02 April 2013

Briefly: Resurrection Day, singles, sales and modalism ascendent

by Dan Phillips

Still more or less recovering from our Easter activities, and working on a long post reviewing the first volume in Logos' very promising Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series. So I don't have a single long-form post for you; just a few variouses. For instance...
  • The Resurrection Sunday array of events was a joy and a cause for gratitude — particularly because I'd just taken ill a few days' previous. The last cold was a whopper, almost more of a flu, laying several of us out with fever, chills, plugged sinuses, and wracking coughs. God was very kind, and this was a much milder cold. Fellow-elder Jacob Young handled our Good Friday service, dwelling on Christ's love for us from Romans 5. Then on Sunday we had a Sunrise Service, a breakfast, the normal Sunday School class, and our morning worship. Did not know whether I'd have enough voice, but I trusted God's good will — and we made it. If you like, you can hear:
  • And then I'd like to point out to you that Logos users can buy the works of D. A. Carson at a hefty 75% discount. That's a terrific deal, and I took advantage of it!
  • If you've missed it, for the last few weeks there has been an absolutely extraordinary series of posts back and forth between Thabiti Anyabwile and Douglas Wilson. It all started here. Well, in a way, it all started here, with a rant from Bryan Loritts (last seen throwing around skin-color-obsessed accusations at anyone not snowed by Jakes and MacDonald), who basically said Wilson's book Black and Tan had hurt his feelings: he didn't care whether Wilson was right or wrong, wasn't willing to discuss it, but demanded that Wilson withdraw the book because Loritts said so. Thabiti took up the subject in a sound, serious, and formidable manner, and a most extarodinary dialogue began. You can trace it at Thabiti's and Doug's blogs. Reading the series has been like taking a college-level course in how gracious adult Christians should dialogue; both men have been models of grace, patience and candor. The commenters, not so much; but that's par for the course, eh? 've always known Doug was a force to be reckoned with, and have thought well of Thabiti — but through this, I've come to appreciate just how formidable (in a good way) a brother Thabiti is. 
  • Thabiti provides the service of posting a round-up of the series thus far, as it comes to a close.
  • My own take is that my head's dizzy. I think they're both right about many things, and I think they're both not exactly completely hearing each other — and I think that's in spite of the fact that both are trying their level best. Which is discouraging, because I'm not in either one's league; so what hope do us pikers have of finding resolution on such issues? I only wish Thabiti would take Doug's repeated invitation for a further public conversation.
  • Finally, practicing what I preach, I'd like to give recognition by listing out all the names, complete with links, of the folks who have welcomed the privileges and perks of being high-visibility bloggers, and now have joined in expressing concern (proactively, this time) that yet another prominent evangelical leader is promoting the ministry of reputedly dogged Modalists. I'd really, really like to. Sincerely, I would.
And when I get some, I'll share them.
But time's running out.

Dan Phillips's signature


DJP said...

Well, I guess that ended up having more in it than it seemed when I started typing. Maybe there's a lesson there.

I'll have to learn it sometime.

yankeegospelgirl said...

Wow. I may get in trouble for saying this, but I'm disappointed in Thabiti. The more I read, the more I lean towards Doug's side. I was especially unimpressed by Thabiti's "Racial Insensitivity" installment. He was taking things Wilson had said personally amiss that were appropriate, balanced, needed, and not directed to Thabiti. And it's totally unfair for Thabiti to refer to "the language Wilson felt free to use in description of black women," when Wilson was talking about the kind of language the rappers use! Not to mention his wild overreaction to Wilson's comments about Little Black Sambo. "A potent tool of hatred, oppression and misrepresentation?" Sheesh, what's next, The Little Rascals?

The truth is, Christians have tip-toed around the race issue for far too long, and I applaud Wilson for being willing to say what needs to be said, even if it makes him unpopular with some conservative colleagues.

Anonymous said...

After learning from you about the Chuck Swindoll issue, I emailed his church.


DJP said...

Then you can say you did what you could. That's nothing to sniff at.

Tom Chantry said...


I read it exactly the opposite way. I thought Wilson (Wilson!) engaged in moral banality of the most juvenile and obvious sort. Whatever I think of the deficiencies of his theology, I didn't expect that.

But it goes to Dan's broader point, doesn't it? Two people can read the debate and come to completely different conclusions, because both were doing their best, and were still talking past each other.

DJP said...

I'm seeing four categories, Stan (and anyone):

1. Those who are the problem.

2. Those who do what they can, or some approximation, about the problem.

3. Those who could but don't.

4. Those who sneer at and mock Category 2 for even hinting that Category 3 perhaps should consider taking action and, in doing so, both enable, encourage, and thus become part of Category 1.

Tom Chantry said...

Then you can say you did what you could. That's nothing to sniff at.

I'm not sure Stan did everything that he could. Does he always comment "great post!"?

(This comment is Frank's fault for recently reminding me of the epic Hitler tweak video.)

Anonymous said...

I think your categories pretty much cover it. Given the magnitude of the issue, namely Swindoll's turning a blind eye to modalism in his own church, it is disheartening that others have not taken up the cause. Perhaps they have more important fish to fry like book and/or movie reviews, or maybe covering the new pope.

One more thing...
Great post!

DJP said...

Well, and talking about John Piper's hand-gestures. There's that. Someone has to cover that.

Tom Chantry said...


I'm glad Stan has done everything that he could!

Anonymous said...

From Stonebrian Community Church's website:

Support Stonebriar Missions while enjoying great music on Friday, April 5, 2013 during a concert featuring musical guests, Phillips, Craig & Dean.

This is a missions fundraising event!

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

Stan, I think that not two days after Dan wrote his piece, TGC was up in arms over something Victoria's Secret was doing. The world does what it does best and they went after it, but when a respectable, older Christian man with a broad platform and a history of faithfulness errs as foolishly as he has and leaves folks up to the law of unintended consequences by inviting a group with questionable and dangerous differences in what they believe the scripture says about God to share in his platform, noone peeps. It's almost like if you have a big platform and a history of sticking to what's right, when you mess up on your platform it gives you some kind of "out" - See, I thought from whom much was given much was required...

Mr. Swindoll is a man worthy of honor for his faithfulness over the years, but surely that doesn't give him a pass to do his own thing and for us to mind our own business in this situation?

yankeegospelgirl said...

Well Tom, I will say that I don't think slavery writ large was ever meant to be in some sense condoned or enabled by God. And my understanding of Wilson's position is that I would disagree with him there. But honestly, I couldn't see what the problem was with anything else he said. At least not with what I've seen thus far. Meanwhile, Thabiti makes ridiculous claims like that Trayvon was shot for "walking while black," which would be laughable if the case weren't so tragic. According to Zimmermann's side of the story (and there seems to be good evidence from multiple angles that he's not lying) he approached Trayvon, who then assaulted him viciously, provoking Zimmermann to use self-defense. Not exactly "shot for walking while black."

Tom Chantry said...


See, that's the difference between one guy who differs with me on a case about which none of us really know all that much but which has become a political football - and another guy who pretty much blows it on basic biblical morality.

Robert said...


Same as how Peter's years of faithful work didn't give him a pass for separating from the Gentiles when the Jewish leaders came to town. Many seem to forget that we actually have a Biblical example for calling people out publicly for public actions.

yankeegospelgirl said...

On Phillips, Craig & Dean, this is indeed a disappointing move on Swindoll's part. I certainly wouldn't invite PCD to my church if I were in his shoes. I think that should go for anyone known to be unclear on any foundational doctrinal/moral truth. With these guys it's sad for me to admit that because I grew up on their music, literally. I've still got their old stuff on my ipod. It's good stuff. But a heretic is a heretic.

semijohn said...

When Wilson commented about Sambo, he was seemingly trivializing something that was anything but trivial to a lot of people. If he knew this, he should've given the benefit of a doubt to those people and not said that. If he had no idea, that's one thing. But he at least knew that it was controversial. We all say things we'd like to have back, but Wilson repeated it in Black and Tan.

Now certainly that issue pales (imo) in comparison to other issues with the book and the first book he wrote with the League of the South guy and his whole "paleo-Confederate" perspective. But if nothing else, that issue can at least be pointed out to Wilson if he's ignorant about that. If anything it took away from the argument he was making for a lot of people, and I would think he would want to know that.

Drake Shelton said...

The Triune God doctrine cannot be distinguished from modalism, except by ad hoc assertions. There is no real difference.

If you believe there is a difference please explain it and please do not simply assert that Triunism asserts three divine persons while modalism asserts only one because both systems believe the Godhead is only one being. To assert three persons in one being is ad hoc wishful thinking which makes no sense and if it makes no sense then its adherent must deny the doctrine of private judgment.

DJP said...

It is easily distinguished, and has been for many centuries. The Biblical doctrine has one God who has eternally existed in three distinct persons, each of whom can refer to Himself as "I," and the others as "He" or "You."

If your pastor can't help you further with such a Biblically basic and simple issue, you should consider finding another church. The purpose of this post isn't the reinvention of that particular wheel.