It’s true; I stole Thomas Sowell’s column format. If I put his picture here, that makes it OK, right?
With apologies to Thomas Sowell, here are some “random thoughts on the passing scene.”
It is universally accepted that “sheep-stealing” is an immoral approach to church growth. I seem to remember Someone who wasn’t too impressed with hirelings, though. When the sheep in the next field are starving to death, doesn’t “sheep-stealing” become a virtue? We need to promote the practice of “sheep-rescue.” The Humane Society would approve, but more to the point, so would the Good Shepherd. Continue reading
This is just a brief post to alert readers that tomorrow, D.V., I will be on the Iron Sharpens Iron show with Chris Arnzen. The topic of our discussion will be the church’s role in the moral collapse of our society, which I blogged about early last month. (The blog series begins here.)
Chris and I will be talking from 4:00 to 6:00 Eastern time, and you can livestream all or part of that discussion at his site. I’ll update this post when the show hits his podcast, although it looks as though they are running a few weeks behind just now.
Here we go again!
It has been roughly a year since the evangelical and small-c calvinist worlds were embroiled in the ongoing collapse of Mars Hill Church and the once booming ministry of Mark Driscoll. A cascade of revelations, from plagiarized material to authoritarian abuses to dishonest financial practices all resulted in the collapse of Driscoll’s reputation and, ultimately, the loss of his ministry.
In the midst of this disaster Evangelical Fix-it Man Paul Tripp™ was flown in to become part of something called the Board of Advisors and Accountability, which was patterned after the apostolic institution of the…uh…never mind. As the disaster broadened, even Paul Tripp™ bailed out, stating on his way out the door, “This is without a doubt the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.” Continue reading
During the last year I have written a number of times on the doctrine of divine impassibility. This is the doctrine that God, being immutable, does not experience emotional fluctuation as do we. The Scriptures speak of God’s anger burning or of his compassion rising up, but this is analogous to it speaking of his arm or his ear: it is a communication to us of truths about God in human terms which we will understand. Still, God is not a man, and we must not think of him as having “ups” and “downs.”
My interest in this topic of course reflects the conversation which has taken place among Reformed Baptists, particularly within ARBCA, about the nature of God. However, it is a matter of great importance to all Christians. If we think of God wrongly (which almost always means imagining him as being one of us!), then we will neither serve nor worship him as we ought. Continue reading
To the Abortive Mother:
I’m sure that you, like everyone else in America, recognizes that we may well be in the midst of a sea change on the issue of abortion. A few years ago, when Kermit Gosnell (a rather typical inner city abortionist) was tried and sentenced, the true nature of the abortion industry began to leak out. Now, due to the stunning revelations of the Center for Medical Progress, the truth is front and center. In spite of the desire of the media to shield you and the rest of us from the truth, in spite of two entertaining primary races, and in spite of a dust-up at congress within the President’s party, there is still a great deal of light shining on the behind-the-scenes activities of Planned Parenthood. Both sides are quick to sing the party line, but I’ve been wondering how to talk to you. Continue reading
Let’s Have a Reformation!
All week I have argued that the American Evangelical church is to blame for the collapse of our culture. We have failed utterly to maintain the doctrine of the law which was universally taught in Protestant confessions, becoming instead a lawless people. This has handicapped our witness to the world, robbing us of the moral authority to speak and of any message which could convict.
A very serious reformation is needed. Efforts to defund (and dismantle) Planned Parenthood are certainly a righteous cause. It is right for Christians to fight abortion, and to struggle to define marriage properly. However, a more fundamental reformation is necessary, and what is more, it is within the grasp of the church. I speak of a reformation of Evangelicalism – one in which we repent of the last half-century of abandonment of morality. The needed reformation will be spiritual, theological, ecclesiastical, and homiletical. Continue reading
The Preacher of the Law
Yesterday I wrote about the scourge of antinomianism which has all but erased traditional protestant doctrine from the evangelical world. While thorough antinomians may be in a minority; they are both vocal and influential. Most evangelicals have at least abandoned part of the law. Many have adopted a form of homiletical antinomianism – an antinomianism of message if you will. It is as though we are permitted to believe in moral law, so long as we never preach it and rarely write about it. Where the law is still permitted to be discussed, it is only with regard to its first (evangelistic) use. Talk of the law restraining human corruption is forgotten, while talk of the law as a standard for Christian ethics is strongly resisted within the church. Continue reading