"Seek out the society of your boon companions, drink, play, talk bawdy, and amuse yourself. One must sometimes commit a sin out of hate and contempt for the Devil, so as not to give him the chance to make one scrupulous over mere nothings…" –Luther

The thread re: Jones is pretty astonishing.  Not sure what else to even say about that at the moment.

if you’re talking about the institution and not the formal head then, sure, that flies past the technical rule of “no driscoll”. Which is something a couple of us have been trying to persuade people about the importance of for a few years.

Bill, the charismatic movement was a second wave offshoot of Pentecostalism (former Assemblies of God one here) so, yeah, that’s a new and rather uniquely American thing in a lot of ways. Pentecostalism emerged as a type of reform impulse within Methodism and Holiness traditions, if memory serves. So it was at least a reform within a given context. Charismatic stuff was taking Pentecostal pneumatology and important that into more mainline or evangelical Protestant settings, sort of a booster shot for other existing traditions. I’m not willing to strictly identify as either a cessationist or a charismatic at this point because I have reached the tentative conclusion that both those polemical positions are more about a debate about the basis for power and influence within a church or a church movement rather than about pneumatology at any truly practical level. It’s also a uniquely Protestant problem because none of my Catholic or Orthodox friends or relatives ever fret about whether speaking in tongues or prophecy could happen now.

I can’t remember who retweeted TSK earlier today, but it seems like it was someone from the Tavern.
Anyway, Andrew Jones wrote a nice piece on Ken Silva’s passing.

In regards to the Naked Pastor blog, I read the comments for quite awhile after Matthew turned me on to them.  What a nightmare.  I’ll agree with Jason, that if even half of the stuff Julie brings up is true, it’s absolutely horrible.  Along with that, I’d add that there are several things that point to her giving an accurate picture of it.  I think the thread should raise the point of what struggles you’d have in trying to raise an issue against a controlling person who was in power.  Same scenario as Mars Hill in that respect.

I’ve thought about that stuff and felt that in some sense our willingness to adore and idolize a person or a pastor creates a monster.  I’m also beginning to wonder if people with a propensity to become monsters find those systems.  Either way, it is a word of caution for all of us.

Which is why, as Matthew points out, the Methodist system is very helpful in that sort of area.  But maybe that’s because we are the only ones with enough guts to strive for perfection (jn).

Opinions please….

I’m not a theologian or a historian, so my ideas may be totally off base, but since the internet is the perfect medium for offering off base ideas, I thought I’d throw these out.

It seems to me that there are some movements within evangelicalism that are relatively recent innovations, and pretty unique to American Culture. That doesn’t make them wrong per se, but I think we do well to view with suspicion any theological innovation. It also doesn’t mean no one else held the view previously, but only that they have found their fruition in American Christianity. They are, in no particular order:

The Charismatic movement.
Radical complementarianism (the super-macho type)
Pre-mil dispensationalism.
Young earth creationism.

What do you think? If I’m wrong, where, specifically?

Humility and accountability are so hard but so necessary.

Yep, and across the board at both MHC and the EV folks, that’s seems to be a missing element. For all Driscoll’s talk about being under authority in the past, it doesn’t seem like there was any for him and that might be the linch pin of that whole thing falling apart.

I wrote this a couple of years ago, but I continue to be grateful for the structure I’m a part of if for no other reason than it keeps me from going off the reservation. I couldn’t restructure my church leadership if I wanted to. Our Staff-Parish Relations Committee will always have a say in the work I do and if I lack humility and diligence, I’ll be out on my ear. That might seem like a frightening thing for some pastors who have suffered at the hands of an elder board or SPRC that was unreasonable and unrepentant, but I’ve had the good fortune of serving under three different SPRCs that were full of great and wise people.

For me, knowing that I have accountability from a SPRC, the District Superintendent, and the Bishop means I don’t have to worry about myself too much – they help me tremendously.


Mars Hill Global

As long as we’re talking about brutal things, can I mention Mars Hill Global here w/o breaking the “no Driscoll” rule? (Brian alerted me to this one, so if there’s blame we can blame him, eh?)

Throckmorton has a MH internal memo on his site today wherein they pretty blatantly document a cost/benefit analysis:

The Global Fund could be beneficial in a number of ways, besides the obvious gain of increased funding:
• For a relatively low cost (e.g. $10K/month), supporting a few missionaries and benevolence projects would serve to deflect criticism, increase goodwill, and create opportunities to influence and learn from other ministries.
• Many small churches who may consider joining Mars Hill hesitate because they do not believe we support “missions.” While we need to continue to challenge the assumptions underlying a claim, the Global Fund would serve as a simple, easy way to deflate such criticism and help lead change in these congregations.
• The ability to communicate and interact with supporters of Mars Hill Global provides an avenue for promoting events, recruiting leaders, and developing Mars Hill core groups in strategic cities.

So, for $120k/year “cost”, they can pitch this fund to their donors as supporting missions, meanwhile taking the vast bulk of it for their own domestic purposes. Folks gave > $2M to that fund in 2013.

It gets harder and harder for me to feel sympathy for these guys, and it seems more and more apparent that the place was/is rotten to the core. Sickening. I do a little comparison and think about how a missions fund would be pitched at most of the churches I’ve attended. It’d probably be something along the lines of “extend our reach through the world to show God’s love via support of missionaries in other countries”. Even at the leadership level, that’s how we’d think about it.

But what do they have here? Just look at the words. “Obvious gain of increased funding.” “Deflect criticism.” “Increase goodwill.” “Create opportunities to influence… other ministries.” “Deflate criticism.” “Lead change in [other] organizations.” “Promote events.” “Develop Mars Hill… in strategic cities.”

Pride. Self-righteousness. Power. Control. God have mercy.

That Naked Pastor thread is brutal, but one of the very rare cases where it’s worth it to read the comments. One of the things that kept me from going too deep with the emergent crowd was a sense of something being off that I couldn’t pin down. I loved (and still love) the idea of questioning everything and breaking down the assumptions and cultural crud that has built up on the church. But, the same defects of humanity that make fundamentalists what they are is as powerfully present among those who have embraced more progressive streams. Still, if half the stuff brought out by Julie (Tony’s ex wife) is true, then there’s some serious ‘splainin that needs to happen.

Chris is right. It’s about pride vs. humility.

I went to a seminary that emphasized the inductive method for Bible study and exegesis so I was profoundly happy to read my very first professor’s account of his journey in the inductive method (PDF warning).

Yeah, that comment thread re: Tony Jones was brutal. Pride, man, it gets you. Humility and accountability are so hard but so necessary.

I kinda like the idea of posting random stuff. I’ll try to remember to do so myself.

And speaking of Tony Jones, I stopped reading the comments to this Naked Pastor post a week ago because I couldn’t keep up but it looks like some of the old TR whipping boys, Mars Hill, etc. don’t have a corner on narcissism and abuse. I’ll leave it to you to read. I’ve never ever liked anything about Tony Jones and I’m having to pray mightily against schadenfreude. God help me.