this and that

I’m a little confused by Dave’s latest. I think it might be the unspecificity of ‘this and that’. I’m sort of getting lost the further he goes using these terms. Would it be too much to give some real world examples? (Oops, I said I was hoping to get away from sarcasm!)

But really, what is Dave trying to say in his post? This is what I am getting:

  1. I get the part that Biblical truth is timeless. I think that is what Dave means by ‘this’.
  2. I get the part that the way we use the timeless principles to address real life issues is called applications. I think this is what Dave means by ‘that’.
  3. As we progress in the discussion of ‘this’ and ‘that’, it seems that Dave is saying that applications are relative, dependant on the context of the times. Does that mean that applications change over time? Could we have some examples?
  4. There appear to be different categories of relationship between ‘this’ and ‘that’.
    1. First, there is potential for disagreement among Christians because not everyone sees the connection between ‘this’ and ‘that’ in the same way. (And as long as we agree on the ‘this’ we need to give latitude to others on the ‘that’.)
    2. Next, there is a possibility that ‘that’ could lead to a violation of ‘this’. While we should be concerned about the possibility, as long as we agree on ‘this’, we should still give latitude over differences in ‘that’.
  5. When ‘that’ is elevated to the same level as ‘this’, trouble occurs, unless ‘that’ equals ‘this’, but not all agree and as long as ‘that’ doesn’t equal ‘this’, we should allow one another latitude in ‘that’.
  6. If differences over ‘that’ lead to questions about motives, we err and do not the truth. Instead, differences over ‘that’ should result in ‘open, constructive debate’. (Dialogue, anyone?)
  7. The key is to start talking about the Scriptures – the ‘this’. We’ll get so in harmony over ‘this’, ‘that’ will be irrelevant. Your ‘that’ is different from my ‘that’? No problem, bro, we’re in sync on ‘this’, fill your boots!

Is ‘that’ all clear? Maybe I should have said, is ‘this’ all clear? What is ‘this’, anyway? Should we be in agreement about ‘this’? How do I know? I could have been talking about ‘that’ all along while someone else is talking about ‘this’.

‘This’ is extremely confusing. (But be careful how you explain it to me, you wouldn’t want to get into the motives thing, you know.)


P.S. Please take this in a light-hearted spirit. I think I get what Dave is saying, but, wow, trying to wade through all the ‘this’es and ‘that’s is getting to me!


  1. Don,

    At one point, believers have almost unanimously on the same page on both this and that. And then “that” becomes more difficult in the world and now “that” has some room to maneuver. We look at history and almost everybody believed “that.” Now they don’t. Because they don’t now, does it mean “that” is no longer the application of “this”? I don’t think so. The Holy Spirit was involved in “that” all those years. Does it mean now we can go ahead and find “that” acceptable, just because even a majority don’t find “that” to be the application any more? I think it is a cop-out.

    I know we’re talking about what is a basis for fellowship or unity or separation. I see Driscoll with Dever sitting in fellowship—no problem, fine with each other. Now I see Doran and Dever sitting in fellowship—no problem, fine with each other. What does this mean? They’re all together on “this” so we’re OK. Really. The “that” we can’t agree upon, but it doesn’t so much matter as long as we’re together on “this.”

    • “That” can’t be it, can it?

      Don Johnson
      Jeremiah 33.3

  2. T. Pennock says:


    Do you know if McCune has expressed any opinion on Dave’s recent lurch toward Dever and friends? Has any of the old guard at the seminary said anything? All this is quite puzzling to me.

    Have a good one!


    P.S. Again, I ask about Minnick. If Bauder and Doran’s yoking up with Dever constitutes compromise, then doesn’t Minnick’s sharing the platform with Bauder and Doran also constitute compromise on Minnick’s part? What’s going on here? How do you evaluate this? Why haven’t separatists taken to the streets?

    Just curious.

    • I haven’t heard anything from McCune.

      As for taking to the streets, I think everyone is looking for the ‘this’ that talks about torches and pitchforks. Surely ‘this’ is in ‘there’ somewhere!!!

      Don Johnson
      Jeremiah 33.3

  3. Brian Ernsberger says:

    Is Dave Doran’s “this” and “that” confusion for a purpose? Regardless of what is at stake, those who start to move from an original position of something, one, state that they are not moving; two, seek to explain away their moving by a bunch of “this” and “that;” and three, level personal attacks against those who disagree with them on their “non-moving” movement.
    IMO, I believe this is confusion with a purpose.

    As an aside, and with a bit of sarcasm, Don, I do apologize for leaving a comment here on your blog. There is a prof. at a seminary in the upper mid-west who thinks pastors of pretty small churches should not be on the internet blogging. And in case some consider that my words were a blunt instrument, I apologize for that too.

    • Now, remember, Brian, the motivations connecting ‘this’ with ‘that’ are indiscernible. You’ll have to apologize for ‘that’ too.

      Don Johnson
      Jeremiah 33.3

  4. Brian Ernsberger says:

    Okay, I apologize for “that” too. Boy, it sure is rough out in blogosphere land.

    • Good! I can see we are coming to harmony on ‘this’!

      Don Johnson
      Jeremiah 33.3

  5. Brian Ernsberger says:

    Is “this” “harmony” four part or two part? ;)