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Nothing Works

April 21, 2016

I saw this announcement the other day about mega-church pastor Darrin Patrick being removed from the pastorate because of “pastoral misconduct…combined with a historical pattern of sin” and just shook my head in sadness.  There is really no reason to comment on this specific incident, let alone gloat as some are doing.  Falling into sin, or even a pattern of sin, is not something limited to pastors nor is it something pastors are immune to.

Patrick was a leader in the Acts 29 Network (where ironically he was part of a decision to remove Mark Driscoll from leadership for very similar reasons) and a key figure in The Gospel Coalition (which also recently had another key leader disgraced).  If you go to the web pages of those organizations you will find Patrick’s bio and picture have vanished.  It was almost as if he was never there.  The slide from being an admired super-star to being an embarrassment can happen in the blink of an eye.  It seems as if “right theology” does not have the power to protect us from sin.

Of course, those who disagree with the neo-reformed theology of Acts 29 and TGC see this fall as, if not proof, at least an indicator that these movements have serious flaws.  To say this publically is dangerous however.  It is only a matter of time before someone I admire; someone who has inspired me spiritually will probably have a similar fall.  Heck, I don’t have any assurance that I won’t have one.  It is almost as if nothing works; as if an assurance that a right understanding of the Bible makes us immune to such stumbling is actually the first step toward stumbling.

There is one thing that troubles me however.  Both the Acts 29 Network and The Gospel Coalition are aggressive, even combative, toward those with whom they differ.  In doing this they have hurt many people and, frankly, hurt them deliberately.  Of course, these hurtful blasts were meant only to warn the rest of us that the targets of their attacks were to be avoided at all costs; to expose their “error.”  I wonder if there is ever going to be a point where these organizations ask “What is wrong with us?”

Come to think of it, the question “What is wrong with…?” is at its best when we direct it at ourselves and most dangerous when we aim it at those who disagree with us.



From → Christianity

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