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Banned in Blogdom

February 6, 2009

I hate to cause any diversion from the great topic at hand, and I certainly have no desire to take away from the tremendous first two posts on this issue.  But, I also have some unfinished business that really must be taken care of, and so, without further delay…

During the last month that we blogged, we did a sort of biographical month.  Jeff gave us all questions to answer… really deep, probing questions, too.  I was sorta embarrassed by a few of them.  But, I answered anyway.  Then, Kent gave his perspective on Jeff and I — I really blushed when I read those.  And finally, I made fun of Jeff.  I’m sure that if he ever gets it, he’ll be blushing.  But we’ll have to wait for him to think it over.

But, I never got to Kent.  And I have wanted to.  I need to, really.  I started to, back at the end of December.  But some very pressing duties combined with my rather foggy brain, hung-over as it was with cookies, candy, and Christmas vacation, simply prevented my completing the process.  In fact, those very same pressing duties have prevented me from even touching a blog over the past 4-5 weeks.  Today is my first day back at “Blog Central” (the place in my office where I do all this wonderful blogging), and so I want to dedicate today’s piece to my friend Kent.

Kent has already told you the story of our first meeting.  Whatever he says about it, I will admit that I didn’t even notice him being there (when it is time to preach, I get a bad case of tunnel vision anyway), until during the lunch time afterwards.  As I recall, his youngest sat in a high chair next to my oldest (also in a high chair), and we had a very nice time at the table.  I suppose that if I had realized that the balding guy with the baby was THE Kent Brandenburg, I probably would have acted differently at the time, but I didn’t know half the people at that meeting, and I’m not an outgoing guy.  Not at all.  So, I just enjoyed the talk.  Whatever Kent might have seen, I looked across that table, and I saw a friend.

And that is exactly what Kent has been to me throughout these years since then.  When Pastor Short died, Kent flew here for the funeral.  He couldn’t stop crying long enough to talk much then.  Later, he flew out here again to preach for me, and we enjoyed sitting up late discussing, debating, and in general growing acquainted.  And, Kent was a friend.  Many, many times, too many times really, I have picked up the phone to dial his number.  Sometimes it was important.  Sometimes I needed advice in a desparate way.  Other times, it was less urgent, but still important to me.  Always, Kent is there to give the help, the nudge, the encouragement, and even, at times, the kick in the pants, the cuff upside the head, or the stinging rebuke that was needed.

No doubt there are readers of this blog who see Kent as a theologue.  No doubt some consider him to be a braniac.  Probably we have a reader or three who think of him as a crank.  To some, he is an extremist.  To others, a hard-liner.  I would be surprised if some of our readers didn’t associate him very closely with the mascot for our President’s party.  Kent is a strong man, a godly man, a true pastor, an expert exegete, a faithful preacher, a father and a husband and a brother in Christ.  But all who read this post should understand that above all else, Kent is a friend.

Will he always say what you want to hear?  Emphatically not.  Will you always like the “friendship” he extends your way?  No, not really.  Will you feel warm and fuzzy feelings towards him all the time?  I think not.  Kent is not the kind of friend that you make on MySpace or on Facebook.  He’s not a friend for the Socially Unfulfilled.  He’s no make-believe friend.  He won’t be leaving comments on your wall to the tune of “you’re so kewl.”  Kent is not a virtual friend.  He is a real-life friend.  The kind that will cry because you are suffering.  The kind that will rejoice because you are rejoicing.  The kind that will listen when you call, will help you when you stumble, will rebuke you when you need it most, and will extend a helping hand when you need that too.

I have stayed in Kent’s home.  I have observed his family.  I have been in his church.  I know his staff.  Kent understands and practices the grace of hospitality.  He is a good host.  He has a very gracious wife, and a couple of the best kids you’ll ever meet (at least in the daughter department).  His home is well-run, his children well-mannered.  I watched as his kids woke up early and started practicing their music.  For the first two hours of the morning, the Brandenburg house sounds like Carnegie hall ten minutes before the Symphony.  Kent has established a well-ordered home.

In this day and age, it seems like most pastors are either doctrinally sound or manly, but never both.  Not so with Kent.  He’ll run you over on the basketball court, and then call the foul on you.  He’s a man’s man when it comes to athletics.  He throws his whole heart and soul into whatever he is doing.  But he isn’t just a man on the athletic field.  He understands that manliness is spiritual, and he is spiritual in a manly way.  He takes a strong stand, and never apologizes until he sees that he was wrong.  I like that about Kent.

There have been plenty of times that Kent and I have disagreed.  Publicly, in fact.  Often, we have done so on purpose.  We both hold our convictions very strongly, and yet, we have a mutual respect for one another.  I suppose that if you are looking for a connection between this post and the month’s theme, this is it.  We both strive to take our stands on defensible ground, with a strong Scriptural basis for all our beliefs and practices.  There are times when we take very different stands.  One of the goals of this blog has been to model a Biblical approach to doctrinal debate.  We desire to show the world that these issues can be debated, and debated passionately, without there being a wounded friendship in the end.  We hope that we are succeeding in this.

But that brings up another point about Kent.  Like iron, Kent sharpens those around him.  Anyone who has debated Kent understands the need to “bring your A-game.”  That is why Phil Johnson won’t touch him.  I still remember that promise, made so very long ago, that Phil made to Kent — I’m gonna debate you (said Phil), and when I do, you’ll need to bring your A-game.  That’s what Phil said.  Somehow, I’m thinking that in the ensuing days, Phil realized that Kent only brings his A-game.  And, maybe, Phil decided that his own A-game had “left the building.”  Who knows?

Kent is a tough debater.  As one who has gone more than a few rounds with Kent, I should know.  Kent doesn’t shadow box.  He never heard of 50%.  Kent is a model of Biblical tenacity.  And, as a result, Kent has gotten himself banned.  Banned at Sharper Iron.  Banned by Frank Turk.  Banned at PyroMeaniacs.  Banned in Blogdom.  I understand their strategy.  If you can’t beat Kent, silence him.  They have put him out of their Synagogues.  They think they have done God a service.  They can’t bear to debate him, and so they gag him instead.  And, if you have no other reason to admire Kent, that should be reason enough.

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  1. February 7, 2009 at 9:29 am

    To my knowledge nobody’s ever been banned from SharperIron for “biblical tenacity.”
    As for Kent, if he was banned at SI, it would have to have been before our system crashed in 2006 because we do not have him on the banned list (unless under a different name). My curiosity is piqued so we’re asking around to see who remembers the sequence of events.

  2. February 7, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I appreciate this post by Dave. You’re not going to hear me tell you that it accurately represents me. I plead the fifth. My wife got a kick out of it though. My son has not yet seen his disclaimer, but he’ll enjoy that one as well. I don’t feel or think myself worthy of any applause. The smartest things I know are in the Bible. He is Worthy, and I am what I am by the grace of God.

    Hi Aaron! Thanks for coming over. You’re always welcome, even if you disagree. I should answer this question, because I would know it as well as anybody. I know the details well too. I think, in order that I might not be a martyr, I was given “guest” status, which has the same results as being banned. I lost my membership, so I can’t log in, and have no posting privileges. I could have posted with my wife’s membership, but I honored the banning.

    Jason told me in an email that he didn’t want me or my kind at SharperIron because of the positions that we take. He told me that I didn’t break any of the SI rules technically. He didn’t tell me what those positions were, but I’m sure it would be local only ecclesiology and a perfect preservation of Scripture position (Masoretic OT and TR NT). I also believe Deut 22:5/1 Cor 11:3-16 mean no pants on women as well as a position that since worship is directed to God, that He must be pleased by our music, therefore excluding most music styles. I never had anyone tell me that I didn’t argue from scripture.

    Mike Sproul slandered me in his book on the text issue. When an article or two came out at the time his book was published, Jason promised me that I could write a defense of our position to post on the website. I don’t think most people know our position. I know that because of how people talk to me on that subject. When I was banned, Jason had posted a Doug Kutilek article in which Kutilek called those who believed like Waite and Strouse to be lemmings. I called Jason on it as a violation of his own posted rules and he got angry and banned me. He didn’t like being questioned in his authority at SI. He told me he was the owner and he could do whatever he wanted. I asked if I could still post my article. He said, No. I am not misrepresenting what happened.

    It hasn’t been a hardship to be off of SI. It is similar to my recently deleting my facebook membership. It frees up a lot of time that is more important to spend elsewhere. I thought that more than anything, it was tell-tale related to SI, which was supposed to be sharpening iron. It seems that acceptable criticism is mainly coming from the left at SI. Jason didn’t want our type of person at SI. What I’ve noticed; however, is that new-evangelicals are welcomed. I mean this with complete sensitivity and grace, but SI should probably take off the fundamentalist label from its information materials and just call itself evangelical. From my observation, Piper, Mohler, Mahaney, MacArthur, Driscoll, and Carson get more kudos there than fundamentalists. I have noticed the men most like me on SI that have not been banned become almost non-existent anyway.

    I still read SI. I saw your thread on who you would like to see interviewed for SI. I would like interviews to be harder, less puff pieces, where the men are asked tough questions. I would be interested in an interview of the Janz family—Bart, Jason, Jocelyn, and Melissa—and their family history as it relates to the issues in fundamentalism.

    Thanks Aaron.

  3. phil
    February 7, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    What do ypu believe are the basic straw men To Duet 22:5and how do you

    handle it when people bring up The deal about other garments that stareted

    with men?

  4. Phil Novak
    February 7, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Just so as not to be confused with Phil Johnson I”ll go by the name above

  5. February 7, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Kent,
    That’s interesting. I guess I’ll be diplomatic and not say much more than that. … other than to say we do get plenty of criticism from the right as well as the left.
    Aaron
    (sharperiron.org)

  6. February 8, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Phil,

    We have dealt with Deut 22:5 here and I’m sure that you can find them if you use the search mode for the blog.

    I don’t understand your other question. Thanks for asking though.

    Thanks Aaron. You are welcome to open up here. Don’t worry about diplomacy with us. I trust you have best interests in view. If I don’t think so, I would tell you too.

  7. Phil Novak
    February 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I found the articles I had seen them before but had forgotten about them. I

    guess what I was trying to ask was why do you apply it just to pants but I read

    one of the articles that said pants sybolize something that a T-shirt and

    baseball caps do not. Thanks for the response.

  8. February 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Phil,

    I don’t apply Deut 22:5 just to pants. However, pants were the distinguishing item for men everyday. Now men have what?

  9. Becky
    February 22, 2009 at 6:22 am

    Too bad you were banned at SI.

    I can’t imagine that unless your tone was less than patient. They do put up with a lot now, but you are also rigtht (IMO) that there aren’t very many who write from the “far right” there anymore. It is definitely more interesting reading when they do allow some who differ from the “party line”–esp. since this was why SI was originally started–so that YF could differ from the OF and have their say. It should work both ways. There are still a few who post who are the more conservative side of things. I do think that there are just “fewer” IFBxs out there these days (in general).

    I just saw your blog for the first time, though I’ve seen your name on FFF, I believe.

  10. February 22, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Hi Becky!

    Thanks for your comment. I’m not at FFF. But people do talk about me there. I don’t think my tone was anything bad. The left might think so, but everybody on the other side of the argument is finicky about the person they are arguing with, thinking that they are being mean. I was not told that I was when I was banned. I was banned for my positions as stated. Yes, SI, I know, hasn’t been as fun for many without us there, but it has been good for me.

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