Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Different Versions of Christianity

So here's my thought on the Driscoll fiasco that everyone keeps asking me about. Doug had a great quote in the CT article on Mark. He said, "I think that we're basically talking about two different versions of Christianity." With this, I think, Mark would agree.

What troubles me about Mark's critiques of Rob, Brian, and Doug, is that he is investigating the minutiae, the fine print, the footnotes. It's almost like the scribes that Jesus constantly dealt with -- those who kept trying to trap him in his own words (while ignoring the overall gospel that he was promoting). Mark doesn't like that Brian footnotes a book called The Scandal of the Cross, that Rob recommends the philosophy of Ken Wilbur, that Doug has one line about our need to find "new ways to be sexual." Once, at lunch with me, John Piper had a similar concern: that Brian endorsed Steve Chalke's book, a book that in one line reiterates a view of penal substitutionary atonement held by many feminist theologians for three decades. (Please, read Chalke's book -- the rest of it really isn't about denigrating your sacred theory of propitiation. Most people I meet have heard one line of Chalke's book, but haven't actually read the book.)

This kind of argument is tenuous at best. Criticizing folks for who they read, who they footnote, and who they endorse is not particularly persuasive, methinks. I'd much rather have Driscoll and Piper say, "We're promoting a very different version of the faith than the emergent folks. Let's look at the big picture of what they're saying versus the big picture of what we're saying."

I'm sure that I'll take some flack for implying in a sermon last Sunday that John MacArthur is a soft gnostic (I happen to think that 90% of Americans are soft gnostics, just as I think that 90% of Americans are semi-pelagians). I am talking about the overall Christianity that Johnny Mac is espousing -- I think that it's too platonic, and that it neglects hebraic holism -- the water that Jesus swam in. I don't really care if Johnny Mac (or Piper or Driscoll) reads Paula White, Jonathan Edwards, or Karl Marx. I'm most interested in the overall theology that he's espousing. I do, indeed, think that it's very different from the version that I'm espousing.

And I sure do appreciate the folks who keep inviting me to come and talk about it. They may not like it, they may not agree with it, but they should at least have the opportunity to hear about it.

That's all.

Don't Mess with Texas

As usual, I had a great time in Texas last weekend. I mean it, a truly great time. First off, I wasn't at hotel, but had the honor of my auntie-in-laws' hospitality -- thanks Johanna and Kathy.

On Sunday morning I preaching at UBC-Waco. I love that church. I got to hang out with Ben, Dave (who says he's going to endorse my book), and Josh, as well as others. You can listen to my sermon here -- if you do, you might find something really juicy that you could blog about...

After worship, Josh and I met up with Roger Olson, his wife, nephew, and nephew's girlfriend for some Cajun food (Josh is a wimp and had a Philly Cheese Steak). Roger and had I never met, and we had a great conversation.

Then I drove up to Dallas for the inauguration of The New Journey Zero.Com. Seriously, they're going to give Watermark a run for the $$$$. It's a great new new space -- lots of room for large portraits of Jurgen Moltmann.

After BBQ and beers with the Journeyers, I stopped by Jason Mitchell's house for some frivolity. It was genius. Wheels off.

Monday morning, back down to Baylor to speak at University Chapel. I loved it. Great kids, great staff, and a great shawarma sandwich for lunch with some Truett students and UBCers.

And I bought some new boots on my way back to the airport. You'll see them soon.

I'm home for 24 hours and off to The Emergent Gathering this evening.