April 21, 2010

Thank you Todd Friel! (Rick Warren and John Piper)

Wretched Radio Newsletter has a great little encouraging article. I wonder if Phil Johnson would say this is 'disrespectful'?

Wretched Newsletter April 2010
If You Have Been Hurt

How many people have been deeply wounded because of “The Purpose Driven Church”? If I were a betting man, I would guess millions have been driven from their beloved church because of the writings of Rick Warren
That is the second reason I absolutely hate the decision made by a man I love to invite Rick Warren to speak at the Desiring God Conference in the fall of this year.

As Purpose has seduced over 300,000 pastors (that is not a guess) to leave the Jesus Model and follow the Rick Model, faithful sheep have been forced out of their church by their shepherd to make room for the goats. Devastating.

If you are one of those people, I am very, very sorry that one of the men who probably served as an anchor during your storm has seen fit to use his national conference to figure out how Rick Warren ticks. Frankly, we know how Rick Warren ticks. He may have file cabinet orthodoxy, but his public works are nothing short of lethal.

Perhaps you have suffered the effects of purpose poison and now your almost-healed scars have been ripped open. Many of us feel bad for you. Please heal fast knowing that you were not wrong, you were wronged.

You were not the bad guy when you left your church whimpering and scalded. You were right. Rick Warren’s pragmatic methodology is not Biblical. His use of Scripture is worse than a self-proclaimed “bishop” on prosperity TV. Rick Warren’s Gospel is no Gospel at all.

That is the number one reason why I continue to be saddened by this decision; the Gospel will suffer and more people will be hurt.

Honestly, I thought Rick Warren’s Purpose kingdom was one to two years away from joining Jabez on the ash heap of church trends. Unfortunately, Purpose has been given new life by a highly esteemed pastor.



I especially appreciate these two paragraphs:

If you are one of those people, I am very, very sorry that one of the men who probably served as an anchor during your storm has seen fit to use his national conference to figure out how Rick Warren ticks. Frankly, we know how Rick Warren ticks. He may have file cabinet orthodoxy, but his public works are nothing short of lethal.


Honestly, I thought Rick Warren’s Purpose kingdom was one to two years away from joining Jabez on the ash heap of church trends. Unfortunately, Purpose has been given new life by a highly esteemed pastor.

The rest of it is excellent also, but the pain of being disciplined out of a Purpose Driven Church really isn't as fresh for me as I am sure it is for others. People in my life who I am still friends with even agreed with me but did not want to spend much time talking about it. It was just too irritating to them, or something... and so I felt even more left out in the cold. But then, they weren't disciplined and publicly slandered in front of the church. If even your friends have seemed to desert you in the process of confronting purpose driven, understand that you are not alone, and it doesn't mean you are doing something wrong.

I was just listening to White Horse Inn on the book of Galatians series that they did a few months ago starting on January 24, 2010. Especially listen to part 2, from 18:40 and following.

The Book of Galatians 1
1/24/2010 - Sunday
The Book of Galatians 2
1/31/2010 - Sunday
The Book of Galatians 3
2/7/2010 - Sunday
The Book of Galatians 4
2/14/2010 - Sunday
The Book of Galatians 5
2/21/2010 - Sunday

The man-on-the-street interviews with supposed Evangelical Christians were utterly appalling. Some of the answers given to "what does the word Justification mean?" may as well have been given by atheists. In fact I think some atheists could have given a more knowledgeable and Biblical answer, all the while DISAGREEING with it. These people represent what is being taught in Purpose Driven churches, and what it has done to the understanding of the visible church. I am astounded yet again that a man of John Piper's stature seems unaware of this.

April 15, 2010

Grace and Truth to You:When Will We Southern Baptists Turn from the Idol of Celebrity to the Gospel Itself?

Grace and Truth to You has an excellent blog post out about the Ergun Caner situation. As many know, Ergun Caner has been caught in many lies about himself since agreeing (including a signed contract) to debate James White. James always does the opponent the honor of reading up on them and their writings, public appearances, and theology, so that he can accurately represent and refute their point of view from Scripture. In the process of researching Caner's material, James uncovered quite a few inconsistencies... er... outright lies. No, the debate never took place. Caner backed out.

Since then Ergun's public profile has been inexplicably changing over at Liberty U... hmmmm... curiouser and curiouser!

here's the article by Grace and Truth To You:

When Will We Southern Baptists Turn from the Idol of Celebrity to the Gospel Itself?

April 9, 2010

Lane Chaplin:My Cards on the Table Regarding the Warren/Piper Situation

Lane Chaplin has an excellent post today over at his blog

My Cards on the Table Regarding the Warren/Piper Situation


Phil Johnson mocks man's appearance

UPDATE (4-21-2010): Several people have asked me for the link to the facebook page. Here is the screen cap/pdf of the page which was also linked to further down.


I had started composing this for an additional post on Phil's facebook page, but it got too long. And it seemed futile to post there. So here it is.

I just did a search for "alan dale lee" (in quotes) and mugshot

results: 10,900 pages for "alan dale lee" mugshot.

It is not photoshopped, it is indeed the man's real teeth. But that is beside the point. The point is that it has been posted to mock his appearance, not his behavior.

Pretty much all of the search result links are talking about how 'ugly' his mug is. Suppose it were any of you? or someone you love? Forever now you have the honor of the 'ugliest mug' in the world. So now even if you do get saved and stop your life of crime, you're still the ugliest mug in the world.

Phil said, after doing some gymnastics to try and rationalize his posting of it: "And I think it's ironic that some of the very same people who have refused to show Dr. Piper any respect whatsoever in their disagreement with him would pretend to be outraged or hurt about the posting of a criminal's mugshot."

ANY respect whatsoever? By what standard does he make this judgement? Is he speaking to Gayle (another person who objected) too here? If so, can you point to anything she has said that has been rude and insulting to Dr Piper? Or does he just mean me... and/or Ingrid? Phil should please cite specific examples. Broad accusations in a public forum only serve to fan the flames of the problem he is seeking to solve.

He says we are 'pretending' to be outraged. I would like to know how he arrives at that conclusion about our motives.

The other day Phil was on Iron Sharpens Iron
Much of the rest of this post will reference that, so listening and reading the blog post at Sharpens.org would be helpful.

He spends some time in the ISI show talking about how he thinks John Piper should ideally do this mentoring of Rick Warren privately, and be careful not to say anything publicly that might give endorsement to Rick Warren. Does the other way around apply as well? Would he also be careful not to say anything publicly that could denigrate the ministry of a brother or sister in Christ, like agreeing with the categorizing of their behavior as "having to breathe into paper bags"? (a la Doug Wilson)

From Ingrid's show the same day, an example of her (ahem) egregious disrespect.
"I am particularly concerned about the college age young adult age group growing up amidst the smoking ruins of Christian institutions that stood for centuries, Christian doctrine that has been a part of the faith ever since the Bible was given to us, and since Christ walked the earth, is now being attacked and we are seeing so much confusion. Ah we have an uncertain sound coming from trumpets all over from Christian leaders today. And that's why we're doing programs like this. Not just to be ugly or attack other ministries but to say look, there is serious egregious spiritual error. Eternity is at stake, no less than eternity. Biblical truth is our only foundation. And that's why we're talking about this today."
I just re-listened to both ISI with Phil and Ingrid's show with Bob DeWaay on this topic. I find no basis for Phil's claim that he seems to have made in the facebook thread that she was disrespectful. (I am assuming he means Ingrid, and me, since we are the ones that showed up to chastise him for posting this picture to ridicule the man, and since he subsequently made a remark to that effect).

Most of the Crosstalk show was talking about the danger of Rick Warren, while there was precious little mentioned about John Piper except the fact that he has invited Rick Warren, as well as Piper's own words defending the decision. That can hardly be considered disrespectful. Bob DeWaay spoke earnestly of how John Piper has been a preacher of the gospel faithfully for years. Online occasionally Ingrid has compared John Piper's actions to lobbing a grenade into the church and walking away. I think that's accurate. It's an analogy of his current behavior, not disrespect to John Piper as a person or his ministry as a whole. I have compared it to dropping a lit match on a puddle of gasoline and walking away. Again I think this is accurate. It has little or nothing to do with my own emotion over this.

If he is referring to my own post wondering "What is John Piper thinking??" well, Phil said something equally snarky when he first heard of it, saying it must be an April Fool's joke.

Speaking of Rick Warren, Ingrid said on her show the other day:
 "[Rick Warren] is a false teacher and we need to be alert. And that's why when John Piper comes out and invites him and gives him this credibility we need to step back and say wait, let's analyze this in the light of Scripture."
Is that disrespectful?

Bob Dewaay said
"We're not just trying to be alarmist here, the problem is to the very heart of the gospel itself and Rick Warren's approach to this has pushed the gospel out of thousands and thousands of churches" 
to which Ingrid replied "Amen."

I have said too that I have found some of his messages to be a blessing (although I don't listen constantly) and that if it had not been a source of comfort and blessing for me and many people, this event would not even be a blip on my radar screen. The level of our alarm is indicative of how much respect we have for the man and his ministry. Scot McKnight endorsed the idea. No surprise there, and no corresponding level of alarm or upset.

There's an important difference between making fun of the appearance of a human being created in the image of God, and being upset over a respectable man of God calling a false teacher and abuser of the flock "theological and doctrinal and sound" and "rock solid Biblically."

Phil, has been respectful of Dr Piper, yes. Totally agree there. He's also seemed to minimize the chaos Piper has caused many people by inviting RW. People who do look up to him and have been blessed by him. He has impugned a lot of people who are justifiably hurt by this and those who would defend them for their righteous indignation.

However, that disagreement won't be resolved by Phil getting up and saying "You're blowing it out of proportion!" or me saying "You're not making it important enough!" The details of what has been said must be dealt with as well. For example:

In Iron Sharpens Iron (as well as in the twitter conversation I posted, but we'll deal with ISI for now) Phil pretty plainly misrepresented the 'extremes' that he find himself at odds with. This was most clearly expressed on ISI yesterday when he said this:
"I think some of the people who have been most critical of John Piper's decision online have been unnecessarily insulting and rude to Dr Piper and not showing him a proper degree of respect, and not really even attempting to understand what he's saying or give a rational reason why they disagree with it. It's just an emotive reacting and I deplore that and I don't want to be associated with it."
Now, considering he then thought it good and acceptable to post a mug shot of an individual he considers shocking in appearance or funny looking, the idea of your standard of what constitutes 'insulting' or 'disrespectful' is rather suspect.

How about posting a picture of an overweight lady to mock her for her sin of gluttony? That appearance would at least be more directly applicable to her sin. Unless of course it is caused by a hormone imbalance and not gluttony.

ISI also claims, on their page about the show, that Phil is concerned at people who are claiming John Piper is a heretic or not even a Christian. Who is saying that about John Piper? I haven't seen it, so if he can provide sources that would be helpful. They should be posted right alongside ISI's claim. Otherwise it becomes a distortion of the facts. If it's just a few comments on a blog, that hardly is unusual. It seems rather strange of Phil to be going around trying to control every little blog comment. If there is such egregious error of this sort out there that Phil has to spend time blogging and interviewing about it, it should be pretty obvious.

Phil also said that "some" people aren't even attempting to understand this. Well that may be, but I have to wonder what prompts him to make that statement. For example, I have watched all of what John Piper has said on this subject multiple times. And yet I still feel like he is accusing me of not making any effort to understand this. In fact trying to understand is all I have been doing since the story surfaced. All day long, pretty much, and I don't seem to be making any headway. Am I only being labeled 'emotional' because I see more worth being alarmed about? What other effort should I be making? And how will Phil know if I, or any other person, have made it, in order that we should gain his approval?

Phil deplores people being emotional in their zeal for the truth, and "I don't want to be associated with it."

So it seems to me that emotional people are the new lepers. Must we all be like Michael Horton or Tim Challies, to receive any compassion or consideration? That might cost me a lot of money for a brain transplant. And if that's the case, then Phil shouldn't be saying anything either. Team Pyro has made a name for itself on snark. (I actually appreciate it when it is applied to false teaching or hypocrisy or bad behavior in the name of Christ).

Todd Friel, the master of snark (I say that very affectionately) when addressing this on his show at least had the heart to spend some time expressing sympathy for people who have felt sucker punched by all this, people who have fled or been disciplined out of purpose driven churches and found refuge in ministries like John Piper's. I was alarmed that Todd endorsed Rick Warren's membership covenants, but I have to think he's doing that out of ignorance of what Rick Warren's membership covenant REALLY means.

It's a bit like this: Let's say a girl has been traumatized by a bully at school. You as a teacher finally feel sorry for her enough to do what you can to separate them from each other so she is no longer being publicly humiliated. Then someone else in your faculty decides to be magnanimous toward the bully (who hasn't changed one iota) and forces her (or even another susceptible young girl) to work on a project with him. She is upset at the teacher who did this because it is no secret how she was abused by this Bully. All her fears come rushing back at her. She is anxious for the girl who is going to be forced to deal with the same thing she was subjected to. You turn around and blame her and publicly shame her for her emotive reacting, and tell her you don't want to be associated with that. That really helps her "get over it" I am sure, and helps her to trust you even more.

The thought crosses my mind, is this how Phil deals with the people of his church, as a pastor, when they have emotional moments?

So let me get this straight... emotive reactions (e.g. us emotional wimmin folk) are "deplorable," but on the other hand ... John Piper's decision, and his out and out saying Rick Warren is "rock solid biblically" (video starting at 1:23)" is just poor judgement that Phil disagrees with. This makes it seem like it is just a matter of opinion and that Scripture leaves it up to our discretion whether or not to promote false teachers. So does Scripture even speak to John Piper's behavior? (2 John 9-11)? I didn't hear you invoke much of it yesterday. I just re-listened. Scripture was entirely missing if it was there at all. But I was getting a headache from all this (and related) chaos, so maybe I missed it.

Now to be fair, I will stick up for the other side. On the other side of the argument, you characterize the pro-John Piper/Rick Warren side:
"what you're gonna see is some guys who've sort of warmed up to Piper are gonna say well this is great because anything he does is great and how dare you criticize it?"
Is that really what they are saying? Especially as he ascribes this to the sort that have 'warmed up to Piper' vs those who are very gung-ho about Piper? Now as adamant as I am against their side, I have not seen ANYONE post to that effect, at least not to that extreme. I have seen people say things like "I trust Piper's judgement" and "Piper has a lot of wisdom, let's wait and see." So is that also not a misrepresentation or exaggeration of their point of view, making it "worse that it really is" (something he accused the anti-RW side of doing on ISI).

On being respectful and not insulting:
"I see that falling apart on all sides, and so I'm troubled by both sides in this controversy, frankly."
That is about all Phil says about the 'other side' of the argument, but spend lots of time condemning the anti-Warren side where he thinks they've gone too far. This leaves me thinking that the nastiness worth condemning is pretty much all on the anti-Rick Warren side. It also leaves the line totally up to the discretion of the reader, which does nothing to solve the problem he is seeing. Justin Taylor also represented the argument this way. However he also provided some rather mild examples and called it out of bounds, and Phil agreed with him. (see my previous post with the twitter feed) However all the examples he gave were anti-warren, when the WORST examples were a couple of pro warren comments, which categorized those of us who are concerned as chickens running around flapping in a panic and cackling meaninglessly.

I'm still confused on where the line is....perhaps Phil should ask Dr Macarthur what he thinks of his own posting this man's mug shot, along with the ensuing comments? While he's at it perhaps he could take a look at the Frank Turk attitude problem?

As I said to Phil on twitter I am beginning to think no one can disagree with him (especially us emotive wimmin folk) without sinning, by his standard. But then I see him violating his own standard of basic human respect toward people, and I just have to throw up my hands and look elsewhere.

Phil Johnson's Hypocrisy

UPDATE (4-21-2010): Several people have asked me for the link to the facebook "mug shot" page which I mentioned on Phil's Team Pyro article in my comment, and in this post. Here is the screen cap/pdf of the page which was also linked to in my second post about Phil Johnson mocking a man's appearance.

here is the direct link to the actual facebook page where Phil posted the mug shot I refer to below.
Original post:

I am utterly dismayed at the complete disconnect that is showing in some of the prominent Christian leaders today, especially brought to light in the last week regarding the John Piper / Rick Warren debacle.

I am so very confused.

Having just gotten over the twitter conversation (part 1 and part 2) with Frank Turk which I blogged about previously, I had another twitter conversation, this time with Phil Johnson.

I wish to emphasize here that I have no major problems with Phil Johnson's theology. That is not the issue here. Today the issue is hypocrisy.

After this twitter conversation, I started feeling like I literally want to just give up and never open my mouth again. Unfortunately I am unable to do that, though I have tried for years. Sorry folks, don't get your hopes up. (tongue in cheek here... is that allowed? Shall I do penance?)

I feel this way because every time I dare have strong convictions about anything someone chastises me for being wrong (especially people I respect) in showing them, even if they agree with them. And sometimes they actually come back to me for cover fire when they are under the very same attack from their friends.

They want us to be passionate, to hate evil, hate compromise, and yet never ever ever show it for fear of sinning. Of what use is that? They love our passion but only if it's on their terms. Only on the issues they feel are important. I didn't get all het up about people who were concerned about Doug Wilson at DG. I am not sure I feel that issue is as important as this one. But if they do, they have every right to vociferously express their concerns.

The reasoning is given "but if the world sees, they will reject the church!" Well perhaps the church should not be doing things like promoting false teachers. That might help with the unity problem. In the meantime, scores of false converts will fall away once the falsehood stops being 'conversed with' and 'considered' and promoted in the church's conferences. While those are falling away, the church will appear divided. There is no way around this. Those who have brought in the false teaching are to blame, not those who stand against it.

Now, I don't mind if it's someone like Richard Abanes or other Rick Warren sycophants coming after me. But when it's Phil Johnson criticizing those who would object strongly to the promotion and endorsement of false teachers, it's outright disheartening.

So I am very grieved. I thought Phil understood. I literally have no idea whether someone like him views me as some kind of an unclean 'sinner' or what, anymore? Then again, should I care?

The only sin that ever seems to be talked about is the sin of snarkiness. Since communication styles vary, and there is not really a hard and fast rule about communication, it would be rather legalistic to impose one, don't you think? Certainly there are things that shouldn't be said in some contexts, and should be said in others. Language and communication is complex. If Phil Johnson can come up with a ten commandments of communication, it might be helpful. Also one thing that might be a good guideline is to never resort to fallacies to prove your point. But other than that, it's going to be really hard to enforce any "law" about communication on people, especially when you do some of the same things yourself, and would be pharisaical to treat them like emotional lepers simply because they get upset at wrongdoing.

Yes, I say wrongdoing, because what John Piper is doing is wrong. His ministry has been a blessing to so many, and so many have, I am sure, specifically fled Purpose Driven churches to seek refuge there. THAT is partially why his ministry is growing so fast. Because he holds a beacon of light in the utter morasse and confusion that is Purpose Driven Seeker Sensitive Evangelicalism. And now they are being forced to entertain the very charming manipulative bully that they see as having Purpose Driven them out.

Scripture speaks far more clearly to John Piper's decision to promote Rick Warren than anything Phil Johnson brought on Iron Sharpens Iron about the use of language or rhetoric. This use of language and strong speech is something that I have agonized over for 25 years, since my mid teens. It is close to my heart. When I tried to live by the "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" rule, I ended up merely depressed. It was also the time of my sojourn through a seeker sensitive church (Evangelical Covenant).

The Twitter conversation went like this:

Justin Taylor has shut down comments at B2W: http://bit.ly/aTcwXi

@Phil_Johnson_ he must be pretty sheltered if those are examples of 'harsh' rebuke. My word.
via web in reply to Phil_Johnson_

@t3rri3rg4l Justin is right; some of those comments were shamefully carnal & immature. Embarrassing. Disrespect isn't a high virtue.
via TweetDeck in reply to t3rri3rg4l

@Phil_Johnson_ I dunno... they don't nearly rise to the level of "manure in silver chalices."
via web in reply to Phil_Johnson_

@Phil_Johnson_ 1. If those comments are examples of disrespect, I could say the same of "burying the gospel under wagon loads of trash."
via web in reply to Phil_Johnson_

@Phil_Johnson_ 2. But I agree with you re the wagon loads of trash.
via web in reply to Phil_Johnson_

@t3rri3rg4l There's an important difference between contempt for bad doctrine and vitriol aimed at a faithful man who makes a bad decision.
via TweetDeck in reply to t3rri3rg4l

@Phil_Johnson_ Well, yes but it is pretty telling that JP is saying RW is "Biblically rock solid" Doesn't that have to do with doctrine?
in reply to Phil_Johnson_

@Phil_Johnson_ 1. how about a faithful man that makes many bad decisions in a row? He seems to keep doing this sort of divisive thing.
via web in reply to Phil_Johnson_

@Phil_Johnson_ 2. incrementally abandoning sound doctrine by promoting teachers of false... at which point are we allowed to be snarky?
via web in reply to Phil_Johnson_

@Phil_Johnson_ 3. hubby used term "jumping the shark" to me. I think it is very fitting. I am not happy or gleeful about that.
via web in reply to Phil_Johnson_

(and this to no one in particular just everyone who follows me, which is precious few)
2 John 9-11 does that not apply to JP in welcoming RW to his pulpit? He partakes in RW's evil. If so, then Y does JP not deserve some snark?

@t3rri3rg4l Really? That's the goal? To unleash a flood of snark at the earliest possible opportunity?
via TweetDeck in reply to t3rri3rg4l

@Phil_Johnson_ is that what I said?
via web in reply to Phil_Johnson_

@Phil_Johnson_ but really I'm beginning to think I cannot speak without sinning, by your standard. This makes me very discouraged and sad.
via web in reply to Phil_Johnson_

@phil_johnson why did Taylor leave this 'chicken' comment out? There were only 4 'bad' comments.http://bit.ly/cJYQJb he gave 3 of em. bias?
via web

and to my own twitter feed I posted:
Justin Taylor gives 3 examples of 'bad' posts and all of them are 'anti warren.' the MOST egregious example is PRO warren, but is left out!
via web

1/2 why did Taylor leave this 'chicken' comment out? There were only 4 'bad' comments. http://bit.ly/cJYQJb he gave 3 of em. bias?
via web

2/2 Justin Taylor giving examples of mean-spirited comments http://bit.ly/9PZCIy give me a break. But the bawk bawk chicken comment was ok?
via web

I haven't been back to look and see if he had replied to any of that. After listening to him on Iron Sharpens Iron yesterday and his abysmal characterization of BOTH sides of the argument, I'm thinking there wasn't much new on my twitter feed, if anything.

I have a separate post worked up regarding his Iron Sharpens Iron interview.

It is clear that this picture was put up solely to shock and amuse. Phil admitted to the shock part himself. No he didn't outright laugh, but does the comedian ever laugh at his own jokes? I say it is clear that it is for shock and amusement because that is what is being circulated all around the internet, and that is certainly how Phil saw it first. Now this man Alan Dale Lee, violent criminal though he is, is known more for his appearance than his crime. And what's being circulated is how 'ugly' he is, primarily. Not that he is a violent criminal. This is utterly shameful behavior from a Christian leader who has been harping about 'proper respect' for John Piper's unbiblical behavior all week, and continues today.

Needless to say now I really have no idea what "proper respect" means to Phil Johnson, and I can safely disregard Phil's opinion on what the Scriptures say about our use of harsh speech or rhetoric or mockery. No, Phil never actually laughed himself, but the only people to get any rebuke from him on that thread are me and Ingrid (and anyone else he ironically finds hypocritical by their judgement of his behavior here). Somehow Phil seems to be able to read my mind about whether I really am upset about his posting of this picture. Apparently he knows Ingrid and me better than Ingrid and I know ourselves!

As promised, Phil has blogged about "this" today, conveniently leaving out any reference to the mug shot thread (screen capture HERE in pdf form in case that link disappears) where a few of us tried to take him to task for his double standard on this very issue.

UPDATE: added 4-21-2010 here is my comment from Team Pyro:

terriergal said...
I see you left out the part where you were putting up that mug shot of the criminal with bad teeth, solely to make fun of him. Why should anyone take your judgement of 'proper respect' seriously when you don't even have basic human respect for people's physical appearance?

Anyone wanting to see the facebook discussion just let me know, I can provide it. It's shameful. Dr Macarthur will be getting a copy.
6:26 AM, APRIL 09, 2010

(end of comment)

(I am currently trying to figure out the easiest way to explain this to Dr Macarthur and get him the information, since Phil is director of GTY. The easiest way is for him to get online and follow the links, otherwise I will be sending him a ream of paper.)
original post:
I beg Dr Macarthur to get these boys into his office post haste, lest they tarnish his ministry's good reputation. This is not the kind of speech he wrote about in his excellent book "The Jesus You Can't Ignore."

April 7, 2010

Zakaria Botros Claims Jesus as Lord!

Now that's boldness! Praise the Lord!

a testimony of a seeker sensitive refugee

Misti C, a facebook friend, shared this testimony with me, about her experience in a seeker sensitive/purpose driven church. I share it here with her permission. (JP = John Piper, RW = Rick Warren):

"My hubby and i got saved at a ss/pd church actually.. we stayed until after on and off til about march of last year- when my hubs said we are out ( the pastor was brow beating the church for not being "Christ -like" but never preached the gospel, only life tips ect)...and in October we moved 1300 away from my home town ( back to where my hubs is from) , and now we attend a very gospel centered church w/a Masters Seminary Grad. AMEN!!

About the whole JP/RW thing, I just do not get it at all. The first bible study i went to i was told about the purpose driven life- that i HAD to get that book and read it, i did , and i was like okay now i must serve serve serve to keep in God favor, and our church was modeled after that ideology, so i served my tail off b/c i wanted to show God how much i loved Him b/c of what He did for me- saving me, forgiving my sins.. i was the model idea of their "life-change" gospel - i was a worldly( and i mean worldly) girl who's life had been changed by their ministry...

Anyway- back to the JP/RW question, what RW preaches is works, "it takes more than faith to please God" ouch - if that is true - i am sunk. Now, JP preach faith in Christ... i have been so comforted by some of his sermons...especially the one from last summer/fall when he was working through John. The two of them are complete opposites in my book, i leave a RW sermon in despair. a JP sermon encouraged, I just do not get why JP would allow such a different Gospel to be displayed at the conference.. and i know it is JP conference, but he has an influence in the Christian community, and he knows that...how can he not...

My hubby has a very interesting take on it i will find it and post it... but honestly this was a HUGE topic of discussion for us over the last couple of days... and i am waiting to see how this all plays out... "

I replied: AMEN Misti!! You have nailed it. And thank you for your testimony of what it's like to live in the legalistic pietism of a Seeker Sensitive church. The people who like these churches don't understand why we call it legalism, because they say they allow all kinds of sinners to attend/belong. Yes, they do, that much is true. But they exchange God's rules for man's rules, or a mixture of God's rules and man's rules. None of which we can live up to anyway no matter how simple the 'steps' are. And they won't until they themselves start realizing they don't measure up. So what you have in these churches are 1. people who think they do measure up (e.g. pharisees) or 2. people who despair of not measuring up. What a formula for division. I'd rather be accepted by a bunch of people who know they're sinners too and we all struggle in different ways but can find forgiveness in Jesus' shed blood! (tears in my eyes now) Oh how I ache for those in those churches who really are saved but keep plugging along in despair because they don't know anything different!

April 6, 2010

Abraham Piper on "a Kinder Gentler Calvinist"

Be a Kinder Calvinist

Is that like George Bush's "Compassionate Conservatism"?

Abraham Piper has a post about being a 'kinder gentler Calvinist' in which he links to Scot McKnight's blog where there is a letter of complaint from a pastor, complaining about nasty calvinists in his church who like people like John Piper and Bob DeWaay (among others, ironically, that aren't Calvinist in theology... wonder why these Calvinists are so open minded as to listen to those ministries?)

the letter states "The tool that I had leaned on for so many years in youth ministry, namely loving relationships, failed me"

That's because that's LAW and you have no idea how to fulfill it, nor can you in your flesh. It's not about listening, stroking egos, buying them lunch. It's about growing in your knowledge of the truth, which you reject even though these people LOVINGLY (yes I would venture to say LOVINGLY,) though certainly imperfectly, keep trying to tell you.

Interestingly the rest of Abraham's article completely undermines this pastor's point. Abraham points to a fight he and his wife had, where he had 'checked off a list' and expected her to acknowledge that he had indeed taken the time to appreciate her. He realizes that that is not correct, that checking off a list is not the way to help his wife feel appreciated.

But then the pastor points to his 'tool' of loving relationships that failed him. I see a direct parallel. He checked off his list on how to win these Calvinists over, but they remained unimpressed. Imagine that! Some people aren't so easily malleable!

Abraham seems to take the letter like it's the gospel truth and this pastor is obviously completely unbiased in his description of the intolerant calvinists, or what is really going on to create the tension.

" Similarly, the frustration in the letter is true because, whether or not the Calvinists in the letter-writer's church are good folks, they come off as proud and divisive jerks. "

Do they? How do you know? Perhaps they are trying to stop him ruining their church and bringing in all kinds of Purpose Driven transitioning stuff. And because he has an ordination he thinks they should automatically defer to his superior wisdom and judgement? Perhaps the letter writer comes off as proud and divisive!

"Paying attention to those who disagree with us and taking them seriously, even if we're pretty sure we'll still disagree, is part of what it means to be in the body of Christ. It's humbling; it sanctifies. It will make us better husbands and wives. It will make us better Christians, and maybe even better Calvinists."

He is aiming this at the nasty calvinists, when my bets are that it is far more applicable to the pastor who is complaining.

And frankly that's EXACTLY what these nasty Calvinists did. They went out and talked with him, have continued to debate and not compromise on the truth just for the sake of 'relationship'

Prov 27:5 Better is open rebuke
Than love that is concealed.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

If these people like Kirk Cameron and Bob DeWaay, I would wager they are pretty well balanced. Bob DeWaay especially is one of the most graciously firm and straightforward teachers of SOUND DOCTRINE that is out there, next to John Macarthur (yes you may disagree on eschatology with these men, but those are secondary issues). Kirk is also very gracious. Why did he feel the need to connect them with these 'intolerant' calvinists? If it were me, it would be because what I am trying to say without really saying it is, "I differ doctrinally with these calvinists, and they won't budge, and they oppose the changes I am trying to make, they are passionate about what they believe and don't hide it under a bushel, therefore they are intolerant and divisive. How do I shut them up/get rid of them?"

Now, if these 'nasty calvinists' were so closed minded and unwilling to listen to other points of view, why are they listening to Lighthouse Trails? Could it be that Lighthouse Trails is exercising discernment (with the exception of Caryl Matrisciana's ridiculous anti Calvinist materials) and considering others' points of view, reckoning the differences to be secondary. Now why is it that the pastor and these nasty Calvinists can't do the same? Is it the pastor's problem or the nasty Calvinists' problem? I would suggest, from reading the dearth of discernment displayed in the letter, that the pastor is to blame here. He certainly hasn't given any information to give me confidence in his level of Biblical understanding.

Proverbs 3:11-12
11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.

2 Cor 11:
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

Satan comes as an angel of light, his ministers appear as ministers of righteousness. They will be smooth, make you feel good, won't offend you, won't come across as 'intolerant' or 'pesky' or 'self righteous.' If I could find someone who is always gracious, never bothers me in my flesh, makes me feel good about our 'relationship' all the time, I would frankly be very suspicious. I'm not condoning stuff like Westboro Baptist, but that hardly seems to apply here, or I would think we'd have heard of it here in this area (where the pastor says he's from).

"If he were evil he would look fairer and smell fouler." --Frodo Baggins.

But many many pastors are being turned out without any sense of smell for false teaching. They have been steeped in it so much, their olfactory nerve is burned out. They look at the appearance and other externals, and reckon the people that don't measure up to their external stereotype to be unworthy enough to understand or teach them anything.

Additionally what is missing in both the letter and the article by Abraham Piper is the gospel. None of these 'steps' matters if you aren't saved. I guess they may have been 'assuming' that you already are a Christian. But without Christ's righteousness imputed to our account, all of these 'steps' (even if they are valid) toward making a better marriage or better life are worthless.

Christ came down, born of a virgin as was prophesied centuries before. He was fully God and fully man, a perfect man, who knew no sin. He allowed himself to be brutally murdered at the hands of the government and the religious system of the day, but make no mistake, the common people, both Jew and gentile, were quite approving of all this.

On the cross he suffered God's wrath for our sin. His sacrifice on our behalf was effective because he was the perfect sinless spotless sacrifice, the one who took my place, and your place if you repent of your sin and put your trust in him alone for salvation. Without trusting in him, we are doomed already to suffer eternal punishment for our own sins. Not a bone of his was broken. (as was prophesied)

The third day after crucifixion he rose from the dead, appearing to more than 500 people. This is what the church celebrates at Easter. He ascended into heaven and sits at God's right hand in the place of honor. He will come again to judge everyone. Do you belong to him? Repent, and put your trust in his mercy to save you, for no one else can!

April 5, 2010

John Piper would you invite Obama?

Obama Removes Jesus from Easter Message

but but but....But but...Obama believes in Jesus in private! So John Piper, can he come speak at your Desiring God conference on how to win friends & influence people? Heaven knows the church could use some of that. And how to motivate people to take care of the poor? And on Racial justice? He's an EXPERT in those fields. Could put some of us to shame I am sure! I know it'd be controversial.... but maybe you could arrange to have a Q&A with him for about an hour and get him to lay his cards on the table.

April 4, 2010

Apology accepted, Frank Turk

Frank apologized here (1) and here (2) for one of his posts in the previous exchange that had to do with the John Piper/Rick Warren debacle. I'm not quite sure how the original "joke" you refer to in the URL within the 2nd tweet really quite clarifies anything, but... ok...


I accept your apology. Husband mentioned it a couple hours into our 9 hour drive home. I've been thinking about it all the way as I drove and trying to think of how to properly respond, and rethinking my own words as well.

(I sent response tweets here (1) and here (2) and here as soon as we got in the door and I got my animals fed.)

As far as the 'more details' I mention, I realized in thinking it through this afternoon that by my own 'hermeneutic' used to interpret what you said regarding throwing stones, Frank, I also did the same thing to you. Using Cain's words, I only wished to use the 'brother's keeper' metaphor. I was certainly not comparing your actions with Cain's sin. I apologize for having left that impression or the possibility of it.

However, as far as a sabbatical Frank, I'm a little confused. I'm not sure whether that was meant tongue in cheek (considering the recent announcement by John Piper) or whether you meant that seriously. If tongue in cheek it kind of ... well....robs some sincerity from your original apology. Then again if you did mean it seriously, surely one isolated back and forth between you and me is not worthy of an extended sabbatical?

Also, the reason I chose to make this a blog post was only because 1. Tweets are too short, and 2. I had already posted about the original exchange so that quite a few knew friends about it, and it doesn't do anyone (least of all you) any good to just see it disappear without any proper credit given to you for your apology. But putting up an apology acknowledgement with no explanation what for just doesn't work either.

I will include a link to this article at the top of the previous exchange, so that anyone reading it will know it was already taken care of.

In any case, I do sincerely hope and pray that some day the original difference of opinion (John Piper consorting with Rick Warren) which led to this exchange will also be resolved, somehow, as it was of far greater import to the church at large than two believers snipping at each other.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, Frank, and again I thank you for your apology.

April 1, 2010

But John, Rick Warren Reads Yonggi Cho too!

Now these two things are very interesting reading back to back:
Warren: What advice would you give to a brand new minister?
Cho: Number one - I would encourage him to have a very positive attitude in the ministry because he will meet many discouragements.
Second, he should have visions and dreams because visions and dreams are the vessels through which God works - These visions and dreams come from the word of God to you - and so it is very important to have visions and dreams.

Third, I would just want to tell him to really listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit -- very important -- very courageous. Because to start a successful ministry, one needs an adventurous spirit. God always enjoys such a person. That's the kind of person God uses.

Warren: I've read your books on Vision and Dreams - speak to pastors about how you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit?
Cho: The Holy Spirit always speaks through Bible Study. Even this morning, I was studying the Bible and praying before the Lord. You know we have a lot of head knowledge but very little bit of the heart knowledge. Many pastors try to speak to their people using the head knowledge instead of the heart knowledge.
So to receive heart knowledge, we must pray very much and then study the Bible and wait upon the Lord. Many people in prayer -- they are only talking to God in one way - but they should wait upon the Lord until God really soaks into their hearts. When I wait upon the Lord, His will comes like dew upon my heart.

and then this:

"we were sitting together on the platform, both of us speaking at Ralph Winters' funeral. Ralph was a hero for both of us and so we had time to talk and he said something that just piqued my interest and he said uh 'I've read everything you've written.'" Which I absolutely didn't believe and considered to be an overstatement; probably was but that he had read anything surprised me. And then he said 'I'm in one of the middle of my yearly treks through one theologian. I've read half of the collected works, the Yale collected works of Jonathan Edwards, and I'm gonna finish them by the end of the year."

So, John, the point is not what he happens to be reading, but what he actually believes enough to get in the wheelbarrow, believes enough to get up and preach, which is far closer to Yonggi Cho than Jonathan Edwards or John Piper. We have plenty of examples of that, and he isn't going to change message, barring a miracle of repentance, just for you.

In addition, him claiming to have read everything you've ever written isn't enough. Did he understand it? Did you grill him on the veracity of the statement? No, you assumed he was flattering you. Do pastors really think it's ok to lie in flattery to one another?

Frank Turk just called me a pharisee. Wow. (UPDATED 4-5-2010)

update as of 4-5-2010 (12:54 am)

2 people pointed out to me that he did not actually use the word 'pharisee' but the meaning seems pretty clear, and not sure anyone really thinks that gnat is worth straining out of our tea, because I did not actually "quote" him as saying "pharisee" either. Titles of blog posts are often summaries of the sentiments expressed within the post. I suppose I could have entitled it "Frank Turk Plays The Pharisee Card" and linked to Todd Wilken's excellent article by same name somewhere within, but I did not think of that originally. Anyway, to the original post:

"#ajp If the Elders @ BBC are OK with Rick Warren, who asked anyone else? Next!"

@Frank_Turk if th elders at Saddleback R OK with Rick Warren,who asked anyone else?U spend plenty of time critiquing those who didnt ask u.

@t3rri3rg4l - (1/2) wld the fact that the guys at BBC/DG have a fantastic track record have anything 2 do w/ how we deal w/ ths issue?

@t3rri3rg4l -(2/2) If your answer is "NO!", then you might be a watchblogger if ...

@Frank_Turk of course, YOU aren't a watchblogger nope nope nope....

(this actually should come last, because I just replied to it but for sake of flow I am putting it here)

"Piper/Warren thing? http://bit.ly/dqfiSw I'm more worried about Global Warming. You do the math."

"@Frank_Turk is more worried about global warming than the JP/RW debacle http://bit.ly/dyzEQu http://bit.ly/9nHHmV well bully for you frank"

I just wanted to point out that I think this is a great line-up for a conference:http://bit.ly/duvaXK Sorry haters! :-)

@Frank_Turk re RW / JP 'am I my brother's keeper?'

anonymous @t3rri3rg4l throws first stone. Immeediately ascends into heaven.

John Piper digs a deeper hole

John Piper's original addressing of the Rick Warren issue:
"doctrinal, and theological, and sound"??? You have GOT to be kidding John. Are you really so naive?

Desiring God posted this clip from the live streaming Q&A with John Piper from last night. It is not the whole interview. They really need to post the whole interview.

Why John Piper Invited Rick Warren to the 2010 Desiring God National Conference

but what's here is pretty bad anyway. he praises, nay, RHAPSODIZES about Rick Warren's legalistic membership covenants, for disciplining 'inactive' members, (e.g. those who get tired of the compromise and check out?, or those who speak against the compromise and against having people like Marxist Barak Obama, speak at their church?).

Is John REALLY this ignorant of what Rick is doing to the church?

He says he doesn't put Rick Warren in the group that he should keep at arm's length. Oh really? Then John is in blatant disobedience to the command to mark these dividers, to rebuke them harshly, and have nothing to do with them. And what's worse, is he KNOWS there are problems with this man. It's not like John has bought the seeker sensitive purpose driven lie and so is blinded to its error. He sees it and thinks he can dialogue with it anyway. This is ridiculous. Rick has not REPENTED of his former deeds, so there is no evidence that he actually believes what he says he believes in private. John is being extremely foolish, and yes PRIDEFULLY disobedient here.

Have a separate Q&A with him apart from DG if that's what you want, John. (he doesn't even say FOR SURE that that will happen... MAYBE that will happen, but obviously for sure Rick Warren is going to be able to spout his nonsense, and possibly without any cross examination.)

Even Rick Warren wasn't so stupid as to invite his detractors to speak at his church. He invited them to 'come and learn' and then have a private meeting to figure out what makes them tick, and he went away completely unchanged. Well I guess that must be because they weren't as wonderful and talented and winsome as John.