Standing up to your friends

Over at Scot McKnight's blog David Moore has written what is sure to be a provocative post. He does what many are not willing to do. He criticizes The Gospel Coalition. Certainly there is nothing small, petty, or mean about Moore's criticism. His words are thoughtful and his critique is needful. I hope he will be heard. 

The Gospel Coalition has done some very helpful things during their relatively brief history. I am thankful for much of what they have produced. But Moore's post expresses some of the same concerns that many of us have spoken of or written about previously. Not least of my concerns is the fact that they seem to be functioning in some ways as a denomination. They have a statement of faith, a catechism, and a network of affiliated churches. But to whom are they accountable? TGC is having great inflence in many churches. But to whom do they answer? 

There also seems to be a stubborn refusal to answer valid questions about certain controversies within the ranks of their leadership. Who makes the decisions to cease quoting, making references to, or providing links to certain once favored writers or pastors? How does an organization like TGC repent for heavily promoting men who have done great harm to the church (even when they were warned)? Why is it that holding to theistic evolution is disqualifying for some but not others? 

These problems are quite understandable. Popularity is dangerous to the soul. We are all susceptible to inflated egos, defensiveness, and inconsistency. As the popularity of an organization, church, denomination, or preacher grows so too does the tendency to protect the brand at all costs. But this is precisely what Christians and Christian organizations, be they churches or coalitions, must avoid. We must grip our success, our projects, and our reputations loosely. We are not as important as we imagine. This is why we need friends to talk back to us.

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