11 January 2012

A Made Man

by Frank Turk

Well, happy new year.  Nice to see you.  I feel like it's been a whole year since I have just flat-out blogged, and I have a great list of things to blog about.  There's the question of Mark Driscoll's blog post saying he has historical proof that the gifts didn't cease, which will be a delight to unpack.  Then there's the Elephant Room, which we'll have to wait a couple of weeks for, and the counter-furor over Mark Driscoll's sex book, and if we get bored we could take a look at Rick Warren's Twitter feed for laughs.

I'm going to leap off with some lite fare -- a blog article everyone and his tweeps tweeted approvingly about last week which, in my view, wasn't the man's best work.

Now, look here: I like Russell Moore.  I enjoy his blog.  I think he's a credit to SBTS and the Southern Baptists as a breed.  I'll bet he's a wickedly-challenging professor and a clever and charming fellow in person.  I have absolutely nothing against him.

This blog post got passed around last week like the titular Rose in Matt Chandler's tale of bad evangelism, so maybe my problem is that I got to it after everyone else did and it was falling apart.  It's a text, though, and not a fragile piece of flora, so that's not very likely.  You can read it for yourself, and (since this is the internet) read the whole thing.  It won't actually hurt you.

My friend Mark/Hereiblog objected to the piece because Dr. Moore unfortunately equated Jonathan Edwards, Charles Wesley, Billy Graham, Charles Spurgeon and Mother Theresa as Christian leaders of equal stature. Meh - he's not really making that theological point in that paragraph, so I'm willing to cut him some slack on that.  He's really saying that God can do anything with anyone by grace through faith -- he literally says, "the Spirit of God can turn all that around. And seems to delight to do so."  That's good enough for me.

My problem is the actual larger point of the essay, which stems from a report Dr. Moore makes of something Carl Henry once said to him and a group of fellow seminarians.
Several of us were lamenting the miserable shape of the church, about so much doctrinal vacuity, vapid preaching, non-existent discipleship. We asked Dr. Henry if he saw any hope in the coming generation of evangelicals. 
And I will never forget his reply. 
“Why, you speak as though Christianity were genetic,” he said. “Of course, there is hope for the next generation of evangelicals. But the leaders of the next generation might not be coming from the current evangelical establishment. They are probably still pagans.” 
“Who knew that Saul of Tarsus was to be the great apostle to the Gentiles?” he asked us. “Who knew that God would raise up a C.S. Lewis, a Charles Colson? They were unbelievers who, once saved by the grace of God, were mighty warriors for the faith.”
And to make sure we don't miss the point he is trying to make here, Dr. Moore concludes thus:
Jesus will be King, and his church will flourish. And he’ll do it in the way he chooses, by exalting the humble and humbling the exalted, and by transforming cowards and thieves and murderers into the cornerstones of his New City. 
So relax. 
And, be kind to that atheist in front of you on the highway, the one who just shot you an obscene gesture. He might be the one who evangelizes your grandchildren.
Now, let's take this stuff as it comes and not in such a way to merely take a pot-shot at a reputable man and good Christian brother.  In some sense, the point he makes is one I have made often in the past: God saves people, and he doesn't just save good people.  He saves lousy people (and in my case, I can say plainly, "like me").

That is actually the Gospel hope: to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.  That's what we do, and what we hope for, and what we think has happened to us.

But, as I read it, Dr. Moore and the beloved Dr. Henry have leveraged that hope one too far.  In the best case, they have not shown us all the work, as my High School Calc teacher used to say.  Because the hope of the Gospel is not that all leaders will be, as Dr. Moore intimates in his essay, just like Paul.  In fact, I think the church is in a lot of trouble right now because we have too many people who, from their own hermeneutical crow's nests, think they are just like Paul -- except for the chains, if I can put it that way.  Some of them think they have been called by the voice of God to lead the church, and unless that's patently true it's patently the pattern for a great fall from orthodoxy.  Some think they are great defenders of the faith, forgetting how loving and pastoral Paul was before he brought out the lash for the foolish Galatians or the sassy girls possessed by a prophetic spirit.  Some others still think they are like Paul because they have written fantastic books, or planted many churches, or maybe because they have a messy eye disease.

... for example ...
My point, before we dwell on that last bit too long, is that not every leader in the church is a Paul.  They don't become leaders by divine caveat and by instantaneous transformation.  In fact, if we read the actual Paul, we find something out pretty quickly: he didn't think that there were almost any like him at all.  The ones who would come after him would be more like Titus, and Timothy, and the men they would teach and raise up as leaders in the church.

And surely: some of those were once, as they say, ones such as these -- once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  But the way they got from point "A" to point "B" was not merely by Gospel anti-taxidermy where the dead thing has its atrophied and lifeless guts taken out and replaced with living stuff which, it seems, is also the stuff of leaders.  There's a middle step, a long step which requires the actual church, and the Gospel itself, and stuff like love, joy, peace, patience and so on, not the least of which is self-control.  And, as Paul also says, whatever it means to be one who is "not a recent convert."

So yes: Christ saves sinners, and some of those are surely going to be leaders at some point.  But when we are concerned that the church is, herself, sick, and that her leadership is a warren of ignoble furry ticks and not men with pure hearts and good consciences and a sincere faith, to simply declare that the Gospel makes criminals into spiritual paragons misses the point.  It may in fact undermine that point.

And in this new year, where what kind, how many, and for what purpose we have leaders is going to be a highlight (or low-light, as you may wish to call it) of what happens in the English-speaking church, we should consider it, and reconsider it: there's more to Christian Leadership than merely claiming that Jesus has made you a made man.

Think on it, and we'll tackle something really interesting next week.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you on this totally. Love listening to Dr Moore, I download his sermons, but just on this point he might be making a presumption. Yes the drunkard in the gutter right now may one day be a famed evangelist. But even though it is in the realm of possibility. It is not likely. Happy New year to you too!

Andrew Lindsey said...

I'm not sure I understand your point. Are you just saying that, in the post you mention, Dr. Moore is undervaluing secondary causes?

Frank Turk said...

I am saying that, tacit in what Dr. Moore wrote, is a belief that leaders are anointed and not made through the hard, long work of sanctification.

I think if we asked Dr. Moore those pointed questions, he'd agree with what I am saying: there is a middle ground for the pastor who used to be a drunk, and it is not an entitlement of the Gospel to be a leader. That's why I prefaced with what I prefaced with.

I'm also saying that trusting the Gospel to do everything without the necessary consequences of the Gospel is unhelpful.

And when we start tossing out words like "unhelpful," them's fightin' words in the rare air of upper blogdom.

Frank Turk said...

And since I have been distracted from my morning agenda, I am also saying that there are many ways in which people think they are entitled to lead -- to be "like Paul," if you will -- and that trend is an epidemic in our churches, and it needs some strong medicine. Maybe some Drano.

GiftsandGiggles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dac said...

I think you assume to much.

Dr. Moore's post was short and contained one basic point - God is sovereign, it is his church, and he will make of it (and the whole world) what he will - surely something that we can agree with. Everyone other than the chicken littles who run around constantly crying out the sky is falling, who by doing so demonstrating that they do not believe that God is sovereign, regardless of how they might protest that statement.

I highly doubt that he thinks that churches, denominations and laity do not have some heavy lifting to do, that improvement is not required.

Frank Turk said...

dac --

Please apply your hermeneutic to the last 3 paragraphs of his post and help me understand how those words mean what you say they mean.

Robert said...

So I shouldn't lament that Mark Driscoll, Rick Warren, James MacDonald, etc. have such a great following and that they are leaders in churches? And I should just expect that any guy off the street might be the next great evangelist? Well, that might be true, but there is so much that has to be done in the life of any individual before that comes to fruition. I'm reading "50 People Every Christian Should Know", by Warren Wiersbe, and have been thoroughly convicted of my own shortcomings in being obedient to Jesus. The great leaders of God are going to be people who are preoccupied with abiding in Him and being transformed by reading Scripture.

Also, should I just expect that God doesn't have a limit to His patience when I look at the world around me? Didn't Peter address this attitude among people who didn't believe in God asking where God is and why He hasn't come to judge the world already?

I see the point he is trying to make, but I think he should develop things a bit more thoroughly if he is really going to tackle this subject. Especially when one considers how much ignorance there is out there and how many people are mislead by people who have no business being leaders in the church.

I never realized how much Ed Young, Jr. looked like Gary Busey until I saw that picture...scary.

Did anybody else notice Dan's comment on the article and the wide range of responses he drew?

Frank Turk said...

That Gary Busey graphic has been in the graphics queue for months. I was dying to use it.

Anonymous said...

It’s important to note that in his post Mr. Moore implies that these next-generation super evangelicals will actually cease to be the atheist, drunkard etc. once they have been changed by the Holy Spirit.

And to that I would wholeheartedly agree.

However, according to 1 Cor. 6:11, doesn’t the same change take place for the prideful, boastful, greedy, adulterers too?

Then why is ‘evangelicalism’ so chock full of them?

Johnny Dialectic said...

I think Dr. Moore was making a small and winsome point (I especially like the last paragraph), so perhaps putting the theological thumbscrews to it is not apt. This wasn't a post to "show all the work" because it wasn't an exam. It was more like a note passed around the lunch tables.

I do like Frank's observation here:

Some think they are great defenders of the faith, forgetting how loving and pastoral Paul was before he brought out the lash for the foolish Galatians or the sassy girls possessed by a prophetic spirit.

Also winsomely expressed and an excellent point.

Chris Nelson said...

If the next great "Christian leaders" are to be like C.S. Lewis, and Mother Teresa who completely denied the gospel, we are in tough shape.

stratagem said...

A "warren" of ignoble, furry ticks? Interesting word choice!

Tad said...

I find it interesting that Carl would make this point, especially being the covenant theologian that he is....should there not be a "genetic" expansion of evangelical leadership? If we are not raising up the next generation of leaders, aren't we at fault? Are not all conversions as miraculous as the Apostle Paul's?

Frank Turk said...

Are all conversions as miraculous as Paul's? Well, what do you mean by that?

Do you mean, "God saves people, and he doesn't just save good people. He saves lousy people (and in my case, I can say plainly, 'like me')?" Then in fact I have already said that and agree with you.

Do you mean, "God saves everyone to have be leaders and evangelists who can write Scripture?" Then you haven't read Paul very closely, and this post is meant to remedy that.

Frank Turk said...


It's going to be a very good year for blogging.

Tom Chantry said...

I see your point, Frank. I think the one redeeming sentence in Moore's post is this: Most of the church in any generation comes along through the slow, patient discipleship of the next generation. It indicates that the church, while it need not worry (and I took "relax, don't worry" to be an answer to the question "Is there no hope?") must still be diligent, hard at work in passing on the faith, which involves the discipleship of the whole man.

But perhaps what would have been better if he had said, Most of the church in any generation comes along through the slow, patient discipleship of the next generation, and every leader, regardless of background, is going to need that same slow, patient discipleship at some point.

In other words, Paul himself didn't leap from the Damascus Road to the First Missionary Journey; he spent years in study and several more as one of the teachers in the Antioch church. In other words, even if the next Billy Graham is drunk in a frat house somewhere, and even if he is miraculously and amazingly converted, the church will need to be there to teach, reprove, correct, and train in righteousness, because God works through the church.

And Frank, tell me if I got this right, because I had to reread everything to get close to understanding today - you say this was not Moore's best work. By that do you mean it wasn't wrong in and of itself, but that in failing to say that the church must maintain some cohesion as a vehicle for the true gospel and all its implications, Moore perhaps gave cover to those who think that a dramatic conversion story qualifies them for Pauline ministry in the church - without the hard work of discipleship? Or do I need to go read everything a third time? Be kind, I've got stuff to do today. (Like, ministry.)

Frank Turk said...

This is why Chantry is my favorite non-Pyro internet person: he gets me. He really gets me.

The flaw in the essays is its omissions, which I think are unintentional.

donsands said...

This well thoughtout and well written piece made me think of Ephesians:

"... built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
..... which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
...And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes." (Eph. 2,3,&4)

Thanks for the excellent word. A bit deep for me, but it made me think of the Word. Thanks.
Have a terrific day in our Savior's love and joy. He tells us to rejoice always. Man, do I want to obey that command.

Mark B. Hanson said...

Having crawled out of the Jesus Freak subculture of the early '70s, I saw the wayside strewn with those whe had a spectacular conversion testimony and were thrust immediately into public ministry. Adultery, false teaching (false "prophecy" too), money problems, and many other temptations that they would likely have beem able to handle with a few years' quiet discipleship ruined these guys.

stratagem said...

Mark - amen to that. I saw a lot of that, too. Mostly peopole whose main qualifications were wanting to promote themselves and attract attention. Really bolsters what is being said here by Frank and clarified by Chantry.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

I find it interesting that we are so focused on and even looking to find the "new" Mr. Clean in a pile of soiled linens and rags. We’re far too focused on who’s who in the world of Christendom. There again, it feeds that mega church, mega pastor, multi-site mania that so many of us disagree with.

We don’t seem to have faith that God can lead his church to triumph and victory without these high profile leaders. A C.S. Lewis (who I totally have nothing in common with) neither puts me one step further towards the pearly gates, as does the reading of and mulling over the works of Jonathan Edwards. It’s not who’s in the know, it is Who you know.

Great article, Frank, and I loved Dan’s reply over at Moore’s blog.

Your comment here is worth my going out and buying an entire new pack of post-it notes: “I'm also saying that trusting the Gospel to do everything without the necessary consequences of the Gospel is unhelpful.”

Frank Turk said...

I'm going to publish a pack of Turk-quipped post-it notes for next Christmas. It will compete with the Rick Warren fortune cookies, but I think it's worth a shot.

Solameanie said...

This touches on something that never fails to bring out the wonder-factor in me. We really do forget sometimes just how MUCH time goes by in the Bible as events are narrated. The Apostle Paul actually at one point gives a timeline (as was pointed out in the meta) of the number of years that lapsed from his Damascus road experience to his status as an Apostle. Even more time lapsed until he met up with Nero's chopping block.

Going through the OT reading through Kings and Chronicles, these are YEARS that pass between episode. But because we sit down and can read through it in 30 minutes, we think things happened in Scripture in the same breezy fashion.

Paul said at one point not to "lay hands on anyone too hastily." That used to mean some passage of time observing someone before you elevated them to a position of leadership or responsibility.

Today, a janitor can pronounce the word "hermeneutic" correctly and we're ready to make him the head of adult education.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Think of all the Turk quotes that will fall by the wayside if we have to wait until next Christmas.

That’s downright unfair of you! :)

stratagem said...

In the meantime I propose an offical teampyro sweatshirt emblazoned in Shakespearean style: "Knows of Turk"

Scooter said...

I think I'll make this the year I strive to "get" Frank's posts before Tom comes in and clarifies it for me. Not that Frank is a bad writer, but that I'm a bad reader.

Frank's point is good and necessary in an age working hard to make discipleship happen in 10 easy steps via video and that the parachurch has the keys of the kingdom, all the while neglecting the local church of struggling saints.

Tom Chantry said...

Frank's point is good and necessary in an age working hard to make discipleship happen in 10 easy steps via video and that the parachurch has the keys of the kingdom, all the while neglecting the local church of struggling saints.

Boy is that a big, big, big part of this puzzle. I remember in college discovering that everbody was all excited about this thing they called "discipleship." Which, excuse me, is a word I never heard. I went around for four years saying "Everyone wants to make "disciple" into a verb because they just don't like the related verb: "discipline." But whenever I investigated just what "discipleship" was supposed to be, I always came away thinking, "Isn't that what happens in the church? Without the buzz-words?"

I think I understand better now. Church is messier than I realized. It's painful. It never boils down to 10 easy steps (or 7, in my college circles!). If only we could find some way to advance painlessly up the ladder in a convenient Bible Study, wouldn't that be nice?

Thank God - and I say that without blasphemy - thank God that I had a church in those years in which the pastors - especially the one who worked with the college kids - saw through the weaknesses of parachurch and gave us the instruction and discipline we needed.

Frank Turk said...

Scooter --

I recognize that I write until it pleases me, and what pleases me is not always text book clarity. Sometimes I take more pleasure in inventing euphemisms for what I am trying to say than in saying it as though I was Siri giving you directions to Starbucks.

Your confusion is probably not your fault, but I'm also not changing.


Larry Geiger said...

Almost all of our future church leaders will not follow the path Dr. Moore describes.

Most of them study diligently throughout their lives and develop their minds and understanding. Most of them, even as youth, are serving and foregoing the world's treasures. Most of them are spending time in prayer and thanksgiving. Almost all of them are working out their salvation with fear and trembling.

Almost all of them will never be on "60 minutes" and will rarely or ever preach to more than 200 people at a time.

They will be found standing by the bedside with you as your spouse painfully dies a slow and tortuous death. They will hold your hand and pray with you. They will stand next to you at the graveside of your father. They will preach and teach you year in and year out. They will faithfully instruct and marry your children.

A couple or three might walk the path Dr. Moore describes and end up being "evangelistic powerhouses". These are mostly irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

As usual, you have articulated what I was feeling about that post but did not have the right words to express. And then TC comes behind you and makes it even clearer. You two are a fabulous team!

But next time...can you give us a warning when you include a picture of Gary Busey? I was not prepared for that as I scrolled down the page...that sort of pic needs preparation...

David Regier said...

It may be that we most emphatically do not need another Billy Graham, but rather pastors of churches of 150 or so in every zip code who faithfully proclaim the gospel and are satisfied to do so.

Clark said...

I appreciate, as usual, Frank's Frankness and Mark's, and others, references to the skyrocketing effect of (formerly?) wicked people with great testimonies moving into positions of great influence.
But, the analysis that suggests Dr. Moore was describing a process that circumvents the role of the church in training, molding, disciplining and moves yesterday's drunk janitor in the gutter to tomorrow's evangelist is bizarre to me.
Dr. Moore, nor CF Henry, did nothing of the sort. It was simple comment about God being in charge of His church and who would be it's future leaders.
Perhaps Turk is correct when he says "tacit in what Dr. Moore wrote, is a belief that leaders are anointed and not made through the hard, long work of sanctification."
But he (Turk) also said that Dr. Moore would undoubtedly agree that " there is a middle ground for the pastor who used to be a drunk."

Frank Turk said...

you know: writing a post like this spawns so many ideas for future posts, it makes me wonder if you people are just in the business of inciting me to see what I will do.

stratagem said...

I can't speak for others, but as you well know that's what I do! You DO know that there is an app called TurkIncite, right?

Scooter said...

You won't change? Curmudgeon!

I certainly hope you don't change your style. I really enjoy it. Over the past year it dawned on me that i'm not as careful a reader as i though, something in which I took great pride. Plus a postcard with TeamPyro-ism is a necessary stock stuffer next Christmas.

It's a conclusion I've come to working in the Evangelical world for the past 6 years. The church seems to be an afterthought to the latest "concern" (fad). That's why I think Frank's observation is needed to bring a well-roundedness to the essay, especially for me. I need a much more robust view of the church since I was saved and "raised" in this environment.

Aaron Snell said...

"As usual, you have articulated what I was feeling about that post but did not have the right words to express. And then TC comes behind you and makes it even clearer. You two are a fabulous team!"

It's sort of like a Pyro Dynamic Duo - Eupheman and The Interpreter :)

Aaron Snell said...

And "a warren of ignoble furry ticks" was worth the price of admission, as well as its own tag.

Morris Brooks said...

It also seems to me that Frank is also talking about the self-anointed, self-appointed who have not gone through the rigors of observation and examination by the church. Which, by the way, Paul did as well, both in Antioch and before the elders in the Jerusalem church.

Robert said...

I'd like to see an article written where somebody will say that when we look at the world around us and the condition of the church, we should remember that Paul wrote the following to Titus:

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungoldiness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ". (Titus 2:11-13)

And Peter wrote this:

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!" (2 Peter 3:10-22)

I don't see a promise of the next great leader or evangelist in Scripture...in fact the only thing I know for sure is that two prophets will be here at the end of the world and they will be killed by the God-hating masses. This doesn't mean that I don't hope for revival and for many lost souls to be saved by God, but I just think that many people look forward to revival more than they do the coming day of the Lord (which might not come until well after any of us dies...none of us knows the day).

Tom Chantry said...


One of my favorite moments in the OT history is recorded in II Kings 2:14. The whole context of II 2 and following suggests that for the faithful of Israel, the departure of Elijah looked like an irrecoverable loss. But when Elisha came to the river, he cried out, "Where is Yahweh, the God of Elijah?"

It seems that Elisha was the one man who didn't think it had all been a matter of Elijah's talent, and who was less interested in a new "Elijah" than in a continuation of the mercy and power of God among His people.

Seth said...

Must be a dearth of low-hanging fruit that finds Russell Moore in your parsing crosshairs. Can the Beatitudes critique be far behind, lol?

Robert said...


One of the favorite sermons I hear preached at my old church was one on that same passage...the elder delivering the sermon was talking about how we need to be looking for the God of our fathers, just as Elisha was. I could picture Elisha there striking the water with Elijah's mantle humbly asking for the God of Elijah. He knew Who supplies the strength, power, and will for true, godly leaders.

Tom Chantry said...


It ought to be the funeral text whenever a great preacher dies. Everyone else ran around the desert looking for Elijah...Elisha looked for God.

Frank Turk said...


"the crosshairs"? Really?

Did you read this post at all? Because it's plainly a critique and not a power slam. It's not any kind of a fisking.

And for whatever this is worth: it's more of a poke at the literally-dozens of people who linked to it like it was unadulterated perfection when in fact it was a nice sentiment with some obvious flaws.

"in the cross hairs?" Wow. You need some ointment for that prickly heat you have there.

Darlene said...

"You are not a Bible character."
I remember reading that on the Glory to God For All Things blog some time ago. Me thinks many Christians have fancied themselves to be St. Paul, or John the Baptist, or Jesus turning over the tables in the temple. But then (hopefully) we grow up. We recognize that such a calling is for the few and far between. Furthermore, what about all those unknowns who were martyred by the hands of the Communist regime? I dare say many unknowns will receive greater rewards in the Heavenly Kingdom than those who have had popularity galore and sold books that have rocketed to the number one seller list.

This post brings to mind the Apostle Paul's instruction in I Timothy 2: "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

As God's beloved in Christ, we each have the ministry of reconciliation. "Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings" are to be made on behalf of all and for all. So we who don't see the whole picture, we who submit to the mystery of God's will in regards to salvation, we pray for those with whom we come in contact - the drunk homeless one on the street, the troubled co-worker, the atheist/agnostic friend/family member, the rich, white collar executive, those in prison, the list is endless. We pray also for those in high places - presidents, politicians, religious leaders, etc., that they may/will submit to and obey the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And we who are the unknowns, yet known by God, we must be content to be in the shadows, faithful to what God has given us to do without all the fanfare.

And now I'm thinking of the homeless teenagers in the park that I met over the weekend. Father-less, mother-less children desiring to belong somewhere, roaming the subways at night, and filled with such sadness yet promise awaits them if only... One of them might be that great powerhouse for God, and another the quiet Christian struggling against sin and loving God and his neighbor. Both outcomes are pleasing and acceptable to Jesus.

trogdor said...

What Chantry said. (And what Dan said last week, too).

I do think this is a case of every post not being able to say everything, wanting to focus on one point without anticipating/answering every possible objection and permutation. Unfortunately, the self-imposed limits play into the authority-via-spectacular-conversion-story ethos plaguing the church today.

It might be worth noting that, in addition to spending at least three years in "discipleship", Paul was already well-versed in scripture even prior to his conversion. He wasn't the drunk guy with no clue about God who comes to faith in an instant; he was a Pharisee, who knew more detail of the Old Testament than most of us could ever hope to - yet missed the main point. Once that - He- was revealed to Paul, the whole picture would have come into focus quickly, and his scriptural knowledge would have been formidable basically immediately (Acts 9:19ff).

The point? Even from his conversion, Paul had a better grasp of scripture than many of the self-anointed ever will. Unlike them, he had a verifiable miraculous conversion, and a specific calling and commissioning from Jesus Christ himself. Yet he did not immediately self-promote and start his own church, but submitted to rigorous discipleship for years before being set apart for missions (and that not of his own accord, but at the commissioning of elders).

So if you hear someone talking about his spectacular conversion as proof that Jesus called him to start his own church or preach to gazillions, be very, very afraid.

Bob said...

Dislike. You can't find anything else worthy of criticism? Classic example of poking at fellow believers when energy should be directed elsewhere. Not good.

Bob said...

"This is why Chantry is my favorite non-Pyro internet person: he gets me. He really gets me."

-self absorbed much? I usually appreciate your writing, Mr. Turk, but your obvious selfishness in this post trumps whatever point(s) you were trying to make. Maybe you should really get to know you as well.

Andrew Lindsey said...


I don't think we cessationists could have made the conclusion about centuri0n that you made based on the sentence you cited.

Tom Chantry said...

It's OK, Bob. I don't think I'm really his favorite.

Frank Turk said...

Bob --

I think you didn't read this post. At all. How would I know if that statement is true or false?

Solameanie said...

"Prickly heat." Ah, Arkansas, how I miss thee. I'm almost in the mood for a belly full of chiggers now. ;)

donsands said...

"Classic example of poking at fellow believers when energy should be directed elsewhere. Not good."-Bob

So, you can poke though.

This was a fine post. Well thought out and well presented. Bob, go back and read it again my friend.

Rachael Starke said...

Russell Moore is one of my favorite pastor bloggers because he writes like a writer, not a preacher.

Frank is on of my favorite non-pastor bloggers because he writes like a Reformed William Faulkner.

I thought that Moore's best point was that we ought not to treat blasphemers in way that says "we were never that way." Particularly when it comes to driving.

Solameanie said...


Hmmm. "The Sound and the Fury" starring Frank Turk as Jason Compson.

Nahh. I don't think so. Besides, I've never seen Frank write in stream-of-consciousness style. But you've got me thinking. What writer would genuinely fit? Honestly, he reminds me more of a Reformed Mark Steyn in terms of wit.

Now I'm thinking of my own writing style. Jack Chick after a Klonepin overdose?

Frank Turk said...

Hunter S. Thompson
P.J. O'Roarke
John Piper

In that order.

Rachael Starke said...

....but a worse speller than any of them, combined.


Rachael Starke said...

.....which is no doubt a sign of your humility, and your non-aspirations to be the next Apostle Paul.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

@ Rachael

I believe it is a first edition of the Sound and The Fury that is going for $30,000. I have my mother's old collection of the classics, which I have also added to over the years, and I furiously went thru them to see if I had it. Darn! But I do have a book of children's classics and inside the cover is a printed address for Carl and Sander Levin. It must have belonged to them when they were children.

I also have a leather-bound collection of the Harvard Classics. My grandfather passed them down to my father, then he to me. You sound like you are a book lover, too. :)

Jim Pemberton said...

I'd add that even God's hyper-anointed leaders in the Bible went through training experiences. Moses spent 40 years being educated in the house of Pharaoh and 40 years being humbled as an outcast shepherd before God called him back to even start his leadership. David spent years being pursued by Saul after having been anointed before being elevated to king. Saul didn't hardly have any training and we see what kind of anointed leader he turned out to be. Paul himself spent some significant time in discipleship before setting off on his own.

Even Jesus had to grow in wisdom before assuming His ministry.

So the great and anointed ones in the Bible didn't jump into the saddle with the oil still dripping off their head. Why should we expect it?

trogdor said...

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. [Unless he's got a really cool conversion story and believes he's called to lead a mighty work of God. Then forget all that, he's totally cool, bro. Just give him his own church already.]*

*The earliest manuscripts do not contain this passage. But whatever, it's all good.

Mel said...

I see your point, but there's always the exception to the rule.
Luthor and Rolla grew up in an institution that was (and still is) the tool of Satan. They had no one to teach them but the Holy Spirit.

I think the issue is that we tend to shorten time frames and compress people's lives into 2-hour movies or 3-part mini-series.
It's very hard to read the Book of Acts all the way through and not do this. We simply do not think in decade(s), and thus Saul of Tarsus is preaching in Antioch by the end of the week and the drunk at the frat house becomes a Paul Washer overnight in our minds.

Solameanie said...

Mary, did you ever see the movie version of "The Sound and the Fury" with Joanne Woodward and Yul Brynner? It was horrendous and a huge departure from the book, which admittedly is a difficult read. Brynner had hair in the film, which was a shock, plus his foreign accent was hardly Mississippi. If they can't follow the book they need to leave it alone.

Anonymous said...

Meh, the post was kinda goofy in general and just annoyed me from a stylistic perspective because Moore always thinks he's saying something DEEP, DUDE, when it's really just like, "Uh, okay. Is that it?" But I wouldn't have picked that particular post to pick on. I'd go for "What Has Good Friday To Do With Earth Day?" or "Jesus Has AIDS," or his unprofessional ethics exam, or his general exegetical sloppiness before I'd bother criticizing this.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Hi Solameanie,

No, I didn't see that movie. And as you well know Faulkner is hard to read. His sentances went on forever and ever.

You sound like a book lover/collector. too. Besides my Harvard Classics and my general classic collection, I also have The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written by the Easton Press. I love books and love to read. But we both know NOTHING compares to the Bible. :)