Archive for March, 2008

“If we really believe the truth, we shall be decided about it. Certainly we are not to show our decision by that obstinate, furious, wolfish bigotry which cuts off every other body from the chance and hope of salvation and the possibility of being regenerate or even decently honest if they happen to differ from us about the colour of a scale of the great leviathan. Some individuals appear to be naturally cut on the cross; they are manufactured to be rasps, and rasp they will. Sooner than not quarrel with you they would raise a question upon the colour of invisibility, or the weight of a non-existent substance. They are up in arms with you, not because of the importance of the question under discussion, but because of the far greater importance of their being always the Pope of the party. Don’t go about the world with your fist doubled up for fighting, carrying a theological revolver in the leg of your trousers. There is no sense in being a sort of doctrinal game-cock, to be carried about to show your spirit, or a terrier of orthodoxy, ready to tackle hertodox rats by the score . . . These are theologians of such warm, generous blood, that they are never at peace till they are fully engaged in war” (Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 224).


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Proving the old adage of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, Ingrid is siding with the complaining neighbors in this story about a church that had some noise complaints from some people in the neighborhood.  Apparantly, it is bad for Rick Warren to ask people in a community what they don’t like about a church service, but it’s OK to listen to these people when they complain about our music.

Now it’s hard to say what the actual facts of the story are from this news story, but I’ve often seen noise complaints come from the kind of people who get angry if you look at their lawn in the wrong way.  Also, the article says the town’s noise ordinance has a level of 70 dB listed.  Now from acoustics class, I remember that 70 dB is about the sound level of a noisy office.  A typical city street would probably be above 70 dB, so it’s hard to say what the level of noise was from the church.  There’s no mention of anyone taking a reading at the church building.

I just am really shocked that Ingrid is supporting police officers coming into a church building and threatening to physically remove musicians from the stage.  I guess she’s all for the government getting its hands into churches as long as they’re ones she doesn’t like.

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Every once in a while someone posts a comments accusing “us” of never agreeing with anything Ingrid posts on her ODM site.  I’m not sure what this charge is supposed to prove other than maybe we’re just trolls or knee-jerks… anyway, when the charge is made “we” usually respond with a bit about her use of guilt-by-association, caustic style, her condescension, her…  well, you know.

But here is a post that is really something we (or at least I) can agree on, something of which we should be aware.  Though, quite frankly, if I had a family member caught up in it I think I’d send them elsewhere for help.

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Looks like the ODMs have been busy usurping God’s throne again, this time by deciding who Christ is allowed to be a propitiation for.

Here an anonymous coward puts on his Pope hat and ex communicates Highland Baptist Church for daring to study the work of Brian McLaren.

Here another, or the same anonymous coward uses scare quotes to let us know that all those emergents who don’t vote the proper way aren’t really Christians.

Lately we’ve been hearing so much about how non-ODMs don’t fear God enough, at least we fear Him enough to stay off his throne.

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Read it all

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In the movie, Tin Cup, Kevin Costner plays a golf pro who is so broke that his golf clubs are in hock. However, he has an opportunity to go against his nemesis, and decides to play with a hoe, a rake, and other garden equipment. While Costner’s financial state was of his own doing, the status of his clubs is all too familiar to those that write here.

Quote 1 Corinthians 9:22 (”all things to all men”) to an anti-emergent, and you’ll be told that “all emergents use that verse”. Never mind that (a) that response may be irrelevant to the conversation and (b) you’re not actually an emergent. That verse is off-limits (and therefore, apparently, not inspired by God).

Try to defend the usage of cultural references in teaching and preaching by noting Acts 17:22-34, and the anti-emergents will derisively sniff “contextualization” and terminate the conversation.

Then, of course, there are the claims — though not in so many words — of omniscience. An appeal is made to Matthew 7:16 and similar verses. However, a discussion of the recognition of false teachers somehow becomes a carte blanche that allows one to know every last intimate detail of every motivation of any person in the world, based on a single issue.

Case in point: I’m sure that someone discredited this entire post after 5 words, because I referenced an R-rated movie.

Finally, there’s the slam dunk. If nothing else seems to be working, the anti-emergent claims that the other person is not a Christian. Or as one Slice commenter once so graciously put it:

Houston will be a desert before I accept [him] as a brother in Christ.

I bet the person about whom she was speaking is glad that her acceptance is absolutely meaningless when it comes to his salvation. I find it truly amazing the work that God must have prepared for us, that heaven isn’t going to be full of cursing — “Oh, #%#^!! They are here ?!?!”

And so, here we sit — with a hoe, rake, and a few other garden tools — looking at the opponent’s multi-thousand-dollar set of Callaways, and thinking that the clubs in the backseat of his car look awfully familiar. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there.

In the early days of the Peanuts comic strip, Linus was still a toddler. In one strip, Lucy spitefully takes all the toys away — not that she’s going to play with them — she just doesn’t want him to have them. She leaves behind a lone piece of string. Linus looks at it for a minute, and in no time is having a blast with that string. Furious, Lucy rushes back and snatches it from him.

To mix the Peanuts and Tin Cup metaphors, Lucy’s coming after the hoe now.

Kevin DeYoung (a pastor in Michigan) and Ted Kluck (a sportswriter) have teamed up to write a book titled Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be). The parenthetical portion of the title is a reference to the fact that, ostensibly, the emergent movement appeals to a particular demographic of which these men are a part. A bit presumptuous, but hey, lets not pick nits. There are much bigger issues between the book’s covers.

In decrying the argument that some of emergent theology is still in process, DeYoung writes:

It’s one thing for a high school student to be in process with his theology. It’s another thing for adults to write books and speak around the world about their musing and misgivings.

This is simply a (slightly) more gracious inverse version of Steve Camp’s rant regarding Tim Challies. Now instead of age bringing wisdom, and formal training being a good thing, we are told that by adulthood, we should have “arrived”.

So why is DeYoung writing this book? Is his only target demographic high-school students? Because, according to him, no one else should be in process with their theology.

For that matter, is the entire congregation of his church under 18? If not, why is he even bothering to talk to people who’ve already missed the boat?

DeYoung goes on:

I agree there must be space for Christians to ask hard questions and explore the tensions of our faith, but I seriously question that this space should be hugely public where hundreds of thousands of men and women are eagerly awaiting the next book or blog or podcast arising from your faith journey.

I’ll lay aside the ridiculous notion that says that if others react improperly to your teaching (e.g. hero worship), that’s because you did something wrong — that horse died a long time ago. The way I read this, DeYoung is saying that hard questions should not be public. Rather, they should be kept relatively private. This way, other people assume that you have no problems or struggles, and they figure they’re the only ones that are messed up. And God forbid that they find out that their leadership doesn’t have all the answers.

In short, DeYoung is advocating lying by omission.

Now, here’s where DeYoung goes after the hoe. To the claim that all emergent leaders should not be lumped together, DeYoung writes that:

when people endorse one another’s book and speak at the same conferences and write on the same blogs, there is something of a discernible movement afoot.

Let’s break this down:

  • Endorsing one another’s books: While Camp’s rant on Challies was waaaaaaaaaay over the top and contained a good bit of error, there probably was a measure of truth to his statements regarding book endorsements — namely, they don’t mean as much as one might think.
  • Speaking at the same conferences: A couple years ago, Mark Driscoll spoke at the same conference as someone with whom he disagreed immensely on several theological issues. For occupying the same space as someone else within a 48-hour period, Driscoll was decried for “partnering in ministry” with the other man. From there it was only a short hop to (mis-)applying 2 Corinthians 6:14 to the situation and claiming that Driscoll was in direct violation of being unequally yoked. Update: Matt Chandler has noted that if someone has the opportunity to share the gospel “even in shady areas, they would be fools to not take advantage of that.”
  • Writing on the same blogs: I can’t decide if this one is asinine or simply hysterical. There are many things about which I disagree with other writers on this blog — and not just because Joe is a [shudder] Yankees’ fan.

In short, DeYoung is saying, “Sorry, you can’t argue that all emergent leaders shouldn’t be lumped together. I have declared otherwise. It is so.” And whatever you do, don’t confuse him with the facts.

And there goes the hoe.

Other anti-emergents must be kicking themselves right about now. Instead of trying to defend irresponsible over-generalization, all they had to do was say “Over-generalization? What over-generalization?” And they could’ve spent their time more productively, like by digging out footnotes from 3-year-old books.

Excuse me — I’m gonna go play with this piece of string now.

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CRN.Info has switched servers. Everything should be working as usual, but in case there are any problems, please help out by emailing me ASAP. Thanks!

(the guy who hosts this site that none of you know)

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Posts like this make me profoundly sad. In fact, it makes me wonder if this author really can know the peace and grace of Christ (I’m not suggestion this person is outside of Christ, only that they’ve not realized the work that Jesus accomplished between us and God). 

This post is not meant to be a criticism of the opinions expressed about Driscoll (we’ve rehashed that conversation dozens of times, though it does seem odd the author would criticize Driscoll without actually reading the book itself).  Rather, I want to address the assumptions made by the author about the relationship between us and God, and I want to do so because it seems lately that I’ve been seeing these assumptions made by Christians in many different streams of theological thought. 

Consider the following statements, which are representative of the piece:

Scripture says we are to fear HIM:

He destroys the HOLINESS and FEAR for Christ Jesus. There is nothing worth taking from Driscoll’s pig stye to sift through and find truth. Go to Scripture and find the pristine reverence for Christ, held up above all people and all of Creation, set apart as Master, Righteous One, and without spot or blemish, never acting like the pigs, dogs, and vipers of His day.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing in this piece that speak of the intimacy we have with Jesus.  Nothing in it speaks of the great love that God has for us. 

Consider, for example, the consistent and overwhelming use of the metaphor of God as father.  It is so overwhelming that when Jesus is asked by his disciples how to pray he begins with "Our father in heaven".  Or consider that Christ is consistently pictured as the bridegroom of the church, which is the exact comparison Jesus uses for himself when his disciples’ actions are being compared to that of the Pharisees.  We also have the description of Jesus as older brother, and we are called adopted sons into the family of God. 

The descriptions of God I get from many Christians, and this article in particular is far from the familiarity and intimacy of a brother, father, or husband, instead God is pictured as this unapproachable, unreasonable, petty tyrant who is looking to punish anyone who forgot to dot an I or cross a T.

Its almost like verses such as:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
Luke 13.34

Have been forgotten.

Ultimately, theology such as the one represented in this article is a Christless theology because Christ is our mediator.  His work is the work that created the easy familiarity of brother, husband and father with God.  The only way that God is an ineffable, unapproachable deity is if Christ’s work didn’t work. 

And if you think this Christless theology is confined to an obscure blog dedicated to re-publishing, and re-hashing the same old critiques against Driscoll, I invite you to read this group of comments.  Here’s some highlights:

Ultimately we (all people) live under the threat of eternal death if we worship improperly, do we not?

The Bible does not say God is “love, love, love.” It does say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.”

Great reminder that we are not approaching "the man upstairs" but the King of glory!

Read the rest of this entry »

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GBA via FootnotesNo longer can we defend Rob Bell here at CRN.Info. In Velvet Elvis, Rob quotes John Piper and includes this footnote:

Read everything John Piper has ever written, beginning with the Dangerous Duty of Delight (p.182)

Obviously, since Piper is an unapologetic Calvinist, and since Bell footnoted him, Rob must believe everything Piper does! Additionally, Bell attended both Wheaton College AND Fuller Seminary – the same colleges attended by Piper!!! Some of the articles on Piper’s blog also support the same sort of “social gospel” programs that Bell does!

Pretty soon, Bell will be leading us down the blind, heartless road of hard Calvinism, removing any Arminians from leadership positions within the church, recommending death for infant baptizers, and consigning all unbelievers (in Calvinism) to outer darkness.

Sorry, Rob, but as Ingrid has been teaching me, footnoting somebody means that you give wholehearted support and belief to anything/everything that person believes and has ever written. Shame on you!

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Like Ingrid, I’m not a HM fan, all be it for different reasons. I’m not a fan of “pop” music in general.

Also, like Ingrid, I dislike celebrities throwing out phrases like “I do it all for Jesus”. It seems like a cliche and not very thought out or meaningful.

So I watched the video Ingrid posted and I was a little disappointed. I was kind of hoping it would be worldly. However, there is no crotch grabbing, no dirty dancing, no nothing. It is some girl jumping around to music and not in a provocative outfit or in a provocative style. You can see for yourself the “worldliness”:

YouTube Preview Image

As I read Ingrid’s article, I wondered what exactly her definition of worldliness is? For instance, I have had to work late for the past two weeks because we have a big project due. My non-believer boss has publicly thanked me. Is that worldly, to be recognized by a non believer for hard work?

What if I got up at the next company meeting and gave a big speech in front of thousands of fellow employees and I got a standing ovation? Is that worldly?

What if I was actually skilled enough at a sport, say baseball. Two out, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded. I hit the home run and thousands cheer me. Is that worldly?

Am I missing something here?

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