29 August 2008

Mischief and Miscellany

Plus six all-new Po-Motivators® (see below)
by Phil Johnson

     was going to write a substantive post today. Then I decided instead just to link to a smattering of things that have puzzled, amused, intrigued, or appalled me lately. Here you go, in no particular order:

  • More moral insanity from Great Britain: "A lap dancer, a lesbian, and a lapsed Christian with a pregnant girlfriend are among the participants on the U.K.'s newest reality show, Make Me a Christian."
  • James White posts a collection of YouTube souvenirs.
  • Our own Frank Turk leaves some profound thoughts in another blog's combox regarding the popular notion that there's something unsavory about contending for any mere matter of biblical principle when someone's feelings are involved:
    OK—I'm watching this society of christian brothers begin to populate this meta here with "Yes, more love please" affirmations, and I think that's a wholly-biblical, wholly-spiritually-industrious, wholly-useful endeavor: I think that people should think more clearly about the command of Christ to actually do unto actual others as you would have them actually do unto you.
        Yes: I agree. In fact, I would take that to the root first before I took it to the blogosphere: you should do unto others in your local church and where you do business every day as you would have them do unto you. Because if that was happening, a few noisy scandal-bloggers would be seen as anomalies and not as a proliferation of the Church lady stereotype of christians. (Small "c" intended.)
        The problem—and the issue here is that there is actually a problem and not merely a dysfunctional relational environment—is that the church is sick. Listen: pomos, conservatives, liberals, bloggers, pastors, unbelievers, you add your favorite category of person here—they all agree that the church is sick. The church is not healthy, especially in America.
        But what's the cause of the sickness and what's the cure? Is it the rather-nebulous question of "love"? Or is it something less subjective and more actionable—and is there a resource or a proper authority which can spell out for us what the solution is?
        This is really funny because I was watching a Steven Colbert clip last week about what was going on at Lambeth, and Colbert—a Catholic—was really beating down on the Anglicans because they couldn't figure out if God thought that gay men should be ordained as priests or bishops. His point, of course, was that there should be some guy they could ask who could sort it out for them.
        I agree with Colbert that there ought to be "some guy"—but that guy is God Himself, and the answers lie in His Word, which, btw, is not a collection of Jack-Handiesque comforting maxims. The Bible is full of loving statements, gentle rebukes, and frankly-stark insults against those who are frankly intransigent and wrong.
        Love is good. But it's not just one flavor. Expand your palate and taste and see the goodness of the Lord—no matter which flavor you think you like best right now.

  • Joel Griffith points me to this article, about author Joe Eszterhas, who says he tried Protestantism and loved the sermon, but felt "empty" because of the lack of liturgy.
  • Meanwhile, John Schoettler sends me this relevant quote from Spurgeon about the seductive dangers of elaborate liturgy and artificial worship. (Spurgeon also explains his preference for a capella corporate worship here):
    There is in human nature a tendency to permit religion itself to become mechanical : priests, temples, sacraments, the performing of services, organs, choirs, all go towards the making up of a machine which may do our worship for us, and leave us all our time to think about bread and cheese and the latest fashions. As cranks, pistons, valves, and cylinders take the place of bone and muscle on board ship, so millinery, bellows and ritual take the place of hearts and spirits in the place of worship. Certain outward appliances may be well enough in their place, but they too easily become substitutes for real heart-work and spiritual devotion, and then they are mischievous to the last degree. The preacher may use notes if he needs them, but his manuscript may steal from him that which is the very essence and soul of preaching, and yet his elaborate paper and his elegant reading may conceal from him the nakedness of the land. Praise may be rendered with musical instruments, if you will ; but the danger is lest the grateful adoration should evaporate, and nothing should remain but the sweet sounds. The organ can do no more than help us in noise-making, and it is a mere idol, if we imagine that it increases the acceptance of our praises before the Lord.

  • Anyone who reads church history attentively can hardly help noticing parallels between some of the current soteriological controversies in the Reformed world (I'm thinking especially of the Auburn Avenue/Federal Vision mess; the New Perspective on Paul; and Norman Shepherd's highly nuanced reconstruction of the doctrine of justification by faith) and earlier controversies where some of the same issues and rhetoric were being hacky-sacked around the church chancel (and I'm thinking here about the Oxford Movement/Tractarian controversy, the Mercersburg Theology, and other movements whose leaders have seemed less than comfortable with the principle of sola fide and whose liturgy has tended to elevate the eucharist over the sermon in order of priority). So I've been reading The Parting of Friends: The Wilberforces and Henry Manning by David Newsome and thinking about the parallelisms between then and now. Then I serendipitously came across this rare little number whilst doing an unrelated Google search, and it reminded me that there really is nothing new under the sun. A fascinating read and an eery deja vu experience for those interested in these cyclical controversies.
  • . . . and finally, I'm sorry, but I just can't help myself:

NOTE: if you're still seeing the Escher engraving on the above poster, hit reload. I redid this one, because if you're going to push the limits of fair use on a copyright question, best to use an image belonging to someone who understands the concept of parody. Besides, I like this version better anyway.

Phil's signature


Susan said...

1. Wow, Phil. Buried in your post were these two very, very memorable TV moments: the "Church Lady" and "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy". Yeah, SNL used to be funny. Sigh.

2. All this stuff about liturgy...so appropriate for me to think about right now. Earlier tonight I had my first taste of a Catholic mass at a memorial service. It certainly was very different from other memorial services I'm used to, to say the least. I think I'm going to be in deep thoughts for some time because of it--not a la Jack Handy, but a la Jesus Christ. (I really need to pray for my friends and their family....)

FX Turk said...

First of all, Phil told me I should expand that comment at JT's blog to a full post -- and then he nabs it for one of his copyrighted "blogspotting" style posts. So what's the value in expanding it now?

And then I find myself strangely attracted to the Mark Driscoll post ...

DJP said...

Because there's no such thing as "too much Turk"?

Kay said...

Oh, I dunno, I'm all Turked out. He's frying my brain with his densely plotted work on the signs and wonders thing.

nah, not really.

donsands said...

The MC Escher made me reminiscence a bit.

I went to a Shane Claiborne service. Way too political for me. Bold mellowness was the atmosphere. And earthy wierd. Reminded me of Godspell, or something like that. Didn't seem real. Though this young man is for real.

Unknown said...

I just started reading "Religious Affections" by Jonathan Edwards. Edwards says in the introduction that his purpose in the book is to address the denigration of religion due to the inability of the church to distinguish between true and false religion. I am only in chapter two, but so far Edwards talks about how "feelings" are vital to true religion. He has stated (something to the effect of) the man who has religion with no emotion does not really practice religion.
It is really interesting because he addresses those who have gone too far to the side of liturgy as well as those who are all emotion and too little substance. It is such a rich word for today!
I agree that the church is sick. That is because in the evangelical church we have failed to learn from men like Edwards and have failed (or refused) to distinguish between true and false religion in the lives of the people in the church. "The Spokesman" who sometimes posts here wrote in his blog a few months ago about how we ought to be more concerned with church purity than with church growth... certainly a counter-cultural albeit scriptural perspective.
I think these are the key issues in the sickness... failure to distinguish true religion in our churches, and maybe too much emphasis on church growth (at the expense of the purity of the bride of Christ).

(link to the blog I mentioned)

Mark said...

Phil said:
"...and other movements whose leaders have seemed less than comfortable with the principle of sola fide..."

Phil, I think you are spot on. The frightening thing is: the effects of the federal vision ripple through the PCA and other presbyterian denominations regardless of actual adherents; and all to the denigration of sola fide. Evangelical presbyterianism versus hyper-covenantal presbyterianism?

"How does one account for the fact that Jonathan Edwards considered his own chil­dren and the children of his congregation as unregenerate, though bap­tized, until there was clear evidence of the new birth [profession of faith, etc.], while a no less Reformed theologian than Charles Hodge would tend to assume to the contrary?" - John Gerstner, The Rational Biblical Theology of Jonathan Edwards

Perhaps there is a shift back towards the "Scottish-Princetonian" view of infant baptism due to the influence of the Federal Vision? And therefore, a downplaying of the necessity of faith?

I hope you expand on this, Phil.

Mike Westfall said...

From the article linked to concerning Make Me a Christian:

"The participants take Communion, get their own Bibles, receive lessons on the correct way to view sex, and learn about service in soup kitchens."

Yep, that'll turn 'em into Christians. No need to offend 'em by telling them the bad news that they're sinners bound for Hell, or to bother giving them the good news of that (it's irrelevant, anyway) Gospel!

steve said...

Piety and poverty as street theatre.

You nailed it, Phil. Thanks.

Rob Hughes said...

"A lap dancer, a lesbian, and a lapsed Christian with a pregnant girlfriend are among the participants on the U.K.'s newest reality show, Make Me a Christian."

Something interesting about this show... About two months ago I was contacted by a woman at channel four asking if I would be one of the mentors. She had seen my blog and so contacted me through it. I didn't know much about the show at the time and said I would think about it. She said she would come back to me. After a week or so I had not heard from her so I gave her a call; as it turned out they were looking for someone in a full time ministerial position, of which I am not. Looking at it now, I am most pleased not to be involved. For all its intended purposes I believe this show is seeking to make a mockery of Christianity.

MarieP said...

I wonder how popular the show is over there? As much of a mockery as it is, I am praying that God will use it to spark conversations about what the true Gospel really is about.

Seth McBee said...


I find it interesting that you take a pot shot at Driscoll's "Spicy Talk" and that is exactly what he is speaking on at Desiring God Conference this year...I wonder when you guys will start writing off Piper as well?

Funny how it doesn't seem people can say that in the past they were wrong in your eyes...you just have to keep bashing them for the cause of...who?

You might want to look at some of the Desiring God conference videos to see how Driscoll says he feels like he was too strong in the past and is desperately trying to figure out when and what is appropriate.

But, whatever...bash away...

I just wonder when Piper will make it on your posters.

Stefan Ewing said...

Re the Channel 4 item, there are no words.

Re liturgy and there being "nothing new under the sun," I mentioned an incident in British Columbia in 1872, at a time when BC was little more than a handful of frontier settlements.

There was a serious split between the Low Church (evangelical) pioneer missionary who was the dean of the new cathedral in Victoria, and a newly imported High Church bishop, who insisted on advocating ritualistic practices during his opening sermon in the new cathedral. At the end of the service, the evangelical stood up and indirectly rebuked the bishop.

One thing led to another, ecclesiastical law was invoked, the pioneer missionary lost his license to preach, he planted a Reformed Episcopal Church a few blocks away (the denomination was just being formed in Kentucky at that time, and still exists today), and 75% of the Anglican parishioners followed him to the new church.

The incident also led to a falling out between the province's former colonial governor (who was on the evangelical's side) and the province's supreme justice—probably one of the most capable and impartial judges in the British Empire—who was dragged into the case and had to rule on the side of ecclesiastical law (but he donated money to the new church immediately after his ruling).

Truth Unites... and Divides said...


What a great post! Are you trying to give Al Mohler competition for cultural commentary and Christendom commentary?!

Love your posters too! Especially "Civility" and "Post-Evangelicalism"!

MarieP said...

Oh, and the "Post-Evangelical" poster is spot on!

James Joyce said...

mm said:
From the article linked to concerning Make Me a Christian:

"The participants take Communion, get their own Bibles, receive lessons on the correct way to view sex, and learn about service in soup kitchens."

Sounds like the show should be called "Make Me a Whitewashed Tomb".

Stefan Ewing said...

More background info on my story can be found here. It also dives into the history of the tension between Reformation and the via media in the history of Anglicanism.

NothingNew said...

Those po-mo posters are classic.

Rob Hughes said...

Hi Marie,

I'm not sure, have not seen an episode yet and not sure either on the public response. I'll try and find out.

God can work things for good. I pray He does with this program. But man, what can you say to something like this???

David A. Carlson said...

But what's the cause of the sickness and what's the cure? Is it the rather-nebulous question of "love"? Or is it something less subjective and more actionable—and is there a resource or a proper authority which can spell out for us what the solution is?

As it is the command of Jesus, and repeated by his disciples, as the most important of all instruction, I think the solution has been spelled out by our source, the bible. And the answer is Love. What is more actionable than that?

If there is a misunderstanding of what Love is, then we should work to cure that. But the solution is not to do something else - the solution is to Love.

If we love, we will study God's word. We will share the gospel with our neighbors. We will care for those in need. We will rebuke those brothers and sisters who stray. We will care for our neighbor. We will speak the truth. But the Bible is clear - our motivation is Love - nothing else will serve.

Michael said...

The church is sick...agreed. Now I'm hoping that everyone will remember that I'm only throwing this out for discussion...not as a proponent of the entirety of it's contents, but...

Since the church is sick, what are the thoughts about what Frank Viola extols in his book "Reimaging Church", which is a sequel to his 2002 book written with George Barna entitled "Pagan Christianity"...?

Is 1st century New Testament "church" the way to do it, and will it solve more problems than it causes...?

northWord said...

Phil, genius work on the pomotivator's. I laughed aloud when I got to the Driscol one (can't wait to see him at the NDGC) Yike though..after hearing the latest wierdness-blasphemeious coming from camp mystic (via WOTMR a few days ago)..and seeing this dude..well, just eewww.

I liked Frank's blogpostment, (comblost?)-well put. I would like to add in response to:
"But what's the cause of the sickness"
"and what's the cure?"
A broken and contrite spirit.
/do I win a prize? haha ;)

~Have a blessed, and safe holiday weekend all~

FX Turk said...

Frank Viola is a kook with a broken ecclesiology.


Michael said...

An ad hominem attack on the author wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Oh well....

FX Turk said...

You asked a broad question, and you have received a broad answer.

Have you read his books prior to his work published with Barna? They are riddled with historical errors that should have been weeded out in the editorial process. In this case, you can define "kook" as "someone who self-publishes to escape the editioral process, and then gets picked up by a famous pollster to grind a sociological axe about the way the church should run itself".

Is that a little more fair and balanced?

Phil Johnson said...

Seth McBee: "Driscoll says he feels like he was too strong in the past and is desperately trying to figure out when and what is appropriate."

Well, exactly. That's my whole point. The poster is a reference to the fact that he said this in November 2007, but then less than two months later began a Q&A with the most tasteless and inappropriate joke I have ever heard from any pulpit.

I won't comment on your use of the modifier "desperately," except to say I doubt it's a term Driscoll would use to describe his own thinking on the matter, but I am quite sure that if and when he finally "figure[s it] out," we'll hear about it.

With regard to your suggestion that we have been relentlessly "bashing" Driscoll here, I say: prove it. I doubt you can find more than five times in three years where we have mentioned Driscoll in any critical context--taking all our comments and posts combined. As a matter of fact, I think I have posted all of those; neither Frank nor Dan has ever chimed in. And if you summed up all the issues I have ever found fault with Driscoll on, you'd come up with a grand total of one: Ephesians 5:4 doesn't seem to figure into his philosophy of preaching.

I've seen the DG previews. They don't seem to point the same direction as Driscoll's November 2007 message on humility. But I will listen to his message at the conference, and I expect I'll have more to say about the subject after that, one way or the other.

In the meantime, is this supposed to be an off-limits topic for everyone who disagrees with Driscoll?

dac: "If there is a misunderstanding of what Love is, then we should work to cure that."

I think that was precisely Frank's point. Did you think he was arguing that there needs to be less love? What he was saying is that in a climate where error runs rampant and the church is desperately sick, we might do well to be a little less concerned about guarding our tone and a lot more concerned about guarding the truth. I don't know how you could think he was suggesting that "the solution is . . . something else" other than love--unless you assume a priori that love is just flat-out incompatible with rebuke or correction.

Chad V. said...

To kind of pick up on Frank's point about love and guarding the truth; a lot of the confusion about love I believe stems from the fact that I think a lot of professing Christians have a kind of warped view of love. They seem to believe that love is simply permissiveness. I think this especially plays into the way the love of God is viewed. They don't like any one being critical of error or sinful behavior because they think it's unloving. Truth be known, a lack of guarding of the truth and rebuking of sinful behavior or false doctrine is truly being unloving.

Besides all that, before we can have love we must have truth. With out truth there is no love. We are told for example, speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15. Truth is vital to love and a prerequisite to love.

Phil's point about Driscoll and his propensity for ignoring Eph 5:4 is spot on. The loving thing to do is to rebuke it, not turn a blind eye to it.

The love of God is that he sent his son to die in the place of sinners, the love of God saves us from the power of sin and makes us zealous of good works, makes us love the truth and not error. It is the the opposite of permissiveness, it eradicates sin and replaces it with righteousness. Love does not turn a blind eye to sin. God punished sin in Christ and forgives us on His behalf and imputes to us His righteousness. I really think that the church by and large does not really understand this. The love of God punished sin.

How many parents would say to a teenage child who had become involved in something sinful like pornography, "it's o.k. and we shouldn't be critical of his behavior because that would be unloving"? I hope the answer is none. The loving thing to do is to rebuke the behavior and sharply if need be. If one loved their children they will punish sinful behavior in order to train them up in righteousness.

So too the love of God causes God to chasten his children to conform them more and more to the likeness of His Son and as the book of Hebrews says so that we may share in His holiness. The love of God is expressed to His people in his disciplining of them.

Becky Schell said...

Please don't apologize for the posters, Phil; they are great!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Good comment from Chad V.!

But I'd like to add an observation to his excellent post. What often happens is that you'll have two or more Christians rebuking, reproving, correcting, and admonishing each other because they all believe they know the truth and that the other is in error. And many people observing this debate/discussion/conflict/argument/fight don't care to discern who is (mostly) wrong or right, but will simply throw up their hands and say that both are wrong for fighting!

Let's say for example that you're rebuking a heretic. The heretic rebukes you back in return and says that you're the heretic. And the heretic will have his or her supporters. And you'll have your supporters. At that point most observers will shut down and just think that Christians are a bunch of squabbling, argumentative, unloving people.

Sometimes you can win and lose at the same time, if you know what I mean.

Phil Johnson said...

TUAD: "Sometimes you can win and lose at the same time, if you know what I mean."

I know exactly what you mean. Refusing to acknowledge that danger is the besetting sin of the so-called watchbloggers, I think.

The classic metaphor for this is mud-wresting with pigs. You might ultimately win the bout, but you are going to get dirty, and it's fun for the pig whether he wins or loses.

Solameanie said...

Had to repost because of a garble. Sorry about that. Now, as for what I had written:

Feeling the love. . .

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am hearing that refrain parroted more and more of late. My most recent encounter with it happened a couple of days ago as I was dealing with a couple of Emergent types. I won't go into the whole thing here, but they were trying to insist that Jesus sports a tattoo based on Revelation 19. When I responded in my characteristic fashion, my interlocutor said he was "feeling the love," implying (of course) that I was being mean.

Typically, these caterwauls of "you're not being loving" come from theological vandals of all stripes, but most often now from the Emergent coffee (or Pale Ale) klatches. I guess they think if they whine and bawl enough, we'll leave them alone and let them pillage what's left of the church at their pleasure.

I have to make a confession. I am afraid my patience is nearly exhausted with these people and I feel badly about that. I'm supposed to be patient. But the brats have squalled, stomped and chewed the carpet enough now that "time outs" and other Spockian remedies are no longer effective.

To be honest, administering a good, old-fashioned "six of the best" British public school caning looks more appealing to me with each passing day.

David A. Carlson said...


If Frank agrees with me, then I think his argument which I bolded is mis-worded or unclear. Or it is at least to me. It seems to push the concept down.

Johny - just how did i not agree with everything you said? However, in Romans Paul seems to imply differently

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 13:9 For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Franks comment originally, and now, just strikes me as denigrating love.

If I misunderstood that, then I apologize.

donsands said...

"I'm supposed to be patient."-meanie

Yep, that's one of our charges from Scripture.

However, the Lord also said, "Don't cast your pearls infront of swine, for they will trample them in the ground, and then turn and trample you".

There's a time to shake the mud off our coats me brother.
Keep up the good contending for the truth of Christ, and kick off the dust every now and then. It's good for the soul.

Phil Johnson said...

dac: "Franks comment originally, and now, just strikes me as denigrating love"

Well, that's not very loving of you, is it? After all, love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor. 13:7), right?

Phil Johnson said...

. . . which is to say that the "we should just love one another and never argue" argument is self-defeating.

Stefan Ewing said...

I'm being reminded of too many wedding ceremonies right now...

Unknown said...

yeah... sorry about that, dac... that is why I deleted it. To be honest, I just read "the shack" and some other stuff like that... and I am probably a little over-sensitive to the idea of "lets just love everyone" (though I agree with a scriptural application, which you obviously do as well) because I have recently had to deal with some folks who twisted that teaching and took it waaaaay out of context. I am afraid I misapplied what you were trying to say as I read it because of these personal biases and I apologize.

Seth McBee said...

thanks for the response...but I never used the term "relentlessly" when speaking of you guys bashing Driscoll...but I take note of you only speaking of him five times...so I am sorry if when I said "keep bashing" that it was out of line...

I still think there is some "party lines" being walked here as Piper never is brought into the discussion as he continues to back Driscoll.

And if we got into the idea of Spicy Talk we might disagree on what is and what is not...so there is probably no reason to even go there.

Any thoughts on Piper and his backign of Driscoll...or shall we just ignore it? :)

Solameanie said...

Actually, Seth, Frank has taken on Piper, and fairly recently. Didn't you see it?

The "spicy talk" references the love of some in the Emergent Church for crude, vulgar and even profane speech. Driscoll's had some issues with it, but others are even worse. Check out Anne Lamott some time.

DJP said...

Check out Anne Lamott some time.

Or, better still, don't.

Phil Johnson said...

Seth McBee: "I still think there is some "party lines" being walked here as Piper never is brought into the discussion as he continues to back Driscoll. . . . Any thoughts on Piper and his backign of Driscoll...or shall we just ignore it? :)"

Thanks for asking. I'm happy to answer, though the question mystifies me. It seems to me like I'd be more susceptible to the accusation of drawing uncharitable "party lines" if I did drag Piper's name into this issue.

I don't have any way of knowing what Piper's private admonitions to Driscoll might include (or exclude). Based on things Piper has said in the past, however, I would be very surprised--amazed, actually--if his invitation for Driscoll to speak at the DG conference signified a wholesale endorsement of Driscoll's proclivity for all things lowbrow. (It's kind of hard to imagine the two of them cheering side by side in a cage-fighting arena, isn't it?)

So I certainly don't assume that Piper's stance with regard to Driscoll reflects unreserved support for everything Driscoll stands for or does. After all, Piper has also had MacArthur at the DG conferences in between Driscoll's appearances, and I seriously doubt anyone assumes that means Piper endorses every jot and tittle of MacArthur's teaching or style. So why would anyone assume Piper's friendship with Driscoll means he's OK with everything that comes out of Driscoll's mouth? And since we can't make that assumption, it would be grossly unfair to criticize Piper for Driscoll's spicy talk.

In short, I have left Piper out of it because there is no reason whatsoever to mention him in a context like this.

Kim said...

I don't think I'm going to be able to look at Tobasco sauce again in the same way :)

Solameanie said...


Oh my lands! I read WORLD fairly regularly, but that particular one I must have missed. I had no idea that Lamott had been interviewed there, and so positively.

I can only hope Marvin and Joel Belz took a lot of heat for it. Anne Lamott gives me hives.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

DJP from the link he provided to SolaMeanie: "I bailed on Christianity Today -- the real one -- years ago, after they thumbed their nose at Biblical teaching about creation and the roles of men and women."

Oh geez. Another one of those divisive complementarians arguing over 2nd-order, non-salvific doctrinal issues.


Rick Frueh said...

The ever expanding world of evangelicalsim has become a spiritual kaleidoscope that changes every day, and with every colored piece compromising the purity of all the rest. Some call that a beautiful mosaic while others would suggest a disjointed collection of blurry hues.

Much of liturgy is fashioned after the Levitical worship and the Old Testament shadows. It certainly appears to be an archaeological dig from church history that proclaims these fossils as "new". It also seems to be a reassessment of the worship structure of Rome.

All these projects seem to originate from a boredom with Christ, propelled by the accessibility of any and all information, and that can be subjectively processed to accommodate the original search for "new". It's a short drive from beauty to toxic.

Rick Frueh said...

Sorry, one more thought. Christianity should have a core color with some Scriptural tones meant to magnify the primary color. What we are morphing into is a collection of colors, without any primary colors, and with an expanding fresco of many different pastels that has ushered in a doctrinal era we can call "abstract impressionalism".

The modern theologians - Picasso and Dali.

Moon said...

My friend keep reading, wait 'till you get to Part III, here's a little sneak peak:
"...before I proceed directly to the distinguishing characters, I would previously mention some things which I desire may be observed, concerning the marks I shall lay down.
1. That I am far from undertaking to give such signs of gracious affections, as shall be sufficient to enable any certainly to distinguish true affection from false in others; or to determine positively which of their neighbors are true professors, and which are hypocrites. In so doing, I should be guilty of that arrogance which I have been condemning. Though it be plain that Christ has given rules to all Christians, to enable them to judge of professors of religion, whom they are concerned with, so far as is necessary for their own safety, and to prevent their being led into a snare by false teachers, and false pretenders to religion...yet it is also evident, that it was never God's design to give us any rules, by which we may certainly know, who of our fellow professors are his, and to make a full and clear separation between sheep and goats; but that, on the contrary, it was God's design to reserve this to himself, as his prerogative."
"...But yet the laying down good rules may be a means of preventing such hypocrites, and of convincing many of other kinds of hypocrites; and God is able to convince even this kind, and his grace is not to be limited, nor means to be neglected. And besides, such rules may be of use to the true saints, to detect false affections, which they may have mingled with true; and be a means of their religion's becoming more pure, and like gold tried in the fire..."

Pitbull78 said...

First I would like to point out 1 Timothy 1:3-5

"As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may INSTRUCT certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogise, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our INSTRUCTION is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

Today's church would not recognize silencing men who are teaching unsound things as "love from a pure heart" but that is exactly what God says it is. Instead the church sees love as tolerating sin and judging not lest we be judged.

Secondly, concerning Mark Driscoll, at the Southeastern Baptist Conference he mentions that at the beginning of his ministry he often cussed and spoke in a way he shouldn't. However, just as Phil pointed out, he continues to do it, and after listening to his "Vintage Jesus" series, I just couldn't hang with what came across to me as a total lack of reverence for Christ.

Chad V. said...

VIntage Jesus???!!!!!

It's not just a lack of reverence;

It's blasphemy.

NothingNew said...

In regards to those old book links that Phil posted, who would have thought that every time we type in the security key on Blogger and etc., we might actually be assisting in the digital translation of some old book.

Whether this is a good or bad thing, depends on the book we're unknowingly digitally translating.


"It happens all the time: you're registering a free e-mail account or making a purchase online, when up pops a wavy, multicolored word. The system asks you to retype the word - and you roll your eyes, squint a little, and transcribe. This little test is one of the most successful techniques for making sure the person trying to log on is really a human, and not a digital "bot" prying into the site.

But now, when you type that word, something else may be happening as well: You may be deciphering a word from a decaying old book, helping to transform a historic text into a new digital file."

Stefan Ewing said...

Rick: I like your last analogy there. A nice, bold primary colour versus a pastiche of pastels.

Phil Johnson said...


That's really cool. I didn't know they were doing that, but it's the cleverest thing I've ever seen. I wish I had the means of tapping into that to get The Spurgeon Archive texts proofread.

Moon said...

"Stefan said...
Rick: I like your last analogy there. A nice, bold primary colour versus a pastiche of pastels."
yay now it wont sound weird if I compliment it!
Rick, while sadly true, that was beautiful!

Unknown said...

The contestants on Make me a Christian where fine - ideal candidates to become Christians. Exactly the kind of people in need of grace. Exactly the kind of non-Christian people you'd expect Jesus to go and have dinner with.

The problem was that they were being taught a cold external moralism. It was Make Me A Pharisee. Three weeks of v.embarrassing tv.

NothingNew said...


Since Google wants to scan every book that has ever lived or died into their digital archive, maybe you can still help them get more Spurgeon books translated.


"Google has been quietly scanning as part of its ambition to create a digital archive of every book that has lived or died. Google's "reader" will point you to a publisher or to a library or somewhere local to get it. If it is out of copyright you could download it as a PDF or self-publish it through sites such as lulu.com. When it started, publishers were up in arms about Google's presumption that they could scan first and worry about copyright later. "

Steve T said...

I haven't seen 'Make me a Christian' to be honest I'm not interested in 'faith'+ Entertainment filterd and distorted through the mixing desk of the usual trendy lefty Islington wine bar brigade. I get enough of that just listening to the news on BBC Radio 4. But I think it's fair to say that George Hargreaves is broadly speaking one of the good guys and has taken to the Gospel onto the streets and into some difficult corners for a number of years. I know he's Pentecostal in his theology so there's plenty to disagree with, nor do I buy into many of his political aspirations, From what I understand he felt the series had been of benefit, I don't know? Eternity will answer that one, I'm not saying that I would have put myself into such a situation but perhaps as with Joseph of old God is well able to bring about good despite the cynical intentions and clever editing of any producer.

Stefan Ewing said...

Since this is a miscellany post....

I don't listen to Christian radio very often, but I happened to hear Chuck Swindoll's program yesterday (the 29th).

His current series is Ephesians 1:3-14 (!) ("Ten Reasons to Give God Praise"), and on Friday, we was teaching on verses 4-7: election, and redemption through the blood of Christ. He also discussed his own journey from belief in the preeminence of human free will to that of sovereign grace, and the change it had on his evangelism.

He taught the doctrine of election pastorally—that is to say, in terms that would make sense to an average congregation...and even quoted Spurgeon once or twice.

It's worth a listen, for anyone who's trying to explain election to someone who "doesn't get it."

The direct link is here. If that doesn't work, go to this page, then click on "Ten Reasons to Give God Praise" (Aug 28-Sep 1, 2008). A media player will launch (hopefully). Under "Hear the Entire Message," click on August 29.

Stefan Ewing said...

Oh, and needless to say, he is an open-Gospel-call kind of doctrines-of-gracer, just like Edwards, Spurgeon, and all the rest.

Pitbull78 said...

During a Q & A session at Mars Hill church in Feb. of 2008, Driscoll, while trying to make a case for the Bibles comedic value said, "there's this really funny little story where Noah gets drunk and passes out naked in his tent, I mean the whole book (he was speaking of Genesis) is a hillbilly redneck saga par {excelant?} where all of Genesis takes place in a trailer park, I mean it's just absolutely mesmorizing."

What a lack of reverence this man has for Noah, a man mentioned in Hebrews 11, whom God says the world was not worthy of such a man.

Please quit defending Driscoll when he time and time again lacks respect and reverence for great men of faith and for Christ.

Rick Frueh said...

I love a nice steak with a baked potato.

Served on a dirty garbage can lid? No thanks.

Mark Driscoll. Sometimes relevancy is a sincere attempt to connect people with truth. Sometimes it is just a platform for a self indulgent display of intellectual crudeness.

Stefan Ewing said...

Phil, the new version of your Paradox poster is mind-bending in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways.

Caleb Kolstad said...


~Mark said...

First let me say, I love you all. Seriously, since Biblical love means doing well by the object of your love, and I dearly want to do right by you all for the glory of God.

Having said that, I SO prefer a Christian who'll say "stop being a jerk when it comes to representing Christ. Here's how you're being a jerk, stop it so that we can get into good fellowship together and so Christ isn't embarrassed by your behavior."

Also much respected is the Christian who can hear those words and respond by actually checking to see if the speaker is correct rather than flying off the handle or ignoring it.

I think of times when someone tells me at the end of the day that I have toothpaste on my cheek. Since it was in the morning when I brushed, NOBODY all day cared enough to stop my embarrassing situation except finally that one person.

A pastor who is taking God's people down the wrong path is beyond the first warning because they can be reasonably expected to know better. However, giving them that first warning is fair.

After that, sound the alarm on them if they don't see and respond to the truth. We get bogged down and afraid to answer the question "should Christians cuss" (just using the current topic as an example) when the answer is "no" and we should be able to show why this is so.

When someone wants salvation finally, they don't want the same old thing they've been getting from the world and they should be free to expect something better.

Stuff like love, self-control, patience etc; lived not the way the world lives these things, but with godly intent.

Rick Frueh said...

BTW Phil - I appreciate the posters that have the actual culprit on the face. You probably don't remember or care but I suggested that a few months ago. Let everyone make a direct correlation with the poster's message by the offender being tethered to it.

SB said...

for as how much you doth protest Mark Driscoll is a good brother

nobody wholesale agrees with anyone

i first learned about UFC from Buddy Stride