Will Anyone Speak Against Worldliness?

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Will Anyone Speak Against Worldliness?

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Too easy

No, no evangelicals at all have written against worldlinessNot one.

 

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ok

I feel like a good parallel to "love not the world" might be "hate your father and mother"....I think its a question of prioritization rather than categorization. Perhaps, the "things of this world" are not suggestive of inherent evil so much as they have a derived evil because they can usurp the position and priority of God?
 

 

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

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Todd, I think that's a good

Todd,

I think that's a good characterization. I have often offered a shorthand definition of worldliness as seeking satisfaction from anything other than my relationship with Christ. That aligns directly with what you have described. In this way things that are inherently good, inherently evil, and inherently neutral (assuming there is such a thing) can all be considered worldly in the right context.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Well there you go...

So, Pearson meant that things are evil? Really? He addresses affections in 1; in 2 he grounds a desire to train one's affections with a cruciform basis; in 3 he refers to priorities. So how is he somehow addressing the notion that things are evil?

 

As to his reference to "very few", he did not say that no one at all has written on it. "Very few" seems to point to more than none. He says "many remain silent" which is certainly true...

Grace and peace...

SamH

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I like where you're going.

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Todd,

I think that's a good characterization. I have often offered a shorthand definition of worldliness as seeking satisfaction from anything other than my relationship with Christ. That aligns directly with what you have described. In this way things that are inherently good, inherently evil, and inherently neutral (assuming there is such a thing) can all be considered worldly in the right context.

So then - and I agree with you both on this - the issue isn't as much the world as much as it is idolatry (which, btw, is why I linked to those books by Piper in my first post).

That seems to fit in nicely with the thrust of 1 John.

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"It is not because the culture is always changing...but because we are always in need of being re-oriented to the Word that stands over us...that the church can never stand still." - M. Horton

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Perhaps easy, but definitely neither careful nor thoughtful

Jay,

Perhaps you should be less trigger happy to criticize anything you perceive to be a criticism of evangelicalism. Sam has already pointed out the basic fallacy of your post (i.e., arguing against something that Pearson doesn't say), so I'll just state my agreement with his point here.

I'll also just toss in a couple of quotes from evangelicals that seem to affirm Pearson's point as well:

"In the word worldliness is contained one of the great problems of evangelical Christianity in our time. Here in the West, in the English-speaking world, churches and Christians have been seriously compromised by worldliness." Ligon Duncan

"Evangelical Christianity is becoming increasingly worldly. Materialism, hedonism, violence, sexual misconduct, pluralism, and divorce are becoming as common within the church as without. As a result the church is losing its distinct identity as a people set apart from the world." R. Kent Hughes

Pearson has done nothing other than point out a problem which seems plain to many people, but is being addressed by a relative few. I'll not waste both of our time by multiplying links which are aimed at criticizing a supposed obsession with worldliness, but I think there are more of those than the ones like you linked above. The balance in our day definitely is not toward Puritanism, that's for sure.

DMD

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Sigh

It's not about 'evangelicalism', Dr. Doran, just like it's not about 'Fundamentalism'.  It's about priorities.

I live in a section of New York where good churches and solid believers are hard to find.  As a result, I deliberately choose not to prioritize between 'them Evangelicals' and 'us Fundamentalists'.  I'll take comfort with either "side" so long as they are obeying Matthew 28:19-20.  I don't have the time or the patience to try and discern whether or not they're in the right camp.  And frankly, I'm so sick and tired of the factionalism between the two that I wonder why I waste my time even discussing it.  If that makes me an 'evan-jellyfish', a 'compromised brother' or 'not a real fundamentalist' - so be it.  I don't care about the label anymore.

Pearson wrote:

If we bring it up, we face ridicule and labels. “Legalist!” some shout, having little understanding of what legalism really is. “Traditionalist!” others say, as if we don’t have a rich church history and a very old Book as our guide.  “Isolationist!” the more thoughtful may counter, having seen some create odd sub-cultures. “Anti-Missionalist,” the more edgy will say, as if being of the world is a necessary part of being in the world to reach the world.  Fearing these reprisals, many remain silent about this elephant in the room of Evangelicalism. However, God is not hesitant to speak on this issue. He says, “Do not love the world.”

So what if they do?  Jesus commented:

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household." (Matthew 10:16-25, ESV)

I'm tired of being sliced and diced into 'categories' because I acknowledged that some evangelicals have actually written about this.  It seems to me that they ought to be noted and applauded for doing the right thing instead of ignored or marginalized.

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I think there is a perception ....

I think there is a perception among some fundamentalists that we are less worldly as a whole then evangelicals.

I'm not so sure there is much difference

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Who is doing the slicing?

Jay,

Pearson did not slice anybody into camps--he decried the tendency to ignore worldliness and criticize those who don't. Evangelical is a large category of which there are plenty of sub-groups (including historic fundamentalism) and, subsequently, his concern applies to all of them. Perhaps I should let Pearson speak for himself on this, but I think you are misreading his point to think he is pointing from fundamentalism at evangelicalism (N.B. his reference to Biblical Separatists vs. Fundamentalists). 

It is not about camps and labels. It is about the call of Christ to be in the world, but not of it. Lest the point of the OP get lost, I'll step aside and leave the discussion, I hope, to the questions that Pearson asked.

DMD

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Quick thoughts

First, Pearson's approach distracts from the more important issue.  Instead of concentrating solely on exhorting against the dangers of worldliness, he vaguely complains that not enough evangelicals are "speaking out" about it.  But that unhelpfully puts the focus on whether "enough" evangelicals are concerned about worldliness and gets a significant number of his readers off into the tangent of pointing out that quite a number of prominent evangelicals have in fact expressed similar concerns.  (To the extent that Dr. Doran apparently doesn't realize that his citation of evangelicals who share Pearson's concerns undermines Pearson's complaint that evangelicals aren't speaking out about worldliness.)

Second, Pearson is pretty squishy about the definition of worldliness.  His first set of questions and, to a lesser extent, his third set of questions sound very much like a call to be different merely to be different.  Priorities and objects of affection in common with the unsaved are, ipso facto, worldly.  In other words, rather than being defined by the objective, unchanging word of God, what is worldly is defined by what the current culture favors, whether or not those things are consistent or inconsistent with the Bible.  But that's the wrong distinctive.  What's ungodly and unbiblical is worldly, not just what "the world" happens to do or love at any given time.  Should I not build buildings the same way an unsaved builder builds because, by definition, his methods are worldly?  Should I not watch a G-rated or PG-rated movie because it's a blockbuster and therefore worldly because the world loves it?  Pearson's touchstone appears to be wrong, which means that either some of his applications are going to be wrong or he's not going to be consistent with his own standard.

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it is kind of confusing

i think it is a bit confusing.

The author concludes:

For all of our faults and failures, personal separation from worldliness is something that Biblical Separatists have continued to speak against without apology. The lifestyle of stranger and pilgrim in this world and culture is ok with us, and we think it is ok with God.

It's confusing because, for example, if we amassed the amount of s*xual sins being unveiled in fundamentalist churches, it would seem like a lot of worldliness. I could choose another type of sin, like pride, for example. So it's kind of confusing what is really going on.

And, for example, is David Platt evangelical or fundamentalist? He talks very pointedly about materialism.

Or Ann Voskamp.

or the issue of adopting--I think "evangelicals" as a whole, have come at this more with God's heart than fundies have, overall.

so it does confuse me a little bit, if his point is really accurate or not.

 

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Yup

dmyers wrote:

Second, Pearson is pretty squishy about the definition of worldliness.  His first set of questions and, to a lesser extent, his third set of questions sound very much like a call to be different merely to be different.  Priorities and objects of affection in common with the unsaved are, ipso facto, worldly.  In other words, rather than being defined by the objective, unchanging word of God, what is worldly is defined by what the current culture favors, whether or not those things are consistent or inconsistent with the Bible.  But that's the wrong distinctive.  What's ungodly and unbiblical is worldly, not just what "the world" happens to do or love at any given time. 

Well said, DMyers.  Very well said.

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1 last time

If one's point is that few are speaking about an issue, showing that a few people are speaking about it doesn't invalidate the point. To invalidate that point would require showing that more than a few are speaking about it (truly, it would require showing that many are in fact speaking about it).

Likewise, showing that some folks in one category or another have acted contrary to biblical teaching on worldliness or argued for not being worldly doesn't invalidate the point either.

So, here's my takeaway on this, fwiw, there is so much rancor built up about the subject of worldliness that it has become the third rail of public discourse among believers. It doesn't matter why or how you touched the rail, you will get shocked by it. That seems true no matter what you write--someone will jump on it because you were too soft, too hard, too fuzzy, too clear (i.e., beyond the Bible).

DMD

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The one has problems

If one's point is that few are speaking about an issue, one should make at least some effort to support that point rather than just throwing it out there no differently than a reckless, unfounded generalization.  Otherwise, one undermines one's credibility.

Also, when one's unsupported point is rebutted with several specific counter-examples, one does not advance one's point by yet again providing no support at all for the point and instead complaining that the counter-examples are not numerous enough to prove the detractors' belief that "many [however many that is] are in fact speaking about it."

(A point I meant to make in my first comment above:  Isn't one who makes the point that too few are concerned about the issue that one is concerned about essentially patting oneself on the back for being bold enough to express one's concern?)

And, to repeat myself a little, one's (unsupported) point that few are speaking about an issue is a wasteful distraction from one's other (presumably more important) point that today's Christians (evangelicals? fundamentalists?  both?  only one and not the other?) are too worldly.  Isn't one?

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Point

dmyers wrote:

If one's point is that few are speaking about an issue, one should make at least some effort to support that point rather than just throwing it out there no differently than a reckless, unfounded generalization.  Otherwise, one undermines one's credibility.

...and that's why I reacted the way I did about the 'evangelicals' who do write about it...because there ARE some evangelicals that are taking it seriously, and we end up looking stupid or malicious when someone from "our" circles opens up with this statement that divides "us" from "them":

There is an elephant in the room of Evangelicalism that very few want to talk about.

and closes the first paragraph with:

Fearing these reprisals, many remain silent about this elephant in the room of Evangelicalism. However, God is not hesitant to speak on this issue. He says, “Do not love the world.”

I'm going to be blunt now and probably make people angry, but I think this needs to be said, so I'll say it.  This whole article reeks to me - absolutely reeks - of the attitude of the Pharisee in Luke 18:11-12:

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men [who will not speak against worldliness]. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.

I'm probably overreacting a little, but the whole thing struck me as a little self-serving. 

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Interesting . . .

It is interesting how people get different things out of what is, in reality, a very short, almost devotional-style article. I took it as a quick article encouraging separation from the world, nothing more. The title implies that there are many Christian leaders who can do a better job of emphasizing this. No argument there.

Jay - I understand where you're coming from, but I don't see a "fundamentalism vs. evangelicalism" thrust from the article at all. It is merely a call for Biblical separation, which is Biblical, after all! A militant stand for separation has been a fundamentalist hallmark, but I didn't take this as an "us vs. them" article.

However, I do understand the frustration with the "fundamentalist" label. I am a fundamentalist, but I view it as more of a philosophy of ministry rather than a label I attach to myself.

For example, I wouldn't stand in a pulpit and say,

"Independent, fundamental Baptists have always stood for separation!"

I would say,

"True Christianity has always stood for separation from the world."

I'm not sure I'm making too much sense, but I'd rather act like a Biblical fundamentalist than spend my time talking about fundamentalism.

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Illinois. 

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Ridiculous

That's about the only word I can come up with at this point. Seriously, both of you have read enough people's writing to know that introductory paragraphs begin with generalizations (like Ligon's comments about Mahaney's book and Hughes's opening lines for his own book, both of which I cited above). Are we to conclude that both Duncan and Hughes have undermined their credibility by offering the generalizations they did? Somehow I don't think you'd make that case.

Jay, you may want to reread your post above about how tired you are of people slicing and dicing groups and consider how self-righteous your words might be sounding before you start pointing out the speck in your brother's eye. From my vantage point, neither of you are guilty of self-righteous actions, but if you're going to judge by the standard you have, then you need to live up to it too.

DMD

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I have a guess

I have a guess that the author would include more than the camp/movement/idea/thingie/whatever-some-call-Fundamentalism in his moniker "biblical separatist." For the record, it should be noted that at his original post and here, the F-word was introduced by people other than the OP author. He said "biblical separatist" not the F-word.

And, it should be noted that he has not compared the quality or quantity of non-worldliness of Biblical Separatists to anyone or any group--that again is what some have done here and have attributed to him.

As to Biblical Separatist, personally, when I use the term I generally include conservative evangelicals in the main. This would include to some extent the authors someone mentioned earlier. I will not speak for Pearson (there are already enough people here who clearly are not reading him, but seem to be speaking for him), but I have seen enough of his thoughts, and know him well enough to know that he likely did not start the dog's breakfast that some here are attributing to him. [Some of them have yet BTW to admit their red-handed red herring-ness and have instead moved away from their lapsus linguae (or is it lapsus calami?) and switched the subject.]

Is it comically sad how quickly the P(h) word came up (in light of the author's own sentiments)...or mebbe I'm overreacting???

Is it too much to say that in a short post, Pearson packed a high-level remark about the need for Biblical Separatists to do something which many in Evangelicalism are not doing--write about the need to love God more than the world, and to be circumspect as to what that means?

SamH

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SamH

You make a good point - the author said "Biblical Separatists," not "fundamentalists." This is why I don't believe it was intended to be taken as an "us vs. them" piece.  Surely people don't disagree that worldliness needs to be condemned more strongly by Pastors across the world?

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Illinois. 

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Whiff

Dave Doran wrote:

That's about the only word I can come up with at this point. Seriously, both of you have read enough people's writing to know that introductory paragraphs begin with generalizations (like Ligon's comments about Mahaney's book and Hughes's opening lines for his own book, both of which I cited above). Are we to conclude that both Duncan and Hughes have undermined their credibility by offering the generalizations they did? Somehow I don't think you'd make that case.

Jay, you may want to reread your post above about how tired you are of people slicing and dicing groups and consider how self-righteous your words might be sounding before you start pointing out the speck in your brother's eye. From my vantage point, neither of you are guilty of self-righteous actions, but if you're going to judge by the standard you have, then you need to live up to it too.

I haven't called anyone any names, P-word or otherwise.  I haven't accused anyone of being self-righteous.  I'm at a loss to see how I've invited anyone to accuse me, or contemplate accusing me, of being self-righteous on this.  (I freely admit I'm often self-righteous; I was making a concerted effort not to be today, here.)  I'm quite sure that my comments haven't been ridiculous, whether others agree with them or not.  I'm even more sure that calling my comments ridiculous does not constitute a substantive response.

Perhaps the introductory paragraphs of some books begin with generalizations.  Hopefully, somewhere in such books, the authors at least make an attempt to support such generalization.  This would be particularly true if the books bear a title asking whether anyone will speak about Topic X, thus leading with the implied generalization that no one (or almost no one) is speaking about the topic.  

For what it's worth, the Duncan and Hughes quotes are not really on point.  Duncan's statement doesn't go any further than scripture in saying that worldliness is a serious problem.  He doesn't draw any lines between evangelicalism and any other ism, or within evangelicalism.  (Hopefully, at some point later in the book he intelligibly defines worldliness, and does so without reference to what the majority of unsaved people are doing or liking this year.)  Hughes's generalization is as bad as Pearson's, unless Hughes in fact makes an effort later in the book to demonstrate that evangelical Christianity is becoming increasingly worldly.  If he does, his evidence can be evaluated.  If he doesn't, I'm inclined (with, I think, better scriptural authority) to believe he's wrong.  Christians of every stripe have always been too worldly (hence the Apostle John's admonition in the first place).  I'm skeptical of any sweeping claim that today's Christians, overall, are measurably better or worse than yesterday's.

Dave, I welcome a substantive response.  In the absence of a substantive response, I'd prefer no response.  Thanks.

 

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No, it's my fault

dmyers wrote:

I haven't called anyone any names, P-word or otherwise.  I haven't accused anyone of being self-righteous.  I'm at a loss to see how I've invited anyone to accuse me, or contemplate accusing me, of being self-righteous on this.  (I freely admit I'm often self-righteous; I was making a concerted effort not to be today, here.)  I'm quite sure that my comments haven't been ridiculous, whether others agree with them or not.  I'm even more sure that calling my comments ridiculous does not constitute a substantive response.

Actually, I'm fairly sure those accusations were aimed at me, not you, but whatever.  I didn't call Pearson any names either, but it's obvious that my view is incorrect and not worth considering, so I'm going to bow out for now.  I've got better things to do anyway.

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To dmyers,If one's point is

To dmyers,

If one's point is that few are speaking about an issue, one should make at least some effort to support that point rather than just throwing it out there no differently than a reckless, unfounded generalization.  Otherwise, one undermines one's credibility.

Out of curiosity, how would one go about proving that few are speaking about something? Would you catalog all the times they didn't speak about it? Make a bibliography of all the books they didn't write about it? Seriously, perhaps I am dense, but how in the world would you support the point that few are speaking about something?

 

quite a number of prominent evangelicals have in fact expressed similar concerns

Can you give us an idea of this "quite a number of prominent evangelicals"? How many and what are their names?

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Jay wrote: dmyers wrote: I

Jay wrote:

dmyers wrote:

I haven't called anyone any names, P-word or otherwise.  I haven't accused anyone of being self-righteous.  I'm at a loss to see how I've invited anyone to accuse me, or contemplate accusing me, of being self-righteous on this.  (I freely admit I'm often self-righteous; I was making a concerted effort not to be today, here.)  I'm quite sure that my comments haven't been ridiculous, whether others agree with them or not.  I'm even more sure that calling my comments ridiculous does not constitute a substantive response.

Actually, I'm fairly sure those accusations were aimed at me, not you, but whatever.  I didn't call Pearson any names either, but it's obvious that my view is incorrect and not worth considering, so I'm going to bow out for now.  I've got better things to do anyway.

Jay, I was hoping that was the case when I first saw Dave's comment.  Near as I can tell, though, the only comment directed at you is the one sentence that begins with your name.  Every other sentence is to "both of you" and "neither of you."  So, I had to treat all but that one sentence as directed at me as well. 

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To Jay,You began with a

To Jay,

I was actually going to ask this this morning, but I decided not to, but now I will go ahead: Who is slicing and dicing you? and where? And how? So far as I know, you weren't even addressed, were you? It was a pretty generic article.

Then you say, you reacted the way you did because "there ARE some evangelicals that are taking it seriously, and we end up looking stupid or malicious when someone from "our" circles opens up with this statement that divides "us" from "them"."

So now you, who resent being sliced and diced into categories, have invoked those categories you rejected. So do you want the categories or not?

I'm going to be blunt now and probably make people angry, but I think this needs to be said, so I'll say it.  This whole article reeks to me - absolutely reeks - of the attitude of the Pharisee in Luke 18:11-12:

    The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men [who will not speak against worldliness]. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.

I wonder how you are not included in this? Are you not claiming to be better than all these others? Aren't you claiming to be better than this author by attributing to him the attitude of a Pharisee? "God I thank you that I am not like other men who slice and dice into camps and have attitudes that reek of the Pharisees." The way you have framed it leads open the question of whether anyone could ever speak about anything.

I'm probably overreacting a little.

Yeah, I would say you have overreacted more than a little on more than one point here. I would suggest it might be a good time to reconsider what you have said here. If you don't like his point, that's fine. But I would keep it on his point, which wasn't about you.

But how would this be self-serving?

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Larry wrote: To dmyers, If

Larry wrote:

To dmyers,

If one's point is that few are speaking about an issue, one should make at least some effort to support that point rather than just throwing it out there no differently than a reckless, unfounded generalization.  Otherwise, one undermines one's credibility.

Out of curiosity, how would one go about proving that few are speaking about something? Would you catalog all the times they didn't speak about it? Make a bibliography of all the books they didn't write about it? Seriously, perhaps I am dense, but how in the world would you support the point that few are speaking about something?

Larry, first, I never asked for proof; I simply asked for support.  Second, it's not really that difficult.  If it's intended to be an empirical claim, you at least take a stab at an empirical assessment; e.g., "I performed a word search for 'worldly' and 'worldliness' in the archives of CT, T4G, TGC [etc.] and found only x articles that even touched on this."  (In the old days, perhaps you'd say you checked the (printed) Index of Periodicals for x period of time and found x articles whose titles addressed this, etc.)

Or, if you don't want to take the trouble to do that (or if you don't like the results you get when you do), you either narrow the claim or you make it an anecdotal claim; e.g., "I follow x blogs/periodicals, and I recall only x posts/articles in the last x time speaking about worldliness," or "In my experience in x circles, almost no one is speaking about worldliness."  

Better yet, you simply say that you want to address the topic because you feel that it's under-addressed.  You don't make sweeping claims about what (other?) evangelicals are doing or not doing and accuse all but "very few" evangelicals of ridiculing and labeling or of "fearing" those who do when the topic is worldliness.  Nor do you title your post to question whether "anyone" is willing to say what you're about to say (you brave soul, you).

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The true Christian does not love the world

Calvin on 1 John 2:15 in his Catholic Epistles:

We must bear in mind what I have already said, that a corrupt mode of life is here mentioned, which has nothing in common with the kingdom of God, that is, when men become so degenerated, that they are satisfied with the present life, and think no more of immortal life than mute animals. Whosoever, then, makes himself thus a slave to earthly lusts, cannot be of God.

 

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Larry wrote: To dmyers, . . .

Larry wrote:

To dmyers,

. . . .

quite a number of prominent evangelicals have in fact expressed similar concerns

Can you give us an idea of this "quite a number of prominent evangelicals"? How many and what are their names?

Sorry, didn't see this the first time I read your comment.  See Jay's first comment and Dave Doran's first comment.

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Jay wrote: dmyers wrote: I

Jay wrote:

dmyers wrote:

I haven't called anyone any names, P-word or otherwise.  I haven't accused anyone of being self-righteous.  I'm at a loss to see how I've invited anyone to accuse me, or contemplate accusing me, of being self-righteous on this.  (I freely admit I'm often self-righteous; I was making a concerted effort not to be today, here.)  I'm quite sure that my comments haven't been ridiculous, whether others agree with them or not.  I'm even more sure that calling my comments ridiculous does not constitute a substantive response.

Actually, I'm fairly sure those accusations were aimed at me, not you, but whatever.  I didn't call Pearson any names either, but it's obvious that my view is incorrect and not worth considering, so I'm going to bow out for now.  I've got better things to do anyway.

Jay, you (and everyone else) may have known/realized this from the get-go, but I only just realized that Pearson is also at DBTS with Dave Doran.  (I know, I know -- the post in question is on DBTS's site, but for some reason I missed that.)  Makes Dave's defense more understandable (and I don't mean that in any pejorative sense).

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DMyers, Thanks for that. I am

DMyers,

Thanks for that. I am not sure your methodology achieves your aim since all that would do is test a very narrow slice, and it wouldn't give any sense of whether or not something substantive or accurate was being said about it.

I am not sure that a brief, generalized, popular level article even requires such a standard. Writing has different purposes, and it seems to me that perhaps you are imposing your purpose on someone else's writing.

Nor do I think such a standard would be invoked for anything other than a topic like this (but I have no support for that, other than my general impression of the blogs and articles I read). Worldliness is one of those topics that tends to bring out a different standard than other topics.

If someone said, "Few evangelicals are writing on the topic of using Hebrew in sermon preparation," I doubt we would have a similar response from Jay about slicing and dicing, or yourself about the audacity of making such a statement without support (although there might be (probably are) more articles on Hebrew than worldliness in the blogosphere of evangelicalism). Might it be that the response here is driven by oversensitivity on the topic?

Seriously, it was a short, generalized article, and it is hard to imagine that the statement could be controversial. Do you really believe that many evangelicals are talking about worldliness these days? I am sure there are some.

I asked for some names, and you refer to Jay and Dave's comments. So considering those we come up with less than ten names. Does that really mean that many are speaking out about it? I would imagine in the world of evangelicalism (with tens of thousands), the existence of a couple of books and a few articles by about ten people really don't disprove that "few want to talk about worldliness." And remember, Pearson never said no one was talking about it. That was Jay's first overreaction, and one apparently carried on by you. I am sure there are more than ten, but don't you think it's fair to say that there isn't much teaching on worldliness these days?

I would just caution against (1) overreaction to something that wasn't said, (e.g., "no one is writing about it"), and (2) imposing your expectations of formal standards on a popular level article.

In the end, it seems to me that this discussion went off track by taking an introductory comment and treating it as if it were the point, rather than focusing on the point of the article. That might actually be a profitable discussion: What is wordliness and what should we say about it?

 

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Authorial Intent

Hey folks, 

I missed the discussion today-- I apologize (I think) for that.  I definitely agree with what Sam, Tyler, and Pastor Doran said about my intent and the heart (even if some mind in specificity and clarity was lacking) behind what I wrote.  My purpose was to express a genuine concern that Pastors and people alike not hesitate to speak out against world-love and to fight against it themselves. I think the general tide is against it in the American church, but I also would be glad, very glad, to know that more are calling people to holiness than I know of.  

Perhaps, I should have stuck more closely to the main point of the article, which was to search our hearts with honest, Spirit-helped evaluation to check for a love of the world, evidenced in giving in to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and boastful pride.   However, I often hesitate to be as honest as I should be in evaluating myself and in preaching to others for fear of being labeled by other believers (wrongly, but labeled nonetheless) in some of the ways I mentioned. At the end of the day I should confidently speak and apply the Word as a pilgrim. 

My post was certainly not about movements/labels other than "Evangelicalism" as inclusive of those who believe in sin and the Savior's death for sin and the gospel-- not about Evangelicals, Conservative Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, etc.  I do call for commitment to biblical separatist principles--particularly separation from the world in this case. Sorry to some that I didn't mean more than that, and to others that it seemed I did. 

Blog posts are too short to answer possible objections, give lots of examples, etc. so I definitely ask pardon for that.

Overall,  I hope we can all agree on what John wrote! 

 

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Larry wrote: DMyers, . . .

Larry wrote:

DMyers,

. . . .

In the end, it seems to me that this discussion went off track by taking an introductory comment and treating it as if it were the point, rather than focusing on the point of the article. That might actually be a profitable discussion: What is wordliness and what should we say about it?

 

Larry, did you read my first comment above?  I had two distinct points in that first comment.  Yes, the first one had to do with the quantitative issue raised by Pearson's first sentence (and by his title for the post).  But my concern was specifically that this was not only erroneous but also a distraction from what you describe as "the point of the article."  (And look what happened!)

More significantly, my second comment directly addressed (and took issue with) what I understood to be Pearson's definition of worldliness and what he said about it.  Unfortunately, Dave Doran's subsequent comment ignored my second (more substantive) point and zeroed in on my first point, and did so (to me) erroneously and in an over the top way.  I'd be very happy if that had never happened and everyone (including you) had focused on "the point."

As for the rest of your last comment, if you don't concede that a half dozen examples of prominent (not obscure) evangelicals is sufficient to illustrate the likely looseness of Pearson's quantitative claim, there's not much point in debating it further.  As for the allegation of oversensitivity, I think I've demonstrated that that isn't the case on my part (but may be on Doran's), but you had your mind made up going in, so again there's nothing left to say.

 

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Pearson Johnson wrote: Hey

Pearson Johnson wrote:

Hey folks, 

I missed the discussion today-- I apologize (I think) for that.  I definitely agree with what Sam, Tyler, and Pastor Doran said about my intent and the heart (even if some mind in specificity and clarity was lacking) behind what I wrote.  My purpose was to express a genuine concern that Pastors and people alike not hesitate to speak out against world-love and to fight against it themselves. I think the general tide is against it in the American church, but I also would be glad, very glad, to know that more are calling people to holiness than I know of.  

Perhaps, I should have stuck more closely to the main point of the article, which was to search our hearts with honest, Spirit-helped evaluation to check for a love of the world, evidenced in giving in to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and boastful pride.   However, I often hesitate to be as honest as I should be in evaluating myself and in preaching to others for fear of being labeled by other believers (wrongly, but labeled nonetheless) in some of the ways I mentioned. At the end of the day I should confidently speak and apply the Word as a pilgrim. 

My post was certainly not about movements/labels other than "Evangelicalism" as inclusive of those who believe in sin and the Savior's death for sin and the gospel-- not about Evangelicals, Conservative Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, etc.  I do call for commitment to biblical separatist principles--particularly separation from the world in this case. Sorry to some that I didn't mean more than that, and to others that it seemed I did. 

Blog posts are too short to answer possible objections, give lots of examples, etc. so I definitely ask pardon for that.

Overall,  I hope we can all agree on what John wrote! 

 

Pearson:  Clarifications appreciated.  And we can definitely agree with John.  If you have the time, I would be interested in your response to the comments above that addressed the substantive issue of your post, including this one from my initial comment:

"Second, Pearson is pretty squishy about the definition of worldliness.  His first set of questions and, to a lesser extent, his third set of questions sound very much like a call to be different merely to be different.  Priorities and objects of affection in common with the unsaved are, ipso facto, worldly.  In other words, rather than being defined by the objective, unchanging word of God, what is worldly is defined by what the current culture favors, whether or not those things are consistent or inconsistent with the Bible.  But that's the wrong distinctive.  What's ungodly and unbiblical is worldly, not just what "the world" happens to do or love at any given time.  Should I not build buildings the same way an unsaved builder builds because, by definition, his methods are worldly?  Should I not watch a G-rated or PG-rated movie because it's a blockbuster and therefore worldly because the world loves it?  Pearson's touchstone appears to be wrong, which means that either some of his applications are going to be wrong or he's not going to be consistent with his own standard."

Thanks.

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research!

I just googled "evangelicals against worldliness" and you can too!!! see what you find Smile

I don't know: david platt, tim keller ...

Also, very interesting: go to this wiki page "List of evangelical christians" and scroll down to contemporary names, and it might be interesting to see, which those do you think does or doens't talk about worldliness to an appropriate extent? 

Jerry Bridges (the pursuit of holiness), Tony Campolo? Charles Coleson? Tony Evans? Luis Palau?

?

Personal experience here. I went to BJU for 5 yrs of college/grad, 2 or more yrs of working there ... Then I become a missionary, live in another culture. And I will say, it's not living in that "worldliness-deliniated" environment that taught me about being worldly or not. I think it must have to an extent, yes, yes, and I love that place very much.

But I have still had major struggles with accepting a lower standard of living, denying myself, accepting other's differing views humbly, valuing the imperfect because it's God's work in progress, not being self-righteous or proud of myself because of this or that spiritual thing, being meek toward my children.

Learning not to worry about my husband or myself in times of risk, but really believe and live in calm assurance that our lives are in God's hands. That He will provide for us food and clothing and accepting that this is enough rather than gathering wealth. ...

It's a lot. And evangelicals have helped me grow in these areas, too. It is a personal thing, a work that the Holy Spirit does in individuals in various ways.

So yes, I appreaciate the thought. Might have been expressed without the lables, but it's a great thought

Мир вам! (Peace to  you)

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Some thoughts

My wife and I had a discussion last night about this thread, and I decided it was probably a good idea to sleep a little before writing anything else.  So if there’s an outbreak of common sense in this post – now you know why. Smile

First things first.  The comment about being "sliced and diced" was a reply to Dr. Doran’s comment about my rise to defend all things ‘evangelical’ (10/03, 12:32).  Most of you may not remember, but in the NIU / music threads from several months ago, I wrote a little bit about my frustration with both ‘categories’ of Christianity (Fundamentalist or Evangelical).  I have no patience, as I explained later on in this thread with that taxonomy because it – similar to the ‘CCM’ debates, the ‘conservative evangelical’ or ‘young fundamentalist’ label – seems to have no objective basis.  ‘Evangelical’ covers everyone and everything from some orthodox PCUSA pastors to John MacArthur (and really, Fundamentalism as well).  ‘Fundamentalist’ covers everyone from myself (who is probably one of the most liberal fundamentalists in terms of practice, not doctrine) to the 1611 KJV Inspired heretics.  So to be lumped into the ‘evangelical’ side of the spectrum immediately, and especially as one who is ‘trigger happy’, bothered me tremendously.  It especially bugs me because Dr. Doran is a key player in the BJU/DBTS “axis” of Fundamentalism, and it seemed like I was being dismissed because I was one of “those Evangelicals” (WTMA*).

As I have said before, and will continue to restate, I do not think that the splitting of the body of Christ into the two (or more) spheres of any sort is helpful at all and is actually quite destructive.  As soon as we start marking and setting aside other believers – which is what all the evangelicals we’ve referred to in this thread are – on the basis of some kind of internalized and self-defined taxonomy, I fear (and believe) that we’re running afoul of passages like I Cor. 1:10-13, 3:1-23, Eph. 2:14-22, 3:1-12 and Jas. 2:1, 8-13.  Jesus Christ did not enter the world to bring divisions among believers.  Now, of course I am presupposing that men like Dr. Doran, Larry, myself, Pearson, Ligon Duncan, R. Kent Hughes, John Piper and John MacArthur are indeed Christians and agree on the same core doctrines (although I know that Piper is more open to some things than I’d like).

To illustrate - Two weeks ago I was talking with a coworker who is leaving my place of employment, and she had absolutely no idea about what Christians believe.  She asked me ‘what I believed’, and a brief moment of panic set in.  “Fundamentalist?”, I thought – no, she might confuse me with a suicide bomber.  “Baptist?” was the next thought – no, because that term has no meaning to her.  “Evangelical?” – well, that was the term I used because I figured that she’d might have heard that in the news or somewhere and had some basis for further discussions.  She didn’t, but I was still able to give her the basics of what I believe in a way that made sense to her.  But my point is that defining myself by any label we would use on this site would have brought only more confusion.

For all the comments about my using terms like “we”, “us”, “them” and other pronouns – I set them aside in quotations because I was trying to illustrate the silliness (IMO) of grouping people into subcategories within the body of Christ.  Some of you picked up on what you saw as a double standard, and that was kind of my point…they’re believers, not 'others'.  Not adversaries or something else…they have the same standing and ability before God that I would as a “fundamentalist”*.  So I really don’t get this whole idea that “those Evangelicals”*  are different from wherever I stand.  I’ve profited tremendously from the time spent with all of the names I mentioned above, even if it’s only been done by book or blog.

Now, as to the article.  My first and primary objection was really more to the title than it was to the article itself.  I do not think that asking if “anyone” (from the title of the article, no less!) would speak against worldliness is fair to any of the men I referenced or that Dr. Doran mentioned (or for the others that have been brought up as well, like David Platt).  I mean, I’m from the ‘fundamentalist’ orbit*, and the names I cited in the first post came to mind within all of three minutes.  So that was my first objection.  I stand by my original statement that it makes more sense to encourage the few who ARE doing it than to stand back and mourn that only a few are doing it, especially since they’re fairly major players in the “evangelical” world*. 

The second objection was already mentioned by DMyers – namely the idea of ‘worldliness’.  Having grown up in a FBFI church, attended NBBC and BJU and the WILDS camp as both camper and CIT member, I already had the idea of avoiding ‘worldliness’ drummed into me pretty well.  The problems that I ran into was that no one, I thought, had done an adequate job of defining what worldliness is.  That’s why I have recommended Mahaney’s book on Worldliness on more than a few occasions, and it was the first thing I thought of once I finished reading Pearson’s article.

A third objection was also noted by DMyers (10/03, 3:09) – namely, that the call to be different seems to have been just that – a call to be different without Biblical definition.  So it was a little frustrating to see that again.

Finally, a brief word to Pearson.  First off, welcome to SI – I’m glad you’re here, even if I came across as a little bit unhinged.  I appreciated your clarifications and apologize for any offense I may have given to you personally.  I should have been clearer and more precise in referencing when I was talking about your article and others’ comments here in the thread.  I would like to take back (as much as is possible) the post referencing the Pharisee, because I can see now that it was not your intent.  I read a lot into that article that I shouldn’t have, and for that I am sorry.   I do agree with Jim (10/03, 1:52) that I think that there is a lot more worldliness in the orbits that we travel in than we realize.  So now let’s all work on defining that term and changing ourselves to be more ‘against the world’ than ‘of it’.

 

---------------

* - Whatever That Means Anymore

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"It is not because the culture is always changing...but because we are always in need of being re-oriented to the Word that stands over us...that the church can never stand still." - M. Horton

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Larry, did you read my first

Larry, did you read my first comment above? 

Yes. I am not sure that really helped much. You didn't like his questions, and attributed some things to it that really didn't seem to me to make much sense of his question. I don't know how you got "different merely to be different" out of that. I would have never thought that about it.

It seems to me that what we do is based on what we love. And if we are doing the same sinful things (fleshly desires) that people of the world are doing because they love the world, we should at least question whether or not we are loving the same thing. If you aren't, then answer the question, "No," and move on. Worldliness is, at least to some degree, related to what unbelievers do because worldliness is (to borrow a definition), fallen values expressed in culture. So when a culture does certain things, they are expressing their fallen values. When we do the same things, it might be because we share those fallen values. Or to put it differently, when we look like "them" (whoever them is), it may be because we love like them.

The question as I read it was about loving the world and having fleshly desires. Those are biblical ideas, are they not? That they are compared to unbelievers is not out of the ordinary. Again, worldliness is when fallen values are expressed in culture. And comparison is one of the means Scriptures uses in various ways such as Eph 5 because these are deeds of the flesh, marking a particular way of life (the unfruitful works of darkness), or Gal 5 and the deeds of the flesh, or Rom 1, or others. Again, I wonder if you are not reading your thoughts into it, and expecting more out of the article than was intended. It seems to me that the Scripture does use comparison to unbelievers as some sort of standard of sinfulness and worldliness. When we are like them, it is because we are like them.

As for the rest of your last comment, if you don't concede that a half dozen examples of prominent (not obscure) evangelicals is sufficient to illustrate the likely looseness of Pearson's quantitative claim, there's not much point in debating it further.

So you think a half dozen examples or prominent evangelicals speaking about something is proof that the threshold of "few" has been passed significantly enough to question the whole article? There are tens of thousands of evangelical pastors (maybe hundreds of thousands). I am not sure that a half dozen examples means that more  than a "few" are addressing it. I don't know how many address it, and how they address it, so I can't either confirm nor deny the point of Pearson or you. But your support that Pearson was wrong in his assertion is, at face value, no more or better supported than his was. In fact, it may prove him to be right, if you figure out the percentage of a "half dozen examples" compared to the whole of evangelical pastors.

BTW, I think the same applies to Anne here. Googling something and coming up with a few additional names isn't "research" and doesn't really touch the substance of the assertion, which was a mere generalized introductory statement to begin with. It probably wasn't intended to be mathematically analyzed. But we all agree that some people address it. The question is whether that rises to more than"few" or not, comparatively speaking.

As for the allegation of oversensitivity, I think I've demonstrated that that isn't the case on my part (but may be on Doran's), but you had your mind made up going in, so again there's nothing left to say.

My mind wasn't made up about anything going in. My point was that Jay and later you reacted against something that Pearson didn't even say, and wasn't even part of his point.

In the end, my takeaway is that we should be concerned with worldliness--the things that we love.

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Two Cents...

The Bible tells us to love our brothers and hate the world.  It seems Christians in our generation have reversed that and are loving the world more and hating their brother more.

May God help us all to be better at both.

 

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Clarification on my point

Jay,

I have no desire to go back and forth over something about which we agree (i.e., that the categories are flawed, of limited to no value, etc.), but I think it is important that your answer regarding your reaction about slicing and dicing is exactly what I was saying was the problem.

Namely, in a post which was not about categories, you read them in. In my response about not immediately reading posts like a criticism of evangelicalism as over against fundamentalism, you immediately assumed that I was calling you an evangelical or outside of some other orbit. That had nothing to do with my comment. I encouraged you not to read things through the lens which you seem determined to read them.

I know this may seem unbelievable to you, but I think it is fair to say that I have had more people question my fundamentalist credentials than you have had, and in ways that are more public and actually affect the ministry which I serve. In fact, you have, perhaps without recognizing, engaged in the same kind of pigeon-holing by placing me in the BJU-DBTS axis, whatever that is. I read stuff like that and laugh simply because all I have to do is a couple of clicks and I can find someone else pegging me for some other axis. 

I am the pastor of a church and am definitely in the DBTS orbit. Smile What that has to do with anything is beyond me. If we really want to get past labels and categories, it seems like the first step would be to stop interpreting all things in light of those labels and then to stop using them in our explanations.

DMD

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I think the examples Jay and

I think the examples Jay and DMeyers have given are more than sufficient to show that Pearson has not proven his claim that no one ("Will anyone...?" implies no one has done so; if any one individual has done so, then the question would be invalid) or "very few" in evangelicalism have spoken out against worldliness.

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Thought this was interesting

Thought this was interesting and relevant to the discussion:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/10/04/stop-slandering-chris...

The silence has been nearly deafening. Some Christians recognize the problem and may mention it in private, yet no one in our churches has the courage to say anything about it publicly. No one—from the pulpits to the pews—seems willing to speak out about the incessant claims that the church is unwilling to speak out.

For years it was merely an overused rhetorical trope, a hyperbolic claim that followed a predictable pattern:

Step 1: Take an issue of concern for Christians (e.g., abortion, sex trafficking, global persecution, the gospel).

Step 2: Claim that no one in our churches is talking about the issue.

Step 3: Assume the dual role of educator and Old Testament prophet by explaining why the issue matters and why the church must stand up and speak out about it.

As a tool of persuasion this approach can be useful (I confess to having used it myself, and on a regular basis). But there are two primary reasons Christians need to stop making such claims...

 

------------------------------
Pastor of Adult Ministries

Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Religion
Liberty University Online

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Are there any fundamentalists

Are there any fundamentalists writing about worldliness?

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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well, i don't know

.... kind of wants to make this a non-issue, the fund vs. evangelicals, but i think the writer is making it an issue. Not the main issue, but he kind of hinges all his remarks on this intro and conclusion.

I got to wondering if he (the author) was reacting to that school who recently changed their rules on tobacco and alcohol? I don't know. He would have to clarify himself what he was thinking when he said that (about Evangelicals and then distinguishes Biblical Separatists at the end).

Maybe a more main issue, what jay and dmyers are getting at, is that one could assert that most Biblical Separatists/fundamentalists are not preaching correctly about worldliness. ... ??

?

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Worldliness

Personally, I thought Mahaney's book on worldliness was excellent. The text defines worldliness as selfishness, greed, envy, pride, etc. Some crusaders against worldliness would rather define it in terms of certain things, often cultural, rather than attitudes of the heart. 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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Perhaps an aside ...

I think the examples Jay and DMeyers have given are more than sufficient to show that Pearson has not proven his claim that no one ("Will anyone...?" implies no one has done so; if any one individual has done so, then the question would be invalid) or "very few" in evangelicalism have spoken out against worldliness.

I wonder if perhaps the issue might be include a hypercritical generation (at least about some things) who has forgotten rhetoric and how language works. I don't think there is anything out of the ordinary about asking a question like that, knowing that the answer is not "nobody at all," but rather making a rhetorical point about the relative, as in "not very many."

I do believe that the modern YRR movement in broader evangelicalism has created the old (probably caricatured) kind of fundamentalistic mindset that every single thing should be parsed to the Nth degree and if it doesn't match up exactly, we should criticize and correct it to show how much better we are. I am not sure that's a good thing. And often, as here, I think it leads to missing the bigger point because one gets hung up on whether or not a rhetorical point is absolutely correct.

Consider the irony of the post that Greg links to which begins:

no one in our churches has the courage to say anything about it publicly. No one—from the pulpits to the pews—seems willing to speak out about the incessant claims that the church is unwilling to speak out.

He does the very thing he is writing an article about: he makes categorical claims in an article against making categorical claims. And Greg cites it as a good article against making categorical claims. And the author even says, As a tool of persuasion this approach can be useful.

It's odd to me that communication has devolved so much that normal rhetorical tools receive hypercritical evaluation beyond what they are intended to be used for. If a person is making a statement about some sort of mathematical relationship, then yes, the complaints here are valid (even if not accurate, which seems the case based on the evidence presented -- no one has shown that any more than a few evangelicals are publicly speaking about it). But in rhetoric, questions like this partake of the category of hyperbole, in which a statement is made by asserting some out of proportion to it's absolute reality.

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Personally, I thought

Personally, I thought Mahaney's book on worldliness was excellent. The text defines worldliness as selfishness, greed, envy, pride, etc. Some crusaders against worldliness would rather define it in terms of certain things, often cultural, rather than attitudes of the heart.

I agree, and since it comes from an apostle, I am thinking about preaching from it this fall.

Seriously, I do think it is a good book, but I don't think we should judge the issue by who is writing books about it. I also think that many fundamentalists handle it badly. As do many evangelicals. But none of that, IMO, is the issue.

The issue is that worldliness is real, it is possible, it is dangerous, and there you have a sermon for tomorrow ...

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Humor

I wonder if perhaps the issue might be include a hypercritical generation (at least about some things) who has forgotten rhetoric and how language works. I don't think there is anything out of the ordinary about asking a question like that, knowing that the answer is not "nobody at all," but rather making a rhetorical point about the relative, as in "not very many."

Actually, in my English classes - from grade school all the way through college - the word "Anyone" was meant to be inclusive of everyone.  Not "some", not "partially", and not "the select few"...especially when terms in the article like these are used: "very few", "us", and "our".

But in any case, I think David Cloud wrote something on worldliness a few weeks ago - "The Merging of Calvinism and Worldliness" was the exact title.  Does that count, Ron?

-----------
"It is not because the culture is always changing...but because we are always in need of being re-oriented to the Word that stands over us...that the church can never stand still." - M. Horton

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saying this another way

I think actually we are evaluating this article inaccurately. Look at exactly what the man wrote--it's appx 1/4th of the entire post so i dont think it's a small issue.

He says that worldliness is the elephant in the room of evangelicalism, and I think the "very few" that are willing to address it is unclear--does this refer to Biblical Separatists/fundamentalists are unwilling to address it? or to evangelicals themselves unwilling to address it? I actually think that it's referring to fundamentalists ... But then the ending is confusing.

Anyway, just being hypercritical and exact here, as I was taught to be at BJ Biggrin or from my English-teacher mother, take your pick ;)

There is an elephant in the room of Evangelicalism that very few want to talk about. If we bring it up, we face ridicule and labels. “Legalist!” some shout, having little understanding of what legalism really is. “Traditionalist!” others say, as if we don’t have a rich church history and a very old Book as our guide.  “Isolationist!” the more thoughtful may counter, having seen some create odd sub-cultures. “Anti-Missionalist,” the more edgy will say, as if being of the world is a necessary part of being in the world to reach the world.  Fearing these reprisals, many remain silent about this elephant in the room of Evangelicalism. However, God is not hesitant to speak on this issue. He says, “Do not love the world.”

...

[conclusion:] For all of our faults and failures, personal separation from worldliness is something that Biblical Separatists have continued to speak against without apology. The lifestyle of stranger and pilgrim in this world and culture is ok with us, and we think it is ok with God.

Is it really an elephant in their room? in our room?

Gah. I have to stop thinking this. it's just making me go round and round. ...

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comments

the comments on the post are basically the same conversation we are having here. So ...

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Larry you missed the point of

Larry you missed the point of the first paragraph of the article I linked to. The first paragraph was a parody of what he was criticizing.

Even if "Will anyone...? is a rhetorical flourish, when coupled with "very few" it seems to be making a specific point. And even if i grant you the "anyone," i still disagree that "very few" in evangelicalism have addressed worldliness. At least that's the opinion of this young member of the YRR who doesn't really understand rhetoric or how language works. Smile

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Jay wrote:   But in any

Jay wrote:

 

But in any case, I think David Cloud wrote something on worldliness a few weeks ago - "The Merging of Calvinism and Worldliness" was the exact title.  Does that count, Ron?

 

No.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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Actually, in my English

Actually, in my English classes - from grade school all the way through college - the word "Anyone" was meant to be inclusive of everyone.  Not "some", not "partially", and not "the select few"...especially when terms in the article like these are used: "very few", "us", and "our".

Rhetoric, Jay, It's a common way to use language. And it might be what Pearson intended. But even if he didn't, it strikes me that the title is actually a question, not a statement. I assume that in your English classes -- from grade school all the way through college -- they taught you what a question mark means. And the answer is "Yes, some have, but it seems relatively few," which is what the article says. And for all the discussion, no one has supported the idea that worldliness is a common theme or spoken of by more than few, relatively speaking. It may be the case that it is, but that hasn't been supported, has it?

In the end, the take away should be that we should be talking about worldliness, not debating the use of rhetori

 

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Larry you missed the point of

Larry you missed the point of the first paragraph of the article I linked to. The first paragraph was a parody of what he was criticizing.

Yes, he finally said that in a comment later on. It wasn't clear, and the common use of the tactic makes it hard to parody in the manner in which he tried. But even at that, it is still a useful tool of persuasion at times. And even if his first paragraph was a parody, it seems that the whole argue did the very thing he was trying to write against doing. It would kind of be impossible not to.

This reminds of Yogi Berra's line: "No one goes there anymore; it's too crowded." Of course he also said, "I didn't say half the things I said." But these kinds of categorical or semi-categorical statements are common and accepted. They are not generally parsed for mathematical accuracy, but used for rhetorical purposes, similar to hyperbole.

i still disagree that "very few" in evangelicalism have addressed worldliness.

But to use DMyers standards, you would actually have to support that by showing that more than a few have addressed it. And even if you did, what would it prove? Again, I think you have missed the point of the article, which was to encourage people to think about worldliness. If your definition of "few" is larger than is, then fine. I don't think the point hinges on that. I don't think there are a lot of people who want to talk about what worldliness actually is. If you do, then fine.

At least that's the opinion of this young member of the YRR who doesn't really understand rhetoric or how language works.

Fair enough. But the way language works is an important part of communication, and it is worth recognizing what people do with the language they use. Again, what exactly Pearson was doing, I don't know. But I would tend to believe he wasn't trying to evoke a conversation about what "few" means.

And this reminds me why I don't like to get in this conversations. It is hard to communicate, and I am not good at stopping.

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To Pearson

Pearson, you need to write more. I have rarely observed Christians to get so exercised over such basic, simple stuff. I find the quote of the ancient Pogo fitting: "We have found the enemy, and he is us!" Do more. It is really cathartic.