Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Even better than The Race Card{tm}

If you follow the news, you have seen it happen: whenever anyone of the wrong pigmentation disagrees with our president's policies, or those of certain of his associates, he finds himself accused of racism. Just when you think this may be dead or at least exaggerated, it pops up yet again. The hope is to sideline the logic and force of the criticism and put the critic (A) on the defensive and (B) in an insoluble dilemma (i.e. "Prove you're not racist, on 'three': one, two...").

Such trump-cards are not confined to politics, of course. One of the more egregious is played regularly by Leaky Canoneers.

Perhaps you're new to these parts and unfamiliar with the expression. I invented the term "Leaky Canoneer" to denote the person who formally says that he affirms the completeness, inerrancy, and closed nature of the Biblical canon, but who informally gives the lie to that profession. How? By asserting that God
  1. ...continues to speak...
  2. ...directly...
  3. ...and quotably (or at least paraphrasably)...
  4. ...to him...
  5. ...apart from Scripture.
I've come at this dozens of times from dozens of angles, both here and at Pyro and elsewhere.

Today's sally is brought to you courtesy of James MacDonald. You'll forgive me for letting you do your own research for links and specifics; we at Pyro (but not we alone) have been pretty much on top of the situation, and sometimes ahead of the curve. Two of my favorite Tree Falling in the Forest posts were on the topic (this and this).

But anyway, James MacDonald decided to feature well-known modalist and word-faith preacher T. D. Jakes as a "Christian leader" on his Elephant Room show. A firestorm of very appropriate concern and criticism arose. MacDonald responded alternately by chest-thumping, backtracking, then more chest-thumping. Many wondered how this guy could be associated with The Gospel Coalition while seeming to be relatively unconcerned about, you know, the gospel.

As usual, Phil Johnson put it best: "The collective leadership of TGC are going to have to decide which is more important: the Gospel, or the Coalition."

Well no, it turns out, they won't.

In a solution that solves nothing, James MacDonald has resigned from TGC leadership, as that leadership has acknowledged.  In making this acknowledgement, however, they only compliment the departing brother, and make no direct reference to his hosting a heretic as a Christian leader. So that problem is unsolved.

What does MacDonald himself say? Oh, this and that, about what you might expect. He's making his priorities pretty clear to everyone, I daresay, and I hope the effect is salutary.

My focus is this bit from MacDonald's post:


See that? MacDonald doesn't want his "minor" leadership role to " to give the impression [the TGC leadership] agree with all God has called me to do."

Let me break that down for you who are keeping score at home:
  1. God has "called" James MacDonald to do a number of things.
  2. The TGC leadership might not agree with all of those things.
  3. Therefore, the TGC leadership might not agree with God.
Nice, huh? They do nothing but compliment their departing heretic-promoting brother, and he responds by accusing them of sinning by not agreeing with him. Because that is the rub, right? God "called" James MacDonald to do certain things. Of this MacDonald entertains and allows no doubt. But the TGC leadership might not agree with those things. Those things that God called him to do.

Which means they don't agree with God.

So what is it when you don't agree with God? Right. Sin.

Nice, huh? And slick! You see, this way MacDonald doesn't have to answer any questions! He's completely off the hook! He doesn't have to explain featuring a heretic, his judgment, his priorities — why, now we know his priorities, according to him: he just wants to do what God tells him to do!

And who can blame him for that?

Unfortunately, much of the leadership of TGC probably can't, because at least some of them accept MacDonald's position at least in principle. God just might be mumbling and hinting and suggesting things apart from Scripture. Who can say?

And let's be very clear on this as well. Do you have a verse in your Bible saying, "And I command James MacDonald to give prominent platforms to men who deny the revealed truths of My nature and play fast and loose with Scripture on the whole"? Mine lacks that verse. This can only mean that God "called" James MacDonald directly, apart from Scripture.

So you can't judge it. See? God wasn't talking to you. He wasn't talking to me.

He was just talking to James.

This is that ugly little absolutely necessary corollary of Leaky Canoneering: adherents can play the "God told me" card and instantly get out of all criticism.

Well, not only that, right? Because now we know that James MacDonald isn't someone so desperate to be popular and well-liked that he'll make unwise (at best) associations to promote himself — no, he's a hero, because he and he alone is listening to the voice of God.

And these other guys? Psh. Carnal! Hidebound. Unspiritual, clearly. Because they might not "agree with all God has called [MacDonald] to do."

So, see? You thought it was James MacDonald who was looking kinda bad?

No, sir; no, ma'am.

It's TGC leadership, and anyone else who disagrees with MacDonald. For treating MacDonald with kid gloves, they get thrown under the bus.

And that, friends and neighbors, is "The 'God Told Me' Card."

Nicely-played, too.

76 comments:

Jules LaPierre said...

So when we play the 'God Told Me Card' we make ourselves untouchable.

DJP said...

That's the intent, anyway; and, often, the effect.

Jules LaPierre said...

This makes me weep for the Church.

Becky said...

weep.....and pray! So well written and so sad...

Pastor Steve said...

I love that his blog post is filed under "integrity" and "leadership." Sounds like a nice pat on the back for himself.

DJP said...

Oh, mercy. I had not noticed.

< groan >

See, friends: when truly good folks (which they are) wink at and enable leaky canonism, these are the sorts of fruit that they don't talk about. So folks like me keep bangin' the pots, and looking like hypercritical jerks.

But I don't see how you can have a pastor's heart for the church and for believers, and not be concerned about this.

Bryce said...

Sad. For those of us in the trenches who have to deal with the broken lives of people led astray and hobbled by the charismatic movement, it's incredibly more difficult when "trusted" national figures don't outright draw lines in the sand and throw wolves over it.

Marla said...

Yes, "the God told me to do this" can make you untouchable for a little while. Once the inevitable bad consequences show up, what then? I think we are in for a major train wreck at TER2, and the sad slide down the slippery slope for James MacDonald's ministry. The reality that he *continues* to associate and promote false teachers/known heretics can only end badly. *cry*

Up until ER1, I really enjoyed his ministry -- in particular his "When Life is Hard" series was very helpful to me and many people I knew. I just am aghast at his present course. What happened to him????

Pastor Steve said...

If people blast you for being hypercritical just tell them you are doing what God has called you to do. Filed under "ironic."

Jules LaPierre said...

I've been thinking and praying about this type of issue quite a bit lately, and I hope I'm able to articulate my thoughts clearly:

This seems to be an example of what my husband refers to as a, "Culture of secrecy in the Church."

My husband has served in several leadership roles in the church, including elder, and he has noted time and again that silence is often the response when it comes to matters such as this. It gives the impression that leadership, whether it be in a local assembly or a para-church organization such as the Gospel Coalition, is practicing the, "Don't Rock the Boat" principle.

It seems that in an effort to maintain "unity", they opt for a, "solution that solves nothing". They, "...only compliment the departing brother, and make no direct reference to his hosting a heretic as a Christian leader. So that problem is unsolved."

In other words, "Everything's fine! Nothing to see here! Lets move along!" -or- "We'll just agree to disagree."

I would add that not only is the problem unsolved, but also unaddressed.

Hope that made sense.

Christine Pack said...

Brilliant.

Tom Chantry said...

Excellent post, Dan.

I would just point out that this was an example of the very worst sort of GTM (God-Told-Me) moment. Consider:

It's bad enough when someone pulls out GTM for a righteous act. "God told me you needed encouragement today so I'm sending you some Scripture verses." GTM was rather unnecessary, right?

But then, it's worse to pull out GTM for something that is morally neutral. "God told me to wear the blue tie today." Wha....what?

It grows worse, though, when GTM is a defense for sin. "God told me to leave my wife for another woman." No. He didn't. Really.

But can it get worse than that? I would suggest that there is one worse GTM moment, and that is what Dan is referencing here - after many godly men pointed out the wrongness of your action, you GTM them as a means of winning the debate. "I know everyone I trust and respect thinks it's wrong of me to embrace heretics as 'brothers,' but God told me to, so they're wrong and I'm right." And as Dan said, the righteous friends who warned him are thrown under the bus.

It is tragic, and we ought not play the "told-you-so" game, but...

...in answer to Marla's question this is what happens when a man starts caring more about numeric success than he does about gospel truth.

Tom Chantry said...

@ Jules - perfect sense! I've seen it in action, and it cripples churches. There is often a careful line to be walked between secrecy and gossip, but especially when leadership is involved the church must be frank.

JackW said...

Too true this. Unfortunately, most Pastors I know have also played this card.

Lorne said...

I had gone through this about 6 1/2 years ago with the same card being used in the governance of a church board. I and another brother in the Lord were elders dealing with the dis-satisfaction of a pastor who was caught "cut and paste" preaching, claiming to have been doing endless hours of preparation for his sermons.
Our goal was to lovingly confront him to see if there was any way we could be of some assistance to him, because he and his wife were in a serious motor vehicle accident the year before, and that left his wife with enough brain damage that she was not able to contribute to the marriage and his pastoral ministry in the same capacity, which we understood that is a huge life changing impact on anyone.
We discussed our desire to intervene, in confidence, to the the chair-person which in turn was relayed to the pastor in question, in a way that gave the impression that we were out to take away his job and "touch one of God's anointed".
After all the stuff that was flying in the air had settled, we asked the chairperson why he had told the pastor in question the information that the elders had initially revealed in confidence? His answer was, and this is a direct quote "God told me to". We, the elders, were simply speechless and knew that there was no way we could have any positive impact in having a Scriptural foundation in Church governance with the "God told me to" card being used if there was any attempt at admonishing a brother in the Lord.
Many of us have since left that church and started our own little fellowship.

Jules LaPierre said...

"When leadership is involved the church must be frank."

Yes, Tom. It truly comes down to that.

As with a boil, the only way to relieve the pain is to lance it.

Jonesy said...

Is there anything to be said by the fact that Carson and Keller say,

"We acknowledge that James feels called of God into these spheres, and we wish him well in his far-reaching endeavors, and many years of ministry both faithful and fruitful."

Does that mean that they are willing to sin?

College Jay said...

I love that I've always been able to link to several posts by Mr. Phillips when I've had The Gold Told Me Card played on me.

The problem with those who play it is that they absolutely refuse to see when it's been beaten.

Mizz Harpy said...

To my jaded former Episcopalian eyes the "God Told Me" Card sounds suspiciously like the "Prophetic Spirit" Card Episcopal priests and bishops used to pull out way back when. We know where those prophetic guys brought the church too. Must I see it happen all over again? I wish someone at TGC would say something. I went through some shock years ago when those old Episcopal priests I admired and believed were sound turned out to be as liberal as their prophetic brethren. I can only truly hope it's different this time around. Sometimes silence is only for weasels.

Jules LaPierre said...

Honestly, Jonesy...I think it means they want to maintain the illusion of unity.

Jonesy said...

Jules

Part of me had my tongue firmly planted in my cheek when I said what I wrote above. Hence, I guess you could say I'm being a bit snarky.

However if I remove my tongue from my cheek and if I take JMcD's post as seriously as Dan has, shouldn't I also take Carson and Keller's response as seriously, i.e. draw out the implications as Dan has?

I'm just sayin'.

Tom Chantry said...


The problem with those who play it is that they absolutely refuse to see when it's been beaten.


But, wasn't it beaten long ago by the proverbial girl who responded to a would-be suitor? He said, "God told me to marry you," and she responded, "Funny, that. He told me to marry someone else."

I tell that old story because it puts me in mind of something Dan probably wrote about somewhere - the problem with GTM is its very inverifiability. Biblical prophets sometimes performed miracles in God's name, and sometimes predicted God's future acts with accuracy, and eventually spoke with absolute accord with earlier revelation. All three are biblically warranted ways of verifying any prophet. But the practitioners of GTM want to be accepted on their own self-testimony. Odd how that was insufficient for Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Isaiah, Peter, Paul... Even Christ Himself pointed to witnesses which verified His prophetic office.

GTM, then, is the very opposite of biblical revelation. If it is verified only by the individual speaking, then he is the one glorified. Consider, in the above example it's literally he-said/she-said. What did God say? We don't know! Where's the glory of God when different people claim that God told them different things? No, only the pseudo-prophet is glorified, and it is a glory that fades quickly.

terriergal said...

They need to stop treating people like Macdonald with kid gloves, and start it far earlier in the process. I lose all respect for such 'nice' posturing especially when they have (at least publicly) passively let this guy walk out without a whole lot of hard public rebuke so that others may take warning.

Lots of other people have done it, but has TGC issued any kind of formal statement about their disagreements with James? If so I don't remember reading or hearing it.

Karen said...

This idea of being "called" is so, so pervasive in Christian circles. I've heard it used many times to justify bizarre behavior in both fundamentalist cessationist and more liberal churches.

Thank you for this post! I wish more Christians would think clearly about this and communicate that clarity to others.

Robert said...

What is sad is that people have a real calling from God to stop this madness. All they have to do is read the Bible and see what God actually does say about false teaching.

Meanwhile, MacDonald just runs along like a circus clown trying to fit in as many people under his tent as possible. Little do they know that it will fall in on them.

Robert said...

In the TGC official response is this little tidbit:

"We acknowledge that James feels called of God into these spheres, and we wish him well in his far-reaching endeavors, and many years of ministry both faithful and fruitful."

So they play right along with him, basically...

Elaine Bittencourt said...

Robert, isn't there a difference in saying
"We acknowledge that James feels called of God into these spheres [...]"

and

"We acknowledge that James IS called of God into these spheres [...]"

or the "playing along" is seen in the way they wish that to be faithful and fruitful?

Eric said...

Elaine,

It would seem that the TGC leadership had the option of uncritically aknowledging the GTM card or challening its use. They chose the former, i.e., they played along.

Rachael Starke said...

@Robert - That's the line I chuckled over - they're not saying they agree that he's called. They're simply agreeing that James has said he's called.

It would be like one of my kids saying to me "I think we should go to Disneyland today!", and my replying "I agree with you that you think that - here are all the reasons why it ain't happening."

More thoughts in random order on a busy work day -

-I was sort of fearful of how big the dent in the ground was going to be with the smackdown, but honestly, I think you (Dan) nailed it.

My two cents, from my communications world - whether parenting, pastoring, or TGC-ing - we are always communicating something. Our actions and our inactions speak. Our words, and our silence, speak. The questions always are "What are we communicating? is it consistent with what we should be communicating? If not, what do we do to fix that?"

Like Frank has alluded to before, it's possible that TGC have not thought deeply enough about the links between their identity and their communication methdology (Internet content aggregator, conference sponsorship, etc.) They have been functioning like Internet elders, and they're not seeing that they appear to be abdicating the responsibility of an elder in guiding the sheep away from errors perpetrated by one of their member I-elders.

Also, I humbly submit Chantry's "GTM" acronym to the BibChr and Pyro lexicon.

leadsoldier said...

Good deployment of 26 soldiers in the service of the King of Kings, Mr. Phillips. Thanks for refreshing my soul.

DJP said...

Well-put, Rachael. If one of your dainty little angels were to wail on one of your other dainty little angels, in the living room, while you and your Phil re-watch the Twilight movies for the 14th time; and if said wailer then says "I'm leaving, lest anyone assume my parents agree with my doing what God called me to do"; and if all you and your Phil said were "Little Bettina felt called to wail on Little Angelina"...

... that non-statement would be quite eloquent.

Eric said...

Ever since reading the blog title I keep having the tune to "Even Better Than The Real Thing" by U2 run through my head. What I need now is for David Regier to come along and post some updated lyrics based on Dan's title.

DJP said...

That any poor soul should find that anything I have ever written should in any way suggest anything by U2... this will haunt my day.

Alex said...

In the opening paragraph of The Elephant Room's Purpose Statement, James McDonald states that "We must... not isolate ourselves from relationship even with those who believe much differently." It seems that he is doing exactly this by resigning from TGC. He is isolating himself from very godly, respectable Christian men who have very different views on methodology and ecumenism than he does. His decision exemplifies the difference between strategic and wise.

Eric said...

Dan,

To be clear, the only reason for the U2 song to pop into my head was the similarity in the song title and the blogpost title - no bonoesque philosophies on display in the blogpost or anything like that.

Eric O said...

When James M. talks of being lead by God in directions that TGC isn't going, Isn't that possible?

I'm thinking about the Piper / Warren affiliation, many argued that was a wrong move. Yet, I assume, as Elder Piper knew if the controversy, he prayed and felt led by God to do something that others thought was wrong.

Unless this is only limited to the Jakes issue

Bryan Wayne said...

Well Dan, take heart. It made me think of "Look Away" by Chicago.

Bryan Wayne said...

actually... that's not true... I'm just trying to put a bandaid on the wound that is U2.

ANiMaL said...

Church on Sunday was Ephesians 5:15-21. Followed by my weekly GTY podcast nicely on Ephesians 5:18-21. Getting a real feel for what it means to be spirit filled, gives me so much more peace about how the Lord works. I don't need a GTM experience. GATMIHW! (already told me in his word). I know you beat that drum Dan, and many of us clearly appreciate it.

I pray for these men, in fact that's what I read just last night I'm expected to do as a person being filled/lead by the spirit. Because you know, GTM. It's almost scary how often quoting scripture to explain proper behavior is called legalism, but mystical unverifiable experiences are GTM moments. Isn't that backwards?

DJP said...

Amen. Dude, in my Blackaby posts I argue that mystical leaky canonism leads to a far worse bondage than the most legalistic Pharisee could ever have dreamed of.

The Squirrel said...

Well... I still say that open parking place right in front of the doughnut shop was a sign from God...

Squirrel

Stephen said...

On a more charitable reading of Carson and Keller, aided by the 'talking points letter' supposedly authored by a pastor at MacDonald's church that's been floating today (I think apprising.org has it), I suspect that the resignation was more on the 'forced' side than volunteered by MacDonald. It appears a few members of TGC were continually berating MacDonald for his actions concerning Elephant Room, perhaps escalating over time. In that light, I view Carson and Keller's post as being publicly gracious to MacDonald, urging him to be both faithful and fruitful, without explicitly denying there was not much tension behind the scenes. MacDonald himself said that his resignation was accepted "with regret", perhaps the result of an ultimatum - either step away from Jakes or step away from TGC.

I agree with you on the whole GTM thing, but on my first read of the post at TGC I noticed the added phrase "MacDonald feels" and I immediately saw that as implying a denial that they agreed with him; just their way of being polite.

Sir Aaron said...

I'm just thankful God doesn't tell MacDonald the same things He tells Driscoll.

Tom Chantry said...

That letter this afternoon is truly one of the most amazing things I've seen in a while. Think about this:

DJP read it and said, "Holy Cow! He's playing the 'God told me' card - against the Gospel Coalition!!!"

Chris Rosebrough read it and said, "Holy Cow! It's a set of talking points including 'our leader is courageous and gracious' - being sent in a widely distributed email!!!"

I read it and said, "Holy Cow! He's blaming the black pastors for being deeply resentful and for infighting - all one day after Thabiti warned against the dangers of pitting black against black!!!"

And we're all right. And there's more. He's resigning from the coalition so he can be gracious? Crawford Loritts is a good black pastor because he's excited about what (not the Lord, but) James is doing???

Look, I staked my entire reputation on criticism of this church, and even I am stunned. I had no idea HBC could be this outrageous.

Rachael Starke said...

@Stephen, us all collectively, and to Dan as benevolent and esteemed dictator over his blog-

Usual suspects excluded - raising public questions about a public announcement is a legitimate exercise.

But I'm not so sure about commenting on the unauthorized broadcast of internal-ish emails and corresponding unfounded speculations on them. That smells awfully, suspiciously similar to gossip.

This thing has the potential to get very ugly. I'll lay my TGC cards right down - only the Pyro crew has had more recent and more deep impact on my spiritual life in the last few years. I'm eagerly anticipating going to their womens' conference in June. Their vision for supporting womens' maturing in the faith is one I've had and prayed for for years. I see so much potential for damage to that work alone, let alone all the other work they do, depending on how they choose to, yes, lead in managing this thing. I am praying for them as I would for my own church, and I'm going add the Pyro community/ island of misfit toys to my prayer list (well, beyond the usuals for Frank. :) )

Doulos Christou said...

Look, I staked my entire reputation on criticism of this church, and even I am stunned. I had no idea HBC could be this outrageous.

As a dormer attendee of HBC, I couldn't agree more. Praying for them, especially in light of the influence of Walk In The Word.... But the situation just smells bad,

Merrilee Stevenson said...

What? No labels for this post? How about "blasphemy". That is what GTM boils down to, right?

Honestly I don't keep track of TGC or big namers, unless they get mentioned by you & your Team Pyro amigos. While it seems that there is big name drama happening or yet to come, the part of it that is most helpful and needful is for us lay-people to be able to clearly recognize a "Leaky Cannoneer" in our own churches, and to not ignore it. Unlike para-church organizations, real churches have a thing called church discipline that is a blessing from our Heavenly Father.

But as Tom Chantry eloquently demonstrated, it seems a bit overkill to call out "blasphemy!" in the first two examples on the slippery slope. But there must be a way of addressing the issue early on. I mean, how would one do it?

Stephen said...

I agree Rachael about the gossip thing - I had the same thoughts before the email went "public" and it only helped solidify my thoughts. But really the content of that email was already sprayed well over the wall, well the blog-wall of Thabiti at least. I don't recall other TGC bloggers making specific mention of Elephant Room during this time (though Thabiti did manage to spark a nice little discussion on celebrity pastors), but I thought his posts were enough to be considered "fighting words," or on a positive spin, "I beg you to repent and be a better ambassador of the Gospel, for all of our sakes, white, black, or otherwise."

Personally, I don't believe I had ever heard of James MacDonald until Elephant Room last year, when a classmate said he was heading over to a simulcast site with a free guest ticket and I looked up what it was. I had hoped the presence of humble pastors like Platt and Chandler would help chip away some of the bad pragmatism found in Noble and Furtick, but it doesn't seem to be the case (my heart broke when I saw the replay video of MacDonald mocking Platt: "you took away your kids' goldfish!" as if no American needs to learn of sacrifice). I shudder to think what kind of people "God will lead" MacDonald, Driscoll, et al to bring next year to ER3! Then again, maybe Dan and Frank will get the invite!

Thomas Louw said...

"When leadership is involved the church must be Frank Turk."

Write an open letter and confront them and form an tag team with Dan Phillip and Phil Johnson and take the “Big Show” out.

BrettR said...

From my very limited and narrow experience, the perspicuity of scripture is the next to go.

"Since you common folk and bloggerz aren't catching the vision of the Newer Testament, I am going to have to teach you how to interpret the whole canon. My way. See my 'God Told Me' Card. Try to keep up."

This can only lead to mass disillusionment or worse: informercials.

Steve Talas said...

I just wonder what

...'Though never entirely comfortable with the title ‘reformed,’...

says not just for Macdonald but about much of the YRR movement in general. Over the years I've felt increasingly that some of the so called 'Reformed' Charismatic 'Popstars' are just Charismatics dressed up in what seems to be a very cheap reformed suit.

Sam said...

Well said Stephen. My first "encounter" with MacDonald was ER1 last year as well. I decided to attend in support of the church that was hosting but after watching, I was put off by the whole show. MacDonald's interaction with Platt was inexcusable. He showed more frustration with "no goldfish" than he did with any of Furtick's or Noble's shenanigans. That speaks volumes. Those seated around me were as frustrated by it as I was. There was no way I could in good conscience ask my church to pay for me attending the second installment. Plus there's other things I could be doing, like...

I though Platt and Chandler handled themselves well. It was my first time seeing or hearing Platt and I was impressed with his humility and take on things.

Robert said...

Stephen,

What Biblical example do we have for worrying about being polite to people inviting heretics to share a platform with them in a public venue for possibly millions to see? I can't seem to find that in my Bible and I think that for the sake of fellow believers we have to handle these situations with words that actually mean something somewhat emphatic.

Bill Honsberger said...

I work as a missionary to people in cults and I can't think of one that didn't have a significant version of GTM.
What is even worse is when you mix two horrendous misunderstandings and come up with a truly toxic elixer. (Think Copeland, Hinn, Hagen and then some of their more recent wannabees!)
1) "God told me something last night" (usually followed with some version of "get the checkbook out")
2) "Touch not the Lord's anointed (you criticize or question me (by not getting the checkbook out) and you will die, your children will suffer and die, your dog will suffer and die and so on.
So we now have "fresh manna from God" and cannot critique it, without being told and manipulated that God now hates us for our disobedience and "religious" or "pharisee" spirits.
It is not such a big step from God told me - to God is telling you.
And woe to the person that believes in this crap!

Sir Aaron said...

The problem with leaky cannoneers is that by relying on visions, signs, feelings, and thoughts purportedly received directly from God then you rely on Scripture less. So Scripture will naturally take a lower place then it rightfully should.

Sir Aaron said...

The problem with leaky cannoneers is that by relying on visions, signs, feelings, and thoughts purportedly received directly from God then you rely on Scripture less. So Scripture will naturally take a lower place then it rightfully should.

Tom Chantry said...

Time for an honest confession. I have mis-read "leaky cannoneers" for as long as you've written it. I kept thinking it was "leaky cannoners." Last night I heard Chris Rosebrough reading this post and thought, "What's he doing? He's totally misreading that phrase!"

Only, he wasn't.

I'll retire in shame now.

Gilbert said...

Wow. And so, now I'm left to wonder...a friend of mine who is struggling in his faith after he lost his job, marriage, job again, and his ex-wife, so cold as to say she never wants to see his kids again (it was his fault to some extent, which he has confessed and wept over, but not anything worth leaving and doing this to him)...

And I steered him into MacDonald's church, because the one he had before was Episcopalian, apostate as all get out, and they referred him to a secular counselor to handle his issues. I warned him it would go badly. It did. very. Even his own congregation wouldn't help him in poverty.

Burned by one church, now I want to get him out of there if James is being unrepentant. I've listened to his "Walk In The Word" ministry on Moody for years, and it was solid. I'm heartbroken for all of this. Any suggestions if my friend is in the Chicago area?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Also, I humbly submit Chantry's "GTM" acronym to the BibChr and Pyro lexicon."

I second Rachel's submission.

Q1: Is there a commenter here who has successfully helped a GTM person to stop using the GTM card? If so, how?

Q2: Is there a commenter here who used to be a GTM person, and who has stopped using the GTM explanation? If so, why did you stop using GTM? And how did you learn to stop using GTM?

Scooter said...

Well if all of us wouldn't rely on such silly things as syllogisms and clear definitions, we could finally embrace ministry to a post-modern culture and melt into the unified front that is American Christianity.

TUAD:
You could call me a GTMer. I used the language, and even searched and prayed for words from the Lord. I'm rather thankful that I stumbled upon the Pyro blog before it got out of hand.

I 3rd Rachel's submission.

Jacob said...

I'm with Eric - the post title made me think of the U2 song as well.

And with Squirrel, because open spots in front of delicious food are divine providence.

Craig Doriot said...

channeling God = bad
hearing from God = good


Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Mar 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Joh 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and GREATER WORKS THAN THESE shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Joh 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Act 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Act 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not EVERY spirit, but try the spirits WHETHER they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1Jn 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1Jn 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
1Jn 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

1Co 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
1Co 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
1Co 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
1Co 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
1Co 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Craig Doriot said...

1Co 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
1Co 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
1Co 14:4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
1Co 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
..
1Co 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
1Co 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
1Co 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
1Co 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
..
1Co 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
1Co 14:23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
1Co 14:24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
1Co 14:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
1Co 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
1Co 14:27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
1Co 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
1Co 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
1Co 14:30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
1Co 14:31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
1Co 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
..
1Co 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

Act 6:6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

Act 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
Act 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
Act 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
Act 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Act 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and PUTTING HIS HANDS ON HIM said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Act 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Craig Doriot said...

Act 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
Act 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
Act 19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
Act 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Act 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 19:6 And when Paul had LAID HIS HANDS UPON THEM, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Rom 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may IMPART UNTO YOU SOME SPIRITUAL GIFT, to the end ye may be established;

1Ti 4:14 NEGLECT NOT THE GIFT that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the LAYING OF THE HANDS of the presbytery.

1Ti 5:22 LAY HANDS SUDDENLY ON NO MAN, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.

2Ti 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou STIR UP the gift of God, which is in thee by the PUTTING ON OF MY HANDS.

Heb 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Heb 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of LAYING OF HANDS, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

1Th 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.
1Th 5:20 Despise not prophesyings.
1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

DJP said...

Terrific, then, we're all in agreement with the post.

trogdor said...

Sigh. If Trevin Wax is summarizing correctly, then we learned that...

God's 'call' apparently consisted of "I'm so mad about MacArthur criticizing Driscoll's ungodly/blasphemous/perverted methods and worrying about his outsized influence on the young, I'm going to go as far as I can in the other direction."

Excuse me while I vomit some more.

Sam said...

In reading the summaries of the ER2 sessions it seems like MacDonald is either the hero or victim in all his stories. Is this a benefit of playing the GTM card?

DJP said...

Why wouldn't he? Mark Driscoll made a comfy little cottage industry of it. Remember this, another tree that fell in the woods?

Sam said...

Excellent, thanks for the refresher.

Robert said...

Thanks for the link, trogdor. If there was any doubt about whether these people were more concerned about Biblical truth or "unity", this certainly cleared that up. They are circling the wagons and drawing lines whether they want to admit it or not. I'm just waiting for the day when some of these guys are man enough to actually come out and address the people they have a beef with. Of course, that would actually require courage and integrity...something that Driscoll, MacDonald, and Jakes (as well as many others involved with ER) are certainly lacking.

Robert said...

You know...God told me all of the following:

1. That I should love my wife in the same manner that Christ loves the Church.

2. That I should submit to my leaders, both in the church and the world, so long as they are not going against God's commands from Scripture.

3. That if anybody preaches a different Gospel, they are to be accursed.

There are plenty of things that God has told me, and get this - I actually have proof that He told me! It is in His Word! He has told all of us!

Of course, as you have detailed countless times before, this just isn't enough for some people. And thus, they go invent their own ideas of how God has some special way to tell them all of these special messages. Which just sounds like self-promotion (stemming from pride) to me.

Fred Butler said...

This may be worthless being at the end of a long comment thread.

Craig writes
channeling God = bad
hearing from God = good


Okay.
A few questions if Craig is inclined to answer:

How do you distinguish "channeling" from "hearing" bearing the major point of Dan's post?

Is "hearing" from God different from "hearing" God in the Bible?

If you believe you can "hear" from God in "the Spirit" or however you define it, why isn't the Bible sufficient to "hear" from God?

How exactly does that "hearing" from God "in the Spirit" work? IOW, how would I KNOW I was "hearing" God?

Can you ever misundertand or misinterpret what you "hear" from God?

Start with those and if you're willing, we'll move a head.

Robert said...

Fred,

I'm reminded of an example of David being moved by Satan to take a census of the people and the disastrous results detailed in 1 Chronicles 21. I wonder if people ever consider that similar things can happen to people today...

donsands said...

Why doesn't a good portion of the Church speak the truth in love? TD Jakes gets a pass, as do Philips Craig & Dean.
These are false-brethren, without any doubt.
Yet, when i share this, others say, "Oh, I didn't know that. Thanks for letting me know." And then they continue to accept these as fellow believers in the God of the Holy Word.

I really would like to understand why they do this. It drives me nuts.

Oh well.

Good post Dan. Your words are always well weighed and spoken with humility and boldness. Thanks.

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

I've benefited so much (and so has my wife!) from your posts on "Leaky Cannoneers" and the like. I've got a question about folks saying "God called me to (insert this or that position/ministry/missionary project)" - does that fall under the same? Like folks saying that God called them to be a pastor/teacher/missionary. I thought so. And even though they may be using that as short-hand for God gifting them to teach and preach or them being qualified Biblically to be a pastor, or desiring and having the freedom/ability to be a missionary abroad, I consider using "God called me. . ." to be dangerous considering what it implies. Am I right on that, or just nit-picking?

DJP said...

No, I think you have a point. I think it's just one of those assumed, unexamined things that come back and bite us.

Here are some terrific talks I just found and listened to on God's will. I think it is in Friesen's first talk that he specifically talks about being "called" into pastoral ministry. DeYoung's talks are just terrific.