Posted on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

The Southern Baptist Convetion has too many godly men and faithful pastors to ignore Steven Furtick's continued cavorting with false teachers. I was raised Southern Baptist. I love the SBC. And it breaks my heart to see this tickler of men's ears continue to spread confusion at best and heresy at worst.

You can see the latest sad example HERE.

 

 

Posted on Monday, November 23, 2015 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

I have been preaching through the Book of Acts for over a year. This Sunday, Lord willing, I will be preaching from the second half of chapter 20. Following three years of ministry in Ephesus Paul circles back to Miletus so he can speak to the Ephesian elders one final time. Paul's words are filled with pathos and passion as he recounts the priorities of his ministry and charges them to exercise the same care for the church. He also warns them that as shepherds they have the responsibility to protect the flock from ravenous wolves. 

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.  (20:29-31)

Problems exist in every church and every denomination. We are, after all, still south of Heaven. But some problems are so egregious, so damaging to the peace and purity of the church that they must be publically identified. I believe that such a case is Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC.  Elevation Church is one of the largest and fastest growing Southern Baptist churches in the country. Furtick is well known for his man-centered preaching, "creative" methods for increasing baptismsand near cult-like expectations of his followers

 

But Steven Furtick is also known for cavorting with false teachers like T.D. Jakes and Joyce Meyer. Furtick has welcomed the Oneness Pentecostal and word/faith heretic Jakes to the pulpit of Elevation. And now Furtick has preached in Jakes' Dallas mega-church the Potter's House. You can see some action shots HERE.

 

To my brothers in Christ who serve in leadership in the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina: You have, in the past, done the right thing by removing pastors and churches who embraced the sin of homosexuality. But will you now seek to address one of your pastors who is actively exposing many thousands of Southern Baptists to man-centered preaching and the teaching of heretics like T.D. Jakes? God's people are precious to him. He purchased them at the price of his beloved Son's life. Wolves have infiltrated the flock. Please protect them. 

 

Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 by Todd Pruitt on 1517
Recently I witnessed a man take his ordination vows before the Presbytery to which I belong. I never get tired of those moments. It is a solemn occasion; one accompanied by no small measure of sobriety. The vows are, after all, promises the candidate for ordination makes before God and his brothers in Christ. The promises he makes are specific and, one would hope, binding.
 
In the Autumn of 2013 I went through the process of transferring my ordination to the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Those of you who have been ordained in the PCA know that the process can be rather grueling. That, of course, is a good thing. Upon completing the process I was presented to the Blue Ridge Presbytery (Virginia) whereupon I took my vows as a teaching elder. I will never forget that moment. It stands as one of the most moving events in all my years in ministry. 
 
The following are the vows (by way of 8 questions) that every candidate takes upon his ordination in the PCA: 
1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as originally given, to be the inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
2. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will on your own initiative, make known to your Presbytery the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?
3. Do you approve of the form of government and discipline of the Presbyterian Church in America, in conformity with the general principles of Biblical polity?
4. Do you promise subjection to your brethren in the Lord?
5. Have you been induced, as far as you know your own heart, to seek the office of the holy ministry from love to God and a sincere desire to promote His glory in the Gospel of His Son?
6. Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in maintaining the truths of the Gospel and the purity and peace and unity of the Church, whatever persecution or opposition may arise unto you on that account?
7. Do you engage to be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all your duties as a Christian and a minister of the Gospel, whether personal or relational, private or public; and to endeavor by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your manner of life, and to walk with exemplary piety before the flock of which God shall make you overseer?
8. Are you now willing to take the charge of this church, agreeable to your declaration when accepting their call? And do you, relying upon God for strength, promise to discharge to it the duties of a pastor?
 
Obviously, the candidate is expected to answer in the affirmative to each question. 
 
Pay special attention to the second vow:
“Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will on your own initiative, make known to your Presbytery the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?”
 
Every man ordained in the PCA makes a solemn promise before God and the church of Jesus Christ to make known to his Presbytery if there is a change in his doctrinal convictions. In other words, if over the course of time the theological convictions of an ordained man change such that he is no longer in accord with the system of doctrine carefully laid out in the Westminster Standards then he is honor bound to inform his presbytery. The implication is clear: Ordained man, since you have taken vows both to believe and uphold the doctrinal standards of the PCA you must surrender your ordination should your theological convictions change. 
 
The second vow depends upon the honor of the ordained man. One of the things I appreciate about Presbyterianism is that it is considered a very serious matter to level charges against an elder. What is more, anyone making charges must be ready to back them up in the courts of the church with evidence. It is not enough to make a charge based upon intuition. This helps minimize frivolous charges and slander. At the same time, for the system to work, it requires that the elder be an honorable man. That is, it requires that he actually abide by his vows. 
 
When a PCA pastor leads the church he serves out of the denomination over a shift in his doctrine, I believe it is reasonable to assume that his personal change occurred long before his actual departure from the PCA. How long does it take for a man in violation of his vows to go public? Am I unreasonable in assuming that it takes significantly longer than a week for a pastor to decide he no longer accepts the doctrinal standards of the PCA and then lead his church to abandon the denomination? 
 
It takes time for a pastor to lead a congregation to accept his own doctrinal evolution. And then there is the decision to break with the denomination. That requires significant grooming. I wonder if any former PCA pastors would be willing to share publically how long they continued serving in the PCA after their change in doctrinal convictions. One month? One year? Five years? Longer?
 
This is a matter of integrity brothers. 
 
We are witnesses to the sad story of City Church in San Francisco which recently announced their decision to affirm the sin of homosexuality and give support to same-sex marriage. City Church is a member of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) so their decision will not raise any concern in their denomination. But City Church was originally a PCA church. Significant sums of money were given from the denomination to plant a confessional Presbyterian beachhead in that rather infamous city. PCA laypersons generously give to support such worthy causes. The vision was right. The key players, however, were not. 
 
The pastor of City Church led the congregation out of the PCA a number of years ago because he no longer accepted the denomination's position on the ordination of women. I believe it is reasonable to assume that his personal conviction changed well before City Church left the PCA. I hope the point I am making is clear. For how long was the pastor or pastors of City Church in violation of their vows prior to departing the denomination which had given so generously to bring the church to life? At any time did any of the pastors of City Church think to themselves, "I no longer hold to the doctrinal convictions of my denomination. I am honor bound to leave"? Instead these pastors led the church to follow their own shifting convictions. Considering the solemn promises these men made, the whole thing stinks. 
 
Brother elders in the PCA, we must be men of honor. We took vows in the sight of God before our brother presbyters. We made solemn promises to the churches we serve. If you did not truly hold to the Westminster Standards when you took your vows then you are guilty of a grievous sin. Notify your presybtery immediately. If your doctrinal convictions have changed since your ordination and you have yet to honor your second vow then do it today.  
 
The following is excerpted from a letter written in 1833 by Rev. Prof. Samuel Miller of Princeton Seminary concerning the elder’s adherence to his vows:
I shall close with remarks along this same line made by the late Dr. John Witherspoon: “I cannot forbear warning you against a piece of dishonesty which may possibly be found united to gravity and decency in other respects. I mean a minister’s subscribing to articles of doctrine which he does not believe. This is so direct a violation of sincerity, that it is astonishing to think how men can set their minds at ease in the prospect, or keep them in peace after the deliberate commission of it. The very excuses and evasions that are offered in defence of it are a disgrace to reason, as well as a scandal to religion. 
 
What success can be expected from that man’s ministry, who begins it with an act of such complicated guilt? 
 
How can he take upon him to reprove others for sin, or to train them up in virtue and true goodness, while he himself is chargeable with direct, premeditated, and perpetual perjury?…I have particularly chosen to introduce the subject upon this occasion, that I may attack it, not as an error, but as a fraud; not as a mistake in judgment, but an instance of gross dishonesty and insincerity of heart. I must beg every minister, but especially those young persons who have an eye to the sacred office, to remember that God will not be mocked, though the world may be
deceived. In His sight, no gravity of deportment, no pretence to freedom of inquiry, (a thing excellent in itself,) no regular exercise of the right of private judgment, will warrant or excuse such a lie for gain, as solemnly to subscribe what they do not believe.” (Witherspoon’s Works, Vol. I, pp. 313-4.) 
Posted on Wednesday, November 04, 2015 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

If you'd like, between 5:00 and 6:00 EST you can listen in on a live stream interview I am doing with Chris Arnzen at Iron Sharpens Iron. I'm told it will deal with issues related to my departure from broad evangelicalism to embrace confessional Presbyterianism. We may talk about puppies also.

Just go HERE at 5:00 and click on "Live Stream".

 

Posted on Friday, October 30, 2015 by Todd Pruitt on 1517
 
I don’t know how you men do it! 
 
You pastor churches, write books, travel extensively, speak at all the conferences, blog, pursue advanced degrees, teach, etc. Oh, and you are husbands and fathers and neighbors. Honestly, I shrink at the very thought of it all. 
 
Granted, and I say this with complete sincerity, you all are more gifted than me. That is not false humility on my part. It is just the fact. Some of you have been given gifts that boggle the mind. And certainly, there is a weighty stewardship behind possessing prodigious gifts. “To whom much is given…” 
 
I look up to many of you. You have written wonderfully helpful books. You have gifts for preaching and teaching that most pastors would love to possess. I have personally benefitted from the teaching and preaching of many of you brothers. For that I am grateful. But I am also scared. I am scared that the weight of responsibilities combined with the fawning praise of fans has placed you at enormous risk. Please do not hear this as criticism but for what it is: the genuine concern of a brother who cares for you. 
 
I do not want to see you fall. You are well known. Imagine the harm that will be done to the church if you take a nosedive. Imagine the damage that will be done to the Reformed faith and the reputation of Reformed churches if you fall under the pressure and the fame. Has the recent fall of a prominent PCA pastor caused you to stop for at least a moment to consider your own vulnerabilities? 
 
Allow me to offer a few suggestions:
1. Go to your wife in humility, ready to lay aside some of the very things that have been so personally meaningful. Ask her if you are too busy to love her well. Ask her if your current commitments are good or bad for your family. Ask her if she feels cared for. Ask her if she is satisfied with the time you are able to give her. Ask her if your commitments have placed an unreasonable burden upon her. 
 
2. Go to the session of your church and ask them if your current commitments are hindering your ability to be a proper shepherd to the flock. Now, understand that your session will be inclined to tell you everything is fine. After all, they are not stupid. They want you to be happy. They don’t want to risk losing you. They know that the majority of people who attend your church do so because of your gifts and the name those gifts have given you. The session will probably not want to place limits on you which will make you unhappy. So you are going to have to make it very clear to them that you need their candor. 
 
3. Go to the ministry staff of your church. Ask them if your current commitments are hindering your ability to lead and care for them well. See the previous point. 
 
4. Go to your children. Ask them if they miss you. Ask them if you are gone too often.
 
5. Look at yourself in the mirror (so to speak). Are you the husband, father, and pastor the Lord has called you to be? Or have the crush of other opportunities so ravaged your time that your first callings are suffering? 
 
6. Go to the Lord in prayer. Ask him to help you see your own heart; your own motivations.
 
Posted on Monday, October 19, 2015 by Todd Pruitt on 1517
In a couple months I will be posting the obligatory “best reads of the year” list. But as a guy who loves books and reading I thought I’d post a list of the books that have figured particularly large in my life. These are not merely books I love (that list would be too long). These are books that helped to shape my theology, my broader worldview, and made me fall in love with reading. 
 
I know what you’re thinking: “What a good Presbyterian!” But truly this is not just a perfunctory tip of the hat to Calvin. The Institutes is the most beautifully written theological and devotional text I have ever read.
 
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
After the Bible, the first book I direct people to is Knowing God. I read this book when I was struggling with my own theology. The chapter on the kindness and severity of God changed everything for me. 
 
I read this book at a time when I very much needed a better grounding in the doctrine of Scripture, particularly its inerrancy. I still consider this a “must read” for Christians. 
 
The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul 
When I moved away from home to attend university I took my Bible and a copy of a book I had purchased just days before – The Holiness of God. If my memory serves me, it was the first Christian book I ever read cover-to-cover. 
 
Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon 
The chapter entitled “The Minister’s Fainting Fits” is worth the price of the book. 
 
The Roots of Endurance by John Piper 
This book makes the list because of the role it played in helping me stay afloat during the time I was a battered pastor. The chapter on Charles Simeon was a life preserver for me.  
 
While I am now a convinced Presbyterian, it was Nine Marks of a Healthy Church which first introduced me to some categories which I had lacked having been brought up in the broad evangelicalism of the SBC. During my early and formative years in ministry I had been steeped in the categories and methods of the church growth movement. Reading Nine Marks for the first time was like a much-needed detox. 
 
There are a lot of great books on preaching out there which have helped me immensely. But all things considered Goldsworthy’s excellent volume made this list because of the way it helped me make the necessary connections between the Old Testament and Jesus. 
 
Witness by Whitaker Chambers 
Chamber’s account of his journey into and out of communism and his subsequent legal battles with Alger Hiss is one of the most important books of the 20th century. It is also beautifully written. Witness makes my list because it serves as a sort of political Rosetta Stone for understanding the first half of the 20th century. It is also timeless for Chambers sounds the alarm against that system of governance which makes the state the matter of ultimate importance. If nothing else, read Chambers’ introduction which takes the form of a letter to his children. That letter concludes with words that always bring me to tears:
"My children, when you were little, we used sometimes to go for walks in our pine woods. In the open fields, you would run along by yourselves. But you used instinctively to give me your hands as we entered those woods, where it was darker, lonelier, and in the stillness our voices sounded loud and frightening. In this book I am again giving you my hands. I am leading you, not through cool pine woods, but up and up a narrow defile between bare and steep rocks from which in shadow things uncoil and slither away. It will be dark. But, in the end, if I have led you aright, you will make out three crosses, from two of which hang thieves. I will have brought you to Golgotha – the place of skulls. This is the meaning of the journey. Before you understand, I may not be there, my hands may have slipped from yours. It will not matter. For when you understand what you see, you will no longer be children. You will know that life is pain, that each of us hangs always upon the cross of himself. And when you know that this is true of every man, woman and child on earth, you will be wise." 
 
Modern Times by Paul Johnson 
In one volume, Johnson explains the 20th century. 
 
The Wizard’s Tide by Frederick Buechner 
Frederick Buechner helped me to love reading. I discovered him during my first year of seminary. I read Whistling in the Dark and was hooked. The Wizard’s Tide is Buechner’s slightly fictionalized biography of his younger years which included the suicide of his father. It is a book one should read more than once. 
 
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
This rather slim novel was mandatory reading when I was in high school. Not surprisingly, the story of a New England prep school student during WWII did not exactly resonate with this high school student from Houston, TX. However, something about it stuck with me over the years. I read it again after I was married and working as a pastor. I concluded that A Separate Peace is quite nearly a perfect book. I think the reason it has remained with me is because of the way Knowles writes about evil. He never names it. He doesn’t have to. It is the thing crouching in the heart of a good kid.
 
Actually I could have listed almost everything by Bradburry. I read Bradburry for the sheer joy of reading beautiful sentences. I think the reason Something Wicked This Way Comes makes my list is because of the way he captures the nostalgia of his own early 20th century Midwestern upbringing without falling into sappy sentimentality. And, as in most of his works, Bradburry shows how even in the most idyllic settings mystery and danger always lurk in the dark corners.
Posted on Thursday, October 01, 2015 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

Rod Dreher, one of today's foremost cultural commentators shone what could only have been an unwelcome light on Moscow and Doug Wilson's Christ Church.

 

Dreher graciously allowed Wilson to repsond. But as Dreher notes, the troubling questions remain. About the Sitler debacle Dreher concludes: "Nor do I understand the kind of church culture in which an elder of the church sets up a young woman who is anxious to get married with a convicted pedophile. And nothing Pastor Wilson wrote here makes it any more understandable."

 

Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 by Todd Pruitt on 1517
I came running to the PCA. After years in broader evangelicalism, service in a confessional church and denomination was and remains a breath of fresh air. With its commitment to the Westminster Standards and passion to advance the gospel around the world I count it a blessing to be part of the PCA. I can scarcely describe how life-giving it has been to worship and serve with like-minded brothers and sisters.
 
I do not consider myself a naïve person. I have been serving in churches since I was twenty-years-old. But I admit to being surprised when I discovered that there were quite different understandings of sanctification and piety within my adopted denomination. Some of what I was reading and hearing articulated about law and gospel, sin and salvation sounded more like a sort of quasi-Lutheranism than the doctrines upheld in the Westminster Standards. Certainly and thankfully I was hearing a gospel that powerfully frees sinners from the penalty of their rebellion. Strangely however I was also hearing that any expectations for actual transformation were best kept low. I was hearing what I can only describe as a reverence for failure.  
 
As I say, this surprised me. And it is why I was both relieved and delighted to have discovered the Gospel Reformation Network (GRN) in the early days of my entry into the PCA. Like any good organization the GRN desires to make an impact. Their leadership consists of men well known in the PCA. And to my relief the ambitions of the GRN seem rather modest. They don’t appear to have world domination as their goal. Rather the GRN is a fraternal of PCA ministers seeking to advance a sound doctrine of sanctification and to foster piety among pastors. In this I have been helped by their efforts. 
 
I write this not as an “insider” or member of the GRN’s leadership. I am simply a PCA pastor who needs the encouragement of my brothers to continue on faithfully with Christ. Like every member of the church I serve as pastor I need the indicatives and imperatives of God’s Word. I need to rejoice both in the justification accomplished for me and the continuing work of sanctification going on within me. 
 
My experience with the GRN is quite simple. I attended the luncheons they have hosted at the previous two General Assemblies. At the luncheon in Houston in 2014 Derek Thomas delivered one of the finest proclamations concerning sanctification I have ever heard. In Chattanooga in 2015 Jon Payne challenged pastors to be men of exemplary godliness. I need this sort of sharpening and I am thankful to be receiving it. 
 
I have also been greatly helped by Rick Phillips’ seminar at GA this year. His subject was a critique of the contemporary grace movement. I won’t test you by trying to recapture everything Pastor Phillips said. But I do wish to highlight a few points he made that addressed well the very concerns I had as a newcomer to the PCA.
 
Some of the confusion coming out of the so-called contemporary grace movement is the result of a truncated doctrine of salvation. We must understand both from Scripture and the reformed confessions that salvation encompasses a complex of doctrines including election, effectual calling, regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification. Justification by faith alone is a glorious doctrine worth proclaiming and singing. We have no hope without the fact that by grace through faith alone God has justified us entirely upon the merits of Jesus. The contemporary grace movement gets this right. 
 
But as Phillips points out, the contemporary grace movement has a troubling habit of reducing salvation to justification only. In other words instead of a full and robust doctrine of salvation whereby we are saved not only from the penalty of sin but also from the power of sin the focus seems to rest entirely on our forensic standing while neglecting our progressive sanctification. 
 
I do not believe that my brothers who identify with the contemporary grace movement intend to undermine sanctification. I am quite sure that they would all affirm the importance of growing in godliness. But doctrine matters. What we believe makes a difference in how we live. So it should not be surprising that sloppy doctrine often leads to sloppy living. The contemporary grace movement’s emphasis on brokenness and ruination is so strong that there seems to be no hope for actual progress in conformity to Christ. 
 
As Pastor Phillips pointed out in his address, one of the chief errors made by many in the contemporary grace movement is an overreliance on the law/gospel dialectic. It is certainly true that the law is not the gospel and the gospel is not the law. But the two are not enemies. In the life of a Christian, one does not cling to one and evacuate the other. While it is true that the law of God can only terrorize and (hopefully) convict the sinner, for believers, the law serves as a light illuminating our path. By his law, God shows us how to live in such a way as to glorify Him. This is what is meant by the “third use of the law.” So the gospel must never be used as a means to indict God’s law as though it was something less than pure and good and helpful for believers.  
 
A related error which Phillips highlighted is the tendency of this movement to force a too radical separation of the Bible’s indicatives and imperatives. Again, as in the case with law and gospel there is a clear and vital difference between Scripture’s indicatives (statements of truth) and imperatives (calls to obey). We must never look to the imperatives as means by which we may be made right with God. 
 
However, the imperatives are more than mere reminders that only Jesus obeyed the law perfectly. That Jesus did obey the law perfectly is gloriously good news for us sinners. But the Bible’s calls for obedience must never be taught in such a way that ends up blunting their salutary force. The imperatives in God’s Word are a vital means toward our sanctification. That means, for instance, that Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan really is about our being good neighbors. 
 
The church of Jesus Christ ought to have pastors and ministers who are actively growing in likeness to Christ. Our godliness must be evident so that we can say to God’s beloved flock, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Certainly I am not recommending that pastors cover themselves in a veneer of piety. Nor am I suggesting that we somehow cast ourselves as spiritually superior to anyone. We must follow Jesus’ caution against practicing good works as a way of receiving public praise. But surely McCheyne was right when he said, “A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.” 
 
He breaks the power of cancelled sin. 
He sets the prisoner free.
Posted on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 by Todd Pruitt on 1517
All good churches, all good movements, and all sound doctrines eventually attract a few outliers now and then. Calvinism, the pro-life movement, and even the OPC all have their loony hangers-on. This is also the case with complementarianism. 
 
Before I go any further let me establish my bona fides…
 
I am committed to the clear biblical teaching concerning leadership in the church and home. God’s Word establishes that spiritual leadership in the church is provided by elders, an office to be filled by qualified men. Likewise, it is the husband’s responsibility in the home to provide spiritual leadership through Christ-like sacrificial love. I have little time to debate with those who deny these clearly biblical patterns of leadership.
 
Also, gender matters. God created mankind male and female in his image. Men and women are alike and different in ways that make marriage and child-raising possible. The complementary design of husbands and wives makes it possible for marriage to be a reflection of Jesus’ relationship with his church (Eph 5). 
 
These are positions held by all of us here at Mortification of Spin. And yet, it seems that holding to those biblical teachings is not enough to be considered a real complementarian. In fact, you may even be a stealth feminist. 
 
So, some of us complementarians are wondering if complementarianism is morphing into patriarchy. If so, then a lot of us will need to come up with a different way to identify ourselves. If being a complementarian means believing there are genuine problems with a woman offering a man directions then we will need a new name. Maybe something like "menandwomenaredifferentanditsagoodthing."
 
Since various people across the interwebs have accused Carl and Aimee of being liberals, feminists, and even zinfandel aficionados it occurred to me that those rather strange reactions could possibly be chalked up to the shock that someone had publically disagreed with John Piper. But maybe it is also because the rather exotic teachings of Patriarchy are taking hold within complementarian circles. 
 
Perhaps I am naïve. I have always assumed that complementarianism simply affirmed what the Bible states about male leadership in the church and headship at home. I was not aware of the fact that in order to be a proper complementarian one had to worry over the possibility of a woman giving driving directions to a man. That said, I was relieved to discover that a woman can possibly be a city planner so long as no men are aware of it. In that case they would be able to stop at a Stop Sign with a clear conscience.  
 
So, a few questions for my fellow complementarians:
1. Is it a sin for a woman to run for public office?
2. Is it a sin to support Carly Fiorina’s run for the Presidency? If a woman offering directions to a man is possibly problematic then how can it not be a sin to support a woman in public office? 
3. Are adult women who are unmarried obligated to live in their father’s home under his authority?
4. Is it generally advisable for women to not pursue a college degree? 
5. Is it a sin for a woman to write a blog? (I include this question because we have heard from some complementarians who believe it is a sin for Aimee to write a blog on the chance that a man may read it. Not kidding). 
6. Are military conquest and colonization apt metaphors for the physical union of husband and wife? 
7. At what point is it no longer appropriate for a woman to be a teacher? In other words, is it a sin for a woman to teach 18-year-old males? What about 17-year-old? Is it a sin for a woman to be an instructor for male university students? 
 
None of these questions are meant to be cheeky. These are serious questions that I think ought to be answered by those who believe that the complementarianism espoused by Carl and Aimee is too thin. Because if “mainstream” complementarianism looks like Douglas Wilson or Jim Bob Duggar or Bill Gothard then we have a problem. 
 
Update:
That didn't take long. 
One blogger has already accused me of writing that anyone whose views of complementarianism extend beyond the church and home is a loon. Of course, a simple reading of my post would correct that notion. I included three names to help readers such as that blogger understand specifically whose views were particularly troubling. There are complementarians whose views are more comprehensive than mine for whom I have a lot of respect. The three of us at Mortification of Spin probably have different opinions on the comprehensiveness of complementarianism. However once we start worrying that women city planners present a problem because men will be required to stop at their stop signs, well, that's a bit...crazy. 
 
Posted on Wednesday, September 02, 2015 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

The news came yesterday that Tullian Tchividjian is now the Director of Ministry Development at Willow Creek Church in Winter Springs, Florida (not to be confused with Willow Creek Community Church of South Barrington, IL). Willow Creek Church is part of the Central Florida Presbytery of the PCA. Tchividjian was added to the staff of Willow Creek just two weeks after filing for divorce from his wife Kim and only two months after he resigned as Senior Minister of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church for having “an inappropriate relationship” with another woman (adultery).

 

The South Florida Presbytery (PCA) where Tchividjian had previously served as Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian did the right thing by removing his ministerial credentials. In a word, the presbytery to which Tchividjian belonged defrocked him. He was stripped of his ordination. If you are not familiar with Presbyterian polity, this is a big deal. Ministers within the PCA are not expected to hop from one church into another after such a serious action. Presbyterian churches are expected to cooperate with one another. This is vital in matters of discipline. When a pastor falls to disqualifying sin and is given a way out of ongoing shepherding by being quickly hired by another church, the process in place meant to guide the man to mature repentance is undercut and the health of the church put at risk. 

 

The South Florida Presbytery has also attempted to shepherd him during this time. But those offers appear to have been rejected.

 

Before we go any further let’s rehearse a few truly glorious truths:

 

1. We are all, without exception, sinners in desperate need of grace (Rom 3:23).

2. When a sinner repents there is forgiveness in Christ and complete freedom from the condemnation of sin. That is, in Christ, we sinners are fully justified (Rom 8:1; 1 Cor 6:11; 1 John 1:9)

3. When a sinner repents he or she should experience the welcome and fellowship of the church of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 2:5ff).

 

But there are other complementary truths which are needful. For instance...

 

1. Sin is desperately wicked. It is mutiny against God. It is a rejection of his Lordship and love. Therefore sin and its consequences must never be trivialized (Gen 3; Rom 1:18ff, 6:23) . 

2. Grace must never be used as a license to sin (Romans 6:1).

3. Sexual sin is a particularly grievous sin (Romans 1; 1 Corinthians 5-6). Sexual sin does great harm not only to the sinner but those who love him or her.

4. Those who provide oversight for the church must be above reproach. They must be men who have disciplined themselves against sexual sin (1 Tim 3:1ff; Titus 1:5ff).

5. The church holds the responsibility of disciplining erring members (Matt 18; 1 Cor 5).

6. When the church fails to exercise proper discipline or undermines the discipline of a sister church they are trivializing sin and sending damaging messages to the church and the world.

 

When a minister falls to adultery it is imperative that he be removed from his position of oversight. It is dangerous both for the church and for the fallen pastor’s own soul to remain in a position of spiritual oversight when he is unfit for such a responsibility. By stripping Tchividjian of his credentials and extending pastoral care to him and his family the South Florida Presbytery did the right thing; the Christian thing.

 

I wonder if the church that has just hired Tchividjian understands the peril in which they have placed him. I wonder also if they understand what hiring as a minister a newly confessed adulterer broadcasts to their church and community. Do they understand what this action communicates about the gravity of adultery and divorce? Do they understand what this action communicates about sin and repentance?

 

There is nothing glorious or gospelish about this ugly mess.