Two weeks ago, I reviewed the book Deceiving Winds. After the review came out, author Bruce Morton contacted me, expressing his view that I had seriously misunderstood his book. I extended to him the invitation to present his case. Here’s what Bruce wrote:
I appreciate Tim taking time with Deceiving Winds. We have had a positive and enjoyable chat since this review was published, and I appreciate that. I also appreciate Tim for allowing me to comment regarding his review.
First, I hope Tim reconsiders the statement he initially makes in the review: “He has taken some issues that he feels deeply about and made them the primary concerns of these letters.” And that is the “loosing his way” exegetically that Tim suggests I am guilty of and that mars the book.
I am not sure that Tim’s suggestion gets at all that Deceiving Winds is about. Indeed, he is referencing the content of six of the seventeen chapters and appendices of the book when he says I primarily focus on “feminism and instrumental music.” I hope he will take a further look and note that most of the book has nothing to do with “feminism and instrumental music.” Other subjects that are given attention are the resurrection of Jesus, Christian hope, adoption by God, materialism, characteristics of Christian identity, living as children of light, raising children, elders, the reality of spiritual darkness and a focus on reading and speaking the Word of God in a time when the Word is getting lost. So, I am not convinced that I suggest that “feminism and instrumental music” represent the primary concerns of Paul’s letters to Roman Asia and its capital city. However, the subjects of song and gender roles do get Paul’s attention in the first century – just as they get ours 1950 years later.
Tim also suggests that I stumble by taking an “occasional” teaching and applying it in our day. The subject of application is particularly thorny – since the topics of music and gender roles carry with them much emotion. I hope Tim and others who choose to read the book will look closely at the parallelisms in Ephesians 4:17-5:21. Paul’s parallelisms “bring together” the background and the application for our day. All that Paul writes about music (Ephesians 5:18-21) parallels his statement in Ephesians 5:11. Paul is guiding the Ephesians to “expose darkness” by their unified song. Further, I continue to believe quotes of others within the section are justified – since their focus is on song (cf. Stephen Guthrie). While Guthrie should have gone further, what he does say is excellent. He calls Christians to the importance of song in a time when much of a younger generation is more comfortable with listening to music than singing. That “concert mentality” is hindering the growth of faith.
Finally, I will note that Deceiving Winds is not suggesting that “Progressive” thought within churches of Christ is inseparable with the “emerging church movement.” Indeed, I can think of numerous topics where the two paths diverge. However, at points they do intersect. I will leave readers of the book to take a look at specifics here.
Thank you for considering the comments.