Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Last Week 4 Met Tab 02

[Pic Rapper Nelly who said in 2008 During the day I wear jeans, a vest and Converse trainers, but I’m happy to wear a tie and I’ll do the formal thing when it’s called for – I’ve even got an Armani tux]
The Met Tab Summer School is famed for its negativity and we had it in good measure this time. I didn't hear Peter Master's warnings against contemporary music worship styles on the Wednesday night but I did hear the first of Chris Hand's papers on Hip Hop and Rap and the reading of Dr Ted Williams's papers on the new Calvinism.
  • Chris began with a potted history of Hip Hop leading up to the current existence of Christian rap performers. I was interested to learn that break dancing referred to dancing during the instrumental break in a song. I thought most of what he said made sense although I think he tended to see Hip Hop as a much more unified movement than it is. My sons wear their trousers low but they are hardly big rap fans. He also seemed to think there was something semi-sacred about the shirt and tie that rather escaped me. The statement that "different types of music have a moral value - good or bad" is simply incorrect and needs to be nuanced much more carefully. Obviously, the way music is played and presented can have moral content but surely not the notes themselves. I would be surprised if there were more than a handful of people present with any inclination to Hip Hop. I have tried to listen to the Calvinist Hip Hoppers. As Chris himself admitted the content is sound. I just don't like Hip Hop or rap I guess. Why anyone would want to introduce it into worship I cannot really see.    
  • Ted Williams was present but having had heart surgery recently someone else read the paper itself. This was a very useful hatchet job on the new Calvinists who we are always hearing about but sometimes find it difficult to get the dirt on. Four men were denounced in varying degrees - Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Driscoll and Al Mohler. There were no big surprises but it was nice to have things documented.
  1. Keller is a theistic evolutionist who sadly more or less ducked a question on hell by Martin Bashir. See hereHe has a rather ecumenical approach. 
  2. John Piper is a Blaise Pascal and C S Lewis fan and friendly toward Rick Warren. His presentation of truths has a distorting effect. He claims that God spoke audibly to him with new revelation in 2007.
  3. Al Mohler is rather ecumenical too being a big fan of Billy Graham.
  4. Mark Driscoll I won't bother to pass on as it seems to me very difficult to defend such a man who comes over as rather immature.
The negative note does need to be sounded. Perhaps it should be done with more humility. The experience is rather depressing and enervating, nevertheless. Most people I talk to don't exactly agree with what is said but we are generally sympathetic and so feel rather caught. I have no time for Mark Driscoll but the others seem to me to have some merits despite their glaring inconsistencies. Keeping a balance is not easy.


Paul Burgess said...

I agree with your concerns about an overly negative approach to others. I was surprised about Keller although there is a source you link to BUT John Piper!? Do you know what is being referred to with an alleged audible extra biblical revelation. This seems utterly inconsistent to all I know of Piper.

Jonathan Hunt said...

Regarding Piper's 2007 blogpost, I believe that with the greatest respect, Dr Williams has entirely misunderstood Piper's rather provocative way of teaching that the Lord speaks to us, 'audibly' if you like, when we read His word, through his word.

The other criticisms, though, are valid and I do think (who am I??) that with regard to Warren, Piper has made a mistake.

John Kilpatrick said...

Cannot agree that Tim Keller 'ducks' the question, Gary; instead he rather impales himself on it! It could be considered a model answer for such a question, unless, of course, the point of an answer is to display ones credentials to fellow believers (and further alienate those who expect to be alienated) :-)

Gary Brady said...

The Piper link is
As Jonathan points out, like the Keller clip, it is not the simple thing that one might expect. I am only reporting what was said and trying to figure it out for myself. John's point is fair but Keller's answer still left me uneasy.

Gary said...

Ah, Gary - I was going to raise the question of documentation; I'm glad to see others have. However, I'd be less charitable than JH - Williams has misrepresented Piper, and whether deliberately or carelessly it's inexcusable in a public forum. I agree though that Piper made a mistake in inviting Warren. But I'm uneasy with the claim that Mohler is ecumenical. Billy Graham associates with liberals and Catholics, so we should not associate with BG. That's second-degree separation. Mohler respects BG so we should be suspicious of Mohler. If that's not third-degree separation, it's certainly third-degree suspicion, and is (I think) the first time I've known it advocated openly.

Gary Brady said...

Gary - I'm not sure if JP has been misrepresented. Certainly the context which was not given is important. As for Al Mohler I think the argument was not as simplistic as I may have made it sound. The claim was that Mohler had been involved in an ecumenical campaign with Graham and has also signed the Manhattan Declaration.