12 September 2014

Some here, some there — September 12, 2014 (special #TGCBlockedParty edition)

by Dan Phillips

Once again we'll start small. Do check back through the day, it will grow!
  • You've enjoyed some tweets I've lifted from the parody account The Gospel™ Corp. I have no idea who writes it, but it is just about the deftest parody-account I've seen. I mean, come on:
  • And how could you not love...
  • So I was genuinely surprised to find this:
  • I asked if it was a joke, learned to my astonishment that it was not. I honestly couldn't believe it. The TGC blocked this parody-account? How tone-deaf can you get? Were they trying to validate all criticism of their echo-chamber culture?
  • (By contrast, the Joel Osteen parody account is not blocked.)
  • So, moved by curiosity, I tried to follow TGC — to find that I too had been blocked at the user's request. Then others started checking and finding that they also had been blocked. So someone started the #TGCBlockedParty hash tag. Hilarity ensued. For instance:
  • ...and...
  • ...and...
  • Why did they do it? Was it a glitch? I've not been contacted, and I'm pretty high-profile and easy to find. I just checked the TGC account to see if there were any tweets about glitches creating false blocks, and found none. What did the blocked have in common? Some had objected to Mahaney and TGC's handling of all that, but I don't think I've written a word on that subject. What was the common factor?
  • Cripplegate's Jesse Johnson had a suggestion:
  • Jesse's other suggestion was this post about Driscoll.
  • The first result is that TGC is cementing its image of insular isolation and uber-prickly inability to entertain even the mildest criticism from outside clubhouse walls. Like this:
  • The second result is that being blocked by TGC is becoming a badge of honor. Like this:
  • I can envision the day when folks will say, "X is kind of a squish. I mean, he couldn't even get himself blocked by TGC."
  • Also, it's giving some good brothers a sad. Tony Miano felt left out for not being blocked.
  • And:
  • So: we've known for some time that its the stance of TGC and many of its writers that they are "unable to see" Pyromaniacs or anything we produce, no matter how effectively it forwards the convictions and truths they say they love and want to promote.
  • At least one TGC writer removed us from his blogroll (though he is still on ours). Why? Did we stop being Gospel-centered? Did our analyses of the scene drift from accuracy? History has since answered both. 
  • And so now apparently TGC is blocking critics of any sort on Twitter, though even then not with consistency.
  • What makes all this so sad — and what has taught me the bitterest, most unwelcome lesson in recent years — is how it relates to their own stated mission:
  • Yes, perhaps — but only if you're in The Club. Phil's question has now been answered.
  • Maybe if TGC isn't using their mission-statement anymore, another organization could take it over?
  • Chris Dean has a thought:
  • All these revelations have been hard on Carl Trueman. He's in our prayers.
  • Trueman is in interesting company, but he already knows that. Prof. Kevin T. Bauder may be on to something in some cases (obviously not in Trueman's), when he suggests that a better name might be The Gospel Coalition and Anti-Dispensational League. (h-t tweet from Scott Aniol)
  • What are your predictions as to how this will resolve? Will they find a way to strike a hurt, offended pose and make it look like everyone else's fault, make everyone else look foolish and small? Will they just start unblocking, without a word? Will it follow the flow-chart?
  • In other news...
  • Clint Archer writes a post for single men that reads something like a companion-piece for this post, though he doesn't mention it.
  • Are you going to get the new Apple watch? I haven't heard yet whether or not Phil will...
  • Should Christianity be Cool? Gene Veith says what Phil Johnson was saying right here on this blog years ago. (See this from 2010, this from 2012, this from 2008.)
  • Well, that's all right. Evidently lots of people like writers and sites that do a lot of playing catch-up. But we already talked about TGC and its bloggers.
  • No no no, the Parliament of World Religions is going to be held in Salt Lake City. Not at Saddleback. So quit that.
Again, check back through the end of the day.

And you can only comment on this post if you've been blocked by TGC! (Kidding, kidding...)

Dan Phillips's signature


Doug Hibbard said...

New Greek looks like an exciting idea.

And I'm squish. So I hang my head in shame.

Fred Butler said...

Right under the denial of allowing you to follow them, it bluntly states: "Does Not Follow You." That really puts the sting into it.

Unknown said...

Frank Turk blocked me for some strange reason. Naturally, I couldn't bare the rejection, so I created a new twitter account.

Bike Bubba said...

I am becoming more and more convinced that when people try to be "cool", they are more or less aping the raccoons in their love of bright shiny objects. And so you have to police the area so the lovers of bright shiny objects are insulated from the fact that they're not adding any real value to the equation.

I am even going to say that those who love "bright shiny objects" instead of the simple Word are almost bound to react rather defensively, often angrily so, when their love of old cigarette cartons and chewing gum wrappers is noted as such. It's certainly been my experience, sad to say.

Jim Pemberton said...

I don't know anything about TGC's antics. Why are people going crazy these days?

Re: The vegetarian propaganda:

They would both be full of bacon because I would feed one to the other. Pigs are ominvores and dogs are carnivores. (The Beggin' Strips commercial keeps running through my head) So it makes no sense to use them to push for humans giving up a natural predilection to a healthy omnivorous diet in favor of a purely herbivorous one.

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

For the record, I have blocked some people you guys are friends with (and even one you mention in this post) for spiritual abuse, such as supporting a pastor who sued an ex-member for a negative google review. To my knowledge said pastor sees nothing wrong with this. (Why not rather be wronged?! What if she was right?!) You know who you all are.

I'm also mystified why it matters so much to be blocked NOW, when so many Christians were blocked a while ago for taking a stand with families and victims of spiritual and sexual abuse because TGC wouldn't, but perhaps my first point is pertinent to that matter.

I am a shy person and not happy to engage usually (despite what I will myself to put out there because things need to be said), but come ON, guys?! What is UP? The "progressives" are entering the kingdom of heaven before the conservatives...

Deeply concerning. Thanks for the hashtag. This needed to happen. Please take on board these thoughts, and have the guts to publish them, and even to face up to and deal with the abuses in your own circle.

And remember, what TGC needs to learn is for us too: groupthink is often dangerous.

P.D. Nelson said...

As the possible lone vegetarian that reads and enjoys this blog I'd like to point out that particular meme only pertains to certain "western" countries and in others both would be side dishes. Carry on.

Jay C. said...

For the record, I think Pastor David Pitman (@pastorpitman) coined the #tgcblockedparty hashtag. I thought about coining one, but he beat me to it.

Stephen said...

Tyndale's GNT project seems perhaps interesting, except they do not seem to list anything of real interest on their website about it. They say they are primarily revising Tregelle's edition from the 1800s, a name that I had never seen before 5 minutes ago when I clicked on the link. They say will pay "particular attention" to "scribal tendency," whatever that means, and will only select readings with "significant manuscript support" which perhaps means they will give more support than NA/UBS to the Majority Text (aka the text of the KJV/NKJV and not the text of almost ever other modern translation), but I doubt it.

Of course the real reason they are making a GNT is so they can print commentaries with large portions of Greek text without getting a license from UBS to do so. Crossway and Lifeway did the same with English Bibles when they made the ESV/HCSB, and a couple years ago Logos did the same thing with the SBLGNT for Greek texts. I don't find much fault with publishing houses for doing so as long as their texts still have academic/doctrinal integrity, but it's the reality of the age.

Unknown said...

I find the continual bantering, and disrespect for other “circles” of Christianity tasteless. This has never stopped from this site, it just repeats. Calling people out is fine (case in point with this single point), but if ones overarching ministry continually attacks/heckles other believers, I would hope the authors on the site would hit the brakes one of these day. Bitterness is a foul cologne.

Anonymous said...

I'm thankful for this hashtag because it has exposed the inexcusable behavior of some of the members of The Gospel Coalition.

While I've not always agreed with the men at Pyro, they have never blocked my comments and have always responded to emails.

This is a matter of Christian/pastoral integrity, which Phil, Dan and Frank possess. The same cannot be said for TGC.

FX Turk said...

I hit publish on the last two comments for one reason: to juxtapose the two views over the central issue here plainly. Anonymous Joe J Joe tells us how bitter we are for saying something true but hard insofar as truth is concerned (some guys with ostensibly-good intentions actually have other intentions and other objectives) -- using all the tools we use (corresponding to his ability to do so) every day to say what we say. Rowdie (who is pseudonymous, but a real person) believes that, in spite of differences, the chuckleheads who run this blog are at least transparent in their motives and accountable, and take their roles as people instructing others more seriously than a way to get famous and influential.

My suggestion to Joe is to spend 2 years writing 2 excellent books and then have the one place which could help them become widely-read snub those books because that venue is mad that you have called out their past inability to deal with real doctrinal and practical issues that have affected others. Then Joe J Joe can tell us how his humility has grown, his sanctification is improved, and his willingness to accept the criticisms of his betters has evolved and made him a better man, sans stinky aftershave.

Unknown said...

Frank, please re-read your comment, the book comment proves the point of bitterness/irritation. Your comment is only the tip of the iceberg, that same mentality exudes this entire site. I hope you guys at least recognize this at some level. I hate to see the repeating anger from this site, it upsets me to think that people read this site and typecast Christianity upon what they read here. I won’t comment again. I just hope you guys can recognize, this pattern (years) it is plain and simple, you are producing good fruit... but the bad fruit is overwhelming things.

Tom Chantry said...

Ditto Frank, but let me add, his words should not be taken as an admission that this is simply personal. Dan is also a pastor, and as a brother-pastor I can tell you, one of the constant worries of pastors in the information age is this: what channels of negative doctrinal influence may be affecting my people?

And here's the crazy part: the answer to that is rarely what you might assume. Joel Osteen poses relatively little threat to my people; he's just too obvious. On the other hand, when Desiring God makes a point of saying that there's a sense in which Osteen is kind of right (and Mohler kind of wrong) - that's where danger lurks. It is the very subtlety of the sort-of-kind-of-not-half-bad preacher giving cover to heresy which threatens my people. I suspect Dan faces the same challenge.

So what has this to do with The Gospel Coalition? Simply this: it is now fairly evident that TGC's unwritten (or at least unpublished) policy is that those in the club can never be criticized for anything they do, even if they voluntarily leave the club. Criticism of Driscoll and MacDonald is simply not permitted - in spite their very public tolerance of Sabellian heresy and their equally obvious co-opting of the prosperity heresy.

Once this takes place, the Gospel Coalition can only be said to exist for the purpose of promoting certain 'evangelical' brands. It is so good at doing this that once it promotes a brand, it never reverses course (sort of like a political consultant is never supposed to turn on his former employers, Dick Morris notwithstanding.)

And that, you see, is dangerous. It's more dangerous than all the Benny Hinns and Josh Bells that Christendom produces. It's dangerous to Christians in solid churches, exactly because TGC has some very good names associated with it. The best thing that can happen now is for the Gospel Coalition to either fall apart or be entirely discredited. The good folks who have contributed to it can continue their various ministries, hopefully having learned something.

So while Frank's point is valid, don't mistake it for an admission that this is all just a personal grudge. It isn't. Something more important than personal advancement is at stake - namely, the gospel. If you think TGC is all about the gospel while TeamPyro is all about personal aggrandizement, you have it exactly backwards.

Anonymous said...

Okay, it's time this was said: these days, the only time anyone actually starts calling out people for being "bitter" or "contentious" or "causing disunity" is when their particular ox has been gored, and they have no effective answer for it.
The fellows here at TeamPyro may or may not be contentious, bitter, or whatever pejorative you want to use. I say they're not, but let's leave that aside for the moment. The fact is that they have been saying, for years, that people like Mark Driscoll had major problems. So what does TGC do, having received proof that the Pyros and their buddies were right?
Declared them unpersons. Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy was going to hit TGC eventually--but this soon?

Bike Bubba said...

Regarding Tom Chantry's point, does Driscoll tolerate modalism, too? Was he part of the T.D. Jakes thing, too?

I just left a church because the leadership didn't see MacDonald's antics as a big issue. Figured that if they didn't see the Trinity as a big deal, there were any number of other things they wouldn't think were a big deal, either. Ugh.

Tom Chantry said...

The Elephant Room was MacDonald's conference, but Driscoll served as co-moderator. It was Driscoll who questioned Jakes for a few minutes on the Trinity and who accepted Jakes' Modalistic answers as legitimate.

Here’s the transcript.

Anonymous said...

I think The Gospel Corp needs to become an actual organization.

Someone owes me a penny.

Tom Chantry said...

"Josh Bell." Nice. Someone really should have called me on that publicly rather than taken me out for the metaphorical cup of coffee in an email. Obviously I'm out of practice. Or just getting old (see 9/16/14 post).

Then again, Josh probably has better theology than Rob.

Jim Pemberton said...

I just thought "Josh Bell" was some sort of pun that I wasn't getting, although it's hard to improve on "Rob Hell".

Bike Bubba said...

Tom--will make it public next time, but truth be told, my email was just to say thanks, and the comment about our favorite virtuoso was purely in fun. And agreed that violin in the DC Subway is better theology than you'll find by Rob Bell.

So next time you're around Rochester MN, coffee is on me, and I hope you'll forgive me if I've got no complaints to make. :^)

wakawakwaka said...

why eat one and not the other you ask? because pork is nasty thats why