Archive for August, 2010

Really odd, but maybe not pathetic and disingenuous

Well, SharperIron (SI) made the mistake of drawing attention to my comments regarding the faux Faith defenders and caught some flack over it. I am not a member of SI, so I don’t have commenting rights. I can read it though, so I poked in over the weekend to see what was being said. Some exception has been taken to my description of certain responses to the Central-Faith situation as pathetic and disingenuous. I was reminded of the old preacher’s line about what happens when you throw a rock into a dark alley—the dog that barks is the one that got hit!

Really, though, was it too hard to understand my point? I don’t think I need to read minds to know that the guys most strongly criticizing Kevin Bauder and Central regarding separation clearly don’t know much about Faith. As Kevin noted, George Dollar counted Faith among the Moderate Fundamentalists back in the day. I wonder if Kevin’s critics were favorable to Faith maintaining its relationship with GARBC all the way up to and through the abolition of the approval system? Or if they considered holding a seat on the GARBC’s Council of 18 a good thing? I could go on, but I think that’s enough to confirm my point. That point was simply, “it is evident that they know nothing about that institution beyond a few quotes they’ve plucked from publications.”

But, in the interest of fairness, there is an email bag button to the right and if anyone that feels I’ve misrepresented them would like to send me evidence that corrects me on this point, I’ll gladly and publicly declare the evidence of your past and present support of Faith. Shouldn’t be hard to do—just tell me when you took a group of prospective students to visit the campus or had a representative in to present it to your church. Or perhaps, send me a copy of a note you sent them encouraging their stand within the GARBC or thanked them for supplying speakers and leadership for the GARBC.

For the record, I won’t hold my breath while I wait.

There was one comment made that I did want to interact with a little because I think it shows how an argument can be twisted to one’s advantage. Here’s what was posted as a parody on what I had said:

Parody on Dr. Doran, rpittman wrote:

I can’t or won’t avoid noting that some of the defenses of the announcement about the Central-Faith merger not happening are amusing. I’m not going to link to any of the ones I have in mind because doing so would actually serve their self-serving purpose. I am pretty sure that the folks who are “crying” that the merger didn’t go through because of feigned concern that no merger might weaken the historic Fundamentalist separatist stand against KJVOism never gave a rip about separatism prior to this. I write this quite confidently because it is evident that they know nothing about historic Fundamentalism and KJVOism beyond a few quotes they’ve plucked from publications. The occasion of the potential merger simply served as an opportunity to take shots at KJVO believers who are defending miltant (sic) separatist Fundamentalism and the KJB. IOW, they were using the merger to score their own points. Pathetic and disingenous.

DISCLAIMER

This is simply a parody of Dr. Doran’s post on his blog to illustrate the nature of his language and charges. It does not need to be refuted because it was written as parody, not argument.

About this I would say simply two things: (1) it would only stand as an analogy if it were true that the people addressed had previously shown no interest or support of the two institutions, and if that were so then I’d have no problem with it being published; and (2) there is, I think, a logical problem with it since it replaces a specific school with a movement and doctrinal position—suggesting that someone doesn’t know anything about a specific school is much different than suggesting they know nothing about Fundamentalism and KJVOism.

My larger point was and is aimed at the kind of convenient “alliances” which are formed not out of mutual agreement, but from opportunism. As I said above, I am prepared to be corrected, but I think some of Kevin’s critics have also been critical of the position which Faith has always maintained (but they didn’t know that Faith maintained that position because they really don’t care about Faith).

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Odds and Ends, and Really Odds

The whole Tiger Woods saga of the past nine months is not worth noting, but, now as his marriage ends, his former wife, Elin, says something that is worth repeating. According to ABC news, “While she admits the money will make things easier, she told People: ‘Money can’t buy happiness. Or put my family back together.’”

This car crash is stunning and scary!

Others have, quite rightly, noted the doubly foolish move by Karl Giberson to publish his peevish response to Al Mohler’s Ligonier message in the Huffington Post. I say doubly foolish because not only use of that forum devoid of biblical sense, the article itself reveals the folly which flows from a diminished view of biblical authority. Al Mohler’s response is worth reading.

I can’t  won’t avoid noting that some of the responses to the announcement about the Central-Faith merger not happening are amusing. I’m not going to link to any of the ones I have in mind because doing so would actually serve their self-serving purpose. I am pretty sure that the folks who are “rejoicing” that the merger didn’t go through because of feigned concern that one of the institutions might weaken the other one’s separatist stand never gave a rip about that institution prior to this. I write this quite confidently because it is evident that they know nothing about that institution beyond a few quotes they’ve plucked from publications. The occasion of the potential merger simply served as an opportunity to take shots at one man under the banner of defending a fundamentalist institution. IOW, they were using the merger to score their own points. Pathetic and disingenous.

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Junk in the Pulpit

Sometimes the oddest things get sent to my inbox, usually from someone who has been trolling the web looking for churches to send stuff to, I suppose. Well, the other day I get another email from a guy who’s got a particular burr in his backside. I usually just delete them and move on, but this one had a link to a Jack Hyles sermon called “The Treasure in the Field.” I scanned what Mr. Burr had to say and it prompted me to follow the link to the sermon itself. It was classic Hyles (and I don’t mean that as a compliment!).

I’d encourage you to give it a scan, particularly if you are interested in why many of us often speak so strongly against the kind of preaching that has been too often tolerated in our circles. There is no doubt that a critical spirit is a genuine danger to one’s spiritual health, but can anybody deny that substituting man’s ideas for God’s is any less dangerous? Seriously, some of us (I hope a growing number) find the common excuses for this kind of speech-giving unacceptable. You know, the ones that claim: (1) the speaker loves the Lord; (2) there was some truth in what he said; or, worst in my mind, (3) God really used it.

Do we really think that one’s love for the Lord entitles him to misrepresent the Lord? Wouldn’t one think that loving the Lord would mean that one genuinely cares about what the Lord actually said rather than treat the Bible like a launching pad for one’s speeches? Isn’t it time to stop using “good truth from the wrong text” argument as a justification for mishandling the Word? Preach the Word means preach what God said, not what we want to say, so we found a text that can be manipulated into a prooftext. Are we not flirting with the edges of neo-orthodoxy to claim that God spoke to us through something that He didn’t actually say? Seriously. Aren’t we getting something extra-revelatory that is located in the words of a human preacher that are not actually in the words of God?

The kind of preaching that Jack Hyles practiced and promoted has been devastating to biblical Christianity. It should never have been tolerated by people who genuinely love God and His Word. The fact that it was (and still is in some quarters) shows that pragmatism was more influential than theological conviction. To talk about taking a stand for God’s Word while tolerating preaching like this is just plain hypocrisy.

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Emotional Eruptions

Thought provoking quote for the day from Paul Tripp (Lost in the Middle, p. 226):

Here is a principle that will help you understand what is happening: whenever the size of a person’s emotion is bigger than the size of the circumstance, it is an indication that the emotion is coming from somewhere else. People who are easily angered by little things have walked into those little things already irritated with life, and that is why it does not take much for them to explode. Remember, anger with life is always anger with the One who rules it.

I’d probably qualify this in some ways, but it seems to be mainly on target. And it seems to apply to more than just anger.

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Ramadan, Football, and the Gipper

This article deals with an interesting mix of sports and religion from my backyard. Fordson High School is about 5 ½ miles from our church. Our school’s baseball team usually plays (and usually wins) a doubleheader each year against them. Huge football school. Baseball, not so much. Anyway, the larger point, for people unfamiliar with the demographics of this area, is that the potential conflict between Ramadan and football practices would even be an issue.

I don’t blog too much about politics, but I have a soft spot for Ronald Reagan, so here’s a video clip that contrasts one of his famous speeches with the words of some of today’s politicians. The first time I heard Ronald Reagan speak was at Bob Jones University during the campaign of 1980. Makes me long for the good old days!

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From Africa to Camp

My sons and I returned from Africa last Saturday. What an excellent visit we had with missionaries in Kenya and Tanzania. I had the privilege of preaching in three services for churches that have been started in the Tanzania–challenged them from Philippians 1:5 on being partners in the Gospel. I am continually amazed at what God has done in these past 10 years. I’ve had the privilege of watching it closely from the ground up and this trip was special due some changes that are imminent. I am so thankful to God that I was able to bring my two youngest with me. It took a long time to save and prepare to do it, but well worth the investment in their lives.
We did an overnight in Amsterdam on the way home and that city really put an ache in my heart–it seems as if the place has sold itself fully into the pursuit of vice. How sad. May God raise up men with a passion to preach the Gospel in places like this too!
It wasn’t my first choice, but the only time we could squeeze the East Africa trip into the calendar was right before our church’s family camp, so on the Monday after we returned we headed off for a few days away with a load of our church family. This week always provides wonderful opportunities to fellowship and I usually preach the morning sessions. This year, however, I am doing the evening sessions and the three other pastors are each doing a morning chapel. It’s going to take me a month to catch up on life when I finally get back to normal (if there is such a thing!), but it is worth it.
Well, that’s to let you know what’s going on and that I didn’t get eaten by lions (although I did see some). Till later!

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