Thank you for responding in such an in-depth fashion to the post about G3 from the Bible Thumping Wingnut. As a board member of BTWN, I appreciate the invitation you’ve given to respond and I trust that you will respond further.
As you apparently value “conversations” and “dialogue” with those with whom you disagree – even going so far as inviting those on the wrong side of what John MacArthur called “the greatest polemical battle of our day” in order to ostensibly engage in conversation with them – I am likewise sure that you will lead by example in conversing with those of us who disagree with your invitation of those men. Surely if dialogue is so highly valued that you’ll coalesce with men with whom you disagree on such important matters of doctrine (like the nature of the Gospel and its subsequent definition) in order to have conversations, you’ll lead by example and have conversations with brothers in Christ like myself who disagree with you.
I have been dismayed that in spite of the historic and Biblical arguments for a bolder Separatism in my well-circulated article, Would Charles Spurgeon Attend the G3 Conference, the arguments set forth politely and respectfully have gone undisputed. I surmise that is because my position is heretofore indisputable. I also doubt that any serious-minded intellectual would want to seriously argue that Charles Spurgeon would be caught dead speaking in confederacy with a charismatic who thinks Beth Moore should preach to men (like John Piper) or those promoting social religion (like Dever or Platt). I suppose it’s easier to ignore the point than address it, but I remain nonetheless thankful you’ve chosen to address Tim’s article.
I’ll engage you point-by-point and will try to keep it short for the sake of brevity so as to not distract or lose interest of the reader.
As I read your article, I thought how misguided and inaccurate it is regarding the recent G3.
Perhaps you missed it, Pastor Buice, but Tim’s article included summations from Fred Butler – an employee of Grace to You who staffed the GTY table in the exhibit hall. Those weren’t Tim’s assertions, but Butler’s. A screenshot of his comments
Since I was there from start to finish and sat with these brothers over meals and walked the halls of the conference center, I think I have the ability to address these matters with accuracy.
I’m thankful for your familiarity with these men. While I wasn’t at G3, I know most of them, and many of them have spoken at my conferences in Montana including Johnson, Washer, Baucham, and White. I’ve also had countless phone conversations for many, many hours with others who spoke at the pre-conference event hosted by Sovereign Nations and I’m well familiar with their positions on the issue.
First of all, I’ve been crystal clear as to where I stand on the matters of social justice from the beginning. I will remain clear as the conversation continues and as we continue to debate this troubling issue in our day. However, what you’ve stated here is simply a misguided understading of the facts and it misrepresents G3, me personally, and the speakers that you’ve criticized.
Pastor Buice, you have been clear on where you stand. Thank you. I don’t believe anyone (including myself or Tim at BTWN) have suggested any different. But although where you stand is not ambiguous, with whom you stand is as clear as mud. I have watched in bewilderment, for example, as you published a fine book against New Calvinism and then have continued to invite the leading proponents of New Calvinism to G3. This is the heart of our contention, which forms the thesis of my response. While you seem apt at marking that which teaches contrary to sound doctrine you fall short of the Apostle’s command to mark those who teach contrary to sound doctrine (Romans 16:17).
Neither of the three men you criticized in this article are heretics.
Of course, surely you realize, Pastor Buice, that Tim did not call these men heretics. I have not called these men heretics. In fact, I have called these men “brothers” repeatedly and I’ve anathematized no one. When you object to something that Tim didn’t say this is called a “straw man” and it’s beneath you.
Hopefully, we aren’t drawing the line at ministry partnership only at affirmed heretics. If that’s your bar, Pastor Buice, it’s a low one. People expect more out of Reformed Evangelicals (although this is proving to be a misguided expectation).
While I disagree with their social justice positions sharply, I do believe it to be sinful to insist that they be placed in the camp of heresy.
See above ^^. This is torching straw men and tilting and windmills.
You see, we’ve nearly lost the ability in our day to make disagreements face-to-face without running to the keyboards, blogs, and social media outlets in order to retreat to our tribe for support. I don’t have a problem with public figures being criticized openly and publicly, that’s not my point. My point is that we shouldn’t run too quickly to put them in the camp of heresy.
It’s here, Pastor Buice, I believe that you’ve made an intellectual error that is grievous. You equivocate the luxury of face-to-face disagreement with joining someone in ministry and extending to them an invitation to increase their influence. Shame on you for that mental hiccup, and I urge you retract it because it is sub-intellectual.
You are arguing – whether you recognize it or not – that the only way to have a face-to-face dialogue with someone is to invite them to preach at your conference. This is insanity, sir. It is sheer insanity, I repeat. Logically, this does not follow.
Until they are heretics, they should be treated like brothers, and sometimes brothers step across the line into troubling positions that deserve rebuke. That’s what The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel was intended to do. And it continues to do it, both publicly and privately.
I presume what you mean is, “Until they are determined heretics…” Without conversation and dialogue (which these men have not engaged in), you really can’t make a determination whether they are heretics or not. You and the other Dallas Statement drafters have published article after article in defense of your position (and good on you). How many of these articles have the aforementioned men – Piper, Dever, or Platt – responded to? How much dialogue have they given you?
Not a single peep, Pastor Buice, have they contributed to this elusive conversation you’re trying to have. Albert Mohler claimed that the statement – while dismissing it because of “problematic” aspects he never bothered to specify – would bring “fruitful discussion.” Where has that been, Pastor Buice? Is it still yet forthcoming? Because you invited these men to spread their influence at G3 in the name of “conversation” and dialogue, where is it at? Where is the audio? Where is the video? Where are their articles interacting with yours? Color me skeptical that it is in any way beneficial to have these men come speak in order to interact on the subject when they have heretofore – even after the conference – declined to interact on the subject in any respectful or scholarly manner!
You claimed above that they continue to interact “publicly and privately.” If you could provide some links as to where they have interacted with the coherent and thoughtful positions laid out in the Dallas Statement, that would be great. But Pastor Buice, they haven’t, and you should retract this provably false claim.
In terms of whatever private interaction you’ve had with these men in the G3 greenroom, I cannot speak to. I will say that if the conversations have been private, then inviting them to a public forum seems beside the point.
Regarding Platt, Dever, and Piper—you should be able to disagree with them without misrepresenting them.
I’ll just make a brief statement in regards to the facts and leave it be. Tim did not misrepresent these men. He was citing Fred Butler. If you believe I have misrepresented these men – for example, Dever’s allegiance with the Thabiti Anyabwile or Platt’s “Why are there so many white people here” T4G talk – feel free to explain where. Besides, just a few sentences above you have stated that you “disagree with their social justice positions sharply” so surely we shouldn’t be accused of “misrepresentation” for holding to the same position that you do. Don’t hold it against us that we just happen to stand by our convictions while you stand with John Piper.
Keep in mind that Piper was the only man in the MLK50 event to actually question the validity of MLK’s conversion.
Well, pin a rose on his nose.
I would hope that anyone of right mind would question the conversion of someone who denied the deity of Christ, the inspiration of Scripture, or the bodily resurrection. I also hope that anyone of right mind would question why someone would be at an event venerating a lost man who trafficked in prostitutes and engaged in gay orgies in the first place.
Pastor Buice, would you go so far as to congratulate the least extreme man at a party of extremists, so much so as to invite him to your conference? This is bizarre reasoning and an even stranger excuse.
No matter what you believe about Platt, you should not seek to criticize him in a childish manner
That was Grace to You’s Fred Butler, not Tim. You’ve missed the point.
Last of all, we held a conference on missions—not social justice. Did any of these men preach a message that was contrary to the gospel that was delivered to you in the holy Scriptures? No.
I weary already of having to scold you on such elementary matters, Pastor Buice. Whether or not the Gospel requires works is indeed a matter that relates to the Gospel. For example, David Platt – who is a partner of the radically ‘woke’ ERLC – recently insinuated that Social Justice is a part of the Great Commission. Surely you see the ramifications of Social Justice on our commitment to Gospel work, don’t you? Do you remember the “mission drift” tussle between Phil Johnson and Thabiti Anyabwile on this just a few short years ago? Have you all changed your position and now Social Justice is no threat to Gospel work at all?
Again, I plead that this is beneath you, Pastor Buice.
Furthermore, it is of profoundly poor judgment that your decision to give these problematic teachers a platform is justified merely because they didn’t happen to teach anything problematic while they were in your presence. You so quickly shove aside what they teach that is contrary to sound doctrine at events like MLK50 or the 2018 TFG or their various social media platforms only because they can momentarily behave themselves in front of what could potentially become a hostile audience at G3.
Pastor Buice, your job is to protect the sheep, contend for the truth, protect the pulpit, and in season and out of season reprove, rebuke, and exhort. You have derilected your duty in this case.
I would encourage you to be a man, speak the truth, criticize accurately, avoid childish babble, and always represent people who preach the true gospel with respect. Remember words matter and little details and small inaccuracies are important. Your article is filled with them.
First, you have insulted Tim’s manhood and you should apologize. It is pugnacious behavior to someone who you’ve not determined to be a heretic, and so you should treat him at least as graciously as you treat those who are at the moment whoring out the Gospel to the sound of the thunderous applause of popular consensus. Secondly, nothing has been “childish babbel” except the arguments you have set forth in your response which are proven to be both false and foolish. And third, your assertion that those who add works to grace are preaching the “true gospel” undermines your position on the serious dangers of Social Justice.
I’ll end my letter to you, pastor, by exhorting you to hear and obey the Word of God.
17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:17-18).
You seem content to only mark the false doctrine, as you have done in the Dallas Statement, but refuse stubbornly to mark those who teach it. Your job as a pastor is to instruct and follow the full counsel of God’s Word (Acts 20:27). There is no argument that can be made that Social Justice is not an extremely dangerous error, and we know that because it is you who made the argument along with James White, Voddie Baucham, Phil Johnson, and other G3 speakers.
Furthermore, the point of marking those who teach falsely is for the sake of avoiding them. The purpose of avoiding them, we should suppose, is to mitigate their influence. And yet at G3, you have only expanded the influence of those who you acknowledge teach falsely. While you may not be prepared to call these men heretics, this does not follow logically that you should, therefore, give them a platform. Rather than leading by example to mark and avoid, you have marked and picked up, marked and embraced, marked and promoted. You have done so because they – like those warned about in Romans 16 – are capable of providing “good words and fair speeches.”
Shame on you. You can, and should, do better for the sake of God’s elect.
JD Hall, Pastor Fellowship Baptist Church and BTWN Board Member