December 31, 2015

Top 10 posts of 2015

by C-Gate Links

We at The Cripplegate want to thank our subscribers and readers. In every category (readers, subscribers, blog traffic) this was by far our best year yet. Our blog exists as an attempt to capture the spirit of the “morning exercises” at the original Cripplegate, and pass it along to a new generation of non-conformists. Thank you for being a part of it.

Here are our most read posts of 2015. Six of them were not even originally posted this year, but apparently they have remained helpful to people months (and years) after they were written. This list was tabulated by unique IP addresses to view a post in this past calendar year:

010Is it true that Jesus never addressed homosexuality? In light of the US Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex “marriage,” Mike’s post from 2012 proved relevant this year.  It was the most searched for post on our blog, and has been read over 50k times.

009Why Evangelicals and Catholics cannot be together. Jordan was raised in Italy as an evangelical, and had no idea about the confusion evident in the American evangelicalism concerning the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Here he blogged about his shock when he came to the United States and learned about the Evangelicals and Catholics Together movement.

008Farewell, NIV. Jesse wrote this post in 2013 to explain why several ministries (such as Christian schools, AWANA, etc.) were moving away from the NIV. Apparently more and more people have been asking that question, as this post had as many readers this year as it did the year it was first published. A side note: publishers guard their actual sales numbers very closely, making it almost impossible to figure out how much the NIV’s sales have fallen since 2013.

007John Wesley’s Failed Marriage. This post was also from 2013, but was picked up by a few other sources this year. In it, Nate describes how John Wesley failed in leading his wife spiritually. It reminds us, “You can lose your ministry and keep your marriage, but you cannot lose your marriage and keep your ministry.” This post had more readers this year than it did in the year it was first published.

006Shellfish, Mixed Fabrics, and Homosexuality: Picking and Choosing? Back in 2012, many people were arguing that the Bible condemns homosexuality in the same way it forbids eating shellfish or wearing mixed fabric. The logic was that if we eat shrimp, we may as well be ok with gay marriage. Mike patiently explains why that argument is based on a wrong understanding of scripture.

005 So who exactly IS the mainstream of the charismatic movement? A common response to any critique of the charismatic movement is to point at more “responsible charismatics” (such as Piper, Acts 29, etc) as evidence that charismania is not as crazy as critics make it out to be. Lyndon decided to check out this theory by seeing who exactly the most popular charismatic Christians are (using Twitter followers as his metric), and then compared them to the more “careful” charismatics. The result is apparently an entertaining read, as this post has now been read 46k times.

004

Ten Lessons from the Tullian Tchividjian Confession. For years, many pastors had been warning their people that Tullian’s approach to sanctification was problematic and would likely lead people away from godliness, not towards it. So this year, when Tullian resigned his ministry amidst marriage unfaithfulness, Jordan cautioned us against saying “I told you so.” The real lessons are internal, Jordan wrote, and if we heed them God can use Tullian’s fall to further our own sanctification.

003

Three must have Bible apps. This post from 2012 is technologically dated, but apparently it remains helpful, with 57k visits. In it, Jesse lays out three Bible apps that are helpful if you use your Ipad or smartphone as your Bible.

002Anti-vaxxers and epistemological narcissism. 2015 featured a return of measles to the US, and health officials were quick to blame parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. While conventional wisdom was that these families tended to be more liberal, Jesse writes about the anti-vax trend inside of the church. It apparently struck a nerve, and was our blog’s second-most-read post of the year.

01Swasey’s Last Sermon. One of the people killed by the gunman at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood was a local pastor. Jordan listened to the last sermon he preached at his church, and transcribed portions of it. Swasey concluded with an appeal to follow Christ, because you never know when your life will end.

Here are our lists from 2014from 2013,  from 2012, and from 2011.

How about you? Did you have a favorite post from our blog this year?

C-Gate Links

Posts

  • Mike B

    There were many postings that I found to be very helpful/encouraging this year, however the one’s that I found to be the most helpful were the 3 part series that Mike did on the sovereignty of God. Explaining how nothing happens without God playing an authoritative role in it is a very labor-intensive process and I really appreciated his efforts. I have a feeling I will be referring to those for years to come. The three articles I am referring to were entitled:
    Part 1: I Will Surely Tell of the Decree of the Lord
    Part 2: God Meant it for Good: Evaluating Divine Permission
    Part 3: God and Evil: Why the Ultimate Cause is Not the Chargeable Cause

    • Thanks for that Mike. I agree. Those posts were helpful to me as well.

  • Pingback: Top 10 posts of 2015  – The Cripplegate | Talmidimblogging()

  • Lynn B.

    I hope this will be a reminder to us all to pray for the Swasey family in the new year. At the time of such a tragedy there is both shock and an abundance of prayer and support to keep those grieving afloat but all that wanes in a very short time. There is a new normal for that family in the new year.

    Also, relative to the vax vs anti-vax article I hope all are aware that a CDC Senior Scientist has sought whistleblower protection and claims there is evidence to tie the MMR to autism and the CDC destroyed the evidence, or so they thought. This is something else that warrants our prayers, that the truth would be revealed. The ramifications in this are far reaching not only in this matter but in others where government people are less than honest in matters of serious consequence.

    http://sacobserver.com/2015/07/u-s-congressmans-statement-questions-science-cited-to-support-school-vaccine-bill/

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/os-bill-posey-vaccines-autism-20150821-story.html

  • Barbara

    My favorite was Eric Davis, on open heart surgery “Lessons Learned “. I have it ready to pull up whenever I need a boost.

  • Thought it would be cool to see the top ten posts that were written in 2015. Four of them made it into the original post.

    11. Were Tongues Real Languages?, by Nathan (technically a re-post from last year, but the 2015 version got a ton of hits)
    10. Bad Doctrine vs. Heresy: An Exercise in Theological Triage, by Mike
    9. A Self-Pity Refresher, by Eric
    8. Bruce Jenner, Gay Marriage, and Planned Parenthood: The Self-Deification of a Nation, by Mike
    7. Dear Westboro “Baptist,” by Jesse, but really a video by Jordan
    6. Review: War Room, by Jesse
    5. How Many People Died in the Inquisition, by Nathan
    4. Why Evangelicals and Catholics Cannot be “Together,” by Jordan
    3. Ten Lessons from the Tullian Tchividjian Confession, by Jordan
    2. Anti-Vaxxers and Epistemological Narcissism, by Jesse
    1. Swasey’s Last Sermon, by Jordan

  • KPM

    Did Tullian Tchividjian actually say that a pastor cannot tell his parishioners to stop looking at pornography, or that he cannot tell them to stop beating their wives? Sorry, I missed the original article, and I’m only vaguely familiar with Tullian Tchividjian, but I have liked much of what he said. I originally thought Driscoll was alright, too, until I saw his rant about seeing visions of his parishioners in various compromising situations. The adultery aside, which we might all be susceptible to, if Tchividjian said those things, my opinion of him would certainly change. Thanks

    • Lynn B.

      I am not sure I understand your question in that the list are links to the original articles where they can still be read and Jordan Standridge certainly wrote that Tullian Tchividjian said these things so obviously he believes that to be true.

      I am not very familiar with Tullian Tchividjian but I am familiar with another public figure who spoke at his conferences and was taken to task in the Grace To You blog. I took issue with how GTY handled the matter and said as much and then witnessed communications that ended in a GTY rep meeting with this person to share their concerns face-to-face. Then I saw this person graciously step back for a season of weeks to reassess. I now see a more nuanced presentation of grace being spoken by this person. The person of which I speak is a leader in the biblical counseling movement where there is heavy emphasis on working out one’s salvation/sanctification and there was, in my opinion and others, a need for more emphasis on grace and the gospel and the pendulum swung a little too far in that direction but for the person of which I speak I believe that equilibrium has been reached.

      • KPM

        Hi Lynn, thanks for responding. Please allow me to clarify where my question was coming from.

        I just haven’t seen Tullian say that. I’m not super familiar with his work, but the fact that he committed adultery, I believe, disqualifies him from ministry.

        However, the fact that he committed adultery doesn’t necessarily invalidate his prior work. If, however, Tullian said that a pastor cannot tell his parishioner to stop looking at pornography or to stop beating his wife, then there are some serious problems with his teaching.

        If these problems are there in Tullian’s teaching, I would like to see where he said those things so that I can avoid other things that he’s said. Like I said, some things I’ve heard him say resonate with me, but I have not read him a lot. I’d appreciate some links or citations to show that this is what he said, rather than just a reference to it without any evidence.

        I’m not doubting that this is what Tullian said, I was just asking to see where Tullian said that. I’m not calling Jordan a liar, I was just hoping to see some reference to Tullian saying things like that.

        I originally thought Driscoll was pretty solid. I read Phil Johnson on Pyromaniacs and watched the video that he linked to where Driscoll says all kinds of weird stuff about visions he had. I’m glad Phil Johnson posted that so that I knew to stay clear of Driscoll.

        I guess I just want to see evidence that Tullian actually said these things before I dismiss other things that he’s said. He’s influential in some circles, so I think he might have something valuable to contribute. If he said those other things, then there is serious issue for concern. I’d just like to see where he said them before I dismiss him.

        RC Jr. has also recently been involved in some controversy. I’ve watched and listened to him and I appreciate his teaching. I’m not going to avoid his prior work because of some immorality. The problem is not with his teaching, but with a sin he committed that any one of us could be tempted to. Giving into that sin may mean that he can no longer shepherd God’s people, but it does not mean his teaching is heterodox.

        • Lynn B.

          Like I said, I am not familiar with Tullian Tchividjian, but I am with some of his associates and I believe there has been some imbalance even when there was a balancing side to their ministry (which apparently Tullian lacked). As for Driscoll, I am amazed at many whom I respect who fell into his trap; I had real problems with him long before I knew of the pornographic visions. RC Jr., in my opinion is a fruitcake and his “repentance” was not really repentance so far as I could see. I have some real concerns about Piper and while I know he has done some good work, I am just always on edge when exposing myself to his voice.

          It seems that our generation finds itself in a unique situation with the abundance of celebrity pastors, books, seminars/conferences non-stop, etc. While I have great appreciation for a few such as MacArthur and RC Sr., and I certainly would be in a lesser place theologically and spiritually were it not for their ministry I have long been very careful of whom I listen/read and I am beginning to think I need to be even more careful. There are simply too many uncompromising voices to have need for carefully spitting out the seeds of a continuationist and others who litter their ministry with error.

          I am not sure I agree with you that the prior ministry of Tullian Tchividjian has not been discredited. I have some counseling books published by someone who went to prison for molesting young boys and while he once wrote some important truths I would not share his books with anyone. When I moved last year and sorted through my books I trashed several by men whom I once esteemed, such as Lewis Sperry Chafer, but as my theology has turned sharply towards the reformed, I now find them to have some significant errors. There are simply too many great teachers to waste time weeding through their work looking for the fruit all the while being cautious that I do not fall prey to crippling theological error. We talk about primary and secondary issues and that is great as to fellowship but why would I expose myself to the teaching of a dispensationalist or one who speaks in tongues or prays for tongues (which is likely fake or demonic)? Those things do not affect salvation but they are significant errors and cause me to be concerned for error I may miss.

          • KPM

            I appreciate your effort to be consistent, but if we have to throw away the books of every Christian pastor who is caught in sin, I think we may have to throw away all of our books. Or is it only sexual sin that requires us to throw away all of their books and ignore everything they’ve said?

            Should we ignore everything that Calvin wrote because he sentenced a man to death for committing heresy?

            Should we ignore everything that Luther wrote because he espoused anti-Semitic views in his later years?

            Should we ignore everything that the Apostle Peter wrote because he fell into the error of the Judaizers?

            Should we also ignore CJ Mahaney because of the controversies that have sprung up in his ministry? There’s no smoking gun showing that he knew what was going on, but it’s not unreasonable to suspect that he knew.

            If we have to avoid exposure to “dispensationalists,” then we probably also ought to avoid this blog as the men here are all associated with the Master’s Seminary (I’m assuming, though I may be wrong, that most of them are also dispensationalists).

            My question regarding Tullian is still the same. Did he say those things or not? If so, okay, there are probably some more serious issues with his theology and we probably shouldn’t spend much time reading him. If he didn’t say those things, then it’s probably not appropriate to connect his theology to his sin. If I’m going to connect his theology to his sin and dismiss his theology out of hand, then I would like to at least see a reference to him saying those things. That’s all I’m asking.

          • Lynn B.

            MacArthur answers the dispensation question in seven minutes.

            http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA010/with-regard-to-dispensationalism-where-exactly-do-you-stand?Term=With regard to Dispensationalism where exactly do you stand

            Like MacArthur, I grew up on “Scofield’s notes and Moody Press,” and it strangled the lifeblood from my relationship with God.

          • Lynn B.

            This better explains both MacArthur’s position on dispensationalism and the problems with what to me is the Dallas Seminary/Scofield position. Interestingly, MacArthur does not like to use the term dispensationalism. In a nutshell he believes God will yet keep His promises to the nation of Israel but he rejects the rest and thus the term you may have heard, “leaky dispensationalist.”

          • KPM

            You’re kind of changing the subject, Lynn.

            Should we reject everything that Calvin wrote because he sentenced a heretic to death (something that I’m assuming we can agree was wrong)?

            Should we reject everything that Luther said because he wrote horribly sinful things against the European Jews of his time?

            If the only issue that would lead us to entirely reject a person’s theological work is the issue of sexual sin, I would assert that we’ve elevated that sin to something more serious than even the sins of anti-Semitism and murder.

            If Tullian did not commit any doctrinal errors, than why should we reject his theology? If he did commit those errors, I would like to see where he committed them.

            I’m also curious how sharply Reformed your theology has turned. Reformed like John Calvin, or Reformed like Hulrich Zwingli? There’s quite a difference between the two. Or are you just saying that you’ve become more of a historic Particular Baptist, rather than a MacArthurite?

          • Lynn B.

            You may well find this a fruity response but I have far less problem with someone’s sins when they have been dead for 450-plus years than someone who has just fallen and (in my opinion) made a shoddy mockery of repentance. Partly, I suppose that is because we can see the sum of the whole life/work/theology of the historical figures.

            There is also the matter of sin combined with doctrinal error and I believe that Tullian Tchividjian is guilty of hyper-grace.

          • KPM

            Thank you for the response. Can you point me to something the Tchividjian said that shows he believed in a hyper-grace that lead to anti-nomianism?

            You can believe anything you want to, and I don’t wish to call Jordan a liar, I was simply making a sincere request that he would point to what Tullian actually said when he referenced him. That’s all I’m asking before I dismiss Tullian.

          • D.J.

            You may be aware that a lot of TT’s messages have been removed from the web but there are some still on YouTube if you decide to look into this yourself.

        • D.J.

          It’s curious that you believe that TT is disqualified from ministry but still want to sit under his ministry. Does that seem a contradiction? If he has been disqualified it seems like that also disqualifies him from the public domain. Remember that adultery does not happen in a vacuum. We do not just “fall” into sexual sin in a moment but “court” it first in our hearts usually for a long time.

          • KPM

            Was it a sin for Calvin to kill Servetus? Yep!

            Did Calvin write a letter ahead of time saying that he would kill Servetus if Servetus came to Geneva? Yep!

            Should we dismiss everything that Calvin said beforehand and afterwards? Nope!

            Did David have impure thoughts leading up to his sin with Bethsheba? Yep!

            Did David follow through with his sin and actually steal another man’s wife and then kill that same man? Yep!

            Should we ignore every Psalm written by David? Nope!

            Did Peter have a tendency toward cowardice before his Judaizer errors? Yep!

            Did Peter follow through and actually sin by compromising his doctrine out of fear? Yep!

            Should we dismiss everything the Apostle Peter said? Nope!

            Did Luther harbor some anti-Semitic feelings before writing “On the Jews and Their Lies”? Probably.

            Did Luther follow through and actually write a terribly anti-Semitic book that was later resurrected by the Nazis in an attempt to turn the Christian populous against their Jewish neighbors? Yep! Unfortunately, it worked to some degree as well.

            Should we dismiss everything that Luther ever wrote or said? Nope!

            If we dismiss everything that everyone says because it later turns out that – big surprise – they are still sinners, we will have to dismiss everything that every Christian author ever says. It’s an impossible standard to impose.