Tim Challies has Become a Target

I have been amazed how all of the makers of Divided are talking about Tim Challies’ review of the film. Just do a Google search for “Tim Challies” and “Divided movie.” It seems like the majority of the NCFIC bloggers are taking shots at Challies. Today, in one day only on the NCFIC blog, links to two different radio reviews of Challies’ review were posted!

The main complaint has been that Challies misrepresented the movie. If he did, then why doesn’t one person correct the misrepresentations, post it on the NCFIC blog, and then have all of the NCFIC bloggers link to the correction of the misrepresentations? Better yet, why not have one or two people address these, and then post links to the reviews? The reason I say this is because these reviews all start sounding alike after a while; they are all just beating a dead horse.

I did agree with something Kevin Swanson said in his review of Tim Challies. The issue is application. He stresses that Titus 2 says that older men need to teach younger men, and older women need to teach younger women. Yes, that is true, but it would only be relevant if we never had older and younger members together. The way Swanson is reading this text is, “Only older men should teach younger men,” etc. Where is that anywhere in the text?

My assumption is that he would return to his “sufficiency of scripture” argument, but even that doesn’t work. Consider the fact that the Bible tells us to honor our father and mother. The Bible then prescribes certain ways in which people are to do this; for example, the text says that we must take care of our parents in their old age. However, the Bible never mentions things like mother’s day or fathers day. It never mentions greeting cards, or gifts of ties or kitchen utensils. According to Swanson’s logic, all of these things must be wrong because the Bible is sufficient, right? Since the Bible never speaks of mother’s days or father’s days, or greeting cards or gifts of ties or kitchen utensils, as a way to apply the command to honor or father and mother, they must be wrong, and a violation of the sufficiency of scripture, according to Swanson’s logic. Again, no one can read the Bible in this way; if one is logically consistent with this method, it will lead straight down to syncretism, an implicit denial of the sufficiency of scripture.

Also, I found it interesting that Swanson would go to Matthew 15:1-9. The issue in Matthew 15:1-9 is not the sufficiency of scripture, but *nullifying* the word of God for the sake of our traditions. Jesus points out that the traditions of the elders specifically *contradicts* something found in scripture. To my knowledge, that has never been the argument of the film Divided, namely, that having youth groups and Sunday schools specifically contradicts something found in scripture. I did have one person try to argue this from Proverbs 22:15a, saying that children are inherently foolish. However, as I pointed out: 1. The literary force of the Book of Proverbs is not to present universal truths; otherwise, you would have a contradiction between passages such as Proverbs 22:6 and Isaiah 1:2d. Hence, if one wants to assume the universality of Proverbs 22:15a, it must be argued. 2. Even if it were true that Proverbs 22:15a were universal, the second half of the verse completely refutes this interpretation of the passage: “but the rod of discipline will remove it from him.” It is a common theme in the book of Proverbs that discipline removes folly. Hence, if youth groups and Sunday Schools have discipline, there is no problem with the fact that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.

However, it is amazing that these guys keep beating this dead horse of Tim Challies’ review. I guess it must have struck a nerve in some way.


2 Responses to “Tim Challies has Become a Target”

  1. Shawn Mathis Says:

    Adam, According to Mr. Brown’s book “youth groups” fail his test on two accounts:

    “Further, segregation “does not properly fulfill” the biblical requirements for discipleship and is contrary to the “primary examples” of church gatherings (p.203, 74).” [quoting by book review: http://christiannurture.blogspot.com/2011/05/weed-in-church-review.html

    But this is a question begging exercise since he allows that “examples” are not necessarily precepts to be followed! And he never defends in the book what “primary examples” are in contrast to “exceptions” which he allows.

    The NCFIC confession makes no such distinction to begin with. It should be rewritten with all the explanations of Mr. Brown’s book. Then thrown away.

  2. otrmin Says:


    That is the problem. The qualifications and arbitrariness of this hermeneutic makes you wonder after a while if they were really saying anything to begin with! As you said over on Karen Campbell’s blog, this stuff is very sound bite like. Once you start challenging it, it dies the death of a thousand qualifications.

    God Bless,

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