04 April 2012

The Worse Indictment

by Frank Turk

UPDATED: Hoss said this post had to go to the top of the blog today, so who am I to argue?  With Phil, I mean?


You know what?  Maybe I’m just geeked up on the week before Easter, and the week before T4G (which are not the same thing, but are two good reasons to get geeked up).  Maybe I’m on a theological bender after giving the wobbly post-emergents the what-for in the movie review.  But today you’re getting two posts from me, and you’re probably going to wonder what hit you.

As the readers of this blog know, I have no love for the anti-theological post-American secularists at Newsweek.  When it comes to thinking clearly about anything related to anything older than things born or invented in 1960, they have the uncanny ability to completely disgrace themselves in every way imaginable – sociologically, intellectually, ethically.  They tell blatant lies as if they were transparently true or unfathomly clever and undiscoverable as false, and they slander the wise and the loving as foolish, hateful, stupid and crass.  If tomorrow all the issues of Newsweek printed in the last 10 years were consumed by a fire or a herd of donkeys, I would cheer on the blaze and make the burros honored guests in my home.

There is nothing good to say about Newsweek except maybe that they have somehow survived in spite of being utterly useless for the reporting of American events  – and to be that incompetent and yet that durable ought to at least get a nod of appreciation even from their most bitter enemies.

This week – Easter week, of course – they published a cover story from the nearly-irrelevant Andrew Sullivan, titled (now get this) “Christianity in Crisis.”  In that article, Sullivan’s thesis is transparent: Stupid, hateful Christians are bad, but you can kick them all to the curb and just love Jesus.

Now, Sullivan is not saying what the young and untested rapper Jefferson Bethke was taken to task for – namely, a bit of hubris when it comes to distinguishing between “the church” and “self-indulgent religion”.  What Sullivan said was that the Jesus we should love should be the Jesus who never did anything miraculous, and died at the hands of his oppressors – but did not raise from the dead.  Whatever it is that Sullivan believes about Jesus, it doesn’t include Easter: Easter is for rubes and racists and rich people who need a hobby.

My singular response to Sullivan is this: since you’re not a Christian, you don’t really get a say in it.  I don’t really have the time or the patience to debunk the ignorant musings of a fellow who can’t even decide which moral teachings of Jesus are worth striving for; when he wants to come to the table and thereafter talk about whether Jesus actually died for a good reason, therefore giving us a good reason to live, I find him unqualified at best.

But that is actually not why I’m writing today.  I am actually writing because Trevin Wax gave it his best yesterday over at The Gospel Coalition to respond to the frothy gurgling noises coming from Newsweek on this subject, and frankly I thought he utterly blew it.

You see: Trevin was attempting to reason with Andrew Sullivan.  That is, in spite of the fact that Andrew Sullivan is a self-proclaimed Roman Catholic who dismisses the authority of the Pope in moral and religious matters, Trevin thinks he can root out the central yet vulnerable thesis in Sullivan’s essay and overcome it with good will and sound rationale.  It’s a nice thought, and I credit it to Trevin’s youth and Christian upbringing, but the odds of convincing one single person who agrees with Sullivan’s essay that Sullivan is wrong about anything is only slightly better than winning last week’s Mega Millions lottery for which you can now no longer buy any tickets – the drawing is done, and the winner(s) are already chosen.

Let’s get a flavor of what Sullivan wrote to get an idea of why I think Trevin got it all wrong:
[American Christianity] would also, one imagines, baffle Jesus of Nazareth. The issues that Christianity obsesses over today simply do not appear in either Jefferson’s or the original New Testament. Jesus never spoke of homosexuality or abortion, and his only remarks on marriage were a condemnation of divorce (now commonplace among American Christians) and forgiveness for adultery. The family? He disowned his parents in public as a teen, and told his followers to abandon theirs if they wanted to follow him. Sex? He was a celibate who, along with his followers, anticipated an imminent End of the World where reproduction was completely irrelevant.
And here’s where Trevin wanted to go with that:
On the one hand, Sullivan is absolutely right to point out the politicized nature of Christianity in the West. He has witnessed the counterfeit gospel of activism that gives us “culture warriors” from the Right and the world’s “errand runners” from the Left. He has seen what happens when churches unite around a cause rather than the cross, and the results are indeed repugnant. If we deny the shortcomings of the church or minimize the scandals, the abuse of power, or the existence of injustice behind our stained-glass windows, we are departing from the righteous vision of Jesus’ kingdom and joining the first-century Pharisees. 
Likewise, we should admit that we have too often been known more for our denunciations of those outside our walls than for our passion to uproot our own self-righteous hypocrisy, something Jesus was always confronting in His day. Sullivan sees many of the problems within contemporary Christianity with a perception that should give us pause and bring us back to our knees.
Unfortunately, his solution is woefully inadequate. He wants to return to the simple message of Jesus as if that message can be divorced from the Man who delivered it. Despite his protests against a politicized faith, Sullivan is saying we should follow a Man whose primary message concerned a kingdom. You can’t get more political than that.
That is to say, “well, Sullivan is mostly right about us, but he just misunderstands Jesus.”

To which I, today,  respond: what an innocent act of self-immolation as an attempt to gain the sympathy of people who have no urge toward sympathy for anyone but those who are in full agreement with them.  “Yes, I know we’re a sick and sad lot of malcontents, but Jesus Saves,” is the argument?  Jesus saves?  In what way then? And how does he save since you think you’re such a lousy example?

What is grossly unfortunate in this approach is that it assumes that we ought to accept the stereotypes thrust upon us in the media.  Does it ever occur to anyone (Andrew Sullivan, for example, or Trevin Wax) that there is a reason that the only people the media can find who hate homosexuals (and anyone associated by any means necessary with homosexuals) are the inbred heretics at Fred Phelps’ church?  While the Red Cross is often reported as the first responders to all manner of tragedies worldwide, why aren’t the demographics of the volunteers in the Red Cross ever examined?  Why are the statistics about marriage and social achievement, and the relationship of education and marriage to social prosperity, ever discussed seriously in the media rather than the constant cheer-leading for potential alternatives paraded out as equally-acceptable even though they frankly and objectively are not?

The stereotypes don’t hold up to the slightest examination – and to say so as I am here, frankly, gets one branded as ego-maniacal, hateful, and pompous.  Yet if even the hint of a stereotype is alluded to toward the other side, it’s the intellectual equivalent of sexual misconduct (you know, the bad kind, not the kind absolved by Newsweek and Andrew Sullivan) – and the outrage it ignites is unquenchable.

So for Trevin to approach this like a fair fight is, frankly, unworkable.  He’d be better served carrying a blancmange upon entering an MMA cage to soothe Brock Lesnar than hoping his aw-shucks apologetics will faze these people.  It can’t succeed – especially when he never actually gets to the Gospel.  Sure: he mentions an atoning cross and a victorious resurrection – but that is not declaring the Gospel.  That is not even reciting it: that’s citing it as if it was one proposition among many – which, by the way, Sullivan would agree to.  There’s  no offense there to disarm Sullivan’s self-reverential importance.

What Trevin ought to be doing, since he is writing at the Gospel Coalition, and he’s the editor of something called the Gospel Project at Lifeway Resources, is trot out the Gospel.  Sullivan has the unmitigated gall to call himself righteous-by-works in this article – and to crudely slander all manner of people who would plainly say they need a savior and not good advice.  Yet Sullivan thins Jesus out to a fortune cookie we can randomly quote in order to “learn how to live,” – as if Sullivan lives like either Jesus or the medieval monk he praises in his article.

If we’re citing  Jesus at random, Sullivan, here’s one for the ages:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
That one rarely comes up when folks like you want to quote the red letters – but it takes the little painted pheasant egg of ethical philosophy you have produced this Easter and scrambles it soundly so that we have to make something other than a soft-boiled sauce of it for our toast.  And it speaks to a man in a way which he can’t ignore.  You many dismiss it, or change the subject, but Jesus’ view here is plain: there’s something about the Law which Jesus can fulfill (not obey: fulfill) which your obedience cannot reach.

And that is the Jesus of Easter, Sullivan: that is the Jesus who matters, and to whom you will one day bow your knee along with the rest of all creation.  The question is only if you will meet him as your savior, or as your judge.  In spite of my disdain for you – perhaps in some way because of it, because you insult him, and make it clear that you are an enemy to him now, as I once was – I pray that Jesus will overcome you now when repentance and salvation is possible, rather than at that time, when your redemption is impossible.

And that Trevin Wax and the Gospel Coalition couldn’t find a way to say that much to you after your insults and your condescension is, frankly, a worse indictment of us Christians than you could have composed.

I’ll take next week off unless we live-blog T4G.  This Sunday, you should find yourself someplace where the people are rejoicing and broken in spirit over the fact that the tomb, which seemed to hold the defeat of Jesus, was found miraculously open and victoriously empty.  Because we serve a God of miracles and victory – not a god too small to bother to worship -- be there and be blessed.








58 comments:

Manfred said...

One of the best posts I've read in a long time. Most excellent focus on the issue behind the noise: lost people (those who rely on their works) need the gospel! That's it. We must trust God to what He alone can do. He has given us His Word - preach Christ to dead people everywhere - and told us to trust Him for the results. Even for those we truly love - and those who irritate us to death's door.

To God alone be the glory!

Dan McGhee said...

But Trevin is so "nice" and you're so "mean," Frank. There's a reason Trevin was given the "privilege" to a front row seat as the "official blogger" for Elephant Room #2...

Troy Adams said...

Amen, brother!

Chris Nelson said...

Amen, Frank. I see this more and more often. How do you discuss with someone who says, as I recently ran into, "Oh, I don't care if they lie." It's time to talk about lollipops and butterfly's at that point. The modern man who denies absolute truth can only be confronted with the gospel and God's word, redundant, I suppose. Discussing facts is not even possible.

CCinTn said...

The Gospel both offends and attracts and there is nothing that we can do to make the Gospel more palatable without stripping away the essentials of the Gospel (the parts that offend) at which point it is no longer the Gospel. God does not need our help to market His message so it receives the most favorable response. Our responsibility is to preach the Gospel and it is the Holy Spirit who draws those whom the Father has elected.

Jesus interacted more harshly with the religious leaders than with those who had not heard the Gospel or with those who were sincerely seeking to understand what He was saying, although we do have Jesus being rather forceful in his chiding of a seemingly sincere Nicodemus (how is it you are a teacher of Israel and do not know these things?).

Jesus’ harshness with the Pharisees, I believe, was mostly due to their unbelief and rejection of the truth. In the same way, Sullivan and those like him are not to be ‘wooed’ to the Gospel be must have the Gospel forcefully and unashamedly presented and also the exposing of their heart of unbelief. There is a time to gently present the truths of the Gospel to those who have never heard and a time to understand that dealing with the false teacher, heretic or vocal agnostic needs to happen in a firmer manner.

Perhaps our brothers ought to consider changing the name of their tribe to The ‘Can’t We Just Get Along?’ Coalition.

I hope that Trevin has communicated with you offline as I doubt he will engage you here and he essentially blew you off in his home field. Perhaps it’s time for a new entry on “Ask a Calvin” where you and he can engage in a discussion regarding what constitutes the Gospel and what is the Christian’s responsibility in presenting Christ’s message.

Eric said...

Frank,

I appreciate this post especially to the extent that I get very frustrated that the devil is too often left unchallenged as he uses the tools of the world to disparage and attack the Church. In reality I see Andrew Sullivan being used by the devil, though that phrasing probably would earn me some insensitivity label. We are engaged in spiritual warfare, that the Bible makes clear, and Jesus also said that if we are not for Him, we are against Him. I think Andrew Sullivan is against Jesus, and you are right to treat his as such a one.

I'll be interested to see if Trevin interacts with your post, as he said he would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Phil Johnson said...

Frank: As breathtakingly adroit as your review of the card-counting documentary is, this post is even better. This one should be at the top of the pile, and if you don't move it to the top by noon today (CDT), I'll do it myself.

--the blogboss

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

I totally agree with Phil on this one!

CCinTn said...

As do I. But look which one is getting all the comment traffic...

Chris H said...

If I like this post any more, my wife will become jealous.

I agree, entirely.

Trevin Wax said...

Frank,

My response to Andrew Sullivan was not intended to take apart all of the egregious errors in his article. It was to provide a resource for Christians who would be talking about this article with friends, helping them show that from the red letters themselves, Sullivan's case falls apart.

For you to question even the legitimacy of responding to Sullivan and then blast me for offering a brief rebuttal of the central thesis of his article (while ably articulating the way YOU would have gone about it) seems unfair and hypocritical to me.

C.S. Lewis was right when he countered the same old arguments in his day about "Jesus being just a teacher of love." I was seeking to take Lewis' argument a step further and point out that Jesus' own words testify to the eternal stakes of getting His identity (Lord and God) right.

As I look back over my article, I see Jesus lifted up as miracle-worker, King of creation, Kingdom-bringer, atoning sacrifice, and resurrected Lord to whom we owe our total submission. I'm perplexed at your harsh reaction to it.

CGrim said...

I don't know why the "Jesus never spoke about homosexuality" thing gets so much traction. No, he never mentions it directly in the gospels, but in Mark 10:6-9, Jesus is pretty clear that heterosexuality is the correct pattern, and humans may not tamper with that.

Trevin Wax said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
C. T. Bennett said...

This is a trend in the U.S. that lags the UK, a leader in using holiday seasons as an opportunity for "secularist" education. It is routine (a tradition) during both Christmas and Easter that BBC, usually BBC1, plays a couple of one-hour perspective shows featuring Dawkins and some others and at least one of the papers, usually the Times, will have an extended section gathering input from lots of popular secularists. A poll several years ago in England showed that just over 60% of the populace didn't know the origin of Easter (even that the origin was religious in any sense).

These articles are reflections of the populace. The holiday was co-opted from the pagans and their fertility rites -- the pagans want them back.

Unknown said...

Excellent post!

I have some people in my life who hold to red-letterism, and I have considered studying and formulating a case against such a position. But what has held me back from doing so is the suspicion that those who say things like "Jesus never spoke about homosexuality" or "Jesus only cared about love and forgiveness" are not being entirely upfront about what they believe and why they believe it. (In fact they are probably not being honest with themselves about it.)

These people want to hold to a secular, relativist worldview but for some reason (mostly upbringing and family ties) can't bring themselves to make an official break from Christianity.

If presented with a rock solid case against their red-letterism, such people would still hold to their position that, say, homosexuality or divorce are okay, but they would immediately shift the basis for their views to something else. Therefore all the intellectual heavy lifting done to refute red-letterism would be for naught.

Frank Turk said...

Trevin --

Thanks for stopping by.

The sin of Andrew Sullivan is glaringly missing from your rebuttal, as is the call to repent. That he can name sins you have never committed in order to discredit your faith and you will cop to it is a shame, but that you cannot name his sin as the reason for his need to repentance -- which is far more important than the high-browed point you did make, and far more central to the question of Christianity and its crisis -- is scandalous.

That you don't see it that way makes it worse.

Cathy M. said...

I read Trevin's article yesterday. I think your response is more appropriate in tone for such an offensive slander on our savior and the church. Unfortunately, I don't expect Trevin to read your response, slap his forehead, and say "Thank you, Frank for being a faithful friend and brother." I think Galations 2:11 was the last time a brother was willing to receive correction with humility and grace (at least I presume he did, since the rebuke didn't need to be repeated.)

Scooter said...

Frank,

One group expects that the Gospel is a two-edged sword, and the other expects the Gospel is only an attraction.

I culled that quote from your comment here.

Is this post, in a sense, an expansion of that quote? I ask only because I've thought about that quote ever since you posted it.

Frank Turk said...

Scooter:

It is for the same reasons. I am not someone who stays up at night pondering the questions that go ignored or unanswered on the internet.

CCinTn said...

Frank,
even if someone on the internet is wrong? :-)

Thanks for remembering that quote Scooter. Nothing seems to have changed over there since ER2.

Halcyon said...

Frank:

Though I felt you were a little too harsh on Trevin (for understandable reasons), I still have to say that I like your writing when your angry! There's a style and wit there that transcends normal rhetoric into an art form. This was so much fun to read. "Aw shucks apologetics" is my new favorite term.

Anyway, Sullivan is a tool, and you are still a menace and must be stopped.

Trevin Wax said...

Frank,

Again, I point out the audience for my article was not Andrew Sullivan as a person, but people who would read and reflect and talk about Sullivan's article.

If ever I had the opportunity to address Sullivan personally, I would urge him to repent and believe. Do you think I would hold back from calling him to trust Christ?

I loved your addition of Matthew 5:17 and following to this discussion. It would have fit my article perfectly (again, as showing the gospel from the red letters themselves), and I wish I'd thought of it sooner. ;)

As it stands, I believe you are faulting me for not doing something my post wasn't intended to do in the first place - witness personally to Andrew Sullivan. (Not that I wouldn't love to have that opportunity.)

Again, the purpose was to help Christians talk to neighbors and coworkers when the subject of "Why don't we just get back to Jesus' teaching?" comes up.

I appreciate the interaction. I just wish you'd have read the article through the lens of its purpose, rather than your axe-grinding "TGC guys are all soft and compromising" vision that comes out again and again at this site.

Tom Chantry said...

I appreciate the interaction. I just wish you'd have read the article through the lens of its purpose, rather than your axe-grinding "TGC guys are all soft and compromising" vision that comes out again and again at this site.

Trevin, for my part I've read your post twice and am still trying to figure out whether I agree with Frank or think that your article was suitable to its purpose. But come on. You're worried that TGC is looked on as "all soft and compromising?"

Let me ask you an honest question. If you had said, "You know what? Andrew Sullivan has a point! We can be too centered on the wrong issues and we really need to just act more like Jesus. Let's invite Andrew in for a dialogue on how Christians should behave!" - if you had said that, how would TGC have reacted?

Would they have,
a. ignored you and been fine with what you said,
b. admonished you in as public a setting as your initial words, demanded a retraction, suspended your TGC blogging privileges pending such a retraction, and ultimately removed you from the blogroll, or
c. talked to you in private, allowed you to resign gracefully, and then posted a statement from Keller/Carson praising your candor and wishing you well in your future endeavors?

My guess is they would have chosen option a - but only because you're not an influential mega-church pastor.

I wouldn't defend TGC on it's soft-and-cuddly reputation if I were you. You're better sticking to the point of your piece.

Robert said...

TC,

Are you suggesting that MacDonald was forced out? Next you'll suggest that they did the same to Driscoll... /sarcasm

Sadly, I'd agree with the former while not the latter...I don't think they'd ever ask MD to leave. And honestly, MD should have been subject to removal before MacDonald.

Robert said...

Trevin,

Whether he was your audience or not, he obviously read it, as you linked to his response on your blog today. I certainly hope that you have taken/will take advantage of this opportunity to address him and present the Gospel since you have his attention.

Frank Turk said...

Hi again Trevin --

You're saying you didn't really expect Andrew Sullivan to read your essay, yes?

So now that he has, and responded to it, what shall we do with your perspective?
__________

On the other subject you bring up, let me say it plainly since you bring it up: I am utterly stunned by the core group of men who steer TGC. It's like those fellows have never seen public discourse before except in academic journals. And when they do see it, it's like an ankle was exposed on a Victorian street corner -- they are astonished that such a thing could happen in this day and age.

I would love to have an open exchange on this subject with anyone who thinks they share the TGC concern for propriety, humility, self-sacrifice -and- truth to find out whether I have misunderstood them and whether or not they are (as you say) "soft".

I am sure it will take a back seat to forming the new narrative which bridges the gap between Evolution and Genesis.

CCinTn said...

What does the sound of one hand clapping sound like?

I’ll bet Voddie Baucham, Thabiti Anyabwile and Mark Devers know first-hand since they were basically left hanging with no public support from their brethren at TGC during the ER2 debacle. But what a genteel response that finally came down much, much later. It provided a nice history lesson and was very nicely written with all kinds of $10 seminary words scattered about but it was thin on defending the Gospel or taking umbrage that our sovereign God was besmirched. You know, that fundamentalist holy anger thing?

Manfred said...

In case you haven't read it, here's Baucham's response to the ER2 dung heap: http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/voddie-baucham-ministries/blog/elephant-room-2012-01/

CCinTn said...

Frank, I just keep shaking my head at the trajectory that Piper is on. Not so much with Keller, but John has been disappointing as of late.

He is willing to accept whatever science tells us regarding the age of the earth & universe but draws the line at any scientific "proof" of how long Man has been around if it is longer than the timeframe suggested by biblical genealogy?

Since much of the same "science" that determines the age of a rock is also used to determine the age of the fossils of ancient men how is it that he can he pick and choose what he is willing to accept as facts?

I think he needs to subscribe to the email of your fellow Centurion, Regis Nicoll.

Dan McGhee said...

Trevin, I think this sentiment expressed regarding the softness and lack of simple, old-fashioned, forthrightness on the part of the TGC is quite accurate.

Case in point - Just last week D.A. Carson came to the Detroit area for a one day conference. During the question and answer time he was asked by one of the men at this conference to comment on the recent Elephant Room debacle... This man sincerely wanted a simple, straight-forward, answer. What did he receive from Carson? "I don't want to comment on that beyond what I've already written in my blog."

I'm sorry, but you guys are missing some grit over there, and its become plainly obvious to many of us. I personally think you guys ought to tear a page out of Thabiti's book of courage, memorize it, and apply it.

BECAUSE THERE IS TOO MUCH AT STAKE, TREVIN.

Nash Equilibrium said...

I happened to read Sullivan's article at the Daily Beast yesterday. Mostly I found it confusing; his praise for Jefferson's Bible, St. Francis and a zillion other mixed-up assertions adding up to who-knows-what.

I don't know who Sullivan is or what he believes, but I think you are spot on with the idea that when you lie down with dogs like those at Newsweek, you get up with fleas.

Nash Equilibrium said...

PS: I commented on Sullivan's article at the Beast yesterday, pointing out that Christianity is not in Crisis, Mankind is in Crisis.

I forgot to comment that Frank Turk is a menace and must be stopped. Doggone it!

dac said...

Your axe-grinding "TGC guys are all soft and compromising" vision that comes out again and again at this site

pretty sure that all started when someone started dropping Pyro off their blog links.....#justsayin

Tom Chantry said...

And DAC demonstrates once again that he can read the hearts of the Pyro guys and just knows that their criticism comes from selfish pride. That he can read hearts is amazing, given that he also demonstrates once again that he has absolutely no idea what the substantive areas of difference among evangelicals actually are.

Tom said...

After reading Sullivan's article and Wax's article, here are my conclusions regarding this kerfluffle:

1. If Sullivan can't tell the difference between Thomas Jefferson's, Francis of Assisi's, and his Irish grandmother's visions of Christianity, he does not actually understand any of those people, nor does he understand Christianity. He's essentially stuck with a Walter Rauschenbusch/World Council of Churches/Liberation Theology view of Jesus and the church. That's his problem.

2. Wax doesn't really seem to get that.

3. On the one hand, Wax is correct to acknowledge that, in many cases, Christianity has become politicized. He is wrong to not point out that Sullivan's charges represent an incomplete view of Western Christianity at best, and are downright mendacious at worst.

4. However, that Wax points out that Sullivan's view of Jesus is incomplete may be enough to keep some people who were on the fence from jumping to Sullivan until someone comes along to explain how Sullivan is flat-out wrong.

Frank Turk said...

We also didn't get invited to band of Bloggers.

THAT must be the REAL reason.

Bear said...

Your critique and conclusion of Wax's article is not substantiated (or misplaced at best). Your own critique of Wax is undermined when your "singular response to Sullivan is this: since you’re not a Christian, you don’t really get a say in it."

Clearly Wax's article was not primarily directed at Sullivan nor meant to call Sullivan to repent. Why hold it to this standard in a belittling way? Clearly you had a strong reaction to it. Clearly it upset you. But in reading your article (and then reading the offending article by Wax), your response comes across as more emotional and juvenile than pointed and justified.

Here's what I surmised by your own words: (1) Newsweek sucks; (2) Sullivan is a heretic; (2) TGC sucks; (3) Wax's response to Newsweek embarrasses all of Christians; (4) You take on Sullivan directly (in contradiction to your opening "singular response") by reminding him Jesus fulfilled the law.

You have indicted yourself by your own critique. I found your call to repentance of Sullivan no more clear or persuasive than Wax's omission. Maybe we should ask Sullivan which article brought him closer to God?

Before today I have never read this blog nor TGC. Just felt that your heated response to a response warranted a neutral observation.

James S said...

Excellent, Frank.

Frank Turk said...

"Bear" -

What would we do without anonymous, "neutral" observations?

Robert said...

Bear,

Sullivan already has his preconception of God and asking him what brings him closer to God is not really the true question. The question is does he accept or reject the Bible? Does he accept or reject the truth of the whole testimony of Scripture? And does he repent of his sin in light of Scripture and trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and foolow Him as Lord of all? that is what his eternal fate hangs upon and if we don't present the truth to him when given the opportunity, then what does that say about us?

Robert said...

Dac,

Regardless of the thoughts of the bloggers here at teampyro, I look at TGC and their (lack of) public handling of Driscoll's public antics for many years coupled with how they refused to publicly handle the MacDonald ER2 mess in any substantive manner and I can't help but to think that they don't understand why Paul would have written open letters to churches or rebuke Peter to his face. And surely what Peter did was much less serious of an infraction than sharing an open stage with a heretic and accepting what he says there without calling him to repentance for his heretical teaching. And the same goes saying that as a pastor, one can expect to see visions with explicit sexual details of an affair between one of the married females in the congregation and a stranger. And let's not forget that said visions might not always be correct...even though the pictures are clear...like on a TV.

Do you think that just maybe any person with a discerning mind might seem to have a problem with this? Or do you think it is just and axe to grind for the guys here at teampyro because of the blog list at TGC.

And I'm not even getting into how they left Mark Dever, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Voddie Baucham out on an island with this whole matter...at least publicly. And then how MacDonald had his little video discussion with three black pastors that basically painted Thabiti and Baucham as sell-outs from the black culture to be accepted by the old, white Reformed evangelical leaders.

TBush said...

Frank- you said "inbred heretics"- fell off my chair. Great post and observations. You write good...

...ly.

Frank Turk said...

Didn't Mark Driscoll used to be on the Council for the Gospel Coalition?

Check here.

He's not listed anymore.

Frank Turk said...

just to validate that data, click here.

Nobody saw that one coming, did they? I admit that even though it happened silently, it happened. And interesting development.

Tom Chantry said...

Morning, Frank. I guess this sort of flew under the radar last week.

Tom Chantry said...

Short version: Mark told us in advance he would step down, and big, important people like him have to set priorities, so it's cool. Nothing to see here. Move along.

hereschenes said...

Frank - FYI, MD resigned from TGC and made a public statement about it a week or so ago. TGC also made a statement.

See here and here.

Ben Cheney said...

Rats... I got scooped!

Jon Swerens said...

Andrew Sullivan stepped into the ring and punched the Bride of Christ dead in the face. So: Who responded more biblically, Trevin or Frank?

Sullivan is a false prophet and God-hater. The Bible is bursting with examples of how men of God treated such contemptible people. The saints of the Scriptures and church history knew when bullies and charlatans needed to be fought.

Sullivan needed a verbal full Nelson, using words that have callouses and dirt under the nails. I'm very thankful Frank was able to deliver what he and the church needed.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

There were comments in the article written by Keller and Carson concerning MD's resignation. I know, I made two myself, but they took all the comments down, which is typical as to how TGC deals with truth when it is revealed. Just bury it!!!

Like your comment, Robert. :)

Robert said...

I already knew MD had stepped down from TGC when I wrote my comments...there is no way for anybody to say what discussions took place before it happened, though. And I am prepared to take MD at his word that he is stepping down of his own volition and for his own reasons. That still doesn't let TGC off the hook for how they have handled his antics from the pulpit and in his books.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Unfortunately the more verbal full Nelsons a person like Sullivan gets, the more ammo it gives him to cast Christians as mean-spirited haters.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Two pieces of gold:

(1) "To which I, today, respond: what an innocent act of self-immolation as an attempt to gain the sympathy of people who have no urge toward sympathy for anyone but those who are in full agreement with them. “Yes, I know we’re a sick and sad lot of malcontents, but Jesus Saves,” is the argument? Jesus saves? In what way then? And how does he save since you think you’re such a lousy example?

What is grossly unfortunate in this approach is that it assumes that we ought to accept the stereotypes thrust upon us in the media."

(2) "And that Trevin Wax and the Gospel Coalition couldn’t find a way to say that much to you after your insults and your condescension is, frankly, a worse indictment of us Christians than you could have composed."

Thanks for the post, Frank. And I say this as someone who greatly appreciates both Trevin Wax and the Gospel Coalition.

Sometimes, Christianity's pharasaic cultured despisers only respect Christians when they respond like Jesus did to the Pharisees.

Marla said...

"I am sure it will take a back seat to forming the new narrative which bridges the gap between Evolution and Genesis."

Oh, if only that were *not* true.... *sigh*. If Genesis can't be trusted, what good is the Gospel?

TGC = soft is really too nice a word.

Tom Chantry said...

This just struck me, and in a moment I may be struck down for my silliness, but given TGC's desire for a "center-bounded" evangelicalism and their utter disinterest in mounting a powerful defense of central doctrines, could we begin to think of TGC as "The Gooey Center"?

I know I will.

Cindy Stokes said...

Wow, that must have been fun to write!! :D And good call and calling Trevin on missing being explicit with the gospel. I easily criticize others for skipping that part but have to be careful not to miss it myself when I blog. It's really so brief and so easy to segue to, there's no excuse.

I was myself tempted, when reviewing Dallas Willard's book, to take some time to be polite and agree with him where he correctly defined a particular problem in American Christianity, but his heresy is so blatant, it seemed ridiculous to acknowledge anything he verbally erased with the rest of his heresy. Great Post Mr. Turk.

Signed,
Discenment Diva

Cindy Stokes said...

Also, I noticed that Trevin excused his non-specificity regarding the gospel by saying that his post was intended for Christians discussion the gospel. Is there ever a time we stop benefit from hearing the gospel? It is the gospel by which we have been saved, are being saved and will receive the culmination of our salvation on judgment day. The gospel is not only for non-christians.

Jon Swerens said...

Nash,

Good point, but ammo can be thrown back at you only if it misses the mark.

Cheers,
Jon