Thursday, November 1, 2007


I'm not sure why I have been thinking much on this issue lately... well, actually, I do - I am passionate about the gospel. And when there are those out in our culture who are missing the whole point of the biblical gospel, that disturbs me. Moreover, when there is a pastor of a "Christian church" who is missing the whole point of the gospel (and is more unclear than he is clear on any issues), then that really disturbs me.

Here is a phone interview with Doug Pagitt, a pastor of Solomon's Porch church in Minneapolis(and another headrunner for the Emergent Church). You can click on the link here to listen to a two part phone interview. It's sad, discouraging and you wonder... "How (and why!) do people come to hear this guy speak or converse or give his opinions(I deliberately refrain from using "preach") on Sundays?

Here is the link. Listen to it and let me know what you think. It's sad that these people at Solomon's Porch unfortunately have been taught a very diluted and partial gospel.

Here is a better and more biblical Gospel:
Ephesians 2:1-10 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,
7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


Anonymous said...

Geoff, this is really scary. I put a link from my blog to yours. I pray that folks who care for the purity and clarity of the Gospel will not only be shocked to protect it, but be shocked to help expose this kind of garbage (heresy).

Les Prouty

Wes said...

I am disheartened by Pagitt's avoidance of the physical reality of hell. I am appalled by how he does not have a quick, clear answer to eternal state of good Buddists and Muslims.

I am also disheartened by the entire tone of the interview. I do not like how Todd Friel spoke in such a patronizing tone with Doug Pagitt, despite his expression of false views. There is an appropriate place for public debate and dialogue with erroneous viewpoints, but I think this kind of debate and dialogue will never persuade Pagitt or anyone else of accurate, biblical doctrine.

Wes said...

By the way, did you happen to see my comment on your post a few days ago about the emerging church? I would love to hear your thoughts on the branch of the emerging church called Acts 29. Thanks!

geoffrey kirkland said...


Amen to your comment, brother. Keep pressing on.


Thanks for your comments. Yes I did receive your comments and no, I'm sorry, I have not had a chance to check out the Acts 29 website yet. Things are crazy.

However, let it be said, I may acknowledge that Acts 29 may not be "as bad" as others -- but I take a man at His word. I am not going to ease my comments about the ECM because of one website (i.e. Acts 29). Because I've read up on McLaren, Pagitt, and others, I don't want to just focus on the ECM, but I want to focus MORE on the individuals who are completely diluting the gospel and replacing it with their own ideas and thoughts (which are NOT truth, by any means).

So, all in all, I want to take a man at His word, because these guys are commonly known as the headrunners of the ECM, then I can't help but comment about the movement based on what they say.

To be honest, why even toy with a movement that has so many men who have complete disregard for the CLEAR truth of the Scriptures for trying to reach Culture? Doesn't the Word of God do that enough by itself? I was saved not through a swift and cool culturally relevant proclamation of some feel-good "gospel talk" but I was saved by a bold gospel presentation (including hell, eternal damnation, sin, death, all included).

Anyway... just my ramblings.

Keep pressing on,


Wes said...


As I have stated before, we really need to distinguish between Emergent and the more comprehensive emerging church movement. If you lump them together, then you are condeming hundred of churches that are completely orthodox. By the way Acts 29 isn't just one website, its a network of hundreds of churches around the world that claim to be Christian, evangelicals, missional, and Reformed. And they all would place themselves in the broad emering church movement. I beg you to check this out so you can have a fair and balanced view of the movement.

Why do we need to toy with these things? Because in our thinking we are called to be mature, to have our "powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil." (Heb 5:14)

Anonymous said...

Wes and Geoff,

I have looked at the Acts 29 website and I find no problem at all with what I see. What I do see is what and who are glaringly missing: men like Pagitt, Bell, McLaren etc. I also do not see the emerging word(s) except a couple of places, and then it
is in a critique fassion (Carson's book is recommended).

The point is, it seems as if it is almost unfair to label Acts 29 as emerging or emergent when they themselves do not use it on Acts 29. Maybe they are running away from the label.

If I understand Geoff (why toy?) it is with the unorthodox men such
as Pagitt, Bell, et al. that for me I see no reason to toy with as
far as I am concerned, I would no more employ these men for resources (trying to pick out the little right they may say)than I would look at LDS men for whatever "right things" they may have stumbled upon.

Pastorally, we have a responsibility as pastors, elders and ministry leaders to guard the sheep. There is just too much error on essentials of the Christian faith to endorse these confused (at best) men and unwittingly lead our sheep to drink from their waters.


Anonymous said...

Geoff, I am not sure what I an really add to this discussion other than commend your passion for the true Gospel. I am of course concerned that interactions with folks be done in a constructive fashion, but at the end of the day the ones pushing the envelope are affecting a vast array of undiscerning sheep. I can say truthfully that I have never seen a less discerning Christendom over my past 40 years of knowing Christ than at the present. So, to Les' point on his blog, it's time to wake up and start calling people to task on bad doctrine.

Honestly, the line between emerging and emergent is really fuzzy. I think you're doing excellent work taking on the leaders of these churches and focusing on their message.

Geoff, if I have ever seen a young man with a clearer sense of discernment than you,using the Hebrews 5 standard, I can't name them. You are being faithful, discerning, honest, and bold. We definitely need more men like you!


Anonymous said...

Geoff, allow me to clarify my earlier expression..."pushing the envelope" is not what I meant. Rather I meant to say those who are departing from the faith once for all delivered to the saints.


Stephanie said...

Hello Everybody!
I think one thing that is going on here is a definition discrepancy. Les, you said that it is unfair to label Acts 29 as emerging. But the things is, whether they like it or not, they have been labled as such by the wider church. The way that the Acts 29 churches "do church" has become known as "emerging." Whether the leaders want the label or not, it is what they are called. This is true of other "emerging" leaders. For example, Rob Bell is considered a leader of the emerging church movement. Rob Bell has never been a part of any book, conference, or conversation on the emerging church. In fact, he resists the association himself. For a good description of the emerging phenomenon that does not actually use the word "emerging," see Robert Webbers, "The Younger Evangelicals." "Emerging" is the name given to a certain phenomenon, a movement. I think much like the term postmodernism, or evangelicalism.

However, I don't think it is the case that the Acts 29 network resists to be labeled as emerging. Mark Driscoll, perhaps the biggest name in the network, has often placed himself in the emerging church movement. The main speaker of the emerging church class held at the seminary last weekend was the pastor of The Journey here in town (a "reformed baptist" by the way), and he is the vice-president of the Acts 29 Network. However, they are OF COURSE quite outspoken on how they vehemently part ways with the emergent village.

I don't know if this is a good example...but...perhaps a good way of thinking about the different branches of the emerging movement can be compared to evangelicalism. There are extrememly liberal branches of evangelicalism (definitely as bad as McLaren and Pagitt) and then there are conservative, reformed branches. We don't throw out the whole movement because liberalism exists and still is considered part of evangelicalism.

Please, here me say that I am equally as repulsed by the depart from orthodoxy of the emergent village. I am with you on the need to preach against unorthodoxy and be strong in proclaiming the true gospel! But I do think we need to be careful when we are tempted to throw something out completely when it is as nuanced as the emerging church movement.
Blessings on your ministry, Geoff, and others!

Anonymous said...


I do understand the distinction. Pardon if I skip around. Evangelicalism in fact needs a revamping and I am loathe to label myself as one anymore for the reasons you site. So, I am distancing myself from not only most in the EC movement but the megachurch as well and other negative aspects of evangelicalism.

I do not know if Acts 29 is consciously NOT using the E word on their web site, etc. or not. But, in fact they promote Carson's book which is surely critical of the movement and who has been criticised for critiquing the movement. Curious.

My suggestion for the orthodox few I know of out there in the EC group is that they clearly and often draw the lines between themselves and the likes of Bell, Pagitt and Mclaren and even think of a new label for themselves!


geoffrey kirkland said...

Stephanie, Les, Dad, Wes and all,

Thanks for the comments and the discussion. I appreciate your feedback.

Unfortunately, I have read Rob Bell's most famous book, "Velvet Elvis." I know he is pastor of a Mars Hill church and, frankly, from what I've read, he needs to be in the category with the rest of the guys I'm quoting such as McLaren, Pagitt, Bell, etc. I do want to be quick to say that maybe I have not read Bell enough to say such things, but I feel that from that one work, I gathered that it was a weak biblical Christianity -- though it was a year or so ago that I read the work.

In any case, folks, here is the bottom line, let's each be faithful to the TEXT itself and in the faithful PROCLAMATION of it. As I'll be preaching this upcoming Tuesday morning:

Titus 1:9 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

Blessings to all. :=)

Anonymous said...

Wes, Les Geoff, Stephanie, et all,
What an engaging conversation! Yes, the emergent church seems to want to make a god to suit themselves, one without wrath, judgment and a denial of punishment eternally. God is love. Amen.

Laura said...

Can someone give me a concise definition of the ECM? Because it seems to me that there are different branches/villages and that some are good and some are bad. What is Emergent and what is Emerging? I have loose definitions in my mind, but I am unclear about a few things (like why Emerging is even a movement). I appreciate your posts, Geoff. Keep on keepin' on!

les.prouty said...

Good luck, providentially speaking.


geoffrey kirkland said...


I leave that definition to Wes and Stephanie.



Stephanie said...

See Wes' blog, he'll be posting about it soon.
Steph : )

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