Saturday, August 05, 2006

do you have a passion to be part of something beautiful?

Southern Baptist "bad boy" turned EC leader - Erwin McManus, founder of "Mosaic" and dispeller of gems like "the greatest enemy to the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity", along with sister church, Mosaic Rialto, under the leadership of Mitch Cariaga have launched a new series called, "Girls of the Bible Gone Crazy." An obvious take off on Snoop Dog's "Girls Gone Wild" - (as is Mark Driscoll's current series on Corinthians called, "Christians Gone Wild") is just another attempt by the EC to be relevent, culturally contextualized, clever and missional.

Mosaic's core values (and you won't believe this) are Wind, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth - (which find their origins from all prominent eastern mystical pagan religions) are anything but biblical (though they try to proof-text each one). This is not too far from what the Apostle Paul and Barnabas were combating in Lystra (Acts 14:8-20). There can be no justification in taking pagan symbols to represent biblical Christianity. This is what Covenant College professor and minister at Cornerstone Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), Rev. Dr. William Dennison, rightly calls "baptized secularism."

Ingrid Schlueter of Slice of Laodicea when commenting on this a few days ago noted. "Fifteen years ago I was sitting in my studio with a guest who made a prediction. He said that it wouldn't be long before sexuality was used openly to market America's apostate version of evangelical Christianity. I thought he was a little over the top at the time. Well, Mosaic Church in Rialto, California is one of a growing number of churches using sex to sell their product. I was wrong. My guest was right. How is this for a church ad? I wonder if that's the pastor's daughter or wife willing to pose in tight clothes for men to ogle before deciding to come to church?"

This is very saddening my friends and should drive to us to godly sorrow over what some have turned the faith into; to prayer that the Lord would bring reformation to the church in America; and to grace-filled righteous indignation against such tripe being practiced, accepted and condoned in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

EC could rightly stand for - Everything Compromised.

Contend for the Truth beloved...
2 Cor. 4:5-7


Breuss Wane said...

Nice to see that the "EC Knows Babes". :-)

toddfc said...

I don't like the advertisement either, Steve. But you misrepresented Mosaic's convictions. The wind, water, wood, fire, and earth are Mosaic's core Values/Metaphors/Environments. (Interesting that when you use Scripture, it's always appropriately. When others use it, it's proof-texting.)

Their core convictions are:
* The Bible is God’s authoritative word to us.
* Jesus is the only hope for a lost and broken world.
* The local church is God’s agent for redemptive change.
* Every Christian is called and gifted by God to serve the Body and seek the Lost.
* The Church is called to whole earth evangelism.

These don't sound unbiblical to me. For those wanting more detail; they provide a link to the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message--a pretty conservative document.

You miss the diversity of the emerging conversation with your sweeping attacks. Erwin and Mosaic are very Biblically based. They have impacted a lot of people for Christ.

Erwin, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Marc Driscoll--these are four very different men, different perspectives, different styles. All have some great things to offer. All make some mistakes.

To lump them all in together is ridiculous. Steve, you seem to want to put everything you don't like or agree with into a box and label it emerging church. It doesn't work.

It would be like someone dismissing the validity of Christianity by saying "I think Joel Osteen is wrong (I pick him because he's on TV), so Christianity must be wrong."

Pointing out the ad would have been a great message. You lose credibility with the accusations, stereotypes and misrepresentations.

I don't like the Mosaic ad you referenced; and wouldn't use anything like it. I also don't agree with everything in the Baptist Faith and Message that Mosaic adheres to. Yet because I like McManus and McLaren; you stereotype me as an ECer and dismiss anything I have to say.

The good things you say get swallowed up in your self-righteousness. OK, got to get busy on tomorrow's message.

Captured! said...

I've made a point to read the EC Web Sites and have come to the conclusion that there is no 'misrepresentation' on this blog of the ECmovement, Mosaic or the other aforementioned 'churches' nor their published and unpublished core values, message or methods.

One cannot use the name of Jesus Christ and model His ways while also tacking on all sorts of impurity for 'cultural relevence' and still expect it to be embraced as Christianity.

MOSAIC and EC movement is merely stumbling over ITS OWN WORDS; failing to rightly divide and apply God Word. I'm repulsed at the advertisment, as a woman, and as a Christian, and I sure feel more strongly than 'dislike' over the use of the ad.

I will be warning others of such EC movements and its respective "churches."

SJ Camp said...

I included the link on my post of the church's site so others could read their views for themselves--that's hardly misrepresentation. (I posted this same piece at AudienceONE. There I had it listed at "values" vs. "convictions." I made the change here to "values" to match that post and to be consistent in title with Mosaic's site also.)

I am still interested in what your thoughts are biblically about those five areas: Wind, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth. Do you support them? Do you not know that they have their roots in eastern paganism?
Is that a concern for you? As a co-pastor of a church, would you also encourage your people to embrace those five values or warn them about them?

You stated: "Yet because I like McManus and McLaren; you stereotype me as an ECer and dismiss anything I have to say." I don't dismiss people brother by labels, I evaluate their views by content.

I don't discredit anything you have to say because of an EC moniker--I am not like. I try to evaluate each man's position based upon his own writings and beliefs. (i.e. Driscoll is very different from McLaren and Bell, and I thank the Lord for that difference.)

Since you are a co-pastor of a church restart (per your bio) that is a reasonable request. So, I am still waiting for you to respond biblically to these issues.

Again, you say you don't like the ad. I agree. But it is helpful and beneficial to all reading here, including myself, to hear the specifics about what you don't like AND to then qualify those things biblically. That is what I have tried to do as well.

I do relish in diverse conversation between believers. That is what this blog is dedicated to.

You are welcome here anytime...

Grace and peace,
Col. 1:9-14

PS - I read your bio--I agree with your wife :-).

SJ Camp said...

What is the name of the church you co-pastor and you affiliated with any denomination or association? It wasn't listed on your blog.


toddfc said...

When I read the explanations of the five values (they also use the word "metaphors"); yes, I agree with them. I understand you don't like the labels; do you also have a probelm with the descriptions?

* Wind (Commission) Mission is why the Church exists.
The Church is a movement, not an institution.
Every follower of Jesus is commissioned by God.
* Water (Community) Love is the context for all mission.
The Church is relational, not programmatic.
Every follower of Jesus is part of a larger community.
* Wood (Connection) Structure must always submit to Spirit.
The Church is empowering, not controlling.
Every follower of Jesus is called and connected uniquely to serve.
* Fire (Communion) Relevance to culture is not optional.
The Church is incarnational, not esoteric.
Every follower of Jesus celebrates communion with God.
* Earth (Character) Creativity is the natural result of spirituality.
The Church is transforming, not conforming.
Every follower of Jesus grows in Christ-like character.

"I don't dismiss people brother by labels, I evaluate their views by content."

But Steve, you do this every time you ridicule and criticize "ECers!" Have you listened to and read every belief and perspective of every individual who identifies with the emerging conversation? There are thousands of us out there; each one unique.

What about Mosaic's convictions that I referenced. Do you have a problem with those? I think each of them is based on Scripture.

Our church is called Fair-Park Baptist Church; but we are going through a re-start process and will probably have a new name before long. (The old name references geography that doesn't apply anymore.) It's an older congregation that has been dying for years (about 20 people left). They have asked us to start a new congregation that will grow and reach out to young people.

We are building a church and a Christian arts resource center. We should have a website up in a few weeks. We are progessive Baptists; my co-pastor is a woman. I know you don't agree with that...anyway, we are connected with the Virginia Baptist Mission Board and NorthStar Church Network, a regional network of Baptist churches.

I followed up on our conversation on the blog about church discipline for McLaren--would like to hear your thoughts there.



SJ Camp said...

Even if they use the word "metaphor" it doesn't absolve the issue that those symbols in particular have their origins and meaning when used together and spiritually within a eastern msytical paganistic context.

It would be like referring to the sovereignty of God and the events in man's life as "karma." Would that term bother you if it had biblical proof-texts and one sentence explanations along with it? (I know it would.) Or would you say that there are better terms, biblical ones, that more accurately and rightly define our faith? (Again, I am fairly certian you would agree.)

To answer your question: the explanations given for the symbols used do not make sense biblically and pragmatically they are weak.

I appreciate your thoughts...

Carla said...


not only does this not surprise me, it also doesn't surprise me to see someone take exception to your pointing out the earth/fire, etc. symbolism as pagan in origin.

When I first read that at McManus' site about 18 months ago, I shared the link to several others in a live audio chat. I don't recall how many people were there but I would guess it would be around 30 or so fellow believers. Every one of them had the same reaction toward the idea of using pagan symbolism to frame a value statement around.

I don't know who's brilliant idea it was at Mosaic to use that, but there is no doubt in my mind that the folks there know exactly how those symbols are used in pagan religion. It seems to me it was done on purpose.

Just like this ridiculous ad of Uma Thurman (which I assume is copyright protected and have a hard time believing was used with permission to advertise Mosaic Rialto?) being used to draw people into their church/gathering/community. It also was done on purpose, and will be defended by the "anything goes" crowd.

It's inexcusable, and yet it keeps happening with churches associated with the ECM.

I heartily concur with Phil's position on this that he posted at TeamPyro today when he said:

"Some conversations simply aren't worth joining. Sometimes we just need to contend earnestly for the faith. In fact, some people's mouths really do need to be stopped (Titus 1:10-11).


littlegal_66 said...

At first I thought it was a promo for a reunion tour of "Stryper," with their new female lead singer. :-)

Girls (of the Bible) gone wild....guess they were on spring break in Egypt.

4given said...

May the Lord strengthen all those contending earnestly for the faith... the truth without compromise seasoned with grace no matter what the cost.
Praying for you Campi.

Hessel-Man said...

Boy, this stuff just gets weirder and weirder. Call me a cultural neanderthal, but using a pic of Uma Thurman from the "Kill Bill" movies (Rated R for strong bloody violence, language, and sexual content) to introduce a series on women from the Bible seems like a pretty bad idea, regardless of any supposed justification of being culturally relevant.

Anyway, did I mention our church is going to be doing a sermon series loosely based on “Dude, Where’s My Car?” Yep… it’s on Acts 2:1 (sort of) “…they were all with one Accord in one place.” Our pastor has made it a point not to recontextualize the Bible to any movie with a rating more unwholesome than PG-13, thankfully. He has just finished wrapping up an excellent exhaustive 11 week exposition of “Veggie Tales: Lord of the Beans” (hey, it held my kids’ attention while I napped anyway), and thought it was time to do something a little more meaty; something more closely tied to Scripture. Needless to say, I’m sure we’re all in for a real treat, though it’s not likely to be as engaging as the one we had on Star Trek (Psalm 19:1) last year. :)

Steve H.

Marcia said...

"Call me a cultural neanderthal"

Personally, I would consider this a compliment.

"Our pastor has made it a point not to recontextualize the Bible to any movie with a rating more unwholesome than PG-13,"

Um, why does the Bible have to be recontextualized with ANY movie?

SJ Camp said...

I think it was Kill Bill Vo. 1 if I'm not mistaken for the poster of Uma. Next, they're going to tell us that it was the "sword of the Spirit" she was wielding... To say nothing of the sexual overtones her picture displays--this is unbelievable.

...spring break in Egypt... LOL! Stryper? Very strange indeed.

Thank you for your encouraging words--they are never taken lightly.

I'm not the one you have to worry about by having a woman co-pastor; it's the Lord Himself that set the standard for pastoral leadership. It is Him, sir, that you must give account to for violating His Word (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; Heb. 13:17).

Women can serve the Lord in a myraid of valuable ways: within the family by taking care of their homes, honoring their husbands, and raising godly children. They can serve as missionaries, teachers of other women and children, deaconesses, and using their Spirit given grace-gifts within the church as men do. But the only office not open to them is that of an elder/pastor.

Which version of the Bible do you read that allows you this convenient exception to His biblical qualification for overseer? The Message perhaps? Or was it in the book of "First Pomo 3:1?"

I think it was in the unauthorized version; published by EC Ecumenical Press.

May the Lord strengthen us all indeed!!!

I feel the same way. Great words--good parody man. It's always good to have you post at COT.

I appreciate you all very much.

Jude 3

Hessel-Man said...


:) It was a parody... I would seriously start looking for a new church if our pastor did a series on any movie. I agree with you. I don't think the Bible should be recontextualized to any movie. I think it's insulting to God's Word, which is always relevant, and it is we who need to be conformed to it - not it to our culture.

Grace and peace,
Steve H.

Marcia said...

From Amazon's description of Dude, Where's My Car?

Jesse and Chester, two bumbling stoners, wake up one morning from a night of partying and cannot remember where they parked their car which prompts them on a journey to find it and along the way, they encounter a variety of people who include their angry girlfriends Wilma and Wanda whose house they trashed, an angry street gang, a transexual stripper hounding them for a suitcase full of stolen money, a cult of alien seeking fanatics, and a group of aliens in human form looking for a mystical device that could save or destroy the world.

Okay, first, I think I'm on topic because the blog is talking linking church with current cultural trends. (Which, in my humble opinion, is a Very Bad Idea.)

If I'm missing the point as far as what good can possibly come from linking a sermon to a movie like this, feel free to enlighten me.

I'm serious, not sarcastic. I don't understand this.

Marcia said...

Oops, sorry, hessel-man; cross-post. Thanks for saying that. I still would be a little wary of even bringing up a movie like that, though.

Hessel-Man said...

No worries, Marcia. I have never seen "Dude, Where's My Car" BTW, and would never encourage anyone to see it. It does look very unwholesome. I used the title of that movie because I recalled seeing it on the shelf at Wallmart, and thought tieing it to being in "one [Honda] Accord" would serve to show how ridiculous I think stuff like this is.(you know your jokes are lame when you have to explain them...Car = Honda Accord) I'm sorry for any offense this may have caused.

Steve H.

donsands said...

Very disturbing this advertisement. i am not that familiar with Mosaic, but I am learning.
It would be great to have Erwin chime in, if he had the time.

So much of this to me, if boiled down to the bottom of the pot of its theology, would be human-centered vs. Christ-centered theology.
Of course there are extremes to both sides of this.
But I suppose this is another discussion for another time.

boxcarvibe said...

I got it the first time...kinda like God's a baseball fan with "in the big inning..." :)

So true. The farther away one gets from Biblical authority and supremacy, the more man-centered their mission becomes. It's depressing, because so many churches around where I live are going in that church even advertises that a person doesn't even need to bring a Bible because they put all songs and scripture on a screen.

But a lot of these churches - as we've seen and read recently - claim that they are Christ centered.

The litmus test, though, is how closely they follow and honor Scripture...and as we've seen in this post, some pick and choose which verses they'll ignore and which they'll adhere to and live by.

Steve C: Is it me, or are the humongous font sizes due to something on your end? I'm getting cramps in my forearms scrolling down to several posts! Is this the Internet Explorer issue that you alluded to earlier?

Marcia said...

Steve H.--the joke isn't as lame as the fact that I didn't even get the Accord = Car until you explained it to me. Duh.

No offense at all. I think maybe the previous article about the disintegration of our culture has me a little wound up. ; )

Bohemian Baptist said...

Concerning Mosaic's core values being connected with pagan "element" symbols, some Bible scholars have put forth the possibility that Paul was condemning this very thing in Colossians 2:8:

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ." (ESV)

Food for thought. No matter how harmless Mosaic may think these pagan symbols are, I don't think Christians should touch them with a ten foot pole.

Sparks said...

wind, water, wood, fire, and earth are elements of Chinese philosophy.

Why do they need to be mixed with Christianity so that it becomes "relevant"?

Breuss Wane said...

I agree that the mixture of the earth elements with the prooftexting from Scripture (and the correlating mission statements) is the very thing Paul condemns time and again in his epistles (not just Colossians, but also the Corinthians... who thought they could "Christianize" the pagan meals at the temple -- 1 Cor. 10).

Certainly that ad belongs in the "Gallery of Dubious Photojournalism". :-)

Grosey's Messages said...

Ummmm wasn't earth wind fire water wood..something to do with the Bruce Willis film the 5th Element?I know that these metaphors are used in witchcraft and Wiccan neopaganism, but maybe we are giving the Mosaic people too much credit for creativity. Maybe they are just Bruce Willis junkies?

2cufree said...

I am certainly not for the add, but I was wondering, doesn't it say in scripture, "unless we all likewise repent we will ALL likewise perish. Don't most of the symbols used to celebrate "Christian" holidays originate in pagan culture, the tree, lights etc.. for Christmas, the fertility things that surround Easter. Seems to me that we are comparing ourselves (Adam) with ourselves (Adam) and we have all become fools before God. After all this is about HIM and His righteousness right? Not ours?

Marcia said...

Okay, my first thought when I read 2cufree's post was from Galatians 6:

"1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. "

That is, we are all fallen, but still called to address sin.

Then I started looking up how pagan symbols became associated with Christmas, and I found this:

" So, why is Christmas celebrated on December 25? Hoping to convert the unsaved to Christ, the early christians chose December 25 to give new meaning to the pagan traditions. Christmas was celebrated near Saturnalia and the feast of Mithras, not as an evolution of them, but to combat the existing festivals. The Christian leaders chose the date to try and civilize the roudy pagan customs, and to use the time to proclaim the birth of the true Son, Jesus.
Modern Christian Symbolism

What do we think of when we celebrate Christmas? Is it the pagan god of Saturnalia? Or the mythical Mithras? No, we think of the Lord Jesus. I have to think that the early church fathers were thinking of Romans 12:21 when they set the date for celebrating the birth of our Saviour. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
Bible Verse

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.(1 John 4:4)"


Now, I don't know if I will say this right, but it seems to me that combatting pagan tradition with one celebrating our Lord is commendable, as long as no one claims it is Scriptural.

The difference, to me, is that the opposite is occurring with Mosaic--they are trying to convert the Word into symbols. Hopefully this makes sense.

donsands said...


That's a good thought. And surely it's all about His righteousness. And repentance is a daily part of our lives.
But we must not forget Satan is a deceiver, and he has plenty of ways to water down, and even pervert, the gospel.
These kind of blogs help us to be on our guard.
Jesus said, That many will be deceived by false teachers and false prophets and false christs, even the elect would come close to being beguiled by these powerful deceptions.
The Bible is our most precious treasure, and it is being distorted, and also made to be thought of as not so necessary.
This is what scares me. Satan hates the truth. But he loves lies, and more than that he loves 1/2 truths.

" ...lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices." 2 Cor.2:11

2cufree said...

Since when is "CHRIST ALONE" not enough to combat pagan tradition in any form. Since when do we need, or rather does God need us to combat pagan tradition with his name. Just because you don't claim it is in scripture doesn't stop it from being mixture. It isn't about what we think it is about what GOD says. It is still the use of pagan symbols with Christ's name attached to it. It is mixture, any way you slice it.

Breuss Wane said...

>Don't most of the symbols used to >celebrate "Christian" holidays >originate in pagan culture, the >tree, lights etc.. for Christmas

No. It's historically debatable, depending on whose revisionism one is reading.

There's a lot of urban legend out there, including stuff swallowed by Christians. Further, even if these things had pagan origins, our culture is so far removed from the origins that the symbols are no longer symbols but exist in common grace.

Marcia said...

Bruess Wane said, "Further, even if these things had pagan origins, our culture is so far removed from the origins that the symbols are no longer symbols but exist in common grace."

Wellllll, I'm not sure I like that line of thinking so much. Not in the context of an answer to 2cufree, at least, who is asking what the difference is between our Christmas symbols, which most Christians accept, and the Mosaic ones, given that neither are Biblically based.

And I thought I had an answer for him/her, but after thinking a bit, I'm not sure that I do.

2cufree said...

"The Bible is our most precious treasure, and it is being distorted, and also made to be thought of as not so necessary. This is what scares me. Satan hates truth. But he loves lies, and more than that 1/2 truths."
Maybe you give Satan more credit then he ought to have. Check out 2 Thess. 2:11 And for this cause (what cause... because they received not the love of the truth, that they may be saved.) God will send them a strong delusion that they should believe a lie. 12. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
How will you stop what God sends? Why are people believing a lie?

2cufree said...

breuss wane....
Further, even if these things had pagan origins, our culture is so far removed from the origins that the symbols are no longer symbols but exist in common grace.

According to what scripture? Seems like the "common grace" works for past relics but not present.

"That is, we are all fallen, but still called to address sin"
We are not called to address sin as such, GOD addresses sin and yes He does it through vessels, but that is why it said ye which are is based in scripture (which is spiritual)(CHRIST ALONE) not in what each other thinks. Judgment must begin at the house of GOD, and if it first begin with us, what shall the end be of them that obey not GOD.
What is the judgment of GOD?

donsands said...


I don't give Satan too much credit. He comes as an angel of light, and we need to put on the whole armour of God and stand against the powers of spiritual darkness. God tells us to do this.
Of course Satan is no match for God and His Word.
But he deceives, not God. God allows it, and if people want to have their ears tickled, so be it.
Jesus says, Beware and be on your guard. Be watchful and pray, lest you fall into temptation. God doesn't tempt. The tempter tempts.
But God, uses all this for our good, those who love Him, and those who love His truth, and rejoice in the truth. The Lord is certainly sovereign, but we need to be diligent, and fight the good fight of faith.
Have a blessed day in His grace and truth.

2cufree said...

donsands said....
Of course Satan is no match for God and His Word.
Isn't that Word His armor that He gave to you, You wrapped in Christ?
I and the Father will make our abode in you...If God be for us, who can be against us. Yes, God will allow all this for your good, but what is your good? Isn't it that God will testify of Himself to you. "Ye shall not need to fight this battle; set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, ....2 Chron 20:17. If you know and have seen the love of God to you. Hasn't the accuser of the brethren been cast down? Or is it still that quaint little saying you see on posters here and there...."There is nothing that me and God can't handle together today.?"
donsands said...
But God, uses all this for our good, those who love Him, and those who love His truth, and rejoice in the truth. The Lord is certainly sovereign, but we need to be diligent, and fight the good fight of faith.
Am I placing my "talent" faith in the dirt"myself" and what I can do or am I placing itin the Father who loves me and gave himself for me. Didn't He say "the gaits of hell would not prevail against His Church?" Where is your confidence in HIM?

Sparks said...


There, much better now that you are not focused on the original point of this article. It is much easier to defend the undefendable mixing of eastern mysticism with Christ if you can be distracted from what was being discussed.

2cufree said...

I apologize if you thought I was diverting to defend. I absolutely was not.

Marcia said...

To be honest, 2cufree, I'm sorry if I seem dense, but I can't figure out exactly what it is you're trying to say.

Sparks said...

based upon my reading of many sources and the responses from defenders of the emergent movement-"diverting to defend" seems to be one of the standard practices used rather than Biblically addressing the concerns of those critical of the movement.

Tony said...

I would like to just comment on toddfc’s comment that Mosaic was biblical. They may claim that they hold to a conservative statement such as the BF&M 2000 but that would not explain why their leader, Erwin McManus, would endorse a book teaching Open Theism such as Gregory Boyd’s Is God To Blame? . I personally tried to contact McManus as to his views on Open Theism and after quite some time and a number of attempts to contact him I finally got a response that was quite EC. He basically told me that he was glad I was seeking truth.

The point of this being that when people make scripture to say what they like then they can use any symbol they desire and still claim to be biblical. By the way an interesting thing that I find in the EC movement is that they fairly consistently claim to be combating the CEO form of church. However both forms are consumer driven and both deliver on the same catchy sermon names. There is a non-EC church here in Southern California that had as sermon series entitled “Desperate Households.” Bottom line is that when the church looks to the world for it’s guidance what more would we expect whether it be a seeker church or an EC church.

SJ Camp said...

The issue on the Internet Explorer I don't know what to tell you.

If you are running a PC based system, download FireFox. It is a much better and preferred OS to IE and you will see normal size type.

I will contact Blogger tomorrow and find out what coding problems may exist on my site. On Safari and FireFox it looks very good.

I am terribly sorry for the problems here and will try to rectify them by tomorrow.

Grace and peace,

SJ Camp said...

Tony brought up a good issue here with McManus--Boyd and Open Theism.

This is THE problem with any EC church today--a lack of specificity when it comes to sound doctrine and precise theological/biblical convictions.

If some in the EC who claim to be reformed, why not just be clear about it on your statement of faith. If the two fisted approach (which I like very much) is genuine, then why not list the WCF or the 1689 London or the Heidleburg, etc. Why try to reinvent the wheel at every turn.

If methodologies are the only thing in flux within conservative EC circles, then affirm your committment and love for the veracity, inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture through the Creeds and Confessions that the rest of the reformed community embrace and enjoy.

Then with the open hand constantly be applying methodology in keeping with your culture that does not violate the standard of Scripture.

That balance would be so refreshing and would eliminate much of the confusion surrounding the EC movement. Why not be absolutely clear and avoid needless controversy? Why live in the perceived ambiguity?

Even if that committment was affirmed on the substance of the gospel through the five solas and the TULIP; or even through The Gospel of Jesus Christ--An Evangelical Celebration--it would be a beginning.

I am looking for some common ground...

Let me know your thoughts.

Grace and peace,
Col. 1:9-14

donsands said...


I am with you, I think. I live by faith in Christ alone; by His grace alone; by Scripture alone; and for the glory of God alone.
God justifies us by grace through faith. He sanctifies us by grace through faith. And we will be glorified by grace through faith.
The Lord of heaven and earth receives all the glory. Amen.

You said you agreed that the advertisement was wrong. Amen.

To follow Jesus can only be accomplished by His grace. But this walk of faith is quite a struggle. Romans 7:14-25

"God wants us to find our primary joy in our objectively declared justification, not in our subjectively perceived sanctification. ... So we should learn to live with the discomfort of the justified life. We should accept the fact that as a stillgrowing Christain, we will always be dissatisfied with our sanctification." -Jerry Bridges, The Discomfort of the Justified Life; from an article in Modern Reformation.

SJ Camp said...

Jerry Bridges is a friend of mine and I so appreciate his emphasis on grace and the gospel even in our sanctification.

Thanks for sharing that quote Don... a fitting word to end the Lord's Day with.

I also wanted to briefly respond to a comment that toddfc made earlier. He claimed that my remarks were driven by self-righteousness. I know that it is futile to defend oneself against off the cuff remarks like that, but I did want to say that as much as I can judge my own heart (which is also futile... 1 Cor. 4:4), my motive and/or attitude was not one of self-righteousness, but one of concern and burden for those in the ECM.

That is why I closed the post with these words: This is very saddening my friends and should drive to us to godly sorrow over what some have turned the faith into; to prayer that the Lord would bring reformation to the church in America; and to grace-filled righteous indignation against such tripe being practiced, accepted and condoned in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

I hope that communicates something more than self-righteousness--if it doesn't, then I would ask all here to please forgive me.

May we be faithful Bereans in an age of theological compromise and uncertain doctrinal convictions. And may we speak the truth in love, but speak it we must.

2 Tim. 2:15

Carla said...


you asked "Why not be absolutely clear and avoid needless controversy? Why live in the perceived ambiguity?"

I've asked the same question, and the overwhelming answer is, that being absolute about anything is equal to self-righteousness, and being ambiguous is equal to authentic Christianity, because to do so means you've embraced the mystery of God.

Maybe you'll get a different answer.

I hope so.


4given said...

I have been labeled an arrogant legalist when I seek to defend specific truths from God's Word. I have been asked sarcastically, "Who do you think you are, some kind of self appointed authority on God's Word?"
...Even though I write in tears, with trembling fingers, a broken heart, adding words to my writing of sincere brokenness, but then seeking not to compromise truth in my words. But still, the accusations come... even from people I know personally and love. Even from family.
Yes, Campi, speak the truth in love. But speak it we must. For if we do not, we will be held accountable for such a compromise. For even staying silent when we should be reverentially defending God's truth is a grave compromise of truth.

Working out my salvation with fear and trembling,

boxcarvibe said...

To echo what you just said, 4Given...

There was a time, not long ago either, that I thought the staunch defense of Biblical authority was legalistic.

Then, in my own church, a member of a "movement" whose published statement on the EC was just circulated on this site, I sensed the slow but constant watering down of God's Word with secular, "common sense" solutions to spiritual problems. Compromise, winking at sin and eliminating any mentioning of repentance became the theme of Sunday sermons. Essentially, if you weren't entertained by movie clips, secular music, etc....then you missed out on something.

I'm thankful that I was able to discern the applied reasoning of man from seeking God's Word for renewal, hope and direction. Campi's hardline stance and his forthright way of putting it out there was - at first - offensive to me.

Now, I see it as conviction, preaching the Truth and defending the gospel...because the gospel (yes, the good news) is being attacked in ways not discernable even to those who call themselves saved and born again.

Breuss Wane said...

>Seems like the "common grace" >works for past relics but not >present.

Every day of the week is named after a pagan deity. Yet no one associates those days with paganism. The same cannot be said of the pagan elements adopted by Mosaic.

Is it just me? The first thing I thought of when I saw the words and symbols at Mosaic was "paganism". That's because those things are still very much associated with pagan mysticism. The same cannot be said of Christmas trees, days of the week, etc. etc.

It's just another manic "Mano's Day". :-)

Luke Britt said...

I don't see anything sexual with the poster. The sermon series is silly, not emergent. Come on, Steve. Post on something else.

Breuss Wane said...

>If you are running a PC based >system, download FireFox. It is a >much better and preferred OS to >IE and you will see normal size >type.

Anarchist. Real men use IE. We will not be slaves to open source.


Breuss Wane said...

>I don't see anything sexual with >the poster.

Yeah, no doubt about it: Uma deadens the hormones in the typical American male.

I'll bet the folks at Miramax didn't see anything sexual when they created the poster.

Terry Rayburn said...

It's a shame when standing for sola scriptura or defending the truth of the Bible is called legalism.

I appreciate your thoughts on grace, not just for initial salvation, but after salvation as well. (Speaking of Bridges, his best book is Discipline of Grace).

Maybe a few clarifying words about legalism would be helpful.

Legalism comes in several forms, for example:

1. There is initial salvation by works;

2. There is the Seventh Day Adventist type of legalism, which speaks of initial salvation by grace, but it must be followed by law-works or you end up losing your salvation;

3. There is that extra-biblical type of cultural "legalism", such as "no lipstick", "no pants for ladies", etc.;

4. There is pure Galatianism, which mixes law-works with grace, which of course makes it not grace.

5. Finally, and often overlooked, is Perfomance-Based Christianity (as opposed to Grace-based). It's that form of legalism that tries to earn God's favor or love by what we do. This is destructive to the spiritual walk of the Christian, because it does several bad things:

a. It makes a Christian think they are better or worse than other Christians, causing pride or despair respectively;

b. It encourages the Christian to be self-centered -- always examining his navel as to whether he is "measuring up" (and he never is, of course) -- instead of being Christ-centered, looking to Jesus and trusting that He is at work in us to will and do for His good pleasure;

c. It encourages Daisy Theology -- "He loves me, He loves me not", robbing the believer of that precious and total love and acceptance that God has for him in Christ;

d. Worst of all, it adds law to grace, which Paul points out makes it no longer grace, whereupon one "falls from grace" (not from salvation), as the Galatians did in their foolishness, and gets on the ground of Law, which quenches the Holy Spirit, and inflames sin.

The problem with Law-based living is that the one who lives that way must, 1. obey all of it, 2. obey it continually, 3. obey it perfectly, or else.

Merely "striving to obey God's commandments" won't cut it, and one who lives that way is cursed by his own paradigm.

"For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law to perform them.'" (Gal. 3:10)

But...We are "...servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Cor. 3:6)

And that New Covenant, of course, is in Jesus Christ, our Lawgiver, Lawkeeper, and Sacrifice Lamb, who became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. What a Savior and Friend!

In any case, upholding the authority of the Word is not legalism (although it could, of course, be done with a legalistic


Sparks said...

Luke Britt said: "I don't see anything sexual with the poster."

Excellent "married" answer! Not very believable though. Uma Thurman in a skin tight leather outfit unzipped halfway down her chest is not sexually intended?

See anything sexual with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition? Maxim magazine?

Mr. Britt, according to your website you are an aspiring young pastor. Appears to me you need to spend more time in the Word of God, less time pretending to be a baseball executive. Perhaps then you will be more discerning about matters of Biblical truth.

SJ Camp said...

You wrote to me: "I don't see anything sexual with the poster. The sermon series is silly, not emergent. Come on, Steve. Post on something else."

My brother, engage... don't pontificate.

McManus is associated with the EC. Do your homework. Don't tell me how you feel about this--tell me what do you think about this?

And then engage from a biblical worldview.

Col. 1:9-14

SJ Camp said...

My older brother Norm ministered in very difficult surroundings for most of his as a missionary to the Muslim people.

In this "conversation" about the EC, I was encouraged by a friend of mine to post a link about him and his ministry. My brother died unexpectedly seven months ago. My tribute to him can be read here.

I believe this will help put things into perspective in this discussion.

2 Cor. 4:5-7

Marcia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marcia said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing that.

"He was a servant, not a star."

What an awesome thing. May we all strive to serve.

Luke Britt said...


You're comments are silly. Reread your comment and please give me something at least a little constructive, maybe a little less assumptuos.


I'm not really sure what you are saying. McManus is related to EC. However, the sermon series, and I assume we agree, is silly. It's like a local church here in Dallas. They have a series called 'Pimp My Life', based on the MTV show 'Pimp My Ride.'

Emergent Village is so diverse, yet you still try to pinpoint it as unbiblical. Comments like "this is the problem with any church in the EC" are impossible to defend.
Sorry my worldview isn't as biblical as yours. Come on, Steve. What's with the belittling?

SJ Camp said...

"Belittling?" No.

I am asking you to engage on the issues, not pontificate. That's all.

Step up to the plate man and contribute from a biblical world-view about the focus of this post. That is not derisive, but inviting.

Grace and peace,

Luke Britt said...

I've already contributed. The series lacks biblical sincerity and serious exposition if taken at face value. Topical messages can be expository but are usually taken out of context in order to be relevant to someone or bring in more people, as is the case here.

However, I don't see this as a general rule for the EC.

Steve, I'm not a pope.

Sparks said...

Mr. Britt said, "Steve, I'm not a pope."

The word Steve used is a VERB (not a noun) as in:
pontificate: talk in a dogmatic and pompous manner

A couple of other definitions, just so there's no further confusion...
dogmatic: (ADJECTIVE)characterized by assertion of unproved or unprovable principles
pompous: (ADJECTIVE) puffed up with vanity
Definitions taken from Princeton University website:

Your youth is betraying you in this conversation.

candleman said...

Hi Luke,

I just would like to say that I appreciate you and your passion for God, which is very evident. Many 22 year old guys are not posting to theological blogs and attempting to discuss these issues from your point of view, and I greatly appreciate that about you. I also spent sometime at your site and was blessed with your interaction with I John 2:12-14.

I think what Steve is saying, is that if your are going to post here and make a comment like, “ I don’t see anything sexual in that poster”, then back it up with some reasons why and also some scripture. Because there are certainly verses that would do so from the point of view that it is a sexualized poster and is not befitting for a church proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ for advertising above all else, a new series of Bible study.

Ephesians 5
1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible.

The context of the poster is clear, it is attempting to marry the worldly late night video series “Girls Gone Wild”, with a series from the Word of God…. The two don’t mix, never have, never will. Your were right, it is a stupid series, but the intent of the poster is clear, it is sexually titillating in nature, and I believe scripture is clear in many places that we are not to use the methodologies of the world in any way to proclaim the Word.

Press on my brother, build upon this wonderful faith you have at such a young age and grow in it.


PS - Steve totally unrelated, but is there a reason why you don't post your speaking/concert engagements over here at a1m where there is a page for it?

candleman said...

OK Sparks, now that you have ripped into Luke with your last two posts, can you now spend at least one post edifying him? Perphads at least one note of encouragement?


Sparks said...

Brother Luke,
I apologize if it seems like I was "ripping" into you. I offer you this edification from the Apostle Paul:
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God‑breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
1 Timothy 1:3-7 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work–which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Luke Britt said...


I know what pontificate means. I didn't realize I was being pompous. It was a joke.
Also, sorry for being young. I'll pray God will make me a baby boomer.


Thanks for cruising the site and your great attitude towards me. Many people can't figure out how to approach my simple comments, usually attacking my age. I like being young. It has perks.

As to the sex comment, I don't think the poster was intended as a sexual draw. That's not at all the vibe I got at first glance. Have you seen the Kill Bill movies? Uma is seen as a hardcore ninja, not a sex queen. Having seen the movie I easily get the message of "Girls of the Bible Gone Crazy." We all agree it is a weak stretch for cultural relevancy, and therefore, becoming irrelevant.

Let's agree to stop taking ourselves so seriously. I'm not out to get anyone or call old guys irrelevant. I'm here to be a voice of reason on a blog that is usually one-sided. I'm also a Reformed dude who loves Jesus and sees him as the center of all things. We're on the same team. Thanks for letting me post here, Steve. Blessings to all.

Captured! said...

Let me ask those who continue to defend the poster/ad:

How can something so obviously ungodly be misconstrued with the righteuous of Christ in Chrisitan evangelism? When we lift up a sexed-up Uma Thurman of Hollywood ... Will all be drawn to Jesus? I used to be in the world and had I seen this as I would laughed at the transparent attempt to make the church as pleasant an experience as sitting through a movie...

And afterwards, and here's the tricky part, now try to bring those potential seekers of christ to true repentence!

What does one think Christ thinks of this ad?

What type of persons are going to show up at this Bible study and what are their motives for presenting themselves there? Do they want to see and learn purity, peace, grace, servanthood, and the authority of Christ and His Word? Or hoping to find women who are compromisers!

What will they learn about covenantal love? What will be revealed about the many wise, discerning, godly, humble, women of the Bible who followed Christ and believed?

How can one get past the fact that this poster/ad is soooo contrary to holiness to actually seek God's Truth in his word?

What fellowship does darkness have with light?

Bill Arnold said...

I've been to Mosaic several times and I would not think of it as an "emerging church." It just seemed like another Gen-X thing as evidenced by the sermon series you're talking about. I guess if they count as part of the EC then it really is a very broad movement.

donsands said...


Some good thoughts.

i think this type of Christianity is focused, and sold out for results. "God loves people, and He'll do anything to get them saved."
Maybe I'm wrong, but this seems to be the heartbeat of this kind of outreach.
Are the hearts of these people sincere, and longing for Christ to be honored and for the gospel to be proclaimed? Yes. But any one of can be sincere, and yet unbalanced, and wrong.
The Scriptures must be what shapes our sincerity.

Carla said...

captured said:
"I used to be in the world and had I seen this as I would laughed at the transparent attempt to make the church as pleasant an experience as sitting through a movie..."

I couldn't agree more - the unsaved spot fake Christianity a mile away. And they do laugh at it, because it's so obviously phoney.

For some reason though, this seems to go right over the heads of the postmodernistic types that seem to think that connecting with culture is the way to reach the lost.

They've either lost, or never believed to begin with, the truth of the efficacious call of God that happens through the simplicity of preaching the word.

Postmodern thought invading evangelicism, has thrown the moral compass so far out the window, many young believers these days are being lulled in this twisted idea of right & wrong, Godly & worldly.

I'm thankful there are others who see this as well, and are compelled to speak out against it, and speak out FOR the truth.


Breuss Wane said...

>For some reason though, this >seems to go right over the heads >of the postmodernistic types that >seem to think that connecting >with culture is the way to reach >the lost.

The irony is that after all the dissing of "all things modern", the E.C. resorts to "modern" methods of couching a sermon series. The E.C. has nothing on the seeker sensitive church-as-a-rock-concert it thinks it is an alternative for.

Randy said...

Steve, you wrote: ...those symbols [wind, water, wood, fire] in particular have their origins and meaning when used together and spiritually within a eastern msytical paganistic context.

Ummm. 'And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water..." Genesis 1:6

Either God's first actions of his creation were a spiritual act belonging to him or they belong to nobody.

Either all good things are of God or they are not.

To suggest that wind, water, wood and fire belong to those opposed to God is absurd.

So, are any images that we can use? You never used images of wind, water, wood or fire in your songs?

So baptism and tongues of fire have also been hijacked?

If you want to be biblical, then please do so my friend.

Randy said...

The issue of BEING ABSOLUTE...

Here's why it is so difficult to claim being absolute... just a case in point.

I can claim to be 'pro-life.' But most Christians here in America who are 'pro-life' also embrace capital punishment and support the wars that we've created.

SO, is it really being 'absolute' to say that I am 'pro-life'? I may be anti-abortion, butI am dishonest to claim that I am pro-life when I only support certain kinds of life... namely young life...

Another case in point: Steve claims that water, wind, fire, and wood are not symbols that represent God and his creation. They've been hijacked by those hostile to God. So, did Easter happen or not?

Either God reigns and we can use his created things as symbols (and building materials) or we can't. Either they belong to God or they do not.

If you really believe these things can't be used by a church in some symbolic form, you have difficulty with the sovereignty of God.

So, you want to claim absolutes, but even this absolute you are not so sure about...

Even if you have absolutes, they are very murky at best.

donsands said...


To be pro-life means to be anti-murder.
I'm anti-murder. But God does allow for killing.

"Thou shalt not murder." Murder is a sin, and it is wrong, and always shall be wrong.

This is an absolute truth. As are many other truths, which the Lord has given us in His Word.

Bill Arnold said...


You and I can agree that murder is wrong. But then how do you define murder? Is it murder when you kill someone in an unjust war? Is it murder when you're defending yourself, but you really probably could have defended yourself without actually killing the person? Is it murder to abort a baby that is seriously endangering the mother? I could probably go on?

This is the problem with so-called absolutes. We can agree that "murder" is wrong, but we can never come to an exhaustive or universal understanding of what constitutes "murder."

Many absolutists would probably say I'm being a relativist, but that's not true. Relativism is equally wrong. True moral relativism would say that I, as the individual, get to decide what counts as murder. I'm not saying that. I'm saying that the definition of "murder" is subjective.

donsands said...


Some murders are not subjective. In fact, a lot of murders are plainly seen as killing an innocent life. And the just way to deal with murder may well be a life for a life.

Sure there are some murders that are not as easily defined, I agree.
There is manslaughter, and other degrees of murder.

My point is that the Lord did not say you shall not kill, but He said you shall not murder.

But we have driven far from the original path of the post.
Appreciate your thoughts.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

And I do long for the New Heavens and the New Earth, where there will be no more killing and death.

BoringChris said...

Steve, you mentioned that your brother was a missionary to Muslims. I was wondering if you could explain how he ministered to them. (I realize that could probably be a book in and of itself, I'm more or less just looking for some broad strokes)

The reason I ask is because I suppose that he probably learned the language, changed the way he dressed, and lived more like a Muslim. This would be completely in line with the actions of the Apostle Paul in my opinion.

My confusion arises when people are upset by ministers who are attempting to do the same thing in Western Civilization that ministers in foreign countries do. I realize that we may adhere to different levels of "appropriate cultural relevance", but that doesn't mean that any of us are not culturally relevant. We speak English, drive cars, wear pants, eat fast-food, play golf, and listen to Old School R&B (fine selection by the way).

I agree the series is probably superficial. But is the real problem the fact that they are using a movie to gain attention (in Hollywood no less) or is the problem simply the particular movie they chose?

First-time posting, and way too long...

BoringChris said...

I initially missed the link about your brother. But I caught it on the second go-round...

donsands said...


Do you mind if I ask a question. What's the purpose the saints, or the people of the Lord gather on Sunday?

Is there a specific purpose for us to gather?

BoringChris said...

Looking at Hebrews 10...
According to verses 8&10, performing the same rituals over and over are not God's intention. What is? First, we are to draw near to God (v. 22) with a sincere heart. And in v. 24, it says to encourage each other towards love and good deeds. All of this is wrapped up in the salvation that Christ has provided us. (v. 19-20)

So what is the point of gathering together? To draw near to God and others because of the sacrifice of Christ.

donsands said...

I agree. To draw near to God is essential.

The Father seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.

We need to know the truth. And we need to be worshipping the Lord and our Father in the spirit.

To worship Him for me means I come to give Him praise and thanks for His great mercy.
I love to sing hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs with the people of God.
He demands it for one thing. And I will obey Him, because I now love Him, becasue He first loved me.

Also I gather to hear the Word of God. This is imperative. I also come to pray to the Lord with my brothers and sisters.
And I come to fellowship as well;
As Hebrews 10 says, so that we can be encouraged.
Acts 2:42 is my model for church.

I love to gather on Sunday to worship our Father. I believe this is His will, and he is pleased when we come to worship Him, and give adoration and thanks to His Son, Jesus Christ our sovereign Lord.

The Lord's grace and joy be with you and your family.