I remember when my father got his first label maker. It was a long time ago and the labels it produced were the thick plastic kind with raised letters. Unlike contemporary label makers that actually print, this maker was really a crimper. The label was produced by crimping the plastic band to produce raised letters. In the process the coloration of the plastic was removed on the letters – thus raised white letters on a colored band. At the time it really was cool. Fortunately, my father resisted the temptation to label everything… though he did label a lot of things… a lot of things.

Labeling has a certain function of course. It allows things to be identified easily. We label a file so that its contents can be known at a glance. We label a bin so that we can know what’s in it without opening it. Some people label shelves or cabinets to prevent others from placing things in them that are forbidden. We label things to identify their owner.

Labels are potentially useful, very useful.

They can also be very useful in categorizing people. Followers of Jesus were first labeled Christians in Antioch. This was because the church there was comprised of mostly Gentiles who had embraced Jesus as Lord and Messiah – calling them Jews would not work. A new label needed to be created, and it stuck. Labels are very useful in identifying and categorizing; Christian, Liberal, Gay, Calvinist, Egalitarian… are labels.

Labels are also potentially dangerous, very dangerous.

They can be very dangerous in categorizing people when those assigning the label wield them – not as a shortcut, but as a weapon; when they are assigned out of laziness; when they are assigned based on secondary or even tertiary issues. Labeling is the ally to all who practice Guilt by Association.

We all do it. We all label. Sometimes we do it correctly, sometimes we do it incorrectly. Some however are more consistent in their misuse of labeling than others. Some excel at weapon-labeling and for them it is not a tool as much as it is a first step… a step from which all other steps must proceed.

This was recently illustrated to perfection through two different exchanges between select writers here and self-proclaimed discerners, both of which took place on the sites of the latter. I say self-proclaimed so as to be clear this is not a label I have assigned to them, they have done so themselves.

The thing that was interesting about both of these cases, even though the labelers come from wildly different scenarios, was the consistency of using labels as weapons, the lack of logic, lack of thought and… well lack true discernment. This is where I venture into speculation – I speculate that labeling has become short-hand because it is easier than actual thought, it is easier than actual research. It is easier to connect the dots of guilt by association (even if such association does not really exist), then label. And once the label has been applied – it matters not what the person actually says, does, or believes. The label has been applied – the case is closed. Don’t bother with what is actually in the bin or folder, just label it. Don’t bother discussing or researching or getting to know what a person believes or does – just label them.

For example: In one of the conversations I was labeled as unsaved, Emergent, a follower of a false Jesus and anti-Semitic. There are more, but these will suffice.

I am anti-Semitic because I advocate a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine.
Never mind that I never said anything against any Semite and even affirmed Israel’s right to exist.

I am unsaved because I disagree with someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit.
Never mind my profession of faith, my reliance on God’s grace, my repentance, my faith experience of God’s grace… all were summarily dismissed – the Holy Spirit never disagrees with himself, and we disagreed, therefore I have not the Holy Spirit. I must admit I admire the logic: “I am filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never disagrees with himself. Therefore, by disagreeing with me you prove you have not the Holy Spirit.”
Apply label – unsaved!

I am Emergent because I referenced a common faith, a faith shared with said Holy Spirit believer.
This I found comical, since the reference was not to some interreligious experience, or even interdenominational ecumenicalism – it was a reference to the shared faith between the discerner and me. I was attempting to establish common ground in Christ. The use of the phrase “common faith” was enough for me to be labeled.

I follow a different Jesus because I refused to label someone else as “Not a Christian.”
This became the crux of the matter. Even though I laid out exactly what I believe, even though my beliefs are thoroughly orthodox and biblical, even though these beliefs were never addressed or disagreed with – I follow a different Jesus based on guilt by association, based on connecting the dots, based on being labeled. Never mind that all I did was refuse to label someone else, who I do not even know.

We also practice hypnotism.
Never did figure out what that was based on.

When I pressed for an answer as to which of my very detailed beliefs the discerner found lacking… I was referred to the story of the disciples brushing the dust from their feet. This and other examples of the misuse of Scripture in the labeling process could easily be another post in and of itself. This tactic is used because discernment is not the goal, answers are not the goal, knowing is not the goal – the label is. Above all else, the label must be defended.

Other writers experienced similar labeling, mostly based on equally shallow, tangential, and irrelevant criteria. I chalk it up to laziness, joy in hostility, and a false-discerning attitude.

The point is this. Labels are very useful tools; when applied properly and with a little thought and research. They can also be hurtful, inaccurate and sin; when they are applied flippantly and in spite of reality.

Labels are useful in defining the contents of a bin or folder; they are useful in categorizing and identifying people. But they are worthless and worse when one applies a label without looking into the folder or bin first. They are even worse when they are applied in direct contradiction to the contents of the same.

Let us all learn from the abuse of labels and use them wisely and apply them accurately.

I have left out the names of the discerners and their sites because they are not the point. I prefer it remains that way.

UPDATE: Since this has run its course, and it was pointed out that without links the facts cannot be checked I am updating the post: the sites that labeled us using shallow, tangential, and irrelevant criteria are Rapture Ready. and Discerning the World.

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This entry was posted on Friday, February 12th, 2010 at 4:26 pm and is filed under Blogging, Hypocrisy, Misuse of Scripture. 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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65 Comments(+Add)

1   Cy    
February 13th, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I lurk here but had to comment. It’s all relative though isn’t it? Use labels wisely and apply them accurately, but how does that happen when the commenters on this blog are throwing labels at each other constantly? To someone like Nathan, PB is a liar and a hypocrite. PB views Nathan and some others on here as heretical. Frueh says that Rob Bell is false but the other guys think Bell is just great. One guy’s heretic is another’s spiritual leader. So is there just one standard here or anywhere in Christianity for how to use labels? To some, “ODM”’s (in itself a label) are judgmental, divisive psychos. To others, they are a great help in applying bible truth to pop christianity. You can’t say use labels wisely without telling readers what standard to use in judging. Because if you are gonna use labels, you gotta make judgements right?

2   Neil    
February 13th, 2010 at 8:35 pm


Welcome and thanks for commenting. You are right, a lot of label get thrown around. And in some cases you are right – for example – the label “liar” gets applied way too often and quickly.

That said; I’d argue that most of the labels that are applied here, even those I disagree with, are accompanied with some logical argument. Or it is applied in response to what someone says they believe. For example – Chad argues for Christian Universalism and we call that heresy.

No one here has ever labeled anyone based soley on the fact that they disagree… or because they use some supposed catch phrase, or on a secondary issue like eschatolog.

I think the minimum Christian standard should be – use actual evidence to label someone and be willing to defend that. Two things that the ODM’s in question were unwilling to do.

And this should be done after the argument, after their position is explored and understood. IN both cases sited in the OP – labeling was done first, then referred to after the fact as an argument against other things said.

3   John Hughes    
February 14th, 2010 at 12:08 am

Hi Neil,

I may be able to eventually comment about your post, but right now I’m in the midst of trying to peal off all those labels you stuck on me in the Scarecrow thread.
Dang! Now where did I put that bottle of Goo-B-Gone?!?

4   Neil    
February 14th, 2010 at 12:37 am

I believe I commented very strongly, maybe too strongly, on your attitude. Yet, I resisted giving you a label.

5   Neil    
February 14th, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Be that as it may. It would have been better had I engaged you more instead of lambasting you – sorry John.

Label me apologetic.

6   nathan    
February 14th, 2010 at 10:57 pm

actually…more people than just me believe PB consistently lies about people.

7   John Hughes    
February 14th, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Hey thanks Neil. :-) Ditto.

8   Ryan Peter    http://ryanpeterblogs.wordpress.com
February 15th, 2010 at 2:29 am

Hey Niel,

I do want to thank you for how you and some of the other guys managed yourselves at that site. Very gracefully and wisely. Thank you.

I know that site is not the point, but my own experience there was similar to yours. I was given one huge label and told that I am lying if I didn’t live up to it. When I said I didn’t fit under that label, and when I presented my beliefs, I was told that I was not telling the truth.

Since they had decided I was to fit under the label, whenever I broke their understanding of the label it was a matter of ‘you’re lying, we know that’s not what you believe.’ No matter how many times you tell them that you don’t believe this or that, they’ve already decided where in their world you fit in. It’s a useless endeavour.

That’s a huge mis-use of labels.

The logic there is often all about who can shout the loudest. Who has the best labels at their arsenal? When I attempted to label them, I was told that I wasn’t being fair to what they truly believe. The same grace was not extended to me. An argument around capitalism got me branded ’socialist’ and ‘communist’ when in fact I was hi-lighting that capitalism is not perfect. Labels are helpful but they can be misused.

In fact, aren’t labels what drive many people then to become what society labels them? We’ve all heard the story where people label the more eccentric as ‘gay’ and then they eventually think they must be.

It may be that the labelling of a particular type of thinking is helpful, but the labelling of a person isn’t. For instance, you call Chad a Christian Universalist. But that has many different meanings to many different people. He believes in Christian Universalism, but is he a Christian Universalist? What does that actually mean?

And it does mean many different things. Some people think it means that Chad is a pluralist. Is he? Universalism is not the same thing as pluralism.

I was eventually banned at that site for something ridiculous. I was labelled, then banned, and the labels I was given at that site will stick forever in readers’ minds who don’t bother to do the research themselves. It was like Internet Apartheid. Labelled, then told that this site is for ‘Genuine Christians Only’. Sorry, Ryan, you’re too black.

(As an aside, and I think this may be of interest, as a South African I can tell you that the term ‘boogerhead’ is not derogatory and is akin to something a seven year old would say. Secondly, ‘pocket the money’ means exactly the same thing here in SA than in the US. There may be certain cultural differences since I am English and they seem to be Afrikaans, but I’ve never heard someone take offense at ‘boogerhead’ ever in South Africa.)

9   Neil    
February 15th, 2010 at 10:32 am

actually…more people than just me believe PB consistently lies about people.


I didn’t have any one in mind when I responded to Cy… and I do not doubt people lie. I was only references the speed with which the label is applied sometimes.

It’s not an exact science to be sure.

10   Neil    
February 15th, 2010 at 10:41 am


Welcome and thank you for thoughts.

I did chuckle when you said – “The logic there is often all about who can shout the loudest. ” – we are guilty of that here as well…

I used the example of Chad being labeled a Christian Universalism because I think it accurate, well documented, and I believe he would not argue… assuming we defined the term correctly. That is also part of the issue.

I cannot comment on your being labeled a “socialist” and “communist” simply because you pointed out the weaknesses of Capitalism since I did not read that thread. But it would be consistent with applying a label in the opposite extreme based on something you said – even if there is no warrant for it.

I was label “Anti-Semitic” for saying I hold to the two-state solution in Palestine/Israel.

You are a socialist because you are critical of Capitalism.
I am an Anti-Semite because I am critical of Israel.
Nice math!

But it is easy… and I think that’s the biggest factor.

11   nathan    
February 15th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

@ neil,

totally understand…I was more responding to Cy…


12   John Hughes    
February 15th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Neil, just out of curiosity, who labeled you an anti-semite? Was it here recently, because I don’t think either I or Rick came anywhere near that accusation.

13   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
February 15th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Folks on DtW (The SA “discernment” blog) called Neil an anti-semite for his support of a two-state solution…

14   Ryan Peter    http://ryanpeterblogs.wordpress.com
February 15th, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Thanks Neil,

“I used the example of Chad being labeled a Christian Universalism because I think it accurate, well documented, and I believe he would not argue… assuming we defined the term correctly. That is also part of the issue.”

Yes, that is also part of the issue :) You’re right. Too many people are willing to slap a label on someone, a label of their own definition. I believe that many times we use language too technically and this results in way too many misunderstandings. Labels is one way of using language over-technically rather than helpfully.

15   Ryan Peter    http://ryanpeterblogs.wordpress.com
February 15th, 2010 at 2:21 pm

These kinds of labels, or ways of labelling, I mean :)

16   nathan    
February 15th, 2010 at 3:20 pm

discerning the world is from south africa?

huh, reminds me of Jesus saying “You travel over land and sea to make 1 disciple, but you turn them into twice the son of hell that you are.”…

too bad to see that kind of RELIGION infects the whole planet.

17   Neil    
February 15th, 2010 at 6:18 pm

discerning the world is from south africa?

Apparently you’ve never been to the site – have you?

(They’ve got pictures of exotic animals…)

18   Chad Holtz    http://www.chadholtz.net
February 15th, 2010 at 10:41 pm

You are better off not going to the site. Each time I visit I have the feeling like I’m in the presence of something demonic.

If you watch Ghost Hunters I think they would say that site registers very high EMF readings .

19   nathan    
February 16th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

@ Neil,

yeah, the CRN, Lighthouse trails, apprising, etc etc. toilet was enough for me.

20   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 17th, 2010 at 8:54 am

This past weekend I had a label ripping experience…

The label… Living in South Africa has its challenges one of which is the level of crime. In the past year our neighbors’ house was burgled and the woman of the house raped in the process. The five perpetrators happened to be black men. About two months after that one of our friends was involved in a failed car hi-jack attempt and again black men were involved. There were a few more incidents and every time the crimes were committed by black people. Now, I’m so opposed to racism that I often find myself in arguments with fellow South Africans when I challenge their view of black people in South Africa. So, when I found myself locking my car doors when approaching intersections where black people were standing on the side of the road, but not doing it when it was white people, it started to bother me. A label has formed in my mind that black people are criminals. This label was driven by fear and I had to face it – I am a racist (a very loaded label).

The label ripping experience… This past weekend I had the privilege to visit the Red Location here in Port Elizabeth, one of the poorest areas around. Some people of our church did a clothes and food drive and our family went with. As the people lined up for the clothes and food I took the opportunity to strike up a few conversations with the people there. My heart was touched by their stories, friendliness and warmth. They were truly grateful for the little that they got. It wasn’t long before some of them invited me into their homes. These houses are tin shacks not much bigger than our kitchen at home. I saw the poverty but also the dignity. They had little but they didn’t have small hearts. My perspective was changed.

My point… Labels can dehumanize people to the point where they become that other entity which we fear or loath. Once that point is reached hatred (or racism) is easily camouflaged and even justified. These labels can creep up on us unconsciously and become part of our worldview. These labels can also be challenged by actual experience of the people themselves and I think we need to consciously seek these interactions to challenge our mental labels.

Neil, thank for turning your experience at those sites into a learning experience for us all.

21   Mike    
February 17th, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Brilliant and moving examples Eugene, thanks for sharing them… and reminding us to think.

22   Neil    
February 17th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Labels can dehumanize people to the point where they become that other entity which we fear or loath.

I meant this to be one of my points as well. I believe those on the sites I sighted label people so as to stereotype them… they may not mean or want to dehumanize, but they certainly want to use the labels as weapons.

This is where we also need to be careful. We categorize some as ODM’s and we use it as shorthand and sometimes even as a weapon. The reminder is to never take it to extremes we saw… nor be so lazy and obstinate about it.

23   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 17th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

We categorize some as ODM’s and we use it as shorthand and sometimes even as a weapon.

Well, if I remember correctly, the ODM terminology arose in the early days of CRN.info as a neutral way to refer to the sites that refer to themselves as discernment ministries. Of course, it’s just an acronym for Online Discernment Ministry. Of course it has taken on a negative connotation, because of those three terms, usually only one of those words happens to be true (just a clue – it ain’t the last two… :-) )

24   thurstin    http://www.needgod.com
February 17th, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I am patiently waiting for Friday or until someone on this site has the guts to talk about the CLEAR heresy (there is a label for you) of Brian McLaren and his new book.

I won’t hold my breath.

25   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 17th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

I am patiently waiting for Friday or until someone on this site has the guts to talk about the CLEAR heresy (there is a label for you) of Brian McLaren and his new book.

I won’t hold my breath.

UPS just delivered my copy yesterday evening (it was actually delayed by the snowstorms last week).

I’ll sound the heresy siren if necessary – yep, ’bout time we had a good ol’ tar ‘n’ featherin’ ’round these parts…

26   Neil    
February 17th, 2010 at 5:03 pm


You are correct on the history of “ODM.”

27   Neil    
February 17th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I am patiently waiting for Friday or until someone on this site has the guts to talk about the CLEAR heresy (there is a label for you) of Brian McLaren and his new book.

**heavy sigh** have you read the book, or are you just assuming it will be heretical?

First off – ‘we” have taken issue with McClaren in the past so drop the “until someone on this site” crap.

Second off – the lack of mentioning something is not license for you assume we support the opposite -

28   Joe    http://christianresearchnetwork.com/index.php?s=john+chisham
February 17th, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I won’t hold my breath.

Well, that’s good.

29   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 17th, 2010 at 9:14 pm

A pig stye stinks.

I have never walked in the midst of it, but from the description of others who have I can take it on good authority that it does.

30   Neil    
February 17th, 2010 at 9:59 pm


As much as I dislike McClaren, I find your prejudgment offensive as well.

READY-FIRE-AIM (maybe, maybe not)

31   Chad Holtz    http://www.chadholtz.net
February 17th, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I have never walked in the midst of it, but from the description of others who have I can take it on good authority that it does.

I suppose in your world, John Chisham, there is not much difference between a pig stye and a rationale human being made in God’s image.

32   M.G.    
February 17th, 2010 at 11:58 pm


You know, I’ve met a lot of people in my day, and I’ve never met a soul who wouldn’t agree that pigsties stink (it’s not stye, by the way, that’s an eye infection).

If only there could be that kind of consensus amongst Christians. Unfortunately though, we can’t agree on much of anything.

Instead, we have every average joe with an internet connection and a poor grasp of homophones offering a different interpretation of every Christian author out there.

Considering the cacophony of voices, I usually think it’s safest to, gasp, think for myself and do some reading. Tough, I know.

33   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 18th, 2010 at 12:15 am

…a poor grasp of homophones…

God hates homophones… It says so in Leviticus!

34   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
February 18th, 2010 at 12:28 am

What is the ‘CLEAR’ heresy?

35   Neil    
February 18th, 2010 at 2:00 am

We so often hear “heresy” used against those that are too liberal… against those that make the way too broad or suggest multiple ways. And heresy those may be.

But is it heresy to make the way too narrow, to add more “requirements” than Scripture?

Is it heresy to say someone cannot be saved because they disagree with you? I mean literally, just because they disagree with you?

36   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 18th, 2010 at 8:33 am

I did read the preview that they had on the Harper Collins website which had a portion of each chapter. That is really all I needed. But I also have watched his OOZE videos…

But Tim Challies, and others have read it and reviewed it like I said I can take it on good authority that it is garbage and it stinks.

And that it is full of heresy…like that old pelagian antinomian stuff…..you know, the stuff that Chad likes.

37   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 18th, 2010 at 9:42 am

Even if McLaren does espouse some views that would be considered heretical, I think that it’s simply common sense that a person should read the book in the entirety before trying to have conversations about it.

Personally, I don’t agree with everything McLaren says, but I do actually enjoy reading his books. For one, he’s simply a good writer and I enjoy the style in which he writes. I would actually even say that many of the things he says are true. It doesn’t mean I model my life after everything in his books, though.

I guess all I’m saying is that the attempts to demonize him seem to be taking the wrong tact. One particular thing I found sort of funny is that much of the criticism of his Everything Must Change was from a political perspective rather than a theological one. That is fine, as long as people don’t mix those categories – i.e., I don’t think you can condemn someone as a heretic for political reasons.

38   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 18th, 2010 at 9:45 am

Reactions and responses to Brian MClaren’s “A New Kind of Christianity” http://bit.ly/d4xWFE

39   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 18th, 2010 at 9:49 am

Brian says a lot of other things in Part 1, but as you can see, he is no longer having a Christian conversation. He prefers the Hebrew God Elohim over the Greco-Roman God Theos, for the former prefers the messiness of story and evolution while the latter is a “perfect—Platonic god” who “loves spirit, state, and being” and is “perfectly furious” with his fallen creation and just wants to smash it all to hell. Theos may be popular with the “fire-breathing preacher” (does anyone know anyone like this?), but he “is an idol, a damnable idol.” Brian writes that he would rather be an atheist than believe in the God that most of us think is found in the Bible.

Four other observations:

1. Brian seems to be offering a modern Jewish rather than Christian perspective on the opening chapters of Genesis. His flat-out denial of a Fall, original sin, and total depravity and his dismissal of Theos raises questions about his view of Paul, who clearly teaches the former in Romans 5, and the New Testament, which refers to God with the Greek term Theos.

2. Brian does not seem to believe that there was a first man and a first sin, but that Genesis 3 is a myth which describes how the entire human race became farmers. This view fits with his acceptance of evolution, as most who embrace evolution find it hard to believe that there was a first man who rebelled in a cataclysmic Fall. I don’t know how the farmer bit fits, but it is funny.

3. The fourth question which Brian will address in this book is “Who is Jesus and why is he important?” Given that Brian doesn’t believe in a Fall, original sin, or hell, that is a very good question. I can’t wait to hear why God would come and die for a world that didn’t need his help.

4. Brian seems incapable of writing a book without taking repeated cheap shots at seminary education. He often reminds us that he missed out on seminary and is better for it, that he would not see what he sees in Scripture if he had gone to seminary. On that we agree.

HT http://mikewittmer.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/brian-mclaren-a-new-kind-of-christianity-question-1/

40   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 18th, 2010 at 9:53 am

I really don’t know what your trying to do, but I really don’t care what other people are saying about the book that much (especially those in the Neo-Reformed camp). I bought the book myself to read it and form my own opinions. I’ll hopefully get to start it next week sometime.

41   Neil    
February 18th, 2010 at 10:03 am

Well, at least we have gotten quotes from people who have actually read the book.

42   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 18th, 2010 at 10:04 am

#40 I, like Thurstin, won’t hold my breath that anyone (Come on Chris L) on this site will come out and do a deep, Bible based review on this book.

Instead, we will have attacks and side comments that will somehow justify (i like the way he writes, for example) his outlandish claims about what Christianity is.

43   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 18th, 2010 at 10:07 am

And please do not tell me to read the book for myself. I did read JWTSC, reviewed it honestly with Bible in hand, and still was told that I was wrong.

Anytime you review a sacred cow you cannot do it right, unless the worshippers agree with you.

44   Joe    http://christianresearchnetwork.com/index.php?s=john+chisham
February 18th, 2010 at 10:09 am

#42. John Chisham, if you buy me the book. I will do a deep Bible based review of it.

45   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 18th, 2010 at 10:12 am

I may actually write a review here. I doubt it will meet John Chisham’s criteria for being “deep Bible based”, though.

46   Joe    http://christianresearchnetwork.com/index.php?s=john+chisham
February 18th, 2010 at 10:20 am

#45. Thanks a lot Phil! I’m trying to score a free one but NO….

47   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 18th, 2010 at 10:51 am

#46 That would be tatamount to buying porno for a kid, so no I will not buy it.

Especially since you all are still not respecting my request.

48   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
February 18th, 2010 at 11:04 am

Pb – So you expect somebody else to read and review the book even though you won’t? And when those you expect to review it put that expectation back on you you get upset. You don’t see what’s wrong with that?

49   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 18th, 2010 at 11:26 am

#48 My only expectation is, Chris, that people will read it and have an honest, up front, Biblical review of the book and if IF they have supported that stream of emergence admit that they were wrong.

I have always (since a generous orthodoxy) said that Brian Mclaren is wrong. Others, like Phil ‘enjoy his writing’ and Chad ‘agrees with’ Brian McLaren.

I like his new book. It will show a clear dividing line as to who follows the faith once handed down, and those who depart to apostasy with McLaren.

50   Joe    http://christianresearchnetwork.com/index.php?s=john+chisham
February 18th, 2010 at 11:27 am

John Chisham what request? Oh wait if I stop using your last name, you’ll buy me the book? Is that what you are saying?

51   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 18th, 2010 at 11:30 am


Another new label…I like it…McLarenism

#50 I wouldn’t buy you the book because it would be like buying a 12 year old porno. And the 12 year old illustration is apt; your maturity level and love level in continuing to use my full name as well as your theological maturity giving you this book would be like giving you porn, it would cause you to sin and fall further away from God.

52   Joe    http://christianresearchnetwork.com/index.php?s=john+chisham
February 18th, 2010 at 11:36 am

Oh John Chisham.
I was thinking about you last night. There’s these street preachers that preach on the corner of our little town’s main intersection. No one can hear what they are saying but they have KJV 1611 signs up and are shouting and pointing at cars as they pass. It got me to thinking about going on vacation. Getting all comfortable and laying out in the sun with my wife and kids. Then somebody shows up with a bullhorn talking about how Allah is the only way to go. I couldn’t help but hear him because he was using said bullhorn.
By the way, I’ll stop using your last name when it seems you’re actually serious about it.
Just having both names here without a link doesn’t increase your web signature at all. Now, if I took the time to link it every time that would increase it a little bit but not much.
Your insults will just be ignored today. If you want to buy me the book, let me know. I’ll review it and I’ll bet you the review would be different than you think.

53   Chad Holtz    http://www.chadholtz.net
February 18th, 2010 at 11:36 am

Neil, thanks for this inspiration….

Theological Suicide: Heretics, Antichrists, Porn Stars and McLarens

54   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 18th, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I have always (since a generous orthodoxy) said that Brian Mclaren is wrong. Others, like Phil ‘enjoy his writing’ and Chad ‘agrees with’ Brian McLaren.

So is it wrong to enjoy reading someone’s writing even if you have significant problems with his theology? I don’t see the conflict, really?

I would not point anyone to any of McLaren’s books as a guidebook for theology. I think they’re good for using as discussion starters though. I led a group about five years ago where we read through A Generous Orthodoxy together. I told them from the get-go that I didn’t agree with everything in the book, and I was sure they wouldn’t either. But it led to some good discussions.

There’s a lot to be said about allowing room for people to come to their own theological conclusions about certain things.

55   Neil    
February 18th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

And please do not tell me to read the book for myself. I did read JWTSC, reviewed it honestly with Bible in hand, and still was told that I was wrong. – Pastorboy

cf previous comment:

First off – ‘we” have taken issue with McClaren in the past so drop the “until someone on this site” crap.

Second off – the lack of mentioning something is not license for you assume we support the opposite -

56   Neil    
February 18th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Anytime you review a sacred cow you cannot do it right, unless the worshippers agree with you. – pastorboy

Hmmm… trying to figure out just what this means.

Is Mclaren the sacred cow? No, we’ve been way too clear on our disagreements with him for that to be the case…

You cannot review sacred cows? So, the only valid review is from the opposition? No, that’s illogical as well.

Who are the worshipers? Who are they worshiping?

57   Neil    
February 18th, 2010 at 12:19 pm

And what, pray tell, is an “honest review?” What makes a review dishonest?

Seriously, nothing like taking a word ans making it a meaningless cliche.

58   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
February 18th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I, like Thurstin, won’t hold my breath that anyone (Come on Chris L) on this site will come out and do a deep, Bible based review on this book.

My current workload and the number of books in my “to read” pile preclude me from getting to reviewing a book I’ve got no interest in reading any time soon…

I would second Neil and Phil’s comments, though… I don’t know any of the writers here who are big MacLaren supporters, and while I have a number of things with disagree with him about (and some important ones, at that), I will defend him if he’s mischaracterized or attacked for picayune reasons. At that point, I’m only extending the grace to him that I’d like to receive – disagree with me (even vehemently), if you like, but at least do so by accurately describing what it is I believe rather than creating a straw man of it…

59   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 18th, 2010 at 4:27 pm

I would think Chris L or Neil or even Jerry could write a great review without strawmanning it either way.

No matter how great my review would be, you would accuse me of the opposite.

60   Neil    
February 18th, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I have little interest in reading it, and less time.

Unless there is a reason to that I know not of.

61   M.G.    
February 18th, 2010 at 5:02 pm


Hint #1 for a good review, leave pig styes out of it. Porcine eye infections are of no relevance to the gospel.

Good luck!

62   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 18th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I guess PB doesn’t think Joe or I would be able to write a review without “strawmanning”… my feelings are hurt. :-(

63   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 18th, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I just do not know….#62

64   Neil    
February 18th, 2010 at 10:26 pm

No matter how great my review would be, you would accuse me of the opposite. – pastorboy

If you wrote a review that was negative, but accurate we would accept it as such. But it would have to be accurate, not like you misrepresented… say N. T. Wright. As we’ve said and proven time and time again – agreeing is not as important as accuracy.

65   Chad Holtz    http://www.chadholtz.net
February 21st, 2010 at 8:32 am

Having read a good number of chapters in BM’s book, there is no doubt that Dr. Wittmer’s critique copied by Chisham in #39 is not only unfair, it totally misses the point.

If the only info you are getting about this book comes from reviews like those, you are not only short-changing yourself but you are also being completely uncharitable towards Brian. I know, I know….charity (love) is something we tend to have small doses of and can only be given to people we have named as “in.”