The Wartburg Watch Blog – YEC, Calvinists, Gender Roles etc

(Please click the “more” link to read the entire post)

I found a blog called “The Wartburg Watch” about a year ago while doing a web search on some topic or another, and then forgot about it, until I found it again about a week ago.

Here is the link to the Wartburg Watch blog:

The Wartburg Watch

In this post, I discuss (sometimes only very briefly), Reformed Theology (Calvinism), gender roles (complementarianism), Young Earth Creationism, Christian speaker Beth Moore, New Evangelicalism (i.e., how important is “secondary doctrine”), spiritual abuse in churches, and other subjects, and how they are addressed at the WW blog.

Areas of Agreement

I do agree with many of the positions taken on the blog by Dee and Deb, who started the blog.

I agree with them on many of the topics they post about, such as authoritarianism and Neo-Calvinism are problematic in Christianity; that the very un-loving tone Christians take towards others can at times cause other Christians to walk away from the Christian faith; and that patriarchy and gender complementarianism are unbiblical and sexist teachings that are doing damage to many women and to the doctrine of the Trinity.

I also agree, to a point, with the blog owners that some Christians wrongly make issues that most would consider secondary into primary- level concerns, which can lead to needless divisions among Christians. (On the other hand, I sometimes get a little bit nervous by Christians who start saying love always trumps doctrine).

The blog owners are also very concerned about spiritual abuse in churches and how to prevent or rectify it, and they are also rightly concerned with the sexual abuse of children by pastors and priests.

So on those fronts, I do recommend their blog.

Areas of Disagreement

I do however, have one or two concerns or disagreements with the ladies behind that blog.

Deb and Dee seem concerned that Christians should be respectful and loving towards other Christians, even when disagreeing on secondary issues – which is a fine and laudable goal.

Young Earth Creationism

However, I don’t see them fully demonstrating that philosophy in regards to secondary issues such as YEC (Young Earth Creationism).

Repeatedly at their blog, I see much disdain for YEC. And I don’t pick up that the disdain is due to their assertion that some YECs are trying to push its relevance.

They claim that some YEC advocates conflate YEC with salvation or the Gospel itself, which I have not seen (though I am not denying that some YECs may do this, but I don’t think it’s as rampant as they make it appear – I have never personally seen or read of an occasion of a YEC saying “Agreement with YEC = necessary for salvation”).

About the only name I have seen them cite as far as YECs, especially famous YECs, who elevate YEC to salvation-level proportions is Ken Ham. (Ham’s site, Answers Outreach)

I’ve read Ham’s material before and have seen him interviewed on TV shows about his views on evolution and creation.

I have personally not seen Ham equate YEC to the Gospel itself.

I have only seen Ham make an argument along the lines that questioning YEC (which usually involves denying a literal interpretation of the Bible and/or allowing a secular / naturalistic-materialistic worldview to color one’s reading of the Bible, including the book of Genesis) can lead people (young people in particular, who are immersed with secular views on evolution during school and college) to question other portions of the Bible.

That is, rejecting a literal, six- day creation interpretation in turn can, or may, ultimately lead them to question if the Gospel is true and accurate, or cause them to wonder if other aspects of the Bible are true.

I think Ham actually has a decent and legitimate point there, and I don’t see that as necessarily “equating YEC to the Gospel,” or to making a belief in it a requirement for salvation.

In one thread on one blog page at Wartburg Watch, one of the blog owners seemed to ridicule or mock YEC Christians who believe that dinosaurs may have existed at the time of Noah and that dinosaurs were led on to Noah’s Ark, or that this could have been a possibility.

This is not the specific thread I am thinking of, but is close to it in content and tone:

The Fred Principle Fundamental Evangelicals Rejecting Reason (Wartburg Watch blog post)

As a YEC, I and other YECs do not “reject science,” we do not “reject reason,” and we are not “anti science,” as we are so often depicted as (including in the Wartburg Watch post above, sadly).

Most of us YECs merely disagree with other people over scientific topics, or how to approach scientific topics.

Disagreeing with someone else on the topic of evolution or the age of the earth does not mean we YECs are “anti science” or “anti reason.” To keep saying we YECs are “anti science” is a strawman and is mischaracterizing our views and beliefs.

In the discussion on YEC, one comment from the Wartburg Watch says (which is again at this blog page):

“No matter what the anointed would have us believe, the age of the earth, complementarianism, the size of our church, and the governing structure of the church are not primary issues. Folks, we have been given a brain. We need to use it.”

I do not believe that the earth is millions or billions of years old or that God used evolution to create and change life forms.

From this blog person’s comments at Wartburg Watch, one would assume that those who do not agree that the earth is millions/billions of years old have not been given brains or do not use their brains. I’m unsure if the bloggers mean that, or if it was an unfortunate choice of words.

(I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some Christian Old Earth advocates and believers of theistic evolution who make the age of the earth or evolution a primary issue, who tell YECs they are unsaved and going to hell.)

This comment is from a blog owner of Wartburg Watch (at the same page)…

“So what was his [the YEC person] solution [when confronted with material that disagreed with YEC views]? He refused to read anything more because it challenged him to the core. He said he would choose to believe Young Earth in spite of the evidence because ‘he couldn’t take it.'”

…Was somewhat uncharitable. Not all YECs are “afraid” to look at the opposition’s view points nor do all YEC advocates recoil in horror, in disbelief, or go into denial after having read work critical of YEC views.

I have read arguments for both sides of the evolution and age of Earth debates in the past, and I remain a YEC.

I was subjected to years of secular macro-evolution education in public schools and a bit in college and was told as a student that the earth is millions and millions of years old, but I still remain unconvinced for old-earth or macro evolution beliefs.

I have listened to Christian scientific personality Hugh Ross, who believes in theistic evolution (or some variety of it) and in an old earth, many times on Christian shows over the past fifteen years, arguing in favor of an old earth view (Hugh Ross’ site, Reasons To Believe).

Ross seems like a very nice man (and very intelligent, too – though he can, in my view, get a bit prickly or condescending at times when debating YECs), and I have no doubt he believes in Jesus as much as I do, but I disagree with him on these particular issues.

I did not find the “old earth” arguments, or arguments in favor of evolution, by Ross or by other Christians, journals, blogs, or TV shows I’ve read or watched compelling, nor was I convinced by secular sources who argue for old earth and for Darwinism.

I am college-educated and made mostly straight A’s while in college, so I am not a hick or a dummy. I made a “B” in a math class (college algebra), a “B” in one science class, and a “C” in one science lab course – everything else, I got an “A” (including one or two other college- level science courses).

I have read material that questions and criticizes the YEC and Intelligent Design view, both by Christians (who believe in theistic evolution and an old age of the earth view) and by atheists – and I am still a YEC.

There seems to be a belief held (and it is condescending), by Old Age proponents, that if only a YEC is confronted with criticisms of YECism by old-earth proponents, we will abandon our views of YEC, because, by golly, Fact, Science!, and Truth are so obviously on the side of the intelligent, educated, old-earth proponents…

And that further, it seems there is also a belief, or attitude, that simple-minded, doofus, red-neck, inbred, wrongly- paranoid- of- liberal- tinged public school system education Young Earth Creationists (who also watch NASCAR, marry their first cousins, have only one tooth, and keep broken washing machines on their front lawns, next to the pink, plastic flamingos) simply cannot challenge or refute anti-YEC teachings, or we are so weak minded, we will faint upon hearing them.

If the situation about the origins of life, creation of the earth and of mankind were as simple as all that, there would not be an old-earth / young-earth / evolution debate at all; all Christians would have converted to old-earth / theistic evolution perspectives many years ago. Obviously both sides have excellent points, intelligent people, and facts to back up their positions.

Dee and Deb of the Wartburg Watch blog may not be questioning the salvation of a Christian who believes dinosaurs co-existed with Noah, but in my view, it is no less alienating, or uncharitable to imply people who do believe that way are rubes, out- of- touch, un-scientific, anti reason, ignorant, or that all YECs everywhere equate YEC to the Gospel – and I do pick up that tone in some of the posts at the WW blog on this issue. I find that baffling, since both ladies usually seem very sensitive to other people’s feelings and concerns.

I am a YEC myself. I do not believe a person has to be YEC or agree with it to “be saved.” (Click the “more” link below to read the remainder of this post…)

I had a Christian friend years ago who believed in theistic evolution and in the old age of the earth. I disagreed with him on the topic but never for a moment did I doubt he was “saved” and loved Jesus as much as I do.

I simply agreed to disagree with the guy, and we remained friends.

(This friend and I also disagreed on the roles of women in church, the importance of baptism – and get this, this friend was the one who always wanted to start debates and arguments with me over this stuff, as well as the age of the earth and evolution. I was the one willing to let it be.

I did not have a big interest in converting this friend to YEC or in convincing him that it’s biblical to allow women to be pastors, nor was I interested in debating these subjects with him. I was not trying to push my pro-woman as pastors/leaders, or my pro YEC views on him, but he was always bringing these topics up with me.)

I also felt comments and anecdotes such as this (in the WW post ‘Barna Group: Why Young People are Leaving Church’) were uncharitable towards the YEC position:

He [a Christian student] had grown up in both a church and school which pushed only a literal Young Earth interpretation of Genesis. He had been taught that scientists covered up the evidence of a young earth. He was also indoctrinated into the supposed evidence of such a viewpoint. You know, the Sunday school version of science.

The “Sunday School version of science?” What?

And what gives with the qualifier of “supposed” before the word “evidence?” (As in, only old-earth people have actual, honest- to- goodness evidence, and such that is science-y enough, wink wink.) That sounds like a derogatory way of discussing YEC.

It would be akin to me referring to old earth views as “liberal, godless beliefs with no grounding at all in science or the Bible.”

In another WW blog post by Deb, one about YEC and a film made about YEC by YEC proponents, called “Divided”, we find comments such as,

This [pro-YEC “Divided” film] is a propagandized video if ever there was one.

This is America. If a group of people want to make a movie about some topic, that is their right.

If a group of pro- OAE (Old Age of Earth) Christians wanted to make a documentary extolling the wonder and truths of OAE, would you support them in this, or dismiss their film as nothing more than “propaganda?” (I’m guessing Deb would be fine with a pro- OAE movie. It would be seen as purely educational, not as “propaganda.”)

Elsewhere in this same post, Deb writes,

Leclerc [narrator to a pro-YEC film called “Divided,” made in conjunction with YEC advocate Ken Ham] then makes a stunning pronouncement — “What came as a sort of shock to me was that in the process of interviewing local teens, I found that almost every kid I spoke to rejected the belief of a young earth as stated in Genesis.”

She says of this:

Rejected? That’s a pejorative term!

First of all, why is the guy’s observation “stunning?” Why is it “stunning” that he, a YEC, feels shocked or surprised that some Christian youth do not believe in YEC?

And farther below this, Deb writes,

“Ken Ham and his ilk are extreme LITERALISTS who are causing great harm in the body of Christ.”

Further below that, Deb refers to YEC beliefs as “The Flintstone Doctrine.”

Why is it acceptable for Deb to use loaded, pejorative, or insulting terms such as “propaganda,” “controlling,” “Flintstone Doctrine,” and “extreme LITERALISTS” when discussing YECs, or YEC views, but it’s wrong for the film makers to use the innocuous term “rejected?”

The word “rejected,” by the way, does not have to be understood as being pejorative; the narrator was simply explaining that some young people he interviewed do not subscribe to a belief in a literal, six day creation account.

Deb quotes Ham as saying,

Ken Ham responds to the above quote with these words: “That’s one of the questions of this day. But you know what we tend to do in our churches, our Sunday School and with our kids, oh don’t worry about that [studying, learning, or understanding the Bible], but trust in Jesus.”

And I agree with Ham there. It is indeed a concern.

In the last ten, twenty years, it seems Christians have become biblically illiterate and have placed a premium on having warm and fuzzy feelings about Jesus at the expense of all else, to the point we see headlines such as,

Atheists and Agnostics More Knowledgeable About Religion Survey Says

Know Your Bible? Many Christians Don’t (information based on a George Barna study)

Why Johnny Can’t Read the Bible

It seems to me there is way too much panic and alarm on display over Young Earth Creationism at the WW blog, which is otherwise a very fine blog.

I see Deb and Dee and some of their blog visitors stating or implying in other posts on other issues that conservatives and home-schoolers who believe that the public school system is liberally biased are being too paranoid… well, it sure looks to me as though these ladies are being at least a tad paranoid about YEC and any so-called threat YEC may pose to Christians or to churches.

So some families have asked their preachers to start allowing more teaching on the YEC topic at their churches, whoopee. I don’t see that as being alarming.

Would we see the same level of concern and panic from the WW blog if OAEs (Old Age of Earth) supporters began asking pastors to start permitting lessons on OAE?

Deb writes, “Old earth creationists DO take the Bible as written.”

But do they really? That is part of the debate itself. From where YECs sit, it sure does not look like OAEs “take the Bible as written,” not when it comes to the creation account in Genesis, age of the earth, and related matters.

Deb quotes Ham as saying (and I happen to agree with him here),

 Ken Ham: “If you can’t trust this part of the Bible here at the beginning and you’re told you can use man’s ideas to re-interpret this, we don’t have to take it as written, well wait a minute what about the rest of the Bible? Why are you telling me to take that as authoritative? “

Deb wrote, “Ham is being intentionally deceptive in his remark.”

That assertion is made but not proven. You may disagree with his view of things as stated in that quote but to go so far as to label it as “deceptive” is dishonest and unfair, in my view.

Also shortly under that quote, Deb writes,

Christians are divided on the issue of a young earth vs. an old earth, and it is WRONG to make this a salvific issue.

Where in any of that did Ham make it a “salvific” issue?

I don’t think Ham is necessarily saying “OAE = AUTOMATICALLY UNSAVED.”

Rather, (and I am not quite sure how to articulate my views on this), Ham seems to be saying that being OAE might cause, or has the possibility to cause, someone to be unsaved, to reject the Gospel, if it causes them to take the death and resurrection of Christ as allegory, or as being false or untrue, or to feel that the Bible contains errors at that point.

You can certainly be OAE and “be saved.”

However, I also see Ham’s point that a Non-Christian kid who is taught to take Genesis in a non-literal fashion may very well choose to read the Resurrection account in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament in the same way and decide those portions of Scripture are also non-literal (and hence not true / factual) as well.

I can also see how tossing out a literal, six- day creation view can cause a kid who is already a Christian to later start placing a slant on how he or she views the rest of the Bible. Not that doing so necessarily always will, but that there remains a possibility.

Adults do this sort of thing all the time with the faith and the Bible, so it’s not out- of- bounds or unloving to wonder and be concerned if teens and younger adults may do the same thing.

Witness the Jesus Seminar. Their main concern was not with the Genesis creation account per se, but the situation is somewhat similar: we have a bunch of liberal scholars (Jesus Seminar members) who actually began taking votes on which sayings of Jesus they felt were “authentic” and which, in their estimation, were “made up,” altered, or fabricated by the first apostles.

This allowed the Seminar members to disregard whatever teachings and comments of Jesus that are attributed to Him in the Gospels that they wished to, so these Seminar guys were inventing a Jesus of their own making and personal preference; a “pick and choose” or “salad bar” type of Jesus and Christianity.

Further down the page, Deb writes,

Ken Ham has come here from Australia and built a cottage industry based on the extra-biblical belief of young earth creationism.

Young Earth Creationism is “extra biblical”? For a blog that claims to want Christians to get along in peace and harmony and not be divisive and rude over secondary issues, in my humble view, the blog is stumbling on this when it comes to YEC. (Or maybe I have merely misunderstood what they mean by the term “extra biblical,” or they do not mean it in a negative fashion.)

I am a YEC who initially warmed to Wartburg Watch blog, but once I began seeing what I feel are unnecessary swipes and put downs aimed at YEC people (or the YEC view point) in some of the other posts, or the constant portrayal of YEC as a dangerous view held by ignorant kooks, I at times don’t feel so welcome there anymore.

It’s considered beyond the pale, controlling, unloving, and divisive for pro- YEC Ken Ham to question OAE (Old Age of the Earth views) and for him to explain, from his understanding and study, that OAE is not biblical (and it’s wrong for him to share his views in public or with other Christians) – but I’m supposed to believe it’s acceptable and even-handed for the WW blog ladies to make a sweeping declaration on the internet that YEC is “extra biblical” (a nice way of saying YEC is unbiblical?), or to imply in other blog posts that YECs are controlling, dangerous, divisive, sexist, abusive, and paranoid kooks? I don’t think that’s very fair.

Expressing such views on a blog, ones that disparage those Christians you disagree with or with the views they hold, is not necessarily any more honorable than Christians who promote their views in movies or by asking pastors if the pastors will teach on these subjects in their churches.

Below those previous comments quoted, Deb writes,

Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not going to bother with their [YECs] strategy other than to say that they all support the [FIC] family-integrated church model.

I find it distasteful and dishonest that one strategy of the WW blog is to frequently utilize a “guilt by association” tactic.

That is, if a group such as FIC or patriarchalists also happen to support Young Earth Creationism, or YEC Ken Ham, this is automatically taken to mean that Young Earth Creationism itself = Satanic, evil, wrong, ignorant, sexist, etc.?

While I am sympathetic towards most of the causes and issues on The Wartburg Watch blog, and I think it’s a great blog, I get a little tired of seeing YECs beat up or vilified there (and elsewhere), or seeing the belief in a literal, six- day creation portrayed as, or hinted at, as being ignorant, implausible, unreasonable, or unscientific.

If anything, it is YECs who get “beat up” more often, not only by secular society, which mainly buys into Darwinism macro-evolution and ridicules YECs constantly, but we get mocked by other Christians who believe in various forms of theistic evolution (or old earth age proponents).

I find it strange that the WW (Wartburg Watch) blog owners show much concern over Christians who they feel are making YEC into a top- level concern (as though YEC is some huge threat – I don’t see it), but from what I have seen so far, they exhibit little concern over the harassment endured by Christians who reject an old earth view / macro evolution view from secular society (or they make no mention of this at all, not that I have seen).

Christian professors, scientists, and Christian students who are YEC have been harassed, black-balled, received failing grades for, or fired from jobs, when their colleagues or instructors became aware of their YEC beliefs. Ben Stiller made a movie about this (called “Expelled”), and this phenomenon has been documented and discussed in television specials on Christian networks, and in blogs.

I have yet to see concern being shown for the discrimination and ridicule YECs have received from other Christians and by secular culture.

That attitude towards YEC Christians is also puzzling considering that the blog is very harsh towards NC (“Neo Calvinists” – referred to also as Reformed or as “Calvinistas“), one reason being that NCs can, and are usually, very arrogant and condescending towards those who don’t share their views, and the NCs typically brag that they are more learned and educated than those who disagree with them.

Christians who believe in theistic evolution or OAE are not necessarily more intelligent or learned than YECs, and some Christians I have seen on other blogs and forums around the web can be very condescending towards Christian YECs.

This situation is no different than the young Reformed men who are arrogant and cocky who rudely put down and dismiss those who disagree with Calvinism, and who do not have numerous seminary and college degrees.

If you cannot read koine Greek or ancient Hebrew, if you do not have several college degrees, and if you are not an expert at church history and ancient church father writings, many of these Reformed guys will say or hint you are too ignorant to read Scriptures or to debate Calvinism.

I sometimes see the same haughty, prideful, dismissive attitude demonstrated by Calvinists towards Non-Calvinist Christians as I do from some Christians who reject YECism towards those Christians who adhere to YEC.

Some who reject YEC may not be questioning my salvation, but they do question my intelligence by hinting that I am, or anyone who believes in YEC, is a dumb, close-minded, or intolerant yokel.

Additionally, the way the topic is mentioned so frequently on the WW blog, one would assume they mean to say or give the impression that every single last YEC equates YEC to the Gospel, or that all YECs are draconian, narrow-minded people who automatically exclude Christians who don’t share the YEC view.

That is not true. I am a YEC who has had Christian friends and acquaintances who believed in theistic evolution; we agreed to disagree on the topic and yet remained friends.

Unless I am misunderstanding the WW blog, YEC has supposedly caused some Christians to walk away from the Christian faith.

That is, they seem to say that it’s not just YECs who may be uncharitable towards non-YECs, but YEC itself has caused some Christians to leave the faith.

I don’t think someone walking away from the faith should be the main, only, or primary criteria to determine if a teaching is true or not.

The Bible, after all, says many Non Christians will find the Gospel message itself repugnant or foolish, which causes some of them to reject Christianity (and no, I do not mean to say that YEC = Gospel level).

Because the Gospel message causes offense or hurt feelings in some people, should Christians then stop preaching that all humanity are fallen sinners, and should they stop teaching about Christ and His death and resurrection, so as to be more palatable and sensitive to non believers? (Hint: most of your “seeker friendly” churches have been doing this very thing the past ten years or more, and it has not been helping Christianity.)

If I sincerely believe YEC is true, why should I pretend as though it is not and jump on board the (theistic) evolution / old earth view to win converts or to make Christianity seem less “backwards” to educated people who say they believe in Darwinism? Would that not be deceptive of me?

Isn’t it tacky and a bit detrimental to try to make the Gospel, or any aspect of Christianity, more appealing to non-Christians by trying to avoid offending their sensibilities, or by trying too hard to appear intellectual or “relevant” by, say, having pastors wear skinny jeans and cool T-shirts during Sunday Worship; by lecturing congregations that the Bible supposedly is dandy with oral sex in marriage; or by saying we are totally down and cool with old-earth views and Darwinism, if in fact some of us Christians are YEC?

I sometimes suspect that adherence to OAE (and theistic evolution) by some self-professing Christians is less due to being sincerely convinced the position is true, scientific, and biblical, but more that those who champion it find YEC an embarrassment or more difficult to defend in face of all the secular types who totally accept old age and macro-evolution.

The Bible also says that fornication is sinful. A lot of people, Christians included, find that a hard teaching to follow.

According to some books by Christian authors I have read, something like 70% of single, Fundamentalist males have admitted in a survey (by Barna, I think) that they have had sex outside of marriage many times, with different women.

Maybe the Bible’s very restrictive stance on sex has caused some to leave the Christian faith – does this mean Christians should stop upholding the Bible’s teaching on the matter?

If we are going to run around saying that “such and such” a doctrine or teaching or emphasis upon it creates sadness, offense, or hurt feelings to some people, which may then cause them to leave the faith, then what is the point of it all?

If we stop insisting on some doctrines as being important, or worth defending, Christians can then pick and choose what they want from the Bible and ignore the parts they don’t like, aren’t comfortable with, or don’t agree with, or adopt worldly beliefs which may distort their views about the rest of the Bible and the faith.

Believers then create a God or a Jesus in their own image, which is idolatry, and it’s not even Christianity, and we are warned in the New Testament about not following a false Christ.

I do believe love is important and that some Christians may place way too much emphasis on having “correct doctrine” (or handle its defense in an unloving manner), but I’ve seen what happens when the other route is taken – being too “warm and fuzzy” and accepting so as to be uber- sensitive to people’s feelings.

What happens when Christians are too “warm and fuzzy” and accepting is that people may feel good about themselves and about God, but they have a faith that is not based on the one of the Bible.

And pretty soon, when feelings trump being concerned about doctrine and correct Scripture interpretation, we have people teaching and believing all sorts of false things about God, salvation, and Christ, and yes, incorrect things about “secondary” issues.

For more information about evolution, old earth views, YEC, and Creationism and Intelligent Design, please see (these links should all open in new browser windows or tabs – comments about WW’s views on Beth Moore below the links. I am not in agreement with all views at all web sites linked to here):

How Do Beliefs About Creation Impact The Rest of Theology?

Old Earth Defenders of the Gospel

Views of Genesis and Personal Salvation (from Hip and Thigh)

Standing for Scripture (discusses Old Age View Vs YEC and how one YEC guy was fired from his job for converting to YEC)

Article XII and The Age of the Earth (discusses Biblical inerrancy)

Apologetics and the Age of the Earth

Why is Biblical Creationism Important?

From The New Yorker (secular magazine):

The Truth Wears Off – Is there something wrong with the scientific method?

Content About Old Earth/ Theistic Evolution/ YEC from Leadership U

Evolutionary Problems: The Underlying Assumption of Naturalism

From the “dreaded” Ken Ham site:

Creation Compromises

Also from the “dreaded” Ken Ham site:

Responding to Old Age Earth Arguments / Biblical Interpretation Methods

Refuting Theistic Evolution and Old Earth Creationism

Theistic Evolution and the Day-Age Theory by Richard Niessen

No Time For Itching Ears

See Also:

Christianity Astray: Is “New Evangelicalism” Really Pseudo– Evangelicalism

Dividing Truth Into Essentials and Non-Essentials

New Evangelicalism: It’s History and Its Fruit (written by an IFB, but he makes some good points in places)

Evangelicals Divided

The Importance of Biblical Doctrine: A Covenanter Testimony Against New Evangelicalism

Beth Moore/ Judgementalism

Something about a post about Christian author and speaker Beth Moore by one post at the Wartburg Watch did not sit quite comfortably with me (this one: The Enigma of Beth Moore).

I am not a Moore devotee or fan. I neither hate nor love Ms. Moore, so I don’t have a dog in this fight.

I have attended a local church that put on a Beth Moore study, and I attended that study, which ran for several weeks.

I have seen Moore speak a few times on the “Life Today” program.

Moore strikes me as being well- intentioned, warm and fuzzy, but not too deep (sort of the female version of Joel Osteen).

I’m one of the few in Christianity who doesn’t have a problem with pastors or teachers who don’t always provide deep, engaging sermons.

I do feel that overall, the “seeker friendly” trend of the last ten to twenty years has dumbed down churches a bit which has been problematic, but, on the other hand, I get tired of hyper-intellectual theological discussions on the internet or in sermons.

I do feel there is a place in current Christianity for more “warm and fuzzy,” shallow types such as Moore and Osteen.

Anyway, the women who run this blog, Deb and Dee, mentioned a few things about Moore, one of which is that according to one article, Moore at one time adopted a son, but after seven years, returned him to his biological mother.

Much hand wringing was made about that and the fact that she does not give out every single bit of personal information about herself or the adoption situation, and much ado was made over the fact that she makes big money off her tours and books, and one commentator kept mentioning how Moore’s one lecture on a chapter from the book of Hebrews in the New Testament went on a tangent.

(It is not uncommon for Moore to try to make Bible lessons more relatable to her female audience, or by making herself seem more relatable and approachable, by discussing her personal life, such as discussing the amusing escapades of her pet dogs. This is not a big problem for me, and it seems harmless enough.)

It was assumed from the outset at this blog entry at Wartburg that because Moore has many devoted fans who get greatly emotional and upset if their heroine is criticized, that their post criticzing her would get them in hot water too, with many rabid fans leaving catty comments.

That did not happen.

Only one or two commentators left comments challenging the critique of Moore, and one or two of them, quite fairly, mentioned that the blog owners had a judgmental attitude towards Moore- one of them who pointed this out was told by one of the blog owners that she (or he) was being “emotional.”

I thought that was rather unfair. The person did not strike me as being “emotional,” and he or she made some rather good points.

I think because the blog owners stated upfront they were expecting an avalanche of “emotional” Moore fans to leave antagonistic posts on their blog defending Moore, their reaction to any posts was colored and filtered through that expectation beforehand.

I find it odd that while the blog owners are deeply troubled about churches or denominations that are hyper- judgmental (or un-forgiving) towards women in general, or towards their own members on disputable secondary matters, yet concerning Moore, at least in that one post, they themselves were being very judgmental towards Moore or Moore’s lifestyle or supposed mistakes.

I don’t see what business it is of theirs, or anyone’s, why and how Moore adopted a boy and then returned him.

I have a feeling any reason Moore could, or would, cite for doing so would not be viewed as “good enough” by the blog owners, and regardless of what Moore’s reasons may be, the ladies at that blog are setting themselves up as Moore’s judges.

Let’s suppose Moore released a statement tomorrow saying she gave the son back to his biological mother because she was bored and tired of raising the kid.

She wanted to have more free time to knit scarves for kittens, fly kites in the park, and take up underwater ballet rather than give attention to the boy.

Okay, so what then?

Are you going to hold that against Moore forever, like Mark Driscoll chewing out his wife Grace twenty years after she had sex with another boyfriend while in high school, and he found out about it decades later?

Would you forgive Moore, whatever her reasons?

What would Moore have to do for you to forgive her and meet your approval, re-adopt the boy? Walk on her hands and knees through broken glass? Issue a public apology? Juggle some porcupines? What price must she pay to be forgiven?

I’m not even sure that what Moore did (returning an adopted boy back to the biological mother who wanted him back) could even technically be classified as a sin. In your view, it might be considered cold hearted, possibly damaging to the boy emotionally for a time, but sinful? I’m not sure.

I also saw something simliar when one of the ladies of the Wartburg Watch blog judged singer Amy Grant; it was repeated on that blog that Grant was quoted in an interview as saying it was acceptable to divorce her husband because “God told me it was okay,” which got a sarcastic come-back of one sort or another from either Dee or Deb.

I agree that Grant’s “God told me it was okay [to divorce my husband]” may be questionable on different levels, but the comeback by one of the blog owners, tinged with sarcasm, bothered me a little, and the attitude seemed somewhat judgemental towards Grant.

(To digress for a moment, I don’t think the topic of divorce is quite as clear-cut as many Christians think it is.

I’ve read online articles by Christians who explain Jesus did not limit permissible or justifiable divorce only in cases of adultery, or if one was married to an unbeliever, as is commonly thought.

These authors say that many Christians have greatly misunderstood Christ’s teachings about divorce for a long, long time. I’ve never married, so I’ve never been divorced, so I have no pony in this race, but the articles I read were convincing.)

DO VISIT THE BLOG

I would recommend the Wartburg Watch blog to others (the link again is The Wartburg Watch), to gain insights on some of the troubling trends in Christianity these days, and to see rebuttals to some of the arguments put forth by gender complementarians or to read about the latest dumb and sexist thing Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll is up to.

It’s a worthwhile blog to visit to find good links to other resources and to other blogs (which are sometimes left in the comment section under each main blog entry by their blog visitors).

Deb and Dee sincerely care about people who have been hurt by abusive churches and ideologies (which is very commendable), but there are one or two aspects or attitudes that I don’t fully share, care for, or agree with, or was even a little troubled by.

But do drop by the blog. I think a lot of content is useful and edifying, just tune out the put-downs and jabs taken at Young Earth Creationism and right wing politics and Republicans (which is done sometimes by the blog’s visitors, not always by the blog owners).

I personally agree with conservative Christians and political conservatives that public schools in America are very pro-liberal biased, that they push a liberal and a pro-homosexual, pro-moral relativity, anti-Christianity agenda – this is another view that is subtly mocked at the WW blog.

I further agree with conservatives that liberals, secular humanists, and Darwinists (and some theistic evolutionists, apparently) are deeply afraid or disgusted by the thought of even allowing any non- (or anti-) macro-evolution beliefs to be taught in public schools, and they are deeply opposed to macro- evolution being challenged or even questioned in the American public classroom.

Just as some conservatives and Christians seek to influence culture, government, young people, media, movies, schools, and newspapers, radio shows, rock music, and magazines, you can better believe that liberals, atheists, militant homosexuals, Democrats, socialists, and secular humanists do as well. To deny that, or to pretend only conservatives seek to change or influence culture and government, is very naive and shortsighted. I would not laugh any of that off as paranoid rantings, or the weird fantasies of lunatics or fringe extremist homeschooling types – as the WW ladies and some of their readers seem to do. (There are most definitely some paranoid kooks, such as Christian Reconstructionists, but not all conservatives are like that.)

Some of the Wartburg Watch blog visitors at times use salty language, but it’s not common (I’ve seen the words “sh*t” and “f*ck” pop up a few times in the comment sections), so if that’s a concern for you, you may wish to avoid.

Also, I can’t quite share the owners of the Wartburg Watch view fully (paraphrase, not a quote): “secondary doctrine is not important.” Christians should treat other Christians kindly, even with those whom they disagree on secondary doctrines, but to do so at the expense of doctrine (secondary or not), is, in my opinion, dangerous.

The ladies who run the blog are overall doing a good thing, bringing attention to those who have been wounded by faulty churches (I just wish they realized that not everyone who believes in YEC is evil, stupid, divisive, or horrible). But despite a few misgivings, I still feel it’s a very good blog.