Honesty

This morning, in response to my series on “Is the Holy Spirit a Liar?”, Christopher Kirk publicly called me a liar on his blog – after telling me I am not allowed to respond on his blog.keeping_it_real

This crosses the line from a vigorous and needed debate on the important issue of scripture’s status and authority, into personal attack with no opportunity to directly respond.

More fundamentally, though, Christopher Kirk has now borne false witness – against himself.

Public Statements

In his blog, he says I lied about his views because he has “affirm[ed] that the bible is Divinely inspired, authoritative and God’s Word at all times. I also do not believe that personal revelation is greater than scripture.”

Hmmm …

Whenever I’ve challenged someone’s extreme ideologies, I always quote or cite their own writings.

In my blog series challenging some of Christopher Kirk’s views, I did that.

So let’s quickly review what he’s said – in his own words on his own blog and on Facebook.

On now claiming he has always “affirmed” the authority of the Bible:

“God can tell you to go directly against scripture.” (Kirk, April 3, 2013, on Facebook)

“I do not believe that the bible is the final authority in any matter.” (Kirk, Jan. 30, 2013, on Facebook, emphasis added)

“We do not need a bible to be … discipled.” (Kirk, Jan. 31, 2013, on Facebook)

“It is the Holy Spirit that leads us into all truth. So the final authority is The Holy Spirit.” (Kirk, Jan. 31, 2013, on Facebook)

I guess, then, that Christopher Kirk has “at all times” believed that the Bible is “authoritative” … except when he has some personal revelation to the contrary.

On now claiming to have always “affirmed” that the Bible is “God’s Word”:

“The bible is NOT the Word of God.” (Kirk, April 1, 2013, on Facebook)

“Jesus is The Word of God, NOT the bible.” (Kirk, Jan 31, 2013, on Facebook)

The Bible “is not The Word of God.” (Kirk, September 2, 2012, on his blog)

I guess, then, that Christopher Kirk has “at all times” believed that the Bible is the Word of God … except when he hasn’t.

Honesty

I have found that those who have been unopposed for so long in promoting their existential ideologies within the Body of Christ – especially in the organic/simple church community – are shocked when challenged.

I have no doubt that my critique of Christopher Kirk’s views stung. But my focus was always his views, as expressed in his own public writings, and never his character or him personally.

To now, however, openly deny his own views and to claim he never held them, and to then call me a liar when I simply quoted and responded to his own words, is a new low. It crosses the line from civil debate into dishonest ad hominem attack.

Integrity

Chris, I think you are better than that.

If you believe it, own it.

You wrote it, man up to it.

And please, be honest about it!

~ Jim

P.S.

As an update, Christopher Kirk now says he does not accept the doctrine of the Trinity, because he has not himself received any personal revelation about it. And so it goes, as we jettison the discipline and authority of God’s written Word in lieu of our own subjective autonomy…

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13 responses

  1. Jim Wright, you are twisting my words and taking them out of context. I have not blocked you, but I will not approve any of your comments on my blog unless they are given in the right Spirit. If you want to have an open dialogue that honors Jesus and one another I am all for that. Now to address what you wrote here today: I said the bible was authoritative, which it is, but I do not beleive that it is THE authority. I do beleive that the bible is God’s word, but it is NOT The WORD of God…Jesus is. Big difference in my eyes. I said God could tell you to go directly against scripture, because HE did so when HE told Peter to kill and eat what scripture previously called forbidden. If you actually took the time to read my blog and prayed about what you had read, instead of jumping to erroneous conclusions we might get some where. I called you a liar because you lied about others and about me. YOu wanna talk, then let’s talk?

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    • Chris, I am content with your response, which retreats into semantics and after-the-fact rationalizations. Words mean, though, what words mean.

      The irony is that I am happy to let you try to explain yourself (in fact, I think it only helps confirm my concerns), while you have stated to me that you will block my responses.

      What you say in public now, Chris, is not what said previously in private: “I have prayed much and sought Godly counsel, and I have now decided that I should no longer give you a platform on my blog.”

      Please, like I say in my response, be honest.

      Fortunately, truth suppressed always has a way of finding some other means of expression.

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  2. Jim, you personally led me to look at this. Here is my response. I’ve known Chris Kirk for many years now, and I know his HEART. What you have done here is pull out some statements he has made, out of context, and made it sound like he has no use for the scriptures, or that he only uses them when it suits his purpose. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. The fact is, that Chris uses, and values the written scriptures WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT ANOINTS THEM AT THE TIME, but refuses to elevate them above Jesus. On this matter, Chris and I have never had any trouble understanding one another in our assessment that the scriptures, when breathed upon by the Holy Spirit, are useful for instruction, etc., and the rest of the time….’THE L E T T E R KILLS’.

    You are entitled to worship the book if you wish, but those of us who have moved on into another level of faith,which is walking by the Holy Spirit as did our Savior, are also entitled to do the same. I don’t know you, but just what I have read so far written by you does smack of both arrogance, self-righteousness, pride, and a noticable lack of love and long-suffering for the rest of the body who doesn’t buy into your “I’m right and all who disagree with me are not just wrong, but heretics”. That’s just what I see from the fruit of your lips, and I know that others have already rebuked you for that, and you would have none of it. Please notice they aren’t rebuking you for your position on the topic, but they ARE rebuking you for your attitude, and lack of imitation of the very Christ whom you claim to serve. Just what I see with spiritual eyes, and hear with spiritual ears.

    Also, I did notice that you didn’t bother even answering my questions I posted on the other blog, just commented that what I said was nothing new. If I am in error, I would hope that you would have some answers to those questions, but so far, I’ve never met a bibliolator who could answer even one of them (with or without scripture, in or out of context, via the Holy Spirit).

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  3. This is all so silly and once again a terrible witness to outsiders. Are there actual practices that people like chris engage in that you jim do not agree with on moral grounds?
    And I’m not talking about religious stuff like leadership structure or how they teach the bible. I’m talking about things like how they treat women, or children, or whether they cheat on taxes, or are mean to strangers. Do they ignore the poor or do they pray to some other god? How we describe our beliefs and walk, are one matter… how we live it out is another and its a shame christians have literally killed each other over disagreements about the former.
    Pretend for a moment its not all about you and the great existentialist threat and maybe you will find you actually have more in common with one another than you think even though you use different language.
    You have time and time again accused these people of being dogmatic and elitist as if their way is the only way or a higher, deeper way… but sadly you promote a view of scripture and practice that is just like that, just with different language. Only your view of authority of scripture and objective propositional truth is valid… all others being dangerous and unhealthy.
    I mean c’mon give us a solid example of something morally wrong that say Chris has done counter to scripture because the holy spirit told him to? Can you give an example that does not relate to your arguments on the internet or what you think is wrong with the model of church he’s involved in? If not your words are a clanging cymbal and a distraction.

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    • Eli, you go way over the top here. If the standard for when we can disagree through open debate on issues relevant to the health of the Body of Christ is whether the other person also is moral, then I guess just about any doctrine or practice is acceptable. Is that really what you want?

      And can’t we openly debate and even disagree – directly and with candor – without someone equating it to persecution, killing and the like. I mean, really, Eli…

      As I have said before, by all accounts Chris is a kind and loving person. But he also claims to be a leader in the Body of Christ, and uses that as a platform to promote stuff that is harmful to the Church. As such, he should be open and accountable, and not resort to personal attack that goes beyond the issues.

      This is a debate worth having, because churches which have bought into such existential ideologies generally are anemic and insular. In the part of the Body of Christ where I am most active – the organic or simple church community – the carnage has been extensive. There is a reason for that, and as these issues see the light of day, it is my hope that others may be forewarned and spared the same fate.

      If that is elitist, then I stand guilty.

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      • Jim stick to the issues and you’re not likely to get what you describe as ad hominem attacks.
        This blog post was clearly personal and went direct for the integrity of the person named claiming they were being dishonest and lying.

        The elitism is that your posts position yourself as having a superior apprehension and appreciation of the truth as you see it. As promoting balance when they are promoting an extreme.
        One could argue true balance is seeing, acknowledging and engaging Jesus as he is even if that looks extreme or unbalanced to onlookers.

        I’m not even convinced ‘balance’ is a biblical goal or term. I would say LOVE is far more critical in terms of using as a determining factor in allocation of time and resources and value.
        Even when we look at biblical authors it is clear they did not all draw from previous scripture as much as the next guy. Their measure of whether saying something was ok was not whether it was balanced in isolation or whether it had already been said before in that exact way but rather due to their exposure to Jesus Christ and what had been enlightened to them both directly and through scripture.

        A high view of scripture can mean we limit all our thinking and behavior to what has already been written… or that we allow god to make real to us the seeds of the kingdom expressed in it.
        This is the difference between say accepting slavery or challenging it, seeing that at face value slavery is at worst promoted, at best accepted according to the bible.

        The reality is relative to the wider body of christ you may find you are closer to the likes of Chris than you care to admit as you have clearly entered into practices and understanding that is contrary to what the majority of christians think is taught in scripture.

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  4. I generally am not going to permit additional comments that get into attacking motives or continuing to personalize things by attacking someone’s character – either pro or con. I think Chris did that, and I responded. I then gave him an opportunity to comment. Some others weighed in, and that was fine, even though there was some very crass mischaracterizations and personalization of the issues.

    Regardless, there is no need to continue reducing issue after issue to personality and personal offense, and this is not the forum to do that.

    So here’s the rule: No ad hominem attacks.

    Ad hominem:

    1. (of an argument or reaction) Arising from or appealing to the emotions and not reason or logic.

    2. Attacking an opponent’s motives or character rather than the policy or position they maintain.

    Do so, and I will delete your comment. Persist, and I will block you.

    ‘Nuff said…

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  5. Jim, there are plenty of confirming-absolute-authority-of-the-Bible churches out there that are every bit as damaging and plague the greater body of Christ as there are “existentialist” factions (your words, not mine) that plague her. The damage of one existentialist leader (or a group of them) does not necessarily stem from the existentialism itself, any more than the damage done by “Bible authority” leaders stem from the Bible.

    I certainly understand your concerns about and arguments against the “existentialist” faction, but my *personal* experience is that they relied on “Bible authority” when they were seeking to hold onto their own personal authority and spiritually abuse, manipulate, and coerce others.

    People will pervert whatever authority they cite to abuse and lord themselves over others. This is as true of those who cite the Bible as the primary authority for our time, as it is for those who don’t explicitly do so. These abuses stem from a depraved character that has not been fully submitted to God, that seeks to place themselves over others.

    Unless you have a personal understanding of Chris as someone who seeks to abuse his position to spiritually abuse others, I think it’d be better for you to not lump him in with others, and in fact, to not confuse the two issues.

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    • Thanks, Derek, for bringing this back on track.

      I FULLY and COMPLETELY agree with your observation that churches which are out of balance on the authority of scripture have their own problems.

      As I have said again and again and again…

      We need to fully embrace a vibrant relationship with the Living Word, while fully submitting to the authority and discipline of His written Word.

      Emphasizing one over the other is a recipe for disaster, and the evidence of that is all too apparent – both among the legalists AND the existentialists.

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  6. There are good and wonderful reasons that the wise old reformers put language like this in their confessions of faith:

    “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture, to which nothing is to be added at any time, either by new revelation of the Spirit, or by the traditions of men.

    Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word.” (LBCF 1689 1:6)

    Or this:

    “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

    The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.” (WCF 1:9-10)

    They weren’t unfamiliar with the expression “God told me” or “I have received revelation”, and they knew how to phrase their position articulately.

    Now, I am not confessional because I believe the confession infallible; rather, I’m confessional because I believe these historic documents to accurately reflect the “whole council of God”.

    Why is this even considered relevant? For one thing, those who foster “new revelation” are very rarely given to being in agreement with propositional truth, and usually value spontaneity over form. The historic confessions (including the Apostle’s Creed, Nicaean, and the reformed confessions) exist to keep doctrinal error in check, and summarize commonly-held beliefs.

    I wish that some of these ‘existentialists’ were more familiar with the giants on whose shoulders they so unwittingly stand…

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    • Giants? If they exist they are many, some of which are not well known. Add to that plurality of interpretation and practice has abounded for centuries.
      Ironically this blog is definitely not mainstream and relative to the established denominations and traditions of the church I would say what is promoted here is fringe at best, heretical at worst (according to them).
      It is very naive to claim that mainstream church doctrine is ok but practice is the issue… both are related. So if we claim the institutional church is getting major things wrong in terms of behavior and traditions, I guarantee you major things are wrong doctrinally… and that would include approach to scripture.
      I mean we might as well all go join the reformed churches or whichever denomination seems to hold scripture in the highest esteem.

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  7. Pingback: Is the Holy Spirit a Liar? (Part 3) « Crossroad Junction

  8. Pingback: Is the Holy Spirit a Liar? (Part 2) « Crossroad Junction

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