Evidently it is ok to question the emergent just not the Calvinist. On this thread TeamPyro really went after Dan Kimball. When he answered they changed their attack method. When he was defended by another guy and I lent my support to him they shut down the thread! It’s just good morning reading (or any time of the day to be honest).  Enjoy.

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39 Comments(+Add)

1   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
April 13th, 2007 at 8:02 am

There’s no discussion with someone who’s right.

Or at least thinks as much.

I have to be honest that after reading that thread…I have no idea what the point was. I still do not understand what hairs were being split. The same people weighed in with the same talking points and then the thread was closed.


2   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 13th, 2007 at 8:23 am

Julie, Your quote of Ken was priceless.

3   amy    
April 13th, 2007 at 8:30 am

Phil is asking for a precise definition of “justification by faith” from Dan Kimball. And he hasn’t received that.

Maybe you don’t believe that that was his original intent, maybe you think he changed his “attack method,” but then you didn’t seem to think the precise question he was asking regarding justification by faith was important. If you thought the question was valid, perhaps you would have hung in there and waited patiently for Dan Kimball to answer.

People can say things like “Salvation is by faith in Jesus” and mean something totally different than what others mean by “justification by faith alone in Jesus Christ.” People can, for example, INSIST that salvation IS by faith in Jesus – but that people can come to him many different ways. No matter how they come to “faith”, ultimately Jesus death was responsible for getting them there. People can even believe like this and affirm the atonement. And there are probably many variations on believing in “salvation through Jesus” that sound good, but aren’t biblical – I think there’s a possibility that Phil may know more about this than either of us and personally I hope that he will get an answer from Dan Kimball and continue the discussion.

4   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 13th, 2007 at 8:33 am

Amy, did you read both threads? The one that started the whole hoop-la? I think Dan did answer that. In the book he certainly answered it. Either way, I affirmed my support of what Phil was saying, and the disagreement from both me and David Rudd was mild to say the least. I’m not really sure about “Sled Dog” but to shut down the thread? Come on, that’s just silly.

BTW, Amy you’re right I don’t think the question is valid because I believe that DK has answered it numerous times. I did hang in there, Phil is the one who shut down the thread. Secondly, to go from an invalid question to not believing the doctrine of justification by faith is not important is a bit far dont’ you think?

5   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
April 13th, 2007 at 8:50 am

I don’t see how Phil’s question wasn’t answered from the threads I read, and the constant insistence that “we need a precise definition” is something that I’m starting to wonder about if all that I read in threads isn’t precise enough.

I know the claim is that “emergent” people don’t ever answer a question and I’ve been frustrated with it myself, but I don’t see how Kimball didn’t answer the question. I’ve expressed frustration with people who don’t seem to answer a question placed before them on my own blog. So it’s not like I’m prone to handing out a free pass. At the same time, being dogged about fighting for the faith can quickly pass into being nothing more than a dog growling and snarling on the hem of those who share the same faith but maybe disagree on some of the lesser points.

I don’t understand why everyone is so quick to trust Phil and Phil’s take (read the comments — one guy basically said he’d wait to form his own opinion after Phil weighed in) and not Dan. Why do we keep placing our trust in another human?

“I trust Phil. Let Phil handle it. I think Phil knows more than I.”

That’s a dangerous place to be, and completely unfair to anyone Phil decides he disagrees with.

I’m starting to see how, if a person is sure another person is wrong or off-base, that no amount of explanation will ever be precise enough for someone predestined to misunderstand or disagree.

(I was going to use “predetermined” but “predestined” just slipped out instead.)

6   amy    
April 13th, 2007 at 8:59 am

I’m not sure if I’ve read both threads. I did read what you put on here before and I believe I did link to the discussion there but can’t remember.

I do know that from the article you posted here previously and that from the thread I read yesterday, I had different impressions of him. After this last thread I felt that he knows more about the issue than I do, and at this point I’m not going to question his motivation or intentions.

I don’t know how Phil thinks, I don’t know what kind of integrity he has, I don’t know what his original intent in questioning was.

Regardless of any of that, the question he is asking is a valid one and I would like to see Kimball’s answer. Hopefully he will get an answer and post it.

7   Matt    
April 13th, 2007 at 9:05 am

Kimball answered it on his blog.

“In simple English words not using Latin words from Reformed terminology – yes, I believe we are born sinners, we need a redeemer to rescue and redeem us from condemnation, we repent and put faith in the Redeemer Jesus, who is our substitionary atonement for sin, we are then justified by faith and made righteous in His sight through Jesus and are sanctified by the Spirit. Is this what you are asking me what I believe?”


8   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 13th, 2007 at 9:07 am

Thank you. What more needs said? Maybe I should shut down comments here now? (tongue in cheek) Of course not!

9   deborah    http://smallcorner.typepad.com
April 13th, 2007 at 9:28 am

Rereading all three posts and all the comments, I realize that I missed Phil’s actual question. Per the orignial post and the 7:06 pm 4/12/07 comment under the “Update” post, Phil’s actual question seems to have been: Is Dan Kimball repudiating the Reformation by dismissing differences outside the Nicene Creed?

Does Dan actually ever give a yes or no answer to that question? (going through all that stuff again, I actually counted 19 different questions posed by Phil to Dan.


10   deborah    http://smallcorner.typepad.com
April 13th, 2007 at 9:34 am

Looking at my last question, my sense of humor didn’t come through as it should have. If that actually was Phil’s question then I don’t think a simple yes or no could work as an answer.

11   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 13th, 2007 at 9:37 am

Deb, (can I call you Deb?)
I actually caught it. I’m curiuos where those 19 different questions? (I know my humor doesn’t come through when I type so I’ll just go right on record as saying that was rhetorical.)

12   Henry (Rick) Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
April 13th, 2007 at 9:52 am

Amy says – “I think there’s a possibility that Phil may know more about this than either of us ”

Why? Because he knows Greek? Because he works with MacArthur? That is holding men’s”personages in admiration”. As Spurgeon observed you can teach a ten year old little girl in one hour about the same truth that a theologian knows. The theolgian may be able to write more extensively about justification by faith, but in the end the little girl and he know the same truth.

I say with the Apostle Paul, “those that seemed somewhat in counsel added nothing to me”. For every Greek scholar there is one with better credetials who disagrees with him. That thread over there was high browed and removed the simplicity that is in Christ. No one who gets saved ever fully understands the doctrine of justification by faith until they study it in the New Testament which most do not do.

Many people act as if they discovered that truth when if fact it is as simple as a ten year old little girl and deep as eternity. The two basic truths are this –

One. Is a person justified before God by faith alone in the Lord Jesus?

Two. Are there any works in justification by faith?

There, simple yet profound and eternally important. To extrude these truths into tiny threads of scholastic ping pong is useless and tedious. If we can’t agree of justification by faith, well then “the summer is past and e are not saved”.

13   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
April 13th, 2007 at 9:54 am

I can’t see how Kimball could say it any better than what Matt quoted and linked to.

I wonder why some Christians feel it their responsibility to needle and put other Christians to the test (a 19-question test, as it appears) to ensure that they are correctly Christian.

“We need precise answers.”
“It’s a valid question.”
“Answer me.”
“That’s not sufficient. You’ve not answered me well enough.”
“I don’t believe the words you are saying correctly cover your true belief.”
“Matthew 18 is a cop-out.”
“I’m only trying to discern.”
“He hasn’t answered my question and obviously I have the right to an answer.”
“Comments closed.”

Would Phil, Ken, and any others patiently let someone throw question after question to them to determine the level of heresy they might exhibit? The areas where their doctrine doesn’t jive? Or would the result be something like…”God sent me to say these things and I’m right because I’m reformed. At the peril of your soul and salvation, you question a God-sent teacher. And now comments are closed because I’m done.”

Like I said before, “useful.”

14   deborah    http://smallcorner.typepad.com
April 13th, 2007 at 10:41 am

Joe, thanks for asking about my name, you can call me debbie or even d, but please don’t call me deb, for some very weird reason it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! I wish I knew why.

Here is my list of the 19 questions, just don’t tell my husband-he already thinks I have too much free time. I refered only to questions Phil posed to Dan. Some of the grammer is going to look a little funny since I cut and pasted most of it and tried to edit the quotes into questions.

First question from the original post: Is “Everything beyond that … negotiable? —or at least he dismisses all differences on such matters as consequences of a person’s genetic predisposition, personality quirks, or whatever.”

Second question at 7:13 am, 4/6: are “the things deemed “core” beliefs in the ECM … a vague and moving target”?

Third question at 8:07 am: are “Dan Kimball’s doctrinal convictions … vague and moving”?

4th question at 12:17 pm: “why (do) you (Kimball) keep suggesting that the Nicene council is a dividing line between what we can affirm “confidently” and “what . . . we believe because of personality and temperament,”?”

5th and 6th questions at 12:53 pm: Does Kimball “think(s) any doctrine not settled by the time of the first ecumenical council is not really worth fighting over.”? And “Would he be willing to fight for, say, the Protestant position on sola fide, or the authority of Scripture, or the doctrine of penal substitution, or the principle of inerrancy—and if so, why did he scold Driscoll for fighting for issues like that?”

7th question at 2:06 pm: “would (Kimball say he) regards the doctrine of justification by faith as one of those things “the Scriptures do make clear.”?

8th, 9th, 10th and 11th questions at 5:01 pm: “where do you think the boundaries of essential Christian doctrine are properly drawn?” and “Why did you draw such a line at Nicea in the first place?; and, Are there any “post-Nicene” articles of faith you are certain about enough to regard them as essential doctrines of authentic biblical Christianity?” and “(would you) most likely embrace as an authentic Christian someone who signs off on the Nicene Creed but also teaches a purely Pelagian works-system of salvation.”?

12th question at 9:54 am, 4/12/07 on the “Update” post: “how (do) we define the essence of Christian belief. If we can agree that the Nicene Creed is not a sufficient summary of everything essential to Christianity (and Dan Kimball says he agrees with that), then what is the best starting point for understanding the essentials (the gospel or a 4th century creed)?

13th and 14th questions at 10:18 am: Is Kimball “retreating from historic Protestant doctrinal standards in order to “become more of a Nicene Creed doctrinal statement believer”? and what is “his position on sola fide”?

15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th question at 4:24 pm: “(does he regard) the historic Protestant principle of sola fide as essential to authentic Christianity”? and is “ sola fide as essential to the gospel message”? and “Is Dan Kimball advocating a kind of “Reformed Catholicism,” or would he still affirm a classically Protestant doctrinal position?” and “why did he not simply say so in a book devoted to describing Emerging doctrine—especially when not saying so put him in a position of seeming to disagree with the very clear position Mark Driscoll had laid out?”

19th question (but per Phil Johnson, actually his first), from the original post and in the 7:06 pm/ 4/12/07 comment under the “Update” title: Is Dan Kimball repudiating the Reformation by dismissing differences outside the Nicene Creed? [“If that's really Dan Kimball's position, then he has in effect repudiated the Protestant Reformation, not to mention Augustine's refutation of Pelagius and the Council of Carthage's condemnation of Pelagianism (which occurred nearly a hundred years after the Nicene Council).]

My favorite quote by Phil: “I’ve been asking the very same question since the original post in this thread, and anyone who wants to verify that can do a search in the comments there.” At 6:19 pm, 4/12/07 in the “Update” post. Um, I did that Phil and it doesn’t look like the same question to me.


15   deborah    http://smallcorner.typepad.com
April 13th, 2007 at 10:41 am

Joe, I also removed all bold and italics so it would copy over better.

16   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 13th, 2007 at 10:46 am

I just commented on Today’s thread and was told to “Knock it off, please.” Some people are just happy where they’re at.

17   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
April 13th, 2007 at 11:33 am

Deborah, I can’t believe you went and found all those questions. I kind of thought 19 was rhetorical…


18   deborah    http://smallcorner.typepad.com
April 13th, 2007 at 11:45 am

Julie, I have a very nasty nitpicky streak in me that I have to fight. It is something I really try not to do until I really get my nose out of joint. Phil crossed that line for me when in one of his comments he pointed out that commenters don’t get to tell him what he meant when he wrote something, but missed the irony in doing that same thing to Dan. In a show of restraint, I won’t go back and look for that specific quote ;)

To be honest, I didn’t get that #19 was Phil’s actual question until the very end, during my second read-through of all the stuff.

19   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 13th, 2007 at 12:11 pm

I just posted a comment stating that there were 19 questions not one. It will be interesting to see if they ban me. Anybody want take a side bet on that? Go to todays thread to follow that exciting conversation.

20   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
April 13th, 2007 at 12:39 pm

The Pyros don’t ban, do they? I know they have a serious confidence streak, and (obviously) close a thread now and again, but they’re pretty good about letting anyone comment, I thought. I got the impression that the confidence to argue their point was kind of why they weren’t afraid of letting everyone comment.

Perhaps I’m gullible.

21   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 13th, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Well, let me quote a response from a commenter.


I hate to beat a dead horse, but I will. Your remark about counting questions rather sums up what most of us have been saying for months. You guys are great at pondering and asking questions, but are lousy at giving clear, unequivocal answers.

No wonder Phil closed the comments in the last thread. No doubt Dan will have to do the same thing here. “

22   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 13th, 2007 at 12:53 pm

Now you may be wondering what I said that was so terrible. Well, here you go on that. (D, I hope I can count you as a friend in light of the comment)
Ok, at the risk that your going to kick me out of here. Dan your last comment kind of torqued me a little bit, so I brought it up to some friends. One of them actually combed through the posts and has cut and pasted 19 different questions. They’re all in plain English but they’re all different. We were challenged to go through the thread and count them and we did. Count them yourself if you don’t believe us. Doesn’t seem like we’re sticking to the same question to me.

23   Henry (Rick) Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
April 13th, 2007 at 1:01 pm

As I read the comments on pyro they became increasingly mini-micro-atomic-subatomic-and string theoretically doctrinal. A question: How many times can you divide the doctrine of justification by faith in half before you get nothing? Answer: The experiment is ongoing over at pyro. They encourage kibitzers.

After slicing that doctrine thinner than a deli ham, I find you step into the doctrinal classroom labeled “goofy”. Let me illustrate:

If a person believes on Jesus while walking the aisle is that considered a “work”. What if he believes AFTER he has knelt at the altar? How about if he believes on Jesus while reading a book, is that intellectualism? Raising a hand during an invitation, a work? Praying a prayer, is that “with your lips you draw near but not your heart”? Filling out a decision card, is that writing your own name in the book of life?

Finally, how many angels can fit on the head of a pinhead – oops – I mean a pin. Sorry.

24   deborah    http://smallcorner.typepad.com
April 13th, 2007 at 1:13 pm

Rick, “pinhead” – funny!

Joe, Phil said to go through the comments and verify that he has been asking the same question and now the other readers are upset that someone did?

I have to say that this reminds me of something I wrote over at Ewhat a while ago – there is a reason why Jesus was silent before his accusers.

Sometimes when you try to answer someone who is throwing around incorrect accusations all you end up doing is giving them more rope to hang themselves with. By doing so, are we contributing to the error that the accuser is in?


25   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
April 13th, 2007 at 1:32 pm

“A question: How many times can you divide the doctrine of justification by faith in half before you get nothing? Answer: The experiment is ongoing over at pyro.”

Ha ha ha ha. Priceless. That’s it, exactly! That’s the best way of saying what I attempted to say before. It’s like clarifying the clarification of the clarified clarification.

26   amy    
April 13th, 2007 at 2:32 pm

My comment about Phil maybe knowing more about it than me was based on several things: 1) that his initial question was talking about the Nicene Creed. I honestly confess I know almost nothing about Creeds. 2) I know almost zero about Dan Kimball and I assume that Phil knows more, has read some of his writings. 3) It’s obvious from the way Phil discusses the justification by faith issue that he has put a lot of time into thinking about it – probably more than I have.

I didn’t know he worked with McArthur. If so, that would not have given him any extra credibility in my opinion. I have read one of McArthur’s books and was amazed at the poor exegesis and the over-generalizations. Maybe his other books are different – because of the one I read, I would read anything by him with caution.

Also, I didn’t know he knew Greek, and if I had it wouldn’t matter to me. I have had a couple of years of Greek, which I have not kept up with. But because of my linguistic studies I realize that many people do all kinds of things “to prove” what the Greek mean that just don’t make sense.

I basically know nothing about Phil – I think I have come across his blog a couple of times in a couple of years, that’s all.

Because of an incredible conversation I had with someone once on the whole issue of “Jesus as the only way” being twisted in a way that I couldn’t believe, I found Phil’s interest in trying to clarify terms encouraging.

27   Henry (Rick) Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
April 13th, 2007 at 2:55 pm

The post on Pyro about teachers is a good one, however he left out an essential ingredient – humility. My comment there applies to us here.

“And as Paul addressed the elders of Ephesus he begins by stressing they should serve “the Lord with all humility of mind”. And Peter exhorts both elder and non elder to be “clothed with humility”.

I would say that humility should be the foundation of a teacher’s ministry. Sometimes truth is taught in a classroom of self righteousness which reveals the teacher himself hasn’t done his homework.”

28   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 13th, 2007 at 3:11 pm

Ok, now they’re systematically deleting David Rudd’s comments for no reason other than he had some humor. He pointed out there error and they deleted it. When he asked why he was deleted they deleted that. Unbelievable

29   amy    
April 13th, 2007 at 3:16 pm

I haven’t looked at the conversation going on on pyro, so am not condoning or condemning the direction it’s taken. But here’s a thought to balance out some of the others here:

It’s occurred to me that some pastors who went against the flow in the 1920’s may have seemed a bit rabid, out of sync with modern ideas, with progressive politics, unloving. Maybe some of them asked too many “picky questions” – but they weren’t afraid to carefully consider what they believed and defend it. And perhaps, because of them, decades later, it wasn’t that hard for me to find a church as a child where the gospel was clearly preached and where honoring Christ in one’s life was valued.

Maybe today some may seem to go too far in their quest to determine whether or not biblical doctrine is being taught by popular teachers But perhaps without them, in the future, there would be few who are being encouraged to be careful of their doctrine, fewer churches where the gospel is clear.

30   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 13th, 2007 at 3:18 pm

Amy, there’s a lot of “if’s” and “maybe’s” in that post.

31   Ken Silva    http://www.apprising.org
April 13th, 2007 at 3:34 pm

“Amy, there’s a lot of ‘if’s’ and ‘maybe’s’ in that post.”

Well if so; then this would only be embracing the mystery and therefore exactly like the “theology” of the Emergent Church. :-)

32   amy    
April 13th, 2007 at 4:06 pm

There sure are. I’m no prophet, and I try not to speak dogmatically about things I don’t know. I can’t possibly know, for example, what would have happened historically if there hadn’t been some who were concerned about the direction Christianity was taking in the twenties.

Here is a more straightforward statement: Apostacy in churches, Christian schools, seminaries, individuals, begins with uncorrected straying from the Word.

33   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
April 13th, 2007 at 4:29 pm


I built a bit more on your questions comment on my blog.


34   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
April 13th, 2007 at 9:51 pm

“Evidently it is ok to question the emergent just not the Calvinist.”

I thought I might point out that there are some very prominent leaders who are “Calvinist”…

Mark Driscoll
Bob Hyatt

Early on I was referred to the church planting group Acts29 that is connected to Mars Hill… in the interview i was told straight out I was “not Calvinist enough” and needed to read more systematic theology… and even was told I was “confused that one could believe free will and eternal security”… I did not get the backing from them and felt rather dumped on in the end… then I realized that the person I talked to could not grasp certain concepts as it did not fit into his doctrinal box…

And this was all in the context of the “emerging church”…

I am not a Calvinist nor do I see that systematic theology is a good thing… I see it as a way to contain God in a controlled environment … which is what the pagans do with their idols… I know that is a tough statement… but one can fall prey to idolatry and worship the Law… so there are many things that are “Christian” that can be idolized also.


35   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 13th, 2007 at 9:57 pm

Iggy, I agree with much of that statement. I just used the that title because TeamPyro is so adamantly “Calvinistic” and one of their favorite past times seems to be (In my opinion) questioning the Emergent movement. They were allowed to question Dan Kimball but when they were questioned for integrity in the post they shut it down.
I have a friend who lives in Seattle and she tells me some things that if they are true they scare me about Driscoll. I’m not a fan of systematic Theology. God doesn’t fit in any box.

36   Erica    
April 13th, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Why is ok for you to comment on other blogs that you disagree with but on CRN it was very clear when you all changed it from Slice to CRN that commenting was prohibited because you guys felt it was wrong to go to someones site and disagree with them. If you believe that way than why can you comment on peoples sight you disagree with? I believe everyone has the freedom to speak so I have no problem with you commenting I just find it odd that you are so strongly against people commenting on your site but it is ok for you to comment on poeples sight you do not agree with. It just seems like a double standard to me.

37   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 14th, 2007 at 11:55 am


The issue with CRN/Slice 2.0 and comments is that in Slice 1.0 it was taking an inordinate amount of time for them to manage comments – because they deleted/blocked a HUGE number that disagreed with them, and only let a few disagreeing ones through (usually the ones with incoherent rants) to ‘prove their point’ through a false impression of “truth by assertion”

They didn’t have time to continue this practice, so they shut down comments all together (which, believe you me, is MILES better than it used to be on Slice 1.0).

38   Erica    
April 14th, 2007 at 12:57 pm

Chris L.
I don’t care what their reasons were for doing it. Really I am not trying to sound harsh:-) I remember reading their new sight when it came up and Ingrid or Ken one went off on the fact they do not understand why someone thinks they have the right to come on someones else sight and “disagree” only that was not the word they used. I don’t care if Ken comments or not. I think that his “right” in the blog world. However If you think it is wrong for someone to have a different opinion and post on your site than you should not do it. That is my point. If Ken or whoever else thinks it is wrong for people who disagree with them to post on their site than why does he do it? Make sense?

39   amy    
April 14th, 2007 at 6:25 pm

Joe and Ken,
(I hope you don’t mind your names on the same line.)

I just saw Ken’s additional post regarding the “if’s” and “maybes” in my earlier post so thought that for fun I would rewrite what I previously wrote without those kinds of words.” I left a couple of words in parenthesis that you can leave in or take out, depending on your viewpoint. (And I’m sure whatever you choose to do with those words will be “truth” since it will be “true for you.” :)

Some pastors who went against the flow in the 1920’s were (viewed as being) rabid, out of sync with modern ideas, with progressive politics, unloving. Some of them asked too many “picky questions” – but they weren’t afraid to carefully consider what they believed and defend it. Because of them, decades later, it wasn’t that hard for me to find a church as a child where the gospel was clearly preached and where honoring Christ in one’s life was valued.

Today some (seem to) go too far in their quest to determine whether or not biblical doctrine is being taught by popular teachers. But without them, in the future, there would be few who are being encouraged to be careful of their doctrine, fewer churches where the gospel is clear.