“We Were Soldiers” is one of the best films on the Vietnam war, starring Mel Gibson as Colonel Hal Moore. It is the story of the first great encounter between American troops and the regular army of North Vietnam, a battle that took place in November, 1965 in the Ia Drang Valley. At one point the American forces were being overwhelmed by vastly superior numbers. In the real battle, Lieutenant Charlie Hastings, forward air controller, sent out the call “Broken Arrow,” a code-word meaning an American position was in danger of being over-run. This brought every American aircraft in the theater to the rescue. In the film they had Hal Moore (Gibson) make the call, with stunning special effects coming soon thereafter. What made the situation tremendously difficult was that once the lines were entangled, it becomes next to impossible to tell, from the air, who is friend, and who is foe. Friendly fire incidents skyrocket.
That is the theological situation today. As you survey the battlefield you are tempted to give the “Broken Arrow!” code, for it is next to impossible to tell where the “lines” are anymore, and who is friend, and who is foe. What’s worse, the folks you thought were on your side earlier in the battle have now turned their guns your direction, and the fire is coming in hot and heavy.
Want an example? There is a book review on the F.A.R.M.S. website (F.A.R.M.S. is the primary LDS apologetics organization based at BYU) written by David Paulsen and Matthew Fisher (click here). It is a review of Clark Pinnock’s Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God’s Openness published by Baker/Paternoster (yes, that Baker). It will hardly surprise our fine readers that Mormon scholars are overjoyed to be joined by the likes of Pinnock in claiming the historic doctrines of the Christian faith regarding God’s omniscience, omnipresence, and most especially, His immutability and perfection, are actually Greek perversions of the “biblical model.” As we noted earlier on this blog, Pinnock and others joined LDS scholars in Utah this Spring to discuss their respective theologies. As the book review noted:
Pinnock has opened the door for Latter-day Saints and openness thinkers to engage in cooperative work. In a cordial letter to David Paulsen, Pinnock recently wrote: “Your work has gotten me interested in knowing more about the ‘Mormon/evangelical dialogue,’ how to measure it and even how to bridge it. Are we (in your opinion) co-belligerents as it were in the struggle against pagan influences in classical theism? Can we benefit each other? My sense is that we are closer to each other than process theists are to either of us. . . . Clearly we have much in common. I have always hoped with respect to your faith that Mormon thinking might draw closer to Christian thinking (or ours to yours) and not drift farther away.”
Ponder for a moment that last line in light of the foundational nature of such things as monotheism and God’s eternal nature, and note as well that this review began with the quotation of Joseph Smith,
It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God.
Ironically, as most of our readers know, that’s not where Joseph Smith ended that statement. What he said more fully was:
“It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.”
Those who know Mormonism know the King Follett Funeral Discourse quite well, and hence to see Pinnock, once a mainstream evangelical, and still one allowed membership in the Evangelical Theological Society and allowed a voice as an “evangelical,” speaking in such a fashion to one who would believe as Joseph Smith did in that sermon is truly an amazing testimony. But it is a testimony to the utter apostasy of Clark Pinnock, the utter lack of discernment of modern evangelicalism, and the fact that on a battlefield where “Broken Arrow!” is crackling over the radio waves with regularity, it is good to remember that unlike the fallible pilots of the USAF who turned the tide that day in the Ia Drang Valley, our Commander in Chief is infallible, and He knows perfectly well His own. We need not fear any friendly fire in the battle for the “once for all delivered to the saints faith.”