve said before, I don’t consider myself one on them and I don’t think they consider me one either. I have significant issue with some of the ECM writings (even some of those referenced in these posters) and therefore I tend to not look to EC’ers for my normal reading/listening.

On the other hand, I’ve read many critical writings that whether I agreed with the point or not, I thought were well done and well intended. These have come from TeamPyro, 9Marks, etc.. I completely support the value of a critical view and as you, I prefer it come from within. I just don’t know who is writing what and whether they are in or out of the ECM.

What pricks the ECM reader of this blog and these posters is that we take the errors of those who are making them seriously enough to criticize them without any sugar-coating.

I have no issue with serious engagement and I encourage it. I think however we can be fair and humble without sugarcoating. We need to be able to do both and I don’t think this has always been the case here. I do not find these posters to be serious engagement.

If that body wants to be taken seriously as a church, it ought to be serious about teaching (as Paul said to Titus) "healthy doctrine".

Agreed. I for one would like to understand what people wearing that label stand for. I read Gibbs and Bolger’s Emerging Churches" and while I found some good and thought provoking points, in the end I was appalled at some of what I read. It’s beyond me how people can rally around a set of values (or whatever) when one cannot find what those values are.

At the same time, I think this is why we (ok you) should be careful with the criticism. Let’s imagine ECM represents A, B, & C. Some number of people out there embrace A&B but not C. And let’s imagine there is a real Biblical issue with C. I think you help those A&B people by focusing on the issues with C. These posters I don’t think accomplished that. I think they tear down bridges rather than build them. I don’t think they help people see the real issue with C.

And I think some number (I suspect a large number) of your readership went away from all of this tainted with an overall negative attitude toward all things (or at least most things) ECM. These readers will be faster to negatively judge those that are A&B people and I don’t think that is helpful or right.

You must remember that this media (blogging) does not lend itself to reviewing all of the past writing. Many people only saw the parody. And frankly, as I read many of the links, I either did not understand the connection to the poster nor did I agree with what I’m guessing Phil was saying was the issue. But I could not engage in a conversation since it was generalization and no clear, specific point.

Phil's jibes here come at the end of a -very- long (2 years worth) series of comments and essays about the flaws of the ECM -- which no ECM advocate has taken seriously.

I don’t disagree with you and I empathize with the frustration you must feel. Worse, someone lambasts TeamPyro in almost every post with an axe to grind. Yet I don’t agree that this gives license to adapt the current tact.

The ECM has a grave set of problems

Yes.

the worst is that it thinks being casual about those problems makes them casual problems

I don’t know that this is what they think but I share your sentiment and if they are thinking that, they are wrong.

So what’s the bottom line? I’m not against satire and I’m not against confrontation. My opinion is that there is appropriate joking and inappropriate joking. I typically manage both in a single conversation.

I don’t know how to write a clear concise definition how to know which is which but I’d like to think that we both have some sense it. In the political realm haven’t we seen satire that caused an, “ouch, that stings” and resulted in a little thinking yet we have also seen satire the only thought is, “my God, what’s wrong with those morons?”

Isn’t that how you perceive the ECM group is responding? In your comments I detect frustration on your part. I believe you believe that a large portion of the ECM crowd is not engaging and the portion that is engaging is only firing back in an argumentative way. If my assessment is true, shouldn’t this be the exact reason you stop? Instead I perceive you feel more justified in your approach.

My personal opinion is that in this case, TeamPyro has moved away from effective confrontation to inappropriate satire. I am clear that you disagree with that. And this is why I say you are deceived.

Since my opinion of the fruit of what is happening here is damaging and not edifying, I say the deception is from Satan.

At risk of providing fuel for your side of the argument, I’ll try to be transparent and remind you that I am a “Vineyard guy”. I’ve been accused for decades by “your team” (no sarcasm intended) of being an evildoer. In spite of that, I try to remain open to your correction since I see TeamPyro as fellow believers. However I would be lying if I did not acknowledge that I might be overly sensitive to the potential of harshness, misrepresentation, hyper-criticism, etc. that I perceive can come from your camp.

I hope that helps clarify my thinking.

SB said...

IT's funny...I see a big difference in the way John Piper dealt with these guys in his message at the last DGM conference appealing to them as Father to a wayward sons -compared to the way the TMS lectures/Truth War deals with these guys-I have never read a Fatherly rebuke on this blog.

I am not saying criticism is wrong or humor is wrong. I am saying the attitude you guys took from the beginning is consistently over the top. I know you don't feel that way because you have justified yourself consistently in comments and in posts.

When we come on this blog in general we are dealing with YOU--on their blogs we deal with them. The issue with Team Pyro is the condescending attitude. The issue with them is liberalism-their issue is worse than yours-but I still definitely see a lack of humble orthodoxy in the way you deal with them. We are right because we have been recued is implied but I will wish you all would communicate your own sinfullness and rebuke these guys with a clearer communication of your own brokeness over their sin.

I believe that you guys say you love them but I don't really think you are loving them when you only rebuke them--I agree that we should admonish the unruly but in general I don't think you guys ever see the faintheartedness or the weakness because you guys are such jerks to the EC. Letting them comment on your blog and dialogging with them is a start I guess. I guess the point is-- Are you listening to us as fellow believers admonishing you to pray for them and rebuke with tears. If you are--then communicate it clearly in your blog.

In humble rebuke and through relationships the regenerate of the ECM have listened to me.

Now that I realize you think these are children of Satan(another name for the Pharisees)I understand. I guess you're shaking the dust of your feet too bad Piper isn't.

I hope you guys are hearing me-I love you three and I am thankful to the Lord for you all but I feel that you guys need to grow in this area. Let he who has an ear let him hear.


I definitely see the exhortation to not even eat with immoral brothers and mark out false teachers but I dont think that negates these commands-
Love your enemies and pray for them that despitefully use you. Honor all men. Be patient with all men. Do good to all especially the elect.

P.S.(I have seen TSK be a critic from within their own camp I have also seen Forge WA be distance themselves from the extreme of the EC especially in their conversation with DA Carson.)

Phil Johnson said...

Frank:

"Modernistic" in pomo-speak is the all-purpose dismissive label for anything that's not sufficiently pomo.

You didn't know that? Perhaps I need to make a poster about it.

What's hilarious and ironic here is the dismissive way John H blows these opinions off as mere "modernism," while scolding me about being too dismissive.

You see what I mean about endless fodder for more parody.

threegirldad said...

john h:

Rather than taking the view that the "emerging church" is giving the wrong answers to questions that are, nevertheless, genuinely important questions...let's just make a few posters and mock people for even bothering to ask the questions.

Please see the archives. Thanks.

Oh, and also it's just been going on for too long.

Obviously not...

Phil Johnson said...

SB:

There's a good reason John the Baptist's rebuke of the Pharisees in Matthew 3:7-12 wasn't dispensed with a "fatherly" tone. Notice: John rebuked them this way even though those guys professed repentance and (evidently) a kind of agreement with John's teaching. Because of the evil inherent in the system they identified with, he rightly wanted evidence that they were truly repentant before he gave them a platform to profess their "repentance."

Now, it's quite true that among the Pharisees were men like Nicodemus, who was teachable, and Jesus dealt with him more gently, like a father.

But would you set Jesus' dealings with Nicodemus against John's rebuke of the other pharisees and suggest that John was wrong? I hope not.

Notice also that when Jesus Himself rebuked the pharisees as a group, He did so in absolutely unvarnished language, and without adding disclaimers about the men in their midst who might be more like Nicodemus than they were like Caiaphas.

Think about it.

SB said...

one last thing(and sorry for the typos)

*We are right because we have been rescued.

I think this sermon by Joshua Harris illustrates my point on my last post. I commend it to you:
Discernment by Joshua Harris

*I have also seen Forge WA distance themselves from the extreme of the EC especially in this conversation with DA Carson.

Forge WA with DA Carson

bassicallymike said...

john h
"Next question?"

Does "mainstream Christian refusal to engage constructively" mean we don't agree with you no matter how much we "Dialog"? (see the "Dialog" poster)

rick said...

Steve - being reminded that contending for the faith is serious and it is a good thing. Are you saying these posters are the right vehicle to help believers realize that? Are you planning to replace Scripture in your church services with these? If so you wouldn't that make yourself a target for a poster as well. It seems your logic escapes me.

The rest of your comment doesn't sound like you are edified, it sounds like you are vindictive.

You had a second comment that EC'ers needed to provided better responses to the posters. Well, that's rather hard to do in this environment especially given the nature of the posters.

I found only a few to be substantiated but it's very, very hard to address that in this format.

Then you later state in another comment that "It just goes to show no matter how concerns are expressed to an ECer, you can't win". Oddly, that is exactly what those that are trying to provide feedback are saying about TeamPyro and commenters such as yourself.

So I haven't made much of a point here other than to say that I don't think you made much of a point.

John H said...

You're another who's completely ignored the storeroom of essays, conference seminars, and articles Phil has written before these posters.

No, I haven't. But that just confirms my suspicion that this is more about Phil venting his frustrations about the EC movement than about anything more constructive.

What's hilarious and ironic here is the dismissive way John H blows these opinions off as mere "modernism," while scolding me about being too dismissive.

Phil: if you don't want people to think that you are siding with modernism against postmodernism then perhaps you could rethink the "Modernism" poster, which is what I had in mind. FWIW, I have read enough of you over the past few years to know you are not an uncritical supporter of "modernism". And if you want irony, these posters - with their emphasis on the visual, their intertextuality and their preference for scorn over argument - could only be done in a postmodern world, and by people with a postmodern mindset.

You see what I mean about endless fodder for more parody.

Ooh! Does that mean I get my own poster? Can I be "Intertextuality"? I love that word. ;-)

rick said...

Jim W. - I am not aware of having done all that you say but I do acknowledge that I have the same propensity toward humor as I see here at TeamPyro. But I am sure that I have made some trite, smart-aleck remarks both here and at some of the blogs you mention. I've noted in my own blog however that I am now convinced that this is wrong and I am making an effort to manage that better.

If there is some particular scoffing or mocking that I've done that offended you, drop by my blog and we can dialogue. My email can also be found there.

Other than that, I don't know what to say, surely you aren't thinking that some inappropriate remark I may have made negates the point of this discussion do you?

rick said...

Phil - I'm going to attempt some humor here at risk of having this whole thing turn on me ...

So is it your contention that in John 8 Jesus bent down and with his finger drew a motivational poster satire in the ground?

donsands said...

"No, I haven't. But that just confirms my suspicion that this is more about Phil venting his frustrations about the EC movement than about anything more constructive."

That's a bold judgement. Could be wrong you know. And in that case ...

I believe Phil loves the Word, because it is the Lord's Word, and he wants to expose the cancers that are eating away at the truth. Though the truth is the truth, and it will stand when all is said and done.

These posters are to wake us up. God's truth is what is at stake. God's glory is what we live for. And our love for the Savior constrains us to contend for the truth. But only by His grace and power, and sound wisdom.

Echindod said...

John H. seems to have forgoten the endless cartoons that were published in the 1800s sure they weren't technicolor but the best of the day.

One thing I find strangely lacking is an absence of the discussion of Satire in the prophets. It sure ain't rated G.

And the dichotomy between modern and postmodern has to go.

SB said...

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!"
He was speaking to the Pharisees.
I hope that is your attitude and I woudn't set that against John the Baptist obviously.

(would that we were men with as pure of motives as Jesus & John the Baptist)

Due to the doctrine of indwelling sin...I still encourage you to examine your hearts.

Also I don't think John Piper was wrong-do you(also do you think John was wrong to invite "grunge christian" Driscoll?)?

Listen for yourself:
John Piper from DGM Conference 2006

A conversation with Piper/Keller/Driscoll/JT

Phil Johnson said...

John H:

1. What about the Modernity poster strikes you as an endorsement of modernism?

2. Unlike the multitudes of "I'm not Emerging, but. . ." people who frequent these comment-threads, I would not even think of denying that I myself have been subtly influenced by many postmodernizing trends. I'm a product of a postmodern culture. It's one of the more troubling remnants of my fleshly old man that I regularly have to mortify and strive to put off.

3. Keep posting these facile fallacies and you might goad me into making a whole series of themed posters aimed at Luthero-British postmodernist speciousness.

steve said...

Rick wrote: Are you planning to replace Scripture in your church services with these?

I never proposed such. Don't know how you could possibly arrive at that conclusion. Yet another interpretation that ignores authorial intent.

As emergent types especially know, there are many ways to communicate. Posters are just one, and no one here has proposed they take the place of preaching the Word at a Sunday service.

Nor are these posters mere standalone products. Rather, they supplement a succession of Team Pyro articles, and each poster is linked to a relevant article. These posters are surrounded by context.

You had a second comment that EC'ers needed to provided better responses to the posters.

More precisely, my point was better responses to the issues raised within the posters as well as the many articles. Let's not forget those.

Let's just pick one example. I don't recall a single commenter ever having stated, on this blog, a valid and biblical defense for Christians resorting to vulgarity for the sake of cultural relevancy.

Randy McRoberts said...

Keep posting these facile fallacies and you might goad me into making a whole series of themed posters aimed at Luthero-British postmodernist speciousness.

Your own form of coolness, Phil? Wow. Very impressive. (Is that what you want us to say?) How does one join the fan club?

Are you afraid, John H?

SB said...

I'm not Emerging but...I do pray for them.

I think I'm going to read some John Owen.

david rudd said...

Unlike the multitudes of "I'm not Emerging, but. . ." people who frequent these comment-threads, I would not even think of denying that I myself have been subtly influenced by many postmodernizing trends.

of course, phil, you aren't saying that the emerging church is the same thing as postmodernism, right?

unfortunately, it's these kinds of (il)logical jumps that makes it imposssible to discuss the enormity of your writing on the topic.

anytime someone says, "that's a misrepresentation", they are run off as not being interested in real dialogue.

if you truly want interaction with people who are emerging, a starting point would be to take the time to ensure you are not misrepresenting them.

and, unfortunately, the only way to be sure you aren't misrepresenting someone is to ask.

wordsmith said...

Boy, go away to teach a couple of classes and come back to see that the comment count has soared from 8 to 76 (which count has gone up even more now).

Guess that means that these type of posters continues to hit a nerve. Reminds me of the saying about throwing rocks and being able to tell which dog got hit by the yelp you hear.

opn said...

Could these be considered an intellectual "rod of correction"?

Some (myself included) occassionally need to take a drink from the fire hydrant.

On a similar but different note: When did the gospel become a conversation instead of a proclamation?

Phil Johnson said...

David Rudd: "of course, phil, you aren't saying that the emerging church is the same thing as postmodernism, right?"

No, in case the quote and its context weren't clear enough for you, David, here's what I'm saying:

Some of our commenters simply aren't being honest when they deny being sympathetic to "Emerging Church" trends. (That would include postmodern epistemologies, as I pointed out in my last response to Scot McKnight's CT article.) They are either self-deceived or deliberately lying. I don't pretend to know which, but it's largely a moot point when they are overtly hostile and utterly closed-minded towards any significant criticism of the ECM.

And I do appreciate your admonition, but we've covered all that pretty thoroughly already, too, haven't we? If you want to lecture me about not misrepresenting what you criticize, it would help if you got my point straight.

John H said...

When did the gospel become a conversation instead of a proclamation?

John 3, if I remember correctly.

Yeah, I know, I was going already...

SB said...

I'm sympathetic to Phil's use of Hawaiian shirts.

rick said...

Steve - but you did claim they were edifying. I'm just wondering if you are serious willing to carry that to its logical conclusion or were you just defending your error?

Yes - these posters are are not stand alone products, just as many of the things being mocked by you and these posters.

Additionally, I have no issue with what they are trying to supplement. I have issue with these. They've gone beyond healthy reproof and they are wrong.

You however find them edifying - interesting.

opn said...

"Are you a teacher of Israel and do not know things things? Most assuredly, I say to you..."

That is a proclamation; not a conversation.

Daryl said...

Rick,

If I may interject here. Edifying does not necessarily mean "makes me feel good". That is, the gospel is no doubt the most edifying proclamation ever made. The gospel, however, produces both hardness in one and freedom in another. One can hardly say that because the gospel causes hardness in some, it is not edifying. Ditto these posters, (I'm not saying they are the gospel), just because they create a negative reaction in some (those being convicted of wrong belief/practice) that does not automatically define them as unedifying.

They are edifying to me, in part because in reminding us of what Christianity is not, they remind us of what it is. Also they are edifying because they demonstrate to me that while the Pyro's attempts at serious dialogue have gone unaddressed, they have not given up the fight and have continued to proclaim truth in a way that can better reach a sound-byte audience, if they will but hear it. That encourages me.


By the way (not to you necessarily Rick) following the comment about the gospel going from proclamation to conversation, it occurrs to me that when God said "come now, let us reason together..." he wasn't asking for input...

david rudd said...

thanks, phil.


my words: "you aren't saying...right?"
your words: "no [i'm not saying that]"

apparently i did understand your point.

clearly, you didn't get mine.

that's okay. no need to respond.

SB said...

I wonder if Phil had serious dialog with Dan Kimball?

Helen said...

Phil wrote: Some of our commenters simply aren't being honest when they deny being sympathetic to "Emerging Church" trends. (That would include postmodern epistemologies, as I pointed out in my last response to Scot McKnight's CT article.) They are either self-deceived or deliberately lying. I don't pretend to know which, but it's largely a moot point when they are overtly hostile and utterly closed-minded towards any significant criticism of the ECM.

I hope I'm not included in this. I don't think I've been hostile.

I don't deny I'm sympathetic to EC trends. (I'm also sympathetic to some conservative - what's the word I want here - probably not 'trends') I'm not part of the EC and it wouldn't make any sense for me to say I was. I'm not even part of the C.

Phil Johnson said...

SB: "I wonder if Phil had serious dialog with Dan Kimball?"

I think I did already mention that I had a 2-hour phone conversation with him. I'm still in touch with him by e-mail.

Have we come to substantial agreement? No.

Other than that, for reasons he hasn't spelled out, Dan Kimball has asked that the substance of our conversations remain completely private, and I'm going to honor his wishes.

Thanks for asking, though.

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

There is a vast difference in being sympathetic to the EC trends and being sympathetic to the EC people.

II Tim.2:24-26 - And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the ackowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

Helen,
You are a kind and gracious person as revealed by your comments and numerous blog entries on the web. Me thinks you are a tad more bias than your comments reveal. Your association to the EC crowd is more than casual. One needs only to drill down on your name to see your participation in the EC “conversation." Sure Phil knows John MacArthur, but probably no better than you know Brian Mclaren (Doable Evangelism). Helen, has Brian commented on the anti-posters?

silly old nana said...

True story: There was a desert town whose city officials came up with a plan to attract visitors and help the local economy. The city decided to build a rainbow bridge over the freeway. This would bring national recognition to the dusty old cow town. It would be educational,too, because it included a science center as part of the structure.
The city tax payers voiced their pro/con opinions. Then the monsoon season came with a vengance. The numerous washes (dry river beds) around town flooded the roads. It was advised by the city officials to stay home. Roads were impassable. Every monsoon season lives are lost or placed in danger when a foolish motorist attempts to drive a vehicle across the flooded road/wash.
The city leaders came to their senses and buried the Rainbow Bridge idea in the muddy washes. The update: the people are still without bridges and when the floods come again... beware!
Oh, and now the city is widening the freeway.

The rainbow bridge church is coming to your town soon...
And the monsoon.

rick said...

Daryl - I understand edify to mean to instruct or improve.

Some say as you do that the negative reaction to the posters are because of their piercing truth bringing conviction. That's not the case at all for me. I simply don't see the accusations being made as true in some large number of the cases. In others I don't think the generalization to the EC group is accurate. And finally, I don't find this exchange bringing about a positive result for the intended audience.

Sure they may help remind you what Christianity is but at what expense? I am suggesting that you can be reminded of what Christianity is in a better way and in a way that doesn't do so on the backs of others.

Daryl said...

You missed my point Rick.

I am suggesting that the negative response is not necessarily a bad thing. Particularly in light of the complete failure for anyone (Dan Kimball excepted I think) to respond constructively to previous blogs outlining the issues in a more point by point way.

In that light, I see much of the negative response to be enlightening of the condition of peoples hearts. I don't know you and haven't read your blog so I won't comment on your response, perhaps it is legitimate. But most of the response to the whole series, beginning way before the posters began, can only be described as angry, outed people admitting that they believe what goes against scripture and how dare anyone take issue with that.

The angry response didn't start with the posters. It began long ago, as soon as someone dared to suggest that maybe the EC needed to re-think their association with teachers like Brian McLaren and reconsider the direction the whole movement was headed.

In my mind, all the negative responses only reinforce the points made.

Daryl said...

Incidentally...if someone is attacking the very foundation of Christianity , what better place to reinforce the truth, than on their backs?

rick said...

Daryl - I can agree to that ...

Jeff said...

Absolutely -- and hysterically -- funny!

steve said...

Rick wrote: Steve - but you did claim they were edifying. I'm just wondering if you are serious willing to carry that to its logical conclusion or were you just defending your error?

I stand by my claim. These posters have served to reinforce all the more the urgency of taking a strong stand for the faith. In all its efforts to deconstruct, contextualize, and converse, the EC is actually aiding postmodernism's efforts to undermine erode the bedrock upon which Christianity stands.

So yes, they've edified me (and evidently others who have commented here). Carrying that to its logical conclusion means being more diligent to affirm the faith.

Just because others don't consider them edifying doesn't mean my response to them is an invalid one or in error.

You also say you don't see this exchange as bringing about a positive result for the intended audience.

Rick, I cannot help but wonder if anything could bring about a positive result for the intended audience. The epistomological perspective of ECers has a built-in "filter" that automatically rejects anything that questions it, no matter what form that questioning takes.

1:50 PM, August 27, 2007

Helen said...

all for once/once for all - I don't have any ongoing contact with Brian McLaren. I met him when he spoke at the annual Off The Map event last year.

I thought John MacArthur was Phil's pastor and so Phil is in his church every week? That's very different from the no-contact I have with Brian.

Brian has no ongoing involvement with Doable Evangelism (part of Off The Map).

I was at an EC conference earlier this summer - I was invited as an EC outsider. Not as an EC member.

centuri0n said...

SB:

My opinion of your long-ish post here about the contrast between this blog and DGM or Dr. Piper is either uninformed or intentionally-biased.

As I check the archive, we (collectively) have posted the following essays way prior to the posters:

Phil on "modernism" vs. "postmodernism"

Phil on the use of words

Phil on Mark Driscoll

This one from me simply asking a question

This one, which is the "label" search for "emergent" on this blog

Read all the posts -- or any of the posts -- prior to the posters and consider what tone and objective were in those posts.

SB said...

I have and it stands. Truth War/TMS Lectures and Tema Pyro consistently has an attitude that is different than Piper.

The substance is the same but the way you say things is generally unhelpful. Again I say that the tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable.

listen to Josh Harris- I think the ways he deals with discernment is a far cry from the way you do bro(i've talked to you about this-I think your a good guy and I know you've tried but I still think you could stand a good dose of humble orthodoxy--if you don't think there's any truth to this so be it-)

SB said...

Dr.Pettigrew's lecture might be the only exception...and maybe this post:

http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2006/09/
wednesday-from-vacation.html

SB said...

sola who's making excuses for that- that's all sin- I think everyone is just saying quit being a jerk for Jesus. Humble boldness-- warn people with tears-- pray for your enemies and the enemies of the Gospel that they might repent.

Like the A-Team blog says "Take a stand for the truth, but do it in LOVE, fool!"(Mr.T reference).

(I know I know-you're snatching people from the fire but do it prayerfully and brokenly looking to yourself for you have been recued from heresy as well-if you all think there is a spirit of brokeness on this blog then I guess I'm reading a different blog.)

centuri0n said...

sb:

"unhelpful". I love that -- very Piper-esque.

And it's the posters that are over-the-top.

opn said...

John Piper is not always so nice (see John Piper on the prosperity gospel on youtube). It is evident that even John is capable of becoming angry with false messages.

Anger can be a virtue!

Phil Johnson said...

SB:

Elijah wasn't anything like Obadiah. They served in different roles and had different callings. Even Jesus and John the Baptist were poles apart on the attitude-scale (Matthew 11:16-19). I tried to make that point earlier, but you're too busy repeating yourself to pay it any attention. That's not very Piperesque of you.

If the only thing Jesus ever did was weep over the Pharisees' hard-heartedness, you might have a point. While His weeping over Jerusalem certainly sheds important light on what was in His heart when He dealt with the Pharisees, His interactions with them were not generally characterized by weeping (or even sorrowful tones), but by harsh confrontations that included the pronouncing of several woes (Luke 11:39-54).

I'm certain He did it with a heart full of sorrow, but you wouldn't know that from the Luke 11 passage. He sounds pretty angry. That's because He was. Anger and heartfelt sorrow are not incompatible, as you seem to surmise.

Likewise, you can't make possibly make righteous judgments about what's going on in my heart, especially by comparing my "style" with whoever you happen to prefer identifying with (see 1 Corinthians 3:22, and think about what it's saying).

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

Helen,
http://www.off-the-map.org/aboutus/
brian_mclaren_bio.html
"Brian is a member of Off The Map's advisory board"

Helen,Does "Advisory Board" constitute ongoing involvement?
_____________________________________
Sorry Phil-I won't veer off again

steve said...

Regarding those who believe these Emergent-See posters are too harsh:

Yes, we're to rebuke in love and with humility. But as Phil said, anger and heartfelt sorrow are not incompatible.

Consider Paul's words in Galatians 1:8: "If we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"

Condemned translates to anathema--pretty strong stuff for Paul to be uttering. Was Paul being too harsh? Too unloving?

I would contend it's thoroughly possible for such a devastating rebuke to be uttered from a heart of humility and love.

rick said...

Steve - hopefully this is my last comment on this, I'm moving on but I think your last comment hit the nail on the head.

To condemn is pretty harsh and I think there is room for that. Without getting into all the baggage that might go with that, doesn't it at least imply that mocking doesn't go along with it?

And I would also suggest edifying isn't a word I would probably associate with it. I guess I could reason my way to saying edifying but words like sadness, regret, etc. come to mind first. Not edifying and certainly it wouldn't be accompanied with giddy joy, glibness, etc..

If I got to the point of thinking as you suggest about someone I would think it would be with a heavy heart.

Food for thought ...

Helen said...

all for once/once for all, it was not my intention to mislead; I think the URL you gave is an old webpage; Brian is not on the current board of directors:

http://off-the-map.org/aboutus/bod.html

donsands said...

"Brian is not on the current board of directors"

That's a step in the right direction.

McLaren has gone so far off the narrow, I wonder if he has a theology any more.

Phil Johnson said...

Helen: "all for once/once for all, it was not my intention to mislead; I think the URL you gave is an old webpage; Brian is not on the current board of directors"

Yeah, but Brian McLaren is the featured speaker for the upcoming OTM conference.

See: this is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. You say it's not your intention to mislead, but you haven't been completely candid, either. You seemed to be claiming a kind of impartiality you clearly do not possess.

Here's a good challenge for the nay-sayers: Click on that link and watch the changing flash-captions at the bottom of the ad. Now ask yourself: Is there even one caption in the rotation that wouldn't make a perfect Po-Motivator punch line? Some of them echo precisely what the posters have been saying.

Anyone want to tell the OTM people that they have gone too far?


Anyone?


Bueller?


Bueller?











No, I thought not.

farmboy said...

SB offers: "The substance is the same but the way you say things is generally unhelpful."

If there were many consistent sources of solid theological substance, then maybe, on a slow afternoon, we could go about handing out style points for how that substance is delivered.

However, when consistent sources of solid theological substance are about as plentiful as American made products at your local Wal-Mart, I'll stick with being thankful for the few consistent sources of solid theological substance that are available.

Helen said...

Phil wrote: You seemed to be claiming a kind of impartiality you clearly do not possess.

What have I shown myself clearly partial to?

I haven't intentionally said anything untrue. Yes, Brian is one of six featured speakers at this years Off The Map event but as best I know he doesn't have any active ongoing involvement with OTM beyond being a speaker.

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

Is it the "Check your certainty at the door" one? Let's see, a man stands before a closed door which has "TRUTH" on the front,and the man has his hand on the knob ready to walk in with the captian that reads

"Check your certainty at the door!"

Am I close?

The Fantastic Daughter-In-Law's Spouse said...

Forget coffee table book...are you like me? Do you INSTANTLY think "Page-A-Day Calendar". Now that, my friend, is truly the gift that keeps on giving - it would solve the mid-March problem of eventually forgetting to rip off a page each day?

I'm kind of surprised Frank isn't already shopping the idea in his virtual mega-mall.

**Bonus Idea - Greeting Cards.

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

"He doesn't have any involvement other than being a speaker"

That is more than being involved. It isn't Kimball, it isn't Driscoll, it's MacLaren? By many accounts he is the grandfather of the whole mess. I believe your self representation has been disingenuous.

I do not like the posters, but the only conference I would attend that had Maclaren on the platform would be a debate between MacArthur (for instance) and MacLaren.

SB said...

"I tried to make that point earlier, but you're too busy repeating yourself to pay it any attention. That's not very Piperesque of you."

"Likewise, you can't make possibly make righteous judgments about what's going on in my heart, especially by comparing my "style" with whoever you happen to prefer identifying with (see 1 Corinthians 3:22, and think about what it's saying)."

Phil...come on.

(btw i'm sorry for repeating myself-please forgive me...i was trying to respond to sola meanie-his post was there and then it disappeared. I thought through your point Phil about Jesus and John the Baptist and I had to agree with you. My only response was to bring up the one time Jesus wept over Jerusalem. My point was not to invalidate weeping for the sake of righteous indignation. You said you weren't- fine. I'm just asking for us all to pray more for individuals in the ECM. I wish we would see a call to that on this blog.)

centuri0n said...

"Doctrinal work involves a positive proclamation of the truth, and a guarding against falsehood. The task of a shepherd is to gather sheep and scatter wolves".

Doug Wilson, Mother Kirk, p. 179

... darned modernist ...

SB said...

Maybe something like this:

A Call to Speak the Truth in Love

We need to remember that we are bound by the Word of God to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Some of us are so wired to "speak the truth" that we fail to do it in love. (And of course, the converse is true as well. There are those who are so concerned about speaking in love that they never get around to speaking truth.) I know that, for myself, I am often far too impressed with my own cleverness and far too desirous of "scoring points." Yet the biblical imperatives call us to a higher ground: truth and love. It's not an either/or, but a both/and.

Perhaps the most helpful phrase is one coined by John Piper: "brokenhearted boldness." We must seek to soak our critiques with meekness and humility.

Listen to the wise counsel of John Newton—the vile slave trader turned redeemed author of the hymn "Amazing Grace":

As to your opponent, I wish, that, before you set pen to paper against him, and during the whole time you are preparing your answer, you may commend him by earnest prayer to the Lord's teaching and blessing. This practice will have a direct tendency to conciliate your heart to love and pity him; and such a disposition will have a good influence upon every page you write. . . . [If he is a believer,] in a little while you will meet in heaven; he will then be dearer to you than the nearest friend you have upon earth is to you now. Anticipate that period in your thoughts. . . . [If he is an unconverted person,] he is a more proper object of your compassion than your anger. Alas! 'He knows not what he does.' But you know who has made you to differ [1 Cor. 4:7]."

donsands said...

"We must seek to soak our critiques with meekness and humility."

Amen. And for the unconverted especially.

Do you also think there is a time to speak boldly and to "be angry, but sin not"?

Paul said, "I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!" Gal. 5:12
He was saying, I think, I wish they would cut themselves off like a worthless foreskin is cast away. And he may even mean he wished they would castrate themselves.

Leaven needs to be cut out. When the Cross is being jeopardized there may be need for timely hard language.

farmboy said...

SB offers the following from John Newton: "As to your opponent, I wish, that, before you set pen to paper against him, and during the whole time you are preparing your answer, you may commend him by earnest prayer to the Lord's teaching and blessing."

There's a difference between critiquing a specific person or a group of specific persons and critiquing a movement and the ideas of that movement. I can love a specific person or the specific persons in a group. I cannot love a movement or an idea.

The posters in this present series are critiques of the emerging church movement and its ideas. These movement wide critiques are offered in the public square that is the blog-sphere.

In the same way when a specific person offers an idea for consideration in the public square, the idea becomes separate and distinct from the person that placed it in the public square. A critique of the idea, then, is in no way a critique of the person who placed the idea in the public square.

Are we called to love the person who placed the idea in the public square? Yes. But, that requirement has nothing to do with critiquing the now separate, distinct idea that the person placed in the public square.

steve said...

Rick: You see mockery in the posters, I don't. I see rebuke being expressed in a poignant, succinct manner.

Edified isn't the main or only word I'd choose to describe what the posters do to me, and I'm sure that's true for others. I simply picked up, from your first comment, on your question about HOW one could be edified. Hence my answer.

These posters evoke other things within me, too. Most definitely not a sense of self-righteousness, but a mourning over a mindset and attitudes that many believe are compromising the gospel and biblical truth.

Here's what's sad about those who don't like the posters: So far as I can tell, the only real point of contention they've brought up so far is the allegation that Phil is being judgmental.

As I read the comments, I'm thinking, "Forget Phil, forget the personalities involved. Address the issue."

I've yet to see that happen.

Phil drove that very point home in the newest poster added to today's lot.

Al said...

Frank, i love it when you quote Wilson.

al sends

Phil Johnson said...

SB: "Yet the biblical imperatives call us to a higher ground: truth and love. It's not an either/or, but a both/and."

Bingo. Why do you seem to suppose I would disagree with that? Perhaps you have a screwy notion of what genuine love requires of the believer who is confronted with error. Doug Wilson posted something today you ought to read.

SB said...

The first paragraph is not the Dividing Line. I know we agree there.

Habitans in Sicco said...

John H: "if you don't want people to think that you are siding with modernism against postmodernism then perhaps you could rethink the "Modernism" poster, which is what I had in mind."

John H-- Perhaps you're the one who needs to rethink that poster.

Phil--

The cockroach reference was probably too subtle for some of your satirically-challenged readers. John H seems to think you're defending modernity. And he's not the only one of your critics who made that mistake.

It does prove how clueless some of your critical commenters can be. For two years running you have been doing exactly what they say you should have done. If they had bothered to read (rather than just looking at the pictures)--

Nah, forget it. Some of them wouldn't get it anyway.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Frank, you need to put all of these posters together for a handsome coffee table book.

dec said...

.

Is this a conversation?

.

centuri0n said...

Scott Burness:

just to make sure you hear this right, John Piper Loves You.

I had heard this last year wen he was finishing up Romans, but today I couldn't remember where until I went searching for it. I hope you find it helpful, at least.

centuri0n said...

Warhead --

If we had commercial rights to the images, there would already be a small fortune in these shirts being sold globally. We'd have to give the coffee table books away, and that just seems -wrong-.

centuri0n said...

dec --

No. Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!

dec said...

I'll get my sackcloth.

Phil Johnson said...

I liked The Spouse's idea about a calendar. I'll get to work.

SB said...

Good Sermon Cent

SB said...

btw Cent-I often think of the below as an example of how to deal with a false teacher. John Piper dismantled Greg Boyd's arguements but he did so humbly &uncompromisingly:

"But this would be a good occasion, I think, to make at least one public confession of public sin. I received a letter from one of our members a while back calling me to repent for things I had said about Greg Boyd in this recent controversy over the foreknowledge of God. I see in my heart a great tendency to defend myself and to justify my words and my actions. And I know that the intensity with which I disapprove of "open theism" easily moves into scorning persons rather than disagreeing with viewpoints. So I sent this letter to the elders and asked them all to read it and tell me if in their view I need to confess to sin in this matter since I distrust my judgment about myself.

Here's a response from one of the elders whom I respect very highly. He wrote, "On two distinct occasions I do recall thinking: 'It seemed like John attacked Greg Boyd (not Greg's theology).' One of those occasions was at Northwestern College when, in a non-flattering way you mimicked Greg. . . . The problem was not with what was said. The problem was that the manner in which the words were spoken was disparaging [to] Greg. . . ." The second incident the elder refers to was on a Wednesday night when I referred to abominating Greg's theology. The elder wrote, "I suspect that only the most careful listeners could hear an angrily spoken phrase such as 'Even Greg Boyd, whose theology I abominate' as a description of theology and not an attack of the person."

So I want to publicly apologize for the sins of my tongue and the impure heart behind it. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks," Jesus said (Matthew 12:34 RSV). I regret moving from what I hope is a proper disapproval of theology across the line into expressed scorn for the person on those occasions. As I look back over twenty years of ministry, I am regretful that one of my most characteristic sins is to be quick to anger and quick to criticize in a way that runs ahead of brokenhearted concern and pastoral compassion. So, as you look with me into the future, there's a place for you to focus your prayers. I don't want us to be an angry church. I want us to be a humble, joyful, singing, Christ-exalting, God-centered, Bible-believing, patient, caring, kind, merciful, truth-telling, broken-hearted and bold people. It would help if I were that way. Pray for me."

TheBlueRaja said...

Dear everyone in the blogalaxy,

The remotest possibility of blogs being useful in any way is long dead. Push away from your desk immediately, before you turn into your obnoxious blog persona in real life where people have to actually interact with you. Every time you're tempted to write an editorial, read a carefully argued book instead. When you start feeling your righteous indignation rising, think about how you treated your spouse last week and just shut up before someone takes you seriously, or worse, you take yourself too seriously. If you've been ministered to on a blog, consider it a sign that you are so impoverished for real involvement in the believing community that you've found sustenance in a parody of the real thing.

It's not preaching.

It's not fellowship.

It's not important.

It's feverishly obnoxious and ego-maniacal. It's Russel Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind."

Turn off your computer and go rent it, and save yourself now and resist the temptation to spend the next 324 posts pointing out the incredible irony of making that comment on a blog.

*** HEAD ASPLODES ****

TrothKeepr said...

LMTO! Shoot, this is too late in the evening to be reading these posters, bec. now, my insomnia will be even WORSE!!!

Encore, encore!

As ever, thoroughly envious of your talent,

T.K.

TrothKeepr said...

John H: I'd say it (the Emergent Movement) is anything but a dead horse; more like a herd of wild mustangs, headed for the abyss like the Gadarene swine.

Helen said...

Phil, I understand that objective truth matters to you - I think that's why you object to postmodernism? But in reality isn't life made up of a series of subjective judgment calls?

For example - shall I make posters? Will that be an effective and holy way to share my concerns about the EC?

From the comments on your blog evidently there is disagreement about the answers to that quesiton. Doesn't that show that your decision to make them is based on a subjective judgment call, not an objective truth?

You said I've clearly shown myself to be partial; I suspect you've jumped to incorrect conclusions about what I'm partial to.

You seem to think I'm partial to Brian McLaren's ideas but I didn't even listen to his talks at last year's Off The Map event (the only one I've been to). I chose to be out of the room, except for the one when I was not in a situation where I felt I could slip out.

rick said...

Steve et. al. - the reason you think the only criticism being offered is about Phil being judgmental is because like the criticism poster, you ain't listenin' man.

Cent explained that this follows years of discourse without the desired result. I don't however think this current tact has helped communicate the issues and in fact, I think they cloud them.

I've already commented that of the hundreds (or even thousands) that read this blog, few are reading the history behind these posts. They see only the posters.

You lie to yourself if you think the masses are gaining better understanding through these versus the dialogue the preceded them. You also lie to yourself if you think they promote sober, sad, etc. confrontation - just read the comments, they are replete with jeering, snide, etc. remarks.

The depth of this deception becomes more obvious as you wrestle to defend these.

centuri0n said...

Having seen Rick commit sarcasm here, and having seen the comment thread pass 150 comments, I'm putting this thread to bed.

If Phil wants to re-open it, he'll do so and delete my comment here.