Archive for November, 2007

Sanctification: restoring God’s image in believers?

Some thoughts in progress here…let me know what you think. 

1 Peter 2:24

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, (hina, “in order that”) we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness…

2 Corinthians 5:15

And he died for all, (hina, “in order that”) those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

From an earthly perspective (not including entrance to heaven, which is also very important) why did Christ die for me? He died so that I could live for Him. We often cheapen the concept of living for God — what does it mean to live for God? think about it like this: Read the rest of this entry »



Audio: The Ministry of the New Covenant

The audio from the message I preached a few weeks ago is finally up. You can listen to it here. I said several dumb things in the sermon — I’m sure you will find them.

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Emerging Soteriology on WOTM Radio

So yesterday, I read this over at Christian Research Network and noticed that Doug Pagitt had been on the Way of the Master Radio program. To make a long story short, I sent Todd Friel a paper I recently wrote on emerging/emergent soteriology. He read my email and used some of the content on the last 10 minutes or so of the program. If you are interested, you can listen here.


Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Spencer Burke: More on hell and universalism

Anyone who operates under the law of non-contradiction recognizes that a given proposition cannot be true while its corresponding and opposite proposition is true as well. Postmodern soteriology is at least toying with this line. Many in the ECM are attempting to flirt with universalism while upholding a doctrine of hell. Rob Bell, for instance, writes in Velvet Elvis, Read the rest of this entry »


Emerging/Emergent Quiz…

Here’s the game. Read the following quotes and give yourself a score on how many you disagree with (you are not saying you disagree with me, but rather with the quotes in question).  

1. “The Bible is one f______ scary book.” – Tony Jones, national coordinator of the Emergent Villiage ( I encourage you to comment on Tony’s new blog and let him know what you think of his statement.

2. Steve Chalke and Brian McLaren have both suggested that the subsitutionary view of Christ’s atonement is like “cosmic child abuse.”

3. Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis, “I have been told that I need to believe in Jesus. Which is a good thing. But what I am learning is that Jesus believes in me.”

4. Steve Chalke in the Lost Message of Jesus: “God affirms the orginal goodness of mankind.”

5. Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis, “God has an incredibly high view of people.”

6. “The problem, I think, at least in the Christian tradition, is that grace always seems to have no meaning apart from sin. The two concepts are always linked. Its not that I think sin is a myth or that everyone is perfect; it’s just that I believe linking grace to sin detracts from its beauty and intensity.” Spencer Burke, Heretics Guide to Eternity. Hmm, that’s an interesting position in light of Titus 3:3-4, 1 Corinthians 6:10-11. and 1 Timothy 1:13-14.

7. “Because in the kingdom of God, fun and play are important things…because in the kingdom of God, dignity and pride are also important things.” Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus.

8. “Moses was what we might call a revolutionary political leader and liberator, a cross perhaps between George Washington and Nelson Mandela.” So, in light of Hebrews, Jesus is not a better mediator than Moses; rather, He is a better revolutionary – a better cross between Washington and Mandela?

9. “. . We are already in unless we want to be out. This is the real scandal of Jesus. His message eradicated the need for religion. It may come as a surprise, but Jesus has never been in the religion business. He’s in the business of grace, and grace tells us there is nothing we need to do to find relationship with the divine. The relationship is already there; we only need to nurture it. Of course, growing up, I had a much different concept of grace. I grew up in an environment where grace was described as ‘unmerited favor.’ The only problem was that getting this ‘unmerited favor’ still required doing something – namely, ‘asking Jesus in your heart’ or praying a prayer.” Spencer Burke, A Heretics Guide to Eternity.

10. Steve Chalke suggests that the following from a children’s VBS is not the gospel:

(1) God created me. (2) I am a sinner. (3) Jesus came to die for me. (4) Until I accept him as Lord and Savior I cannot receive the abundant life God has for me.

He then presents what he believes is the gospel:

(1) Jesus explained that God loves them unconditionally. (2) God longs for them to be part of his plan for creation. (3) Jesus teaches that no-one can keep them from this destiny except their own decision. (4) Jesus’ death and his resurrection form the dead prove that he was telling the truth so we can trust him.

How many did you disagree with out of 10? Here’s the scale; call me harsh if you must:

0-3/10: I’d bet my money that you are emergent/emerging. If you don’t like the label and consequently won’t fess up to it, you’re proving my point.

4-5/10: I’d call you a soft evangelical with very little biblical/theological discernment.

6-8/10: You probably like to think of yourself as balanced. After all, Jesus was balanced right?

9/10: You are a fundamentalist or a conservative evangelical, but you thought I was unfair with one of the quotes above. I can deal with that.

10/10: Congratulations; you agree with me. What does that make you?  


The emerging church and their pseudobasileia

***Apologies are in order for the following:

1) This was written as a part of a research paper, so it reads like a paper, not a blog post.

2) I may or may not respond to comments on this one, but feel free to leave them.


The ECM is largely driven by their understanding of the biblical concept of kingdom. They accuse evangelicals of ignoring or explaining away passage of Scripture which  deal with the kingdom; so, to them, the message of Jesus and the Bible is not about personal salvation, but about the kingdom. Steve Chalke writes, “It [kingdom] advances with faith: when people believe it is true, it becomes true. And it advances with reconciling, forgiving love: when people love strangers and enemies, the kingdom gains ground.”[1] The kingdom, then, is established by the efforts of humans and is possible in this age. Actually, Chalke even takes it further, “…what has been known as impossible is now becoming actual.”[2] McLaren writes,


            What if Jesus’ secret message reveals a secret plan?  What if he didn’t come to start a new religion ­– but rather came to start a political, social, religious, artistic, economic, intellectual, and spiritual revolution that would give birth to a new world?”[3]


Chalke echoes, “…the core of Jesus’ life-transforming, though often deeply misunderstood, message is this: The Kingdom, the in-breaking shalom of God, is available now to everyone through me.[4] The content of the above quotes demonstrates the heart of much of the ECM; unfortunately, this understanding of kingdom is missing only one key element, regeneration. Did Jesus come to start a revolution that would change the world or did he come to offer men life?  Even if the first advent of Christ was about establishing a new world, would this new world not include individual salvation? Read the rest of this entry »


Brian McLaren and his “choose your own adventure hermeneutic”

Speaking of the OT Prophets, “They spoke of a day when lions would lie down with lambs (an image not of literal biological upheaval but of social transformation – so that the violent, lionlike people with power would no longer oppress the vulnerable ones: the poor, elderly, orphans, and widows). They described a time when swords and spears would be melted down and recast as farm implements, when nations would not “learn war anymore.” The Secret Message of Jesus.

What markers or indications in the text allow Brian to redefine lion and lamb? Why are lion and lamb not literal, but swords and spears are literal? I’m really starting to see the importance of our consistent, literal hermeneutic.

If lion does not equal lion and if lamb does not equal lamb, then don’t the swords then represent the people who oppress others within their own families (swords are hand-to-hand only), and then the spears represent the people who oppress others in other societies and families (spears can be thrown a distance)? So the message is that these oppressors are going to be made into farm implements, or people who work God’s kingdom farm, i.e. fix the problem of world hunger!