James Dobson, Bully

If you missed it, Dr. James Dobson had Wayne Grudem on his "Focus on the Family" program for two days (here and here for mp3s of the two shows) blasting the TNIV as inaccurate and capitulating to culture.

This is why I no longer like James Dobson. He is certainly entitled to his opinion (I disagree with the Left when they belittle him as not having any sound political opinions) . But he has become so powerful in the Christian media world that he needs to be wise with such power.

How could he, in good conscience, bring Wayne Grudem on for a two day diatribe on the TNIV when he knows that there are good Christian scholars and Christian leaders who back the TNIV? Stan Gundry, Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of Zondervan, has responded to James Dobson's latest attack on the TNIV Bible (hat tip to Scot McKnight). I think Gundry makes a great point: Dobson, by virtue of his large listenership, should have presented both sides of the story.

But, in Dobson form, once he has formed an opinion, he determines that all of evangelicalism must conform to it. All other opinions must be squashed. My eyes were opened to this back in April 2002. In the same issue of Christianity Today, the editorials featured two seemingly unrelated issues: (1) "Why the TNIV Draws Ire", and (2) "Enough Bullying" about the ousting of National Religious Broadcasters President Wayne Pederson for suggesting that Christian media should be less identified as the “Religious Right.”

Both editorials mentioned “bullying”–and for anyone familiar with either story, it was clear who the primary bully was: James Dobson.

When a Christian leader takes advantage of his power to become a “bully,” I say its time to face that bully and pull him down.

I’m sorry for Wayne Grudem. (Full disclosure: Dr. Grudem was one of my favorite professors in seminary). He is obviously not media-saavy enough to know that he was a pawn in the hand of a bully. Wayne was given an opportunity to present his side of the argument through a large media avenue (who would not jump on that?). But in doing so, he was used by Dobson to present only Dobson’s side…and the listening audience of Focus on the Family had no real indication that there is a legitimate other side.

That’s bullying again.


burttd said...

As a fan of more "literal" translations, I would probably not be a fan of the TNIV. But I heartily concur with your critique of Dobson nonetheless. His treatment of Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson regarding their book *Blinded by Might* was shameful. There is no other word to describe it that is fit to print. I am almost sorry that James Dobson did *not* get called before the Senate for confirmation hearings on Miers. That would have been a good dose of "good for the goose, good for the gander"...

Byron said...

Burt is certainly right on the "Blinded by Might" ordeal; that was a great book, a balanced book, and Dr. Dobson and Falwell absolutely went off on the book (although Jerry now has had Ed Dobson back to campus). Every Christian interested in the interplay of faith and politics should read "Blinded by Might".

Wayne Leman said...

Thanks for this post. I posted twice on this same topic: Dr. Dobson was not fair to the TNIV nor to his listening audience. He readily admits (as he did again at the beginning of these latest broadcasts) that he is not a Bible scholar. Yet he persists in presenting only one side of important biblical debates and his listeners have no way of sifting through all the arguments, unless they do independent research which few will do.

My own posts about this are at these addresses:



jimdavis1000 said...

I'm done with James "Drive by Media" Dobson and his side kick Wayne Grudem. The complete and total distortion of the facts by these people is disgusting.

Anonymous said...

So, your liberal views are different from Dr. Dobson and therefore he's wrong and you're right. Get a grip on reality. Your emergent movement is downright scary and is dooming those you mislead to an eternity in hell.

Bob Robinson said...

So, your conservative views are different from those in emergent, so you demonize them by saying they mislead to an eternity in hell.


Personally, I am not any more liberal than I am conservative, it just matters which issue we're talking about. To be pro-TNIV is not to be liberal, the translation team on the TNIV is a who's who of conservative evangelical scholarship (see the translation team here). This is not an "emerging church" issue, it is bigger than that.

Andrew said...

Why do people generally post LAME under anonymous?