By Ken Silva
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Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools… They exchanged the truth of God for a lie [1]
 
In his article "Nothing But the Blood" in the May 2006 issue of Christianity Today this becomes quite obvious as Mark Dever discusses Emergent theologian Scot McKnight's presupposed warped and toxic view of the atonement and the way he twists the Scriptures in his attempt to then force it into the Biblical text. In a moment you will see a clear example of Scripture twisting in the scholarship of Scot McKnight as evidence of the malignant spiritual disease the evangelical community in the Body of Christ has contracted, and it is a terminal one unless it is removed immediately.
 
Men like McKnight who deny the verbal plenary (full) inspiration of Holy Scripture have now come emerging into our Lord's Church through the cult of the Emergent Church. This emerges with crystalline clarity as Mark Dever lays out McKnight's denial of the vicarious (Christ did something) penal (Christ was punished) substitutionary (Christ substituted) atonement (Christ satisfied God the Father's judgment) in his CT article. Dever first covers a range of Scriptures dealing with substitution and sacrifice that should present a "problem" for "critics of substitution."
 
He then points out that these critics are getting around this type of problem the only way any cult-like group can "by downplaying its importance or reinterpreting it." And Dever is correct when he says that this ends up in his view doing "violence to the plain meaning of the text." Those of us who have studied the methodology of cults recognize the danger of followers being "indoctrinated" by mangled views of the Bible from "scholars" within a given organization.
 
Make what you will of this important information in the case of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Emergent Church, but I am already on record that if Dr. Walter Martin were alive today he would be warning people about this schismatic and highly destructive group now that it has become obvious they will not adhere to the authority of the Word of God. In illustrating how critics of the substitutionary atonement twist their way around the Biblical text Dever will use the work of "Scot McKnight, for example, in his recent Jesus and His Death (Baylor, 2005)." He points out that McKnight "does lots of careful work with the Gospel text." Even so, says Dever, McKnight:
 
assumes that the last phrase in Mark 10:45– "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" –reports not Jesus' original words but Mark's theologizing. And while admitting that the idea of substitution is strongly suggested here, he finally rejects it" [2]  
 

 
McKnight's idea is that to give His life as a ransom for many was Mark's adding a theological view to his Gospel. This is a denial of the Biblical doctrine of the verbal plenary inspiration of Holy Scripture! Once we open this door to injecting our own opinions–regardless of how "scholarly" they may be–into the text of the Bible we are doomed to a mystical merry-go-round of subjective opinion. This is the grave danger with the inherent Gnosticism of the Contemplative Spirituality movement central to the warped theology of the Emergent Church. In perfect circular reasoning McKnight already denies the substitutionary atonement of Christ and when faced with a verse of Scripture which pointedly teaches it McKnight simply dismisses the text with his superior gnosis that it was Mark who was "reading in" (eisegesis) a theological view with this text.
 
Rather the truth is that it is the blind fool McKnight who is reading his own theological position into the Biblical narrative and this "evangelical" scholar must then go on to deny the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible to do so. Men and women, McKnight denies the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the Cross and now he is denying the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture. For the sake of our Lord's suffering, how many things believed by evangelicals does someone have to deny before he is no longer considered evangelical? McKnight brings out his own idea that Jesus didn't actually say those words, but rather in his scholarly opinion this is Mark implanting a theological view into the text of Holy Scripture. How does McKnight know this? He doesn't. Can McKnight produce a single scrap of credible evidence to support his theory? He can't. And yet through this kind of Emergent scholarship we witness yet another passage of the Bible being fulfilled:
 
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. [3]
 
In closing I warn you that as these Christ-denying vipers who are attacking the atonement from inside the Christian Church are doing so through their denial of the historic orthodox Christian doctrine concerning the proper view of the inspiration of the Bible. And the cult of the Emergent Church is one of the clearest examples of a group of people gathering around themselves a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. By the way itching ears is an expression that means to tell someone exactly what they had already wanted to hear beforehand. The example from Scot McKnight brought to our attention by Mark Dever serves as a shining example of someone who is actually following the questioning methodology of the Devil himself – "Did God really say?" [4]
 
 
 


[1] Romans 1:22, 25.

[2] Mark Dever, "Nothing But the Blood," Christianity Today, May 2006, p.32.

[3] 2 Timothy 4:3-4, ESV.

[4] Genesis 3:1.

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