Eating Our Own…


I deleted most of this post, taking a rebuke from Tim Bayly  to heart.  I should listen to my own (and Frame’s) advice.

This goes right along with Rob’s earlier quote of John Frame.

Why is it, I wonder, that in our circles whenever anybody gets an interesting idea, it produces a party that makes it a test of orthodoxy, leading to another party that opposes it, and then to battles between these parties in the churches?

It does make one wonder…

 al repentantly sends


9 responses to “Eating Our Own…

  1. I think your point of an apparent discordant note (Jobs, woohoo. Keller, boohiss) in Bayly’s two posts seems right on. Maybe the last quip about eating our own may have been reserved for another time or place. But the point is sound, I think.

    And I find his harsh response to you and then his (bizarre?) explanation inscrutable. He put this out there. It’s not like you were saying his mama wears combat boots or something. This is a blog, for heaven’s sake. You say stuff, and other people either agree or disagree.

    Man up, Bayly.

  2. Well, this may keep us off the Bayly Boys’ blogroll, but I’m inclined to agree with David. Jobs: yes, Keller: no? As the good ol’ boy said, “That don’t match.”

  3. “Man up, Bayly.”

    Just a couple of points. First, recommending someone listen to a speech by Jobs that makes no pretense whatever about being the Word of God proclaimed is a far cry from Tim Keller proclaiming and teaching others how to do it. To say I was saying “yes” to Jobs and “no” to Keller is simplistic to the point of misleading. Yes to one speech by Jobs which gives wonderful illustrative content to preachers; no to Tim Keller’s philosophy of witness explained in an interview becoming the template for PCA teaching elders.

    As to my inscrutability, sorry. For years now, David and I have made clear that we do not believe in the application of Matthew 18 to public discourse except in certain very limited contexts, and critiquing publihsed interviews, books, and blog posts is not one of them. We’ve explained this often enough, but the simple fact is that going to an individual privately before writing books, letters to the editor, columns, tracts, giving interviews, and on and on is impossible. There have been a few cases where David and I have done so, but for very specific reasons limited to those cases. Otherwise, when a man goes public with his mind on a matter in a book and interview, unless I know him personally, a public response is entirely proper, and biblical.

    If we took Matthew 18’s requirement of personal confrontation before refuting error and applied it to public controversy across church history, most of the books we read would not exist and the Reformation wouldn’t have happened.

    Beyond this, it strikes my funny bone that those who critique us and others on this point inevitably do the very thing we have done: They publicly take us to task for publicly taking others to task. I was trying to point this out to Al without signing on to his premise as a humorous way of making the point. Regardless of whether I succeeded, in no way was I upset by what Al wrote. What I’d written was fair game, many would agree with his criticisms, and he should write them publicly so I could respond. He did and I did.

    As to the eatijng our own comment, it was absolutely proper as a rhetorical tool and I wasn’t hurt by it at all. So why the claim I was?

    To show how easily public discourse can decay into a sentimental mishmash of hurt feelings, thereby silencing public discourse. This is the feminization of discourse we must avoid. Yes, there are inappropriate posts and comments we make and regret, but far more often we are inappropriately sensitive in the midst of theological discourse and shut the discussion down in the interest of protecting people’s feelings. Again, think of how much of the most helpful things written by our reformed fathers would be taken out of circulation today if our timidity and sensitivities were applied to them.

    Al, as I said on the blog, I do appreciate you and took no offense at anything you wrote. You did a good job of saying what others were thinking, thus giving me a chance to respond. Thank you. I hope you have not taken permanent offense at my jocularity in responding to you.

  4. Tim,
    Thanks for stopping by. You’re a mensch. As for my simplification of your treatment of Jobs and Keller, you’re right in that I drew a straight line between the two posts that were not intended to be connected in the terms I inferred (and implied). My bad.

    I’m still not sure of your objections to Keller. I’ve learned a ton from him, and consider him an ally in addressing culture with the gospel (which I gently insist he does), and building bridges with others in the faith in the same effort. But surely he, as all of us, is missing the mark in some ways, and we need someone to say, “What about…?”. So, for that, thanks.

    Steve Jobs’ address was good for what it was, and it is an excellent example of how someone can declare God’s goodness and truth without even knowing they’re doing so. I listened to it and get what you’re saying.

    My primary concern in this whole discussion, however, is this: Are you going to link The Basket on your blogroll?

  5. Yes, Pastor Keller has done many good things, including pastoring a number of former members of our congregation here in Bloomington who’ve moved to NYC. Quite agreed. Still…

    As for a link, I don’t know what my brother’s talking about. Who does he think he is? Link my foot!

  6. Tim and David… Thanks for the link; you guys are class acts. More David than Tim apparently, of course I did not accuse David of cannibalism so that might ‘splain some stuff.

    David, no offense taken and I am glad the feeling is mutual. hugs for everybody!

    al sends

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