How Goes the Battle?
This is a letter to those writing (or considering writing) to warn others about the wolves within mainstream Evangelical leadership.
I want to make a prediction:
Precious few among the Evangelical Intelligentsia have reached out to you in order to make a reasonable argument that you are getting them wrong.
Does this fit your observations?
Have you been personally approached by any high profile (or even mid profile) SBC/PCA/ERLC/TGC figures, aside from the occasional jousting on Twitter?
They are no doubt talking about you to some degree. But they are not talking to you.
Why would they? You are not a threat. Not yet. And you are a stranger to them. It is easy enough to ignore hostile strangers. They may want to know about you — but they don’t want to know you. In fact, they are hoping you will fall off the radar. For them, that would help assure long-term victory as they see it.
At least some people of influence in “BigEva” see the battle lines as clearly as we do, and they have a plan, and they are following it. Interestingly, their position differs from ours in two key ways (in addition to the fact that they are in error):
1) They do not seem genuinely interested in offering greater clarity.
2) They are in a position to say “These topics are being dealt with in an appropriate matter by us — your leaders. Please drop the subject. We’ll let you know what you need to know. Trust us.”
We are fighting a battle for minds and hearts. And the battle is not symmetrical.
One side has all the institutional credibility and can say as Michael Haykin recently did: Your concerns are nothing more than “ludicrous” “fear-mongering” appeals to “bugbears.” They can yawn at us, and that actually works to a great degree. Their best immediate outcome is to end the discussion or discredit us. Time and inertia are on their side.
By contrast, our side has all the facts. Our side owns the logical advantage. Our side can appeal to historical fact and to sound political theory and to the American Founders. Our side can appeal to Scripture and to common sense. But time and inertia are not on our side — we cannot bring about the needed outcomes by yawning or by acting as if the issue is anything less than urgent.
They can afford to ignore us; we cannot afford to be ignored.
The strategic situation is similar Luke Skywalker in a small fighter ship going up against a Death Star. The opposition are on course to harm and destroy that which we seek to defend. We are coming at them, but we are small and they are not all that concerned about us. They just need to keep us out of range awhile longer and a great victory will be theirs.
The leaders of the BigEva hostile takeover know this is so. Most of their followers do not know it. The leaders know not to address us. But the followers have little understanding of the situation. And from the above points there does follow a strategic realization:
We cannot change the playing field, but we can expose the facts about what kind of game it is that they are playing. We cannot make the high profile men enter into reasonable, public discussions with their critics. But we can work toward making it cost them more to continue refusing it.
We should work to make it obvious to their constituents that this is the game they are playing by doing the following:
- We should make it completely clear to onlookers that these leaders have no desire to genuinely interact with their critics.
- We should point out that we, the critics, have been seeking a reasonable discussion but we have been sent away.
- We should point out that when people engage in public debate, the truth has the best chance to win out.
- We should point out that the current leaders usually appeal to their positions and credentials as a reason not to actually debate. And we should point out that this is what we would expect someone would do if they knew they could not prevail in an open debate and if they knew the debate was likely to make them look foolish.
- We should point out that we, the critics, are taking the only good option remaining to us, given the asymmetrical situation between us and the entrenched establishment. Since we will not be heard by the few in charge, we have no better option than to appeal to the many — to those who fund the organizations.
If it seems like we are playing rough, it is because the situation warrants it.
If it seems like we are trying to get people fired, it’s because we are. We actually believe there has been a hostile takeover of the conservative institutions that we have long supported and been part of. If anyone believed that, wouldn’t they seriously consider doing just what we are doing?
We actually believe those currently leading are damaging the cause of Christ and threatening the bride of Christ by allowing wolves to come in and prey on the innocent while they stand by and do nothing. For the sake of the institutions we have long worked to build and to fund, and for the sake of the hundreds of thousands of Christians who are likely to fall into deception if the situation continues, we are putting our careers and reputations on the line.
We are not doing it to make a quick dollar or to get attention. There are easier ways to get that kind of thing. We are fighting with our very lives — and for the very lives of those we love. We are doing it because truth matters and because we know we will one day answer to God for how we managed the truth that he entrusted to us.
We are fighting with an eye toward victory.
We are running in such a way as to receive the prize. We take no special joy in exposing darkness. But we know the good we should do, so we intend to do it — with all our might.
May those who observe this fight be thoughtful about what it is that they are seeing. Is this a gang of troublemakers seeking attention? Or is this a band of disciples? And are the Evangelical Intelligentsia responding to our critiques in a way that indicates a humble quest for truth? Or does their behavior suggest that other priorities have taken over?
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