Thursday, March 04, 2010

One of my favorite watchblogs overreacts

Defending.Contending. is usually a good read, and they often have useful and discerning stuff about the zillions of shades of heresy and heterodoxy that are always popping up in the church of Jesus.
However, recently they announced that they are no longer going to endorse two massively helpful websites - CARM and Monergism - because they endorse Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.  Happily, the author of D.C. will be contacting each ministry to let them know of his concerns and his removal of his endorsement for what it's worth, and no doubt asking them to reconsider their endorsement of Driscoll.  I would hope Monergism and CARM (read: Matt Slick) would go ahead and heavily qualify any endorsement of Driscoll that might remain, because that's the right thing to do.  But to go so far as this?  Here in order is the 1st comment I left, the response, and my reply.

Brothers, I’m a bit concerned.
I love your site and always have ever since I heard of it and read it.
In this case, I wonder if you’re not going a bit far when you decide to stop endorsing such sources as CARM and especially Monergism just b/c they don’t dislike Driscoll. Not everyone can spend all the time you guys do on discernment type stuff. I’ve listened to Matt Slick interview Driscoll on his show, and comment on Driscoll a few other times on his radio show, and IIRC his approval of Mars Hill is based on ONE visit to Mars Hill in which Driscoll preached a good sermon on the Penal Substitutionary Atonement. He frequently reminds his listeners (I listen sometimes to his show) that he’s just one guy and doesn’t have a really extensive team, or at least not nearly as extensive as he’d like or need, to do all the research he wants. He pulls no punches on Pagitt and Tony Jones, calls them out by name, calls out McLaren, calls out The Shack both directly to the author and indirectly to his audience. He drops the heretic-bomb on each of them. He’s far from perfect, he’s not omniscient, but he’s not afraid, he’s not compromising.
My educated guess is that Slick just hasn’t had the time to research EVERYthing that Driscoll has said, and Driscoll has said alot of good things as well as bad things.

Could I ask your reaction to those comments and also to these comments?

Grace and peace,

Dear Rhology:

It’s not a matter of ceasing my endorsement of these sites “just b/c they don’t dislike Driscoll.”
That is a very shallow commentary on our stand, suggesting this is like a high school dispute when in reality it’s a matter of eternal death or life.

Both CARM and Monergism don’t merely tolerate or have no opinion of Mark Driscoll, they both openly ENDORSE the blasphemer. And because of this we cannot and will not endorse them.

I know we will not ‘make friends’ when we draw lines in the sand like this (and we’ll even lose friends), but we must draw lines in spite of the myriad of voices saying we’ve “gone too far,” we’ve “cried wolf one too many times,” or any other attempts to persuade us to “all hold hands and forget our differences.”

I will continue to refuse to endorse anyone endorses those who mock our Lord. And I have not demonized CARM or Monergism, as they may not be aware of the issues with Driscoll, as you suggest. But what happens when they are made aware and yet refuse to stop endorsing him? Then what? Does that change anything?

I have contacted both sites to make them aware of the issues with Driscoll, but please understand, neither you nor the many others who wish to have us deviate from our commitment to separate from the profane will cause us to budge. Regardless of how many comments we get urging us to not be so radical, we understand that this path we’re on is a very lonely one paved with much ridicule, but with God’s grace we are willing to go it alone if we have to.

- The Pilgrim

Sorry Pilgrim, I did not mean to communicate that I thought your stand was shallow. Please excuse me.
You said:
it’s a matter of eternal death or life

Is it, really? Do you really consider that Driscoll does not preach the Gospel?
Yes, I fully recognise that he tells dirty jokes, at very unwise times. Yes, his mouth is quite dirty and I am not at all sure he should be in ministry w/o cleaning all that up, and I am VERY sure that he should not be put up on the pedestal that he is. But you really think this is a matter of Gospel vs non-Gospel?

But what happens when they are made aware and yet refuse to stop endorsing him?

Yes, that certainly changes things, but I just wonder whether that would simply represent an acknowledgement on their part that Driscoll preaches the Gospel. Yes, he has tons of bad baggage. Yes, you can hardly ever mention the man without a “…BUT”. But…Gospel, you know?

separate from the profane

Are you not separated from the profane already? You actively call out Driscoll for his many sins, and that’s great, and needed. But did you read Phil Johnson’s piece that I linked to in my last comment, about guilt by association? Why use time on Driscoll that you could be using on someone who DOESN’T preach the Gospel AND IS ALSO widely accepted in the church of Jesus? I know you do that, and you do it a lot, and that’s awesome. But surely you have plenty of stuff to say on plenty more people who fall into that category. Why not spend more time on them rather than on criticising faithful brothers who think that Driscoll preaches the Gospel, because Driscoll preaches the Gospel?

Again, with great respect.

Grace and peace,


Coram Deo said...

Interestingly one of your readers followed the link to DefCon, and thereby became a first time commenter.

In Christ,

Vox Veritatis said...


Thanks for posting this on your blog, as it prompted me to think through some issues (which are present in this situation) that I probably wouldn't have thought through otherwise. I thought you made some good points in the combox on that post, and I wrote a comment of my own to build off of some things that you had said, but for some reason, it didn't go through or didn't get posted. So I posted it here instead.

God bless,

Rhology said...

Interesting... although I've never personally had any tiff with Coram Deo. But I do object to the way he has treated centuri0n there.