Sunday, May 20

Emerging dead!

The following in red is a direct quote from a comment taken from an atheist site by a pastor of an emergent village church. He had agreed to answer questions posed to him by atheists. This answer was in response to a question about Chirst's atonement being for sin or to set an example for us. Then does faith or works secure the benefit........... I have one word of advice for anyone caught up in this emergent movement. Leave! Do it immediately!

Good questions. My answer is: a little of both but not entirely either.
I believe that Jesus death on the cross was a demonstration that God had forgiven our sins, not the reason God forgave them. That is, I find the conservative theology of sacrificial atonement rather repugnant (as many of you do as well I’ve noticed), but I do still think that the cross was more than just a moral example (though it was that too). It does have something to do with forgiveness.

For those who are not familiar - “sacrificial atonement” theology posits that Christ’s death was necessary because God was really, really angry at us because of our sins, and since he needed to take that anger out on someone, he took it out on Jesus instead of us. Now that he’s blown off some steam he can forgive us and everything is cool between us again.

My question with that theology (besides the fact that it makes God sound like someone with some serious anger management issues) is why, if God wanted to forgive us, he just couldn’t forgive us. Why is punishment necessary? What good does it do to punish someone else in our place?
Instead, I think God did “just forgive us”, and to demonstrate to us that he has forgiven us of all the evil we could possibly do, he came to earth and took the worst that we could throw at him without retaliation. He took our scorn, our betrayal, our violence, our greed, our hatred - and showed that, rather than “getting even”, God-in-the-flesh was willing to give up his rights to revenge and simply forgive those who had made him their enemy. He was willing to endure one of the most painful deaths imaginable rather than return violence for violence or hatred with more hate.

Of course, this stands as a moral example for us as well. If God himself was willing to go to death on a cross rather than take revenge on our enemies, then perhaps we too can begin to love our enemies and become “ambassadors of reconciliation” as Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 5.
Thus, for me, salvation is both about knowing that God has forgiven us unconditionally, and then also about beginning to follow God’s example by forgiving others and overcoming hatred and violence with love and peacemaking.

(BTW, I realize that for those of you who think this is all just a fictional story to be ignored or mocked, how I interpret the significance of the crucifixion is totally irrelevant to you. I’m simply trying to explain for those of you who are interested how this all works out in my theology. If one already believes in God and in the Jesus of the Bible, then this, I think, is the best way to understand what Jesus’ death was all about.)

29 comments:

donsands said...

"Be not many teachers".

"Salvation is about God forgiving, and us forgiving others", and love, peace, and non-violence.

Humanism/Chistianity is very popular today, and it's also very deadly.
It tries to mold people into being nice and empathetic, and does in fact produce moral people who think they are forgiven, when they may not be.

Susan said...

I'm shocked this man is the pastor of a flock or preaching God's Word at all. It doesn't sound as if he's read it fully.
I keep hearing about the 'emergent' church, Jazzy, but I'm not sure exactly what it refers to. I'll do a search on-line, unless you feel inclined to explain it in the comments here.
If this pastor's statement is representative, it sounds a lot like tickling mans' ears and ever-increasing worship of self above God.

jazzycat said...

donsands and Susan,
I have been shocked at what I have read at this emergent blog:

http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/

I believe orthodox Christians form their world-view from God's Word (All of it). Apparently this man and many other emergent types have a liberal post-modern humanist world-view and conform the Bible to fit it. This takes ignoring, rejecting and re-interpreting much of the Bible.

mark pierson said...

Amazing! Simply amazing. Yes, let's just over look Isaiah 53....

Jungle Mom said...

What did he even say? It makes no sense! Thanks for sharing this. Here in Venezuela it is hard to keep up on all that is happening in the US.

jazzycat said...

Mark and jungle mom,
No it doesn't make sense. Not only does he have to overlook Isaiah 53 as Mark pointed out, he has to overlook the core theme of the entire Bible which is God redeeming a people by grace and providing an atonement for sin.
People should be aware of the false teaching that is going on in America.

Shiloh Guy said...

I may have to do a brief post at Shiloh Guy and make an effort at trying to define the emergent movement. It is very difficult to do because there is no organization or headquarters. In all Christian love I would caution all of our blogfriends about judging an entire movement on the lousy theology of a certain group of pastors. We wouldn't throw out all Baptists because of a certain group of theologically inept pastors. Nor would we throw out all Presbyterians because some of them are messed up. There are many solid people who would fall into the emerging movement. Even though I may be too old to be emergent, Shiloh certainly falls into the emerging church category. Let me think about it for a day or two. Things are a little busy right now.

The person you have quoted in the post is very, very wrong and he certainly doesn't speak for all pastors of emerging churches. (This, of course, is one of the real dangers in the movement; young men who are improperly taught. And this is one of the reasons I try to associate with as many of them as possible!)

I love you guys!

Dave Moorhead

Susan said...

Dave,
May God bless you for praying for and working with those in the church body who are still lost, if indeed they are. Certainly they sound to be at best misinformed or at worst wolves in sheeps' clothing, but they may lead others astray, so bless you for your ministry. Please please at some point cover the emerging church at ShilohGuy.

jazzycat said...

Dave,
Thanks, your points are good. I would like to see you cover this movement.

After looking at this pastors blog and the comments that he receives from other emergent adherents, I believed the view expressed in this quote is pervasive. That is when I decided to post his comment. While they wrap their writings in a thin veneer of love, it is obvious that they have great contempt and hostility for what they call conservative Christianity (us). It is apparent that they believe they have emerged from our theology to a new and better view of how to be a Christian. They have even abandoned the term Christian in favor of “A follower of the way of Christ” or a “postmodern Christian.” This particular pastor claims to be friends with an emergent leader, Brian McLaren, who’s book “The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything” is prominently displayed on his site. That title pretty much tells all you need to know, but Amazon will give you a brief review if you want more. There may be some emergent churches that reject this view. If so, I would hope that they would distinguish themselves from this apostasy.

The following article at Pyromaniacs is interesting on the subject of false teachers: http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2007/04/tolerance-that-is-deal-killer.html

Craver Vii said...

That quote came from a man who is called "Pastor?!"

"Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears." Acts 20: 28-31

Lynet said...

Over at friendlyatheist.com, you posted the following:

When you can explain why there is something instead of nothing, please come over to my blog and let me know. I believe a supernatural intelligent explanation is certainly more rational than believing that uninteligent matter/energy has the power of self-existence. Something obviously has to or their would be nothing.

This post would appear to be the best place on your blog for me to reply to this. I'll state straight off the bat that I don't know why there is something instead of nothing. Still, mysterious as consciousness is, I don't think we have any evidence that self-existence is among its powers.

What stops you from asking "Why was there God instead of nothing?"

Furthermore, how do you get from your idea that the universe must have been created by a conscious being to the idea that the Bible must be true? For all we know, the creator of the universe is completely uninterested in us -- perhaps the universe was created for some alien life form and we are just a byproduct. Perhaps God just really likes the stars, and the rest is nothing to Him. Even if we knew there was a conscious, intelligent creator, that wouldn't tell us much.

Furthermore, on the original subject of this post, I am disturbed by this comment:

It tries to mold people into being nice and empathetic, and does in fact produce moral people who think they are forgiven, when they may not be.

You place morality below "forgiveness". That's terrible. That God would place more value on ritual and belief than on morality is terrible. I have little hope of convincing you, of course, but I have to voice my protest!

Emerging Christians at least seem not to allow their religion to warp their morality. That's a thousand times better than religious people who would commit atrocities if they thought God wanted it.

jazzycat said...

Lynet,
Thanks for your visit. I take it you are not Daryl. First let me clear up a few misconceptions. I am not the author of the quote you give. I believe it is a partial quote from the emergent pastor expressing his views. I agree with very little of his world-view or his theology. I am not responsible for religious people that commit atrocities and do not endorse or agree with such behavior. Jesus in no way taught such things as suicide bombings or killing abortion doctors. The moral and ethical teachings of Jesus is one of the few things the emergent pastor and I agree on. I would suggest you look at what true Bible believing Christians believe rather than what emergent pastors or the liberal media tells you we believe. There is a huge difference. There are some extremes out there like I mentioned above, but it is an extremely small percentage. Any person that commits any act in the name of God that contradicts Scripture is delusional.

The Christian religion does not warp morality as you glean from that quote from the emergent pastor. The Christian religion has given us such institutions as: The United States, our freedoms, hospitals, the very first universities and colleges, orphanages, other mercy ministries, and all kinds of charitable organizations to numerous to name. No, the morality taught by Jesus is far superior to the morality that sanctions such things as partial birth abortions.

As to the origin of God or matter/energy………. My thesis is since nothing comes from nothing unaided by an outside source such as a supreme being, then something must necessarily have the power of being in and of itself. This something cannot ‘not be’. Put another way, if there were ever a time there was nothing, then there would be nothing today. There is something today so there must be something that has always been. That something must either be a supreme intelligent being or unintelligent matter. I submit that a supreme being of much higher power is a much more logical choice than matter/energy. I would even suggest that to think matter has always been without an outside cause is irrational.

The reason I suggest that the Bible is true is because it is document that contains a lot of historical data and events that have been proven accurate. It contains much prophecy that has been fulfilled. It contains information on the life and times of Jesus Christ. These life and times include a resurrection that testifies to something that is clearly supernatural. There were several hundred witnesses to the risen Jesus and as much as Rome and the Jewish religious establishment wanted to nip Christianity in the bud, they were never able to produce his remains and prove the early disciples wrong. Most of these early disciples that were eyewitnesses to the risen Jesus were martyred for their teaching of the Christian religion. To think they died for a lie is something to consider.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope this answers some of your questions.

Lynet said...

I am not the author of the quote you give. I believe it is a partial quote from the emergent pastor expressing his views. I agree with very little of his world-view or his theology.

It's from your first commenter, right after saying "Humanism/Chistianity is very popular today, and it's also very deadly." -- not a humanist or emergent pastor, in other words!

The reason I suggest that the Bible is true is because it is document that contains a lot of historical data and events that have been proven accurate.

Really? From what I hear, archaeology and the Bible don't really gel all that well. Admittedly, I got my information here.

Furthermore, convering the whole world with water is one hefty miracle (the water must have disappeared afterwards, because I'm pretty sure there isn't enough water in the whole atmosphere to realistically do that). As is keeping thousands of animals alive for forty days with only -- what -- eight people to care for them? A modern-day zoo has a lot more staff than that!

It contains much prophecy that has been fulfilled.

But not this one:

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?"
...
Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all these things take place.


Is there any one of that generation, two thousand years ago, that has not passed away? I think not.

It contains information on the life and times of Jesus Christ. These life and times include a resurrection that testifies to something that is clearly supernatural.

I presume you do not include this among your reasons to consider the Bible true.

There were several hundred witnesses to the risen Jesus

How many of them have we actually heard from? Paul says he saw Jesus, I suppose, but only in a flash of light on the Damascus road -- not necessarily a credible, solid happening, particularly since the most elaborate version of the story does not come from any of the letters Paul wrote himself but from Acts. It's hearsay. Paul never says anything more than "last of all he appeared to me" -- not much detail, there; the appearance could have been in a vivid daydream for all we know.

And then there are the gospels. Luke never saw the risen Jesus. Mark didn't originally mention the risen Jesus -- that chapter doesn't appear in the earliest versions. Towards the end of John it says "This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true." In other words, the content of John is based on the testimony of only one supposed witness. Who might have let his imagination run away with him. Moreover that last clause in particular shows that others besides the witness have had a hand in the composition of the text -- who says they didn't change it so that it said what they themselves believed? John is generally considered to be the youngest of the gospels, written long after the time when Jesus is supposed to have died.

As for Matthew, most NT scholars think he was partially copying from Mark, and partially from some other text(s) (I learned that from a book by a Christian defending the historicity of Jesus, so it's not too biased). If he'd seen what happened himself, he wouldn't have needed to copy any of it, would he?

So from the Bible we have maybe two witnesses to the resurrection (John and Paul), both of them dodgy one way or another. Wherever the rest of the hundreds were, we don't have their testimony to prove it.

[A]s much as Rome and the Jewish religious establishment wanted to nip Christianity in the bud, they were never able to produce his remains and prove the early disciples wrong.

Rome wasn't that bothered by Christianity until more than a hundred years later. By then, the remains would have been difficult to identify.

On a different note, how do you reconcile the Biblical contradictions? There are plenty of them. What about atrocities in the OT supposedly commanded by God? Do you consider the Bible to be infallibly true?

jazzycat said...

Lynet,
O.K. I see the full quote about forgiveness. The excellent point of donsands was that so-called combined humanist/Christian people may be trusting in their works for salvation rather than grace. The Bible teaches that faith alone in Christ alone saves and good works flow from salvation but have no value to save sinners. I don't see why that would disturb you other than you obviously have not yet place your faith in Christ.

At the Mount of Olives, Jesus was referring to what happened in 70 AD as well as the final judgment.

My pastor is a contributor on a blog called Christian Skepticism that is listed under my links. He goes by the name Swordbearer and he has a great interest in debating atheists. You may check him out as this kind of debate is really outside of my focus. However, I couldn't help but notice you didn't put forward a thought on why there is something instead of nothing.

Seriously, check that Christian Skepticism site out and tell them jazzycat sent you.

donsands said...

Lynet,
"You place morality below "forgiveness". That's terrible. That God would place more value on ritual and belief than on morality is terrible."

I appreciate and agree with everything Jazzy has said. He has answered with compassion and truth; and passion for His Savior.

God the Father's greatest value in all the universe is His Son, Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ's highest value is the Father.
And the most magnificient honor and praise that will ever exist for all eternity is the Son of God's obedient death on a cruel Cross, and then being raised back to life on the third day; and all who believe this, and cry out to the Lord Jesus for mercy, and turn from their sinful life, will know this magnificient glory, and will have eternal life with this most holy and gracious God.

Lynet said...

I couldn't help but notice you didn't put forward a thought on why there is something instead of nothing.

No, that's true. What I did do was question whether "God did it" really explains anything in that regard, because one can just as easily ask why there was God instead of nothing in the first place. Your contention that an intelligent something-that-always-existed makes more sense that the idea that matter may have always existed doesn't really do much for me.

Why should we expect an answer to that question in the first place? Maybe there is no reason why there is something instead of nothing. I see nothing illogical about that. Nor do I see anything defeatist in it. We can have our own reasons for living without demanding that some higher power give them to us.

The excellent point of donsands was that so-called combined humanist/Christian people may be trusting in their works for salvation rather than grace.

Or perhaps they consider care for others more important than belief -- so much so, that they can't believe a just God would punish them for paying more attention to helping their neighbours than to the exact measures necessary for salvation. If they go to hell for spending too much time doing good works, that would be ironic, no?

Ironic at best. What it would really be is horrific, scandalous. If that's really the way God operates then God is evil. And yeah, your defence of such a warped view of things strikes me as terrible.

Craver Vii said...

I found Lynet's comment about morality thought-provoking, and I hope you don't mind, but I borrowed that concept for my own post.

I will have limited online access for the next few days, but I hope to see something good come of it.

jazzycat said...

Craver,
I'm glad you did. I will check it out.

Lynet,
Just curious, but how does partial birth abortion fit in with your morality?

Also, how can you dismiss my question with this kind of nonsense? Maybe there is no reason why there is something instead of nothing. I see nothing illogical about that.

Also if you would be interested in gaining a more accurate knowledge of Biblical revelation, you might check out my Photo Meditations under my Links. They give brief overviews of various biblical principles.

Lynet said...

Also, how can you dismiss my question with this kind of nonsense? Maybe there is no reason why there is something instead of nothing. I see nothing illogical about that.

Well, I was assuming that by "reason why" you meant something more than proximate cause. I thought you meant some "ultimate meaning". If in fact you were merely referring to the problem that either something came from (and was caused by) nothing, or else there's causation all the way back, that's a different matter. The trouble with the word "why" is that is has more than one meaning.

Lynet,
Just curious, but how does partial birth abortion fit in with your morality?


You mean, would I support it? I'm not going to get into a debate about abortion with you, since I suspect it would come down to differences in what we believe a fetus consists of, but, for completeness, here is my considered view.

In general, I'm against abortion past the second trimester unless either the mother's health and life are in grave danger or the baby would never live anyway. I say this because in the third trimester the baby starts processing sensory input and the brain undergoes rapid development, so by that point it looks like the fetus has become something approaching a human being -- close enough that we ought to play safe, anyway.

I'd support restricting abortion after the first trimester to cases of rape, incest, and significant mental or physical danger to the mother -- where "significant mental danger" means a bit more than the admittedly large consequences attached to any pregnancy. It's the baby's body that grows in the second trimester more than its mind, but, you know, playing safe.

I realise that, to you, the fact that the baby has no brain whatsoever before six weeks is irrelevant if you think it already has a soul, but to my mind, opposition to abortion before six weeks is silly. The first trimester ends at ten weeks, so those final four weeks where I'd still support abortion on demand are just barely debatable. Still, I find it hard to believe that a little 4cm thing has the right to destroy a person's life in the way that pregnancy can. It's just really not even barely a person yet. Chances are it won't be able to experience pain, even, until nearly the third trimester (we can't know that for sure, but, judging by when the nervous system links up, we can have a good idea).

Go ahead and state your horror. Make it quick, though, and don't expect a reply; I've said my piece on abortion unless you have an argument that does not rely on the notion of a soul.

Mike Clawson said...

From Wikipedia:

"Within Christianity there are numerous technical theories for how such atonement might work, including the ransom theory, the Abelardian theory, and the Anselmian satisfaction theory...

The almost unanimous, contemporary Protestant view is that of penal substitution. The view is so widely believed that few Protestants are aware of alternative understandings of the atonement. In the rare instances when they encounter other Christians who profess non-substitution views, Protestants usually consider these views heretical."



Sadly you guys are living up to your reputation of ignorance and condemnation of those who differ from you. My advice (not that you're likely to care) is to familiarize yourself with what the historic Church has said about the atonement and not limit yourself just to what Calvin taught about it.

But anyhow, thanks for the shout out Jazzy. As Barnum used to say, "Any publicity is good publicity", right? ;)

Peace,
-Mike

Mike Clawson said...

BTW, I'm not sure if the folks who read your blog think highly of C.S. Lewis or not (though Dave Moorhead at least is a Wheatie and so should have some familiarity) but I thought this particular quote from Mere Christianity was rather relevant:

"Now before I became a Christian I was under the impression that the first thing Christians had to believe was one particular theory as to what the point of [Christ's] dying was. According to that theory God wanted to punish men for having deserted and joined the Great Rebel, but Christ volunteered to be punished instead, and so God let us off... What I came to see later on was that neither this theory nor any other is Christianity. The central Christian belief is that Christ's death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. Theories as to how it did this are another matter. A good many different theories have been held as to how it works; what all Christians are agreed on is that it does work."

donsands said...

I love CS Lewis, but I feel this quote is quite weak and shallow.

We can surely know more than that about Christ's atoning death. The Scriptures are quite clear.

I agree that there are infinite depths to the Gospel as well, which we will forever be studying and pondering.

Anonymous said...

Jazzycat said:

"The Christian religion has given us such institutions as: The United States, our freedoms, hospitals, the very first universities and colleges, orphanages..."

LOL! Somebody better tell that to the ancient Greeks, Persians, Macedonians and Egyptians!

Dan Barnett. said...

I aooreciate your post and MC for being gracious about it. I do admire how Mike responds in a very respectful manner most of the time, and we can't ignore that.
On the questions of the emergent church:

The broad movement is the emergING church. It includes a vast array of Christians trying to come back to allowing the Bible to stand alone and speak for itself. Within the emergING church is a movement/organization called emergENT. It's also known as the Emergent Village. This is a postmodern, liberal movement who believe truth is fluid and not firm among other things. The problem is that when people talk about the E.C. they look directly to these Emergents and group everyone in the E.C. with them. I would consider many of my views and the way I try to live my life to fit in the E.C. I do not agree with Mike on many things, but the typical person who hears that I would be included in the E.C. would think otherwise if they didn't look deeper. Hope that helps.

jazzycat said...

Mike,
My latest post deals with your comments. I have not condemned you, but I have refuted your unbiblical doctrine per Titus 1:9. It does appear that you are a bit judgmental in your reference to "our reputation".

I can assure you that I and probably most of the other "you guys" that you refer to are much more interested in our character and walk with the Lord than we are in our reputation with the secular liberal post modern humanists and the PC culture.

James 4:4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

jazzycat said...

Annon.
Were any of these guys (Greeks, Persians, Macedonians and Egyptians!) on the Mayflower?

jazzycat said...

Dan,
Thanks. That does help and I heard someone else say that same thing. Mike has posted on our articles that refute his views. You may want to check it out.

For anyone's information, Dan posted an excellent article on his blog warning people to beware.

wayne

Mike Clawson said...

Hey Jazzy,

By "your reputation" I was simply referring to the Wiki entry that I quoted. Not that Wiki is always the most reliable of sources, but obviously at least one entry writer had noticed enough of a trend to make some generalizations about Protestant attitudes about the atonement. I wasn't trying to be judgemental - just pointing out the undeniable fact that the reactions to my view displayed here seemed to match pretty well with the generalization made in that Wiki entry. For example, none of you seem very aware that there have always been many different ways to explain the atonement, and most of you are calling me a heretic for preferring one of those historic options over another.

Again, I know you don't care about your "reputation" but I thought you might care about what the Church has taught throughout history regarding what the Bible says about Christ's work on the cross.

Peace,
-Mike

jazzycat said...

Mike,
Thanks for the explanation that you did not mean to be judgmental. One thing that bugs me in our culture today is the double standard that is applied to people depending on their political and religious ideology by the MSM and others. It will not be allowed unchallenged on this blog. Such concepts as tolerance, condemnations, mercy, love/unloving, hateful, caring, justice, etc. will be applied equally here. I respect your profession of concern on many of these issues; however, I believe the most intolerant, unloving, judgmental people in America today come from the political and religious left. That view is a generalization and not meant to apply to you, but it shows my contempt for those in our culture that shout Ann Coulter down but affirm Ward Churchill’s free speech rights. That is the double standard I refer to.

I admit that I fall short in many of these values as I am a sinner in need of sanctifying grace, but I believe this applies to everyone to varying degrees.