“Christians” Who Try To Poke Holes In Sola Scriptura

by Sandy Simpson, 5/18/09


A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;

Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. (Titus 3:10-11)


There are a number of the leadership of the Emerging Church (EC) who do not believe that the Bible is the highest authority for the Christian faith.  Most do not believe that the Bible is inerrant in the original manuscripts and many do not acknowledge that the Bible is our highest revelation.  Yet this is a core doctrine over which true believers and false brethren must separate. 


Those who try to poke holes in Sola Scriptura make excuses like (1) we need to reinterpret the Bible through the lens of postmodern culture and religion (2) the Bible never uses the words “Sola Scriptura” therefore it is not a Biblical concept (3) there is new revelation for the church through the Holy Spirit apart from what is written and the precepts of the Bible and (4) the Bible just doesn’t address our postmodern situation therefore we cannot rely on it for the truth and answers for our problems today.  I will prove that all the above arguments, and more, from EC leaders and others is exactly what they are teaching.  I will give you quotes from their teachings, videos and books.


The postmodern church and its “movements” are abandoning Sola Scriptura in their rush to be like the Roman Catholic Church, which takes its authority from a mix of Scripture and tradition.


As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with EQUAL sentiments of devotion and reverence. (Roman Catholic Catechism, Given October 11, 1992, the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, in the fourteenth year of my Pontificate. Page 31).


Read the following articles for further clarification on this subject.


The Abandonment of Sola Scriptura as a Formal Principle
By Bob DeWaay



What Do We Mean by Sola Scriptura?

By Dr. W. Robert Godfrey




False teachers, by Biblical definition, are those who create division over foolish controversies.  They love to bring forth new ideas that do not encourage spiritual growth in the Church, but rather divide it.  Here are two excellent messages by Alistair Begg on the subject of false teaching today.


False Teachers Part 1 & Part 2

By Alistair Begg, Truth For Life, 5/20/09




I will list those who explicitly deny Sola Scriptura but there are many, many others who also, by their teachings, deny that core doctrine.




God has already given to the church, in all its diversity, a complete Theory of Everything, a unifying principle that binds things together. The church’s big TOE was formulated in the Bible’s smallest encapsulation of What It All Means: John 1:14. The Fourth Gospel elaborates the exchange as it extends an invitation to the quest and quandary of the quantum explored in this book.

The Word [the depth dimension of Logos which physicists call energy,

ancients called fire and theologians call metanoi] ...

became Flesh [the height dimension of Pathos which physicists call matter,

ancients called land and theologians call koinonia]...

and dwelt among us [the breadth dimension of Ethos which physicists call

space, ancients called wind and theologians call diakonia] ...

and we beheld his [God’s] glory [the fourth dimension of Theos which

physicists call space-time, ancients called sea and theologians call basileia].

This tetrad is the church’s big TOE, the closest the Bible ever comes to formulating a simple, compact description of how the universe works (i.e., a Grand Unified Theory). John 1:14 presents four eddies of experiencing God, comprising a single stream. All four dimensions--the experience of God in Christ and self, the experience of God in community and creation, the experience of God in social justice and compassion, the experience of God in the transpersonal and transcendent--while distinct, are interacting states rather than chronological or sequential stages. They demonstrate a remarkable unity, interpenetrating and mutually reinforcing one another 10. . . as in life, so in the rather artificial partitions of this book.38 (Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, pg. 9)


The Bible formulates lots of simple descriptions of how the universe works, if these guys would actually read it and study it.  The fact that they apparently do not is demonstrated by their twisting of Scripture to fit some kind of New Age model.  The Word is not energy, it is Jesus Christ, Who is God and Who was eternally Spirit (John 4:24) before He added humanity to His nature.  The word “flesh” has nothing to do with land.  That Christ dwelt among us has nothing to do with Pneuma, which is translated as spirit or wind.  Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit after He had dwelt among us.  God’s glory is not the sea; it is His Son in human form, the very glory of God (2 Cor. 4:4). The fact that Sweet is trying to drag the definitions of pagan human cultures into this Bible verse shows that he is determined to prove that every culture and religion has a piece of the Truth.  But there is no ultimate truth aside from the Word of God.




“Scripture is something God had ‘let be,’ and so it is at once God’s creation and the creation of the dozens of people and communities and cultures who produced it.” (Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 162)


The Bible is not the creation of people, communities and cultures.  It transcends culture because the men who wrote it were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21).  The content of the Bible, though written in different time periods in different places, transcends culture and time and is alive and active in every culture and time period of history (Heb. 4:12).  Yes the Bible was relevant to the cultures of the time periods it was written, but it is also just a relevant to us now.  We do need to exegete the Bible properly in context, taking into account to whom it was written and the place and time it was written, but the fact that the Word of God is still living and active is a testament to the fact that is truly is the Word of God.


"Interestingly, when Scripture talks about itself, it doesn't use the language we often use in our explanation of its value.  Premodern Western Christians, words like authority, inerrancy, infallibility, revelation, objective, absolute, and literal are crucial... hardly anyone notices the irony of resorting to the authority of extra biblical words and concepts to justify one's belief in the Bible's ultimate authority." (McLaren, Brian, A Generous Orthodoxy, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004, p. 164.)


What McLaren is failing to understand is that words are tools.  We use words to identify concepts.  The word Trinity is not found in the Bible but it is an accurate representation of the theology of God found therein.  The word monotheism likewise is not found in the Bible but it accurately represents the singularity of God's existence.  There's nothing wrong with using words not found in the Bible to describe concepts that the Bible teaches. (http://midwestoutreach.org/blogs/brian-mclaren-%E2%80%9Cis-jesus-the-only-way-to-what%E2%80%9D-part-1)  The irony is that while McLaren makes this statement he is doing that same thing he warns against, and does so on a regular basis, using words that the Bible does not use, nor are they representations of actually Biblical teaching.  I would rather have extra-Biblical words that describe a Biblical teaching than extra-Biblical words that describe nothing but McLaren’s own hot air.  This is why it is crucial for the churches not to listen to this man.


“… if you’re going someplace where no one has ever been a map cannot help you.  That’s where the name “Off The Map” comes from in part.  But another problem with maps is that sometimes they change.  (Brian McLaren, A New Kind Of Christian – Part 1, Copyright: 2004, Off The Map)


McLaren makes his fpoint that Christianity needs to change with the culture and times.  According to Brian we also apparently need a change of operations manual, the Bible.  The Bible is the “map” for true Christianity from the beginning to the end.  What McLaren proposes is that over time, like geography, maps change and so our entire perception of reality must change to keep in lock step with the world.  The basic fact that Jesus Christ never changes (Heb. 13:8), that the truth of God’s Word never changes (1 Pet. 1:23) and is always applicable no matter what century you come from does not occur to McLaren. That Christians are to be light and salt to the world working to change worldviews to a Biblical one is no longer part of the palate of the New Age, postmodern, “emerging” Christian.  This opens the doors wide to new revelation, a new “Breed”, a new paradigm, and very old heresies.


And the maps that used to accurately reflect reality don’t reflect reality anymore. (Brian McLaren , A New Kind Of Christian – Part 1, Copyright: 2004, Off The Map)


So apparently the Bible, Christianity and everything we stand for as followers of Christ is now no longer reflecting reality.  The hint at the Thesis of the Diaprax is that we need pied pipers like McLaren to help us see the real map through our old tired Christian haze.  But you have to remember that this is from a man who only uses one Bible verse in this entire diatribe (A New Kind Of Christian – Part 1) and demonstrates clearly that he does not understand the original “map” to begin with. 


In the second foreword to Dan Kimball's book about the Emergent church Brian McLaren writes “Our understandings of the gospel constantly change as we engage in mission in our complex dynamic world, as we discover that the gospel has a rich kalaidoscope of meaning to offer, yielding unexplored layers of depth, revealing uncounted facets of insight and relevance. No doubt as we look back and see ways in which our modern understandings of the gospel were limited or flawed”


The Gospel is a set message recorded and explained to us in the written Word.  Perhaps the reason the “understandings of the gospel constantly change” for Emergents is because they devalue and no longer study the Bible.




Phyllis Tickle, author of the Great Emergence and recent conference speaker at the Great Emergence Conference is on record predicting the demise of sola scriptura. At the conference she said "it’s not if sola scriptura ends but when" and her books includes this quote against sola scriptura: “Always without fail, the thing that gets lost early in the process of a reconfiguration is any clear and general understanding of who or what is to be used as the arbitrator of correct belief, action, and control… The Reformation,…was to answer the question… sola scriptura, scriptura sola… While we may laugh and say the divisiveness was Protestantism’s greatest gift to Christianity, ours is a somber joke. Demoninationalism is a disunity in the Body of Christ and, ironically, one that has a bloody history… Now, some five hundred years later, even many of the most die-hard Protestants among us have grown suspicious of “Scripture and Scripture only.” We question what the words mean - literally? Metaphorically? Actually? We even question which words do and do not belong in Scripture and the purity of the editorial line of decent of those that do. We begin to refer to Luther’s principle of “sola scriptura, scriptura sola” as having been little more than the creation of a paper pope in place of a flesh and blood one. And even as we speak, the authority that has been in place for five hundred years withers away in our hands.”  (The Great Emergence, pgs 45, 46, 47, cited in Emergent Rebellion Against Sola Scriptura, http://www.alittleleaven.com/2008/12/emergent-rebellion-against-sola-scriptura.html


First of all, the division between the apostate Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism is not “denominationalism”, it is a division between true and false religion;  at least it was until modern “evangelicals” signed a treaty with the RCC called Evangelicals & Catholics Together.  Denominationalism does not create disunity in the Body of Christ, only with those who pretend to be orthodox when in fact they are teachings heresies.  There is nothing wrong with stressing certain doctrines and being around those who agree as long as the fundamental unity of the Spirit and unity of the Faith remains.  That unity is based on the core doctrines of the Faith, five of which are:


The Trinity: God is one "What" and three "Whos" with each "Who" possessing all the attributes of Deity and personality.  Or alternately … the one God eternally exists in three Persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus is 100% God and 100% man for all eternity.

The Second Coming: Jesus Christ is coming again bodily to earth to rule and judge.

Salvation: It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

The Scripture: It is entirely inerrant and sufficient for all Christian life, and is a Christian’s highest authority in all matters of faith and practice. 


If she is calling herself a “die-hard Protestant, then she would necessarily be supporting the fifth core doctrine above, not being “suspicious” of it.  This shows she has been brought up in a liberal “Christian” church instead of a Biblical one.  There is no God-given authority given to the pope.  It is an authority that was manufactured by the RCC in order to have a top-down governmental “Church” structure rather than a Biblical one.  The papal succession is nothing more than foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments …”which “are unprofitable and useless”. (Tit. 3:9)


The new Christianity of the Great Emergence must discover some authority base or delivery system and/or governing agency of its own. It must formulate—and soon—something other than Luther’s Sola Scriptura which, although used so well by the Great Reformation originally, is now seen as hopelessly outmoded or insufficient …(Phyllis Tickle, The Great Emergence, pg. 151)


Ironically, Jesus Christ claims that adherence to His Words will set us free rather than put us into bondage under a "paper pope".  John 8:31   So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Furthermore, God's Word itself testifies to its own sufficiency. What other source of 'spiritual information' can make this claim? (Answer None) 2 Tim. 3:14-17 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. Scripture and Scripture ALONE give us the revealed words of God and the only true repository of the Words of Jesus Christ. There is one reason and one reason only why anyone would rebel against Sola Scriptura and that reason is a refusal bend the knee to God and to believe what God has said … through the Cornerstone (Jesus Christ) and the Foundation (Jesus Christ & the Apostles) of the Church.




This is some of the text of a blog by Jonathan Brink about the “The Great Emergence Day” where Phyllis Tickle, author of the book “The Great Emergence” gave a lecture opposing Sola Scriptura. 


Tara, no one is saying get rid of Scripture. It's central to the entire story and conversation. But the framework of Sola Scriptura unfortunately excludes and often leaves behind the very tools that allow us to interpret it effectively, namely community, experience, science, and most importantly the Holy Spirit. There is no place in Scripture that confirms the concept. It's a human construct that was a reactionary measure against the Papal construct and sadly had consequences that we're dealing with. What Tickle is suggesting is that Sola Scriptura is going away so it can be replaced with a more robust toolset that allows us to understand in discern Scripture more effectively. … Josh, sadly when people talk about a move away from Sola Scriptura, they assume we are talking about removing Scripture or the authority of Scripture, which is absurd. It's a knee jerk reaction. Scripture stands on its own regardless. Unfortunately the concept of Sola Scripture is deeply misleading. It does not create a robust tool set approach for understanding the story. And what Tickle and many others are talking about is that broadening of the toolset.  Tickle's question ultimately drives at "Where is our authority?" And my answer to that is Jesus. Yet Jesus is best understood in a combination of elements that include Scripture but also the following of the Holy Spirit, experience, science, and community. And my argument has always been that Sola Scriptura presents, albeit unfortunately, an incomplete picture that cripples people in the discipleship process. It largely ignores that call to the leading of the Holy Spirit as the base element for understanding the story. In the end I think the larger Emergent community is saying the same thing I am. They're just not given credit for it because Emergent is such a lightning rod. (Jonathan Brink, online blog: http://jonathanbrink.com/2008/12/05/the-great-emergence-day-1/)


Let’s deal with these statements one by one to show that these Emergents know nothing about Biblical hermeneutics.  The Scripture is not some “conversation” whereby we arrive at consensus.  The Scripture, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, often and most accurately interprets itself.  The Holy Spirit is our teacher when it comes to the written Word, but we don’t add the lenses of “community, experience” and  “science” to the interpretive tools we use to understand Scripture.  Yes, we have to read and teach it in context as to who it was written to and the cultural elements in play during the time it was written, but we don’t strain it through the grid of our modern science or experiences or through our culture or the religions of the world.  Sola Scriptura is only going away because false teachers like Tickle are tickling people’s ears (2 Tim. 4:3-4) with the idea of doing away with one of the core doctrines of the Faith so these modern Gnostics can bring in “new revelation”.  This is nothing new and has been a problem since the early church.  The concept of Scripture being our highest authority in all matters of faith and to “not go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6) is not misleading.  It is perfectly clear.  The idea of “broadening of our toolset” is a way to throw people off the track.  It is also a way to run ahead of (2 John 1:9), add to (Pr. 30:6, Rev. 22:18), subtract from (Rev. 22:19) and twist Scripture (2 Pet. 3:16).  There is no “combination of elements” when it comes to understanding Scripture and the precepts that apply for all time.  There are only two: what is written and the ability to understand it through the Holy Spirit.  The other “tools” are tools that lead to deception.   Finally there is no other way to disciple people without the Scripture and the Holy Spirit (Tit. 2:1, 1 Jn. 2:27).  Paul discipled people with the Word and commended the Bereans for making sure what he was teaching was accurate from it (Acts 17:11).




“Where the sixteenth-century Reformation returned our focus to sacred Scriptures as the only infallible rule for faith and practice, the new reformation will return our focus to the sacred right of every person to self-esteem! The fact is, the church will never succeed until it satisfies the human being’s hunger for self-value.” (Robert H. Schuller, Self Esteem The New Reformation, (Waco: Word, 1982) pg. 38)


This is rank heresy.  When you go away from the written Word then you do not affirm its truths.  1 Cor. 13:5 It (love) is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Out task is to learn to get outside of self love and self-esteem and learn how to love others are we already love ourselves.  Ga 5:14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbour as yourself." {Lev. 19:18}  Php 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.




This [that the canon was not settled until the 4th century] is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that “Scripture alone” is our guide. It sounds nice, but it is not true. In reaction to abuses by the church, a group of believers during a time called the Reformation claimed that we only need the authority of the Bible. But the problem is that we got the Bible from the church voting on what the Bible even is. (Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis – Rethinking the Christian Faith, (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 2005), pgs 67-68).


Since his conclusion that Sola Scriptura was only a precept for the Reformation is wrong because the Bible itself says it is to be our highest authority in our Faith, then his statement that the church “voting” on what to put in the Bible is what is the “problem” is also wrong.  The Scriptures acknowledged by the early church and by the Apostles comprise what is our Bible today.  That voting process was to eliminate spurious and false “scriptures” that had crept in from heretics, as well as sources in the Old Testament times that were clearly not inspired.  The Christian faith in the authority of Scripture not only sounds nice, it is also true.  It is Rob Bell who is false.


“The Bible itself is a book that constantly must be wrestled with and re-interpreted. He dismisses claims that “Scripture alone” will answer all questions. Bible interpretation is colored by historical context, the reader’s bias and current realities, he says. The more you study the Bible, the more questions it raises. “It is not possible to simply do what the Bible says,” Bell writes. (Online source, emphasis added)


If it is impossible to do what the Bible says then you cannot be a person who claims to love God.  It is impossible to know what God’s commands are without obeying the written Word.


Joh 14:15  "If you love me, you will obey what I command.

Joh 14:23  Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

Joh 14:24  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Joh 15:10  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

1Jo 5:3  This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

It’s interesting how many traditions (pause) When you read the great enlightened ones; meditation, centering prayer, reflection—in every tradition you can find the mystics—and what’s always at the heart of the spiritual lives, the everyday lives of the great ones was always a period of time. … Whether it’s prayers, chanting, meditation, reflection, study—whatever you call it—what is it essentially; it’s taking time to breathe. Because when you’ve been breathing, (slight pause) in a proper sort of way, you’re far better equipped to handle what life throws your way. (Rob Bell, http://www.marshill.org/teaching/download.mp3?filename=MTExNjA4Lm1wMw%3D%3D, 5:41-6:23)

So Bell has been meditating on and reading from many traditions, in other words from Catholics and other religions, calling them “the great enlightened ones”.  Breathing is a material, natural human process but it does not “equip” people to “handle what life throws our way” except that we keep breathing.  New Age mystics and even “Christians” these days think you can breathe in truth, the Holy Spirit, etc. 


"When we breathe out we breathe ourselves out and when we breathe in we breathe in the Spirit". (Benny Hinn, TBN, reported by Ed Tarkowski, Fri, 11 Jul 1997)


This is nonsense.  If you want to be able to handle life, read your Bible and obey it!




Perhaps the most fundamental problem with Sola Scriptura is the first half: “Sola”. In context, there were 5 solas (also Sola fide, Sola gratia, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo gloria) representing the Reformation’s pillars or fundamental beliefs. Sola Scriptura, however, seems to have taken on a life of its own in the minds of those pondering the question of ultimate authority in an age of Biblism. Anyway, in essence, the problem is that a closed starting point will result in a limited system. By declaring any source of truth with the proviso “alone,” we automatically exclude whatever else might reveal it. (Nic Paton, So Long, Sola?, Emergent Village weblog, http://www.emergentvillage.com/weblog/so-long-sola)


That’s the whole point; excluding the evil, including the good.  Obeying the written Word is not limiting, it is freeing.


Jas 1:25  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

Jas 2:12  Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,

1Pe 2:16  Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.




We wouldn't do these things, we wouldn't pay so much attention to this Book, unless we really believed that "the Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written." But in other ways I wonder if we could do better.


There is no “other way” if you truly uphold Sola Scriptura.  We can do no better than the word of the prophets, Jesus Christ and the Apostles as handed down through the written Word.


Suggestion #1: Consider the possibility that God may want evangelical scholars to write more books and articles that tell the Church what the whole Bible teaches us about some current problem.


The Bible transcends time and culture.  It speaks to every problem in every culture in every time.  More books will not help unless they properly exegete the Bible using good hermeneutics.  There are very few of those books today, so it would be good to write better ones.  The problem is that most scholars have been influenced by postmodern thought and are no longer able or willing to exegete the Bible because fundamentally they don’t agree that it speaks to specific problems today with timeless precepts.


Suggestion #2: Consider the possibility that God wants the Church to discover answers and reach consensus on more problems, and wants us to play a significant role in that process.


It does not help to reach consensus on what the problems are at all.  We all already are very much aware of the problems.  It is the solutions that are lacking and that is because there is little or no Bible study going on in the churches.  If more churches were teaching verse by verse exegetically through the Word there would be no problem coming up with “answers” to postmodern problems.


Suggestion #3: Consider the possibility that God wants evangelical scholars to speak with a unified voice on certain issues before the whole Church and the whole world.


This would be great.  But whose voice are we to listen to and follow?  Would it not be better to follow the Word and let it dictate what we believe and stand for?  If we listen to the televangelists, the Word of Faith teachers, the New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church will we not be led astray?  Can we come up with a “unified voice” with them?  Can we be unified with the Roman Catholic Church like those who signed the Evangelicals and Catholics Together document claim?  If we deny Sola Scriptura how can those who uphold it be unified with those who do not?


Suggestion #4: Consider the possibility that God may want many of us to pay less attention to the writings of nan-evangelical scholars.


This one I agree with.  Pay attention to the writings of the Apostles and prophets.  But this requires serious study and application. 


Suggestion #5: Consider the possibility that God may want us to quote his Word explicitly in private discussions and in public debates with nonChristians.


Not sure why this is a revelation to Grudem.  This is what every true believer has been doing all along.  Only those who read heretical books that comprise 2/3 of the books sold in Christian bookstores spend their time quoting that stuff.


Suggestion #6: Consider the possibility that the world as we know it may change very quickly. (Wayne Grudem, Do we act as if we really believe that "the Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the word of God written?, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3817/is_200003/ai_n8894267/)


It has already changed and hopefully those who poke at Sola Scriptura will ask God for discernment to see the Apostasy we have already been in for some time so that they will know the signs of His coming.




"Sola Scriptura also tends to downplay the role of God's Spirit in shaping the direction of the church. Of greatest importance to this discussion is the fact that often people subscribing to Sola Scriptura do not take into account the subjectivity of human interpreters" (Pagitt, Jones, "An Emergent Manifesto of Hope," Baker Books, 2007, p. 156).


The Bible is hardly a subjective (man-focused) work. Rather, it is because the inspired writers (2 Peter 1:20-21) were objective (God-focused) that humanity tends to shy away from the brilliance of Scripture. (Commentary by the Berean Call)




“In the actual practices of the Evangelical community in North America, there is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational, and harmful to the cause of Christ. . . . And it has produced a mean-spiritedness among the over-committed that is a grotesque and often ignorant distortion of discipleship unto the Lord Jesus. … [The problem is] "the idea that the Bible is the sole source of knowledge of God, morality, and a host of related important items. Accordingly, the Bible is taken to be the sole authority for faith and practice.” (J.P.Moreland quoted in "Postcard from San Diego: Fighting 'Bibliolatry' at the Evangelical Theological Society," by Ted Olsen, Christianity Today, 11/14/07.)


There is a simple answer to this man who should not be reading books by heretics.  2 Tim. 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  The word for “thoroughly” is exartizo meaning to complete, finish, to furnish perfectly, to finish, accomplish, (as it were, to render the days complete).  Now either the written Word is fully able to train up a Christian in the way he should go, or it is not.  Since the Bible itself answers this question then Who does Moreland suppose is using that Word to teach?  The Holy Spirit teaches the believer based on the written Word (Eph. 6:17, John 14:26), not other words, not other teachers, not other books, not other movements, not other cultures, not other religions.  The Word of God is either lying or it is true.  If it is true then we have to take into consideration that we are not to “go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6).  Only false teachers want to add their two-cents worth to the written Word.  Do they actually expect that their words are eternal as the written Word of God is (Ps. 119:89) which was given to us by the Holy Spirit through the prophets, Jesus Christ and the Apostles?  Whose Word is truth (John 17:17)?  The Bible IS the sole source of the true knowledge of God, of salvation, of doctrine, of faith and of practice.  Those who claim otherwise are heretics or false religionists.




Both the weaknesses of the emergent conversation and its strengths are evident in this volume. Its great weakness continues to be its theological unorthodoxy which is virtually a return to old liberalism. At issue:


• Its above mentioned view of the kingdom (e.g. pp.80-81).

• Its lack of concern for spiritual conversion—the true gospel (pp. 35-37, 49, 100).

• Egalitarianism (pp. 42,175-188).

• Rejection of original sin/sin nature (p. 43).

• Inclusivism (pp. 44, 49-50; 190-198).

• Rejection of sola fide (pp. 82, 159; 194-195).

• Rejection of Sola Scriptura (pp. 154-156).

• The inability to understand God due to our subjectivity (p. 156).

• Orthoparadoxy—chapter 17.


While all of these aberrant views, and many more, are found in An Emergent Manifesto, what you will not find is a presentation of the true gospel or any emphasis on biblical theology. Dan Kimball’s chapter, “Humble Theology,” makes a stab in this direction by at least recognizing some essential beliefs (pp. 216, 222), but he does not go far enough and stands virtually alone among the other authors. One exception is Rodolpho Carrasco’s chapter “A Pound of Social Justice,” which was the best essay in the book.


Carrasco’s article represented the best of emergent—its interest in social justice. This chapter presents a reasoned, well thought out call for God’s people to be involved with the needy. Carrasco even talks of reaching people “with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and His atoning death on the cross” (p. 250), a concept totally misplaced with the rest of the book. With this balance—activism for the needy and evangelism of the lost, followed by discipleship, we would say amen. This is exactly the balance of Scripture. But unfortunately this balance is not representative of the emergent movement.

Some of the newest elements of emergent, a movement that continues to emerge, is evident in this volume. For example, McLaren has grown tired of postmodernity conversations and wants to move the target to postcolonialism (pp. 142,148-149). Postcolonialism is most fully exemplified in the last chapter by American Indian Randy Woodley, “Restoring Honor in the Land,” in which he is advocating some form of restitution to First Nations people because of past colonialism. Barry Taylor sees such a blurring of the lines between emergent Christianity and other religions that he doubts the future of Christianity as a stand-alone religion (p. 165-169). He advocates that Christians “go with the flow” (p. 169). Samir Selmanovic, in the most troubling chapter in the volume, “The Sweet Problem of Inclusiveness: Finding Our God in the Other,” would agree.


Chapter seventeen by Dwight J. Friesen gives the uncertainty of emergent thought a name—he calls it orthoparadoxy—living with contradiction so that we might maximize relationships.


A final new buzz term is the “shalom of God” (p. 298ff). “Shalom is the very DNA of God” we are told. Woodley attempts to wrap the whole Christian life and theology around the concept of shalom (p. 299).


“An Emergent Manifesto of Hope” is on the cutting edge of where the emergent church is headed. Read to understand what emergent is attempting to do with the faith. Be warned, it is a frightening endeavor. (Commentary by Gary Gilley at http://www.svchapel.org/resources/book-reviews/4-christian-living/102-an-emergent-manifesto-of-hope-by-doug-pagitt-and-tony-jones-editors)




“There’s truth in every religion I, I, Christians believe there’s truth in every religion. But we just believe there is one savior. We believe we can learn truth from, I believe I’ve have learned a lot of truth from different religions. Because they all have a portion of the truth. I just believe there’s one savior Jesus Christ(Rick Warren, Nov.22, 2004 Larry King live)


If you have to go to other religions to find truth, then why bother with the Bible?  Other religions don’t have a “portion of the truth” at all.  Do they teach the truth about the Gospel?  Do they teach the truth about God and Who He is?  Do they teach the truth about sound doctrine?  Do they teach the truth about false teachers, false prophets and false religion?  How can false religions, by definition, teach truth?  Their version of “truth” will always be tied up with lies and deception, just as false teachers like Rick Warren are.