Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tony Blair on the MBC Controversy

I find some interesting parallels from British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s statements yesterday to his countrymen regarding his farewell tour of Africa to our current MBC controversy. Speaking at Lungi airport in Sierra Leone, Prime Minister Blair said:

“What I would say to cynics about Africa is just get across the balanced picture. Five years ago this country was being taken over by a gang of gangsters who were killing innocent people, raping women, despoiling the country. But today we have a situation where in three months time we will have an election. I don't say that is perfection, but I say it's…better than it was before. All I'm saying to cynics back home is if we care it might make a difference and making a difference is what politics should be about.”

If Blair were President of the Missouri Baptist Convention instead of the chief politician of America’s greatest ally, he might say:

“What I would say to cynics about the MBC is just get across the balanced picture. Seven years ago, this convention was being run by liberals who were weakening the spiritual integrity and biblical resolve of the convention. But today we have a situation where we have reclaimed the lost ground of past decades. I don’t say that is perfection, but I say it’s much better than it was before. All I’m saying to cynics across the MBC is if we care it might make a difference and making a difference is what being a Christian is about.”

Our convention is hardly perfect. But we need the balanced picture. And the balanced picture is that Roger Moran and the Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association is no threat to the Missouri Baptist Convention. These leaders have greatly aided our convention. In fact, without Moran’s leadership, the MBC would still be in the clutches of liberals who would have taken this convention even further away from the truth’s of God’s perfect Word.

Instead of respecting Moran’s commitment, some leaders have rudely castigated him, taking the moniker of a secular newspaper and calling him a “powerbroker”. While Moran is fallible and it is understandable that some Missouri Baptists may disagree with him, the current mantra coming from a few voices is far from the Bible’s admonition to “Give…honor to whom honor is due” (Romans 13:7).

It’s strange how a British politician’s words yesterday, uttered on the other side of the world, can have such a surreal application in my mind.

But I’m hopeful that Missouri Baptists will agree, while our convention isn’t perfect, it’s a lot better than it was. I’m hopeful that Missouri Baptists will see the “balanced picture” and rebuff the newest movement that unnecessarily pits brother against brother, supposedly over who gets to “serve” on a board or commission. There is a better way. Let's find it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The “Good Ol’ Boy System” is a Reality

The newly formed “Save Our Convention” group within the Missouri Baptist Convention has some interesting behaviors that discredit their objectives. They are supposedly against any one group or person “controlling” the convention, but they are seeking to “control” the nomination process and the President’s privilege of appointments. They are supposedly against “power” and “powerbrokers” all the while organizing to gain power. They don’t like things kept “all in the family” even as they keep their campaign “all in the family”. And they decry ‘legalism’ and bemoan ‘narrow parameters’ even as they denied Missouri Baptist Convention President Mike Green the privilege of speaking at their recent meeting at First Baptist Church of Harvester. Sounds an awfully lot like Orwellian doublespeak to me.

Are we to believe this new group, if they succeed in seizing power—oops, strike that—if they are successful in attaining the convention’s delegated authority to enlist persons to influence and serve in various positions (yes, that’s much better), won’t be nominating their friends and compatriots for said positions?

I’d have only a small problem with this group if they’d be a bit more straightforward and say something like “we don’t like where we think the state convention is headed and feel the majority of our fellow Baptists currently serving should be replaced by others who share views closer to our own.” I could live with that a little better. This group has every right to band together to elect a President and nominate others who share their ideology and attempt to influence the direction of the Missouri Baptist Convention. But their current banter seems like a thinly veiled smoke screen and is incredibly disingenuous—“we hate powerbrokers, so we’re going to try to become the new powerbrokers.”

By the way, to speak of Roger Moran and the Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association as “powerbrokers” is a bit of an overreach in my mind. Influencers, yes. Powerbrokers, no. These brothers ought to know better than to take their cues from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The bottom line is that if the “Save Our Convention” folks get enough Missouri Baptists to support them and their views, they’ll be putting “their people” into positions of influence. Missouri Baptists should know, we’ll only be trading one “political machine” for another. We will not be dismantling any “good ol’ boy” system. Nor should we.

That’s right, nor should we. The good-ole-boy system is simply someone recommending someone they know to a position of service. The alternative would be some type of Missouri Baptist lottery where someone draws a name out of the hat and recommends that person. Could you, reader, in good conscience recommend a stranger? We recommend our friends. People we trust and believe in. Colleagues we’ve worked with and developed relationships with. I can guarantee the “Save Our Convention” people will be recommending people they know and people who are committed to their same ideology, whatever it is.

I personally am a recipient of this system. I was a Missouri Baptist for 34 years and a Missouri Baptist pastor for 12 years before I was nominated to the commission I now serve. As the tent is broadened, and it has been broadened under Moran's influence, more Baptists are involved in convention decisions. I personally know of some life-long Missouri Baptists who are just now serving our state convention. They've taken no oath of loyalty to the MBLA and they aren't jihadists for a Moran crusade.

Consider blogging celebrities Wade Burleson and Ben Cole. Both are relentless critics of the SBC power structure. But when they were invited to a pow-wow with former president Jimmy Carter, who do you think they called up to tag along? (Hint: it wasn’t me and they didn’t flip through the pages of the SBC Annual for a random selection). That’s right, blogging buddy and partner in crime Marty Duren. Humm, could it be they have a little power group of their own? And wouldn’t it be more than a little irresponsible for them to have selected some stranger to accompany them? I can think of a couple of Republican goofballs who would have embarrassed them to no end.

The good-ole-boy system is a staple of American life. You can decry ‘politics’ all you want in Missouri Baptist life, but as long as we have elections there will be a political element. One of the reasons I hate the 2nd Vice-Presidential election at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention is because I rarely know the nominee or the nominating speaker. I could be voting for some scoundrel for all I know—which is why I don’t vote for someone I don’t know anything about.

I’m digressing a bit. The “Save Our Convention” needs to be genuine. I’m not buying them becoming political because they hate politics. And I can’t believe they really want us all to get along, even if we don’t agree perfectly when they refuse the convention President Mike Green the privilege of speaking at their rally ostensibly because he doesn’t agree totally with their agenda. No, there’s a clear agenda here, and I’m left wondering what it is. More about that later.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pastor Jeff White’s Response to Pastor David McAlpin

[Some Missouri Baptists may be interested to read this response by Jeff White to David McAlpin's written objections that have been circulated throughout the convention and which McAlpin himself disseminated at the last Executive Board meeting. It was presented to the Ad-hoc Committe on Theological Review. I have edited it slightly.]


At the request of committee Chairman, Michael Knight, and for the official record of this committee, this is a written response to a 4 page paper presented by David McAlpin in the Ad-Hoc Theological Study Committee on March 15, 2007. It is my intention here to explain my actions, and correct several inaccuracies in McAlpin’s paper. While I have to mention names, it is not my intention to attack any person, but to address the issues. At the risk of being misunderstood, I think it is important to state upfront that I have no ill-feelings or malicious intent toward David McAlpin or Gary Smalley. I wish both of them and their respective ministries the very best. I have visited face-to-face with Smalley, and the meeting was polite, friendly, cordial, and pleasant. I would have no problem at all saying he seems like a very nice individual, who is ostensibly good. I also have no problem with any local autonomous church choosing to have him in to conduct a conference, because as I see it, that would be an issue between that church’s leadership and the Lord Jesus Christ. There are, however, several concerns I have with Smalley’s teachings, which in my opinion do not make him the best choice for use by the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). Some of these concerns I have expressed in previous committee meetings, which prompted McAlpin to write a paper containing statements about me that I disagree with.


To begin with, McAlpin’s paper’s title is misleading. At no time have I accused Gary Smalley or the Smalley Relationship Center of “heresy”. I have repeatedly stated that we “might be” (those are my exact words) dealing with doctrine which is unbiblical. At no point in time have I categorically stated that we are absolutely dealing with false doctrine or heresy. Giving the benefit of a doubt to ministries we partner with in the MBC, is precisely why I asked for other godly people to serve on a committee to look into these issues. I did not want to make the call by myself, but wanted input from others. Further, the motion I made which resulted in the Ad-Hoc Theological Study Committee coming into existence at the annual meeting of the MBC on November 1, 2006, never mentioned Smalley or his ministry by name. This was deliberately done to avoid slandering him in any way, and to give him the benefit of a doubt. Counting myself, I believe there are at least 4 of our 5 committee members who will state I have not slandered anyone or accused anyone of heresy that they know of. I have questioned the theological accuracy of various statements in books that have been published and put into the public domain by various individuals. But, I have slandered no one, nor have I attacked anyone’s sincerity, character, or morality. If someone publishes material and places it in the public domain, they should fully expect to have their material read, studied, discussed, reviewed, analyzed, critiqued, evaluated, and assessed, etc, by various people from time to time. This is all I have done. For McAlpin to say and/or put in writing that I have falsely accused someone of something, when I have not, is to falsely accuse and slander me.

McAlpin alleges he offered “repeated requests” for copies of web pages I had from Smalley’s website. Actually, as I remember it, only once at the end of the committee meeting on March 1, 2007 did McAlpin ask for those items. As has been noted by committee Chairman Michael Knight, the committee never officially asked for those items. In response to McAlpin’s request, I agreed I would try to get those items to him in the future as I was able. Our next meeting was only two weeks away on March 15, 2007 the day McAlpin presented his paper against me. During that two week interval, since my ministry at my church comes before my convention work, and since I was incredibly busy with some family and personal issues, that period was not long enough for me to get the materials to McAlpin. At that point it was a matter of me being too busy, not one of me being unwilling to cooperate.

My concerns with Smalley “possibly” being a Universalist were not based on Smalley’s Statement of Faith, which McAlpin discusses. Although it is interesting to note that in Smalley’s Statement of Faith, in article #14, Smalley does not say what the “everlasting separation from God” is he believes in or where it is at.

McAlpin insists I did not make known to the committee the book’s title with which I was concerned. This is incorrect. In the first meeting the committee had, I specified it was Chapter 2 of Smalley’s work, The DNA of Relationships. Again, other committee members, besides McAlpin, should be able to verify this.

In a footnote at the bottom of page 1, McAlpin says the Smalley “event was reported on at each Executive Board meeting from the inception”. To the best of my recollection, I believe this is inaccurate. McAlpin has not served on the Executive Board as far as I know, but I had served on it for 5 years prior to this situation. I never remember the specifics of the Smalley event being discussed in the plenary sessions of the Executive Board, let alone at “each” meeting. I’m sure it is likely the Smalley event was discussed in detail in the [Family Ministries Workgroup], but since I’ve never been a part of that workgroup, I cannot speak authoritatively to that. If the Smalley event was discussed in the plenary sessions of the Executive Board, it was rare and brief at best, or may have occurred on a rare occasion when I was absent.

On page 2, McAlpin states, “White admitted that both Smalley and his pastor affirmed strongly. . . the certainty of damnation for those who reject Christ”. This is not totally correct. In the meeting with Smalley, he was asked if he believed in a “literal, burning hell, where people who have rejected Christ spend eternity?” His response, after an awkward inordinate pause, was “Well, I believe whatever the Bible says about it.” That response hardly qualifies as a strong doctrinal affirmation in my opinion.

Again on page 2, McAlpin tries to explain Smalley’s statements in The DNA of Relationships (chapter 2) by using Acts 17:28-29. It should be noted that it is McAlpin using Acts 17, not Smalley. Smalley actually uses very little Scripture in most of his writings. From this, two things should be noted: first, if what Smalley means is that God is our Creator, then he should have simply said that and used a different analogy than that of the father/child relationship. This is especially true in light of the potential confusion this could cause an unbeliever reading Smalley’s book. The Bible is abundantly clear that before salvation we are of our “Father the Devil” (John 8:44), and are “sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2) and “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), but not children of God. And, second of all, I don’t totally agree with McAlpin’s treatment of Acts 17:28-29. In that passage, which points out the utter absurdity of idolatry, all the Apostle Paul is doing is using the pantheistic Athenian philosophers’ own logic against them, which was expressed by the words of the pagan Greek poet Aratus. Paul is basically saying to them, that if they think they are “God’s offspring”, then that means God existed before them, and if God existed before them, then they cannot make a god after them in the form of an idol to worship and it be the true God. Paul stops short of taking this very limited analogy to the point of saying “God is their Father”.

Assuming Smalley is not a Universalist, which he may not be, does not automatically mean he is correct in all the rest of his teachings and should be used by the MBC. Over the course of his career, he has used in an affirming way psychological terms and concepts such as self-esteem, self-love, self-image, and right brain/left brain theory, etc. This mixing of psychological concepts with Bible verses when counseling others is in practice inconsistent with a sufficient view of Scripture. If Scripture is sufficient, then by definition, it does not need to be augmented. In an email from Smalley to me dated August 6, 2006 he writes, “I have also come to appreciate and respect the field of psychology as much as the field of cardiology and urology" (see the attached photocopy of this email). He goes on to say in that email he reveres Scripture more than psychology. All of us who are saved think it’s great he reveres the Bible. But, the difference between Smalley and the position I am advocating is this: I have no respect for psychology, since it is a man-made human philosophy and not a science, and I would not use any of it to counsel someone. I would use Scripture alone, since the Bible claims to be totally sufficient for counseling and for producing sanctification in the lives of God’s people (see Psalm 19:7-11; Luke 16:30-31; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4). This is why I have repeatedly stated that Smalley is not the problem he is only a symptom of the problem. The real issue in the MBC is the sufficiency and perspicuity of Scripture. The Bible indicates we are to “esteem one another”, not ourselves (see Philippians 2:3). And, that we are to “love one another”, not ourselves (see Luke 14:25-27; 2 Timothy 3:1-5). The Bible assumes we love ourselves automatically by nature, because we are born sinful and total depraved (see Matthew 22:35-40; Ephesians 5:29). We are never commanded in Scripture to love ourselves. But, we are commanded in Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” And, we are also commanded to “deny” ourselves (Luke 9:23).

On Page 3, McAlpin gives a list of people who endorse Smalley’s ministry, as if those individuals are infallible. They are not. It does not prove anything substantial for someone to affirm another’s ministry. It only matters if God and His Word affirm someone. There are many popular speakers today who can draw huge crowds, people like Joel Osteen, T. D. Jakes, and Joyce Myers, just to mention a few. But I would not want the MBC to invite these individuals to speak either, or to use or promote any of their materials. Furthermore, there are other people in the Christian community who have had issues with Smalley. For example, Martin and Deidre Bobgan, as well as Albert Dager have all stated their various concerns, so I am not alone.

On Page 4, McAlpin suggests I didn’t follow Matthew 18 in dealing with this issue. This is incorrect. I went to the person in charge of the MBC/Smalley event, Joe Ulveling. I was assured by him that Jim Austin and David Clippard knew what was going on, and that he would report everything back to them. The impression I got from Joe was that Austin and Clippard were supporting Joe’s position and he was representing them. In an email, Joe encouraged me to contact Smalley, which I did via email. I was later invited by Smalley to a sit down visit with him. That meeting included Smalley, his Pastor, Pastor Justin Nelson (who is my Co-Pastor), and me. Initially, I approached Don Hinkle about running an article in the Pathway which would present some of my concerns with Smalley. Hinkle wisely encouraged me to talk to Joe Ulveling instead. After much thought, I decided that was the more biblical approach to take.

McAlpin alleges that I called into question Smalley’s salvation, but this is also incorrect. I have called into question whether or not Smalley relies exclusively on Scripture to provide counseling to people, but not his conversion. It is interesting to note, however, that in Article #1 of Smalley’s Statement of Faith, which covers his beliefs concerning the Bible, he does not use the words “sufficient” or “sufficiency”. I have raised this question because his quoting of psychologists, and his use of therapeutic language in most of his books, far out numbers his quotes of respected Bible teachers or actual Scriptures. Sometimes the problem is not with what someone says it is with what they do not say.

Despite McAlpin’s recollection of our first committee meeting, at no time have I berated Clippard, though I have asked him pointed and tough questions at times. Everyone besides McAlpin on the Ad-Hoc Theological Study Committee, I believe, will testify to this.

McAlpin has falsely accused me repeatedly of slander and character assassination, simply because I’ve attempted to hold people accountable. In my opinion, McAlpin has actually made this situation with Smalley worse through his personal attacks on me, which I have had to respond to, and which will not allow our committee to move off of this subject and on to other important issues. He has even circulated his paper against me around the state of Missouri and at a recent MBC Executive Board meeting (even to some non-Executive Board individuals), thus creating more negative publicity for Smalley. At the top of the paper he recently circulated at the Baptist Building, he wrote in hand-print at the top, “Ad-Hoc Theological Study Committee”, which gave a misleading impression to people that his paper was from the committee, instead of personally from him. It seems as though McAlpin wants to circumvent the work of this committee, and present his case in the court of public opinion.

It has never been my intention for this committee to have an up-or-down vote on which of the para-church organizations we want to do business with. It has been my intention that this committee would look at the theology related to those ministries, and from that, come up with a policy statement which would serve as a guideline for our MBC staff to follow in the future. It is my desire that the MBC would be known as a state convention that is, above all else, committed to glorifying God through biblical and theological excellence. For this to happen, though, the standard of expectation must be raised to a new level from where it currently is. It is not enough for us to verbally affirm the inerrancy of the Bible; we must also practically affirm the sufficiency of it. This is precisely why this committee is needed. Unfortunately, it seems like McAlpin does not think so. It is perfectly fine for any committee member to disagree or offer a differing opinion, but it is not alright to try to undermine a convention process. From day one of our Ad-Hoc Theological Study Committee, rather than attacking the issues, McAlpin has tried to stop, subvert and sidetrack the entire work of this committee by attacks that are personal and political. One has to question who put him up to this, and also, whether it is ethically right for him to stay on a committee he obviously thinks does not have a need or right to exist. It would appear, in my opinion, McAlpin might not want to be a working part of this committee.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Blunt Signal Tax Money for Cloning Research

I agree with my state senator Chuck Graham on very little. Senator Graham is a committed liberal. He is not a fair weather politician. He is not the least bit accommodating of my values or viewpoints. That’s why I found his discontinuance of opposition against Dr. Bob Onder's nomination to the Life Sciences Research Board troubling. Onder is a board member of Missourians Against Human Cloning, a group founded by various pro-life organizations and leaders to oppose Amendment 2. Senator Graham has been tenacious in supporting Embryonic Stem Cell Rearch and Cloning in every way imaginable. His position of filibustering a MOHELA plan was not helped when MU representatives backed a compromise to get money with restrictions against life science research.

Senator Graham, after all, is part of Missouri’s minority party, and frankly was outgunned and outmaneuvered by Republican strong-handing. Republicans had signaled they would bypass MU and Columbia would lose money, Graham’s Columbia coalition wavered. My major beef with the MOHELA plan is that it uses public money to pave a foundation for cloning research. Senator Graham understood that as well, only he was on the other side of my viewpoint, wanting the money for cloning research. In March, he led a Democratic filibuster. In May, he signaled he would not oppose the plan, largely because Governor Matt Blunt was going to include funding for life science research in next year’s budget. Senator Graham was kind enough to supply me with a copy of Governor Blunt’s letter.

The Governor has signaled what pro-life leaders in Missouri have maintained throughout the Amendment 2 (pro-cloning) debate—that Missouri tax money would soon be used to fund this research that many Missourians consider immoral. The Governor has signaled he is ready to release the money. With Democratic zeal for it and Republican infatuation with the business leaders associated with it, pro-life Missourians have few protectors in Missouri government.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell Dead

The death of Dr. Jerry Falwell marks the closure of a legacy. Liberty University’s Chancellor and Senior Pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church reportedly was found unconscious at his office and pronounced dead at Liberty General Hospital at 12:40 pm.

While I did not always agree with Dr. Falwell (only few Americans did) and thought someone of his stature should have more cultivated refinery, tact and skillful diplomacy, he was an amazing man and a good servant of our Lord.

On the downside, Dr. Falwell never met an issue he didn’t like. Some people think him opinionated. I think it was a lack of Biblical wisdom. One should never speak to every issue. Most recently, he referred to Calvinism as heresy, something even ardently strident Arminians refrain from doing. In secular politics, I remember him marching in lockstep with President Bush in supporting Harriet Miers for Supreme Court Justice which would have been a huge mistake. She was a liberal waiting to metamorphicize.

On the upside, Dr. Falwell was an incredible visionary. The Moral Majority and the sprawling empire of Liberty Mountain are two notable achievements. When I stepped down as president of Moral Majority in 1987, he said: “I shudder to think where the country would be right now if the religious right had not evolved.”

Dr. Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said:

“Our grief at our loss of his witness, energy and giftedness for the kingdom is mitigated by the fact that he is now with his Savior for eternity. Dr. Falwell’s home-going leaves an enormous gap in the leadership ranks of evangelical Christianity in America and around the world. He will be greatly missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to his church members and the entire Liberty family, including professors, alumni and students, as well as his immediate family. We pray for them in this time of loss, as well as our loss of this true giant of the faith.”

And now the warrior can rest.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy

Maybe you’ve heard a bit from the first Republican Presidential Debate hosted by MSNBC at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

The most notable part of the debate was former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s answer regarding abortion. Here’s the first exchange:

Moderator: We now go to the next segment. We're going to talk about values. Let's go down the line on this just like they did with the Democrats last week on some of these trickier calls, but they do have clear answers. Starting with you, Governor, would the day that Roe v. Wade is repealed be a good day for America.

Romney: Absolutely.

Moderator: Senator?

Brownback (?): It would be a glorious day of human liberty and freedom.

Moderator: Governor?

Gilmore (?): Yes, it was wrongly decided.

Moderator: Governor?

Huckabee (?): Most certainly.

Moderator: Congressman?

Hunter (?): Yes.

Moderator: Governor?

(Unknown): Yes.

Moderator: Senator?

A repeal.


Giuliani: It would be OK.

Moderator: OK to repeal?

Giuliani: It would be OK to repeal. It would be also if a strict constructionist judge viewed it as precedent and I think a judge has to make that decision.

Moderator: Would it be OK if they didn't repeal it?

Giuliani: I think the court has to make that decision and then the country can deal with it. We're a federalist system of government and states can make their own decisions.

Moderator: Congressman?

Tancredo (?): After 40 million dead because we have aborted them in this country, I would say that that would be the greatest day in this country's history when that, in fact, is overturned.


This might be a good time to remark that debate moderators (in this case MSNBC Hardball’s host Chris Matthews) often go beyond their role to moderate a debate and try to create a debate, or a least to help bolster ratings through controversial statements.

In any event, Giuliani was the most least-excited candidate on the prospects of Roe v. Wade being overturned. Matthews came back to Giuliani and few moments later:

Let me go back to Governor -- Mayor Giuliani, because I want to give you a chance on this. You became very well known for standing up against the use of public funds for what many people considered indecent exhibits at the Brooklyn museum and places like that.
Why do you support the use of public funds for abortion?

Giuliani: I don't. I support the Hyde amendment. I hate abortion. I wish people didn't have abortions.

Moderator: So you're not for funding at all?

Giuliani: I believe that the Hyde amendment should remain the law. States should make their decision. Some states decide to do it. Most states decide not to do it. And I think that's the appropriate way to have this decided.

Moderator: Should New York, when you were mayor of New York, should they have been paying for -- the state should have been paying for...

Giuliani: That's a decision New York made a long time ago. And New York...

Moderator: And where were you on that?

Giuliani: I supported it in New York, but I think, in other places, people can come to a different decision.

Moderator: Thank you.


Classic politician double-speak and flip-flop. As Mayor of New York, Giuliani supported public funding for abortions. As President candidate, Giuliani supports states deciding whether to support abortion with public money.

So, at the heart of the matter, Giuliani hasn’t really changed. He believed and still believes that public money can be used for abortion and that private citizens who have a conviction against the killing procedure will just have to live with it were their state to decide to fund it.

Thanks, but no thanks, Rudy.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hybels Blasts Driscoll

I’m no defender of Mark Driscoll, but his public rebuke by Bill Hybels at last week’s National New Church Conference reveals just how weak and out of focus the modern church is.

According to Driscoll’s comments about this situation, he had been asked to speak at the conference but declined and organizers got him to submit a video instead.

I thought most of the video was pretty lame. It was high on style, short on content with Driscoll’s typical crass way of speaking of holy, eternal realities in the most base and earthly form imaginable…all in the name of ‘communication’ I suppose. The Mars Hill video team is obviously very skilled, but frankly, Driscoll didn’t say many deep or challenging things. But the one thing that did mean something—reaching young men and discipling them—was criticized by Hybels. After the video was over, Bill Hybels (being next on the program) was introduced and made this statement:

"After that video I would like to acknowledge that there are women in this room and they have spiritual gifts.”

Well, who’s gonna argue that? Driscoll wasn’t saying women don’t have gifts. He seemed to be saying that men are staying behind spiritually and that we need to reach them. Hybels seemed to be launching the modern debate of women and their place in ministry. He seemed to defend the egalitarian model (women and men are equal in that they have the same responsibilities and calling) which is very much rooted in worldliness. The complementarian model (women and men are equal in that they have separate and unique but God-given and God-called responsibilities) is a lot closer to Scripture.

Some 20 years ago, evangelical leaders gathered in Danvers, Massachusetts to discuss the Biblical perspective of manhood and womanhood. They drafted but became known as the Danvers Statement. The fourth affirmation they listed was:

The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Gen 3:1-7, 12, 16).
  • In the home, the husband's loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife's intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility.
  • In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.
Bill Hybels ought to read this sermon by Ligon Duncan. Then he’d really have something to criticize.

For further information read the online version of Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth by Wayne Gruden.

I won’t even go into the issue of the conference organizers not passing out Driscoll’s video as they had previously planned. I hope they paid Mars Hill for the production time and DVD’s, but based on Driscoll’s blog, it seems they got stiffed.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thought Crimes Legislation Sails Through the House

Yesterday, by a vote of 237-180, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 1592, the so-called “hate crimes” bill.

The Missouri delegation was split right down the middle with Democrats Carnahan, Clay, Cleaver and Skelton voted for the bill and Republicans Akin, Blunt, Emerson and Hulshof voting against the bill. Republican Sam Graves (6th District) did not vote.

Everyone knows this bill isn’t about real crime. Existing laws already cover assaults and injuries to the persons and properties of homosexuals, as they well should. Violence against homosexuals is to be deplored. The FBI has reported a dramatic and significant drop in crimes against homosexuals in recent years. This, in spite of fabricated and exaggerated reporting like this case at Minnesota State-Moorhead.

Chuck Colson, in an article dealing with the loss of free speech reported an FBI statistic that in 2005, out of 863,000 cases of aggravated assault, only 177 cases were crimes of bias against homosexuals—less than 0.03%.

Fortunately, the Bush Administration at long last broke its silence on the topic and issued this statement, part of which read: “If H.R. 1592 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dr. Gene Scott

Have Missouri cloners been up to something? Dr. Gene Scott appears to be a mutation of Robert Tilton, Mark Driscoll and a wee bit of Charles Spurgeon. Watch at your own peril!