30 August 2007

L'Abri or not L'Abri

by Frank Turk

I have a really, really long post which is from something that happened last week, and I'm scrubbing it hard because it's a topic which deserves a hard scrub. And I have another which is part of an inside joke here at TeamPyro which I am in the process of writing. And Phil has a great post linking to a person who's obviously got his head and humor tied on right, so a bumpin' we will go.

But Luke (of "Luke and Rachael" fame in the meta) has said something which I think deserves special attention.

It seems to me that TeamPyro could learn a thing or two from the L'abri model.
Here's my initial reaction to that statement, and I urge you to think about it and then add something constructive to the topic in the comments.

Apparently L'Abri is participating in something like ministry, and this blog in particular is not -- and that's an interesting view from a guy who may or may not be a friend of Emergent but who is taking up for the cause of so-called "missional" church work.

I was going to comment that it's a little weird that pastors who cuss from the pulpit, borrowing music from the least morally-concerned part of secular culture, accepting ritual scarring and piercing, and giving a pass to public drunkenness are all seen as "acceptable", but blogging -- that is, blogging in a way which people will read and take notice of -- is seen as a violation of mission. However, I'm going to ask a question instead.

L'Abri doesn't feed the hungry or clothe the naked in any kind of consistent way. Should they abandon their work to do that work because the latter form of work is apparently more like what Jesus would do?


DJP said...

I prefer my L'Abri with a nice Chianti.

DJP said...

Er... unfermented Chianti, natch!

Daryl said...

Ummm...yes, if there are no other Christians in the world and every possible work given to the church as a responsibility is not going to be done otherwise...on the other hand...shall the eye say that because it is not a hand it is not part of the body? Shall a foot tell an ear that because it is not walking it is doing what it should? Shall a Pyro tell L'Abri...oh never mind.

Stefan Ewing said...

Cent, I've seen the "like ministry" argument used since I first read your article pointing it out, but I didn't get the sense that's where Luke was going with his mention of l'Abri.

The comment seemed based more on his misimpression that this blog doesn't tolerate dissenting comments, or more generally, doubting or questioning—which Phil and other commenters already addressed.

Unless you mean that Luke was arguing that you, Phil, and Dan should be more like "avuncular" (to use Phil's word) pastors and less like bloggers....

Luke and Rachael said...

Hey there Frank,

'Apparently L'Abri is participating in something like ministry, and this blog in particular is not -- and that's an interesting view from a guy who may or may not be a friend of Emergent but who is taking up for the cause of so-called "missional" church work.'

I think we might be missing each other. My original L'abri rant was intended solely as an observation about the tone and tenor--not content--of TeamPyro as compared with Schaeffer and L'abri generally.

In my experience, L'abri folk engage questions, and handle disagreement, completely different than TeamPyro. They generally know how to present the Gospel in a way that's non-confrontational but nonetheless biblically principled. You often hear them saying things like: "Well, yes, that's a very tough question. I understand how you could think that. But here, let me explain to you how I'm coming at it..."

Maybe I'm being unfair, but I don't see that from you guys. There's not the same epistemic humility, or willingness to admit that, yes, things can get extremely complicated, and there can be genuine (if not ultimately intellectually decisive) obstacles to faith and/or orthodoxy.

I'm not talking about going all fuzzy-wuzzy over key doctrines. That's the beauty of "the L'abri model." They don't go liberal on doctrine, but they manage to stay straight in a way that isn't a giant turn-off to all those not within the inner circle.

Anyways, maybe it's not part of your mission statement to engage people in the same way L'abri does. That's fine. I'm not making a normative claim. I don't have a knock-down argument or proof text for why you *have* to be more like L'abri, or why it's wrong not to.

My point was just that, in my experience, the L'abri model is different than the TeamPyro model, and that you guys just might learn a thing or two from an extended stay in the Swiss Alps. Maybe L'abri could learn a thing or two from you too. Who knows.

I'm going to the lake now. I'm sorry I won't be able to contribute more to this thread. Peace,

Daryl said...

Doesn't it follow that if my wife and I have different personalities, we will handle things differently? Isn't that what brings (hopefully) some balance into our kid's lives? Would our kids be better or worse off were my wife and I to be identical in every way and deal with situations in the same manner all the time?

Isn't this the same thing? Why should we expect the Pyro's to have the same personality as Schaeffer did and as those that now work at L'Abri do?

Sameness is pretty drab, don't you think?

(Incidentally, where would those who need the occasional intellectual or spiritual kick in the pants go if no one was willing to lay it on the line in a confrontational manner?)

farmboy said...

You mean that Pyromaniacs isn't a virtual L'Abri? Next thing you know someone's going to be running around saying that imputation isn't a critical component of the doctrine of justification, that we've been interpreting Paul all wrong. What's the world coming to? I might have to retreat to a regime of Saturdays spent watching college football.

Phil Johnson said...


FX Turk said...


Come back to this thread when you come back from the lake.

Stefan Ewing said...

Phil wrote on the "Appreciated" post, "...that's not very Schaefferesque of me...."

To which DJP replied, "Dude, when I figure out Photoshop, the world will see you in lederhosen!"

To which I reply here, "...and a goatee!"

Stefan Ewing said...

A Schaefferesque goatee, that is, not the Johnsonesque one he has now. It's got a certain je ne sais quoi, old-school (read: 70s! :=P ) flair to it.

dec said...

like ministry


Rick Frueh said...

Unless I've read wrong over the years, the L'abri model is less confrontational because the core of the dialogue tends to be philisophical, even though there are Christians participating.

Whenever you are discussing Scripture and Jesus Himself, then you have a greater unseen attack on everyone involved. When Christ and His Word are involved, and not just philosophy, no matter how apologetic, there tends to be a greater level of commitment as well there should be.

art said...

I think one of the huge reasons why L'Abri was so successful was not only that it welcomed questions and sought to give honest answers to honest questions, but also because it was based on a presuppositional view of apologetics.

Because of that, it was more open to dialogue. Dialogue is a huge part of the presuppositional model. The goal is to adopt the unbeliever's base presuppositions, for the sake of argument, and then show that unbeliever how his or her worldview is bankrupt. The next step is to show the unbeliever how a believer's presuppositions, i.e. God and Scripture, leads to a worldview that is consistent.

That model is inherently more conversational than an evidential model, or even a classical model (i.e. Gerstner and Sproul).

I don't often stick up for the Pyros, but I think one thing is being overlooked here: L'Abri was concerned, first and foremost, with reaching unbelievers or those who were seriously doubting God, the Bible, Jesus, etc. Pyromaniacs is not the same, especially when dealing with the doctrinal teachings of those within the emerging movement. They are not seeking to evangelize, but to correct. And different tones are used towards different ends.

I understand Luke and Rachael's point, but I think they are comparing apples and oranges.

art said...

For a Biblical example: notice how Paul talks to those who are unbelievers. He reasons with them and he even uses their own poets and philosophy to make his point. Now notice how Paul confronts Peter when he is correcting him.

Evangelism, for Paul, used one tone. Correction, in the case of Peter and even the Corithian church, at times, used another, more harsh tone.

Helen said...

L'Abri doesn't feed the hungry or clothe the naked in any kind of consistent way. Should they abandon their work to do that work because the latter form of work is apparently more like what Jesus would do?

How much of his time did Jesus spend feeding the hungry and clothing the naked? He fed the hungry a couple of times; I don't remember him clothing the naked.

L'Abri should do what God tells them to do. If it's what they are already doing, great; if it isn't, they should go do something else.

Pure and simple ;-)

northWord said...

"They are not seeking to evangelize, but to correct."

"And different tones are used towards different ends.


I don't anything about L'ABri . . I just wanted to say WOW on the video link dec left here.

that was awesome...

Rick Frueh said...

"L'Abri doesn't feed the hungry "

Correction, there is a buffet when they break for lunch.

Stefan Ewing said...

I don't know much about l'Abri, but I did look into them a bit after I read Edith Schaeffer's book Christianity is Jewish. They even have a location pretty close to where I live, here in British Columbia.

Mike Riccardi said...

I'm bereft of any idea aside from that video that dec left absolutely makes me sick.

candy said...

Re: Video that Dec linked. It was hard to concentrate on the video once I noticed that the pastor seemed to be wearing my mother's old curtain material for a shirt.

northWord said...

what shirt

but seriously, I thought the guy was spot on..so please tell me if I got something wrong, because I'm all about being corrected(seriously) and the touch's of ambiguity here about the vid are kinda wierd'n me out,

donsands said...

"It was hard to concentrate on the video once I noticed that the pastor seemed to be wearing my mother's old curtain material for a shirt."

You were blessed from above by that distraction.

Thanks for crackin' me up. I needed that after watching that a little earlier on Jim's blog @ Oldtruth.

BTW, TeamPyro, well, is a top notch blessing. Thank you my brothers. Keep on.

Stefan Ewing said...

Candyinsierras: Oh, snap! (As the kids say.)

Phil Johnson said...


Watch it again, and realize that the rant you are watching is this guy's reply to people in his own church who have expressed a desire for more biblical content and sounder doctrine in his sermons. He's snarlingly abusive to those who hold that viewpoint (and if you Google his church or go to their website, you can see that his critics are absolutely right).

His delivery is very good (aside from the attitude), and he does say a few good things (about how Jesus tended to reach out to people who were normally pushed to the back of the bus, for example). But he is employing a hackneyed false dichotomy when he suggests Jesus's approach to ministry is utterly incompatible with a concern for biblical preaching and sound theology.

Preaching like this is what has opened the door in the church to all kinds of wolfery.

It was a painful thing to watch. Oddly enough, I am quite sure that some of the same people who have had long careers complaining about the "tone" here at our blog would defend this guy.

How 'bout it? Who wants to go first?

PS: Thanks, DEC, for the link. Very instructive.

northWord said...

Phil, thank you for taking the time to school me, I know you have higher things to do than tend to my neglect. I am so sorry.

I'll do my research next time, again, Thanks for being a gentelman.

God's Blessings to all of you ~

Stefan Ewing said...

Phil's got me wondering what this post tomorrow is going to be whose title alone is supposed to launch a thousand comments (a paraphrase of what he wrote in his Appreciated post).

Should I be thankful for this short, quiet respite, this calm between storms?

Oh, and my copy of Sproul's Reformation Study Bible arrived in the mail! I'm picking it up tonight! Whoo-hoo! (Forgive me for the gloating, off-topic comment. Just trying to keep things lighthearted.)

Helen said...

Re: the video - I think it's a shame his church members let him talk to them like that.

I think he's right that accumulating knowledge and doing nothing about it is useless.

But I don't know that anyone in his church is actually doing that.

Anonymous said...

I must say that the special guest appearance of Bizarro and Henry (Rick)'s buffet comment were a much needed LOL moment and refreshing break.

It seems that the elevation "leader" has simply gone from one extreme to the other.

Here's a suggestion...

Top Ten signs your pastor may not have been called.

Rick Frueh said...

Top Ten signs your pastor may not have been called.

10. He doesn't agree with you
9. He cheats at golf
8. He thinks "Pyromaniacs" is a disco group
7. He thinks Thomas Neslon wrote the Bible
6. She doesn't wear enough makeup
5. He wears too much makeup
4. He thinks Plato is the original Greek
3. He has "applause" lights on the front of the pulpit
2. He thinks the movie "The Godfather" denied the Trinity
1. He insists on including eunichs in his altar calls.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Why would we think that L'Abri's method was superior? Was there something Scriptural about it? What I notice with Jesus in the Gospels is that He hit the error in a very confrontational manner, leaving no wiggle room at all. I guess I would be expecting someone to say that none of us are Jesus, but Scripture tells us to follow Him, to walk as He walked, to imitate those who imitate Him.

I'm sure people loved the Francis Schaefer style. Maybe I would have really "dug" how he like dealt with people. But where do we see in Scripture Christ or the Apostle Paul using a similar means?

I enjoyed the posters from Phil and they were a lot of fun at other's expense. I think we can find a Scriptural basis for satire, sarcasm, etc., but in the gigantic doses, I would wonder if it wasn't carnal weaponry.

northWord said...

boy, how embarrassing.

just one or two quick research-clicks before my "WoW" comment to dec would have imediately sent chills up my spine for even thinking that guy was "spot on" and my evening would have been business as usual, but no, clicking on that site after my blunder here made it all even more, peachy.

I've taken notes:
(besides the obvious)
*quit jumping from kitchen stove to computer to check blog commentary
*re-consider the fruits of spending so much time online

/80's rock theme? def leppard?? - yike . .help us all. . even the dissenters don't seem want to touch this. lol.

carry on . . . as they say.

DJP said...

Phil — looks GUTSy, doesn't it?

Jake said...

I've spent two summers studying at the Rochester, MN. L'Abri and I'd second Luke's comment. There's a humility about Schaeffer and those who worked with him that is very beautiful, Christ-like, and sadly, unusual in the church today.

That said, I do understand personalities are different. Frankly, I think team pyro and L'Abri are cut from different molds and trying to compare them isn't really fair. The team pyro guys are much more confrontational than anyone I've ever met at L'Abri, but that's not a bad thing necessarily.

I'm not sure I buy the idea that L'Abri was evangelistic and pyro is confrontational, I don't know that it's biblical to say one ministry just does evangelism and another just does correction... I think both things are regular aspects of the Christian life. After all, Schaeffer strongly contended for certain biblical truths, especially toward the end of his life with books like The Christian Manifesto and The Great Evangelical Disaster.

Even so, I don't think it's fair to ask any individual, be they one of the pyro guys, a l'abri guy, or some one else entirely, to be someone they're not. Piper has a wonderful excerpt about this when talking about Jonathan Edwards. He said that we make a grave mistake if we say, "The church needs another Jonathan Edwards," because if it did, God would provide one.

Likewise, we make a grave mistake if we say "The church needs another Schaeffer." What the church needs is men saturated with the gospel dedicated to serving God using the personalities he gave to them. That's not to say there aren't lessons to be gained from Schaeffer or Edwards. In fact, I think both the Reformed and Emergent camps could learn a lot from Schaeffer.

The Reformed guys could learn to weep for the lost, to welcome people with a hug instead of Calvin's Institutes, and to listen with the goal of learning, rather than the goal of correcting. I know not all Reformed people do those things, but many do, which is why the stereotypes exist.

Likewise, the Emergent guys could learn to stand for hard- but biblical- principles that aren't sexy in the eyes of non-Christians. They could also learn a lot from his approach to basic philosophical questions. (Schaeffer wrestled with the epistemology issue 30 years before the ECM began)

Anyway, all that to say, let's not argue about whether team pyro should be more like l'abri. They're not l'abri, they're the pyros and that's fine. Instead, let's all of us talk about what we can learn from the ministry and example of one of the most humble, and effective, evangelists of the 20th century.

Phil Johnson said...


Yeah, that's exactly what I thought.

There needs to be a whole different category for these not-quite-emerging churches. How do we refer to them?

donsands said...

"What the church needs is men saturated with the gospel dedicated to serving God using the personalities he gave to them."


But IMHO it couldn't hurt to have a few Jonathan Edwards, and Francis Schaeffers; and I would love to see a couple CH Spurgeons.

David Rudd said...


defend furtick?


new category?


these are the "attractional" churches that sit in stark contrast to the "missional" concepts of most emerging types.

both extremes misrepresent the gospel.

i guess on this one, you can be the balanced mean..

i think these are the better discussions. when we can point out specific persons or teachings and debate the validity of what they specifically are doing, rather than trying to lump a group in.

Morris Brooks said...

If you don't thind Schaeffer was confrontational then read The Great Evangelical Disaster. He was calling it then for what it is now.

FX Turk said...

Phil said:

There needs to be a whole different category for these not-quite-emerging churches. How do we refer to them?

Ditto on the GUTS thing -- it's like they're not "emergent", but they want their demographic because that's where the action is.

Here are some suggestions:

-Gold's Gym

FX Turk said...

In an attempt to underail the comment thread here, somebody said comparing L'Abri to teamPyro is apples to oranges -- and I think that's exactly right.

What about the irony of what is acceptable vs. what isn't acceptable in this new frontier (such as it is)? Anyone have any comments about that?

Helen said...

Centurion wrote; What about the irony of what is acceptable vs. what isn't acceptable in this new frontier (such as it is)? Anyone have any comments about that?

Could you elaborate - which new frontier are you referring to?

Ben N said...

I still remember Francis Schaeffer in an interview about L'Abri. His bottom line was this: Don't try to copy the model. Do not try to imitate. If you do, it's bound to fail.

There are plenty of ways to serve the Lord.
---- Luke 10:38-42 ----
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

If this blog is not about Jesus' teachings then we missed it and we should not waste anymore time. But if it ...

FX Turk said...


No more answers for you until you drop the coy act. Someone who only asks questions but doesn't answer rejoiners is, at best, overly self-involved.

Go answer my question in the other thread and I'll be glad to engage your list of inquiries.

DJP said...

Frank: word.

Unknown said...

I've decided to give myself a special dispensation from the usual No-Blog-On-Vacation rule I try to observe. I figure if Frank's good enough to give the L'abri thing its own post, the least I can do is drop another comment or two before the thread dies.

So no, I'm not advocating a cooky-cutter style to ministry; that would be unbearably boring. My general attitude is, so long as we've got the essentials down, let a thousand flowers bloom. And of course that includes the Pyros. I also agree w/ Morris Brooks that Schaeffer was confrontational *in a sense*--content-wise that's true. But that's the beauty of his ministry: he kept it real substantively, while managing not to alienate or completely turn off the youth who came to him w/ questions and doubts.

Here's what got me thinking on the whole Pyro-L'abri comparison in the first place: I can tell you for certain that if I were as concerned about the EC as the Pyros, and if I had as powerful a venue as this-here blog to do something about it with, I would most certainly not be using Pyro-style confrontationalism to put the EC in its place. I'd definitely be taking cues from L'abri in this context.

The reason is simple: the demographic that you all need to reach to stem the influence of the EC in the Xian community is far more likely to take the time to listen, and maybe even to engage in a little self-critical reflection, if engaged with L'abri-like conversation rather than Pyro-style confrontation.

The comments on this thread about apples and oranges help my point. I take it the apples and oranges point is that, hey, both the L'abri model and the Pyro model of engagement are biblically viable; so let the Pyros be who they be. Fine, good. But now look: if at the end of day the question of whether to employ a L'abri model or a Pyro model isn't so much a biblical issue as a personality one, and if I'm right about the likely comparative effectiveness of each model in addressing the evils of the EC, why on earth wouldn't you use the L-abri model? From a purely pragmatic perspective, it's the wise thing to do. Refusing to take a pointer or two from L'abri on grounds of personal preference just seems less than maximally wise, and maybe even a tad immature.

Here, let me make it easy and lay out my argument more explicitly; then you all can just tell me which premise you reject:

(1) The Pyros and their sympathizers are committed to stemming the influence of the EC in the Xian community.
(2) The L'abri model of engagement and disagreement constitutes a biblically permissible way of trying to do this.
(3) The demographic TeamPyro needs to reach to beat back the EC are more likely to engage w/ TeamPyro, and perhaps in a little self-critical reflection as well, on a L'abri model of conversation rather than a Pyro model of confrontation.
(4) So the Pyros can better accomplish their goals in relation to the EC, in a biblically principled way, on a L'abri style model of engagement.
(C) Therefore the Pyros should be using a L'abri style model.

BTW, I take it this disqualifies anyone from justifiably calling me "postmodern," since as a rule card-carrying pomos don't go in for arguments w/ numbered premises. :)

Ben N said...

luke & rachel
the main difference between L'Abri and Pyro that you ignore is this: the audience.

People that went to L'Abri were people that were disillusioned by their belief system, and they were looking for something else.
Like you said it: "youth who came to him w/ questions and doubts."

Now, on the other hand the EC youth that joins the debate here are not here because they have serious questions about ECs; they are here to recruit and to shows us all how lost the rest of us are.

So the difference:
L'abri: Open Audience
Pyro: Not so open audience

different audiences, different model

Jake said...

Luke & Rachel- Awesome comment :). I totally agree, as someone who has spoken to L'Abri workers about the ECM, I can tell you that their comments about the ECM have much greater weight in my mind than those from pretty much any other group I've spoken to.

I know that's going to draw some comments of, "but the person doesn't matter, it's the biblical content that you should listen to," and I understand that. But when the person sharing that biblical content is mean-spirited and arrogant (hence disobeying much of the rest of scripture) it causes me to be very skeptical about their interpretation of the text. Kind of a "they're not practicing it, so why should I trust their interpretation?" sort of thing. But at L'Abri where humility and gentleness is seen in the lives of the workers, I'm much more open to it.

Honestly, when I was last at L'Abri I was a HUGE McLaren fan and Jock McGregor, a worker at Rochester L'Abri, made some very critical comments about him. But they were made in a spirit that I was willing to listen to and learn from because I knew he cared about me and also cared about truth and wanted to do what was best for me and most honoring to God.

On the other hand, 12 months later I'm much less of an ECM fan, but I still find myself frustrated with the critiques at "discernment-ministries". So yes, I agree, the L'Abri model is something that anyone concerned about the ECM could learn a lot from.

Benjamin- OK, so if that's the case, why comment about the EC at all? If all the EC readers already have their mind made up and non EC readers already have their minds made up, why comment at all?

Daryl- We definitely could use men with similar gifts as Edwards or Schaeffer, but I'd argue that we have many of those men. We have leaders like John Piper, Tim Keller, Jerram Barrs, C.J. Mahaney and many other great men of God who do embody all that was great in previous leaders in the church.

Daryl said...


About your last comment to Benjamin. When someone won't listen, that doesn't let anyone off the hook as far as proclaiming the truth. Ezekiel's watchman on the wall addresses that. If the EC will not listen, and they die in their sins, their blood is on their own head. If however, we say nothing because their mind is made up already, an they die in their sins, their blood is on our head.

As has already been said so many times, Team Pyro is addressing the heretical element in the church, not kids trying to sort out their lives. BIG DIFFERENCE.

By the way, your line about "mean-spirited and arrogant"...so far off as to be laughable.

Jake said...

Daryl- OK, that makes more sense (in reference to why continue to critique if no one is listening). However, I'm not sure what you mean that my comment about some ECM critics being arrogant and mean-spirited being "so far-off it's laughable." Certainly you'd agree that there are some critics of ECM who are both arrogant and mean-spirited? We might differ on the number of such critics, but surely you'd agree such critics do exist?

My point was simply that in the case of those sort of critics, I have a hard time listening to them because I feel like I can't trust them. On the other hand, when a critic is humble and approachable, I know I can trust them (this is what I've found every time I've spoken to a L'Abri worker or read any book written by a L'Abri worker).

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you, so if you could elaborate, I'd appreciate it.

donsands said...

"Kind of a "they're not practicing it, so why should I trust their interpretation?" sort of thing." -jake

Here's a thought for you.

Jesus said to His disciples, "Do what the Jewish leaders tell you to do, but don't do it like them."

If the truth is being preached from a hypocrite, it's still the truth.
Always need to put the truth above ourselves.
I think Schaeffer would agree, though I'm only slightly familair with his works.

" .. man can know both truth about God and truth about the things of creation because in the Bible God has revealed Himself and has given man the key to understanding God's world."

Jake said...

Don- Thanks for responding. Yeah, I know a hypocrite can still preach truth, after all one's ability to exegete scripture is not contingent upon character. However, how we think directly affects how we act, so if a total jerk believes in a certain doctrine, we should at least consider the possibility that his belief in that idea is what causes his character to be the way it is.

Hope that makes sense, thanks for writing back :).

Unknown said...

Hi Benjamin,

Let me try to push Jake's reply to you a bit. I hear you making one of two points:

(1) L'abri-style won't be as effective at Pyro-style at prompting the ECers who show up around here to engage in critical self-reflection.

(2) It's not worth trying to get the ECers around here to critically engage their own beliefs; they're past that point. They need to be chastised and left at that.

I suspect you have (2) in mind. (1) is implausible anyways, as Jake's testimony highlights.

The problem w/ (2) is that, if the Pyros are really concerned w/ showing ECers the errors of their ways, and if the L'abri model is admittedly more effective at doing this, they should keep at it. (Well, I guess they'd first have to get at it, but you know what I mean.) It might not be the easy thing to do--to continue to engage those impertinent, rascally, recalcitrant ECers in patience and humility, without blowing up. But might it not be the right thing to do? It at least seems like the wise thing to do, assuming that the Pyros really are interested in stemming the spread of the EC and not just handing out spankings.

The bottom-dollar question is what the Pyros & co. care about--what they're in it for--w/ respect to all this EC railing. Are they really invested in trying to show ECers the error of their ways, in doing everything they can to get them to come around to the Pyro's way of seeing things? Or do they ultimately just want to make an example of them--point out their alleged heresies and chastise accordingly? If they're really in it for the former, I don't see how (2) is gonna fly.

Unknown said...

I'm hoping this applies equally well to Daryl's comment, and to the Different Audience response generally.

donsands said...

What do you think the Lord meant to His disciples?

Jake said...

Don- Well, I'm not sure he said those words exactly although I could well be mistaken there. I do recall a passage where the disciples wanted to rebuke some men for preaching who were not from their group and Jesus corrected them. I also remember Paul saying in, I believe Philippians, that he always rejoices when the truth is proclaimed, regardless of motive.

That said, I don't know how that changes what I said in the last post. If someone is not behaving Christianly, I must at least consider the possibility that their action and character is influenced in some way by their doctrine.

For example, the pastor I alluded to in last week's post who was so arrogant- He was violently opposed to having any kind of denominational structure of any sort because he thought it was unbiblical. And the result was he saw himself as some kind of infallible pope and has become an arrogant man who has no business leading the church. So in my thinking about denominations, I would be fool to ignore that earlier object lesson.

Hopefully that helps to clarify. I completely agree with the point you're making, I'm just trying to be balanced in my approach because ideas affect action and it'd be a mistake to ignore that fact.

donsands said...


"Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: 'The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, BUT do not do according to their works: for they say, and do not do." Matt. 23:1-3

I believe the Lord is teaching us that those who sit in a seat with authority, the authority of the Word, when they teach us to obey the law, then we are to observe the law.

They may tell us to tithe. They may tell us to fast and pray. They may tell us to come to church and read your Bible.
These are all good things, and we need to observe these, but not as the hypocrite, who wants others to notice what he is doing, and even receive applause for his great service.

Those are some thoughts I have on a difficult passage really.
One thing that is sure, the law is good, holy, and spiritual. And if we are genuine disciples of the Lord, then we will love the law with the inner man.
Our flesh will hate it.

Ben N said...

luke & rachel

First, I need to add a disclaimer to my comments: I'm not that old at Pyromaniacs (I started reading this blog in April this year); therefore, my opinions are based only on that ... not on the whole existence of Pyromaniacs.

Secondly, thank you for taking your time to give me a reply.

Francis Schaeffer said this in his "The Great Evangelical Disaster":
"Having given up any idea of ever using discipline to purify the church, any amount of heresy and untruth is accepted as normal in the church of Christ."
"Truth carries with it confrontation. Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless."
" The world of our day has no fixed values and standards, and therefore what people conceive as their personal or society's happiness covers everything. We are not in that position. we have the inerrant Scripture"

Bottom line: I think you don't have a good understanding of L'abri model. Or better yet, of Francis Schaeffer.

Francis Schaeffer had two different approaches:
A) For non-Christians that had serious questions and were at the bottom at the pit. He treated them with patience, with respect, with understanding. After all, we were all like that, if not for the grace of God.
B) The Church. I don't know if you ever heard him preaching, but ooooh man, he had some strong words for the Church or for those who claimed that they are part of the Church.

I think this is an important distinction. Paul made the same distinction:
1 Corinthians 5:12
"For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?"

So, yes ... the tone will be different because the audience is different.

You expect Pyromanics to be "non-confrontational". Schaeffer was very confrontational with those who named heresies truth.

Now, I thought that Pyromanics have been respectful in their discussion. But there's a lot at stake here. God's Word is at stake here. God's truth is at stake here.

So let's all be " as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves" in our conversations.