CHATTANOOGA, TN – Fever, Dizziness, Blurred Vision, Lack of Energy and Motivation, Confusion, Frustration. These were all symptoms Donald Burr was suffering from just after the New Year. After seeing his doctor, he received a diagnosis he wasn’t expecting. Mr. Burr was experiencing the first confirmed case of PTTBNNWD (Post Traumatic TomintheBox News Network Withdrawal Disorder).
Mr. Burr is one of TBNN’s most faithful readers. Although he doesn’t comment, he informed us that he reads TBNN everyday, and especially looks forward to Brother Slawson’s Saturday posts.
A bit of background may explain Mr. Burr’s problem. According to Mr. Burr, “I grew up in a typical Baptist church here in Chattanooga. I love the folks and all, but I didn’t know much about the bible or Jesus. Well, a few years ago we got a new guy at work. He was so fired up for God. He kept talking about God’s glory, predestination, and the doctrines of grace. He also kept quoting Edwards and Spurgeon. I was annoyed for a while, but the guy seemed to really believe what he was saying. A few months after he came, he gave me Owen's book called Meditations on the Glory of Christ. After reading that, I’ve never been the same.”
Mr. Burr told TBNN that after reading Owen’s book, he just couldn’t get enough of Reformed Theology. He devoured texts by Calvin, Bunyan, Edwards, Spurgeon, Pink, and Lloyd-Jones. After reading these texts (and his bible from Genesis to Revelation for the first time), he went to his pastor to talk about it. This is when the trouble began.
Donald tells it best, “I was so excited to share with our pastor what I had learned. I have known him for fifteen years, so I thought he would be happy, too. The meeting was great until I told him who I had been reading. When he heard, he frowned and told me that I had to be careful about ‘The Dangers of Calvinism.’ I hadn’t even used the term ‘Calvinism,’ so I wasn’t sure why he even brought it up. I went on to try to talk about our glorious and merciful Lord, but he wouldn’t listen. He just kept telling me that Calvinism was dangerous. When I asked him what was dangerous about it, he told me that Calvinism hurts missions. At that point I gave up.”
After discussing this with Mr. Burr, we tried to contact his pastor by phone. The church secretary told us on five different occasions that the pastor was busy, but later that day we received a faxed statement that reads, “Dear TBNN, we at Bethel Baptist believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ and his GREAT COMMISSION. We discourage any theological system that gets in the way of our GREAT COMMISSION. Thank You.”
Donald told us that he has been struggling a great deal over the last eighteen months at his church. He loves the people, but he has grown very tired of the “Arminian + Perseverance of the Saints” theology that fills the sermons and Sunday School lessons. Mr. Burr desperately felt a need for some sort of Reformed outlet in his life. This is where TBNN comes in.
Mr. Burr discovered TBNN last March through the Founders.org blog. Since that time he has been hooked. Apart from reading Reformed books, and listening to Piper sermons, TBNN is one of the only sources of Reformed Theology Mr. Burr gets. He was doing well until TBNN discontinued service from Christmas through the New Year.
Mr. Burr implored us, “Please don’t stop publishing new posts. I need my TBNN fix every day. It’s gotten to the point that if I don’t see a new post by 10 AM, I begin to worry. If it’s not there by noon, I begin to sweat. I just have to have it. I’m at the point now where Sunday is my least favorite day of the week. Not only do I have to go to my church (my wife loves it at Bethel), but there is no new TBNN that day. I guess I love Brother Slawson so much because I read his posts several times to get me to Monday morning.”
We are happy to report that Donald’s PTTBNNWD disappeared by last Friday, when TBNN had been back up and running for a couple of days. Our recommendation to all our readers is this: do not rely too heavily upon TBNN for your Reformed needs. If your church is stuck in Arminian thought, you may need to go elsewhere. It is not safe to make TBNN your primary source of Reformed (biblical) theology.