well…

Now that the dust has settled a bit, what shall we say?

First, I think that Chris was rightly offended at the category tag I put on my earlier post. He was right, I was wrong. The tag has been removed.

But what about the substance of my complaint? Chris dismisses my complaint and thinks I should take down my post since he was merely offering a citation, nothing more.

A citation?

ci·ta·tion      (s?-t?’sh?n)  Pronunciation Key
n.  

  1. The act of citing.
    1. A quoting of an authoritative source for substantiation.
    2. A source so cited; a quotation.

[citation. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/citation (accessed: October 03, 2008).]

This is the headline of the post in question:

Driscoll on the Emergent Church

By Chris on Mark Driscoll

Prominently displayed is a picture of Driscoll himself (apparently while ‘preaching’.)

There are a few other citations in the post, it is true. But what is the post about? It’s about Driscoll. He is the centrepiece and his mp3 is the main point of the post.

Side Note: There is an attitude among some who wear the label ‘fundamentalist’ that seems to think it ‘cool’ to show how cutting edge they are by talking up and quasi endorsing men who are not fundamentalists. It’s real cool when you can promote someone like a Driscoll and yet say you still hold your fundie bona fides. Am I right or wrong, my readers, to say that such an attitude exists?

Now, in my mind, what Chris did with his post was more than citation, it was promotion. My perceptions are admittedly affected by Driscoll’s most recent outrage, but I have been repeatedly asking (and no one has really been answering) if the Christian church should do anything but shun Driscoll for his blasphemous talk?

The outrage in our little circle has been directed instead at me, for expressing my dismay at what seems to me to be promotion, not just citation. I have argued with Chris in the past concerning his support and promotion of conservative evangelicals. I have a great deal of misgivings about what Chris says and does in that respect, but Driscoll is (and has been) far further afield than a conservative evangelical. Am I right in saying Chris’ post is promotion not citation? (I realize opinions will differ here.) Am I right in thinking that it is at best highly questionable if not completely inappropriate to promote Driscoll in any way? Or in this way?

Now then, what should we do? Chris wants me to take down my post, and I still find his strongly objectionable.

These posts are probably all archived by now on Google, I am sure. But if Chris is willing to take down his (both of them), I will take down mine (both of them). That would mean, of course, dear readers, that all your immortal comments would be lost. Can you live with that?

don_sig2

Comments

  1. Your question: “Am I right in saying Chris’ post is promotion not citation?”
    I believe you are right in that this seems like a promotion.

    Your question: “Am I right in thinking that it is at best highly questionable if not completely inappropriate to promote Driscoll in any way?”
    I believe you are not right in thinking it inappropriate to promote Driscoll’s discussion of the emergent church. I would consider this akin to “promoting” an article from, say, Karl Barth concerning some theological topic I consider sound, although I would still distance myself from much of his neo-orthodoxy. Barth, for example, touches on areas that would worry me concerning fundamental beliefs. From what I know of Driscoll (admittedly not a whole lot), he holds to the vital doctrines of orthodox Christianity (like those found in the BJU creed). His crass style is crass. I would warn against his style and sometimes outlandish remarks, but before I start “shunning” him or calling on all Christians to shun him, I would try to contact him and discuss those aspects of his ministry that I find offensive. If (as I assume he would) disagree with my point of view, I would continue to warn those I know of his offensive behavior. I would probably reserve any shunning for heretical views of vital, fundamental doctrines.

    Now, if I ever found myself in a position in which I would be speaking in the same conference or connected in some association with him, I would have to diligently pursue a more in-depth understanding of motivation, attitude, and how that affects his doctrinal positions before labeling him a reviler and thus enforce my own disassociation from him.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Dan.

    I looked you up in the yearbook from our senior year (I am assuming you graduated from BJU with me) and see your pic sandwiched inbetween two buddies of mine, one a roommate and one a prayer group mate of mine my freshman year. I remember seeing you around, though I don’t know if we ever met.

    As to your points, first, I think a grievous error has infected fundamentalism with the notion that somehow Mt 18 has something to do with 1) Separation and 2) 1 Cor 5.

    As to my point 1: Mt 18 is strictly about local church discipline and personal offenses. It has nothing to do with relations between churches, relations between church ministers, or relations between people far removed from one another who would likely never have any contact with one another. It just doesn’t apply.

    As to my point 2: Mt 18 is talking about personal offenses, not flagrant public immorality as is 1 Cor 5. In 1 Cor 5, Paul is not talking about the “due process” of Mt 18. He has “already judged”. Discussion time is over. His judgement: put him out. He goes on to say that this is the rule Christians should apply to anyone who claims to be a Christian but is also guilty of similar flagrant public immoralities, including a broader list he gives us at the end of the chapter. With these people, we are not even to sit down and eat with them.

    The question here is whether Driscoll falls into this category. Opinions do differ here, but clearly my view is that Driscoll’s ‘joking’ reference to Our Lord fall into this category. This is not something that needs discussion. We are given very clear directions in 1 Cor 5 about such men. Shunning, as 1 Cor 5 calls for, has more to do with immorality than heresy, by the way.

    From an ecclesiastical standpoint, one has to wonder about the spirituality and credibility of men like Piper et al who will willingly support such abominable people.

    Regardless, it is my view that we have to have the freedom to raise questions concerning issues like this. My views and my reasons for those views are based on my interpretations of the Bible. No one in this debate has engaged me on a Scriptural basis. Instead, I have gotten simply ridicule, ad hominem attacks, and mocking. This from a certain crowd of men that includes a Seminary president! One wonders!!!

    One especially wonders what the Lord Himself thinks of all of this? Surely He has an opinion, eh?

    I hope I have conducted myself appropriately. I accepted the rebuke of friends on one point and have done what I could to rectify that error. If someone would care to actually engage me Scripturally on these points, I would be happy to think this through further.

    Finally, with respect to Driscoll’s orthodoxy, I believe that is very much an open question. Deeds, not words, is the operative test. A man who cannot control his mouth, especially in this area, is suspect in his doctrine, no matter what he affirms in his formal doctrinal statements.

    Anyway, brother, I appreciate your comment. Your note is a “blast from the past”. I think (by way of a quick survey of your blog) we have other differences, but I appreciate the comment anyway.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  3. Hi there, Don,
    Sorry I have taken so long to reply, but I’ve been out of town this week.

    I think, maybe, I misled you into thinking I was arguing for a Mt 18 approach to someone like Driscoll. I really wasn’t and happen to agree with your comments on Mt. 18. My comment on approach to Driscoll was for clarification and even to help open the eyes of an erring Christian who fails to see attitudes or actions that are or can be harmful. I do think Driscoll’s SoS comment was immeasurably crass and invoked images that are just plain wrong. They did not need to be said, and they shouldn’t have been said. Ephesians 5 certainly would argue against his approach here and on many other topics. He seems to enjoy a shock attitude many times to help people break out of unthinking ruts, but as in all things, you can go too far as he did in this case.

    And I’m also not arguing whether his statements fall into the category of sexual immorality (although that still could be debated). But disassociation (separation or more severely “shunning”) belongs, it seems to me, to a class of action relative to fellowship (both ecclesiastical and personal). For that reason, I think Piper showed little discernment in involving him in his Desiring God conference.

    All of the above was not my concern about your Point 2. My concern was in the vagueness of what you considered “promotion” of Driscoll. It seems you faulted Chris for “promoting Driscoll” when Chris promoted a specific public review by Driscoll on the emergent church. That’s why I brought in the example of Karl Barth. Peter Kreeft would be another example of a person with whom, because of his RC beliefs, I personally could not have ecclesiastical association. I could not promote him, but I still could recommend (promote) some of his writings (such as his discussion of Job in his book Three Philosophies of Life).

    While Driscoll can be shockingly offensive, certain RC beliefs are similarly offensive without the shock value because we are used to them. Certainly, the eucharist and Mary’s exaltation dramatically violate the purity, power, and purpose of Christ’s blood atonement. My recommendation of Kreeft’s work on Job, however, does not mean I embrace these other wrongs I see in Kreeft’s belief structure and actions. I think that was the focus of the outrage directed against you from the commenters on Chris’ blog. They were not arguing for Driscoll or even for association with Driscoll. They were arguing against the application of separation to works of merit albeit from questionable people. Paul even uses a quote by the Stoic Cleanthes in Acts 17 without any disclaimer as to the faults of Stoicism. I realize Cleanthes was not a Christian, but the point is that Paul could appeal to (promote) a person’s specific work without endorsing (promoting) that person. In the same way, I believe, a Christian can appeal to a specific work of someone without compromising his separatist principles concerning the person himself.

  4. Hi Dan, thanks for the reply.

    I do understand the sentiment at Chris’ blog over this. If Chris had merely referenced Driscoll as he did several other people, I wouldn’t have been dismayed. Instead, he specifically promoted Driscoll. His disclaimer in the promotion seemed weak to me, but that is a matter of individual judgement.

    My reaction includes an observation of the regular promotion of evangelicals on Chris’ site. While evangelicals are useful, provide many tools for our study and profit, they don’t deserve the adulation that many are giving them. It seems to me that included in this is a willingness to use Driscoll as our ‘bad boy’ Calvinist rather than see him for what he is, a false teacher. And indeed I think that is what he is. See my post on denying the gospel by deeds.

    Finally, again I would point to the language used in this debate. Who used intemperate language, mockery, and ridicule to “make their case”? I don’t think it was me. I am open to reasonable argumentation and especially biblical argumentation, but instead all I got was “how dare you”. It seems that some are all for self-criticism except when it is themselves who are being criticized.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  5. On your last point I totally agree. And I think it is a byproduct of blogging in our technological age. Since we write in private somehow we feel anonymous and therefore readily employ ridicule, extreme sarcasm, and general rudeness–things we’d normally not do if just discussing face to face. I know I’ve done it, and I regret every word.

    Every time we (Christians) write, we ought to be keeping I Peter 3:15-16 in our minds–to give a reason for the hope in us, yet with gentleness and respect.

  6. Peter Kreeft would be another example of a person with whom, because of his RC beliefs, I personally could not have ecclesiastical association. I could not promote him, but I still could recommend (promote) some of his writings (such as his discussion of Job in his book Three Philosophies of Life).

    Hm, my Bible says this:

    1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    Why use the “Biblical” materials of a lost man (and yes, Catholics believe in a works-based gospel), when they cannot understand it. How can someone who does not see the spiritual things in God’s Word open it up to others in his comments/commentaries?

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