vocab of compromise in use

In light of my post ‘the vocabulary of compromise’, it was interesting to see one of the words show up on a fundamentalist blog recently.

This is the post, the word shows up in the comments. I will tell you which word it is after the ‘more’ tag … can you pick it up before you look?

Give up? The word is ‘dialogue’. You might recall my note on dialogue:

If dialogue is to occur, these assumptions must be made:

  • Neither party possesses the truth
  • Each can learn from the other
  • The fruit of dialogue will be greater progress toward the truth

Now, the person using the word is coming from the evangelical side of the world. What does his use of the word mean?

Would you say that an ‘invitation to dialogue’ was issued? Did ‘dialogue’ take place?

If anything took place, were any fundamentalist people edified (strengthened, built up) by the exchange?

I’m just asking… I’ve been told that it is a sin to judge motives, so let’s assume all the motivations here are as pure as the driven snow.

But something surely took place here, didn’t it? Was it an advance for truth or not? I’m not entirely sure.



  1. What do you believe took place, Don?

  2. Well, I’m not sure what took place. That’s why I’m asking questions rather than making statements.

    I really didn’t see much progress towards any kind of definitive understanding. I thought you started strong, but the subsequent … discussion? commentary? … seemed to fizzle a bit.

    Would anyone have a definitive idea how a fundamentalist should react to a Christian producing such a show? Or having produced similar shows in the past?

    Should a Bible believing Christian admire such ministries or not? Should they stay away from them entirely? Should they recommend them to others? Should they warn others?

    None of these questions were clearly answered by the subsequent discussion as far as I can tell.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  3. Chris didn’t issue an “invitation to dialogue.” He expressed incredulity and disagreement regarding what appeared to him as a definite inconsistency.

    Chris’s comments in response to Dave sounded nothing like your definition of dialogue–there was no thesis-antithesis-synthesis that occurred, which is the process and result of the dialogue you described.

    Maybe the problem is Chris didn’t express his sentiments in a manner that you would have?

    As for your assessment of the comments, I think that if you read Chris’s responses he expresses clear disagreement with the problem he addressed.

    Last, regarding the questions left unanswered in your mind, particularly the last three, was that the purpose of the the post in question? Again, maybe the problem lies with the fact that Chris is being Chris, not Don Johnson.

  4. Thanks for the comments, Dan.

    But please don’t misunderstand my questions. I realize that the evangelical raised the “d” word. I don’t think Chris is engaging in dialogue as defined. But I don’t think anyone reading the discussion would really know the answers to my questions either.

    As I said, Chris started strong. But the ensuing discussion leaves unanswered the questions I ask. What really should be the average believer’s attitude to charismatics that produce Godspell and Joseph and claim to be faithful followers of the Word?

    Can you see in the discussion where that question has been answered at all? And if it has, is the answer edifying for the believer?

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  5. Frankly, yes, it was clear to me. Chris said that the attempt to convey a biblical message by that method would result in tarnishing the message. I got clearly got his point, and as evidenced by the responses of the Covenant Life Church people they got his point as well; and Chris disagreed with them.

    Perhaps because Chris used his oxgoad to push “oxen” rather than wallop them means in your mind that the average believer would not get Chris’s point?

  6. Perhaps. I invite others to offer their opinions.

    I think Chris was clear enough on his point [especially initially] – but I am wondering about the overall point. I read about ten blogs by men who hold a fundamentalist label to one extent or another. Many of them tout the works of men like this, encouraging people to read them, use them as guides, etc.

    My questions are probing whether this is legitimate or not.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  7. This is my take on this. When once the pressure was on someone that did not come out strong against this kind of behavior (these musicals at the Charismatic place), now the pressure is on the one who isn’t somewhat ambiguous about it. Once it was denounced unequivocally and now it is treated with a nuanced negativity. The total sense is: these are good men that are doing a questionable thing and let’s discuss this. Don’t denounce, but let’s discuss.

    What’s to discuss? It’s plainly sinful. They can excuse it and will, and we should have nothing to do with them. If they were truly humble, they would never do this.

    A perfect preservation of Scripture position based on biblical presuppositions will get savagely denounced, mocked, and laughed at by fundamantalists, but Charismatic, CCM CJ Mahaney and his troupe get coddled.

    Have I been clear?

  8. Kent, you need nuancing lessons.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  9. Perhaps you were hoping for name-calling and imprecations?

  10. Hardly, Chris.

    If you think that is what I am pointing at, then you have totally misread what I am saying… or asking, as it were.

    I think you know enough about my views of Mahaney et al to know that I don’t think they should be used or recommended to our people. I don’t think we should communicate that opposition in a belligerent or ungodly way, but we should clearly oppose what needs opposing.

    When trumpets give uncertain sounds, what are the people to do?

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  11. Chris,

    I recognize you addressed Don and not me, but I don’t believe that denouncing means name-calling or imprecatory statements. Don’t you see that as kind of a jump? There is something between a whisper and a scream. I see the Scriptural pattern is to confront as sin or false doctrine and practice and then wait for repentance. We can still treat them civilly, but Jesus came to separate people, even family members. I don’t usually get the confrontation myself, so I would be glad to get this treatment. Something else is confusion, like I think Don is at least nuancing above. ;-)

    I don’t believe that we have a pattern in Scripture of taking the bad and the good. We confront the bad. The good doesn’t justify the bad. This isn’t a shot, but I don’t believe people that compromise are more humble. I know CJ Mahaney has written a lot on humility and when I’ve seen him on tape he’s got what looks like a humble way of acting. Ultimately, humility relates to God more than us, and we aren’t humble when we go ahead and let Godspell happen.