19 March 2013

Et tu, Chuck? (Swindoll hosts singing elephants? What?)

by Dan Phillips

Before James MacDonald's disastrous and still unaddressed decision to host T. D. Jakes as a "Christian leader," I didn't know MacD from Adam. So I wasn't as shocked as others who had known and previously thought well of him — simply because I had no baseline.

When I wrote on it, therefore, it was simply a concern over the issues. I think my first weighing-in was 9/2011. But my two most substantial contributions were this and this. The latter two were the more important, and the third was, in my judgment, the most important.

That third post was proactive and put up in plenty of time to do some good. Had (for instance) any TGC or otherwise high-profile bloggers — even one! — taken up my specific call centering around the Biblical concept of repentance, and made it an inescapable issue, MacDonald and Driscoll might have been unable to avoid it. It might have made a difference. The trainwreck that resulted might have been avoided.

But history's history; so we now know that TGC bloggers and other high-visibility bloggers did not echo that call, and many high-profile leaders remained silent until it was too late, and bad things happened. You know what they say— of all sad words on tongue or pen, the saddest these: "it might have been."

And now here we are yet again, with a different but similar situation.

It's different in that I do know Chuck Swindoll. Well, not personally, though I did sit next to him in Talbot Chapel once. But I've heard Swindoll, read him, enjoyed him a lot in years past. He's earned a good reputation in many ways, at least as being sound and stable on the fundamentals. He has been and remains associated with Dallas Theological Seminary, which itself at least soundly affirms basic theological doctrines.

So whyever would Swindoll's church host singers who are (to say it as charitably as possible) unclear on the core doctrine of the Trinity?

My attention was first drawn to this by Mark Lamprecht, whose Open Letter to Chuck Swindoll and Stonebriar Church on Phillips, Craig & Dean does a fantastic job documenting the concerns any Christian should instantly have on hearing this absolutely baffling news. At last notice, Mark has received no response.

Look: Neither of these matters is new.

I refer first to the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity. This isn't a doctrine that's been recently detected in the text of Scripture. Christians have not only recently turned their attention to studying what Scripture says about the nature of God. The truth of the trinity of persons in the one God been seen and expounded with increasing clarity from the very earliest days of the church. To my mind, Scripture is absolutely crystal-clear and emphatic in its revelation of the Triune God — the God who, one as to essence, has eternally existed in three distinct Persons.

It isn't a newly-identified subject, nor a newly-expounded truth.

And it isn't that the heresy of modalism raised new and baffling questions last Tuesday, questions which haven't been answered finally, thunderously  and decisively since the first time they were posed many centuries ago.

And it isn't as if those answers are little-known or difficult to obtain; or as if the issue is not vital and foundational. And it isn't as if it's impossibly difficult (A) to express the basic truths of the doctrine, or (B) to sniff and (C) ferret out when false teachers are squidging or fudging or dodging those truths.

Second, I refer to serious and (as far as I know) utterly unanswered concerns expressed about Phillips, Craig and Dean's view of God. These are long-standing, easily-located, and all over the place. James White has spoken up, Eric Nielsen has a lengthy treatment at White's site. Neither of these is recent nor difficult to find.

The Wikipedia quotations are typical of PCD's "responses," and can serve as representatives of all the others I've seen. While they might work for the "top men" who gave T. D. Jakes a thumbs-up (and in Bryan Loritts' case as much as said that only racist "middle-aged white guys" weren't satisfied), these pathetic dodges wouldn't work for most Biblically and theologically prepared Christians.

So, all that said, here I am again.
  1. What possible excuse or explanation can there be for Chuck Swindoll to promote anyone who isn't crystal-clear on the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity?
  2. ...and if anyone wants to say "they've changed," then I refer you right back to this and this.

That is, I asked how a man can held up as a Christian leader in any sense when he is not crystal-clear on such fundamentals as the Gospel and the nature of God. And so I now am asking again: how can singers lead in worship if they are in any way unclear as to their understanding of the nature of God and the Gospel? Hello? what does "worship" mean? Does it matter what god we're worshiping, whether we are worshiping the same god as the worship-leaders? Does it matter what we are conceiving of as the basis of that relationship that underlies our worship?

Chuck Swindoll has always identified himself with the school of thought that affirms what should be obvious: these things matter. And now, this? What possible sense does this make?

In fact, may I be forgiven a "See, I Told You So" moment? I have tried again and again to raise the issue of what a shame it was that high-visibility leaders and bloggers feigned unawareness of Pyromaniacs, or inability to read what we right write right in writing. Every time I've tried, I have either been ignored (at best), or snarkily criticized for not letting that issue die (at worst).

Well, here's why I didn't. I was already thinking of the next time. Since the last time was mishandled so tragically, it was a "lock" that there'd be a next time. Would anything different be done, that time? Were any lessons learned?

And here we are. It's the next time. And I'm sounding the same issues, the same two issues, the same two questions that were ignored last time:
Wouldn't it be nice if, this time, high-profile leaders didn't ignore warnings such as mine this time, and idly watch a brother make a huge mistake?

I sure think so. We'll see.

Dan Phillips's signature


Kerry James Allen said...

Hopefully everybody catches that little turn of a phrase:

"I have tried again and again to raise the issue of what a shame it was that high-visibility leaders and bloggers feigned unawareness of Pyromaniacs, or inability to read what we right."

That should probably become the Pyro mission statement: "Writing with the intent that you read what we right." Or at least attempt to right.

Nice (but probably will be ignored) post Dan.

P.S. CAPTCHA: Offlogic. Must be providential.

DJP said...

One-star hater is also a modalist.

#BreakingNews #GrowingProfile

Andrew Sanford said...


Been reading the blog for a while, but have never read the comments. I Started to the other day and realized how much they can add to the blog. Figured I'd start commenting if i had anything good to say.

That being said, i think this quote from the James White article you linked hits the nail on the head.

"The real issue we are facing today with regards to PC&D is simple: many evangelicals simply do not care about the Trinity. It is a vestigial doctrine in their practice and their worship. Hence, when they encounter someone who does not believe in one aspect of that doctrine, it is easy to say, Oh, but look at how much the Lord is blessing them and turn a blind eye to their positive belief in simple heresy."

DJP said...

Good first entry, Andrew. Keep it up.


Mark | hereiblog said...

Dan, thanks for linking me. I was contacted by someone through my blog weeks ago about Swindoll's church and PC&D. I was contacted because I have a couple other articles on PC&D and Modalism.

One person did here back from an elder at Stonebriar. He basically said he was in touch with PC&D's manager and researched their beliefs. However, he shared nothing about his conclusions. Instead, he offered to talk on the phone about the concerns.

It's certainly odd with someone who has such a public ministry as Swindoll to not address an issue like this one with PC&D. Especially, given what he wrote in the article I quoted him from about doctrine, truth and the Trinity.

Of course, now I'm in trouble for saying anything about Duck Dynasty.

DJP said...

Let's stay focused.

So if ANYONE is once again being assured of hush-hush high-level top-secret conversations and assurances, I am begging you, familiarize yourself with at least the contents of my second post, if not the first as well.

Robert said...

I read Mark's article from his twitter feed and I'm glad to see that you've added to the call for discernment (not of the MD brand) here. I always think of Todd Friel doing his spiel saying, "Hi, I'm Phillips", running off stage and back, saying, "I'm Craig", and running back and forth once more, then saying, "I'm Dean".

I certainly hope that Swindoll and his church will heed the warnings, but based upon Mark's comment here I am not expecting much. It is no wonder that there are people trying to redefine marriage when people inside evangelicalism invite in people who deny essential doctrines of Biblical Christianity.

Bobby Grow said...

Nobody reads blogs anymore, get over it! If they do, they aren't taken seriously, so, get over it. Even with large readerships, blogs are just blogs; that's all, and that's why you are so easily ignored, people who don't want to watch what you have to say don't turn to your channel.

DJP said...

Well there y'go, then.

Tom Chantry said...

As Yogi Berra famously said, "Nobody ever eats there anymore; it's too crowded."

Kerry James Allen said...

And as Milton Rakove said, about Chicago politics, "We don't want nobody nobody sent."

DJP said...

What we really needed for perfect, universe-collapsing irony would have been for Bobby to read the post then comment on this blog that nobody reads blogs, and besides I was wrong to criticize Swindoll before talking with him about this privately over coffee, and that I was a loveless hater for judging my brothers — finishing it all off with a citation from volume 47 of The Arcane Lore of Heinrich von Stuppendorff to the effect that all statements about theology are incomprehensible and meaningless.

THEN the universe would have collapsed, and it would all have been academic, anyway.

Kerry James Allen said...

Bobby's bio said he had a blog called the Anti-Pyromaniac. Clicked it but there was nothing written there. Oh wait, that's right, nobody reads blogs. Must be the anti-blog for people who don't read blogs.

Bobby Grow said...

I read the post. I am a nobody. And so the logic seems quite pristine.

I never said anything about not criticizing Swindoll; Swindoll should be criticized, I have criticized Swindoll for positions or attitudes towards academia (ironically) that he has taken in the past too. And I think he should be criticized about hosting modalists, or endorsing them.

I was just responding to the underlying drone of lament in your post that nobody seems to pay attention to you. And I was just stating the obvious; you're a blogger, dude.

DJP said...

And more, if blogging is a waste of time, what is commenting on a blog?

Worse still, what is commenting on a blog that blogging is a waste of time?

Worst of all, what would commenting repeatedly on a blog to defend the proposition that blogging is a waste of time be?

DJP said...

The last two comments went up literally simultaneously.

Bobby Grow said...

That's hilarious, Kerry!

I was actually going to do a blog like that, but felt it would ultimately be a huge waste of time; since nobody reads blogs, after all.

I was going to use "anti" in its Greek sense of "in the stead of"; so more of a positive sense, instead of a negating one.

Robert Warren said...

Also, for more information on these guys, James White and guest Steve Camp devoted a large portion of
this episode of The Dividing Line
from many moons ago. With a cameo appearance by Frank.

Andrew Steele said...

I am not new to Pyromaniacs but am new to commenting so here goes. I feel that having PCD play a concert at your church is different from T. D. Jakes and the Elephant Room more than slightly.
The Elephant Room was bringing "like minded" church leaders together to discuss how and why they did things the way they did. In a sence policy makers or at least explainers for the larger christian community. Having T. D. Jakes there was saying that what he believed and taught was close enough to what everyone else believed and taught.
While PCD are pastors themselves they are not pastoring there. they are playing a concert with the church as a venue. They are a "christian band" in the way that the music industry has a "Christian" genre. I listen to a lot of "christian" music and agree whole heartedly with very little of it. They are not preaching. They are not headline speakers at some theological conference. They are entertainment.
I do not think you have to align yourself in every point when you are the venue for a concert. They are entertainers and not people (poorly) trying to make policy.

Andrew Steele said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DJP said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Andrew.

So you notice that the church is advertising this on the church site, along with all the services, sermomns, and everything else?

Do you see any disclaimers on that page? I don't.

Would you feel the same if the performers were The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or The Watchtower 144K? if they were singing praises of another god?

If your answer is "Yes," then we have very different ideas of what churches should be doing.

If your answer is "No," then I'd direct you back to the post, where I make application to this situation.

And you kind of tossed aside the fact that the singers are also known to be pastors, and thus in positions of leadership... really? That doesn't buttress my point?

Kerry James Allen said...

Andrew, to add to Dan's point in the buttress, one of today's quotes from the Spurgeon Twitter feed:

"We grow like our friends; therefore let us choose them with care."

Andrew Steele said...

I will think on Dans questions for now. But as to having them as friends. I don't know about having them play a concert is the same as having them as friends.

I did toss aside they are preachers I mentioned it and let it go. I guess if they are not preaching I care slightly less that they are preachers

I don't know though y'all make solid points just seemed nit picky to me at first

Halcyon said...

I would just like to comment that Bobby's commenting on blogs being a waste of time was a wasted comment out of its time but worthy of it's own blog post.

Still, his wasted commenting on the waste of blogs further comments on the wasted commentary leveled at bloggers and commenters alike (if time allowed us to comment on such things).

Nonetheless, if we took the time, and comments were blogged about wasting time, then the time would come where wasted blogs could comment on their own timeful wastation.

I know some will comment that wasted time is better to be blogged than commented on, but if that were true, then time would blog about the waste we comment in its name.

Furthermore, what time do you blog and what time do you comment? And do we waste comments on timeless blogs, since such waste is only a sad commentary on our time-ridden wasted culture?

In conclusion, Pyromaniacs are all jerk. Except Frank. He's the meta-jerk, and wastes no one's time commenting.

Be sure to check out my blog (and comment):


Andrea said...

This post made my heart really heavy, because I have truly admired Mr. Swindoll. But the very best of us are sinners, and I hope that he will yield to scriptural correction in this case, or his ministry is sadly sullied.

On a subject unrelated to this important post, which I would never have raised had DJP not raised it first:

Not meaning to be a wet blanket, but can we just assume that OSH just hates Pyromaniacs and everything that you collectively stand for and leave it at that? Why keep giving him/her/it so much attention for being so oppositional?

I would never know a thing about your ratings unless someone else menitioned it, because I'm mainly looking for scriptural fidelity, and that is always at a premium here.

Furthermore, as a regular reader who has learned much from that scriptural focus, I want to go on record as saying that your faithfulness has a great impact on many, whether in your home churches or in a blog. This blog, in particular, has enabled me to think more biblically and to encourage the same in my family and my church. Thank you for all that you do.

Rachael Starke said...

ROFL @ Halcyon. He gets today's Trogdor award.

Still mulling this one. Ed Stetzer tweeted something yesterday about when role trumps right in terms of publicly speaking out against something that's had my head mulling ever sense. The whole thing about when an individual church does something wacky, vs. a brand name pastor of an individual church, vs a theological collective, vs. a member of a theological collective......It's like we need to make a chart or something. But I'm Reformed - I'm allergic to charts. :)

Halcyon said...

Can we call it "The Golden Trogdor Award"? And can we nickname it a "troggie"?

For what it's worth, I agree with whoever here said that the real problem in evangelicalism is that no one understands the importance or significance of the Trinity anymore. It's mumbo-jumbo at best and irrelevant at worst. How such a central doctrine could be so easily devalued is anyone's guess.

DJP said...

Thanks, Andrew. It's a big deal in that (A) it is widely known that they are, at the very best, unclear on the central issue of who God is, and so (B) for a man so renowned for Biblical fidelity as Swindoll to have them actually perform (for money!) at his church gives the impression of his seal of approval. That's a big deal.

DJP said...

Halcyon, ROFL. We need a "like" button for comments.

Though finding one and installing it would probably be a waste of time.

DJP said...

The coveted "Troggie."

I like it.

rockstarkp said...

Bobby said, "you're a blogger, dude."

Dan, you need a shirt with that or something. maybe a mug.
That's funny stuff.
Or some business cards :) LOL.

DJP said...

Maybe like with Hagrid's picture?

rockstarkp said...


Stephen said...

It's a little disingenuous to say that three pastors who sing in a "Christian" band will not preach when they give concerts. Have you ever been to a CCM concert? It can sometimes be half-talking, half-singing (and the other half, passing out pictures of orphans or some other charity du jour). And yes, three halves manifesting as one whole event makes about as much as sense as claiming to be a Biblical Christian while worshiping a modalistic deity.

Unknown said...

Re: Comment 2:

Clearly, DJP, anyone who doesn't think your entire body of writing isn't God's gift to the Internet must be a heretic... :-/

Shotwell said...

For anyone to say that it matters less because PC&D were at Swindoll's church as performers instead of teachers is simply wrong. When PC&D perform, they are singing to, and about, another god who is not God, IN GODS HOUSE!. Swindoll allowed his flock to unwittingly applaud and approve of their idolatry. God is concerned about His own glory, I doubt he see's this as a little thing.

trogdor said...

I always love their special rendition of 'Holy Holy Holy'. "God in three Persons/ You know, sequentially."

What the show really needs is Mark Driscoll to open with the classic song "He's a Modalist, and he's OK". Because Pastor Mark may talk like he's so butch, but in reality he puts on women's clothing and hangs around in bars (theologically speaking, that is).

Honestly, I don't know why PCD and Jakes bother being coy about their heresy. Do they really think their album/book sales would be seriously hurt by admitting to being rank heretics? Guys like McLaren and Bell promote their stuff as heretical anti-Christian blasphemy and it sells like crazy, and we've just seen the 'evangelical' world fawn over the coronation of the latest Antichrist. Do they really think a wave of discernment will ruin their careers if they just flat-out admit to being modalists?

David Regier said...

If Osteen replaced Phillips, we could have OCD. And then we could wash our hands of them. Hundreds of times.

Robert said...


Do they seriously have a special rendition where they do that or are you being funny? If that is true, that alone would be enough to show where they stand. And it actually makes me kind of angry.

Of course, I guess the producers of "The Bible" on the History Channel could get them to do the music since T.D. Jakes was one of their advisors and they left out God the Father speaking and God the Holy Spirit descending like a dove at their interpretation of Jesus' baptism.

Michael Coughlin said...

I think OSH manifests himself as 3 readers.

Frank Rue said...

I have to speak up, here, because I used to attend one of the churches set up by the "Phillips" in Phillips, Craig and Dean. When they "do a concert", it is NOT similar to a secular concert. In fact, they DO take the time to preach, they DO call people to Jesus (the Oneness Pentecostal "Jesus"), and they DO work with the team of that church to make sure there is follow-up afterward.

So, since I am Trinitarian, and have since LEFT that church, I would wholeheartedly state that these men are, indeed, being given a platform to preach and lead and teach, and that, in their own minds, they are preaching, teaching, and leading people to a god who is not the god of the bible.

It is another debate entirely whether the true Triune God will opt to use their songs or preaching for His purposes, but it is our responsibility as Christians to avoid such people and to warn against them since they DO use that platform to purport their beliefs (however subtly).

As an aside, any celebrity figure will have merchandise and wares at a table in the foyer and will also recommend visiting their website/church, subscribing to their newsletter, and viewing their blogs. So the influence is full-circle, whether the hosting pastor intends it or not.

Thus, the danger.

DJP said...

Thanks very much, Frank Rue.

So what do you make of the fact that, so far, response to Lamprecht and me has ranged from ignoring us to telling me to shut up and mind my place?

Michael Coughlin said...

@David Regier - NICE!

Ken said...

Good one David !!!

Michael Coughlin said...

These types of things, and the lack of discernment displayed by formerly trusted teachers reminds me of this:

But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
(2 Chronicles 26:16 ESV)

May God have mercy and spare me from this pride he allowed in Uzziah.

Frank Rue said...

Dan -

I think that you are only referring to the same ignorance in both cases, just different examples of how an ignorant person would work that out: 1) literally ignoring; 2) retaliating defensively and childishly.

This should not be something to be ignored. Elders are responsible to protect the sheep they have "on loan".

Some immature sheep will watch PCD that night and decide that they like that scene (whether for the music, the celebrity, the eloquence—whatever!), and then look into it further. It is an attractive scene for musicians, too, as PCD are well-connected with Nashville and the wide swath of the Christian music industry.

PCD will ameliorate concerns with ambiguous statements as they have always done, and people will buy it because they are LOOKING to have their concerns ameliorated, instead of LOOKING to be cautious of every wind of doctrine which might toss a childish believer to-and-fro.

In addition to Oneness Pentecostalism, I am fairly sure that they still hold to the beliefs of that denomination that one must also be baptized "in the name of Jesus" (only) and speak in tongues in order to be considered truly saved.

It is disconcerting to say the least that these sorts of doctrinal distinctions aren't bright red emergency beacons to orthodox Christians. :(

DJP said...

Guess Frank's very weighty comment is being hard to follow.

It's a serious issue, and the relative silence is concerning.

Ted Cleaver said...

Frank Rue: It is another debate entirely whether the true Triune God will opt to use their songs or preaching for His purposes ...

I've never heard any of the guys in PCD preach, so I can't comment on that part of the statement. But I've yet to hear a PCD song that wasn't biblically sound (with vast parts often lifted directly from Scripture), so wouldn't their music fall under the purview of Isaiah 55:11 ? And if so, wouldn't that mean that there actually is no debate?

Ted Cleaver said...

As to Frank's later comment, if he thinks that a greater adoption of Oneness theology is going to even make a ripple in the non-Biblicity of the Christian music industry, he's blissfully ignorant and would be better off to not take a job therein.

DJP said...

That's really pretty much been anticipated and answered in the post and in the comments.

And we're not much for "counsel of despair" here.

trogdor said...

If I have a problem with Phillips, Craig, and Dean, does that make me a racist?

Robert said...


You're OK as long as you handle your issues with them behind closed doors...over a cup of coffee. At least that's what I get from the popular (although un-Biblical) method of dishing out rebuke these days.

Michael Coughlin said...

I have serious questions which I hope are along the lines of the post:

Would it be OK to let ANY non-believer sing in your church? Even if they sung a GREAT hymn?

How about making a CD set of the bible read so people could listen? Could you have your nonbelieving friend with a great reading voice do that?

What about listening to a great hymn in your car or your home, sung by a nonbeliever with a good singing voice?

And what are the differences between these things and, say, inviting a group to your church to sing, or even just playing their song on a CD?

I have more, but I'll split it into other comments.

trogdor said...

A pastor friend of mine asked a similar question recently - would you let an unbeliever sing/play for your church's worship? I was in the minority by saying "no way", but I can't see how you would. Quote your favorite scripture about hypocrisy here; "this people honors me with their lips but their hearts are far from me" seems especially apt.

Verbally praising God while proudly rebelling against Him is a rank offense to God. Why would we be entertained by it, or worse, encourage people to do so?

Ted Cleaver said...

DJP: That's really pretty much been anticipated and answered in the post and in the comments.

Since this comment appeared directly after mine, I assumed that it was addressed to me, and so I went back and re-read the post and read the comments which I hadn't read before. And I don't see anything addressing this issue.

Let me be clear: My question is not commentary on whether or not Stonebriar should have PCD at their church, nor on the falsity or veracity of modalism. Please look at the question again: If God's Word is truthfully proclaimed in song, how is there any debate as to whether or not He will use that for His purposes, given Isaiah 55:11 ?

If I missed something, my apologies and a request for someone to point the answer out more specifically.

Ted Cleaver said...

Mark (in consecutive sentences): ... [an elder at Stonebriar] offered to talk on the phone about the concerns.

It's certainly odd with someone who has such a public ministry as Swindoll to not address an issue like this one ...

Am I the only one that sees just a wee bit of self-contradiction here?

DJP said...

In reverse order:

Self-contradiction in Mark's concern that someone with a public ministry has an associate wanting to have an off-mike private conversation? No.

So you don't see anything in the post or comments that hints at what's wrong with the ministry of an evangelical leader showcasing folks whose fundamental soundness is broadly challenged, no matter what they happen to say while they're in the spotlight? nor giving reasons for concern about what they'd say?

If you don't see that addressed, I'd say read again. If you see it addressed but don't care, then that's a problem. But not my problem.

Adam said...

Dan, I agree that this is important — so much so that I'll violate my usual "don't discuss, just read" rule.

Michael Coughlin: Would it be OK to let ANY non-believer sing in your church? Even if they sung a GREAT hymn?

NO. 1 Cor 14:26–40 (esp. v. 40); Titus 1:10–11, etc.

Michael Coughlin: What about listening to a great hymn in your car or your home, sung by a nonbeliever with a good singing voice?

Yes. Titus 1:12–13, etc.

Michael Coughlin: And what are the differences between these things and, say, inviting a group to your church to sing, or even just playing their song on a CD?

The reasons I said "no," and "yes," above are that I think Scripture makes clear that there's a big difference between acknowledging that unbelievers can be right on any number of things (and are definitely right when they're reading the scriptures or are using our thoroughly-scriptural-and-properly-vetted songs) and giving them a platform in our churches (i.e., letting them lead God's people in worship). Quoting them doesn't = endorsing them (see Paul in Titus 1:12–13), but I don't think it's possible to put enough disclaimers and fences around letting them lead God's people in worship (which is to say, give them a platform in your church) to avoid the appearance of endorsement.

Trogdor: Verbally praising God while proudly rebelling against Him is a rank offense to God. Why would we be entertained by it, or worse, encourage people to do so?

1 Cor 5:12—13. We should not be surprised that unbelievers are unbelievers, even if they occasionally slip up and give God the glory due Him. Our problem isn't with them, and they pose no danger to the church. Our problem is to be with those who claim to be of us but who endorse and teach damning error.

So, to answer the first of DJP's two questions at the end of the post, it depends entirely on what you mean by "promote" and whether that person claims to be a Christian or not. If they claim to be brothers, no promotion, period (2 John 10—11, etc.). If they do not claim to be, no harm pointing out that this particular stopped clock is right this time, but that doesn't mean you do so via having them lead in your church.

DJP said...

That's really quite a good answer, or set of responses, Adam.

Add to that (as I explain above) (A) the fact that PCD's fundamental soundness has long, repeatedly, and publicly been challenged, that (B) every recorded "response" I've seen has been evasive in a classically Modalist way, (C) the fact that Swindoll's church is not only (make no mistake) promoting these men and their ministries, but calling their people to pay money for it; and (D) the unavoidable impression all this gives that they have Swindoll's seal of approval on their fundamental soundness.

Think of that: Swindoll, recognized evangelical leader, Bible teacher, who lead a seminary, for pity's sake.

That's quite the plum for them.

Ted Cleaver said...

DJP (emphasis mine): Self-contradiction in Mark's concern that someone with a public ministry has an associate wanting to have an off-mike private conversation? No.

Well, if one assumes that the "associate" (aka the person with whom Mark was communicating) was seeking phone conversation so that it was "off-mic", then I would agree with your analysis.

But if one goes with anything better than assuming the absolute worst motives, one would recognize that email is often a lousy communicator for complex issues. Let's call the elder, George. If Alex Bell hadn't invented that phone thingy, George would have to write an email that said, "Do you believe X?" And if Mark said "yes", then George would write 3 paragraphs to address that; whereas if Mark said "no", then George would write 1 paragraph to address that. And then also depending on the answer, George would go in 2 (or more) different directions further in the email. And pretty soon, the email is 40 pages long, 39 of which were unnecessary because they addressed issues about which Mark had no interest or with which he agreed already.

Aaron Snell said...

Adam, your last paragraph was spot-on, and draws the distinction that is often missed in these discussion (and is necessary to answer Michael's questions). It's not just two categories of "believer" and "nonbeliever" - there's a third category of professing but false believer.

Ted Cleaver said...

DJP: So you don't see anything in the post or comments that hints at what's wrong with the ministry of an evangelical leader showcasing ....

OH MY GOODNESS! I just got done saying that the post and comments addressed those issues thoroughly and that my question had nothing to do with those issues.

Would someone please address what I actually said instead of the exact opposite of what I said?

DJP said...

Address it again? Goodness, I hope not. It's already been addressed. These people have lives.

R.C. said...

Call me a tritheist, but I think Halcyon, Trogdor and David Regier are all separate, but exalted in their ability to make me laugh. Clever, clever and clever.

Michael Coughlin said...

So far so good. Thanks, Adam for your help.

So is it OK to sing a Phillips, Craig and Dean song in my church? Let's assume that it is choc full of good lyrics which obviously can happen in a song without a clear trinitarian distinction made.

Think about it; I'm sure we sing lots of hymns written by people who ultimately turned out to be unregenerate.

So does it matter if the person has been dead for a while or not?

Adam said...

Michael, I think you're asking the same thing there that Ted has been, namely:

Ted Cleaver: Let me be clear: My question is not commentary on whether or not Stonebriar should have PCD at their church, nor on the falsity or veracity of modalism. Please look at the question again: If God's Word is truthfully proclaimed in song, how is there any debate as to whether or not He will use that for His purposes, given Isaiah 55:11?

We're not talking about whether someone can sing their song. We're talking about inviting the men themselves into a Christian congregation. Isa 55:11 happening or not is not the issue. 2 John, etc. happening is the issue. Paul quoted more than one non-Christian in the very Scriptures. But endorsing a particular thing someone said is one thing, inviting them in is quite another. Otherwise, Paul in Titus 1:12–13 would have been guilty of violating his own instructions in Rom 16:17, etc.

Mark | hereiblog said...


For the record, I was not made the offer to speak with an elder on the phone. I have not been contacted directly. I was forwarded in unsolicited email of the elder's offer by someone else.

What I had in mind when commenting about the public ministry is the article by Swindoll that I referred to in the beginning of my letter called, "No Time to Remain Silent."

It seems Swindoll and co. believe it is time to remain silent despite the article which even specifically refers to the Trinity.

DJP said...

Ted repeated his question: "If God's Word is truthfully proclaimed in song, how is there any debate as to whether or not He will use that for His purposes, given Isaiah 55:11?"

In insisting that this question has been unaddressed, he makes clear that it's off-topic. We aren't debating, or even discussing, what God might do. We are talking about what Christian leaders should and should not do.

How that can be unclear to any honest reader is both baffling and uninteresting. I think we've got enough to talk about that is germane.

So let's still with that, shall we?

Michael Coughlin said...

To Ted: There is no misunderstanding. We all on this comment thread understand and are grateful that in spite of the failings and rebelliousness of man, God will always accomplish His good purposes.

When people handle or mishandle the Word, if at least some truth is proclaimed, there is even a chance that real believers will be edified, or people saved.

But that never excuses the act, itself. Just as killing Jesus was something that God used for Good but isn't something that should have been done, allowing heretics a platform is unacceptable as well.

As far as my questions, I suppose they are too divergent from the post, so I will save them for later or a more appropriate post.

So that I am not confused with Ted - what you quoted as "essentially" my question is not my question (although I can see why it could seem that way). My questions are genuine questions and I'm looking for the types of answers other believers give as these types of discussions come up frequently within the context of a local church and the various events and activities I am usually a part of the planning of, and also in raising children and leading my wife so I honestly just want to see how others respond.

Ted Cleaver said...

Adam: We're talking about inviting the men themselves into a Christian congregation.

Actually, no, we are not. You are. A host of others are. But I am not (and by extension, therefore, we are not).

My question stands on its own and has no connection to PCD, Swindoll, or modalism.

Ted Cleaver said...

Mark, I stand corrected. While I may not thoroughly agree with your analysis, there is no self-contradiction. I apologize for the comment I made based on my misinterpretation of your statement.

Ted Cleaver said...

DJP: In insisting that this question has been unaddressed, he makes clear that it's off-topic.

I assume that the chastisement accompanying this statement is applicable to Frank Rue as well, since he raised the issue in the first place?

DJP said...

Nope. Everything he's focused on is on-topic.

DJP said...

Sigh. I won't have time to babysit this meta the rest of the day, so we'll close her for now. May reopen tomorrow, when I get to it.