There’s been what feels like 100 articles written in the aftermath of the DeYoung article about the “Moscow Mood,” but this one seems the best to me. It addresses all the schism that happened during Covid.
“But I also saw something ugly begin to develop during this time. Members of faithful, sincere churches began to reek havoc on their communities, citing Wilson and Co. as justification for their divisiveness. Churches were hastily and unfairly written off as “woke” and compromised. Congregations were destroyed and relationships were broken. Now, of course, the sum of the blame for these tragedies cannot be laid at the feet of Wilson and the Moscow crew, but during that time, I heard precious little from these quarters about longsuffering and believing the best about their pastors and the like. Instead of attempting to promote peace, granting that some churches who fall short of Christ Church’s level of outspokenness are not automatically thereby to be deemed compromised, I saw an exacerbation of suspicion. A tendency to aggravate a hyper-critical judgment on all things woke: a messaging that might be crudely summarized as, You’re right: all your leaders have failed you and it’s time to start burning bridges. Come hang with us and those like us.”
I have been reading through Calvins Commentaries online recently and this section from the introduction to Galatians seemed to be a criticism of the Moscow Mood.
“Jerusalem was, at that time, the Mother of all the Churches; for the Gospel had spread from it over the whole world, and it might be said to be the principal seat of the kingdom of Christ. Any one who came from it into other churches was received with due respect. But many were foolishly elated with the thought that they had enjoyed the friendship of the Apostles, or at least had been taught in their school; and therefore nothing pleased them but what they had seen at Jerusalem. Every custom that had not been practiced there was not only disliked, but unsparingly condemned by them. This peevish manner becomes highly pernicious, when the custom of a single church is attempted to be enforced as a universal law. We are sometimes so devoted to an instructor or a place, that, without exercising any judgment of our own, we make the opinion of one man the standard for all men, and the customs of one place the standard for every other place. Such attachment is ridiculous, if there be not always in it a mixture of ambition; or rather we should say, excessive peevishness is always ambitious.”
-John Calvin Commentary on Galatians, The Argument
When has Kevin DeYoung ever written or spoken publicly this forcefully about the PCA or TGC? Doug Wilson is a fair target, but I’d respect DeYoung much more if the gloves had come off a few times before this for issues in his own house.
DeYoung’s work on the Moscow Mood was lazy. Rigney’s easy response made that clear. But let’s not too quickly move on from the trouble that arises from Wilson’s Chestertonian or Wodehousian rhetoric. For example, remember the wearing-facemasks-is-idolatry schism that inflamed Wilson’s words and spread like an infectious disease in our churches? Seems like ancient history but it was only a few years ago. There are indeed problems with the rhetoric once you free the ideas from the Chestertonian shroud. DeYoung didn’t or couldn’t do the work. Here’s someone who did the work:
Hadn’t heard abt this until brother David called a day ago, and what he said is precisely what Aaron says above. For myself, I’m virgin territory w/whole thing. Haven’t read a word of it except the above.
One other thing: DeYoung is badly wrong in giving a pass (as he does in the quote of him above) to Moscow, suggesting they were not wanting to be divisive with regard to Covid. Examine what Doug and Toby wrote at the time. At our request, Elder Dr. Josh Congrove did so. His work ended up being twenty or thirty pages of quoting them and Warhorn, doing an exhaustive comparison and analysis for our TRC Session. It’s difficult to imagine how men could actually know Moscow’s Covid content and not affirm they were intensively and intentionally schismatic.
I keep this screen shot below on my laptop’s desktop as a reminder that all the hard work and final separation from Moscow was necessary, and is still. What this documents is typical of what I and others heard personally from any number of churches (including CREC) around the country. Moscow divided church after church after church. And what is so bad about this response, below, is not simply fomenting rebelllion against the session/elders of another church, but the sacramentalism implicit in the recommendation that this Christian sister (not brother) ask to be able to administer the Lord’s Supper privately, at home. (Or maybe she was to ask her pastor to come administer it to her—again, privately—so she wouldn’t have to come to him wearing a mask? Which of course she would have to take off to receive the elements.) Love,
PS: After posting this, I saw Andrew had posted the above. Sorry to duplicate.