Odd how some folks say, “He’s so mean, he’s picking on me!” while lobbing bombs right and left. So let it be. RS posted only his e-mails to me on his blog (along with an apology—how odd to both post his personal e-mails, with their attendant materials, at the same time). Reading his summaries of my e-mails is simply frightening, it really is. But fascinating, too. Since he has now posted it in his own words, I can now repeat one of his lines I found very interesting—I almost said something about it, but didn’t, publicly, at the time. But since it is out there now:
You are obviously concerned to fight for tradition. Great. Go have that fight. We won’t join you. Reformed Baptists are becoming so irrelevant that who cares?!
I noted Mr. Schlapfer does not say “some Reformed Baptists” but instead uses a very generic term. I had pondered this assertion often since it was first sent to me by Rob on June 10th. I reject, of course, that I am fighting for tradition. I reject Wright’s exegesis of 2 Cor. 5:21. I’m not sure who “we” is, but that sounds rather magisterial. But all of that comes back to this claim that Reformed Baptists, as a group, are “becoming so irrelevant” that RS and whoever he claims to be representing doesn’t even need to care (though subsequent events have indicated otherwise). What does this mean?
I suspect that “irrelevant” here means “not keeping up with the changes in the culture so as to look increasingly odd and peculiar.” That is quite true. Then again, I suspect the early Christians looked pretty odd in their day. Silly people, eschewing the cultural norms around them so as to live in holiness of life; refusing the sexual promiscuity of their day, the rampant homosexuality (even preaching against it!), the abandonment of children (the nutty Christians even took the kids in); they even dressed modestly and controlled their tongues! I guess in that way we RB’s are definitely “irrelevant.” Our services do not seek to pander to the whims of men; they do not seek to obscure the plain and clear proclamation of the truth with all sorts of trappings. We tend to be very focused upon the ministry of the Word. Quite out of step, we know, with all the major “trends” in “Christendom.” Goodness, we still sing stuff like “How Sweet and Aweful is the Place” and “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah!” You really have to trust the Spirit to build a church like that.
Well, as I said, I did find the claim of “irrelevance” quite fascinating. I don’t think it is the first time that allegation has been made in such a context, and it won’t be the last. Eternity will tell.
Oh, and one other thing…I was way, way off…like somewhere in the bullrushes of Egypt…in my thinking about RS’ age. He’s about four years older than I am. Again, we had barely communicated, so I simply had no idea. I assumed DR and associated organizations/ websites represented young (well, younger) Reformed folks (you know, Calvinists) and that we were “on the same page” so to speak. Mea culpa for having completely missed the boat on the age issue, and on the page issue.