Thabiti Anyabwile: Causes a Ruckus at TGC About Puritans and Racism

"I pity them greatly, but I must be mum, for how could we do without sugar and rum?" William Cowper

For Columbus Day "Would you quote Columbus to Cherokees."-Propaganda

christianity.com
Thabiti Anyabwile from Christianity .com

Today I want to deal with the difficult issue of racism and the tendency of those self-declared leaders in the post-evangelical thicket to raise up flawed individuals as mini-gods. Why do I use the term post-evangelical thicket? The dearly missed Michael Spencer of  Internet Monk fame, the granddaddy of all Christian blogs, referred to our times as the post-evangelical wilderness. I have changed “wilderness” to "thicket" because, no matter which way we  turn, we seem to be bumping into thorns, which cause damage to many of the brothers and sisters in the faith.

Yet, many of today’s leaders appear to blow off their insensitivity to this pain because, as I read in one church document yesterday, unconditional love now means hardcore doctrine and discipline. These doctrines and rules do not involve the gospel, as these men (and it is primarily men) would have us believe. They  involve secondary issues which are now raised to supreme importance (although they would deny it.)

Once again, Owen Strachan started the ball rolling with his dogmatic stridency. Link He quotes from a new rap, Precious Puritans, by an African American Christian rapper called Propaganda.

"Pastor, you know it’s hard for me when you quote puritans.

Oh the precious puritans.

Have you not noticed our facial expressions?

One of bewilderment and heart break.

Like, not you too pastor.

You know they were the chaplains on slaves ships, right?

Would you quote Columbus to Cherokees?

Would you quote Cortez to Aztecs?

Even If they theology was good?

It just sings of your blind privilege wouldn't you agree?

Your precious puritans."


Strachan says he wrote a book in which he condemned Jonathan Edwards for owning slaves. However, his condemnation seems to fall a bit short because he then pats himself on the back while condemning those who would support Puritan bashing.

“Racism is awful.  Horrible.  Reprehensible.  It must be called out and condemned.  But one must do so carefully.  To tear the Puritans down with very little nuance of the kind I’ve offered here is problematic. “

“It would also seem to be counter to the general spirit of Galatians 6:1.  This is not a passage about who to lionize, but there’s a principle that seems to apply here:

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.”

Here is my problem. There are times for gentleness and there are times for prophetic condemnation. I weary of the Calvinistas who tell us when it is appropriate to be mad and when we are sinful for our views. On this blog, we have received a number of visitors who appear to believe that it is their glorious mission in life to convince us of the purity of Calvin, Puritans, NeoCalvinist, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, etc. They fuss about those who criticize their heroes, present and past.

There appears to be no room in their book for condemnation for serious, institutionally endorsed sins such as slavery or racism. They defend their heroes with a stridency that should be reserved for our Lord.

I believe that the buying and selling of human beings is despicable in all cultures and I am encouraged that some Christians rose to defend the sentiments expressed in the song.

Here is one opinion offered by Steve McCoy on Reformissionary link. He opens with a quote from the rap.

“Don’t pedestal these people, your precious puritans partners purchased people.

Why would you quote them?
 Step away.

Think of the congregation that quotes you.
Are you inerrant?

Trust me I know the feeling.

It’s the same feeling I get when people quote me.
Like, if you only knew!
I get it. But I don’t get it.”

He then comments (I love this quote).

“Allow Prop to play the role of angry poet, to move you to tears as you consider the history of a group of brilliant people who have blessed you so much, to move you to frustration when you realize there are people still repulsed by this part of history, as we should be. And feel his anger and say with him, "How come the things the Holy Spirit showed them in the valley of vision didn’t compel them to knock on they neighbors door and say, 'You can’t own people!'?" And in the middle of that mood and that moment, let him tell you to "step away" and look at the bigger picture. You can't have that anger at the Puritans and not have it at yourself. You aren't any better. For God to use any of us, these crooked sticks, is amazing.”

On another blog, Kingdom in the Midst, here, Marty Duren outlines some African American pastors' responses to Precious Puritan. The full lyrics to the rap can be found at this site by scrolling to the end of Duren's post.

One response addresses how the refusal to speak of the sins of our heroes can cause harm to people of color.

1. “Propaganda’s point is that if white evangelicals do not talk about the bones of their heroes they run the risk of doing great harm to people of color. Many of us are beginning to wonder why white evangelicals do not seem to care much about this and seem willing to trade off “honoring” their forefathers for their own comfort over doing what is necessary to build racial solidarity. Some of my liberation theology friends, in the end, would see Strachan’s critique as a dismissal of acknowledging the importance of caring about how the Puritans are presented to African Americans and would constitute a racial microaggression or a micro-invalidation.

Another speaks of some important, and under-quoted sins of the fathers.

2.“Here are some historical facts that aren’t talked about:
George Whitfield campaigned to have slaves at his orphanage.
Jonathan Edwards owned slaves as well.
The Southern Baptist Convention made Negro inferiority a theological conviction amongst its convention.”

What happens when one of the TGC bloggers, Thabiti Anyabwile, walks off the reservation and condemns the racism of the Puritans. As you will see, hell hath no fury like a Calvinsta scorned.

According to TGC,

“Thabiti Anyabwile is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Grand Cayman Islands and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition.” (Note to self: I need to find a gig in the Caymans!) He served previously as an elder/assistant pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (Washington, DC) and as an elder at Church on the Rock (Raleigh, NC). Thabiti holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in psychology from North Carolina State University. (Ed. note: Go Wolfpack!)

TWW wrote an article on Thabiti awhile back called Salsa Dancing our Way to Complementarianism link in which we good-naturedly renamed him “Twinkle Toes” Thabiti.

Recently, however, we have noticed some interesting developments in Thabitit's thinking.  In fact, he wrote one post that could have been written at TWW  and we discussed it here. Thabiti bemoans the overuse of the term "gospel" with his post I'm Tired of Hearing the Gospel (Warning:  Mild Rant)

Anyabwile rants:

"…someone has sent me another note chastising me (mildly) for not concluding a post with “the gospel.”

It doesn’t matter what the topic is.  Men and women struggling to get along in their marriages?  ”The gospel.”  Someone struggling to find work in this economy?  ”Believe ‘the gospel’.”  The mechanic just “fixed” your car–again–and charged you–again–for the same problem you noticed last week?  Think of “the gospel.”  The Russian high court sentencing a punk rock band to two years in prison for a flash mob performance in a Russian Orthodox cathedral?  ”They need the gospel.”  Want rock hard abs?  Try “gospel” aerobics.  I smashed my little toe against the dresser?  All together now, “the gospel.”

It’s ubiquitous.  And it’s becoming an inflexible law.  We dare not face any issue without the requisite hat tip to “the gospel.”

On 10/2, Thabiti wrote a post for The Gospel Coalition which prompted quite he dustup over there. It is called Puritans Are Not That Precious. Link

In the near future, I plan to explore subsequent posts in which Thabiti expresses his views of the American political process which are not sitting well with a number of the Calvinistas. Suffice to say that Thabiti is not a “Puritan" when it comes to Calvinism or political party affiliations.

Here is why I believe Thabiti's voice must be heard in the discussion of racism.  He has played by the "rules" of TGC up until this point. But some things have got him concerned. He is willing to discuss his concerns even though it may cost him something amongst his TGC friends.

Many of us grew up in white culture. Even today most of us go to churches that, for the most part, do not include large numbers of African Americans. Most of us also believe that racism is a horrible sin. But we appear to brush off the long term effects of that horrible sin. As one commenter under the post said

“In fact, one might be inclined to conjecture that the view that slaves were of lesser human worth than whites, may have contributed to the overall disregard to life which has led to widespread abortion in all communities, regardless of race. Perhaps we are reaping what our forefathers sowed.”

We read history through the eyes of today’s culture and elevate flawed men to the status of “just about untouchable.” We pretend that they were just a bit more holy than the rest of us. This shows a profound misunderstanding of the gospel (ironic, isn't it?) which clearly shows men continuing to sin after conversion. We pay lip service to sin by flippantly proclaiming that  “Of course they weren't perfect” and then hastily adding  a qualifying “but…”

We have another problem. It is very easy to view ourselves as part of the Puritan ethos because we are white. So were they.They left persecution in Europe and England and set up a society in which they, but not others, could not be persecuted.The Puritans did not set up a democracy. They set up a "Puritan" version of Calvin's City on a Hill and it was "abide by our rules or else."

Here are the main points of Thabiti’s post. he is the "I" in the comments.

  • First, I really like the song.  In fact, I absolutely loved the entire album.
  • Second, I find defenses of the Puritan’s reputation a bit curious, especially when the charge involves race-based slavery.
  • Third, the defense of the Puritans does, it seems to me, draw upon a fair amount of privilege.
  • Fourth, it’s possible to overlook the pastoral implications of the song in all the discussion of the Puritans
  • Fifth, good theology does not mechanically lead to good living.
  • Sixth, we’re terrible at critiquing our heroes.
  • Seventh, are there many people who actually read the Puritans anyway?
  • Eight, it’s very easy to slip from disagreement to opposition

Points to ponder:

I think it is always worthwhile to view racism through the eyes of an African American, especially one who would, until this moment, be considered a card-carrying member of TGC. This question needs to be raised. Why is he going off reservation and inspiring the wrath (see the comments) of the very people with whom he associates? He has made this a hill to die on and we must ponder why.

I was startled by the comments. Many of them demonstrated the hero worship discussed in the post. I was fascinated by these good “gospel” boys pulling their dogmatism out one of their own. One commenter used the word “Negro’ in his comment. Another decried the abortions in the African American community. Why? This is another subject entirely and could be perceived to be an attempt to go off the difficult subject of racism and point to the problems with "those black people."

There is evidence of slavery amongst the early Puritans. Here are a couple of quotes from Puritan writings from the National Humanities Center. Link

1. "Give Ear, ye pitied Blacks, Give Ear!" intoned the Puritan minister Cotton Mather to the enslaved members of his Boston congregation. "It is allowed in the Scriptures, to the Gentiles, that they may keep Slaves," he told them, yet they could aspire to be "Freemen of the Lord" after death: "It will be but a little, a little, a little while, and all your pains will end in everlasting joys."1 In 1696, Mather's sermon expressed the prevalent opinion among most white colonists. Four years later, also in Boston, appeared the first American anti-slavery tract, Samuel Sewall's well-known and widely opposed The Selling of Joseph."

2. "From a pamphlet war in Boston in the early 1700s, we glean the major religious arguments for and against slavery at the time.When judge Samuel Sewall condemned slavery in his essay The Selling of Joseph in 1700, his incensed colleague John Saffin published "a brief and candid answer," refuting Sewall's arguments one by one. Sewall didn't respond until 1705 when, opposed to an anti-miscegenation bill under consideration in the colonial assembly, he arranged for the printing and distribution of an English antislavery tract. A year later, the Puritan leader Rev. Cotton Mather published his own views in The Negro Christianized. Opposed to the slave trade but a slave holder himself, Mather aimed his contempt at those who failed to educate their slaves in Christianity, and dispelled their fear that baptized slaves would warrant freedom."

In fact, the slave Tituba was at the center of the maelstrom of the Salem Witch Trials, another Puritan atrocity which has been dealt with at TWW. Here is a link to a post I wrote over two years ago called Puritans-Hypocrites Like the Rest of Us. (Get ready for the Puritan Rescue Cavalry to ride into Wartburg).

How can we forget the history of the SBC when it came to the issues of racial integration? Better yet, do you know some people in your churches who would be upset if their white daughter married a black man? I do and it upsets me deeply,

Today’s church leaders talk a whole bunch about racial reconciliation. But, when an African American man, one of their own, challenges them on the issue, the reaction, on the part of some, is neither compassionate nor humble.

We are all flawed vessels. We seem to be able to ignore the Holy Spirit if, on the part of a group of “religious” people, it is deemed OK to support such things as slavery, witch trials, the Inquisition, bigotry against Jews, and racial segregation. Christians, throughout the ages, have been guilty (I include myself) of “group think."

No, the Puritans don’t get a pass and neither do we. I, for one, am glad that Thabiti is speaking his mind and challenging the pants off the status quo in TGC land.

Let me leave you with Thabiti’s closing point.

“The Puritans are not so precious that they’re beyond criticism. We ought not be reduced to Gollums, defending our “precious” at any cost. Instead, we ought to observe how our “precious” actually emaciates our souls and our understanding. And we ought to see that we become what we worship. In the  final analysis, just as in the final verse of the song, we’re not that different from the Puritans. It’s no small thing that we’re just as crooked. We’re just as full of contradiction and partial sight. And God uses us for His glory even when we can’t see all that we should. Praise His name!”

The song that started it all!

Lydia's Corner: Exodus 30:11-31:18 Matthew 26:47-68 Psalm 32:1-11 Proverbs 8:27-32

Comments

Thabiti Anyabwile: Causes a Ruckus at TGC About Puritans and Racism — 414 Comments

  1. Anyawbile was the one person on The Gospel Coalition to say that MacDonald’s endorsement of Jakes was deeply problematic and that anyone who would endorse Jakes would be doing so in the pursuit of sheer numbers of growth than doctrinal or scriptural considerations. I don’t recall anyone else being that direct about the problem of Driscoll and MacDonald embracing Jakes at TGC. Anyabwile’s much lower profile than the big names at TGC so it’s easy to see how easily what he’s written throughout this year could be overlooked.

  2. Excellent “Columbus Day” post, Dee!

    And I am glad to see that Thabiti is so direct. It’s very refreshing.

  3. On a more somber note, I am saddened but not surprised by the way many commenters are reacting.

    It hasn’t been all that long since the Civil Rights movement was working to overturn institutionalized racism in government. We are still a deeply divided country.

  4. Numo
    Thanks. Far too many church leaders talk about racial reconciliation, hating racism, etc. But when given the opportunity to be humble and thoughtful, they attack. These guys are on permanent attack mode.

    BTW, it being Columbus Day and all, Propaganda makes a dig are Columbus in the song/rap. Point of order: can you call raps “songs?” Don’t know.

  5. Excellent post! I do hope that Pastor Thabiti will open many eyes.

    The buckets of whitewash that have been thrown around by those ignoring the racism of ‘Christian’ idols is truly shameful given that ‘love thy neighbor’ is one of the two foundational principals of the religion. The fact that they could not see their way to apply this to those of other races or faiths should forever be a black mark upon them. You cannot ignore the dark side of any leaders, religious or otherwise. To do so makes it seem like their offensive views must also be OK.

    Don’t ever count on ‘Christians’ to always do the Christian thing. Take the SBC, for example. The SBC was formed in 1845 when Baptists in the southern states refused to condemn slavery and they broke away from the northern Baptists to form their own denomination. The southern Methodists did the same in 1844 – despite the fact that founder John Wesley had condemned American slavery as the vilest on the face of the earth. This is not to absolve northern churches of any guilt for, while they generally opposed slavery, racism was rampant in the north as well. Nor did this end with the end of the Civil War – the ongoing racism in ‘Christianity’ made them party to the Jim Crow laws in the south. It wasn’t until the 1989 that the SBC finally got around to apologizing for their complicity in all this.

    Finally, go back to Martin Luther. He published a screed entitled On the Jews and their Lies that begins “I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that those miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews and who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them.” It goes downhill from there. Hitler made good use of this little treatise.

    If you’re going to discuss the ideas of any individual or group, you need to discuss them warts and all – all ‘heroes’ are flawed, just like the rest of us. To treat them as demigods and only talk about the views one admires only lends credence to their dreadful ones.

  6. I’m thinking Mahaney must be at the bottom of this. After all this is the Wartburg/Mahaney watch. Dryly

  7. Jimmy

    Surely you are more witty than this. I can think of a gazillion ways to zing us better. Yawn….

  8. The thing I’ve found most interesting about this is the few people I’ve seen commenting on these stories who are willing to ask the really hard question: Is there something specific about Calvinist theology that has caused Calvinists, historically, to support various forms of institutionalized injustice? Or, as Fred from Slacktivist might put it, is it possible that Calvinist support for that kind of oppression is a feature, not a bug?

    I’d love to see that pushed. Perhaps, if they did, they’d realize that maybe their views about gender hierarchy are just as erroneous as their Puritan ancestors views about racial hierarchy were.

  9. Dee,

    I just listened to the song for the first time.

    “God uses crooked sticks to make straight lines.”

    Gonna remember that one!

  10. I just wonder, in a few hundred years, if an Owen Strachan the 15th will be excusing 20th/21st “complementarianism”:

    “Complementarianism is awful. Horrible. Reprehensible. It must be called out and condemned. But one must do so carefully. To tear the Patriarchalists down with very little nuance of the kind I’ve offered here is problematic.”

    Or will they be singing their same old tired song.

    These people can never stop putting their heroes on pedestals and will fight vigorously against any who dare say their theological ancestors weren’t shining heroes. This worship of men, be they Calvin/Puritans/Aquinas/Luther/etc., is what drives me looking for a church that never mentions these names.

  11. jimmy, a better zinger would be to note that TWW is favorably quoting from the Gospel Coalition (at all). You missed an easy opportunity.

  12. Um, I hate to say it, but it isn’t just calvinists who institutionalized racism.

    Slavery split more than the Baptists–ever hear of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South?

    I rather think it is our sin nature, not our branch of the faith, that leads to treating our fellow human beings abysmally.

    At least, I think that in a gospelly way.

  13. linda
    Thanks for your comment and letting us know about another group. I did not accuse only the Puritans of racism. I also mentioned the SBC. I think the reason that the Puritans got brought up is because they are on the au courant “must be seen reading at all costs” Calvinista list. BTW, there is nothing wrong in reading the Puritans;only in believing they were somehow “purer”than the rest of us schlocks.

  14. Lori – depends on which Calvinists, there is a variety, but my thoughts follow this train, and so I look to the “Everything is predestined” type (A) vs. Just “our souls are predestined” type (B)

    Type A – If we are just puppets of a Unknowable God, then who are we to argue with ‘How the World is’? The only time a type A believing “everything is ordained by God” Calvinist fights against something, is if it is laid out clearly (to them) in the Bible. So, sexual immorality is clearly laid out for them, slavery isn’t, since many verses tell slaves to endure, love their masters, etc. Now, not all Calvinists are as predestinationally-inclined as this. Some (type B) only see salvation as predestined, while everything else is up to the Christian. These type A Calvinists then argue they are “right” because they left everything up to God – the state of Slavery, Women’s roles, Poverty, Justice, etc. and just operate with-in the frame work given to them. I don’t think Calvinists are alone in this, but their adherence to the Bible as inerrant and Calvin as divinely inspired (not that they’d admit this) make them susceptible to overlooking things others see as really, really bad. I also have noticed amongst the Calvinista a tendency to twists words that describe God into words that describe pagan gods – Love = Harsh Condemnation, Glory = letting terrible things happen and declare it God’s will (no way to correct it) – so, slavery, women getting raped by husband, etc. Calling a rape victim “unglorifying” to God if she divorces her rapist is a twisted example of this. The problem is, this isn’t a predestined world – not that God can’t reach down and maneuver things (Paul’s blinding conversation, Esther’s chosen status, etc.) but that most of the world marches along with cause and effect or are victims of disasters quite apart from God’s hand all over them. The Calvinists will claim anything was God’s will, the Health and Welfare gospel will claim people in the area/directly affected didn’t pray enough. Truth is, Jesus set us free from bondage not so we could become indifferent to people’s suffering, but that we could go minister to people suffering in this hurting world.

    So, yeah, the Puritans missed to boat on over-throwing slavery, despite thinking their doctrine’s near-perfect (because the Bible didn’t spell out a-b-o-l-i-s-h slavery clearly enough for them to feel it was something they should follow. The barely Christian (to most Calvinists) upper-class Anglican Brits, on the other hand, listened to the ex-slave traders, and young activists ( of both genders) who were decrying the slave ships, and out-lawed slavery because it was inhuman and not treating people as the image bearers of God. But they may not have had all their morality figured out (according to the Puritans).

    Someone once said, the question isn’t “what would Jesus do?” – since he lived in a different time/place, but really, “How would Jesus think about this?” That is tough to do, if you think everything is predestined from the beginning, since you ascribe everything that ever happens to Jesus.

  15. In The Civil War as Theological Crisis Mark Noll mentioned that the United States could be seen in the 1800s as evangelical Protestant, largely, yet there was no consensus on both the question of race and the question of slavery. The voices that had the most to say about those two topics tended to come from Catholic and Jewish circles that were considered insufficiently truly Christian to be of any value on the topic of either slavery or race. And, on confessional grounds, Unitarians were obviously not in the same camp as any trinitarians on primary beliefs about the nature of God for trinitarian Christians. The consensus that took shape among Catholic and Jewish thinkers on race and slavery was that even though the Bible condoned slavery a sustained case that the kind of slavery that was practiced in the United States was not defensible from a Catholic or rabbinic perspective regarding what kind of slavery the OT and NT considered permissable.

    So it may be as the United States went in that period if you weren’t Protestant you were sort of not under serious consideration regardless of what you could have brought to a discussion of race, slavery, and biblical texts.

  16. The recent history of slavery and racism is naturally a raw nerve in many societies, especially where people have either been owned in law because of their race or simply exterminated as in more recent history.

    If I say that slavery has been widespread throughout human history, this is not to diminish anyone’s sin in involvement in the practice, whether it was Arab slave traders, white slave traders or Sudanese today who still practice slavery. Rather it is to confirm what earlier posters have said, that we are all capable of sin.

    But I agree that care must be taken when praising influential figures of the past, that at least we offer a balanced view of them and not put them on pedestals. For example we are understandably concerned if a Russian tells us that Stalin would restore order in his country, or a German that Hitler made the trains run on time. The Puritans, for all their contribution to the history of Christian thought (and some of it, such as that by Edwards, was very powerful) should be treated no differently.

  17. linda

    I did mention the Methodist split in my post along with the fact that the north was no bastion of racial equality either. What is truly sad is that racism in ‘Christianity’ refuses to go away. Just this summer, just after the SBC elected its first African-American President, the SBC-affiliated First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs in Jackson, Miss. refused to allow the marriage of an African-American couple – the pastor telling them that some members had complained about the black couple getting married in the predominantly white church.

  18. WTH – Ever read about the Grimké sisters and their associates? They certainly were Protestant, as were many of the abolitionists who came out of D.L. Moody’s circle.

    When I say “abolitionists,” there is a caveat: most people who were pro-abolitionism felt that slavery was a horrible sin and needed to be eradicated, but most didn’t have favorable views of black people – emancipation was one thing, equality quite another.

    So it was entirely possible for people to be racist *and* abolitionist. The Grimké sisters were unusual (as were a few other white abolitionists, like William Lloyd Garrison) in their promotion of rights for black people, but theirs were lonely voices – joined by Frederick Douglass and other black abolitionists; heard and received by relatively few people.

  19. Note: the Grimké sisters were *very* unusual in publicly backing their nephews, Archibald and Francis (sons of one of their brothers and his slave concubine) in their fight for rights for all black people.

    For some weird reason(s), the Grimké brothers have been neglected by historians of the early history of the NCAAP, but they were very important. And their aunts’ public support was unprecedented – it just wasn’t something people did back then. (Nor would all that many people make that choice now…)

  20. As someone who lands somewhere in the broad reformed camp. (Not exactly a Calvinist. Not exactly a Lutheran.) I find that the one of the problems I have with Calvinistas is that they sometimes make the mistake of preaching Calvin, or Edwards instead of Christ. It isn’t necessary to raise sinful men up when we have a sinless savior. I think that the men who praise the puritans should distinguish between the men and the message. Also I recently talked to a friend who attends a sovereign grace church, (I hadn’t seen This friend for years.) he spoke to me about the “doctrine” of being the head of the household, and being the priest, protector… Etc. of his family. Real doctrine is vital to Christianity, Christ alone, faith alone, trinity, etc. but when we start talking about doctrines of Christian living I think we start to dip into legalism, the same goes for the demand that everyone affirm how wonderful puritans are without acknowledging the wrong they did and fully understanding how people might feel about them outside of the Calvinist circles.

  21. numo, hadn’t heard about them. Noll’s book as far more an overview than dealing with specific cases.

    I heard more about the Nez Pearce and other Indian tribes local to Oregon and Washington over the years on account of my lineage. The Grimke sisters are new to me.

  22. Val

    I think you’re on to something. I think the whole ‘providence of God’ thing too easily lets people accept widespread oppression and injustice – if it’s so widespread then it can be easy to shrug your shoulders and ‘if it’s that widespread it must be the will of God’

  23. Numo –

    Thanks for introducing the Grimke sisters and their nephews. The book looks good. I’ll be getting that one.

  24. “One commenter used the word ‘Negro’ in his comment.”

    …in such a way that it was not for historical context/accuracy?

  25. think of this, Al Mohler’s big focus has been to take “the SBC back to its roots’. That is a horrible place to go! Boyce the founder of SBTS was pro slavery and said that it was necessary to properly disciple them in Christianity. He was against succession UNTIL he found out it meant ending slavery.

    The Southern Calvinists really did believe God was on their side. And when they lost and were decimated, many started moving away from the determinist, decreetal God of Calvinism. The SBC started moving away from Calvinism around the turn of the century as a majority. There has always been a Calvinistic minority. Now, Mohler wants to make it a majority..

    I grew up in the SBC in the 60’s-70’s and we always had black people in our churches by then. My first SS teacher was black when I was 6. I had no idea of our horrible past until I was older. My mom always told me it was our horrible shame and we had a lot to put right.

    “Or, as Fred from Slacktivist might put it, is it possible that Calvinist support for that kind of oppression is a feature, not a bug? ”

    Yes! Great question!!!! One that really needs to be studied in depth.

    Authoritarianism and controlling people IS a feature of Calvinism and you can prove that historically. Even now, with so many NC/YRR churches focused on membership covenants and church discipline. It is all about control of people.

  26. The mass worship of Puritans is one thing about the YRR that has chilled me to the bone. Slavery is one aspect. They were trying to build a "New Jerusalem" and they micromanaged people's lives in every way. They wiped out Indian tribes who would not sell them land. They persecuted their own just to get their land by banishment, burnings, etc. All in the name of Jesus, of course. The leaders were despots, too, just like the King they fled from. Ironic, huh?

  27. I do take issue with the idea that all of us are sinners “just like the Puritans”. Roger Williams was banished for standing up to them and preaching soul liberty and being against their persecution of people who disagreed which he refused to do while pastor at Salem.

    I take issue because I question whether one can have the indwelling Holy Spirit and “practice” such things as pesecution, banishment and even burnings over time. We are talking this was a way of life of them. They believed it was godly. They institutionalized injustice in heinous forms. We do know there were others at the time that totally disagreed with this and paid with their lives or property or security for standing up to them.

    I take issue with the idea that all sin is the same.

  28. Anon 1 –

    “Authoritarianism and controlling people IS a feature of Calvinism and you can prove that historically. Even now, with so many NC/YRR churches focused on membership covenants and church discipline. It is all about control of people.”

    But this is all in the name of creating a “pure church” as one of the posters at Thabiti Anyabwile’s blog keeps pointing out about the Puritans. They were looking for a place to “freely” practice being a pure church.

    The problem I see is that you can’t enforce purity from the outward to the inner man. Purity comes from the inner man being changed by the Gospel of salvation first and then the ongoing work of sanctification, with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Puritans seemed to be trying to governmentalize Christianity. Those who didn’t conform were asked to leave the colony.

    The NC/YRR are trying to do the same thing –control the people AND the doctrine that controls the people.

  29. Hester

    Nope, the word "negro" was not used in or for historical context. Frankly, a number of the comments over there shocked me due to their insensitivity. Thankfully, Thabiti said the same thing which confirmed my first take.

  30. I had to laugh when Owen Strachan even rolled out the ‘I’m a rapper too!’ line.
    And on the song, I really don’t see how he claims it went ‘too far’. It’s blunt, sure, but bluntness can be a very effective tool. For all his protestations, Strachan is equivocating. The way he uses the ‘but we’re all sinners’ argument (which is, of course, correct) is surreptitiously silencing of critique. Just like he sees there being only very narrow ‘correct’ roles for men and women, there are similarly narrow ‘correct’ ways to acknowledge the not-so-pretty aspects of those deemed ‘heroes of the faith’. His argument seems to be yes, Christians – including Puritans – have done some awful things, but don’t talk about that too loudly, or people might think they were bad. Well, fact is, some of them were! We shouldn’t be afraid to acknowledge that pretty basic fact.
    He also decries the lack of ‘historical nuance’. But those sort of arguments (it was a different time then, etc) run the risk of becoming attempts to minimise the ‘badness’ of those actions, and are a sign of the very privilege Propaganda is critiquing. Just as in his article last week, Strachan is showing his naivete at anything outside his narrow sphere of life.

  31. Me thinks Strachan is really trying to “build his brand”. It seems he is trying to become the next popular reformed guru. Wonder how many CP dollars go to his time investment in becoming famous using his platform at SBTS?

  32. jimmy, I venture that Driscoll’s going to get more attention than Mahaney while he’s having his way with the book of Esther.

  33. Anon 1,

    You are a wealth of information that is very pertinent to me at present.

    Can you tell me what sources would be good for me to do my own research on the Puritans? I specifically want to know about this:

    Authoritarianism and controlling people IS a feature of Calvinism and you can prove that historically.

    Because it seems we are entering a new age of Puritan totalitarianism in my neck of the woods and I would really like to understand this better.

    Also, would you happen to know anything about whether the end of the Puritan reign of authoritarianism had anything to do with the Great Awakening? I recall reading somewhere, but I’ll be darned if I can remember where, that this preceded the Revolution. And if I recall correctly, I got the impression there was a lot more going on with the separation of church and state than freedom to practice religion. I got the impression there was just as much desire to be free from Puritanical type of religious oppression in the states as there was to be free from the Crown’s oppression and that one of the unintended consequences of the Great Awakening was this desire for soul freedom to worship according to the dictates of conscience. I also have it in my head that Congregationalism developed around this time and because of this issue as well.

    I don’t know if these things are correct and I’d like to check them out for myself. Anything you can recommend would be greatly appreciated.

  34. Anon 1, you question if people can have the Indwelling Holy Spirit and still practice persecution. It makes me wonder what sins are worse than others. all sins are transgressions of God’s law, I thank God that he has forgiven all my sins in Christ Jesus. I don’t think it very wise to speculate about the eternal souls of people who professed Christian faith. Instead let us strive to not fall into the same traps as those in our past and leave God to make those judgements.

  35. anonymous, Perry Miller is the classic author on Puritan history, but there are other, younger authors who are very much worth reading.

    am currently reading “Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgement,” which might appeal to you very much. (But am blanking on the author’s name!)
    It’s about New Englanders, not Calvinists in the south, though.

  36. Dan, what does it mean that a good tree does not bear bad fruit? Can we be fruit inspectors? We have no say in salvation at all so I am sorry you took it that way. I obviously did not communicate well. We have to make “judgements” on behavior or else we allow pedophiles to go free and spiritual abuse to reign. And that is not protecting others. God loves justice and so should we.

  37. “It makes me wonder what sins are worse than others.”

    Can you think of any sin that is less worse than burning another person alive? I can.

  38. Thanks numo! That sounds like a good place to start. New England Puritans are really what I want to know about anyway, so that works for me.

  39. @ Bridget:

    “But this is all in the name of creating a ‘pure church’ as one of the posters at Thabiti Anyabwile’s blog keeps pointing out about the Puritans. They were looking for a place to ‘freely’ practice being a pure church.”

    Ah, yes, the “purity of the church”…the all-purpose excuse to ban and disallow anything and everything. What does slavery have to do with the “purity of the church,” anyway? Surely he didn’t mean it would make a church “impure” to have black people in it.

  40. @ Anon 1:

    “How many of the founders were Puritans?”

    If you mean the Founding Fathers, isn’t it exactly zero? The Puritans, at least before 1700, thought democracy was unbiblical (see John Cotton’s infamous line, “If the people be governors, who shall be governed?”). And their thoughts on this matter had changed significantly by 1776.

  41. “I got the impression there was just as much desire to be free from Puritanical type of religious oppression in the states as there was to be free from the Crown’s oppression and that one of the unintended consequences of the Great Awakening was this desire for soul freedom to worship according to the dictates of conscience. I also have it in my head that Congregationalism developed around this time and because of this issue as well.”

    I agree with this totally. I believe they had Cromwell, Calvin and Luther in mind when insisting on the Bill of Rights. :o)

    We forget the Declaration of Independence was only 20 years after Edwards died. We are not that far removed from the last generation of Puritans. They died out real quick when taking the long view. Aaron Burr is a descendent of Puritans. In the Northeast their decendents tended to become Unitarians.

    I read so much history it is hard to pinpoint any one source. Reading NON Reformed history is helpful as in stay away from their historical sites such as mongerism, banner of truth, etc.. EVen secular history is best. Reformed tend to ignore the negative and spin the positive. I tend to read in “eras” of history and then categories or read bios. When reading about an era you get some insight into many groups. I simply do searches and see what comes up.

    Here is what I just finished:

    http://www.amazon.com/Roger-Williams-Creation-American-Soul/dp/0670023051

    Which lead me to read Williams’, “The Bloudy Tenant” he wrote anonymously when in England about his charter for Providence. (The Puritans were trying to take it away) It is free on google books. I highly recommend it because he is basically answering a Puritan leader whose name escapes me right now.

    The Berry book on Williams was excellent.

    I have not read Perry Miller, so thanks, Numo. Going to see what I can find now.

    I have requested this on kindle:

    http://www.amazon.com/Puritans-New-World-Critical-Anthology/dp/0691114099/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349747137&sr=1-1&keywords=puritans+in+the+new+world+a+critical+anthology+by+david+d.+hall

    Years ago, I read Marsdens book on Edwards. (I think Marsden is REformed) and was astonished to read of the gruesome suicides that took place around the Great Awakening of some who were being discipled personally by Edwards. I mean they were “gruesome” by those who had made professions. Marsden kind of blew past it and mentioned it in passing. It stuck with me for years as something that did not seem right in the context it was presented. (Edwards after the “great awakening” had to leave that church) It also caused me to question the “methods” of evangelizing the Indians such as his close friend of David Brainard, another Puritan.

    From my reading, I come away seeing men who were desperate to control the lives of people. To “manufacture” godly living. They really did believe God would bless that. Is this why we see membership covenants and such a focus on church discipline run amouk? I think so. I think control of people is inherent in Calvinism. It starts with their belief concerning total inability.

  42. Southern Baptists are concerned about doctrinal purity. I am not sure how they plan on implementing this.

  43. Hester –

    It wasn’t just to ban and disallow. I believe they enforced many practices as well.

    I don’t think the commentor was making your connection with slavery. It was more like he thought we should be acknowledging the good works the Puritans had established towards their desire for a pure church.

  44. @ Pam:

    “His argument seems to be yes, Christians – including Puritans – have done some awful things, but don’t talk about that too loudly, or people might think they were bad.”

    Which is a pretty funny argument to make given that the average American probably doesn’t have that great of an image of the Puritans anyway. They think of three things when they hear that word – the first Thanksgiving, the Salem witch trials and The Scarlet Letter. Even the positive thing on that list (Thanksgiving) is overshadowed by irony – the fact that the rest of the time, they were crowding out/going to war with the Indians. (Also, interestingly enough, “Puritan” started out as a derogatory term then and the word “puritanical” is STILL derogatory now.)

    I hope Strachan doesn’t think that TGC has so much influence in America that they are single-handedly responsible for forming the citizenry’s opinion about the Puritans…

  45. @ Anonymous:

    Like Numo said, Perry Miller. Also his student Edmund Morgan, esp. the book Visible Saints. It talks about the Puritans’ idea on the purity of the church and how they affected the church membership process. Let’s just say their original standards were so strict that they were forced to modify them if they wanted their churches to last past the founding generation…

  46. “If you mean the Founding Fathers, isn’t it exactly zero? The Puritans, at least before 1700, thought democracy was unbiblical (see John Cotton’s infamous line, “If the people be governors, who shall be governed?”). And their thoughts on this matter had changed significantly by 1776.”

    Bingo. We owe a lot to those “Deists” who defied a king. I have even heard McArthur talk about how wrong that was. Piper thinks it is a sin to celebrate the 4th. It is very interesting to read around the REformed thinking on this subject. Some think the Enlightenment was evil.

  47. Anon1, let them know before or just after you post a comment with links and it can get up pretty quickly.

  48. When I posted a comment that used the word “specialist” it got flagged for moderation a year or so ago. It took me a second to figure out why.

  49. @ Bridget:

    Good. I dearly hoped he didn’t mean that.

    What amuses me most is that the Puritans (and really Calvinists in general) liked to frame their secondary-issue dicta as “safeguards” against violating Christian liberty. Musical instruments MUST NOT be used in church because using them would violate OUR Christian liberty. Christmas and Easter MUST NOT be celebrated because WE are against them. Etc., etc.

    Of course, enacting such a ban is the very essence of violating the Christian liberty of the person whose conscience tells them to worship God by playing an instrument and celebrating Christmas. But somehow that point is utterly lost on them. Thus this reaction:

    “On the day called Christmas Day, [Governor Bradford] called [the settlers] out to work as was usual. However, the most of this new company excused themselves and said it went against their consciences to work on that day. So the Governor told them that if they made it [a] matter of conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed; so he led away the rest and left them.”

    Memo to you: your conscience is wrong, mine is right, and your celebration of the birth of Christ upsets me, because I’m a Christian. I’ll put up with you for now, but only until I get enough people to form up a legislature. Peace out.

  50. @ Anon 1:

    Does Piper really think it’s a sin to celebrate 4th of July? I’ve heard he disapproves of it from other people but – a sin? Seriously?! If so, remind me to wear red, white and blue should I ever be in the vicinity of Bethlehem Baptist in the summer.

  51. “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”

    A little more context for the hyperbolic statement might be in order. The established contrast is that grapes dont’ come from thornbushes and figs don’t come from thistles. If you just went with this sort of hyperbole as though it had no context of rhetorical aim then it would seem clear-cut.

    But the NT authors seemed to have a weirdly generous sliding scale for heroes of the faith mentioned in the OT. David killed piles of women and children before he became king, not just combatants. It was considered okay that he killed mountains of women and children because they were Phillistines. David lying and marrying multiple wives got a pass. David, as the Psalmist, was even considered a prophet by authors of NT books. Yet he was still a pretty bad man who egotistically had a few assasinations set up to forestall what he saw as a risk of a divided Israelite kingdom.

    When James wrote about the patience of Job more than just a few people noticed that Job sure didn’t seem that patient in the way James described in his epistle. Jepthah was cosnidered a hero of faith in Hebrews 11 despite the lack of any obvious certainty as to why Jepthah might have made that list. Samson’s last act was as much to avenge himself as to defend Israel. When in one of the epistles of Peter we’re told Lot grieved over the wickedness of the city there’s no evidence of that that leaps off the page in Genesis. Solomon sacrificed his kids (I don’t subscribe to the idea that Solomon repented later in life and wrote Ecclesiastes as being a viable idea both because Solomonic authorship of Ecclesiastes is all but universally rejected (even by conservative scholars) and because there’s no indication Solomon “repented”). Yet lots of Christians assume without much more than tradition that Solomon was somehow “saved”.

    Peter had to be rebuked by Paul for how he dealt with Gentiles. Even Peter had some bad fruit. Jesus’ hyperbolic statements in Matthew 7 need to be taken less as a claim that our favorite Christians of old had to be good trees. It fits more in what Jesus seems to have been teaching to say that if you want anyone in Hell that’s the surest sign you deserve to go there yourself. If you’re willing to consign someone to the trash heap for whatever reason then you’re displaying a heart that shows you deserve to be thrown on the trash heap yourself.

  52. I disagree that Calvinism always about authority and controlling people. You see the examples that get more press, but you don’t have to paint so broadly. A lot of quiet, humble people have been Calvinists, but you don’t hear about them because they don’t ruffle feathers.

    And yes, clearly some sins are worse than others. See Diotrephes, Alexander the Coppersmith, and whoever 1 Cor 5 was about. I would think we would all be in favor of excommunicating a child molester from the church.

  53. Anon 1

    Very interesting point:

    “From my reading, I come away seeing men who were desperate to control the lives of people. To “manufacture” godly living. They really did believe God would bless that. Is this why we see membership covenants and such a focus on church discipline run amouk? I think so. I think control of people is inherent in Calvinism. It starts with their belief concerning total inability.”

    Ever notice how the leaders never fit into the category of “total inability”? – that was my first concern when hearing about these guys – I didn’t even know they were Calvinists then, just noticed how silly it was to let anyone call the shots if everyone is a wretched sinner, why have a leader if everyone is just waiting till the end and renewal then. It was first Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill and his comments along the lines of: “men are useless, wives, tough if you don’t like it, you have to submit to this worthless jerk, because the Bible suddenly became law and I am the law-giver” type comments that made me wonder how anyone could take that guy seriously. Then it was Piper’s (well, I knew he was Calvinist by then) comments that even if his family was all killed in a car wreck or something, he’d get out and praise God. Well, sociopaths might. Jesus wouldn’t have – see “Mary and Lazarus”.

    Because following Christ is not a bunch of silly exercises in ascribing events to a Superior being, or quoting doctrine when tragedy hits. By believing that the Holy Spirit renews and transforms from the time one call’s Christ “Lord” with their heart and soul, a Christian can a) make wise decisions (not always, but beginning to learn to follow the saviour involves renewal of the mind), even if they aren’t exactly laid out in the Bible and b) discern weather something is bad or good, based on Christ’s teachings. Also, if someone doesn’t line up with how I see Christ, then the ball is in their court to show how this is what Christ was aiming for. For me, that includes Driscoll and Piper and a few others. Few of the big-namers even come close to this these days. Maybe the internet is showing us more of human nature with who we have decided to make popular in Evangelicalism, but I don’t think Billy Graham was as prone to mis-steps as this current crop of popular pastors are. Or, maybe God is revealing something else entirely to his body of followers. Maybe he is revealing that we too can discern and weigh what the leaders teach. This will upset Calvinists, but then, they create a two-teir structure, where a) everyone is evil and b) our evil nature blinds us to what is good. So we get told we can’t question the leaders because we are too wicked to know what is good for us (we make leaders want to go all “Old Testament” on us – according to a certain leader). However, through some sort of divine intervention, they can manage themselves without answering to us lowly deceived peons – despite most of them running into problems in their own church, they have a teflon coating that is unquestionable, since we are too wicked to discern they are full of bunk.

    The whole Edward’s disciples committed suicide comment makes me so sad :( – and for the record, I don’t think that was the will of God for those men.

  54. Wenatchee:

    I think the Apostles perceived some things most modern evangelicals sneer at. I think the Apostles would’ve had a much higher appreciation of Johnny Cash than Chris Tomlin, and probably prefer his music too!

    It’s like Jesus said: Who’s more faithful? The man who is asked, says no and then does it or the man asked, says yes and then doesn’t do it?

    Some how whackos like Samson, David, Job etc. are counted faithful because, in some deep way that the Spirit sees, they trusted Him.

  55. Graham’s cozy relationship with the Nixon administration warranted a public mea cupla. Since he did that it’s more than the newer breed some capable of doing. We can find all kinds of things amiss in how Graham handled public ministry if we just look carefully enough but Graham has been willing to concede in public that he made some very, very regrettable decisions along the way. That does help him distinguish him from a Piper who might talk about “species of pride” without seeming to explain what on earth a species of pride would be(was it the stag beetle version of pride or the bombadier bettle version of pride?).

  56. Cal, I see your point.

    Though the major/minor key system used by both musicians probably wouldn’t fit their idea of good music. :)

  57. Val:

    Maybe Calvinistas don’t understand, but what Calvin taught, in line with Augustine, who I think were both in line with Scripture, was that man was not untouched by sin. That is total depravity, not in depth but in scope.

    The main context (for both Augustine and Calvin) was some who said that while the body was touched by sin, the mind or the will was not (or not functionally) and could choose uninhibited. No, says Christ, by choosing sin we’ve made ourselves slaves to sin. We need to be freed!

  58. Hmm, Wenatchee,

    That is very Driscollesque – to show how no one is good, so God did it all. But this isn't about a person being naturally good or bad; this is about a person being declared a pastor/teacher, etc. by God's gifting. See, once Jesus leaves and the Holy Spirit descends, there is a second baptism to contend with – the Baptism of the holy spirit. And to each of his followers the Spirit gives gifts to help the body. So, Peter and Paul still made human errors, but they also preached, healed and led by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are called to test ALL prophecy. We are (all) the priesthood (yes, even women) of believers and no one human is infallible, but we can discern whether or not they are teaching/prophesying the in the spirit or not. Now, this doesn't need to be a charismatic thing. An academic, well-thought out book can show the Holy Spirit at work too. But it does put the onus back on us to discern the Calvinistas' messages. And, since some of them like to do far more than just preach a sermon on Sunday – they like to comment on tornadoes or disgraced pastors' wives – then we should also put that on the table. It is all of our faith, and we need to call each other out. This, well, everyone has our sins so we are excused mentality needs to stop. We are also children of God and members of His Kingdom, we have been elected to do a task (no one is elected to nothing) and our task is to bring Jesus' Kingdom to earth now. We will make mistakes, we will have set-backs, but we also need to be salt and light, accountable and every learning and leaning on our saviour. Through his power we can judge trends or problems we see. The whole story of Esther is about how God took the lowly and despised of the world and used her to thwart evil, not the powerful king.

  59. @WTH

    let them know before or just after you post a comment with links and it can get up pretty quickly.

    I get an email on my phone when a comment is moderated. Unless I’m driving or in a meeting or at dinner or such I usually free them up quickly. (This last week with my back yard being demolished being somewhat of an exception.)

    When I posted a comment that used the word “specialist” it got flagged for moderation a year or so ago. It took me a second to figure out why.

    I don’t think so. Can you point me to this comment/post so I can look at it?

    Thanks
    GBTC

  60. Cal

    Oh, Okay, that makes more sense regarding Total Depravity. I have always heard it described as it renders all humans incapable of doing anything God calls us to. Or, if we manage, it was God doing it through us. We are warned we will be judging Angels, so we better get our own lives in order in this life, we are not to fall back into unsaved ways (in Hebrews), etc. which always seemed to go against Total Depravity to me, since we were being given responsibility for our faith.

    I have heard Calvinist leaders (maybe they aren’t real Calvinists) use it to justify having to sign statements of faith, because we can’t trust our own interpretation of the scripture, etc. Despite the doctrine needing to be renewed by Totally Depraved individuals.

    Not entirely sure Augustine lined up with Paul. Augustine came out of Manichaesim (a wide spread and very popular gnostic cult) and kind of went to town on anything that remotely appeared to be like Manichaeisim’s duality. Calvin, also reacting to external problems (Catholicism, not Manichaeisim) draws a line and says if you are on this side, then you are OK, if not, then you are wrong. Problem is, how does he know he drew the line at the right point? especially if Augustine was reacting to gnostic teachings, not solely elaborating on Pauline teachings.

    I like Augustine, but I don’t think his views are completely in line with scripture – I lean towards Anabaptist/Eastern Orthodox views on atonement theory. I don’t adhere to Original Sin being inherited genetically, I think that our ancestor’s fallen ways have effected all of us (including genetically, but not necessarily genetically), and will continue to effect us until God makes a new Earth. And, since Penal Sub. Atonement theory only arrived 500 years ago, and only in one branch of protestantism, I have trouble saying we fully understand the hows of the atonement. The whys are, of course, for our sins, but how this was accomplished is not clear.

    Again, not saying Calvin was wrong, just saying I don’t think he could know for sure – unless he said it was by divine revelation, in which case I would want to know why the early church didn’t get this revelation. For this reason, I can’t sign statements of faith on unknowable issues (Atonement theory, Genetic Originals Sin, etc.), well, I could, all my friends do, despite not even entirely agreeing with the statements, but, knowing what I have learned, it is just too presumptuous for me to say “I know” this when I don’t think Calvin did.

  61. GBTH, the word “specialist” included the word “cialis” which sent a post of mine into moderation a year or two ago. It was probably flagged as spam because of that and didn’t come out of moderation but I found a way to post another comment that phrased things differently that got through.
    That was on the older server/format.

    Val, I wasn’t attempting to exonerate David’s atrocities. I was pointing out that despite those atrocities, David had the Spirit of God with him (unless we’re reading Psalm 51 in a where where you disagree that David was asking that the Spirit would not leave him when he wrote “take not your spirit from me”). When people suggest that real believers won’t be able to do this or that horrific thing because they have the Holy Spirit that simply can’t be backed up by any serious reference to scripture. It’s possible for people who love the Lord to do abominable things.

    But this is probably where the biggest practical difference seems to be between Calvinistas and everyone else, in their applied theology of sin. First, a little digression. The difference between a David and a Saul was not necessarily the atrocities but how David responded to being confronted about his atrocities. Take the census near the end of his life, which was an idea put into his head by God (in Samuel, in Chronicles this is presented as Satan inspiring David to take the census). The people in Corinth all shared in the Spirit yet a man had his father’s wife. Most people look at the 1 Corinthians part and don’t get to the 2 Corinthians part where Paul urges that the one who was cast out be taken back so that he would not fall prey to condemnation. Whereas the church in Corinth was proud of themselves Paul rebuked them. But when they did what he asked them to do he said they’d done what was needed and to not overdo it. Paul was writing to Christians who were making huge mistakes but didn’t always clearly understand that their sins were significant.

    The difference between a Calvinsta and other Christians, in my observation, is that the Calvinista generally has no category for sins that are inadvertant and grasped in fear–it’s always got to be “You’re sinning and you know it because you’re a sinner”. When presented with the lsut of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life as options for describing a sin the Calvinista goes for pride every. single. time. I was at Mars Hill enough years to realize that was one of the recurring things that troubled me about their pastoral counseling (in most, but not all cases (the pastors that weren’t completely into that no longer work at the church)). That’s one of a dozen reasons I’m no longer there. It was a different kind of church ten years ago when co-founding elders Lief Moi and Mike Gunn were still there, before it got turned into the Driscoll show.

    Once someone labels you as having a pride problem in a Calvinista setting all bets are off, if you were to ask how you’re displaying pride you’ll be told that the fact that you’re even asking shows you can’t see it. It becomes a self-reinforcing feedback loop a Calvinista can use to make sure you’ll never get to say anything that isn’t rejected on the basis of your sinful questioning. This is why, at least in my experience, forcing people to look at misappropriation of biblical texts is necessary.

    One of the toughest things to convey is that because Driscoll wasn’t always a Calvinist we can’t exactly pin his worst excesses on being a Calvinist. I’m friends with people who remember getting yelled at by Mark because he refused to buy a Calvinist reading of a couple of texts. If Driscoll had never become a Calvinist I don’t think he’d have become any nicer about women.

  62. Picking up the theme of Puritans, Calvinists (broadly) and calvinistas (specifically) having control built into their ideological DNA.

    The Puritans may indeed have been just as oppressive as the monarchy they were fleeing. There’s an old saying that “Hurt people hurt people”. That looks less clear now that I’ve written it down – apologies if I’m stating the obvious, but what I mean is: People who have been hurt go on to hurt people in turn. I note the number of times YHWH commands the Israelites not to oppress strangers or foreigners among them because they themselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Several translations state that “you shall not oppress the alien among you”, which always makes me think of the creature from Ridley Scott’s Alien – the xenomorph, as it’s become known. But I stray…)

    People coming from a place of hardship and oppression can react in two different ways; they can learn compassion and empathy for the oppressed, or they can envy the power and control enjoyed by the oppressor. If the latter reaction dominates, then obviously their Brave New World will be just as cruel and oppressive.

    The other reason -isms such as Calvinism can’t help but breed oppression and control is very closely related, I think; they hold out this tantalising offer of “purity” and the moral authority that comes with it. People who are unaware of their own pride and self-righteousness can use -isms to rule in someone else’s name, which means they can keep pretending even to themselves that it’s not really power they want. Meanwhile, of course, the clergy/laity divide which Calvin did much to enshrine within the reformation [sic] is the perfect tool for this. I’m properly trained and set apart for this task, you see, whereas this mob that knows nothing of the Law (John 7:49, to save you looking it up!) needs me to protect them from their own brute stupidity and animal lusts.

    The heart and soul of the reformation was supposed to have been about salvation by grace, not works. In that context, what on earth possessed Calvin to compose a 600,000-word treatise specifying, down to the last nail, the “institutes” of the “christian religion”? That turkey should’ve been shot centuries ago, not enshrined as an idol. It’s desperately sad how quickly the reformation was sucked back into religious legalism; the Old Testament Law had been replaced by Roman canon law, but rather than replace that by the glorious liberty of the sons of God, the reformers slid back into replacing it with their own version of New Testament Law. Ultimately, the Reformation reformed almost nothing, though it did succeed in overthrowing the Papacy and replacing it with a different ruling clergy class.

  63. Wenatchee – your comment on pride is good case in point, of course. I saw a video clip of Mr Driscoll explaining himself to some extent during the process of bring “discipline” against Bent Meyer and Paul Petry. He admitted that he had during his earlier days shown a “lack of humility”. In the space of less than 10 seconds he “repented” for it and asked forgiveness; and that, apparently, was that. But Meyer and Petry were motivated by “pride – it’s just pride”.

    Leave aside the fact that Mr Driscoll never produced any actual evidence concerning this secret motivation of Meyer’s and Petry’s hearts. Leave aside also the fact that accusing someone of pride for questioning you is certainly evidence of pride. Consider instead the difference in judgement for the two “sins”. The pride in one person can be excused as the less-sinful-sounding “lack of humility” and he can resolve the matter himself, in a manner of his own choosing, in a few seconds. But the pride in the other two cannot be so excused, and must be dealt with by their being subjected at the hands of others to a severe and protracted period of public humiliation and punishment.

    OK; enough about Driscoll; we all know about him. But many of us here, and on similar blogs and in similar groups around the world, have experienced abusive leadership; we’ve been robbed, one way or another, by those who were tasked with helping us grow and who misused the authority we gave them over us. I too. Question, then: it’s easy for me to see and be disgusted at how Driscoll acts like the unmerciful servant from the parable. But how am I acting like it? The very fact that I have a visceral desire to extract stuff from Driscoll’s eye indicates (unless the Son of God was wrong on this one; but the smart money’s on him being right :-) ) that there is something in my eye.

  64. Nick, I don’t know whether it’s fair to say that the Reformation replaced the Papacy with a different ruling clergy class. One of Luther’s planks in his platform was “priesthood of all believers”. Paradoxically I think that is more in danger of being ignored today, since the drive in some circles is now to “get young men into ministry”. I think the concept of lay readers is a good one.

    Re the earlier remark about David’s sin in murder and multiple wives, I think some clarity is needed. Polygamy was not forbidden in the OT, although it’s clear from the examples of Jacob, Elkanah and esp Solomon that it was generally not a good thing in itself. The “assassinations” an earlier poster referred to I take it refers to the murders of Abner and Ishbosheth, which the OT does not attribute to David. Of course his murder of Uriah the Hittite was a horrible act for which he was called to account, and although Nathan told him that God had forgiven his sin, it’s interesting to note that from this point onwards he had a very fractured family life, culminating in Absalom’s rebellion (in which Nathan’s prophecy about other men sleeping with his wives, or concubines, came true) and later in the attempt by Adonijah to supplant Solomon. So it seems to me that David still had to live with the consequences of his sin. At least one observer has suggested that seeing what David had done concerning Uriah affected both his sons and his adviser Abithophel, who later betrayed him. (Hope I got all the names right!).

  65. @ Nick, “People who have been hurt go on to hurt people in turn”
    Exactly – a tragic example can be found in those turfed out in the highland clearances who subsequently moved to Gippsland, Victoria, and did the same to the Aboriginals living there.

  66. Nick

    Comment of the week: in regards to Calvini’s Institutes- “That turkey should have been shot centuries ago.” Thank you for my morning laugh.

  67. Regarding “Total Depravity” and the idea that we can’t do anything good on our own, this is not what that doctrine means. I’ve heard R.C. Sproul says more than once that he doesn’t like the term “Total Depravity” because it implies that we are depraved through and through, and it isn’t true. He prefers “Radical Corruption” (which he says is easy to remember by the acrostic RC), though I’m not sure that’s better. But he makes the point that “Total” does not mean “Utter”. We are not as bad as we could be. We are not evil through and through. We ARE touched at the core by sin which makes us unable to respond to grace and repent as we should. I *think* he is the one I heard say “we are always free to choose grace, but in our own nature we never will”. Either way, the point is that we are not all as bad as we could be. There is a distinction between me (in my own sin) and Hitler who we all can agree was more sinful than I, and even Hitler probably did some good in his life (he wasn’t utterly depraved).

  68. Nick, I don’t know whether it’s fair to say that the Reformation replaced the Papacy with a different ruling clergy class.

    Kolya – thank you for your timely correction. On reflection, a one-sentence summary/dismissal of a period of historical upheaval that was many years in the making and took many years to complete, was decidedly immature writing on my part! My bad.

    I know Luther pushed the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. I’m not sure whether the reformation really achieved that, though; the Lutheran church today, for instance, is a sacramental/liturgical denomination with a separate ordained clergy as far as I can tell. I concede, of course, that “Lutheran” and “pertaining to Martin Luther” are not one and the same.

    There’s an interesting article here that traces the shift from a sacramental clergy to an “academic clergy”; which is what I think you’re talking about regarding getting young men into the ministry. The direct implication being that if you’re a preacher you’re in ministry, but if you’re not, then we’ll say you have a ministry, but it will be tacitly understood that you aren’t really in the ministry.

    Mark Greene (author of “Thank God it’s Monday”), in a presentation to the Lausanne Congress, lamented the fact that mission and evangelism has in many settings become little more than (quoting as accurately as I can remember) “Recruiting Christians to spend a part of their leisure time supporting the missional activities of church-paid workers”. A sobering thought.

  69. Racism is still prevalent in a lot of churches…but in my experience it is more of a cultural insensitivity/misunderstanding. I think a lot of white people just don’t understand that there are two cultures and we are talking about, and I think sometimes it is misunderstood as racism, when perhaps it is misunderstanding and happens because of a lack of exposure to another culture. My children would be allowed to marry outside their race/culture, but I would also say that it would not be racism that would discourage it – it would be the result of knowing the difficulty of marrying outside of your culture. I also feel that it is wise to discuss the fact that racism cuts both ways. I have observed that whenever you hear the word “racism” what usually comes to mind is that many whites are arrogant and biased against other cultures, particularly the black culture. I think this racism is still alive and (sick, not well.) However, how many times it is brought up that blacks also dislike whites? I know that the black culture ALSO teaches racism. I have felt disliked a number of times, just by being white. I can think of black “leaders” who, in my opinion, also foment white racism.
    I think, in regards to this post, that any pro-slavery should be condemned strongly, that it is also time to realize that the Civil War was years ago, and most Americans alive today would find slavery abhorrent.

  70. JeffS
    But isn’t this Radical Corruption talking out of both sides of the mouth. I believe that there is grace given to all. That is why most people have some understanding of what is right and what is wrong on a broad level.

    Then, Sproul goes onto say that, even though we have this grace, the one area in which we cannot choose is whether or not to believe and repent?

    I agree that I do not like total depravity. I like Radical Corruption.However, restricting the radical corruption to things outside of seeking salvation seems like a stretch.

    I am one of those heretics who do believe that we have been created with the ability to choose in this area. I do not believe that this desire for salvation effects my salvation one iota. Only Jesus saves. But, the Semipelagian sniffers will be on my tail.

  71. I always thought “total depravity” meant that everyone who ever lived, save Jesus Christ alone, has a sin issue — it is a problem for the entire population on this planet, and that there is nothing we can do on our own that eliminates the problem. We will always have a tendency to sin, even if primarily in the “I am more Christ-like than you” mode that appears to be an occupational hazard of the professional clergy.

  72. Wesley also believed and taught total depravity.

    It isn’t absolute depravity, but that every part of us in corrupted.

    He also taught prevenient grace, meaning no one can turn to God unless and until God enables him to do so.

    Not all that different from Calvinism in that respect.

    Not at all Pelagian.

    But the history of the south is replete with Wesleyans that were bent on controlling the slaves, on controlling the women, and on changing society by enforcing all sorts of laws.

    Thankfully now the stress is on the radical power of God to change hearts. Now you tend to hear not “let’s write a law to change this” but “let’s reach people to change hearts and this situation will change.”

    Still, I wonder if all of us don’t have a tendancy deep down to want to codify what we see as right and wrong in law.

  73. The direct implication being that if you’re a preacher you’re in ministry, but if you’re not, then we’ll say you have a ministry, but it will be tacitly understood that you aren’t really in the ministry. — Nick Bulbeck

    This is called the Heresy of Clericalism, i.e. that only “full-time Christians” — originally Priests, Monks, and Nuns — are REALLY Christian and everyone else is lukewarm sheeple.

  74. Leave aside the fact that Mr Driscoll never produced any actual evidence concerning this secret motivation of Meyer’s and Petry’s hearts. — nick Bulbeck

    Only “spectral evidence” worthy of the Salem Witch Trials.

    “I SEE THINGS…”

  75. I give you a musical number from 1776, where Rutledge of South Carolina and Adams of Massachusetts come to loggerheads over the question of Slavery.

    Jefferson of Virginia has sneaked some language denouncing slavery into the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, and has just been called by Rutledge “Are you not also a Practitioner?” Jefferson hems and haws and finally says something lame about “I have resolved to someday free my slaves”. Adams, a Northern opponent of slavery, jumps in against Rutledge, but then Rutledge hits him with the facts that the slave trade which sold the South their animate property in the first place was headquartered in Massachusetts. And he does so.

  76. Dee, what I think he is saying is that we CAN choose, but that we don’t. Perhaps that seems a semantic distinction (and maybe it is- right now I don’t think so but I can be wrong). The idea (as I understand it) is that we always have free will, we always can choose God, but because the corruption to our souls is “radical”, or deep (but not all encompassing), we just don’t. We don’t WANT to be saved, we don’t WANT to be aligned with God, and until the Spirit removes that basic corruption (and draws us), we never will.

    Or put it this way- does anyone who wants the grace of God not find it? I think ALL who seek will find. So who seeks? What causes some to seek and others not to seek? Did I seek because I am a more noble or better person than someone who did not? Some would argue “yes”, but Paul seems to say a pretty strong “no” as I read him. So why did I seek? My belief is only because the Spirit dealt with a blockage in my soul that allowed me to see the light, and once I saw the light what could I do BUT be drawn to God’s grace?

    And to me, the true test of whether someone believes this idea is humility- if someone exhibits an attitude of superiority, how did he/she get there from this theology?

  77. “Southern Baptists are concerned about doctrinal purity. I am not sure how they plan on implementing this.”

    Or why. Because, as I think the song alludes to, doctrinal purity is no guarantee of right action. I’d say an overemphasis on doctrinal purity can actually get in the way of right action, because it makes what you believe more important than what you do. Who cares if you own slaves, or turn a blind eye to your neighbors owning slaves, if you firmly hold to all the right doctrines?

    I just found so much in the various comments I’ve seen about this on the web interesting. People were wondering how those doctrinally-confused Quakers could have figured out that slavery was wrong when those doctrinally-correct Puritans didn’t. But, maybe the Quakers had something right doctrinally, in order to come to the right conclusion about slavery. Or, maybe they had everything wrong doctrinally, and it turns out that doctrine matters very little.

    Anyway, I’m just fascinated by the whole discussion. And I’m waiting for it to click with just one of the Calvinistas that maybe their support of gender hierarchy isn’t all that different from their support of racial hierarchy.

  78. Val:

    Just because Augustine has mistakes elsewhere doesn’t mean he was manichaean on his understanding of man’s enslavement to sin. I highly respect the man and find him one of the best to read, but I recognize the errors from his own point of view. Also, the hypocrisy of wanting to suppress the Donatists; he has clay feet.

    I’m less in line with Calvin, but Calvin’s intention was to tear down the layered society of Roman Christendom with its divisions of clerics, laity and saints. He was even more flawed than Augustine and was a product of his times and was driven by political necessity rather than the Spirit of God.

    Broadbrushing, I would probably consider myself something like an Augustinian Anabaptist :) .

  79. Hi Nick. It wasn’t bad or immature writing on your part, and I agree that in practice the doctrine of “priesthood of all believers” has since the Reformation been repeatedly downplayed. Thanks for Mark Greene’s observation, that is timely and I think we need to take note of that. Also as a previous article here noted, even the word “missional” may come to mean something different in some circles.

    JeffS, Linda and Dee, all very good points on the doctrine of Total Depravity. I would agree that in the first instance its formulators probably did not mean it in the sense that it has since acquired, namely that everyone’s heart is so sinful that they cannot even tell right from wrong unless the Holy Spirit opens their eyes. That is possibly true of hypercalvinism, but I don’t think it is true of classic Reformed thought. Paul in Romans seems to imply that rather people know what they ought to do but find it much harder if not impossible to do, to the point where no-one can please God by their own efforts. As Linda says, Wesley’s Arminianism does not preclude the necessity for God’s grace (though of course “hyperarminianism” or Pelagianism might).

    Jeff S’s point about my sin vs Hitler’s sin raises a good point. Of course I am a sinner and Hitler was a sinner. In that sense we are both culpable before God. On the other hand I haven’t exterminated anyone or declared war on my neighbours. Maybe a point will illustrate the point. Two prisoners in court. One’s stolen a car, one’s murdered a bunch of people. The latter is obviously more serious and will draw the heavier sentence, but both of them will go to prison. This raises the question of course as to whether there are degrees of punishment in the afterlife, something perhaps hinted at in Luke 12:47-48 (based on what one knew), and explored in Dante (although I’m not sure how scripturally-based his work was!). On the other hand it seems clear from elsewhere in the New Testament that a refusal of God’s grace bars the sinner from heaven, no matter how heavy or light their sins. I would welcome any comments.

  80. Lori –

    The head and the heart need to be connected for that wake up call. The Calvinista’s seem to have severed the head from the body and have created a disconnect in more ways than one 😉 And the fruit is showing itself all over the place.

  81. Calvinists believe we can do absolutely nothing to earn salvation, it’s 100% up to God. Even our faith is not up to us, it is God who chooses to give us faith or not. If God chooses not to give you faith, you get roasted on a spit for eternity.

    Wesley, and other Arminians (a pejorative term in Calvinista lingo), believed that, while we do have a sinful nature, we do make a choice. God offers prevenient grace to everyone and it is up to us to accept it or reject it.

    I just don’t buy the Calvinist view. We were created in the image of God (imago dei) and nothing in Genesis says that this has changed. What changed is that we have the power to choose between good and evil. If we are truly created imago dei, then we still have the power to choose between good and evil, although choosing the good is often very difficult, and impossible for us to do all the time, which is why we need Grace.

  82. “Does Piper really think it’s a sin to celebrate 4th of July? I’ve heard he disapproves of it from other people but – a sin? Seriously?! If so, remind me to wear red, white and blue should I ever be in the vicinity of Bethlehem Baptist in the summer.”

    Sorry Hester. I tend to cut to the chase when it comes to Piper. No, Piper would weave a verbose flowery treatise with gazillions of adjectives on the subject and you would walk awway thinking you were in sin for celebrating the 4th.

    I have some family who studied with Piper after Wheaton and worked for him. You should have heard them when they came in for the 4th. That was about 13 years ago and one of the reasons I started watching Piper closer.

  83. While I may not be totally paraphasing Koyla correctly, it this he/she is correct on sin. Sin is sin, a turning away from God; when we say there are greater sins, that is the effect of sin in our world. Hitler sinned and I sin, I hope my sins don’t have the effect on our world of Hilter’s sin.

    I wonder if we are sometimes applying a double standard in our converstion about the puritans. We see many problems in their actions in regards to slavery, righly so; but what about context? Understanding of the bible is heightened by knowledge and understanding of context, what about our recent history? Am I saying we must excuse them, no, just be honest about our evaluation.

  84. Sins might be worse from some perspectives, but all sins are equally damning. While it could be said that someones sins have caused more harm to others, (i.e. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot) to wonder if someone can be saved and commit those sins is dangerous. The truth is that we struggle with our sin nature. I’m not suggesting that we give a pass to murders or pedophiles or rapists, but what I am suggesting is that we not speculate about the veracity of their conversion based on their actions, but instead remind them of their need for repentance and that Christ forgives even those sins. The Holy Spirit told us through the apostle Paul

    “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

    I thank God that I’m saved through Christ’s righteousness and not my own, because I sin daily and much, I sin in my thoughts, my words and my deeds. Each person is capable of horrible crimes, the Germans in 1920-1940s were not more evil than us, neither were the puritans, their deeds were more heinous to our sensibilities and their murdering of people was horrible also in God’s sight, but all sin is a transgression of God’s law, all sin is damning, and all of us have some sins in which we are unrepentant but God saves us despite our inability to see those sins.

  85. Jeff:

    The problem which Augustine and Luther presented (to Pelagius and Erasmus respectively) was how this was in any way God’s grace if we are choosing. It means, at the end of the day, I am cleverer or more erudite to choose the better way. In no way is the Gospel presented like this by the Apostles.

    I think our Imago Dei is quite broken, we’re not reflecting God’s image, but require to be reborn and remade by the Spirit to reflect Christ’s Image who is the Ultimate, One and Only, Perfect representation of the Father.

    The way you presented election does come through in Calvin and Augustine but when you read other things they’ve wrote, it seems at least that they didn’t connect all their dots. Luther rightly left election inside of Christ, who atoned for all and yet somehow all are not saved. This is not something we’re privy to understand and no sets of logic can figure this out. If we understand Election inside Christ, as all doctrines of God find themselves, we then may make sense of it. It no longer is the scholastic Calvinist definition of elect/reprobate because Aristotle’s Prime Mover is not the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  86. I always get pretty uncomfortable with anything more than a statement recognizing veterans on the 4th. I remember being at a mega church on the 4th where there was a whole production and it just made me very uncomfortable- in church I want to worship God.

    But at home I think celebrating the 4th is very important- certainly not a sin.

  87. WTH, I am reading your comments with great interest. Do you think God interacts with us differently in the New Covenant than in the Old? I believe the Holy Spirit is referred to in OC writings but I am not convinced it is “indwelling” as is promised in the New Covenant. I am open to hearing other views.

    If David were alive today, he would be in jail. I think we have to take into consideration the temple veil was torn in two for a reason when we start comparing people today with OT Characters. God was working through Israel for HIS purposes at that time. I am not convinced He would raise up a murdering adulterer to lead believers today.

    God was NOT excusing the sin in the OT. God did not decree polygamy. He allowed it because their hearts were hard and they were neglecting women. He had chosen a people and was working through them. A zillion examples show us that man has “ABILITY” to choose right and often does not. This goes to the whole total depravity (total inability) argument that tends to excuse some very heinous sin. Man is ABLE to choose good or evil. The consequences of sin of the Fall is death. The earth was corrupted and our bodies were corrupted. We can still think, reason, be responsible and are able to make choices.

    For a long time, we Christians have been looking for excuses to sin more and announce it normal. That is why we love to trot out David. But a “David” figure would be considered reprobate by worldly standards today. So what has changed?

  88. Don’t forget that Augustine was very much influenced by all the Neo Platonic thinking back then. It was the norm. Think of Rome while Augustine was there. It was a majority of slaves! Platonic thought is that the masses are incompetent and must be led by an enlightened few who are more educated and smarter.

    Sound familiar?

  89. Nick, Have you noticed that a lot of Judaism/Jewish thought has been downplayed by the Reformers, too? To me, the Reformation was sort of the beginning of portraying Jesus as a white protestant Euro.

  90. “It means, at the end of the day, I am cleverer or more erudite to choose the better way. In no way is the Gospel presented like this by the Apostles.”

    It absolutely Glorifies God that we are able to choose Him. He is not some insecure Diety who must control every single molecule (Sproul teaches this) to make it go the way He wants. He can. But then we would be automans and that is not Glorifying Him at all and makes him the author of evil. He is Sovereign over His own Sovereignty.

  91. Anon 1, Sproul does teach that God controls every single molecule, but he also teaches that we paradoxically are free agents.

    The Bible is pretty clear that God providentially works His will through human choices, even when humans choose evil. Whether Sproul’s philosophy is properly descriptive of this providence is certainly debatable, but it’s not fair to label his view as making us automans. It’s a tension that exists both in philosophy and scripture.

  92. “Does Piper dislike the 4th of July because the people defied the authority of the king?”

    No, that is McArthur. Piper tends more toward “we love America more than God” if we celebrate. And of course, he gets to decide what that looks like. Have you noticed that everything is geared toward accusing folks of elevating man over God? Of course, Piper never realizes he is doing this himself with his shock jock preaching, books, and wanting to be on stages all over the place. He promotes himself but does not see that as a sin because he is one of the enlightened few.

  93. “Anon 1, Sproul does teach that God controls every single molecule, but he also teaches that we paradoxically are free agents.”

    I know,JeffS. It is more than a paradox. It is cognative dissonance. When Calvinism becomes obviously hypocritical, they throw these things out and of course, only they can understand the “dual natures of Jesus or the 2 wills of God” enough to teach the peasants and keep them confused.

    The problem with most Calvinist preachers/teachers, is that they also teach authoritarianism which means they rarely ahve to take hard questions from any scholars outside their bubbles in a free debate. James White does but he resorts to lots of insults and ad homenim which is so prevelent in most NC interactions.

  94. Cal

    The problem which Augustine and Luther presented (to Pelagius and Erasmus respectively) was how this was in any way God’s grace if we are choosing.

    The belief that grace is ‘all or nothing’ is the part I don’t agree with – that if it’s not 100% grace it’s not grace. God offers us grace, but it is up to us to accept it. In short, God holds out his hand to us, we are to take it. Why there is a problem with this view baffles me – it seems to me exactly what Jesus teaches. The whole 100% grace thing is a construct of Luther and Calvin based on Paul and Augustine and something Jesus never taught.

  95. “The Bible is pretty clear that God providentially works His will through human choices, even when humans choose evil. Whether Sproul’s philosophy is properly descriptive of this providence is certainly debatable, but it’s not fair to label his view as making us automans. It’s a tension that exists both in philosophy and scripture.”

    We are talking about two different things, I think. Sproul also teaches that God “foreordained” every molecule and what it would do for all time. He decreed it BEFORE the world was created. He decreed you would sin by yelling at your dog yesterday BEFORE Adam ever sinned. (just kidding….but it is an example of how ridiculous Calvinism can get when you take it to it’s logical conclusions)

    So, all the sin you see around you was foreordained before Adam (human) was even created and before he “chose” to sin. That is Calvinism. Adam did not really choose, even though some Cals say he did have the choice to sin and that was the end of free will. But some of the same ones will also say that all of it was planned and decreed by God before the world was created.

  96. Jeff:

    It’s not that we can’t choose but that we won’t without His hand breaking the shackles. It’s both our wills and God’s will working, but His will that unbends us so we can will rightly. It’s a paradox, I’m not trying to give you a logico-causal explanation.

  97. Sorry if this question is uneducated but I have always just assumed everyone “back then” during the founding stages of America and period after were all racist toward people who came from Africa(whether they actively owned African slaves or not). Is this assumption wrong? Were there specific groups (denominations) of Christians that were not racist during that time period and were vocal about it? I am not asking this in order to defend the racism of the Puritans at all. Honestly I have always had a hard time dealing with the fact that there were so many people during our history that owned slaves or were racist yet were Christians. Part of me wants to say they could not really have been followers of Christ but then it seems like everyone back then at one point was a slave owner or racist until things started to slowly change. A But maybe I am wrongly assuming that a huge majority of people were like that. Hope this question makes sense…

  98. lys

    You are correct. Pretty much everyone back then was racist. Which is why, back in the run-up to the Civil War, while many in the North were anti-slavery, they were still racist, which accounts for the ‘black laws’ in northern states that denied most civil rights to African-Americans. Only the abolitionists, a very small group, called for equality. They were largely despised, even by many northern ministers, as ‘troublemakers’, even anti-slavery folks in the North, and mob actions against abolitionists in the North was fairly common.

  99. Anon 1, I would really have to look into the source about Sproul’s teaching on the forordination of molecules to really be able to understand your criticism. I have not heard him teach about this explicitly, only in the context of his overview of Western Philosophy and in that survey he didn’t really give much of his own views.

    I do know that he maintains humans have freewill. If you believe that his acceptance of God’s sovereignty and man’s freewill are forever disharmonious, then that is certainly reasonable. He would not be the first theologian/philosopher to err. However, it is unfair to accuse him of NOT holding to man’s freewill when he clearly does.

    I do believe the scripture presents a man is responsible/God is sovereign paradox- so forgive me if you think I have committed intellectual suicide. I’m doing the best with the brain God gave me.

    In my experience listening to and reading Sproul, he has generally interacted very graciously and with intellectual integrity to opposing viewpoints. It is one of the reasons I respect him (even if I disagree with some of his applications).

  100. lys
    Ditto Jeff. Here is a question to ponder. I saw it raised by someone on Thabiti’s site. If the Holy Spirit is the same, then why weren’t people convicted of the sin of slavery? Sometimes it worries me that the human race, and even worse, Christians, act like a bunch of middle school kids who decided they must wear pink because the popular kids wear pink.

    This involved the lives of men and women who were treated as chattel. There is no excuse for slavery and racism, no matter if “all the kids are doing it.” I believe that abortion and pedophilia are two of the great sins of our day. There are many in the church who pay lip service to being against abortion but some of those very people will sneak to an abortionist if their kid gets pregnant.

    How many pastors have we written about who have covered up pedophilia and abuse?

  101. Dee, I think that we underestimate evil. Almost every “hero” in the faith has had some fatal flaw. Is there something to this to always point us back to Jesus rather than becoming too enamored with great men and women? The Holy Spirit clearly allows great evil, even in the lives of Christians, but we also see the Spirit’s sanctifying work in history too- that slavery WAS abolished.

    The really interesting question would be “What if we found out the puritans practice homosexuality behind closed doors?” Would they still be quoted from the pulpit without qualification?

  102. Many pro-abolition people were quite racist. They believed that slavery was a sin, but equality for black people really wasn’t on very many peoples’ radar during the 19th c.

    If you read more of the history of the abolitionist movement in the US, that becomes very clear. Black abolitionists – like Frederick Douglass – called for equality, and so did a tiny handful of white abolitionists (William Lloyd Garrison, who published “The Liberator,” comes to mind), but mostly… we were a FAIL back then, and more recently (Jim Crow laws, institutionalized racism, etc.).

    And we have a LONG way to go…

  103. GBTC – I’m *still* wondering why 2 links in one comment gets things flagged automatically!

    I know you get link spam, but this is getting ridiculous.

  104. Jeff S,

    You bring up a great point. What if we found out the Puritans practiced homosexuality behind closed doors? Would they still be quoted from the pulpit without qualification?

    The answer is most likely no. Same-sex relationships/marriage is the hot button of our day, and many faith leaders have found ways to justify slavery but not same-sex relationships/marriage. Some even claim it was God’s will or God’s sovereignty. Of course, if it was discovered that Puritans had practiced homosexuality, the Calvinistas would probably launch a conspiracy theory and denial campaign. The Puritans are so pure and precious and all.

    For me personally, I would never choose to quote from the pulpit, with or without qualifications, any “hero” of the faith who enslaved human beings. Or sexually abused children. Or abused children in any way. Or covered up for those who did.

    We’re all flawed. None of us is perfect. I believe we’re all capable of great evil. That’s why we need Jesus. But if a “hero” of the faith uses, abuses, exploits, and treats human beings like trash to meet their own selfish needs and desires, and uses the bible to justify it, he isn’t worthy of being quoted from the pulpit. His words are empty and meaningless. If he used and abused others, any good words or any truth that came from his mouth was used to manipulate, exploit, and serve his own evil desires.

  105. Mara –

    I guess that brings me back to David. We quote texts that are attributed to him. He falls in the categories above of murder and/or abuse for his own selfish exploits. (Playing devils advocate here.)

  106. On the issue of grace and human action: Grace is a love gift from God, who offers grace to all. I firmly believe that the cross extends that gift to all. However, like any other gift, one must choose to accept it or reject it, in order to complete the gift. Any gift can be rejected!!

    A similar example is a pardon for one convicted of a crime. A pardon may include some requirement. For a pardon to be effective, the one convicted must accept the pardon and meet the requirement. (Frequently, a requirement has been to admit guilt, agree to testify, or some similar quid pro quo.) Otherwise the pardon is of no effect.

    The gift of salvation by grace requires acceptance and that acceptance is that one confess/testify that Jesus is Lord.

  107. I thought about David. The difference between him and many leaders of the faith who have fallen into sin is that David chose to come out of his self-deception and deal honestly with his sin. He was heartbroken and deeply grieved. He showed a deep and genuine repentance for what he had done.

  108. About David: yes, he is shown as being genuinely repentant about the murder of Uriah, but not about Bathsheba… or for all of the violent things he did.

    Sorry, but reading OT accounts of “glorious heroes” can quickly turn my stomach. While I realize that some societies were highly warlike, others were more pastoral. David’s transformation from shepherd to warrior saddens me.

    As kings go, I suppose he wasn’t the worst, but clearly, he wasn’t exactly a man who abhorred the sword.

  109. Wendy – sorry about the name (blush!)

    There were also severe consequences as a result if his sin.

  110. Numo –

    Yes – a man of the sword. But ancient times were pretty violent from what I can tell and most cultures were not free from such atrocities (I’m not justifying anything). The same goes for raiding, steeling human beings, forced slavery, servitude, etc. Where cultures, tribes, and nations met we often found one trying to conquer the other. Only in recent times have these ways diminished somewhat (far to go). I do think we (humanity) is better off than 300, 1000, or 5000 years ago as far as our thoughts and actions on these topics are concerned, but we haven’t arrived in any sense.

    God did refuse to let David build his temple – because of the blood on his hands. But God also was also for David as He slew the enemy — ? God does not seem to shy away from bloodshed (war, sacrifice, etc) in the OT. Maybe that’s part of what makes the NC under Jesus so radical? It was the end of blood requirements to satisfy ans Jesus certainly taught a different way to view and treat your enemy.

  111. No, Piper would weave a verbose flowery treatise with gazillions of adjectives on the subject and you would walk away thinking you were in sin for celebrating the 4th.

    Touche.

  112. Jeff S. –

    Thank you for your comments in this thread. I appreciate you offering a different perspective on Reformed thought.

    Sometimes when I read discussions like this one I am just puzzled. My experience with Reformed theology and being in a Reformed church is just SO DIFFERENT from what others discuss here that I find it hard to believe we’re talking about the same thing.

    Two of the most gracious and kind-hearted pastors I’ve encountered in my life have been in the CRC. (The other was a woman in the Evangelical Covenant denomination.) These two CRC pastors have ministered God’s grace to me and my husband kindly and joyfully. No guilt manipulation, coercion, etc. I have always sensed that they have been this way because they believe so strongly in God’s sovereignty. They did not feel any need to lord anything over us because we belong to God, not them as our church leaders. They believed in the power and leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives. They are the two pastors who have been most supportive of me, a woman, exercising my gifts according to the Spirit.

    Reading this thread also makes me glad that I answer to God and not to any man. We are all flawed and have blind spots. The history of the Church is filled with human failings because it is full of humans who are not perfect. As soon as I figure out how to live the perfect life, I’ll consider picking apart the flaws of others. Yes, we should learn from the mistakes of the past. But every person is partially a product of the times and culture. I think we need to cut them some slack. I would like to think that I would not succumb to strong events and movements around me during my lifetime, but I don’t know that. None of us do, if we are really honest with ourselves.

    There but for the grace of God go I. I have always believed that when I look at my life, and I continue to cling to God and His ability to keep me from gross error.

  113. Anon 1,

    I read the preview of that Barry book on Roger Williams at Amazon. It was only 27 pages but I learned a lot already. I nabbed an el cheapo used copy. Very much looking forward to the rest of it. Fascinating stuff.

  114. Sallie,

    I agree that people are partially a product of the times and culture. Even those who go against group think, who refuse to be a bystander, who go out on a limb are still partially a product of the culture, because they’re fighting against it.

    As you and I both said, we’re all flawed. None of us is perfect. As I said earlier, we’re all capable of great evil. In my opinion, though, this doesn’t mean we cut people slack who have enslaved, raped, abused, murdered, tortured, hung, and sold men, women, and children. They weren’t merely a product of their culture and times. They committed horrific sins and many of them justified what they did by using scripture.

  115. Wendy, agreed. I’d rephrase it to say that when David was confronted with the reality that in his moral outrage over the story Nathan told him that he was the man he was morally outraged against he accepted his guilt. He could then pray, per Psalm 51, “Take not your spirit from me.” Had the Spirit of the Lord left him? Apparently not, not the way the Spirit had left Saul.

    KOlya, we talk about how the times were different in the OT and they certainly were but was the Holy Spirit different? When we talk here about how no one who had the Holy Spirit could condone X, Y or Z we can see from the OT that various things were condoned even if considered less than ideal.

    But the Spirit that inspired Paul to write epistles did not inspire him to condemn slavery in entirely simple terms. We saw that kidnappers (slave traders) would not be part of the kingdom but slavery as a whole was not necessarily condemned. Obviously slave-owners in the colonies exploited this for all they could. Rabbinic and Catholic observations about American slavery was that it didn’t conform, as an institution, with the sort of slavery that was permitted in the scriptures.

    I’m a former Pentecostal and while there’s a variety of rules and cultural expectations within Pentecostalism I don’t subscribe to I would say that their reaction to what the besetting problems in Christianity of the time were were based on a legitimate concern. Like almost any reform/corrective movement they arguably went too far the other way. Contrary to anyone who may have a high liturgical background the Pentecostals have a pretty rigid liturgical format.

    Anon1, if the Spirit was not indwelling on the whole in the Old Covenant that’s separate from the consideration of who the Spirit of God was with at all and how that informed ethics (or not). God made David take a census that led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people (in Samuel, in Chronicles the author found that prospect troubling enough that Satan is given credit).

    I’m not looking at the covenantal differences for all of God’s people before and after Christ but at what the Spirit did or did not do to condemn things that would have been considered bad on either side of the covenants. I don’t care for Doug Wilson but his observation that, strictly speaking, polygamy isn’t condemned even in the NT gets at some of the point, which is that there are things we condemn that the Bible doesn’t necessarily condemn. There are some oppositions that modern Christians have (to abortion, for instance) that are inferential arguments derived from tradition and biblical texts rather than explicit prohibitions. I disapprove of abortion for the same reason I disapprove of race-based slavery, that both things commodify human life.

    But slavery comes in a variety of forms and a college internship could be construed as a form of voluntary servitude doing work with no assurance of a real job for the sake of getting “work experience” with a degree that won’t necessarily get you a job. Twenty years ago I was okay with stuff like that and now I’m not sure I’d advise my younger friends to spend money on college degrees that seem to do little moer than line the pockets of institutions.

    I’m not bringing up David as an excuse for people to sin more but to ask why God didn’t convict David of the things we want people convicted of now. God could have done that. If God is holy the question is how the holiness of God manages to be consistent across both covenants in a way that lets us simultaneously declare that acts that are reprobate now were permitted then despite affirming that the Holy Spirit had a role in both cases. “Indwelling” vs “not indwelling” doesn’t seem to account for this.

    Let me see if I can explain what I’m trying to get at by referring to Samuel and it gets at some good points others have been raising. Eli and his sons had corrupted the priesthood for personal gain. Samuel was brought up and appointed by the Lord to warn of change and be a replacement. But as well as Samuel did he ended up appointing his own sons to manage things and they were pretty much as corrupt as Eli’s sons. They were so bad, in fact, that the people of Israel wanted a king.

    Now around here the comments have been about how bad it is to want kings. Judges presents the story of a man who nominated himself king and that man was a brute. In Samuel we see that God says that Israel was wanting a king like other kings and rejecting not Samuel but God.

    But (and here’s where source criticism often jumps in and proposes conflicting accounts) the book of Samuel does not uniformly present Israel’s desires as all completely wrong. They wanted a king and they wanted a king like other kings, but one of the reasons they wanted a king was their frustration with the corruption of Samuel’s sons and seeing that they did not walk in their father’s ways.

    Ironically Samuel became guilty of the same nepotistic corruption his predecessor Eli had become guilty of. Did this mean Samuel stopped being a legitimate judge or prophet? Well, no, but God let Samuel know he was to go appoint Saul and then, later, appoint David. In a puzzling move God’s discipline of Israel was to give them what they wanted to show them that what they wanted was not very good.

    People need to read Samuel/Kings with something in mind, the overall polemic is AGAINST the Israelite monarchy as men who turned Israel away from the Lord and never conformed to the requirements of Deuteronomistic prescription until Josiah, and by then it was too late and exile was inevitable. Yet Deuteronomy permitted the appointment of a king and even provided instructions for how a king was to be selected and what the king couldn’t have (too much money, too big a military, and too many wives all decisions that were left up to the people appointing the king to determine).

    An attempt to split the difference between how God in the NT dealt with people compared to how God dealt with people in the OT was kinda what made Marcion famous. Everyone here seems to agree that the NT and OT God is the same but that doesn’t mean we’re put in an easy spot about that. If we emphasize the distinctions between the covenants we’re forgetting that the Spirit is the Spirit that is traditionally thought of as inspiring biblical texts. If we emphasize the continuity we’re stuck with the observation that Gentiles are told they don’t have to observe Jewish feast days or dietary laws (which would be the more plausible reason the first 7 centuries of Christians didn’t preach Esther, since Driscoll wants to keep hammering that point to make himself seem special).

    I’ve managed to have just enough bad experiences directly or indirectly in Arminian and Calvinist camps I’ve chalked it up to they’re just going to get like this everywhere. One of the ironies at TWW I’ve seen is that there can be a camp of people who suppose that if you have theology X then you have to be bad in Y ways … which is exactly what Calvinistas seem to be on about, too. I’m not Eastern Orthodox or Catholic but I won’t presuppose they’ve got to be bad people because of those significant doctrinal differences. I also figure, even though I’m a Protestant, that most of the time we Protestants have done nothing more than reinvent wheels that got discovered by the earlier Christians. As the old joke has gone, Baptists believe that there had to have been at least a millenia between the “real” Church and Baptists because they can’t accept continuity between the early church they imagine and what they have now.

    I’m a former Pentecostal so I get how Pentecostals had their own variation. I grew up hearing Baptists thought we Pentecostals were at best crazy and at worst demonized. I felt inclined to return that sentiment. There’d be preachers who would speak as though our churches were the living ones and those Baptists had all their dead traditions and the Episcopalians were halfway to Hell. Well, when you end up being good friends with an Episcopalian and a few Baptists you find out that lots of bad rumors circulate in every direction. I still find it funny when bloggers rip into Pentecostal and charismatic theology or teachers and quote Gordon Fee because Gordon Fee is Pentecostal. If some of these people ripping on Pentecostals as heretics knew they were quoting a heretic Pentecostal. But that’s the thing about these kinds of battles, when there’s a doctrinal war to be won to prove you’re better than the other side you don’t care if you inadvertantly quote a Pentecostal on a specific text to prove such-and-such charismatic has misused a biblical text. I’m a former Pentecostal/Arminian but I avoid saying they’re heretics or consorters with demons. I think Pentecostalism sincerely responded to some significant problems within Christianity in its time and, like just about any reform movement, overdid the reforms and got them calcified into some bad habits. I grew up in an anti-high-liturgical tradition and the older I get the more I realize that the supposedly “dead” liturgical approach is often better at renewing the mind and covering large chunks of biblical texts than a bunch of “Bible only” teachers who spend ten years in Romans or never touch the Psalms from the pulpit (I have a couple of preachers in mind, of course).

    I’ve rambled long enough for one comment.

  116. Jeffs, sorry if I offended! I did not mean to. I see so much confusion of teaching coming out of the Reformed movement. I have no doubt Sproul comes off gracious in his teaching but I do not see him in the same light after the Ligoneir financial scandal back in about 2007. His behavior was duplicitous. The scandal made USA Today and the Orlando Sentinel. Ligonier sued a blogger which only meant people started digging and were shocked at what a scam he was running. And they lied to donors who called asking about a lawsuit that there was none when there was! When some wanted to discipline him through the Presbyterian court system they found out his church was not part of the denomination even though he had led many to believe it was for years.

    It did not help his son was defrocked for tax number fraud and spiritual abuse. If you read his online book, (removed) you wlould be shocked. It has been one big party of living off donor money.

  117. ” Almost every “hero” in the faith has had some fatal flaw.”

    Is there something to this to always point us back to Jesus rather than becoming too enamored with great men and women? The Holy Spirit clearly allows great evil, even in the lives of Christians, but we also see the Spirit’s sanctifying work in history too- that slavery WAS abolished.”

    I totally agree with this. There really are no hero’s of the faith. However, there are some whose FAITH is commended. God is the Hero of the OT and Christ, God in the flesh of the NT.
    But I become concerned with the idea that God uses all kinds to lead other believers because then why would this blog exist if pedophiles, rapists, etc are just normal Born Again sinners? That we should expect it and overlook it? I just do not get it. I think it is bizarre for us to think that Born Again, New creatures in Christ should stop raping children, for example. I do not get that at all. I do not believe all sins are the same.

    Has anyone here felt compelled to murder someone because they would not sell you something? (Yes, I realize hate is murder in the NC). Has anyone here thought that burning say, JW’s at the stake is a good idea for their heresy?

    See, I suspect there have been people all through history who were grieved and appalled by slavery, persecution, etc. WE KNOW for a fact there were some of these folks during the Reformatoin who paid with their lives for daring to disagree or refusing state church rules such as infant baptism or sacrements as a means of grace. Some were drowned with tombstones strapped to their backs. Some were burned. Others banished or tortured in prison. We Know for a fact that there were a few who stood up to the Puritans and their horrible practices against others who were bannished, or worse.

    Yet, they are not hero’s but believers who loved God and others.

    “The really interesting question would be “What if we found out the puritans practice homosexuality behind closed doors?” Would they still be quoted from the pulpit without qualification?”

    Probably not. :o) And if it were found they were secret egalitarians, you would never hear about them again except they were reprobate and did not know the Gospel.

  118. Eagle,

    And I’m not trying to minimize any of the terrible abuses that people have suffered. But I’ve seen abuses and all sorts of problems in all kinds of churches – Reformed, Nazarene, Pentecostal, Baptist, etc. The Calvinist/Reformed crowd does not have a corner on the market when it comes to problems. But sometimes reading this blog it seems like that is the way it is viewed. I realize part of that is due to the fact that so many of the people discussed here are prominent leaders who claim these doctrines. On the other hand, we rarely discuss any of the serious problems that come out of Wesleyan denominations due to their doctrines. I’ve witnessed the destruction first-hand in the lives of people close to me. They can be just as problematic and ruin lives and faith as well.

    Maybe it is just me. I find myself wanting to come here less and less because it seems like so much of what I read here is about how terrible Reformed doctrines are and how terrible Christians are. Yes, there are problems and I’m glad Dee and Deb offer this forum for people to discuss it. I’m glad that it is helping people deal with their pain. But from a different perspective, I’m personally not finding it edifying but actually increasingly discouraging to read about how awful my beliefs are and how terrible my brothers and sisters in Christ are.

    My two cents. Your mileage may vary.

  119. WTH,

    The Word does not condemn slavery or outlaw it. I agree— but the Word is MUCH more radical than that in the 1st century context. Paul tells the owner, Philemon, to treat Oni as a “brother in Christ”. An equal. Part of the Holy Priesthood. According to Roman code, Phil could have had Oni put to death for running away. He tells Oni to go back and be a good slave. (In another place he tells slaves to win their freedom if they can)

    We have to read it in 1st Century context. The message is that the slave is an equal according to God. I suspect that letter got some gasps.

  120. Anon1, I’d heard of the EIN allegations back in 2006 but lost track of where those went because pastors at my church were getting fired and blackballed in 2007.

  121. “I think Pentecostalism sincerely responded to some significant problems within Christianity in its time and, like just about any reform movement, overdid the reforms and got them calcified into some bad habits.”

    I totally agree with this and think this more recent resurgence of New Calvinism is a response to the more shallow mega seeker movement from the 80’s-90’s.

  122. WTH,

    That was very impressive. I could have kept reading had you chosen to keep writing. Thanks for that.

    I’m also finding some similar things for myself. I’ve been in pretty much the same camp my whole Christian experience and have never really been liturgical at all. However, I cannot deny there are those who are liturgical who clearly know and love the same Savior I do. I also know for a fact that Charismatics (which I am not) also know and love the same Savior I do and cry out to Him the same as I do, trusting and expecting Him to hear and grant their pleas (I pray with some of these folks every week and their pleas are not weird). Honestly, I find it easier these days to fellowship and pray with believers who are NOT part of the persuasion I hold than those who are. The difference is largely in the heart, not the theology (up to a point. There are some basic doctrines that are just necessary such as Christ’s deity, etc.).

    Not that doctrine isn’t important, but there’s just something about “getting it” that goes beyond doctrine, per se. I can’t put a name to it but I suspect folks here know what I’m talking about. I also suspect that is what Christ looks for and is pleased with. The first church in Revelation He laid into was a church that had all its doctrinal ducks in a row and guarded them militantly but had completely lost the plot anyway.

  123. yep, we’re agreed on the substantial change the NT introduces to master/slave relations. As N. T. Wright has been arguing urging the women to ask questions was encouraging them to become more educated and in an orderly way. Even passages interpreted as silencing women categorically do not necessarily mean what a lot of people have used them to mean.

    Reformed Anglicanism mentioned that Sproul has taken a number of disappointing turns, it seems, in the last six to seven years. Fifteen and twenty years ago I heard pretty good stuff about Sproul Sr even in my Pentecostal days.

    Sallie, it may be that there are cycles of power and this brings out the scandals. When I was a Pentecostal kid the big scandals making news were over in the Pentecostal scene back in the 1980s and early 1990s. Now it’s apparently happening in the neo-Calvinist scene and Reformed world.

  124. “Sometimes when I read discussions like this one I am just puzzled. My experience with Reformed theology and being in a Reformed church is just SO DIFFERENT from what others discuss here that I find it hard to believe we’re talking about the same thing. ”

    Sallie, Two of my dearest friends are Reformed and say the same thing about the YRR/NC movement of today. They are not followers of Piper, Mohler, T4G, etc. They are more old line Reformed and cannot believe what is going on out there that is calling itself Reformed. They are irenic in doctrinal disagreement and think it is secondary NOT primary to salvation…unlike the NC/YRR Movement who tell us we do not konw the true Gospel.

    If you look closely, the real problems are coming from the laaders/pastors/seminarians of the YRR/NC movement. Those who wish to be paid to control the people who pay them.

  125. Anon1, one of the things, even as a former Pentecostal, that’s bugged me about neo-Calvinism is that those that appropriate a nominally charismatic pneumatology (“charismatic with a seatbelt”) only seem to adopt that for the leadership set rather than affirming that everyone is capable of contributing in some way. I’ve seen a few people embrace postmillenialism because they feel it’s a more positive alternative to the premillenial dispensationalist paranoia of the Cold War period. The reason I dislike postmillenialism is that it seems to me to have played too big a role in how Christians rationalized Manifest Destiny and stomping on American Indians (half my lineage) and that amillenialism is a viable alternative for those who get caught up in millenarian eschatological conspiracy theories about current American presidents.

    Not that I’m going to say postmillenialists are automatically going to oppress American Indians or anything like that, I just distrust how Americans have used postmillenial thought in the last century or three.

  126. Sallie, I sympathise. I think we all need to discuss these things, including our theological differences, charitably and in the spirit of Romans 14.

    WTH, I have sympathy with what you’re saying. When I first became a Christian in a charismatic Baptist church I never thought I would end up a few years later in an Anglican church, nor that I would sometimes use a Book of Common Prayer. But although my beliefs on secondary issues may have modified, I still believe in the same Trinitarian God and the same Scriptures, and I remember that nearly all the folk in my first church were warm-hearted believers who helped me on my path a great deal.

    Re slavery in the ancient world, this was a somewhat different phenomenon to the slavery in the modern West (or indeed as practised today in a few places, unfortunately). In the ancient world it was more or less accepted that if you were captured in war you could be used or sold as a slave – there was no Geneva convention in those days. Slavery was also used for debt- and crime punishment. One of the reasons in fact for the change in Roman society between BC and AD was that the sturdy Roman peasantry who had formed the bulk of the legions were largely supplanted by large estates run by slaves – hence the diminishment of one of the sources of the legion’s power, and also an overreliance on slave labour which also (as I understand) had negative economic consequences for the Empire. However by the same token, slaves in Roman society could gain their freedom and become freedmen. Apparently some slaves were highly educated men, and slave jobs varied from what we now consider intellectual positions (tutor, accountant, physician) to the very tough and probably often fatal jobs of galley-rower or miner.

    Nor was slavery practised in principle on a racial basis, at least in Rome where both Greeks and a wide number of barbarian races were used as slaves. However some Greeks did adopt some racist attitudes early on. Unfortunately they include Aristotle, who essentially said that all non-Greeks were fit only for slavery and that blue-collar workers (even Greeks) were not entitled to citizenship. When there was a debate in the Roman Catholic church around about the Reformation period on the issue of slavery, its defenders approvingly quoted Aristotle, who of course was very influential through Aquinas. Something of Aristotle’s attitudes also seemed to linger on in R Dabney, though I’m not sure he would have agreed with me!

    There’s an interesting and helpful article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_antiquity.

  127. Jeff S, thanks for your comments on R C Sproul’s views concerning God’s sovereignty and our freewill. I don’t have any problem in viewing this as another Biblical paradox, just as I do with the doctrine that Christ in His earthly Incarnation was both fully human and fully divine.

  128. Anon 1,

    “I… think this more recent resurgence of New Calvinism is a response to the more shallow mega seeker movement from the 80′s-90′s…. If you look closely, the real problems are coming from the laaders/pastors/seminarians of the YRR/NC movement. Those who wish to be paid to control the people who pay them.”

    I agree. When my brother was in seminary (SEBTS), he used to call me often (before he/his wife decided to mostly break ties with us). His time at SEBTS was the first time in his life I’d ever heard him speak with disgust about seeker-friendly churches. Prior to seminary, I don’t think he even knew what seeker-friendly was. He was also a happy, loving, non-judgmental person with a sense of humor. (SEBTS robbed us. I’ve shared some of the story here before.)

    At any rate, the seeker movement was a frequent topic of discussion. He became very disillusioned with churches who served coffee or had a Christmas drama or had children’s and youth programming. While I agree(d) with some of his points and believe that, indeed, the seeker movement has gone too far, my brother (and his Calvinista counterparts) also went too far. He is very steeped in his beliefs and applications and has little use for those who don’t believe and live the same way.

  129. Eagle,

    It’s a complicated mess. But thank you for asking. :)

    The problems began several years ago when my brother was still at SEBTS. He sent my husband and me a package in the mail with a letter and John Piper’s paper on divorce and remarriage. (I was married once before, briefly, to an abusive man whom I divorced. My second husband of 14 years and father of my four children had never been married before me.)

    I had only heard of John Piper in conversations with my brother, who obviously hung onto Piper’s every word. So, getting these documents in the mail was odd, shocking, and hurtful. It came out of left field and took a while to process what had happened.

    Essentially, he told us that I should have never remarried and remained celibate and that my husband should have married someone who wasn’t divorced. He said we were both living in perpetual adultery, that God didn’t recognize our marriage, and our relationship was not a covenant between us and God. He had underlined and highlighted various points in Piper’s paper to corroborate his assertions.

    I pressed him about what his and Piper’s expectations were. At that point, we’d been married for several years and had three little children (baby #4 came along later). Apparently, he simply wanted us to know that we were living in sin and that our marriage wasn’t a covenental relationship with God and that John Piper said so.

    After we tried to let that go and put it behind us, there have been other problems mostly tied to spiritual arrogance and judgmentalism. To be honest, I don’t reach out to him anymore. He is 11 years younger than me, and I helped raise him. Losing my relationship with him has been very painful, and efforts on my part to restore the relationship have ultimately resulted in more hurt.

  130. Wendy, I live at ground zero and know that many of the YRR i have met grew up in seeker type churches as kids. Many of them were introduced to the YRR movement in college. Personally, I think the seeker movement came from the whole churchianity focus on worldly leadershp and business management principles.

    But frankly,the Calvinistas are putting the seeker guys to shame when it comes to marketing themselves. Conferences, books, speaking gigs, etc. They are the masters of it.

    We have also lost family to the NC movement who have little to do with us because we do not subscribe to the “true Gospel”. Just another reason why I really started researching Calvinism and the whole Reformation going back to it’s roots from Augustine. I could not figure out why they were sort of “shunning” their believing family. Now I get it. It is part of the control aspects of the movement.

  131. @ Anon 1:

    “Piper would weave a verbose flowery treatise with gazillions of adjectives on the subject and you would walk awway thinking you were in sin for celebrating the 4th.”

    Doesn’t he do that on every topic? ; ) Every time I read his writing I want to cut it down to 1/3 the length and say something along the lines of “Johnny, you got Strunked”…

    “Piper tends more toward ‘we love America more than God’ if we celebrate. And of course, he gets to decide what that looks like.”

    This is basically what Don’t Waste Your Life was all about. If you have any kind of hobby that you enjoy, or extra money that you spend on non-church things, you love it more then God and you are failing to live in a “wartime mentality” and you’re “wasting your life.” At least that’s all I got out of that book. One of our Presbyterian friends, after reading it, said, “I’ve come to the conclusion that basically everything I do is frivolous.” What a depressing space to live in.

    And apparently now even 4th of July qualifies as “wasting your life.” I’d hate to see his take on Christmas presents…

  132. Piper admitted to admiring Ayn Rand’s work in his younger years and Rand seems to have prescribed to a view that, as a relative of mine put it, there’s no point in saying with a mere five words what you could say in fifty. Maybe Piper got that habit from Rand? l-)

    I would suggest snarkily that Piper’s conception of God seems to Objectivist anyway.

  133. Extremely and accurately said by “Sallie.”

    And I’m not trying to minimize any of the terrible abuses that people have suffered. But I’ve seen abuses and all sorts of problems in all kinds of churches – Reformed, Nazarene, Pentecostal, Baptist, etc. The Calvinist/Reformed crowd does not have a corner on the market when it comes to problems. But sometimes reading this blog it seems like that is the way it is viewed. I realize part of that is due to the fact that so many of the people discussed here are prominent leaders who claim these doctrines. On the other hand, we rarely discuss any of the serious problems that come out of Wesleyan denominations due to their doctrines. I’ve witnessed the destruction first-hand in the lives of people close to me. They can be just as problematic and ruin lives and faith as well.
    Maybe it is just me. I find myself wanting to come here less and less because it seems like so much of what I read here is about how terrible Reformed doctrines are and how terrible Christians are. Yes, there are problems and I’m glad Dee and Deb offer this forum for people to discuss it. I’m glad that it is helping people deal with their pain. But from a different perspective, I’m personally not finding it edifying but actually increasingly discouraging to read about how awful my beliefs are and how terrible my brothers and sisters in Christ are.
    My two cents. Your mileage may vary.

  134. Jimmy
    I am sitting on a bombshell story about a serious problem with Harvest Bible Chapel. However, if you would like to write a post about the stories that you know in the Wesleyan denomination, I would be happy to hold on it and allow you to present your research.

    Just think! It may help you to once again, invest your time wisely at TWW. We’ll be looking forward to your research,

  135. Anon1- we are cool! I did not intend to sound as defensive as I probably came across. I don’t think I take an intellectually incoherent stance, but I don’t mind if other people think that of me. I’m sure my thoughts are in error in many places :)

    Regarding RC Sproul, he has taken some disappointing turns, and while I listen to his podcast more than any other, as long a Sproul JR is associated with Ligioneer I will not donate any money to them. My hope is that Sproul has been blinded rather than an instigator in a lot of the stuff that has gone on with his ministry, but it’s hard to know. At the least he is guilty of poor judgement.

    Still, he has a teaching style and a perspective that is unusual in today’s world of podcast teaching. He fully embraces natural revelation as a means of growing in knowledge of God (this is not a popular view today) and he usually does an excellent job of describing opposing viewpoints without mocking or making them strawmen (although he is more guilty of this when he references an opposing viewpoint as an aside, rather than the topic he’s activly engaged in).

    The other thing I like about him is that he is not afraid to say “I don’t know”- for instance on the age of the earth. And while he takes a literal 6 day interpretation of Genesis, he also is hesitant to say he’s “taken a stand”.

    I would not go to Sproul (sr) as a pastor to shepherd me, but as a teacher I still get a lot of value from him. But this is all very topical because it goes back to God using flawed vessels to do his work (which was the end point of the song that started this conversation).

  136. Anon 1,

    In my area, the Calvinistas are putting the seekers to shame as well. I wish I’d had some positive experience with Calvinists, but I haven’t. In my circle, folks are converting to neo-Calvinism in droves (or so it seems). I keep singing under my breath “… another one bites the dust.” This area is heavy SBC, so maybe that’s the reason.

    In many cases, the conversion seems very, very, gradual. I have a theory that seems to have played out in some churches with which I’m well acquainted. It seems that pastors and church leaders are becoming neo-Cal and gradually turning their flocks. I know a pastor (and most of his congregants) that branched from another church (amicably – not a split). He began to embrace neo-Cal and has now, over the past three years, converted the entire church.

    Apparently, conformity is highly encouraged (or subtly demanded). The pastor, elders, and congregants all homeschool. (The elect can’t send their children to those bad “government indoctrination centers”.) They are anti-government and … you get the picture. Their politics and doctrines and conformities are all woven together. And they are right – about everything. And the rest of us are wrong.

  137. Regarding David, I think this is a powerful example that God can use messy, broken people who are in egregious sin. And he was the man after God’s own heart. He did repent, but it took Nathan directly confronting him for it to happen. The Bible has lots of these people, including the Apostle Paul.

    Would Jonathan Edwards have repented of his slave owning if a Nathan had come to him? Maybe one did?

    In the end, the truth is the truth no matter how it comes to us, however much or little credibility- God is the keeper of men’s souls. Insofar as Calvin, Augustine, or Edwards taught things than can illumine scripture, we can use them no matter what ill these men inflicted upon the world in their actions, though we’d better not make light of the sin we know about. And really, we should not lift up anyone as a hero that isn’t Jesus Christ.

    I have no sacred cows when it comes to historical individuals or present teachers- I have those who I feel God has used to help me understand faith better, and for that I am grateful.

    But you know, I’m just a big hero guy overall. If I had the chance to meet or spend time with anyone in the world it would probably be someone close to me, not a famouse actor, rock star, or theologian. Those people are flat to me and really only exist in my world for a single, one demential purpose. Their families friends and enemies can deal with them as real individuals.

  138. Agreed that *all* denoms, traditions (etc.) have their problems and pitfalls.

    I *do* see the whole Calvinista thing as … well, sneakily introduced in many circles, and then amped up. I have experienced that – to a certain degree – myself, though there were *other* bad things going on (“stealth” introduction of so-called Third Wave/”strategic level spiritual warfare” ideas, etc.).

    The thing is… problems happen in *all* groups of people, no matter what they call themselves. (And no matter whether they are adherents to a specific set of doctrines – even a specific religion – or not.)

    It’s all too easy to get to people when they’re young, and I think young people *are* going to reject what they were raised in/with (to a certain degree), no matter what that happens to be. Often, these same people become more moderate in their views as time gones on.

    For myself, I am extremely grateful that I was raised in a denom that stresses love and grace rather than adherence to rules and obedience to anyone other than Christ Jesus. At its best, the church is always there, and knows that people are going to screw up – sometimes pretty spectacularly – and is there for those who are hurt.

    God knows that there are enough sorrows and troubles in this life without any added pressure from religious strictures!

  139. @Anon 1 on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 07:47 PM said:
    “Just another reason why I really started researching Calvinism and the whole Reformation going back to it’s roots from Augustine.”

    Anon 1 – re: shunning and attitudes of the heart linked to doctrine and theology – are you happy to expound further if or when you have time, or suggest references or links for me to research? I’m trying to learn as much as I can from this period of history (general ignoramus here, and not keen to start at Wiki…)

  140. Jeff S,

    “In the end, the truth is the truth no matter how it comes to us, however much or little credibility- God is the keeper of men’s souls. Insofar as Calvin, Augustine, or Edwards taught things than can illumine scripture, we can use them no matter what ill these men inflicted upon the world in their actions, though we’d better not make light of the sin we know about.”

    First of all, I appreciate your perspectives. This has been an interesting discussion. I agree that truth is truth, but I have a really hard time lifting up men who teach truths but commit horrific sins and crimes against innocent people.

    Do we take whatever truth and good Hitler spoke or did? Do we take whatever truth and good Jerry Sandusky spoke or did? Do we take whatever truth and good Piper and Driscoll and others who are dividing families and dividing the body of Christ? Do we take whatever truth and good from Bob Gray, Chuck Phelps, Matt Baker, Darrell Gilyard, etc.? I can’t reconcile it. At what point do their abuses perpetrated against innocent children and adults and their unrepentant hearts preclude them from being our teachers and leaders?

    Our faith leaders and teachers will never be perfect. None of us are. But with me, credibility is lost when innocent people are exploited and abused and there isn’t deep and genuine repentance. No matter how gifted the pastor or teacher is. No matter how much truth or which truths they espouse. David and Paul both did a 180. They were crushed by their sin and turned from it.

  141. Wendy, I have trouble with it too, especially when the issue hits close to home. And in fact, I think this is the point the song is making is that pastors quote Edwards without realizing it hits home to people in their congregations. He isn't saying don't quote the puritans- that's why he brings it back to himself and his own failings at the end.

    However, I get it- I cannot listen to Piper due to his stance on divorce and domestic violence. This hits very close to home for me and just hearing him quoted is difficult. I DO think he gets some things right, but the value of what he says is lost on me because I cannot listen to the man. In a perfect world, I think I could listen to Piper and glean value from his teaching, but I'm just not that good. I don't mind that other people do, though (though I often point out to them the dangers of his teaching on domestic violence)- I think it's a shame that he mars whatever good things he has to say.

    Unlike Edwards, however, I doubt Piper will have much to say to people 200 years from now. If he is remembered at all, it will be for holding to an oppressive view of women.

  142. JeffS, something that didn’t get my attention until a few years ago is that while everyone remembers Nathan the prophet for confronting David who was David’s personal prophet, who said zip to confront David about what he’d done wrong? Gad the seer. He shows up to instruct David after the disastrous census (mentioned in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles) but Gad’s nowhere to be found, it seems, confronting David on his sins connected to Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite. Did Nathan feel obliged to speak up because word got around and Gad didn’t speak? I admit I don’t know but it’s interesting that Gad is the seer who David consults in some settings while Nathan confronts David and, at the end of David’s life, works with Bathsheba to ensure Solomon becomes king (and we’re not told that how Nathan and Bathsheba dealing with David in his dotage was necessarily the right way to transition into a new king’s rule).

    Some extra stuff for consideration.

  143. RE: Wendy on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 07:47 PM,

    If (Providence forbid!) your brother’s world should come crashing down in some human crisis common to all in this life, I can guarantee you the religiously smug in their cocoons of Biblical marriage & divorce will not lift one of their righteous little fingers to help or comfort him.
    You can be there for him though, not with the cold and distant love of cruelty he has been taught to believe in by those who have him captive, but with the real love Jesus taught us to live by.

  144. Pingback: Linkathon 10/10, part 1 » Phoenix Preacher | Phoenix Preacher

  145. RE: Hester on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 08:51 PM,

    “…And apparently now even 4th of July qualifies as “wasting your life.” I’d hate to see his take on Christmas presents…”

    Did you know that for a time it was illegal to have any sort of Yuletide celebration in Puritan New England? Some historians have argued that it was even more draconian under Cromwell’s theocratic rule in England proper.

  146. It was at least as draconian under Cromwell. Not only Christmas was banned, but theatre and the arts, singing, alcohol (not sure what they did for communion wine) and much else that might be associated with celebration and enjoyment. I suspect that his influence still persists in many of the things that are assumed to be dirty, sinful and unspiritual. His government also stands as an object lesson in what happens when you try to create righteousness by law. Though on reflection, legalism is an older problem than Cromwell.

    Oddly enough, parliament never got round to repealing all of Cromwell’s legislation. A few years ago I remember a small news article about a dispute between two neighbours in which one managed to bring a private prosecution against the other for celebrating Christmas. The trial judge was, of course, exasperated by the frivolousness of the case; but conceding that he had no choice but to uphold the law as it was written, he fined the “offending” couple £1.

  147. Nick, that sounds like something that could have been a deleted scene from Hot Fuzz.

  148. Wenatchee – I haven’t seen Hot Fuzz all the way though yet (though I’m a big fan of Simon Pegg) but I suspect you’ll find a lot of in-jokes therein!

    Any legislature that is hundreds of years old tends to sport its own undergrowth of anachronistic laws that made sense to whoever passed them, but have sneaked under the modernising radar over the years. My alma mater, Cambridge University, has some good ones. I believe the following is true, and is set some time during the last few decades. An undergraduate had done some research on the University regulations with a view, presumably, to having a bit of a laugh. During an end-of-year examination, therefore, he summoned the invigilator and requested his statutory entitlement of a free ploughman’s lunch and pot of ale to sustain him. These were not, of course, forthcoming. University officials countered his subsequent complaint by pointing out: 1) he was not entitled to them because he had not been wearing his sword at the time; 2) this in fact rendered him liable to disqualification from that year’s examination (and, therefore, expulsion from the University, since you don’t get resits at Cambridge); and 3) did he feel lucky, punk? I believe he backed down.

    There IS a serious point here, though. There’s a reason Paul fought so hard against legalism, and in particular against the circumcision party who wanted religious life to continue according to its proper traditions – and probably often used language equivalent to “let’s get back to scripture on this”. When called upon to provide a clear ruling on the huge doctrinal point of whether gentiles had to come under the law of Moses, the apostles and elders did a very interesting thing. They considered various biblical bible texts of scripture from the scriptures, but ultimately they were swayed by what the Holy Spirit himself was doing among them and their final judgement was preceded by the words “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us”. That is, they let the Holy Spirit interpret and explain scripture to them.

    Most of us are reluctant to trust Him to do that any more. That is, rather than learn the ways of the Holy Spirit from the new testament, so that we can dig our own wells (c.f. Isaac after Abraham) that seem good to the Holy Spirit and to us, we feel safer applying whatever was going when our chosen denomination was founded. Tony Campolo once described a conservative as a person who worships at the graves of dead radicals. I think he had a point.

  149. @ Muff:

    “Did you know that for a time it was illegal to have any sort of Yuletide celebration in Puritan New England? Some historians have argued that it was even more draconian under Cromwell’s theocratic rule in England proper.”

    Oh yes – and even though the law was repealed in 1680s, Christmas was still frowned upon culturally in New England until the 1870s (teachers occasionally doled out punishments to students for staying home to celebrate with their families instead of coming to school). Just goes to show how long it can take to get over these things sometimes.

  150. Let the “bombshell” on Harvest Bible Chapel explode Dee. Or if that fails surely Mahaney said something this week that would enrage the true followers of the Wartburg/Mahaney Watch.

  151. Jimmy:

    You said :”Let the “bombshell” on Harvest Bible Chapel explode Dee. Or if that fails surely Mahaney said something this week that would enrage the true followers of the Wartburg/Mahaney Watch.”

    Comments like the above continue to prove you are nothing but a TROLL!!!

  152. Eagle,
    I really appreciate the posts you share. I always learn something more about you, and understand you more. Thanks for being open.

  153. Jeff S,

    “In a perfect world, I think I could listen to Piper and glean value from his teaching, but I’m just not that good.”

    Me either. :)

    I’m torn on the issue of giving credibility to some of the Puritans. I hear what you’re saying and I read Eagle’s link. I appreciate that folks are acknowledging Jonathan Edwards’ sin of owning slaves, and I understand that we’re all horribly flawed and there wouldn’t BE teachers and leaders of the faith if we demanded perfection.

    To me, however, there is a huge difference between a leader/teacher, past or present, regardless of the time and culture in which he lives(d), who is occasionally rude, who is occasionally judgmental, who occasionally insists on his own way, who occasionally takes his wife for granted, who occasionally yells at his kids in frustration, who occasionally has impure thoughts or motives or any number of sins we all struggle with and one with a pattern of abusing innocent people. When he lives that pattern and there is no real repentance, no matter what good or truth he says or does, it’s hard for me to accept it as good.

    What do we do with the pedophiles in today’s pulpits? We are still living in a time and culture in which, though it’s illegal to sexually abuse children, a pastor or leader can still have a huge following despite what he’s done to innocent children. A pedophile preacher typically has fierce defenders. What he preaches can be right and true.

    Generations from now, will it be OK for Christians to quote whatever truths have come from Mark Driscoll? Ed Young? CJ Mahaney?

    I think we can find other preachers and teachers of the Word, who haven’t abused their power, who haven’t lived a pattern of hurting others, who have lived the best Christian life they could despite their many flaws, who we can study and glean understanding of scripture.

  154. Nick,

    “Tony Campolo once described a conservative as a person who worships at the graves of dead radicals. I think he had a point.”

    I agree – he has a point. It seems that some of us are far more inclined to study and quote the dead radicals than to delve deeply in scripture ourselves and learn from and trust the Holy Spirit.

  155. Muff,

    Thank you for the encouragement. I hope to have an opportunity to be there for my brother one day.

  156. If you have any kind of hobby that you enjoy, or extra money that you spend on non-church things, you love it more then God and you are failing to live in a “wartime mentality” and you’re “wasting your life.”

    Piper got this “wartime mentality” thing from Ralph D. Winter at Fuller. Winter wrote an article called “Reconsecration to a War Time Lifestyle” which basically suggested it is the church’s duty to live at the lower edge of their means so as to give to missions, and that for their whole life.

    http://www.ralphwinter.org/images/documents/D61_Winter-Reconsecration.pdf

    …In case anyone was wondering.

  157. I am sitting on a bombshell story about a serious problem with Harvest Bible Chapel.

    That does not surprise me at all, though I don’t know what the serious problem bombshell specifics are. I had occasion to do a bit of reading at their site and they seem set up to do serious damage from what I could gather.

    Definitely looking forward to your story, Dee.

  158. I understand where you are coming from, Sallie. As I’ve said before, I grew up in the PCA and still attend one. The church I grew up in was wonderful, though it had many faults. I have been to a few since and while they are not all as great as my home church, the pastors and elders have never been as some of these men are described here.

    However, I really think that, for me, it is the young guys growing up and in the seminaries that we need to worry about. A few of the guys I am “friends” with on FB are in seminary. They are some of the most arrogant people I have ever met. They talk a big talk, but there is no love in their hearts. These are the men who will be pastoring our reformed churches. Part of it is that, as the discussion ahead addresses, that more of such and such a writer is being studies in these seminaries rather than the actual Word of God and how to study it correctly. Tradition continues rather than the proper studying of the Bible through context and against other Scripture. Rather, it is “whatever Calvin says, goes.”

    It also concerns me that a lot of these men who are hateful and have caustic tongues are not being called out to temper themselves with love. The Bayly brothers come to mind, as does Doug Wilson (though he is not PCA, you will find many of his books in PCA libraries).

    Then you have guys with erroneous views on family (think Voddie Baucham) who are slowly creeping their way in. Though Voddie is Baptist, he is becoming more and more mainstream. (For example, my godly grandfather, who rejects Reformed views and tradition, and patriarchy, just quoted Voddie on his FB! Fortunately I have a good relationship with my grandfather and can encourage him to look into Mr. Baucham a little more before he quotes him) No one, besides TWW and a few other bloggers, are daring to say anything about his sick view of daughters.

    Then you have RC Sproul and his son. Neither of them are PCA, either. (And I hate to even mention Jr., because he just lost his 15 year old daughter last week, only 9 months after losing his wife.) Mr. Sproul was instrumental in leading my husband to Christ on the radio. IMr. Sproul’s books and videos and devotional and so on helped me to think through what I believed and why I believed it. My husband and I had been supporters of Ligonier since we married. When RC Sproul, Jr., started appearing in Tabletalk I took a step back. Then I presented to my husband a couple of years later my issues against Ligonier, he looked into the defrocking of Jr., a bit more, and then stumbled upon the whole lawsuit thing, which neither one of us knew about.

    No one has called them out on Jr.’s “defrockment” nor the lawsuit.

    So, I guess I see two things that are taking the Reformed denominations down the wrong path: the young men, who are being trained without learning to love; and the turning a blind eye to problem men who are allowed to continue in hate and error.

    Also, the absence of women’s voices from any important church matters is troubling as well. My FB lit up from young men in seminary who were attending General Assembly this year. Two key topics were being argued. In the status conversations, I cannot begin to count how many ladies responded with “I am so glad you men are the ones that get to figure this stuff out.”

    It is a cop-out for reformed ladies to even begin thinking. As long as we leave the men to decide things for us, we can focus on more important things like which tea goes best with the cookies and muffins at the next ladies “Bible” study.

    Not to mention that you are missing out on half of the churches wise experience and unique, God-made view.

    So, Sallie, I do agree with you. I, too, do not like the whole reformed church villified. I think that you and I have been fortunate to go to good churches!

    But, I do think that if the young pastors are not taught to temper their youth and passion with love and humbleness, and when men who have haughty eyes and a proud mouth are left to continue to stir up hate, and when women are not allowed to build up the church and use their gifts (and I realize this differs with denominations and churches), the churches will erode.

  159. Haitch,

    The ‘shunning’ is simply inherent in the history with all the rules. Whether one is reading Durant on the Reformation or any Puritan history, it is there even subtly. There is a big focus on obeying leaders and punishing those who do not adhere. Although the shunning takes different forms because church attendance and taking the sacraments were mandatory in Reformed history. So, it was more about being “affirmed” or in good standing part of the group OR being forced to obey. If one was whipped, imprisoned, bannished or whatever, there was shunning of the extended family who showed any compassion or help. This comes out in some of the stories even with Roger Williams. This was one of the most shocking aspects of their cruelty. They used the emotional blackmail toward those who tried to help the person being bannished or helped by shunning. Think of being bannished in the middle of a New England winter as Roger Williams was. With NO help. Anyone who helped you would be punished or shunned. He literally had to flee because they had decided to force him back to England to stand trial and he would have been hanged during that time by King James.

    I would also recommend people read Marytrs Mirror. (It weights about 20lbs!!!) It gives accounts of the persecution from both the Reformers and Catholics during those dark days. It is very sad. There are entries that describe such as: Blacksmith and wife, drowned in the Limmat for refusing infant baptism. There are so many unnamed it is heartbreaking. There are groups bannished or killed for daring to worship outside the institutional church! I kept thinking I will meet them one day. They might be the ones crying out for Justice in Revelation.

  160. No More Perfect,

    I love your entire comment. You offer some great perspective. Although I haven’t had any positive experiences with the reformed folks I know personally, I don’t doubt that there are some good reformed churches. Dee and Deb have stated on several occasions, that while they may have doctrinal differences, they know and appreciate folks of the reformed faith. Thus, we have Wade Burleson’s sermons here at TWW for E-Church. :)

    “So, I guess I see two things that are taking the Reformed denominations down the wrong path: the young men, who are being trained without learning to love; and the turning a blind eye to problem men who are allowed to continue in hate and error.”

    I agree. This is why I say, “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up and go to seminary.” They will steal your son’s (or daughter’s) mind and heart.

    The young men coming out of seminary who are now at the helm of reformed churches also have great influence over their peers in ministry. I’ve seen this happen with a few pastors/churches. They’ve been in ministry a while, but in their associations with young reformed ministers, they are influenced and begin reading more of Calvin, Piper, the Puritans, and wham! They’re neo-Calvinist and begin leading their own churches down that path.

  161. Please forgive all my spelling and grammar errors. I wrote my above comment before I had coffee. :-/

  162. “No one, besides TWW and a few other bloggers, are daring to say anything about his sick view of daughters.”

    It’s not only his sick view of daughters, sick as that may be, but his first time every time obedience teaching/training. I wonder if Baucham is obeying God’s word first time every time…I’m thinking not…yet he expects such out of a 2-3 year old.

    Then again (in fundiedom) if more people implemented his first time training and beat the sin out of ya…there would be no need for this:

    “The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellious children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut 21:18-21”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/charlie-fuqua-arkansas-candidate-death-penalty-rebellious-children_n_1948490.html

  163. Diane – I am one of those parents who did expect first time obedience from my children. It was disastrous, and since we have come out of patriarchy, our children (ages 9 – 1, though the 1 and 4 year olds never really experienced it) are having to learn to think for themselves and not just do what mom and dad think they want them to do. First time obedience is dangerous and breeds clones of parents rather than individuals made to use their God-given talents.

    It is sad and I have deep regrets that will probably haunt me for the rest of my life. But at least we stopped early enough to start letting them think for themselves!

  164. Anon 1,

    I’m impressed with your depth of research. If shunning those who don’t adhere to the doctrines and applications is inherent in the reading and studying that Calvinistas are doing, I can understand why our Calvinista family members are shunning us.

    Besides my brother, there are a few other folks in my life (one a very close friend from childhood) who have become Calvinista over the past few years. What started as subtle comments (about their homeschooling vs. my public schooling) or comments about women working outside the home or comments that were judgmental toward others (which at the time I blew off) has escalated to shunning.

  165. Wendy, you are correct when you say “The young men coming out of seminary who are now at the helm of reformed churches also have great influence over their peers in ministry.” This, coupled with the hero-worship prevalent amongst these young men, make for very poor churches.

  166. Wendy,

    Your comments really resonate with me. I too, struggle, with giving many of these people any credibility at all for anything because of their influence.

    I heard a young pastor tell a youth group that Piper was a great preacher and had really helped him. (He had never met Piper, he was speaking of his preaching and books) I kept thinking of all the young girls listening to this who have no idea who Piper is. So I wrote him an irenic note and put this scenerio in it: If I am a young girl and I google this John Piper man, what might I be taught? And I gave him a bulleted lists of some choice items with links. I asked him if he thought these things were acceptable to be taught to 13 year old girls/boys. Praise God! He did not. And he had NO idea Piper taught all that. He only saw Piper through the eyes of his group/movement/pastors, etc.

    It is a bubble they live in as people who make their living in ministry. (He is still in seminary, too) They are not looking at this teaching from another perspective nor are they taking in ALL the teaching and asking how it applies to the whole person.

    Some of the young men in ministry simply do not care and think if Piper said it, it is Gospel. I was very comforted that he cared. Turns out he came from an abusive home and Piper’s teaching on women bothered him when he took a good look. He had just been busy being on teh Piper bandwagon without taking a good look. He is also single and had not paid much to the woman angle of Piper.

    I say we all start taking the time to do a variation of this and appeal to what is decent and right. If anything I taught a few girls what it looks like to disagree irenically with a “pastor” on a stage. And that it perfectly ok to do so as one in the Holy Priesthood.

    (He did ask me what pastors I approved of him teaching from and I could not resist answering: Jesus) Too much “pastor said” not enough Jesus.

  167. NMP~

    “It is sad and I have deep regrets that will probably haunt me for the rest of my life. But at least we stopped early enough to start letting them think for themselves!”

    No regrets nmp. Rejoicing with ya that things have changed!! My mil did similar obedience stuff with her 3 daughters…(not her sons though). She did not stop. She remains in her wof/Copeland worshipping legalistic spiritual warfare beat the demons out of people false religion. Her three daughters have nothing to do with her and haven’t since they were able to leave the home at 18. Now THAT is sad. Your children will love you! :-)

  168. Fascinating…

    “With Harvard established as the capstone of their system of social control, the Puritans then set about to construct supporting strictures. The Puritan paradigm utilized certain aspects of the Platonic paradigm of community child raising, including indentured servitude:

    [There was a] practice common among English Puritans of “putting out” children–placing them at an early age in other homes where they were treated partly as foster children and partly as apprentices or farm-hands. One of the motivations underlying the maintenance of this custom seems to have been the parents’ desire to avoid the formation of strong emotional bonds with their offspring–bonds that might temper the strictness of the children’s discipline or interfere with their own piety.”
    http://www.quaqua.org/pilgrim.htm

  169. Completely off-topic, but just HOW do you pronounce the name “Thabiti Anyabwile”? This California Computer Geek can maybe say the first name (though it sounds more feminine than masculine), but I got nothing on that last name.

  170. Anyabwile – Meaning of the name

    [ 4 syll. a-nya-bwi-le, an-yabw-ile ] The baby boy name Anyabwile is pronounced as ae-NYaa-BWIY-Leh- †. Anyabwile is used chiefly in the African language and its origin is also African. The name is of the meaning god has unchained me.

    Anyabwile is unusual as a baby name for boys. It is not listed in the top 1000 names.

    Baby names that sound like Anyabwile include Ampelio, Amable, and Anibal (Spanish).

    † English pronunciation for Anyabwile: AE as in “at (AE.T)” ; N as in “knee (N.IY)” ; Y as in “you (Y.UW)” ; AA as in “odd (AA.D)” ; B as in “be (B.IY)” ; W as in “we (W.IY)” ; IY as in “eat (IY.T)” ; L as in “lay (L.EY)” ; EH as in “ebb (EH.B)”
    http://www.babynamespedia.com/meaning/Anyabwile

  171. I admit I have not studied nor read the Puritans. This is quite an education for me–shall have to do more reading. Had no idea…they were this precious…

    “In 1646, the Colony implemented the “Instruction for the Punishment of Incorrigible Children in Massachuesetts.” On pain of death, the law required parents to teach, and children to accept, a Puritan-approved course of instruction:

    (13) If any child above sixteen years old and of sufficuent understanding shall CURSE, or SMITE their natural FATHER or MOTHER, they shall be put to death, unless it can be sufficiently testified that the parents have binn very unchristianly negligent in the education of such children, or so provoked them by extreme and cruell correction that they have binn forced thereunto to preserve themselves from death or maiming. Exod. 21.17, Lev. 20.9 Exod. 21.15.

    (14) If a man have a stubborne or REBELLIOUS SON, of sufficient years of understanding, viz. sixteen, which will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and that when they have chastened him will not harken unto them, then shall his father and mother, being his natural parents, lay hold on him and bring him to the magistrates assembled in Courte, and testify to them by sufficient evidence that this their son is stubborne and rebellious and will not obey their voice and chastisement, but lives in sundry notorious crimes. Such a son shall be put to death. Deut. 21, 20.21.”

    (From the same article I linked above.)

  172. Eagle,

    Thank you for sharing that story. It sounds like your mom didn’t appreciate Piper’s twisted thoughts on cancer as a gift. And I bet she was concerned about the spiritual direction you were headed at the time.

    But it’s behind you. As a mom myself, I can tell you that she wouldn’t want you to feel bad now. We all say and do things we later regret. I bet she’s grateful you’re no longer drinking the kool-aid. She just wants you to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled and not trapped by false teachings. Your mom sounds like a wonderful lady, and you are a terrific son.

    I’ve drunk the kool-aid myself. A lot of us here have been guilty. I cringe when I think about beliefs/issues/movements I used to promote. I cringe when I think that I probably alienated others (unintentionally) with my spiritual arrogance or judgments. It has happened to the best of us.

  173. Charlie Fuqua, Republican candidate for Arkansas House of Representatives supports the death penalty for rebellious children. How much you wanna bet he’s a Calvinista who reads and studies the precious Puritans? Anybody know?

  174. Slightly off topic: In Driscolls Esther sermon Sunday he compared Mordecai, who failed as a father when he failed to “dump” future adoptive son-in-law Xerxes (btw, Driscoll says it’s easy to “dump” a man) with Adam thus: http://marshill.com/media/esther/jesus-is-a-better-savior#transcript
    “Mordecai is like Adam. Adam, our first father’s sin was he didn’t say or do anything.”
    My unnuanced take is “Pay no attention to the apple juice dripping from Adam’s beard!!!”
    Interested in your more nuanced takes.

  175. I just mentioned this issue to fellow Christian coworkers and the immediate response I got back was “Is owning a slave a sin?”

    And one of them is black.

    Neither go to Calvinist churches, I should add.

  176. ok…lol…done posting about Charlie Fuqua. Oh–did I mention the 19 and counting Duggars donated to his campaign? 250 dollars! Nice!

    “So, in brief, here is my plea to people like Charlie Fuqua:

    Stop cherry-picking the Torah to justify all of the terrible things you want people to do to one another; Jews don’t believe that things like this are mandated by the Torah and it’s our book.”
    http://kohenari.net/post/33203839241/religious-zealot

  177. Diane,

    I am newly motivated to learn about the Puritans too, and had also found that article just recently. My eyes were popping out of my head. Anon 1 also recommended a book called Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty.

    Even just the preview Amazon lets you read, again, had my eyes popping out of my head. I ordered an el cheapo used copy and can’t wait to receive it.

    One thing I hear a lot is that church government has nothing to do with civil government. Given the circumstances surrounding the development of our founding documents, I’m not so sure about that. This guy Williams, who was a Puritan but was ousted from the Massachusetts Bay colony, seems to have been one of the good guys who saw the Puritanical system as being much the same as the church/state situation in England that he fled.

    I am about to start calling the New Calvinism the New Puritanism.

  178. If Fuqua has a book called God’s Law: The Only Political Solution, we can be pretty well assured he is a Dominionist/Reconstructionist/Theonomist. So far from what I’ve seen on the Puritans they held similar views. The scary thing is, the Puritans had the platform to act on them.

  179. Diane,

    Interesting info. Wonder if his SBC church/affiliation has become Calvinista? Everything he says about his support for the death penalty for rebellious children is eerily similar to what you shared in your 10:50 comment this morning. The Duggars’ contribution to his campaign – not a surprise.

    Anonymous,

    The New Calvinists certainly love their Puritans, so the “New Puritanism” would be appropriate.

  180. Re “don’t waste your cancer”, I think if a person wants to regard their own cancer (or other burden of suffering) as a gift from God, that’s fine from them. Telling someone else that their suffering is a gift from God is at best naive and at worst arrogant cruelty.

    Once again we come back to paradoxes. Romans 8 says that God works through all things for good for those who love Him. I think there is a subtle but strong difference between that, and saying that God gave you cancer as a gift!

    Re young men, although I’ve expressed my concerns about this myself, not all of them are like that. I know one young guy in our church who is very humble and yet enthusiastic, but I think it has also helped that he has been in the world of work, and work of a less high-flying nature than some seminary students would otherwise have been undertaking. Another guy I know whom I formerly was a bit dismissive of (my arrogance there!) came and chatted to me this year and I was humbled by how much he had come on as a person.

    Nevertheless I do see the danger. When you have a mixture of youthful enthusiasm being taught that it is the custodian of truth (or as near as), it is a heady and intoxicating mixture. Incidentally I also knew one or two women from the charismatic background who were also affected in the same way.

    Re learning anything from people who have sinned greatly in other areas, it’s worth pointing out as far as church leaders are concerned that the NT qualifications for church leadership include not only correct teaching (not theological hairsplitting but certainly no outright heterodoxy) but also an unobjectionable life, ie one that outsiders will not speak badly of. In the Church of England it’s rightly or wrongly hard to remove a minister for opinions (no matter how unorthodox, unfortunately), but serious infringement of the law or running off with another’s wife is normally cause for defrocking.

    Re learning from great sinners like Hitler, did Hitler ever hold to any original opinion that was worth adhering to? Most of his ideas were a mishmash of other people’s 19th century crankiness and elevated to an extreme. One could argue that he poisoned otherwise laudable virtues such as patriotism and love of country by his evil.

  181. @ anonymous~

    “The scary thing is, the Puritans had the platform to act on them.”

    Voddie Baucham has a platform. You even get the home visits from the elders, albeit only yearly, I believe.

  182. Yeah. Platform might not be the right word. I mean the Puritans had the civil power to enact the barbaric kinds of “discipline” they did, like the stocks and floggings, and killings, and witch trials, etc.

    So far the New Calvinists/Puritans don’t have that. Thank God.

  183. Children are so beautiful and such a wonderful GIFT! Yet these supposed men of God would have us look at our children as objects to be mastered.

    It grieves me so much that pastors teach such cruelty as Baucham does. I do apologize to the readers here for my sarcasm. I get so angry, I do not contain it well.

  184. “So far the New Calvinists/Puritans don’t have that. Thank God”

    Yes, anonymous, I knew what you meant. It was the right word. I just wanted to get a jab in at professing “Christian” ?pastor? Voddie Baucham.

    Thanking God.

  185. Yes, anonymous, I knew what you meant. It was the right word. I just wanted to get a jab in at professing “Christian” ?pastor? Voddie Baucham.

    Thanking God.

    Oh. :)

  186. “Yeah. Platform might not be the right word. I mean the Puritans had the civil power to enact the barbaric kinds of “discipline” they did, like the stocks and floggings, and killings, and witch trials, etc.

    So far the New Calvinists/Puritans don’t have that. Thank God.”

    This is what I meant when I asked if there were any “Puritan” Founding Fathers. I sincerely believe if it were ever legal to punish in those ways, many would if it were socially acceptable. Anyone doubt Driscoll would use such punishment after what we have seen him do? We see evidence of this with enforcing membership covenants, outing and shunning AFTER people confess sins, etc. I can only imagine how SGM would use civil force. And Al Mohler??/ forget about it! We would be in stocks! I mean Mohler just announced a few months ago that the SBC “will marginalize people” who signed the Traditionalist document. He really believes he has the RIGHT and the power to marginalize his peers! He probably does have the power to do it and I think we are seeing that happen since he is also on the “unity” committee for the SBC over Calvinism. How is that for irony?

    Calvinism seems to work best with some form of embedded control/coercian whether it is shame (obey your leaders or you are in sin) or using the covenants to control and various forms of church discipline for questioning/disagreeing. It is all they have in a free society. Funny how the Deists saved from spiritual tyranny we are seeing today!

    What is ironic also is how liberal Puritan founded schools became such as Harvard, Princeton, etc. Not to mention that their descendents leaned toward Unitarianism in NE. Others became Presbyterians but then the majoprity of Presbyterians became very liberal.

    The NC/YRR need to study their history and how Calvinism evolves over time. I am also seeing hints of the mainstream YRR/NC guys moving toward forms of dominionism, etc. Why are they not outraged at Piper’s new BFF Doug Wilson who is a dominionist? Paul Washer hooked up with Doug Phillips a while back which shocked me. We are seeing it move in that direction.

  187. “I was in my old room and my Mom came in. She sat down and talked with me about faith. And then she brought up the John Piper pamphlet I gave her a few years prior. She explained that it was one of the sickest things she read and explained that her Catholic faith was what got her through cancer. She viewed her pain and suffering as an offering to Jesus for his suffering for her at Calvary.”

    Eagle, I read this earlier today and it just warmed my heart. What a precious woman! What she said to you is similar to what my suffering mother told me when she was dying about her suffering an offering to Christ. Funny that. My mom was Baptist and your Mom, Catholic. Seems they both got it.

    Your mom–a smart woman. She waited for you to pee out the koolaid before she spoke to you about her feelings concerning the pamplet.

    Piper is a shock jock. That whole thing was to promote himself while he had prostrate cancer. Cancer is not a gift. It is a consequence of the Fall. Your mom got it. One day we will rejoice together on a redeemed earth BECAUSE of Christ and His sacrifice.

    I do praise God for such mothers as ours.

  188. Did anyone think to mention Voddies SICKO perverted teaching about why God gave men daughters?

  189. Anon 1,

    What you said.

    I know very little as yet about historical Puritanism, but I’ve been around long enough to have heard smatterings of this and that, and all this stuff has seemed so much like we’re going back to that time in the “spirit” and “feel” of American Christianity. Just reading these 2 things I’ve read so far has dropped several pieces in place for me.

    And for Mohler, and Wilson, et al, yes. That.

  190. It is said that students at SBTS are counseled how to appear less Calvinist in order to get a job as a pastor at a non-Calvinist Baptist church, and then they can, over time, convert the church to Calvinista authoritarian (pastor as God’s right hand of rule).

  191. Oh, and on the Unitarianism in Puritan founded schools thing, one of the sites said that was because they were really after the same thing as far as social control, the only difference was what world view they wanted people indoctrinated into.

  192. Eagle, I wish Piper would just quit playing around and write an honest book called: How to win the hearts and minds of young men as a shock jock preacher.

    Anon, That sounds interesting. You know, those who refuse to know history are going to repeat it in some form. We simply must learn lessons of the past so we notice the red flags when they are raised.

  193. Wow, these comment threads are long!

    Wenatchee: ” When people suggest that real believers won’t be able to do this or that horrific thing because they have the Holy Spirit that simply can’t be backed up by any serious reference to scripture. It’s possible for people who love the Lord to do abominable things.”

    I do agree, the HS can’t protect people with free will from choosing the wrong side :) I doubt you were getting to “free will” here (I mean in an anabaptist, not arminian way), but it fits nicely.

    I don’t think I was clear, here is what I am trying to say about a teaching (for example, Dirscoll’s series on Esther – never mind his ridiculous statement that Esther is rarely taught in Christian circles, I have heard it numerous times in the various denominations I have attended, but anyways-). Each teaching REGARDLESS of who is teaching it, needs to be weighed by the body of believers and tested to see if it agrees with the Holy Spirit’s revelations.

    Now, that sounds crazy in our post-New Testament Church, pulpit-centred faith practices. Since (often) one pastor is expected to give a teaching each Sunday as well as run a church, we have accepted that one person cannot always get revelations and prophecies in time for each sermon – well, not for years on end in my thinking. So, we have accepted second-best. A leader well-taught in a)doctrine or b) an entertaining speaker (if it is a neo-cal church, with an edge – aka lots of references to sex-). We have given up testing all prophecy (since a lot of it isn’t prophecy anyways, and we don’t expect it to be), weighing what is good, etc.

    Would any of us know if it “seems good to the Holy Spirit”?? We would probably see which doctrine it lined up with and claim that is “lining up with the HS” based on doctrinal cohesion.

    I see the reformed churches as more prone to all this, since they value teaching over communion anyways – a large Protestant fail if there ever was one for Christianity.

    One thing to note when talking about the list of heroes in Hebrews. The early church didn’t have the OT we have. They had a collection of works – and I imagine each synagouge may not of had a complete collection of scrolls – that included books of the OT, the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha – it is in those writings you will discover Japeth’s heroism etc. What the Jews hold as the inspired, important writings are the first 5 books of the OT Genesis to Deuteronomy. This was how the early NT church gets away with calling people good, bad or what have you while not lining it up with the original story – they were more cavalier/free towards the non-inspired (non Gen.-Deut.) books. Trying to discover why they are mentioned in the NT without consulting the full OT cannon -beyond just our OT cannon- makes some interesting theological conclusions. Driscoll is famous for this – as he won’t look up the Greek, sola scripture in English is the way, according to him – and he has made some pretty funny errors due to his stubbornness.

  194. Eagle

    No, it is much bigger. A bunch of people have left his church. Major people like the former president of Moody Bible and others. Massive, unbelievable amounts of debt for the church while MacDonald purchased and lives in a $1.9 million house. There is more to this than the Elephant Room debate.

    His fascination with TD JaKes appears not to be Jakes ‘outreach to the African American community but everything to do with his views on greeting rich in this world. We’ll prove it.

  195. I got a good glimpse of what church/family/home life is like at Voddie’s little Massachusetts Bay Colony from this sermon he gave last March at the Men of God conference in Bellefontaine, OH. (This conference received some publicity if you recall–it featured men-pastors allegedly urinating on the floor in the women’s restrooms.) Bonus– quotes from Puritans too.
    The description of church life there starts at the 11 min mark.

    Playlist/Stream

    MP3 – 20120303a-Dr. Voddie Baucham-Session 1 – What it Means to be a Family Shepherd

  196. Did anyone think to mention Voddies SICKO perverted teaching about why God gave men daughters? — Anon1

    With the distinct vibe of “Incest is Best”?

  197. Nick – thanks for all your input – I wish you could work as a pastor and have your views broadly spread to the world. Instead, we have these clueless pastors all over North America who get their positions by adhering to TGC yet have no training themselves, but are entertaining, so they get hired. Most of them are into business – own one, trained for working in one, etc. And then they apply their business skills to the church – so it grows, but doesn’t grow into anything mature or wise, it just gets bigger and becomes a social club.

    Re slavery – wenatachee, a collage intern isn’t the same as a salve – the college intern has rights – maybe not the kind he/she wishes she had, but they have rights over their bodies, they can leave, etc. Roman Slavery didn’t grant their slaves these or their right to life, i know Driscoll loves to try and erase this fact, but slavery was worse than things are now.

  198. Dinae…from my POV you just laid down a foundation for a Cannanite slughter… — Eagle (subject Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans)

    Well, they actually DID initiate a Caananite Slaughter (or at least laid the groundwork for it) on the local indigenous tribes. Their cultural myth of being the New Children of Israel (Puritans) in an Exodus from Europe (Egypt) to the Promised Land (the New World) resulted in casting the primitive tribes who were already there as the Caananites and reacting Book-of-Joshua accordingly.

  199. It is said that students at SBTS are counseled how to appear less Calvinist in order to get a job as a pastor at a non-Calvinist Baptist church, and then they can, over time, convert the church to Calvinista authoritarian (pastor as God’s right hand of rule).

  200. Another great post! Glad to see people bringing up the racist history of the “calvinista” heroes. I do not understand how any person of color could support the Puritan writings, especially the ones by slave owners like Edwards.

    Sadly Christianity has a long history of supporting slavery, back to the day of the Paul. This will probably tick a lot of people off, but his letters support slavery. Saying anything otherwise is just a whitewashing of his writings. Slavery was a huge part of the ancient world’s economy and is no different that a plantation owning slaves in the south. Saying that slavery was different in those times is just a whitewash much like Doug Wilson’s Southern Slavery, As It Was. Too many churches have tried to explain away Christianity’s long support of slavery. My personal take is to say that yes, it is true and it was wrong and it should never have happened. And that Christianity today does not support it at all. And I am not at all discounting the Christians that fought against slavery and spoke against it during the Civil War times. Thank God they stood up for what was right! The whole idea against slavery was new at that time and was the absolute right thing to do.

    I am glad to see Christians speaking out against making heroes of people like Edwards who owned slaves. Owning another human being is 100% wrong and one of the worst kinds of evils imaginable.

  201. Per the executing rebellious children thing – in their defense, I’m pretty sure that was never actually carried out even if the law was on the books. But, nevertheless, the law WAS on the books. And I have heard that at least one adolescent was killed in Geneva.

  202. @ Anon 1:

    “They used the emotional blackmail toward those who tried to help the person being banished or helped by shunning.”

    When I read this, all I could think of was a line said by one of the judges at the end of The Crucible (when John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse are about to be hanged):

    “Hang them high over the town! Who weeps for these, weeps for corruption!”

  203. Anon by choice

    I have also heard this. I would love to get to the bottom of this and find out if it is true. 

  204. While I think that flogging, being put in stocks and/or pilloried is horrific, keep in mind that these were common punishments in the UK at the time the Puritans were settling the Mass. Bay Colony.

    Context is important.

  205. Numo, part of the context is that the Puritans were also fleeing from the state church and the punishments they would have to withstand for disagreeing with the king and the bishops. so they come to the New Jerusalem they are going to build and do the same thing they were fleeing from! I have never understood the everybody’s doing it defense expecially when we have examples of people who stood up against it and paid a high price to do so.

  206. Anon1, the only Puritans I actually did any reading from were the English Puritans from the 16th century who never ended up in the colonies. Even J. I. Packer, who is a fan of the Puritans, is more a fan of the English than American Puritans. He also gave an 11-hour lecture series where he said it was beneficial the Puritans in England ultimately failed to enact all the reforms they hoped for (and he stressed the failed at absolutely every reform they wanted to enact).

    Let’s not forget that Puritans in fiction in the 19th and 20th centuries were part of literary subtexts. The errors of the actual Puritans are significant enough that quoting lines from fictional characters in stories dealing with things like the Red Scare aren’t necessary. :)

  207. Anon By Choice,

    “It is said that students at SBTS are counseled how to appear less Calvinist in order to get a job as a pastor at a non-Calvinist Baptist church, and then they can, over time, convert the church to Calvinista authoritarian (pastor as God’s right hand of rule).”

    I’ve heard this also and believe it to be true. When my brother and I were still on good terms and he was applying for ministry positions, I asked him directly how he would answer questions about his Calvinist doctrine if he applied as pastor of an SBC church that was opposed to Calvinist teaching. He said he wouldn’t come right out and say he was a Calvinist and that he would respect their desires. For one thing, that’s dishonest. For another thing, it hasn’t played out that way at all.

    I also asked him if a church where he often guest preached allowed him to discuss his doctrines in his sermons. He said the pastor had asked him to keep it toned down. I heard my brother preach there a few times. Without calling it Calvinism, he was introducing some things the congregation had probably never heard (and if he’d been direct, they wouldn’t have liked, in my opinion). It was very, very subtle. I kept looking around at folks to see if there were any puzzled expressions or irritated looks. I don’t think most of them knew what he was really talking about then. He was a frequent guest pastor, a highly educated seminarian, and there was nothing to question. They loved him and just took it all in, very subtly.

    Interestingly, that same pastor who asked my brother to keep things toned down is now a Calvinist himself, and I have no doubts he has turned his church neo-reformed. He loves and quotes Calvin, Piper, Puritans, and the rest of them.

  208. “In the second generation, responsibility for inspecting families passed from selectmen to special town officers called tithingmen. A statute in 1675 ordered that each tithingman “shall take charge of ten or Twelve families of his Neighborhood, and shall diligently inspect them. This office did not exist in Anglican Virginia or Quaker Pennsylvania. But it was not a New England innovation. Tithingmen had long existed as parish functionaries in East Anglia and other parts of England. Here again an old English custom was taken over by the Puritans and given a new intensity of purpose.”
    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:bPyTeFgq6QAJ:www.austincc.edu/jdikes/Family%2520Ways%2520ALL.pdf+massachusett+bay+colony+really+execute+children+for+stubborn+child+law&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShwPu256mwbBXyGM7_VfHlW5yJX2Rs2FrxSgvAQo_XJmyZ88TaXpU08UJ9tDTpK-S3_LOdIHALUUmXDCOK86pJuQsTpPtHbGbtwlsys-kJ7rFYhwKi0cWMr1ccgBXdFrYhKr6un&sig=AHIEtbT42_-UVk_kF3Fqio5XFsnyPo-fWQ

    In Voddie’ sermon I linked above, he states he is responsible for 15 families in his church (as each of the elders are) to ensure teachings are being followed. Interesting.

  209. Anon 1 – All I am trying to say is that the *English* “justice system” of the time was equally harsh.

    That’s not at all the same thing as trying to excuse someone via “everybody’s doing it.”

    I think the NE Puritans were even more draconian in their laws and punishments than the English crown was, but – as I said before – context is important.

  210. Also… things were arguably better for the average citizen of the UK after the restoration of the monarchy (Chas. II) than they were for people living in Mass. Bay Colony, both in terms of law and economic conditions.

  211. fwiw, many of the Puritans in MA were from East Anglia originally, though some were from the West Country (Devon and surrounding shires). There's a lot of good material on this in Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America

    (a staple of college US history courses these days). fwiw, I'm from PA, which might have something to do with my moderate-liberal views on a lot of subjects. 😉 (Joking, but not entirely… I took early school lessons about William Penn and the religious openness of the PA colony to heart. Now if only his descendants had followed his lead in. re. Native Americans…. :(

  212. Anon 1,

    “I have never understood the everybody’s doing it defense expecially when we have examples of people who stood up against it and paid a high price to do so.”

    Thank you for saying this. The everybody’s doing it defense doesn’t fly for me either. Silence is complicity, and there are many people throughout history who have recognized that and taken responsibility for their fellow human beings. Indeed, many have paid a high price to do what is right, despite what everyone else was doing.

    As many of you know, there is a social psychology phenomen called the Bystander Effect. A classic example is the Kitty Genovese rape and murder that took place in Queens, NY in front of 38 witnesses. Everyone watched while Genovese was raped and left for dead and then again when the assailant returned and stabbed her to death. No one went out to rescue her. No one called the police. Everyone assumed that someone else would take care of it.

  213. Oops, didn’t finish, but gotta run. I’m enjoying this discussion. Wow! I am learning a TON.

  214. The Calvinists of today overlook the sins of the men of the past so that they can continue worship dead men. They also overlook the sins of their "brother" Calvinists that are alive such as, Mahaney. So they end up telling on themselves by who they worship and condone.

    "I'm personally not finding it edifying but actually increasingly discouraging to read how awful my beliefs are and how terrible my brothers and sisters in Christ are." Just because someone claims to be a Christian that doesn't mean they are.

    I don't understand why so many people think that just because someone goes to church,Bible study or preaches the gospel that they should automatically be considered a Christian.Clearly the Bible teaches that many who claim to know Christ do not. Clearly, we need to call people out on their bs. It's imperative because so many are being manipulated and abused by others in the church.

  215. Eagle, I agree with Wendy: don’t beat yourself up over the Piper tract episode…your mom sounds like a wonderful lady whose legacy lives on through her family. BTDT myself (lymphoma) and my kids weren’t always understanding, but not for one minute did I hold that against them. I know from experience that I never really understood cancer until I went through it myself. (Three-year post-chemo checkup this past Monday: all clear, so thankful!) Your mom lived to love you. :-) It’s what we do.

  216. “I have never understood the everybody’s doing it defense expecially when we have examples of people who stood up against it and paid a high price to do so.” — Wendy

    The time I best remember being on the receiving end of “Everybody’s Doing It” was when a sexual predator was trying to high-pressure his way into my pants. (In-between playing the Homophobia card in a one-man Good Cop/Bad Cop performance.)

  217. Diane: “In Voddie’ sermon I linked above, he states he is responsible for 15 families in his church (as each of the elders are) to ensure teachings are being followed. Interesting.”

    So Voddie and his ilk take the place of the Father who is the Vine dresser or husbandman to make sure the branches produce the fruit that they want.

    Very interesting indeed.

    One begins to if Jesus is allowed to be the Vine in their systems and if the branches are allowed to be attached to Him at all.

  218. It is said that students at SBTS are counseled how to appear less Calvinist in order to get a job as a pastor at a non-Calvinist Baptist church, and then they can, over time, convert the church to Calvinista authoritarian (pastor as God’s right hand of rule). — Anon by Choice

    Isn’t this called BAIT and SWITCH?

    Per the executing rebellious children thing – in their defense, I’m pretty sure that was never actually carried out even if the law was on the books. — Hester

    This is called an “ad terrorem” law, and is used (though never carried out) to show the seriousness of the offense. You saw something similar for years in several European countries who DID pass death sentences but always commuted them to imprisonment. This was to show how serious and heinous the crime had been.

  219. Cautionary note: I think David Hackett Fischer overgeneralizes a lot in “Albion’s Seed,” but that doesn’t entirely negate the book’s good points.

    (One thing I’m seeing is that his “explanation” of PA history is lacking – the middle and western parts of the state were settled largely by Scots-Irish, but it’s not as if they never mixed with the Germans or English… there’s no single predominant culture.)

  220. @Mara~

    His Bay Colony sounds like an awful place. I was discouraged hearing about all the meetings every week, small group, hospitality dinner with believers once a month, hospitality dinner with those in the community once a month… monthly this and that, monthly men’s meetings, home inspections, tools for this and modeling for that, and elders ruling over 15 or so families to oversee that the doctrines are being followed…what an oppressive setting.

    Modeling was defined by him as following exactly what YOUR PASTOR is doing.

    Really?

  221. I think the “everybody’s doing it” excuse is more about how we have blind spots when we are more influenced by the culture than by God. We are all guilty of it- the question is what sins (if any) are so gross that they simply defy being “blind spots”. Clearly most modern Calvinists would put slavery and subjugation of women in that list, but not abortion or homosexuality.

  222. “I think the “everybody’s doing it” excuse is more about how we have blind spots when we are more influenced by the culture than by God. We are all guilty of it- the question is what sins (if any) are so gross that they simply defy being “blind spots”. Clearly most modern Calvinists would put slavery and subjugation of women in that list, but not abortion or homosexuality.”

    Obviously I had that last sentence backwards.

  223. “I think the “everybody’s doing it” excuse is more about how we have blind spots when we are more influenced by the culture than by God. We are all guilty of it- the question is what sins (if any) are so gross that they simply defy being “blind spots”. ”

    Jeffs, I sorta resent the implication that ALL of us have similar blind spots. Seriously, We would flee these typess of unjust, cruel punishments only to do the same to others?. And I am not so sure we can attribute this to being influenced by the culture. There is a right and wrong and many saw it as wrong and paid a price for saying so. I think what the Puritans did, defied being a “blind spot” since they fled it from another culture they resented only to do it themselves.

    Roger Williams (and others) thought so,too. My point was the there were others who saw the hypocrisy of the Reformers in Germany, Geneva and Puritans at that time in history and stood up to them paying a HUGE price. Many times with their lives. Often losing their homes.

    What I find frustrating is the push to excuse this behavior because want to find some redeeming quality in some hero’s. When we do not learn from history and we dumb the cruelty down to “blind spots” we are doomed to repeat it. There is no “blind” spot about burning a human being which the Puritans did. It is premeditated, institutionalized heinous sin in the Name of Jesus. Makes me cringe.

    It is ok to condemn it. God is pleased when we love Justice. We are not sinners for condemning the cruelty of the Puritans since so many are promoting them as godly people for us to emulate. I mean, you cannot swing a dead cat here without some praise of Puritans. That is one reason I was so thrilled to see Propaganda’s song. I was starting to think I was losing my mind….did no one else see the inherent cruelty of the Puritans? Some rewriting of history is going on right now. They institutionalized their cruelty and practiced sin. there are blogs where you are slammed if you bring up FACTS about them. All are Reformed blogs.

  224. Numo, some of my reading on the Puritans is making me want to learn more about the early Quackers. They sound interesting in how they came here and clashed with the Puritans who hated them. Any suggestions?

  225. Dee, are we talking about the same James MacDonald who wrote an article titled: Congregationalism is from Satan? Bill Kinnon wrote about it and MacDonald actually engaged the blog post calling him a “celebrity blogger”.

    He is also an advisor on the SBC’s new Gospel Project that Lifeway is rolling out to teach cradle to grave concerning the Gospel but deny it has a Calvinist bent. The advisors and creators are all REformed. First of it’s kind in the SBC in eons. I find it incredible that one who thinks congregationalism is from Satan was tagged to advise the SBC on curriculum, but here we are.

  226. Anon1, first off, I wasn’t making any argument at all, just clarifying the logic (or il-logic if you prefer). Second, when I said we all have “blind spots”, I specifically was trying to say that some so-called “blind spots” are so gross that they don’t qualify. I apologize if that was unclear in my post. I don’t think I said anything that would indicate I think we all have views that are in any way similar to holding slaves.

  227. JeffS, I spend too much time around YRR here. They are everywhere and I am just about done with the “man of his time” defense for everything from burning servetus to the puritans. YOu would not believe how many YRR are unwittingly using the Nuremburg defense for burning people! They have literally told me they were only following the law!!!!

    I over reacted to you. But I was not clear why you felt the need to bring up garden variety “blind spots” when we are really talking about heinous behavior where there is no real excuse for people who were fleeing such behavior toward them only to do it to others in their new country. It confused me.

  228. Wendy – do you have a link to this? Our church leaders have been turning up the temp on TGC/Calvinista stuff over about 5 years, and some of the elders (not aware of what the TGC stands for) might be surprised by this info – can you point to where I might go to get some backing on this “infiltration” plan? I know, I know, why do I go to such a church? I ask myself this a lot!

  229. @ WTH:

    Oh, perfectly aware that The Crucible has little to do with the actual Puritans… It’s just what I thought of when I read the comment.

  230. I brought it up because the argument “everyone is doing it” implies that we are aware of sin and do it anyway, where that isn’t the argument being made. Rather the argument is that the perpetrators of the sin are unaware that it is sin.

    Earlier it was asked why the argument “everyone is doing it” kept being proffered, so I thought we should at least clearly identify the justification being used before trying to answer.

    There definitely is a difference between willful disobedience and ignorance. The former is clearly wrong. The latter becomes a question of what sins are so great that we cannot be ignorant of them while having the indwelling of the holy spirit. I don’t know the answer to the latter question and have spent a lot of time thinking about it. I do know that the list differed depending on who you ask.

  231. @ Diane:

    “Modeling was defined by him as following exactly what YOUR PASTOR is doing.”

    I remember reading an article by a Reformed writer once (can’t remember who) where he (if I remember correctly) counseled his Calvinist readers who are in non-Calvinist churches to leave, because they cannot really “imitate the faith” of their leaders unless they are in a Calvinist church. I also can’t remember where in the Bible it says to imitate the faith of your leaders – correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought it said to imitate Christ.

  232. Eagle, thanks for sharing.

    I knew John Piper was off when I saw a video saying that if his family were to die in a tragedy (might have said road accident, can’t recall exactly) he would get down and praise God for it all (like, right then and there). I didn’t get the context, but that struck me as so wrong. Look at Jesus when Mary told him Lazarus died. He wept. Then he corrected the sad situation (but, that is what God can do). His humanness was tears, sorrow, etc. Not some fatalistic who-hoo.

    But that brochure you mentioned is just too beyond Christianity for me to believe this guy got so popular! If sickness is so wonderful, why were Jesus and the apostle’s messing up the good thing by healing people? I lived in south Asia for a year and what struck me as so difficult for progress was the (more peasant-like class’) attitude to bad things – “Kae gar nay” or “what to do?” (Nepali).

    They said this about: corruption, high road fatalities, illness, girls getting killed or sold into brothels, etc. I thought, if only they could see what Christianity has done in the last few years, thrown off the ancient fatalism (I thought) and started saying “we were granted dominion over the earth”, then their country would rock! Then, I came back home and began to notice a lot of fatalism in Christianity – especially Calvinism (but not exclusively so).

    Piper sounds more like an ancient pagan worshipper than a Christian, but hey, if you put a frog in a cool pot of water, and sloooowly turn up the heat, he doesn’t notice as much.

  233. RE: Anon 1 on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM,

    You might enjoy reading “Moral Minority ~ Our Skeptical Founding Fathers” by Brooke Allen. She devotes an entire chapter to John Adams, his Puritan heritage, and how it shaped him as a Founding Father.

  234. Dee, are we talking about the same James MacDonald who wrote an article titled: Congregationalism is from Satan?

    The same!

  235. I also can’t remember where in the Bible it says to imitate the faith of your leaders – correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought it said to imitate Christ. — Hester

    It’s in one of Paul’s Epistles. The actual quote is “Imitate me, AS I IMITATE CHRIST.”

    And all these Elect Spiritual Leaders (TM) don’t seem to be imitating Christ.

  236. Well…

    CLEARLY the bible is wrong, because Baucham specifically said we are to do as our pastors do. :-)

  237. You would not believe how many YRR are unwittingly using the Nuremburg defense for burning people! They have literally told me they were only following the law!!!! — Anon1

    “Ich habe nur meine Befehle ausgefert” is a valid defense ONLY within the Prussian/German bureaucratic tradition from 1870 to 1945.

  238. “It is said that students at SBTS are counseled how to appear less Calvinist in order to get a job as a pastor at a non-Calvinist Baptist church, and then they can, over time, convert the church to Calvinista authoritarian (pastor as God’s right hand of rule).” — Anon by Choice

    These are standard “Salami Tactics” used during the early Cold War. (Named because you get one more thin slice of salami, then another, then another, until one day you’ve gobbled it all up.) That was how the Late Stalin-era USSR secured Eastern Europe into its Warsaw Pact.

  239. HUG: “And all these Elect Spiritual Leaders (TM) don’t seem to be imitating Christ.”

    But they believe that they truly are imitating Christ because they have lost sight of Him and instead have formed a plastic Jesus in their own image and think that Jesus thinks the way they do.

    Psalm 50:21: “These things you have done and I kept silence;
    You thought that I was just like you;
    I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.”

  240. Val, Look for The Quiet Revolution by Ernest Reisinger. It is all in there. The whole stealth method. you see we’re too dumb to understand Calvinism so he advises them not to use the terminology.

  241. http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2010/10/quiet-revolution-or-open-celebration-calvinizing-the-southern-baptist-convention-by-peter-lumpkins.html

    Val, here is a link about the book. sorry the link is so long I don’t know how to make them tiny. if you google the book, it will take you to the founderssite. the founders of the guys who want to take the Southern Baptist Convention back to its root of Calvinism. the link above is a pastor who is a gets to taking theSBaptist Convention back to Calvinism. he is also a former Calvinist.

    sorry for all the mistakes I’m on my phone

  242. Appropos of MacDonald, how many here have been reading The Elephant’s Debt this week?

  243. I haven’t read Dee’s expose of James McDonald and the Harvest Bible Chapel but being a true Wartburg groupie; a member of the Amen Chorus, I wish to express my thoughts BEFORE the Grand Jury convenes to accuse the Nefarious Scoundrel, James McDonald, of unbelievable evil deeds. Here it is.

    I’m STUNNED, SICKENED, AGHAST, SHOCKED by what he’s about to be accused of.

    I suspect his library has John Piper’s books, tapes by R.C. Sproul Jr., an invitation to dinner at Al Mohler’s house and other HORRIFIC indications of seed gone bad. And he calls himself a pastor. I’m heartbroken.

    p.s. Commenter Anon2 was stalking Mahaney today and noted he didn’t say “grace” before digging into his Taco BellGrande. Surely “the girls” will have a field day with that tidbit in the near future after they finish up feasting on Brother James.

    [On a more serious note; if every posts brings cries of “Shocked, Stunned, Stupified, Aghast, Horrified I don’t think you’ve experienced a very long life; or if you have you haven’t paid attention. There is, to quote serial philanderer King Solomon, “nothing new under the sun.” I’d like to encourage you to “get a grip,” but I won’t.]

  244. Anon 1,

    You can use tinyurl.com to make tiny links. Just copy and paste the original link into the box and hit the button and you will get a tiny url.

    http://tinyurl.com/

    I’d use it myself more often if I weren’t so lazy. :)

  245. “I’m STUNNED, SICKENED, AGHAST, SHOCKED by what he’s about to be accused of.”

    Me too…

    I mean, what you are about to be accused of being…per professing Christian pastor? Jared Wilson’s twitter 9 hours ago today:

    “If you loved Jesus, you’d love his hot mess of a Bride”

    What does hot mess mean? Doesn’t sound too good…

    1} “When ones thoughts or appearance are in a state of disarray but they maintain an undeniable attractiveness or beauty.”
    (doubt he means physical beauty…no…)

    2) “a derogatory term describing a situation, behavior, appearance, etc. that is disastrously bad. Think “faux pas” but times ten. Possible origin is literal (think, steaming dogpile).”
    (ooh…no, don’t think he would dare say that…)

    3) “An attractive person, generally female, that repeatedly engages in situations which could negatively impact his or her social, mental, societal, and legal reputation. Examples include, repeated and excessive alcohol and/or drug consumption, a habit of being ejected from drinking establishments, a general disregard for the law concerning public safety, petty theft from convenience stores/supermarkets, and a voice that is about 3 decibels louder than everyone else.”
    (etoh abuse? ejected from bars? theft? drug abuse?… hmmm)

    4) “When someone’s life is a mess but they are still super hot.”
    (Oh–he means a super hot Bride of Christ?)

    5) “An hot girl who is looking like she has been drinking and doing blow for 36 straight.”
    (Jimmy…what do you think? anybody?)

    6) “Someone or Something that is such a mess… the level of it, is off of the charts. It’s past pathetic, past pitiful. It’s to the point you almost have to walk away to keep from bustin a gut. Hot messes can exist in levels.”
    (maybe–bustin a gut depraved?… could that be it?)

    7) “An attractive person, usually female, whose appearance is detrimentally affected by their level of drunkenness.”
    (well…that doesn’t sound too good…)

    8) “When one looks terrible, or acts in such a way that makes them unpleasant to be around.”
    (awww….thanks for the compliment, Jared)

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hot+mess

  246. Anon 1 – Am drawing a blank right now on Quaker (quacker – hah!! lotsa ducks here, too :)) history, with the exception of E. Digby Baltzell’s book – now o.p. – Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia. but I would think that any decent history of early PA and/or of William penn would be helpful.

    As to what Quakers went through in England, again, I’m sure there’s a good deal out there, but offhand, I don’t know of titles. I want to read more about the English Civil War(s), Cromwell et. al., which is contemporaneous with the MA Bay Colony and early PA… if I find some good titles, I’ll let you know!

  247. Jimmy a “true Wartburg groupie” ? I think not. But you sure spend a whole lotta time over here though. And I always feel lobotomised after I read your posts. It’s not the critique (which I welcome) – it’s how it’s done, and the heart that it comes from…

  248. Just to break the tension for a bit – apparently the “frog in the saucepan of boiling water” thing is a myth :-). Amphibians do have brains, and their nervous system does tell them when things are getting uncomfortable!

  249. “You might enjoy reading “Moral Minority ~ Our Skeptical Founding Fathers” by Brooke Allen. She devotes an entire chapter to John Adams, his Puritan heritage, and how it shaped him as a Founding Father.”

    Thanks Muff, I will check it out. Some others have made the case before to me. I could see their points but not convinced. I am one of the few who believe that both Adams and Jefferson were right. I think the tension created by their policy differences was excellent for America in the early years. May we get that tension back!

  250. Diane, you have chronicled the vapid thought processes of what is filling pulpits today and trying to “brand” themselves on the internet. what is amazing is that they have followers who really think they are deep. They are little boys who never had to grow up and get real jobs.

  251. Eagle

    This one is fascinating. It is amazing how Neo Calvinism can suddenly embrace prosperity theology, especially when it come to living in a $1.9 million mansion.

  252. @ Anon 1,
    Not sure what case others have tried to convince you of, but if it was the sort of twaddle that David Barton tries to promulgate, he’s been soundly discredited by reputable scholars. I can assure you though, I am just as heretical and apostate as Adams was. ===> (smiley face goes here)

    I should have written that Allen’s treatment of Adams’ Calvinist background describes how he did NOT affirm it as a Founding Father.

  253. Thanks Muff, I was a bit confused on that score as I have heard the same drivel from such enthusiasts here. Adams is my favorite curmudgeon Founder. I mean the guy was a bonafide curmudgeon and I love him for it. I will check out the book. My reading list is growing!

  254. Dee and Eagle,
    Speaking of a 1.9 million dollar mansion, Mars Hill is scheduled to close a 1.9 million deal 10-17 to purchase (yet) another building–this one in Tacoma. Renovations will cost at least another 1.5 million. I read a little of the Elephant’s Debt, brought on partially by a buying/building spree, and couldn’t help but wonder if a 65 million debt will be in the MH future. If I were only a prophet…
    http://marshill.com/2012/09/29/mars-hill-tacomas-vision-prayer-night-a-photo-essay
    PS Sorry to hijack thread once again to Driscoll– I know some would like more discussion of CJ in this thread…Dryly… This Tacoma expansion is personal to me, since I was employed 2 years by the church selling them this old/beautiful/money-pit building, and one of my daughters lives 2 blocks away.

  255. On the subject of neo-reformed infiltration, I wanted to fill in the blanks a little more. I was confused about why my brother was looking at churches that weren’t Calvinist. It didn’t make any sense. So I asked him and his wife something along the lines of “Why don’t you just focus on your job search on Calvinist churches? Leave the SBC if necessary.” I wasn’t being rude or hateful. I was being sincere. (At the time, I had no idea the direction that some in the SBC wanted to go. I knew nothing about Calvinistas. I was disagreeing with him more and more doctrinally and in practical terms, but I didn’t know how bad it was or would be.) They got absolutely furious with me for my suggestion. That period was the beginning of the end of our relationship with them.

    Why is it necessary to infiltrate churches and gradually convert them to Calvinism?

  256. It is a way to have a salary, building and congregation rather than starting from scratch. Instant church to be Calvinista in reasonably short order. Much less work and time, and instant salary.

  257. Dave A A, the real estate series hasn’t ended so anything associated with MH real estate acquisitions is fine by me. Wenatchee the Hatchet will get to Mars Hill Tacoma at some point (hopefully).

  258. “It is a way to have a salary, building and congregation rather than starting from scratch. Instant church to be Calvinista in reasonably short order. Much less work and time, and instant salary.”

    That has not worked in the SBC so Mohler had his former pastor and protege, Kevin Ezell, installed at NAMB to spend the CP dollars planting REformed churches for the YRR including partnering with Acts 29 and I fear, SGM, soon, since they moved to Louisville and Mahaney has started a new church plant. (that one was for you, Jimmy)

    A guy I know just left a church to go and plant a Sojourn church in Georgia of all places. We all know Georgia needs more SBC churches, right? No, the problem is that Mohler wants more Reformed churches because the existing ones are hard to take over.

  259. John Adams was Unitarian.

    And… yes, there were lots of bad things happening in the MA Bay Colony, but I can’t imagine that *everyone* there was a mess.

    otoh, read Nathaniel Hawthorne… 😉 (Seriously. One of his ancestors was a judge at the Salem with trials. Hawthorne changed the spelling of his last name to try and put some distance between them and his own life.)

  260. WTH,
    No shortage of fodder for you there! The First Congregational of Tacoma is down to 40 members, so they’re happy to unload their elephant. Wasn’t the early NT church all about buying more properties? :) Is MH still looking for an accountant to ‘create value for the eldership”? Creative accounting may be needed when some scandal happens and the giving goes down. 😉

  261. I’m a long way behind on these comments and have skipped through some of it, but just read the Fuqua article and, my goodness, that guy’s loose screws have loose screws. Of course according to him, I’m the anti-Christ because I’m ‘liberal’ so my views would be invalid.

  262. Hello all! it’s been a while since I have been able to comment on here, but I have been able to follow along with this recent post and some of this long comment thread..

    Just a few comments:

    Appreciate the post not only on here but Thabiti’s post at TGC. I like what Thabiti said here (and not just because I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan :) “The Puritans are not so precious that they’re beyond criticism. We ought not be reduced to Gollums, defending our “precious” at any cost. Instead, we ought to observe how our “precious” actually emaciates our souls and our understanding. And we ought to see that we become what we worship”..

    That was a great point:.. It is rather easy to fall prey to “hero” worship.. And I think we all can fall victim to this in various ways… We were all created to worship..but sometimes we miss the mark and worship something or someone aside from Christ

    I love to read books and listen to sermons from teachers and pastors of all types from time to time.. (Yes, even some that are not so popular here at TWW)..Many times I find it edifying and valuable and sometimes I don’t..but everytime, I try to check myself to make sure I am not elevating their words, opinions, actions, or interpretations, over Christ..sometimes, without realizing it, i start to view these people more preciois than I ought…and then i am reminded that Jesus is the only true Precious One in my life…and the only true Hero.. For the rest of us…well.. Thank God for His grace!!

    SO many great conversations in the comments, but I will resist the temptation to jump in and leave it at this… Sadly, my blogging time on here has been severely replaced with grading papers and planning every night as the school year is in full swing lately!

  263. Imagine getting an eduction about church history and proper Christian reading from a rap song? This whole superficial approach to making such important decisions is fearful. In the last year I narrated the work, The Christian Warfare by John Downame written around 1609. I was alarmed at my own carelessness and marvelled how it is that many of us don’t have a proper clue of the battle we are in against the enemy of our souls. As well I narrated Stephen Charnock on “Man’s Enmity to God.” and realized if we could convince the unconverted that by nature all men hate God, the work of conviction would be half done. Now I am working through John Owen’s Treatise on Indwelling Sin and have to hear about professing Christians who make their decisions about what is right and wrong by the lyrics of rap artists, and I can’t but be scared that a darkness has affected so much of modern christendom that I can echo the words of Legh Richmond on his deathbed in 1827 who said, Brother we are half awake, we are none of us more than half awake.

  264. Dear All
    I have posted on the Pure Church blog about this subject and would like to repeat a couple of points. No-one is without sin. The puritans like everyone else were sinners. They lived in a different time and dealt with their times according to their interpretation of Scripture. Some argued that slavery was “permissable” in the context of God’s Order, others argued that it wasn’t and sought to change things. We can’t change the past and we have no authority to apologise for their mistakes. Even if we could, it wouldn’t change their times. Evil is to be opposed throughout the ages and I think it is a “cop-out” to focus on the evils of the past while ignoring those of the present.

    There seems to be some misunderstanding about the likes of Luther and Whitefield. Both took the God’s Order view but both spoke out against mistreatment of slaves, using language very similar to the rapper.

    Calvin too comes in for a lot of criticism, particularly regarding control and discipline. In fact he differentiates between all kinds of sins -some are faults, some are wilful, some accidental. In his time too all men were sinners and even redeemed ones can act wrongly.

    I don’t know too much about the American neo-Calvinists that are mentioned like Mr Driscoll but it seems to me that he views himself as a bit of a “shock jock”, not unlike Thabiti when he talks about race.

    The point of all this is simple. We are no better than anyone else and we should not be so arrogant as to assume that we are. Pointing to the faults of others in the past will not make us any holier in the present. And no, we shouldn’t set anyone or anything up on a pedestal. It’s all pretty basic stuff…but exceptionally difficult to achieve.

    Regards
    Gavin White

  265. Thomas,

    I wish I could understand your comment. Not sure the point you are making. Is it the “rap” you have a problem with or disagreement with the sentiments in the rap song concerning the popularity of the slave owning Puritans?

    I will say that Puritan John Owen’s current popularity scares me. A lot.

    I would say that the Puritans lost that battle on many fronts. They (the leaders) institutionalized injustice and called it godly. I am not one just to read their words but to also pay attention to their actions. I believe that doctrine drives behavior. Their behavior toward other believers and unbelievers was cruel and unjust and definitely not Christ exhalting at all. But they believed their cruelty toward others who disagreed or dared to disagree pleased God.

  266. “We are no better than anyone else and we should not be so arrogant as to assume that we are. Pointing to the faults of others in the past will not make us any holier in the present. And no, we shouldn’t set anyone or anything up on a pedestal. It’s all pretty basic stuff…but exceptionally difficult to achieve.”

    What a strange assumption. But it is an excellent attempt to shut people up from discussing WHY the Puritans are all the rage now in YRR circles. Why are they touted as godly by the YRR but when we discuss the problems with that view, it is suggested it is to make ourselves feel more Holy.

    This is the typical YRR or indoctrinated doublespeak. The New Calvinist movement IS putting Puritans on a pedestal. That is the problem and the reason why more are waking up and saying, wait a minute. Let us take a closer look.

    And you have only offered another typical Nuremburg defense. Scares me how many Christian men fall for this. Many are pastors or wanna be pastors. That should be a red flag for us.

    History records that there were people who stood up to the ungodly cruel punishments and beliefs of the Puritans and paid a high price. To suggest “everyone was doing it” and that is how it worked back then is a cop out. There were some who put their livlihoods and even their lives on the line to go against them. Let us honor their memory instead of defending or excusing cruel tyrannical Puritan leaders who wiped out Indians, burned women and men, banished people, etc.

  267. Anon1, as I understand it, Edwards ended his life living with and ministering to the Indians. Is he an example of someone to celebrate or someone to abhor?

    I’m not trying to be argumentative (and not at all suggesting that you think you are better than anyone else)- I’m asking questions becuse I still have many.

  268. When I have read about the issue of slaves in historical documents, I have never heard of slaves on the Mayflower. From what I understood most Puritans did not own slaves at all and this is news to me about Edwards owning slaves. Also racial slavery is much different indentured servants. I will have to google this.

  269. Numo

    I have toured the House of the Seven Gables probably 20 times. It was within walking distance of my home in Salem. The little house in which Hawthorne wrote is still on the grounds. Thank you for telling me something about Hawthorne that I did not know. 

    “One of his ancestors was a judge at the Salem with trials. Hawthorne changed the spelling of his last name to try and put some distance between them and his own life.”

  270. google…..google…..well that is something I was unaware of. This is also why I am leary of those who advocate KJV onlyist. In the letter to Timothy by Paul it said that the Torah is against “manstealing” in the KJV. Other translation put it as “slavery” not manstealing.

  271. Thomas

    I have read your comments over at Thabiti’s blog. I think that you are being judgmental about “learning history from rappers.” I gew up in Salem and spent my childhood playing in the museums and historical sites since it was free to Salem students. I have perused the records at The Witch House, where the trials took place. I played at a park called Gallows Hill and would often show tourists where that site was, since, at that time, it was not a designated historical site.

    I happen to know much about your “precious Puritans. “( Sorry, I could not resist.) You can read their writings and marvel at their religious understanding. However, actions speak louder than words. And there were terrible problems  with the Puritans. They were sinners, terrible sinners, just like you and I are.

    When people view other persons as an item to buy and sell, there is something that goes on in one’s soul. A sense that perhpas your kind of people are just a bit better than other kind of people. One buys and sells those who are created in the image of God. It is my contention that this systemic evil has led to our current devlauing of life. Those sins of slave owners, some of whom were Puritans, are visited upon us today.

    From an historical perspective, I am glad you are preserving the writings of the Puriatns just as I am gald that there are those who preserve the thoughts of slaves. I love history.

    However, I am not so sure that convincing people of how much they hate God will lead to a revival. In fact, I, who grew up in a nonreligious home in Salem, was brought to the Lord by being convinced of the fact that this Lordd of the unniverse love me, a nobody teen, and wated a relationship with me. I became a Christian and did not know any other Christians in my small community. I was the token “Jesus freak.” Had you had a go at me on how much I hate God and how much I deserved eternal condmentaion, i would have most likely tuned out your Puritan message.

  272. JeffS

    We are complex beings. The point that Thabiti makes is very important. We must never, ever forget the sinfulness that exists in each Christian. We are positionally holy and functionally sinful. This is very, very important. If we took this message to heart, we would not fall in the rut of pastor worship or idol hunting. We would not spin our wheels trying to  make our current heroes du jour into minigods, who rarely sin except to overeat. We might understand why we have devalued life all over the world. It certainly began with the idea that humans can buy, own and decide the lives of other humans.

  273. Casey

    Tituba, the SLAVE for a Puritan family from the West Indies, was instrumental in starting the witch hysteria.

  274. Dear Anon1
    I’m not offering a defence Nurnberg, Wittenberg or Geneva. I’m simply pointing out that your righteous belligerence should be directed at something you might be able to Influence – like the killing of innocent Muslims by UAVs – rather than stuff that’s long past.
    Regards
    Gavin White

  275. Dee- I’m totally with you. In fact, I’ve never read anything from Edwards, Calvin, Agustine, or any other historical teachers. I’m not discounting their contributions to our understanding of scripture, and were I a teacher myself I would probably try to understand the thought processes and teachings of these men and others. Not to parrot their teaching, but because there is a lot to be learned from those who have gone before us.

    To be honest, I never really thought about the personal lives of these people before. I knew about Servetus and Calvin, but while it’s certain Calivn sinned, it’s hard to know if he was guilty of murder or some lesser sin. What I’ve come to think is that my goal should be to look at scripture, see if what Calvin taught helps or hinders my understanding, and leave it there. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what kind of person Calvin was, it only matters who Jesus was and what the Bible says.

    But this song does ask some good questions and made me think about what we are saying when we use the teaching of people like Edwards. I’m just reading Tim Keller’s book Generous Justice and he quotes Edwards extensively as a rebuke to Christians who make excuses for not aiding the poor and oppressed. As someone who has only ever thought of Edwards as a “Fiery Clavinist Preacher”, I was surprised reading such a compassionate view of the poor that many Conservitives would outright reject today. Slave ownership or no, reading that stuff moved me quite a bit, drove me back into scripture, and caused me to start re-evaluating whether or not my life is truly bringing the kind of justice (in terms of alleviating oppression) to this world that God commands. So I don’t know what kind of man Edwards was, but Keller used his sermon to convict me of a heart that could be more compassionate- I count that as a good thing.

    Yet I cannot discount was Propaganda says abiut how it feels to hear Puritins quoted. I wonder how he would feel reading that book by Keller?

    I have no hero but Jesus Christ, but I believe He uses the words of saints and sinners alike to drive us to Him.

  276. One more point. The writings of the Puritans usually become popular or are rediscovered during times of refreshing after long periods of barrenness. The last time was in the late 50s thru to the mid-seventies in the UK. This might be the USA catching up.

  277. Jeffs, I would rather we neither celebrate or abhor Edwards. I would hope we can ask ourselves the hard questions of histor y instead of ignoring the evils institutionalized by Christians. the question I would like to see us ask is WHY man decided that individuals have rights and could govern himself. does anyone here think that concept comes from God?

  278. Gee Gavin, the blog post topic is the Puritans. do you often come to threads and tell people what they should be talking about? do you often describe what is passion and resolute as belligerent?

  279. Gavin, perhaps it is the opposite. the Puritans become popular with those who want to control people, too.

  280. Anon1, I agree- however, what I am awakened to a little more than before is how we can seem to celebrate individuals if we don’t put them in their proper context.

  281. Wow! 329 comments. I guess all of us white folks are getting our opportunity to prove our anti-racist bona fides.

    Here are some thoughts:

    1. No group in Christian history, or any history for that matter, gets a pass for its sins.

    2. Any group who comes up with a good idea, should be recognized as coming up with a good idea. The Puritans had some great things to say about the Gospel. O.K. So, now the Puritans are having sort of a rebirth for some of the good things they said. What’s so bad about that? If they said some good things, celebrate and cite them.

    3. The other religious groups who came to the U.S. don’t get a pass. How about those of the Church of England? Were they less racist? I don’t think so. And they even persecuted the Baptists who stood for separation of church and state. Hey, that’s a great idea promoted by another group. Yay Baptists! Way to go Baptists! Does that mean Baptists were perfect? No. (see point 1 above.)

    4. Is it the business of modern Christians to condemn anybody? I wonder about this from time to time. It’s fine to point out truth and facts. But when we move to condemnation, whether it’s a current figure or someone from the past, are we trying to take somebody else’s job? The jobe shouldn’t be equal condemnation for all persons, but not condemnation for anyone.

    5. I have just come recently (hours) from the “belly of the beast.” Ground zero for all things reformed in the U.S. Without sharing any private facts, I can tell you directly (and you heard it from me) that Thabiti is not “in trouble”, looked down upon, has not made anyone angry etc. Thabiti’s TGC and T4TG credentials are as shiny as they ever have been. Any report you hear to the contrary is speculation and divination. Some may wish it to be so. Your wishes will go unfulfilled.

    6. Lots of Christians say stupid things.

    7. Lots of people in the pop culture say stupid things. I would hope that our brilliant musical artist would be able to learn some things from Jonathan Edwards. It’s a pity that we live in a culture and sometimes support the idea that he should not. Hey, I was just reading Aristotle. Maybe since he was a pagan, I can’t learn anything from him. “Don’t be quoting any old white, dead pagans to me…” Can someone help me write that song. Dee and Deb, if you help, I will assign all of the royalties to you.

    8. I have not heard this song, and unless it bubbles up more in the popular culture (it gets played in spin class or on my radio station), I probably won’t hear it.

  282. Anonymous,

    “Wow! 329 comments. I guess all of us white folks are getting our opportunity to prove our anti-racist bona fides.”

    After reading your “thoughts”, I wouldn’t include you in the “white folks getting our opportunity to prove our anti-racist bonafides” group.

  283. Anonymous,

    I’m not actually calling you a racist, but your “thoughts” certainly don’t “prove” your anti-racism. They prove to be loaded with sarcasm and lack of compassion though.

  284. We already have too much pastorolatry and famous preacher/writer olatry, treating them like little gods and seemingly unable to see their faults and false teachings. I hear Christians more often praising their pastor, music minister, etc., than their God, in conversations with me and others. That said, we do not need to make idols of anyone, including Calvin, the Puritans, etc., and our culture has a real tendency to do that. People swoon at music, TV and movie stars, and more people know what is happening on Survivor or Americal IDOL (after all) than in the political scene for Congress, which might actually affect everyone’s life and rights. (E.g., SCt authorizing the govt to obtain your cell phone messages, etc., without a warrant and with no recourse vis a vis your service provider, even if it violates your contract with them.)

    Please, no more worship of human beings. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and whatever else they do, when they put themselves out in the public sphere, they have licensed the world to critique whatever they have said and to find fault with what has been said. Otherwise, they could keep their thoughts to themselves.

  285. Arce,

    “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and whatever else they do, when they put themselves out in the public sphere, they have licensed the world to critique whatever they have said and to find fault with what has been said.”

    Excellent point, Arce. And as Koyla pointed out, we are told in scripture to assess the standards and qualifications of our teachers and leaders.

  286. Anonymous

    Your words ring hollow. But, then again, they well demonstrate our contention about the “attitudes” of the YRR crowd and I do thank you for demonstrating what we often talk about over here. Your comment was most illuminating.

    Thabiti, an African American, is speaking to the issues of Puritans and racism. They do not get a pass on that. I never was one for flowery words and ideas. Words lead to actions and there were some serious, despicable actions within the Puritan community. I am far more interested in trying to figure out how such wonderful words could provoke acceptance of slavery, the witch trials, the land grabs, etc. It is a lesson for all of us. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    This is a weird statement. “Wow! 329 comments. I guess all of us white folks are getting our opportunity to prove our anti-racist bona fides.” I lived on the Navajo reservation and have worked extensively in low income communities. I have long been one to decry any sort of racial segregation . This post was not proof of my bona fides. I let my life speak for that.

    I was interested in Thabiti’s approach to this issue. And I make my judgment on how that post played by the comments on his blog along with comments/posts by other Calvinistas. Some of those comments were, shall we say, interesting.That was the intent of this post.It worked because it sure sucked you in!

    Why note the number of comments? Does it annoy you? Could you be jealous that we get more comments than many at TGC? :) Dang women! And you show your ignorance by not listening to something that you are commenting on. It takes about 4 minutes but I am sure you have more Puritans that need to be read.

    Just so you know, I spend quite a bit of time reading ALL of TGC, Mohler, your profs, 9 Marks, etc even when I find some of it irritating. Perhaps you should do the same? It builds character!

    We thank you for taking the time to come over here to so winsomely admonish us. At least you read what we wrote. Maybe one day it will sink in. Sometimes it takes me days/months/years to understand things.

  287. Wendy:

    Thank you for confirming that you are not accusing me of being a racist. I could not tell from the first comment, and appreciate very much your taking the effort to follow up.

    I am not a racist. I find that to be one of the sins, next to unbelief and the denial of God’s word, that has affected the church the most.

    I did not read all 379 comments, or any of them, so I don’t know who said what to this post.

    I believe that my comments are accurate. I know that you believe them to contain sarcasm.

    I would be sincerely interested if you think any of my comments are incorrect.

    If you knew how culturally behind I was in music, you would understand why I probably won’t hear this song in my regular course.

    As much as I dislike racism, I also dislike charges of racism that are not warranted (I believe racsim results in the Scarlet letter of our generation).

    And I dislike self righteousness about racism.

  288. Gavin

    You said ” Evil is to be opposed throughout the ages and I think it is a “cop-out” to focus on the evils of the past while ignoring those of the present.” Don’t worry, we do that here all the time. Have you read our stuff on pedophilia and the church?

    You said “We are no better than anyone else and we should not be so arrogant as to assume that we are. Pointing to the faults of others in the past will not make us any holier in the present. And no, we shouldn’t set anyone or anything up on a pedestal.”

    Have you been reading this blog? I have repeatedly said that even on best days my motives are mixed. I am well aware that I am a sinful human being. But, that does not exempt me from speaking out against atrocities that we see in the world. And so we do. You are more than welcome to speak out against my sins as well.

    Finally, I do not care that Calvin and whoever said we should “treat slaves well.” Buying and selling those who are created in the image of God is despicable and a deep sin no matter how many times you high five them and give them an hour of free time out of the goodness of your heart.

  289. Anonymous
    I don’t care if your do not like the charges of racism in this generation. The Puritans owned slaves and that is both racist and degrading.

    And righteousness regarding racism is a cop out. It is wrong. It was wrong. Even recently there was an SBC church which refused to marry an interracial couple. So, racism is still alive and well.

    So, was Thabiti being wrongly “righteous” about racism?

  290. Anonymous

    Be very careful when you accuse some people of trying to establish their bonafides. You are speaking to an audience of people of diverse heritages and races. This is not an all white blog. Also, there are people who comment on this blog who have given up a great deal to live in low income ares of racial diversity. They have sacrificed much. For you to accuse them,of “establishing their bon fides” shows a profound misunderstanding of the sacrificial lives of some who comment here.

  291. Dee:

    I did not admonish you. Please do not hear me saying that. I am glad you wrote the post.

    Anyone who promotes racism or forgives racsim or covers it up etc. is doing something very wrong.

    It is predicable that when a blogger writes a post about racism that you are going to have a bunch of comments, especially from whites.

    White Americans who have had nothing to do with racism often have the most to say about racsim.

    I am not talking about you and Deb or the post. It’s the psychology.

    It is an observable socialogical phenonenmon that white people (even those who were born at 1980) are all the rage about proving how non-racist they are.

    At what point does that become an idol?

    I don’t know. But I know that self-righteousness exists in my heart and it’s one of the things that Jesus condemns the most. “Thank God that I am not like that publican…”

    I think that I brought up some interesting thoughts in my comments. And I would enjoy your thoughts on them, if you wanted to engage.

    Thanks, again, for your thoughts. I would urge you not to take anything I have said as a personal rebuke, but that is something I can’t control.

    Oh, but on one point (and this is not a rebuke), you really do need to know that TGC and T4TG guys are in no way upset with Thabiti, despite indications or thoughts to the contrary.

  292. Gavin,

    “We are no better than anyone else and we should not be so arrogant as to assume that we are. Pointing to the faults of others in the past will not make us any holier in the present.”

    True, we’re all sinners. We sin daily. That’s why we all need Jesus. Dee, several other commenters, and I have all stated that over and over in this comment thread. That isn’t the point.

    The point is it’s dangerous to lift up men as teachers and leaders, past or present, who have not lived by the godly principles laid out in scripture to hold those positions. Enslaving, selling, torturing, and burning human beings whether that was accepted, the “in” thing, part of the culture, is wrong. There were many folks who not only knew it was wrong, but stepped up to fight for and protect their fellow human beings.

    There are things today that “everybody is doing” (or ignoring) that are wrong. Thank God for those who step up to the plate and do the right thing, instead of turning a blind eye and staying in their comfort zone.

    I disagree that pointing to the atrocities of those in the past isn’t helpful to us in the present. As Dee and other commenters have said, we must learn from our collective past, lest we repeat it.

  293. Dee:

    I cannot understand why you are perceiving things as you are.

    Some Puritans (I don’t know what percentage) owned slaves and that was wrong. It should not be covered up. It should be discussed as accurate history. I am absolutely fine with that.

    Slave ownership was wrong. Racism is wrong. I have said that – several times now. And on other blogs you have written.

    Why the constant chiding and need to try and get me to repeat what I have said many times before, on post and others?

    As for bona fides, anyone on here who has proven that in real life already has them. I would not know either way. They are not looking for and do not need approval from me. They know who they are. And they don’t need their words on this blog to prove it either.

    And those on this blog who are self righteous and glory in their self righteousness know who they are. I don’t know who they are. But life, experience, and my own heart reminds me that I especially have to watch out for that. It will make me a very demanding and prickly person, I have found.

  294. Anonymous –

    Oh, but on one point (and this is not a rebuke), you really do need to know that TGC and T4TG guys are in no way upset with Thabiti, despite indications or thoughts to the contrary.

    Do you speak for all of these men and actually know all of their thoughts? That would be quite a feat. I will take it at face value that you do know all of them and what they think, and that they are good with Thabiti’s post. Maybe they will think about who they quote now by putting themselves in someone elses shoes and “loving their neighbor as themself.” I would suggest quoting scripture more than men.

  295. Anonymous

    The human race blew it.  Slavery and racism, the degrading of humans, have been so endemic in the world throughout time that it may take centuries of speaking out against it before the pain is forgotten. Today we bear the after effects of racism and slavery. It corrupted our culture and has left wounds that run deep. Todays societies devalue human life, I believe, in part from millenia of devaluation due to slavery and  racisim. And we will bear the scars of that wretched history for the forseeable future.

    I’m sorry that I was upset but establishing bona fides has never been my intent. I care about those who have been hurt by sin and racism fits that category. On another blog I have written about the sin and pain involved human trafficking today..  I truly believe that the Puritans ignored the leading of the Holy Spirit on a number of occasions.We must understand them from all angles instead of painting a white washed version of a city on a hill with godly people who did the right thing.  The same goes for Calvin, Criswell, Graham, and others. We learn far more from our failings than our successes. David’s names is linked for time and eternity to Bathsheba. And God made sure we would never forget it. 

    The reason I find the Bible to be the convincing Word of God is that it is written totally opposite of how I would portray God’s story.  Adam and Eve, Solomon and Saul, the kings who did “evil in the sight of the Lord, Cain, Peter’s denial, the disciples fighting over who would be first,… It is through our wounds and failures that we learn, not through the whitewashed history of the “pure.” I see their failures and I say “God help me not to go there.” 

    There is a reason we are getting so many comments. Today, our blog/Echurch was featured on Associated Baptist Press. In the interview, i explained my concerns for those who are running from the church yet still believe. There are some African American women who have shared their stories about their discouragement in today’s churches with me. We must confront our failures and use them as a springboard for understanding, even more deeply, our sins so that we can confront our own selves more honestly.

    On the plus side,  you got a chance to see me when I get really irritated. I hopeyou understand. This issue runs as deep as the pedophile issue for me. And, as you know, that is pretty deep!

  296. Anonymous

    Absolutely true confession. Normally I respond to comments via my dashboard. In that venue i see who is making the comment. Instead, i read your comment the way that others see it which means no email identifiers involved. So, I did not know that “anonymous” was you! Had i gone into my dashboard, i would have seen it and answered differently. Now I see why people hate it when others use anonymous as a name. It does not allow us to put the person into perspective of their history of comments.

    So, I thought you were a new anonymous (we get several almost every day). Now, I would have responded quite differently to you. But, it was a good mistake for me because it taught me about the frustration that some of our readers express when they don’t know if the anonymous is a new or old or different anonymous. 

    So, I am now begging all anonymous commenters to make up names that are unique-Bob, Fred, Sue, alien, whatever.

    As for me and my sin, i repeat “Even on my best days my motives are mixed” As one of my pastors says “If you think the devil is chiding you aobut your sin by making your relive one sin over and over, just say to him “You don’t know the half of it. Thank God for Jesus and be gone.”

  297. Wendy

    i like you response See mine to anonymous.The bible is real precisely because it focuses in on our sins and the solution-Jesus. The Bible is a conglomeration of people’s stupid sins and failures. David will be forever linked to Bathsheba, Peter to his 3x denial, and on and on. We learn more from our failures that oru successes. I once heard that those Post Its that we use came about as a failure. The company was trying to make a stronger glue and got this instead. http://www.snopes.com/business/origins/post-it.asp It was a choir member who got the idea to use it to mark pages.  May all my failures turn into such successes!

  298. About anonymous comments: it is *so* hard to follow comment threads when people don’t choose nicknames/use a name/whatever.

    For the sake of clarity, if nothing else, please – pick usernames. We would all benefit.

  299. PL200 and many other construction and hi-tech adhesives came about the same way. Researchers trying to make a better rubber ended up with a real strong adhesive. (It was test marketed at the lumber store my dad managed, among other places). The researchers could not get anyone to bite on it as a product, so they glued a bosses tires to the concrete in the parking lot (it was a tire company so they knew where to get replacements. Worked, they got approval to manufacture the stuff and transformed construction — very few nails to putty up in paneling any more and a lot fewer nail holes to fill in plasterboard, etc. Much stronger construction.

    Many mistakes result in discovery. Sometimes self discovery, sometimes a new product or process. That is why trying to do something beats doing nothing: Your failure may be a great success.

  300. Dear Anon1
    I don’t think I was telling anyone what to think but I was trying to illustrate the dangers in being judgmental.
    Dear Dee and Wendy
    I think we agree on the major points and that we can learn lessons from the past to make our society better in the future.

    As for the get rich quick gospellers I hear they are branching out into movies with remakes of classics like
    A Fistful of Dollars is all you need to plant a seed
    A Few Dollars More gets you my latest book on how I got rich
    Wall Street -life in Jericho before the crash and how you can plan for the future
    Regards
    Gavin

  301. @Dee,

    You mentioned human trafficking….I think it is important for us to discuss the sins of the “Precious Puritans”….along with the danger of any kind of “hero worship” apart from Jesus..In addition to this, we need to look at our present day problems of slavery.

    It is tragic to consider how many “religious” groups of the past condoned slavery. It is also tragic to consider how many turned a blind eye to slavery in the past.

    Today, I fear we (especially in America)are not as aware as we could be on the present day problem of slavery.

    For the sake of this conversation, I am going to post a link that readers here may want to check out on the issue of human slavery. Last Spring, Passion Conference raised awareness over this issue, and they have some interesting information on how to take action. Forgive the look, this was geared for a younger generation. I hope ultimately we can abhor the issue of slavery and racism in our past, but not fail to see (and act)against the very real problem today.

    Link to info: http://268generation.com/passion2013/action/

  302. Seeker 

    Thank you for the link. I actually did a write up on the Passion Conference and human trafficking for another group. I may cross post it here. I try to keep the two blogs separate but I don’t think anyone will mind.

    I think human trafficking, combined with pedophilia in the church and society, are the two most glaring,and overlooked, sins of this generation.

  303. “I don’t think I was telling anyone what to think but I was trying to illustrate the dangers in being judgmental.”

    Gavin, you were not telling me what to “think” but what I shuld be talking about instead of dead Puritans so many are putting on pedestals as godly people. Here is what you said to me:

    “’m not offering a defence Nurnberg, Wittenberg or Geneva. I’m simply pointing out that your righteous belligerence should be directed at something you might be able to Influence – like the killing of innocent Muslims by UAVs – rather than stuff that’s long past.”

    The Nuremburg defense is: Everyone was doing it. It was the law and totally legal at the time.

    I am delighted you think my stand on the UNPure Puritans is righteous belligerence. I should hope so. It should mean I hate all injustice even to Muslims.

    We would not be discussng the Puritans if they were not all the rage in Reformed circles. I just think it is important to present the “other facts” about them. Seems their words were sorta empty when we look at their behavior.

  304. Dear Anon1
    I’m glad that we agree on something although I still say your effort would be better expended in your own age. I also think that maybe a lot of the comments made against the Puritans should be directed at this new generation of Puritan lovers that have been mentioned. It seems clear to me that they are the ones who are in your view. I don’t know much about them. I’ve read one John Piper book and am currently ploughing through the rather dense theology of Michael Horton. Mark Driscoll is only a name I’ve heard of.
    It seems to me that they think by calling themselves “pilgrims on the way” they are trying to be Puritan without actually having the substance of sound doctrine behind them. But that’s just my view. I think they are also adopting some of the controversies of New England regarding the nature of the church. In proclaiming purity and exclusion they are forgetting the universal nature of the Gospel call.
    Regards
    Gavin

  305. Hurrah to Anyabwile for raising this issue.

    Calvinists have not changed their spots in the thirty + years I’ve been around them. The only difference I see in them today is their abrasiveness has gone public and seems to have intensified. The young ones seem particularly argumentative and angry all the time.

    I spent over 15 years in the calvinist camp. They always loved the puritans and they did put the puritans on pedestals. Rarely did a sermon not reference or quote a puritan. They hold up puritans but disdain Catholics for honouring Saints. Conference tables, church, pastor and private libraries were glutted with puritan writers.

    I watched a middle of the road Baptist church hire a calvinist pastor and the first thing he emptied out was the library, and refilled with puritan books.

    Mention you like Billy Graham in a Calvinist church and risk becoming prayer fodder for next prayer meeting. Mention an obscure line from Gurnall or Manton and you are handed something more to do.

    I once heard Bill Payne, considered the founder of the late 20th c. Cdn. Ref.Baptists, refer to himself as “a neo-orthodox puritan”.

    Regarding the SBC; it was common talk thirty years ago in Calvinist churches, here in Canada, of the inroads Calvinism was making, thereby cleaning up the SBC, despite the dissension it was causing.

    The bottom line with puritans and calvinists who rediscovered them, is their lack of love. Doctrine over love. Doctrine over Christ. Doctrine over people. Rules over relationships.

  306. “The bottom line with puritans and calvinists who rediscovered them, is their lack of love. Doctrine over love. Doctrine over Christ. Doctrine over people. Rules over relationships.”

    You have nailed it.

  307. Gavin, the whole point is that THIS generation of Neo Puritans are quite ignorant of Reformation history. How do I kmow? I engage them all the time at ground zero and on blogs. It is astounding how one sided is their understanding of Reformation history. They have been indoctrinated NOT educated.

  308. Anon1~

    Have you seen/heard about this book?

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2012/10/11/a-landmark-book-the-first-puritan-systematic-theology/?comments#comments

    I just now saw it. I wish I knew more about Puritan practice, faith and doctrine so I could read this with the proper discernment. I wonder about endorsements like this:

    “The work evidences a significant understanding of the primary texts and an excellent grasp of the secondary literature, both providing a sound introduction to Puritan theology and setting aside the myths of a rigid, rationalistic, monolithic system of thought divorced from Christian life. Perhaps the most consistent and unifying theme in the book is the profound connection between faith and practice that, for the Puritans and other early modern Reformed, grounded the exposition of all doctrine. A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life will provide a starting point for further study of Puritan thought for years to come.” (Quote from same link.)

  309. Hi Diane, I have not heard of it. Wonder if they go into how Puritan “doctrine” drove their antibiblical “practices”? (wink)

  310. Irish – I agree with Anon1 in agreeing with you.

    I came across a good quote on a blog somewhere; I can’t remember it word-for-word, so to paraphrase:

    Where law is valued above all, rules matter more than people and believers will hurt people to uphold the rules. Where love is valued above all, people matter more than rules and believers will break the rules to help people.

    I wish I’d thought of that myself!

    Diane – that book endorsement you quote also sums it up pretty well. It cites the myth about a set of doctrines divorced from christian life, but that’s not what anyone thinks about the Puritans! The perception is of a vast set of rules imposed on christian life, and woe betide anyone who breaks them. That snippet, admittedly a short quote, doesn’t do much to dispel it. And it is a matter of historical fact that just about anything associated with celebration and enjoyment was made illegal in England under Cromwell. The reason we reject such things is not simply that we’re looking for any excuse to indulge our sinful lusts. As Paul wrote to the believers in Colossi, Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.

    There must be some honourable exceptions in the broadly calvinist camp – didn’t Cassie mention one in a different thread recently? Can we maybe celebrate them?

  311. Good morning everyone.
    It may help to put things in historical perspective if you consider that it was the Portuguese and Spanish who first transported African slaves from Guinea to the New World. They did so because there was a need for cheap labour. The puritans arrived a good few years later.

    What is not taken into consideration is the fact that it was economics that drove the need not religion. I would suggest that there are more economic slaves in the US today than at any other time in its history. And you can’t blame the puritans for that, past or present. Hence my exhortation to look around and deal with the problem on your doorstep. You might make a difference.
    Regards
    Gavin

  312. Hello again
    Here is a link to the British Libray giving details of abolitionists. You’ll see that William Cowper features prominently in the article. You should be able to deduce that the quotation of his poetry earlier in the blog was being used by the contributor to prove the opposite of the true intent of the poem. Again I urge you to read widely, think carefully, and speak considerately.

    http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/campaignforabolition/abolitionbackground/biogs/greatcampaigners.html

    Regards
    Gavin

  313. And finally.
    Human trafficking is reported to be worth 12 billion dollars annually. Much of the money is laundered. Grand Cayman is the money laundering capital of the world. What are the churches there doing about it? Not much I suspect. Oh sorry. Pointing the finger at Puritans.
    Regards
    Gavin

  314. Gavin, one of the problems is that so many do not connect dots. You say we should focus on problems today. Sounds rational. However, we have a generation of young pastors who are promoting Puritans who wiped out Indian tribes over land, burned women (think of a human burning), owned slaves, bannished people for disagreeing, etc, etc.

    Do you suppose that promoting and celebrating such people makes hearts more compassionate toward modern day evils against people in the Name of Christ? You do realize the Puritans did the evils against others in the NAME OF CHRIST as if it were pleasing to God. Are you forgetting that part?

    If we believe lies about history, we are doomed to repeat them. It is a lot like dumbing down the evils of Germany in the 30’s/40’s. Or making excuses for the Lutheran church who went along for the most part early on. We must learn from them not discount it as no big deal. Discussing the Puritans in totality should make us ask ourselves what are we blind to today and why are they so popular with so many YOUNG men? It is quite scary if you think about it. There is an acceptance of their evil deeds in the Name of Christ that is chilling.

    The astonishing thing is how popular they are and how they are held up as examples for us today. That should make most people ill. Very telling that it doesn’t and in fact, many YRR spend their time defending them and pretending like their evil was normal. In other words, the Nuremburg defense when we know for a fact, others at the time knew it was unbiblical and paid a high price to stand up to the leaders.

    Sorry Gavin, your rebukes to say I should be only discussing evils of today wears thin. The blog post is about the Puritans. I find it interesting it makes you so uncomfortble. You also have no idea what sorts of things I am involved in concerning human trafficing today. Never forget the Puritans did their evils in the Name of Jesus and are being celebrated and promoted as our examples for godly living. Sorry, I think that is worth discussing in depth. So you can save your rebukes for someone who might think them credible.

  315. Gavin,

    I don’t see how a commitment to social/economic justice in the present and to truth about the past (which acts, as it were, on the present) are mutually exclusive. You seem to be suggesting this. In fact, historical truth can be an integral part of achieving some measure of justice in the present. I offer Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission as one example. The commission is about acknowleding past wrongs on the part of the Canadian state against Canada’s aboriginal population as the first step in reconciling with them. This is not just an exercise in while liberal guilt, either. It is important to the victims of residential schools, etc.

    p://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=3

    The Calvinistas who celebrate the Puritans without reserve would do well to consider this.

    And if we are talking about historical context, I think you are oversimplifying when you say “it was economics that drove the need, not religion.” Science and religion quickly fabricated justifications for slavery that went far beyond economics (as if economic need justifies the immorality of owning, trading, abusing, and murdering human beings). I can point you to some books on this if you would like.

    Moreover, economics are intertwined with culture and religion. How can we separate what you say are the economic actions of slave traders from their religious beliefs and moral selves? Did they say to slaves on their way to the new world “Don’t take it personally, this is just economics working itself out.”

    It also seems absurd to reduce colonialism to ‘economics’, which seems to be what you are saying. Please correct me if I am interpreting you incorrectly.

  316. “Never forget the Puritans did their evils in the Name of Jesus and are being celebrated and promoted as our examples for godly living.”

    Voddie Baucham is the most puritan-like celebrity professing Christian pastor I know of who has a MA Bay Colony of his own. There might be better examples but this is what I know. I am not even factoring in the patriarchal teachings, legalistic monitoring of your actions to ensure compliance and SAHD stuff…disturbing as all of that is, but I find it incredible how he (and certain others) merely talk. The lack of grace, mocking others in a mean way, arrogance, cruel humor, etc. A good example of his comedy show and how they mock those who do not homeschool:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g1kRpnuBQU

  317. Dear Anon1
    Talking about the Puritans does not make me uncomfortable in the least because I see them much as I see anyone else who claims to be a Christian and that is sinners saved by grace. What I am uncomfortable with is the manner in which they are being referred to. They weren’t responsible for slavery. Some thought it was allowable and others didn’t. The idea that you can blame one group for a perceived injustice is as absurd as saying Italians are evil because the Romans kept slaves. I don’t like the way that relevant points you don’t agree with are either ignored or belittled. Facts can be inconvenient truths.

    I really don’t get why the YRR crowd upset bloggers here so much! And by the way I’m much too old to be one of them.lol.

    And I’m not rebuking anyone I’m simply calling for balance. Having read a bit about the blog and its purpose I’ve tried to be courteous and fair. But I will say again that there are enough problems on your doorstep without having to to rake up the past.

    As for trafficking I’m pretty clued up on it. My point is that it is slavery and that you could productively spend your energy righting that wrong.

    Sorry but all the complaints and faux angst don’t do it for me.

    Dear Caleb
    Yes I think you are misunderstanding me. Slavery was and is a fact of life. Called it serfdom, feudalism, bonded labour you can even make a case for the role of women in marriage as a form of slavery. Indeed some of the historical accounts of the transportation of slaves to the USA make that very point regarding the polygamy prevalent in West Africa at that time. And of course prior to that the spread of Islam led to the transportation of slaves throughout Africa and Europe. And at the bottom of it all was economics.

    And if I can make one final distinction. The institution of slavery per se is entirely separate from the ill treatment meted out to slaves. It is right to condemn evil and wicked maltreatment but it is quite another to condemn the “institution ” because it was a fact of life. This was a distinction that the Puritans understood well but seems harder to grasp for bloggers.
    Regards
    Gavin

  318. The Bible spends more space on economic sins than on any other. So saying that the sin was driven by economic needs just puts them under more condemnation. Check out “fat cows of Basham” for example. If you take the economic sins out of the OT, you take out close to half of the text. And Jesus took his strongest action (vs. teaching) against economic crimes in a religious context.

  319. And slavery is an economic SIN! Taking someone’s labor from them without fair compensation was condemned by Jesus.

  320. “racism is alive and well” I agree but racism also goes both ways. The media likes to portray that “white” people are the only racists but in reality, all groups of people are. All over the world.

  321. “They weren’t responsible for slavery. Some thought it was allowable and others didn’t. The idea that you can blame one group for a perceived injustice is as absurd as saying Italians are evil because the Romans kept slaves. I don’t like the way that relevant points you don’t agree with are either ignored or belittled. Facts can be inconvenient truths.”

    Gavin, I cannot figure out if you are being purposely obtuse or just cannot see a whole picture. No one is blaming Puritans for STARTING slavery. And their lack of understanding for human worth is not just related to slavery but to all the other crimes/sins they committed as part of their PRAXIS. I have mentioned a few over and over and you keep zeroing in on only slavery ignoring burning supposed witches, wiping out Indians, banishing those who disagreed with them, etc. The persecution they practiced in the name of Christ was horrible. They did NOT value human life unless that life agreed with leaders and cooperated fully! They did it in the Name of Jesus! And we know there were others there at the time who dared to disagree biblically with them and were punished for doing so.

    As I said earlier it makes their “godly words” that so many YRR are quoting today sound very empty and fake.

    Slavery was not the ONLY problem with them. It was ONE.

  322. It always amazes me how some people can justfy others evil. That just makes it easier for them to justify their own.

  323. “They needed cheap labor.”

    Since when is that a justification for the wholesale theft of people – and for treating them as chattel, entirely subject to the whims of the “owners”?

    You miss the points being made by a mile.

  324. Dear Anon1,Stormy and Numo
    Unfortunately I fear it is you who are missing the point. You seem unable (but more probably unwilling) to acknowledge the facts of history or a viewpoint other than your own. And that leads to sin – a proud heart and an unforgiving and vengeful spirit. You just don’t get the meaning of “let him who is without sin cast the first stone”. You are truly unbelievable. You exhibit the very faults you accuse the Puritans of and, worse, you seem to think you are worthy of praise for being “good Christians”

    I have found the exchanges on the blog enlightening in a thoroughly depressing way.

    Good night, God bless you …..and the YRR and the Y2K
    Regards
    Gavin

  325. Gavin

    Be cautious about judging people based on their comments. There is much pain in today’s churches and I am so grateful that these folks are bringing up their concerns. There is a reason that the numbers of evangelcials are declining. And none of these foks to whom you are referring would ever refer to themselves as “good Christians.” Sorry that you are depressed. Nouthetic counseling would say that you are sinning.

  326. Gavin,

    When you mention polygamy in West Africa are you implying that European enslavement of West Africans was somehow justified?

    Also, I think that Anon 1 is correct: I don’t think anyone is blaming the Puritans for starting slavery. They are pointing out the complicity of some Puritans with the institution. In doing this, it is they who want a more truthful church history that does not minimize the uglier side of the Christian past, especially when that act alienates certain segments of contemporary Christianity.

    I think it is important to point out, as numo and Arce pointed out, that slavery is inherently evil. I don’t think it is possible to separate the maltreatment of slaves from the institution, as if the institution could somehow be practiced in a morally neutral way. Slavery is inherently violent because in order to take someone’s labour against their will you must use fear, physical violence, or the kind of emotional/psychological violence that convinces the victim that they deserve to be enslaved. Slavery by its very definition cannot be a morally neutral instituion separate from maltreatment. And it does not matter that the Romans, Arabs, West Africans, feudal Europeans or anyone else practiced slavery – it is a symbol of the fall par excellance.

    Why are lashing out at others on the blog? You have brought up some facts, yes. Your point about modern forms of slavery, like that found in human trafficking, is well-taken. Our time is no better than any other when it comes to evil and injustice. But why not allow disagreement with your viewpoint? Personally, I think that you offered some dangerous misinterpretations and oversimplifcations about the past but you don’t seem willing to hear about it for very long. You talk like your interpretation is really just the ‘facts of history’ that everyone else here is unwilling to acknowledge. That doesn’t seem fair.

  327. Yeah Galvin, that’s it!…I think I’m a “good Christian” (as I’m Rolling my eyes and shaking my head to your comments).

  328. Dear Dee
    I sin all the time which is why I don’t judge.

    Dear Caleb
    No I am not implying any such thing, just pointing out the different views of slavery. Stop trying to make it an us and them or me and you or yrr And liberal? difference. We disagree and that’s fine.
    I think that the fact that many (puritans) opposed slavery shows that Christian history wasn’t sanitised to cover up evil.
    Address the issues of the day – trafficking, money laundering through Grand Cayman employment of “wetbacks”, a US term not mine, extra judicial assassination of Muslims and unlawful detention without trial and you might have some moral justification for your stance.
    Regards
    Gavin

  329. Gavin

    So, if a man is committing adultery in your church, you don’t judge? How about a pedophile attacking a child? What about a pastor who covers up a pedophile? How about right and wrong? Can you not judge? I think you may have a misunderstanding about the “do not judge” verses. These refer to judgment on salvation. That is far about our pay grade.

    Jesus and Paul gave up a litany of things that are right and wrong. And we must judge on that account. A man who cheats on his wife is sinning and I judge it a sin. Scripture says so. 

  330. Gavin

    I do not know from where you are writing. But, today, in the United States, racism rears its ugly head in an SBC church which would not marry an interracial couple. Our devaluing of human life today comes from the devaluing of human life via slavery throughout the ages.

    We do judge history to prevent us from repeating it. And yes, there were slaves amongst the Puritans. They screwed up. We screw up today as well. if you read this blog beyond the Thabiti article, we talk of many issues of today. Once in a blue moon (which occurred last month,BTW) we bring up historical points. Unless you believe history is worthless, it is vital that we understand that even the most moral were amoral at times.And we must judge ourselves in the light of our sinning forefathers. 

  331. “Unfortunately I fear it is you who are missing the point. You seem unable (but more probably unwilling) to acknowledge the facts of history or a viewpoint other than your own.”

    Gavin, you are the one ignoring ALL the facts if history. For some reason you think it is some sort of sin to discuss them even though the Puritans are touted as “godly” by most of the YRR movement.

    “And that leads to sin – a proud heart and an unforgiving and vengeful spirit.”

    I want “revenge” on the Puritans? Can you get any sillier?

    “You just don’t get the meaning of “let him who is without sin cast the first stone”. You are truly unbelievable. You exhibit the very faults you accuse the Puritans of and, worse, you seem to think you are worthy of praise for being “good Christians””

    Seriously? If I owned slaves, burned witches and wiped out Indian tribes while professing my way of belief was the ONLY way, you might have a point. According to the sin principle you are touting above, no pastor can rebuke sin or even preach on sin because they, too, are sinners.

    I really wish the young’ens would learn HOW to think but they have only been taught WHAT to think. You cannot even see how irrational your thinking is and how you have twisted scripture. And what is even more interesting is you accuse us of sin for calling out sin of dead people! Hypocrisy at it’s best but I actually think it is basically a lack of ability with critical thinking.

  332. “The institution of slavery per se is entirely separate from the ill treatment meted out to slaves. It is right to condemn evil and wicked maltreatment but it is quite another to condemn the “institution ” because it was a fact of life. This was a distinction that the Puritans understood well but seems harder to grasp for bloggers.
    Regards
    Gavin”

    I Tim 1: 9 – 10 categorizes slave traders with lawbreakers, rebels, the ungodly, the sinful, the unholy, the irreligious, murderers, murderers of parents, adulterers, sexual perverts, liars and anything else contrary to sound doctrine.

    Because something is a fact of life does not qualify it as morally legitimate as this verse demonstrates. All sin is a fact of life. The bible records a lot of facts of life. It does not mean we are to do likewise.

    I suggest that Puritans who had slaves actually either did not understand this, as you seem to, or chose to ignore it. The ones who did not have slaves likely understood this. Those who left the MBC or were banished understood this.

    Furthermore, pairing the word slavery with the term, “institution of”, is whitewashing and offensive. Slavery is not an institution. According to Timothy, it is a heinous sin on par with every ungodly thing including murder.

  333. “and what is even more interesting is you accuse us of sin for calling out sin of dead people!” LOL,LOL,LOL

  334. Caleb W wrote

    I think it is important to point out … that slavery is inherently evil. I don’t think it is possible to separate the maltreatment of slaves from the institution, as if the institution could somehow be practiced in a morally neutral way. Slavery is inherently violent because in order to take someone’s labour against their will you must use fear, physical violence, or the kind of emotional/psychological violence that convinces the victim that they deserve to be enslaved. Slavery by its very definition cannot be a morally neutral instituion separate from maltreatment. And it does not matter that the Romans, Arabs, West Africans, feudal Europeans or anyone else practiced slavery – it is a symbol of the fall par excellance.

    amen to this!

    And Gavin, there are black readers and commenters here who would definitely take issue with your views on slavery.

  335. Also, you do realize that debtors and others were brought to what’s now the US in indentured servitude? Their plight was little better than that of those humans who were outrightly “owned” as chattel… and the only reason that the flood of indentured servants stopped was the discovery of Australia and its subsequent use as a penal colony. Offenders (many of them arrested for things that would not be considered crimes today – cf. Jean Valjean’s theft of bread in “Les Miserables”) were transported here 1st, then there.

  336. Gavin,
    Your attitude reminds me of those down here in Australia who don’t like our ugly history with our Indigenous peoples talked about. They dismiss what they say is a ‘black armband’ view of history, because acknowledging that there were massacres, acknowledging that entire nations were wiped out, might taint their nice happy view of history. They opposed any apology for the Stolen Generations, (mixed race and light skinned Aboriginal children who were taken from their families to be raised ‘white’ – this was a practice that happened up until the early 1970s) because ‘well I didn’t do it myself’. The day our then-Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said sorry in Parliament for those injustices I was the proudest I’ve ever been of my country.
    Those who opposed the apology, those who oppose ‘black armband’ history, and the approach you’ve shown in your comments share in common a desire to ignore the awful parts of our history lest we feel uncomfortable. The desire to address current problems and current injustices is good, but that can’t be properly done unless and until the injustices of the past are fully acknowledged.

  337. @Pam on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 01:12 AM said:

    “The desire to address current problems and current injustices is good, but that can’t be properly done unless and until the injustices of the past are fully acknowledged”

    Yes! Absolutely. Do you remember the 4corners or Australian Story program on the Australian woman (white) who when tracing her family tree realised one of her ancestors was responsible for an Aboriginal massacre? And what she decided to do about it? It was an aching yet beautiful story of reconciliation down the ages – recognition of what had occurred, personal apology and forgiveness from the Aboriginal ancestors alive today.

    I strongly believe in the power of personal apology when it’s in an appropriate space. I hope to do more research on how Truth & Reconciliation Commissions are conducted. The Japanese “comfort women” who are still with us (what an awful misnomer) are still awaiting an apology from the Japanese government. I remember them.

  338. Oh, and Gavin, I judge your blog behaviour mannerless and aspie-ish. Here’s hoping you don’t communicate like that in the flesh. I don’t identify as Christian so it gives me the freedom to call it as I see it I reckon. We judge all the time – with choosing a partner, in our employment, in our relationships with others, in all of our choices. This is exercising judgement. I think you are confusing judging with condemning.

  339. Gavin,

    At this point, all I can say is that I am equally concerned about addressing the contemporary problems that you mentioned and more. I just don’t think that a concern about historical truth (I am, afterall, a historian-in-training) precludes living in the present and dealing with the issues of the present. They are intertwined. I have been trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but your repeated references to dealing exclusively with what is on our doorstep (while, paradoxically, offering a defense of the past like it matters) seems like a red herring to me.

  340. @Haitch – I love my country and we are trying. Sadly, though, the state in which many aboriginal people live in modern Canada shows that we have a long way to go!

  341. Dear Caleb
    You make good points. If it “doesn’t matter defending the Puritans” that would validate my point that it is pointless attacking them. I’m grateful for your measured responses. Thank you.

    Dear Dee
    If there is sin being committed in the church today then you deal with it today, not a few hundred years after the event. That’s all I’m saying. If racism is a problem in the USA today then you also confront that today. Also my view on contemporary slavery is that it is wrong and unbiblical and I have spent my career combatting it. On that point I can say that Pam’s assessment of me is way off the mark and I smile when I am cautioned about the dangers of judging people by the remarks they make on the blog when it is a clear line of attack for the the likes of Stormy, Anon1 and Irish and now Haitch to whom I will point out that I live in a multicultural, diverse society where, unlike America we don’t define people by race colour or faith and my circle of friends and colleagues includes everyone.
    As far as the sins of the Puritans go, they will have given account for their actions. My point there is that there is a difference between what was a societal fact of life and the ill treatment dished pout out to the slaves. The latter is culpable, the former is not. One of the points that the early accounts make is that in Europe actual “man-stealing” type slavery was dying out as the Reformation gained ground and then moved into the Enlightenment.

    The one true observation that comes from this exchange is that the USA is still a deeply, racially, divided country and you don’t seem to know how to deal with it. As your country continues to grow up you might develop the maturity needed to cope, instead of looking for a quick fix or someone to blame. I would have thought your best opportunity was during the term of your current POTUS.

    Best wishes and vote wisely and have a peaceful weekend.
    Gavin

  342. Eagle

    You are a hoot. Years ago, Deb would do that so that we would hit large milestones like 50! Saw your email and will write you today. Great idea.

  343. Pam

    History helps explain where we are today. As we celebrate our countries, we must also show that our history contains despicable things that we must never allow to happen again. My two years living  and working on the Navajo reservation helped me to see my country's history through new eyes. I love the United States. But, there is much sadness that we should always remember.

    I need to read more about the indigenous people of your beautiful country. I wonder if there are similarities to the sad history of the Native Americans in our country?

  344. Caleb W

    Was there much intereaction between the northern Native Americans in the US and the ones in Canada? I know that Native Americans do not perceive borders in the same way that we do.

  345. Gavin

    In your world, does history merely serve to inform-Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn? Of do we understand the progression of history through both success and failures. I cannot give anyone a pass on the horrors of slavery. In the rap, the rapper queried if anyone knocked on their neighbor's door and told them that slavery was wrong.

    I truly believe that the Spirit was the same yesterday as it is today. And those folks ignored the moving of the Truth in their lives. If they can do it, so can we.

    So, instead of just admiring their strengths, we look at their failures,as well, and see how we can avoid doing the same things today. I believe our history of owning others has led to today's devaluing of life in many areas such as abortion. In fact, with the ability to select characteristics of future children, people abort female babies, babies with brown eyes instead of blue, and so on. May God forgive us.

     

  346. Gavin,

    I don’t think anyone in this dialogue ignores the injustices of our day. In fact, many of TWW’s regular commenters (including those who are conversing with you) are passionate about those things. That’s why we’re here. TWW calls out and gives warning, rightfully so, those in ministry who abuse and oppress others, including children. Some of us have made it our life’s mission, through work and/or ministry, to help the poor, sick, oppressed, marginalized, and enslaved.

    You said that you’ve built a career on helping others, which is why I cannot understand how you dare call slavery an “institution”. Slavery is not an institution, no more than sex trafficking is an institution. It is a horrific sin.

    As Caleb stated and I’d like to repeat again:

    “…slavery is inherently evil. I don’t think it is possible to separate the maltreatment of slaves from the institution, as if the institution could somehow be practiced in a morally neutral way. Slavery is inherently violent because in order to take someone’s labour against their will you must use fear, physical violence, or the kind of emotional/psychological violence that convinces the victim that they deserve to be enslaved. Slavery by its very definition cannot be a morally neutral instituion separate from maltreatment.”

    The Puritans’ sin was in the past, yes. But the message of the neo-reformed TODAY has gained significant momentum. They have pushed the Puritans to the forefront again. So, while the Puritans’ evils were in the past, they are being exalted TODAY. That is what we’re speaking against.

  347. I think the problem is deeper when it comes to the Puritans. They have been exhalted by the YRR/NC movement as examples for us to follow. Therefore, their inherent oppression of people (anyone who dared to disagree and slaves) is an embarassment and any discussion of it must be squealched. There are several tactics in doing this: You are a sinner, too, so you should not judge them. That is one tactic. Another, is to rewrite history which the YRR/NC is constantly attempting to do.

    If you read around you will find that the Puritans are held up as true examples for our founding and who we are really to be. People who discuss the Puritan oppression in depth, are ruining it fcr the YRR/NC. (Not to mention all the Puritan stuff for sale at Reformed sites. Want to be a better Christian? Listen to Valley of Vision prayers)

  348. “As far as the sins of the Puritans go, they will have given account for their actions. My point there is that there is a difference between what was a societal fact of life and the ill treatment dished pout out to the slaves. The latter is culpable, the former is not.”

    Gavin, you, like many from the YRR/NC movement still do not get it. A “societal” fact of life does not mean they were not responsible for their actions. They had the same exact Bible we do! History proves there were others at the exact same time that stood up to the horrible injustices as unbiblical and paid with horrible persecution sometimes death. Guess they were wasting their time standing up for Grace since there would be no eternal consequence for oppression anyway?

    Why does this thinking bother me so much? what will be a “societal” fact of life for us? How about the last century? Nazi Germany? South Africa? See, your thinking is dangerous and is based upon what man thinks is sin or not.

  349. Dear Anon1
    We are back to repeating ourselves I’m afraid. We, like they, live in a world tainted/corrupted by sin. We ,like they, are not responsible for what we are born into. That only comes if we uphold a principle that is wrong. When we know it’s wrong, we act, or should. That is what happened and after a long struggle things changed.
    And no, my thinking is not dangerous because,as I keep saying, you can only fight for right in your own time. I’ve been in Auschwitz, Treblinka and Majdanek. I’ve seen the specially built incinerators for babies, I’ve spoken to survivors and I oppose neo-Nazism in my own era, just the same as I’ve worked against modern slavery and trafficking.

    And the real measure of success of this blog is not by how many comments that you count, but how the debate affects what you do next for good.
    Regards
    Gavin

  350. Dear Wendy
    I’ve only just read your post. When I speak of slavery as an institution I mean that it was an established, functioning part of society at that time and its justification was not religious but economic. The ill treatment of those who were slaves is wrong and sinful in most but not all religions. In the same way trafficking is an institution in our day because it services an economic need and delivers profits. Supply – demand -profit – greed.

    If the YRR and others are pushing Puritan (Reformed) theology to the fore at present so what? That is their view and they believe that that theology is most consistently in accord with Scripture. You don’t have to like it or believe it. And you are free to highlight their faults and failings.

    Regards
    Gavin

  351. “And the real measure of success of this blog is not by how many comments that you count, but how the debate affects what you do next for good.”

    Gavin, what I have seen on this thread is you moderating your views over time here based upon the convo. I hope by this time you have figured out the “institution” of slavery is just as heinous and not an acceptable part of “societal values” simply because everyone was doing it.

  352.  

    Gavin
     
    The number of comments that we receive per post is not something that we spend time contemplating. However, when some posts get a lot of comments, we realize that they have struck a nerve. Thabiti’s post currently is #2 in the history of TWW in numbers of comments. The number one post isone we did on creation here  http://thewartburgwatch.com/2011/09/02/the-earth-is-fixed-and-the-sun-moves-real-christians-believe-it/ which topped out at 518.
     
    What does that tell me? Issues of creation and Puritans/slavery and racism are important to our readers. You have commented several times which indicates this is an important issue for you as well.
     
    As for being pleased that we get lots of comments, you might be surprised at my answer. The people who come to this blog are far more improtant to me than my ideas. They matter. I pray for them and worry about them as they share their stories. I rejoice in the victories and feel sad for some of their experiences. Sometimes I find it hard to fall asleep as I pray and think about them. I try to make it a point to reach out to everyone who posts here. I never, ever take one comment for granted. Each person shares a part of themselves with us and I am deeply gratefull that they do.
     
    What happens when we get a lot of comments? I do a terrible job in reahing out to everyone. I am behind by about 20 emails in my responses on that front as well.  
     
    No one is just a “comment” here. These are real people and we actually give a darn about what they think. So, too many comments actually limits my ability to be the type of blogger that i want to be and that is a friend and support. 
  353. Gavin,

    “When I speak of slavery as an institution I mean that it was an established, functioning part of society at that time and its justification was not religious but economic.”

    Yes, there was obviously, and tragically, economic justification. But many claimed a biblical justification for slavery.

    “If the YRR and others are pushing Puritan (Reformed) theology to the fore at present so what?”

    Just what I said above. They justified their evils. And they need not be lifted up as our example.

  354. Dear Anon1
    My views haven’t changed. I’m still of the opinion that the problem you have with the Puritans is in the soundness of their theology which leaves people with no hiding place either for their sin or defective views. I assume that the YRR are disliked because they tell you plainly that and you’re looking for an excuse to justify your own position. You certainly haven’t entered into any meaningful discussion.
    As for counting numbers why is Eagle so overjoyed at hitting 400 if not to wallow in the reflected glory of the figure. Or is something worse like taking delight in disrupting the I peace of the church?
    Regards
    Gavin

  355. “I assume that the YRR are disliked because they tell you plainly that and you’re looking for an excuse to justify your own position”

    Oh that’s right, Gavin. I forgot. They have all the Biblical answers to everything. They know all.

  356. Gavin

    “I’m still of the opinion that the problem you have with the Puritans is in the soundness of their theology which leaves people with no hiding place either for their sin or defective views.” Wow, you have such high opinions of those you do not know.I hope i can explain this to you in a way that you understand. The Puritans set up a rigid society with “rules” that would ensure a city on hill. They made sure people knew the “word of God” with men patrolling the aisles of the church, bonking adults and kids on the head if they fell asepp during the sermon. That certainly is a way to deal with such terrible sin.

    I do not need not do I fear the Puritans telling me about my sin. I know quite well the hopelessness of my sin without the grace of Jesus to forgive me. I am postionally holy but functionally a sinner. So do not lecture me about our fear of your precious Puritans.

    Eagle is being funny. He makes me laugh. You could use a bit of humor yourself. Be cautious about explaining our motives here. Only God knows them and He rarely confides in us.

     

  357. Gavin, Anon1, etc.,

    “If the YRR and others are pushing Puritan (Reformed) theology to the fore at present so what?” — Gavin

    Well, I’ll tell you what. This may have been mentioned, but in case it hasn’t, the point of the song in question (as I see it) is a very honest and artistic expression of the hurt a person of African descent can feel when hearing the Puritans lauded and revered as outstanding people, and when observing the promotion of their writings. The fact of the song highlights how ignorant and oblivious the promoters of puritans are to this.

    The song is a plea to hear and understand, with the kind of raw honesty & multi-faceted truth that art is capable of.

    Whether the Puitans are heroes, villains, or a combination (a matter of opinion) isn’t nearly as relevant as the fact that the way some christian communities promote them is painful to some of African descent. It is alienating, and pokes at very old wounds and recent ones, too, no doubt. These individuals are of equal worth and equal dignity (in theory), yet i imagine they feel quite invisible in this context.

    Seems this is what deserves the consideration in the conversation.

  358. Gavin, the YRR crowd are the ones who love to justify their position and can’t stand any questioning of it. They’re the ones who make up ideas like ‘sinning by questioning’.

    That you go back to ‘soundness of theology’ as your defense for the Puritans shows you’ve missed the entire point of Propaganda’s song, Thabiti’s post, and this one. Puritan theology is really a side issue in this discussion, although a lot of comments have been made about it. The focus, the point, is their imperfection. That even with their ‘sound theology’, the horrible sin and defective views that supported slavery were able to thrive. What is being said here is that the Puritans, while many did write great things, many did have great faith, were not holier than thou ‘heroes’. They had some good ideas, they had some bad ones. And we should not be so precious that acknowledging the bad ideas and talking about them terrifies us into silencing those voices.

  359. Gavin,
    Just a thought unrelated to the discussion going on but it looks like you’re from UK. You claim that you come from a society that does not judge based on race etc, but I think that would be news to most of the people familiar with both history and current events in the UK. There are serious racial ethnic and class issues there as well and if it wasn’t 4am I’d post links to the recent London riots of young people of color as an example. I’m just pointing this out to say that these issues are everywhere and I think using an example that actually doesn’t really exist to justify a position and criticize the other commentators makes it look like you are unaware of what’s going on in your own backyard. Now I’m not saying that the racial issues are the same there as the US but when you talk about living in this great utopia of multiculturalism to justify the promotion of Puritinism despite their history of participating in the institution of slavery, it looks like what people here call the “but some of my best friends are black” argument-it’s what some white people say to justify the racist statement they are about to make. It doesn’t matter how many Nazi concentration camps you have visited if you can argue that slavery in any form is merely an economic formula. I think you may have missed the point.

    If I am wrong and you’re not from the UK it doesn’t matter because racial ethnic class etc issues are everywhere even if you don’t see it.

    I am sorry if I misunderstood your point but you came across to me as a little holier than thou because you live in this amazing bastion of racial harmony as a factor in the argument you were making. All the racial evil is not just in big bad ‘ol America.

    The whole promotion of the Puritans as some sort of example and ignoring their many misdeeds including slavery just looks like more sheltered clueless white guys who think they know more than they do and can tell others how to think.

  360. Dear All
    A few points.
    The riots in England were over a year ago.
    The participants were all colours – a rainbow coalition if you like.
    The riots had nothing (that’s right, nothing) to do with race but armed gangland rivalry.
    Propaganda by name propaganda in content. Other bloggers have pointed out the generalisations, half truths and misleading statements in the song.
    Questions his motives for such mis-statements
    Question why you overlook them.
    Stop labelling people and calling people names. “clueless, sheltered white guys” Kathryn? – an assumption and demonstration of gracelessness
    Stop saying that Paul would do this and Jesus would say that because you are in no position to know. It’s just another manifestation of your self-righteousness and self-appointed moral censorship.
    As I said before, what seems to bother you is that your own lives are being challenged by a renewal of sound doctrine and what you fear you attack. If someone points that out to you, you try to shout them down.

    Great Spirit,whose voice I hear in the wind and whose breath gives life to the world,hearken!
    I come before you as one of your children.See,I am small and weak;I need Your Strength and Wisdom.
    Permit me to walk in beauty and that my eyes may ever behold the crimson sunset.May my hands treat with respect the things which You have created;may my ears hear Your Voice!
    Make me wise,that I may understand the things You have taught my people,which You have hidden in every leaf and rock.
    I long for strength,not in order that I may overcome my brother;but to fight my greatest enemy,myself.
    Make me ever ready to come to You with pure hands and straight eyes,so that my spirit,when life disappears like the setting sun,may stand unashamed before you.

    Sound familiar?

    Regards
    Gavin

  361. And finally…. there is no edifying or building up of the brethren to be found here, only self-approval. I’ll look in again in the future to see how you’re doing. Enjoy the Lord’s Day.

    Best wishes
    Gavin

  362. Ah Gavin Gavin Gavin, while you’re waving that whip around at everyone else, maybe try a bit of self-flagellation while you’re at it.

  363. So basically, criticism is not allowed ever. Sorry, but people aren’t automatons.
    I don’t ‘fear’ anything being raised and debated here, and I don’t think others here do. Perfect love drives out fear and all that. We disagree with things, sure, but those of us here are of the opinion that we should talk about these differences, not just try and shout them down with a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude. The ‘sound doctrine’ crowd seem less willing to have discussions.

  364. Hi Dee,

    The amount of interaction would depend on the tribes/nations that you’re talking about, as well as the region and the period. But generally, yes, there is a complex history of interaction there. I’m not an expert by any means in North American indigenous history (sorry if I gave that impression) but have had to do some supervised reading in the area as a part of my major and minor fields. The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission is mostly about residential schooling in the 20th century.

    Two books that I would recommend to get a better understanding of the dynamics of two key regions in North American history would be:

    Theodore Binnema “Common and Contest Ground: A Human and Environmental History of the Northwestern Plains”
    and
    Richard White “The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650 – 1815”

  365. Caleb W – those books look just the thing, I will chase over summer. If you’re into environmental history also, you may wish to look at Bill Gammage’s “Biggest Estate on Earth: how Aborigines made Australia”.

    Anon 1 – thank you for your considered response – it was helpful. The issue of slavery was discussed this week in my international political economy class and it was useful to have this background. I’ll be following it up further. Thanks.

  366. “My views haven’t changed. I’m still of the opinion that the problem you have with the Puritans is in the soundness of their theology which leaves people with no hiding place either for their sin or defective views.”

    Gavin,

    “Sound Theology” does not lead people to persecute other believers nor wipe out unbelievers. So what do we do with that? You simply want to ignore the reality that was the Puritan behavior. Why not question it? That has been the point all along. So either they practiced and lived out what they believed or they did not. which was it? It is a question worth debating here and now. Why? Because those who are touting Puritans for us to emulate today are leaving out the inconvenient facts. Did their doctrine lead them to murder people? It is a question worth asking.

    ” I assume that the YRR are disliked because they tell you plainly that and you’re looking for an excuse to justify your own position. You certainly haven’t entered into any meaningful discussion.”

    Here we have a perfect example of the lack of critical thinking that comes out of the YRR movement enmass. I live at ground zero and hear such pedantic statements all the time coming out of the mouths of 20 somethings who believe they hold the keys to the kingdom. (they are trying to justify their own position, but never mind the obvious) I have personally witnessed them saying such things to little old ladies who have helped pay their salary. If you want to read about them, read the book of Jude.

  367. “I don’t ‘fear’ anything being raised and debated here, and I don’t think others here do. Perfect love drives out fear and all that. We disagree with things, sure, but those of us here are of the opinion that we should talk about these differences, not just try and shout them down with a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude. The ‘sound doctrine’ crowd seem less willing to have discussions.”

    Bingo Pam. The “sound doctrine” (their version of it, of course) crowd are not pleased that the wrongs committed by the Puritans is being outed. They have used the Puritans as examples for us to follow. They sell their prayers on CD,s write books borrowing from :Puritan lit. There is not only reputations at stake for looking ignorant but also money.n The YRR buys books like crazy. They are a great market.

  368. I did not mean to make a happy face Puritan. Hee Hee. I don’t know how that happened. A stern face would have been more appropriate. (wink)

  369. Gavin

    Good night! Such a sweeping generalization of ALL the people here-no edifying, no building up, etc. Look a bt deeper, my friend. We may surprise you.  

  370. Gavin’s problem is that he is sold out to Calvinista doctrine, much of which is only supported by stretching the truth of scripture beyond the breaking point. So, like others of his ilk, he must attack anything that holds one of his heroes to question.

    Gavin, if you ever say the Lord’s prayer, asking that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, or if you believe that prayer is ever effective, then you are contradicting strong Calvinist doctrine, what we call Calvinista.

  371. I finished my last post with a Navajo prayer which none of your bloggers noticed or try to fulfil. That says it all.
    Regards
    Gavin

  372. Oh and for the record I have Navajo friends as well. Do you still think I come from the UK? (Not that it matters). And for the record as well not only have I visited death camps I’ve held dead children in my arms and brought some of the guilty to justice. I live my faith.(Bad mouth that if you dare)
    Regards
    Gavin

  373. Gavin, your lack of insight is only matched by your temerity. Time to zip up into your one-z and have a nice cup of tea from the former colonies.

  374. Afraid of sound doctrine? You miss the point. navel gazing at your own sinfulness (as if that ever changed anything) is not sound doctrine. It is a kind of emotionalised legalism. I am a great sinner. I have never fully loved God with all my heart mind soul and strength or my neighbour as myself. So what? My Saviour is greater. He took all my sin, all my human fallenness and nailed it to the cross, then He said, ” it is finished!!” He has buried it, why should I keep digging it up again? for freedom Christ has set me free. I will not be perfect until I stand before Him in glory, but meanwhile I will press forward, learning to love by richly receiving His love, learning not to judge by knowing that I have been delivered from judgement. It was your own Calvinist hymnwriter who said “Could my zeal no respite know/ Could my tears forever flow/ All for sin could not atone/ Thou must save and Thou alone.” perpetually mourning our sinfulness achieves nothing.

    Of course the Puritans were flawed, just as all men are who walk the earth, except for One. Whenever we see systemic behavioural flaws, we know that there is a loophole somewhere in their systemic belief system which allows that evil in. If we are wise we will learn from the mistakes of others and root out the faulty beliefs that lead to unloving behavioural choices, for as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

  375. Caleb and Haitch – those indigenous environmental books sound great. I’m a geographer, so that sort of stuff is right up my alley.

  376. @Pam, check out the critques by Geoffrey Blainey, John Mulvaney and Timothy Neale too. There’ll be lots of future arguments about his premise which I don’t think has been fully grasped yet.

  377. Can I just say that I greatly dislike systematic theologies of any kind. I love scripture but fail to see how you can systematize God. You can systematize what man thinks he knows about God, but Truth comes by new birth and the indwelling of Holy Spirit not by systematized theology. Why not study the scripture without the lens of the reformers or the puritans? Many of these men, pastors, and teachers, just push other people’s ideas.

  378. Bridget

    AMEN. The attempt to have a systematic theology (which is hyper-CalvinisM, btw) results in concepts that so constrain God’s love and grace, and makes God the author of evil. I cannot worship the God the hyper-Cals believe to exist; there is insufficient love and too much punishment of his already adopted children, children who have accepted and testified to the gift of grace and love that has resulted in their adoption.