Friday, March 12, 2010

One of my favorite watchblogs overreacts - part 2

Continued from last time, dealing with this post and combox.

A commenter at Defending.Contending specifically challenged me on some statements I made, then one of the blog authors, Pilgrim, left a long comment detailing various generalised defenses of his position and arguments against Driscoll supporters.  I got the feeling he was talking to me, though I could be wrong.  If he was, he is wrong to do so, as I've never advocated letting MD off the hook for his actions and sins.
I'd like to note that Vox Veritatis attempted to leave a comment in their combox, and it never appeared there, so I have reason to believe my own latest comment will not make it past their moderation either.  So I reproduce it here:

DavidW, (not the same DavidW as the EO blogger with whom I've had many recent discussions)

If the Gospel is objective, then why are you going down that road? You go on to take that back in your long paragraph! MD preaches the Gospel. He also disqualifies himself from being a biblical pastor/elder and even from being a very good witness for Christ thru his OTHER behavior. BOTH ARE TRUE. If the Gospel is objective, then be consistent with that. As it stands, it's not I who am overbiased and beating a golden calf; it's y'all.
How many times do I have to say that MD's behavior is extremely serious and that he's disqualified himself from being a biblical pastor? Would it help if I said it yet again?

You are, however, totally wrong to say that MD preaches another Jesus.
Worldly? Where?
Fleshly? Um, you do realise that Jesus was a man, right?
A brawler? MD was unwisely referring to his shtick of the 'manly Jesus'. Wrongly, probably, but Jesus WAS manly! He was a man! He took a whip to a bunch of moneychangers in the Temple and threw down their tables, twice!
A sexual deviant? Now you're just being stubborn for the sake of being stubborn. Maybe you're too old to understand that kind of humor, maybe you're just unwilling, but that was a JOKE, for the sake of comedic effect. That does not excuse the disgusting, unholy, and perverse nature of the joke, but seriously, if you thought your case is that strong, there'd be no need to engage in this kind of ridiculous caricaturing. If you're going to bust MD's chops, stick to what he's done, not to what you imagine he's done.

And that changes his “gospel” from the one true Gospel to a perverse or “another gospel”.

And I'm saying that is incorrect. Can you really not distinguish telling dirty jokes from intentionally redefining an essential element of the Gospel? You cite Galatians 1 as if it's a coverall; were the Judaisers making immature, dirty jokes? Is that why Paul got after them? Or was it b/c they intentionally added works to the Gospel?

Thus this is not a case where someone may have personal faults and sins, yet preaches the true Gospel

Sorry, I have to disagree. I have made it clear that this is exactly what we're dealing with. I wish that Pilgrim would be a bit more specific and circumspect when he speaks about "MD supporters" (read: shills).


I'm sure the MD shills are out there, but I'm not one of them. I have made specific arguments, been very clear what I think about MD, and been very explicit that this is not about MD at all; it's about what standards you use to separate fellowship with other believers.

I am sorry that you didn't find it necessary to address:
1) my point about guilt by association
2) Phil Johnson's blogpost on that very thing, which I've reminded you of now three times
3) my asking you NOT to ignore MD's good stuff
4) my question which doses of error from Driscoll are “deadly”
5) whether other men of God named/endorsed on either CARM or Monergism has ever done anything you believe to be an unbiblical teaching or practice? None? Not VanTil’s fairly well-known saying that God is both Trinitarian and Unitarian? Postmillennial brethren? Continuationist brethren?
6) why you'd 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
7) Will you stop endorsing everyone who endorses someone who endorses someone who you think doesn't preach the Gospel? (Since I specifically told you that I was wrong when I said "don't dislike Driscoll", remember? Or are you going to hold my mistake over me the same you're holding CARM's and Monergism's over them?)

Why avoid these major points of mine unless you felt they damaged your position?

I'd add to that list the question: why jettison fellowship with someone or endorsement of someone's ministry just b/c we differ on whether one should take/leave the whole man rather than, here's an idea, use our discernment if/when we listen to him?

You said:
Yet you wink and nod at Drsicoll, giving him a pass for doing likewise because he comes cloaked as a Calvinist and speaks “sound words” most of the time.

See, that's where I'd like you to be specific. I've never winked and nodded at him. And he DOES speak sound words most of the time! Maybe you could present evidence that shows that at least 50% of his words in any group of, say, 5 or 10 sermons are unsound, and then we can talk (though I'd grant you his Song of Solomon series, but I have reason to believe that the low quality of that exposition was atypical of MD). But you haven't proved he doesn't preach the Gospel. So you disendorse sites that endorse a very imperfect guy who preaches the Gospel. Got it. You've gone too far.

Grace and peace,


Joel said...

Golly gosh jeepers, Batman. "We are on the side of the purity of the Bride of Christ"... yah.

I am however curious:
the fellows on this wobsite are basically arguing that Driscoll's unchristian character destroys the value of his sermons. Do you reject the point entirely, or simply deny that Driscoll has gone far enough? Phillipians 1 seems apropos.

Rhology said...

Ah, good point about Phil 1.

I think I addressed that in my comments about the objectivity of the Gospel.

In a nearly-perfect world, the guy would've repented long ago. In a slightly less-perfect world, he would've been removed from his position by the elders of his church. But that doesn't change the fact that while his position as pastor is the wrong one for him to have (at this point in his life), it's not like his sermons are 100% garbage or Hellspawn. Many of them are actually very good, and the CARM guy just happened to visit on a day when Driscoll was preaching a great sermon on the Penal Sub Atonement and the Gospel, and not making puerile jokes about homoerotica.

Joel said...

Right, and I think I agree. At the same time, it seems like the issue of "endorsing" someone's ministry (although, frankly, what is the deal with endorsing people? you'd think this guy's blog was a soft-drink company) is somewhat broader than a question about the words of a given sermon. Maybe simply supporting, in any way, a preacher who ought not to be one is a bad idea.

Coram Deo said...


Off topic, but I noticed in your profile that you were a missionary in Japan. I'd really like to know more about that experience. My understanding of the Japanese culture is that evangelism there is akin to pushing a rope.

I'd also be interested in:

A.) Some suggestions on Japanese language resources (learning conversational Japanese)

B.) Some Japanese evangelism resources; specifically evangelistic books written in Japanese (kanji, hiragana, katakana) ideally from a solid Reformed perspective.

C.) Some recommended names/blogs/online evangelistic resources for native Japanese speakers to access, again ideally from a solid Reformed perspective.

Any recommendations are appreciated.

In Christ,

Rhology said...


Yes, evangelism there is hard, and the ppl are in general quite unresponsive. It's a weird study, and I have to ask myself why God has decided never to work in that nation very much. I mean never - the only time that "Christianity" flourished there was in the 17-18th centuries, and that was all Romanism, the fruits of Jesuit labor IIRC. The first Western missionary to hit Japan was Francisco Xavier, a counter-Reformation figure and one of the founders of the Society of Jesus. Yikes. I have a hard time imagining him preaching the Gospel.

I wish I could be of more help than I am. I'd probably recommend Rosetta Stone for learning the convo Jpns, and for me, learning grammatical structure via grammar book and vocab by flash cards is my favored method. I got far that way. Get face to face time with Jpns speakers and talk to them in Jpns.

As for Jpns evangelism and books, I don't really know much of anything, sorry.
Here are two resources, though: I know the main ppl behind this one personally, and they're very good.

Finally, if there are more than a handful of Reformed congregations in all of Japan, I'd be surprised. There are so few Christians of any stripe there.

Grace and peace,

Coram Deo said...

Late in checking back, thanks for the info, Rho. I'll check out those links.

In Him,