Professor Hale has this to say about Ferguson, MO.
Sadly, I agree with him. I wish he were wrong, but I believe he’s spot on here.
I figured it would be a matter of time before a major outlet started covering the sex abuses and coverups at Sovereign Grace Ministries.
The Washington Post has jumped into the fray, with a surprisingly light article.
The SGM scandal makes the all the televangelist scandals look comparatively petty. Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart–the two poster children for scandal in the 1980s–engaged in consensual immoralities with other adults.
SGM, on the other hand, conspired not to report the sexual abuses of a former staffer.
C.J. Mahaney claims he had nothing to do with any of that, when in fact it all happened on his watch, on his ship, with his people, and his culture.
While I am a skeptic of Ergun Caner–his claims to be a former Jihadi are not congruent with known facts–I empathize with him regarding the suicide of his son Braxton. That’s not something a father should have to endure.
Apparently, a minister named J.D. Hall had badgered Braxton about his father. Not only was that inappropriate in that Braxton is not responsible for his father’s actions; it was also Braxton’s duty to honor his father, even though his father was short of the glory in some aspects of his life. Hall should have been a catalyst for Braxton to honor his father, not undermine his father’s place in his life.
While Hall appears to be quite repentant, the whole episode is a reminder of what to do–and not to do–regarding the confrontation of sin.
Confront the offender. Don’t take it out on the wife, the children, or other relatives.
Otherwise, you are misrepresenting the Gospel and showing a reckless disregard for the mercies of God.
Ergun Caner is wrong, and is worthy of censure.
His son did not deserve to be attacked for the offenses of his father.
Many years ago, after pro tennis player Chris Evert married Andy Mills and had settled into motherhood, she said something to the effect that her prior life had been all about her. The way she said it led me to think she had at least one prior abortion. While she’d had an otherwise solid reputation, I also figured that no one is pristine.
In 1974, when Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert had their romance, I was in first grade. I knew little to nothing about tennis–although I would become an avid player and fan in my teen years–but I remember Chris Evert becoming a household name. Jimmy Connors, who won three of the four majors that year, wasn’t bad in his own right.
They had been engaged, but broke off that engagement quite abruptly. Most had chalked that up to some combination of Connors’ playboy lifestyle–he would eventually marry a Playboy playmate–and their youth, as well as the logistics of two top-ranked tennis players being under the same roof.
Well, last year, Connors, in his autobiography, provided more insight into the breakup. During their youthful bliss, Chris Evert became pregnant, and, well, that couldn’t get in the way of her career. In Connors’ own words, he didn’t really consent, but didn’t really fight it either. At any rate, after that, the relationship ended.
Connors and Evert would go their separate ways: Evert would become one of the greatest women tennis players of all time. Her winning percentage–over 90%–is the best ever, and Martina Navratilova probably accounts for most of that 10% of her defeats. Connors would enjoy his share of success: he would win five U.S. Opens and two Wimbledons, and a mother lode of other tournaments. Their personal lives were not without issues: Connors would marry, have children, and persevere despite his own infidelities; Evert would marry, have an affair, reconcile, divorce, remarry, have kids, have a midlife crisis, divorce, remarry, divorce, then really lose it.
Evert, by her own admission, described her attitude as one of entitlement.
The media raked Connors over the coals for talking about the abortion, with at least one outlet saying, “That isn’t his story to tell.” On that front, I disagree; the child was no less his than hers. While I understand Evert’s outrage at Connors’ outing her–no one likes having a skeleton in their closet put on full display–it is fair game.
Yes, Connors is a douchebag–and to a certain extent would probably wear the label–but it’s not like he doesn’t have the prerogative to discuss the impact of her decision on his life.
And yet we must all take in the warning here. Make no mistake: your character will eventually catch up with you. It may not always become a public matter, but–at some point–you are going to come face-to-face with the reality of your decisions.
Julius “Dr. J” Erving was an outspoken Christian in addition to being one of the most celebrated athletes in his day; with a reputation as a charitable gentleman, he often received cheers from opposing fans. Trouble is, he–for lack of better words–got around. An affair with a reporter would produce a child.
Doc would take responsibility: he provided for her financially, including her education. But he tried to keep everything hush-hush.
In 1999, an up-and-coming tennis player–Alexandra Stevenson–would make a splash of her own: she reached the semifinals at the 1999 Wimbledon. Some reporters did some digging into her background, and noticed that the father listed on her birth certificate was none other than Julius Winfield Erving. This would begin the public unraveling of Doc’s otherwise sterling reputation, as his infidelities would lead to the breakup of his marriage.
I say none of this to pile onto Doc or Chrissy. Truth be told, they are probably far from the worst offenders in their respective sports.
Still, the lesson here is poignant.
So let’s see…we have a leader whose pastoral staff covered for at least one sexual predator. His materials are kosher at LifeWay.
We have a self-described feminist who supports macro-evolution and is soft on homosexuality–and even has disavowed herself as an evangelical–and her materials are also legit at LifeWay.
OTOH, we have a leader who, while otherwise preaching and teaching sound doctrine, is known for some questionable rants–and some occasional youth-like mischief that is more annoying than harmful–but who, as far as we know, has not engaged in sexual improprieties nor covered for those who have. Because he is not good buddies with the powers that be, LifeWay has declared him persona non grata.
LifeWay–and the Southern Baptist Convention–are the real enemy here. They have fostered a corporate culture–for over 150 years and running–that makes Mark Driscoll look like an Eagle Scout. They have more issues with accountability structure in their churches than Driscoll has at Mars Hill.
Their seminaries are pumping out ministers who aren’t prepared to minister, who aren’t prepared to provide answers to the skeptics, or even answer the inquisitive teenagers who are being bombarded by skepticism. The ministers coming out of SBTS often lack the balls to stand up to their own wives, let alone the committees that can fire them from pastoral positions.
But that’s okay…because they ran Driscoll out of LifeWay, they can pat themselves on the back and say they saved the Christian faith.
Meanwhile, they keep swallowing camels.
Let’s see: Mark Driscoll, just a few months ago, was regarded as a fine Christian author who was known to have some rough edges.
Now that Acts 29 has thrown him under the bus, the Southern Baptists have decided to wash their hands of him.
All because of facts that were hardly a secret to anyone.
At the same time, that same holy Christian outlet markets Rachel Held Evans’ promotion of evolution.
I call hypocrisy on LifeWay.
While Driscoll has plenty of issues–and probably should take a hiatus–if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s this freaking bandwagon.
Christians would do well to boycott LifeWay. It’s not like the holier-than-thous at the Southern Baptist Convention have any room to talk about Driscoll.
I can’t say I’m terribly shocked at this.
The recent plagiarism scandal alone was probably dismissal-worthy, or at the very least worthy of a suspension.
While I am no fan of John MacArthur–I’m not a cessationist, although the only tongues I speak are English, Redneck, and sarcasm–Driscoll acted like a stupid teenager in crashing the Strange Fire conference.
At Mars Hill, a storm–of Driscoll’s own creation–has been brewing for years. Driscoll has been accused by many of operating beyond accountability. I’ve blogged about cases of overstretch and poor application of church discipline.
The recent departures of James McDonald and Paul Tripp from the Board of Advisors and Accountability (BoAA) at Mars Hill are proof that Driscoll was clearly out of control.
(The recent exposure of some really hardcore comments he made 14 years ago–using an online moniker–would otherwise be, in itself, a tempest in a teapot.)
Thankfully, Acts 29 addressed the core issues: this is not merely about Driscoll; it is also about Mars Hill, the leadership of which has enabled Driscoll to operate with negligible accountability.
To Driscoll’s credit, he has reformed considerably over the years. There was once a time when he was as likely to drop an expletive or 3 as he was to invoke Jesus. Contrast that with the Mark Driscoll of late, and the difference is night and day. Still, there are major issues about the operation of Mars Hill.
Brent Detwiler–formerly of Sovereign Grace Ministries–said it succinctly:
Mark Driscoll and C.J. could have been twin brothers.
Still, should Driscoll take a hiatus from ministry, as Matt Chandler has called him to do?
I’d answer in the affirmative. I would also say that most of the leadership at Mars Hill needs to go. A major culture change is in order, and the BoAA should bring in a whole new leadership team. Driscoll should spend some time with that new team and allow them to teach him.
If the BoAA at Mars Hill wants to be conciliatory toward Driscoll, they should suspend him from ministerial duties for a minimum of 12 months. If he shows contrition and transparency, then they can perhaps create a path for him to return.
But, in the wake of the disasters at Sovereign Grace Ministries, I’d say that Acts 29 is trying to get ahead of the issues and turn things around before they end up with a real scandal that can take them down. The last thing they need is Sovereign Grace Redux.
Ultimately, the Gospel is bigger than one man. Sadly, Driscoll has a recent history of acting juvenile, and this is getting in the way of his ability to function effectively. He has created a culture at Mars Hill that threatens not just his own future, but also that of Mars Hill and Acts 29.
Acts 29 has taken a step in the right direction. I would also add that they need to include hard rules and standards for accountability and transparency for all Acts 29 affiliates.
Ergun Caner–who is to evangelicals today what Mike Warnke was in the 1980s–preached at FBC Woodstock this past Sunday, July 27.
Some may wonder, “What is so monumental about that?” Ergun Caner has a great story: he was trained to be a Jihadist, but eschewed that life for Christianity. His resultant notoriety has gained him academic position, as well as numerous writing and speaking gigs. He has been a hot draw for churches for more than a decade.
The problem is, the whole story is bovine ejectus.
Seth Dunn, a blogger who is a member of FBC Woodstock, has spoken out forcefully against Caner, opposing his invitation to preach at his church.
For his diligence in telling the truth, Dunn was forced to leave the premises of FBC Woodstock on Sunday. The security team did not even allow him to attend Sunday School.
As Russ Westbrook–who occasionally drops in here–pointed out,
a church member in good standing (not under biblical discipline a la Matt 18 or I Cor 5) has every right to be on their church’s property; they in fact ARE the church! This seems to be a crime against Heaven and probably Caesar as well……..
Well, that would be an insult to Caesar. At least Caesar didn’t claim a Christian faith.
My sister has been going to a fairly bible-grounded, mega church. They’re having a huge back-to-school invite-thing for youth. Given that her son is not comfortable in church, she went by to see what it was about and to see if they would reach out to him some. After sharing this with the middle school youth pastor, he simply told her, “Just tell him he has to go to church. Make him go. Tell him it’s good for him.” She was appalled. She grew up in church. She was made to go to church. And as she told me, “Yeah, and I was the ten-year-old making out under the church steps cause I was made to go to church.”
Really? Is that how youth pastors are *reaching* our youth today? My sister said to me, “I guess I just expect too much.” I told her no, she just expects them to develop a relationship with him.
My daughter went to church camp with their dad’s church this summer. It’s a good church, and she had made friends there over the years. They told her at the funeral they’d love to have her come to camp and stuff. So we took them up on their offer. She had a great time! When I asked her, though, if she learned anything new [about God, the Bible, Jesus], she said no. The good part of that is … I’m doing my job. The sad part is … she was bored during their Bible study times. I told her that maybe next year she can go to more camps. She said, “I don’t want them to all be church camps, though. The Bible study was boring and made me sleepy.”
Whereas PZ Myers attacks Michael Behe with rhetoric, Behe responds with math and science.
(HT: Farmer Tom)