This is a post that looks at tribalism and how it is a danger in our society. Tribalism exists in religion, government and culture today. The EFCA by encouraging D.A. Carson to apologizing for attacking a rape victim from Sovereign Grace can take the moral high ground in encouraging Carson to retract his statement and the EFCA can issue a statement saying they take abuse seriously and in the aftermath of their pre-conference they are grateful that D.A. Carson is doing the right thing. So this blog would like to ask, will Greg Strand have his John McCain or Mitt Romney moment and will the EFCA rise to the occasion and do the right thing?
“Defeating racism, tribalism, intolerance and all forms of discrimination will liberate us all, victim and perpetrator alike.”
“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.“
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV
The EFCA theology conference ended earlier today. I wrote about it in, “The 2020 EFCA Theology Pre-Conference Deals with Abuse in the Evangelical Church. Plus a Look at the Main Theology Conference.” Then I looked at an issue with the EFCA Theology Conference in regards to D.A. Carson and spiritual abuse. You can read that post in, “Does Greg Strand and the EFCA Understand Spiritual Abuse? This Blog Would Say No Especially with D.A. Carson Who Once Tore into a Rape Victim to Defend C.J. Mahaney Speaking at the Theology Conference.”
What is Tribalism? And the Danger it Poses
There is a searing issue today that is quite problematic that poses an enormous danger to our society. And I would suggest that a changing world economy, changing culture and with new scientific developments make this issue worse. That issue is tribalism. Tribalism according to vocabulary.com is defined as, “The state of living in a tribe is tribalism. This word is also used to describe situations where people are overly loyal to their own group. For example, a newspaper editorial might complain about tribalism in American politics.” Tribalism is when you are more motivated to their tribe then to take the right course of action. Tribalism can happen in many different ways, from religion, to sports, to politics and culture. Let me give you some examples. Here in the United States we just completed the impeachment trial of President Trump. In how the Republican Party acted more committed to rally behind the president then consider evidence in a trial illustrated how the Republicans are guided by tribalism. From time to time in the world of sports an athlete can develop quite a following and fan base. Then if a crime occurs you can see those individuals rally around the athlete and defend him or her blindly. Tribalism has played out in the Neo-Calvinist world at organizations like T4G or The Gospel Coalition. Look at the people who rallied around C.J. Mahaney or Matt Chandler when scandals or problems develop. There are a number of articles that are good for reading about tribalism.
- The New Yorker, “A NEW REPORT OFFERS INSIGHTS INTO TRIBALISM IN THE AGE OF TRUMP.”
- The Conversation, “The politics of fear: How it manipulates us to tribalism.”
- The New York Times, “Does American ‘Tribalism’ End in a Compromise, or a Fight?“
- The Guardian, “Stop worrying about ‘tribalism’ – politics is supposed to be passionate.”
- Psychology Today, “When Tribalism Goes Bad.”
- Psychology Today, “Tribalism in Politics.”
- Foreign Policy, “A Liberal Defense of Tribalism.”
- Market Watch, “How tribalism corrupts our democracy.”
- Institute for Humane Studies, “Social Media, Tribalism, and the Prevalence of Fake News.”
- Forbes, “Tribalism In Football, Society And Business.”
Tribalism can become dangerous when people retreat in such a way that they ignore problems or issues that are coming forth from an organization or movement. That can be true in religion, politics or any organization that practices tribalism. This blog has dealt with tribalism when it speaks boldly about certain topics. And its a reason why it has distanced itself from some other blogs. If one is going to be committed to truth that means that they reject tribalism in all forms. Tribalism and truth are a threat to each other. And while I can somewhat understand tribalism in culture I have to also state that I don’t understand it in faith. Whether it be T4G, The Gospel Coalition or the EFCA tribalism I would suggest goes against the main teachings of scripture. Especially when it comes to confessing sin, repentance, and what it means to follow God. When it comes to D.A. Carson’s behavior in attacking a rape victim in Sovereign Grace Ministries and as the EFCA continues to turn a blind eye to it the question must be asked, is the EFCA and Greg Strand committed to following God? Or is faith all about the right words and not the correct actions?
What the EFCA Can Do to Resolve the Issue and Claim the Moral High Ground
On this issue the EFCA can actually take the high ground and take a firm stand abut tribalism and actually be part of the solution and not part of the problem in today’s culture. It can actually be a model for Evangelical Christianity and organizations like the Southern Baptists and more. This blog is proposing a solution to this issue in a way that helps D.A. Carson, The Gospel Coalition, the EFCA, evangelicalism and also culture as well. What if Greg Strand met with D.A. Carson and told him that he needed to retract his statement about C.J. Mahaney. What if Strand also told Carson to put out a similar statement that dealt with an apology? Something equal in length explaining why it is wrong to attack a sexual assault victim. What if after that happened the EFCA put out a statement thanking D.A. Carson for taking the right course of action and in the process referenced their recent pre-conference in stating that the EFCA is taking a strong stand on abuse. That’s all that has to be done. If the EFCA continues to stay silent on this issue then the are showing the world that they are no different than Willow Creek Community Church or Harvest Bible Chapel.
But if the EFCA takes the right course of action then the organization can build up trust in the EFCA. People both within and on the outside can have more trust. It can result in more people going to EFCA churches. D.A. Carosn I would suggest can walk away from this as a better teacher and he will have much more respect. This blog is not about tearing him down or wanting to lead a lynch mob. Instead it wants to see him do the right thing. And in today’s tribalized culture the EFCA can stand out and and be set apart from other organizations and ministries. It can actually be refreshing. Admitting error is a lost art as people don’t say they are sorry today. So the question I will leave with Greg Strand is the following. If you believe in God as you claim and teach can you and the EFCA take the right course of action? Please be bold, have you Mitt Romney or John McCain moment and rise to the moral occasion and be bold.