So J.R. Daniel Kirk has decided to go the inclusive route for all his “LGBTQ sisters, brothers, and others.” Get that? And “others,” to be announced later, in whatever order the imperious kultursmog may decide. Kirk is a professor of New Testament at Fuller — a seminary which is now just a few short steps away from the apogee of irrelevance, at which point we may start calling them Fullest. They are almost at Gnostic pleroma levels already, so it will be exciting to see that particular hermeneutical hot air balloon finally take off. I expect it to get to 10,000 feet before disappearing through the aperture of sexual correctness. And please read this paragraph in light of the update above.
A little over a century before Kirk decided to add his BTUs to this project, Chesterton said this in one of his prophetic moments. And every day that goes by seems to reveal that Chesterton was actually having way more prophetic moments back then than he really got credit for.
“It is the final sign of imbecility in a people that it calls cats dogs and describes the sun as the moon—and is very particular about the preciseness of these pseudonyms. To be wrong, and to be carefully wrong, that is the definition of decadence” (G.K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men).
There are two responses to make to Kirk, one sociological and the other theological. First, the sociological point. Evangelicals who go the affirming route are like some poor sap with erectile dysfunction wandering around the outer perimeter of the orgy, making inclusive comments as he goes.
“I am not surrendering the notion of sexual ethics, but inviting LGBTQ people into the same difficult sexual ethic of life-long committed partnership that Christ has called me to.”
What’s this life-long committed partnership wussy stuff? Who are you kidding? Heterosexuals aren’t even required to do that anymore — which is, incidentally, what set us up for the current flamer fiasco. Are homosexuals not to be permitted to “grow apart,” all while remaining the “best of friends”? Why do heteros get to use that lie, while staying in Kirk’s idea of a swell affirming church, and the homos don’t get to? Maybe Kirk meant that the “life-long” thingy is kind of an ideal, you know, the kind of thing you shoot for, while not quite attaining it. Like going to an all-you-can-eat China buffet resolved not to have too much of their almond chicken with that special msg-crust, and then having a bit too much of it anyway. Kind of like that.
And how the hell are you supposed to promise a woman that you will be her “life-long committed partner” when Bruce has now shown us all how one might discover in his fifties that he made all those life-long promises under the false impression that he was a guy? It was the penis that threw everybody off. Understandable mistake, really. Medical science was really primitive back then.
Then when he discovers the truth, or what passes for it these days — and because his soon-to-be-ditched wife is not a lesbian, and is intent on not becoming one, especially with him — this kind of requires a divorce, does it not? Life-long, wife-schmong.
The sociological point is that Kirk under the inexplicable impression that the sexual revolution will tolerate any limits whatever. The stated value of life-long committed relationships is just the next suburban house teetering on the lip of this vast sexual sinkhole that we have created. There are other houses of value sliding toward the edge also — the prejudices against incest, bestiality, pedophilia, and more. The logic of the sinkhole is what it is because the revolution is, let us be frank, really pretty horny.
Churchill once described an appeaser as “one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” The sooner people like Kirk realize that the revolution always eats its children, the sooner we will be able see the look on his face when the revolution starts to devour things that he thought were sacrosanct, like the naivete of evangelical seminary profs. His blog is titled Storied Theology, and the subtitle is “Telling the Story of the Story-Bound God.” But what happens to the sell-outs in all the stories? Stories, forsooth!
But let us not neglect the theology of the thing. This theological point has to be pounded home, again and again, as much as we can pound anything into the thin gruel of relativistic thought. But let us try. Kirk’s whole biblical case rests upon blurring the distinction between the moral law which is eternal, and the ceremonial and judicial laws, which are not.
Let us listen to some theologians who were not being wafted along by the thermal layers created by our decomposing lusts.
“3. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, His graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly, holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the New Testament. 4. To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging under any now, further than the general equity thereof may require”(WCF 19.3-4).
Kirk argues explicitly for the freedom of the Spirit to blow on down the road, in a way quite detached from His Word. The older (saner) theologies maintained that the laws against seducing your neighbor’s wife were in a different category than the prohibition of clam chowder was. They maintained that this distinction was to be found in the nature of the laws themselves, and in the character of the God who gave them. They taught that these distinctions were discoverable by exegesis.
But this is where Kirk could respond to us and our up-tighteries with a facile and sophomoric ho, ho, ho. The sabbath was supposed to be eternal, he says, but then the Spirit went and did something else. The rite of circumcision was supposed to mark the descendants of Abraham until the sun stopped shining. But then the Spirit went and changed His mind.
As our Spanish friends might say, the problemo with this approach is that it proves way too much. Once Kirk has banished a fixed and eternal moral law, revealed by God in Scripture, and distinguishable from other types of law in Scripture through careful exegesis, and he exults in the Spirit’s ability to fellowship with strange characters — more than a few of whom have shown up in gay pride parades — he will soon discover “the Spirit’s” ability to fellowship with even stranger characters. I have in mind people like editors of neo-Confederate newsletters, curators of Holocaust-denial museums, and people who won’t put their cans into the right recycling bin. Once you are detached from the Word, you can take it anywhere.
What this means — and I think the board of Fuller really ought to look into it — is that Kirk is approving in principle the legitimacy of the KKK, a faith-based organization if ever there was one. Here we all were, following the Spirit down that broad road that Jesus used to talk so much about, when the Spirit all of a sudden took a hard right and headed off four-wheeling into the fever swamps. I have a hard time believing that Kirk had the effrontery to argue — in this day and age — that we need to walk the inclusive journey with those persecuted brethren who are simply trying to protect white womanhood. But that is exactly what he did. At Fuller!
The only thing Kirk could say in his defense is that the Spirit is not allowed to detach from some parts of the Word. I mean, He is not allowed to go fellowship with unrepentant racist murderers, right? Right. Or unrepentant homosexuals either. Okay, that won’t work. What’s the hermeneutical principle here? Coin flips?
Or there is something else Kirk could say. He could confess the truth that he is not a Christian anymore. He is not a follower of Christ, and not a follower of Christ’s Spirit, who always works in harmony with the Word, but rather a follower of a spirit. Not the Spirit of Christ, who is the very Spirit of the Word. Rather he is a follower of the spirit of the age, which is suitably progressive and gives him a warm glow all over.
Two last things. The first will help you understand all the controversies that are currently raging. The clash today is between the Christians, who affirm the absolute supremacy of Jesus Christ over all things, and the unbelievers, who affirm the absolute supremacy of the way they are feeling right now. Immediate feelings are the final and ultimate potentate for them, whether feelings of lust, envy, hurt, greed, malice, or self-loathing. This is why arguments don’t matter. This is why Scripture doesn’t matter. This is why facts don’t matter. This is why, for example — in our local uproar about sexual offenders — our adversaries are hurt by our lack of answers, and then when they get answers, they are hurt by that. The constant is the feeling of misery, and so their arguments, facts, documents, reasoning, etc. just float on the surface of the river of their discontents, like a chunk of styrofoam on the Grand Ronde.
The second point is the same point writ large. You can see the imperious nature of Queen Feelings on full display in The Free Speech Apocalypse, due to be released in just a few weeks. Pay particular attention to the relationship between grounded facts and the feelings of the demonstrators (i.e. none) and pay particular attention to the apology segment in that movie, where feelings dictate the necessity of apologies. Apologies are never owed because of wrong done, but rather because of wrong felt. And once you have admitted that principle — as even many Christians have urged me to do — you have admitted the entrance of a blind and irritated despot, and have consented to live in their hellhole. To which I do not consent.