Monday, April 17, 2017

THEODICY AND THE ANGELIC CONFLICT: WHERE ARE THE THEOLOGIANS?

For many disciples of Christ and consequentially those forming a personal theology (which we all form as Christians whether we understand that we do or not simply by virtue of how we live) the issue of theodicy - essentially why God permits and rules as he does with emphasis on why evil is permitted is expression in light of God's omnipotent power - eventually appears on the landscape of their lives and frequently integrates itself into their existence. From this, the Christian is compelled to ask a number of reasonable questions.

Several of these are as follows (in some form or another):
  • Why did God create man? 
  • Where did evil come from?
  • Why did God create man so weak that he could succumb to evil?
  • Why was it a fallen angel that tempted mankind and caused him to sin against God?
It is not uncommon to read or hear the answer to the first questions being one which states that man was created for God's glory. And with that, I have no qualms, the Bible states that much.

But what is begged, here, is that to assert man was created for God's glory is to force the question, why? Why did God decide his glory needed expressed via mankind's creation?

Was there an issue with his glory? Was God not getting the expression of his glory as it should be? 


Or course the answer to that is no, there was nothing wrong with God's glory being expressed or needing man to add to its expression.

So, then, why? What was going on?

The truth is that mankind's creation is a response to a previous event and it is of no coincidence or anecdote that both human history and the final judgment of Satan and mankind are co-terminus.


Why?

Well, the books I have shown at the beginning of this article explain, in great theological detail and with excellent documentation, the relationship between the fall of Satan and 1/3 of the heavenly host and mankind's creation, Christ's incarnation and our eventual eternal reign as co-heirs.


I encourage you to read and learn about the Angelic Conflict and its theological implications as well as explications. 

A final note - Donald Grey Barnhouse is one of the authors in the three books posted. I find it rather interesting that The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals loves to point to him as a theological anchor yet, few, if any of the members ever venture into the theological water contained in his book, The Invisible War.

Monday, April 3, 2017

THE COST OF FAILING TO WORSHIP AT THE ALTAR OF ECCLESIASTICAL RACIAL CORRECTNESS: AN OPINION PIECE ON BEHALF OF THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH AT LARGE

(The above is a parody of the sad, sad development which many are now witnessing as Evangelicals within the Evangelical church)

The nasty and abhorrent weaponizing of racial issues and in particular, some of its language, has now come full-force into the church as an acceptable practice in order silence objections and rebuttals. And the numerous Evangelical/Protestant voices which would ordinarily be expected to not only refute but rebuke the awfulness of this doctrine and its practice, are now self-suppressed and, as best I can tell, are hiding out - at least for the moment - at Coward’s Cove. I suspect this is lest they, too, be battered with the slimy, disgusting, reprehensible and demonically devised ordnance of the racist/racism label if they dare come to the aid of their comrade and more importantly, the truth.


Withdrawal is understandable when it involves one individual against company and when he likely realizes there is going to be little in the way of immediate and substantial assistance from those who claim to be colleagues with courage in a case where he has been whipped with the racism label by a squad of approved theological/ecclesiastical untouchables. What is not reasonable, however, is a group or groups, with substantial power, influence and God at their right hand (Psalm 16:8) while armed with God’s Word voluntarily muzzling themselves on such an occasion. There is little sympathy and comprehension regarding the silence of a man’s alleged peers, especially from well-funded and well-supplied legions.

To what do I allude?

I refer to a recent incident at what I view as Biblically unsound and truly spiritually counterproductive organization, Reformed African American Network and specifically from one of their podcasts, namely, the Truth’s Table Podcast, at which Todd Pruitt - a Presbyterian Minister and member of the Mortification of Spin blog/podcast effort (whom are, themselves (MOS), members of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals) – offered a critique of a podcast by the Truth’s Table members resulting in Todd Pruitt being assigned racism charges by the little Triumvirate who rule there.

In Todd’s words, where he wrote a response to the more than abominable reaction by Truth's Table in charging him with racism, he states at MOS under a blog post entitled No More Unto the Breach:
Much to the disappointment of many good friends I have made the decision to remove a critique I posted last week of a troubling podcast.

I was naive. Actually I feel quite stupid. When I saw the charges of racism being leveled against me just moments ago I decided immediately I would not subject my family or the church I serve to such wickedness.

Any of the dozens of pastors I heard from who were deeply troubled by the podcast are certainly welcome to speak out. I will not blame them if they don't. 

I've never been accused of being a racist before. When you see such a filthy charge in print it is stunning and sickening. I understand why it is such an effective tool to silence dissent.
In 2012 I wrote a blogpost warning about this and that it is coming to a church near you. It was titled, Reformed Blacks of America: A Closer Look at What is Really Being Promoted, A Christocentric Ecclesiology/Theology or Racially Narcissistic Afrocentrism? You would be Surprised and it is Coming to a Reformed/Calvinist or Evangelical Church Near You:

Well, it may not have come right to Todd’s church, but it has arrived at the doorstep of his life and ministry like the disease it is and he has robustly rejected the cataclysmic organization’s maliciousness as any kind of friend of him or his church.

Sadly, Pastor Pruitt was forced, tactically it appears, to express his repudiation in retreat. As I suggested earlier it was likely in knowing he is surrounded by pusillanimous leaders who feign fortitude with diminutive bullies but when the foe is Goliath, they run for the hills.

Awaken and Repent of your Dishonor, you Men of God

I can see no other way than to describe this as the modern monster for the Evangelical/Protestant church. Others and I, but not many, have written about the malady of Race Based Special Interest Theology invading the church. I have been called many names in doing this. Fine, I take them as they come because it only demonstrates a refusal by those derogating, to engage in debate. Ultimately, this means they do not have the truth as their interest rather, an agenda which they are unwilling to have scrutinized. That, my friend, is the work of lies and deception and we know who the father of that is.

If you are not sure how this contaminated fountain managed to be hooked up to the once theologically definitive and well-filtered water of the God’s Word in the Evangelical/Protestant church, it did so on the backs of American social racial policy which was turned from a civil/social argument to a moral one during the 1960’s. This was achieved through Martin Luther King and others who co-opted the Old Testament narrative of the enslavement of God’s people, the Hebrews, and Pharaoh’s refusal to give them their Divinely assigned right to freedom and pursuit of the grants given in the Divine Covenant to them from God. Thus, to deny civil rights was not simply a civil issue but suddenly it became a moral one through sloppy theology mixed with humanistic ideology.

Out of this began the misplaced admiration of using the church and its ministers as vehicles for civil rights efforts which was combined with the past failure of ecclesiastical racial discrimination (an error) which, when further mixed with a massive accumulation of endless white guilt foisted upon society as an incurable past offense (the wound that never heals) and the subsequent social black license granting the freedom to constantly accuse anyone challenging any effort by a black or other minorities, with racism, we have now permitted entrance into the church, a Frankenstein demon (with devastating practical results) perpetually equipped, by way of appallingly timid men, with an armament against which there is deliberately no defense.

Wake up, you fainthearted and poltroon so-called Commanders of all that is ecclesiastically right, before you authorize this theological Ogre to endlessly ravage God’s people. Arise and adjudicate with integrity and as champions of God’s truth!

What on God’s green earth is wrong with you Canonical Captains who are ostensibly Divinely titled to protect the flock? There be wolves spreading poison in the name of theological and spiritual nutrition and you stand there, with your boots welded to the ground by the solder of fear? Shame on you.

Peter and Paul – Pay Attention my Friends

The Apostle Peter instructs us in 2 Peter 2:9:
But you are a chosen race (γένος/genos), a royal priesthood, a holy nation (ἔθνος/ethnos), a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
It is true, we are not a white church but we are not a black church, either. To be clear, we, the church, are of one (γένος/genos) and of one (ἔθνος/ethnos). Peter makes it clear that any form of human racial/ethnic interests being forwarded by the church is in conflict with this protocol. We are to identify within the church, collectively and as individuals, with regard to our unique spiritual properties. In other words, our human racial and ethnic properties are simply rendered anecdotal and our spiritual identity/person is preeminent and transcendent.

Paul magnifies this in 2 Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new (καινὴ/kainē) creature (κτίσις/ktisis); the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
That means our spiritual and ecclesiastical identity is to be based in something not existing before which Paul makes clear, is that which we receive when we are born again (our spiritual resurrection hence, the spiritual man) which is our spiritual identity. The basis, then, for our fellowship and ecclesiastical/spiritual camaraderie cannot be via our human or anthropological person but the new person in which we all share the same race/ethnicity which is the chosen and spiritual race/ethnicity, the same doctrine or thinking which is God’s Word and the same culture, which is Christ.

Finally, John writes in 1 John 1:3-4:
what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
Ecclesiastical/Spiritual Fellowship is Spiritual

The basis of fellowship between believers is their spiritual person with its spiritual properties given to us in Christ, in spite of what the modern pestilence of Race Based Special Interest Theology says which is forwarded by Reformed Blacks of American and (RBA), Reformed African American Network (RAAN) and The Gospel Coalition through its very visibly celebrated personalities such as John Piper, Al Mohler, Tim Keller and Russell Moore and a host of ministerial sycophants clinging to the every word of their Gurus as volunteers in the Echo Squad.

Your silence, men who know with certitude that this is error and others whose spiritual instincts are disturbed enough not to re-broadcast the destructive narrative of Race Based Special Interest Theology, is simply unacceptable. You are responsible, whether you like it not, to speak up and intervene for Christ’s people. Those who are now either being slayed by its malignant mouthpieces or friends watching friends suffer such abuse, is all a shameful impotency as you act as mutes with unwilling hearts to devote yourselves to the theological formula needed to combat this heinous solecism. Your ignominy does not go unnoticed, if not now, certainly on that day our Savior will examine your works.

An Answer to Embrace

No one Christian Bible teacher can have every answer but what I have stated above is a fundamental theological prescription which stands on its own with easily drawn implications and applications.

God’s church, his people, will and do come from every single human genetic group on earth as we see in Rev. 7, in the description of the church triumphant. And that is a descriptive reference to inform us that it was not just the Hebrews but for all men Christ came to save and provide a new life, a spiritual life which provides communion with him and his children. Thus, here on earth, when a man or woman believes the gospel, he or she enters into a new body, Christ’s body. They are a new creature.

This is the preeminent message and paramount identity upon which new believer’s spiritual life, nay his or hers whole life, rests. So to add the leaven of social conquest to the purity of spiritual conquest and the related doctrines for our walk with Christ and together as a church, is malfeasance dear ministers.

How can we actually fellowship together as one body when humanly/anthropologically based special interests and fractures are actually promoted as a way of ecclesiastical/spiritual life? There is no such thing as black theology, white theology or Asian theology. African theology? No. Turkish theology? No. Russian theology? No.

It is only Christ’s theology. One Christ, one doctrine, one family and one source of our unique and shared spiritual DNA.

Yes…

I get that there are social conflicts but that is the point. Those are social conflicts. Those are left kingdom pursuits. It is true that the Bible can inform the kingdom on the left but it certainly stops short of dogmatic prescription on almost every matter other than moral issues and doubtless, left kingdom quests are not the calling of God’s church. She is the kingdom on the right, a spiritual body with a spiritual mission.

Which is why, as I covered earlier, the issue of racial civil rights was deliberately equated to a moral issue. 

If something is morally wrong the Bible is clear and dogmatic, but in the case of racial/ethnic social interests and conflicts (whatever they be) the Bible is not dogmatic by any stretch so when we (and we have or allowed ourselves to accept this theological claim by others) manufacture a way to make these issues fall under the category of a Biblical absolute morality, then all we have to do to silence someone is call them a racist. Of course, no such equivalence exists in the Bible nor in any historical theology but this is exactly what has been done and now accepted by the Evangelical church.

It is a painful process to wake up from deception when you have swallowed it so eagerly with your ego fully invested. But when the terminating machine knocks at your door demanding you or your offspring, well, wakey-wakey time either arrives or the eternal grave of denial is dug.

Do you oppose civil rights? Are you a closet racist?

I do not oppose anyone seeking civil rights and if I agree that the rights they seek are legitimate, I will not only embrace their efforts but participate with them, at times, if my life permits such a use of my resources. Whatever label that earns me in your mind, so be it. Either you wish to have a dialog or debate or you prefer the easy route of posturing and the devilish treachery of defamation.

And yes, I believe the general efforts by blacks and other minorities for equal rights was constitutionally legitimate.

However…

What I do not accept, on the other hand, are the pendulant excesses in response to past exclusion and mistreatment in some cases, which exists in today’s social formula in approaching black/white relationships and all other more broad civil constructs with conflict which is to disgustingly assign with presumption and malice, the guilt of racism toward those objecting to the voice of a racial/ethnic minority when an objection is raised. The reprehension of such a practice cannot be overstated.

And sadly, nay, more than sadly, rather with miserable despondence, we have in today’s Evangelical/Protestant church, men and women who are proud of such arrogance and antipathy as they swagger from church to church and blog to blog online, casting the dark shadow of racial accusation and guilt, day and day out. They trade in the diabolic merchandise of recklessly imputing unhallowed shame.

Where oh where are the men of God who will quit fearing this ungodly corner of leprosy and bring the cure of sound theology which our Savior provides in his Word? Where are the men of spiritual vibrancy able to cast out such theological brutes and rebuke these rapidly coagulating racial militants within the church?

I suppose they are simply too afraid. God help us.

*Rarely do I ask this but if you have read this and believe it to be a fair and considerable challenge, please share it. The church is truly being ravaged by this issue.

Monday, March 27, 2017

TITUS 3:5 - TAKING OUT THE LUTHERAN TRASH: BAPTISMAL REGENERATION



The immense theologian, Martin Luther, came to faith long after his Catholic baptism via his enlightenment by God of the gospel following his considerable search for justification before God Almighty. Subsequent to Luther’s great awakening at age 36, he ministered in blitzkrieg fashion, much of it in the way of theological formulas - the law and gospel paradigm being most prominent - which were to aid in the transformation of the church in her worldwide arousal to justification by faith.

In his own spiritual arousal within Catholicism, it was not the intent of Luther to issue an invalidation of the Catholic church but of her errors. This background to Luther’s thinking and disposition is critical in understanding his theology.


What I mean is that Luther, much like all of us, no matter how greatly we might find unique spiritual edification from our peers and embrace sound doctrine, will ultimately reflect some element(s) of our time in history - some a little and others exceedingly - which will be planted in our theological expressions no matter how close to theological chastity we come. And this is the case with Martin Luther.

Though Luther sought to remain in the Catholic church, it was inevitable that those who followed Martin Luther’s fundamental teaching on justification by faith in Christ alone and apart from personal merit, would be compelled to form a new ecclesiastical body. And in forming that Protestant or ecclesiastically reformed body away from the Catholic church it was not without bringing some theological ghosts or as my title presents, refuse.

And I say all of this to qualify my topic regarding the theological litter that somewhat, unavoidably, was transported by Luther, Melanchthon and Chemnitz and company and embraced by the Lutheran church’s line of teachers and disciples. I realize that calling it rubbish is a bit harsh sounding, possibly you might prefer baggage or apparitions, which I alluded to a moment ago. That is fine diplomacy but I’m not so shy or reticent thus, coerced by the obligation to couch it in friendly terms seeing that on this occasion, the circumstance of baptismal regeneration, so much damage has been done.

While Luther did carry with him out of his spiritual regeneration many critical theological treasures which I do not hesitate to acknowledge and praise and look forward to meeting him in heaven and happily state rather effortlessly that he, no doubt, will measure greater reward than I, still, I must address the fact that he also bore a number of problematic theological ideas and one of those was the Catholic teaching of the sacraments, though he kept only two, which forward the claim that participating in the sacraments is a means of grace by which one may be saved and in particular, baptismal regeneration.

And so, today, I want to tackle only one text which I hope will be part of a number of posts addressing the errant doctrine of baptismal regeneration.

Titus 3:5

One of the favorite passages cited by Lutherans in appealing to baptismal regeneration is in Titus. Chapter three and verse five states (NASB):
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
And in pointing to this text Lutherans famously believe it is somewhat plain in supporting their theological idea. Essentially, it is the word “washing” which is their pivotal qualifier since it is predicated with “he saved us, not on the basis of deeds but…by the washing”. In their mind this washing must be identified as the water baptism performed by the church.

What Lutheranism Gets Correct

Before I chastise Lutheran theology I want to acknowledge some positive fruit, here. Lutheranism rightly points to the clarity of the text that human merit is absolutely null and void with respect to our receiving Divine approbation in salvation. Only through God’s provision, which comes through God’s mechanism - which we can only receive by faith - are we given Divine justification. Only God can and does cleanse us through His agency. This sweet Lutheran honey must not be overlooked in spite of the mishandling of a segment of the text which has given credence, in their minds, to baptismal regeneration.

Let’s Start with the Obvious

Simply upon the immediate and plain reading of the text we encounter the unmistakably conspicuous problem of claiming this refers to water baptism. The text is referring to an act by the Holy Spirit. Water baptism, on the other hand, is an act performed by a human being.

Two texts help us compare the difference.

Matthew 28:19-20 contains the command from Jesus to the Apostles to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” To whom is the command to baptize given and to what baptism does this refer?

The answer, of course, is that the baptism is a water baptism and the ones who are to perform this action are not the Holy Spirit but humans.

Acts 8:34-38 tells the story of the Eunuch who was reading Isaiah and Phillip coming along to explain the gospel to him. At one point they come to some water where the Eunuch asks to be baptized where the following is occurs:
36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37 [And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.

Again, who performs the baptism, what kind of baptism is it and further, on what basis is the baptism performed?

Phillip performs the baptism. But notice that he insists on faith in the gospel, first, before baptizing the Eunuch.

Comparing…

The text in Titus refers to a washing by the Holy Spirit. The water baptisms in Scripture always have the washing or baptism, being performed by humans.

These two contexts are not the same. The only means by which one can assert that Titus is referring to water baptism is to impose onto the text or read into the text (eisegesis) something that is not there. Generally, it is an assumption by Lutherans that this must have in view water baptism primarily because the word “washing” is there.

Forcing the Bible to Match Theology…

One of the common problems with pledging allegiance to a school of theology is that once the oath is made, consciously or unconsciously, an individual will be compelled to produce artificial textual interpretations of Scripture to make it match their theological mottoes. This is quite common with certain Augustinian/Calvinist formulas which I have referred to in the past and here, in Lutheran theology, we see this practice on this occasion. But I will confess, it is far less in Lutheranism than in any other Protestant theology I’ve studied and many Evangelicals are guilty of this in their own proprietary formulas in greater numbers than Lutheranism.

The Grammatical Problem

Having examined the most immediate issue, let’s look at the related and more precise grammatical issue which is the second element for consideration.

A comparison text from Ephesians

The word, “washing” comes from λουτροῦ (loutrou) which commonly means either a bath or to bathe (ritually or for actual bathing of the body), depending on the use as a noun or verb and is often translated under the context of an ecclesiastical “baptism”. However, it also can have a spiritual context and not one of water.

A passage which uses the dative, neuter, singular form is Ephesians 5:25-26:
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

Instantly, what we must observe is the use of the word “washing” apart from water. In this text, Christ has washed or cleansed with the Word of God. Hence, we have a gravitational use of cleansing/sanctification by Christ for one’s justification described as washing apart from baptism but with the Word (the Gospel) which, when believed, is the agent of cleansing.

Why Point out Ephesians?

While Ephesians is not the sole reference to washing in the Bible and in fact, is in the minority with reference to its use in the context of spiritual washing, it is important because of the claim by many baptismal regeneration proponents in asserting that the washing - when salvation is mentioned (or its elements) - must refer to a literal act thus, their appeal to water baptism in Titus.

Therefore, in response to any such theological pleading, especially here where we have washing not merely in the context of a non-water event but, in fact, one in the context of the spiritual washing which produces salvation, we must denote that water is nowhere in sight, rather, it is the gospel which washes.

This Ephesians passage uses the dative to identify the means of sanctifying (her – the church) and having cleansed (her – the church) which is “by means of” using the Word to wash her. In essence, it is using the dative to identify the means of the church’s sanctification and cleansing, which is by being washed, not with water but with the Word of God.

The main point here, ultimately, is to illustrate a clear spiritual use of the word washing, in association with spiritual cleansing or sanctification which results in our salvation. 

The Genitive in Titus along with verse six

So, now to the main passage in question in Titus. Normally one isolates Titus 3:5 in formulating the argument of this passage being about water baptism. I am going to include verse six to magnify that mistake after I focus on the genitive. I believe the reader will appreciate what verse six brings, mostly in the way of qualifying verse five and enlarging the obvious.

Titus 3:5-6
5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

1. The main portion for consideration regarding grammatical properties is the phrase in verse 5, “by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” Here, the genitive case is used.

The term “genitive” is much like our word genesis. It points to some kind of origin. In the noun, it points to the noun as being either the origin of an action or having some kind of significant relationship to the action of the verb.

There are many kinds of genitives which are only, at times, slightly differentiated and often disputed. In this case we have what is primarily one of three kinds of genitives: 
  • a descriptive genitive (which refers to the verb belonging to the noun)
  • a possessive genitive which is almost the same but more directly identifies the noun as being the undeniable source of the action of the verb
  • a genitive of relationship which attaches a significant relationship of the noun to the verb. In all three cases, they fall under the greater taxonomy of adjectival genitives.

Ultimately, then, what stands out is that the actions of λουτροῦ/loutrou (washing), παλινγενεσίας/palingenesias (regeneration) and ἀνακαινώσεως/ anakainōseōs (to make anew – referencing the new spiritual species 2 Cor. 5:17, the new man in Colossians 3:10) are all actions “of the Holy Spirit”.

It is not a human baptizing with water in any way nor may the text be said to reference water, apart, that is, from what we term eisegesis or reading into or importing into the text what is not there. This washing is simply and undeniably an action of God the Holy Spirit.

Yes, it is a baptism but not a water baptism, rather the spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit who washes us, regenerates us and makes us new in the new birth. Which brings me to the next verse, often ignored in water baptism appeals that should bring the context into obvious clarity.

2. Verse 6 states, “Whom he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior”. Immediately what do we see? We see this is precisely the context the Holy Spirit being poured upon us. This is the spiritual pouring, by God, of the Spirit which occurs when one believes the gospel!

You'd think I might have more to say on this point but actually, that is it. Why? Because it is so overwhelmingly prima facie, at least in my view, in qualifying the context.

Conclusion

While I appreciate the numerous contributions of Lutheran theology and note that a considerable lot of its good and excellent properties are under attack today, still, it brought with it out of Catholicism, some defective elements. These elements are ones which I believe injure the Lutheran church, severely.

Often in Lutheran churches you will hear, not an emphasis on believing the gospel but on being baptized. It is used, in my view, as a vehicle to avoid the hard questions of genuine faith. It is also a means of qualifying people for membership so that souls may be added to the ecclesiastical roll but not necessarily to the divine one.

I am not saying that ultimately, no one is ever simultaneously saved when they are baptized but it is not because of the baptism rather, it is because of the illumination of God the Holy Spirit regarding the gospel of Christ and that person’s understanding of what Christ has done that saves him or her because of his/her faith in that truth. 

Water baptism does not somehow force upon an individual a willingness to believe and the exercise of faith apart from one's own desire to believe and be saved. However, it can occur that one believes while being baptized but such simultaneous events, I believe, are rare and this is to say nothing of the most egregious claims of Lutheran theology namely, that of infants believing the gospel via water baptism.

Anyhow, this is not meant to be an extremely scholarly effort but as usual, a pedestrian one. One, however, which I believe is fundamentally unimpeachable with regard to the basic structure and properties of the text which, in order to overcome and make the argument for baptismal regeneration, one is forced to ignore these structural components of the text, explain them away, attack the messenger or amp up their mic and silence their theological opponent.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

JOHN PIPER’S DANGEROUS AND ADAMANT PASTORAL COUNSEL THAT MEN MUST CONFESS THEIR SEXUAL LUSTS TO THEIR WIVES

Y U no tell me...wait, nevermind.

A fresh audio publication is over at the Mortification of Spin blog, where Carl Trueman, Aimee Byrd and Todd Pruitt discuss an article in which John Piper shares his view (which is based on a longer audio by hip-hop artist, Jackie Hill Perry, who is now a Christian) over at the Desiring God blog, on whether men ought to confess sins of sexual lust to their wives. You can listen to the acoustic sagacity between the Mortification of Spin III here, and as a person who finds a great deal of audio material tedious and a miserable use of an audience’s goodwill satisfyingly, with this conversation, they rapidly go to the core issues confronting John Piper’s appalling advice with succinct flow and collaboration.


While I lent my ear to the conversation, I was stunned as they recounted Piper’s directions in stating that he recommends not only should a husband confess his sexual sins to his wife but as well, provide an itemized confession, in other words, detailing, “what you want to do”

Say whhhaaaaat?  🔙🔙🔙🔙🔙🔙

I am genuinely staggered by the almost silent response in the Evangelasphere or as Trueman calls it, Big Eva, with regard to this gravely hazardous teaching. It may be that this muzzling is due to a perniciously pious camp which appears to hold both the celebrity purse strings of most of the platforms along with their microphones, in Big Eva and particularly with Baptist, Southern Baptist, Reformed Baptist and a couple of Presbyterian brands. Thus, who is going to dare take on one of the Big Eva chief superintendents on this faulty formula, especially one which encourages the supreme piety of self-shaming and its correlating self-imposed suffering (ignoring the agony of the dear wife as she is treated to the salacious details of her husband's Adamic lust patterns)?

The truth is, we all should be alarmed by this pernicious idea and not solely because of its real and potential abuse which will needlessly and permanently disfigure many marriages but because of its coming from a man whose counsel should have long ago exceeded this kind of general hypothesizing and unctuous sanctimony accompanied by broad imperative prescription and which should only be typical of Pharisaical acolytes and not an instructor of his alleged stature.

I have warned, many times and do so again, against the imprudent tendencies of Mr. Piper who seems to relish in constructing and proudly articulating romantic theological and moral postures intended to be imposed upon Christ's church which do not even meet the threshold of prima facie evaluation. Instead, these inventions bode as a defective scaffold upon which he perches as if his leaning tower of Piper is a most clever place to display his impulsive and poorly thought out theological climaxes. And where are his so-called friends? None appear to care enough to inform him of his peril, at least not sufficiently in public where he makes so many of these displays and if done in private, unconvincingly so, it appears.

Doubtless, it does not help that many of his devoted allies are former recruits of his early discipleship efforts via his captivating fictive Christian Hedonism doctrine and are now lieutenants at their various Evangelical posts along with corresponding Big Eva bureaucrats and medal winning Evangelical statesmen, all with substantial ego-investments in Piper and his novel doctrines, long before they realized his improvident ways. It seems they are now are compelled to protect and defend their personal and corporate vanity, being constrained to stuff down what effective spiritual instinct is left inside as its receding voice screams at them one more time to listen but in commiseration, ultimately yielding, instead, to the preservation of their theological and spiritual 401k.

And to this issue, much of what is discussed by Byrd, Pruitt and Trueman is reflected in my four-part series in which I was responding to Russell Moore’s almost identical assertion that spouses must confess their sexual sins to one another. And in the case with Moore, there is some utterly capricious reasoning and use of Scripture which makes his foul possibly more egregious. I have embedded a link in the title of the series if you wish to read it. It is as follows, Must Infidelity be Confessed to a Spouse? A Rebuttal to Questionable Counsel from Russell Moore.

*In closing I am going to risk alienating a few of you but I wish to be frank, here, about John Piper. There is something going on with him, psychologically, in my view. I am not a psychiatrist nor psychologist nor am I presuming to offer a diagnosis which can only be done by a qualified individual.

I find, however, much of his persona and more so with whatever property is part of his personality or psychological make-up which would permit him to import this sex-confessing doctrine into his theological formulas and even beyond this, all the way back to the genesis of his novel and errant Christian Hedonism doctrine, distinctly disquieting, to put it somewhat mildly. 

This idea that he would impose upon his wife a regiment of constant confession of his sexual lusts and then further, communicate this as standard and imperative marital protocol to the Evangelical church, does not just speak to some casual theological problem but one of significant internal maladjustment. He is, rather matter-of-factually, resolving his personal and private sexual lusts, in the insistent employment of his wife as his personal priest. This is not just bad pastoral advice, there is way more going on than that. There isn’t just one red flag here, friends, there is a minefield of them.  

*And by the way, there is a reason men are attracted to using their wives this way, or should I say abusing their wives this way but this post isn't for that. I will, however, allude to the fact that generally it is founded in self-righteous thinking which is subject to grandiose views of one's self. This is not to imply one way or the other that this is the case with Mr. Piper, I am merely stating a general truth.