27 November 2012

Notable posts on marital abuse, December 25, and a whole lot more

by Dan Phillips

Howdy, gang.

Thabiti Anyabwile unintentionally gives us a sad example of blogging at its best and worst. On the one hand, he provides a letter to an abusive husband that contains a lot of pastoral, masculine, godly wisdom. It's well-written and forthrightly addresses a miserable situation with the Gospel and with truth.

Immediately he's set upon by an angry, stubborn, self-righteous commenter who gives no evidence of having thoughtfully read anything below the title. Thabiti, God bless 'im, tries manfully and with incredible grace to engage the poor soul graciously and patiently and, as we Pyros could have predicted, it goes nowhere, and the meta has to be closed. Metas often bear out the truth of Ecclesiastes 9:18b ("one sinner destroys much good"), and this is a case in point.

So read the post, skip the comments — unless you want to see a Herculean model of grace in Thabiti's attempts to reach out and engage a scoffer. You might be thinking of Prov. 17:12, 27:22, and 29:9... and if that makes you wish you had a solid, in-depth Christian book that would help you read, apply, teach and preach Proverb — well, you know.

And BTW, Thabiti is there experiencing what drove me to the philosophy of strategery with which I blog.

You may know that N. T. Wright has sallied forth to speak down to us benighted bumpkins about what Serious Scholars know to be the truth behind (and contrary to) the words of Paul. Douglas Wilson responds once, yea twice, yea unto three times. Readable and witty, as usual.

In much lighter humor, Kevin DeYoung posted a couple of very cute videos.

This reminds me of one you might enjoy, especially you Joss Whedon fans. It's a literally-told Story Written By a Kid. You'll love it, and you'll never think of SWAT the same.

If textual criticism is your thing, you'll appreciate an article at Triablogue about recently-announced manuscript finds.

At that same blog, Jason Engwer tells us more about the December 25 date for Christmas than we would have thought it possible to know.

Professor Matt Harmon. of Grace Theological Seminary, did me the great favor of proofing my Greek notes and translations for that little green book. You'll want to bookmark his series on the Gospel according to the Minor Prophets.

Sharper Iron ran a really terrific post by Gary Gilley (why do I know that name?; or am I thinking of Garry Graham, who used to beat me up regularly when I was a single-digiter?...but I digress) called Cessationism, Revelation & Prophecy. Gilley reads as if he were a regular Pyro reader conversant with our years of work on the endlessly-vital subject, and his robust and pastoral exposition is a very worthwhile contribution.

Then Gilley follows up with A Case for Cessationism, in which he argues (among other things) that "the position taken by most on prophecy—cautious but open—is untenable." he deals with the "God in a box" dodge and the dithery cowardice of refusing to commit robustly to the implications of really believing in a really sufficient Word.

Do you prefer your Carl Trueman crusty, or non-crusty? The latter? Sorry, all out!

In case you missed it, I offered a jazzy little rendition of a little dittie by a Reformer guy.

Finally, would you like to hear a sermon that discusses the notion of "the call to pastoral ministry," the concept of qualifications and unculpability, and what Titus 1:6 means about the pastor's family life? How about if it contains the words "Not just any idiot can be an elder. It takes a special kind of idiot." Ah, interested now? Then you're in luck.

Dan Phillips's signature


Rational νεόφυτος said...

Thabiti's response to the comment section train-wreck is a wonderful example of the gracious and loving response of a pastor.

In thinking about this, when a general run-of-the-mill lay-person runs a blog about his cats, and get's a nasty comment, when responding he can be as snarky and acidic as he likes - but when it's a pastor responding, the standards are so much higher: regardless of how nutty the comment might be, he needs to show a loving response and be "sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable" and all that other Pauline good stuff. Thabiti shows he's got this all covered.

Rhology said...

Gilley's article is quite good but (PET PEEVE) employs as part of his argument the tired "when the perfect comes" sheet from 1 Cor 13:8. Please, spare me. This is coming from a cessationist.

DJP said...

Hope you get to feeling better on that, Rho, since the "tired" interpretation is contextually and linguistically the superior and likelier view.

Susan said...

Not feeling too great this morning, so I'm vegging a little...and then I came to Pyro and thought, "Hmm...this feels like H&T...at Pyro...on a Tuesday!"

Read Thabiti's letter. Wonderfully written...a good example of tempering justice with mercy. I especially liked his quote about writing the letter from prison to Jack's hospital bed if he were the abused woman's father. Make way for kung-fu master Thabiti!

And Dan, you're right. That commenter covered his/her ears and refused to listen to what Thabiti was really saying. I couldn't even finish reading one comment before becoming irked myself. There was nothing in Thabiti's letter that warranted such wrath and accusation. Thabiti was onto something when he responded that the accuser's problem lies with his own heart.

Rhology said...

Hope you get to feeling better on that, Rho

LOL, touché.
The rest of the article was excellent, though, so thanks again for the links. And you were right about Thabiti. Man, that guy is solid.

Stephen said...

Dan, I'm not sure if you were being serious or not in your claimed ignorance of Gilley (a search of Pyro and BibChr reveals you linked him once on BibChr 6 years ago on C.S. Lewis but otherwise the only editor here who has said anything about him was Phil Johnson, who spoke at his church once and called him a favorite writer) - but for anyone else unaware, Gilley's writings under the resource tab at his church's website svchapel.org are wonderful. He posts a new article every couple months, and the real gems are the myriad book reviews he has posted. I read through a lot of his stuff around the same time I first found Pyro a few years ago, and I always thought the writing and theological content were very similar, though with subtle differences in tone and purpose (he doesn't write as a blog).

DJP said...

I was serious. His name clicks something in my brainium, but I haven't located the connection yet.

donsands said...

NT is quite above the Holy Writ at times, and yet he is altogether an excellent teacher as well.

Doug Wilson is a blessing. This brother makes me laugh and be built up and humbled.

I have noticed that the Holy Word of truth is truly being hated more and more. With my home Sate of Maryland now making it legal for two homosexuals to marry, there is no stopping this wave of ungodliness that has come forth out of the closet, and beggs us to climb into the closet.

Hope you don't mind a short burst of anger.

Have a great week in our Savior's sovereign love and will for us. All for the Cross. Gal. 6:14.

Anonymous said...

Gilley wrote "This Little Church Went to Market" and "This Little Church Stayed Home."

Maybe that's what you are remembering. If you aren't, you ought to be remembering :).

trogdor said...

Engwer forgot one major thing - December 25 is the one day on which we are completely forbidden from ever having a church service. It's a pretty big oversight, but maybe he'll correct it in the second edition.

Love Wilson's trashing of Wright's wretched manipulative malfeasance. The key one is the third article - something as awful as Wright's deceit must not just be rejected, but utterly ridiculed. Something so outright horrible must not be given a seat at the table of ideas as though it's a legitimate option; the sheer amount of scriptural manipulation, deceitful half-truths, and outright making stuff up that's necessary to even pretend this case is remotely Biblical must be completely denounced.

Wright just never ceases to amaze, and not always in a good way. When he's on, there are very few who are even remotely comparable. But when he's wrong - and on this he's thoroughly wrong - he's even more adamant, and seemingly nothing is off limits. His entire case rests on what he wishes scripture said instead of what it actually (clearly, unambiguously) says! The same guy who produces near-peerless excellence also produces, well, this. The mind boggles.

The Gary Gilley articles were great. I especially appreciated his take on the cautious but open position, which I held until much too recently.

Terry Rayburn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry Rayburn said...

Would that Doug Wilson would as engagingly denounce Tom Wright's neo-legalism which is extremely close to Wilson's own Federal Vision view of Justification by works-plus-faith.

Instead he plows on as one of the most subtle false teachers who teaches his students grace-plus-works salvation (which is "no longer grace") without them even knowing it. Brilliant, what?

Read Phil's excellent speech at: http://goo.gl/6bu1G for a really good explanation.

Then compare in some introductory notes relating to neo-legalism and Federal Vision at: http://goo.gl/C491L.

I would never exalt one part of Scripture over another, but this is *way* more critical to the Gospel than female bishops.

I honestly have not been able to figure out which of these three things (or a combination) is the case:

1. Otherwise solid biblical guys don't know the deadly evil of Federal Vision "justification", or

2. They can't comprehend that Doug Wilson believes and teaches it, or

3. Wilson is just so stinkin' charming and such a fantastic writer that, hey, it just doesn't matter in his case.

Enlighten me.