Thursday, November 30, 2023

On DW, KDY, Self-Owning in the Reformed Blogosphere, and Self-Owning in Our Own Lives

I chuckled as I typed "Reformed Blogosphere." It's a paper-weight sized snow globe—buried in the tiny pile of what is left of religion—in the cluttered attic that is America. The whole attic, taken collectively, has an inflated view of itself. But, even among men and history, it is not so big as it thinks it is. And before God, all of the nations are as a drop in the bucket.

If you don't know who DW is, you don't need to. There's nothing that he's said that hasn't been said better, by someone patently godlier, so that if the student will become like his teacher, you have better options. And if you don't know who KDY is, all you need to know for the purposes of this little note is that KDY made the "mistake" of writing an article about DW.

KDY noted that DW has a cultic following who follow DW's self-caricature in taking a flame thrower to anyone who critiques him. The article points out that as helpful as some of what DW has written might be, his fleshly demeanor and conduct should warn us off from becoming disciples, and that if we find ourselves attracted to that demeanor, then that should be its own warning sign about our own hearts.

Predictably, the DWdisciples immediately went scorched-earth, digging up things about the church that KDY serves, which predated him and which will outlast him unless the Lord grants a surprising reformation there. KDY is something that I am not, in part because his conscience apparently tolerates things in worship and ministry that mine wouldn't. So, this isn't a defense of KDY. It's just an observation that the response of the DWdisciples is something of a self-own. KDY said "this is how they tend to act." And they responded by acting that way.

True story: I was preaching on Rom 9:19–24 last night, roughly 24 hours after reading the KDY article. The introduction was crafted around the respondent in v19 thinking that he's come up with a such a clever argument, but that his presentation is actually such a revelation of his character that it ends up being a "self-own." I was very tempted to use DW as an illustration, because he's often had clever points to make (and only rarely are they as invalid as the rhetorical questioner in v19), but the cleverness of the point ends up being beside the point because his character is such that the presentation of it ends up being, before God, a self-own.

One great "tell" that we know little of the greatness and nearness of the Lord is that we still see ourselves (or anyone else) as very large. Genuinely knowing the nearness of the Lord will always compel us to make our lowliness known to all (cf. Phlp 4:5).

Another great tell that we know little of the greatness and nearness of the Lord is when first-table issues are smaller to us than second-table issues. When we obsess over statutes about how to treat each other but are largely unbothered by those laws of God that tell us what it is, specifically, to regard Him as holy when drawing near to Him.

DWdisciples rabidly attacking someone who says they tend to attack rabidly is a self-own. A sinner "finding fault" with God for finding fault with sinners is a self-own. Pride in a Christian is a self-own. Anything manmade or earthly in a church's worship is a self-own.