“Know a man by his metaphors.” ― The Wolf in Winter
I have a statement that I often make in times like these: “Play in public; pay in public.” This applies to me and many pastors who write books and speak often. In 2009, when I began expressing my thoughts and opinions, I opened myself to all kinds of feedback. I took my private life and exchanged it for a public life. I allow all sorts of comments on my blog (HUG-looking at you.) I have had pushback, criticism, and threats. I have spoken to the police and a lawyer on more than one occasion. When I get critiqued, I never think, “He slandered me.” As you may know, I wrote a post called Slander or an Inconvenient Truth.
Today, the Christian Post wrote four reactions to Joshua Butler’s resignation as pastor of an Arizona church.
Butler is cool. If you don’t think so, you are an uncool person.
Drew Dyck made a comment that confused me.
He tweeted: “I think a lot of people misread him. He’s not some patriarchal theobro. He’s a Portlandy, Imago Dei, NT Wrightish style Christian who got too earthy with his language.”
I love NT Wright, and Butler, with his book, doesn’t remind me of him. I couldn’t picture Wright, a gentle and humorous Brit, saying sincerely that “the diaphragm prevents the full reception of the husband’s sacrificial gift.”
And is Imago Dei some signal that one is particularly cool? I looked up the term to see if it meant something different than the “image of God?” Here is one take on it from Reasons to Believe.
Then there was the term “Portlandy,” which rang the bell: “He’s super dee duper cool, and he’s one of us, so be a glad, non-Portlandy person.” Dyck resides in Portland, so he is Portlandy as well.
His theology is consistent with The Gospel Coalition, so what’s the big deal?
Rick Pidcock, who writes for Baptist News Global, was confused.
Pidcock also called out TGC for its Amazon reviews billing the book as “the Protestant magnum opus on sexual ethics we’ve been waiting for.”
He tweeted: “Even though what he wrote was messed up, it’s perfectly consistent with the messed up gospel of TGC. And nobody should have to leave for writing something that’s perfectly consistent with and celebrated by their publisher.”
I thought it was a good point. Don’t all these theodudes believe this deep down inside?
You’re all a bunch of slandering progressive evangelicals or neo-fundamentalists.
Jake Meador wrote the typical ho-hum claptrap.
Meador tweeted: “The reason neo-fundamentalists & prog evangelicals keep swarming, harassing, and slandering people is simple: It keeps working. If it works, why would they stop? If you want them to stop, ignore them. As long as our leaders lack the courage to do this, it will keep happening.”
Jake…I am none of those people groups you mentioned. I strive never to slander, which means I never knowingly lie to cause malicious harm to another. Check out the definition next time you write. Do you understand that as an author, you want your book to become known so that many people read it and become wiser? Therefore, you are in the public eye, meaning that people can critique your book and wonder about you as an author. Did you know that English teachers often have student research the author of a book? Sometimes, that might not turn out well if the book is rejected. It hurts the author’s feelings, but I imagine you hope for honest feedback. Darn, you even have a public website. You are looking for attention, and you don’t get to say what kind of attention you get.,
Jen Pollock Michel stands by, being driven to tears over this nonsense.
You may remember her. She is the one who cried a whole bunch when reading Butler’s book. Michel is an author and speaker.
She is the author of five books: A Habit Called Faith, Surprised by Paradox (winner of Christianity Today’s 2020 Award of Merit for Beautiful Orthodoxy), Keeping Place, and Teach Us to Want (winner of Christianity Today’s 2015 Book of the Year). Her fifth book, In Good Time, releases December 13, 2022. She holds a B.A. in French from Wheaton College, an M.A. in Literature from Northwestern University, and is working to complete an M.F.A from Seattle Pacific University. After eleven years of living in Toronto, Jen now lives in Cincinnati with her husband and her two youngest children. You can follow Jen on Twitter and Instagram @jenpmichel, subscribe to her Monday letters at www.jenpollockmichel.com, and listen to episodes of the Englewood Review of Books podcast
As an author and promoter of her books, she also seeks to be in the public eye. So let’s review what she wrote to endorse Butler’s book.
She wrote a response to criticism that she received over the endorsement of this book in On my endorsement of Joshua Ryan Butler’s Beautiful Union.
- She claims she read the book and wrote the endorsement after doing so.
- She said she was glad that Butler “made much” of the gospel, which is Christianese for saying his sexual content was all about the gospel, and that is what The Gospel Coalition is all about.
- “I also found Josh’s attitude sensitive and pastoral to wounded readers.” if so, why the brouhaha? She obviously didn’t foresee the reaction. “Pastoral” is hardly the word I would use for discussing the sacrificial nature of the man’s sexual performance.
- Oddly, she says nothing about her tears or how her imagination was renewed and expanded. There seems to be little left to the imagination in the book, so it is amusing to know that her imagination was expanded. I would love to know how long the tears lasted and why there were tears in the first place. Many I spoke to had tears of frustration over this whole scene.
- She claims she is willing to grow and be corrected. So let’s see if it happens. I am not hopeful.
- Don’t try to comment on this post. The comments are closed.
- She even stopped checking Twitter. Sometimes being in public can be messy, and she ain’t playing that game.
Kind and Biblical pushback to Butler
I enjoyed this post at Patheos by Dave Vaughn: The Fundamental Flaws in Josh Butler’s Argument. This guy is Butler’s friend who disagrees with how he approached his conclusions biblically.
Josh asserts both “Sεx is an icon of Christ and the church” and “Sεx is an icon of salvation.” He arrives here based on his reading of Ephesians 5. He writes,
In Ephesians 5, a “hall of fame” marriage passage, the apostle Paul proclaims:
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Now, the context here is marriage. “Leave and cleave” is marriage language (we’ll look at this in a future chapter), and the surrounding verses are all about husbands and wives, not hook-up culture. Yet that second part, about the two becoming one flesh, is consummation language that refers to the union of husband and wife.
…First, “cleave” (προσκολλάω) in New Testament and Greek OT does NOT indicate sεxual union. In fact, Israel is told to “hold fast to the Lord your God” (Joshua 23:8). It always connotes clinging to, sticking close, or attaching oneself. Aside from Genesis 2, it does not refer to married couples. (This is true both in Greek and Hebrew.)
He believes Butler makes a mistake by insisting that Ephesians 5 is about sex.
In other words, Paul is simply reinforcing the imagery from the prior verses (i.e., head/body and loving one’s own body) in order to strengthen his call upon husbands to love their wives well.
Verse 32 (“This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”) merely intends to unpack how “we are members of [Christ’s] body.” When Paul wrote 5:32, he did not have in mind how 2 bodies have sεx. He intended to underscore how we (his church) ARE his body, not that we are a separate body that is being “penetrated” by Christ (a phrase Josh uses).
He believes that he misunderstands Genesis 2.
In my opinion, Josh’s interpretive mistakes include the following:
- He does not interpret Gen 2:24 in its fullest context.
- He narrows the language’s meaning (in Gen 2:24) to marriage alone, whereas it could be applied more broadly to close (non-marital) kin relationships.
- He swaps Paul’s metaphors. Whereas marriage symbolizes the relationship between Christ and the church, Josh makes a very specific part of marriage (i.e., sεx) symbolic of the Christ-church relationship.
He claims that even Paul doesn’t go there.
’ll conclude with a striking observation. In 1 Corinthians 6:16-17 (quoted above), notice what Paul says after quoting Genesis 2,
“But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
- Butler took a metaphor and built a kingdom around it. I once had a woman tell me there is an actual gate in heaven with a real pearl on it. She didn’t understand the metaphor surrounding these descriptors. Butler did just the opposite. He ran the metaphor into the ground.
- I am disappointed in complementarian women like Jen Michel Pollock, who added to the problem with her effusive and wooden acceptance of one of the TGC authors. Other women on the editorial staff of TGC remained quiet. Is this because Butler is a male, a pastor, a cool, Portlandy dude, and an author? Who knows?
- How well are people reading their Bible?
- I wasn’t surprised by the men who supported Butler’s imagery. It was fun and cool. It was a reminder of the Mark Driscoll days, and the theodudes really miss him.
- Do any of these guys know the actual definition of the word “slander?” For most of them, it just means, “You hurt my feelings.” However, it is really a lie intended to cause harm to another.
- What in the world is the hip definition of the word “Imago Dei?” I’m out of touch, I guess.
- “Porttlandy?” Is that now a term? Good night!
- Everyone who is seeking the public eye better pull on their big boy and girl pants and expect criticism. Criticism from the blogs finally got the sex abuse stuff out into the open. It can lead to much transparency and good.
There just doesn’t seem to be enough of the Gospel in their stuff to make much of.
Therein lies their problem, that and these “gospelly” dudes come across as really quite clueless.
TGC used to be theologically sound years ago when it started, but not any longer with the likes of Josh Butler, and their acceptance of poor biblical interpretation. Rick Pidcock said it well: “Even though what he wrote was messed up, it’s perfectly consistent with the messed up gospel of TGC.”
Neocals really think that spraying their language with the word “gospel” inoculates them from criticism or critique. They believe it makes their ideas, unassailable. It always reminds me of the third commandment.
My apologies, Dee, I couldn’t find this earlier. See this link: https://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/02/08/injustice-an-open-letter-to-the-gospel-coalition-by-nate-sparks/
The Josh Butler situation is only the latest in a long string of issues regarding the TGC.
“Today, the Christian Post wrote four reactions”
Well, they missed the Queen Mutha of responses. She pored over the whole thing, and responded in scholarly fashion as befitting her earned (& surely hard-won) degree.
Dr. Laura Robinson
Ph.D. in New Testament, Duke
One key quote:
“The text of Beautiful Women is quite clear: women don’t have anything to say that anyone needs to hear. Nothing women say is worth listening to enough to make it into this book…
…They are one half of all heterosexual sex, and they have nothing important to say about the subject at all. The absence of women’s voices and experiences in this text is striking.”
Her articles in response should be given center stage.
Josh Butler made it blatantly obvious that his understanding/interpretation of Eph. 5 is unbelievably shallow and pubescent. Aside from him completely missing Paul’s point, he doesn’t understand anything about marriage, either.
On March 2 Rick Warren called the article (book excerpt) “offensive and erroneous theology” and asked why there was no apology. Good on Warren. Some people stand for truth and goodness.
Imago Dei is the name of a church in Portland where Butler was a pastor.
noun: sexual harassment:
Behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or talk or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situation.
IOW: Inappropriate sex talk (such as preaching) in a social situation (such as church) is considered sexual harassment.
HUG keeps the comment section fun! 🙂
I would certainly consider it harassment if I had to sit through this knucklehead actually preaching this nonsense. Far more so if I were a woman and ended up sitting through garbage like that.
Please tell me he didn’t actually preach this.
And yes, there absolutely should be apologies from the author,TGC, and whomever else was involved in such a trainwreck.
How does someone arrive at such a horribly incorrect, abhorrent, and perverted doctrine as this guy did??
Imago Dei in Portland publicly changed its position from soft comp to egalitarian in 2021. I think that was Drew’s point, that Butler’s normal crowd is not the patriarchy crowd. I think this is correct. He is into Christopher West family stuff, not Doug Wilson family stuff. They end up in similar places on some things, but it’s a different vibe.
Also, Dee, it’s Brad Vaughn, not Dave Vaughn whose Patheos article you quoted at length.
Yeah, he does.
Makes me think of Cabaret.
Let’s face it (neo-cal dudebros.), these guys hate women.
Thought of you (Dee) when I heard this podcast. Feel free to delete since it’s off topic for this thread
“I think that was Drew’s point, that Butler’s normal crowd is not the patriarchy crowd. …but it’s a different vibe.”
well, this different vibe produced a book about sex and how it explains everything, but which ignores women and isn’t one bit interested in them as real people with voices, experiences, agency, and contributions.
‘Patriarchy by any other name would smell as horrendous’
I think “Pastor John” beat Mr Butler to it, right down to the title “Beautiful Union”. This is from a few years back
And even more cringeworthy from 2004, courtesy of DesiringGod and Mrs CJ –
And for my final contribution, here is the theological raisin d’être for all of this nonsense courtesy of CBMW, August 2021 where it is described as a type of “covenant renewal ceremony”. Good grief as Charlie Brown would say.
Raisin = raisin! Lol. Although raisin has a certain ring to it.
As in my classroom in 1969.
Mothers – stop your boys (and girls) going to any kind of church as it’s so difficult to tell what they are on about.
When church obliterates social norms of decency (not talking Polite Society but social norms of decency), the perverts show up and do their perverted thing. So many examples observed.
The Sunday Night Rockstar Worship Show for the young folks. The naïve young women are there with their girl group Bible study BFFs. And the extreme-sports-OLD-guy-wanna-claim-being-young-forever singles are there for their Hunting Ground.
The Purity Culture of daughters swearing allegiance, ring and all, to their dads until betrothed.
The Pastor with his special women’s committee that cares for him, mends his robe, cleans his office, prays for his special needs, etc.
Hybels needing his Type A women ‘cuz wifey just doesn’t cut it for Hybels Type A Enterprise of Success with Global Forums.
Going to church while leaving one’s brain at the curb (informed by eyes and ears and gut instincts) is always a bad idea, leading to cult activity.
Any social org where men and women are not held in equal standing is an enormous red flag. Ladies yield their humanity and agency to their own demise right from the jump, and contribute to the eroding of dignity for both genders.
The New Calvinists all talk the same gibberish about “making much of the gospel” … a term one of them coined and parroted by others. They depend on borrowing stuff from each other for sermons so they can spend more time at the coffee shop and not have to study for a fresh message.
One of the young reformers who planted a church in my area said he was “going to make God big.” I told him that God was already quite big. I love to burst their bubbles when I get the opportunity.
I love N.T. Wright, too. He says that the current obsession with gonads is idolatry, and he is (ahem) wright.
IMO, the New Calvinists spend way too much time chattering about sex. From Driscoll’s potty-mouth porno sermons and books … to Tullian’s antinomian defense of multiple affairs … to Doug Wilson’s nasty remarks about submission … to Chandler’s inappropriate online relationship with a woman … etc. etc. … these guys are way over the top on the subject for men of the cloth.
Thank you for the link. I listened to it and wrote her name down. She is one more resource in the war out there. Awesome. And thank you for thinking of me.
I was late to the party on the previous thread, so a repeat may be in order:
Any authors with at all realistic expectations welcome critics – because critics mean their book is getting attention. They can converse with the critics to try to win them over. And it seems this is exactly what Butler wants to do. Kevin DeYoung OTOH, believes Butler has been persecuted. https://clearlyreformed.org/so-what-about-that-tgc-article-on-sex/
“ Six, the article was not good. The mob was worse. Butler did not deserve to be pilloried…. This ordeal quickly moved away from theological sharpening to pitchfork-toting and axe-wielding. I fear that an apology for “hurt,” without naming any identifiable sin, sends the wrong message: it canceled Butler…”
IMO it’s impossible for critics to “cancel” Butler. Only his gospelly friends like Carson Keller and Kim could do that. Did DeYoung follow Matthew 18 about their sins I wonder?
IMO, if you took that out of the equation, the NeoCal dudebros would lose a critical part of their appeal to the culture. It’s become part of the fabric in their “ministry” that attracts a following.
I have yet to hear one of them preach ‘the’ Gospel.
“… in order to strengthen his (St. Paul’s) call upon husbands to love their wives well …”
When I see the verb “love” modified by the adverb “well,” my molars hurt because I’m clenching my jaw. In my opinion, one can’t “love” one’s spouse, child, or pet poorly. If it’s not done “well,” something other than “love” should be the verb.
Just a personal gripe. Carry on.
“Even though what he wrote was messed up, it’s perfectly consistent with the messed up gospel of TGC.” (Rick Pidcock)
That pretty well sums it up … couldn’t be any clearer than that about the mess New Calvinism has made of the church.
Almost as bad as Driscoll’s abuse of Song of Solomon.
Hanging out with the New Calvinists.
There’s certainly something warped about them in regard to the opposite sex … it’s as if they want to get back at women since they have pulpit power. Their Mama was mean to them? … they couldn’t get dates in high school? … they had an authoritarian female manager at their fast food job in college? … some other mental/emotional quirk of that sort?
“When I see the verb “love” modified by the adverb “well”
christian one-upmanship… i don’t know what’s more irritating, that or parroting it like an automaton in response to a button being pressed.
The NeoCals need a Great Reset for their movement before the whole thing unravels. Hope the TGC elite don’t decide to do that.
Of course- glad you enjoyed it.
“it’s as if they want to get back at women since they have pulpit power”
i see it as nurturing a regressed development stage circa 6 years old, where boys and girls think each other are yucky.
like, the God-ordained mandate to aim lower and lower, relaxing character development more and more.
it’s a dream come true to think that God wants us to indulge our impulses because disciplined character is so worldly & unbiblical.
During my time in-country, the Magic Word was SCRIPTURE(TM).
It always reminds me of the third commandment.
Convenient how it has been redefined to mean cussing and only cussing, eh, My Dear Wormwood?
Womb Tomb Swanson always gave me that vibe — Revenge of the High School Geek who now has POWER.
But is it PORTLANDY(TM)?
(Portlandia was a documentary.)
One of the young reformers who planted a church in my area said he was “going to make God big.”
The young reformers way of saying that he was going to make himself big?
Once you’ve noticed it once, you see it everywhere, like erosion.
Just imagine what would happen if just for one short year every Christian decided to forego church services, and instead, every day, spend just 15 minutes with Jesus. Read only the gospels, and that in small chunks. No commentaries, no study Bibles, nada but the pure Word. Even more radical, what if they stuck to the red letters.
Can you imagine, in other words, what would happen if Christians stopped listening to everyone else and listened to Jesus.
It would not be liberal ideas. He actually DOES address that whole long list of things liberals love to say Jesus never talked about. He does. It would also not be fundamentalist ideas. Jesus very clearly did not take an inerrantist, literalist approach to the OT (which was likely the Septuagint, btw.)
He is so radically different we would need a different name than Christianity for those that actually focus on and follow Him.
The thing I noticed about everything publicised from his book is how very Catholic it sounded. Although their Theology of the Body has a lot more to say about female pleasure if I remember rightly.
It sounds Catholic because he is heavily influenced by Catholic thinking on the topic, including John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. He has referenced Christopher West repeatedly in podcasts and the thinking on birth control and preference for NFP comes from Catholic circles.
1000%. Yes. Exactly.
Thanks for the link, that piece is a great explanation.
Another great quote from the same writer’s series on this subject:
“And so, we have a book that either promotes an extremely implausible account of women’s orgasms, or perhaps elides them entirely.
The subtitle of this book is how sex can explain “almost anything.” What appears to be absent from the list of things sex can explain is women having sex.”
How Butler makes his analogies to the gospel makes no sense to me as sex is a universal human act irrespective of ones’ theology.
From Dee’s concluding thoughts: “I wasn’t surprised by the men who supported Butler’s imagery. It was fun and cool. It was a reminder of the Mark Driscoll days, and the theodudes really miss him.”
Yes. I’ve been thinking this for some time. Recently, some authors have been trying to swing Evangelical understandings of sex, marriage, and gender away from the horrible teaching started by Driscoll and perpetuated by all his copy-cats. These authors are touching on how harmful and even abusive such teachings have been. Everything from Focus on the Family (which should be called, Focus on Male Headship) or “Love and Respect” (which should be called, “Your Husband Is a Toddler and Needs Perpetual Coddling from You”) and every other horrible organization (like TGC) or book (too many to include.)
And those that hold the male headship and catering to the male NEED for sex and adulation are aghast at the popularity of theses new trends that threaten their power bases.
Oh, how they long for the good old days of Driscoll, when men were praised for being tantrumming toddlers and women commanded to bear it all meekly with a smile and open legs.
They thought they could bring in Butler as a kinder, gentler Driscoll. They are shocked that are not having it.
NOT in a vacuum.
Despite what his church’s elders or many at TGC may have you believe.
Strange account why Butler left the ‘Imago Dei Community’ of Portland and moved to Phoenix-area and the ‘Redemption’ franchise:
[Butler claims God gave him a dream, and Butler claims his wife is a prophetess?]
Well, why didn’t the prophetess warn him about what was wrong with his book before it was published?
Apparently she wasn’t doing her job.
sex is a universal human act
And then there’s the dogs, cats, hamsters, elephants, cows, horses, gorillas, coyotes, lions and tigers and bears…….
My apologies if I’m duplicating what someone has already commented on — I haven’t read the comments. And my apologies if I cause anyone any offence….I’m writing with what I’d call righteous anger.
From Jen Pollock Michel’s post Post Script:
(Emphasis in Jen’s post.)
Jen writes that the counselor “wisely” says to the wife that the counselor is “on the side of the marriage”.
It would seem Jen doesn’t know much about people who are married to abusers, or perhaps she — like so many “Christians” — idolizes marriage.
Marriage is not more than important than the individuals in the marriage. How many people have been harmed, damaged, broken, etc. by such a false teaching? How many people have gone to counsellors within the church and ended up staying in a “marriage” far too long?
I’d write more in my comment, but you can find all kinds of information on the internet (and in many other places) that prove the false teaching of Jen’s comment on marriage.
Missed closing a tag on bold. Very big sigh.
One of the problems with Evangelicals is that their god is very, very small, petty and always broke.
I don’t think that the idea of discerning (or maybe it’s simply “imagining”) analogies between biology and theology is a priori wrong-headed. There’s an interesting book from decades past, “Man as Male and Female” that IIRC explores the idea that there is a connection between “made in the image of God” and “made male and female”; my memory is very stale, but I think the author suggested a resemblence between intra-trinitarian “society” and human nuclear family as “society”. As noted previously, marriage is used as a representation of God’s care for His people in both OT and NT.
Butler’s writing looks to me like a bad example of the genre, but I don’t think that the concept is intrinsically illegitimate.
Sums it up.
Bishop Wright has a reputation as a Thinker (which alone would set him up for a Flesh to Pile of Rocks from this crows) and makes a lot of sense (which doubles the contrast and the size of the pile of rocks).
Somebody better tell The Pious Piper that humans have a REAL bad track record when they mix the sacred with the erotic.
“If you run across a preacher who has titled himself ‘Apostle’ or ‘Prophet’, RUN!”
— my writing partner (the burned-out country preacher)
And 2-3 years ago on this blog, wasn’t Mr.J claiming Private Revelation through Dreams about COVID?
Headless Unicorn Guy,
Yes, I think that’s accurate.
Dr. Robinson’s pieces were excellent.
Just found this Q&A from 2015.
Same interpretation of the verses in Josh’s book. Ugh
She probably did, but Butler was too busy listening to John Piper telling him that women are easily deceived.
Funny and very true when you (generic you) think about it.
Carson set them up specially to muddy waters – a Peronist gambit (just like the faux gormless Rev Dever with his round tables). Carson posed as opponent of superapostles at one time.
As if we didn’t have a real world forum to offer our honest ideas.
While the real and needed gift is in a great many people, without job titles.
Incidentally the concept or phrase “private revelation” isn’t in Scripture, it is a Roman distortion.
I’m sceptical of anyone’s judgment of Mr J, who was sometimes clumsy in expressing some underdeveloped ideas. Scripture says we should leave many hypotheses open.
Your well appreciated strength is in seeing and uttering, not (yet) in focusing by sureness of discerning motives. The Romanists and fundamentalists (whose motives you have been in a position to discern) engraved it upon you that you will inevitably not have additional potential (Hegelian lack of manifest destiny).
I’m surprised you haven’t satirised those Manifest Destiny cartoons (MD was a bad English idea before it became a bad American idea, and goes hand in hand with degenerate “pragmatism”).
Is doing lasting huge damage permanently (including secular insitutions), because it combined politics, false spirituality and an illusion of dutifulness, struck innocent individuals, and trampled initiative.
The codependents whom we should put out of our home and personal churches for a season are those who fancy they are not codependent. Who make theatre out of throwing up their hands at the pantomime villains.
A challenge to married women: if there are boys and men with goodness known to you, why would you bracket them with Hunter just because Hunter is implying you should? Aren’t there people the real Christ sent to be conduits of His life for you? God created humanity male and female together as joint category.
The pantomime villains – and it’s a whole lot more deadly than pantomime – want to cancel the normal and good people, want to suck them into their vortex of negating. If you stop listening to the real and not fake moral majority as a knee jerk to Hunter, you are blaspheming God’s chosen.
Now KDY pretends to make out TGC or Butler’s old church are pretend villains. It’s all about them. Time for the good to cancel the entire rabble. We commenters are not Dee and Dee has a job to do. I do however agree with tracing the actual archaeology as most of us are doing this time.
The only way we will help each other out of damage and captivity is highlighting the better alternatives by lateral thinking. Stepping out of the categories / templates / paradigms of the corrupt.
Innocent = thirsting for justice altogether. The churches must repent of neglecting their whole calling before they can ask anyone else including secular figures, to do so. Daniel 9: 3-21.
We’ll not beome the change we want to see without greatly increased supplication and detaching from the worldly thinking templates in religion (even Troy said so).
“When Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in his name, observing his signs which he did. But Jesus did NOT entrust himself to them, because he knew everyone, and because he didn’t need for anyone to testify concerning man; for he himself knew what was in man.” – from John 2, World English Bible, Public Domain
Likewise, like Jesus, we put our trust in God Himself but never in man. Jesus knew what was in man, he knew better. We also can see and recognize what is in man, and know better.
Church should never be a bait and switch experience or relationship: bait with faith in God, then switch to faith in man, or in a man. The Body of Christ is Jesus centric through and through, or it is not the Body of Christ. Every time a man interferes by placing himself between followers of Jesus and Jesus Himself, that man needs to be thrown out. Walk away, disassociate. Men are men. Only God is God. Only God is worthy.
And God is never broke. God doesn’t need our money. Jesus told the rich young man to give away all he had to the poor. Jesus never collected money.
Sarah (aka Wild Honey),
Fundamentalist also… The more I study science/engineering, the more I realise how little mankind understands about the physical world.. yet fundamentalist and evangelical leaders o often seem to have things.. “all figure out” in their narrow understanding of scriptures.. it is really kind of sad..
“… the marriage bed as an emblem of Christ and the church in fellowship …”
Piper has always creeped me out.
Max, that’s because he’s a creep. He founded his church on an extra-biblical statement.
“God Is Most Glorified in Us When We Are Most Satisfied in Him”, says John Piper.
A pox on his house.
“… the marriage bed as an emblem of Christ and the church in fellowship …”
Piper has always creeped me out.
These people (TGC, CBMW, SBC, etc) revolve around and teach a testosterone-based religion.
IMHO, they are listing towards a pagan, phallic worship.
Egalitarian, complementarian……. whatever Josh Butler claims to be, he’s right in there with them.
Dee, moderators, please don’t post this if it is breaking rules. But the world has suffered the loss of a stellar man of God over in Kentucky. For those who like youtube videos of thrifting or home decor or cooking, Timmy of Little Blest Nest died unexpectedly.
His wife does the youtube channel and was paid to be his caretaker. Now that is gone, but lots of folks watching the videos will help pay some bills as she transitions from wife to widow. This is a middle aged couple, no kids, (he had one previous to their marriage), truly living the Christlike marriage. He had massive coronaries, nearly died, was cognitively impaired, in a wheel chair, on dialysis. All from underlying diabetes. He adored his wife Stephani and she lived sacrificially for him.
Prayers needed for her, he is dancing now home with Jesus and probably singing with Elvis.
with Driscoll taking the lead
“The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule on their own authority;
And My people love to have it so!
But what will you do when the end comes?”
The Roys Report (from Dee’s Twitter)….MN Pastor Who Married Son’s Ex-Wife Remains in Ministry, But Son’s TikToks Going Viral.
You gotta read the story — it made me laugh (but not for good reasons). There really aren’t any words to describe it….
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any weirder, we have this “solid rock” story which is built on sinking sand, not ‘the’ Rock.
Proof that Roys Report readers never need to watch soap operas.
And that no matter how crazy you can imagine, reality can get twice as crazy.
Sounds like a recipe for a God you see every time you look in a mirror.
Bridal Mysticism on steroids.
“Thrust me through with Thy Divine Love! Fill me with Thy Holy Spirit as with child!”
With humans’ track record on mixing the spiritual and the erotic, I expect Asherah Poles and Sex as Sacrament a la fertility cults well within one generation. And this blog has scrutinized several MenaGAWD who were giving themselves a head start.
Headless Unicorn Guy,
It’s IMO an excuse for self-indulgence in the interests of one’s transient pleasures rather than self-control, self-restraint or even self-denial in the interest of others’ well-being.
I imagine there are many ways to arrive at this point. Piper got there, led by his reading of J. Edwards, starting with a concept of the priority of the Divine Glory. One could probably arrive at a similar place in a less rationalist way, perhaps by reading Jn 3:16 with a strong “me” orientation, without noticing I Jn 3:16.
Frankly, I got a bit of that “feel” from the recent Briscoe sermon — with its emphasis on individual “experience of Jesus.” I expect that he’ll reach some “one another” applications at some point. Religion shouldn’t terminate at “me.”
Thanks for the Dr Laura, “Queen Mutha” link. Her writing in response to Butler’s book, and your description of her, is delightful.
Butler’s book, IMO, sounds disgustingly familiar to some other TGC associated authors.
Good point. Great examples.
Religion also doesn’t begin nor end with “Me and the Boys”, “Me and my Bros”, etc.
When the nuclear family or “marriage” is used to give insight into God’s love and Jesus” prime directive to “love one another,” IMO, community life and right acknowledgement of and responses regarding abuse ought to be a part of any teaching attempts.
I love a good love story, especially if it is true. As far as I know, according to Ken Burns “The West”, I think that’s where I heard this true story…..of a Montana couple, I think. She was a school teacher and he had many work effort/farming attempts to be profitable. She was reluctant at first to his pursuits and she was strong enough to set healthy boundaries( and he was humble enough to listen to criticism and respond well) ….anyway after years of marriage and repeated farming losses, he told her she could leave him if she wanted to and her answer, “I’ll never leave you or forsake you.” …..The sex acts weren’t the emphasis, although Burns did have one of their grown sons tearfully recall and share the family information, maybe reading a letter. So, obviously sex was some part of their lives, but again, not the whole kit and caboodle. I think the thing that shines is the whole dynamic of responding to each other and being productive (with or without “success”) with their individual lives. I wonder if too much emphasis on sex acts, or undervalue of the non-sex act dynamics of cleaving and one-anotherness, is like a sugar/drug rush, a quick pleasure fix…a recipe for disaster all around , resulting in addiction brain wiring?
These authors, if I recall, like to talk about brain wiring, (and usually it is written of as pertaining to men like themselves) as if it’s fixed and incapable of change. But, that’s inconsistent, IMO, with science and religion.
Christians are supposed to exalt Jesus … not pet theology, not denominations, not pulpit personalities … and certainly not “me”
“While Jesus was yet speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers stood outside, seeking to speak to him. Someone said to him, ‘Behold, your mother and your brothers stand outside, seeking to speak to you.’
“But Jesus answered, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ He stretched out his hand toward his disciples, and said, ‘Behold, my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.’” Matthew 12:46-50, World English Bible, Public Domain
“Jesus’ mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent to him, calling him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, ‘Behold, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside looking for you.’
“Jesus answered them, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ Looking around at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Behold, my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God is my brother, my sister, and mother.’” – Mark 3:31-35, World English Bible
“Jesus’ mother and brothers came to him, and they could not come near him for the crowd. Some people told him, ‘Your mother and your brothers stand outside, desiring to see you.’
“But Jesus answered them, ‘My mother and my brothers are these who hear the word of God, and do it.’” – Luke 8:19-21, World English Bible
“Now when Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in his name, observing his signs which he did.
“But Jesus did NOT entrust himself to them, because he knew everyone, and because he didn’t need for anyone to testify concerning man; for he himself knew what was in man.” John 2:23-25, World English Bible, Public Domain
“These authors, if I recall, like to talk about brain wiring, (and usually it is written of as pertaining to men like themselves) as if it’s fixed and incapable of change.”
i think it bolsters deep insecurities they have to talk about the male virility club, fancying themselves as experts.
Jake Meador belittles Dr. Laura Robinson’s scholarly response as “anti-Butler stuff”. as if it’s just a petty personal gripe.
good grief… seems to me Jake is the one engaging in petty & personal.
Interesting intuition Samuel. The approach in that kind of situation is to check out the clip from the middle first, and if they seem to be saying something then edge back a minute at a time.
From the 5 minute boast of how unprepared Mr Briscoe was to craft and curate stagnant meanderings: he can’t hit upon good self advertisement as good God advertisement. Would he blush to be grouped with Piper or (gasp) Edwards? He surely isn’t claiming “private revelation” for his momentously momentarily occupying our time in 2023?
Rev Balboni of Park Street (btw) immediately had relevant things to point out (the woman missionary cited ran into genuine circumstances).
The Scriptures Mr Briscoe says he’s going to cite from Jn are telling me about the appearing of God and the children of God – just like all my other reading at the moment – so I’ll make another attempt. (P.s Dee, the music, prayer on Saturdays are invariably fab.)
Sarah (aka Wild Honey),
Good excuse for allowing women in on the “prophetess” gig and nothing else.
Jeffrey J Chalmers,
I can’t agree more. What I’m getting from Paul L Holmer’s book On Kierkegaard and the Truth (posthumously, 2012) (hamfistedly summarised) is that Kierkegaard wasn’t attacking Bible scholarship but a logical misconstrual of its purpose. In his day studies on the background to texts and culture, cosmology and geology, language and thought, hadn’t advanced in the various directions they have been doing since (many greatly esteemable), but his point still has force. Truth is not a body of knowledge, it simply depends on knowledge that we may have an attitude of honesty towards.
Ravi Zacharias and others displayed gymnastics to try and bolster that there “is such a thing” as god while the only real question around Him is, does He appear? I find that my examinations of fields of knowledge have strengthened my belief precisely because they swept away the fallacies of excuse-makers. To take an example: the relative chronology of Daniel and Cyrus is plausibly very close together, not necessarily centuries apart, allowing us by two steps to refocus on the point in Daniel’s repentance by proxy for his predecessors and betters.
“Anti-butler,” pfft. I wonder if he read what she actually wrote. I did. She is very careful not to pick on Butler personally. She explicitly critiques the system and culture, as well as the gatekeepers who allowed his ideas to be platformed.
And really, if being pro-women, pro-healthy-sexuality, and anti-echo-chamber means you are anti-this-one-guy, that says more about the one guy than it does about his critics.
He’s a Portlandy, Imago Dei, NT Wrightish style Christian who got too earthy with his language.
I’m a little disappointed in Drew’s He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother defense. Being “too cool” doesn’t cover a multitude of sins, or a multitude of stupid analogies. I’ve had positive interactions with Drew on Twitter in the past, but perhaps he’s quicker to circle the wagons than I thought. Or perhaps he’s tired of seeing professing Christians eat their own.* However, even if that’s the case, there is a way to differentiate criticizing bad work and destroying a person’s character. Too bad the “theobros” all-too-often confuse the two.
*I wish we were more focused on the orthodox sacraments, including eating the body and blood of Christ, than inventing new ones out of whole cloth. But how else are we going to become “influencers for Christ” unless we find things in Scripture that have never been seen in 2000 years. BTW, this is the besetting sin of progressivism as well as the theodudes, etc.
Driscoll was too cool … Tullian was too cool … Lentz was too cool … etc. etc. Being too cool is seldom equivalent to being Christlike. I have a feeling that the Creator of the Universe is not all that impressed with cool ministers and cool ministries where the Great God Entertainment sits on the throne. Being cool without character won’t cut it on Judgment Day.
eh, i think they’re dumb & embarrassing.
indictments on missing the obvious all round.
(well, not you, Burwell)
Ah, yes, some of the important Jesus centered scriptural places I’ve found highlighted only in Biblically egalitarian writing.
And never highlighted at TGC associated places, from what I’ve read and experienced.
Humble “experts”, IMO, wouldn’t cut their joyful curiosity potential off like that. Can’t really be all that fulfilling. But, I think you may be right.
to be clear, i’m all for the male virility club – i just hate the inflated ego preening peacocks it turns christian men into, and will ridicule them forever for giving me the role of passive receiver whose only job is to sit back and think of England with hospitality.
don’t see why it isn’t a good day to be frank.
Not only that, but he’s one of those who can churn out 3000 words and not say a gall-dang thing that couldn’t have been said in 300.
Michael in UK,
I’ll be listening with interest to future messages that Dee posts in the e-church series. I think that PB assuredly has a larger goal for his congregation, that “a fuller ‘experience of God'” leads somewhere, and is not simply an end in itself. Where might it lead? Perhaps to the end point of 1 Jn 3:1-3, that beholding the Deity, we become like Him (and even that may not an end in itself, but part of the larger purposes for which the Creator created the world). It felt a bit odd to not have this larger context in view at the beginning of a “lecture series” — one likes to have a map of where one is going at the beginning of a journey (or maybe that’s just me; my anxiety about becoming geographically lost was quite annoying to a recent traveling companion, who felt perfectly safe with her mobile device GPS navigator). OTOH, I know literally nothing about that congregation, and perhaps the information that from my perspective is “missing” was already front and center, shared understanding, for everyone who was physically present for that message. It makes one wonder a bit what we’re missing when we read ancient documents.
Perhaps he is the new Kierkegaard! As for me, lucky to grow up in an outer suburban small town, I would surmise all my generation (long ago) knew God (in theological varieties) through botany. Leaves = hearts (and stars) definitely, always. The typical books besides suitable novels and a few poems were nature study, dignified engravings of history scenes / personalities, and aeroplanes. Occasionally Dad would save up to buy us a 3s 11d EP of a few classical tunes, still among my favourites (unbeknownst to him I conceived the germ of a love for R&B concurrently).
I’m addressing everybody with this. Renewing of our minds doesn’t mean pressing the same button the opposite way (that’s codependency).
For anyone’s sanity – can we pool what we CAN believe and how we CAN believe. Is supplication still fashionable? Charismatics became functional cessationists and pretend trinitarians. No Holy Spirit bestowing, unvetoed, makes nonsense of Holy Spirit indwelling and of the Christ child.
How dare anybody paint the fearful disciples ministering prayer, as despisable wimps? The only time the superapostles’ ministry will be fruitful, will be when they are in fear.
Visual thinkers = Issachar. We didn’t have “jealousy provoking” in mind.
The intellectual style you refer to, may be a variable blend of subliminal intuition with (at worst) lack of critique. The former can be strengthened with mind – Fullness.
I should have added:
– and not the codependency they always called fear.
Flaunting a Latin word that doesn’t end in Us or Um is Sixties COOL.
IMHO, there’s a lot of preachin’ going on in places where Jesus has not entrusted Himself – to both pulpit and pew. We’ve carved out religious expressions not requiring His presence … Jesus doesn’t trust them.
I think we all know this is not to your taste (majority of commenters). That ought to be 40 % of our comments. Has god stopped being provident? How veiled is the meaning of scriptures and why (and I don’t want generalisations)? If you haven’t a bench mark to match against why do you comment? Weren’t some of your readers (and Dee’s) actually hurt by bad religion, even if you weren’t? I’m distressed why suggestions as to what belief is and what prayer is, don’t form the other 60 % of the comments. (Arithmetic pulled out of the air by me.)
When I read that Jesus entrusted Himself to no one because He knew the heart of man, I thought of how in church we can work together but the bottom line is we are working with people so we must reserve our ALL IN for God/Jesus/Holy Spirit only. Trusting a leader or movement or faith community unreservedly will always end in disappointment.
There’s a Netflix series on the fake heiress from Europe that conned bankers and investors in NYC: “Inventing Anna”. Some faith leaders pull the same stunt: Inventing Jesus.
The bankers and investors could never verify that Anna was actually an heiress but nevertheless they were buoyed along by her vision of what she wanted to do, so they followed her down the rabbit hole of her lies of being a wealthy heiress. They foolishly backed a fake.
Some faith leaders likewise cast an interesting stimulating exciting vision, then even the seemingly astute smart guys in the room bankroll that fake faith leader. Tragic. True. The fake and the fools, all in.
It shouldn’t even start with “Me” but often it does. We go searching for something or Someone higher than ourselves because we are lost. Because we are/I am lost or empty. That’s starting with me. God leads us to Him and our relationship with the Higher Power Creator of the Universe begins. Then God leads us to we. Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself. Beginning with me and ending with we. The We is actually a triangle of folks who are All In for God in fellowship with God above all, and subsequently with each other on level ground.
In church today, were the We on level ground? With equal voice? Or was there one microphone on stage above everyone else doing a monologue dominating the room with one booming voice? How many times do we attend church, sit there, then leave, in silent submission to that stage and microphone booming with one monologue voice? For years, decades, a lifetime?
The booming monologue voice may tell you to greet those beside you, but do you even know who you are dealing there beside you? Do you have a voice in this? Or, is this a albeit fake connection with God-knows-who right there on the pew beside you? This can be another whole level of creepy. Because, who knows – the monologue voice on stage is not dealing with the creep(s) in the crowd. Ask survivors. They know. And their voices are primarily expressed outside traditional church.
Do they realise there is need to supplicate? Who even invented “soteriology”? “Soteriology” isn’t about being saved at all. Being saved will mean surviving. Whom are they helping to survive?
An unholy alliance that is being played out across the American church … an ungodly synergism which has nothing to with the Kingdom of God.
Really? Jesus hasn’t mentioned anything to me about it. Guess I missed the memo.
And please don’t quote bible at me. I know what it says.
But right here and now, Jesus says nothing.
It’s up to the Christians to call it out assuming they have an issue.
Unfortunately this version of the faith is top down management. God to Jesus to pastor to you.
It sure does.
I think I hear you. I have children of both sexes, so I am all for male virility also and for the agency of both female and male, as was Paul, IMO, from reading CBE information on this topic.
From the past, when an author who has marketed the CBMW brand is quoted, even from a friendlier pulpit, and even when the quote was not about male/female relationships, that was/is something I hate. I hear it as “the inflated ego preening peacocks” marking their territory with willing, maybe indifferent, participants helping the brand along.
From my earlier post, I should clarify that by “joyful curiosity potential” in relationships I was/am not thinking of sex acts. I’m thinking of collaborative, not one-upmanship, ways of being together, not excluding healthy resolution of conflict.
“I hear it as “the inflated ego preening peacocks” marking their territory with willing, maybe indifferent, participants helping the brand along.”
psssss… “I was hee-ah” (deep throat talk), and the group is inspired, dutifully following him to the next tree to see him perform his next act of servant leadership.
psssss…. “I was hee-ah” (more deep throat talk), and what an honor it is for the group to be witness to these demonstrations of such remarkable servant leadership, reveling in being obedient to such a courageous yet humble leader.
“collaborative, not one-upmanship, ways of being together, not excluding healthy resolution of conflict”
yeah, the best of her, the best of him, co-workers working together, a volley of initiative, being frank with each other.
i used to really appreciate the Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid”.
Most episodes end up with the man and woman totally appreciating each other, needing each other, whatever ridiculous gender roles either of them brought with them having crumbled away into nonsense powder within the first 24 hours.
most men end up humbled by how much less they could do than they thought they could, and how much more the woman could do than they thought she could.
the women typically excel in confidence and ability.
no glass ceiling surviving in the wild. with really great results for all.
I should have written, “Marking their territory.” Yes, the “servant leadership” phrase is marked 🙂 for me, too. Don’t want to hear any of that.
I’ll have to check “Naked and Afraid” out sometime. It sounds good. I like recommendations.
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1,953 views 30 Jan 2009