Friday, November 02, 2018

James MacDonald presents a statement on why 1 Corinthians 6 does not preclude a church suing its critics that ironically invokes exception language for HBC while lamenting the exception language that shows up on divorce teachings in the US?

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/november-web-only/james-macdonald-harvest-bible-chapel-suing-our-critics-bibl.html

It still doesn't read like a particularly compelling case for why Harvest Bible Church is exempt from 1 Corinthians 6.  Just invoking what seems to be some kind of 501(c)3 exemption for churches that as groups would not be covered by the biblical text doesn't seem like a real argument.

MacDonald's role as a former part of the Mars Hill Board of Advisors and Accountability seems hard to forget in light of all the chronicling done here of the life and times of Mars Hill Church.  If it's acceptable for a church to file a suit as a plaintiff doesn't that establish a potential basis for a church or its officers as being able to be defendants, too?

Now others will no doubt have their own counterarguments about MacDonald's ideas.  There's a particular case study he invokes.

...


Many of us remember the near unanimous evangelical stance on divorce prior to the 1970s, when most churches held strictly to “no divorce, no remarriage.” Then with the rise in divorce rates and a few high visibility Christian leaders getting divorced, all were pushed back into the Scripture for a view that considered all biblical teaching on the subject.
In just a few years, the prevailing view changed to include “exception language” from the teaching of Jesus (Matt. 19:9) and Paul (1 Cor. 7:15). The Scriptures had not changed, but cultural trends had again caused a more careful study of all biblical passages on divorce, versus the more simplistic “the Lord God … hates divorce” (Mal. 2:16).
...So the best thing to do in light of that example is to invoke exception language for why a church can safely claim to be exempt from the apostolic rebuke regarding going to the law and filing court cases against believers?  Isn't that doing precisely what MacDonald considers so troublesome among Christians with regard to divorce?  Why, then, be a pioneer in introducing exception precedents that exonerate a church as a corporate entity within the United States in a way that could be construed, at a global level, of perpetuating an Americanist take on biblical documents in which Americans can exempt themselves from what might otherwise be regarded as a relatively straightforward reading of a canonical text?

If HBC leaders are troubled by the creep of exception language into church teachings on divorce why would they choose to be a pioneer of sorts in introducing and defending exception language for why a church gets to sue other Christians in spite of 1 Corinthians 6 when individuals might not be afforded a comparable freedom?


POSTSCRIPT 11-4-2018

I had considered making this observation before but am not sure if I have.  James MacDonald was listed as part of the Trump Evangelical Advisory Committee back in 2016.

Since MacDonald was with Mark Driscoll when Driscoll decided to crash The Strange Fire conference and had a part in deciding that T. D. Jakes was some kind of orthodox trinitarian, after all, it's not been clear to me on what basis someone like MacDonald could be evangelical enough to have much of an advisory role to play in connection to the Trump administration.

But MacDonald has had a spot on the evangelical advisory committee, noted by Christianity Today a couple of years back.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/june-web-only/whos-who-of-trumps-tremendous-faith-advisors.html

When names like Robert Morris and Sealy Yates show up, names that were connected to a story of advising that Driscoll "heal up" for a while and with connections to the use of Result Source to promote Real Marriage in a way that would land it a #1 spot on the NYT bestseller list, it's not clear that people who like this should have much to say to advise Trump.  There's an argument that's been presented that the nature of Trump's advisory committee violates federal law that has been made earlier this year.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/08/30/trumps-evangelical-advisory-board-violates-the-law-advocacy-group-argues-in-new-filing/

https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/trumps-evangelical-advisory-board-is-violating-federal-law-says-americans

https://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/trump-evangelical-advisory-board-224612

Whatever it is thatTrump's advisory committee of preachers and religious activists and televangelists does, it doesn't take up so much time that a member of it can't be involved in litigation against bloggers. 

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