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Doug Pagitt’s New Book: A Christianity Worth Believing – NOT Worth Believing!

Lighthouse Trails give us a “Heads-up” as they present this review by Ezra McGill on Doug Pagitt’s new book.  Please take the time to read this and then pass it along.

Steve Blackwell

oug Pagitt’s New Book: A Christianity Worth Believing – NOT Worth Believing!
A Christianity Worth Believing by Doug Pagittby Ezra McGill
Free-lance writer

In his book, A Christianity Worth Believing, emergent leader Doug Pagitt presents a theology that is worth exposing, because it is neither biblical nor Christian. This is the unfortunate power of media-savvy emergent leaders–errant theology is couched in Christian terms, and the undiscerning are drawn in.

As others have noted, Doug Pagitt undoubtedly cares about his flock, the homeless, coffee farmers in Guatemala, and the environment. Yet, if the emergent movement could be summed up in one phrase, perhaps it is this: “Tiny men shaking tiny fists at the biblical God.”
The Bible tells us, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.(Psalm 2: 2-4)

The author of A Christianity Worth Believing vigorously disputes the authority of Sola Scriptura–the Word of God. He writes, “The inerrancy debate is based on the belief that the Bible is the word of God, that the Bible is true because God made it and gave it to us as a guide to truth. But that’s not what the Bible says” (p. 65).

He further explains, “This is how it works. We are characters in the stories we hear. The living Bible invites us to step into the stories, not as observers, but as participants in the faith that is alive and well and still being created” (p.67).

That’s right. The author believes Christianity is still in the process of being created. Obviously, this theology that is being created is in total opposition to biblical Truth. Like the author of The Shack, Pagitt categorically denies the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ.

He states, “the early evangelists recognized they could help the Jesus story make sense if Jesus was seen as someone who was chosen to appease the wrath of God–hence, the ‘anointed one’ who could do what no one else could do” (p. 181).

So, minus our Savior, how does this emergent leader view receiving forgiveness for sins? Before we get to this, let us understand that he spends a good deal of time making the artificial distinction between Christians’ alleged Greco-Roman understanding of God (Pagitt sees this as a distant God), and the Old Testament Hebrew God (always present, understanding, and intimate).

Incredibly, the author presents the Old Testament as his “proof” that there has always been accessible forgiveness for sin. He notes that his wife was raised in a Jewish family, and she “tells [the congregation] each year that the Jews would celebrate the Day of Atonement by gathering lint from their pockets, every little corner of them. She invites us to do the same. Then we write confessions on pieces of paper or pick up leaves to represent each sin and walk to the edge of a stream. As we drop our leaves and papers into the stream, we read from the Psalms” (pp.163-164).

Psalm 103:11-13 is then read to Pagitt’s congregation: “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”

Following this, he writes, his wife, “reminds us that just as the water carries our words away, God takes our sins from us. As far as can be, sin is removed, taken, gone. Yes, sin exists, and when we find it, we should get rid of it” (p. 164).

But what defines “sin” if the Bible is not really the authoritative Word of God? If Christ is not Savior? Pagitt never really gives a satisfactory answer to this.

“Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment”(Lamentations 2:14). Pagitt assures us he understands this new theology can be upsetting. “This can come as a shock to those Christians who are so used to hearing that Jesus is the solution to sin that they assume that the remedy started with the death of Jesus. The Jewish Tradition tells us otherwise” (p. 163).

A Christianity Worth Believing is the presentation of a distorted version of our faith. It is the tepid celebration of a powerless, false “christ.” It is textbook emergent heresy. Those reading this book who do know and love Christ may feel disgust, disbelief, even scorn. Well and good. But may we also be very afraid for those who are exposed to such teaching.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

One gets the sense that Doug Pagitt seems compelled to deny the Truth–he simply cannot see it. He is the angry blind man striking out with his cane. He swings, he slashes; he jabs and stabs. Unfortunately, that sharpened cane has poked out many an eye.
And seems poised to pierce many, many more.

“And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?'” (Luke 6:39)

Related Information:

More on Doug Pagitt’s spirituality, click here.

When They Say There’s No Blood Atonement

The Process of Reimagining by Roger Oakland

EMERGENT MANIFESTO: Emerging Church Comes Out of the Closet

7 replies on “Doug Pagitt’s New Book: A Christianity Worth Believing – NOT Worth Believing!”

Sadly, my entire family (4 genrtns) has been affected by this kinda of false teaching entering right into the pulpit of a 60+ year old conservative baptist church in western WA.
The newly elected pastor (now quit) and the long time “counselor” to the leadership “pastrix” began a full scampain to force the church into an emergent church of the tares mcmess!
Result? Over 1000 people left. And sadly another 900 stayed.
The false doctrines, false gnostic contemplative prayer program:
(over 50 area churches invited to “pray” for the world? Right inside this conservative baptist church! Including hyper-charismatics,united methodists, Roman Catholics, penecostals,episco-palians,7th day adventists,1st Nations penecostal?ect ect…..all supposed to pray for the ???world??. It was and still is doctrinally unsound. And a grievous error.
And so that is where this all leads. Your article explains this.
These false doctrines and false preachers have begun to take over actual factual Scriptural Truth and re-invent it. And destroy whole churches in the process. Or those who want Biblical preaching?
Must leave and start over if they can find a sound church.
How do you know a church is heading into error? Just check out the false books in your church library. Even when you print out articles like this one? The unsound leadership and elder boards with dismiss it. But that tells you even more….

Ann,

Thanks for the comment; it is good to hear from those who are discerning and taking the appropriate action.

All Christians need to examine the things they say they believe. What many are finding is that what they construe as a “Christian worldview” is in fact, the worldview of an adulterated Christianity, which has been passed down for many hundreds of years. We have accepted without question a whole truckload of concepts, which are nowhere mentioned in Scriptures, and parade them around as if they were all direct from the lips of Jesus. The whole idea of “Church” today is wrong and needs to thrown out. Many see this problem and have indeed thrown out commercial Christianity and in its place they snatch up heresies worse than the ones they have gotten rid of. The Emerging church has found fertile ground in the ignorance of these people.

Time is short and we need for those who have seen the true light to speak out loudly. The Lord is not done with us yet. Preaching the gospel today is risky business and rejection and persecution are its reward; but that is the cost of faithfulness.

Steve Blackwell

Just started reading “The Diversity Culture ” by Matthew Raley. So far I haven’t discerned anything that smacks of heresy. Have you read it? If so, what do you think?

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