Today, just as conservative evangelicals were dragging Eugene Peterson to the fire, he issued a retraction.
As the conservatives were taking down the heat, the liberals came and asked if they could borrow some kindling.
Earlier today, some conservatives “knew” that this darkness had lurked in the heart of the man before it was exposed.
This afternoon, the liberals are sure that he sold out for money and influence.
On these very pages, (to my shame) Peterson has alternately been accused of being gay and being greedy.
All of this about a man who has faithfully served the church for decades as a pastor and writer.
Nothing he could say at this point (outside of a complete apostasy from the faith) should be able to negate a life given in baptisms, funerals, sermons, writing, and loving the people of God.
We might disagree with him and even do so with vigor, but the record of his life is there for all to see.
It should be celebrated by all of us.
It won’t work that way, though.
We live in a warped and despicable time where everything (including people) is either all good or all bad, left or right, black or white.
Humans can’t live in that space for long, anymore than they can live underwater or in outer space for long.
We are fallen and broken creatures who depend on the recognition of our mutual fallibility to survive in society.
Martin Luther wrote and said some horrible things.
So did Calvin.
I know things that Chuck Smith said privately that would cause a riot if I posted them.
The church still rightly celebrates Luther, Calvin, and Chuck.
We celebrate what they gave us that was true and holy and we also recognize that they had the same need for grace that we do.
We dare not negate the work of God through them, lest God cease to provide such gifts to His ungrateful people.
Peterson may be spared from the fires, but he’ll still smell like smoke.
It’s inevitable that soon the flames we stoke to burn others may end up burning us…
Make your own application…