Categories
Controversy Critical Race Theory Critical Theory Racism SBC Author Social Justice

The End of Evangelicalism: Another Argument for Closing Churches Indefinitely

“The End of Evangelicalism” is a series devoted to slippery slope style arguments pertaining to the social justice movement in evangelicalism. Each post features a ‘thin edge of the wedge’ line of thinking from seemingly sensible social justice measures that might nevertheless effectively end some major element of the evangelical faith. So while many of these posts will seem foolish on the surface, the idea is to think slightly further along the curve of critical theories in order to locate one’s ‘woke breaking point.’

Civil Disobedience

By now, you’re probably aware of Pastor John MacArthur and the Elders at Grace Community Church (GCC) stirring up much of the evangelical world over meeting for church even though California Governor Gavin Newsom said something like, “Hey…wait…they can’t do that!” Just in case you missed it, here’s the original announcement. Jonathan Leeman, Editorial Director for 9Marks and an elder at Cheverly Baptist Church in Maryland, wrote a response here. Conservative Resurgence Voices authors wrote on the controversy here and here. Meanwhile, here’s an update from MacArthur on what GCC is doing on Sunday mornings. It might also be helpful to hear Phil Johnson’s comments on Cross Politic here. And GCC just announced here that they have legal counsel on retainer. Or, you can just skim the Federalist article summarizing everything here.

Leeman argued against MacArthur et al. based, in part, on state-established regulations:

Likewise, churches should observe state-established fire codes, building codes, zoning restrictions, historical-preservation-society codes (if you’re on Capitol Hill), and more, all of which impinge on and limit our gatherings. Yet most of us have not stopped and said, “This is hindering our worship” or “This is the state exercising authority over church practice.” Rather, we understand the state is doing its job even there. We understand that we are not ancient Israel. And though in one sense all space is sacred for a Christian because all space is under Christ’s lordship, in another sense no space is sacred, at least in a Temple-like way; and the government’s authority also extends everywhere inside its borders.

All that to say, it’s not immediately evident to me that a government’s original orders back in March and now again in July are, in MacArthur’s words, “an illegitimate intrusion of state authority into ecclesiastical matters.” One could argue they are doing their job by seeking to maintain peace, order, and the preservation of life, as hundreds of people gather, potentially infect one another, and then scatter into the wider community.

In an earlier post, I noted that of course one could argue that the government is doing their job to “maintain peace, order, and the preservation of life.” But one suspects that is almost always how a totalitarian government does argue for overstepping its God-ordained boundaries. We’ve seen such language used to disparage movements against government sanctioned racism in the United States of America, and we will no doubt see it used to disparage Christian worship that contradicts government sanctioned secularism. But now I want to take the argument in a different direction.

Categories
Scripture

Jonathan Leeman’s Disappointing Response to Worship at Grace Community Church

In his July 25, 2020, piece, “A Time for Civil Disobedience? A Response to Grace Community Church’s Elders,” Jonathan Leeman discourages members at Grace Community Church (GCC) from meeting together for corporate worship, and pleads with other churches not to follow their example (Leeman may claim that it was not his intention to discourage anyone from meeting, but the words, “hold on! Stop…” don’t convey that very well). Leeman writes, “Before your church follows John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church and begins to gather in defiance of governmental orders this Sunday, hold on! Stop and think with me for a moment.” Note that Leeman does not say, “Before your church follows Andy Stanley’s church and stops gathering despite there being no government orders against it…” He does not say, “Before your church follows Ed Stetzer’s church and stops gathering despite there being no government orders against it…” He does not say, “Before your church follows J. D. Greear’s church and stops gathering despite there being no government orders against it.” Rather, Leeman singles out a church and its elders that have made the difficult decision to meet together for corporate worship despite their civil government telling them not to.

Categories
SBC Author

Doctrinal Evolution (Jonathan Leeman)

In this Twitter thread, Jonathan Leeman warns of how, when we undergo doctrinal drift, “people outside of us began to notice a shift in tone and emphases. If they say something, our initial response can be defensive. ‘I haven’t changed. Look, same doctrines!’ Yet something has changed. Our sympathies and intuitions are no longer what they were.”

Categories
Abuse Gender SBC Author Scripture

Complementarianism: A Moment of Reckoning (Jonathan Leeman)

In this post series, Jonathan Leeman claims, “It seems to be a moment of reckoning for complementarianism.”