The false teaching of Crossway's "Gentle and Lowly"

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:


Thank you, Tim.


At the top, just added a quote by Charnock. I’d intended to do it earlier.

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Thanks Tim for this post. I too was a little puzzled when I came across your first article on Sunday morning, but there was church, so I left it alone. I came back today and saw that you had another post. I put your post down to read the first chapter, to see if I can see what’s wrong. Reading the first chapter, and coming back to your blog reminded me of an exchange I had with a preacher on Sunday morning recently. I had listen to this man preaching on and off over the years, and I had become increasingly more angry. Of all my times listening to him, I don’t ever recalling him warning people of dangers. Real dangers that we face today. In personal conversation he will lament with me the state of our culture, but in the pulpit I don’t hear a peep from him. At most, he will use special music which bemoans the conditions of this world, but the man will not warn.

The worst part is people loved his preaching.

The boiling point came when he was preaching on a passage in Peter about needing to suffer for what is good. He made a comment to the effect that, “These are hard words. These are not what I would say, but God’s words and so we have to just accept it.” I said to him afterwards, “Don’t ever be ashamed of God’s word.” He took great offense at me for saying that. He thought that he was doing the exact opposite of what I accused him of doing.

I did ask myself during this time if I am just a crank in my own teaching and preaching, if I need to listen to the soothing voices of those gentle and lowly preachers so to open the ‘secret’ to better preaching, to building the church, etc. etc. But really, you are absolutely right. Why is there so many calls to faithfulness, and not being ashamed to bear the name Christian if all this whole thing is about being gentle and lowly. John the Baptist certainly would not have lost his head. I appreciate you taking the time to write this. It’s hard to be faithful. It’s hard when you look around and see people are ‘successful’ because they got ‘gentle and lowly’ figured out. And you are just a crank because you haven’t figured out the successful formula. Thanks for being faithful, brother. You’re probably paying a price too.


Men, at the risk of blowing up Sanityville, I wonder how many of you have joined me in warning God’s flock of the dangers of Dane Ortlund’s book? Is Sanityville a band of brothers, or a dalliance? It’s one thing to express appreciation for a brother’s work privately, but something entirely else to join him in the labor. Sanityville must not be a guilty (private) pleasure. There’s much work to do. Love,


I wrote this on Facebook. Many thanks to Tim for showing me the value in these types of questions:

  1. Substitute “Jesus” with “God.” For instance, “when God tells us what animates him most deeply, what is most true of him—when he exposes the innermost recesses of his being—what we find there is: gentle and lowly.” Does that make any sense? Jesus cannot be divorced from His eternal Sonship. He only did what the Father wanted done. Try it with a handful of Dane’s quotes.

  2. Substitute any other attribute of God. Most especially, substitute any of His more difficult to swallow ones. For instance, “when Jesus tells us what animates him most deeply, what is most true of him—when he exposes the innermost recesses of his being—what we find there is: vengeance and wrath.” And then proceed to say that and quote a bunch of the stuff Jesus said and did that showed His vengeance and wrath. You would, rightly, lose your mind and scream “That’s not true!”

Why can’t we see this when the words are soft and easy? “If God hosted his own personal website, the most prominent line of the “About Me” dropdown would read: GENTLE AND LOWLY IN HEART.” Just writing it makes me shudder.


I have scars from going against Ed Shaw’s book! :wink: Could have done more damage, but I was too slow and stupid.

But the harvest is coming.


The real problem is not so much Dane Ortlund’s book, but that the wider Christian community seems to lap it all up. There’s a bit, or a lot, of “scratching itching ears” going on, but there are also a lot of genuinely needy people who pick up on this - especially in the context of the pandemic - because it speaks, however wrongly, to that area of felt need.

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The problem is the book not an iota less than the weak souls wanting and buying it. The guy is selling error that strokes people where they itch, and that’s pastoral malfeasance. When we say he’s not so much the problem, we don’t have to suffer the opprobrium of all those intent on sitting at the banquet table and taking their share of the wealth and riches and influence and power and celebrityhood. Sorry to have to say so, but I’ve watched people most of my life listening privately to our warnings about hirelings, but never standing with us publicly. For some time, I’ve grieved this, and so I here say it. Ortlund’s book is false doctrine and he and Crossway should be shamed for promoting false doctrine. Love,


In case anyone still thinks Tim didn’t understand the intent of Ortlund’s book, here is Tim Challies first paragraph about it (emphasis mine):

If we wanted to read a book about what Jesus did, we would have many options available to us. But if we wanted to read a book about who Jesus is, well, the options would be far fewer. Obviously the two studies are closely connected, for what Jesus did is inexorably tied to who he is. Yet the two studies are not identical, for his heart can’t be conflated with his actions.

Dane is absolutely messing around with the very definition of God by making who He is different than what He does. The danger is not subtle.


When the whole ‘eternal subordination of the son’ stuff blew up a couple years ago, neo Reformed-Scholastics came out of the woodwork to defend classical reformed doctrine of God theology. There was Latin left, right, and centre. No theological stone was left unturned to defend a rigorous Christology from any and all perceived attacks.

Where are they now? Matthew Barrett? Mark Jones? The Reformed Forum guys? Greenville Seminary?

Come get your boy.


Yes, what puzzled me about Tim Challies’ review, is how positive it was about the book. I would not expect Tim to make the error of saying that “[Jesus’] heart cannot be conflated with his actions”. What do others think?

Tim Challies makes lots of money off shilling for legacy publishers.

If anyone desiring discernment learns to follow the money, he’s immediately beyond thinking Donald or Tim or Tim or Russ or Al or John or Dane or Lane or Rosaria or Wayne or any of the rest of them are in any way surprising in what they condemn and what they commend. But of course, lots of us are determined to undervalue the temptations and sins of filthy mammon among men and women we very much wish to agree with our friends who consider these men and women true heroes.

Didn’t our Lord say you can’t serve God and mammon? Aren’t all our true heroes across church history united in forsaking money? Why then do we insist on defending men who have shown themselves zealous for their own profit?

For twenty years I’ve been warning us to have nothing to do with them; also to warn our sheep away from them. If you have to ask to have it spelled out for you who’s about fame and money, I get up and begin hitting my head against the door jamb. And Juergen who’s sitting across the table from me expresses alarm and asks what’s wrong? Love,


Auf Deutsch? :rofl: :sweat_smile: :heart:

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It’s pretty universal: “Was??”

To me the tell is often their vanity, like cuff links or fancy glasses or clothes…

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