Judging from what I’ve read about the Shepherd’s Conference this year the theme seems to be “Contextualization is evil, and if you do it Satan has probably set up an outlying fortress in your heart, mind and kidneys”. Michael Spencer provides an extremely balanced response to this attitude, and does it rather gently, especially considering the vitriol with which he’s been treater by McArthur’s acolytes.

Its well worth reading the whole thing, but here’s some highlights:

Dr. Macarthur is, just like me, part of a culture and he can’t deny it. His suit, and the meaning of his suit, is a perfect example. His statement that the suit shows he’s serious is a cultural value of middle to upper class white Americans. It’s not a value of Jesus and Jesus didn’t teach or endorse it. The meaning of that suit demonstrates that Dr. Macarthur is comfortable with an aspect of culture that he’s grown up with and into. He relates it to his faith, but it’s a decision he’s making about context. It doesn’t mean I’m not serious or that Mark Driscoll or his congregation aren’t serious.

Here in Eastern Kentucky, that suits communicates a lot more than seriousness. It communicates “he has money.” That suit keeps all kinds of men from ever entering a church. Probably less than 3% of the men in my county have ever had on a tie, much less a suit. Where do I stop them and say it’s Biblical and “serious” to wear a suit? It would be completely OUTSIDE of the Gospel for me to do so.

That’s not a condemnation of Dr. Macarthur’s suit. It’s simply what I’ve learned from my own awareness of cultural context, and it’s why I can say “Jesus doesn’t need you to wear a suit to be a serious Christian.”

At the end of the day, these comments seem to reflect the turn of the century, fundamentalist, separationist Baptist roots so many of us grew up in; a tradition that was highly reluctant to see and admit its own distinct culture; a culture that could have dress codes, rules, traditions and meanings, yet simply said they were being “Biblical.” A tradition that condemned many good things and still does in maintenance of its loyalty to itself. A culture that resents the fact that a newer generation of serious, Biblical evangelicals aren’t making the same choices about church and culture.

It is the recovery of a more consistent concern for being thoroughly Biblical that is causing the Kellers and the Driscolls to depart from the approach that tells itself it has leapfrogged culture. No one has, but without the admission of our own cultural settings and an awareness of the hazards and opportunities of working in a multi-cultural Kingdom for a King who is determined to get glory from all cultures, some will continue to promote a completely unneeded hostile pose toward people doing good missional thinking, church planting and evangelism.

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125 Comments(+Add)

1   anonymousjane    http://anonymousjane.wordpress.com/
March 8th, 2008 at 8:07 pm

Michael Spencer is from my neck of the woods and he is so spot-on with this. There is a culture in Appalachia that is quite different from the Midwest which seems to makeup much of Macarthur’s intended audience. We have a history that goes back very far, and church can look very different here. Just another way that different churches meet the needs of cultural different people.

2   anonymousjane    http://anonymousjane.wordpress.com/
March 8th, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Oh man, I used “spot-on” in my last two comments. How gay is that? I need a thesaurus or something.

3   Evan Hurst    
March 8th, 2008 at 8:38 pm

watch your mouth.

4   nc    
March 8th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Wow…that is great and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

However, I don’t know if this is a midwest thing so much as it is a “class issue”.

Remember, J-mac is in California, Los Angeles area. I used to work in a church there and the evangelical culture there is very middle class…

Middle class social respectability is baptized as Christian all the time.

I don’t think I ever met a more virulent retro-grade kind of Christian until I lived in L.A. of all places.

It was shocking…but at least it helped me offload any stereotypes I had about California.

That state is much more conservative than people realize…I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

now I’m not saying it’s Nebraska, or SD, but you get my point.

5   Pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
March 8th, 2008 at 9:30 pm

AJ,

Its pretty stinking gay that you would do that.

6   Evan Hurst    
March 8th, 2008 at 9:45 pm

cute.

where’d you learn to talk like that, gym class?

7   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
March 8th, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Pastorboy,
You’re embarrassing yourself. More so than usual.

8   mandy    
March 8th, 2008 at 10:41 pm

PB,

Just stop.

9   Henry (Rick) Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 8th, 2008 at 11:08 pm

“Its pretty stinking gay that you would do that. ”

Language as loose as that which you criticize.

10   David C    http://davidcho.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 1:43 am

Can anyone tell me who this prominent US pastor who took his whole staff to see an X-rated movie?

Dr. MacArthur seldom shies away from naming names, but in this instance, he simply speaks of a “prominent pastor in the US.”

11   Pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 7:37 am

Wow. I was truly wondering, and I guess I should have said:

How stinkin gay bright and lively is that?

Of course the people on this site have a sexual, perverted obsession.

The homosexuals do not have a patent on that word.

1gay
Pronunciation:
\ˈgā\
Function:
adjective
Etymology:
Middle English, from Anglo-French gai, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German gāhi quick, sudden
Date:
14th century
1 a: happily excited : merry b: keenly alive and exuberant : having or inducing high spirits
2 a: bright, lively b: brilliant in color

Rip out that mote, you might see better.

12   Neil    
March 9th, 2008 at 8:20 am

I think “spot on” sounds a lot more Brit than gay…

Neil

13   Neil    
March 9th, 2008 at 8:34 am

In reading the excerpt from MacArthur I was truck by two things: 1) how fast he went from contextualization to an x-rated movie – I get suspicious anytime someone employs an overly extreme example right out of the proverbial gate. It makes me think their argument is weak and they’re grasping for illustrative support.

And 2) JM says “All ministry is mind to mind. The sooner you can learn to leapfrog the culture, the better. We’re after how people think, and how they think about truth and God and sin and salvation.” We are after more that just how people think – that is a modernist/reductionist view of the Gospel. What we are after is how people think, feel, and what occupies the allegiance of their being… and to do that you cannot leapfrog culture.

If your goal is to see how many you can get to walk an isle and assent to a set of beliefs – leapfrog away… if your goal is to make disciples than take the time to contextualize.

Neil

14   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 8:58 am

I was at the conference and actually heard the sermon. JM used the word “contextualize,” however, the way and tone it was presented, a better verb(s) would have been “adapt to the culture,” i.e. become like them. We don’t need to view pornography, use profanity, look like or act like the world in order to share the Good News.

I thought it was pretty simple to understand. Some people try to make it too hard just so they can criticize…especially if it’s coming from JM.

15   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
March 9th, 2008 at 9:46 am

Pastorboy has just provided a perfect example of why we must effectively contextualize (and the choice is really between effectively contextualizing, and ineffectively contextualizing, you can’t not contextualize), while he’s busy quoting the dictionary many people are busy thinking to themselves, “there goes another of God’s own gay bashers”.

16   M.G.    
March 9th, 2008 at 10:06 am

Stinking bright and lively makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

But hey, I like giving people the benefit of the doubt. Pastorboy, from now, please give those you criticize the same benefit of the doubt. If all the ODMs did that, the world would be a much more gracious, loving, and decent place.

17   M.G.    
March 9th, 2008 at 10:26 am

Keith,

That does sound like a pretty simple message to understand. If JM had just said “don’t view pornography, get slobbering drunk, or throw rocks at little kids” there would be no room for criticism, and hearty agreement all around.

But he didn’t. He spoke within one cultural paradigm and made implicit criticisms of another cultural paradigm.

Unless JM has no idea that adapting and contextualizing mean two different things. In which case he needs to learn that words have meanings.

18   Evan Hurst    
March 9th, 2008 at 10:39 am

Pastorboy has just provided a perfect example of why we must effectively contextualize (and the choice is really between effectively contextualizing, and ineffectively contextualizing, you can’t not contextualize), while he’s busy quoting the dictionary many people are busy thinking to themselves, “there goes another of God’s own gay bashers”.

oh, you’re right. this is just like the 5-year-olds, i mean Republican politicians (but i repeat myself), who claim they use Obama’s middle just because it’s middle name, while knowing full well that they’re doing the same thing they always do, i.e. inflaming the racism of their stable of hicks.

all of the grown-ups around here understand that words evolve, and all of the grown-ups around here understand that in 2008, using the word “gay” in that way is a pejorative.

so…ya know…grow up.

19   mandy    
March 9th, 2008 at 11:52 am

pb,

you have to know how people would use the word ‘gay.’ c’mon now… you’re more intelligent than that.

20   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

yeah, “spot on” might sound more Brit than gay, but you know those Brits never gave us anything good theologically…

and most are gay, right?

j/k

iggy

21   Evan Hurst    
March 9th, 2008 at 12:40 pm

eh, i think it’s like 50-50.

;)

Ha Ha we’re taking over Europe.

just kidding.

22   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

I might add that I think Pasterboy is gay…

By his own definitions…

iggy

23   Evan Hurst    
March 9th, 2008 at 1:09 pm

is he brilliant in color?

24   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
March 9th, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Keith, let’s assume that your re-definition was accurate and somebody needs to give Dr MacArthur a Merriam-Webster for Christmas.

Do you realize that he stated that we should not “adapt to the culture” (to use your phrase) and then immediately launched into an example (his suit) of how he has adapted to a culture?

25   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

No…

14th century

iggy

26   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Brendt,

that is basically how his theology goes… if you look close at Lordship Salvation, it goes, “Works (repent/commit to being a disciple and to the Lordship of Jesus BEFORE salvation) then receive Grace but do works to make sure you are saved/elect.

At least that is all I get as I read MacArthur

iggy

27   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 4:22 pm

MG: “…there would be no room for criticism, and hearty agreement all around.” You’re kidding, right? How long have you been hanging around here! 8^)>
===
Iggy: WHAT in the WORLD are you reading by JM that says THAT??!!!! One is saved only AFTER God had done a work in their heart—works follow BECAUSE of salvation, NOT FOR salvation. “Works” (to use yours and the words of James) are evidence of salvation. Don’t try to make this so hard. I’ve never heard JM state otherwise.

28   nc    
March 9th, 2008 at 4:30 pm

RE: there would be no room for criticism, and hearty agreement all around.”

C’mon Keith!
Nobody here thinks viewing porn is ok. Nobody here thinks getting drunk is ok.

Having the freedom to enjoy a beer is not the same thing as “getting drunk” no matter how much people try to make it so…and standing against legalist that would carte blanche prohibit it does not necessitate that “getting drunk” is the end result.

That’s not called “making things complex”, that’s just reality…

C’mon Bro! You know better than that!

I think you’re a good guy, curmudgeonly at times, but if you really think people here have a problem with calling sin “sin”, then you’ve really bought into the propaganda….

RE: JM’s book…Iggy is just restating the criticism of his book that posited a “Lordship Salvation” (in the eyes of his critics)…
He lost the public debates and disappeared for a while until his “flame book” on charismatics came out.

Honestly, Keith, beyond his actual bible teaching, don’t you see a problem with a guy who’s built his notoriety NOT on his weekly teaching, but on his armchair research flame books?

29   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Keith,

JM states many time in many places that one must make a commitment to Jesus and accept Him as “Lord and Savior” thus “Lordship salvation”. The “proof” is that we do works, but the truth of it is works prove salvation… and that is not the truth of works… works are not ours but God’s alone and we do His works not our own… JM subtly teaches a performance based faith… IF you are not performing to JM’s standard, then you might not be saved… and that is sick theology.

Again, I can get quotes from all over the Internet… not today as I am really busy and will not have Internet service until Tuesday…

but just Google his teachings on “works” and “repentance” and especially “discipleship”…

Like this one… http://www.ondoctrine.com/2mac0028.htm

I might not agree with all this guy states but I agree that JM “confuses discipleship with salvation” or as I see it, JM adds it to salvation.

iggy

iggy

30   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 4:38 pm

NC: You said–”Nobody here thinks viewing porn is ok.” I didn’t say you did. I was mocking the notion that there would not be any critism of JM or that there would ever be “hearty agreement” of anything he said around here. And you think JM makes quantum leaps in HIS logic?!

“…you’ve really bought into the propaganda” Yes, that you (and others around here) have figured out a better or newer way of doing what’s been done by the book for centuries. “Preach the word.” Pretty simple instructions when followed will accomplish EXACTLY what they were designed to do. 1 Cor 1:21.

Last question: No.

31   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Iggy: Why would I need to “google” anything. I’ll just walk over to my bookshelf. Which one should I RE-read first?!

32   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Re-read The Gospel According to Jesus and take special notice on how he phrases things around “discipleship”.

= )

iggy

33   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 4:59 pm

That’s one of my FAVORITE books. JM’s best!!!

34   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Try reading it as if you were a critic… LOL!

iggy

35   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Can’t be something I’m not.

36   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 5:42 pm

LOL! lost my coffe out my nose!!!!

Believe me it will come easy for you! ; )

iggy

37   nc    
March 9th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Keith,

First off, I never made any claims about Johnny’s logic.
Frankly,

(and please read this dispassionately, because I inted it it to be so.)

I don’t think he’s illogical, I think he’s arrogant, wrong on some things, hyper-rational, and has cultivated a church culture guilty of the very things that some of his sycophants criticize others for. (cult of personality, unloving, etc.) I also think on the areas that he’s right he’s unpastoral with people. I think the man steps over his bounds and speaks as one with spiritual authority over those that he has none.

Re: Propaganda.
I don’t purport to believe I’ve discovered something better. I’m a member of a church that still uses 500 year old rubrics of worship. I’m about as traditional as you can get when it comes to worship and the proclamation of the Gospel. Of course God can and does work, but why would we ever be ok with people comporting themselves in any way that common sense would say could distract or detract from the Gospel? If you’re an arrogant jerk and speak the truth like one, you can make the truth a lie in the hearers ears…and it’s not because of their hardened heart, it’s because YOU hardened them by being a jerk. It’s not consistent with the spirit of Christ and the call to work at that and own how people have been jerks is not compromise or lack of confidence in the Bible.

Re: flaming people.
How disappointing, Keith. Are you serious or are you just being contrarian? To disagree with people is one thing, to question their integrity is another…and that’s exactly what JM does–it’s on the record, so please don’t bother disputing it. He assigns motives to people that he has never bothered to actually understand. That’s called bearing “false witness” and it’s pretty sad. What’s even sadder is people who give the guy a free pass because the basic content of his work is true. The sheer hypocrisy almost makes me feel bad for Mark Driscoll….

You know that no one, not even J-Mac, can look into people’s hearts. And the whole “by their fruit you shall know them” thing:

Yeah, well that’s Love, Joy, Peace, etc.

NOT

Love, never goes to R movies, Joy, Peace, doesn’t contextualize, patience, doesn’t enjoy a beer, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum ad infinitum.

I just am thankful for Michael Spencer’s post that unveils just how clueless JM is on these recent issues he’s taking up.

38   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Keith – my Calvinistic friend, my objection to these conferences is that they should challenge the base not energize it. Last year one preacher had a several part message on “Why I am a Calvinist”. That’s like the MacDonald’s owner speaking on “Why I like MacDonald’s” instead of dealing with how to more effectively serve the customers. The entire conference should be to challenge and convict the preachers to more broken discipleship. I am sure some of the small groups do.

Don’t worry, the Arminians do it too.

39   anonymousjane    http://anonymousjane.wordpress.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Goodness, who could read so much into “gay.” Sorry, next time I’ll just say “silly.”

40   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
March 9th, 2008 at 8:25 pm

I am honestly stunned that the MacArthurites can’t see that they contextualize everything. No one stands apart from culture and rpetending they do is really just an excuse to pretend like the things they like are somehow God ordained.

This just in: Jesus didn’t wear a suit, use a pulpit, listen to an organ or sing any hymns.

41   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 9:03 pm

NC: Conversations like these are exactly why blogs don’t work. I never said YOU or anyone else looked at pornography. If you read the transcript of JM’s comments, you would recognize that I was merely tagging off a previous comment he had made. As I’ve already stated, I was mocking the notion that most commentors here would EVER “[find] no room for criticism…” or that there would be “hearty agreement all around” re: anything JM said.

“…YOU hardened them by being a jerk.” Really? I didn’t realize I welded that much power. Romans 9:18- “Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

“You know that no one, not even J-Mac, can look into people’s hearts,” yet Michael Spencer is able to unveil people’s cluelessness, i.e. look into their minds? I guess he’s just smarter than me. I can live with that.

==

Rick: “…they should challenge the base not energize it.” The purpose of the SC IS to energize. They’ve never tried to hide that fact or ever felt the need to apologize for it. What’s wrong with that? If you want something else, find a different conference. Everyone doesn’t have to do the same kind of conference.

==

Tim: It’s never recorded Jesus cursed like a sailor either.

“I am honestly stunned that the [fans of Rob Bell, Brian Mclaren, et al] can’t see that they contextualize everything.” Cool. It works both ways.

42   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 9:08 pm

NC: Maybe it hasn’t occured to you, but I don’t come here looking for enlightenment. I just drop in from time-to-time to keep ‘em honest. Surely you didn’t think you were going to change my opinion/mind because I certainly had no allusions about changing yours. (See lilnk in previous post)

43   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Keith – look at what Piper says:

Here’s my rule of thumb: the more responsible a person is to shape the thoughts of others about God, the less Arminianism should be tolerated. Therefore church members should not be excommunicated for this view but elders and pastors and seminary and college teachers should be expected to hold the more fully biblical view of grace.

So all his tapes, cds, conferences, sermons, labels (Desiring God), and interviews are not meant to “shape the thoughts of others”? And Keith, Piper subscribes to the school that says as long as your a professing Calvinist you can curse like a sailor (Driscoll).

And MacArthur refers to “Calvinists” in his opening address which means his conferences are for Calvinist and not just Christians. That is exclusivism.

44   Evan Hurst    
March 9th, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Goodness, who could read so much into “gay.”

someone who is.

Sorry, next time I’ll just say “silly.”

apology accepted.

:)

back to all your other talkings…

45   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Sorry, Henry. I’m not following you.

46   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
March 9th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

“I am honestly stunned that the [fans of Rob Bell, Brian Mclaren, et al] can’t see that they contextualize everything.” Cool. It works both ways.

That’s been my point the entire time. Meanwhile MacArthur is busy putting on a suit because it denotes a “seriousness” while at the same time denouncing contextualization. I iwsh he’d at least be honest and say “my contextualization is the only way to be Godly”.

47   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 9:41 pm

I’m sorry, my general point was the Calvinistic exclusivism that is shown by so many of these guys. Every time we use our own words to either explain, expound, or teach the Scriptures we are contezualizing in some form. Our words are given in our personal and cultural context, unless we claim to have been educated on the moon. MacArthur need to be more clear and not act like he doesn’t contexualize at all.

I never speak as an “Arminain” and yet these guys always speak as Calvinists. I don’t get it.

48   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 9:46 pm

“Meanwhile MacArthur is busy putting on a suit because it denotes a “seriousness” while at the same time denouncing contextualization.” So as long as you ADMIT to contextualizing, anything goes?! Curse away, boys..cuz we’re contextualizing!!!

49   David C    http://davidcho.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Keith,

I thought it was pretty simple to understand (what Henry said). Some people try to make it too hard just so they can criticize…especially if it’s coming from Henry.

(In case you haven’t picked up on it, I just copied and paste your defense of JM in your comment, and changed from JM to Henry. Oh blasphemy).

Rick said, “And MacArthur refers to “Calvinists” in his opening address which means his conferences are for Calvinist and not just Christians. That is exclusivism.”

What part of it is hard to follow? MacArthur’s opening message is titled “Why Every True Calvinist Must Affirm a Biblical Ecclesiology” From that, Rick is seeing exclusivism and so do I.

I don’t come here looking for enlightenment. I just drop in from time-to-time to keep ‘em honest.

Oh yes, straighten me out. Talk sense to me.

50   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 9:50 pm

After looking back through the thread, I was just wondering. Do people in “Eastern Kentucky” have a nice, clean pair of overalls? That would be the same as a suit in southern California…I think. Wouldn’t it?

51   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 9:54 pm

So if I attend a conference put on by Calvinists, for Calvinists, that is attended largely by Calvinists…I should feel for the Arminians that may come and feel left out? I can’t imagine that anyone stumbles into a Shepherds’ Conference without knowing exactly what’s going on.

52   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Almost every missionary contextualizes the gospel in some way, especially when witnessing to people groups that have no adequate idioms to English. What MacArthur should have addressed is being careful not to change the gospel if you contextualize.

And of course, lose the Calvinist tattoo, please!

53   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Keith – maybe not you, but some Calvinists hold their exclusive conference 365 days a year!

54   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 10:00 pm

“What MacArthur should have addressed is being careful not to change the gospel if you contextualize.” I was there…I thought that’s what he said. Silly me.

55   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
March 9th, 2008 at 10:04 pm

After looking back through the thread, I was just wondering. Do people in “Eastern Kentucky” have a nice, clean pair of overalls? That would be the same as a suit in southern California…I think. Wouldn’t it?

Watch out Keith, you’re contextualizing, they’re going to kick you out of the Johnny Mac fan club, and soon after that you’ll be saying naughty words like “crap”.

56   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 10:06 pm

“I was there…I thought that’s what he said. Silly me. ”

Shouldn’t Arminians be warned also? I guess we don’t have that problem. Look at what Piper said, he decides when Arminianism should be tolerated. Can you not see how we are made to look through a hole in the fence rather than letting us participate as believers?

The honest truth is most Calvinists view Arminians as doctrinal subordinates. It’s just that some make it more obvious.

57   David C    http://davidcho.blogspot.com
March 9th, 2008 at 10:08 pm

According to the pulpit blog,

“The apostles went out with an absolute disdain for contextualization.”

I realize that the blog isn’t a transcript, but that is a pretty strong statement against contextualization to me.

So did JM say later that it’s okay to contextualize, but just don’t change the gospel?

58   nc    
March 9th, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Keith,

A. I get it. You were riffing off the “criticism” part, I was seeing it only in the context of the comment. There would be no disagreement on the problem of porn, drunkenness, etc. To be clear I never said I you were leveling a charge of porn use.

B. Re: hardening.
That’s a bit naive don’t you think? Are you really saying that you would be willing to listen to someone who is telling you the truth, but along the way they were derisive, derogatory and made you fell dumb. If so, you’re stronger than most, but I don’t think reality bears that out. Using that framework of thought, then being a jerk doesn’t matter, because you’re speaking the truth. The truth can be offensive in itself but people don’t need to add to it with the tone of the ODM’s or the arrogance of a JM or Phil J. If you can’t see the derisive, snide tone (especially in the Pyro’s) then we’ll just have to differ.

Re: Michael Spencer’s article.
Wow. I don’t think he’s looking into their minds. He’s stating some obvious facts. Or is he not able to “keep people honest”, too? See, this is the rub, Keith. (Spencer was very irenic while speaking the truth. And that makes all the difference.)

Why is it wrong to point out that JM is not above what he criticizes in others? Michael didn’t call him an idolater of suits. He just pointed out that JM is doing what works in his particular church culture.

I think if JM likes his suits and he wears them to communicate a seriousness about God and it works for his church…GREAT!!!!

But it doesn’t stop there, Keith. I know…I’ve talked to people from his church, I know the effects in his congregation.

Alot of those people think that what JM does and what their church does is what everyone should do…and they deride people who don’t.

That’s just plain wrong, Keith. You know it, too.

Can you see the difference?

59   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 9th, 2008 at 10:23 pm

A very good point, David C.. You can’t have your contexualization and eat it too!

60   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 10th, 2008 at 7:21 am

Rick asked: “Shouldn’t Arminians be warned also?” At the Shepherds’ Conference?! Why? If you spend the money and take the time to be there and yet try to convince me you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into…that’s a stretch. Again–there are (I assume) Arminian conferences one could attend, if that’s your bag.

==

NC: Again, you read more into my comment than necessary. It’s not OK to be a jerk. If it happens that I am, God is big enough to overcome my “jerkiness” if it is His intent to save. Done. We don’t thwart God’s ultimate plan. See? Pretty simple.

It’s pretty obvious that we differ. I’m OK with that.

“Alot of those people think that what JM does and what their church does is what everyone should do…and they deride people who don’t…That’s just plain wrong, Keith. You know it, too.” I understand what you’re saying, but I can’t/don’t fault those people completely. It would be dumb to attend a church week after week if you didn’t believe in what they taught or what they were doing. Of course they think they are “right.” So do I. So do you. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

61   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 10th, 2008 at 7:46 am

I have not seen any Arminian conferences and in truth I’ve not seen either Calvin or Arminius in the Scriptures. I just think it is exclusivism and most Calvinists believe their doctrine to be not just correct, but superior to all others and given on the wings of some epiphany second only to salvation.

Most of these conferences regardless of doctrinal slant, are a major boom to hotels and restaurants and the pockets of the speakers/singers and add very little to the evangelical crisis. I’m not sure our brothers and sisters in Darfur really care.

62   anonymousjane    http://anonymousjane.wordpress.com/
March 10th, 2008 at 7:56 am

Point taken Evan Hurst. I will try to be more sensitive and less juvenile. Juvenility just comes so naturally. :)

63   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 10th, 2008 at 8:07 am

Careful, AJ, your Christianty is showing!

64   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
March 10th, 2008 at 8:30 am

I’ve been reading this discussion all weekend, and it really seems to me the MacArthur’s whole point is based on a straw man, or he doesn’t really understand what the majority of people mean when they use the word “contextualization”. Everything is contextualized. It has to be, or else it’s just nonsense.

The story of Jesus coming to earth, dying, and rising again doesn’t makes sense out it’s historical context of the Old Testament story of God choosing Abraham and his descendants. When people say the Gospel needs contextualized, I think that most time they mean that we need to communicate the narrative of this story in a way that makes sense to whomever we’re talking to.

For example, if you try talking to most people from Asian cultures and say something like “Jesus took the penalty of your sins when He died”, most of them would not understand that statement because in Asian societies, they are not really concerned about the penalty for sin. They are more concerned about broken relationships that shame brings. They are concerned about restoring honor to the offended party.

Now, J-Mac seems to be railing more against moral compromise than contextualization. To me, that seems like another issue altogether. As far as the X-rated movie, I find that anecdote a little unbelievable. It might be true, but it hardly seems like the normal thing. I’m sure if I looked hard enough, I could find a Calvinist pastor who was a child molester. There’s always bad apples.

65   nc    
March 10th, 2008 at 9:18 am

Keith, I hear what you are saying…

My point isn’t that despite God’s clear ability to overcome “jerkiness” why not still be careful not to be jerk?
Nobody is saying that God can’t work, but why be flip about what boils down to some good manners and an irenic spirit of gentleness? I’m not saying you are, but for me, that’s my primary contention with alot of those folk.

Great! You believe in the sovereignty of God. so do I.
It doesn’t mean we get to use that as an excuse to be awful to people.

I don’t think that making things complex. I think that’s pretty straightforward. See?

That’s what I’m getting at….it’s that simple.
This isn’t about making it complicated.

66   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 10th, 2008 at 9:22 am

The Incarnation was the ultimate contextualization – God conforming to the entire human cultural experience to communicate His offer of redemption.

67   nc    
March 10th, 2008 at 9:30 am

Rick,

Man! That God is one big traitor to the gospel.

68   Neil    
March 10th, 2008 at 9:47 am

We don’t need to view pornography, use profanity, look like or act like the world in order to share the Good News.

View pornography – true, dead horse.
Use profanity – true, though profanity itself is often culturally determined.
look like or act like the world… – here’s where the contextualizing issue lies.

Some, probably too many, see “the world” (in its negative spiritual sense) too broadly. That’s one of the problems the ODM’s have. How we dress (suits vs jeans), how we look (superficial appearances), how we sing (styles of music), are for the most part not issues of worldliness.

Whether it’s John MacArthur quoted here or Ingrid posting here – being worldly is not what they are addressing, though they think they are.

What they are addressing is their own uncomfortableness with cultural shifts.

Neil

69   Neil    
March 10th, 2008 at 9:49 am

The Incarnation was the ultimate contextualization – God conforming to the entire human cultural experience to communicate His offer of redemption.

Amen!

70   Neil    
March 10th, 2008 at 9:58 am

When Hudson Taylor went to China he employed a very radical technique. Taylor decided to contextualize himself – he shaved part of his head and grew a ponytail, he donned native Chinese clothing, he wore glasses, in all external cultural mannerism possible he became like the Chinese.

In other words he looked and acted like the world to reach a part of it.

Neil

NB: This shows how the catch phrase “the world” is so easily abused – while we all decry “worldliness” – exemplifying it by abiblical, spiritually neutral externals misses the point.

71   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
March 10th, 2008 at 10:08 am

I think the thing is this. MacArthur really does believe that he has the Gospel figured out completely. All the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. The equations have all been worked out. There’s nothing left to talk about. If you don’t agree with him, well, that’s your problem. It’s the same type of arrogance that John Piper displays when he says the higher someone’s position is, the less Arminianism should be tolerated.

So much for looking through a glass dimly. We’ve analyzed everything from every angle, and, what do you know? We’re right. It’s nice when things work out like that, isn’t it?

72   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 10th, 2008 at 10:25 am

When Hudson Taylor went to China he employed a very radical technique. Taylor decided to contextualize himself – he shaved part of his head and grew a ponytail, he donned native Chinese clothing, he wore glasses, in all external cultural mannerism possible he became like the Chinese.

In other words he looked and acted like the world to reach a part of it.

Excellent point, Neil.

It’s the same type of arrogance that John Piper displays when he says the higher someone’s position is, the less Arminianism should be tolerated.

Good point, Phil. They have sucked the mystery out of it all and contend they know the correct interpretation about everything. There are core beliefes that must not change, but there are many fringe issues and communicative styles about which humble inventory must be taken. I am waiting for the day when I hear MacArthur say, “You know what, I really don’t have a concrete handle on this verse.”

Still waiting…

73   Neil    
March 10th, 2008 at 10:40 am

As I stated somewhere else before… what John Macarthur is exemplifying is a modernist approach that reduces the Gospel to a simple set of belief statements.

Neil

74   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 10th, 2008 at 10:44 am

Yes Neil, but there are some beliefs that must always be the skeleton upon which to graft skin. Revealing redemption must always be tethered to gospel message, however communicating the gospel can have variables. Everyone has them, some deny they do.

An object lesson is a contextualization, as is a story told to help with understanding. A blog is a contextualization used to explain and give opinions in a convenient way that incorperates the writer’s own culture and personality.

75   Neil    
March 10th, 2008 at 10:47 am

Rick,

I agree that the Gospel contains a set of belief statements that need to be believed – but in many circles it has been reduced to only that.

Neil

76   Rev Scottie    http://www.reverendscottie.com
March 10th, 2008 at 10:54 am

I find it very amusing that with all this talk about contextulizing and engaging culture that no one has pointed out that withinin the context of contemporary culture anonymousjane used the word gay incorrectly. Any teen could tell you that in AJ’s context the word is ghay with an H not gay and it means lame, boring, or stupid. LOL

77   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
March 10th, 2008 at 10:55 am

I agree that the Gospel contains a set of belief statements that need to be believed – but in many circles it has been reduced to only that.

Not only that, but these circle have added a bunch of stuff. In my view, the Gospel has to be about Jesus. Who He is, what He did, and what He said. When we start adding all these other things, we get in trouble.

There a lot of metaphors we could use, but I think of a car. The engine is the most important thing in a car. If that’s not correct, the car won’t move. The Gospel is the engine that makes Christianity go. However, we have people telling us that unless the interior of the car is certain color or the radio is set to a certain station, than it’s not right. That’s my issue with the Johnnie Macs of the world.

78   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 10th, 2008 at 11:26 am

The height of absurdity is that the people who obsess over contexualization also do not believe it matters to the unelected. This means that they want to get the gospel exactly correct so that the non-elect can reject an authentic version of the gospel.

It’s not that they care about the unsaved, their destiny is set, they just care about structure. Like watching a car with two people go over a cliff with no hope of rescue but you are consumed with telling those doomed in the car exactly what rescue would entail even though it isn’t available to them.

“Hey, you in the car, God has rescued others and here is the accurate description of that rescue. It is, however, not for you but we want to make sure everyone understands the particulars of that rescue on their way down. So long!”.

Please tell me anything more absurd.

79   nc    
March 10th, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Man, the more I thought about it…

that Jesus was sure a contextualizing compromiser…wearing tassles on his robe.

the Paul, he sure was a contextualizing compromiser when he called the demand for circumcision another gospel and then went and circumcized timothy anyway…

those missionaries to Inuit people’s are sure contextualizing compromisers when they speak of seals instead of sheep, because “sheep” would be unintelligible to an Inuit.

and their brothers in Africa speaking of Jesus in the liver, instead of the “heart”, they really are bad…the “heart” is the word the Bible uses, those folk are soooo ashamed of the gospel.

80   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 10th, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Q : “Please tell me anything more absurd.”
A : Non-’Calvinists’ explaining what ‘Calvinists’ believe.

81   Neil    
March 10th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

I fail to see the relevance of a Calvinist/Arminian debate in the context of contextualizing and suite wearing.

Neil

82   nc    
March 10th, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Q: “Please tell me anything mroe absurd.”
A: “Anti-”emergents” trying to explain what non-existent “emergents” believe.”

I kid, I kid, seriously….I kid…
a little levity…please.

83   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 10th, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Keith – that was funny, brother. I enjoy your spirit, I cannot say that about…well…never mind.

84   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 10th, 2008 at 1:33 pm

That was funny too, Neil. I reserve the write to write my own dictionary. Webster was an idoit!

85   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
March 10th, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Personally I found Tony Kummer’s comment far more thoughtful on the subject of wearing a suit than Johnny Macs:

This whole conversation reminds me of a 1 Peter 5:5 where Paul does give a biblical dress code. “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.”

Take this as the test. Does wearing a suit exalt a person or humble a person?

I know I am being a little simplistic here, but suits are not the uniform for a servant in America. The President wears a suit!

Why not borrow some kids McDonald’s uniform? Maybe a Wal-Mart apron would do in a pinch.

86   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 10th, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Neil: Don’t you know? Calvinists wear suits…Arminians do not. (It’s like “skins and shirts”)

87   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
March 10th, 2008 at 2:09 pm

Don’t you know? Calvinists wear suits…Arminians do not. (It’s like “skins and shirts”)

If God predestined some of the shirt and tie combinations I’ve seen on preachers, He really needs to get a new stylist…

88   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 10th, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Calvinists wear suits…Arminians do not.

Calvinist wear suits – Arminians wear pants suits.

89   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
March 10th, 2008 at 2:22 pm

I prefer my birthday suit.

90   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
March 10th, 2008 at 2:23 pm

I prefer my birthday suit.

When you’re home alone on the telephone with the Rolling Stone?

91   Chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
March 10th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

GOOD CHARLOTTE!

What do I win?

92   Chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
March 10th, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Or maybe everyones saying

“now you’re rich and now you’re famous”

93   nathan    http://www.nathanneighbour.com
March 10th, 2008 at 5:45 pm

The #2 reason that people do not come to church is because they feel that they don’t have nice “church clothes” It is shameful the religion that we have created called Christianity.

94   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 10th, 2008 at 5:54 pm

Nathan, just remember Adam and Eve didn’t have nice church clothes until God gave them some! Adam had a tailored suit and Even had an an ankle length dress. And Cain murdered Able because Able wouldn’t make him a suit too.

That is the rest of the story…

95   Evan Hurst    
March 10th, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Any teen could tell you that in AJ’s context the word is ghay with an H not gay and it means lame, boring, or stupid. LOL

kidding, right?

seriously. kidding?

um. right?

anywho…

96   merry    
March 10th, 2008 at 8:40 pm

^ Nope, he’s not kidding. Kind of a dumb word, in my opinion, but it’s not a homosexual reference. “Ghay” is also a last name, lol.

97   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 10th, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Maybe this is what they meant.

98   merry    
March 10th, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Wow. There are two words that don’t really go together . . . Tasteless. Wow.

99   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
March 10th, 2008 at 9:59 pm

(I’m going off into a corner to sulk about the fact that my point wasn’t addressed.)

100   Evan Hurst    
March 10th, 2008 at 10:28 pm

wow.

A. that’s ridiculous, even if ignorant kids are using that as some cute little way of being homophobic. maybe we can start and perpetuate a new word, like “nhiggery” or something. seriously. oh, don’t worry, it means “lame, boring, or stupid.” i mean, there’s no possible way it’s evolved from the ignorant racist word “nigger,” i mean, how can you think that? that’s really a really fhaggy belief, in my opinion.

B. merry, that’s more offensive than the sophomoric thing i just kept going above. i was under the impression that this place was “different,” but i could be mistaken. it’s phenomenal to me, considering the fights i witness between this group and the so-called “ODM” community, that someone on this side of things would knowingly cut an entire segment of the population off from God, even to go so far as to say the two words cannot be placed together without being “tasteless.” well, let me teach you something about the word “queer.” it’s ours now. it’s NOT a pejorative when WE use it. even more than that, though, there are millions of gay Christians out there, and the fact that they disagree with you on a minor point of theology does not cut them off from God.

look…we’ve all heard the arguments, the condemnations, the blather. what’s truly phenomenal to me is that, despite all of that, a large percentage of gay people still want anything to do with Christ.

but perhaps there-in lies the solution to that quandary: despite everything, they’ve been able to see past Christians and find Christ.

that is transcendence, indeed.

101   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
March 10th, 2008 at 10:36 pm

look…we’ve all heard the arguments, the condemnations, the blather. what’s truly phenomenal to me is that, despite all of that, a large percentage of gay people still want anything to do with Christ.

Ouch.

102   E.G.    
March 10th, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Arminians wear Armani.

Calvinists wear Calvin Klein.

I wear jeans and a t-shirt.

103   merry    
March 10th, 2008 at 11:33 pm

Whoa, whoa, slow down, Evan. That’s not what I meant at all, and I’m sorry I offended you. Apparently I did not realize the word “queer” belonged to homosexuals. I was under the impression that it was an offensive slur against homosexuals. I’m sorry I misinterpreted that fact. Hope you can forgive me.

I do not condemn homosexuals at all. I love them like Christ would. But I truly believe homosexuality is a sin. You can be offended by that, you can never speak to me again if you’d like, but it’s the truth. I am not judging you, Evan, I am just stating a fact.

May I be honest and a little open with you? It frustrates me a little that Christian homosexuals seem to think it’s all right for them to live a sinful lifestyle and not make an effort to pursue a godly one. I personally, as a sinner, want to do a lot of things but don’t because I know it’s wrong. Why do homosexual Christians think they can get away with it? It’s one thing to be homosexual and abstain from it out of love for God and another to live an openly sinful lifestyle and call oneself a Christian.

I hope this doesn’t turn into a huge argument, but this is something that’s been frustrating me lately.

104   Evan Hurst    
March 11th, 2008 at 12:15 am

blockquote> Apparently I did not realize the word “queer” belonged to homosexuals. I was under the impression that it was an offensive slur against homosexuals.

it’s like the aforementioned “N-word.” when i, or someone whose heart i know, gay or straight, uses it, it’s not pejorative.

I do not condemn homosexuals at all. I love them like Christ would. But I truly believe homosexuality is a sin. You can be offended by that, you can never speak to me again if you’d like, but it’s the truth. I am not judging you, Evan, I am just stating a fact.

semantic correction: you are stating what you truly believe to be a fact. this has nothing to do with being offended by someone’s beliefs. i never mentioned anything about “not speaking to someone ever again,” though.

It frustrates me a little that Christian homosexuals seem to think it’s all right for them to live a sinful lifestyle and not make an effort to pursue a godly one.

as I said, it’s a disagreement over a minor theological point. in many cases, the scholarly arguments are more convincing on the side of “being gay isn’t a sin.” where the scholars/scientists do NOT disagree is in whether or not “gay” is something someone IS, rather than just a “behaviour,” as some Christian non-scientists and “mental health professionals” unrecognized by 99% of their field contend. my beliefs are in a constant state of evolution, but one belief i’ve held for a long time is that when science or simple observable reality conflict with an interpretation of a scripture, any scripture, then it’s the scripture we have to reinterpret. homosexuality has been observed in over 1500 species on this earth…so far. in pretty consistent numbers.

part of why this issue is so ridiculous is that we’re talking about 3 or 4 places in the Bible that may or may not say something about specific sexual acts. they don’t address what we now understand about sexuality.

so the solutions are:

A. if this is such a big sin, then why is it that the Biblical writers didn’t address it in its actual context? is the Bible divinely inspired or not? seriously. if God was actually so concerned about this, or it wasn’t part of His plan, wouldn’t he have thought to address the greater issue of sexuality?

or

B. the Bible is divinely inspired and the limited condemnations actually are just that: limited. specific.

regardless of where one comes down on this issue, the fact remains that people legitimately disagree on this issue, whereas there really aren’t a lot of other “sins” that garner this kind of discussion.

i would suggest that there’s far more to this discussion than i feel like addressing here, but the “lifestyle” thing always gets me. i’m like “what lifestyle?” sexuality is but one tiny piece of what makes each of us who we are, and we’re all made in the image of God.

as to your comment about “liv[ing] an openly sinful lifestyle and call[ing] oneself a Christian,” i would turn the question around? why ARE there so many gay Christians? seriously. if homosexuality, which DOES seem to be part of the natural order of things, as observed in nature, is actually so horrible in God’s eyes, why be a Christian? but yet…there are so many gay Christians. active in churches. with deep personal relationships with God. in fact, many of the rest would probably still be active in churches if they hadn’t been driven away by His followers.

as to “getting away with it,” i think that’s kind of a false logic. as our general framework, we have these ten commandments, considered to be the hallmark of how we’re supposed to “be,” none of them dealing directly with sexuality. i’d also note that all ten commandments deal directly with actions. i’m hard-pressed to find a biblical condemnation against something innate. science is just starting to figure things out, but remember what i said about “observable reality.” the reality is that some people are straight, some people are gay. gay people aren’t “influenced” into it, aren’t “recruited” into it, aren’t “exposed” to it, and then choose that path based on that. ask any gay man if he actually knew what “gay” was when he realized he was gay. (i say gay man, because womens’ sexuality is sooooo confusing from a scientific standpoint…)

so if science and observable reality are telling us that sexuality is what it is, and we can’t find any other sin in the Bible that states “oh, you have no control over this, but if you happen to have black eyebrows, you’re an abomination,” then perhaps it’s time to reexamine conventional understanding of Scripture.

science is only the study of God’s creation, after all.

105   Rev Scottie    http://www.reverendscottie.com
March 11th, 2008 at 8:00 am

The kids are neither ignorant nor homophobic since the word ghay has absolutely no reference to anyone’s sexuality. Kids will often even say “That’s ghay with an H” so people know that it has no sexual meaning. I suppose Evan would be horrified to know that fags are banned in restaurants and bars in many states. Just in case you are wondering some older adults still refer to cigarettes as “fags”. Language evolves and changes and its a good idea to keep up with such things before going off on a tangent calling kids ignorant and homophobic.

106   Evan Hurst    
March 11th, 2008 at 8:51 am

aha, but “fag” is cultural. in the UK, the meaning really hasn’t changed – still a cigarette.

on this side of the pond, it has a derogatory meaning. it has EVOLVED in that direction.

the argument that the word you refer to (which is actually spelled “ghey”) isn’t a direct reference to the word “gay” is specious; that by removing one letter and replacing it with two it somehow loses its CURRENT MEANING, somehow it’s comparable to the actual evolution of words.

you’d see the corollary if it were any other derogatory word. excuse me. chorollary. it means “balloon.” because some kid on Facebook said so.

107   nc    
March 11th, 2008 at 9:08 am

Can we move this discussion to another thread or some other blog? ..It’s really not pertinent to this post…

108   Rev Scottie    http://www.reverendscottie.com
March 11th, 2008 at 10:31 am

And I say that the word gay in pop culture is now EVOLVING to the meaning of lame, pointless, and stupid which is where this thread is heading so I’ll just drop out of it. :)

109   Evan Hurst    
March 11th, 2008 at 11:09 am

no, it’s over.

it all started when i told somebody to watch their mouth, and others’ juvenility carried it on.

some people aren’t worth the time.

110   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
March 11th, 2008 at 12:30 pm

I agree with nc. There’s a great blog over at 127.0.0.1 that’s perfect for this sort of thing.

111   Evan Hurst    
March 11th, 2008 at 12:41 pm

no, i said it’s over.

112   merry    
March 11th, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Good comment, Evan. All those things you talk about I wonder about, too. I have no answers for you, only one thought. You said, “if homosexuality, which DOES seem to be part of the natural order of things, as observed in nature, is actually so horrible in God’s eyes, why be a Christian? but yet…there are so many gay Christians. active in churches. with deep personal relationships with God.”

Sin in general is a part of the natural order of things, is observed in nature, and is horrible in God’s eyes. Why be a Christian? It’s our only hope.

Sorry this is so off-topic. I’m done now.

113   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 11th, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Now, playing devil’s advocate here…

What do you think John MacArthur actually means by “contextualization”. Let’s try to see this through his world viewpoint?

So you think he just means that we do not change he message to fit culture or that we should seperate “secular and sacred” as in not making “worldy” things like secular movies make context for scripture?

I am not sure how to even ask as I think he has very little clue as to what “contexualization” is.

But… let’s try to translate what he is “Macspeaking” and figure out what he really means.

iggy

114   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 11th, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Keith,

I do not recommend you read JM’s books like most critics read “emergents” books, as that would not be fair to John MacArthur… but do read it carefully and critically (as in look at the details not prejudge it).

be blessed,
iggy

115   Neil    
March 11th, 2008 at 3:29 pm

…where the scholars/scientists do NOT disagree is in whether or not “gay” is something someone IS, rather than just a “behaviour,”

This is a moot argument when it comes to what is a sin: “is” vs “behavior” – I is a heterosexual, but that does not negate the biblical commands against certain behaviors I may be drawn toward.

116   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 11th, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Iggy: You’re assuming I haven’t because I don’t see it the same as you?

117   Neil    
March 11th, 2008 at 4:06 pm

One last thought and I’ll be off the subject as well. The American Church does treat the act of homosexuality as if it were so much more of an offense than other sins. And too many Christians do not make the distinction between the sin and the temptation.

Neil

118   Neil    
March 11th, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Iggy,

That’s a great assignment, here’s my first attempt:

His first example was attending an x-rated movie for the experience of it. His second and main illustration was wearing a suit and tie. The former is not contextualizing of the message, it’s participation in a sin. The second could be contextualizing, he’s placing himself into a certain context.

The fact that he offers the first example shows me he has not distinguished between participating in sin and participating in neutral cultural elements.

He says [he] wear[s] a suit because [it] is a more elevated experience for people, but he says it as if this were a universal experience. This leads me to believe that he has failed to realize his own contextualizing. He seems to be assuming his ethnocentricity is the norm. It’s like telling a Brit they drive on the wrong side of the road.

Finally, the fact that he says we should “leapfrog the culture” because “all ministry is mind to mind” shows me that he is thoroughly engrossed in modernity.

JM is a brilliant man in so many ways. It’s hard to get a grip on his naiveté on this one.

Here is my attempt at Macspeak: The way things have been done up to now as I understand them are what’s normal, and lest we participate in sin we do not need the change the message. This is particularly true since what we are trying to do is convince people to agree to our set of truth statements, and we can do that without looking like them, talking like them, or any other accommodation to them.

Neil

119   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 11th, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Keith,

I am assuming nothing… but I do know that if you hold “lordship salvation” to scripture it comes up wanting… and way off.

It assumes one must become a disciple before they get saved… that in the “decision” and “right belief” one is saved… it is dependant on our own “right belief” and if that, then nullifies Grace and salvation by God alone.

Also, i am referring to how many critics read “emergent” book filtered through “modernist” glasses… and they come out not getting what is stated or going on… but for “us” we understand it.

iggy

iggy

120   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 11th, 2008 at 5:02 pm

Neil,

He says [he] wear[s] a suit because [it] is a more elevated experience for people, but he says it as if this were a universal experience. This leads me to believe that he has failed to realize his own contextualizing. He seems to be assuming his ethnocentricity is the norm. It’s like telling a Brit they drive on the wrong side of the road.

Good thoughts as if he was wearing a suit in Hawaii, they would not trust him. Or if he wore shorts (anytime) in Haiti, he would be thought odd.

When I see emerging people talk of contextualization it is in regards to taking and seeing things in culture and using them to present Jesus. It is using every opportunity present.

Paul used his chains and imprisonment. He used the idea when he had much and nothing and in every context found contentment in Christ.

I see it as adapting the communication but not the message. John uses a microphone and speakers. His church has big screens and he uses a pulpit.

None of that is “biblical” but “cultural”.

I find it interesting that John goes straight to “porn”… or sin in general. I knew an ex prostitute who was lead to Christ by her “john” who confessed what he did was wrong and that he was a Christian. Even in that, what she saw was a man humbled by his sin and in his confession knew he was loved by God. And if God could love him even then God could love her.

I am not advocating prostitution evangelism, but expressing that God can us any context and situation to get the Gospel message to someone. Sin should drive us to Jesus as we realize none of us are “right” only Jesus is.

iggy

121   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 11th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Iggy stated: “It assumes one must become a disciple before they get saved…” Man, I don’t know what or who you’ve been reading, but I’ve NEVER understood “lordship salvation” in that way. The sermon JM preached Friday night of the SC about this very topic and the meaning of the word duolos didn’t come anywhere near this from where I was sitting.

I think JM has become your new Ken Silva.

I didn’t wear a suit to a single session of the SC, and I was never told I’m going to hell…imagine that!

I’m surprised I didn’t see any of you fellas there. You missed a great week. Check out Steve Lawson’s sermon on Heb 4:12 (Thurs AM). (You can’t go wrong with good material.)

122   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 11th, 2008 at 9:32 pm

Iggy stated: “I am assuming nothing…” Uh, yeah. You are. You don’t have to agree with me…but you don’t have to insult what little intelligence I have either.

It’s OK if we don’t agree. Really. You don’t have to win me to your side.

123   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
March 11th, 2008 at 9:34 pm

I’m surprised I didn’t see any of you fellas there.

They don’t want my kind.

124   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
March 11th, 2008 at 10:06 pm

Keith,

I guess I insulted you… sorry.

iggy

125   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
March 11th, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Iggy, apology accepted. I admire your passion, but sometimes…

I appreciate the apology.