19 December 2014

Some Here, Some There — December 19, 2014

by Dan Phillips

NOTE: an important announcement about the conference is included below.

Here you go:
  • Last week I mentioned the "celibate gay" Christian Wheaton hired to be... well, I guess to be a "celibate gay" Christian, and I made and linked to commentary. Now see also Robert Gagnon's comments.
  • Through the one-way glass: on the subject of "gay Christians," Owen Strachan says much that we've said, and more, and very very well.
  • If you missed last Monday Music — well, for shame. And here.
  • Reviewing anti-Christian filmmaker (is that a tautology?) Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods & KingsBrian Mattson says that if Scott's target had been Islam, he'd spend the remainder of his life in a bunker in an undisclosed location. 
  • It is interesting to note how those brave Hollywood liberals (is that an oxymoron?) pretty invariably target those whose very religion prevents violent response.
  • I think of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary as the little (?) seminary that could and does. Were I seeking a seminary today, I'd look very closely at them. The DBTS journal is excellent, and its blog is always worth checking. In this article, Ben Edwards notes one of many TGC inconsistencies, this one relating to dispensationalism. You don't have to be a dispie to nod. Another case of natural co-belligerents being split by the unreasoned prejudice (or elitism?) of one party.
  • BIG NEWS about the Sufficient Fire Conference. Providential turns have resulted in our moving the conference from the Berry Center to Copperfield Bible Church. The program is unchanged. But this move brought us substantial financial savings, which we've translated into offering free registration. If you already paid for your tickets, your money will be refunded in PayPal. The conference is not free to the sponsor, of course, and your financial support would be right and appreciated. But note carefully: only register if you will come, God permitting. Seating is limited, so don't take the seat of someone who would come if one were available.
  • What is the one sentence pastors most dread hearing? Thom Rainer offers his opinion, explains it, and offers a solution. I think he's made an excellent pick. Another would be when someone faults you for not accomplishing, in your sermon, what you never set out to accomplish — but I can't reduce that to words. Like you've pulled out all the stops and poured your heart out to glorify God's eternal gracious love, and someone says he didn't see how that helps him be a better WalMart greeter, or something. What's your nominee?
  • Do you know anyone who's just too darned happy? Try sharing some Werner Herzog Inspirationals.
  • You may be aware that there was a panel discussion ostensibly on racial relations chaired by a very scary-looking Ed Stetzer. Here it is (a sort of registration is required). It evidently was called by Bryan Loritts; if you don't know who Bryan is, you need to know this, and this as well. Anyway, it may quite astonish you — you particularly — to hear Loritts say, in the context of racial reconciliation, how he "wondered aloud, 'Where are the conservative, evangelical voices?'"
  • If you were watching, you may have said back to the screen, "Well, I know where two of them are, at least: on Pyromaniacs! One recent post at least was a sweeping Gospel-centered address the whole situation. In fact, didn't Thabiti Anyabwile say he was in agreement with that post?" Indeed he did:
  • So (I continue) you may have thought, "Pyromaniacs is high-traffic, hardly invisible. How can Loritts say 'silent'?"
  • One could hazard a guess:
  • Re. Bell: as usual, you-know-where was well ahead of the curve, and more than once. Sadly, this gracious entreaty and invitation from Frank Turk was ignored.
  • Because, you know, the important thing today isn't that these timely warnings, if spread and heeded at the time, might have prevented much misery and harm. The really important thing is not to note that fact, so that nothing will improve going forward.
  • Because nowadays people seem to celebrate folks who come on a burnt building and intone sage, measured, nuanced, judicious remarks about the ruinsmore than they do people who say of the still-standing building, "Say... I smell smoke."
  • Because you know, these days, only shielding the elitist celebrity culture from even the most obvious criticisms and calls for accountability and reform is deemed conduct becoming us Christian serfs.

  • If you tweeted a snatch from a cult's hymnody as if expressing your own words, wouldn't you want to know? Yeah, me too.
  • On to another cult: on the 12th we reminded you that the Piano Guys were Mormons. A few days later Challies offered some very good expansions and warnings about Mormons and their prosyletizing methods. (I can't call it "evangelism"; there's no evangel there.)
  • So, amid the bad news, wouldn't some good news be nice? Here you go: reader "Rowdie Jones" pointed me to a series of posts (beginning here) in which former Assemblies of God charismatic Dan Michael Cogan explains his journey from the mess that is charismaticism to affirming the sufficiency of Scripture.
  • Courtney Reissig has a good word for wives, but it works just as well for husbands. Be grateful for the 80%, trust God with the 20%.
  • Dear bro David Murray (who himself has a wonderful Scottish accent) shows us what "a depressed Scottish S'more" looks like:

Dan Phillips's signature


todd wilkinson said...

About TGC not allowing "hard-line dispensationalists" that has changed somewhat with Daniel Akin now being a member of their council. I have listened to every sermon Daniel Akin has posted on his site on Revelation and he is a classical dispensationalist who consistently quotes Mac and John Phillips. I have noticed in the past a kind of "disdain" (but I might be projecting) for dispensationalism from TGC though. They might become more tolerable now with Danny there.

Tom Chantry said...

Here’s my non-dispy take on TGC and Dispensationalism.

First, I can guess what they’re talking about. They mean the thorough antinomianism of the Zane Hodges variety. Because, you know, Hodges was a Dispensationalist.

Second, what’s wrong with it? Essentially, they are trying to create shorthand for that position, but they’ve missed it entirely. They’ve created (or, more likely, failed to create) a new term like “hyper-Calvinism.” Now as we all know, the problem with “hyper-Calvinism” is that it makes it sound like that deviant and heretical “God hates you” theology is the result of too much Calvinism. The suggestion is that Calvinism is somehow itself tainted with a form of hyper-Calvinism that is simply not yet actuated. “Hyper-Calvinism” is an unfortunate theological term that we’re now stuck with.

So along comes TGC with “hard-line Dispensationalists” as shorthand for something that, like hyper-Calvinism, exists at the fringes of a larger movement but is in no way representative of the preponderance of that movement. It’s a bad term; a misleading term, and I’m glad it hasn’t caught on.

(My opposition to Dispensationalism has nothing to do with Hodges.)

Third, what’s ironic about it? They didn’t get there by being covenantal. Some of the TGC men are, I suppose, covenantal. Tim Keller ought to be, to whatever degree he can still be considered “Presbyterian” in any meaningful way. But his co-founder, D.A. Carson, is a New Covenant theologian. He’ll never admit it (none of them will) but his theology has much in common with something called “Radical Dispensationalism” (anther unfortunate term, because “Radical Dispensationalism” is no more representative of Dispensationalism than is Hodges).

DJP said...

Perhaps you're right.

In that case, perhaps some day a straight-up dispensationalist who also robustly affirms the doctrines of grace will write a book about the Gospel, drawing from the whole Bible and relating justification to sanctification in the manner the Bible does.

Surely, when that happens, TGC will embrace the development with cries of joy, and expand the tent accordingly.

After all, it's all about the Gospel, right?

Michael Coughlin said...

I will write that book one day, Dan. But before I can, I will probably need to read other books related to the topic.


I heard street evangelist Tony Miano recommends one:Click here!

Daryl said...

I really appreciated Dan Cogan's articles on his departure from Charismaticism. It echoes my own pretty closely.

And Brian Loritts...Brian Brian Brian. It seems to me that until someone he respects (I'd vote for Thabiti...I think) calls him out on the whole E2 debacle, I think I'd rather be a white guy who disagrees with him than a black guy.

Loved the exegesis of Rudolph..

Dan Cogan said...

Thanks for linking to my blog, Dan! I consider it an honor.

Alex Philip said...

I have been meditating on the Virgin Birth and appreciated Doug Wilson's reflections. I would like to offer another significance of the virgin birth. Because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, his conception is supernatural. Because his gestation and birth were natural processes, the virgin birth then becomes a glorious intersection of the supernatural and the natural or better still an intersection of the divine and the human. The Hypostatic Union then is predicated on the Virgin Birth. More than this, the Hypostatic Union, predicated on the Virgin Birth uniquely qualifies Jesus to be the mediator between a Holy God and humans. As 1 Timothy 2:5 teaches: "There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." A mediator must be able to represent two parties in a conflict and in the cosmic conflict between humans and God the only qualified mediator is Jesus. He alone is qualified because he is truly God and truly man. How so? A divine conception and a natural gestation and birth. Thus abandoning the Virgin Birth is tantamount to abandoning the very gospel which saves us. Thoughts?

Kevin Sorensen said...

Dan, as usual, thanks for all the links…oh, no; wait. I DO NOT thank you for the donkey link, but only because a related YouTube video to the 12 Guido Days of Christmas led me down a sad path. Oh, the dangers of the web.

So, yeah, other than that; thanks for all the links.

And David Murray…who hasn't always wondered what a depressed Scottish smore looked like? I know I have and now my longings have been met.

JG said...

Dominic the Donkey is probably my favorite find this year. Up there with "I Want a Hippopatomus for Christmas."

My husband hates it :)

The Challies article is very interesting. This year alone God has brought 2 more Mormons into my life who were converted out of non-denom, both saying they "used to be Christian." (I'm already looking forward to seeing one tomorrow - my hairdresser. 2 hours of undivided attention before Christmas. Whoopee!) And while he's absolutely right that many Mormons aren't initially drawn by the theology, I think the whole "forever family" thing DOES qualify as theology. In fact, one of my friends specifically said she decided to become Mormon *because* "Mormonism had the answers Christianity didn't have." On tertiary issues, of course.

Anyway, good read. Speaking of LDS mission tactics: we also had some Mormon Sisters come to the door a few weeks ago asking if there was "anything around the house" we'd like help on. If I had been the one to answer the door I absolutely would have tapped them for once-a-week "hold the baby while I clean stuff (and talk to you)" duty. I'm hoping they swing back by after the New Year. I'm not above getting some free babysitting out of a witnessing opportunity.

Pastor Nathan Dick said...

All great stuff here...but no link to the classic Chicago concert you mentioned?

DJP said...

Good point, Nathan. Not sure which it was on that day; might have been this one: http://bit.ly/1zLYkMV.

Here's a goldmine source: http://bit.ly/1HeGZww

Pastor Nathan Dick said...

Thanks. And I was SORT OF kidding. After all Chicago does not rank up there with all the other issues you mentioned in the post, but I did watch the Christmas Donkey video and...well...i figured that if it worked for you perhaps it would work for me.

Frank Turk said...

I have always feared the moment when our blogging about current events will have become basically a list of all the things we have already said about these issues but no one was listening.

I am afraid now that we have arrived there.

Frank Turk said...

And: Nathan Dick is in my mine the one guy anyone could meet who is the antithesis of the famous pastor. God willing we are all as faithful and he and his family are to God's local church and the people God is calling into His kingdom.