02 January 2008

Weary of One-Way "Conversation"

by Phil Johnson

NOTE: From time to time we pull classic comments from an old thread's combox (or fish them up out of some other blog's meta). The text in the shaded box below is one of those. It's an amalgamation of two comments I wrote on the same day. Aside from splicing the two comments together, I've left the basic substance of my original remarks unchanged from the original.




he main substance of today's entry is something I originally wrote in 2006 in the comments section of another blog. A writer on that blog had complained that my criticism of the "Emerging Conversation" was insufficiently nuanced and unnecessarily nitpicky. He seemed to be suggesting that there are more good influences than harmful ones in the broad world of Emerging religion.

My reply deals with a topic I've thought about a lot recently, especially given the almost total lack of serious engagement we get from the Emerging fringe of the evangelical community. For the most part, Emergents and post-evangelicals don't really seem to care what our perspective is (unless we're doing parody at their expense). Nothing in my two-and-a-half -year experience in the blogosphere has given me any reason to think any of those who talk the most about "conversation" are really interested in having a serious one with anyone who is more certain about eternal truths than they are.

I've said before that the rules of postmodern engagement are fixed to make genuinely serious conversation about truly vital matters well-nigh impossible. People with solid convictions on any of several really weighty biblical truths are simply not welcome at the table.

Here's my perspective on the "conversation," including a brief summary of why I think it's a bad idea in the first place to think serious heresy should ever be answered by collegial dialogue. My view hasn't changed significantly since I wrote this comment more than a year ago:

You wrote: "My main point here is that it’s not helpful to point at heretics in the conversation and therefore stop engaging in it."

I'll be candid. That's where I think we don't quite see eye to eye. The problem with the Emerging conversation is not that a handful of heretics are trying to horn in on an otherwise fruitful and beneficial conversation, but that people with unorthodox doctrinal agendas commandeered the "conversation" almost from the get-go.

It's not realistic to imagine that any amount of "friendly persuasion" is going to make a change in the direction of the larger movement. There's a reason hospitals don't try to cure infectious diseases by unleashing healthy people among those who are already sick. Heresy, like infection, always works the other way around. (I don't know of an unorthodox movement in the history of Christianity that has ever gradually come around to orthodoxy through friendly dialogue with—or subtle infiltration by—sounder minds.)

I see absolutely no warrant and no apostolic example for engaging in friendly conversation with heretical teachers. Second Timothy 2:23-26 tells shepherds how to deal with wayward sheep. That is not a recipe for how to handle wolves in sheep's clothing.

On the contrary, it seems to me that there are lots of explicit commands forbidding us to cultivate partnerships, friendly relationships, or even academic comradeships with the purveyors of rank heresy. "Receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 10-11).

A friendly dialogue with Kimball or Driscoll on an individual basis is one thing. The idea of joining the whole wide-ranging "Emergent Conversation" is quite another. Such a strategy strikes me as abominable. As a matter of fact, my first bit of advice to Driscoll in any private dialogue would likely be a direct quotation from 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 and a passionate plea for him to take the command in verse 17 very seriously.

That would likewise be the heart of any message I think might truly and constructively "encourage the masses [in the Emerging mainstream] toward historical-orthodox Christianity."

Do I sound like a hard-core fundie? Well, here's my assessment of that: dialogue with some of the more thoughtful old-line fundamentalists would probably be a thousand times more fruitful for mainstream evangelicals than playing footsie with postmodern fads. For every positive thing we "can learn from" the Emerging subculture, evangelical give-and-take with postmodernized religion would expose us to a thousand deadly pitfalls. On the other hand, I think there are still a few sensible fundamentalists out there who remember some important biblical truths evangelicalism as a movement has stupidly discarded—beginning with the biblical mandates for holiness and separation from evil influences.

As far as the Emerging/Emergent mess is concerned, I'd rather be a voice from outside the movement itself. It seems to me church history shows a pretty consistent pattern on this: people who try to remain in an aberrant movement or a mixed multitude in order to be an "influence" ultimately have less influence than those who stand outside and try to minister appropriately to those still on the inside—distinguishing as carefully as possible between the convinced and the merely confused. See Jude 21-23.


Phil's signature


152 comments:

Colin Adams said...

Phil,

I'm surprised you haven't changed your post on the Mark Driscoll front. Mark seems to have very little personal contact with the Emerging church's major players and has said so publicly. As far as I know, the little that he has done is engage with some of their views in Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches. But then, isn't that (at least in part) what MacArthur has done in his excellent book, "the Truth War"?

Ask those within the movement whether they perceive Driscoll to be on the 'inside' or 'outside', and I'm sure they will say the latter. In fact, it appears that Driscoll is spending most of his time convince those on the outside to stay there.

Am I missing something?

Lori said...

Phil,
You are implying in this post that Mark Driscoll holds to unorthodox doctrine. I have never heard a hint of this and his participation in the Gospel Coalition convinces me otherwise. I think he has been very helpful in pointing out the doctrinal problems of the Emergent movement.

Johnny Dialectic said...

"...dialogue with some of the more thoughtful old-line fundamentalists would probably be a thousand times more fruitful for mainstream evangelicals than playing footsie with postmodern fads."

Which is why I constantly turn to men like Torrey and Morgan for substance, and find it. EC preaching seems to me to be 90% anecdotal, geared for a "like me" laugh, or a "see, I'm cool" nod. The 10% that even mentions Biblical texts mostly misses the substance and power (but what can you expect when "inerrancy is not where we are going to land the plane"?)

DJP said...

I'll be Phil's opening act, for him to revise, correct, or whatever later.

I think Phil's sole concern about Driscoll (in this post) is that Driscoll still identifies himself with the Emerg*** movement.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

This is spooky. I've been having the same thoughts as you Phil, albeit unarticulated and just swirling around in raw form in the depths of my soul.

And then blam! I do my daily blog check and find on TeamPyro your most excellent and timely thoughts on the things that have troubled me too! Like I said, spooky. Or maybe the word is providential.

Whatever it is, I'm immensely grateful. There are so many gold nuggets in your essay, but here's my favorites:

It's not realistic to imagine that any amount of "friendly persuasion" is going to make a change in the direction of the larger movement.

I see absolutely no warrant and no apostolic example for engaging in friendly conversation with heretical teachers.

On the contrary, it seems to me that there are lots of explicit commands forbidding us to cultivate partnerships, friendly relationships, or even academic comradeships with the purveyors of rank heresy.

Carla Rolfe said...

Phil, you wrote:

"People with solid convictions on any of several really weighty biblical truths are simply not welcome at the table."

I couldn't agree more. I became weary of this disingenuous "conversation" a long time ago for this very reason, and essentially gave up trying.

pastorbrianculver said...

What I have been seeing is all too clear in the motivation of some of the commentators. Their sole goal is to basically "pick a fight." I have experienced people who will not answer questions when posed to them. They come into your blog and attack you with "you're a liar, you are misleading people, you are taking things out of context, etc." But they don't back it up with Scripture. Thank you pyro for posting and answering your critics the way you do. Faithfully, honestly and with a heartfelt desire to see people repent of their sins. Keep up the good work! God bless

DJP said...

Now that is a characteristic that is troublingly shared by every cult, isn't it, Brian? Well, except Jehovah's Witnesses (in my experience): relatively speaking, they are the most honest cult around! They don't try to say they're like everyone else; they're proud of their (damning) differences.

But try talking to a Mormon or a Roman Catholic, and even if you literally quote chapter and verse, you're always told that you misunderstand, or are misrepresenting their doctrine.

With the EC, this is a recurrent theme. They love and trumpet their "diversity," but (or because?) it's that very diversity that makes it critique-resistant. Try to nail down one blop of EC Jello, and another blop says "I'm not that way!"

This is why I think that Phil — again, speaking as his unauthorized spokesman — keeps focusing on that very point: where are the edges? What defines the movement? If its lack of definition is its definition, then that's a bad thing, and not a good thing.

centuri0n said...

I just read what DJP said here, and there's something somewhat-disorienting happening in Emerg*** circles which I have to admit I don't understand.

Of the three of us, I'm probably the only one who would admit in public that I'm a fan of Mark Driscoll, and I am also a fan of the now-anathematized (by the Missouri Baptists) Darrin Patrick. I know that doesn't win me any awards with a lot of people, but just listen for a minute.

Now, that said, in the last 6 months or so, both Driscoll and Patrick have taken time to publicly and clearly paint a set of black lines on the map of Emerg*** in which they say there are poseurs, there are doctrinal trouble-makers, and there are some who are interested in reaching a culture with the orthodox Gospel using the cultural medium that exists to do so. So in essence, they have "called out" all the things and people who they say are going the wrong way -- both on the lazy fad side, and on the angry radial side which is willing to admit it doesn't want anything to do with historical orthodoxy.

Here's the part I don't understand: as I have listened to these two guys give their versions of the history of Emerg***, they are optimizing their relationship with these people in spite of saying flatly they reject their mistakes.

Why? Anyone have a theory about that?

Hayden said...

Lori,

I like much of what Driscoll has to say, so this is not coming from someone that dislikes him. You missed the point of what Phil is saying. He in no way implied anything about Mark Driscoll's doctrine. (Go back and read it again) Phil has repeatedly said 'nice things' about Mark Driscoll's doctrine here.

Colin,

Yes and no on the Driscoll separating from the Emerging front.

Yes, He did a great job explaining where he is at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I really appreciate it!

No, in that he has not made the total break from the Emergent/ing criticism of the church. I do think he has progressed far in this area though. Much further than 2 years ago. :)

DJP said...

Frank — Oh, no, you're not alone. I'll say that most of what I've read and heard from Driscoll, I've appreciated very much. I think Driscoll's growing, and that in itself is really remarkable: how many men continue to grow in the right direction after they've achieved the degree of success that Driscoll has achieved?

Caveat: I'm sure I've not listened to nor read as much as you had Phil have.

Phil Johnson said...

Centuri0n:

Exactly.

DJP:

Ditto.

wordsmith said...

my criticism of the "Emerging Conversation" was insufficiently nuanced and unnecessarily nitpicky.

The thing I'm wondering is how one can be "sufficiently nuanced" while simultaneously avoiding being "unnecessarily nitpicky." I bet there are no helpful explanations of this distinction from the critics, either.

Lori said...

Driscoll very publicly denounced McLaren, Bell, and Pagitt at that Convergent Conference in September. Listen to the audio if you want to hear it for yourself. The Gospel Coalition pastors (Piper,Carson,Keller,and many others-look at the list on their site) are willing to include him in their conversation.

stratagem said...

Here's the part I don't understand: as I have listened to these two guys give their versions of the history of Emerg***, they are optimizing their relationship with these people in spite of saying flatly they reject their mistakes.

Why? Anyone have a theory about that?


I do. These two guys fail to recognize that it's the leaders of Emerg*** that are the "poseurs and doctrinal trouble-makers" cabal, not some fringe element. As long as those steering the ship are heretics (and they are), you are going with them and had best get off the ship altogether. Driscoll probably imagines that with his celebrity and former 'cussing pastor' identity, he is the one man who can wrest the helm away from McLaren, Pagitt and Jones. It is a delusion of grandeur.

I like the words Driscoll says, as you do, but whenever I listen to him I hear a lot of pride coming through. Still. I think he is swimming with the sharks.

Lori said...

In what way is Driscoll still on the Emergent ship? He got off it as soon as he saw where those guys were going doctrinally (several years ago). And who are the "sharks" he is swimming with now? Please substantiate.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Cent: "Here's the part I don't understand: as I have listened to these two guys give their versions of the history of Emerg***, they are optimizing their relationship with these people in spite of saying flatly they reject their mistakes. Why? Anyone have a theory about that?"

That's a great question, and I do have a theory. There seems to be a jostling for position on who will be the "voice" for the next generation. In marketing, it's called differentiation. They are trying to reach the same group, but see there are others doing the same thing, the same way.

So, differentiate. So as to become the market leader in a particular niche. There can only be one true market leader. McLaren started out that way, but his product seems to be slipping, so there's an opening for the next wave.

Not that this is done with impure motives, BTW. But it is done intentionally, I think. And what happens is that it affects the preaching, which is done primarily with differentiation in mind.

The main flaw I see in the preaching of most ECs is that the preaching event becomes mostly about the preacher. Style, humor, coolness, stories, look at me.

In the seeker model, the focus is on the soft serve message, which ever remains soft.

In the model I think most here champion, the focus of the preaching is the Word of God.

For example, I cannot ever imagine (cannot even begin to visualize) John McArthur preaching in an anecdotal, look-at-me, like-me style. It's never about "me" with his preaching, always about the Word.

Preson said...

Wow, now we're abominable. That puts us right up there with the tax collectors and the gays (said with a southern drawl). ;)

DJP said...

The repentant ones (who followed Him)?

Or the unrepentant ones (who yelled "Crucify Him!")?

The fruits will give the answer.

Mike Riccardi said...

Johnny, I think you made some great points. I don't really have anything to add. I just wanted to encourage people to read what you wrote again.

stratagem said...

In what way is Driscoll still on the Emergent ship? He got off it as soon as he saw where those guys were going doctrinally (several years ago).

He may have gotten off, but he keeps landing on the heliport every now and then, by engaging himself with the big names of Emerg***. One wonders why, in light of the fact that someone not in the know might hear his sound preaching, and wrongly assume that if MD is hob-nobbing with the Emerg*** luminaries, then this must mean that attending an Emerg*** church is also A-OK. Or, they may wrongly assume that because MD can swim with these sharks and not be consumed (yet), then they can do so, as well. Yet, sharks (or wolves, if you prefer)are deceptive and their arguments are clever to those new to or weak in the Word.

Naturally, this same argument also applies to Kimball, even more so.

And who are the "sharks" he is swimming with now? Please substantiate.
I covered this above. Basically insert the name of anyone who has identified themselves as being an Emerg*** teacher. Add the names of a few who insist they aren't Emerg***, but really are (like Bell).

SolaMeanie said...

Between Doug Pagitt and Preson, I don't know if I can handle any more "wows." In fact, I am beginning to think this could well become an iconic EC anthem album.

Doug said...

I am of the belief that Driscoll burned any bridges he had to the leadership of the Emerging movement with his Convergent keynote in September. As such, I don't think he is in any way still "swimming with the sharks" of the EC movement. That said, I also believe he is very well positioned to be the voice that proclaims an orthodox gospel to the sheep who are following Pagett, McLaren, etc. And I, too, have been very encouraged to see his continued growth over the last couple of years. His boldness coupled with an orthodox gospel can be a powerful tool in the hand of God for the battle against the Emergent, heretical gospel. I pray for him.

stratagem said...

Maybe he did burn his bridges. If so, that is probably good. I do wonder if he should be a teacher, or rather a student, though?

Mike Riccardi said...

Sola, I think track 7 on that album could be their entrance music.

Stratagem, I tend to agree with you about that.

Sled Dog said...

Re: Driscoll

Didn't Jesus get accused of eating and drinking and engaging sinners?

To reach others, we have to be in the world but not of it.

If Mark sticks to his theological guns, I don't think it matters which conference he speaks at.

He's simply fulfilling the call of Matthew 5:13-16.

If this comment had a soundtrack, it would be playing Steve Taylor's "Guilty by Association"rtr

Sled Dog said...

My guess (or hope) is that Mark feels there is some value of someone being a part of these crazy emergent gatherings and being the voice of orthodoxy. In time he may sense it's not worth it and stop. But if the guy is willing to go into the fire and straighten out some whack thinking, then more power to him.


Maybe we should pray for him rather than just accuse him of not running with the RC (religiously correct) crowd...

donsands said...

Good teaching.

It's a difficult thing to know when to shake the dust off. I told my brother Benny Hinn was a phoney, and he loves this guy. I actually didn't have to dust my feet off, he simply thinks I'm being tricked by the devil. Yet he is my brother, and I would love to see him.

But the Scriptures are clear. Here's one more: "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." 2 Tim 3:5
These are people who love themselves and pleasure, and think it's a good healthy thing God wants us to do, instead of denying ourselves and repenting of loving themselves.

I like Mark Driscoll. He has qualities that I lack, and that I can glean from. And Kimball as well.

The starting point for us all is the common ground of the Holy Scriptures. Do you love God's truth? Do you tremble at His Word? And do you love Christ? I mean really love Him? Then feed His sheep.

Doug said...

stragem: Every pastor was once a young pastor, with the wayward steps to prove it. If that disqualifies one from being a teacher, we better all be hoping for more grace. I'll defend any man who is preaching a pure gospel with a pure heart if he, whether from inexperience or some similar reason, associates himself for a time with someone who later turns out to be a false teacher, so long as he, in humility, disassociates himself from that false teacher in due time. The EC crowd are not exactly forthcoming about their doctrines, so it's not like there was a doctrinal statement that Driscoll (or anyone else, for that matter) could review for compatibility with his own beliefs.
Thank God I'm not forever disqualified from teaching, though I'm not a pastor, because of things I may have said as a younger man from pure motives, but which I now would regard as false.

SolaMeanie said...

Sled Dog,

My concern about this kind of hobknobbing is that it seldom leads to a strengthening of orthodoxy. If anything, hobknobbing with liberals and heretics in the interest of "dialogue" usually only ends up with the conservative position being watered down. How many previously solid theological schools have gone to seed because of this very thing? "Academic freedom," you know.

Sigh.

Sled Dog said...

Mark's attitude may be something like, "Dudes, if you wanna invite me and pay me to speak at your wacky gigs, cool with me. Just know I'm sharing my orthodox views."

I wonder if it will be the ECers who finally stop asking Mark to come because they don't like his message.

Sled Dog said...

One last thought...it's the sick who need a doctor, not the well.

I guess I just like the fact that Mark is willing to be a friend to the spiritually confused and speak to them about wellness.

chicagolandmark said...

Excellent post, Phil.

I would like to comment on the following:

For the most part, Emergents and post-evangelicals don't really seem to care what our perspective is (unless we're doing parody at their expense). Nothing in my two-and-a-half -year experience in the blogosphere has given me any reason to think any of those who talk the most about "conversation" are really interested in having a serious one with anyone who is more certain about eternal truths than they are.

It must be so that emergents and post-evangelicals don't really seem to care what our perspective is. It's unavoidable. Our very natures are foreign to each other. While those of us who have been redeemed by God from the dead, and given spiritual life (and eyes and ears) can reflect upon our estates before conversion, it is a rank impossibility for the unconverted to be reciprocal in this matter. They cannot understand the hearts and minds of those who are being sanctified. This, on their part, is not a matter of indifference, but rather, quite simply, a matter of fact. Honestly, were I to find myself in a conversation with someone who spoke in Mandarin Chinese it wouldn't be long before I myself wouldn't seem to care what that person was saying...and understandably so, as I've no familiarity with, nor understanding of, the Mandarin Chinese language. I think this analogy comes close to the bulls-eye for an emergent/post-ev vis-a-vis a saint.

It is not enough that we communicate with the pomo set in the english language. Our worldviews are so diametrically opposed that while the language indeed sounds common, it is anything but. Schaeffer identified this quite elegantly in his discussions of the use of "connotation words". It was true in regard to liberal theology, as well as neo-orthodox theology, and is no less true for today's viral strains of postmodern dingbatitis. We converse about heaven, hell, salvation, sin, etc., yet the meaning...the content...of those words are completely different on each side of the "conversation". We should never expect the pomos to care about our perspective...they don't share it, nor can they even conceive of it.

I realize that you fully understand all of these things, and it wasn't my intention to be so didactic...just thinking aloud really...if only to order my thoughts for my own edification. I too, have grown weary of the "one-way conversation", and the "emergent conversation" in general. I guess that I have also wearied of saints expecting some form of belief or behavior to be forthcoming from apostates, heretics, and unbelievers that would be inconsistent with their natures.

I am in complete agreement with you that the appropriate place for a saint is outside of the conversation. Exposing the errors of those within the conversation (for the edification of the saints; and warning to the lost), preaching the Word to them unapologetically, and praying for their souls is our rightful place and duty. I've found you and Team Pyro to excel in such and urge you to carry-on. Your work is much appreciated.

stratagem said...

stratagem: Every pastor was once a young pastor, with the wayward steps to prove it. If that disqualifies one from being a teacher, we better all be hoping for more grace.

True - but you've erected a flawed strawman in this case. Driscoll is not just a young pastor, but the pastor of tens of thousands, housed in several campuses in a major city. And just because someone has the marketing skills to grow a megachurch, does not means they necessarily have the skills to be a faithful Bible teacher to the multitudes.

Driscoll is a clear case where we are judging him by a low standard, simply because he's associated with a movement where any concession to orthodoxy is s surprising relief to our ears. OTOH, if John MacArthur came out and said some of the things Driscoll has said, we'd be on him like hair on a gorilla, wondering what had gotten into him.

I like what Driscoll said at the Convergent conference. However, if you recall, a lot of it was about how to market the church and make it fit the busy schedules of urbanites (nothing wrong with that), not a lot was about Bible teaching. I think I have a balanced view of him; he's definitely a brother in the Lord, definitely a original thinker, but i also question whether he's seasoned enough to be in charge of what he's in charge of. At one time, I used to assume that if a pastor was in charge of a large church, then God must've felt he could handle it. I have now experienced enough things and seen enough Joel Osteens to know that this is not always a good assumption.

Paul said...

No one disputes the fact that Jesus ate with sinners (we should all be thankful). However, we need not take an eraser to biblical references the post makes in regards to separation. We are called to practice discernment and follow the examples of both situations.

centuri0n said...

Sled Dog:

You have missed the point of my comment a bit broadly.

The question is not, "should we seek out sinners for the sake of the Gospel?" The question is, "do we call those who are openly treading on the Gospel the same way we treat those who need it but don't know it?"

That is: shouldn't we want there to be a difference between how we treat Demas and how we treat the woman caught in adultery?

Sled Dog said...

Cent,

If Mark didn't call these guys out I would think differently. In all honesty, I think brother Dan Kimball should be a bit firmer in his repudiation of some of the emergent nonsense.

But Mark has not flinched from taking a strong stand on orthodox positions. His words at the DG conference a year or so were clear as could be.

I just can't believe they haven't told Mark to take a flying leap.

The church has to have some prophet types who cross over lines and do things a bit messy like.

Drew said...

I am surprised that you have yet to find a good conversation partner. I will give you most of my Friday, and allow you to establish the "rules," if you would like to make an attempt.

Of course, I cannot speak for all emergents, but I will be honest and open about what this one emergent pastor believes, and do so in plain English, careful to define my terms when they are used in a way that might not be obvious.

My only request is that the conversation be with one person at a time--other times I have attempted conversation on this blog I have been pulled in a few directions at once, and that made it tough for me to handle.

I do care what your perspective is--which is one of the reasons that I read the blog.

Anyway, you set the rules, and after I read them I will most likely agree to them, and then I will stick to them throughout the dialog.

stratagem said...

2 Cor 6:17 alert! Danger, Will Robinson!

Blank Slate said...

MD just finished a series of sermons on Phillipians - "A Rebels Guide to ______" One of the sermons was on Humility and he said alot of things about him needing it and about his attitude early in his ministry, it was very humbling in my humble opinion... Check it out for yourself at his church's site Marshillchurch.org

Sled Dog said...

I'm just hoping that Mark powers ahead based on because of a sense of conviction of the HS and the Word, rather than feel like he must identify with a certain group to be accepted.

Warning: Mini Rant


I don't identify with the Emergent crowd at all, but I think one of my complaints about "established church" is that it seems to have very little room for the leading of God. I'm sorry but we American Christians are really lame. As much as we would like to think we are separated, we are conformed to the world in a multitude of ways. Consumer driven and safety conscious, we take few risks for the sake of the kingdom of God. Our minds are full of spiritual information but our hands are clean because we over-emphasize separation.

Rant Off

Hey Mark, Dan's ventured in here a few times to explain himself...it would be great if you'd offer your perspective!

centuri0n said...

Sled Dog:

Compare Pastor Driscoll's rhetoric toward the emerg***s to Paul's rhetoric toward the Judaisers.

That is exactly what we are talking about.

SolaMeanie said...

. . . a movement where any concession to orthodoxy is s surprising relief to our ears.

That statement by Strategem ought to be framed in neon lights. It is precisely what we need to watch in ourselves as we encounter the theology and yes, dialogue, of this movement. Think dialectic process and you'll see what I mean. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Then we begin all over again.

Doug said...

True - but you've erected a flawed strawman in this case. Driscoll is not just a young pastor, but the pastor of tens of thousands, housed in several campuses in a major city. And just because someone has the marketing skills to grow a megachurch, does not means they necessarily have the skills to be a faithful Bible teacher to the multitudes.

Driscoll is a clear case where we are judging him by a low standard, simply because he's associated with a movement where any concession to orthodoxy is s surprising relief to our ears.


Thank you for buttressing my argument. I know that I don't want the gig of pastor to tens of thousands, that I'm not up to the task, and that I'm not going to throw rocks (literal or rhetorical) at a man who is faithfully preaching a saving gospel to that multitude.

You may be judging Driscoll by some lower, more charitable standard than you would usually use, but I am not. I am extending him the same grace I would offer to any mortal who has grabbed the horns and taken on the burden of shepherding. And I cannot wait to see what works God performs through Mark's humble (yes, I think he is fast becoming a humble man of God, if he's not already - something I could not have said a year ago) availability and his sometimes astounding boldness.

To lump Driscoll in a pile with Osteen is just way over the top - you know better.

stratagem said...

To lump Driscoll in a pile with Osteen is just way over the top - you know better.

Right - that's why I didn't do that. (You should actually read, rather than skim, what I've written).

I was saying that Osteen illustrates why I don't assume that everyone who is in charge of a large church, is God-appointed to be in charge of a large church.

As rapidly as Driscoll has changed his stripes (admittedly, for the better, at the moment), it betrays a certain instability that, in my opinion, suggests he should be mentored, rather than mentoring, the faithful. Perfectly fine if you don't agree.

Lori said...

strategem,
What makes you think that Driscoll has "rapidly" changed his stripes? Have you listened to his account of when and why he parted ways with what is now called "emergent"? It is information that has been on the internet for a long time. You can also listen to sermons and conference messages going back several years. Perhaps you are more informed than I realize but it seems many people make statements about Driscoll based on second-hand information.

J.T.Darr said...

Phil, I completely agree. When Emergents want to argue, most get ready for a fight that will not be productive, e.g. the conversation with Todd Friel and Doug Paggit.

Drew said...

offer still stands. You make the rules for the conversation and then we have the conversation, and then you can stop complaining that emergents won't play nice.

stratagem said...

What makes you think that Driscoll has "rapidly" changed his stripes? Have you listened to his account of when and why he parted ways with what is now called "emergent"?

Yes, he gave a pretty good summary of this at the conference. Listen, I give the man credit for realizing that he was on the wrong boat, with the wrong partners, and he has for the most part gotten off of it for the sake of being true to our Lord. There is a night/day difference between Mark and BMcL, for instance; Driscoll is admirable in many ways, he holds to solid doctrine, he is most definitely a brother in the Lord; most of the other pomo leaders are wolves wearing wool.

However, it does seem like there is some part of the Emerg*** genre that he is still wanting to cling to. Maybe it is the draw that the big-names provide. Maybe he fears that since he is most famous for being "Mark who used to be Emergent but isn't anymore", once that association truly fades he will be regarded as some obscure unknown fuddy-duddy. Maybe he feels there is some hope of snatching McL and Bell followers out of the fire (hope so). Who really can say?

Anyway, whether he has changed rapidly or slowly, is irrelevant. He has changed alot, though: A short time ago he was considered Emerg***, now he isn't. A short time ago he was known as the cussing pastor, now he isn't. All this (in my opinion) suggests immaturity, and immaturity (even though diminishing) is not a qualification for discipling tens of thousands. I would think that would be fairly apparent to the point of being a tautology. That's the way I see it, anyway.

Rhology said...

Drew,


Given that you've already told us that your epistemology is self-refuting, can you give assurances that anythg you say would be useful?

How would it be useful?

Peace,
Rhology

Drew said...

I really don't think you will find it useful at all. I expect you to dismiss it before we even start.

But according to this post, I can't even have a conversation. I can't engage seriously. I don't care what you have to say.

Listen to this (I hope) hyperbole:

Nothing in my two-and-a-half -year experience in the blogosphere has given me any reason to think any of those who talk the most about "conversation" are really interested in having a serious one with anyone who is more certain about eternal truths than they are.


All I am saying is, here I am. I am serious.

SolaMeanie said...

In 1968, Elvis recorded a song called "A Little Less Conversation."

Yeah. I'm liking it. ;)

Tim Brown said...

I'm getting to the point at my blog where if the comment has any odor of sarcasm to it, I just refuse it.

I've been "bit" twice by those who would swagger in, put their feet up on my "coffee table", then begin dictating the terms of the conversation. It is infantile.

I've gained new respect for one of the rules at TeamPyro, which is "don't expect me to mud wrestle with you on my own blog".

When you won't be tricked into a rabbit-chase, they don't like it.

They need to grow up!

rags said...

Drew,

It's true that you have engaged plenty, but I think you're missing Phil's point. Unless I have my facts wrong you are not a 'leader' in the conversation nor are you one of it's prominant authors/speakers. Often when one speaks about the engagement of a movement they are refering to the recognized leaders of the movement, not a single individual(s) who is willing to engage. And for that I do applaud you.

centuri0n said...

Tim Brown:

That's hillarious.

Here's what I undersand you to be saying -- when the three of us at TeamPyro don't want to answer a question, we simply snark at it and toss out a diverting question.

I offer you the opportunity to substantiate that with two examples by way of links to the place where they happened. If you can't do that, your point becomes somewhat obscured by its lack of particular evidence.

Have at it.

centuri0n said...

Drew:

I run a little joint called the DebateBlog, and the rules of engagement there are clear.

Here's the topic I propose we discuss:

In the Christian life, right doctrine cannot be separated from right action; the former is necessary for the latter.

You can visit the D-Blog for my e-mail address to accept. I'd be willing to defend this thesis. I'd also be willing to hear any other theses you'd like to reproach or defend as topics.

Just to be clear, my rules of engagement with your would be [1] the general rules of D-Blog, plus [2] a necessarily-limited topic upon which to engage.

Think about it.

Drew said...

With all due respect, TeamPyro are not leaders of any movement, either, nor are they prominent authors/speakers.

And again, he didn't complained that "leaders" won't have a serious conversation with them. He said, that nobody in the emergent blogosphere would.

Tim Brown said...

Centurion:

No No No!

My comment was about the futility I've found in trying to discuss an issue with those in many of the contemporary movements.

My statement "They need to grow up" was the "They" of the emergent / PD / Seeker camp who simply want to debate.

I've adopted the "No mud wrestling" rule at my own blog for that reason...

Does that clarify things?

Drew said...

Sounds compelling. I will probably say yes. Let me go look at debate blog.

Rhology said...

Drew,

I expect you to dismiss it before we even start.

You should, b/c you have caused me to. Self-refuting epistemologies can't be held to.
It just makes me wonder why you keep on holding to it.

Another suggested topic for the Debate Blog:
"A self-refuting epistemology is practical for living."

Peace,
Rhology

PuritanReformed said...

Drew,

if by serious you mean the type of conversation we had over in the previous Pyro post on A Certain Uncertainty, then may I suggest that you think about what it takes for a conversation to be one-sided? ISTM that conversation with you is futile, insofar as you refuse to listen to what we are saying. Hear yes, listen no. I'll pray that God will open your eyes to see the Truth.

Drew said...

Rho. I would not argue in favor of that position, but I would argue:

Total depravity, extending to every part of a person's being, prevents any person from having a completely dependable epistemology, until the Kingdom comes in its fullness.

But that will have to wait. Centurion comes first. I want to be true to my word and do as good a job as I can listening to him.

pastorbrianculver said...

I was going to step in for you Tim. I knew what you meant to say.

SolaMeanie said...

Drew,

"Not prominent authors/speakers?" Maybe you should attend the Shepherd's Conference where Phil speaks every year. To more than a living room full.

Also, you mention the idea of total depravity affecting our epistemology. Nice try. That gets thrown up quite often by the EC crowd. Will you stretch that out to say that total depravity prevents the Holy Spirit from making His revelation known and understandable, especially to the regenerate?

Tim Brown said...

Thanks Brian!

Centurion:

I think what triggered your response was my statement about those who "dictate the terms of the conversation".

I was referring to the emergent / PDL camp. The dodging, redefining on the fly and all that. "Terms of conversation" being "throw out logic and evidence and accept ambiguity".

There. That should cover it.

I'm off to remove the friendly fire from my hinder parts....

S.J. Walker said...

solameanie,

"Also, you mention the idea of total depravity affecting our epistemology. Nice try. "

Word

S.J. Walker said...

Tim Brown,

Don't worry, I think you just got a shot across the bow. Shouldn't be life threatening. You made a very good point. I aslo think it a good rule to adopt and abide by even when not in force elsewhere. I am guilty of that myself.

S.J. Walker said...

every body like the new pic? That was Grandpa in the thirties. He da man.

SolaMeanie said...

S.J...

"Word?" I'm dense today. What's that mean?

Drew said...

Solameanie: Of course, the answer is "no."

But we've had this conversation, and I'm not having it now. As I said. Maybe, if you want, after the debate blog discussion.

Tim Brown said...

S.J.

Thank you. I hate it when I am misunderstood, especially when it's because I missed a nuance somewhere. I pride myself on being able to make a point clearly.

This time, it's especially true because this morning I posted a reference to this article at my blog.

I'm so supportive of TeamPyro and very thankful for their presence in the blogosphere.

Thanks again, S.J. I hope Centurion sees my reply.

S.J. Walker said...

I wouldn't worry Tim. You were just misunderstood. I actually say really stupid stuff, and these guys are gracious.

solameanie, I have no idea either, that comment didn't get finished, but I don't know where I was going at the time. Doh!

either way, I would say "Ha! Well put!" (and you have to say that like the guy in Fiddler on the roof).

There's an arrow on my hat that points down and says "I'm with stupid". Explain anything?

God Bless

Phil Johnson said...

I'm sorry I haven't been able to participate in this thread much. I'm tied up with first-of-the-year details at work and whatnot.

To be clear, I wouldn't necessarily expect or demand that "leaders" in the Emerging Conversation should participate here. I know what it's like to be busy.

What I am saying is that the Emerging/Emergent/postmodernists who do comment here from time to time (both "leaders" and peons in the movement) usually don't seem to want serious conversation. That goes for Drew. His earlier participation here has often consisted of drive-by commenting, and I don't see him always seriously interacting with people who have serious objections to his points of view. I'll give him full marks for persistence, though, and it would be nice to see him take the conversation to a slightly more serious level. So thanks for your offer, Drew. We'll do our best to engage you.

I should mention the exceptions to the trend I'm pointing out. Dan Kimball has given us some serious feedback, and he's also a leading voice in the convo, so we need to acknowledge that. There have been others from time to time.

But those are the exceptions, not the rule. Hundreds of people came to harangue us about the PoMotivators®, and not one ever answered the point I kept making about how those posters came at the end of a series of several very detailed and dispassionate posts critically analyzing Scot McKnight's overview of the Emergent landscape. Almost no one has seriously engaged any of those posts, even to this day.

So the ratio of people who SAY they want a conversation to the number who really do seem keen to interact is seriously skewed, and while there are occasional exceptions to the rule, it remains a significant problem with Emerging/Emergent aficionados. They clearly are not as serious as they want us to believe.

On the more significant point, which I highlighted with large type (to wit: the suggestion that dialogue with serious fundies might be a better exercise for evangelicals who have lost their way than chasing after the post-evangelical fads), I'm surprised this has not elicited more feedback. It's a serious suggestion, not a facetious remark, in case anyone is wondering.

And Tom Brown:

I understood you the first time. Frank must be a little cranky today. Don't take it personally.

Phil Johnson said...

uh, make that Tim Brown.

Sorry. Don't take THAT personally, either.

pastorbrianculver said...

Phil, glad to see you corrected Tim's name. There is a long story with that one. His own pastor could not remember his name either. Of course the pastor just made a joke out of it, but it really showed a side of him because his pastor was one of those who would look the other way when it came to sin within his church! So, i am really glad you took the time to correctly print his name. Thanks! God bless
Brian

Lance Roberts said...

The problem that I see in Driscoll is that while he stands for a lot of good doctrine, he also repudiates a lot of good doctrine, like the doctrine of obedience. Contextualization is just another word for 'compromise with the world', instead of calling people to a biblical obedience. Good Doctrine and Antinomianism still equals Hell.

p.s. why does this block always refuse my first comment and make me reenter the word verification?

As far as the conversation goes, there's no point in trying to discuss the truth without both parties having the same truth standard. So if one party believes that the bible is inspired, inerrant and authoritative, and the other doesn't, they'll never be able to reach concensus. All you can do with someone that doesn't have the same truth standard is to tell them the truth, and let the Holy Spirit reveal to them their position.

S.J. Walker said...

Phil,

I often am reminded of Talkative in Pilgrim's Progress when deal with many post mordems, er, "moderns". Sorry, a little slip of the tongue there. They will, by and large, "dialog" about just about anything. And often times, though less and less it seems these days, they can sound pretty convinced of something. The problem I/we run into here and elsewhere, is any form of "creedal posture" as Sproul put it.

So, in essence, they do not necessarily lie when they say they are open to dialog--as long as it doesn't make them appear to be confined into actually believing something past ackowledging it as "theory".

I too am surprised none have taken issue with that statement you pointed out. A good PM will not understand that because, by their scewed definition of "dialog"(one in which nothing is ever resolved, admitted, adhered to concretely)they do not think it possible to "dialog" with someone who is strong in conviction whether legalistic or not.

It'll be interesting to see.

Thanks for another good steak dinner in a owrld of milk and soft food.

SW

S.J. Walker said...

Lance,

I usually have the same problem. I usually take it as providential as there is often a typo that got missed. But I usually have some anyway. I can't win.

DJP said...

Post-Morden?

< /B5 ultra-trivia >

S.J. Walker said...

DJP,

????

DJP said...

Tim (or Tom) Brown: please remember that it is my job here to take everything personally.

And don't take that personally.

It reminds me of a class I taught at Talbot, in which I kept calling a student by the wrong name.

I'll have to tell that story sometime when a cheap lawyer could argue that it had anything to do with anything.

Don't take that personally.

And any readers who are lawyers, don't take... well, on the other hand, in your case, go ahead.

(c;

Lance Roberts said...

That reminds me of the 3 reasons that a liberal will call you close-minded:

1) You believe that truth is absolute.
2) You believe that there is a right and wrong.
3) You don't agree with him.

stratagem said...

As far as the conversation goes, there's no point in trying to discuss the truth without both parties having the same truth standard. So if one party believes that the bible is inspired, inerrant and authoritative, and the other doesn't, they'll never be able to reach concensus.

There you go. Could it be that God warns us to be separate from those who don't share our faith, mostly so we don't waste all our time in 'conversations' that accomplish nothing?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

PJ writes: "...the suggestion that dialogue with serious fundies might be a better exercise for evangelicals who have lost their way than chasing after the post-evangelical fads), I'm surprised this has not elicited more feedback. It's a serious suggestion, not a facetious remark, in case anyone is wondering."

I fully agree. I didn't engage on that subtopic because you had so many other worthy gems in your essay that you crowded that one out.

I think it's far easier, more productive, and ultimately more fruitful to dialogue with "fundamentalists" than with neo-orthodoxers, liberal mainliners, and POMO emergents. Heck, if you want to define a fundamentalist by those who subscribe to what Machen wrote as a polemic as liberalism, then I'm a "fundamentalist".

The difficulty lies in living out the call to Holiness and dealing with the effects of the spreading and deepening misperceptions of legalism, pharasaicalism, self-righteousness, over-pietism, divisiveness, unholy separatism, harshness, etc....

It depends on how much of the wolves's slander and the propagation of that slander you let bother you.

But as to your overall point and suggestion that historic evangelicals should look rightward instead of wasting time and energy on neo-orthodox mainline liberals and POMO Emergents, your point is well-taken.

Tim Brown said...

Thanks Phil. Your response is deeply appreciated.

S.J.:

I think part of the reason why I'm so quick about the "don't give 'em an inch" position is because of my own son, whom I did NOT raise. When he was 28, he spent four months with my wife and I. Let's say he was 28 going on 7 or so. I hadn't seen him since he was very young. Seven, I think. His mother raised him...enough said.

We put up with so much, my late father said we put up with too much, and in retrospect, he was probably right. Anyway, the night before he left in anger (couldn't set the rules of the house), he literally said "If we are going to discuss things, we have to set some ground rules".

His, of course. *cough* When I suggested he pay attention to the ones we already set down, he simply threw a tantrum and left.

I think that the force of my policy on giving these people any recognition reflects this...at least in part. I know my allusion to ECr's and PDLs coming in and "putting their feet on your coffee table" is a direct reference to what my son did. Arrogance, pure and simple.

The "discussions" that represents the EC and PDL are along this vein. Arrogance, pure and simple.

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

Drew,
TP gets on ave twenty-thousand hits a week, the rest of us are the peons- Capiche?
I don't think TP are number whores though, the 20K is true fruit.

Tim Brown said...

DJP:

Good to hear from you, thanks.

I won't take it personally if you won't.

Personally,

Tim

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

20K hits a week and they (Pyro's) still haven't quit their day jobs. GOD IS GOOD!

centuri0n said...

Tim --

woops. Sorry, dude. I'll make an effort to follow the antecedents of pronouns more closely if you do, too.

:-)

~frank

centuri0n said...

Phil --

You'd be cranky, too, if you didn't pastor the perfect church working for the perfect boss.












... wait for it ...






:-)

SolaMeanie said...

Tim,

There is so much in that exchange you related, and indeed, I think it does apply to the Emergent yak-fest. In spades.

My comment here is aimed at the worst of the purveyors and followers of the theology, so don't take this as a blanket statement for all of them. As has been said here, Mark Driscoll has backed away from the worst of them.

Having said that, I begin to think that the root of the problem is really the age-old one. The human race wants a god of its own making. It isn't satisfied with the real One. This phenomenon has manifested itself through the ages in different guises. Today's guise is dressed up in all sorts of high-falutin' phraseology and man-made philosophical games. There's even a bit of theology pretense thrown in to sweeten the pot. "Having a form of godliness but denying the power." Strip the guise off, and what you have left are a bunch of disaffected adults throwing toddler temper tantrums because God just won't manifest in the template they've drawn up for Him. His Word and His truth certainly won't be bent like Gumby, try though they may.

Come to think of it, I think Scripture actually warns us about it in advance. Start with 2 Timothy 3 and go from there.

Tim Brown said...

SolaMeanie:

Not sure where I stand on Driscoll; I don't know enough about him to say much of anything.

People are giving Mike Corley grief for visiting his church (Mars Hill?). And from what I've read I'm not sure I can find anything really substantial to disagree on. But I'll reserve any further statements until I get a better grasp on things.

Jim at Old Truth let at Corley's blog about him having a "besetting sin" but never did say what it was. Seems to me he should have come out of the bushes on that one.

Where I mess up any more, I think, when it comes to discussions with PDL and EC supporters is I want to just say "Just shut up and go away". But, as you have said, that's for the worst of them.

I had one that acted dumb as a rock and then he turned out to be an employee of Purpose Driven. I had made a post about the Subliminal dangers of the seeker movement. I really tried to have a discussion with him but couldn't...he was hiding the fact that his "non seeker pastor who preaches the gospel" was Rick Warren...

Not sure what my point is except perhaps it is hard to tell the honest ones apart from the dishonest ones...until you waste enough time with them.

So, any more, I just read their first comment and if I smell something fishy I just ignore it. Maybe I'm being a bit draconian but I hate rabbit chases.

I think it was Indiana Jones Temple of Doom where he got tired of fighting hand to hand and just pulled his gun and shot one of the baddies? Well, I'm getting there, figuratively speaking, of course.

Are meat chubs ok?

stratagem said...

You mean to imply that there are honest PDL people? I got my doubts on that one.

S.J. Walker said...

strategem,

I think I met one once..no, maybe it was a dream. Yeay yeah, the one where I was also playing soccer in snowshoes with my boyhood nemesis Peter and John Wayne was the goally.

"Kick it...Pilgrim"

Tim Brown said...

Strategem:

Yeah, that was a bad way to put it wasn't it? I'll think of something better and post it.

How about "Honestly deceived and willfully deceived? That kind of works.

SolaMeanie said...

Tim,

You've basically touched on something that has disturbed many of us about both the EC and the PDL movements, although this might be getting off topic a bit. It's the seemingly inherent surreptitiousness of getting this stuff into churches that is troubling, and then when someone wakes up and sees what's going on and raises an objection, they basically encounter the spiritual equivalent of the Clinton attack machine turning on them. Eventually, the church splits.

At one church I know of in my area (I actually attended there until I moved to another town 40 miles away), they tried getting the EC in by stealth. The ones pushing it denied reading Brian McLaren or knowing Brian McLaren, only to discover that several had attended his conferences. Disingenuous to put it mildly. The church lost several hundred families in the process, and the hemorrhage isn't over yet. It's heartbreaking.

stratagem said...

Meanie: the exact same thing happened to us. Stealth EC 'hostile takeover' of the church from the top. Meanwhile once people discover what movement is influencing the staff, it is near impossible to end it because "we're not doing that" is repeated over and over and people want to think the best about their formerly-sound pastor.

Tim: The "besetting sin" of Driscoll that JB refers to, is the cussing thing.

Tim Brown said...

Solameanie:

Sounds like a local church I left about a year ago. The pastor tried to deny knowing anything (much) about Warren while using his classroom curriculum which included S.H.A.P.E., etc. It was a messy time. He had also written an article promoting xxxchurch in the name of fighting pornography. He said he "wouldn't defend them"...but in his newletter he had PROMOTED them! Wow.

I still have the emails. I'll upload them somewhere and give you a link. Talk about disingenuous!

Tim Brown said...

Solameanie:

Thanks for the info on Driscoll. I hate to speak out of ignorance...

S.J. Walker said...

all for once,

"TP gets on ave twenty-thousand hits a week, the rest of us are the peons- Capiche?"

Hey, I get at least 9 a week. I think I'm catching up. Pyro, you guys still have me beat on comments. I guess that means my "conversation" at my blog is one sided.

sigh.

S.J. Walker said...

Tim,

"I think part of the reason why I'm so quick about the "don't give 'em an inch" position..."

That is not very seeker sensitive Tim.

Sled Dog said...

Lance wrote of Driscoll:

"...he also repudiates a lot of good doctrine, like the doctrine of obedience."

Can you explain this statement further?

Lance Roberts said...

Actually sled dog, going any farther would be going too far off topic (I'm not good at staying intopic, but I try). Just look at what he means by contextualizing (one hand isn't God's, it's man's).

Tim Brown said...

S.J.:

I enjoy being contrary...:)


SolaMeanie:

You didn't know this but you are "in my back yard"...!

Sled Dog said...

Are you talking about his open hand, closed hand approach to methodology/theology?

Every ministry/church contextualizes to some degree. Missionairies contextualize. Even ones from GCC.

I guess I just don't know what you mean by doctrine of obedience.

Lori said...

Please give evidence that Driscoll "repudiates the doctrine of obedience". If you are worried about going off topic, you shouldn't have mentioned it at all.
One thing that I've noticed about these discussions on the internet is that a statement like the one above will appear on another blog or website as a statement of fact.

Lori said...

And, what is "the doctrine of obedience"?

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

Sola said,
"Disingenuous to put it mildly. The church lost several hundred families in the process, and the hemorrhage isn't over yet. It's heartbreaking."
__________________
I called my X-pastor on it (EC) too. He flatly denied being part or party to the EC, but signs were everywhere. I got a big kick out of his emails. He'd sign them-
Catch the Next-Wave :)

Anyhow, there was EC trappings everywhere. He vehemently denied being involved in the slightest.

Here are some of the links from that same church (as of today).

Freedom from Porn
www.xxxchurch.com
Real help for real people who struggle with internet porn.

The Ooze
www.theooze.com
Cool site regarding the emerging church

Off The Map
www.off-the-map.org
"Doable" evangelism and spiritual conversations for a postmodern world

They had a labyrinth on the youth page too. It stated Jesus was probably married. The pastor got heat for that though and took it down.

Yeah Sola, I hear you there- it breaks your heart to see a split, though I have come see his
sovereignty there too. The true believers eventually get called out. Some crawl out broken and bloody but Christ heals those wounds. They are stronger and
better for it. I speak from experience, the EC is part of my testimony and looking back at what transpired I am amazed. I thank the Lord for my trial. Lord knows I am better for it.

Tim Brown said...

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL:

"The true believers eventually get called out. Some crawl out broken and bloody but Christ heals those wounds. They are stronger and
better for it. I speak from experience,..."

From another person who has been thinking this (having been through it) and struggles with assurance, thank you.

Brad said...

Phil,

I've just stumbled upon your blog and find it very saddening.

I think that there are really two types of behavior in regards to this and most things. One that values tradition and another that values progress. I don't think a single dose of either of these is the cure for any sort of problem. The good news though--you might not believe it--is that these two things are not mutually exclusive.

Sadly you are treating the whole emergent v. fundamental faux-dichotomy as though it were a real dichotomy. These things can exist in harmony because both of them ground themselves in Jesus Christ.

Listen to yourself, judging fellow Christians who may not be following doctrine but sure do act a lot like Christ. You are calling them "rank heretics." Once again... You are calling them "RANK HERETICS!"

For as much as you value doctrine and scripture you seem to have ignored some of it. such as...

Matthew 7:1-5 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

and...

Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

and...

Romans 14:1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

You can find the rest. This theme really seems be pervasive throughout the Bible. I'm surprised you've managed to miss it.

SolaMeanie said...

All for once/Tim/etc..

What you all have related is all of a piece with what I have been dealing with for the past two years or more. Isn't it remarkable that so-called pastors and "leaders" in the church seemingly have no conscience about lying. The last time I checked Scripture, a lying tongue was one of the things the Lord hates.

Even more funny, their lies are so easily exposed. To deny that one is influenced by- or pushing -- the Emergent Church and then have links to the Ooze etc. is maddening. But in the postmodern Alice-in-Wonderland kind of world, "words mean what they want them to mean. No more. No less."

Daryl said...

Brad,

Just wondering. On what basis do you define someone as "Christian"?

Tim Brown said...

Brad:

I'll take a chance on violating rule five of this blog...I'm sure Phil is amply able to answer your claims...and far better than I...but let me stick my neck out...

1). Jesus wasn't talking about not discerning false teachers. Read the text following the verse you quoted. It warns of false teachers. You can't avoid what you can't. . .or won't. . .discern.

2. We are nowhere told to embrace everyone without qualification...I speak of false teachers...or are we to embrace them as well?

3. Heresy is not a "weaker brother" issue, like "do I eat meat or not". It's a matter of representing God and His word correctly. And yes, theology counts...because what you believe will eventually determine what you do.

Division isn't Satan's greatest weapon. it's untruth.

stratagem said...

Brad

Dude, you are in way over your head. Your objections to exposing heresy are elementary and have been shot down so many times that it isn't even worth doing anymore. E.g., the Matthew 7 schtick you used. If you really think that passage was telling us that we should accept the doctrines of teachers who teach things contrary to the clear teachings of scripture (as long as they put Jesus's name on it), then you need to get yourself a good Bible commentary and a Bible, read up for a year or two, then come back and comment. Or, just go back and read the blog for a few months before commenting. Hint: You are embarrassing yourself. Regards.

Lance Roberts said...

John 7:24b "judge righteous judgment"

Brad, there are two types of judging.

The type we don't do is to judge someone's heart (motive), that's God's job.

The type we're REQUIRED to do, is to judge their actions against the standard of God's word.

I'm surprised you managed to miss that vital difference.

Tim Brown said...

SolaMeanie:

Here's the bulletin article my *former* pastor wrote about xxxchurch that started my "one-way conversation" with him.

There, that last line should keep me on-topic...:)

eastendjim said...

Regarding Brad's post...

Is "proof texting" historically considered errant, aberrant or heretical?

wenxian said...

Helloz all,

Just curious.

Is driscoll the good guy or the bad guy here? I'm lost. Can anyone help me here?

It sounds like he knows whats wrong but he calls himself emergent?? I dunno.

Thanks.

wenxian said...

Brad,

If you were to read Matthew 7, and follow the paragraphs that follow, you would realise that these paragraphs are telling us to judge.

Matthew 7 (yes, 7!)
A Tree and Its Fruit
15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

[16By their fruit you will recognize them.] and [20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.]

These verses are telling us exactly how to identify false teachers. By their fruits.

And i concur with Lance's verses, which tell us all to judge the right judgement. The command telling us to 'judge' here cannot be denied.

This means that judging is not only recommanded, but it is compulsory. But judging has to be 1) accurate (John 7:24) 2)non-hypocritical and non-slanderous (Matthew 7)

Remember that in Matthew 7, it says clearly

[ 1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ]

God's standard will always be measured to us (v2) whether we use it to judge or not. This gives us a clear idea of what we ought to use in order to judge people: God's standard.

For when we use God's standard, we do not become the judge. We merely apply the standards set by the Judge. This is the 'judging' that is commanded onto us in John 7:24 and other verses. Hence all glory in judging will be accorded to Jesus and not us. Because God's Word does not fail nor change, this standard we use is neither hypocritical nor slanderous nor mutable, and thus is satisfactory for use as a ruler to measure unto us.


Praise be to God.

Phil Johnson said...

Wenxian: "Is driscoll the good guy or the bad guy here? I'm lost. Can anyone help me here?

Good-guy/bad-guy isn't my judgment to make. (Except, perhaps, when it comes to examining myself. And I freely confess I'm a bad guy covered with the Savior's perfect righteousness.)

The issue we're discussing is good ideas vs. bad ideas. And I think Driscoll would agree with us that a lot—maybe most—of the bad ideas we have identified are really seriously bad.

Where he'd probably disagree with me is regarding my conviction that it's a bad idea—no, a hellishly bad idea—to partner in ministry with (or self-identify with movements led by) people who seriously corrupt or obscure essential gospel truths while they make a game of undermining the very idea of truth and blurring the line between truth and falsehood.

I also think some of Driscoll's methodology is pertty bad, too, but that's not the issue we're talking about in this post. So we'll save that for later.

This post wasn't really about Driscoll per se, either, BTW. In fact, the only reason I mentioned Driscoll and Kimball is to acknowledge that there's a somewhat significant difference between them and most of their Emergent friends. I'm happy that Driscoll made a sincere attempt to draw the line. Now I hope he'll do more to show how important the line he has drawn really is.

jbuck21 said...

Cent:
"they are optimizing their relationship with these people in spite of saying flatly they reject their mistakes."

Phil:
"Where he'd probably disagree with me is regarding my conviction that it's a bad idea—no, a hellishly bad idea—to partner in ministry with (or self-identify with movements led by) people who seriously corrupt or obscure essential gospel truths while they make a game of undermining the very idea of truth and blurring the line between truth and falsehood."

Both one and the same issue - and here's my 2 cents:

Driscoll came out of a movement of tolerance. Everything is to be tolerated except calling a spade a spade.

Now here he is growing, as Dan pointed out, and making headway in terms of his doctrine, his methodology, his ecclesiology, etc.

BUT - he STILL hasn't jettisoned his postmodern 'tolerance' issues and so when he speaks of people who, frankly, are heretics denying the true Gospel, he uses words like 'friends', 'brother', etc, depending, of course, on the crowd around him.

(I actually left a comment on Frank's blog about this on a post with a link to an interview w/ Driscoll...I just can't find the link)

Is that a good idea for the sake of peace?? Well...'hellishly bad' above seems to describe it in my opinion.

SolaMeanie said...

Tim,

That certainly is cryptic enough to engender further questions. I'm almost afraid to ask some of them. But that's certainly the way it starts. A seemingly good desire (to reach out to those with a postmodern mind) but unfortunately embracing a postmodern mind.

Brad,

Others have taken their whacks in various ways. I will take my whack in another direction. You insist that the Emergent folks are as grounded in Jesus Christ as we are. Funny, because Jesus Christ has a totally different understanding on epistemology. To the Emergent folks, objective truth is unknowable. To a biblical Christian (not to mention the Lord of the Church), objective truth is knowable, especially when the Lord Himself has revealed it. The Emergent Church seems to always ask the same question Satan asked in the Garden. "Has God said..."

Nathan said...

As per the suggestion of some commentors here, I just listened to the mp3 of Driscoll's talk at the Sept Convergence Conference. I appreciated his strong condemnation of McLaren, Pagitt, and Bell's theology, but he still spoke of them as "friends" and "good guys". Darrin Patrick did the same thing in his lectures on the EC at the Francis Schaeffer Institute this past fall.

[sigh]

Rom. 12:9 says "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good."

If we truly love Christ, we will hate (abhor) that which is antithetical to Him. Otherwise, it's not "genuine" love, as Paul puts it. Having a milquetoast approach to heresy by entertaining it in your "conversation" with those you consider friends is not honoring to Christ. Nor does it communicate to your parishioners the necessary separation of 2 Cor. 6:17.

Also, I was wondering what people here think about Lesslie Newbigin?
Mark mentioned him as a pioneer in the area of "missiology". It's not the first time I've heard EC'ers praise this guy. Wiki says he was part of the WCC at one point, which concerns me. His two main works on the topic are:
Foolishness to the Greeks and
The Gospel in Pluralist Society

I was thinking about picking them up on Amazon to see how orthodox he is. Any thoughts on why this guy's spoken so highly of?

wenxian said...

Hello Phil,

Thanks for making it clear to me here. It has been most illuminating. I agree with the ermergent people have many (hellishly?) bad ideas.

[Except, perhaps, when it comes to examining myself. And I freely confess I'm a bad guy covered with the Savior's perfect righteousness]

Aren't we all bad guys covered in Christ lol =)

By the way, i really enjoyed your (and Dan and Frank's) thought provoking posts in this blog. I've really learnt quite a lot. Thanks very much. Please continue to post more and i look forward to being challenged in the way i see Christianity.

Lori said...

This is my final comment on Driscoll. 1) No one has shown me any evidence that he ever held to false doctrine (many posters here claim that he is "coming along", implying that at some point during his ministry he was preaching a false gospel.2)he separated from the emergent guys 6 years ago as their doctrinal differences became clear.3)he has publicly denounced the emergent leaders a couple of times in the past year.4)he accepts correction from older, more mature pastors (his recent repentance of pride resulting from a discussion with CJ Mahaney). What more does he need to do for YOUR approval?
I will continue to pray for him and thank God for his ministry.

donsands said...

Lori,

I don't remember anyone saying he preached a false gospel.

Mark is a controversial guy, to say the least. He's cut with a different edge, and he goes out to the edge.

He's a brother in the Lord. he's a ruler in his church. And he's a preacher of the Word.

May the lord continue to bless him, and use him in great ways up in Seattle. Amen.

Sled Dog said...

Adrian Warnock's interview with Driscoll sheds some light on his perspectives:

http://adrianwarnock.com/2006/04/interview-with-mark-driscoll_02.htm

I think what I like about him is I sense he's trying to be God's man, not a man's man. His learning curve has been strong as he has allowed Godly men to speak into his life. Interesting, in the 2006 interview he still sees Bell in a good light, but since then has called out his theology as well.

Yeah, he's said some goofy, off the cuff remarks, but so has John Mac. I was at GCC many moons ago and witnessed John drop a few balls in the early days. Chalk it up to youth.

stratagem said...

Yes, I also don't recall anyone saying Driscoll preaches a false gospel. He has a lot of good qualities. I just question whether he's mature enough to be in charge of what he's in charge of, that's all. Hoping he grows into the job eventually.

One way to judge faithfulness to the word in a preacher is to ask how much the world hates that preacher (in light of Luke 6:22). Obviously, the world hates people like John Mac, loves the Emergent guys, and Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo social-gospel guys. After all, as someone wrote about in a book, the world likes their made-up Jesus, but hates the church. Driscoll? I don't really know how much the world hates him. Probably they would hate him some, if he were better known. Off the top of my head I'd say on the hated scale he probably comes in somewhere between JMacA and Billy Graham.

Sled Dog said...

Strat,

With all due respect:

The call to pastoral ministry is measured by faithfulness, not hatefulness. Am I supposed to take a hate-rating everyday? The idea of a hate measurement sounds quite man-made.

Everyone in ministry misses the mark here and there. None of us completely grows into our ministries. No one arrives. We begin young, bang around a bit, learn, grow and hopefully present something that the Lord can use.

Just as much a danger to being young and reckless is becoming old and stiff...failing to remain pliable in God's hands and sensitive to his plans.

jbuck21 said...

Lori,

I'm glad you're praying for M.D....to a large degree that condemns me for my lack of prayer for these kinds of 'rulers' in the church.

I wasn't implying that he was a heretic or that he held to any false doctrine - I just want him to do what Paul calls Timothy to do in 2 Tim. 3 -

"2 Timothy 3:2-5 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. "

Mark needs to AVOID these sorts of men (Bell, B.M., Paggitt and the like)...not call them friends, align himself publicly with them, claim association with their movement, and then say he has an issue with their theology. That's weak and insipid.

He is a good man and is seeking the Lord - let's pray that he'll continue to distance himself publicly from men who preach a false gospel filled with the stuff Paul uses in verses 2 - 4 above.

S.J. Walker said...

sled dog,

I think you might have missed the point. It was said that ONE way to determine...not the ONLY way.

Thicken that skin a little Bro,

St. Brianstine said...

Wow. I love this line:

There's a reason hospitals don't try to cure infectious diseases by unleashing healthy people among those who are already sick. Heresy, like infection, always works the other way around. (I don't know of an unorthodox movement in the history of Christianity that has ever gradually come around to orthodoxy through friendly dialogue with—or subtle infiltration by—sounder minds.)"

SolaMeanie said...

Lori,

I think you've got your mind on what various posters here think (or don't think) of Mark Driscoll to the point you're missing the core of the problem.

When it's all said and done, it doesn't matter how orthodox individuals are within the Emergent/Emerging movement. The worst of them are glaringly obvious. But even the best of them share a similar thing with the worst. The Emergent/Emerging idea is wrong from a foundational level. It starts out with a premise that the church is supposed to be a comfortable place for unbelievers, and that the church has to adapt itself to a postmodern culture rather than confronting the culture in a biblical fashion. That is bad ecclesiology. The best of them think they're trying to be effective in communicating to a postmodern mind, while the worst of them have actually adopted a postmodern mind themselves. That is bad epistemology. Couple that with a very, very low view of Scripture -- and in the worst cases -- a heterodox soteriology, and the seeds for disaster are sown.

In its genesis, some of the Emergent/Emerging leaders correctly identify some problems within the evangelical church today, but instead of seeking a biblical solution, they buy into manmade (and sometimes evil) philosophical and marketing ideas thinking those will be more effective at fixing what they think is amiss. In reality, all they do is dig their own ditch deeper. In some cases, the ditch is about to break through to Beijing.

pastorbrianculver said...

Hi Solameanie,
I am at work and have to get off computer as my break is over in about one minute. Can you quickly give Lori and others the meanings of some of the words. That might be one of the reasons some people are not getting the message. I know they can look it up but laziness has a habit of being contageous.

That is bad ecclesiology.

That is bad epistemology.

the worst cases -- a heterodox soteriology,

this might help clear the air for them! thanks for the post!
God bless
Brian

stratagem said...

Sled Dog

As one already pointed out, how much the unbelieving world hates a preacher is one way to measure things. If you don't think the world hates true believers, then read the New York Times someday. Read blog entries of what unbelievers are writing about John Piper and Paul Washer. However, the NYT loves people like Jim Wallis, because they have embraced the world's agenda and its worldview.

If you are contradicting Luke 6:22, then just say so.

Unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes...

Strong Tower said...

Everyone in ministry misses the mark here and there. None of us completely grows into our ministries. No one arrives. We begin young, bang around a bit, learn, grow and hopefully present something that the Lord can use.

Welcome to the Great Commish, Emergent Style. What a contrast to this: You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Is replaced with: Fumbling, mumbling, stumbling, perchance you'll become a faithful mature servant.

Instead of: Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus...and...Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church...with... They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work...and...Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness...plus... Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us... we get a call to ministry that is more like, "Come on down..."

Where is it that there are supposed to be Pastor/Elders in training? Are they supposed to have first proved themselves, or are they free to be goof balls? Even Deacons (and our youth) do not have that freedom.

Sharon said...

St. Brianstine:
Wow. I love this line:

There's a reason hospitals don't try to cure infectious diseases by unleashing healthy people among those who are already sick.


What is the source for this quote? I'd like to add it to my "profound Christian quotes" file, but would like to credit the author.

A Musician by Grace

SolaMeanie said...

Hi, Brian..

Sorry about that.

Ecclesiology: The Doctrine of the Church

Soteriology: The Doctrine of Salvation

Epistemology: The study of knowledge, or how we know what we know. I have no problem with calling it The Doctrine of Knowledge, although that might get me rapped on the knuckles.

Mike Riccardi said...

Sharon,

Click the "back button" on your internet browser.

:o)

Sharon said...

Thanks, Mike! I was trying to find it in the comments section. Never thought about looking in the original post. Duh.

S.J. Walker said...

sharon,

I'm sorry Ma'am, but that one made me laugh.

Inloy say that because when i read the comment quoting it, it thought to myself, "man, that sounds familiar. Where did I hear that?"

....oh yeah, doh!

candyinsierras said...

Phil said: the suggestion that dialogue with serious fundies might be a better exercise for evangelicals who have lost their way than chasing after the post-evangelical fads)

Marc over at the newly resurrected Purgatorio has a video posted of an evangelical who really, really lost his way. How sad. One would hope that the fellow might come across some serious fundies instead of pomo's who may downplay the seriousness of his situation.

http://purgatorio1.com/?p=587

Lori said...

solameanie,
I do not disagree with your assessment of the the problems with emergent/emerging. I just disagree about which pastors belong in the category. It is very easy to label any church that is urban, growing fast, with a young membership as "emerging", even if the church doesn't use the label themselves. How would you classify Redeemer NYC?

Sled Dog said...

SJ,

No worries about skin density. The comment didn't attack me. I just question the validity of measuring successful pastoring by the degree of hate incurred.

Strong Tower,

I think it's completely unrealistic to think that young people going into ministry, even well-trained folk, will not have some struggles and have lots of room to grow. Nobody worth their salt that is. I'd love to hear some of the stories of when Mac, Piper or other guys first got rolling. You don't think they made mistakes, even big ones???

SolaMeanie said...

Lori,

I can't comment on Redeemer NYC as I am not familiar with the congregation. However, I can tell you that in general, I am wary of those who insist they are not part of the Emergent/Emerging conversation and yet copy their methodology.

As I related earlier, the leadership at my former church swore up and down they weren't going Emergent and knew nothing of Brian McLaren etc..only to find out later that they indeed were reading the books and attending Emergent conferences. In general, it is one thing to understand the culture and communicate to it the truth of the Gospel in ways they can understand. It is quite another thing to adapt TO the culture, and allow Christian doctrine and practice to be dictated by an unregenerate culture.

Sled Dog said...

Hate is impossible to gauge.

Of course the scriptures tell us that as followers of Christ we will be persecuted. The message of the Gospel is an offence to those who are perishing.

But to start creating the ""Billy Graham to John MacArthur scale of hate in order to validate a person's ministry is beyond me. Really, do we know how much hate there is for Mark Driscoll in Seattle where he ministers? He's surely offended some, as evidenced by the fact he was attacked onstage while preaching doctrine!

Tim Brown said...

candyinsierras:

Thanks for posting that link. That is a sad video. My prayer is that someone can get to him somehow.

S.J. Walker said...

Sled dog,

you said:

"I think it's completely unrealistic to think that young people going into ministry, even well-trained folk, will not have some struggles and have lots of room to grow"

I'm not finding where anyone, especially Phil in the original post, said Driscoll has no room to be allowed to grow. One can allow for growth time while still commenting on the known facts. As one commenter said:
"One way to judge faithfulness to the word in a preacher is to ask how much the world hates that preacher (in light of Luke 6:22)."

ONE way. ONE. Not the ONLY way.

And I think you might have picked that our without considering the staement just before it:

"Yes, I also don't recall anyone saying Driscoll preaches a false gospel. He has a lot of good qualities. I just question whether he's mature enough to be in charge of what he's in charge of, that's all. Hoping he grows into the job eventually."

You also said there is no real gauge for hate. To be sure, not entirely. But that statement, as you used it, is claiming that there is no way to gauge it. Period. That's rather idiotic when you think about it.

All one has to do is examine the pervasive opinion of the public. In this case, Driscoll is a pretty public guy. Just got to places like youtube, here, and myriad others and you'll get at least some semblance of the various opinions.

Now, should some obscure video posters be a gauge of a man's real doctrine? Of course not. But the general opinion of a man in the public is, as stated before, and in Scripture, ONE way to understand whether that man is indeed preaching the gospel. That is all that was said, and there was no lie in it.

To continue with this little debate is not fruitful for any of us.

Fact: How much the general world hates a preacher is measurable, not impossible, and is A gauge of soundness.

Fact: We can say this because the Bible does.

Fact: To argue about is pointless. Either you believe what the word says or not. It is no longer a discussion then, but a correction.

Fact: Growth is to be expected in a preacher/pastor, but so also is reverence, even in mistaken or ill-communicated teaching. Therefore, of course, if growth has been occurring, when one looks back over the course of someone's life and ministry, mistakes of sometimes gross enormity will probably be found.

Fact: No here denies that, that I am aware of.

So, what in the world is the problem sled dog?

Steve Lamm said...

Centurion,

Have you suspended the debate with Drew at debateblog? I was enjoying it and would like to see it continue. Was anyone else following it?

Steve Lamm

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

Cent,
Did Drew TapouT?

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

Turk's meaner ena rattlesnake and twice as fast.
:)

greglong said...

Strategem said:

"Yes, I also don't recall anyone saying Driscoll preaches a false gospel. He has a lot of good qualities. I just question whether he's mature enough to be in charge of what he's in charge of, that's all. Hoping he grows into the job eventually.

One way to judge faithfulness to the word in a preacher is to ask how much the world hates that preacher (in light of Luke 6:22). Obviously, the world hates people like John Mac, loves the Emergent guys, and Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo social-gospel guys. After all, as someone wrote about in a book, the world likes their made-up Jesus, but hates the church. Driscoll? I don't really know how much the world hates him. Probably they would hate him some, if he were better known. Off the top of my head I'd say on the hated scale he probably comes in somewhere between JMacA and Billy Graham."


If Mark's comments are truthful, he has quite a bit of opposition from the "world" in the Seattle area.

I guess if you "don't really know", I would refrain from making the point.