Monday, June 17, 2013

How Big Is Disobedience to 2 Corinthians 6:14?

The Corinthians were shutting the Apostle Paul out because of the influence of unbelievers.  The prescription was a command in 2 Corinthians 6:14, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers."  Then Paul spends several verses giving reasons why to obey this command.  It's a command from God. It's also axiomatic in light of the rhetorical questions Paul asks immediately following that command.

The above is a command that I've heard and read is supposed to define fundamentalism.  And let's say, "historic fundamentalism," because that's what people want you to be sure that they mean.  They would say, "Historic fundamentalists didn't separate over a bunch of peripheral, non-essentials, but over the gospel."  The term "gospel-centered" might even come into play here.  With that in mind, they would say that some of the conservative evangelicals are historic fundamentalists.  We come up with the labels and titles, but God considers whether we obey what He said, like 2 Corinthians 6:14, for instance.

You can often tell what someone loves by his reactions.  When by accident you dent someone's car, you might watch how he reacts to that.  Sometimes all it takes is getting in front of him at a four way stop, when he thought he was there first.

At the ETS meeting in San Francisco, I asked Al Mohler how he could obey 2 Corinthians 6:14 and be a Southern Baptist.   He didn't answer my question.  He was obviously offended with it and then dodged it.  Southern Baptists live with incongruity of light and darkness, righteousness and unlawfulness, believing and not believing, and Christ and Satan, against the command of 2 Corinthians 6:14.

Fundamentalists not too upset, if at all, with Al Mohler, are aggravated with, one, KJVO, two, men who believe women shouldn't wear pants, and, three, convictions against Christian rock.  Those are very often the real deal breakers.  They'll separate over those, albeit even if it is only the cold shoulder type of fundamentalist separation not mirrored anywhere in the Bible.  Why are the three I mentioned so often so very serious, but little a peep over the conservative evangelicals among the Southern Baptists?

Several years ago now, I reproved Jason Janz, then owner of SharperIron (SI), for posting a Douglas Kutilek article calling KJVO men the lemmings of Donald Waite.   I received notice that I would not be banned from SharperIron, but I would obtain the unique status of not banned but instead having no more posting privileges.  He was clear with the difference.  I would not be banned.  I just couldn't post any more.  Why?  He didn't want to have people like us at his site, the kind of people who believed like we believed.  Who was we?  I don't know.  What did we do?  He didn't say.  That was as specific as he got.  If you looked into their archives, you'll see that I never had the term "banned" next to my name as others received.  I'm sure it was because I had not done anything to merit being banned.  I'm not attempting to get back.  I've not asked to go back.  It's been better for me not to be there.  However, I got severe discipline for asking about the term "lemming" as it applied to those who exclusively use the King James Version.

I still at times read articles and the comment section at SI.  To a refutation of the new perspective on Paul, an SI member wrote the following:

[A] present state of justification does not guarantee a future state of justification. What Scripture makes clear is that justification is mutable. Your and my state of justification can be lost.

I read that and several other substantiating statements by this member, someone who was advocating a false gospel.  He wasn't misrepresenting his own doctrine of conditional security.  There were men who disagreed with him, but no one called it a false gospel.  No one shut down the thread.  None of the moderators confronted him directly for espousing a false gospel.  He wasn't asked to recant or be banned.  He was still in good standing.  So if someone can lose his justification, then who is doing the justifying?

You say you're KJVO, and watch men jump on that.  You say you oppose pants on women and witness the hot reaction.  You say that Christian rock is wrong and watch the harsh criticism come from fundamentalists.  What about when someone espouses a false gospel?  Isn't separation from this what really characterizes a historic fundamentalist?  One would have thought that, but you can tell what people love by their reaction.

What the above quote represents is actual legalism.  Actual legalism.  People are so up in arms with labeling "rules" and those who utilize them as legalistic, that when they actually see legalism, they don't even recognize it.  Of course, to them legalism is opposing the practice of mixed swimming, worthy of intense confrontation, even mockery, but what about when Christ is made of no effect unto you, because you are fallen from grace?  Anything?  How big is disobedience to 2 Corinthians 6:14?

31 comments:

Larry said...

FYI, Kent, you are incorrect on your description of the recent conversation at SI. You should remove that portion of your post.

Kent Brandenburg said...

How so, Larry? I'm reading this and I spent a week debating eternal security to recognize conditional security when I see it. What did I say that was wrong? I'll be glad to remove it. I did link to it so people could read it for themselves.

Larry said...

You said, " None of the moderators confronted him directly for espousing a false gospel."

This is false.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I just got back in and scrolled through the comments, and I didn't see anyone confront him as espousing/preaching/teaching a false gospel. The most was Paul H, who called it Galatianism and heresy. There isn't the outrage there would be if someone said he said 'pants were wrong on women.' That would get public ridicule there.

Maybe you are saying that someone confronted him privately and said a "false gospel." He's not retracting, not stopping, continuing to go with it there, so I don't see it. You'll have to help me.

There are three moderators, right? At least as advertised?

Susan R said...

Bro. Kent,
As much as possible, moderators take action privately, discuss all available information amongst ourselves, and then make a decision that may or may not be public.

It is worth noting that Jason Janz no longer owns or operates SI. Most of the current mod team weren't even on SI when he was in charge. We don't ask ourselves "What would Jason do" before making decisions.

In addition, the mod team are volunteers that have lives outside of SI, and speculating about what we are and aren't doing, and whether or not we are doing it fast enough, is not productive or relevant.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Susan,

So when someone proclaims a false gospel at SI in public, that's a private moderation? And if he continues down that line, he doesn't get banned?

The Jason Janz was just part of a narrative. My own evaluation is that SI hasn't changed much. I like Aaron much better than Jason. Aaron himself is far more conservative, but the feel of the participants is at best the same, but probably worse. I don't think it's because of you. I don't expect you to confront someone like the one making the comments.

My big point is that fundamentalism says its big beef is the gospel, but they act like their big beef is KJVO and pants on women issues by the reaction. Here was a rare occurrence of someone preaching a false gospel and it just went on and on. No one said, "Take it elsewhere." If he did, he's not getting it in public.

Has someone really said to him, That's a false gospel. That's what Larry is saying has been said to him by a moderator. Moderators are very public in most instances, so I don't get the private. Even here, when I even brought up the issue, because no one said "false gospel," I got something in public, not in private. I don't mind it in public, but how would pointing out a false gospel be as big as the actual false gospel itself?

Kent Brandenburg said...

A few more things. I gave it several days here before I wrote this. If this was no-pants or KJVO or no-on-rock-music it would have been savaged for hours for days, mocked and ridiculed. No one would have needed a reminder. Here's a rare false gospel appearance and it is dealt with very sensitively and softly by the few saying anything, and nothing by SI that I read. Nothing. The usual suspects, who say the gospel is so important, say nothing.

A women stood up against rock music in comment on the sidebar filing post pro-rock music, and someone spoke to her condescending and a "my dear," and she had to bow out of the conversation. The left comes in strong, is disrespectful, and they get room to maneuver. This is a culture there that I don't understand. I'm not saying everyone there supports it, but it looks obvious to me.

Susan R said...

Bro. Kent-
Moderation is more of an art than a science. Each situation is different. Currently we usually allow some time for users to answer someone who is in error. I believe we can learn a lot by doing this. I certainly have learned many ways to answer a variety of questions about doctrinal issues.

Personally, I'm much more likely pay attention to violations of the comment policy than the doctrinal statement. Basically, you can reason with someone who wants to discuss things reasonably. Demagoguery is much more destructive than the back-and-forth of working through doctrinal differences (even error), IMO.

Anyway, our mod team tries to be consistent, but we aren't going to breach confidences in attempts to 'prove' that we are doing something to address issues as they arise. Any correspondence between mods and users that is not public is automatically private and confidential.

And may I point out that the reason you don't see private mod actions is because they aren't visible to the public. So, to say that moderators are usually very public is inaccurate. Most of what we do is private and will remain so.

I think it is interesting that folks think of SI as some sort of entity or organization. For instance, to be allowed to post, one only has to click a couple of boxes that say they agree with the DS and CP, then include their full name, and a working email. It isn't an exclusive club of some sort. There are no 'members' in the sense that we usually understand that word.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Susan again,

I think I have a handle about SI. It is owned by Aaron and he is more conservative than most of the members, even as seen in his articles, recently taking Bob Hayton to task a little on "trying harder," Bob representing the new preach-the-gospel-to-yourself sanctification theory.

On the other hand, SI is an organization or institution. The members are not an institution per se, but the members represent what fundamentalism allows today, which is a sort of heartbeat. More conservative fundamentalists are not so comfortable at SI, because the rules are different for them, but SI represents what is allowed in fundamentalism. At one time, what is allowed could be stopped. Fundamentalism seems to not even be trying to stop it. The shift is seen in what has occurred at NIU. I know people are against that, but the main leaders are not being that strong about it, much like they haven't been strong about Calvary at Lansdale.

What I am observing in this article is that I believe that there is some hypocrisy about the gospel issue with those who say it is first in importance. If it is, why do they not react like it is? I thought that was communicated with my article. It is one thing to say that in a doctrinal statement, but then one can watch how people react.

Do you not think what I'm saying is true?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Another thing. Let's say that someone was preaching a false gospel in public. No one rebuked him in public. So I said, no one rebuked him. Someone comes along and says, what you are saying is not true. So I ask, So did someone rebuke him in private? The person replies, I'm just saying what you are saying is not true. And someone else in the know follows up, all correspondence that is not public is therefore private and thus confidential.

Is it still confidential? Isn't the public conclusion that someone repudiated someone publically, so it isn't confidential any more? If you are trying to keep it confidential, then you've now given away that you said the very controversial private statement that a false gospel was in fact a false gospel.

My question: Why is public repudiation of a false gospel confidential? What is so private about it? The false gospel was proclaimed in public. Why is it being rebuked in private? Is this the correct course of action? Should a public false gospel receive a private repudiation?

What I think I'm supposed to conclude is that a false gospel was privately repudiated and then the adherent of the false gospel still kept promoting it, but no one is to conclude that it was not repudiated, because no one can conclude that, because it is possible that it was done privately. I don't really know. This seems new to me, like something I've never seen before.

Susan R said...

What you are supposed to conclude is that you can't accurately comment on events you did not witness, or assume that they did not take place because you did not witness them.

Larry said...

Kent,

First, haven't you disproven your own complaint when you say that Paul Henebury called it Galatianism and heresy? The whole point of Galatians was a false gospel, and invoking means calls it a false gospel. David O has also been challenging him, as others have. So you can't really complain that no one has rebuked him publicly. You even pointed out that someone has rebuked him publicly. The fact that the letters "false gospel" in that order may not have been used is missing the point. It has been clearly and openly challenged as false teaching on the gospel. Therefore, your whole article is misguided from the outset.

Second, I would simply say that you being unaware of something is not the same as it not existing. So it entirely possible (and actually true) that moderators have said something and you simply didn't know about it. Furthermore, others have challenged him and are challenging him. My point is that your article was incorrect and should be changed to reflect that.

Third, I doubt many people are reading it now, or read it past the initial article. I skimmed a few posts, saw Paul was interacting, saw Aaron was interacting with him, and went on my way. As I have said before, I don't read all the threads at SI and I don't keep up much with the ones I do read. I assume others are like that as well.

Fourth, I don't know how many moderators there are, so I can't help you there.

Fifth, Whether or not pants on women would get a different response these days, who knows. But I am not sure how or why that matters. That's just a red herring, it seems to me. In this particular discussion, a point was made and has been challenged by multiple people in multiple ways. That has happened on pants, Bible versions, music, and a host of other things.

I didn't intend to get into a back and forth. I merely wanted to point out that your article was wrong, not intentionally, but because there are things going on that you don't know about.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi,

Nothing that I wrote, except for the idea that someone may have privately called him on it being a false gospel, has been untrue. In a way, I hate to post a paragraph that someone could read already above, but I wrote:

"There were men who disagreed with him, but no one called it a false gospel. No one shut down the thread. None of the moderators confronted him directly for espousing a false gospel. He wasn't asked to recant or be banned. He was still in good standing."

I said men disagreed with him, but no one called it a false gospel at the time of this writing. Someone had said it was heresy and Galatianism -- to be technical, that isn't calling something a false gospel.

I'm saying that after his proclamation of a false gospel, five days went by with no moderation. You're saying it happened privately. But if that's true, no actual moderation occurred, because he kept espousing it. I don't mind if someone reads this entire thread of comments. I still haven't had someone tell me that he privately told that commenter, before this writing, that he was espousing a false gospel. I've only been told that what I'm saying is not true, and that I should respect private and confidential communication that has been made with him, so I shouldn't assume he hasn't been told it's a false gospel.

Larry,

A major point of my piece is that you can tell what's important to people by how they react to something. It's not a red herring. The most important things got little attention. After I posted this, yes, David O has been dealing with him at the "trying harder" thread. I posted it just after midnight on Sunday/Monday. David O started in on Monday AM/Noonish.

People can take what I've written at face value, judge it, slice it/dice it. I think it's important to think about how people really react to a false gospel versus how they react to other things. On SharperIron, I had never seen someone state a position like that particular commenter, and the lack of dealing with him was of interest.

Aaron didn't deal with the false gospel at all, by the way. It was definitely a theological error against the doctrinal statement of SI. I'm not trying really to provoke the supervision there -- just making an observation -- that you seem to be saying means nothing. It doesn't change my interest in SI. I still like looking at it. And I continue to see this episode as tell-tale.

Don Johnson said...

Hi Kent,

You're right on this one except one point. I've pretty well given up on serious comment over there. Certain posters I simply will not respond to at all, even when they make personal attacks.

Where I take exception is where you say (in the comments) The members are not an institution per se, but the members represent what fundamentalism allows today, which is a sort of heartbeat. More conservative fundamentalists are not so comfortable at SI, because the rules are different for them, but SI represents what is allowed in fundamentalism.

I really don't think most fundamentalists consider SI to be really fundamentalist. As you say, Aaron is more conservative than some of the others, but even he seems to have a fairly high toleration level. The fundamentalists I talk to are dismissive of SI. FWIW.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Joshua said...

It is remarkably telling what people will give the ol' screaming dogpile to, and what gets a yawn and a shrug.

That's the crux of it right there. No amount of explanation of the subtleties of forum moderation and what may or may not have been mentioned in private is going to alter that.

Pants = screaming dogpile. KJV = screaming dogpile. Music = screaming dogpile. False gospel = ??? It doesn't take a genius to see where the wind is blowing here. In any community folks find out pretty quickly where the boundaries lay and what is and isn't accepted and tolerated. I think the borders of this community are pretty clear now.

d4v34x said...

Larry,

I think Ken's point-- that the pile of "what in the world???" posts that sometimes (I stress sometimes)ensue when someone challenges the use of certain styles of music did not ensue when someone challenged a key element (perseverance of the saints) of the Gospel--is a valid point to raise and may perhaps be a genuine indicator of the mood of some participants at SI.

I only learned of the line that poster was persuing from Kent's article here, and challenged him because I went to college with him, sang in choir with him, etc, and wanted to be sure he meant what it sounded like he was saying. And he was. Unbelievable.

On the flip side, I didn't see it as it all went down because I was AFK most of last week, and it could be that some gospel defenders also just happened to miss it because they (like me) don't read every article or every comment under every article.

Susan R said...

Bro. Kent-
I'd email this question but I didn't find a contact button or information on your website.

I left a comment yesterday that hasn't been published. It looked like it went through from my end, did it show up on yours?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Josh,

Exactly my point.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Susan,

I publish everything essentially. The only reason I moderate comments before publishing is because, I think, if someone knew I wasn't moderating, there would be more crank comments that would stay there for hours and sometimes days without moderation, because I don't know when I can't moderate.

Anyway, I published everything, so if I didn't get something from you, I apologize.

I wasn't going after the moderators by the way. I had one major point overall and it wasn't about the technicalities of moderation.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Don,

I hope you're right, but Calvary in Lansdale, Northland, and some of what I see happening at BJU has me think that it's at least somewhere in between what you are saying and what I'm seeing.

Kent Brandenburg said...

D4,

I do appreciate your approaching him. I understand that when you try to do something like that, you'll have to spend time you probably don't have. I don't expect full fledged continuation to the end, just something that matches the severity.

Everyone,

I recognize that Paul H is dealing with him, because it was his post. And now a few more are chiming in, but the 5 days of near silence is what caught my attention.

Kent Brandenburg said...

D4,

I do appreciate your approaching him. I understand that when you try to do something like that, you'll have to spend time you probably don't have. I don't expect full fledged continuation to the end, just something that matches the severity.

Everyone,

I recognize that Paul H is dealing with him, because it was his post. And now a few more are chiming in, but the 5 days of near silence is what caught my attention.

Kent Brandenburg said...

D4,

I do appreciate your approaching him. I understand that when you try to do something like that, you'll have to spend time you probably don't have. I don't expect full fledged continuation to the end, just something that matches the severity.

Everyone,

I recognize that Paul H is dealing with him, because it was his post. And now a few more are chiming in, but the 5 days of near silence is what caught my attention.

Jon Gleason said...

Interesting. I rarely have time to read the comments anymore.

Are Joshua Caucott's views compatible with the SI doctrinal statement? If not, surely the moderators should address it publicly and ban him if he doesn't retract? I'd think the pastors among the moderators would want to take the lead on that.

But maybe the moderation team thinks they are compatible. Someone maybe should ask Aaron if he thinks so.
***

The music thing. Amazing. A guy writes: "Much of today's worship music, by contrast, does something else entirely for me. With some exceptions, these songs engage my heart and soul."

So he makes an argument based on what it does to him, his heart, his soul. Brenda T was entirely in bounds to point out that a woman's sermon "engaged his heart and soul," that preaching in a hippie costume or a straight jacket "does something else entirely for him," etc.

And she was taken to task for not engaging with what he said? If you make an argument that something moves you, then it is certainly appropriate to look at what else moves you. Maybe, just maybe, he isn't moved by spiritual things. That's not relevant?

Urgh.

That's probably off-topic to Kent's point, though.

Larry said...

So you don't think that Galatianism was a false gospel? You may be the only one in the history of the church to think that.

But I will leave off here.

Larry said...

I see that since writing my last comment this morning and forgetting to hit "send" (or post or whatever it says), a bunch more was said.

But to address Josh and Dave who made similar comments, the silence or lack of interaction may be a reflection of a number of things not entirely healthy. My guess is that more people read posts like about pants, music, than read posts about trying harder. Let's face, trying harder really isn't that controversial or exciting.

The discussion about justification is under a post that really has nothing to do with justification. My guess is that, like Dave, many people aren't reading it. I didn't read it for a long time, and still haven't read most of it, though I skimmed it. It's not that I am soft on justification. It's that I don't have time or interest to wade through the nonsense.

Again I reiterate my only point from the beginning was about one little thing in Kent's post--that charge that no one had said anything. That simply wasn't and isn't true. Were that removed, the post would be fine.

Anonymous said...

"Why is public repudiation of a false gospel confidential? What is so private about it? The false gospel was proclaimed in public"

I don't bother with the "confidential" issue at all. If something wrong is proclaimed/taught in public, it gets told openly as wrong in public by me. I care not who is bothered by that.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Larry,

We might be squibbling over some technicalities here and clouding a major point I'm making, one that you seem to be agreeing with in your last comment. And it is that point that I was making, not at the quality of moderation, although I could do a separate post about that. I see this as somewhat similar as to the news media's role in holding this presidential administration accountable. They have a bias that causes them to be less harsh on some things they may have been harsh about previous.

Joshua Caucutt is not KJVO, doesn't mind pants on women, and is OK with rock music in worship, so the radar is not out for him. He only espouses a false gospel, so he's given the kid gloves.

I recognize that Paul H wrote something -- he's involved and it was his post. But the normal barrage and someone at least saying "false gospel," wasn't there. I know Galatianism includes a false gospel and heresy is sometimes a false gospel, but false gospel and Galatianism are not categorically the same. Paul H. got it. Maybe that was enough. I was looking for the same dynamic that would be received for the other, so-called peripheral, issues. The "major" got treated peripheral and the "peripheral" gets treated major.

People maybe like the liberty of multiple versions, rock music, and pants on women more than then they like the gospel. Or at least, they like a gospel that allows a lot of stuff, a lot of disagreement, a lot of nuance.

Thanks for coming by.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Jon,

I think you're right. And the music thing was touched on.

Joshua Roberts said...

Bro. Brandenburg,

Interesting article. Here is a recent comment by Dr. Doran on SI concerning the false gospel being proclaimed by someone in the comment section: "I don't have a vote, but if I did I'd vote that the door for heresy to be advocated here be closed."
J Roberts

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Joshua,

I saw that, and I thought that was exactly what someone should have done. Dave Doran was exactly correct. I'm surprised that his counsel was not followed by the staff there and for the very reason why that he explained.