Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some Interesting Tweets and Other Things of Less Significance

1. Sometimes who makes a point is as compelling as the point itself:
Kauflin: Sunday AM musical skill is meant to increase congregational participation, not overpower it.
. . . and . . .
More Kauflin: If people need vibey intros, [guitar] effects, cool licks & low lights to engage w/ God, we're misleading, not leading them.
His second statement, in particular, is a helpful repudiation of the belief common among charismatics and Pentecostals that our worship atmosphere (for lack of a better term) is able to invoke a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

2. Once you reach the conclusion that there's no need for a pastor to preach to an assembled congregation in their presence, this is a minimal and rational step:
Driscoll: Pre-recording 2 sermons today. Allows me to go to Zac’s baseball tourney with my family rather than not seeing them on Father’s Day.
3. And finally, some of you may have heard some people trying to figure out what's wrong with the young'uns and what should be done about it. I'd just like to suggest that there is no problem worth solving, to which "you need to have a Facebook" is a solution.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it's the "people" talking about the "young uns" that I think you are alluding to . . .

Well, when I hear their descriptions of what today's "young uns" are like and what they want, I want to shout, "There's been guys coming out of 'your' schools for decades who have been just like these young uns. What makes you think that this is a new phenomenon?"

I wonder, why were they unwilling/unable to recognize the phenomenon earlier and what's going on now that is forcing them to recognize it?

Keith

Anonymous said...

listened to that #3 today...still don't know why i gave that hour away. -bailie

Ben said...

Bailie, surely you gave that hour to something else at the same time. Mine went to yard work and maybe a little Drudge.

Anonymous said...

Ben,

Seriously interested in your thoughts on why the "people" you mention (the BJU, Northland, FBF types) are acting like this "young fundamentalist" thing is something new. Do you have any insight?

I mean, I know a guy from BJU in his 50s who went on to be a VP at a reformed seminary, I know a BJU grad in his 50s who had the same priorities -- back in the late 70s and early 80s -- as the "young uns" described by the speaker, I know several BJU grads in their mid 40s who went to Master's Seminary in the late 80s. With a little thought, I could probably come up with several more examples - and I'm just one guy. It would stand to reason that there are many more than I know.

In your opinion, why the concern with the issue now? They didn't seem to care or acknowledge it in the past. What changed?

On a related note, I'm not sure why I did, but I listened to the music workshop. Wow. I learned the words to a Barry Manilow song (BARRY MANILOW), heard about Don Wyrtzen, learned that Mein Kampf has a "T" in it, that we shouldn't sing in Latin, that if the composer's dead it's probably ok, and that O little town of Bethlehem (written by Phillips Brooks!) is in line with the Roman Mass not a Baptist service. All wow.

But, most shocking, was the preacher saying that "Anything that's a 'movement' is scary." I guess there's no more fundamentalist movement after all.

Keith

Ben said...

I actually wouldn't indict the BJU-NIU types in this year's affair. Some of the former, of course, but the tone seemed to me to suggest a lurch toward the Ambassador and West Coast friendlies in the fellowship.

To your question, I'd guess that the rising angst has something to do with the sheer numbers of the young punk rabble-rousers and the gray hair ratio in the fellowship, but new factor this year was a reaction against the Bauders and Dorans, who are perceived to be giving aid and comfort to the enemies. There's sin in the camp.

But it's always fun to hear dispensationalists attack non-dispensationalists in the same speech in which they're using a non-dispensational hermeneutic.

Anonymous said...

I should have said SOME of the same priorities. None of the guys I know wanted to talk to any of the preachers mentioned in the lecture -- they were peers or just a bit younger.

However, they wanted good doctrine, they wanted expository preaching, they were thinkers, they read a lot, etc. etc.

Keith

Anonymous said...

Ben,

Thanks for the reply. My last comment was made before I saw your reply.

I take your point in the reply -- especially about the numbers thing -- but I hope a bit of push back won't come accross as rude, but as real dialogue . . .

Three thoughts:

1) Didn't Phelps and Sweatt go to BJU? And, I don't know if Nelson did, but I am pretty sure he's put in a lot of time there over the years.

2) I'll be encouraged if the numbers of the "young uns" have grown so remarkably -- and perhaps as a proportion of the total they have. However, there were quite a few in the old days, and they just "disappeared" or were "marked".

3) However, Sweatt (as foreign as his approach/style still is to me) treated the young uns with much more respect than his predecessors treated the young uns predecessors. He didn't call them heretics (that I heard) and he seemed to be urging the oldies to respond to them with persuasion not punishment.

Make any sense? Any follow up thoughts?

Oh yeah, and a couple other former young uns came to mind -- both former BJU students: John MacArthur (not a grad), and John Piper's dad(a grad). And, the list could go on.

Keith

Ben said...

Keith, I don't know the specifics on all the biographies. I assume you're right. My point wasn't that there was no BJU presence, but that this year took a discernible lurch in a particular direction. Sort of the flip side from the year when a Michigan host pastor packed the schedule with Calvinistics.

I suspect the numbers are bigger, but I could be wrong. What's certainly different is that technology has changed the game. Twenty years ago a guy who quit toeing the line probably wasn't as much of a threat as he might be now that it's easier to maintain relationships in different circles. And technology has democratized matters in a way that makes it more difficult to demonize that guy.

And I agree about Sweatt.

Larry said...

Twenty years ago a guy who quit toeing the line probably wasn't as much of a threat as he might be now that it's easier to maintain relationships in different circles

This is interesting. I wonder, in line with this, if the guy from twenty years who quit toeing the line, or at least wanted to quit toeing the line was more frightened/worried/whatever than now.

The internet has let these types know they are not alone, and there seems much less fear about what some leader might do.

Twenty years ago I was graduating from college. The younger Sweatt is my age. I know him. I think his presentation was a bit more diplomatic, but still the old line of "We're right and always have been." It's simply, "We need to handle them with kid gloves."

With Keith, I don't think this young'un stuff is new. It is just more publicized.

Ben said...

Larry, I think it's changed quite a bit over the past 5-6 years, let alone the past 20. And this isn't merely about publicity. Other dynamics are new as well.

Anonymous said...

Ben,
Thanks. I get ya. So, if you have some more time for this: Why would FBF now want to lean toward the Ambassador types (is that Ron Comfort?) instead of the BJU types? Why would a group that had the support of Sam Horn, Mark Minnick, etc. want to do that?

Larry,
The guys from twenty years who quit toeing the line weren't frightened, that's why they quit.

The guys from 20 years ago who wanted to but didn't quit toeing the line probably were more frightened/worried/whatever than the guys now.

So, that would be an interesting discussion: Are there fewer guys today who are afraid to oppose or walk away from the "leaders"? If so, why? The internet is probably a factor, but it can't be THE factor.

I do know that a BJU grad friend of mine in his 60s who walked away -- but probably 20 or 30 years after graduation did struggle with the departure greatly. He describes it as having to convince himself that the fundy leaders didn't hold the keys to the kingdom. It was a major/cataclysmic thing for him.

The guys who are in their 40s who walked away at graduation or before didn't have near the struggle. However, even they had to deal with the reality that they were basically walking away from over 20 years of connections and relationships.

Maybe today the guys don't have to do either.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Larry,

When you say: "The younger Sweatt is my age. I know him. I think his presentation was a bit more diplomatic, but still the old line of "We're right and always have been." It's simply, "We need to handle them with kid gloves."

I totally agree

Keith

Ben said...

And that gets at my point about "a Facebook" not being the solution. The problem is theological. Or atheological. Nothing will be sorted out until theological issues are resolved.

"We all separate from the same people and use the same music" is no longer a basis for unity. The generations younger than the generations that employed that paradigm have little interest in continuing to paper over deeply-rooted theological differences. They happen to think some of those things are kinda important. Some might say, "fundamental."

Ben said...

Keith, to your earlier question, it might simply reflect the leanings of the host pastor. Not sure how all that gets sorted out. And I have no idea whether the Hardings and Dicksons and Minnicks and Joneses et al (officers and board members) were at the meeting or not. Maybe they've all resigned by now. Beats me.

Anonymous said...

"The generations younger than the generations that employed that paradigm have little interest in continuing to paper over deeply-rooted theological differences. They happen to think some of those things are kinda important. Some might say, 'fundamental.'"

Very good point Ben. I'm amazed anyone ever found that a good approach -- but again, I think you're probably right here. That's what I heard in the music talk. A lot of post hoc argument "Here's what I think and like and here's some sort of 'argument' that sort of backs that up." And, that's what I heard even though I agree that music is not amoral.

Anyway. Thanks again. Good discussion.

Keith

Larry said...

I imagine the facebook comment was not about theology or solving problems but about building relationships. In these days, if you want to stay in contact with the younger generation, social media is the way to do it. In that, I agree with him.

There are theological problems to be sure. In fact, most of them are. But I think his facebook comment was actually addressing something else.

Ben said...

Have to say I couldn't disagree more, Larry. I don't doubt that relationships are a part of the issue, but FB is a laughable solution to that problem.

Larry said...

Disagreement is certainly fine, but where are the younger generation these days? Are they not on social media sites? That's where their lives are being lived, whether that's good or bad (and it's probably some of both). If you want to keep up with people, I think that is one piece of the puzzle. I know a lot more about some people in my church because of FB than I would otherwise. It is a window into life (not always a flattering one). I don't think I have ever posted one status update. I skim the news feed to see what is going on.

I think we make a mistake if we confuse facebook for friendship or relationships. And I am certainly not saying that FB is the solution. But it is a tool. In five years it will probably be something else. But to say the FB is a laughable solution to staying in contact with people is confusing to me. I don't get it. Perhaps I misunderstand you. But I won't beat that to death here.

Anonymous said...

Larry,

Don't you think his facebook comment was about building relationships IN ORDER TO influence the youn uns away from whatever it is they're getting into and toward the FBFI traditions? Isn't it part of the patronizing ("kid gloves") approach replacing the punitive approach?

If so, you and Ben are probably agreeing more than it appears.

Keith

Ben said...

Yeah, that's essentially my point, Keith. Pick-your-leader isn't going to influence me because he friends me on FB and posts on my wall. That's ludicrous. But it's probably not worse than previous strategies.

And more broadly, FB is a tool (as you say, Larry), but it's not a solution for any sort of meaningful discipleship, mentoring, relationships, whatever you want to accomplish that's worthwhile.

Don Johnson said...

FWIW, I don't think Jeremy was advocating FB as "a solution for any sort of meaningful discipleship, mentoring, relationships, whatever you want to accomplish that's worthwhile." Did you all listen to his presentation at all? I'm astonished that you come away with that impression if you did. He was advocating for exactly the opposite. You develop a relationship with your young people and you maintain it when they are at a distance from you with such things as FB or what have you.

I also don't get where you think the FBF is somehow leaning toward Ambassador. Most of they guys you mention, Ben, were at the meeting or expressed regrets why they couldn't attend for one reason or another. I don't see any change in the general direction and ethos of the FBF from this particular meeting.

And it is interesting that out of three unrelated vignettes that Ben posted, it is this last that you all want to talk about. The Driscoll tweet seems to me to be by far the most outrageous item on the list.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Anonymous said...

Don,

I'm glad to agree with much of what you say here:

I agree that he said or implied (I'm not going to go listen to it again to figure out which) that you establish relationships at church and maintain them with college kids, etc. via facebook. No problem.

Also, like you, the overall impression I get of the ethos of the FBF from this incarnation isn't much different from the ethos I've observed since the mid '80s. Maybe there was a glitch for a few years that Ben observed which lead him to his perspective?

As to why we're discussing #3, it's because I asked a question about it. I didn't comment on #1 because what is there to discuss -- I agree with it. I didn't comment on #2 because, again, what is there to discuss -- I disagree with it. I do wonder on what basis you find #2 the "most outrageous". Are you a sabatarian?

#3 however, raises questions: Why isn't Sweatt (and the gang) just blasting these young fundamentalists? In days past, merely reading a book by the wrong author could get you scolded or excluded. Now, it seems that the approach is to "friend" them back into the fold. That's different, connected to real world events, and something which I thought someone might be able to explain.

Oh, and because I care about you all, you should take note that Barry Manilow is not what kids are listening to these days.

Keith

Ben said...

Don,

I absolutely stand by everything I've said about Facebook, relationships, and discipleship. Could you point out what I've said that's false?

If pastors have strong relationships with young people and think that Facebook is our best shot to continue pastoral ministry while kids are away at college, maybe we need to encourage them to attend a school close to home where they can stay strongly connected to their local church. Or go to a college that makes is possible for kids to get closely involved in a local church on Sunday morning.

Ambassador comes from the inclinations of the host pastor. Who chooses the host pastor?

Joshua Caucutt said...

Is a pastor who is not on Facebook in 2011, adequately able to shepherd his people?

Anonymous said...

Is there an audio link somewhere in #3?

Don Johnson said...

"If pastors have strong relationships with young people and think that Facebook is our best shot to continue pastoral ministry while kids are away at college..."

If you are implying that Jeremy was advocating something as simplistic as this protasis, you missed his point entirely.

And, in his case, he does live close enough to the college most of his young people attend to keep up personal contacts as well.

I don't get why you are being argumentative here. You seem to be building up a case against something Jeremy wasn't advocating.

With respect, however, to encouraging young people to attend colleges close to home, that just isn't entirely realistic. If you want a particular kind of education, you may well have very limited choices and they are often very far from home. When that happens, Facebook, among other tools, becomes a means of keeping in touch.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Ben said...

Don, again, I'd like to see you tell me what I've said about Facebook that's wrong. Sweatt said lots of laudable things in that talk, but I'm not going to be drawn into a blow-by-blow of what I agreed with and what I didn't.

But as I've argued above, the root issues are theological, not relational (though I'd argue theological corrections will be relatively fruitless apart from relational ones). The beautiful moment of it all was Sweatt's quotation of the Phil Johnson private e-mail in which Johnson describes his and MacArthur's concerns about theological reductionism (with which I largely agree). Would I be wrong to assume the irony was lost on the listeners?

And of course you're right that particular kinds of education are only available far from home. And when those particular kinds of education create obstacles to local church commitments, I guess we need to sort through what we love and value most.

James Kime said...

Ben, you said, "...I guess we need to sort through what we love and value most."

I would guess that by the nature of this discussion and its representative types, the "we" was rather generous. Props to you for not being them, seriously.

Keith, I know it is a few posts back and I don't want to speak for Don, but I would guess that Don doesn't think the church has to gather on Saturday.