2012 StandPoint Conference Session 1: A Bridge Too Far

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SharperIron's picture
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Speaker: Phil Johnson
Companion paper here.

Aaron Blumer's picture
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Thanks

Interesting stuff. I'm only 15:30 in and have to do some other things, but looking forward to taking in the rest.
Thanks to the StandPoint folks for sharing with us.

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Hold on. There's a video on

Hold on. There's a video on SharperIron? Are the technology Oompa loompas working extra hard tonight?

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Reading...

Reading is better for your brain. (I'm sure that's in the Bible). But yes, we can embed video, in fact, I think Jim can do it with one had tied behind his back (and Mounty can do it with both hands tied behind his back).

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Phil & SharperIron & Bridging

I remember years back, writing a post for SharperIron, entitled something like this: "A Separatist at Grace Community Church".

Now, as I listen to Phil tonight (listened to the whole thing), two things are on my mind:

(1) I hope to hear Phil at the Reformation Montana conference in about 2 weeks
http://www.reformationmontana.org/about-us/blog/2012-refmt-conference-sc...

(2) I will be attending the community bridging event in Idaho Falls on June 13 at the Colonial Theater, spotlighting the conversation between Bob Millet and Greg Johnson. Bob Millet is quoted in today's frontpage article of our local newspaper, "LDS church braces for a mean season." " 'People who have opposed Mormonism forever will use this as an opportunity,' said Robert Millet, a religion scholar at Brigham Young University who co-founded a pioneering evangelical-Mormon dialogue. 'I don't know if we're ready for this kind of deluge.' "

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Romney

Millet's quote of "use this as an opportunity" is in reference to Romney's presidential campaign.

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Humor

Shaynus wrote:
Hold on. There's a video on SharperIron? Are the technology Oompa loompas working extra hard tonight?

We gave them extra rations over the weekend... Biggrin

Seriously - thanks for posting this, Mike. I'm looking forward to watching!

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Well said once again, Phil!

Once again I couldn't agree more with Phil Johnson. I think he has hit the nail squarely on the head, as he usually does.

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Be Discerning About Johnson

Most (perhaps even all) of what he says is true. It’s what he leaves out that is the problem. He makes accusations that are not accurate. He stated that the Elephant Room was “scripted”. I have no interest in the Elephant Room but I’d like to see his proof for that. He stated that a certain evangelical leader has spent too much time influenced by TV, etc. Proof? If it’s not true, it’s not loving. Even if it is true, it needs to be done “in love”.

We also need to be discerning about Mr. Johnson's ministry. He makes accusations that require substantiation. Telling the truth is essential. For example, he stated that the Elephant Room was “scripted”. I have no interest in the Elephant Room but I’d like to see his proof for that. He stated that a certain evangelical leader has spent too much time influenced by TV, etc. Proof? If it’s not true, it’s not loving. Even if it is true, it needs to be done “in love”. He accused an evangelical pastor of “pornographic divination”, essentially of summoning demons (witchcraft for the purpose of lust).

First, “pornography” is media whose intent it is to incite lust. Therefore, for something to be “pornographic”, it has to be geared for that purpose. It is not simply anything that is about sex, or else certain passages of the Bible would be “pornographic” (but we know that’s not true). To assert that simply because something involves sex that it is “pornographic” betrays an unBiblical assumption about the nature of sexuality.

Second, the accusations that a reported “vision” is “divination” goes far beyond simply believing it wasn’t Holy Spirit inspired. It is a direct accusation of involvement in some kind of witchcraft. Therefore, to make such an accusations, especially publicly, he will need to cite the evidence that he has that the person was “divining” (i.e. summoning demons). If he can’t do that, then he needs to retract his accusations. He can say that he doesn’t believe it is of God, but to state that it is “divination” he needs evidence of involvement in some sort of spiritualism. Otherwise, the origin could simply be psychological or fictional. To accuse someone of divination is to accuse them of a crime that brought the death penalty under the old covenant.

If he can’t prove that the media was intended on eliciting lust or that acts of divination were involved, then he will need to do the Biblical thing: retract his accusation, apologize to the specific person he accused, and perhaps get some kind of spiritual help as to why he would make such an accusation. That’s true repentance.

Meanwhile, he should not be held up as an example of spiritual leadership or asked to speak at conferences.

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Interesting...

I'm going to have to hear the rest of the vid. Somehow I missed all that.
I can comment on one point though: there are only a couple of places a vision can come from. I guess I can think of three--one's own mind, God, Satan. If it isn't the first two, I'm not sure it matters a whole lot what the right technical term for it is.

As for Elephant Room, the accusation that it was scripted is not a serious accusation. It's a characterization; an inference. There's nothing wrong with a scripted event. It's just that ER was initially conceived as something completely spontaneous wasn't it? But for my part, I tend to think planned things are just about always better than random things so... "scripted" is not an insult.

Edit: I don't see anything about divination or Elephant Room's scriptedness (or pornography or visions) in the transcript. So if you're accusing Phil of making assertions "without proof" it would seem that that assertion is also being made without proof. It would probably be a bit off topic though to go into a detailed discussion of views Phil has written elsewhere. Maybe start another thread on it and post a link here?

As for the idea that we should be cautious about Phil's ministry as well, it's a solid point and one I'm sure Phil would echo as well. Nobody gets it right all the time.

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Hi Aaron, The accusation of

Hi Aaron,

The accusation of "pornographic divination" leveled at an evangelical pastor is not in this video. It's only that someone who makes such an inflammatory, unproven accusation likely has no reason to be held up as a spiritual leader at a conference.

You're right that there's only three sources for a vision. It could be psychological; it could be of God, or of Satan. Johnson would definitely have to disprove the first two, which to my knowledge he never has.

When making an accusation of any kind, precise terms are absolutely essential. I can't accuse someone of "adultery" and when challenged say I didn't really mean it; I really meant he has bad breath! "Let your 'yes' be 'yes'," etc., and all the Biblical commands to be honest, to not bear false witness, demand that our accusations be precisely true. So, Johnson didn't just accuse someone of being deceived by Satan (the third possible source of a vision) but of participating in "divination". That is an accusation that the person participated in some form of spiritualism, witchcraft, etc. Someone can be deceived by Satan without having done "divination". So Johnson's accusation is more than just saying the person was deceived by Satan but that the person sought demonic spirits for revelation. Johnson either needs to prove that with evidence of active "divination" on the part of the one he accused or he needs to retract and repent of the accusation.

Sir, for a Christian, every accusation we make is a "serious accusation." There are no acceptable slanders. In Revelation, everyone who "loves and practices deceit" is cast into hell. It's true that there's nothing wrong with a scripted event. That's not the point. The point is that Johnson makes accusations without any evidence that they are true. And the whole talk linked above is about him trying to rationalize his self-appointed role as someone going around making accusations. Much (if not all) of what he says above is true. But should someone who makes unsubstantiated accusations be the one entrusted with rebuking other people?

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JCarpenter, A few questions

JCarpenter,

A few questions and thoughts here:

You say When making an accusation of any kind, precise terms are absolutely essential. Okay (not actually true; you need to be clear, but okay for the sake of argument).

You say, He makes accusations that are not accurate. But your whole discussion seems to be about things that are unsubstantiated, which is different then inaccurate. So can you be precise: Is your problem that these things are allegedly unsubstantiated? Or is is that they are inaccurate?

You speak of the "pornographic divination." Perhaps you are unaware that this probably refers to Driscoll's claim that he had a visions of people engaged in sexual acts. I am not sure what else you would call it when someone claims to see a video of people performing sex acts. The issue is that Driscoll thinks these visions (the TV in his head) is supernatural (which is what divination means). That would certainly be problematic wouldn't it?

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Pornographic

Larry wrote:
You speak of the "pornographic divination." Perhaps you are unaware that this probably refers to Driscoll's claim that he had a visions of people engaged in sexual acts. I am not sure what else you would call it when someone claims to see a video of people performing sex acts. The issue is that Driscoll thinks these visions (the TV in his head) is supernatural (which is what divination means). That would certainly be problematic wouldn't it?

I find it difficult to imagine that the Holy Spirit would be providing the information in that form.

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Johnson sought the most inflammatory language

Hi Larry,

First, it is actually true that when we're making an accusation, we need to be absolutely clear; our terms have to be precise. We don't get to make vague charges against people and claim we have a right to be inflammatory or to exaggerate.

Then, you rightly ask me to be accurate. Fair enough. Something can be unsubstantiated (no proof) but still accurate. In that case, some one has guessed but guessed accurately. If someone is inaccurate, they are, by definition, unsubstantiated. I used the broader term, unsubstantiated, so as to give Mr Johnson the occasional to prove his charges if he can. I am relatively confident that he cannot and that his accusations are also, likely, inaccurate. If I stooped to use his approach, I could use much blunter, more inflammatory language.

If he's going to say that the Elephant Room was scripted, he should produce the script, or at least the testimony of someone who saw it. If he's going to publicly say that an evangelical pastor is too influenced by "Christ Rock", etc., he had better prove that he knows that to be a fact, not that it is a nice piece of rhetoric.

If he's going to accuse someone of "divination", then he needs to give positive proof that that person has participated in witchcraft, spiritualism, or something of the kind. You're inaccurate to equate "divination" with everything supernatural. We wouldn't accuse Isaiah of "divination" for his vision of chapter 6. Someone could hallucinate (and think it is supernatural) without being involved in divination. Someone could even have a demonic vision which they imagine to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and yet not have participated in "divination". Divination is an intentional act of seeking revelation other than from the one true God. It is witchcraft, spiritualism, and carries the death penalty in the Old Testament. Further, as explained above, not all accounts of sexual activity can be called "pornographic". (The Bible contains accounts of sexual activity that are not pornography. Please reread my first entry.) So there are a lot of things a claim to see visions of people involved in immorality could be called other than charging the person with involvement in witchcraft for the sake of enticing lust. It appears Mr. Johnson sought the most inflammatory language he could find without examining whether the terms he threw out were accurate.

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Thanks Phil

I for one appreciated Phil's comments. The "new revelation" tactics of the continuationists are fraudulent, harmful to the testiomony of the true revelation of the WOG in the 66 inscripturated, inspired books of the protestant canon, and could be easily satanic in origin. These visions are certainly not from the one true and living God. As far as the vulgarities and preoccupation with sexual matters are concerned, it is clear that when people inbibe too many modern movies, TV programs, and pop-rock music, it is going to desensitize them as to what is appropriate or not.

Pastor Mike Harding

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Quote:First, it is actually

Thanks, JCarpenter for the response.

Quote:
First, it is actually true that when we're making an accusation, we need to be absolutely clear; our terms have to be precise.
Clear and precise are not the same things. "Raining cats and dogs" is perfectly clear; it is not in the least precise. The duty is to be clear and we can do that with a variety of linguistic options.

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We don't get to make vague charges against people and claim we have a right to be inflammatory or to exaggerate.
I agree.

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Something can be unsubstantiated (no proof) but still accurate. In that case, some one has guessed but guessed accurately.
Not at all. The fact that something is unsubstantiated means simply that. It does not mean that the person who doesn't substantiate can't. He may simply choose not to for various reasons including context and time.

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I used the broader term, unsubstantiated, so as to give Mr Johnson the occasional to prove his charges if he can. I am relatively confident that he cannot and that his accusations are also, likely, inaccurate.
I think his statements have been substantiated elsewhere.

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If he's going to say that the Elephant Room was scripted, he should produce the script, or at least the testimony of someone who saw it.
I think you are using "scripted" perhaps a different way than he is. And in language, he is the one who gets to choose since he is the speaker. I doubt he means "word for word" but rather that the general tenor was set, and there was going to be no substantive discussions.

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If he's going to publicly say that an evangelical pastor is too influenced by "Christ Rock", etc., he had better prove that he knows that to be a fact, not that it is a nice piece of rhetoric.
Having read Greg below me and now editing this, I am familiar that Driscoll is very open about his use of secular media and TV shows. He has said he listens to Chris Rock (not Christ) and other comedians because comedians and preachers are about the only occupations where people voluntarily come to here monologues. He has said he looks at magazines in the checkout lanes to see what is going on in popular culture. So Phil doesn't have to prove it. Driscoll admits it.

Quote:
If he's going to accuse someone of "divination", then he needs to give positive proof that that person has participated in witchcraft, spiritualism, or something of the kind. You're inaccurate to equate "divination" with everything supernatural.
Actually, I was just using the dictionary in which "divination" is connected to the supernatural, not necessarily to witchcraft, spiritualism, or something of the kind. However, I can imagine that Phil might be using the word to make a point--that wherever these "visions" are coming from, it probably isn't God.

Concerning divination, let me quote from the New Bible Dictionary:

Quote:
Divination is roughly the attempt to discern events that are distant in time or space, and that consequently cannot be perceived by normal means. A similar definition could be given for the seership aspect of prophecy, as exercised in, e.g., 1 Sa. 9:6–10. Hence the term could be used occasionally in a good sense, as we might speak of a prophet having clairvoyant gifts without thereby approving all forms of clairvoyance. Thus Balaam is a diviner as well as being inspired of God (Nu. 22:7; 24:1). The divination condemned in Ezk. 13:6–7, is specified as ‘lying’. In Mi. 3:6–7, 11, divining is a function of the prophets, though here also they have prostituted their gift; cf. Zc. 10:2. In Pr. 16:10 qesem (‘inspired decisions’) is used of the divine guidance given through the king.

D. R. W. Wood and I. Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996). 279.

So it is not only connected with witchcraft. Also both lots and dreams are forms of divination in the Bible, as is probably the Urim and the Thummim though we don't know how that worked.

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Further, as explained above, not all accounts of sexual activity can be called "pornographic".
This wasn't in dispute. And not really relevant. Go read Phil's words about it and I think the point is clear.

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It appears Mr. Johnson sought the most inflammatory language he could find without examining whether the terms he threw out were accurate.
I can think of a lot more inflammatory ways to say it (and Phil is way more creative than I am). But I think his descriptions, at least as you have relayed them, are accurate in the two cases I know about. The third I don't know about.

In the end, I think concern over Phil's approach is less of an issue than the issues themselves.

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JCarpenter wrote: If he's

JCarpenter wrote:
If he's going to publicly say that an evangelical pastor is too influenced by "Christ Rock", etc., he had better prove that he knows that to be a fact, not that it is a nice piece of rhetoric.
He's referring to Mark Driscoll, and his source for that is Mark Driscoll himself, who has said that he watches comedians such as Chris Rock to glean from their ability to capture and hold the audience's attention through their stand-up comedy.

Just curious...are you unaware of the specific situations to which Johnson is referring, or are you aware and object to his characterization of them?

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Don't reflexively defend Johnson

Hi Mike Harding, Johnson doesn't say that an evangelical pastor's claimed visions "could be easily satanic in origin." He said they were "divination". He either needs to prove that or admit he made it up.

Hi Larry, Johnson wasn't using figures of speech but making very specific accusations: an event was scripted, a pastor watches too much "Chris Rock", has committed "divination." He needs to prove these things. If he can't, then he's slandered and should be disciplined by his church. I've never seen his proof. If he was going to give real evidence of divination -- actual participation in witchcraft (or the like) -- I would imagine he would have done so when he wrote the original article, or at least told us where that proof was. He didn't. If you've seen it, please link it. But only the real proof, not just more groundless accusations.
Johnson says that the evangelical pastor imbibes too much of such secular media. Looking at stuff in the check out line is not too much. Mr. Driscoll has not said he takes in too much. So you're wrong to say that Johnson doesn't have to prove his accusations. You're only accepting Johnson's judgment with no evidence.
I know of no instance in which "divination" is used of seeking God; your source doesn't produce any. So my definition stands. We don't get to redefine our words after we've leveled an accusation simply because we're too proud to admit we shouldn't have said it in the first place.
Johnson calls it "pornographic" which is inaccurate. If the accounts are not pornographic, then Johnson's charge is false. So it is very much relevant whether or not the accounts are pornographic. He must prove that accusation, retract it, or be subject to church discipline.
Please provide me an example of a more inflammatory description than accusing an evangelical pastor of "pornographic divination".
Frankly, I think you've just sought to reflexively defend this man who made an indefensible accusation.

Hi Greg Long, see above. Johnson has to prove that the people he is accusing have done this too much, to excess, that he's allowed it to shape their values, etc. At the Aeropagus, the Apostle Paul quoted from Greek dramas which likely he heard by attending those plays. I suppose Johnson would have accused the Apostle Paul of imbibing too much Greek drama.

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JCarpenter wrote: Hi Greg

JCarpenter wrote:
Hi Greg Long, see above. Johnson has to prove that the people he is accusing have done this too much, to excess, that he's allowed it to shape their values, etc. At the Aeropagus, the Apostle Paul quoted from Greek dramas which likely he heard by attending those plays. I suppose Johnson would have accused the Apostle Paul of imbibing too much Greek drama.
Mark Driscoll has been influenced by Chris Rock. That is a fact because Mark Driscoll himself has said so. Johnson says he is influenced "too much" by Chris Rock? (I don't know; I haven't watched the above video and am only going by what you said Johnson said.) That is Johnson's opinion. How exactly would he "prove" that Driscoll has been influenced by Chris Rock "too much"?

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A little hair splitting?

Quote:
Hi Mike Harding, Johnson doesn't say that an evangelical pastor's claimed visions "could be easily satanic in origin." He said they were "divination". He either needs to prove that or admit he made it up.

If indeed the vision is of Satanic origin, it's kind of trivial whether it's "divination" or some other sort of badness.

But for what it's worth here's Oxford Concise English Dictionary...

Quote:

divination /ˌdɪvɪˈneɪʃ(ə)n/
■ noun the practice of divining or seeking knowledge by supernatural means.
– DERIVATIVES divinatory adjective
Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
And here's "divining" ("divine 1" is an adjective)
Quote:
divine 2
■ verb
1 discover by guesswork or intuition.
2 have supernatural or magical insight into (the future).
3 discover (water) by dowsing.

We're kind of off topic for the thread, but if we're going to put Phil Johnson on trial, it would seem that links to where he makes the alleged unsubtantiated/inaccurate accusations against Driscoll would be necessary as a minimum in order to do that.
If that happens, I think we'll discover that Phil's usually got links to the stuff he's referring to. It's easy enough for people to follow those and form their own conclusions about Phil's evaluation.

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Quote: Hi Larry, Johnson

Quote:
Hi Larry, Johnson wasn't using figures of speech but making very specific accusations: an event was scripted, a pastor watches too much "Chris Rock", has committed "divination."
But is any of that disputable? I suppose you can quibble over "too much." But that would be a reach.

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I've never seen his proof.
So it's not that Phil is wrong; it's that you haven't seen proof? Those are two very different things. Have you heard Driscoll's explanation of these visions? Have you heard him talk about the influence of pop culture, and heard the pop culture references in his sermons? How familiar are you with this?

Quote:
real evidence of divination -- actual participation in witchcraft (or the like)
Again, I refer you to (1) your incorrect definition, and (2) the context in which it was said. This is actually the least controversial of the three things. Driscoll plainly claims that he had supernatural revelation concerning these things. That, by definition, is divination. And given the content, it was pornographic divination.

Quote:
Johnson says that the evangelical pastor imbibes too much of such secular media. Looking at stuff in the check out line is not too much. Mr. Driscoll has not said he takes in too much. So you're wrong to say that Johnson doesn't have to prove his accusations. You're only accepting Johnson's judgment with no evidence.
Remember, when you said it, I didn't know who you were talking about so I specifically said I couldn't comment on it. In other words, I didn't know what the evidence was and therefore had to demur on commenting on it. However, when Greg clarified it, I commented because I have heard it straight from Driscoll's mouth on numerous occasions, both live and on recording. I have read it in his books (such as Confessions, p70). If you want to harp on the definition of "too much," you can, I guess. But I don't think that's a productive tack.

And out of curiosity, why is Phil Johnson "Johnson" and Mark Driscoll is "Mr. Driscoll"?

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I know of no instance in which "divination" is used of seeking God; your source doesn't produce any. So my definition stands. We don't get to redefine our words after we've leveled an accusation simply because we're too proud to admit we shouldn't have said it in the first place
Okay. I don't know what else to say. These are scholars who are published, peer-reviewed, highly respected, with advanced degrees, etc. And you disagree.

Not to pile on, but let me quote from the NIDOTTE: "Some of these forms of divination appear to be have been accepted in ancient Israel without condemnation (e.g., cups, lots, arrows, and dreams). ... Laban "learned by divination" that God had blessed him because of Jacob's service with him (Gen 30:27)" (3:946). Horsnell goes on to offer a suggestion as to why "some forms of omen divination were accepted in Israel whereas magic was consistently condemned ... it may be due in part to the difference in nature between magic and divination. Magic sought to manipulate the divine world to satisfy human needs; it was human-centered. In contract, divination sought revelation from the divine world; it was more divinely centered. Ancient Israel's Yahwistic faith allowed for divine revelation but not for the manipulation of the divine world" (3:946).

The casting of lots (a method of divination) was used in Acts 1 to seek the Lord's guidance about a replacement for Judas. It's used on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16). It is used in dividing the land (Josh 18:6). Prov 16:33 says every lot is from the Lord.

So I would say your definition doesn't stand. You can't just declare something to be so. The fact is that people who know a whole lot disagree with you. Perhaps you have some expertise in ANE religious culture, and if so, feel free to offer some rebuttal other than "My definition stands."

Furthermore, this discussion misses the whole point that Driscoll claims video images of people engaged in sexual acts are transmitted to the TV in his head. And he claims that's from God.

And you want to focus on whether "pornographic divination" is the right word for it?

Quote:
Johnson calls it "pornographic" which is inaccurate.
How do you know it's inaccurate? I have read the accounts and heard Driscoll give them, and while I am no expert on pornographic divination, I hold to the sentiments of Justice Potter Stewart who said, "I know it when I see it." You want to focus on a very narrow understanding and in so doing I think you again completely miss the point.

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If the accounts are not pornographic, then Johnson's charge is false. So it is very much relevant whether or not the accounts are pornographic. He must prove that accusation, retract it, or be subject to church discipline.
So if your accusations are not proven (and I think clearly they have not been), should we subject you to church discipline?

Quote:
Please provide me an example of a more inflammatory description than accusing an evangelical pastor of "pornographic divination".
It wouldn't be appropriate on this forum, though I could point you to some of Driscoll's writings and messages.

Quote:
Frankly, I think you've just sought to reflexively defend this man who made an indefensible accusation.
Nah, not at all. I can count the number of times I have heard Phil speak on one hand and still have enough fingers hold a decent sized hot dog with chili and slaw on it. I have exchanged emails with him one time when I learned we had a connection. But I happen to know a little bit about the topic here since I have listened to probably more than 200 sermons from Driscoll including a few live ones (though most more than 6-8 years ago), and I have read four or five of his books.

So in the end, I just think you are barking up the wrong tree with this one. Phil Johnson is not the problem here (though he may be elsewhere ... just throwing that in so I don't lose my fundy cred here).

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Don't reflexively defend Johnson, 2

Hi Greg, "How exactly would he "prove" that Driscoll has been influenced by Chris Rock "too much"?" That's a good question. Since Johnson made the accusation, it is he who needs to answer it. If he can't prove it, then he needs to stop making accusations he can't prove.
By the way, Johnson doesn't make that charge here but did so on his facebook page. There he also said that the Elephant Room was "scripted". He didn't provide any evidence of a script.

Hi Aaron Blumer,
You: "If indeed the vision is of Satanic origin, it's kind of trivial whether it's "divination" or some other sort of badness." That's completely false. To be guilty of divination one must intentionally be seeking revelation from some supernatural source other than the Lord. That would mean some kind of witchcraft or spiritualism. I suppose someone could honestly believe a vision is from God but it really be Satanic. (The Lord Jesus told us there would be false miracles that would deceive nearly everyone, only not the elect.) That would not be divination. Nor would a psychological phenomena. Or a lie. And this is if we assume cessationism. To accuse someone of "divination" is to accuse them of intentional involvement in some kind of spiritualism.
As for seeing the original article, google: Phil Johnson "Pornographic Divination". Then go to his facebook page and look for all the occasions when he makes accusations and see if they are substantiated.
I've noted that you've not defended the pornography charge or provided an example of a more inflammatory description than accusing an evangelical pastor of "pornographic divination".
Again, please don't reflexively defend this man who made an indefensible accusation.

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Hi Larry,Frankly, I think

Hi Larry,

Frankly, I think you're being disingenuous to try to excuse Johnson for the "divination" charge. You know perfectly well he wasn't saying that the evangelical pastor was getting a gift from the Holy Spirit. He used an irresponsible and inflammatory term to create the effect he wanted without any factual bases. Ditto for the pornographic charge, etc.

Phil Johnson is the problem because he makes baseless accusations. Please give an example where Mr. Driscoll has publicly accused another evangelical leader in public, by name of something similar. You said you could.

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JCarpenter wrote: Hi

JCarpenter wrote:
Hi Larry,

Frankly, I think you're being disingenuous to try to excuse Johnson for the "divination" charge. You know perfectly well he wasn't saying that the evangelical pastor was getting a gift from the Holy Spirit. He used an irresponsible and inflammatory term to create the effect he wanted without any factual bases. Ditto for the pornographic charge, etc.

Phil Johnson is the problem because he makes baseless accusations. Please give an example where Mr. Driscoll has publicly accused another evangelical leader in public, by name of something similar. You said you could.

Can you prove that Larry is being disingenuous? If not you need to retract the charge and apologize.

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Greg Long's picture
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JCarpenter wrote:Hi Greg,

JCarpenter wrote:
Hi Greg, "How exactly would he "prove" that Driscoll has been influenced by Chris Rock "too much"?" That's a good question. Since Johnson made the accusation, it is he who needs to answer it. If he can't prove it, then he needs to stop making accusations he can't prove.
By the way, Johnson doesn't make that charge here but did so on his facebook page. There he also said that the Elephant Room was "scripted". He didn't provide any evidence of a script.
I'm not sure if you're familiar with Johnson, but he has a blog with hundreds of posts, including probably dozens concerning Mark Driscoll. Just go to http://teampyro.blogspot.com/. Several of his posts use quotes from Driscoll himself that Johnson finds crude, offensive, and unbecoming of a minister of the Gospel. I'm not saying I agree with him on all points, but the point here is that he has given plenty of evidence to support his opinion that Driscoll has been influenced "too much" (again, this is subjective) by Chris Rock. There is obviously no way he can "prove" it to your satisfaction. Stating that you disagree is fine and should be enough.

P.S. Somehow I'm guessing you do know who Johnson is and exactly what he's said about Driscoll but you disagree and have a bone to pick with him, but that's just my opinion. I can't prove it.

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Johnson makes false accusations

Hi Greg,

I think it's obvious what Johnson meant when he accused an evangelical pastor of "pornographic divination". He wasn't using the word "divination" in a morally neutral sense and everyone knows that. Besides, I prefaced by saying "I think" and your failure to recognize that does not suggest you are honestly examining the problem of Johnson's unsupported rhetoric but simply trying to score points for your side. But I suspect that if Johnson attacked you the same way he seems he to feel he has the right to attack everyone else, then I think you'd be considerably less tolerant of Johnson's rhetoric.

I'm familiar with Johnson's web-site and find it useful for the Spurgeon archives. Other than that, I find his postings offensive for his repeated unproven accusations. I suspect that if I did much substantial research into his postings I would find a lot more. I take his posting linked here to be an attempt at justifying his self-appointed role as an attack dog in evangelicalism. Further, since I have a Ph.D. in church history, I find his handling of the subject to be extremely shallow.

Let me put it plainly. The accusation that a prominent pastor is guilty of "pornographic divination" is simply false. Until he repents of it, no serious Christian should have anything to do with man.

The accusation that the Elephant Room was "scripted" is doubtful at best and almost certainly false. Another example of irresponsible rhetoric. I personally didn't care for the Elephant Room and am not a fan of MacDonald (except that I saw Johnson attacking him now too) but that's beside the point.

The accusation that a prominent pastor has been too much influenced by popular culture is not something he could really know. He doesn't have to prove it to my satisfaction but if he's going to make accusations, he has to be able to prove his accusations in some way. But he doesn't seem to have any concept that he is accountable for his words. He can't prove it at all and doesn't need to be making it. I challenged him to prove it on his facebook page and got promptly banned from his page. It frankly reeks of the kind of self-righteous superiority that is the opposite of what a mature Christian should show.

I find Johnson's tactics and rhetoric profoundly anti-Christian; he seems to be a man who loves to quarrel and vehemently accuse others but I doubt he could take the kind of abuse he loves to dish out. Why he would be invited to speak at a Christian conference is beyond me, except that it is a display of what is wrong and so offensive about modern fundamentalism.

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Fascinating

I just wanted to say that I am really surprised at this discussion being on SI in the form it is.

I'm not much into movement think, but...
Phil Johnson, a Conservative Evangelical (CE) critiques other CE's on a Fundy website.
The discussion on the Fundy site is whether Phil was being too harsh.

Strange way for it to unfold here.

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Full disclosure

Might be helpful, JCarpenter, to disclose that your church was involved in the Real Marriage Tour with Driscoll (by the way, may want to udate the website since the event's over). Helps me understand where you're coming from, anyway.

http://www.covenantcaswell.org/

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Not too harsh but false

Hi Mike,
My problem with Johnson isn't that he's "too harsh". One can be very harsh if one is correct. We can't get much more harsh than Paul was to the Judaizers in Galatians. (Johnson would probably accuse Paul of being "crude" for telling the Judaizers to castrate themselves!). My problem is that Johnson is just wrong. No proof of "pornographic divination", scripted Elephant Room, too much "Chris Rock", etc., just irresponsible rhetoric.

The topic here is Johnson and his accusations, nothing else.

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Quote: Is your relationship a

Quote:
Is your relationship a wreck or just in need of some regular maintenance? Covenant Reformed Baptist Church (Providence, NC) would like to offer you a free opportunity to experience powerful, practical, and Biblical teaching on marriage, relationships, and sex, as well as participate in Q&A sessions with Pastor Mark Driscoll, author of the recent best-seller "Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and life together.

From JCarpenter's church website. As mentioned previously, seems you have an ax to grind here. Noticed you only joined SI a day or two ago, just so you could post on this thread. I assume you have already spoken to Phil Johnson about your concerns, in Christian charity and an attempt to win him over to your way of thinking, before disparaging him here with baseless accusations.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Terms

Driscoll claims to have had vivid supernatural visions of couples having sex. Sounds like pornographic divination to me. I also understand the term 'scripted' to mean that something was planned beforehand to some degree, and not necessarily read from a screenplay- it is a common usage. Also not a problem.

Phil Johnson has offered his opinions and insights, and Mr. Carpenter has offered his. Sounds fair to me.

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@Mike

It is a bit surreal.

... on the other hand, some have been trying to say for years that Phil is really a fundamentalist. And if you get accused of wrongly attacking Christian brethren, that just about automatically gets you into the club. ;)

Let me see if I can summarize the situation:

  • We have an unproven accusation that Phil has made unproven accusations against Mark Driscoll.
  • The unproven accusation against Phil relies on very narrow definitions of "divination" and "pornography."
  • Several posts have provided independent data on the meaning of "divination."
  • It's been observed that most people consider video-like viewing of couples engaged in sex to be over the line into porn regardless of the intent of those involved.
  • In response, we pretty much have repetition of the unproven accusation that Phil makes unproven accusations.

So I think we're safe to assume that that topic is just going to go in circles... might as well abandon it.

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JCarpenter before you go any

JCarpenter before you go any further you need to respond to Larry's post point by point rather than ignoring him and continuing to make the same assertions.

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Saddening

It's saddening to see supposed spiritual leaders defending what is at the least Johnson's sloppy use of language and what is perhaps even out-right slander.
The fact is we all know that by using the term "divination", Johnson was accusing a prominent evangelical pastor of consulting the supernatural out-side of God (which can only be Satan). It's just when pressed to be precise about it that some try to change the meaning of the word. See above about "pornographic". I think any attempt to defend the use of that term is simply not honest.

Mr. Chip Van Emmerik has accused me of "baseless accusations" which is clearly a false accusation as the basis is Johnson's public false accusations.

Susan tries to redefine "scripted" to mean "planned beforehand to some degree". That's absurd. That the Elephant Room was planned that the participants would come together and speak about various topics is obvious. Johnson was saying that the conversation itself was planned in some detail, that's what scripted means. And if you're to have any integrity, you have to hold him to account for his language.

@Aaron Blumer,
*The terms that Johnson used, "pornographic divination", "scripted", etc. are not "unproved" and it is obvious that they are inaccurate and inflammatory.
*The proven accusation against Johnson relies on the common-sense understanding of those words.
* If you're suggesting that Johnson was using "divination" in a morally neutral way, to suggest any kind of consultation with the supernatural, including that of God, I think you are being disingenuous.
* That's just absurd. Pornography is all about intent.
* The only reason the facts needs to be repeated is because of the failure of some "fundamentalists" to cherish integrity and accuracy in our language.
Yeah, why not abandon being honest and holding people to account if they aren't going to admit their "side" was wrong. And yes, it's all about you guys taking sides.

Hi Greg,
Thanks for telling me what I must do. (sarcasm!) You suggested I ignored Larry which is false. And that you make a false suggestion gets right to the issue that is at stake: the fundamentalist penchant for throwing out accusations for effect rather than for truth. I responded to the heart of what Larry said already, challenging him on the disingenuous attempt to re-interpret "divination" to mean something other than what we all knew Johnson used it for. I asked Larry by private message to show that more inflammatory language could have been used. He said he could think of more inflammatory language but didn't want to do so in public. But as yet, he has not done so in private. Also, I challenged him by private message to give me an example of Pastor Mark Driscoll publicly slandering another evangelical leader by name using similar inflammatory language. As yet, he hasn't done so. He said he could. But I'm fairly confident that he cannot and that his assertion of that he could was false. That is, that he too carelessly used his words for the effect he wanted, without regard for its truth.

The core issue here is whether we are going to be people of honesty and integrity (not to mention charity). Or are we going to be like Phil Johnson and throw around over-heated rhetoric, regardless of its accuracy but simply to get the effect we want.

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Just to repeat one point,

Just to repeat one point, several have given you dictionary definitions that would fit Johnson's use of "divination," and you just dismiss them out of hand with your own opinion.

Now you are revealing the content of private messages between yourself and Larry? And calling him disingenuous? He may or may not be wrong, but how do you know the motives of his heart by questioning his sincereity in the statements he has made?

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--Official Mod Note--

--Official Mod Note--

The article by Phil Johnson in question ( http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2011/08/pornographic-divination.html Pornographic Divination ) was posted as a filing on 8.15.2011; please move discussion of that topic to http://sharperiron.org/filings/8-15-11/19843 ]that thread .

There's http://sharperiron.org/filings/2-21-12/21831 ]another thread dedicated to a review of "Real Marriage" as well, if anyone wants to talk about the book.

I think Mike and Phil (and other mods ;) ) would prefer that this thread remain on topic.

Quote:

I just wanted to say that I am really surprised at this discussion being on SI in the form it is.
I'm not much into movement think, but...
Phil Johnson, a Conservative Evangelical (CE) critiques other CE's on a Fundy website.
The discussion on the Fundy site is whether Phil was being too harsh.

Strange way for it to unfold here.

Yes, it IS strange to watch, isn't it? I think I prefer the old kind of fundamentalism to this.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Greg: get honest or get out of ministry

Greg,
Even the dictionary definitions make "divination" about consulting the supernatural in some way. You know very well that Johnson was not using the term to mean that he thought Driscoll was consulting the Holy Spirit. If you deny that, I think you're just lying.

Further, you accused me of "revealing the content of private messages". I only said what I asked him to do, which was essentially the same things he publicly said he could do. I didn't reveal anything he said; I couldn't because he hasn't responded yet. You're accusation sounds like that's what I did. And I think you've revealed why you don't find Johnson's inaccurate and inflammatory rhetoric to be reprehensible. You're doing it yourself. We don't need more dishonest men in ministry.

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Johnson's irresponsible accusations

The issue here is not Pastor Driscoll at all but Johnson's repeated use of inaccurate and inflammatory language in his accusations. The point is that Johnson makes accusations without any evidence that they are true. And the whole talk linked above is about him trying to rationalize his self-appointed role as someone going around making accusations. Much (if not all) of what he says above is true. But should someone who makes unsubstantiated accusations be the one entrusted with rebuking other people?

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You are correct, you have the

You are correct, you have the right to reveal the content of your own private messages to someone else. My point was, if it was a private message to Larry why did you tell us about it publicly?

And my question still stands...how do you know the motives of his heart so that you can call him "disingenous"?

And now I'm "dishonest"? Rather than assuming I made a mistake in my understanding of your private conversation with Larry, you assume that I am purposefully lying about it?

*****************

This is sure how to win friends as a new person on a message board! Smile

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JC I believe you see what

JC

I believe you see what many see about Johnson and Pyromaniacs at times. But I am afraid you have picked the wrong time as it relates to the intent of the OP and your points themselves being but a mild sample of some of the boundary violations of the aforementioned. I believe there will be better opportunities for a more satisfying address in the future which would be of greater service. As well, some of the people with whom you are engaging rarely give ground even in the face of the obvious and they get to write or re-write the rules of engagement as well as interpret amd apply them as they see fit. So as one who shares some of your concerns (though I agree with Johnson'sgeneral assessment of Driscoll and believe him unfit for the Oastorate or as a Teacher at large) please allow me to let you know your points have been clear but in service to the thread may you preserve your full engagement for a later date when this is directly at issue. I say this merely as a commentator and not as one who would attempt to act as a quasi-moderator.

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then show some out-rage at Johnson's rhetoric

Hi Greg,

Larry said he could do certain things (think of more inflammatory expressions, etc) but didn't want to do so publicly. So I asked him to do so privately. As yet, nothing.

Frankly, we all know what Johnson means by "divination". He's not using that term in a morally neutral way. Anyone who suggests that he is, as some have tried here, are being disingenuous. We all know that "scripted" means more than just arranging the meeting and the topics. We should know that "pornographic" doesn't just refer to any account of sex.. We should know that judging someone as being too influenced by pop culture needs some proof.

First, you suggested I ignored Larry which was false. Then you suggested I revealed private correspondence which was obviously false because I prominently said he hadn't even responded yet. This is what you -- and Johnson -- don't seem to understand: Before making an accusation you need to check if it is actually true and then use your terms carefully to ensure as to the best of your ability that you are telling the truth. Being a rhetorical bomb-thrower who responds with careless, knee-jerk accusations couched in terms employed for their attention-grabbing impact mighty play well in some corners of fundamentalism. But it's just plain wrong.

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Definitions

Quote:
Susan tries to redefine "scripted" to mean "planned beforehand to some degree". That's absurd. That the Elephant Room was planned that the participants would come together and speak about various topics is obvious. Johnson was saying that the conversation itself was planned in some detail, that's what scripted means. And if you're to have any integrity, you have to hold him to account for his language.

What is absurd is your refusal to accept any other definition than that of which you personally approve. 'Scripted' can mean everything from reading from a written text, to a vague outline that serves as a guide so that certain goals are accomplished.

Ditto the use of 'divination' and 'pornography'. If viewing people having sex isn't porn, I can't (and don't want to) imagine what would qualify. If claiming that God sent you a supernatural vision isn't divination, especially when it is WAY outside of Scriptural principles and patterns, then again, we are at an impasse.

Accusing the people in this thread of being dishonest and lacking integrity has the Irony Patrol on Red Alert. You might want to refrain from unfounded accusations while blasting someone for making what you believe to be unfounded accusations.

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Mod Note 2

Just as a reminder, all SI users are expected to read and obey http://sharperiron.org/sharperiron-forum-comment-policy ]the site comment policy .

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C. Do not engage in rude or other un-Christlike conduct, including—but not limited to the following:

1. derogatory name-calling or attacks on the motives of other participants
2. malicious ridiculing of other participants
3. focusing negatively on the people involved in the discussion rather than the topic
4. intentionally disrupting a discussion or posting off topic
5. posting criticism, speculation, etc. in threads about persons recently deceased

If this thread cannot stay on topic and participants will not refrain from personal attacks, the moderators will act accordingly. Consider this an official warning.

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Thanks Alex

Hi Alex,
Thanks for the message and your insights. I think I've said all I need and should probably heed your advice now (unless something new arises). I'd be interested in what other examples of Johnson's inaccurate attacks you might have. As a moderator said above, I don't think this is the place for discussing Driscol (or how may or may not pass BIBLICAL criteria for ministry). It does, however, seem the place for discussing Johnson's rhetoric, tactics, how he's actually practiced the kind of "ministry" he's encouraging in the link above.

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Rule number 1

Thanks for a reminder of those rules. Wouldn't rule #1 prevent Johnson from posting here if one of the many other evangelical pastors he doesn't like were also here? And that's the point of all this: that Johnson's repeated public behavior may not be allowed on this or many other message boards.

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I'll answer this one

JCarpenter wrote:
Also, I challenged him by private message to give me an example of Pastor Mark Driscoll publicly slandering another evangelical leader by name using similar inflammatory language. As yet, he hasn't done so. He said he could. But I'm fairly confident that he cannot and that his assertion of that he could was false. That is, that he too carelessly used his words for the effect he wanted, without regard for its truth.

The core issue here is whether we are going to be people of honesty and integrity (not to mention charity). Or are we going to be like Phil Johnson and throw around over-heated rhetoric, regardless of its accuracy but simply to get the effect we want.


Driscoll has linked cessationism to deism, atheism, and worldliness. It really doesn't matter whether he names someone by name or not -- everyone can name some cessationists. That is inflammatory language, throwing around "over-heated rhetoric, regardless of its accuracy but simply to get the effect he wanted."

He also bashed UK Christian leaders. He didn't use any names -- he bashed all of them. Everybody in the UK lacks courage. Thank you, Mark. It's easy for a mega-church guy to talk about courage -- he doesn't have a clue. Sorry, but you aren't going to find too many "Friends of Driscoll" in the UK these days. As one UK pastor said to me, "His shtick is growing old."

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JCarpenter, I think there has

JCarpenter, I think there has been enough said here to point out some major flaws in your approach. Then we find out that you have a vested and non-objective interest in defending Driscoll because of apparent association with him. This leads me to wonder if there is anything that would convince you that there are some severe problems. You have already rejected English dictionaries, Hebrew dictionaries, and Bible dictionaries in favor of your own definitions, and you want to us to reject other things as well. It reminds me of another occasion when someone was shown the dictionary on multiple occasions and yet swore the dictionary was wrong and they were right. As Alex says, it is refusing to give ground in the face of the obvious. You want to focus on the words, but I don't really think the words used to describe the issues are the issues. Words are simply how we describe things. What matter are the things themselves.

I am not trying to excuse Phil. And I am not disingenous. I don't really care one way or the other, though I happen to think he was correct on this, generally. I think you are working off your biases. You want to shoot the messenger.

Your missing the point about the divination discussion. Divination is always connected to the supernatural, but not always to witchcraft. That something is not connected to witchcraft doesn't mean that it is from the Holy Spirit. There are also some approved uses of divination. As has already been cited a couple of time, divination is knowledge by supernatural means. And that is what Driscoll was claiming. The question is whether or not these stories are actually true, and if so, where did the knowledge come from? Do you believe that Jesus gave Driscoll a TV show in his head of people having sex? I am dubious about that. Scripture records a fair number of visions. I don't recall any of this nature. Furthermore, I am not sure what the purpose of talking about that publicly is.

I know Johnson was not attributing these visions to the Holy Spirit. But Driscoll was (Jesus actually). And that was Johnson's point, I think. Driscoll was claiming ongoing revelation from Jesus and it was pornographic in nature, something that is wrong on two fronts. You say there's no factual basis for that, but I honestly don't understand that. Driscoll claimed supernatural revelation (hence, divination by definition) of people engaged in sexual acts (hence, pornographic). Those are not disputed by any one (except you apparently). It's on YouTube. You can see it yourself.

As for other ways to say it, I did not say Driscoll had accused other evangelical leaders with similar stuff (though JG gives some examples). I said there were worse ways to say it, and my reference to Driscoll was his well known penchant for flamboyant and excessive speech which can be documented all over. In other words, Driscoll has given us plenty of "worse ways to say things." He has even apologized for it, such as at Desiring God in 2008. So he admits my point.

You say that The point is that Johnson makes accusations without any evidence that they are true. Yet it has already been pointed out that (1) you admit that you haven't seen the evidence (which is different than evidence not existing), and (2) the evidence has been offered and you want to deny it based on your definitions. I suppose you can dispute the interpretation of the evidence.

To top it off you say, And the whole talk linked above is about him trying to rationalize his self-appointed role as someone going around making accusations. This leads me to wonder who appointed you to go around making accusations against Phil (or me for that matter). Why are you allowed to make these accusations but Phil is not? I don't mean that in a snarky way. It just seems inconsistent. I wonder if the real issue perhaps is not what Phil says, but who he says it about.

I would encourage a step back, a slower pace towards condemning someone else's contributions, and a more discerning and thoughtful look at the actual issues rather than the terms used.

One of the ironies here is that you want precision, but when I offered a very precise definition, you objected instead preferring a broadbrush that subsumes all divination under the one definition you want so you can make your point. When I ask you to be precise, you demur, such as making the distinction between you not knowing or seeing evidence vs. evidence not existing. While you charge others will careless and unsubstantiated charges, you appear to be making them yourself such as when you accuse me of being disingenuous and reflexively defending Johnson, when I don't really even care.

So I will end with that hopefully, unless something else is directed at me specifically.

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Well said, Larry.

Having read this whole discussion, and having followed the issues with both Johnson and Driscoll in the past, I have to say that I agree with Larry here. And, for what it's worth, although I am not a convinced cessationist, I couldn't agree more with the critiques of Driscoll by Johnson and others concerning Driscoll's supposed visions from Jesus.

At any rate, thanks Larry for bringing more light than heat to this discussion.

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Don't Chang the subject

Both the prior posters are trying to change the subject from Johnson's irresponsible rhetoric. The false use of "divination", "pornographic" (and to say that any depiction of sexuality is "pornographic" is absurd), "scripted", etc., is dealt with above. That some here refuse to honestly admit the meaning of the terms as Johnson uses them is regrettable and likely rooted in a party-spirit rather than a desire to be honest. The issue here is nothing other than Johnson's baseless accusations. I've stated three examples which Alex, above, says are a "mild sample of some of the boundary violations of" Johnson, et al. We would probably do better to move on to other examples he (or others) might have.

The topic here is Johnson and his fitness to fill the kind of ministry he describes above. Please honor the moderator's wishes expressed above, stay on topic and please don't resort to the kind of Johnson-like rhetoric that are not allowed by the rules of this forum.

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Quote: irresponsible

Quote:
irresponsible rhetoric ... false use ... absurd ... refuse to honestly admit ... party-spirit rather than a desire to be honest ... baseless accusations ... Johnson-like rhetoric
All in just one post from a guy who is concerned about the use of "irresponsible and inflammatory" language ... Priceless ... :~

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all true

Hi Larry,
As I said above, I'm all in favor of strong language when it is accurate. My terms are used accurately, defended above. Johnson's are not. By the way, I'm still waiting for the more inflammatory description you said you could think of and examples from Johnson's victim you said you could provide. Or were you not making claims accurately?

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At some point

folks have to be able to call their brethren to account for their actions. Of course there needs to be a basis for those admonitions, and that basis is Scripture. But we can't always guarantee that everyone will agree on the fine points of what is legitimate rebuke (ie Paul to Peter) and what is slander. It is evident that many folks here believe that Phil Johnson has not crossed that line, and that there is enough evidence to warrant a public rebuke of some of Driscoll's teachings. You disagree, and that is fine too. What is not fine is saying that the people who don't agree with your assessment are dishonest, lacking integrity, etc...

Quote:
to say that any depiction of sexuality is "pornographic" is absurd

To whom are you speaking? Did anyone say this anywhere in this thread? NO. Driscoll claims to have watched, via his own inner Jesus Channel, people engaged in sexual acts. That is not 'any' depiction of sexuality, that is watching the intimate act itself, and what's more, claiming God beamed it into your brain. No one is changing the subject- you are simply refusing to respectfully engage with the opinions and insights of other posters, as well as some indisputable facts, in favor of your own personal Vocabulary War- which is unfortunate, because of the preponderance of evidence that contradicts your very narrow definitions.

Back to the subject of how/when/why to rebuke- if we could draw a big black behavioral boundary line with a Sharpie, that would be great. But we can't, so we do our best, using Scripture to guide us. In any case, when disagreement occurs, understanding is better reached by discussion of the issues and taking the time to seriously considering each other's POV.

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Pyromaniacs

I don't like Johnson's inflammatory style (small joke, based on his blog name). He's often right, but he also turns me off with his consistently negative tone. I think I'd listen better to him if he had a wider range of style, and reserved harsher tone for the real wolves, and was less harsh on brothers with whom he merely disagrees.

I mean his blog is named Pyromaniacs. There's a reason for that name.

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I agree with Shaynus and the goal of living at peace

Like Shaynus, I largely agree with Johnson but dislike his treatment of what should be brothers as if they were wolves. One of the few sins we are specifically told to discipline in the church, besides unrepentant sexually immorality, is divisiveness (Titus 3:9f).

As for Susan, Alex above noted that some of the folks here are incorrigible (unteachable) and that not only am I right about Johnson but that my examples are mild. An example of a disingenuous redefinition of a term in order to support Johnson is your attempt to redefine "scripted" to simply mean a meeting and topic was arranged. That's not what Johnson meant. And I think you really know that but instead of being willing to call one of your "side" to account, you do verbal gymnastics to defend him.
If merely seeing a sexual act is pornographic then since God sees all things, by your definition, God is a viewer of pornography. That's an abhorrent thought but necessary given your definition. I defined pornography in my first post above. It is media with the intent to incite lust. If you would have been serious about the use of terms, you would have dealt with that but, of course, that would have forced you into accepting the fact that Johnson used the term irresponsibly. That doesn't mean that he has to accept someone's claim to a vision. It just means that if he is going to publicly critique it, he has to use accurate language. For example, he could have called it: "Sexually Explicit "Visions"" and have then explained what he thought was wrong with it. But instead he choose the most inflammatory language he could, implying spiritualism and sexual immorality (since I believe pornography to be a form of sexual immorality). That's just irresponsible.

You (Susan) wrote: "when disagreement occurs, understanding is better reached by discussion of the issues and taking the time to seriously considering each other's POV." This I agree with completely. Did you know that when Johnson first started to publicly and viciously attack that other pastor, the other pastor recorded a brotherly appeal for peace, explaining his ministry style, sent it to Johnson with hopes it would be shown to the entire "Shepherd's Conference"? (It wasn't.) The stated purpose of the video letter was to "live at peace with all men", to help Johnson and his friends understand his point of view. I know of no such attempts by Johnson to live at peace. And I think understanding that puts the video at the top into a different light.

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JCarpenter wrote: You (Susan)

JCarpenter wrote:
You (Susan) wrote: "when disagreement occurs, understanding is better reached by discussion of the issues and taking the time to seriously considering each other's POV." This I agree with completely. Did you know that when Johnson first started to publicly and viciously attack that other pastor, the other pastor recorded a brotherly appeal for peace, explaining his ministry style, sent it to Johnson with hopes it would be shown to the entire "Shepherd's Conference"? (It wasn't.) The stated purpose of the video letter was to "live at peace with all men", to help Johnson and his friends understand his point of view. I know of no such attempts by Johnson to live at peace. And I think understanding that puts the video at the top into a different light.
JCarpenter, let me enlighten you about several such attempts by Johnson to reach out to Driscoll and why Driscoll's video wasn't shown to the Shepherds' Conference.

http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2009/03/preachin-dirty.html

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Johnson assumes guilt first

Thanks for that Greg. It certainly shows a lot about Johnson that is part of why he is so problematic. In that post he admits that he came to a conclusion about his victim first, wrote him a six page letter (likely an indictment), got a reply via video (which is irenic) and rejected it because his victim had the audacity not to submit to his interrogation but make his own points. And we're just supposed to accept Johnson's verdict even though we've seen he has a penchant for over-heated and even inaccurate terminology. Even just reading Johnson's account, which maybe self-serving, it doesn't sound like he's made any attempt to "live at peace" or understand his victim's "POV"; it sounds only as if he's proceeded like a prosecutor. Has it ever occurred to Johnson that he's not he grand inquisitor?

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Larry wrote: Do you believe

Larry wrote:
Do you believe that Jesus gave Driscoll a TV show in his head of people having sex? I am dubious about that. Scripture records a fair number of visions. I don't recall any of this nature. Furthermore, I am not sure what the purpose of talking about that publicly is.

I know Johnson was not attributing these visions to the Holy Spirit. But Driscoll was (Jesus actually). And that was Johnson's point, I think. Driscoll was claiming ongoing revelation from Jesus and it was pornographic in nature, something that is wrong on two fronts. You say there's no factual basis for that, but I honestly don't understand that. Driscoll claimed supernatural revelation (hence, divination by definition) of people engaged in sexual acts (hence, pornographic). Those are not disputed by any one (except you apparently). It's on YouTube. You can see it yourself.

I've tried and I've tried, but I just can't stop myself from wondering...

What if Mark Driscoll had gone to BJU?
CNN Headline: BJU expels student 9 days before graduation for his visions. Smile

Sorry. Returning to non-giggle mode now.

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Sides

Quote:
As for Susan, Alex above noted that some of the folks here are incorrigible (unteachable) and that not only am I right about Johnson but that my examples are mild. An example of a disingenuous redefinition of a term in order to support Johnson is your attempt to redefine "scripted" to simply mean a meeting and topic was arranged. That's not what Johnson meant. And I think you really know that but instead of being willing to call one of your "side" to account, you do verbal gymnastics to defend him.

These accusations are ludicrous, and I don't have a 'side'. I am not in any way associated with Phil Johnson. I have been involved in and taught speech and debate for years, and there are many words with a variety of meanings and permutations. If you don't want to acknowledge that, be my guest, but accusing me of being dishonest and ignoring the truth to defend someone I don't even know or an agenda of which I am unaware is patently absurd. I think Alex would agree, since h'es our new standard of veracity, that I am not in the least unteachable or incorrigible, and disagreeing with you doesn't make me so.

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what about racism?

Mike's little joke got me thinking, with the topic of fundamentalist "discernment" ministries: How come so rarely do they denounce the sin of racism. BJU had a racist dating policy. Was that ever denounced by fundamentalist discernment ministries? With look out for compromise and rank sin, what about the overt sin of racism that seemed to thrive in many of the same areas as did fundamentalism?

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scripted

Susan, saying that calling an event "scripted" only meant that it was arranged, is simply not serious. Words are not infinitely flexible. And that you refuse to admit that, suggest incorrigibility.

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The pot...

JCarpenter wrote:
Susan, saying that calling an event "scripted" only meant that it was arranged, is simply not serious. Words are not infinitely flexible. And that you refuse to admit that, suggest incorrigibility.

For some reason, the old adage about the pot calling the kettle black comes to mind......

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Just a thought

Phil Johnson has been on Mark Driscoll's trail for some time through the blogosphere. Mark Driscoll is ignoring Phil's warning and rebukes. Doug Wilson has concerns and questions for Mark. Mark answers Doug in an open format he likes best: face to face. No computers.

Phil and Mark interact with Doug. All three like some good controversy. Could Doug, a cessationist, bring the both Phil and Mark together for moderating a public conversation (and debate)? In the West, young, Calvinistic evangelicals who are both cessationists and non-cessationists and back and forth on these issues could listen in.

et

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JC Allow me a few qualifiers.

JC

Allow me a few qualifiers. One, as to boundary issues and PJ, it is only to acknowledge this is a notable issue with hm and to give credit where credit is due which is that your objections are not unreasonable (though again I would find a greater cause for all your current efforts) and are based in part in a recognizable pattern of weakness in PJ and the petty bully surrogates who have blogged under his defacto oversight which ultimately lies at the feet if PJ, thus amplifying his indiscretions. But I would be amiss to fail to acknowledge many valuable contributions by PJ and his blog as well as his acknowledgement of the tendency to "pugnate" at times when something better could be done. Such admissions are rare by public Christian personalities and teachers. And specifically I do say you are right and that "pornographic divinations" unfairly describes MD's context when such alleged visions came to him. I believe there is a more accurate theological/biblical description as well as contextual one that could reflect PJ's cynicism (a cynicism I share on the matter and MD as a whole) without compromising his point with satisfying but inaccurate descriptions. And I will say I did not have Susan in mind with the earlier comment. She, to me, is exceptionally willing to see the points of others while sustaining the certainty of her own views.

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Great question

JCarpenter wrote:
Mike's little joke got me thinking, with the topic of fundamentalist "discernment" ministries: How come so rarely do they denounce the sin of racism. BJU had a racist dating policy. Was that ever denounced by fundamentalist discernment ministries? With look out for compromise and rank sin, what about the overt sin of racism that seemed to thrive in many of the same areas as did fundamentalism?

Great Question! There were a number of Fundies who spoke out about it, but it sure was slow coming. In the end, it was a group of alumni and their online petition that seemed to make a difference.

I was unclear on your question, though: Are you saying that Phil Johnson is running a Fundamentalist Discernment ministry? Just wondering, since Phil being with us Fundies at Standpoint Conference (if Fundies we be) stirred some dissension. I would be amused to see this evidence that a person with a position of balance and moderation will always be shot at by the extremes.

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Time to move on.

The "Phil makes improper/unproven accusations" line of discussion is officially closing. If you want to start another thread on it, I have no objection.

The problem with the discussion on that particular topic is that JCarpenter wants have his view accepted at face value and see others prove him wrong. So he's starting out with the perspective that his evaluation of Johnson is obvious and those who disagree or challenge are just being stubborn. Hence, he feels that he can claim is view "is not unproven" while Johnson's criticisms of Driscoll are unproven. Since he's assumed his position as a given at the start, he feels comfortable dismissing even authoritative third party sources such as dictionaries. In short, handles his view as one that is beyond argument and simultaneously handles other views as not being worthy of argument.
There's no way to have a thoughtful exchange with those conditions in place.
So I'll hazard that any new thread on the topic will also just go in circles.

In any case, we'll unpublish or maybe move further posts on that issue. Meanwhile, there's a lot of meat in Phil's video worth talking about.

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Aaron's characterization is incorrect, racism

Aaron, I think you're characterization of my approach is inaccurate. I know the English language pretty well, having a BA in it, worked as an editor, published articles, taught it to students learning it as a second language, etc. It's simply a fact that the terms Johnson employs were inaccurate. I've explained that above and even given examples of how he could have used accurate terms while still expressing disapproval. In order for "thoughtful exchange" to go forward, facts have to be accepted. The thread goes in circles because some refuse to do so. And my original point is that someone who employs the kind of rhetorical bomb-throwing as Johnson shouldn't be invited to a conference or have their talks posted as if they were an expert. Further, his handling of church history is so superficial as not to qualify as "meat".

As for the racism issue: my question is that if Christians leaders should stand out against compromise and sin in the church (as they should) and the sin of racism has been practiced in churches and Christian institutions, then where have the public stances against that sin been? A Seattle pastor saying things Johnson doesn't like is worthy of a series of blog posts, but the systematic oppression of a whole kind of people (many of whom are our brothers and sister in Christ) gets very little (or no) attention. Why? Is the passion really for preserving the purity of the church or for preserving the status quo?

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Racism

....also off topic.
Has nothing to do with the OP, Phil's video or even Mark Driscoll. Might be an interesting topic for another thread if we can get past generalizations.

Quote:
Further, his handling of church history is so superficial as not to qualify as "meat".

This part is on topic though.... which I appreciate.

He's not mainly talking about church history, rather, an evaluation of whether Carson et. al's "center bound set" idea is adequate as a way of defining the boundaries of authentic Christianity. The history is part of the argument there, though, I'll give you that.
Perhaps you can get beyond generalizations and tell us where his analysis of history is inaccurate?

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Racism is an example

If the topic is that we're called not always to "build bridges" but to "contend for the faith", against sin for the purity of the church, and the church has been ravaged by a particular sin, but very few have opposed that sin, how is it "off topic"? Further, it gets right to the motivation. I agree with the gist of the call from Johnson that we can't always be about "winning friends" but sometimes have to be willing to denounce sins (and even the people who champion those sins). But then why are we very selective about the sins and doctrinal deviations we denounce? Drunkenness and anything approaching sexual immorality get attacked, as they should. Liberal views of the errancy of the Bible get attacked, as they should. But violating what the Lord Jesus called "the second greatest commandment" (and which He said was like the first) gets mostly ignored. Why? The tolerance of that sin can't be excused by arguing that it was a debatable issue. It's not. It's evil is plain and profound. Further, that sin tended to be the most accepted in many of the same areas where fundamentalism was also the most widespread, namely the South. So this suggests something about the motives of those who loudest for denouncing sin but skip this one: either (1) they are simply inconsistent, sadly effected by the world in this area while otherwise well-meaning or (2) their real reason for denouncing sin and "burning bridges" has little to do with a passion for the holiness of the bride of Christ but more to do with preserving their status quo.

I wonder, has Johnson taken a stand against racism? (By the way, I don't know what the "OP" is.)

The scary thing is, if the church has been so worldly as not to stand against racism when it was widespread in its culture, then when acceptance of homosexuality becomes widespread (as it tragically looks like it will in a generation or so), then will the church have the courage to stand up against that?

It's easy to bash a preacher who lives far up the coast, three states away, who likes to wear Mickey Mouse shirts while preaching. It's much harder to stand against a sin that is so accepted that it's a part of the whole society, backed by laws (like the segregation or the coming "hate crime" laws that could make denouncing homosexuality a crime), in which some of your own members are a part, which get you denounced as a radical or a "hater" if you do. If you're willing to do that, as John Piper has, I respect you. If not, then I wonder . . . .

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the center

In a way I agree with Johnson about the centered set thing. Having a "centered set" as the focus, sounds great in theory: that the Lord Jesus and the gospel is at the center and that we can allow liberty for other secondary issues that are further away from the center. That sounds like a good ideal. And to D. A. Carson, who is an academic, it makes for great theory. But in practice I don't see how it can work. Yes, the Lord Jesus and the gospel should be at the center. But then you immediately have to define who Jesus is. Is He God? Yes. Then you have to define who God is. Modalism or Trinitarianism? So, the Trinity. What did Jesus do to give us the gospel? The atonement. Then you have to define the atonement. How do you know any of this? The Bible. Then you have to define what the Bible is. The canon, it's inspiration and inerrancy. So, even if you start with an idealistic goal of having a centered set, you're still going to have to define the boundaries of the center. So I agree with Johnson that we need confessions of faith to define boundaries.

The problem with that arises when people confuse what should rightly be secondary issues with primary convictions that should mark the boundary. For example, last time I saw (over a decade ago), Masters Seminary made belief in pretribulation rapture a requirement. Under no historical definition of the boundaries of Christian orthodoxy should that theory qualify for a core conviction. So that's part of what is motivating D. A. Carson, the continual problem with people focused on the boundaries who are confused about what doctrines should really be a part of those boundaries.

But statements of faith are necessary and Johnson is right that they have to be enforced. Historically, he used (very briefly) the examples of Harvard, Andover, and Fuller. He seems to be saying that the reason they declined was because they failed to uphold their statements of faith. First, I don't know if Harvard or Andover actually had statements of faith. Harvard was founded (1636) by the Puritans to train men for ministry; it began to decline about two generations after its founding as first it accepted a softer, more ambiguous Calvinism, then Arminianism, then eventually Unitarianism and universalism. Yale was founded (1702) as a more faithful alternative to Harvard. Both Harvard and Andover became liberal because people in them ceased believing. Fuller strayed from it's original statement of faith largely for the same reason people above refuse to acknowledge what "divination", "scripted", etc., mean in their context. That is, people came who redefined the terms in a way that served their purposes. They signed statements of faith, not consciously thinking they were lying, but because in their minds they reinterpreted the meanings of the statements. There is no way that a statement of faith can keep out someone who doesn't really believe it if people are not committed to up-holding with integrity the meaning of the words as they were plainly, originally intended. There's no substitute for integrity and integrity comes from a passion for God -- not just a stern determination to enforce statements of faith.

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OP etc

Sorry about the jargon. OP stands for "original post" or "opening post." It's supposed to determine what the discussion is about... ironically, in a center-bound set sort of way. Biggrin

I think the topic of racism--and what you're saying about it in particular--is so broad, it's pretty hard to see the relevance.
In any case, it doesn't follow that if preacher A doesn't say as much I think he should about about X, he has nothing of value to say about Y.
So whether it's racism, gluttony, laziness or cheating on tax returns that is allegedly not being denounced enough, it would be hard to prove that what people are not saying (or not saying enough) proves they are wrong about what they are saying.
But as it stands, going by your own rules, you can't accuse Phil of neglecting the topic of race unless you can prove it... and claiming that it's true until disproved is not proof.
(Here's a cute little video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB2jmuZAJtw ]illustrating the argumentum ad igorantium fallacy ... The claim in the illustration: "There are aliens in the universe because you cannot prove there are not." A quicker read on the fallacy http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/ignorance.html here .)

It would be pretty hard to comb through all of Phil's ministry and produce proof of the neglect of any topic, much less neglect of a topic that is so fundamental to the Faith that the neglect itself must render everything else he has to say automatically untrue. Might be a bit easier to prove someone is not worth listening to, but in that case, wouldn't your time be better spent just not listening to him? (vs. trying to persuade others not to listen to him?)

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FWIW

If you want to talk about the racism angle, JCarpenter, go ahead and start a new thread. I don't think that there's anyone who would object to having that discussion, and it is worth discussing. I'm just trying to keep this thread on track ;)

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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The subject is the validity of the boundaries

I think I've tried to remain on topic throughout this. The topic is, as I understand it, Phil Johnson's call that we need boundaries to maintain. That, I don't disagree with. However, I don't think the messenger is a good example of how to do it. I've called into question the validity of his own rhetoric and tactics. Alex, above, says my examples are "mild" compared to examples he's aware of. He's probably right. I've read very little of Johnson and what little I have read or heard, I find problems with. I didn't listen to the entire message above and have no plans to do so. There are many good, mature Christian leaders out there, genuine scholars (like D.A. Carson, or R.C. Sproul) or great preachers and some men who are both (like Mark Dever, John Piper, and the greats of history, like Martin Luther and the Puritans). My time is well spent learning from them. When I go to the pyromaniac site, it's for the Spurgeon archives, not for Johnson.

Racism is an illustration of the problem because it is (1) a very serious sin (by Biblical standards), and at least was (2) widespread in our culture. That being the case, and if Johnson and others really believe in the importance of fighting for the proper Christian boundaries, then have they contended for the faith in that instance? If they haven't, that doesn't negate everything else they say. As I said, they could only be inconsistent. But it makes me wonder. Why do they spend so much time and energy going after fellow evangelicals in Mickey Mouse shirts but then hardly any on sins like racism. (And if they wouldn't oppose racism in the past, will they be willing to oppose homosexuality in the future?) I don't know about what Johnson has said about racism specifically. I asked a question. But I find it interesting so far we can't cite numerous cases in which he has denounced it -- but we can all easily think of examples of him denouncing preachers he doesn't like.

Anyway, I think I engaged the centered set-bounded set issue pretty substantially above ("the center"). It's not that I disagree with Johnson on the theory of maintaining the boundaries. It's just that I don't think, right now, he's the one who has the maturity to do that.

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JCarpenter wrote: I think

JCarpenter wrote:
I think I've tried to remain on topic throughout this. The topic is, as I understand it, Phil Johnson's call that we need boundaries to maintain. That, I don't disagree with. However, I don't think the messenger is a good example of how to do it. I've called into question the validity of his own rhetoric and tactics. Alex, above, says my examples are "mild" compared to examples he's aware of. He's probably right. I've read very little of Johnson and what little I have read or heard, I find problems with. I didn't listen to the entire message above and have no plans to do so. There are many good, mature Christian leaders out there, genuine scholars (like D.A. Carson, or R.C. Sproul) or great preachers and some men who are both (like Mark Dever, John Piper, and the greats of history, like Martin Luther and the Puritans). My time is well spent learning from them. When I go to the pyromaniac site, it's for the Spurgeon archives, not for Johnson.

Racism is an illustration of the problem because it is (1) a very serious sin (by Biblical standards), and at least was (2) widespread in our culture. That being the case, and if Johnson and others really believe in the importance of fighting for the proper Christian boundaries, then have they contended for the faith in that instance? If they haven't, that doesn't negate everything else they say. As I said, they could only be inconsistent. But it makes me wonder. Why do they spend so much time and energy going after fellow evangelicals in Mickey Mouse shirts but then hardly any on sins like racism. (And if they wouldn't oppose racism in the past, will they be willing to oppose homosexuality in the future?) I don't know about what Johnson has said about racism specifically. I asked a question. But I find it interesting so far we can't cite numerous cases in which he has denounced it -- but we can all easily think of examples of him denouncing preachers he doesn't like.

Anyway, I think I engaged the centered set-bounded set issue pretty substantially above ("the center"). It's not that I disagree with Johnson on the theory of maintaining the boundaries. It's just that I don't think, right now, he's the one who has the maturity to do that.


So you've read very little of Johnson by your own admission, but you're ready to condemn him for spending very little time condemning racism and to wonder if he'll stand against homosexuality? You're right...you've read very little of Johnson. And you accuse others of rhetorical bomb-throwing?

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Greg, I'm concerned

I haven't read enough of you condemning bestiality, or Anders Breivik's killing spree, or Greek neo-Nazis, or Apollinarianism or Donatism. So I really don't think you should ever say anything about anything another evangelical might be doing, no matter how bad. Sorry. Smile

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You got me, JG. I guess I'd

You got me, JG. I guess I'd have to get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on you...especially since you are what, 8 hours ahead of me? Smile

By the way, have you heard that Jesus didn't say anything about homosexuality?

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Greg Long wrote: By the way,

Greg Long wrote:
By the way, have you heard that Jesus didn't say anything about homosexuality?

Does that mean Obama is right????? :Sp

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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For the record, BJU practiced

For the record, BJU practiced a limited form of racial segregation but not racism. Racial segregation and racism are not categorically the same. And this is even further off topic so forgive me but I felt it needed said to be fair to BJU.

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Now I remember!

I watched the video again, because this thread was SO far from http://growingthroughgrace.com/?cat=29 ]the original subject -

Quote:
...bridge-building, boundary-guarding, brotherhood, belief, and the problem of how to cultivate all of those things without compromise. In the process, I'll touch on The Gospel Coalition, The Elephant Room, and some other topics that will be familiar to our regular readers.

In my experience, http://www.mpbchurch.com/site/cpage.asp?sec_id=3421&cpage_id=17831 ]this is a viable assessment of more than just a few churches-
Quote:
...seemingly good, orthodox, spiritually-qualified men, but evidently some of them were secretly harboring heretical beliefs. And they were just waiting for Paul to move on so that they could begin teaching their own ideas.

It does seem as if many pastors have walked away from shepherding and are now engaged in marketing, and instead of protecting the flock they are guarding their paycheck.

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Where did PJ say the Elephant Room was "scripted?

I just listened to most of Phil's message again (well past the point where he talked about the Elephant Room), and I searched the transcript provided, but I cannot find any reference by Phil to the Elephant Room as having been "scripted." This has been the primary, repeated accusation against him based on the video above, right? So can anyone tell me exactly where Phil actually said this? Where is it in the transcript? Can you give me the quote with the page number? Or where is it in the video? Can you give me the time at which it occurs?

Having listened to Phil's message twice now -- once trying to hear that word -- I am surprised that I haven't heard it when it has been repeatedly asserted here that he said it.

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Mod Note

All discussion on racism and segregation should be moved http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-fundamentalism-and-racism ]to a new thread that I have expressly created for the topic . If any further posts on that subject appear in this thread, they will be hidden. This particular thread is for discussion of Phil Johnson's Standpoint video session.

In regards to the friction between members - if you don't like what someone else is saying, either about yourself or what you have said, please respond to them and respectfully point out where they are wrong or provide additional information that would cause them to reconsider. This is a place where ideas and opinions are exchanged, and that kind of friction is to be expected at times. After all, if we all agreed with each other, there wouldn't be a lot of compelling discussion, would there?

If anyone would like to read more about the position of SI in terms of discussion that is and is not permissible, please read the http://sharperiron.org/sharperiron-forum-comment-policy ]site comment policy . I'll excerpt the opening section here:

Quote:
To be a helpful and appreciated participant in discussions at SI, here’s a few things to keep in mind:

* Aim to be consistently respectful. If you get involved in discussions on controversial topics, someone will think you’re being disrespectful sooner or later. You want to make sure they’re wrong about that.

* Try to stay on topic. This is a famously subjective call. Do your best. If you think your comment might be seen as unrelated, include something to help us see the connection.

* Broaden your horizons. If you always harp on one or two topics and rarely show any interest in others, people will tend to dismiss you as a crank.

* Focus on ideas. The old adage “consider the source” has its merits, but the source of an idea never really proves it to be true or false.

* When a discussion is on a controversial topic, extra effort is required to leave irrelevant factors out of it. So going after somebody’s intelligence or educational background or gender or age or favorite cricket team is usually not helpful to making your point or refuting theirs.

* Wear your big-boy pants. Human interaction is messy—especially where strong opinions are involved. Discussions go far better when participants are slow to take offense. If someone’s a bit prickly, why not just ignore it and stay on topic? Sure, it’s bad to be rude. It’s not much better to be a cry baby.

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Surprised to see all the comments.

Wow. For two or three days this thread had only six comments, so I stopped watching it. Then when I looked again yesterday afternoon it had nearly 60 comments, so I put off reading them till I had a spare moment. That didn't happen until tonight.

Sorry I missed the discussion.

For the record, I stand by everything I have ever said about Mark Driscoll's smutty "visions" and his unhealthy preoccupation with erotic themes and raunchy talk. For reasons already cited by several commenters here, I don't think the expression "pornographic divination" is an unfair or inaccurate description of the claims Driscoll made on the videotape in question. Though I made no reference to that in the above message, here's a link to the source for anyone wondering what all the fuss is about:

http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2011/08/pornographic-divination.html

Also: I remain convinced that the outcome of the Elephant Room (not the actual words of the discussion, but the metanarrative) was scripted in advance. A day or two after speaking directly with James MacDonald about my concerns (during the first week of October 2011--months before the event), I made these predictions about ER2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j-Ffnqq6vE

My predictions, which were spot-on, speak for themselves. Note: The prescience that led to those statements did not come from a mystical television screen in my head, but from a reasoned interpretation of what I heard directly from James MacDonald. The "script" followed at the event itself was precisely what MacDonald himself told me he wanted to occur. Given his subsequent treatment of Voddie Baucham, Dan McGhee, and others who had different opinions about Jakes, ***PLUS the fact that neither Driscoll nor anyone else dared to raise any questions about Jakes's prosperity doctrines (_despite the fact that I and many others had URGED MacDonald not to let that issue be neglected_),*** I think it's perfectly reasonable to conclude that the outcome of the ER2 discussions was indeed determined well in advance. I.e., the direction and the result of the "conversation" were scripted.

Anyway, thanks to those who attempted to answer Mr. Carpenter. He has posted the same soliloquy in several forums. I answered him once and he brushed me off the way he has brushed off others here. There's a famous Bible verse that instructs us how to deal with people who do that.

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Thu, 3/18/10
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Thanks, Phil!

I am glad you could take part in the exchange here, and I want to personally let you know just how much I have appreciated your ministry, brother. As I posted in an early entry in this discussion, I couldn't agree more with the thoroughly Biblical sentiments expressed in "A Bridge Too far." I hope and pray that I and my fellow elders at Immanuel Baptist Church will continue by God's grace to live out such ministry.

Keith

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thanks phil

thanks phil

Rich Barcellos
www.grbcav.org

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I liked

I really thought the illustration of the weaknesses of having a center bounded movement were well illustrated, and Phil did and excellent job of defining all of my unspoken concerns with TGC. I did think that ER2 would be a huge test for TGC, and I was very, very disappointed to see now only how long it took for them to expel Driscoll and MacDonald, but also that there seemed to be a very high level of internal politicking going on as to whether or not they would do anything to either council member for damaging their self-proclaimed doctrinal boundaries.

I also thought that Phil's emphasis on having both a center bounded AND a strong perimeter to the group is well needed, and I wish that Fundamentalism would do a better job of enumerating not just the core (the famous five fundamentals), but of identifying those peripheral issues that we could agree on as 'endpoints for fellowship'. I understand that there is a lot of varigated streams in the 'movement' (which is why I even hesitate to call it a movement anymore), but surely there is something that we can come up with. Perhaps this explains a resurgence of interest in church creeds and confessions?

It used to be 'separation' was the perimeter fence, but look at how a failure to articulate a principle for how and why we separate got us...Fundys began to separate over trivial things (or dropped those perimeter fences entirely in disgust). Now we not only have a missing perimeter fence, i'm not even sure that we have a doctrinal core that we could agree on.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Sat, 5/12/12
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Boundaries

Finally got around to watching Phil's video. Loved the preppy look. :o)

I appreciated Phil's comments. Well done! I particularly noted the discussion related to the distinction between center-verses-boundary-boundedness (whew!). I'm not so sure that, rightly defined, both cannot be put into practice. For example, the pastor--elders at our church must not only subscribe to our own statement of faith, as well as our own written statements on church policy and doctrine, but also the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals statement of faith, which is more explicitly Calvinistic than our own. We expect our elders and deacons to be like-minded on all of the core doctrines and practices of our church. However, we understand that not everyone in the pew is on the same page. By that I mean, there are some who don't think in such specific theological terms, there are some who aren't sure, there are some who don't know, there are immature / ignorant believers who need to be patiently instructed. We expect co-laborers (members) to be in agreement in the central truths of the Gospel. We expect them to to born-again believers who have been baptized under the authority of a true church. They must subscribe to our doctrinal standards, a statement that reflects the core of reformational orthodoxy. While we teach them what we believe, and what we teach, we don't force them to adhere to 5 point Calvinism in order for them to minister among us. To be sure, they will not be permitted to be divisive or to contradict the teaching authority of the elders, but we will not forbid them membership and ministry, either. We expect them to be teachable. We have attempted to be tenacious in regard to the Gospel, and charitable in regard to what I may call secondary or tertiary matters. I have used the illustration of a round target with concentric rings and a bull's-eye in the center. The Gospel (justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone) is at the center, along with matter's pertaining to theology proper (i.e. the Triunity of God, inspiration of Scripture). Other matters I would deem very, very significant, such as God's sovereignty over *all* things. But, if one misses the mark on these issues, it will not necessarily mean that they will miss the Kingdom, either. At the outer edge are many matters where very good, like-minded, godly men may humbly disagree with one another. We must allow for the priesthood of the believer and trust that the Holy Spirit will work as He will in each believer's life. All this to say, we practice both center-boundedness and boundary-boundedness. If we put all our focus on the core, to the neglect of the outer boundaries, we fall prey to existential liberalism (as Phil points out). If we put all our focus on boundaries (boundaries that are not necessarily fundamental) we run the risk of becoming legalistic pharisees.

I hope this is all taken in the spirit intended.

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Tue, 5/8/12
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Johnson fails by his own definitions

Clearly Johnson's attack on an evangelical pastor fails the definitions even he provides at his own blog post. In no way does what Johnson's victim said meet the definition of "pornographic" as " in a manner intended to stimulate erotic . . . feelings". As for the "divination" charge, I stand by what I've said above. As for "scripted", his attempt now to redefine "scripted" rather than just apologize, is problematic. Clearly "scripted" doesn't mean a "scripted" "metanarrative", whatever that is supposed to mean, or just vague guidelines as to the matter of discussion. Further, note that he doesn't produce any proof. Where's the script Phil? What he doesn't seem to understand is that he doesn't have a right to go around making accusations about people without proof using exaggerated, inflammatory rhetoric.

Someone can't guard the boundaries if he can't be trusted to make accurate accusations.

Also, for the record, I have no recollection of getting a response directly from Mr. Johnson before. I sent a personal message to him and was not answered. I posted similar questions and challenges at his facebook page and rather than being answered, I was blocked. The original pyromaniac attack where he virtually accuses an evangelical pastor of witchcraft and pornography, is not open for new comments. So I don't know to what he is referring. In addition, he seems to be implying that I simply shouldn't be paid attention to. So, consider what we have in Mr. Johnson: a man who makes it his business to throw rhetorical bombs at other evangelicals, in inaccurate terms, sometimes with no proof whatsoever, and, when questioned, insists that the questioner shouldn't be paid attention to. Is that really the kind of person who should take it upon himself to be the critic of the church?

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Those who do not believe in

Those who do not believe in the sufficiency of God's word have to run interference for each other. It is all or nothing with them.

JC, watching 2 people engage in explicit sexual activity is pornographic. That is what Mark claims God showed him. Mark also proceeded to relay the story with others. That is also pornographic.

So in Mark's little world, God is okay with pornography and the replay of it through description to others.

Such a person is unfit for ministry and grossly out of touch with NT Christianity.

To further the evidence of Driscoll's pornography fascination, one only needs to read his real marriage book.

http://www.dennyburk.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/8-Lambert.pdf ]Review of Real Marriage

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Phil Johnson's picture
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Tue, 6/2/09
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A clarification

JCarp:

Quote:
he seems to be implying that I simply shouldn't be paid attention to

I didn't mean to imply that. I thought I was making it fairly emphatic.

No matter. I think Mr. C's refusal to heed either counsel or correction pretty much speaks for itself.

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Tue, 5/8/12
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Johnson's definition of pornography, No Biblical correction

Hi James K, your definition of pornography does not fit the definition Johnson himself posted on his blog, quoted in part in my post immediately above. By the definition you stated (e.g. "relay the story with others") parts of the Bible would be pornographic. So, you need to revise your definition.

I believe firmly in the inspiration, sufficiency, and inerrancy of scripture, including the 9th commandment against bearing false witness.

Hi Phil, No Biblical correction has been offered to me. The very definitions you posted yourself on your blog support what I've said from the beginning. But I've given you much mature correction, especially about being honest in your characterizations. You fail to heed it and remain obstinate in your inaccurate, unsubstantiated attacks. By the way, where's that script?

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JC, I am sorry you don't

JC, I am sorry you don't understand.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture
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Thu, 6/4/09
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For the Record, PJ is not the

For the Record, PJ is not the only Christian leader who has identified Mark Driscoll's work as pornographic in nature. Heath Lambert, assistant professor of pastoral theology at Boyce College, reviewed Driscoll's recent marriage book http://www.dennyburk.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/8-Lambert.pdf ]here . One point he made:

Quote:
The Driscolls desire for people to avoid a pornographic culture, but much of their book grows out of that same pornographic culture and will guide many people into it.
When Phil points out that Driscoll seems obsessed with things pornographic, he is not alone in this assessment.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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