Jerry Falwell, Jr. Calls Russell Moore Out, Says He's Part of the 'SBC Deep State'

"Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. took to Twitter late Monday night to call Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore to the carpet." - Christian Headlines

3417 reads

There are 31 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

The story incorrectly identifies Moore as "a progressive," ... seems unaware that there are conservatives who are not Trump fans.

G. N. Barkman's picture

I have been puzzled at times by statements made by Russell Moore.  He's certainly not a typical conservative.  However, I believe he deserves a fair hearing.  And if you ever hear him preach, you will be surprised by the fire coming from a seminary professor with a doctorate.  He sounds like a camp meeting revival preacher with a solid knowledge of Scripture.  He's an enigma all right.

G. N. Barkman

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Wikipedia

Deep Throat is the pseudonym given to the secret informant who provided information in 1972 to Bob Woodward, who shared it with Carl Bernstein. Woodward and Bernstein were reporters for The Washington Post, and Deep Throat provided key details about the involvement of U.S. President Richard Nixon's administration in what came to be known as the Watergate scandal. 

I'm not seeing a resemblance....  Moore as whistleblower? I'm not seeing the connection, other than the "critic of a president of questionable character" scenario.

John E.'s picture

Aaron wrote:

The story incorrectly identifies Moore as "a progressive," ... seems unaware that there are conservatives who are not Trump fans.

I can personally attest that for many Trump supporters, not being a Trump fan = progressive. It doesn't matter what else one says or writes or does, publicly expressing that you are not a fan of Trump earns one death threats because you are the enemy of America.  

TylerR's picture

Editor

Holbrook as Deep Throat: "Just follow the money ...:

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

All I can say about Dave's quip is that I'm glad the reference is Watergate.  Worth noting is that since Moore is very open about what he believes and who's saying things, the analogy breaks down a bit.  He's quite different from many Southern Baptists, but not a total mystery.  

Regarding Falwell's comment, even apart from the dispute over Trump or whatever else, it's depressing to see Falwell setting up a circular firing squad over conformity in the denomination he says he loves.  There is a place for serious, reasoned disagreement with Moore, but I would submit that that place is not potshots on Twitter.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Paul Henebury's picture

I really don't like Moore, and he has some shaky associations.  He is a main proponent of the social justice nonsense that has caught fire in the SBC

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Joel Shaffer's picture

I really don't like Moore, and he has some shaky associations.  He is a main proponent of the social justice nonsense that has caught fire in the SBC

Moore is a Carl FH Henry disciple.  If you read Henry, you will understand why Moore advocates for Social Justice.  Sadly, the vast majority of anti-social justice folks within the SBC (and outside the SBC as well) do not have the intellectual chops to discern whether Moore is being influenced by Dr. Henry or the cultural Marxism and the critical race theory that they continually accuse him and others of.  

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

On critical race theory, cultural marxism, TGC has a post today, now up in Filings: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/incompatibility-critical-theo...

I definitely don't always agree with Moore. "Progressive" doesn't even come close though. In general, the right needs to become more aware of "Trump-critical conservatism" (TCC) (many Trump-critical conservatives voted for him anyway, but remain unenthusiastic about several things he's doing policy-wise, as well as his general character. Unfortunately, outlets such as The Bulwark frequently overstate the situation--and wrap their ideas in excessive vitriol. There are too few thoughtful TCC  outlets being heard these days. NR and Washington Examiner are sometimes helpful and not, on the whole, Trump sycophants.)

 

Joel Shaffer's picture

 

On critical race theory, cultural marxism, TGC has a post today, now up in Filings: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/incompatibility-critical-theo...

The primary author of this article, Neil Shenvi, has really been a voice of reason and theology among the "social justice" war that is happening within Conservative Evangelicalism.  Check out his apologetics blog if you want to a good primer on the current topics of critical race theories, social justice, and some great reviews of books that have come out on racial reconciliation and social justice.  There are some minor disagreements that I have with what he says, but he has a far better balance than most of the CE critics (Pyromaniacs, G3 conference whose critiques are quite difficult for me to take seriously) of the conservative evangelical social justice movement.  https://shenviapologetics.com/topics/

Bert Perry's picture

Paul Henebury wrote:

I really don't like Moore, and he has some shaky associations.  He is a main proponent of the social justice nonsense that has caught fire in the SBC

Yes, but guilt by association was, and will always be, a fallacy.  Regarding social justice, I think the debate needs to be had over what Moore and others have actually said.  Most of the arguments against Moore are actually accusing him and others of going down a "slippery slope" (another fallacy, BTW) in order to connect them with the furthest realms of liberalism.  Again, count your fallacies, and you're going to need your toes before you're done.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Paul Henebury's picture

Merely stating that Moore has "some shaky associations" does not commit the guilt by association fallacy any more than does an Apostle stating "evil company corrupts good habits" (1 Cor. 15:33).  Is a parent guilty of fallacious thinking by warning their teenager about the dubious friends of someone they have started hanging around?  It is just an observation.  

I am content to wait and see.  In the meantime I do appreciate your take on many issues.  You clearly know what you're talking about.

Joel,

I have had several interactions with "woke" brethren about my "white privilege" and I have read all 6 volumes of Carl' Henry's God, Revelation & Authority plus some of his other works (have you?).    

Carl Henry would not have agreed with talk of white privilege and reparations, and he would have been horrified at the goings-on at Southeastern (if this young man is to be believed).  Maybe I don't have the "intellectual chops" to understand Carl Henry and you do?  Maybe Phil Johnson and Fred Butler aren't at your level either, otherwise they would be more discerning? 

Look, I think you offer a needed counter to this SJW concern, but don't insult those you disagree with.  

Finally, Trump: If people are waiting for Caesar to become a saint they will be waiting in vain.  One "bad man" can have better policies and be more Christian friendly than another "bad man."  Choose wisely.    

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Bert Perry's picture

Paul, if you say he has some shaky associations, but do not provide evidence for what those associations are doing, and how you would allege Moore is influenced by them, yes, you are committing textbook guilt by association fallacies. 

For that matter, the same thing goes for the parent who warns their teenager about their friends.  There is a huge difference between being a friend of partiers/fornicators, and participating in their sins, and fundagelicals in general need to learn that principle.  There is an awful lot of ministry that we're missing out on because we're training ourselves to avoid people like tax collectors, the woman at the well, and the like.

There may be something very real and objectionable about what Moore says, but it needs to start with what he's actually saying, and we need to avoid basic logical fallacies as we do so.  If we don't, we can end up in the place Jon Harris does in that video you linked; 16 minutes in, he had said precisely nothing related to his ostensible topic.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Paul Henebury's picture

Bert,

With respect, you stated, "we need to avoid basic logical fallacies...  If we don't, we can end up in the place Jon Harris does in that video you linked; 16 minutes in, he had said precisely nothing related to his ostensible topic."

This implies that the whole video is not going to present evidence (eyewitness evidence) because the guy waffles in the first 16 minutes.  It commits the fallacy of composition. 

Further, I cited 1 Cor. 15:33.  In the context I cannot find Paul giving actual evidence of such, but that doesn't mean there wasn't any.  You still claim I am guilty of committing guilt by association.  Fair enough.  I have committed many such blunders and will doubtless do so again.  But I am not persuaded in this instance.  Here is a basic definition of the fallacy:

" A guilt by association fallacy occurs when someone connects an opponent to a demonized group of people or to a bad person in order to discredit his or her argument. The idea is that the person is “guilty” by simply being similar to this “bad” group and, therefore, should not be listened to about anything."

I did not connect Moore with a demonized group in order to discredit him.  Neither did I say that he doesn't deserve a hearing.  Of course he does! 

I think Thomas Littleton and Todd Friel have done some helpful work here.  The MLK50 Conference marked a definite political play to my mind.  I may be wrong on Moore.  I was just giving a passing opinion.  

If you are going to sniff out every logical fallacy on these boards you might also look at your own hasty generalizations and ad hominen.  E.g. "There is a huge difference between being a friend of partiers/fornicators, and participating in their sins, and fundagelicals in general need to learn that principle." 

On a personal front, my wife and I regularly host people from the local theatre and college at our house.  They include transgender, homosexuals, radical leftists, pot growers, etc.  Am I missing tax collectors and harlots?  Guilty as charged.             

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Bert Perry's picture

Paul, let's take a close look at 1 Cor. 15:33 and see if it can possibly mean what you say it means.  I assert that it does not.  For starters, the plain context of the passage, starting in verse 12, tells us precisely who that bad company is to whom Paul is referring, and that their danger is.  It is those who deny the Resurrection, and what Paul does there is he demonstrates that for the Corinthian church to take seriously teaching that denies the central story of the Gospels, the Resurrection, and moreover Paul chides them for failing to consider the implications of that teaching on their own faith.  

Now consider what the quote is; it's from Menander's Thais, a play about a prostitute who,, during a drunken orgy, persuades Alexander the Great to burn Persepolis, destroying a magnificent edifice and destroying a great portion of the learning of the Persians--Alexander himself is said to have acted in haste and repented at leisure about the matter by the ancients.

The rest of the play has been lost, but if "bad company corrupts good character" is intended literally by Paul, why is he quoting a fairly bawdy play by a pagan--one who apparently drowned (drunk?) in his bathtub-- to make that point?  Would he not be refuting himself?  

The far more likely use of that verse by Paul is that he knows his (formerly pagan) audience will get the reference and connect their failure to be good Bereans with the resurrection-deniers with Alexander's drunken orgy.  In other words, it's a turn of phrase, not a general principle.

Exactly what we'd think from how the Apostles, Prophets, and Christ all spent a lot of time dealing with shady characters.  And you and I, praise God.

And yet, the idea of 1 Cor. 15:33 as a general principle is indeed prevalent in the church, which is precisely my point about fundagelicals needing to learn the principle that interacting with the lost is not equivalent to participating in their sins.  Ad hominem?  Absolutely not.  It's something I've seen up close and personal, including on this board, pervasively for the past 30 years I've been in Christ.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Joel,

I have had several interactions with "woke" brethren about my "white privilege" and I have read all 6 volumes of Carl' Henry's God, Revelation & Authority plus some of his other works (have you?).    

Carl Henry would not have agreed with talk of white privilege and reparations, and he would have been horrified at the goings-on at Southeastern (if this young man is to be believed).  Maybe I don't have the "intellectual chops" to understand Carl Henry and you do?  Maybe Phil Johnson and Fred Butler aren't at your level either, otherwise they would be more discerning? 

Look, I think you offer a needed counter to this SJW concern, but don't insult those you disagree with.  

Finally, Trump: If people are waiting for Caesar to become a saint they will be waiting in vain.  One "bad man" can have better policies and be more Christian friendly than another "bad man."  Choose wisely.  

Paul, from my limited interaction with you, I’ve appreciated that you have made some attempt to interact with Christians who hold a different view about racial issues, that you are not attempting to make arguments from an echo chamber and that you actually have read Henry among many others (which is not surprising because you have an advanced degree)    And yes, to answer your question, yes I have read all 6 of Henry's volumes (25 years ago) plus more, plus every book/article that Henry has written on the subject of social concern, Biblical/Social Justice, and etc....I've also read many dissertations about Henry and his view on social concern as well, so I do have a pretty good understanding of where he is coming from as well.   As for Henry, when it comes to Social and Racial Justice, Reparations, White Privilege, and etc...as a scholar and Christian Social Ethicist, he would take the time to make sure he wasn’t misrepresenting the views of those he was interacting with and would be fairly nuanced in his critique and wasn't so hostile towards those with whom he disagreed. For instance in his book "A Plea for Evangelical Demonstration," he does an admirable job critiquing Niebuhr’s Christian realism as well as Revolutionary activism (such as some of the types of liberation theologies that had emerged in the 1960’s), yet Henry still signed the Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Concern with several signers that were being accused of Marxist and Liberal tendencies back in the early 1970’s (Perkins, Wallis, Sider, Pannell, Hilliard, Alexander).  If I remember correctly, he also participated in a debate against Jim Wallis about Social Justice and the role of the government when Wallis was actually Marxist (eventually Wallis modified his view when so many socialist and communist regimes failed economically over time and became somewhat free-market)   Here is the actual document that was signed. https://www.evangelicalsforsocialaction.org/about-esa-2/history/chicago-... Interestingly, it addresses racial and social justice at a systemic level and even promotes a “just acquisition and distribution of the world’s resources." If Henry would’ve signed that document today, the anti-social justice folks would’ve accused him of Neo-Marxism and all these other crazy labels, despite the mountains of evidence that  Henry publicly believed a free-market economy (held in check by Christian values) was the economic system that aligned closest with Scripture.

Your youtube video of Jon Harris illustrates my point, that many anti-justice SBCers come across like they don’t have the intellectual chops to discern truth from error (or the influence of Henry from a CRT)  On a related subject on one of his twitter posts, he even accuses TGC of pushing post-modernism and neo-Marxism when a writer did a mild critique of Jordan Peterson. I haven’t done any reading of Fred Butler, but from my readings of Johnson’s Pyromaniacs blog and some of his twitter responses, he regularly misrepresents and broad-brushed his opponents that I can’t take any of his arguments seriously either.    

However, as I read what I wrote, it did come across more condescending than what I actually meant.  I should’ve stated it more along the lines that they are not showing Biblical wisdom and discernment or that they are coming across like they’ve never read historically about social and racial justice from pre-CRT evangelicals who have been talking about this for at least a half a century, 2 decades before CRT came on to the scene in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. .

 

Paul Henebury's picture

This is coming down to you asserting I made a logical fallacy by not naming my authorities (or something) and you refusing to own your own.  I'll accept that you are not guilty of ad hominem, but you are guilty of hasty generalization (and composition fallacy).  You make yet another logical fallacy by referring to your own experience with "fundagelicals" to establish a general principle.

I cited a definition of guilt by association and showed why I did not commit it.  In fact, contra your assertion, I did not even "allege" he had been influenced by them.  Let it go.  

I don't have access to my library right now as I am out of town, but both Calvin and Gill stand against your interpretation of 1 Cor. 15:33.  It IS a general principle.  Even Menander knows it (general revelation). 

Another problem with your view is that according to verse 12 the people Paul was concerned about were inside the church.  They were Christians (or attendees at least) who had brought outside teachings into the church and it corrupted their doctrine.  Paul isn't calling them evil!  So the bad company of v.33 is not the deniers of v.12 but those outside the church who had influenced them.  I'm sorry brother, you are right about many things, but in this matter you have it wrong.         

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Paul Henebury's picture

Thanks for a good and full response.  I am not at home at present so I will take a look at Henry's work when I do.  I also want to take back my tone.  I did take offense at your wording, but ought to have exercised more charity.  Truth is I have been driving for many hours the last two days and I am plain wiped out.  

I am content to see how all this turns out in the next few years.

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Rob Fall's picture

I would add the Wall Street Journal to the list of TCC outlets.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
SNIP There are too few thoughtful TCC  outlets being heard these days. NR and Washington Examiner are sometimes helpful and not, on the whole, Trump sycophants.)

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Bert Perry's picture

By citing Calvin and Gill, you've demonstrated that my contention that, at least if I'm correct that 1 Cor. 15:33 is NOT a general principle, the presentation of it as a general principle is indeed widespread among fundagelicals.  So you've just ironically proven that my contention is not a hasty generalization. Congratulations!

Regarding its use, again, I really don't see how one can support that usage because it is self-referentially incoherent in light of the ministries of Jesus, the Prophets, the Apostles, and quite frankly most of the heroes of evangelism today, not to mention you and I.  It's also inconsistent with the immediate context and the use of Menander in Thais.  I'd argue that Paul's really saying "in ignoring the Gospels and your own hope in Christ, you have just behaved as Alexander did in Persepolis by getting stone drunk and stupid."   It's primarily a challenge to them to act as the Bereans, checking what they heard with what they know.

Back to the subject, that's why it's so important we interact with that Moore has actually said, and that's primarily that the central question is NOT whether fundagelicals are engaged in social justice.  Moore points out that when it's chastity, abortion, and any number of other hot button issues, we engage.  The main question is whether we'll start including the fallout and vestiges of racism in that list of issues.

Given that the racism in southern churches in general, and in SBC churches in particular, was quite often quite overt into the 1970s, exactly why wouldn't we include this?   Many of the people who committed these sins, and who were victimized by them, are still breathing, and it's also worth noting that unless one confronts those attitudes directly, you're going to get a vestige of them going forward.  I know I've seen it repeatedly, and Joel has as well.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

Hey Joel-

I haven’t really spent a ton of time in this social justice topic, but I would be curious to hear your opinion of Voddie Baucham’s understanding and lecture on it at the Sovereign Nations conference several months (?) ago.  Here is the link.

I think the problem is that many Christians are serious about making a more just society and would identify as being “pro-Social Justice” but who are not buying into intersectionality and some of these other concepts that you have to be in order to be the kind of “woke” person that is en vogue these days.  I know I fall into that category.

As for Falwell Jr., well, I wish he would stick with Christian education and preaching and leave the political stuff alone.  That being said, it seems like he is or wants to be Trump’s Evangelical spokesperson so I just tune him out.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Joel Shaffer's picture

Hey Joel-

I haven’t really spent a ton of time in this social justice topic, but I would be curious to hear your opinion of Voddie Baucham’s understanding and lecture on it at the Sovereign Nations conference several months (?) ago.  Here is the link.

I think the problem is that many Christians are serious about making a more just society and would identify as being “pro-Social Justice” but who are not buying into intersectionality and some of these other concepts that you have to be in order to be the kind of “woke” person that is en vogue these days.  I know I fall into that category.

Back in February, I listened to Voddie's message and took some notes.  I also listened to Johnson and Buice's that followed him and I'd have to say that Voddie's was by far the best message.   

He uses Dr. William Young's definition of SJ: “while often an amorphous term, social justice has evolved generally to mean state redistribution of advantages and resources to disadvantaged groups to satisfy rights to social economic equality.” He also defines the social justice movement, and the mission of social justice and how anti-Biblical it is from what Biblical justice (which he roots in Micah 6).  Voddie recommends Biblical Christians shouldn’t use the term because of the lack of clarity and how toxic it is because of the anti-Biblical groups that are associated with.  He also questions if the term is necessary, and then explains how it is used to shut down conversations.   I actually agree with some of these premises to a point.  However, Baucham needs to go back in history further to how the term was first used.  It was birthed in Catholic Social teaching in response to workers rights movement during the industrial revolution as an alternative to the evils of communism/socialism as well as unrestrained Capitalism without Christian values during the 1800s and early 1900s.  What's more, its been used by several Protestant Christian Ethicists before any semblance of the current "Marixst-influenced/CRT social justice had come onto the scene in the late 1980's/1990's.  For example, from the 1960s through the early1980’s, Carl FH Henry used it often in his writings and it had nothing to do with the Marxist development of critical race theory, intersectionality, etc (Henry embraced free-market Capitalism (restrained by Christian values) as the most Biblically consistent economic system.    Maybe If the term social justice had been birthed in a Marxist, communist setting without any Christian connections, then Voddie Baucham might have a point. Reclaiming a word that was birthed in a Judeo-Christian context and was used for at least 3 decades by the most influential Christian Evangelical Ethicist of the 20th century (Henry) shouldn’t be a problem, especially when Social justice simply meant Doing what is Right within society in accordance with God’s character.  At the very end, Baucham questions whether Christians who want to hold onto the term are trying to impress the world.  That was very frustrating because impressing the world is probably the last thing most conservative evangelicals who embrace social justice are trying to do.   One way to discern if SJ conservative evangelicals are trying to impress the world is if they publicly stand against abortion as a social justice issue as they do with poverty, racism, immigration, and etc..  Most of my SJ conservative evangelical friends and others I rub shoulders with also publicly stand against abortion and have been hammered in the public square by "the world" for doing so.   

If we want to discern whether evangelicals who embrace social justice have compromised their faith for Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, Cultural Marxism, and etc....., we need to be active listeners and pay close attention to what is and what isn't being said, including how they use the sociological language.   For instance, how do they define Racism?  If a Christian defines Racism only as Ethnic Prejudice + Power, which leads to the conclusion that only Whites/dominant group can be racists, then that Christian has compromised the doctrine of sin/total depravity for CRT.  We also need the old definition of racism, "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race," which refers to individual responsibility because ultimately racism is a sin issue of the heart.  I teach both definitions together because neither one by itself adequately deals with how Total Depravity affects racism in our society.  

Also, how does a Social Justice evangelical define social justice?  Is it more along the lines of “Doing the right thing to the right extent for the right people in the right way at the right time according to a right interpretation of God’s word” (Thabiti Anyabwile's definition) or is it more along the lines of "state redistribution of advantages and resources to disadvantaged groups to satisfy rights to social economic equality?”   At the same time, we need to even be careful of not reading into trigger words such as redistribution because evangelical civil rights activist and evangelist Dr. John M Perkins (whose had major influences on most black and white socially conscience evangelicals, including myself) uses the term very differently in his 3 R's of Christian Community Development than a Marxist would.  Perkins refers to Christians "redistributing" their skills and resources in a way that empowers the poor rather than making them dependent on government or charity.  Perkins made the shrewd observation in one of his books that taxing the rich extravagantly to redistribute to the poor doesn't help long-term because, within months, the money is back in the hands of the wealthy because the poor don't own anything.

Third, how does the Christian define White Privilege?  Neil Shenvi does a great job breaking down the difference between a careful, descriptive definition and a Critical Race Theory influenced prescriptive definition here.  https://shenviapologetics.com/an-antiracism-glossary-white-privilege/   

There is more social justice terminology that I could point you to, but I think you get the idea.  Unfortunately, there are a few social justice conservative evangelicals that I believe have compromised Scripture for Critical Race Theory. For instance, Jemar Tisby leans toward the Prejudice + Power-only definition.  Although a few of my friends try to assure me that Ekemini Uwan has orthodox doctrine, the language and terms she uses makes me quite suspicious because she lacks clarity in her communication (applies/blends lots of CRT language to Scripture with a chip on her shoulder).   

The majority of conservative evangelicals that I rub shoulders with (I'll see many at the Legacy Discipleship Conference in Chicago this summer), including the many that are constantly criticized by anti-social justice evangelicals, so far haven't bowed their knee to CRT.  I still maintain that MacArthur, Johnson, White, the Founders Ministry folks are mostly aiming their guns at the wrong targets.  If I had a dollar for all the times I've seen CRT infect the progressive evangelicals and mainline Christians that I know, I might be able to buy a decent used car.  I don't see much hope with them.  Check out the Sojourners website and scroll down and you'll see what I mean.  I personally know some of these poverty-fighting colleagues and they have definitely compromised.    

Joel Shaffer's picture

 

Social Justice, Critical Race, Intersectionality, etc. - Anyone still giving people the gospel?

Great question.  Yes.  Many of the Conservative Evangelicals that embrace a Biblical view of Social Justice are some of the most evangelistic people I know.  For instance, Eric Mason, who wrote "Woke Church," he and his church are very evangelistic. Two of my former students that became Christians in our ministry attended his church for 2 years when they lived in Philly.  Preaching and communicating the gospel is central to everything they do.   They have also planted 6 churches In New York, New Jersey, California, Delaware, and Maryland and they have sent missionaries (primarily church planters) to Africa and Asia.  Or how about Jason Janz, the founder of Sharper Iron, whom I connect with once a year at Legacy Discipleship Conference in Chicago?  His church is very intentional in preaching and sharing the gospel to their urban community in Denver and many have come to faith in Christ, but they also have a passion to alleviate poverty.  The non-profit ministry that they started, CrossPurpose, is doing some amazing work in job training, making connections with businesses, and helping poor people in Denver acquire living-wage jobs. In fact, they have become a national model. Many of the people whom they help with jobs and lifting out of poverty became Christians in these programs and are being discipled in their church as well.   I could go on and on with similar stories of my colleagues.   I have not seen the mission drift, nor have I seen theological compromise among those I am connected with.  

WallyMorris's picture

I am curious why churches choose poverty to be the social problem they focus on. Of all the social problems, what is the basis/criteria for choosing one over the other? Alcohol, Drugs, Homelessness - the list could go on. Just curious.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

WallyMorris wrote:

I am curious why churches choose poverty to be the social problem they focus on. Of all the social problems, what is the basis/criteria for choosing one over the other? Alcohol, Drugs, Homelessness - the list could go on. Just curious.

Wally, I can't answer authoritatively, and I'm about the furthest thing from a "woke" Christian there is, but I would guess that many of the instances of the issues you mention (especially homelessness) can be traced to poverty as one of the root causes, after sin, of course.  If so, that would mean that in its proper place (way down from the gospel) helping to reduce it to some extent (or at least helping to alleviate it, so we aren't saying "depart, be ye warmed and filled") could possibly help combat a number of problems.

Dave Barnhart

Paul Henebury's picture

1. You congratulate me for the wrong thing.  You wrote:

"By citing Calvin and Gill, you've demonstrated that my contention that, at least if I'm correct that 1 Cor. 15:33 is NOT a general principle, the presentation of it as a general principle is indeed widespread among fundagelicals.  So you've just ironically proven that my contention is not a hasty generalization. Congratulations!"

That was not the general principle I was concerned with when I pointed out the fallacy of hasty generalization.

2. I am not at all persuaded by your exegesis of 1 Cor. 15:33.  Still, can you provide one commentator who takes your view about Paul's use of Menander?  That is, does anybody else other than your good self think that Paul is not implying a general principle (general revelation)?

3. The general principle you try to establish with a hasty generalization was not in reference to your interpretation of 1 Cor. 15:33, but rather referred to this:

"There is a huge difference between being a friend of partiers/fornicators, and participating in their sins, and fundagelicals in general need to learn that principle." 

That commits the fallacy of hasty generalization.  But you add to this an appeal to the sample field of your own limited experience, which is another fallacy.  Reverting to subjective experience, however wide ones personal experience may be, does not establish an objective truth.  If you are going to adjudicate on the real or perceived fallacies of others I respectfully submit that you should own your own.  

Like I said, I usually read our comments because they often contain common sense and knowledge of the subject.  I shall continue to read you.  But here for once you are below par.       

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Joel Shaffer's picture

I am curious why churches choose poverty to be the social problem they focus on. Of all the social problems, what is the basis/criteria for choosing one over the other? Alcohol, Drugs, Homelessness - the list could go on. Just curious.

Another great question.  Janz's organization initially was attempting to help everyone: fatherless kids, homeless, refugees, and etc..., but realized that most churches in urban Denver were focusing on relief efforts rather than the long-term development efforts that it takes to help people out of poverty, plus there were many other faith-based organizations that were already doing great work with substance abuse and homelessness.  Based on the needs in the urban neighborhood and the people assets and connections they had, they decided to primarily focus only on one social problem, which was breaking the cycle of poverty.  Also, it fits with their ministry philosophy with the church of the importance of life-on-life relationships when it came to making disciples.  So their volunteers from the church were not only using the life-on-life relationships to come alongside the poor to help them break the cycle, but they were also teaching them the word of God and discipling them as well.

The ministry that I oversee, Urban Transformation Ministries, focuses on "Breaking the Fatherless Cycle through the transformative gospel of Christ."  We do this through:

Discipling – Filling the Daddy-Gap through long-term life-on-life discipling relationships of urban youth and young adults. This includes teaching them to know their Heavenly Father, finding their identity in Christ, and raising them up as Christian leaders who will remain in the community to live and lead.

Equipping – Helping young urban men and fathers obtain the spiritual, emotional, relational, educational, and economic tools to break the cycle of fatherlessness and become the husband and father that God created them to be (ManUP program). 

Connecting – Creating social capital for fatherless youth and young adults through connections to non-profits, mentors, counselors, businessmen/women, churches, city resources, entrepreneurs, and anyone else that offers resources to help change lives.

Training – Teaching churches to minister to the fatherless/poor through training workshops, seminars, college-level classes, articles, books, blog-posts, curriculum, internships, consulting, and urban immersion trips.

There are 4 churches which partner with us very closely (including the church where I am an elder as well as our sending church) in all the life-on-life mentoring relationships that are part of our programs and as a result, many of our participants faithfully attend these churches.  Many came to faith in Christ through our programs or at these churches and are being discipled at these churches.  

Jay's picture

Joel, thanks for getting back to me - I had similar thoughts, and I wasn't really ready to write off Anyabwile as going all social justice yet based on what I'd read of his work.  Frankly, I got the sense he was just as surprised to be attacked for his 'compromises' as I was.

Dave said:

If so, that would mean that in its proper place (way down from the gospel) helping to reduce it to some extent (or at least helping to alleviate it, so we aren't saying "depart, be ye warmed and filled") could possibly help combat a number of problems.

I agree with all of this, and it's something I was discussing with a friend this morning.  What is the right balance to addressing issues like the Social Justice Gospel?   Surely there is a balance between launching a thousand blogs to fight against it and ignoring it to death.

I just wonder... the early church didn't make noise about all problems in the Roman society - they just started doing what they could to combat it.  They rescued infants left to die, tended the sick when no one else would, and did good works "so that their Father in Heaven will be glorified" (Matthew 5:13-16).  There's a lengthy list in the early pages of Foxes' Book of Martyrs if I remember correctly, and I feel like that is the model we ought to be following hard after - preach the Gospel, make disciples, do good works and demonstrate that we are different that way.  There's always more heretics and more social problems to combat than we could ever take on.

I'm really losing all faith and confidence in 'watchblogs' and 'calls to action' when it comes to combating heresy and error.  Just keep your head down and do the work that Jesus calls us to do in whatever place God plants you.  Ignore the rest.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Pages