Would John Piper Excommunicate His Son?

"How does God hate you? Let me count the ways!"

Yes, he clearly would, as this interview at the Christian Post makes clear:

Should a pastor continue in ministry if one of his sons, arriving at a mature age, proves to be an unbeliever?

Well, as you know, that hits close to home. So maybe the best thing I can do is tell you the way the elders at Bethlehem managed this, because that’s me.

When that happened, I went to the elders and I said to them, “Here’s the situation. I think my son needs to be pursued by the elders as far as you can, and then he needs to be excommunicated if he doesn’t respond.” He was 19 years old.

I don’t know what’s more shocking, that Piper was ready to excommunicate his 19-year-old son, or that his son’s sin was that he was (is?) an “unbeliever.”

What’s happened to Piper is that he got caught up in his own biblical hermeneutic. The Bible says this:

I left you behind in Crete for this reason, that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town, as I directed you: someone who is blameless, married only once, whose children are believers, not accused of debauchery and not rebellious.

What’s an inerrantist pastor to do when one of his children turns out not to be a believer? Well, step down immediately, of course. Right? I’m sure that’s exactly what Piper said and did. Let’s go to the tape:

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Frank Schaeffer Has a Message for Denominations

Frank writes,

I’ve been speaking at many small colleges that have historical ties to the oldest mainline denominations in the U.S. I have been noticing something interesting: a terrific hunger for a deeper spirituality on the part of many young people who come from evangelical backgrounds like mine and also like me are looking for something outside of the right wing conservatism they come from.

I’ve also noticed that while some people in the so-called emergent evangelical movement are reaching out to these young people the leaders of the mainline denominations both locally and nationally often seem blind to a huge new opportunity for growth and renewal staring them in the face. That new opportunity is the scores of younger former evangelicals diving headlong out of the right wing evangelical churches.

Read the Rest: Frank Schaeffer: Missing the “Mainline” Protestant Opportunity.

The Best TED Talk Ever?

That’s what some people are saying about this barn-burner by Bryan Stevenson. One of my friends who witnessed it live wrote,

After his talk, he received a breathtaking standing ovation. The raw energy and length of ovation was unequaled by any talk I’ve experienced at a live conference (probably 45 seconds of applause is edited from the video). He is asking us to do something about the injustices in our own country.

Cancer and Theology

Jake Bouma has cancer. That sucks. He’s hoping to parlay that cancer into some good conversation, however, by hosting a Cancer and Theology series at his blog. He’s recruited folks like David Fitch, Brian McLaren, Martin Marty, Carol Howard Merritt, and yours truly. He describes the series thusly (and if you click through to his blog you’ll see an old picture of me in a purple shirt!):

The guest bloggers I have assembled (listed below) will be doing what Howard W. Stone and James O. Duke call deliberative theology or deliberative theological reflection. In their book How To Think Theologically, Stone and Duke define deliberative theology thusly:

“Deliberative theology is the understanding of faith that emerges from a process of carefully reflecting upon embedded theological convictions. This sort of reflection is sometimes called second-order theology, in that it follows upon and looks back over the implicit understandings embedded in the life of faith.”1

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