denominations

The Scary Other, Or If You Are Not For Me You Are Against Me

Yesterday, Alan commented on my recent post on “Risking the Ethics of Critique.” He did not understand why someone of John Piper’s stature would feel the need to engage Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost so negatively after reading only a paragraph of a referenced book. Maybe, he wrote, it had to do with Piper seeing himself at the headwaters of the Reformed stream and he needed to keep conflicting influences away. Gatekeeping? Could be. Certainty requires me to know the mind of John Piper. Not happening.

But, it appears some know the mind of God better than others. The result is a stridency about his or her position that they frame all others as “scary.” In Piper’s post in question, the “scary other” is euphemistically referred to as, “false to the gospel.” Any good conservative knows false to the gospel could well be short-hand for false teacher – and so scary. What will Piper say of McKnight after reading a paragraph of his new book, The King Jesus Gospel?

My tribe often has high-profile figures who convey that sentiment to others. I recently read a post by John Stackhouse who evidently is aiming at a bit of controversy. Notifying his readers that a book to which he contributed was forthcoming he vetted those who dared to read further.

The book, The Spectrum of Evangelicalism, is one of those “four view” styled books. Out of the gate, Stackhouse admits the writers are far from representative of the diversity found among Evangelicals. Read More