This is my first exposure to 5ptsalt. Today he takes issue with Joshua Shank’s rap-motion at SBC 2010. I showed the video a few days ago, but if you have not seen it you can do so here:
From what I can tell here is the gist of 5ptsalt’s argument:
Joshua was “more set on promoting Acts 29 than presenting a serious, worthwhile motion”.
“not being satisfied with the proper use of the English language”
not “maintaining some degree of decorum”
he rapped his motion to the “shame of everyone who has even a modicum of an education”.
he spoke like an “ignorant, uneducated brute”
Shank is “silly and self-absorbed”, “degraded the very existence of the SBC meeting”, and is a horrible witness and only recognized as a pastor but not one really.
I want to be upfront and say that I do actually wish that Shank would have made his motion and not rapped it. It was fun as well as funny. But I do think that it caused it to not be taken seriously. And the content was actually not all that silly.
However, I take serious issue with what 5ptsalt is asserting here. It grieves my heart. And I want to let you know upfront my motivation in posting this. I am not simply trying to call out him as a person or merely this article. My desire is to look at the issue, make an argument that his evidence does not warrant his conclusion or support his thesis, and in the end look at my own heart.
The Ignorant and the Gospel
Timmy Brister gives us a back story to the intention behind this post. Like it or not here is what the motion was about: “expressing appreciation and affirmation for the investment of the Acts 29 Network for their work in planting gospel-centered churches in the SBC?”
So, maybe 5ptsalt is onto something. Or is it possible that the aim behind promoting Acts 29 is to promote gospel-centeredness and to do away with all of the division and hatred towards Acts29? I think that is closer to the intent. What I think Brister, Mitchell, and Shank have in mind is promoting the gospel above our extra-biblical divisions. (Yep, that just opened up the whole can of worms about whether we should be for or against A29).
Let’s just say for the sake of argument that the motion really was ignorant, brutish, improper, and shameful to the educated. Doesn’t the gospel trump this? Is it possible that having someone rapping a motion is actually a better gospel witness because of its display of the diversity within the body of Christ? Do we really want to make the argument that ignorant, brutish, and improper people cannot make motions or lead churches?
"Redolent of bad taste, vulgar, and theatrical." That is what a newspaper (and it was not alone) once said of Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon spoke the language of the common people. Perhaps, Joshua Shank is doing the same.
Looking at my own heart
But I am often guilty of this same thing. I have certain things that I greatly dislike and some things to me seem like great issues that in the end probably are not. I have to ask these questions of my own heart. Do I have the attitude of Paul that is excited that the gospel is being preached, even if with wrong motives? See Philippians 1:15, and this article.
Do I have patience and grace with those that are doing things perhaps not the best or even most biblical way? Do I have humility to say that I may be wrong—and perhaps I am not doing things the best or the most biblical way?
Thankfully, Jesus used fishermen, tax collectors, zealots, redeemed prostitutes, former extortionist, and all manner of outcasts for his glory. He even used wealthy and refined people too. I’m thankful that his grace is big enough to cover my sin, and that his glory is great enough to overshadow and use broken vessels like me.