Encouraging to see this . .


(Fr. Bill Mouser) #1

In case you do not follow C. R. Wiley on Facebook, he tosses bon mots into the breezes of the commentariat (that’s not misspelled, by the way). Here’s one that’s especially encouraging:

Nice Guys from Hell: A title for something I may write about the emerging young Reformed cadre of ministers.

They’re soft, they’re sensitive, they’re really, really, really into grace, and they think boundaries are mean, and they’re coming to your church.

These guys are remarkably dangerous. They don’t begin with creation–or the beauty and utility of conjugal marriage–they have a tepid, even reluctant, disposition for its theological functions. Everything is personal sympathy for them, the ways in which the Law reinforces and supports social institutions is lost on them. They’re emotivists, retreating into the heart where the only meaning that they can affirm is found. They’re blind to the meaning in the world outside their heads. They really must be stopped.

The sort Wiley speaks of have long ago expanded their beach head into the 20th Century great-grandsons of the English Reformation. The Puritans were hold outs longer than the conventional Anglicans, but here you are - facing pretty much what Wiley is pointing to.

These Nice Guys from Hell have solid beach heads within the LCMS and entire Baptist associations, and most of the rest that are not completely ruled by them. The Methodist Church today is the exclusive territory of the Nice Guys from Hell.


(Joseph Bayly) #2

I’ve got a friend who calls these men “the Grace Boys” in the PCA (and especially in RUF).


(Lucas Weeks) #3

I preached yesterday on the second half of John 20 where Jesus meets the disciples and Thomas doubts their claims of His resurrection. When Thomas finally comes around, Jesus says, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

I spent a lot of time thinking about this statement because it seems to me that we generally think Thomas is the reasonable one. He was following the “trust but verify” principle, and, you might say, he was basing his knowledge on Science (physical examination). It not only struck me that Jesus rebuked Thomas for this but also that Jesus makes a categorical statement about those who believe without seeing. He commends those who believe based on the testimony of others.

We are at a time in our culture where we believe that the only things you can know about are things you can measure in a lab. And so in my sermon yesterday, I made the claim that in this statement to Thomas, Jesus was teaching us a bigger principal about how we can arrive at sure knowledge. We can know about things that are unseen – despite what the materialists say. I connected this to the beginning to John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The foundation of all knowledge of any kind is the Word.

In reading the quote from the original post, this line stuck out to me: “They’re emotivists, retreating into the heart where the only meaning that they can affirm is found.” This is an opposite kind of error, where real knowledge is what you feel in your heart.

God’s Word cuts through both errors. It is a fire the burns up the proud, self-sufficient edifice of the materialist, and it is a hammer that doesn’t hesitate to smash the feelings of the emotivists.


(Timothy J. Hammons) #4

I’ve always wanted to ask one of these Grace boys how he would preach about John the Baptist when he shouted “you brood of vipers, who warned you to flee the wrath to come?” How would their limp view of masculinity handle such a passage?


(Ken Lamb) #5

So my four year old daughter has been asking my wife why she can’t see Jesus. My wife asked me to talk with her about it, so i actually started with the story of Elijah and alter of fire. I wanted her to see God’s great power, but also in the context that God’s people continued to disobey. Then i brought her to doubting Thomas and Jesus proclaiming that those who believe without seeing are blessed. I wanted her to see that demanding evidences of God usually come from vile and unbelieving hearts and provide unhappy proofs, meted out in the form of chastisement. I know that there are certainly other things she needs to know about our Lord, but if seemed appropriate at the time to address a demonstration of Christ’s teaching, that those who wont believe without seeing, will not be blessed.


(Jeremy Vander Galien) #6

A problem, at least in the circles I’ve run in (Evangelical Free Church, independent baptistic), is that elders don’t take much leadership in the calling of a pastor. A “search committee” does this. And, from my experience, search committees are often made up of a majority of, if not led by, women. The search committee sends the chosen pastoral candidate up to the elders with their strong recommendation. The women are almost always most impressed by the “nice pastor,” the “grace boys.”


(Joseph Bayly) #7

Yes, we just discussed this problem in the Evangel Presbytery committee tasked with making some final changes to the BCO.


(Fr. Bill Mouser) #8

What you describe matches my observations over the past 50 years.

One should add to this, however, an abiding reluctance - sometimes an outright refusal - on the part of elders and Nice Guys from Hell to discipline anything errant in their flocks. In my first pastorate, I could not get the elders to discipline one of their own number when his wife complained to them that she’d contracted a sexually transmitted disease when her husband brought it home from his encounters with a local prostitute!

This is not confined to evangelical congregations and their leadership. Just look over the fence at the Roman mess! A rump group of theologians in the Roman ranks are now publicly accusing Pope Francis of heresy. And, the fetid sexual sewers run back to the Vatican as the Italian press routinely reports (though most of the Western Press ignores this). Just how successful do you think efforts to discipline departures from orthodoxy and morality are going to go in that house? :roll_eyes:

No - a failure to maintain and defend confessional and moral standards - in other words mere cowardice - accounts for all the destruction of faith and morals among the ranks. If the head will not rule, the body will be unruly. It’s all laid out by our Lord in John 10 when He contrasts the true shepherd with the hireling.