As part of our online apologetics and discernment ministry Apprising Ministries been documenting the New Downgrade within evangelicalism because of its ignominious embrace of the now upgraded Emerging Church 2.0 with its newer, more clearly delineated, postmodern Progressive Christian theology.

In addition this new, and not improved, liberal theology—a Liberalism 2.0—is what this sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church will often refer to as “big tent” Emergence Christianity. Like I just told you in Samir Selmanovic Defends Worshipping With Witches this cult is now out of the closet regarding the soteriology of their big tent liberal theology: Pagan universalism.

This even includes the Emergent Church trinity of apostates of Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren, heretical Emerging Church pastor Doug Pagitt, and his equally heretical friend Tony Jones—progressive “theologian in residence” at Solomon’s Porch. Lord willing, in days to come you’ll see just how wide the door is to this postmodern liberal mythology, which McLaren has begun laying out in his book A New Kind of Christianity.

As a matter of fact, you’re about to see that for Doug Pagitt, “Universalism is too small” in the two videos I first showed you in Doug Pagitt Agrees With Evolutionary Evangelist Michael Dowd. Following below is a transcription of these video segments September 19, 2010 Segment 5 – Universalism is too small Doug Pagitt Radio and September 19, 2010 Segment 6 – Universalism is too small Doug Pagitt Radio

September 19, 2010 Segment 5 – Universalism is too small Doug Pagitt Radio

September 19, 2010 Segment 6 – Universalism is too small Doug Pagitt Radio

September 19, 2010 Segment 5 – Universalism is too small Doug Pagitt Radio

Doug Pagitt:       And as I promised you, we’re going to have a conversation with Michael Dowd. And Michael Dowd bills himself as an “Evolutionary Evangelist,” but Michael hasn’t called in today.

John Musick:        No.

Pagitt:       And you know what I think this is? I think this is Karma kickback.

John:        Oh yeah?

Pagitt:       Karma kickback on me for feeling all fancy for having my friend Barbara on the show and sort of bragging on it. Yesterday, I was on somebody else’s radio program because not only do I host this show, I write books…

John:        Sure.

Pagitt:       …and I have a new book out called, Church in the Inventive Age and those people wanted to talk about my book, which I don’t talk about enough on this radio program…some people think

John:        You don’t.

Pagitt:       I know…it just feels a little too self-promotional. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to be that radio personality pushing his own stuff…in it for the money.

John:        You don’t think your material is important?

Pagitt:       No, I think my material is VERY important, in fact I think it’s probably the most important book that  I’ve written this year.

John:        Yeah.

Pagitt:       And I think you should pick it up and I think you should buy it in your local bookstore, you should buy it online, Church in the Inventive Age, I think it’s a world changer for anybody who’s involved in religion or in life in the 21st century.

John:        It’s been number one in my bathroom since its release.

Pagitt:       I think number one book in John’s bathroom says a lot.

John:        It does.

Pagitt:       But anyway, I was on this radio program and I had to call in late. We’d set it up that I would call in at 11am and some circumstances presented themselves that uh….

John:        You were that guy…

Pagitt:       I was that guy I had to call in late for my own radio interview somebody had set up.

John:        Oh geez.

Pagitt:       Yeah. I know, but I’m not even going to go into how righteous I was…

John:        Sneezing in a napkin gets a cripes, but that doesn’t…I think you’re kind of limiting yourself again.

Pagitt:       Look, if we went into all the ways in which I’ve earned the cripes to come on you’ve got to be kidding me in the way I’ve made the world less pleasurable and less righteous.

John:        We’d need a three hour program.

Pagitt:       We’d have a three hour program. We’d have to have more hours…maybe a daily program.

John:        Yeah.

Pagitt:       But anyway, Michael hasn’t called in yet, but he may call in. So when he does, here’s what I’d like to talk to him about: I like what he’s up to…he’s written a book called, Thank God for Evolution and his argument is that there’s this big thing going on in the larger story of the cosmos and that it’s not at all inconsistent with Christianity; it’s not all inconsistent with the Hebrew faith, it’s not at all inconsistent with the other great faiths of the world.  That evolution is not the problem; evolution is a conversation partner about how things go. And on his Facebook status (and if you’re friends with Michael Dowd you might have seen this already) Michael’s Facebook status there’s this great little phrase there that I really want to talk to him about and we’re going to get him back on the show sometime (unless he’s dodging me on purpose.

                  The phrase is this, “Facts…facts are God’s native tongue.”

John:        Mmm.

Pagitt:       That’s a great phrase. God speaks in facts. So don’t let facts be the thing that’s going to disturb your faith.

John:        Yeah.

Pagitt”:      Facts are God’s native tongue,” I like that…I like it a lot. Now, as somebody who sort of understands some Post-Modern thinking and Post-Modern perspectives on truth…

John:        Sure.

Pagitt:       …one would say, “Look, facts are always interpreted…facts.” (laughs) Facts are always something that someone doesn’t just take the data, then you have to interpret the data. So, every time you’re into a fact you are also interpreting that fact. So, sometimes I think people set up a bit of a false separation between a fact and an opinion.

John:        The understanding of fact can be influenced by other things.

Pagitt:       …can be influenced by other things…”What do you mean by a fact?” And some people speak about the cold, hard facts or the data; but even data itself that you’re going to gather is chosen for a particular reason…you have a certain set of data that includes this information and not others. I get all of that, but I like the notion that “Facts are God’s native tongue.”

John:        Sure.

Pagitt:       That whatever is true, whatever is good, whatever is right, whatever is beautiful…these are the things that we ought to be about…that’s actually a quoted bible verse.

John:        Mm hmm.

Pagitt:       See, I can just throw it into normal conversation like that…

John:        Beautiful.

Pagitt:       Well…this is the kind of thing that I wanted to talk to him about. Then he goes on and asks these three other questions that I think are worth people knowing about. They should know about them today, they shouldn’t have to wait until tomorrow. He says, “Facts are God’s native tongue and if there are scriptures beyond the holy text, and if God didn’t stop communicating knowledge long ago, and if it’s possible for new understandings to arise in ways more widely available and testable than what can be channeled through our hearts and minds of lone individuals, then surely this is it. God in reality communicate us…communicate to us by publically revealing new facts.

John:        Hanging ten on the slippery slope, man.

Pagitt:       I like it (laughs). I like it that he’s making this…this…bold argument. It’s an argument that I’ve wanted to make over and over myself and I’m glad that I can partner with Michael in making it. You know, anytime you get somebody saying what you’re already saying you try to amplify that…right?

John:        Sure.

Pagitt:       Well, I think he’s saying this interesting thing that the facts that we have about the world that we live in, the facts that we have about the planet, the facts that we have from biology and from chemistry and from physics, none of those should be getting in the way of our faith. If we’ve created a faith that is designed in such a way that the facts have to first run through the grid of previous understanding, I think we find ourselves in trouble.

John:        Yeah. Or if those facts or other influences can somehow destabilize our faith then our faith really isn’t that strong.

Pagitt:       Yeah and this is what I think even inside the holy texts themselves (so for me the bible fits in that category) even inside the bible, what you have is some activity, some facts, some happening, that people of that day had to say, “Does that fit or doesn’t it fit?” And part of what makes the stories of the bible alive and feel like they fit even in our day is that people were seeing things, hearing things, having happenings that they’re like, “That doesn’t make any sense…how could God behave that way?” So even within the texts themselves you have a whole faith that’s built around new ideas, new understandings, new revelations, new facts that cause people to say, “Something must be afoot. Maybe we’ve understood wrongly, God or humanity or the earth or something else.” So this isn’t only true in like scientific discovery as it relates to things, it’s true within all our lived experiences; that just maybe we’ve arranged the world in our heads and our understanding of it in ways that aren’t helpful anymore and that new presentations of the way things are start to interfere with that.

John:        Yeah, but doesn’t that make things kind of wishy-washy if everything points to God, then you know, doesn’t that kind of lead to some sort of like erosion of you know, the Judeo-Christian story?

Pagitt:       Yeah, see I think what you’re getting at this a good question. For a lot of people they’re like look….each religion needs to have its corner on the market. If I could put words around that…maybe you’re not saying, but here’s what I think people mean by that…if our faith could have a corner on the market where we’re able to say things that nobody else can say and that nobody else knows then it has to be special. And in Christian theology, there is these categories, that systematic theologians have created and they fall under the headings of general revelation (the things that are revealed to everyone)

John:        Yeah.

Pagitt:       and special revelation; it’s really a play on the words of general relativity and special relativity out of Einstein’s thing, but anyway general revelation and special revelation and there’s people who think these two categories are like important (I think that they’re not very helpful at all and I don’t use them), but there are people who would say, “Okay, there’s a thing that we just kind of know because everyone can observe them and everyone can see it.” But, the holy text (on the other hand) they have special revelation, which only people who believe or understand the text or know the text can properly understand.

John:        And so they’re more important.

Pagitt:       And so they carry more power.

John:        Mm hmm.

Pagitt:       Now, I think that’s extraordinarily dangerous and extraordinarily inaccurate. I just don’t think that’s an honest way to reveal it. I think whatever facts there are, however God reveals God-self to humanity isn’t done in secret. This is what I like about what Michael’s getting at, I think he’s getting at that there’s this really long story (as he calls it the “fourteen million year story of what God’s up to) and I think that that’s far more interesting and this idea that, well, no there’s these certain people who have access to the truths of God that are special and other people don’t have access to those…that’s something that’s always made me uncomfortable.

John:        Mm.

Pagitt:       Because I feel like the way that we’re supposed to express faith, the way we’re supposed to understand faith, even within the traditions that we have or if our traditions don’t know how to do this they should need to be something far more broad that everyone has access to; because whatever God is up to in the cosmos includes the entire cosmos and is not hiding it from certain people. Now, I can hear my conservative friends saying right now…

John:        It’s the tip of the iceberg of Universalism, Doug.

Pagitt:       All right, so we’re going to come back here. We’re going to talk about this universalism thing…that’s where I wanted to go with Michael…or I’m going to play the role of Michael. I don’t need Michael to make my point today.

John:        (laughing)

Pagitt:       I’m going to make my point today, I’m going to tell it the way I want to tell it because I think there’s a bigger story. Universalism isn’t even big enough because the universe isn’t big enough. We gotta’ get into the entire cosmos.

John:        Okay.

Pagitt:       That’s cosmos-ism I want you saying by the end of it…I want you screaming out, “this is the tip of the cosmos-ism iceberg” and that’s extremely…and then you can decide if it’s dangerous or life-giving. So after this, we’re going to be back with a little cosmoses…

John:        Cosmism.

Pagitt:       Cosmism. Some little cosmism because universalism isn’t big enough when it comes to the story (at least as a Christian, I would say the story the bible tells us).

(Station Break)

September 19, 2010 Segment 6 – Universalism is too small Doug Pagitt Radio

(Opens with Doug & John discussing the Vikings football team, sports, sportsmanship, etc….)

Pagitt:       So we were having this conversation in the first segment here in the second hour, about what Michael Dowd was suggesting (the guest who decided not to show up) and I’ve only been stiffed on this show one other time…

John:        Yeah…

Pagitt:       …so this guy’s in trouble.

John:        Right.

Pagitt:       So he didn’t show up, but we were having this conversation about how Christianity (and from my vantage point I think Judaism as well, but I’m not a practicing Jew – I’m a practicing Christian, but I can speak well enough for Judaism as well) is not just a global faith, it’s not even just a universal faith…

John:        No.

Pagitt:       …it is a cosmic faith.

John:        Wow.

Pagitt:       See the word universe is that there’s one “uni”verse, and now we understand that there is more than one what we used to call “universe” probably parallel universes and all these things and this is just understood by “Cosmicists”.

John:        Mm hmm.

Pagitt:       So there’s all this cosmos going on; whatever story God is about has to be big enough to include the entire cosmos.

John:        Mm.

Pagitt:       Nothing is left out. In fact, I think that if you follow the Jesus story that’s clearly what you would be seeing. In fact, if you read the authors in the New Testament who write about this faith that Jesus was proclaiming and the faith that comes out of what we call the Old Testament (whatever my Jewish friends would call the scriptures)…

John:        Sure.

Pagitt:       That out of that they were saying there was something that involves the entire cosmos that all of creation is a part of…

John:        Mm.

Pagitt:       and the fact that we’ve taken Christianity (or taken Judaism) and boiled it down so narrowly defined that what it really has to do with is your own personal experience; and you as a human being sort of being engaged in this faith separate from everything else is far too small.

John:        Mm.

Pagitt:       And I’m not the one sort of making that up (I know some people would say you’re totally making that up), but I don’t think I’m the one making that up; I think that is what the story itself says, and if we don’t (and if you’re watching online you can see my arms are going out really wide like I’m striking a Messianic pose here…

John:        Yeah.

Pagitt:       …what I’m trying to say is that it’s the entirety of everything that has to be included…that all of creation is a part of this. Everything that exists in matter and anti-matter has to be a part of this story. And I know that can sound really ethereal to people, but if you don’t start there then you would say, “Well, but we have our faith and the things of this world might interfere with that faith,” and that’s where I think trouble falls.

John:        Mm.

Pagitt:       And I know that you were saying earlier, “Well, that kind of phrase is a…is a slippery slope…

John:        Yeah.

Pagitt:       …which is a great little phrase (because nobody wants to slip on a slope). I mean sometimes even those little phrases like “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” like, I’m not throwing my baby out! I don’t even know what you’re saying anymore, I’m just worried about my baby…

John:        Right, right.

Pagitt:       …and why am I throwing out bathwater? I have a drain…so I get all confused with that; but the slippery slope idea or the tip of the iceberg…

John:        Yes.

Pagitt:       …all those kinds of phrases are ones that people end up saying, “Look, you’re really into, like, maybe Christianity’s going to sort of be absorbed by a larger story here.

John:        Yes, it loses its significance and its personal impact in a person’s life if you’re talking big stuff like that.

Pagitt:       Yeah, cosmos so what does that have to do with you and your inner healing that’s was going on last week…

John:        Okay, now you…

Pagitt:       No, I’m just saying…

John:        I didn’t say anything…

Pagitt:       I am picking on you about that, but that is what people worry about, right? That’s the thing that people get all revved up about. So, at this church that I’m a part of called Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis – we meet on Sunday nights…you’re more than welcome to join us anytime – we’re going to be reading the Gospel of John (it’s one of the New Testament books). And doing the preparation for this…this little group that we have that puts together our sermons, we were reading the beginning of the Gospel of John which starts out with this big, cosmic picture.

John:        It does.

Pagitt:       In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God; and all that was, was created in and through and by. I mean, it is a story of the entire cosmos, and somehow people think it would be better if really what the story had to do with was you getting out of this earth and getting to another place someday.

John:        Yeah.

Pagitt:       It is stunning to me. Now, I’m not saying there’s not afterlife for people. I’m not saying there’s not a story that keeps rolling through all of eternity. All I’m saying is the story that we start with is one of the entire cosmos and everything in it matters.

John:        But Doug, doesn’t the Old…you know, the God of the Old and New  Testament seem to call people to a pretty strict adherence to, you know, either to the Old Testament covenant or to alliance with the suffering servant Jesus who died on the cross? How does…you know, God’s pretty specific about, you know, what it takes to please Him and if you like open the door to all this other stuff, those things don’t seem to be important anymore.

Pagitt:       They don’t seem to matter anymore. All right, load up…so we only got two minutes on this thing..

John:        Come on.

Pagitt:       Loaded for bear…I’ve never hunted for bear so I don’t know that phrase…I’m going to be thrifty with my words…I think it’s fair to say if you were to read the story as it’s chronicled in our holy scriptures,

John:        Mm hmm.

Pagitt:       in our Old and New Testaments, what you see continually happening is an expanding of the story of God that people keep trying to restrict and that the God character in the scriptures keeps trying to open; it gets wider and wider and wider and wider. I think there’s a way to say that the storyline that you ‘re reading in the Old Testament starts at a more narrow place and starts to get wider and wider and wider. Now, not so much at the beginning of that story, because the beginning of that story in the Old Testament (or scriptures if you’re Jewish) is as wide as it can be…In the beginning God creates the heavens and earth…it is everything it can be; but then it starts to narrow, then it starts to widen and widen and widen. And because I don’t think (like Michael Dowd the guest who didn’t show up), I don’t think that the revelations of God stopped with scripture then what we continue to see is the continuing widening of the story. And the more we understand, the more we can tell the heighth and the breadth and the depth of this story; that it keeps becoming more and more and more. This story gets bigger and bigger. There’s no way – I’m going to chew up all the last minutes so nobody can stop my words…

John:        I’m biting the tip of my tongue off.

Pagitt:       …so there’s no way to tell the story of Jesus that doesn’t continue to include and continue to expand. What were you going to say? (I’ll give you the last 20 seconds).

John:        I’m…I’m…I don’t even know where to begin.

Pagitt:       How about confession that I’m right. (Both laugh)

John:        You have a good voice.

Pagitt:       Yeah, I have a good voice. I do think this is the story that we ought to be telling and that’s why I think what Michael Dowd is doing in his book, Thank God for Evolution and I think that when we get him back on the show you know it’s going to feel like a bit of a downer because he won’t be as clear as this about it…

John:        (laughs)

Pagitt:       But I do think this is the story that ought to be told is that the story of Christianity is not the narrow way and I know people are going to go, “But Jesus said it’s the narrow way.”

John:        Yeah.

Pagitt:       That wasn’t what he was getting at. He was getting at something else and we can get into that some other time, ‘Cause we need another show…

John:        We need another hour, Doug.

Pagitt:       Yeah, I know we don’t always get to pick apart…


See also: