No More Discernment. Seriously.
I’m so tired.
I’m tired of discernment. I’m tired of polemics. I’m tired of watching the other guys who produce material for Pulpit & Pen report on yet another obvious departure from orthodoxy. I’m tired of seeing the articles and news stories and screenshots and tweets and YouTube videos posted in the infamous Pulpit Bunker.
The president of the SBC is joining Kenneth Copeland at a conference in which their faces are plastered on the advertisement and the slogan is “United As One”? Barf. Seriously, make me gag already. Beth Moore has teamed up with TBN and Lifeway is footing the bill? The three-hundred-and-ninety-second evangelical leader has called the Pope a “brother in Christ” this year? I need a nun to glare at.
I’m tired. I’m tried of seeing it. I’m tired of hearing it. I just want to crawl into the church basement and see how long I can live off of unleavened bread and grape juice and forget the world I’m living in is not only heading downhill at breakneck speed (to quote Spurgeon), but the bobsled has been greased by Michael Brown’s anointing oil and is traveling faster than the preacher’s kid during an altar call. Let me just put on a Tim Hawkins album and curl up in my Hagee prayer shawl and forget this mess exists.
That’s what I want to do.
Thankfully, I have people for this. Like, literally thousands of people who read Pulpit & Pen, send us info (the vast majority of which we could never write about), listen to the program, hang out in our Facebook bunker, send us emails, carrier pigeons, telegrams, you get the point. There is a never-ending reporting of the examples of downgrade and earnest pleas to warn the public. I could drop dead and the heresy parade out in Apostasy Land would keep on trucking. In as excited, totally non-sarcastic voice as I can muster, “Yippee. It never ends.”
If you think you’re tired of reading about it, imagine how we feel writing about it. Another snake handling service? Beth Moore heard God’s voice again? Todd Bentley raised some more dead bodies? Russell Moore is talking about a partnership with Montel Williams to tackle the unjust criminal system (seriously, that one came across our wires just today). Michael Haykin has Karen Swallow Prior come to the Andrew Fuller Center because “she wouldn’t be a research fellow for Russell Moore or work at Liberty University if she was all that bad.” In the mean time, there’s another cultist preaching at Liberty’s convo? Seriously? No, I mean another one. No, another one.
Hey, I have an idea. Let’s see if we can get even more people to hate Pulpit & Pen. No, really. I haven’t had enough death threats this week. I only locked the door twice before I went to bed last night. Obviously, we do this for the popularity. There’s a whole baby-boom of parents naming their kids after me. So let’s expose that famous megachurch pastor with a cult following and see if we can get invited to any more parties than usual. That’s how it works, right? I mean, clearly we do this for the money, even though the only way this could make me rich is if I had a dollar for every time someone called me a “Pharisee” or a “hater.” I’m just waiting for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to put me in stained glass next to Rick Warren.
In all seriousness, I met fifty or sixty pulpiteers (listeners to the program or readers of the blog) at Shepherd’s Conference. Folks would come up and say, “I’m a big fan of the website” or “I love your program” and shake my hand or get a picture with me. The next thing the majority of them asked was, “What’s it like being so hated?” Seriously. It’s phenomenal. I live for this. If only I could be characterized as the Grinch who stole Christmas and got gall stones my life would be complete. And if you believe that, I have an expository sermon manuscript from Andy Stanley I’ll sell you.
A Southern Baptist website went down for half a day yesterday and they alleged we did it. I kid you not. Because among other life skills, I am a computer hacker. In truth, the only real violation of their privacy or property is that I apparently live in their head rent free. There are twitter warriors who’ve been in one-party spitting matches with us (we are not that one party) for years. I lost track of the anonymous accounts that troll us. Heck, they made one for wife, who might just be the nicest and most innocent person on the planet. There’s probably a @JDHallsDog by now, in which they tweet about how I make him sleep in the cold and don’t take him to the vet. I can’t say “boo” in the Bunker without screenshots being provided to a certain survivor blogger who turns it into a dramatic blog post about how I hate women and kittens (half true), and how she blogs in one hand and holds onto her broom in the other hand I’ll never know (I kid, I kid). You get the point.
And then, in the midst of my tired stupor, I remember I am tired in other ways.
I am tired of seeing new Christians be led to Jesus in faithful churches who tune their television to TBN and become still-born again, spiritually stunted little lambs who are trying to decree and declare heretical nonsense into existence.
I am tired of youth being led astray and out of their churches by church growth strategies I affectionately call the “shiny objects and loud music approach,” and see them wind up disciples of Steven Furtick or some other walking, talking cartoon of a preacher.
I am tired of seeing people fed a steady diet of movie sermon series and exegetical messages from Star Wars be utterly and completely decimated when tragedy strikes their life and they’re absolutely unprepared for suffering because their church experience has basically been playtime with Jesus.
I am tired of seeing parents scrimp and save to send their young men to seminaries like SWBTS or SBTS and provide them a world class education only to have them graduate as fans of Perry Noble and James McDonald because seminaries aren’t teaching polemics (or at the very least, professors aren’t giving them a doctrinal slap in the face for that).
I am tired of seeing housewives and teenage girls become distraught and in despair because they’re listening to Beth Moore or reading Sarah Young and can’t understand why God isn’t speaking to them like he does those ladies. I’m tired of consoling their fans and convincing them God doesn’t actually hate them, but that they’ve been taught garbage by garbage-selling garbage men with a garbage fetish on the front display in the Lifeway store.
I’m tired of seeing Christians convinced that Four Blood Moons, the Shemitah, the Harbinger, or any number of Judaizing super-secret newly revealed Bible astrology-for-dummies book somehow predicts the end of the world, and I’m tired of seeing Jim Bakker making bank selling his survival supplies by fear-mongering senior citizens within driving distance of his Branson studio.
I’m tired of seeing Christian leaders like Ed Stetzer be paid to speak with Islamic extremists and give them presentations on how to better reach evangelicals.
I am tired of seeing the flock of God ripped apart lamb by lamb and limb by limb and be left in a bloody pile of wool for their pastors to find on Sunday morning.
So, yeah. We just have to suck it up and work through it.
Keep your hand on the plow, polemicists and discerners. We have work to do.
[Contributed by JD Hall]