Defending Your Pastor

I have always been taught that unity is most important when one of your own is under attack. My friend and pastor Jeremy Jernigan has been under fire from those who have revealed themselves to be former members of the church (in a military force, they'd be known as deserters), for his review and support of author William P. Young and his book, The Shack. Streetfisher Rob has posted a video which indicates his concerns as being about the views of God

Now, I realize some people are just out to pick a fight, and some are truly sincere about their desire for the defense of truth. However, the fact that he used the guise of concern and love to hide his treasonous words makes me incredibly confrontational. Also, he kinda stole my signature (Soli Deo Gloria) and posted it as a Wikipedia link, but that only makes me laugh.

Here is my response to his post, and I must say I gained a measure of respect for ol' Rob for approving the comment for his site:

Well sir, first of all, I find it hilarious and flattering that you have suddenly began using "Soli Deo Gloria" as a signature. What does it mean to you? I surely hope you didn't just start using it because I did, although I do appreciate your educating the uninitiated on it's meaning and origin via Wikipedia.

Secondly, I believe that there is an inherent bone of contention between your style of reading and that of Jeremy Jernigan. I would attempt to explain yours, but you have already taken that upon yourself, so I will endeavor to help you understand where he is coming from, as one who has seen value and beauty in both styles.

See, you worry about Jeremy getting "any of his own nourishment from man-made wisdom", and the video would indicate that you are are alarmed by the way The Shack (which is a fiction, by the way) offers a picture of God as a stereotypical large black housewife.

However, the large black housewife is most likely an allegorical reference to one of the names given God in the old testament, Jehovah Jireh (God, our provider). As far as the problem he has with The Shack's version of Jesus... I don't see how you could get much more accurate than a middle-eastern, outdoor-loving carpenter.

As far as the cussing at God... I'm pretty sure there are words in the Psalms that are translated in a much more tame manner than the original Hebrew. Even the ESV has the excessive use of a word some consider cussing (whore) in Ezekiel 16 and Hosea. In Philippians, Paul tells us that he considers everything else "shit" (yes, the dirty form of the word excrement, the strongest form in the original language) compared to Christ.

God is huge, and His majesty knows no bounds. He is worthy of our complete and utter devotion, and His perfect nature can only be reconciled with our sin nature by Jesus Christ.

That being said, Jesus Christ humbled himself (Philippians 2) to the form of a suffering servant, and even God has lowered himself to such base emotions as jealousy and anger in dealing with us, because He has allowed us relationship and the type of love C.S. Lewis refers to as Charity, wholly and completely undeserved.

Therefore, I posit that God is not at all hurt or put out when one of his children is hurting to the point of using words out of character, knowing that he made us with a capacity for anger and emotion. He has allowed us to come to Him as little children, and forgiven us already for the words that may come from a hurting heart yearning for Him. You can agree or disagree, but my prayer of ignorance two days after I got saved included a plethora of words that would make George Carlin blush.

Finally, your comment on the church shows me more of what I have seen since I got here six months ago, that being a complete lack of appreciation for the beauty that is in this church. Every week I hear about lives being changed more and more, and the nearly 1000 baptisms since I got here amaze me, especially those in Third Format, which have occured for higher than 15% of the congregation within the larger church.

I come from small churches where one baptism per month would be cheered, where the idea of church growth on this scale is almost unheard of, and where the range of personalities and theological views within the church is much, much smaller. I can't help but feel that those vocal people leaving this congregation don't know what it's like to be truly stuck in the mud as a church, and are in fact quite spoiled.

When people dare to use "concern" and "love" as a clever disguise for their treasonous tounge, it hurts me. This is what causes division among us... a desire to be right, and thereby to gain a sense of our own worthiness where we should be satisfied with Christ and Christ alone.

I urge you, brother, to be careful with your tongue, with your words and ideas posted in the markeplace of ideas. I heard once that Christianity is like an army that kills and eats it's wounded. Please do not prove that true.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Richard

4 comments:

Robert Tewart said...

Richard,

Your comments drip with sarcasm and arrogance--a haughty spirit. For this reason, I will not repond to any of your comments specifically. As for Sola Deo Gloria, I used to always use it as a signature in my emails and as I recall, in several of my earliest blog posts. You may also notice that it is under my hit counter on my blog. This was to serve as a reminder to me that it wasn't ultimately about numbers, but if God brought a lot of readers, well then the glory was His alone and not through any of my efforts.

As for the "measure of respect" you have gained for my posting your comments, it's all about honesty and not sensoring reader thoughts (although I think yours were less than sincere.) The pastor you defend will neither own up to doctoring his original post or answer any of my emails concerning this issue. Further, he no longer posts my comments on his blog. What is he afraid of? Or is he were this spirit of haughtinessand arrogance originates?

I've probably said enough, so I'll end it here.

To God alone be the glory,
Rob

Richard said...

Dear Robert,

I assure you that my comments are neither sarcastic nor arrogant, except perhaps for those pertaining to your sudden use of "Soli Deo Gloria" happening directly after I used it (could have been coincidence and not a personally directed attack, but still ticked me off). I have been taught that contentment with where God has put you, and the defense of friends under attack, are both humble qualities to have. In this contentment, one does not give in to ideas that he deserves a higher position than the one he has, and one is willing to make sure his friend stays up even if he has to falter a little.

As for the pastor I defend (his name is Jeremy and he's a great guy) doesn't answer you because you were ridiculously confrontational, in such a way that would actually dishonor you if he were to allow your comments to be seen or even be given the time of day. I understand where you are coming from... as you can see, I can be a bit confrontational as well. But this is not the way to be, it is something I am trying to rid myself of.

He is not afraid of you, he just realizes that your comments are no longer valid, seeing as how they have become personal attacks. I respect his not posting them, for your mutual benefit.

And the fact that you are calling ME out on haughtiness and arrogance, after calling Jeremy a "heretic", "blasphemer", and other things I was probably too disgusted to keep on reading, would be downright hilarious if it weren't so sad.

However, I understand your desire to be right, because it might just be all you have. I was actually reading about that, an illustration of our desire for affirmation and acceptance as us trying to affirm our place in a lifeboat, because we have been separated from the beauty and fulfillment of relationship with God. It feels like you are trying to affirm your place in the lifeboat of theological or evangelical discussion...

But in reality, we don't need that affirmation. I think the ones who can walk away from such arguments and such confrontations, assured of their worth, are those who find their worth in Christ alone, instead of mere arguments pertaining to Him.

I hope you find that worth, because your personal attacks are making you look more and more desperate for it. I don't say that in a spirit of "haughtiness"... I say that because I am hyper-competitive, and I've fallen into the same trap before. I want you to find the freedom I am in the process of finding.

I myself have been talking about "pwning" you and all of your predictable arguments, but I forget I am only two steps from where you are, and those two steps only by the Grace of God. In fact, if you are anything like I was and still can be at times, you are probably fuming at the fact that I just placed myself two steps ahead of you (once again, only by the Grace of God).

You were right in saying that you said enough, but know that there is freedom in not having to have the last word. The fact that you've gone across three blogs that I know of, in order to attempt to attack one person, is sad. Please stop... stop it all. Take a step back.

I will not confront you on this any longer, and I doubt others will. You can have the last word if you'd like, I don't need it. If you attack me or my friends, I will delete it.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Richard

Robert Tewart said...

Richard. You said:

"And the fact that you are calling ME out on haughtiness and arrogance, after calling Jeremy a "heretic", "blasphemer", and other things I was probably too disgusted to keep on reading, would be downright hilarious if it weren't so sad."

Please re-read the posts. I said nothing of the kind. That was another blogger I don't even know. In regards to Jeremy not answering. I am willing for him to print anything he wants of my postings and or emails to show where I have given any kind of personal attack. The truth is that he is being dishonest point blank.

markpenrith said...

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the inspiration to write. I posted Shacking Up after reading your post.

In Christ,

Mark