Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Business of Life and Death

It is at this time of year that many Danes brave the cold to buy Christmas gifts. Go out and watch the people occupied with things that will never matter in eternity. People, we are in the business of life and death. If we don’t preach the Gospel to them either with our words or with a tract then who will? This is the best time all winter to get out and talk to people.

Dark clouds are gathering all over the world right now as we see the economic crisis unfold. Western people including many professing Christians are going to learn a hard lesson about greed. Many people have been spending recklessly in the last 5 to 10 years and the banks were only too happy to lend them the money to do this. Well the banks aren’t so happy about it anymore and have decided that it’s time to collect. People are very afraid about this, whether it is their home, car, or retirement money. In this time of global fear we need to draw people’s attention to something they should be much more afraid about . . .

Even darker clouds are gathering all over the world right now as the cup of God’s wrath fills up against a wicked generation. Most of these people have been busy pursuing pleasure and material gain never realizing that God continually delays His wrath, giving them time to repent. Well God’s cup of wrath is filling up further every day and it is only a matter of time before it overflows with His righteous judgment on a world bound for Hell. As you gaze on these deluded people running from one store to the next buying another useless thing that will burn up on the day of judgment - remember such were we before God redeemed us by His own blood. As the clock counts down to Armageddon are you going to continue watching? Are you going to believe the evil lie of modern preachers who say “preach the Gospel, if necessary use words” which is like saying “wash always, if necessary use water”? Or are you going to use that voice that God gave you?

"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling
block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul." (Ezekiel 3:17-21)


Stop for a moment and listen. Can you hear it? Do you hear it? It is the sound of thousands of church goers saying absolutely nothing about the glorious blood bought once for all delivered Gospel. Don’t sit in your warm apartment this Christmas season and offend God with silence. Someone recently asked me how he can possibly witness and share the Gospel when he has so many personal struggles. We can and should preach – in season and out of season – because this has everything to do with the fact that Christ is worthy to receive the reward of His suffering.

Whatever you do, don’t do nothing. If you are scared to witness hand out tracts, if you aren’t scared hand out tracts anyway. Talk to people, be friendly regardless of how they speak to us always remembering that we too were once slaves in Egypt.

Danes often tell me that being introverted and private is a Danish cultural issue. Let me ask you whether your evangelism is informed by culture or Scripture. We are all meant to be a part of a culture and it isn’t Danish or Australian or American. As the author of Hebrews made clear we are meant to be strangers in a strange land longing for a city who’s builder and maker is God.

For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:14-16)

Tomorrow - A Brief History of the Emergent Church (Part 3)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Brief History of the Emergent Church (Part 2)

The saga continues.

Noah and his family were the only human survivors of that ancient environmental crisis. Could global warming really have caused the oceans to rise that much? As the waters abated Noah and his family were given a fresh chance to bring in the "kingdom". It remained to be seen what would "emerge" from this scenario in the following years.

Admittedly that initial covenant of animal sacrifices after stepping off the Ark was a backward step for environmental causes. But generally things went pretty well for several generations up until they decided to build a tower up to heaven. Unfortunately Doug Pagitt had not yet been born and was thus unable to inform them that heaven is not a place (after all, Jesus told His followers that He was going away to prepare a "new reality" for them).

Much confusion emerged as the tower was being built. People simply could not understand each other. One plausible explanation was that Brian McLaren was the spokesman for the project but the latest archaelogical evidence seems to refute this theory. Recent excavation of the ruins shows that the project was abandoned due to the need of accomodating people's differing realities. This ancient civilization embarked, instead, on constructing a massive labyrinth that became so big that everybody ended up lost and scattered across its vast reaches.

The emergent movement was down but not out. A remnant remained that would not make a public appearance, aside from left wing political campaigns, until Moses led Israel out of Egypt. The promised land awaited - could it be an actual place?

To be continued

Go On To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Brief History of the Emergent Church (Part 1)

It is widely thought that the "emergent church" is a modern phenomenon - so modern in fact that they are post modern or "pomo" for short. Solomon once said that there is nothing new under the sun and so it is with the emergent movement. I thought I'd give the readers today an overview of the origins and history of this not so new movement.

The movement is so old in fact that it's pioneer appears in Genesis chapter 3 where we see the introduction of the deconstructionist post modern hermeneutic or put more simply, twisted Scripture. You know, when the serpent said to Eve "Yea, hath God said?". Admittedly, the "conversation" was rather short winded as they were not yet able to do it over coffee. Nonetheless Eve, and her husband Adam, were more than willing to explore the serpent's narrative rather than be bound by the black and white absolutes of God's commands.

Adam and Eve were now progressives and no longer wanted to confine themselves to the limitations of paradise and besides, they had strong suspicions that the owner voted Republican anyway. It was outside Eden that they got to learn about the real world and the real problems it faced. Their eldest son Cain, for example, had a deep concern about overpopulation. They also had to deal with the archaic idea of right and wrong and figure out the truth that worked best for them.

As time progressed a man called Noah appeared on the scene. He was a man who completely disrupted the societal harmony and pleasure of his day. For one thing, he built a very large boat destroying a lot of old growth forests in the process. Noah's disregard for the environment certainly had a dramatic effect on weather patterns. More and more grey clouds started to appear in the sky.

Noah also talked a lot about a flood that God was going to send and destroy everbody who didn't get inside his boat. It was important for people not to interpret Noah literally. After all, conjecture over whether this flood would be a literal historical event would be to completely miss the depth and meaning of the metaphor God was trying to convey. They decided to contemplate Noah's words as to thier true meaning for each individual. Anyway, there was no way anybody was getting on a boat that didn't have a carbon neutral footprint.

Eventually, Noah's disregard for the environment led to greater and greater climate change. Those grey clouds now filled the sky and Noah's family entered their boat. Noah's words had ceased and the rains had begun and no post modern paradigm could change it . . . .

To Be Continued

Go On To Part 2

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Scientists Discover "Belief in God" Gene

Well it was a long time coming but finally it's here. Scentists have finally unearthed the explanation as to why "dim" people (people who aren't as smart as Richard Dawkins) feel the need to believe in a Deity.



Romans chapter one tells us that this really is the great big cosmic duh!!

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:18-22)

Next time you talk to an atheist remember that the issue to contend over is not knowledge but morality. The atheist loves his sin and suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. Their only hope is that God would open their eyes to their need for the righteousness found only in Christ. The Lord Jesus said "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6). My precious brother in Christ, Kirk Cameron, says that "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink . . . but you can salt his oats". That salt for the atheist is the fervent preaching of sin, righteousness, and judgment using the law of God as a mirror to help them see their true wretchedness. They need to see that it is their love for sin and not the lack of evidence that causes them to deny God's existence.

It is also important to remember that a belief in God does not translate to someone becoming a Christian. Belief in God is akin to stating the obvious and an outward sign that the atheist has finally humbled himself. He must be born again in response to hearing the Christian Gospel.

1Co 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Foxes Book of Emergents With Hurt Feelings - Donald Miller (Part 5)

DON MILLER - Blue Like Jazz or Green Like Envy

Today is the final installment of this 5 part series on emergent with hurt feelings -one Donald Miller. He is yet again another emergent who has come out with unabashed support for pro murder president elect Barack Obama. All the talk by many of these emergent/liberal/red letter "Christians" for so long about the "religious right" being too political was a complete farce. We now know that the problem was never that they were too political but rather that these social liberals hate their brand of politics. The good thing about these developments is that their true colours are being flushed out. Don Miller's "prayer" at the Democrat National Convention publicly unveiled his warped value system and no matter which way he postures on the abortion issue the reality is he is NOT pro life. As we continue through Richard Nathan's review of Miller's book "Blue Like Jazz" the core of Miller's faulty theology is revealed - a low view of Scripture, a high view of sinners and a god of his own invention.

A Spokesman for Romanticism (or Imaginative Paganism)

What Miller and many of today’s neo-evangelicals are moving towards is Romanticism.

There’s a pendulum that swings in Church history between the imbalance of legalism and formalism and the opposite imbalance of rebelliousness and paganism. This has become especially apparent since the Renaissance. The Romantic Movement, which was very influential in Europe, England, and the United States in the 1700s and 1800s, focused on rebellion through poetry, art, imagination, magic, mysticism, and intuition. This movement spawned such men as Richard Wagner and Friedrich Nietzsche, who greatly influenced Adolph Hitler.

A Rebirth of Romanticism. Today we are experiencing a rebirth of Romanticism in the form of a flood of rebelliousness masquerading as a new wave of Christian freedom and spirituality. It is especially apparent in the Emergent Church Movement and through the writings of such authors as Brian McLaren. But Christian freedom is always deeply tied to Christian truth. And the freedom Miller offers is so disconnected from Christian truth that it cannot truly be Christian—or truly freedom—at all. Its basis is theological, biblical, and historical ignorance. His enormous appeal is to a shift in society and in the Church that is following the culture away from truth to self.

Bohemian/Beatnik Culture. Miller’s approach to writing personifies a shift that arose out of the Bohemian leftist culture that developed in San Francisco’s North Beach area in the late 1930s. The Bohemians were into wine, poetry, and leftist politics. The Beatniks, who followed them, got into jazz, pot, and other drugs. In the 1960s the movement flowered with the hippies and their focus upon Eastern religions and such psychedelic drugs as LSD and Mescaline. All of these lifestyles claimed to represent freedom and creativity as opposed to “square” American middleclass life.

I know something about these movements because I grew up in San Francisco during the 1940s and 1950s in a family that was part of the Bohemian/Beatnik culture. We managed jazz nightclubs and ran a bookstore in North Beach. And I can tell you from personal experience: Beatniks were not loving; they were not pure; they were not unselfish at all. And they definitely were not free. These movements were, in fact, the epitome of self-love and blind egotism.

Nor was the emphasis on love in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District during the Sixties love for others; it was an extreme form of self-gratification—it was the culture of rebellion. And Miller is just aping it and being an apologist for it. Notice that one of his friends at Reed is called “the Beat poet.” In some sense he’s extolling the “glories” of Neopaganism and trying to fit his narcissistic “Christianity” of mysticism and magic into it.

One Final Urgent Question: Why the Rush to Paganism?

Why are evangelicals rushing to read and praise this book when it attacks them and the very foundations of their faith?

What does it say about today’s evangelical movement, and today’s youth raised in evangelical homes and culture, that they love his message and are even using it to evangelize?

The overarching theme of Miller’s book is the glorification of rebellion by preaching false freedom. That’s exactly what the Haight-Ashbury preached; it’s exactly what drugs promise; and it’s exactly what the Emergent Church movement promotes today.

Miller’s inability to differentiate his subjective feelings from the truth of Scripture is all too common in the Emergent philosophy spreading among contemporary young people. His book is fuel for the fire among those Christianized youth who are struggling with some of the narrowness of legalistic upbringings and are seeking the freedom in Christ the Bible promises, but who end up in the devil’s snare of false freedom.

The answer to narrowness and legalism is not false freedom but real freedom in Christ. Miller’s “evangelistic” stance though is to trash conservative Christians and to extol pagans. And in fact his promotion of paganism is far more effective than his evangelism for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Read Blue Like Jazz only if you want an example of the sorrowful state of evangelical youth and Christian publishing today.

Richard Nathan holds a Master of Arts in Religion in Church History and has been a Bible and church history teacher for over twenty years. He wrote his thesis on the debate over the inerrancy of Scripture in a historical analysis. Since 1992, Linda Nathan has been president of Logos Word Designs, Inc., a Christian writing and editing service at http://www.logosword.com. They have taught numerous seminars and classes to Christians. See Richard's blog at www.gloriousriches.blogspot.com for ongoing discussion about such trends in Christianity as Romantic Christianity and the Emergent Church movement. Visit their Web site at http://fictionplumbline.com for articles evaluating Christian fiction from a biblical perspective.

Go Back To Part 4
Go Back To Part 1

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Foxes Book of Emergents With Hurt Feelings - Donald Miller (Part 4)

DON MILLER - Blue Like Jazz or Green Like Envy
Continuing on from yesterday we are taking a close biblical poke at Donald Miller's best selling book "Blue Like Jazz". What follows is a continuation of the article by Richard Nathan "Green Like Envy".

The Spirituality of the “Hip Christian”

“For me the beginning of sharing my faith with people began with throwing out Christianity and embracing Christian spirituality, a nonpolitical mysterious system that can be experienced but not explained. Christianity, unlike Christian spirituality, was not a term that excited me. And I could not in good conscience tell a friend about a faith that didn’t excite me. I couldn’t share something I wasn’t experiencing.”

“I told him that I thought mystical power came through faith in Jesus.”

A false dichotomy. Miller’s statements reveal his ignorance and confusion about just what it is to be a Christian in a historical, orthodox sense. Not only does he abandon reason and Scripture, he creates a false dichotomy. He presents the only choices as a hypocritical, commercial Christianity and a hip mystical spirituality. And in the process, he totally misses the true Gospel.

In fact, Miller basically says that truth can be compared to story and that Christianity makes sense because it’s like a story, i.e., like fiction. He not only compares his version of Christian “spirituality” to the elements of fiction, he introduces Pelagianism again. Once more we see Miller’s understanding of “truth” revolves around himself.

“The elements of story began to parallel my understanding of Christian spirituality. Christianity offered a decision, a climax. It also offered a good and bad resolution. In part, our decisions were instrumental to the way our story turned out.”

But he doesn’t stop there.

“Now this was spooky because for thousands of years big-haired preachers have talked about the idea that we need to make a decision to follow or reject Christ. They would offer these ideas as a sort of magical solution to the dilemma of life. I had always hated hearing about it because it seemed so entirely unfashionable a thing to believe, but it did explain things. Maybe these unfashionable ideas were pointing at something mystical and true. And perhaps I was judging the idea not by its merit but by the fashionable or unfashionable delivery of the message.”

It’s hard to tell whether he’s talking about TV preachers with pompadours or is just putting down preachers in general, but in either case, he ridicules preaching. He’s basically saying that he decides something is truth not by Scripture but by the way he feels about it—if it’s “mystical”—i.e., feeling-oriented—it must be true.

This is the thinking of the Emergent Church, which elevates story into revelation and truth. Miller is comparing the truth of the Bible with the elements of a story and determining truth by story.

“The last element of story is resolution. Christian spirituality offered a resolution, the resolution of forgiveness and a home in the afterlife. Again, it all sounded so very witless to me, but by this time I wanted desperately to believe it. I felt as though my soul were designed to live the story Christian spirituality was telling. I felt like my soul wanted to be forgiven. I wanted the resolution God was offering.

That last comment is the closest I see him admitting to sin.

In his search for truth, Miller measures by himself: his reaction, his need, his decision, his entertainment, and whether it’s mystical and magical because he likes things that are mystical and magical. Nowhere does he talk about objective truth: the Bible, sin, God’s wrath and judgment upon sinners, or the reason that Christ had to die.

Unfortunately, Miller only mirrors what’s happening in the Church today: Experience is considered more important than truth. And since the modern view is that basically there is no truth that applies to everyone, then “freedom” becomes license (“anything goes”).

The Freedom of Real Christianity

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’" John 8:31–32

False freedom. Miller is an insecure, self-centered man (as he freely admits in his book) who wants to be a literary success, and he is using a certain worldly technique where you let it all hang out. But he exhibits an incredible ignorance of true Christianity and conveys disappointment with a limited experience with the Christian community. He puts down evangelicals in a very ignorant way as though his warped and stereotyped view of them is all there is to the Church. There’s no awareness of the larger Body of Christ or what it means.

I sympathize with his disappointment in the kind of legalistic perfectionism that has been strong in evangelicalism because it tends to produce bondage and hypocrisy instead of true freedom. But what he offers is far from true freedom. He has turned from legalism to antinomianism. (The term means “against law.” It describes the state of rebellion against God’s laws and standards of life.) He is leading his readers from perfectionism to lawlessness—and the greatest tragedy of all is that he’s missed the Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel, which brings true freedom from the bondage of sin and Satan.

Continued tomorrow - A Spokesman for Romanticism (or Imaginative Paganism)

Go On To Part 5
Go Back To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

Monday, November 17, 2008

Foxes Book of Emergents With Hurt Feelings - Donald Miller (Part 3)

DON MILLER - Blue Like Jazz or Green Like Envy
Continuing on from yesterday we are taking a close biblical poke at Donald Miller's best selling book "Blue Like Jazz". What follows is a continuation of the article by Richard Nathan "Green Like Envy".

Does Miller Know the Gospel?

Miller calls himself a Christian and uses the term Gospel, but what he describes doesn’t sound like the biblical Gospel. For instance, on p. 124 he describes his conversation with Jake, a pagan at a Ren Fayre festival. The Christians there had a booth where they confessed their sins to the pagans as an apology for the Church. Jake starts out:

“’You said earlier there was a central message of Christ. I don’t really want to become a Christian, you know, but what is that message?’

‘The message is that man sinned against God and God gave the world over to man, and that if somebody wanted to be rescued out of that, if somebody for instance finds it’s all very empty, that Christ will rescue them if they want; that if they ask forgiveness for being a part of that rebellion then God will forgive them.’

‘What’s the deal with the cross?’ Jake asked.

‘God says the wages of sin is death,’ I told him. ‘And Jesus died so none of us would have to. If we have faith in that then we are Christians.’”

Are we?

Actually, Miller’s “gospel” is a clear example of an old theological distortion known as Pelagianism. This ancient heresy basically says that original sin did not taint human nature and that we have the ability to choose to walk with God instead of being utterly depraved and lost sinners whom God needs to rescue (Romans 3). The most recent well-known advocate of this doctrine was Charles Finney.

Pelagianism—and Miller—leave out some very basic points: Wrath—judgment—propitiation—and the substitutionary atonement. Jesus didn’t die generically; He died very specifically, taking on Himself the righteous punishment due to sinners—death. (See Romans 1:18, 2:5, 5:9; Ephesians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9; and Hebrews 2:17.)

Romans 3:22–25 clearly portrays the real Gospel:

“There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”

And 1 John sets out a clear standard for determining true Christians:

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:3–6)

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:9–10)

The Gospel of the “Hip Christian”

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Galatians 1:8–9

Resurrecting the Beatniks. Blue Like Jazz reminds me very much of the style of the Beatnik era, especially books by Jack Kerouac who wrote in a stream of consciousness centered in himself. And though Donald Miller never says in his book that he’s a pot smoker, it’s amazing how many of his friends are pot smokers and how much his style and thinking strongly resemble those of many pot smokers. He does talk about smoking pot in his youth group though, and one section of his book extols those who take LSD. Being “hip” and “cool” are important to Miller, who frequently uses the terms as measuring rods.

The Hip Gospel never mentions the cross or God’s wrath on sinners and Christ’s atonement for sin. It distorts the Bible, if it refers to it at all, and it never talks about being born again or the desperate need for becoming a new creation.

There is no sorrow for a fallen world—only envy of it.

Miller also claims he never feels as good with Christians as with pagans.

“I never felt so alive as I did in the company of my liberal friends. It isn’t that the Christians I had been with had bad community; they didn’t, I just like the community of the hippies because it was more forgiving, more, I don’t know, healthy.”[6]

Healthy? Is he saying it’s healthier to go into the woods and smoke pot and have immoral sex than to belong to Jesus Christ? That we can find more love in the drug scene than in a church? And this represents wonderful freedom for Christians? This is walking as Jesus walks? The Bible calls this the world. And it warns about its terrible dangers:

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15–17)

Miller’s basic message is that pagans are better than Christians but that liberal Christians are much better than conservative Christians. And, finally, that liberals and even Unitarians are far more loving—and healthier—than conservative Christians.

Jesus went among sinners and brought salvation; he didn’t smoke pot with them. Miller goes among sinners and has a grand old time with them. His book doesn’t reveal the love of Christ; it reveals a love of paganism that isn’t a saving love but a desire to emulate sin. It reveals pagan envy.

Continued tomorrow - The Spirituality of the “Hip Christian”

Go On To Part 4
Go Back To Part 2
Go Back To Part 1

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Foxes Book of Emergents With Hurt Feelings - Rob Bell (Part 7)

THE BOTTOM LINE IRONY AWARD - ROB BELL'S ATTEMPT TO EXPOSE FALSE TEACHERS
This would be laughable if it wasn't true. Rob Bell recently preached a self serving message to his congregation called "Beware of Dogs" in which he slams biblically sound discernment ministries for questioning his heretical teachings. Well, the gloves are now off and it's time to call a spade a shovel.

Maybe the net is closing in Rob but why are you so surprised when sincere Christians call you to task for your hermeneutical hack jobs and disgraceful manipulation of Scripture. There are people out there who love God's Word and love the purity of the blood bought once for all delivered Gospel and won't sit by and let you continually preach humanism and try and disguise it as Christianity. By all means sell your wares in a New Age bookstore or on Oprah but stop calling it Christianity. Sure you use the Bible and that is the problem. You USE the Bible to redefine its plain meaning into a postmodern haze.

The following youtube video/audio is a critique of the "Beware of Dogs" message. Warning - it is three hours long so bunker down with a Red Bull if you want to hear it through. Normally I wouldn't post something so lengthy but I beleive this is actually a very helpful experience for many of us who try to practice biblical discernment in a marketplace full of ideas. Chris Rosebrough, who hosts the podcast, is not everyone's cup of tea but he does an excellent job of cutting through the emergent smokescreens. Rosebrough deciphers what Rob Bell is actually teaching and how he cleverly twists biblical texts to say something other than their plain meaning.

Some of the staggering things to "emerge" from this critique include:
1.Rob Bell likes to try and lend credibility to himself by quoting Greek and Hebrew words much in the same way as the certificate of authenticity on my five dollar Rolex.
2.Rob Bell marvels as to why any Christian would be critical of a conference that tries to unite Christianity with different religions.
3.Rob Bell thinks that when people from other religions love him it is an endorsement of his message.
4.Rob Bell seems to approach Scripture willing to explore all interpretive options except for the one that leaps off the page and slaps you in the face.
5.The whole premise for the "Beware of Dogs" message, taken from Philippians 3, has absolutely nothing to do with what Philippians 3 is all about.
6.When Rob Bell talks about no place on earth he'd rather be he is not talking about the true fellowship of believers. He is talking about hanging out with buddhist monks, muslim nuns, universalists, hindus and the regular assortment of other false religions.



A Note for Erica - Rob Bell's Cyber Bodyguard
There is a woman out there called Erica who seems to think her calling in life is to defend Rob Bell from all the people out there who practice biblical discenment. I like to think of her as Rob Bell's cyber bodyguard. I don't know what she looks like but I imagine she gets around in a dark suit with dark glasses, has an earpiece with a wire running under her collar, and talks into her watch.

Erica has posted a lot of times on this blog. Initially, I appreciated Erica's warm tone and engaged in friendly dialogue. But in time some themes "emerged" that shortened my patience. I noticed her name appearing and defending Rob Bell on other places where he was criticised. I noticed that her interest seemed to be confined to Rob Bell and that she seemed to have little interest in discussing the purity of the Gospel or reasoning from Scripture (no Erica, quoting bible verses out of context does not qualify as reasoning from Scripture). She started to sound like a scratched record and would not even consider the many biblical objections brought forward by people who questioned her. When I started to cut to the chase Erica's husband wrote in calling me a jerk. Read earlier posts concerning Rob Bell and you'll see our "conversation".

So Erica, if you're out there and want to post. Say things that are biblically supportable and in context. Also show a willingness to reason from Scripture rather than just defending Rob Bell for the sake of defending him.

Go On To Part 8
Go Back To Part 6
Go Back To Part 1

Friday, November 14, 2008

Foxes Book of Emergents With Hurt Feelings - Donald Miller (Part 2)

DON MILLER - Blue Like Jazz or Green Like Envy
Continuing on from yesterday we are taking a close biblical poke at Donald Miller's best selling book "Blue Like Jazz". What follows is a continuation of the article by Richard Nathan. I thought this articlewas just too good to pass up for my series on Emergent leaders. Richard is a contemporary of Don Miller's and was saved out of a hippy background. He speaks with authority and biblical insight on the subculture that Miller is so enamured with. Richard also holds a Master of Arts in Religion in Church History and has been a Bible and church history teacher for over twenty years. Here is the second installment of Richard Nathan's article "Green Like Envy".

“Hip Love”

What is Miller’s idea of love? Is it the sacrificial love of 1 Corinthians 13? Of God’s sacrifice of His only Son? Is it the willingness to die to self? No, it’s none of these. Miller’s “hip love” is self-love. Here’s another situation he describes as cool.

“When my friend Paul and I lived in the woods, we lived with hippies. Well, sort of hippies. They certainly smoked a lot of pot. They drank beer a lot. And man did they love each other, sometimes too much perhaps, too physically, you know, but nevertheless they loved; they accepted and cherished everybody, even the ones who judged them because they were hippies. It was odd living with hippies at first, but I enjoyed it after a while.”

“We would sit around and talk about literature and each other, and I couldn’t tell the difference between the books they were talking about and their lives, they were just that cool. I liked them very much because they were interested in me. When I was with hippies, I did not feel judged, I felt loved. To them I was an endless well of stories and perspectives and grand literary views. It felt so wonderful to be in their presence, like I was special.”

P. 208 continues the story:

“I have never experienced a group of people who loved each other more than my hippies in the woods. All of them are tucked so neatly into my memory now, and I recall our evenings at camp or in the meadow or in the caves in my mind like a favorite film. I pull them out when I need to be reminded about goodness, about purity and kindness.”

Purity and goodness? So Miller calls people indulging in sin as his best examples of goodness and purity. They aren’t Christians—God’s people despite their flaws—but pot-smoking, probably fornicating people.

It reminds me of my own experience as a kind of hippie.

I was raised in a Marxist-atheist family and lived as one of those pagans during the Sixties. I smoked pot, took LSD, and engaged in immoral sex and the occult. If I had read a book like Blue Like Jazz then, it would have confirmed my poor image of Christians as uptight neurotics and my belief in the superiority of my pagan life.

Reed College. I was also familiar with Reed College in Portland, Oregon—the focus of Miller’s adulation. It was already a leftist bastion in the Sixties when we had friends from there. When I read Miller extolling Reed College, it appalled me that anyone calling himself a Christian could think Reed is a wonderful example of intellectual and moral freedom.

We too lived with hippies for several years in a cooperative house in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District during the Sixties—the very vortex of the era’s rebellion. During that time, thousands of hippies held enormous gatherings in Golden Gate Park, right across the street from us, and held protest marches under our windows. I found them to be like me—very self-centered, very selfish, very corrupt, and the total opposite of pure or loving. Either Miller’s hippies were really angels in disguise (pot-smoking angels?) or else worldly thinking has corrupted his perceptions.

But paganism isn’t just another interesting lifestyle among many alternatives; it leads to death. The Bible says there is a way that seems right but that leads to death. Paganism is that way.

That brings up a very urgent question:

Does Miller Know the Gospel - continued Monday.


Go On To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Foxes Book of Emergents With Hurt Feelings - Donald Miller (Part 1)

DON MILLER - Blue Like Jazz or Green Like Envy
Emergent Don Miller delivered the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention. Yes he is another of these emergents who supports the pro murder candidate and now president elect Barack Obama. Actually, if you listen, it wasn't really a prayer, it was more of a lecture in his liberal social agenda. Interesting how Miller fails to mention the unborn among "the least of these" and ascribes Jesus death as against the forces of injustice rather than as an atonement for sin. Emergents generally hate the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement and it always oozes out one way or another . . .



Richard Nathan holds a Master of Arts in Religion in Church History and has been a Bible and church history teacher for over twenty years. Over the coming days I will be posting his review of Miller's best selling book "Blue Like Jazz". Here is the first installment.

A phenomenon in evangelical circles, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller has sold over 800,000 copies and made the New York Times bestseller list since its publication by Thomas Nelson Publishers in 2003,and its popularity continues to grow. An icon in the burgeoning Emergent Church movement, it attracts countless youth in contemporary Christian culture. Seminarians nationwide are reading it avidly, and some Christian ministries and pastors are even using it to evangelize.

Why? And what does that popularity reveal about evangelicalism today?

Pagan Envy

I first read Blue Like Jazz because Christians I knew were whispering about what a wonderful book it is. I had no idea what it was about, but I figured with a name like that it could be about anything. Now, after reading it, a better title has occurred to me: Green Like Envy. I chose this title because it refers to my overwhelming impression that Don Miller envies the non-Christian or pagan life but feels confined by Christian roots. Instead, he hangs around the outskirts of paganism, hoping that something will rub off on him that he thinks Christians don’t have and pagans do.

A big focus of Miller’s book is his attraction to Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where, although he doesn’t attend, he spends a lot of time. He reports getting involved with the few Christians on campus and mingling with the students. The book’s high point is his description of an annual festival he thinks is cool.

“Each year at Reed they have a festival called Ren Fayre. They shut down the campus so students can party. Security keeps the authorities away, and everybody gets pretty drunk and high, and some people get naked. Friday night is mostly about getting drunk, and Saturday night is about getting high. The school brings in White Bird, a medical unit that specializes in treating bad drug trips. The students create special lounges with black lights and television screens to enhance kids’ mushroom trips.” [Author’s note: Hallucinogenic mushrooms are also called “magic” mushrooms.]

“Saturday evening at Ren Fayre is alive and fun. The sun goes down over the campus, and shortly after dark they shoot fireworks over the tennis courts. Students lay out on a hill and laugh and point in blurry-eyed fascination. The highlight of the evening is a glow opera that packs the amphitheater with students and friends. The opera is designed to enhance mushroom trips.”

Now why would a “Christian” call an immoral festival where people run around nude high on drugs “alive and fun”? Why does he think of this as hip and cool?

Continued tomorrow - Hip Love

Go On To Part 2

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Sermonjam From Denmark - Saved From God's Wrath

Western Europe, the heartland of the Reformation 500 years ago, is now the heartland of secular humanism. It is a culture that has forgotten their Creator and the biblical truths that the Reformers bled and died for all those centuries ago. Everything good you can find in Europe stems from the Reformation. It is what took Europe out of the dark ages and gave birth to the arts, the sciences, industrial prosperity, medical breakthroughs, increases in life expectancy, faithfulness in marriage, and most importantly an explosion of preaching of the Christian Gospel. It was a truly great revival, as preachers thundered that salvation only came by grace alone, through faith alone, on God's Word alone, because of Christ alone.

The rise of Darwinism coupled with ungodly men who called themselves "liberal theologians" all conspired to undermine the authority of the Bible. This liberalism was a cancer that Europe has never recovered from. Like in Romans 1 the people exchanged the worship of the Creator for a humanistic deifying of the self. Today in Denmark, like in most of Western Europe, people are drowning in their own affluence, bowing before the Baals of self esteem, success, and sensuality. Tragically, many of the small fellowships that remain have bought into this lie and preach a gospel more focussed on life enhancement than saving damned souls.

Out of this darkness there may be some light. With the advent of cyberspace, young people over here who hunger for truth are able to tap into the teaching and preaching of great modern reformers residing outside of Europe like Paul Washer, John Piper, John MacArthur, and Ray Comfort. My precious brother in Christ Mikael Thomsen is not known by many people in Denmark let alone the rest of the world. But we pray that the message he burns with will travel great distances and into a great many hearts to the glory of Almighty God. This video entitled "Saved From God's Wrath" is a 4 minute sermon jam in Danish (with English subtitles) to give you a taste of his preaching and encourage you that it may not be too late for Europe. May you hear echoes of the Reformation . . .



Pray for Mikael and all the disciples of Jesus Christ in Europe. We're not in it for the popularity. In fact, Mikael was banished from the pulpit after preaching this message!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rob Hughes and Cameron Buettel - The Full TV Interview

Here it is - the interview in FULL.
Rob Hughes and Cameron Buettel were invited on October 1st 2008 to appear on Revelation TV. It was a live 90 minute TV interview addressing the topic of open air preaching and the purity of the Gospel. These are much maligned topics that get little or no discussion in the Christian media. It is for this reason, and the pressing importance of spreading the Gospel in a hell bound world that I believe the interview is worth the view.

This video initially appeared with the first 52 minutes of the interview. However, the final half hour of the interview where the Cross of Jesus Christ and God's saving Grace were discussed were not on the intial uploaded video. Well, now the interview is uploaded in it's entirity and is available for those of you who would like to see how the program finished.