Our worldview ought to be big enough to deal with such things [as Colson's sinful—Challies' word—contributions to Evangelicals and Catholics Together and the Manhattan Declaration]. To portray Charles Colson as all villain is unfair to the man; to portray him as all spiritual giant is unfair to the church. Let’s not be afraid to call it as it is.I agree with Challies, but I actually want to drive his point a bit deeper, because it's not just our worldview that needs to be big enough to deal with these things. We need to recognize that our gospel is big enough to account for our sinful failures. And we need to recognize that our gospel is far too precious to disregard the sinful failures that distort it.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
It seems quite likely that, during this decade, evangelicals will mark the passing of four men who profoundly shaped their movement. Tim Challies has offered courageous and perceptive advice for how we ought to think and speak about the legacy of one of them, and I believe his words apply similarly to the other three. We shouldn't "pour crankcase oil over their graves," as I've heard someone else put it. We can and should honor God's servants and commend evidences of grace in their lives. On the other hand, we shouldn't gloss over the detrimental effects of their legacies—particularly when their choices undermined the clarity of the gospel. I'm not sure it's helpful either to be silent at the passing of a person with a mixed legacy (and won't we all have them?) or to redact our eulogies of all that's regrettable. Rather, I wonder if these occasions might present an opportunity to teach the rising generations. Here's a bit of what Challies had to say:
Posted by Ben at 4/24/2012