Former Mars Hill Church elder Paul Petry’s new blog, Joyful Exiles, was posted just a few days ago but has already brought out some reaction in the blogosphere.
While neither Mars Hill itself nor Mars Hill-sympathetic churches/bloggers have yet to respond, others have:
Howell Scott (HT Wartburg Watch)
Wenatchee the Hatchet: “If it were possible to set up a single post that could be used as a “one stop shopping place” to find everything that I, the Alsups, or the Petrys (of late) have publicly discussed about Mars Hill past and present this is a candidate. I’ve been trying to compile not just what we have separately written but to also compile public statements by MH as an institution and individuals.”
Kip’s story from the Mars Hill Refuge blog.
Rachel Held Evans spoke at Fuller Seminary.
Karen Spears Zacharias on the conundrum of compassion.
Dan Edelen on when Christian celebrities crash and burn.
Matthew Barrett and Michael A.G. Haykin review N.T. Wright’s When God Became King.
Ben Burleson takes a look at Lent.
Frank Viola on the coming revival.
Don Bryant on the reformed as Luddites.
Mike Cosper on social networking and the discipline of secrecy.
Understanding complementarianism according to Don Carson and Bob Yarbrough.
For “new Calvinists” (and anyone else who’s interested): nine lessons from the life of Charles Hodge.
Al Mohler’s 2012 book recommendations for preachers, via Tim Challies.
Finally: last week I linked to a post by a Southeastern Seminary student, William Birch. Mr. Birch was recently charged with sexual assault (more information here and here). I will remove the link to that particular post, and other posts of his I may have linked to.
This isn’t because I think Mr. Birch has now become unredeemable, or unforgivable; though what he did is sad and reprehensible, if what he did cannot be forgiven by Jesus and covered by His blood…none of our sins can be. This isn’t a statement of excusing his or our sin, it’s a statement of the incredible, undeserved mercy of God.
Still, there are consequences to our sin on this earth, and Mr. Birch certainly will have to deal with the consequences of his. Here, I’m removing the links to assure readers that a) I’m aware of the circumstances b) I’m not overlooking them by keeping the links up c) I don’t want to present a ‘stumbling block’ to anyone who might come here and see those links.
For those of you who followed the tornadoes that wreaked destruction on portions of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky this past weekend, here’s a story about a southern Indiana family who survived the onslaught.
John Fea on Bruce Springsteen’s spiritual vision for America.
David VanDrunen reviews Scot McKnight’s The King Jesus Gospel.
Denny Burk posted the video of Mark and Grace Driscoll’s appearance on The View.
Remember Thief in the Night? Dean A. Anderson does.
Ben Irwin says handle Leviticus with care.
Crossway Books’ blog posted a portion of Greg Forster’s book The Joy of Calvinism, titled Where TULIP Goes Wrong.
Are you ready for the combination of Doritos and Taco Bell???
Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40-day period observed by much of the Christian church known as Lent.
Amy Sondova: “I know what it is to imagine there’s no God. I tried to do it for exactly 12 hours one day, and I was so tormented, I had to admit I believed in God. I was just so angry at Him that I wanted to Him to stay far away from me, and for years, that was the weird ebb and flow to our relationship. He never left me and I knew that. That’s how I know He will never leave me, that His promise to be with me always is true.”
Kathy Escobar: there are lots of ways to pastor.
Brian Cosby: Youth pastors, give up your gimmicks.
Gregg Allison – a professor at Southern Seminary in Louisville – gave a seminar recently to Mars Hill Church staff on the theology of scripture.
Tony McCollum: Bob Russell’s nine keys to lasting in the ministry.
Greg Laurie: even atheists have moments of doubt.
Chaplain Mike Mercer: Grace means saying ‘I’m sorry’ – even in the case of Mars Hill.
Wanda Martin: “I can’t imagine spending late nights helping my daughters work through their sins, only to get them up the next morning to start the process all over again! … cannot imagine my daughters describing me in such a way. If they did, it would be terribly upsetting because I spent very little time during their growing up years helping them work through their sin. That was NOT the focus in their lives. Instead, my husband and I emphasized God’s love and our love for them. Of course there were times of correction, but they were few and far between. Instead of focusing on indwelling sin, we reminded our daughters that they are God’s children, who were created in His image.”
Lisa Whittle: “It is why I’m interested in having a different conversation. I’ve grown a bit weary of talking about why we hurt each other in the body of Christ, as if our humanity is not reason enough. Instead, I want to shift our energy and effort to a conversation that is more productive: becoming better ourselves, and helping the church wounded be restored, again, after being hurt.”
These and additional Linkathons are always posted at the Phoenix Preacher blog.
keep a close eye on the back door, too. Make sure that the sheep can’t simply open the gate themselves and disappear from sight. Refuse to allow people to resign into thin air, both for the sake of your church’s witness to the gospel and for the good of every single sheep—especially those who tend to wander off.
Jamieson frames his argument mainly in regards to a “troubler” – someone who, for example, may be looking to avoid discipline.
The upshot of all this is that a church should not accept a member’s resignation who is not doing what Christians do—in this case, regularly assemble with a church.
His four implications of that idea:
1.The troubler … needs to either reconcile with that church or join another one where he can be more content. He can’t simply resign his membership and sit on his couch on Sundays. If that’s what he intends to do, FBC Smallville’s response should be church discipline, not “See you later!”
2. Churches’ membership procedures should reflect the fact that the church, not the individual member, has authority to accept and dismiss members. A member cannot unilaterally resign. A member can submit their intention to resign to the church, and the church will either accept or reject that intention.
3.Churches’ governing documents (constitution, by-laws) should reflect the fact that individual members do not have the unilateral right to terminate their membership. Instead, that prerogative belongs to the church. Therefore, the church has the right to refuse someone’s resignation and pursue discipline instead. It’s important to have this clearly stated in a church’s documents for both pastoral and legal reasons.
Here’s an example of the kind of language I’m talking about, from the constitution of the church I’m a member of (Third Avenue Baptist in Louisville):
“Clause 3. The church shall have authority to refuse a Member’s voluntary resignation or transfer of membership to another church, either for the purpose of proceeding with a process of church discipline, or for any other reason the church deems necessary or prudent.”
One important note: Numbers 2 and 3 in this list should probably be well established before a church attempts to resist someone’s resignation, whatever the circumstances.
4. The pastoral specifics of how churches handle individual resignations will vary. For members who have moved out of the area, I’d suggest that a baseline requirement on this front might be something like “they intend to join another evangelical church in the immediate future.”
Your thoughts? Right on, or too strict, or something else?
The ladies at Wartburg Watch are not fans of this approach….
In the wake of the Elephant Room, Tim Schrader asks if we can all get along.
Althea Butler pushes back at Eddie Long’s coronation.
Karen Spears Zacharias: “I just wish to God that pastors everywhere would keep to their own bedrooms and out of ours.”
Wartburg Watch posted on how to leave a “Mark Driscoll-like church”.
Skye Jethani: “Books and blogs are filled with recommendations about how to reverse the exodus of young adults, and I have no silver bullet solution to offer here. But I do want to explore one area I believe many churches have overlooked- vocation.”
Ben Irwin’s open letter to friends in the pro-life movement.
Rachel Held Evans reviews Peter Enns’ book The Evolution of Adam.
Thabiti Anyabwile: “if you’re from outside the African-American community, think very long, hard, and carefully about ever calling some African Americans to take your position in defense against other African Americans. It’s disastrous for everyone, and, frankly, you won’t begin to pay the deeper costs over the longer period that your African American friend will.” (HT to Frank Turk at the Phil Johnson Pyromaniacs link posted above).
Chaplain Mike Mercer offers a ‘better way’ of church discipline (the comments are well worth your while).
The Mars Hill Refuge blog has made its debut.
Fred Clark: “Any approach to “church discipline” that doesn’t allow for grace is bound to be as gracelessly cruel as that obscene “Mars Hill Church Church Discipline Contract.”… But then part of the response to Driscoll also needs to be to remind him that the invitation to grace stands waiting for him as well — that forgiveness, even for him, is necessary and available and possible and within reach.”
Wenatchee the Hatchet has a long, and solid, reflection on the matter (and his time at Mars Hill Church).
A former member of Mars Hill reflects on his experience (and it isn’t positive, FYI).
On to other subjects:
Professor Ben Witherington – who tragically lost his daughter to a pulmonary embolism – reflects on the goodness of God and what not to say to those who grieve the loss of a loved one.
Terry Enns discusses what makes a heart hard.
Aaron Armstrong on what kills a ministry faster than anything else.
Jim Elliff on when pastors aren’t able to pastor.
Jonathan Fitzgerald: “In 2012, there is no explicitly evangelical candidate where, just four short years ago, Republicans chose John McCain, whose evangelical street-cred was bolstered by his choice of Sarah Palin as running mate, and gave second billing to Mike Huckabee, an evangelical pastor.”
Joe Carter, Ted Kluck and Matt Morin debate whether “cage fighting” – known generally as mixed martial arts – is ethical for Christians.
Michael Clawson’s paper on neo-fundamentalism within American evangelicalism was posted on Roger Olson’s blog.
David Fitch asks if the “neo-Reformed” are Reformed or Puritan and if that even matters.
David Sessions riffs on Doug Wilson’s review of Mark and Grace Driscoll’s book Real Marriage (caution: mild language, and discussion of a specific sexual practice as addressed in the book and by Wilson).
Rachel Held Evans on why she’s not discouraged by Mark Driscoll’s popularity.
Russell Moore: “(Carl) Henry, then a young rising star in the Christian firmament, issued a jarring manifesto calling for a theologically-informed and socially-engaged evangelicalism. Henry warned that American Christianity, on the Right and on the Left, was headed for irrelevance, toward being the equivalent of a wilderness cult. His agenda wasn’t simply an updating of style and presentation (although he had written a book on church publicity). The issues at root were about misguided views on the kingdom of God. He was right. And he still is.”
More from Scot McKnight on the Hebrews warning passages.
Father Ernesto Obregon’s story illustrating why it’s not a good idea to lock a cat inside your suitcase 🙂
Tony Campolo’s reflections on the Arab Spring and the persecution of Christians.
In which I catch up here after not posting a thread in several weeks…
This week, we’re starting off with the Mother of All Links – part one and part two of the story of Andrew, a former member of Mars Hill Church in Seattle who was placed under church discipline, as posted on Matthew Paul Turner’s blog. Andrew does not paint a positive picture of his experience nor of the church’s response; you be the judge.
Now, onto a certain book that’s gotten a lot of attention lately….
More reviews and commentaries:
Eugene Cho (you’ll definitely want to read the comments)
Warning – the book apparently discusses certain topics in an manner that readers may not be comfortable with or feel is appropriate for public discussion. The reviews address (and critique) those discussions, so keep that in mind as you read the reviews.
More commentary on Driscoll, mainly on his book Real Marriage: Ben Irwin (HT), David Fitch, Jonathan Martin, Dave Faulkner, Dianna Anderson, Darryl Dash, Matthew Lee Anderson, Matt Redmond, Joy, Wenatchee the Hatchet and Driscoll himself.
Back to non-Driscoll links:
Frank Viola interviews N.T. Wright.
A solid introduction to Eugene Peterson (at a non-Christian website).
Owen Strachan riffing on Mark Steyn: “Travel, good food and drink, and entertainment are in; children, sacrifice, and building something lasting are out. This is true of the West writ large, it’s true of many young Americans, and it’s influencing the church. We’re reminded that we are called to something greater by God, to build grand and exciting and world-defying institutions like the Christ-driven family and the local church.”
How do you not notice a three-inch nail shot into your brain????? 😯