John Piper Almost Stepped Down: “Interpretation” Saved the Day!

All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.-Walter Benjamin

wikicommons
                                          The Buffalo Soldiers Infantry-Wikicommons 

Yesterday, at our usual post church lunch and palaver, one of my friends, who has been a long time fan of Precepts, expressed her concern over the material she is going to study for Genesis. It appears Kay Arthur is pushing a literal 6-day, 6000-year creation as the only viable, literal interpretation of Genesis. We will be discussing this further in the near future.

Literalism is the long-standing bugaboo of the Christian community and not for the faint of heart. Many believe that the Scripture is clear enough for a simple plowboy. They view the ones who see nuances and allegory as heretics. However, fool that I am, I have decided to wade into the shark-infested waters of the literal interpretation of the Bible.

Bottom line up front: For all of the yammering about the plain reading of Scripture, there is a heckuvalot of “interpreting” goin’ on, even amongst the Calvinistas. Folks, there is a reason we have so many denominations and so many views. And every person who holds to a particular view are 100% sure they are correct and the rest of the faithful are just substandard and probably not saved.
I do not believe that one can interpret Scripture with a broad- sweeping wooden literalism. What do I mean? For those who are gasping for air, please be assured that I hold to the Nicene Creed. The Resurrection had to occur or the whole shooting match is over and I may as well eat, drink and be merry.

One man, who became upset that I said the huge pearl on the gate in heaven reminds us of the Scripture that talks of the Pearl of Great Price, best illustrates what I mean. He insisted that it means that it is a real pearl and that I was making light of Scripture. As hard as I tried to convince him that the allegory of the pearl meant so much more than a big honking pearl, he refused to budge, declaring that there is an actual gate with an actual pearl. So, I took a deep breath, smiled and said I understood. But inside myself, I claimed CS Lewis’ statement that no one ever went to hell for believing that God has a long white beard.

We will look at one such instance involving John Piper. I want our readers to understand something. In the following example, which involves Piper (and the elders who love him), I actually agree (audible international gasp) with the outcome. But, fear not, I am not pleased with the process that they took to get to this point because I believe that the motivation to “come up” with this view is mixed up in protecting Piper.

Piper, in the past, has interpreted things pretty plainly, including the complementarian viewpoint because, after all, he is sure that Scripture is clear. He also seems to have a direct access into God’s thinking on tornadoes, believing that one was sent to punish the ELCA for endorsing gay pastors here. Why it skipped over Amsterdam and why John Edwards hasn’t fallen into a sinkhole is beyond me. Perhaps God supports the causes and concerns of American evangelicals over Dutch evangelicals? Here in North Carolina we have a saying. “If God is not a Tarheel, then why is the sky Carolina blue?” Maybe God just loves conservative, American Republicans more.

But what happens when literalism would seem to indicate that Piper would need to step down from his pulpit? Betcha there will be another interpretation found post haste. And it was.

Sovereign Grace Ministries’ controversial head man, CJ Mahaney, is a good buddy of John Piper. It appears that he has supported the forced removal of number of SGM pastors when they had children who were rebellious. However, there are some reports at the SGM Survivor’s site that this rule was not applied to CJ Mahaney and Dave Harvey who both have had some issues with their kids if reports at the SGM Survivors site are to be believed. So it would seem that the rule has exceptions, particularly if you are important to an organization. One of these days I really must find out where this exception is in the Bible.

I find this focus on children who rebel confusing, especially in the Calvinista circles. These folks preach that some people are born to be saved and others are born to be condemned. So, what’s the big deal when a kid rebels? If one subscribes to such theology, then it is not the pastor’s fault, is it? In fact, didn’t God ordained it to be such? So why should the pastor be held accountable for something God decided before time? There seems to be a schizophrenic application of limited atonement in this crowd.

I, on the other hand, do not go down this road. These are my observations. There are wonderful families who do it all “right” and still the kids rebel. (Think Prodigal Son). On the other hand, there are awful families in which there is abuse and inconsistent affection and the kids turn out great. And, in the vast majority of cases, most kids experiment outside the boundaries of the faith at one time or another.

I do not believe that we should excommunicate every kid who rebels. On one hand, you’ve got to hand it to Piper. His harsh theology is consistent. He will excommunicate his own kid. On the other hand, is it really necessary? Said son is safely back in the fold, working, of course, in full time Christian enterprises. Diversion alert: I think it would be really cool if one of these mega idols' kids stopped trading on influence and said, “Bag it. I’m going to drive race cars.”

With this in mind, let’s take a look at what happened. Theoblogy, The Tony Jones Blog, link published an interview with John Piper from the Christian Post. Here is the basic gist of the interview. Apparently, a number of years ago, Piper’s elders, with his blessing, excommunicated Piper’s 19 year old son, Abraham, who was not following the Lord. (Something to do with typical kid rebellion stuff-wine, women and song).

He told his elders that he might need to step down because the Bible says that children of elders must be “faithful." Can you imagine the panic that ensued in his church, the Gospel Coalition, the conferences, CBMW, the publishers, etc.? It was Code Level Red-Call in the Cavalry and save the day! Here are some quotes from the Christian Post article, "Should a Pastor Continue in Ministry If His Child Proves to Be an Unbeliever?” John Piper told the story in his own words.

“It says in Titus 1:5-6 that the children of elders should be pista (faithful). Tekna is the neuter word for "children" in Greek, and pista agrees with it. So it is "faithful children."

“Now if you just absolutize that as "they must be believers" then not only would I have had to resign, but every pastor would have to resign until his children become believers.”

“So the idea would be that you can't be a pastor until they become believers-say, nobody with children under six should be a pastor. Or another take would be that if they profess faith and then walk away from it you have to leave the pastorate.Well the elders studied that through and they wrote a paper. It was just a two page thing that said that a pastor shouldn't resign on account of an unbelieving adult child”.

“And so they let me press on” (ed.note: Code Level reduced to Yellow). “So I don't think the point of those stipulations in 1 Timothy and Titus is to lead to the quick resignations of pastors, but to discern whether a man has a maturity and a giftedness to lead a well-ordered family. That's what it's for.How can you manage the flock if you can't manage your household? And good management doesn't mean perfect outcome. It didn't for God, and it doesn't for us.”

Now, we go over to the Desiring God site here . Justin Taylor justifies the "interpretation that unbelief on the part of an elder’s kids is no reason for the elder to step down.

“Alexander Strauch suggests the second interpretive option: "The contrast is made not between believing and unbelieving children, but between obedient, respectful children and lawless, uncontrolled children." What is at stake, Strauch suggests, is "the children’s behavior, not their eternal state."

"I believe, therefore, that 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are referring to the general submission and behavior of the elder’s children. God has so designed the universe that the parental role of disciplinarian, model, authority, and servant-leader generally has a profound effect upon the behavior of the children. Paul does not spell out what this looks like in every case, nor does he spell out all of the specifics of what will disqualify an elder. The general case, however, is clear:"

"What must not characterize the children of an elder is immorality and undisciplined rebelliousness, if the children are still at home and under his authority.10 Paul is not asking any more of the elder and his children than is expected of every Christian father and his children. However, only if a man exercises such proper control over his children may he be an elder.”

Here is how Tony Jones viewed this at Theoblogy. 

“What’s happened to Piper is that he got caught up in his own biblical hermeneutic. Well, well, well. Isn’t that interesting? It seems that the Bible doesn’t mean exactly what it says. It seems that the Bible has to be interpreted.”

This is why it is very, very difficult to hold to a literal interpretation. If they did, Piper would be out, along with many other pastors. Of course Piper’s elders found an out. They did it, efficiently, in a two-page paper. (Papers produced by elders have that "authoritative" feel, don't they?)

Here is how this is going to end. I will get comments from people claiming that this outcome is the “literal” reading of the text. Those will be the people that love John Piper. I, on the other hand, believe that they did not render a literal reading of the text but interpreted it. Once we start “interpreting” one thing, it will lead to us interpreting other things. I have no problem with this but I know that many Calvinistas, young earthers, complementarians, etc., do.

I, of the Old Earth persuasion,  will now sit back and await the first comment in which I will be called a “heretic” because I don't read the Bible "literally."

Lydia's Corner: Jeremiah 44:24-47:7 2 Timothy 2:22-3:17 Psalm 94:1-23 Proverbs 26:6-8

Comments

John Piper Almost Stepped Down: “Interpretation” Saved the Day! — 199 Comments

  1. Dee,

    Fascinating post, and of course, impeccable logic. I am curious, though, regarding the picture of the Buffalo Soldiers. I have anecdote after anecdote of black soldiers on the Oklahoma plains, soldiers the Indians called “Buffalo Soldiers,” and am wondering about the connection you made between them and the content of your post?

  2. No, you’re adorable and glamorous.

    The interpretive options have the right amount of vagueness to allow the person with power to decide each individual case to their own convenience & advantage.

  3. Wade
    I wish it was more interesting. I mentioned that Pipers men had to call out the Cavalry to prevent him from stepping down. I looked for a free foto of soldiers that could represent a Cavalry. Cavalries are looked at as old-fashioned.I thought the picture was cool and sat for a few minutes staring at it, wondering about those soldiers and their history. Looks like you know.

  4. Here in North Carolina we have a saying. “If God is not a Tarheel, then why is the sky Carolina blue?”

    I’m a local NC’er too — and I detest that saying! :) (GO DUKE)

  5. True Words
    Don’t like the saying either. However, this is what those who interpret the Bible to fit their situation do all the time! We support Duke as well!

  6. “If God is not a Tarheel, then why is the sky Carolina blue?”

    Has God, then, not switched his allegiance and become a Jayhawk?

    And I’m not just bringing this up because I, a former Tar Heel, am hoping to become a Jayhawk this Fall. I’m really not.

  7. There is an old saw that goes something like: “What is a conservative? A liberal who has become the victim of a crime. And what is a liberal? A conservative who has been arrested.”

    So it is here.

    I have long thought that the interpretation they finally arrived at is the most likely one. But that isn’t what makes people cry foul about this.

    What makes people cry foul is the DECADES-LONG practice within Reformed, Neo-Reformed, Reformed Baptist, etc. of holding lesser lights and average members to an extremely strict interpretation of this and other verses, with a resultant trail of de-giftings, removals from office and even discipline of parents, and the accompanying humiliation and human misery.

    Then, suddenly, when it is a Very Important Person whose child proves to be less than a total angel, the Scriptures are “studied carefully” and suddenly a new meaning is “discovered” that just happens to vindicate them. Yay.

    But what about all those people who have suffered under a yoke that proved to heavy for John Piper to bear? That was an awful lot of years of not lifting a finger to help, and in fact tying even heavier burdens for them to carry.

  8. That Bad Dog

    As long as a person has lots of members it their church, states the “correct” theology, makes lots of money, writes lots of books, and speaks at lots of conferences, he gets a pass on anything he says or does. Not one of these guys, Piper included, has ever piped up and told CJ or Driscoll to settle down. In fact, they just sign them up for more conferences and book endorsements.

  9. Eagle
    Don’t know much about Boyd but I have met Yancey. Some people like Yancey seem to have a humble nature and tend to be self-deprecating. Wade is also like this along with two of my former pastors, Pete Briscoe and Jim Abrahamson. None of us are perfect, but some just seem to have that self-denial thing down better than others.

  10. “I believe, therefore, that 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are referring to the general submission and behavior of the elder’s children. God has so designed the universe that the parental role of disciplinarian, model, authority, and servant-leader generally has a profound effect upon the behavior of the children. Paul does not spell out what this looks like in every case, nor does he spell out all of the specifics of what will disqualify an elder. The general case, however, is clear:”

    Hmm…seems to me in this that they still interpreted with that patriarchal flavor. Which, of course, means that it isn’t interpretation. If it supports the “patriarch”, it is the literal, plain meaning, Right? (tongue in cheek)

  11. Dave
    For some reason it did not underline that word. But, I realized what was wrong when Wade wrote in and I looked over that entry. Why did my spell check not clue me in?

  12. How would you like to be Abraham going through your typical Pastors Kid-living-in-a-fishbowl rebellion years and the elders have to produce a “white paper” on you so your dad can keep his job and proliferate reputation as conference speaker and book writer across the country?

    I mean the family income was at stake!

  13. Dave/Wade
    I am schizophrenic. I spelled the word two different ways and my stupid spellcheck failed me!

  14. Dee. The spellchecker had a Freudian slip to prompt us all to rely upon Calvary, not cavalry.
    Isaiah’s words (31:1) certainly apply today: “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help And rely on horses, And trust in chariots because they are many And in horsemen because they are very strong, But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!”
    Speaking of the OT, most of the great Patriarchs and Kings, including God himself, had at least one unfaithful child, so they might be “out” as well.

  15. Good observation re: the inconsistency of the “plain” interpretation of these verses and the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. Never noticed that before, although many in the Reformed camp would claim that the children of believers are predestined to believe themselves, on the basis of the familial/transgenerational covenant.

  16. Imagine that I am a two dimensional piece of paper and that you are a two dimensional piece of paper. Imagine that we are in space not too far from one another but not in the same plane. So then, a ray of God’s light (a one dimensional beam) strikes me in the middle and you in the upper right had corner. We see this ray of light differently, indeed, as two dimensional beings that is the best we can do. Yet, if we learn to respect one another and come to understand our position in space, we can understand that ray of light much better. To me our limitations as regards being human whose time of life is much less than an electronic flash in terms of galactic time and whose whole life ability to obtain and understand knowledge amounts to one atoms worth of a whole galaxy in terms of what is out there well explains why we see things regarding God so differently.

    I really do hope we come to respect one another more.

    Our current times in the United States are such that those who would be humble, truthful, and faithful are drowned out by those who are the opposite of these. So it is no surprise to me to see leadership form doctrines with their egos, forsake even close friends and family to maintain position, and hide behind lies. The truly scary thing to me is that I may come to understand how Jeremiah felt and why he felt that way.

  17. Amy
    Yet the OT proves the transgenerational covenant quite sketchy. Most of the descendants of the kings did “evil” in the sight of the Lord. Look at David’s son. Jesus demonstrated that the true inheritors of the promise are those who accept His grace. These then become our brothers and sister, our mothers and fathers, etc. Also, it was Rahab who was added to the lineage of Jesus due to her faith. Many of the Israelites who saw God’s deliverance from Egypt quickly built golden calfs.

    Finally, go on over to the Ex-Christian website. You will read of one too many kids of believers who are not believers.There are no guarantees that anyone’s kids will become Christians but I would say the odds are in their favor. At least they have heard the word. However, having grown up a non-Christian, when I heard the word I was so excited. It was new and fresh for me. My kids have heard it all and I had to work to make the faith interesting as opposed to rules and burdens.

  18. Tod
    It was my fascination with the endless wonders of the universe which helped me to come to Christ. God is so much bigger than we can imagine. Yet we try to put Him in a box. One preacher said that our understanding of God is somewhat like a mollusk’s understanding of us.

    And, if church discipline keeps going on like it is at Mars Hill, people will put their smiley face masks on quite firmly and never, ever admit they need help.

  19. It’s ridiculous that this is such an either/or. I think that the Gospel has absurd amounts of layer and depth to it and yet an 8 year old child can understand it by picking up Luke and reading it.

    The basic Gospel is that Christ is Lord, that is a super dense statement that one could spend the rest of his/her life unpacking. It includes the incarnation,life,crucifixion,resurrection of Jesus. Wow!

    I consider myself a bit of a biblicist but I’m no YEC or fundamental complementarian. I think a lot of that stuff is interpretation projected into the text. Yikes! I trust Messiah Jesus to sort it out, and having faith on Him (which, in truth, means being faithful by the indwelling of the Spirit). Liberty and Agape!

    I think anyone who’s not got a point to prove can see Paul’s point. Elders shouldn’t help guide the congregation if they have trouble at home. But the religious mind goes looking for 5 principles for this, 40 ways to that, 10 biblical whats-its. When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. Paul would be baffled at the scaffolding we’re doing to try and build a system out of 3-4 sentences he writes on some day-to-day issue. We have tome after tome on how to have a good marriage, a healthy marriage, yada yada.. and what does Paul say for husbands and wives? Husband, serve your wife. Wife subordinate to your husband. That’s it!

    It’s a tad strange that so many of these celebrity pastors are becoming more like Roman bishops than the humble plurality of Elders that seem to dot the New Testament. Why do so many so-called pastors forget they are but older sheep, for all are brothers and sisters!

    My 2 cents

    All in grace and truth,
    Cal

  20. I first woke up to the inconsistency of Calvinist literalism years ago when in the Calvinist church. For years I had swallowed all the teachings on female submission etc because I’d been taught all my life “that’s what the bible says”. Then, one Sunday in church, the same pastor who had always insisted on all these other things being transcultural and God’s word for all times and places, got to the words in the text “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” His response? “Oh, I think in our culture today a hearty handshake would do.”

    Huh????????

    The cognitive dissonance was too much for me (everyone else was just nodding their heads with no apparent difficulty) This was the beginning of my journey into sorting out the theology for myself.Some people just can’t see that an inconsistent hermeneutic leads to questioning everything they teach!

  21. Sorry, I don’t see the problem here. Piper pointed out an inconsistency in his own life, based on scripture, a shortcoming and failure of spiritual leadership, and moved to step down from his pastoral position, which prompted an even deeper look into the scriptures in an effort to be faithful to scripture. The hermeneutic is completely consistent and illuminated scripture, which was forthrightly shared publically. Piper walked the walk even when it went against him. What is your complaint here?

  22. Hi Dee,

    Interesting post with some very helpful reflections. You overall point is excellent. That being said, I think that to make a fully accurate statement I would challenge some of your minor points.

    I am not a fan of Piper’s dogmatic and argumentative tendencies nor his absoluteness with regards to men and women. However, I do not think that it is a correct statement or assessment to dump Piper into the “literal” reading group. He is much more nuanced than that and in my opinion this is part of the reason for his large number of fans. When Piper talks about how to interpret Scripture he addresses the straw man type of arguments such as “rain is falling” the mustard grain is the smallest seed (it is not) etc…

    Also, I do not think that Abraham is working at Desiring God anymore but has moved on to another non ministry related position. Finally, to those who question Piper’s not stepping down due to financial reasons this is simply not the case with John. In the past in my Calvinista days I visited Bethlehem Baptist and actually saw the house where Piper lives. Very old, unattractive, and in one of the worst neighborhoods in Minneapolis.

    Is Piper wrong on several big things, absolutely, but in seeking to live a war time lifestyle he is the real deal (or was when I lived in the Twin Cities). I mean the man wears the same suit every time he preaches :) All in all I like your post and agree with you in the big picture. I may be mistaken, and we may need to disagree on the other points I mentioned. I hope I am not guilty of being dogmatic or argumentative, just trying to offer a fuller assessment.

  23. TheyS on Mon, Mar 26 2012 at 09:06 pm
    Sorry, I don’t see the problem here. Piper pointed out an inconsistency in his own life, based on scripture, a shortcoming and failure of spiritual leadership, and moved to step down from his pastoral position, which prompted an even deeper look into the scriptures in an effort to be faithful to scripture. The hermeneutic is completely consistent and illuminated scripture, which was forthrightly shared publically. Piper walked the walk even when it went against him. What is your complaint here?”

    Wartburg is not fond of conservative theologians (particularly anybody who has ever befriended C.J. Mahaney) and disagree with a hermeutic that believes Scripture speaks very plainly about things that are simply contrary to the secular cultures; such as creation, female leadership in the body of believers and gender roles.

  24. Eagle- that’s not discussed in this blog post, so I can’t speak to that. This blog post says John Piper’s job was rescued by his elders. Then it attempts to tie that to literal interpretation of the bible and YEC. Nothing in John Piper’s paper trail ever evidences a “literal” interpretation of the bible. He’s an academic. He favors a systematic hermeneutic that attempts to interpret the entirety of the text plainly in the original languages. When he noted that his own hermenuetic had disqualified him, he was ready to quit. Is that not what we call integrity? If you want to disagree with his hermeneutic, go ahead. He won’t mind, He regularly entertains and discusses theology and doctrine with academics and pastors who disagree with him. Hell, he even publically called out Driscoll and an inconsistency in Wayne Grudem ‘s changing of his Systematic Theology. You can disagree with John Piper, but you cannot call him a charlatan who will stop at nothing in his grasp for power. And what power? Little old bethlehem baptist in Minneapolis? Their website that gives away all his books for free? He dates his wife at Old Country Buffet on a weekday and wears $3 ties. Have you met his wife? She is no pushover by any means. She is an imposing academic and artist in her own right.
    To Dee and Deb, Wartburg Watch is in a unique position to actually encourage people who have been abused by the church to see their way clear of it, and to boldly expose the abusers. But to do so, you have to remain above exaggeration and hyperbole. These are the tools of the abusers. Trying to get cute with facts or implications or insinuations to make someone look bad will ruin your credibility. Don’t fall for that.

  25. I still say that much of this imbroglio over Scripture is almost exclusively American and Protestant in its pedigree. In addition, it’s not much older than 40 years (provided one discounts the Bible belt monkey trials in the 1920’s).

  26. I find it interesting that Piper’s son was 19 when this happened – old enough to drive, old enough to vote and – if we still had a military draft – old enough to die.

    Granted, he was still a teen, but given the ridiculous lengths to which fellow calvinistas have taken this (people within SGM being put through the wringer on things that their *adult* children did), I’m guessing that somehow the dad is supposed to be The Authority Figure either forever or else until the son goes off and either becomes a Patriarch himself or else just, as you suggest, bags it.

    Eagle – iirc, CJ’s son was in HS and the big offense had to do with some kids smoking a joint out on the SGM school grounds. I have to say that I think there are a LOT worse things that a kid could do – it’s not as if he robbed the Bank of England! (Though you can put me down as being in support of medical marijuana and legalization/regulation of mj in general – as we do with a FAR more dangerous drug, namely alcohol.)

  27. I still say that much of this imbroglio over Scripture is almost exclusively American and Protestant in its pedigree. In addition, it’s not much older than 40 years (provided one discounts the Bible belt monkey trials in the 1920′s).

    Agreed, though I do think that the many crises over strict literalism go back at least to the 1920s, or else the Scopes trial would never have happened.

    otoh, there does seem to be a really serious gearing-up of this stuff in recent decades.

    Truthfully, I think one of the reasons so many American evangelicals are told that Europeans are “unchurched” is that most of those who believe seem not to be tied to fundamentalism, though I’ve corresponded with someone who grew up in a hyper-fundie church in the Netherlands… also, a lot of pretty hardcore evangelical/charismatic churches have started up in the former USSR and former Soviet Bloc countries. (Makes me shiver just thinking about that…)

  28. Dee –
    You wrote: “It appears that [Piper] has supported the forced removal of number of SGM pastors when they had children who were rebellious.” I believe you, but I’d appreciate it if you or others would document this. Also, is there any evidence that Piper enforced this at his own church?

    Concerning Calvinist literalism: It goes all to heck when it comes to Israel. Jesus is the True Israel. The Church is the True Israel. Everything is the True Israel except Israel. It’s so inconvenient for their hermeneutic.

  29. Jeff
    You wrote: “It appears that [Piper] has supported the forced removal of number of SGM pastors when they had children who were rebellious.” I said CJ Mahaney enforced this. CJ is a friend of Piper’s. But, as with Driscoll, Piper never speaks up on the excesses of the SGM movement.

  30. TheyS
    “He favors a systematic hermeneutic that attempts to interpret the entirety of the text plainly in the original languages. When he noted that his own hermenuetic had disqualified him, he was ready to quit. Is that not what we call integrity?” He didn’t get disqualified, did he?
    As for helping those who have been abused, Piper figures into this. He is the one who says for women to endure abuse for a night. He is the one who spends time with folks like Mahaney, knowing full well of the alleged abuses of SGM.

    As for having met his wife, it is a moot point. We do not know what goes on behind closed doors. it worries me that he would think it would be OK for a woman to endure abuse for one night. I wonder- would he think it OK for him to be abused by an intruder for even one hour?

    Where in this post did I exaggerate? As for getting cute, I already am. So what’s your point?

  31. Dee,

    On another note, the fact you post comments and don’t censor them like some of the Calvinista’s definitely gives you points in my book!

  32. Jimmy
    I have taught the entire Systematic Theology by Grudem so don’t give me any baloney. Bet you don’t know many men or women who have done so. Glad you think everything is so gosh darn clear against secular culture which you define as women who might want to teach men (oh so radical). And I do believe in creation so cut the nonsense.

  33. Theoblogue
    Be careful to read what I said. I did not say that Piper wanted the money. I said that those around him would be hurt if he stepped down. Hence the references to the cavalry and code red. I am aware that Piper lives simply but those who surround him may not be as sacrificing. One only needs to look at the lifestyles of some of his friends in his circuit. An endorsement by Piper means sales, speaking engagements, etc.

    Secondly, Piper has not used his influence to speak against the excesses of the movement he helped to spawn. He could have done much to help in the SGM situation. He could have spoken out against Driscoll. Instead, he makes weird statements like “I loooooove Mark Driscoll’s theology, bottom line.”

    I learned something a long time ago in business school. There are more commodities than money. For some, it is notoriety, for others it is time. So, Piper has definitely gotten notoriety out of his position. He does get asked to autograph Bibles.

  34. theoblogue
    Thanks for the recognition. We are willing to take the punches and bear up under the scrutiny. We write a public blog and therefore expect to be critiqued in the public square. We wish more pastors and mega-idols would do so. But, then again, maybe we can be a role model about what it mans to stand the courage of one’s convictions. Some men talk the talk (Driscoll). We women walk it.

  35. Jimmy
    Try making these comments on other blogs. Most people would delete you or tell you to shut up. However, if you don’t stop misrepresenting me, I will play a game that I haven’t played in a couple of years. It’s called, “Where’s Jimmy?” We will approve your comments but people will have to search for them. Considering the fact that we are getting around 100+comments per post, well, let’s just say you will be in TWW oblivion.

  36. Having gone through a reformed phase, this story demonstrates to me the incompatibility of logic and compassion. Now I know that many of you don’t see reformed theology as logical, but consider that it may be because you have too much compassion. Reformed folk view logic as the highest discipline when it comes to hermeneutics, even though they admit it is possible they have flawed logic on some points. But to them, the law of non-contradiction is THE highest authority to which even GOD must submit. [I repeat, I understand completely how many of you might see Calvinism as VERY contradictory, but believe me, they pride themselves on their consistency, true or not]

    It’s easy to stick to flawed logic when punishing peasants for trifling transgressions, but when the scourge of the law is upon thy back, your reasoning faculties are rapidly enlightened. As a student of the Bible, Piper has to act on his convictions. They really believed that the logical conclusion of the scriptural text meant that they ought to discipline elders who have rebellious children. They failed to consider two things: rebellious children are a discipline themselves already (don’t have kids, but am I right?), and the higher principle of the law is to show mercy and compassion. If compassion was the lens through which they read scriptural imperatives, and not systematical organization and implementation, perhaps their conclusions might have been more faithful to the text. I believe their final interpretation was correct, but the fact that it took Piper under the gun for them to discover this is a blatant example of the insufficiency of the bare intellect to achieve illumination apart from love.

    What Piper is guilty of is cold rationalism. It appears that perhaps God was trying to get through to him.

  37. I don’t know the whole story but, I am assuming that Piper believes that if a teen rebels he is not really saved. It would be difficult for any leader to remain in church if a child’s sin causes you to have to resign. Another question is, if your son is 19 aren’t they on their own? Also, I thought I read that Dever’s child or maybe a couple of children are estranged from him. Am I wrong? I do not mean to say that with any intention of slander.

  38. Okay, gals. Dee says that Piper’s elders had to call in the cavalry. Y’all give us a picture of an infantry. First thing that comes into my head?

    “I may never march in the infantry,
    Ride with the cavalry,
    Shoot the artillery,
    I may never ZOOM! (make hand motion) o’er the enemy,
    But I’m in the Lord’s army!” (Salute and yell, “Yes sir!”)

    (Oh, and don’t forget that Carolina blue is the same on both sides of that Carolina border.)

  39. Has God, then, not switched his allegiance and become a Jayhawk?

    We don’t know for sure yet. He may be a Wildcat. :)

  40. Truthfully, I think one of the reasons so many American evangelicals are told that Europeans are “unchurched” is that most of those who believe seem not to be tied to fundamentalism,

    But if it is true what’s the beef? Many European atheists are proud that studies and surveys show a fairly sharp decline in Christian beliefs of any stripe.

  41. Lynn – But how does that account for the evangelical/charismatic and fundie churches over there?

    Seriously, while many people say there is no belief, there are Christians of all stripes (from Anglican and Catholic to Pentecostal to…) in the UK and on the continent.

    They just seem to not be on the radar of many people who take polls.

  42. Another thing to keep in mind is that WWs I and II took a huge toll on Europe and the UK.

    Churches and churchmen were compromised (collaborating with Nazis, for example). Between the horrific death tolls in WWI + the Holocaust and the destruction of homes and farmland during WWII, I wonder if I would want to have faith – I do know that I would have lots of questions!

  43. On another note, the fact you post comments and don’t censor them like some of the Calvinista’s definitely gives you points in my book!

    In the interest of full disclosure. We have blocked a few of people from commenting and even removed some of their comments. They had basically lost control and were doing the equivalent of “yelling fire in a crowded theater”. But in general as long as you don’t post misstatements of the truth and are civil with your opinions we let things through.

    Note that this blog has about 28,000 comments currently online.

  44. Dee, you DID teach Grudem’s theology but you have seemingly moved to a less conservative theology.

    I haven’t moved. Scripture teaches ( and many, many pastors have struggled with) that an elder may not be qualified if he doesn’t have control of his own household.

    This isn’t new.
    It does get sticky, however.

  45. Conservative Calvinists tend to argue that their own hermeneutic position is faithful to what scripture (ie God, in their minds) ‘says’. If you disagree with them, why then, you’re disagreeing with God.

    But to read is to interpret. This is true no matter where you place yourself on the doctrinal spectrum. Information isn’t neutral, and neither is our processing of it. We try to make sense of the world (and what we read) based on our knowledge and experiences.

    Perhaps I’d have a bit more time for John Piper and co if they conceded that they, too, are selective about how they treat scripture – or at least, that they read scripture within a framework that is not consistently literal. What they define as ‘plain reading of scripture’ is their particular system of interpretation.

    Funny how so many church leaders – from the international ministry bigwigs to the small fry at the church I left – advocate this concept of taking scripture at face value while defending their unique role of interpreting it for their congregation. (I’m reminded of being at a bible study in which the pastor outlined a number of views, and a young man asked him, ‘Okay, so what do WE believe?’. This culture of the priesthood of pastors can be perpetuated by church leaders and members alike.)

    This all makes me think of an observation made by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson in her essay, ‘Darwinism’ (from the collection, The Death of Adam):
    ‘People who insist that the sacredness of Scripture depends on belief in creation in a literal six days seem never to insist on a literal reading of “to him who asks, give,” or “sell what you have and give the money to the poor.”‘

  46. Robin
    I have heard that Dever’s adult children are not baptized which probably means that they are either not Christians or are very upset over something that happened when they grew up.
    If one is considered a non-Christian during the periods of life when one rebels, or better yet, decided to ignore God, then lots of people would not be considered Christians. Here’s one for you. I had a friends in college who grew in a Christian home. He went through a period of rebellion and died in a car crash. I was so upset I met with my pastor. he reassured me that we all rebel at different times in out lives and that my friend was in the hands of a merciful God who understood these things far better than we. Too many people mistake actions for salvation.

  47. Miguel
    Thank you for your excellent explanation. You put so many things into perspective for me.

  48. Tikatu
    I am glad that Tarheel blue leaks into SC.and VA. :) And now you’ve gone and done it. I have been singing that stupid song all morning.

  49. Lynn
    There are now atheist rallies in various European countries. The New Atheists are achieving rock star status which show that Christians are not the only ones looking for the next pastor idol.

  50. numo
    The studies are fairly conclusive, no matter who does them. Faith in Europe has declined dramatically. I spent 3 weeks in Noway and Sweden, traveling with two friends who are Norwegian and Swedish (citizens-grew up there) as well as evangelical. They both introduced to the few Christians in the areas we visited. All of them agreed that faith has radically declined within the last generation and are deeply concerned.

    Percentages taken by pollsters for all sorts of groups show belief in Christianity has sharply declined-even in its broadest definition. Those who attest to some spiritual leaning tend to like the crystals, life force point of view.

  51. Guy
    I protest! We even let some mean and jerky comments through!!!So much show that I get emails from people who think we are waaay too lenient.Civility is very broadly defined here. To wit: we allow ourselves to be called “yellow journalists,” Philistines, witches, etc. We carry on, wearing such labels lightly. It takes a lot to get thrown off this blog.

  52. Robin,

    Here is what Dee was referencing about Dever’s children.

    Mark Dever delivered the chapel message at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on March 23, 2010, on the topic of Childlike Faith

    Before the halfway mark, Dever says:

    “Consider your own Deuteronomy 6:7 practices…now listen I’m a parent of two children. Neither of my children have been baptized…”

    A few minutes before making this statement, Dever talks about how his wife writes Praise Factory to teach children about God.

    How old are Dever’s children? Well, Mark’s bio at the CHBC website states: “They have two adult children.”

    Perhaps someone knows whether either has been baptized and joined a church in the two years that have transpired.

  53. Jimmy
    Well bye, bye to some of your favorites, huh? Seems to me that you would give them a pass. Also, what about a man who treats his wife poorly? There are stories about that as well. How many men man up and tell the truth in this arena?

  54. JJ
    You said, ‘People who insist that the sacredness of Scripture depends on belief in creation in a literal six days seem never to insist on a literal reading of “to him who asks, give,” or “sell what you have and give the money to the poor.”‘

    The only viable answer is “ouch.”

  55. Dee:

    You said to JJ:”JJ
    You said, ‘People who insist that the sacredness of Scripture depends on belief in creation in a literal six days seem never to insist on a literal reading of “to him who asks, give,” or “sell what you have and give the money to the poor.”‘

    The only viable answer is “ouch.”

    These folks do not take all scriptures literally. There hypocrisy is a major turn off for me.

  56. A pastor friend of mine was, basically, suspended by his elders for 6 months to work on his relationship with his rebellious 18 year old. They all worked thru it and pastor was restored to full status; in retrospect he felt what the elders did was for the best.

  57. “What’s happened to Piper is that he got caught up in his own biblical hermeneutic. Well, well, well. Isn’t that interesting? It seems that the Bible doesn’t mean exactly what it says. It seems that the Bible has to be interpreted.”

    i.e. “Handwave, handwave, handwave, handwave, handwave, handwave, handwave…”

    Funny how both Literalism and Interpretation always benefit the CELEBRITY Megapastor in the position of Power…

  58. ‘People who insist that the sacredness of Scripture depends on belief in creation in a literal six days seem never to insist on a literal reading of “to him who asks, give,” or “sell what you have and give the money to the poor.”‘

    Or “This IS my Body…”

  59. I learned something a long time ago in business school. There are more commodities than money. For some, it is notoriety, for others it is time. So, Piper has definitely gotten notoriety out of his position. He does get asked to autograph Bibles. — Dee

    Autographing a book as if he’s the author?

    Because usually autographs in books are those of the author.

  60. Then, one Sunday in church, the same pastor who had always insisted on all these other things being transcultural and God’s word for all times and places, got to the words in the text “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” His response? “Oh, I think in our culture today a hearty handshake would do.” — Lynne Tait

    Because guy-on-guy kissing is FAGGY(TM), that’s why.

  61. What makes people cry foul is the DECADES-LONG practice within Reformed, Neo-Reformed, Reformed Baptist, etc. of holding lesser lights and average members to an extremely strict interpretation of this and other verses, with a resultant trail of de-giftings, removals from office and even discipline of parents, and the accompanying humiliation and human misery.

    Then, suddenly, when it is a Very Important Person whose child proves to be less than a total angel, the Scriptures are “studied carefully” and suddenly a new meaning is “discovered” that just happens to vindicate them. Yay. — Bad Dog

    “All Animals are Equal. But Some are More Equal than others.”
    — G.Orwell, Animal Farm

  62. Jimmy
    So you believe that if we try hard enough, we can make a rebellious kid become “not rebellious.”

  63. HUG
    You said “Funny how both Literalism and Interpretation always benefit the CELEBRITY Megapastor in the position of Power” Sad, but it seems to be true in many instances.

  64. Mot
    Try turn the other cheek with some of these folks. For example, questioning Mark Driscoll can result in a response such as “a punch in the nose.”Trun the other cheek is for wusses, right?

  65. jimmy: I am not going to try and control my adult children. I do love them in spite of not because of. I would rather step down from ministry than the requirement be that my adult children have to be in line all the time. God forbid that my reputation or ministry would become more important than loving my children in spite of. Letting them make their own decisions right or wrong thus growing into more healthy adults. I want them to choose Christianity for their own personal reasons. Not because I would have to step down from ministry or have my reputation ruined. Neither of those is even an option for my children making decisions as adults.

    BTW: Did the minister use guilt? Did he say that the son is ruining his reputation?

  66. Does anyone know if this has affected the way John Piper and his elders treat run-of-the-mill church members when their children stray? I guess there wouldn’t be an eldership at stake in these cases, but if the end result is more compassion for laity, that would be good to know.

  67. Debbie and Dee
    “Jimmy
    So you believe that if we try hard enough, we can make a rebellious kid become “not rebellious.”

    Not at all. BUT Scripture speaks to the issue of elder qualifications and includes leadership in the home. If you’re a conservative follower of Jesus Christ you can’t just ignore Scripture as if it wasn’t spoken. I do think SOME elders/pastors should consider stepping down (t least for a little while) because of their rebellious children; other’s probably not. But should the issue be examined in light of clear Scripture? ABSOLUTELY.

    ( D Kaufman – no, the minister never blamed his 18 year old for his “suspension.” The rebellious son was not the sources of the “suspension” by the elders; the father’s handling of the situation was the source.)

  68. Someone’s idea of clear scripture is not so clear to someone else. I wish someone would make a definitive list of the clear scriptures, I have not seen this list yet.

  69. Jimmy –

    No one is arguing the scripture here. The issue is why does the process of examining scripture and writing a paper not happen with the “least of these?” It appears that the “leaders” only seem to want to delve into what they believe, and how it is fleshes out in real life, when it effects them. This is what has happened at SGM as well. Men “lord it over others” as a means to an end, but then all grace abounds for themselves in the same situation. The “hypocrisy” is the problem. I may agree on how some of them are handling a situation NOW, but have they gone back to all the men and their families that they have held to a different standard? Some of these leaders have committed atrocities against others but refuse to go to them and make amends. That is not the way to lead. The men that do such things from a leader’s position are perpetrating spiritual abuse against people.

    If you need some scripture to verify – read the red letter text in the gospels. Jesus came to DO something. He did it. He calls us to DO likewise as his disciples. Maybe these reformed guys need to get their heads out of Paul’s teachings for a bit and read the gospels. I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard my pastor, or any of the reformed big wigs, teach from the gospels. Maybe their too worried about “complementarianism” being carried out in their congregations and the “standing in the stead” views being received as “Gospel.” In fact, many of them spend a lot of time defending their “Gospel” secondary issues don’t they?

  70. It is true that both of Dever’s children were not baptized. As I understand, his daughter is a non-believer, but I don’t know if that means agnostic, atheist, etc… Dever used to be agnostic.

    Their son was recently baptized. He met a girl who stole his heart, and I guess changed it for the good. They are both great people and an exciting couple. They kinda threw out all the stupid courtship crap… surprisingly.

  71. Jimmy
    Please try a bit harder. “If you’re a conservative follower of Jesus Christ you can’t just ignore Scripture as if it wasn’t spoken.” Please have your comments reflect the fact that I, as well as many others, do care about Scripture. Sometimes I get the feeling that you feel you, along with your chosen few,are the only conservatives looking at Scripture.

    And if Scripture was so gosh darn clear, we wouldn’t have a gazillion denominations, some pastors stepping down, others not stepping down, issues on Calvinism, baptism, and even counseling people in the church. There would be a lot fewer divorces and a lot fewer men disrespecting their wives, etc.

  72. mot
    You must not be from the South. In rural areas snake handling at revivals is not uncommon. I think they are nuts.

  73. mot
    If Jimmy doesn’t cool his jets, he will see how we handle an annoying commenter. It’s a game called Where’s Jimmy?

  74. dee – Excellent job of exposing the double standard for the special ones.
    IMO – It’s NOT just the Calvinistas. IMO – It’s thru-out all of “Today’s Religious System.”

    Much agreement – when you write…
    “This is why it is very, very difficult to hold to a literal interpretation.
    If they did, Piper would be out, along with many other pastors.”

    Have you ever wondered why – Paul would give such very tough qualifications for
    “Pastor/Leader/Elder/Overseer” if NOT important? For something? For some purpose?
    Can we dismiss them all? How many are NOT important? Which ones are NOT important?

    Have you ever wondered why – someone, who believes the Bible is God’s Word, would
    want to be a “Pastor/Leader/Elder/Overseer” – When they do NOT qualify?
    When NOT one His Disciples, in the Bible, had the “Title/Position” – “Pastor/Leader?”

    Here are just three qualifications – 1 – Blameless. 2- Just. 3 – Holy. – that most wanna-be’s,
    who want to be a “Pastor/Leader/Elder/Overseer” today *Will Ignore,* or “Will Twist,”
    in order to obtain a position of – Power – Profit – Prestige – Honor – Glory – Recognition. etc..

    ALL those things Jesus spoke against.
    ALL those things that become “Idols” of the heart. Ezek 14 1:11.
    ALL those things that are highly esteemed among men – BUT…
    Is abomination in the sight of God. Luke 16:15.

    Titus 1:6-8 KJV – says it nicely.
    6 If any be *blameless,* the husband of one wife,
    having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
    7 For a bishop “must be” *blameless,* as the steward of God; not self willed,
    not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
    8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, *just,* *holy,* temperate;

    For a bishop (overseer) “must be” *blameless.*

    That *must be* is the same Greek word as: …You *must be* born again. John 3:7.
    *Must Be* – Strongs #1163, die. – It is necessary (as binding).
    *Must Be* – Thayer’s – necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.
    Seems to be a small word – but very important. Yes? Is – Blameless – important?

    1 – Blameless – Strongs #410 anegkletos – unaccused, irreproachable, blameless.
    Blameless – Thayers – that cannot be called into account, unreproveable, unaccused.
    Blameless – Dictionary – Without fault, innocent, guiltless, not meriting censure.

    2 – Just – Strongs #1342 – dikaios – innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively), just, meet.
    Just – Thayers -1) righteous, observing divine laws.
    1a) in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God
    1a2) innocent, faultless, guiltless
    1a3) used of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed
    ……. to the will of God, and who therefore needs no rectification in the heart or life

    3 – Holy – Strongs #3741 – hosios {hos’-ee-os}
    Holy – Thayers – 1) undefiled by sin, free from wickedness,
    religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious.

    Now that’s three tough qualifications for “Pastor/Leader/Elder/Overseer.”
    1 – Blameless. 2 – Just. 3 – Holy. Yes?

    And if a “Pastor/Leader/Elder/Overseer” does NOT meet the qualifications…
    Shouldn’t they be honest, and remove themselves? And be a good example to the flock?

  75. I absolutely believe Elders/Pastors should be held to the highest standard. If you’re a church member in good standing and you have a rebellious child you certainly have more leeway than the elders/pastors.

    Dee, your threats to “Waldo” me remain unconvincing.

    Without me, it pretty much you and the “amen choir.”

  76. Of course God is a Bronco’s fan, since sunsets are orange.

    Now, that out of the way, just a couple of comments.

    1. Old hag that I am, I remember when we were taught that if you read the Bible literally you would disregard Ussher and believe in an old earth (gap theory model.)

    2. Of course the teachings that one should not be an elder with rebellious kids stands. Of course, the Bible wasn’t talking about who could be in what career. It was telling us to open our eyes and look for fruit in the lives of others BEFORE we decide to follow them.

    But I do honor those leaders that are willing to resign when they think they have missed the boat.

    And grace forces me to understand when they let themselves be convinced otherwise. Wouldn’t I?

  77. Jimmy –

    You didn’t respond to the hypocrisy issue I addressed to you. But, I’m used to that. You usually don’t respond to my comments to you.

    I might become big headed if you never respond. I could end up thinking that you are unable to respond to my comments.

    But I do see from your comment to Dee that YOU feel as though you play an important role here :)

  78. ‘Not at all. BUT Scripture speaks to the issue of elder qualifications and includes leadership in the home. If you’re a conservative follower of Jesus Christ you can’t just ignore Scripture as if it wasn’t spoken. I do think SOME elders/pastors should consider stepping down (t least for a little while) because of their rebellious children; other’s probably not. But should the issue be examined in light of clear Scripture? ABSOLUTELY.’

    Usually this is not a big problem with the cult of celebrity guys. First of all, it is easier to hide when you are a public figure, believe it or not, than it is in a small church and you are not a national figure. (You can still sell books and speak at conferences)

    One mega church pastor I know had a son “away at college” when he wasn’t, if you get my drift. The inner circle kept their secret.

    The other reason is because there is usually a cushy high paying job waiting for their children in the family business: Ministry.

  79. “Without me, it pretty much you and the “amen choir.””

    I totally agree with this. We need you Jimmy to keep reminding us what it sounds like when someone follows man.

  80. It might be interesting for us to read that passage about elders and their household through the lens of the first century. Why would that have been such a concern back then?

  81. “Without me, it pretty much you and the “amen choir.””

    I totally agree with this. We need you Jimmy to keep reminding us what it sounds like when someone follows man.

    Great comment, Anon1

    Denny Burk just featured a post about not feeding trolls, and I thought of Jimmy.

  82. RE: dee on Tue, Mar 27 2012 at 09:16 am:

    You bring up a salient point about the decline of faith in Europe. I lived there many years ago when my dad worked for the govt. back during the cold war era. The irony of course is grand when one takes the tour of the Cathedral at say Chartres. Faith can drive many people to many things. From impossible feats of engineering in stone, to just learning to live with one another without rancor and the kind of competition that breeds war, destruction & suffering.

    I prefer the latter model of cooperation that works for a better world, and I take the Jewish perspective that faith without action is meaningless.

  83. Bridget2 – Your 02:06 pm post was very helpful to me. I was trying to figure out exactly what the problem was with what Piper and friends did, and you explained very well, I think. Thanks a bunch!

  84. Jimmy
    What are you saying? Let’s get away from an abusive or distracted parent for a second.Are you saying that a parent can force a child not to be rebellious? Even God did not do that and I think He was the most perfect parent ever. Of course, you would have to disqualify most every leader, including David,in the OT. Billy Graham would not qualify either.

    Now how about elders who do not love their wives as Christ loved the church.You know, the controlling ones. Then there are the elders who, behind closed doors, are abusive-verbally and physically. I know some of those. Bet you do as well.

    As for critics, we get plenty of them. Read this last thread. The one thing that continues to concern me is your seeming lack of concern for victims. You blow them off routinely. Also, you do not always represent a truthful alternative opinion. For example, you mention that we do not believe in creation. That is a lie and you know it. We don’t buy the 6000 year argument but we believe that God created it all. So, there may be a case for moving you about every once in a while.

  85. Linda
    For me the bottom line is this. If a group of people believe in forcing a pastor to step down because their kids are rebelling, then they must apply it across the board, even when it involves them. To do otherwise is hypocritical.

    Take Charles Stanley. he promised he would step down if he got a divorce. Well, it happened and his people convinced his otherwise. Of course, they blamed it all on his wife, spreading unsubstantiated rumors that she was a nut job. I have since learned that such may not be the case.

    Now, if Piper and then Stanley and others spoke to the issue, explaining why they had changed their mind and apologizing to those that they may have misled, I would be fine. But, instead, such things are handled in a cavalier way. “Nothing to see here folks, move along.”

  86. Bridget, I went back and read your post; any chance you could simplify the point so I could respond? Thanks

  87. If you need some scripture to verify – read the red letter text in the gospels. Jesus came to DO something. He did it. He calls us to DO likewise as his disciples. Maybe these reformed guys need to get their heads out of Paul’s teachings for a bit and read the gospels. — Bridget2

    Or hear Mass with us Romish Papists (or other Liturgical church). The last reading in the Liturgy of the Word — the one that is read by a Priest or Deacon, immediately preceding the homily/sermon — is ALWAYS from the Gospels.

  88. Eagle

    That article is nearly 4 years old. And are you sure it’s not a joke. It’s not clear from the end of it if the entire article or the last bit about Jesus is a joke.

  89. I gotta agree with ya there HUG. Every once in a blue moon I’ll go with my wife and her friend to St. Matthew’s for Mass. And yes I do like the Liturgy, it’s very much like the Lutheran Liturgy.

    I also haven’t forgotten that it was the Maryknoll Nuns who stood virtually alone against the U.S. backed death squads (Reagan era) in Central America. Conservative Protestants on the other hand turned a blind eye or were out & out all for it.

  90. “also haven’t forgotten that it was the Maryknoll Nuns who stood virtually alone against the U.S. backed death squads (Reagan era) in Central America. Conservative Protestants on the other hand turned a blind eye or were out & out all for it.”

    Oh Please. What about the communist death squads?

  91. Jimmy “Dude” –

    Moniker seemed to understand my comment, but you don’t? I’ll break it down for you then.

    “The issue is why does the process of examining scripture and writing a paper not happen with the “least of these?” It appears that the “leaders” only seem to want to delve into what they believe, and how it is fleshed out in real life, when it effects them (the leaders).”

    How about a response to just this part?

  92. Bridget2 said, “Dude….“The issue is why does the process of examining scripture and writing a paper not happen with the “least of these?” It appears that the “leaders” only seem to want to delve into what they believe, and how it is fleshed out in real life, when it effects them (the leaders).”

    Gosh Bridget, next thing you know you’ll be insinuating that leaders can be self-centered and self-serving. dryly.

    On a more serious note when I was an elder we truly agonized over other congregant’s family struggles and how we should respond and apply Scripture. I found being an elder quite burdensome. I wanted to do what was right within the context of Scripture; pretty sure we didn’t always get it right but we tried.

    My unfavorite phrase from a congregant; “Why don’t you elders……”

    So many times you simply couldn’t reveal what you knew and they didn’t.

  93. That’s right Bridget2 @ 2:06—you wrote:

    “Maybe their too worried about “complementarianism” being carried out in their congregations and the “standing in the stead” views being received as “Gospel.” In fact, many of them spend a lot of time defending their “Gospel” secondary issues don’t they?”

    Reminded me to add if I may…lest we forget…maybe they’re also too worried the teachings on mandatory for salvation membership covenants are not being well received. They need a theme song…

    Oh-I got one!

    Stevie–sing it to a 9marks church…and the lyrics to the pastor.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS2nfeN4DEw&feature=related

    lyrics:
    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/steviewonder/signedsealeddelivered.html

  94. Jimmy wrote: “On a more serious note when I was an elder….”

    And we wonder what is wrong with our churches. And I base that thought on reading your comments on this blog only, righly or wrongly.

  95. Anon1 said; “And we wonder what is wrong with our churches. And I base that thought on reading your comments on this blog only, righly or wrongly.”

    You should be relieved to know, Anon1, the Evangelical churches of American don’t have the likes of me serving on their elder boards anymore. I’m quite sure their spiritual I.Q. is points higher with me sitting on the back pew rather then in the elder’s meetings. -:)

  96. Anon1,

    The difference is that third-world indigenous peoples will invariably choose anything but U.S. backed business interests.

  97. “I’m quite sure their spiritual I.Q. is points higher with me sitting on the back pew rather then in the elder’s meetings. -:)”

    I highly doubt it. You sound here like most elders I knew in evangelical mega’s. Most have hard hearts and not only make fun of victims but blame then all over again while defending their celebrities.

  98. Jimmy and Anon1

    Let’s dial it back a bit. I can’t tell if either or both of you are joking but others might think not. So let’s stop what many could consider personal attacks. Especially those who don’t stop by every day.

  99. I guess my biggest beef with Piper, is that he has taught that the lack of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (ie Gender roles) in parenting has caused all sorts of rebellion. He even blames homosexuality on the lack of strong gender roles in the home.

    Implicit in his teaching, is that is if you follow his view of gender roles in the home, you will have happy, Godly, and obedient children. And never have to face complex parenting issues like the sexual orientation or outright rebellion from your children.

    Doesn’t seem to have worked out so well for his own family…

    Miguel…your right, Pipers emergency exposition wasn’t born out of love, but a cold calculation to stay in his position…good description.

  100. doubtful

    “Implicit in his teaching, is that is if you follow his view of gender roles in the home, you will have happy, Godly, and obedient children. And never have to face complex parenting issues like the sexual orientation or outright rebellion from your children. Doesn’t seem to have worked out so well for his own family.”

    I have been meaning to write an article about this. How many pastors, now Mark Driscoll is one, say if you just buy my Sunday school books, etc and do the program all will be well. I have been around the block a few times and here is my observation. Most of these guys write these books while they still have young kids around. They actually think it is a cure all for what ails the youth. I watched one local guy go down this road. Serious rebellion occurred in his own family. Yet, he along with others are still out hawking their program.

    I did teach my kids the Bible, I sent them to church programs, etc. I have not trouble with this, but there is no foolproof answer and I wish they would stop pretending they have the “cure.”

  101. Well I have found it interesting that our biggest experts on Christian parenting have pre adolescent children, as a rule…

    I cringe when moms or dads of young kids start preaching about their formulaic parenting methods, or recently married couples about how to have the perfect marriage…

    We (Christians) are masters of presupposition and building our faith upon rigid thinking, rather than Christ. Those of us with Calvinist (I hate that term) leanings are the worst at talking about the sovereignty of God while believing that we alone can make his will happen…

  102. Years ago, Homer Lindsay Jr. was speaking to a group of seminary students and noted that because of his own conflicts with one of his children, he avoided preaching messages on the family for about 10 years. He said he just couldn’t.

  103. And let me add (with much shamefacedness) that we were some of those people years ago who thought we had it all together and knew all the answers, with parenting and life in general…sigh…

    One of my favorite thoughts is from John Newton and loosely paraphrased, says that when he was young, he knew everything, and now, he knows only two things: That he is a sinner, and Christ, an all sufficient savior. That’s about all I know at this point.

  104. Jimmy
    Then Homer Lindsay believed that you can MAKE your kid be a Christian and not rebel. Just like God, right?

  105. Laura
    Some of us grow up and admit we don’t know all the answers. I am in the same boat. However, the ones who run today’s churches wither hide this fact, probably fearing being outed as a failure. The others just emphasize getting young pastors who always KNOW all the answers.

  106. Jimmy:

    You said:”Years ago, Homer Lindsay Jr. was speaking to a group of seminary students and noted that because of his own conflicts with one of his children, he avoided preaching messages on the family for about 10 years. He said he just couldn’t.”

    Please, what is your point. It is not obvious to me.

  107. Mot 12:04 Jimmy’s point is that Homer Lindsay was not a hypocrite binding up burdens on other people which he was unable to bear himself.

    Bridget2 (2:06) nailed the hypocrisy IMO. I had a seminary prof who was prepared to step down from missionary service in Japan when his 17 yo was rebellious. He didn’t have to because the 17 yo repented. I respect that seminary prof a great deal because he was consistent with his application of scripture. He wasn’t going to pull a Piper and preach to you that you have to submit no matter what, even to a season of verbal abuse and getting hit, and then weasel out of an equally wooden literal interpretation of another verse which would cost him his lifestyle.

  108. dee–Sorry to be obtuse.

    My point is that maybe we are missing the point BEFORE we get to the mess of can a person serve without obedient faithful adult children.

    My point is that just maybe we shouldn’t be going around humanly ordaining anyone.

    Maybe we should just be discerning in who’s walk we emulate, without the need for these power positions in the first place.

    I don’t need to be appointed head chef of anything anywhere. If you like my lasagna, you might ask for the recipe which I would happily share. I don’t stand on the streetcorner proclaiming myself a lasagna chef and selling my recipe.

    And if my lasagna makes you gag, you shouldn’t have to find reasons for still listening to me tell you how to make it, and why. You should be free to just not..eat..the lasagna.

    So again, sorry. I realize that when I walked out of the SBC I probably walked out on all hierarchial forms of the faith. Sometimes I forget others have not. If you accept the idea of paid professional clergy, of course it becomes vital whether they are held to the same standards as the rest of us mortals.

    For me it becomes quite a bit more a matter of one’s walk. I see the scriptures in question here as being to train me as to whom I should follow rather than a list of prerequisites for employment.

    Not a “here’s how to run a church” list of rules, but a “head’s up Linda–there are sharks in the water” warning.

    All of you reading this please pray for us out here in Colorado. We have a wildfire going, high risk in other areas for fires, and winds predicted most of the weekend.

    If the Spirit so moves you, please pray for us an end to the drought!

  109. Off Topic:

    Interesting development:

    http://www.edstetzer.com/2012/03/matt-chandler-named-new-presid.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Edstetzercom+%28EdStetzer.com%29

    Seems Chandler is to be new president of Acts 29. Very smart move since Driscoll is becoming a Calvinist YRR embarassment and the SBC is funding Acts 29 church plants. And Chandler (of narcissistic zero fame) is the new SBC golden boy who is not SBC but opened up teaching the newly rolled out first webcast of the “cradle to grave curricula” for the SBC “The Gospel Project” (Finally, the Calvinist promoters say: A curricula with “Christ” at the center!)

    It is a good thing the YRR have taken over the SBC. The SBC did not preach the true Gospel before they came!

  110. Charis
    I don’t like say one thing then do another thing either. I am trying to get to the heart of this matter. Let’s assume you are a decent parent. Everyone makes mistakes but I am not talking about abuse. I find it fascinating that people think we can, by our actions, prevent rebellion or disbelief.Calvinistas seem to talk out of both sides of their mouth. God foreordains salvation but we can prevent rebellion. The entire premise, for me, is illogical.

    It truly irks me that, after years of saying otherwise, it happens to a CJ Mahaney or a Dave Harvey and “suddenly” they see the error of their ways. If they were truly great leaders, here is what they should do in that situation. They would admit that they see the error of their dad-blasted, illogical theology and state that they are truly sorry for imposing it on (here name names). So, in solidarity with them, they would step down for 2 years and go work at a menial job.

    Funny thing, the world does go on without these leaders.But their publishers and hangers on can’t survive without their income stream, can they?

  111. “For me it becomes quite a bit more a matter of one’s walk. I see the scriptures in question here as being to train me as to whom I should follow rather than a list of prerequisites for employment.”

    Linda, I totally agree with your comment. In fact, as I was researching some of this stuff on elders a while back, I came across some interesting informatioin. In one passage where it talks about “appointing” elders, the Greek was “hand stretching” as in voting. Another just as an example is Frank Viola’s Straight Talk to Pastors. Everyone needs to read it and be a Berean with it:

    http://www.ptmin.org/straight.pdf

    I do not know about you, but I will decide whom I will allow to teach me or who I will submit to. And it will be some old (or maybe even young) saint with calloused knees who is a nobody who has been refined by fire of sanctification. We have a lot of famous people out there teaching and the only thing people know about them are their stage persona’s. They really know nothing about them at all except words on a stage or in a book. They do not know them personally.

  112. Anon1
    So even Driscoll admits (not verbally but by this action) that he is a liability? This deserves a post.So, before they all came along, we did not have Christ at our center. Arrogance that knows no limit…

  113. Anon1
    So, Chandler will now spend even less time with those he was called to pastor. Well, as one person who wrote me said, We didn’t call him to be involved in the day to day. We just want him to preach. Well, they got what the wanted-a talking head.

  114. Charis:

    You said to me:
    “Jimmy’s point is that Homer Lindsay was not a hypocrite binding up burdens on other people which he was unable to bear himself.”

    Ok, but did he not disqualify himself from being a preacher while his son was in rebellion?

    Not preaching on the family does not to me erase the problem of him having conflicts with one of his children.

  115. “So even Driscoll admits (not verbally but by this action) that he is a liability? This deserves a post.”

    Yeah, it is weird. Didn’t we read a letter from Driscoll not long ago on the Acts 29 site of how proud he was of hiring a big wig to run Acts 29 on a day to day basis, who worked for some Arab prince or something? But that Driscoll would still remain big cheese?

    I am ONLY speculating that the YRR guys are becoming an embarassment for the SBC big cheeses. Akin, Mohler, Ezell, and many others have hitched their wagon to Driscoll, Mahaney, etc and things are not working out well on those 2 accounts. My guess is that this is a PR move because the SBC funds Acts 29 and Chandler will be well known and accepted by the SBC pewsitters as soon as the Lifeway “Gospel Project” cradle to grave curricula rolls out since he opened it with his teaching. (Even though he is not SBC).

    And Chandler only has fame, neglecting his church while taking a pay check, which is acceptable these days, and his narcissistic zero comment. Other than that, he seems to be fine. Just another celebrity Christian without the embarassing baggage attached to the Mahaney’s and Driscolls.

  116. Eagle-

    If you click here and got to #7, you’ll see it plainly stated that Piper/Grudem believe rebellion and homosexuality are caused by lack of clear gender roles in the home.

    http://cdn.desiringgod.org/pdf/books_bcq/bbmw_chapter_2.pdf

    It’s been over 10 years since I read Biblical Manhood & Womanhood-but I’m pretty sure other chapters devote some space to their conviction that homosexuality is a sin that is contributed to by a lack of Biblical roles between husbands and their wives.

    Dee-

    Totally agree that men with children under 10 should not be giving any advice on how to raise children. Pretty sure that Elder in scripture, didn’t mean the guy in charge, but someone who was older than most. Makes sense that you could evaluate a mans children, since they were most likely grown.

    I know it used to be, never trust anyone over 30, but when parenting issues arise, I don’t trust anyone under 50.

  117. Mot,

    We don’t have all the details about Homer. I gather that he is gracious enough not to hold his flock to a higher standard than he holds himself? (Jimmy can correct me if I am wrong) That is wise and humble shepherding IMO. I can respect a preacher more if he is consistent. If he practices what he preaches.

    TBH, What bothers me is the ones who have all kinds of rules about what their wife or congregants must and mustn’t do, but when they bump up against a scripture which makes them sweat, they can whip up a handy dandy “interpretation” to get them off the hook… Strikes me as hypocritical “do as I say, not as I do”.

    I don’t really care if they believe they have to step down for a rebellious child or not. I could respect pastors with either belief on that issue… The important thing to me is, are they CONSISTENT? Do the rules which they have for others apply equally to themselves?

  118. Arce – I like your suggestion re. looking at these texts about elders within a 1st century framework.

    Do you have any suggestions as to commentaries, etc.?

    Miguel – great comment!

    (I know I’m getting back to you both pretty late in the game, but thought I would post anyway.)

  119. “when parenting issues arise, I don’t trust anyone under 50.-doubtful”

    Bless you! You made my day :D

  120. Dee (12:36)

    When John Piper stepped down because his 40 year marriage was struggling, I spent a fair amount of time PRAYING that he would realize his theological error regarding marriage doctrine. That God would enlighten his mind to the fact that the problems in his marriage were a direct fruit of the teachings he has embraced and sown for a very long time…

    Made me heartsick when he came back and was right back at it… :(

    Personally, I think the power for any real changes lies with the wives. They are the ones who are going to have to come out of the fog and say, “ENOUGH!”

  121. Speaking of rebellious children. Sometimes I wonder if the rebels are wiser than the ones who bite the apple?

    Did you know that Mary means “rebellion”? She rebelled against social constraints and said “yes” to God (without any elder nor male intermediary !SHOCK!)

  122. Eagle-

    I agree…I have family members that are gay. To simply say that they “chose” to be gay because Dad wasn’t manly enough in his role is just plain stupid (imo). It is sad that so many teens have been shown the door when they come out or question their sexual orientation.

    I guess unconditional love has an exception, in many families.

  123. I find it fascinating that people think we can, by our actions, prevent rebellion or disbelief.-Dee

    OTH, I think the doctrines on marriage and family that JP and MD practice are like bad seed. You reap what you sow. That is a spiritual law which is every bit as true as the law of gravity.

    If wives and children are inferiors who need to bow and scrape to the king of the castle….
    If they all walk around on egg shells carefully polishing his huge, but extremely fragile and volatile ego…
    If he rules the household demanding that everyone respect him but not respecting them, demanding that everyone submit to him but he doesn’t have a submissive bone in his body…

    …the children are going to rebel

    And I for one, will cheer and high five! :)

  124. Dee & others; Homer and I weren’t exactly close – to put it mildly. But he was not hypocritical. I certainly was not close enough to know if he considered stepping down or stepping back when his family issues moved to the forefront.

    I know it broke his heart. I believe, well into the adult years, their prodigal returned to the faith.

  125. Hmmmm. I’m no Chandler fan, either. If I recall correctly, he waltzed into a somewhat egalitarian church and implemented his version of complementarisnism. Plus I believe I’ve heard him teaching men that men were not cursed after the fall, but that their wives were cursed in both mind and body. No thank you, Matt Chandler. You may have a nicer demeanor than Driscoll, but I’ll pass.

  126. Eagle wrote:

    “…Homosexuality is not a simple issue…but a complex one. I don’t know what causes it…but I have a gut feeling that science will find some answers one day…”

    I dunno about anybody else, but for me the simpler solution is often the more viable. Permit me to illustrate:

    I think it’s purely a matter of personal preference. Most everybody here just loves micro-waved butter popcorn right? But for me it’s one of the most revolting smells to ever invade my nostrils. How can that be when almost all will agree that Orville Redenbacher’s butter flavored packets in the micro are yummy?

    Because some are not almost all and their personal preferences don’t coincide with the almost all. The same can be said (in my opinion of course) for those who prefer partners of the same gender.

    Don’t get me wrong Eagle, I couldn’t care less what a person’s sexual orientation is, I’m far more concerned with the content of their character.

  127. When I was young, I was an “elder” and had young kids pretty much incapable of the “disqualifying” type of unfaithfulness. Now that I’m elder, I’m no longer “an” “elder”, and would never again be one (OK, maybe if they paid me a really good chunk o’ change). The elder I get, the more I disqualify myself based on increased awareness of the “blameless, just, holy” stuff– not even to mention my kids. In Piper’s words… Sigh… Chuckle.. Oh My…

  128. Jimmy –

    You still didn’t address my simple question. You did start talking about yourself though. Since you don’t appear to want to engage in a meaningful conversation, I will leave it. Blessings, Dude. Enjoy the surf!

    BTW – we can all be self-centered and self-serving at times can’t we? What a person DOES when these issues are brought to their attention is the question. Should men who refuse to acknowledge these issues (and how these issues have harmed others) be allowed to lead others?

  129. RE: numo on Wed, Mar 28 2012 at 01:51 pm:

    Allow me to suggest “The Companion Bible” by E.W. Bullinger. It contains a wealth of appendices and scholarship not found anywhere else. It is NOT a commentary in the usual present day sense (spin doctoring), but Bullinger does have this to say with regard to the Pauline texts:

    …To Timothy were given the earliest instructions for orderly arrangement in the church, these instructions being of the simplest nature, and, as Dean Alford well observes with regard to the Pastoral Epistles as a whole, the directions given “are altogether of an ethical, not of an hierarchical kind“. These directions afford no warrant whatever for the widespread organizations of the “churches” as carried on to-day. (Bullinger 1799)…

  130. Jimmy — From back quite a bit, you described Piper as “conservative”. Now we all will have varying degrees of conservative-liberal depending upon the issue, so I don’t doubt that the term fits on some issues. BUT, for Piper the PRIMARY issue upon which he built his career is “Christian Hedonism”. However helpful he or many others may find this, and whatever else it may be, I can’t see it as being “conservative”. I could equally create a Christian Anxiety or Christian Riches theology and call it conservative (see “thorns which choke out the Word”).
    What do you think?

  131. “…The elder I get, the more I disqualify myself based on increased awareness of the “blameless, just, holy” stuff– not even to mention my kids. In Piper’s words… Sigh… Chuckle.. Oh My…”

    You got me laughin’ too Dave AA!! I’ve found that old broken down farts like me get more tolerant of others because of all the crap they tolerate in themeselves.

  132. Christian Hedonism; certainly a jolt when you first hear the phrase but ultimately I think of the Shorter Catechism –

    “Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to ENJOY him forever.Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

    I admit, I haven’t mastered Christian Hedonism.

  133. So . . . Matt Chandler wrote a 20 page paper called “Defining Masculinity.”

    And . . . How much time did Jesus spend defining masculinity for us?

    Could part of the problem be that these reformed guys think the world is “more” fallen now then it was during the time of Christ? Do they not know that the issues we face today are the same issues that pervade society before, during, and after the life of Jesus? The answer to what ails the world is not “Defining Masculinity” so that we will all get it right and be on the same page. The answer is something far different than that. What do seminaries teach these days?

  134. TheyS, really you don’t get it? Wow. Let me lay it out for you. Lots of pastors lost their jobs because they had kids who rebelled (Piper and Mahaney had a big role in these guys losing their jobs). Piper’s kid rebelled, but he didn’t lose his job. How can you fail to see the inconsistency?

  135. My quick and dirty summary of christian Hedonism: it first uncritically accepts the 1st catechism q&a as gospel (an insufficient premise missing many elements of the Gospel, IMO) and then changes the “AND enjoy him forever” into “BY enjoying him forever”. So enjoyment of God becomes the means of grace rather than its fruit.
    Got… To… Enjoy…More… (gritting teeth)

  136. Jimmy,

    I clicked and skimmed. Chandler says some nice things and appears to mean well… but he is young (has a 4 yo, so I hope he isn’t giving out any parenting advice- see doubtful above ;)) AND I think he needs to be more careful handling Scripture!

    The serpent and the ground were cursed. Not the woman, nor the man. Read the passage again carefully and see for yourself. This was a life changing revelation for me when someone pointed it out! People tend to become more and more like their god so it is very important to be accurate on matters like cursing children.

  137. Muff–

    I get what you are saying. I used to think that as well. But you know, I worked in a ministry over 6 years that dealt specifically with homosexuality and same-sex attraction, although other issues were addressed there as well. The learning curve for me was very steep because I, for one, am not homosexual.

    Many of the attendees, who then became my friends, opened my mind, heart and thoughts to a world that was far beyond me, but ultimately, I got it.

    SSA is different for everyone. But for most people who are inclined to the same sex, it is not preference. Let’s consider that: Insofar as one prefers to be straight, one prefers to be gay. Hmmm… Not so much.

    Here are things to consider: many people who (and I wont put struggle here, because for me, it is just how one is) are attracted to the same sex, had feelings come upon them that they, themselves, are often unaware of. Especially at the junction where physiological development and psychological development meet and one becomes aware of their own sexuality.

    There are many people who choose to be “homosexual” to be trendy or faddish (especially teens), but there are many who were hurt by someone in a hetero relationship, so bad, that they then try same-sex relationships, which often don’t work out for them.

    But for the most part, when you and I had come to know ourselves, I don’t think it is was as much a decision to be gay or straight, but an acknowledgement.

    On many occasions where I have discussed “that first moment” or “that realization”, it happens very much the same for someone who is same-sex oriented. Young boys experience “excitement” for the first time at some point in their lives, most often, because of some trigger (a cute girl being nearby, or what have you). At that moment, the young man hasn’t decided his “straightness” anymore than another young man deciding his “gayness”.

    Homosexuality is very complex. And there are very many reasons why people are same-sex oriented. More often than not, it is intuitive, primal attraction for that person, and in no way different than what we have experienced through our own development.

    I was always very humbled by the things I learned in that ministry–just listening to people’s experiences and stories. It really helped to remove a lot of misinformation I had, but also helped with my prejudices as well (not saying that you have any, just me here).

    Just remember that there are moments where sexual excitement comes upon us, or arousal, and it’s not so much as a decision to be excited by it, as it is an acknowledgement that we have become excited…and then we try and control it.

    It happens the very same for both hetero and homosexual individuals. The objects are just different.

    There’s much more. But that’s it in a nutshell what most people generally experience. Broad brush strokes here.

  138. Or even more simply put…. I dont prefer to be gay. I AM gay. I dont prefer to be straight. I AM straight.

    BTW: There are many Chrsitians who struggle with SSA, and if you ask them, it’s the last thing they want to be. Many say that if it were a choice, it would be the last thing one would ever choose for themselves or for anybody else, for the matter. For me, it’s the only thing I could relate to being black at moments where it was inopportune. I can’t choose to be anything other than black, and at moments where i expereinced harsh racism, I had wanted to be white, and on top of that, wouldn’t wish for anyone else to experience what I had.

    I do believe, from the experience and stories of others who know themselves far better than I ever could, that attraction, and particularly same sex attraction, in most situations, is not a choice, in the same way that choosing our own race or gender or familial origins are not a choice.

  139. “The serpent and the ground were cursed. ”

    Thank you, Charis, for picking up on that. I wish more people who listened to the celebs were Bereans.

    I also had a problem with what Chandler said about his wife—as in she could be any woman. Anyone remember the exact wording?

  140. Anon1
    I remember writing about this awhile ago. We will look into these statements.Something is up and I haven’t figured it out yet.

  141. Dana
    Oh good night! Thank you for sending this on. It is time to look at these things. Something major has happened in t he last two weeks and I am trying to figure it out.

  142. re: Matt Chandler

    I read here & there — (hard to read — lack of paragraphs) — but unless i read it wrong, he said something to the effect of women being part of what men are to cultivate. And women war against that, making mens’ job of cultivating women hard.

    Most unpleasant.

  143. Muff – thanks muchly for that tip on Bullinger! Now if only it was possible to buy a Companion Bible that wasn’t KJV (but had all the commentary).

    Like you, I have never seen the “elder” thing as hierarchical and think that most american evangelicals (and others) who are sold on so-called “church government” (Piper has written a good deal on this) have it very, very wrong.

    My understanding is that there needs to be some kind of practical structure, but that the structure is not meant to be hierarchical in nature. (or something like that.)

    Trina – I don’t think anyone chooses to be gay, straight or bi – it simply *is* that way for them. And Muff, I love your example about the buttered popcorn, if only because it affects me the same way. ; )

  144. elastigirl –

    … but unless i read it wrong, he said something to the effect of women being part of what men are to cultivate. And women war against that, making mens’ job of cultivating women hard.

    Most unpleasant.

    Very!

    I *know* I’ve seen that before in some evangelical “teaching” or other (on the net) and it made me feel sick.

    It sounds very much like it comes from hardcore Gothardite “doctrine.” (My quotation marks are meant to indicated that I don’t think it *is* anything like actual doctrine…)

  145. Can it be said about Matt Chandler and men’s job of cultivating women? Simply nutty. I’m concerned about what goes in some of these “leaders” minds.

  146. I read a bit more carefully and yes, elasticgirl, Here it is:

    Matt Chandler says “let’s learn how to walk in this, this being cultivators but finding everything we’re supposed to cultivate warring against us, whether that be business, whether that be
    family, whether that be wife, whether that be child, whether that be friendships, whether that be relationships. We’ve been called to cultivate, it’s going to war against us, there are going to be times where it produces thorns and thistles vs. fruit.”

    The Bible says:
    “To Adam God said…
    Cursed is the ground because of you; …It [the ground] will produce thorns and thistles for you” Gen 3

  147. Frankly, I don’t object to the concept of a husband cultivating his wife. Ephesians 5 says a husband should nourish and cherish his wife as his own body. That sounds like cultivating to me.

    What I object to is teaching men that their wives, children, friends, etc are all at war with them. If someone is at war with me, are they not my ENEMY? The only ENMITY mentioned in Gen 3 is between the seed of the woman and the serpent (identified in Revelation as Satan)

  148. Wade,

    I was laughing so hard as I watched Hitler’s rant against the SBC name change. Your son Logan is quite creative! Thanks for the humor. :-)

  149. I object to the notion of “cultivated” — as if, due to being female, I’m an entity of unrealized potential were it not for a man to come & cultivate it into existence.

    And this notion of warring / being warred against… drives home the point that women are the enemy, troubling the men as they valiantly do their man thing.

    What ridiculous person dreamed this up?? And what ridiculous people actually embrace these things??

  150. Charis and Elastigirl –

    It’s not a good thing for anyone to think or feel like the person across from them is looking at them as if they were at war with them, or in emnity against them. Is that how brothers and sisters in Christ are to view one another? That is not how we are to view anyone from what I recall of Jesus’ teachings.

    Doesn’t scripture say that we are NOT at war with flesh but with every . .

    If Chandler feels that everything is going to war against him/us (men?), doesn’t that set him(men?) up as the determiner?

    This is why I think 20 pages of this is too much . . . they end up saying something that is not in scripture. They paste a bunch of scriptures together and voila! They get what they want it to say instead of what it was really meant to say.

  151. Wade –

    That video was hilarious!

    My grandmother was Methodist. Going to the SS class she taught was the first time I heard about Jesus.

  152. “You can start listening at the 24:00 mark. This is a men’s study. Men: The Image and Glory of God. Part 1″

    Yikes. Male and Female He created them. Gen 1.

    He is starting to sound like Bruce Ware, prof as SBTS, who taught that women were not created in the “direct image of God but were a derivative”

  153. “Oh good night! Thank you for sending this on. It is time to look at these things. Something major has happened in t he last two weeks and I am trying to figure it out.”

    Perhaps the Driscolls went on one too many secular shows to promote their book and more pew sitters are catching on? They would be most unhappy to know they are funding Acts 29/Driscollite churches with SBC dollars. That is my guess. Chandler is more “boy next door” presentable to the tithers. And he is about to be very accepted because he opens the new Gospel Project. Cradle to Grave “true gospel” teaching for all ages brought to the SBC by Lifeway and their Non SBC Calvinist friends

  154. “… but unless i read it wrong, he said something to the effect of women being part of what men are to cultivate. And women war against that, making mens’ job of cultivating women hard.”

    With these guys, no matter how nice or mean it is said, it always comes back to being the woman’s fault.

  155. Anon1
    2 weeks ago he reassumes the Presidency of Acts 29. Today, not only is he not the President but Acts 29 is being transferred to Texas, away from Mars hIll and they also sent out a strange letter saying they have thousands of new attendees but they need money. Usually increased attendance=increased cash. Something very, very odd is going on.

  156. Anon1 –

    He is referring to 1 Corinthians 11:7. Men are the image and glory of God, women are the glory of men. (Cursed in both mind and body, to be sure, but the glory of men. Not God.) I think he says something about it at the beginning of part 1. I only listened as much as I needed to get to the part I remembered and not one minute more. He says all sorts of stuff in this series. Blechh.

  157. Dee–

    I am lost. I’m trying to follow the convo with you and Anon. Where did it begin? Can u catch me up? Thanks ; )

  158. Sophia–

    I read your post. I think I’m missing something. I wasn’t sure what you were saying though. Are you saying security contacted you?

  159. Major New Breaking:
    Driscoll out at another group-post to come within two hours. Major changes afoot.

  160. “He is referring to 1 Corinthians 11:7. Men are the image and glory of God, women are the glory of men. ”

    I kinda figured as much. They all use 1 Corin 11 for ESS, comp/pat stuff. The problem is they stop reading and how you do, too.

    See, Paul is making one of his culminating arguments. Woman was formed from man but NOW woman gives birth to males. Male and female are interdependent.

    They always leave these verses out:

    11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

    By the way!!!!! I just noticed the NIV renders verse 10 correctly!!! It is closer to the Greek (they would never explain the “angels” part on the other translations where it said women did not have authority over her own head. Here is the NIV rendering:

    10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own[c] head, because of the angels. NIV

    The “angels” refers back to chapter 6 where we are told believers will judge the angels. (Even women!!!)

    No wonder the Calvinistas and fundys hate the new NIV. It is ruining their interpretation of 1 Corin 11 to lord it over.

  161. “The problem is they stop reading and how you do, too.”

    ??? This should read: The problem is they stop reading and HOPE you do, too.

  162. Trina,

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply! Coming from a Native American background myself, I understand that there really is such a thing as racism and that you’ve experienced it during your lifetime.

    My own experience with it took subtle forms but I’m almost sure it was nowhere near as virulent as what you’ve seen as a black woman.

    Suffice it to say that I’ve risen above it and proved Neetcha (Nietzsche) right that if it doesn’t kill ya’ it’ll make ya’ stronger. ===> (smiley face goes here)

  163. The timing is interesting with Driscoll “resigning” from GC and Acts29 (after letting us know he had to assume power because things were not right– just recently).

    Could the timing have to do with certain former elders coming out with their stories? Driscoll is becoming an embarassment to these guys? FINALLY? It took this to do it? Porno visions or the book did not do it?

    Of course everyone is acting like it is just Mark having too much on his plate. As usual, they sweep sin under the carpet. They—all of them are culpable for ignoring the sin and false teaching swirling around Driscoll.

  164. Muff–

    Thank you! About you being NA.. Well, I humbly doubt I’ve experienced more, lol… But seriously, no comparisons needed. I am always delighted when I meet someone who is Native American… For one, its a large part of my family lineage and two, it’s not something that happens often where I live. So its just always nice when it does.

  165. numo,

    Believe it or not, I prefer the KJV if only for the beautiful Elizabethan prose style. Read Psalm 23 in KJV aloud for yourself and then try it again with one of the recent translations. The magic has fled and the world has moved on (as Stephen King would write). I have to state that it (KJV) is one of the few remaining cultural treasures for English speaking peoples everywhere.

  166. Muff – I agree on the language in the KJV, but find it difficult to read for anything other than the literary aspect. (Plus there are a number of troubling mistranslations in it…)

  167. I object to the notion of “cultivated” — as if, due to being female, I’m an entity of unrealized potential were it not for a man to come & cultivate it into existence. -elasticgirl

    Do you think that is what he means? Certainly I would object to that!

    I assumed that talk of a husband “cultivating” a wife is rooted in the command for husbands to “nourish and cherish” their wives “as your own body”. What is cultivated into existence by that activity is a MARRIAGE, a ONE FLESH UNION.

    The idea that everyone is at war with the poor poor man and that his wife’s input should be viewed suspiciously because she is a “daughter of Eve”- gullible, easily deceived, and eager to usurp authority and control over him, blah blah BLAH…
    … is a marriage killer and quite the opposite of nourishing and cherishing a wife.

    I don’t want to throw out the the baby with the bathwater. A husband should nourish and cherish (cultivate?) his wife because a marriage becomes a dead and dry thing without cultivation.

  168. Dana and Anon1,

    Must have skipped that part where Chandler waxed disrespectful on the nature of woman’s glory. Sounds a lot like like John MacArthur (link)

    Touche anon1! One has to KEEP READING! 1 Cor 11 is actually quite egalitarian and people miss that because they stop reading and thinking too soon.

  169. Without reading the many comments (and perhaps mine also will remain unread :) ), I’ve read quite a bit of John Piper’s stuff, and while I don’t agree with all that he comes up with, the interpretation done on these verses is in line with how he approaches Scripture all over the place. I fear you might have equated interpretations you don’t agree with wooden literalism, and those which you do agree with better hermeneutics.

    (P.S. His views on Creation are not that of Creation Science. I mention that because of your mention of Cretion at the beginning of the post).

  170. This was before my time in Piper’s church. All I ever knew is that his adult son came to Christ. Then I read Abraham’s story somewhere on the web. I was surprised that he would have stayed in the pulpit, given the description by Abraham of how he had lived since he was 16 or so.

  171. anon1, “I appointed Matt Chandler” doesn’t read like a guy who was forced out of anywhere. Lack of formal power or responsibility doesn’t mean he hasn’t gained more informal (or even formal) power.

  172. Hello friends.
    John Piper is full of vitriol and angst, he need a holiday and an Arminian massaging of the brain.
    Piper states…”God hates sinners’…hence God hates John’s son, wow, what a lovely father.
    God will undo the emergent Calvinists movement, as he has in the past by raising up preachers of grace

  173. Pedro
    I am so sad for the NeoCals. Imagine watching your child grow and waiting to find out if they are elect or one of the damned and you can’t do a blasted thing about it?