30 April 2013

Meanwhile, read Carl Trueman

by Dan Phillips

I have a post in the works for today, undergoing some editorial revision.

But while that's in process, READ CARL TRUEMAN. The bro brings the bam!, wondering aloud what it would be like if
the conservative evangelical church world came to be dominated by a symbiotic network of high profile and charismatic leaders (think more Weber than Wimber), media organisations, and big conferences? What if leadership, doctrine, and policy were no longer rooted in the primacy of biblical polity and the local church? What if, in other words, all of this became a function of an Evangelical Industrial Complex?
You must read the whole thing. It's devastatingly wonderful.

And yeah, thank God that things aren't really that bad.


Dan Phillips's signature


Anonymous said...


As usual, he nails it. A good reminder to me, that my secondary allegiance (if that's the word) must must must be to my church down the road and not to a favourite celebrity.

I don't begrudge the big guys their influence, most have earned it through years of faithful ministry. But once they supplant my pastor and elders in my mind and heart, there's a problem.

Which means, of course, that there's a problem.

Today, I'll spend at least a part of my work time (I work at home), listening to sermons from my church.

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

It's almost like Carl wrote a sequel to your "Paper Pastors" article... It's "The Empire Strikes Back" to your "A New Hope".

Anonymous said...

There is evidence of co-ordinated sermon series complete with banners, bulletin stuffers, etc. F4F winner of the "Worst Easter Sermon" ripped off Anders Standing-room-only (but he may have just paid for it).

The visible church is sounding exactly like the late Medieval Church which was extremely popoular with big cathedrals (think Notre Dame), unity with diversity, a college of enforcers (Vatican), and suppresion of "haters" (think Huss)!

If we do not learn from history, we deserve to repeat it!

FX Turk said...

I'm not bovvered.

Michael Coughlin said...

Thanks for posting that.

Robert said...

Can we just call this an open letter to the people who brought us the Elephant Room? A lot of what he is talking about here was what was on display at ER2 (I didn't watch enough of the first one to see if it was true there).

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FX Turk said...


No, we can't do that. That would be unhelpful. Maybe even unfruitful. And we are resigning from fixing people, dagnabbit.

Robert said...

@Frank - Wow. He has no clue that what he describes there is the same way he and his buddies reacted to criticism from ER2. Especially at that round table discussion with Brian Loritts and a couple of other guys.

David A. Carlson said...

It is not like this is a new phenomena (1 Cor 1:12 anyone?)

Through time many church leaders have been seen like a rock star, at least amongst followers (Popes, Arminius, Calvin, Spurgeon anyone?) It's not like cult followings began in the 21st century.

And what is more self aggrandizing than naming study bibles after onself? Not like that ended with either Schofield or Ryrie.

Paula Bolyard said...

Glad that we are now officially "fundies." :) As a matter of policy, our church sticks to speakers from within our own denomination and as a result, there is more of a separation attitude. While that can seem legalistic at times, there is a doctrinal safety I have come to appreciate, especially when we had teens in the youth group. Everyone is on the same page--and we never had to worry that the youth pastor was bringing the influence of the "complex" or any other outside pastors into the youth group.

Our senior pastor is the shepherd of our church. Period.

Previously we were members of a mega-church that, in our last years there, got very loosey-goosey about some doctrinal issues, particularly in the youth group. I attribute much of it to younger pastors following flavor-of-the-week internet pastors. Unfortunately, there was not strong shepherding from the top to rein them in.

Aaron Snell said...

>>"The instruments of fostering that intimacy of strangers which is such a part of celebrity culture - for example, the faux-chumminess of all those tweeted exchanges and retweets, lives lived as soap operas mediated by the internet -"

Ouch. We all here probably need this poke in the eye. He's right, it is faux-chumminess, and it is exactly how the celebrity cyber culture of the world operates.

>>"One might even come across key leaders who had left their local calling precisely to further their 'ministries.'"

Bingo. Here's an important gauge that fewer and fewer are noticing when it pings into the red.

>>"Paul's list of elder qualifications in the Pastorals would be of secondary interest compared to the ability to handle communications media, to attend board meetings, to attract a crowd, to sell a title, and to network...'Confessional orthodoxy' would be wrested from its historic ecclesiastical context, with its connotations of elaborate theological formulation connected to clear polity built upon a Pauline view of the church and her officers."

Sigh. You are a voice of one crying out in the wilderness, Carl Trueman. God bless you.

Tom Chantry said...

Trueman, Carl Trueman. The Christian Blogosphere's 007.

That was, in Ref21 Parlance, an "article," not a "post." Which I think means it's been the works for some days at least. Which means he knew what James Mac was going to post today, probably before James knew it himself.

He has a license to shred, and he's not afraid to use it.

JG said...

Sorry, I got distracted by Frank's Catherine Tate reference....

back now.

I agree, fantastic stuff by Trueman. I confess that I am as susceptible to celebrity worship as anyone, but I do grieve (really, grieve) that we have fewer and fewer Bereans today and rather "I am of Apollo"s.