Tell me if I am out of line and don’t know how to take a joke. But this video crossed a line for me.
The evangelical world has always been polarised in fact it has been a trait of evangelicals that believers holding a diversity of opinions on a whole range of issues can find unity around the gospel. In fact to be evangelical means a commitment to unity across denominational and tribal lines – because that is the whole point of the evangelical movement and always has been. One of the ongoing online debates has been between Conservatives Evangelicals such as the Gospel Coalition and NT Wright. Some of the language has been pretty strong on both sides including comments such where Wright has been described as a hater of democracy and John Piper as someone who loves reformation theology more than scripture. As someone who owes a lot to conservative evangelicals in my discipleship and is appreciative of NT Wright’s work its really discouraging and I often get caught in the cross fire of the two camps.
This video has its funny side ofcourse it does – otherwise it wouldn’t have travelled as far as it has already. Its not a new idea I saw this same clip used to stir up the elections for the Archbishop of Sydney. My problem is the idea of connecting someone you don’t agree with the horrors of the Nazi regime. It has done before from the other side– when Wallace Benn; the conservative Bishop of Lewes, felt there wasn’t any room for complimentarians in the church of England he said “I feel very much increasingly that we’re in January of 1939. We need to be aware that there is real serious warfare just round the corner.” Whether intentional or not some thought Benn was equating his enemies to Nazis. But to polarise the debate is not going to help an honest and frank dialogue. Neither John Piper nor NT Wright are infallible interpreters of God’s word. Whichever is your hero in the debate we need to honour our opponents and we need to be careful of worshipping our heroes otherwise we continue the tradition of the Corinthianisation of the church where “I follow Paul” and “I follow Apollos” becomes the way we conduct our business. The apostle Paul challenged this in the first century we must continue to do so today.
I believe that Conservatives have a great deal to offer the evangelical world – their desire to take scripture seriously, to attend to the proclamation of the gospel and the tenacity they show in being clear about doctrinal purity are to be admired and emulated. I believe that ‘Non-Conservatives”/ The “left”??? (or however we are going to describe them) are needed by the evangelical world because of a desire to holistic orthopraxy, a radical commitment to justice and equity and an instinctively generous collaborative spirit are much needed for the evangelical world. I work for a movement that was birthed in 1846 that seeks to bring evangelicals together to serve the mission of God in today’s world. We need eachother to be able to make a difference for the kingdom.
So am I over reacting – is this a harmless bit of satire?