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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, May 01, 2008

Saving the Planet One Left Wing Position at a Time (XIII)

Which Jesus: The Revolutionary or the Reformer?

Old Brian McLaren wants us to follow what he and Jackson Browne call “The Rebel Jesus.” Given his penchant for those halcyon hippy days, it isn’t too much of a stretch for old Bri to think of Jesus as Che Guevara without the beret. To Bri’s mind, Jesus was a rebel; a revolutionary. It’s more than just a little ironic that these were the precise words used of Jesus; some of us lived through those days. Christianity had, to the minds of some pastors, fallen on hard times and something was needed to—pardon the pun—resurrect it. Equally ironically, a number of those concerned pastors, wearing their earth toned turtlenecks and suede shoes didn’t believe in a literal resurrection, but that is another story for another time.

Fast forward to the early 21st century and there’s old Bri, wearing his earth tones and Birkenstocks introducing us to Jesus the Revolutionary. You kind of halfway expect to see this rebel Jesus out in the streets of Berkeley demonstrating against the Marine Corps and carrying a sign that reads, “Draft beer, not men!” In fact, chapter 27 of his latest book is entitled “On the Side of the Rebel Jesus.” Cool. Hip. Bri is upset with “happy Christians” who are oblivious and who are out for little more in life than “The arrogant pursuit of wealth and the careless plundering of creation.”[1] Okay, we’re all opposed to the arrogant pursuit of wealth and the careless plundering of creation. Bri cites Jackson Browne, who “can’t help being cynical even about holiday charity. The seasonal giving of gifts among relatives contrasts with the locks and guns with which people guard their personal assets the rest of the year.”[2]

I think I get it: ole Bri and Jackson Browne are opposed to the Second Amendment. Key to Bri’s argument then is: Which Jesus?[3] When you’re striving to get the amahoro flowing, this is a crucial question. If you’re not certain what amahoro actually is, then clearly you’re not one of the thoughtful people that Bri hangs with.[4] In Bri’s world, you cannot simply ask the question: which Jesus? You must be in a packed room of young adults in Buenos Aires, Argentina.[5] You know intuitively that this is going to be something quite profound. Bri informs us that his is the Jesus pitted against the suicide machine—you no doubt remember this from the gospel accounts—drawn from the canonical gospels.[6] In other words, Bri is a strict biblicist. He continues, “Far from being an esoteric and speculative distraction, our beliefs about the end toward which things are moving profoundly and practically shape our present behavior. This is especially true in regard to violence and war, and is one of the reasons many of us have been increasingly critical in recent years of popular American eschatology in general, and conventional views of hell in particular. Simply put, if we believe that God will ultimately enforce his will by forceful domination, and will eternally torture all who resist that domination, then torture and domination become not only permissible but in some way godly.”[7]

Let’s pause here for a moment before we proceed in this discussion. First, it is noteworthy how certain Bri is that his position is correct and this from a member of the emergent chit-chat that constantly pounds the “uncertainty” drum. We cannot know; no meta-narratives—except the ones that suit my needs and purposes. Funny. Bri sounds like he really knows that what he’s saying is true. He is contradicting the heart of the postmodern rebellion. What is that? David Wells aptly puts it this way: “It turned away from meaning that is fixed and universal and turned toward meaning that is private and subjective. It shifted from absolute moral norms to those that are simply private.[8] Is the “conventional” view of hell wrong? Inaccurate? How do we know? Really, if meaning is private and subjective, why do we care? Is the conventional view of hell itself evil? Sinful?

I do want to point out the obvious: old Bri is a rank, lousy theologian. The man cannot differentiate between biblical sovereignty and “forceful domination.” A Bible Works word search using the ESV doesn’t show any results for the word “torture” in the Bible. This might wash with a packed room filled with young Buenos Aires adults trying not to step in the amahoro, but it doesn’t cut the mustard. There are several reasons why. First, as I have noted on more than one occasion, Bri loathes the word “sin.” In the first 200 pages of his latest book it is not found in his words. Finally, when he does use it, he is thoroughly apologetic.

Second, the Achilles’ heel of his latest book is that he falls into the postmodern trap of speaking of evil but not sin. This is an important distinction to understand. To Bri, the current status of the United States (suicide machine) is evil. Well, you might ask, why doesn’t he just say the United States is sinful or acting sinfully? According to this own pomo principles he realizes that he can’t. Why not? It’s all part and parcel of the “private-subjective-relative” scheme of things. Bri is leery of standards, even the Bible, although he talks about the Bible from time to time. Once we begin to parse his words and sentences more carefully than, say, a room full of pomos in Buenos Aires high on amahoro, we understand that since Bri has all but kicked sin out of the picture, he cannot reintroduce it arbitrarily. Sin, you see, is different from evil in many ways. Evil, in the pomo scheme of things, “has become purely privatized.”[9] That is to say, evil is what is “bad” for me. In Bri’s world, it is illegitimate to impose my private, subjective views on anyone else. So this begs the question: Why did Bri write his latest book—or any book for that matter—in such a rational, certain manner?

The problem, of course, is that if you deem something as evil (Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot) there would need to be some standard of right and wrong that would act in an absolute fashion so that you could verify your statement. Again, Wells is very helpful here. He states, “Evil is badness at a deep level, one that we intuitively feel demands reparations and penalties because if offends against an inviolable norm. It is always wrong. It is not only wrong to me. It is wrong everywhere.”[10] Obviously, Bri and the emergents cannot and will not go there—explicitly. Just like the rest of mankind, however, they borrow capital from true Christianity when it’s convenient. So what is the decided difference between pomo evil and biblical sin? “Evil is simply badness. Sin, though, is altogether more serious because it sets up human badness in relation to God.”[11] This explanation is the “center” of traditional Christianity.

But have you noticed that postmodernism and the emergents love to talk about the lost “center” or, to use Rob and Kristen Bell’s way of putting it, the Bible is still the center, it’s just a different center. A cogent person might wait patiently for an explanation of what it means that the Bible is a different center. Don’t hold your breath, because Rob and his bride have had ample opportunity to explain what they mean and no explanation is forthcoming. Let the amahoro flow! Bri jettisoned the “center” long ago. What he and the emergent sillies fail to grasp is that “In the absence of a compelling external authority that enables us to draw the line confidently between right and wrong, true and false, we are left to fumble about with only our feelings to guide us.”[12] Consistency is not the long suit of the emergents, but their views trump everything and everybody. When it’s convenient for their purposes, they are as certain as the traditionalist or foundationalist they criticize. Otherwise, why would they attempt to convince us that their view is the correct one?

In a very real sense, Bri’s books are simply his worldview and in the emergent claptrap, worldviews are as different as the people who construct and hold them. By his own standards, Bri’s book must devolve to this: there can be no comprehensive purpose to life or any truth that is absolute and applicable to all in the same way—Buenos Aires notwithstanding.[13] Bri’s musings are ultimately no better, truer, or more helpful than any other so why bother to write; to attempt to convince? Besides, how can Bri’s Birkenstock and Starbucks world equate contextually with a bunch of young adults in Buenos Aires? He’s an old dude.

How can he know that the Jesus to whom he wants to introduce us is the real one? Is it simply because Bri claims that his Jesus is the Jesus of the gospels? Really? What is the (absolute) vantage point that Bri has from which he has the right to relativize all the absolute claims that centuries of theology prior to his birth legitimized? This is nothing more or less than the adage that absolute relativism can only exist if the relativists exempt themselves from their own razor, and that is what Bri, Wallis, and others have done. Isn’t it about time that people started realizing that and abandoning this silly, internally contradictory thing called the emergent conversation?

[1] Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), pp. 227.

[2] Ibid., 228.

[3] Ibid., 141ff.

[4] Just to cut to the chase, it means “peace.” Consider yourself enlightened.

[5] McLaren, EMC, 143.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 144.

[8] David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), p. 107. Italics mine.

[9] Ibid., 101.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid., 109.

[13] Paraphrased from Well, TCBP, 110.



Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:10 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

You're exactly right. There is no such thing as breaking any law in the Bible. Why of course the Ten Commandments are only suggestions on how to live. God would never have his chosen people live according to a strict moral code. How uncouth!
It is ridiculous for any sovereign nation to enforce any laws, especially its immigration laws.
Yes, you can kill an Iraqi terrorist, but you may not murder. It's that strict moral code thing. You have no clue what reformed means.
You're right, Randy. David Wells is an idiot, especially when you have a solid exegete like McLaren to guide you. Why listen to someone like Wells?
You haven't used biblical texts because you have none. You can resort to name-calling if you want. I can tell you right now that it has zero effect on me.
If you ever do get around to proof texting, an answer to Icedawg would be highly appropriate.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...


I've been investigating the recent rediscovery of absinthe in our culture. Once the pop quaff of the Van Gogh effetes, it fell off the radar screen for many years. It's now making a comeback, among the same set.

Absinthe and amahoro. Think there's any connection?

Another interesting note. Wormwood is part of the flavoring of absinthe. Now that's an intriguing allusion.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...


Just how is Ron lying?

How is he "insulting the biblical text?

Is he misquoting anyone? With footnotes?

Just asking.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Calvinist sojourner said...

Ron, Good post. Thanks.

Randy, yawn. Enough said.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

Deut. 5:20 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

While Ron suggests that his evaluations are right regarding emergent voices, I've pushed against him. In turn, I've heard, "Those are just words."

As for my 'liberal' leanings regarding caring for Iraq's people, the poor among us, and gay people, I've found a biblical suggestion that this may be the way of God.

From Matt. 5, beginning with verse 43, from the Sermon on the Mount:
"YOu have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? ANd if ou greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

That may be a tough order, but it surpasses our own agendas.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

You wrote, "As for my 'liberal' leanings regarding caring for Iraq's people, the poor among us, and gay people, I've found a biblical suggestion that this may be the way of God."
May be? In the emergent, pomo world, caring for the poor--whatever that means--trumps abortion. The more you take the time to read McLaren, the more he deviates from orthodoxy. Follow him blindly if you wish.
Yes, I will continue to suggest that my "evaluations" are right based on what I know of Scripture and theology. If you have a better "evaluation" then spell it out for us, using the Bible to substantiate your meta-narratives. You see, Randy, in the emergent world, ultimately nothing really matters because all is just what works for me. It's all relative; it's all my worldview. In your worldview--as a former seminarian--the Bible says nothing about the homosexual lifestyle in terms of sin, but for me it does. So, who cares? It matters little, nothing.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Matt J. said...

Randy, if you were a car you would be the Dodge Rambler.

2:20 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

So, what does "loving your neighbor" mean, in your view? I suspect that you will probably cram quite a bit into "loving your neighbor" and "loving your enemies" that this verse does not intend. And that is the whole problem with your view of Scripture and worldview.

One can love a homosexual without approving of his/her lifestyle. Loving a homosexual does not mean that you grant them carte blanche to do whatever they please, including forcing their immoral lifestyle on society as a whole (including our children in public schools). Immoral behavior is not a civil right. The most loving thing you can do for people is to call them to repentance. Everything else is icing on the cake.

As to Ron bearing false testimony, it is a bit difficult for me to see how, given that he's reading and quoting their own words. If someone really loves the Word of God, they will not distort it, ignore it, take it out of context, or reinterpret it from its original meaning.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Matt J. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:41 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...


I'm pretty sure you'll ignore my post, but I'll write it anyway. I want to draw your attention to 2 things:

First, Solameanie and I have been trying to get you to interact with biblical directives that deal with the subjects at hand, and to date you have not done so. Yes, there are the general, "broad strokes" commandments to love your neighbor as yourself, but God works that out in more detail for us. The 2 Thes. 3:10 verse I keep harping about gives direction on how to love someone who is not willing to work for their bread. I Cor. 5 tells us how to deal with the immoral brother. As solameanie has said, none of that involved blind acceptance of living that clearly goes against the teaching of Jesus, Paul and the other NT writers. There are many other examples that deal with specific behavior within and outside the church, both in the OT and the NT.

As I said in a previous post, take a look at your kids and how you raise them. Blind acceptance of their behavior is not loving them. They may like to eat candy all the time, but if you let them do that you would be a lousy father. So you love them with correction and instruction. Now you should put forth what your biblical view of love is. I know it is not blind acceptance, because we can find a line of moral behavior for anyone that they won't want to cross. Give us some specifics as to what is the most loving thing to do for an idle person, a homosexual, a pedophile.

Second, it strikes me as odd that you continually go after Rattle for questioning McLaren's orthodoxy (which are substantiated by quotations from McLaren's own writings) and then you attribute all sorts of attitudes to him that he has rejected in the blog. I know on several occasions that he has said he cares about the poor, the hungry etc., but you keep saying that he doesn't. I'm not sure why you keep bringing that up. It seems to me that the thing that you are taking rattle to task for, you are doing yourself.

The question here is not whether anyone contributing to this debate cares about the poor. As far as I can tell, everyone does. Instead the discussion is about what it looks like: "Who is poor?" and "How do you best love them?"

Well, I'm glad I got that off my chest. Perhaps you will grace me with a response this time?

5:29 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Let me add to icedawg's comments with this aside.

I believe -- from Scripture -- that it is perfectly acceptable and reasonable to question whether or not someone is truly saved, especially those who style themselves as teachers. True, I cannot ultimately know the heart. Only God does. But the Bible is plain that we are to judge fruit, we are to judge actions, and we are to judge teaching. We are not to judge those outside the church, but those within the church we are to judge. It couldn't possibly be any plainer, although Emergents could take clear Brita water and insist that it's the Mississippi.

By his own words, in his books and in numerous media interviews/public statements, Brian McLaren and other EC leaders have in essence convicted themselves. Their constant insistence that they're misunderstood or mischaracterized reminds me of the old Monty Python skit where someone makes outlandish claims and then gets called on it:

Host: "Hmm. You've changed your claim, haven't you?"

Claimant: "No,'ve got it all wrong. You can't read my writing!"

Host: "It's typed!"

6:20 AM  
Blogger Pastor St. John said...

"Which Jesus" is a good question. Leonard Pitts had an editorial last week in which he proposed that if we would truly follow Jesus we would support gay rights.,0,1465008.story

I wonder where he found THAT Jesus? Certainly not in the Bible.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

I've never met a lot of theologians that I'm convinced from Scripture are not saved. Bultmann would be a classic case in point.
Being gracious doesn't mean that you put your head in the sand and never deal with reality.
For example, with regard to your precious illegal aliens the Federation for American Immigration Reform told the following to Californians: CA taxpayers provide funding of more than $10 BILLION in social programs for illegal foreigners each year. Free medical care, food stamps, subsidized and Section 8 housing, free public education, earned-income tax credits of $3,200 and incarceration of illegals aliens who represent a third of our state inmates. And this from a state with a $20 billion deficit thanks to a Democrat who told us he was a Republican.
I work long and hard for my money and I'm tired of giving it to someone who is here illegally. Currently, all taxes considered, Americans are creeping up on the 40% mark.
My suggestion is that you do two things: First, buy some good theology books and second, read some reliable works on economics. I'll be more than glad to provide you with some titles if you want them.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Since Emergents love asking questions, let me ask a few.

Is there a difference between what individuals are supposed to do versus what the state is supposed to do?

Are we as Christians under the Law of Moses?

Is the theocracy of Old Testament Israel supposed to be a direct pattern of today's nation-state under the Noachide or Noahic Covenant?

As to those questions, were the children of Israel unloving when they obeyed God's commands to drive out other nations before them, sometimes slaying everyone in the process?

The famous aliens mentioned in the Old Testament - were they expected to follow the law in Israel, or didn't it matter? What happened to them if they broke the law in Israel?

Those two questions -- for starters -- will help answer quite a few other ones.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Matt J. said...

I'd love for him to answer a question without it devolving into a rambling manifesto, but that seems to be Randy's only mode of communication. Your questions are to-the-point, well thought out and written, and address meaningful subjects that are germane to the article above (or are at least germane to Randy's last rambling manifesto), which is why Randy will not answer them. He believes that the way to hold a meaningful conversation is to make a bunch of non sequitur emo-statements that never address a specific subject in any detail. What can you expect from someone who believes that faith in God can exist apart from the propositional truth of scripture?

Prove me wrong Randy.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

I'm not proving anything tonight. It won't work anyway. Jesus hung out with sinners. The Bible is explicit that it was sinners, and yet Ron thinks it is a stretch to believe any were gay. Yet, God reminds us that a whore as in the blood lines of Jesus.

When around a whore, Jesus says --- "He who is without sin cast the first stone." Yet, we want to argue about if Jesus ever spent time with a gay person?

The bibilical text makes it clear that people with all sins were embraced by Jesus.

You've made your point that your jesus doesn't clearly hang out with these people.

I met a man in The Home Depot today. He was elderly, and it appeared that he loved his wife of many years. We started small talk, moved toward marriage talk. He said, "You can either be right all the time or you can be happy in life."

I guess I will choose the happiness road, and allow God's grace to heal my sins rather than believe my own exegesis will heal my sins.

Someday better theologians with the Spirit's leading will further enligthten God's people. Until then, I'll choose to be a person who believes the gospel is good news.

If we want to argue verses, I would ask about Deborah leading God's people? Was God out of his mind when a woman led? Was God out of his mind when a whore fell into his blood line? Was God out of his mind when he mandated that Adam and Eve care for his created earth as only real liberals do this sort of thing?

Obviously, other verses state that women are to submit, whores go to hell, the earth is to be vacated for heaven (unless I believe in a new earth as Revelation suggests).

So, we can get into a pissing contest about specific verses. As Jesus, Paul, John, and James seem to suggest -- it's not the law. It's the spirit of the law.

So, unless we hear Jesus calling us to be different kind of people in the Sermon on the Mount ("You have heard it said, but I say..."), we entirely miss the point.

The point isn't a call to a new kind of legalism as the Mosaic law demanded for holiness before God.
The point was to become a different kind of people.

So, until we invite the whores, women with all forms of spiritual gifts, gays, lesbians, illegal immigrants, and legal residents to the banquet table, we fail to hear the gospel story.

When we fail to hear 'Love your neighbor regardless of their sins," we fail to hear the voice of God imprinted upon the biblical text.

So, we can argue that a man should work for his wages, he should be the voice of the family, and gay people are 'living in sin.' Yet, Jesus says they too are invited to the great banquet.

Tonight I don't care if I'm right; I undoubtely know that I'm being faithful to the biblical text on these issues. And I know that God is good.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

On last thought for tonight...

Since when is 'my money' my money? Ron, you talk about working hard for your money?

This is all of God... stop thinking that it belongs to you. Saying 'It belongs to me' is its own idol worship.

If I can say, "It's my own money,' then I can also say, "It's my wealth, my house, my kids, and my kingdom."

For the kingdom of God is at hand, and all thinks the American empire worships will also pass away.

So, I'm calling you out on this... it isn't your money. It ALL belongs to God. ALL OF IT! Do you want the biblical verses, or can you find them yourself?

How can we worship God and money? "Have NO other god's before Me. I am a jelous God."

10:54 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

2 Thess. 3:10

I have no issue with this passage. It's clear these people are capable of work, but they have chosen not to work.

Remember that the early Christians shared everything. So, it wasn't about one's personal wealth. It was about supporting the community together.

These verses remind us of the value of hard work, of contributing. We need to remember it was within this context that the Greeks held a low view of manual labor as did many of the Jewish scribes.

Yet, the gospel again flows agains the social norm. It calls us to work hard. But...

These verses address those who are able to work for their food. They don't address the fact that many people work, but they don't earn a living wage. It doesn't address those who have mental or physical issues that keep them from work.

Neither does is address unemployment. This addresses those who can work -- those who have the capacity to work for their bread.

I would love to see an exegeis on work that incorporates these verses well and also recognizes that a significant percentage of our population can't affort bread, shelter, clothing, and limited health care from their own wages.

Emerging voices are not agaist work. We simply sense that the gospel calls us to be incredibly generous with the money under our care.

Regardless of 'who' who cares for people incapable of meeting their own basic needs, the needs should be met. It's our Christian obligation regardless if it is our own church or non-profit or government 'who' is doing it.

As followers of Jesus, it seems we would use all ethical means to make this happen.

"Where were you when I was in need?" -- Jesus

In no way does Paul's writing here run contrary to the message of the entire gospel.

Grace & Peace.

5:56 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...


Although your ideas of universal forgiveness all sound wonderful, the problem with your illustrations is that they are incomplete. The account where Jesus challenges the accusers of the woman caught in adultery ends with this instruction to the woman: "Go now and leave your life of sin."

You say that all folks are invited to the banquet table, but what about the man who showed up without the wedding garment. Wasn't he thrown out? What about the virgins who ran out of oil? Were they admitted to the feast when they showed up late? What about 1 Corinthians 6 where it talks about how people with all sorts of sins will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven unless they are justified and sanctified by Christ and the Holy Spirit?

Everyone writing here has acknowledged that we have to love the poor, the sinners of all stripes (we are all sinful in God's sight). What I can't get my head around is why you refuse to identify what that looks like in your world. Does that match up with the very clear teachings of the Bible?

I will challenge you on one last thing. The gospel is good news to those who receive it in faith. I doubt very much that Satan thinks it's good news. What about those who reject Christ's lordship as described in the gospel. What is their consequence? Doesn't seem very "good" to me. God is love and mercy, for sure. But he also is justice. That is why his Son hung on a cross in our place. For you and me, so that if we believe in him, no matter what our background or previous life, we can be saved. But 1 John also clearly tells us that, as Christians, we cannot continue to live in sin. There must be a changed life. The apostle John (a follower of Jesus, as you would put it) asks how we demonstrate our love for him in his first epistle. Guess what the answer is? To obey his commandments. So as God gives us Christ's righteousness, he also sanctifies us and makes us more like Him.

I would ask you not to make God a sliver of who He is by concentrating only one of his attributes: his mercy. He is also holy, just, righteous etc.

In all humility, I would like to suggest that you are not describing the complete Jesus of the Bible in your posts. Rather it is the Jesus the world would like so there would be no consequences for their actions.

6:02 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Thank you! So then you're not in disagreement with rattle on this issue at all. He is talking about getting people who are unemployed and able to work to labor for the money they receive.

As for the other issues of people with disabilities, and other exceptional circumstances, everyone here has already said that they should be cared for.

I definitely will disagree with you that it is the government's responsibility to dole out money to the "poor", unless you mean church government. Once they take may money away, now I cannot steward my money be deciding where it goes. Here in Canada it means that a big chunk of our publicly funded health care dollars go to providing abortions. That alone should be enough to make us cringe. Murder by the thousands with my (in the stewardship sense) money. I know that is not directly related to taking care of the poor, but it is related in the sense of government's failure to make trustworthy decisions.

6:13 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Icedawg...good response.

This is precisely what I find so bothersome about Emergents and their fellow travelers. They're sort of like modern-day Thomas Jeffersons who scissor out portions of Scripture that they don't like, or reinterpret them out of their biblical contexts and original meaning.

All this talk of the big banquet is really cool sounding, but the final book of the Bible has some rather sobering words for those who are left "outside." These people want the feast without the repentance.

9:15 AM  
Blogger bpr said...

>The account where Jesus challenges the accusers of the woman caught in adultery ends with this instruction to the woman: "Go now and leave your life of sin."

The order was this though:
1. Jesus saves a woman from death (she legally deserved death under the law)

2. Jesus THEN commands the woman to go and sin no more, once she was saved from death.

Another example, the woman at the well:
1. Message is presented (you can have living water in me)

2. Woman asks for this living water, that she may thirst no more

3. Jesus THEN convicts her of her sin

Jesus' typical method was not to go around preaching condemnation. It was to preach salvation, the gospel. Only after the good news (not "sodomites are going to hell") was presented or solicited was sin addressed.

Same with the rich young ruler. Jesus did not go preaching condemnation to the rich. When the rich man came to him and asked to be saved, then Jesus condemned the sin.

Jesus did preach condemnation directly to the scribes and pharisees, those who thought they were doing the right thing. Maybe it has something to do with the way self-righteousness can blind a man to his sin.

10:11 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...


I'm not sure what you're getting at. If the exhortation to change your life comes at the beginning or end, it is still part of the gospel message, no? I'm not sure how the order is significant.

I'd like to know how far you are willing to take this line of thinking. How far would the moral behavior have to decline before you could say to a person that he/she is wrong? Pride? Greed? Theft? Adultery? Homosexuality? Pedophelia? Murder? Rape? Scripture condemns them all. To be certain, not one person is exempt from that list and all can be redeemed by the blood of Christ. That is why the non-believer needs the whole gospel. Yes, there is hope in the gospel. But the logical opposite reserved for those who do not respond in faith is condemnation, isn't it? Why would you need a gospel message if you are not standing in condemnation?

I'm not sure if you're insinuating that those who hold to positions of absolute truth are self-righteous. I hope not. I for one am thankful that Christ came and died for my sin. I don't pretend to be without the same need of Christ's forgiveness as everyone else. However, that doesn't mean I have to treat every behavior as acceptable. Look at the apostle Paul. He was a murderer, but made some very strong statements of condemnation in the New Testament.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Here's another question. If we are Trinitarian, then Jesus is God the Son, along with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

The same God in the Old Testament that pronounced certain things an "abomination" is the same God in the New Testament. Right?

Now, as to message. You can't scissor out Jesus' messages to the Jews in the four Gospels, and ignore Acts, Romans etc. Look at the first evangelistic sermons preached by the Apostle Peter. He wasn't exactly nice to his hearers. Look at how Stephen wrapped up his message in Acts? It ended with him getting stoned to death.

To isolate what Jesus said and did from the rest of Scripture -- the whole counsel of God -- is to distort His message and the Word of God as a whole. Jesus might not have spoken the words of the Apostle Paul and Stephen, but the Holy Spirit was every bit as much behind their words.

You guys are very clever, and might well be able to fool or stump the untaught and unwary, but you won't get away with it here.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

We emergent types believe in the entire gospel message... that is the point.

You guys simply want to suggest that we are not paying attention to sin, salvation, service... We believe in justification, sanctification... differing views on the atonement have been a reality within the church since the N.T.

SO, why the heck do you continue to tell us that we don't love to God of the Bible?

Yet, you love your money and you love your nation? This is crap.

Either you love God or you love your nation. You can't have two masters. You can't mix the articles of the Constitution with the biblical text and believe that you are creating good theology ---

Whereas I've tried to bridge a gap... there really is no hope. None. Perhaps Jesus prayer that we be one was only a dream... a human dream...

You continue to dismiss me... I will be dismissed and go out the door.

My entire prior three posts were entirely ignored...

Grace & Peace in the name of Jesus Christ.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Did you ever consider that the entire fault might not rest on your listeners?
On the gay thing, my response is this: the Bible never explicitly records any time that Jesus spoke with a male or female homosexual. The term "gay" is a misnomer. I don't know how many male or female homosexuals you know personally, but the ones I've known were anything except "gay." We could speculate that Jesus cut his finger while working for Joseph. In the emergent version he would have used all kinds of foul language, showing how transparent he was. But Scripture never records anything of that sort.
Where in the world did you draw the conclusion that I love "my" money? I understand that everything has been given to me by grace and God has called me to be a good steward with what he entrusts into my care. That does not mean, however, that I am not to call sin, sin. It also does not mean that I refuse to call illegal illegal.
Your constant referral to the different conceptions of the atonement is incorrect. Were there people who held to aberrant views of the atonement (i.e., the Gnostics)? Sure. Were they biblically correct? No. Does it matter which view you hold? Yes.
The Emergent gurus (McLaren, Bell, Pagitt, Miller) hold loopy views of Scripture, of male and female homosexuality, hell, the atonement, and McLaren's latest: a "violent" Second Coming where God imposes his will on those who don't believe according to Scripture. This is all in print. So, no, emergents don't hold to biblical orthodoxy on these points.
I know you emergent chit-chatters think foul language is cool. When I was a non-Christian at The Citadel and in the Army I thought swearing was cool too. When God saved me by his grace I found that kind of thing abhorrent and unbiblical. I'm not certain who you're trying to impress with your Internet bravado, but you're wasting your time with me. I simply think you lack a good vocabulary and that you're immature.

11:04 PM  
Blogger IceDawg said...


I'm disappointed that you keep attributing thoughts to me (or others on this blog) that I have never put forth, nor hold at all (i.e. love of money, love of country over God). Unfortunate.

You say that I think you don't love the God of the Bible. I have no way of seeing your heart and what your ultimate standing before God is, so I would not make that kind of statement. However, I can draw attention to your understanding of who He is (based on your posts) which is incomplete. Show me that you understand by explaining with some detail how you would go about loving an idle person, homosexual or pedophile. How would you bring the whole gospel to them?

4:39 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

No, Randy..

None of us ignored your last three posts. You just didn't like our responses. We wanted you to actually engage the issue and the text, and you failed to do so.

I told you plainly that you were misapplying Scripture. You ignored me outright, or bunny trailed elsewhere.

You keep caterwauling about how we are "treating people." Your charges are not only baseless, they are false. Refusing to recognize homosexuality as a civil right is not treating people badly. Calling homosexuals to repent is not treating people badly. Calling for our laws to be enforced is not treating people badly. Did you ever stop to think that many Mexican Americans are opposed to illegal immigration? They followed the law, did it right and became productive citizens in our society. They resent the behavior of their ethnic counterparts. I'll bet that's escaped your notice.

You have a very childish, Pollyanna attitude and you need to grow up. You also have to be one of the worst handlers of Scripture I have ever seen, and that's saying quite a lot. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses handle Scripture better than you've been handling it.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

A couple of times you have raised the point of "different views of the atonement." Yes, certain people have held to differing views, but they were not all equally biblically correct, were they? Moreover, we know that certain views had a profound negative effect upon the biblical truth of justification by faith, don't we? And since justification by faith is a major tenet of the Christian faith, we wouldn't want to teach any view of the atonement that would do despite to justification by faith, would we?
For someone who ostensibly is "loving" you really have a filthy mouth, son. But as I stated before, if you think it's either going to make me change my mind or engage in the same thing, you are quite wrong.
Thanks for the enlightening lesson on excrement. Emergents are rapidly becoming experts in that field.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Randy said...


I'm wondering why we are against redistribution? The tithe was redistribution. So are taxes ONLY if they are progressive taxes.

In the O.T., the poor didn't need to bring the same things to the temple for sacrafices. They could 'get away' with a lesser sacrifice.

The idea of gleaners is emphasized in the O.T., and one could argue even this was a redistribution.

The N.T. church put everyhing in into a common purse, and this was in no way discouraged nor found to be biblically incorrect.

If our money really belongs to God, then I am trying to figure out why I would be against redistribution of wealth?

I distribute my wealth to others on a daily basis by giving to the church, non-profits, education, Compassion Internation, and a handful of others. I also pay my taxes realizing that people are being helped by my giving.

In a country that provides so much freedom, perhaps we should consider it a joy to give to the cause of freedom?

8:16 PM  

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