Last week we looked at Nadia Bolz-Weber’s new book and a review of it (actually a rather scathing diatribe very thinly disguised as a book review) written by Tim Challies. Today I wish to direct your attention to a response to the Challies review written by Charles Featherstone.
Featherstone has some insight into Nadia Bolz-Weber because he got to hear her speak back when he was going through the ELCA’s candidacy process for ordination, which he failed. But his most scathing words are reserved for Challies and those who hold to Challies’ views on what the ministry and those in it ought to look like.
In this review, Challies shows something deep at work in the American church, a piety and culture which demands near absolute sinlessness of its leaders, a sinlessness not grounded in the story of scripture. The Bible is full of sinners — David is my personal favorite, a man who rarely thought before he acted and, so far as I know, only repented twice — who are beloved of God in their sin…
I know the pastors, the overseers, the deacons, Challies wants. The people of “sparkling” character. They cannot look the suffering and sin of the world in the face without condemning it. They cannot walk with those who suffer without finding fault with them. Or, they flinch, their faith too dainty, to gentle, too demanding that the world conform, to speak with any love, compassion, or empathy to those wounded in and wounded by sin. That genteel and priggish pietism is, to me, not taking the office of pastor seriously.