Don't start with me

While I link to my Homeschool Mom sidekick Carla in the sidebar, I don't link to her blog Emergent-No. That's not a value judgment: that's a clutter judgment. She's linked at TeamPyo, and TeamPyro sends traffic to everyone they link to, so I feel good about that. I also support the work of Emergent-No because friends don't let friends drive pomo.

Recently, Carla's cohort at E-No had a few words to say about John Piper's liberal quotation of Dallas Willard in, of all things, When I Don't Desire God.

Listen: while I agree with the point that you have to exercise some spiritual discernment in your Christian life, spiritual discernment is not a black-and-white issue. Now, what do I mean by that? I mean that, for example, it would be a bad thing in general to endorse Nietzsche as a spiritual mentor. But we can also take a look at some of the things he said and weigh them on the spiritual scales and find out if it's quotable and usable. If you'd like an example specifically, I think it is wholly-Christian to think well of the maxim, "that which does not kill you makes you stronger." It is a poor sister of what James is elaborating on in James 1 & 2, but it'll do in a pinch.

Even the Apostle Paul cited pagan poets when preaching the Gospel. And by "pagan" I don't mean "people with a shifty view of the Scriptures": I mean "guys who disavowed God the Father and rejected God the Son and would hear nothing of God the Spirit in favor of a pantheon of gods who are frankly dramatic jokes." But Paul cited poets of this stripe when speaking to the Greeks.


It is because Paul was trying to show them that they were not in utter blackness on the topic of God. If Romans 1&2 means anything, it means that men are not in utter blackness but have in fact turned away from the light that they have in order to be more and more disobedient to a law they know they ought to obey.

In that, when Piper cites Willard -- about, of all things memorizing Scripture (!) -- and we see that as John Piper compromising the Gospel by a poor association, maybe we ought to take a day off or something. Piper is not endorsing ECM by citing Williard: he is underscoring the benefit and necessity of Scripture memorization.

Please: let's not confuse John Piper -- of all people on earth -- with the likes of Doug Pagitt or McLaren. Let's also not confuse him with the confused Mark Driscoll or the confused me. Blogging is blogging, and discernment is important, but let's not turn ourselves into pitchfork-wielding caricatures.