Archive for the ‘general’ Category

in a nutshell

Posted: January 30, 2015 in general

So, in this week’s Friday post that reviews the past week or so, “Dan” “Phillips” talks about the recent Sufficient Fire conference that he, Frank Turk, and Hugh Jass conducted. His final analysis of the conference was that “overall, the event itself was a …” followed by the following animated GIF:

Sufficient Fire

That “Dan” would be so forthcoming is refreshing. If it was anything like the Pyro’s blog, it was definitely a pathetic and self-aggrandizing attempt to draw attention to oneself rather than simply doing what one has been taught to do.

UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that this may not have been his intention in using the GIF. Other possible interpretations are:

  • an epic fail of propriety and civility
  • a smug assurance that one’s opponent is very clear on the fact that you have arrived
  • letting go and letting God

i see your true colors

Posted: September 19, 2014 in general

I let this one marinate for a week before I commented, partly to see if I still cared, but mostly to see if it was still as uproariously funny as it first struck me. Regarding the former issue, not quite so much. But subsequent comments have actually made the issue funnier — or, at least, more ironic.

Over on everyone’s favorite discernmentalist blog, “Dan” “Phillips” offers EXTENSIVE commentary on the fact that The Gospel Coalition is apparently — to riff off Phil Vischer’s brilliant words on a different topic — handing out Twitter blocks “like pediatric dentists handing out Hello Kitty stickers”.

Now, to be honest, I’ve been done with TGC for quite some time. Had I missed the way they got all bent out of shape because James MacDonald is a friend of publicans and sinners, the deal was sealed by the ham-fisted manner in which they “handled” Tullian Tchividjian.

The tone and perspective with which “Dan” writes is a bit hard to nail down. At times, he seems hurt; at others, he seems proud. I’ll not “discern” his “true motivations” — what kills me is the extensive blow-by-blow commentary on blocking and a total lack of communication as to why.

  • This from a man who deletes (twice!) comments that contain only Scripture, simply because the verse contradicts what he said in his blog post. (Extra irony points that his Twitter handle is @BibChr — short for Biblical Christianity.)
  • This from a man who permanently blocks people from commenting on the blog and then, when asked nicely why this happened, ignores them.
  • This from a blog that banned me for specifically honoring the request not to derail its comment thread. (OK, admittedly, this was Frank Turk’s doing — but given the way the Pyros beatify each other, it’s not really a stretch to figure than Frank simply beat “Dan” to it.)

As thick as the irony of all that is, the need for it to be pointed out started fading. But then the comments. Oh, the comments.

An anonymous commenter named “Joej Joe” said:

I find the continual bantering, and disrespect for other “circles” of Christianity tasteless. This has never stopped from this site, it just repeats. Calling people out is fine (case in point with this single point), but if ones overarching ministry continually attacks/heckles other believers, I would hope the authors on the site would hit the brakes one of these day. Bitterness is a foul cologne.

In response to this, Frank Turk confirmed Joe’s point (while trying to refute it) and showed just how naked the emperor really is:

My suggestion to Joe is to spend 2 years writing 2 excellent books and then have the one place which could help them become widely-read snub those books because that venue is mad that you have called out their past inability to deal with real doctrinal and practical issues that have affected others.

TGC is rather insular and criticism of its own — regardless of the angle from which the critic is coming — usually falls on deaf ears. But read that first part of Frank’s comment again. The real crime that TGC has committed is in not pushing two books written by “Dan”. Good grief, when is the dog gonna let go of the bone?

Two other thoughts:

  • If TGC is so horrible, why would you want them promoting your books?
  • What’s this “one place” crap? Last I checked, TGC wasn’t more powerful than God.

I’ve never seen such longing for approval from someone you don’t respect.

I didn’t think it could be done, but Jonathan Merritt pulled it off: he managed to channel Ken Silva and Rachel Held Evans in the same post.

Mark DriscollApparently, it’s been too long since Mark Driscoll was given a sound thrashing on the internet, so Merritt took it upon himself to do so on Wednesday. Like Silva, his post is drowning in links to allegedly prove his “point”. Also like Silva, many of the links are about incidents so old, they have sprouted penicillin. He even references the “cussing pastor” nickname from a book that’s over a decade old. (To his credit, Merritt did differ from Silva in one part — all of his links go to other people’s sites.)

The age of the issues is what’s incredible, and frankly, beneath a man of Merritt’s intelligence. It implies — nay, screams — that any example from any point in Driscoll’s life is entirely representative of where he is right now. Sure, Merritt throws him a frickin’ bone near the end of the post by saying, “I hope that Driscoll is having a change of heart…”, but (when it isn’t smacking of faux piety) even that implies that there hasn’t been any change yet.

Such a charge is patently ridiculous for anyone who even casually follows Driscoll, let alone someone who is going to take it upon himself to write authoritatively on him. The reasons why this is ridiculous are legion, but I’ll name just one biggie: if Driscoll hadn’t changed by now, even for all his patience, John Piper (who has taken Mark to the woodshed a couple times) would have totally given up on him by now.

Then there’s the flip side. Uncannily like Evans (so much so, that halfway through the post, I went back to the top to see if I had read the byline incorrectly), Merritt completely conflates Driscoll’s methodology with his theology, telling us that Driscoll has offended this or that group, never conceding that it might just be that what Driscoll believes might be offensive — let alone that it might actually (gasp) be right.

Now does Driscoll’s methodology leave something to be desired? Sure. Sometimes it has been flat-out embarrassing, even to people who are on his side. But I am reminded of Peter, whose methodology and theology both sucked for quite a while. I’d give anything to have just a nickel for every time Peter acted like a pompous ass during the 48 hours leading up to the crucifixion alone: telling Jesus not to wash his (Peter’s) feet, saying he’d never leave His side, yanking out his sword and whacking off Malchus’ ear — and we still haven’t even gotten to the three-time denial yet. Even after Pentecost, Peter was still popping off with (what Michael Card has noted is) the ultimate oxymoron: “No, Lord” (Acts 10:14).

But back to Driscoll. His methodology is a lot better than it used to be. However, in the time period of his improvement in methodology, he has also become more strident and vocal about what he believes. And what Merritt (and Evans and countless others) fails to see is that just because one believes differently than Driscoll on certain issues does not give that person license to ignore the fact that he has grown. Sadly though, all they see is that they don’t like what they hear, with no acceptance of the possibility that, while it used to be the way in which he said it, now maybe it’s just what he’s saying that rubs them the wrong way. And so they see Driscoll as being just as “bad” today (if not “worse”) than he was years ago. And so it becomes perfectly acceptable to dig up stuff that’s older than God.

Perhaps, though, the funniest (saddest? most ridiculous? so damning that one wonders why the post was even written?) part of Merritt’s post is this: After spending over 500 words establishing that Driscoll is a smartass who is given to hyperbole, Merritt then takes a 30-character tweet from Driscoll completely at face value. And thereupon rests the entire basis of Merritt’s “AHA! I’ve got you!” And without that triumphant “gotcha”, the post falls flat on its face.

Merritt said of Driscoll in the plugging of this article on Facebook, “Apparently, the irony is lost on him …”

Right back atcha, Jonathan.

UPDATE: For those interested in what actually happened at the event that Merritt references, here’s an account by someone who was actually there (as opposed to someone who knows someone who knows someone who read a Tweet once).

UPDATE 2: Oh, great! Tim Suttle has seen Merritt’s silliness and raised him an “omniscience” with this silly gem:

Driscoll isn’t serious. Driscoll is just trying to sell books.

The best thing about heaven is going to be that only one person will be claiming to be God.

UPDATE 3: Credit where credit is due. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m less than thrilled with Frank Turk. But he nailed it on a Facebook comment about the Suttle article:

Frank nails it

yes, he REALLY went there

Posted: October 23, 2013 in general

Boxer, Hitler -- six of oneGodwin’s Law states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

Now to be clear, Godwin is not saying that one person is going to call another a Nazi, or even that one person would say that the other is as bad as a Nazi. (That happens sometimes, but most people aren’t that stupid.) Rather, he’s just noting that as rationality diminishes over time, a ridiculous invocation is made of something that is abhorrent to the vast majority of society. Maybe there’s an “if the shoe fits” vibe, but not all the time.

Regarding criticism of the goings-on at the Strange Fire conference, “Dan” “Phillips” weighs in with this little gem:

Instead, what one hears (me talking now, not MacArthur) is wails and squeals about MacArthur talking about these abuses — not about the abuses themselves. It reminds me of how shocked (shocked!) Senatrix Barbara Boxer was for Senator Rick Santorum to describe partial-birth abortion on the floor of the Senate. The procedure itself didn’t bother her a bit, she adores it as a sacred right. But describing it? Offensive! Unheard-of!

Seeing as how abortion is abhorrent to the vast majority of Christian society, I think we’ve just seen a parallel to Godwin’s Law. I’d call it Phillips’ Law, but Godwin was merely observing, not committing.

I guess since I observed it … Cleaver’s Law, anyone?

“Dan” “Phillips” just finished teaching through the book of Titus at his church. He wrote a post about the experience, including some of the ideas and theories on the various ways in which one can teach expositorily.  Some good stuff — both thoughtful and thought-provoking.

But, his closing thought is absolutely amazing, though — to be frank — not really surprising:

I absolutely loved it. Titus is an amazingly contemporary book. It is a potent tour-de-force on some absolutely horrendous notions of faith and grace and Gospel and Christian living. With God’s own wisdom, it speaks to Post-Modernism and contextualization; to various church-growth strategies and philosophies; to Gutless Gracers and muzzy mystics; to real-live age-ism and racism and the good and false approaches to each; and to a whole lot more.

Note that among his praises for the book is only one positive thing (“the good … approaches”). There are a couple of statements that don’t lean one way or the other. But the VAST majority of why “Dan” loved Titus is because of the many, many ways in which it allegedly confronts error (as defined by “Dan”), both in the world and in other (lesser?) branches of Christendom.

Like I said, this isn’t really surprising. It’s long been evident that folks in the tribe of “Dan” believe that the purpose of the Bible is to tell people how much they suck. But to pack so much of that attitude into one measly paragraph is quite noteworthy.