I was thinking about the Andy Stanley sermon controversy when my weekly blog trip took me past a January item that appeared at Kevin deYoung’s blog concerning Jeff Bethke’s mega-popular spoken word video, Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus. (I’m actually expected to say, “at The Gospel Coalition” instead of “…deYoung’s blog,” as this is a very elite company, but I’ve never been big on formalities here.)
deYoung is part of the young
angry restless Reformed group, though he approached his exegesis of Bethke’s text in a gentle and balanced way that resulted in a couple of pleasant email exchanges between the two.
It turns out Bethke was/is still fairly young in his faith, and wrote the piece never expecting it get the 21,000,000 views it has now received. deYoung may have allowed for that possibility but as Frank Turk pointed out in the piece that directed me to KdY’s at TGC, with all those views comes a certain responsibility.
Kevin deYoung’s blogroll — all the usual suspects
Basically, anybody can say anything in obscure quarters of the internet, but once your efforts become a blip on the wider radar, you are subject to closer scrutiny. deYoung justifies this: “I know the internet is a big place, but a lot of people are connected to a lot of other people.”
At that point it becomes, ‘I know your intention was to say X, Y, and Z; but in the process of doing so, you must not omit including A, B, and C.”
Now, I arrived late to the party — the article was posted January 13th — but I think Kevin deYoung and many of his band of followers are analyzing the words spoken but missing the heart of the speaker.
And that’s exactly what many — Albert Mohler, Jr. being the most notable — are doing with Andy Stanley’s sermon illustration. While it’s a badge of honor to jump on the bandwagon that Stanley’s story is approving of gay marriage, I personally consider it a badge of honor to have watched the sermon live and been able to read the heart of what Stanley was saying, while at the same time thinking, ‘Some people are going to be uncomfortable with this particular narrative to make this particular point.’
The question we have to ask ourselves at times like this, is: ‘Are we looking for problems?’ But sometimes, the problem isn’t what a major church pastor doesn’t say, but what his congregation thinks he’s saying.
Which leaves me wondering what to do with John Piper’s recent encyclical featured at Christian Post.
…I dealt with a couple one time. They were sitting in front of me, and she said, “He learned from you that I have to get permission from him for everything I do.” I said, “Really? Like what?” And she said, “To go to the bathroom! He won’t let me leave the room without his permission. If I get up and walk out of the room, he says, ‘Hey, you’re supposed to ask me first.'”
The key line being, “He learned from you…”
Which, a few paragraphs later, brings us to:
So the answer would be, clearly, Yes, there are people who would draw lines in places that they shouldn’t be drawn.
That any of this needed to be said at all attracted the intention of the keepers of The Wartburg Watch.
I contend that complementarianism has been made a primary issue by the Calvinista crowd. Times have changed. Years ago, it did not overly concern me that there were people who believed in a young earth. I subscribed to the CS Lewis philosophy (paraphrased) that people who believe that God has a long white beard will still be able to go to heaven. It was only when I was made a target by a bunch of rabid young earthers who actually believed that a salvation issue might be involved I reconsidered my stance. Then I got interested, real interested.
The same applies to the subject of complementarianism. I knew some folks who believed in strict complementarianism but it was one of those agree to disagree things. That is, until I started to realize that this issue was going in the same direction as the “young earth or be damned” group. For several years, Deb and I have predicted that more and more would need to be written in order to justify a rabid defense of such a doctrine. Unfortunately, we have been proven right.
First came the Eternal Subordination of the Son, which has been used to justify a belief that women will submit to men in all eternity. I do not know if these men understand that I would consider it hell if I were forced to submit to the likes of Driscoll, et al. for eternity.
Then John Piper and Tim Challies came out with a new mandate that women are not allowed to read the Bible out loud in church services. Challies, in a post I like to call “Hubris Rising,” also “instructs” the great unwashed males in proper breathing and diction techniques, appearing to indicate that stutterers and those with COPD need not apply.Link
Finally, there was the startling Russell Moore pronouncement that he strongly dislikes the term “complementarians” and prefers the word “patriarchy…” Link
…Piper then discusses that we should be sensitive in how we apply “biblical clarity” in such situations. However, he adds no “clarity” to this situation except to say that women do not have to ask their husbands permission to go to the bathroom. Why does he not “clarify” his belief structure in this matter? Could it be that it might be a bit awkward for him?
Is he aware that some of his buddies have encouraged some distinctly odd and even abusive behaviors, on occasion? Piper says,“And we’re going to probably make different judgments about that.” He is discussing Biblical clarity and then says we are going to see things differently? So much for “clarity.” There’s the rub. Here are “examples” of “clarity” and “differing judgements” that have been reported by those who claim to have attended churches that are pastored by good buddies of Piper.
- Women must ask their husband’s permission to attend Bible study.
- Women must drop what they are doing and bring coffee to their husbands at work as soon as they are commanded. (A game a few pastors played to “show” the obedience of their wives.”
- Women should sit in the back of the church.
- Women should not go to college.
- Daughters should stay at home with daddy until they are married and should tend to daddy’s needs.
- Women should not teach baptized boys.
Before leaving this, I do want to post what was the first of about 200 comments the piece at TWW has received:
Sad as it sounds, I’ve heard women who killed their husbands and went to prison say they prefer prison to their life with their husband. When asked why, their response was that “at least they could go to the bathroom without asking.”
And this one:
When I was in the patriarchy “camp” for awhile there was this wild thing going about communion. Husbands would serve their wives and daughters communion at family-integrated church. If for some reason Papa wasn’t available to do so, then the oldest son or next oldest son would do it. Mama & daughters could not/should not go get their own communion.
John Piper is going to discover that he will be unable to dial back his acolytes after this many decades.
…In the Andy Stanley case or Jeff Bethke case we’re dealing with assumptions based on silence or omissions; a sermon illustration raises some parallel issues and instead of accepting the analogy we get lost in the periphery of the story.
In the case of John Piper, the directive is taken too far, the assumptions are based on what was said, but the effects are disastrous and detrimental.
I’m convinced the common link is people hearing and not hearing what they want or don’t want to hear.
Image: David Kreklau’s blog