As most of you know, Steve Camp has become not only a regular guest over the years on The Dividing Line (the program he and I did on the anniversary of Keith Green’s death is one of my all time favorites), but he and I have worked together many times now, including doing the apologetics cruises together. Steve provides that rare combination of music and worship together with sound theology, and as such, comments on the wider issues facing the faith today. Recently he commented on Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy (Zondervan, 2004), which is subtitled:
WHY I AM A missional + evangelical + post/protestant + liberal/conservative + mystical poetic + biblical + charismatic/contemplative + fundamentalist/calvinist + anabaptist/anglican + methodist + catholic + green + incarnational + depressed-yet-hopeful + emergent + unfinished CHRISTIAN
Of course, that is meant to activate the sense of disorientation deeply desired and valued by postmodernists who think that the bare action of combining contradictory terms while smiling and humming a tune that uses the terms “love” and “flowers” results in something deeply spiritual. Oh, I should note in passing: I am discovering that as long as you are “pomo” in orientation (post-modern), then everything you say, including your clear denial of the truth of historic Christian doctrine, will be loving and “Christian” and spiritual. However, if you dare find such denigration of the faith offensive, then you are hateful, backwards, unloving, unkind, and unspiritual. That’s just part of the “movement.” That’s why Paul is not the favorite author in this movement. In fact, come to think of it, no biblical author is.
Anyway, Steve Camp reviewed McLaren’s recent effort here. And today, Kevin Johnson threw an egg at Camp’s review here. I say threw an egg because when you do that (no, I don’t have personal experience, just an observation), it really doesn’t do much beyond destroying the egg and making a mess. Once you’ve read Camp’s review, you will have a hard time finding the connection to Johnson’s response. I wonder why the folks over at TheOxymoronicTitledBlog refuse to accurately represent these issues? Perhaps because for all their talk of ecumenicity, truth-denying compromise only really goes one way?
UPDATE: Ironically, as I posted this, Mr. Johnson posted on the issue of the tsunami and how believers should respond. In an incredible example of what I just pointed out, Johnson decries John Piper’s comments as “tragically representing the Bildad-Zophar-Eliphaz faction,” and even manages to take a swipe at Doug Wilson (though, amazingly, he does so based upon how Wilson responded to 9/11—in case that confuses you, Johnson just recently left a CREC church, and has since then been repeatedly critical of Wilson—I will let the reader do the math on that one). Anyway, Johnson then lauds both NT Wright and the Archbishop of Canterbury (see previous blog entry on his comments), and writes,
The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams also spoke to the recent disaster. This prompted gnostic-like comments by Dr. James White–ostensibly because there are no real references to “Jesus / Christ / sovereignty / sin / repentance / wrath / judgment / wickedness / rebellion / glory of God” and the Archbishop fails to consider “any serious discussion of God’s purposes in this world, the result of sin, or the justice and judgment of God” in regards to the horrific loss of life and destruction caused by the recent Tsunami. Let me get this straight. People in the various regions affected by the Tsunami are suffering, dying, starving, deprived of their general ability to live a normal life, and thousands of their friends, family, and countrymen are dead and we think it would be appropriate to speak about this tragedy merely in terms of biblical doctrine–wrath, judgement, sin, and the like–let alone do anything about helping to resolve such suffering.
Gnostic? How ecumenical and postmodern of Mr. Johnson! Remember, pomos can use any terms they like, since they do not have to use established categories of truth, nor do they have to use established definitions of words. So why not throw a term like that around? If an IT guy who sells coffee can call Steve Camp a “hack,” why not redefine entire theological terms? It’s a wonderful new world where truth is no longer a term worth using! I am truly forced to wonder when reading this kind of rhetoric if Johnson and others who join him in this rush from truth realize what they are saying. How dare I talk about earthquakes and tsunamis in the context of biblical doctrine! How uncompassionate! And we wonder why these folks end up throwing the faith out and adopting some kind of man-centered alternative where everyone is good and there is no sin or punishment or wrath or judgment…and the cross becomes a feel-good symbol rather than the decisive act of God in redemptive history. Bah, it’s all gnosticism anyway, right?
What follows is a glowing example of religiosity devoid of biblical truth. It sounds so nice and warm and fuzzy, but it has no substance. Obviously, like his heroes, Johnson avoids any biblical foundation. The passages in Scripture (and they are numerous) that directly connect God’s purposes to events in time, including His demonstration of His wrath and making His power known (can anyone say “Exodus” or “Pharaoh”?) are notably absent, for obvious reasons. I wonder when these allegedly “Reformed” folks came to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit would honor and make alive in the hearts of people something other than that which He Himself has inspired? Let’s face it, friends, these folks are, as John MacArthur put it years ago, ashamed of the gospel. They are ashamed of a revelation that says, “This is true. It is true for all time. It is true for all people.” They are ashamed of a God who has wrath against sin. They are ashamed of a holy God who is wholly other. Would it really have mattered if the Roman soldiers had smiled and said, “So sorry to do this” while nailing the Savior to the tree? Would that have made their act any less heinous? So why is it that we don’t see past the smiling faces of these Prophets of a Lesser God and realize that they are just as intent upon the destruction of the faith as any Grand Inquisitor of Spain? Wake up, folks, the mind-numbing drag of our culture is making us slow to see what is truly happening around us.