Archive for the 'Steve Camp' Category

Early last week, Steve Camp wrote a moving tribute to his friend Larry Norman. Then, later in the week, Camp went after Mark Driscoll for his comments on Song of Solomon.

My question is, what is more “graphic-smutty-over the top-foul language”, Larry Norman’s lyrics or Mark Driscoll’s comments? Here’s some of Norman’s lyrics:

Pardon Me (from “Only Visiting This Planet”)

Close your eyes, and pretend that you are me.
See how empty it can be
Making love if love’s not really there.

Watch me go, watch me walk away alone,
As your clothing comes undone,
And you pull the ribbon from your hair.

“Why Don’t You Look Into Jesus” (from “Only Visiting This Planet”)

Gonorrhea on Valentines day, and you’re still lookin’ for the perfect lay.
You think rock and roll will set you free, honey, you’ll be deaf before you’re 33
Shootin’ junk until you’re half insane, broken needle in your purple vein.

Steve Camp, your hypocrisy is showing.

*Note: This is not an attack on Larry Norman. I am using hyperbole to make a point.

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It is, admittedly, fall-out-of-your-chair hilarious that Ingrid would speak negatively about a blogger deleting comments. And Tim Reed owes me a new monitor because he didn’t warn me to swallow my drink before I read his recent post.

But I have some stronger impressions about the situation than what was in that post. Ya see, Steve Camp (whose comments were deleted from Tim Challies’ blog — the focus of Ingrid’s complaint) wrote about the situation himself, and his admissions are both disturbing and revealing.

From Camp’s own analysis (emphasis his):

But here is what only a handful of bloggers knew before I posted my comment: It was a test; a set up. I had contacted some bloggers and told them ahead of time what my intentions were and it was this: I wondered if I use some of the same direct speech and inflated nomenclature that Driscoll uses, but direct it towards him, will his supporters be angry with me and thus reveal a double standard, or will they accept it as being edgy, straightforward and honest? Sure enough, my experiment worked. I was comment 47, and within minutes the Driscolletes were offended and outraged against me. My comment (as well as others) were deleted a short time later.

It was perfect; I couldn’t have scripted it any better if I wanted to.

I do apologize for anyone who took the bait (including Tim) but it had to be done. I don’t mind taking the heat to get to the truth.

It strikes me that Camp’s test was very clever. And I choose that word deliberately.

In the fall of 2006, Driscoll spoke at a conference hosted by John Piper’s church. Camp and many others were outraged that Piper was opening his pulpit to Driscoll. Of course, this was phrased in holy terms such as “concerned”, but the point was made nonetheless. In a Q&A during the conference, Piper admonished Driscoll of the danger of trying to be too clever. Camp took this and ran with it, seeing Piper’s statement as a total validation of his “concern”. Never mind that someone pointed out to Piper later that he also needs to be aware of trying to be clever in his own way (to which Piper confessed accuracy). Never mind that when Piper heard that others were taking his comment as validation of criticism of Driscoll, he said:

I would not have .001 seconds hesitation in having Mark Driscoll come back tomorrow to our church or our conference.

Nope, what Piper said was gospel. One should not try to be too clever. Unless you want to prove a point. Then all bets are off.

But there’s something much more disturbing than exceeding cleverness. Camp is on record numerous times for saying that Driscoll’s approach is sinful, unbiblical, etc. So Camp willfully, with pre-meditation, engaged in (what he very clearly defines as) sin just to “get to the truth”. It “had to be done”. (Maybe I’ll try that line with God the next time that I feel that I need to confess something.)

Oh, and it’s not “sin” when Camp does it — it’s just presenting “bait”. I hope there weren’t any little ones around.

It’s also frightening that none of his “friends” (to whom he brazenly announced his intention to sin) called him on it, either. I’d be interested to know who those people were, just so I’d know who not to seek counsel from.

So what’s the lesson to be learned here? Apparently, the ends does justify the means after all, as long as you are trying to “get to the truth”.

But, wait a minute. Isn’t the knock on Driscoll often that the ends does not justify the means, that his methods are what are important and that his goals are (at best) secondary?

I won’t use the “h” word. It’s too obvious.

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Ingrid complains that Steve Camp’s comment was removed by Tim Challies:

Now if only we could get Tim to treat Steve Camp’s biblical challenges with the same even-handedness he uses with foul-mouthed Mark Driscoll! Here is Sexpert Driscoll on YouTube. **Warning** See also Driscoll’s sex conference video here. He’s decided to travel the country on a Song of Solomon tour where he can talk about all things sexual and justify it because, after all, it’s in the Bible. If you haven’t already, see my post on the Moses Code below. While the Christian pastors in the land fixate on sex, the enemy is oh, so busy.

As if the irony of Ingrid complaining about removed comments wasn’t enough, she calls Camp’s comment a “Biblical challenge” then mocks Driscoll’s claim that he talks about sex because its in the Bible.

We’ve seen this before, and we’ll see it again, the ODMs don’t care what’s actually in the Bible, what they care about is who’s on their team. Which is why Camp’s claims, which are specific to Driscoll and cultural are called “Biblical” while Driscoll’s obvious assertion that sex is taught about in the Bible, so Christians should be proclaiming those truths are characterized as acts of the enemy.

Sheesh.

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Made of fail!

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It all began with Tim Challies writing a book on discernment. Justin Taylor wrote a short blurb announcing it. In the comments following it Steve Camp opined:

My only prayer for Tim is that he is young, theologically immature, and untested in handling God’s Word. He also began writing this book by polling his own blog readers in helping him define what discernment is. That is a true sign of insecurity, lack of knowledge, and “a tell” that he really isn’t well-versed on this subject.

Tim Challies wrote a response in which Phillip Johnson of Team Pyro wrote:

It’s a fine book. (Even though you stepped on my toes in a couple of places.) And if people who haven’t even read the book are questioning whether a layperson like you (best known for being a Berean) has a right to write about the basic principles of discernment—well, in my mind that’s simply proof of how appallingly short of true discernment the church today is, and how desperately needed your book is.

BTW, I especially appreciate this from Phillip Johnson as Challies was the principle author in the blogosphere writing against Johnny Mac’s view that God does everything for the sake of his own glory. It shows the ability to put aside past disagreements in order to write in a fair minded way.

Edit: Oops, I mixed up BW3 with Tim Challies, somehow. Apologies all the way around. Still, admirable of Johnson to stick up for Challies.

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(For you non-geeks out there, “!=” means “does not equal”. We now return you to normalcy.)

Please hang on with me on this. This may, at first, come across as simply an apologetic for Mark Driscoll. But I’m merely using him as an example — that we recently cited, no less — for a much broader point that I’ll get to.

In Tim’s recent plug for Mark’s message on the first part of Philippians 3, one commenter jokingly said:

That’s the first Driscoll sermon I have heard, and there was a disappointing lack of potty language and emerging concepts. Not like what I was told by ODM’s. I liked it.

A couple follow-up comments were made stating (accurately) that Driscoll has distanced himself from the EC, but doesn’t toss the whole thing out the window.

If I may paraphrase Barbara Mandrell and George Jones, Mark was emergent when emergent wasn’t cool.

He was in the movement back before chunks of it developed some of the beliefs with which he is in disagreement. Because of this, he had the advantage of seeing that there are aspects of the movement with which he does still agree. And so his later distancing himself was not a wholesale “baby with the bathwater” thing. He hung on to the parts that he still agreed with, and maintains friendships with those with whom he theologically disagrees.

Many today don’t have that advantage. And, to be honest, it’s human nature that if the first thing you hear from an ECer is something with which you strongly disagree, you may ignore him completely thereafter.

Note that I said it’s “human nature” — I didn’t say it was “right”.

This is, unfortunately, how many Christians operate. They equate being in non-agreement with something to being its enemy; sometimes, even when the stuff that they don’t agree with is non-essential. (And, no, I’m not getting sucked into an argument over the definition of “essential”.)

I have to count myself among the “many Christians”, as I know that I am sometimes guilty of the same thing. Whether it’s Steve Camp telling us that Driscoll is lying when he says that he wants to pursue humility or John MacArthur unequivocally telling us that Doug Pagitt is going to hell, my tendency is to ignore (or severely discount) anything else that comes from the mouth, pen, or keyboard of these men.

And even from a pragmatic standpoint, that’s wrong. Steve was a great songwriter (I’m not familiar with his current work, or I might say “is”). And when he’s concentrating on exposition, there are very few that hold a candle to the vast majority of MacArthur’s teachings.

But let’s delve even deeper. Scripture is loaded with examples of God using the most unlikely of vessels. And lest we think that we are reading too much into that, 1 Corinthians 1:27-29" href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%201:27-29;&version=50;" target="_blank">Paul tells us explicitly:

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.

We see, then, that it’s not just the great songwriter or the solid teacher through which God speaks. So, I would caution us not to shut out someone with whom we disagree, because what we are doing when we do that is bordering on blasphemous — as we tell God that He is incapable of speaking truth to us through anyone that He pleases.

God is not simply truthful — He is Truth. So when truth is spoken, He is in the midst of it. Now this is not an argument for a “divine spark in everyone” or pantheism. There is (obviously) a great distance — in logic, if not solely by definition — between omnipresence and pantheism. So if we shut out someone who is speaking the truth, we are really shutting out God.

That’s not something that I think we really want to do.

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In this article from Steve Camp’s blog, he talk about the evils of contextualizing the gospel. I am not going to re-hash the argument that has been made here over and over about contextualizing the gospel. However, I found it ironic that Camp used this image of Christ in his article. Any ideas where it’s from? You guessed it… Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, in which he contextualizes the gospel for film, to present to a theater audience. I guess it’s ok to contextualize the gospel, as long as it is your style…. tear drop from God, and all.

P.S. — I loved this line from the blog… “In the name of connecting with “the culture” they want their people to know they have … learned the lyrics to countless tracks of gangsta rap” You know… all of us crizzzazy emergizzle pastors learning the gangsta rap… raise the roof, fo shizzle.

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Hitler was able to destroy the lives of so many Jews by irrationally blaming most of Germans problems on them. This article from Steve Camp uses similar tactics. He shows irreverent images from pop television shows and clothing lines such as this South Park slide and online shirts, like this one. He then makes this comment

IMHO, this is the number one issue bar none, coming from within the emerging/emergent church culture today. Contextualization of message, defining missional thinking, postmodern cultural relevance, open hand/close hand pragmatics, etc. are all secondary, and frankly child’s play, compared to the issue of the lack of reverence that is coming from within the emerging/emergent church to the greater body of Christ.

He basically uses these images as an example of how irreverent the “emerging-seeker sensible-ecumenical-culturally relevant-evangelical” church(since it is all the same) is today without any logical link. Aside from these pictures, there is no legtitmate examples of how the emerging church is mocking the person of Jesus Christ. In fact, in the comment section, one reader wrote

Oh my, how awful. I expect it from outside the church, but this is coming from “inside” the church (’church’ used loosely in this case!).

to which he responded

Exactly. We expect this from nonbelievers; but when pastors think it gives them greater footing with others within their church or to attract others to their church, then we most “sound the alarm!”

He gives no logical examination as to how South Park is connected to the he “emerging-seeker sensible-ecumenical-culturally relevant-evangelical church. He actually reinforces the idea that these images are coming from within the church. it seems that there are a number of articles coming out from the ODMs that are outright lies and far-fetched stories. Maybe the Christian tabloid business isn’t doing so well these days.

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or do they seem a bit ashamed of Jesus’ humble circumstances?

In the past Driscoll has been critical of e/e churches for loving Jesus’ humanity but not his divinity. It seems we have the flip side of that here.

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Is there such a thing as a “half-Christian?” There is according to some of people commenting on Steve Camp’s Blog. There has been a furious discussion going on over there about Francis Chan’s video called “Stop and Think.”
The heart of the debate is whether or not what Mr. Chan has to say should be considered “the Gospel.”
Now, here’s what I find interesting about this whole debate. If you listen to the thoughts and arguments being presented, the general gist is that “words matter.”
That is words matter until you start to question some of the people on Mr. Camps side of the issue over the Chan video. I imagine some of them might be upset by my phrasing here, but as the saying goes about what is good for the proverbial Goose…
One of the first terms that you will find in the post itself is that a half Gospel is capable of producing only a half Christian. Really? Now, I’d like to give a pass here and say hyperbole was being used to prove a point, but the statement is re-affirmed time and time again throughout the thread. So, I’m curious. What is a “half Christian?” Is that the same as being half pregnant? As a father of three under four I hope that never happens. This doesn’t apply to salvation either. A man or woman is either saved or they are not. He is either on his way to heaven or not. She is either redeemed/regenerated or she is an enemy of God. I can hear some in the other camp (pardon the pun) saying, “Hold on, you’re taking what we said, too literally. Of course you can’t be half saved.” But as they have pointed out time and time again, what we say or don’t say matters. I’m just looking for the same standard to be applied to this webpage that is applied by that webpage to others.
In essence this phrase seems to me to border on being heretical. If we are to deny the permanent saving work of the cross and say how we present the Gospel can somehow effect the totality of someone’s salvation we are rendering the Gospel useless. If it is indeed hyperbole to make a point, then there is some level of inconsistency going on here. The entire string of posts seems dedicated to pointing out the flaws in what Mr. Chan had to say. It would seem only sporting that we apply the same vigorous standards to what is posted by those doing the examining.
It seems to me that this phrase contradicts their belief system. Most of the commenters claim to be reformed in their worldview. How can a truly reformed person believe in a situation where someone is only half saved? Besides seeming unbiblical to me it seems to not follow the belief system the profess to believe.
The second term that comes up that gives me reason to pause and consider is the term “Win.” It is God that does the work, and not me. Now, when I brought this up in the thread’s discussion. I was told to not worry too much about the term win. But doesn’t that fly in the face of the standard that they applied to Mr. Chan and his video? Shouldn’t anyone who is commenting on a teacher of God be careful because in a real sense aren’t they by questioning a teacher in essence becoming teachers themselves? Surely, this is how a Jewish person in the time of James would have understood his warning that not many should assume to be teachers.
So, applying the same rules to them one quickly finds a problem with this phrase, “win them with.”

Some more of my favorite quotes:

  1. “The people who hear this don’t have discernment, and those who are converted by the film are starting out in their faith with a serious misunderstanding of our natural relationship to God.”
  2. …this is a pastor of a church who purposely is NOT including these things…”
  3. “-I made a qualifying remark that my critique of this film is by no means an indictment against this brothers local church ministry.”

For #1. Don’t we all have to grow in our understanding of our relationship with God?

#3 seems to blatantly contradict #2.
My point here is not to pick on these people, in fact I have found that I enjoy interacting with them. They are passionate about what they believe and I respect that. I disagree with some of their conclusions but I respect the passion that they approach it with. My point is to expose the slippery slope that is critiquing someone else’s Gospel ministry. Often, when we approach evaluating someone else’s ministry we hold them to a much higher standard than we do ourselves as evidenced by the comments found on Camp’s post.
We can “camp on this”: “By whatever measure we judge others, we will be judged.” Not only is this truth human nature, it is Biblical.

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” —Jesus

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