31 October 2014

Some here, some there — October 31, 2014

by Dan Phillips

Happy Reformation Day! I hope your family and/or church have something planned to lift up the glorious Biblical truths that were recovered and held high by this movement. It's my family's ~25th year, and our church's 3rd annual.

Feel free to share what you're doing to celebrate the Reformation's accomplishments in the comments. (Not you, Frank.) One of the traditional dishes the saints at CBC will be enjoying is the traditional Diet of Worms cake. Yum.

  • Steve Lawson offers one of his marvellous little bio's on England's prime reformer, William Tyndale.
  • Religion writer Sarah Pulliam Bailey seems to be on a minor tear lately. First, this on Monday:
  • Of course, they did no such thing — unless it's accurate to report that a flag company "declined to sell flags with right-angles" when what they're refusing to sell is flags with swastikas. The couple in question refused to sell flowers for a "gay" "wedding." So Ryan T. Anderson rightly took her to task for it, as did yr obdt svt. (Brian Mattson has as well.) Bailey did not particularly express appreciation.
  • Then Bailey tweeted this Tuesday:
  • So; wow, it's a rough time to be trying to help homosexuals. Everyone's "denouncing" you! Well, Bailey did report one different viewpoint:
  • What do I think? I think if you're going to speak publicly about these matters, you have to know how you'll be spun. I think you have to know that anyone trying to help homosexuals find freedom from their destructive passions — or even suggesting that it can be done — becomes Public Enemy #1. I think you have to know that "denouncing" such groups will be misunderstood and misused. So I think you have to load your statements in some such way that can't be disentangled by the enemies of God.
  • Like this: "Much as I appreciate all goodhearted attempts to help folks who are in the grips of destructive and degrading perversions, mere therapy both mis-identifies goals and does not go far enough. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ transforms hearts, natures, complexes of attraction. Only Christ gives hope, life and freedom to sinners — of any variety."
  • Of course in my case, it probably would be reported like this: "Asked whether he believed that homosexuality was a sin, Phillips looked at the reporter as if he had sprouted a third eye, and said, enunciating with painstaking clarity, 'I'm a Christian. Look it up.'"
  • And now, a meta-item aimed at fellow-bloggers. The post I'm about to link to may be a good article. I don't know. But when you look at it, do you want to read it, aesthetically? My large work monitor fills with text, text, text. Whole screens without paragraph-breaks. So: do you want to be read? Don't overwhelm the not-already-sold with giant text filling a screen without the possibility of a scan or a breather.
  • Carl Trueman offers broad-ranging thoughts and historical perspective on the current fad of discovering that the Bible means the opposite of what it says about homosexuality. It's a worthy read both for substance, and for the introduction of "chattocracy" and an allusion to "finding dark thrills through collecting old pieces of string." That one was new to me. I'm sure the mayor of Houston is preparing a law to protect it.
  • I'm also sure you all heard that a "leading Evangelical ethicist" whom none of us has ever heard of ("David Gushee"; see, I told you) decided that he's all pro-LGBT and the rest of it. One of the leading thinkers from a more Biblical perspective, Robert Gagnonhas responded. It's a brutal takedown. I like it.
  • Interesting: apparently Gushee "TGC"-ed Dr. Gagnon from his Facebook page. Well, isn't that nuanced and scholarly?
  • There's good Bibley sanity in Matt Moore's I Love Jesus Too Much To Call Myself A Gay Christian.
  • Todd Pruitt lets us know he plans a series of sermons on Gender Confusion, Sexuality, and the Image of God, and he gives some book recommendations. To Todd's list, I would heartily add Rick Phillips' (no relation) Masculine Mandate, a book I used to great profit for this series.
  • Not our usualbut... a woman did a video walking through the streets of NY, and mostly seemed to be horrified that men said appalling things like "Hi" and "Good morning" and "God bless you." So Funny or Die sent a pale white guy through the streets, and...well, I pick "funny."
  • Biblical Christians are constantly frustrated in our attempts to reach out to Charismatics, frustrated both by them and by the cloud of open-but-clueless defender/enablers. I think I've figured out one reason for the disconnect: Critics deal with Charismaticism-that-is, while enablers defend an idealized dream that doesn't exist.
  • That's it. Write it down.
  • Let's try it this way. Show of hands: how many of you think that being near a heretic's corpse is a good way to seek an experience of the Holy Spirit? (Hands go up.) Besides Charismatics, I mean. (All hands go down.) Here's what I'm referring to:
  • Charismaticism-that-is is on constant display, on the TV, at YouTube... and at Charisma Magazine. You know Charisma: that's where you can read a person named Dutch Sheets who has a spiritual experience he attributes to God at the grave of an Gospel-perverting false teacher named Charles Finney. This is an article in which you can actually read the line "I reminded the Holy Spirit..." Seriously. Whether "the Holy Spirit" replied "Hunh, good point, thanks for that," is not recorded. (The article is worth accessing, if only for Lyndon Unger's comment, as well as a wonderful word from someone called OAM.)
  • Without the slightest nod to the irony, this same magazine which extols an experience at the graveside of a heretic also solemnly warns against letting demons into one's house.

  • ...and tweeted this:
  • Oh well, I'm sure there's a perfectly rational, Biblical response. Like, "Martin Luther hated Jews!" Or "Servetus!" Something like that.
  • Oh, and there's this gem from a year ago: open letter (from beyond the grave!) by Tozer to MacArthurOnce again, most valuable for Lyndon Unger's comment, but no less for Kofi Adu-Boahen's poignant question: "Why would Dr MacArthur not agree with this again?"
  • And now, just an interesting thought: while The Gospel Coalition has blocked me in Twitter, Charisma Magazine has not. Mull that one over.
Find some way of lifting the glorious Biblical truths of the Solas high today!

Dan Phillips's signature


Shane Anderson said...

Just as quick "That's right! Preach!" to your remarks on the "let's all denounce reparative therapy" bandwagon.

As an RN who works in an academic medical setting, I am concerned that we as Christians are giving up a lot of ground in these moral areas---agreeing in a way with the world when it says we shouldn't speak out or work for what God calls good. Not every PR stunt is just PR, it affects real people who are trying to help other real people in the real world.

DJP said...

Is it at all analogous to when Fuller president Richard Mouw went into a Mormon temple and basically threw all Mormon missionaries under the bus? Though that's a brighter line; it's just that if a Christian leader feels he must "denounce reparative therapy," he should know the climate enough to make clear that it isn't the goal of helping homosexuals find freedom from their destructive passions that he's denouncing, nor that he is suggesting that they don't need this freedom. And he really must front-load the "something better," so that the MSM can't miss it.

Robert said...

Sarah Pulliam Bailey is just digging a deeper and deeper hole with every response in that thread, but her followers are caught up in blind idol worship. That is just a sad and frustrating twitter feed.

I couldn't get to the 7 reasons church is for you (work filter), but the 7 wrong reasons for joining a church are good. It seems to me that most of them point to the pragmatism and self-worship of our day and age.

The contrast between that unreadable post with endless paragraphs and the next item from Carl Trueman is quite stark. The first one just screams TL;DR, while Trueman's is both aesthetically pleasing and full of good content. Sadly, I think it is only a matter of time before some of those items he notes as being unacceptable will become acceptable for society at large.

That article from Gagnon was excellent. I saw a FB exchange between him and Vines where he offered to debate him openly. I am thinking it won't happen. Also, Merritt just throws out blatant propaganda and calls it journalism. His characterizations of Biblical Christians gives him away.

Wow...that article by Matt Moore is concise, yet full of content. He hits right at the core of the issue. Probably the only thing I would add to it is that we don't consider it OK to say, "I am a lying, adulterous, pride-filled, thieving, slanderous, slanderous, idol-worshipping or murdering Christian", so why apply homosexuality to it? All sin is sin in the eyes of God. But still, that is an awesome article.

Loved Unger's response...was definitely worth reading through that horrific article to see such a reasoned response that calls out charismatics for quoting dead theologians out of context. Sadly, I don't think it will have the slightest effect in keeping them from doing so in the future...

Thanks, Dan...this was quite a filling serving of SHST. Like a buffet fit for a king.

Robert said...

DJP, spot on in that comment. There has to be a full, nuanced explanation to denouncing such therapy.

What should be explained is that we need to preach the truth of the Bible and the Gospel, not just try to do "therapy". The Holy Spirit does the work of regeneration and then provides the conviction and strength to fight sin in our progressive sanctification. One could argue that much of the therapy cuts out the Holy Spirit and just tries to use man-made methods to bring about results.

Sarah said...

Happy Reformation Day!!!
We have hundreds of kids that trick or treat in our neighborhood, so we're handing out gospel tracts from Living Waters and we have DVDs for any adults that want one.
I love the idea of a diet of worms cake, but this late we may just have to settle for the worms sans cake. Someday (when our kids are older; they're 6, 3, 2, & 2 months) we want to dress up in 16thcentury garb and my husband would be Martin Luther, lol. Maybe one day...
Thanks for continuing the light of the reformation on Pyromaniacs. God bless!

Frank Turk said...

The "not You Frank" hurt so badly, I have an on-topic comment.

Historically, at the church in which I am a member, we celebrate Reformation Day at our church with preaching, a meal, and some games and candy for the kids. The prime mover for that celebration at our church has been a fellow with a large family who always thought that this was a wholesome and fun way to remember guys like Calvin and Luther and Zwingli and so on.

This year, he was taken from us by a tornado, and his family and church has been left to celebrate without him. In my view, the great cloud of witnesses is rejoicing with Him with Jesus today, and we are both improved by his example and less without his service among us.

The reformation isn't over, and it works through ordinary means. Those means usually include suffering. We would do well to remember it.

JG said...

Regarding the aesthetics question - ouch. Who would spend time reading such a thing? I know it's "just a blog," but some time making it visually appealing is usually well-spent.

I watched the FoD video. I definitely thought "funny," till I got to the end and realized they were being serious. I added a third option: *eyeroll*

semijohn said...

I watched the FoD video several times. I guess I missed the part where it indicated they were being serious.
It reminded me of the old SNL video where Eddie Murphy dressed up as "Mr. White" and started getting everything from free newspapers to "free money" from the bank.

trogdor said...

The Tozer open letter was at first infuriating, until I realized that by publishing it they affirmed one of the primary points of the Strange Fire conference. The only possible way that passage is a rebuttal of MacArthur is if the work of the Holy Spirit is reduced to tongue-speaking/sign gifts. Because if Tozer meant the Spirit's greater work like regeneration, illumination, sanctification, that stuff - well, see Kofi's comment.

In other words, by publishing this as if it somehow opposes MacArthur, they necessarily denigrate the primary work of the Holy Spirit. Which is exactly what MacArthur and company accuse them of doing. Nice of them to admit it, I guess.

The Finney article is somehow even worse. The comments defending Finney as a great man of God are utterly tragic. Anyone who doubts the Ligonier survey results about how eagerly rank heresies are embraced should just read any comment thread at Charisma Mag.

briand1 said...

Pastor Phillips, Mr. Turk, Mr Johnson my apology. I have felt anger towards you because of what is sometimes posted here, I disagree with all of you so much but keep reading here, because you all seem so sure about what you know. That is not the issue, I felt anger in my heart towards you, I would never hurt anyone but holding anger towards another person after the sun goes down is wrong. I have even said things in my heart and in private that were untrue about you folks that, well were wrong and I am sorry and apologize for it. I dont post about it, well maybe once or twice on some blogs but it was somewhat vague.

I have come to understand you actually deeply believe what you say, that is a game changer for me so I was compelled to apologize. I do deeply wish you, your family and your loved ones a blessed Lords Day. Again my apologies for my arrogance and lack of love. I may never agree with you but to question your motives is way far above my paygrade.

Terry Rayburn said...

Zero-theology alert in the following comment:

Regarding the long un-paragraphed blog post, I couldn't agree more.

Ditto for long un-paragraphed FB posts, comments, etc.

(Sidenote: to do a paragraph in FB, all you have to do is press the "shift" button while doing a "return". You're welcome.)

The sad thing is that the person who writes in that monstrous way never even knows all the readers (including me) who just skip over it.

You don't even need actual grammar-teacher paragraphs online.

Just break the thing up.

Like this.

No one EVER complains about paragraphs being too short.

Like this.

The only way I would ever read a long un-paragraphed piece is if I were short of things to read.

That's a joke. :)

And is likely NEVER to happen.

By the way, I am a robot, but have learned to recycle the "prove you're not a robot" meme until it's readable by my sophisticated software.

todd wilkinson said...

Hold on!!! You actually have been blocked by the Gospel Coalition?!?!?!?!

WOW!!! I can't believe "you're" the one they won't fellowship with?!?!?!
Out of all the council members who had to resign to end fellowship. You get blocked?!?!

That is telling Dan, that is telling.

Rob said...

Quick on-topic comment: it was a great privilege for our family to make the long drive to attend the the Reformation party at Copperfield this year. Both Luther and Zwingli were a wealth of great teaching and everyone enjoyed this special event to remember the importance of the Reformation.

DJP said...

It might be, Todd, if we knew who made the decision to block me (and the others), and why.

Then we could say, "If you do or believe or enable X, Y, and Z, you're OK with TGC. But don't you ever A, B, or C! Then you're BLACKLISTED!"

But we're lacking half of that data-set.

Stephen said...

Could Terry have put even LESS theology into his comment?

Is it possible? Can we imagine?

Some might say Rob Bell could.

Would you disagree?

Anonymous said...

I'm in the extreme minority on this one, but I actually enjoyed the post that was linked to demonstrate unpleasing aesthetics. My poor eyesight enjoyed the large print filling the screen, and I liked not being distracted by side adverts and "cute" pictures and graphics. Found it unusually refreshing. But your point is well-made. If one person likes it and a hundred don't, he probably won't get the readership he desires.

Ken Abbott said...

If the greatly esteemed Brother Martin said anything to anybody while posting his theses, I expect it was said in German, possibly Latin...

But in LOLcat-speak? I Can Haz Bratwurst?