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On the Road with Trucker Frank – Webisode 5

Seriously, you’ve got to watch this one.  I mean it.


Previous Episodes:

Webisode 4

Webisode 3

Webisode 2

Webisode 1

You can also find Pastorboy’s unedited version of our interview here.

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  • Nice, Tony. One thing: When we first meet Pastor #2, the one who has been opposed to you, the banner on the screen introduces him as “Pastorboy.” I know that that’s the name he has chosen to blog under, but here in webisode 5, I don’t think the viewer gets that information. I worry that it might seem to viewers of this that you’re just being disrespectful in using that label for him.

  • Fantastic!

  • Wow, Pastor #1 really looks genuinely nervous to even be seen talking to you on camera. God bless him for taking the risk of “guilt by association”! sheesh about it.

  • ryanguard

    “Jesus is who the Bible says He is.”- you

    “Well lets nail that down…”- other guy

    There’s an interesting sentence.

    I think there has been enough “nailing down” of Jesus already.

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  • Phillip

    Choosing “Pastorboy” as the corporate representative of those challenging the Emergent movement is like challenging President Bush to a spelling bee. I’ve never even heard of that guy and he did not raise one potent argument that ANYONE I’ve heard challenge Emerging theology would. I respect your attempt to speak to the “opposing” side. But please, pick someone who can put together a coherent sentence.

  • Rob

    I’m beginning to think you really like this toe-to-toe stuff. Part of the frustration is people would like to say, “I like the Pack,” and hear you say, “I like the Vikes.” Maybe they want that because they want to pigeon hole you. Maybe they really just want to get to know you.

    But instead (to abuse the metaphor), they say “I like the Pack” and you say “I might like the Vikes depending on the situation.” They don’t know what to do with that because it means you’re not a real fan. In the language they know, real fans pick sides.

    Maybe some of them aren’t out to get you, they’re just trying to “get you”.

  • Korey

    Wonderful segment.

    Notwithstanding your belittling of Pastorboy’s intellect, I wanted to mention that the intent of the videos seems to be to include voices who are not necessarily the elite from any one perspective. It seemed Tony was addressing an outspoken critic whose opinion has been noticed because of the internet, allowing anyone to participate. And it seems the implication is that even Pastorboy ought not be ignored in light of the values emphasized by the Emergent movement.

  • Fantastic! I think most people will get that “pastorboy” is his blogging name. This is a perfect microcosm of the conversations going on around this effort and I think you portrayed everyone fairly and justly… even yourself! I saw vintage Tony here! 🙂

    This does remind me, however, that the mainline is having a completely different conversation around Emergent… I would like to see more about THAT one of these days.

    Best regards,

  • Jeff Straka

    This is a great video series. You might consider compiling and putting it out on DVD (ala Dan Kimball’s “They Like Jesus But Not the Church” DVD series) for group discussion.

    OK now…”Pastor #1″ …the voice, the mannerisms, the “ya, ya”…did you get Spencer Burke to act this part??? ;>)

  • Friends,

    To be fair, I was set up. I admit, I was not at my best that day. The cutting and pasting on this video made me look worse. But that is okay; I am a fool for Christ. My greatest desire is to honor Him. My desire in this interview was to speak about who Jesus is in the emergent movement and to proclaim the truth that you must be born again. I feel like I accomplished that in my weak state, despite the cutting and pasting job the production crew did.

    In particular, Tony’s camera crew cut and pasted around God being bound by law. He said that he was amazed that I said that God cannot lie; I couldn’t grab this scripture at the moment:

    Hebrews 6:17

    In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.

    He cut out the portion about being born again. (or Not being born again) where he insults me and other ‘fundamentalists’ when he gives a story about camp and crying and etc…creating a cartoon picture of what it means to be born again…

    John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    and then he elevates his daily agnostic doubt over faith, believing that somehow doubt is better to God than faith, again, an anti-biblical proposition:

    Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

    He succeeded in making me look really bad, but that is okay. I am a fool for Christ! But my real concern is his apparent low view of scripture and high view of man, and man’s reasoning.

    I Pray for Tony Jones, and this movement. I think that they have found what they are looking for, a church that fits their needs, which fits their desires, and is very cool, hip, and modern. The worship is of man, and God takes a back corner to a god of their own creation. This is idolatry in the strictest sense.

  • Philip,

    Gutless to leave no e-mail for me to respond personally to you.

  • Phillip –
    Wow… not very generous – perhaps an example of EC elitism. Why such anger and distain for another that believes that the Word is from the Lord?

    Your lots smarter than me… I can’t spell reel good, but I is a pretty good judge of another man’s character.

    Pastorboy, I applaud you for your efforts and your faith is a wonderful inspiration to me and to others. Thank you.

    Sin is disobedience to God. God is perfection. We “little-of-brain” will never understand why God cannot be disobedient to Himself. Some where in there, God would cease to be Himself. Toss in the notion that he’s without beginning, without end, and can peer through the tunnel of time and present Himself where He pleases… perhaps to even contemplate such nonsense dishonors the Father.

    I’ll stick to sola scripture where it clearly states the Truth about such things while EC spreads a web of doubt and promotes “rethinking” everything.

  • I don’t want to speak for Phillip and I don’t endorse the mean spirit he exhibited, but i’m pretty sure he was upset because he felt that his side (being the non-emergent side) was not fairly displayed in this video. just my hunch. So Tony Arens, if it is elitism it surely isn’t “EC” elitism.

    Pastorboy, I think you came across as extremely gracious in this edited version. Sure it is clear that Tony doesnt agree with you, but that shouldn’t shake you too much.

    And I love the excitement with which you describe your own emergent gathering with teh various faith positions you mentioned! it’s beautiful isn’t it?

  • Pastorboy,

    I have only seen the edited version, so I will not and cannot take any issue with your claims to edited misrepresentation. I’ll leave that to those who have edited the video.

    However, you set the terms of doubt and faith in such a way as they are opposed to one another. So, if Tony (or any other person) talks about doubt as intrinsic to their faith, in your scheme this is an absurdity. But, why are faith and doubt necessarily opposed? Could you demonstrate that for me, please, as doubt has been a vital component of my faith.

  • Korey

    I actually think you did well. You did not look “really bad”. Frankly I was moved by the final scene. And I don’t think you poorly advanced your beliefs. In fact, I think someone who was a little wary of the beliefs of some individuals in the emerging conversation would perhaps question it more after watching the video because you disagreed clearly, but graciously. I don’t think Tony’s video editing is even trying to show you are right or wrong. Besides, he did link to the unedited videos, which I watched. And I urge anyone compelled by what you had to say in the video or concerned that you may have been misrepresented to watch the unedited version.

    In obvious ways the video seems to be implying that you aren’t a “New Christian” (which you’re probably skeptical of anyway), but in other ways you ARE a “New Christian” in that you are a guy who has become an advocate for your Christian worldview largely via the internet. You are participating in this new media emerging conversation by being able to reach many people with why you find many of these views to be flawed, dangerous, and troubling.

    One last side debate, it seems Hebrews 6:17 is saying that it is impossible for God to lie or be proven false about 2 things: the promise and his unchangeable purpose. It doesn’t say it is impossible to lie about other things. Does this mean it is clearly possible for God to lie? Not really. Does it mean God lies about other things? I would say no. But it also doesn’t seem like proof that he cannot lie. I suppose I’m agnostic on whether or not God can lie, but I think honesty is one of his attributes.

  • He cut out the portion about being born again. (or Not being born again) where he insults me and other ‘fundamentalists’ when he gives a story about camp and crying and etc…creating a cartoon picture of what it means to be born again…
    John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    Rev. Chisham,

    Why not understand Tony’s answer as a sincere attempt to answer your question as best he can? I don’t know how much my own thinking is like Tony’s here, but I could very easily answered your question in the same way, so I can explain what I would have meant if I had said what Tony did.

    You ask if he’s been “born again.” Tony answers, “Yes. What does that mean?” I guess that’s a bit confusing, but here’s what I thought was going on — and what would have been going on if I had answered that way. “Born again” is of course used in the Bible (well, in translation), in the passage you cite. And given his understanding of its meaning there, he has been born again in the sense he thinks is intended there. But then he realizes that many who would ask such a question seem to have a different understanding of the phrase than he has, and he’s not sure that he’s had any experience that *you* would count as constituting his having been “born again,” and so he asks what you mean. You don’t explain. So he tells the story of the episode from his life in which he seemed to have the kind of experience that might be the kind of experience you are looking for before you’d count someone as having been “born again.” This is offered in a “Is this what you’re looking for?” kind of way, still hoping to understand what you mean by your question. You still don’t explain.

    Now you’re insulted. And I guess I can understand that: Tony certainly didn’t seem to think that the kind of experience that he thought you were looking for was what’s important here.

    But some explanation would help — to understand what you mean/meant by your question, and the particular way you think you have been insulted.

    Is it that you don’t really think that being “born again” requires a particular time at which a decision is made and everything turns around all at once — that that’s a “cartoon picture” of what those like you mean by the phrase — and that it’s silly for those who run camps and the like to try to induce such a “conversion experience” from 5th grade boys at a very emotional time? If that’s your position, and especially if you also explained what your actual understanding (as opposed to the “cartoon picture” of it) of “born again,” that would be extremely helpful.

    Or is it that you really do think an all-at-once-sudden-complete-turn-around is needed, and that those who run Christian camps are right to try to seek such an experience for the 5th-grade boys in their care, but you think Tony should have clung to that experience as his “born again” moment?

    I doubt that either of those options is what you have in mind — though one of them might be closer than the other. I’m really just trying to understand…

  • If you watch the entire interview, I explain what it means to be born again, and I speak about my own personal experience. A theologian of Tony’s expertise and spiritual acumen knows very well what it means, which is why I felt he was making light of it. For you, my friend, I will try in this format to explain.

    Being Born Again is something that God does in us, which he gives us both faith and grace. Ephesians 3:9-10 explains: For it is by grace that you are saved through faith and this is not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast….And Jesus, in John chapter 3 repeatedly explains that you are born from above, of the Spirit, in a transformation that is started, motivated, and moved by God. Our response of faith even comes from Him, though it seems it comes from us. He gives us repentance and faith, along with grace. He is the author and the finisher of our faith.

    The experience Tony described first is not salvation, it is manipulation. I experienced the same thing when I was young; but the moment I believe I was born again was by myself in bed at camp where I wept before God because I knew the enormity of my sins against Him and the love he showed to me in sending His Son to pay the penalty. I didn’t understand it all at the time, but I know I was saved/born again by the power of God.

    You see, when it is a genuine it is a work of God which produces faith, trust, and gratitude towards God. It does not produce a self described agnostic questioning ‘is this all real’? What is beautiful is the self described submitting of oneself to follow Christ every day, involving repentance everyday from self and from sin. But it does not begin with me, it begins with God and it ends with Him.

    May God bless you as you seek after him; but know that as you seek Him, he is the one producing that desire in You.

  • Pastorboy,

    I admire this simple trust that you describe as faith: “You see, when it is genuine it is a work of God which produces faith, trust, and gratitude.” Here is where the rub comes for me. You then go on to explain that when someone asks the agnostic question, wondering if its all real, that somehow undermines the faith, trust, and gratitude. Couldn’t such doubt be a deep expression of faith, whereby despite the questions one continues to walk in grace displaying their trust and gratitude through such questions?

    Here is my this is an issue for me. I’m a youth minister, and I have students nearly everyday who have had the “born again” experience you describe (usually at camp), but still wrestle with questions of the authenticity of it all. Were I to approach them with the notion that you advocate here, which seems to me to question the genuineness of their faith, I’m pretty sure many of them would stop asking the questions that are leading them into a deeper trust and gratitude to God. So, you see, I’m not sure the dichotomy that you have set up (between faith and doubt) is an accurate one.

  • Thanks for the response, Rev. Chisham. It’s very interesting that you would classify experiences like Tony’s as “not salvation” but “manipulation.” I guess, then, that you *would* disapprove of Christian camps for children engaging in such practices? It would be interesting to explore just what range of alleged “born again experiences” are non-genuine because they are the result of manipulation (including, perhaps, self-manipulation). But I’ll pass on that inquiry.

    Your explanation gives me some more idea where you’re coming from, but doesn’t address the two areas that would cause my hesitation. (That hesitation being that there are many, including myself, that I would classify as being “born again” according to what I take to be the meaning of that phrase in the Bible passage you cite, but I would hesitate to describe them as “born again” if I were talking with certain evangelicals who identify themselves as “born again Christians,” because I suspect these people might mean something more by the term than I think it means in the Bible.)

    First, must there be a particular experience at a particular time at which one fairly suddenly goes from not being “born again” to being born again, or can this be a very gradual process, with no particular point of time at which one fairly suddenly becomes “born again”? That was the main source of confusion I was stressing in my above comment (#17). And it was also what Tony was stressing in trying to discern what you meant by your question — note his talk about there not being a particular day he could look back on, etc. So the stuff you write in your comment (#18) is all nice, but doesn’t address the real question I (& Tony) are asking here, and I’m *still* a bit confused as to your meaning here. You write of “the moment [you] believe [you were] born again.” But do you think that *everyone* who is “born again” *must* have a particular moment like that? Is that part of what you *mean* by “born again”? You can see what a bind that leaves someone like me in when you ask us whether we’ve been “born again,” and you don’t answer that question about your meaning. We don’t think being born again is something that must happen at a particular moment. But we *suspect* you do require that — that what you mean by “born again” isn’t satisfied w/o such a moment. So we can’t honestly answer “Have you been born again” with a “no”: We don’t think such a moment is needed. But we can’t honestly answer “yes,” either: We’re trying to communicate with you, and our suspicion is that you might not think that someone counts as “born again” w/o such a moment. So we ask what you mean. Please answer. You had a “moment,” but do you think being “born again” in every case requires such a moment? If you do think so, then the honest answer for someone like me to give you is: “I have been born again, according to what I think that phrase means in the Bible. But I don’t think I would count as being ‘born again’ according to what you mean by that phrase.” If, on the other hand, you don’t think a particular moment is needed, then a simple “yes” *might* be in order. But there is the other main source of hesitation…

    Second, there is the issue of certainty. Does being “born again” mean that one will from that time on always be certain of the essentials of the faith, or can someone “born again” suffer from some doubts as to whether the Christian story is true — some doubts as to whether, in Tony’s words, this *might* all be a hoax? Or at least there *was* that question about what you mean. I’m guessing I have your answer, that you’ve cleared that matter up when, referring to Tony, you wrote that being born again “does not produce a self described agnostic questioning ‘is this all real’? In fairness, what Tony said was “I’m agnostic in that sense. So, I take it, you’re saying that one who is agnostic in the sense Tony was using can’t be born again. Tony clearlywas not saying he was agnostic in the sense that he hasn’t accepted the Lordship of Jesus Christ in his life. In fact, he says that he accepts that every day, despite what doubts he has. He has chosen his side — or, more accurately, he chooses every day anew. He’s agnostic in the sense that he has some doubts, some uncertainty, here. Does that mean he is not “born again,” according to how you use that phrase? Does your use of “born again” denote an absolute-certainty-or-bust concept? Or does it denote a state that can co-exist with a lot of doubts?

  • For some reason, a sunglassed smiley face appears in my comment above. I didn’t intend that. I meant to refer to comment number 18.

  • 19,20, and 21…

    Thanks guys. This is conversation I can really dig!

    I will try to articulate better. Faith is not a lack of doubt. I never meant to intimate that. What I get from Tony (and I can be completely wrong in judging his tone in the interview) is that he somehow elevates doubt above faith, in the epigrath of his book as he stated in the interview. Doubt that ultimately trusts that God is good and that although you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel you can trust his promises, is good doubt. Within that, God proves Himself faithful to His word time and time again. The tone of the doubting questions towards God in the case of a teenager, and even for a 42 year old pastor is that God, I don’t understand this, I don’t feel good or right, or if this is all a hoax, but I trust you and submit to your authority, sovereignty, and perfect plan. If this is what Tony was trying to get across, I am right with him.

    As to being born again, it is a moment, and a process. Salvation in the greek has many nuances that must be explored. There is Salvation past- I have been saved (born again) To get a bit Pauline here, This is justification which is a legal declaration of not guilty. Your penalty has been paid, you are declared righteous, or in right standing with, God. Then there is the present tense, this is the process I described as being born again, also in the present, I am saved or I am reconciled with God, I am in agreement with his standard, in balance, because God has brought my account into balance with Him. I no longer owe a debt. Then there is salvation present and future- I am being saved. Another word here is sanctification. We are being grown in holiness, in likeness with Jesus Christ. In this we display fruit that is in keeping with salvation. We share our faith, we love one another, we continue in issues of social justice like feeding, clothing, and assisting the poor with the goal of presenting Christ. In this process, our faith grows as God shows himself faithful in our lives as we walk in growing obedience towards Him. Finally, we have salvation future- we will be saved, called glorification. This is when we who endure to the end will be brought into eternal life in heaven to be with Christ forever to the Glory of God.

    In all of this explanation, I cannot explain an experience. I know that I am born again, because of the way that God is daily changing me and making me into his image. I know I am growing in holiness. I see the fruits of the Holy Spirit in my life, and so do others. I trust that God has changed me and I have faith that he will continue to complete this work in me. I can declare with confidence in God that I am born again. All people who have repented and put their trust in Christ ought to be able to proclaim that I have been saved, I am saved, and I will be saved.

    God bless you!

  • I found a large amount of what was said to be true. But some of the stuff is not right. Overall, I fell the confusion that the people in the video felt.

  • Tom

    Interesting segment. I thought the editing was crisp and moved the story along very well. And to the point of what was left out, well, it’s true that only the editor will ever know. But I didn’t get the feeling like I do seeing a Michael Moore piece, that this was a hatchet job or a setup to steer the viewer to an obvious predetermined conclusion. He’s the master at making people look bad.

    Regarding the content, I believe the point here is that we must have an on-going dialogue if we are to reason out together what we are to do today with the whole of God’s redemptive history. And in doing so, we must also seek to understand as much as to be understood. I also think there would be more understanding if more of us had a more comprehensive knowledge of how inseparable are the old and new testaments (covenants). I believe a lot of misunderstanding occurs because many of us Christians have ignore God’s story in the events of the Torah and then try and seek definitive understanding of the new Covenant of Jesus Christ. I also see this being done without an rules of interpretation being applied. If we are to really understand the “now what of scripture”, we must first discover the “so what” of scripture, which cannot be done without first understanding the “what”, the context. So when we talk about the emergent church without that kind of foundation I think it becomes more of a “what it means to me” conversation, instead of what the scriptures are actually saying to the intended audience, which may or may not directly apply to me, but might indirectly have implications for my life. The difference is one is the sharing of opinion while the other is a discussion of historical facts, language, audience, connection to other parts of scripture and use in those instances. For instance, God can change his mind, stayed the destruction of Nineveh, and has done many times, but that is not the same as lying. Nor does it mean there are some things that he has not and never will change his mind about, such as the importance of justice and mercy.

    So, if we jump to the “now what” without any foundation, without a conversation including terms and definitions, I fear it will be seen at least as nothing but a lot of squabbling.

  • Thank-you again for the response, Rev. Chisham. That helps.

  • Ben Myrick

    Hi everyone. I find this discussion very fascinating, particularly because the editing has come into question so many times.

    As the editor of this series of videos, I’d just like to clarify that one of my top priorities was to represent everyone fairly. With hours of raw footage (notice how the window behind Rev. Chisham was blue and later black), there certainly were opportunities to “pull a Michael Moore,” as they say, but I consciously avoided those instances.

    Anything of significance for Rev. Chisham (Pastorboy) that was left out was cut because of my other priorities: length, pacing, and clarity of my client’s message (ie: what he wanted to talk about). Of all the discussions featured in Tony’s videos, this was the most difficult one to keep under 10 minutes. Other versions of this exist in the 15-20 minute range where everyone has more time to clarify their position, but it simply wasn’t feasible to distribute those. The solution was to shoot straight to the point and move on to the next point as quickly as possible, only addressing points which both pastor’s discussed. ie: Pastor #1 never bothered to ask for Tony’s definition of “being born again.”

    Rev. Chisham, it was assumed months ago that your response to this video would be something in the vein of “I was set up.” It didn’t really matter how the video was cut. You would still offer the same excuse. However, I kept this in mind as I worked, knowing full well that complete version of your discussion was already on the web. I even had arguments with myself on your behalf. I assure you, this video discussion was handled fairly. If you feel that you were indeed misrepresented, please watch the video again, keeping in mind that only specific issues within the overall debate were addressed, and that what you are seeing is not intentional manipulation, but the most sincerely succinct representation of each participant’s views.

    Thank you everyone for your comments. It’s always a pleasant bonus to see what kind of discussion one’s work has spawned. In the end, I think Chris’ post (#9) sums up the debate over this video better than I ever could. As for the debate over the emergent movement….well, keep discussing guys.


  • Pastorboy,

    Yes, thanks for the response, though I still struggle with some of the ways you phrase the issue of doubt. It is, perhaps, merely semantics, but I still detect a sense in which you assume that doubt and faith are separate things (e.g. doubt being elevated above faith), which misses the crucial point I’m raising that doubt is inherent in some people’s faith. But, again, I thank you for your response.

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  • Brit Windel

    man is one of the greatest discussions i’ve ever seen on here…wow. first to Ben, brother thats awesome of you to come and defend your self in such grace and love, very unifying.
    its funny my roommate worked with pastor 1# Brandon and i have been talking about this ‘ministry’ he is starting up in iowa…very interesting stuff to say the least but my only real contention comes from one of the last remarks that he made

    “its easier to start over….” in reference to the church. this is my over all beef with the movement of emergence. i agree we need to have these conversations because we can all agree we have missed the mark of what the Church should be moving towards…but the overall idea is to start over!!!! or disconnect and move do a mulligan…. we don’t have that option in this eternity called life and time.

    secondly its not ours to start over which is where i think we have made the biggest mistake. there are lots of things that frustrate me about the protestant (evangelical) church… but im’ called to live in this Body which is the Body Christ came and died for to call people into and be the Head over….how dare i or anyone else say that i can remove myself and start over….we have all missed the concept as soon as we started applying denominational ties to it….and yes i’m wagging this short stubby finger at the eastern orthodox and roman catholic as well you guys started the dived :-X 🙂 but the only real emergent movement will take place when we stay merged with His beautiful bride and help in the direction and steering of HIs Bride back into His loving will….ok anyways game on

  • Todd

    Wow, some very interesting discussion. I’ve just recently stumbled across this website and I’m excited to see more of these videos. As an Iowa native, I wish pastor 1 the best of luck. There are so many “dead” churches in the Des Moines area, and something is needed to reach those who have not been reached with the gospel.

    As far as semantics go, I have noticed a huge difference in how the gospel is presented in rural Iowa compared to my good ole KY home(for the last 8 years). I grew up asking the question “when did you accept Christ?” Here, the Baptist flavor uses the term “saved”. Now, using “born again” even adds a different connotation. I think all of them basically mean the same thing, but semantics can change the tone of a conversation. I hope that makes sense. keep up the good work.

  • Ben was a professional editor, and did excellent work. I guess I see your point as far as editing, it was just one point where part of my comment was cut off to make it sound like I said God is bound by law, which I believe is true to a point, but in the context in the editing it made it sound really bad from my perspective. But your client was Jossey Bass, and Tony Jones, and there was a point you needed to get across. Its all good. Overall, I think you guys did an excellent job on this entire series and if I ever publish a book I would call you to promote it for sure.

    As far as this conversation; It has been excellent. I just hope that we all catch the most important point that to call ourselves Christians means that we have come to a point where we have surrendered to Christ; admitting our sin and our need and placing all trust in Him. Jesus is the way the truth and the life, no one gets to the Father but by Him.

  • Pastorboy,

    In the video you and Tony have a disagreement about God being bound by law. I wanted to offer some thoughts on that. I think the issue is not so much that God is bound by a law that is external to himself, but that the law is based on God’s own character. In other words, God cannot be evil. God cannot do something that would go against His own being. God must be true to Godself. That is what I think you were trying to say, and I agree.

    However I think that the atonement was primarily not a legal transaction where God satisfies a moral need for punishment, but rather is about how we are broken, enslaved, and dead because of our own sin and evil and need to be healed, redeemed, and made new – to be regenerated, born again. That is why God gave his life: to give us new life in Christ.

    That of course does not mean that it was *not* legal, but justification really has to do with our being made right: a positional change of our identity from “slave to sin” to “child of God”, to new life, new birth, which is an aspect that is about being a “new creation” that a “legal exchange” metaphor alone just can’t capture. That’s why the primary language we need to understand the atonement by is relational and transformative language (like new birth, adoption, etc). God not only acts in righteousness by not breaking his law, God makes us righteous. That “making us righteousness” is the shocking righteousness of God that Luther discovered in Paul that was at the heart of the reformation.

  • You said it well Derek, I will just add that it was a both and. In Romans Chapter 2, we see that the wrath of God is being built up against those who sin, in chapter one, we see Gods wrath is revealed. Justification is a legal transaction, in which our unrighteousness is paid for, God’s wrath is satisfied, and we get the righteousness of Christ, and the priviledges of being made born again, adopted as Sons and Daughters, made new creations, become joint-heirs with Christ. As I said above, Salvation is a multi-faceted word Being Past, present, future, and after physical death.

    God Bless You!


  • Pasterboy,

    Yes I wholeheartedly agree that it is “both and”. I think it is vital to have an understanding that harmonizes Jesus and Paul so that we have a unified message in Scripture rather that competing ones. So my question how can we see both the legal and the “medical-relational” metaphors (both opf which Paul uses btw) as working together.

    I agree that wrath is something that is needfully dealt with on the cross, but am a bit uneasy with your formulation that “our unrighteousness is paid for, God’s wrath is satisfied”. I would want to clarify in what sense it is “paid for” and “satisfied”. I do not think it is biblical to say (as Anselm does) that it needs to be satisfied in the sense of gratification or mollification. The way that God’s wrath is satisfied (a term that is not in the bible btw but belongs to church history) is in the original sense of restitution not revenge. So God’s wrath is satisfied because God cleanses us of our sins by his blood. The sin problem being removed, so is the reason for wrath. Likewise I would argue that the payment must not be understood in the Calvinist sense of a price paid to appease (since God acted to atone “while we were his enemies” and is the one who offers the satisfaction and atonement, thus clearly showing he did not need to be appeased or convinced to love), but that it is the biblical sense of a ransom paid that liberates us from the bondage of sin (Jesus speaks of it in the sense for example). In the old covenant God ransomed his people out of bondage to Egypt, and in the new covenant we are ransomed, “bought at great price” out of the slavery of sin, death, and the devil. So it is a price paid to buy us out of slavery, not a price paid to gain favor. God does not need to be changed, we do. God does not have a problem, we do, the problem of sin and guilt and slavery that needs a real solution that is found in God’s act of redemption in the cross and resurrection.

  • This beautiful conversation has generated a question in my mind. What are people to do that are apart of these denomiations that limit the role of women/ or have very strict ‘rules’ on behavioral issues? Do they just pack up and leave? Do they start their own cohort?
    Where I live, there is an emergent cohort, but the ‘leader’ asks for money the same as my pastor does; his only job is that of ‘pastor’, living off the tithe, and so I feel extremely conflicted. I love the cohort here but I dont know what to do when the same structural models are still in place. It makes me think that the theology behind the organization of the faith commuity is dictating this….I appologize if this isnt clear….

  • Katie

    Pastor 1 (Brandon) is my old youth pastor! Super great guy.

  • Katie

    I also totally remember when you came and spoke, Tony! I, for one, really liked what you had to say.

  • Brit Windel

    Derek…might i suggest reading some St. Anselm, really the father of our ideas of the atonement

  • Frank Schutzwohl

    I’m sorry that I did not get to speak with you personally since I was “bumping the dock”(actually at home resting up from the regimen Ben put us through 🙂 ). I”m glad that you are open to discussing the issues of the emergent church. I find a kindred spirit in you in that my background must have been very similar to yours. I was saved at age 16 in an IFCA Bible church and graduated from Western Baptist Bible College in Salem, Or.(GARBC). I hope that through all of our discussions Christ will be glorified and lifted up. It reminds me of the dorm sessions we had where we called each other heretics in one moment and then laughed together at the coffee shop the next. As long as we dont start lighting the bonfires I think we’ll be okay.
    Grace and Peace, Trucker Frank

  • Frank Schutzwohl

    Cody #35
    I am in the same position that you are on the weekends I don’t attend Solomons Porch. It took a lot of time hanging out in coffee shops and bars in my little Missouri town before I found people who felt the same way I did. We now have a small group (no pastor,no offerings,etc) that meets together not only on Sun but several times throughout the week in each others homes. If we believe God is active outside the walls then He will lead us to others of like mind. We’ve found 2 web sites particularly helpful : Lifestream.org(Wayne Jacobsen) and Family Room Media(David Fredrickson). Also Frank Viola and George Barna have co-authored a book “Pagan Christianity” which sifts through the practices of the modern church and discusses their value to true faith. If youre on Facebook feel free to contact me (Frank Schutzwohl).
    Grace and Peace,Trucker Frank

  • Rick


    I also have viewed the unedited version and see that they really did a number with removing the things which show Tony manipulating the conversation to allow him to twist it in his direction. I still believe you came off genuine in his edited edition though.


    In between all the lines and through all the smoke and mirrors you and your Emerging friends like Pagitt and McLaren seek to erect, you must understand that you are affecting the eternal destinies of all the men, women and children who are reading your ideas. These “conversations” that you seek to share with the world cause people who are genuinely looking for answers from you to live in doubt and mistrust of the God who loves them and gave His Son to die in their place. More of your time should be spent studying the truths of the Word of God rather than dressing like some reject from “O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?” with this “Church Basement RoadShow.

  • Thomas

    Mr. Tony Evans,
    How brave of you to mock a fellow Pastor as easily as a non-Christian. The way you depict it, your opponent should be sitting there on a broken down farm tractor with a piece of grass stuck between his teeth. Gawllll-lee. The fact that you can appear to be more polished means little to those who seek a true gospel, where Pastor actually convict their followers of sin. But, as noted in the book “Exodus,” churches like yours, which merely seek to tickle our ears will slowly disappear. Another fad (The Emerging Church) will soon be similar to groups such as the “Jesus People” churches and Heavy Metal Christian music. Check your history books in a few years. Tony, Pagent and others will merely be footnotes in Church History. Sold a few books, lost a few million souls. Too bad, Tony.

  • Thomas

    Oooops. I meant Tony Jones.
    I guess your memory of successful evangelism is already affecting my “Christian” memory.