Sometimes I like to think about fighting things. For example, I have a longstanding belief that I could defeat a bear. Not a grizzly bear–I’ve calculated that I’d need Dwayne Johnson, Shaq, and Tim Tebow for that–but a black bear. If my kids were in danger, and if everything broke my way, I think I could defeat a black bear.
Sometimes I think about fighting other things. I recently confessed to a friend that I believed I could defeat every member of The Gospel Coalition (TGC) in a fight. Not all of them at once, of course, [there’s like 400 people who write for them] but one at a time? Sure.
Now if there’s one thing I’ve always prided myself on, it’s humility, so I figured that I should at least do some research to test such big claims, so here we are.
So about me:
That’s my minivan parked at the curb. It’s a 2005.
More about me: I’m really tall. I have that mid-thirties rage/Old Man Strength that comes when you realize your twenties are over and you’ve turned into your own father. I used to be really athletic but now I just eat a lot. I saw Carman in concert twice during the 90s and I mean that’s gotta count for something.
Now then. Let’s analyze some potential TGC opponents using their website bios and calculate my percentage chance for victory against each one:
Eyes are the windows to the soul, and those peepers reveal the soul of a man who wants nothing to do with a fight. He is bewildered by your aggression and wants you to just, like, calm down and talk about this, son, and suddenly he wings a sucker punch at your ear and yeah it stings but there wasn’t much on it and now he’s really sorry, he means it this time, and can’t we just talk about this.
PERCENTAGE CHANCE I WOULD DEFEAT HIM IN A FIGHT: 94%
Changing a couple of letters doesn’t fool anyone: this man once went by the name “Rick Canada,” and he spent the 70s making border runs with a freshly-kicked-out-of-Christian-college Franklin Graham. He once went back-to-back with Graham and fought off a dozen angry Methodists. Took a knife wound in Suarez over a Chick tract. He’s older now, with his best years behind him, but Rick Canada isn’t afraid to take your best punch. He’s taken worse.
PERCENTAGE CHANCE I WOULD DEFEAT HIM IN A FIGHT: 68%
He grew up watching the A-Team and to this day identifies strongly with Face. His greatest weapon in a fight? Confidence. Is that braggadocio? It wasn’t for Dirk Benedict, brother.
PERCENTAGE CHANCE I WOULD DEFEAT HIM IN A FIGHT: 74%
Those are the eyes of a man who never slept more than 4 hours a night at Christian college. He would stay awake long into the night, pacing the halls of the dorm, dreaming up new ways to, like, not only ENGAGE the culture, but, like, TRANSFORM IT, you know? He would often burst into his professors’ offices to “pick their brain,” but never actually asked questions and just sort of rambled about stuff and geez, kid, I’m just trying to grade these essays and isn’t there a DC Talk album you can go listen to or something?
He will come at you quickly, like the over-caffeinated bastard of a wolverine and a honey badger. You will have to account for all his limbs at all times. He will claw, he will scratch, and he will bite. And win or lose, he will offer to teach you his fighting style after the fight. He calls it Radical Fighting, and you’d be perfect for it, dude.
PERCENTAGE CHANCE I WOULD DEFEAT HIM IN A FIGHT: 65%
He played football at Ole Miss, which is a nightmarish hellscape of unbreathable humidity and 9-month summers. Having survived this trial, he knows no fear. He spends his days wandering the southeast, creeping closer to middle age and mollifying the periodic tremors of Dad Rage by eating sausage biscuits by the bagful. You won’t defeat him so much as outlast him; your only hope is to keep your distance and trade jabs until he simply loses interest and trudges off.
PERCENTAGE CHANCE I WOULD DEFEAT HIM IN A FIGHT: 14%
What he lacks in size he makes up for in sheer pugnaciousness. During a fight, he will attempt to rattle you by mercilessly trash talking you with all manner of theological insults. He will say that if Luther had met you, there would have been a 96th thesis. He will call you “Perry Noble.” He will accuse you of peeing in the baptistry during your own baptism, and that’s just uncalled for, because you were only 8, and that water was cold.
PERCENTAGE CHANCE I WOULD DEFEAT HIM IN A FIGHT: 71%
This is the manly visage of an Irish bare-knuckle brawler from 1920 who would pummel you senseless for a potato. He will never stop coming forward, for better or worse.
PERCENTAGE CHANCE I WOULD DEFEAT HIM IN A FIGHT: 43%
Was he the DJ in 90s pop-rock band Sugar Ray?
He’s never denied it.
PERCENTAGE CHANCE I WOULD DEFEAT HIM IN A FIGHT: 68%
Do not be fooled by the boyish smile. If drawn into a fight, he will slip into a fugue state and begin referring to himself in third person. YOU DON’T FRIEND ZONE THE SMETHURST IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE YOUTH GROUP, he will shout as he shambles forward swinging windmill punches like a blindfolded kid trying to bust a pinata. What does it all mean? Who knows. But no one friend zones The Smethurst.
PERCENTAGE CHANCE I WOULD DEFEAT HIM IN A FIGHT: 55%
Being the coolest kid in the homeschool co-op brought a lot of benefits. Fighting skills was not one of them.
PERCENTAGE CHANCE I WOULD DEFEAT HIM IN A FIGHT: 91%
You will battle him for what seems like hours. Every punch he will preternaturally block. Every hold he will instinctively counter. As the sweat pours off of you, you will want to quit. Surely this is what Jacob felt like when he wrestled with the Supernatural. You will be at the edge of your own sanity, and Mark Dever will be dancing with you on the ledge.
Then, just as you gain the upper hand, he will blurt out in a strange voice:
I’m not Mark Dever; I’m Hollywood actor Greg Kinnear
And just for a moment you pause. You know it can’t be true, but you have to think about it. Because that’s the place where this man has taken you, a place where nothing is certain except for uncertainty itself.
And that moment is all Mark Dever needs to spin out of your grasp and hit you in the face with his ESV Bible. As you crumple to the ground, your senses fleeing your body like pheasants taking flight into the white winter sky, a final thought lodges in your mind:
That Bible felt thick. Was that a large-print edition?
You’re doggone right it was. Mark Dever don’t bring no small Bible to a fight.
PERCENTAGE CHANCE I WOULD DEFEAT HIM IN A FIGHT: 31%