Will Anyone Speak Against Worldliness?

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Jay's picture

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

 

"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

Todd Bowditch's picture

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

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

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?

SamH's picture

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

Jay's picture

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.

"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

Dave Doran's picture

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

Jay's picture

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.

"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

Dave Doran's picture

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

dmyers's picture

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.

Anne Sokol's picture

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.

 

Jay's picture

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.

"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

Dave Doran's picture

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

dmyers's picture

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?

Jay's picture

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. 

"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

TylerR's picture

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.

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Dave Doran's picture

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

SamH's picture

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

TylerR's picture

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?

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

dmyers's picture

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.

 

Jay's picture

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.

"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

Larry's picture

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?

dmyers's picture

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. 

Larry's picture

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?

dmyers's picture

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).

Jim's picture

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.

 

dmyers's picture

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.

dmyers's picture

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).

Larry's picture

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?

 

Pearson Johnson's picture

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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