Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


It remains to be seen whether the unity displayed at this year's General Assembly represents an ecouraging trend or something fleeting. There are times when I wonder whether our differences are largely pragmatic or whether they represent something more fundamental. If our differences are more pragmatic then a greater unity is quite possible. However, if our differences are deep and fundamental in nature then such unity may well be beyond our reach. I am praying for the former.

I chose to not attend General Assembly this year since my beloved congregation graciously gave me a sabbatical. But I did watch rather closely through some of the means made available to the various debates and votes.

For the most part I was left encouraged by the reports coming from GA. Of particular interest were the votes on overtures 13 and 24. I am thankful that a version of overture 24 was approved overwhelmingly by the assembly and that overture 13 was not sustained. These are good signs. In my previous post some of the details concerning the approval of overture 24 were either incomplete or not accurate. So, let me offer an insider’s view of the process…

These Are My Recollections from inside the committee for the curious, A more general account of the whole process I am sharing elsewhere, but this is for the procedural-minded (I hope this can help inform on questions some have asked):

After the Assembly sent the Overtures Committee back, the debate was started by a motion that the Minority Report become the majority recommendation of the committee. (Later RE Howie Donohoe would insist we also must "vote to reconsider," though some of us believed the action of the assembly did this, we voted on that to make sure we were doing everything according to procedure.) Debate ensued with a few people formerly in opposition voicing support to Overture 24 if it was cut down to 59-1, 59-2, and 59-3. But a few men voiced continued opposition due to the content of 59-1 and 59-2. One elder objected that the language of 59-1 was perhaps not sufficient for civil disobedience. Another elder objected to 59-2 for its assumption that Reformed ministers would necessarily be performing marriages (as in our tradition some have said the church should not perform weddings, the civil government only should). It seemed like they would be in the minority to vote against it, but still a significant minority.

At this juncture, TE James Kessler introduced a substitute limiting the constitutional status just to 59-3, and retaining all the old language of the rest of the Chapter. This was attractive to many who had wanted to retain the old language because it was historic and had been useful to them. RE Melton L. Duncan and TE Guy Waters spoke in favor of it.

A few members, including myself, still had opposition. I voiced opposition to making just 59-3 constitutional because 59-1 as binding had use for religious liberty and civil disobedience reasons. 59-2 was also useful as binding due to the instructions on not marrying those unequally yoked. And finally, those instructions in the BCO would be important even if these are in the Westminster Confession of Faith, because the BCO gives us our PRACTICE, and 59-3 at the time only concerns belief (59-3 was merely a restatement of the WCF).

A final motion was made to amend 59-3 by TE Daniel Schrock, adding the line about restricting the practice of ministers who marry. (he deftly worded it as “minister who solemnize marriage” so as to allow that we may have ministers who refuse to perform weddings)

A short time of discussion followed, but soon TE David Hall called all questions before the house. We voted. The amendment about the practice of ministers passed. Then the vote to make the substitute the main motion passed. (at this point I voted yes, with the addition of the sentence of practice and having been convinced by the speech of TE Sam DeSocio that this was not only what could pass on the floor, but also presbyteries, and could be our overwhelming recommendation to the Assembly). The Substitute of the now revised 59-3 became the main motion and the vote was 104-1-1. One other note: without revealing identities, I knew the man voting against it, and he formerly supported the Minority Report, so I assume voted against the final because he did not believe 59-3 was enough.

To close the session, it was suggested and agreed we should sing the doxology. Another note, there exists a man on Overtures with perfect harmony to the doxology that is indeed goose-bump producing. This is not exhaustive, but as well as I can remember.


The overwhelming vote on overture 24 is something for which we should be encouraged. Now, why so many of the commissioners chose not to vote I cannot say. But that is disconcerting. Commissioners to GA need to be present for votes. Period. But I rejoice that we can say as a denomination that there is no move to create a path toward the solemnization of homosexual marriage.

This is worth giving thanks for. And I thank everyone of the brothers who labored in Overtures to give us something that is truly helpful and unifying.

I would encourage you to read Rick Phillips’ reflections on this year’s General Assembly.


Posted on Friday, June 15, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America has concluded and there is good news to report.


In my last post I lamented the decision of the Overtures Committee of the General Assembly to answer in the negative the overtures presented to make constitutionally binding the solemnization of marriage (Book of Church Order, 59).


You can read my previous post if you'd like to know why this effort to make BCO 59 binding was so important.


Some of the brothers on the Overtures Committee drafted a minority report which was then presented on the floor of the Assembly.


After discussion it was decided that the minority report should be recommitted to the Overtures Committee for further discussion. What appears to have happened is that after some careful crafting the minority report gained acceptance from a larger number on the committee. Long story short - after working out the details and without in any way compromising on the issue, the minority report became the majority report and was overwhelming approved by the Assembly.


Praise the Lord for his kindness to us. Also, thanks to those men who labored long to bring about a solution that honors the Lord, upholds or public witness, and helps guard our ministers and churches.

Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


Bad news from PCA General Assembly.


The overtures seeking to make Book of Church Order 59 (the solemnization of marriage) constitutional were all defeated by the Overtures Committee.

It is a sad, sad day for the PCA.

There will be a minority report from the OC which will give the assembly the opportunity to answer the Overtures Committee in the negative which means the overture passes. Given the way PCA progressives have rallied against these overtures it may well be that the minority report will fail on the assembly floor. However, I am hoping and praying for a good outcome.

The two rationales I have seen given by our progressives for opposing the overtures are:
1) It’s redundant. The Westminster Confession of Faith already states that marriage is between a man and a woman. We don't need to make BCO 59 constitutional.

2) Making BCO 59 constitutionally binding will be like hanging a “No sinners welcome sign” on the front doors of our churches. I have seen this rationale expressed by a pastor affiliated with the National Partnership (the political organization of PCA progressives).

Two problems with those rationales:


First of all – WCF only addresses the belief that marriage is between a man and woman. The BCO speaks to performing (solemnizing) weddings. Right now that part of BCO has no binding constitutional authority. That means, among other things that we are legally vulnerable. It is also naive. There are presbyterian and reformed denominations which claim to hold to the Westminster Standards but now bless homosexual unions.

Secondly, since some PCA pastors are stating that making BCO 59 is unkind to sinners then do they feel the same way about what WCF states about marriage between a man and woman?

The rationale for making BCO 59 constitutional is at least fourfold:
1) To honor God by upholding the truth.
2) To give public witness to God’s truth at a moment when that truth is under attack.
3) To give further clarity to our churches regarding this much maligned truth.
4) To protect our churches and clergy from legal attacks. Since the PCA practices good faith subscription to the Westminster Standards and allows its pastors to take exceptions (but NOT to the BCO) we are vulnerable to a legal attack. Any smart attorney can argue that since the PCA allows its minsters to take exceptions to the Westminster Standards and since the Book of Church Order on the subject is non-binding, any refusal to perform and/or host homosexual weddings is arbitrary and discriminatory.


Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


There is a great deal of discussion going on among Christians these days about the moral status of homosexuality and homosexual desires.

In my own denomination, the PCA, the latest dustup is swirling around the Revoice conference being held in St. Louis at Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCA).

The stated purpose of Revoice is: “Supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay, lesbian, same-sex-attracted, and other LGBT Christians so they can experience the life-giving character of the historic Christian tradition.”

Not surprisingly, this is causing a great deal of division and confusion within the PCA. The confusion is quite understandable. People inside and outside the PCA are wondering if the historically conservative denomination is now embracing homosexuality. However, the organizers and speakers of Revoice profess fidelity to the biblical position on sexual intimacy – that sexual intimacy is a gift of God legitimately experienced in marriage between a man and woman.

So, to those wondering if the PCA is in the process of embracing homosexuality let me say that to my knowledge there are no pastors within our denomination promoting the acceptance of homosexual acts or homosexual marriage. May the Lord be merciful in granting us perseverance and courage to remain faithful.

Rather, the debate in the PCA is over the moral status of homosexual desires. The debate extends to the legitimacy of sexual orientation as a category and whether homosexuality is a fixed albeit broken marker of human identity. There are some in the PCA who are comfortable with using terms like Gay Christian to describe Christians who have homosexual desires but choose in obedience to Scripture to remain celibate. However, there are others who believe it is vital that terms like Gay Christian or Queer Christian must not be used in the PCA; that we must not adopt the world’s understanding of sexual orientation and identity.

I have no reason to believe that the organizers of Revoice are anything other than brothers in Christ who are sincerely seeking to reach those struggling to remain chaste. My quarrel is not with their hearts or their motives. I am not in a position to judge either and I am happy to take them at their word.

But I am deeply dismayed at their insistence on using worldly and ungodly categories and language to describe human identity and sexuality. For instance, the category of sexual orientation is deceptive. It is the fruit of 19th century radicalism. It suggests that people are possessed of various sexual proclivities none more valid than any other. The church cannot retrofit the gospel or biblical Christianity onto the notion of sexual orientation because it is fundamentally out of accord with biblical anthropology.

Then of course there is the language of Gay Christian, LGBTQ Christian, Queer Christian, and sexual minority. Is it possible that the PCA hosts, organizers, and speakers of Revoice were unaware that such language would vex and confuse a great number of their brothers and sisters in Christ? It stretches credulity to believe the present controversy surprised them.

Eve Tushnet, one of the speakers at Revoice, stated the following on her Twitter account: “What’s better than St. Louis in July? St Louis in July but SUPER GAY.” On the site Patheos, Ms. Tushnet promoted Revoice by writing, “This July, Come to the Big Gay Christian Extravaganza!”

One of the teachers at Revoice who is also a candidate under care in the PCA states of himself:
“I believe my same-sex attractions are broken, but I do not believe they are sinful. It is not a sin for me to be attracted to another man, in the same way it is not sinful for you to be attracted to a woman.”

In fairness to this brother I want to be clear that he maintains that sexual intimacy must be confined to marriage between a man and woman. I am grateful for that. I have corresponded with him briefly and I believe he is sincere in his desire to get the gospel to homosexuals. But I do believe that his understanding of sexual identity and homosexual desire (an understanding embraced by an alarmingly high number of pastors in the PCA) is fundamentally flawed. In fact, I believe that once a church adopts the notion that homosexual desire is a fixed category of human identity, that is not inherently sinful; once the church grants ontological status to homosexuality it is only a short leap to finally blessing homosexual behavior.

This is the way it seems to happen with pastors and churches who abandon the truth:
1) Belief that homosexuality is a fixed identity.
2) Belief that homosexual desires can be pure so long as the homosexual remains chaste.
3) Adoption of the language of Gay Christian, Queer Christian, and sexual minority.
4) The realization that it is pastorally cruel to tell homosexuals that their sexual orientation is basic to their identity and not inherently sinful but that they must not ever act upon it.
5) Blessing of homosexual marriage and relations.  

This trajectory has been followed by former PCA churches which are now aligned with denominations who embrace homosexuality.

This ought to concern every pastor, elder, and layperson in the PCA: The philosophical and linguistic foundation for ultimately approving of homosexuality is already being laid in the PCA.

The following are 3 examples of sessions taken directly from the Revoice site:

Possibility Models in Queer Theory and Literature: An Adventure
Presenter: Grant Hartley

For the sexual minority seeking to submit his or her life fully to Christ and to the historic Christian sexual ethic, queer culture presents a bit of a dilemma; rather than combing through and analyzing to find which parts are to be rejected, to be redeemed, or to be received with joy (Acts 17:16-34), Christians have often discarded the virtues of queer culture along with the vices, which leaves culturally connected Christian sexual minorities torn between two cultures, two histories, and two communities. So questions that have until now been largely unanswered remain: what does queer culture (and specifically, queer literature and theory) have to offer us who follow Christ? What queer treasure, honor, and glory will be brought into the New Jerusalem at the end of time (Revelation 21:24-26)?


How To Be A Straight Ally
Presenter: Preston Sprinkle, PhD

What does it mean to be a straight ally for gender and sexual minorities? Join speaker, author, and New Testament scholar Preston Sprinkle as he shares about his journey of learning from LGBT people and the way they experience the world around them. Topics covered will include learning how to own the weight of the straight white evangelical tradition and its sins against gender and sexual minorities, how to show genuine compassion to LGBT people, and how to advocate for them so that they are empowered to thrive in their local faith communities.

Coming Out in the Shadow of the Cross: Queer Visibility as Redemptive Suffering
Presenter: Jack Bates

The LGBTQ culture at large tends to stress the personal nature of coming out: it’s up to you to determine how and when and whether you come out. The queer Christian, however, can derive some of the contours of her or his coming out from Scripture and tradition. The particular manner of one’s coming out should be determined according to practical wisdom and oriented toward preservation and reconciliation of Christian fellowship, insofar as that is possible. Further, there is a presumption in favor of coming out for the Christian, in light of the possibilities for suffering on behalf of the other that being out in a Christian context provides. The prospect of coming out can be particularly difficult for the Side-B Christian, but the sufferings of visibility offer redemptive possibilities that the closet cannot offer.

In response to the many concerns and complaints being expressed about Revoice the pastor of the host church who will also be speaking wrote a thoughtful piece affirming his commitment to biblical sexual ethics and the intention of the organizers to reach people for Christ.

His response was clearly heart-felt, and I believe, sincere. But in many ways he was responding to a complaint that is not being made. The debate is not whether the church should be committed to reaching homosexuals for Christ. I do not know of one pastor in the PCA who does not share that goal.

The pastors I know, myself included, minister weekly to former homosexuals and those who fight daily against homosexual desires. We love these precious souls. Each Lord’s Day we labor over them through preaching and prayer. Like all those struggling against sin we seek to help them walk in holiness in this sin-sick world. Calling them Gay Christians, Queer Christians, or sexual minorities undermines not only their ability to fight for holiness but the very way they are to understand themselves as new creations in Christ who have been washed clean.

What the organizers and speakers of Revoice do not seem to understand is that those of us raising concerns are not doing so because we are opposed to reaching out to homosexuals with the good news of the gospel. We are doing that with heart and soul every week. Rather, we firmly believe that their approach and the language they are using are counter-productive to that goal. Indeed, many us of believe that by adopting worldly and ungodly categories for human identity the promoters of Revoice and all those embracing Gay Christian lingo are failing to love those fighting against homosexuality.

So for the love of God, for the love of his truth, and for the love of those fighting against homosexuality let us reject the world’s twisted notions of human identity and sexuality. Let us reject their language. And let us fight for the souls of those precious men and women whom the enemy is seeking to devour.



Thinking They Are More Merciful Than God

I Am Not Homo-sexual, Hetero-sexual, Bi-sesxual, or Any Other Kind of Sexual

Should We Equate Homosexual and Heterosexual Sin?



Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


There is a new and exciting initiative from Scott Swain and Michael Allen of Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando. It is called the Paideia Center for Theological Discipleship.


The Paideia Center will offer regional reading groups of classic Christian texts, monthly gatherings, and an annual conference.


From the Paideia website:

  • Do you desire a rich theological diet so you can develop whole and mature in Christ?
  • Do you want to read Christian classics but don't know where to start?
  • Would you like to grow with people who share your love for theology?
  • Are you eager to connect biblical teaching with everyday moral discernment?
  • Do you need greater biblical wisdom to lead in your church?
  • Are you eager to stand on the shoulders of men and women who have gone before you?


Be looking out for the Mortification of Spin interview with Michael Allen about the vision and work of The Paideia Center.


Posted on Monday, May 21, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


I am not sure if it is possible for me to find anything I care about less than the royal wedding. I care more about how liver is cooked and I don’t eat liver. So I have no interest in the festivities that took place last weekend at Windsor Castle. At least I did not care until brothers in my own denomination including pastors began publicly praising Rev. Michael Curry and the sermon he delivered.


I won’t get into the details of Curry’s sermon. David Robertson of St. Peter’s Free Church in Dundee has done that in a clear and convincing critique HERE.


It must be pointetd out that the Rev. Curry is one of the leading forces in the continued apostasy of the Episcopal Church. He is not a friend of biblical orthodoxy. He is no friend to the truth concerning human identity and sexuality. Ironically, he is no friend to marriage. Reverend Curry is actively seeking to change his church's marriage liturgy to include homosexual couples thus vandalizing the biblical vision for marriage.


His conception of Jesus and what it means for him to have died on the cross are very different from the witness of Scripture. Likewise, his conception of what it means to love our neighbor and love God would depart in many ways from what we understand from Scripture not least of all in terms of getting the gospel right and speaking the truth about human identity and sexuality.


Reverend Curry’s sermon was a rather typical paean to “the power of love.” I think John Lennon would have been pleased. No wonder the secular media, various celebrities, and theological liberals were so enamored with it. But one would expect more wisdom and discernment from Reformed evangelicals. To say the name of Jesus is not the same as proclaiming Christ. Rascals throughout the history of the church have used the name of Jesus from Arius to Pope Leo to Fosdick to Kenneth Copeland.

Yet there it was on my social media feeds: fawning praise for “brother Curry” and his beautiful proclamation of the gospel from some of my brothers in the PCA. I could not decide whether to be surprised or not. Regardless, it was a sad thing to see.

In addition to the lack of discernment think of the unkindness it is to those faithful Anglicans who are hanging on or who have had to flee the ever-apostasizing Episcopal Church for reformed evangelicals to heap praise upon Rev. Curry and his sermon. These faithful brothers and sisters have been harassed in court by the denomination which Michael Curry leads. They have been sued and the property they occupied confiscated under the leadership of Curry. So much for the power of love I suppose.

This event served as something of a canary in a coal mine experience for me. It has revealed the presence of a dangerous leak. PCA pastors publicly praise an apostate for a moralistic sermon and call it gospel proclamation from a brother. And yet when some of us express concern about the doctrinal trajectory of the PCA we are met with anger, incredulity, or demands to prove such a trajectory exists.


From David Robertson’s piece:

When Curry spoke of the cross, [he] spoke of it as sacrificial, as exemplary, not as THE atoning sacrifice.  We too can be sacrificial and it is that sacrificial love that is redemptive and changes the world.   Can you see what he is doing? He is turning the cross from being THE redemptive work, to it being an example of redemptive love that we can all show. He is teaching us that we can save ourselves and indeed save the world by just having the kind of love that Christ had and following his example. That is not the Gospel. It is the antithesis of the Gospel.



It seems that some of my PCA brothers who had praised Reverend Curry and his sermon have removed those posts. Perhaps upon further reflection they saw that such praise was inappropriate. I hope that is the case. If so, a follow-up to their readers/congregants would probably be appropriate. This issue matters. Again, I would never expect the leader of the EC in the USA to preach a sermon faithful to the gospel. But that it was being praised by Reformed evangelicals left me grieving. I hope those initial words of praise were nothing more than an understandible enthusiasm to hearing Jesus' name in such a well-broadcast event. I hope the praise was not the result of such things as the influence of N.T. Wright. Wright's view of the gospel, atonement, and imputation are, as many know, incompatible with the doctrinal standards of the PCA and other Reformed denominations. Sadly, Wright has had a rather strong influence among some pastors in the Reformed community. For them, I fear, a moralistic sermon on the love of God would indeed sound like the gospel. I hope that pastors will be open and honest about their theological commitments. The unity of our churches requires such honesty.


Posted on Friday, May 11, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


When was the last time you read a book on Patristic exegesis that was a genuine page-turner?

If you have not yet had that experience then you must add Craig Carter’s outstanding new book Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition to your reading. The subtitle of Dr. Carter’s book is “Recovering the Genius of Premodern Exegesis.” You will find this book to be both intellectually stimulating and spiritually refreshing. Carter is not shy about challenging some of the presuppositions many of us were trained to accept in exegeting the biblical text. Some of these exegetical assumptions and methods depart from the Patristic tradition and, in Carter’s estimation, threaten to undermine the biblical doctrine of God and the basis for accepting Jesus Christ as Messiah. He demonstrates how aspects of the modern approach to biblical interpretation, even among many conservatives, has more in common with enlightenment skepticism than with the believing presuppositions of the fathers.


Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition stands tall among the new books which are, thankfully, recovering the riches of Nicene Christianity for the modern church.

Here is just a taste from the preface:

The purpose of exegesis is to understand what God is saying to us today through the inspired text. The text may have one or several meanings because of the complexity of God the Holy Spirit inspiring the text through a human author. The authority of the Bible is God’s self-authenticating Word speaking through it, and in order to hear God’s Word, it is crucial that we interpret it as a unified book with Jesus Christ at its center. The interdisciplinary practice of biblical studies as found in academic settings today is an agent of secularization in the church and needs to be reformed so that it becomes the servant of Christian theology and spirituality rather than a confusing amalgam of history, philology, archaeology, literary theory, sociological theory, and philosophy operating with unacknowledged metaphysical assumptions and without any material center. The meaning of the text for today is what we seek to hear as we study the text carefully, intensively, and reverently. Biblical exegesis is a spiritual discipline by which we are gradually made into the kind of readers who can receive with gladness the Word of God. Ancient reading practices, which have never died out completely in the church, can help us hear God’s Word in less subjective and more ruled ways than modern hermeneutics makes available to us…

The Enlightenment has exercised more influence on scholars who wish to make an impression on the secular academy than it has on faithful pastors who wish to cultivate a love of the Bible in their congregations. Many books seek to bring church practices into line with academic theory; this one seeks to do the opposite. It is my conviction that academic theory needs to be reformed according to church practice when it comes to biblical interpretation.

This book has grown out of a decade of reading, research, and reflection on the Christian doctrine of God. I have become increasingly disillusioned with modern theology in general and with the twentieth century’s so-called revival of Trinitarian theology in particular. The post-Kantian, Hegelian, Trinitarian theology that has dominated the twentieth century is actually not a revival of the Trinitarian classical theism of the fourth-century pro-Nicene fathers or of creedal orthodoxy as it has been understood throughout church history. It represents instead a massive revision of the Christian doctrine of God. The Great Tradition of Christian orthodoxy begins with the Old and New Testaments, crystalizes in the fourth-century Trinitarian debates, and then continues through Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, the leading Protestant Reformers, post-Reformation scholasticism, and contemporary conservative Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant confessional theology. The locus classicus of the Christian doctrine of God is qq. 1-43 of Part I of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, which sums up and carefully sets forth in a clear and coherent form the wisdom of Athanasius, the Cappadocian fathers, and Augustine – that is, the Trinitarian classical theism that is expressed in the Nicene Creed. The same doctrine of God is also embodied in the seventeenth-century Westminster Confession of Faith and in the twentieth-century Catechism of the Catholic Church. It has a timeless character that stands in contrast to the shifting winds of doctrinal innovation and cultural fads.

Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


Recently Carl delivered two lectures at Reformed Theological Seminary (D.C.). They are entitled The Road to Nowhere and are well worth your time. Broadly speaking, the subject is how we have become a people for whom the statement "I am a man trapped in a woman's body" makes sense. Or perhaps, how we became a people fascinated by the wife of Kanye West. This is public theology done well and a great alternative to the shallow thinking that often accompanies Protestant interaction with the spirit of the age.




Posted on Monday, March 05, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


Like many, I was troubled by the response from Sovereign Grace Ministries to Rachael Denhollander's stated concerns about their handling of sexual abuse allegations. I was equally troubled by the number of men who forwarded SGM's response along as "thoughtful" and "helpful." I found it to be neither.


Mrs. Denhollander has written a thorough response to the SGM statement. It is carefully worded and free of rancor. It would be well worth your time to read it. And I do hope that those who forwarded SGM's statement will read and carefully consider Denhollander's assesssment.


Pastors, we must be vigilant in these matters. The impulse to protect our reputation or that of our church must never be considered when abuse is revealed. We have an obligation to the vulnerable. We also have an obligation to the civil authorities. We have an obligation to our Lord to act in defense of those who have been abused. If we mess up in the process then let us give full disclosure and offer full repentance.


Posted on Monday, February 05, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


The media loves a former Christian. Recent years have seen well-known former believers rise to prominence. Some are scholars like Bart Ehrman while others are are more folksy celebrities like Rob Bell and Jenn Hatmaker. Now, Mrs. Hatmaker still maintains that she is Christian. The problem is that her Christianity bears little resemblance to that of the Bible and the church's historic confessions. The de-convert's stories are often moving. Sometimes we can identify with and even agree with portions of their experience. But upon careful reflection their reasons for abandoning biblical Christianity are rather dull and unpersuasive.


Michael Kruger has written a piece which is quite helfpul in exposing the flaws of the typical de-conversion story. Of these stories Dr. Kruger writes:

De-conversion stories are designed not to reach non-Christians but to reach Christians.  And their purpose is to convince them that their crusty, backwards, outdated, naïve beliefs are no longer worthy of their assent.  Whether done privately or publicly, this is when a person simply gives their testimony of how they once thought like you did and have now seen the light.

Through his excellent blog, Dr. Kruger has for years been addressing the reservations, doubts, and outright attacks of well-known skeptics and de-converts. His latest post was prompted by an interview of Jenn Hatmaker by well known de-convert Peter Enns.

This interview has been making the rounds, and I can see why.  She’s a friendly, charming and well-spoken woman who is easy to listen to.

And the title of her interview fits this de-conversion theme perfectly: “Changing Your Mind about the Bible: A Survivor’s Guide.”  As many know, the main issue Hatmaker changed her mind about is that she now fully affirms the LGBQT lifestyle as consistent with biblical Christianity.

But, Hatmaker’s journey in this interview is not as original as it might first appear. In effect, she simply follows the same basic playbook used by Rob Bell, Bart Ehrman and others. The details may be different, but the overall point is the same.

Dr. Kruger offers five common features of a the de-conversion story. They ring powerfully true...

Step #1: Recount the Negatives of Your Fundamentalist Past
Step #2: Position Yourself as the Offended Party Who Bravely Fought the Establishment
Step #3: Portray Your Opponents as Overly Dogmatic While You Are Just a Seeker
Step #4: Insist Your New Theology is Driven by the Bible and Not a Rejection of It
Step #5: Attack the Character of Your Old Group and Uplift the Character of Your New Group


Dr. Kruger concludes:

In the end, there’s no doubt Hatmaker’s de-conversion story will be persuasive to our postmodern world.  And I am sure some will adopt her newfound theology as a result.

But, upon closer examination, it is rife with problems.  While claiming to be non-judgmental, she declares the fruit of those who believe in traditional marriage as “rotten.”  Despite her insistence that the Bible should be read without certainty, she offers all sorts of dogmatic claims about what the Bible teaches. While claiming her views are due to a deep study of Scripture, she offers only simplistic (and even irresponsible) explanations for the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality, while disregarding 2000 years of church history.

Yes, we should not settle for pat answers.  But, sometimes the Bible does give clear answers. And when it does, we should be willing to listen and receive them.

You can read the entire post HERE.