Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

I feel led to present the following pastoral assessment for the edification of the true Body of Christ as evidence of the devastating results that the counterfeit Christian teachings of men like Brian McLaren have already been having on the Christian witness among our youth. You are about to see a living testimony of what has been happening within our Lord’s Church because our leaders failed in recognizing the new liberalism which is now being spread like the black plague of theology throughout Evangelicalism by this Emerging Church movement.

The following comment was posted at the website Emergent What? apparently as a response to my post A Diseased Tree on Slice of Laodicea. It should be noted at the outset that it was Ross Daws who took it upon himself to criticize my work while reimagining a dialogue that might take place between the two of us. I will have to say he did an admirable job for the most part in capturing what I would likely say to him. But since this is not the first time he has made the choice to be publicly critical of my ministry, and because the article in question had nothing whatever to do with Daws, then I feel I am within Christian ethics to use him as an object lesson for the following pastoral assessment.

Evidence Of A Judgmental Spirit Of Pride

DAWS: We all make assumptions, stated or otherwise, that make up and support our world-view, and generally reflect what we believe about how we know things (epistemology). Digging into (or deconstructing) these assumptions is a very instructive exercise, and one that I think would bring a new light to dialogue between the established and emerging churches, if undertaken honestly by both parties. However when folks like Silva refuse to acknowledge that they have a world view and epistemology, that does kind of make the prospect of such a discussion unlikely!!!

Silva: If like me you have actually tried to have a dialogue with young men like Daws who have bought into the above Emergent deceptions then you will know the spiritual pride with which they will inevitably approach your “conversation.” Unfortunately, for the most part rather than being humble–and not unlike talking with Mormons–the Emergent you try and talk with is most often coming from the position which I have seen demonstrated in so much of Brian McLaren’s work. A kind of: “Well, I know just a little bit more about the Bible and theology than you do.”

We notice first that Daws opens with a polemic which is actually quite typical of Emergents in dialogue; a rather condescending statement of the obvious, which apparently passes for wisdom in their circles, as if those of us who hold to the historic orthodox Christian faith do not know these things. This is usually followed by a bit of an intimidation tactic in the use of terms related to the philosophy and theology by which they have been indoctrinated, again as if we would not be familiar with these disciplines. And words I might add that for the most part have simply been redefined by corrupt Emergent Church teachers and pastors often lacking proper training themselves.

Frankly I have grown very weary of this infiltration into positions of leadership within our Lord’s Church by what are too often essentially boys who are still “wet behind the ears” theologically but who now have forums in the Emerging Church where they can parrot to the Christian community at large their Sweet McLarenisms. However the truth is, because timid Evangelical leaders were unwilling to crush this rebellion of neo-orthodox and re-packaged liberal theology (and worse) of the Emergent Church when it first began, we are now seeing the horrific results of this theology poison now that it is being considered as legitimately Christian.

A Testimony To The Truth

Next you will see the very rotten root of improper Christian education and spiritually dead liberal theology as Daws “instructs” me about my supposedly deficient Evangelical Protestant view of Holy Scripture. Tragically because we have just been standing by and letting these vipers in the Emergent Church masquerading as orthodox Christians (e.g. Rob Bell) inject their “warped and toxic” theology about the Bible into the Body of Christ nearly a whole generation of young people have now been doomed.

DAWS: To illustrate my point, imagine a conversation between Ken Silva (KS) and myself (RD)…

RD: How do you know what is true?
KS: The bible tells me what is true.

Silva: Here we have yet another common Emergent ploy being used by Daws in all its grand McLarenesque fashion as he will carefully erect his straw man by misstating the Christian view of truth. The Church has never said everything that is true in this world is in the Bible; we are saying that everything the Bible says about the world is true. This is a huge difference; and then because everything that’s in God’s Word is true all other things need to be tested by the Bible to see if they are in fact true.

Quite obviously the Bible doesn’t speak to every thing and every issue, but our Creator happens to feel that His Word does speak to everything we do need to know about. By the way, Jesus of Nazareth–the same Lord Daws claims to follow–is our Creator. Next you are about to see below that Daws will “deconstruct” and then deny outright that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible unchanging eternal Word of God. You know what Ross; I have personally staked my life and my ministry on the above stated position as being the true and proper way to approach the Bible.

Now we’ll have the chance to see which position the Lord chooses to vindicate because you and I have diametrically opposed views. And I know I can live with that. Can you Ross? As Dr. Walter Martin used to say: “No one has any right to claim to be a Christian and not have the same high view of Scripture His Master Christ Jesus has.” I just wanted you to know Ross that in me you have met someone who has completely “sold out” to Christ and I have absolutely zero fear of fictitious world-views.

You see the true Christian need not be concerned about all these hollow McLarenisms of eastern philosophy. They are really no more than “postreason” nothings, vacuous concepts that seditious false prophets whom the Lord did not send have decided to make up and then attempt to pass off as “truth” to others willing to listen to them because they themselves refuse to submit to authority in the Christ’s true Church. So Ross, I urge you to go and learn what this means:

the LORD showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the LORD. One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very poor figs, so bad they could not be eaten. Then the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “Figs,” I answered. “The good ones are very good, but the poor ones are so bad they cannot be eaten” (Jeremiah 24:1-3).

Talking Loud And Saying Nothing

Daws will now continue his imaginary dialogue for his approving Emergent constituency:

RD: So it tells you what is true about God?
KS: Yes, the bible is the Word of God, and is true in every respect.
RD: How were the bible’s human authors capable of writing something that is completely true in every respect?
KS: Because they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Because God wrote the scriptures through men, they knew exactly what to write, and it is therefore true.
RD: So God inspired them to know exactly what was true, and they were able to know that and communicate that perfectly without even the risk of them colouring or distorting that in any way?

DAWS: You can all imagine Ken’s positive answer to that question, I’m sure and that answer reveals the underlying assumption which is not a theological one, but is epistemological. The question here is is a human being capable of objectively knowing something true without that knowledge being in any way shaped or coloured by that person, and are they then able to communicate that in such a way that other people can understand it without it being shaped either by the person communicating it, or their own experience of that communication? Or put more simply, can a person objectively know and communicate an objective truth? This is not a theological question. Fundamentally, it is a question of what we believe about people.

Confront This Emergent Evil Among Us

Silva: Men and women, I tell you in the Lord this kind of word play is exactly the type of thing I have read for months in books from Emergent Church leaders as well as in the writings of those who choose to follow these fools. Here before you now is absolute concrete proof of the dreadful and devastating effect that men like Brian McLaren and his Emergent Church are having upon the true Christian faith. In Ross Daws we have what appears to be a sincere young man who went to a “Christian” Bible school and this is how badly he became infected there. Now can those of you who have seen me go after this Emerging Church movement with such force finally see why?

There is no use in having a dialogue with the leadership in the cult of the Emergent Church who by teaching this trash to a young man like Daws have provided more than ample proof that most of them are unregenerate children of the Devil. Dr. Mohler; Dr. Carson; Dr. MacArthur, don’t waste your time; men like Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet and Doug Pagitt (ask Bob DeWaay) will not even be able to hear you. No my dear brothers, you are men whom our Lord has chosen to give positions of authority within His Church, and what Christ is looking for are some men like you who have the guts to take off the gloves and to confront this blatant rebellion within the Body of Christ head on.

Today I appeal to you to end The New Downgrade No-Controversy! This Emergent Church group should be publicly expelled from the Church of our Lord for their blatant disregard of God’s Word and their patent denial of the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the Cross. And this should be done before the upcoming National Pastors Conference 2006 which is actually set to feature this malignant tumor in the Body of Christ. What I have said before, now I say again: If we do not have this satanic growth surgically removed by the Spirit then this 2006 NPC will metastasize its spiritual cancer throughout the Church in America.

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.

God Created Holy Scripture

I offer the below for the benefit of the few following this neopagan cult of the Emergent Church who might actually listen; and it is given by way of a quick review for the Christian. Although Daws himself may be a “follower of Jesus,” I admonish him as a pastor-teacher sent by the Christ he claims to know, that he’d better consider the following very carefully before he blasphemes any further against the Jesus he assumes he is following. The argument Daws presents above is actually a tired old argument that dates back well before McLaren and Sweet, and well before Barth and even Bultmann.

If he is a Christian, before Daws gets himself caught up any deeper into this deception he would benefit from reading about the Downgrade Controversy that Charles Spurgeon himself faced. We’ve already “been there, done that,” and sadly we watched as the Church was sleeping then as well. The argument presented here by Daws et al is cleared up like this. Let’s take Christ Himself in John 8:43 where He says to the Emerging Church of His day – Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.

Now I ask you to please keep in mind that Daws brought this upon himself. What does our Lord mean here Ross? Now obviously these men weren’t deaf and they could literally hear that Christ was speaking. Oh, Jesus meant that these unregenerate men wouldn’t be able to understand His Words because these have to be spiritually discerned. Hmm, “spiritually discerned,” I believe that phrase sounds kind of familiar. Where have I heard that before? Now I remember it was that rascal Paul (prior to our “new perspective”); the inspired Apostle said:

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:13-14).

And you know Ross this actually agrees with a verse you’ll no doubt be familiar with regarding this argument for the inspiration of Scripture. The reader is asked to keep in mind at this point that I am actually having to argue for the Truth of the Bible with a professed Christian! Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:21 – For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. If Daws takes the time to look it up in the Greek he will find that “carried along” brings out the idea of wind in a ship’s sails steering it in the direction the vessel is to go. There’s no way around it as far as the “inspiration” of the Bible because all Scripture is God-breathed as Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16.

However, what is not generally connected up here in this type of apologetic is that just as God “breathed” life into man as He created him, so God “breathed” into His Word as He created it. Why, I’m actually a bit surprised that the “great” Bible scholar N.T. Wright, most of the Emergents bow before is superior erudition, didn’t pick this up in all of his re-casting and re-imagining (etc., etc.) and his re-visionist history of Paul. I haven’t been to Bible college or seminary and even I know that anyone familiar with the Old Testament as Timothy undoubtedly was would have understood Paul to be saying “as God created man, so He created Holy Scripture.”

Unfortunately since I am not among the teachers the Emergent Church has gathered around themselves in order to tell them exactly what they want to hear as they turn away to these myths they aren’t likely to listen to me. The fact of the matter is this whole Emergent Church group is actually nothing more than a very pitiful re-casting of The Emperor’s Clothes; and the truth is that it isn’t going to matter how many “tailors” and scholars they gather around themselves to scratch their itching ears, the Emergent Church still doesn’t have a stitch of truth on to hide the nakedness of their shame:

For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:18-20).

The Sad Truth Of Spiritual Neglect

Whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

We close with the rest of Ross Daws’ critique of my post A Diseased Tree. Truly it is a travesty that the Evangelical church simply does nothing about Emergent heretics like Brian McLaren, cowardly hiding their liberal theology (and worse!) under the cloak of being a Christian, and who are being allowed to twist young men like Daws into the following doctrinal pretzel. It’s a rather lengthy quote, but for what it reveals about the character of those who will follow this Emergent delusion it seems best to leave it mostly unedited. And as you note the sections I highlighted you will clearly see why there is no reason for Evangelical leaders to engage the Emergent Church in dialogue.

The following also reveals much about the type of “fruit” which is produced by the antichrist ministry of the Brian McLarens and the Doug Pagitts and the Tony Joneses. I ask you to pay close attention to the hate for God’s Word that will clearly be exhibited by this Emergent “follower of Jesus.” After you do; then come and tell me that you think the Emergent Church movement is a healthy Christian alternative method to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ relevant to pagan so-called postmodern America. The questions I’d have for you are: What “Christian” method are we getting here? And what “Gospel” is being made relevant? And what “Jesus Christ” are we being told about?

DAWS: I believe in people…my experience of people, of myself, my wife, my friends and family, and also of people I read about (say) in the bible, of Israel, of Jesus’ disciples… my experience of all these people suggests to me that people can only learn ‘truth’ subjectively – that they hear it in the context of their own lives, and understand it as such. All humans misunderstand, often wilfully. The disciples were not necessarily wilfully misunderstanding of Jesus, perhaps they were just thick.

But when I read Jesus warning them to beware the yeast of the Pharisees and they conclude that he is angry with them because they forgot to bring bread it is clear to me that even in the presence of God himself human beings are incapable of understanding things in any way other than through the lens of their own experience and life.

I cannot therefore in light of all my experience believe that it is possible that humans could objectively know and communicate truth without distortion. This is not a theological position but it of course shapes my theology, causing me to reject the notion that just because something is inspired it must therefore be infallible, for example…because in all my experience and study, both of the bible and of life, I have never encountered anything which compelled me to understand it differently, but primarily because I can’t help it and neither can you.

When Mark says “Jesus sat down on the green grass” I imagine the grass looking like it does in the fields on my parents’ farm because that is what green grass looks like. When he says that Jesus slept with his head on a cushion, I imagine the little cushions I have on my couch which a friend brought back for me from Pakistan. I know that the cushions wouldn’t have been anything like that but that is how I see it because I understand the passage through my own experience and no matter how much travel and study we undertake we all do exactly the same thing, unconsciously.

The fact that I reject Silva’s theology is not because I have jumped on the bandwagon of pop philosophy called postmodernity. It is because I see the world through very different eyes to him, and the assumptions he makes about the world, about God, and about truth I cannot make and nor would I want to, they are abhorrent to me.

And no amount of him saying “but the Bible says this” is ever going to convince me because I cannot see it the way he does, and the bible doesn’t ask me to see it the way he does!! He has brought his own baggage and assumptions to the scriptures, and blusters at those who will not share those assumptions with him.

Amusingly, Calvin seems to have faced a similar struggle, for he writes in his institutes “It is foolish to attempt to prove to infidels that the Scripture is the Word of God. This it cannot be known to be, except by faith.” Which ultimately is a nice way of ending the argument, by making the implicit assumption that anyone who disagrees with him a) lacks faith and b) is therefore an infidel. Perhaps that makes me an infidel, who knows?

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

And so I now offer this emergent pastoral assessment to the Church that the arrogant antichrist spirit of rebellion here be allowed to speak for itself as it loudly offers its own testimony with absolute pristine clarity to the appalling Christ-dishonoring fruit of this Emergent darkness…