Posted on Monday, October 23, 2017 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

The dreadful condition of the conversation regarding racial reconciliation among evangelicals is a cause for sadness. Within the denomination to which I belong it has become rather toxic. Dissent from the approved narrative is met either with venom or dismissal. For instance I witnessed a black sister in Christ referred to as “ignorant” by a white Teaching Elder because she challenged some of the assumptions of those driving the race conversation in the PCA. As a consequence of this sort of thing many have absented themselves entirely from the conversation. There are some, however, who are still willing to be treated shabbily for suggesting an alternative to that which we are allowed to think and say.
 

Samuel Sey, a brother in Christ who happens to be black wrote a courageous reflection on the state of racial reconciliation among Christians. He concludes his post by writing:

Racial reconciliation happened on the cross when Jesus reconciled Jewish and Gentile sinners to God. Racial reconciliation happened when Jesus made Jews and Gentiles, Black people and White people, and all other racial groups one in himself when he became our representative and identity on the cross. What Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. could not do for Americans, Christ did for the world 2,000 years ago. Jesus has already accomplished racial reconciliation, and it’s even better than we could have ever hoped for. Those of us who trust in him are not merely reconciled to each other, we are also reconciled to God.
 

We should hate injustice, love good, and establish justice. Like William Wilberforce and Francis J. Grimké, we must do whatever is in our capacity to establish justice. However, we must not lose sight of the gospel. Real racial reconciliation isn’t political, it’s theological. We evangelicals are already reconciled to each other in Christ. We just have to remember that and live like it.
 

Our reconciliation to each other will be perfected in Heaven when a great multitude that no one can number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, stand before our Lord Jesus Christ. But until then, we must live in light of our reconciliation to each other in all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Please take time to read the entire piece HERE.
 

 

Posted on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a conservative law and order sort of guy. I like the idea of giving police officers the benefit of the doubt. I like it when NFL players stand for the National Anthem.

 

But I also believe that conservatives like myself ought to be intellectually consistent. And I am seeing a lot of inconsistency. I am seeing people who warn about government control and champion free speech applying their principles in ways that seem to be contradictory.

 

The article by Jonathan Last in The Weekly Standard entitled It's Trump vs. the NFL, And We're All Losers is well worth your careful consideration.

 

Posted on Friday, September 08, 2017 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

I respect many of those who chose to sign the Nashville Statement. Some of them are friends. And, as I have stated before, I am in agreement with the substance of the document.

 

However, any suggestion that those who drafted and/or signed the Nashville Statement are like John the Baptist is, to quote a friend, revolting. The fact is, it would cost me absolutely nothing to sign the Nashville Statement. It costs me nothing in my church or denomination to state publicly (as I do repeatedly) that I uphold biblical sexual ethics and reject any attempt to revise God's design of male and female as the only two available genders. Heck, I'm even on the conservative wing of this whole thing in rejecting the legitimacy of the term "gay (but celebate) Christian." I am troubled by the spiritual friendship movement. I believe we ought to reject the term "sexual orientation" in favor of the more biblical "homosexual desire." And stating all of that will cost me nothing.

 

And this is true for most, if not all, of those who signed the Nashville statement. That is not a criticism. Not everything we do should lead to persecution. But please spare us the self-congratulatory comparisons to actual martyrs. Such comparisons are a mockery of those who actually suffer for their faith in Christ and commitment to God's Word. Honestly, some of these men need to get over themselves and stop boasting as though it is especially courageous to be a conservative pastor or seminary prof in a conservative institution. I am thankful that it will not cost me my job to uphold God's Word regarding human gender and sexuality. But the same cannot be said about some of the men and women I serve as pastor. Pastors like me would do well to give thanks for the covering from which we benefit and go about serving those who will indeed pay a price.

 

 

Posted on Friday, September 08, 2017 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

Just as we predicted on the podcast, signing the Nashville Statement has become a measure of one’s commitment to biblical sexual ethics and gender distinctions. These sorts of things are inevitable. One group drafts a statement and opens it up to signatures with all the right people and influencers signing gladly. Suddenly those who do not sign are immediately suspected of going all squishy on the truth. And almost like a reflex action the very thing has happened on social media regarding the Nashville Statement.
 

The whole thing reminds me of a scene from Seinfeld:
 

I suppose I understand why many Baptists believe in the necessity of such statements since they have not taken vows to uphold an historic confession of faith (excepting our Reformed Baptist friends). But Presbyterians should know better. We are supposed to take seriously the admonition against binding another’s conscience. Presbyterians also ought to understand why a fellow Presbyterian would not feel comfortable signing a non-ecclesiastical document such as the Nashville Statement. Bottom line: there are a whole host of reasons why someone who affirms the substance of the Nashville Statement would choose not to sign. And to call into question someone’s commitment to the truth because they did not sign is rather detestable.

 

There are three primary reasons why I am not comfortable adding my signature to the Nashville Statement:

 

1. It is a product of CBMW.

Why would I sign a document produced by an organization which has embraced Trinitarian error (the eternal subordination of the Son)?

 

2. It is not particularly useful.

I agree with the theses of the Nashville Statement. But because it is devoid of any substantive development of those theses wherein they are grounded in the biblical doctrines of creation and humanity I don’t see how it can be useful except for those who already believe. In other words, I could not give that statement to any of the university students in my community and expect it to actually assist them if they are skeptics. For the purposes of actually instructing, a document like that produced by the RPCNA is much more useful.

 

3. It is not necessary.

My views on biblical sexual ethics and gender are quite clear. I have a long paper trail and my sermons and podcasts are easily accessed online. Plus I have taken sacred vows to believe and teach according to the Westminster Standards. Given my first two issues the third naturally follows.

 

Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2017 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

I had a few spare minutes so I thought I’d ask…
 

Are the Presbyterian members of The Gospel Coalition Board bothered at all by the fact that TGC’s website employs images of Christ? As Presbyterians they have taken sacred vows to uphold and teach according to the Westminster Standards. If you are not Presbyterian, the Westminster Standards are quite clear that the 2nd Commandment ought to be honored along with all of God’s moral law. So I would be curious to know if they feel conflicted at all to serve on the board of a ministry which holds very different convictions concerning the 2nd Commandment.

 

I'm not trying to be a pest. I understand that there are some differing opinions among the Reformed which allow, under certain circumstances, for the use of images of Christ for strictly pedagogical purposes. But if any of TGC's Presbyterian members hold the more restrictive view I wonder how they navigate the ministry's use of images.

 

Just wondering.

 

Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2017 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On October 12-15 Midway Presbyterian Church in Powder Springs, GA will be hosting the Reformation Worship Conference.
 

It promises to be an excellent time of instruction and fellowship. Among the impressive lineup of speakers are Drs. Robert Godfrey, Carl Trueman, Terry Johnson, and T. David Gordon.
 

You may register HERE.

 

Posted on Sunday, September 03, 2017 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

I was happy to pass along some links to African American voices we ought to be hearing. But because they will sometimes ask inconvenient questions or come to conclusions not sanctioned by the elites they are slandered and ignored.

 

The voices of these men and women have become all the more important as the sanctioned voices on the subject of race are now openly challenging (denying?) talk of racial reconciliation. One prominent voice in the PCA is now holding forth the liberation theologian James Cone as a voice worth following. It seems someone recently tried to warn about encroaching liberation theolgy in the PCA only to be mocked and called a racist. But I digress.

 

There is a better way to talk about race than what we are being treated to in the currently approved narrative by the currently approved spokespersons. Randy Nabors, no stranger to the effort at racial reconciliation, has written a measured, gracious, and helpful piece wherein he holds out hope that racial reconciliation will not be replaced by reckless condemnations of white supremacy. His is one of those better voices. May the influence of Mr. Nabors and those like him grow and the voices of division and accusation either repent or fade away.

 

Posted on Monday, August 28, 2017 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

It seems that in the Reformed(ish) world there is only one approved narrative regarding race and racial reconciliation. Indeed, any voice which dissents even mildly from the approved message is ignored and/or vilified by the great and the good.
 

Perhaps the recognized white leaders of big reformed(ish) evangelicalism are under the impression that our African American brothers and sisters are a monolith with one voice and one perspective. Either that or their hostility toward dissent keeps them from acknowledging the diversity of views among our A.A. brothers and sisters. I have seen a white pastor refer in writing to an African American sister in Christ as “ignorant” because she dared dissent from the obsession with race so in fashion today. This white pastor, it seems, knows more about racism than she does.
 

If you are interested at all in hearing some of the diversity among our African American brothers and sisters I would encourage you to check out the following:
 

Gabriel Williams (Here and Here)
 

Darrell Harrison
 

Lisa Robinson (Here and Here)
 

B.A.R. podcast
 

I do not supply these links because these men and women all agree with each other (or with me) all the time. I direct you to them because the current gatekeepers of the discussion surrounding race and racial reconciliation are ignoring them.

 

Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2017 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

Let's face it. Christians in America have suffered enough. We have, for too long, allowed the world to have all the fun. No longer! It is time Christians enjoy the same sorts of creature comforts the world has been enjoying. Mortification of Spin is finally going to do something about this disparity.

 

We are pleased to make an exciting announcement!

 

On June 15, 2018 you are invited to join us for the very first Mortification of Spin Study Cruise. We will be considering marvelous truths as we cruise about a storied river in an historic vessel: the SS Hermit Crab.
 

Alaska and the Caribbean are a little pricey but we have secured a 50 yard section of the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey where we will float along in comfort enjoying the majestic views and local wildlife.

 

You can book your reservation through 2 Dudes and a Boat at 555-LUV-BOAT

 

Cost: Thanks to generous funding from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals we are able to offer this wonderful experience for only $14 per person, $25 for couples.

 

Cost includes:
•    One square foot of personal space on the boat.  
•    Two Meals – Lunch: Fritos and a Ding Dong / Dinner: Bologna sandwich and a Fruit Rollup
•    Stimulating conversation with Carl, Todd, and Aimee
•    Disinfectant

 

* Neither the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals or the hosts of Mortification of Spin assume responsibility for any infections or emotional trauma suffered while on the cruise.
 

 

Posted on Monday, August 14, 2017 by Todd Pruitt on 1517

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday August 12, 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia was scarred by violence and hatred as white supremacist groups gathered to rally for their cause. Not surprisingly counter-protestors gathered as well. Some of the counter-protests were peaceful. Others were not. The mix led to an inevitable explosion of violence.
 

Tragically, one man, in an act of murderous terrorism, plowed his car into a crowd of people injuring 19 and killing one woman. And to heap tragedy upon tragedy two Virginia State Police Officers were killed in a helicopter crash.
 

The “triggering” event for this protest was the proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. But the fact is, the decision to remove the statue did not produce the hate which was on display. It merely provided an excuse for those already occupied by hate to put it on proud display.
 

The presence of counter-protest violence – as sinful as that was – does not change the fact that Christians must denounce white supremacy, white nationalism, and resurgent Nazi-ism. These things are wicked and dangerous. It makes me sick to my stomach to see men dressed in Nazi garb, waving Nazi flags, offering Nazi salutes, and chanting Nazi slogans. Our country offered up scores of thousands of lives in Europe to defeat that ideology.
 

I was disappointed by President Trump’s hopelessly vague denunciation of the violence in Charlottesville. Christians must not be similarly vague when it comes to public evil. Whether it is spousal abuse, abortion, the present sexual chaos, or racism the people of God must be clear. Sin – especially those sins which damage and destroy image-bearers of God – must be publicly denounced. The public conscience must be pricked by the sharp point of truth.
 

At this point some of you must surely want to raise the fact that plenty of counter-protestors came armed with pepper spray, home-made flame throwers, and other weapons. That is true. Such behavior ought to be condemned without qualification. Local authorities will hopefully hold accountable those individuals connected to the so-called “Antifa” and others who acted out violently. And, yes, it would be nice if left-wing violence received the same level of media attention and public backlash as that from neo-Nazis. But unfortunately a world which holds the left accountable does not exist. And, no, the sorts of anti-white rhetoric regularly flowing from groups like Black Lives Matter does not help. It would be nice if the Reformed African American Network (RAAN) would condemn anti-white rhetoric. Alas…
 

Racial bigotry belongs to the same species of sins as abortion because it denies full human dignity to certain individuals and entire groups. It holds that there is such a thing as lesser humans. It is the wicked ideology which fired the ovens of Auschwitz. Therefore there is no appropriate way to say of what was on display in Charlottesville in the Nazi salutes and racist chants, “I disapprove, but…”
 

Racial bigotry or any sense of racial superiority is an atheistic false doctrine. It denies the witness of Scripture which holds that all humanity bears the image of God (Gen. 1:27) and thus possesses equal dignity. It also denies the vital connection Paul makes in Acts 17 – “And he made from one man every nation of mankind…” (vs. 26). We are all connected through a common lineage. Little wonder that the Nazis and Margaret Sanger were so enamored with Darwinism which denies our common ancestry.
 

Racial bigotry also vandalizes the great Christian hope that in the age to come all of those whom God has gathered to himself from every nation, tribe, and tongue through Jesus Christ will assemble around the throne of the Lamb.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:9-10)
 

The answer to racial bigotry is not an amalgamation of left-wing critical theory and the gospel. The two cannot be harmonized. Nor is it appropriate to respond to white nationalism with black nationalism. The answer is a message. It is the same message Paul brought to the Corinthians; a message which seemed then and will seem today foolish and weak (1 Cor 1:18-2:5). There has never been a generation which looked upon the proclamation of the gospel as relevant and powerful. But it is through the message of the cross that God shows up the weakness and folly of the world’s power and wisdom.
 

We must not now succumb to those who say that the gospel is not enough. We must not experiment anew with the proven failures of the so-called social gospel. Are there vital implications which flow from the gospel? Implications which inform our words and guide our actions? Most certainly yes! But our answer to the hatred of Nazis must be the same as that given to homosexuals, adulterers, the greedy, drunkards, and the self-righteous. What is called for above all else is the message of the cross.
 

The church is at her best when she offers the one thing the world cannot: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
 

Those who gathered in Charlottesville waving Nazi banners and chanting “blood and soil” are lost souls. They are not to be hated but pitied and prayed for. Their minds and hearts have been seized by our ancient foe. Their sin is worthy of condemnation. But who among us can claim that hate has never occupied a seat of honor in our hearts? Who among us can say honestly that we have never thought of ourselves as somehow superior to someone else? We may be sophisticated enough to not put our sins on garish display. But does that make us more innocent? Before God saved us were we any more fit for grace than the pitiful souls who chanted “blood and soil” in the streets of Charlottesville?