Tuesday, December 11, 2007

EMERGENTCY: The Dire Need for Biblical Ministry
...an urgent plea for emergent/emerging leaders

Updated


"but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." -1 Corinthians 1:23-25


About John Knox:
The text was Isaiah 26:13-21 and it was preached on August 19, 1565, in St Giles. The previous month Lord Darnley had married Queen Mary and was declared King. Darnley has been described as a man who could be either Catholic or Protestant as it suited him, sometimes he went 'to mass with the Queen and sometimes attended the reformed sermons'. On this particular Sunday he sat listening on a throne in St Giles and, while he was not directly mentioned in the sermon, it so infuriated him that Knox was instantly summoned before the Privy Council and forbidden to preach while the King and Queen were in town. Part of Knox's response was to write down the sermon as fully as he could remember it. It is the only Knox sermon that has survived, and in its conclusion he has these memorable sentences:
'Let us now humble ourselves in the presence of our God, and, from the bottom of our hearts, let us desire him to assist us with the power of his Holy Spirit . . . that albeit we see his Church so diminished, that it shall appear to be brought, as it were, to utter extermination, that yet we may be assured that in our God there is power and will to increase the number of his chosen, even while they be enlarged to the uttermost coasts of the earth.' -John Knox

When addressing this text of 2 Corinthians 4, I thought of no one else to illustrate authentic biblical ministry than John Knox.

Oh for men like him once again. Men that aren't for sale; men that reverence the Lord and not treat Him as a cartoon figure on a t-shirt; men that will stand against the world and for Christ; men who consider their lives small and the glory of God great; men who are not concerned with trivial cultural trends, but keep the eternal work in clear view; men who are more consumed with proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ than promoting themselves; men who weep for the lost, champion sound doctrine, plead with the church to be holy, confront political leadership, and herald God's Word uncompromised. Knox was not stifled by fear, motivated by fame, nor swayed by flattery. He was God's man and belonged to no other.

This dedication to biblical ministry the Apostle Paul gives us in what I consider to be the wheelhouse text of the foundations for ministry in 2 Corinthians chapter four. I am going to briefly comment on it for you below - but only briefly; for I mostly want you to just read and hear the text of Scripture itself and not be needlessly distracted by my comments.

This text sums up my plea and prayer for myself for I fall woefully short in all that I do for the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also my plea and prayer for national leaders within The Emergent Church (t.e. McLaren, Pagitt, Bell, etc.) who have given themselves over to unorthodox beliefs (Inclusivism [A Generous Orthodoxy], Pelagianism [denies imputation of original sin and that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone], Syncretism [the blending of opposing belief systems - the virgin birth is questioned and not held as essential]) which we could include under the umbrella of what the Apostle Paul called, "deceitful doctrines of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1). I say these things with tears, a heavy heart, out of deep concern for their souls, and realizing the sinfulness and wretchedness of my own depraved heart; if these men are truly my brothers in the Lord Jesus may they repent from these aberrant doctrines and return to Christ, His truth, and His gospel.  And if they are not, may God grant them repentance and the faith to believe Jesus Christ as Lord unto salvation by embracing the true gospel of sola fide and forsaking the dead idols of their own imaginations.  When anyone denies substitutionary atonement; the inerrancy, infallibility, and authority of Scripture; the existence of hell and eternal judgment of all who deny Christ and His gospel; the Virgin Birth; the doctrine of original sin; etc. then there is justified reason for us all to be concerned. 

I want to be clear here: I am not making an eternal judgment against these men; I am simply examining what these men teach and comparing their assertions through the grid of God's Word - and when analyzed in the light of Scripture, the comparison is frightening.  I am not anyone's Holy Spirit beloved; I am just another brother in Christ trying to be a faithful Berean to examine all things in light of the Word of God. As Paul admonishes us to do: "test all things and cling to that which is good." 

Again, please pray for these men that the Lord would bring others into their lives that would care to speak the truth in love to them and the Lord would open their eyes as to the error they are even unwittingly believing and teaching to others. Theology matters; doctrine matters; truth matters; Scripture matters. 

Let's look at this important seciton of God's holy Word.


The Foundations of Genuine Biblical Ministry
2 Corinthians 4 (NASB)


Comfort in Ministry
1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.

Ministry belongs to the Lord; it is His. It is solely from Him and by His mercy He enlists us the privilege of serving Him. It is not the product of ourselves in any manner whatsoever (cp, Gal. 1:10-13; 2 Tim. 1:10-12). It is because of this truth that we do not faint or lose heart - literally, we do not abandon ourselves to cowardly surrender under the vicious attacks of others. Though sometimes we can become discouraged, "our labor and toil is not in vain" (cf, 1 Cor. 15:58). We press on amidst grave circumstances, persecutions, insults, onslaughts, privation and ridicule (cp, 2 Cor. 11) for the proclamation of the gospel; God's New Covenant for us through Jesus Christ our Lord.

May we be like those who can say,
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God." -Acts 20:24

Conduct in Ministry
2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

This is at the heart of biblical ministry; a conduct befitting Christlikeness that does not capitulate to the fads, trends, and transient means of the spirit of this age. Paul is saying here that we do not resort to shameful things; or gimmicks, tricks (cultural contextualizations of the message, audience marketeering, demographic research, seeker friendly pragmatism) etc. or to wresting the Word of God.

Paul mentions three sweeping categories of conduct unbecoming to those in biblical ministry:

1. disgraceful, underhanded ways (disgraceful conduct; clandestine and secret arts; all dishonest artifices and plans,);

2. cunning (craftily; or behaving in a crafty manner. The word here used denotes shrewdness, cunning, and craft. This was common; and this was probably practiced by the false teachers in Corinth);

and 3. tamper with God's word (handling it deceitfully, corrupting its truth, adulterating its meaning, not peddling it for financial gain (2 Cor. 2:17); not falsifying or misrepresenting its truths).

What should be our response to such things? "We have renounced those things"; literally "bid farewell to" those things. That word means to disown; to spurn, or scorn with aversion. It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament; and the sense here is that the Apostles had such a high view of the truth of Scripture and the glory of Christian ministry, that it led them to discard everything that was disguised and crafty; everything deceitful in the methods of ministry.

What's the antedote? "...by the open statement of truth commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God." Truth does not hide or cloak itself; it is "open" - unashamed. And the result is the straightforward commendation to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. Notice, that He is the object of all our endeavors; and therefore, we can speak it plainly to all without reservation, without hidden agenda, without the shroud of trickery, deceit, cunning or adulterating the Word of God.

As one of the great divines, Pastor John Gill, so rightly says:
"that is, they with all plainness and evidence clearly preached the truth as it is in Jesus, presenting it to, and pressing it upon the consciences of men; where they left it, and to which they could appeal; and all this they did, in the sight and presence of the omniscient God, to whom they knew they must give an account of themselves and their ministry."

Conflict in Ministry

3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Why is this vitally important?

Because we fight not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:10-18); it is spiritual battle we face is it not? And we cannot fight with carnal weaponry (2 Cor. 10:1-4) as the emergents and pragmatic emergings want to. We must resort to the spiritual weapons of prayer, the Word of God, the means of grace, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Anythng else is child's play and may have the appearance of being equipped for battle, but their culturally-relevant-contextualized armor is not tempered with the steel of righteousness and truth; therefore, it is not profitable to wear for effective service in God's war. The battle is the Lord's beloved and we must engage His way, according to His Word, and for His glory or all our efforts are efforts in futility. "No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier" (2 Tim. 2:4).

This is the Achilles heal of the emergent/emerging movement. It is so focused and obsessed with the pragmatics on being identified with culture and target marketing a constituency in their neighborhoods, that they actually think that their methods have something to do with people becoming saved and the church growing through evangelism.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Why? Because it is a spiritual battle we are about.

Paul reminds us that Satan has blinded the minds of those who reject Christ and His truth. And there is one thing that is greater than the deceitful blinding darkness of the enemy, and that is the glorious light of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan may be mighty, but Jesus Christ is Almighty and the gates of Hades cannot ever prevail against His church! Amen? Amen!

Confidence in Ministry
5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

So what is our confidence in ministry? Is it the size of our annual offerings or size of our congregations? Is it technology? Is it the amount of downloads and listeners we enjoy on radio, podcasts, TV? Is it the number of readers on our blogs or websites? Not a chance. Our confidence is one thing: "we preach not ourselves... and we preach Christ Jesus as Lord." Did you hear that beloved? Those words should be branded upon the doors of every seminary, every church sanctuary and every pastors study. We do not preach ourselves; we don't preach anything to do with ourselves. We must forsake ourselves, our agendas, our methods, our techniques, our practices, etc. And we faithfully proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

We call Him Jesus because He is the Savior; we call Him Christ, because He is the sufficient Messiah; and we call Him Lord, because He is the One True Sovereign over all. We preach Jesus Christ as Lord!

Could it be anymore clear? "I sought to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). That was Paul's all consuming passion. Preach Christ Jesus as Lord! Only if men of God each week did so in our churches with humility, with power, with the unction of the Holy Spirit, and in the truth of His Word. How refreshing it would be. Oh to see emergents not only ask some right questions about doing church in our day, but more importantly to give the right answers of God's Word -- to preach Jesus Christ the Lord and not themselves!

And to do so as servants of the Lord--literally as slaves. Proclaim the Savior - Jesus Christ the Lord; and serve His people as slaves. We have no rights, no reputations to boast of, no merits in ourselves worthy of emulating or following except that which Christ has done through us by His grace.
"1 Cor. 3:5 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? 1Cor. 3:5

¶ What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 1Cor. 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 1Cor. 3:7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 1Cor. 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1Cor. 3:9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

1Cor. 4:1 ¶ Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 1Cor. 4:2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.

That's the right motive of ministry beloved. In Christ alone is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God! He is God incarnate--the Word become flesh. We exalt Him above all things--especially ourselves. We are nothing - He is everything! Are we content to preach Christ and exalt Him even if it means our own demise?Will we preach Jesus Christ as Lord even if no one listens? Will we preach Jesus Christ as Lord if no one responds? May we never shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God.

Commonness of Ministry
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Again, the Lord has insured that all pride in ministry and the fruit of salvation of another is never the cause for boasting in and of ourselves. The great work of evangelism belongs to the Lord. It is He who adds to the church daily; it is God who has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world. The gospel itself is the power of God unto salvation.

Is there room for any boasting of our own accomplishments in biblical ministry? None whatsoever -- no room at all. Our methods do not add one thing to God's sovereign work of redemption (cp, Titus 3:4-7). Even some who want to announce their pursuit of humility reveals nothing more than a prideful heart boasting to attract the attention and praise of men.

"Riches I heed not nor man's empty praise..." the godly hymn writer pens.

We hold this treasure beloved (the treasure of the gospel) in jars of clay (not a bad name for a Christian band). The clay pots were used sometimes to hold valuables within a house. But mostly they were used for mundane purposes as recepticles for discarded menstral rags or human excrement. Paul says this is us; this is us. We are called by God "clay pots" - so the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. It is all about Him and His glory and not about us.

Any fruit from genuine ministry is not the result of human initiative or means. Ministry is not about expanding ones brand; selling CDs, books and study Bibles; it is not about increasing our market share of our radio programs and TV stations or building up shelf space at Target or Wal-Mart. It is about promoting the greatness of our God through Jesus Christ the Lord in proclaiming His gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit according to His Word. And knowing we do so as people of clay. Anything attribution of spiritual growth to man is nothing but vanity and a selfish pride. Anything less is all about us and not about Him.

We are jars of clay; common receptacles. By God's grace He uses us for His eternal purposes and for His glory. What a joy and privilege...

Cost of Ministry
8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 death is at work in us, but life in you.

Are you prepared for this? Have you come to grips with giving up all things for the sake of Christ and His kingdom? To suffer the loss of all things so that we may gain Christ and know Him? (cp, Phil. 3:1-8) Are you resolved that you have no claim upon your own life and that you will not love it even unto death? Paul was perplexed, homeless, persecuted, afflicted, without worldly means, considered to be "the scum of the earth and the dregs of all things." He had nothing of worldly goods; he was destitute and was suffering greatly for the gospel. He was by his own admission "an ambassador in chains." But he was not without hope. He was not crushed, nor left in despair, never forsaken, and not destroyed.

Could you embrace those same chains so that "the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies?" Can you "count it all joy" the trials of ministry and the turbulence of serving His church with thankfulness in your heart knowing God is sovereign and in control of it all? Will you count it all joy to bear the insults of others for following and serving Jesus? Are you willing to risk it all, even die if necessary, for the sake of the glory of Christ Jesus the Lord? Will we be willing to be whittled down to size, as Gideon was. so that we will not say that our own hand has delivered us and that He receives all the glory?

Culmination of Ministry
13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Again, what is the chief end of man? What is his sole delight? The glory of God.

We believe so we speak; we are utterly convinced of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and so we are also convinced of God's power to raise us up with Him and bring us to completion in our glorification with Him (Jude 24-25). And in seeing more and more increase in thanksgiving to Him by His grace, culminating in His further glory. This is the capstone of all ministry; this is at the root of all biblical worship; this is service to God unfettered, unfeigned and worthy of Him--for it results in His glory.

Every week any local church or itinerate ministry should be as a matter of priority asking this one key question: what can we do to bring further glory to God this week? All staff meetings should begin and end with that question and goal on their lips. Every worship service should begin and end with the awesome expression of glory to God.

Commitment of Ministry
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

This is our conviction and therefore our commitment this day; we "do not lose heart." Paul ends this chapter where he began--encouragement in the Lord to keep on faithfully for Him regardless of the circumstances we may face each day.

We can be wasting away, but in what is eternal we are renewed. Even Paul's severe persecution, he considered a momentary "light affliction" compared to "the eternal weight of glory..." This is a key conviction to endurance in ministry: keeping the eternal in view; keeping the preeminence of Christ in view; making the most of Him in all we do for Him. We may suffer greatly for His gospel in this life, but we will never have to face the wrath to come. And so we may say with Paul, this is a light momentary weight we bare when compared to the eternal glory with Jesus Christ that awaits those who are in Him. The things which are seen are temporal; but the things not seen are eternal.

We may pray in dark moments through tears of doubt and sorrow: "Give us spiritual eyes Lord that we may see clearly, by faith, all that You have designed for those to whom You love and that love You faithfully. May we not be possessed by what is temporary; but be utterly convinced of what is eternal; and therefore, keep on until the end with an undivided heart, a single mind, an unwavering soul, with a firm resolve that this world is not my home--I'm just a passing through. It is for Your name's sake... Amen."

Conclusion
May I encourage you again to pray for these men I mentioned earlier in this article. Pray for their repentance and for their return to biblical ministry. And pray for me too. Pray that we all would guard our own hearts; that we would all watch our lives and doctrine closely (1 Tim. 4:12-16). Pray the Lord would keep us from a saracstic mocking spirit of others who believe differently, who might be aberrant stiff-necked in their doctrine, or who don't line up with every jot and tittle of the faith as we would see it. May we contend for the once for all delivered to the saints faith; but may we do so with reverence and respect as those who have sanctified Jesus Christ as Lord in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15-16).

May we treat error with the sober-minded seriousness it deserves; may we be bold against the skewed theology of false teachers; may we call them to repentance; and quickly repent ourselves. And may we embrace the whole truth of God's Word and encourage others to do the same with the soberness it deserves as well. May we stay teachable, broken, ready to serve, and steadfast in the gospel.

Is there joy in ministry? YES! There is great rejoicing in seeing the Lord work and to be used by Him for His glory. But it is not a celebration in what we have done, but only in what He has accomplished through us and in spite of us.

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all." -2 Corinthians 13:14

7 comments:

Wm Mallory said...

Steve,

I agree!!! I have questioned for many years now, where is the reverence for God? Mainstream Evangelical thought has become this..

Ministry belongs to me, my ways are His ways, embrace the culture of the day (of course God is American), money and material goods (which are all made out of dirt) are evidences of my righteousness, promote myself & my ministry, I require bottled Dasani water and $2500.oo to speak at your church next week, build higher pedestals for local church leadership, we are really not that depraved, after all humanity is in control.

Pelagianism is alive and well. Like you Steve, my heart breaks over these things. I pray that God might grant them repentance as graciously as he did us...

Emergent/Emerging leaders have taken too various winds of doctrine. Self-centered, instead of Christ-centered. Seekers of the culture instead of seekers of Christ.

2Cor 4, really hits the point that it is not about us at all.. It is about Christ and for His glory alone.

We must continue to examine ourselves also, this article applies not only to Emergent/Emerging leaders, it also applies to us, which you pointed out Steve, by your own self-examination...


Bill Mallory
2 Corinthians 13:5
2 Peter 1:10

Alan Harstone said...

Good post, Steve. We need more guys like you standing up to this new liberalism.

SJ Camp said...

Thank you gentlemen for your comments here. May we keep on for the Lord for our flesh is weak; our minds easily swayed to lessor things; our hearts fickle, and our souls selfish.

But by His sanctifying grace - we are daily being conformed to His image.

It is all of grace... amen? THIS is the issue. People have lost confidence in the Lord to do His work by His Word. They have become cold to the moving of His Spirit; and absent from the fellowship of His church.

Oh to preach His gospel with eternal resolve. That we say with our brother: here I stand!

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. !:9-14

Wm Mallory said...

Sola Gratia! Amen

Ephesians 1:6

Ed said...

"Pelagianism is a theological theory named after Pelagius. It is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature (which, being created from God, was divine), and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without Divine aid. Thus, Adam's sin was "to set a bad example" for his progeny, but his actions did not have the other consequences imputed to Original Sin. Pelagianism views the role of Jesus as "setting a good example" for the rest of humanity (thus counteracting Adam's bad example). In short, humanity has full control, and thus full responsibility, for its own salvation in addition to full responsibility for every sin (the latter insisted upon by both proponents and opponents of Pelagianism). According to Pelagian doctrine, because humanity does not require God's grace for salvation (beyond the creation of will),[1] Jesus' execution is therefore devoid of the redemptive quality ascribed to it by orthodox Christian theology."

Steve, I appreciate your zeal for sound doctrine, but to imply that McLaren, Bell and Pagitt ascribe to the above doctrine is wrong - unless you can document examples from their teachings or writings or even better - from direct personal cnversation. I've met with McLaren and Paggit - I've heard them speak and read their books. I'm familair with Rob Bell's books and videos. If there is error, it is certainly not that they follow Palagianism.

I share this because you have a great following (deserved from your character and example) and people may tend to accept what you read without prejudice. Is it profitable to call others to repent of heresy that they do not embrace? Your readers may assume that you are correct and that all of these Emergent leaders (and anyone else who resonates with the movement) hold heretical views of original sin and the redeeming work of the cross. The power of your influence works both ways. Please be fair and accurate in your critique. Rob, Brian and Doug are brothers. I encourage you to engage them in brotherly dialogue about their faith and how it is expressed. There is too much 3-rd party criticism from both sides. We need to consider Jesus' prayer from John 17 that we would be in unity so the world will know that He is sent from God. Unity requires our efforts at understanding one another (not blindly accepting their views, of course).

Furthermore, I exhort you to rebuke the spirit of contention in your comment-ers who make statements such as "Emerging leaders... [are] self-centerd instead of Christ-centered." I don't believe it is possible to read their books, hear them teach, and see their local ministries and come to that conclusion. Walk a week in the life of one of their churches and then tell me if they are Christ-centered or not. I've prayed with Brian McLaren - he expresses a sincere heart for Jesus and seeing others come to know him.

Truth and Love. We must have an appropriate balance - and to seek that balance does not mean we compromise on either. I see great zeal to refute the Emerging church, and many claims and judgments are made - many of which are global in nature - painting all who resonate with its message with one great brush. Where is the spirit of unity and grace? I can't help but think that many would be dissappointed to discover that most in the Emergent movement are committed followers of Christ. We would no longer have a target for our zeal.

Wm Mallory said...

Ed,
Due your charge for rebuke. There are some assumptions made that I have to clear up.

In regards to my comment “Emergent/Emerging leaders have taken too various winds of doctrine. Self-centered, instead of Christ-centered. Seekers of the culture instead of seekers of Christ.”

I did not say “all Emergent/Emerging leaders”. That would be ridicules and wrong. However, there is a trend that is spreading with these leaders and their teachings.

One of my closest friends is in ministry at a local Emerging church and we discuss these very topics every month when we get together. So, I need to be clear that I am not responding to Steve’s post out of ignorance. I have attended these services, heard the teachings, and yes, I do ascend to and agree, that there are believers in these churches and its leadership.

However, these Emergent/Emerging churches in my local area are becoming more and more seeker oriented. This has taken the focus off of Christ and put it more on man, his ability and his thought (ones-self). Seeking culture and its trends to attract people. Yet, God is Holy not trendy. -Hebrews 7:26

Ed, I can’t go along with Mark Driscoll when he writes on his blog, “At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I would like to offer the suggestion that perhaps 24 is incredibly popular because Jack Bauer is a lot like Jesus” Comparing Jesus, to Jack Bauer? The TV show?

Jesus was popular among men? Isa 53:3 tells me the direct opposite. “ He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

This is absolutely biblically perplexing to me. And yes there are examples after examples I could give.

I close with the same statement I closed out my initial post.

“We must continue to examine ourselves also, this article applies not only to Emergent/Emerging leaders, it also applies to us”

By His Grace alone,

Bill

SJ Camp said...

Ed:
I said: "It is also my plea and prayer for national leaders within The Emergent Church (t.e. McLaren, Pagitt, Bell, etc.) who have given themselves over to unorthodox beliefs (inclusivism, Pelagianism, syncretism, etc.)"

I have read all of McLaren's material and the Book "Generous Orthodoxy" is a definitive statement of inclusivism. Doug Pagitt I have tried to reach by phone several times to no avail. However, I have spoken to others within the emerging movement that more than confirm from years of working with him his penchant on Pelagianism. Lastly, Rob Bell through reading both of his books is clearly a syncretist. I,e,, his denial of the importance and even the veracity of the virgin birth. IHOW: "it doesn't matter."

I have tried to go to people first hand when dealing with these issues if their own writings are unclear or there is a lack of documentation as I have tried to do with Doug Pagitt.

I have no personal ax to grind with any of these men. And I did mean what I said that this is my plea and prayer for them. I also included myself in needing prayer as well for we all need the loving scrutiny of others to guard against doctrinal blind spots in our lives. Something I think you have tried to demonstrate to me here for which I am eternally grateful.

It would do nothing but bring great joy to my own heart to hear that each of these men embrace biblical Christianity and leave behind some of the skewed beliefs and practices they have come to embrace.

I say these things again knowing my own depravity that a part from God's grace could succumb to unsound teachings as well.

Steve