Thursday, May 05, 2011

Outside the Gospel Coalition Looking In

I have been reading along and trying to interact with two blogs on the Gospel Coalition website for a while but will now be dropping them from my blogroll and, well, I thought I'd register my discouragement.

Thing is, I hate to say this because I really believe such efforts at dialogue and debate are worth the effort in the context of Christian community. I do believe that if we were in a church together we could talk to each other and find some common ground. Even in disagreement I would confess our communion in the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy fellowship in a peace that passes our understanding. As it is I also think that in theory we could meet online and experience something of the same dynamic. I confess that this is probably easier to pursue in a blog like mine, where almost every commenter is an acquaintance and there is a history or a context to most of the conversations.

But as we are only connected by their celebrity and influence within a big thing called evangelicalism, and since I have found their blogs more discouragingly mystifying than helpful, and because they have not once interacted with my comments and questions, and since those of their followers who have interacted with me have not appeared to consider anything I've said, I have decided that their blogs are hardly worth the effort. I actually feel that my presence there has only served to solidify other commenters in their allegiance to their views.

Without downplaying my deep disagreement with most of what I've read there, I will chalk up the actual disconnect to the limitations of widely-accessed blogs and the anonymity of the interactions that go on there. I am also dropping a couple other more resonant but widely read blogs from my blogroll, simply because there doesn't seem much point in involving myself in such massive conversations at the expense of those contexts to which I have been called and invested. This would be different if I felt needed or called (or in the case of the Gospel Coalition, welcome) to those wider conversations, but I don't. I wish them all the best and trust them to the Christ we confess, but I'm done.


Jon Coutts said...

If you are curious, this post was the straw that broke the camel's back. In my view a gospel coalition can survive and even thrive within capitalism, but should be much more careful about conveying the idea that it can be saddled to capitalism.

Randy said...

I totally resonate with what you are saying. I rarely if ever really read anything they put out, but I keep them on my RSS because I attend an Acts 29 church where gals and guys tend to venerate the TGC leadership. Which means I'm constantly getting friction because I'm not a "disciple" of the narrow neo-Reformed way. And what you say about the followers on the blog is true in person: they simply don't listen to anything you say. There is no discussion and that is what frustrates me the most. I can deal with ultra conservatism, but I can't deal with fundamentalism and lack of openness to discussion.

I've tried to keep the critique of TGC on my blog more implicit, but once I'm out of informal leadership at the church, I'll probably write a series I've had in the back of my mind for awhile. The thing I hate the most as Reformed leader is that people caricature the whole of the movement based on this narrow minded group.

Bobby Grow said...


If you don't mind me asking, which blogs (like DeYoung's, Taylor's etc)? I understand your frustration though! I once was banned from one, so the guy made the decision for me. And all I was doing there was asking probing questions, but he didn't like it (he wasn't a TGC guy, he's more extreme than that . . . he's R. Scott Clark ;-).

Brett Gee 英 明 said...

That's too bad. I'm not really into smug responses like in the Donohue video. Kind of an "You're an idiot for even asking such a stupid question with such an obvious answer" deal there. Is the answer for the problems with Capitalism really just "Well, look at Dictatorships and Communism."

Good for you though, Jon. A lesser man, such as myself, would have nothing to do with those guys in the first place.

Actually, the few times I've looked in on Deyoung's blog the comments have mostly just been everybody high-fiving each other. No room for dialog. I guess all of the answers are right there in the blog. Oh, and scripture, of course.

Jon Coutts said...

Bobby: Those are the two I mean. I looked in on others at times and had no problem with them.

Brett: High-fiving indeed. The Donahue bit is deplorable on many levels except for the opportunity to see Donahue at his young, thoughtful best. He knows the dude is a moron and just can't put his finger on why. Can't believe this gets posted on a Gospel proclaiming blog and tauted as a victory of some kind. Unreal.

See a better treatment of capitalism here (warning: there is some "language":

Bobby Grow said...


Yeah, I don't usually frequent those guys anymore either. Comments are so many, that one more just gets swallowed up; something like an anonymous number, not worth the time. Plus I'm usually unmotivated to comment if I know the author of the blog is not going to respond (that's a pet-peeve of mine), and that's how it is with both DeYoung and Taylor.

Bryce Ashlin-Mayo said...

If the author does not respond to comments, then it isn't a blog but a webpage:)

Bobby Grow said...


Maybe my pet-peeve is more selective response by the author to particular commenters or comments (ones they deem "worthy" of response -- which coincides with what Jon was getting at a bit I think).

But I agree, if the author never responds then its a web-page :-).

Rod said...

Greeting Jon,

Thanks for your honest with your post. I am currently (independently of an institution) doing research on economics and theology. While I do see the free market as beneficial, I do wish to see alternatives, because there were systems before capitalism, and there will be after capitalism. I am with John Howard Yoder (not explicitly, but hints), that it is not that God disapproves of capitalism or marxism, but how these systems line up with the Gospel values of Christ the Nonviolent Liberator.