• And some pastors are resigning after being accused of “the sin of empathy.”

  • https://youtu.be/D_NHhmdss5w?t=2075

  • they talk some on the Rigney empathy discussion.

  • Empathy and Sympathy/compassion issues

  • Statement, "being empathic is you lose touch with the truth (actually you connect with the truth)"

  • Statement, "if you have empathy you give up the ability to judge and you allow someone to be a victim even if they are not."

September 1, 2021
They talk some on the Rigney
empathy discussion.

Otter Transcripts


lose contact with the ability to judge you give up the ability to judge and then the end you allow someone to be a victim, even if they're really not. That's the argument that so there's no evidence of that. And, of course, it comes up with, you know, the Black Lives Matter movement where suddenly everyone's a victim, everyone's oppressed or you're an oppressor. And you know, and this is a quote from Rigney.

I only feel love if you endorse or validate everything. I say. So that's what he's saying empathy is endorsing or validating everything a victim says okay. I think he is they are identifying a legitimate concern in the culture, which is sort and they mentioned this in the article. It's it's what Jonathan Haidt talks about with the coddling of the American mind and the snowflake generation, everyone's a video. Right? The teaching pastor who quit, said he was being referred to as a cobbler. Yeah. And I do think that there is some evidence that there there are those dynamics in our culture today. But to say then, that being empathetic or too empathetic is sinful. Is a hyper overreaction.

That's throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It's a little bit like saying, you know, can charity be abused? Of course it can. We all know documented stories of people who have used the charity of others, therefore, this charity itself a sin? Of course not. It just means it has to be engaged wisely. That's all this is about, but to say that charity in and of itself is evil or wrong or you are too charitable, is not godly. That's That's ridiculous. If people are bending too much to the victimhood culture of our society and you can argue about where that line is fine. We need to employ wisdom and truth here but to argue that empathy itself is the problem is, is ridiculous. Here's what I'm confused about. And I think this is this explains this tiny little wine that I feel like people are walking. It feels like to me, this group of people that is causing culling, and that the ascent is they've picked a political position. And we talked about this last week. They picked a political position that you know, that's in such Let's take her ovaries theory, for example, is you know, destroying, you know, America and Christian culture. And so it's bad.

And we're going to find a theological reason, you know, to tear it down and to demonstrate why it's bad and why we don't support it. So it looks like they're bending over backwards to try to reinforce a political position with theology. Yeah, it does. And they would even be probably argue that the other side is doing the exact same thing, and they might be. But the idea that you would juxtapose empathy as an enemy of truth is, I can't I keep saying it's insane but it's unbiblical and it's ridiculous. That guy got it. Here's the argument. Okay. The guy who quit the lead pastor Piper's replacement, Meyer, somebody based on my he says the accusations of Jason Meyer says you get accusations against him word number one, that I have subordinated the gospel. Boy, you're not here that much. Number two, that I empowered victims. I was a cobbler. And number three, that I allowed compassion for others to steer and dictate my leadership direction. In a climate of suspicion. He says compassion can look like coddling. Okay, now one of his biggest critics. Now what's interesting is he was the senior pastor of the downtown Minneapolis, they're three locations and Baptist Church. One is right in the heart of Minneapolis, downtown Minneapolis. So you're in the middle of you know, black lives matter. Central. All protests right around there. They had a pastor, their view of diversity who was working on issues of ethnic racial reconciliation, another one who quit over this. So now he's been criticized in this case by the pastor of the suburban campus. So you have, you know, an urban suburban


conflict here. Wow. I didn't realize that. Yes, so and he says, the pastor of the suburban campus says I believe the issue isn't whether or not we should show compassion we should have whether our compassion will be rooted in the Gospel, deployed with discernment and with a willingness to provide correction or rebuke, says Steven lead pastor Bethlem to North Campus, I had a growing concern that compassion that lacks discernment would ultimately and suddenly undermine sound doctrine. That doesn't even make sense to me. Well, okay, better if you're so passionate towards someone's story, you're so compassionate towards someone's story and someone's emotions, that you're not willing to tell them that maybe they're sinful or and you know, in preach actual sound doctrine but desert, that's when the fire I didn't get about the article. Was there any accusation that any of these three pastors actually did that? Like, no, if you read that sentence again, Phil, he said that his fear was that compassion would eventually lead to somebody not saying or speaking or preaching the truth, but he doesn't say it actually happened. So Jason Meyer is basically saying I was run out of the church because I led to compassionately heaven forbid we have compassionate pastors. In our congregations. Tell you think that there is an accusation of Jesus that he was too compassionate on people who just needed to be told the truth. Okay. Just remember, just remember, this is a key church in the young, restless and reformed movement, like key church in the Gospel coalition movements are lost. So this is a key church in the group.

That is it would have been related to Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill before he really flamed out and then people started distancing himself, but it's a key church in the movement to make a truth and doctrinal purity, a primary focus and push against emotionality and you know, touchy feely and churches becoming too feminine and too, you know, men crying and raising their hands in praise to feminine worship songs. So this is part of a movement that like when I have people attacking me, they're quite often coming from this movement. You know, and you can tell because they're either quoting you know, they're they're quoting RC scroll or they're quoting John MacArthur, or they're quoting, in some cases, John Piper, except for when he came out against Donald Trump, and was confused everyone who did that he would do that. So this is this is part of a movement and this is where it gets even thorny here and we have to talk about Doug Wilson a little bit. We haven't talked about Doug Wilson on the podcast. He's a very controversial pastor in Moscow, Idaho, who started his own little world in Moscow, Idaho, he's lived people are afraid he's literally trying to take over the town, which is college towns. Were here to Idaho is the church there. He's built schools there. He took college there, he's built the seminary there. He is hyper conservative. He is very controversial for his positions on racism and the antebellum south. He wrote a book about slavery with a with a meal Confederate apologist, which said one of the benefits of slavery was that the racist develop more compassion and affection toward each other than at any other time in human history was in the south during slavery.

So he's a very controversial figure. He's friends with John Piper. John Piper has spoken at his events. He's spoken to John Piper's events and the new head of John Piper Seminary is a student of Doug Wilson. So Doug Wilson is a really controversial questionable influence. So the the there's an hour long video that you could watch called the sin of empathy, which is a conversation between the new president of John Piper seminary, Joe Rigney, and Doug Wilson. The guy who's the controversial pastor, that's a little bit scary. Select Netflix, it was back in the I don't know 80s Where the Raj knee sheets from, you know, I don't know India came over and they took over the little town in Oregon, and did exactly what Wilson is doing. And I don't, but they


weren't. Christians point earlier about the politics of this. It's so interesting, that empathy is seen as problematic and even downright sinful. When empathy is shown towards women who've been abused and people of color who are seeking justice but I haven't heard anybody say, you know, what, Fiji's right, or immigrants refugees, things like that. But nobody is saying hey, you guys are being way too empathetic to the unborn. Right so it does fall again along these political definer learns these political dividing lines where the issues that my tribe cares about are legitimate and the issues that your tribe cares about are ungodly. And that just stinks to me. It just you can't if your argument doesn't apply to your issues. And it can't apply to mine either.


Right. Okay. So what do we do with this information? Well, I think what's more we do with all this what's going


on? I think what's more interesting is 90 the particulars of what's going on at Baptist or even with the young wrestlers were for movement or Douglas or anything other people I think what's interesting is this echoes something I've been hearing as I talk to friends around the country. I've had multiple conversations in the last few weeks with local church pastors in different parts of the country. I've talked to parachurch ministry leaders in different parts of the country. And this is the battle line, that ministries and churches are now facing, and it's between a near fundamentalism and a more cosmopolitan and compassionate approach to the faith given the social issues.

So what I mean is there are certain groups that have a lot of control and authority and money in these ministries that are saying, if you care if you start talking about racism, if you start talking about sexual abuse, if you start talking about issues that we consider to be on the left of the political spectrum, we're going to walk away we're going to pull our funding or we're going to fire you. And then there's this younger generation who want to see a form of faith. reading scripture, a more compassionate approach to the victims and those who are hurting, and they want to engage what their ministry environment calls them to engage in and there's a tension and this is coming to a breaking point. And it's probably going to effect a lot of even national ministries that we would know the names of. But the Divine is coming this what's happening. I think Bethlehem Baptist is a little bit of a canary in a coal mine here.

Right, right. Yeah. It's quite a few pastors are looking at the door or wondering if they're going to be shown the door because they're taking positions that are politically or socially uncomfortable for some people in their congregation, but rather than acknowledging that we might have a political disagreement or social disagreement, there couching it in your ear supporting the gospel, right, you know, and that's exactly what what Jason Meyer was accused of, of subverting the gospel, too much compassion for people that are hurting. Can I just say one thing? This is, like you said, it's a canary in a coal mine. It is so confusing. And the line here even for me, like I had to read this article several times to try to understand the splitting hairs of this argument.

And I do have some sort of education because I listened to you guys and I listened to our podcasts and but if I didn't, I could be easily convinced or swayed by that argument that Brittany was making. Because it sounds it sounds like it's like it's like the arguments against CRT, if you read the arguments against CRT you say, Wow, that's what CRT is. That's terrible, and I'd write that. But then I need to read the arguments on the other side to say, Oh, wait, maybe those people are kind of building those straw man, enemy out of something that isn't quite what they say. And it sounds like that, that empathy is being used as a, you know, a replacement for critical race theory, in this case, and you know, we don't we don't want to say that, you know, we don't like Black Lives Matter or that we're against critical race theory even though we are but we know we have a downtown church with an RG hurting population that we like that very much, but this is sinful empathy. So we're going to find a new name to put on it. And the end result is the same as that we're going to get a new pastor. Yeah, it's like I said earlier, and I think Christian, the reason why you find that message so easily accessible is because there's a greater truth to it.

There is what I'm saying there is a coddling going on. There is a victimhood culture going on that does need to be called out in certain circumstances. But to then completely dismiss the Christian call to empathy with those who are hurting, even if even if someone's hurting, and they don't recognize how they may be complicit and part of that pain, or if they're misinterpreting something and seen it as abuse when it wasn't like all that requires wisdom and pastoral care and insight, but to say the empathy itself is at fault. Is is absolutely horrifying that we would come to a place where one of the most influential Christian churches in the country would be calling empathy sinful. Is, is I never thought I'd like to see the day where a church would say empathy is sinful. That's That's like saying grace is ungodly. Right. It's, yeah, it's just insane.


Yeah, that's the argument. It's being constructed. This is where this is like the supreme example of how we as sinful humans, can justify just about anything. We can take a grain of truth, and we can spin it to make sense, sort of, and if we're not super, super careful, we can then buy into that lock, stock and barrel and it's gotten very confusing to be a Christian these days. You know, when I was growing up, it was pretty easy to know what a Republican believes or what a Baptist believed or what a crapper believe, and in a sense, who my tribe was, I didn't understand that's what I was doing. But, but these days, it's so confusing, because even with your own tribe, if you know I don't know, it's hard to be a Christian today. Think about how much news we have to read to find out what the real truth is. Now, it's not just in our news. It's even in our Christian churches and in our theologies. What do we do? Well, we can do we can totally do it, we can totally do it. It requires a lot of wisdom and rational thought to say okay, let's separate what you're upset about from what is happening here. Which part are you upset about? Well, they're teaching CRT, specifically, let's be specific.

What did they say that you found offensive? Or what did they do that you found offensive and let's take that specific statement or that specific action back to the Bible, rather than putting it under coming up with a new pocket evil a bucket evil of the sin of empathy or the sin of critical race theory or the sin of Marxist thought, you know, in the church. Specifically, what thoughts specifically what statement and I found both sides learn more when you drill down, you know, to the details. What made you upset or uncomfortable in that setting? Let's talk through that. But it's hard work. You know, it's hard work and some people are already at the end, which is, you're wrong and you need to be cancelled, for whatever, because you're too liberal because you're too conservative, and they don't want to take the time to back up and say,

Okay, what about that on either side was ungodly or unbiblical or was not loving to my neighbor. Yeah, exactly. The call to wisdom is exactly what's needed here. And to argue that only one side suffers from this problem or only the other side are there people on the left to claim victimhood too quickly? Absolutely. Are there people on the right who claim abuse and victimhood too quickly? Have you been watching the chaos going on over school mandates for masks? If you're telling me having to wear a mask is abuse, then I think the right has some soul searching to do about their coddling as well. On the flip side, does the left cancel people for ridiculous things? Absolutely. But the right is canceling people also now apparently you can get cancelled for being too empathetic. So this is a problem that goes cuts both ways.

But in the Christian community what we should be doing is honoring and elevating leaders who exhibit real wisdom. And that means yes, they are able to hold on to the truth of the gospel. And yes, they are also able to deeply empathize with people who are in pain and struggling. That's just Christ like wisdom. And for any church to say no, we're all on truth in empathy is a simple tendency, or we're all about empathy and truth has no place here. They're both equally wrong. So I just feel like over and over and over again, we're setting up these false dichotomies and then condemning the other side and exonerating ourselves. And that is the antithesis of biblical wisdom. Mic drop. Yeah, conclusion. Don't lose your mind. And at the same time, your heart you need both of them because we can be our hearts and no brain and we can be all theology and bright doctrine and no art and both are simple. Okay