In the wake of Joshua Harris’ apostasy — the Purity Culture pastor who divorced his wife, denounced Christianity, and embraced homosexuality — many people are wondering just exactly what went wrong. The apostasy follows a string of The Gospel Coalition contributors who have either been disqualified or have completely turned from their faith altogether.
From Tullian Tjividjian and Mark Driscoll to James MacDonald and C.J. Mahaney, many men that had been warned about by those “pesky discernment blogs” ultimately showed their true colors and were caught up in scams ranging from sex abuse cover-ups to bullying their staff at church.
The entire paradigm exemplifying The Gospel Coalition gave rise to a new breed of professing Christian — New Calvinism. While some, like Kevin DeYoung, ponder the reasoning behind the rampant apostasy at The Gospel Coalition, speculating that it is because they are too quick to “elevate gifted men,” I suspect the problem is much deeper than that. DeYoung writes,
What is worth exploring in this instance [Harris’ apostasy]—and, we can tell you, has already for years generated a great deal of soul searching—is why a number of young men who were at one time closely associated with The Gospel Coalition have been forced to leave the ministry. Our primary takeaway is that in years past our tribe was too quick to elevate gifted men who may not have had enough time to prove themselves faithful for the long haul. But even here, we would note that the public crises always get more attention than scores of young men who have quietly continued to serve the Lord with growing maturity.
The problem, you see, isn’t being “too quick” to “elevate gifted men.” The problem is elevating men who have a primary cause that fits the theme and narrative of The Gospel Coalition. The problem is, The Gospel Coalition isn’t really about the gospel — it’s about other things, like social justice, egalitarianism, LGBTQ activism, etc. The Gospel Coalition merely cloaks these causes in Christian-themed language, slaps the phrase “gospel-centered” on it, and brings aboard anyone who is willing to advance their cause.