The necessity of self-criticism...
(Tim) There's an excellent online community called the Puritan Board (just to the left) where discussions have been carried on, recently, concerning a couple posts, here. Predictably, The longest discussion focused on the Complaint filed against Metro NY Presbytery after their recent adoption of a position contrary to the PCA Book of Church Order--namely, approving the practice within her bounds of withholding ordination from male deacons and affirming male and female deacons serving together in diaconal ministry without sexual distinction.
The apologist for Redeemer's practice frequently posting here under the name "Mason" has been active in the discussion there, also, but with a somewhat different posture. You don't need to be a member of the Puritan Board to read the comments and I encourage our readers to note the common sentiment expressed that Metro NY, Redeemer, and other churches, presbyteries, and elders taking similar positions may need to be questioned concerning their practice.
More interesting to me, though, is the discussion recently put on ice by the Puritan Board's moderators because it was getting warm. Started by a man who posts under the nom de plume, Pergamum/MacDaddy, he wrote:
BaylyBlog: Out of our minds, too...: The demographics of the PCA: Follow the money...
Interesting discussion, and a couple noteworthy things:
First, even reformed men seem to have fallen into the pomo trap of thinking they can reason while avoiding generalizations...
We all need to take a lesson from Ortega y Gasset's maxim, "All true thinking begins with exageration." Kinda like "all Cretans are liars." Stuff like that.
Second, if you have an uncontrollable urge to find a confessional and blurt out your sins when you generalize about men and women, read no further. But if you're one of those courageous souls willing to violate the modern proscription against all so-called "gender stereotypes," it's instructive what the women have to say.
Third, note how many readers apparently missed my words 'we' and 'our' as they read. It's almost as if, having read the pronouns, each concluded what I really meant was "he" and "his" and "their."
Fourth, note the absence of any explicit reference to the huge part of God's Word which calls into question the motivation of those of us who minister to the rich and educated--the chattering classes. Do we really know our Bibles so poorly? As an exercise, readers might simply leave Scripture texts as comments under this post--texts that warn those of us who minister to the rich and educated concerning our motives and rewards.
And speaking of motives, fifth:
Isn't one of the privileges of being reformed and believing in Original Sin and total depravity that we're free and grow in our ability to see our own sin and confess it? I wrote this post as an exercise in self-criticism, with my own confessions of sin. But a good number of readers were convinced the post came from jealousy, bitterness, and hostility. To some degree, I understand. Maybe I could put it this way: I've met Tim Keller and he is me, as they say. His job is tough, but tough in a way many of us in the PCA are similarly challenged. May God be merciful to us in our failures, sanctifying us so we will become more faithful shepherds of His sheep.
Anyhow, the discussion was shut down by one of Puritan Board's moderators, yesterday, with this explanation:
This thread has been closed for a cooling-off period.
Something to consider: critique from within tends to make some very angry. Why? Sometimes, it is because the critique hit home. Sometimes, it is because any critique is seen as disloyalty or betrayal. Neither of those are really good reasons.
The Bayly's are not above criticism, and I have some criticisms of my own: but those who would take them up on their tone need to reckon with the fact that misperceptions occur. The fact that it sounded hostile to you does not mean that it either is or was intended to be hostile. And consider this: in the article linked above, Tim Bayly may have written some strong things; but the article reveals that at least he looked in the mirror when he did so. Some of you have now written equally strong things against him: have you also looked in the mirror?
Fascinating read, that discussion. But if you go there to check it out, do as Pergamum asked, would you please read the original blog post here at Baylyblog, first. Please. And also, do please read the links in that post, too; they're integral to understanding the post.