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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

More on Darwin Fish 

Remember Darwin Fish?

Phil Johnson has a lot to say about him:

DARWIN FISH is his real name. He has nothing to do with those little "darwin fish" symbols atheists and humanists like to put on their cars. He is a real person who has started a dangerous cult that is no joke. He regularly labels well-known Christian leaders "false teachers" and publishes diatribes against them....

He admits he cannot name one other Christian leader outside his own little band of followers—anyone who has lived in the two millennia between the death of the last apostle and the advent of Darwin Fish—who has remained faithful to the truth....

Darwin was not always such a strict loner. At one point Darwin was a follower of Rick Miesel, a similarly-obsessed exposer of well-known evangelicals. But the two of them split over the question of whether Martin and Deidre Bobgan are hell-bound heretics. (Fish said yes; Miesel balked. So Fish now declares Miesel a false teacher, too.)...

Darwin attacks doctrine of the Trinity with an odd and unusual do-it-yourself doctrine of the Godhead....

Darwin has also recently published a bizarre article arguing on the basis of Exodus 15:3 ("The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His name") that God is actually human, and that the Almighty exists in a physical body "in human form." We wonder if someday Darwin will encounter Psalm 18:31 ("who is a rock, except our God?") and declare that God is an inanimate man of stone. How then will he fit Psalm 84:11 ("the Lord God is a sun") into his hyper-literal hermeneutic?...

Also, more than one eyewitness has told us Darwin is extremely brutal in his application of "the rod" to his own children—and encourages his followers to do likewise. In an on-line discussion on these matters, one cult member cited Proverbs 20:30 ("The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly"), suggesting that proper spanking ought to leave bruises on a child. Shortly afterward, an anonymous Fishite (whose misspellings looked suspiciously like Al Soto's) chimed in, citing Proverbs 23:13-14 ("Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."). He declared: "Beat, is just that, beat. You can not get around it."...

Darwin and his cohorts love to talk about God's hate, and they hate to talk about God's love. They have turned the biblical picture of God's character on its head, so that the god they proclaim is a trigger-happy killer who generally hates humanity and delights in judgment and damnation. The posters Darwin displays in his public picketing typically say things like "Jesus Caused 9-11-01"; "God Kills"; "God is Angry"; and so on....

Darwin's factiousness stems from his belief that all truth is equally portentous. His entire ministry therefore consists of straining at gnats while insisting they are camels, and while arguing fiercely that Scripture makes no essential distinction between the gnats and the camels.

For example, in Darwin's assessment, someone who is in error about the mode of baptism or the timing of the rapture is as guilty of "heresy" as those who deny the deity of Christ or justification by faith....

Which explains why he can't understand why Calvinists and Arminians can co-exist.

Phil Johnson was involved in disciplining Fish, when Fish was a member of Grace Community Church. For non-Christians, I should point out that the New Testament lays out procedures for removing unrepentant unbelievers from a church (see the Scripture references cited by Johnson for more detail).

I was personally involved in Darwin's discipline; in fact, I initiated it. Here's how it came about: In the spring of 1994, we had a large influx of people joining Grace Church. On one Sunday evening in particular several hundred people joined in a large group. After the service that evening I went to the front of the church to greet some of the new members. There I overheard Darwin rather loudly telling a young woman who had just joined our church that John MacArthur is a false teacher, and that he was concerned for her soul, and that she should leave Grace Church and come to God's Word Fellowship—which, he assured her, is the only church in all of Southern California where the truth of Scripture is faithfully proclaimed.
This was my first-ever exposure to Darwin Fish. My first impression was that he resembled Timothy McVeigh with a crew cut and a wispy goatee. I made some inquiries and found out who he was. I also discovered that he was still a member of Grace Community Church.

The following day I phoned Darwin and asked for a meeting at The Master's College later that week. Meanwhile, I listened to several of Darwin's taped messages and discovered he was routinely making public accusations of heresy against certain elders of Grace Church.

Two other elders from Grace Church were present when I confronted Darwin. I first reminded him that when he joined our church he took a public vow to submit himself to the leadership of the elders, to support and encourage them, and to participate in the ministry of the church (all in accord with the New Testament instructions to believers in Hebrews 13:17). I pointed out that as long as he retained his membership in the church, the vows he voluntarily took were binding. I suggested that he had rather blatantly broken the church covenant. I also told him it was the unanimous opinion of our elders that his actions were factious—and under Paul's instructions in Titus 3:10 he was subject to discipline if he failed to repent of his factiousness.

Darwin refused, saying he would not respond to the charge of factiousness unless we were first willing to engage in debate with him about his specific accusations against John MacArthur. He claimed unless we first refuted all his claims from Scripture, we were not entitled to threaten him with discipline. I pointed out that Titus 3:9-11, the very passage that instructs us on how to deal with a factious man, explicitly forbids us to engage in unprofitable discussions with him. Our biblical responsibility was to demonstrate from Scripture how he has sinned, and call him to repent. This I did, reading aloud to him from Titus 3:9-11; Romans 16:17-19; Hebrews 13:17; Jude 9-16; Proverbs 16:27-28; Deuteronomy 23:21-23; and several other passages clearly showing that he was deliberately 1) violating a vow he had made publicly, and 2) being factious. Until he repented of those sins, we told him, we would not debate other points of theology with him. We assured him that If he repented of his sinful actions, we would discuss his theological concerns about the church's teaching as long as he liked.

Darwin flatly refused to repent, claiming his membership vows were nullified because he believed our elders were guilty of heresy. The fact that he retained his membership in the church was, he insisted, a mere "technicality."

We replied that we did not view a public vow to God as such a minor issue, and we pleaded with him to reconsider. We gave him a few days to think it through and pray about it. When he did not call within the next few days to say he wanted to repent, a member of our pastoral staff phoned him to warn him a second time about his factiousness, again in accord with Titus 3:10. When Darwin still refused to repent, it was publicly announced in our next communion service that he was being put out of the church (Matt. 18:17).

From the Ontario Empoblog

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