When I was a candidate for the Ph.D. at Southern Seminary, I spent the vast majority of my time with faculty who were specialists in the New Testament. As a result, I missed out on getting to know some of the faculty representing other disciplines. One of the men that I didn’t get to know very well was Dr. Hershael York, Professor of Preaching.
I think we have met a couple of times, but in reality I hardly know Dr. York personally. But let me say that I love him nevertheless. He keeps a blog called “Confessions of a Pastor” that is one of the most enjoyable blogs that I read (even when I disagree with him). I subscribe to “Confessions of a Pastor” and read it whenever he posts something new (which is not frequent enough!).
His latest post is a defense of his boss against the scurrilous and cowardly allegations of an anonymous critic. His bottom line is right on target:
“Little men with lots of time find it easy to discover faults in great men with little time.”
You can read the full essay here:
“Mohler’s Motives and Ministry” – by Hershael York (Confessions of a Pastor)
Great post from Hershael. Thanks for linking it here, Denny. That last line is the money quote.
Dr. York’s last remark reminds me of Einstein’s quote: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
Denny, what do you think of Dr. York’s statement that blogging about a brother is not the same as going to a brother? It made me think about this whole Piper/Burk/Boyd war of words.
I think it’s interesting that it’s ok for York to speak out publicly and criticize Luter instead of going to him first on the issue as well. How is that everything is game now; since one side went public first, airing dirty laundry, grievances and criticisms, now the other side can too?
Sometimes I feel there is some double talk or double standards in some of these issues. Like recently when people got upset about Olson caricaturing Calvinism by his remark about not being able to tell the difference between God and the devil. But then they responded by doing likewise and caricaturing Arminianism.
So why was one thing wrong but the response that was somewhat similar not?
When I listen to responses to questions like mine it sounds like lawyer talk. Someone said on York’s blog “Luter made this nonsense public and Hersheal simply responded in kind. There’s no violation here.”
Ok, but where is this rules of engagement book? I’d like to see it cause everyone seems to have it but me, and I want to make sure I’m playing by the rules too. I know the first part from Jesus about going to your brother in private, but what about all these other rules people seem to have for when 1 side doesn’t play nice first, or when it’s ok to talk trash or criticize publicly instead of going to someone personaly first.
Can someone point me to these guidelines or maybe draft them up if it’s just a common understanding by everyone (but me)?
Brian L. I am curious why you continue to read this blog since you have a problem with pretty much everything written here. At first I enjoyed your perspective but now it is getting old. If you have such a hard time with this blog then leave it alone. Instead of holding these meaningless arguments! I don’t mean to sound rude but get over it.
May the LORD bless you Andre.
i agree with bryan. york’s tone is just as bad as luter’s. he defended mohler, but attacked someone else in the process, thus accomplishing nothing. i disagree with luter, but i don’t think york is justified in his blog either. why not just follow the example of dr. patterson who has made no attempt to defend or explain himself, nor has his faculty come to his aid in the regard?
I have a comment to your suggestion that Bryan take off. I regularly follow two blogs, both of which I disagree with regularly. This is one. I do this because I want to swim with fish that aren’t exactly like me. It keeps me honest and helps me remember that I have brothers and sisters in Christ who hold beliefs that would be easier for me to lampoon than to take seriously. Perhaps Bryan has a similar goal. I have learned and gained much more from irenic writers and speakers than propogandists. If you only engage those who think like you, then you aren’t thinking. I believe it was MacDonald who said that many people rearrange their prejudices and call it thinking. My point: it would be far better to engage Bryan and try to understand him and give him the benefit of the doubt instead of telling him you are weary of his questions and would rather he go away. Come on, friend, that isn’t kind, patient, gentle, and thankful, is it?
Dr. York did contact Dr. Luter prior to addressing him and his actions in his blog, as he mentioneed in the comment stream of the post referenced.
Thanks for the correction Colin.
The rest of my questions, minus the first sentence, still stand if anyone would like to help me understand them.
A public response to a public sin is just. Especially when the sin is a slanderous accusation about someone in the public arena. If someone were to publicly slander a pastor, there is nothing wrong with that being publicly addressed, denied, and rebuked if necessary. Silence on the issue could possibly allow passive affirmation to take place. Look in Paul’s letters for those he specifically named that had done damage to the gospel.
If you continue to ask for a “guidebook” on this issue, I’m afraid you are just grasping with unanswerable questions in an effort to maintain a neutral but passively accusatory position that Dr. York is in the wrong.
Just a brief note on one thing you mentioned in your comment to Bryan L (I’m not trying to get in the middle of your conversation with him).
You brought up the Apostle Paul. But Paul wrote his letters to a specific church, and he also gave instructions about first going to a brother, then bringing witnesses with you as you go to the brother, etc. (a very clear line of process). Eventually, Paul’s letters were adopted into the Bible we know and read, but they were never addressed to or written to the world-at-large.
Sometimes we ought to keep things “in the family.” If this York situation couldn’t be resolved privately between York, Mohler, and Luter alone, perhaps something off-blog would have been better since the blog is open to the world—Christians and non-Christians alike, the latter of which are amused by the way we eat our own.
I agree a public response to a public sin is just. What I’m curious is what kind of response is appropriate? It seems in some responses people also slander back.
And what happens when what is being responded to is not clearly a sin issue? I appealed to the example of Roger Olson caricaturing the God of Calvinism. Many Calvinists were offended by this. Yet they responded in like manner by caricaturing the God of Arminianism and Arminian beliefs. Is this ok?
Where would calling another public Christian unorthodox fit into this? Or questioning out loud whether someone is even Christian or suggesting that they might be a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Would that be slander or appropriate as a response?
It just seems in some of these “just” responses people are taking shots at the person as well, instead of just their views. Is this ok?
BTW at this point I could care less about York or Luter or anyone else involved. Truthfully I have no interest in accusing York or defending Luter (If I once did I do not now). This is an internal SBC squabble and I’d rather stay out of it except to question the character and manner of public disagreement and response.