The End of Infidelity. The e-book is available at this link, and I commend it to you if you care at all about atheist apologetics.
Note to Steve and Jason & the rest of the Triabloguers: The reason I say "old school atheists" above is that the hard-core post-modernist bent has set in, and the old rationalist, materialist, neo-positivist atheism is, frankly, running on empty. Nobody wants all that philosophical baggage any more these days, and the next generation of atheists will be in the same vein as a young fellow named Chris Stedman, who is on staff at the (now get this) Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University. He's the face of nice atheism, and has a book coming out called (F)a(i)theist. In 10 years, John Loftus will be a homeless person muttering to himself about his self-published archive that banished Theism into the outer darkness of people he wouldn't associate with anyway, but Stedman and his lite version of interfaith collegiality between unbelief and belief will be alive and well among those who think superficial "nice" is the most important virtue. Let's find a way to preach the Gospel to that, and stay ahead of the curve.
OK -- so you're all over the Elephant Room 2 fiasco, right? There's nothing left to say, it's been said, and we need to just move on. Carson and Keller have offered the penultimate careful evaluation (the ultimate to take place behind closed doors with no chance that anyone will see how this gets resolved), James MacDonald has stopped posting videos extolling his own humility (at least through the moment at which I am typing this), and we're done.
Mark Driscoll has, with his usual panache, escaped all scrutiny. He's the Eddie Haskell of pastoral trouble-making, usually getting someone else on the hook for his own impishness, and getting away with most of it because he's really such a nice boy according to Mrs. Cleaver. And this is a very troubling issue as his tribe of manly men for Jesus (the Acts29 network) are not usually this quiet -- unless Pastor Driscoll has put his foot in it (again).
Now, what I am very excited about is that not everyone has let what he has done here go unnoticed. To their credit, Carson and Keller said this much in their pronouncement from Mount Caritas:
Here is where the distinction becomes interesting. Neither the terminology of "manifestations" preferred by Oneness Pentecostals and other modalists nor the terminology of "persons" supported by historic creeds is directly used in Scripture. Where does it come from? It comes from thinkers two or three centuries after the New Testament was written who were doing their best to summarize large tracks of biblical themes and texts in faithful, accurate summaries, even if the terminology was not directly dependent on the terminology of a specific verse or two. History has shown, for the reasons briefly set forth in our first pairing, that the terminology of "manifestations" was soundly trounced and declared heretical: it simply could not be squared with what the Bible says. The "persons" terminology prevailed (along with words like "subsistence") not because it derived directly from usage in the biblical documents themselves, but because it could be shown that this terminology did a great job of summarizing what the Bible actually says.And then again:
To attempt theological interpretation without reference to such developments is part and parcel of Biblicism One; to attempt theological interpretation that is self-consciously aware of such developments and takes them into account is part and parcel of Biblicism Two. We hasten to add that both Biblicism One and Biblicism Two insist that final authority rests with the Bible. All the theological syntheses are in principle revisible. Yet the best of these creeds and confessions have been grounded in such widespread study, discussion, debate, and testing against Scripture that to ignore them tends to cut oneself off from the entire history of Christian confessionalism. The Bible remains theoretically authoritative (Biblicism One), but in fact it is being manipulated and pummeled by private interpretations cut off from the common heritage of all Christians.Statements with which I whole-heartedly agree -- but which Pastor Driscoll has tacitly denied in his interaction with Jakes (and has openly denied as demonstrated here). So on the one hand, the clever person can see the distancing of TGC from Driscoll's new friendship and new alliance with a man TGC does not hold in such high esteem, and at the same time we can also see the basis for a rebuke for what has happened.
But what's going on with Acts29? Not a statement? Not a mention? Not a notice that they have seen it and therefore rebuke the twittering pajamahadijn for making such a big thing of this?
Listen y'all: this is a big thing. Driscoll himself has rebuked Osteen-ism from his own pulpit, and wants you rubes to man up and shoot the wolves. But here he is with the only other fellow in the English-speaking world who has the scope of influence of Osteen and the self-same lousy Gospel and theology, and the same worn out lines which Christianity Today can't recognize from 2000 even tough they printed them, and he's shaking hands with this fellow in a way which even Keller and Carson find dubious.
See: I get it when you guys are offended that Phil or John MacArthur wag a finger at you and yours -- because it feels like your father wagging his finger at you for forgetting to fill up the car when you just drove home from saving all the orphans from a house fire. You guys see yourselves reaching a generation for Christ, and the (from your perspective) indignation over holiness (which looks, from your perspective, a little stilted) seems to be unwarranted parental umbrage. So if they tell you that you ought to say something about Mark or to Mark, they can just go mind their own business. You're busy with something else, like ministry.
But you have to ask yourselves: is it right that the President of your Church Planting Network (they called those "conventions" back when your pappy was a deacon; they called them "associations" in the 1980's) can embrace a guy that the rest of you know is not someone you would bring into the fold? You know you wouldn't let Jakes preach from your pulpit - shouldn't you at least ask what is now expected from you and your tribe after Mark gave him the Big Hug and the "welcome to the Family" speech?
|Apparently all the right people are on the bus ...|
The Gospel Coalition has made it very clear about where they stand on this. I am grateful for what they have said, even if it's too little, too late. But you guys are silent?
Well, maybe that's how it goes. Maybe there's a bro-code I don't know because I'm not a bro, and you guys can accept that Mark Driscoll can lead you into associations with people you know will be harmful to your local church's theological and missional well-being with no consequences because he's "fruitful" and "humble". Lumpy never ratted out Eddie, after all.
But let's be honest: that's showing something which, in the final account, we might be able to call "fellowship" or "perseverance" or some such Bible word that puts a good face on it. But that's not being a leader by any means. That's not showing leadership. And in the end, you're supposed to be pastors and not merely a hipster mutual appreciation society.