It's come to my attention that some people (not within my church) have contacted friends of mine in pastoral minsitry with fears about my orthodoxy because of my occasional criticisms of Phil Johnson and John MacArthur. Some of these fears are related to what is seen as me "promoting the New Perspective", which has been given a blanket billing of heresy by some concerned individuals. Beyond the fact that our church has been ravaged by such controversy in the very recent past, and the fact that we have made our position on the New Perspective clear, I'd like to point out a few things to keep in mind when reading this blog:
- I love Phil and John: Though I have in the past criticized both Phil Johnson and John MacArthur for their reactions to various trends in evangelical churches/scholarship, I have always pointed out that I respect them and agree with them on most issues. 9 out of 10 times it's the manner in which they criticize and the way their criticisms are sometimes used to smash other truly born again believers that fuels my critique of them, not the substance of their doctrinal conclusions. I have benefitted from the ministry of Grace Community Church in a hundred ways and recognize the positive impact of these guys.
- I am theologically conservative and orthodox: What I will never do on Soylent Green is call into question the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, the Trinitarian nature of God, the secure, electing love of God, the Chalcedonian nature of Christ, the literal death and resurrection of Christ for the penal substitutionary atonement and forgiveness of our sins, the necessity of faith and repentance plus nothing to appropriate this forgiveness and justification, the imputation of Christ's divine status of righteousness to believers by virtue of union with Him, the sealing and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit at the moment of regeneration and the bodily return of Jesus in His coming kingdom. However this blog IS NOT an attempt to explain these settled doctrinal positions. It is instead intended to promote discussion, reflection, debate and refinement (not redefinition) of my thinking on other theoretical issues and implications. Because it is a scratch pad for my thoughts, it isn't a reflection of my core doctrinal convictions anymore than thoughts about whether heaven will include pets or not.
- I am approachable: If you have problems with what I post, POST THEM IN THE COMMENTS or EMAIL ME DIRECTLY. The point of this blog is for my edification and yours, and if there are Biblical, logical or pastoral reasons for disagreement I want to be confronted with them so that I can change and grow. That's the point. If you have a question about how I define words like justification or imputation, or if you're wondering if I believe in salvation by works ASK ME! And if my answers don't satisfy you, post your concerns and tell me why not! Don't try to use this site to silently build a case for my heterodoxy. It doesn't reflect concern for me and it doesn't display integrity as a brother/sister in Christ.
- I love debate: It's been stated above, but in case anyone missed it: don't confuse discussion with my position. I'm trying to be thought provoking. I'm trying to sort out the issues, not claim that I have them all sorted out or reporting what I have sorted out. I'm often trying to play the devil's advocate in order to elicit Biblical reflection. Moreover I have several friends involved in Biblical studies and a devestatingly handsome twin I like to toss around theological issues with, and this is my primary means of doing that.
- I have no liberal loyalties: Much of this blog is simply reflection on books I've read. I don't endorse the views of all the authors I read, and I actively try to find the best in them, so if you don't hear me blowing them out of the water or focusing on their errors, that's intentional. I will occasionaly be critical, but for the most part my focus is on what I can learn to help me understand God's Word. So, if I'm not blasting someone who you think deserves to be blasted or if I'm blasting someone you think doesn't deserve to be blasted, don't take that as me "defining my allegiances". I'm not. If you think I am, you'll be annoyed more often than not. My allegiance is to God, the elders of my church, the people to whom I minister and to all those who have been born again. My conscience is held captive to the Word of God, but I recognize that I still have so much to learn about it!
If you'd like to read the few posts where I actually mentioned N.T. Wright you can read them here and here. The posts which more off-handedly mention him are here, here, here and here. You can judge whether you thought me to be saying something inappropriate or not.
In any case, for all those reading this post with lingering suspicion, I humbly suggest you read a previous post about what I call "doctrinal politics" in the spirit of brotherly kindness with which it was intended.