19 October 2007

Trivial Pursuit

by Phil Johnson



ll week the blogposts here have been lighter-than usual fare. And I'm OK with that. Especially this week. I did not need a high-maintenance brouhaha in the comment-threads this week. I had several loose ends at the office to tie up, including getting the final revisions for A Tale of Two Sons inserted into the manuscript and sent back to the publisher, and a stack of other things that needed doing.

The weekend finds me in Springfield, IL, where I'm speaking at a weekend conference at Southern View Chapel, pastored by one of my very favorite writers, Gary Gilley. I also spent the morning with my longtime friend (and the world's foremost expert on the history of hyper-Calvinism), Curt Daniel. So today was a great day, but I didn't get to blog, and Friday is unofficially supposed to be my day.

So let me partially atone for that omission with a post that touches on several more or less trivial things I wouldn't otherwise bother to blog about:

  • Letitia is an occasional commenter here at PyroManiacs. She usually takes the opposing view against our critiques of Emerging shenanigans, and she attends The Journey, a church in St. Louis that's part of the Acts 29 Network. But she's always friendly and polite, and a welcome participant in our combox. She e-mailed to inform me that her church's lead pastor, Darrin Patrick, will be delivering the Fall Lecture Series for the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis tomorrow. And he'll be making use of the Po-Motivator® posters. I don't imagine that could possibly mean anything good for us. I wish I could be there. I'm only an hour away. But I have this prior commitment.
  • Facebook. Yeah, I got on Facebook to try to manage personal messages from blogreaders. Our spam filters are aggressive, and since I asked for feedback about the blogroll, I didn't want to have those messages siphoned off as spam before I saw them. So I have systematically added everyone who has asked to be my Facebook friend, whether I know you or not. (Actually, I declined one or two people whose names I recognized because in the past they have deliberately tried to be thorns in the flesh.) But I think I have dealt with every reasonable friend request and added everyone to the blogroll who met the conditions. However, I didn't notice until I'd OKed about 45 friend requests that it's possible to attach a comment to the friend request, so there may have been some blogroll info I missed. So if you requested to be on the blogroll and are qualified to be there, but I somehow haven't added you yet, message me again on Facebook, and I'll try to get you this time. Please don't send intricate theological questions or requests for detailed feedback to my Facebook page. I don't have time to use the Facebook page like that. Look at it as a personal supplement to the blog. Write graffiti on my wall, poke me, post interesting (and tasteful) pictures, videos, or whatever. I'll read whatever's there, but I just can't reply to most of it. So don't think me rude if you post the funniest joke of your life and I ignore it. Just know that I prolly thought it was pretty funny. But I'm not going to write about it.
  • Osteen. Everything I would say about the guy has already been said—except for one: I'm amazed that so little has been said about Osteen's comment near the middle of the interview, when the representative of this humanistic network news program summarized Osteen's Christless message in these very words: "To become a better you, you must be positive towards yourself, develop better relationships, embrace the place where you are. Not one mention of God in that. Not one mention of Jesus Christ in that. . . " and Osteen acknowledged that description, then replied: "That's just my message. There is scripture in there that backs it all up. But I feel like, Byron, I'm called to help people . . . how do we walk out the Christian life? How do we live it? And these are principles that can help you. I mean, there's a lot better people qualified to say, 'Here's a book that going to explain the scriptures to you.' I don't think that's my gifting." Isn't that an admission from his own lips that he doesn't fit the basic biblical qualifications to be a pastor in the first place?
  • My lawn. I forgot to mow before I left. And I have board meetings in Bradenton, FL, Monday and Tuesday before I get back home. So if you live in my neighborhood, don't look at my lawn this week. Better yet, stop by and mow it for me.

    See you next week.

    Phil's signature

  • 34 comments:

    Daniel said...

    Phil, the second facebook link isn't working for me...

    and weeeeeee I get to be the first poster!

    wfseube said...

    Phil, I was at the FSI talk in St. Louis tonight, and Patrick did indeed use your PoMotivators! Great talk...you'd have enjoyed it. He referred to you and the rest of the crew as "MacArthur's guys"...

    Sharon said...

    Phil, I clicked on the Facebook link, which directed me to http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=599285471 but I got the dreaded "page not found."

    KC said...

    Phil, great job tonight at Southern View Chapel...looking forward to hearing you speak again in the morning....yes, even the EARLY session :)

    centuri0n said...

    Eventually, I guess, Pastor Darrin's talk will show up here, as all lectures in this series have done.

    centuri0n said...

    "MacArthur's boys". If only.

    Kim said...

    Who are the dopey people wearing those shoes on your pictue?

    DJP said...

    He referred to you and the rest of the crew as "MacArthur's guys"...

    Proving, once again, that this "conversation" model doesn't actually require listening or knowing anything about the other participant(s).

    steve said...

    Better yet, stop by and mow it for me.

    Maybe a couple of TMS guys will see that and give a helping hand this weekend.

    Thanks for typing out the Osteen interview quote, Phil. That's a gem.

    Phil Johnson said...

    The Facebook link works fine for me. Could it have been a temporary problem at their Website?

    Even So... said...

    You know, Kim, I thought I recognized those shoes...

    wfseube said...

    Dan, I don't think it was meant in a demeaning/insulting way - I just think you guys are kind of "unclassifiable" :-)

    In fact, I would consider Pastor Patrick's talk last night to be critical of the theological barrenness that is part of a substantial part of the EC. He referred to the "Emerging conversational" portion of the movement as "challenging evangelical theology" and "reframing" it. I took the tenor of his comments to indicate that he wasn't too thrilled with that particular "stream" (his word). He seems very much in line with the Driscoll contingent ("emerging attractional"). He was very gracious and gentle in his descriptions of those that he didn't seem to agree with...and I'm not entirely sure that description necessarily applies to TeamPyro.

    Even So... said...

    BTW, Billy Sunday with a match over his head scares me...

    jigawatt said...

    Denny Burk blogged about Osteen's comment here.

    Sharon said...

    Phil: The Facebook link works fine for me. Could it have been a temporary problem at their Website?

    Just tried it again:
    The page you requested was not found.
    You may have clicked an expired link or mistyped the web address (some urls are case sensitive).


    Apparently, I was not foreordained to access this page!

    Stefan said...

    The Facebook link has been working for me, but only after I signed up with Facebook. In fact, even after I signed up, I think I had to search through hill and dale for "Phil Johnson" and send a friend request, because his profile page still wasn't visible to me.

    Stefan said...

    Re wfseube's first comment:

    This is what I love about this place—you name it, and someone on this blog is already on top of it.

    Considering that only the admin has anything to do with MacArthur, but also runs the Spurgeon Archive and posts the weekly Spurgeon excerpts, I like to think of TP as being more Spurgeonite than MacArthurite....

    Stefan said...

    Oh, and there's the minor fact that Phil is Spurgeon Redux! (An all-time classic.)

    DJP said...

    Yeah, if he'd said, "Those Spurgeonly guys," he might've had more of a point.

    DJP said...

    Darn, Stefan; you're reminding me of what a hole that punk has left in "the internets."

    There are other funny sites, but there's no Purgatorio.

    )c:<

    northWord said...

    Goodness Phil, quite the week/summer you've had! We really appreciate your updating here.
    Keep up the great work, and God's blessing for a needed refreshing!
    (and a mowed lawn)

    I've been trying the link also, same deal here.
    I've had a facebook acct since the DG conference had a "group" there..but haven't used it since, that place confuses me (not like that says much) anyway, I decided to forego the feigned humility I left in the other post
    and take the route that Phil was gracious enough to set up for the opportunity to be included on the TP blogroll. I'll see if I can find you in a search.

    hmm..I rather like the image of "MacArthur's Boys" - I'm seeing something on the order of Sergio Leone.. ;p

    northWord said...

    cool, the link worked for me now, (the one I left above doesn't but that's neither here nor there)

    and I thought Blogger had some eye-crossing word verifications..(I don't type like normal ppl - that is with my eyes on the page instead of the keyboard, sigh)
    .."Interment McPhereson" hahah.. -and with a line through it.

    St.Lee said...

    As to your comment on Joel Osteen (" Isn't that an admission from his own lips that he doesn't fit the basic biblical qualifications to be a pastor in the first place?") I think you are right. Problem is poor Joel is in a classic "catch 22" situation. He knows he isn't gifted as one to teach scripture, so he doesn't see any need to study it. And since he doesn't study it, he doesn't know how scripturally unqualified he is to be a pastor.

    wordsmith said...

    The Facebook profile link doesn't work for me, either. I suppose it's because I haven't been assimilated.

    Dave Crater said...

    Wfseube: "Gracious and gentle" most certainly does describe the TeamPyro guys. It's just that "firm in defense of the truth and willing to name and parody those who abandon or soft-peddle the truth" also describes them, just as it described (and describes) Jesus.

    I'd be proud to be called a "MacArthur guy." It's flattering to MacArthur to be named as an opposing leader by those who can't summon the wisdom or courage to firmly criticize the EC movement, and it's flattering to be associated with MacArthur by the same people. "MacArthur's guys" is as good a proxy as there is in our generation for "Christ's guys." The kind of solid positions MacArthur has taken over the years and the kind of solid men (like TeamPyro) that ministry has attracted are the reason MacArthur has always had to endure this kind of "emerging attractional" (whatever that means) criticism and marginalization over the decades. It's also the reason MacArthur has had such a prodigious ministry compared to these newbies who think he's a little too old-school.

    The Schaefer lectures at Covenant are, by and large, a solid activity exploring the full range of contemporary cultural and theological issues from an evangelical perspective. Last fall they did a series that was a bit more influenced by secular environmentalism than it should have been - common trend in evangelicalism - and they follow it this year with something that is clearly more influenced by the EC movement than it should be. Would have been wiser to invite people like John MacArthur or Al Mohler or R.C. Sproul to help explore the meaning of the EC movement from an evangelical standpoint than to use a platform with Francis Schaefer's name on it to help promote a version of Christian theology and praxis Schaefer undoubtedly would have found heavily compromised. Will be interesting to see where they go from here.

    Dave Crater said...

    Correction above: "Schaeffer" is spelled with two f's.

    Libbie said...

    You know, I see those shoes now, and I just think of Dr Who. I am completely without substance these days.

    BugBlaster said...

    I snapped that picture. It took me all morning to chalk up the driveway with the Pyro logo. Thank you for appreciating my art.

    separateunion said...

    "Proving, once again, that this "conversation" model doesn't actually require listening or knowing anything about the other participant(s)."

    On a message board I visit, we got into a discussion in one thread about a youtube video called "Authentic vs. Religious." This conversation, of course, led to a somewhat heated discussion on postmodernism and more importantly, EM.

    After a couple of comments that I made, the EMer claimed I knew nothing about EM, so I asked her to explain it to me. I had also said that someone commented on the video asking if the group that made it was Mormon. I claimed that if we are promoting Christianity in such a way that it is being confu8sed with other religions, we should step back and re-evaluate our method.

    The EMer of the thread (who told me she was going to school for Postmodern Theology and Studies) insulted the youtube thread, saying "that person is just ignorant and lots of other people are too." She then told me about how I would "learn these things when I got to college" not realizing that I am 24 and have spent 4 years in college. To top it all of, she couldn't even explain EM to me beyond "conversations" and "social awareness."

    Any requests to clearly state what the goal of EM was met by "we're not a separate denomination", "we're not going against the church" and "there is a language barrier that prevents me to be able to clearly explain EM."

    SolaMeanie said...

    Phil,

    I guess I am almost at the point where nothing Osteen does or says surprises me. These guys almost make me zone out after a while. I just wish he'd quit pastoring and go build Carnegie Libraries. Why libraries? Jimmy Carter has the corner on building houses, and building a library might actually force Osteen to learn something.

    Dan,

    "Spurgeonly?" I wonder if there's a phonetic way I can somehow merge that with "curmudgeonly?" Maybe "Spurmudgeonly?"

    Wfseube,

    The guys here are as gracious as the day is long. They just have little tolerance for snake oil disguised as Christianity. Just think of the chorus to Nick Lowe's old song, "Cruel to be Kind." In the right measure.

    Okay, they're not cruel either. But it gave me a chance to hawk another old song lyric. Besides, I'm the mean one around here.

    wfseube said...

    Oops - I did a REAL poor job in phrasing my comment from this morning. I absolutely did NOT, repeat NOT mean to imply that TeamPyro guys are not "gracious and gentle." I deeply apologize if that's the way it read. It was the "those that he didn't seem to agree with" part I was referring to. Man, my writing really stunk on that one...I meant that he would probably agree with much that Phil & co. have to say.

    The FSI lecture was outstanding. Patrick did a wonderful job in describing - and critiquing - the Emerging Church. He did it in a way that wasn't harsh or mean. I actually listened very hard to hear things I would disagree with, and I couldn't find a thing that he said that I had a problem with.

    Again - sorry about my abysmal grammar.

    Stefan said...

    Bugblaster: Good job! ;)

    The Doulos said...

    Phil, re: the lawn - I can give my son at TMC a call and maybe he and his buds from Oak Manor will take your lawn on as a missions project this afternoon.

    An interesting side note re: Covenant Seminary - I am leading a computer project at work and hired a consultant, who is a graduate from Covenant with a masters in theology. We have great discussions. Oh yeah, he's pretty sharp computer-wise too.

    Timotheos said...

    Really enjoyed the conference, Phil. It was great to meet you and Darlene. I look forward to downloading the Sunday message.