03 February 2010

Constant Criticism

by Frank Turk

Ahem. Case in point

So I get an e-mail from a fellow blogger (he'll remain nameless so that this good deed at least will go unpunished) who asks me if maybe I didn't say something I shouldn't have said in describing the encounter between MD and RW. To be honest, I think I was probably glib. So on the good advice of a person who had a valid criticism, I have offered a revision.

I have a real uneasiness about completely revising the stuff I post on the internet with no indication that it has been revised, so I have put STRIKE marks through the offending text and put my revision of it immediately after.

Please note it for future reference.
Before you read too far, let me admit upfront that this post is two things: an adaptation of a post I made at my blog in 2008, and a rider on the theme Dan and Phil have been setting up this week so far. So if it reads a little familiar, thanks for being a studious reader of my blog. For the other 3,000 of you, let's proceed.

Back when this post was fresh, Rick Warren (RW) had just called Mark Driscoll (MD) to tell him what a fine lad he was for having the guts to make scatalogical jokes about Jesus from the pulpit while MD was in a time of particularly-intense criticism, and he gave MD a little advice. Among the gems MD communicated on his blog was this item:
However, Warren said, in our day criticism is marked by the following four factors:

1.Instant
2.Constant
3.Global
4.Permanent
He forgot "mean" and "impersonal" (meaning "they don't apologize for disagreeing", and "they don't call you on the phone first"), but I take exception to the idea that internet criticism is "permanent". Blogging, or erecting a web site, for the sake of some argument or issue doesn't make it "permanent" any more than getting your book published makes its contents "permanent".

What it does do is make it public, and the question then is "will anyone read it?"

If some guy named, um, "centuri0n" sets up a blog and starts saying that Rick Warren has 3 wives and practices Shinto in his basement at an altar to his father's father, the first question is, "did anyone really read that?" And the second question is, "can that be proven at all?"

That guy with a blog may never delete his blog, but if no one ever reads it, the only one who will judge him for it is Christ -- which is, of course, certainly bad enough. The tree fell in the woods, and nobody else cared. So "permanent" is a bizarre category for what is different about criticism today.

I'd also like to add that the attribute of "constant" criticism is only born by those who are doing something which somehow keeps drawing attention -- usually to their foibles or errors. For example, I am unaware of Mark Dever having to field "constant" criticism -- unless I should have read [insert your fav watchblogger here] lately or something.

Let me suggest that pastors who are "constantly" in the scopes of critics either have established themselves as opponents of a very active but vulnerable enemy, or they are doing something which deserves criticism. There may be a third choice, but I'll bet if you can find one, it's really the first choice.

For example, there was a time when Phil Johnson took a lot of guff from Fundamentalists. Phil had made some statements -- which he stands by -- criticizing the problems with their movement, and the defenders of Fundamentalism came out of the woodwork. The problem, however, was that Fundamentalism was both very active (in numbers, anyway) but also very vulnerable -- and the advocates for such a thing had to try to push Phil over because, well, if he's right the movement was dead, dying, or worse.

The other example I'd tender is Joel Osteen. Why does Joel take guff from people as diverse as Michael Horton and Steve Camp? It's because Joel is off the apple cart, out of the street, down the storm drain, and rolling down into the swamp outside town.

Criticism is not just hard to bear because it seems to come often. It is hard to bear either when it is the truth or resembles the truth enough to cause us to pause. False criticism is pretty easy to bear unless it costs us money or prison time -- the rest of the time (like when people call me "mean") it's good for a laugh just to see how far someone will take their imaginary world.

And here's the punch-line: how we behave when we are criticized tells us a lot about who we are as people.

There's plenty to work out from that statement, but I leave it to you, the reader, to help a brother out in the comments. I have work to do today, and I hope to be back at lunch to help sort out some of what is bound to happen while I'm out.






58 comments:

Doulos Christos said...

The irony of what you've posted here is stunning. Historically, the treatment of those who disagree with views of this community has been mocking, belittling, and uncharitable. Yes, we can learn much about people and their character by observing how they act (or react) when receiving criticism.

Tom said...

In the wise words of that great theologian Mary Poppins:

"A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down..."

David said...

Holy cow. Rick Warren and Mark Driscoll in the same post?

Do you want to blow up the comment-o-meter?

Ok, to the substance:

If how we respond to criticism says a lot about who we are as people, does that in turn tell us a lot about what we believe about the gospel?

sem said...

I think the problem people have is that they have become accustomed to the post-modern coddling response to everything they say. Every thought is validated, every opinion equally valuable. Armed with those warm fuzzies, they will come on here, without actually studying a tenth as much as the writer, and boldly proclaim their opinion as if it were fact. So the Pyro's response should be what? Hand patting? Being coddled is what led the respondent to feel confident enough to unleash their ignorance in the first place. Allowing people to wallow in their ignorance is not loving.

olan strickland said...

False criticism is pretty easy to bear unless it costs us money or prison time....

Even then, as long as it's coming from standing immovable on the truth, it's worth it (see Matthew 5:11-12).

olan strickland said...

Doulos Christos - you ought to read the Bible and see how Jesus handled His critics. According to your own standard for judging character (by appearance rather than a righteous judgment which is based on God's Word) you would judge the Lord Jesus as a mocking, belittling, and uncharitable devil.

Do you think that if you had been there in Jesus' day that you wouldn't have partnered in condemning the Lord after hearing His burning denunciations of the apostate religious establishment?

David Rudd said...

In the case of Mark Driscoll, the vast amount of criticism indicates Mark is doing something wrong.

In the case of Phil Johnson, the vast amount of criticism indicates Phil is on to something.

In the case of Joel Osteen, the "wide" spectrum between Steve Camp and Michael Horton (really? are those two guys that far apart?) indicates Joel is doing something wrong?

So...

if the greatest criticism you guys at this blog receive is about "tone", does that mean your doing something or that you're on to something? (remember, the "tone" critics rarely criticize the meat of your arguments)

donsands said...

"It is hard to bear either when it is the truth or resembles the truth enough to cause us to pause."

I was just thinking while I was praying how dark and ugly my heart can be. I don't really want to look at it, but avoid dealing with it is my daily choice.

But, I have a Father who loves me, and is pruning me.

It's one thing to see my sin through the Lord's Word, just the Holy Spirit and me. And it's another thing to see my sin through another believer, who may even really love me and care for me. And it is without a doubt the most intnse purging when someone who is nasty criticizes me, and is spot on.

I can grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ in each of these ways, but I think I grow more like Christ, when I am sanctified in the third way, though I hate it the most.

Thanks for the good post.

ZSB said...

Yeah, if I saw Michael Horton and Steve Camp having lunch, I'd pause for a moment to celebrate "diversity."

Nyuck nyuck.

Good post, though. I pray I never do anything that makes Rick Warren call me with congratulations and/or advice.

Frank Turk said...

David Rudd --

You have put equal signs in my statements where I did not pur equal signs. My suggestion is that you re-read the post to see if you can identify what you did in error before I offer my criticism.

At the same time, one of the things we have done here at PyroManiacs is spill a lot of digital ink over the question of "tone" -- meaning we have received and responded to the Tone Police repeatedly (the link above is to the Blogger tag for the 34 posts on this subject at this blog).

To answer the question you asked, there's no question we are doing something. It would be somewhat stupid of us to blandly say that we have done nothing at all when this blog has more than 1400 posts, and all of them are in some way critical of something (even if only on a comparative basis).

What one has to wonder is if there's such a thing as being angry and not sinning; if there's anything such as an actual rebuke. The complaint toward us, frankly, is that there is not -- you have to receive everything as of equal value or else you're not humble, not a broken messenger.

That's not Biblical. That's not even rational.

Brian said...

The two best quotes I have ever heard on criticism:

1. "To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing."

2. "We should never take criticism personally, but always take it seriously" RC Sproul (paraphrase)

Jesus said, woe to you if all men speak good of you. Guys like Mark Driscoll are out there on the front lines doing a lot for the kingdom. A lot of people are coming to know Jesus as a result of what God is doing with him/through him. He is everywhere, and he gets a lot of criticism. Yet a lot of the stuff you've posted here over the past few years is legitimate. And subsequently he has responded too your criticisms and has confessed that he has at times been to rash and too prideful and that he is working on it as God works on him. Maybe you need to stop shooting the wounded? When you remove grace from a person (as I believe you have done w/Driscoll) and only attack them, and when the attacks are against things he admits he is working on and struggles with, it is never a good thing...but seems actually to be quite cowardly.

Frank Turk said...

I find it interesting that there are people who think that Steve Camp and Mike Horton are of the same sort.

Frank Turk said...

Doulos Christos --

[QUOTE]
Historically, the treatment of those who disagree with views of this community has been mocking, belittling, and uncharitable.
[/QUOTE]

Really?

Link?

David Rudd said...

Frank,

Not trying to stir anything up. I see it more as lobbing you a softball.

I read your examples of Driscoll, Johnson, Olsteen, (and Dever in a way) to be illustrative of this statement:

Let me suggest that pastors who are "constantly" in the scopes of critics either have established themselves as opponents of a very active but vulnerable enemy, or they are doing something which deserves criticism.

Since the basic theme of the post seems to be "constant criticism", I thought I'd give you opportunity to speak plainly about the elephant in the room, which is as Doulos Christos pointed out, the "constant criticism" of TeamPyro.

If you'd rather not, that's fine.

Regarding Horton and Camp, I would say that the two are only widely diverse if the sample is very small.

Josh said...

Jesus Himself said that the foolish man builds his house upon the sand. The wise man builds his house upon the Word of God.

So if being critical means rejecting building materials that give us an unstable foundation, then I am thankful for criticism.

Mean-spirited sniping and condencension have no place in the Christian's life - but why do people get up in arms when a Christian defends truth? David was so upset by the Philistines blasphemy that he went out and slew Goliath.

DJP said...

The answer to your question, Josh, is that people (A) in the wrong and (B) unwilling to repent (C) will always fault the critic. See this for more.

Robert said...

Brian -

The problem is that Driscoll is out there as a pastor and there is a different standard for that role. If the shepherds are not holding fast to the Word, then they are disqualified. I would say that Driscoll feared man more than the Lord and did not have a strong enough grip on Scripture (look at Ephesians 4 - we should speak no unwholesome word).

He needs to humble himself before the Word and look at the qualifications for office of pastor/elder. There are many people who have gone through Joel Osteen's church and left looking for the real meat of the Word (I live outside Houston and have met a few people like this). Does that mean we should be applauding his teaching? We have to stay devoted to the Word and not just look at results. If we do so, then we will bear good fruit.

John said...

Riffing off of Sem, I am not sure that is the problem -if I were really post modern, I wouldn't care if Frank had his own little opinion and/or rejected mine. Big whoop. But these aren't pomos, they are fundamentalist pomos - because if someone doesn't play along with their little game it threatens their worldview.

donsands said...

"Maybe you need to stop shooting the wounded?" -Brian

I missed that. Mark is wounded, and Cent shot him?

Driscol will forever make me nervous if I for some reason tune in to hear him share and speak from the pulpit, and yet I genuinely appreciate his labor for the Gospel, and he does a graet job interviewing other teachers, scholars, and preachers.

I think he will forever be a loose cannon. But, we're all loose cannons in some way, aren't we?

joel said...

I have a question for the bloggers, if you could help me understand. With the internet we live in such a public world that the potential for saying something wrong and being caught is extremely high; especially if you live in a high profile position. I have been at shepherds conferences where John MacArthur gave a message and parts of it were already posted online before he had given the closing prayer. I know he has also been the target of public criticism by other Christians without them having first spoken to him about the perceived offense. Now I realize the most all of what team pyro post criticism on is so blatant and so clearly worthy of criticism that it needs no clarification from the person who said it. So my question is this- what do you feel that you owe the guy you criticize in the way of personal confrontation over what they have said to see if they will retract it. I am thinking like Matthew 18, or is that not applicable in a situation like this.

DJP said...

Simple, Joel.

Private sins call for (initially) private rebuke.

Public sins may be rebuked publicly. See Galatians 2, Paul and Peter.

Jugulum said...

Frank,

"What one has to wonder is if there's such a thing as being angry and not sinning; if there's anything such as an actual rebuke. The complaint toward us, frankly, is that there is not -- you have to receive everything as of equal value or else you're not humble, not a broken messenger."

Beyond reasonable doubt, I have seen criticism against y'all that boiled down to exactly that.

And that poses quite a danger for you. Because if & when you ever do err in this--speaking rashly or inappropriately harshly or ungraciously or unreasonably--then your natural, fleshly tendency will be to dismiss even the valid criticism.

We want to lump valid criticism together with obviously bad criticism.

The payoff: We each have to be vigilant in discernment & self-examination & humility & willingness to repent. We have to avoid easy, lazy dismissiveness, by truly hearing each critique.

I suspect this problem is at play in quite a lot of unacknowledged, unrepented sin & error.


Dan,

"The answer to your question, Josh, is that people (A) in the wrong and (B) unwilling to repent (C) will always fault the critic. See this for more."

Right. And they'll often fault the critic by projecting their own problems--the basic hypocrisy of Romans 2:1.

In other words, I'm sure many of your critics think you're doing precisely what you think they're doing.

And if you see people who are obviously doing that, it'll be very easy for you to dismiss every critic.

---------

And to everyone who's thinking right now, "Ra ra! That's precisely what the Pyros do!", I'll say: Look to yourself.

Frank Turk said...

Regarding Steve Camp and Michael Horton:

The only thing I can imagine the two of them agreeing on is 1 Cor 15:3-4 -- not one verse prior to that, nor one verse after. They would likely call each other Christians, so that might be a second thing they would agree on: the other one is a legitimate follower of Jesus Christ.

The reason this particular example fascinates me is that it demonstrates how this discussion hinges on really poor definitions, and utterly-superfluous understandings.

Anything else I could say about this will be interpreted as intentionally flaming one or the other of these men, and that's not my intention at all. Suffice it to say that people who think that Horton and Camp are two like-scoops of same-flavored ice cream served maybe from different buckets from the same factory are not informed about the generalization they are making. At all.

David Rudd said...

The only thing I can imagine the two of them agreeing on is 1 Cor 15:3-4 -- not one verse prior to that, nor one verse after.

hyperbole, right?

please?

Frank Turk said...

David Rudd --

I don't think teamPyro is under "constant criticism". I think that, in the same way we have fans who read us every day, there is a tiny minority who repeat their complaints in spite of being answered repeatedly.

I think we spend a lot of time not being criticized, and then someone who hasn't taken their quarterly shot at us stops by when they think the topic is suitable.

DJP and Phil may disagree.

Frank Turk said...

David --

Nope, and I'm done talking about that particular example.

Frank Turk said...

Jug --

Which, I think, we take into account and often publicly apologize if/when we over-react.

Which is, of course, something our critics don't account for, either.

David Rudd said...

Frank,

since you're done, i'll take the luxury of having the last word.

to suggest that two fellows agree only on two verses in the entire canon, and then berate others for uninformed generalizations is, if nothing else, very odd.

perhaps it is a symptom of a bigger problem.

and that'll be my parting shot.

(until it's moderated)

Frank Turk said...

Joel asked:

[QUOTE]
So my question is this- what do you feel that you owe the guy you criticize in the way of personal confrontation over what they have said to see if they will retract it. I am thinking like Matthew 18, or is that not applicable in a situation like this.
[/QUOTE]

I think DJP tagged this already in talking about public vs. private errors and rebukes.

I think I owe the guy I am criticizing two things:

1. the opportunity to respond and/or wrangle over the issue; that means that if he has something to say about my criticism, I should be willing to hear it and respond as if he said something of value, which leads us to ...

2. chartity, insofar as he himself is charitable; and this is to say, if I post 5 pages on a concern that I have for someone or their stuff, and his repsonse to me is more concerned that I criticized him rather than the substance of my criticism, there's no sense upping the ante on the side of cow-towing to someone who thinks criticism itself (especially of him or her) is a black art.

Does that help?

Frank Turk said...

David --

I'll ask that your comment not be moderated, and that you demonstrate that Mike Horyton's interpretation of the OT is in any way of the same woof and weave as Steve Camp's interpretation of the OT. To say the absolute least, while they both have generally-"refomed" views of the Jewish scripture, I suggest that their native theologies have almost no points of reference in common when we discuss the history of Israel and the matter of continuity and discontinuity from OT to NT.

That difference colors the entire interpretation of the NT, and that would be the starting volley I would have on this topic, since you think I have over-generalized. It also, IMO, influences their individual approaches to apologetics and the public face of the church.

And in that, all manner of contrasts are found -- and not passing differences, either.

Thanks for asking.

Sled Dog said...

One of the main reasons I've been critical about "tone" or "humility" at this blog is because I've expected better.

Right now I'm preaching thru the beatitudes. One of my main study resources is JM's commentary on Matthew. Great calls for humiility, meekness, and mercy.

And IMO, I don't always see a match here. Not that anyone can be perfect, but I think it's kind of consistent. It kind of sinks down into more of debate thing where the person with the wittiest comment seeks to claim the prize.

Maybe that's the desired culture. If so, carry on. But as I work through my JM commentary, I'll often wonder why much of what he writes doesn't seem to reality.

Brian said...

Robert: It comes down to then your definition of unwholesome. It’s subjective. You can’t build a case off that.

J♥Yce said...

Thanks for elaborating, Frank. It's too bad there isn't a place online where "contrasts" are charted...tiresome it becomes sifting and sorting.

joel said...

Dan and Frank, thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I will restudy Galatians 2. I guess I am still wondering if there is ambiguity over wether the public sin can be rebuked privately or publicly. We recently had an incident in our church of a public sin that our pastor tried to correct by privately going to the person in the wrong. The whole thing turned into a real problem that just seemed to get worse the more he tried. God saw us through it by his grace, but I am trying to determine what the bible says we should have done at the very beginning. I really don't like ambiguity and I have heard the argument that it was biblically proper to go and try to correct the person privately, but if the bible calls for an open rebuke then I don't see how both approaches can stand side by side.

Jugulum said...

Frank,

I can recall you backing off & apologizing for some things involving iMonk. Other than that, if the Pyros are handling this well, I don't remember witnessing the fruit. (Not that that proves anything. I just haven't witnessed it myself, so I have no idea whether you are.)

The purpose of my comment was, "If you aren't already conscious & vigilant about this danger, you should be. (It's a danger for everyone, and the peanut gallery of common stupid criticisms leaves you in particular danger.)"

And when you're actually saying something like "the tone criticism all falls into this vacuous category", it's even more important to be conscious of the danger.

Jonathan said...

I think "false criticism" hurts a lot too. Especially because we know it to be false and yet the critics continue to utter the lies. The source matters, certainly, but how can it feel good to know someone is that far off their rocker?

Does not David complain, in the bitterness of his soul, of the false charges brought against him? Brought against him, even, by those he called friends?

False charges of adultery would seem to be a perfect example of how much false criticism can hurt. At the very least it would hurt the ones we love tremendously.

False criticism, I think, can sometimes hurt more than the true stuff, if only because criticisms that are true can be met with and rectified. Whereas false criticism continues on to know no end.

Perhaps, then, in that case false criticism does begin to lose its sting, but it still has to hurt, doesn't it?

Which is one reason why God is so awesome, He is our refuge.

Rob Bailey said...

It is boring to read the comment threads when everyone say "Thanks, great post!" It only gets good when there is criticism. without criticism life becomes "The Gary Smalley Show from SNL. "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."

AussieAndy said...

I'm something of a Driscoll fan-boy. I podcast most of his sermons, and while they're edgy on (rare) occasions, I would have thought there are more obvious targets for criticism (Bell, McLaren) than Driscoll. He does seem to love and preach the gospel in a way that shows respect and love of God in an orthodox manner.
Is there doctrinal substance to the criticism of Driscoll or is it just his style and personality?

DJP said...

Google is your friend.

(c:

Doulos Christos said...

Mr. Turk – One need only to scroll back through the comments posted in response to this post alone to validate my position. Notice how Olan approaches his response with the following assumptions couched in condescension:

1. “you ought to read the Bible” – Since he doesn’t know me, nor has he sat in my congregation, nor been a student in my university classes, to assume that I have not read the Bible innumerable times as well as immersed myself in the thousand or so volumes in my library is simply his way of attempting to say that I am ignorant.

2. Followed by “According to my own standard (by appearance rather than righteous judgement)…” Really? How does Mr. Strickland come to this conclusion from my brief posting and deficit of background knowledge? This is yet again a schoolyard taunt meant to incite while missing the irony of his actions.

3. As to putting the accusation of judging Jesus to be in league with Satan? See 1 and 2 above. He is simply emoting in response to an observation of the nature of your community here.

4. Note Ms. Sem and her assumption that all disagreement is ignorance. Ironic isn’t it?

As to further examples, I suppose I could comb through the thousands of comments and pick them out but an honest assessment on your part will come to the same conclusion. It’s your blog and I respect that but it is well known that Pyro is an echo chamber of people centered around shared theological beliefs. Accepted and not at issue. It is the treatment of those whose theological positions challenge the dogma of the community. True theological thinking comes from knowing and understanding why those who differ from you in their doctrine come to their conclusions. Until a person can do that He/she is simply parroting embedded theology rather than engaging in deliberative theology. Embedded theology results in the emotional engagement witnessed above.

At least this time the moderators didn't resort to mocking my pen name as the Arminian equivalent of wanting to make a slave of Christ. (As though I/they were unaware of the Greek construct.) For that I'm grateful.

DJP said...

Good point. Still uncorrected - what an odd choice: "Christ [is] slave," or "Slave [is] Christ." Assuming a non-Greek reading audience, evidently?

If you're going to use Greek, wouldn't it be a good idea to (A) use it right, or (B) accept correction?

David Rudd said...

romans 1:1?

i'm sure i'm wrong.

DJP said...

I'm sure you're wrong, too. But first: what question are you answering?

Strong Tower said...

DJP, you so crass...

DC, respecting your vaulted self-appraised scholarship, you do realize that it was Jesus who said to Professors that they should read the book, cuz, it was all about him. His conclusion is pretty obvious, I would think, for anyone who can read, that very smartsy peeps can read the bible and not read it.

Sled- You've been around enough to know that nuance can make a blind man deef. So just for the sake of what it means to be humble, meek, and showing mercy, would you describe our Lord's behavior at the Temple as such? How about his treatment of the down-trodden pair of Emmaus Road, who had just had their whole theological clock smashed when he up and says they were stupid and spiritually dull? That kind of humility, meekness, and mercy showing, is that what you are talking about? Or, is there a specific definition that you are applying to a specific situation? I mean the biblical definition of meek and mild is taking a whip and turning over tables Indy style, in context. Does JM make such nuanced application? You know, like the long suffering that Paul speaks of, which he commanded, along with the silencing of certain men, that old-ladies cease their gossipping and mythologizing, and that they be rebuked, et cetera? And I wonder how it is that Jesus could be the example, when we are not to do what he did, hmm? We don't just tolerate everything, do we? He mocked, criticized and didn't do it so felt glovedly. And Paul being cut after that pattern, makes it a public lesson when he calls the weakling brothers weaklings while at once he is chewing the tails of the "stronger" brudders? I wonder how the stronger felt? But more to the point, I wonder how the weakies felt about being pointed out publically as weak? How about Jesus' handling of Mary and Martha at Lazarus' tomb? Would you have dissed dem ladies that way by calling them on their supposed faith in him? Or, would you have just accepted the opinion that Jesus would be raising a stink and not have commanded them to open the subject up to critical analysis? Jesus' kind of tact, many today would say, is mean.

And speaking of mean. Centuri0n is mean, in an average sort of way. I veiw him as an ant, from my mean perch.

sem said...

@Doulos

Yes, we can learn much about people and their character by observing how they act (or react) when receiving criticism.

Yes, we can. And I think we've learned that you started off the meta fairly prickly and followed up with incredibly defensive. I can only conclude from your comment regarding mine that you didn't read the whole thing, just enough to feed your argument. It would seem that you came on looking for a fight today as witnessed by the insulting and derisive way you've referred to the Pyros and the regular posters. The only problem with your argument is that there's no "there" there.

"True theological thinking comes from knowing and understanding why those who differ from you in their doctrine come to their conclusions."

And all this time I thought it came from careful study of the Word and prayer.

DJP said...

SEMAnd all this time I thought [true theological thinking] came from careful study of the Word and prayer.

Fanatical extremist.

Sled Dog said...

Strong,

That was quite a lengthy response!

I of course understand that in life there are times to exhort, times to rebuke, times to comfort, and times to simply be quiet and just "be there."

All to say, I don't think pointing out all the times Jesus was firm and pointed with people takes away from his exhortations for believers to manifest meekness, mercy and peacemaking in their lives.

Strong Tower said...

But you see, when "Jesus was firm and pointed with people" he was demonstrating "meekness, mercy and peacemaking in their lives."

The point is that what often goes on in "this community" (man I hate that term DC) is being meek, showing mercy, and peacemaking. What the pomo and emergent and detergent, Dove soap types don't understand, is that it is one package. (and they can't take the criticism as react like whiny primps). Some sweet, some bitter, some hard, some soft, some warm, some cold , that is true life which for some reason the detractors find to be weird. Then again it also just happens to be the full orbed picture of God's character in Scripture. His kindness leads us to repentance. But the fact is that kindness, that long-suffering of his, was meeted out with pain and suffering and all sorts of merciless beatings. God's kindness lead kings to war against his own people for their purification. That kind of kindness is missed by the soft-tongues.

joel said...

Strong Tower,

Amen

Joshua Waulk said...

This entire discourse, quite frankly, is disturbing and shameful. This banter, bickering, and infighting has gone on long enough. MD's ministry, whether "because of" or "in spite of", has, is, and I suspect will continue to bear fruit for the Kingdom. Fruit that exists by the hand of God alone. One day, I hope to see many of you in the King's presence. And I look forward to hearing Jesus express his gratitude to the many of you who declined the beer, and resisted the temptation to chuckle at what some describe as "dirty jokes".

I feel disgusted at having been a part of this conversation. And as a member of God's elect family, I will repent for having taken part, as I suspect we have done nothing here to further the Mission.

donsands said...

"I feel disgusted at having been a part of this conversation."

Sorry you feel that way. I thought it was a good thread. Mostly mature thoughts being discussed I thought. And some humor from DJP. And some sarcasm from yourself even.

The post was about criticism, and you have added to the discuss with some of your own.

The Body of Christ is made of sinners. And these sinners, now saints, have diverse personalities. And we can rub each other and cause friction, but with the Holy Spirit as our sovereign Lord here on earth, we can by faith work these things out, and forgive, and love one another for our Savior's sake.
And most important, we please Him when we do, and bear fruit for our Father's glory.

And we also grow in His grace and knowledge, and so become just a bit stronger in the faith.

So, I think you're wrong about the "further the Mission" statement.

SamWise said...

Turk and DJP

"No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time."

Famous French Theologian ;)

In the Lamb,

Rafe

Joshua Waulk said...

"The Body of Christ is made of sinners. And these sinners, now saints, have diverse personalities. And we can rub each other and cause friction, but with the Holy Spirit as our sovereign Lord here on earth, we can by faith work these things out, and forgive, and love one another for our Savior's sake."

Ah, this is how it happens. One comment leads to another, and before you know it, another Tim LaHaye novel is released! (I'm just trying to bring some humor, here.)

The point above is well-taken. But do you know how long this "Mark Driscoll is the anti-Christ" thing has been going on? Too long. Way too long. It's hard to look at this mess and see how your thought is being played out. Nothing is being "worked out". Everything is being "dragged out", instead.

Therefore, IMO, sir, there comes a point that this *specific* conversation, that MD is too crass, too cool for school, tells dirty jokes, that he's too this and too that becomes hollow in light of the fruit of his labor.

I would suggest that those who are leading this charge are at risk of venturing into at least the appearance of legalism, desiring that MD and everyone else lead "their way", w/suit jackets on, and shoes laced up accordingly. They've made their point. MD's too funny. MD wears jeans to church. MD is a blasphemer, etc.

If that's true, I'm betting the Master of the House will square that up when He returns. I'm certain He's good for that. But in the meantime, I'm also betting MD's errors are covered by the blood, just like the rest of us who are tied up with this "thread", insead of our neighbor who doesn't know Jesus.

To the degree we're unreasonably pre-occupied with arguments which *without question* have become personal and not a defense of the Gospel, we fail in the Mission most certainly.

Sled Dog said...

Strong,

You sort of cobbled my quote together to make a quote that I didn't make.

What you wrote is not what I read in my MacArthur commentary when it comes to meekness and mercy. John Mac doesn't blend it all together and prescribe "firm/meekness" or "tough/mercy." They stand on their own.

I'm not saying anyone should let some whack or abberant doctrine pass in the name of mercy. But there are plenty of conservative, Bible-believing commenters who feel like "the enemy" when posting here.

Phil Johnson said...

Sled Dog: "there are plenty of conservative, Bible-believing commenters who feel like 'the enemy' when posting here."

Sled Dog, you have posted dozens of negative comments on my blog (some of them plenty snide), starting the first week I began blogging in 2005. I don't think I have ever responded unkindly to you, unless you count disagreement as inherently "unkind."

If you think otherwise, please point out where I have ever treated you as an "enemy," and I will gladly apologize.  But if you cannot do that, please stop making this same tired complaint over and over. That kind of sustained sniping normally comes from someone who considers himself an enemy.

After all, I'm not stalking your blog, watching for opportunities to jump on every dogpile. Think that over, and do a little soul-searching about where this feeling of enmity you keep complaining about might be coming from. OK?

CR said...

It seems to me one way we could lay this issue to rest is this way: (1) have any of team pyro bloggers received criticism from other respectable bloggers about their blog. By respectable bloggers I mean bloggers they recommend on their blog; (2) have any of the team pyro bloggers asked any of these other bloggers about the tone of their blog and gotten any criticism or constructive feedback?

Phil Johnson said...

A much simpler approach would be to ban all complaints about anyone's "tone" that aren't accompanied by specific examples and a biblical rationale.

What a pathetic thing it is that so many contemporary evangelicals have zero tolerance for a reasoned biblical critique of anyone's doctrine, but they'll argue quite literally for years about whether someone spoke the truth too harshly.

Here's a debatable topic that could really use a five-year moratorium. Someone call McLaren.

DJP said...

A much simpler approach would be to ban all complaints about anyone's "tone" that aren't accompanied by specific examples and a biblical rationale.

Or we could make a rule that comments should be on-topic.

Oh, wait....