Sunday, December 31, 2006

Comments on Examining the Emergent Church

Ryan at Examining the Emergent Church has been doing a great job on critiquing the emerging church. He and I have talked a bit. I know some of this has been gone over quite a bit, yet I hope to share with the reader Examining the Emergent Church. In part of the comments back and forth Ryan asked some questions.

Ryan asked,

"What do you mean by this? What is this “Higher view of Truth” that you speak of
(capital H, capital T)? …and why are you being viciously attacked over it? Your
comments almost sound Gnostic in a way, so I need you to clarify for me if you

I see truth in three ways...

1. TRUTH: It is the Person of Jesus Christ (I am the Way, the Truth, the Life) I see that as all things were created through Jesus, He is Life itself... in the same way He is Literally Truth itself. I am not legalistic on this so I do not always cap all the letters. John 14:6

2. Is revealed Truth: This is in no way Gnosticism... God is a Mystery. Yet, He is ever revealing Himself to us... cultivating in the Revelation of Jesus as God incarnate. Gnosticism denies Jesus came in the flesh. Neo Gnosticism is based more on a perversion of Christian/Dualism more akin to Platonism than Christianity... meaning they view the flesh as evil and spirit good... that is the core of Gnosticism... yet if you read in John 1 concerning Jesus as the Logos (which is taught by some to be rationalism and denies empiricism in how we gain knowledge of God. They are confused as to what the Bible teaches as the “image of God is” and reduce it to rationalsim... I reject that as man was made a living being out of the dust of the earth and God breathe His breath into man... so man is not just his mind...( this is more complex and would take a much longer post to explain and this comment is too long already! LOL!) This is what some call propositional truth and teach that is it the only way God teaches us... I agree that it is by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, yet even then I have been attacked by some as "not believing in Absolute truth" though I have written that Jesus is "TRUTH Absolute" mostly I do not see that truth of any kind that is "truly truth" needs a description... we are to let our yes be yes and our no be no... so if it is truth... it needs not qualifier to tell us how true truth really is.... Thus they deny their own argument by negating truth with a qualifier as it implies that some truth is not "true". Personally I call that a "lie" or error... LOL!

Yet, in this fallen world there is a different truth.

3. truth: This truth is relative to the available knowledge one may have... it was "true" once the world was flat... yet it was not "true". This is the tricky part as we do not without the Holy Spirit know if the truth of this world is true or not as to our limited view of all things.

I see mainly that TRUTH is a Person (Jesus) Who reveals to us Truth, in that we learn it by the Bible, experience, intuitively, deductively, instructively (ok now I am making things up, but you get my point I hope God can use whatever to teach us something and this is not discluding the main source which is the Bible). God can use art, music, the face of a child or loved one, our enemies, our failings all to teach us and guide us... though we need to have Jesus to open our eyes like He did the two disciples on the road to Emmaus or as Jesus stated, " You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (John 5: 39-40)

We need to have a relationship with Jesus to even begin to know truth on any level...

So to me the Higher view of Truth is that Jesus is THE TRUTH... that TRUTH is a Person.

Why am I attack over this? Simply because I have a link to Brian McLaren on my blog...

You see when someone attacks, they are not "in Christ" they are in the flesh and fulfilling the desires of the flesh... The flesh itself is not evil... but the desires, lust, hate, and so on that drives someone, without the Holy Spirit ( or with if they are in Spiritual bondage or under bad teaching) will try to attack someone and discredit them in the attempt to gain something, with power in the form of control. That is what Jesus came and flipped over... He overturned the power structure of this world... if someone slaps you face, turn the other cheek... this was not just some weak "turn the other cheek as I am a pacifist" thing... but as one was struck, by a Roman soldier, it would be most likely a back handed slap... then to turn the other cheek would then say, “Yes you hit me, but here I am, your equal, so now what will you do?" Then the choice is mercy or violence from the Roman soldier. If he hits you now it is as an equal and it will be with a fist... if he does not he has given mercy. The point is Jesus flipped the power structure over and took back the power then gave it to us. (This works out in higher theology I am just pointing to the practicality of it in the days of Jesus).

The attacks are much like you have pointed out on this post… it is like out of all I wrote just now, someone will just take a small part of a sentence and then call me a heretic. For example they will take this; “mostly I do not see that truth of any kind” and construct a whole post/blog against me that I am against truth altogether… yet I think that you can see that I am not and that this is more complex than what they are saying.

I hope that sheds some light on what I have said…


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I know Christmas is over but...

You've never seen Santa like this before. The dude can move. Check it out!
Check out my Sweet Santa Dance Sequence!

Here is Mr C.

Merry Christmas... again!


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Saturday, December 30, 2006

My last words to my HYPER CRITICS

(I hope that one will realize that much of this is no longer an issue to me. The people who did most of the initial attack have dropped off the map or have gone on to discredit themselves by losing jobs in their attacking of me and others. I hope the reader will not just read this post but go on to read other things I have written.)

I find it rather strange how some will demand perfect doctrine from others…

Recently I received a post I did not let through because the person is so full of hate towards the emerging church and myself I just saw it as not healthy for the discussions going on… I am sure if one wants to read what this person says and they read my blog they will put 2 and 2 together… and know who he is… In fact I am reluctant to even post this as I am sure he will be perversely encouraged that he has gotten a raise out of me. Yet, in fact he has not… I did want to point out as I have at time before some basic things about this blog.

It is now a chronicle of over two year’s journey of my faith. So I hope one might see:
1. I may have grown over that time
2. That I might have written something once and then have either sharpened the original thought or even have changed my mind
3. Written something and not “notated” a source ( this is a blog not a doctorate thesis btw)
4. Written something in hopes to be controversial to spark a discussion.
5. Written something that I hoped would cause some to think and dig deeper.
6. I hope that one would realize I do not want anyone to just take my word on things but search out what God says. (Be like the Bereans!)
7. I have written some things and tried to be open, honest and even vulnerable… in that I have been called a liar… Yet, I am only a human with frailties so please don’t expect me to be perfect… only God is perfect.
8. I may not have fully developed a thought, but omission does not mean I am a heretic… but it does mean someone who is HYPER critical of me may not have all the facts!

9. In areas of Theology I admit fully I am looking at many things and thoughts. If I quote Barth or Spurgeon it does not mean I approve 100% of their thoughts or ideas. This goes for MacArthur or McLaren as well.

On the Bible I am accused of not believing in inerrancy of the Bible.

I am certain that the original manuscripts were without error… yet any scholar or basic bible student will know that we do not have those original hand written manuscripts or can verify if we do that that is the one that Peter or John hand wrote themselves… we do have thousands and thousands of manuscripts that allow me to be certain that what we have is God’s written word. Yet as I read scripture I see that Mark will say Jesus said something and quote Him and in Matthew or Luke Jesus will be quoted just a bit different. Some will say that it is because Jesus may have said it one way in one place and another in yet another place… yet that is never stated in the Bible and is pure speculation. I see though that the core of the statement is intact and the intent of the teaching or statement is most important than the exact quote. I do not believe in an “inspired translation” only inspired “original” manuscripts… I do hold that the bible is God’s written word and does hold authority… Yet even saying that the authority is there only because Jesus is the Living Word. Without Jesus as the LIVING WORD to back up what is taught in the Bible, it would not have any authority. Authority is only given by a person… and words on a page do not have authority in themselves. That is what set Jesus’ teachings from the other Rabbi’s in His day… He taught with authority. Though I have not stated all of this in one place if one reads everything I have written (even the comments!) one will see that this is true and consistent. I recommend also reading the article I link to as it will go further than I may have in explaining my position on some things. Though on occasion I am relating an article to draw out more conversation from my readership.

What I see most from those who critique me, is that they will pull a partial sentence or statement and go, “I got you!” then use that to prove I have lied… or have taught false doctrine. That is why I have no problem when I do let a hyper critical person post a comment of giving their blogs address even when they are too cowardly to post their own links to their blogs. I know my readers are more sophisticated than these guys realize.

I have let their posts through to show their true love for me and others. Of course that is tongue in cheek I had hoped they will read themselves and realize they are not being Christ like… yet it seems to not work so I may be changing that very soon and not letting any HYPER CRITCAL voices through as they do not add to a conversation but distract and divide and are often abusive which is not edifying to me, and especially my readership. I will let those who disagree with me… respectfully… post and will be glad to clarify/work through/ pray with/ and anything else we can do in order to fellowship and edify each other.

Steve is a new commenter on my blog and in the recent postings on John MacArthur has pointed out I am misrepresenting JM… We may disagree and soon I am sure I will be off the JM kick and on to better things. Yet, Steve has been a shining example of respect and gentleness. He has been very Christ-like and I truly appreciate his thoughts. I have even gone over things even more closely and have tried to be open to all sides. In Fact I have stated I agree with JM on many things.

(I have said that many of the critics of JM are not accurate especially Ryrie who is one of the harsher critics of JM and goes way overboard in trying to discredit JM. Again I am not out to discredit JM but I am looking at his doctrinal statements as he has the EC and I am finding things I do not agree with.)

If someone wants to discredit someone (which seems a bit weird someone would be so fascinated by me and hate me so much to try to harm me and my ministry) they can find much I am sure… If one of my critics was not so cowardly and had opened his life to his readers (instead of his perverted version of mine) I am sure anyone could go post by post, line by line and construct heresy and false doctrine from him also… in fact he is so busy saying things I have not said, or twisting things I have to mean totally the opposite I am not sure how he has time for much else in his life… but I guess we all have to have a hobby.

I am sure he will bring up the “little card that says I am a reverend” that was twisted by another critic that I was saying it “proved” I was one… In fact I said that tongue in cheek not knowing that person had no sense of humor… Then another person took it and went even farther with it… so here is the story and connection with UCMI (About UCMI) which I am ordained through. (Though I am still ordained through UCMI as I have no need to be now... I am active in the local Vineyard Church plant updated: 4/27/2007). My calling is not from man but God. I walk in the gift of “pastoring” for a pastor is that, a gift to edify and build up the Body.

These people state I am a fraudulent Reverend do to my connection with UCMI. I have explained why I connected with them which was to be able to be accountable as I was in the process of planting a church in Billings MT. UCMI was different than many of the “get ordained” sites as they had a few more things going for them. They had a school and a support system in which if I needed I could attend and talk to others in ministry as I see isolation is the major issue all churches today… it causes things like Ted Haggard and such to not be accountable. And I wanted to be accountable not just to my direct congregation… but to an outside source that could revoke my ordination if I strayed outside of preaching the gospel of Christ.

I was placed on a year’s probation, in which I could not do weddings… which I had no real interest in doing. In this time I was to fulfill certain ministry obligations such as “bear fruit” in some aspect and also pursue some educational recommendations. After the years probation in which I had gotten to know some of the people in leadership and such I was required as I am every year to submit my goals for the year and to show what I have already accomplished for that year. If one does not do this they will be put on "inactive status". I am still in "active status". They ask for support which would be 3% of what your ministry brings in... Which is about what most denominations require. They have never demanded nor told me I had to send money or lose my status. Over all I have been treated professionally even more so than when I was a Youth Pastor in a major denomination. I viewed them as a correspondence school… I never cared about accreditation as I see things much like Moody did (he declined ordination as he believed he did not need man’s approval on his calling) I agreed and again, I did it not for approval, but for accountability. The accreditation was not that important to me as I know that many major denominations are not accredited and have produced some top teachers and preachers… such as Calvary Chapel. Many denominations ordain within their own denomination and have non accredited schools… I will say that as I looked into UCMI “accreditation's” I think that they are not trying to be dishonest, but rather be honest and show they are accredited… yet I think those that have may not be that great of “accreditors”. Again, I do not believe this is out of dishonesty rather it may be just bad judgment and would be better to just say they are not accredited. I say this as I have gotten to know the people and know that God is using them… I do not see them as “con men”. People make mistakes and to one HYPER CRITIC's credit he has given me at least that benefit of the doubt… in which I do not rule out any possibility that I could be duped. I really do not believe this to be so.

As far as “the little card that says I am a Rev.” I received the card after the year’s probation… I never “paid for it” and I receive a new one as I renew my ordination… which does not cost me more than the time to fill out the annual report I am required to do every year. (This quote about the card was stated as a bit of a joke on my part and then taken to mean something entirely different... that the card somehow qualified me to have more credentials...LOL! since I no longer have a card and am active in the Vineyard this is all really mute)

Again, I have not even sent in for a “parchment” nor have ever thought I needed one. In fact I see that I have received much more from UCMI than I have ever given… which is sad to say not much as income has not been a stable thing for my family. These critics argument would be like me saying I did not agree with the SBC so did not accept any ordinations their fellowships gave to their Pastors. It is based only on that these people do not see UCMI as credible.

In the 6 years I have been an official ministry… (Word of Mouth Ministries) I have received only $540 total… any other cost has come out of my own BTW as far as a registered ministry WoMM is registered as a ministry in Montana (we have a EIN). It is not registered as a non profit (though we make no profit) or rather we do not have 501(c)3. Again, I have been up front with that.

I have never used my ordination for personal gain… I had it on my page just because I am proud of the fact of my calling. Yet since then things have changed… and were changing at the time these HYPER CRITCS began their attack on my character.

I met Allen Hodges of Vineyard and we have become good friends. I have shown him the “blogs” and he has laughed… I am at present an Intern in the Billings Vineyard Church. I am on the leadership team… neither of these are positions I have pursued… they have been offered to me by Allen. As a new fellowship we have been growing steadily and have just moved into a building after meeting at Allen’s house. There are some really exciting things happening. I see God moving in a mighty way. I have dropped the “ordination” for two reasons.
I am not planting a church so am not in the one as far as position
I am “pastoring” but have not been given the “title” from Vineyard, so will not us that “title” in that way. I am still an ordained “minister” in good standing with UCMI.

As far as education, I have always been up front I do not have much formal education and what I do have, I would never brag about. I have never studied nor claim to have studied Greek… I always point out I am using a Strong’s Concordance… I also have friends who have M. div and Dr Div in which I have run past some of the things I do talk about using Greek or Hebrew… With that if they disagree I will usually not write about the topic until I work out the kinks a bit more… of the things like “Ekklesia” I have talked extensively with my friends with higher education and have gotten enthusiastic thumbs up. (One is a SBC pastor who is not in the EC). The issue is that one person thinks that I add too much to the word Ekklesia as I see it as defined as “Called out Ones” or “Ones Called out to Perfection”, disagrees with the latter as he does not see "perfection" connected to the word “ekklesia” in the Greek… I do and others do… I veiw the Church being Christ's Body a Living Organism... as Christ Lives, so does His Body. I see that in the "ek" part of the "ekklesia" which is:

Strong's Ref. # 1537
Romanized ekPronounced ek
a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds), from, out (of place, time, or cause; literal or figurative; direct or remote):
KJV--after, among, X are, at, betwixt(-yond), by (the means of), exceedingly, (+ abundantly above), for(- th), from (among, forth, up), + grudgingly, + heartily, X heavenly, X hereby, + very highly, in,, (because, by reason) of, off (from), on, out among (from, of), over, since, X thenceforth, through, X unto, X vehemently, with(-out). Often used in composition, with the same general import; often of completion.

This is from Strong's definitions... and I see in that portion of the word the "higher calling" that Jesus used the word to mean something more akin to "perfection". This is a richer word than "a meeting place". Even if one may not agree with that being specific in it's meaning, the rest of Scripture teaches that we are called to that very purpose, to be perfected in Christ.

These guys get much nastier than this simple disagreement… I often wonder if they think that they are fighting against flesh and blood by using the worldly weapons to attack me with.

I have pointed out one of these people denies that a relationship is needed to be saved. He is a false teacher if he teaches that and JM would not agree at all. Yet, his word is believed over mine because he is aligned with people at SOL.

I have publicly forgiven both these men in their slander… and will continue to. I will also continue to pray for them as I see that they are sincere in their belief they need to defend God… I do not hate these men… I do get frustrated in having to give defense… in that this will be the last time I address them, unless they repent from trying to harm me and apologize for their sin. For me I will live at peace with them the best I can and walk in Christ’s forgiveness for the power to forgive them. I will not address them if they continue to lie and slander me… in that I turn them over to God to deal with them.

Please in no way think this means I am censoring people because I disagree with them. The issue is that these people no matter what I say just plain hate me for whatever reason… I believe even if I was to “repent” and begin to believe and act like them, they would still call me a liar. So, I don’t think engaging THEM is of any real value or edifies the Body of Christ is a true manner. I do not have an issue with disagreement. In fact I enjoy “friendly” debates and think discussion on theology as challenging and fun… I do not care for name calling... (Which I know I am guilty of and have apologized for in the past… and will again as I am sure I will inadvertently do it again…. As I said I am just a human being and not perfect!) But I will not keep engaging in these peoples open sin and rebellion against the scriptures prohibition concerning judging others not will I allow myself to be pulled into defending myself again because of their slander and lies… they can contend with God on those things. I will continue to pray for them and I know that God is faithful and will finish the work He started in these men… I am content with God doing His works in and through them… according to His great will and purpose. If they want to know what I really do teach the blogger links below will connect one to all the () I will not give them any more of my time or energy as I have greater things to do than try to show someone how "Christian" I am. I will not have anything to do with these divisive men. (Titus 3:10)

This next year I hope will be exciting and another growing experience. I have already begun studies on knowledge and will be posting those in the next month (Jan). I am also hoping to be able to take a class in Greek that my pastor will be teaching at Vineyard so pray for me as I have not had much luck learning other languages.

My prayer is to be a blessing to those who read my blog… and to grow in understanding in each other as we all grow in the Knowledge and Grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Once You Had a Slice, Now Shunned and Sliced!

So occasionally I am SOL, though I have not had the privilege of being "blogspotted" I have commented on Slice of Laodicea to point out that though they call me a heretic and promote people who do not believe a personal relationship with Jesus is needed to be saved, I have commented on posts that promote the "exchanged life" there and not been let through. Officially I have not been shunned... just rejected... which does not bother me at all.

I just wanted to point out the first time I interacted with Ken Silva of the Slice of Laodicea.
First read his comments. Then read the post he is responding to... This has to be one of my most MacArthurish posts I have written... but I am just making things up... LOL!
I don't think Ken even read it... I think he was excited that he was "getting me" on SOL and wanted to let me know... He even pointed out a blog where you can read that this person rejects that Jesus is literally Truth! That is soooo un Spurgeon like!
So if you have been shunned by SOL... try Sliced Laodicea


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More on Lordship Salvation

More on Lordship Salvation

I want to make sure it is understood I am not out to "get" John MacArthur or to discredit him on a personal level. I do not know him so I cannot honestly say one way or the other that John is this or that...

I am critiquing his teaching of Lordship Salvation... Which to me seems to miss some basic teachings of scripture ever so subtly. I do think John is true believer and unlike many out of the “MacArthurite” camp I am not stating he is a heretic/false teacher/not saved or whatever else that is often thrown at the "emerging church/emerging conversation".

Over all I see john as a faithful teacher who at times becomes over zealous and often overlooks that Grace and mercy mixed with humility, respect and gentleness will do more than hot rhetoric.. Alas I too often fail in that area and so must "administer” grace and mercy to John... I also see believe that one can critique another’s theology and ideas without malice and taking an active stance to discredit or harm that person.

One of the basic issues I see is that as someone recently railed against me about, "no true follower of John MacArthur would believe..." showed one of the first fatal mistakes we can do in general as Christians... and that is follow a man. Any man, not just John... but say Billy Graham, the Pope, the Bishop of Durham, and/or Brain McLaren... We are not called to follow a man, but we are called to follow Jesus. I suggest that if one is following a man, then you are not behind the One who can save you. This is one deception that can mess one's spiritual life up badly.

In an article on Biblical Discernments Ministries which is pro MacArthur, the author of the article states:

“Those who reject lordship salvation (e.g., Ryrie), believe that someone may have genuine faith in Christ, but the fact that he continues in his sin demonstrates that he has not made Jesus his Lord, only his Savior. According to Ryrie, just because someone sins or acts in disobedience (even habitually) doesn't mean he doesn't have saving faith.

But the issue is not whether we sin or not; the issue is our attitude toward our sin. And this is where MacArthur is careful to point out that it is willful rejection of Christ's Lordship that proves one's confession of faith not valid.”

First off if one does not know as I did not, Ryrie is trying to refute LS, yet I do think in this attempt he misses the mark also. So I am not taking one side over the other. It is in the second paragraph that I see the issue I have with the view of Lordship Salvation.

What is the issue to me is that if one “willful rejection of Christ's Lordship that proves one's confession of faith not valid” then they simply are not a follower of Jesus and are not saved or at best a very immature believer who has not grown to their understanding, yet it is impossible for one to be saved and possess a faith in Christ… where Go does not grow them in their faith… (1 Corinthians 3:5-7) For it is God that makes things grow… this is not anything we produce ourselves.

We are saved by grace through faith and not of works… that is one of the foundations of the Christian faith. To accept Jesus as savior, in itself is a response to that Grace and in what faith is… a response. So in the end one is only saying that “believing” is not enough to save in itself (which JM whole heartily will agree and aggressively fight for as he should), yet the proof of accepting Jesus the Person is in the out flowing of His works that are done in and through us. The issue is outside of this, one may not be saved if they are trying to do the works to be a workman approved. They are being deceived into believing their works of righteousness are their own.

The very idea of “submissive obedience” run contrary to the scripture also as it implies one is the producer of the works… and we are not as I have already said.

Again from the same article:

“"The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus' message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God's righteousness. It was in every sense good news, yet it was anything but easy-believism" (p. 21, GATJ).”

Jesus calls us to something deeper than what John is settling for here… Jesus is calling us into intimacy in Him… We are not just “submissive obedient” followers of Jesus but now are as he called us, His friends and even richer, His brothers! So as Jesus walked the earth in obedience we now walk in His obedience and not our own. (Roman 5:19)

We again deceive ourselves thinking we can now be as obedient as Jesus… and are denying Christ’s very righteousness in not walking in His obedience which is the only obedience that is acceptable to God.

The result of LS is that people become concerned with their “works” or “fruit” and live in fear of not being acceptable to God.

In an article by Frank Minirth, M.D., he goes into the damage LS can cause in a person’s life. Worse than this one of the effects that I have personally witnessed and been a victim of is that many become more concerned with other’s “works” and “fruit” and use their won as the standard to judge others. All one has to do is look at SOL and AM and see what I mean.

This also leads one to believe their “works” are scoring points with God. Or as one person expressed to me “You should come to Nashville and do ministry here” as he put down my ministry. While saying that he was directly implying that his “works” were greater than mine! Again, he was judging my by “his” works righteousness” and not realizing God is doing His works in and through me also. The standard was not the righteousness of Christ, but some standard he had imposed on himself and then was imposing on others.

The end result of Lordship Salvation is that it does not trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in the pre-believer as well as the believer. Instead of being a natural out flow of the Holy Spirit saving some one in His process, LS demands obedience to works… not Jesus and then offers them to God as some sort of sacrifice… the issue is the same as in Cain and Able. God does not care for “our works”, He desires His will and purpose to be done in and trough us.

A true believe will find that this is in no way “easy-believism”. It is THE NARROW PATH and can only be done as we totally depend on the Father through the Holy Spirit by the sacrifice and LIFE of Jesus.

My motto is this:

Let He Who gave His Life for you, give His LIFE to you, to LIVE HIS LIFE through you.


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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Stephen Shields and Brian McLaren Absolute Truth and Absolute Certainty

This is a great post by Stephen Shields at emergesque.

In the ongoing debate about absolute truth, which seems some claim we do not believe I think this is very helpful in how we see it a bit different and maybe deeper as we seek a more intimate relationship with Jesus. I see that absolute certainty reflects a bit more as to how I see my walk. I am certain of the character of Jesus. I trust in Who He is and what He has and is doing. So even if my view of truth (in the general definition) wavers my certainty in THE TRUTH being Jesus does not.

So what are your thoughts?

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How I Would Respond To John MacArthur


I have looked over some of your writings and noticed that many have misrepresented your views at times… and really it surprises me that you have not taken from that and learned mercy and grace and extended that to someone like Brian McLaren… or myself as I am in the emerging conversation or as you call it the emerging church movement.

Interestingly to me is that you have softened a bit on some of your views (at least some of the charismatic movement) and though being one of that persuasion again, (notably many of my EC friends are Calvinistic in their view which I am not… though I believe in eternal security and free will) as least I see a sliver of hope that the Grace you preach will be extended and practiced.

What I see though is that even as you have been misrepresented at times, you still fall into the trap of labeling all in this so called movement (which in itself is still an in house debate as to if it is a movement) as heretics… The funny thing is I read your statement of faith from your own church website and agreed with most of it… outside of that I think the statement of justification could be fleshed out much more… though I understand that it is a statement of faith and not a doctorate thesis.

My concern in all this is that Jesus in John 17:17 called for unity in the faith… which I see and have experience by those in the EC, yet what I see and have experienced from those who follow you is slanderous accusation and lies as to my character and ministry. I am a heretic because I have a “link to Brian McLaren’s websites” is what one of your follower’s have said to me… and unlike your “zap” story (which was a bit funny as I have never heard that used in my 20 some years in the charismatic movement I had a good laugh over it as I do believe it plausible.) I will not assume all that follow your teachings act or behave or are reflecting how you act and behave. In fact I hope you find that many of us in the EC are working hard to address the issues of post-modernity and modernity and are seeking to give an answer in gentleness and respect… (I am sorry as I do not see this on display on your site). I see that you have some genuine concerns and I too seek that people find a biblical view of truth and one not based on humanist reasoning. I have been attacked by some who claim I do not believe in truth… in fact they believe and teach that we can come to a saving knowledge without a relationship with Christ Jesus… (This is a person who follows your teaching btw, again I do not assume you teach this… and view this person as aberrant, yet he is being heralded by some anti-emerging sites as an up and comer! I would hope you extend the same grace to the EC as I have to you here.)

I personally teach the “exchanged life” which is very close to your Lordship Salvation… (Yet I see it as deeper than mere “obedience” and is about walking in the "obedience of Christ" as taught in Rom 5:19) there are many of us who teach the “exchanged life”… or have been influenced by it. Yet again, by you and others I am called a heretic, as well as others even by association, without you even knowing me.

I hope you can see that while you may have inadvertently found some that have strayed off the path… the bulk have not. In fact I think you miss a very subtle nuance about Brian’s books and that he is not out to give an answer… to even tell one what to believe… but he desires to ask the question to send one back to the Bible and get the answer, from the Holy Spirit leading one in understanding what is written. This is subtle as I have said, and if one has not read books like “More Ready than you Realize” which is about evangelizing in the post-modern matrix one might not “get it”… also remember he is not writing for you or to you... you are saved already... Brian is addressing those entrenched in the post-modern world view. This is again often missed by his critics as they approach him from their modernistic/Platonist viewpoint (which is more akin to the heresy of Gnosticism than Christianity and has infected the church much more than post-modernism in it's acceptance of dualist theology).

I also beseech you to beware that if you are wrong and have mischaracterized Brian in any way shape or form… that you are slanderingand slanderer’s do not inherit the Kingdom of God… and to continue in this sin (which it is)… without absolute certainty you are not wrong in any way shape or form is usurping Jesus as the TRUE JUDGE and placing yourself in HIS THRONE of Judgment… I hope that is not true for you. I find it a bit sad you feel it is your right to come and clean our house... when it seems you have an affiliation* with SBC in which the president Frank Page has considered the EC a good thing over all. I think more integrity would have been for you to clean your own house... or as the scripture teaches, remove the beam out of your own affiliation before you come outside to remove ours (be it beam or splinter).

So, please, consider what you are doing and saying… and I trust that you practice what you preach… and that is Grace to you… and to others.


*I meant to use the word "association". But thanks to a kind and generous and gracious person they pointed out that I used the wrong word.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

The issue of Lordship Salvation.

The issue of Lordship Salvation.

(Update: In regards to Steve's comment I did a bit more poking around about JM's view on this issue. I am not intending to misrepresent his view, rather voice a concern where one can take the idea that one must "become a disciple" in order to be saved and make it about works. I do not think one has to have a full understanding of the Gospel to be saved. In one place John does acknowledge this also. I fully understand John's concern over "cheap grace" yet; I think still that those who are Called will grow as God grows them... and in that they will become disciples. I do think he is not too far off the mark, yet it seems there is a need to clarify this position. Mostly in his recent critique of the emerging conversation John seems to accuse the EC of “cheap grace” and to my knowledge this is not so... in fact I see the opposite as many are moved by God's grace and mercy to go and do the ministry and vocation that Jesus has passed on to us to do. I have read that John may have a different definition of Grace than some do; I have not found that to be true though I am looking deeper. I have found he has a broader definition of Grace meaning that it is fleshed out more than “unmerited favor” and in that I fully agree.)

It does not allow for salvation to be a process in a (pre Christian's) person’s life.

I was thinking about that. John MacArthur wants someone to fully understand Who Jesus is before they believe in Him… That is a bit absurd as it then assumes that that we must know God and that saves us, but the Bible teachs that God knows us and in that we are saved! (Gal 4:9) John flips the Biblical understanding of salvation on its head. It seems to assume from the start that man is the initiator instead of the responder of God’s Grace. John asserts that one must do works to show they are saved… so he has added works to salvation. Though works are a result of our salvation it seems that John places equal for salvation, man’s works and God’s Grace… which without realizing it nullifies God’s Grace. Though John is trying to design a way for God’s process to flow… I personally think God already does a great job without John’s help!

Really this explains a lot as far as the perspective of John MacArthur. He seems to be in fear of God being in control and in a way has created a system to control God to assure one’s own salvation outside of or beside Grace alone. John seems to be well outside the great reformers.

In John’s world works assure salvation. In the Bible works are an outflow of Christ in us fulfilling His great will and purpose. (Philippians 2: 12- 13)

Let’s look at that verse a bit.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

First this verse is about believers… who have obey the words of Christ… and what were those words? John 6:28-29 Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

The one thing that we are to do as believers is to believe in Jesus as the One God sent! In that come the whole package of High Priest/King/Brother/Friend… the whole kit and caboodle! One cannot accept Jesus the Person without accepting all He is… though one may not know all that He is… I am a husband/father/blogger, yet if you decided to be my friend and did not know one of these things about me you would still be my friend… nor will I reject you as my friend if you did not know I was a father…and that is where one must be in relationship with Jesus to get to know Jesusand in getting to know Jesus one begins to know the Father Who sent Him… Just as you would take time and by a process get to know me as a friend, Jesus desires that of us!

Now back to the verse a bit more. Once one obeys the words of Christ… to believe He is the One sent, one must realize it is not that we are one person at church or with our “churchy” friends and a different person away from them… we come to realize that Christ is in us always… He is not more present at a church building… though I may argue a bit about Jesus being more present in a corporal setting as we fellowship and worship with other believers… yet the fact remains, we are in Christ and He in us alone or with others.

Salvation is something we are working through… it is a troubling and fearful process… as one realizes not that one may lose salvation if one is lacking in the “disciplines” rather fearful that it is not we who are doing the works that come out of our salvation process… rather it is God working in us. In that we should tremble as the God of all creation chooses to use us to love others into the Kingdom of God! It is God Who is giving us the will to do His works and the power to DO those works. To think one has a hand even in God’s works loses sight of what God is truly doing… we are partakers of the Divine mission… but we are not the initiators of that mission… otherwise it is our works and not Gods. Then the process breaks down and Jesus is not doing the works… and worse, Jesus is then not Lord… of your life or that situation. (Jesus still is, but it then moves to the area of “discipline” and that is not of punishment rather it is of training the true believer to readjust their will and purpose to God’s calling on their life.)

1 Cor 6: 19 – 20 tells us: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

So many think it is that “we” do the works of Christ… and that is pure rubbish and a twisting of scripture to a man based faith. But yet it is taught throughout the churches. We are not our own… God owns us… whether we bent a knee or not… but it is the Christian that has come to realize this as their very Life. The Holy Spirit dwells in us as He did in the Tabernacle and the Temple of the Old Testament. And like that we walk in hole reverence of the fact we are set apart… on a personal level just like the Abraham was and the Hebrews were and Israel still is… for in fact we are the New Israel redeemed with our future secure, and borrowing as it were from that future glory to shine it’s very Light here now in this darkened world.

WE often forget that God has been at work all these 2000 years… even in the dark ages man has been having an encounter with the Living Risen Christ. Often we tend to brush of points of history and deny that. God was just as much at work in the people pre Martin Luther as He was after Martin Luther. God saved those people the same way as He does today… by Grace through faith… even if they did not fully grasp that! For to say otherwise denies Grace!

God is in the saving business and as history goes on, we are still building on the foundation that was laid and that being Christ Jesus Himself. We must remember that the future of salvations conclusion is rushing at us in the now… and even in the past this was still the case. N.T. Wright states it like two trains one moving toward the New Creation and one move from the New Creation to the present and in where they meet we have communion with God. This was in reference to the Eucharist, yet I see it fits also the case that many miss the point we are New Creators in Christ now doing HIS WORKS of salvation in and through us… In other words, works are not of us… anymore than Grace can be mustered out of sheer will power to save us.

John’s version misses that point and then builds something more horrific over that foundation… a gospel of works salvation based on human reasoning. John places man’s understanding as the way of salvation… this cuts across the very vein of scriptures teaching as Peter was told by Jesus that it was revealed to Peter by the Father that Jesus was the Messiah… (Matt 16: 16) for in the very next verse Jesus shows how salvation comes… not by human reasoning, or by even scripture… as I am sure Peter read the OT many times, for Jesus teaches this in verse 17:

“Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

Who Jesus is revealed by the Father!

This is faith in action. Right there… with Peter “seeing” Jesus because the Father in Heaven revealed it to Peter. Peter in his heart… received the Seed of Christ at that moment and saw Who Jesus was. Yet, in the next few verses we see that Peter did not know what Jesus was going t have to do. In fact Peter tries to talk Jesus out of it!

It is a process… Peter was loved and was on the road to salvation even without knowing all there was to know about Jesus and all the mission Jesus had to do and held in store for Peter and the other disciples to do.

Lordship Salvation is a bit silly to me as in the end ALL WILL BEND A KNEE and confess JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! Yet, not all of those will go into the Kingdom… in fact many of those will be cast into the Lake of Fire. (Rom 14:11)

So build on the foundation of Jesus… and that be by letting Him be the Master Builder, let Jesus be the Author and Finisher of your faith! (Hebrews 12:2) To think you can finish by doing the works of Jesus yourself is only deceiving yourself. Especially if you think work are the way to prove you are saved… The proof is in Who knows you and Who is doing those great and wonderful works… John seems to think that God's way is not good enough and that in some twisted version of "faith", "grace" and "works", we can "help" God! I will stay to what the Bible teaches...

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen


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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas fun!

Here are a couple of fun things if you are bored on Christmas day...

It's Christmas time and Santa's having a tough time with some of his rogue elves. So pick up your snowballs and see how many elves you can hit in Elf Attack. Go here to play. (Thanks to Jason Clark for pointing this one out!)

Test your knowledge of the Christmas story... how much do you really know? Let me know how you did and just maybe I will tell you how I did...

Mostly enjoy your family and friends...take time to reflect on the Incarnation, stay warm and have a very blessed Christmas!

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

There is a lot of talk about those in the emerging church being against “truth”

There is a lot of talk about those in the emerging church being against “truth”, mostly out of some who have either not read “Generous Orthodoxy” or that if they have missed the nuances of the purpose of the book. This could be very easy to do if one decides ahead of time everything Brian McLaren says is a lie. This seems a bit dishonest if one is attempting an “honest critique” of the book, let alone in judging another human being.

I love the quote on page 20 which is the introduction… these pages are often not read as many deem introductions as really not;

1. Part of the book
2. A bunch of “thank yous” to their loved ones.

Yet I find more than often if one truly reads these intros you get a bit of insight to the inner thoughts of the book. Here is the quote from page 20 of “A Generous Orthodoxy”.

"I don't mind if you think I'm wrong. I'm sure I am wrong about many things, although I'm not sure exactly what things I'm wrong about. I'm even sure I'm wrong about what I think I'm right about in at least some cases. So wherever you think I'm wrong, you could be right. If, in the process of determining that I'm wrong, you are stimulated to think more deeply and broadly, I hope that I will have somehow served you anyway."

I realize some may not be comforted with the thought that Brian does not claim to know all the answers… let alone that he would admit what he knows may be wrong… yet if one is honest, as a person who follows Christ, that doubts do appear. To me they have become less and less of the sort of “God, are you there?” and more of “Am I being a truer image of Jesus?” But, throughout my walk there have been doubts.

Those that claim the emerging church do not believe in “truth” often miss that it is not “truth” we question, but rather one’s definition or basis of how they come to believe that something is “true”.

To just throw out in an argument that “the bible is true because it is declarative and has propositional truth” is rather a weak and sickly argument. In fact it is really circular in that the thing that is really missing is that one must first have a regenerated mind… or have received the “mind of Christ”. (I was accused one time after stating this phrase of teaching some Gnostic heresy. Yet if one looks it is what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 2 16.) If one has not have the mind of Christ, then it does not matter as to what doctrine, creed or even religion one believes as without Jesus in one’s heart… you are simply lost.

Interestingly most just look at Brian’s books and read into what he says. I heard an MP3 recently in which Brian said he hated to go to and read what people said about him… and he even wondered if there was another “Brian McLaren out there who was saying and doing all these horrible things!. He jokingly said he asked his wife and friends if he was all of those horrible things and they assured him that he was not. I found that a bit funny as I have gone through similar things, though not even close to the magnitude Brian has… the most ludicrous thing someone said to me was that I was a heretic because I had a “link” to Brian McLaren websites on this blog… over looking I have also links to many other websites in which some I am sure do not think highly of Brian McLaren.

Yet, I was declared a heretic by this person, which later as I suspected believes one does not have to have a “relationship” with Jesus to be saved. (That raised my eyebrows a bit!). Another person rants on and on against the “Emergent church” and tells all of his ignorance of it. Some, who I have pointed this person out to have asked me if I had created that blog as a parody of those against the emerging church and I respond, “No, I am not that clever!” His critical spirit may have even cost him his job… which is very sad as I think if he actually looked at the Bible and saw the fruit in his life… he would see that the image he is presenting is not Christ-like.

Brian McLaren most likely will not tell you what to think.


Because he wants you to work it out yourself… mostly by seeking God on the issue or topic…


Someone who wants you to go to Jesus for the answers and not act as the Holy Spirit?

To me that is refreshing and shows a great faith in God, that God can give us answers without someone filtering it for us. Again, if one is searching, would it be better to ask those searching questions that they can look deeper into God for the answer? Often we give answers and people believe in “us” and never go deeper than that… No wonder there are so many immature Christians out there as they have never been truly challenged to have to seek out answers themselves… in fact one of the greatest complaints in the Christian world is, “I left that church because I was not getting fed”.


And this is from people who claim to have known Jesus for YEARS! I don’t mean to be too harsh here as I too have uttered those very words until I was brought to conviction that I was immature and was still drinking only milk. I was not putting into practice what I knew.

So what does Brian McLaren believe of relativism and “truth”?

Here is a quote from his open letter to Chuck Colson:

"What you describe as postmodernism – a claim that “there is no such thing as truth,” a rejection of all moral values, or their reduction to mere preferences – may have been purported by a few crazed graduate students for a few minutes at a late-night drinking party. But to paint the whole movement with that brush is inaccurate. That kind of guilt-by-association would be like lumping you as a political conservative in with all the conservative wackos in Idaho who stockpile weapons and whisper about black helicopters and blame 9/11 on President Bush – after all, they’re against the “liberals” just like you. Or it would be like lumping us (you and me) as Christians in with the Branch Davidians (we all quote the Bible, eh?) or the wackos who blame 9/11 on the ACLU (we all pray, don’t we?). Those who live by hacking straw men with the sword will probably be rendered straw men by others, I think, and be hacked by the same childish logic."

“In your column, you pronounced “postmodernism” dead, or on life support, or at least losing strength. You’re kind of right, because the kind of postmodernism you describe – “the philosophy that claims there is no transcendent truth” - was never really alive. It’s a straw man, Chuck, a bugaboo not unlike Hillary Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy,” used to create fear, galvanize sympathy and support, and perhaps raise money. (Everyone knows how a good enemy is a fundraiser’s best friend.)”

One of my favorite quotes out of this response to Chuck Colson comes from Brian’s seven points “about truth” is #7:

A feeling of certainty – When some people use the word truth, I think they mean a feeling of certainty, security, and rest that means they no longer have to think or ask questions. In other words, truth means “case closed.” This exemption from further thought is something we all desire at times, I think, especially after a long hard day of reading a column in CT and criticizing it (and then criticizing the critique). But one only has to talk to a person hospitalized for psychosis to realize that a feeling of certainty can have very little in common with #1 above!

(#1. Reality – Sometimes, we use truth to mean “what’s out there,” or “what’s really, really, real.”)

Bob George of People to People ministries would say it this way, “One could be as sincere as a heart attack, but still be wrong…” Sincerity and certainty, simply does not equate with true belief. To think so misses a very basic thing… man is "fallen and can’t get up" on his own… no matter how sincere or certain he is of himself… “There is a way that seems right to a man, that leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

Without a relationship with Jesus one is simply dead in their sins… just because one “believes” something is true, be it doctrine, creed, religion, gov’t statements, does not mean it is true. Truth to be truly true must transcend beyond man… If it is to truly be truth, it must be from God… and one must have the mind of Christ to be able to even begin to sort through all the noise claiming to be truth to see Truth. In our faith we are to focus on Jesus. We are to imitate Jesus, as Paul instructed… (1 Cor 11:1 some teach that Paul is stating to follow him… yet I see this as Paul stating that as he follows Jesus so we should follow Jesus).

Much of the critics to me are just expressing their ignorance of the emerging church. In their over simplified analysis they broad brush over things that serious followers of Jesus should consider. In all I see Brian as one who has pushed me and challenged me like a good friend. He is a bit like my friend I used to work out at the gym with years ago… who would scream at me “one more” as I dug deeper within myself to lift he weight I was attempting. I did not like my friend “right that moment” in fact I may have called him some choice names! (Grin) Yet, what began as painful muscle aches slowly gave way to gained strength… to a fitter body. Brian has done this in his probing questions… which by the way, asking the question like “is the way we view hell, biblical let alone Christian?” does not make one a heretic any more than if someone was asking if a Greek sentence contained a dangling modifier. Questioning, I would not then think should be equated with being a heretic.

Mostly one must be very careful in what they say about a person. I try to speak of specific examples… of the people that have come after me because of my affiliation with the “emerging church” or of my experience as I have lived these 42 years of which most I have had some interactions with Christians or Jesus Himself as a follower of Christ.

(Though I use that term I prefer "conversation" as I view that emerging church implies that those not of us are not the “Church”. Jesus started the Only Church and I prefer to be of His Church than any other…. Yet as a “label” it seems to be the one that has stuck.)

If one is truly out to serve God and to present an honest case against Brian, myself or the emerging church itself, I hope you will seek Christ first as to how to approach us. For if we are wrong, and not “brothers” as some claim, then we are simply lost… and if that is the case then instead of name calling, you should be looking at finding ways to reach us for Christ always remembering it is God’s kindness that leads us toward repentance and not show contempt for the riches of God’s kindness, tolerance and patience. (Romans 2: 3)


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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One must Live Incarnationally to Live Missionally: Incarnational living pt3

There is a discussion of whether these two terms seem to hold too much tension. Is one on a mission of God? (Something like the Blues Brothers). Or are we little Christs living on this earth to do as Jesus did?

I see that these fit together as one cannot be done without the other. One cannot fulfill the mission/vocation without Christ living inside us... nor can one truly live Incarnationally without setting out to do the Mission.

So to me the tension is not tension, but relation. It is that one exists with and for the other.

Christ must dwell in us... and in that we live out His Life in us... as HE/we does/do this, our heart is His Heart... and we do as He desires... and that is where/when we do the Mission.

I think the question is then, what is the Mission?

Jesus told us very plainly what His Mission was.

Luke 4:15-21

He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Jesus was just begining to do just that, yet talked of it as "fulfilled in your hearing" which was over 2 thousand years ago...

Later we read in John's Gospel of Jesus: John 20:21-22 "Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." "

The Father sent Jesus to fulfill Isaiah 42, and Jesus said "as the Father sent me, I am sending you." And this is by the power of the Holy SPirit.

Now what is that power?

Look at this verse in John and I think you will see what the true Power of the Holy Spirit is!

John 15: 8 -17 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

The Power is abiding in the Love of Christ and loving one another!

What a fitting mission... for Chistmas as it is as I write this... yet even more in a world that forgets Christmas as soon as New Years comes around... and the world still finds itself hurting and in need of Love.

We need to put feet to the Life that is in us... If we do not we will not bear fruit. The proof of our maturity in Christ, is in the How we love those around us who need Jesus, and in how we love one another.... the proof of one's imaturity is how they choose who they will love and how they will love them...

So, show your maturity, and go and be a blessing,


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