Out of Context: Matt Chandler
Cannibalism in the New Reformed movement.

From "The Good Fight," an interview with Matt Chandler in the current issue ofLeadership.

"I'm unapologetically Reformed, but nine times out of ten I cannot stand the Reformed community. I don't want to be around them. I don't want to read their blogs. They can be cannibalistic, self-indulgent, non-missional, and angry. It's silly and sad at the same time. Reformed doctrine should lead to a deep sense of humility and patience with others. How it produces such arrogance baffles me."

Matt Chandler is the pastor of The Village Church in Highland Village, Texas. To read the rest of his interview in context, pick up the Summer 09 issue of Leadership journal or subscribe by clicking on the cover in the left column.

July 30, 2009

Displaying 1–10 of 12 comments

Jim Sparks

August 14, 2009  7:35pm

"cannibalistic, self-indulgent, non-missional, angry, arrogance" That's funny. As I read these statements I felt that if I simply substituted the term "Missional" for "Reformed" it read pretty much the same way.

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F Murphy

August 14, 2009  1:06pm

As a former Roman Catholic and now charismatic Presbyterian 5 point Calvinist, I can understand Matt Chandler's comment although I think he exagerrated things to make a point. For me, Reformed theology and practise is simply an honest attempt at biblical New Testament Christianity. This is what the reformers strived for, and I'm sure would be dissappointed by the lack of unity among Protestants today. When so calle Reformed people exhibit the attitudes that Matt criticises, how can they claim to be biblical? I rejoice that the Holy Spirit is at work within the New Reformed movement, even bringing correction where it is needed.

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August 11, 2009  2:48pm

kind off topic, sorry. let me start by saying that matt is a solid teacher/preacher. he deserves respect. but here goes... i'm unapologetically reformed too, 10 times out of 10 i can't stand "christians" who attack sola scriptura or by grace through faith. i love them but do not like them. that's what I believe - w/o that the rest- missional, authentic, incarnatinal, etc is futile. btw i figure that would prolly include 30% or so of the emergent/ing community (that is not reformed). would you agree matt? i guess we should pray for the so-called christian who won't recognize Jesus as Lord and Saviour or the hyper legalist who won't evangelize etc etc etc. those groups sure make it tough for the rest of us. i'm just saying that somebody should have called out rob bell for his teaching, i'm glad driscoll did. maybe calling him an outright heretic was over the top, but people need to be challenged in their teachings- otherwise- what is truth?

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August 02, 2009  11:09am

“How it produces such arrogance baffles me.” The following insight excerpted from the book “A Tale of Two Churches” by George Carey could raise the baffling veil from the above statement. “Take a motorbike. To Andy, a young friend of mine, his motorbike represents power, status and great pleasure. He is in a world of his own when he is speeding along the highway at 90 mph. This gleaming, powerful machine symbolizes the macho life he dreams about. But to his mother that same object is a smelly, noisy and frightening beast. It represents dirty, oily clothes and, most important, the fear that Andy might injure himself one day... “The Reformation is rather like that. For Protestants it is an important part of their history. It represents the break from the power of the Roman Church, the rediscovery of the Bible and the recovery of the central truths of the Christian faith. For Roman Catholics, however, the Reformation...is a tragedy, a tear in the body of Christ, a regrettable step...For one side, the Reformation spells freedom, life and vitality; for the other, separation, schism and sadness.” But the author is hopeful. He narrated: “As I write I think of a prominent man in my congregation who for years was a rigid Reformed man, hidebound in a tradition which rejected Catholicism outright. His Christianity was so narrow and insular that it allowed him contact only with like-minded people. But his life changed in a remarkable way. He went to the United States on a lecture tour, and he met a group of charismatic Christians who led him into an experience of the Holy Spirit that revolutionized his theology. No longer narrow, this man is an open Christian, expressing great joy and love in a liberated life. His love of the Bible is just as great as before, and his hold on biblical doctrines such as justification by faith is just as strong. But his charismatic experience is a bridge which has brought him closer to other Christians.”

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Eric Wakeling

July 31, 2009  12:53am

Matt Chandler is a genius and has expressed what I have thought from afar for a long time about the bloggers who criticize virtually everything.

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July 30, 2009  6:27pm

Kudos to Matt and all who choose to be irenic! I'm not sure it's the "cerebral nature" of the reformed faith that tends to make those of the reformed tradition so rabid (since I'd counter that there are many Christian doctrinal stances and thinkers that are "cerebral" who do not display such an attitude.) I would posit that what contributes to the arrogance and polemic attitude is the concept of election. The idea of being handpicked by God and a member of an exclusive group is an idea which could tend to make anyone a bit heady. I do not debate the concept of election, but think that one MUST approach this "setting apart" that God does for us with a missional understanding. We are set apart/made holy/elected for one reason: to be a blessing to the world (not to be holier than thou). When any doctrine loses the memory of the mission, it gets lost in translation.

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Joe T

July 30, 2009  4:42pm

is there a way to just give a facebook thumbs up?! i like this guy and i have no idea who he is. lol.

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Forrest Long

July 30, 2009  2:32pm

I agree! I'm reformed and have been for years, but over the years I have met some very opinionated, nasty reformed people. It's sad. But I also have met some very gracious, Christ-like ones too who have been a real help to me in my faith journey. It seems that there is something about the cerebral nature of the reformed faith that can bring out the worst in some people.

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Kyle Strobel

July 30, 2009  12:50pm

I couldn't have said it better...and actually, I think I say almost the same thing about once a week! I'm glad someone with a voice in the popular reformed community is proclaiming it.

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July 30, 2009  11:38am

Matt Chandler is a unique cat in the Neo-Reformed ranks. May his tribe increase. Ryan- I think "out of context" simply is the title for posts containing selected quotes from other articles.

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