Thursday, March 26, 2009

took a stand for the ways of Jesus... hope Jesus still loves integrity & honesty

Attended a lecture at Calvin Seminary tonight: Kevin DeYoung, of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, co-authored a book entitled “Why I am not Emergent but should be.” I was hoping to hear some good scholarly thoughts. That didn't happen. Instead, I ended up interrupting his closing remarks. When hearing something like “Doug Pagitt is a heretic and doesn’t know Jesus” hit my cerebellum, my very audible response was “Excuse me.” The ensuing battle was honest to the Jesus that I know… A few of the issues of tonight were not ‘what is wrong with emergent.’ No. (pause please) I’ve lived in this reformed world for my entire life. I'm a graduate of Christian day school, Calvin College, and Calvin Seminary. I’ve also found the ways of Jesus strikingly profound among those who call themselves ‘emergent.’ Kevin has a desire for his message to be heard, but let’s be entirely honest. Kevin is also a neo-conservative reformed guy. And his message is not so much about emergent. Emergent has simply become a good platform for him to spout some lousy theology and tell us about how preaching will be the saving grace of the church. Tonight I got angry. I probably embarrassed a few friends who were present. If you are my friend and love Jesus, I would have also spoken up for you. While I was angry, I have no doubt that I honored God for a few minutes as well. While Kevin speaks so highly of the cross being central to salvation, I struck by words that were not honoring nor even honest throughout the night. Just for a primer: “Shane Claiborne doesn’t understand reconciliation.” Yea. Put that into your mind for three seconds. Need I say more? If you happen to not know Shane Claiborne: he is living in perhaps the most dangerous and impoverished section of one of our nation’s cities. He lives and breathes and speaks the gospel every moment that he is awake. With closing remarks that informed several hundred people that this friend of mine doesn’t know Jesus, I had heard enough. I know Doug. I know his amazing wife as a friend as well. I’ve met several of his great kids. I also know his theology may challenge and push me and others. But that gives us no right to claim that he is outside of God’s grace. Only God has that right. I also know that Doug is honest and has integrity. Tonight I heard from someone who lacks both. But never will I question if he is saved. That is always and only God's place. More later about what’s wrong with Kevin’s theology… a primer… no mention tonight of the kingdom of God as current reality?


Kevin DeYoung said...


You are entitled to disagree with my presentation from tonight. But I do want to clarify that while I said Doug Pagitt's theology is heretical, I explicitly made the point several times that only the Lord can judge the heart. I don't know Doug. He may be a nice man and have a wonderful family. I made no comments about his person. I simply stated that in my estimation the theology offered in his last book does not align with orthodox Christianity.

randy buist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
randy buist said...


Thanks for stopping here, but you did make judgements tonight - lots and lots of them that are simply bogus.

It isn't even possible to claim that someone's beliefs are heretical and yet claim that you won't judge them. YOUR statement was judging. Live up to it.

Fundamentalist Calvinists throw around the word 'heretical' like throwing candy at a 4th of July parade.

Where's the 'reformed' emphasis on grace? From tonight, it seems thate isnt' much room for grace as followers of Jesus... only Jesus extends that sort of thing.

Furthermore, I'm tired of hearing critics, including you, mention that someone may be a 'nice person.'

Since you mentioned Doug, I tell you that he's more than a 'nice person.' He lives into the commands of Jesus Christ to feed the least. He also loves people, and he speaks with honesty and integrity. Do you know anything about his two great adopted kids?

Tonight wasn't simply a disagreement with your presentation. When you speak without knowledge of others as well as speaking without integrity and honesty, YOU need to recognize that you fail the gospel.

Please don't throw rocks at brothers and sisters in Christ and then expect that it's all good at the end of the day.

You can't stand on a stage at Calvin Seminary and speak bogus stuff and then expect the Spirit to bless your words on Sundays. The Apostle Paul called that kind of talk somethign like being a 'resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.'

Lack of integrity and honesty don't align with orthodox Christianity either. Yahweh expects more of those who claim to follow...

Steven Carr said...


For the life of me I can't see how you took a stand for the life of Jesus. All you did was make an emotional appeal. You were an embarrassment to yourself and you represented all that's wrong about the emergent movement.

Responding to you comment to Kevin:
It's great that Doug has two adopted kids, but that doesn't mean Jack Squat. Madonna and Angelina Joline adopt kids too. Kevin made a comment about the TEACHING of Doug Pagitt, which at best contains nothing uniquely Christian, and at worst is heretical. In saying that, I make no judgment upon Doug's future destination. Both Kevin and I are talking about what he is TEACHING here and now. If you are going to respond to Kevin, do so in a thoughtful way.

randy buist said...

This is where you are wrong Steve. Integrity and honesty are integral to the Christian life.

Kevin was not represting integrity nor honesty on stage at Calvin Seminary last week Thursday night.

He simply lied about some great people. I may not respect Kevin very much, but I didn't question his eternal salvation.

The biblical text demands things of us besides mental ascent toward God.

The biblical text demands that we speak with honesty, that we don't lie about others, and that we settle our disputes with others.

Apart from defending my good friend Doug Pagitt, here is a bit of what was wrong with Kevin's theology:

1 - The name of "Jesus" isn't enough? Are you kidding me? The biblical text says, 'At the NAME of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord."

What part of that text do you wish to take issue with? Kevin absolutely denies the power of the name of Jesus Christ to stand by itself without propositional truth.

The Jewish people held the name of God, Yahweh, so highly that they didn't even dare to speak it. It was that holy. It required no mental ascent. It simply stood on its own as holy.

By his own admission, the name "Jesus" means little to Kevin. Only with the correct biblical knowledge does it have meaning.

He claimed that the 'cross' is everything, and yet the reformers make more of the resurrection than the cross. You can't claim to be reformed and yet base your theology on a very baptist perpsetive of the atonement.

In addition, Kevin entirely forgets the reality of the kingdom of God as a present reality. He is so focused on getting people saved into a right understanding of God, that biblical evidence of the current kingdom is excluded.

Finally, to tell me that Doug Pagitt doesn't know Jesus Christ places Kevin in the role of judge. Perhaps he can do that as a pastor in his church, but Jesus Christ of Nazareth tells us that it is only the right of God to seperate the wheat from the weeds.

So, how do you find contentment in this sort of gospel? There is no truth when hope and love, goodness and kindness, honesty and integrity are all forgotten for the sake of 'truth.'

"Let us love one another for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God." I John 4

randy buist said...

So, my appeal last week was an emotional appeal... to the kingdom of God. Our words and works do matter that much. In the biblical text, James tells us that our lives matter a great deal. The things we say and do matter a great deal.

If anyone here is offended by or questions emotional appeal, I suggest that you read thru Peter's address to the crowd on Pentecost. I suggest that you read thru the the letters of John, James, and Revelation.

Nurya Love Parish said...

Wow, I wish I had been there.
I am grateful for your presence and your witness, not to mention your exegesis. Blessings on your ministry.