WRF Member Clair Davis Discusses "The Devil Is In the Details: Further Comments About the Controversy Involving WRF Member Doug Green"
I’m not totally sure what that means. I think it generally means, it’s not good enough to have the big picture straight, you need to look at its pieces too.
Once there was one church of Jesus Christ, but some folks in Spain thought they should tinker with the Nicene Creed and add that the Holy Spirit came to us not just from the Father but also from the Son, filioque. Maybe so, but why just start saying it that way, why not get the whole church together to work on it? But that didn’t happen, and for a long time now there have been a Western Church and an Eastern one. Just because no one cared enough to work on that detail together.
Once there was almost one Protestant Church, and Lutherans and Reformed got together in Marburg to work through their differences. Things went great! But then they got to the Lord’s Supper and in what sense Jesus was there. That was complicated but one big word was ‘spiritually.’ Or was it ‘Spiritually?’ As a part of our personality, so Jesus wasn’t there completely? Or that the Holy Spirit brought him to us? More was on the agenda but that was big. Luther drew that line across the table, and said to the Reformed, ‘you have another spirit’ and that was all over.
I was a Fundamentalist once, wasn’t every believer back then? The inspiration of the Bible is very important, and to us that meant taking it all ‘literally,’ so that if it talked about the Jews and their future, that was what the OT was about, nothing about us now. We were a ‘great parenthesis’ stuck into history with nothing at all to do with the Jewish stuff. Premillenialism has a lot going for it, it makes clear that evangelism is our biggest priority—but if you didn’t accept it, then you were locked out of that Fundamentalist world, and that was terrible.
All of that was about making some detail too important, dividing the Church and making us less and less credible. I know, some details are important. I will never understand how my Presbyterian Church began going down the tubes when they tolerated the Presbytery of New York accepting ministers who denied the virgin birth of Christ. It’s clearly there in the Bible, so how could they permit that? All they had to do was to throw out that presbytery and history would have been so much better.
How do you know which details are important, which not? I don’t think it’s that hard. Common sense for believers is not complicated: does the Bible say it or do we think it should have said it? If it doesn’t say it clearly, just relax.
I’m leaving behind Westminster Seminary’s ‘retirement’ of Doug Green, since Jesus Christ and his church have a glorious future ahead, with or without Westminster. But as I exegete their website explanation, it’s not making common sense to me. In Doug’s take on Psalm 23, could the Good Shepherd be the shepherd of Jesus too? As in the 40 days in the wilderness, when the Father sent angels to care for him? I think so, why not, though I’d never thought of that before. But Westminster is saying that they have no more room for Doug because he thinks that. (There could be other objectionable things he’s said too, but they picked this one to tell us about).
Is that OK, to say that the Father is Jesus’ Good Shepherd? I don’t see that as a big deal. To me it’s on the list with filioque without discussion, S/spiritual, and’ literally’ no church in the OT. To say it’s a deal-breaker comes over to me as divisive and full of ungodly distrust of others.
Going forward, let’s all of us commit to loving each other and being careful listeners. I think that’s the Lord’s calling to us.