The Gospel Coalition and how (not) to engage culture

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T Howard's picture

People today think they have a right to be heard, to be responded to, and to affect change on issues and organizations with which they disagree. TGC is a private organization that holds to some very specific doctrinal positions. Why would you expect them to change their positions or continue to debate their positions with any/every blogger who disagrees with them? If you don't agree with TGC, state your position on your own blog, twitter account, etc. Why should you expect TGC to provide you a platform for you to disagree, bash, or criticize them? The internet is a big place. Start your own website, blog, or twitter account.

Would your church give pulpit time to an unbeliever so that he could tell you that you're ignorant, homophobic, deluded? Would your church pay for an atheist to come and speak to your congregation about the dangers of Christianity? Is that "engaging the culture"?

That being said, TGC does tend to be cautious and guarded when it comes to the inner workings of the organization. It certainly wouldn't win any transparency awards. There are some legitimate issues that TGC has not addressed that I think should be addressed. But, that's their prerogative.

Bert Perry's picture

It was interesting to see Dr. Gottman quoted sympathetically--he's made a career out of trying to remove some of the signs of a broken relationship without really asking why people developed those attitudes. To draw a picture, would we fault Hilliary Clinton for being critical and contemptuous of her husband?  Would we fault her for being defensive, or for stonewalling him?

Of course not---he is, as far as we can tell, a rather unrepentant adulterer and general scoundrel.  But Gottman's advice would more or less transfer responsibility from Bill's adultery to her response to him.  

The rest of Merritt's article is much of the same.  He is more or less cherry picking TGC articles to fit his thesis that TGC is judging instead of engaging the culture, and he's doing so in such a way as to ignore the Biblical requirements for confrontation.  Are we to say, to use one of his links, that a person ought to ignore the sexual sin on the part of his pastor "for the sake of the Gospel"?  As if adultery on the part of pastors doesn't empty church pews!

There may be a great case to be made that TGC's cultural engagement may not be effective, but I don't think Mr. Merritt names any of them here.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Julie Anne's picture

Of course not---he is, as far as we can tell, a rather unrepentant adulterer and general scoundrel.  But Gottman's advice would more or less transfer responsibility from Bill's adultery to her response to him.  

Bert,

I think Gottman is saying if there is criticism or contempt present in the relationship, not necessarily faulting someone for the reasons behind the contempt. For example, in abuse, there are obvious reasons for a victim to show contempt and that would further indicate the fragile state of the relationship. 

FTR, you can see my tweet shown in the article to Jonathan Merritt. I was blocked by TGC when engaging with oe Carter about CJ Mahaney and the SGM sex abuse scandal. That man is still in ministry despite having dozens of his own pastors leave SGM because of his proud, spiritually abusive behavior. For that reason alone, he should step down.  And if he didn't step down because of that, he should be stepping down because a pastor on his watch knowingly failed to report child sex abuse to authorities.  

Ken Starr recently stepped down at Baylor even though he claims to have not known anything. That's what leaders do.

Bert Perry's picture

JA, agreed, but that's exactly my objection; at some point, the things Gottman notes are warning lights, not the actual problems.  Would you hire a mechanic who just concentrated on the warning lights and didn't figure out what was wrong behind them?  I wouldn't

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Julie Anne's picture

Bert - It's an eye opener to how serious the relationship is. If both are willing to dig deeper, then there is hope. If not, he's saying the statistics show that this marriage will not last, and if it does, it will be a destructive one.