November 25, 2009

Josh Skogerboe needs someone to get in his face [updated/clarified/corrected]

[updated Nov 28, 9:35 am] OK Josh says he didn't block me. Somehow my posts are back up at his blog post. I'm not sure what happened, but I refreshed a bunch of times and they would appear, then disappeared and would not come back. So... just wanted to be sure I wasn't making a false accusation.

original post:
Ah, I have been blocked again...

One more post to Josh:

"you need someone to get in your face from time to time and speak the truth in love." -- pastor Bob Halvorson

Yes on occasion these guys do say things right, but their working it out is usually not the same thing. And in addition, when we are rightly challenged, the idea of it being done 'love' is not as obvious and warm feeling as we would like it to be.

Steve Camp wrote a great article about Holding Pastors Accountable:

Here's a paragraph from that:

"Dear men of God, if you have faithful “Bereans” in your church constantly plying you with questions, constantly examining you with the Word of God, constantly offering you from the well of careful learning a word of circumspection, don’t recoil at those parishioners, but thank the Lord for them for you are blessed. You might be tempted to say to some, “lighten up…back off…give me a break.” Don’t! I know that some elders look at people like this as being a nuisance, but they are really just fulfilling their biblical duty to you—and let them do this with joy. Paul says, “And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God's message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)."

I see my posts have disappeared [from Josh's page and this one didn't go through either], probably because I noticed after I posted them that you said to lay off those specific churches. I respectfully respond No, all the same, but I won't do it here, since you won't countenance anyone speaking ill of them (i only spoke ill of the message, not the people).

In addition I might point out that you are speaking ill of people I care about, and that Jason cares about, and he has not yet told you even to lay off his wife.

yes, Josh, we disagree. [updated/clarified/corrected]

[updated Nov 28, 9:35 am] OK Josh says he didn't block me. Somehow my posts are back up at his blog post. I'm not sure what happened, but I refreshed a bunch of times and they would appear, then disappeared and would not come back. So... just wanted to be sure I wasn't making a false accusation.

At his Seeker Sensitive Cowtipping blog post, Josh -- who I will continue to characterize as seeker sensitive, until he realizes the error of his ways and the ways of Emmaus Lutheran in Bloomington MN, Living Hope Church St Michael MN, and Good Shepherd Camarillo CA (and by extension, the myriad of other churches preaching the same message), somehow managed to appreciate the excellent article "Dude, Where's My Gospel?"

Since Josh seems to have pulled my latest responses, one to 'mom' and one to him, so I will post them here:


Unedifying and slanderous? Hm.

Well, they are Scriptural and that means edifying both in the POSITIVE and the NEGATIVE – e.g. discerning truth from ALMOST true. and Slander or libel by definition must be untrue. But if a person lacks discernment, it would be hard to properly tell whether what he is saying is slanderous. It is much easier to just *slander* Chris by such accusations as have been leveled against him here by Josh and you, than to actually be a Berean and pore over the Scriptures and see if these things be so.

So, go ahead and find some quotes of his that are untrue and unscriptural please. I find some things that Josh’s pastor does to be unedifying and slanderous, or at least unedifying. In particular recently I recall hearing him mock people who make excuses — I think it was about making excuses not to tithe.

Now, that couldn’t have been very loving nor motivating and I know that such a use of sarcasm from Chris would be frowned upon.

In addition, the sermons I have listened to from Emmaus, Living Hope St Michael, and Good Shepherd Camarillo, which are pretty much the same message as the bad ones Chris reviews, are mostly law. Now, in the AFLC the seminarians are taught NEVEr to leave out the gospel once you have preached the law. And no, you don’t give law gospel to save people and then put them back under the law.

For one thing, law/guilt doesn’t work against the sin nature. It only shows us our sin. The gospel does work both to save and sanctify, for those who believe it or who are being called by God through it. But **if it is not preached, it cannot call or save anyone.**

So… re: slanderous and unedifying: Would you be offended if I say that about pastors you like with whom I disagree, since you did? I surely hope you wouldn’t be offended, and that there isn’t a double standard going on. That would be somewhat unChristian wouldn’t it?

Also, I would encourage you to take it up with Chris if you think he is being slanderous and unedifying, as well. Lovingly correct your brother Chris so that he might better serve the body of Christ. You seem to have some idea how it should be done, so do your Christian duty to sharpen your brother.

Another idea would be to listen to some of his shows where he actually reviews good sermons. Because he does that too. The difference, once you learn to see it, is pretty amazing.

Btw whose ‘mom’?

I see I mentioned Emmaus and Living Hope and Good Shepherd again, though I just noticed that Josh told me to lay off them. I say, still, firmly respectfully, no. They are a problem. I won't lay off them. [although I guess I won't be doing it on Josh's blog] But it isn't just them. They are just three in a sea of seeker sensitive churches going off down unbiblical rabbit trails and neglecting the very real needs of the Lord's flock.

I tried to resend my 2nd post but it gave me a duplicate post error, so apparently it got there. I am figuring the first one might get pulled since I violated his request (which I did not read until after sending) to 'lay off' Living Hope and Emmaus etc. So I may have to repost that here too. It cements in my mind the rightness of denying his request, and the falseness of his forced cheerful attitude. If someone like me who is just a little bit abrasive can bring out this kind of pettiness in a seeker sensitive "executive pastor" what is he going to do with real challenges? This kind of thing is not a confidence builder in his Biblical leadership ability.

So Josh somehow agrees with the "Dude where's my Gospel?" article. This makes no sense and is entirely inconsistent with his approach to ministry as well as the churches he has served in. Here is what I tried to respond:

Yes, we do disagree Josh, I don't see how you can't see that your church and you are agreeing only in theory to that article, but not in practice. It is saying exactly what I am saying about the messages in the three churches mentioned above. There are innumerable others, due to the popularity of people like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels and so many zillions of spin-offs.

The three mentioned above concern me here because they are closely associated with you. And because many people in the leadership are thought of quite highly, and no one wants to think people they admire are not quite on track, or going off track. I hate it as much as anyone, and believe it would be far easier for me not to think about it or deal with it.

I'm going to submit a bit I wrote on facebook that you might have seen a few days ago.

"I honestly think that this constant insistence on turning the other cheek and walking away from a theological fight is what is WRONG with the church. The false teaching is not being rooted out in our peers' hearts, and they just keep going on and on until pretty soon they are an elder/deacon/pastor and in charge of making decisions based on that bad theology."

"Then the faithful elders who just assumed their neighbors were on track or brushed something they didn't really LIKE under the rug, wonder why their fellows are going off track. Because we as Christians didn't do our job as iron sharpening iron. It was too hard to face that rejection and ruffled feathers."

"If just facing rejection and ruffled feathers is what REAL persecution is all about, SIGN ME UP!"

"The church in America is mentally lazy and cowardly, refusing to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, as commanded in Jude, (and elsewhere) refusing to divide along Gospel lines. DIVISION IS A FACT OF LIFE and MUST come, but beware if you are dividing based on something other than the truth!"

"Cursed be any love or unity for which the Word of God must be put at stake! -- Martin Luther"

In response, one lady told me a story about an elder at her church who decided The Shack would be a good book to get people to read. She mentioned to another elder that this was not good and the elder and pastor agreed, but will they do anything? No. They will allow the leaven to spread, because the first elder has lots of money and they don't want to ruffle any feathers.

I see this same thing happening in the AFLC when I write to the leadership and ask them if they plan on making any kind of statement even unofficially about seeker sensitive/purpose driven, or any of these things that are dividing church after church because of their unbiblical basis. The leadership refuses to get involved. I know, I know, we're congregational. But that doesn't mean recommendations can't be strongly made, but must be made with sound doctrinal backing, nor does it mean that opinions can't be strongly given, in writing, online, in publications. Continually being minnesota nice and avoiding confict and just letting the sheep and undershepherds wander into every new fad is not the way to preserve truth in any church or denomination. And I thought that is what the AFLC was about?

I also had asked Jason's pastor brothers Dana and Andy what the policy was on naming the names of false teachers, correcting error, etc. Apparently they let the pastors decide for themselves whether or not they want to do it. This too is unscriptural, for we Christians are COMMANDED to do it. If a pastor doesn't want to do it, he is shirking one of his main responsibilites.

Addendum suggested by Jason for clarity: While we are commanded to publicly confront error, we are not explicitly commanded to name names of false teachers although

Ro 16:17
Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them

... could certainly be understood that way. "keep your eye on" or as the KJV translates it: mark them? σκοπέω, skopeō
1) to look at, observe, contemplate
2) to mark
3) to fix one's eyes upon, direct one's attention to, any one
4) to look to, take heed to thyself

Is that naming names? How else do you mark them and warn others about them? (1 Tim 4:6)

Christ and the apostles confronted error very publicly so that everyone would know the identity of the false teachers. Paul in his letters also rebuked people by name and warned others about them. I would argue that in many cases, far more than is being done, this is necessary, because as Josh illustrates, a naive believer can agree in theory to sound doctrine and yet follow a teacher who preaches a contrary message, simply because they love and admire them. Naming the name of the false teacher brings them up short and hopefully forces them to really stop and take notice of what they are promoting. The human mind has a way of blocking out anything it does not want to hear. Naming the name of someone's personal favorite false teacher has a way of pulling back the curtain from the wizard in a way that simply preaching against false doctrine or just preaching good sound doctrine cannot do.

I thought this was good: Why name names?

especially the illustration about the cyanide laced aspirin bottle.

here's another good one from Andy Neckar, Editor, Christian News and Views (I see he uses the Authorized Version... let's hope he isn't KJVO but in any case, this particular article is well supported by any good version of the Scriptures.)
"Why I Expose Error And Warn Believers"

November 24, 2009

John Macarthur on the Manhattan Declaration

John Macarthur has released a statement on why he cannot sign the Manhattan Declaration.

And Al Mohler has signed it, with his explanation here.

I'm seeing this story pop up on lots of FB walls tonight.

I'm divided on this one. I see both sides, and it is nearly impossible to force someone to go against their conscience on an issue of this much import. What I don't understand however is that we cannot cooperate with leaders who have a different message but want to promote the type of society that is in more conformity with God's laws... but ... we *can* somehow (via Romans 13) cooperate with and submit to unbelievers and power grabbers and oppressors who are neither trying to promote Godly laws nor God's gospel. This is what confuses me. It seems like a choking on gnats/swallowing camels thing.

Just so you know, I tend to agree with Mohler, but it's always something I am reexamining. Because like everyone else, I don't want it to ever come to the point implied in the document.

Interestingly, Mohler didn't seem to think Obama's speech to school kids was a big deal and he made a statement about that to that effect... but we will never know what Obama would have said if no one had made a stink about it, the very stink that Mohler shrugged off as a bit of oppositional hysteria. This is the same Obama that is foisting changes that now he feels a need to align with apostates to resist, with the implication of civil disobedience.

The idea of civil disobedience is certainly not something I take lightly. I love and appreciate very much Dr Macarthur's insistence on the Gospel. But I think just as in his opposition to the Revolutionary War and his insistence that it was not Biblically justified, he hasn't really quite thought this through all the way.

If we can cooperate as police officers, firemen, doctors, EMT's, soldiers, seamen, marines, airmen, with unbelievers to defend this country, to save lives, why not in this limited endeavor? If someone was attacking my neighbor, unjustly taking his belongings or killing his children, and my other neighbor called me to help stop it, would I refuse to help because my neighbors are Catholic or unbelievers? Would I even bother to ask? Wouldn't this be the point at which a pharisee might say I can't help you pull your donkey out of the well on the Sabbath, lest I violate my God's command?

I think it is an important, nay, ESSENTIAL, thing to do to make it clear that this is NOT equivalent of the Gospel. But really at what point can we NOT cooperate with unbelievers? We have to do it every day. Even marriage to an unbeliever is advised against but not soundly condemned as sinful. 1 Cor 7 says we should not seek to leave a marriage if the unbeliever is willing to stay. I would say marriage to an unbeliever has far more potential to compromise a believer than signing a political statement about laws in this country that are unjust. 2 Cor 6 says not to be bound to an unbeliever, but that is not speaking of marriage specifically. Here is a good article (though i have issues with the mentioned 'restoration movement' theology)

Unequally Yoked: Does 2 Cor 6:14 apply to marriage?
I'm still torn. The refernces to the gospel in the declaration should be removed. While these endeavors are good things to do and definitely should be done and need to be done, none of them are the same thing as the gospel. To imply that they are makes it sound like the social gospel/social justice. The gospel is not social justice. The gospel is Christ crucified.

Still, the determining to stand against these grave injustices even with the implication of civil disobedience is something that IMO needs to be done.

November 19, 2009

Church of the Open Door, Maple Grove MN, DEFINITELY EMERGENT

Warning/disclaimer: Passion for truth follows, with sarcasm thrown in for good measure just so you know how strongly I FEEL about these things. Passion and feeling is important is it not? It sure seems to be, at least I hear people telling me to be passionate about the Lord and his Word all the time! ...unless it's passion for something the opposition disagrees with - then we must be Mr Spock and even then they barely tolerate us. I may as well walk around shouting "Unclean! Unclean!"

I recently ran across someone (hello Josh Skogerboe) who insists they aren't seeker sensitive (well at least not in a BAD way... is there a good way?) and he was lauding Church of the Open Door. Interestingly enough in my first exchange with Josh about music and art, he made me think right off the bat, of Dan Adler, who had put on a music/worship seminar here locally about 8 years ago or so. At the time I thought Adler was wonderful, actually. I didn't attend but Jason did and what he brought back I really liked. Come to find out in the comments section Josh considers Dan his mentor. Imagine that. There was once a time when I would have agreed with him and all the snarky comments by others on that thread, about bad singing being so traumatic and distracting. I would humbly (ahem) suggest that if someone's off key singing distracts you from worship, the problem might be you. This is said from a piano tuner ear point of view.

This will be a little aside about piano tuning. If you are not interested, skip to the part about not being able to tune out a false message.

Jason once rudimentally measured the differences in pitch I can hear using a digital program. It was something like 4/1000 of a half step or .04 cents of a half step (I remember the number 4 but I'd have to go back and redo it in order to be more certain, it was very small in any case). Jason found a site saying a good tuning will be to .1-.01 cents accurate. So .04 cents sounds about right.

So if I can learn to focus on worship with all the distracting things I have bombarding me all the time, really, most anyone can. One of the things that irks me is when people tune guitars to a studio tuner and forget that they are not well tempered instruments. Then they play the guitar with a well tempered keyboard. AUGH! Clash! But you know, if the message is correct and the people up there are humbly doing their best... so what about the pitch. I might, if there arises an opportunity to show them how to tune to a well tempered instrument, try to do that. But I'm not going to make the case that if they don't, people might not come back! Souls might be LOST! Shame on the church for considering that 'good enough' for church! oh no! Mr Bill! (I'm truly sorry for that outburst... it was uncalled for and mean spirited. I will continue to do penance, as I already have been since September. I really think it is helping. I'm even losing weight! I will do it again probably this weekend by trudging across muddy plowed fields carrying a heavy load and standing outdoors in the cold and solitude, not speaking or moving much for hours at a time. In fact I will do it frequently for the next 6 weeks or so, through Dec 31.)

I recently tuned our church piano down because I was asked to-- someone had tuned it to an A440 tuner, which is natural to do... but they hadn't verified that indeed the organ was also tuned to A440. A few others could hear there was a problem. But not many. I personally don't know if the organ was at 440 exactly because I don't have a machine to measure it. I only have two other standards to measure against: I have two A440 tuners. One is digital and one is a good old trusty tuning fork. But both have different pitches. I can hear the difference but most people can't. So I said well forget that, I'll walk back and forth between the organ and piano, and put some sort of a weight on the key I am tuning to, for the center strings of the center octave (I did a few more on either end of the octave that way as well). Yeah, it was tedious, walking back and forth across the church umpty hundred times, adjusting the volume and deciding between flute, trumpet, and reed sound, so that it was just at the right level for tuning to (not overpowering nor too soft to balance out the piano string's pitch). I am not sure if my tuning will hold since I had to tune the whole piano down probably (guessing) an 8th of a half step. But last Sunday the piano and organ were pretty much in tune. That was a relief. If it doesn't hold I'll have to go back up again soon I guess. Strings have to work out their kinks when changed that much. And my actual tuning technique is probably not equal to my ability to discern pitch.

What I can't tune out is a false message. And we are commanded not to. We are commanded to correct error and be Bereans and hold our leadership accountable to preach the truth. But most pastors these days resent being challenged. Or they resent the way in which an issue was brought up and use it to dismiss what may be a very legitimate issue. This is legalism. Forcing people to comply to a standard of behavior that they may not be quite sanctified enough to attain, before you will do anything for their very possibly real concern. There is no grace for them, only demands for 'grace' for tolerating a false message. All this only serves to further alarm and agitate those of us trying to fulfill this legitimate service of the church. But we are being told by the hand "because you are not a hand I have no need of you." I mean who kicks their dog for barking at an intruder or other danger in the middle of the night and waking the master from a sound sleep? Sadly many people do. Yes many dogs bark at nothing or bark at every sound. But is kicking them or yelling at them going to help them learn only to bark at an intruder? Is their 'instinct' wrong? Is the manner in which they go about it wrong? Or do they just need a little refinement in discerning real danger? Perhaps those who have a problem with discernment ministries need to actually address the issue and figure out what is being barked at before condemning them.

When riding a horse, an inexperienced rider will not understand when a horse is just obstinate or when it is refusing to obey because the rider is trying to force it into a real danger that the rider cannot see (rattlesnake, bear, cougar, etc). In general we give animals more deference in this than fellow Christians to whom Hebrews 5:14 applies:
But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
It is shameful.

We are commanded not to cast pearls before swine or give what is holy to dogs. Just how are we to judge what 'swine' and 'dogs' are if it is not to compare their message to the truth of Scripture?

So anyway naturally, at the mention of Open Door my curiosity got the better of Obsessive Compulsive little me. And since I heard that Jan Markell had been talking about a local Maple Grove Megachurch that was emergent (did not name the name but offered to tell people privately if they would ask her) I had to check out their site and see if that was what she meant.

Among other things, I found this statement they released a while back.

Response to Emergent Church & Contemplative Movements

The leadership insists they aren't going emergent. Does the above response to questions from their members give you any assurance whatsoever?

it shouldn't, since it and the church's teaching available online is full of emergent speak. Kind of like Rick Warren starting a book all about you with "it's not about you." Well, THEN! "But he SAYS it's not about you!"

There is also some indication that there are a few who are not asking leadership for clarification but may be drawing conclusions from what they hear from sources on the internet, radio, and other media.

Translation: don't look for truth yourself. Come to us to tell you what you should think.

"Has there been an intentional or unintentional change in Open Door’s direction both in theology and ministry practice that is not being communicated to the congregation?
No. Open Door’s vision and values are clearly articulated and have not changed, and there are no plans to change them—and certainly not to become Emergent or Contemplative."

I literally had to stifle a laugh at that one. Actually, it's kind of a silly question to ask in the first place but.. perhaps with this paraphrase you'll see why: "are you trying to deceive us?" "NO! We would never do that!"

They then go on to make excuses for allowing culture to define the church... but nooo that's not emergent or seeker sensitive is it! No it's not because... we say so!

"If Open Door were to change direction, we would, in keeping with our culture of openness and authenticity, share and discern such a shift with the congregation."

translation "If we were trying to deceive you like we ourselves have been deceived, we would tell you!"

Folks, God bless you for raising the issue with your leadership. But don't listen to the answers to the QUESTIONS -- listen to what they are telling you in their classes, sermons, book promotions, etc. They are telling you! Just not in formal words.

"Being that there is no “Emergent Church” or organization as such there is no such thing as an official Emergent theology. Most churches that identify themselves as Emergent are well within the realm of Christian orthodoxy but there are some that are not. When anti-Emergent media accuse people of advocating Emergent theology they usually offer gross generalizations which sadly do not represent what most Emergents believe or are saying.
Open Door has no posture for or against the Emergent Church but,

"But we will write a paper lambasting and mischaracterizing everyone who is saying anything bad about the Emergent church." (and that's not a posture/position?)

like any voice in the church, listens for what the Spirit is doing or not doing in these movements.
Three untrue “rumors” about typical Emergents:
Rumor #1 - Emergents do not believe in absolute truth and have accepted the implications of this for the truth claims of the gospel and the truths of scripture. Rumor #2 - Emergents are practicing eastern mysticism that is unbiblical and is being offered as “ancient Christian practices”.
Rumor #3 - Emergents are compromising the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement and preaching a false gospel."

yeah...Except that most emergent churches are not within the realm of Christian orthodoxy. IN fact many evangelical churches are even drifting out of that realm far more than individuals within them realize because they are stuck in the midst of it and can't see the forest for the trees.

AND... except that all three of those so called "rumors" are in fact true. If Open Door leadership cannot see this, then they are definitely infected and part of the problem.

"They believe that in the current “post-modern” climate, arguing and proving who is right and wrong is not the best approach to sharing the life of Jesus with others. Demonstrating a life of love is more effective and then moving on to Christ’s truth claims will follow."

Soooo... it's about works, not about truth? I honestly haven't felt very loved by most emergents. So I guess that means that approach doesn't work for me. So who's going to 'love' me into the 'kingdom'? Or don't I count?

BTW it's not very loving to NOT give them the truth about how to be saved from their sins, and let them go to hell as a result. Sin has become what others do to YOU not what you do to others and the myriad ways we each daily offend a perfectly Holy God, for which we each deserve a death sentence and eternity of punishment in hell.

But God... who is rich in mercy... sent his son to pay that penalty for us. Yes this was not cosmic child abuse. It pleased God to crush him, and he agreed to be crushed, so that he might receive the ones he loves, calls, saves, and justifies, into his kingdom and back into fellowship with him forever, sparing them from their deserved punishment and causing them to be conformed to the image of his Son. Our response should be one of sorrow and gratitude and acknowledgement that we deserved that punishment, and love for his Son who showed us such self sacrificing mercy, to pay the debt we could not pay.

Unfortunately, those who believe that presenting rational arguments is the best evangelism method mistake Emergent’s emphasis on the priority of a life-witness of love as “compromising” the Gospel. This is a gross simplification and erroneous conclusion about what Emergent teachers say about biblical truth.

Ok I have heard this so many times and don't buy it but let's grant that for the sake of argument. Even so, when these SAME teachers are in an environment where this kind of 'rational' discussion/argument is WELCOMED they STILL refuse to confess Christ. What kind of witness is that? Surely then you don't expect us ignorant people to believe will freely confess the truth of Christ then in a hostile environment of unbelievers to whom they have shown this great love? I would challenge them to explain how they are more loving than the rest of us faulty humans too. "Oh, Lord, I thank thee that I am not like that smug unloving pharisee over there who knows her Bible! I thank thee that you have made me more loving than them"? When do the unbelievers ever hear it, then?

Mark Driscoll, once part of Emergent, he can see it! I have my issues with Driscoll too but I praise the LORD he is calling a spade a spade now regarding the Emergent church. But Open Door can do nothing but at the most say stuff like "no we're not going emergent" and "emergent isn't all as bad as the mean nasty alarmist naysayers make it out to be." and "we have no position on the Emergent/contemplative movement." If it's not all that bad why are they "definitely not" going emergent/contemplative?

As to rumor #2, Emergents are not embracing eastern mysticism and are truly practicing ancient Christian practices (Meditation on Scripture, Silence, Solitude), which have been used throughout Church history, including the Reformation. These practices have been lost to Evangelicals in recent history, and are now being recovered..

Oh mannnnnn! Yes, folks, that is mysticism, same as Eastern mysticism, just dressed up in apostate Christian garb.

Even while there are some false rumors or perceptions about the Emergent church, there also exist areas of concern about Emergent approaches:
1- Emergent pre-occupation with being in “conversation” with each other and the danger of ministry being an ingrown and fruitless dialogue among Christians.
2- Emergent “deconstruction” or dismantling of old ways of doing church and other methods of ministry without any constructive outcomes.
3- Emergent attempts to relate Christian truth and witness to Post-modernism and an overemphasis of relating the gospel to this philosophical approach just when the philosophy of post-modernism is becoming discarded and is disintegrating as a major force.

All of which seem to be happening quite obviously in Open Door's preaching/teaching.

That last one there is kind of making me chuckle too. It translates to "they're becoming passe! Oh no!" Any idea why they're becoming passe? Because people are seeing through the fleece to the wolf underneath, thanks to the 'alarmist' voices Open Door's leadership poo poos at the beginning of the document. But I bet they'd disagree with me on that reason. Just a hunch.

Is Open Door becoming “Emergent”?
No, Open Door is not Emergent and is not becoming Emergent nor are we in association with anything that might be the Emergent Movement.

Nope nothing to see here. We'll say it again. Nope we aren't emergent. Really. Trust us. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. There are Five lights. (a reference for you trekkies)

We do read or refer to some authors who label themselves as Emergent (such as Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt) and find that there are some directions in their thinking that are both causes for caution but also for our serious and healthy consideration. We do not find that there is anything close to what the others are claiming to be true of these leaders although there are things that we definitely disagree with in their positions as well as things we agree with.

OH yes eat the meat and spit out the bones. I read a few words in Velvet Elvis that I agreed with too. I think he used the word "the" a few times. And there's John Eldredge. I guess if you want to say "God as lover" and just every time they say something sensual about God being intimate with you, mentally substitute 'your spouse' in for God, then it would be OK to teach in church.

I mean really. Get serious. Let's just bring in Mein Kampf and mine it for truth. There has to be SOMETHING thought provoking in it doesn't there?

CS Lewis (with whom I have issues regarding his inclusivist hints here and there) talked about evil... evil cannot exist by itself. He uses the phrase 'good power' here to mean God from which all good gifts come. The bad power is of course the Satan enemy who corrupts what God has made. From Mere Christianity, the chapter entitled "The Invasion."

"you can be good for the sake of goodness, you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind, or when it gives you no pleasure, simply because kindness is right. But no one ever did a cruel action simply because cruelty is wrong. Only because cruelty was pleasant or useful to him. In other words badness cannot succeed even by being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled. ... to be bad he must exist and have intelligence and will. But existence, intelligence, and will are in themselves good. Therefore he must be getting them from the Good Power; even to be bad he must steal from his opponent. And do you now begin to see why Christianity has always said that the devil is a fallen angel? That is not a mere story for children. It is a real recognition of the fact that evil is a parasite, not an original thing. The powers which enable evil to carry on are powers given it by goodness. All the things which enable a bad man to be effectively bad are in themselves good things -- resolution, cleverness, good looks, existence itself."

In like manner, truth, teaching, can be bad or good. To be bad, and to be EFFECTIVE it must have enough truth in it to get people to buy it. But that still does not make it GOOD because it has good elements to it. It simply uses those elements to hide the razor blade in the candy bar. I mean really would you say that a razor blade hidden in a candy bar means the candy bar, or just a little cyanide in a bottle of tylenol means is still good and worthy of your consideration? It's amazing how people will make relatively sound judgement about things dangerous to their physical health and then greedily imbibe poison like a dog drinking antifreeze. Because it smells and tastes good. They scream and holler like a toddler who resents their parents taking the dangerous-but-pretty bottle of drain cleaner away from them because they cannot tell the difference. They think people who put the sign "bad water" on a contaminated pool in the desert are doing it just to be mean and critical, so they can die of dehydration. Or that those who tell them not to drink salt water when they are shipwrecked and they have only a bottle of water to share among them are doing it for selfish reasons. Because they're REALLY REALLY thirsty!

But the tragic thing is, we have a living spring of water in Scripture if we will only avail ourselves of it. If we are actually drinking this living water, why would we want to go back to the botulsim- / e-coli- tainted stagnant desert pool, or drink salt water? And why would we resent those who tell us to stop drinking that bad stuff?

Next post will deal with the second half of their statement, that of their position on the contemplative movement, and then after that I'll tackle their latest messages.

November 18, 2009

Beth Moore again

It seems with Beth Moore's popularity finally more critiques are coming up. We still haven't finished our assessment of her "Believing God" Dvd series. We were not terribly impressed and some of the things we saw are echoed by what these critiques say. (personal revelation from God, scripture twisting, psychologizing, allegorizing too much) But she is cute and funny, I must admit, at least to most people. I tend not to value those things too much so it didn't hold much attraction for me. But I can see why people like her.

Tony Capoccia (associated with John Macarthur's church) answers some questions about her:

This one from Personal Freedom Outreach - looks interesting but they only give you a preview. You can get the whole set of articles for $20. I might do that just to know what they say. Therefore I can't completely vouch for it, yet. But the previews look promising from a biblical perspective.

From "Not allowed to laugh" we have "In Defense of Beth Moore" (a little satire so prepare yourself, and read between the lines. Satire only works when there is a grain of truth to it. Look for the truth that makes the satire work.)

In Defense of Beth Moore

From Speakupalittle blog
Beth Moore - Rob Bell - Judging Our Teachers

And from the same blogger a review of Moore's _Stepping Up_
Beth Moore - A Review of "Stepping Up"

From Watchman's Bagpipes:
A general call for discernment which mentions Moore among Many others you might not have thought of as being in error (I know I didn't at one time):
Where Is The Teaching About Discernment?

Also Beth Moore's Bad Teachings

Also Beth Moore Reprised

Also Beth Moore Revisited

Also Beth Moore's Breaking Free

From Theologyweb - What's Heretical about Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer? NOTE: This one is a discussion thread and complete with the internet phenomenon "the pooling of ignorance." PLEASE read with discernment.)
What's Heretical about Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer?

November 17, 2009

On being a theologian of the cross

NOTE 3-14-2016

I have since come to realize that what Forde teaches is a form of soft antinomianism/radical grace. While he may understand the theology of the cross, he is really horrific on sin and sanctification. But I am leaving this original post up here in order to warn people. I once thought he was great on this, but not anymore. I also no longer support Chris Rosebrough since he has proven to be a part of this radical grace movement and will continue to refuse correction and hook his wagon to rock star radical grace-rs like Tullian Tchividjian and the wannabe rockstar Daniel Emery Price.

Original post follows:

Chris Rosebrough made me aware of this GEM...

"On Being a Theologian of the Cross" by Gerhardt Forde

It might well be asked whether there is need or place for theologians of the cross today. They cannot but appear very critical and negative over against the optimism of a theology of glory. Is it not cruel to attack what little optimism we are able to muster these days? Would not the attack already be too late? Luther’s attack in the Heidelberg Disputation begins by ruthlessly shredding all ideas of the place of good works in the scheme of salvation. Yet, as is often remarked, who is trying to do good works any more? Is the theology of the cross a magnificent attack on a nonexistent enemy, a marvelous cure for a disease that no one has? Could it be perhaps, as with smallpox vaccine, that finally the vaccination causes more illness than the disease? Is a theologian of the cross a curious historical relic spreading pessimism where desperate people are hanging on by their fingertips?

November 11, 2009

Bible Believing Liberals

also see "Bible Believing Liberals" which I think Jason may have mentioned in Sunday School the last Sunday.

I said this same thing about our ex pastor (whole denomination really) who was theologically liberal but, politically, fairly conservative. He didn't understand what I was talking about. Jim Fretheim, the director of the local denominational conference said "well, we ARE a conservative denomination but obviously not as conservative as you." I just sat there shaking my head, feeling I had gone Through The Looking-Glass.

also listen to an EXCELLENT audio interview with wilken here

November 8, 2009

Josh Skogerboe weighs in again

So Josh had asked Jason if he could use his post from the previous blowout as a beginning for a new discussion.

here is his next installment.

After reading it all I can do is bang my head on the table. It seems like the ground keeps shifting away from what we're talking about. Josh seems to be unable to stay on point or avoid using fallacious reasoning and arguing out of both sides of his mouth. I dunno if I'm still banned, but my question would be, if he insists that he can be seeker sensitive without compromising the message, why is the message at both Living Hope and Emmaus where he served for ten years, including his own messages which I have listened to, already compromised? Sure, if you have the wrong message already, it's fine and dandy to say you won't compromise it. But you already have, Josh.

The same applies to Jim Johnson's church out in Camarillo, CA, 'sister' church (somehow?) to Living Hope in St Michael MN. The messages there are all pietistic legalism just like at Emmaus and Living Hope. HOW TO have a better life just follow these guidelines. HOW TO please the Lord by your works. They've got the cart before the horse in their message emphasis, and no amount of good quality music can redeem that.