Monday, October 30, 2006

The November issue of Christianity Today contains an interesting article that happens to mention my father. In it, Richard Mouw, President of Fuller Seminary uses selective comments made by Donald Barnhouse, my father's mentor and dear friend, to criticize Dad's approach to Apologetics. Mouw, a liberal and good friend of the Mormons, couldn't resist taking a shot at Walter Martin.

He paints a distorted picture, but it doesn't offend me. I expect this from Mouw. In all honesty, I find it quite encouraging. Two years after the disgraceful joint worship service (Mormons + Christians) that took place in the Salt Lake City Mormon Temple, Mouw feels he still has to defend his actions--and take a swipe at Walter Martin in the process. This means that my father is like the proverbial thorn in the lion's paw . . . and that makes me smile. God will defend him, and all those who continue to contend for the faith using the apologetic method of Jesus: confrontational love.


Jill Martin Rische said...

In the interest of fairness, I'm reposting this comment with copyrighted material and a Mormon organization's link deleted:

Russ Bales Jr. wrote:

Hi Jill

I was kinda shocked that you interpreted a rather doting and optimistic article by Richard Mouw as a slap at your father, Walter Martin.

No doubt about it, like Billy Graham, CS Lewis, Robert Schuler, and Jimmy Carter, Richard Mouw is an inclusivist -- this as opposed to the restrictivism/exclusivism embraced by you father and a similar list of Evangelical notables. By your words of criticism for this notable inclusivist (or one who for now gives the benefit of the doubt), I conclude that the internal evangelical divide really is immense.

Anyway, in the article you reference, Mouw recounts the following story your father once told about Donald Grey Barnhouse. In it, your father made an important point about NOT leaping to judgment -- about the importance of being gentle and respectful to those with whom Evangelicals have a degree of theological disagreement (e.g., Mormons).

It's just odd to me that rather than interpret this story YOUR FATHER HIMSELF TOLD as an evidence that he had a great optimism about people, you insist that he was an intolerant advocate of what you call "confrontational love". Frankly, I'm not sure I would disagree with you on that, but if I were you, I would take comfort that for one glorious moment, Walter Martin was seemingly more about brotherly love than an aggressive turf battle based largely on his name-calling, convenient misrepresentation, and sensationalism.

I note that you go on to take another slap at Richard Mouw for initiating a joint meeting among Mormons and Evangelicals at the Tabernacle (correction -- NOT the Temple) in Salt Lake City. Did your Father counsel against dialogue? Based on your long time support for a discussion board on your web site, I think not. But what made your slap so remarkable was that this meeting had as its focus a sermon by Ravi Zacharias, the same Ravi Zacharias who you selected as "general editor" of your family's edition of Walter Martin's "Kingdom of the Cults." BTW: Ravi Zacharias spoke on grace -- makes me wonder why you believe the meeting was so "disgraceful". What other message would you have had Ravi deliver if meaningful dialogue leading to influence with Mormons was the goal? How rhetoric can be used to alienate Mormons from society? How Walter Martin's personal proclivity for serial marriages is different than polygamy?


Russ Bales Jr.

Jill Martin Rische wrote:


Please forgive the delay in answering you, but when I am going to respond to someone with a negative post, I like to think about it before commenting.

You talked about a lot of things, so I will answer as briefly as possible:

First, name-calling is a poor way to argue your point, Russ.

Second, Richard Mouw is a good friend to the Mormons--he's done more to help the Mormon cause than any Evangelical in history(and that's saying something). So when he writes an article about Walter Martin, it can never be considered friendly.

In essence, this article is a weak attempt by Mouw to use Walter Martin against himself. Weak . . . but clever. Walter Martin can't reply--and that makes it safe. Mouw never confronted Walter Martin when he was alive--but it's easy to kick a dead man. The Mormons do it all the time.

Third . . . Mormon apologists are not people I would recommend for a fair assessment of my father, so please don't post their link (and large amounts of copyrighted material) here.

And finally, about my father's marriages--you simply show that you don't know much about them--and your heart tends to major on the minors.


And by the way, I'm quite aware of the tabernacle/temple identity issue.

3:00 PM  
Dwayna Litz said...

Your father's marriages were pure and according to the Bible; polygomy is not! See God's requirement for ONE wife per husband in 1 Tim. 3:2!

Perfect LOVE incarnate called people white-washed tombs. Your father was very loving by warning people against hell.

By this man's standards, I am afraid Jesus Christ of Nazareth was one of the most "unloving" people to ever live.

11:49 AM  

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