D.A. Carson who has taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School since 1978 appears to be no longer affiliated with the EFCA’s flagship seminary. Its almost as it Carson has disappeared. There is no statement on a possible retirement and the usual Neo-Calvinist organizations are silent about any such retirement. Did Carson’s statement in support of C.J. Mahaney in 2013 come back to haunt him and did the EFCA make a move against one of their most well known personalities?
***DA Carson has retired from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. It was as planned and scheduled. For the sake of transparency I will leave this post up but admit my error in regards to Carson. ***
Dave Bonner 8-26-18 at 8:22 PM.
“When people divorce, it’s always such a tragedy. At the same time, if people stay together it can be even worse.”
“The marriage didn’t work out but the separation is great.”
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
Romans 12:4-5 NLT
This weekend I planned to write an article about atheism. Its been on my agenda and I have not had the time to write about it as much, and there is much to analyze and explore. But evangelical scandal keeps coming to the surface and I find myself writing about it. So just as I was going to work on an atheist post another situation popped up in the EFCA that deserves some focus.
Who is D.A. Carson?
D.A. Carson was the research professor of the New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He served in that position from 1978 until it appears the summer of 2018. D. A Carson is from Montreal, Canada, but grew up in Drummondville. He earned a B.S. in chemistry and mathematics in 1967 from McGill University. He then attended Heritage Baptist College and Heritage Theological Seminary. In 1975 Carson obtained his Ph.D. in the New Testament from Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He served as a pastor of Richmond Baptist Church in Richmond, British Columbia from 1970 until 1972. Upon the completion of his doctoral studies he served at Northwest Baptist Theological College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Afterward in 1978 he joined the staff of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Trinity is the flagship seminary of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), which this blog writes about. Carson helped co-found The Gospel Coalition with Tim Keller in 2005. Carson is the president of the organization. Carson is an accomplished researcher and writer. He was written or edited at least sixty books from 1977 until 2012. His first work was the “New Testament Commentary Survey.” His most recent work, which was published in 2015, “The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures.” Carson has written a number of books, here are some of his works which are deeply loved by the Neo-Calvinist community. “An Introduction to the New Testament“,”The Intolerance of Tolerance“,”Telling the Truth” and “How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil.” You can see a comprehensive listing of Carson’s work right here. Carson is deeply adored by the Neo-Calvinist camp. You can see how much John Piper appreciates him in this post right here. That article was re-written and published by Justin Taylor who also publishes in The Gospel Coalition.
John Piper read a list at The Gospel Coalition National Conference in 2011 where he praised Carson. This is part of his talk.
- Because you have walked in purity and cherished your one wife.
- Because you have loved your children and honored your father.
- Because you heard and followed the call of God.
- Because you have given your mind wholly to God not money.
- Because you pursued learning, but even more, wisdom.
- Because you have been tenderhearted and courageous.
- Because you have been jealous for imputation and holiness of life.
- Because your soul did not shrivel up in grammatical minutia, but lived in the broadness of adoration.
- Because you embraced the sweet, deep, satisfying delights of historic, biblical doctrine, and exposed the folly of a hundred emerging departures.
- Because you have soared in the verity of precious propositions, and in the evocative power of poetry.
- Because you have been secondarily a great defender of Christ, but mainly a joyful advocate and witness.
- Because you have honored the guild with your mind, but served the church with all your heart.
- Because you have submitted to the whole counsel of God, and submitted to every sentence in the Bible.
- Because you have kept the crucified and risen Christ at the center of it all.
- And because you have done everything in the name of Jesus and for the glory of God.
Those two articles by both John Piper and Justin Taylor were published in April of 2011. At the time C.J. Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries was at its peak when it came to church planting, growth and conferences. After all at this time Mahaney was a regular at T4G. So in light of what was to come there is one more bullet point that John Piper and Justin Taylor could have added to that list in time for why they appreciate D.A. Carson.
- Because you have placed the Neo-Calvinist tribe ahead of the Gospel and are willing to attack the least of these – a rape victim for the glory of God.
A Troubling Statement Through The Gospel Coalition
Sovereign Grace Ministries was believed by many in the Neo-Calvinist movement to be the organization that did church correct. But in time allegations of criminal activity started to seep to the surface. Allegations of child sex abuse and a cover up by the denomination came froward. From individual churches from across the movement in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and elsewhere disturbing stories came forward. The situation developed into a lawsuit in the course of time. The SGM lawsuit was mostly dismissed due to statute of limitation issues in May of 2013. Part of it then went forward. After it was mostly dismissed a deeply troubling situation developed. In order understand the gravity of what occurred let’s re-visit a disturbing allegation. At the blog SGM Survivors on February 4, 2013 a person went on the blog and wrote about their experience inside SGM. In the post she wrote about how she was raped at the age of 13. She then hoped that the lawsuit would ruin SGM given the pain and trauma the organization had brought. You can read the original comment right here. After the lawsuit was mostly tossed D.A. Carson as well as Justin Taylor and Kevin DeYoung issued a statement in, “Why We Have Been Silent about the SGM Lawsuit.” In that statement D.A. Carson tore into someone who was raped at 13. He went out and risked his reputation to defend the deeply controversial and embattled C.J. Mahaney. And with D.A. Carson’s action the Sovereign Grace controversy was dragged into the EFCA. If you want to read about it in more detail you can do so in, “From D.A. Carson to Steve Estes the Following Question Must be Asked: Is the Evangelical Free Church of America a Safe Place for Sexual Assault Victims?“
The question that needs to be asked is the following. Why did Carson attach his reputation to Mahaney’s and go to bat for him? Why tarnish Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and drag the SGM scandal into the organization. Why go out of your way to defend someone struggling and dealing with allegations of criminal activity and sex abuse cover up. I want to be crystal clear Mahaney is alleged to have been involved in the cover up..nothing more. But in SGM he had the final say and he was in control of the organization from top to bottom. He often had the final say and he knew intimate details of what transpired. A number of victims had interactions with senior level SGM leadership in their situations. And a couple have met with Mahaney over sexual abuse. So why would the professor of New Testament go to bat for Mahaney? Was money given to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and did Carson feel obligated to defend Mahaney? After all we know that Mahaney did give money to Al Mohler, Wayne Grudem, and Mark Dever. Did Carson as president of The Gospel Coalition know how vital SGM theological conferences were for The Gospel Coalition? Did he try and keep them alive so that he could still sell his many books and keep the conference program going? Carson’s behavior I would suggest is one of the more troubling aspects of modern evangelicalism today. Why would an established professor in his 60’s attack someone who was raped at 13? And all to defend someone who was mired in allegations of covering up child sex abuse?
Has Carson Left Trinity?
Yesterday morning I was finishing another post on the SGM scandal. I saw some of the similarities between it and what the Catholic Church did Pennsylvania. You can read the post in, “As the Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal Unfolds in Pennsylvania Let’s Remember the Sex Abuse Scandal in Sovereign Grace Ministries. The Complicity of The Gospel Coalition, and D.A Carson Defending Mahaney by Attacking Someone Who was Raped at 13.” So as I was finishing up the post I went to go link D.A. Carson’s faculty page at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and I discovered that he is not there. If you look at the Trinity faculty page in July of 2017 you see seven professors for New Testament Studies. Today there are only six with Carson no longer being listed as faculty at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. This link is the archived web page from D.A. Carson. Between May 20, 2018 and late this summer the webpage about Carson just disappeared.
Carson is still deeply involved in The Gospel Coalition and you can watch this brief video he did last month. But as I poked around The Gospel Coalition and Desiring God I saw no indicator that D.A. Carson retired. Carson is beloved by the Neo-Calvinist community. Again, look at some of the tributes written by John Piper and Justin Taylor about Carson. After all for D.A. Carson’s 65th birthday he was presented with a book called, “Understanding the Times: New Testament Studies in the 21st Century: Essays in Honor of D. A. Carson on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday.” That book was edited by Andreas Köstenberger and Robert Yarbrough. This book was given at The Gospel Coalition 2011 panel and presented by Lane Dennis, John Piper, John Woodbridge, and Tim Keller. If you would like to read more about this you can do so in this post at The Gospel Coalition here and Andy Nesselli also wrote about it here. If Carson had retired you would see posts at The Gospel Coalition or Desiring God proclaiming him a faithful and dedicated servant to the Gospel. The Neo-Calvinists would have been all over this as Carson is deeply adored inside their movement. Instead its almost as if Trinity Evangelical Divinity School had Carson quietly disappear.
What has Happened? And the Disturbing Similarity to T.J. Addington’s Situation
I learned this yesterday morning and was surprised to not see Carson listed on the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School faculty list. I poked around to look for announcements of retirement. I didn’t see much of anything. And when I poked around several Neo-Calvinist websites there was no mention of Carson having left Trinity. Over at The Gospel Coalition he is still the president of the organization. School is scheduled to start in the neat future and I would think many students and faculty would ask as to what happened? This blog has been writing about the issues of the SGM scandal and how it has touched on the EFCA. When the dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Graham Cole spoke at Hershey Free Church in Pennsylvania recently I wrote about that in, “Graham Cole Speaks at Hershey Evangelical Free; Will the EFCA Ever Face the Issue that D.A. Carson Attacked an Alleged Sexual Assault Victim in The Gospel Coalition Statement in Defense of C.J. Mahaney?” Plus I also wrote Graham and open letter which you can read here.
How would a professor be removed at Trinity? Would that be a decision by the Board of Regents? How would that occur? If Carson was removed or forced out he seemed to have done so quietly. If Carson was forced to leave what strikes me is the similarity between this and the T.J. Addington situation. T.J. Addington is a well known personality inside the EFCA. At one point he was also the senior vice president of the EFCA. He still writes a blog called “Lessons from the Sandbox.” When the Ashley Madison situation occurred and hackers spilled out data it was learned that T.J. Addington was caught up in the situation. With that he stopped blogging and the EFCA senior vice-president just disappeared. Honestly I wonder if a non-disclosure agreement was used by the EFCA to silence Addington to not discuss the situation. But Carson also seems to have disappeared. I am going to be writing more about this situation this week. When that it done then I can finish that atheist post I was working on. But something is going on and this blog would like to inquire as to what has happened. That is it for the day EFCA, please know that you are loved.