Ephesians 2:4-6 (NKJV – emphasis mine) — But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together …

I have noted before on my blog that legalism mocks God’s grace. If we are raised in a home that doesn’t perform “worldly” externals, and all Christianity is about is not doing those “worldly” externals, then God hasn’t really saved us from much — we weren’t dead in our trespasses; we just had the sniffles.

A couple weeks ago, Neil wrote about labels, and how they can be helpful at times — and downright useless and silly at other times. The latter issue was the larger portion of his post and (although he didn’t initially identify it at the time of the writing), I was one of the people that he wrote about who had been incorrectly and unfairly labeled. (He later went back and filled readers in on who the label-ers were. ‘Twas a hop, skip, and jump from there to figure out who the label-ees were.)

Unfortunately, for any “fact-checkers” out there, the background of my incident can’t be accurately checked, as the moderators of the site on which I was labeled chose to conveniently excise large parts of the exchange in which either (a) I made a strong point or (b) they looked foolish in retrospect. But that’s not why I’m writing this, anyway …

I was attempting to answer the question “Is Francis Chan emergent?” by noting that the important question was not whether or not someone had attached a label to Chan, but whether or not what he teaches/writes is the truth. As the questioner appeared to truly be researching Chan, but coming up empty, I pointed her to a couple of book reviews and a brief (and, for me, convicting) video by Chan.

(For what extremely little it was worth, one of the book reviews included a quote from Chan that pretty much answered her irrelevant question.)

Having just made the point that the issue was truth (not labels), the very next comment — by a moderator, no less — asked me if I was emergent. Quite frankly, I was stunned at how incredibly and thoroughly he had missed my entire point. I felt like tapping the mic and asking, “Is this thing on?”

I temporarily evaded the question, as it was no more relevant for me than it was for Chan. However, after a while, it became obvious that I was never going to get that point through, even though I repeated it numerous times in different ways. So I just (metaphorically) threw up my hands and answered their question. I worked off a list of teachers/writers that one of my accusers had provided, and (I’m sure to their utter shock) largely agreed with their stances on these men.

But then I “messed up” and dragged God into the conversation (what was I thinking?):

Bottom line though: While none of those men are on my bookshelf, I do not think God incapable of using them to speak truth to me.

The responses to this statement (all of my others “disappeared”) made things abundantly clear — they were so utterly focused on these men, that they totally (dis)missed God. One can only come to the conclusion that they do think God incapable of using those men.

There was even a great, though certainly unintended, illustration of this. One of the moderators has an image in his signature line — riffing off of President Obama’s “Hope” slogan — that says “Hopeless” (complete with the same logo in the “O” as was in the original). While no fan of the president by a long shot, I have to note that this image says infinitely more about the moderator’s view of God than his view of the president.

I ran across a post on another blog today about some truly horrific people — murderers, drunkards, adulterers, pimps, prostitutes — the scum of the earth. Oddly, they’re all characters cited in Genesis, many of whom were greatly used by God. And some of them don’t even have the “good” testimonies of how they did all that bad stuff before they met God, and walked the straight and narrow ever since.

The phrase “another gospel” (riffing off Galatians 1) has been perverted in its overuse to mean “that with which we do not agree”. And, to be sure, I saw that phrase used often in the discussions surrounding Chan and others. But to claim (even indirectly) that God is incapable of using anyone requires not only the ignoring of large portions of Scripture, but an outright mockery of God’s grace and the heart of the gospel message.

That, my friends, is truly “another gospel”.

Galatians 1:9 (NKJV – emphasis mine) — As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

Don’t blame me — I didn’t say it.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 at 11:29 am and is filed under Banning HoF, Commenting, Emergent Church, Hypocrisy, Legalism, grace. 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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21 Comments(+Add)

1   Neil    
March 2nd, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I’m not sure what brought this to mind, but I thought of it this morning even before seeing this post:

On the Discerning the World thread they listed Dan Kimball in with all their other “emergents” – which shows their ironic lack of discernment.

Kimball is so unlike all the others they trash… he is so noncontroversial in his beliefs that listing him is comical.

It goes to show that they are either lazy, completely confused, or just focus on external methodology regardless of belief.

2   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
March 2nd, 2010 at 12:34 pm

…they are either lazy, completely confused, or just focus on external methodology regardless of belief.

I’ll take all of the above…

3   Neil    
March 2nd, 2010 at 12:46 pm

On the one hand I will not play their game of saying who does and does not preach the Gospel.

On the other hand, while they do preach the Gospel, they preach so much more…

I mean seriously, when you kick someone off your forum for saying “I am an American evangelical and I support a two-state solution” saying this constitutes unbiblical doctrine – you have added to the Gospel.

4   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
March 2nd, 2010 at 1:01 pm

I’ll second Phil’s sentiment.

5   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
March 2nd, 2010 at 1:39 pm

I’d disagree a bit with you Neil (#3) in that it is not really a game at its core.

Now they have turned it into a game — more specifically, they have significantly cheapened the phrase. They’re playing marbles with diamonds.

But 99% of what they claim is “another gospel” — even if it IS error — is not “another gospel”.

But denial of God’s grace and power — and that’s exactly what they’re doing — IS another gospel.

6   Neil    
March 2nd, 2010 at 2:01 pm


You are correct that it is not a game, yet that is what folks like rr-bb and DtW have turned it into.

The saddest things with the whole exchange at DtW, as far as I am concerned, is that fact that they ignored what we said we believed in favor of what they think we must believe based on labels and guilt by association. Even if there is really no association just the refusal to label as they do.

In other words, our profession of faith and our definition of the Gospel was ignored. The determining factor was our refusal to agree with them on the salvation of Rick Warren of all things.

At no time (with the exception of the secondary issue of disensationalism) did anyone disagree with anything I said about the beliefs of the faith. Yet I was labeled an unbeliever because I would not label others as unbelievers.

7   John Hughes    
March 2nd, 2010 at 2:27 pm

There was a time when I would have “held their coats while they stoned you” but you guys have corrupted me and I can actuallty dialogue with those I disagree with.

8   John Hughes    
March 2nd, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Escatology is to salvation as _______ is to _________ ?

Contest rules. Maximum 3 entries per contestant. All entries become the property of John H and quoted as his own in the future.

9   Brendt Waters    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
March 2nd, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Neil (#6), admittedly, the DtW “rules” of salvation are sillier, but to their credit, they didn’t “Schleuter” whole conversations to bolster their point (like RR does).

To be honest, between commenters talking about me in Afrikaans and non sequiturs out the ears, I couldn’t ever make any definitive statements about DtW (other than what you’ve already said).

10   Neil    
March 2nd, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Brendt – you are correct, I was pleasantly surprised that none of the comments we made at DtW were moderated out… problem is they ignored the content of the comments unless it could be used to label.

11   Brendt Waters    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
March 2nd, 2010 at 4:29 pm

True dat

12   Brendt Waters    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
March 2nd, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Neil (#1), Kimball has emergent hair. ;-)

13   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 2nd, 2010 at 4:34 pm

How can you guys interact with a site whose first policy is:

“If anyone insists on trying to find the full name and where abouts or address of the authors of this website it will not be taken lightly.”

The entire thing is unbiblical. If you are not willing to provide your entire name you are either a coward, a deceiver, or both. “Provide for things honest in the sight of all men”

The original Greek never included Paul’s name. :cool:

Love can be partial; mercy can be partial; knowledge can be partial; but grace is either entire or it is not grace. I got saved watching the Broadway play “Godspell” which was written by an unbelieving Jew. (Stephen Schwartz) Don’t tell me God cannot use anyone – He has risks His reputation greatly by using me sometimes.

14   Brendt Waters    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
March 2nd, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Rick (#13): How can you guys interact with a site….

Well, actually, I don’t anymore. I got banned for two years (I guess for dragging God into the issue). My banning includes the fact that I’m not saved. I just hope Jesus doesn’t come back before 2/11/2012 when they’ll let me back in and enlighten me. Otherwise, I’m screwed.

As to the question of “why did I ever?”, I (incorrectly) thought that the original questioner was asking an honest question. Even if I hadn’t been shouted down and banned, it became obvious later that anything short of “Chan’s going to hell” was not going to appease her.

15   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 2nd, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Am I correct in assuming that Pastor Chan graduated from Master College? And this lady suggests he is not saved? And even if he is svaed God will not use him?

16   Neil    
March 2nd, 2010 at 5:17 pm

One of the fundamental similarities between the two sites is their dispensationalism.

In the case of rr-bb they regularly speak of the great apostasy that must take place before the rapture. And of couse this is taking place now. It is a classic example of finding what you seek… it smacks of narrow-mindedness on both the geogrpahic and temporal level. Things must get worse before the rapture therefore they only focus on the church in America – forgetting the rest of the world. They also must assume that things are worse now than before – forgetting the sins of the past.

Brendt is right though – there is no honest inquiry on either site. The one will ban and edit anything with which they disagree and the other just ignore what ya say and insert their own meanings.

As soon as one discovers these truths, there is little point in trying to talk any further.

17   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 2nd, 2010 at 5:19 pm

The unchristian and unredemptive view of the Palestinians is born of echatological idolatry as well as American patriotism.

18   chris    
March 2nd, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Even if I hadn’t been shouted down and banned, it became obvious later that anything short of “Chan’s going to hell” was not going to appease her.

hmmm…I wonder what that’s like? :)

19   Neil    
March 2nd, 2010 at 5:23 pm


I believe Chan is guilty by association, although I am not sure to whom he associates to be labeled such.

It’s kinda funny that the original question was “Is Chan Emergent?” As if that is a unified “thing” that one is or is not. And as if that determines whether or not his book should be read.

It also smacks of the laziness and the fact that they focus on externals. No one asked if he was a Christian. No one asked what he believes. No one asked if the book was biblical. It was all about whether or not he could be labeled as an emergent – and therefor dismissed.

20   Neil    
March 2nd, 2010 at 5:25 pm

The unchristian and unredemptive view of the Palestinians is born of echatological idolatry as well as American patriotism.

And a heavy dose of eisegeting Genesis 12…

21   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 2nd, 2010 at 5:28 pm

From the review:

“The second theme is deeply counter-cultural, going against the stream of both Christian and secular culture. It is this: live your best life later. Chan wants to see Christians living differently—living in a way that is markedly different from those around them. He wants to see Christians forgoing much of what we consider necessary, what we consider our due, in order to focus on treasures that are eternal. He wants us to get outside the realm of what is comfortable to us and focus instead on radical obedience. “God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.” ”

Yea, but does he subscribe to the 24 hour creation day? I just may have to buy that book even though that is usually not my way. I love the word “radical” much better than the word “orthodox”.