Critics of online apologetics and discernment works such as Apprising Ministries are under the mistaken impression that someone like myself goes “looking for” these issues I’ve been covering these past 5+ years as Jesus has built this ministry of His Gospel. They couldn’t be more wrong. What usually happens is I’ll receive an email or message from the contact forms, ether here or at our sister outreach Christian Research Network, where oftentimes someone is distraught to find these kind of things are being perpetrated within their local church.
Jesus knows I tell the truth when I say that I don’t take pleasure in documenting this growing falling away of the mainstream evangelical community; yet I have warned you that there is a tsunami of apostasy—pushed along by 1 Peter 4:17 judgments—headed toward the church visible. Not a few of these judgments have come through evanjellyfish’s foolish embrace of the sinfully ecumenical Emerging Church, headed by trinity of apostates, Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren, universalist Emerging Church pastor Doug Pagitt, and his friend Tony Jones, the progressive “theologian in residence” at Solomon’s Porch.
The price is only beginning to be paid from years of mainstream evangelical churches using the warped and toxic teachings of these rebels against the final authority of God’s Word in their own Young Adult and Youth ministries thereby infecting them with this new postmodern form of “big tent” Progressive Christianity—a Liberalism 2.0—sometimes referred to by the Emerging Church as Emergence Christianity. This postmodern neo-liberal cult is incorporating emergence theory of evolutionary science because many in the EC believe that, right now, mankind is evolving upward into a higher state of consciousness; and in their delusions (see—2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) these neo-Gnostics feel their Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism—and particularly the transcendental meditation for the Christian they call Contemplative/Centering Prayer—plays a huge role in this alleged evolution.
You’ll see them refer to this as “transformation, which quite literally means one will see reality in a new way. Earlier in Doug Pagitt Agrees With Evolutionary Evangelist Michael Dowd I explained to you why this CSM was so important to the EC’s evil agenda to penetrate the mainstream as its forebears in the original Cult of Liberal Theology once did the mainline. You see, mysticism is perfectly suited to the philosophy of postmoderism that now dominates much of this caprious culture in which we find ourselves; you see, as with neo-orthodoxy ala Karl Barth postmodernism is “anti-logical” and “embraces Paradox” while its deconstructionists viciously attack rational thought with what’s commonly known as irrational philosophy:
Irrational philosophies accordingly stress the will at the expense of reason, as exemplified in the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre or Karl Jaspers. (Online source)
Roughly put, its influence upon our culture is why you’ll so often hear people say things like: “With all my heart I feel that’s a good thing”; in other words, truth is being decided by how someone feels as opposed to what is objectively known. In fact Dr. John Bohannon points out, in classic centered on the self postmodern existentialism, that for Doug Pagitt:
the Bible is an active and living book that, in his own words, “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.” The implication being, the Bible is not a fixed, immutable, infallible Word from above, but rather a piece of God’s ongoing story in humanity; a story that Pagitt, Solomon’s Porch, and other communities of faith, can participate in as they join in the ongoing creative activity of writing their own story for today, just as Paul did for his day.
As you can see, not only is this a repudiation of sola Scriptura, but it’s also a recipe for spiritual disaster because people can make the texts of Bible say whatever they want them to. This is the necessary backdrop for you to see where Pagitt is headed in what you’ll hear him talk about below with “Rev.” Michael Dowd in the two segments of his radio program from 10/31/10 transcribed below:
Believe it or not, Dowd is actually “an ordained Christian minister with a Master of Divinity degree”, as well as author of Thank God for Evolution!: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World (TGfE).
And I must warn you to get your mud gear on, because with mystic dreamers like Pagitt and Dowd we’ll be mentally off-roading as we head deep into the postmodern Wonderland of Humpty Dumpty language where they’ll be bending and shaping words into whatever Play-Doh shapes they wish to.
So, get ready for a wild ride, well past anything that could even remotely be considered Christian. Paraphrasing the ol’ classic line: You have to hear it to believe it.
10/31/10 Doug Pagitt Radio with Michael Dowd Pt. 1 of 2
10/31/10 Doug Pagitt Radio with Michael Dowd Pt. 2 of 2
Doug Pagitt: Good morning, welcome back [to] Doug Pagitt Radio, Hour Two…11:06 and starting next week (as a little reminder) when we say 11:06 that’s going to be the beginning of Hour One; we’re moving this radio program an hour later.
John Musick: Yeah.
Pagitt: Apparently the sidekick just can’t sleep it off and get here by ten so we’re moving it an hour later to try and make this a little more convenient for the staff around here.
Pagitt: Broadcasting (starting next week) from 11:00am to 1:00pm…covering both am and pm. We kinda’ felt like it was time to branch out.
Musick: That’s right.
Pagitt: Take over the am’s and the pm’s.
Musick: Mm hmm.
Pagitt: This is a program that we call “religious radio that’s not quite right,” and we mean that in a lot of ways; it’s not only politically…it’s not politically right…it’s sometimes, you know…and its tone isn’t very right…sometimes it doesn’t even sound like religious radio to some people. They’re like, “Hey I listened to your show…uh, it didn’t sound very religious to me.”
Pagitt: Yeah, well…that’s why we just call it “not quite right” and then you get away with a lot, but normally in the second hour, we have a conversation with someone who is doing some very interesting things when it comes to religion and we are fortunate (so fortunate) to have that conversation today with Michael Dowd. Michael is part of a movement, an effort, a book, a website called Thank God for Evolution. Michael thanks for being with us on Doug Pagitt radio.
Michael Dowd: Thank you, Doug.
Pagitt: And we got to tell you, I feel like it’s just an accomplishment hearing your voice on the radio show…
Pagitt: …cause as some of you know.
Dowd: Well, Doug I need to say I listened to your September 19th program (the one that I stood you up on) and…
Pagitt: I hardly…I hardly remember that.
Dowd: I am honored to have been the second person to stand you up (laughing), but I’m also hugely grateful for your generosity. I mean I deserved a good trouncing and you didn’t do that, so thank you.
Musick: Well, thanks for squeezing us in Michael.
Pagitt: Our rule around here is you never talk badly about people when they’re not on the air; you wait until you get them back on the show and then you really let them have it.
Pagitt: So, we’re gonna’ let you have it! No, I really appreciate what you’re doing and I think it’s (I mean I have my own personal reasons why), but the last two weeks I’ve been travelling around doing some public speaking and been involved in some debates and so on…and I was thanking God for Michael Dowd on a regular basis and here’s why:
Pagitt: Because I was…I have for the last five years have been saying to people who use the kind of storyline, “Look, I can’t do this whole Christian thing…it’s just far too conservative, it’s far too anti-science, it’s just far too narrow-minded and I can’t do it” (and I don’t hang around people like that, I hang around very sort of whimsical and informed and thoughtful Christians), and so I had started developing this thought that, “Look, no…no reasonable Christians think that stuff. Most Christians you meet don’t think the earth is less than 10,000 years old, they’re not anti-science, they’re not anti-evolution.” Then the last two weeks, I was properly scolded.
Musick: You met them all.
Pagitt: Right. I met them all and I met them in so many places. And I just thought, “Man, I have been woefully…” And these are not bad people at all…and they’re not even people who believe these things for reasons that…I mean, they’re not trying to do anything harmful, they just…I started asking the questions and almost everyone I was meeting in these environments were very kind and useful people in the world and very passionate Christians and would just say as straight-faced as they can, “Of course I think the earth is less than 10,000 years old because that’s what Jesus says.” And…um…I sat with just…just longing for Michael Dowd to come save me from that conversation.
Pagitt: So you do a number of things. You travel fulltime to give people a picture of this and you really are trying to tell (and I love this language so much) the “bigger story,” the full (I don’t know how you call it) the “fourteen billion year story of what God’s been up to” or something like that?
Pagitt: So tell us a little about what you do and how you do it.
Dowd: Sure…great, thanks Doug…and Hi John!
Dowd: So my wife Connie Barlow is a science writer. She’s written four science books and they’re all published by major science publishers…MIT press…Copernicus Books (basic books); so she’s well known internationally as a science writer. I pastored three churches over the course of a decade and then did environmental sustainability and community organizing work for five years after that, but we’ve been living on the road for eight and a half years now where we travel non-stop, we’ve spoken to probably close to 1200 different groups from devoutly religious groups of all different kinds – mostly Christians – to the secular groups, atheist groups, science…groups of scientists and environmentalists, tons of Unitarian Universalist churches; so we really speak to quite a broad spectrum of audiences. In fact, there’s sort of three major populations that we speak to. One is Catholic and Protestant Christians, the other would be sort of unity/religious science,/new thought/some New Age groups and interval groups, and then the third is sort of a secular/humanist/atheist/science oriented people and those three populations really don’t often understand or respect each other that much, but all three of those populations have really embraced…and you know, invite us in all the time to speak to them
Dowd: We’ve been doing this now for eight years…eight and a half years and right now I’m talking to you from…people open up their homes to us because we don’t have a home base; we permanently travel the continent and we live out of the generosity of people who open up their homes to us. So I’m talking to you right now from this very spacious home right on the coast of Maine, that the family who has owned it since the early 1920s, they only come here during the summer, so we sometimes come you know, just after they leave or just before they come, and we’ve got this gorgeous home that we use as a retreat location…in fact my book, Thank God for Evolution was written while we were here.
Pagitt: Wow. Who would have known there was such an upside.
Musick: Sounds rough, Michael.
Dowd: (Laughing) Yeah, it’s rough, but somebody’s got to do it. So we’re happy to suffer for the Lord.
Pagitt: I sure hope you don’t have to do your own shopping, too. Hopefully they have something for you!
Dowd: Yeah, it’s a treat. And you know the two or three years before we come back to a place like this…they’ve been paying the bills, keeping…you know up keeping the house…it’s really wonderful.
Pagitt: Fantastic. Yeah. So, what I find interesting about what you do is first of all, you’re interesting and so often in conversations of religion or science people aren’t particularly interesting, right? Like I’m…just sort of as a whole…I mean there are professions…people take it very seriously and sometimes that seriousness weeds people out from a little humor…a little…a little satire is not quite part of their mix. But then you also take the sensibilities of being an evangelist and you apply it to this conversation about how evolution is not against God, it’s actually helping us to understand better what God is up to.
Pagitt: And I think those two things are really interesting. If you…you read in the introduction to your book, you tell a bit of the story of your own upbringing that you were…you went to an Assembly of God denomination college called Evangel, and that’s a place that if people know that school they might not think someone’s gonna’ come out of that university with a perspective that wants to tell the big story of how God has…how evolution has told the story of God throughout the past fourteen billion years.
Dowd: Yeah, absolutely. In fact if it weren’t for Evangel College, I might never have embraced evolution. I used to an anti-evolutionary fundamentalist and I used to argue with anybody who thought the world was more than a few thousand years old. I used to pass out tracts (you know, these little pamphlets) and you know, would just debate people because I was very threatened by an evolutionary perspective; for me at that time, God’s word was identified only with the bible. I didn’t think of evidence as God’s word. I didn’t think of God speaking through facts uncovered by the entire, worldwide scientific community; so I had a very different worldview, but it was at Evangel College (and I need to give them credit). The first day I walked into Biology class the teacher held up the textbook that we were going to use (and I had used that same textbook four years earlier at the University of Miami, Florida before I spent three years in the Army) so I knew that that textbook taught evolution. And I came to Christ in the Army (so I wasn’t a Christian at the University of Miami) so here I was at this evangelical, Pentecostal college…university and they were teaching evolution; and I literally picked up my books, walked out of class, slammed the door and went to the Registrar’s office and withdrew from the course. In fact, I told my roommate Satan obviously has a foothold on this school; that was the only way I could make sense of how they could possibly be teaching evolution at an evangelical college.
Dowd: Well, I went on to discover that almost all evangelical colleges and universities…they teach evolution; they just teach it in a God-honoring way.
Pagitt: Now…and then you’ve taken these sensibilities of saying, “Look, let’s…let’s not just sit back and act like because we think we’re right that somehow that’s going to win the day, right?” You have…you know gotten into a van and travel around…and you’re intentionally trying to engage in these conversations.
Dowd: Oh yeah.
Pagitt: And you write books and you have a great website thankgodforevolution.com and thankgodforevoltion.net and they’re sort of sister sites that tell two parts of what you’re up to and what you’re doing. How has that gone being someone who is…who is out there trying to tell the story of God through the lens of evolution in kind of this travelling evangelist sort of way? How has that been received by people? Is it hard for folks to get their heads wrapped around it?
Dowd: Not usually. Now remember Doug, I only get invited into places…anybody who believes that evolution is of the devil and all the evils of the world can be attributed to Darwin, they don’t invite me into their church in the first place.
Dowd: So I don’t get invited into the most antagonistic of settings. Typically I get invited to sort of emerging church settings…uh, you know…post-modernist evangelical and sort of radically evangelical settings, moderate to liberal Catholic and Protestant settings, Unitarian Universalist churches, Quaker meeting houses, Mennonite churches…occasionally a Buddhist mediation group and then a whole bunch of secular and science oriented/environmentally oriented groups. And in almost (in fact, I would say every case without exception) there’s been a very strong reception. Now in evangelical settings, typically there’s a handful of people (don’t laugh) they walk out; they don’t even stay till the end, but those who stay (I can say pretty confidently that probably 65-70%) are really blown away. They just sort of sit there in stunned silence and then we have a lot of engaging conversation and they buy a lot of books and DVDs and then send me emails afterwards and tell me that they liked the program. And in other settings, in moderate to liberal Catholic and Protestant settings and non-religious settings and sort of Unitarian Universalists and others…it’s like…more like 95% of the people love the program; whether they’re on the liberal end of the spectrum or on the conservative end of the spectrum.
Pagitt: Well, when we come back, I want to talk a little bit about that also about this…I have this theory that there’s a kind of conservatism that’s not theological, it’s cultural, and that you’re really crossing cultural boundaries in people’s experience with that and I want to see how that’s kind of gone with you. But then also when we come back for you also to tell us…you know kind of give us the snapshot of what the…what your whole program…
Pagitt: What’s your conversation is…what this…what the argument that you’re making is so that people can get a feel for it. If they want to go on your website between now and then if they’re listening live or if they’re listening on the podcast: thankgodforevolution.com will get you all the connection points that you need. We’re going to be back here with Michael Dowd on Doug Pagitt Radio broadcasting live out of the Twin Cities on AM950 and on dougpagittradio.com
Pagitt: Michael, before we got into the break here, I had suggested that very often a kind of conservative Christianity is as much a cultural thing as it is a theological thing and that what you really run into is a cultural set of “norms.” And I say that it is cultural (not theological) because most theological positions that people hold they have come to through some sort of “discovery” or some sort of process; where culture is something we’re told we live within…something that we acquire without a lot of conscious reflection. And so often I find that I run into conversations with conservative Christian folks (and I was loved and cared for in the faith by these people so I get it pretty well), but…and they hold their assumptions very deeply, but they don’t really…they haven’t really held them based on arguments or based on making a decision…they’re just more rooted in sort of how they understand the world to me. And then someone comes along and suggests something that violates that cultural norm and it feels like it threatens the very existence of life. Do you have that experience at all? Do you think I’m on to anything there?
Dowd: No, I think you’re right on Doug, but I must say I do not fault conservative evangelicals, conservative Catholics…I don’t fault them for rejecting evolution because the only version of evolution that most conservative Christians have ever been exposed to is a chance meetingless, purposeless, mechanistic, cruel, godless, directionless process. And as long as they think that’s what evolution is, in my opinion they should continue to reject evolution.
Dowd: That’s why I’m so passionate…I mean I really think that our time today is not unlike the time of the Apostle Paul and I sort of…it’s interesting because travelling all over North America for the last eight and a half years I sort of…I feel this “kinship” with the Apostle Paul because…
Dowd: …in the same way that he was saying, “You don’t understand what God is doing, if you only look to the Hebrew Scriptures,”
Dowd: God is up to something really new and it’s radical, and it’s life changing and here it is…” and then he preached the gospel as best as was revealed to him and understood at that time. And we’re at that same kind of place now. We can’t possibly have but trivial understandings of God and unnatural, impotent notions of the gospel…
Dowd: …if we think that our understands of God and our understands of sin, and salvation…we look merely to ancient understandings of that…that we’re going to have a trivial notion. And, you know one of the Christian churches greatest theologians, St. Thomas Aquinas warned us of this 750 years ago. He said, “A mistake about creation will necessarily result in a mistake about God.”
Dowd: Now that’s true. What it means among other things is the more we learn about the nature of the universe, the nature of creation…if we’re not updating what we mean by God…what we mean by the gospel, we’re going to have outdated, misleading and actually trivial understandings of those. So that’s why I’m so passionate about showing that our tradition is bigger than we thought…it’s more real than we thought…it’s not all about other worldly unnatural things; it’s about this world and how to have…how to enjoy heaven in this life when you understand our best, scientific understanding of evolutionary brain science and evolutionary psychology, for example.
Pagitt: I appreciate that so much and on your website you use this language of “the Great Story,” and I like that. So you say in the great story there’s something bigger than sort of this small…you know just arguing about the minutia of the previous stories; but there’s this bigger story that is changing, a story that’s not over with yet, a story that’s shaped with a planetary perspective where all cultures contribute, that’s open to multiple interpretations and the synergistic between science, religion, and the needs of the world today. Is that…does that kind of grab what you’re trying to say when you travel and what you’re doing with your books and you’re doing with your whole effort in the Thank God for Evolution project?
Dowd: Absolutely. I mean, I think one of the reasons why my book, Thank God for Evolution was endorsed by six, Nobel prize winning scientists (as well as by ministers and priests and rabbis you know, across the spectrum), is it really does articulate (and I’m not the only one – there’s hundreds of us that are articulating) this bridge building perspective that our religion, our tradition is larger, more…more relevant than we could have possibly thought as long as we had a flat earth, you know short earth…short time perspective.
Pagitt: Mmm, hmm.
Dowd: For example, if you think (if anybody listening to this thinks) that the reason you are tempted in certain ways…that you fall in certain ways…that you succumb to certain, simple habits (or whatever) if you think that all that is because your great, great, great, great, great grandmother ate an apple, you’re missing our best understanding of how…
Dowd: Evolutionary psychology and brain science (for example) give us a much deeper appreciation of the wisdom of the fall of Adam and Eve and of original sin. These ancient insights we can now have a deeper, more fact based, more science based understanding of it.
Pagitt: Yeah. You have this…you have a quote that’s kind of sprinkled throughout a lot of your online and print material that says, “Facts are God’s native language.”
Dowd: Yes, exactly. Facts are God’s native tongue. Evidence is the main way God is speaking today. And you know Doug, you mentioned my Thank God for Evolution website, but the other main website that I have (that Connie and I have) is thegreatstory.org.
Pagitt: Mmm, hmm.
Dowd: http://www.thegreatstory.org/…and right up at the top, the top left-hand corner is my main evening program, the program I’m now delivering to evangelicals, to atheists, to everybody…to all different religious and non-religious groups I give the exact same program; and the entire program is right up there on thegreatstory.org…you can just click on the yellow box and…
Pagitt: Mmm, hmm.
Dowd: …people can see that this is not about the past, it’s not about something “out there,” it’s about our best, collective intelligence…what God has been revealing through science for the last two hundred years; and how that can enrich and strengthen and deepen our faith.
Pagitt: And so, if people want to connect with all of this…obviously your book is a good way to do it and if people like websites and they kinda’ learn through websites you have a series of websites that are connected to each other that can sort of walk somebody along this way…and you also list your calendar there cause you’re in these places and I take it you would encourage people to show up at one of the presentations or talks…
Pagitt: …but if they wanted to “host” you could they do that as well?
Dowd: Absolutely. Anybody…Connie and I are permanently travelling North America. We love to do programs; we don’t have a standard fee…we’ll basically trust the budget and generosity of any sponsoring group and organization. So, we sometimes do programs for free…not a problem! In fact, my evening program I always do for free…because we’re professional mooches, Doug…
Dowd: …we constantly live out of other people’s generosity and homes. We don’t have a high overhead. So at any rate, the thing that I would most recommend is our “great story” website or my blog at thankgodforevolution.com; my schedule is on both of them. And, people can send me an email at Michael@thankgodforevolution.com (repeats) Michael@thankgodforevolution.com and they can invite me that way. But, I definitely recommend that any listeners check out the “Evolutionize Your Life” program, which is up in the top left corner of The Great Story website; that’s the main program, that’s the hour and a half program (it’s about an hour and then I do question and answer) that I’m doing in all context. If you want me to deliver that to your congregation, I would absolutely love to!
Dowd: As well as preach on a Sunday morning.
Pagitt: Yeah, you would do it all…and even stay in a big, luxury home that happens to be vacant when in the summertime.
Dowd: Well, yeah we’ll also stay in somebody’s guest bedroom…not a problem.
Pagitt: Well, okay that’s great. Well, that’s Michael Dowd and he and his wife travel and they have conversation going on that not just saying, “Sure, I believe in evolution and I believe in the bible and I don’t know how the two have anything to do with one another,” which is the place a lot of folks find themselves, but he’s actually saying that there’s a larger story, there’s this great big thing going on and it’s…it involves what God has been up to from the beginning all the way through now. So Michael thanks for your work, and thanks for being a part of the show and most of all just thanks for just showing up this morning. (Laughing)
Dowd: Thank you Doug. John, sorry I didn’t give you a word in edgewise.
Pagitt: That’s okay. The only reason you didn’t is because he stepped out of the room…he’s not even in here right now.
Pagitt: See, he begs for air time, then he leaves…that’s how it goes around here.
Dowd: You do great work…keep it up.
Pagitt: Thanks. I look forward to crossing paths. We’ll be back here with natural health coach Shelly Pagitt.
 Gordon Clark, In Defense of Theology [Milford: Mott Media, 1984], 58, 61.
 John Bohanon, Preaching & The Emerging Church: An Examination of Four Founding Leaders: Mark Driscoll, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, and Doug Pagitt [Seattle: CreateSpace, 2010], 88.
 http://michaeldowd.org/, accessed 11/15/10.