Monday, May 06, 2013

The Now Irrelevance of Cultural Relativity

Read parts one and two.

Perhaps you've seen a two year old standing at an open door.  He wants to go outside.  He looks around to see if anyone is watching.  He's not supposed to go outside.  He's been told not to.  He looks around again.  He steps out; just stands there.  Looks around again.  Steps forward a little ways.  Looks around again.  No one is saying anything.  And now he starts to move out to where he wants to go.  No one is stopping him.  Since no one says anything, he's free to do whatever he wants.

What I just described is what is happening today regarding cultural relativity.  The people who once would say anything about music or dress or entertainment aren't saying much to anything anymore.   Let me bullet point what I'm talking about.  Before I do, however, first should be said that things have changed dramatically in this regard.  The standards on cultural issues are very different today.   Some might say, and probably correctly, that this ship has already sailed.   But here's what I'm talking about:

Bob Jones University announces something new on music -- it doesn't separate over music like it did before.  Here is what is new at Bob Jones:

Although the answers will be based on biblical teaching that is valid for all believers at all times, we recognize that these answers involve the application of those teachings to our specific context and institutional mission. Other institutions, congregations and individuals may apply them differently based upon their own earnest efforts to reflect scriptural principles within their respective contexts and in keeping with their unique institutional, congregational or personal missions.

While biblical truth is nonnegotiable, application in specific cultural and institutional contexts may differ.  In particular, since music is such a dominant cultural force in the contemporary West—to a greater degree, apparently, than it has been throughout most of history—application of biblical principles in this area is likely to be controversial, touching strongly held opinions across a spectrum of choices.

Do you understand the change here?  Music, which was nonnegotiable is now negotiable, in their own words.  Graduates of BJU and others in that orbit will get the signal.  You're not in trouble any more over music.   You can walk two steps out, a few more, and then just go wherever you want (like the two year old above).   It's been relegated to something less than biblical truth, a mere application to a particular cultural context.  I'm not saying that Bob Jones has the right music standard.  I'm saying that they had held to a particular one and would separate over it.  The new reality has precipitated this change.

Most were interpreting it as a position stated right at the time when things were moving to the left at Northland, to show strength. For BJU, this isn't a strong statement, but a capitulation on music.

The president/chairman of Religious Affections Ministries teaches at a Southern Baptist Seminary and joins a Southern Baptist church.

Scott Aniol has lost credibility.   His materials are good, but he doesn't separate over worship music, because he is part of the "ministry," which cooperates with what has already waved the white flag on cultural issues.  The cooperative program of the SBC of Texas shares with Baylor University among others.

Mike Harding, a prominent voice in the United States for traditional or conservative music, will not separate from Scott Aniol over his SBC fellowship and recommended that he take that route.  Not only is there the liberalism still harbored in the SBC, but the open position on all forms or types of worship music, even at Aniol's seminary.

The president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary questions the feasibility of music standards.  He wrote this:

When rock and roll came out, it clearly represented a shift in the culture toward ungodliness, so it was uniformly rejected. Now, after five decades of music variations and three of "Christianized" versions of it, the united front within Fundamentalism seems something less than united. When long hair was the cultural symbol of rebellion, there was a pretty clear consensus that it was not proper to follow the fad. Now, when some of the fads don’t include long hair, defining a worldly hairstyle is far more difficult. I could go on, but I think you can see my point.

Some Fundamentalists are clamping down on these pop culture issues and are making the case for the same applications that worked 40-50 years ago. The net result of this is that they appear to be arguing for an Amish-like response to culture. Their goal seems to be the preservation of a pre-60s Americana, not the production of godliness in the 21st century. Mistakenly arguing that "your standards can’t be too high for God" they keep staking out positions that can hardly be defended biblically. Anything that looks or sounds new is suspect for that very reason. While I agree with the desire to pursue holiness, I have serious questions about the biblical and theological orientation of this wing of Fundamentalism. There is serious confusion about the differences between biblical principles (which are timeless) and contemporary applications (which are time bound). This confusion often leads to division over differences of application, not principle.

That statement says we're not going to do anything about this anymore.  Northland and Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary have given-up the cultural issues.   This statement says they're going to be okay with Dave Doran.

John MacArthur moves the rock band of the Resolved Conference to the "worship" of his Shepherd's Conference.  Youth culture meets the adult pastors.

The explanation was:  "This is a special program for that one conference, the Resolved Conference, which doesn't even exist anymore."  When I watched the live stream of the Shepherd's Conference, I notice that the youth culture is in prime time at the most conservative of the conservative evangelicals.  Many, if not most, maybe all, are all for it.  Whether someone agree or disagrees that it is right, it is a change.  It has happened.

One more, Wayne Van Gelderen Jr., speaks at the Spiritual Leadership Conference in Lancaster, CA and Paul Chappell preaches at the Holiness Conference in Menominee Falls, WI.

I thought the worship and music were more important to the Van Gelderens.  This says that it is relative.  You can move to where Paul Chappell is and you'll be fine.  This is new.  Worship is ranked lower than revivalism.

The acceptance and promotion of rock music at Northland has spurred recent thought about cultural relativity in fundamentalism.  I have heard some comparing Northland to Maranatha on change.  They have exalted Maranatha for staying consistent and strong, when everyone else is changing.  I read that, but if you do not think Maranatha has changed, then consider this picture.  Those are Maranatha girls.  Most evangelicals and fundamentalists think this is cute.  I say it's one of the best arguments for the same-sex marriage supporters, that is, there is no separate male and female role anymore.  By the way, there is no Bible verse that says that women can't play football.

Cultural relativity has become irrelevant.  If churches capitulate, should it surprise us the world is in the condition it's in?

Does it make any difference?  Evangelicalism dropped out on the cultural issues long ago, but certain well-known of them are signaling, as I read it, that they see this now as a problem.  You can  read it in David Well's trilogy.   You hear it from John Piper here (at the 20 minute mark).  He says:

I think that the explosion of...I don't want to just say contemporary worship music and contemporary worship forms, a very rock-oriented...whether or not the ethos generally associated with that on a Sunday morning can sustain the gravitas of the glory of God over the long haul.

Thanks for telling everyone now, John Piper.   He could have said a lot in his final sermon as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, but he chose to say the following:


If you entice people with wealth, ... ease, health, chipper, bouncy, light-hearted, playful, superficial banter in your worship service posing as joy in Christ, you will attract people, oh yeah, you can grow a huge church that way. But Christ will not be seen in his glory and the Christian life will not be seen as the calvary road that it is.

Piper isn't alone.  Al Mohler has taken a turn in his understanding of the relationship between beauty, truth, and goodness (read this series and then his interview with Roger Scruton).  Mohler writes:


Roger Scruton, a well-known British philosopher, has suggested that worship is the most important indicator of what persons or groups really believe about God. These are his words: “God is defined in the act of worship far more precisely than he is defined by any theology.” What Scruton is saying is, in essence: “If you want to know what a people really believe about God, don’t spend time reading their theologians, watch them worship. Listen to what they sing. Listen to what they say. Listen to how they pray. Then you will know what they believe about this God whom they worship.”

My haunting thought concerning much evangelical worship is that the God of the Bible would never be known by watching us worship. Instead what we see in so many churches is “McWorship” of a “McDeity.” But what kind of God is that superficial, that weightless, and that insignificant? Would an observer of our worship have any idea of the God of the Bible from our worship? I wonder at times if this is an accidental development, or if it is an intentional evasion.

Beauty is inextricably tied into goodness and truth, and beauty connected the same with worship.  You lose one and you lose the other two.  Mohler has that realization, maybe Piper too.  And fundamentalism has followed the evangelical path of cultural relativity.  Once that train has left the station is there a possibility of return?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for organizing and documenting these blatantly ignored shifts. You have given me great relief. Instead of having to start my own blog to wave a red flag on BJU's ambiguity, I can simply comment. Perhaps they were overly gracious to the neglect of being clear about how they will apply their philosophy. I am trying to hold out hope.

When the topic was brought up at Sharper Iron (see BJU Releases Music Philosophy), one commenter was glad to read this language as he interpreted it as supporting his view of not needing to separate. No one was willing or able to defend the language used in the philosophy.

Why is there not concern enough to seek clarification from them especially after the recent warnings/happenings at Northland?
You mentioned "graduates of BJU and others in that orbit will get the signal." I am getting the signal...a very disheartening signal.

As for the fundamental Christian college sports...a perusal of the NCCAA website, mission statement, associations, and endorsements should result in more red flags worthy of a bullet in your article. "That train has already left the station."

Anonymous said...

Bro. Kent,

"More recent years have seen this movement shift its foundation from the Rock of Christ and His Word to the sands of Neo-Evangelicalism. It has drifted away from its love for Truth, Biblical Separation, and for the principles and standards of God's Word. It si no a house in the process of falling.

"The Fundamentalist movement's love for the Lord and the standards and principles of His Word has dramatically waned. It now has become overtly flirtatious with its newfound paramours of Neo-Evangelicalism. These paramours have opened their ministries to this once-virgin movement enticing it to enter into its broad arena of the pleasures of carnality and worldiness.

"Like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton of old, many Fundamentalist schools commenced with the burden of training and preparing young men and women for the ministry. Now their vision has shifted to the world's agenda of social and liberal arts. Other movements crept into the Fundamentalist movement, enticing it away from its purpose and heart before God. Bill Gothard came with his Basic Youth Conflicts and satellite ministries with the belief that through the power of the flesh one can subdue the flesh. Due to the conspicuous absence of biblical separation, Gothard was drawn into the vortex of the Charismatic movement, including its music of 'worship and praise.'

"Another Neo-Evangelical movement Vision Forum also was received with open arms by Fundamentalists. It called for hope by returning to the emphasis upon family as well as changing government through conservative politics. At the same time, its Neo associations and strong contemporary 'Christian' music proved dit was a movement empowered by the flesh trying to overcome the flesh. These and other movements came into Fundamentalism strongly weakening it spiritually, making it more permissible to enter the Neo-Evangelical camp.

"Another vital sign of Fundamentalism's crossover is found in the sounds coming from Fundamentalist radio stations across America. The mixing of both conservative and contemporary music throughout their broadcasting day has infiltrated stations such WMUU, WOEL, the Fundamental Broadcasting Network, and a number of others. Southern Gospel music and other styles of contemporary music are being sprinkled among conservative music. There is also great concern about the neutral path of CCM that SoundForth recordings and Northland and other Fundamental schools have taken. Each year the music is sliding into more the mainstream of the contemporary.

"While this crossover is being made, contemporary Fundamentalism will increase its hatred for the remnant and its voice against change. They will now try through a variety of means to nullify the remnant voice."

This quote comes from article, "The Posmortem of Historic Fundamentalism: Part Four," by Dr. H. T. Spence of Foundations Bible College.


TJP

Anonymous said...

Bro. Kent,


Here are few shorter quotes from H. T. Spence's four part series on "The Postmortem of Historic Fundamentalism." If you don't mind, I'll cite several more in another post. Spence gets pretty pointed about several things.

1. "Over the course of several decades Fundamentalism has slowly embraced Neo-Evangelicalism through the use of its methodology of evangelism, its approach to education, its writings, its music, and its ministers. "

2. "Fundamentalism is now identified as Neo-Evangelicalism. There is no public distinction between the terms in regard to the churches anymore."

3. "The younger preachers were never taught in their seminaries the heretical evil of Neo-Evangelicalism; it is estimated now that well over half of the graduates from Fundamental schools have become Neo-Evangelical. It is evident in their approach to evangelism, their music, their preaching, their libraries, and their non-separatist living."

4. "Although various kinds of bad music existed for centuries, we are in a society now where apostasy in music is universal. For the first time since the Tower of Babel, we have come to one universal language through music. No matter what the language of the words, people throughout the world know the language of contemporary music.?

5. "Sadly . . . Fundamentalism has slowly and gradually softened so that today there is no distinction between public Fundamentalism and Neo-Evangelicalism. Fundamentalism has allowed so many things to 'slip in.' These dangers slipped in through soft, generic preaching, that was merely expository teaching without true Bible preaching. Similarly, subtle contemporary music trends have appeared under the guise of Fundamentalism."

6. "How often faculty and staff members of Fundamentalist colleges and universities have told us that they are not permitted to use words such as 'apostasy,' 'separation' or other terms of former days of Historic Fundamentalism. Such words and concerns are viewed as the 'unsaid' words."


TJP

Anonymous said...

Bro. Kent,

Here are some more quotes from Spence's articles:

1. "What grief came to the remnant a few years ago when the picture of Magic Johnson was cited on the front cover of the BJU Review. This man, with all of his deplorable living, was given front cover among professing Fundamentalism. What dialectic Christianity does such a picture promote among the weak, shallow teens?"

2. "Some fifteen years ago in a regional Congress of Fundamentalists where my father and I were among the guest preachers, all of us were told by the host pastor in his office that we were not to deal with any issues of controversy, but simply be positive an 'preach Christ' alone. This was stated more than one time in private meetings of the Congresses throughout the last decade of Fundamentalism in the twentieth century. My dear father was told before he spoke at the World Congress in London, in 1990, that he was not to deal with the controversy of Jack Hyles. All of this reminded me of the ecclesiastical leaders within the denomination; they muzzled the preacher if his words were contrary to the political correctness of the church. The last words I heard from an ecclesiastical leader within the denomination we left were, 'If you believe that the Bible contradicts the denominational policy, you must submit to the denomination.'"

3. "Compromise evangelism is the norm now and whatever it takes to 'build' the church, the end will justify any means available. John R. Rice talked about the need of baptizing at least 300 a year in order to be a success. We are living in a competitive world, and it is evident that the church is in competition with the world to see who can draw the greater crowd. Such evangelical pressure has forced the evangelical world to accept rock music and all of the other styles of the world's music in order to accommodate the world's desire to attend the church."

4. "Our schools are becoming the product of Neo-Evangelicalism without so much its being taught in the classroom, but simply by its not being dealt with at all."

5. "The Fundamentalist youth basically dress now as the world does; there seems to be no line of demarcation. We should have been setting the standard in spite of the world's persecution, yet we have succumbed to their mold of dress. We have pampered them in being 'cool' for God and 'hip' for Jesus."

6. We were warned about Patch the Pirate music, Majesty Music, and now we have had a whole generation raised on this kind of music, and we are reaping a whirlwind. . . . We warned in our own book of 'Confronting Contemporary Christian Music' of the ethereal, surrealistic sound that had taken over Fundamentalist music; the men were sounding like women, and even the women had lost their quality, classic sound of days gone by. We were waned of the 'easy listening' sound that was invading the Fundamentalism music fifteen years ago. Where did it come from? It came from the Neo-Evangelical sound."


TJP

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks for the comments.

I got one of my anonymous comments, which I didn't publish, and there are people that don't like this. All I'm doing is reporting. If these people believe in this, if it is of God, then they should be fine with it, but it should be acknowledged as a change.

And then we read these evangelicals actually judging that music does in fact do something. I'll talk more about that maybe this week.

Scott Jonas said...

I heard a few years ago from a BJU family that the college started allowing women to dress in pants because men were whistling at them as they walked down the street around the campus. If true, it's a poor reason.

Sad to see the women playing football. Years ago I wrote an article called "Should Women Play Sports?" to address the issue. I got mocked by many folks of course. Here's a link if interested, although I'm not particularly a fan of this website:

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Womens%20Page/christian_women_and_sports.htm

Anonymous said...

Bro. Kent,

Here's a list of probing questions by H.T. Spence entitled, "Have I Changed in My views and Walk with God?

1. Am I still in communion with God, or have I convinced myself over the years of absence of prayer and Bible reading that I do not need these things in my life to be a Christian?

2. Have I come to believe that a rather good, moral life is all I need to be saved and go to heaven?

3. Have my principles changed over the years in raising a family, of where my children go and what they do?

4. Have I discarded certain standards in the past several years believing they are no longer needed to protect me from this age and sin?

5. Do I have more tolerable heart towards sin in my life and in others? Am I willing to let the dealing with sin go for the sake of peace and harmony?

6. Am I more tolerable to compromise in my life and towards those who compromise the truth of God?

7. Do I see today, as I did years ago, my generation and its subtle influence to lead astray?

8. Have I been so long in the atmosphere of the contemporary that I do not really see what is wrong with today's contemporary music?

9. Has may heart changed in its hatred towards the world, the flesh , and the devil?

10. Am I more tolerable about the world's clothing?

11. As a minister of the Gospel, has evangelism become more may concern that the building of the character of the saints and warning them of the age in which we live?

12. Do I see the changes that have come concerning the modern English versions, and what concern do I have for those who are changing to them?

13. Do I interpret the will of God as the conduciveness of circumstances rather than the Scriptures?

14. Am I being deceived to think that Neo-Evangelicalism is the way God now wants the church to go for this generation?

15. Amidst the need of maturing, am I as strong today as I was years ago against sin, error, and anything that will subtly draw me or others away from God?

16. Has this generation's view of money and business affected me in seeing truth and the evil of compromise?

17. Do I still love to hear strong, Bible preaching or have I changed in this hunger?

18. Have I changed in my love for the memory of God's men and women, for what they taught me to believe and live, and for the strength of their preaching? Or do I revere their memory but have changed and compromised what they taught me?

19. Do I find myself becoming more acceptable by the Neo-Christianity crowd and ministers that several years ago I would not have even associated with?

20. Have, since I have gotten on the field as a missionary or in a church, backed down on my preaching of sanctification and the need of 'Walking in the Spirit' and preaching against the power of the flesh?

21. Do I find myself talking against true men of God and the true music of God and giving in to the more acceptable political approach to having a ministry and living a 'Christian life'?

22. Have I allowed my view of a Christian to be tainted by the contemporary view of a Christian?

23. Am I no longer taking a stand against things I took a stand against years ago?

24. Would I be willing to take a stand against the changes I see taking place in ministries that in former days did take a stand but are no longer doing so?


TJP

Steve Rogers said...

TJP,

I'd love to get a copy of that series of articles by Bro. Spence. Any idea how or where? Every link I find, including the one from SI is broken.

Thanks.

Kent,

Good series.

Anonymous said...

Kent,

Here is a link to Foundations Bible College and Seminary radio station: fbcradio.org.

Go to the site and under the title "Visit Foudations Audio Sermon Library" click on "Foundations Audio Sermon Library." Then in the "Search Title" box type "fundamentalism." It'll list for you several series of sermons on Fundamentalism. Some of the things he says are just excellent.

Also, on the site you'll see a link for "Straightway Publications." That is where you'll find the material I've quoted from. There's much there, and it's very interesting.

By the way, I've quoted from Vol. 29, Jan/Feb and March/April 2011, Nos. 1,2 of the Straitghtway publication.

If you're unfamiliar with him, H.T. Spence is an interesting person. If I'm not mistaken, his father, O.T. Spence, at one time had the highest IQ in the United States. He too was a powerful and gifted preacher. Both O.T. and H.T came out of the Pentecostal movement and started Foundations Ministries.

His sacred music station is one of the best.


TJP

Joshua said...

Just to add to the comment about women and sports: nature itself teaches ladies that this is wrong.

As a teacher I can tell you, and I have also read the statistics, on the high proportion of female absences during sports carnivals at school, both at Christian and non Christian school.

If it wasn't compulsory for them to attend and participate, I reckon less than half would, even if these days of decayed moral sensibilities.

I had my own experience that convinced me it was uncouth. I was at a sports carnival for a Christian school, and the girls 1500m was being run for the under 16's. Most of the girls hadn't hit their full womanly figure yet, but one poor lass had. All the others had finished before she was halfway through. I was standing on the sidelines "encouraging" her to keep going, cheering her to keep going.

She was doing that strange waddle women do when they try to run with their hips developed and their thighs getting in the way of each other. She was covered in sweat, red faced and her chest was heaving as she gaped for the next breath. Naturally she was girded in short pants, but there was nothing even slightly stimulating about this picture of female misery.

And there I was as a buffoon screaming at her from the sidelines to run, when I felt ashamed. This wasn't a young boy who needed to quit himself as a man and gird himself and do his level best and suck it up. It was a young woman who should be encouraged to be a lady in every way, and instead had been made a public spectacle. The androgyny sickened me like - watching a teenage boy dressing up for a tea party. Why do we force our daughters to get involved in this stuff. There is nothing in the Bible about ladies and sport and track. How can we on one hand demand they gird themselves as men and strive physically in the arena, then on the other ask where the gracious and shamefaced feminine daughters of Christ have gone?

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Sorry, I should've directed my post about the information to Foundations website to you and not Kent.

One feature of the site I like is the broadcast, Forwarding the Faith, a 30 minute broadcast that deals with many issues.

Hope the link helps.

TJP

Steve Rogers said...

TJP,

No problem. It is Bro. B's blog. Anyway, I did get the link and the articles. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

A recent BJU solicitation to support the Bruins quotes the president as saying, "When the Bob Jones University soccer teams kicked off intercollegiate athletics in August, they inspired a campus-wide unity I have never seen before."

That reminded me to check back with your article and read any new comments. Since someone inquired about the pants issue, here are the two main reasons that have been communicated to me.

1. BJU seeks to find a balance with their standards by taking into account the standards from the churches that most of their students attend and/or from conservative churches in the Greenville area. Since, currently, the churches they are serving are not opposed to pants so much anymore, the university has shifted.

Years ago, females could only wear pants in the dorms or at female only sports activities or PE classes (loose with a very long shirt). Then it progressed to "where the activity deems it necessary" (certain outings/activities/sports in mixed groups as well). Now it is permitted at all sporting events, back campus activities (sports and more casual worship and prayer services), and off campus. You can find them in various rehearsals and in various performances. These days you rarely see a long shirt to at least help the situation. Even many of the pictures on the website contradict their handbook (readily available on the website, as well).

Someone recently asked that if students can wear them this many places then why not allow them on front campus. The response was in general a we want to protect the image of the front campus, but we are considering it.

2. The second reason for the dress code changes (specifically for allowing pants off campus for shopping, activities, etc.) is because of the Mormons in the area. In their dresses or skirts, the BJU females were often confused with Mormons.

I don't have the heart or the time to get into the head-spinning relativity or ramifications of all of this.

Don Johnson said...

Kent, I am concerned with you about a number of these points. However, I want to speak in defense of Mike Harding here. I think his comments about Scott are being misinterpreted. The news of Scott's going on the staff of an SBC church is fairly new. I think it just happened within the last few months. Mike has stopped supporting him financially. To me, that is very specific separation, a refusal to fellowship (see Philippians for this meaning of fellowship).

At SI, they are mocking Mike and trying to smear the FBFI over Scott. I don't think you'll see Scott speaking at Mike's conferences again. I am pretty sure he will not be invited to any FBFI sponsored events. I am willing to bet that most Fundamentalist churches and institutions, once they are aware of this change, will no longer extend invitations.

So I think separation has occurred and will continue to occur over this point. I think it is unfair to say that Mike is somehow compromised and tolerating Scott's changes.

I don't think Mike needs to come out with some flaming condemnation of Scott to prove that he has separated from him sufficiently. Stopping financial support is a significant change.

Having said that, the concerns you raise at other points have value, I think. This battle is not over now that Northland has imploded. The field of conflict will now shift elsewhere.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

Don,

Just got back from our big orchestral concert.

Here's the exact quote (here: http://sharperiron.org/comment/56586#comment-56586) from Scott Aniol as given by Kevin Bauder:

"6. I recognize and appreciate the difficulty some fundamentalists may have with the fact that I am teaching at at Southwester Baptist Seminary. It has already hindered some fellowship with a few churches, and while I am saddened by this and disagree with their decision to break fellowship with me, I understand their reasons and appreciate their caution. I made this decision with much prayer and counsel from men like Pastor Harding, who enthusiastically encouraged me to teach at Southwestern. He told me that while it may cause some to break fellowship with me, he didn't think it would be many, and my decision to teach here would in no way hinder my relationship with him or with FBC Troy. He even consulted his deacons who shared that sentiment."

That sounds different than what you're saying.

I'm supportive of Mike and Scott on music, but Mike is not acting in a way consistent with leadership in fundamentalism. The old way would be to be unequivocal. This marks a new era, as I see it.

Don Johnson said...

Hi Kent,

Well, obviously I don't read it that way. Scott grew up in Mike's church, his parents (and other relatives, I think) are still part of FBC Troy as far as I know. I think they are speaking carefully so as not to flame one another, but there is definitely a break.

Does Mike have to blast Scott to qualify as separating appropriately? I don't think so. And while Scott may hold up a forlorn hope that many fundies wouldn't break with him, the fact is that most will. Read Greg Linscott's comments on SI. Scott and Greg are friends, but it is quite clear that Greg is not comfortable with this move. I think Scott will find that he has made a bad choice.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Don,

I really do appreciate your defense of Mike. I like Mike too in many ways. When I hear him preach, I like his preparation. I like his militance. I like his music. I like his gospel.

When it's your guy, in this case, Scott, you've got to show that you are going to deal with it like you expect everyone else to deal with it. The principles don't disappear.

I know Scott will pay in a certain way, but that's not the point. What's the right thing to do. Somebody like myself, who pushes Scott's stuff, has to hit what he's done even to be consistent, or it looks like I'm ignoring it just because I agree on worship and music. If I wasn't so supportive of Scott's point of view, I might not say anything.

However, let's look at the overall point of the blog. I hate what I'm seeing.

Don Johnson said...

I agree with the overall point of your piece. I don't think I need to say anything further about Mike and Scott.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Anonymous said...

One thing (one thing) those at SI have done well is to point out glaring inconsistencies with traditional fundamentalism especially when it comes to those people or places closer to our hearts.

Harding speaks for himself through the comments under this article.

http://sharperiron.org/article/fundamentalism-culture-and-lost-opportunity

All it would have taken is for Harding to simply say, "I believe the SBC is in error. I believe Scott is now in error. I regret the path he has chosen, and I will not be supporting him financially or partnering with him in the ministry."

While he did not need to blast, he needed to admit the inconsistency and admit it in language we all understood from past fundamentalist rhetoric. In the end, his defense was embarrassing (and left us wondering what he really believes). He "wishes" his church could have supported Scott. Although he's "not a fan" of the SBC, he has to give us unimportant-to-the-debate info on the "substance of Scott's doctrine" and his stellar character, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

It sounded too much like the "what matters is in the heart rather than the actions" relativity.

I have no joy in saying this, but if anybody is keeping score, they won on this one.

SBC House on the Sand appears to be out of print and no longer sold at BJU. It was a very well-documented book that the Lord used to bring people and a church I knew out of the convention. Maybe Harding is simply representing a shift in attitude towards the SBC, and I'm just now getting the ambiguous memo.

Jon Gleason said...

Brethren, re: Mike Harding, since he didn't write those words that Kevin Bauder reported, perhaps someone could ask him if he agrees with that characterisation of his words/view.

While asking, perhaps someone could also ask if the financial support discontinuation came because of disagreement with Scott's decision to accept a permanent teaching role, and his new church affiliation, or if it came simply because Scott now has a salaried position such that he no longer needs support.

In other words, we might make sure we have the facts. The discontinued support may mean nothing as far as separation is concerned, or it may mean much. The words attributed to Mike Harding could be accurately, somewhat skewed, or significantly inaccurate. Maybe Pastor Harding should be asked to speak for himself. He's not usually hesitant to speak clearly about what he believes. Then, we can talk about what he says.

For my part, I think he's had a chance to speak more clearly than he has, and as far as I know hasn't taken that chance, and that disappoints me. But I certainly haven't read all the long SI comments, so I may have missed it. In any event, it seems better to ask him about Scott Aniol's characterisation of his words directly before trying to assess it.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Jon,

I appreciate your defense of Scott and Mike. I appreciate you. And I know I'm Chicken Little. I could have left this whole stream of thought out, but didn't because the Scott Aniol report as transcribed by Kevin Bauder, was heard by Mike and Mike accepted it. He comments on something with which he disagrees. Kevin Bauder isn't going to write a false report about Aniol and Harding. This wasn't so much a shot at Mike either. It is a report of what things look like on the ground.

In other words, since this is all public, he did get asked publically about the characterization of Scott's words. And the read of it, very, very clear, is that it hasn't changed Scott's relationship with the church, except for the money. And Mike explained that the money droppage was because of Scott now having a salary, which he didn't have before. He didn't say it was because of the SBC affiliation. One could assume the two go together, but Mike stated something different.

Anyway, I'm an Aniol supporter, so I'm unhappy about it, but I think enough has been said. I never mind talking to someone directly, but I also know that not everyone like being talked to directly for other reasons. And I'm not an SI participant.

Jon Gleason said...

Hi, Kent. To be clear, I'm not defending. I didn't know Mike had been asked. I can't stomach the SI discussions on music & separation. Same comments from the same people, going nowhere.

Here, you only cited what Bauder said Aniol had said. So, I thought about finding Mike's email address and asking him about it. But it sounds like someone already has, so that's fine.

Even friends mistakenly mischaracterise us sometimes (after all, you mischaracterised my comment as "defense" :)). I just wanted to know if we were sure Scott hadn't mischaracterised Mike.

Thanks.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Your inability to stomach those discussions is a description of the kind of thing that makes me like you.

Jon Gleason said...

I've never had anyone appreciate me for my bellyaches before. Now I feel warm all over -- but it might just be the flu.