Apr 292010
 

Early on in my “conversion” to Calvinism I relied heavily on a couple well known Calvinistic apologists for my education.

I remember one in particular wrote a scathing article about Rome focusing on a man from Catholic history named Bernard of Clairvaux.

I read the article carefully and indignantly and marked that Bernard as a heretic in my mind.

In later years, I was compelled to go to the fount and read Luther and Calvin for myself.

Imagine my horror in finding that both revered Bernard.

They both quote him approvingly early and often.

In modern parlance, they ate the meat and spit out the bones.

They noted the errors, rejoiced at the insights, and his writings helped the Reformers change the world.

They also forced my mind open with a crowbar and my heart with their wisdom.

This morning, I’m getting the flack I expected for my comments on Skip Heitzigs capitulation to the ODM’s.

“This is a victory for the cause of Christ.  Let’s just hope their claim to not support the agenda and teachings of the EC is true.  Jackie Alnor comments: “And Phoenix Preacher bloggers have a collective conniption fit! PP’s leader, Michael Newnham says: “Heitzig just breathed new life into the ODM movement…they are now empowered as never before.” Translation ODM means “online discernment ministries” which is a derisive term.” … Ken Silva comments: “Today however, I was contacted by Nelson Walker, who is a pastor at Calvary of Albuquerque (CoA) where Skip Heitzig is Senior Pastor. What pastor Walker told me was that CoA happens to have “beautiful facilities” that are also sometimes used by others, which would be the case of this National Worship Leader Conference. He told me that this was not a CoA event, but even so, Leonard Sweet has been asked “not to speak though he will be in attendance. Pastor Walker said that CoA was in not supportive of the Emerging Church.”

Ken Silva:

“And that would lead me to Breaking: Sweet Silenced by Newnham and his comment “Fear and loathing wins again…” The comments section is most enlightening; apparently it’s better to simply ignore false doctrine than it is to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3)”

We allow comments here…it enables us to grow and learn and be challenged.

The ODM’s have the pole set, the ropes at the ready, and the fire started for Leonard Sweet.

I just want to know what false doctrine he’s teaching and what sacred truth he denies before I add my match.

I stopped burning heretics at others words years ago.

Leonard Sweet is flesh and blood…a person.

He claims to be a Christ follower who takes the path less traveled.

That would make him family.

For what reason are we ruining his name and shunning his ministry?

I’m still waiting for an answer…


  No Responses to “Meat & Bones”

  1. Still waiting to hear what cardinal doctrine has been denied…waiting…

  2. It’s a fair question, Michael. I remember listening to a lecture years ago by Sweet (back in the late 90’s) that seemed to formulate postmodern relativistic thinking before it was popular. I didn’t have a high opinion of Sweet at that time – but to be perfectly honest, it’s been so long since I listened to that lecture that I couldn’t begin to quote to you the main theme of what he was saying.

    Even in that, I don’t recall Sweet denying anything that would be considered a fundamental core belief of Christianity. I just didn’t like the methodology (to my best understanding) that he was espousing at the time.

    After yesterday’s article, I googled Sweet a bit, and came across his & Frank Viola’s “Jesus Manifesto.” I’m not a fan of Viola at all…but I loved what the two of them wrote in the Manifesto.

    In light of all the hubbub, I’d be very interested in reading actual evidence of heresy or apostasy from Sweet’s writings or sermons. Everything I’ve found so far, however (without spending money on it…I don’t have the cash to spare) has come up doctrinally orthodox.

    What am I missing?

  3. Tim,

    I have no doubt that I would find a lecture by Sweet to be 45 minutes of pure pain.

    I’m not a philosopher.

    But where is the evidence of apostasy?

    I have the Jesus Manifesto in my heretical little hands…and it’s brilliant.

    I think…

  4. I don’t know if the question is some much what he denies, but what he expounds….

    “Fourth, New Light embodiment means to be ‘in connection’ and ‘information’ with other faiths. To be in-formation means to know each other’s songs almost as well as one knows them oneself, and to enlarge the community to include those whose conceptions of God differ from ours in form. To be in connection means to be able to sing, not only selected stanzas, but all the verses” … “One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna. A globalization of evangelism ‘in connection’ with others, and a globally ‘in-formed’ gospel, is capable of talking across the fence with Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim–people from other so called ‘new’ religious traditions (‘new’ only to us)–without assumption of superiority and power.”(Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, p. 129-130)

    What is he saying here? It leads itself wide open to different interpretations without saying anything concretely…… Therefore, accusation of heresy can be denied, and acceptance from others can be embraced……. all the while many walk away scrathing their heads asking what is he really saying?

    Carson does not communicate this way, Neither does Driscoll, or Azurtia (that’s for you JJ), Piper, Smith, Johhny Mac (that’s for you Bob), Keller…… and I can keep naming names……. They for the most part say it in such a way that it is easily understood.

  5. just so you know, I read the Jesus Manifesto….. it’s written in plain language and I thought it was good….

  6. Centy –
    Thanks for the quote. That is indeed, confusing. Is Sweet saying “all roads lead to God” – or is he saying “other religions have a right to exist, even if they’re wrong”?

  7. He’s not J.I. Packer…but it seems he’s speaking to an audience that wouldn’t hear Packer.

  8. Maybe he’s saying that any truth found in these places is God’s truth…maybe he’s saying he’d like sprouts on his sandwich…I don’t know.

  9. Centy 😉

    Johnny Mac communicates in other ways that I find equally offensive. And yes, he is sound in the essential doctrines of the faith.

    Sweet, as Michael has said is a philosopher. I had to take 12 units of philosophy in college. I found that there where times when I wasn’t sure what some of the professors, or the books were saying. There lies a problem.

    I would no more call Sweet a heretic than I would John Mac.

  10. I should’ve thrown Packer in there for you Michael……

    The question is, what is he really saying ? What is he affirming? I don’t think his audience is any smarter, I think they contextualize and make statements like I quoted in #4 say anything they want it to. The ambiguity is purposeful. and it sells books.

    My point is that he communicates in such a way that it is difficult to assign any belief to him. It’s typical postmodern speak. It’s what McLaren does, or at least did until his recent book…

    and, Sweet proved in the Jesus Manifesto he can communicate just like the rest of us without having to consruct his own language, which is in itself, a form of deconstructionism.

  11. So if I lust, and repent, then lust again, I negate my own forgiveness?

  12. “…maybe he’s saying he’d like sprouts on his sandwich…”
    😆

  13. Centy,

    Perhaps…but does that make him a heretic or just irritating?
    He had help with the Jesus Manifesto…Viola must have turned off the strobe light and grounded him for a while.

    I will always correct any references to great man that doesn’t include Packer… 🙂

  14. For me, irritating.. and irrelevant. What I am saying is that he opens the door for much acceptance and much criticism by his ambiguity. he may be abberant, he may be a herectic… he may be completely orthodox…… it depends as much upon his audience and critics as it does his own convictions, which in my opinion, not the best place to stand.

  15. If I can do this, then my salvation is on the ledge and I’m always going to be losing it. And so is everyone else.

    I once could not stand Amy because of the secular albums. The divorce thing shocked me and I took Garys side for a while.

    I knew no one involved and only knew what was reported in the media. I don’t think we know everything. I am reluctant to damn her because I wasn’t there. And who on Earth am I to presume to be her judge?

    Especially over things she said 30 freaking years ago. How often have we said things 30 MINUTES ago we wish we could take back? Am I the same man I was in 1991? I hope not.

    I can’t be judge and jury over her. Some apparently can, and are eager to do so. I answer to God foremost and then to the Christians He has placed in my life not to some random self appointed critic.

    So does Amy Grant.

  16. sorry, wrong thread…

  17. LOL!!!

  18. Centy,

    I would agree for the most part.

    However, to smear a whole movement with accusations of apostasy for letting him speak is irresponsible.
    To label someone a heretic without defining the heresy is slander.

    In case you haven’t noticed, we’re still waiting.

  19. BrianD, never apologize for disconnected thoughts. Dr. Gene Scott never did, don’t you start. Personally, I dislike that my package of frozen taquitos is not resealable. Just because I bought the smaller package, don’t I have a right to reseal my taquitos? Agh!

  20. You’ll never get your answer Michael.

    I don’t think they are capable of giving you one.

    Centorian has come far closer than they…

  21. I think Cents answer is a good enough reason for me not to read his books, or reccomend them to someone else. However, that is still a far cry from out and out labelling him a heretic.

    As far as the whole speaking engagement, I think CCAbq comes out looking worse than anyne in this.

  22. here’s another one from Sweet..

    Spirituality refers first of all to the universal gift of aliveness that exists within all religions and outside of religions. It breathes out the air that “inspires.” Those who have been in-spired with aliveness by the kiss of God will “con-spire” to kiss others into coming alive to the spiritual dimensions of existence. “In-spire” means to breathe in. “Con-spire” means to breathe together. “Conspiracy” enters by the same door as “spirituality.” A world gagging on smog and smut needs a breath of fresh air. The New Light movement begins as a fresh air conspiracy of “aliveness.” But it is more than that. Spiritual consciousness can be something greater than aesthetics or aliveness. The Bible tells us that the human species has been twice kissed by the divine. (Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, pg. 253)”

    I get his description of spirituality. Spirituality doesn’t necessarily mean biblical. What is the universal gift of aliveness??

    I gotta run, ya’ll have fun… …

  23. Josh,

    I have another book here that is awesome…what will we do with it?

    Will we retract the accusations and putty up the holes we’ve shot in his reputation and ministry?

    The other day I listened to some lectures on church history from one of my favorite writers.

    He was speaking of the philosophical thinking behind medieval Christianity.

    Of the three hours he spoke I understood about four minutes…and those were the jokes he told to keep everyone awake.

    He’s out of my intellectual league.

    I’m not going to burn the books of his that I do understand.

  24. before I go…. good question Michael. Has Sweet in fact changed his thinking? Is he no longer pandering to the dead emerging church that sought to exclude absolutes and embraced relativity?

  25. I just wonder why we would even want to eat the meat and spit out the bones anyway?
    If we are talking meat, we understand that close to the bone is flavor, but when it comes to doctrine, isn’t it just dangerous? In scripture, all I see in continual instruction to avoid false doctrine, and hold fast to truth. I know nothing about Sweet, but if there is even a hint that he plays loose with basic doctrines (not saying he does, but if…) why would we want to embrace him at all? Honestly?

  26. Centy,

    First, I want proof that he excluded absolutes…

  27. I think what Sweet is perhaps trying to say, in a pompous intellectual way(trying to look smart, but losing his audience), is somewhat like Paul’s experience in Athens. He is saying we can come alongside those of other faiths and recognize the truths within their doctrines. In doing so we have the opportunity to affirm those truths and then demonstrate how they lead to Christ and not Krishna, Buddha, Allah, Mother Earth or Mickey Mouse.

    That’s just what I walked away with him possibly saying in so many more big words.

  28. Jim,

    Who’s doctrine is pure?

    Can you point me to that sage?

    Do we not do the same with every teacher?

  29. Damn ODM’s have a Calvinist defending some granola philosopher….

  30. No Michael, I’d say that if you have read something of his that is of value…that’s great. Consume it, pass it on to others, whatever.

    As far as his reputation – I’m with you – these guys have to put up, or shut up. Provide said heresy, or apologize profusely, and repent.

    The quotes that centy have provided do not scare me or offend me, but they show me I can find more solid teaching elsewhere. I will miss out on what good he has to offer, but there are tons of other good, solid books that I have yet to read.

  31. Time out.

    Why am I defending this guy?

    Because you might be next…held up for derision and inquisition without evidence.

    You think about it…

  32. Michael,

    AMEN! Haven’t met anyone but Jesus who’s doctrine is pure. That’s why we have to have a view of people just as the Father sees them. Covered by the Blood of The Lamb.

  33. Josh,

    “The quotes that centy have provided do not scare me or offend me, but they show me I can find more solid teaching elsewhere. I will miss out on what good he has to offer, but there are tons of other good, solid books that I have yet to read.”

    Perfect!

    That I can handle and affirm.

  34. dewd,

    Amen…and we test them by scripture and correct where need be while affirming their faith.

  35. George Fox is a prestigious and very academic place to land…
    for my part philosophy is like trying to weave spaghetti, it has no absolutes – that said, does Sweet present himself as a theologian? Would he and Packer be teaching the same stuff?
    Sweet seems a bit esoteric and may not be for the average man on the street Christian.
    Maybe, the ODMs should warn us pew sitters to stay away from him cuz we just won’t get it…

  36. it may be evil – dunno 🙄 but wouldn’t it be nice if someone supplied Sweet with a venue there Abq. where he could lecture and half the folks attending the conference went ‘across the street’ to hear him…

  37. Px2,

    You just sobered me up big time…that little verse is powerful.

  38. The quote #4 that Centy posted… I wouldn’t let that guy speak at my church either.
    I see no biblical mandate to “embrace” what is “good” in other faiths. Without calling Sweet any names, I would just avoid him. If that paragraph is typical,… it’s just gobilygook. … “without assumption of superiority and power” yeah we have laid hold of power, and the superiority of truth, not us, but Christ. Just my opinion.

  39. Gee, I guess I’m a heretic.

    I don’t have a problem with what Sweet said in #4. There are sinie good things in every religion, from a human standpoint. Sure, they’re all Law based, but I believe our God is the One Who allowed that, by his grace. Doesn’t mean all religions are equal or that there is no salvation by Any Other Name. But honestly…what Sweet seems to be advocating is the “walk a mile in my moccasins” pre-evangelism.

    Boy, even in the secular world, you’re judged innocent before guilty. This prooftexting crap is lazy.

  40. Michael,

    Just a comment about your observations vis-a-vis Bernard of Clairveaux, Luther and Calvin.

    I can’t speak much for Calvin…but from what I know, his attitude was like Luther’s — who believed in the church catholic, very strongly. He never saw himself as inventing anything new, but held that Lutheran doctrine was in continuity with what came before — trimming the tree, not pulling it out of the ground and creating a new one.

    It was only after the Reformation, when ‘Protestantism’ started becoming sectarian instead of catholic, that this rejection of church history started.

  41. I am not trying to deride, or make any claims or statements about Mr. Sweet, just present another viewpoint. I don’t think he should be mistreated. On the other hand CoA has the right to steward their facility as they feel the Lord would have them.

  42. Lutheran,

    Your observations about Calvin and Luther are spot on…

  43. Jim,

    In reality, you wouldn’t let me speak at your church either.

    That doesn’t mean we aren’t brothers.

    CCABQ was within it’s rights…but why wait this long to exercise them?

  44. I really don’t think Mr. Sweet will suffer any from not speaking at this church.

    If he spoke at Concordia-St. Louis, I’m sure he has lots and lots of places willing to hear what he has to say.

  45. I think we might be missing the point of God sending a Leonard Sweet.

    Anyone on here ever had discussions with New Agers?

    Different strokes for different folks…

    Ever heard an ex-hard core gang banger share the Gospel with another gang-banger? You wouldn’t understand much of that conversation either.

    My hope is that Sweet is trying to reach the New Agers…and that God is using him to speak to an audience who listens to our typical Evangelical rhetoric and cannot relate or be influenced in any way shape or form…because it makes no sense at all to them…while Sweet’s message is speaking their language…dunno.

  46. Michael, you speak plain English and open yourself up to criticism. Your doctrine is clear and understandable. The mixing of clear biblical thought with a spiritual big tent philosophy quickly becomes unintelligible. Sweet may be a well intentioned brother, but what he says (if what is quoted here is typical) strays rapidly from the simplicity of the truth of scripture.
    Jesus spoke plainly,… “I am the truth”… statements like that are not compatible with any other faith. Again, just my opinion.
    As far as speaking here,…. well the reasons would be quite different brother. 🙂

  47. Believe, I like that angle,… if that is the case, great.

  48. Jim,

    LOL! 🙂

  49. FWIW: Sorry to horrify all the anti-Catholics on here, but the Reformers’ view of the church was closer to the historic view than to later Protestantism. This is from Avery Dulles, a Catholic church historian, in “The Catholicity of the Church”: (p. 148):

    “Catholics are accustomed to declare that faith comes from hearing the Christian proclamation, that the Church which proclaims is in a very real sense prior to its members, and that it begets them. Luther and Calvin could say much the same.

    “The Christian church is your Mother,” wrote Luther, “who gives birth to you and bears you through the Word.” The first chapter of the section on the Church in Calvin’s Institutes bears the title: “The True Church with Which as Mother of all the Godly, We Must Keep Unity.”

  50. I would add, if you have heard the gospel presented by “a former gang banger” it’s in-your-face honest and understandable. The hip hop movement in the church is completely clear in message and doctrine. Even to this old cracker. 🙂

  51. Why did CoA wait so long to exercise the right to rent out their facility? Don’t know. But perhaps just simply that the economic downfall has put them in a position where they need to rent out the space more to make ends meet? But that’s the point. I don’t know. Wasn’t my decision to make nor do I have all of the factors used in making that decision at my disposal. But there are valid reasons they may have decided to do so now.

  52. JJ…LOL…yes, the ex-gang bangers are VERY direct…in fact…about as serious and direct as a heart-attack…OT style.

    New Agers are just weird…and we’re weird to them. I have an extended family member who is steeped in the stuff…it is whacky…but they’re human beings with souls…and a guy like Sweet..while making hardly any sense to us…makes a ton of sense to her.

    I probably wish he’d be more direct, too…but that might stumble a New Ager who is being influenced for Christ…again, dunno…just hoping…and giving Sweet the benefit of the doubt.

  53. C’mon Jim.

    Your expectations are way outtaline for Len Sweet.

    Theologians can’t speak straight. 🙂

  54. Has anybody even taken the effort to look at Sweet’s site instead of swallowing the Kool-Aid that he’s a heretic?

    http://www.leonardsweet.com/about.php

    This thread once again reminds me why I’m a Lutheran and not a fundagelical. It wasn’t until I left the latter that I found out what a narrow, constricted world it can be, especially in its more conservative form. Millions of Christians outside that world have their ducks in a row theologically.

    I’ll repeat something I said on another thread:

    Which is worse — attending a church with a squeaky clean doctrinal statement with an abusive pastor or power structure that crushes the sheep, or a more mainline situation where that doesn’t happen?

    Does Jesus only care about doctrine?

    I think I know the answer.

  55. I wonder if those who object to Sweet actually know what his theology is? It’s kind of like Calvinism. Most who argue against it, don’t have a clue what it’s about but simply react to what they “think” it means.

    Not supporting or not supporting Sweet but wondering if we know what we are debating…the theology of Len Sweet or a straw man?

  56. Lutheran, I think there is a big difference in perspective considering someone as just a believer vs a teacher. The teacher gets more scrutiny.

  57. I read those Leonard Sweet quotes….did a self-check….nope, still think Olivia-Newton John’s music will give me cavities.

  58. LEN SWEET: There is all too much panic over that word relative. I believe in absolute truth (which I believe, by the way, is Jesus the Christ, the way, the truth, the life — notice here that absolute truth is not abstract truth, but incarnate truth). The notion that there are no absolutes is self-defeating and self-contradictory.
    Not all truth is absolute. Some truth is relative — to a person, to a culture, to a historical period. What brings together absolute truth and relative truth is relational truth.

    GFJ: Then you are not connecting the concept of relative truth with the idea that it’s equally valid to choose any of the “many paths to God.” What are some examples of relative truth that you do endorse?

    LEN SWEET: Relativism is illogical and selfdefeating. If all truth is relative, what is the truth status of the assertion that all truth is relative? What I am trying to do is end the apartheid of absolutism and relativism in Christian theology. I am a relative absolutist. That means that absolute truth has to become incarnate in relative time. Faith is for the living of this hour, and the Bible has reference to and relevance for the living of this hour.
    The world in which Jesus came could not conceive of a world without slavery. In fact, the ancient economy was based on slavery. Jesus did not deal violently with human nature and first-century culture. He did not go about brandishing “absolute truth.” He dealt tenderly and patiently with the culture and people of his day. If he was harsh with anyone, it was the religious establishment. By regulating our treatments of others, and rejiggering our thinking about others, Jesus led us inexorably into a place where things like slavery and polygamy were abolished.
    Just as absolute truth had to be made relative to the culture in which it was first proclaimed, so absolute truth today must be made relative to our day and to our 21st-century culture.

  59. GFJ: Finally, why might a pastor of an emerging church tell me I should follow Christ? And so what if I don’t?

    LEN SWEET: Everybody follows someone. We all give our lives to something. The only questions are who, or what? I invite you to give your life to Jesus.
    I like how philosopher Dallas Willard does it: He challenges his students to the reality test: Put Jesus into practice.
    Go ahead. Got someone better than Jesus in mind to follow? OK, try someone else first. Put Sigmund Freud into practice. Put Charles Darwin into practice. Put Karl Marx into practice. Put Aristotle into practice. Put Plato into practice. Put Pablo Picasso into practice.
    The only who or what that can stand up to the reality test is Jesus the Christ, who is bold enough to say to each of us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
    There’s only one reason to follow Christ: Truth. Truth or consequences.

  60. Game, set, match.

  61. Picasso?

    He left out Mohammed.

    Was that deliberate?

  62. Yeah, that’s good stuff.

  63. I dug that. What’s that from?

  64. Uh-oh. Missed that he quotes Dallas Willard. He’s bound for Hell.

  65. That’s from his website.

    Foe which statement do we now accuse him?

  66. That was a joke by the way. I was in ODM mode.

  67. The only who or what that can stand up to the reality test…
    ———————————————
    What is the reality test?

    Got someone better than Jesus in mind to follow?
    ————————————————
    Better in what way?

    I’ve stayed out of this so far, but I find this LAZY thinking and argumentation..not praiseworthy philosophy.

  68. AV,

    He left out a lot of people but made a clear statement about Christ.

  69. Michael,

    Yeah, he left everyone out that has a clear connection to a religion, and listed Jesus with a bunch of philosopher types.

    Apples to oranges, no?

  70. AV – Does every statement that everyone ever makes have to contain every detail of Gospel truth ever?

  71. AV.

    My gosh…he says that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

    That’s exclusive.

    Do we have to give a complete doctrinal dissertation every time we write something or be accused of heresy?

  72. Lutheran -“Does Jesus only care about doctrine?”

    He cares about people who are the purpose of His creation. He doesn’t even care per-say about sin. Rather He cares about the separation that sin caused. But He took care of that, reconciling us to God and opening the Way into the Holy of Holies and the presence of God. But we keep trying to shut people out by requiring some work or standard other than that of Christ. We’re given stern warning from the Lord Himself regarding that. If we want to use God’s Law as the standard for others, then we will be held to the same standard. (Mt 7)

    That frightens me. So I must constantly ask Him to examine me and my motives. Praise God, He even covers my screw ups in this area.

  73. Reading all this does nothing but frustrate me! I still have heard nothing said that would show Sweet to be a heretic.

  74. The Church is so good at eating its own. Unbelievable.

    Luther’s Small Catechism
    The Eighth Commandment

    You must not tell lies about your neighbor.

    Q. What does this mean?

    A. We must fear and love God, so that we will not deceive by lying, betraying, slandering or ruining our neighbor’s reputation, but will defend him, say good things about him, and see the best side of everything he does.

  75. Michael, I spent a better part of a year in the New Age movement right before I became born again. I did so because I thought I was in a Christian church at the time. I went from the world and sin to wanting a relationship with Jesus, and thought I had found one. I DEFINED Sweet’s challenge to follow someone..namely Jesus.

    The Bible was rarely mentioned, except with a random verse here and there. More importantly, the gospel (as defined in 1 Cor 15) was not declared. NEVER

    Jesus, however, was preached every week. Not the Biblical Jesus, mind you, yet not a NONBiblical Jesus either. Just sort of a neutral Jesus if that makes sense. I even heard Him called The Way, the Truth, the Life – which matched my Bible. I was still a natural man.

    In fact, it was the one week that the NONBIblical Jesus appeared in the message that God opened my eyes that the place I was worshipping was not equivalent with the Bible I was also reading (and had been reading for months during this time). When I realized the minister had just lied about something Jesus said, because I (unlike most who attended there) was reading the Bible for myself.

    So maybe I am overly sensitive, or maybe I am drawing from an experience others might not have. Who knows?

    For the record, having said all this…I still make no opinion on Sweet, CCAbq and this whole dustup – other than the obvious tragedy to see the ODM pressure lead to all this.

    I guess my point is that I don’t see the game, set, match that you do.

    I guess I have my antenna a little higher for the whole ‘another Jesus’ thing that Paul wrote about – not saying that Sweet teaches another Jesus, but certainly nothing in THAT article you linked (which I just read every word) would influence me in either direction.

    Maybe you can lend me that book you just finished! 🙂

  76. IMO the only reason for doctrines are to build a frame of reference in which to function in the Faith – they (doctrines) are not in themselves the’ way’ of life
    agreeing with Michael’s “Game, set, match” after reading his #s 59 & 60 – sounds like when the philosopher comes up for air, he shouts “Jesus only” – BTW does he declare faith in the incarnation?

  77. AV,

    Perfectly understandable reaction based on your experience.

    Let me be clear here.

    This guy annoys hell out of me.

    Bunch of post modern mental masturbation to me.

    I don’t want to read his books, or hear his vision…there’s so much solid stuff I haven’t got to yet I wouldn’t waste my time.

    However…

    From what I can discern as I see through the glass darkly…he’s family.

    He’s the nutty uncle who corners you and talks crap for hours, but he’s family.

    I wish this other book was available now…

  78. “These are but a sampling of responses to Len’s three-ring mission: as a historian of American culture; as a futurist/semiotician who “sees things the rest of us do not see, and dreams possibilities that are beyond most of our imagining;” and as a preacher and writer who communicates the gospel powerfully to a postmodem age by bridging the worlds of academe and popular culture. In 2006 and 2007, Len was voted by his peers “One of the 50 Most Influential Christians in America” by ChurchReport Magazine.”

    so here I have a problem. “who “sees things the rest of us do not see, and dreams possibilities that are beyond most of our imagining”

    He apparently believes he has some special insight? We’re just stupid? I don’t see the first trait of the character of a man of God in him at all. Humility! But, I think that is the biggest issue amongst theologians as a whole today. “I’m right. You’re wrong.”

    It’s a quote from someone else. But he allows it on his website. Therefore must agree with it. Got way too high a view of his own opinions.

  79. Game, set, match, … Lol! Who did you beat?

    Those are definitely different statements. Great statements… I wonder about the timeline? Which are more recent, the gobilygook (my opinion) or the clear statements affirming Jesus?

  80. “We are not ignoring false doctrine we are ignoring Jackie” OMG that’s too funny…TRUE…but funny

  81. Px2,

    LOL…she’ll get me on Facebook. 🙂

    Still waiting for one of these warriors of the faith to show up and interact….

  82. Michael, I will go with your sentiments in your 1:59. Sounds right to me.

    Stuff like this:

    “There is also a relational component of the theology of the emerging church, where truth is seen more in relational than in propositional terms. After all, God didn’t send us a principle. God sent us a person. God didn’t send us a statement. God sent us a savior . . . who is Christ the Lord.”

    Drives me nuts. Does it equate to heresy. Obviously not.

    God may have not sent us ‘principle’ or a ‘statement’ but He did send us THE Logos..the Word..Who was made Flesh.

    Kind of also shoots down the value of the catechism too, huh?

  83. Quantum Spirituality written ~1991
    Jesus Manifesto (the blog) written ~2009
    http://ajesusmanifesto.wordpress.com/

  84. I sure would like to see some who are jumping all over this jump equally as hard on the abuse issues, or failure to resign issues that appear at PP. Please notice that I said SOME.

  85. . Some truth is relative — to a person, to a culture, to a historical period. What brings together absolute truth and relative truth is relational truth.
    ——————————————————–
    Would I be wrong in concluding that I have no right to argue against the sins taking place in the name of sharia law, because the Muslim under sharia is simply practicing relative truth to a person, culture and historical period that is based on a relational truth with God through Mohammed, and not Jesus?

    Shouldn’t I simply claim absolute truth based on God’s standard, and call sin, sin.

  86. AV,

    My guess is that he doesn’t carry the Book of Common Prayer or subscribe to Westminster…

  87. Thank God…it’s time to pick up Trey. 🙂

    I’m off…

  88. Michael…thank you for posting those questions and answers from Sweet’s site.

    I understand what he’s saying nearly completely.

    It is very similar to the Logos, The Word…and logos, man’s reason…that I’ve been wrestling with…I believe I am a Relative Absolutist as well (in a sense)…and agree with much of what Sweet said in that dialogue.

    I see no heresy in what he clearly (IMO) states. There is Absolute Truth…Jesus Christ…Logos. We use logos (man’s reason) with regards to Theology to try and explain and “figure out” the Logos…Absolute Truth…Christ….and that’s a fallible and limited process.

    I am learning that the Bible is inerrant, infallible, Logos…however, man’s definition and interpretation of what that really means is fallible, errant and logos (man’s reason).

  89. PX2,

    ROTFLOL.

  90. …more simply stated…it is not Logos…The Word…Absolute Truth…contained in Scripture that is errant, fallible and absolute…it is our logos (reason)…our interpretations…our flesh…”us”…that is.

    However, most like to think we’ve got it all figured out.

    There’s a humility that comes with understanding and accepting that you cannot fully understand the things of God…and Logos.

    We are but beggars…Child-like Faith. Dunno…just thinking out loud (in silence).

  91. edit…”absolute” should = “relative”

  92. I understand what is being communicated by the ‘meat and bones’ analogy but that phrase is used by so many knuckleheads to justify so much nonsense…

    Let’s settle on the Pauline exhortation to put aside milk (the diet of children) and eat meat (adult food) … as for the bones… well you choose carp or filet? No problem.

    Still the idea of the thread is that we do not have to hold our fingers in our ears and run screaming through the night just because we hear a sermon we disagree with.

    Still I like the generous orthodoxy being exhorted here… jibe jibe.

    And I love having one more opportunity to throw the bones at the ODMs so I ordered dinosaur ribs…

  93. No joke…I just spent the last 30 minutes talking to a drop-in person who recently started attending our church after years in a heavy handed – hyperly calvinistic – ODM pleasin’ type of church. He’s so conflicted…he wants to walk in the light of Christ, and take on his easy, burdensome yoke…but he’s so fearful after years of being told what’s right about every last detail. Hope in time to come he will learn to drink the sweet water of Jesus instead of the bitter waters of religion.

  94. Pinehead,

    You mean fear is the fruit of those ODMers… OH MY!… whodathunkit? Even a Calvinist dude is quaking … Sheesh I hate that nonsense.

  95. If someone listens intently to Willard in context they will gain or perhaps glean some insight into a serious, winsome and engaging discipleship.

  96. BD, most of what we get here is filet, isn’t it? – but for my edification, what is carp? i know you didn’t mis-spell and i don’t think you meant that fish called a carp. ? ? ?

  97. 59 & 60 settle it for me.

    ODMs? Where art thou?

  98. Hi,

    As far as the “meat and bones” issue goes how does John 10:27 fit in?
    “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

    I would think the meat is what the Holy Spirit reveals and the bones are where He isn’t speaking and if we are His we will know the difference, wouldn’t we?

    Phil

  99. Michael.
    In a prior posting you labeled Lonnie Frisbee and John Wimber as heritics. Can I have a citation on that?
    David

  100. You want to show me where I said that?

    Beings I owned Wimbers books I doubt I would have done so…

  101. I wanted to offer a perspective about Celebrity cults, I do not consider myself a celebrity, I even struggle being referred to as a human being often. But that is another post. In my work I am watched daily even secondly, each of my students watch for a frown, a change in pitch, not paying full, devout attention to each of their questions, on a minute by minute basis. For example the saying of hello, I may say hello forty or fifty times a day and it better be with the full enthusiasm of the original hello. Because I try to bond with those I work with I have to be extremely careful on how I present myself, if I miss a hello, a good job, or a question it could mess up the entire day for the student. Much of this is caused by the persons disabilities, the need to make connections, the looking up to etc.

    Most of the time when I shared this strain in my faith community it derived the open mouth insert finger and puke response. Basically people do not want to hear about this type of tripe. But because it was a constant theme in my experience, granted it should not have been, emotionalism of any kind should be repudiated with a vengeance, I never had the heart, a personal failing on my part but that is a different post. What I struggle with is this, the celebrity cults of personality pay up the emotional angle with impunity, and I know it is for the business and should always be justified, but when I brought up emotional issues, which as a true follower of Christ I should never have, they were dismissed with disgust, on a good day.

    I dont get it, I never have.

  102. Lut – Your 76. YES!!! It has become almost intolerably so. I believe that’s why we’re all here. Or at least most.

    I think the Lord stated it best in His answer when asked which was the greatest (most important) commandment. To paraphrase in my own words – The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with every ounce of your being. The second, which is a result of the first, is to see the needs, cares and concerns of others as being as important as your own. All of the commandments given through the Law and the Prophets can be summed up in these two. Mat 22:37-40 (the Bible According to Dewd or BAD translation)

    He affirms it yet again when asked how to inherit eternal life in Lk 10:25-28 as the key to obtaining it. Then gives an illustration of who our neighbors are and what this looks like v.29-37 as a response to the attempt of the inquirer at justifying his own failings to do what he himself stated is what the law says.

    Oh that we would just get over ourselves and put the Lord’s priorities first. Guess I should be concerned about how the folks up and down my block are doing. If they know the Good News. And, about my own eternal life rather than getting worked up over and bashing ODM’s and how many names and organizations and denominations and theological views……who in my view from the clouded and smeared up window I’m looking through, all have it screwed up and are so off the mark. How does a sinner justified by Christ alone, who knows their view is obscured by their own sin, the world and Satan, justify treating anyone in such a manner?

  103. brian – It’s ok to have emotions. Just not to let them rule you. In other words – don’t justify your actions by your emotions, justify them by the Just One, Jesus the Christ. Loving our neighbors ( and, under the revised standard of Christ, our enemies ) doesn’t mean we don’t have emotions about their offenses, or good deeds. Rather that we are willing to overlook their shortcomings and don’t put them on some pedestal for simply doing what’s right. To not let our emotions get the best of us. But simply viewing all with the grace, mercy and compassion of Christ, including ourselves with our out of control emotions.

  104. Michael,

    I couldn’t find the post where you said it. But I do recall that it was included in a list of Calvary Chapel pastors that you said you liked.

  105. Michael,
    I found it and you did not say it.
    Jacob Prasch did. Sorry…my bad.

    “Much to his credit Chuck Smith always tossed heretics such as Lonnie Frisbee and John Wimber out of Calvary Chapels and more recently Chuck Smith has rightly (and at considerable personal cost) withstood those introducing Emergent Church practices and beliefs into Calvary Chapels. “

  106. Michael, re: your game, set, match comment at #61: the problem with his statement as given is that one simnply cannot ‘try out’ Jesus. One has to accept Him or same has rejected Him. He is not a 100% satisfaction-guaranteed money-back guarantee. To say such thing, in concert with his other ambiguous statements, is at best misleading. That is the clear message of the gospel. Reject your sin, accept Christ and be saved. Anything short of that is not a true gospel statement. I realize he was quoting Willard, but he approved of the statement nonetheless.

    One other coment, although late to this thread, is this: if he is, indeed, speaking to people who wouldnt hear a Packer, isn’t it incumbent upon him to proclaim the gospel even more clearly to them? Paul was a brilliant man and his Mars Hill message had zero ambiguity. He didn’t meet them on their ground; he tore their ground out from under them.

  107. fyi,

    From what I have learned from this thread, I think that Len is attempting to speak the truth and be a pied piper for Jesus, but we don’t know his language. He is speaking to postmoderns who have their own vocabulary and world view, and thus you and I can’t really relate or understand him well. God uses people with different backgrounds to reach people we can’t reach, and we shouldn’t criticize them just because their speech or ministry is not what we prefer or relate to.

    I have a very good friend who is in one of the most successful Christian heavy metal bands of the last 25 years, and I could never do the ministry that he does. I played in Christian rock bands for about 20 years, but I couldn’t go the full route of believability that my friend has done with his heavy metal ministry and wear the hair extensions, make-up, etc.. I couldn’t even play the style of music they way he plays because it is just not me. But then, I also have not been able to win multitudes to Christ in Sweden and other parts of Europe as his band has done. I would be totally wrong to criticize or condemn him for having a ministry that I do not prefer. We aren’t suppose to criticize another man’s servant anyway.

    I think it is very telling that with all of the stink that has been made about Len that not a single ODM has appeared here to tell us what heresy Len is into… This is their big chance to spill the beans, and we are ready to hear, but where are they???

  108. Speaking about not knowing someones language…

    I don’t even think that it is necessary. Whilre in Tel Aviv in 1977 I walked over to Joppa. Once I got there I went into a ‘Turkish coffee shop. There was a young man there about my age at the time. I sat at his table and enjoyed a small cup of coffee mud with him. Their coffee was very thick and solid.

    He only spoke Arabic and I only spoke English. Verbally we couldn’t understand one another, so I took out my pen and drew the gospel message on a napkin and we communicated back and forth in this manner. Eventually he bowed his head and accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. The change in him was instantaneous. I walked back to Tel Aviv in utter amazement that I could lead someone to Christ with out words, only pictures that I drew on a napkin.

    I shall never forget that divine appointment as long as I live.

  109. Em

    A carp is a fish too boney to eat…

  110. “Still waiting for one of these warriors of the faith to show up and interact….”

    Hope you didn’t lose any sleep over that one Michael! 😉

  111. “the silence is deafening…”

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