Is it enough?

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(David) I’ve watched ongoing events at Lane Keister's Greenbaggins blog with concern and relief. Lane has resumed editorial control over the blog, calling for an end to personal attacks and adding co-editors to the three initially appointed when he left the blog to serve as prosecutor in the SJC case against Louisiana Presbytery.

Lane’s first post upon resuming control of the blog was a call for peace:

I must say something now. I have brought other bloggers onto my blog who know many things about the FV. They have chosen to take a bit more acerbic tone than I have. I am allowing them to do that, while not agreeing with them on it. And I am grateful for their participation. But please let it be known that the other bloggers on this blog do not always speak for me on every particular. Please let no one commit the same problem that the critics of the FV are often accused of committing: that of painting everyone with the same brush.

We’re all appreciative of the new tone at Greenbaggins after the eruption of slander and gossip of recent days which saw Doug Wilson accused of being “unscrupulous,” “self-aggrandizing,” a “bully” and “scam artist” on Greenbaggins front page by a former church member. Meanwhile, Greenbaggins authors themselves suggested that interested readers skim a list of outside links for further evidence of Doug’s perfidy. Let's hope such nastiness is well and truly in the past.

But in the face of such behaviour and the charged atmosphere it has produced I fear that simply calling for a better tone at Greenbaggins is not enough. Nor does it suffice to suggest that what has gone on at Greenbaggins is merely what Doug, or his associates, have done themselves in the past. Having observed events surrounding the FV controversy for several years now, I remain unconvinced that Doug Wilson has ever adopted such tactics against his anti-FV foes.

In fact, I suspect Greenbaggins's very existence as a respected anti-FV site is primarily due to the graciousness of the man who has been so reviled there in recent days. If it weren’t for Pastor Wilson’s willingness to interact in a peaceful and respectful manner with Lane Keister, Greenbaggins would likely remain just another obscure anti-Federal Vision site.

Lane's recent coauthors on Greenbaggins are clearly good men. The more I've read Bob Mattes, the more I've come to respect him. He’s obviously a courageous and godly fighter—a true man. The same is true of Jeff Hutchinson, of whose ministry I’ve heard glowing reports for many years. Moreover, conflict is good. Without it truth cannot be known. So I’m grateful for the conflict over FV-related issues on the Greenbaggins site, and for the largely godly response such conflict has elicited over time. Tim and I have especially respected Bob Mattes's principled and gracious interaction on this blog.

In fact, what has been evident in the kerfluffle of recent days is that fighting is an underrated part of resolving conflict. If we don’t work out our disputes through the discipline of argument, we will never come to resolution. And yet... Giving voice to godless non-Christian critics and disaffected former church members in the midst of such disputes remains slander.

The pain as well as the benefit of conflict is that it reveals sin. And though the presence of sin in a dispute doesn't necessarily invalidate the view of the one who sins, sin must still be confessed and repented of—and the quicker the better. Marriages fail not merely because of conflict and sin. Conflict and sin are givens: we all sin in many ways. Conflict becomes terminal when there is no confession and repentance.

For this reason I call on Lane Keister and his fellow editors at Greenbaggins to acknowledge and deal with the slander and gossip which has recently colored the work at Greenbaggins. It’s not sufficient simply to change tone. Sin must be dealt with. At the very least, a tacit admission of sin and minimal act of repentance would be for Lane and his co-workers to take down the posts where Pastor Wilson is slandered. Let's resolve to fight this FV debate out, but in a manner honoring to God: no more impugning of character outside the realm of this immediate conflict, no more reference to the attacks of the godless on one of God's anointed, no more venting of extraneous disciplinary issues on the public stage of the FV dispute.

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