Kevin Swanson is not Tim Keller

Some critics of the OPC and 2k wonder why Old Life has been silent about Kevin Swanson, the Generations with Vision Director who pastors and OPC congregation in Elizabeth, CO.

A simple reason is that Pastor Swanson has no following (to my knowledge) in the OPC say the way Lig Duncan, or Harry Reeder, or Tim Keller do in the PCA.

It’s also the case that Swanson almost never refers to the OPC in his self-identifications. At Generations with Vision:

Homeschooled himself in the 1960’s and 70’s, Kevin Swanson and his wife, Brenda, are now homeschooling their five children. Since graduating from his homeschool and then serving as student body president of a large west coast university, he has gone on to other leadership positions in corporate management, church, and other non-profits. Kevin has 43 years of experience in the homeschooling movement and serves as the Director of Generations – a ministry he founded to strengthen homeschool families around the country. As a father who wants to leave a godly heritage for his own five children, Kevin’s passion is to strengthen and encourage the homeschooling movement all over the world, and to cast a vision for generations to come. For the last 10 years Kevin has hosted a daily radio program – Generations Radio – the world’s largest homeschooling and Biblical worldview program that reaches families across the US and in over 100 countries.

Kevin has also served as the Executive Director of Christian Home Educators of Colorado for the last nine years. He has also authored several popular books for homeschoolers, including Freedom, Apostate, Upgrade-10 Secrets to the Best Education for Your Child, the Family Bible Study Guide Series, and others.

Kevin Swanson also serves as a teaching elder at Reformation Church of Elizabeth (reformationchurch.com).

The Speaker Lineup for Freedom 2015 listed Swanson as director of — yet again — Generations with Vision and the author of more than 10 books.

I’ve never talked to an OPC officer who has read a book by Swanson.

At Amazon:

Homeschooled himself in the 1960s and 70s, Kevin Swanson and his wife, Brenda, are now homeschooling their five children. Kevin has 43 years of experience in the homeschooling movement and serves as the director of Generations With Vision—a ministry he founded to strengthen homeschool families. Kevin’s passion is to strengthen and encourage the homeschooling movement all over the world, and to cast a vision for generations to come. For the last 4 years Kevin has hosted a daily radio program, Generations Radio, the world’s largest homeschooling and biblical worldview program that reaches families across the US and in over 100 countries. Kevin has also served as the executive director of Christian Home Educators of Colorado for the last nine years. He has authored several popular books for homeschoolers, including Apostate, Upgrade: 10 Secrets to the Best Education for Your Child, The Second Mayflower, the Family Bible Study Guide Series, and others.

So far Pastor Swanson does not seem eager to put his stamp on the OPC the way TKNY has on the PCA.

So for now, paying attention to Pope Francis seems a little more reasonable than to Pastor Swanson.

Advertisements

98 thoughts on “Kevin Swanson is not Tim Keller

  1. “… Homeschooled himself in the 1960s and 70s …”
    How does one “homeschool” ones self? Is this some new technique?

    Like

  2. Even so, there’s a legal doctrine called “silence as acceptance.” Swanson is the most visible minister in the OPC. If his views represent a radical departure from those in the OPC and his statements tarnish the OPC’s brand image, then it would seem incumbent on the OPC to sever ties with him. My hunch is that, while many in the OPC may disagree with Swanson’s tactics, they don’t disagree much with the substance of his views on how to deal with LGBTQ people.

    Like

  3. I’ve been a minister in the OPC for +10 yrs. Never heard of Swanson till someone sent me a link to the MSNBC segment. I have to admit I’m sympathetic to Erik’s viewpoint.

    Like

  4. Swanson is the most visible minister in the OPC.

    I don’t know about that, but I did like him on Parks and Rec.

    If his views represent a radical departure from those in the OPC and his statements tarnish the OPC’s brand image, then it would seem incumbent on the OPC to sever ties with him.

    Except that the OPC is an ecclesiastical institution not say….a college. Being embarrassing is not sufficient grounds in most NAPARC churches for getting yanked…though I’m no officer – just my observation.

    Like

  5. My circles are much more familiar with the sources from an internet search for “kevin swanson”, like HuffPo and the NYTimes, then they are the Alliance, WTS, or First Things re: “carl trueman.” I don’t know if anyone’s cared enough to dig into the OPC, but even in Kevin’s bio they’re a click away. HuffPo’s last mention of the OPC was Bowe Bergdahl, so whatever public impression exists of the denomination probably has little to do with, say, its range of opinion on the Great Awakenings.

    Kevin Swanson may not be Tim Keller but I can’t believe there would be no public statement by their respective denominations if either had discussed federal capital punishment for adultery or even tarot card reading as a matter of reasonable consideration.

    Like

  6. Mike K: “Kevin Swanson may not be Tim Keller but I can’t believe there would be no public statement by their respective denominations if either had discussed federal capital punishment for adultery or even tarot card reading as a matter of reasonable consideration.”

    GW: It is my understanding that Rev. Swanson is theonomic/reconstructionist in his leanings. From the theonomic point of view, in a Christianized nation capital punishment ought to be enforced against sins such as adultery, homosexuality, idolatry, etc. The OPC has a history of tolerating minority opinions on certain issues (for example, although the OPC is not an exclusive psalmodist denomination, exclusive psalmodists like John Murray and G.I. Williamson have served among her ranks of ministers). Theonomy has been a tolerated position thus far in the history of the OPC, even though many OP church officers today would view it as unbiblical and unconfessional (myself included).

    Case in point: It is my understanding that the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen, author of the classic defense of theonomy, “Theonomy in Christian Ethics,” was a minister in good standing in the OPC even until his death. If Rev. Swanson’s Presbytery were to censure him for his views on capital punishment for adulterers, his defense could easily point to Dr. Bahnsen as an example of the historic precedent in the OPC for tolerance of such a minority view, since Dr. Bahnsen held a similar view for many years yet was never censured for it; indeed, I believe he retained his good standing in the church until the end.

    Regarding your suggestion that the OPC ought to make a “public statement” against such a position: Even if the GA of the OPC were to adopt some kind of resolution or public statement condemning theonomy in general or the views promoted by Rev. Swanson in particular, at best such a statement would only have the force of “pious advice,” not binding law requiring OP ministers to reject such views. Only successful ecclesiastical censure against Rev. Swanson for his views or an amendment to the OPC’s Constitution clarifying the OPC’s rejection of such theonomic thinking would have the effect of excluding such views from the OPC; and both of those avenues for addressing the matter in an official way would likely not be successful, given the OPC’s tolerance for minority views deemed to be within the Reformed Faith and the difficulty in changing the church’s Constitution.

    Like

  7. George, I think it reads (an advocate of homeschooling and) Homeschooled himself in the 1960’s and 70’s…

    Oh look, Literate Comments is back up. Yawn.

    Like

  8. Zrim – literate comments or not, there is not substitute for poor grammar. The introductory sentence should have read something like, “having been” homeschooled himself…

    BTW (since my tongue in cheek remark apparently fell flat) DGH – why do old, archived threads appear with randomly embedded symbols where punctuation existed in the previous post? Is this a problem with the way information is compacted for storage?

    Like

  9. Tim Keller—“Since our main problem is a disbelief in the love and goodness of God, to say, “All you need for sanctification is to believe in your justification,” is too simplistic. You need more than just an abstract belief in your legal exemption from punishment. You need a renovation of your view of God.”

    mcmark—-Perhaps we need more than an abstract belief in faith is the condition of union” and then “renovation” follows. But if we need legal exemption not only from punishment but also from guilt, then we would need to talk about election and about only the sins of the elect having already been imputed to Christ. And Tim Keller’s “mere christianity” does not get into that Westminster Confession extra stuff…

    http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/4-lessons-for-the-bedeviling-sanctification-debate

    Like

  10. Waddington—“Dr. Fesko offers a fascinating discussion of hypothetical universalism ….However, beyond doing us the favor of reminding us that at the time of the assembly hypothetical universalism was a live option, one gets the sense that there is also at work here a theological agenda…. Should we try to turn back the clock and broaden our confessional views on this? Maybe so. Maybe not. We recognize that there is development in theology and that we need to be historically sensitive to this.

    Waddington–”Would it be right to judge earlier formulations by later standards? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that if a later development actually is an improvement and refinement and correction to earlier views, we would not want to revert to the earlier formulations. No, in the sense that we will recognize earlier formulations as defective but not necessarily erroneous or heretical.”

    http://www.opc.org/os.html?article_id=529&cur_iss=Y

    Like

  11. Bashir: So where does that leave the millions of Muslims, Sikhs, and Jews? Are they sadly and completely deluded?

    Tim Keller: People who never heard about Jesus, or never really got a hearing about Jesus . . .

    Bashir: I’m not talking about them, because some of those people have heard (about Jesus). I’m talking about the millions of Muslims, Sikhs, and Jews who have heard about Jesus. Where does your thesis leave them?

    Keller: Where they are right now, it means that if there’s never any change, they don’t get Jesus. If he is who he says he is, then, long term, they don’t have God. If on the other hand…all I can always say about this is God gives me, even as a minister with the Scripture, a lot of information on a need-to-know basis.

    And a need-to-know basis means, “Here’s all I can tell you: unless you get Jesus Christ who created you to start with, unless you are reunited with him sometime, there is no eternal future of thriving.” It just makes sense. Again, I’m trying to go back to this idea that, that, if he is who he says he is, you’ve got to have him. If right now a person doesn’t have him, he or she needs to get him. If they die and they’ve never, if they die and they don’t have Jesus Christ, I don’t know. In other words, I have a need-to-know basis, the only thing I know is you need Jesus.

    I certainly know that God is wiser than me, more merciful than me, and I do know that when I finally find out how God is dealing with every individual soul, I won’t have any questions about it. . . People in other religions, unless they find Christ, I don’t know any other way; but I also get information on a need-to-know basis so if there’s some , if there’s some trapdoor or something like that, I haven’t been told about it.

    http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/keller-on-salvation-outside-of-christ/

    Like

  12. Bobby: My hunch is that, while many in the OPC may disagree with Swanson’s tactics, they don’t disagree much with the substance of his views on how to deal with LGBTQ people.

    The OPC of which I’m a member is a rather large church for the OPC and it’s planted right in the middle of the southern conservative Bible Belt. We have great conversations about a variety of topics, both theological and civil, at church and during fellowship through the week with one another. No one I’ve talked to would agree with the substance of Pastor Swanson’s views regarding the death penalty for homosexuals.

    You write with uninformed opinions and draw incorrect conclusions about what is in the heart of good people. It’s hard to take your comments seriously as a result.

    Like

  13. Doesn’t this implicitly show that 2k is more popular in the OPC (and inherent in church life) than people like to acknowledge?

    Officers, correct me if I’m wrong, but the OPC is an ecclesiastical institution, not an all-of-life institution, right? It’s not the OPC’s problem if DG promotes the Coen Brothers, secularized higher education, and classical liberalism. Likewise, it’s not the OPC’s problem if Swanson promotes the Christian alternative to Disney, homeschooling, and theonomy.

    Like

  14. As of a couple minutes ago SERMONAUDIO has 23,070 speakers, 1,060,365 sermons, 2.2 million downloads and 78 million page views a month.

    Swanson has for years perpetually had at least 1 and usually 2 or even 3 of his shows on the “Top Sermons” page for most viewed and downloaded files.

    He may not be wearing the OPC on his sleeve, but he is VERY well known by some considerably sizable group of people .

    Like

  15. Walton: “Officers, correct me if I’m wrong, but the OPC is an ecclesiastical institution, not an all-of-life institution, right? It’s not the OPC’s problem if DG promotes the Coen Brothers, secularized higher education, and classical liberalism. Likewise, it’s not the OPC’s problem if Swanson promotes the Christian alternative to Disney, homeschooling, and theonomy.”

    GW: Correct…sort of. Rev. Swanson is certainly at liberty as a private individual to engage in his brand of culture-warrior activism and to promote his parachurch ministry, so long as he does so as an avocation on the side. But as ordained OPC minister of the gospel called to serve as the pastor of his local OP congregation, his vocation/calling is one that is fundamentally pastoral and ecclesiastical, not social-activist or cultural-warriorist. If his avocation as a culture warrior begins to eclipse his vocation and duties as a pastor; or if he misappropriates his ministerial credentials to validate and lend credence to his activism; or if in his culture warrior activity he teaches things contrary to Scripture or Confession, or in violation of his ordination vows; then the OPC and his own Presbytery would (or at least should) have a problem with his activism.

    Like

  16. Greg the Terrible: “He may not be wearing the OPC on his sleeve, but he is VERY well known by some considerably sizable group of people .”

    GW: This is perhaps the biggest issue that some old-side & old-life Presbyterians have with Rev. Swanson’s approach. The fact that he is more well known as a radio host and cultural warrior (his avocation) than as an ordained pastor of an OP church (his vocation) ought to be of concern, in my opinion.

    Like

  17. The main audience for Swanson’s sermons is the homeschool crowd. As part of that crowd I have seen many people from a variety of denominations turn to Swanson for instruction in his sermons and books, which is why his Sermon Audio profile has so many hits. He is also a popular speaker on the homeschool conference circuit. Interestingly, I have watched a number of broadly evangelical homeschool families begin attending OPC churches because of him. I have also seen a non-denominational minister become an OPC theonomist under Swanson’s tutelage. He is now an ordained minister with the OPC with all the Swanson-Rushdoony baggage he can carry.

    Like

  18. So, hanging out with the “family is our church” folks is not a good thing, but getting involved with Roman Catholic para church institutions like First Things is a good thing? Who told Carl Truman that the Alliance of Confessing EVANGELICALS is not “para-chuich” like Ligonier is? Note, the idea of “close down discussion” does not refer to closing comments, because the Alliance of Confessing rejects that kind of democractic anarchism….

    https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2015/12/is-there-a-crisis-in-conservative-protestantism

    Carl Truman—A good example of this was provided this year by events surrounding the attempted exchange about Evangelicals and Catholics Together which was commissioned by Reformation21, the e-zine of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. Three of us were involved: Timothy George, Thomas Guarino, and myself. … Within hours of the first article (that of Tim) being published, a tweet and a hostile blog post by a senior representative of another Reformed parachurch group based in Florida, followed by rumored behind-the-scenes shenanigans, were enough to get the series pulled (and then thankfully picked up by First Things—kudos to Rusty Reno). Sad to say, one parachurch group had effectively closed down perfectly legitimate discussion in an unconnected forum by sheer bully-boy tactics.

    Carl Truman— “This is symptomatic of the way things are in much of the conservative Protestant world. As long as the most influential parachurches are run like businesses, money and marketing will be the overriding concerns, even as concern for ‘the gospel’ is always the gloss. Reinforced by a carrot-and-stick system of feudal patronage connected to lucrative conference gigs, publishing deals, and access to publicity, such tactics as those described will continue to be deployed. ”

    mcmark—Not every business franchise is run like Wall Mart. As long as First Things and Reformation have their patrons, they get to stay in the race, much like a presidential candidate with enough billionaire sugar daddies. And the philosopher kings, with all their “moral theology” defense of “justified war”, won’t be able to stop the sectarians…

    Like

  19. “DavidG, but when do Piper and TKNY ever talk about the duties that Americans have as Americans?”

    An important point missed by the critics of 2k. Paul doesn’t say do your duties because those duties are holy. Rather, he says do your duty because God says do your duty. Obedience to God: pleasing sacrifice to him. Plumbing: ehhh…

    TGC would say do your duty because it’s loving your neighbor or it’s “the gospel in action.” But not all duties are like that.

    Like

  20. Walton, what about cooking and dead guy dooties? Maybe TGC are not meant for deez dooties? Maybe eez time for dem to get a different dooty?

    Like

  21. A dooty joke, Zrim. Nice. Also this math homework due in one hour. Seriously, no gospel here. In other news, have you ever watched True Detective?

    Like

  22. Did you do your delight dooty today?

    http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/international/project/nepali-translation-project-dangerous-duty-of-delight-by-john-piper

    Piper is no John the Baptist.

    Matthew 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be water baptized by John 14 But John tried to stop Him, saying, “I need to be water baptized by You, and yet You come to me?” 15 Jesus answered him, “Allow it for now, because this is the way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John allowed Jesus to be water baptized. 16 After Jesus was water baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and Jesus saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. 17 And there came a voice from heaven:
    This is My beloved Son.
    I take delight in Him!

    Like

  23. But also it’s a dooty to have a good motive for doing your dooties.

    Tim Keller–“The root of our sinful behavior is an inability to hate sin for itself, and this stems from a tendency to see obedience as simply a way to avoid danger and have a good life—not as a way to love and know Jesus for who he is.

    So is Keller agreeing with Kant that we need to get the self-interest out of ir, or is he agreeing with Piper (and C S Lewis) that being motivated by the benefits is not a problem, but then also (like Piper) always questioning our ,motives–do we love God enough?

    Tim Keller—“To grow in grace comes not simply from believing more in our justification. Growing flows from using the gospel of grace on the root of our sin—the mistrust of God’s goodness and the inordinate love of other things When we behold the glory of Christ in the gospel, it reorders the loves of our hearts, so we delight in him supremely, and the other things that have ruled our lives lose their enslaving power over us. This is not merely telling yourself that you are accepted and forgiven.”

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/protestprotest/2015/06/the-importance-of-being-earnest/

    Sure, being thankful for grace and forgiveness is a “duty”, but r u serious—some folks want more than faith alone or even grace alone….

    Like

  24. I dunno. My roommates are watching season 2 and apparently each season has new characters and plot and stuff. So basically they already paid for it, I’m just trying to decide if it’s worth my time.

    Like

  25. True Detective s1 is superior to s2, but both are solid – cinematography, direction, acting all top notch (s1 is worth watching just for Matthew McConaughey’s stellar performance alone).
    Fargo is also along the same vein (different characters/plot each season, but connecting themes and tone) and excellent – Fargo is not as bleak as TD.

    Like

  26. Zrim,

    Ditto Cletus on TD season 1. One of few television shows where the dialogue is actually more tense and dramatic than the action. And do not assume, as many do, that McConaughey’s Cohle is simply a naturalist or nihilist. His character is much more complicated than that, though I advise reading up on the philosophic viewpoints after viewing so as to enjoy it as it unfolds. (Season 2 was disappointing IMO)

    Like

  27. OK, I will grant that you make a solid point in how he is different from say a Tim Keller type in the PCA. Swanson may not proudly wear an OPC ribbon on his chest, but he is still in the OPC, is very vocal and it is pretty pathetic that his church is the flagship (by default) OPC church in southern Colorado. Another example of the variety hodgepodge of very different doctrinal and theological focuses falling under the heading of “Reformed.” I certainly don’t think that it would be outlandish or inconsistent for you to speak up more about him considering that he is right in your own backyard. Then again maybe that’s why it is hard.

    Just saying.

    Like

  28. E. Burns, I’d need to listen to Swanson’s show or buy on of his books. So far, people I know in the OPC don’d mention him.

    That’s more downstate than backyard.

    Like

  29. “Backyard” …. Meaning he is in your own denomination in this case. I think if you check him out you would find him more disturbing than Tim Keller. I could be wrong about that, but I find him more disturbing. A kind of John Birch society version of the OPC/reformed Amish if you will, coupled with a soft peddling of the federal vision theology along with a kind of cult hero type following for icing on the cake, cherry on top is a bona fide homeschool only Neonomiam club to boot. If you get a chance to watch a video of him I especially like the charismatic histrionics in speaking style. I’ve seen him give a speech once.

    Like

  30. 🙂 ha ha, those OPC pontoon boats are sometimes bloated too, that’s the point.

    I’m just “suggesting that perhaps” (not saying mind you) that Swanson might want to shut his trap when it comes to his bombastic culture warrior ego being in the driver seat and he might want to just preach the gospel a little bit more. By the way this is how he preaches for about an hour straight in his church as well. That is to say he doesn’t really preach at all
    (i’ve seen him preach too) as much as he gives theocracy/theonomy culture warrior speeches in place of true biblical preaching. see video

    Like

  31. By the way, Swanson’s church in Colorado is busting at the seams, has about 400 people (not that it is all about numbers) in attendance every Sunday. Not really a rusted out pontoon boat. By NAPARC standards that’s a mega church. In my Saturday night live Skit writing mind, I Picture instead of a coffee bar Swanson having a shooting range and gaydar training for the flocks youth via a couple of side doors off the narthex.

    Like

  32. EB, straight lines from wildfires to homosexuality? Maybe he’s the Pat Robertson of the OPC? Every denom has at least one.

    Or is that gay lines?

    Like

  33. E. Burns: “I’m just “suggesting that perhaps” (not saying mind you) that Swanson might want to shut his trap when it comes to his bombastic culture warrior ego being in the driver seat and he might want to just preach the gospel a little bit more.”

    GW: I watched this clip (as much of it as I could bear without cringing), as well as the MSNBC clip of Rev. Swanson. What concerns me about this brother, besides the fact that he comes across as a shrill, unhinged, hyperventilating showman, is that the “Right Wing Watch” video clips focus on Swanson’s criticisms of things like: Girl Scout Cookies, Harry Potter, Etc. What I didn’t notice was Rev. Swanson being criticized for his proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ or of the biblical truths which undergird that gospel.

    I’m not saying Rev. Swanson doesn’t preach the gospel. (I can’t say with certainty; I haven’t listened to any of his sermons from his church website yet.) Since he is a minister in good standing I will assume, in the judgment of charity, that he does. But I will say that someone from his Presbytery needs to sit down with this brother and have a candid conversation with him about how his preaching style, delivery, and culture-warrior emphasis have the potential to give Christ, and the OPC, a nice, big black eye.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. E. Burns: “By the way, Swanson’s church in Colorado is busting at the seams, has about 400 people (not that it is all about numbers) in attendance every Sunday. Not really a rusted out pontoon boat. By NAPARC standards that’s a mega church.”

    GW: I’m not saying that having an attendance of 400 is a bad thing in itself. But I have to wonder: Are these large numbers of attendees being drawn due to a balanced diet of Word and sacrament, law and gospel, and the riches of the Reformed Faith, being offered Lord’s Day after Lord’s Day? Or are they being drawn because the pastor is a rising celebrity on the conservative conference speaker circuit whose theatrical sermons offer a good dose of pulpit-pounding, right-wing social activist, culture warrior preachments? I hope it’s the former, but fear it may be the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Geoff, but something tells me a sit down wouldn’t do much except make the sitter-downer feel a bit better. These types have an agenda and by nature don’t heed serious attempts at adjustment.

    Like

  36. Zrim: “Geoff, but something tells me a sit down wouldn’t do much except make the sitter-downer feel a bit better. These types have an agenda and by nature don’t heed serious attempts at adjustment.”

    GW: Perhaps. But whether or not such a sit-down makes any practical difference, and whether or not Rev. Swanson turns out to be one of “these types” (as you put it), it is nonetheless the pastoral and loving thing to do, not only out of concern for Rev. Swanson himself, but also out of concern for the spiritual well-being of his congregants.

    Like

  37. Isn’t there something in the OldLife bylaws that says something to the effect of:

    “We are only interested in publicly exposing big fish ministers/scholars that are visible to evangelical world, not the ministers who have even more wacky and obscure views in micro-denominations like the OPC.”

    Like

  38. I vote for removing that part of the bylaw immediately. Although the king of the castle might say this is not a democracy, then again I have the freedom to pay a lot less attention next time the site rails against Tim Keller. By the way, I agree with 99% of the king of the castle’s assessments on TKNY, but I think an unwillingness to go after guys like this, well let’s just say is a wee bit of an indication that things are not passing the giggle or smell test let alone the credibility test of a bit more consistency.

    Like

  39. consistency, big fish, microaggression

    you mean partiality?
    looking to see who someone is before deciding how to treat him/her, giving special favor and respect (or not).

    Like

  40. Dr. Hart,

    They are different, again I will grant you that. Keller is like William F Buckley, while Swanson is more like Rush Limbaugh on meth. (OK Ok, I know all analogies breakdown)

    Swanson maybe pathetic and come off as a bombastic clown and demagogue. Nonetheless, having a significant following, him being a NAPARC pastor (OPC at that) consistently spouting what he does……. yes I take that seriously. Although, I hope to not lose my sense of humor in the process. 🙂

    I just think it would be good for you to critique this guy a bit too. All things considered he is indeed worthy of it. But as I mentioned before seems to me him being in the OPC is what makes it hard for you other OPC guys. Don’t want to call him out and would rather make qualifications about him being the equivalent of a rusted out pontoon boat which is not worthy of criticism. He was visibly in the news because of his bombastic culture warrior fever, yet you turn a post on Swanson into one about Keller. I don’t buy it.

    Like

  41. Were the right wing religionists from the Sanhedrin who succeeded in getting the Roman governor to kill Jesus “lesser magistrates”?

    If a Reformed church over time ceases to produce Christian individuals with divided loyalties who become Christian police persons and Christian soldiers, has that church ceased to be Reformed? If all the persons in that church give unbalanced priority to the kingdom of heaven, without ever feeling called to kill people for the sake of other people, would this make you suspicious?

    If a Reformed person at all times acts only in loyalty to their citizenship from heaven, do these persons by their nonviolence set aside the possibility of their still being Reformed? To avoid this, is it not necessary to include theonomists in some pulpits? If theonomists were to be rejected from the administration of the sacraments, that slippery slope might lead to the rejection of the idea that Abraham’s children were promised salvation, and that would mean the end of Christendom.

    http://www.englewoodcc.com/NLArchive/504JA.html

    Like

  42. Lee Gatiss—“John Owen initially flirted with Presbyterianism before becoming more persuaded by the Congregational way. He didn’t like episcopacy as a system. Yet — perhaps surprisingly for many — along with other such Independents during the 17th century, Owen did not believe in the separation of church and state….Owen thought that the State had a duty to stop anti-Trinitarians infiltrating the church, and to silence those who rejected justification by faith alone. The magistrates could enforce that, in his view; indeed it was against the light and law of nature, he said, for supreme magistrates not to exert their authority to support, preserve, and further the cause of the gospel and forbid, coerce, and restrain false teaching (e.g. Works, 13:509-510). ”

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2016/01/john-owen-was-an-anglican.php

    Lee Gatiss—In a Constantinian context, appealing to the conscience to “accept the Christ who died for you” may have had a very powerful effect on those haunted by the weighty obligation of their baptism and church membership …Many intuitively felt the significance of their citizenship in a Christian society. Yet as the ghost of nominal Christianity is driven out by modern secularism perhaps such a strategy has had its day. For Us and Our Salvation, p 118

    Like

  43. James Young, interesting question. Since you are a Roman Catholic apologist who tends to be obsessive, that would make you a Roman Catholic equivalent of Kevin Swanson.

    Like

  44. Do we need to be like the guy in this video to appreciate firearms or homeschooling?
    Do homeschooling and a “locked and loaded” motif always need to go together?
    Are public schools really a place for housing inmates?
    Will this guy and his devotees wind up in a Burns Oregon scenario someday?

    You are right, he is not Tim Keller, he is 10 times worse.

    Like

  45. Dr. Hart,

    Yes, but behind the studied ambiguity of answering questions with questions and heading down the road of an infinite regress because you’re dodging does not take away the fact that you should be as willing to find out about him the way you are so eager to about Keller. At least I think you should, but then again I’m not king of Dr. Hart let alone of the “old life” kingdom and this blog isn’t a democracy. You are a benevolent dictator who can delete my comments at any time. 🙂

    Here, I will help you out a bit more on finding out about Sawnson.

    If his hard court press isn’t worthy of “old life” criticism I don’t know what is. I get it, you need to find out about people to give them a fair shake. But come on man you don’t need to read theological tomes or an epic biography to get a handle on a guy like this. By all means go read his books, watch more sermons and speeches, now you have no excuse, but then again it’s not like this guys been hiding out, he’s been in plain view right there in the OPC and NAPARC for a long time. (See credibility problem)

    To taste the sea one only needs a thimbleful.

    Thanks for the conversation and thank you for “old life blog” and the work you do, it’s always enjoyable.

    Grace and peace,

    Like

  46. E Burns, from the one podcast I’ve heard, I am seriously underwhelmed by Pastor Swanson’s analysis of culture and politics. Neither does it seem like something all that serious.

    When you produce numbers for the sales of his books on the order of TKNY’s, maybe I’ll reconsider. But for now, he’s like Joel Osteen. To be outraged would be pornographic.

    Like

  47. Burns raises some excellent points…

    Ask yourself this question — what kind of transferring church member is more likely to raise a stink at an Old School presbyterian-type church? A person from TKNY’s church OR someone from Swanson’s church? I can actually think of a couple of TKNY transplants that have done just fine in Old School type PCA churches, even if it took them a while to ‘get it’! But I could line up the OPC ministers who have had deal with Swanson-transfer-types who become perpetual burrs in a ministers arse to the point where he’s spending ridiculous amounts of time trying putting out fires. It’s just as distracting (if not more so!) to a minister seeking to follow the ‘ordinary means of grace’ than anything coming from the NeoCal transformation crowd.

    DGH needs a new set of OPC minister friends if he thinks ‘Swanson Types’ are part of some fringe 1% of the OPC!

    Like

  48. Churchcurmudgeon, Bingo! Good point yourself.

    Here is one more twist to all this and a round about way of bringing it back around so that all us “Old Lifers” can just get along. I would submit to you that in a way Swanson is a macro- level example and proof positive that Neonomianism is Reformed Theologies biggest UnWelcomed Guest. Macro in the sense he is in leadership and has a significant following.

    Think about it, a pastor right at this post (and I’m not saying he is outlandish or questioning his backbone or gospel solidarity) stated…..
    —–“”The OPC has a history of tolerating minority opinions on certain issues …….. Theonomy has been a tolerated position thus far in the history of the OPC, even though many OP church officers today would view it as unbiblical and unconfessional (myself included)””—– Exactly! And theonomist have a great tendency in binding the conscience of others, being culture warriors, of being softies on Federal Vision and there are more of them than is rightly acknowledged. But I bet the OPC (or any NAPARC church besides the PCA) would not as easily tolerate someone like a willow creek type evangelical in their midst. At least not as a minister in good standing for years and years. Not saying they should, just saying.

    He is absolutely right, Swanson types are tolerated in good standing. Yet I would submit that broadly speaking an “Old lifer” “Marrow man” , or a person that prefers to give grace the first and last word is simply not as readily tolerated at a macro or micro level in much of Reformed circles, they are after all Antinomian and Lutheran don’t ya know. Everyone from John Piper (baptist) to Mark Jones (PCA) can agree on that.

    Micro Example: I have been in and around a variety of Reformed churches and settings over the last 17 years. Been my experience that one can sit in a Reformed Sunday school class or small group and hear all manner of Swanson type positions praddled on about, from culture warrior bravado to binding the conscience about only having two children, etc, etc. I can think of very few times where anyone including leadership in that setting really speaks up against it. But the same setting will absolutely pounce on someone they believe is even hinting at indulging the flesh via worldliness and Antinomianism , in many cases perhaps they should, if there is legit Antinomianism happening.
    But the point is that all too often this obvious discrepancy is glaring. The over abundance of law leaning in most Reformed settings is so obvious one can cut it with a knife. And if not law leaning a weaned on a pickle / argue about everything holy huddle posture.

    My point here is that in the broader Evangelical world I think that Antinomianism is indeed the bigger problem, generally speaking. Whereas in the Reformed world (NAPARC) I think by far Neonomianism is the bigger problem, again generally speaking. We even admit that is who we more readily tolerate.

    Some would say this is an over simplification, from my experience (I know that can be dangerous) it is a fair summary.

    Wow, did I just make a post about Swanson which got turned into a post about Keller all about how Mark Jones is all wrong about Reformed Theologies UnWelcomed guest. It is like an enigma wrapped in an enigma with a PCA community small group as cherry on top. You guys want to meet again same time next week? 🙂

    See, all has been set right in the Old Life Kingdom, Mark Jones sucks. I kid I kid.

    Like

  49. Chruch, so is the point tabulating OL posts? 4% TKNY, 55% Pope Francis, 2% Trump?

    Or might a function of OL be provocation or information, even insight?

    Since the ones calling for posts about Swanson are already enlightened about Swanson’s woes, what would be the point of posting about Swanson’s woes.

    Old Life does not do obvious.

    Like

  50. E. Burns,

    I think you are on to something. But do remember that one of the reasons that British Protestants (under Mary Tudor) swooned over Calvin’s Geneva was that the consistory policed the faithful on all sorts of minor offenses — like falling asleep during sermons. Reformed think pursuit of holiness is important and part of discipline. So the ideal is out there.

    What you say about people with odd views is a lot harder to police. Do you really want to get into it with someone who has the wrong view of the civil magistrate? Or do you wait and see if it develops into a divisive matter? (BTW, so far Swanson has not arisen to that level.)

    Like

  51. E. Burns: You are a benevolent dictator

    sheesh, E. Burns.
    Let me now be partial to no one, nor flatter any man for I do not know how to flatter, else my Maker would soon take me away. Job 32:21-22

    E. Burns: The over abundance of law leaning in most Reformed settings is so obvious one can cut it with a knife.

    If only E. Burns. Come Lord Jesus.

    -Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.
    -You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.
    -the perfect, royal law of liberty …the law of love
    Matt 24:12; Heb 1:9; James 1:25, 2:8, Romans 13:10

    Like

  52. E. Burns: “My point here is that in the broader Evangelical world I think that Antinomianism is indeed the bigger problem, generally speaking. Whereas in the Reformed world (NAPARC) I think by far Neonomianism is the bigger problem, again generally speaking. We even admit that is who we more readily tolerate.”

    GW: Good point; I agree. One must know one’s own ecclesial context to know which aspects of the whole counsel of God need greater emphasis. IMO legalism and neonomianism are a much bigger threat within the confessional Reformed world today than the heresy of antinomianism.

    Like

  53. EBurns: “I have been in and around a variety of Reformed churches and settings over the last 17 years. Been my experience that one can sit in a Reformed Sunday school class or small group and hear all manner of Swanson type positions praddled on about, from culture warrior bravado to binding the conscience about only having two children, etc, etc. I can think of very few times where anyone including leadership in that setting really speaks up against it. But the same setting will absolutely pounce on someone they believe is even hinting at indulging the flesh via worldliness and Antinomianism , in many cases perhaps they should, if there is legit Antinomianism happening.”

    Kevin Swanson, I have thee tolerated.
    Lee Irons, I have not thee tolerated.

    One is clearly teaching a brand a neonomianism….let him keep doing it.
    One is branded an antinomian because he won’t equate the moral law with the Decalogue….Ichabod!

    Like

  54. Chruchcurmudgeon,

    Ding Ding Ding! Exactly! That is not to say I agree with everything put forth by Lee Irons, but yes. Yet this glaring discrepancy or double standard if you will seems to be the excepted norm among the more conservative reformed (NAPARC) faithful.

    Dr. Hart,

    I’m not suggesting that we get into it with folks over little offenses or that we go around policing peoples every idiosyncrasy in theology, I’m talking about a general ethos to some degree here, but important nonetheless. It would be nice, no actually it would be more than that, it would be an incredibly beautiful breath of fresh air and some wind in the sails of many a church if the Neonomian ethos was less pervasive in NAPARC.

    Not that it’s all about numbers by any means but if what I’m talking about was implemented and change took place it would grow many of these NAPARC denomination too. Not counting the PCA
    (really they’re just evangelical Baptist anyway) numeric growth if done right, is greatly needed in NAPARC. They need more people sitting in the pews who’s daddy’s daddy’s daddy’s Grandaddys daddy wasn’t also in that denomination. Not saying that generational faithfulness is not wonerful, but to be crass NAPARC needs new blood.

    Like

  55. Dr. Hart,

    BTW…..You don’t think Swanson is in fact very divisive to the body of Christ and the gospel? Don’t you think that at best he truncates the gospel by elevating his culture warrior and theonomy visions to gospel level importance?

    Like

  56. Chruch Curmudgeon: “Kevin Swanson, I have thee tolerated. Lee Irons, I have not thee tolerated.

    “One is clearly teaching a brand a neonomianism….let him keep doing it.
    “One is branded an antinomian because he won’t equate the moral law with the Decalogue….Ichabod!”

    GW: Your point is well taken. Perhaps this is just one of many possible illustrations of the fact that, this side of glory, no church communion, no matter how orthodox and otherwise sound, is perfectly consistent in maintaining its own professed standards, guarding the sacred ministry from potential troublemakers, and applying discipline with complete equity. (Not that this is an excuse for laxity or error, mind you; just a statement of reality.)

    But I would remind you and other readers of Old Life of this: A lot has changed in the nearly two decades since Lee Irons’ views were controversial in the OPC. At the time I was a young minister in the OPC (I was ordained in 97) with some theonomic leanings of my own (which I have since gotten over). My recollection is that what made Rev. Irons controversial in the OPC was not only his views pertaining to the moral law, but also his strong advocacy of the Framework Hypothesis and his seemingly tolerant view toward homosexuality. Advocacy of the former did not endear him to the literal six day creationists in the OPC who regarded their interpretation of Genesis One as a boundary marker of Reformed orthodoxy. (True confession: I was one of them.) Regarding the latter, my recollection is that while Rev. Irons believed that homosexuality was sinful and thus not to be tolerated within the church, he nonetheless favored tolerating government-sanctioned civil same-sex unions.

    It seems to me that in the last 20 years or so those segments of the OPC with more “new school” leanings and/or a more fundamentalist/biblicist mindset have toyed with passing theological fads such as the six 24 hour day interpretation of Genesis One as a boundary marker of orthodoxy, theonomy, and even federal visionism. The OPC at a General Assembly level has addressed the creation days issue through its study committee on creation, and with the federal vision issue as well. (Theonomy as such has not yet been officially addressed by any judicatory of the church, to my knowledge.)

    My analysis may be flawed, but my own sense is that the OPC as a whole is starting to return to the “old paths” of a more healthy, old-school confessional orthodoxy that has more affinities with the old Princeton Seminary than it does with Moscow, Idaho. Sure, you can still find within the OPC some rabid young earth creationist types who would wish to exclude from ordained office any man who holds to a non-literal view of the creation days of Genesis One, no matter how otherwise orthodox and sound he may be. (I suspect Rev. Swanson would fit in this category. In his book “Apostasy” he asserts his conviction that any rejection of the six-day literal creation young earth interpretation in favor of an alternative interpretation is a half way house on the path to apostasy; p. 140.) Yes, you will still find some in the OPC who are hard-core theonomists who would regard Greg Bahnsen as their home boy. You may even find some OP church members who are sympathetic to federal vision theology. But overall I suspect that these views are starting to lose steam and fade away, at least in most OP Presbyteries; and I would be suprised if there are too many theonomists, federal visionists, or rabid young earth creationists left in the OPC when it celebrates its 100th anniversary (2036). (Though I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet.)

    By the way, I think the labors of church historians like Dr. Hart and others like him in the OPC, as well as educational training efforts like the MTIOPC (“Ministerial Training Institute of the OPC”) are helping to move the denomination in this more positive, old school direction. Let’s hope that trajectory continues.

    Like

  57. Geoff Willour: “(I suspect Rev. Swanson would fit in this category. In his book “Apostasy” he asserts his conviction that any rejection of the six-day literal creation young earth interpretation in favor of an alternative interpretation is a half way house on the path to apostasy; p. 140.)”

    Correction: The title of Rev. Swanson’s book is “Apostate: The Men who Destroyed the Christian West” (Parker, Colorado: Generations with Vision, 2013); not “Apostasy”.

    Like

  58. “my recollection is that while Rev. Irons believed that homosexuality was sinful and thus not to be tolerated within the church, he nonetheless favored tolerating government-sanctioned civil same-sex unions.”

    Why should 2k churches have a problem with this?

    Like

  59. CVD: “Why should 2k churches have a problem with this?”

    GW: 2K is not a monolithic system wherein all of its advocates agree about how to address every particular issue confronting secular society. Some who are 2K would probably not have a problem with this, while others would. (Though confessional Reformed 2Kers, like their non-2K brethren, would recognize homosexuality as sin and would not sanction gay relationships in the church.)

    Plus, the OPC is not (and never has been) a “2K” church, though there be many within her who (like Dr. Hart) hold to a 2K understanding.

    Additionally, it was almost two decades ago that controversy over Rev. Irons’ views on this subject erupted — before the 2K position was rediscovered within confessional Reformed circles through the writings of scholars like Dr. David VanDrunnen, and thus before 2K itself became a lively in-house debate within confessional Reformed circles.

    Like

  60. Cletus- James Young,

    Lee Irons situation as I understand it had more nuance than that. As a 2Ker here is my answer for what it is worth. (although not all 2Kers are monolithic)

    Answer> Because God by His Holy Word declares it sin.

    That does not mean I need to spend my energies railing against it as a top priority in some bombastic culture warrior fashion which in fact truncates the true Gospel. Nor does the Church need to spend unnecessary energy (beyond speaking the truth via God’s Word) campaigning against it in some political organization type of fashion. (Rev Irons position)

    I know this is hard for most Pope Francis Roman catholic’s to grasp, but if the Church never opened up a single soup kitchen yet faithfully preached the Word, the Gospel and trained the flock in (which is off the charts loving) it would be doing its proper duty.

    No doubt this duty carried out by the Church will produce fruits of love and charity (among others) in the flock which the Church may come along side in encouragement, etc.

    Like

  61. GW,

    I pray your analysis is right. May many new comers be won to our great Lord Jesus is the process. May the churches in NAPARC grow in both grace and new members.

    Like

  62. Brothers, before taking Rachel Maddow as a credible witness and throwing a brother under the bus, perhaps it would be a good idea to see if the clips were taken out of context. I can assure you they were not in the context of everything he teaches. Kevin speaks passionately, but he also works hard to speak with clarity. Right Wing Watch has a member dedicated to listening to everything Kevin says and spinning things in the worst possible way. In one case, Kevin cited a homosexual reviewer of Frozen who was praising the movie’s “celebration” of homosexuality. Kevin was clear that he had never seen the film, but was disturbed by what he read in the review. Right Wing Watch removed all the qualifiers, and Kevin was portrayed as making ridiculous statements that were quoted in Time and the New York Daily News. I am a member of Kevin’s presbytery. He has taken correction and labors faithfully with us. Kevin sought out the OPC and has labored faithfully with us for over two decades. Rather than sniping or cringing, we rejoice in how the Lord has used him. Rather than denouncing him in public, shouldn’t others go to him individually and then to his presbytery?

    Like

  63. There has been no coddling or blind acquiescence of Right Wing Watch or Rachel Maddow. No one here, best I can tell, supports their or any Anti-Christian perspective or a celebration of homosexuality.

    Kevin’s work, his very public work as leader, activist, culture warrior and pastor can and does stand on its own.

    Like

  64. Jason, if I think the pope should speak less or be silent about matters of public debate, the same goes for a pastor who is supposed to be ministering the word of God. What pastor Swanson does as a citizen is one thing. Whether his position as a pastor gives him a standing as a citizen is another.

    Like

  65. Jason Wallace: “Brothers, before taking Rachel Maddow as a credible witness and throwing a brother under the bus, perhaps it would be a good idea to see if the clips were taken out of context. I can assure you they were not in the context of everything he teaches.”

    GW: Brother Jason, I don’t think anyone here is trying to throw this brother under the bus (at least that is not the intention of my comments). Nor do I think many of us would regard Ms. Maddow or Right Wing Watch as credible witnesses. At the same time the public pronouncements and teachings and mannerisms of any public figure are subject to public critique, including those of Rev. Swanson. Public criticism of public statements is not necessarily a sign of lack of love for the one of whom those criticisms are made.

    What is of concern to me is that, outside of his own congregation, Rev. Swanson appears to be better known for his culture warriorism (through, for example, his “Generations” organization and radio show, his “Apostate” book, and his conference speaking) than his preaching of the gospel or his ministry of Word and sacrament (which, in the eternal scheme of things, is far more important than the temporal concerns addressed by culture warrior types). I’m not saying he doesn’t preach the gospel; just that his culture warrior persona seems to have eclipsed his identity as a minister of the gospel in the public eye.

    In addition, while I agree that select video clips of only several minutes’ length may not fairly represent the context of everything he teaches, I believe they do represent what many remember about him and thus the causes they identity him with. If a minister of the gospel causes offense (which he will to some extent if he is being faithful), shouldn’t the offense be over things like (say) the proclamation of Christ and His cross work as the exclusive way of salvation, the sovereign predestination of God in contrast to human autonomy and free will, or God’s call to all men to repent, rather than things like (say) his political opinions, or the evils of the Girl Scouts and Girl Scout cookies, or his flailing, hyperventilating, shrill speaking style (which does not befit the dignity of the office of the sacred ministry)?

    By the way, I have had some email interaction with Rev. Swanson and have expressed some of these concerns directly to this brother. My words at times may be sharp, but my motive is not to see this gifted brother “thrown under the bus,” but to see him encouraged toward a sounder, more biblical ministry emphasis and away from his culture warrior schtick, for the furtherance of the kingdom and the honor of Christ.

    Like

  66. Geoff, Kevin’s not been thrown under the bus? He’s been labeled “pathetic,” “fringe,” “ten times worse [than Tim Keller]”, “a bombastic clown,” and “Rush Limbaugh on meth.” We’ve been told that he “truncates the gospel” and is a “neonomian.” It seems Matthew 18 only applies if someone doesn’t have a blog to which they can post. If this is how we are defend the good name of our neighbor (Larger Catechism 144), we’re doomed.

    Like

  67. Jason, your point is well taken about some of the rhetoric offered on this post in criticism of Rev. Swanson. At the same time, Matthew 18 (to which you appeal) deals with what our Book of Discipline calls a “personal private offense” (BD III.4-5). Rev. Swanson’s public diatribes are not personal offenses commited against me or anyone else who has chosen to comment here. Rather, they are public statements put out there for public consumption, and thus are fair game for public critique. This is true even of public statements made by ministers of the gospel in good standing.

    (Or are those who have genuine concerns about the message and mannerisms of this brother just suppose to keep their concerns to themselves and not say anything? Does our status as ministers of the gospel somehow make us immune to public criticism for our public statements, unless such criticisms come only through the formal channels of the church courts?)

    Liked by 1 person

  68. While pastor Wallace’s advice towards temperance of speech is commendable, one might want to point out that only one person, on this thread at least, has given into what might be interpreted as
    ‘bus-fodder’ speech (unless the post referred to is from a person who enjoys both Limbaugh and meth in equal measure). The point of the primary post seems to be that Swanson is neither a pivotal political figure, nor acting as a representative of the OPC (which in 2k-land is a good thing), and does not need to be subjected to the hustle and flo’ of the OL crew. On the other hand, don’t his public statements warrant public remark (tempered with prudence, of course)? Since his theonomic views are currently ‘permissible’ in the OPC, it is not clear just how Matt. 18 fits into the works; does that mean then that nothing whatsoever can be said in public as counterpoint?

    Like

  69. Indeed context is important. Humor was very much referenced as a tool in that legitimate use of hyperbolic rhetoric in the exchanges / banter, etc.. Clearly it was a joke in an effort to demonstrate absurdity (Swanson’s absurdity) by being absurd. But for anyone whose humor is a little daft or who are big Swanson home boys or whose taste is all in their mouth (that is more humor btw) let me be clear…… I in no way think Sawnson does meth. I do however believe that he often and his general ministry focus indeed does truncate the gospel and he seems to have a neonomian tilt. I think he would be fairly called a theononist and it’s already been established that he’s tolerated in the OPC for that part. Yet, as claimed elswhere – most in the OPC think that theogony view is Un- Biblical and not in accord with the confessions, but still tolerated nonetheless. In the context of this blog post (ehem, see post title) I do also think he is worse than Keller.

    A big ditto to what GW stated in his last post…….

    “””Matthew 18 (to which you appeal) deals with what our Book of Discipline calls a “personal private offense” (BD III.4-5). Rev. Swanson’s public diatribes are not personal offenses commited against me or anyone else who has chosen to comment here. Rather, they are public statements put out there for public consumption, and thus are fair game for public critique. This is true even of public statements made by ministers of the gospel in good standing.

    (Or are those who have genuine concerns about the message and mannerisms of this brother just suppose to keep their concerns to themselves and not say anything? Does our status as ministers of the gospel somehow make us immune to public criticism for our public statements, unless such criticisms come only through the formal channels of the church courts?)””””

    I guess some would prefer a kind of protestant sacerdotalism or infallibility for certain public leaders. The Matt. 18 reference is not only mis-applied due to his very public culture warrior activism, but in this case also very hypocritical I must say when considering that pastor Swanson is second to none at piling on via of bombastic rhetoric and not so temperament speech.

    Yeah right, because this public figure isn’t “bombastic” in the least. On the contrary “bombastic” is an appropriate term to use for this guy. Pus, sores, carved happy faces, my my what a paragon of salt, light and temperance language. So Kevin gets to use sarcastic hyperbolic humor but no one else can? I’m sure this video is yet again out of context, somehow botched together and is part of some vast Apostate conspiracy against Swanson. What possible ‘put back in context’ rendering would make this better? Is this or is this not indicative of Swanson’s approach and ministry focus? So the claim is this is not indicative of Swanson and his work?

    No, Swanson arrived here, in the news, because he loves the public stage, he prefers it in this demeanor and he got here all by himself. His very public work can stand on its own. I sincerely hope he changes and as stated here he’s clearly been talked to by many before. If the offense is in the Gospel, amen! As many others have mentioned here I’m afraid Swanson’s devotees are attracted to him, generation ministries and his church for culture warrior reasons and it appears that is what he is best known for.

    While the host of this blog kingdom I may disagree on a few things (one of them being critiquing Swanson a little more often) he and I are in full agreement that Swanson is wrong.

    Like

  70. @Willour

    I don’t understand your distinction re: Swanson’s activities outside of the pulpit. The employment handbook of my company makes clear that employees are representatives of the company, whether at work or not, and that employees are expected to promote values consistent with the company’s in all of their out-of-work activities. In fact, I was once employed at a law firm that even set forth an out-of-work dress code for attorneys. If corporate America can tell me what to wear when to Dunkin Donuts on Saturday morning, then the OPC is free to regulate Swanson’s out-of-the-pulpit activity. The OPC management in Philadelphia just doesn’t want to tangle with him.

    Like

  71. “The OPC management in Philadelphia just doesn’t want to tangle with him.”

    This is an example of “authoritarian-speak.” There is no “management” (in the sense intended) in Phila, or anyplace else… on earth.

    Meanwhile, there is actually a paper-constitution for the OPC, that actually means something; and includes a quaint view (to Americans, generally) called “due process.”

    As with Irons’ case, for Swanson there is a slow, judicial process that must be started in a court of original jurisdiction. Irons case could be appealed to a hearing by the fully assembled church, eventually. His wonky take on the Law was out of accord with the Confession, according to the majority of the church in representative assembly, when they had a chance to evaluate it.

    For Swanson, there has to be charges; and those charges have to be adjudicated. There isn’t some pope or star-chamber in Phila with special powers to “correct wrongs” (perceived).

    Liberals, progressives, and conservatives all want a new system–one with a duly empowered emperor. The problem (they say) isn’t authoritarianism, per se; it’s just the *wrong* people have that dictatorial power. “If only the GOOD people we like were in complete control, then (after we squash the bugs), everything will be ducky.”

    Like

  72. Bobby: Bruce’s comments above are correct. There is no central OPC “management” in Philadelphia or anywhere else. The OPC is a presbyterian church, not an episcopal church with a strong centralized ecclessiastical bureaucracy; and one of the things this means practically is that Rev. Swanson is directly accountable to his own Presbytery (i.e., the Regional Church, where his membership and credentials are held). Because his Presbytery is his judicatory of original jurisdiction, any formal charges leading to censure that might be brought against him would ordinarily have to originate within his own Presbytery. The OPC’s Constitution, which includes its Book of Discipline, explains these things and outlines the steps in judicial process in such cases, including rules of evidence, the rights of the accused, etc. (i.e., due process).

    If you’re interested in learning more about the discipline process in the OPC, the OPC’s Book of Discipline is available for you to read here: http://www.opc.org/BCO/BD.html

    Like

  73. Bobby, “In fact, I was once employed at a law firm that even set forth an out-of-work dress code for attorneys. If corporate America can tell me what to wear when to Dunkin Donuts on Saturday morning, then the OPC is free to regulate Swanson’s out-of-the-pulpit activity.”

    Think about sufficiency of Scripture much? Do you have a biblical text to support that? Or are you a Communist?

    Like

  74. DGHart: Bobby,Think about sufficiency of Scripture much? Do you have a biblical text to support that?

    1 Timothy 3:1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach…. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

    Philippians 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

    1 Timothy 5: 19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. 21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.

    Titus 1: 6 man is above reproach…9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

    Titus 2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

    1 Timothy 4:16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s