Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Is It Gospel Centered to Ignore or Disparage Cultural Applications of Scripture?

The idea of being gospel-centered is new.  It is pseudo-argumentation for new measures with continued popularity with the world in view, which is ironic, because you would think the gospel would be the reason for growth with something gospel-centered.  No.  Instead, it's rock music, casual, androgynous, or immodest dress, entertainment, and recreation.

The trajectory was like the following.  Christian churches were built on the gospel.  Then two things happened.   One, the world became more pagan and Christians more different.  Two, churches started to shrink because people didn't like being different.  Instead of getting smaller, the churches changed how they operated.  The churches that capitulated were criticized by those who didn't.  They came up with gospel-centered to explain their approach.  They weren't going to talk about the cultural issues, because the gospel is what's important.

Question:  What's the purpose of the gospel?

I now want to explore that briefly by considering 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (I risk being gospel-centered by using the King James Version [don't try to figure that one out]):

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The purpose of the gospel is to reconcile man to God.  Why does man need to be reconciled to God?  So that he can glorify God.  That's what man lost because of sin.  How is man reconciled to God?  Paul explains that in this passage.   Reconciliation occurs through transformation.  Transformation?  Yes.  That's what the passage says.  Verse 17, "all things are become new."  Next verse, "And all things are of God."  What things?  Becoming new is what reconciles us to God.  How are we made new?  We are made new through imputation of our sin to Christ and imputation of His righteousness to us.  Yes.  But it isn't imputation and justification without transformation.  The point, again, is to reconcile us to God.  To God.  God doesn't keep putting up with the old life, the former life, the way we were -- that's not what reconciliation is.

Something gospel-centered is transformational, turning us into something of a divine nature.  Our music and dress and entertainment become honoring to God.  If it doesn't, it isn't the gospel.

So how do they claim gospel centered?  They claim it.  That's just it.  They're not it.  They just claim it and then pose like it's true.  It's a gospel pose.  The gospel changes your dress and your music, so that you are honoring to God in this world.  The gospel doesn't excuse your dress and your music.  The gospel reconciles you to God through transforming you.  Not being transformed isn't gospel.  It's a gospel pose -- that's it.

Here's what happened recently at Northland.  Their numbers were shrinking.  They were laying off faculty and staff.  It's too bad.  They look at the landscape, much like the overall trajectory I described in paragraph two.  The numbers are bigger in evangelicalism by far.  They're not bigger because of the gospel.  They're bigger because people like the world.  They're comfortable with it.  And the evangelicals for awhile have been pushing a gospel that forgives all your sins without changing you.  How you feel when you've been saved is relieved.  You're not going to Hell anymore.  What a great deal!  And now you've got a whole new group of friends too in a new social club called the church.  Math tells you that if you move that direction, you could get a whole new clientele.  The kids like it better.  They'd rather wear casual clothes.  They like rock music.  But you've got to somehow fit all that into your doctrinal statement.  Gospel-centered is what works.  You say that scripture doesn't say anything about whether it's right or wrong to play rock music.  And you've never seen the kids "praise God" with such feeling as they do when they're doing their Joan Baez and Peter, Paul, and Mary impersonations.  It seems so authentic, the euphoria, the ecstasy.  And then you also explain that what was happening before was an immature look at the gospel, because it was all about making rules and regulations, lacking in freedom, attempting to put new wine in old bottles.

In a recent rant of someone who supports the changes at Northland, he said that the old Northland put the emphasis on form, like the Pharisees.  If the old Northland was interested in form, the new Northland is obsessed with form. You're not gospel-centered unless you look just like a sixties rock band with the drummer, the guitarists, and a female folk singer, everybody on his microphone, looking authentic? Where is the harmonica, the saxophone, the jaws harp, and the washboard? If I want to dance with a mad frenzy, spinning like a bull fighter, why am I not free to do that? Why is freedom only looking just like almost everyone in evangelicalism today?

Everybody's free, so now they can burp out loud, smack their lips, show their half-chewed food to everyone else, forget the napkin, and toss the biscuits if someone asks. How do you know you're free? You can grow facial hair in all matter of designs. How do you know you're free? Two words: blue jeans. It is also possible that kids like rock music and casual clothes and it has nothing to do with what God likes. Is all of this the key to the gospel exploding to those who've never heard?

Uh-huh.  Right.

This isn't new care about the gospel and it isn't gospel centered.  I've read that the churches that keep the "old form" are "dead."  By "dead" you mean that they are smaller.  Ya think?  People have a choice to go to The Adventure with the band and the The Jungle for kids with a skate boarder park.  The other place is reverent and serious.  Which do you think will be bigger?  Why do you think Joel Osteen is so big?  The biggest?

It's really a matter of where actual saved people are, if you're going to be about numbers, about numbers like Jack Hyles and the Hyles movement.  The "gospel centered" really are no different than Hyles.  They're using a worldly strategy that will work.  That's what Hyles did.  And he called it the power of God.  Hyles's strategy didn't work everywhere.  If you keep tweaking it though, you can get to something like these new evangelical churches with their big screen TV, movie clips, and undulating bodies during "worship."  They aren't held back by "form."  That's the "freedom" of the "gospel."  They are gospel-centered.

It's all just a posture.  It's not gospel-centered to ignore or disparage cultural applications of scripture.  Reconciliation is transformation unto God.   The imputed righteousness changes your culture.  It doesn't leave you the same.  And if the crowd grows, it grows because of conversions, because of the gospel, which is a miracle of God that defies worldly methods.


Lance Ketchum said...

It is good that you used 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 to deal with the abnormalities of Gospel Centrism. The text is not dealing with the salvation of a person's soul.

Salvation in the Bible is always presented in a threefold sense. We have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. The first aspect of salvation is the salvation of the soul. The second aspect of salvation is saving of one's life through practical sanctification and progressive transfiguration (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). The third aspect of salvation is the salvation of the body through glorification (Romans 8:29-39).

The great failure of Gospel Centrism is the failure to see the second aspect of salvation of one's life through complete surrender to Jesus Christ (Romans 6:11-13) and the supernatural enabling of the indwelling Spirit (Romans 12:1-8). This aspect of the Gospel details the absolute necessity of separation from worldliness and God's consecration of the believer priest for sacred service.

DLF said...

Thank you Kent for an excellent post on the nature of all this gospel-centered talk that is just an excuse for selfish, fleshly living. I heard someone recently say or maybe they wrote it and maybe it was you, but they said, “The Gospel separates.” And it does just that. It separates us from sin. It separates us from the world. It separates us from the “things” of the world. It separates us from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Thanks for saying it again and by God’s grace keep preaching it, as I will.

D. Flaming

Kent Brandenburg said...


PSFerguson said...

Some excellent thoughts Kent. You are clearly not with it!

I was amazed that so many fundamentalists are now to the left of places like Tenth Presbyterian Philadelphia in almost all matters. It is no wonder that Americans can be conditioned in a few years to accept gay marriage when Northland's leadership can overturn their stated beliefs and practices in just a few months.

Another good verse to bear in mind is Galatians 1:4 "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father" The root of the gospel is not just forgiveness of sins but the deliverance from the way of sin.

Larry said...

Two things:

1. To answer your question, No, it isn't gospel-centered to ignore or disparage cultural applications, which is a much shorter blog post than what you offered here. But at the same time, this is not license to make wrong cultural applications of Scripture. To do either is to be wrong. Throwing casual clothes and rock music in the same category seems to have no basis whatsoever. And accusing evangelicals of having a gospel that doesn't change you seems to fly in the face what evangelicals actually teach. That is more akin to the theology of most fundamental Baptists. Which is all to say that while your primary point is easily answered, your actual blog posts seems to lack any substantive interaction or contribution to the question.

2. I think you are dangerously close to Romanism in your last paragraph. Imputed righteousness is not transformative. That is infused righteousness, which is a Roman doctrine of justification. The gospel teaches that imputed righteousness reconciles us to God by removing the guilt, the liability to punishment. New life in Christ actually brings the sanctification. The first, justification, is monergistic. The second, sanctification, is synergistic.

3. You seem to know a lot about why NIU changed directions, but I am curious as to how you know that?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Larry,

Thanks for coming over, (sarcasm alert) and I'm especially thankful for your Romanism drop, which has me waiting for the Nazi and cult labels next.

Alright, for the three you enumerated (I like how you enumerate).
1. I think that your "no" answer is less self-evident to many, so it requires more than a one word post, but I'm glad it's clear to you. The "gospel-centered" evangelicals shift the change in behavior part of conversion to some lesser element of the gospel, and in so doing don't represent a true gospel. And it is a convenience of a movement that is characterized by cultural relativity.
2. We get our doctrine from Scripture and 2 Cor 5, a classic passage on imputation, starts with transformation and moves to imputation. You can conclude an order of imputation-justification-transformation-reconciliation. That's how the actual language reads. We are imputed Christ's active obedience. You're saying that doesn't change you? I've not thought that the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us is what removes the guilt, but in fact the imputation of our sin and guilt to Him. Both are found in 2 Cor 5. I'm not saying and never have that somehow Christians cooperate with God's actions in transforming our lives--that's infusion. I never even mentioned sanctification. I'm saying that a person is a new creature, like the verse (17) actually says. Perhaps you need to look more carefully at 2 Cor 5:17-21. Thanks.
3. Everything that I'm concluding is based upon the evidence. Many are explaining this as a gospel-centered movement, a maturing in grace. But what you see is a shrinking enrollment, a hemorrhaging of millions of dollars over a period of several years bridging the gap of this change. I'm reacting to the Bixby posts and sermon and TGC posts that are talking about God saving Northland from something with their new direction. There is a definite change. One side is saying it is "this," which I don't believe is possible. I am saying that it is this, which happens to look like horses instead of zebras.

My observation of you, Larry, is that you are there as defensive of the movement of fundamentalism toward evangelicalism. Do you have examples of being critical of that movement? I know this though, it would be really neat if you were there for me when I needed a defense. I know you generally wouldn't defend me about certain or even most matters, but when you could, it would be nice. There's a lot you can learn about someone by who and when they defend.

Larry said...

I intended no sarcasm; I apologize if it came across that way. But I think my “Romanism drop” should be a matter of serious concern to your wording, if not your theology. (I learned the enumerating thing from someone else; it, as he said, makes it easier to communicate.)

1. Fair enough. I agree, though I think there are some evangelicals who take worldliness very seriously. They define it differently than you or I might. I am not inclined either to defend or attack them on that point, since it matters little to the audience that I have.

2. I think you are misreading 2 Cor 5. First, v. 17 is the conclusion of a thought, not the introduction to one, though it is not unrelated to the following. So tying the transformation of v. 17 to vv. 18-21 as you have done doesn’t seem to pass muster. Secondly, to conclude an order of “imputation-justification-transformation-reconciliation” is the problem. You are making reconciliation with God a result of transformation. First, transformation in the passage is first not third. Second, in v. 19 the reconciliation is “not counting their trespasses against them,” a textbook definition of justification. These two are not separated by transformation. So it appears you have bifurcated justification and reconciliation, and made them a result of transformation. And that is the Romanist error of justification based on works. The gospel is that we are reconciled through Christ (v. 19), not through our transformation. I don’t think you intend to argue that, but I think that is how your language comes across. It is, at best, imprecise. And it doesn’t follow the words or the thought of the passage, not the mention the rest of Scripture. If nothing else, I would certainly urge you to clarify your wording.

3. About NIU, it is possible that the shrinking enrollment and financial issues have nothing to do with the changes. Rumor has it that the bigger enrollments were heavily inflated by scholarships, which are no longer available. That means these scholarship students are going elsewhere or not going. We can’t assert that all would have been fine without the changes. There is simply no way to know that because of the other factors. Have you entertained the idea that, no matter how much you and I may disagree, they made these changes because they believed it was the right thing to do, and they were/are willing to make them regardless of the cost? I don't know, but I am willing to allow them their conscience on the matter. I didn’t read Bixby that closely, so I don’t really know what he said. I thought Chris Bruno’s post was horrible.

With respect to defense of fundamentalism, yes, I have defended fundamentalism towards evangelicalism as a whole. I think fundamentalism gets a bad rap from evangelicalism (such as Chris Bruno) and from other so-called fundamentalists. I have been critical of evangelicalism, much more so than fundamentalism, particularly given my audience. In response to your question, I don't think I criticized fundamentalism much. And I don’t know where you have needed a defense, nor what I might have said in your defense.

In recent months, I have a ton of stuff going on and most of this stuff floating around the internet just doesn’t interest me enough to comment on it. I barely post on my own blog other than my (occasionally weekly) Around the Horn, and a few other things. I have a lot of half-baked articles that I haven’t posted. Perhaps that will pick up again sometime.

But I am working on my DMin project hoping to get it finished this summer. I am trying to lead the church effectively. And I have decided that my priorities are not to run around the internet commenting on various stuff. I hardly ever comment at SI anymore, and only on rare occasions at other blogs. I have drastically cut back on what I even read. All of which is to say, my commitment to and belief in the local church means most of these things should be handled at that level. And since no one in my local church is affected by any of this, I don’t spend much time thinking about it or responding to it.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Larry,

I don't assume anyone pastoring has plenty of time on his hands to mess around. I wouldn't be blogging if I had not already preached through most of the NT, because I would not be ready to say enough (some obviously think I'm not worthy to say anything anyway, but I think you can get my point).

I do want to say that I don't want to be imprecise in my communication of the doctrines of imputation and justification, and that can happen to me or anyone else. I definitely wouldn't want to be seen to be teaching infusion, but infusion is rather clear, it would seem, when it is being said. With everything else I've written, I think you would know that I don't have a Romanist position. I would not say that about you if I read something that sounded Romanist and I knew you weren't Romanist.

Is it worth blogging just for your church? Yes. I don't blog just for my church, but I think that the preservation of a particular belief and practice in the country would be helpful both to my church and pastors who believe and practice like me. I get the point though -- I'm local only and yet I'm writing a blog that is read by people outside my church. I'm for helping the church period too. And I think I do help it. Anymore it's easier to blog than it is to write a book, because you don't have all the publishing and selling hassle.

The reason I published 17-21, all the verses, are so that people could see what it said. I think 17 is attached to the previous section and the last section. Paul is talking about dying with Christ and rising with Christ unto newness of life. This tremendous transformation produces reconciliation. The "all things" of v. 18 are all the realities connected with transformation. Out of that comes the rest of the chapter. That was achieved by means of substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, because no one could be reconciled without God's justice being satisfied. Perhaps I could say that the reconciliation is the transformation, but it's difficult to say which comes first. Does the reconciliation bring transformation or is it the transformation that brings reconciliation? I would accept both, depending on the point of view. However, the way the text reads, the transformation is what brings reconciliation. You see man separated from God by sin, and the sin issue is settled, which transforms Him. God removes the barriers to the sinner.

Paul doesn't know people after the flesh, including Christ (v. 16), because of transformation (v. 17), and he describes how that transformation, which is reconciliation, occurs -- through imputation, which is justification. You can't separate vv. 18-21 from vv. 15-17. Gospel centeredness seems to separate 18-21 from 15-17, but God doesn't.

Larry said...

Just to be clear, I don't think you are a Romanist at all. That's what I tried to make clear with "close" to Romanism. I think the words you used say what they say. And in my second response, I tried to focus on your wording and I said, "I don't think you intend to argue that."

But again you say, "This tremendous transformation produces reconciliation."

I am extremely uncomfortable with that, both in terms of this text (it doesn't say that) and in terms of broader NT soteriology which teaches the opposite, that reconciliation comes through Christ alone by faith alone.

And that's why I take objection to it. I think this is the type of wording that allows Catholics to say, "Oh yes, that's what we believe." And they believe something entirely different.

In scripture, transformation comes from regeneration I think. Obviously, we are into some ordo issues here, but I would say that we live the new life that we have been given, that sanctification follow justification, and reconciliation is justification essentially.

But to be clear, I don't think you believe Romanism. I think your wording is unfortunate and imprecise. And I think 2 Cor 5 is not saying what you want it to.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Larry,

I think our discussions have gotten better. I think that is in part, in a major way, because of you. I want to commend you on that. Sometimes I don't know how I'm coming off in written materials. It's hard to know if the tone is offensive or the material is offensive by how people react, but we seem to be getting along.

OK, I've got really only one critique of your last comment. I'm not saying transformation is sanctification. I'm saying it is conversion. New Life. What Paul is talking about in 2 cor 5 at the end there. He died in Christ. He lives in Christ. He's in Christ. And there isn't anything that I want it to say. It's what I see it say. I'm not the only one, and I'm including Calvinists that I have read, so I don't think it's a Calvinist thing. And it also includes people who think v. 21 is the locus classicus of justification.

What do you do with the "all things" in v. 18? What are those things?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Consider this comment from Albert Barnes on this section:

"It conveys the idea of producing a change so that one who is alienated should be brought to friendship. Of course, all the change which takes place must be on the part of man, for God will not change, and the purpose of the plan of reconciliation is to effect such a change in man as to make him in fact reconciled to God, and at agreement with him."

Again, the change is what reconciles him. God does the change. God does the all things, the all things of conversion.

Lance Ketchum said...

If II Cor. 5:21 is speaking of the imputation of God-kind righteousness why the words "might be made." "In Him" refers to the believer's regeneration. "Might be made" is from γινομαι (ginomai), which is a present subjunctive. This is not talking about the imputation of God-kind righteousness or even the impartation (II Peter 1:4). This is the outworking of the in-living Christ through the yielded believer's life.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Lance,

I think your argument is a good one, and I'll be thinking about it. People do have to deal with ginomai. I'd be interested in what others have to say about it.

Anonymous said...

My comments are far less scholarly than all of the above, but I am compelled to say thanks for the "What is Truth" site for helping the "church period" and for the "preservation of a particular belief and practice".
Finally, someone that is no stranger to the struggles of fundamentalism who deals with the failures on all sides.

On one side of the blog world, you have a site dedicated to fundamentalism. With a lack of much conservative counterbalance in moderators, it has become not much more than a whipping post by those who have little regard for traditional fundamentalism. The current NIU discussion is an example. They are behaving no better than the fundamentalism they detest. Ignoring serious ethical concerns, gushing over decisions to their liking, and insisting that those who oppose are hindering the Gospel.

Of course, NIU must be allowed their conscience before God to go as they will. Of course they are entitled to define worldliness as simply a matter of the heart. But what about considering the other side's conscience. What about the NIU's service where even more blatant CCM was used running rough-shod over more conservative students who had to get up and leave for conscience sake. Romans 14 does not demand the MORE restrictive brother to get over it for the sake of the Gospel. Where are the demands for ethics when deciding how to change a school from what its constituents thought it to be. The embarrassing coup d'etat that has been going on at NIU brings to mind groups in society that will go beyond reasonable bounds for the cause. By defending them for sheer loyalty to the cause, they are behaving no better than the fundamentalism they despise. Reverse legalism of some sort.

On the other side, you have a site dedicated to fundamentalism. It sounds the alarm about the shifting fundamentalism at NIU and fundamentalism in general. But same site has yet to sound alarms about similar fundamentalist institutions. It is right to sound the alarm and to be alert so that we are not deceived. It is wrong to ignore the alarms of significant or potentially significant shifts in institutions closer to us. The inconsistency is deafening. At some point, it will be too little too late.

I'm fond of a previous post with the analogy of the two-year old. The "non-cultural fundamentalists" are unabashedly out the door playing in the street of relativism. They taunt others to step out. The taunting then turns into a cheering frenzy for the two-year old to take more steps. Cheering so loud that it drowns out any concerns. Cheers for: Northland's direction, BJU's "non separatist" music philosophy, college membership in the neo NCCAA in order to increase sports opportunities, accreditation at all costs, participating in conferences, group hugs, and prayers with others who are already out the door...

In order to get along, will they follow and eventually ignore significant NT portions on holiness and distinction from the world? Will they go beyond where they ever intended to go?

Is there anyone left refusing to play in the street?

"What is Truth" seems to take that stand, and I am glad to have found the interaction here. Is there a label being used for this "practice and belief" at this time in church history?

Traditional fundamentalism, as it continues to apologize and shift, is not for me. It is good to be gracious and engage in healthy debate so that we may prove all things. What is not good is to unnecessarily feel pressure to not separate where we are fully persuaded biblically.

Ah! "I applaud for them--loudly!"
just came up as a comment on a site in support of Northland. They are congratulating NIU on "stiff-arming the self-appointed fundamentalist". Are these the kind of people we need to play with?

Larry said...


Blog interaction is certainly an easy place to be misunderstood, and I have committed my fair share of sins to be sure.

By saying transformation is conversion, that changes things. I was thinking you were talking about sanctification. Although that still doesn't explain the bifurcation of justification and reconciliation, given the passages teaching.

With respect to Lance's comments about 5:21, two things:

1) The verse is a parallel: Christ became sin; we become righteous. The two work together and work the same. So if the second half is "the outworking of the in-living Christ through the yielded believer's life," then the first half is Christ actually becoming sinful. I think we agree that doesn't work. So that position works only if (1) Christ becomes sinful or (2) the verse isn't parallel. I think both are incorrect. Not to mention, I think your understanding is contrary to the point Paul is making, namely, that God is not counting their trespasses against them, but instead is making them righteous. The not counting their sins is not actually changing the facts that they sin happened; it is treating them differently, "as if they had not sinned." The becoming righteous is the same. Both are imputed.

And I believe it's not a present subjunctive; it's an aorist.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Larry,

I didn't know that "transformation" was the issue until 3/4 of the way through. I used transformation instead of conversion, and I understand the confusion.

The TR is a pres subj and the CT is aor subj. Interesting. A textual variant affecting doctrine. It's one letter iota in the TR and an epsilon in the CT.

Thanks for the comment.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I'm happy you can find a place where you hear what you are thinking.

Larry said...


Even more interesting (to me at least) is that the Robinson-Pierpont Majority Text is an aorist subj, so the critical text agrees with the Majority Text against the TR. I am not sure what the Hodges-Farstad reads since I don't have that one.

But I am not sure there is much of a doctrinal ramification. To me the parallelism and the context point in a clear direction. And even if it was present, that is still tenable.

Anyway, I hadn't intended to comment again, but you provoked me to look that up.

Thanks for the exchange.

L said...

This just proves that the argument that textual reconstructionism has no bearing on doctrine compared to the those who believe in preservation of the autographs in the Received Text is bogus. Of course it does.

Larry said...

Okay, I'll bite (even though I was done). What's the doctrinal difference?

It seems to me that, with either the present or the aorist, the teaching is the same: Just as Christ was made sin, so we are made righteous. In the passage, that is parallel--what happens to Jesus is what happens to us, and vice versa. And in the passage, it is "not counting out trespasses against us." So from beginning to end it is imputation.

If anything, it's seems that the present that changes the doctrine from imputation, and changes the meaning of the passage, which is imputation.

Joshua said...

Another excellent quote by Carl Trueman on Gospel centredness:

Along with this, a more positive rhetoric would also be developed to pre-empt criticism. A term like 'gospel centered,' for example, could easily be turned from a helpful description of a ministry into a kind of mantric shibboleth, implicitly ruling as imbalanced, malicious, or unbiblical any criticism of those who own its copyright. 'Confessional orthodoxy' would be wrested from its historic ecclesiastical context, with its connotations of elaborate theological formulation connected to clear polity built upon a Pauline view of the church and her officers.


Kent Brandenburg said...


You are very welcome in a comment or an email to share these types of quotes any time. It is nice that you do. Thanks. Will his saying it make it true now? Will his saying it mean that it should be listened to? What will in fact happen because he thinks this? I don't know. But at least we have a quote that some will find it difficult to refute because they respect Trueman so much.

d4v34x said...

If people pick and choose from the Apostles and Prophets, easy then to pick and choose from Trueman.

Joshua said...

It seems most people find things more palatable if they're said by a pithy self-deprecating published Brit evangelical with a dry sense of humor - certainly more than coming from the us confrontational, set a sword independents. Things go down easier with a dash of Lewis or Trueman.

Dave has it in one though. I'd even say I pick and choose from Trueman. Presbyterianism and Reformed doctrine? No thanks. Commentary on the state of modern Christianity? I'm listening.

I've got one more to share and then I'll give him a rest for a while.