This was going to be just a comment on the last post. But seeing as how the last post is getting so much traffic, I decided that I should turn it into a short post all its own.
I get it. I was wrong. I recant.
I wrote a blog post yesterday criticizing the wisdom of John Piper’s tweet from a couple of days ago:
He said: “An easy way to gather a wimpy army is to summon all the soldiers who are boldly determined not to sound like Fundamentalists.”
I called into question the tactfulness of using the word “Fundamentalist” in such a way proclaiming that I myself don’t want to sound like a Fundamentalist, yet I am not a wimp. I then explained what Fundamentalism has come to mean in distinction to Evangelicalism (that part of the post I stand behind as absolute fact that is beyond question something I believe to be true).
However, on my 30+ minute commute to work, on I35 it hit me…
I think I “get” Piper’s quote now. He is saying that if your goal is not to sound like a fundamentalist, then you have the wrong goal set. Our goal should be to proclaim the truth, not to keep from sounding like a group that people associate with imbalance and intolerance. In other words, whatever the truth is, we should not be shy about proclaiming it. Those shy about the proclamation of truth are wimpy and, often, simply don’t want to sound like Fundamentalists!
I agree. We are weak when we are so scared of wrong associations that we keep silent. We are wimpy when we won’t stand up for what we believe because we are scared we might be wrong. We are impotent when we cover our mouths because we are scared that the truth will offend someone.
Also (i.e. however, but, etc.), I would add something that is just the opposite to balance it out and let you know how I am thinking about this. Here is a new pithy statement that I would stand behind just as much as Piper’s for the same reasons:
“An easy way to gather a scared army is to summon all the soldiers who are boldly determined not to sound like Liberals.”
What do I mean here? The same thing. When your pursuit of truth becomes defined by a preset notion of who you want to be and who you don’t want to be, then it is impotent, sterile and timid. If you are scared that you are going to look like a liberal, it means that you have made camp and are afraid of offending your other comrades in your camp. A liberal, in this case, is someone who is going to progress beyond the status quo to advance the cause, for good or for ill. Theologically, if you are too scared to sound like a liberal, you are probably going to maintain a life and career of confirming prejudice. You will never challenge the status quo, even if you are convicted of its truth.
I am glad that Martin Luther was not scared of sounding like a liberal.
We need those who are not scared of sounding like a Fundamentalist, Liberal, Evangelical, Emerger or whatever. We need those who follow truth and conviction without shame or fear of reprisal. We need those who defend the camp and those who are scouts. Above all, we need those who proclaim the Gospel without fear of wrongful association.