Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Controversy Surrounding "The Gospel Project"

Confession: I am not a big fan of teaching material from Lifeway, especially, youth material. That all changed when they came out with The Gospel Project. After reading about it and got a preview of the material, I decided this would be a great resource for our teens especially those who do not know the gospel and inspire them to be a more effective witness to their lose friends.

Then comes this "controversy" that The Gospel Project (TGP) is Calvinistic in nature with one pastor, Ralph Green, saying he returned the material because of the themes of Calvinism being taught in the material without offering any evidence supporting his claim. On August 21, SBC Today posted an interview with Ralph Green concerning the "controversy" surrounding TGP.

That same day, Chris Roberts offered a response to Green's claims in a gospel-centered way that everyone should read:

My main issue with Green’s original article was that it contained no references to The Gospel Project. He claims to have found “numerous subtle seeds of the Calvinistic approach to Scripture and many that are overtly obvious” yet he failed to cite a single one of those subtle or obvious seeds. We were told that the interview would address that, citing specific concerns with the material. In reality, the interview contains very little interaction with the substance of the curriculum. Despite the fact that Green claims to have “numerous” and “many” examples, in the interview he only gives two examples. As we will see, neither example has anything to do with Calvinism, and both places point to problems with Green’s theology and his understanding of what the curriculum is teaching.

Instead of focusing on the content of the curriculum, most of the interview deals with peripheral issues. The interview starts with his reaction to the comments on his original article and he says he was “shocked at some of the comments” he read. He is bothered that some “have offered so little grace” in response to the article. I am not sure what he means by this. Many (including me) voiced clear disagreement with his position as well as disappointment that he made such strong accusations without including evidence. Some who participated in the discussion seemed to be offended that we would doubt Green’s evidence. Perhaps Green agrees with them and sees our hesitation and desire for evidence as a shortage of grace.

Green also noted that “others have blogged about [the curriculum] and say they see no problem with [it]. But I have to wonder if they are not already Calvinists.” In other words, immediately after complaining about a lack of grace among his critics, Green casts suspicion on all who support the curriculum by saying they might be Calvinists. What is the implication? Calvinists cannot be trusted to offer a fair evaluation of the material, and only a Calvinist would like it. This overlooks the fact that many in the discussions have identified themselves as non-Calvinists and have voiced their support for the curriculum.

Read the entire post here

No comments:

Post a Comment