Alliances close comments, churches open them.
That conclusion is hard to avoid after recent developments in the PCA and at the Gospel Coalition. The PCA sponsored an enclave of fifty officers, a “Meeting of Understanding,” to discuss challenges and differences within the denomination. The rationale for the meeting was akin to marriage counseling. Spouses who live and work together have differences and the way to overcome them is through better communication. (I wonder if that would be Mark Driscoll’s advice since it sounds overly feminine, as in girls want to talk, guys reach for the remote).
Meanwhile, the Gospel Coalition (doing a pretty good imitation of the Presbyterian Church, USA’s apologetic acceptance of Pearl Buck’s resignation) said so long to James MacDonald. At the blog of D. A. Carson and Tim Keller (who appear to be the co-arch allies), MacDonald’s departure received these warm words:
James MacDonald publicly announced his resignation as a Council member of The Gospel Coalition. James was one of our founding members, and we would like to thank him and Harvest Bible Chapel warmly and publicly for their years of service and support. As the reason for his departure, James notes that he “has very different views on how to relate to the broader church.” He added, “I believe their [TGC’s] work will be assisted by my absence, given my methodological convictions.” We acknowledge that James feels called of God into these spheres, and we wish him well in his far-reaching endeavors, and many years of ministry both faithful and fruitful.
Some in the PCA are concerned about the nature of the meeting in Atlanta. From worries about irreconcilable differences that talk won’t address to concerns about a buddy-buddy system that excluded some from the meeting, the Meeting of Understanding has arguably escalated misunderstanding within the PCA.
At least our Presbyterian brothers in the PCA are talking about their differences, both at their meetings, and in comments about the meeting. Our Presbyterian allies in the Gospel Coalition are not.