Since the Liberty University fiasco with Mark Driscoll began a few weeks ago, a lot of interesting things grabbed my attention but I just couldn't let go LU's disastrous invitation to the controversial pastor >>>
Mark Driscoll: the controversial pastor from Seattle spoke at LU last Friday as scheduled. Predictably, Driscoll was on his best behavior. He apparently offered little if any of his questionable advice from the notorious "Chapter 10" in his book. However, from what I understand, the conflict Driscoll's invitation caused between trustees and the administration is far from over. I'm told letters have been flying back and forth while Liberty searches near and far to find out precisely which trustee "talked" so they can give him what for (i.e. oust him from the trustee board).
Mitt Romney: added to the controversy of Mark Driscoll speaking at LU, school officials had to go on the defensive yet once again after word was released they invited Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, to speak there. Even Jerry Falwell, Jr. had to put his attorney skills to work defending their decision to invite the Mormon believer to campus. Once again, it seems LU could not stomach the public knowing about turmoil over their decisions. While they could not control what the trustees had to say about Driscoll's invitation, they could control what hundreds of students were logging in protest on their Facebook page. Hence, they took the page down along with hundreds of comments dissenting from their decision to invite Romney. My own view is, while diversity has its place, appealing to diversity as an excuse to invite controverts to speak on campus only goes so far in justifying platform decisions. After all, the same logic can be used to argue for diversity in the classroom. The question should not be whether a particular speaker is acceptable but whether a speaker fits who the students are and what we want students to be. That is, is it probable that the speaker will model the highest human achievement while displaying a humble, healthy faith?
Richard Land: As President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Land is an intelligent man. Concerning various issues, he's offered Southern Baptists well-thought, sober responses to today's perplexing problems. Even so, as Baylor graduate fellow Aaron Weaver (a.k.a. "The Big Daddy Weave") rightly pointed out, Land has gotten himself into a heap of unimaginable hurt due to his careless usage of words. According to Weaver, Land's woes began when his hometown paper--The Tennessean – ran an article titled “Richard Land’s rant on Trayvon Martin case stings some Southern Baptists.” And, while the "rant" was bad enough, as it turns out, much of Land's "rant" was taken from "VERBATIM – yes, WORD-FOR-WORD – from a Washington Times column penned by conservative commentator Jeffrey Kuhner. Kuhner’s column titled “Obama foments racial division” was published on March 29." Weaver showed Land's curious rehearsal of Kuhner's piece--at times "WORD-FOR-WORD." Granted Land's broadcast properly cited the Washington Times piece in its written version on the website. However, for Land to go on and on quoting Kuhner as if it were his own commentary remains inexcusable. Hence, while I would not use the term "plagiarism" as did Weaver, Land set himself up to legitimately appear as if he had plagiarized nonetheless. So needless...so mindless. And, even if he did apologize, what on earth was Dr. Land thinking?
Lifeway: after serving up their most recent "gospel project" stew, all the cooks of which happen to be convictional Calvinists (though Lifeway claims they didn't plan it that way), now it looks as if Lifeway has cooked up yet another brew for Southern Baptists to sample. According to North Carolina pastor, Tim Rogers, he received a survey sent by Lifeway's research arm led by Baptist bogeyman blogger, Ed Stetzer1. Rogers lists a couple of teaser questions in the survey:
- My church is theologically reformed or Calvinist
- My church is theologically Arminian or Wesleyan
The continuum options for answering are as follows: Strongly disagree---Somewhat disagree---Somewhat agree---Strongly agree--Don't know. I have to say, I'm completely lost on this theological couplet. Presumably, the survey uses as synonymous "reformed" and "Calvinist." If so, then, presumably "Arminian" and "Wesleyan" are also used synonymously. But, these two terms are rarely if ever employed synonymously. What is Lifeway attempting to do here? Why even mention "Wesleyan" in a survey of Baptist churches? Who under the ecclesial blue sky is going to legitimately identify as Wesleyan? Granted some may do so ignorantly. But again, is there any evidence whatsoever to justify a question like this? Is Lifeway not assuring the first question will have stronger agreement since the second question is entirely irrelevant to our Baptist context? More significantly, the only genuinely "Arminian" Baptist I know of in the Southern Baptist Convention is William Birch, a former SEBTS student. What is more, Danny Akin has publicly implied2 that Arminian believers are not welcome in the Southern Baptist Convention. Lifeway nonetheless queries whether churches are "Arminian or Wesleyan." Yes. You guessed it. Apparently, we've got a whole new generation running Lifeway who knows not Joseph.
Andy Stanley: last June, Dr. Al Mohler affirmed he said evangelicals have "lied" about the nature of homosexuality and practiced "homophobia." And, after the speech he gave Southern Baptist messengers--a speech prompted by a question I asked--many understood him to call for Southern Baptists to tone down the needless rhetoric against the sin of homosexuality. Indeed James and Jonathan Merritt have fairly well dropped any resistance to the homosexual agenda. In fact, Jonathan Merritt appears to have embraced it. Now we may safely add yet another evangelical to those who are backing down when it comes to homosexuality. Andy Stanley, pastor of the North Point Community Church network of churches appears to have gone on record playing softball with the homosexual lifestyle. In "Part 5--When Gracie meets Truthy," from a sermon series entitled "Christian," Stanley tells the story of a couple who divorced while members of his church. The issue was, the husband had fallen in love with another man. Stanley tells the heart-breaking story with both seriousness and wit. The problem is, not once in the entire story did Stanley question the homosexual relationship the two men experienced. Instead he questioned whether or not the men could serve in their Buckhead branch since one of the men was still married. In other words, Stanley questioned the adulterous relationship but their not homosexual relationship. In fact, every indication was, the men could still serve in their Buckhead church once the man divorced his present wife. In the end, the woman reconciled with her former husband and his male partner, happily worshipping together in church during a Christmas service (the story starts about the 24:40 min mark). Stanley even praises this moral chaos while undeniably "messy" to be a perfect snapshot of God's true church today.
1yes, I'm being a bit facetious with the term "bogeyman blogger". Dr. Stetzer is becoming well known as the perpetual whiner about SBC bloggers with whom he does not agree. He has especially become more vocal since his "Gospel Project" was outed as envisioned, edited, and written with virtually no one involved but Calvinists. In addition, Dr. Stetzer complains that we SBC bloggers create "bogeymen" upon which to blame all our woes while he himself out-imagines our supposed bogeymen by about 2 to 1!
2I originally had the term "stated" rather than "implied." However, due to a helpful exchange with my brother C.B. Scott beginning here, I concede "stated" was a sloppy choice of words since Dr. Akin did not actually state Arminians are not welcome in the SBC. Nonetheless, Akin did, in fact, imply Arminians are not welcome in the SBC as I showed here.