29 August 2014

Some here, some there — August 29, 2014

by Dan Phillips

As we prepare to bid adieu to August, and the temperatures here in Houston plummet to the upper 80s, one last look-around. Remember, updates through the day. Check in later.

Prepare for more change-ups than an early Chicago song.
  • Remember the first time you were exposed to Calvinism?
  • ...but then, much as you tried, you just couldn't get it out of your mind?
  • ...until finally:
  • Enough of humor, for the moment.
  • I said, enough!
  • In other subjects: Author Darrin Patrick tweeted that he would "love to hear thoughts on race & the gospel" from Phil, Frank and me. "Love to"? Well! How could I refuse? That being the case, I thought surely Darrin would be delighted to learn that I've written on this area a number of times, including in last Friday's post. Yet when I pointed Darrin to the 2012 post titled (hel-lo?) Racism, for some reason he seemed to lose interest. I still really, truly don't know what that was about.
  • A lot of armchair quarterbacking has been done on the Ferguson matter; Joshua Waulk, a brother-pastor who's a former police officer provides some helpful instruction and context.
  • Fred Butler says: "It is grieves me, almost to the point of despair, that generations of black Americans have been taught to believe by their leaders, as well as a political party, that their fellow white Americans are racists at heart and there is nothing they can do to better themselves in our society because of that racism." Amen, among much else that could be said. Fred links to a multi-racial lawman round-table discussion.
  • So once again: you don't fight fire with gasoline, you don't lose weight on an all-Oreo diet, and you don't cure racism with racism. The sufficient, effective, and only real cure is in the Gospel.
  • In other news...
  • You may have heard that Mark Driscoll is taking time off with pay while getting counsel of some unspecified kind, after which he'll get back to the work of the American people preaching. This is also being reported as "stepping down," though I wouldn't describe it that way. Doug Wilson weighs in, and manages to be at the same time characteristically incisive and insightful and (in my opinion) overly sanguine. Doug even manages very wrongly to extend cover for Driscoll's still-unrepented boast of receiving I-accuse-Grandpa-but-then-heh-heh-heh-I-could-be-wrong porn-sorta-visions. (Wilson avers to Ezekiel's vision of "abominations" which, by stark contrast, [A] was presented as a full-on prophetic vision without modern leaky-Canonism's wiggle-words, and [B] was defined explicitly in-context as visions of idolatry, not of X-rated porn enactments of the sexual sins of the citizenry.)
  • I did, by the way, share a meal with Doug before going public with this. It was months and months before, and completely unrelated; but oh well. And, more recently, I dropped him an email.
  • Seriously, that anyone can read Phil's thoughtful and relentnessly pastoral working-through of that appalling video, with the discussion that ensues in the meta, and say in effect "Well, that's kind of like Ezekiel, isn't it?" — yeah, just like Ezekiel. "Like" in the sense of opposite. In the sense that Howard Stern is like Charles Spurgeon... because they both talk. Less like, in fact.
  • After Driscoll's "apology," someone asked in Twitter what I thought of John Piper's tweet, which (again, to my surprise) Doug Wilson quoted approvingly. I replied:
  • good sermon will do you a lot of good, right? Not necessarily, says pastor Joseph Franks, and he's absolutely right. Some wonderful needed jabs here:
We are informed but incorrigible. Our heads and mouths are filled with God’s Word, but it does not affect our hearts and feet. We know what to do, but do it not. And in the end, our miserable existence is made more miserable. We heap sin upon sin and wonder what is wrong with our minister, our church, and our holy religion. On Sunday we walk into the church, and walk the aisle, but on Monday we forget to walk after the model of Christ.
  • Oh my gosh, everyone who has ever preached has to watch this ad for a book by David Murray. Absolutely hysterical. If my books had such videos... well, they'd be New York Times bestsellers and TGC would love me!
  • On his way to commending Michael Kruger's posts responding to Paul Peter Enns' latest attempts to make his stance not look like such a bad thing, Todd Pruitt notes that "unbelief is all the rage among some who identify themselves as Christians." I quote that because it lets my re-post one of my very favorite of Phil's Po-Motivators:
That's it for now! Have a little snack, and get on with your day.


Just be careful what you pick.


(How'd they know what price to set?)

Dan Phillips's signature

32 comments:

Frank Turk said...

No one knows exactly how long I have missed Hither and Thither. But I have, and am glad it is back.

It needs more Legos, and more GIFs. Maybe more YouTube.

Fred Butler said...

Something Star Warish. Maybe Whovian.

DJP said...

Anyone have a comment about what is in the post?

Doug Hibbard said...

There are words in the blog post.

Also pictures.

The picture series at the top was quite biographical, until I hurled at the fourth one. I've met her.

She's terrifying.

Sonja said...

"Anyone have a comment about what is in the post?"

Unknown.

What can I say, I'm a literalist ;)

Nora said...

Puppy!

Nora said...

Oh, and can I say thank you for being sane about Driscoll throughout the years? 'Cause I am. Thank you, Team Pyro, past and present.

Michael Coughlin said...

Nice. The Joseph Franks comment brings to mind something my pastor told me not too long ago. He said something to the effect of "I'm cutting and they're not bleeding."

That was a lot of information!

LanternBright said...

1. Oh my goodness, how I've missed the Po-Motivators.

2. The Murray video was ***HILARIOUS***!!!

3. Dan, what ethical position would you take on the possibility of freezing the pictured "unknown meat" and using it as a terrorist deterrent?

Terry Rayburn said...

1. REALLY like the C.S. Lewis suggestions for writing.

2. REALLY think Trogdor followed those C.S. Lewis suggestions well in his excellent post on church attendance -- short, pithy, clear.

Terry Rayburn said...

I respectfully disagree with Pastor Franks' "A Better Sermon Will Not Help You".

However, I will take a radical departure from what I think most Bible-believing Christians think is a "good" sermon.

I feel like sticking a finger down my throat when I hear this common exclamation from Christians who just heard a "great" sermon:

"Oh that was such a GREAT message! I was SO! convicted!"

They think that a good sermon consists of "conviction", even a "whipping", yes even a downright "beating" over the head with how BAD they are and how disappointed God is, and how they OUGHT to be, and how the real point of the Christian life is their performance, as though Christ is barely able to build his Church, and though the gates of Hell will not prevail against it, you worthless excuse for Christians sure are!

Okay, hyperbole admitted. Most preachers don't want to crush toes, just step on them to remind people that performance is what it's all about.

a. Actually what it's all about is a revelation of the Person and Work of Christ. As Spurgeon reminded us, every passage leads to Christ just as every road leads to London, and our job is to show that road.

b. Pastor Franks reveals his [unfortunately typical] paradigm of "performance" in these brief quotes from his article:

"Don’t you need to hear the instruction of Jesus...?"

"Are you one who knows the Word but does it not?"

"...do you approach every personal devotional, group bible study, and worship service with the listener’s promise, “All that God shows me I will do.”

"I wonder how often we come to worship, consecrate ourselves to be students at the beginning of the service, hear a faithful presentation of God’s Word, swear to obey, and then do the opposite."

"We are informed but incorrigible. Our heads and mouths are filled with God’s Word, but it does not affect our hearts and feet. We know what to do, but do it not."

c. DO! DO! DO! It's "performance" he's preaching, and poor "performance" he will lament all the days of his ministry if he doesn't come to understand the New Covenant, and how it made the Old Covenant obsolete.

Pastor Franks' solution: As ridiculous as it sounds, I can hear hearty Amens coming from the crowd -- ready for his solution? Here it is: "Let us cease this..."

Well...yeah...

And his coup-de-grace bit of wisdom? Here it is: "Doctrine is only good if you do it."

d. Sorry, but (may I shout for just a moment?) THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCTRINE IS THAT WHICH IS ALREADY *DONE*!

And if any Pastor wants a BETTER sermon, which WILL help, he needs to over and over and over and over stress that which is already done, and the One who did it!

There are four basic planks in the New Covenant which must be the core of our CHURCH doctrine (Christ Himself of course being the cornerstone):

1) Complete forgiveness of all our sins, past, present and future;

2) The righteousness of God given to us as a free gift, through faith, once for all;

3) A new heart given to us -- one that loves Christ and hates sin, even when it appears otherwise;

4) Union with Christ -- becoming one spirit with Him (1 Cor 6:17).

That's what will inspire a Christian to walk with his Lord! That's what keep him from trying to earn God's love and favor, thereby putting himself back on the ground of "law" instead of "grace", guaranteeing his daily defeat and misery.

The sheep will drink in this nectar. They will not be bored by hearing again what the Lord they love has done for them and is doing in them.

That's the "better" sermon, and I KNOW it will help the sheep.

Even as to the commands of Christ (I never said they weren't important, though some of you were probably accusing me of that in your minds), the sheep will DELIGHT in walking in them when they delight in HIM, and what He has done for us in His glorious New Covenant.

Brady Bush said...

I find the hypocritical hand-wringing and bloating from the Top Men about racial injustice utterly nauseating and wish more Christians, be they black, white, or purple, would stand up for blind justice.

Thank you, Dan and Fred, for doing so.

In regards to the black community, can we talk about the children who are murdered daily in my hometown of Chicago? Does 9-year-old Antonio Smith merit a nod from the Gospel Co.? Or are we all intimidated by the Bryan Lorittses of the world and that dreadful R-word?

Brady Bush said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Here's a comment on the content. Fred Butler's comment is about as racist as I've seen regarding the current situation. He is implying that if it weren't for the Democratic Party and black "leaders" black people wouldn't think they were experiencing prejudice against them in their day-to-day lives. In other words 1) black people actually don't experience this from time to time first hand and 2)black people are idiots who believe what they're told regardless of their actual experience (how is that not viewing black people as inferior to the white people who don't believe the Democratic Party nor black "leaders")

Jim Pemberton said...

"Write All the Books" ...I hear a Barry Manilow spoof coming on.

I'll have to check out that book by David Murray. I'm convinced that the best sermon prep is regular reading of the Bible. In touring some churches in India, the pastor asked, in the middle of the service, right before the sermon, in front of the congregation, if I would preach... at three different churches... in the same day. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for giving me material on the spot.

Randy Talley said...

Are you sure you didn't mean Peter Enns?

jbboren said...

Did you catch my plug for you (plural) in Jesse's comments? I keep remind people you've been talking about this for as long as anybody, so you don't have to.

DJP said...

Randy, whatever.

Fred Butler said...

@ Michael writes,

He is implying that if it weren't for the Democratic Party and black "leaders" black people wouldn't think they were experiencing prejudice against them in their day-to-day lives.

So you are of the opinion that black leadership and the Democrat party have no real hand in the mindset displayed by most black folks? That they are all victims of prejudice, that white folks are all racists at heart, and that a predatory law enforcement is out to mistreat black folks? Is that your position? Just want to make sure I'm understanding you before we proceed.

Michael said...

Fred, Here's what I believe: Many black people (not every single one but a majority)have experienced slights in one degree or another multiple times by white people. I believe that the Democratic Party and black leaders use their platforms to point out the systemic nature of prejudice based on race that still exists in the U.S. I don't believe that means every accusation of racism is accurate. But I do think saying that there is group think among the black population that is indoctrinated in seeing racism at every turn completely belittles their actual experiences. It infantilises them. That is what I believe.
And my name is Michael Rudnick.

Stephen said...

I think Fred's comment was well-crafted and he did not overgeneralize. He did not say that racism or oppression does not exist. He said that leaders have pushed a victim mentality such that they view any interaction with white people as a situation where they are by default the lesser party.

I think you can go even further with modern progressive thought and identify a general victim pose. Name any issue, whether it be race, gender, gun control, sexual orientation, climate change, income tax bracket, public transportation, healthcare, which Marvel movie you liked the best, whatever, ... and what you are thinking and doing right now immediately puts you into one of three categories: a victim, a compassionate advocate for the victim, or an oppressive privileged perpetrator of evil.

Make a choice and make it quick. If you don't speak up now, they will pick your category.

Morris Brooks said...

Driscoll has been apologizing for the same things over and over
(something about a dog returning to its vomit comes to mind here). Apologizing is not the same as repenting. In fact, the Scripture doesn't say apologize and believe the Gospel, but repent and believe the Gospel, but I digress.

Stephen said...

Exhibit A for my comment.

Article summary: The Ice Bucket Challenge disenfranchises black people because the White Privileged can stop thinking about all the awful things happening where people are rioting and looting and the media have camped out tweeting about all the injustices for weeks, and instead we shift our attention to, um, some terribly awful disease that affects over 5,000 people in the US a year, 10x the amount of police-related fatalities, including every justified event. [I may have added some of the bits toward the end]

http://jezebel.com/whitewashing-and-the-problem-with-the-ice-bucket-challe-1628011882 (I would not click around too much on the site, nor read many comments)

Michael said...

What's your point, Stephen? Because if it's anything other than Jezebel is a poor source for intelligent current affairs writing, well, I'm not going to finish my thought. A tiny fraction of the protesters rioted. And an even tinier number looted. And those things happened a tiny number of days in what's been going on for weeks. That writer believes ALS is insignificant compared to the oppression of what he calls PoC ( precious isn't it?) and all you see is looting and rioting after all this time. The two of you deserve each other. America deserves both of you.
And Dan, if this is too vitriolic I completely understand why you may not post it.
Michael Rudnick

Michael said...

Hold on a minute! Maybe we need to rethink this wonderful ice bucket challenge. When it's one"s own ox being gored...
http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/christian-trends/does-the-als-ice-bucket-challenge-kill-babies.html

Fred Butler said...

Michael writes,
Many black people (not every single one but a majority)have experienced slights in one degree or another multiple times by white people.

I think all sinners, not even a majority, but all, have been slighted by other sinners in one degree or another. I hope you and I would agree with that.

That still does not excuse the black population, when they experience "racism" to respond by burning down buildings and falsely charging cops with racism.

continuing,
I believe that the Democratic Party and black leaders use their platforms to point out the systemic nature of prejudice based on race that still exists in the U.S.

I honestly believe that their claims of "racism" if not wildly exaggerated, is often times misperceived or in some cases manufactured. And I get that opinion not only from what I observe, but from the observations of black commentators like Larry Elder and LaShawn Barber.

moving along,
I don't believe that means every accusation of racism is accurate.

That is true, especially the conspiracy theory mythology that there are roving gangs of racist cops looking for excuses to gun down execution style, black youth. Statistically, black youth will be killed by other black youth.

continuing,
But I do think saying that there is group think among the black population that is indoctrinated in seeing racism at every turn completely belittles their actual experiences.

Well, with all due respect, I think you are naive and a bit pollyannish to make such an evaluation. There is a reason why the black population overwhelming vote Democrat and it is not because Republicans are racist.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

A population is a summation of all the organisms of the same group or species, who live in the same geographical area, and have the capability of interbreeding.[1][2]

Corrected comment (I hate auto correct)
Fred, when you say black population has no excuse to riot, and you skip my contention that it was a small subset of protester who rioted and looted you reveal something of how you view black people. Not to mention your straw man of the roving gangs of racist cops.

If Republicans generally would post the comment you just did (it's not relevant that their are a handful of blacks in the party) then if I was black I'd be skeptical of their good intentions for me too.

Fred Butler said...

Michael writes,

Fred, when you say black population has no excuse to riot, and you skip my contention that it was a small subset of protester who rioted and looted you reveal something of how you view black people.


So your claim is that the looters and rioters were white people in black face? Because all media reports has black people rioting, looting, holding up stupid signs accusing the police of racism. How do you explain the photos that came out of Ferguson?

Continuing,
Not to mention your straw man of the roving gangs of racist cops.

Stawman? Do you not listen to any of the protesters explaining their lives under the scrutiny of police or read any of their protesting signs?

Michael said...

I need to question your reading comprehension skills if you could ask me if i thought the looters were white after what i repeated about the actual looters twice. And talking about signs and jumping to roving gangs is nuts. I think we are done with this topic. There is no use going in circles. You are intentionally misrepresenting my simple statements. It's getting tiresome.

Just want to say, I love this blog. However, the Some Here Some There strays a bit into Dan's other blog's territory which I don't read. Some of this material is attractive to 99.9% of the faithful readers. But not me. I regret going down this road and look forward to more on point postings from Dan and the perhaps the Late Frank T.

Deb W . said...

Dan, thanks so much for sharing the Cripplegate link. I've been contemplating writing something in a very similar vein. Since day one, I've had major qualms about Driscoll's edgy nature and his impact as a role model, not to mention qualifications for eldership. But even moreso, his church leadership style and ecclesiology has been of grave concern, especially in its influence through the Acts29 network. Many of the younger seminarian grads in my denom adopted the unregenerate model of doing church over and above our WCF standards and the Book of Church Order. They adopted the mega-church/multi-church model, leading to exaltation of the senior pastor. There were so many things I saw that I detested.

AND yet, almost no male evangelical leaders, other than the Pyros, were keen about the issues in Driscoll. Many of the major educational institutions (ex: RTS, CCEF) were using Driscoll's teaching and even inviting him to speak at their events (not just Piper and TGC). Also, other key ministries like Peacemakers! were bringing him onboard as speaker/SME. I found myself doubting my own discernment and felt swayed to make peace with his foibles in order to "Get along".

Truth be told, besides the discernment bloggers and you guys, everyone seemed so enamored with him. I'm glad that my initial judgment proved to be right, but honestly, I feel betrayed by the elders and leaders who should have kept this wolf's influence away from their sheep.

Thanks to those Cripplegate guys for coming out with the blog about those who sold tickets. (Although, I wish they hadn't been one of the multitudes who made the choice 10 years ago to be silent and not blog about Driscoll until now.)

semijohn said...

Good to see "Some here, some there." The next edition would be greatly enhanced by a Frank Turk end of hiatus countdown clock.