In response to some questions (and requests), I am going to repost some older articles on scriptural context and interpretation in the coming days, following on the heel’s of yesterday’s repost.

________________

It is interesting how the Spirit works – I don’t know about you, but I cannot count the times that I have read a passage of scripture, a chapter in a book, or listened to a sermon and *BAM* within the next day or so I find that I need exactly what I heard/read. What if I hadn’t taken the time for personal study and devotion? It is a sobering thought.

Interestingly, when I hear/read scripture being misused (particularly by literalists), I often bite my tongue, waiting for that ‘leading’ or ‘tugging’ that seems to then happen when I see the exact passage misused multiple times by multiple individuals in multiple forums.

Today is just such a day, and the passage(s) in question are the three gospel accounts where Jesus states that ‘the poor you will always have with you’. These are located in Matthew 26:11, Mark 14:7, and John 12:8. Where these scriptures seem to be (mis)used is in casting aside calls to be ‘missional’, particularly relating to serving the poor and addressing poverty at home and abroad. Usually, the misuse is along the lines of “We should be far more concerned with eternal issues, rather than temporal ones. Besides, Jesus said that ‘For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.’”

So, what is Jesus’ point here?

First off, let’s look at the context. All three accounts are of the same event in Bethany, where Jesus is eating at the house of Simon the Leper with Lazarus, Mary, Martha, Judas and at least some of Jesus other disciples. There, a woman (identified by John as Mary) took expensive perfume and anointed Jesus with it (two accounts accentuate her use of it on his head, the other account accentuates the use on his feet – possibly indicating that she was anointing the head, heart, hands and feet, as with a miqvah.)

Then, Judas criticizes Mary’s actions by saying ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages!’. However, John also includes this statement about Judas’ motives:

He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. (John 12:6)

So, we can already see that the question being put to Jesus isn’t really a genuine one in the first place. It was one that was self-serving with the appearance of appealing to service to the poor. And so, Jesus answers:

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” (John 12:7-8)

As I’ve discussed on a number of occasions, Jesus was a master rabbinical teacher, using PaRDeS and Parable as his key methods. As such, this teaching contains (at the very least) P’shat and Remez.

The P’shat (or ‘plain meaning’) is often expressed in contrast and placed second (like with ‘you have heard it said X, but I say to you Y’). In John 12:8, the emphasis (or plain meaning) is after ‘but’. The key is ‘you will not always have me’ and not ‘you will always have the poor’. So, to give the proper interpretation to Jesus’ words, you would see that he is agreeing with the sentiment (you will always have the poor), but making an exception based on his physical presence and the significance of Mary’s anointing with the perfume to be used in his burial. This is not a callous statement that ‘we will always have the poor, and therefore we have no responsibility to do anything about it’ – that is 180-degrees apart from His teaching!

To emphasize this, we need to look at the remez (the ‘hint’). When Jesus says ‘You will always have the poor among you’, he is actually quoting from Deuteronomy 15:11, which states ‘There will always be poor people in the land.’ If you will remember, to understand remez, we must look at the verses immediately before and after the one quoted. Jesus’ audience, who had the Torah memorized, would have been able to do this instantly -

If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land. (Deut 15:7-11)

So, if it wasn’t obvious from the P’shat, the Remez should not only put the lie to those who misuse Jesus’ words, but show us, once again, that – while the eternal destination is not unimportant – our temporal responsibility is to care for both the physical and spiritual needs of those less fortunate.

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While I probably could have gone on and discussed the brilliance of Jesus’ approach, and the modern social-science derivatives (such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs), this was just looking at the scriptural interpretation. Perhaps I’ll pick it up and continue at some point in the future…

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 at 4:41 pm and is filed under Christian Living, Church and Society, Linked Articles, Misuse of Scripture, Theology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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144 Comments(+Add)

1   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Newest “misuse of scripture”- Peter was ‘training to be a rabbi’….and that is why Jesus had ‘faith’ in him….

2   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 22nd, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Oh John,
That post is so off and so full of eisogeses that it’s laughable. I’m sure you’re friend is a good guy, but he’s not much of a student. He doesn’t prove anything. They would have marveled that Jesus had chosen him because he had flunked out of Rabbi school. Your friend completely misses what’s called scholarly work. He proves nothing but his own inability to handle the text.

3   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Whatever, John.

All Jerry proved was that he should have read Proverbs first:

“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.”

4   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 22nd, 2008 at 4:58 pm

And John, your first comment proves that either you struggle with honesty (which I doubt) or you just didn’t read what Chris L wrote. Show me one place where he said that Peter was a leaned man. You wrote that into Chris’ words. That’s not what it mean when we say Peter was following Jesus as Rabbi. If you want to cover your ears and scream “Nah, nah, na nanna” that is your prerogative, but don’t misrepresent others or skip honest scholarship to get there.

5   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Joe – that’s because there was no honest attempt to even READ the article above – I had to edit a missed tag immediately after hitting “publish”, and his comment was there by the time I hit save…

6   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Yeah, John’s latest few posts have really shown he’s given up on trying to discuss the issues. He’s more interested in pushing his own agenda of anti-EC talking points.

7   Chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 5:13 pm

John,

I’m starting to think that your whole schtick is to drop one-liners to rile the natives.

Your link to Jerry’s site is troubling. Merely for the fact that Jerry misuses scripture in his defense (or offense) against Rob Bell.

I digress…Good article Chris.

8   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 22nd, 2008 at 5:22 pm

One might ask, and I’m not being facetious, does Jerry have any training?

9   Matt B    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 5:28 pm

How come 99.9 percent of the ODMs have no training or degree? Is it because they think all seminaries are liberal?

10   Erica Martino    http://joemartino.name/erica
January 22nd, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Pastor Boy,
Why was Jesus called a Rabbi?

11   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 6:04 pm

That is some of the worst research I’ve ever seen.

12   Chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 6:06 pm

This is my favorite section of the hermeunitic work in that article.

But back to what spawned the whole Rabbi discussion. Peter was training to be a rabbi according to some of the folks who were posting. I was even given a link to this site so that I could learn about him and Jesus being in training to be rabbis the way all Jewish boys were. However this whole discussion smacked of something not being right with it. I couldn’t discount what they were saying outright as I had no proof, yet there was a check in my Spirit. So I just went on trusting the Lord to reveal the truth.

emphasis mine

13   noone likesalleged knowitalls    
January 22nd, 2008 at 6:09 pm

The rabbi stuff to the side….
A “literalist” would never understand this Scripture to say that the poor will always be with you…so do nothing.
Jesus said simply,” the poor will always be with you”
And….. they are still here. Guess He told the truth.
I have always understood that section of Scripture to mean that you/we/they will always have opportunity to minister to the poor but that He would not be here in His individual,human flesh, i.e. Jesus of Nazareth to minister to. Hence the affirming of His anointing for burial.
That is what the passage literally says.
Thye broad-brushing of “fundies”, their soteriology and eschatology in the last several posts is pure fallacy.
I am glad that the Spirit guides us into all Truth, not all remez
One might ask do you hold sheepskins, above the Shepherd?
How does one acquire a sheepskin???

BTW if Ken or Ingrid repeat their posts you jump all over them. Sauce for the goose?

14   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 6:40 pm

If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land. (Deut 15:7-11)

What many social gospel types miss in the remez is one key word: brothers…brethren…those who are in your family. And Jesus, and Moses were emphasising an important principle. We are to care for those who are are brothers and our sisters in Christ. Those who are in our family. He is not talking about the human family here. He is speaking in this reference, about other Jews. There was not an empahasis on those outside the family, or outside ‘the land’.

There is also another important point: The poor are in the land because of the level of obedience (verse 4-5) If there was obedience, there would be blessing, and an abundance of wealth. (v.6) This seems to also indicate that the nation would never have to borrow, and that it would rule over the other nations. Again, these blessings were based upon obedience.

15   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 6:42 pm

Erica, I answered your question on Jerry’s site

16   andy    
January 22nd, 2008 at 6:51 pm

Good article Chris ! I think only a numbnut would read that verse to mean sod the poor..I think you could argue that Jesus is showing a priority though? Jesus first then the poor, then and now?

Out of interest how do you read Mat 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren..
into the all Rabbi thing?

17   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 6:59 pm

PB,
It’s amazing how much you’re willing to stretch to prove a point. You neglect a passage like Deuteronomy 24:19-22 where God specifically tells the Israelites to care for the aliens, the fatherless, and the widow.

19When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be (S)for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God (T)may bless you in all the work of your hands.

20″(U)When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be (V)for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.

21″When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.

22″You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.

Also, nevermind the fact that Jesus clarified in the New Testament that we are to consider everyone our neighbor.

18   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Phil,

I was addressing the scripture that the author used in this article. We can discuss that scripture later.

19   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 22nd, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Well! I guess you’ve been told, Phil.

20   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Another misused scripture

‘Jesus is A way to heaven’

By the way, talk about eisogesis…SHEESH Chris L got served by the scripture by both ‘the uneducated’ Pastor Jerry and by ‘Slick’ Rick Freuh

21   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 7:30 pm

PB,

You’re just being silly now.

Your whole comment goes against several main threads that run through Jesus’ ministry. First, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called the poor blessed. You’re saying they were poor because they were disobedient. Jesus turned this thinking on its head.

Secondly, even from the call of Abraham, the Jews were called to be a blessing to all nations. The Jews sadly fell short of this calling. The stinginess and callousness of Judas was representative of that.

22   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 22nd, 2008 at 7:31 pm

John,
I’m glad you are at least showing your true self. Praise God for that.

23   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 8:14 pm

noone,

The poor need not always be the same poor…  Also, it’s only when things get recycled as if they’re something new that we take notice…

24   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Andy – in the context, who is Jesus addressing, and what is the point he’s trying to make?

25   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 8:19 pm

PB,

It seems you missed the final clause (past what you chose not to bold):

“and toward the poor and needy in your land.” – these aren’t brothers or bretheren… As for the rest of your eisegesis, it sounds like something from Osteen…

26   inquisitor    
January 22nd, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Phil,
You don’t seem to have a grasp on the correct interpretation of the sermon on the mount, so let’s just move on

If we look at the threads running through the Bible, this is what we find,
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all
people, especially to those who belong to the family of
believers.” GAL 6:10

You see that we as Christians should do good to all men. However, we are especially bound to look after our own. The one thing that I never see from emergents is the same zeal for caring for the persecuted Christians as they have for everyone else.

Also, by “let us do good to all people” emergents tend to classify that as solely “support them by financial means. Never do they warn these people that they “care about” by informing them what would happen if they step out of this world without Jesus Christ.

If sinners be dammed, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there UNWARNED and UNPRAYED for. – Charles Spurgeon

Emergents don’t seem to like the idea of warning people.
What do emergents do when a blind man is walking towards a cliff? They put some food in his stomach because he’s hungry and then he’ll like them. After he’s full, they allow him to continue walking towards the cliff because they refuse to warn him of his destiny with Hell if he doesn’t place his faith in Jesus Christ. (because then, he wouldn’t like them, and they so desperately want to be considered cool and likable)
And so he walks off the cliff, warm, full, and healthy… but dead.

27   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 22nd, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Dang Phil! You’ve been told twice today.

28   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Inq,

Emergents don’t seem to like the idea of warning people.
What do emergents do when a blind man is walking towards a cliff? They put some food in his stomach because he’s hungry and then he’ll like them. After he’s full, they allow him to continue walking towards the cliff because they refuse to warn him of his destiny with Hell if he doesn’t place his faith in Jesus Christ. (because then, he wouldn’t like them, and they so desperately want to be considered cool and likable)
And so he walks off the cliff, warm, full, and healthy… but dead.

1. Emergents don’t seem to like the idea of warning people.

I think that it is not this, but that we warn people as we love them… we see a real lack of love in how many “warn” others.

2. What do emergents do when a blind man is walking towards a cliff?

We walk with them and reason with them in hopes that they will hear the call of God and turn… yet again we love them as we do this. We do not consider kind and loving to tell the blind man how stupid he is for being blind and not being able to see what God can only reveal… We do not need to call names of one as if we are a more righteous “sinner” who is not also blind in our own way and judge the other for being more blind.

3. After he’s full, they allow him to continue walking towards the cliff because they refuse to warn him of his destiny with Hell if he doesn’t place his faith in Jesus Christ.

This is quite an accusation and over generalization… let alone pure fictional drama that means nothing in that is reality. We are not to hold back food or other things just because the person rejects Jesus. I think that if you understood that mostly ALL we talk about is Jesus that you might understand why this view you are promoting is a fictional depiction of mis-characterizations you have fantasized about. Really since it seems that you miss that we of the emerging and emergent church have already had in house talks about those who are posers who think “cool” is candles and being liked.

So what we have is a lot of ignorance replacing facts… or that you prefer to replace the truth with a lie…

iggy

29   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 8:52 pm

PB seems to like to turn truth on its head a lot as far as I have seen… Even when facts and scritpure are placed in his view he twists them to mean the contrary to fit his own view.

iggy

30   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Joe,
Yeah, when will I ever learn? LOL!

Inquisitor,
Please enlighten me on the correct understanding of the Sermon on the Mount.

It seems to me in Beatitudes, Jesus goes to great lengths to pronounce those who were previously seen as outsiders in the religious system to now be the insiders in the Kingdom of God.

31   Chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 9:00 pm

If we look at the threads running through the Bible, this is what we find,
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all
people, especially to those who belong to the family of
believers.” GAL 6:10

Okay but that doesn’t change the myriad of verses that talk about taking care of those that are without. Something about water to drink, visiting me in prison, giving me something to eat, comes to mind.

Inq,

There was a lot of assumption in your comment. That is really sad.

32   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Chris L got served by the scripture by both ‘the uneducated’ Pastor Jerry and by ‘Slick’ Rick Freuh

Not sure what you’re talking about here. Asked and answered, but sometimes you need to eat, spend time with the family and live in RL…

33   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Yeah Chris L… you got served and this is all it is about… not truth or the bible but getting one up on the other one has found to be deemed “heretic” or whatever…

That is their agenda… not protecting truth or God… which not one has shown me how they as mere men can do such a thing.

iggy

34   andy    
January 22nd, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Ok saw ur reply, on the site that won’t be named lol cheers GB

35   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Iggy nailed it. Its not about truth, its about proving their clique is the dominant clique. Apparently some people never really leave high school.

36   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Phil, the poor are the poor in SPIRIT….Sheesh..

Poor in spirit=humble=they get the kingdom of God…

You must be humble to understand and to receive the Gospel message….

Tim and iggy like to snipe me. Thats okay. Its not about being right….it is about being on the right path for me..I pray ya’ll find it.

37   M.G.    
January 22nd, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Wow. PB. Did you just conclude that everyone here who disagrees with you is going to hell?

God bless you friend. May we find the right path together.

38   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 10:44 pm

PB,

“Tim and iggy like to snipe me. Thats okay. Its not about being right….it is about being on the right path for me..I pray ya’ll find it. ”

I have given you an answer and in no way have “sniped” you… you tend to not acknowledge the truth and continue to believe what YOU want… btw that is called disobedience and rebellion according to scripture. Rejecting truth for a lie… Romans states.

So, go and pray for us, but also pray the God opens your eyes and makes you humble also.

iggy

39   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 22nd, 2008 at 10:52 pm

Pastorboy,

Hate to tell ya buddy ya got me thinking you the A word about you.

What is your real purpose for coming to this site? Certainly not fellowship, because you don’t fellowship with the unsaved

Do you you feel this is your mission field?

BTW, I am still waiting for the “Bruce Gerencser denies the gospel” article” How ya coming on that?

the folks here are gracious. I think on my blog your ip address would already be in my block list.

Now to the subject at hand:

I don’t think Matt 25 makes a “brethren” distinction when it speaks of our care for the poor. Let’s see……..my neighbor loses his job. His family is suffering. Oh wait, he is a heathen. Or maybe he only goes to an Arminian Church, or god forbid he is a Catholic. Let them starve, right? They are not of my clan, my sect.

If the above is the religion of those who follow Jesus count me as one who wants no part of it.

Fortunately, I think those folks are wrong :) At least according to the Living Bible I read :)

Bruce, the cussing preacher

40   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 22nd, 2008 at 10:52 pm

Luke 6:20 Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

Interesting to note that in the Lukan account of the Sermon on the Mount, it is not the “poor in spirit”, but just the poor…

The poor have nobody to depend on, except for God. The rich, though, can depend on their riches, so it is harder to depend on God for what you need day-to-day…

41   Neil    
January 22nd, 2008 at 10:59 pm

I was under the impression that the “comment” section was offered as a courtesy toward those who wished to respond to a particular post. I believe using it to hijack the thread to make an unrelated point, to grind an ax from a different shed, to ride a hobby-horse that is unconnected is a rather ungracious way of exploiting someone else’s hospitality. Particularly when it’s the first comment out of the gate.

Neil

42   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2008 at 11:01 pm

PB,
For years what you present was my understanding of the Beatitudes, as well. One person that really changed the way I look at them now was Dallas Willard. He helped me to see that Jesus wasn’t listing these things as cause and effect. He wasn’t saying “do this, and be blessed or happy”. He was saying that the different people He’s mentioning would be blessed in the Kingdom.

Jesus wasn’t saying you have to do certain things or act a certain way to enter the Kingdom. We have to remember he was addressing a rather large audience made up of all kinds of people. People who were poor (poor in spirit refers to an attitude of poverty, they felt left out), people who were mourning, people who hungered and thirsted for righteousness (likely some Zealots in the crowd), etc. were all in the crowd.

Jesus’ kingdom wasn’t coming to bless just the “right” people, but it was going to bless all types of people. God was doing a new thing. Looking at the Beatitudes in this light also clarifies the rest of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5,6, & 7. Jesus was taking people’s preconceived notions and turning them around. His Kingdom wouldn’t deal with just external righteousness, but would change the heart.

For years I heard Christians talk as if Jesus was “tightening the noose” in this sermon. I had the idea that people would have heard it and felt horrible. Now I believe this is almost the exact opposite of what Jesus is saying. Jesus is proclaiming the Kingdom is at hand, and it’s available to all who hear Him! It’s a very encouraging and hopeful sermon, actually.

43   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 23rd, 2008 at 12:14 am

Bruce, you are the cussing preacher, why not just submit to the flesh and use the A word? Jesus knows you are already thinking it. And you put to many rules on it. Cussing was a point I was going to make, but you removed that in your rules. Must be the Holy Spirit convicting you.

Iggy, I have answered you, multiple times. I think you are the one not listening. But thats okay. I am not here for a battle, just good discussion.

Phil, sorry to say I just said that, with an economy of words. It is the poor in spirit, the humble. It is a new way (in emergo-speak, a paradigm shift) from where the kingdom was perceived to be (with the religious elite) over to the humble and contrite of heart.

I think we could all use a little kingdom thinking here.

You point fingers at the ODM’s, and those you despise you are becoming like. So, if you are feeling self righteous (like I have) repent (like I have) and lets keep it on the level of a disagreement among brothers.

44   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 23rd, 2008 at 12:31 am

Phil said:

First, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called the poor blessed. You’re saying they were poor because they were disobedient. Jesus turned this thinking on its head.

PB went on and on about the “poor in spirit” (from Matthew), chiding Phil for taking the Sermon on the Mount out of context.

Unfortunately, PB forgot the parallel teaching in Luke: Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

45   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 23rd, 2008 at 12:31 am

PB,

Iggy, I have answered you, multiple times. I think you are the one not listening. But thats okay. I am not here for a battle, just good discussion.

No, you have not taken the statements or things in context and make your own context while twisting what others stated to fit your agenda.

In fact, you seem to do this with scripture also… and I am not alone in noticing this. Yet, you will rather have the accolades of Ken Silva on your blog over looking at facts and trying to understand things you really do not and cannot see you don’t.

Legalism gives a spiritual blindness… a religious spirit is the hardest to drive out… and I fear that you are afflicted as such.

We can continue to converse, yet if you cannot see that you MAY be wrong and might be taking things seriously our of context as it may be beyond your comprehension… then maybe we cannot converse. I prefer to talk to those who admit they may not know all things and in that we grow together… but if you hold all truth in your being, then I am not sure there is room for God… and there is no real conversation.

iggy

46   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 23rd, 2008 at 8:25 am

Iggy,

Okay, I guess you are just satisfied to judge my motives, which only God can do.

Ask my friends and my congregation, I am as far as a legalist as anyone I know. I am a ‘graceist’…not one for license.

Fred W. wrote a facinating insight on my blog about emergent thought. What I find facinating is the ones who call names like legalist and make accusations of twisted scripture start from a point of everything being open to reinterpretation and ‘conversation’

My experience on this site, and some others, is that the conversation is either entirely one sided, or the calvinist or reformed perspective is immediately tossed aside as irrelevant. It is sad, because in all of your ideating, you are becoming fools and are drifting away from scripture, as well as the attitudes of the kingdom people in the beatitudes.

47   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 23rd, 2008 at 9:10 am

PB,
Well, as long as we are in agreement that I’m right. ;-)

I wasn’t angry or anything. Perhaps I misread the tone of your comment to some extent.

Back to the point of Chris’ post. I would say that I have heard the verse he is talking used as an excuse. Perhaps a qualifier would be a better word. I’ve heard thing that are like, “it’s good you want to help the poor, but Jesus said the poor will always be with us”. So in essence people are saying it’s a lost cause, and you probably should save your energy. Anyways, if those people don’t accept Christ they’re bound for Hell. It just seems to me that it’s used as a cover to make it OK to quit giving aid if people don’t become Christians.

I guess it stems from separating the proclamation of the Gospel from the demonstration. I think that both are needed, and that one without the other makes for an incomplete presentation. Obviously, the demonstration can vary from place to place. I think if we look at Paul’s trips, you can see how some places he healed people, and in some he cast out demons. I know one could say he didn’t emphasize helping the poor in his missionary trips, which is true. But he definitely talked about is his letters to the churches. It’s always been something the Church, as well as Israel, was supposed to be doing.

48   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 23rd, 2008 at 9:36 am

Phil, I agree that evangelism should include both.

Some of us (well meaning Christians) emphasize one over the other, but I think we all agree that if someone is hungry, say, buy him some food, but don’t just leave him hangin…share the Gospel while he eats. Open your building for some poor rock stars, but then share the Gospel verbally while the set up or when the line up waiting for the concert.

We need to do the one, without negating the other.

49   Neil    
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:21 am

It is sad, because in all of your ideating, you are becoming fools and are drifting away from scripture, as well as the attitudes of the kingdom people in the beatitudes.

To whom are you referring?

Neil

50   Neil    
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:25 am

Fred W. wrote a facinating insight on my blog about emergent thought.”

Would this not require that there is such a thing as “emergent thought.?”

Given the wide wide disparity among those labeled “Emergent” – those labeled “Emerging” notwithstanding – such comments are pretty much irrelevant because of the reductionism required.

it’s like talking about China – you can pretty much put anything after “In China…” because it’s probably true somewhere… but false everywhere else.

Neil

51   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:33 am

RE: Evangelism

I find it interesting that ‘evangelism’ (lit. “I bring good news”) is seen as compartmentalized and different from service. Rather, if you examine the work of Jesus, Paul and others, it is a combination of both. When you are doing service, your evangelism has already begun. If your heart in serving is in service to Christ, it will become evident in your conversation – the verbal “good news”. I think too often we sell evangelism short if it doesn’t include a 4-point, Roman Road outline (not to denigrate this approach, but to contrast it), but instead comes out over hours, days or weeks of conversation…

52   Matt B    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:35 am

There is a difference between Emerging and Emergent. We’ve discussed it ad naseum here.

Like there is a difference between Christian and Christian Scientist, or Baptist and Anabaptist, Science and Scientology, etc.

In addition, there are many in the emerging church movement that are very reformed. Listen to Mark Driscoll’s latest sermon: http://www.marshillchurch.org/audio/080120_RS_q7_Predestination_Driscoll.mp3

In addition, Driscoll, arguably the most visable leader in the emerging church, is close friends with John Piper and they’ve both spent time preaching at each others conferences.

53   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:36 am

Neil,

Certain people within emergent thought. I prefer not to name them here.

54   Neil    
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:41 am

Pastorboy,

“emergent thought”?

Neil

55   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:51 am

Yes, those who represent emergent thought in the postmodern ‘christian’ world.

56   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:53 am

Pastorboy,

I refrained from calling you an a** because I know some are sensitive to such words. the word is not a cuss word. Baalam had one and it talked. See the Similarities?

My use of coarse language (well considered coarse by some) is NO reflection on my belief or lack thereof of the gospel. You are really stretching if that is the best you can do.

truth is you can’t find me denying the gospel anywhere, can you?
When a person is forced to stick to actual statements made and actual words spoken………….kinda tough eh? I will wait though. I do hope you are mature enough that when you can’t find the dirt on me you will issue a public apology for calling a brother in Christ a heretic and a denier of the gospel.

John…………I am actually trying to help you here. Note what you did with my last comment. Focused on the “cussing” and rejected everything else I wrote.

I find the words emergent and emerging interesting. I am often labeled with these words though I have never pastored such a Church. Because I read books that are pro-emerging/emergent I am labeled one. Because my blogroll at Rethinking Church has a bucnh of emerging/emergent sites listed……….I must be one.

By this reasoning maybe I need to have a different blogroll with only ODM links on it. I wonder if I will be considered an ODM then? After all isn’t it “link by association?”

57   Neil    
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:59 am

Pastorboy,

“…those who represent emergent thought…”?

Neil

58   Neil    
January 23rd, 2008 at 11:01 am

OK – I’ll stop. Point is, saying anything like “emergents believe…” or “Emergent thought is…” is pretty much irrelevant since it has to be reduced to a caricature to be addressed so broadly… kinda like say’n “Those Arabs…” (and pronouncing the the “A” with a long “a” sound – “A-Rabs”)

Neil

59   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 23rd, 2008 at 11:25 am

Neil,

Sorta like Fundamentalists?

Bruce,

It is not because I could not find ‘dirt’, I am not trying to find ‘dirt’, But you did kind of limit me to your own specs.

But thats okay. I have said what I have said. I will continue standing for the faith no matter how much some people try to avert my eyes from it….

60   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 23rd, 2008 at 11:31 am

Pastorboy,

You sound like Pilate “I have said what I have have said”

All you were limited to was actual things I wrote, said, or preached. In other words you may only judge me by my own works. Neat concept isn’t it. I am trying to get you to see and acknowledge that guilt by association is never a proper tool of judgment. We must use facts to judge by.

My last post on this. It is off subject.

61   corey    
January 23rd, 2008 at 11:47 am

While I disagree with much (most?) of pastorboy’s theology, arguments, methods of evangelism, politics, ways of interpreting scripture, views on emergent, etc., I would like to briefly defend him if I could…A young woman from our church is currently in jail in his community and I asked him if he would visit her. He has several times and also deposited money in her account so she could call her kids. I don’t know a lot about the rest of his ministry, but in practice, John does attempt to live out the kind of compassion that Jesus talked about.

Corey

62   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 23rd, 2008 at 11:49 am

Bruce,

John…………I am actually trying to help you here. Note what you did with my last comment. Focused on the “cussing” and rejected everything else I wrote.

That is what they do, they focus on one thing and cannot see it in the broader sense.

PB quoted one sentence out of Doug Pagitt’s book on his blog and claims it means that Doug is a Universalist… I have listened to all the interviews and even quoted to PB Doug’s own words stating he is not…. but I even took almost the whole page and explained what Doug was stating, and PB just stuck to his straw man as if it was the truth.

These are people who somewhere have tossed out “Truth” and hate their brothers…. (1 john speaks of that) They exchange the truth for a lie… (Hmmm Romans speaks of that)

If one does that, they are under a delusion… so that is what I conclude about them…

They need prayer.

iggy

63   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 23rd, 2008 at 11:50 am

Oh Iggy, I still love you despite your hatred of me.

64   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 23rd, 2008 at 11:54 am

Corey,

I am not against PB in his ministry or that he is a “bad” person, only that when it comes to seeking truth, he seems to not care about facts and has his mind made up.

I have read all his facts and they are weak at best… but he does not hear that.

iggy

65   corey    
January 23rd, 2008 at 11:56 am

I understand…I just thought a little balance might be nice to help each other remember that when we write, we’re talking about real people, not just internet personalities

66   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 23rd, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Iggy & PB – can y’all take this to email w/ each other? The issue of Pagitt keeps coming up in threads that have nothing to do with him, and I’m not sure this thread-to-thread conversation between the two of you is the right forum for your back-and-forth…

Corey – thank you for your injection here, it is very welcome, and much more in-line with the ‘code of conduct’ we’re trying to move toward…

67   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 23rd, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Chris L,

My point is that as this conversaiton i was having with Bruce (just to clarify) is that the ODM seems to like to take a sentence or scirpture or whatever and twist it… I thought this was that thread… let me look… hmmm

About Doug it is the same thing as I was holding it up as an example (a current one).

Sorry…

iggy

68   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 23rd, 2008 at 12:19 pm

PB,

Where have I ever stated i hated you?

Again you seem to make things up!

LOL!

I am done though conversing as i am just tired of arguing with you. maybe another topic… but really I am more board with this than Chris L is!

iggy

69   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 23rd, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Chris,

Of course this thread started off topic with the rabbi comment :)

I was looking for info on Ohio’s moratorium on winter utility shut off and I stumbled upon a thread where some wonderful Ohio Citizens were discussing it. http://www.topix.com/forum/ncaa/TCKK9MK55IR4GKI38/p2#lastPost

The people commenting showed a real hatred for the poor. I wonder, at times, if we as the Church, are much better? I know we do “works” to help the poor but I often wonder what we really think in our heart about the poor.

For a number of years I was involved in street ministry in SE Ohio. We ministered in an area where there was a lot of poverty, and due to proximity to the Interstate, a lot of people living on the street.

Our Church took our ministry seriously but I couldn’t help but feel sometimes that some of the people were doing it because “that is what our church does” rather than because of a true love for the poor. I suspect I was that way at times too.

to love the poor is to love them unconditionally. In our area here there are a lot of churches that “help” the poor. Unfortunately, many of the Churches shame the poor before they will help them. The poor must ‘PROVE” they are poor before they can get help.

Freely I have received and Freely I give.

Bruce

70   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 23rd, 2008 at 12:43 pm

In my old church, We had a ministry to the homeless where we fed, clothed, allowed them to camp on the land, and invited them to church. This was more of a problem with some of the congregation than the leadership.

These least, last, and lost, many of them, took advantage. Some, to the point of robbing, theiving etc. Even breaking into the church which was open to them during hours when people were there. I nearly had a heart attack when I stumbled upon Borris (one of our regulars) passed out, reeking of alcohol, sleeping it off in the foyer!

Point is, we presented the Gospel, gave practical help, and kept on doing it, even after some of these men and women broke the law etc. towards us. How far must we go (seriously) to help those who can’t (or won’t) help themselves?

I believe in helping the least, the last, and the lost. Seriously, please. Help me understand if there is a limit to this outreach. Do we ever dust off our shoes so to speak?

71   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 23rd, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Pastorboy,

I don’t think there is a limit except to the degree of what we can not do (lack of fund, resources, etc)

Getting abused and taken is part of the “ministry” :)

Many years ago this preacher and his son came to our Church. (one that my father -in-law and I had started) the father said he was a preacher. Their car was broke down and they needed money. My father-in-law helped them. I told him later they probably scammed us. How did I know? the guy said he was a preacher but the Bible he carried was a Sunday school give away Bible. They skipped town with the money….

Only once have I not helped someone. A guy called our Church and asked for help . He said he was in a motel, broke down.Could we help? Sure, I said. Before I could get to the motel, he called again………thinking he was calling a DIFFERENT church.

I called the Michigan State Police…….the guy was running a scam out of the motel.

I don’t think we should blindly help people. Giving a drunk cash is not a good thing. I had a standing tab at one restaurant and those who needed a meal could go there…….but no cash.

When people need gas money…..take them to the gas station and buy the gas.

A church I pastored in Texas had a real neat program for Church members. If a member was having a problem financially they could go to one of the elders and ask for help. The Church had a no interest, no questions asked, secret fund they would help people with. Sometimes we loamed the money. Often people are just having cash flow problems.

72   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 23rd, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Thanks, Bruce…

I also knew of a church that did reverse offering…If you needed money as the plates were passed around, you just took it. He said after they started doing that, it seemed more $$ came in!

73   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 23rd, 2008 at 1:47 pm

A church we attended years ago, before we moved, was teamed up with a local agency (called Love, Inc. I believe) which partnered with all of the local chruches as an outreach to non-members in emergency need (like you’ve described). We had a hotline (which we helped with volunteers) that would meet with the folks, take them to buy gas, food, etc. (but not booze) – or give them gift cards from businesses that would only honor grocery/gas purchases.

Since all of the churches used this agency, the call-around scams dried up overnight…

74   Neil    
January 23rd, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Sorta like Fundamentalists? – PB

Exactly. I remember when Warren came out and said he was not a fundamentalist – the discerners had a field day speculating which of the fundamental he had rejected – of course that’s not what he meant at all…

75   amy    
January 23rd, 2008 at 6:09 pm

I remember when Warren came out and said he was not a fundamentalist – the discerners had a field day speculating which of the fundamental he had rejected – of course that’s not what he meant at all…

Maybe they “had a field day” because what he said began with this:

Now the word “fundamentalist” actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity . . .

(Pew Forum)

Since the “document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith,” not the word “fundamentalist” precedes the “it” in “And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity . . . ” “it” most naturally refers to “the Five Fundamentals of the Faith.” Maybe the “discerners” were simply believing what he was appearing to say.

And, if Warren is aware of the document, I would think he is well aware of the controversy of that time – that indeed men were questioning those fundamentals. For him to later say that he believes in those fundamentals – well, it seems that he is engaged in double-speak. Where would he have stood when this document was formed?

76   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 23rd, 2008 at 7:48 pm

The Fundamentals of the Faith were far more than five points. I believe a 2 or 3 volume set of essays was published at the time and encompassed far more than five fundamentals. There may be an original docent of some sorts but I have not been able to locate an actual copy of it. Anyone?

I did find this:

The five basic doctrines of the Christian faith are taken from a book called “The Fundamentals” edited by R.A. Torrey with contributors such as H.A. Ironside and C.I. Scofield. In 1909, God led two Christian laymen to set aside a large sum of money for issuing twelve volumes which would set forth the fundamentals of the Christian faith. These were called The Fundamentals, and consisted of messages written by well-known defenders of the faith from several different denominations. These twelve volumes of The Fundamentals were mailed free to over 300,000 ministers, missionaries and other Christian workers in different parts of the world. The response was far beyond any expectation. The Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA) through its publication, The King’s Business printed additional copies to meet the demand and finally combined the volumes into a four volume set which was also widely circulated. It was written as a defense of the Christian faith against liberalism, but holds true today in serving as a helpful aid in distinguishing heresy from truth.

I would note that one of the five fundamentals was the imminent return of Jesus. Not all eschatologies teach the imminent return of Jesus. Soon? Yes. Imminent? No. Imminent means nothing preventing. Some of us believe that “That day shall not come until FIRST……..” There are things that must yet happen so the return of Christ can not be imminent.

The original meaning of fundamentalist is meaningless. The only thing that matters today is how the word is defined and used. It is a negative term used to define narrow minded people who se themselves as having ultimate truth. Foundationally, there is no difference between a Baptist Fundamentalist and a Muslim Fundamentalist.

77   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
January 23rd, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Amy,
Did you actually read the Pew transcript? Because it certainly seems you didn’t. In the transcript he contrasts mainline liberals of the 20th century who he explicitly says threw Jesus out, with evangelicals and fundamentalists, and he explicitly says that he is an evangelical.

He also said: “If I were to drop dead right now, Saddleback Church would keep growing, because it’s not built on me.”

And he also said: “An evangelical believes the Bible is God’s Word, Jesus is who he claimed to be, salvation is only by grace – in other words, you can’t earn your way to heaven – and everybody needs to hear the good news; information, not coercion.” Then later in the transcript he self-identifies as an evangelical.

But, why let facts get in the way of a good tar and feathering?

78   Sandman    
January 23rd, 2008 at 8:25 pm

How far must we go (seriously) to help those who can’t (or won’t) help themselves?

How far did Jesus go for us?

79   Sandman    
January 23rd, 2008 at 8:42 pm

I read the Pew transcript. Bled all over it, actually. Then I came across an article regarding Warren and the Pew engagement, and how Pew gives its event speakers (not just Warren) a chance to revise the transcripts, and Pew Forum does not disclose that. It bothered me that Pew allows that kind of doctoring after the fact and expects to be seen as credible… It creates a believability gap between those who read the transcript and those who heard what was actually said.

80   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
January 23rd, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Sandman,
In some ways it does open itself up for abuse in that a dishonest individual could pander to the audience and then doctor it later. On the other hand it does allow for clarification and elimination on simple misspeaking. Although it should be noted obviously and perhaps a reason for the change stated.

81   Neil    
January 23rd, 2008 at 8:58 pm

Amy,

For [Warren] to later say that he believes in those fundamentals… pretty much settles the issue of his orthodoxy.

Neil

82   Sandman    
January 23rd, 2008 at 9:12 pm

We’re on the same page, Tim.

83   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 23rd, 2008 at 10:07 pm

The whole revising transcript thing…………pretty common practice In the old days……..when we were using state of the art equipment like mimeographs………..sermons would be transcribed from a tape……..I would edit them to my satisfaction………and then we would print it.

Here is the reason…………speaking is far different than writing. Speaking is less precise. Correcting a transcript allows for the right meaning to be conveyed. Anyone who has done much public speaking (and I have 3,500 (give or take a few) to my credit or shame) knows well the gaffes made in the moment.

More than a few times…………Polly said after a service……Did
you mean to say__________? I then would listen to the recording and say WOW, did I really say that? Musta been the Holy Spirit :)

Martyn Lloyd Jones, one of my favorite preachers, edited all his sermons before they were printed. Once something is in print you are going to be held accountable for it.

Bruce

84   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 24th, 2008 at 8:56 am

Bruce said:

The Fundamentals of the Faith were far more than five points. I believe a 2 or 3 volume set of essays was published at the time and encompassed far more than five fundamentals. There may be an original docent of some sorts but I have not been able to locate an actual copy of it. Anyone?

Does anyone else find the fact that a series called the Fundamentals of Faith was a 2 or 3 volume set just hilarious. I just have a picture in my mind of a Monty Python type episode of events when the Roman jailer asked Paul what he must do to be saved. I see Paul turning and handing him a stack of books. – “Here read this, this and this. After your done with those start in on these. Call me in a year, and I test you to make sure you have the fundamentals down.”

Talk about making the simple complex.

85   Sandman    
January 24th, 2008 at 9:33 am

Bruce, that’s perfectly understandable in one sense.

On the other hand…

This was a secular engagement before the secular media, where RW was invited to speak.
Yeah, that media. The one that should Mirandize its victims targets subjects before the interview begins. “You have the right to remain silent, but we’ll assume you’re hiding something. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be taken out of context and used against you.”

That the Pew Forum does not disclose the transcript was edited after the fact makes the speaker look like a liar when he says he said one thing and the media has the whole thing on tape showing something else.

RW had the chance to revise it to say what he would have liked it to have said, and failed to get it right even then.

Mistakes and gaffes are going to happen. What really says a lot about a person is how they handle them once it happens.

Lesson to learned from this: Sometimes microphones and cameras are there as bait to get us talking, and who knows what kind of self-constructed pitfalls we’ll wander into?

This could have been seen as a foreshadow of the Syria trip-YouTube thing, which even bothered some Saddleback members in the way it was handled.

86   amy    
January 24th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Neil,
Your original point was a slam at discerners:

the discerners had a field day speculating which of the fundamental he had rejected

I explained why they had a right to show concern.

For [Warren] to later say that he believes in those fundamentals… pretty much settles the issue of his orthodoxy.

I was not addressing the issue of Warrens belief in fundamentals, but the issue of whether or not the discerners had a right to question what he was saying. Warren did later say he believes in some of those fundamentals.

( Whether or not that “pretty much settles the issue of his orthodoxy” is another issue.)

87   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 24th, 2008 at 12:55 pm

but the issue of whether or not the discerners had a right to question what he was saying.

Actually, it was an issue of whether or not being a “charitable reader” (I Cor 13, Matthew 5:43-44, Matthew 22:36-40) is anywhere in the job description of being a “discerner”, and in this case, the answer is a resounding “no”.

88   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 24th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Why do they have a “right” to show concern? What horse do they have in this race?

Also define “concern” in the this context? How is true concern demonstrated in a Christian context? By posting a blog? By having an online discussion where the person being discussed is not present?

I am not at all convinced titis concern at all. Rather it is the need to be right and as such finding supposed examples of error to prove rightness.

Concern to me was Joe Martino picking up the phone and calling me when he perceived (rightly) about my mental state. See the difference?

89   amy    
January 24th, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Actually, it was an issue of whether or not being a “charitable reader” (I Cor 13, Matthew 5:43-44, Matthew 22:36-40) is anywhere in the job description of being a “discerner”, and in this case, the answer is a resounding “no”.

My charity extends first to Jesus Christ, whose resurrection (as an example of one of the fundamentals,) is far more critical to me than some pastor-of-the-world’s beliefs. If someone appears to be slamming that belief, I will question it.

Where should I stop with my “charitable reading” Chris? If I were to continue reading Warren’s Pew Forum statement about the Fundamentals of the Faith and Fundamentalists charitably then I would have to just assume that he never truly lumped fundamentalists together and criticized them. He didn’t really mean “narrow” did he? I mean, he couldn’t possibly have lumped and criticized, could he?

And I would have to charitably close my ears to his condemnation of the SBC for resigning from the Baptist World Alliance. Of course he didn’t say “silly” and give an “in-your-face” check to the BWA.

Now do I charitable open my eyes or close my eyes as to the Syria issue? Obama? Charitably close I guess. I’m getting confused.

And do I charitably assume that the nice little letter inviting people to advertise their churches in connection with the Saddleback Christmas program was really intended to only help folks connect with PD churches? How convenient that it just happened to contain information about Warren’s defense of Syria and Obama. Implied, “sign up your church and show your support for what I did.” How uncharitable I am . . . or is it that I’m just using the brain God gave me.

Chris you justify this site by saying it is a site that protects people from unjust criticism. Open your eyes and look at all the judgement and condemnation, both overt and implied, coming from men like Warren and others.

Admit that the judgement and condemnation is there and that by CRN.Info standards people have a right to analyze it, defend themselves, and protect “the innocent.”

If it wasn’t for those who set themselves apart in the 1920’s, I and those I love may have had much less chance of hearing of a Jesus who was indeed born of a virgin, performed miracles, and was resurrected. That His Word is more than a collection of writings full of error.

It doesn’t take any kind of special discernment gift to see that there are potential problems with Rick Warren’s statement. And other things he has said and done only contribute to the confusion. Why assume that any pastor spreading his message over the world is orthodox? Why not rather be careful, and listen to his words and watch his actions.

I think if I were charitable by your standards I could very well end up in a cult. “Uh, of course I should read that literature – afterall it has a picture of Jesus Christ on it. Who am I to judge?”

90   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 24th, 2008 at 2:09 pm

Concern to me was Joe Martino picking up the phone and calling me when he perceived (rightly) about my mental state. See the difference?

Excellent example, Bruce!

If only the “discerning” could make such discernment…

91   amy    
January 24th, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Tim,
I wasn’t analyzing the Pew Forum. I was talking about the one comment that Neil referred to, where the confusion about Warrens stance on the Fundamentals of the Faith came from.

I was saying that they did have a right to be concerned . . . .

(And I have read the Pew Forum, probably at least 10 times, read a couple of Warren’s books, spent weeks writing a paper, etc.)

And no matter what the Pew Forum says, the statement about the Five fundamentals is problematic.

_______
Bruce,
Why do you condemn my or others “concern?”

Concern regarding Rick Warren is to me spending weeks studying and writing and sleepless nights and weeping trying to help a pastor see where he’s taking his church. Concern is to me thinking that my church was going to finance another church’s hearing an insufficient gospel message, and bearing the spiritual burden of that.

 

The original meaning of fundamentalist is meaningless. The only thing that matters today is how the word is defined and used. It is a negative term used to define narrow minded people who se themselves as having ultimate truth.

Warren is the one who went back to the roots of Fundamentalism. For what purpose? It’s been demonstrated that he probably didn’t know the full history of what he was talking about. But why did he need to bring it up?

And why must you lump current-day fundamentalists in the same way that Warren did? Do you know all the fundamentalists in the world? Are you qualified to make this statement?

What do you mean by “narrow” and “ultimate truth?” I perceive several writers here as communicating that they have ultimate truth and I see them as communicating that their “liberal/free” way is THE way – which is a form of narrowness. Does that make them fundamentalists?

92   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
January 24th, 2008 at 2:44 pm

I wasn’t analyzing the Pew Forum. I was talking about the one comment that Neil referred to, where the confusion about Warrens stance on the Fundamentals of the Faith came from.

Amy,
Its pretty obvious you weren’t since if you had you’d have to actually be fair and say something nice about Rick Warren. Although its nice that you’ve laid out for us the type of methodology that you approve of, one that will twist a single line out of a huge interview to get the result you want.

93   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 24th, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Amy,

I am going to be blunt.

First , I know Fundamentalism and I know it well. Very Well. Trained in it, Pastored in it. Wrote about it. Debated about it. I am well aware of the shades of fundamentalism, but at the foundational level ALL fundamentalism is the same. There is no difference between a Fundamentalist Baptist and a Fundamentalist Muslim. So, yes I am qualified to make the statements I have made.

There is a difference in a person believing that their beliefs are truth and the arrogance of Fundamentalists that make no allowance for being wrong. They believe they have come to an exalted form of truth given to them by God. Some Fundamentalist Calvinists do this. How often have I heard “If you only read, studied, been enlightened by the Holy Spirit like ME then you would BELIEVE like me.” This is arrogance. I am firmly convinced that when we get to Heaven we will all be judged heretics.

Rick Warren really should be of no concern to you. Is he your pastor? Are you an active member in his Church? Have you taken time to know him personally? If not you are nothing more than a casual outsider. So it is not any of your business. Focus on your own life, your own backyard.

If Christian truth is so strong and it always prevails why are so many so called “discerners” hell-bent on straightening out everyone that they disagree with? I use hell-bent on purpose because I believe most of such discernment is nothing more than a ploy of Satan to keep the Church from the unity commanded by Christ.

Religious leaders come and go. Personally, I think we give men like Warren and others more “power” than they actually have. 40 years from now Rick Warren will be a footnote in a Church history book. Time will march on. The gospel will march on.

Warren clearly affirms Orthodoxy. That is enough. End of discussion, Quit trying to judge every nuance and motive. Did he really mean what he said he did? How about taking a Christian brother at his word.

Ah, but there is the REAL problem. We who are deemed to be liberals (which means anyone who stands to the left of me) and the bible says “no liberals shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

So. if we are unsaved…………what should you be doing?

Bruce

94   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 24th, 2008 at 3:13 pm

A further note……….CRN.info is a good experiment in catholicity. The writers and commenters are varied. No one questions another person’s salvation. Everyone is accepted as family.

I am a Baptist (kinda) and some of the writers are Church of Christ. I don’t need to tell you how many fireworks I have seen between the two over he years. (some of my own making)

Calvinists and Arminians co-exist here. Emergents and non-emergents co-exist here.

Some discerners comes through here and spew all kinds of hatred. Most of the time they are, for a time, treated charitably. No one questions their salvation.

It is not that way with discernment ministries. It is all about truth, who is in and who is out. Over that past year I have repeatedly been told I am unsaved, a heretic, etc. Yet, I affirm and Believe every tenet of Orthodoxy. GO figure. Recently, people took ot emailing me stuff that showed the “real plan of salvation’ with the inference that I had not yet come to understand the REAL plan. I wrote them back and told me that their plan was too complex and that I preferred the one in the Bible :)

Crn.info can, at times, lapse into discernment mode, but most of the time it is just a great place to hang out.

95   amy    
January 24th, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Tim,
One more time . . .
Look at the original comment I wrote to Neil. What I say stands no matter what I think/don’t think about the rest of the Pew Forum.

It’s simply wrong to give some people (for example, Warren) carte blanche to say whatever they want and assume the best. Wrong, dangerous. And it’s wrong to treat all people trying to discern as if they are out to tar and feather. My original point with Neil is that he wasn’t fair in the way he talked about the discerners – they had every right to question Warren’s at best very ambiguous statement – whether or not he was addressing the “fundamentals of the faith” or “fundamentalists.”
_________________
By the way what would you think if you read this statement, said by Warren in a public forum?

The origin of the Christian Church was in (date.) They set out to be “Christians” only. And it’s a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity. Now Christian church folks think that all other denominations are wrong in having denominations and in giving themselves names other than Christians . . .

This isn’t to be seen as a parallel to Warren’s statement – but, well, there are certain aspects of it that are similar. How would you like it if Warren made such a statement about your church?

Fundamentalists are Christian brothers too. Or not?

96   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 24th, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Amy said:

Fundamentalists are Christian brothers too

Bruce says:

On that point we agree

Too bad it is not a two way street

97   amy    
January 24th, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Bruce,
I know many fundamentalists who would call me their Christian sister.

So there is either a great difference

a) in the fundamentalists that we know
b) in our (yours and my) beliefs

Or, when you say “it is too bad it is not a two-way street” you are talking about some, not all of, the fundamentalists you know.

98   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
January 24th, 2008 at 3:40 pm

And it’s wrong to treat all people trying to discern as if they are out to tar and feather.

The problem is they are all acting that way. Here you’ve got an entire interview in front of a secular audience in which Warren affirms things like the truth of the scriptures, Jesus as God etc. and all you can do is dissect a single line in which you have ‘discerned’ to mean the exact opposite of the rest of the interview. Using tar and feather to describe those actions is charitable.

99   amy    
January 24th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Bruce,
Rick Warren is as much my business as any one who has ever been my pastor. A pastor cannot “go into” a church through his books and methodologies and expect to only receive hospitality, no criticism when he is in fact “preaching” and “teaching” the people in the church.

I’ve commented a lot in the past on Rick Warren and explained some of the background about my concerns with him. I’m not going through repeating all that again.

100   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 24th, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Amy,

Every denomination has fundamentalists. There are Catholic Fundamentalists.

Much of Evangelicalism in general is tainted with fundamentalism.

In Baptist circles we have:

Baptist Bible Fellowship Fundamentalism
Pensacola Christian College Fundamentalism
Bob Jones Fundamentalism
KJVO Fundamentalism
Southern Baptist Convention Fundamentalism
General Association of Regular Baptists Fundamentalism
Calvinistic Fundamentalism
Sovereign Grace Fundamentalism
Sword of the Lord Fundamentalism
Conservative Baptist Fundamentalism
IFCA Fundamentalism
Bible Church Fundamentalism (Baptists who are afraid to say they are)

That’s just off the top of my head….

Shall we go on, Amy?

Good you know some fundamentalists that accept you as a sister? Are you saying you are not a fundamentalist? I am confused?

EVERY discernment ministry is fundamentalist at its foundation. I can’t think of one that is not. Those that show up here and comment most certainly believe that a good bunch of the folks here are headed to hell unless they repent. If we are guilty of heresy then I assume we are not going to heaven, yes?

Amy, I don’t know what your beliefs are. I can’t know them because what you “say” is not the final court for me. I am convinced we “believe what we live” and as such true belief shows in personal conduct. Discernment ministries are real good with spouting Orthodoxy but in practice it is far different. They cause hurt and division in the body of Christ. They may mean well but the hurt they cause is great. Satan is happy!

Catholicity is NOT a suggestion it is a command.

Bruce

101   amy    
January 24th, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Bruce,

There is no difference between a Fundamentalist Baptist and a Fundamentalist Muslim.

You have some incredible hatred and/or hurt stored up don’t you?

I have so many memories of folks sharing the gospel, their time, their love – - with prisoners, the elderly, the sick, alcoholics. So much spiritual healing. Memories of folks seeking to honor God in their daily lives. Baptists. Fundamentalists.

And I can still hear the bombs that ripped people apart – men, women, children. Moslems. Fundamentalists.

I’m sorry but this will have to be the end of our discussion.

102   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 24th, 2008 at 4:16 pm

My problem with Fundamentalism is that it’s always used as a way to define boundaries rather than the center. If people were using the “fundamentals” as a way of saying, “look, here is a list of basic beliefs we can all agree on and operate out of”, I’m fine with it. Instead it seems Fundamentalist make their lists and say “here’s what we say the fundamentals are, and you have to agree to our narrow definitions of them”.

For example, take the inerrancy of Scripture. I’ve heard Fundamentalists use this to say that a Christian has to be a Young-earth Creationist or else they’re denying inerrancy. The fact is they’ve defined the terms of their little game as best to suit their agenda. That’s fine, but they can’t expect everyone to just play by their rules.

103   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 24th, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Amy,

Sorry no hatred or hurt in that comment. Yes, a few muslim fundamentalists “killed” in the name of their religion. Would you not agree that the soul of man is of infinite worth? I can give you the names of dozens of people who have been wounded to the injuring of their soul by Baptist fundamentalism. Former pastors who have nothing to do with Christianity. Broken families. Destroyed lives. It is not an idle matter,

Your memories are true I am certain and I in no way disparage them . The issue is the foundation of fundamentalism and how fundamentalists relate and respond to those who differ with them religiously.

There is a hateful, vile, mean, ugly email making the rounds in Churches about Barak Obama. I believe it shows the the real character of fundamentalism.

I am sorry you have found my comments unhelpful because I am really trying to help.

Bruce

104   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 24th, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Amy,

You have some incredible hatred and/or hurt stored up don’t you?

Yes, many fundamentalist are more mental than walking in the fundamentals of our faith! They often attack innocent people for no good reason other than godless zealotry… like Saul they are out to defend “god” and “truth” and miss that God is our defender and Truth is also our defender.

So you are here defending who many of us see are off the tracks in many ways… and the most fundamentally is the denial of the Sovereignty of God as they defend God and Truth as mere men. And that by mostly attacking God other servants whom they really know nothing of… and instead of giving room for God’s wrath as they are instructed choose to become God’s wrath on others…

At that point, I see that it makes no difference between an Muslim fundamentalist strapping a bomb and going out for coffee and a killing spree…. or the fundamentalist who is out protecting the fundamentals he is denying while he “hates” his brothers and sisters in Christ and defends his understanding of god and truth.

Jesus stated if you hate, you committed murder….

So there is no difference.

I understand some do love others… but many do not… and you seem to deny that as a reality at all.

End of discussion…

(Maybe)

iggy

105   Neil    
January 24th, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Amy,

My comment on the discerners was not meant to be a slam. Warren said he was not a fundamentalist – everyone knows what he meant. They took what he meant, changed the meaning, then attacked him for it.

Pointing that out is not as much a slam as it is… well, pointing out a dishonest technique.

Neil

106   Neil    
January 24th, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Amy,

Re Warren you said: “(Whether or not that ‘pretty much settles the issue of his orthodoxy’ is another issue.)”

I agree – to do that all ya have to do is read the doctrinal statement on Saddleback’s website….though the same discerners told me that he just put that up there to fool people…that he deliberately put forth a doctrinal statement he does not believe just to get people into his church.

Neil

107   amy    
January 24th, 2008 at 5:13 pm

Our culture promotes tolerance and some Christians have adopted that idea. The Bible never says that we are to stop being discerning because a teacher comes into our church via the media instead of in person.

Discernment is not something that fundamentalists own.

Most people I know simply call themselves “evangelicals.” Most evangelicals I know have little or no background in fundamentalism of any type. And many of them value discernment, because they value and believe God’s Word which instructs them to be discerning.

With pastors promoting their ideas through books and other media, I hope that there will be more and more “evangelicals” desiring to really know the God of the Bible, people who desire to lead their families in knowing what the Bible says. That’s already happening; perhaps more and more people will be viewed by others as “fundamentalists” whether they wear that label or not. Why? Because those who don’t value discernment need a distasteful label to throw at them.

_____________
Yes pastors and other folks have been extremely hurt within fundamentalism. Yes some things in fundamentalism are wrong – but let’s don’t play the GBA game. Some of the groups that Bruce listed are extremely different from one another in beliefs and practices. And within those groups there are differences of opinion, personalities.

Most importantly, coming full circle, no matter what is right or wrong about fundamentalism, does that mean that discernment is unbiblical? That some form of separation is unbiblical? If one is in any “ism,” and runs away from it, or is “cast out” of it, it’s important to not reject the things about the “ism” that were biblical.

108   Neil    
January 24th, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Neil,

“A further note……….CRN.info is a good experiment in catholicity.”

GREAT! Now we’re gonna be tied to Rome…

Neil

109   amy    
January 24th, 2008 at 5:22 pm

Neil,
I never said that Warren said he didn’t believe in the Fundamentals of the Faith. Neither did I say that his church’s doctrinal statement was unorthodox.

Like Bruce said,

“. . . I don’t know what your beliefs are. I can’t know them because what you “say” is not the final court for me. I am convinced we “believe what we live” and as such true belief shows in personal conduct. . . . are real good with spouting Orthodoxy but in practice it is far different.

110   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 24th, 2008 at 5:26 pm

“A further note……….CRN.info is a good experiment in catholicity.”

Yeah – you just KNOW an ODM with no ‘discernment’ in language (understanding the meaning of ‘catholicity’) is gonna wander by and run with that… :)

111   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
January 24th, 2008 at 5:26 pm

Rick Warren is as much my business as any one who has ever been my pastor. A pastor cannot “go into” a church through his books and methodologies and expect to only receive hospitality, no criticism when he is in fact “preaching” and “teaching” the people in the church.

So Rick Warren writes a book, someone brings it to your church, and that makes him as much your business as your own pastor.

And you wonder why we doubt your ability to discern.

112   Neil    
January 24th, 2008 at 5:33 pm

Amy,

Technically that may be true – but you brought it into question when you said “Whether or not that ‘pretty much settles the issue of his orthodoxy’ is another issue.”

Neil

113   Neil    
January 24th, 2008 at 5:36 pm

I think someone that has made themselves into a quasi-public figure in the Christian subculture can expect to become “the concern” of others – so I do not begrudge anyone that.

The methods and motivations on the otherhand…

Neil

114   Neil    
January 24th, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Discernment is not something that fundamentalists own.”

I agree – it is something they tend to abuse.

Neil

115   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 24th, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Little c, little c :)

Bruce

116   amy    
January 24th, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Neil,
My method in looking into Warren was to study Warren’s books and see what he had to say. I went through every page of Purpose Driven Church and wrote down what I saw as significant philosophy issues. I didn’t even know how to use the internet when I begin. By the end I knew enough to look up some information and made sure I used primary sources.

My motivation was to understand his philosophy, to try to understand the man behind the program at my church. A man who really shocked us in his presentation of the gospel. A man who seemed to make scriptures say what he wanted them to say. (We got the already prepared sermons.) To try to understand why we were using the program.
To read and understand, and discuss what I thought were significant issues with my pastor. Issues that revealed the philosophy of my pastor.

Is there really anything wrong with those methods or that motivation? If I had visited a church for the first time, and had heard the Rick Warren video gospel, I simply wouldn’t have returned. As it was Rick Warren came into a church I was already in and my pastor became enamored with “the numbers” the people he thought were coming to our church because of the program. Do you honestly see something wrong with my “concern?”

117   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 24th, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Is a fundamentalist emergent an oxymoron?

118   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 24th, 2008 at 6:05 pm

Amy,

Is there really anything wrong with those methods or that motivation? If I had visited a church for the first time, and had heard the Rick Warren video gospel, I simply wouldn’t have returned. As it was Rick Warren came into a church I was already in and my pastor became enamored with “the numbers” the people he thought were coming to our church because of the program. Do you honestly see something wrong with my “concern?”

About God and Numbers…

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

I think that some miss that RW does preach the gospel and people are responding and God does care about numbers as they are people….

It seems that it has become more about fundamentalist churches losing people right and left and going somewhere they find less condemnation and more truth.

iggy

(And I say that as not being a RW fan myself!)

119   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 24th, 2008 at 6:07 pm

PB,

Is a fundamentalist emergent an oxymoron?

Actually no, if you really understand what emergent/emerging is about…

iggy

120   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 24th, 2008 at 6:10 pm

So what are the fundamentals of the emerging faith?

121   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 24th, 2008 at 6:21 pm

The merging faith is not a denomination, a sect, etc. It is a conversation The beliefs are varied.

IMO (and desiring a debate) Mark Driscoll would be an example of a person who is emerging and fundamentalist.

Granted most in the emerging conversation are to the left of fundamentalism. Some of don’t think liberal is a bad word.

122   Neil    
January 24th, 2008 at 6:25 pm

The fundamentals of ONE emerging faith – I think we’ve already beaten the issue of reductionism…

Here

More here

They have a new site and this stuff I’ve not yet read – let’s read it together and see where it takes us…

Neil

123   Neil    
January 24th, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Bruce,

Pastorboy and I have gone back and forth regarding reductionist tendencies…

Neil

124   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 24th, 2008 at 6:28 pm

in the late 1960’s and 1970’s the vast majority of the largest Churches in America were Independent Baptist Churches. Now they don’t even make the list.

The Church I attended while in college was on the largest church list. I remember day of over 5000 in attendance. Today? Less than 200 people. Buildings? Gone. they meet in a school chapel (the college owned by the Church)

They can’t blame anyone but themselves. Legalism, negativity, confusing cardinal doctrines with personal opinion, authoritarianism, pastor worship, standards instead of holiness, among other things were to blame.

Fundamentalism kills all that it touches. Just give it time.

125   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 24th, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Neil,

I tend to be reductionist to the degree that I believe it is all about Jesus. But I also understand that the Bible, coupled with 2000 years of Church history, makes for one complicated life :)

I am a life long member of the Church. Christianity is my lifeblood. I have known nothing else. But I have also lived 50 years and I have come to realize that God’s House is a BIG BIG house, with lots of room. (thinking Audio Adrenaline here)

So when a man says Jesus is Lord. When he claims to follow after Christ……….I tend to accept him as a brother. I leave the judging to God, and it is certain HE WILL get the last word.

I do believe God wants his Church to be one. Diverse, yes? Doctrinally diverse? Yes. but one nonetheless.

126   Neil    
January 24th, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Bruce,

Being all about Jesus is both reductionist and expansionist – WOW, I’m postmodern… anyway, in the context our discussions I held that Pastorboy was being a reductionist by trying to reduce “emergent thought” and now “emerging faith” to one definable entity.

Neil

127   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 24th, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Actually, I think Bruce is confusing Fundamentalism with legalism. Legalism kills all it touches. Fundamentalism is a set of beliefs ‘fundamentals’ that are non negotiables: Like Jesus Christ is fully man and fully God, he rose from the dead on the third day, etc.

Do emergents hold to a set of non-negotiables? or is it all up to conversation?

128   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 24th, 2008 at 9:03 pm

pastorboy,

Confused I am not.

Show me a Fundamentalist Church/Denomination/Fellowship that their Fundamentalism is defined by a basic set of beliefs alone. (particularly the one’s your mention.) Ask any of them if what the Apostle’s Creed or the Nicene Creed affirm is enough? No!

Are Fundamentalists legalists? Most of them. It is in their DNA to be legalists. They legislate the doctrines that must be believed, and how they must be lived out. I would venture that anyone in fundamentalism that is not a legalist is probably on his way out of fundamentalism.

It is a flight of fancy to think Fundamentalism is “just” a set of beliefs. It never has been and it never will be.

Even in the 1920’s Fundamentalism was more than the just the “fundamentals.

I am not the final authority on Fundamentalism but I was born into it, raised up in it, trained in it, and pastored in it. 30 plus years. I know a good bit about it.

I should note that one can be an Evangelical and be a fundamentalist. James Dobson comes to mind.

Fundamentalism comes in more packages than can be counted but the foundation is the same in all.

Emergents are not a denomination/sect/school/church/group. They ARE individuals who are concerned about the Church in the 21st century and who desire to see the Kingdom of God go forward. They certainly believe certain truths but each person is an individual and accountable for the truth he holds.

I realize it is had to wrap your mind round the concept of people loving God, talking about the things of God without everyone having to prove they are circumcised.

Bruce

129   Sandman    
January 24th, 2008 at 9:34 pm

In the secular world we have things like this happening. If only someone cared enough about Sherice Iverson to intervene.

I’m not willing to get rid of all discernment ministries (online or otherwise) just because one or two have a special knack for getting on my nerves.

In Christianity we have a lot of pretenders, false teachers and so on. We were warned about them from Jesus on down through the Apostles.

Since a little bit of yeast works its way through the whole lump of dough, I try to be cognizant of trends, movements and parachurch activity heading my way. Not in a Chicken Little way, but in a way that allows me access to church leadership–sans the tinfoil hat.

The other thing to be concerned about is evangelical drift coming from within individual churches. Jim Jones was at one time pretty orthodox. His decline into self-exaltation and paranoia wasn’t an overnight occurrence, as covered by local journalists, and he led more than 900 members to their deaths.

So, for the sake of my neighbors, I’ll keep the JWs, Mormons and SDAs tied up on my porch for a couple of hours if it means they won’t be able to spread false doctrine. And after finding out all the stuff David Koresh was into, I think any pastor would be right in using him as an object lesson for his own congregation.

I could be mistaken, but I was getting a hostile “not your church–not your problem” tone that I don’t believe is conducive to our improving tone or fair to other commentors who may not hold an extreme, Grand Inquisitor view of DMs.

130   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 24th, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Good point, Sandman…

131   Neil    
January 24th, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Pastorboy,

You asked: “Do emergents hold to a set of non-negotiables? or is it all up to conversation?”

I showed were some who are emerging do.

If you read the Vintage Church pages you’ll see just how much they hold to the fundamentals.

Neil

132   M.G.    
January 25th, 2008 at 12:30 am

The difficulty is that there are three definitions of fundamentalism and so there is a lot of equivocation going on.

1.) You can identify fundamentalism with the the “five fundamentals.”

2.) You can identify fundamentalism with the broader early 20th century movement to purify American protestantism from higher biblical criticism and to withdraw from the world and its corrupting influences.

3.) You can identify fundamentalism with any system of religious belief, Christian or non-Christian, that is narrow, legalistic, and combative.

So I’ll give you my story, Pastorboy. I am drawn to the emergent conversation for a number of different reasons. I am sympathetic to criticisms of the Modern, Enlightenment, Era’s corrupting influences on the Church. I object to a Baconian approach to scriptural interpretation. I am in favor of “epistemic humility.” And, finally, I consider myself a pro-life Democrat. (I’m sure for that reason alone many “fundamentalists” would think that it’s impossible for me to really be a brother in Christ.)

So, in that sense, I am what you might consider part of the emergent conversation.

And yet, I hew, without wavering, to the five fundamentals. I affirm the virgin birth, biblical inerrancy, the atonement, the resurrection, and the return of Christ, (although I’m not a dispensationalist).

I do not, however, identify with withdrawing from the world or consider myself a fundamentalist in the way that you can be an Islamic fundamentalist.

So where does that leave me, Pastorboy?

And finally, for what it’s worth, anyone who listens to Rick Warren knows that his distancing of himself from fundamentalism is in reference to definitions 2 and 3. To deny otherwise is either dishonesty or self-deception.

(FYI, I have always found Marsden’s book, Fundamentalism and American Culture, a good primer on fundamentalism.)

133   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 25th, 2008 at 1:19 am

PB,

Sheesh…

i have no idea what motivates you agenda… but if all you can come up with is that I am judging you… then I am… by the bibles standard and not my own… It seems there is a difference between someone rebuke another for their sins and not seeing truth than one twisting truth so that it must somehow need protection… I your god need protection… I fear what god you serve as he is not the Bibles God.

Again, i am not “hating” you, I am stating truth from scripture and showing you over and over that you are not stating the truth about others… and that is slander… and that is a sin.

I guess i have a hard time seeing someone sin and not doing something about it… so I guess that is my motive with you. I care enough about you to let you know that you are on a bad path by twisting others words so that you harm them.

iggy

134   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 25th, 2008 at 1:27 am

Hey guys,

delete that last comment from me… I had not planned to send it… I had written it and was not going to send it but hit submit by accident… It was to a ealier comment and is a bit out of place now…

so if you would delete this one also…

I do not care to stir the pot more… and apologize if it too late.

iggy

135   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 25th, 2008 at 2:06 am

MG,

Good comment.

For the most part I see that 2 has morphed into 3. MY wife and I were talking about this and we only knew one pastor who would have considered fundamentalist, yet not a legalist.

Let me know where you land. I too am a pro life, orthodox democrat. I believe I am the only one in NW Ohio :) I am sure there are more but I have not met them yet.

Bruce

136   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 25th, 2008 at 8:54 am

I am not your judge Bruce and MG, I am just curious, how can you be pro life and democrat? I mean, isn’t one of their planks abortion? I know the to front-runners are in favor of it!

About fundamentalism, MG, Thanks for the answer. I think that what scares me about the emergent conversation is that it seems many (not all) are departing from one of the five ‘fundamentals’ or ‘non negotiables’ as they deconstruct what Jesus really came here for (see Brian McLaren’s view of the cross).

And to be fair, as Bruce intimated, people are individuals, responsible for their own views. So Brian McLaren and others in the emergent hierarchy may hold different views than Eddie Emergent. I get that.

I find a disturbing corelation between the politics of I can be pro life and a democrat and distancing ones self from the leaders of the ‘conversation’ to say we are emergent, but we do believe in a literal heaven and a literal hell. Thats why I think that Driscoll is moving away from or being pushed out of (depending on how you see it) the Emergent conversation.

137   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 25th, 2008 at 9:06 am

PB,
The thing is that that’s what I was talking about in Fundamentalism defining the fundamentals as they see them. Why make Penal Substitution a fundamental? Why not say the death and resurrection of Christ is the fundamental, and that the meaning of this event has cosmic and spiritual implications that may involve more than just the Penal Substitution theory of atonement? In saying that PS is the correct way, it’s in essence a way of saying, “we’re right, and you’re wrong”.

In essence, I think that’s what a lot Fundamentalism is saying. They’re not looking for fundamentals that bring unity. They’re looking for fundamentals that divide.

138   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 25th, 2008 at 9:17 am

Phil,

I agree. IN fact if one is penal substitutional “only” then we should toss out the Gospel of mark that teaches Christus Victor… which historically has deeper roots than substitutional atonement (which the idea of “atonement” in the New Testament is a bit out of place contrasted to the idea that IS taught being “propitiation”)

So I wonder why some limit what happened on the cross to a modernist view of “law and justice’ as opposed to the historic view of the suffering Servant..(again the theme of Mark).

Also, McLaren does not deny the substitutionary atonement nor hell… as his views parallel N.T. Wright and G. K. Chesterton which neither of them denied these things.

Now, I guess it is that IF some ask questions, a fundamentalist hates it… in that I see many fundamentalist border on being more “cultic” than Christian as God is big enough to take our toughest questions… and to ask a question is not a sin… and to ask questions that make us go back and really look to see if what we believe is biblical or not should be commended not attacked and taken as denial or a lack of faith.

iggy

139   M.G.    
January 25th, 2008 at 9:22 am

PB,

About politics…what would you recommend for me? I disagree with the Republican national platform on every issue except for abortion (immigration, comprehensive healthcare, supply-side economics, preemptive war, etc.)

Should I be an independent? And how on earth is this connected to distancing myself from emergents?

I suspect, in the end, you have a hard time conceiving of Christians not sharing your political views…

140   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 25th, 2008 at 9:42 am

I just was wondering how a person can be a pro-life democrat, MG, thats all.

I am not saying it is wrong. You must decide that for yourself. It is not my right nor my perogative to convince people how to vote, that is up to their conscience.

I only encourage my congregation to do the same.

141   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.gerencser.net
January 25th, 2008 at 10:00 am

Pastorboy,

Ditto what MG said on the pro life democrat.

I have been told to my face that you can’t be a democrat and s Christian. Fortunately, for that person, I believe in non-violence :)

In my former life I was as far to the right as you could get. My parents were in the John Birch Society…..if that tells you anything

Bruce

142   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 25th, 2008 at 10:04 am

I just wonder which “Christian” republican we are to vote for…

The Mormon?
The divorced ones?

Even Rush Limbaugh is have trouble picking a person to back!

I also am looking at a Dem for pres…

iggy

143   Neil    
January 25th, 2008 at 10:24 am

Pastorboy,

Have you read the theological statements from an “emerging church” I linked to? I would like to get your take on them.

Neil

144   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 25th, 2008 at 10:57 am

PB,

As one who is “in” the emerging conversation here is what i believe…
Please feel free to comment.

iggy