It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Oops!  Wrong Tale…

While it was nice to have a long vacation, in some ways, it is always nice to be back home.  Another nice thing about taking a break is that it tends to recharge your batteries and help you see some new and old things in different lights.  And speaking of lights…

yep- it's VegasMy son Jordan and I were in Vegas last Saturday night, at the end of our 19-day journey, and we had the evening to do a walkabout up the LV Strip, just for the sheer spectacle (and to have a couple more conversations, along the lines of lesson at Caesarea Philippi).  So, with the temperature in the triple-digits and the humidity nonexistent (with the sun going down), we headed up the strip.

Early on, we passed a line of young latino men and women wearing signs advertising “LIVE GIRLS TO YOUR ROOM IN 20 MINUTES OR LESS”, clicking business cards together, trying to hand them out to all the folks passing them.  [We'd already discussed the importance of using the "Suzi rule" - my wife's long-time advice to me that when you walk around in a big city, you avoid making eye contact or answering folks on the sidewalk who are trying to get your attention.]

Just past these peddlers, there was a man, probably in his mid-40’s, with a T-shirt that said (in big letters) “JESUS LOVES YOU”, and beneath it, in smaller print “and I do too…”  He also had a small stack of paper in his hands, though they were booklets which had on the cover “You don’t have to live like this“, along with a smaller logo and print identifying them as being from the Central Christian Church of Las Vegas.  I smiled at him, and gave him a small nod and wink, which he returned to me.  He actually stood out, somewhat, because he wasn’t trying to push his fliers into peoples’ hands, but he handed one to people who stopped by him and at least seemed to be paying attention.

child abuseA couple blocks later, we crossed the street to take a look at the fountains in front of the Bellagio.  Unfortunately, much of the corner was clogged, with people spilling out into the street, because there was a small entourage of street preachers with megaphones, hollering at folks (who did their best to walk around them, since they were blocking the way through what was probably the busiest intersection on the strip).  In addition to the bullhorn guys, they had four or five little kids with them, with “repent or perish” shirts on, shoving tracts into folks’ hands as they walked by (not all that differently from the guys in the “LIVE GIRLS” shirts).  The guys with the megaphones were doing a great job shouting the Roman Road at folks, along with all of the great $10 words like “propitiation”, “substitutionary atonement”, “salvation” and every other Christianese phrase that would do a Dutch Reformed heart proud.

I later thought it was funny that my son chose the caption for our photo (above) in Flickr: “Sometimes you wish folks would stop being on your side…”  It was sad, but true – and it didn’t require an 18-year-old to notice the stark difference between a Christlike witness and those just being “Jerks for Jesus”.

About four hours later on the way back down the strip, I noticed that the gentleman with the “You don’t have to live like this” fliers was having a discussion with two of the “LIVE GIRLS” guys, and none of them paid attention to us as we walked by (they were speaking in Spanish, so I don’t know what was being said).  In some way, I wondered if the “LIVE GIRLS” folks weren’t the actual audience to which the older gentleman was wanting to speak to, in the first place.

Teller Like it Is

And it’s not just Christians who notice this.

Penn & Teller, a comedy/magic duo somewhat famous for their dark humor (their Vegas ads proclaim “fewer audience injuries than last year…”) are also famous for being atheists, as well – and fairly vocal ones at that.  Even so, I recently read an interview (language warning) with the talking half of their act, Penn Gillette, who also narrates a Showtime program that “debunks” various religions and charlatans (except for Scientology, because the network won’t let them, and Islam, because they value their lives):

You do go after Christians, though … Teller and I have been brutal to Christians, and their response shows that they’re good ****ing Americans who believe in freedom of speech. We attack them all the time, and we still get letters that say, “We appreciate your passion. Sincerely yours, in Christ.” Christians come to our show at the Rio and give us Bibles all the time. They’re incredibly kind to us. Sure, there are a couple of them who live in garages, give themselves titles and send out death threats to me and Bill Maher and Trey Parker. But the vast majority are polite, open-minded people, and I respect them for that.

And what’s funny is that he’s pretty much spot on when evaluating the Christian blogosphere, as well. Many are incredibly kind, and it’s just sad that there are a (very vocal) few of them who live in garages, and give themselves important-sounding titles (like “Pastor-Teacher”) and lie and speak eternal death threats against those who won’t follow the narrowly legalistic, eisegeted systematic theology they claim to follow. Which is probably where the saying comes from that it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch.

And it’s not just Vegas.

When I got home this weekend, I saw this story which pretty much mirrored what I saw out in Las Vegas – again a tale of two witnessing Christians, but in a different city.

Apparently, there was a “gay pride” event (let’s just call it a mini-Vegas) at which a guy was simply planning on handing out Bibles and talking to folks who were interested in speaking to him.  The organizers of the event sued him to prevent him from showing up, but the court threw out their suit.

So, this guy, his wife and son showed up

wearing yellow T-shirts printed with the words “Free Bibles.” They pulled rolling suitcases full of Bibles and attracted little attention, stopping only to hand out Bibles or to engage in conversation when asked. They encountered a few challengers and bemused glances from festival attendees familiar with the court case, but attracted little attention until a gaggle of television cameras began to follow them.

“We’re not interested in preaching, and we never were,” Johnson said. “We’re not here for all that stuff in the news. We’re the ones that meet and have honest conversations with people, and we have our own rules that we go by as far as conduct is concerned.”

Johnson said he believes that homosexuality is a sin, but he insisted that he is not forceful about his message.

Meanwhile, a Jerk for Jesus decided to show up, as well.

[He] attracted far more attention than the [Bible Guy] as he stood on a box with a sign that read “You are an abomination to God, You justify the wicked,” preaching to a jeering crowd. [He] attracted shouts of disapproval and arguments from passersby. Eventually, Pride attendees stood in front of him with signs that read, “Standing on the Side of Love.”

And, just to demonstrate the inherent legalism within both his preaching and his orthopraxy, the second man “brought a decibel meter to prove, he said, that he was acting within the law by not being disruptive.”  (… and they will know we are Christians by our decibel meters not pegging out loud enough to be called ‘disruptive’.)

As I thought of both cities and both types of Christians – the humble and the boorishly proud – I was reminded of one of Rich Mullins’ favorite quotes (paraphrased from Wilhelm Stekel)

An immature Christian wants to die nobly for a cause, but the mark of a mature Christian is that he wants to live humbly for one.

  • Share/Bookmark
This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 at 12:35 pm and is filed under Church and Society, Evangelism, Original Articles, pastorboy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
+/- Collapse/Expand All

82 Comments(+Add)

1   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
June 29th, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Thanks for sharing your observations Chris.

I’m glad you and your son had a safe trip and have returned home to your family.

grace.

2   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
June 29th, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Thank you, Chris, for once again showing your judgmentalism and anti-evangelistic fervor.

The newspaper you read misquoted the sign. It has a Bible verse on it Proverbs 17:15. It was from a ministry group we met that day and joined to share both one to one and through open air preaching.

I never claimed to have a decibal meter. I stated I was allowed to speak 5 decibels above the crowd so that I would not be disruptive. That is the city ordinance.

Pride attendees had Rob Bell-esque signs from a Unitarian Universalist homosexual group saying ’standing on the side of love’ while they cursed us and the Gospel.

Now, we never once brought up the topic of homosexuality. We proclaimed the law and the Gospel, just that simple. When we were asked about homosexuality, we simply pointed to the scriptures which speak about it.

The gentleman you referred to (Brian Johnson) was the subject of a lawsuit while he had simply handed out Bibles and spoke one to one with people, he still was the subject of attack, ridicule, and a lawsuit. So his ontological method and mine both were met with objection. People hate Jesus, and they hate His words, therefore they will hate us. (See John 16) There were many other groups there with the false message of Jesus who were accepted (MCC, Covenant, PCUSA, Methodist, UU, ELCA)because they were affirming.

It might also interest you to find out that one young man whom we conversed with prayed a sincere prayer of repentance and faith and immediately felt compelled to abandon his lifestyle and the park.

I would say it was all very worth it.

3   Rick Frueh    
June 29th, 2010 at 3:31 pm

If you are consitant you will go to a Roman Catholic meeting, an Amway convention, a Masonic lodge, a professional sporting event, and a gathering of divorced people and tell them their lifestyles are wicked and hell bound.

I do remember Jesus mentioning the Pharisees as hell bound but not a whisper of gays. But spouting off about gays is easy, safe, and will make you feel like the wrath of God. (Of course you are warning them out of a heart of profound and sacrificial love – we understand that.)

4   Rick Frueh    
June 29th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

“prayed a sincere prayer of repentance and faith”

How can you make such an assessment based upon a couple of hours? That is what you criticize in the “sinner’s prayer” churches. I guess you have shared that with us and whoever will listen. You are an evangelistic model. (applause sound)

5   neil    
June 29th, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Pride attendees had Rob Bell-esque signs from a Unitarian Universalist homosexual group saying ’standing on the side of love’ while they cursed us and the Gospel.

so now a christian brother is slandered and associated with uu’s and gays because he emphasizes god’s love – and they do to.

i suppose the man who wrote “god is love” was a gay universalists as well?

6   neil    
June 29th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

i have never understood the need to be confontational with the gospel… what’s the point? did jesus ever get nasty and argumentative with unbelievers? he did so with the religious leaders and the like, but did he ever get nasty with gentiles?

i think we should all have as our goal – following jesus without embarrasing him.

7   neil    
June 29th, 2010 at 4:05 pm

So his ontological method and mine both were met with objection.

so the reporter was wrong to contrast the response to you and johnson? you both recevied the same amount of oppostion and both needed police intervention – regardless of approach?

8   neil    
June 29th, 2010 at 4:10 pm

People hate Jesus, and they hate His words, therefore they will hate us.

sometimes… and sometimes they are repelled and never get to hear his words. if the gospel is “good news” it assumes that people see it as such. and our behavior should be such that people think “that is a better way” or, as in the op, “i can live differently” – and by differently it is implied – better.

but when people see jerks for jesus they are likely to think – “i do not want to be like that.” so are they rejecting truth? are they rejecting jesus? or are they rejecting jerkdom?

9   Rick Frueh    
June 29th, 2010 at 4:32 pm

People hate the words of Jesus when they are shot out of self righteous canon to aim at their sin from a sinner himself.

10   Neil    
June 29th, 2010 at 4:43 pm

People hate the words of Jesus when they are shot out of self righteous canon to aim at their sin from a sinner himself.

in his book “They Like Jesus but Not the Church” Dan Kimball makes the point that people do react negatively to the morality claims of jesus – the whole sin thing. his point though, is too often people do not have a chance to really reject jesus… it’s christians they reject.

11   Neil    
June 29th, 2010 at 4:43 pm

shot out of self righteous canon

brilliant pun!

12   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
June 29th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

#10 How can they reject anything? Unless they are regenerated, they are dead in their trespasses and sins.

Please read the Bible folks. It is VERY clear on this….

13   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
June 30th, 2010 at 12:03 am

Ah yes, stupidity-driven systematic theology strikes again. Apparently the definition of “very clear” means something different than “very clear” in Minnesota.

14   Rick Frueh    
June 30th, 2010 at 5:01 am

The labyrinth and conundum that is Calvinism. And when they are finally backed into a corner concerning the inconsistencies of their theology they either say we do not understand their theology or they are doing it to the glory of God with no earthly purpose.

I will always believe that unconditional election leads to self righteousness, harsh treatment of sinners, and a theology clique that is every bit as strong as some charismatic circles. When the end has already been written and our participation is nothing more than pleasuring a God as he awaits the the end He has ordained, then you have license to say and do anything in the name of “evangelism”.

What kind of a “God is love” becomes a man and suffers and dies for the forgiveness of sins, and then only makes it effectual for a miniscule portion of helpless and needy sinners? And this is the God who bids us do good to our enemies?

Not my God.

15   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
June 30th, 2010 at 9:06 am

#12

So in John 12:48, Jesus says those who reject Him will be judged by the very words He spoke. And yet, by your theology (picking and choosing verses that back up your presupposition) Jesus was merely adding to their punishment by warning them and calling them to Himself.

And I know you can quote verses regarding predestination. I’m familiar with them all. It just seems very calloused to relegate those who refuse your evangelistic efforts to the status of unregenerate, and so therefore they are unable to receive or reject the good news.

16   pastorboy    http://www.crninfo.wordpress.com
June 30th, 2010 at 9:18 am

#15 It has nothing to do with my efforts. It is the Holy Spirit who regenerates people so that they can hear and respond to the Gospel Call. We never know who they are, we are responsible to go out and make the call everywhere. There was at least one person there that we know of that seemed to genuinely repent and place his trust in Jesus. I pray there were many more.

17   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
June 30th, 2010 at 9:31 am

It is my personal experience that I NEVER would have sought the living God if He did not first pursue me and open my eyes and quicken (KJV for ‘make alive’) my spirit…NEVER. But I still could have rejected His drawing. I still could have chosen to hold onto my life. But by His grace, I did surrender (and Lord-willing continue to surrender) my life to Him.

So as I said, I’m very familiar with the predestination verses. But for every one that you could quote, another one could be found that says man is responsible for how he responds to the gospel.

There has to be a balance. And by your words, you give the impression that those who reject you reject Jesus, and that’s only because they are unregenerate. So you can yell judgment (within legal decibel levels) until you’re blue in the face, and that’s okay. Because they’re not chosen.

18   Rick Frueh    
June 30th, 2010 at 9:34 am

#16 – So it’s a spiritual game of huckle-huckle beanstalk.

19   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
June 30th, 2010 at 9:35 am

Is that like duck-duck-goose?

20   Rick Frueh    
June 30th, 2010 at 9:35 am

Or spiritual battleship. A hit!

21   Rick Frueh    
June 30th, 2010 at 10:19 am

There is a fine line between redemptive evangelism and verbal brutality. And there is a not so fine line between Moses and Jesus.

22   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
June 30th, 2010 at 10:36 am

Well, if you call what I do verbal brutality, you are dead wrong. I lump myself together with those I am speaking with. I ask questions. I give examples. And I shout the good news that we can be completely cleansed of sin through Jesus Christ. In this case, I did not address the obvious sin of homosexuality, rather I addressed sexual immorality, and made myself the worst and most immoral. Yes, I use the law to soften the hardened conscience. But I trumpet the Gospel’s redemptive power.

23   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
June 30th, 2010 at 10:37 am

I think what PB’s methods represent is the result of the thinking that a conversion experience must follow a very set pattern – namely, that a person must completely recognize his own sinfulness, repent, ask for forgiveness, have faith, and be saved. To me, the problem with the sequence of events is that not every Christian’s testimony lines up with that. Heck, even the Apostle Paul’s testimony wouldn’t really line up with that.

I’m not saying that some people don’t come to Christ out of some sort of profound recognition of their own sinfulness, but I don’t think that’s the only reason. I’ve heard all sorts of testimonies. To me, it’s sort of the American way to find something that we believe works and try to make it work for everyone.

24   troy    http://www.sheepandgoats.blogspot.com
June 30th, 2010 at 10:43 am

“And I shout the good news that we can be completely cleansed of sin through Jesus Christ.” pb

Unless, of course, you’re not elect.

25   pastorboy    http://www.crninfo.wordpress.com
June 30th, 2010 at 10:49 am

#23…You forgot the first step of ordo salutus- regeneration. I think this video can help you understand.

26   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
June 30th, 2010 at 10:59 am

I love when people use fancy Latin words for concepts they just made up! It makes them sound so much smarterer!

27   Rick Frueh    
June 30th, 2010 at 11:04 am

#25 – I personally came to life changing faith in Jesus Christ without any epiphany concerning my own sin. I had an epiphany about the Risen Christ.

I call it ordo Ricktus.

28   pastorboy    http://www.crninfo.wordpress.com
June 30th, 2010 at 11:10 am

I know…nobody else EVER has typos…
ordo salutis just so you can look it up Phil, not a made up word, just poorly spelled.

29   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
June 30th, 2010 at 11:14 am

I actually wasn’t referring to the fact that it was a typo at all. Even spelled correctly, it’s a made up concept that’s given nice name. I don’t see anything like an “order of salvation” given at all in Scripture – certainly nothing involving 12 Steps!

We should start a 12 Step Program for those recovering from the ravages of systematic theology…

30   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
June 30th, 2010 at 11:29 am

Phil, that would just be mean. They need a One Step or No Step program. :)

31   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
June 30th, 2010 at 11:41 am

Phil, try Romans 8:28ff. That should solve your issues with the ordo salutis

32   Rick Frueh    
June 30th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

#31 – Voila! Eureka! A proof text!

And we wonder why people consider us as intellectually disingenuous. BTW – I can proove free will be a single verse as well. Rom.8:28!
:lol:

33   jose    
June 30th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

So PB, is beign ridiculed for his method or for his passion? wether it be right or wrong. I stand in a corner with a live band and preach the gospel, speakers and all. Am i wrong? or should i just stand and wait for someone to come to me? kind of the way Jehova witnesses do in the NY subway. i have never seen anyone actually stop and talk to them.

34   Neil    
June 30th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

aren’t all words made up?

35   Neil    
June 30th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

jose,

the comparison in the op was between those who were quietly engaging people with the claims of the gospel, offering them a better life, displaying a grace that was appealing – against those who were noisily arguing with people, who were holding signs of condemnation, who needed police protection because of their confrontational style.

i ask the question again: did jesus ever get nasty and argumentative with unbelievers? he did so with the religious leaders and the like, but did he ever get nasty with gentiles?

36   Neil    
June 30th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

what i find interesting is the inconsistency. how many times have bell or wright or someone else been accused of driving people away from the cross… but now, when we talk about people rejecting the messenger not the message – all of a sudden it does not matter if they are not elect.

37   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
June 30th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Yeah, those proof texts.

[16] So the last will be first, and the first last.”
Matthew 22:14; [14] For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Mt 24:22, 24, 31 [22] And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. [24] For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. [31] And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Mark 13:20[20] And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.

Mark 13:27 [27] And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

Luke 18:7; [7] And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?

John 15:16; [16] You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Acts 13:48 [48] And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
Romans 8:33; [33] Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
Romans 11:17; [17] But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,
Ephesians 1:4 ESV) [4] even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

38   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
June 30th, 2010 at 1:15 pm

#36 the problem is Bell and Wright and Pagitt and Jones and Campolo and Hipps and Wallis and Annie whoever direct people to a false Christ.

39   Neil    
June 30th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Please read the Bible folks. It is VERY clear on this….

i always chuckle when someone makes a statement about how clear the bible is on their position… when true christian have been arguing over the doctrine for two millenia.

40   Neil    
June 30th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

#36 the problem is Bell and Wright and Pagitt and Jones and Campolo and Hipps and Wallis and Annie whoever direct people to a false Christ.

first off, the christ of wright is the christ of the bible, the christ i follow, the christ you follow. your continued slandering of a brother in christ is shameful.

second, it does not matter… according to your logic. because they will respond if they are elect and cannot if they are not.

41   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
June 30th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I love how people present things like, “well, would you rather I just stood in the corner and said nothing?” – as if being a jerk or being completely quiet are the only options available to us. It seems to me that there’s a whole range of options between those two choices that we can do.

Also regarding the whole notion of a “false Christ”, exactly what percentage of correctness about Christ is one required to have to truly know he’s following the true Christ? I would be willing to bet that just about everyone has some false notions about Christ. Is there like some sort of Mulligan factor that let’s them slides by, but once you surpass that, too bad?

42   Neil    
June 30th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

exactly what percentage of correctness about Christ is one required to have to truly know he’s following the true Christ?

this is answered in the steve taylor music video; “…if ya want to be one of his, you have to act like one of us.”

43   jose    
June 30th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

phil, was i beign a jerk to people? If you mean was i screaming out the top of my lungs sending people to hell then NO.
Was I expressing the gospel thru a sound system? YEs I was. Againg this all comes down to METHODS.

44   Neil    
June 30th, 2010 at 3:41 pm

jose,
no one called you a jerk. it was you who set up the false dichotomy between being a jerk and doing nothing – phil just pointed it out for the false dichotomy it was.

45   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
June 30th, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Jose,
Neil is right – I never called you a jerk. I really don’t know anything about what you do, so I can’t comment. I do know, however, if the cops feel they have to keep an eye on a person because of that person’s reputation, than there’s a good probability that person is being a jerk.

So, yeah, to a big extent, it’s about methods, I suppose. But in the bigger picture, it’s about exhibiting the type of behavior that honors Christ. I don’t think that purposely being confrontational with non-Christians does that.

46   Jose    
June 30th, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I have heard many people say that the ” Gospel can be Offensive” is this true?

47   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
June 30th, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I have heard many people say that the ” Gospel can be Offensive” is this true?

Well a lot of religious people seem to be offended when you tell them things like Jesus loves homosexuals, Catholics, or liberals – so, yeah, I’d say it’s true… :-)

48   Neil    
June 30th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

I have heard many people say that the ” Gospel can be Offensive” is this true?

of course the gospel can be offensive… but so can evangelists. and there is a difference.

49   Neil    
June 30th, 2010 at 5:56 pm

did jesus ever get nasty and argumentative with unbelievers? he did so with the religious leaders and the like, but did he ever get nasty with gentiles?

50   Neil    
June 30th, 2010 at 5:57 pm

pastorboy,

will you recant of your misrepresentation of tom wright, our brother in christ?

51   Rick Frueh    
June 30th, 2010 at 6:47 pm

For the record:

I have been a jerk many, many times.

There is a difference in how people present the gospel to the lost. When you believe God has already chosen and makes those believe in Him then you are never concerned with any verbal stumblingblocks; you are only concerned with leaving with a feeling of doctrinal purity.

When you believe everyone has been offered redemption through the cross, and in light of Jesus’ statements about the Pharisees pulling men down who might have entered into the kingdom, then you must be sensitive about presenting a false gospel as well as presenting the true gospel adorned with thorns and briars.

The clear teaching of Scripture, if anything in Scripture is clear, is that Jesus offers redemptive to every human creature and paid for all the sins of the world. I was an English major and I believe I can understand the plain teachings of Scripture.

52   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
July 1st, 2010 at 10:01 am

#50
Who is Tom Wright? Is he the guy that misrepresents justification? Is He the fellow who espouses a new perspective on Paul which has led emergents and other already liberal interpretations of the Bible down the wrong path? He may be a brother ( I do not know) but he needs to recant for the false teachings he lays out there!

53   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
July 1st, 2010 at 10:20 am

No, Tom Wright is the respected theologian who doesn’t bow to the idol of “Reformed” theology as if it were the gospel (a la Piper, et al). To this point you’ve not demonstrated any false teaching on his part and only made a fool of yourself in the process by changing the subject every time you’re soundly refuted.

54   Neil    
July 1st, 2010 at 8:43 pm

tom wright – the bishop of durham:
who believes and preaches that jesus is lord;
who believes and preaches that jesus is god;
who believes and preaches christ died for his sins;
who believes and preaches christ was resurrected;
who believes and preaches that it is impossible to earn god’s favor;
who believes and preaches obedience to jesus;
who believes and preaches the need for repentance of sins.

that tom wright – you must be thinking of another.

55   Neil    
July 1st, 2010 at 8:49 pm

i still have not found an example of jesus ever getting nasty and argumentative with unbelievers? he did so with the religious leaders and the like, but did he ever get nasty with gentiles?

56   Bo Diaz    
July 1st, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Neil,
Don’t you know that Elijah viciously attacked followers of Baal? Why, that’s all the example we need! Jesus? Why bother with his example? We’ve got a single, solitary example from Elijah!

57   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
July 1st, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Jesus seemed primarily concerned with the lost sheep of Israel while he was here on this earth. He was at the least very direct. He did tell sinners to go their way and sin no more. He did pull no punches when it came to those who thought they were saved by keeping the law, those who thought they were saved because they were children of Abraham, and those that believed they were saved because they were part of the nation Israel. Jesus surely pulled no punches when He cleared the temple. Other than that, it was all about flowers and puppies and the like.

58   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
July 1st, 2010 at 10:20 pm

tom wright – the bishop of durham:
who believes and preaches that jesus is lord;
who believes and preaches that jesus is god;
who believes and preaches christ died for his sins;
who believes and preaches christ was resurrected;
who believes and preaches that it is impossible to earn god’s favor;
who believes and preaches obedience to jesus;
who believes and preaches the need for repentance of sins.

that tom wright – you must be thinking of another.

who believes and preaches works help justification along
who believes and preaches a different perspective on Paul which shapes his justification of faith plus works

There. Fixed it.

59   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
July 1st, 2010 at 11:15 pm

You are a liar, PB.

Wright does not preach works righteousness.

60   Neil    
July 2nd, 2010 at 1:16 am

the claim:

[wright] believes and preaches works help justification along…his justification of faith plus works – pastorboy

the fact:

as we saw earlier, just as you can’t set up a staircase of human logic and climb up it to get to some kind of “proof” of God, so you can’t set up a staircase of human moral or cultural achievement and climb up it to earn God’s favor. From time to time some Christians have imagined that they were supposed to do just that, and in their efforts they’ve made a nonsense of everything…Once again, the gospel itself, the very message which announces that Jesus is Lord and calls us to obedience, contains the remedy: forgiveness, unearned and freely given, because of his cross. – n. t. wright

unearned.
freely given.
because of the cross.

61   Neil    
July 2nd, 2010 at 1:33 am

i believe pastorboy’s heart is so hard and cold it prevents him from accepting or acknowledging a brother who he thinks is “different.”

his cold hard heart ignores and overlooks all the glorious biblical truths we share in common with our brother the bishop – all the truths and beliefs outlined in #54 are ignored and dismissed – these foundational truths of the faith we share are sacrificed and ignored because wright does not share the same theory of the atonement.

within this man is a heart that is bound by the xenophobic systematics of modernism and cultural ethnocentrism… and as such it is willing and quick to ignore shared beliefs on major biblical doctrines choosing instead to divide the body of christ over tangential and inconsequential differences.

and when faced with the basics of a brother’s belief his heart is unwilling to rejoice and repent and learn. it chooses instead to malign and mock.

’tis a cold, dark, hard place. may the mind and love and grace of christ… the very light of god’s spirit himself penetrate the darkness.

62   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
July 2nd, 2010 at 2:30 am

I have decided that my second go ’round as a writer here will be much more patient and kind, but I have to say that the accusation that NT Wright teaches a works based salvation, justification, righteousness, is just plain without basis.

One must be utterly dense to believe that is what Bishop Wright teaches. It isn’t and he has refuted the charge more than once. All you have to do, to be sure, is actually read something he has written on the subject.

This needs to be on the debunking page.

63   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
July 2nd, 2010 at 2:36 am

#54, one small note, (even though I too referred to him as Bishop), NT Wright will soon no be longer the Bishop of Durham. He has resigned that post in order to become Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

I’m sure you knew that, so I’m not trying to correct you. I’m just pointing it out for all who might be interested. Story is here.

jerry

64   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
July 2nd, 2010 at 8:47 am

The Gospel, according to NT Wright:

is “the narrative proclamation of King Jesus;”[Paul] “is announcing…that Jesus is King, not just of Israel but of the whole world.” Said with greater clarity, “The gospel is the announcement that Jesus is Lord – Lord of the world, Lord of the cosmos, Lord of the earth, of the ozone layer, of whales and waterfalls, of trees and tortoises.” While no thinking Christian would deny the lordship of Christ over all things, nevertheless when the gospel itself becomes the message of lordship rather than the message of redemption and justification, there will necessitate a seismic shift in our understanding of why Jesus came and died and what we are to proclaim as a result.

indeed… so the Gospel becomes a social justice program rather than a message of redemption and justification. WRONG. Not. Biblical. At. All. N.T. Wright is WRONG….

As soon as we get this right we destroy at a stroke the disastrous dichotomy that has existed in people’s minds between “preaching the gospel” on the one hand and what used to be called loosely “social action” or “social justice” on the other. Preaching the gospel means announcing Jesus as Lord of the world; and…we cannot make that announcement without seeking to bring that lordship to bear over every aspect of the world… It is bringing the whole world under the lordship of Christ.

This ’seismic shift’ takes away the focus of Jesus as the one who saves people from their sins and gives them righteousness to a Jesus which is declared Lord (He already is) over systems that are in place (the earth, the animal kingdom….et.al) and we are to participate in rescuing the planet. Is this guy Al Gore or The former Bishop of Durham?

65   Neil    
July 2nd, 2010 at 9:04 am

re 63 – i bet the title sticks to some degree as an honorary thing… i used it to distinguish the tom wright i was speaking of from the tom wright pastorboy was speaking of – since they are obviously two different people.

66   Neil    
July 2nd, 2010 at 9:06 am

re 64 – pastorboy – the king of the false dichotomy… the possessor of a heart that ignores clear declarative statements of a man’s faith in an attempt to drive a edge between the parts of the body of christ… you have chosen to ignore:

the gospel itself, the very message which announces that Jesus is Lord and calls us to obedience, contains the remedy: forgiveness, unearned and freely given, because of his cross. – n. t. wright

67   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
July 2nd, 2010 at 9:10 am

I’m confused, John. What Tom Wright shares, in the very quotes you posted to refute him, is a gospel that is incorporates the entirety of the Biblical narrative. While the gospel that Jesus merely died for MY sins so I won’t go to hell when I die is one aspect of this whole “good news.”

It’s like comparing a symphony played by a full orchestra to a violin solo of that same score of music.

Both are beautiful and legitimate. But one portrays the full intent of the composer.

68   Neil    
July 2nd, 2010 at 9:17 am

indeed… so the Gospel becomes a social justice program rather than a message of redemption and justification. WRONG. Not. Biblical. At. All. N.T. Wright is WRONG…. – pastorboy

pastorboy, i believe you are not stupid, therefore i believe you can comprehend what you read. this leads me to the conclusion that a) you knowingly twist his words in an effort of deceit, or b) your heart is so hard and cold you just will not bring yourself to acknowledge biblical truth from someone you dislike.

you are falsely accusing a brother in christ.
in wright the gospel does not become a social program – but it certainly includes one.

69   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
July 2nd, 2010 at 9:20 am

#67
Jesus died primarily to glorify God.
The result was the purchase of salvation for the sins of all who would believe.

Jesus Christ is (was) and always will be already sovereign over all the universe. This is not the Gospel.

This announcement takes the focus off of the need of individual justification and redemption, and, like Rob Bell, makes the proclamation that is is somehow already true for everyone and everything.

It is not.

70   Neil    
July 2nd, 2010 at 9:20 am

what i find tragic is that in his effort to find something… anything… to accuse wright of – pastorboy offers the fact that jesus is lord over all creation as evidence of false teaching.

is jesus not lord of the world, lord of the cosmos, lord of the earth, of the ozone layer, of whales and waterfalls, of trees and tortoises?

of course he is.

do you deny this pastorboy?

71   Neil    
July 2nd, 2010 at 9:22 am

re 69 – and in an effort to accuse a brother you also pour into his words meanings that are not there. wright does not teach a form of universalism.

72   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
July 2nd, 2010 at 9:26 am

#70 I do not deny it is true, I stated it was. It was, and it is, and it will always be.

But it is not the GOSPEL. Jesus did not die for us to proclaim what is already true. He did not die for the tortises. He died for the elect that we might be saved. And we are called not to somehow declare Him as Lord over all the cosmos(he already is) but we are called and appointed to bear fruit. (John 15)

73   Neil    
July 2nd, 2010 at 9:28 am

jerry,

i think you and i are trading places. you want to become more patient with pastorboy. a role i once played defending him and assuming good-will on his part.

not any more; i have lost all respect and patience for a pastor who willingly mocks and revels in the sufferings of his political enemies.

i hold in complete contempt a pastor who knowingly and willingly twists the words of a fellow servant of christ… insulting the common bond we have in christ by choosing to ignore wright’s clear and fundamentally biblical statements in favor of an effort to create a false modernist dichotomy at the expense of the truth, at the expense of the gospel, at the expense of our lord’s purposes, and the expense of the reputation of a brother in christ.

74   Neil    
July 2nd, 2010 at 9:45 am

i find it comically tragic that pastoboy’s effort to malign the bishop brings him to the point of saying that we are not to declare jesus as lord of the cosmos. i guess, like any trapped animal, the farther one is pushed into the corner of an indefensible argument the more desperate one becomes.

or, the cornered-one could recant, repent, and rejoice.

75   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
July 2nd, 2010 at 10:18 am

…and, like Rob Bell, [Wright] makes the proclamation that is [sic] is somehow already true for everyone and everything.

Wrong.

76   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
July 2nd, 2010 at 10:23 am

It is available for EVERYONE. That’s the good news.
I don’t pray that I’m one of the elect.
I surrender to the living Christ.

The fact that NT Wright was compelled to devote a whole book to defending himself against mischaracterizations from the Piper camp is a little disconcerting. And said book is probably one of the main reasons you malign him, John.

77   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
July 2nd, 2010 at 10:28 am

Neil,

We’re not switching. :-) That is still your job. I need to be patient with everyone. Part of the healing process of the last year has been, for me, to realize that for the most part I have been a jackass towards many people, at many times.

I’m working on changing that now by allowing the holy Spirit to fix me.

jerry

78   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
July 2nd, 2010 at 10:31 am

This announcement takes the focus off of the need of individual justification and redemption

Tom Wright never, never, never denies the need of individual justification and redemption…never, never, never.

79   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
July 2nd, 2010 at 10:36 am

John, I mean this with all sincerity. You really need to check your heart in this matter. Taking a quote like you did, and then saying that an esteemed and proven elder of the Christian faith denies the tenets of the faith is maligning him.
He already has an accuser, as do you and I.

80   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
July 3rd, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Since Chris wont do a full reporting job, let me add another article from a different paper:http://www.marshallindependent.com/page/content.detail/id/517605.html?nav=5017&actionAlert=commentadded#commentNum11697

81   Neil    
July 3rd, 2010 at 5:46 pm

pastorboy, you crack me up…

but at least you are consistent in your tactics: in the thread about the flotilla you applied an event that took place in a different country, by different people, and weeks later and inserted it back on turks and others…

now you take an article from today, and impose it back on chris l to make the claim he is incomplete.

82   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
July 4th, 2010 at 9:21 am

#80 So much for not letting the right know what the left hand is doing…..