Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sometimes Fundamentalist College Presidents Lie

Yep, it's true. And sometimes they make astoundingly racist statements. Sometimes they get divorced. Sometimes they get drunk. Sometimes they even preach really bad sermons.

Please tell me none of that made anyone fall out of a chair.

That's one reason I'm not really buying into anyone's assertions that so-and-so owes such-and-such an apology, or the preposterous suggestions that we ought to trust Joe [or maybe I should go with Jack so as not to create confusion] College Administrator because he's been such a great guy for so long. That's the same kind of argument that caused pastors to preach sermons while they wore their "I'm 100% for Jack Hyles" buttons years ago.

All the stuff in my first paragraph is public or published (if you know where to look) knowledge easily accessible to just about anyone who could be interested. The point isn't to dredge up bad memories, but to make the point that by now I think we've all seen enough to know that we shouldn't trust any human being implicitly. And I'm not throwing stones from a glass house. After all, counting the title and the first paragraph, I've done three of the five myself. In other words, by all means don't trust me either.

So I don't know who owes whom an apology in the situation that's set fundamentalist blogs abuzz. Frankly, I don't care. As others have wisely observed, the personalities really don't matter, unless, I suppose, you're wrestling with where to send your college students or your donations.

I know this much. No matter whether or how badly someone has been wronged, joining a movement that has consistently and willfully diluted and obscured the gospel is not a justifiable response. Should former campers or students or acquaintances of an individual be influenced to abandon their heritage solely because of this man's experience, they reveal nothing more than their own weak minds and/or the weak teaching they have received in their home churches.

If you really want to know more about Willow Creek or the seeker movement in general, I'd recommend two books. For something scathing and dogmatic, pick up John MacArthur's Ashamed of the Gospel. For something that's perhaps even more persuasive, read Willow Creek Seeker Services. This book is powerful since it's written from a fairly sympathetic perspective by someone who spent a substantial amount of time in the church to analyze and evaluate it systematically. Despite the largely sympathetic perspective, it had a similar effect on me to reading George Marsden's history of Fuller Seminary, Reforming Fundamentalism. Sometimes the most damning accounts are those that were intended to praise.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stop the button presses! I'm having the new button say, " I'm 100% for Ben and his blogging addiction! "

Bruce

Greg said...

Hmmm....which 3 out of 5...

Chris Anderson said...

I was wondering the same thing.

Josh W said...

I have such fond memories of those drinking parties with Ben and his first wife...those were the days, weren't they Ben?

Larry said...

If Joe thinks he owed Warren and Hybels an apology, and if he intends to be consistent--to have integrity--then he also owes some others an apology for things he said about them. I don't think that is a stretch for Joe, given his infatuation with love and niceness.

I don't know what he said about Warren or Hybels that warranted an apology. My comment was simply about his willing lack of integrity about this matter.

Ben said...

Sure thing, Josh. Wow, those were wild and crazy times.

[And this, of course, is one of the reasons people say blogging gets you into trouble with future employers.]

Greg said...

Wow...that's about the hardest I've laughed in a long time. Thanks Josh (Wredberg?).

If your tales are true, then Ben's 5 for 5.

Greg said...

I can't stop laughing, that was great.