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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Arrogance of the Emergent Church Movement (I)

My Predictions Are Coming True
I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, but the more I read books by Emergent/Emerging authors, the more I’m convinced that what I said a couple of years ago—at least—is becoming increasingly evident. When I finished reading McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy it was clear to me that this was going to be an aberrant, heterodox movement. McLaren’s new book Everything Must Change seems to be his (vain) attempt at ethics and deviates even further from true Christianity. I have read a large number of books on ethics and this one—along with Jim Wallis’ God’s Politics—qualifies as one of the worst. I hope to make this clear in the course of this series on his book and other Emergent nonsense.
Let me state at the outset that in his latest book McLaren comes out looking very much like a left-wing Democrat who despises George Bush, hates the war, and believes that we are all going to become crispy-critters due to global warming unless we heed Al Gore’s “facts,” which a number of scientists have debunked. In many ways, McLaren’s book parallels Wallis’ books and makes many of the same left-wing points that Wallis makes, only more poorly.
Another aspect of McLaren’s book that irked me as I read it was McLaren’s arrogance. Like N.T. Wrights What Saint Paul Really Said, McLaren gives us the impression that up until this point in theology and ethics we have been surrounded by incompetents and dolts, but now Bri is here to rescue us from our blatant ignorance. While the old dead guys were spewing out all that doctrine stuff and burning witches at the stake, Brian has bigger, better, kinder, and gentler fish to fry. Heck, he’s even willing to stop admiring his Birkenstocks long enough to help us discover the real Jesus. How kind.
But before we launch into McLaren’s ethical commentary, I want to say just a few words about one of his colleagues: Dan Kimball. This year Zondervan released Kimball’s work They Like Jesus but not the Church. On the back cover we read the following: “Ask someone today is he or she likes Jesus, and the answer is usually Yes. But ask if that person likes the Church, and chances are you will get a far less favorable response.” This is, quite possibly, an apt description of the emerging generation, who, we should remember, are the children of those who were entertained to death in the mega-church movement. Their parents had no spiritual legacy to pass on to their children and these children are merely the devastating spiritual result of parents who either could not or would not pass on scriptural truth to their children; who had little or no concept of what it means that God desires a godly seed (cf. Mal. 2:15).
As I unfold Kimball’s comments this will be one of my guiding theses: the “emerging generation” and what they think, feel, and sense—these are their operative words—is comparable to what the mega-church movement sought in unchurched-Harry and Harriett. It’s the same old pile; it’s just been re-stacked. For the life of me, I cannot understand why any real Christian would find anything attractive about the lack of exegesis, lack of use of Scripture, and constant use of vague platitudes in the Emerging chit-chat. It is, quite possibly, the most superficial theology to date. But what concerns me even more is that some in my own denomination have found Emergent books witty and amusing. To date, no one from our Mission to North America office in Atlanta has issued anything resembling a warning about a wide variety of heterodox statements coming from the Emergents (e.g., the penal substitutionary atonement of our Lord is tantamount to cosmic child abuse), and some cutting-edge pastors are even embracing some Emergent tenets.
For example, those in the PCA who do not have their heads in the sand know that we are heading—and have been for quite some time—to a showdown about women in leadership positions. Some churches already have women reading Scripture in worship, leading in prayer (shouldn’t the pastor and Elders, who really know what’s going on the congregation be doing this?), and serving as “unordained Deacons,” which is contrary to the PCA’s Book of Church Order. Without getting involved in a kind of Christian feminism (oxymoron), how do Emergent advocates think about the use of women in the church and, equally important, how to they come to their conclusions? This is where Kimball’s book is instructive. In his less than subtle title to the 7th chapter (“The Church is Dominated by Males and Oppresses Females”) Kimball gives us some insight into how he came to this conclusion.
He quotes “Alicia,” who by Kimball’s assessment has a limited knowledge of Scripture (p. 115). She says, “I feel the church is very sexist, yet I don’t believe that Jesus was sexist. From what I have observed, women in the church basically sit on the sidelines and are only able to work with children, answer the phones, be secretaries, and serve the men. They seem to be given no voice. The church seems pretty much like a boys’ club for adults.” (Ibid. Italics mine.) Be prepared and forewarned for many words like “feel,” “sense,” and other emotional words are used by both Kimball and McLaren. They are operative words in the Emergent group think. Kimball also informs us that “Alicia isn’t part of any church.” Yet, with her “limited exposure to churches,” this is what Alicia observed and felt about how the church views women. (Ibid.) Yet, Kimball is willing to concede that Alicia is correct in that “she senses that Jesus would want women to have more options than just becoming secretaries and children’s workers in the church.” (Ibid. Italics mine.) Well, of course, Jesus would! Women could become cooks too. Just kidding.
So here we have a biblically uneducated woman feeling and sensing what Jesus would want. This is a phenomenon that McLaren employs often. For example, on pp. 177-178 of Everything Must Change McLaren makes this creative statement: “If Jesus were in a conversation with Chris Hedges and others like you and me who are concerned about the pervasive human pull towards war, I think he might say something like this:” McLaren then proceeds to have Jesus say nothing of sin and salvation, but puts all kinds of pronouncements in his mouth about war and global warming. In short, McLaren has created a Democrat Jesus in Birkenstocks drinking a Starbucks $5.75 (plus tax) cinnamon-gingerbread-persimmon latte with coxcomb sprinkles. This is the “real Jesus of the Bible” that the rest of us knotheads have missed, but if we had only looked closely enough we would have discovered that he really looked just like Brian McLaren all along.
So the Emergent church is paranoid about what outsiders (unbelievers) might think of the Christian Church. “This conclusion keeps many people away who might otherwise trust the church enough to enter into community with us.” (Kimball, 115). I don’t know who did the survey among the neo-pagans and I’ll leave the comment about trusting the church or trusting the Jesus of the Church until later. But Kimball is sad, he tells us, because there have been heated arguments in the church concerning the role of women. By the way, Dan, there have also been some pretty heated arguments in the church about the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, miracles, justification by faith, and a host of other biblical truths. I’m not necessarily “sad” that we had those debates. In fact, I’m quite happy we did. Dan’s hope, however, is “that the mission Jesus has sent us on to emerging generations will override divisive and critical attitudes towards those who hold different viewpoints.” (p. 116.) The caveat is that Dan hasn’t told us what that mission is. Moreover, divisive and critical attitudes towards those who hold different viewpoints (feminists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Satanists, etc.) isn’t always a bad thing. Some might even term it “discerning.”
Now we need to keep in mind that both Bri and Dan have had disturbed childhoods and the Church is partly to blame for their excruciating pain. We can include Jim Wallis in this list of people as well. They just have not been able to get over the fact that when they were teenagers and a little older that people in their local congregations got tired of their liberal rantings and said, Enough is enough. They’re still cheesed off. In Dan’s case, however, his experience of church folk was that they were Gestapo-like, especially the ushers. (They’ve always been a troublesome group in the church, just one step away from starting a revolution.) Here is what poor Dan experienced: “Quite honestly, the all-male ushers in this one church looked and acted like intense Secret Service or CIA agents.” (p. 117.) See, I told you that they were a disruptive, seditious lot. What made matters worse, “They wore dark suits and ties and were even signaling each other across the room with hand signals.” (Ibid.) That’s phunny even if you’re Emergent! No doubt these charter members of the adult boys’ club were signaling how they might more intensely persecute the female members of the congregation and show them who had the dominant power—or, how to find some empty seats for those who arrived late or how to adjust the thermostat in the sanctuary. I sense that the hand signals that ushers use are sometimes notoriously hard to decipher and that if the real Jesus were here today he would come down pretty hard on usher hand signals and global warming. Oh, and he’d also make certain that George Bush was the only one in hell, but other than that he’d be for world peace.
But the worst is yet to come. Dan looked at the bulletin and—you guessed it—it “listed only men as pastors and elders.” (Ibid.) This was really a moot point, because by his own admission he “didn’t even know what an elder was…” (Ibid.) Possibly, conceivably he still doesn’t. He attends a church, has no clue what an elder is, and yet knows intuitively that it was wrong that no women were listed. He’s about as informed as Alicia. It’s a good thing “elder” doesn’t mean “one with excessive facial hair.” The really sad part about this description from Kimball is that he didn’t stay in that congregation but moved on. I’m certain something could have been worked out to give some horse tranquilizers to the ushers.
His point to his readers is this: “Remember, at this time I was not a churchgoer, and I noticed these things on the very first visit. People in emerging generations also notice whether we have women in leadership roles.” (p. 118.) A case in point is Erika. She is one of those emerging folks that has “given up on the church, but she has not given up on Jesus.” (p. 119.) She’s a metro-spiritual. Let me see if I have this straight. Erika has some kind of vague relationship with Jesus wherein she has not given up on him—whatever that means—but she has given up on the Church that he spoke about in Matthew 16:18ff. Erika waved farewell in her teens—one can only wonder where her parents were—to the church because she felt it focused too much on negative things. (Ibid.) Let’s parse that genial statement for a moment. A teenage “hormonal” feels a certain way and beats feet out of the local congregation—with or without daddy’s and mommy’s approval who were morphing from unchurched into churched-but-not-knowing-squat Christians—because there was a focus on negative things. Again, one can only speculate what those negative things might have been. Could it have been that her church was speaking against shacking up? Using controlled substances? No sex prior to marriage? Or, it could have just been the ushers.
Dan assures us that Erika is not a feminist, but then regales us with this quote from the one who had her self-esteem destroyed by the ushers: “America was birthed primarily from a male-dominated European society. So the church naturally is rooted from there. However, in our society today, there are great steps being made of seeing females as more equal in the job market and other places. So I certainly would think that the church would be doing the same, but it doesn’t seem to be. I have only seen and heard about churches shooting down women who both aspire in their faith and then desire to be in church leadership.” (Ibid.)
If there is anything worse than the ushers, it’s the Europeans that founded this country on the principle of squashing women. Erika—wrongly—concludes that the church is rooted in Europe. Sorry, Erika, but your geography is just a little off. How about the Church being rooted in God in the Old Testament and gathered, protected, and defended by Jesus Christ, the Head of his Church in the New? Erika is also convinced that as matters go in society, so they must also go in the Church. Based on her observation about society she opines that the Church should be doing the same. Solid, solid reasoning.
To her credit, she must have had my church in mind when she wrote about the church shooting down women. Now listen. I can explain that. We did receive a petition from a group of women who, according to their words, were aspiring in their faith and who wanted to be church leaders. We weren’t exactly sure what “aspiring in their faith” meant, but we were convinced that it probably wasn’t a good thing. To that point our ushers didn’t even have a hand signal for “aspiring in their faith,” so we knew we had to move swiftly. We got them to believe that if they helped us change out the light bulbs in the sanctuary we’d consider their requests. Once they were up on the scaffolding, we shot them down, one by aspiring one, but we only used paintball guns so they were only slightly bruised.The other day, I asked a neo-pagan named Seasons how she thought Jesus came to earth. She assured me that an alien impregnated her grandmother, who eventually gave birth to him from her left big toe. She might be our first female usher except she’s Emergent. I asked her how she knew what she said was true. She smiled affably, shook her long blonde hair and said, “Math is hard!” Then she informed me that she really didn’t know and that it really didn’t matter. She just felt and sensed that what she said was true and it was true for her. Her experience growing up in a church impacted her so much that she has not felt the need to return. But not to worry: She may have given up on the church, but she has not given up on Jesus. Where does it all stop? I cannot answer that question, but I can assure you that Kimball’s stuff gets worse and worse and McLaren is off the charts. If you want to know what is wrong with the modern Church, then stay tuned and buckle up because it’s going to be a rough ride and eternal destinies are at stake.

Labels:

108 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

Thanks. That was good. At least, I feel it was good. Or, do I sense it was? I don't know yet. No, it was good.

Seriously, I don't know how deeply you plan on analyzing this recent emerging business, but I am curious on your take on the roots of it. When did the church in general take the left turn away from sound doctrine? In reading about the Downgrade Controversy of the 19th century, might it have begun then? Or earlier? A time-line might prove interesting.

I have heard that Frances Schaffer predicted the very liberal turn in the churches theology back in the 60s-70s because of the influence of philosophy (which was left-leaning) on theology.

I know nothing about that at all, but has the church been so asleep that we have let this happen? Can it be stopped? That is the most important question. How to stop it, how to prevent it, how to repair the damage it causes? Or, are we simply heading for the last days, and there isn't really anything we can do, other than to overcome?

4:17 PM  
Blogger Don said...

I agree with Seasons, Math is Hard!! Season is a cool cat, man! She needs to keep 'aspiring in her faith' and not give up on Jesus. He needs her to keep His memory alive!! "Hey look, a fluffy dog!!"

Anywho, this post was an excellent critique of the Emergent/ing ‘mood’ and clearly highlights the endless absurdity and meaningless statements that seems to be the movements, um, strength. They hang they’re entire orthodoxy on all things different and ‘now’. I suppose the only good thing about the movement (although sad) is that it will present to the world a clear distinction between following the Jesus of the Bible and Season’s cool and world-friendly Jesus.

11:35 PM  
Blogger kelly said...

Hello,
I came over from the pyro site where your article was recommended. I'm 38 yrs old and you hit the nail on the head with your analysis of todays thinking of church(especially under 40). Your post would be funny if it were not so sad.

kelly anderson

5:37 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

I came here hoping to catch wind of the Reformed tradition, to be persuaded by a sense of beauty, of what God has done and is doing in their midst. Instead, all I see is a disturbed figure atop his citadel scanning the horizon for new windmills to tilt at – but does anyone give notice?
I have rarely seen such fool-hearted rhetoric – why attack the Emergent caricatures with caricatures of your own? Why appeal to arrogance with arrogance? Assuming you intend to stand in a line of great men like Kuyper and Van Til, perhaps you should rethink your form. Whom are you trying to persuade here? What are you trying to accomplish? Are you not simply fretting over the fraying of the fabric of your story; a tradition petering out before your eyes like a small brook into the heart of der Thüringer Wald?
Reading through your harangue, I can’t help but guess that this is about identity – if you want your story to continue then posit something beautiful, good, and true – stop playing with the likes of children on their terms!

6:43 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

You said, "Some might even term is “discerning.”"

I think you meant, "Some might even term it “discerning.”"

Humans make the best grammar checkers.

The article was very fun, sadly true, but entirely comprehensible. Thank you.

7:31 AM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Nowhere is the arrogance of the Emergent Church more apparent than in its attitude towards Scripture. They nullify Scripture by their own newly-minted traditions and establish themselves as judges of what's right and wrong (despite their reluctance to use such terminology). This is not humility, as they pretend, but the ultimate in hubris.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
You are correct, I have never met your great-great-grandparents. Just out of curiosity, have you?
It never ceases to amaze how you bend over backwards to defend the absurd and truly despise true orthodoxy.

Ryan,
Read some of the other posts on my site.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Just one more thing: When I write about the lack of spiritual legacy that the parents in the mega-church have passed on to their "emerging" children, I really wasn't thinking about going back hundreds of years; only a few decades. Clear? You've done the grandparents, great-grandparents thing far too many times now. It's old. Give it a rest.

11:17 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

I think the operative question is, what would our biblically orthodox ancestors think of our theology today, that is provided that our ancestors were biblically orthodox. I have a hunch that some in the Emergent Church movement would probably get a good hide-tanning if their ancestors were alive today.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Which planet have you been on? I read Lamott, McLaren, Miller, & Kimball. I have critiqued them by citing extensively from their works. Typically, you knee-jerked on them all. Where have you been? Once you put something in print, you're fair game. What kinds of "blanket" statements are you talking about? If I cite their words and comment on them, how is that a blanket statement?

7:55 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Ron, you start off your essay saying that the Emergents are bad because they oppose pointless foreign wars. Well, there are perfectly sound reasons to oppose the war based on federalism and just war principles. Iraq was not a threat and Bush knew that. He lied us into a quagmire that cost thousands of American lives. The region is worse off than when we invaded. While McLaren's theology is garbage, he is right to oppose this war. The Reformed refusal to speak truth to power over the last six years is scandalous.

Bush is a United Methodist and his home church's beliefs are not significantly different from the Emergent liberals. If you want to make support for his policies a test of orthodoxy, I invite you to inform your presbytery of that fact.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Publius,
Just a brief response:
You have not conclusively established that we are engaged in a "pointless foreign war"; you have merely declared that to be the case. Others might disagree with you.
Your hackneyed, tired liberal mantra that "Bush lied and people died" is really tedious. Every known power including France and Russia strongly believed that Saddam had WMD and also knew that he had used them on the kurds. He had repeatedly disregarded U.N. resolutions over a period of 1,440 days. (But this is very old news.)
I just love the way liberals still cannot get over Vietnam and call Iraq a quagmire. Gen. Patraeus tells us that the surge and working and is working well. Where have you been? Facts are to liberals what kryptonite is to Superman.
My point in criticizing McLaren and other pacifists is that they are using thoroughly left-wing Democrat arguments all the while claiming to be giving us the "real" Jesus. Just come out and say I'm a lib. In fact, McLaren does in his support of Al Gore's unscientific statements about global warming.

"He lied us into a quagmire that cost thousands of American lives." You might have forgotten that over 3,000 Americans lost their lives on 9.11. The region is not worse off than when we invaded. Stop watching CNN.
I'm not exactly certain what it means to speak "truth to power," but I for one am thankful we're fighting and winning this war.

"Bush is a United Methodist and his home church's beliefs are not significantly different from the Emergent liberals." How did Bush get into this? Thanks for the helpful advice of how I'm supposed to inform my Presbytery. I would have never known what I should do if you had not intervened!

10:29 PM  
Blogger Harry A. Rockefeller said...

Christianity left their intellectual boots at the door in a big way around the time of the Scopes trial. I've been told Dr. Gary North has a good history video series out documenting this. I heard Gary give a lecture on it at the First Superworldview conference a couple years ago.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

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12:14 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

OK - here is an example of how I, aged under 30, approach sound doctrine.
1. Wake up one morning and realise that I believe something to be essential for salvation (penal substitution, for example.)
2. Realise that I do not know WHY I believe this to be the case, as it does not add fuel my praise (as it would if I truly understood it.)
3. Observe that many (most?) emergents dont care.
4. Observe that many orthodox do not themselves understand the depths of the root issues involved, and resort to bullying and cheap proof texting of some kind. (baptist / paedobaptist discussions often so degenerate before they have a chance of becoming at all constructive, for example.)
5. Have compassion on the emergents, knowing that they are like sheep without a shepherd.
6. Be angry towards those shepherds who would rather condemn than help, avoiding ungodly anger in so far as I can discern my own emotion.
7. Cry out to God for a spiritual understanding of why this doctrine is true and why it is essential, reading the Word and the great doctors of the Reformation for guidance.
8. After days, weeks or months of deeply humbling prayer and reflection and repentance, reach said understanding, giving glory to God and walking around with a new spring in my step.
9. Gently teach the humble orthodox the glory of what they already formally believe and explain it for the first time to the humble yet starved emergent that has been robbed of such precious understanding by others, perhaps in some cases to the postponement of their true conversion.
10. Rebuke the arrogant emergent who fails to understand the total depravity of fallen man's faculties and the arrogance of postmodern theology, and is therefore a wolf in sheep's clothing. Rebuke also the evangelical that does not appreciate their own utter dependence on the wisdom and mercy of the Holy Spirit to give us any genuine understanding that we have, and does not communicate these truths with due humility, wisdom and godly fear.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:30 AM  
Blogger Hadassah said...

First of all--this was hilarious. Loved the part about shooting down the aspiring women. Can I just say, as a woman, that I contribute in just as significant a way as the men in my church. My ministry is just different. I don't feel suppressed at all. It irks me to have someone suggest that I should feel repressed.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

To all of you:
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate it very much.

Hadassah & Wordsmith:
Thank you as members of the gentler sex for leaving your comments. They were spot on.

Randy:
Typical. You emergents don't "know" and wear it as a badge. Anyone else who actually reads and is informed is scorned for claiming to "know." Unbelievable.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Jim from OldTruth.com said...

Excellent review Rattlesnake6; it is very much appreciated.

Dan Kimball is a nice guy but may end up being one of the most harmful leaders in that movement because of how similar he is to conservative Christianity. I recently heard Brett Kunkel (sp?) on the str.org radio program give him an outright stamp of approval, while he was a guest on the air, and actually spoke out against some of Dan's critics in the conservative camp. I don't believe that this approach is helpful, to attempt to say "these ECM folks are fine, but these other ECM folks are not". The movement is rotten, and those who identify with it need to step away from it, NOT receive endorsements from orthodox Christianity.

The problem with Kimball is, there are so many that won't fall for the extreme views of McLaren that may very well dabble with Kimball's brand of the Emerging Church. And because Dan endorses, promotes, or links to the Emerging Church Movement at large, he makes himself a gateway of experimentation within the movement as a whole.

Thanks again, be encouraged, and keep up the good work!

1:06 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

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8:58 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

Whether one uses the term "penal substitution" or not, the fact is that this is clearly the teaching of Scripture, and it doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to see it.

Going back to the point where animals died to give Adam and Eve a covering, to when Abraham slew the animal in place of Isaac, to when the Lord took our sins upon Himself and bore our punishment, the penal substitution screams out of Scripture.

Lots of men in ivory towers have "theories." I think they spend too much time in ivory towers navel gazing when they ought to look at the plain sense of Scripture and do what it says, and believe what it says.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
The short answer is: I read. Paul made all kinds of judgments about the lives of people he didn't know personally. What is your point? Read Bill Hybels' "Confession;" read Pritchard's book about his 15 years at Willow Creek. For Pete's sake, read Kimball and McLaren--or Lamott.
If I were you I'd leave off requesting others not to knock over straw men.
If penal substitutionary atonement is wrong, Randy, why don't you tell us which historical view you hold to and teach. I'm really interested and would like for you to answer that question please.
I have a book manuscript deadline on Dec. 1 so I might not respond any time soon.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

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8:17 AM  
Blogger Hadassah said...

Randy,

I'm curious about your comment that Christ was slow to judge. I can't seem to think of an example of that. Would you mind sharing one with me? Also, I think it is important to remember that Christ IS the Judge, not just a person who forms opinions one way or the other.

1:49 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Did you ever stop to think that sometimes, severity is actually one of the most loving things you can do?

Nowhere in Scripture are we told to be milquetoast with false teachers. Quite the opposite. Honestly, you seem to pick and choose which Scriptures you're going to cite and ignore the ones that say the opposite, and the ones you do use are often not even in context.

You keep saying you have this great respect for Reformed tradition, but your words actually seem to show a great disdain for it. No truly Reformed figure of the past would have ever endorsed the Emergent Church. Ever. If anything, Brian McLaren would have been brought up on heresy charges.

3:49 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

As an aside, what does Scripture say the reason is for "reproving severely?" Why are we to do that? Scripture again provides the answer. "So that they may be sound in the faith."

3:50 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:16 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

You forgot one:

John 7:24
Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.

Funny how this verse always seems to get left out of the "do not judge" mix. Can't even blame it on Paul, since it's unmistakably marked as the words of Christ.

Clearly, it's not always improper to pass judgment.

8:18 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

I suggest you take each one of those verses you quoted, and then examine the context of each one. You might well come to a different conclusion.

9:27 PM  
Blogger terriergal said...

Thank you, Ron! I've loved your stuff ever since I found your "A Christian View of War" a few years ago!

I especially enjoyed your analysis of Anne Lamott's book... and as usual your take on emergent has held true.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Gleason, "Bush lied and people died" is
the honest truth. You claim that "every known power... strongly believed that Saddam had WMD." No they didn't, but so what? Was Saddam going to be firing ICBMs toward Atlanta? Of course not. You bring up 9/11 as if that low-level dictator had something to do with it.

To the extent that you desire foreign wars to spread democratic revolution around the world, you are just as politically liberal as the Fourth International. You and McLaren are more alike than you think. You only disagree about strategy.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

McLaren is an airhead evangelical, but so are Tim Keller, Scott Sherman and Bryan Chapell. Yet since McLaren is not in the PCA he is therefore fair game. Go fix the beams in your own house first. You have the Westminster Standards; what's your excuse?

Take the hint, kids. Emergent Church just shows where PCA is headed. Parts of it are pretty much there. Maybe a different sort of government needs regime change.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:31 AM  
Blogger Tyler said...

I don't know why you're focusing on Dan Kimball, he fits more into broadstream evangelicalism (Willow Creek etc) then he does into the extreme Emergent crowd (Pagitt, McLaren, etc). If you disagree with him, then by all means disagree, but the man is well within the boundaries of orthodoxy. He's not a fundamentalist, he's not reformed, but he's not a heretic either. So he thinks that it's important to have women in visible positions within your church - I think that this is something minor compared to the essential doctrines that are being denied elsewhere - even Mark Driscoll has some women on board in certain positions, and he's a maniac about male eldership.

Honestly though, just today Dan blogged on Hell.

6:19 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

FIne, let's look at James 3. It begins with a warning to those who would be teachers to watch what they're teaching, does it not?

The next phase deals with blessing and cursing. Just who is being cursed? False teaching is being rebuked, but no one is being placed under a curse. If anything, the false teachers do that themselves by teaching false doctrine, using both pen, tongue and keyboard. No right-thinking Christian would presume to place a curse on mankind. As man is created in God's image, to do so would be tantamount to cursing God.

In short, this chapter has absolutely nothing to do with how we are to deal with false teachers and rebuking error. You keep confusing general Christian conduct in terms of dealing with one another, and that of how the church is to deal with false teachers. Why do you have such a hard time distinguishing the two? Apples and oranges.

10:32 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Another comment. You seem to be able to focus only on some nebulous, squishy type of sloppy agape. Warm fuzzies. There is more to biblical love than just warm fuzzies, as in a loving parent disciplines a child for his good, and sometimes that calls for a spanking. Unless you're of the Dr. Spock variety who thinks even a disapproving glance murders a child's self-esteem.

You have to have a balanced view of God that includes His wrath as well as His love. His love does not come at the expense of His justice. Those who spread false teaching are not to be recipients of aid and comfort. They are to be rebuked and refused. The sooner you learn that, the better.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Hadassah said...

Randy, first of all, please believe that I am questioning you with sincerity. I am guessing that you and I would disagree about many things relating to scripture, but I posed my question not to try and prove you wrong about anything, but because I really am curious.

I read all of the scripture you quoted, I even looked them up and read them in context. But I still don't see anything that would indicate that Jesus Christ was or is slow to judge. And I really am curious as to why you would say that.

11:46 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Um, Publius...

The shared belief of foreign intel services that Saddam had WMD is not a myth, but a documentable fact. Just where are you getting your information? Move on.org?

12:44 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:54 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

"I would never know from Ron's tone toward me . . ."

Are you an unbeliever who doesn't know what the Gospel is, and are in need of salvation? Or are you a pastor/teacher? I believe you have said you are a seminary grad and are in a pastoral role. If that is the case, Ron's tone is justified when you have refused to listen to a word he has to say.

6:33 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

From the context, why was Jesus weeping?

6:34 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:34 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

Check this out:

http://www.christianworldviewnetwork.com/article.php/2749/Todd_Friel

Second, where did Ron declare eternal judgment on you?

Third, as to those meetings in Jerusalem, the meeting concluded with the doctrinal issue being settled and the error corrected. If there had been no repentance on the part of those in error, there would have been no chumminess at the end. Indeed, Paul later said that "they did not yield for one hour." There is no "mutual respect" for false teachers in Scripture. You really need to get this and get it clearly.

I think you unfairly judge Ron as having no love. His congregation would probably tell you otherwise. He is not obligated by the Lord to be touchy-feely with false teachers.

As for Jesus weeping, it had more than just the death of a close friend involved. It also had to do with the very clear fruit of man's sinfulness -- death. The same Jesus who wept at Lazarus' tomb is the same Jesus who picked up the whip at the Temple, and is the same Jesus who will say "Depart from Me" at the judgment.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Hadassah said...

Randy, thanks for your response.

First of all, let me assure you that I have no bone to pick with the Emergent Church. I haven't read any of the books that people around here are talking about, so I have no first hand knowledge of how right or wrong they may be. I do think that truth matters, and has eternal consequences.

So I hope you can read this response from me, and believe that my point is not to make you "wrong" and me, "right."

That being said...

You sound very judgmental to me. I see the same broad stoke assumptions in your statements that I hear you criticizing in Dr. Gleason. For instance "the evangelical tank driving right" is a very loaded statement.

Also, you seem to be accusing people of having no love. I would like to suggest that your perspective on love is just as skewed toward your personal viewpoint as the people you are accusing. They may see you as having no love, if, for instance, you do not speak the truth (in love) to a brother who is in sin.

Now, I do think that a brother should be restored gently, that all of us should look for the plank in our own eye, and that we should be careful to examine our own hearts for sin before reproaching a brother. If anyone is avoiding those things, they are clearly outside of God's commands.

So I would like to lovingly suggest that it may be necessary for you to do the very thing you are accusing others of neglecting. You have written some flowery sounding statements, but the accusations behind them are very cold, and frankly, verge on sounding angry.
"You don't care one hoot about those who disagree."

And I don't even have a dog in this fight. My point is not to defend Dr. Gleason, although as you can see from my prior comment, I got a good chuckle out of his original article. I don't know his heart, but neither do you. And to state that he is the reason people don't want to go to church, that is way harsh, and very judgmental, and is a very broad and unfair generalization, which I think is what you are accusing him of?

12:11 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Randy:

Please get a hold of a decent biography of Calvin and read it. Calvin was not a murderer, neither had he the power/authority to put anyone to death - that was reserved for the Council; the secular government bore the power of the sword, not the Church, and not Calvin.

If you want to get riled up about religious institutions executing people with whom they disagreed, go rail against the Roman Catholic institution - they've got plenty of blood on their hands, what with the Inquisition and all.

12:35 PM  
Blogger David said...

Hey everyone. I don't know any of you, but I feel compelled to respond.

Randy:
I think you take far too personally Ron's assertion about the emerging generation being the spiritual seed of the mega-church movement. In fact, I think you missed the point altogether because you took it personally. There are always exceptions, but in general, the vacuous, highly pragmatic, spiritually shallow nature of the mega-church movement as a whole gave rise to a generation of children who didn't learn their Bibles because their parents weren't learning it themselves and thus could not teach it in the home. It was not a personal attack on your ancestry, nor was it a judgment on any particular individual. I would commend your parents, theirs, and theirs for passing on a wonderful legacy.

All that being said, I don't see how Ron is outside scriptural guidelines in generalizing about the consequences of a particular current (mega-church) within the larger stream of evangelicalism.

There is another verse no one seemed to mention:

I Corinthians 5:12-13, "12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. 'Purge the evil person from among you.'"

In the wider context Paul upbraids the Corinthians for their lack of willingness to judge a fellow believer for his perverse behavior. He is clear. Don't judge outsiders for God will take care of them, but we must judge evil in our midst.

Finally, there are a host of scriptures where we are commended and commanded to teach, defend, contend for, sound doctrine. There are many prominent figures in the EC movement who are doing precisely the opposite, castigating those who teach doctrine as divisive, while they praise "dialog" and "conversation" and "open minds" as the way to unity and love. As G.K. Chesterton said,

"Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid."

The importance of teaching doctrine, and humbly and gently correcting those in error, can not be understated. Sometimes correction and discipline seems harsh at the time (Hebrews 12:11), but often what seems harsh is nothing more than the plain truth. We have a mandate to correct those who err, especially those who lead. When issues of sound doctrine are at stake, there is no room for anything but clear, plain speech. Unfortunately, we live in an upside-down age of soft skin where loving, truthful speech is received as exactly the opposite. We say that love must be tolerant, but what we mean is love must allow me to stay exactly as I am. God's love, in Christ, accepts us as we are, but he loves us way too much to let us stay that way.

I didn't intend to write even half this much, so I apologize. I'll end with this. Ephesians 4:11-16 says,

"11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds [2] and teachers, [3] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, [4] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."

Please note verse 14. The purpose of these gifts is so that we mature and are not tossed about by the winds and waves of doctrine, cleverness and schemes. Pastors who don't want to teach doctrine because they fear it may be divisive ought to take note of this, because false teachers have no qualms about teaching doctrine. Your people will be taught by someone. Will it be you, holding out the truth, or will it be someone else teaching that Jesus didn't actually die for sin?

4:37 PM  
Blogger David said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Hadassah said...

Randy,
I just spent some time reading through old comment threads, many of which feature you prominently.

You crack me up dude.

I really don't understand why you keep posting here. I think you must like to intentionally irritate Dr. Gleason.

You do a good job of it.

He really should probably ignore you.

I was interested in continuing this conversation with you, but I think I'll bow out gracefully now that I have a better idea of what I am dealing with.

And again, you crack me up.

I hope do indeed see the truth, and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.

In Christ,
Hadassah

6:11 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

Ron is addressing information that's public and is widely circulated. It's published! But he's got to sit down to a nice Thanksgiving dinner with Brian McLaren now before he can say anything negative about McLaren's abysmal public teaching? This is sheer nonsense.

10:15 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

Kyle largely beat me to the punch in saying that the EC fellows are in writing. In fact, they remind me of the old Monty Python police interrogation skit . . .

"No! No! You can't read my writing!"

"It's typed."

Secondly, in terms of conservative evangelicals refusing to debate Emergents, are you kidding? Bob DeWaay has debated Doug Pagitt for starters. I don't know of anyone who has ducked debates. Having said that, perhaps if there have been any "ducks," maybe it's because Emergents might refuse traditional debate standards as in following logic, premises, conclusions, clear definitions, etc. Clarity, authority, certaintiy etc. are all anathema to Emergents, and any forum that might insist on those elements would be ones that an Emergent would run from forthwith, LOL.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

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6:16 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Quick break from the book. I wonder how many people that McLaren criticizes he personally knows. Do you know the answer to that? Does it matter? Why do you have to know someone personally to critique or criticize their writings? You criticize mine all the time--rant, rant--and you don't know me at all. Once you put something in print, people can criticize you. It goes with the turf.
Carson wrote one of the best evaluations of the Emergent chit-chat. Why does he now have to sit down and talk to McLaren. Personally, I'd rather watch paint dry.
McLaren is little more than a warmed over social gospel liberal & devotee of N.T. Wright. In fact, I'm rather surprised that Wright hasn't sued ole Bri for plagiarism. Both of them are neo-socialists. BTW, Randy, so are you. What makes matters worse is the arrogance that you, McLaren, and Wright exhibit correcting the world. McLaren's going to school us on global warming; Wright is going to school us in justification; Randy, well...
Calvin & Servetus. Funny. I told you a long time ago to return to Calvin Seminary and demand a refund. You didn't get your money's worth. That story about Calvin is old, old, old--and inaccurate, but you're too busy saving the world to know that.
One more thing: In your arrogance you assume that only you and ole Mr. Birkenstock are the only ones who care about the poor and the environment. Your arguments collapse under the weight of your own prejudice.

7:41 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

I might add that Matthew 18 is one of the most distorted, misunderstood passages of Scripture. Matthew 18 is for personal offenses, not dealing with false teachers.

Besides, even if Matthew 18 was applicable here, these guys have been confronted again and again, and there is no repentance. Therefore, they're fair game.

10:11 AM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

I recall that in "Generous Orthodoxy" McLaren got all bent out of shape over radio preachers. Do you suppose he sat down to have a tete-a-tete with any of them before he criticized them?

No, I didn't think so. Can you say "double standard"? I knew you could.

11:34 AM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

(Or maybe it was "New Kind of Christian." Both books used a lot of words to say nothing, so they kind of run together in my mind. I never saw so much blathering from someone purporting to have degrees in English, and advanced degrees at that. With all that edjukashun, you'd think he'd be better at actually communicating than what is evidenced by his books.)

11:50 AM  
Blogger Mr. Julio Martinez, Jr. said...

I don't know about you, Dr. Ron, but it seems like Randy is beginning to sound like an annoying dog that won't stop barking. My family owns about three dogs and my window is right by their outside cage. At night, as it seems convenient for them, they begin to bark at nothing. I know they bark at nothing basically because I have gone outside with the light off to see what they bark at, yet they kept barking at nothing. My point here is, most of Randy's barking is done out of vacuousness and frivolous pursuits. Can't you block him permanently? Just a thought.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Mr. Julio Martinez, Jr. said...

Jeff said, "I have heard that Frances Schaffer predicted the very liberal turn in the churches theology back in the 60s-70s because of the influence of philosophy (which was left-leaning) on theology."

Response: I think you're on to something here. Being familiar with Schaeffer's theology and aim in philosophy, I could see how pop-philosophy redefined theology, which was left-leaning in its aim. Schaeffer shows this by his model of the "line of despair." I think there's no other way to give meaning to the derogation of church theology other than Schaeffer's more-than-appropriate epithet of the church's current state, i.e., liberalism. Gresham Machen also published his view of liberalism as he saw its edifice in its beginning stages. The breakdown [Schaeffer's] also finds its roots in the history of Presbyterianism. Let me qualify what I mean here. (I want to stress that I am not against Presbyterianism, because I am current involved in a Presbyterian church [thank God]. In fact, I think that Presbyterianism is at best the biblical form of church government established by the apostles--its form and definitions. I don't believe that the socio-historical development took place until the reformation, howbeit.) There's another book that is advertised by the OPC in their website called "The Presbyterian Conflict," a book worth reading, I think. There's also another book--or rather "booklet"--by John Robbins (a premature critique of the OPC since the Van Til-Clark controversy), Can the Orthodox Presbyterian Church Be Saved?" This should give us, I think, a thumbnail of the church in general. However, I do find that Dr. Gleason's goal here is not a general sense but rather a more critical approach to the Emergent Movement.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

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5:46 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
The difference: Abortion on demand and partial birth abortion.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:27 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy, 'chil...

You're beginning to lose it. LOL.

7:51 AM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

"As for D.A. Carson -- his book was often inaccurate and some of it was lies."

Anyone can make vague accusations like that. Got any specifics - quotes (in context, of course; emergents know all about "contextualization," right?), page numbers, anything?

If you can't produce the goods, then quit bellyaching. Don Carson is a brilliant man and a fine Christian scholar, and I'd take his word over McLaren's any day.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

As for D.A. Carson -- his book was often inaccurate and some of it was lies.

I hope you sat down to dinner with D.A. Carson before you made this statement.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:54 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Okay, so you've got nothing other than vague accusations of "inaccuracies" and "lies." That's kind of what I figured. And I'm relieved to hear that you heeded your own advice and broke bread with Dr. Carson before you informed us of his shoddy scholarship - surely, then, you know his heart enough to judge that his "inaccuracies and lies" were deliberate and with malice aforethought.

P.S. There is a wonderful thing called a "public library," btw. You can borrow just about any book you're looking for.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

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12:15 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:01 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

In some of these cases, I question whether Dr. Carson was dealing with saved people. You can only deny so much and still be regenerate in my view.

Second, there was nothing to discuss. These guys published books, did interviews etc. and are fair game for criticism. Their writings and statements speak for themselves. Matthew 18 does not, does not, does not -- get it yet? -- does NOT apply here. This has nothing to do with personal offenses and sins, and everything to do with false teaching disseminated in a public manner. It is not necessary to have a personal one on one discussion before you reply to what someone has published in print. It is presumptuous and stupid for anyone to expect it. If they don't want to be called on the carpet, then don't publish heresy in books. Fair enough?

I know this sticks in your craw and you don't want to accept it, but you're going to have to accept it whether you like it or not. It is. And will continue to be the case.

4:39 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

In some of these cases, I question whether Dr. Carson was dealing with saved people. You can only deny so much and still be regenerate in my view.

Second, there was nothing to discuss. These guys published books, did interviews etc. and are fair game for criticism. Their writings and statements speak for themselves. Matthew 18 does not, does not, does not -- get it yet? -- does NOT apply here. This has nothing to do with personal offenses and sins, and everything to do with false teaching disseminated in a public manner. It is not necessary to have a personal one on one discussion before you reply to what someone has published in print. It is presumptuous and stupid for anyone to expect it. If they don't want to be called on the carpet, then don't publish heresy in books. Fair enough?

I know this sticks in your craw and you don't want to accept it, but you're going to have to accept it whether you like it or not. It is. And will continue to be the case.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

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4:51 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

Did you speak with D.A. Carson before you accused him of ignoring Jesus' desire the that church be one? Did you sit down to tea with D.A. Carson to discuss your feeling that he maliciously refused to speak with these people? On whose testimony are you basing your accusations? Were you personally refused by D.A. Carson?

From what I see, you have a interesting double standard or blind spot. D.A. Carson (and Ron) is required to break bread with the people whose public and published teachings he is criticizing. You, on the other hand, are not?

Unity does not mean that we all love some vague dude named "Jesus" who may teach whatever contradictory things we want him to. One is not a "follower of Jesus" just because he says he is. In fact, Scripture has some pretty clear distinctions to make on who are "followers of Jesus." The Judaizers in Galatia claimed to be "followers of Jesus," and how did Paul respond to them? And, being a neighbor is not the same as being a brother, although both are to be loved.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

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6:54 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

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6:58 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

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6:59 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Randy,

You're still avoiding giving any specifics about "inaccuracies and lies," so I think that it's a safe bet that you're just blowing smoke.

SolaMeanie is right about Mt 18 - it's not applicable here, so give it up.

Regarding unity - exactly who/what do you think is the basis for Christian unity? Is it based on some kumbayah feeling of mutual respect? I submit to you, no - when Jesus prayed that his disciples would be one, it was within the context of being separate from the world. It is as we are set apart (sanctified) from the world that we are in unity with one another in Christ. Go read John 17 carefully - in the midst of all this, Jesus says "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (v 17). Or doesn't the Biblical text really matter here?

"Unity" apart from truth is meaningless. "Love" apart from truth is mere sentiment.

If I love my neighbor, I won't shrink back from speaking the truth in love. It isn't "love" to give heresy and/or false teaching a pass in the name of "unity." Not everyone who calls himself "Christian" is a believer - Mormons call themselves "Christian," Jehovah's Witnesses call themselves "Christians," but their theology and Christology are beyond the pale.

Anyone who claims to be a "believer" (quotes necessary due to the emergent church's inordinate fascination with and glorification of doubt) and puts their theology up for public consumption is fair game for scrutiny. The rest of the body of Christ has the right and duty to examine these teachings. If these teachings are weighed according to the Word of God (i.e., Scripture) and found wanting, then the loving thing to do is rebuke the promoters of the aberrant/false/heretical teaching, and warn others of the spiritual peril of the stuff.

"[Love] does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the TRUTH" (I Cor 13:7). Or doesn't the Biblical text really matter here?

7:56 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
I removed your one comment because it showed signs of dementia. Seriously, you need to get some professional medical help.
For the rest, I'm going to require you to start speaking in a reasonable manner or you are gone.
For a couple of years I've tolerated your flip-flopping, asking bloggers for scriptural evidence while changing the argument and offering no Scripture to support your views.
I've finished McLaren's newest book--read it on the flight over to Memphis--and it is a combination of Jim Wallis, N.T. Wright, and 1960s sick-o anti-establishment ideas. It's too bad he didn't manage to extricate himself from the 60s unradical "radicalism."
Either shape up or you're gone. You must have a rather lonely existence and have little to do with your time. I'm busy and the next time you rant you are gone forever. Enough is enough.
BTW, you still haven't answered the question about McLaren not meeting Calvin and criticizing him. Where is the line between what is legit and what isn't. Also: I have much better things to do with my time than to fly to D.C. to talk with McLaren.
I do have a very good friend who did meet him and his assessment was that he was the most arrogant, self-serving, and conceded person he had ever met. That help?

9:36 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

Two friends of mine were refused by Carson with "I'm too busy."

I was told the stories firsthand.

Feel free to contact Carson and ask him...


I'm not accusing D.A. Carson of lies (which you have done), nor am I the one suggesting that you must have a polite chit-chat with someone before you can criticize his public teachings. If D.A. Carson has sinned against these two friends of yours, they should take it up with him. But his not meeting up with them due to being busy is not, in itself, sinful, nor does it clearly demonstrate an unwillingness to take seriously Jesus' desire that His Church be one. (A desire not set on maintaining the appearance of unity because we all say we love Jesus--remember Judas, who was by all outward appearances a believer?) And you've given no reason for anyone here to believe so, other than your charge that D.A. Carson's book contains lies.

By the way -- I haven't accused anyone of heresy.

Disagreeing with someone vs. accusing them of false teaching and questioning their salvation are two quite different things.


Oh, I see. I guess it's okay to accuse someone of lying without supping with them first, but it's another thing entirely when it comes to charges of heresy, that is, teaching which opposes the Word of God (and is therefore a lie). In the case of lies, it's okay to make public accusations, but in the case of heresies (read: also lies) you must first appeal to the public teacher of heresy (read: lies) as an older brother, enjoy a nice spot of tea with him, and then discuss in the most polite and friendly and familial manner the subject of his "disagreements" with (read: lies opposing) the clear Word of God.

NEVER are we as followers of Christ given permission to determine the salvation of another person. That belongs to Christ and the Father alone... unless you can find biblical verses to back up your position.

There is no reason we are absolutely unable to determine whether another person is in the state of salvation. Missionary work assumes there are many such people, for one thing. But more germane: Paul said that anyone who preached a false gospel was to be anathema, that is, accursed (Gal. 1:8-9). Who were preaching a false gospel? Certain "false brethren" (Gal. 2:4), which it becomes clear were Judaizers. Newsflash: Judaizing isn't the only false gospel. Another newsflash: But it does take a knowledge of the TRUE gospel to discern the many false gospels being promoted daily in our world.

By the way... so who is my neighbor? Or doesn't the biblical text really matter here?

Read the Parable of the Good Samaritan if you don't know.

All you do here is screech about how WRONG WRONG WRONG Ron is. Why? Because he says that others are wrong! It's wrong to say that someone else it wrong, dontcha know? In your universe, it's unloving and schismatic to say that someone else is wrong, and anyone who does that is wrong. Make sense? Ron is wrong to say that people who disagree with Scripture are heretics, but Randy is okay to say that Ron is an unloving idolater-all without even sitting down to tea first!

It's hard to take you seriously when you show yourself to be so blatantly hypocritical.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

I was hoping for healthy conversation here - but I have yet to find it.

To simply write off Jim Wallis as an idiot is nuts. He carries political weight as well as having some amazing minds involved with Sojourners.

Just because we don't agree doesn't make them entirely wrong.

And perhaps at the end of the day I am arrogant and going to hell... so be it.

I've found the ways of Jesus including love for neighbor (kindness & goodness & gentleness - the things of I Cor.13) to be quite a good way to engage people with life rather than other 'right' ways of following Jesus.

I also have no doubt that the Spirit of a living God dwells among us - including most of my emergent friends who care so deeply for the church.

As for time - ron - I have kept life at a slow enough pace that I have time for writing - for reflecting - for pastoral coffee time - for time with a homeless friend - and time to simply Sabbath.

Our family has found that we like to use the word 'busy' to give our life self-importance.

If you feel that I need to bee 'gone.' Fine. I don't think that I am particularly invited to this banquet anyway...

That would bring up another biblical conversation - biut let's forget it since I'm sure the heretics weren't invited...

May God bless you and keep you... and I would certainly find time for dinner if you ever came to Grand Rapids.

I don't believe that I'm above buying a cup of coffee for anyone... not even D.A. Carson.

9:42 AM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

You enjoy slandering others, don't you, Randy? First you call Dr. Carson a liar, then you insinuate that he's a stuffed shirt. Why? Because he doesn't drop everything and run to wipe the nose of some emergent who's all put out at having their public beliefs publicly examined and challenged.

Before you go popping off about how "self-important" you think Dr. Carson is, consider the magnitude and scope of his responsibilities. Do you even know what they are? FYI: In addition to his responsibilities as a member of the faculty at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Dr. Carson has written/edited more than 45 books, and lectures on topics such as justification, Pauline theology, and postmodernism. (Of course, I forgot - you sat down and broke bread with him before you leveled your criticism at him. That's the gold standard that you hold other to, so naturally it applies to you, right?)

Yeah, I think that qualifies as "busy," despite your disparaging tones.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:27 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

I see - Randy thinks that Dr. Carson is wasting his time writing boring books about dull theology when he could be doing things like "real ministry," which apparently includes the obligation to sit down, in advance and face-to-face, with those whose theology he's critiquing. Randy has decreed that critiquing theology is some sort of personal attack and a sin against a brother (but slander and accusing someone of lying evidently is not) and therefore comes under the scope of Matthew 18.

Did you read the parable of the Good Samaritan to find out who's your neighbor? Do you understand such a thing as context? Do you even understand what the parable is about? Hint: It's not about being at the beck and call of every Tom, Dick, and Harry who thinks that you should make time for them.

Listen: The ECM is spiritual poison, and the less you have to do with it, the better off you'll be. It's nothing more than old-fashioned 19th century liberalism gussied up in trendy clothing. It may be "spiritual," but it isn't Scriptural - the ECM's disgust and contempt for Scripture practically ooze from the pages of McLaren's (et al) books.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:46 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Thanks - blessings to you, too. I can say that without being facetious. How about you? The greatest blessing would be that you truly get to know the Lord Jesus Christ of Scripture.

Guess that veneer is getting worn a little thin for you. You complain that conservatives love only those who agree with them, and you turn around and call me a jerk, something I never did to you. Why? Because I disagree with you? Because I believe that Truth is worth contending for? Because you can't stand someone who disagrees with you? What happened to all that talk about loving one's enemies? What a relief that you don't have to apply that Biblical text when dealing with those nasty, mean, intolerant little conservatives.

Your true colors are showing.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy must have removed more of his rants. I'm thankful I didn't see them or I would have removed them. Thanks for the sentient comments that were made on this post and for the attempts to answer some of Randy's statements.
I had a very profitable teaching and writing time in Memphis and the Bavinck biography manuscript will, Lord willing, head to Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co. before the end of the year.
I hope to continue with Kimball this week and then start a long series on one of the most deplorable works that McLaren has written.
Randy, if you're reading, Jim Wallis is a far left-wing socialist. I've read his stuff and am not impressed with his "think tank" at all.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

i removed all of the comments i could find minus the last one; i realized this was a waste of time...

i'm sure dan kimball would appreicate you sending your thoughts to him for interaction prior to a big rant of your own... if you want his e-mail address i'll send it to you. simply e-mail me @ rbuist@watersedge.tv

randy

7:15 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Do you really want any of us to believe that McLaren and Kimball correspond with everyone they criticize? McLaren took swipes at Ann Coulter in his latest book. Do you have her email address so you can give it to Bri? You know: just to be fair.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

I have no idea; I have only two things for this post:

1 - The Christ holds us to a higher standard than what is allowable by the U.S. I would hope that of you as well. Freedom of speech isn't something the biblical text references.

2 - I suspect Dan would like to interact with you prior to your rant. For lots of reasons I was hoping to hold you to a high standard.

randy

6:06 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

I've got a good suggestion. If these guys don't want to be criticized for bad theology, then they should quit writing books and doing media interviews. Brian McLaren should go back to teaching English.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Solameanie

Let's consider something together: Are we referencing American freedom or the biblical text when we suggest that we can speak and write about people however we please since they may have done the same?

I believe the biblical text is significant here.

9:48 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

The biblical text changes nothing. You keep wanting to misapply Matthew 18, which does not apply no matter how stubbornly you try to insist that it does.

Paul corrected Peter publically without pulling him aside privately, because what Peter did was a public error.

Comprends tu?

12:31 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Solameanie

I'm not talking about Matt. 18. I'm talking about the way the biblical text requires us to treat people.

It requires that we treat them as image bearers of God; it requires that we treat people with 'goodness and kindness.'

I can imagine you'll come up with other text verses. Here's my point: Either followers of Jesus act differently than the general population or we're nothing more than resounding gongs.

That kind of witness flys directly in the face of participing in the kingdom of God.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

I could have written the previous post this way: THE BIBLICAL TEXT FROM GENESIS THROUGH REVELATION CHANGES EVERYTHING!!!

EVERYTHING!!! For the kingdom of God is at hand.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

Sorry, but frankly you've not sounded terribly different from the general population as far as I've seen. So I'm curious what the hard and fast rules are for treating others as image-bearers of God. Just to start, is it okay to call an author a liar without sitting down to tea with him first? Is it okay to call a blogger an unloving idolater without breaking bread with him first? Now, I know you've trashed (without apology) all the comments where you did exactly that, but I'm not the only witness.

Also, this is cute:

"THE BIBLICAL TEXT FROM GENESIS THROUGH REVELATION CHANGES EVERYTHING!!!"

I knew you'd say that.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Henry F said...

Hi,
Ryan said it all early on. Most of Randy's comments have been deleted, but judging from the tone of the responses to his vanishing posts, he seems to be an aggravating Jesus to herd of self-righteous Pharisees. Thank God for the Emerging Church. At least we can forget about the Devil for a while. I did note Ron's comment that, if we had looked closely enough, we would have noticed that Jesus and McLaren look very much alike. I know that's not what you really meant, but that is what you said. Why should I care what you really meant as long as I can make some hay with the way I quote you, especially since my main concern is to defend the truth.
Owww, my tongue just broke through my cheek!!

7:12 PM  
Blogger gn said...

Rattlesnake....just curious, when it says "comment deleted by author" or whatever, does that mean you or the person who wrote the comment. I'm just curious as to why most of Randy's comments have been removed.

If you have not already, you should read Alan Hirsch's The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church for more insight into the emerging movement.

By the way, there IS a difference between the terms (and associations therewith) emerging and emergent.

Oh, and I think based on my years of following Jesus and reading the scriptures that Jesus would have as much beef with Republicans as he would Democrats. Surely he would be an independent...maybe he would not even vote at all (gasp!).

"By the way, Dan, there have also been some pretty heated arguments in the church about the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, miracles, justification by faith, and a host of other biblical truths." This of course being in response to women and church leadership, do you intend to put women's roles in the church on the same level of importance as the trinity, nature of Christ, miracles, and justification by faith?

Thanks for making me giggle.
Chad

11:55 AM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Look carefully - it says "Comment deleted - This post has been removed by the author," meaning that Randy himself removed his own comments, and if you had read the whole string you would have seen that he admitted as much.

Maybe he didn't want to go on record as having called people names, but that doesn't change the fact that he did - neither has he apologized for it. Somehow, sweeping things under the rug doesn't really strike me as a mature thing to do.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Jonny McCormick said...

listen "doctor" you are guilty of the very things you accuse Brian McLaren of, which is thinking he knows it all. I have never read a more self indulgent, self gratifying piece in a long while. Again with the women in ministry stuff...read your bible!

10:38 AM  
Blogger DJP said...

"To that point our ushers didn’t even have a hand signal for “aspiring in their faith,” so we knew we had to move swiftly."

That cracks me up every time I read it.

11:20 AM  
Blogger DJP said...

Ooh, Jonny, can I play too?

YOU'RE guilty of what you say the doctor is guilty of saying others are guilty of!

Your turn.

11:21 AM  

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