by David and Tim Bayly on September 16, 2008 - 11:46am
(Tim, w/thanks to Dave) Last week, a friend in Florida wrote to call my attention to an article detailing the results of a political survey of the faculty at Covenant College, the school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America. (Students were polled, also.)
Conducted by the school's Director of Institutional Research, Kevin Eames, the survey received responses from 47 faculty members. Here's what Covenant's administration wants prospective students and their parents to know about these faculty members:
Eighty-eight percent of Covenant's faculty have doctorates or
terminal degrees, earned from such institutions as Oxford, Stanford,
Yale, and the University of Chicago. Our professors regularly involve
students in their research activities. In fact, many students actually
help edit books that their professors are writing.
The administration goes on to describe faculty members as "passionate about teaching and sharing their Reformed faith in a
setting that sharpens the intellect and encourages increased awe of our
sovereign God." Then, by way of reassurance, Oxford and passion are anchored by the declaration that "all faculty members subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith."
So, what might doctorates from Yale and Stanford, combined with a passion for the reformed faith and the Westminster Standards, lead these men and women to profess to our children about Christ's dominion in these United States and our own confession of that faith in this election year?
Asked, "Do you believe John McCain is a Christian," 33 of the 47 faculty members responding said either "No" or "Not sure." This seems safe since I read just last night that Senator McCain has never received Christian baptism. Likely not one of those faculty members questioning Senator McCain's Christian faith knew that, though.
Still, my concern is certainly not to prove Senator McCain's Christian faith, to get others to agree that he's sincere in his Christian profession, or leastwise to write this post to the end that even one reader will decide to vote for him or the Republican party. Such concerns have not entered my mind.
But on to Senator Obama. Different candidate, same question: "Do you believe Barack Obama is a Christian?" Twenty-one faculty members are definite in their response with five answering "No" and sixteen "Yes."
What ocular disease has led sixteen of our best and brightest to say for the record among students they are paid to lead into a greater knowledge of Christ's Lordship over all the earth that a man who unabashedly promotes baby-slaughter and sodomite marriage is certainly a Christian? If Senator Obama is a Christian, Robert Mugabe is born again and Jean Paul Sartre was a strict subscriptionist Presbyterian pastor.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 17, 2008 - 2:08pm
(Tim) Several years ago, I was talking with one of the patriarchs of the PCA about a series of pieces we'd published here exposing the promotion of false doctrine within one of our largest denominational institutions. Although we've worked together in other battles outside the denomination, any thought of discipline or conflict inside these hallowed grounds of the PCA was beyond the pale to this church father. He expressed his disapproval of what I'd written with the simple statement, "Tim, I'm a loyalist when it comes to (that institution) and the PCA."
What is loyalty?
Was Hezekiah loyal when, informed by Isaiah of the coming Babylonian captivity his people and his own sons would suffer, he responded, "'The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good.' For he thought, 'There will be peace and security in my lifetime?" Was the Apostle Peter loyal when he left the Gentiles and went over to the Jews at church potlucks? Were those giving preferential treatment to rich men within the church loyal in seeking to provide for the church's financial well-being? Was Eli loyal when he allowed his sons to continue to profane the holy things as they held sacred office?--family first, you know.
From loyalty, Monday we called attention to the fact that friends from CBMW days seem to have no problem with a woman, Dr. Diane Langberg, publicly teaching men doctrine at a theology conference their professional association, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, is co-sponsoring. There they all are--John, Al, C.J., Lig, Phil, John--and they're promoting the ministry of a woman teaching men. In fact, beyond promoting, a couple of them (Don and Al) are sharing the pulpit with her.
From loyalty, yesterday we ran a piece on the apparent lack of discipline of faculty members at our denomination's Covenant College, pointing out that one third of them support Barack Obama's presidential bid and half of them decline to acknowledge abortion to be "Very important" in their choice. To put this in perspective, imagine a PCA college in Germany during the Third Reich, keeping in mind that the number of little babies slaughtered now by abortion absolutely dwarfs the number of Christians and Jews Hitler's men slaughtered during the Nazi regime.
Once again, from loyalty to this faith community known as the PCA, we turn to the Rev. Dr. Tim Keller...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 22, 2008 - 9:02am
(Tim) It's not too hard to get some names of Covenant faculty members likely to have responded to the survey by stating they intend to vote for Senator Obama for President. NB: I wrote "likely."
For instance, here we see the typical twisting of the Word of God that's the stock in trade of feminist ideologues--this one in particular promoting Ephesians 5 as a reciprocity, "mutual submisson" text. The comment was posted a couple months ago by the moderator of faculty meetings at Covenant, Dr. Cliff Foreman, who's here speaking to his president, Niel Nielson:
In your footnote on Ephesians 5:18-21, you neglect to mention that v.21
is also connected to what follows it, in that the verb “submit” is not
repeated in Paul’s exhortation to wives. Thus the command to wives is a
working out of the general command to mutual submission. It also seems
clear that the command to husbands–that they die for their wives–is
presented as a very balanced reciprocation of what Paul has said to the
wives. It, too, is connected, and any paragraph division will distort
that. Those who point this out are not engaged in some sort of feminist
plot, as you imply. They are trying to correct a tradition of
misreading this text as a command to husbands to rule over their
wives–-something Paul does not say. It is commendable to exhort
Christians to read correctly, but often, as in this case, one should
see that when Christians disagree there is truth on both sides of the
If we google Cliff Foreman, we come up with these condecensions he posted here a little while ago. And this statement by one of his former students on the faculty review site, ratemyprofessors.com.
EXCEEDINGLY LIBERAL!!!! An angry liberal at that -- very knowledgeable
prof. who honestly does have a heart to earnestly seek truth and make
it known. Conservatives should at least give him a chance!
by David and Tim Bayly on September 26, 2008 - 10:25am
(Tim) Blogs live in a weird world. On the one hand, posts can be responded to immediately in the comments section at the bottom of the page. On the other hand, posters can't live their lives responding to the comments unless the blog is all they do. Over 12,500 comments have come in to this blog in the past two and a half years and readers know it's not unusual for a single comment to run into the thousands of words.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 6, 2008 - 3:23pm
(Tim) Readers may be interested in the response of Covenant College faculty and students to the news that a large group of professors there support Senator Obama for president and believe he is a Christian.
It's hard to report on that response, though--but not because I don't know what it was. I'd like to know less than I do.
What I do know hasn't come from any free exchange of ideas or public debate. The heated discussion and criticism of my post took place on a campus forum well-guarded behind firewalls that protect those writing from being answered by anyone outside of the Covenant College community. It's a convenient byproduct of this policy that much of the mess happens away from prying eyes of donors who, seeing the fruit of the professors' professions, could decide not to fulfill their capital campaign pledges.
In this context, note that the same culture that fences off campus discussions from its constituent community also allows Covenant College professors to go on public record with their conviction that Senator Obama is a Christian and that they support his presidential bid while individually remaining anonymous. What happened to the good old days when men signed their theses...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 6, 2008 - 3:45pm
(Tim, w/thanks to David) Last week, Senator Biden went public with his position concerning the slaughter of little children. The New York Timesreported it this way:
(Senator Biden declared) that as a Catholic, he believes life begins at conception. But the Delaware senator added that he would not impose his personal views on others...
* * * In the interview Sunday, Mr. Biden tried to walk the line between the staunch abortion-rights advocates in his party and his own religious beliefs. While he said he did not often talk about his faith, he said of those who disagree with him: âThey believe in their faith and they believe in human life, and they have differing views as to when life â Iâm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception.â
With slight reworking, am I right in wondering whether this summary of Senator Biden's position might not bear some resemblance to the position held by many enlightened evangelicals such as the Covenant College profs who believe Senator Obama is a Christian and support his presidential candidacy?
by David and Tim Bayly on October 7, 2008 - 11:55am
(Tim) What's the connection between denominations, denominationally-affiliated Christian liberal arts colleges, a denomination's church planting demographics, and Mammon?
When Mary Lee and I were first married, we joined a church newly
planted by the Reformed Church in America (RCA) in Madison, Wisconsin. Soon after arriving there, I
saw a denominational flier thumb tacked to the church bulletin board
that explained the denomination's church planting demographic vision. It said
something like, "We have done studies of our denomination's
constituency and find that RCA church plants do best in upper middle
class, highly educated neighborhoods and communities."
Our small congregation of 75 or so was filled with souls who fit the RCA church-planting mold much better than Mary Lee and I. Three who stand out were Del Smith, Senior Telecommunications Counsel at Jones Day; the philosopher Keith Yandell; and the historian of science, David Lindberg. Of course, our church building was on Madison's far west side and included several who lived in Shorewood Hills.
Do you ever find yourself wondering if what Jesus said is still true today--that those who would follow Him must deny ourselves and take up our crosses?
by David and Tim Bayly on October 8, 2008 - 9:57am
(Tim, w/thanks to the usual suspect) Growing up in Wheaton among evangelicalism's elite, it became apparent to me more than twenty years ago that my Christian sanity depended upon never looking at, let alone subscribing to, Christianity Today or her many sister publications. Alas, it's never been that easy.
Some years back, a young couple attended Church of the Good Shepherd while doing graduate work at Indiana University. Too, too late, I discovered they were related to CTi's CEO (since retired). Had I known it from the beginning, I would have nipped our relationship in the bud. By the time I found out, alas and alack, we loved them and they us. Ever since, we've made do as best we could. For their part, they became reformed and he stepped into the eldership of a PCA church in the D.C. area. For our part, we assured them regularly that some of our best friends work on Gunderson Drive.
My father-in-law looked at my aversion to CT as quixotic and several times gave me a gift subscription, urging me to read it. It took a while, but finally I was able to convince him I was seriously opposed to that thing entering my home. With a temperament as sweet as honey, finally he gave in.
Just now, though, I let down my guard and it all came back to me when I ran across this at Touchstone's "Mere Comments." It's a post responding to a recent news piece CT ran on Tony Campolo's membership on the Democratic Party's Platform Committee. Yes, you read it right: That patriarch of Christian liberal arts colleges and chapel service prophet worked with other members of the Democratic Party and produced these planks on child-slaughter...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 14, 2008 - 8:32pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Kevin) In my dreams, it would have been a faculty member at a Christian college who had the discernment to understand these things, the courage to publish them, and the faith to accept his certain fate, perishing at his colleagues' hands for being so certain, so hortatory, so convinced, so direct, so judgmental, so lacking in Christian humility and compassion, so prescriptive, so cocksure of his own personal opinions... You get the thrust.
Alas and alack, it had to be one of the esteemed Peter Singer's colleagues at Princeton University who put his mind and pen to outing...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 18, 2008 - 11:05am
(Tim, w/thanks to Jake) Would you understand me if I said Baptists seem to have courage Presbyterians lack? Maybe it's a byproduct of being despised by Presbyterians, but whatever its origins, it's a wonderful gift from God to them and all of us.
Speaking of manly preaching, I give you Russell Moore. if you don't make a habit of listening to what he has to say or readingwhat he writes, you're missing out big-time. A few years back, Russ and I met at a conference. His work's been a great encouragement to me since then.
Here's a message he gave this past week at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary titled, "Joseph of Nazareth Is a Single-Issue Evangelical: The Father of Jesus, the Cries of the Helpless, and Change You Can Believe In." One of our ClearNote Pastors College students, Jake Mentzel, summarizes the message...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 25, 2008 - 1:33pm
(Tim) Here's what I want to ask all the Christian profs fawning over the Christian faith of Senator Barack Obama as well as the Submergent types in lockstep with them: What possible criteria could you use to justify your claim that Senator Obama is a Christian that wouldn't also force you to affirm that Zimbabwe's thug leader, Robert Mugabe, is also a true Christian? Mugabe has killed his thousands, but Obama his millions.
If Obama wins the presidency, the slaughter he will preside over and promote is incomprehensibly larger than even the worst estimates of Mugabe's murderous regime--unless, of course, you are unconcerned about the murder of the newborn, feeble, and unborn children.
But if you are concerned, Mugabe has the innocence of a child playing in a sandbox compared to the obsccenely wicked slaughter at the center of Senator Obama's campaign platform.
I'm betting most profs who assert that Senator Obama is a true Christian would deny Mugabe's Christian faith. So why the double standard? Why the universal condemnation of Mugabe by the same people given over to the adulation of Barack Obama? Isn't it amazing how Christians regain our moral compass and discernment as soon as the evil being evaluated and condemned is committed by people far away? Particularly Africans.
Last night, I read a profile of Robert Mugabe, the brutal dictator who's plunged his nation of Zimbabwe into death and destruction. He'd be up there near the top of heads of state around the world viewed as pariahs by other nation's leaders. Maybe the very top.
The New Yorker's profile written by Jon Lee Anderson is titled: "Letter from Zimbabwe, The Destroyer: A founding father lays waste to his country." Near the beginning, Anderson informs us Zim's inflation rate is now two hundred and thirty million percent, the unemployment rate is eighty percent, two million Zimbabweans are entirely dependent on aid from NGOs for their daily bread, another two million have fled Zim for refuge in South Africa, twenty percent of the population is infected with H.I.V./AIDS, life expectancy for men and women is about 44 years, starvation is rampant, leaders of political opposition groups are routinely imprisoned, beaten, and murdered, and the list goes on.
Meanwhile, wreathed in jewelry and forty years younger than her husband, Mugabe's second wife, Grace, says because of her narrow feet she can "only wear Ferragamo" shoes...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 30, 2008 - 7:40pm
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void. For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside." (1 Corinthians 1:17-19)
(Tim) Here are some thoughts about the state of our civil compact as we approach Election Day. And, following the political stuff, I make a stab at some applications to those who identify themselves as the prophetic voices of the Emergent Church. If your patience wears thin with the political part, buck up and finish it because it forms the perfect backdrop to grow in our understanding of the goals and strategy of church leaders today who have woman deacons, talk a lot about the city and contextualization, and have a staff member titled "Associate Pastor for Art, Weird Glasses, and Chai." First, then, let's look at the political scene...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 18, 2008 - 10:43am
(Tim) Method often tells us as much as words themselves, do. Three cases come to mind.
First, when I had something to correct in what Phil Ryken had written, I wrote him privately asking him to issue the correction himself. He persisted in leaving the matter uncorrected so I took it public. But taking it public, I left the comments open below what I'd written so Phil could explain his words or actions.
When Phil had a complaint against me, though, he took it public first with no prior private e-mail to me. And when he took it public, he refused to allow any responses below what he wrote. Things he wrote were not true but they're likely to be out there uncorrected until the end of time...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 15, 2009 - 7:11am
When I say to the wicked, "O wicked man, you will surely die," and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. (Ezekiel 33:8)
(Tim, w/thanks to Michael) According to the Washington Post, Pastor Rick Warren issued a statement praising President-elect Barack Obama for his selection of Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson to call down God's blessing on our nation and new president during the Inaugural weekend. Robinson, a man infamous internationally due to his promotion of sodomy in the Name of Jesus Christ, is, according to Warren, a good choice because it is one more indication that Senator Obama has a "genuine commitment to bringing all Americans of goodwill together in
search of common ground." Warren concludes concerning Senator Obama's selection of Robinson, "I applaud his desire to be the president of
It sounds good. I could almost hear myself saying the same. But then you stop to think about it and you realize this is one more step in the silencing of the witness of the Church of Jesus Christ. Such statements are precisely the thing warned against...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 20, 2009 - 11:12am
(Tim) Here’s the truth. Obama is the oppressor of children, born and unborn. But since his skin color is black, we can’t believe he’d oppress anyone. So we come out with all this blather about other social justice issues equally commanding our attention as Christians. Our goal, of course, is to obscure the fact that abortion absolutely dwarfs the death toll of all other forms of oppression around the world combined. That’s combined, brothers and sisters!
Why, just in these United States alone, since the bloody decision, Roe v. Wade, was issued, our nation has torn limb from limb, leg from torso, body from mother’s womb, over fifty million—50,000,0000—of our little children.
This number is so large that it makes Africans' Rwanda, Asians' Pol Pot, and Europeans' Hitler look tame by comparison. The only bloody oppressors who are even close to slaughtering the numbers we have slaughtered by our own national, systemic, bloody, oppressive, enslaving child-murders are Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.
But, get this: If instead of talking about the death toll in our nation alone, we consider the international death toll from child slaughter through the murders we call “abortions,” then we’re talking about one Joseph Stalin every year. That’s well over 50,000,000 children slaughtered EVERY SINGLE YEAR!
It’s disgusting for otherwise educated and thoughtful men to seek to legitimize their conniving at this great bloody oppression that defines our nation by sniveling about systemic poverty and education and secondhand smoke and carbon emissions and AIDS.
If men who claim to know the Triune God want to vote Democratic; if men who claim to know the Triune God and have faith in Jesus Christ have black skin and want to vote for another man with black skin; we’d all be better off if they’d have the courage of their prejudices and admit them... You know, something like, “I’m afraid of not appearing progressive enough.” Or “I’m afraid my congregation would have my hide if I didn’t speak up for the brother.”
by David and Tim Bayly on February 9, 2009 - 9:26am
(Tim) No links to Rob Bell's schlock, the deep and sensitive thoughts of Brian McLaren, the Christian Medical and Dental Society, Talbot Seminary's groundbreaking ethics and public policy think tank, faculty members at Wheaton College, or CTi journalists on this site. Ron Sider and Jim Wallis haven't made an appearance just yet--nor their "me too" buddy, Al Gore. There's been no sighting of Niel Nielson or Bryan Chapell--nor any of
their professors, for that matter. In fact, no sign of anyone in the Presbyterian Church
(Tim) A few news items related to the PCA's Covenant College. First, Inside Higher Ed ran an article a couple months ago titled "Broken Covenant" which reported on Covenant's financial crisis and the initiatives being planned by Covenant's administration in response to that crisis. Those initiatives include downsizing of academic programs and staff (labeled "right-sizing" by Covenant's President Nielson), along with spending $500,000 for a new building and to beef up athletics--both efforts to attract more students...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 23, 2009 - 6:41am
(Tim, w/thanks to Andy) Readers may have noted my mention of Grand Rapids in the post on False Shepherd Rob Bell. It was purposeful. When a community committed to confessing the most Biblical doctrine turns its back on God's Word in as flagrant a way as the Christian Reformed Church has turned her back on the Creation order of sexuality, God's future judgment will be as severe as His past blessing. To whom much is given, much shall be required.
For clear signs of that judgment, watch the present history of both the mother country, Holland, and the mother institution of the CRC here in these United States, Calvin College and Seminary.
For instance, the Chronicle of Higher Educationreports that Calvin's schoolmen are all in a huff over their trustees forbidding the promotion of sodomy and sodomite marriage by Calvin's faculty members. So Faculty Senate (thanks for the correction, Sue) members took a vote...
A prominent evangelical magazine just did a piece on the complaint by Calvin College faculty reps that Calvin's board has issued policy barring members of their faculty from promoting sodomy. The article starts this way:
The homosexuality debate that has torn apart mainline denominations is fanning faculty and student protests at Calvin College, and highlights a growing issue facing evangelical schools.
The magazine, published in Wheaton, continues:
The case is being watched with interest by other (evangelical) schools struggling to balance compassion and doctrine in their policies on gays.
"Struggling to balance compassion and doctrine?" What on earth are they saying?
Well of course, the point is that the evangelical world today is moving toward the normalization of sodomy and the rubric under which it's being done is the silencing of Scripture's denunciation of sodomy as an abomination before the Lord. Other abominations such as fornication, unbiblical divorce and remarriage, and adultery have already been normalized, and now it's sodomy's turn.
The path to normalization is cleared by much talk of compassion with only an occasional tip of the hat to sin and righteousness and judgment. Which is to say that the Holy Spirit is nowhere present in such discussions since "When He comes, He will convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment."
There's no conviction of sin going on--none at all. Instead, we're busy balancing compassion and doctrine. Wheaton College's "sexuality scholar," Stan Jones, puts it like this...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 13, 2009 - 6:56am
(Tim) This is written by a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy. Thinking readers might have some responses, I post it here. I've received it second or third hand, so I don't know the writer or context.
While recognizing that some people have a calling from God to speak out specifically on these sins, I find that the focus among many Evangelicals on the abortion and same-sex marriage issues to the exclusion of all others reflects the extreme individualism of Protestant theology and ethics, both "conservative" and "liberal". Evangelicals care rightly about the killing that goes on within a woman's womb, and about the improper and irreverent use of our God-given sexual organs in our own bodies or in the bodies of others. But there is not always a corresponding concern about the killing and grave threats to human life that are present outside of the womb, and about the improper and irreverent use of the natural world and material possessions given to us by God.
I don't think it's an accident that the same individualistic faith traditions that emphasize and sanctify "my personal choice" (to accept Jesus as "personal Savior" in the case of conservative Protestants, to have an abortion as a "personal matter" in the case of the liberals) but downplay the physical unity and continuity of the Body of Christ across space and time would also be quite uncertain regarding the social obligations that Christians have to their political and military enemies, to the poor and sick among us, and to the rest of God's creation. A faith tradition that fails to connect our moral obligations inside our bodies with our moral obligations outside of our bodies is deficient in both its anthropology and its ecology.
To get things started, it seems to me evangelicals are now close to the heart of the movement for the social justice of cutting carbon emissions, calling for the government to increase funds for AIDS research, and shaming people who litter. Rick Warren, anyone? Brian McLaren? Rob Bell up there in Grand Rapids? Inter-Varsity? Zondervan? Navigators? Willow Creek? Tim Keller and his flock?
And of course, every last prof at Covenant and Taylor and Gordon and Westmont and Wheaton.
Maybe our critic is only speaking of historic evangelicalism--not the classic liberalism that's taken over these past few decades.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 13, 2009 - 7:51am
(Tim) A couple days ago, under the post "Why Same-Sex Intimacy Is Sin," a comment appeared written by Baylyblog's resident scoffer, Cliff Foreman. For twenty-five years, Professor Foreman's day job has been professing Reformed Christian faith as a member of the English Department at the Presbyterian Church in America's Covenant College. Most of our readers are aware that David and I aren't fans of Covenant College. We think it would be best for our denomination to sell it to Tim Keller, but to this point no one's taking our suggestion seriously.
As a simple defense of our position, consider this exchange between Prof. Foreman and a mere graduate student here at Indiana University--a young whippersnapper who lacks the terminal degree as well as the wonderful privilege of a quarter-century of spiritual and theological growth there at Covenant College, at ease in Zion on top of Lookout Mountain within the wonderfully safe cocoon of scores of like-minded Reformed PhDs sharing his commitment to the Westminster Standards.
Here then is Prof. Foreman's explanation to a shake-the-dust-off-your-feet hard-hearted unbeliever of why sodomy is wrong, followed by Josh Congrove's deconstruction of Prof. Foreman's explanation:
* * *
CLIFF FOREMAN WRITES: How about this: God created human beings and intended them to find happiness and fulfillment in committed heterosexual marriages. Then human beings fell and sin entered the world. This meant that people would be born with sinful desires and that through life experiences those desires would solidify into sinful patterns of behavior. But God set his son to offer us forgiveness and the opportunity for significant healing in this life. Our struggle against sin is difficult, but success is possible because of Jesus' sacrifice and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. But of course, in order to be healed and to enjoy the blessings of health, we need to admit that we are sick. If we say that our sinfulness is normal, we won't seek healing. We may tell ourselves that our disease isn't contagious and that it hurts no one, but we will never, then, know what it is to be healthy.
If this scenario, which is what the Bible teaches, is true, then the people who are condemning your behavior are doing so because they think you are missing out on something that would be better for you...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 31, 2009 - 4:52pm
(Tim) My friend Bob Patterson forwarded a pre-release copy of the Winter 2010 issue of The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy which he edits, and it's the point of this essay to get you to subscribe. For many years I've been reading this and other publications of what is now called the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, and they've been foundational to my work as a preacher, pastor, and father.
This particular issue's cover article details how, over the past thirty years, homemakers have been forced to subsidize the lives of privilege lived by other women who have forsaken marriage, the home, and childbearing for degrees and professions.
Professional women with salaries high enough to allow them to pay for day care and still turn a profit have not simply been content to leave their homemaking sisters behind, but have built their lifestyle on the backs of those sisters and their hardworking husbands. To anyone who matters, these homemakers are invisible.
Equal Employment Opportunity laws have piled up a legacy of systemic injustice throughout the wage earning world, leaving half the fairer and weaker sex to raise the children the other half will depend upon for their Medicare and Social Security payments when their life of childless privilege is drawing to an end. Meanwhile, the husbands of these housewives and mothers are in free-fall, trying to support the mother of their children as she gives herself to work that, despite those bright boys and girls in Economics Departments, still hasn't shown up on their gross domestic profit tally sheets...
(The PCA needs to) provide safe places to talk about new ideas to advance the PCA’s faithfulness to biblical belief... (The PCA needs) more seats at the table; especially younger generation, women, ethnic leaders, global church representatives... e.g. advisory voice on committees, (S)essions, Boards, speaking at gatherings, consulted by presbyteries; employed in non-ordained ministries.
-Strategic Plan for the PCA
(Tim) I've been sent a number of links to discussions of the Strategic Plan for the PCA and I think it's time we do what is necessary to provide for the work of the Stated Clerk and the Office of the General Assembly in a way that relieves them of the indignity of begging for our support. The men and women who serve in these areas are essential to our well-being as a denomination and, in my experience, carry out their duties faithfully and with real wisdom. If it requires a change in the amount or method of payment to attend General Assembly to fund these works faithfully, let's do it.
However, there's no need for all the philosophical and sociological and political and metaphysical and ontological accretions and gnashing of teeth being tacked on as riders to the bill. Fund the OGA well and stop at that. All the rest of what's known as the Strategic Plan is simply jeopardizing this one thing we should all agree is necessary...
(David) A Marxist political science professor in my college taught a course on licensing in which he argued that licensure and certification processes always stem from the desire of elites to monopolize and control.
Perhaps the rank and file of the PCA could learn a thing or two about the link between depravity and the processes of power from a radical Marxist...
As the PCA considers a Strategic Plan which includes the goal of "Establish(ing) standards for voluntary certification of men and women for specific non-ordained vocational ministries" in order to "Endorse the importance of lay men’s and lay women’s gifts in non-ordained church ministry" within the PCA, let's consider the forms of ministry this will actually lead to, where power will accumulate under the plan and who will lose if the proposal is enacted.
Under the Strategic Plan's playbook the following steps are necessary for the achievement of this goal:
It's immediately apparent that big winners under this plan are Covenant College (CC) and Covenant Theological Seminary (CTS) which are granted the key role of designing (and perhaps applying--the plan is vague at this point) the testing for such non-ordained certification.
(Tim) So, speaking only personally, I have a friend fired from the faculty of Greenville College (a small Christian liberal arts college in Southern Illinois where three of my in-laws attended), for defending Christian orthodoxy; another friend denied the Ph.D. by Harvard because his thesis defended Christian orthodoxy; another friend ejected from his Ph.D. program in the history department at UW-Madison (my own alma mater and major department) because of his commitment to Christian orthodoxy; another friend terminated from Covenant College who found the atmosphere there stifling to Reformed orthodoxy; another friend disciplined and publicly humiliated by the Vice Chancellor in the Faculty Council (on which he sat) for holding to Christian orthodoxy (see here, here, and here); and now, another friend has been terminated...
the center of her post were three questions she recommended to her
readers in connection with the decision whether or not to go to college:
What is the purpose? What is this education preparing me for?
What are my motives? Am I pursuing education for the sake of
education itself, a profession, money, status, the glory of God?
How much will it cost? Is it a wise investment of time, money, and
energy? If God leads me in a different direction two years down the
road, will the debt incurred prevent me from obeying God’s call?
Pretty calm, huh? It's hard to imagine these questions eliciting
screeches and howls--from women who claim the Name of Christ no less.
But elicit they did. May I say how much I admire the women of our
congregation? If you read the comments under Michal's post, you'll
better understand why. For one thing, what grace under fire!
So what about ye olde college education?
I've read all the screeches and howls, and this is by far my favorite...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 11, 2010 - 2:54pm
(Tim) Back in 1993, I wrote an article on a conflict over the policy of Westminster School in Atlanta that required board members of this private Christian school to be confessing Christians. The New York Times had done an article on the controversy and I took the piece as a jumping-off point to say a few things about home, public, and Christian schools. Since then, Mary Lee and I have educated our five children (as well as several other children who lived with us through the years) in each of those ways--home, public, and Christian school. This is the final year we have a child at home and Taylor, our youngest, is finishing high school at the school my wife Mary Lee, with a couple others, founded and served as principal--Lighthouse Christian Academy.
It's been years since we've had a child at LCA. When it put up a building, we watched its former commitments decline. It seemed bent on becoming the sort of Christian school that, from the beginning, we'd worked hard to avoid. But this is the ho-hum way of all institutions, Christian or otherwise, and there have been some encouraging changes at LCA the past couple of years--hence Taylor's presence there this year.
But as I point out in the article below, the best antidote to school decline is the founding of a new school. It worked with Yale as a reform of Harvard, Princeton as a reform of Yale, and it's still working with schools like New St. Andrews being a reform of Wheaton, Westmont, Gordon, and Covenant.
Tired and timid souls always laugh at the upstarts...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 23, 2010 - 7:07am
(Tim) At times, it seems best to promote a discussion to the main page. Readers lose track of discussions in the comments under old posts. Here's one such discussion that I'm promoting for reasons I hope are obvious.
It's my conviction that the endless mantra of grace that permeates our Evangelical/Redeemer/Westminster/Campus Crusade/R2K/Covenant world leads to us knowing little of grace because we despise God's Law and repentance.
In the midst of a discussion bearing on this matter, the historian Darryl Hart asked me to clarify what I meant when I spoke of the grace of the Law--that to preach the Law is Gospel preaching and that the Law is our Gospel schoomaster or tutor? Here I respond:
Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).
This is the great failure of Gospel preaching in our time, and the reason for the absence of fruit within our churches. We fail to preach the Law, instead trying to save unregenerate sinners from the indignities of repentance. We preach grace without leading souls there through the Law. We repudiate the Schoolmaster. It's the habit of pastors only to address the regenerate within the Covenant Community while outside that Community we gag preachers, leaving Gospel proclamation and conversion to Campus Crusade...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 11, 2012 - 11:54am
I don't write much about Indiana politics and government but it's caused me no small sadness to contemplate the term-limit-departure of our fiscally excellent governor a little over a year from now. Gov. Mitch Daniels will have completed his second term and will have to leave office.
If I am comforted in our loss of Mitch's magnificent fiscal leadership, my comfort comes from this: that his likely successor is a man, Representaive Mike Pence, who promises to govern with the same fiscal commitments while adding a theological framework to those commitments that promises to extend far beyond fiscal discipline, on to principles concerning many other areas of governance including the battlefields on which the destroyers of our nation and its states are focussing their revolution: sexuality, the Image of God in man, the origin and nature of sexuality and marriage decreed by our Creator in His Order of Creation, and so forth.
As you read through Daniels' penultimate State of the State Address delivered yesterday evening, you will gain a hint of why I respect him. He has been unflinching in disciplining the educationists of our state by a host of private initiatives that have finally brought competition into public education. True, he brags about over half of our state budget going to edcuation, and he seems to see higher education as an unqualified good. I disagree with both things as I disagreed with President Bush on similar matters. Mitch Daniels is not a wild-eyed enthusiast. He's a realist who really changed our state. Definitively. And reading, you'll see what difference it makes to each citizen of the state.
But there's something else I want to say, here.
Some thirty years ago, I was at the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly to oppose their denominational abortion policy. My dear Mary Lee was pregnant and, since we were in the habit of having home births, I'd called the midwest representative of the PC(USA)'s self-funded independent medical insurance plan to ask if they'd cover the cost of our midwife? It was awkward. He hemmed and hawed and said he didn't know and would have to get back to me on it...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 18, 2012 - 8:11am
(NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: A large part of this post has been removed. A young man objected that I was replacing one idolatry with my own more sophisticated one, and I thought it best to pull the post rather than allow readers to conclude that I am promoting idolatry.)
Here's an interesting explanation of the worship of artists spreading through the PCA by way of Covenant, MNA, and Redeemer clones. George Bernard Shaw points out that this worship has its origin in artless homes and childhoods...
Dirty is good in the church. Often I've pointed readers to that glorious warning found in Proverbs: "Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox" (Proverbs 14:4). This is the Reformed church, today. Our mangers are sterile, and so there's no revenue. No babies by Evangelism or the marriage bed. We depend upon Cru to do the dirty manger work, and then cull from their revenue to keep our coffers reasonably provisioned. Which is to say the Reformed church is impotent in both kinds of propagating a godly seed--Covenant children and Gospel proclamation and witness. And the second half of this isn't just my own conviction--it was the relentless lament of Iain Murray every time he spoke at Banner of Truth back when David and our brother, Nathan, and I used to attend.
Dirty is good in the home. A study of Finnish homes demonstrates that children who grow up in dirt are healthier than those who grow up in clean. Children with pets have fewer ear infections and dirt in the first year of life inoculates them against allergies.
Homeschooling done by mothers who are the heads of their husbands (only privately, of course) and desperate to protect their children from every evil influence in the world (including the authority of the Church, of course) inevitably produces children with a defective immune system, spiritually...
As expected, Brian Chapell will be leaving Covenant Seminary. This coming Lord's Day he plans to be voted on as the new pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria. Grace is one of the few tall-steeple PCA churches north of the Mason-Dixon line and Brian's roots are deep in Illinois, so this seems a good fit.
Much like Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, historically Grace has been a mainline Evangelical church with roots deep in the sort of Reformed dispensationalism popularized by Wheaton, Moody, and Campus Crusade. For forty years Grace was served by Wheaton grad Bruce Dunn who spoke regularly at Winona Lake, Bibletown (Boca Raton), Cannon Beach (Oregon), Moody Founders Week, Moody Keswick, and prophecy conferences.
Which brings us to the subject of dead and dying institutions...
Close to ten years ago, I was speaking with a brother much respected across the PCA to express my concerns over Covenant Seminary's toxic influence. What I saw of Covenant grads, I said, had convinced me Covenant would preside over the death of the PCA, and the only way to turn it around...