04 February 2012

A Conversation with Lane Chaplin

On Evangelicalism's Current Cults of Celebrity
by Phil Johnson

hanks to Lane Chaplin for taping and posting this:



Phil's signature

25 comments:

Jonathan Hunt said...

Someone needs to straighten that picture. Yeah, I'm a hater.

candy said...

A man may not be qualified for climbing lofty buildings, his brain may be too weak, and elevated work might place him in great danger; by all means let him keep on the ground and find useful occupation, where a steady brain is less important: there are brethren who have analogous spiritual deficiencies, they cannot be called to service which is conspicuous and elevated, because their heads are too weak. If they were permitted a little success they would be intoxicated with vanity-a vice all too common among ministers, and of all things the least becoming in them, and the most certain to secure them a fall. -Spurgeon

mike said...

at about the 22 minute mark, Lane asks if postmodernism has led to or accelerates this desire for celebrity by some pastors.
the video where MacDonald and Driscoll scold Devers for not using video of himself in satellite campuses, because that is the way to maximize influence immediately came to mind.
MacDonald says in that video (paraphrased) i have spent many years establishing this current level of influence, and now i must work to leverage that influence for the maximum good of the kingdom.
I am not trying to assign motive, (i do not really don't care why the mess was made as much as cleaning it up, and helping ensure it is not repeated)is this an example of a man who to some extent does not truly believe that it is the gospel, and the gospel alone that has the power to save sinners, and a affect a lost world?
are some simply working feverishly to accumulate as great a following as possible, in hopes that then possibly some or most of that following will move closer to God, as they follow their leader?
if so, what an unbearable burden they have given themselves, attempting to do what scriptures tell us only the Holy Spirit can do.

Tom Chantry said...

Mike,

That is a fascinating area of inquiry, isn't it.

Most of the elephant room debacle was entirely predictable. Two elements took me by surprise. One was the total willingness of the host to pour gasoline on the smoldering embers of racial tension in the church in order to defend his own conference. The other was the pervasive post-modern tone of the discussion.

James MacDonald has been many things, but I was never aware that post-modern or emergent were among them. Mark Driscoll has fiercely repudiated the emergent anti-doctrinal stance. Yet the hermeneutic of Session 4 was purely post-modern.

The whole mystery meme, the frank acceptance of the false deduction that since we can't know everything about God we can't know anything with certainty, MacDonald's mockery of anyone who is convinced of orthodoxy - I cannot imagine how the discussion might have gone differently had Jakes been questioned by Bell and McClaren. That dynamic hasn't really been there in MacDonald's or Driscoll's previous ministry. How does one account for it?

I won't pretend to have that figured out - but the connection between an obsession with numeric growth (which clearly led to the ER madness) and post-modern hermeneutic needs to be examined.

Rich Barcellos said...

Phil persecuted me the last time I was in his presence. He walked into Chilli's, stared at me, did not recognize me, then finally said he thought I looked like a trucker. It really hurt me. He had no idea how condescending he was and is. He tried to buy "love" into my life by paying for lunch (He tried the same trick last time we had lunch together a few months ago.). It did not work. I think he was just showing off the fact that he has a debit/credit card for ministry purposes and I don't. It did not work. He insists on driving to meet me instead of me driving to meet him. Though he gives the appearance of doing that to save me money, I really think he does it so he can show off his nice vehicle. Also, though he does not make me go through assistants to schedule time with him, I really believe he does that so he can participate in discussions like this one and give the appearance of being one of the dudes. Did you notice how they threw in MacArthur's name at the end? That says alot. I rest my case. :-)

Phil Johnson said...

That picture bugs me, too. But I think it's the camera angle that makes it look slanted. Because if you look at the back of the couch, or even the front of the couch, it looks like it goes downhill toward the right, too.

mike said...

Tom,
the direction of Driscoll's ministry is remarkable in the lack of direction, so it is hard to say sometimes that his actions are truly unexpected.
MacDonald however, has for many years seemed to be much more predictable. his association with Furtick and Noble were at first almost acceptable as a potential elder seeking to disciple the younger and openly rebellious and defiant men.
it seems though that he has chosen or allowed himself to learn much from them instead.
pragmatism and numerical effectiveness are treasured, and historical Biblical faithfulness second at best.
one is left to wonder, especially as we watch MacDonald discuss the playing of an openly God mocking song on Easter Sunday with Noble, then seemingly being swayed by Noble stating "a guy came up later and said the he got saved because of that song" as reason to reconsider all that he believed prior.
how much does the eating away at confidence in real solid undeniable Truth by post modernism play into the actions of these men after so many years?
it would almost lead us to apply Dan's call to repentance to the men of the elephant room as much as Jakes.
if he truly believes that Furtick, Noble and Jakes are correct (enough) now, does MacDonald need to publicly repent of all the years and sermons that he has spent teaching otherwise?

mike said...

at least the picture is leaning right, if it has to lean off center, better that way :)

Phil Johnson said...

Hey, Barcellos: "Trucker" was the nicest euphemism that came to mind. It sounded more professional than "homeless guy." Of course I bought lunch. (And that was my own credit card, BTW.) I didn't want anyone to think I would be so crass as to let the hobo pay.

Rich Barcellos said...

hobo? sticks and stones...

on another front, is it me or couldn't TGC have said something like this (see below) and done more good than an essay on how to think through the recent happenings?

"Dear readers, we have been too passive in this situation. T. D. Jakes is a false teacher. James MacDonald should not have hosted ER2 under the conditions he held it, and we told him so. We are meeting with Mark Driscoll privately. Our passivity in this recent matter has caused confusion. Please forgive us. We intend to be more careful in the future. Pray for us."

Tom Chantry said...

Hey, Phil, I've bought lunch for hobos before too. Usually they're trying to shake down the church for money. Watch your back man.

Kevin Zuber said...

My church (where I preach each Sunday) is very small -- 25 -30 (on a good Sunday) . . . I like telling people that . . . but then it's all about the numbers . . . and it's a form of pride . . . I don't like it in myself.

mike said...

Rich,
that statement would be so helpful, but seemingly too harsh or direct to be made or accepted. i placed the following "story" in the comment thread of Carson and Keller's post about 2 1/2 hours ago. it has apparently been determined to be unacceptable.

"This is a wonderful example of explaining why we (all of us) should not do many of the things that we do.
I will use the example of playing in the street.
So, a long time street player is invited by a couple of long time crossing guards to a sit down to discuss their mutual interests in the street, as they both live street centered lives.
Oddly, the crossing guards seem to go out and hold this meeting in the slow lane of traffic, where the danger is minimized, and somehow they seem to come to the consensus that they are all "agreed enough". They even poke a little fun at some of the other crossing guards who are expressing concern that there are actually more people in the street now than before.
The crossing guard association has many members, and some of them express mild concern, some a bewildering support of their fellow members who are now standing in the road, and now these two who come out with a very thoughtful and accurate dissertation about the very real dangers of playing in the street.
Meanwhile the original street player is now somewhat accepted as being a street safety guy, AND he is still in the street.
how can we ask the children on the sidewalk looking on to rightly decide a proper course of action, if this dissertation is given in clear site of the activity in the street, and the activity in the street not pointed out specifically as an example of what is wrong, and therefore the participants called to "get out of the road, before you get ran over"? "

Michael Lawmaster said...

There is a cost in taking a stand for biblical truth especially in the world of academia. So, I echo what Phil said regarding various blog posts recently written by Carl Trueman and I say thank you. As Dr. James White has stated in the past: "we need more believing scholars." How wonderful it is when they stand for Jesus Christ and biblical truth.

Thanks Lane and Phil for the video.

Marla said...

"Dear readers, we have been too passive in this situation. T. D. Jakes is a false teacher. James MacDonald should not have hosted ER2 under the conditions he held it, and we told him so. We are meeting with Mark Driscoll privately. Our passivity in this recent matter has caused confusion. Please forgive us. We intend to be more careful in the future. Pray for us."


Rich - that's what I thought too after I read that essay. I think they could have said it much simpler, instead the volume of pretentious words overwhelms the message.

Thanks for the video Phil.

wv:slystsin

Kevin Zuber said...

" . . . couldn't TGC have said something like this . . ."

"Dear readers, we have been . . ." ktl

Not gonna happen (sadly). The wagons have been circled . . . the elite meeting is planned . . . the "high road" (so called) has been taken . . .

(Maybe this thing will just go away . . .)

Rich Barcellos said...

I just posted at TGC, fyi.

Elaine Bittencourt said...

Tom Chandry: "the connection between an obsession with numeric growth (which clearly led to the ER madness) and post-modern hermeneutic needs to be examined."

It's a very good point. I too have been surprised by MacDonald's post-modernism in his talks. Not by his pragmatism though.

Rich Barcellos said...

ok, I did post on TGC. Someone deposted me. :-(

DJP said...

Rich B: are you saying you posted this:

"Dear readers, we have been too passive in this situation. T. D. Jakes is a false teacher. James MacDonald should not have hosted ER2 under the conditions he held it, and we told him so. We are meeting with Mark Driscoll privately. Our passivity in this recent matter has caused confusion. Please forgive us. We intend to be more careful in the future. Pray for us."

...at the TGC website, under the Keller/Carson post; that it showed up amid all the laurels and praises, and then it was disappeared?

But Mike Gandt's comment is still up.

Seriously?

Rich Barcellos said...

DJP, here's what I said on TGC yesterday:

This is my opinion as of today. I think it may have been too much said and too late. I hope I am wrong. There will need to be some damage control in the future. If you have been following the saga, Carl Trueman resigned from Themelios connected to ER2, apparently. James MacDonald resigned his post on TGC council a day or so before ER2. As far as I know, Mark Driscoll is still on the council. Black brothers on the council told other council members that TGC had been too passive. In light of these things, what I was looking for was something like, "Dear readers, we have been too passive in this situation. We are convinced that T. D. Jakes is a false teacher. He gets the gospel wrong and probably the Trinity. James MacDonald should not have hosted ER2 under the conditions he held it. We are meeting with Mark Driscoll privately. Our passivity in this recent matter has caused confusion. Please forgive us. We intend to be more careful in the future. Pray for us." I don't think what we needed was an essay. It had the feel of an outsider helping us think through all the issues (again, just my opinion). I hope it does more good than harm. I think it will do both. I don't think it had to be this way.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Maybe I was wrong about MD being on TGC's council and that's why it was removed. I doubt it, though.

Tom Chantry said...

So in the midst of the swamp of adulation, your comment was deemed worthy of obliteration?

I've a verse for you - Psalm 40:2

"He drew me up...out of the miry blog." Or did I read that wrongly out loud in church tonight?

mike said...

There were about 8 posts on that thread after Rich, many in response. About 2 1/2 hours later, they all disappeared.
This morning I commented asking
"how is it hat any comment mentioning any action taken by anyone with or connected to TGC is moderated, and yet comments in support of modalism or loving Jesus but not the church is retained"

That comment was posted for about 10 minutes, then it too was gone.

Makes it a bit disingenuous that several comments act surprised at the positive supportive tone of the conversation.

Probably would have Ben better to close the comments

Rich Barcellos said...

this is sad

Aaron Snell said...

I'm still waiting to hear from someone over in that comment section exactly when and where "Several Christians challenged James on these matters, and James accepted the correction with humility and grace, and soon came down off that ledge." Did they mean in private, or publicly somewhere that I'm not aware of? Educate me, please.

And sorry for perpetuating the off-topic rabbit trail on this post :/