Saturday, December 6, 2008

retraction...and frustration

i've removed my most recent post (formerly titled "pathetic") in which i said some pointed things about another pastor.

i was angry - having just finished reading 4 of his books in which he blasted other church leaders by name - and felt like i needed to steer our people (and many of my friends) away from his ministry and his influence.

anyway - carmel (my wife) told me i'd committed the same sins i was frustrated with this pastor for making by virtue of writing this angry blog post.

she was right.

so, i've removed the old post; but am feeling a little frustrated about how to interrupt the growing influence of this other pastor whose theology is good and clear (though narrow and strictly reformed) and whose preaching is exceptional (though angry and frequently slanderous).

i just don't want the people i love and am called to serve to think that right theology is somehow more important than right behavior, right relationship, or right missional activity. those four things go together (or at least they should) and when somone emphasizes 1 over the other 3 things get very much out-of-balance and can cause serious real-life damage.

historically, we have many, many examples of people whose theology was perfect but whose lives were almost the exact opposite of christ. everyone from the inquisitors to the crusaders and the nazis to the klu klux klan used pristine, biblical theology to justify dehumanizing other people, using violent rhetoric that erupted into violent action.

theology, then, is obviously not the only thing we need to consider while following jesus.

truth be told, though; most of the justification for acting like an ass comes from an overemphasies on pauline theology.

paul was brilliant, inspired by the holy spirit, and has taught us much about how to be the church.

but he's not the only author in the new testament for a reason.

his harshness (and that of james') must always be read alongside peter (who taught us to suffer well) and john (who taught us to love always) and jude (who warned us against teachers whose lives misrepresented christ jesus).

not to mention jesus' own words which - above anything else - taught us to love god and love one another self-sacrificially.

so - i'm frustrated...frustrated that many good and godly people who are becoming excited about theology for the first time may very well miss the forest for the trees.

they'll get their reformed (regurgitated) calvinist (calculus) doctrine perfect...

...but end up following the example of their teacher and becoming hateful, prejudicial, and unchristlike.

and that makes me sad.


  1. David,
    I applaud you for looking in the mirror and taking down the post.

    I think I understand what you are getting at with respect to following Christ being a well-rounded life and not just a focus on theology or on mission or on any one thing. I agree with that.

    I also think I understand loving God and loving one another. My question then is how to deal with people that you believe are false teachers (I'm not calling this pastor you mention a false teacher)? That is, are we not supposed to call them out and tell the truth?

    I ask this out of an attempt to get a better understanding of being a well rounded Christian with an interest in ministry and not out of an attempt to provoke.

    Thanks for you posts.

  2. you could have just retracted the post, but you manned up and came clean with this followup. that took some brass balls.

    every time you said "brass balls" in reference to the juggling monk of Notre Dame, I almost laughed. If you had paused for just a few seconds I would have probably felt permission to laugh, but you just soldiered on with the story, as if you hadn't just said "brass balls". So I forced my serious face on.