Posted by: judy | December 23, 2009

“Unleashing God’s Truth One Verse At A Time”


“Loving Scrutiny”
John MacArthur


  1. Judy,

    Thanks for linking to the John MacArthur article. I like the phrase loving scrutiny, as it could be taken two ways. We offer scrutiny in love, and we love to be scrutinized. If we have nothing to hide, we should be open, with nothing to hide, and love to be scrutinized. Of course it isn’t so fun if those doing the scrutinizing aren’t loving.

    I agree in principle with MacArthur that love calls us to attend to issues of heresy. There is nothing necessarily unloving about calling out those who make serious errors on serious matters. Not everything is worth fighting over, I don’t think, but the central doctrines of the faith must be held on to. I know you believe this, and I affirm it.

    However, as I have said repeatedly, it is not loving to present partial truths or to insinuate things about others views without documenting them and then to refuse to apologize when you have spoken ill of others unfairly. It is not loving to use words in ways that are imprecise, conjuring up the worst about another like you did in saying that the Pittsburgh CCO Jubilee conference was linked to the social gospel movement.

    Glen suggested I was playing a word game. I assure you I am not. My life is way too busy to be playing games about this. I have begged you to clarify, and when others join a discussion with your friend Glen you shut down the comments.

    So I will one more time—now, in light of your approval of the notion of “loving scrutiny”—ask you to do your scrutiny of others with love. Which obviously means you don’t malign them unfairly, you don’t call them names that aren’t accurate, you don’t spread falsehoods.

    You made one utterly bizarre comment about Jubilee (that they think man can save the world) and it took several requests before you recanted of that terrible accusation. You did not apologize, just ever-so-slightly adjusted your slam. Is this loving, to fail to respect those you’ve maligned?

    I maintain that you have spoken of the Jubilee conference using a word that is very commonly understood to be connected to an old and liberal theological tradition. This is NOT word games: evangelicals who care about social concern have for 40 years or more had to fight off the reputation that caring for the hungry or working against racism is the agenda of the liberal social justice tradition. The Jubilee conference has never, ever implied that they stand for anything other than the holy Lordship of Jesus who is bringing restoration and healing through His death and resurrection.

    I have asked you to clarify your remarks, ask you to admit that it was an unhelpful thing to say about the Jubilee conference. It was unhelpful because it was untrue.

    Why won’t you say what you mean, or apologize for the error? If you didn’t intend to use the word in its theological meaning, admit that you didn’t mean to imply that about Jubilee. Or did you mean to imply that?

    Maybe you need to think about what “loving scrutiny” looks like in this situation.

    Many of us have found your posts to be not loving because they have sown confusion with their imprecise rhetoric and inaccurate accusations. Loving? I don’t know your intent or your heart.
    I just know you have yet to come clean and apologize. It sure doesn’t feel loving on this end.

    • Good Morning, Byron —

      A quick clarification. CCO/Jubilee (and Bible 300 at Geneva) teaches that man “needs” to redeem the world before Christ returns.

      Had an insightful discussion with an upper level Geneva student last night who was sharing what she learned in Bible 300. That class relies on a book, “Creation Regained” for the foundation of its teaching. Did you know that the professor of that class suggested (and maybe it is in the “Creation Regained” book) that heaven is a temporary place — kind of a holding tank for when the earth has been redeemed and we all return here. It dove tails nicely with some of Doug Pagitt’s philosophies.

      I think the Bible might be used in that class as well. Will need to clarify that point.

  2. “I don’t have to look at pornography to know that is pornography.’

    Really Glenn? You are comparing Donald Miller to porno?

    Once again, I’ll point out that reading someone’s work and posting a review/critique is not a sin. Relying on that critique without thought and passing on what may or may not be bad info, is.


    And, Judy, to answer your question, I know very little about Chris Seay, so I can’t give my opinion on him one way or the other.

    • Hi Jonathon,

      Thank you for answering my question which quickly creates another one — Will you research Chris Seay and other Jubilee speakers prior to promoting the Jubilee conference to the students at the campus where you serve?

  3. Judy,
    I think you are missing the point. For example, I would still promote a conference were John MacArthur spoke if I thought other speakers were worth hearing. I think he borderlines on false teaching on a number of different areas that I have no wish for students to hear. But, I still want my students to engage his theology for themselves. Teaching students by sheltering them from bad ideas is not the best approach. Period.

    I don’t tell students when they are going to Jubilee that every speaker is going to be right or that I agree with them. I don’t think that’s the point of Jubilee. I don’t have to agree with everything they say. I hope I have done a strong enough job in teaching them and then I let the Holy Spirit take over.

    But, in the spirit of fairness, I do some research on Chris Seay and get back to you.

  4. Judy,

    Thank you for trying to clarify that line; you spoke with a student at Bible 300 but that isn’t any foundation or documentation for what Jubilee believes or teaches. Again, you are dead wrong. Jubilee DOES NOT teach that “man” redeems anything. I’ve challanged you before to document this, but you just keep repeating it. I know you don’t really trust me, but I am confident that the conference does NOT teach that mankind redeems anything. Why in the world do you say that about Jubilee? It just strikes me as nutty since nobody has ever said that.

    There is some differences within Reformed theology about this, but the “needs to” suggests that Christians, to be faithful in obedience to our calling to be shaped into the image of Christ and be whole-life disciples being salt and light “needs to” try to improve the lot of our neighbors, influencing the world for good. Yes, we “need to” love our neighbors which necessarily means doing good work, being helpful as neighbors, serving faithfully as citizens, etc etc etc. We only “need to” do anything in the sense that our duty is to please God. We do so by announcing His grace, and living faithfully in response to His gospel.

    I don’t think anyone running Jubilee would say “we” “redeem” anything, and if this student in that class thinks that, he or she is surely missing what the teacher is saying.

    Al Wolter’s “Creation Regained” is a seminal text in the history of the CCO and forms the basis of much of their understanding of ministry. And yes, it does view “heaven” as a temporary “holding tank” (if you will) before the grand ending of human history described in Rev. 21 & 22 when the New Creation is given as gift. Al is conservative, a Dutch Calvinist, knows 15 languages, is known for standing up for truth and rigorous orthodoxy, having even left an institution he served in for years when he felt (in his opinion, and always gracious presented) they had drifted from his strict understanding of the Bible. Creation Regained is mostly a Bible study, and I mentioned it a few times earlier, presuming you were familiar with it. We feature it each year at Jubilee, whoever you used to support in CCO most likely mentioned it at some point or another.

    It would be helpful for you to see that this culturally-engaged vision of Christ-exalting witness is not at all influenced by the liberal social gospel movement and is very much at odds with the emergent movement. Al Wolters and his book has influenced Randy Alcorn who has a popular book on Heaven. And Chuck Colson a bit, for what it is worth. You know Colson has spoken out freely and often against liberal theology and the more postmodern emergents. It does insist that Jesus is bringing His Kingdom to Earth and turning “the Kingdoms of this world” into His own (as some of us sing in the Hallalujah chorus, with text drawn from Isaiah.)

    However, that book and the CCO/Jubilee leaders do NOT, I am sure, believe that Jesus’ return is determined by nothing other than the sovereign will of the Triune God. Yes, we are to be found busy when He comes, and yes, we believe, that it is this cosmos that He loved, died for, and is going to rescue by restoring it in mercy and judgment, through a refiners fire. This is, frankly, the natural implications of historic a-millenialism, the perspective of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Kuyper…

    Please be careful not to based what is being taught in that class, let alone what Al Wolter’s thinks, without speaking to the professors and reading the book, as the student may not be fully clear. Students are, well, students, you know, and not always fully understanding the intent of the teachers. I don’t know who is teaching that class, but if they are using Al Wolter’s, that text insists that we are stewards of creation, that the foundational human command to be culture-makers (Gen 1:26-28) remains, so work, and all of human life, is vital, even in a fallen world. We need to allow God’s grace to shape not just our theology or doctrine, but all of life, our politics, economics, science, art, entertainment and blogging practices. Yes, yes, indeed.

    SO, I am glad you have heard of this book. It is a great way to see at least some of what has influenced the development of the Jubilee conference ministry.

    Jubilee does not believe that mankind redeems anything, Jesus does that. That is essential and not at all debatable: He is Lord and the only One and the only way. Therefore, Jbuilee and the CCO does not and never has been influenced by the liberal tradition of the social gospel.

    The first accusation was so wacky as to be utterly nonsensical, that “man” redeems things. The second is just flat out wrong, even if perhaps understandable since the conference does believe that the gospel has vast social implications and that we live out our discipleship as real humans in a real social world. Culture and society really isn’t optional, of course–unless one is a Catholic monk or a hermit, I suppose—so we must be salt and light and leaven in the loaf, doing all for God, in all we do, living as Christian in but not of the world.

    I have begged you to recant or apologize or clarify this past accusation that Jubilee is “social gopsel” influenced or emphasizes that bankrupt tradition. You have refused to do so. Jesus says you shouldn’t even go to worship until you get right with the ones you’ve offended.

    You have spoken egregious untruths, odd and ugly stuff maligning the efforts of the Jubilee leaders. Obviously you can complain all you want about any number of things, but you must speak the truth.

    Unless you take the time and effort to show that Jubilee** believes in the social gospel, you are standing in untruth.

    **Although you conversation with a student at Geneva is interesting and helpful and not utterly unrelated, I sure hope you don’t think that hearing what one student thinks about one class, is in anyway a justification for your assertions about Jubilee. Most people wouldn’t think that, but it wonder if your reporting about this student is in somehow a justification for your dishonest reporting about Jubilee? That is a long, long stretch of the imagination, of course.

    The matter on the table before you, and before you attend worship next, is what you are going to do about the claim I am making that you have offended, spoken unfairly, spread false information, and written things that are hurtful. You really ought to do the right thing and admit you’ve said stuff that you had no business saying.

  5. friends,

    In a previous thread, before comments were closed, a person posted a comment poking at me for saying that a brief excerpt of a review of a Donald Miller book was nearly dishonest. I was struck by how this paragraph really distorted Miller’s book. I thought it was character assassination, making him and his book look much differently than it really is.

    Of course I didn’t support or condone the book, which is a different matter. One perhaps could make a cogent and honest critique of the book, I just think that wasn’t one. It was simply a grossly overstated one-sided summary of what Miller was writing about and what his writing is like.

    Glen then noted that many of us make determinations about books based on reviews of reliable reviews, which is fine, if you know the reviewer is trustworthy and fair-minded. The person from whom you excerpted that book, I’d say, is not very reliable. And when Judy (or whoever) chose that one excerpt of the review to run, it really was an unfair examination or portrayal of the book. Read the book yourself and see if that review sounds like the book you’ve just read. (I’m not asking anyone to agree with Miller, or to like him. My point is about honesty and integrity, in reviewing books or discerning the relative merit of an author’s work. I think there is enough controversy at this site, and enough people suggesting that there is a lot of unfair things said, inaccurate and over-stated, without nuance or Biblically-required accuracy, that when you read reviews, you really should take them with a grain of salt until you check out the matter for yourself.)

    Speak the truth in love the Bible says, and in that excerpt, I didn’t see truth or love.

    THEN, somebody chided me for using the phrase “almost dishonest” as if it read “almost false.” I’m sorry that your reader doesn’t know the difference between those words; this is another way this site is dangerous, with folks contributing to conversations using words poorly. She thought she was scoring some great point for God, I guess, saying she was taking her stand on the truth, which would be fine, if it had anything to do with my comment.

    To say someone is dishonest isn’t to say one is just speaking falsely–that is called an error or an untruth— but it is saying that one is speaking falsely on purpose; knowingly speaking untruthfully. There is a huge difference.

    I feel absolutely confident that your excerpt of the Miller book is a false impression of his book. I cannot say whether Judy, in running that excerpt, is lying or just mistaken. You see, she could have trusted that shoddy reviewer, and published it thinking it was correct. That would be sloppy, of course, and a disservice, but not lying. It is bad enough to be wrong, but it is worse, I’d say, to be wrong on purpose.

    I rarely accuse people of knowingly distorting the truth and have attempted to be careful not to do that much in my long replies here. I think there has been huge and serious accusations made on this site that bear little resemblance to truth. The glib and simplistic and one-sided inaccuracies that are spoken are sometimes so wildly out of sync with the facts, in many cases, that is comes to my mind that it might be intentional. That would explain the patently false stuff that has been asserted, but not ever documented, but I sure hope that God-fearing people wouldn’t be like that.

    In frustration, I asked Judy if this is, in fact, her style—fudging the facts to fit her agenda, since that would be one plausible explanation of the outlandish things said here. Yet, I cannot judge her heart, as much as I suspect there is something wrong with someone who won’t apologize for speaking wrongly about others. Such simple lack of courtesy and good manners is telling, indicating something awry. But I did not say that her post was completely dishonest. That would be the same as calling her a liar, which I did not do.

    So, dear poster: please don’t waste our time with your glib nonsense about whether I was implying something was “almost” false, and how you stand for the truth. That was just a silly reply, having no bearing on what was being discussed.

    To say it was nearly dishonest, means exactly that. Her choice to post that excerpt seemed to be nearby what one might reasonably suspect something dishonest going on. Does she mean to suggest that she is familiar with this book when she runs this quote about it? Is she? We have no way of knowing, really, since she doesn’t say.

    (Again, I am not defending Miller here, only insisting that the review was miles from being a fair report of what is and isn’t in the book itself.)

    I did not feel it was appropriate to out and out say that I could ascertain that there was intentional deception going on, as I do not know whether Judy has read Blue Like Jazz or not and obviously don’t know her heart or real intentions. I do not know the guy who wrote the review. I don’t want to say they are knowingly making Miller look worse than he is, fudging the facts about the book and its point, since it is difficult to determine what in the world is going on with such a peculiar and inaccurate review. Fairness and uprightness and accuracy hasn’t been the strong suit here, that is for sure…

    They sure did fail to treat it with the kind of respect that authors deserve. The Bible insists that all are made in God’s image and deserve certain amount of respect. All neighbors are to be treated by the golden rule, right? Even our enemies are to be blessed, Jesus Himself says. I doubt if anybody outside of your devoted fans reading that review would pick up that the guy who wrote it, or the people that posted it, are of Godly, truthful character. It was just too ugly. And way less than accurate.

    I don’t know if it was knowingly dishonest. I do know it was wrong.


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