Brian Auten writes:
I don’t even know what to say. From the overall levity, I feel as if our denomination’s problems don’t even matter.
I’ll leave it at this: my denominational leadership’s (e.g. CJ Mahaney, Dave Harvey and Jeff Purswell) decision to NOT voluntarily remove themselves from up-front participation at Together for the Gospel 2012 is the height of impropriety. Mahaney, Harvey and Purswell could have easily said “Hey folks, we think it’s best to hold off this go-around. God is working to order our own house, and we thought it would be wiser and more prudent to excuse ourselves from teaching. In 2014, we’ll be excited to come and teach once again, and be able to share how God has brought reconciliation and peace to our denomination.” But they haven’t done that. And because they haven’t done so, I’d argue that the up-front participation does a number of things.
— It papers over significant and ongoing disagreements/concerns within the denomination (to the point that two of the largest SGM churches have cut funding to SGMHQ).
— It suggests to non-SGMers that all of the negatives they hear about SGM are slanderous and malicious rantings of the pajama-clad, basement blogger brigade (when, point of fact, a large, large portion of internal SGM reform can be directly tied to public “outing” and discussion on one particular blog, established in late 2007).
— It gives our model of “doing church” the “Golden Seal of YRR Approval,” when — again, point of fact — there is a report scheduled to be released in March that, I anticipate, is going to show just how unhealthy things have been over the decades.
— Frankly, I don’t even think we should be handing out our books at T4G. I realize that Crossway is just about to release Am I Called, Dave Harvey’s redux of what had previously been an SGM-published booklet on pastoral calling; I’m hoping that, given the current situation, it isn’t on this year’s giveaway list. For that matter, I’m hoping that Harvey’s Rescuing Ambition isn’t on the list either.
— Then, there’s the whole thing about CJ’s scheduled plenary address on 2 Corinthians 4. It’s plain hard — being brutally honest here — not to read into things. I’m really, really hoping that there aren’t parallels made between Paul’s tribulations and what has taken place with SGM and SGM’s executive leadership over the past year.
— If folks want more on the whole “celebrity pastor” blogosphere debate, the document is still up on my public Dropbox folder. I haven’t updated it since the whole Elephant Room 2 stuff happened, but you’ll get the flavor of things.