Time to Fear God and Not Man, Part 2
You can find Part 1 of this series here.
THIS IS NOT SIMPLY YOUR PASTOR’S FIGHT
One of the problems we are experiencing right now is a mistaken belief that we must wait for our pastors, professors, and denominational leaders to fix this problem. We make this mistaken assumption because we have not rightly identified the threat that CRT/I poses. As the previous segment of this article addressed, CRT/I is being presented as Christian doctrine. Many men have labored to expose how CRT/I has it’s own definitions of Law, Justice, Gospel, Repentance, Reconciliation, and Atonement. Therefore there is no need to rehash that territory here. What we are facing isn’t a small error of little significance. What we are facing is the defining theological battle of our day! What we are fighting over is what the expression of the Christian faith in the SBC and in America will be! This one is for all the marbles! It is nothing short of this generation’s battle for orthodoxy!
So why are most of our leaders unable or unwilling to fight? To understand that you have to understand what reformation is. Reformation is a looking backwards to see where the train went off the tracks in order to correct course. It is, in essence, repentance.
But if repentance is necessary to achieve reformation that would mean those who have lead us in our wondering off track are responsible. Reformation therefore only becomes necessary when there has been a failure of leadership. From the days of John the Baptist, to Martin Luther, to the Conservative Resurgence, institutions and the men beholden to them have always been resistant to reform. This because institutions are incentivized to resist the messy and costly work of reformation. Institutions won’t reform because they are always the very thing in need of reforming.
So what does this have to do with you? If those leading won’t fight this then how can you? What does it actually look like to “stand up?”
A lot of this will have to do with who and where you are.
- Are you a man like Ascol or Buck that have been on the front lines of this fight?
- Are you an institutional man trying to goosestep just enough to not rock the boat?
- Are you someone who bought into the CRT/I push for a time but are now regretful that you did?
- Are you a messenger who was mislead in 2019 into voting for R9?
- Are you a pastor or elder that has yet to speak on the subject?
- Are you a laymen under a pastor or elder that has yet to speak on the subject?
- Are you a laymen under a pastor who has been standing up and speaking on this subject?
In each of these scenarios you can fight back. You are uniquely positioned to do just that. It may be costly, it may be emotionally and relationally taxing, and it absolutely will require repentance, but you are called to do it. You are called to “contend for the faith once for all handed down to the saints.” Let’s break down how…
One of the faults of the good guys in this is we have simply been too nice. We all know the 11th commandment, we all joke about it, but we are all in some way still held captive by it. We’re playing their game. It needs to stop. This isn’t a boxing match with competitive rules and an impartial referee. This is a street fight and the opponent is eye gouging, pulling hair, and hitting below the belt. It’s time for the gloves to come off. This is a fight over the purity of the gospel and the church of which it has been entrusted. It is foolish to expect an opponent that would cynically accuse the brethren to play by the same rules he would impose on you – particularly so considering we all know who is the source of such accusations.
The men on the front lines have done well in exposing CRT/I as another gospel. They have all repeatedly laid it out doctrine to doctrine, side by side, to show how CRT/I is incompatible, and even hostile, to the gospel. What they have failed to do is hold anyone accountable, or call for those who have taught this to be held accountable. That is, even the best of us have yet to channel that inner angry parent.
What does it say about us when parent after parent can stand up at a school board meeting, look the school board officials in the eye, and call for their resignations, but we can’t do the same with our institutions? Are the children of these parents better protected from the poison of CRT/I than the flock of God?
It certainly appears so.
The parents are better advocates because they do not just simply tinker endlessly with the doctrine, they demand that heads roll. They pursue accountability. If this is indeed another gospel, if you can get to the point of saying that, then when are you going to get to the place of which Paul arrives in Galatians 1 concerning those who “come to you preaching another gospel?” When do we see a call for biblical accountability?
Those of you in the pastorate who dabbled in CRT/I, or who have yet to soberly address it with your flock, you need to repent. We have already covered the immense damage we are seeing as a result of this teaching in all spheres of life from families, to churches, to society at large. CRT/I is fundamentally a post-modern deconstructionist philosophy, and that is exactly what it has set about doing. Deconstructing and destroying everything in it’s path. It is a guarantee, that to some degree, your flock has already not been spared. Why then will you not address it? You are duty-bound to protect them! Or are you simply a hireling that will run from the threat? Maybe just turn the head a little bit and pretend you don’t see?
A Biblical qualification of an elder is that he must hold fast to the truth and be able to refute those who contradict (Titus 1:9).
Note, not just contradict ideas itself but also, specifically, those responsible for it.
This doesn’t simply mean you need to be able to merely refute all the errors the institutions themselves can refute. Even Rome can refute Arianism, Pelagianism, and Unitarianism. It also means you are capable of refuting the errors that flow from the very institutions themselves. Even the ones that trained you! You may be able to fight all the theological battles of yesterday but if you are unwilling or unable to perform this Biblical role concerning the defining error of your day then you are biblically unqualified for the office of elder. You’re merely busy building monuments to the prophets and, as a result, it is you who need to resign! You do your flock no favors by refusing to defend them against the accusations of CRT/I! Repent or resign!
It should be noted that a great many men have begun to resign from the pastorate. These are men, spoken of often, who have grown weary of the division plaguing their churches and despondent over an inability to keep their church united. These men have been nick-named “third-way pastors” for famously calling for a third way so as to not commit to one side or the other of an increasingly divided evangelicalism. We must point out what we are divided over. One side wants to deconstruct what the other wants to conserve. These divisions are widening, not closing, and that is because they are antithetical to one another. Furthermore, we are not simply dealing with a different take on secondary doctrines, what we are talking about is “another gospel.” Per Titus 1:9, if you are not willing or capable of refuting this error you are not qualified for the office of elder/pastor. Deconstructionists do not want unity, they just want you to want unity so they can be unrestrained in their effort to not spare the flock. Those leaving the pastorate over the loss of a false unity *should* be leaving. They are not leading, they are not guarding, they are not at their posts. If this is you, repent or resign.
As for the laymen, your part in this is so very crucial! This is not simply your pastor’s fight! You are largely what will drive reformation. All sustainable reform movements are from the bottom up. Meaning they have an element of populism inherent in them. The first conservative resurgence in the SBC was nicknamed “the pitchfork rebellion.” There is a reason for this. Institutional men, being resistant to reform as they are, will ride the status quo. The pastorate, of whom the institutions largely train, because they themselves are not actually leading, will in great numbers simply just march to the institutional drumbeat, which means those men in the institutions and pastorate that are actually leading this charge will be greatly outnumbered if we are not there to charge with them.
This sounds intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It is true that these men have an academic and theological pedigree that most of us will never achieve – and yes, they will not hesitate to leverage it. However, It is important to point out their vulnerability isn’t in what they do not know. Their vulnerability is that they sin against what they do know. Every compromise a man makes with the vain philosophies of men shifts more body weight off of solid rock and onto shifting sand. The house on shifting sand doesn’t just fall, it falls “greatly.”
If you are still wondering how you can possibly be qualified for this fight perhaps you should take comfort in who the Lord God delights in using people of little power.
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
Well would you look at that? Are you a conservative laymen in an evangelical church? You’d be pretty hard pressed to find a person more “foolish and despised by the world.” You probably even voted for Trump! What a leper! Looks to me as if you’re more than qualified for the fight!
So how does a layman fight? He fights primarily in one of two ways. Which of those two ways will depend on what sort of church he finds himself in.
If you are in a church refusing to address the issue then you should meet privately with your elders and discuss the qualifications for elder concerning the ability to refute CRT/I as error. Feel free to share this article with them. It’s important to make the point that the issue here isn’t whether or not your elders are brothers, are good men, or even if you like them. The issue is if they are leaders, if they are the men for the hour.
If your elders are unwilling to refute the CRT/I contradiction of our day then you will have to assess the situation. Is it winnable? Is there a process per the Church’s bylaws to lawfully bring the issue to the church? Even if it is winnable, how will the church find new shepherds if the current ones are forced to resign? You may be surprised, considering the swing in public awareness and sentiment just how winnable your church might be. Once in the fight, the local church should then join the fight at the denominational level, demanding accountability in the very same manner.
If it is not winnable then you ultimately have a decision to make. I would caution against the “leaving loud” strategy the woke crowd employed. They meant to cause division, you should not. It is better to leave peacefully and pray that they come around. You want to interact with them in every way the Bible commands, with respect for the office of elder. You do not want to give them an occasion to accuse you of division and jam you up in charges of church discipline as you seek to find a more faithful local church.
Ultimately though, you must begin looking for a different church. That is because as a husband and a father, you are most chiefly responsible for the discipleship of your household, not your Pastor. The Lord will hold you accountable for placing your wife and children under the leadership of men who are biblically unqualified and not leading them faithfully but rather themselves following fashionable evangelical sins.
If you find yourself in a solid church being lead by solid men that are addressing CRT/I and advocating for accountability at the denominational level then the most important thing you can do is communicate to those men that you understand the battle and that you have their back. That you will defend them in the Church and in the denomination from the enemy’s assaults. Because your pastor is going to be attacked if he is fighting this – and attacked far more than you will. They do not fear one laymen. Make no mistake, they fear a large number of laymen but they also fear one pastor because they know a lot of laymen are behind him!
It must be noted that, to some degree, the churchmen of evangelicalism are already standing up. We know this because of this article from The Atlantic sharing the frustrations of pastors who have failed to move their congregations to the Left because they have been met with stiff resistance.
We must address this article because the game plan we have begun to lay out about will undoubtedly be referenced as an example of what is being complained about in The Atlantic. Especially since we are now at the point of calling for action, reform, and accountability. The answer to an article like this is to lean in.
What does The Atlantic article tell us?
We are learning that there are in fact pastors out there whose agenda it is to move their churches towards a more progressive socio/political ethic. These men have no moral qualms about complaining about resistance they meet in their efforts to a pagan Progressive publication that consistently expresses a prejudicial contempt for and hostility towards conservative Christians. Do we really think that if Paul forbids Christians from taking other Christians to pagan courts in legal disputes (1 Corinthians 6:1-11) that pastors who complain about their flock before a pagan audience – one already preconditioned to hate them – are leading their flock in good faith? Such an act, rather, is treacherous. This sort of hostility to the flock is a defining characteristic of a wolf. These men should be called upon to immediately resign, repent, and be placed under church discipline. The warnings against treachery in Scripture are severe, and this is treachery against the bride of Christ.
In fact, this should serve as a warning to any aspiring pastor who considers it part of their agenda to be installed in a church more conservative than they are and move it Leftward: You can be the most educated, the most charismatic, the most successful, the most charming, the most commended, and the most outwardly pious man for the job; but if you hate and resent the people you are entrusted with to lead, you are also the most unqualified.
In the next piece in this series we will talk about why you have to be engaged in the fight. You can find it here.