2012 StandPoint Conference Session 1: A Bridge Too Far

Speaker: Phil Johnson
Companion paper here.

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Todd Wood's picture

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

Alex Guggenheim's picture

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.

Mike Durning's picture

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.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

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.

JCarpenter's picture

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?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

....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?

JCarpenter's picture

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 . . . .

JCarpenter's picture

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.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

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?)

Jay's picture

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 Wink

"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

JCarpenter's picture

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.

Greg Long's picture

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?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

JG's picture

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

Greg Long's picture

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?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

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?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

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.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

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.

Pastork's picture

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.

Jay's picture

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.

"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

Phil Johnson's picture

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.

Pastork's picture

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

Jay's picture

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

Bartolucci's picture

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.

JCarpenter's picture

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?

James K's picture

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

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.

JCarpenter's picture

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?

James K's picture

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

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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