mē genoito

May it never be! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.” (Ro 3:4)

Jen Wilkin’s Celebratory Failurism

Jen Wilkin wrote an article over at TGC entitled “Failure Is Not a Virtue“. This is supposedly a push back against those who advocate “celebratory failurism” according to Michael Kruger who himself have written A Response to Tullian Tchividjian. And apparently Tullian Tchividjian has written a response to Jen Wilkin entitled “Acknowledging Failure IS A Virtue: A Response To Jen Wilkin“.

I don’t have problem with Christians debating among ourselves on what we believe and why we believe it. As a matter of fact I think it is healthy and necessary, Prov 27:17. It is our duty to discern the opinions of even the most respected, educated and venerable Christians and not to blindly accept what they say as sacrosanct, Acts 17:11.

Where I do have a problem is when one side misrepresents what the other side is saying. If you are going to criticize what the other side is saying, at least have the courtesy of stating your opponent’s argument as how the other side would state it, not what you think they said or what it might lead to or anything that the other side would object to. Unfortunately Jen Wilkin has violated this cardinal rule of polemic with her article “Failure Is Not a Virtue” and I am very disappointed that Michael Kruger failed to recognize this point and commends her article as being “very helpful”. No it is never helpful when you create a straw man and hang your opposition’s name on it, attack it, and claim victory. No one from Tullian’s theological perspective thinks that “failure is a virtue”. This is absurd.

Let me illustrate further what I am talking about. In her article Jen Wilkin in almost a mocking way characterize what she claims “celebratory failurists” believes.

“Christian, you cannot obey the Law. Your certain failure is a means to show forth the grace of God when you repent.”

“We don’t need more lists of how to be a better spouse/parent/Christian. We need more grace.”

“My life strategy for today: fail, repent, repeat.”

I am not an expert on what Tchividjian or those from his theological perspective believes, but from all that I’ve read or heard from him and those that associate with his theology, this is not at all what they are saying. I would be very surprise that anyone from his theological perspective would actually say “my life strategy for today: fail, repent, repeat.” This is absolutely ridiculous. If you are going to make this kind of characterization of your opponent’s viewpoint you had better include some kind of quote to justify this kind of statement. This is inexcusable and even more disturbing I can’t understand how someone with Michael Kruger’s credential could find this “very helpful”.

Jen Wilkin then makes another one of these statement saying:

Celebratory failurism asserts that all our attempts to obey will fail

Again a quote from someone from Tullian’s theological perspective that can give support to this accusation would be helpful. In short, what I believe Tullian is saying is that none of us will ever reach perfection in this side of eternity and it is inevitable we will be plagued with some sort of failure in one thing or another. This is the truth from Scripture that I don’t think even Jen Wilkin would deny. But what Tullian also said is that God’s grace and love for us is not predicated on our failure or successes. God’s grace and love is not a bartering system that we get less or more based on our performance. Jen Wilkin is a mom with four great kids, I serious doubt she wakes up every morning telling her kids, if you behave today I will love you more but if you don’t I will love you less. What Jen Wilkin is doing is to distort what people like Tullian is saying. It would be equivalent if I were to say that Jen Wilkin believes in “celebratory successism in that God’s ineptitude of grace fails to reach the colossal failures of sinners.”

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