Monday, March 24, 2014

Compromising by "Not Compromising"

World Vision is announcing a change in it's policy regarding hiring employs united in same-sex "marriages. In defensive of their change Richard Sterns argues that they are not compromising but allowing churches to rule on the theological issue.

But the logic of justification here is twisted and convoluted. I agree that para-church organizations are not churches and do not have the authority that churches have, but the minute you consider yourself a religious para-church organization, you have to take some theological stances (even if you don't get as narrow as some particular churches might on issues of say baptism, eschatology or Calvinism vs. Arminianism). You still are going to have some notion of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and say the Apostle's and Nicene Creeds--otherwise you are not Christian. These commitments are going to have ethical implications. I mean I'm sure World Vision implicitly has some belief on the fruits of the Spirit. Even more some "churches" reject aiding the poor, so that's a divisive issue in theory right?

Here is the justification:
"It's easy to read a lot more into this decision than is really there," he said. "This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support."

"We're not caving to some kind of pressure. We're not on some slippery slope. There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no employee group lobbying us," said Stearns. "This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues. We're an operational arm of the global church, we're not a theological arm of the church."
The problem is that your non-endorsement is an endorsement. You can claim your are not 'rejecting traditional marriage' but the whole concept of traditional marriage is that marriage is defined by the union of a man and women. So if you allow other definitions you are definition not affirming traditional marriage.

You didn't defer authority, you made a pretty clear statement.

If you hired someone because they wanted a job but then they said "Look the church really shouldn't be so concerned with the poor--even if we are doing a good thing, it's not necessary" you'd jump all over that with theological arguments.

Your "not weighing in" actually weighs in.

Someone should point out that some of the liberal mainline denominations out there also cast aspersion on the Apostle's Creed and Nicene Creed. Why be so divisive over these issues too? Because you value them as important and defining to the Christian faith. Has any branch of major Christianity prior to the 20th century really been unclear on the Christian position on human sexuality & homosexuality?

The unity that World Vision wants to unite around is really a sham. It amounts to saying we'll make theological commitments when it suits us and ignore them when it doesn't suit us.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Trueman on New Calvinism and Driscoll

Carl Trueman writes,
And then, finally, there is the silence. The one thing that might have kept the movement together would have been strong, transparent public leadership that openly policed itself and thus advertised its integrity for all to see. Yet the most remarkable thing about the whole sorry saga, from the Jakes business until now, has been the silence of many of the men who present themselves as the leaders of the movement and who were happy at one time to benefit from Mark Driscoll’s reputation and influence. One might interpret this silence as an appropriate refusal to comment directly on the ministry of men who no longer have any formal connection with their own organizations.

Yet the leaders of the “young, restless, and reformed” have not typically allowed that concern to curtail their comments in the past. Many of them have been outspoken about the teaching of Joel Osteen, for example. In their early days, when the Emergent Church was vying with the new Calvinism for pole position in the American evangelical world, they launched regular, and often very thorough, critiques of the Emergent leaders. In retrospect, however, it is clear that these were soft targets. Their very distance made them safe. Problems closer to home are always much harder to speak to, much more likely to earn opprobrium from one’s friends, and thus much more likely to be ignored. The result, however, is that some leaders become very accustomed to always doing things their way. All of us who are thought of as Evangelical or Reformed now live with the bitter fruit of that failure of leadership.

Trueman is right. The new calvinism picks "soft targets" when it critiques Joel Olsteen & the emerging church, if it cannot policy it's own then it shows itself. In some circles it was just a "good ole boys club", with an "I know nothing attitude" when its insiders head down the wrong path and do stupid things.

I'm a pastor in a small church connected to a small denomination. If I behaved half like what we see in some of these public pastors, I'd have local elders calling for my resignation and a denominational board investigating my credentials to be a minister of the gospel--but then that's what it means to be part of the body of Christ. As pastors we are not only leaders in the church but under authorities of both men and God. That is the way it should be.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dance Girls vs. Dad: A Photo Essay

My daughter's are in dance. That means they are extremely flexible. I, on the other hand, am not.

I can't even get close

No splits for me

Seriously, my leg doesn't go any higher

Not even gonna try.

"The Voyages..." Forays into Biblical studies, Biblical exegesis, theology, exposition, life, and occasionally some Star Trek...