Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Which Set Best Represents Your Faith?
You may have already seen these (Julie's already blogged about them more in depth), but recently Phil Johnson of Pyromaniacs posted a series of Motivational style posters rather mean spiritedly mocking the emerging church and some of the words we often use. Here are few examples:







While vaguely humorous, I found most of these posters rather sad (in a "I can't believe how badly he's misrepresenting us" kind of way), and some even offensive. However, rather than getting angry and retaliating in kind, I was impressed by Emerging Grace's response to these attempts at ridicule. She simply created an alternative set of posters that express more truly the values of the emerging church and the way we really use these words. Here are a few:







The question then is which set of posters would your rather have your faith associated with? (Because in the end, Johnson's posters say more about his own approach to Christianity than they do about the emerging church.) Would you rather identify with those who feel the need to misrepresent and poke fun at other believers, or are you inspired by the vision of faith represented in Emerging Grace's posters? Would you rather mock and ridicule the kinds of things talked about by emergents, or do you resonate with what we really mean by them? Who represents the kind of faith you'd rather have: Phil Johnson or Emerging Grace? Which set of posters do you think best reflects the spirit and way of Jesus?

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posted by Mike Clawson at 3:33 PM | Permalink |


24 Comments:


At 7/31/2007 04:44:00 PM, Blogger Andrew

Well said. If I can use a movie analogy, it reminds me of 300 (or if you know the historical battle of the Hot Gates). Xerxes men fought because they had to or they had an angle on gaining personal power. The men in Leonidas' camp had a loyalty to him and something to fight for.

I get the impression sometimes that the vicious end of the anti-emergent crowd serves God simply because he is the biggest and the strongest. He is a holy God who will kick unholy butt, and they would like to avoid being kicked. Some even hope to get in on some of the kicking of the unholy.

Whereas, the emergent crowd really does believe God to be worthy and he would still be so even if He had no power. It is what he stands for that elevates Him.

The motivations seem so different and I think the posters highlight those differences.

 

At 7/31/2007 05:23:00 PM, Blogger Ken Silva

"Would you rather identify with those who feel the need to misrepresent and poke fun at other believers."

O please. Let's back up the self-pity wagon shall we? This whole spiritually indigent Emergent rebellion against the Bible is itself a misrepresentation of what genuine Christians like Phil Johnson and me actually believe.

The quiet arrogance of men like Rob Bell and Doug Pagitt, who often misrepresent historic orthodox Christianity, is at its core no different than any other cult leaders who have come along. They are still saying: "We've discovered the right way to be 'Christ-followers' and we're not like those 'mean' Christians."

As far as I'm concerned you're welcome to your man-loving subversive social movement but as long as the Lord chooses to sustain me I'll keep exposing your attempts to try and pawn it off on an unsuspecting public as the actual faith of Jesus Christ.

 

At 7/31/2007 06:24:00 PM, Blogger Andrew

I'm sorry, but is this Ken guy for real? (I've caught some of his comments at onehandclapping) He sounds like a character in the Saturday morning comics. I find myself looking forward to what outrageous thing he will say next. It's like listening to the religious version of Howard Stern.

 

At 7/31/2007 06:43:00 PM, Anonymous JoeMartino

Oh Andrew my friend, he is for real. At least he thinks he is. BTW, you've earned a great quote of the day on my blog. You can read it at this link.
http://www.joemartino.name/metamorphic/2007/07/great-quote-47.html

 

At 7/31/2007 07:15:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

No self-pity here Ken. Just calling it like it is. Phil's posters were intended to be mocking. Do you deny this? It's not unreasonable to expect that some emerging folks might respond to this mockery in some way. Should we have just sat by and let Phil poke fun and spread lies without saying anything?

BTW, I have no desire to "misrepresent" your own or Phil's beliefs Ken, but at the same time, I will point out my belief that your version of Christianity is a distortion of the biblical teachings of Jesus. You have taken the message of the gospel and twisted it to fit your own preconceived theological assumptions, without truly submitting yourself to the scriptures and letting them speak from their own context apart from your fundamentalist categories. I don't think you've done this intentionally or maliciously - I just think you are mistaken, and I pray that you will begin to open your mind and your heart to Christ's way of justice, mercy, humility and love.

Peace brother,

-Mike

 

At 7/31/2007 07:39:00 PM, Blogger Ken Silva

"Phil's posters were intended to be mocking. Do you deny this?" Hmmm, I would say the better question is: Do you personally KNOW this? Are you somehow omniscient Mike? :-)

And it's not my intent to argue so I will finish by simply returning your comment right back to you even though I'm actually not a fundamentalist.

So Mike, I will point out my belief that your emerging version of Christianity is the real distortion of the Biblical teachings of Jesus. You have taken the genuine message of the Gospel and twisted it to fit your own preconceived theological assumptions and proclivity toward a type of social justice, without truly submitting yourself to the inerrant and infallible Scriptures and letting them speak from their own context apart from your [Emergent] categories.

Now Mike, it's really nothing personal because I don't think you've done this intentionally or maliciously - I just think you are very mistaken, and I pray that the Lord will begin to open your mind and your heart to Christ's true way of [absolute sovereignty] justice, mercy, humility and love.

peace out. :-)

 

At 7/31/2007 09:52:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

So Ken, your only reply is essentially a version of the old grade-school taunt "I'm rubber and you're glue..."?

I'm pointing out that you are currently working at cross purposes to the kingdom of God and inviting you to turn around (literally "repent") and find a better way, and that's all you care to respond with?

Alrighty then... I guess there's nothing more to be said.

 

At 7/31/2007 10:11:00 PM, Blogger iggy

I think you can begin to grasp the maturity level of Ken and the mindset of those who came up with those posters...

Ken's response that "Hmmm, I would say the better question is: Do you personally KNOW this? Are you somehow omniscient Mike? :-)

This shows that as you stated Ken argues like a child or like Pee Wee Herman, "I know you are but what am I?" One does not need to be a omniscient to know the tauntings of a child.

I think the reality of how desperate these people are and how much they fear that God cannot keep His own Church (the Body of Christ) pure that this fear makes them blind to the fact that Jesus' Body was and is and ever will be pure... and that we cannot make Jesus more pure...

I see that what Ken and crew are trying to purify Jesus more by their own man made doctrines and by their own works... and by the way of lies and slander...

What a way to protect truth!

It seems to prove only that they care little for truth they protect and even less about the teachings of Jesus such as "love your enemies". It also shows the fruit of a shame/fear/performance based faith that is not based on the love, grace and mercy... ever seeking justice (setting things right by that love, grace and mercy) in it full blown destructiveness. The people are infected with religion and need a great amount of prayer.

be blessed,
iggy

 

At 7/31/2007 10:48:00 PM, Blogger Ken Silva

Mike,

You said: "your only reply is essentially a version of the old grade-school taunt 'I'm rubber and you're glue...'?"

No, not at all. My reply is to say that I, in very fact, have the exact opposite view from yours. And the question I'm then asking is: So, what makes your view right and mine wrong?

Then you said: "I'm pointing out that you are currently working at cross purposes to the kingdom of God and inviting you to turn around (literally 'repent') and find a better way,..."

And I say that I believe it is actually you who is working at cross purposes to the Kingdom of God and I encouraged you to metanoia. But instead there's that cult-like Emergent arrogance.

Well Mike, the fact is you have chosen to stand with emerging men like Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt while I choose to stand with men who preach the doctrines of grace like Dr. John MacArthur and Bob DeWaay.

And finally: "Alrighty then... I guess there's nothing more to be said." That's the way "conversation" always goes with the emerging church. Face it, you in the EC believe you have found the real gospel. But I say it is really no gospel at all. Therefore it is you who have placed yourselves at odds with God.

The EC is no move of the Holy Spirit, it is a counterfeit Christianity. For over two years now I've talked with many in "the conversation" and it goes great until someone disagrees with you in the EC. I personally have yet to meet anyone who would actually entertain the idea that they could be wrong.

So that's why many of us are forgetting about trying to talk with you in the EC anymore. You need to learn that conversation is listening as well as advancing ideas. Mike the issue really is this simple: Either what the emerging church teaches is Christianity or what someone like Dr. MacArthur teaches is.

You see, there is no middle ground between a universal atonement (however one equivocates afterward) preached in the emerging church or the Biblical particular atonement where God applies Christ's infinite sacrifice only to those He sovereignly elects.

As for me I choose to serve the Lord. May He grant you repentance Mike, and eyes that see...

 

At 7/31/2007 10:53:00 PM, Anonymous Sam Hendrickson

I do find it interesting the intolerance aimed at Phil's attempt at humor. Do you not understand this is part of pointing out some of the serious and legitimate concerns about the beliefs and actions of those in your [non]movement movement, conversation, thingie? Look at what PJ produces otherwise, and ask yourself if he is truly being mean-spirited, or trying to get people to look a little deeper at your faith and its expression.

With much of what is expressed from the ec's side of things, I find the indignation somewhat humorous. Lighten up...that's what many ec luminaries have been telling us for awhile--and they have not been always extremely humble or kind in how they have done so...

 

At 7/31/2007 11:09:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

iggy, while I appreciate your support, I would ask you to not sling insults at those you disagree with here. I think we can express our disagreement with Mr. Silva' understanding of the gospel and with his tactics of debate without returning mockery with mockery. I know that I often have a hard time avoiding that myself, but I think Emerging Grace has set a good tone with her response and I'd like to follow in her example.

Thanks bro'!

 

At 7/31/2007 11:32:00 PM, Blogger iggy

Mike,

I am not mocking Ken as i have had many many interactions with Ken...

I do apologize if you found my comments insulting.

I think you will find that Ken is not a rational person to deal with... If that is insulting again I apologize. He tends only to inflammatory rhetoric and put downs.

In my ministry I have had to speak bluntly and firmly against this type of issue as people I minister often have gone through great harm in the hands of such abuse.

In that I am a bit rough, but sincerely nothing I said was in mockery... in fact as I have interacted with Ken, Phil, and many others it seems that there is not compassion for others and no true love.

I am sincere in stating these men need prayer. This is a serious spiritual sickness and bondage they are under. That is not mocking but truth. These men are not the enemy, but they are being abused by him.

Again, I will refrain from posting here if you feel my voice is not one that will help...

I do appreciate all you are doing and how wonderful you are standing in all this.

Be Blessed,
iggy

 

At 7/31/2007 11:44:00 PM, Blogger Ken Silva

Carlos (iggy) Shelton said: "I am a bit rough..."

LOL!

 

At 8/01/2007 10:37:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Yes Ken, you and I do seem to be proclaiming very different understandings of the gospel. You seem to be following the gospel of John MacArthur (and John Calvin?) while I do my best (though imperfectly) to follow the gospel Jesus proclaimed in Luke 4:18-19 when he said:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."


But I wouldn't describe our views as complete "opposites". I don't deny the central aspects of the gospel you proclaim. I believe in the divinity of Christ, his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins, and that we can be saved because of his sacrifice. I believe in Heaven and Hell and think that some people do end up in both.

IMHO the evangelical gospel is not wrong, just incomplete, because in addition to all those things I also believe in the present reality of the kingdom of God and that Christ's gospel was less focused on where we go in the afterlife (did you know that Jesus only preaches on the Resurrection once?) and much more on calling people to live in his kingdom way here and now. God is not just concerned with forgiving the sins of individual people, he wants to reconcile the whole world (cf. Romans 8:19-21). Social gospel vs. evangelical gospel is not an "either/or", it's a "both/and".

At any rate, you can rest assured that I'm very practiced in considering other points of view and entertaining the possibility that I could be wrong. How do you think I ended up in the emerging church? I was once very much like you - a Calvinist Baptist minister who thought that his way was the only possible right one. But it was by listening to other points of view, and especially by coming back to the Bible without my Calvinist theological lenses that I began to see things differently.

So don't worry, I will take the time to entertain the possibility that your way may still be right and that I may in the wrong. But I wonder, can you say the same? Will you actually, seriously and honestly consider whether you may be wrong in your theology and people in the emerging church may actually have some truth to teach you?

Shalom

 

At 8/01/2007 12:54:00 PM, Blogger Ken Silva

Mike,

The noted Christian philosopher and apologist Dr. Francis Schaeffer used to say: "Honest questions deserve honest answers." I believe this as well and so I will respond from a position of no offense taken and no intention of causing any. Setting this upfront due to the limitations of the written language.

You say: "Yes Ken, you and I do seem to be proclaiming very different understandings of the gospel." You may believe me when I say that I do appreciate your candor and respect your sincerity. I now will respond in kind.

You say: "You seem to be following the gospel of John MacArthur (and John Calvin?) while I do my best (though imperfectly) to follow the gospel Jesus proclaimed..." This looks to me as if in your mind there is a divide between "the gospel" of MacArthur and "the gospel" Jesus proclaimed.

But the truth is, I follow no man. The MacArthur reference is simply a current illustrative example of men who proclaim that Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is what is meant by the doctrines of grace. These were proclaimed by the ancient Church long before there ever was a Calvin.

You point out: "But I wouldn't describe our views as complete 'opposites'." Ah, but they are. I say God alone chooses whom He will save according to His will and grace and nothing whatsoever to do with anything any human being ever does. You say, at least on some level, man cooperates with God. Monergism vs. synergism. Opposites.

Then you say: "I don't deny the central aspects of the gospel you proclaim. I believe in the divinity of Christ, his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins, and that we can be saved because of his sacrifice. I believe in Heaven and Hell and think that some people do end up in both."

I am purposely trying to be as non-offensive as I know how (really, I am *smile*) but I hope you realize that even Satan himself "believes", and even knows, these things are in fact true. You see, this would actually prove nothing.

Next you go on to say: "IMHO the evangelical gospel is not wrong, just incomplete,..." Being that you are one who believes in synergism you would be able to say this. I, however, left evangelicalism because of its semi-pelagianism and undercutting of God's total sovereignty.

The following is really an all too common misconception concerning the beliefs of those of us who believe the doctrines of grace: "because in addition to all those things I also believe in the present reality of the kingdom of God..." So do we.

But here's where we part company: "and that Christ's gospel was less focused on where we go in the afterlife (did you know that Jesus only preaches on the Resurrection once?) and much more on calling people to live in his kingdom way here and now." We are to do all we can to help our fellow man and be good stewards of this world.

Personally I even think we've not done such a good job. That aside, the Bible is quite clear that this "here and now" will be destroyed by fire. God is not recreating THIS heavens and earth; He is preparing (or has prepared) a new heaven and a new earth.

This is why according to Scripture you are wrong when you speculate: "God is not just concerned with forgiving the sins of individual people, he wants to reconcile the whole world (cf. Romans 8:19-21)."

And here is an extension of your earlier misconception: "Social gospel vs. evangelical gospel is not an 'either/or', it's a 'both/and'." The evangelical gospel has actually become your emerging repainted social gospel ala Walter Rauschenbusch. We are not saying that there is no social aspect to Christ's gospel. We are saying it is secondary to Christ's mandate follow His example to seek and save those who are lost.

You say: "At any rate, you can rest assured that I'm very practiced in considering other points of view and entertaining the possibility that I could be wrong." Mike, I have no reason to doubt your word here. And I don't.

You ask: "How do you think I ended up in the emerging church? I was once very much like you - a Calvinist Baptist minister who thought that his way was the only possible right one." Sincerely and with gentleness; I will say that in my mind you would have just described an apostate.

Next you say: "But it was by listening to other points of view, and especially by coming back to the Bible without my Calvinist theological lenses that I began to see things differently." My response is that I personally was saved in an Arminian and Charismatic church. I began believing in synergism.

Long story short; I have zero formal theological training and have never studied Calvinism. My testimony is that by simple private study of the texts of the Bible, God the Holy Spirit led me to believe His monergism and in the doctrines of grace. It was only after this that I went and began my studies of theology.

Then you point out: "I will take the time to entertain the possibility that your way may still be right and that I may in the wrong." Mike, I think we know this is really not seriously very likely. That's fine, you've made your stand. I disagree with you, but please know that I do respect your defense of it.

And finally you ask: "But I wonder, can you say the same? Will you actually, seriously and honestly consider whether you may be wrong in your theology and people in the emerging church may actually have some truth to teach you?" Honestly, absolutely no. I have also made my stand.

In 1994, well before their even was an emerging church, I was still Arminian in theology and planted Rock Springs Mission Church. I was doing the "emerging thing" even before you. Attempting to be "relevant" and "missional" with hair down the middle of my back and my secular rock band coming out of the church. Played in bars, hung out with sinners...well, you know.

Doesn't work in producing real converts to Christianity, because while the sympathy to the plights of our fellow man is obviously sincere, in the end the version of the gospel - the one you currently espouse - is deficient. Through my studies I began to see the reason why; and this was long before I looked into the Reformers: Salvation is through the grace of God alone; by the faith alone given to us by God, in Christ alone.

Two very radically different views of the Christian faith. Only one could be right, there is no middle ground here. There isn't supposed to be.

Mike, I do appreciate your willingness to dialogue. So as an offering of good will, and out of respect, I have tried to be thorough enough to do justice to your well thought-out response.

Knowing we are both very busy I envision this to be the last I'm going to say here. And I also say shalom.

 

At 8/01/2007 03:28:00 PM, Blogger terriergal

I'll stand with pastor Ken. Even if, for the sake of argument, I agreed that Ken was wrong in using sarcasm, it's not as if he has a monopoly on that. What he does have that the opposition does not is a clear picture of the truth. I'd rather not follow blind guides who think it's improper to know where they're going.

 

At 8/01/2007 04:15:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Thank you for your detailed reply Ken. As I said before, I'm quite familiar with your "doctrines of grace", having held those same beliefs myself for some time. (And I was raised Arminian too - I "converted" to your brand of Calvinism in college and then de-converted several years later.) If you were presenting me with any new ideas I would honestly consider them. However, as nothing has changed regarding my previous reasons for rejecting your point of view, I don't see the need to revisit them at this time.

And besides, I'm not sure why I'd bother since you've clearly said you have no intention of considering any challenges to your own views either. I find it quite outrageous that in one post you would lambast the emerging church as hypocrites who refuse to consider they might be wrong, and yet in this next post freely admit that you likewise refuse to do so. You said to me:

"I personally have yet to meet anyone who would actually entertain the idea that they could be wrong. So that's why many of us are forgetting about trying to talk with you in the EC anymore. You need to learn that conversation is listening as well as advancing ideas."

Tell you what, as soon as you yourself are ready to listen and entertain the idea that you could be wrong, then we will be too.

 

At 8/01/2007 04:58:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

"Salvation is through the grace of God alone; by the faith alone given to us by God, in Christ alone."

Another bit of irony (and perhaps more evidence of how you really haven't understood what those in the EC are saying) is that I would completely affirm this statement as well. You hold this up as an example of the radical difference in our views - and yet I see no disagreement here.

 

At 8/01/2007 05:22:00 PM, Blogger grace

Mike,
Thanks for your kind words and link to the posters.

I continue to be baffled about why people want to continue to presume that we do not believe in the truth of gospel even when we clearly declare our belief.

Oh well. As Brother Maynard says, Live your faith. In the reality of living it out, the arguments don't matter.

 

At 8/02/2007 11:19:00 AM, Blogger Chris L

Hey there Mike,

Nice post! We've been backing you over at http://christianresearchnetwork.info/ since Ken & company started trying to play guilt-by-association and other dishonest ploys against you last week.

In viewing this entire 'mini-tempest', it just becomes more and more evident that to folks like Phil and Ken, "Grace to You" means little more than a thumb in your eye, and 'loving your neigbor' is a punchline to a sad, sad joke.

 

At 8/06/2007 11:40:00 AM, Anonymous Jose

Hello Mike,

The posters represent "objective truth" about the Emerging church. Don't you think so? They are so relevant and true depicting the exact beliefs that are constantly being conveyed by EC authors and web bloggers.

You should actually use these to identify yourselves!

 

At 8/06/2007 04:11:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Welcome back Jose.

So what part of "he's misrepresenting us" did you not understand?

 

At 8/08/2007 11:39:00 PM, Blogger geoffrobinson

Did not Elijah mock the Ba'al worshippers?

You may be confusing being nice with never critiquing someone's views.

 

At 8/09/2007 12:13:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

If you want to critique someone's views, first you have to adequately understand them. Critiquing strawmen of your own devising doesn't do anyone any good.

 

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