Mosaix Blogs Full Mosaix Blogs Full Respective post owners and feed distributors Wed, 11 Sep 2019 10:51:13 -0500 Feed Informer Asian American Christians don’t talk about money? urn:uuid:472a491e-e498-0136-2619-645fe734c649 Sat, 21 Sep 2019 16:31:50 -0500 <p>Money gets talked about a lot in mainstream American culture because pretty much everyone needs to earn money for a living. Some are able to accumulate wealth and doing that money making money thing. Then all this gets reinforced thru financial news&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Asian American Christians don&#8217;t talk about money?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Don’t like Crowds? Three Reasons You Should Still Go to the Poets in Autumn Tour The Witness urn:uuid:744c1d2d-2c11-8dfb-b4b0-00942b610de8 Fri, 20 Sep 2019 08:00:05 -0500 <p>We learn to think differently &#038; holistically about God and the world when we consider the experiences and opinions of others.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Don’t like Crowds? Three Reasons You Should Still Go to the Poets in Autumn Tour</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> In Memoriam… Jemar Tisby urn:uuid:778904dc-ecb7-04e4-7d51-9cc9322822f0 Sun, 15 Sep 2019 12:35:42 -0500 In memory of the four young girls killed in a racist terrorist attack at the 16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL on September 15, 1963 To Be Young, Gifted, & Black: A Letter to a Young Black Leader — Part 2 The Witness urn:uuid:934f46f5-8f8e-146e-25b0-6c8d009c5252 Fri, 13 Sep 2019 08:00:39 -0500 <p>In our story, the black story, we have the best of us and we have the worst of us.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">To Be Young, Gifted, &#038; Black: A Letter to a Young Black Leader — Part 2</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> A 15-Minute History of Race and the Church Jemar Tisby urn:uuid:acf47b4d-ecc1-aae8-efe5-3123754ab205 Thu, 12 Sep 2019 15:00:16 -0500 Jemar Tisby gives a 15-minute overview of the American church's complicity with racism from slavery and segregation up to the present day. When Christians Grasp for Power, We all Lose urn:uuid:e439f7da-952a-835c-5251-6d38cd4d4cf5 Thu, 12 Sep 2019 12:10:14 -0500 <p>I believe that we as Christians have had privilege in many ways that other religions do not have, here in America. I think that privilege and power are intricately linked—found these good thoughts on Twitter worth reading and considering. (twitter thread by&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">When Christians Grasp for Power, We all Lose</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> To Be Young, Gifted, & Black: A Letter to a Young Black Leader — Part 1 The Witness urn:uuid:f5b27005-bc64-de49-1a0a-060e38f9b216 Thu, 12 Sep 2019 09:00:49 -0500 <p>We are viewed as problems to be solved rather than people to be admired.</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">To Be Young, Gifted, &#038; Black: A Letter to a Young Black Leader — Part 1</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> Thabiti’s Apology, Part 2 The Front Porch urn:uuid:715bc827-9903-873f-94a5-b21ca6974ba6 Thu, 12 Sep 2019 05:15:28 -0500 Louis and Thabiti continue their conversation about Thabiti's recent apology to some evangelicals. Join us and as they say in some parts of North Carolina, "bring yo own mason jar". <p>Join Lou and Thabiti as they continue their conversation regarding Thabiti&#8217;s <a href="">apology</a>. You can find part one of the interview <a href="">here</a>. Grab a chair and come on up on the porch!</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" allow="autoplay" src=";color=%23ff5500&#038;auto_play=false&#038;hide_related=false&#038;show_comments=true&#038;show_user=true&#038;show_reposts=false&#038;show_teaser=true"></iframe></p> Free Internet Filter for Home Wifi Router urn:uuid:75dad1a3-9029-a8c7-67b3-a268a332e28b Mon, 09 Sep 2019 23:20:59 -0500 <p>Using internet filtering software at home can be quite a hassle: installing the software or app on every device, managing upgrades, subscription fees, occasional troubleshooting when changes cause unexpected behavior. Free DNS service providers provide a great alternative for safe internet at&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Free Internet Filter for Home Wifi Router</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Thabiti’s Apology, Part 1 The Front Porch urn:uuid:806f128a-b0c3-1cd0-e86c-905a25336b40 Mon, 09 Sep 2019 15:21:46 -0500 Several months ago Thabiti offered an apology over at The Gospel Coalition's website. He has graciously agreed to c'mon up on the Porch and share how the Lord moved upon his heart to apologize. Take a listen and you will find out there's more to an apology than mere words. <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" allow="autoplay" src=";color=%23ff5500&#038;auto_play=false&#038;hide_related=false&#038;show_comments=true&#038;show_user=true&#038;show_reposts=false&#038;show_teaser=true"></iframe></p> Managing Your Anxiety and Others You Lead urn:uuid:61e767bc-a397-5a6a-2274-728efa972b4d Mon, 09 Sep 2019 10:09:06 -0500 <p>Anxiety has been a part of the human condition for centuries. It&#8217;s not a new thing that&#8217;s increasing just because of social media, faster changes in our cultures, and uncertainty about the future. Jesus Christ spoke directly about anxiety in Matthew 6,&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Managing Your Anxiety and Others You Lead</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> 4 Traits of Real White Advocates for People of Color urn:uuid:150572ed-050e-8225-035e-f0d4f3d2afb8 Sat, 07 Sep 2019 13:11:48 -0500 <p>(twitter thread posted with permission from Helen Lee; unrolled via When a white person says he/she is an advocate for people of color, I need to know: Who are your closest friends, mentors, and advisors? Are they all or mostly white?&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">4 Traits of Real White Advocates for People of Color</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Looking for Asian American Church Leaders under 40 urn:uuid:de46f8a8-1f4e-585f-1e5c-8a32f8e537dd Sat, 07 Sep 2019 09:47:37 -0500 <p>Each and every summer, I am getting older and farther from the next generation of Asian American young adults who are maturing into their own as Christ-followers, some as pastors and church leaders, others as faith-filled people working out in the world&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Looking for Asian American Church Leaders under 40</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Insistence Is Not Evidence: A Final Reply to Tom Ascol Thabiti Anyabwile Posts – The Gospel Coalition urn:uuid:c1bf6a83-8212-f6ab-8e05-7960f4a807b6 Thu, 05 Sep 2019 06:19:06 -0500 <div><img width="300" height="300" src="" class="webfeedsFeaturedVisual wp-post-image" alt="" style="margin-bottom: 15px;" srcset=" 300w, 150w, 768w, 1104w, 912w, 550w, 470w, 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></div>Recently I posted the fourth in my series of comments regarding “social justice” in which I engaged Tom Ascol as a representative of what I called the “anti-social justice” perspective. My basic argument in that post was that no “social justice movement” exists in evangelicalism. By “movement,” I meant an organized effort with identifiable leaders and goals. In the post, I took issue with the evidence Tom cited in a brief presentation he gave on the subject of secular progressive ideologies affecting Western civilization and evangelicalism. Tom has kindly responded to my critique. He has expanded some of his argumentation... <div><img width="300" height="300" src="" class="webfeedsFeaturedVisual wp-post-image" alt="" style="margin-bottom: 15px;" srcset=" 300w, 150w, 768w, 1104w, 912w, 550w, 470w, 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></div><p>Recently I posted the <a href="">fourth</a> in my series of comments regarding “social justice” in which I engaged Tom Ascol as a representative of what I called the “anti-social justice” perspective. My basic argument in that post was that no “social justice movement” exists in evangelicalism. By “movement,” I meant an organized effort with identifiable leaders and goals.</p> <p>In the post, I took issue with the evidence Tom cited in a brief presentation he gave on the subject of secular progressive ideologies affecting Western civilization and evangelicalism. Tom has kindly <a href="">responded</a> to my critique. He has expanded some of his argumentation and listed other incidences he believes make his case.</p> <p>So here’s where we are:</p> <ol> <li>Tom says there <em>is</em> a social justice movement enticing and affecting evangelical churches;</li> <li>I say there is <em>not</em> such a movement.</li> </ol> <p>What’s vital in such an impasse is an examination of the underlying evidence for the claims, especially for the positive claim that a movement does exist. What we are <em>now</em> debating is not whether the phenomena Tom describes is good or bad (it would be very bad) or whether one should oppose it or support it (one should oppose it strongly). What we are debating in order to break through the impasse is the underlying evidence and the basis on which we judge evidence. That’s where I’ll focus in this post while replying to Tom along the way.</p> <p>As I mentioned in the original post in this series, I don’t intend to have a long back-and-forth about these issues, and I hope to draw a close circle around the conversation by simply addressing the persons I’ve critiqued rather than be drawn into a much wider and usually less focused conversation. With that reminder, this will be my last comment in exchange with Tom after which I’ll give Tom the final word and happily move on to my final planned post.</p> <h3>Equal Weights and Measures</h3> <p>At bottom, Tom’s approach (and that of others who share it) fails on three counts:</p> <ol> <li>It fails to ask, “Is this true?” and “How does the author know it?”</li> <li>It fails to put forth compelling evidence of a movement beyond anything circumstantial.</li> <li>It fails to apply the same methodology and standard to itself.</li> </ol> <p>Let’s take these in turn.</p> <p><strong>Is It True?</strong> On the first point, consider Tom’s listing of Ekemini Uwan’s comments at the Sparrow Conference. He offers it as proof of secular social-justice ideologies infiltrating evangelical spaces. It’s true that Ekemini’s comments have much in common with the fields of whiteness studies and CRT. She uses “whiteness” <em>not</em> as a reference to skin color or even race but to a social ideology rooted in power and greed. But that’s a view at least as old as <a href="">Frederick Douglass’s writing</a>, well before CRT/IS, cultural Marxism, or today’s social-justice trends. Her view is rooted much more firmly in the Black sojourn in the United States than errant academic disciplines.</p> <p>But the real questions regarding Ekemini’s comments (and those of Anthony Bradley that Tom mentioned) are: Is this true? And, how does the author know this?</p> <p>Her statement was and is true (for a crash course see <a href="">here</a>, especially <a href="">here</a> or <a href="">here</a>). It’s an <em>unpleasant</em> truth. A <em>hard</em> truth. A <em>difficult-to</em>&#8211;<em>hear</em> truth. But it is true nonetheless, and we know it to be true simply by reading the laws of this land from the Constitution itself down through to the end of Jim Crow and the passage of suffrage laws for women and people of color. That whiteness is an <em>ideology</em> rooted in greed and power is a matter of historical and legal fact. That we don’t like how it’s said or care for the particular terminology or associate the terminology with other ideologies doesn’t change its veracity. If we get caught up in tone and word policing rather than the substance of the claim, then we miss something foundationally important—the truth.</p> <p>While I was happy to express support for Ekemini following the Sparrow Conference and am happy to support her claim now, the issue presently under discussion is whether Tom’s method holds under scrutiny. Because the method employed to make the case that a “social-justice movement” exists doesn’t stop to ask first questions—is it true and how do they know—it’s a method flawed from the outset. We cannot avoid the sense that what people are being asked to do is accept some person&#8217;s umbrage for evidence without actually understanding the basis for another’s claims. That won’t do.</p> <p><strong>Is It Evidence?</strong> On the second point—and to me, this is a critical point—no one has yet defined the basis on which we are to judge any evidence. But in every field of human inquiry we have standards for weighing evidence. For example:</p> <ul> <li>In psychometrics, correlation is not causation. To prove something has causative power you must demonstrate that the relationship is not one that occurs by chance or randomly but <em>systematically</em>. You must arrive at some measure of confidence (technical term) for your research findings.</li> <li>In philosophy we’re taught to avoid <a href="">genetic fallacies</a>, a fallacy that’s based on someone’s or some argument’s history, origin, or source. Simply identifying a source or an origin does not mean any current user uses the term or idea in precisely the same way a previous user did or does.</li> <li>In the physical sciences, we have rules of science that rely on objective observation, test, and retest. A single instance or an unobservable phenomenon does not provide sufficient evidence for making scientific claims. Theories must be tested with experiments.</li> <li>In law we must observe <a href=",fact%20in%20reaching%20its%20decision.">rules of evidence</a>, which include meeting a burden of proof that ranges from reasonable suspicion to preponderance of the evidence, clear and convincing evidence, or beyond a reasonable doubt.</li> </ul> <p>In this “debate” thus far, the rules of evidence have not been specified. Sometimes people note a correlation or a suspicion and pronounce with certainty that a movement or an infiltration is there. I think that’s largely what’s happening when people claim a “movement” exists. Some look at the number of followers on Twitter or the number of returns on a search as “evidence.” But raw numbers tell us nothing about whether those Twitter followers agree with the one they follow or whether the followers were even purchased. Raw numbers of “hits” on searches tell us nothing about whether the content of the hits were for or against the subject searched.</p> <p>The entire discussion is being built on an inadequate evidentiary approach. We have a low bar that actually breaks the rules of evidence in most every field, and it proves too much.</p> <p><strong>Is It Impartial?</strong> By “proves too much,” I’m referring to my third point above. If we use the standard of evidence Tom and others use, then we’re in a position where impartiality requires we apply those same standards to Tom and others. But that surely would lead to conclusions they would want to reject.</p> <p>Let me illustrate what I mean. Tom leads an organization called “Founders Ministries.” It’s a reference to the theology and ministries of the founders of the SBC. Founders is dedicated to calling the convention back to the theological commitments (doctrines of grace) of those founders, among whom were men like Basil Manly Jr, who owned 40 slaves. Manley would not be the only early leader of the convention who owned slaves. In fact, the convention was formed following a split on the question of slave owning. You could say the SBC was the pro-slavery denomination. Its flagship seminary, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently issued a <a href="">report documenting that institution’s history on the question of slavery and racism</a>. The report indicates that the seminary’s founding faculty—James P. Boyce, John A. Broadus, Basil Manly Jr., and William Williams—<em>all</em> held slaves and, in some cases, actively <em>defended</em> the practice. Yet such men are cited in books and sermons as heroes of the convention and of evangelicalism.</p> <p>Now, here’s the question: Are we to attribute all the beliefs and commitments of the founding leaders of the SBC and Southern Seminary to Tom as a leader of “Founders Ministries”? If a person expresses indebtedness to Boyce, Broadus, Manly, or Williams for their writing on some subject, are we to attribute to that person anything or everything we find repugnant in Boyce and company or their writings on that subject? I would answer an emphatic “No” to both questions.</p> <p>But Tom argues in his response that “it stands to reason that anyone who has been shaped by that book [referring to <em>Critical Race Theory: An Introduction</em>] and enthusiastically recommends it as a &#8220;necessary&#8221; book is doing so for reasons other than merely ‘illustrating the other side’s viewpoint.’” I suspect that applying that standard <em>to </em>Tom using the slaveholding founders he enthusiastically recommends and think necessary for an entire denomination would result in Tom crying, “Foul!” I think he would be <em>right</em> to do so without some compelling evidence beyond book recommendations and even beyond an admission that those founders had shaped his view in some way on some things.</p> <p>I trust that the charitable reader would not attribute one author’s beliefs and commitments <em>in toto</em> to someone who appreciates that author. I trust the charitable reader would not conclude that quoting these writers favorably in one area means the person doing the quoting would agree with these writers in every area or even agree with them on all they wrote on the topic quoted.</p> <p>Or, let me switch the example. Tom expresses concern that “Western civilization” is under attack and being undermined by “godless ideologies.” As a defender of “Western civilization,” are we to infer that Tom would support everything that comes under that label? Not to be too pedantic, but “Western civilization” has a long heritage of godless ideologies. Cultural Marxism, for example, originates in “Western civilization.” But Tom clearly rejects some things under that banner, and it would be charitable for us to assume he would. It would be charitable for us to believe the best about Tom, that he would test what is good and toss the rest.</p> <p>Charity demands Christians extend to others the judgment we want for ourselves, lest we be guilty of what we charge others with (Matt. 7:1-5; Rom. 2:1-3). Even when a Christian brother or sister approvingly quotes a non-Christian, we ought to first ask whether or not the quote—whether from a Christian or a non-Christian—is, in fact, true. We ought to assume the best of a brother or sister as we go on to inquire about the Christian’s reasoning.</p> <p>The methods employed by those who oppose the influence and incursion of “social justice” do not extend such charity. Nor does it use clearly defined, solid rules of evidence in making its case. Nor does it apply the same standards to their own writings and the influences one might suggest are reflected in them. The inconsistency and inadequacy of the approach invalidates the entire enterprise. It’s unequal weights and measures.</p> <h3>Linguistic Blind Spots?</h3> <p>Tom expresses concern that I mischaracterized some of his words, especially those regarding Jarvis Williams. He says he doesn’t think he’s “ever said that ‘evangelical institutions are about to be overrun by godless pagan philosophy’ or that Jarvis Williams is ‘smuggling in’ CRT to Southern Seminary.” He writes, “I am quite confident that I have never called Dr. Williams a ‘cultural Marxist.’”</p> <p>I take Tom at his word when he says he did not intend to disparage Jarvis or his motives.</p> <p>But I don’t think<em> I’ve mischaracterized Tom</em>. First, Tom regularly uses the “Trojan horse” trope to describe what he believes is happening in evangelicalism. “Smuggling” may be my word choice, but a “Trojan horse” is entirely about smuggling things into a camp. I don’t see how you can use that phrase so often and with such intensity without communicating some clandestine effort akin to “smuggling.”</p> <p>Tom denies asserting that evangelical institutions are being overrun. But in the video I critiqued, Tom states, “This new pagan religion is making vast inroads in evangelical churches.” “Overrun” and “vast inroads” seem to be semantic equivalents. Tom concludes the talk by returning to the shipping metaphor he used in his introduction. He says, “The good ship evangelicalism and the SBC has been severely damaged,” presumably by the water of godless ideology seeping into the ship. These are word choices and pictures that communicate pretty powerfully something more than mere influence but an actual incursion.</p> <p>I happily accept Tom’s more measured statement of his intent. But I would like to suggest he may be connoting much more than he intends given the actual language he’s using.</p> <p>That applies to his characterization of Jarvis as well. After 11 minutes of warning about “godless ideologies” and Satanic devices, one can hardly offer Jarvis as a case in point without impugning Jarvis’s motives or suggesting he’s a “cultural Marxist.” The problem was not my summation; the problem was Tom’s pejorative argument and his definite association of Jarvis with it.</p> <p>If impugning Jarvis’s motive and associating him with cultural Marxism is not Tom’s intent, it seems a clarification and an apology are needed. Comments like those in the video have definitely given a false impression of Jarvis, and a good number of people seem to have reached judgments of Jarvis that Tom denies were his aim. There is a difference between intent and impact, and sometimes we must attend to the impact even if we intended something different.</p> <h3>From &#8216;Movements&#8217; to &#8216;Tools&#8217;</h3> <p>Later in his reply, Tom writes: “If by ‘movement’ [Thabiti] means a coordinated effort by evangelicals to make social justice something that will undermine or supplant the gospel, then perhaps he has a point.”</p> <p>That is what I meant by “movement,” as evidenced by the contrast with the “anti-social-justice side” that concludes my original post. Tom appears to concede the point.</p> <p>But then he switches the language from “movement” to “tools.” He cites Resolution 9 as evidence of the adoption of “tools” and argues “that even if there is not a formal evangelical social justice movement there is enough evidence of influence from godless ideologies on evangelical teachers and entities to warrant concern.”</p> <p>Christians ought always have a healthy concern for ungodly influence on their teaching, teachers, and entities. As I said in the original post, wherever such things exist the faithful Christian is bound by the Bible to oppose it. But what we’ve seen thus far does not amount to a healthy concern. It’s been unhealthy precisely because the evidence is not there and because Tom seems to deny any explanation other than his own theory.</p> <p>Resolution 9 champions the authority and sufficiency of scripture and makes these “analytical tools” subservient to the Bible. I understand that Tom rejects the use of the “tools” in any fashion. But I reject the notion that the mere use of a tool necessarily involves the adoption of an anti-biblical system the tool comes from or necessarily indicates the incursion of a formal theory like CRT. We all participate in capitalism despite its ungodly uses and unbiblical moorings. But in using the tools of capitalism we are not thereby becoming ungodly capitalists destined to be wolves of Wall Street. That’s even less the case when our resolutions and statements explicitly call us to hold fast to the Word of God as the only sufficient “tool” for addressing humanity’s most fundamental problems as Resolution 9 does.</p> <p>Shifting the focus from “movement” to “tools” doesn’t help Tom’s case much at all.</p> <h3>Insistence Is Not Evidence</h3> <p>What needs to be recognized is that insistence is not evidence. Saying something repeatedly and loudly does not thereby prove the existence of something or the truth of a claim.</p> <p>Take, for example, Tom’s expanded critique of Eric Mason’s work in <em>Woke Church</em>. Tom gives a fuller quote of something Eric wrote in his book, emphasizing the phrase—&#8221;without which persons will not be receptive to the gospel message.” Tom then concludes, “Mason’s statement makes the pursuit of social justice a <em>sine qua non</em> to people coming to Christ.” Again, that’s Tom’s assessment of Mason’s writing, not what Mason actually argued. He’s insisting that his view is what Eric must mean.</p> <p>We ought to resist the tendency to conflate what people said or wrote with what the critic insists they must mean. So, I took the liberty of texting Eric to ask, “Would you say or have you ever said ‘the pursuit of social justice is a <em>sine qua non</em> to people coming to Christ”? Mason’s unequivocal reply was, “ABSOLUTELY NOT.” He went on to add an unsolicited expansion: “I’d say it’s a helpful witness to the gospel and the love of God to the world.” In other words, it’s an apologetic, not the evangel. So, Tom’s comments completely misrepresent what Mason actually thinks, believes, and practices. Tom insists his explanation is the correct one, “even though Mason may not see it that way,” and as far as we know without asking Mason to verify. That’s not evidence, beloved.</p> <p>Or, for another example, consider this comment regarding Matthew Hall: “A commitment to CRT is the only reason that Dr. Matthew Hall, provost at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, can openly confess, ‘I am a racist,’ and not immediately resign his post.”</p> <p>Tom insists there’s only one explanation for Hall’s service at Southern given his admission. But far from being the only reason, I can think of several others. Such confession and continuance might be the result of honest self-reflection in an institution that just published a report doing the same kind of reflection. Such confession and continuance might also be the kind of integrity, conviction, humility, repentance, and forgiveness that ought to characterize Christians and Christian institutions. We could go on listing other plausible explanations. Tom’s insistence that CRT must be the explanation falls flat.</p> <p>Those who know Matthew Hall know him as a godly, humble, thoughtful man with the courage of his convictions. He’s the kind of man you’d want as a provost, modeling godliness to students and staff, following the truth wherever it takes him. Hall can arrive at an assessment of his own life without CRT being the only reason for said assessment and continuing in his post. If Hall should step down, then it seems to me we had better remove the names of Boyce, Manley, and others from Southern’s campus—men with far less integrity and character than Hall, who not only failed to admit their racism but actively defended it. If the choice is between an SBC that names slaveholders as its heroes and names parachurch organizations after said slaveholders, or a man like Matthew Hall who humbly confesses his sins with nothing to gain and much to lose, then give me Matthew Hall any day.</p> <p>My point is not that the names of Boyce, Manley, Williams and Broadus be removed; my point is that the likes of Hall be included without the disparagement of unfounded allegations as a necessary correction to the founders’ lives and doctrine.</p> <p>Without compelling evidence, Tom’s depictions of the viewpoints of saints like Jarvis W What do you know about church mergers? urn:uuid:8d9ccdc4-cae3-3bda-fe06-8f6ec5e7fa8c Wed, 04 Sep 2019 09:44:31 -0500 <p>The Bible talks many times about the importance of passing the faith from one generation to the next. Sure it can happen in the family context, from parents and grandparents to their sons and daughters. And, it also needs to happen intentionally&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">What do you know about church mergers?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Is There an Evangelical ‘Social Justice Movement’? Thabiti Anyabwile Posts – The Gospel Coalition urn:uuid:3cd45ef1-6a5b-7da6-06bb-b588ad0ca307 Tue, 03 Sep 2019 05:25:26 -0500 <div><img width="300" height="128" src="" class="webfeedsFeaturedVisual wp-post-image" alt="" style="margin-bottom: 15px;" srcset=" 300w, 768w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></div>Do the anti-social justice thinkers and writers really demonstrate there’s a “social justice movement” threatening evangelicalism? <div><img width="300" height="128" src="" class="webfeedsFeaturedVisual wp-post-image" alt="" style="margin-bottom: 15px;" srcset=" 300w, 768w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></div><p>Tom Ascol is one of the chief spokesmen against “social justice” among conservative evangelicals in the United States. He is one of the framers of the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel and as executive director of Founders Ministries has hosted or participated in a variety of conferences, podcasts, and blogs sounding the alarm against “social justice.” Arguably, Tom has invested as much or more energy in anti-social justice efforts as anyone else. For that reason, I’ve chosen to interact with some of Tom’s ideas in an effort to answer the question posed by the title of this post: Is there an evangelical social justice movement?</p> <p>I should note from the onset that Tom and I have known each other over a number of years. Our interactions, even in disagreement, have always been cordial and respectful. This is another reason I’m choosing to engage his comments directly.</p> <p>So here goes . . .</p> <h3>Another Religion Spawned in Spiritual Warfare</h3> <p>If you have not kept up with Tom’s prodigious output on this subject, perhaps the most efficient way to get his viewpoint would be to watch this 16-minute speech, “<a href="">Progressive Ideological Challenges to Biblical Christianity</a>,” delivered at Sovereign Nations during CPAC. Please take the time to watch or listen. You will have the advantage of hearing Tom in his own words and emphases.</p> <p>In this talk, Tom frames the problem in terms of worldliness. He maintains, “The last few years we’ve seen the ocean of the world begin to swamp the ship of the Christian church.” He sees this as having already happened in mainline denominations, with the threat now reaching evangelicalism and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) of which he is a part.</p> <p>But the source of the problem is much deeper than worldliness in Tom’s view. He states, “The Devil has effectively enticed many churches to welcome godless ideologies into their environments. And he’s done it through the trojan horse of what is called ‘social justice.’” In his assessment, the SBC “is failing miserably in the spiritual warfare we face.”</p> <p>The net effect is that these worldly ideologies are undermining Christian teaching and taking Christians hostage. Via these ideologies, attempts are being made to redefine reality and reorder the lives of Christians as well as Western civilization as a whole. Chief among these ideologies, according to Ascol, is cultural Marxism, which he sees as an adaptation of classic Marxism from an economic to a cultural view of history. Tom maintains that cultural Marxism has become the worldview of the rising generation, a worldview that misguidedly places all people in either “oppressor” or “oppressed” groups and subsequently attempts to overthrow “oppressive” groups and structures in society.</p> <p>In the video, Tom also comments on the rise of the religious “nones,” that group of individuals who mark “none” in response to questions about religious affiliation in the census and other demographic surveys. For Tom, the “nones” represent the rise of a <em>new</em> religion rather than an absence of religion. He describes it this way:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">Nones represent the rapid rise of a new religion. More and more evangelicals are confusing this new religion with a “better form of Christianity.” Christians sitting in churches are being led astray, and Christian virtues are being displaced by worldly values. Christian values are not just being removed but replaced by this new religion. So pastors must forcefully reject this new religion with all of its presuppositions and all of its critical assessments. And we cannot simply ignore it. We must expose it as an all-out assault on biblical Christianity. We must refute it by proclaiming the simplicity and fullness that is in Jesus Christ.</p> <p>In email communication with Tom to be certain I understood his comments correctly, Tom explained that it is not so much that Christians are giving way to blatant unbelief as much as being <em>influenced</em> by this “new religion.” In his view, the same worldly ideologies that give rise to the nones also tempt Christians to view themselves in terms of their group identities and buy into the oppressor/oppressed dichotomy he thinks is harmful to justice.</p> <p>He argues in the video:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">The authority of God’s Word is dismissed when it contradicts the new mission of deconstructing historic Christianity. Boundaries are rejected in the name of “equality.” Orthodoxy is political correctness, so you must toe the line or be branded a heretic. In the new religion holiness is accrued by the number of victim statuses you can accrue to yourself. And if you don’t have any or don’t have many, then the only way you can pursue holiness is by becoming an ally of those who have various victim statuses. Conversion is becoming awakened to cultural Marxist categories, or in the language of the new religion becoming “woke.” Original sin is privilege, the most notable of which is white privilege.</p> <p>If I have understood Tom correctly, what he opposes is a Satan-inspired worldliness that takes the form of various ideologies that have entered the church to distort and destroy historic Christianity by either replacing it with a new religion or convincing Christians to adopt worldview elements inimical to historic faith claims. He understands the threat to be present, active, and significant.</p> <p>Let me say unequivocally: <em>Wherever such a threat actually exists, I am against it too!</em> Every pastor required to be faithful (1 Cor. 4:1-2) ought to resist such a situation with all their being. There can be no compromise with worldliness, since it is hostile to God (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17).</p> <p>But the key question is: <em>What evidence is there that such a phenomenon is happening among evangelical Christians today?</em> Is there <em>actually</em> a movement afoot matching Tom’s analysis and description?</p> <h3>What Is the Evidence?</h3> <p>In the 16-minute talk mentioned above, Ascol cited three instances of “social justice” influence on evangelical Christians and the SBC. It may be helpful to consider two of those references here.</p> <p><strong>Jarvis Williams’s Book Recommendation.</strong> First, Tom mentions Jarvis Williams of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as someone introducing CRT into SBC institutions. His evidence for this claim is Jarvis recommending someone read Richard Delgado’s book on critical race theory (see Ascol’s comments beginning at the 13’ 40” mark). Here’s Tom’s comments:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">Jarvis Williams, professor at SBTS, has urged every evangelical to read Delgado’s book. He did so because evangelicals tend to be decades behind on critical race discussions. Delgado openly admits CRT grows out of radical feminism, built on Antonio Gramsci and Jacques Derrida. You can’t follow Gramsci and Derrida and follow Jesus Christ.</p> <p>That book recommendation is enough in Tom’s mind to associate Jarvis with a Satan-inspired incursion of worldly ideologies shifting people away from biblical truth. It’s a heavy charge—especially since it’s highly doubtful Jarvis’s intent was ever to suggest that following Gramsci and Derrida would be an appropriate way to follow Jesus.</p> <p>But stop and consider Tom’s “evidence” for a minute. Does a mere book recommendation constitute evidence supporting his theory?</p> <p>Jarvis is a committed <em>scholar</em>. What do <em>scholars</em> do? They read, write, and recommend books. It’s their craft, their stock and trade. And what would a <em>good</em> scholar do if they wished to critically engage others on a topic? They would read the works of people who differ from them, who sometimes differ dramatically. And what would a good scholar do if they wanted to encourage their audience to understand <em>the other side’s</em> viewpoint? They would recommend important texts illustrating the other side&#8217;s viewpoint. That&#8217;s what scholars do. But recommending a book that characterizes a viewpoint does <em>not</em> <em>at all</em> make <em>Jarvis</em> a proponent of that viewpoint or anything sub- or anti-biblical. Chastising a book recommendation is closer to censorship than evidence.</p> <p>Nor does Jarvis’s book recommendation suggest, as Tom contends, that evangelical institutions are about to be overrun by godless pagan philosophy. Mature readers and scholars read widely. That should be true of every seminarian. It’s true of Jarvis, and he should not be branded a “social justice warrior” or accused of “smuggling in” CRT because of it.</p> <p>Jarvis Williams is about as prodigious and biblically rigorous a Christian scholar as you will find. He’s a rare blend of passionate and careful, just as you would hope for a Christian scholar. If you’ve ever read or heard Jarvis, you know that an avalanche of biblical texts come your way with careful systematizing, exegesis, and application. That a man so committed to the Bible, rooting his arguments in the whole of Scripture, could be assailed as a “cultural Marxist” or someone importing &#8220;secular social justice” into SBC institutions boggles the mind.</p> <p>But don’t take my word for it. Also don’t take the word of Williams’s critics. <em>Take Jarvis&#8217;s word.</em> Read his work or listen to his talks, which are plentifully available. If he’s going to be put forth as a representative of the secular “social justice movement” encroaching upon evangelical institutions or listed as someone influenced by secular pagan views, then you should be able to see it in his body of work. Go check the sources for yourself.</p> <p><strong>Eric Mason’s Missiology<em>.</em></strong> The second example Tom used to make the claim that secular “social justice” ideas are infiltrating the church was a quotation from a section of Eric Mason’s book <em><a href="">Woke Church</a></em>. Tom comments:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">Eric Mason has written a book calling for a new movement which he labels &#8220;woke church.&#8221; In his book, he advocates viewing the world and viewing the mission of the church through lenses that come from cultural Marxism, <em>though he himself might never see it that way</em>. He argues that the church must be busy righting the wrongs that we see in society so that we can gain access to people’s hearts. But that gets it exactly wrong according to the New Testament commission of the church. We’re to go preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples <em>so that those who are being discipled can be the light of the world and those who know Christ can address the wrongs and impact it with truth and righteousness</em>. (emphasis added)</p> <p>Please note what’s being said here. Tom represents Eric as advocating a view of the church’s mission influenced by cultural Marxism. He qualifies by saying Mason “might never see it that way.” So why represent Mason in a way you suspect he would not accept? If Mason would not ascribe his view to cultural Marxism, would perhaps even <em>reject</em> cultural Marxism, do we really gain much understanding or show much charity by charging him with “cultural Marxism” anyway? It’s a misrepresentation in service to a theory that cannot be demonstrated using Mason’s published work.</p> <p>But consider carefully the content Tom finds objectionable. Tom <em>paraphrases</em> Mason as saying the church must be busy righting wrongs to gain access to people’s hearts. Tom then contends that the actual mission of the church is to make disciples (i.e., grow the church) who then affect the world in truth and righteousness. What really is the difference between these two statements once you remove the unsubstantiated charge that Mason is influenced by cultural Marxism?</p> <p>Mason says “the church,” <em>by which he means congregations of Christian disciples</em>, must affect the world. Tom says, we must make disciples—by which I assume he means <em>converted, committed church members—</em>who go on to affect the world. It’s virtually the same argument presented in slightly different terms with Tom starting a little further upstream to reference evangelism, which Mason practices and assumes. But Tom has made things sound as if Eric is making an entirely different and nefarious argument. Tom appears to represent Eric this way in order to levy a charge of “cultural Marxism,” even though he knows Eric would deny the charge.</p> <p>This is not careful, charitable Christian debate. Nor is it evidence that supports the basic premise that “social justice” influences Christians and subverts biblical Christianity.</p> <h3>Pivotal Role</h3> <p>Again, I&#8217;ve chosen Tom Ascol for this post because he has played a pivotal role in the anti-social justice &#8220;side.&#8221; His comments are representative of the kinds of comments typical to that viewpoint. The wider mass of argument decrying a &#8220;social justice movement&#8221; depends on the same kind of methodology and &#8220;evidence&#8221; Tom uses here.</p> <p>In my opinion, demonstrating that a “social justice movement” exists has failed utterly. That’s not surprising to me. No movement has ever existed to my knowledge. No organization or steering committee guides anything. The various persons criticized, while sometimes friends and acquaintances, have not worked together to produce a joint statement, specify any goals, or take any action—all things necessary to a “movement.”</p> <p>To be honest, the anti-social justice “side” bears many more markings of a movement than anything or anyone they criticize among Christians. They have produced a statement and written a good number of posts expositing the statement. They have called others to join their cause by signing the statement. They have held conferences and meetings expounding their concerns and goals. They’ve spawned hours of podcasts and sermon series. They’ve developed their own lexicon replete with pejoratives and hashtags to mark out their perspective and the people who share it. They’ve sometimes sought to bring pressure on people and institutions. <em>That</em> is a movement. But it’s a movement built on conspiracy theories rather than compelling evidence.</p> <p>There is no evangelical &#8220;social justice movement.&#8221; However, there does need to be a movement for justice. A movement that combines <a href="">evangel and ethics</a>, proclamation and practice, doctrine and duty. There needs to be an organized investment in teaching Christians and churches to apply what we learn to every area of life so that we more consistently and faithfully bear witness to the character and work of God in the world.</p> <p>I actually think most everyone agrees with this basic need. Given that, it would be good to stop the recriminations and get on with constructively pursuing evangel and ethic, good news and good work. May the Lord give us grace to do so.</p> Labor Day Podcast-a-thon brought to you by The Witness, a Black Christian Collective The Witness urn:uuid:dd6e2a8c-cba4-2ecf-e7a3-33e29c4551d3 Sun, 01 Sep 2019 16:09:20 -0500 <p>We have another exciting first for The Witness&#8211;On Labor Day, September 2, we will host a LIVE podcast-a-thon! What is a podcast-a-thon? [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Labor Day Podcast-a-thon brought to you by The Witness, a Black Christian Collective</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Witness</a>.</p> What can the church do to end racism? urn:uuid:b3f973bf-4200-0db3-43c6-e7456eddb7c9 Sat, 31 Aug 2019 13:18:42 -0500 <p>Racism is alive and well, and terribly ugly and fraught with anger and fear, violent in words and deeds, even in the post-enlightenment 21st century. People on both sides of the aisle, faith and non-faith, Christian or not, vigorously protest the injustices&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">What can the church do to end racism?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Racial Justice Starter Kit – Book Giveaway Jemar Tisby urn:uuid:93e27bdd-4405-9063-156d-e6b9f4e5af2d Thu, 29 Aug 2019 13:54:38 -0500 On the latest episode of my podcast, Footnotes, I announced our first-ever book giveaway! I&#8217;m not offering just one book, not even two, but three books. I call it the Racial Justice Starter Kit. Obviously, dozens of books could fit into this category, but I only had room for three and I wanted to offer &#8230; <a href="" class="more-link">Continue reading <span class="screen-reader-text">Racial Justice Starter Kit &#8211; Book&#160;Giveaway</span></a> 3 Ways to Spoil the Gospel Thabiti Anyabwile Posts – The Gospel Coalition urn:uuid:0bb67543-72dd-d6fa-01f3-efcdddfbba03 Mon, 26 Aug 2019 05:39:39 -0500 <div><img width="300" height="218" src="" class="webfeedsFeaturedVisual wp-post-image" alt="" style="margin-bottom: 15px;" srcset=" 300w, 768w, 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></div>We may spoil the gospel in three ways: by addition, by subtraction, and by an improper emphasis. Here’s how I think anti-social justice efforts risk spoiling the gospel. <div><img width="300" height="218" src="" class="webfeedsFeaturedVisual wp-post-image" alt="" style="margin-bottom: 15px;" srcset=" 300w, 768w, 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></div><p>A few weeks ago I published a <a href="">short post explaining why I feel led to address the social justice debate at this point in time</a>. I then followed with a post reminding us that God has given us <em>both</em> <a href="">an evangel <em>and</em> an ethic</a>, which was my way of suggesting that what&#8217;s fundamentally wrong with social justice discussions is the severing of ethics from evangel.</p> <p>My last two posts made an assertion that I hope to illustrate further in this post. To do so, I need to get more specific about some disagreements. And to do that, I think I need to begin with an issue raised in my April 2018 post, “<a href="">We Await Repentance for Assassinating Dr. King</a>,” and subsequently engaged by John MacArthur in his <a href="">four-part blog series</a> and <a href="">four-part sermon series</a> on Ezekiel 18 (I’ve linked to the first in each of those series).</p> <p>Given that John mentioned me by name in some of his public comments, that we have sometimes served together at conferences, and that I’ve expressed my appreciation for him on multiple occasions on this blog (<a href="">here</a> and <a href="">here</a>, for examples), I trust the fair reader will understand that my mentioning him directly is (a) but returning his friendly critique, (b) is in the context of overall appreciation, and (c) is done with the hopes of being specific about issues. My aim is not to personally attack John, simply to clarify where our disagreement lies and to do so in a way that draws the circle of conversation to a smaller, tighter circumference. That&#8217;s my hope anyway.</p> <p>The contested point has to do with repentance. Specifically, whether <em>personal</em> repentance is in any way tied to what might be called <em>cultural</em> sins or sins characterizing a generation.</p> <p>So let’s begin . . .</p> <h3>John&#8217;s Concern</h3> <p>John began his contribution to the social justice debate by asserting, “Over the years, I’ve fought a number of polemical battles against ideas that threaten the gospel. This recent (and surprisingly sudden) detour in quest of ‘social justice’ is, I believe, the most subtle and dangerous threat so far.” It was a bold claim, as you would expect from him. It&#8217;s an assessment that dials up the issue to first-order dispute insofar as we&#8217;re talking about the nature of the gospel itself. At least that&#8217;s how John sees it.</p> <p>For his part, John argues that “social justice” (in my opinion, <a href="">ill-defined in his sermons and writing</a>) represents an addition to the gospel or another gospel altogether. He sees current advocacy for &#8220;social justice&#8221; as essentially a pragmatic re-hashing of the social gospel. He thinks vague &#8220;social justice&#8221; demands, like repenting for the sins of prior generations, are being added to the gospel as a necessary part of repentance. His contributions to the discussion aim most pointedly at rebutting this notion.</p> <h3>There Are Actually <em>Three</em> Errors to Avoid</h3> <p>Theologian Graham Cole, writing about praying to the Holy Spirit in his book <em>Engaging with the Holy Spirit</em>, provides a helpful comment when thinking about threats to the gospel:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">There are many ways to spoil the gospel. One such way is <em>by addition</em>: Christ plus Mosaic circumcision as the gospel for the Gentiles. Galatians addresses this error. The gospel may also be spoiled <em>by subtraction</em>. Christ is divine but not human. . . . This docetic error was the problem facing the original readers of John’s first letter (1 John 4:1-3). But the gospel may also be spoiled <em>by a lack of due weight in theological emphasis</em>, by giving an element in it either too much or too little accent. A biblical truth may be weighted in a way that skews our thinking about God and the gospel. (p. 64; italics added)</p> <p>By addition, by subtraction, by a lack of due weight in theological emphasis. Three ways to spoil the gospel.</p> <p>John appears to think I and others are threatening the gospel by <em>adding</em> to the Good News an unbiblical view of repentance. Consider his emphasis in his series on Ezekiel 18. In each sermon, he drives home the idea that each person is responsible for their own sins before God. He rejects the idea that any person can or should repent for the sins of a previous generation or the characteristic sins of the culture.</p> <p>I <em>completely agree</em> with John that each person must give an account to God for the sins <em>they</em> have <em>personally and actually</em> committed in the body. Full stop. See, for example, Romans 14:12 and Hebrews 4:13. This is <em>not</em> in dispute.</p> <p>However, I think John makes his argument in a way that risks committing errors two and three listed by Cole. He risks spoiling the gospel both by <em>subtracting</em> from it and by a <em>lack of proper balance</em> in theological emphasis where the doctrines of sin and repentance are concerned.</p> <h3>Subtracting from the Gospel</h3> <p>I think John&#8217;s way of making his argument risks subtracting from the gospel in two ways. First, by reducing <em>everything</em> to sins actively and knowingly committed and to individual culpability and accountability before God, John risks shrinking what we know about the nature of sin and accountability itself. He puts forth an individualistic understanding of sin that:</p> <ul> <li>omits consideration of unintentional sin (see Lev. 4, for example),</li> <li>fails to give attention to sins unknown to us (Ps. 19:12; 1 Cor. 4:4),</li> <li>seems to minimize the ways individuals share the characteristic sins of their forebears (Matt. 23:34-36, for example), and</li> <li>seems to overlook the ways people can be held complicit in the actions of their contemporaries even when they were not the <em>immediate</em> perpetrators (Acts 2:22-23, for example).</li> </ul> <p>A good doctrine of sin must include unintentional sin, unknown or unconscious sin, and give attention to complicity in the cultural or characteristic sins of a people. Such complicity should be clearly <em>acknowledged</em> even if we think the solution still comes back to <em>individual</em> repentance&#8211;as one of my critics, Doug Wilson, does <a href="">here</a>. My <a href="">disagreement with Doug</a> at the time was simply that not every post needs to include a gospel call to repentance and faith. Doug and I were <em>not</em> disagreeing about the biblical reality of culture-wide sins or complicity in them. Nor were we disagreeing about whether personal repentance should somehow be redefined. But John seems to think repentance was being redefined.</p> <p>To be clear: Repentance should not be redefined.</p> <p>The disagreement is about what things should <em>prompt us to repentance. </em>John appears to shrink those prompts down to an individual&#8217;s acts of personal and conscious sin. Based on Scripture, I also would include the discovery of unintentional sin as well as sharing in the characteristic sins of forebears and contemporaries. If the Lord himself teaches that collapsing towers that kill people or murderous actions of dictators should be prompts to personal repentance as in Luke 13:1-5, one would think that sins closer to home in one&#8217;s own cultural and national history would be even stronger prompts to repentance. But reducing everything to the personal and conscious subtracts these inducements to repentance.</p> <p>Second, I think John risks subtracting from the gospel by taking an approach that minimizes God&#8217;s social and ethical demands. John frequently argues “none of us are victims” of injustice, but ultimately all are guilty of injustice against God. But that seems to miss the fact that there are <em>two</em> tables of the Law—the first defining our responsibility to God and the second our responsibility to each other. By collapsing love for God and love for neighbor this way, John effectively minimizes the second table of neighbor love (which is where justice issues arise).</p> <p>But biblical ethical teaching is integral to the gospel. Those ethical considerations come in two forms: (a) the <em>prior</em> requirements of the Law that make the gospel so necessary in the first place and (b) the holiness that conforms to the gospel <em>subsequent</em> to conversion. So, ethics (or holiness, if you like) condemns us <em>prior</em> to conversion and ethics comes to define us <em>after</em> conversion. When <em>Christians</em> speak of social justice, they mean God&#8217;s biblical requirements for holy and righteous living in social relationships.</p> <p>I’m quite certain John would say that our lack of holiness means we need the gospel and that holiness subsequent to conversion is indeed an &#8220;implication&#8221; of the gospel, though <em>not</em> the specific propositional content of the gospel message itself. To which I would heartily agree.</p> <p>However, we need to be careful with &#8220;implication&#8221; language. Saying something is an “implication of the gospel” does not mean it is <em>unnecessary</em> to the gospel. Some people seem to use the term “implication” that way, almost as a synonym for “optional.” They treat the gospel’s implications the way one might treat an appendix that can be safely removed without damage to the human body.</p> <p>It’s better to think of implications in the mathematical or logical sense, as something following necessarily from the proposition itself. In that sense, we can distinguish the proposition from the implication, but removing the implication distorts the proposition. So diminishing the gospel’s implications is like removing rays from the sun. Without rays the sun ceases in a meaningful sense to be the sun. Removing rays from the sun diminishes its reach, heat, and power. Or, to switch metaphors, you can tell a tree by the fruit it bears (Luke 6:43-44). The fruit is not the tree, but the tree can only meaningfully be identified by its fruit. Whether it&#8217;s rays of the sun or fruit on a tree, take away the implication and you distort the proposition or thing itself.</p> <p>This is the kind of subtraction I think John risks by driving too wide a separation between the gospel and its entailments and by collapsing the sin of injustice into &#8220;we are all rebels against God.&#8221; We have received from God an evangel <em>and</em> an ethic. The two should not and cannot be separated without risking harm to the evangel.</p> <h3>Imbalance with the Gospel</h3> <p>John also emphasizes personal culpability and accountability beyond proper balance, committing the third error listed by Cole. Ezekiel 18 focuses pretty clearly on whether “a man is righteous and does what is just” (v. 5), which includes “does not oppress anyone” and “withholds his hands from injustice, executes true justice between man and man” (vv. 7, 8). God does not require a vague individual repentance but repentance that specifically turns to justice.</p> <p>This truth receives “too little accent” and is &#8220;weighted in a way that skews our thinking about God and the gospel&#8221; (to use Cole’s phrases). In John’s accounting of both the text of Ezekiel and the gospel-shaped Christian life, he opts for an overly individualistic emphasis, downplaying the complete social rot of Israel into idolatry and every form of sin and injustice. Consider, for example, how “the city” is described in Ezekiel 22:1-12. Or recall the Lord’s assessment in Ezek. 22:29-30:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.</p> <p>The cultural rot was so widespread and deep that God found no one who was righteous!</p> <p>Ezekiel 18 and 22 must be read together. They are part of the same book. Emphasizing one section (“A man shall die for his own sins”) as if the other does not exist (“The entire city was corrupt in idolatry and injustice”) is to strike an improper balance. Surely each person will give an account for their own life, but just as surely each person must be careful they do not share in the sins of their age. We ought to imagine the entire message of Ezekiel being given to the entire people of Israel in balance rather than exalting one part well beyond the other.</p> <p>It&#8217;s always a temptation in polemics to stress one thing to an excess when we view ourselves as correcting excesses elsewhere. But over-correction tends to do harm as well. We have to prayerfully work against such extremes, or we risk imbalances that harm the gospel.</p> <h3>What’s in Dispute from My Perspective</h3> <p>In my opinion, John gives us a view of the gospel and repentance far too complacent about oppression, injustice, mistreatment, and indifference. In writing this, I am not saying that John or anyone in the discussions would affirm those things as “good” or “acceptable.” I’m suggesting that their conception of the gospel and its requirements are too narrow and subjectively pietistic, too imbalanced toward American individualism, and too sanguine about the differences of our day compared to previous generations. Consequently, their conception of the gospel fails to actually account for the socially and culturally characteristic sins that require repentance.</p> <p>To put it another way: I think this view of the gospel leaves a significant blind spot. Specifically, the reduction of sin to the individual&#8217;s conscious action leaves one blind to (sometimes even opposed to the notion of) cultural sins, systemic sin and injustice, and the possibility of complicity with a generation&#8217;s sinful actions (for NT instances, see Matt. 23:34-36; Acts 2:22-23).</p> <p>What I have been attempting to argue over the last couple of years is that the evangelical and fundamentalist church shares in the sins of the wider American society to such an extent it has sometimes been indistinguishable from the world and has yet to demonstrate any fruit of repentance (Matt. 3:8; Luke 3:8; Act 26:20) worth remarking. There are exceptions. But speaking in general terms, evangelical and fundamentalist churches have been worldly churches committing the sins of the culture and age. This is particularly true regarding matters of racial justice. Indeed, at various points in history evangelical and fundamentalist churches have been <em>leading</em> the world in race-based sin and oppression. (For more on this last point, see, for example: Colin Kidd, <a href=""><em>The Forging of Races</em></a>; Mary Beth Swetnam Matthews, <a href=";i=stripbooks&amp;ref=nb_sb_noss_2"><em>Doctrine and Race</em></a>; Rebecca Anne Goetz, <a href=";qid=1564703571&amp;s=books&amp;sr=1-1"><em>The Baptism of Early Virginia</em></a>; Richard Bailey, <a href=";qid=1564703276&amp;s=books&amp;sr=1-2"><em>Race and Redemption in Puritan New England</em></a>; Jemar Tisby, <a href=";qid=1564702801&amp;s=books&amp;sr=1-9-spons&amp;psc=1&amp;spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExVTBDOEpVQUg3TVRXJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNTM2NTYwMlBLVzFRV05UWFVaSCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMDM2NjU5SzlPMFVGWk80MEU0JndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfbXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ=="><em>The Color of Compromise</em></a>; Katharine Gerbner, <a href=";pd_rd_i=081225001X&amp;pd_rd_r=1f9b4420-1724-45cd-992c-40518c50d058&amp;pd_rd_w=gnlFm&amp;pd_rd_wg=ikoCf&amp;pf_rd_p=90485860-83e9-4fd9-b838-b28a9b7fda30&amp;pf_rd_r=WPAS5SQAEAF2P7NNSHMN&amp;psc=1&amp;refRID=WPAS5SQAEAF2P7NNSHMN"><em>Christian Slavery: Conversion and Race in the Protestant Atlantic World</em></a>; Alan Cross, <a href=";qid=1564703626&amp;s=books&amp;sr=1-1"><em>When Heaven and Earth Collide</em></a>; Kevin Jones and Jarvis J. Williams, <a href=";qid=1564702880&amp;s=books&amp;sr=1-1"><em>Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention</em></a>; or <a href="">The Report on Slavery and Racism in the History of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary</a>).</p> <p>Individual accountability before God and the necessity of repentance for one’s own sin were never in dispute. What&#8217;s in dispute is whether one’s claim to repentance and the gospel can be regarded as genuine if one does not break from the characteristic sins of their era and culture, including the besetting sins of their church culture.</p> <p>The actual debate is about the extent to which the sins of previous generations still mark this generation, and, if so, whether people today will acknowledge and repent of it. What is in dispute is whether a mere claim to not being guilty of certain sins constitutes either repentance or innocence when the sins in view actually require active opposition and when we may be unaware of some sins (Ps. 19:12; 1 Cor. 4:4). The life the gospel produces ought to be actively anti-racist, anti-oppression, anti-family destruction, and so on. At least that’s the view of the Bible (Isa. 1:17; passim).</p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>At the 2016 T4G conference, I listened as John <a href="">preached powerfully on repentance</a>. In his introduction, he asked the audience of mostly pastors and seminarians:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">Have you ever heard of a church that repented? A church, a whole church, that repented? Have you ever been part of a church that repented? Openly, genuinely, collectively, with sadness and brokenness—a church that repented for sins against its Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.</p> <p>John speculated that the audience probably had not. “We all like calling the nation to repentance,” he said, “but what about the church?”</p> <p>Over the last couple of years, I’ve wondered why his call to church-wide repentance has been missing when it comes to the racial history and guilt of evangelical churches. I’m sad to say nearly all of John’s comments regarding social justice since his 2016 T4G talk have actually <em>opposed</em> calls for the church as a whole to repent, especially when those calls involve the Church doing justice (Mic. 6:8) on racial matters.</p> <p>Perhaps I should not have been surprised since John also maintained in 2016:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">Churches rarely repent. Rarely are they broken over their collective sin. Rarely do they cry out from the depths of their heart for forgiveness, purity, cleansing, and restoration.</p> <p>I lament to think how right John’s words were in 2016 and now. I think John was correct in 2016, both in his call for the church <em>qua</em> church to repent as well as his assertion that churches rarely do.</p> <p>But now he seems to have changed his view. Now it seems he thinks calls to “collective repentance” represent a <em>threat</em> to the gospel. If that&#8217;s so, then that’s the nub of any continuing difference we have. I still think the church needs to repent and bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt. 3:8; Luke 3:8).</p> <p>I think John would be more consistent with himself and with the Scripture if he applied his 2016 sermon to the church and matters of racial justice. But we all have places of inconsistency and areas where we need to grow. John and I both need the Lord’s grace to Naive pastors don’t know psychology and sociology urn:uuid:3e9a17b7-5db0-3b5d-3546-91104d71af70 Sun, 25 Aug 2019 16:11:22 -0500 <p>Pastoring and leading is primarily about people. It’s not only about people. It is so much more. And as much as we study the Bible or go thru years of seminary training, to prepare for Gospel ministry, that’s not the half of&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Naive pastors don&#8217;t know psychology and sociology</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> King Urges Billy Graham Not to Invite Segregationist Governor to Evangelistic Crusade Jemar Tisby urn:uuid:76114ad9-3a47-082b-7d1c-fb33b5b65ea8 Fri, 23 Aug 2019 07:01:29 -0500 King's letter to Graham shows that gestures of racial equality often co-exist with actions that support racial inequality. The Next Day The Front Porch urn:uuid:793ce9fa-5b2c-8d57-473c-cca8db59ab24 Wed, 21 Aug 2019 09:29:22 -0500 What must the first day in Jamestown have been like for the 20 &#038; odd Negroes <p>The day’s humidity had grown tired as the night air emerged with surprising crispness. If the day could change from sweltering heat to chilly wet, breathing in this new land would be intentional, difficult, slow. </p> <p>But already morning’s dew was evaporating into revived heat as the sun rose to bake the earth and all on it. The small band stirred slowly to life, rubbing chafed ankles and wrists where manacles held fast through the night.</p> <p>A little ways off they heard the water lapping against the sides of the shore and anchored boats. They dug their bare feet into the tan soil. Solid ground replaced months of the ocean’s tossing and rocking. </p> <p>The Twenty took in fresh air, a strange earthiness to noses now accustomed to sickness, sweat, feces and death. The bowels of the ship had been filled with moaning. But as the sun rose new sounds rang: wagon wheels lazily loping over dusty roads, farm animals scurrying to begin their day, human chattering in strange tongues. </p> <p>Nothing was familiar. Everything foreign. </p> <p>The Twenty surveyed the people of the land. They dressed differently. Their loin cloths covered not only their loins but also their legs. White blousy shirts with ballooning sleeves topped their torsos while wide brimmed hats tented their faces from sun and heat. They had no toes, only shell hard blocks for feet.</p> <p>Before the new day could stretch and yawn, the Twenty were separated. Men with pink faces and <em>shuɗī</em> eyes apportioned the lot, keeping them shackled. In ones and twos they dwindled to none, disappeared behind wagons, marched through piney wilderness, or led into wooden dwellings belonging to people with pink faces and <em>alulu</em> eyes.</p> <p>As they were separated, they looked back with terror. <em>Where are you going? Why are you staying? What now?</em> </p> <p>The Twenty spoke. “Orukọ mi ni Adetokunbo. Duro. Duro! Orukọ mi ni Adetokunbo.” Later, “Ebi n pa mi. Omi. Omi.”</p> <p>The people with the pink faces and <em>búlù</em> eyes clattered in strange tongues. They never said the names of the Twenty. They never stopped dragging, pushing, or pulling them. They never offered water or food. They simply kept driving them like cattle. When the pink people grew tired or frustrated, they spoke louder in strange tongue or drove the Twenty harder. All day.</p> <p>August in Virginia never hurries. It sits idle and watches. So the day wore on. Soon, separated and confused, thoughts of <em>obibi</em> visited the Twenty. Every day ended with thoughts of <em>obibi</em>. Every day ended without any promise of <em>obibi</em> again. Thus August 21<sup>st</sup> turned into 400 years of making <em>obibi</em> and learning to breathe in a strange land among the people with the pink faces and <em>alulu</em> eyes. </p> The Debate about Ethics We Are Not Having Thabiti Anyabwile Posts – The Gospel Coalition urn:uuid:0c637a1d-a0e5-ff19-d4f3-33c12118cce7 Mon, 19 Aug 2019 05:50:25 -0500 <div><img width="300" height="166" src="" class="webfeedsFeaturedVisual wp-post-image" alt="" style="margin-bottom: 15px;" srcset=" 300w, 768w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></div>The “social justice debate” is not a debate about theology. Not primarily. In the first instance, it’s a debate about competing political visions and priorities. Most people who have been paying attention to these exchanges would likely identify its origin with either the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson or perhaps earlier protests following the killing of Trayvon Martin. Following those events, the debate picked up steam as a long line of video-recorded police-involved shootings took place between 2014 and 2016. With the presidential election of 2016, the conflict reached its peak, and the split between Black and White Christians... <div><img width="300" height="166" src="" class="webfeedsFeaturedVisual wp-post-image" alt="" style="margin-bottom: 15px;" srcset=" 300w, 768w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></div><p>The “social justice debate” is not a debate about theology. Not primarily. In the first instance, it’s a debate about competing <em>political</em> visions and priorities.</p> <p>Most people who have been paying attention to these exchanges would likely identify its origin with either the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson or perhaps earlier protests following the killing of Trayvon Martin. Following those events, the debate picked up steam as a long line of video-recorded police-involved shootings took place between 2014 and 2016. With the presidential election of 2016, the conflict reached its peak, and the split between Black and White Christians was felt most sharply.</p> <p>Something broke in 2016, but it wasn’t theology.</p> <h3>We See Things Differently</h3> <p>Indeed, the current iteration of the “debate” is simply a long-standing difference in political viewpoints between African-Americans and White Americans, both outside and inside the church. It’s the same competing political visions that on the one hand birthed pro-slavery Christianity among many White Americans and, on the other hand, pro-freedom Christianity among nearly all African Americans. It’s the same competing political visions that forced the founding of independent African-American congregations and denominations as White Christians opted for segregated services and memberships. It’s the same competing political visions that faced-off during civil-rights marches and sit-ins. One group with quiet resolve protested for full inclusion as human beings and citizens, while some others in loud and sometimes violent opposition fought to retain the former way of racial hierarchy, exclusion, and Black quiescence or called for gradualism.</p> <p>It’s a sad historical fact, but the social ethics of Black and White Christians differ dramatically. That difference in social <em>ethics</em> results from differences in social <em>position</em>.</p> <p>To generalize 350 years of history from slavery to the end of Jim Crow: Too many White Americans, including Christians, defined Black Americans, including Christians, not as neighbors (or, siblings in the case of Christians) but as “others” and sometimes even as “animals.” Too many White Americans once defined Black Americans as “chattel” or “property,” and by that dehumanizing standard justified the most inhumane treatment imaginable, including an inhumane indifference when compassion was needed.</p> <p>After centuries of such thinking, and following centuries of protest, things have changed remarkably. In many respects, today’s America looks nothing like America from 1619 to 1969. But the country’s ugly thinking still rears its head from time-to-time, especially in Black-White exchanges about racial progress, inclusion, equity, and justice. As an illustration, consider the rise of white supremacist propaganda and violence in the last couple of years. The country has made progress, but we’ve not reached perfection.</p> <h3>Ethical Issue</h3> <p>At the bottom of the competing ethical visions of Black and White Americans is a deceptively simple but radical command from the Lord Jesus: “Love your neighbor” (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:39; Mark 12:33; Rom. 13:9-10).</p> <p>Our practice of neighbor love depends on (1) who we define as neighbors and (2) who we think worthy of our compassion (Luke 10:25-38). If our definition of “neighbor” is small, constricted to only people “like us,” then the reach of our compassion will be short. If our definition of “neighbor” is expansive, crossing cultural and ethnic boundaries to include strangers and “the wrong kind of people” like the good Samaritan, then the reach of our compassion will likewise be expansive.</p> <p>Our conceptions of “neighbor love” determine our political visions and priorities.</p> <h3>It’s Politics</h3> <p>That’s why the flash point for Black and White differences in social ethics isn’t theology proper. Check the statements of faith for both branches of the faith and you’ll find identical creeds and confessions. After all, both traditions are <em>Christian</em> traditions with overlapping origins in the evangelical revivals of the 18th century. So the flash point, the site of the most flagrant conflicts, is almost always <em>politics</em>. Not theology.</p> <p>By politics, I simply mean the expression of social ethics in the arena of public policy priorities, debate, and action. Politics is how we decide what constitutes “the good” in American life and culture.</p> <p>Black and White Christians disagree about politics. We sometimes argue our politics in the language of theology. But, in my opinion, that’s the wrong language, and the choice of that language as a political tool suggests too much confidence about the Christian’s ability to draw a dark, thick line from their theology directly to policy prescriptions. (For more on this, see Robert Benne, <a href=""><em>Good and Bad Ways to Think About Politics and Religion</em></a>).</p> <p>The discussions would be healthier if we simply framed them as competing political visions that grow out of differing emphases in social ethics, <em>both</em> with biblical antecedents, <em>neither</em> sufficient alone to represent total reality.</p> <p>Or, to put it another way, we tend to emphasize in our social ethics the biblical teachings that most comport with our social location. Those who are advantaged relative to others, tend to think about maintaining their advantages (or “blessings,” if you will). Those who are disadvantaged relative to others, tend to think about relieving their disadvantages (or “oppressions,” if you will).</p> <p>Because of the country’s racial history, this basic political truism (self-interest) plays itself out along racial lines. That means African Americans tend to advocate for policies that remedy their oppression, grant full inclusion in American society, and redress historical wrongs. The rightness of doing this is self-evident. But since freedom and enfranchisement are very new realities for African Americans (54 years if we date it to the 1965 Voting Rights Act), there’s been very little time for any significant diversification in African-American opinion or rearrangement of political affinities. So we look like a voting block beholden to a certain view of the good life. That can be mistaken for ideological liberalism. But it’s grittier than that, less sophisticated, more existential. We want to be free. So we side with freedom. It&#8217;s primarily an ethical vision.</p> <p>Meanwhile, White Americans tend to advocate for policies that protect individual liberty and property ownership, emphasize personal responsibility for success or failure, and seek to maintain “American” competitive advantage. Since civic freedom and power have always been realities for White Americans, there’s been plenty of time for them to develop diverse political opinions and affinities. But for the same reason (the constancy of participating in civic freedom and power), there’s been a disincentive to re-examine power and resource distribution, or the historical factors that have produced the current state of things. Here&#8217;s how Frederick Douglass put it more than 100 years ago:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">Slavery is indeed gone, but its shadow still lingers over the country and poisons more or less the moral atmosphere of all sections of the republic. The money motive for assailing the negro which slavery represented is indeed absent, but love of power and dominion, strengthened by two centuries of irresponsible power, still remains.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px">HT: <a href="">Brad Mason</a> for the Douglass quote.</p> <p>So White Americans look like a voting block beholden to a certain view of the good life. That can be mistaken for an ideological conservatism. But it too is grittier than that, less sophisticated, more existential. Since the American Revolution, many White Americans have not wanted to be &#8220;enslaved.&#8221; So, many side with power. That, too, is primarily an ethical vision.</p> <p>But if as citizens we imagine that one person’s or group’s freedom challenges or takes away from another person’s or group’s power, then we will be in conflict. If as citizens we imagine that one group’s power can only be maintained at the expense of another group’s freedom, then we will be in conflict. We lock ourselves into a binary from which there can be no escape as long as we construe a non-correspondent outcome. If there must be winners and losers in our most basic political aim, our politics will continue to be a kind of unarmed warfare. We will conquer one another rather than cooperate with one another. As Christian citizens, we will do this in the language and categories of theology because we often feel “politics” to be beneath proper Christian conduct.</p> <h3>The Church</h3> <p>My description of political gridlock is admittedly simple. Yet we’ve grown pretty accustomed to political gridlock. Some people even like to warm themselves by the fire of anger that our political tribalism produces. Consequently, we may not be that distressed when we see these things playing out in the world. But we ought to be distressed any time we see political tribalism, gridlock, or division playing out in the church.</p> <p>Should we continue practicing our bifurcated social ethics? Can we not muster a fuller ethical vision, more comprehensive and more complex, so that we can witness on the multiple levels and in the multiple ways the Bible requires? How might “you shall not lord it over one another” (Matt. 20:24-26) inform our political advocacy as a <em>Christian</em> people rather than a natural ethnic people? How might “if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity” (1 Cor. 7:21) define our political strategy as a <em>Christian</em> people reconciled in Christ?</p> <p>In the church, Black, White, Caribbean, Asian, and Hispanic Christians should be grappling with each other in order to arrive at a more mature Christian social ethics that galvanizes us rather than divides us. To do that, we have to stop shoehorning our political differences into theological dress. We distract and disorient ourselves when we do that. We have to recognize that either (a) we simply disagree politically (which Christians of good conscience will sometimes do) and/or (b) we haven’t done the constructive ethical work we need in order to bear faithful witness. Indeed, we have to learn to interrogate our underlying political assumptions and values with a wider reading of Scripture than merely our own.</p> <p>Where would we be in the cause of Christ if all the energy poured into the “social justice debate” as a theological disagreement instead had been poured into a constructive discussion of our political differences, the ethical visions underpinning those differences, and a way forward together?</p> <p>We’re missing what actually divides us and thereby missing an opportunity to glorify Christ.</p> Get a Free Phone Number and Voicemail Inbox urn:uuid:dfffd5d9-1908-d75a-3d28-a4fe3e848d07 Sat, 17 Aug 2019 14:33:55 -0500 <p>Searching for how to get a free second phone number and voicemail inbox? They&#8217;re very handy in so many ways, some are even disposable. Some services use apps, some require a real phone number verification, some require only an email. The list&#46;&#46;&#46;</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Get a Free Phone Number and Voicemail Inbox</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">@djchuang</a>.</p><div class="feedflare"> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>