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by Hohn Chos someone who is not on Twitter but keeps abreast of it, let me point out that it has been a pretty crazy week for the Christian social justicians. For this blogpost, we'll be discussing a particular tirade by one Bradly Mason. Now, as someone who does his best to avoid responding to mere "someone is WRONG on the Internet" situations, since Mason appears to have relatively limited influence—just like me, I'd add, before anyone falsely accuses me of looking down on him—normally I'd be inclined to just let it pass. But given that portions of and references to his tweetstorm have been enthusiastically liked or retweeted with approval by many more prominent figures, including Thabiti Anyabwile, Anthony Bradley, Jemar Tisby, and Ekemini Uwan, and as of this writing has almost 200 retweets and over 1,300 likes, I think it's fair to say that he has struck a nerve.That fact alone exposes the Proverbs 29:11 emotionalism and James 1:20 unrighteous anger which all too often drive so many of the social justicians' arguments, sadly. Certainly they don't appear to be driven by biblical or logical considerations, given that Mason cites zero Scripture despite 23 tweets, and quickly retreats from a slanderous bailey (naming many honorable men and groups[*] in response to the specific question, "Who is defending white supremacy using the Gospel?") to a still-indefensible motte (merely relegating those men and groups to a place of "making conservative evangelicalism a pretty safe place to harbor [white supremacist] views" and claiming they "defend White Supremacy") within the very same tweetstorm, incredibly. And during the course of his unsupported and unsupportable accusations (because none of the people or groups he names are "defending white supremacy" as they, in fact, overtly oppose white supremacy, and have said as much, and thus the claim is false), he also manages to airily dismiss many legitimate concerns raised by faithful saints, and set up and knock down over a dozen straw men, all while engaging in some of the most egregiously uncharitable heart-reading that I've seen in a long time.Rather than get into a point-by-point rebuttal, I'm opting to highlight two overarching themes that I see in many social justicians' arguments. First, their claims and calls to action are often legalistic in nature, specifically the type of pharisaic legalism that elevates the heavy burden of man-made rules and lays them on people's shoulders per Matthew 23:4.I find this to be an ironic phenomenon, given that social justicians often accuse their critics of being fundamentalists characterized by legalism, among other things, but the reality is that far too often, they themselves are the ones attempting to bootstrap generalized scriptural principles which do not speak to the time, place, or manner of how they ought to be applied, into extremely specific extra-biblical requirements. One example would be Anyabwile writing in the Washington Post last year about evangelicals' supposed "complicit silence" regarding President Trump (whom I did not support in 2016, by the way, but he is in fact the President, and thus for American Christians, Titus 3:1-2 applies), a terribly-reasoned piece which I previously critiqued here.In that light, let's consider Mason's "motte" argument, specifically that the brothers and groups he accused are "making conservative evangelicalism a pretty safe place to harbor [white supremacist] views" and elsewhere that they "defend White Supremacy". This is a serious charge, and as is often the case with "social justice" rhetoric, its main support appears to be the author's opinion, specifically that the accused here too often dare to express concerns about the faulty or at times even non-existent Scriptural rationales of the social justicians, as well as the naturally dangerous fruit likely to result from such unbiblical trees.In other words, if one disagrees with certain social justicians, or even declines to speak out on the specific topics they want with the specific frequency and strength they want, one is coddling white supremacists and defending white supremacy. Somehow. I guess. Even if some of the accused are not even white. Even if most (all?) of the accused have overtly preached and written against the evils of the sin of partiality pertaining to ethnicity and otherwise, and are supportive of things like interethnic marriage to such an extent that they are abhorred by the execrable kinists.Look, that isn't "defending white supremacy" by any rational standard. The reality is that the accused attack white supremacy and are flatly opposed to it. Their "crime" is simply that they don't make opposing it the absolute center of their ministry, and are unwilling to just shut up and let the social justicians say whatever they want, unchallenged, as they unbiblically bind others' consciences with legalistic appeals, or even worse, confuse the Gospel with a Galatian addition of "wokeness" as a fundamentally required work. And in the exact same way, I believe all of the accused are pro-life and anti-abortion, but vehemently oppose anti-abortion extremists such as Abolish Human Abortion when they go overboard with their legalistic appeals and anti-biblical ecclesiology. Indeed, there are many similarities between the AHA zealots and the social justicians, and the comparison does not reflect well on either group.Mason's argument is completely irrational and illogical, and again, it's absolutely legalistic. Because each of the accused, in his own stewardship, is ultimately accountable to the Lord—as well as his elders or fellow elders—for how he chooses to prioritize his public and private words and actions, and if Mason's (or Anyabwile's, or Bradley's, or Tisby's, or Uwan's, who all supported and aligned with Mason in some fashion) measuring stick for "woke" holiness is counting public comments opposed to or supportive of the social justicians' poor theology, well, they might as well break out their hemline-rulers and book bonfires.At the end of the day, I'm aware of no biblical command to preach or speak out publicly (or tweet, for that matter) on any specific topic with any specific frequency, with the exception of course being the Gospel per 2 Timothy 4:2, 1 Corinthians 9:16, Acts 10:42, Matthew 28:19-20, Romans 1:16, as the accused have so often pointed out and emphasized in their ministries. This is true even for whatever major current event might be happening in any given week. Whether and to what extent a pastor decides to talk about 9/11, or an abortion bill, or a tragic mass shooting, or whoever the perpetrator of that mass shooting might be, is a matter for that pastor's own stewardship, and he will have a greater accountability for it per James 3:1. But when another person makes sweeping and censorious accusations about an entire swath of faithful men and ministries based sheerly on that person's perception of that stewardship and prioritization, well, James 2:13 gives me genuine concern for that person.Meanwhile, for all of us as we decide if and when and how to speak, genuine care should be taken to avoid the real danger of virtue signaling to an outside secular world that is increasingly hostile to Christians...except of course those Christians eager to promote the latest worldly styles and fads, especially if they're willing to bash other groups of faithful Christians as they do. As Matthew 6:5 states, those virtue signalers already have their treasure, in the form of book deals, conference speaker gigs, Washington Post articles, and perhaps most commonly, the praise, admiration, and Twitter likes and retweets of countless social justicians, liberals, academics, celebrities, media figures, and cool hipsters whose only reactions to biblically faithful positions such as young earth creationism, traditional marriage, penal substitutionary atonement, and the exclusivity of Jesus Christ are the ridicule and revulsion reserved for uncouth, unwashed, unenlightened fundamentalists guilty of unspeakable thought crimes unfit for public discourse.Before you call me an alarmist, this is already happening to Christian business owners, professors, and students. And it will continue happening, and will only get worse. And although it's unsurprising to see the faithful remnant besieged by torch- and pitchfork-carrying secularists, the saddest part to me is wondering who among my currently faithful professing brethren will end up offering them aid and comfort, or even joining their ranks.This brings me to my second overarching theme, which is the pragmatic nature of so much of the social justician discourse. Again and again, I see concerns raised by people like Mason about the pragmatic ends of this or that action, rather than the biblical means on how to get to a particular end. I perceive over and over such a great concern for the temporal, that the spiritual is often neglected or treated as an afterthought. But as we know from 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, we do not wage war according to the flesh, and in fact there is great importance in casting down arguments and opinions that are raised against the knowledge of God. This passage would seem to emphasize the importance of making sure that our means are indeed in accordance with what God has revealed in His Word, before rushing off to try to achieve some end. I would think one way to do this would be having a civil discourse.Instead, sadly, we have pieces like Mason's, and a general lack of interest in having a substantive discussion. Everyone I know on "my side" of the argument, including the accused, is eager to have a discussion about what the Bible says on this or that "social justice" topic, but the usual response I've seen from social justicians is crickets. And while I fully acknowledge the possibility of confirmation bias, based on my own personal experience in the church on this "social justice" issue, I believe I'm north of a dozen times recently when my attempts to engage in (highly civil) discussions have been met with silence, unfulfilled promises to respond later, in two cases a decisively dismissive attitude, and in only one case an actual conversation over lunch that turned out to be both profitable and enjoyable. And I've observed from afar a similar ratio in the tireless efforts of Neil Shenvi.[**]When I compare this track record to some higher-profile spats in the secular world, rife with declarations that look like, "go educate yourself, I'm not going to do your homework for you" (a seemingly curious response, if one is truly interested in advancing one's preferred position within the marketplace of ideas), or "I'm sick and tired of repeating myself all the time" (a more understandable sentiment in the secular world, perhaps, but less so for Christians called not to weary of doing good in Galatians 6:9), I'm grieved by the similarity of the responses.More and more, my impression is that many Christian social justicians are simply not interested in having a discussion (much less a debate) with the brothers and sisters who respectfully disagree with them. Instead, it seems as though the desire is simply to proselytize to build their coalition and then declare victory, with any opposition either ignored, or smashed down with a sledgehammer of presumptuously misappropriated moral authority. And when this happens, honest disagreement is often recast as hatred or slander, sadly, and people who earnestly hold differing biblical convictions are dismissed, or even worse, cast out, as adherents of a truncated or incomplete Gospel...or even as defenders of white supremacy. Because apparently, it is not good enough for many social justicians to simply separate and do ministry in different ways, as Paul and Barnabas did, but precisely because the social justicians are seeking pragmatic or even political goals, the movement must grow. And suddenly, personal convictions become "Gospel issues" and individual Christian liberty is turned into the legalistic requirements I described in my first theme, above.Instead of such political pragmatism, what the church truly needs is more godly, Gospel-proclaiming Christians concerned for the individual souls of the lost, and not more armchair politicians. And this is true regardless of whether their arms might sit on the right or left armrest. Indeed, some of the social justicians go on and on (and on and on) wondering how any professing Christian could ever support certain policies supported by the Republican Party or even worse, President Trump, displaying an astonishing lack of self-awareness as they do so. Because the reality is that they're doing the exact same thing as the people they decry, merely from the opposing political viewpoint.I'll leave it to each individual Christian to decide whether or not one party or the other is more supportive of his or her most important biblical principles and convictions. Speaking only for myself, however, I can't bring myself to vote for any party that would continue to maintain the horror of abortion as a fundamental right. This is my own personal bright line litmus test, my speaking up for the most voiceless and oppressed of all, as nearly a million babies a year are still being murdered in the US alone. It is every bit as shocking and immoral, if not more so, than the evils of hereditary slavery based on the color of one's skin with origins in man-stealing. Thankfully, that evil was abolished over 150 years ago...and yet our modern tragedy of abortion continues. The social justicians often speak about the importance of moral clarity on certain societal issues. I agree, and that's precisely why I personally believe all other societal issues—even some good ones, some important ones—pale in comparison to the very lives of countless unborn children.Once again, however, the differences in temporal priorities that individual Christians might have are precisely why I and so many other like-minded brothers (like the accused) and sisters emphasize the importance of Gospel proclamation, over any other social or political matter. Because the eternal state of each individual unsaved man or woman is something we all ought to be able to unite on, and of far greater importance than any temporal issue, however dire. I'm glad to be confident in that stance from so many of the accused. Indeed, I know the majority of these men and leaders in three of the groups personally, and they abhor and clearly teach against the sin of partiality both generally as well as specifically pertaining to ethnicity. So just as Mason's "motte" charge is completely baseless legalism, his "bailey" charge is simply outrageous calumny. And he and the people cheering him on ought to repent of it and retract it.Hohn's signature* Mason specifically accuses the brethren Justin Peters, John MacArthur, James White, Phil Johnson, Doug Wilson, JD Hall, Josh Buice, Tom Ascol, R. Scott Clark, Darrell Harrison, Burk Parsons, and in a follow-up tweet Samuel Sey and Voddie Baucham, as well as the groups Sovereign Nations, Alpha & Omega Ministries, Grace To You, Pulpit & Pen, Reformation Charlotte, Aquila Report, American Vision, and Ligonier Ministries.** If you're not familiar with Neil, you really ought to consider checking him out, and his research partner Pat Sawyer as well. Neil's website is chock-full of excellent, biblical takes on a wide variety of topics (including perhaps most notably, these days, critical theory), and his Twitter feed is the type of graciously edifying, Christ-honoring engagement that I would aspire to, were I ever to take the plunge onto that medium.
The church network pushed back against renewed scrutiny around SGC and former president C. J. Mahaney's response to abuse claims. Despite continued calls for an independent, third-party investigation into Sovereign Grace Churches (SGC) and its response to abuse allegations, the network has officially taken the option off the table, calling it “inappropriate, impractical, unjust” and “impossible.”Controversy has surrounded SGC—previously Sovereign Grace Ministries, or SGM—and its founder C. J. Mahaney since at least 2012, when SGM’s flagship congregation faced a lawsuit alleging a sexual abuse cover-up, which was later dismissed on procedural grounds.This year, as evangelicals ramp up their response to abuse, top leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention have joined the scrutiny over Mahaney and his current congregation, SGC Louisville, which is also affiliated with the SBC.In a statement released this week, SGC declared that there hasn’t been enough credible evidence against its leaders or churches to necessitate an investigation and that an outside query would violate the church’s ecclesiastical accountability structure.“We remain persuaded that an investigation of the sort we’ve been challenged to authorize—both in good faith and otherwise—is inappropriate, impractical, unjust, and finally would be unsatisfactory to all interested parties,” the 2,300-word statement concluded. “Most importantly, as far as we’re able to discern, we believe this course, the theological capitulation it would represent, and the precedent it would set, would ultimately dishonor Christ and harm the cause of the gospel.”SGC, a network of 72 evangelical churches with headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, said the decision was made in consult with fellow pastors, Christian ...Continue reading...
Temple Baptist Church - 4-7-20191 Corinthians 1:18; Galatians 6:14Introduction: A. In this verse, which is my Life Verse, we find the importance of the Cross of Christ. The Cross of Christ is the Focal Point of the Bible. It is here that “eternity hinges.” It is the bridge between Adam's Fall and eternity.1. For four thousand years, from the fall of Adam along with the first Messianic Promise in Genesis 3:15, the world awaited the coming of the “Seed of the Woman,” God's Messiah.2. For the past two thousand years, God's people have looked back to the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”3. Looking both forward in the Old Testament and back in the New Testament are acts of saving faith. B. “God forbid that I should glory” covers it all. Our glory is to be found in what Christ did and now in what we have done. It makes salvation an act of grace and not of works.C. The preaching of the cross has a two-fold purpose found in this verse concerning the cross of Christ. The song Rock Of Ages said it all: “be of sin the double cure, save from wrath and make me pure.”1. The first purpose is salvation: “by whom the world is crucified unto me.” 2. The second purpose of the cross is sanctification: “and I unto the world.” 1. The Realization of The Cross - God Sacrificed His Own Son - “Truly, this man was the Son of God” - Mark 15:33-39 - At The Cross Was Manifested The Holiness Of God.1. God's Holiness Separated Him From Sinful Man - Habakkuk 1:13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he? Job 15:15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. Psalms 5:4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. 1 Timothy 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.2. God's Holiness Demanded Sacrifice And Full Payment For Sin - Nahum 1:3a The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked:2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.3. God's Holiness Demanded A Perfect Sacrifice For Sin - His Perfect Son - 1 Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:2. The Forgiveness of The Cross - “Father, Forgive Them” - Luke 23:27-34 - At The Cross Was Manifested The Sinfulness Of Man And God's Love For Sinners.1. God's Hatred For Sin - The Sentence of Death - Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. James 1:14-15 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 2. God's Love For Sinners - A Spotless Lamb Dying On An Old Rugged Cross For Sinful Man - 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:9-10 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 3. The Salvation of The Cross - “Lord, Remember Me” - Luke 22:39-43 -At The Cross Was Manifested The Remedy Of God.1. The Willingness Of God To Send His Only Begotten Son - John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:2. The Willingness Of Jesus Christ To Suffer For Our Sin - Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 3. The Acceptance Of The Cross As Final Payment For Sin - Isaiah 53:10-11 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 4. The Preaching of The Cross - “That ye might believe” - John 19:32-35 -At The Cross Was Manifested The Love Of God And His Willingness To Sacrifice His Own Son.1. The Contradiction Of The Cross - An Infinite God Smitten At The Hands Of Finite Man - Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. John 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. 2. The Compassion Of The Cross - A Sovereign God Caring For Rebellious Man - Matthew 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.Psalms 78:38 But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. Psalms 86:15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Psalms 111:4 He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion. Psalms 145:8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Luke 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
President J. D. Greear wants 10 churches investigated; Executive Committee subgroup wants only 3. But both agree on Sovereign Grace.Update (March 4): The head of the Southern Baptist subcommittee tasked with reviewing 10 churches for possible violations of denominational standards regarding abuse resigned on Friday, according to a Houston Chronicle report. Ken Alford cited “controversy and angst” over the bylaws workgroup’s response, but defended their position, saying their small group was not equipped to investigate the churches further.-----------Conflicting statements from Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) leaders on the denomination’s approach to addressing sexual abuse have left victims, advocates, and pastors themselves with a sense of whiplash—and called into question the fate of proposed reforms to improve accountability among SBC churches.Those concerned about abuse within America’s largest Protestant body—including the hundreds of cases reported by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News—cheered repentant statements and bold plans for policy changes from SBC president J. D. Greear last week, only to see his recommendations largely turned down by part of the SBC’s Executive Committee days later.Greear called on the Executive Committee (EC), the decision-making body tasked with addressing convention business between annual meetings, to take a harder line against churches that mishandle abuse allegations. Specifically, he wanted the SBC to look into 10 particular churches implicated in the recent investigation to see if the churches still meet denominational standards.Though Southern Baptists have generally resisted top-down oversight, several prominent SBC leaders, including Greear and Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore, had begun to say that a commitment ...Continue reading...
The SBC Executive Committee response to J.D. Greear needs to be walked back to show survivors they are worth more than a quick dismissal. The Southern Baptist Convention often does the wrong thing before it does the right thing.Or, in the case of last week, in responding to a wrong thing, they started to do the right thing, then went back to the wrong thing.Now, it’s time to do the right thing.The Houston Chronicle’s Abuse of Faith series pointed out what many already knew—the SBC has an abuse problem. SBC President J.D. Greear sought to at least take some steps to address it. And, the bylaws workgroup of the Executive Committee of the SBC heard his call and decided to address it—at lightning speed.And, according to a growing number of Southern Baptists, without due diligence.Actually, they declared (without actually doing much inquiry) that “no further inquiry is warranted” in most of the cases.So, Southern Baptists have been accused of not taking sexual abuse seriously and members of the Executive Committee responded by seemingly not taking such allegations seriously.I should add that in three cases, they did say the situations required more diligence. One of those was Sovereign Grace Church in Louisville. Of course Sovereign Grace needs to do such an investigation and that has been obvious for years.But, others need more investigation as well.And that does not happen at lightning speed.The hasty response issued by the bylaws workgroup of the Executive Committee to a group of churches named by the Houston Chronicle has been roundly criticized by pastors, abuse survivors, and survivor advocates. Executive committee members are now tweeting their own statements.The statement has been picked apart for a multitude of reasons, but two are most problematic.First, the response was issued just one day after requested information ...Continue reading...
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