…and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:4, ESV)

I’m Certain: You’re Wrong

This is a bit of a follow-up to the Apprising Ministries piece Doug Pagitt On Chris Rosebrough: Fear—A Powerful Thing, where I referenced the latest post Fear—A Powerful Thing by heretical quasi-universalist pastor Doug Pagitt over at his blog. Pagitt is unquestionably a leading voice  ‘round the Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—that morphed into Emergence Christianity (EC)—and which was originally propped up and advanced by Leadership Network (LN).

Pagitt was the one selected by LN to head-up bringing together for its Young Leaders Network some of the top young up-and-coming ministers of the mid-90’s who were just growing in stature within Youth ministry circles around that time. In his piece Pagitt is talking about his “Radio Show” on Sunday where he tells us about “a conversation” that he had with “Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith and Pirate Christian Radio.” Pagitt informs us he wanted Rosebrough’s “take on why people from his network and stream of faith are so willing to speak about me and others the way they do.”

As he opens this segment Pagitt actually uses a quote from me where I will normally talk about him as the “heretical quasi-universalist pastor.” So I happen to be in an excellent position to actually elucidate my calculated use of this phrase for Doug Pagitt. I covered this previously in Doug Pagitt And Christian Universalism so here I’ll simply point out that in The Emergent Church is a Form of Paganism at Grace to You we read:

Paul Edwards, host of “The Paul Edwards Program” on WLQV in Detroit, interviewed pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church John MacArthur about the emerging church movement in America. Paul begins the interview by asking Pastor John to respond to a radio interview with prominent emerging church leader Doug Pagitt. In the clip from October 22, 2007, Pagitt denied that there is a place of eternal conscious torment for persons who die apart from faith in Jesus Christ. (Online source)

Then John MacArthur, one of the most respected voices within the Body of Christ, said:

Let me just cut to the chase on this one: [Doug] Pagitt is a Universalist. What he was saying is real simple. He was saying when you die your spirit goes to God and judgment means that whatever was not right about you, whatever was bad about you, whatever was substantially lacking about you, gets all resolved. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Buddhist, a Hindu or a Muslim—doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian really; we’re all going to end up in this wonderful, warm and fuzzy relationship with God. That’s just classic universalism. (Online source)

And here’s the exchange between Doug Pagitt and Todd Friel, back when Friel was with Way of the Master Radio, to which MacArthur is referring:

Todd: What’s… what’s going to happen to the… How is God going to judge the good Muslim?

Doug: Does it.. God’s going to judge the life and repair and restore and heal the life of everybody in the same way. There’s gonna be no difference between what God…

Todd: So the Muslim is ultimately not going to be… go to a bad place. He’s ultimately going to be restored with God when he dies?

Doug: No, there’s going to be no difference between the way God going to interact with you when you die and the way God’s going to interact with a Muslim when a Muslim dies. (Online source)

Now because, like most false teachers when pinned down, Pagitt seems to equivocate epistemologically i.e. play word games I put “quasi” before universalism to designate that it is some kind of a universalism being proclaimed by Pagitt. It’s hardly out of fear; rather, it is simply to do my job as a pastor:

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. (Romans 16:17-18)

The word heresies refers to factions, divisions; and since in my view we wouldn’t come to see the teachings of the EC by reading the Bible alone apart from some form of indoctrination, I would say Pagitt and his EC pals are heretical. Again, hardly motivated by any fear. Yet note how quickly liberal/progressives like Pagitt compare men like Rosebrough or myself, who are theological funadamentalists believing what cult expert Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989) called “the historic orthodox Christian faith,” to radical Islamic fundamentalists.

But I’m So Afraid Of People Who Appear So Certain In Their Fear Of The Lord

We can just as easily argue that Pagitt et al are the ones who are fearful. Yet in the comments section of Belief and Unbelief yesterday by my friend Mike Ratliff, who’s a valued fellow contributor at Christian Research Net, Pagitt pontificates:

Mike, I think that you would have found, had you read the post and not just part of it, that I was suggesting the reason your stream talks the way you do about other people, is from fear.

Not, that you believe the way you do is from fear. I think there are far less honorable reasons for that.

I was trying to help others understand that we are scary to you and to have some empathy for the fact that fear is created.

I can tell by your post that you desire to be thorough, so, I think it would be in your character to actually read the entire posts you are referencing.

Peace, Doug (Online source)

From where I sit we see another example of the arrogance of liberal/progressive types such as Pagitt appears to be. Notice the accusation that Mike hadn’t read the entire post, but rather, only read “part of it.” Then condescention concerning our alleged “stream” as Pagitt tells us it’s out of “fear” that those within talk “the way [we] do about other people”; and further in his dream, we have “far less honorable reasons for” believing “the way we do.” As I’ve said before, the supposedly “loving”  and “tolerant” ones are only tolerant when you agree or when it’s convenient for their own public posturing. 

But Ratliff very quickly and succinctly sets Pagitt straight:

You missed the point of my article. I was addressing the fallacy you hold of there being different “streams of faith.” There is faith (belief) and unbelief. That’s it. You either believe God and obey Him or you don’t. Funny thing about that Doug. God does not ever contradict Himself. He is not the author of confusion. Therefore, He is not going to have these “different” ways of serving Him or believing Him. (Online source)

This LN-led rebellion against the all-sufficiency and final authority of Scripture i.e. the proper Christian spirituality of Sola Scriptura does not wish to be limited to any sort of idea that the Bible is God’s Word ala Hebrews 1:1-2. In closing this out for now, you may recall recently in Thrown Under The Emerging Church Bus I mentioned that the dubious duo of Jones and Pagitt were behind the liberal/progressive EC apostasia-palooza Christianity 21. One of the featured “voices” concerning the “future of our faith” was Makeesha Fisher

You can learn more about her in Makeesha Fisher: Sometimes You Gotta Be Crass. In coming to Pagitt’s aid in the comments section of his Fear—A Powerful Thing Fisher actually reveals why so many in the EC are so adamant in creating their own postmodern synthetic reality and cobbling together their own version of Christianity in their basements:

I know personally what that kind of fear feels like. It was instilled in me from early childhood and grew deep and strong roots. At the time, I was empowered and emboldened by what I thought was devotion and a kind of faith and perseverance that the Spirit rewarded. Looking back, I feel so sad thinking about how afraid I was. And the thing that makes me the most sad is all of the friendships I missed out on, all of the chances I missed to actually LIVE the WAY of Jesus loving and serving.

Instead I behaved out of fear and most of my serving was done with caveats or out of a sense of self righteous aid. I will spend the rest of my life trying to live out of a place of love and freedom, no longer afraid of hell, demons, satan, spiritual influences, homosexual agendas, feminist agendas, prochoice agendas…no longer afraid of what might happen to that person if I don’t present them with the 4 spiritual laws, no longer afraid that if I don’t have it all figured out that I’ll be spit out of God’s mouth. (Online source)

We grieve that so many in the EC have been hurt by Fred Phelps-like “fundamentalists,” who are just as heretical as Pagitt et al; however, below is what’s even sadder as we watch them while they slip into the matrix of 2 Corinthians 11:4 — if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. Fisher continues:

I have 30 years to make up for and I plan to make the most of it by embracing the true Spirit of love that casts out fear and following the Way of Jesus that starts with creation and wholeness not sin and brokenness. (Online source)

And so because this is not some kind of game, having been given a shepherd’s heart, it’s not out of fear—but rather—out of love I am doing what I do, and should the Lord choose to sustain me:

I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:12-15, NASB)

Now, if only some of the big “names” within evangelicalism, who run in circles where they do see each other, would also love these infected with the Emerging/ent/ence virus enough to tell them the truth: Jesus, our crucified and resurrected Savior, can even heal that eternally deadly spiritual disease.

See also: