CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

On Emergents and False Dilemmas

Jun 27, 2008

One thing a believer quickly discovers when reading or listening to the emerging church leaders is their love of dichotomies, or dualities. They are keenly intent on setting out a whole bunch of polarities or antitheses. They claim that believers must choose between these sets of polarities. They argue that one set is the way believers should operate, and the other set is the way we should not.

The emergents let us know what they favour. They favour relationships over rules; conversation over preaching; doubt over certainty; postmodernism over modernism; discussion over theology; orthopraxis over orthodoxy; action over theory; embodiment over rationalism; journey over destination; and so on.

Now what are we to make of such polarities? Quite often, they are simply just false dilemmas. That is, the emergents are asking us to make a stark choice: we must choose just one, while rejecting the other. But many of these couplets clearly seem to be a case of both/and, not either/or. That is, in many of these dualities, a Biblical Christian would say both are needed, and it is quite unnecessary, even quite unbiblical, to demand that we pick one over the other. Why force believers into such unhelpful false dilemmas? This is both unscriptural and unwise.

Let me now explore in more detail one of these dichotomies. It is found time and again in the writings and talks of the emergents. I refer to the dichotomy between rules and relationship. Over and over we are told that a follower of Jesus can either live his life based on rules and regulations, or he can live it on the basis of an intimate love relationship with Jesus.

We must choose one or the other, they keep demanding. You can’t have both, they insist. Either we have loving relationships, or we are bound by legalism and rule-keeping. They seek to occupy the high moral ground by claiming they are into love, while non-emergents are somehow into legalism and regulations.

One pastor influenced by the emergents challenged me with these words: “You simply can’t legislate love.” Yet that seems to be exactly what Paul does, for example, when he commands husbands to love their wives (Eph. 5:25). He commands us to do this, for heaven’s sake! This is a rule, an obligation, a regulation if you will. Sure, love from the heart is what God – and Paul – are interested in, but they see no distinction between commanding something, and hoping for intimate, loving relationships.

Everywhere in the NT we are given orders, commands, instructions, admonitions, rules, regulations. The New Testament writers do not see this as being incompatible with love and intimacy. Indeed, they link the two. As I asked this pastor commentator, why cannot a follower of Jesus both have an intimate love relationship with him, and follow rules? Why must it be one or the other? Real love always involves boundaries, conditions, constraints and moral norms. It is exactly because I am intimate with my wife that I don’t commit adultery, and it is because I don’t commit adultery that I can be intimate with my wife. Both feed off each other. It is silly to seek to separate them.

As Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck rightly remind us – in Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be) – relationships must be guarded and preserved by rules: “Try telling your wife after you’ve had an affair, ‘Come on, I thought our marriage was about the relationship, not all these do’s and don’ts’.” It simply will not do to say we must either have intimacy and loving relationships, or we can have obedience to rules. The two go together, and what God has brought together, let no man bring asunder.

Thomas Schreiner, in his brand new volume, New Testament Theology (Baker 2008), has some quite helpful things to say about this issue in general, and Pauline ethics in particular. Love, he tells us, “cannot be separated from moral norms. . . . For Paul, love does not float free of ethical norms but rather is expressed by such norms. . . . Paul does not merely say that the Spirit and love will certainly and inevitably direct believers to the right course of action. He gives specific admonitions so that they will not be deceived about the nature of love (Rom. 12:9-21; Eph. 4:25-5:6; Col. 3:5-17).”

Paul does not see commands to obedience as being either legalistic or somehow in opposition to love, the Spirit-led life, or the law of Christ. Neither should we therefore seek to make such a false polarity.

The indicative/imperative

One way to get a handle on all this is to understand what is known as the indicative/imperative, especially as found in the writings of Paul.

In both English and Greek, there are various moods. The indicative mood indicates or expresses an objective fact, a reality. Biblically speaking, the indicative refers to what God has done for believers in Christ. It declares the reality of what Christ has done for us.

In contrast, the imperative mood expresses a command, an order, an entreaty, a request or exhortation. It is the mood of volition. In the Bible the imperative calls on believers to live in a certain way, for example, in a Godly manner.

The imperative is grounded in the indicative. That is, the biblical writers give us commands based on our reality in Christ. There are numerous examples of this, especially in the Pauline corpus. Consider just a few.

In Romans 6:4 Paul gives us an indicative, a statement about our reality in Christ: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

But in Romans 6:11-12 he takes this truth and turns it into an imperative: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”

In other words, Paul tells the Roman believers that because they are already raised with Christ, they need to start living like that. They are commanded to do certain things, therefore. They are told to put off the old man, put on the new, to not obey evil desires, and so on.

Consider another example. In Gal. 3:27 Paul says that “all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” This is the present reality. But in Romans 13:14 he gives the imperative of this truth: “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Here we are commanded to do what we were previously told was already a truth about our relationship with Christ.

The idea of the indicative/imperative is this: God has done this, therefore you should do that. Or as James Dunn puts it, “What Christ has done is the basis for what the believer must do.” We are to become what we are. We are to live out in our actual state what is reflected in our standing in Christ.

Sometimes this is expressed in a single sentence: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1). We are already set free in Christ, but we are commanded to stay free, and not return again to bondage.

Or as Col. 3:1 puts it, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God”. We have been raised with Christ. This is fact. So now start living like it, Paul says.

In other words Paul is telling us all the marvellous truths about our standing in Christ, all brought about by grace and a love relationship. But he then goes on to tell us about our actual state, and commands us to make sure our state corresponds with our standing. Relationships and rules go hand in glove for Paul.

Indeed, most of Paul’s books as a whole can be seen in this light. Usually in his opening chapters (eg., Eph. 1-3; Col. 1-2, etc.) Paul tells us about who and what we are in Christ. Then in the remaining chapters he gives exhortations, commands, and lists of rules to inform how that relationship should be expressed (eg., Eph. 4-6, Col. 3-4, etc).

We even find this in the Old Testament. Consider but one example. On the one hand, Yahweh tells Israel that Canaan is theirs. On the other hand, he commands them to go and take possession of it. “‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.’  So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: ‘Go through the camp and tell the people, “Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own”.'” (Josh 1:9-11)

The indicative and the imperative run together throughout Scripture. So the false dilemma of either having a love relationship with Christ, or following rules and regulations is just that: a false dilemma. They are the two sides of the same coin. They are about the indicative/imperative which permeates the NT, especially the writings of Paul.

It is frustrating to me that so many church leaders and pastors who should know better continue to push these silly false dilemmas. They should be familiar enough with Scripture not to be making such unhelpful and mischievous claims. I can well sympathise with D.A. Carson, who, after discussing the same issues (in his book, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church – Zondervan, 2005), utters these words of exasperation, which nicely conclude my piece:

“So which shall we choose? Experience or truth? The left wing of an airplane, or the right? Love or integrity? Study or service? Evangelism or discipleship? The front wheels of a car, or the rear? Subjective knowledge or objective knowledge? Faith or obedience? Damn all false antitheses to hell, for they generate false gods, they perpetuate idols, they twist and distort our souls, they launch the church into violent pendulum swings whose oscillations succeed only in dividing brothers and sisters in Christ”.

[1754 words]

26 Responses to On Emergents and False Dilemmas

  • Another example of the imperative arising out of an indicative.
    (1Jo 3:2-5) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

    John Nelson

  • A fitting conclusion Bill. However church traditions of demarcation are as old as the Apostle Paul. The tendency to differentiate between ’emergent or non – emergent’ or one denomination and others or the superiority of one theological point against another has its origins in the pride of man.

    I wonder what the church would be like if we allowed Jesus to complete His intercession in us, as in John 17: 21?

    Ray Robinson

  • Thanks Ray

    The prayer of Jesus for the unity of believers is obviously very important. But you might be somewhat amiss in you remark about the “superiority of one theological point against another has its origins in the pride of man”. Paul was not proud when he strongly contended for theological and doctrinal points against false teachings. Some theological points (such as, Jesus is God’s son and our only saviour) are certainly superior to others (such as, Jesus is not God’s son and is not the only saviour).

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I venture to suggest that people who perceive all things in terms of these antithetical couplets have forgotten the Incarnation: Jesus is fully God AND fully man without confusion etc.

    If we asked them to explain their understanding of the doctrine, I wonder how clear they would be? Or if they they would fudge it by claiming such explanations were un-helpful…?

    John Angelico

  • This article perhaps explains the uneasiness some of us might be experiencing within our own churches where worship groups seem to dominate the service at the expense of being fed and watered from the Word of God. Building on what you have said Bill, I would like to say that it is to do with objectivity and subjectivity, truth and experience, theory and practice. The Lord’s prayer starts off by stating two objective truths: God is our Father but He is also the ruler of the universe. On the basis of this we are justified in praying that these truths would be experienced: His name would be hallowed ; His Kingdom would come; His will will be done etc. The prayer is justified at the end by stating another truth: Power and Glory belong to God alone.

    The row that threatens to tear the Anglican communion apart is because objective truth is being eaten up by subjective experience.
    http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=8493

    Society as whole may look on with some amusement at this unholy scrap taking place, as something remote and irrelevant to them but the Gang of Commissioners for Human Rights and Equality, brandishing another “truth“, are going to bring this issue crashing into our schools and homes. The Joint Council for Equality and Human Rights, last year, in Britain came out with a truly staggering statement, with regard to sex education in schools: “In our view there is an important difference between this factual information [about sexual morality] being imparted in a descriptive way as part of a wide-ranging syllabus about different religions, and a curriculum which teaches a particular religion’s doctrinal beliefs as if they were objectively true. The latter is likely to lead to unjustifiable discrimination.”

    “In our view“ is no view at all but a dogmatic and absolute assertion that there are no absolute, objective truths, which is a nonsense. This has been taught in schools ever since the labour party got into government, in 1997.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/07/31/nwrong31.xml

    Read a fuller critique of the Dehumanising Rights Brigade:
    http://www.gaysandfascism.com/note/gay_note_2nd_march_2007.htm

    (I have to say that since my last link, dated 2006, infant and Junior schools, in Britain, have large posters in their schools, pointing out to the children their human rights, much in the same way that the ten commandments used to appear in all churches – except that those were responsibilities! Recently I saw in one school, where children had obviously spent some time lovingly hand writing and colouring in these rights.)

    David Skinner, UK

  • Actually not only postmodernism but also modernism contain unChristian beliefs. Modernism was condemned by name by the Church.
    The biblical understanding about whom Jesus is, when questioned at various levels, because of Greek terminology, idioms, and ideas were met not only with Scriptural quotes but also by the Church Fathers (pre Niceas and later too); then from Nicea to Chalcedon but with Church formulations in non scriptural language in defence of Scripture and of the lived meanings found in liturgy from time immemorial that met the Greek culture on its own terms so as to clarify and give precise meanings and parameters concerning the Person (prosopon) of Jesus, the number of natures (physis); relations with the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit as three distinct Persons yet of one Divine essence and so forth.
    Today not just modernists and post modernists but also some ‘evangelicals’ and fundamentalists (non-Catholics) do not give credit to and/or limit the number of Church Councils they are prepared to accept. Emergents aren’t the only ones to create false dilemmas.
    Michael Webb

  • My old business partner was always exhorting me to “Embrace the power of the AND” and not to fall for false dilemmas. It can be true in business, and its certainly true in Christian life. I totally agree with you Bill, but as to how to expunge this sort of muddy thinking, I don’t know what can be done. People seem to prefer to hear simple things and don’t want to be told that Christian faith might be more complex than what they’re comfortable with.

    Steve Frost, Melbourne

  • I suppose Jesus Christ also needed instruction from these Emergents about “rules v relationship: can’t have both”:

    John 14:15 ¶ “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
    John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Thanks Jonathan

    Yes, I think those two passages alone demolish this whole false dilemma pushed by the emergents. Of course they mean well, and they are reacting to legalism and religiosity. But pushing things to extremes and making false dichotomies just does not help matters here.

    I am continually amazed at how believers seem so ignorant or cavalier about Scripture. We go off with half-baked theories and trendy beliefs, when the Bible is really so clear on so many of these issues. It is a real puzzle to me, and I feel another article coming on. It will be about another A word: authority. When will we let God be God and his Word be our final authority on matters of faith and practice?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • One ole’ boy asked by me “why do you suppose they refuse to do as the word speaks Br Tim?

    Br Tim Butner says “I guess they just don’t love the lord”

    Nuf said?

    Br Jim Junkin, PNG 🙂

  • Go ahead Bill … I think it would be a great article. I have started to lose count of the number of sermons I have heard where pop-philosophy, pop-psychology or pop-leadership is preached instead of the word. (I have even been guilty of this myself, God help me!). Back to the Word for me. Its the safest place.

    Steve Frost, Melbourne.

  • Bill, I was referring to theological differences that create denominations within the ‘church’ and not outside its hallowed walls. As for Paul, he was overflowing in Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus and spoke in tongues more than any – Paul was compelled!

    Thanks Bill.

    Ray Robinson

  • There is much to say about final authority Bill, particularly when people are no longer sure which word is THE Word.

    That which is different is not the same.

    Edi Giudetti

  • Hi Bill. Heard you on 96.5 tonight – most re-assuring – and decided to investigate your site.

    I may be guilty of over-simplifying Christianity, but some Churches – in various ways – would seem to be “hell bent” on over-complicating the Truth and even “de-Christianizing” the Church. There were originally 10 Commandments, and they still apply today. They are logical and quite easy to follow – should we so choose – and constitute “Universal Law”. Imagine; a world with no wars, no AIDS and no lawyers!?!

    Then John 3:16 tells us of God’s purpose in sending Christ to walk among us, and instructs Christians to believe in Him. Christ gave us an 11th Commandment – “Love one another as I have loved you.” Add 1 Corinthians 13, and the Christian has all the tools he needs to be of both earthly and heavenly value. The rules for a happy, healthy, productive, justifiable and spiritually prosperous life, full of Faith, Hope, Love. What could be better than that?

    Then Christians just need to focus on the goal; the Truth. Do you think Tiger Woods gives a second thought to the trees on the left, the water on the right, the sand just in front of the green, and the wild winds overhead? He focuses on the green – probably on the pin! Let’s focus on the Truth, and forget the tree tops of temptation, the water or wind in unwise and unworldly words, and the sinking sands of sin and Satan. Let the angels fight the spiritual war – they are qualified; we aren’t. (Tiger doesn’t also compete in basketball!) And that’s why Christ died for us.

    Too simple?
    Cheers, Trevor Putland

  • Hi again Bill. More on False Dilemmas of the enforced kind – perpetrated on naïve (and Paul warns us to be critical thinkers) Christians by deceived and manipulative Church leaders, apparently aimed at making “Believers” dependent on the Church, not God.

    I recently attended a twelve session “Relationships” course at a large, well-known, and well-attended Church in the conservative western suburbs of Brisbane. While much of the course endorsed the principals of “Universal Law”, I became skeptical (and later horrified) when we were lectured on several obsolete and almost occult-like subjects. One of these was “Generational Sin”.

    “Generational Sin” is mentioned in the Old Testament, in books such as Deuteronomy, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Proverbs.

    My simplistic understanding suggests that, as with the need for sacrifices to God, the Birth, Life, Teachings and Crucifixion of Christ delivered to human kind a new covenant, and eliminated “Generational Sin”. Surely, if Christ died for my sins, then he also died for my father’s sins, and my father’s father’s sins … Again, I refer to John 3:16. I do not recall Christ ever indicating the current generation would pay for the sins of the previous generation – quite the opposite in fact. “It is done”, and so our sins are forgiven, so long as we believe in Christ and obey the true Law.

    And yet, this Church still teaches that “Generational Sin” is real. The naïve believers are deceived. Suddenly, Christianity is not simple; it does not just involve a loving relationship with God through Christ, but is complicated and distorted by man’s misinterpretations. My alarm bells rang violently when it was revealed an invented prayer (repeated like a chant) could eventually break this “curse”.

    Some Churches, or the people in them, create unnecessary, confusing and damaging dilemmas for Christians. They make Christianity an uncertain and tumultuous journey dotted with potholes of failure. In effect, the Church blocks the road to God, and directs us onto dangerous detours.

    Some false dilemmas provide excuses for our sins and even attempt to justify them. Yet the Bible is very clear that Christians should accept responsibility for their own failings and humbly take them to God in repentance. False dilemmas also create a need for false ministries.

    In reality, there are no dilemmas in God’s Word, and Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Light. Shouldn’t we all just follow the leader – as closely as humanly possible?

    Cheers

    Trevor Putland

  • Thanks Trevor

    Although we do have examples of sin, or perhaps more accurately, the results of sin, being passed on. Think about babies born with an alcohol or drug dependency, because of mum’s alcoholism or drug addiction. So there may be something to all this, but one should be cautious about how far it is developed theologically. As you say, the NT does change some of the things in the OT. It is a question of which things continue and which things are discontinued between the Testaments.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • One of the best ways to see what has been superceded, reoriented, dropped down the list, or focused upon for special attention is found behind the words of Our Lord, ie reflect upon His reactions in the many situations He came across. We can then work out how we as His followers should be, think, act.
    http://www.lumenverum.org/
    Michael Webb

  • I couldn’t agree more Michael. Surely, the key to living the life of a true Christian is to attempt to live according to the life, words, actions, thoughts etc. of the original Christian – the One who gave us His name as a reminder.

    Trevor Putland

  • More on “Generational Sin”. Agreed Bill. There are undoubtedly many positive and negative character and personality traits, predispositions, health issues, academic and sporting abilities etc. arising from natural gene progression and nurturing. Little I can do about my receding hair line or arthritis. And yes, many children suffer as a direct result of their parents’ behaviour. However, the loose links discussed during the course included such nonsense as: “The lady had suffered 4 miscarriages as the direct result of her great grandfather being a member of the Masons.” I think this is scary, misleading and dangerous stuff.

    Trevor Putland

  • Dear Trevor,

    In your last entry, you mentioned how the idea of a woman suffering miscarriages because of freemasonry links in her family is nonsense. Whilst I am also not fully convinced of the truth of this, I don’t see how it falls into the realms of “nonsense”. What you mentioned here does not strike me as being “generational sin”, in the sense of being punished for an ancestor’s sins. This instead seems to be more of a case of living under a “curse”. I do not see how this is unbiblical, especially given that we are all presently living under the effects of the curse that followed the original Fall of humanity. We may live under and suffer the effects of this curse, but we are certainly not bound by it, because Christ freed us through his victory here on earth. So we can be forgiven, and yet still suffer.

    Back to your example, it may be that the person who said this does NOT mean that the woman is suffering punishment for her great grandfather’s sins. They probably mean that she may be suffering under a curse brought about by her great grandfather’s satanic activities. This to me is very different from the idea of “generational sin” ie being punished for an ancestor’s sins. And let’s for a moment assume that what they suggest is true (humour me here) – it doesn’t mean that she is not forgiven for her own sins. There is no logical connection between suffering as a logical consequence of an ancestor’s actions (be they actions in the physical or spiritual domain), and whether a person is able to experience God’s saving grace and forgiveness of sins. And there is certainly no connection between their own receiving of God’s grace and whether their ancestor rejected it or not.

    I’m not saying that I believe that what you quoted is absolutely true, but I am more trying to say that I am open to the possibility, and cannot see how it can be just dismissed as nonsense, or dangerous. If it is true, then it would be dangerous to ignore it.

    Regards,
    Mathew Markey

  • Hi Mathew

    I guess we are all on a journey of learning, and my naturally inquisitive, analytical and logical mind (perhaps an inherited “sin” or “curse”) is seeking answers. I appreciate your comments, and feel more explanation is required. (Having been overly verbose previously, I was trying to be succinct.)

    Firstly, the course I attended seemed to confuse or combine the issues of sin and curse. Generational Sin was defined as “The effects and consequences of sin on subsequent generations” and can be passed on through genetic inheritance, modeling and the laws of God such as “judging and receiving” and “sowing and reaping”. Generational Sin may manifest itself as molestation, alcoholism, divorce, illness, miscarriages, closed wombs, financial failure, conflict, curses or occult involvement. So, Generational Sin may apparently take the form of a curse. The course covered curses with Generational Sin, and added just one identifier of a curse to the list above; habitual sin, including sexuality. So, the two are closely linked – in the course at least.

    Secondly, as mentioned earlier, I accept that some sins of parents and grandparents, such as alcoholism and abuse, can have serious and tragic implications for children. And I accept that we inherit both positive and negative characteristics through our genes. At this level, I have no issue with the concept of Generational Sin. But, I also agree with your statement that there is no logical (I like logic) connection between a person’s suffering and the actions of distant ancestors. I don’t know about you, but I have no idea what my ancestors did for amusement and how they sinned.

    Thirdly – “nonsense”. I assume I am writing to a Christian audience. As a Christian, you place your faith, trust and love in God; you follow the examples and words of Christ; and you believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. That seems to suggest to me that a Christian’s sins are forgiven, and logically (there I go again) so are the sins of his / her ancestors and any generational curses are crushed. Curses are real, and many non-Christians live cursed (colloquially and Biblically) lives. By following the Truth, Christians break the bonds of existing curses and avoid new self-inflicted curses. If my grandfather practiced satanic rituals and instigated a family curse, then my decision to accept and follow the Truth should automatically break the curse (After all, I am no less powerful than my grandfather, and God is mightier than Satan.) I should be immune to any imposed curses (say, if I met an angry witch doctor in Africa) because I trust that the Holy Spirit is all powerful and will protect me.

    And lastly – “dangerous”. I believe many people struggle with Christianity for many reasons. Some want to participate in the spiritual war – for which they are not qualified or equipped – and as a result they invite Satan into their souls and the spiritual battle rages within them. I have a close friend who is often awakened in the night being strangled by evil and calls out to Christ to be rescued. Another is worried Satan will steal her spirit. Both of these people battle constantly to be good, and are guilty of habitual sin. Christianity seems such a chore for them. My other concern is that terms such as generational sin and curses can be used as excuses for current sin, and rather than inviting and feeling solely the Truth, this attitude opens the door for doubt, evil, repeated sin and failure. I believe we should exit the spiritual battle and leave it for the spirits, condemn Satan to hell (my spirit ain’t up for grabs), take responsibility for our own inadequacies and sins (and seek repentance as necessary) and focus only on the good. ie Follow Christ.

    So, I am not denying the existence of generational sin or curses. They are real and need to be acknowledged. Some people, tragically, and often through no fault of their own, never escape these bonds. However, surely true believers should not personally focus on these issues – beyond being thankful for forgiveness – and concentrate on being “known by their (good) fruits”.

    Cheers

    Trevor Putland

  • Those who are having trouble marrying relationships and rules should read the first epistle of John.
    1 John 2:5 ” But whoever keeps his word, truly the love of God is pefected in Him.By this we know that we are in Him”

    Try and raise children on just one of these concepts and you are doomed to failure. A happy mix is the best.

    I don’t like how post-moderns lable those who teach obedience to Christ as legalists.

    Peter Schmidhauser

  • Hmm sounds like some sort of Marxism in clerical robes!

  • Bill – I am so grateful that these great “resources” (epistles?) are still available on your site.

    I can barely keep up with your output currently, let alone going back in time.

    But I am thrilled to read an article written when one of my children was only a day old.

    Useful for me to read, and to be able to pass on to said child. What a lovely legacy.

    I am reading up on the emerging/emergent church because I have been astounded recently by the theological position held by some theology tutors. One of your articles gave me the explanation for this; and now I’m looking deeper at the issue so that I can be forewarned and forearmed. Biblical literacy seems to be very low and gullibility very high in some places. Almost cult-like.

    Happily, my own church is not “emerging”; but it does seem to be a spreading philosophy.

  • Many thanks indeed Karen.

  • ‘The idea of the indicative/imperative is this: God has done this, therefore you should do that. Or as James Dunn puts it, “What Christ has done is the basis for what the believer must do.”’ Very succinct and helpful. Thanks Bill Vagueness seems to be more and more the common currency. The quote from DA Carson is also a ‘cracker’: “So which shall we choose? Experience or truth? The left wing of an airplane, or the right? Love or integrity? Study or service? Evangelism or discipleship? The front wheels of a car, or the rear? Subjective knowledge or objective knowledge? Faith or obedience?…..”

Leave a Reply