Howdy amigos and amigas.
- We'll start out on a happy personal note. Wednesday (September 45, Phillips calendar), just a bit more than an hour after our church had prayed for her, my beautiful daughter Rachael and dashing husband Kermit welcomed my beautiful granddaughter, Zoé Isabelle Allen, into the world. Zoé weighed in at 6 lb 15.8 oz, and was born at home. Here's pictures I have at post-time; will add more if I get more!
- And here's my beautiful wife and my beautiful granddaughter.
- Now, from the sublime to... well, Mark Driscoll. You'll know by now that he has resigned as pastor. Here is Mark's letter, which I would characterize as defiant, unhumbled, and resentful. He makes sure everyone knows he's still qualified to be pastor and has a clean bill of health; any unspecified "imperfect" aspects have been all taken care of. His accusers are the real problem; nobody but Mark comes off very well, in his telling.
- Here's the letter from the Mars Hill overseers. They agree with Mark that, though he's got his problems, he's really a great guy.
- Of many articles I've seen, I think the crispest insight is from Michael Newnham, who says "In the corporate world, you cut your losses, protect your resume, and move on to the next opportunity." Does that not pretty well capture the Driscoll situation?
- Now surely the most surreal note comes in a post in, of all places, The Gospel Coalition, written by Trevin Wax. If you hadn't read it, and I summarized his third point for you, you'd say I had to be making it up. So here it is, verbatim. The point is "Character Matters as Much
as Doctrine," and part of what Trevin says is (bold added):
Every tribe has its blind spots. It’s human nature to assume the best of your friends and worst of your enemies. I have seen this club mentality when well-known evangelicals with good reputations and solid character are dismissed simply because their biblical exegesis differs from ours. And I think some Christian leaders were slow to see the problems with Driscoll because he ”believes the right things.”If anything, evangelicals gifted with discernment and biblical doctrine of sin and grace should have been the first to expose these problems. I know some of this critique happened behind the scenes, inside and outside Mars Hill. But more could have been done sooner to warn and protect the flock.
Trevin Wax at TGC says oh! if only SOMEONE had said SOMETHING about Driscoll's dire trajectory! IF ONLY! < buries face in hands >
— Dan Phillips (@BibChr) October 16, 2014
@BibChr Someone = Top men. IOW, John MacArthur ≠ Someone. Carl Trueman ≠ Someone. The Pyromaniacs ≠ Someones. @JanetMefferd ≠ Someone.
— Tom Chantry (@tjchantry) October 16, 2014
- And perhaps:
John MacArthur Reads “Too Little, Too Late” Comment in @TrevinWax’s Mark Driscoll Post-Mortem; Literally Smacks Forehead
— The Gospel™ Corp (@TheGospelCorp) October 16, 2014
- And of course:
Trevin Wax Launches Satire Column at http://t.co/WTWlW5RzPy
— The Gospel™ Corp (@TheGospelCorp) October 16, 2014
- Some commenters asked Trevin to be more specific, but as of this posting, it hasn't happened.
- I don't know of anyone blocked or blacklisted by the TGC who's been contact by them, or "followed" by them in Twitter (to signal that they're opening up their echo chamber). But those were really nice words Trevin wrote.
- Not all comments passed moderation. Like Tom Chantry's.
- Carl Trueman has now weighed in. Some "money-quotes" [bolding added]:
It is interesting that the crisis finally came only when the aesthetics flipped the other way, when Driscoll and his antics became more distasteful than the words of his critics. It is important to notice that it was not the embrace of a Unitarian prosperity teacher and that decision's obvious doctrinal significance [on which see here, among many others by all three of us] which brought things to a head. Rather, it was the numerous allegations of bullying and loutish behaviour which finished him off -- things that are aesthetically displeasing in the current climate. The whistleblowers, however, are still not regarded as vindicated, despite having spoken the truth. I suspect they can -- pardon the pun -- whistle for an apology from the Top Men or for rehabilitation by the mainstream of YRR evangelicalism. For they can even now still be dismissed as smug (an aesthetic word if ever there was one) or simply forgotten because, whatever the truth they spoke, they were nonetheless engaged in the activity at a point in time when the aesthetics of the marketplace made their criticisms easy to characterize as unloving and thus distasteful.When it comes to an instinct for staying ahead, the Top Men and their camp followers are masters of the taste-driven dynamics of the evangelical stock exchange: winsome and loving when the market's aesthetics demand such, then wise and discerning when tastes change. Like the secret of great comedy, the secret of being a respected leader in the world of Big Eva is really very, very simple: it's all a question of timing.
- Christmas is coming.
- I think that if something like this had been attempted when I was a student at Talbot, there would have been a very vigorous response. It reminds me of the classmate who said, back in the 80s, "I'm afraid that one day I'm going to have to explain my degree, like guys who went to Fuller have to do now."
- More news from the dominant, ever-broadening "fringe." One reads these revelations and accusations about 93yo Charismatic "prophet" Ernest Angley — who admits requesting to view mens' privates — with horror, but not particularly with surprise. See, here's the thing: in a healthy church, one would have watched Angley for about 5 minutes, to be generous, and dismissed him. He would never have been able to earn a living, let alone such a lavish lifestyle, from Christians.
- Except that Charismaticism gives him cover. And Christians who ought to know better (the "open but clueless" set) give Charismaticism cover. It is just as simple as that.
- Which BTW is a drum that John MacArthur has banged yet again and again. God bless him for his stand. I have no doubt as to what sort of ministry — enabling, or discerning — will stand better in that Day, in terms of how it dealt with the Charismatic movement.
- Too cool to miss: a Lego telling of The Hobbit in 72 seconds.
- Fred Butler hates Christmas, but loves "impact" as a verb.
- Wait, that's not quite right. The first part isn't, anyway. Fred Butler hates it when people read into Christmas trappings things that were never intended by their originators, even with the highest motives. There.
- Hm. How do I get my cats to do this?
- (...or, for that matter, my sons?)
- Ahhh, contextualizing...
Study Reveals Campus Ministry 57% More Phat Since Campus Crusade for Christ Changed Name to Cru
— The Gospel™ Corp (@TheGospelCorp) October 17, 2014
- Contextual street evangelism. Watch this evangelist reaching out to a Michael Jackson impersonator, contextualized-style:
- (Actually, that's not it at all. The note says it's a Mormon missionary. Emergo-Morms?)
- City officials subpoenaing sermons by pastors not even involved in a lawsuit, to see if they criticized city policy allowing sexually perverted individuals into bathrooms of the opposite sex. Sure, you say: in Sweden. But no. San Francisco? Not this story. England, France, Seattle? Nope. Try Texas. Try Houston, Texas. No lie.
- People think of Texas as conservative, and largely we are. But Austin and Houston teem with liberal, totalitarian, anti-Christian officials fighting their own war with God.
- Doug Wilson comments on the Houston situation. So does Carl Trueman. (Both men actually know a Houston pastor personally.)
- David Allen brings a good word about real men, touching on Driscoll and related matters.
- "How do I know if I'm elect?" Here's a pretty wonderful answer from Joseph Alleine.
- Doug Wilson seems to argue, not for the first time, that believing in justification by faith should prevent us from being too critical of Roman Catholics and others who claim to be Christian despite many and grave doctrinal and practical errors. After all, are they justified by faith, or by correctness and precision?
- Doug expresses admiration for a somewhat similar "magnificent" post by Mark Jones at, of all places, Reformation21. Jones, who has recently been defending the practice of "baptizing" people who have no faith at all, makes a more nuanced case than Wilson.
- What of it, then? For one thing, it seems to rest on a definition of faith that tears it from the realm of truth and doctrine. It seems to me to reverse what believers have argued since Schleiermacher, that saving faith must have content, and not just any content. For another, it makes Paul's attitude towards the Galatian errorists incomprehensible (I don't find Wilson's dismissal persuasive). For yet another, it leaves me wondering how we can criticize Zane Hodges and the rest of what chapter 10 of TWTG calls "gutless gracers." And isn't that an odd turn of events, when the nuanced and deep thinking of some Reformed brother leads them to stand pretty darned close to dispensational antinomians who are rejected by dispensationalists who affirm the Biblical Gospel of God's sovereign grace?
- I asked that question over at Doug's place, btw; no answer. He wrote more about it yesterday in an attempt to explain, but didn't allude to or answer my question.