I wonder this. I ponder this question: Will there be gentlemen? Will there be gentlemen who guard their behaviour, guard their conversations and the words they choose to use in mixed company or not, men who will refrain from crude or vulgar speech or innuendo?
Not much time for blogging as we’ve been covered up with things to do and errands to run lately. Phone talks & letters with Timothy in Ghana, Kathryn in Uganda… comings and goings… a husband to love, children to teach, meals to prepare, a home to keep… ah, a life – nowhere better!
Not much time for blogging, either, when I’ve spent my ‘computer time’ reading about and listening to more from Marks Hill (typo intended). I mulled over each talk and each time was left with an uneasy – okay, sometimes disgusted, feeling. Now, you know I’d be the first to say: whoa, watch that – you cannot trust ‘feelings’ about things – you need to have some reality on which to base your thoughts or your convictions or whatever. And so I pondered that a bit. What is it about his talks, his sermons, his shows? What is it. Did I click on the videos of sermons hoping to (he is a ‘pastor’ after all) find a studied theologian? Did I assume I would hear the words of a wise and faithful scholar? Of course I did. I wouldn’t waste my time otherwise. Not usually.
So my uneasiness turned to regret and disappointment when I watched a few more Mars Hill… or Marks Hill videos… saw or heard some crude innuendo and lack of exegetical or expositional teaching. So, I thought, hmmm; is that the problem? Is the problem that I am not seeing the teaching of sound doctrine? No… no, that wasn’t the heart of the matter. The matter was that there was another teaching going on – yes, some with the words, but more, a general teaching… the general teaching that one can be a pastor, teacher, elder – whatever – in the church and as such, it’s okay to be glib about the scriptures, it’s okay to mock people who don’t fit his particular paradigm, to make fun of people groups, to handle Biblical truths lightly and to be crude and irreverent in the process. I know the Word says this will be so:
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. — 2 Timothy 4.2-5
So I wonder, the young impressionable men of ‘his’ congregation, receiving weekly (or more often) teaching and modeling are, in fact, being conformed into an image… the new pastor persona, the brash, sometimes irreverent, cool preacher who seems unconcerned with social graces. So, I wonder, in the pulpits in churches here and abroad… will there be gentlemen?
Ironically, I hadn’t taken any time to read Steve Camp’s blog for the last several months and did so this evening and I was amazed that the matter, among other related things, was the topic of recent blogs – and at Tim Challies, too. Interesting how this so often goes. So that I don’t have to link the material here ( I think the last video a few days ago was plenty ) I decided to just post a couple of links and you can see for yourself – or not. But I must say, I grieve for the church. Until recently, I thought I was really just grieving all the seductive, emergent, seeker, purpose, I wanna-have-it-my-way, new age infiltration and proliferation. I thought that was the great threat to the church. And it is. They are. But the loss of reverence, the loss of respect, manners, decency and decorum… I didn’t see all this coming as a ripple effect from those who reject the old paths. But here it is.
Who will take a stand against the superfluity of naughtiness? Will there be gentlemen?