Tim Challies is reviewing "The Radical Reformission". I really liked the book and Mark Driscoll has a lot of good things to say. One of my biggest problems (there are two) is his use of denigrating language toward groups of people. Not theology - people.

In the book (copyright 2004) Driscoll gives his list of people that "I used to not like". In that list, he admits that he was prejudiced against (among others) most of the deep south and that he has had to repent of sinful attitudes against these groups of people.

Since that time, I've listened to a lot of Driscoll's sermons (available on line). They are good sermons, yet (for me at least) they were lowered a notch by the use of certain terms that refer to a general group of people in a negative way.

My flesh says that it's fun to make fun of people - God says not.

The bottom line is - it's easy to get sucked into things that make us look good at the expense of others. If I wouldn't want my kids to use (insert term here) in a negative way, I shouldn't use it - and if I shouldn't use it - well, I want to be able to point to this man as a good example - even as a good example of how to respect other groups of people.

Words mean things... the words you use and how you use them...


A couple of posts ago I made a statement about a "senseless and meaningless debate". Yes - those words mean something and I meant them then and I mean them now. Take the situation - two women who are convinced that their position is correct - and one has stated so publically; for the record, I believe that my many hours, weeks, month and even years of study of this issue have led me to a "verdict" that no person will sway me from. God - yes. He's done it before and I'm sure that on other issues, He'll do it again.

Back to my "senseless and meaningless debate" (or we could call them "strife and disputes") statement.

Two people convinced that they are right, going over the same material for a third time, without much real hope of either side changing their mind. If this is not a fine example of "senseless", I could find a better one, but...(Remember the "definition" of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.)

I stand by that statement - the debate is (for these two people, at this time) senseless. Are either of the debaters senseless? I never said that. Was it implied? I didn't mean that - I am weary of this debate. Did I name the person that wished for me to address the points? Absolutely!

But - words do mean things - what I did say (although my intent was to express my weariness at covering the same ground again) is that Elena has no desire to listen, only to argue. Elena is convinced in her own mind that she is right. So am I. I might as well be cutting and pasting the same thing over and over - as might she. If Elena made that statement about me on her blog, it would be a true statement. That is what makes the debate senseless.

What this does mean is that I should be more careful of how my words are used. Even though I stand convinced that my words were true - my wording left an impression of disrespect. For that I am sorry.


These debates always trigger a much deeper dig for me...and I looked into Judah and I'm struck once again that the kinds of people God uses for His purposes. Certainly, He didn't use the perfect, and that is more to His glory.

I once heard a saying, "The footsteps your children will follow are the ones you thought you covered up..."

Judah was not the first son, he was the fourth son of both Jacob and Leah (the unfavored wife).

Maybe to understand Judah and "the trouble" with Tamar (I doubt that when God took an entire chapter to tell Tamar's story, all He had in mind was contraception), you have to go back to Judah's grandfather, Laben.

Remember, Jacob was all about avoidance (of Esau), when he fled to Haran. He and his mother conspired to lie to Isaac, in order to have Jacob sent to Haran. There, he found Rachel and asked for her hand.

A fine example for his grandson, Judah (who would later send Tamar away with the promise of his third son) - Laben promised Rachel to Jacob - and then secretly gave him Leah instead. jacob worked longer in order to have Rachel as well, which set the family up for even more problems.

Jacob loved one wife more than the other and the wives ended up detesting each other - their marriage was less about love and more about a son-bearing contest, even to the counting of giving their personal hand-maidens to Jacob, in order to rack up more "son" points. Even so, Jacob was loved by God.

Later, when Leah's daughter, Dinah was raped by a young man who was very taken with her, the young man's father was prepared to do the "right thing" and marry the two. Two brothers (neither of them Judah) lied. They said they couldn't do it - unless all of the males in that city were circumcised. They agreed, had the "procedure" and when they were recovering, Jacob's two sons killed them all and plundered the city.

So we're finding that the sons of Jacob didn't seem to be the "good guys"

Even the sons of the different mothers hated each other. Jacob already had a bunch of sons before Joseph was born. The older sons knew that Jacob played favorites, and they hated the favorite.

When the brothers decided to kill Joseph, Judah was the one that talked them into selling him into slavery instead.

[Reformed theology note: this is a place where I can see man's sinful choices working with God's sovereign plan. If God's plan to put Joseph in Egypt were to succeed, was it possible for the brothers to have killed Joseph, instead of selling him? Was Judah acting out of concern for Joseph, or in the will of a Sovereign God?]

Then, they all conspired to lie to their father (kind of what goes around, comes around...)

At some point after that (the Bible isn't clear on timing) Judah "went down from"his brothers and married an unnamed woman (the daughter of Shua), but we do know that she had three sons, Er, Onan and Shelah.

I once heard a saying, "The footsteps your children will follow are the ones you thought you covered up."

I don't know if these guys even tried to cover these footsteps, but Jacob got what he was in Judah; Judah got what he was in Er and Onan.

When Er married Tamar, God killed him because of his wickedness. So, on to the next brother...Onan. We all know what happened there (although the Bible doesn't say exactly why, other than Onan did a wicked thing). One thing is sure, Er didn't have an heir.

So, Judah (doing what that family seemed to have done best) - lied. Again.

Judah sent Tamar off to her father's house as a widow, with the promise of his next son - a promise that he never intended to keep. This would hint that Judah still had legal control over Tamar, else her father could have married her to another man.

As it was, Tamar sat at her father's house, in limbo, knowing that the youngest son, Shelah, was all grown up. She took matters into her own hand, dressed up like a whore and Jacob solicited her (not the other way around).

She had to trick Judah into being her "kinsman-redeemer", fulfilling the family obligation.

I am struck at how God's purposes are fulfilled by the basest of men. If God can use these people, He will, perhaps, be able to use me.

We've read about Judah and all of his trickery, but he was also the father of the kingdom of Judah; Christ is the "Lion of Judah".

Judah's sons never made it into the genealogy of Jesus - but Tamar and Judah did.

Later on, Judah's another kinsman-redeemer didn't have to be tricked - Boaz, who married Ruth - great-grandparents of King David.

Maybe, just maybe - the moral of the story is that - no matter how bad we are, no matter what our family history is, no matter what influences we've had to deal with - God can use us.


I grew up in an Arminian church, in an Arminian family, in a largely Arminian town. When I "grew up", I married the son of an Arminian preacher and when my sister "grew up" she married an Arminian preacher.

So, the reaction to my conversion to Calvinism was underwhelming. Nobody criticized me, but nobody encouraged me.

Because I live in an area where Calvinist and Arminians work together on many things, when I wrote of my beliefs on-line, the animosity astounded me - on both sides.

When my friend Phil challenged me to take a good look at Calvinism, it took me a year to decide it was time to change churches and longer to choose which reformed denomination. After that, God led me to the “right” church fairly quickly.

I find a great freedom in just saying that God gets to pick – and there’s a lot I don’t know and there’s a lot I don’t have to know!