defining ‘conservative evangelical’

A couple of my recent reading sources lead me to look at the term ‘conservative evangelical’ from a different perspective other than my normal ‘rabid fundamentalism’. One source is a book edited by Timothy George and David Dockery, Theologians of the Baptist Tradition. The other is an article by Michael Clawson appearing on Roger Olson’s site, “Young, Restless, and Fundamentalist: Neo-fundamentalism among American Evangelicals(HT: Sharper Iron).

Both of these sources come at the question from the evangelical side of the spectrum, in the case of Clawson and Olson, it is on the outside of conservative evangelicalism looking in, whereas George and Dockery are more or less on the inside of the movement. Both sources offer some interesting observations of the so-called ‘conservative evangelical’ movement.

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elephantine update

Thabiti Anyabwile comments on the Mark Driscoll / James MacDonald / T. D. Jakes love-in. You need to read it.

Money quote:

 And we kid ourselves if we think the Elephant Room invitation itself isn’t an endorsement of sorts.  We can’t downplay the associations by calling for people to suspend judgment and responding ad hominem against “discernment bloggers.”  We certainly can’t do that while simultaneously pointing to our association at The Gospel Coalition as a happy certification of orthodoxy and good practice, as Driscoll seems to do here with MacDonald. [emphasis added]

What a blessing it would be if men like Thabiti and the more conservative evangelicals would finally see that this is the crux of the fundamentalist-evangelical divide, and then get on the right side of it.


is a modalist a Christian?

First, what is modalism?

Modalism maintains that there is one God who manifests Himself successively as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but who is not contemporaneously all three. [Believer’s Study Bible, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), Glossary.]

The ESV Study Bible expands on this with this paragraph:

One of the most fundamental ways to misunderstand the Trinity is tritheism, which overemphasizes the distinction between the persons of the Trinity and ends up with three gods. This view neglects the oneness of the natures of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. At the other end of the spectrum is the heresy of modalism (also known as Sabellianism, named after its earliest proponent, Sabellius, 3rd century), which loses the distinctions between the persons and claims that God is only one person. In this view, the appearance of the three persons is merely three modes of existence of the one God. For instance, God reveals himself as Father when he is creating and giving the law, as Son in redemption, and as Spirit in the church age. A contemporary version of modalism is found in the teaching of Oneness Pentecostalism. [Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2514-15.]

Sabellius, the man usually credited as the earliest proponent of the view was excommunicated by the Bishop of Alexandria in 260 or 261. The Sabellians appealed to Rome (the church in Rome played an early leading role, but there was as yet no papacy). In 262, the Bishop of Rome held a council and condemned Sabellius and his modalism along with tri-theism and subordinationism (an early variant of what would become Arianism).

False doctrines like modalism were condemned by the church in the third and fourth centuries. That settles the question, right?

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fellowship with blasphemy

Piper, Driscoll Stay Passionate for Mission amid Criticisms – Christian Post

Baptist theologian John Piper and emerging church pastor Mark Driscoll are teaming up this week for an anticipated conference on the "resurgence of the local church."

"Advance," opening on Thursday in Durham, N.C., is just one of many events the two pastors have come together for in recent years.

What produces this incredible weakness in Piper?


doctrinally sound? NOT

Exactly! What I have been saying with respect to the blasphemer is that he is not doctrinally sound. The repeated disclaimer for not completely rejecting the blasphemer and refusing to refrain from all recommendation of him is that he is ‘doctrinally sound’. Sound doctrine doesn’t produce blasphemous behaviour. And close scrutiny, says Dave, will show that the ‘sound doctrine’ isn’t really all that sound.

So what is behind the seemingly compulsive qualification of so many who write disclaimers1 for the blasphemer to include, “Well, he’s doctrinally sound”?

Could it be…

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  1. P.S. I can’t wait for Dave’s entry for me in his new “Disclaimerpedia”. I am sure it will be a doozy. []


Now that John MacArthur has thoroughly and fully spoken on the subject, perhaps  my complaints will be taken a little more seriously, eh?

Oh, what subject? Read MacArthur


and here

and here

and here

If you want to reference my complaints, please see my posts in the archives connected with the preacher in question. See also this post where I express my dismay about some who might be in a certain ecclesiastical camp.

I really have to applaud Dr. MacArthur on this issue. I highly recommend, no, urge and admonish you to read his posts if you have not already done so. They are very well done. Would that fundamentalists would be so strong. Worried that they are not and don’t see the need to be. I’ll give you MacArthur’s closing paragraphs after the jump…

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a well deserved rebuke

Lighthouse Trails alerts us to a Memorandum to Christian Leaders concerning Mark Driscoll. The memo is written by Cathy Mickels, co-author of Spiritual Junk Food: the Dumbing Down of Christian Youth, (also available from the authors here). Cathy Mickels is calling the men of the so-called Gospel Coalition to account for their refusal to repudiate Driscoll’s repulsive ministry. Another evangelical woman, Ingrid Schlueter joins the fray at Slice of Laodicea.

You should read the memo, especially if you are among those alleged fundamentalists who promote Driscoll’s materials. It is time for the heroes of the FINOs to do something heroic, like kick this blasphemer out of their fellowship.


profanity and logs

I wrote recently about problems with the current Desiring God conference and the silence of FINOs with respect to it. As an update, you should check out another post by Steve Camp, Steve Camp’s outrage over Mark Driscoll. The culpability of Piper et al with respect to the blasphemous Driscoll grows with each passing day. No rebuke from anyone? Will the Piper groupies, any of them, turn in their Fan Club badges?

I must say, however, to Steve Camp, when we are speaking of profaning the holy, how is Driscoll’s language any worse than your music? The sound of the bar and the disco isn’t the sound of the choirs of heaven, is it?

I agree with everything Steve has written in these posts about profane speech. But profanity (making things common) occurs in more ways than just by speech. The church culture that ultimately produced a Mark Driscoll is one that has been profaning holy things for a long time.

May we all repent of our sins and plead our unworthiness before our Holy Saviour.


silence reigns in FINO land

Scott Aniol alerts us to a raging discussion over in the realms of conservative evangelicalism. Nathan Busenitz, managing editor at Pulpit Magazine wrote an article published on the 17th of September entitled “John Piper, Mark Driscoll, and Harsh Language“. Busenitz rightly takes Driscoll and Piper to task for Driscoll’s foul language. In the comments, we discover in a post by Steve Camp that Driscoll isn’t the only one to use bad language in connection with the Desiring God conference. No, Paul Tripp likewise has a foul mouth. You can read about it (and see the associated video, if  you care to) at Steve’s blog, “PAUL TRIPP-ING – HE REALLY LIKES TO SAY THE ‘S’ WORD …has Piper lost his mind or just forgotten his Bible?

It is instructive to read the comments on both posts. And equally instructive to read the execrable Doug Wilson come to Piper’s defense, ironically, in his post “A Temporizing Baa-Lamb“. Quite frankly, his comments are shameful. It is hard to believe that people become so devoted to such men that many objectionable statements, positions, and actions are just overlooked.

While this debate rages in the conservative evangelical realm, FINO land remains serene in its silence. Could it be that no one has read these posts? Surely not. Where is the response? Will anyone ever admit that perhaps there is something not quite right about Piper et al on this? At least the MacArthur camp is taking a stab at it, however mild.


UPDATE: Nathan Busenitz follows up with a still too weak rebuke of Driscoll and no rebuke of Piper. It seems to me that Piper is the one more worthy of rebuke, because his invitation to Driscoll and his public affirmation of him is only serving to enable Driscoll’s continuing bad behaviour. Were Piper to really rebuke Driscoll and refuse association with him, it might have had some real impact. Piper’s comments last year seemed to start working in that direction, then Piper backed off. For shame.

wiser in their generation . . .

Luke 16.8b…

for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

Something for you to ponder: do associations matter?

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