20 November 2007

Hither and yon, various and sundry

by Dan Phillips

See afternoon update (below)

My mind isn't gripped at the moment by an idea big enough for a post — but I have seen some interesting and/or cool things here and there. I offer them with the expectation of responses ranging from "Cool!" to "Hm," and even unto "Well, I'll be."

Weltanschauung rap! Check it here; it's been going rounds such as Timmy Brister and (even!) Tom Ascol. (I wonder whether the prof says Weltanschauung right, or I do. Or neither.)

Kimball! Occasional Pyro-post fodder (and fellow Chicago fan) Dan Kimball laid down some sober words about the preaching of Hell, in the context of the relevance of the afterlife. It's interesting, and I think it's very Kimbally. Starts off friendly, rambling, chatty. Plugs Ron Sider's "wonderful" tome (to which, unless Sider's changed dramatically, I say "booo!"). And then Dan gets to the meat of his point, laying down that "balance" would mean
...making sure we teach and live out the good (great) news of the gospel and Kingdom living here and now in this life - that we still talk and teach about the reality of the after-life. That we still talk about heaven and we also still talk about the reality of hell.
I understand fully the reality of how we neglected understanding the Kingdom of God on this earth and what that means and perhaps focused too much on the after-life only when we talked about the gospel. But at the same time, how can we forget about the reality of the after-life and not talk or think about hell and heaven?
I like Dan — and there'll be no "but" to that. I have enjoyed corresponding with Dan, and we plan to get together next time he's in The Big Tomato. I commend the article itself to you for your consideration.

Many of you will feel (as I do) that Dan seems more apologetic than you or I might be. But then I remind myself that as a rule that Dan talks to different sorts than this Dan does, and that "The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive" (Proverbs 15:2a CSB). His commenters as a rule accept what he's said seriously. It seems to me that Dan is approaching the same things Phil recently talked about here and here, if maybe from the other direction.

And then Dan says this:
I believe from passages such as in Daniel 12:2 to a bunch of them in the New Testament which to me clearly indicate that there is an eternal separation of people in the afterlife. A horrifying and heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, mind-searing, painful thought. But a reality I personally cannot dismiss. So it doesn't mean that we take the gospel and only focus on hell, as the gospel is about this life too. But at the same time, we can't forget or dismiss the topic of hell either, which I am wondering if we are beginning to do in some circles.
On the one hand, I think a fair reading makes Dan's personal convictions clear enough. But there's this: "a reality I personally cannot dismiss."

Do we preach the reality, though, and not merely share it? Are we not to proclaim the truths of Heaven and Hell, not merely as truths we personally hold, but as truths that Jesus personally held, and therefore which all personally must hold, or they are in rebellion against God? Isn't that what Christian preaching is, viewed from one angle: heralding King Jesus' personal beliefs, in the confidence that He is truth (John 14:6), and His words (= personal beliefs) are therefore non-negotiably true and binding (John 8:40; 18:37)? It seems to me that the Christian stance affirms the transcendence and binding nature of God's personal beliefs, expressed in His Word, as over and against all human beliefs (Proverbs 30:1-6).

I personally am looking forward to dialogging with Dan about this and more.

Software! In my recent review of Logos, some commenters brought up e-Sword, which I've often recommended. Christian Computing Magazine has put up a short review both of e-Sword, and of Zondervan's engine Pradis (h-t mgvh).

Ventriloquism? Can a ventriloquist do anything fresh? Turns out... yes! If you weather that well, check out the longer (and funnier Letterman version. (I tried to find some good Sr. Wences footage, but couldn't — apart from a brief documentary in Spanish with a lot of interviews and little performance footage.)

That's all for now.

Dan Phillips's signature


Here's a bonus that we hope will apply some defibrillator paddles to the languishing comment-thread under this post. It's a YouTube video about "Christian Liberty," featuring a song written and performed by Eric Blythe and set to a slideshow of Po-Motivators® by Marc Wragg (both of Jupiter, FL).

The song was evidently inspired by the post-evangelical decriminalization of certain vices that are particular irritants to Moms and Homeschoolers.

Phil's signature


Saint and Sinner said...

Opps.I violated one of the rules- "no off topic comments" so I deleted. How do you invite people to come comment on your blog without violating?

DJP said...

Short answer: you don't.

Thanks for reading the rules.

donsands said...

I can't do raps, but that was cool.

"I have enjoyed corresponding with Dan, and we plan to get together next time he's in The Big Tomato."

That good news. Dan reminds me of my last pastor, who also attended Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary. It's a relational theology first and foremost. And to me this can be dangerous, even when one loves the Word, because it can subtly supersede the Word.

Hope that's not off topic.

James Scott Bell said...

Sr. Wences!?

Welcome to late middle age, Dan.


DJP said...

Um, not late. But thanks.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Gasp! You mean Hell actually exists?

The Emer-"gents" get a little less gentlemanly, and start to sneak some truth into the politically correct tripe. and thereby emergent starts to disintegrate as a movement, just as predicted...

Solameanie said...

I don't mean this as a shot at Dan Kimball (with whom I have also corresponded) really, but this kind of approach is in keeping with postmodern sensibilities. Everyone has a viewpoint, and everyone's viewpoint is equally valid. I am not saying Dan believes that every viewpoint is valid, but phrasing things in that manner is seen by some as the best way to begin discussion with a postmodern mind. I don't agree with it, but so it is.

It all sort of reminds me of the way some politicians handle abortion. "Well, I'm personally opposed to abortion, but I believe in the right to choose." They don't seem to realize that if they cast a vote allowing abortion, they share in accountability for it. My saying that will probably make some people mad at me, but hey, what else is new.

Jacob said...

He does mispronounce Weltanshauung. He says something that sounds, phonetically, like "Veltanshwang" when, true to German phonics, it is "Veltanshaowung." Nevertheless, it is a highly amusing rap.

DJP said...

Yes, and well-transliterated. (I wasn wondering how.)

But, to be a bit legalistic, shouldn't it properly be "Veltanshaowungk"?

Strong Tower said...

"not merely as truths we personally hold, but as truths that Jesus personally held, and therefore which all personally must hold, or they are in rebellion against God"

Arrogance! Jesus was a man and the opinions he held were just the doctrines of man. We must look behind his words to discover the individual meaning for ourselves. You say toemautoe, I say toemaytoe. Hell is a present reality on Earth and it is our job to establish Heaven in its midst. Have you not read the Kingdom is like a loaf leavened a little, all's we gotta do fold in a little love, la..lalalala, all we need is love, love, yes, love is all we need...

veltunskang, I say, bah humbug, bring in the clowns. Anyone who would say that I have to believe what he believes, that man is not the reality, it is the Christ behind the Jesus mask, he's even scarier! Words, words, words...there just buckets for carrying full of mental mush....

Stefan Ewing said...


I'm reading through the Prophets now, and would find it hard to dismiss Hell as merely "separation from God" (or milder) after reading through the pronouncements in Isaiah and Jeremiah. It also adds a whole new dimension to similar pronouncements uttered by Jesus. Glad to hear that someone whose teaching is acceptable to emergent ears is seriously grappling with this.

And thanks for reminding me of Sr. Wences! Now I can't remember which show he was a regular on...was it Carson? For reasons unfathomable, I am reminded now of Charo, another staple of the old, twelve-channel (plus UHF) universe....

DJP said...

Ed Sullivan.

Stefan Ewing said...

What I really meant to say was that, considering the language of the Prophets, it makes one wonder why some are so eager to dismiss out of hand the same language when it comes out of the mouth of Jesus Christ, our thrice anointed Prophet, Priest, and King, greater even than Moses, Melchizedek, and David.

Stefan Ewing said...

...and Lord, Son of God, and Saviour, I hasten to add....

DJP said...

You know, this is just another example of how I can NEVER tell what will, and what will not, be a lively meta.

I mean -- this post has Hell! It has Kimball! It has rock and roll! It has software! It has rap! It has Spanish and German!

It has ventriloquists, for Pete's sake!

What doesn't it have??

I should append an update... announcing a series on dispensationalism, or something.


Stefan Ewing said...

"Listen to the east, and to the west;
     to the north, and to the south.
All you hear is the sound of insects;
     Yea, the chirping of crickets."

Nash Equilibrium said...

DJP - Hey, it doesn't have mimes...

...maybe everyone is just not quite sure how to react to an Emergrunt speaking a message that prioritizes truth over popularity? Or, perhaps some of us are expecting DK to, after a long blogosphere pause, say "just kidding! really had you going there for a minute, didn't I?"

DJP said...


< forehead slap >

More seriously:

Let's not call DK names. What he says comes from the heart, and I think we're all glad he's saying it to whom he's saying it to. To dangle a preposition.

Dan's an earnest and serious guy, is my impression. Apart from having ANYTHING nice to say about Ron Sider, and apart from identifying himself as Emerg***, I've not yet heard of a belief he holds that I'd take issue with. What's hard to get about Dan is where he draws the lines, where he sees the edges.

When we chat, I'm sure we'll get it ALL straightened out. Then I'll tell you.


goasktheplatypus said...

I saw that act on America's Got Talent the one time I watched it. I have to say, I never thought someone could make ventriloquism cool again. But he did.
Dan, you are the second biggest contributor to my YouTube addiction.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Let's not call DK names.

I'm not calling Dan names, since I don't know him from Adam. However, I'm calling the movement he identifies himself with, names, and for good reason since they've earned the right to a certain amount of scorn. Kind of like when pyros post the Emergent-See motivators: There's a point behind the sarcastic bite.

Yes I agree, it's sure nice to see someone, anyone, now beginning to sprinkle a little truth into Emergent doctrines from the inside. However, unless the overall movement's motivations have changed (always a doubtful proposition), it remains to be seen why concessions to truth are now being made; sprinkling truth into lies has been a long-time tactic of deceivers, after all. OTOH, maybe the prayers of the saints are being heard - I hope so, anyway, as I and a lot of others have been praying that the Lord would get through to some of these guys, sooner or later. Good luck with your conversation.

Phil Johnson said...

DJP: "I should append an update."

I've got the perfect item. It's a YouTube slideshow and song that was partially inspired by the Po-Motivators®. Want me to append it to your post?

DJP said...

Do it, bro.

Anonymous said...

Don't be to discouraged Dan, it is close to Thanksgiving.

Strong Tower said...


Emergent ventriviacalism- lips move but the words don't line up with the talking hand- or, who really says these things for me, anyway?

The lunatic is in your head....

Does DK understand that when his views get around the ec he'll be anthema? He's talking about realities, not potentialities, isn't that a little too black and white? I mean, pretty soon he's gonna be giving the ec a systematic and what's next? Branded, as a maker of man's doctrines. They already have a HER/MANeutic that works everything out in contracts for speaking tours. Next, it will be books. Oh, they got those? But that means, soon they'll be saying that the words that they write are right and really mean things....it just never stops, we open our mouths and dispell all doubt that there isss someone's hand in our heads. For good or evil. Woe is us, it's all just the doctrines of man, and we're all just puppets!

Angie B. said...

Hey, I went to college with Kevin Johnson. He was funny then, too.

Alan said...

I like the rap, but I am not sure who is pronouncing it correctly. I will go with Dan since this is his post.

DJP said...

Angie, I just think of the work, the discipline it had to take, to be able to do it so perfectly and smoothly and quickly.

Mike Riccardi said...

Okay... that song was absolutely hilarious.

"Praise the Lord for these Christian Liberties."


We're such uncharitable, meat-chub toting, monster-creating modernists.

Solameanie said...

That was absolutely hysterical! And seeing that Gumby and Pokey doll set reminded me of yet another song that could well become an Emergent Anthem.

Phil and Dan (not to mention the song author), you realize of course that this will again open you up to the charge of undue meanness. There's just not enough kindness in the world, as Sidney Greenstreet used to say.

DJP said...

Oh, mercy. A guy, air-drumming... over a drum set.

Whoever invented lip-syncing has much to answer for.

Stacy said...

the languishing comment-thread under this post.

I think you have chased a great deal of us away fromt he comment box a long time ago. I mean, who wants to post here when the odds are that DJP will bite your head off? I know I'm not the only one who thinks Pyromaciacs has assumed the ulcer-aggravating tone of an angry man.

The comments languish because it's just not any interesting here anymore.

Well, that feels better. You can go ahead and delete this now.

(Posted with this rule in mind: "Say what you like about us; disagree as strongly as you like; beat us up or slap us around verbally with near-total impunity. But keep within the parameters of Christian civility.")

Phil Johnson said...


Dan hasn't actually bitten any heads off yet. He just growls. Pecadillo is the only one who really bites. But that's only when the taser fails.

Stacylaw: "I know I'm not the only one who thinks Pyromaciacs has assumed the ulcer-aggravating tone of an angry man."

I know just what you mean. Fortunately, it's toned down considerably since the old days, when I was blogging alone and had to keep hordes of misbehaving commenters in line all by myself.

Solameanie said...

Dan Phillips? Biting someone's head off? Nah. Dan's a lovable teddy bear who occasionally preaches sternly.

Stacy, you really need to toughen up a bit. After all, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition here.

Jono Mac said...

A little while ago I posted a request for Emergent anthems. Well, I made a video with some visuals and appropriate songs, but decided it needed to be modified for slower readers. However I used some picutres of Emer**** leaders and actually felt guilty about using pictures of DK. However, his terribley titled book, "They like Jesus but not the church," managed to book him a place in the soon to be published vid.

If DK had a little more certainty I'd definitely call him a bright shining star in the EC.


sdCorinne said...

NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!!! (Sorry, I have nothing constructive to add, but it just felt so necessary!)

Solameanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Solameanie said...


Just so you know, I've been wracked by guilt all evening that I made you look at an air drumming display, and a bad one at that. I hope this redeems me. I saw it live in Chicago back in October. Be patient, it gets pretty awesome toward the end.


Do you have any comfy chairs or soft cushions on order?

DJP said...

Meanie — ahhh, better....

Kim said...

I have a rather strange philosophy about blog reading:

If it isn't "interesting," I generally avoid reading or commenting and find something else to do.

Eccentric, I know.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Does DK understand that when his views get around the ec he'll be anthema?

That's exactly what I was thinking about, last night. I hope DK does realize that he will be anathema in the EC if he keeps it up; that would mean that he actually is willing to sacrifice his popularity for Biblical truth. Even if his motivation is, admirably, to save a remnant out of the EC at the cost of losing his position there, I question the wisdom of it, to wit: Is there a Biblical mandate for a teacher of orthodox doctrines, standing publicly in the same movement, side by side with men like Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, and Robert Schuller? (and to thereby risk appearing to endorse their views?)

I suspect there isn't a very clear mandate in Scripture for this, in fact the opposite may be true.

DJP said...

But doesn't Driscoll still call himself "Emerg***? And I doubt anyone's arguing that he's not laying down some pretty hot, confrontive Biblical teaching these days.

Nash Equilibrium said...

True, Dan. The same argument would apply to Driscoll, too. Thanks for pointing that out.

Maybe both MD and DK know that the EC doctrines (and yes, they do have them) are unBiblical, but deep-down they just can't stand to not be with the "happening" crowd?

If so, there's a lesson about human nature, for all of us to heed.

Hadassah said...

Alcohol and cigarettes? You are all going to hell!

Rap music? Hell for sure!

Probably ventriloquist too.

People with strange facial hair? Straight to hell!

Software? The mark of the beast!

There, Dan, maybe that will stir things up for you.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! Mine will almost certainly involve nothing resembling heaven here on earth. But it might involve a little of the other side.

Mike Riccardi said...

And I doubt anyone's arguing that he's not laying down some pretty hot, confrontive Biblical teaching these days.

I think what keeps me from liking Driscoll is that he doesn't present the Bible in the Bible's clothes. The shirts with Jesus at the turntables and the jeans and stools turn me off very irreverent of the position of ambassador. And I think all of that stylistic stuff is motivated by a preoccupation with the culture, based on what I believe is a faulty ecclesiology.

I think that any of those coming out of the Emerging movement will have to crucify their pandering to the culture if they really want to be considered to have come out.

I've quoted the following here before, and I'd like to post it again. I'm really wondering what people think about this idea of presenting the Bible in Bible dress. It would seem to destroy the idea that the message is entirely separate from methods.

And it is exceedingly instructive to note that there are three stages through which preaching has repeatedly passed with the same results. The first is that in which scriptural truth is faithfully presented in scriptural garb. That is to say that not only are all the doctrines asserted which truly belong to the revealed system of redemption, but they are presented in that dress and connection in which the Holy Spirit has presented them without seeking any other from human science. This state of the pulpit marks the golden age of the church. The second is the transition stage. In this the doctrines taught are still those of the scriptures, but their relations are molded into conformity with the prevalent human dialectics. God's truth is now shorn of a part of its power over the soul. A third stage is then near in which not only are the methods and explanations conformed to the philosophy of the day but the doctrines themselves contradict the truth of the Word. Again and again have the clergy traveled this descending scale and always with the same disastrous result. ... May we ever be content to exhibit Bible doctrine in its own Bible dress. -- R.L. Dabney, from Evangelical Eloquence

Nash Equilibrium said...

I recently listened to Driscoll address a more conservative audience. I think a lot of what he had to say was good, but it was hard to get past what seemed like a somewhat condescending attitude on his part, as if he had it all figured out and everyone else were riddled with problems. That was just my impression of him; don't know if it is true or not.

But my main question for DJP was, is there a Scriptural allowance for teachers of sound Biblical doctrine to cavort with false teachers? I don't think there is, but I'm not a theologian so I'm awaiting the answer. Side-stepping that question by saying "Driscoll does it, too" didn't go very far in convincing me on that point. I mean what is this, WWMDD or something?

Solameanie said...


Spot on! And let me add another observation. Don't you see a bit of a connection with the dialectic here in the way this spreads through the church? Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. And always, the process begins anew until the ones agitating for change (or "facilitators") get their eventual, intended, desired result. Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue and still more dialogue. Can't we discuss? Can't we talk? Can't we share? Can't we come to common ground? Drip, drip, drip. Wear, wear, wear. Eventually people are tired of the endless discussion and accommodate. I wish people would wake up and see it.

I am more inclined to swing a cudgel instead of talking. No means no.

Kevin said...

Stratagem wrote:
"Maybe both MD and DK know that the EC doctrines (and yes, they do have them) are unBiblical, but deep-down they just can't stand to not be with the "happening" crowd?"

Throw Rob Bell in there too. If you get a chance read today's article by Jesse Johnson on The Pulpit Magazine.



Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stefan Ewing said...

Off-topic comment, but on-topic in the greater scheme of things:

I was skimming over an old book of mine on source criticism (the documentary hypothesis and all that), by a humanist scholar.

It got me thinking: consider the irony of it. One of the main themes in the Bible is man's rejection of God, and God's response to that. So here we have two centuries of humanistic scholars who themselves have rejected God, dissecting and ascribing uninspired authorship to the books that describe their predecessors' rejection of Him, effectively telling us that we don't have to take God seriously when he warns us against those who reject Him.

(And of course, not merely humanists, but many professing Christian scholars take increasingly lenient views towards books that warn against taking increasingly lenient views toward God!)

I'm not opposed to trying to identify strands of source material in Scripture, but if the motivation is to find a way out of the conviction of sin, need for repentance, and promise of salvation, then there's something troublingly ironic about the whole process.

Oh, that God would raise up a new generation of scholars to fill the halls of academia, who will accept Scripture on its terms and not on theirs!

Nash Equilibrium said...

Kevin, thank you for the link to that article on Rob Bell. The pastor of the church I used to be a member of, was a closet RB disciple, and he became as deceitfully elusive about what he really believed as Bell is described as being in this article. I guess that closed-mouthed deceit goes with the whole 'universalists who don't wanna be known as univeralists' schtick.

Solameanie said...


I am glad you brought up the subject of "deceit." I have read a number of reports from across the country (and have seen it within my own denomination/fellowship) about how those pushing the Emergent philosophy work to get it into their churches. Very seldom do they openly state what they want to do, but they basically engineer palace coups in stealth. A beloved congregation here locally has spent the past two years being torn to pieces because of this kind of loathsome tactic. It really does make my blood boil, and for all the mewling about reaching a postmodern generation for Christ, I seriously question that supposed motivation when the fruit harvested largely consists of split churches and broken relationships. That's real honoring to Christ, isn't it?

Solameanie said...

While we're on the subject of the Emergent Church, I personally think today's Dilbert comic strip illustrates perfectly the EC manner of handling Scripture. Just imagine Dilbert as the Apostle Paul for a moment and you'll see what I mean.

Keep in mind, in case you are seeing this tomorrow (Thanksgiving) you'll need to click the archive button and select today's (11/21) strip.

Strong Tower said...

Lip sink just leaves a really ugly picture in my mind

Strong Tower said...


Have you looked at the post totals or the diversity of individs?

Strong Tower said...


1 Thessalonians 5:22, "Abstain from all appearance of evil."

I know it is KJV but it captures the idea. Even the secular world has this ethic whether in ordinance or statement. It usually goes this way: "Avoid any appearance of inpropriety." Sometimes it is part of an oath of office. And get this, in our Constitution, the term misdemeanor which was an impeachable offense, was not a legal term, it referred to actions that would bring public disrepute to the office.


Strong Tower said...

Cudgel? Frozen or thawed?

Jono Mac said...

DJP: But doesn't Driscoll still call himself "Emerg***? And I doubt anyone's arguing that he's not laying down some pretty hot, confrontive Biblical teaching these days.

Dan, I've become a bit of a Driscoll fan/listner in the last few months, but I can't say for sure.

From what I gather, Driscoll still could classify himself and Mars Hill church as Emerging (ie a church attempting to deal with an emerging culture), but has explicitly distanced himself from the Emergents (more specifically the term used to describe such aforementioned leaders as Maclaren, Bell etc and the entire Leadership Network).

I think one would be very suprised to notice a change of sorts in the present Driscoll and the one in 2006 and prior. From what I gather he got a bit of a shock when his elders said his legacy would be that of a cussing pastor. Now I happily listen to him, apart from from the odd inappropriate comment.

Austin Bob said...

Love the title of the post. Hither and Yon Blog