Philip Ryken says Don’t Complain; Kevin DeYoung Wants you to Shut Up, and Joe Carter Wants you to Sleep More

Three articles are looked at in today’s post. The first is from the president of Wheaton college and deals with complaining. Ironically he complains in the process. The second article is from Kevin DeYoung where he wants people to be quiet about shootings. I guess we’re also supposed to be quiet about child sex abuse as well. And then Joe Carter has a winner in which he plays doctor and advises people on sleep. My reaction? Deal with CJ Mahaney and the child sex abuse allegations so I am not reading and researching late at night; then I will get some sleep.


“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.”

Robert Frost

“If you shut up truth, and bury it underground it will but grow.”

Emile Zola

“Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”

Psalm 10:1


There were a number of articles at Crossway’s blog and the Gospel Coalition that quite frankly deserve a response.  I read all of them and selected three to work with today. In light of the scandals, problems and Neo-Calvinist theology they quite frankly needed some strong pushback. I found them while reading, surfing and checking out other material to write. Today’s post is going to be about a number of topics and we will bounce around. So with that let’s discuss what Philip Graham Ryken says about “complaining” to God. My comments below will be in red.


God Doesn’t Want you to Complain

In an article at Crossway’s blog called “What Your Complaining Says About God.”  Philip Ryken says your questioning is an attack on the goodness of God. Philip Ryken is the President of Wheaton. Prior to being at Wheaton he was the Senior Minister at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Here’s what he says below.

An Attack on the Goodness of God

When you look at the story of the children of Israel in the book of Exodus and throughout the Old Testament, the people of God often seem sort of whiney; there’s a lot of grumbling and complaining. I think most parents can relate to what it’s like for God as a father to relate to the children of Israel.

We need to find ourselves in that story as well because we have a lot of complaints about life—a lot of areas of discontent. We tend to grumble about small, insignificant things. One of the things that’s important for us to do for our own sanctification is to ask the question, “Why am I grumbling and complaining about this?” Usually it’s because I have some idol that I have set up as something that’s very important to me—my own schedule and things that make life better for me. Then when something gets in the way of what makes my life better for me, I am very quick to complain about it.

It is really important to recognize that all of our complaining is ultimately directed against God, whether we mention him specifically in our complaints or not. All of our complaining goes to him; he is the great God. He is the one who exercises his sovereignty over whatever happens. So all of our complaints go right to the top.

That shows what a great sin complaining really is: an attack on the goodness of God.

First let me ask some questions. Is this the mentality that says blogging is “gossip?” Is this the mentality that allows some people to criticize and attack people like me or The Wartburg Watch for what they write? Here’s another question I have for Philip Ryken…in writing that post is Philip complaining? He references the Old Testament but when I read his post I honestly wonder has he really read it? When you have verses such as Psalm 13:1, “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”  Or when you have verses like this in Psalm 10:1. “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Not only that but look at several of the Old Testament prophets, who confronted, challenged and asked why. What about how Elijah begged for his life to be taken away? What about the bartering that that took place between Abraham and God in Genesis 18 over Sodom? Was Abraham complaining when he approached God and challenged him? One other question…why is everything always reduced to an idol? Why is everything always reduced to some version of “there’s an idol in your life.” Does anyone find it ironic that this is coming out of the movement that has made celebrity pastor an idol and people can’t even admit that they are worshipping John Piper, Mark Dever, etc… After all for some in the Neo-Calvinist movement John Piper is the fourth member of the trinity.  When you have the President of Wheaton writing a post like this, does the reveal the dire straights of not only a place like Wheaton but other seminaries as well? I read this and I just shook me head especially when I consider how much of the Psalms and the Book of Lamentations are filled with questions of “why?” and “how long?” This approach that tries to get people to not complain is really more in line with Islam. Just submit and don’t say anything…follow the will of Allah. The other fact is it reveals that the God of the Neo-Calvinist world is really small, trite and insignificant. If God can’t handle questions of any shape or size…then what is he God of?


Kevin DeYoung’s Shut up and Don’t Speak

I’m not going to reprint the entire the entire article but Kevin DeYoung had a doozy that I felt needed to be challenged. It was in response to the terrorist attack in San Bernardino a couple of weeks back. The article which was posted on The Gospel Corporation whops I meant Coalition is called “A Modest Proposal Don’t Tell Everyone About Every Shooting.”  Now to be fair to Kevin I also asked in this post if the details of every shooting should be revealed. But the reason why I am asking and writing about this post is in light of Kevin DeYoung’s other behavior. Now I am not going to post the entire article only sections. I would encourage you to read the entire article at The Gospel Coalition.

I have a modest proposal for our networks and news shows and the rest of our 24 hour media: don’t tell everyone about every shooting.


Make a pact to hold your peace. Be rogue and go silent. Decide ahead of time to treat the next story as a non-story. We don’t need to know every bad thing that happens everywhere.

Local reporters, local stations, local pundits—go ahead and report on local news. If a shooting happens down the street, we should know about it. We may need to take precautions. We may have friends in the neighborhood. Our lives may be directly affected. But why turn every local tragedy into a national nightmare? …….

…..No one considers it insensitive that we don’t hear about every car accident or every cancer case or everyone who falls off of something—even though Americans are more likely to die by each of these means than by mass shootings. It’s not making light of horribly bad news to point out that nothing whips the media (and then the rest of us) into a frenzy like horrible things happening in the world. Scandals, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods, abductions, shootings—we are bombarded by bad news every day. Must we hear all of it?

Telling everyone everything about every shooting is a bad idea for at least two reasons. First, because it unnecessarily alarms people. And second, because it unnecessarily encourages copycat behavior.

As to the first, we face an enormously greater risk of being killed on the highway in a car than being shot by a madman in the mall or in a movie theater. Let’s not inspire fear where it is not warranted.

As to the second, why make the worst people in this country the most well known? I’m not surprised that a deranged and evil person ready to end his life would want to make a big splash doing it. Why not get some revenge? Why not be the star in your own reality television show? Big time headlines, no earthly consequences….

…..Couldn’t we try the same thing with shootings? Why not simply look the other way—not in the local circle of care, but on the national level of political pandemonium? Call the police. Stay out of harm’s way. Let friends and family and pastors and neighbors weep with those who weep. When all is said and done and all the facts are in, look at the big picture and try to make a difference. But no more fear for those who should not be afraid. And no more fame for those who deserve none.

I got a good chuckle out of reading this one. Now here’s my question to Kevin DeYoung….what would have happened if every time we substituted the word “shooting”  for the phrase “child sex abuse situation.”   For example let me put up a couple of examples:

I have a modest proposal for our networks and news shows and the rest of our 24 hour media: don’t tell everyone about every [child sex abuse situation.]

Telling everyone everything about every {child sex abuse situation] is a bad idea for at least two reasons. First, because it unnecessarily alarms people. And second, because it unnecessarily encourages copycat behavior.

I mean after all Kevin DeYoung is benefiting from the CJ Mahaney money machine. He’s supported, and preached in Sovereign Grace conferences and events. In the end does Kevin DeYoung want me and others to shut up so that he can profit and pad his checking account with money while the corruption in Sovereign Grace continues? Is that the reason why Kevin DeYoung signed his name to this bastardized statement in support of CJ Mahaney? He just wants us to shut up and look the other way?  In light of Kevin’s behavior I found this article disturbing to say the least. I find it quite revealing about himself.  I could go on but I think I made my point. With that let’s move to the next article by Joe Carter who I view as the yapping Lhasa Apso of the Neo-Calvinist movement on Twitter.


Joe Carter Wants you to Sleep More

On Tuesday I went to the Chic Fil A in the Fairfax area of D.C. after working out in the gym. I wanted to grab some dinner. This is a quick diversion…but I just have to say hearing the muzac version of Matt Redman’s Bless the Lord is kind of cheesy. I wish Chic Fil A would have regular music.  Okay…moving forward! Anyhow I was enjoying my meal when I was looking at The Gospel Coalition website for ideas to write about. I then saw this Joe Carter article called “How to Love God by Getting More Sleep”  I read it and almost choked on my food. Now keep in mind I am not going to reprint the entire article. I linked it above but I will write below my response to Joe Carter.

When people would ask if I had any hobbies, I used to reply, “Just one: Napping.” But this year that turned out not to be a joke.

Every day after work, instead of spending time with my family, I’d take a two-hour nap. Even then, I’d still be exhausted, so I’d sleep late on Saturday and take as many naps as I could on the weekend. That only made it worse. I was so constantly fatigued that my wife wanted me to see a doctor to determine whether I had an undiagnosed condition like seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or winter depression.

I didn’t need a physician, though, to tell me what I had was a chronic history of poor sleep habits. When I was younger I could often get by (with sufficient doses of caffeine), but now I could no longer ignore the problem.

My poor sleep hygiene was affecting my family, my work, and my physical health. And it was also affecting me spiritually.

Sleep as Spiritual Discipline

In the Psalms, David shows that peaceful sleep is an act of trust and a sign of humility. “I lie down and sleep,” David said, “I wake again, because the Lord sustains me” (Ps 3:5–6). He also said, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Ps 4:8).  Getting a good night’s rest shows that we know God is in control and will watch over us when we are at our most vulnerable.

Sleep is a sign of trust and humility. But it’s also a spiritual discipline. As D. A. Carson says,

Sometimes the godliest thing you can do in the universe is get a good night’s sleep—not pray all night, but sleep. I’m certainly not denying that there may be a place for praying all night; I’m merely insisting that in the normal course of things, spiritual discipline obligates you get the sleep your body need.

Like most spiritual disciplines, to be most effective sleep requires both a change in attitude and a change in habits. Here are a few things I learned and practical steps I’ve taken to better develop the spiritual activity of rest:

Get enough sleep — There are a number of factors that affect the quality of your rest, the most important being how long you sleep each night.

(The huge chunk of the article I removed dealt with recommended sleeping times, avoiding blue light, blocking out other light, watching the temperature, getting a good bed, avoiding caffeine,  and planning on waking up and going to bed at the same time.)

You Know This Stuff; Just Do It Already

Chances are that you know about many or all of these ideas already. I did too. But as Samuel Johnson once said, “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” Take this as a reminder to try some (or preferably all) of these tips in order to improve your bedtime habits.

Show God you trust him and are a good steward of his resources by deciding to do more to get a good night’s sleep.

Like I said, I almost choked on my Chic Fil A when I read this article. I’ll explain why in the end. Here’s one thing I would like to ask Joe Carter. When oh when did Joe go to medical school where he feels qualified to give out such advice? If he did go to medical school I would like to know which one. Here’s the deal…my father is a physician and people approached him for help. He gave out medical advice based upon the training he received. When I was in Raleigh and meeting with the Parsons a year and a half ago, Bill Parsons who is a licensed cardiologist spoke with me in depth the reasons why I should pursue weight loss surgery. He explained from his knowledge of medicine and his study of cardiology and explained to me the risks that will come if I didn’t pursue it. I respected his insight because he’s licensed and certified. When did Joe Carter become my personal physician? Joe will you explain that to me? In short let me say this….Joe is about as qualified to give medical advice as I am qualified to fly a plane. Neither of us are trained in that field and he should stuck to theology alone. My advice is go to your physician and listen to a physician. Joe Carter had no business writing that article.

I got a laugh when I saw D.A. Carson being referenced. We’re going to have fun on Monday especially since its D.A. Carsons’s birthday on December 21. 🙂 

Now here’s the second reason why I was frosted after reading that article. Joe calls on people to get more sleep and I agree sleep is a needed and necessary goal. Last week at this blog I had some exceptional late night as I was researching and writing about Cru’s Christmas conferences. I was up until 2 in the morning (remember I also work full time as well…) writing and researching that post. I was tired and did doze off and realized it and called it a night. I won’t deny that this blog has been a huge undertaking of work. It’s been time consuming and it drives me like the leadership at Redeemer Arlington has no idea. That said….let me tell you know what will help me get some more sleep.  When Joe Carter and the rest of his buddies confront CJ Mahaney on his allegations of covering up child sex abuse and confront it. They deal with it, by forcing Mahaney aside, saying, “Nope…deal with this CJ.” They deal with it by apologizing for covering it up. They stop the BS and say, “we’re wrong…..” When Joe Carter and that crowd deals with the serious allegations of child sex abuse then I will shut this blog down and no longer have a late night in writing. At 2:00 a.m. I’ll be in bed curled up and listening to Hans Zimmer or some Bach. When that happens then I’ll be getting some sleep. Let me know what you think on all three articles. Okay that’s it for the day. as always I love you guys!

8 thoughts on “Philip Ryken says Don’t Complain; Kevin DeYoung Wants you to Shut Up, and Joe Carter Wants you to Sleep More

  1. What a superb post! It covers a few of my pet peeves. First, I heard the same “grumbling” advice (or “not grumbling” advice) at my Bible study 2 weeks ago. I raised my hand and I said that I want to stand up for God who isn’t a God who is quick to zap us when we question Him. As you have done, Eagle, they should read the Psalms, read the Psalms, read the Psalms. And Job. And yes, why is every sin now an “idol”? Why are there 10 commandments? There is one about idolatry; the rest are not. The rest are sins, but not every sin = idolatry. Otherwise, God was wasting His breath. Ugh! And must we really all shut up? And why do theologians/pastors give sleep advice? I agree with you, Eagle, he is not a doctor! Please–would pastors just pastor properly (and not plagiarize–I loved The Wartburg Watch today). Thanks for reading, digesting, and posting on significant issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Godith, Joe Carter really gets under my skin. Why is he giving medical advice? He’s not trained. After I finished this post I sat down and watched a part of Die Hard 3 (Die Hard 1 and 2 are my favorite Christmas movies by the way…LOL) But I was thinking as watching Die Hard 3…am I the John McLane to the Neo-Calvinists. The one that says, “Wrong answer Hans…” with his sarcasm and all? LOL…oh boy… Thanks for your comment.


  2. Oh, I think Philip Ryken has more problems at Wheaton right now than just whining about people complaining about God. You might want to read up on Larycia Hawkins, a tenured professor at Wheaton who was put on leave because she went outside the evangelical circle to say that both Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Oopsie. And yes, I know very much there are many Christians who will say, “no, of course we don’t worship the same God as Muslims,” but from a historical standpoint, it cannot be denied that Islam is an outgrowth of both Christianity and Judaism. However, the language being used by Wheaton defenders is unbecoming of people who call themselves Christian as it is full of hatred towards Muslims.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment Mierle. Two thoughts…while its important to note that Muslims and Christians look at Jesus differently I believe Muslims should be afforded respect. Muslims look at Jesus as a prophet not as God, where as we do. Having said that I agree with you on the xenophobia that exists by some evangelicals toward Muslims. Hate is easy, and comes from fear. Hate is not a way to respond. But I agree with you that there is a lot of hatred toward Muslims, and its uncalled for. Does that make sense? I love your point of view and your intellect Mierle. You’re sharp and on your feet!


  3. Great post.

    I feel that church leaders often use injunctions against “complaining” and “gossiping” to control people and keep information under tight wraps. It is normal to talk about things and to be honest about how we feel about things. If a person is not allowed to do that, maybe they should question whether they are in a cult.

    I, too, have lost a lot of sleep coming to terms with the reality of things going on in the church. How do you sleep after reading about little children being sexually assaulted? Is it even appropriate to be able to sleep peacefully, knowing of these things?

    Just as an aside, sounds like Joe Carter needs to get a sleep study, he has symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea! lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ever notice its those in charge that say…don’t gossip. Don’t talk, don’t, don’t , don’t… Its really a control mechanism. When I read that article and realized that is the President of Wheaton I thought, “God good…is this why so many schools are jacked up?” Philip Ryken I would suggest needs to go back to school. God help us if he is setting the example. That post stunned me.


  4. Philip Ryken on complaining
    I’m now wary when religious leaders suggest we stop complaining. I find they are more interested in silencing criticism of them than us being thankful and trusting God.

    Kevin DeYoung’s Shut up
    This one irritated me the most. How very totalitarian of Kevin to manage what we should know. We’re to stupid to process what is going on so we need Kevin to to withhold information so we come to the approved conclusion. Do you suppose he complains about liberal media filtering the news?

    Joe Carter on sleep
    Adherents to the Gospel Coalition should heed Carter’s advice and sleep in on Sunday mornings.


    • Yup Bill you got it. Its about control. Nothing but control. Kevin DeYoung’s irritated me as well. That’s why I pulled it. He comes across as a jerk and I wonder if he has taken money from Mahaney. Given the money that CJ gave to SBTS and alleged to Wayne Grudem its well within reason to ask…did he receive money as well.

      LOL…if TGC slept in on Sundays how much healthier would the church be? I still need to tweet this at Joe Carter. He’s a bull on Twitter, but I have no problems clashing if necessary.


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