Monday, July 16, 2007

Better late than never: confronting the errors of C. Michael Patton, TTP, and Reclaiming The Mind

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

1Co 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

1Co 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1Co 1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

1Co 2:1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1Co 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.


Back in March 2007, both Debi and I did some research on C. Michael Patton and his Reclaiming The Mind/The Theological Program programs (they are under Chuck Swindoll's church, Stonebriar Community Church where apparently Patton used to be a pastor). He and his group open up rooms on Paltalk (a widely used voice/chat program online) where they discusse topics and talk to so-called "scholars". There is a lot wrong with Patton's theology/methodology and we have discussed that here.

For some reason, James White recently caught wind of Patton and commented on some things he has said, specifically about how Patton does not believe we can be certain about Truth nor can we be totally confident in it. (For the Dividing Line discussion by James White and C Michael Patton calling in to talk with White go here.)In fact Patton sounds a lot like Joel Osteen who was on Larry King Live, saying 48 times withint 15 minutes how he "didn't know" or "doesn't know" or "I don't know". Patton also admits his lack of knowing much. Makes one wonder why he even bothers with his "Parchment and Pen" blog or Paltalk rooms.

James White takes several of the points Patton made here. There's much to be concerned about Patton, but nothing new if one has read any of Patton's other musings.

Patton was invited to called into the show, which he did.

While denouncing (sort of) post-modernism, he turns right around and uses that very "we can't REALLY know truth" thinking, hence the several times he says he doesn't know something (both in his blog and in the phone conversation).

Patton repeats VERY often "the fullness of the gospel" but never really clearly defines it.

He contradicts himself left and right, making little sense, trying to find agreement with White, yet one is left wondering what exactly he DOES believe. Considering Patton's view and use of the "Irenic method of apologetics" (supposedly "peaceful" whatever that means), as well as his view that Truth isn't clearly knowable so we can't be so arrogant as to think we CAN say we know it, Patton's claim that he's in line with most of what White believes seems to be untrue.

What I did appreciate about White's comments (and there are things I really do disagree with him on), he starts off with the correct belief that we cannot rely on philosophy to proclaim truth, which is what Patton does. White says its through the declaration of the Gospel that God saves.

Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called "knowledge," 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

Patton believes in "building planks" one at a time with unbelievers. Scripture is replete with outright "in your face" proclamations of "your sinning against a Holy God and earning hell" type of messages---not very pagan-friendly. Patton wants to steer us away from Paul's example of exhortation in Galatians and rather wants us to use a Mars Hill approach (interesting how that in itself is quite Po-Mo/Emergent of him). Except that Paul again unwaveringly addresses their idolatory and need for a savior--the Gospel --and some ended up believing. James White clearly demonstrated this point well by noting how Paul talked about turning from idols to the Living God--this is called repentance. Patton does not call for repentance. He calls for gradual change that won't hurt the Flesh.

Patton believes in the infalliblilty of the apostles.:

"Paul was an Apostle who carried the authority of an Apostle. This included infallibility in certain areas. Both of these you and I don’t have. Therefore, we cannot approach these issues with the degree of certainty that Paul had. Even if we can have a high degree of certainty about certain passages and theological issues, this does not mean that we are infallible and authoritative as an Apostle."

It appears he's already fallen for Rome's first lie: infallibility of leaders.

Patton says in his blog: "While I do find some egg on our face with regards to the Pope’s recent declaration (or redeclaration) of the illegitimacy of the Protestant churches, I still contend that Catholicism can be interpreted differently and the situation can progress."

That's probably one thing I agree with, but not for his reasons. He still sees Rome as legitimate but without the "full gospel" apparently. I believe Rome and those who came from her and still hold to some of her dogmas are not biblical at all and should be avoided.

Other notes I made when Patton called in:

Patton :

*denies Solo Scriptura. He said: To say "if its not in the Bible then I just won't believe it" is just not true. (51:10). We all have authorities outside the Bible. He's going against what he just said though, about misrepresenting ourselves and the otherside when we get so confident or overly confident.

*can't anathamatize a whole gospel...people and churches like RCC have parts of the true gospel.(57:24)

More....this is a close transcript I wrote as I was listening. Hear the actual conversation, though:

W - how does Rome's gospel differ from the Judaizers since Paul anathamatized them as a group, not just elements? Mary, eucharist, --can hold to these whole-heartedly and yet there's enough gospel there to get them saved? Is that what you are saying?

P - Well, in a sense. Again, its an issue of perspective; how much can a person be wrong and still fall at the feet of Christ and beg forgiveness? They can embrace falsehoods (we need to educate them on the "fulness of the gospel")--look at the Corinthians. There were some brothers who thought there were some idols that were still something and Paul said treat them as weaker brothers. They need to grow.

W - Is there a diff. between having some wrong notions about some things and a outright rejection, knowingly deny core parts of the Gospel? The Judaizers were denying faith alone to save. They clearly believed in Christ to save (Gal. 5:2). They fell at the foot of the God-man. But they added to it. Paul said if they do, they are anathama. If they did, then do you see Rome doing this? They after all knew the Gospel proclaimed to them.

P - Yes there's a diff. Its much worse. Rebellion. Doubting your salvation is falling from grace--from the fullness of the gospel, not actual salvation. We're all at different spectrums on this. In heaven we will know. Don't broad brush everyone. Not defending RCC. We can learn from their ecclesiology and its intentions. We can learn from EO's view on redemption. (1:04) We all to some degree lack the fullness of the gospel.

W - How can Rome's gospel can save and Judiazer's did not?
P - I don't know. Judaizer's couldn't save. He's not sure about a lot of these things. Not sure. Parable between the sinner and pharisee. The sinner didn't know his status before God when he left. We are outside looking in.
Keeping on with our works after being justified is what many of us do, that's why we need someone to bring the fullness of the Gospel.
W - the sinner threw self solely on Christ. the Pharisee was "righteous" but was by works. That was the point....God sees the heart. Gal. 3 Paul says you add one thing, circum,. Christ will be of no benefit to you. What does that mean?
P- you have fallen from grace. We pick up the burden again.
W - so in both situations they are both forgiven??
P - paul is correcting. He might not know they are saved either (the Judaizers).
W - So you don't see a contrast between Gal. 5 where Paul says you have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by the law, you have fallen from grace, but WE ?
P - yes a radical contrast. Fallen from grace is radical. He's assuming the Judiazers are believers, but might not be (see Hebrews). If you question your salvation maybe you aren't.
W - back to Rome to apply, a person fully knowlegable of what it teaches in denying sola fide, complete work of Christ and eucharist, temporal punishments, purgatory, etc, treasury of merit....because they can know this and hold to this gospel, but still be saved by that gospel or in spite of it?
P - saved in spite of it. What's the bare essential? Protestanism lacks the fullness of the gospel in re: to eschatology. Not in the sense of pre-mil etc. but in the sense we are very gnostic in our understanding of salvation. Want to escape this body and float in the clouds. Lack of understanding the full gospel. EO has this to a greater degree.
W - deny an essential part of the gospel, can your faith be a saving faith?
P - no, not at all
W- Sola Fide is not essential part of the gospel?
P - in and of itself it is not.
W - An RCer rejecting sola fide, as Rome has not only denied but taught works, does that person have eternal life?
P - I would say yes they do, but they have a much harder, like the Corinthians. They were polytheist Christians (1:15:40). They need the full gospel. They can, though.I'm not saying anybody does.
W - should we call them out of Rome?
P- yes we should be calling them out of Roman doctrine of soteriology. Our 'free church mentality" = no authoritative structure like they have, we end up with Benny Hinn.
W - My church would not recognize Hinn as a brother nor let him in. We HAVE authoritative structure. The only type is what is given is the church leaders.


Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NWProdigal said...

And this guy teaches Theology! I grew tired of him months ago while listening to the 258 Theology Questions Answered series on

Maybe I WON'T get a copy of the NetBible!