34 Comments

Shame on Challies.

I have never been what you could call a “big fan” of Tim Challies but I’ve never been able to put my finger on exactly why . . . that was until now, when I was recently made aware of a review he wrote concerning the film Divided.

Inaccurate. Distorted. Inflammatory. These are some of the words that come to mind that describe Challies’ review of the film.

I wouldn’t necessarily expect a favorable endorsement of Divided by a man who sends his own kids to the Canadian government schools to be educated, but his full frontal assault of the film was a little over the top. To say that Challies has a beef with the family-integrated model of church worship is a grave understatement.

Youth ministry proponents may disagree with the concept of families worshipping together during church services, and they may be oblivious (willfully or otherwise) to the evidence (statistically, empirically, or experientially) of the destructive nature of youth ministry, but please, I implore you to be reasonable about your arguments and refrain from resorting to less than accurate, wildly imaginative fabrications designed to persuade others away from a practice that was the norm for the church for almost 2,000 years.

If you think I’m being a little too sensitive about Challies’ hit-piece of the film (a conduit to advance his dislike of Family Integrated Churches), don’t miss the fact that even some of Challies’ own readers have disagreed with his scathing assessment of the film. On the comment thread for Challies’ review of Divided, a commenter named Matt said:

Wow. Tim, I will have to say, this review is uncharacteristically harsh, and even mean. The tone that you are stirring up here is not in any sense the tone that the movie has.

I’m flatly shocked and disappointed in such a brutal and uncharitable word from a brother that we’ve all known to have a real eloquence and gentleness even toward those with whom he differs.I really want to say this plainly. After having watched the film, your review could not be less accurate or more one-sided. I am so sad that you’ve chosen to behave publicly in ways that you have condemned when others participate in the same sort of activity.

Shame on you, Tim.

What makes Challies’ review even more disturbing is when you contrast his brass-knuckled review of Divided with his reviews of two culturally popular demonically inspired, and utterly anti-Christian works that have received acclaim from the world.

Berean Wife has astutely compared Challies’ reviews of The Shack and Twilight with that of Divided in her post simply titled Destructive in which she quotes Challies:

Divided The Movie

It’s a destructive message wrapped in a poorly-made documentary. The church would do well to ignore it.

The Shack

All this is not to say there is nothing of value in the book. However, it is undeniable to the reader who will look to the Bible, that there is a great deal of error within The Shack. There is too much error.

Twilight

My suggestion to parents would be to leave this book on the shelf instead of handing it to your teenage girl (and especially your young teenage girl). At the very least, read it yourself and see if your conscience is clear before you hand it to her.

Finding something of value in a book rife with doctrines of demons and blasphemes against God, and suggesting parents first read a lust-laden book (written by a Mormon) about teenage vampires in order to see if their consciences are clear before handing the book to their daughters, while conversely labeling a Christian film like Divided “destructive” and urging Christians to avoid it, renders the objectiveness of Challies’ reviews very suspect.

And while Challies encourages Christians to broaden their horizons by reading non-Christian, mainstream works because . . . 

Common grace tells us that Christians do not have the market cornered when it comes to what is true and what is wise.

and

To read widely is to engage with people who think differently and who approach very similar issues from a radically different worldview.

and

If you want to understand the people around you, why they are the way they are, what influences them, why they make the decisions they do, you will do well to read the books they read.

. . . he then tells the church that they’d be better off ignoring Divided. Is it just me or does this reveal not only a glaring hypocrisy, but also proves that Challies is operating with an obvious agenda?

I highly recommend Fred Wolfe’s retort Response to Tim Challies’ Review of Divided Movie (HT: Theonomy Resources) as well as Berean Wife’s response to Challies’ in her article Reviewing a Review.

I also urge you to personally watch the film Divided in order to judge it for yourself. You can either purchase the DVD or watch it for free online (until September) here.

I conclude by offering some familiar advice to my readers: Regarding Challies’ review of Divided: “The church would do well to ignore it.”

 

34 comments on “Shame on Challies.

  1. Excellent review of an absolutely appalling review by Challies. Yes, he most certainly came across in a way that revealed his own bias against both this old God-centered approach to raising children as well as his bias towards a government based education system that is no better in Canada than it is here in the USA or the UK.

    Sadly, having spoken with others in regards to this topic, it seems like more times than not, it reverts to the old adage, “Well, it works for me, so therefore it can’t be wrong!” In other words, it doesn’t really matter what the Bible really has to say about this subject, I know what I feel and what I believe.

    For those who are detractors, it is easy to sit in a comfy chair lambasting men like Paul Washer when he speaks to the Baptist youth conference yet defy any to find fault with a church that resorts to using Marvel comic occultic symbols to “reach” their children. It is a very damning indictment to say that men like Scott Brown are merely war-mongering yet find it easy to endorse new-age VBS market-driven methods used to “get our children to make a profession of faith.”

    In the perusal of reviews, there would be no difference between Challies writing what he did than it would to get a government school educator to write an honest review on the benefits of homeschooling, or a obstetrician to write an honest review on the benefits of giving birth to a child at home with the use of mid-wife, or even seeking a politician to write honestly (and with no agenda) on the benefits of extremely small government.

    Thanks Pilgrim for taking on such a sensitive issue that for many is NOTHING more than their own personal golden calf!

  2. FIC is a big threat to many people in the church, nowadays.

  3. Challies also referenced Sam Waldron’s critique of the FIC (http://www.challies.com/a-la-carte/weekend-a-la-carte-18) but as far as I can tell did not reference the answers to Waldron’s critique.

    Sad that he would say people should ignore Divided but sees that it is OK to read books such as the Twilight series:

    “But I know there are some, perhaps myself included, who may allow an older teenager to read it. It is primarily to assist such parents that I write this review.”

    (http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/book-review-twilight)

  4. I read Tim’s review a few days ago and was incredibly disappointed by it. Thank you to Berean Wife for her comparison of several of Tim’s reviews. I am alarmed that he finds The Shack and Twilight less harmful and divisive than Divided! Why such a strong reaction from Tim? Is there a personal agenda here? This is a Biblical issue, not a personal one.

    What Challies has effectively communicated in his scathing review is that the teachings of strong reformed preachers such as Paul Washer and Voddie Baucham are not even worth considering on this subject! What a slap in the face!

  5. Vaughn – Your assertion without any substance shows you to be a threat to churches. FIC, in and of itself, is a tool that helps people and elders fulfill the commands of God – in stark contrast to the big-box program oriented “churches” that wage war on the family and profane the name of God by using man’s imagination rather then His Word as the standard of how to organize and lead a local church.

  6. Not sure where Vaughn is coming from but I would say the FIC is a threat to the norm of the professing church and that is why so many react as they do. The professing church often tries to make itself as it desires to be and when the biblical picture is proclaimed it is often quite different than what is being practiced and thus toes are stepped on and people are made uncomfortable.

  7. I saw the documentary, and found it to be somewhat interesting but could have been better though. I think the question has been raised before on whether or not the youth ministry is un-Christianizing the youth,( and I agree it is) instead of grounding them in the Gospel, Word, and catechising them many seem to be playing games, and teaching moralistic-therapeutic-deism( which is the real issue, i think). Would I recommend the film?……..no, not really.

    Yet I don’t understand why so many christian get so fired up about allowing your kid to read “Harry Potter” or “Twilight” or any Science Fiction Literature in general? should it only be “christian sci-fi books” for my kids?!!?…..

  8. Tony – I think I agree with you: any church that holds to the biblical instructions for the church will be a threat to the churches that take the Bible as so much advice and rely on man’s imagination for structure and rule of the church. Not that FIC is mandatory as THE biblical model; but as Timothy Paul Jones put it a couple years back at our Sempre Reformanda conference, a church has to be family-based or family-integrated; other modern forms are conformed by and to the industrial culture and cannot be supported from Scripture.

  9. At the end of the day FIC is just a descriptor of seeking to conform God’s church to God’s standard. To do this we need to see scripture as sufficient for the task. At the heart of all of this is how does one see God’s word. Is it sufficient for all of life, church is part of that, or just the parts we want it to be sufficient for as is the case with most. Far too many claim sufficiency but then fall prey to everything that tickles the ear and appears to be successful.

  10. Pilgrim beat me to this post. I read the Challies blog the other day too and was seriously disappointed in his opinion of the video. I wanted to write a post on this as well. Challies has it all wrong and I’m not sure where he is getting his angst from. Of course the movie was delivered from the FIC point of view…it was produced by them. I enjoyed Divided and believe that it makes a clear and strong case for the Father’s responsibility to teacher their children and that youth ministry has failed in the American church…but then again a huge majority of churches in America have failed as well. I think Challies said one valuable thing that I agree with…the only legitimate claim he made (in my humble view) is that FIC youth abolitionist position always lumps 100% of churches into the ring with the super seeker sensitive circus party church country clubs. I’ll grant that 95% are garbage and failures…but I truly believe there is a small group of conservative churches who do what I call ‘supplemental’ youth ministry that is greatly successful. This supplemental work would simply be Bible study, prayer groups, and occasional activities together in addition to the kids with families in home church and in the worship service. So, that one line caught. My attention, but the rest was rubbish. Personally, I’m not willing to divide over this issue and although disappointed, I’ll probably still read Challies from time to time still.

  11. Everyone has an agenda, even you ;)

  12. I thought Timmy made some salient points as well as some that could be interpreted as being a bit reactionary, but let’s be fair here; he offers his opinion about things at his website. That’s his schtick. He’s a Christian reviewer, so he reviews things and gives his personal impressions from his perspective from within his Christian worldview.

    Christians are free to disagree about things like personal opinions, in addition to secondary matters such as ecclesiology, in love. Speaking for myself I found Timmy’s “tone” to be rather measured and dispassionate, and his approach to be cool and evenhanded, just as I’ve come to expect from his reviews.

    It’s funny how different Christians can read the same things (Bible passages, commentaries, blog posts) and come away with different impressions. It probably says more about us as individuals than it does about anything else.

    In Christ,
    CD

  13. Tony & Manfred:
    I believe Vaugn was making a point not stating an opposition.

    Leo:
    Why not let our kids read Harry Potter? Are you aware that it is all about witchcraft? Should we entertain ourselves with fantasies about sin? Should we tell our kids to abstain from evil and turn away from wickedness, yet allow them to be entertained by the very evil and wickedness that our Lord shed is blood to atone for?

    AbidingThroughGrace:
    You just gotta’ be quicker on the draw, pardner.

    Dan:
    Yup. Even you. ;o)

    CD:
    I understand what you’re trying to say, but I’m not buying it. Using past reviews from Challies as a plumb line reveals a little more than it seems like you’re willing to admit.

    To find value in The Shack and encourage parents to read Twilight before giving it to their kids to read (on the one hand), and then not extending the same tolerant and gracious courtesy to a Christian film (which does not contain heresy and even features some solid biblical preachers of our day) is somewhat disturbing.

    I am aware that you are a youth ministry proponent so I don’t expect you to agree with me, but you must admit that the manner in which Challies handled The Shack and Twilight in contrast to calling Divided “destructive” and advising the church to “ignore it” is hypocritical, suspect, and not very objective.

    And this is even more evident (as I showed in the post) when Challies encourages the church to go outside their world and consume mainstream (non-Christian) works of literature. So why not be consistent and offer this same advice about Divided? Something’s seriously amiss when The Shack and Twilight are able to be choked down, but Divided shouldn’t even be allowed on the menu.

    I think you’d understand the position of those bothered by this a little better if you substituted Divided for Calvin’s Institutes. Had Challies called this work of Calvin “destructive” and “poorly written” and told the church they’d be better off “ignoring it,” would you still find Challies comments as trepid? I think you’d be the first one to object (and rightly so).

    One can debate the quality of a work all day long, but admonishing the church to “ignore” a film like Divided and calling it “destructive” is way over the top.

    I commend you for trying to find the good and common ground in differing opinions between Christians, but sometimes you simply must call a spade a spade, and in this case Challies has erred; there’s simply no way around this one.

    Sincerely,
    - Pilgrim

  14. Pilgrim – That was my assumption with Vaughn’s comment.

  15. I know this isn’t the place for this conversation, but I’d love to talk about the reading or not reading of Harry Potter. This is a fascinating topic that I have had a huge 180 degree change in my life regarding this specific topic. :)

    Pilgrim, I’m not sure that we can compare Divided to Calvin’s Institutes, but I think I see your point regarding Corem’s personal conviction. Divided to the Calvin’s Institutes feels like comparing Pee Wee football to the super bowl. ;)

  16. Pilgrim,

    I wouldn’t describe myself as a “proponet” of youth ministry any more than I would describe myself as an “opponent” of FIC. My interest lies primarily in the Gospel message and its spread, not in competing pragmatic ideologies about the various ways that message is delivered within the faithful, Biblical, Christ-centered wing of the visible professing church. If anything it seems to me that there are equal and opposite dangers on both sides of this “divide”. But of course that’s just one man’s opinion…

    With respect to your analogy, elevating a movie to the level of theology proper is, of course, a category error; not unlike comparing FIC to Calvinism and non-FIC to Arminianism for example. Sadly in my experience it seems that this topic produces lots of heat, but little light.

    In Christ,
    CD

  17. Wow, I guess I need to see the Movie, I’ve been putting it off for sometime now…

  18. ATG:

    I think you have a future post idea! (And no, not pee wee football vs. the Superbowl.)

    CD:

    I would agree that the comparison between Divided and the Institutes is inadequate . . . if I were comparing the rich depth of their theological content. One is a treaties on the Christian faith, the other is a call for the church to wake up from its dependence on a failed, man-made, pragmatic approach to evangelizing a self-imposed splintered people group within the body of Christ, a body that’s supposed to be one.

    The point of the comparison was that I don’t believe you’d take such a blasé approach if it was something you held dear that Challies just called “destructive” and said the church should stay away from.

    Perhaps I should have used a better comparison and my point would have not been lost. Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress? Pink’s The Attributes of God? Kupelian’s The Marketing of Evil? MacArthur’s The Truth War? Orwell’s Animal Farm? Frank’s Diary of Anne Frank? Challies The Next Story?

    I completely agree and say as well that “my interest lies primarily in the Gospel message and its spread” but to say that you’re not interested “in competing pragmatic ideologies about the various ways that message is delivered” may have to come with a disclaimer.

    Being a contributor here for quite some time you know that we frequently deal with false gospels as well as awful pragmatic approaches to evangelism. We’ve both decried the weak excuses we’ve seen here of those justifying their outlandish approaches to evangelism, and I’d expect that if a Christian woman suggested becoming a prostitute for the expressed purpose of reaching the John’s of her city with the gospel, you’d join me in expressing what a bad idea that was, no matter how great or sincere her intentions were.

    As I stated in a previous post, I will concede that the FIC model (which is nothing new, but was the norm for the church for almost 2,000 years) has some who take it too far. But to cite this as an example of why we should avoid a film promoting the idea (and calling it “destructive”), is disingenuous when the vast majority of youth ministry is what’s “destructive.”

    If fathers refuse to take back their responsibility, that’s fine. And if parents are ok with sending their kids out of service just as the pastor is about to deliver the Word of God, so be it. Neither I nor anyone else is going to force them to do otherwise. And I expect the disagreements. I even listened to the message you recently posted objecting to FIC. (And look at that . . . I just linked to it too!)

    And in my response to that message I said:

    “I appreciated the speaker’s respectful way of handling the issue . . .”

    and

    “I appreciated his respectful handling of the matter and that he did not call for an end to FIC as being heretical . . .”

    So please don’t misunderstand. My consternation is not that Challies disagrees with family-integration (I quite expected him to), my problem is his inflammatory review calling the film “destructive” and telling the church to “ignore” it while not giving such a stern warning to truly “destructive” works like The Shack and Twilight; his cavalier dismissal of those like Baucham and Washer; and his hypocrisy in suggesting Christians should broaden their horizons by delving into mainstream works, but then rescinding that invitation with a Christian film like Divided.

    When folks like Challies use their pen to eviscerate these people, while winking at truly insidious forms of persuasion that are undeniably antithetical to the Christian faith, then I would hope you’d be equally concerned about that as you are about this.

    I’ve seen where the overwhelming majority of youth ministry members have ended up in contrast to the lives of the alternative, and my plea is that the church would at least examine the issue, not run from it, at Challies request, screaming “Unclean! Unclean!” or “Destructive! Destructive!”

    And finally, you said “Sadly in my experience it seems that this topic produces lots of heat, but little light.” I don’t think that the thousands of families that have returned to the biblical and traditional model of raising families and evangelizing youth would agree with your last sentence. I’ve been on both sides of this debate and I’ve seen the results of each. This is a big reason why I am so passionate about this, Coram. It’s not to cause division or trouble, it’s out of a heavy heart at seeing the wholesale destructive nature of youth ministry in the lives around me and pleading with fathers to return to the old paths. And conversations like this provoke thought and get people to ask questions. And that’s a good thing.

    In my opinion there is no comparison between age-segregated youth ministry and family-integrated worship. It would be like comparing Divided with Calvin’s Institutes, and no one in their right mind would do that! ;o)~

  19. Pilgrim,

    I know you (and Manfred and others) are very passionate about this topic, and I less so. Thus the point of my original comment in this thread was along the lines of differing responses to Challies’ opinion by different Christians from their different perspectives. I didn’t (and still don’t) read Timmy in the inflammatory way that you did, which probably ties back to your allusions to this subject as “something you [hold] dear”, and your reference to my comment as representative of a “blasé approach”. Blasé? I don’t receive that sort of characterization very much, so maybe it speaks to my increasingly frequent prayers for Biblical humility, and God’s gracious kindness in granting it in some small measure. :0)

    I hope we can continue to interact like this as future posts on this topic arise.

    In Christ,
    CD

  20. Tony:

    Waldron’s open letter:
    https://perseverofilms.com/2011/01/sam-waldron%E2%80%99s-open-letter-on-the-fic-repost-in-response-to-challies/

    CD:

    “Blasé? I don’t receive that sort of characterization very much”

    LOL. Now there’s something we can agree on in this thread!

    I don’t want you to think that my passion about this subject is what solely made me (and many other people) see Chalies’ review as inflammatory. I showed by example how I responded to the YM proponent speaker in the message you posted last month.

    I’m not responding to Challies’ review because he disagrees with FIC; I am responding because of how he said it. Regardless of how one feels about the subject, Challies’ review was very ungracious and hypocritical and I think I profusely, abundantly, adequately, and soundly showed that in the original post above (so I won’t rehash).

    I’ll just leave you with a request that if you haven’t watched the film yet, I encourage you to so. You have one more month to watch it for free here.

    Respectfully,
    – Pilgrim

  21. Corem, this is brilliant…quoted from your post above:
    “Blasé? I don’t receive that sort of characterization very much, so maybe it speaks to my increasingly frequent prayers for Biblical humility, and God’s gracious kindness in granting it in some small measure. :0)”

    Oh, man! If we could all pray for humility and some measure of God’s Grace. Amen, Brother.

    I urge everyone to take a few minutes and enjoy Pastor Sam Waldron’s assessment of the whole concept. Waldron is a heavy weight theologically speaking and a man I have incredible respect for. His points in the 2009 post above should be tucked away in our hearts to avoid extremes on either side of this debate, and his humility and generosity in the later open letter posted by Pilgrim is something we should all strive for.

    Humility? Kindness? Generosity? Gentleness? Peace? Love? We might actually start to look a bit like Christ (Col 3, Gal 5)

    atg

  22. atg,

    Thanks brother. I thought Waldon’s linked article was exceptional as well. I fully recognize that I’m far from qualified for “tone police” duty, but in my experience something about this topic seems to (often) bring out a certain…well…ugliness is the word that comes to mind, among the brethren. I’m still trying to put my finger on it…more to come…

    In Him,
    CD

  23. “I have never been what you could call a “big fan” of Tim Challies but I’ve never been able to put my finger on exactly why . . .” – Pilgram

    First, please allow me to thank you for the heads up about the free “Divided” preview that is available until September. I will not only make an effort to watch it but will look forward to it.

    Next – Pilgram, please know that I don’t say this in a mean spirited manner towards anyone. I suspect that the reason that you have never been a big fan of Challies is because of his stance about blogging. There is a bit of an elitist attitude in the land of Christendom pertaining to blogging – most notably, there is a great disdain for “discernment” or “watchblogs”.

    I may be completely off base with this assessment and if I need correcting, then please do so in a loving manner. When you read different blogs like Tim Challies and Frank Turk @ Pyromaniacs, for example, they give me the impression that only certain people should blog. From what little I have read about it on their blogs, I get the impression that they would consider Defending Contending to be a “Discernment” or “Watchblog” and would be opposed to it completely. I also get the impression that a lay person, such as myself, shouldn’t blog because we should leave it to the professionals.

    Overal, this is just a general impression that I have gotten from reading different posts and I’m sorry I don’t have any specific examples to provide right now. If you read their posts frequently then you may already know what I’m talking about. If not, then please by all means, keep a watch out for it whenever they publish a piece about blogging to see what I’m referring to accordingly.

    This point coincides with another point that was made in the previous comments. Challies seems to have an appreciation for questionable secular material and approaches a plethora of topics with a gentleness but somehow, he runs out of compassion when it comes to the Divided film as well as he runs out of compassion when it comes to “Discernment” or “Watchblogs” and advises the church to avoid these items accordingly.

    If I’m wrong about this, then I’ll be the first to apologize. I don’t have a beef with Challies and even subscribe to his Twitter feed. As brothers in Christ though, we can have our differences and I am conceding that I may not be giving Mr. Challies a fair assessment.

  24. Wade,

    RE: Turk you’re spot on from my perspective, and although I can’t speak for Pilgrim, I’m fairly certain that his “beef” with Challies is primarily related to Tim’s uneven handling (real or perceived) of the film Divided, and its take on the FIC movement – particularly with an eye towards other arguably less damning reviews of other materials (e.g. Harry Potter and Twilight) from his soapbox, and not due to any “elitist” tendencies he may exhibit.

    But the last time I checked there wasn’t a duly appointed i-Pope or ‘net Magisterium bestowed with the authority to dogmatically decree who was fit to participate in the Christian blogosphere, even though there are those who would obviously arrogate such positions to themselves by self-appointed, personal fiat.

    In Christ,
    CD

  25. Thank you for the heads up about the free preview for the “Divided” movie!

    I’m looking forward to watching it.

    Grace & Peace,
    W.

  26. I thank you for your blog and it has answered some questions that were troubling to me, I have never let my kids watch Harry potter, or Narnia or Lord of the rings and recently we began planning our trip to Disney world…so Im glad to read this, if you can reply thank you

  27. YOU COULD NOT PAY ME TO READ AT CHALLIES BLOG!

    TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY!

  28. I actually watched that documentary months ago and enjoyed it. I was very intrigued by the fact that our “Sunday schools” were derived from a non-believers approach to secular education. SMH.

    Regarding tim, I’ve enjoyed a lot of his reviews (especially the one on Mark driscoll’s blasphemous book) but this review seems ULTRA-biased.

    Voddie Baucham has also taken an issue with Challies view on family-integrated ministry and wrote a blog about him.

    Is it just me or does it seem like the church has polarizing views on family-integrated ministries…it seems like believers are gonna absloutely love it or (like challies) they’ll absolutely hate the idea/ find it offensive.

  29. Dear Coram Deo,
    You previously said this about this subject:

    “Sadly in my experience it seems that this topic produces lots of heat, but little light.”

    And as I previously stated, the exact opposite has been my experience. The reason I bring this up again is because you later said this:

    “. . . in my experience something about this topic seems to (often) bring out a certain…well…ugliness is the word that comes to mind, among the brethren.”

    Again, my experience has been the exact opposite (that was until Challies threw his two cents in).

    In my experience the great Doctrines of Grace debate has brought out much more ugliness than that of dads leading their families and families worshiping together. Here’s an example of a Calvinism debate that got real ugly on this thread starting here:
    http://defendingcontending.com/2011/05/12/dear-mormon-can-you-guess-who-said-the-following/#comment-28398

    And who can forget the ugliness in the comment thread from last year’s post on Christmas in which physical threats were made?
    http://defendingcontending.com/2010/11/29/a-radical-approach-to-december-25th-why-we-wont-be-celebrating-christmas-this-year/

    I’ve seen far greater sources of ugliness in the world of debate within Christendom on various issues other than FIC. But perhaps, if I keep discussing this subject, eventually I’ll be able to agree with you about the ugliness; just haven’t seen it that bad yet.

    Dear Wade C. Davis,
    You said:

    “There is a bit of an elitist attitude in the land of Christendom pertaining to blogging – most notably, there is a great disdain for ‘discernment’ or ‘watchblogs’.”

    I think you may be right and I think you’ve touched on a subject that is teeming just below the surface. I too have noticed how the likes of Challies, Turk, (and even Phil Johnson) have taken a position of elitist hierarchy when it come to blogging. I recently listened to a PJ message regarding the Piper/Warren issue and although PJ thought Piper was in error, he really had disdain for bloggers who were opposed to Piper. I left that message thinking that yoking with Warren was bad, but negatively blogging about yoking with Warren is really, really, really bad.

    I was saddened to see the vitriol against Coram Deo by Turk in the past, especially when we’re all on the same team. I suppose some sheep in the flock are more “qualified” to spot error and wolves while others are suppose to remain silent.

    My greatest disappointments are not when I receive attacks from Mormons, Catholics, or Atheists, but it’s when those attacks come from within my own camp.

    You also said:

    “Challies seems to have an appreciation for questionable secular material and approaches a plethora of topics with a gentleness but somehow, he runs out of compassion when it comes to the Divided film as well as he runs out of compassion when it comes to ‘Discernment’ or ‘Watchblogs’ and advises the church to avoid these items accordingly.”

    My thoughts precisely. Glad I’m not the only one who sees the elephant in the room.

    Dear Jay,
    You said:

    “Is it just me or does it seem like the church has polarizing views on family-integrated ministries…it seems like believers are gonna absloutely love it or (like challies) they’ll absolutely hate the idea/ find it offensive.”

    Nope, it’s not just you.

  30. Pilgrim. You make excellent points and it is why I have been so reticent in the blog-a-sphere as of late. For I have see things taking place that have honestly made me very sad where I have seen others attacked including myself. And I have seen the captains of the blog-a-sphere act as papists where their doctrine, views and opinions are sacrosanct where others either need to bow to them or risk censure.

    Where if we are honest, we will recognize that it is so easy to bite and devour one another via the web that most who do it don’t even realize they are doing it. Or if they do, they justify it as a necessary fact of defending the faith. Somehow forgetting the greatest commandments are summed up in love of God and love of neighbor.

    I also have learned and seen in myself that sitting behind a computer one can be so bold to say things to another believer (or even an unbeliever) they would never have the guts to say to their face with such vitriol. Where we never seem to stop and think that we are interacting with a real person, one for whom Christ died. One who may be in the deepest trial of their life such as losing a loved one, in great sickness, a divorce etc., or who may be discouraged or down trodden for other reasons, or simply struggling with their faith. None of this is ever taken into account where it is defend the truth at all cost. But the problem is that in “defending the truth” and taking the high moral ground without listening and truly hearing our brother/sister, we so often are in violation of the second greatest commandment. That being to love our neighbor as ourselves where often it is better to turn the cheek and suffer oneself to be defrauded than to always win. Because I know that in wining the battle, we may lose the brother/sister and leave our “opponent” broken down on the side of the path as they wait for a good Samaritan to bind up their wounds.

    Certainly, much good has been done through this site and others like it but I think it would do us all well to examine ourselves because the Lord says that for every idle word we will have to one day give an account. He likewise says that we will be know not for our doctrine but rather for our love one for another. Love is truly the greatest height we should seek for if we love not our brother for whom Christ died, how can we say we love God?

    Your brother in the faith -
    bro Michael

  31. Yes, Brother Michael, it is an ever present pitfall.

    I have recognized this propensity in myself and have struggled with it too. I believe I have made strides in this area over the past couple years . . . at least I think I have; I am open to correction (and encourage it) when I fail in this area.

    I encourage you to read AbidingThroughGrace’s recent article, Poking Each Other In The Eye regarding this very topic.

  32. I watched the movie, and I can see merit on both sides of the discussion about Tim’s analysis. I suggest Googling “Tim Challies Divided Review” for additional material, and I highly recommend scanning through the 196 comments following his post, and in particular taking the time to read through the various articles linked by the participants. It’s time (moslty) well spent if you’re interested in becoming more informed about this subject.

    With respect to Challies’ review after watching the movie I think some of the things he said were valid/thoughtful, and I think some other things were overly emotive/reactive. Since the film itself was rather innocuous apart from a few unproven assertions made by some interviewees, I’m inclined to think Timmy may have (intentionally or unintentionally) tipped his hand a bit, perhaps revealing his pespective on certain presuppositions which (at least in his view) undergird the NCFIC’s position, but which don’t actually make it into the movie, at least not directly.

    To me the movie had the look and feel of a well executed infomercial for the NCFIC, thus it was sure to generate dialogue which, if one reads through the NCFIC site archives, was certainly one of the project’s primary goals. To this end Tim’s “harsh” review may have been somewhat of a service for the NCFIC and “Divided: The Movie”. As they say in the biz, “no press is bad press”.

    In Christ,
    CD

  33. TIM CHALLIES TEN MILLION WORD TRAP IS OFF TO A WORLDLY START AS HE HAS REVIEWED THE VULGAR CHELSEA BANG TITLE :

    TIM SAYS:

    Of all the books I’ve read this year, and I’ve read plenty, this one is easily the worst. Frankly, I can’t think of a single reason I would ever, under any circumstances, recommend it. I can’t even understand why anyone, anywhere would buy it. It’s not sexual enough to titillate, it’s not clever enough to amuse, it’s not sophisticated enough to cause reflection. It’s an utter waste of time, money, effort and atoms. It is very clearly a cash grab, Handler’s attempt to make a few more bucks before her 15 minutes of fame comes screeching to a halt. And I say that this can’t happen soon enough.

    I CERTAINLY HOPE A REISSUE OF THE SATANIC BIBLE DOES’T COME BACK TO THE NYT BEST SELLERS LIST THIS YEAR . SHALL WE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR TIM AND HIS FAMILY FOR PUTTING THEMSELVES IN THE LIONS DEN …? WELCOME MARK DRISCOLL OF THE BLOGOSPHERE !

  34. Thank God He is soveriegn, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, Ruler of all mankind, unlike us! We are disgusting, and unworthy. Are we not supposed to be the least of all saints?? Shame on Challies, Baucham, all of us for our sin…period.

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