Various things come into vogue at particular times in evangelical circles. I’m wondering if repentance has recently come into vogue, perhaps, more specifically, repentance by leaders.
Here are my considerations:
- John Piper took a sabbatical, recognising ‘ongoing character flaws’ that he needed to take time out to work on.
- CJ Mahaney has stepped down, related to reasons of pride (followed by Joshua Harris, though his reasons are less clear.)
- Willow Creek confessed its failure to make disciples.
- Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller have both spoken out about the unhelpfulness of their over-work when church planting.
In addition to that, the response from the evangelical community to their repentance has been pretty positive. Willow Creek’s Hybels was called courageous. The Driscolls thanked Piper for his fine example.
There is something admirable in such repentance. Firstly, it’s hardest to do when you’re in the spotlight and revered by others. Second, leaders’ demonstration of repentance may give prominence to it role in the Christian life. (Though I would argue that because repentance is part of the Christian life, things shouldn’t get to such a dramatic point.)
Do you think it’s a trend? What would be the significance of it if it was? What do you think of Christianity Today’s take?
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.