Thursday, January 18, 2007

In Their Own Words...
why did they make the film "Just Stop and Think"

Campi's Comments now included.

There has been a lot of speculation flying around the blogosphere surrounding the Just Stop and Think (really like the title) video as to its intention and message. I thought this would be helpful for you to hear from Pastor Chan and the producer of this video, Johnny Karls, without any initial post-mortem commentary from myself. My comments will appear later today or tomorrow in maroon color underneath each of their quotes.

One of the reasons for drawing your attention to their own words, is so that you can hear firsthand what the purpose and motive was in making this film directly from them. I want to be clear with everyone: I have nothing personally against these brothers; and as Christians, we should strive to be truthful and honest in how we address these kinds of issues and deal with fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather than stoop to needless sarcasm and flippancy, (this is an important topic because it is the gospel we are talking about) this is a step to really understand and gain clarity about this film.

Let me know your thoughts.

Pastor Chan: “I really just wanted to present the gospel to the world; just the plain simple, as I clear as I could make it gospel, but outside of a church setting. And so we got this idea to just do it along the beach and use a Hollywood crew and paid top dollar to do it right; and all that in hopes of distributing it to every person in our city. And so we did that. We made this DVD and we passed it out door to door to over 30,000 homes in our city so we could get it to everyone. Cause we thought if the Lord comes back this year, we wanted to know that we got out the gospel to everyone. And so we did that… We got bumper stickers, and we got banners and it caused quite a stir in our city both good and bad.”

(source: Passion 2007 Podcast, December 2006)

From everything I have heard about Francis Chan I understand him to be a gracious man and one of integrity (that he means what he says, and he says what he means). Therefore, I take Pastor Chan's statements above to mean what they say--that this IS the gospel to him. This video was not a partial gospel with a follow up presentation to be given. It was not to wet the appetites of people who would at some later time be presented the whole gospel. It is clear, this is the gospel according to Pastor Chan in its most plain and simple terms outside of a church setting. IOW, the content of this video in its current form IS the gospel; it proclaims the gospel; represents the gospel; and IS the gospel that man needs to hear to be saved.

This statement is very insightful: Cause we thought if the Lord comes back this year, we wanted to know that we got out the gospel to everyone. This is the urgency and passion behind this film which I do applaud. BUT, this is not just an introduction to some greater presentation--the film doesn't make that claim or give that qualifier. This is it; and that is what concerns many of us. (I must say as a qualifier that Pastor Chan's website has good information on the gospel; why it wasn't included in this video remains a mystery.)

To distill for brevity sake, the concerns are basically twofold: 1. When you purposely and explicitly exclude from the content of any gospel presentation: repentance from sin; faith alone by grace alone; the Lordship of Christ; and His bodily resurrection from the grave, etc.--then what remains is an incomplete gospel, and ergo, no gospel at all. I am stunned that this is even being debated among reformed brothers. And 2. When your video includes and depicts God as a powerless lover, a divine suitor who is crazy about you, proposing marriage to sinful man, down on one knee begging him to take the engagement ring, and then as the potential "husband" wait for sinful man to "accept and choose You...", then you have distorted the biblical view of God and His redemptive work for man.

Beloved, God the Father does not get down on an anthropomorphic knee and beg sinful men to anywhere in Scripture; He draws sinful men to the Son (John 6:35-44), He commands them to repent (Acts 17:32), He elects them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4-5) and He grants them saving faith (Eph. 2:8-9). God the Son does not propose marriage as a nervous, uncertain husband-to-be, He redeems men (Eph. 1:6-11), He justifies men (Rom. 5:1), He propitiates the Father on behalf of the sins of the people (Heb. 2:17; 1 John 4:10). And God the Holy Spirit does not wait for anyone to accept Christ... He regenerates them (Titus 3:4-7); He seals them (Eph. 1:13-14); and He sanctifies them (1 Peter 1:2).

Depraved man is the one, beloved, who should by God's grace, be begging God for mercy and the forgiveness of sins; who in contrition, should come weeping and mourning - broken over his sins in repentance; man is the one who should bend his knee before a holy God confessing Christ as Lord... seeking salvation and waiting on God to accept him, grant him saving faith, and replacing his heart of stone with a heart of flesh.

This video in its current form and message, is an "almost gospel"
only capable of producing
"almost Christians." And that is the tragedy.

Johnny Karls, producer of the film: “Mind you, our fifteen minute movie is by no means [is] the totality of the gospel message (where did you [get] the idea that that was our intention?) This movie was meant to be an introduction to the God of the Bible. Our intention was to be brief, to be relational, and to introduce the unbeliever or the "religious" to the Righteous, Just, Loving, Holy God of the Bible. "

This statement is in clear contradiction to Pastor Chan's above. It is important to note here that Chan's statement above was said in an interview this past December before any controversy surrounding his video erupted. Karls statements is after the controversy emerged and he is backpedaling, doing damage control. That is critical in understanding both of their statements in the proper context.

“Our goal of this short movie was to introduce or wet the appetite of the viewer to get to know God, PERIOD! Where did you get that this was meant to be Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost?”

Again, a contradiction to Pastor Chan's statement above. This video is not the first step of many in presenting the gospel; this is it.

“I am VERY aware of all those scriptures you quoted re. God's disgust with sin (I'm a conservative seminary grad and so is Francis Chan) but we are also aware of how the common American views "Christianity" and "Jesus." I have witnessed to many many people and the majority RUN when you mention the Bible, or Jesus, or the resurrection, or church. Now is that to say these things should be left out of the total conversation? Absolutely not! It just means we're dealing with cultural paradigms that are real. Though I agree with the "fire and brimstone" message, it initially chases more people away than it draws in.“

This is very a very troubling statement indeed. My overarching concern revolves around his emphasis on pragmatism as his justifying motive. "Cultural paradigms" determines his contextualization in the tone of this video. His reasoning is that "the preaching of the Bible, or Jesus, or the resurrection, or church" make people RUN. And well it should. There is an offense to the cross beloved (1 Cor. 1:18-23) and we must not soften it or try to remove it so people "won't run." Consider how many abandoned the Lord and that His words too difficult and hard for them in John 6:53-60. The gospel is offensive; it is hard to believe as Dr. MacArthur's latest tome so profoundly states. When you call people to "deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him" they will run... When you call them to love Him more than brother, sister, father, mother, even more than their own flesh--they will run. When you call them to repent of their sins and forsake the dead idols of their lives in order to flee from the wrath to come--they will run. They will always run... that is unless the Father is drawing them, the Son redeeming, and the Spirit regenerating.
John 6:64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. John 6:65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
“Is it the complete gospel, absolutely not! Is it bringing people to the true, authentic, message of scripture? I believe so.

This is schizophrenic. How can you not present the whole gospel and at the same time claim you represent that you are bringing people to the true, authentic message of the Scripture? The true authentic message of Scripture does not fail to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! Isn't this obvious? A partial presentation of the gospel can certainly be true in its part, but it will not be the authentic claim of Scripture as to what the genuine gospel actually is.

Some of my reformed brothers and friends at TeamPyro like to go to extremes to try and make the case, that those of us who are not supportive of this video are saying that every jot and tittle of reformed theology have to be presented. That is ridiculous and a juvenile assertion. No one has posited that all five solas and all the fine points of reformed theology have to be articulated in the content and call of the gospel. BUT, we are saying, when the gospel is being proclaimed, just present the whole gospel faithfully and accurately.

Question: Why would anyone want to argue to present less than the whole gospel to dying people; why would anyone want to defend a partial gospel as being completely sufficient; why would reformed brothers defend a romantic view of the character of God; and why would they in the smallest degree want to breathe new life in an ineffectual invitational "accept Christ" Finneyesque emotional appeal to "get engaged to God?" I love my brothers at TeamPyro, but this goes beyond the pale of Scripture. Beloved, why not present to dying people the whole life giving truth of the gospel? Why hold back anything of the gospel of sola fide that can bring salvation to the lost?

“If you have a means of inspiring more people to Christ then I am VERY interested to hear about it.”

(source: publicly made statements by email correspondence, January 2007)

Karls's statement says it all, “If you have a means of inspiring more people to Christ then I am VERY interested to hear about it.” This is pure pragmatism. We do not and cannot "inspire more people to Christ" beloved--ever. To suggest so is elevating man in some sort of cooperative role to actually inspire others to make "a decision for Christ" in salvation; and makes the proclamation of that kind of gospel, as the Gadfly says, "a synergistic infomercial."

But since Karls asked the question, here is the answer: the better means is to preach and proclaim the gospel wholly; for it alone is "the power of God unto salvation." Our methods and means do not add one thing to its saving power, to its efficacious effect in the lives of unregenerate men and women, to its work in the heart of man. We need to just "let it out" and see how the Lord sovereignly works in the lives of His chosen. May we have the burden Paul had to "go where Christ is not yet named." But may we have the confidence that the Lord is working; the gospel is running its course. And as we proclaim its life-giving truth, that all the results belong to the Lord. 1 Cor. 3:6 "I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 1 Cor. 3:7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth."

As Nathan White so wonderfully said on this thread - this is a serious issue; this is not about winning a debate in the blogosphere... This is about the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. May we prove to be faithful and good stewards of it, for one day we will have to give an account.


ron said...

As I know will be the case with comments on this thread, there will be histrionics over how this was not the gospel, and that Pastor Chan is misguided in his statements, and there will also be those who will defend him and the film all over again.

The tiring thing about all this is I also see people of limited theological and doctrinal knowledge (compared to all the brains on these blogs) actually out serving others and in a simple way telling about the love of Christ and His saving work on the cross, maturing in their faith along the way, and asking why the stink over a fifteen minute film. Face it. It may have problems but it's not heretical.

Thanks be to God that there are Steve Camps, Phil Johnson's and Frank Turks, but really, anyone who is trying to understand the essence of the Christian faith and came across what is becoming an overworked debate would justifiably find this something that could have ended thousands of words ago.

cyd said...

Oh my.

littlegal_66 said...

You know, seriously, no attempted sarcasm here, but my initial reaction is that I can't even tell that these two were commenting on the same film. Not trying to be humorous, just honest.

One says it was intended as a "quick" presentation of the gospel, presumably he meant the ENTIRE gospel, but packed into a concise package, the other maintains that it was never intended as a presentation of the total gospel.

One says it was distributed so that everyone in Simi Valley could have the gospel brought to them, the other so that it would whet the viewer's appetite for, (I presume), a more thorough presentation of the gospel. It sounds as though they are literally speaking of two different works.

Unless the filmmakers can agree on their motives in shooting the film, what are we supposed to surmise is the real purpose, and how are we supposed to reach such a conclusion?

Denise said...

"And so we got this idea to just do it along the beach and use a Hollywood crew and paid top dollar to do it right; and all that in hopes of distributing it to every person in our city. And so we did that. We made this DVD and we passed it out door to door to over 30,000 homes in our city so we could get it to everyone. Cause we thought if the Lord comes back this year, we wanted to know that we got out the gospel to everyone."

WHAT Gospel? By his own producer's admission the intention was NOT to present the gospel, just hook 'em in with bait. Sorry, but that is NOT what was declared in Scripture. We are to give a reason for the hope that is in us. Half a gospel is no gospel. The Gospel includes that Jesus Christ is Lord and He rose from the dead according to the Scriptures. This wasn't given at all.

They "paid top dollar" to Hollywood to give the gospel---I mean, the non-gospel (I can't determine what they MEANT to do now...was it to give the gospel or not? Did they have different intentions?)? First, on the JS&T site they said that the video didn't cost them a dime. Who's right? Again, more contradictory statements.)

What happened to "Be not unequally yoked" with pagans? And since when is a slick presentation going to convince a God-hater that he needs to repent of His sin and bow his knee to Christ? This is unbelievable.

"I have witnessed to many many people and the majority RUN when you mention the Bible, or Jesus, or the resurrection, or church."

Truth always makes sinners run.

Joh 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the lightbecause their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

Joh 6:60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" 61 But Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, "Do you take offense at this? ...64 But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

Mat 15:12 Then the disciples came and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" 13 He answered, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit."

Rom 3:11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."

"“If you have a means of inspiring more people to Christ then I am VERY interested to hear about it.”

Yes I do: preaching the Gospel, which IS the power of God unto salvation. Rom. 1:16-17; Rom. 10:12-17; Acts 16:14; Acts 13:48.

Calvinist Gadfly said...

"but we are also aware of how the common American views "Christianity" and "Jesus."

These comments by Karls is the presumptuous fallacy of Evangelical evangelism today.

There is simply a lack of trust in the power of the Holy Spirit. I don't know how else to say it.

ron said...

Are you all making yourselves feel better?

Whether the intent or not, the quotes posted have a feel of trying to trap Pastor Chan and the film makers so you can all feign horror. I'd almost think you were writing about something coming from Kenneth Copeland.

There is nothing edifying coming from this, or the sarcastic post on Pyromaniacs.

Interestingly the more you people write, the more I like the film. I wonder why?

Maybe you should try wiping the foam from your mouths and find a way to make something better.

Maybe Steve could start a fund to create a 15 minute film that would correct the horrendous errors in "Stop and Think". Maybe he could get John MacArthur to walk around Lambeau field and get it right. I'd probably give to that.

Or else maybe we could all get off our cans (I wanted to use Piper's term, but thought better of it), and go do something edifying by helping someone in need, and tell them that we come in the name of Jesus (it would be okay to give them the wrath, hell, repent, risen stuff after you've given a hand). Get them to "Stop and Think" if you know what I mean.

Stan said...

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by [the blog wars], that there are quarrels among you (1 Cor. 1:10-11).

Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice (Phil. 1:15-18).

Max Nagler said...

such a gross atmosphere. if this were a room it would smell bad. maybe this is why the christian church is in the state it is in today. so sad.

Denise said...


Motives are indeed secondary, however the gospel and the Jesus that is being preached MUST be the TRUE Christ and True Gospel according to the Scriptures. Paul said this:

Gal 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-- 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

Gal 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

1Co 15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
1Co 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

2Jo 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,

littlegal_66 said...


I don't think it's anyone's intent here to insult you or your pastor. Personally speaking, in my comment above, I was simply attempting to determine if he and the producer intended the film as a thorough presentation of the gospel, or as merely a quick "overview"--that's all I was contemplating at this point. Sorry if it had the aroma of a less than savory scent.

ron said...


From your profile:

There is One God, and within the One God there are three distinct, co-equal and co-eternal persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I also believe Scripture to be infallible, inerrant, & God-breathed. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone apart from any works (baptism, prayers, walking an aisle, etc.) so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:8-10).

I and many others who think the film is okay (note: I wrote okay, not the final answer for evangelism), believe everything you wrote above to a "T"

I also suspect that many who think the film is okay engage unbelievers is an effective Christ exalting manner. They may even use the film to help guide individuals to these truth that you hold so dear.

On the flip side, and I say this as a bona fide 5 pointer, the years are showing me too many Calvinists who are nothing more than irritating and inflexible when it comes to something or someone who doesn't do it exactly their way (that's right their way, not what the Bible commands).

I commend you for desiring truth be upheld, but be careful where you swing your torch. You may be scorching things that are pleasing to our Lord.

Gordan said...

At the risk of further stinking up the room, IMHO the comments cited in the post display an attitude that says, basically, "The way you preach doesn't work. People run from it. So we're trying to find a better way to preach."

In this case, then, apparently better means no quoting the Word of God, along with portraying faith as a self-help device.

The Gadfly had it right: this is fruit of believing that if the results of your preaching are not what you would like, then you ought to be free to monkey with it and make the results suit your fancy more closely.

Breuss Wane said...

"The way you preach doesn't work. People run from it. So we're trying to find a better way to preach."

Well, no, I think Steve is saying "the way you preach isn't biblical", which is much different than "doesn't work". Whether something works is irrelevant to its biblicity.

Breuss Wane said...

typo...what I should have written is:

...and I think Steve is saying "the way you preach isn't biblical", which is much different than "doesn't work". Whether something works is irrelevant to its biblicity.

The most disappointing aspect of this entire discussion has been an affirmation that "if it works" (i.e. reaches out to people, encourages seekers to find out more), it's o-k to wink at the bad if the bad theology is not enough to negate whatever positives there are to the outreach.

Breuss Wane said...

>It may have problems but it's not >heretical.

Its problems involve a compromise of the gospel.

Breuss Wane said...

>just hook 'em in with bait.

James White has said, "what you win them with is what you win them to." If that is not the case with this video and the ministry behind it (something lite to woo them into something deeper), the methodology being employed is the well-worn marketing (and evangelism) ploy called "bait and switch". It's hard to believe such a method is still considered viable in a postmodern culture that treasures transparency and eschews pretense.

Breuss Wane said...

>You may be scorching things that >are pleasing to our Lord.

In the opinion of this writer, the video is not pleasing to our Lord. And I believe the qualified support it has received from some Calvinists is what Spurgeon termed "downgrade".

Everyone agrees the video is problematic theologically. Our point of disagreement is whether or not there is enough problems to compromise the gospel. It is our opinion that the gospel has been compromised.

Good intentions cannot save bad theology. Of course Chan did not intend to compromise the gospel with the video. Neither did Joel Osteen in "Your Best Life Now". Those who give even qualified support to the video have lost the moral authority to critique Rick Warren and Joel Osteen's pragmatic methods of "sharing the gospel".

Nathan White said...

Speaking of stinking up the room, if there’s one thing that I’m really tired of, it’s the political nature of the reformed blogsphere. It’s getting really bad, and this mess just exposes it more. Specifically, its pathetic how some people blog within certain ‘circles’ and refuse to speak out against views that some within their own circle might cherish –and I’m not going to name names here. But it’s like some people are scared of being blacklisted or disliked or something.

You know who I have respect for? I have respect for bloggers who not only speak out against doctrinal abnormalities with those Christians ‘out there’, but who will also speak out against those on his own blogroll when they purport a view not congruent with the pure milk of the word. That’s called integrity, and unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to find such a thing in the ‘sphere.

But to get back on topic: have you ever turned on TBN or something and heard a blip (and I mean a small blip) of a gospel presentation that you agreed with? I will admit that I have (rarely of course). I have heard sin, holiness, and repentance mentioned at one time or another, even among rank heretics. So I simply don’t understand those who are praising all of what’s good in Chan’s film, as if we can’t find good in any semi-orthodox presentation of the gospel. If we look hard enough, we’d find some very rare good on TBN. If we look hard enough, we might even find a few Catholics who get half the gospel right. Does that mean that we are to commend them? Praise them for their effort and ‘passion’? Expound on how heart-felt their 1% of good was? Give me a break. It’s either a pure gospel message that we should praise and emulate or it is not. There is no in-between. Room to work with, sometimes, yes. Grace and mercy in gently correcting their error? Of course. In-between, no.

Steve, this is a serious issue, with a whole lot more at stake than some make it out to be.


Breuss Wane said...

>They may even use the film to >help guide individuals to these >truth that you hold so dear.

The end (truth that we hold so dear) do not justify the means (using a film that compromises the gospel in positing a God who begs sinners on one knee and whose confession of faith is "I love you").

littlegal_66 said...

I still maintain that until the filmmakers come to a consensus on their ultimate objective in making the film, the issue of said objective being fulfilled or not being fulfilled can't be determined. If, for example, it was filmed with the intention of being "brief" and "relational," as was a contention in Mr. Karl's comments, then I think we could all agree that the purpose was fulfilled.

BTW, Chad, (and this is a slightly off-topic sidebar), it's interesting to me that you would bring up Joel Osteen. Ever since the hoopla surrounding this video began last week, I have been trying to figure out who in the world Pastor Chan reminds me of. I knew that his eyes and pearly grin were strangely familiar to me, but I just couldn't place where I'd seen them before. It finally hit me earlier tonight; judge for yourselves here. (Not trying to draw a parallel to the two at all, just noticing somewhat of a facial resemblance....)

Douglas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Breuss Wane said...


Now you're "freaking me out."


Gordan said...


Not a huge point, and not terribly important, but you misread my comment, and wound up putting me on the wrong side of debate in your response to what I said.

I agree with the substance of your comments: I just can't stand being misunderstood like that.

D.R. Brooker said...

Nathan: Excellent comment! And by way of encouragement to others here is a little wisdom from Horatius Bonar on the matter:

“Christianity does not fear to speak the stern word of condemnation against error…Let us not misjudge strong words in controversy. The religion of both Old and New Testament is marked by fervent, outspoken testimonies against evil. To speak smooth things in such a case may be sentimentalism, but it is not Christianity…I know that charity covereth a multitude of sins, but it does not call evil good, because a good man has done it; it does not excuse inconsistencies because the inconsistent brother has a high name and a fervent spirit.”

These things are questioned because of a sincere love for the body of Christ and its purity. It is not to be cantankerous or argumentative. Those on the other side need to understand this.

ron said...

From the "Stop and Think" website, which I am sure was clearly made known as a place to visit with the DVD distribution:

The Response: Accept God's Offer

To know Jesus Christ personally and have your sins forgiven, you must acknowledge that you are a sinner separated from God and that your only hope is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came and died for your sins. To stop here, however, would be to stop short of salvation.
There are two things you must now do to enter into a relationship with the God from whom you have been separated.

1. Repent (Turn From Your Sins)
As Jesus began his public ministry, his first message was “Turn from your sins” (Mark 1:15). In essence, Jesus was telling the people to repent—to acknowledge their sinning, change their minds, and change the direction of their lives. *
Look at it this way. In the past, we have been blinded by our sins, causing us to run from God. As we repent, we do a “U-turn” and start running toward him. It is not enough just to be sorry for our sins. We must also change our lifestyle, for the Bible teaches that “God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin” (2 Corinthians 7:10). In other words, if you are really sorry for something, it will result in a change in your actions.
The apostle Paul summed up this change succinctly when he quoted Jesus, who had said that people must “turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me (Acts 26:18).
You see, there are some things only God can do and some things only you can do. Only God can remove your sins and give you the gift of eternal life, but only you can turn from your sins and receive Jesus as your Savior. That brings up the second thing you must do to respond to God’s offer.

2. Believe in Jesus Christ and Receive Him Into Your Life
Having seen the enormity of your sin and having decided to turn from it, you then must believe in and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Becoming a Christian, however, is far more than following a creed or trying to live by certain standards. Jesus said that you must be “born again,” or more literally, “born from above” (John 3:3). This spiritual rebirth happens when we personally believe in Jesus Christ, receive him by inviting him into our lives, and turn from our sins. In other words, we ask Jesus to come and take residence in our lives, making the changes he deems necessary. A person must take this all-important step in order to become a child of God.
Notice that this offer is yours for the asking, and it is free. You don’t have to work for it, trying to clean up your life before you make this life-changing decision. The Bible says: “The free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Being a Christian also means having a personal relationship with the living God. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus said, “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.” To better understand the meaning of this verse, it is important to understand the culture at the time it was written. Eating together in Bible times was a long, drawn-out affair. People would not sit on chairs behind tables in a formal setting as we do, but they would sit on the floor, reclining on pillows around a low table. The relaxed atmosphere made meals a time when you would not only satisfy your appetite but also receive a gratifying serving of enjoyable table conversation. You would share your heart and life with those who sat beside you.
Consequently, when Jesus says that he will “share a meal” with us, it implies intimacy, closeness, and friendship. He offers this to us, but we must first “hear him calling” us.
To hear God calling us, we must know how he speaks. One way in which God speaks to us is described in the Bible as a “still, small voice.” This could be described in another way as that tug you may have felt on your heart from the Holy Spirit showing you your need for Jesus. He may even be speaking to you right now! It is at that point that you must “open the door.” Only you can do that. Jesus will not force his way in.

ron said...

Also from the website:


Why does God allow evil men and women to live? Should He instead kill them before they do evil deeds? Should He judge murderers and rapists now? What about thieves and liars, adulterers, fornicators, those who lust, and those who hate? If God judged evil today, all unconverted men and women would perish under His wrath. Thank God that He is patiently waiting for them to turn to the Savior and be saved from His terrible wrath.

SJ Camp said...


Good thoughts from his website.. wish they were in the video.

JoeMartino said...

Ok, wow! There's a lot here that I could comment on. I'll just start with my favorite comment. Something to the effect that they are unequally yoked because the used a Hollywood Vid team. I've got to ask, Do you grow your own groceries, or create your own phone lines? Maybe you make your own clothes too? Come on, of all the silly points made in this thread that is the silliest. Before I get in trouble for attacking you, I would like to point out that I am attacking your statement. Which is after all what we're supposed to be about here. I'm sure you are a very nice, Godly person.

ron said...

I posted the above quotes from S&T because I believe the film does have problems, and I wanted to show how they tend to them on the website, but critics seem to show almost no grace towards Pastor Chan other than a few "he's seems a man of integrity", and view him solely through the film. The quotes Steve supplied from Pastor Chan and the Producer taken in their existing context are troubling. I could do that with quotes from almost anyone I've ever read.

The reason I read this blog is because I enjoy being fed by much of what Steve writes, AND by his commitment to the truths of the Gospel. This is one of those times though where he has stepped over the line.

SJ Camp said...

Good to have you comment here--excellent!

Well said as usual. The issue should always be is it biblical rather than--does it work.

Thank you for pointing our minds to the Word of God. That is where this discussion NEEDS to be constantly focused on.

You said it perfectly (Titus 3:5-7).

I am not sure what "stinks" in your estimation. Help me understand your thoughts. The truth is always a sweet savor when rightly divided and applied.

Thank you for your heart of compassion for others in this debate.

Great Bonar quote... thank you!

Well said--I agree, the better means IS the Word of God.

SJ Camp said...

I agree here; hiring a film crew is not a violation of 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1. That goes more to partnership and ownership in a spiritual ministry or enterprise. What Pastor Chan did here was permissible: it is an employer/employee relationship. I hire nonchristians to play on my CDs. It is a working environment and a change to share the gospel with them. They have no interest, ownership, control, or voice in the project. They are hired to play a piece of music--that is all. Similar to "hiring" FEDEX or UPS to ship our product.

The film company (or UPS) could not own this project or control its content--that would be a violation of the biblical principle.

Good word of clarification--thank you.

SJ Camp said...

How is taking the words in their entirety stepping over the line? I did not proof-text their words to make my point. I have no personal agenda against them. I wanted others to read their remarks unedited.

Help me understand your words, for I do pride myself in treating others fairly and honorably. I have been misquoted many times and it is not pleasant so i am sensitive to that with others.

I want to be teachable here...

If you can show me where I have not treated them fairly, I will repent and correct my words immediately.

ron said...

Bruess Wayne wrote:

Those who give even qualified support to the video have lost the moral authority to critique Rick Warren and Joel Osteen's pragmatic methods of "sharing the gospel".

Really? I have lost all moral authority to critique Warren and Osteen? So saying a fifteen minute video that is incomplete could be used for good purpose makes my opinion of Warren and Osteen invalid. Incredible.

Breuss Wane said...


I apologize for not being as clear as I should have been. I was hoping my "typo" was clarification of what I meant to say.

I completely agree with what you wrote... I was adding another thought to it.

ron said...

Steve, I'd like to see what Chan would say if you presented him with that quote. Would he expand on it? Would he clarify it and say he should have choose different words? I myself have been asked questions about things in my life and would later need to clear up something because of how I said it.

I would personally challenge Chan about the statement presenting the Gospel to the world, because I agree with you that the film is not the Gospel. Maybe he would have something to say about that.

I'm very distrustful of quotes as you presented those. But I don't think you were trying to do anything wrong. I personally think they should have a chance to respond before they get skewered. That's all.

littlegal_66 said...

"It is important to note here that Chan's statement above was said in an interview this past December before any controversy surrounding his video erupted. Karls statements is after the controversy emerged and he is backpedaling, doing damage control. That is critical in understanding both of their statements in the proper context."

Thank you, Campi, for emphasizing this point; I'm sure you know that's what I was hinting at in my above comments.

sj_camp said: "Good thoughts from his website.. wish they were in the video."

FINALLY! Again, thank you. I find it very presumptuous to assume that everyone who received the DVD in Simi Valley had access to the internet. What about dear old spinster "Aunt Bessie" or other senior citizen in the community who may not even own a computer, much less know how to turn such a contraption on and visit a website for more information? ("Oh, you're not internet savvy?.....sorry, ma'am, maybe next time"). :-(

littlegal_66 said...

joemartino... Perhaps you'd be interested in reading some material within the pages of this blog that covers the topic of "partnering with unbelievers in ministry" quite well. If so, a quick search of the phrase "unequally yoked" in the search field (located at the very top left-hand corner) of the CampOnThis homepage will return a list of very enlightening posts. Just a helpful hint....:-)

ron said...

BTW, thank you Steve for asking me what you did.

I'm frustrated by what seems to be "piling on". Quoting scripture and patting each other on the back...

ron said...

It would be nice to know what was included with the DVD as they handed it out in Simi Valley. Maybe they also provided other means of contacting the church besides the web to further probe what the film said.

littlegal_66 said...

ron-Good point! I would like to know the specifics of that as well. And was it handed out door-to-door, (maybe with believers who were willing to pray with members of the households, or were they simply mailed out, one to each home in the community)? I'll go back, check around the website, and see what I can find out.

Denise said...

I took the time to really go over this post today and this statement from Steve caught my attention:

"This video in its current form and message, is an "almost gospel" only capable of producing "almost Christians." And that is the tragedy."

Absolutely. Put another way, James White said, "What you win them with is that you win them to."

Steve, everything you said in this whole post speaks my own heart and mind on the issues at hand. You said it better than I ever could. Thank you for loving Christ and His Word above all else.

Breuss Wane said...

>I have lost all moral authority to >critique Warren and Osteen? So >saying a fifteen minute video that >is incomplete could be used for >good purpose

1. It's not merely incomplete. What is actually in the video is unbiblical.

2. The content of the video is no different than the content typical of gospel presentations given by Warren and Osteen in the public square.

3. The bad theology contained in the video negates the good purposes of the authors. But then again, I'm no fan of Billy Graham crusades for virtually the same reasons: the offer of the gospel actually compromises the gospel because of what is being said about the gospel.

4. The focus on Chan is unfortunate. What this discussion really is about is: what is legitimate and illigitimate contextualization of the gospel message and when does contextualization go so far that the gospel itself has been compromised? What I see happening in this instance is that those who have been critical of Warren and Osteen and Graham over content and contextualization are unwilling to apply the same standards to Chan.

Chan's offer of the gospel (God on bended knee) is no better than a Billy Graham altar call. And if one doesn't have a problem with Graham's altar call (and what he is saying in that altar call) one will not have a problem with Chan. Which also means those who have no problem with Chan should stop criticizing Warren, Osteen, Graham, etc. for virtually the same contextualization (easy believism) offenses.

>"a fifteen minute video that is >incomplete"

The recent posts on Denise's and Steve's blog highlighting the thoughts of Chan and the producer about the video should put to rest the whole "incomplete" argument of video supporters (including qualified supporters). Chan calls his presentation in the video "the gospel". Therefore, we have every right to expect that the necessary elements of the gospel will be contained in the video. And when those elements are missing (as James White and Steve Camp have pointed out), the gospel itself is compromised. When Chan uses the word "gospel" to characterize his presentation, he then is saying his definition of the gospel and the Reformers/Puritans definition of the gospel are two different things (insert Reformers' view of "notitia", not to mention MacArthur's "Lordship" position).

2. Anything on the church website and in Chan's personal belief system is irrelevant to whether the video compromises the gospel. If the website's theology is to be taken at face value (such as "Repent...having seen the enormity of your sin and having decided to turn from it, you then must believe in and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior"), then the website is incompatible to the video ("you know what, I love you"). I actually applaud what is on the website. But what is on the website is *not* what is on the video, not merely because the video is incomplete, but because the video contains biblical *error*.

Chan wants it both ways (web and video). It doesn't compute.

ron said...

"Chan's offer of the gospel (God on bended knee)"

A completely unfair statement. You are starting to lose any credibility or authority to critique. I'd be disappointed if one of your allies in this didn't also correct you.

littlegal_66 said...


The closest thing to distribution details that I could find was on the Mission Statement page:
"To distribute the video projects by the use of television, computer technology, and one-on-one interaction (via. VHS, DVD, mini-DV) in order to get the saving message of the gospel in front of as many people as possible."

It does appear that they are planning more projects, perhaps the next one will be complete? (Trying to maintain a positive outlook, here.....)

littlegal_66 said...

And BTW, Ron, when I commented "believers willing to pray with members of the households," in a previous comment, I wasn't referring to leading them in the sinner's prayer. Just wanted to clear that up.....

Denise said...

Nate: I have noticed what you are talking about too. If people are going to reject the "gospel" according to Rick Warren or Billy Graham or Joel Osteen, then they must be consistant and reject what Chan offered on the video. To do no less is to use unbalanced scales. Otherwise they owe an apology to Warren et al. Integrity means you stand for truth no matter the cost and no matter what friends or circles of influence are at stake. Daniel's a great example of this, I think.

Truth trumps everything.

Breuss Wane said...

Steve wrote:
>an "almost gospel" only capable of >producing "almost Christians."
>Why would anyone want to argue to >present less than the whole gospel >to dying people

The tragedy of the video on this point is precisely this: If we grant Chan's pragmatic contextualization of the law for the sake of the argument (and otherwise, I wouldn't), Chan *does* give an accurate assessment of the unbeliever's relationship to the law. Chan, in the words of Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort, "gets the sinner lost" without hope using the law. Chan rightly pronounces the sinner *guilty*. The law (again given the foibles for the sake of the discussion) is used as the law is supposed to be used: to show the sinner his sin, the impending wrath of God, and the need for a Savior. Chan brings the weight of the law down onto the sinner and then.............. nothing (at least of susbstance). How tragic is that? Chan pronounces the sinner guilty without a valid resolution (due to the utter inappropriateness of his weak God- Finneyesque response gospel offer).

The first time I saw the video, I was moritified that there's no (valid) resolution for the conflict presented...if the video is all that the person ever sees. The person who truly comes to the guilt stage is given something other than the gospel as resolution to his problem.

But then again, we've been saying the same thing for years about non-Lordship offers of the gospel that utilize the law in the gospel presentation.

Breuss Wane said...

>A completely unfair statement.

How is it unfair when Chan himself calls the offer "the gospel"?

It's completely fair. The God on bended knee motif utilized by Chan is merely an upgrade from Billy Graham's "Jesus knocking on your heart's door" offer.

SJ Camp said...

To all:
The issue here is not Pastor Chan personally--it is what the video asserts in its content and therefore, the proclamation of the gopsel.

This is simple to me: when you apply a biblical standard for the gospel to this video does it pass the test? If so, embrace it and recommend it to others wholeheartedly without reservation.

If not, then we need to see why and where the biblical truth claims are not represented, encourage correction, guard our own hearts and minds to remain faithful to the Lord Jesus and His gospel, and pray for change.

Here is the question of the day: the gospel is__________ Fill in the blank and define your views biblically. THEN compare it to this video.

Your brother in Christ,
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Denise said...


Go see the video again, please. Chan did say "God is on bended knee, begging you to say yes."

Its near the end of the film.

Denise said...

Lilgal...that was what I was pointing to about being unequally yoked in ministry. Thanks

Denise said...

I'm hesitant to bring this up, but when I heard the video yesterday something caught my attention. Its risky for me to bring up because it will likely be assumed I'm nit-picking. However it is part of the content of the presentation. I also don't want to open up a whole other can of worms....
Did you folks catch what the reason for the Bible and the law given on the video? I missed it the first time I watched it. (I tried to transcribe it a bit.) Its very man-centered and is troublesome to me especially when its used as part of the presentation of the gospel.

Anyone else catch it? Thoughts?

donsands said...

"It's not Pastor Chan personally"

That's a good point to remember.

His heart may have a great desire for God to be glorified in this video. I couldn't say.
I remember sharing the gospel in my early years, and I did want the Lord honored, though there was a shallowness to it, that I realize now. I shared Jesus Christ, and that you need him in your life to all my old friends.

Some would say I was nuts. Others would put up with me, and others hated me, and mocked me.

I realize there's a greater need for a pastor to have a depth to his presentation of the good news of Christ our Lord, and perhaps Pastor Chan will be encouraged to do just that, if he hears us speaking to him as a beloved brother in Christ.

"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Eph. 4:2-3

SJ Camp said...

That is the heart of this blog... It is my prayer personally for my life, though some days I fall quite short.

Thank you brother.
Col. 1:9-14

Breuss Wane said...


Somewhere back on the other bus (ha), in one of my post's I mentioned the moralism in the pragmatic presentation of the law (and I alluded to it here just a couple of comments prior to this one). And James White brings it up on the first dividing line he did on the Chan video.

I haven't mentioned it much because the end road for that discussion usually leads to theonomic or decaloguian claims that the critique is antinomian.

Chan introduces the subject of the law via moralism... i.e. the world would be a better place if we just obeyed the law, as if that is the reason the law was given. I suppose I would be critiqued as "extreme" or "alarmist" if I attempted to point out the theonomic or reconstructionist undertones of that mentality (even though I would emphatically grant there is nothing about Pastor Chan's website or video that I have seen that would indicate he is theonomic or reconstructionist).

James White rightly points out that the only person who can look at God's law as "good" is someone who is already regenerate. Contra the video, the unbeliever's heart deep down does not believe God's law to be good. Romans tells us that the unbeliever naturally knows that there is a God. To extrapolate that further to suggest that the unbeliever naturally knows God's law to be good is going beyond Scripture. In fact, there's plenty of evidence in scripture that not only does he inherently rebel against it, his nature is so corrupt he doesn't believe God's law to be good for him (Gen. 6 says man's thoughts, i.e. his natural state of mind, are only evil continually).

So yes, the Bible and the law are contextualized as me-oriented in the video. But then again, we've even had some reformed folk in the past few years suggest that revelation is truly anthropocentric and not theo- or Christo-centric (see John Carrick's essay in "Reformed Spirituality"). Insisting that the Scriptures and the Law are not first and foremost about us and that they benefit us *indirectly* is an increasingly uphill battle.

Breuss Wane said...

>The issue here is not Pastor Chan >personally

Part of the problem is that TeamPyro has made Chan the issue. I have not read anything at TeamPyro that has adequately addressed *why* Chan gets a pass and Rick Warren (Billy Graham, etc.) doesn't. I'm not convinced that were it Rick Warren in a neon Hawaiian shirt with a Hobe under his arm talking about a begging God on his knees with a fiance he would not have been laughed off the video screen as moralistic and Finneyan easy-believism. The reason why this is a controversy is precisely because it is Chan. If it had been Joel Osteen, there would be no qualifiers as to the video's incompleteness, the quality of the theology on his church's website, or the problems of the video not being great enough to warrant the video's rejection. If all things were equal and the only variable was Osteen, this video would have never hit the reformed radar screen.

Some can claim there's no politics involved because of his pedigree. That may be true. But one cannot say that a certain level of acceptability is being granted to Chan that is not afforded Warren or Osteen or Bell or McLaren, etc.

But you're right... this critique sticks no matter who appears in the video.

ron said...

I do need to go and review the film. I watched it twice, but that may not have been enough. Denise, if you're right about that being in the film ( God on bended knee), and I assume you are - it's bad. I never caught it. Thank you for taking time to point that out.

Here's what I'm thinking now. The film is more problematic than I thought. Yet, I find myself truly bothered by some type of undercurrent within many of the comments that go after the film. Bruess Wayne, for all his insight and great theology sort of emulates that undercurrent. I just can't define it. And be it my opinion, there is something not right.

Maybe it's humility - not much coming out of the comments. I have some friends who have great theology, but honestly, they are arrogant you know whats. It's not a trait I find much value in, and neither does scripture. Then again, Calvinists are not known for exuding humility. But, for all I know Mr. Wayne may really be the most humble guy around. I know it's not me.

gigantor1231 said...

So, Why the criticism?
Mr. Camp hit the nail on the head in that this is about what the Gospel is and not a personal attack on Pastor Chan or Mr. Karls.
I would have to say that some of the things that Pastor Chan and Mr. Karls said are troubling, especially " I have witnessed to many many people and the majority RUN when you mention the Bible, or Jesus, or the resurrection, or church. Now is that to say these things should be left out of the total conversation? Absolutely not! It just means we're dealing with cultural paradigms that are real. Though I agree with the "fire and brimstone" message, it initially chases more people away than it draws in.“ This statement basicly says that since people hate the Gospel and they do what ever they can to avoid the light of the truth that it shines, we need to change and make it more acceptable so we can draw people in. Mr. Karls also draws attention to the numbers of respondents, the end justifies the means, this is pragmatism in its purest form.
A little compromise here and a little compromise there and soon the whole foundation crumbles. We should not be moving further from the purity of the truth to accomodate the flesh, rather we should move as close to the truth as possible and do all that we can to elevate the knowledge of those that the truth is being presented to, then there is no excuse and we know that we have done all that we can to spread the Gospel.
I think the following quote from MaCarthur's book "Ashamed of the Gospel" sums things up perfectly;

"The keys of the Kingdom are a sacred trust from Christ to His church. Those keys symbolize custody of the very entrance to the Kingdom. He has placed the church in the world and commanded us to preach the gospel so that we can stand as a beacon to point the way to that Kingdom. If we compromise His Word or camouflage the gospel, we cease to be that beacon, and we forfeit the only authority we have to use the keys of the Kingdom.
When the church is faithful to God and His word, however, we actually enact heaven's decisions here on earth. We can speak with authority to an unbelieving world. When heaven is in agreement with us, the issue is settled in accord with the highest possible authority. But if we compromise God's Word, we forfeit the very source of our authority. That is why it is so crucial for the church to deal seriously with God, to handle His Word with integrity, and to stand apart from the world. And that is what we mean when we pray, "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10)."

The context of this was the interpretation of what Christ meant when he said to Peter that he was giving him the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Gospel message is one of the primary keys, it is the power of God to salvation to those who believe.
As I have said before, the video was put together very well and the heart of the one delivering the message, from what I have seen of him, is very committed to God and his word. I in no way question the motive of Pastor Chan but in light of the comments made by him and his producer there are some very valid concerns that need to be addressed.
As a whole this is a very critical conversation that needs to take place in the body of Christ since, as is obvious, in this post modern movement that is occurring around and among us today, the truth is under attack from all sides. We need to come to an agreement as to where we draw the line with regards to the truth of the Gospel. That line should be as close to the truth of the word of God that we can get it, no compromise. Let the unadulterated word of God be that which brings us together in unity, anything less will not stand the test of time and the fire by which our good works will be judged in the end, if we do not stand together on this fundamental truth of the Gospel then we may not have a foundation to build on.

Denise said...

Thanks Breuss....those were my concerns. I'm glad you and James and perhaps others caught it too and spoke about those issues.

Denise said...


Yeah, I had to rewind the video a few times b/c I was in shock. Did he REALLY say what I thought he just said?? --that type of thing...and this time I watched part of it to get clarity on just how he did present the law.

Re: Breuss, I'm in whole heart agreement with his view. Not sure if you put me in that same undercurrent. As to what it is---its not a lack of humility (hopefully), but rather a passion and straight foreward clarity with the issues at hand.

Some folks confuse confidence and bluntness, and astonishment at what is being compromised, for pride, which I find unfortunate.

Hopefully all of us, including me, are using the same standard that we are measuring The Video with ourselves, Scripture, as that is all we really do have that means anything of value.

JoeMartino said...

Ok, so I need someone to explain something to me here. On the one hadn we have the comment,

"What you win them with you have to keep them with!" Stated as fact.

But on the other hand we have the comment, "There is simply a lack of trust in the power of the Holy Spirit. I don't know how else to say it."

there is many other comments by why use up space to reprint what is already there? The gist, though is that this video has veered from the Biblical tenant of the Gospel, which in the opinion of many of writers seems to be very Calvinistic. Well, forgive me but doesn't the "P" stand for "perseverance of the Saints?"
What I'm trying to say in plain English is if you believe that we can't "win" souls (something I do believe) then this argument is borderline heretical. I don't win people, God does. Therefore I don't have to "keep them" God does that too.

Denise said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Denise said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ron said...

Denise you wrote:

"Some folks confuse confidence and bluntness, and astonishment at what is being compromised, for pride, which I find unfortunate."

Very true. Yet, read carefully through the thread. I am more compelled by well conveyed aching hearts and careful use of Scripture than what appears to be disdain and an over-calculated style of rebuttal. I have a good idea that you know what I mean.

"Hopefully all of us, including me, are using the same standard that we are measuring The Video with ourselves, Scripture, as that is all we really do have that means anything of value."


ron said...

Oh and Denise for the most part you are not in the "undercurrent" Although reread what you wrote here:

What happened to "Be not unequally yoked" with pagans? And since when is a slick presentation going to convince a God-hater that he needs to repent of His sin and bow his knee to Christ? This is unbelievable.

A little over the top A little bit "undercurrentish". And who's to say God would not save someone with a slick presentation? I wouldn't endorse that myself, but when you're a cheesehead, you don't tend to operate in the "Slick" environment.

Breuss Wane said...

>Bruess Wayne, for all his insight and great theology sort of emulates that undercurrent. I just can't >define it...for all I know Mr. Wayne may really be the most humble guy around.

I’m not sure how to answer this other than to say I’m always in need of grace. And I’m never as humble as I should be.

I think I have been misunderstood. But I also tend to believe misunderstanding comes with the territory of being dogmatically confident about certain truths taught in scripture (despite the claim by some that reformed folks have debated these issues for hundreds of years) that others are not so certain about or are not comfortable being as dogmatic about. I also believe misunderstanding comes from confusing disdain for the theology being espoused with vitriol aimed at a person. I also believe misunderstanding arises from being so thoroughly immersed in the subject (including years of debating the same issue over and over and over), that some or many presumptions are loaded into short, blunt statements (IOW, the statements are meant to short-circuit already well-traversed “beat the horse to death” dialogue; unfortunately, in doing so, one forgets many are just now becoming familiar with the discussion). And I think misunderstanding arises when certain templates are unfairly placed on top of what is said (such as suggesting that my assertion that the video compromises the gospel or uses implicit universal atonement thoughts means that I believe Arminians are damned and shouldn’t be treated as brothers).

This whole thing saddens me. TeamPyro has had one of the best sites in all of Reformed and Calvnist blogdom. I was profoundly disappointed in the post that opened the week over at TeamPyro. I can think of few things that have disappointed me more in the past year than that post. It was as if a part of me died. Until Steve posted this here, I really had no desire to say anything more about the video. But my profound disappointment lies in the fact that I believe strongly and dogmatically there is this huge blind spot (for whatever reason... speculate ad infintem) in those quarters that has serious implications for the gospel... in those quarters. Just because God might save someone through the video, doesn’t mean it’s o-k to give it qualified or even muted endorsement, especially in the context of Reformed thought (which is different than giving generic and qualified evangelical approval to the video over against the Mormon or Catholic concept of the offer of the gospel; i.e. I would send a young Christian to Chan’s church in a heartbeat if the alternative were “nothing” or an apostate church or a Catholic church; the context of the entire discussion is not *that*). It probably came across as hyperbole, but I’m dead serious when I say that what has happened over there is what Spurgeon would have called “downgrade”. Reformed blogdom is a little less than it was before. There is no cause for rejoicing in these parts.

In the past week, along with Steve, I’ve been categorized with all sorts of pejorative terms, not the least of which is “hyper-Calvinist”, “uncharitable”, etc. etc. I, along with others, was accused of drive by blogging because we enjoy mixing it up in a fight. I don’t enjoy fighting an argument, much less, going out of my way to find one. Such unfair characterization doesn’t feel good. But I’ll be darned if I sit idly by (with the opportunity to say something) while those who know better allow the gospel to be slighted.

Eek said...

I'm a little scared to throw this out there BUT here goes...

A while back I tried to write our the Gospel in a simple straightforward way. Emphasizing what I thought to be the critical truths that make up the "whole Gospel". I also wanted it to be understandable to the "unchurched" and make use of illustrations to help people understand the points being made.

At the same time I believe it presents to Gospel in a "sovereign Grace" sense... not a "begging, pleading" sense.

I eventually thought I would record a 8-10 minute YouTube video of this same presentation.

Anyway, with all of my cowardly disclaimers out of the way... would you guys like to review the text and let me know if you think I present the Gospel in both an ACCURATE and CLEAR way?

Go here ->


Eek said...

oops looks cut off... let me try this...

Eek said...

sorry... I'm such a goober... OK, how about this...

ron said...

Breuss, thank you for that post.

You see, I have studied reformed theology for years and embrace it as truth. That is why I read and love Campi. But, I found that I was becoming so focused on defending that truth that I lost my way in terms of writing and speaking with an overt love. I sounded angry, and as Piper taught me well, there is very little righteous human anger.

I think this is a great post regarding this issue (h.t. JT)

ron said...

I too, am a goober. Here's an excerpt of what I tried to link to:

We can be Emergent and puff ourselves as the church's most trendy and influential thinkers; we can be Reformed and puff ourselves as the world's greatest and most eloquent preachers; we can be confessional and puff ourselves as the soundest and most theological church leaders around; but in doing so, indeed, in the very moment we do so, we can be sure of only one thing: we are not what we claim to be; rather, we are in fact the very opposite.

littlegal_66 said...

Denise said:
"Some folks confuse confidence and bluntness, and astonishment at what is being compromised, for pride, which I find unfortunate."

How sad-but-true, in many areas of Christianity today, (not just the issue we're discussing here). It's a tragic fallout from the tidal wave of PCness that has engulfed our society and is gradually seeping into the church.

Breuss: "freaking you out?" :-)
Now, I wonder where you've recently heard that phrase?

littlegal_66 said...

Joe--I believe the actual quote you're referring to (and that both Bruess and Denise posted), originating from James White's program was "What you win them with is what you win them to," not "What you win them with you have to keep them with." Don't allow yourself to get sidetracked from the issue by the use of the word "win."

The statement doesn't mean what you are insinuating, as you can perceive by the statement that Dr. White followed with:
"The message you use to bring them in is going to define the high water mark of what you can call them to."

A partial gospel can only produce a partial confession, and in effect, a partial Christian......or as Steve has termed, an "almost Christian." And to paraphrase the old saying, "'Almost' only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." Should salvation be based on faith in a "spiritual courtship & marriage proposal," or on faith in Christ's death and triumphant resurrection?

(Here's the link to The Dividing Line audio, if you'd like to hear James White's statements in context).

Michele Rayburn said...

I was reading James White's blog from Jan. 16, and he brought an important perspective to this argument that he, and the Calvinist Gadfly wanted to bring out. And that is concerning the seriousness of our message in light of the persecution and martyrdom of Christians around the world for their faith in that gospel message.

James White says, "...I really doubt anyone would be having this argument in any nation where you were sure to lose your life for confessing Christ...".

We should ask, "Would anyone be willing to die for their faith based on the gospel that they are hearing?"

Do you know how many Christians were martyred for their faith in the 20th Century alone?

According to Antonio Socci, author of "The New Persecuted", the 20th Century had the most Christians ever known to be martyred. He says, "In 2 millennia of Christian history, about 70 million faithful have given their lives for the faith, and of these, 45.5 million -- fully 65% -- were in the last [that is, the 20th] century."

Also, Socci says, "the two currents that fuel the persecution of Christians today are Communism and Muslim fundamentalism."

Considering that these two abhor the gospel of Jesus Christ and are presently at war (in one way or another) with anyone who doesn't agree with them, we should remember 1 Peter 5:8 because we are being silenced:

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."

It's still true today. Remember our martyred brothers and sisters in Christ when you share the gospel. That might help.

SJ Camp said...

Excellent reminder... thank you.
2 Tim. 2:1-4

SJ Camp said...

One more thought:
It's true what James White was saying. Could you imagine this video having a voice in the Sudan, China, Beirut, India, etc. where Christians are being persecuted for simply proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified?

Surfboard theology is a distinctively west coast, western product.

The one thing I kept coming back to when watching this very well made video, was that "where's the offense of the cross in all this?" It seemed its design was to appeal and attract; not proclaim. Again, this is not against our brother Chan personally, but in general...

I'm going to be in a ministry situation this Sunday where I will be preaching and singing to an almost all nonchristian audience. My text is going to be Roms. 5:1-2 "Just, By Faith." It will be so good to not just talk about the gospel, but to actually preach the gospel. After these eleven days on "stopandthink," I'm ready to preach "repentandbelieve."

I would appreciate greatly all of your prayers... I can do nothing apart from Jesus and the Spirit's power. May He be glorified and sinners reconciled to God through the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In His matchless grace,
2 Cor. 4:5-7

JoeMartino said...

Little Gal,
How can I be sidetracked by the use of the word? I cut and pasted it as it was typed. I wasn't quoting the gentleman you reference I was quoting someone who posted here. In a quick perusal of the 76 previous posts I could not find it. I've cut and pasted that quote twice and both times it was the same way. As those who have been critical of this movie has pointed out, "words matter!" I find an inherent contradiction in your position. Either they matter or they don't. Either God does the saving and the keeping or He doesn't. And BTW God is also the one who sets the "high water" mark. I personally was saved after a presentation of the Gospel by my \a man who for many years was not a spiritually mature person by any means. If I'm honest I've questioned his salvation based on his actions many many times. And yet, God seemed to manage just fine in setting the "high water mark" for my life.
You see, I think we cut ourselves a wide swath of grace when we evaluate our own words. We don't cut such a swath for men like Mr. Chan.
The argument that someone who sees this video and has the Holy Spirit convict them will only be a "partial" or "half" Christian is invalid. If we are truly "reformed" we must believe that God does the work, and He does it completely or there is no work. Debate all you want, what Chan should have put in here. I'll check back and enjoy the conversation, but you cannot have it both ways. Either words matter or they do not. God does the work or you and I do. Not both.
BTW, Denise please explain to me what you meant by "unequally yoked." Thank You

Breuss Wane said...


It's true that God does all the work (Eph. 2:10). But it is also true that God has ordained a prescribed means by which he accomplishes what he will (Rom. 10:5-17). The former (God does all the work) does not happen without the latter (the ordained and biblically prescribed means). So much so, he promises that if the latter does not take place, neither does his work (1 Cor. 3:5-15/1 Cor. 1:19-21,26a).

gigantor1231 said...

Christian Martyrs;

The word of God, the Holy Bible is the only source of pure inerrant truth in the world. It is the most important written work ever transcibed for all time. I would have no problem dieing for it, and I do not say this litely.
There was a time not long ago that I would not have said that, but then an amazing truth from the word of God was brought to light to me, it was one of those turning points in my life. The truth was that God loved me inspite of who I was or what I did, He just loved me because it was his good pleasure, nothing else. Not only did I learn of this amazing fact but I also learned that he loved me so much that he was going to guarantee that I was going to be with him. The caretaker of my soul, God's son, Jesus Christ would not let me slip from his hands. Apart from coming to know Christ at the age of 16, in 1975, I can not think of anything that has impacted me so much. I have literally been transformed, I have been infused with new life, that first Love again, except with some maturity and wisdom. I have found that obeying God's commands is truely not burdonsome and that sharing the Gospel is as though it was second nature, because I know that all that I have to do is proclaim it and God will do the rest. It is his word and it will not return to him void it will accomplish that which He wants it to accomplish.
As a side note, I was saved in a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. As I studied the word and moved on in life I was caught up in the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement. I was arminianist to the core and Finney was a hero of mine, modern day hero would have been Keith Green. I spent probably 20 years of my life as a hardcore arminianist and I would have to say that, although I was born again and I loved Christ that it was very difficult for me to serve God effectively because I was always in fear of losing my salvation. I had great difficulty with sin because I was so hooked into it and when ever I did something wrong I was under such terrible condemnation, until I felt I had repented sufficiently to turn from God's wrath and come back to him.
This is why it is so important to me that the Gospel is delivered in a pure and unadulterated manner. It is my pearl of great price and there is nothing in this world that holds more value than it! This brings me back to the martyrs, isn't it of importance that we remember them by living up to the highest standard of truth that we can achieve, shouldn't we expect that other Christians would value the Gospel so much that they would not dumb it down or alter it so as to accomodate the world, so that they can feel comfortable with it and not run. The reason they run is because it is as a light in their lives and they love the darkness. If we contaminate it with our own ideas of what it should be and water it down and make it dimmer then yes they will come but to what? A smoking wick that exposes nothing. I hope that this is not so, because it is of to much worth and the value of it is so much that it has cost the lives of millions at the hands of those that hate the light and love the darkness.
I say this not from the perspective of a Calvinist, Baptist or anything else, as a matter of fact I lothe any other lable than that of Christian. I follow only him and his truth.
So what is the point of all the fuss over a little error in presentation or some watering down of the Gospel, the point is this, the Gospel is worth more than the finest Gold or the most precious gems, it is even more important than our lives, if we mess with it what do we have? I would hope that we would all want to keep it as pure as possible because one day we may have to give our lives for it just as many of our brothers and sisters have done before us and are still doing now.

JoeMartino said...

Bruce, I just want to make sure I understand you. You're saying that if the Gospel isn't presented correctly to someone they can't get saved? Do you believe that God calls people to salvation. Do you believe that people who were presented an incomplete Gospel are not saved? Myself included in that?

Michele Rayburn said...

Excuse me, guys, for a minute! I don't mean to interrupt. Just wanted to say to Campi,

"We will be praying for you. By the way, that's another reason why it would be a good idea for you to post your concert schedule, maybe even on your sidebar on this blog, so that we can be reminded to pray for you when we see that you are on the road ministering in another city."

Okay, guys...resume! Thanks!

Douglas said...

"The message of the Bible isn’t about how there is this awful beating up in heaven, He’s given us these harsh commands that, that he just forces us upon us, I mean even His commands, people talk about them like they are a bad thing, when his commands are a gift to us, they are a necessary thing, when He says; ‘thou shalt not murder’ he’s just saying; ‘Look, you know I think your life on earth would be better if you don’t kill each other.’ When He says don’t steal, don’t rip each other off , He’s saying o this will be such a better place to live if you guys didn’t rip each other off, you didn’t lie to each other, you just kinda were honest with each other and then, then He says; "you know if you could love each other as much as you love yourself this place would be amazing." But when we look at these commands like they’re an awful thing when in reality we know in our hearts that these are good laws."

When I first heard this and read it, I thought Mr. Chan is really missing the divine intent of the Law. What is the real purpose of God's Law. Are they a set of rules to induce "moralism" in society and make it a better place to live or is there some more serious intent of the Law? Would this world be a better place if we all kept God's Laws to the letter? What about the problem of the heart of stone, what about the problem of the heart being deceitfully wicked who can know it? What about the fact of the thoughts and intents of the heart being continually evil? How does the Law fix those problems?

After thinking about Mr. Chan’s comments here; "....When He says don’t steal, don’t rip each other off , He’s saying o this will be such a better place to live if you guys didn’t rip each other off, you didn’t lie to each other, you just kinda were honest with each other and then, then He says; "you know if you could love each other as much as you love yourself this place would be amazing......." I thought about this article I had read several years ago:

The Deadly Dangers of Moralism

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Gen 6:5

Proverbs 6:12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Walks with a perverse mouth; 13 He winks with his eyes, He shuffles his feet, He points with his fingers; 14 Perversity is in his heart, He devises evil continually, He sows discord. 15 Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; Suddenly he shall be broken without remedy. 16 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

"The Command toward sinners to repent and believe does not imply ability. Divine intent is to reveal our moral impotence apart from grace (Rom 3:20, 5:20, Gal 3:19,24). The Law was not designed to confer any power but to strip us of our own."

When God gives orders and tells us what will happen if we fail to obey those orders perfectly, that is in the category of what the reformers, following the biblical text, called law. When God promises freely, providing for us because of Christ's righteousness the status he demands of us, this is in the category of gospel. It is good news from start to finish. The Bible includes both, and the reformers were agreed that the Scriptures taught clearly that the law, whether Old or New Testament commands, was not eliminated for the believer (those from a Dispensational background may notice a difference here). Nevertheless, they insisted that nothing in this category of law could be a means of justification or acceptance before a holy God ... The law comes, not to reform the sinner nor to show him or her the "narrow way" to life, but to crush the sinner's hopes of escaping God's wrath through personal effort or even cooperation. All of our righteousness must come from someone else-someone who has fulfilled the law's demands. Only after we have been stripped of our "filthy rags" of righteousness (Isa. 64:6)- our fig leaves through which we try in vain to hide our guilt and shame-can we be clothed with Christ's righteousness. First comes the law to proclaim judgment and death, then the gospel to proclaim justification and life. One of the clearest presentations of this motif is found in Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. In the sixteenth century, the issue of law and grace was more clearly dealt with than at almost any other time since the apostles. - Modern Reformation (May/June 2003: "Good News: The Gospel for Christians")

Anonymous Douglas Snr.
S.P. & T.S.

littlegal_66 said...

Breuss: Thank you for responding to joe; I was engrossed in something else and couldn't immediately respond.

gigantor wrote: "I spent probably 20 years of my life as a hardcore arminianist and I would have to say that, although I was born again and I loved Christ that it was very difficult for me to serve God effectively because I was always in fear of losing my salvation."
This could well be my own story. It is incredible how many people I am running into in the blogosphere that share this same or very similar background.

"This is why it is so important to me that the Gospel is delivered in a pure and unadulterated manner."
I know exactly how you feel...really. And I would venture to say that Denise and some others here also share the same sentiments for the same reasons.....

sj_camp wrote: "I would appreciate greatly all of your prayers... I can do nothing apart from Jesus and the Spirit's power."
Yes, Campi......always.

littlegal_66 said...

joe: I believe these were the two quotes you were referring to:

(Posted by Breuss): "James White has said, 'what you win them with is what you win them to.'" 16th comment from the top.

(Posted by Denise): "Put another way, James White said, 'What you win them with is what you win them to.'" 40th post from the top (41st, if you count the comment that was deleted).

I realize that you were quoting the two comments from this thread, but those two comments were both the same quote from Dr. White--the two commentors, Breuss and Denise, got it from the same source, and attributed the quote to that source.

I'm sorry you find my position contradictory; however, I was merely attempting to communicate where I thought James White was coming from in his statement. I agree with you, words do matter. And let me just add that I didn't allow my prior knowledge of your use of some unfounded words on your blog to sidetrack me from attempting a tempered discourse with you on this one. Without going into too much detail, it was your assertion that a particular individual claimed to be a self-appointed "such-and-such," when there is no evidence whatsoever to support such an assertion--if said individual did make such a claim, I'm certain that he would add that to his blogger profile.

Again, words do matter--sometimes it's words that are spoken that shouldn't have been, other times, it's words that should have been spoken that weren't. The use of too many words can cause confusion & uncertainty, but so can the use of too few words. In the case of the video, some of the words that matter are some of the ones that weren't included in it.

JoeMartino said...

Little Gal,
My point is that even the original statement doesn't seem to match Scripture. I don't set the High Mark for your life, God does that. No matter how inadequately I present the gospel to you. As for my post, I know exactly which one you are talking about and I believe in it, but again, I believe it is irrelevant to this discussion. When I read your responses to what I write you sometimes seem to be talking down to me. That may be because of what I wrote on my journal that upset you or hurt you or you think is wrong, or it may not be true on my part. You may not be talking down to me, but if the post didn't effect you, why bring it up? Either way, I realize we disagree on this issue but please explain to me how the idea that how you present the Gospel is what sets anything in anyone's life? God has been changing people's lives for thousands of years, even when they only Gospel they've ever heard is what some here would consider an incomplete Gospel.

JoeMartino said...

Little Gal,
On a much more serious note. (Please read the attempt at friendly, humorous tongue in cheek there) do you think the Heels will be able to pull it off again this year?

Breuss Wane said...

Joe wrote:
>You're saying that if the Gospel isn't presented correctly to someone they can't get saved?

I think, humanly speaking and understanding Romans 10:5-17 and 1 Cor. 3 correctly, the *chances* of someone getting saved without a correct gospel presentation are reduced significantly, and in some cases, prohibitively. Just what makes up the necessary and minimal content one must know for saving faith is what the Reformers called “notitia”. And I’ll grant there has been much debate about what goes into “notitia” (such as Ryrie’s insistence that repentance and “bowing the knee” are not necessary).

> Do you believe that God calls people to salvation.


> Do you believe that people who were presented an incomplete Gospel are not saved?

Only God knows. Historically, most Calvinists (other than the heretical “outside the camp” position) have affirmed that Arminians are indeed brothers in Christ, even as Calvinists affirm that Arminians have a faulty (i.e. incomplete) understanding of the gospel.

What God does in the whole of the salvation process is irrelevant to the responsibility given to us in Scripture to be faithful to the gospel in preserving and defending the faith once for all delivered to the saints. God’s eternal decrees in ordaining salvation cannot be extracted from his ordained and prescribed means for bringing men to himself. Thus, that God may use the Chan video to bring people to himself is irrelevant to whether or not the video is faithful to the gospel message. The video isn’t off the hook merely because “it is used of God”. The pragmatic, experiential, and dare I say apophatic argument that “God is using the video to save people” doesn’t wash in the face of God’s prescribed means of bringing people to himself that he has laid out for us in the Scriptures.

Just as God’s use of Joseph’s brothers for good didn’t excuse their rebellious hearts and behavior, neither does God’s use of certain evangelism methodologies excuse the bad theology and the methodologies (and no, the video doesn’t rise to the same level of *evil* in Gen. 50:20; but the underlying principle does hold true).

I realize James White can speak for himself, but when he says “What we win them with is what we win them to”, he is speaking within the context that God has ordained a specific means (message) by which men are brought to the gospel. To compromise that message, then, is to compromise the means by which God brings men to himself. That’s the whole point of the reformation. The Eucharist had been corrupted. The message was no longer sola fide, and without sola fide, men were not being saved. There are *some* things that must be part of the message. Can God save a Catholic in the RCC? Sure. Is it normal? No, it is not, because the gospel message is corrupted (I can hear the protest now... but the video’s theology is bad enough that there are some similarities to this Catholic-notitia analogy). The reason the Reformers protested the Catholic gospel is because they recognized that the divinely ordained means by which God brings sinners to himself had been abandoned.

The principle of 1 Cor. 3 (in light of 1 Cor. 1) is this: build a ministry on worldly wisdom (in this instance, a me-oriented presentation of the gospel) and the substance of the ministry will be worldly wisdom (characterized by the wood, hay, and stubble). Paul is saying in 1 Cor. 3, “what you win them with is what you win them to”; and the potential is there for great loss in God’s final accounting. The “building” of 1 Cor. 3 is people (highlighted by Paul’s use of the word “temple” to describe the church). If we build the congregation with worldly wisdom, the substance and nature of the congregation itself will be worldly (and that’s in an ultimate sense in 1 Cor. 1-3; to be of the world is to be “perishing” – 1:18).

God can act apart from human responsibility, but the witness of redemptive history is that most of the time God does not act apart from human responsibility and has chosen human responsibility as the means by which He accomplishes His will in redemptive history.

JoeMartino said...

I wasn't trying to argue for the validity of the Video. I"ll do that another day. :) I was trying to examine the arguments presented here. Thanks for the explanation. I agree with much of what you said, but am still bothered by the phrase and the term, "half Christian"

Breuss Wane said...


Someone tried to make a similar point on the *other* bus :-) that God had been saving men for thousands of years before the Reformers and Puritans showed up and helped organize the thoughts of the church regarding the content necessary for the gospel.

The reality is that generally speaking, people *weren't* being saved in the dark ages. It's what made the Reformation and its recovery of the gospel necessary. Oh sure, we can point to the exceptions. But that's exactly what they were: exceptions. If we read Wyclif, we see someone who is speaking into an entire "Christian" context that is void of the gospel.

SJ Camp said...

Here is the comfort and surety we have in Christ:

Not even a bad invitation can keep the elect out of the kingdom! Doesn't condone poor invitations and gospel presentations at all--but God is doing His work beloved...


Marcia said...

Wow. Y'all sure are prolific. There are some very educational comments here; I appreciate the opportunity to read them.

Bill and Merrilea said...

I’ve been challenged by this and am grateful this kind of discussion occurs.
Let me chase a rabbit trail in some of the comments: I think a vital point has been misunderstood. As a whole, I believe that our society has been turned off by God, church and the gospel by the messenger, not the message itself. Yes, the Gospel is intrinsically offensive as many above including Steve so aptly put. But, I highly doubt Americans have rejected it because they heard and understood the 5 points of the gospel presentation Steve said was missing from the video. I agree fully with John Karls’ statement that certain Christian words/subjects turn off people’s ears in our society today. This is true in other cultures where I work in South Asia. Again, I honestly do not believe that is because they are offended by those words/subjects as we know them. They are offended by what their unregenerate perception of those things are. Their perceptions will only be corrected when they hear the true message of the Gospel (thanks for helping keep things straight about the definition of the gospel, Steve!). As they are confronted with Biblical truth, God’s Word transforms their mind about such things. But, to gain their attention to seriously Stop and Think, we must use tact…using words and attracting their attention without compromising the Word - the subject of this post. Acts 17:16ff. Lets not through out cultural paradigms with the bathwater and deeming them worthless pragmatics, i.e., in light of the video, Steve’s own music and genre is his surfboard and California lingo.

littlegal_66 said...

Joe: I'm going to break this into two comments. You wrote:

"When I read your responses to what I write you sometimes seem to be talking down to me."
No, that would never be my intent; I apologize for that profusely...I certainly have no cause to do so; I have a long way to "grow"....:-)

Also, you wrote: "You may not be talking down to me, but if the post didn't effect you, why bring it up?"

Yes, admittedly, the post on your blog "affected" me, because the assertion simply has no validity....and there are enough misconceptions concerning this individual out there already without the pot being stirred some more. However, as you stated, that subject is irrelevant to this discussion, and probably best continued off-blog.

As for the TarHeels.....well......I guess I'll save the college basketball comments for off-blog, as well.

littlegal_66 said...

Finally, Joe, you wrote: "I realize we disagree on this issue but please explain to me how the idea that how you present the Gospel is what sets anything in anyone's life?

Joe, please read these words posted by gigantor in this thread (emphasis mine):
"I spent probably 20 years of my life as a hardcore arminian and I would have to say that, although I was born again and I loved Christ that it was very difficult for me to serve God effectively because I was always in fear of losing my salvation. This is why it is so important to me that the Gospel is delivered in a pure and unadulterated manner."

Gigantor posted my heart, Joe.....only in my case, you could add 10 years to his 20. You see, I grew up hearing of a salvation that was based on fear, not true conviction and repentance. I spent my teenage years on a guilt trip that had me making a decision for Christ service after service, responding to altar call after altar call, but never being able to have the assurance that I was really saved. What a frightening, unsettling time...... I continued to respond to a gospel that kept me uncertain of my salvation unless I said, did, and wore the right things, and went to the right places. It was all based on outward appearances. There were "missing parts," and there were "added parts." As I stated above, "The use of too many words can cause confusion & uncertainty, but so can the use of too few words."

I feel that we do need to try our best to get this right...not casually present an overview and cross our fingers that nonbelievers will just automatically "get it." However, it is comforting to remember what Campi pointed out: "Not even a bad invitation can keep the elect out of the kingdom! What a great reminder.
Now, I'm off to watch Keith Green's video, "What's Wrong With the Gospel." While a few of his comments bring Finney to mind, I seem to recall him making some excellent points.....:-)
John 10:27-29

P.S. Campi: I'm going to work on it right now...:-)

Terry Rayburn said...

Stop and think about this:

What is "the offense of the cross"?

The answer is Grace.

Fallen man wants to *deserve* God's favor, but the gospel says "No. There is none good, no not one. It must be a free gift of grace."

The "the offense of the cross" is not showing people they are sinners. If you think that offends them, you aren't spending enough time around sinners. People revel in their sin all the time (though they may think their "good" outweighs their "bad".

And "the offense of the cross" is not the Lordship of Christ. People bow to gods and gurus and messiahs all the time.

The "offense of the cross" is Grace. The only place in Scripture where it's specifically mentioned is Gal. 5:11. Paul says:

"...if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased."

See, if Paul preached Legalism, he wouldn't have been persecuted. But he preached The Cross, the substitutionary death and gift of righteousness that Grace requires.

And the hearers must repent, change his mind, about his self-righteousness.

And they must believe in the Risen Christ who said, "It is finished". They must "believe God" that their own righteousness is as filthy rags, and they must accept the free gift of God's righteousness.

This Grace is a "stumbling stone, and a rock of offense" (Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:8), because fallen man is Religious to the core with self-righteousness.

Grace blasts that self-righteousness with a laser beam of Good News from the Light of the World, and self-righteous man screams in smug hatred, and calls the Good News bad.

Until he is born again.

Then the "offense" becomes sweet music to his ears, and he sees the Good News as the most precious news he has ever heard.

Breuss Wane said...

>I believe that our society has been turned off by God, church and the gospel by the messenger, not >the message itself...we must use tact…using words and attracting their attention without >compromising the Word

Absolutely! Don’t hear Steve, myself, Alan, Denise, or James saying anything otherwise.

My biggest regret? in watching the video and reflect on what it was and wasn’t saying, is that this kind of creative attempt at evangelism isn’t being done in the Reformed community. We need some Jonathan Edwards’s and John Owen’s with surfboards talking about the amazing features of the sun, comically musing about the nonsensical complexity of a laugh, reflecting on spending quality time with his daughters on the beach, and smartly introducing the controversial topic of God’s law, sin, his wrath, our guilt, the glory of Christ, God’s provision on our behalf, with the Divine and Christological resolution, yet without all of the theological baggage we’ve chronicled here and elsewhere. I wish Reformed communicators were this hip (James White on a harley?) in their evangelism. Maybe I’m half-baked, but I don’t see “hip” and “reformed evangelism” are necessarily contradictory.

After all, as you alluded to, Elton John armed with Calvin’s Institutes resides here. :-)

ddd said...

OK, now that this has been going on for like ages, can we move on from here? I'm sure everyone knows our stand already. Any further discussion of Francis Chan or his video is counter-productive. Steve, perhaps it would be better if all of us would stop commenting on this issue anymore. By all means, continue to post about the Gospel, but all talk and references to Francis Chan and his video should stop.

littlegal_66 said...

....Elton John armed with Calvin’s Institutes resides here.

Thanks a lot, Chad. Could you give me some kind of warning next time, brother? Thanks to you, I just spritzed my monitor with coffee bean juice.....

(I've thought it, but never had the spine to type it). ;-)

gigantor1231 said...

As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
8 “But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!
9 “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.
10 “This is the one about whom it is written,
‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
11 “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven 1suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.
13 “For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.
14 “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.
15 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
16 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children,
17 and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’
18 “For John came neither eating nor bdrinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’
19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Mt 11:7). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

People are the same now as they were in Christ's day and they still need the same thing!

14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!
15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.”
18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”
20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?

New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Ro 9:14). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

The D.O.G. House said...

To echo Terry Rayburn a bit:

1) You are dead in sin...from conception.

2) In that state, the "Gospel" is foolishness to you. (1 Cor. 1-18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness [absurd, silliness]; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God). Also 1 Cor.2-14; & Rom. 8:7!

3) NO ONE chooses Christ when they are in the aforementioned state. THAT would make NO sense at all.

4) The Spirit quickens us when we are IN our sin (at enmity with Him)...and dead state. Eph. 2; John 3; John 6:63

5) NOW...being made alive by GOD (NOT our bloodline, or the will/flesh, or will/man...John1:13) and NOW having "ears to hear" & "eyes to see", this preaching of the cross is not foolishness to us, but indeed the power of God unto salvation.

FINALLY: It is glorious to behold and understand now, and indeed is irresistable, and with contriteness of heart over our sin against God, we cry out to Him (most willingly)to have mercy on us...a sinner.

SUMMARY: When the Gospel is not preached, but a watered down (another?...Gal.1) facsimile instead, the 5 points above will not usually be spoken of (correctly), and even the FINALLY part is not right if there is no repentance. I am...

...Grateful for grace!
The DOGpreacher

SJ Camp said...

Let's be careful not to substitute Grace where Scripture does not.

Paul says, 1 Cor. 1:23 "but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness"

Christ is the offense... Scripture nowhere affirms that "grace" is the offense (even though I know what you meant). However, calling people to repentance does offend; calling people to the Lordship of Christ is an offense; calling people that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone may result in persecution (2 Tim. 1:8).

My concern with this video is that so much gospel was left out, that it has removed "the offense..."

I appreciate your thoughts as always...

To all
Elton John armed with Calvin's Institutes resides here - that's cold y'all-- :-).

I don't shut down threads here; the blogosphere is a great place for profitable and biblical discussion to take place. The comments here have been edifying and encouraging. There are other blogs who don't allow posting when it gets uncomfortable and who don't like to have to answer for their views. I don't subscribe to that here.

The rules of this blog are designed to promote good discussion. I think all here have tried to honor those rules. Threads have their own life to them and this one will end in its own timing.

I am glad you posted here--your voice matters.
Very well said... amen.

JoeMartino said...

Little Gal,
I have taken down the post until I can figure out a better name. The person I linked seemed to me to be linked to another group who I would call "self-appointed watchdogs." I'm going to attempt to run down if there is a connection that is more than cursory. As for Gigantor's post. I realize what he's saying and I feel for it but I'm not sure we can make the conclusions that are being made because of that. For 20 years sounds more like a discipleship issue and is certainly a difference in doctrine from what I believe. However, we don't know what Chan and his church teach on the subject of eternal security, do we? In fact, I know people who don't believe in election who believe in eternal security. My mom was one of those people so be careful what you say about them. :)

JoeMartino said...

I'm still trying to understand what you meant by "unequally yoked." Could you explain?

cyd said...

"I don't shut down threads here; "

Oh, that's such a relief! ;)

Adjutorium said...

Now, I'm off to watch Keith Green's video, "What's Wrong With the Gospel." While a few of his comments bring Finney to mind, I seem to recall him making some excellent points.....:-)


I have not seen Keith Green's video but I first read his two tracts on the subject about 25 years ago and looking at them again, some points he makes are just as appropriate now as they were then.

Here they are if anyone wants to read them:

What's Wrong With the Gospel?
Section 1: "The Missing Parts"
What's Wrong With the Gospel?
Section 2: "The Added Parts"

Ephesians 3:14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Romans 11:33Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34"For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" 35"Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" 36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

littlegal_66 said...


Re: Keith Green's "What's Wrong With the Gospel?"

I visited Last Days' site yesterday instead of watching the video...(the video just reiterates the thoughts in Keith's essays). You wrote: "some points he makes are just as appropriate now as they were then." Quite a few of those points, I feel, are even more appropriate now than they were then. (I would quote them here, but I haven't been granted permission).

I would echo your suggestion that folks follow the links you provided & read the two articles, (or re-read them if they have read them in the past).

littlegal_66 said...

I appreciate the change you made on your blog, but please try to keep in mind that what might be considered self-appointed watchdogs to you may be, uncompromising, outspoken men of God with strong convictions by others. (See my previous comment above and Adjutorium's previous comment for reference to one such individual). :-)

You wrote: "My mom was one of those people so be careful what you say about them. :)"
For what it's worth, my mom will be 75 years old this year, and she's still one of "those people," as well. ;-)

littlegal_66 said...

"......that's cold y'all-- :-)

Alright, "Sir Reggie," you can spare us the feigned,
"why, whatever do you mean?" act. :-D
.......And don't make us have to pull out musical examples......
(Hey-just think of this as a "Bressonized-version" of Dr. MacArthur's "Keith Green with theology" line). :-)

Denise said...

Joe, I was quoting this:

2Co 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

2Co 6:15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?

2Co 6:16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

2Co 6:17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,

JoeMartino said...

I promise I'm not trying to be obtuse, but I just don't understand what your saying. I know the verses. I understand the concept of not being unequally yoked, I just don't see where it fits in this conversation. Are you saying that Chan was unequally yoked somehow?

Matt said...

I'm not entirely sure of the purpose of this critique. I'll shoot you guys straight: Anyone who claims to be reformed makes me cringe. I have nothing against you personally, but I will offer that humility seems to go out the window with you guys.

Don't like the video?

Then get off your butts and do it better!

Chan is not your servant.

SJ Camp said...

You said, "...but I will offer that humility seems to go out the window with you guys.

Don't like the video?

Then get off your butts and do it better!"

Are your words evident of what you think humility really is Matt?

The issue here Matt is not producing another video to "do it better." The purpose of this is to get the gospel right.

When I release a CD (or even write a blog article), the reviewers (or commentors in your case) can have at it with me on any level they choose to--and as long as they honor the rules of this blog, I don't cry foul. It is their (your) right to express their (your) opinions in the manner they (you) so choose. This blog is dedicated to engaging people on a myriad of issues from a biblical worldview.

My criticism of Chan's video has been about content--it is not personal. In fact, I even posted very positive comments about his church's website and the content expressed there. Did you miss that perhaps?

Now, do you have a comment about the actual content of this post? Did Pastor Chan or the producers own words bother you at all? Did they seem contradictory or unified? Can you support biblically the content of Chan's video? (Give examples and be prepared to back them up according to God's Word.)

Help me understand further your thoughts...

2 Cor. 4:5-7

PS - I am your servant

Matt said...

Actually Steve, you seem like a decent guy according to what little I know about you. My comment was not directed at you at all. We may disagree on a lot of stuff, but you're one of the most well-spoken discerners I know. My comments were made towards some vultures in this thread who are hell-bent on demonizing this video. Even if they're correct in saying that this video does not represent the entirety of the gospel (a point which will not receive much argument from me), to say that it is unbiblical is just ridiculous.

So yes, instead of ripping into someone's method of reaching the lost (however flawed it may or may not be), I see little value in spending so much time and energy attacking a video that is attempting to do something that too many Christians are neglecting entirely.

Steve, you presented some points to consider about the video's neglect of sin. That's fine. Object lesson learned, let's move on and do it "right."

I personally do not have a problem with the video, but you are correct in that it doesn't fully address the repentence issue. However, I have followed Chan for a while now. He is one of the most convicting men of God I've ever heard. If you were to attend his church, you'd get your dose of sin. Why he didn't put it in his video is frustrating, but don't believe for a second that he is a "feel-good-christian". It pains me to think that out of the hour-long podcast from Passion07 (speakers also included Piper and Louie Giglio, who I challege any of you to suggest are soft on sin) that his words on the video were quoted from, it was his brief speal about his video that were dwelt upon. The whole first half on the sermon was about how we say we are fully committed to Christ but we are really just trying to fool ourselves most of the time.

I'd much rather dwell on that conviction.

In short, if this video doesn't cut it, then make your own video and post it. Someone's not gonna like it, I promise.

SJ Camp said...


Thanks for your clarification and I appreciate your words greatly.

As you know, I moderate comments here, but I do not control them as long as the rules of the blog are honored. Free speech and interaction is important to have on these kinds of issues--yours being important as well. I know that sometimes any of us can say the wrong thing in the wrong attitude. On behalf of all who comment here, I can honestly say that It is the exception and not the rule for which I am grateful.

After listening to many of Pastor Chan's messages, I also concur that the video is not a fair representation of what his pulpit ministry is. Thus my question initially on Stop and Think: what happened? Why did he choose not to include these critical elements of the gospel and clear explanations about sin, repentance, Jesus' bodily resurrection from the grave, sola fide, the Lordship of Christ, etc. when I know he believes those things?

That is still left unanswered.

Again, I appreciate your comments... Keep on.

Matt said...

Thanks Steve. I'll admit that my first comment was a little short. I apologize. I guess I just feel so soiled with some of the other "discernment" ministries out there that are simply just on a witch hunt, so I jumped the gun on you after reading some of the comments on this post. Again, I apologize.

While you and I may see things differently on many issues, you've been fair with me and Chan in not resulting to ad hominem like so many others. For that, I am very grateful. It's like a breath of fresh air. Godspeed.

gigantor1231 said...

I have a great idea. Instead of repackaging the gospel so people don't run, this is what was basicly done according to the producer Frank Turks, why don't we just be honest with the unsaved, unregenerate society and give them the whole truth, cut no corners and don't beat around the bush. I do this every opportunity I get. You probably are asking is it effective? And my answer is that it is the truth, straight from the word of God, once I deliver the message it is the Holy Spirit's job to produce the results.
We need more men of conviction like Spurgeon, Edwards, D Martin Lloyd Jones, men who do not care for the results, they just preach the un-adulterated truth. I am not saying that Pastor Chan is not that way. I am saying that we need to quit worrying about what people think, quit worrying about the results and preach the truth, the full Gospel, the full Bible.