Tchividjian and Driscoll are both products of the way American showbiz aesthetics and values drive so much of the evangelical subculture. Style and swagger and soundbites -- and little else. And they both benefited from the fact that nothing immunizes one to accountability in America like success. As long as you are successful, no-one calls you on your behaviour, no-one makes you answer the hard questions, and plenty of people are happy to use your name to sell tickets to their gig. The tragedy is that good men are then allowed to go bad, and outright charlatans are allowed to continue with influence, with groups like TGC backing them until the public relations problems, not the obvious theological and accountability issues, render them too hot to handle -- long after others have been pointing out the obvious ...
there's more beyond the link but that's the most memorable excerpt for WtH. At the risk of linking back to an earlier post here ...
a general observation, let's put the "no true scotsman" defense away, especially if it's for "our" team
Whether we're talking about a Mark Driscoll or a Tony Jones or a John Howard Yoder or more recently a Tullian Tchividjian.
Pick your team, there's not only going to be rampant moral failure, there's probably also going to be at least one atrocity.
It's just a matter of whether you've looked at your team's history long enough and honestly enough.
In the last few years I've immersed myself in the book of Judges. It's one of those books in the Bible people don't rush to read but it's a fascinating book. It's too easy for lazy people to read it as either "it's in the Bible so God must have approved of it all" or to read it as "here's what all those sinners in days of yore did that we wouldn't do."
That's not necessarily why the book of Judges is in the canon. Whatever your team, your team has atrocities to its name. Think of Judges as a confession of God's people, "We did this and it was horrid." You can't read the book of Judges as a believer and not remind yourself that this book is about your team and my time, whichever teams we're thinking we're on. Levites, the ones who should have been pioneers of faith, were pioneers in wickedness, whether in mercenary promotion of idolatrous cults or throwing a concubine out to be gang-raped and then, when she was not necessarily even dead yet, slicing her up into pieces and mailing her remains to the tribes to instigate a civil war that nearly led to an intra-Israelite genocide of a tribe of Israel.
If you think we couldn't and wouldn't do that today then remember what internet outrage is. :) We're tempted to do this with reputations rather than physical bodies. Crimes and atrocities get done ... but if we don't read and appreciate the book of Judges and its place in the canon the great illusion we'll sell to ourselves, and that every day, is that whatever atrocities we see in that book we'll assure ourselves that WE would never do that. But we certainly would ...
29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!
To those who comforted themselves with the idea that they wouldn't have harmed prophets Jesus had a rebuke that they were going to keep harming the prophets and finish the job. If you think your team isn't answerable for any destruction of lives, just wait, your turn may soon come if it hasn't already.
The older I get the less I believe the old evangelical saw that "ideas have consequences". It could be true but to go by the consequences going on in a lot of places in the Christian scene in the last forty years (or even among some non-Christians) if ideas have consequences a whole lot of people seem to be having the same ideas when they have made careers out of thinking, and telling others, that this isn't the case.