Not Good

Posted: May 13, 2015 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized

By Matt Horan

Walter Fenton, a member of the staff of the Good News magazine, wrote a review of the introduction to Dr. Steve Harper’s book, For the Sake of the Bride that appeared in the most recent issue.  (Click here to read the review.)

Fenton has not met Steve Harper.  I actually called him and asked to be sure, but from reading the review, it’s clear that he knows nothing about him.

Fenton’s main problem with Steve’s book is that he doesn’t name names and call anybody out for their behavior in the United Methodist Church’s debate over homosexuality.  He accuses Steve of writing the book in this way to elevate himself and set himself up as better and wiser than those who are naming the names and fighting the fights.

See, any regular reader of the Good News magazine knows that no small percentage of their writers love writing articles that declare various people or groups as not as “orthodox” as they should be to the cheers of those who they think are orthodox enough.  The writers at Good News’ seem to live in a constantly combative stance, and so it makes a lot of sense that Fenton didn’t like the book’s lack of combat.  

By appointing themselves as the official voice of orthodoxy, the Good News team thinks that they’re fighting against the “false teaching” that the Bible warns about.  However, the only fruit being borne of their efforts seems to be more and more people finding their identity in the words “liberal” or “conservative” than in Jesus Christ.

As a former seminary student who had Steve Harper as a professor, and as a man who counts himself privileged to have Steve as a mentor and friend, I laugh at the notion that he wrote this book to serve himself and elevate himself above others.  Steve’s humility and kindness and pastoral heart are so evident to everyone who has met him that you can’t read this review without laughing.

At best, Good News editors realized that they needed to fill more space in this issue, so they had someone quickly skim a book they already knew they’d disagree with, and write an uninformed and unsubstantiated guess of the author’s intentions for the purpose of vilifying him and satisfying their readership.  Maybe Fenton got cheers from somebody for this, but to anybody who knows Steve Harper, he certainly failed to make him a villain, and failed to add anything of redeeming value to the Kingdom either.


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