Friday, August 02, 2019

On Josh Harris' apostasy and Trueman's hubris

By now, it is common knowledge that one-time New Calvinist and former Sovereign Grace pastor Joshua Harris has apostatized from the Christian faith. While a lot can be said about the factors behind his apostasy, the main thing Christians should be feeling is sorrow. Even if a person "deserves" it due to his rebellion against God, to see someone, especially a once prominent Christian leader, fall away from the faith he once professes, is a very sad occasion.

On this public apostasy, TGC has a helpful article by some of Harris' former friends and ministry partners. The main emotion here is sorrow, which is what Christian should be feeling right now. Ultimately, while I as a confessional Presbyterian believe that what I believe is what the Bible teaches, all of us recognize that inconsistent Christianity is still Christianity, and inconsistent Christians are still Christians. Where one falls, the body should grieve.

Enter Carl Trueman, the guy who made it a personal crusade to go after "Big Eva," of which the "New Calvinists" aka YRR constitute a bulk portion. What do you think Trueman did? Was he grieving as a pastor should be? Oh no! Nope, a tragedy is too big an opportunity to waste! In his article, Trueman correctly pointed out some of the flaws that contributed to Harris' departure from the faith. But instead of exhorting Harris to repent and return to God, this is what Trueman said instead:

As a player, Harris might be qualified to do the evangelical church one last favor: He can expose the behind-the-scenes shenanigans—the money made by at least some of the leading lights, and the power wielded by an unaccountable few—of Big Evangelicalism. That would seem a more important contribution than emotive talk of personal journeys, gobbledygook about repentance detached from any notion of God, and the continuation of life as performance art.

In other words, "Hey Josh, before you leave Christianity for good, can you please do us one last favor and expose the shenanigans going on behind the scenes of Big Eva? Thanks!" Now, does this sound like the proper response a pastor should have towards apostasy? Or is it rather the actions of someone who is on a crusade against Big Eva? I don't think the answer is unclear here.

The sad reality is that Carl Trueman, along with his associates over at Reformation21 and MoS (Mortification of Spin), has been going on a crusade against Big Eva, to the extent that truth does not matter anymore. It is all about taking down the other side "by all means necessary." That is why Trueman et al has been consistently misrepresenting ESS and all who disagree with them on classical theism, because some in the "Big Eva" camp promote varieties of ESS. The party is more important than the facts! Trueman complains that "the movement's leadership was often arrogant." And while this is not necessarily false, the fact that TGC linked to Trueman's article at all (in their article on Josh Harris' apostasy) show that perhaps they are NOT as arrogant as Trueman claims. On the contrary, Trueman himself has done the EXACT SAME THING he is accusing "Big Eva" of doing. Arrogance? Check. Ignore critics? Check. Bullying of critics in private? I have personally been told off, back when I was still in the OPC, about calling on these people to stop misrepresenting ESS. Without the YRR, would Trueman gain so much of a following for his attack on "celebrities"? As an "anti-celebrity" celebrity, Trueman is no different from those he criticizes. Whatever he says about the YRR is just as much applicable to him! Pot, meet the kettle!

As I have said, Harris' apostasy should be met with us with sorrow, and our desire should be that he repents and returns to Christ. There should be no room for posturing, and most certainly not for earning brownie points against other Christians. Let us ignore the Truemans of this world, and hope and pray that God will bring people into Harris' life who will bring him back to repentance and faith in Jesus.

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