24 September 2007

Different Gospels

by Phil Johnson

oug Pagitt has explained his scorn for John MacArthur in an e-mail to someone who expressed disappointment about the way Pagitt seemed to sidestep certain gospel truths during his recent CNN appearance. Pagitt's reply to his interlocutor is a rare, and welcome, moment of Emergent candor.

First, a hat-tip to Todd Friel, who featured this on last Monday's second hour of Way of the Master Radio. I get WOTM's podcasts daily but usually have to catch up with my listening on the weekends, so I did not hear this segment (or even know about it) until Saturday, when I listened to it on my way home from a conference in Bakersfield. Since it sheds further light on Friday's post, I decided to mention it today, while it's still timely.

Anyway, it seems this disappointed CNN viewer (someone I do not know) pointed out to Pagitt that Jeremiah 17:9 says "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." What sinners urgently need, therefore, is a new heart and a wholesale spiritual conversion—a new birth, in Jesus' words—not the artificial "wholeness" offered by yogic meditation; not a spiritual calisthenic that doesn't even deal with sin; and certainly not the phony self-help of seeking a connection with "the divine" by looking inside our own fallen and deceitful hearts.

The writer said he felt strongly about this since Jeremiah 17:9 had been instrumental in his own conversion, and he was very concerned about the way Pagitt seemed to gloss over the vital truth that text teaches.

Pagitt replied:

I must say that I see the gospel totally differently than what you conveyed in your e-mail. I was not converted by a verse but always loved and changed (even ongoing) by a fully-participating God who created me in his image. I would strongly encourage you to have a much more full and biblical understanding of the gospel, and not form a faith based on any interpretation of one verse.

I'm not sure you'd be interested in this, but I have just finished a book somewhat on this topic. I think it might give you a more full understanding of the gospel than the one perverted by the likes of John MacArthur. I do not say "perverted" lightly, either. I really think what he communicates is so distant from the message of the Bible that it is dangerously harmful to people. If you heard the interview and his comments about a God who is "above us," I certainly hope you would see this.

Now, I've suggested on a couple of occasions that several of the dominant figures in the Emerging/Emergent Conversation seem to have a notion of the gospel that is altogether different from what I find in Scripture, in the teaching of Christ, and in every historic confession of faith. In particular, the whole Emerging trajectory on the gospel seems to involve a conscious departure from the historic evangelical distinctives that define the Protestant mainstream.

Whenever I have expressed concern about that, I've been scolded and/or shouted down by Friends of Emergent who think such concerns are alarmist, overblown, uncharitable, and altogether unwarranted.

But here is someone who is arguably one of the three most prolific authors in the Emerging Conversation, and he plainly acknowledges that the gospel he believes is so thoroughly opposed to John MacArthur's understanding of the gospel that he thinks what MacArthur teaches about the gospel is a serious perversion—"so distant from the message of the Bible that it is dangerously harmful to people."

He even takes pains to stress that he is not making such a statement lightly. That is Doug Pagitt's carefully-considered assessment of the doctrinal differences between himself and "the likes of John MacArthur."

In other words, Pagitt admits that these are two wholly different gospels. One or the other, therefore, deserves the strongest possible anathema (Galatians 1:8-9).

That kind of clarity is precisely what is needed in the Emergent conversation. It draws a much-needed line in the sand. Emerging leaders who seem to crave the endorsement of conservative evangelicals while maintaining close affiliations with Pagitt and the rest of the Emergent Village posse need to pay close attention to what Pagitt is saying.

Those who are trying to produce carefully-crafted, purposely ambiguous statements of faith that can be affirmed by conservative evangelicals and liberal Emergents alike need to listen carefully to Pagitt; then read Paul's words in Galatians 1; and wake up to reality: the issues at stake really are of eternal importance.



And while we are on the subject, Pyro readers ought to listen to Mark Driscoll's 83-minute message from Friday night's session of the Convergent conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. (I got it on iTunes from the SEBTS podcast. I don't see it listed on the Web yet.) Driscoll likewise drew some clear lines in the sand. As usual, he couldn't seem to manage doing it without being unnecessarily and inappropriately crude, but we'll set that aside for the moment. He called out Pagitt, McLaren, and Bell (among others) for their departures from essential biblical truths and key Reformation distinctives.

Before you get too excited about that, note that Driscoll also took some hard shots at non-Emerging critics who don't approve of the methodology (and scatology) he employs to contextualize his ministry for postmodern young people. Driscoll dismissed all such critics as "fundamentalists" (he clearly doesn't relish saying that word the way he does certain four-letter expressions). He said such people pose a danger equal to that of the heretics within Emergent.

Meanwhile, Driscoll himself is under fire from some of his Emerging friends who don't like his combativeness and claim he fudged the numbers in his description of Mars Hill's "baptsmalooza."

So it seems the "Emerging Conversation" is coming apart at the seams.

Mike Clawson, a self-styled pacifist who clearly favors the leftmost Emergent ideas, says the fault lies almost entirely with the revival of Reformed doctrine. And ironically, he cites a three-year-old piece by Pagitt, appealing for a mild and friendly response to Emergent's critics. It contrasts starkly with Pagitt's actual response to John MacArthur.

Clawson's post seethes with postmodern angst over so much conflict. (Which is a bit odd, really, because Clawson has never really shown himself to be as averse to conflict as he often claims he is. But at least he has the good taste to acknowledge near the end of his post that he's not "always very good" at being a real pacifist, "but I'm trying.")

However you look at it, this has been a seriously hard week for the Emerging/Emergent conversation. I'm thinking of trying to trademark the name "Post-Emergent," because I think it's going to be really, really useful very soon now.



Phil's signature

247 comments:

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logos said...

Driscoll was at SEBTS, not SBTS.

Richard Fairchild said...

Dear Phil,
I read your paragraph about sinners needing the Lord. I agree. But the nexus of this discussion was whether yoga was OK for Christians. Yoga will not save anyone from sin. I think your paragraph about the new birth, (3rd paragraph), is something that Christians will agree with. Doug Pagitt never said that anyone could be saved by doing yoga. In fact, he never even talked about salvation; it was John MacArthur who went off topic. Salvation is the most important topic, granted, but the discussion was to be whether it was all right for a Christian to practice yoga. I think that most viewers of the interview see yoga as an exercise to benefit one's health. Sure, if John MacArthur had not taken the opposite view there would not have been any interview; however, since most viewers see yoga as an exercise not having anything to do with spirituality, for someone to come out and say, point blank, that Christians ought not to practice it, I believe, makes little sense in the minds of those who might be open to the faith, and hurts those who are Christians who are easily swayed by something that is not based on truth, namely, that they should be afraid of practicing yoga. I think this general FEAR could spill over into other areas of their Christian life, thereby stifling them in Christian liberty and growth. Lastly, Dr. MacArthur did truly get off topic, but that is what CNN had him there for, and I think he was seen as strange by many people.

Andrew Courtis said...

Thanks for this post Phil. This episode with Pagitt has openly revealed the darkness of compromise and the emergent conversation. I'm thankful that you have called it for what it is. I am greatly encouraged by your insightful comments and MacArthur's firm stand on Scripture on CNN! -Titus 2:15.

Libbie said...

Richard Fairchild - I think Phil was quite clear that the issue at stake is Doug Pagitt's view of scripture and the scorn he poured on John MacArthur for testifying of the power and purview of Scripture.

I've no doubt that many people do see John MacArthur as strange, and he's made no secret of the fact that he will use any opportunity in the media to preach the gospel, because it's that important.

Mr Pagitt appears to believe that friendship with the world is far more important to him, and that's alarming, given that scripture calls that emnity with God.

centuri0n said...

Wow. Wow. Wow. wow. WOW.

centuri0n said...

Richard --

What's the purpose of practicing "yoga" vs. practicing gymnastics or Tai Bo?

Keith B said...

Richard,
You are writing about the topic two posts ago where the focus was on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. To save someone the trouble - Did you read the post?

I see Phil's point here referring to the aftermath of conversation where Doug P. draws a line in the sand and says this is a false gospel and the implication is his is right. This is big. It is almost as rare as hearing a political candidate taking a position on a controversial issue.

Secondly, as to your comments, you need to reread the transcript of the interview. John MacArthur is asked, "What am I opening myself up to spiritually that could go against my Christian faith?" His answer is basically, it depends on what type of yoga but why borrow from a different and false religion. It is after this the host turns to Doug P. which carries on for awhile. After that MacArthur responds to complete life statements made by Doug P. So another question would be, - Did you read the transcript?

donsands said...

"I think it might give you a more full understanding of the gospel than the one perverted by the likes of John MacArthur."

Pagitt must be crazy to say something like this.

Wow. Wow. And triple wow.

I really don't know any pastor or truer servant of our Lord Jesus Christ who preaches the Gospel in a more biblical and pure way than John MacArthur.

The Doulos said...

OK, so now I'm waiting for the rush of "Pagitt doesn't speak for all of us" responses and disclaimers from the rest of the Emergents.

Drew said...

You're not going to hear it from me. If I have to choose between Padgitt and MacArthur (and apparently I do), I pick Padgitt.

Grace said...

The only thing that should shock people about his comment is that he actually said it out loud, in plain English, with no buzzwords or ambiguity. An Emergent gave away his position on an issue?

I need smelling salts.

Jamie McBride said...

Drew: I don't think it is a choice between Pagitt and MacArthur, but rather a choice between which gospel you believe in.

Even Pagitt understands that the gospel he puts his faith in is different and non-compatible with the gospel MacArthur puts his faith in.

Carla Rolfe said...

Phil said "So it seems the "Emerging Conversation" is coming apart at the seams."

And not a moment too soon. It's been a theological & doctrinal train wreck from the word go.

centuri0n said...

Drew:

WOW. And when I say "WOW", I mean, "If I said I was going to side with a guy with an about-averaged sized church which does not make any kind of a global impact against another guy who has been a pastor for decades, who does make a global impact for Christ, including establishing a seminary and planting hundreds of churches, I'd be called a watchblogger in a second."

Right?

Drew said...

what's a watchblogger?

Douglas said...

My wife and I listened to Mark Driscoll's message from here:
http://www.sebts.edu/chapel/podcast.cfm

"Click here to subscribe to the SEBTS Audio Podcast then click the subscribe button on the webpage that opens in your iTunes browser."

and on the whole it was pretty good. I do not think we have to embrace the culture or be relevant to the culture though, if that is one of the things he was trying to get across? We go into the culture, any culture, anywhere, to preach to the lost in the culture. Cultures are only going to get worse, not better. Sure it is good to have a working knowledge of the philosophy of the godless cultures but we do not have to become part of them.

Jesus relates that he was accused of being a glutton, a drunkard and a friend of sinners but where does it say in the Bible that Jesus is actually a friend of sinners?

Is Jesus friends of sinners or saints? Who are those that are called Jesus' friends in the Bible?

When I go and see the men that belong to or used to be members of the motor cycle gang I belonged to, do I become like them again, drinking, and smoking dope, enjoying the heavy death metal, Nazi, white supremacist music, wearing filthy clothes, swearing and cussing with every foul word under the sun, just so as I can reach them?

Or do I go cleanly dressed, watch my mouth and just preach the full-orbed gospel? Yes, I talk current events but my purpose is to faithfully proclaim the truth.

Where do I draw the line?

Anyway,

Mr. Driscoll sure sounded a clear warning about some of the false teachers and teachings that are going down.

I wasn't going to listen to anymore by Driscoll but but my wife and I are glad we did and it is something we may listen to again, but if not, we will discuss his message between ourselves.

Doug Pagitt is a real concern for the church. He truly does not see how deceitfully wicked his heart is, who can know it? Mr. Pagitt has not allowed the mirror of God's holy Word to fully reflect his radical corruption, the true nature of the exceedingly sinfulness of sin in his life. He quickly looks in but turns away just as quickly and forget what manner of man he is.

steve said...

Would a development of this magnitude call for the addition of an appendix in the next printing of Truth War?

I'll have to see if I can find a transcript of Driscoll's message at SEBTS.

Brad Leber said...

"I really think what he communicates is so distant from the message of the Bible that it is dangerously harmful to people."

Oh I see, the "message" of the Bible this guy believes is distant from the WORDS of the Bible preached from JMacs pulpit.

It's all clear to me now...

Andrew and Carolyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
centuri0n said...

Drew:

For about a year now, guys like Ken Silva have been called "watch dogs" or "watchbloggers" in a pejorative sense to mean that they are sort of hungry for red meat against larger, more "successful" churches and ministries. The label has been applied to TeamPyro as well.

Drew said...

So, I don't know either Pagitt or MacArthur all that well, but wikipedia did quickly tell me that MacArthur is a dispensationalist, and Pagitt's website featured a call to love my enemies (including enemies of emergent).

So I think that you may be right. My opinion may change if I take more than a quick glance, but it seems as if these two guys are preaching "different gospels," and I find Pagitt's gospel closer to the Gospel.

Drew said...

oh. well, then being a watchblogger seems to be a part of your mission, right?

Is Pagitt one? Maybe, but it seems like CNN found him and organized this meeting with MacArthur, and he didn't seek him out. I don't think that Pagitt has written anything that directly criticizes and church leader by name (could be wrong though!)

Libbie said...

I don't think that Pagitt has written anything that directly criticizes and church leader by name (could be wrong though!)

okaaay. So calling the gospel that MacArthur preaches 'perverted' just slipped under your radar there, right?

Kim said...

Libbie:

You took the words right out of my mouth, er, fingers?

I do think that if I was interested in researching an individual, I might not rely to heavily on wikipedia.

Drew said...

no, I saw that. I am just defending him against the name, "Watchblogger," because he did not seem to seek out the chance to say that, but it came as part of questions that came up through this whole yoga thing.

Drew said...

However, as long as we are throwing that word around, I thought that most of the people here would think of dispensationalism as a perversion of the gospel. Am I wrong about that?

Jamie McBride said...

"Love your enemies" has nothing to do with the gospel.

Dispensational theology does not decide if your gospel is correct either. You can be a covenant theologian (e.g., R.C. Sproul)or a dispensationalist (e.g., MacArthur) and have a correct theology.

Jamie McBride said...

Should have said "have a correct gospel message."

Jamie McBride said...

"I thought that most of the people here would think of dispensationalism as a perversion of the gospel. Am I wrong about that?"

Yes

Drew said...

" 'Love your enemies' has nothing to do with the gospel."

wow. I think that you have demonstrated that these are different gospels better than I could have ever done.

aussy said...

"The writer said he felt strongly about this since Jeremiah 17:9 had been instrumental in his own conversion"...

Mr. Pagitt reply:

"I was not converted by a verse"...

I find it fair to assume the writer of the email was not converted by a "verse" either; but, he was saved by the Word of God revealed through Jeremiah.

Jamie McBride said...

"Love your enemies" is a command for how we are to live our lives as Christians.

The gospel is the work Christ did on the cross to satisfy the payment needed (death) by God for our sin.

I will never be able to "love" someone to heaven. Only through the gospel message can people receive salvation.

Does that help?

Grace said...

Considering dispensationalism is about the end times, not salvation, I think discussing it is irrelevant to this thread. The issue at stake is Doug Pagitt's gospel. He's saying Dr. MacArthur's gospel perverted. Well, let's look at Dr. MacArthur's gospel.

"We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2 Timothy 3:16), absolutely inerrant in the
original documents, infallible, and God-breathed."

"We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of
the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not
on the basis of human merit or works."

"We teach that there is but one living and true God (Deuteronomy
6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; 1 Corinthians 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing
Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)—each equally deserving worship and obedience."

That's from Grace Community's doctrinal statement. If you need a link, I can provide it.

Please tell me you don't disagree with that, Drew.

centuri0n said...

For the record, TeamPyro has a diversity of opinions about dispensationalism, but the diversity only comes from one guy (me), and I'm the non-dispy -- prolly more like an "undecided" dispy, leaning away from it but conceding a lot.

And we don't talk about it because it derails all other conversations. So don't bring it up.

Douglas said...

Drew,

if you have some spare time over the next few days you may benefit from these:

John MacArthur
Biographical Sketch

Dispensationalism

Brother, you are digging a very deep hole for yourself if you keep using "dispensationalism" to constantly bash John MacArthur with. It may end up that you can not get out of that hole.

I believe John MacArthur is only one of many that preaches the true gospel and that Doug Pagitt and Brian McLaren and many like them, don't.

centuri0n said...

Aussie:

The "not converted by a verse" thing is a sort of praise chorus for Pagitt and Chris Seay. It's a rejection of the propositional nature of Scripture -- that Scripture has some other function besides being the truth and the standard by which another propositions must be measured.

It's pretty shocking until you realize that they are simply trying to find a way to escape saying what Paul says in Titus, which is that behavior should follow healthy doctrine rather than some other view of what the relationship is between truth and action. It's reactionary, but it is also the foundations of what they do. If they choose something else, they have to recant years of what they have written and endorsed.

centuri0n said...

I also want to know when we're going to invite Friel to be the fourth, um, I mean fifth PyroManiac.

Jared Wall said...

Is it just me or does it seem that these emergents--or friends of emergent--stop by and comment just to take people off topic? I mean c'mon Drew. You just admitted earlier that you didn't know either preacher very well, but based on a google search you choose Pagitt. You are either just saying this to stir us up or you are dishonest and know more about the distinctions in their gospels then you are letting on. No one can reasonably base their selection of "a" gospel on a google search. Get real.

As far as end times go, I wonder how solid your understanding of "the" gospel is if you think that someone's view on in this arena would determine their salvation.

As for Pagitt, I think he said well what most of us already knew: that he preaches and believes in a different gospel--especially one that is nothing like us hard nosed, Bible believing, reformed types.

Al said...

If Pagitt's point is that the gospel is more than a "Roman's Road" Chick Tract then I get it. But that does not seem to be his point.

It looks like to me that he believes preaching the necessity of a new birth and a new heart is a perversion. That is disturbing.

For the record those who would gut the gospel of the necessity of personal regeneration, personal faith, and personal repentance in order to maintain their post-mil bona fides then they are on a fast track to irrelevance or warmer climes. They suffer from a pre-Fosdick drivilism and someone should call a Physician.

And I am an FV, post-mil leaning full gospel kinda guy, again for the record.

Al sends

terriergal said...

Doug Pagitt: You have said it yourself now; you are anathema. If the Evangelical Covenant church doesn't discipline you or disfellowship you, it is also anathema. I seriously doubt it will. It only ousts people who really believe the Scriptures.

Your lampstand has fully departed. Ichabod!

Johnny Dialectic said...

"So it seems the "Emerging Conversation" is coming apart at the seams."

Exactly. I mentioned in a comment a week or so ago that I get this feeling that whatever aspects of "movement" EC once had are gone. What seemed exciting in 2005 to so many has begun to evaporate. Why? Because EC is founded on sand. Its real basis, when you look at it deeply, is protest. It wants to be anything OTHER than the "traditional evangelical church."

Yes, there are valid criticisms the EC has offered (not original, but valid) and we need to heed them; but criticisms alone do not a church movement make.

This fraying is inevitable. I think post-emergent is a great term, Phil. Maybe we need to start a little ad campaign for our churches as places for "broken emergents to heal."

Lee Shelton said...

"... listen carefully to Pagitt; then read Paul's words in Galatians 1; and wake up to reality ..."

I think that says it all. According to "emergent standards" (is that an oxymoron?), just about everything Paul wrote was a perversion of the gospel. Paul, if you recall, had some rather harsh words of his own for guys like Pagitt.

DJP said...

As the Teampyro member who, I'm sure, would be voted "Most Likely To Bite On a Dispensationalism Bait," let me say Drew's question is as off-topic as it is misinformed.

So, back to the topic:

No instructed Christian would disagree that everything does not rest on any individual verse taken in isolation. This is not that.

I've never seen anything good come from rejecting specific Biblical assertions in favor of gauzy generalizations. The latter depend on refusal to deal with evidence; and, for the Christian thinker, the Bible IS the evidence.

So, to oppose generalization to generalization, I'll say that I generally find something more compelling than nothing.

SolaMeanie said...

Game, set and match! Wow!

SolaMeanie said...

Drew,

I suggest reading 1 Corinthians 15. It's the only place in the New Testament where the Gospel is defined. That is, assuming you take Scripture seriously.

eastendjim said...

"If I have to choose between Padgitt and MacArthur (and apparently I do), I pick Padgitt."

Drew,

When we make our choice between the gospel as John MacArthur states it and the gospel according to Doug Pagitt, please consider the following.

If Mr. Padgitt is correct, those of us who accept the gospel as described by Dr. MacArthur are just people at a different stage of being "...loved and changed (even ongoing) by a fully-participating God who created(us)in His image", and we will be accepted into His Kingdom as another shade in God's spiritual rainbow of love.

If Dr. MacArthur is correct, those of us who align ourselves with Mr. Pagitt's view of the gospel, may find ourselves one day hearing our Lord say, "I never knew you;depart from me, you workers of lawlessness." ~ Matthew 7:21-23

We're not talking about who's the nicer guy here. (Pagitt or MacArthur)
We're talking about the eternal destiny of every person on the planet.

The sad reality, according to Jesus, is that many people would prefer to chose anything other the gospel explained by Dr. MacArthur.

"For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many." ~ Matthew 7:13

donsands said...

"If they choose something else, they have to recant years of what they have written and endorsed." cent

Good point.
Recanting is difficult, and impossible for those who are proud, for God resists the proud.
If someone humbles himself under the mighty hand of God, and recants, then there will be sweet liberty for that sinner's soul, that he thought he had, but never did.

Gummby said...

John MacArthur's "strangeness" is that he has a total devotion to the authority of Scripture--he always uses it to answer questions, and he will use every opportunity on CNN to call people to repentance and faith. Frankly, I long for more of that kind of thing in my own life.

If Mr. Pagitt has indeed finished a book, and it is as candid as the e-mail, it would be a fascinating read (albeit gut-wrenching as well, knowing that people will accept it as the true gospel). I wonder who will be publishing it.

I remember reading a book by a guy who believed in universal salvation, and who had that kind of candor. He said that you couldn't get to his position by a plain reading of the Bible. You had to trust in the (loving) character of God, and know which parts of the Bible to emphasize and de-emphasize.

Which demonstrates how frighteningly easy to get off track in our understanding of God when that understanding comes from somewhere other than the Bible.

I guess that brings me around to my original point. Praise the Lord for John MacArthur (and all pastors) who take the Bible seriously, and endeavor to convey all that it teaches, to God's own glory.

Chris said...

I'm very strongly non-dispensationalist, but that isn't the issue here. Funny how the emergents have mastered the art of introducing red herrings into the 'conversation'.

I'm glad Pagitt finally spoke candidly. Maybe it'll be a new trend.......

Chris said...

By the way, coming from an agricultural background, I regret to say that the term 'post-emergent' is already used to describe herbicides applied to crops after they have been planted and have sprouted through the ground.

Ken Silva said...

As Grace said above: "The issue at stake is Doug Pagitt's gospel. He's saying Dr. MacArthur's gospel perverted."

And parallel to this is Pagitt's own low view of Scripture contrasted with Dr. MacArthur's correct high view of Scripture. This is where Pagitt's perversion began in the first place, which has now corrupted his view of the Gospel.

In 1987 Dr. Walter Martin said of the original Cult of Liberal Theology that a low view of Scripture was the starting point for all of the other corruptions which followed in their theology.

I will offer that we are witnessing this all over again with men like Doug Pagitt. He has now openly attacked one of the pastor-teachers truly sent by Christ. No light matter here.

Habitans in Sicco said...

Chris: "I regret to say that the term 'post-emergent' is already used to describe herbicides applied to crops after they have been planted and have sprouted through the ground."

Sounds like a perfect fit to me.

Habitans in Sicco said...

PS: "Baptismalooza"?

Sharon said...

gummby:
John MacArthur's "strangeness" is that he has a total devotion to the authority of Scripture--he always uses it to answer questions, and he will use every opportunity on CNN to call people to repentance and faith. Frankly, I long for more of that kind of thing in my own life.

Amen and Amen!

If Mr. Pagitt has indeed finished a book . . . I wonder who will be publishing it.

I bet Zondervan would leap at the chance!

steve said...

I checked Amazon. Pagitt is the editor of a forthcoming book titled An Emergent Manifesto of Hope along with Tony Jones, to be published July 1, 2008 by Baker Books.

I don't know if that's the one Pagitt is referring to. But if it is, given where he stands on the gospel, it's a manifesto of anything BUT hope.

Lane Chaplin said...

If a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
(Mar 3:24-25)


At least now it is in writing that Pagitt does not agree with the presentation of the Gospel MacArthur puts forth, but, in fact, calls it "a perversion". Are these people really that foolish to think that they will receive endorsements from such people as MacArthur when they hold that deep inside of them? They must be. I've recognized their contempt for as long as I can remember back from when I first learned about them, and I'm sure MacArthur did, too. These people can not look to the verse above, take it seriously, and expect for people like MacArthur to "pat them on the back" for calling themselves "Christians" or "a church". That's about the only thing I see they have in common with Christianity. They call where they meet "a church". Don't Jehovah's Witnesses do the same, though? Do not Mormons? I pray that this ridiculous smoke and mirrors game is coming to an end. His kingdom come, His will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.

Al said...

"Perverted"... Sounds terribly dogmatic for one so emergent.

al send

Sewing said...

How many sheep have been kept out of the fold (though only for a time) by slavering wolves who claim to speak for the Shepherd?

It's a testimony to the power and will of God, that anyone hears the Gospel at all, given the cacophony of false teachers out there who clamour to suppress His Word.

Drew said...

Wow. So much to respond to. I have other things to do today, and while my participation here is a fun distraction, it is still a distraction, so it may take me a while to answer all of the comments that have referenced me.

But here's a start. Because I have been accused of introducing a "read herring," this will be my last mention of dispensationalism, unless it is specifically requested by one of the pyro's.

I consider what one thinks about the end times part of the Gospel, simply because if the final judgement necessarily means that God must condemn the vast majority of humanity to eternal torment (NOTE: I am not saying that I am a universalist, either--I think that limits God just as much!), than the "good news," of the Gospel isn't really "good news," is it?

Likewise, if the Gospel depends (as many, but not all dispensationalists believe) that Israel must be restored, and then slaughtered, than the Gospel is not "Good News."

While I do not disagree with the statement of faith outlined by MacArthur's church, I like many people who would call themselves emergent, would love to see a greater emphasis put on the part of eternal life that is lived here on earth. The "good news" to me is the "Good news of the Kingdom of God," which started with Jesus Christ, even as we await its full coming. Therefore, love your enemies IS part of the Gospel, not only because God loved me while I was an enemy, but my salvation unites me with Christ, and I see his Kingdom as I love my enemies. "Nobody gets loved into heaven?" I firmly disagree. Christ loved me into heaven, and the church is called to do the same thing. That doesn't mean that I do not preach repentance, it means that I do so following the way of Jesus, who was willing to lay down his life for those who had not repented.

Wow. I've already typed more than I anticipated. More later--I need to do some work and eat some lunch!

Patrick Eaks said...

Ok! The line has been drawn in the sand by Mr. Padgitt. If John MacArthur and Doug Pagitt are proclaiming two different gospels then one of them is WRONG! I would go with the guy who uses the scripture to come to his conclusions. What Doug Pagitt is proclaiming is unbiblical and unchristian. We need not try to defend him as a brother, he has proven and said himself is not a true brother.

Jared Wall said...

Drew,

The real question becomes then:

Why do you find it easy to love your enemies and yet hate those of us who hold firmly to the gospel?

Is it not, in fact, the opposite of love to neglect the clear preaching of the gospel--fallen seed of Adam to Christ as our only substitute--and to tolerate any interpretation and activity that makes the world and those who love it comfortable? I agree that feeding the hungry and clothing the needy is important, but if I offer food and never speak the true gospel, have I really loved?

Perhaps you can take a break later and tell us precisely why your eschatalogical views trump ours while you yell about not discussing such things. When you say I won't discuss it here, then don't discuss it in the next breath.

Brad Williams said...

I know that probably nobody cares what I think at this point in the comments, but this email stunned me. To say that John MacArthur "perverts" the gospel is just nuts.

This thing went from the debatable "Is yoga a mere exercise or a spiritual snare?" to "John MacArthur perverts the gospel and to tell people to seek comfort in the Bible is a joke." I tell you the truth, if this is where yoga leads, I'll stick to my toe-touches for all my stretching exercises.

Gummby said...

...if the final judgement necessarily means that God must condemn the vast majority of humanity to eternal torment (NOTE: I am not saying that I am a universalist, either--I think that limits God just as much!), than the "good news," of the Gospel isn't really "good news," is it?

Actually, the reality of final judgment makes the Gospel good news indeed. If you're saying "Hell isn't good news," you're right. But since Hell is a reality, and deserved by all, the fact that anyone gets something different is the best news there is.

P.S. Re: limiting God--it's ok to limit God where He has already limited Himself. If He says in Scripture (and He does) that not everyone will get to heaven, the smartest thing we can do is take Him at His word.

Patrick Eaks said...

Drew:
I don't want to hijack this thread but I do have one question for you. A simple yes or no answer will be sufficient.
Do you believe in universalism?
Your comments sure sound like you may lean that way. I believe the end of emergent theology may lead to this false doctrine.

mensa reject said...

Drew's comments almost make me miss Helen.

Almost.

semper reformundo said...

You should rename this blog

TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT

Thank God that nobody in the larger world of Christendom listens to any of you. CNN only employs your (MacArthur's) services for "good TV" and that's not a compliment.

I think it's been obvious to many that John MacArthur's pretentions have long given way to another gospel, and a seperate John MacArthur Bible to go with it. If you are intent on drawing lines in the sand, your side will be getting lonelier and lonelier.

Jamie McBride said...

Drew: I said "I will never be able to "love" someone to heaven." I never brought Jesus' love into the picture.

My love will never pay the price for someones sin.

Cubby Martinez said...

Coupl'a things:

I think the baptismalooza is a great idea.

I think when a guy is running on empty, he should take some time off. Just because baptismalooza turns out to bring people to Jesus, it doesn't make it right to talk like Chico de Streeto.

And I second the recruitment of Friel as the 4th pyro. Who would the 5th one be, cent?

Sharon said...

semper reformundo:
I think it's been obvious to many that John MacArthur's pretentions have long given way to another gospel, and a seperate John MacArthur Bible to go with it.

You might want to review Pyro rules, especially #4.

steve said...

semper reformundo:
I think it's been obvious to many that John MacArthur's pretentions have long given way to another gospel, and a seperate John MacArthur Bible to go with it.

Boy, that's a sweeping generalization that does absolutely nothing to help this discussion.

Specifics, please. Go back to MacArthur's exact words at the end of the CNN interview, and please point out exactly where his explanation of the gospel actually departs from the biblical gospel.

Daryl said...

semper...

I think, with Paul, I would say that whatever the reason CNN has Dr. MacArthur on TV, we rejoice that the gospel is preached. It is clear to me that God, not CNN is the one responsible for putting Dr. MacArthur on, after all it's His gospel he is preaching, not CNN's.

Incidentally, if drawing a line in the sand makes us lonlier and lonlier, remember that Jesus himself promised that would happen. Been aligned with the biggest crowd hardly verifies anyones definition of the gospel.

Gummby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grace said...

Drew said: "I consider what one thinks about the end times part of the Gospel, simply because if the final judgement necessarily means that God must condemn the vast majority of humanity to eternal torment (NOTE: I am not saying that I am a universalist, either--I think that limits God just as much!), than the "good news," of the Gospel isn't really "good news," is it?"

I agree that Judgment Day is part of the Gospel, but I don't have to know when or how that will happen to know it's coming. That's what dispensationalism is about. Therefore, it's not necessary for salvation.

Your statement comes from focusing on the wrong part of judgment. If you focus on "the vast majority of humanity" going to hell, yes, that sounds pretty mean. If you focus on the complete and total depravity of man, then suddenly, you recognize the vastness of grace.

The only people I know who say "God is a meanie to send so many people to hell" don't believe humans are truly dead in their sins or that God is perfect. That smacks of Arminianism and universalism, even if you say otherwise.

sf said...

mensa reject:
lol.

Helen, I am still praying for you.

"The gospel is: you are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe yet you can be more accepted and loved than you ever dared hope at the same time because Jesus Christ lived and died in your place."

Tim Keller(DG Conference)

sf

JoeMartino said...

I'm with Doug. Let the bashing commence. Drew, we should probably
let this distraction go.

Patrick Eaks said...

Check out Pagitt's website and you will read much of the same thing there.(as he said in the email)

This is the first post on his site:
The Battle Begins - Take your battle positions - update. I think this post says it all.

Gummby said...

I think it's been obvious to many that John MacArthur's pretentions have long given way to another gospel, and a seperate John MacArthur Bible to go with it.

Wow, wow, wow. Wowza!

Here's the gospel John MacArthur preaches, and it is directly from the Bible--even the ones without his name on them.

I'd love to see a Biblical defense of your statement.

Drew said...

Jared, you asked:

Why do you find it easy to love your enemies and yet hate those of us who hold firmly to the gospel?


I don't hate you. I am sorry if I gave that impression. I may disagree with you sometimes, but I do not hate you in the least bit. Evangelicals raised me, introduced me to Jesus, and discipled me. I am forever in debt, and doubt I could ever feel hate for such people (frustration--yes. Hate--no)

your next two questions:


Is it not, in fact, the opposite of love to neglect the clear preaching of the gospel--fallen seed of Adam to Christ as our only substitute--and to tolerate any interpretation and activity that makes the world and those who love it comfortable? I agree that feeding the hungry and clothing the needy is important, but if I offer food and never speak the true gospel, have I really loved?


Yes, you are correct, it is the opposite of love to neglect the clear preaching of the Gospel. However, I don't understand why we must not tolerate anything that makes the rest of the world comfortable. Should I insist that A non-Christian who has offended me be first reconciled to Christ before I attempt reconciliation? This does not seem biblical to me, perhaps you will show me otherwise.

Also, I have not implied that we should not proclaim Christ as we feed, clothe, et cetera. For the record, I believe that good works and good deeds go hand in hand, and a Christian should not practice one and not the other. I agree with you. True love requires the preaching of the gospel.

eastendjim said...

semper reformundo:
"If you are intent on drawing lines in the sand, your side will be getting lonelier and lonelier."

Thanks for the warning, but Jesus already told us drawing that line in the sand would be lonely.


Enter by the narrow gate...For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
~ Matthew 7:14

M said...

If you are intent on drawing lines in the sand, your side will be getting lonelier and lonelier.

Thanks for giving me confirmation outside scripture that I am on the right path, heading to the right gate....

Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV)
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

It is unfortunate, but Jesus himself said that few will find it. I'll take the creator of the universe at His word.

I have to admit, I always wonder why people seem to think that "no one else thinks like you" is a bad thing, given what scripture says about the majority that fall outside God's sovereign election.

The great thing is, as long as you stand with scripture, you never stand alone.

Drew said...

Patrick:

Do I believe in universalism?

As I said before, I will not limit God's freedom and say that God must save everybody.

Do I believe it is a possibility? Yes, and I believe that there is biblical support for and against said possibility. But, as you mentioned, that is taking us off on a tangent. Which makes me wonder why you asked.

Gumby's point is well said. I believe that to be a faithful option, as well.


The best answer that I can give is, I honestly don't know.

I know that this is a major criticism of emergents, but I really have not been convinced.

Grace, I am not an Arminian--while I understand the appeal, it just doesn't make sense to me--so the question is--how far does God's grace go? God would be just in limiting his grace--no doubt, but it does not seem consistent with a God that desires that all be saved.

Karl Barth was almost a univeralist, but left it up to God. I like his (non)position.

Jason E. Robertson said...

Is it fair to say that the Emergents have emerged into Mainstream liberalism?

Sewing said...

Drew:

The common ground of contributors and regular commenters on this blog is not dispensationalism (not at all!), but Calvinism.

Most Calvinists are not dispensationalists and most dispensationalists are not Calvinists, although John MacArthur is a rare combination of both. If you have separate criticisms of both, so be it, but confusing the two blurs the issue.

There are, in fact, a wide range of eschatological positions held by Reformed types, precisely because "when will Jesus return and under what circumstances" is a very different question from "what must I do to be saved."

Sewing said...

Jason:

Yeah, but I keep getting told that liberal Christians are "modernists" who are just as evil and wrong in their ways as conservative evangelicals, who are also "modernists." The fact that liberals and emergents are united in their disdain for the sufficiency of Scripture is mere coincidence.

eastendjim said...

"Check out Pagitt's website and you will read much of the same thing there."

Patrick,

Wow! The last time I checked his blog he was trying to get someone to find him Springsteen tickets and how one of Bruce's songs was loaded with Christian imagery.

Martin Downes said...

Jason,

In answer to your question I guess it would be anachronistic to say that they are given historic liberalism's antipathy to the supernatural. But I do think that there is, more or less, an identical approach to culture and how culture is given the leading role in shaping Christian doctrine. This is especially evident in one particular contribution to "Listening to the Beliefs of the Emerging Churches."

Martin Downes said...

I should add that the rejection of, and at times outright hostility toward, doctrines like inerrancy and penal substitution are points of similarity between emergents and liberals.

Drew said...

Jason. I don't think it is fair. Thanks for asking.

dec said...

Drew said:
I believe that good works and good deeds go hand in hand, and a Christian should not practice one and not the other.

Is this the gospel of works and deeds, or a Freudian slip? :-)

Drew said...

whoops! I certainly meant to say good news and good deeds. I guess I will leave it to you all to conclude if it is a Freudian slip, but I do believe that we are to evangelize, to call people to repentance and to trust Christ for forgiveness.

eastendjim said...

"I do believe that we are to evangelize, to call people to repentance and to trust Christ for forgiveness."

That sounds more like MacArthur than Pagitt.

Caleb Kolstad said...

A Mohler like commentary on a very important topic/issue facing the church today.

Thanks for your labors of love here guys,

Caleb

stratagem said...

It all goes to show that even Postmoderns DO believe, and disbelieve, certain things with more certainty than a Postmodern (in theory) is supposed to. They're mostly wrong about what they believe, but they do reject more than they let on.

Postmodernism won't even be recognized as a philosophy a few decades from now. It stands for nothing and even the Emergents are recognizing that it's useless.

jbuck21 said...

Drew,

You say:

"True love requires the preaching of the gospel"

Then you say,

"Karl Barth was almost a univeralist, but left it up to God. I like his (non)position."

So I guess I have 2 questions:

1. Based on your comments, why is it loving to present the Gospel?

2. Pending your answer to question #1, what is the gospel you would feel called to present, briefly?

Thanks for your time.

Jon

Drew said...

1.It is loving to present the gospel, because the Gospel is an experience of the grace, freedom, life and love that is present in Jesus Christ. If I am to share the best of what I have, it will necessarily be my knowledge and experience of Jesus Christ, for Christ is the best thing in my life--in fact, I know of know good thing that I have experienced apart from Christ! In Christ is my best hope for both eternal and temporal life (please do not interpret this as prosperity gospel--I believe we are called to take up our cross, but Christ makes our burden light, and bearing the cross for/with Christ is still better than anything the world has to offer!)

2. "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near."

Grace said...

Drew,
I see you are pastoring a Presbyterian church. Did you grow up in the denomination or in another tradition? I'm just trying to understand your background without being too nosy. It helps me understand your reasoning.

'Cuz right now, I'm not really getting it.

Thanks!

Jason E. Robertson said...

I wanted to stretch so I practiced Yoga. I wanted to eat Kosher hotdogs so I practice Judaism.

jbuck21 said...

Drew,

"Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near."

Repent? Of what? How is this a statement of the gospel based on Mr. Pagitt's conception?

wordsmith said...

Late to the party, as usual.

Wow. Double wow. Triple wow. Quadruple wow. Not much to say when you're struck speechless.

Is it just my imagination, or does the mug shot resemble Mephistopheles?

jbuck21 said...

"It is loving to present the gospel, because the Gospel is an experience of the grace, freedom, life and love that is present in Jesus Christ."

Grace? From what?

Freedom? From what?

Life? Life from where?

Love? Is a change from what?

dec said...

wordsmith:
You, you... are mean and hurtful.

Mephistopheles:literal, "not a lover of light"

Randy McRoberts said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Phil Johnson said...

Randy McRoberts:

Please read the commenting guidelines in the right sidebar, and pay special attention to rule 2.

Drew said...

Grace: I grew up in an Evangelical Presbyterian Church (Dad's) and a Roman Catholic Church (Mom's). When I was old enough to decide, I chose the EPC.

I decided to attend an American Baptist Seminary (Eastern) not because it was baptist, but because it was a place that was evangelical and yet believed in social action ("good news and good works," as I tried to type earlier).

While in seminary, I changed from the EPC to the PC(USA) for a number of reasons, which I can elaborate on if you really want me to do so. This switch was not a rejection of the EPC but a realization that they would not want a pastor like me.

jbuck:
I never intended to state what Pagitt believed, the original question asked what I believed the gospel to be.

When Christ told his apostles to preach "repent, for the Kingdom is near," he didn't specifically state what people were to repent from. Literally, repent means, "turn around," so really, I believe that EVERYTHING gets changed when a person repents.

your second round of questions is as follows:

Grace? From what?

Freedom? From what?

Life? Life from where?

Love? Is a change from what?

I will do my best to answer your questions, but I am not sure what you are asking, so let me know if I need to be more specific.

Please allow me to answer your questions slightly out of order.

I am set free from bondage to sin and death, from the ways of the flesh that seem good to me but in the end only hurt me and my neighbor. I am set free into new, Kingdom life.

Grace is not really a "from" thing, but the way that God moved me from bondage to freedom. Grace is also the way that I am to live my new life in that freedom.

God, of course, loved me before I came to know of it through Christ, but I misunderstood that love as love from some other source, or as something I earned/deserved before I discovered God's love for me in Christ. Christ's love transformed my natural self-love into a his super-natural,love for the father and for my neighbors.

Life, therefore, went from being incomplete, because it wasn't being lived in communion with the giver of life, to growing more and more into the fullness intended for it by our Lord.

I really did not think that my answer would be so problematic. I hope that I answered your questions.

Caleb Kolstad said...

Phil,

I just finished listening to Driscoll's lecture at SEBTS. I think he desires to reach the young/post modern culture so much that he believes it is nec. and important to be crude from time to time. I guess that is why he is a conservative emergent. He clearly preaches the gospel but does it in a totally unique dress. I could say much more on him but i dont want to get the comments here off target.

Mark had some helpful thoughts on Bell, McClaren, and Pagitt though. He did not offer much help in regards to Kimbell and others like him.

Thanks for the reference.

Blessings,
Caleb

Libbie said...

OK, Drew, I'm now lost. What was your position again?

Because it seemed to me that the post was about Doug Pagitt clearly and deliberately saying that he believed a different gospel to John MacArthur. That's largely been agreed with by the emergent commenters in this thread.

So help me out. What is it that is perverted about the gospel that John MacArthur preaches?

Caleb Kolstad said...

I wish Driscoll would identify who he's talking about when he speaks of the "sin of fundamentalism."

Would he include people like the PYROMANIACS in this camp? Would he include pastors like John MacArthur in that camp? OR is he thinking of those in KJV only camp, etc, etc?

I also would like it if he would share more about what practices are non-negotiable in the church (preaching, singing, praying, etc) and what ones are expendable. or negotiable depending on culture...

Randy McRoberts said...

Phil, if someone read your comment about my deleted comment, they would assume that I used inappropriate language, which I did not do and never do.

My reference to another person's level of intellect is what I assume offended rule number 2. I personally do not see my comment as a violation, but it's your website and you can interpret the rules.

My only concern would be that someone might think I had a potty mouth when I don't.

SJ Camp said...

Phil:
No question Pagitt is outside orthodoxy on several issues to which Driscoll highlighted in his lecture at SEBTS. Commonly known stuff about Pagitt.

But Doug's hurtful cavalier words about John Mac is not the main issue. The Lord will protect John for he does represent the biblical gospel and has faithfully proclaimed it for years. The fact that Pagitt took a verbal poke at him thinking that it will some how minimize John's ministry, is like someone trying to attack the Rock of Gibraltar by throwing a pebble at it... It means nothing.

BUT, what Pagitt directly believes about the gospel is important in this discussion. I haven't read what Pagitt believes in detail about the gospel. I wondered if you have?

I.e.: What is the gospel according to Pagitt? What are, in specific, the distinctives that he proclaims in regards to the gospel? Where does that gospel according to Pagitt differ from the biblical gospel? And what does Pagitt out right deny specifically from the biblical gospel?

Any help you can offer would be grateful.

Grace and peace,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

A Simple Bloggtrotter said...

Wow. I mean…wow. I want to stay on topic, but, I mean, ….wow.

Perhaps I am wrong, but I see nothing out of the emergent-ing-ish camp except a continuum of left-leaning, anti-orthodox, and scripture assailing assertions and positions that deem it time to… to do something?! Something that justifies an interest in green…stuff, and mean …people being not mean, and hammerheads that don’t get it. Something that mistakes Social Justice as an end rather than a fruit, something that creates their own meaning(s) for the Good News, something , ya know… like talking? Maybe?

At its heart, I see people picking and choosing, and following a course that must needs lead to pulling a Thomas Jefferson on their Bible. I mean, come on, open to Universalism? Come on.

And, I do believe that many in this camp ( or these camps?) would find these descriptors pleasing, as well.

Nothing has emerged that I can see except a new king of liberal, a generous kind of ambiguity.

Wow. And , and Johnnie Mac is …perverting the Gospel? This makes me really see that doctrine divides.

Wow.

Grace said...

I'm lost too, Libbie.

I appreciate the background, Drew, but I'm still puzzled about your theology. Many of my peers from college sound very similar to you. They want to emphasize a clean, honest, God-centered, "missional" life, but they are fuzzy on how that looks on the theology end.

I'm a Calvinist conservative Southern Baptist. And I live a Christ-centered lifestyle that emphasizes love, without giving up strong doctrine and tough truth. It's a fine line to walk, but that's what discernment is for.

This is a good thread! Thanks for chatting with me.

Chris Ross said...

It is refreshing to see Pagitt say something so clearly. I hope and pray that all that is misleading and dangerous about the emerging movement will be recognized and abandoned.

Meanwhile, we need to remember in times like these, and in contexts like these (cyber-space, not face-to-face) in which we converse, that these very situations can quickly lead to an uncharitable and unhelpful polarization of sides.

It may be helpful to use "us and them" language if we're talking about doctrine itself, but the messy truth is that there are tons of people in the church (mainly laity) who

A) don't even know what the official 'emergent' canons are (if these in fact exist) and

B) don't agree with all of them, if they do.

I think that's good reason to err on the side of charity, if we're going to err, in our conversations with people who, for all we know, may be our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Emergents need to be told the truth, but in love. And they need our prayers. Many of them, I'm certain, are genuine believers who have been deceived about some things, and don't know any better.

steve said...

Steve Camp wrote: what Pagitt directly believes about the gospel is important in this discussion. I haven't read what Pagitt believes in detail about the gospel. I wondered if you have?

While that's an important question, I don't believe that's the focus of this blogpost and comment thread. At issue is Pagitt's declaration that MacArthur has seriously perverted the gospel--making it clear he and MacArthur teach two different gospels.

While Pagitt hasn't given specifics, he has done more than draw a line in the sand--he's dug an unbridgeable chasm. It's hard evidence that Emergents aren't different merely in terms of emphasis and semantics (as many people tend to think).

Emergents differ on the essentials as well, a point Team Pyro has made all too clearly--only to be characterized as harsh and unloving for doing so.

jbuck21 said...

Drew,

Thanks for your answers -

First you say,

"I am set free from bondage to sin and death,"

then you proceed to say,

"from the ways of the flesh that seem good to me but in the end only hurt me and my neighbor."

Is sin only something that hurts you and your neighbor?

And if not, what is the just penalty for sin?

The reason for my questions is that the gospel that Pagitt is espousing is one that is free of the concept of sin - the penalties of sin, the reality of sin as a violation against a holy God, etc.

When you defend Pagitt's sin-free view of the gospel, quote Barth's views of universalism, and define sin as hurting yourself and your neighbor rather than God (see Pslm 51:6), I worry for your soul.

Eph 2:1-3 gives a pretty bleak picture of humanity being children of wrath...and then vs. 4 gives us hope in the mercy and love of God. If you skip the first part, you cannot possibly know the second part.

I would just ask if you've seen yourself as sinful before a thrice holy God who is a 'consuming fire' and who is 'of purer eyes than to behold evil'. I hope and pray you have. Don't forget that Christ told those who had performed miracles in His name that He never knew them!

sbj said...

Wow.......

Southern Baptist a Calvinist? I didn't think it was possible!

aussy said...

I thought Al Mohler was a Southern Baptist Calvinist.

Drew said...

Libbie, my position was, IF I have to pick between Pagitt and MacAurthur, I pick Doug.

I don't know why Doug called MacArthur's gospel perverted, and the email seems only to be included partially here, and I cannot find it anywhere else.

My guess is that while Pagitt spoke of a Gospel that included the whole person, MacArthur spoke of the Gospel as changing your mind.

Since I have begun commenting today, I have had a chance to read MacCarthur's website, and while I would disagree with bits and pieces of it, I would also say that what his church presents is more than changing your mind. Such is the problem of theology done in sound bites.

I don't know if this is what Doug was reacting to or not--you'll have to get that reaction from him. Here's where I stand: IF (and I don't think this is the case, but IF) the choice is between a gospel of the soul and mind, and only those things, or the gospel changes whole people, than I would pick the latter. From this interview, one COULD see the choice between the two of them as such, and if that is the choice, I'm with Doug.

However--and I blame this on the forum, not the personalities, BOTH came off as smug and unloving towards one another. Since we are to love our brothers in the church AND our enemies, I'd say that this whole thing didn't do much to demonstrate the Kingdom to CNN's viewers.

Grace, thank you for being kind, and as long as you sharing your labels, I'll share mine. I am an evangelical, reformed, missional, progressive, emergent, Christian. The last label definitely trumps the rest.

jbuck, I would say that sin hurts everything directly, except God. Christ did not have to, but chose to bear the pain of sin, so sin, in a manner of speaking hurts God, too. However, I would be careful about developing my theology from the Psalms.

Scripture is clear. The wages of sin is death. I think you know that as well as I do, so in future discussion will go faster if you do not ask these questions but just state what you want to say. If you say something about me that I do not agree with, I will let you know.

I am not aware that Pagitt denies sin in this world. That doesn't make sense to me. Can you show me where? Obviously, if he does, this changes everything. I know Barth better than I know Pagitt. Barth takes sin seriously. Grace, too.

I agree with you about Ephesians. Things would be pretty bleak without the grace of God.

And thank you for your concern. I do see myself as a sinner that can only be rescued by God's grace, and --praise God--He does it. Please pray for me. I know I need it.

Jim W said...

Drew, I've read your postings with interest and not without some misgivings. Your thought that you would side with Pagitt is a frightening one.
I live near Minneapolis and have been interested in Pagitt somewhat since his debate with Bob DeWaay a couple of years ago. To give you an idea of the man you side with, ponder this: Doug Pagitt has emphatically stated that Jesus did not mean that He was The Way, The Truth, and the Life. We could not take that verse of scripture literally, along with any others that Jesus used to describe Himself as the single means of salvation. This was posted on his blog. Search the archives, you may still find it. He refused to interact with any commenters asking for clarification. In fact, he closed comments. He later went on to deny the Triune aspect of God. When questioned on that, he went off into quantum physics formulae, as if that would explain his rationale. If you can't find these heresies on his blog, don't be surprised, he has a habit of posting such things and when he gets enough heat about them, he deletes them. Are you sure this is the type of person you really want to side with?
Today reading his blog, he says that he will respond with a smile, etc. to attacks. he hopes that his devotees will do the same. Nice public statement, however, it doesn't stand up to examination. I posted once on his blog and he followed up with personal emails excortiating me and calling me a heretic. He made several very snide, personally cutting remarks. Sure, give the disagreers a smile in public, and stab them in the back in private. Truly Christ-like. After reading his previous statements: who's the heretic?

Habitans in Sicco said...

Camp:

Pagitt pretty much leaves out every point of the biblical gospel that Francis Chan did not leave out. Then he says he thinks the gospel that John MacArthur summarized in careful detail on CNN is "dangerous."

Do the math.

I think Phil's point was that since Pagitt is clearly convinced that the gospel he believes is totally different from the one MacArthur preaches, it seems safe enough to take Pagitt's own word for it.

Did you seriously want to argue otherwise?

Mike Riccardi said...

Drew: I would say that sin hurts everything directly, except God. Christ did not have to, but chose to bear the pain of sin, so sin, in a manner of speaking hurts God, too. However, I would be careful about developing my theology from the Psalms.

I don't even know where to begin.

Sin offends God's holiness. God values His holiness infinitely, and does not tolerate any threat to it. That's why when you sin, you die (Ezek 18:4b).

Christ didn't have to bear the pain of sin, but He did it not because He felt warm and fuzzy about us, but because the only way to satisfy God's holiness while at the same time justifying sinners was for a righteous sacrifice to be made. Christ was the only person who didn't offend God's holiness at all, and so His sacrifice was acceptable to God. God isn't offended by sin in some indirect way; i.e., that His Son had to die for it. He's offended by sin because it provokes and threatens His holiness and the only way to preserve that holiness is eternal damnation. The good news you try to speak about is actually that that righteous requirement of eternal damnation was met in Christ.

That's the Gospel, dude. That's what Jbuck has been trying to get you to say. That's the problem with the missional church in general. Their Gospel is "Look at how great things are with Jesus! Go tell other people about how great things are with Jesus!" But they don't even know what they mean by that (as evidenced by your total inability to define the problem of sin in the Gospel).

"You need Jesus!" "Why?" "Uhh... because your life will be cooler in some vague, subjective-experience-oriented, internal warm and fuzziness way!"

Really it should look like: "You need Jesus!" "Why?" "Because your sinful and stand under the judgment of a holy God, and will pay the penalty of that sin by an eternity in hell separated from Him." "Whoa! I don't want to do that!" "Good! Cuz guess what! I've got GREAT NEWS for you! Jesus payed an eternally sufficient sacrifice for the sins of those who believe in Him!"

That's what "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is near" means.

And finally, when did the Psalms become de-canonized? Or I guess Scripture just contradicts itself a lot in the Psalms, huh?

These ideas, Drew, are neither reformed, evangelical, or Christian. However, they are in line with missional, progressive, and emergent. Leave all this behind dude, and come drink the Living Water for real.

Luke & Rachael said...

Hi Phil,

I'm not sure I get the main argument of the post. Why, exactly, does anything you mention point toward anything so strong as the dissolution of the emergent movement? Why is it in trouble?

Is it the presence of disagreement among emergents over how to define the EC that's supposed to keep ECers up at night? But then this is something Protestants, not just ECers, have been dealing with since the time of the Reformation. Protestants, especially evangelicals, are always disagreeing with one another, threatening to split, drawing lines in the sand, starting new denominations--this is what they do. If the EC is in trouble b/c ECers can't agree over just how to define the movement vis-a-vis non ECers, then by the same logic Protestantism in general, and evangelicalism in particular, is in the same boat. So what am I missing?

SolaMeanie said...

bWordsmith,

"Mephistopheles is not your name. But I know what you're up to just the same.."

Name that tune.

Seriously, all..let me try to introduce some more clarity in this discussion. Earlier, I referred to 1 Corinthians 15 as the only place in the NT where the Gospel is defined. Summing it up, it is this. Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead for our justification. That's the Gospel, and it certainly is good news.

For this to be good news, one has to recognize that they are sinners and deserve God's wrath. They need to repent and place their trust in Christ's saving, atoning work on the cross. The Holy Spirit regenerates the new believer and begins the process of sanctification in the believer's life.

Does Doug Pagitt believe this? Only he can say for certain, and his willingness to declare it plainly and clearly will answer a lot of questions. If he declines to declare his belief plainly and clearly, that in and of itself will speak volumes.

John Haller said...

I don't think he will ever admit to that.

Incidentally, Doug Pagitt spoke at Mars Hill Church in Grandville, MI yesterday. You can get the message here:

http://www.marshill.org/teaching/index.php

Starting about 27 minutes into the message he makes reference to the recent conversation with Dr. MacArthur (I transcribed a couple of minutes on either side for context). This is what he said:

"So when the story starts to spread to the Greeks, they tell the same Jesus story from a different starting point. They tell the Jesus story from a different set of assumptions. They tell the Jesus story having a different set of things that they know to be true about God. So in Antioch you have these who believe that God is up-and-out, that God exists in the heavens and the heavens and the earth are distant and separated. In fact, the fabric of the earthis nothing like the fabric of heaven, and God can only interact with the earth through a series of emanations that would allow God not to be polluted with the darkness of the earth. That's not a Jewish story. The Jewish story has a down-and-in God. The Jewish story has a God who says that heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool and the two are as connected as connected can be. But not to the Greeks. So, as they start to tell the Jesus story to the Greeks, it starts to develop under the auspices of what would be good news for the Greeks. Now here's, I think this is the right way for it to go: you can't run around and convince a bunch of Greeks to start thinking like Jews. It's not possible. Instead, what they did was they told the story of Jesus that would revise that would change as much as possible, that would adapt to the Greek understanding but they could never remove it. So over the course of history what we have is the development of the Jesus story inside of two sets of cultural assumptions: the down-and-in God of the Jewish story, and the up-and-out God of the Greek story. Now if this had all been just some 2,000-year old problem that they dealt with way back then in Antioch and Jerusalem, it's not worth talking about on a morning like this. It's a glorious morning outside. It's not worth the time. But this problem hasn't expired one bit. I was in a conversation just last week with a pastor who said "as Christians we don't follow the God in us, we follow the God above us." And the beat goes on as the great poet Sonny Bono once said. It just keeps going. The story that is told so often in our world is a story of the Greek up and out God. And then there's been the development of all kinds of theology throughout the centuries to help explain how that story can actually connect to the Jesus story. And it takes a little bit of work. And it takes a few adapters. You have to have theology that would function to connect the Greek story to the biblical story and you do it through a series of adapters called theology. And it's really good, right missional work if you're dealing with Greek people but it's not good work if you're dealing with Jewish people or people who don't see the world in these Greek terms. Two chapters later, you're going to see that the church in Jerusalem ultimately decides that we don't have to force Greek people to become Jews to become followers of Jesus. But equally is true: we don't have to force non-Greek people to become Greek thinkers to follow Jesus. So early on in Christianity there comes this beginning crack that becomes this giant schism between those who tell the Jesus story to the Greek mindset and those who it to the Hebrew mindset. Ultimately in our day it becomes the western mindset or the eastern mindset. And they struggled in the early days. First, it was the Jews saying there is no way they can tell it like Greeks, and then a little while later, it's the Greeks saying there is no way you can tell it like the Jews. It becomes a struggle."

OK... so Dr. MacArthur thinks Greek?

Huh? Wow.

donsands said...

Our sovereign Lord said that everything that is hidden shall be revealed, and He will uncover all the hidden things in His perfect timing.
That should get our attention. I think it may be taking place.

Another thought I had was that Doug Pagitt should respectfully submit to Pastor John MacArthur, don't you think.
He is his senior in the Lord, and a proven servant and ruler in the Church of God(Heb. 13:7,17; 1 Thes. 5:12-13).


For Drew: I believe the Apostle Paul lived a life for the glory of God, and for His Gospel.
He said, if anyone, even himself, preaches a twisted gospel that they should be condemned. It's unthinkable that the Gospel would not be preached in it's puity to Paul.

Having said that, people are of great value to God as well.
Paul also said that if his own condemnation could save his Jewish brothers from hell, then he would do so.

This is how the heart of a Christian should understand and love, the good news, of Jesus Christ, which is Jesus Christ Himself being the good news.

Doug Pagitt said...

any chance I could send my new promo picture? This one is year or so old.

David Castor said...

Another thought I had was that Doug Pagitt should respectfully submit to Pastor John MacArthur, don't you think.
He is his senior in the Lord, and a proven servant and ruler in the Church of God(Heb. 13:7,17; 1 Thes. 5:12-13).


I must admit I've always found this a strange suggestion. If one is honour bound to agree or submit to someone based upon their age, then shouldn't you agree and submit to those older than you who disagree with Penal Substitution?

donsands said...

"shouldn't you agree and submit to those older than you who disagree with Penal Substitution?'

John MacArthur is a proven ruler n the Church.
I would submit to him, because I'm sure he would say: "Do not submit to me, if I preach any other Gospel than the Bible's Gospel".

Do you have anyone in mind that i should submit to? It would depend on who you're speaking of.

Just for an example: I would submit to John Stott, though he doesn't teach that there is an eternal damnation.

I am still in disagreement with him, but I hope I would never disrespect him as Doug disrespected Dr. MacArthur.

SJ Camp said...

Doug Pagitt:
I have reposted my comment to include this request of you personally. Can you provide me with links or books or a podcast or sermon where you define specifically what you consider to be the gospel and what aspects of Dr. MacArthur's representation of the gospel you consider to be "perverted."

Thank you.
Steve Camp
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Habitans in Sicco:
You've misunderstood my comment here.

I have been a personal friend of John for years; have read his books and dialogued with him at length on "The Gospel According to Jesus." I even wrote an entire CD about his book and dedicated it to him. I know his views on the gospel very well and agree with John fully.

On the contrary, I haven't seen in print or in audio where Pagitt is as lucid as to what he considers to be the true gospel. That information is necessary in biblically evaluating the true nature of what he believes and then being able to apply the standard of God's Word to his beliefs.

My dear friend, Dr. James White, has always emphasized in apologetics the need to accurately represent the other side's view to be able to apply the test of Scripture to it biblically, historically, theologically, and doctrinally. IOW, he does his homework and then applies the standard of God's Word to those assertions.

As you know, during the Lordship controversy debates that took place around the country in the late 1980's and early 1990's, John was being challenged and in some cases out right slandered for a numerous reasons. The nature and specificity of those attacks against him were critical in knowing how to respond to those things directly and biblically.

I write a lot about the ECM and have read most of their books, listened to many podcasts and sermons and interviews, read their blogs, etc. I can't afford to do drive-by unsubstantiated assertions when I write. Anyone's credibility would be immediately dismissed if we simply reacted to an irresponsible comment like Pagitt's without due diligence being applied.

I respect Phil because he does his homework; as so do I. I don't go to print on something without seeing or reading a primary source. That is all I am asking for.

I.e.: You said, "Pagitt pretty much leaves out every point of the biblical gospel that Francis Chan did not leave out." That's a clear definitive statement. What is your source on that statement? Is it a primary source? Can you provide me one?

Again, if you or anyone else here has first hand verifiable information on this it would be most appreciated.

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Phil Johnson said...

Randy McRoberts: "Phil, if someone read your comment about my deleted comment, they would assume that I used inappropriate language, which I did not do and never do."

You're right, and I'm sorry to have left that impression. I deleted your comment because it had an insult that struck me as unduly and deliberately personal against another commenter. If you want to say it again and apply the insult to me, I'll let it stand.

To be honest, it was probably only borderline, and someone could no doubt point out where I have let stand comments that would rival it. But technically, it did breach the civility rule.

However, lest anyone assume the worst about Randy's rule infraction, let the record show: it was relatively minor, and he did not use any smutty or lowbrow language.

Drew said...

Jim, if what you say is true, then I will no longer be a pagitt fan.

Mike, I never said that God was not offended, I said God was not hurt. Like a good, orthodox Christian, I believe that God is sovereign. No matter how sinful we act, we cannot hurt God, because we have no power over God.

Now that doesn't mean that sin is not a problem. It means that it is a problem for us, not for God.

The Gospel, as you describe it, comes darn near close to dividing the trinity. God has to kill us because he is holy, but he doesn't have to because Jesus steps in and saves the day! Who is going to enforce what God HAS to do? Jonah certainly wanted to get back at God when he showed mercy to the Ninevites, even though God said he would destroy them, but Jonah learned an important lesson: God can do what God wants. It's part of being God.

Did I ever say that we should preach Christ for some vague-touchy feely goodness? If I did, I shouldn't have! Yes, he saves us from hell, but that doesn't mean much to many people today, because the church has abused the doctrine of hell, and placed an emphasis on it that scripture does not. Yet Christ doesn't just save me in the afterlife, he saves me in the here and now. And not in some meaningless touchy-feely way, either. I was dead once, purposeless, hopeless, and I did not know love. Things are different with Christ. The everyday living hell that many people experience, the bondage that they currently find themselves in, is much more real to them than something that a person with little credibility tells them might come in the afterlife.

I know that for many evangelicals it is very important to talk about hell, but I believe that this is only because it has been effective. If we look at what Christ proclaimed, or Peter, or the apostles, or the prophets--there was little or no mention of eternal torment. If saving us from hell is the main point of the Gospel, you'd think the Bible would spend more time on it.

And I never said that we should take the psalms out of the Bible, we should read them for what they. If we turn the Psalter into a systematic theology, we get really weird and yes, inconsistent theology. But you can't really find a better book for prayers and worship. I don't think this so radical, but maybe it is.

Drew said...

And just to give people one more reason to disagree with me:

I get what Pagitt was trying to say in his sermon, and I believe it is true.

David Castor said...

John MacArthur is a proven ruler n the Church.
I would submit to him, because I'm sure he would say: "Do not submit to me, if I preach any other Gospel than the Bible's Gospel".

Do you have anyone in mind that i should submit to? It would depend on who you're speaking of.


But that's the point, isn't it? You submit to John MacArthur because you believe he is a proven leader. Not everyone believes this. Should we submit to him on your say so?

Just for an example: I would submit to John Stott, though he doesn't teach that there is an eternal damnation.

I am still in disagreement with him, but I hope I would never disrespect him as Doug disrespected Dr. MacArthur.


So just to clarify, what does submission mean then, if you choose to disagree with Stott's annihilationism, presumably believe it to be a perversion of Biblical teaching, yet still say you submit to him?

donsands said...

"If we look at what Christ proclaimed, or Peter, or the apostles, or the prophets--there was little or no mention of eternal torment."

Our Lord proclaimed much about hell. He came to save us from hell.

He said if your eye causes you to sin, then pull it out.
And cut your foot off, and your hand off, if they cause you to sin. It's better to go to heaven with one eye, hand, or foot, then to go to hell with both eyes, hands and feet.

Jesus spoke with words that cut to the bone. He spoke the truth, and it was very, very serious.
Hell is serious. The Savior knew it, and told us, so that we could know the truth, and be set free. Free from going to hell, which is what we all deserve, everyone of us.

donsands said...

"Do you have anyone in mind that i should submit to? It would depend on who you're speaking of."

Would you name someone who does not believe in PSA?
I'll let you know if I'd submit to him as a ruler in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Phil Johnson said...

Steve Camp: "I haven't read what Pagitt believes in detail about the gospel. I wondered if you have?"

Is that a trick question? As far as I can see, Pagitt doesn't proclaim anything that could legitimately be called "gospel." He mostly deconstructs others' views.

To be specific: I've read Church Re-imagined, Preaching Re-Imagined, and Pagitt's chaper in Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches, and as far as I can tell, Doug Pagitt nowhere says "what [he] believes in detail about the gospel." His aim seems to be a studied and purposeful ambiguity, framed in the context of his repeated critiques of historic Protestant and evangelical opinions.

That's true even in Listening . . . where one might expect a little more clarity. Instead, in the section of Pagitt's chapter where he mentions "the gospel" most, he starts that section with a defense of Pelagianism. He claims Augustine's opposition to Pelagius was rooted in political and personal motives rather than honest doctrinal concerns.

Beyond that (and throughout his chapter) he attempts no clear definition (or description) of gospel truth, but instead passionately argues for the fluidity, universality, uncertainty, "holism," and progressive/evolutionary nature of theology--which (of course) adds up, again, to deliberate, hopeless ambiguity all around.

So when he accidentally has a moment of lucid clarity, such as acknowledging that he despises the gospel proclaimed by "the likes of John MacArthur" and believes something different, I do think that in and of itself is a significant statement, and worthy of being highlighted.

Doug Pagitt:

Sure, send it. I'm sure we'll find a use for it.

David Castor said...

Would you name someone who does not believe in PSA?
I'll let you know if I'd submit to him as a ruler in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Well again, that's the point, isn't it? If you can pick and choose who you'll submit to, you can basically choose those people whose theology you already agree with, which isn't really submission at all.

donsands said...

David,

You asked this question: "then shouldn't you agree and submit to those older than you who disagree with Penal Substitution?"

No.

Could you give an example of you are thinking of?

It does depend on who it is, and how they have lived for the Lord throughout their walk with Christ. And it surely does depend on how they teach the Scriptures.

Some, like Brian McLaren, who has no theology really, and who opposes PSA, and who I consider one who has went out from us, because he was not of us, i would not submit to.

Someone else i may. It depends who it is, and how they look at PSA.

Jake said...

I am the one who sent the email, and although I wasn't expecting all of this, I do want to make it clear that I certainly wasn't converted by a verse in Jeremiah alone. When I read that verse for the first time, I looked at my own heart, and then I read God's Law. I thought about His holiness, and His power, and after calling myself a Christian for more than 10 years, the cross finally made perfect sense. I studied scripture since I was a child, but there always seemed to be so many missing pieces until I understood my own wicked heart. Then the Word became crystal clear, and God saved me.

Also, I emailed Doug about his understanding of the Gospel, and specifically said it wasn’t about Yoga. Our conversation was strictly about the Gospel, not Yoga. If you have any other questions, let me know.

Drew said...

Did he elaborate on what made MacArthur's gospel, "perverted?"

David Castor said...

It does depend on who it is, and how they have lived for the Lord throughout their walk with Christ. And it surely does depend on how they teach the Scriptures.


Which all comes down to the fact that you'll choose who you decide to submit. Which again, is not submission, because you're the one calling all the shots - if you don't like someone's theology or the way that they teach you'll simply refuse to submit to them. So with that in mind, who do you think you are to tell Doug Pagitt who he must submit to?

dec said...

Drew:
John Haller quoted Doug Pagitt as saying:
So over the course of history what we have is the development of the Jesus story inside of two sets of cultural assumptions: the down-and-in God of the Jewish story, and the up-and-out God of the Greek story.... But this problem hasn't expired one bit. I was in a conversation just last week with a pastor who said "as Christians we don't follow the God in us, we follow the God above us."

I believe that Pagitt misquoted MacArthur. The actual MacArthur quote is:
"The idea of Christianity is to fill your mind with biblical truth and focus on the God who is above you. That's Christian worship. The idea of yoga is to fill your mind with nothing except to focus on yourself and try to find the god that is inside of you."

I know that MacArthur used "God" in the first instance and "god" in the second, because
1. Yoga does does not believe in the Holy Spirit.
2. MacArthur does.

Phil Johnson said...

Regarding "submission":

I think we need to stipulate that Doug Pagitt doesn't owe John MacArthur "submission." That's not at all the point here, so we don't need to pursue that line of argument any further, OK?

aussy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared Wall said...

Phil,

You are always on top of things. I submit to no submission discussion.

Drew,

I still worry that you don't quite understand the gospel. I also wonder why you wouldn't want to use the psalms in building your theology.

And someone made the excellent point that MacArthur was speaking of God and not a god within which oneself which, in Buddhism and Hinduism through yoga, is actually a connecting with the one god that is in and constitutes everything. Definitely not the God of the Bible. It seems as if--based on the clip someone transcribed here--that Pagitt is all right with that god because it is the experiential, warm fuzzy feeling, inside you one. I have news for you. If you depend on the warm fuzzy feelings for hope and comfort, they will fail. However, if you place you trust in the God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then you can stand on those promises when the fuzzy feelings fade. Praise God for His faithfulness.

David Castor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
aussy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Phil Johnson said...

Please try to stay on topic.

Thanks.

aussy said...

Sorry Phil!

I deleted my original question.

Chris Ross said...

It makes sense that if you can identify what your understanding of the evangelion is NOT, then you ought to be able to phrase what you feel it IS -- what its essence IS -- even if you describe this non-propositionally, as I suppose some pomo-leaning folks would prefer to do.

I'd love to hear a description from Mr. Pagitt in this regard.

John Haller said...

By the way, the text for Doug Pagitt's message that I provided a few minutes of above was Acts 11. It's one of his favorites. He spoke on it when he spoke a couple of years ago at a young adult retreat in the church I attend (over the protest of at least one elder... me). Like Phil, I had read a number of things he wrote and frankly I don't see the gospel there. In that vein, Phil's response to Steve Camp is correct. It's hard to find a clear statement. Anywhere.

I don't know what you need other than his statement that the gospel that John MacArthur proclaims is perverted. That is consistent with his post-interview comment to the CNN producer.

If you're keeping score: Doug is clear that yoga is OK; he's unclear as to what Jesus would say about yoga; he's clear that MacArthur's view on the sufficiency of scripture is worthy of being mocked; he's clear that the gospel Dr. MacArthur proclaims is perverted; and he's clearly putting a postmodern spin on what was going on in Acts 11.

Bob DeWaay at Twin Cities Fellowship had a conversation/debate with Doug last year. I assume it's still available, but if Steve wants to contact me at my work email (you can get it at www.slk-law.com), I'd be more than happy to send you my copy of the DVDs. But be forewarned: you won't find much clarity there on the part of Doug.

donsands said...

"So with that in mind, who do you think you are to tell Doug Pagitt who he must submit to?"

You're right. I was wrong.

I just wish Doug Pagitt would have shown John MacArthur the due respect that such a ruler in the Church deserves.

I realize verses like these are for the local church.

"And we urge you, brothers, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves." 1 Thes. 5:12-13

Cubby Martinez said...

Francis Chan say, "God is crazy about you," and Steve Camp starts a campaign to knuckle him down like he's Miguel Servetus -- because the Gospel is like grandma's china.

Doug Pagitt say, "John MacArthur perverts the Gospel," and Camp thinks it's nothin' but a thing because Dr. MacArthur's so big and bulletproof and the Gospel is a big, fat rock which nobody can break.

My papa used to say, "lo que ya se ha hecho se volverá a hacer ¡y no hay nada nuevo bajo el sol!" but even he would have to admit that he could be wrong.

And this thread is proof that when the chips are down, cent goes and reads a book or something. muy encantando -- Friel for TeamPyro!

Cubby Martinez said...

Straight up, mi Papi dice, "nada nuevo!", but I was afraid Camp would worry that Papi read the Message or something.

ezekiel said...

Drew,

"I know that for many evangelicals it is very important to talk about hell, but I believe that this is only because it has been effective. If we look at what Christ proclaimed, or Peter, or the apostles, or the prophets--there was little or no mention of eternal torment. If saving us from hell is the main point of the Gospel, you'd think the Bible would spend more time on it."

More time on hell? What have you been reading? If you haven't been able to see the emphasis the Bible puts on hell, the prophets, Jesus and especially John all speak of hell in some rather stark terms. You may want to reread Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Matthew, Mark and Revelations. Look for words like hell, pit and sheol.

Mat23:13But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

14Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

15Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Missional? What are you preaching and what are you trying to save people from?

JoeMartino said...

Jake,
Did you get Doug's permission to share the email?

John Haller said...

joemartino:

Your question to Jake is irrelevant. Doug sent it to Jake and Jake was free to do with it whatever he wanted.

Are you concerned that Doug's thoughts were exposed? Given the fact that Doug posted the audio of his post interview comments in which he mocked John MacArthur, the fact that someone would now object to Doug being exposed for saying something similar strikes me as rather disingenuous.

Drew said...

When jesus began his ministry in the Gospel of Luke, he stated his purpose, quoting Isaiah.

Sight for the blind. Freedom for the captives, proclaiming the year of God's favor.

You COULD make this about saving people from hell, but it requires some exegetical gymnastics.

Was Christ ineffective in his proclamation? Did he compromise the gospel? Was he some slishy liberal that just wanted to make people feel good?

JoeMartino said...

John Haller, They got pharmacies where you live? 'Cuz you need a Valium. Relax.
I'm not concerned "that Doug's thoughts have been exposed." I've said on my own corner of the blog world that I don't like MacArthur. I just think it's a legit question.
Jake said, if we have any other questions to just ask, so I did. Not sure why that question fired you up so much.

Jake said...

To answer the two questions: The only thing he said in reference to the perversion of Macarthur's gospel is macarthur's comment of "a God who is above you." Apparently to Doug Pagitt, this should be a clear sign to anyone that Macarthur preaches a false gospel.

And secondly, I did not get his permission to share the email, I didn't think anyone would know about it like this. I sent it to a few friends, and it spread like wildfire. While a part of me regrets this publicity because of the thwarting Doug is receiving, a much stronger part of me is happy that part of what he teaches is being exposed.

I'd also like to say that Doug is bold in his statements, which is uncanny for most Emergents, and you have to give him credit for that. Also, from what i know of him, he's a very kind individual. A little sarcastic, but so is Todd.

One more thing... he sent me his book, and I read as much of it as i could bare, which was the about 100 pages, and then i skimmed through the rest. Doug asked me not to share it with anyone, and I'm not going to, but I will say that if this is the same book that comes out in May, it will be very clear to everyone what his gospel is.

Let me also make it clear that Doug is passionate about what he is preaching, and he believes he has discovered something that finally makes sense to the ones who have questions about God, and to be quite honest, he has. He has invented a gospel that the world will embrace. It is a gospel that calls all despised men and women, the lowest of sinners to comfort and grace, not repentance.

It is a gospel that appeals to the flesh of every human, the flesh that battles against the true Word of our Lord Jesus Christ, the flesh that says, “I’m not a bad person, I’m a good person. Any God who tells me I’m anything but worthy, anything but special and valuable isn’t the true god.”

Mike Riccardi said...

'The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.' Does this mean that there were a bunch of people wandering around somewhere who didn't know where they were? And Jesus needed to come down and show them how to get back home?

'The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many.' What does this mean? "Ransom for many?" From what did He ransom them?

'Don't fear him that can destroy the body only. Fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.'

There's Jesus Himself talking about why He came and what mindset to have. What continues to divide the faithful church and the merely 'missional' church is a God-centeredness vs. Man-centeredness.

You, Drew, interpet Lk 4:16-17 to mean that Jesus came just to give physical people physical sight, and so on. That's true. But if that's all He came to do -- if that verse isn't talking about His saving people from hell FIRST -- it doesn't matter that the blind receive sight.

And lo and behold, that's consistent with Jesus' God-centeredness in the rest of His ministry (for examples, those three passages I referred to earlier). Given that, it's your interpretation that requires exegetical gymnastics, namely an ignorance of the rest of things Jesus said. (Be sure to know that I'm not saying we ignore that passage because Jesus said other opposing things. Rather, I'm saying we must interpret each passage in light of the whole. When we do that, there are no contradictions at all.)

Drew, I really really really recommend Dave Harvey's seminar on the missional church. It's free from Sovereign Grace audio. If all else fails, google: "Dave Harvey, To be or not to be Missional." I'd love to talk about what you think of that.

Drew said...

I shall take you up on your reccomendation, but I will honestly admit that I cannot imagine why a church would want to not be missional. Frankly, from where I sit, a church that is not participating in God's mission isn't really a church.

And you are correct, we need all the scriptures. That's why I haven't denied hell, but I've tried to put it in the context that I believe scripture puts it in. I don't think we disagree about what the scriptures say, but we may disagree about what is emphasized in the whole narrative of scripture.

Daryl said...

Seems to me that the EC is getting a little more strident in their statments.
Tim Challies' review of Brian McLaren's latest offering indicates that he clearly delineates the orthodox gospel vs. his own idea as well.
I think we shold be praying the everyone in the EC reads both McLaren's and Pagitt's books when they come out so that they can see the clear lines in the sand that have been drawn.
Perhaps that's what it'll take for the true church in the EC to really wee what's going on.

I get the feeling that Mr. MacLaren and Mr. Pagitt both have been testing the waters for sometime now and are beginning to conclude that the time to be clear is on the horizon. Let's hope so.

Drew said...

Mike, I found a text outline of the presentation online, and I would be happy to discuss it in another forum (I don't care if it is public or private, I just don't want to abuse this comment thread any more than I already have).

Daryl said...

Drew,

"I don't think we disagree about what the scriptures say, but we may disagree about what is emphasized in the whole narrative of scripture."

To disagree on one is to disagree on the other. The EC has always said "We believe that same Bible you do, we just disagree over what the whole point is." No one thinks the bible says to ignore the conditions of the world around us and do nothing to help. But to say that the primary message is to help heal people, body mind and spirit, and not Christ's substitutionary atonement on our behalf in order to save us from the coming wrath of God, is to deny the Scripture and to willfully ignore the very book they claim to believe.

Clearly it's not enough to say you believe the Bible, what is important is what do you believe the Bible teaches. That's what tells the tale.

Mike Riccardi said...

I don't think we disagree about what the scriptures say, but we may disagree about what is emphasized in the whole narrative of scripture.

I think we might disagree about what the Scriptures say in certain places, and so interpret emphases differently. As far as the 'narrative of scripture' goes, I think it would be better to understand Scripture as a canon than a narrative. The whole 'narrative' thing is another term arrested, stripped of all its meaning, and redefined by the EC/missional folks.

I shall take you up on your reccomendation [sic], but I will honestly admit that I cannot imagine why a church would want to not be missional. Frankly, from where I sit, a church that is not participating in God's mission isn't really a church.

It's because the two things you've just described are not equal. Being a missional church means more than just participating in God's mission. There's an emphasis on the mission being the sole, or even primary, purpose of the church, when Scripture teaches that there is more to the church than its mission (which Dave Harvey outlines better than I do). The mission should have an equal part in the church's ministry as the other parts; i.e., it should not be subjugated or minimized. But it should also not be exalted above the others.

As a result of this exaltation of the "mission" above the other responsibilities of the church, everything becomes man-centered, and you've got heat without light.

Then Church looks like what I was saying some comments ago. The church exists to tell people about Jesus, then tell those people to tell more people about Jesus, and so on. After a while, with all this heat and no light, nobody knows what they're telling these other people (i.e., that their sins condemn them before a holy God, and that a Savior has satisfied that wrath for those who believe). They just tell them that they should be a Christian cuz their lives will have "a purpose, a meaning." The Nazi's lives had a purpose and meaning, but they couldn't save people from eternity in hell. That's what makes Jesus different than Mohammad, Buddah, and Moroni. That's what makes Christianity different than cultic mind games. And it's what makes the Gospel good news.

aussy said...

Gary E. Gilley of Southern View Chapel (Springfield, IL):

"It does not seem to be an option to the emergent church that both social injustices and eternal redemption can be and have been attended to by God’s people. But, despite opinions to the contrary, the priority of Scripture is on man’s relationship to God. It is because men are alienated from God that they mistreat one another. The spiritually redeemed and transformed person should and will care about social sins. But, again, the gospel is about man’s alienation from God and what He has done through Christ to reconcile us to Himself (Romans 5:6-11), not about the ozone layer and elimination of poverty. Neither Jesus nor the apostles made these latter things the focus of their ministries; it was the reconciliation of souls to God that was at the heart of their message. Once we begin to draw our gospel from the culture, no matter what culture that might be, we have altered the true gospel. Emergent leaders are not wrong to be concerned about the environment and social injustice; they are wrong to confuse it with the gospel of Jesus Christ".

resource: www.monergism.com

Benjamin Nitu said...

Paggit said: "I do not say "perverted" lightly, either. I really think what he communicates is so distant from the message of the Bible that it is dangerously harmful to people."

I think this might be one of the greatest compliments John MacArthur ever got.
I would've been worried if Paggit would've said that he presents the same "gospel" as MacArthur.

God bless John and his ministry.

Drew said...

What? No! That's why there are 66 books! We need all four Gospels, because they give us four seperate perspectives. Luke had a different point than John, and Peter and Paul certainly had different perspectives. Greeks were certainly more concerned with the neo-platonic implications of the Gospel than Jews, and Jews were more concerned about what following Christ meant in relation to the law of God.

If you want to believe that we are in two different worlds, you may, but to suggest that any disagreement, not on content, but on emphasis is equivalent to being in complete disagreement, then you are going to find your self one lonely Christian.


And I know--"narrow is that path . . ."

Here's another emergent making a stand: I disagree. I believe that we have seen ON THIS BLOG that Christians can disagree, even in the interpretation of scripture (in parts or, in some but not all cases, in whole) and still remain united in Christ.

Mike Riccardi said...

Drew, my email is mriccardi23 at yahoo.

Btw, Aussy's quote from monergism makes my point quite well. What does that quote mean to you? (You can answer in email.)

Drew said...

while I was commenting, several other comments came in. My "what? no!" comment was a response to Daryl

Daryl said...

Sounds about right Drew, except that the substitutionary atonement is the very heart of the gospel. To making serving people, in any capacity other than spreading the Good News of redemption, the central issue, is to rip out the heart and leave no gospel at all. Ergo, those who do, can legitimately be considered borderline, or non-Christians.

Daryl said...

One other point Drew, while it may be true that different people are more concerned about different aspects of the Gospel, it is not true that either God or Paul were interested in different aspects of the Gospel. That's why Paul took such great pains to show how all men are equally condemned under the law and that all need a Saviour. You can't divide the message because the message is one, not several.

Mike Riccardi said...

Spot-on, Daryl. And my point is that "those who do" are those who call themselves missional. You, and that quote that Aussy pulled really sum up Dave Harvey's seminar really well. You would enjoy it too.

Drew said...

sigh: further off topic.

Substitutionary atonement was not even talked about as a model of atonement until Anselm. Was there no church until then?

If it was so important, why was it left out of the early creeds?

aussy said...

Insert "This post has been removed by the blog administrator" here.

Daryl said...

Drew,

Old news. If I'm not mistaken,what was put into the creeds wasn't exhaustive Biblical truth but what was being attacked at the time. No one was attacking the atonement, they were too busy attacking the Diety of Christ and all that surrounds it, the Trinity etc etc.

Incidentally, do any of the creeds or any other statements by the Church Fathers talk about how important "missional living" is?

I thought not.

The thing is, "missional living" and "kingdom now" theology were inventions by people trying to distract from the gospel because the church has always (or virtually always) cared for the poor and the widow and their neighbours.

Truth Above All said...

I have recently been checking out the Emergent Conversation and although I'm not you typical legalistic Christian...some red flags flew high.
No doctrine.
I've tried for weeks to find out what these folks believe and I've come up with very little. It's kind of anything goes.
It seems that the whole Christian world is constantly striving to look like the world outside of the church.
Surely, we should be "Set Apart".
Instead of an inclusion movement...I think we need a substance movement that doesn't water everything down.

aussy said...

Insert "Luke & Rachael" here.

Truth Above All said...

Spurgeon Rocks!!!

Sharon said...

daryl: I think we should be praying the everyone in the EC reads both McLaren's and Pagitt's books when they come out so that they can see the clear lines in the sand that have been drawn.

And, I might add, they should include Truth War by John MacArthur in their reading list to refute what they read in EC literature!

But I'm not holding my breath.

Daryl said...

You never know Sharon, God does amazing things to call his sheep home.

SolaMeanie said...

Drew,

Maybe the reason substitutionary atonement wasn't found in the creeds is because the Scriptures themselves speak so clearly of it. Think of it in similarity to how God reveals Himself in what He has created (Romans 1:20). One has to be pretty obtuse not to see it.

Phil, as to Mr. Pagitt, I am more and more reminded of Mr. Krieger in Herman Wouk's novel, "City Boy." Mr. Krieger had a studied, broken English way of replying to any question. The reason he spoke in that fashion was so that he could plead misunderstanding if any contretemps arose from what he had said.

Very instructive and enlightening, this old classic literature. So many analogies.

dec said...

"lo que ya se ha hecho se volverá a hacer ¡y no hay nada nuevo bajo el sol!"

Chubby,
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to try out the Goggle translator at translate.google.com.

Eres dulce rechoncho.

Daryl said...

Does this EC nonsense make anyone else reflect on a day when the whole church called councils and expelled the unrepentant miscreants?

Of course, that's what happened to Luther et al, wasn't it. I suppose every manner of dealing with heresy eventually can be corrupted and discarded in favour of a different option. But still, I sometimes wish...

northWord said...

I'll just concur with the handfuls of Wow.Wow.WoW...'s

but beyond that - I'd also like to re-submit a few lines from the excellent insertion provided by aussy:

think-on>repeat>rinse>repeat>rinse>think-on:

"the priority of Scripture is on man’s relationship to God." (and to get to know just who God is)

"It is because men are alienated from God that they mistreat one another." (pride before destruction)

"But, again, the gospel is about man’s alienation from God and what He has done through Christ to reconcile us to Himself (Romans 5:6-11), not about the ozone layer and elimination of poverty."

"it was the reconciliation of souls to God that was at the heart of their message"

"Emergent leaders [or ANYone for that matter] are not wrong to be concerned about the environment and social injustice; they are wrong to confuse it with the gospel of Jesus Christ"."

Gummby said...

Cubby:
¿Cómo se dice "brutal" en español?

You gotta lay off Cent, man. He's only one guy. Word on the street is that he's re-reading The Truth War in preparation for the big throw-down. But whatever his reasons, I'm sure they are good ones.

VcdeChagn said...

“I’m not a bad person, I’m a good person. Any God who tells me I’m anything but worthy, anything but special and valuable isn’t the true god.”

It's interesting to hear from the original receiver of the email. I'm kind of surprised he sent you the book this far out from the publication date. Still, cool that you got a sneak preview.

In any case, this is a sort of "Yea, hath God said" sort of moment. Of course we're special and valuable. He died for us, right? But the rest of the truth is that we're special and valuable to him but only in the context of His Glory. Outside of it, we're consigned to the "trash heap" (think Gehenna).

Cubby Martinez said...

"chubby"?

That's ain't right, ese.

__________

Gummbissimo:

me llama "brutal" en la calle, vato.

Gummby said...

P.S. for Cubby

¿NVI? ¿cuál es ése, amigo?

Cubby Martinez said...

Just keepin' it real, yo. Esta "missionàl".

dec said...

Cubby,

My deepest apologies! I was thinking great musicians (Chubby Checker, Poppa Chubby, etc.).

David said...

If I say it once, it is it enough?

Or is this one of those write 100 times

Pyro was right, and I was wrong

things?

I have defended EM'rs before, but I have come to the conclusion the movement suffers from so many fundemental flaws that there is nothing salvagable from the wreckage.

SJ Camp said...

Cubby:
You said: "Francis Chan say, "God is crazy about you," and Steve Camp starts a campaign to knuckle him down like he's Miguel Servetus -- because the Gospel is like grandma's china.

Doug Pagitt say, "John MacArthur perverts the Gospel," and Camp thinks it's nothin' but a thing because Dr. MacArthur's so big and bulletproof and the Gospel is a big, fat rock which nobody can break."


I could watch Chan's video (a primary source) and measure it on its syncretistic emphasis on its own merits. With Pagitt, there is no revealed "source" where he lays out what the gospel according to Pagitt is at this point - where we can measure his exact view of the gospel.

Pagitt is very liberal and represents heretical ideas not consistent with the Word of God--no question. But in the absence of him clearly explaining his view of the gospel, his casual swipe at John MacArthur shouldn't be taken too seriously. It is a pebble against John's faithful Rock of Gibraltar ministry.

IOW, a bulldog can beat up a skunk anytime; but sometimes it's just not worth it.

The fact that Pagitt hasn't responded to my comment here in pointing us to where he does explain the gospel is also significant.

Grace and peace,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Sewing said...

Drew wrote:

"Substitutionary atonement was not even talked about as a model of atonement until Anselm. Was there no church until then?"

If there was no concept of substitutionary atonement prior to Anselm, why did John the Baptist describe Jesus thus: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)? Why does the author of Hebrews (chh. 9, 10) go to such great pains to point out how much greater is the blood of Christ than that of the goats and cattle of Leviticus? Why in 1 Corinthians 11:25, Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, and Luke 22:20, does Jesus echo the words of Moses in Exodus 24:8, identifying the blood of the oxen sacrificed to mark the old covenant with his own blood, shed for the new covenant promised by God in Jeremiah 31:31-34?

I was lost until the Lord led me to a church that takes a high view of Scripture and allowed me to see the profound unity that underlies the Word of God. Any hermeneutic of the Bible that downplays substitionary atonement completely misses the point.

Daryl said...

You're good Sewing.

Well said.

Sewing said...

D'oh, I forgot the most obvious point of all. The very names of the two halves of the Bible—Old Testament and New Testament—are English translations of Latin terms referring to the Old Covenant consummated in Exodus 24:8 and the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31:31 and consummated in 1 Corinthians 11:25.

Without the blood of Christ, there would have been no New Covenant and no New Testament, nor indeed the Christian faith.

Sewing said...

Daryl:

God is good. I'm a sinner.

Daryl said...

Sewing,

I know this, I know you know this.

God uses you.

Sewing said...

Instead of "consummated," I should have used "sealed" or "ratified," though the actual blood of Christ that would seal the covenant was yet to be shed.

Aaron said...

Drew: When jesus began his ministry in the Gospel of Luke, he stated his purpose, quoting Isaiah.

Sight for the blind. Freedom for the captives, proclaiming the year of God's favor.

You COULD make this about saving people from hell, but it requires some exegetical gymnastics.


Actually, if you go back to Isaiah 61 where this appears, we see that it is exactly about salvation. The context of Isaiah 61 is the declaration of redemption and salvation for those who deserve and have received judgment. It actually takes exegetical gymnastics to get any other meaning than that the Messiah comes to rescue His people from the wrath and judgment that they deserve.

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