The Pen

Post Debate Thoughts

Pastor Hall reached out and asked that I thank everyone that prayed for the debate and prayed that we might obtain the audio of said debate released in full.  He’s very appreciative of all of you.  He also wanted me to say one thing very clearly, and that is “Grace and peace and goodwill to everyone involved.”

As Pastor Hall said previously, he will release his post-debate thoughts, after taking time to be with his family and is in the midst of a few weeks vacation, beginning with the 2015 Shepherd’s Conference. As of the moment, he, his wife and four small children are on an epic road-trip on the way to LA.

That said, I’d like to comment on some observations I’ve made the past few days.

I’d like to begin by saying I pray, as Christian men and women, we would continue to pray for a spirit of charity and brotherly love – even among those on different sides of certain doctrinal aisles. As Paul wrote to the Galatians, “…those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Are we doing that, brothers?

Ninety-six hours ago a joint statement was issued by Jordan Hall and Joel McDurmon regarding what had taken place the four days prior.  That “Statement of Unity” began with the following paragraph:

With thankfulness we announce that we have spoken as brethren dwelling together in unity and have reached a mutual accord regarding our current dispute. We regret that the spirit and tone of the current discord we have caused has been unworthy of the body of Christ. We seek above all to restore His glory in our relations and to demonstrate the purity and peace of His church.

In the time since that statement was released, Joel McDurmon and American Vision have published two accusatory articles aimed at Pastor Hall; one accusing him of “quote mining,” the second accusing him of fabricating a quotation that seems to have been very accurately paraphrased (which Pastor Hall cited). In the latter, McDurmon even insinuated Pastor Hall should be removed from the pulpit by the SBC (it doesn’t exactly work that way) for “fabricating” the Rushdoony quotation (which again, seemed pretty accurate upon the evidence).

No doubt, more posts from American Vision are coming. Mr. McDurmon has promised as much, including a post on every Rushdoony quotation and why and how JD had taken it out of context (does this surprise anyone?).  We anticipate a nearly daily, excruciatingly slow post-mortem, where Joel provides defenses and attacks not actually offered in the debate itself. And given that it’s a free country, he’s more than welcome to do that.

Pastor Hall explained to us that during negotiation for the release of an unedited recording of the debate, McDurmon stated a dissatisfaction with the debate and wanted to know if Pastor Hall would be willing to engage in some kind of ongoing, public back-and-forth, continuing the debate, publicly “dialoguing” on their views. Pastor Hall declined, having committed to the debate so as to not have to engage in endless back-and-forth in social media or elsewhere on the topic. McDurmon also contacted Pastor Hall to point out that he misstated a law of logic in McDurmon’s book as a logical fallacy (the term in question is both a law and a fallacy, depending upon the school of logic one subscribes to). Pastor Hall politely sent Joel a statement in regards to the correction.

To recap, in a span of roughly 96 hours since the Statement of Unity was released, one party has now directly and publicly inquired as to whether or not the other party should have the right to remain a pastor? Demeaning cartoons of Pastor Hall posted by American Vision? Unfounded accusations? Wild assumptions? I am personally disappointed by this.

As men, we admit our fallibility. As Christians, we seek to demonstrate the spirit of forgiveness which Christ showed to us, and commanded us to show to one another. As leaders of Christian ministries, we seek to exemplify the love and manliness He demonstrated for us.

That’s what the statement of unity said.

And so, Pastor Hall is aware of Mr. McDurmon’s far-reaching accusations but, due to the high holy week of Shepherd’s Conference (for many of us!) and family time back and forth, Pastor Hall has informed me that he’ll post his post-debate thoughts when American Vision is done with their post-debate raging. He also stated that he believes Fighting for the Faith will review the debate this week, and he’s looking forward to hearing it. Personally, I understand why Mr. McDurmon wants a “third round,” (I would too, if I were him), but Pastor Hall has asked us to simply let the debate speak for itself rather than engage in social media guerrilla warfare against his brothers in Christ. As much as some may wish the debate hadn’t ended or ended differently, an endless one-man rebuttal will hardly be compelling for most. Grasped straws, hyperbolic accusations and desperate appeals for damage control are hardly worth responding to, in my opinion. I highly suspect Pastor Hall feels the same.

Galatians 5:24-26 [ESV] And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Please, through all of this, let us glorify Christ.

[Contributed by Landon Chapman]