[*] Open Letter to Derek Webb

Dear Derek,

I’m a fan, I own a Christian bookstore, and I have been moved by your solo work to review my life in terms of the Gospel and its strict message of reliance on Christ rather than on my own righteousness. I think your music is challenging and edifying.

I was referred to your essay “Too Close For Comfort: The Church’s Unnecessary Rejection Of Modern Faith Heroes” by a friend, and frankly I find your point at odds with the rest of the message you deliver. I’m sending this note mostly for my information and do not think I am equipped or qualified to debate you on this subject. My testimony, boiled down to a brief summary, is that I was an atheist until I was 27 years old, and then the truth found me and convicted me of the filthy rags that I wore as my life. That was 13 years ago, and today I am still convicted daily that I cannot do right outside of the work of the Holy Spirit.

I don’t know anything about Johnny Cash, so I will take it at face value that you do, and move on to the topic of Bono. Rather than rehash or contend the facts of the essay or Bono’s life with you, let me offer a passage of Scripture and then ask my question. The passage is this (ESV):

James 1: 22But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who
looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24For he looks at himself and
goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25But the one who looks into the
perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but
a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
26If anyone thinks he is
religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's
religion is worthless. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the
Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep
oneself unstained from the world.

This passage says that faith is not a feeling but an action. But for example, just because Sandra Bullock gives $1 million to the Red Cross (and has done so several times in the last 5 years), that does not make her a hero of the faith; Bill Gates has dedicated $1 billion to educating children, and that does not make him a hero of the faith. Walt Disney is not a hero of the faith for making family-friendly movies. Sinead O’Connor is not a hero of the faith for protesting the Pope.

My question to you is this: “Are all good works inherently Christ-centered good works?” Your essay is about 8 weeks old, and I suspect you have had others asking this question, and frankly you don’t owe man an answer. But I ask you this as someone who knows you have heard the Gospel and understand its Christ-centeredness.

God be with you as you seek His face.

In Christ,
Frank Turk


St. Upid said...

may i suggest you grab a copy of the book Walk On by Steve Stockman. easy read - wont take you a couple days.