Sunday, September 10, 2006

Is He a Scorner or Not?

Do you think that Stephen was a scorner in Acts 7? After all, he did enfuriate a crowd of people with his rhetoric. They were religious people with good intentions and they couldn't all be wrong, could they? He said this to them in vv. 51-53:

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
Some today might call him a "vocal and abusive personalit[y] that dominate[s] and inflame[s] given situations with vitriol and scorn." Isn't "stiffnecked," "betrayers," and "murderers" a bit over the top, or at least flying right below the radar? And then what about Jesus in Matthew 23? Just as a tiny example of a whole lot that He says there, what about v. 13?

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

That is kind of harsh, inflexible, and dogmatic isn't it? And then "blind guides," "fools and blind," "full of extortion," "whited sepulchres," and "generation of vipers." Rampant name-calling. Harsh speech. And He just wouldn't stop. Someone might even say that "when confronted publicly [He] bluster[ed] and rant[ed,] pointing the finger at all but [Him]self."

Weren't the religious leaders, who were in the majority in each of the above situations, the actual scorners? You know they were. The very verbal minority is telling the truth. That makes a difference.

Proverbs 22:10 reads:

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
I want us to consider a little Scriptural logic as we think about this verse. First, however, let's discover what a few of the words are about. "Strife" (diyn, pronounced "deen") is used many different ways in Scripture. The base meaning of the word is "judgment." Is all of this diyn wrong? In Deuteronomy 32:36, God is involved in diyn, when it says, "the LORD shall judge (diyn) his people." He also participates in this same activity (diyn) in 1 Samuel 2:10 among many other places. If God does it, it surely isn't all wrong, and all of it shouldn't be stopped. Only the kind caused by scorners should cease. Psalm 9:4 says:

For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.

My "right" is diyn. This diyn certainly shouldn't be eliminated, but should be maintained, and God has done that. The people against this kind of judgment or discernment would be those whom God is stopping in order to protect it. If only the "scorner" kind of diyn is to cease, then we should know what a scorner is. The "scorner" (luwts, pronounced "loots") is someone who brags, speaks boastfully, puts on airs, and derides (see HALOT lexicon). So, the kind of judgment that comes from someone bragging, putting airs, etc. is the type that should cease.

Can we conclude that all strife (judgment, debate, arguing) comes from a scorner? That's where the logic comes in. If strife ceases, and it ceases because we cast out someone, can we say that it is good? We may want strife to cease, but what if the strife is coming from God? God also judges (diyn), if you remember. He has His spokesmen who do the same. I think we can all agree that we want to get rid of the ill effects of a braggard who causes problems because he puts his opinion ahead of God's Word. However, if someone comes with an open Bible and doesn't back down, so strife ensues, does that constitute scorning? No way.

I have noticed today that often during theological debate, a person who does not have an answer for a Scripturally documented point will attack the style of the rhetoric. Is it possible that the style has been wrong? Sure. But if it were true that they didn't like wrong style, they would admit the style was wrong even when they saw it practiced by someone with whom they agreed, wouldn't they? Doesn't that make sense to you? In other words, they see someone as a scorner as only someone who dogmatically asserts a position different than theirs.

Consider this scornful sentence:

At any rate, accepting what these men (such as D. A. Waite, David Cloud, and a host of like-minded lemmings) affirm in principle, let us examine how it plays out in practice.
Could this response to that statement be scorn as well?
Regarding Mr. Kutilek's use of the word "lemming," some may view it as an insult. However, I view it as truth.
People against scorn and vitriol would probably stand up against this. Right? When they don't (and they didn't), this is tell-tale. And how about this reaction to a fellow believer who was attempting to answer questions about his book on the gospel:
Oh've got to be kidding...For my part, I have never heard of you or your book, and this thread is my introduction to both. However, to this point I am not inclined to spend hard earned money on it.
He didn't attempt to help the man understand what was wrong. He just humiliated the man in the worst possible way one could to an author, and unapologetically. Of course, he wouldn't need to say he was sorry---he was in the majority. It is only the minority that can scorn, right? The same man writes in shameless self-promotion:

I couldn't agree more with Dr. Bauder's comments! It reminded me of some thoughts that I posted after they announced the T4G conference at last year's Shepherd's conference. Here is a summary of that post.

And he links to his blog. That was all he had to say on an entire article---essentially, "I posted something already about this and here's the link to prove it." That sounds like "putting forth airs"--part of the definition of a scorner. I don't think this above statement necessarily makes him a scorner, but it would by his own way of defining the same word. The scorners don't want to take the blame for their own problems. One "young fundamentalist" writes:

"We" have our problems, no doubt. But they are rooted in the inconsistencies of those that preceded us.

To which one of his cronies, the same self-promoter as above, replies:

Interesting...I just posted on my blog to that effect...
Again, I just posted on my blog, so "I kind of beat you to excusing our own problems, buddy." And what about this?

You are like the "dogs" Paul describes in Philippians 3. You are very much like the Judiazers. You are like the Pharisees. You are like those in Galatians 3 who were attempting to add to their sanctification by man-made religious rules. And like the dogs of Philippians 3, I'm not at all surprised by your teeth, disease and bark. I don't care how you view this note.
This was someone who did not go in private before he went in public. He later apologized, but those who defended his action haven't. Who are the scorners?

If you have a whole bunch of people in a room that take one position and just a few support something contrary, who do you think the scorners will be? Of course, you know who the majority will say they are. And yet, who are the real scorners? They are the ones who will not admit when they have a position that is indefensible. James 1:19 would call them antithetically slow to hear and quick to speak and quick to wrath. Democracy doesn't determine truth. God is absolute authority. What He says goes, even if we can line up opposition that circles the globe.


Don Johnson said...

heh, heh, sounds like we are on the same theme tonight bro. Kent. As I wrote on MY blog... but you can check it out for yourself!

I am somewhat at a loss what should be done about this. Part of me wants to just ignore it. Another part of me wants to expose the hypocrisy in hopes that one or two young fellows might wake up and smell the coffee.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Anonymous said...


I'd like to read your blog. Please post the address.

Dave Mallinak said...

I think you hit it with this post. Scorning is inescapable. We all scorn. It is not whether you scorn, but what you scorn that matters. On the one side, a group of men scorn all who differ significantly with their brand of "fundamentalism". On the other hand, there are those who scorn all who differ with the clear teaching of Scripture. In other words, there are those who scorn Scripturally.

The standard is God's Word. Not rough language. The posts that you are referring to exhibit the same kind of "rhetoric" that they are "casting out", or want to see "cast out". So, by their definition, they are scorners themselves. The problem is not with the language they use. I think the dog comments have a nice tone to them. I like the sting of it. I might use it sometime. The only problem I have with it is that it is being misapplied (applied to the wrong person).

By the way, I'm sure there are ways that we are all guilty of real, genuine scorn that is sinful. I know I have found myself guilty on more than one occassion. And when God reveals it, we must repent. That is what distinguishes a scorner from one who scorns. The scorner will not repent. The same goes for hypocrisy. There is a sense in which we are all hypocritical. But that does not make us hypocrites. A hypocrite dedicates his life to being hypocritical.

I think this debate needs to go to the blogs linked.

Don Johnson said...

Man, I am turning into the example for Kent's post. Anyway, here it is, if Kent is happy to post it.

Kent and I don't agree on everything, but I think we have a cordial relationship and generally view the world in a similar way.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Dave Mallinak said...

In case you are interested, I am discussing this with the one who calls you a scorner. Your readers might enjoy the exchange.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Just for background, he does refer to me as one, but he primarily is referring to someone else. I did go over there and look and I think you have a good start. It is very interesting. I hope he keeps it up with you.

Anonymous said...

I posted the following on Tom's blog. Just in case he does not allow it, I thought I'd put a copy of it here.

"Dave, Tom, and others. The thread in which I was called a “dog” by Joel is located at

I welcome anyone to read that thread and see who responded in what way.

Now, Joel did apologize for PUBLICLY saying what he said. You will notice that he is not sorry for the words he wrote, but for PUBLICLY stating them. That is his business. After all, if he is right in his assessment of me then he should have said every bit of it.

I agree with Dave Mallinak on this. I absolutely scorn your silly movement of neo-fundy, young-fundy, flip-floppy, gobbledy-gook, whatever-you-call-it. Along with its “grades” and foolish designations, it is just one more waste of time and energy that is diverting attention from God’s true work on earth-the local New Testament Baptist Church."

Anonymous said...

Well, it seems that Tom Pryde would not allow my comments on his blog. Young (Neo, Contemporary, Progressive--pick your label) Fundamentalists are like their political counterparts in that they say they want free discussion, but the truth is that they are only open to those that agree with them. Otherwise, they will spend a very few minutes hearing your voice and then cut you off. At least Brother Mallinak got the few minutes. I got mine at SI.

They have no comprehension of a solid, convicted way of thinking, preaching, and living. It irks them, grates on them, and leaves them accusing those that they do not understand of arrogance. They confuse arrogance with assurance.

Everything to them is a great, gray, misty cloud of possibilities. Their movement is adrift on a stormy sea. It is a ship without sails and with no anchor but the kind made of tissue.

Like the Athenians they seem to while away their time talking of "some new thing." Proverbs warn of those that are "given to change" and the wise son is admonished to "meddle not" with such.

It is typical of Reformed Romanists (Protestants) to silence dissenters. Such is the case at SharperIron and such is the case with Pryde.

I will continue to scorn their denial of the preservation of every word of Scripture, their Romanistic ecclesiology, their worldliness, and their silly attacks on God's men.

A Baptist who happens to be young, but NOT a Young Fundamentalist,

Bobby Mitchell

Kent Brandenburg said...

I have read the comments over at the T. Pryde, neo-fundy site. He threw a lot of Hebrew in over there, which didn't make a point. I say that respectfully. He should look at the Hebrew term scorner and strife, etc. every time they are used. God does not exclusively scorn in a good way. The scorner is also someone who scorns truth. He is picking out a few places and taking them out of their overall Scriptural context. The scorner is not striving to please God. He takes a few characteristics of a scorner and if he sees someone who has those characteristics, he concludes they are a scorner.

I didn't have anyone show me any Scripture when I was at Sharper Iron, saying what I did unScriptural. However, I did show someone something about not usurping male authority and she scorned that. That truly is a "scorner." She is no one who has written on my blog, incidentally, but someone who writes fairly regularly at SI.

So his thing is simply spinning us into this scorner role. Even if we were scorners, Titus 3 at least gives a model for how to deal with it---confront twice before casting out on the third time. That is two times of unrepentant scorning based on a Biblical definition. I would say it is just the opposite. I confronted them over the "lemmings" comment, and that is when I was "cast out."

Kent Brandenburg said...

Oh, and it is Diotrephes that casts out the brethren without Scriptural merit. I recognize it is a church, but if someone is looking for at least a Scriptural model; there it is.

Throwback 13 said...

* Bobby Mitchell aka "dog" said... "Dave, Tom, and others. The thread in which I was called a “dog” by Joel is located at
* Please note that that Joel was not me.
* Talking through my hat ...
* Joel