The Bozo Over at Mablog

Over at Religion News Service, Jonathan Merritt has decided that a web brawl with me might make for some good click fodder. This post, in which he picks a fight with me, concludes with a stirring reminder that the apostle Paul requires that Christian leaders must not be should not be “quarrelsome,” but rather “peacemakers, self-controlled, gentle, humble, and respectable.” He need not remind his gentle readers that the bozo over at Mablog is none of those!

There are some cafeteria food fights —  for those familiar with this junior high school phenomenon — that are worth every biscuit you might decide to throw. Others not so much. Others are just a two biscuit affair.

Biscuit one. Merritt says that he is “unashamedly pro-life.” He says that the culture of abortion will be judged in the future to have been “a blemish.” It is one of “the most significant moral issues of our time.” But not so significant as to keep you from voting with all the cool kids. Not so much of a blemish as to prevent one from hanging with the people who think it is a beauty mark.

Biscuit two. Merritt points to the pastoral qualifications that Paul itemizes, and says that he “does not list anything resembling a political requirement.” Right, but he does give moral requirements — things like being blameless and sober-minded, and I am afraid making lame excuses for a man who enables late term abortionists to chop babies up into little constitutional pieces does not qualify as blameless. Or sober-minded.

All right. A third biscuit, and I really have to go. I don’t want to be late for class. Merritt — of course — then brings up my “disturbing” views on slavery, views that have been ventilated in this space from time to time. I confess myself baffled, nonplussed, and quite unable to keep up with Merritt’s logic. He leaps from crag to crag like an early-rising mountain goat after three cups of coffee. Did he not just finish telling us that the apostle kept political requirements for eldership strictly excluded from any consideration? Why is he now applying a political test to me? Was not slavery the premier political issue of our nation’s history?

Oh, is it because an issue can be political and moral at the same time? Ohhhhh. Like the late term abortions that the president supports? And which his supporters enable him to support?

For those Christians who want to keep the realm of the church and the so-called “secular” realm separate and as distinct as all get out, they have a little problem. You cannot take biblical values out of the common realm and then whistle them up again, as if by magic, whenever you need them. If the Bible is relevant to the public square, as I believe, then let’s have a Bible study. If it is not relevant, then banish it from that realm — but let’s be done with subsequent bedwetting reactions when the public square fails to reflect biblical values. Isn’t that what this position is insisting on?

As Lewis had it, these people castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful. Or as Chesterton put it, they want to create causes without creating consequences.

This last weekend, at the conference in Dayton I just came from, I asked David VanDrunen a question that I believe goes right to the heart of this issue. I asked him what God would think of a nation whose magistrate and people had become overwhelmingly (and sincerely) Christian, and who decided to confess Christ in the common realm, in the formerly secular realm. I asked if God would be displeased with that, and VanDrunen said yes, he thought God would be displeased with that.

Well, okay, but if that separation is in place don’t come hectoring us later about what Christians did or did not do in the past about the controversial issues of their day. The Noahic covenant says absolutely nothing about segregated school systems.

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Johnny Simmons
Member

That answer is kooky talkin.’ What on Earth would lead someone to believe that? 

Michael A. Coughlin
Guest

I wonder how many of these types of discourses actually resulted in a resignation letter.
Good reply. 
A question would be – let’s say Romney won and he allowed for some kinds of abortions. Ought pastors who voted for Romney be disqualified as well?  Based on the logic JM seemed to state you were using, it would seem so.

Matt
Guest
Matt

And now Rachel Held Evans and R. Scott Clark have joined in. I predict a busy week on Mablog.

Darius T
Guest
Darius T

Merritt and RHE would have hated Elijah, he was a real jerk to those Baal prophets, first teasing them, then killing them.  Who could he?  So much hate and xenophobia.

Matt
Guest
Matt

I guess it didn’t generate that many clicks…he seems to have deleted(?) it.

Jacob Schroeder
Member
Jacob Schroeder
Jake
Guest
Jake

Address seems to have changed. Go to their main page and the link is there. Or click on this one, if it works: http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2013/10/29/doug-wilson-says-pastors-who-voted-for-obama-should-resign/

Jim
Guest
Jim

No, it is still there.

Matt Robison
Guest

I was wondering when his call for resignation would bring on the sputtering offended. I’m surprised it took this long.

B Josiah Alldredge
Member
B Josiah Alldredge
Doc B
Guest
Doc B

Doug, never get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

Matt
Guest
Matt

ok nevermind, it reappeared.  Was gone just long enough to make me look crazy.

JDM
Guest
JDM

Merritt, RHE and Co must take a dim view of Wilberforce.

Katecho
Member

Johnathan Merritt’s critique is sloppy and devolves into a Poisoning the Well tactical fallacy.  He slings any and all dead horses into the well ring.  Ironically, this demonstrates that Merritt is not really interested in the merits, but in clouding the air and fouling the well water.  That’s why it’s a recognized informal fallacy.   Wilson does not condemn African-American Christians for voting for Obama.  Wilson does not condemn 42% of Protestants and 50% of Catholics for doing so.  Wilson distinguishes the sheep from the shepherds in his rebuke.  It’s the Christian leader who is culpable and open to the… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Wilson appears to be in good company.  I hope P Duggan doesn’t mind me cross-posting his comment from Merritt’s blog.  I found it highly relevant and worth sharing:   P Duggan  Oct 30, 2013 at 1:28 pm   Wilson on abortion here doesn’t seem all that surprising to me. Francis Schaeffer was saying similar things ages ago   http://www.peopleforlife.org/francis.html   ”In other words, they acknowledge that human life is there, but it is an open question as to whether it is not right to kill that human life if it makes the mother happy.   And basically that is no… Read more »

Jane
Member

For those having trouble finding it, the link above doesn’t go directly to it, but if you follow that link and then scroll down and select the October archives you’ll find it.
R. Scott Clark making common cause with RHE is a textbook theological example of jumping the shark.

Jane
Member

Don’t look at the dead babies! Look at the man who said bad words about people who enable the dead babies! Wring your hands and rend your garments because Christian pastors use bad words about people who enable dead babies!

John Rabe
Guest
John Rabe

I probably didn’t need yet another vivid example of where the madness of R2K leads, but just in case I did, R. Scott Clark and Rachel Held Evans initiating a new, strange bedfellowship just provided the example nonpareil.

Curious Quotation
Guest
Curious Quotation

I would be curious to know the context of the mighty misogynist quotes the RHE mined for her contribution to the comments. They seem to excel at proper contextualization.

David
Guest
David

R. Scott Clark demonstrates the heart of the cancer that is R2K. Oh sure, in the classroom, there would be a dandy of a debate between him and RHE. But that’s only in the classroom, you see. In the real world, where unborn children die, the R2K crowd have a functional alliance with people like RHE – they silently, from their church realm/sphere, reserve the right to disagree, while leaving the real world decisions in the secular sphere to those like RHE. How ANYONE could think that issues of social justice are somehow unimportant to God, or have to be… Read more »

Sandra K
Guest
Sandra K

Does Mr. Merritt actually think what he said was well-argued?  His post made me think of Evangellyfish

Ben
Guest
Ben
Daniel Foucachon
Member

I think the link may be wrong: 
Here is the correct link: http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2013/10/30/douglas-wilson-says-pastors-who-voted-for-obama-should-resign/
It almost looks like the url changed due to an update, since the right url is “ond day off” on the date part of the url. 

Daniel Foucachon
Member
Daniel Foucachon
Member

(feel free to delete my other comments. I miss the ability to edit comments! :) ) 

Moor
Guest
Moor

Remember that 2 hour debate Doug had with Andrew Sullivan about gay marriage?  It pretty much went like this: ——————– Doug made a reasoned and thoughtful point about the subject, with logically consistent conclusions attached (thus inviting a response to the premises that would address the conclusions).  And then Andrew said something like, “yeah, but I’m a person too and I don’t like what you said and it would be sad if you were right and plus it doesn’t feel good.” ——————– That’s pretty much what’s happening here.

rungeeric
Member
rungeeric

Friends, where can I find RHE’s comments on this?

Jane
Member

RHE commented on Jonathan Merritt’s post.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Hey Rabe, is that your real name or are you using a pseudonym?

Ruth
Guest
Ruth

It’s fine to say that pastors need to think hard about voting for a president who is pro-choice. I presume that they did, and voted for him anyways without compromising their integrity. It’s fine for Doug to ask about that decision. It’s not okay to call for their resignation. Since when do I need to agree with every policy point a politician makes, even the huge issues? Then I would never vote, and I would not be doing my duty as a citizen. 

Jon Swerens
Member

Ruth: Yes, *that* is how to honorably disagree with someone! But so you know, Doug’s point is a bit more nuanced than that. He gives a pass to pastors who voted for Obama the first time, and makes it clear that the vote wasn’t the issue; the lack of thinking before such a vote for such a man was the issue.

Rick Davis
Guest

Pro choice sounds so nice (not at all like pro-hacking-babies-to-death), and certainly a person could disagree with a politician about abortion and still vote for them. But what if we put it into perspective? In the genocide in Darfur, 480,000 people have been killed. Up to a million people have been killed in the Rwandan genocide. An estimated 14 million people died as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Nazi Germany killed 17 million people. Anywhere from 20 million to 30 million were killed under Stalin in the Soviet Union. Between 1973 and 2008, 50 million innocent humans have… Read more »

John Rabe
Guest
John Rabe

@Robert: Yes, it’s my real name. Is Robert [Blank] your real name, or is it a pseudonym?

ChrisC
Guest
ChrisC

  “Who is Jonathan Merritt?”, I asked myself not being (and not wanting to be!) overly familiar with the wider US evangelical blogosphere.  With characteristic alacrity (via Google), the Guardian (yes, that pillar of the liberal establishment here in Britain and friend of Edward Snowden, in case you didn’t know) informed me that he is, ‘…an ambitious, not very bright self-promoter who has cottoned on to the media’s desperation for “balance” and has made a handsome career out of it.’  Now, although admirably concise, whether this is a fair description I cannot say except that given this scurrilous and, I… Read more »

Steven Opp
Guest
Steven Opp

Hey Ruth, One of the things Wilson is pointing out is that it is impossible, as far as he sees it, to vote for Obama the second time without compromising your integrity. With candidates besides Obama, both Republican or Democrat, there may be room for thoughtful disagreement. But Obama has been tested and proven to be bad enough that there just isn’t a way to justify voting for him. If these pastors who did vote for him the second time could reasonably defend their decision, that would be fine. But Wilson has not heard a reasonable defense. And you’re right,… Read more »

Kimberley
Guest
Kimberley

Amen @ Dave and Rick.

Robert
Guest
Robert

There is a famous guy in history with that name. That is why I was wondering if you were doing some kind of literary thing. Read the Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang for the full details of what he did. Kind of a bizarre World War Two hero.

Alli
Guest
Alli

Ruth , why is it not okay to call for the resignation of pastors who vote a second time for a man who vehemently supports all kinds of abortion but it is okay for those pastors to support politicians who actively promote such barbaric practices? How is it possible to vote like that without compromising their integrity if they truly believe abortion is wrong? If they believe abortion is murder, why is that not more important than other issues? I find it interesting that you are more offended by Doug saying emphatically that pastors should resign than you are by the pastors… Read more »

John Rabe
Guest
John Rabe

@Robert: Ah, understood. It’s rare that people bring up the John Rabe of Nanjing to me, but it does happen on occasion. There was a slight uptick when the movie bearing his (and my) name came out two or three years ago. I suppose if one is going to share one’s name with someone, one could do worse than sharing it with a hero.