Their Sinkhole Sinai

Introduction

So then, it seems to me that Jonathan Merritt has gone and done it now. He has exposed, and about time, sez I, the fact that I am being mollycoddled by The Gospel Coalition. They do this mollycoddling, not sure how exactly, but they do it, despite the fact that I am—and I use the quote marks here deliberately—an “unhinged racist.”

Let us deconstruct this, shall we?

Juicing the Noun

The offensive word here is the adjective—that word unhinged. This is because Merritt is suffering, along with many others, from the fact that the word racist has been devalued down to a nullity with about ten decimal points. Never forget we live in Goofball Times, when somebody might easily lose their job for hosting a Mexican-themed office party and wearing a sombrero to it. Cultural appropriation, micro-aggression, racism, and all the rest of that jitney, nickel-plated clown show.

So because all the hyper-sensitive people, whipped up by the intensity of their passion into a tolerance meringue, have absolutely destroyed the meaning of actual racism—the belief that one ethnic group is innately superior to the others—in order to call someone a real-deal racist anymore, the kind that is significantly worse than the sombrero guy, you have to resort to adjectives.

Believing Christians—see what I did there?—resorted to this strategy a number of years ago. Now we have born-again Christians and Bible-believing Christians, and so on. When a noun gets pale and etiolated, you need to juice it up again with adjectives. Now we all know who devalued the word Christian—the devil and the Archbishop of Canterbury—but who inflated and devalued the currency of words describing racism?

A Word with Superpowers

The answer, of course, is Jonathan Merritt. Now I want to resist the temptation to overstate my case here in that I am retorting in the midst of a polemical exchange, a temptation to overstate to which the flesh is all too susceptible. But I am pretty sure that Jonathan Merritt did this all by himself. I can say this on the basis of having just discovered that the word “unhinged” has numerous superpowers. It clearly means that if you apply it to someone who flatly denies whatever it is you are talking about, an adroit use of this word can flip the meaning completely around. Since Merritt would claim to be a moderate, and moderates would deny doing any of this devaluation stuff, all I need to do is call Merritt an unhinged moderate. This has the added virtue of demonstrating my moral earnestness, and my furrowed brow adds its silent attestation. I really mean this, people.

Throwing the Apostles’ Creed Out the Overton Window

So while Merritt is busy trying to move the Overton window for what’s left of the detritus of evangelicalism, such that we can grow accustomed to agreeing to disagree on the morality of immorality, he can simultaneously write a strident column against character assassination in the course of which he calls me an unhinged racist. Of course he did. I probably also am an unhinged bestower of unwarranted and unwanted epithets. Somebody is, at any rate. I can tell from all this that we have almost reached our destination. There is an eerie glow on the horizon, and this hand basket we are bumping along in is making pretty good ground speed.

He makes a deal out of the fact that Jen Hatmaker, despite her support for same-sexiness, does not differ with one line of the Apostles’ Creed. But all we need to do to demonstrate the lameness of this argumentative standard, at least as far as Merritt is concerned, is to point out that the Apostles’ Creed does not condemn unhinged racism anywhere either. It therefore represents a personal opportunity. Merritt can’t touch me for I too affirm every line of the Apostles’ Creed. And do you know, this is what the official communique from The Gospel Coalition said to me? On letterhead. They said to me, they said, “You know, Wilson, as much as we detest, loathe and abominate your unhinged racism, we do recognize that you do not deny one line of the Apostles’ Creed. We reluctantly have to let it go.”

They didn’t really. But if they had, Jonathan Merritt would have had nothing to say right about now.

One Wrecked Race, One New One

It is bad enough having to call people unhinged racists to get across the point that they are, you know, racists at all. But Merritt called me an unhinged racist. But I am not any kind of racist, whether hinged or not. So shall we measure the shape of his arrow and its current location with regard to his intended target? This will be like Robin Hood getting up to shoot in that big contest at Nottingham, and accidentally shooting Maid Marian in the right arm, sitting up there in the stands. It sort of puts a damper on all the excitement, as the crowd realizes what just happened.

So what do I believe about race?

I believe that there is only one race, the human race. There are ethnic variations within that one race, but every mother’s son of us is a blood cousin, all of us bearing the image of God. Those ethnic variations do not constitute, comprise, make up, or contribute to, any innate superiority that is genetically settled or determined. This one human race rebelled against God in our first parents’ act of disobedience, and shattered our fellowship with God. The human race became the wrecked race. Because we fell into sin, we also fell in love with ideas of superiority and striving, and this includes the sins of racial vainglory, a sin I find particularly detestable. It is detestable in how it mocks the gospel of grace. But while we were in this broken and rebellious condition, God sent His Son to die on the cross for the sins of His people, and to be raised to life again for our justification. In doing this, He established His kingdom, made up of men, women and children from every language, tribe, nation, people group, or subsets of melanin levels. This kingdom constitutes a new way of being human, a new human race, built on the foundation of the sovereign grace and mercy of God. Because the gospel is working through the old human race at varying rates of speed, transforming it, the way leaven works through a loaf, some parts of the loaf are affected before other parts are. This creates a temptation for some (living in those parts) to take credit for God’s gifts, as though our loveliness somehow brought down His favor. But what do we have that we did not receive as a gift? And if as a gift, why do we boast as though it were not a gift? Had the gospel moved down south through Africa first, instead of west and north through Europe, the people in Africa would have been building cathedrals when my ancestors were still painting themselves blue for battle and cooking their meals over goat dung. And this is to proclaim the superiority of absolutely nothing except Jesus Christ and the glory of His gospel.

What shall we call this outlook just described? I submit that somebody should call it unhinged racism. The hatred just wafts off the top of it, like the aromas off a Burmese sewage lagoon in August. The brittle conceits of your standard white supremacist are so brittle here that they have to be entirely hidden away for safe keeping. These brittle conceits will not come out in the open for one of two reasons—either they are especially pronounced and vulnerable, or they are not there in the first place. The reason we must not accept the latter possibility that they are hiding by mere non-existence is that this would exclude the possibility of making reckless accusations of unhinged racism. And that is a non-negotiable, at least for Jonathan Merritt. If there actually were no unhinged racism, whatever would we do with this spirit of unhinged accusation?

The Alinsky Treatment

One other thing, ere I go.

Do not forget the point made earlier about the Overton window. The point is not about whether we disagree on stuff. All politics have always been about such disagreements. Moving the Overton window is a larger project, one that seeks to move the acceptable range of disagreement. Within the window we find all the positions that a person might openly maintain and still get elected to something. Outside the window are positions that might best be described as unthinkable.

So you don’t believe that we are not currently experiencing massive culture-wide pressure to get the historic Christian view of ethics, particularly sexual ethics, into the realm of the unthinkable? You need to wake up and smell the sulphur. Wake up and taste the acrid touch of brimstone on your tongue.

There are two basic strategies for moving the window. The first is to create a climate in which many Christians—for the sake of testimony or something—voluntarily comply with whatever the ever-changing and yet compulsory standards for discourse and language are. They say that this word or that one is now offensive to our friends in the LGBTQ community. Christians say oh, and promise, for the sake of the gospel, to clobber any of our own number who dare to disobey the commandment that has crawled up out of this perverse Sinkhole Sinai. But in the meantime, let us never forget that the little faggot’s got his own jet airplane.

The second strategy has been used on me for many years. We go way back. It is now being deployed on my friend Toby Sumpter. If anyone starts to get what is going on, and is proving effective in talking about it, that person must be discredited on other grounds. “Change the damn subject. Ineffective communicator! Unhinged racist! Plagiarism! I agree with his central point but! He hurt my feelings!” This is right out of Alinsky, Rule 13: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” But that’s all right. I still have an Internet connection and Rule 5.

Yes, he might seem to be saying something important, and he might sound like he is making some sense, but he has been Officially Discredited. By all the people that Matter.

But I don’t mind being rejected by the people that Matter. Wanting to Matter is the central lust of evangelicalism, and this is why evangelicals are having such trouble believing the Word (John 5:44). The downside, which is significant, is that you wind up like Jonathan Merritt.

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jigawatt
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jigawatt

Believing Christians—see what I did there?

As opposed to Christians who are unbelieving covenant members, right? Whether or not Doug would agree with that terminology, it was the baby baptizers who equivocated first.

Ian Miller
Member

;)

Bro. Steve
Guest
Bro. Steve

Whoa! I see what YOU did there.

.
Slick.

wtrsims
Member

I think this charge is less likely to stick to FV’ers. I know several who would like to ask what you mean by “believing.”

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Doesn’t bother me for two reasons. 1 Doug is not FV anymore. And 2 based on the FVs I’ve personally known, if you split hairs down to the molecule it won’t be enough for them, so I usually don’t try.

Katecho
Member

Wilson may have disclaimed the label of FV, but it’s quite a stretch for jigawatt to assume that Wilson rejects the principle of unbelieving covenant members. I suspect the only thing that changed is the label Wilson uses to describe his views.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

it’s quite a stretch for jigawatt to assume that Wilson rejects the principle of unbelieving covenant members. I do not think that Doug rejects the idea of unbelieving covenant members. But I do wish he’d come clean on the terminology. He seems to still want to reserve the word Christian to the regenerate. And if you cry foul because I didn’t use some word like “truly” before regenerate (e.g. “decretally” elect) then that only makes my point. Y’all want to use ALL the biblical salvific words to refer to New Covenant membership with or without accompanying belief, and then use… Read more »

Katecho
Member

jigawatt wrote:

Y’all want to use ALL the biblical salvific words to refer to covenant membership with or without accopanying belief, and then use steroid versions of those words for God’s True Children.

We want to use salvific words the way that Scripture uses them. Jigawatt has missed the point if he thinks that Wilson was ever arguing against the use of adjectives.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Jigawatt has missed the point if he thinks that Wilson was ever arguing against the use of adjectives.

No, I hope nobody thinks he’s against awesome adjectives in general.

Katecho
Member

jigawatt wrote: Y’all want to use ALL the biblical salvific words to refer to covenant membership with or without accopanying belief, and then use steroid versions of those words for God’s True Children. We ought to use salvific words the way that Scripture uses them. For example, elect is a salvific word, and Scripture uses it to address covenant people (Old and New Covenant) collectively. It does so without using adjectives like “truly” or “decretally”. So why have Christians (most especially including baptists) become compelled to attach adjectives to the word “elect” as it is used in Scripture? It’s because… Read more »

john k
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john k

Since that’s not how Scripture is using the term “elect”

Never, nowhere, anywhere? Among the occurrences of related words, I think there is a use concerning the idea of “those who will see eternal glory.” How about Eph. 1:4? Also, it’s helpful to distinguish God’s unchangeable choice and our knowledge of it.

Katecho
Member

john k asks: How about Eph. 1:4? Let’s take a look: According as he hath chosen (elect) us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love — Eph 1:4 Who is “us”, and “we”? I assume that all would grant that it is, at least generally, God’s covenant people. But was it every individual in the church of Ephesus who read or heard the epistle? None of them could fall away? Is it every modern Christian in the Church today who reads the verse? Did Paul suppose that… Read more »

timbushong
Member

IMHO, some of the weirder aspects of the FV movement could have been avoided if it would have first determined the true nature of the NC. It’s one the main reasons that I’m still a baptist, and never embraced paedobaptism the way that many of my friends and co-laborers did. Hebrews 8 and all… “This is simply not how Scripture uses such concepts.” I believe that most reformed confessionalists would strongly disagree. BTW, also I believe that the issue of apostolic inclusivist language in the epistles is best interpreted like this: “All within the churches to which the apostle wrote… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Tim Bushong wrote: This baptist wondered why I kept hearing the FV guys unnecessarily attach adjectives to the word elect into “covenantal” and “decretal”. I never had to do so. This is simply false. Bushong had to add his qualifications in this very comment, and he did so. He distinguished that when the apostles referred to the “elect” they were making a “judgment of charity”, which is another way of saying that these Ephesians were all “charitably elect”, but may not have been “ordained-to-eternal-glory elect”. In other words, Bushong requires a hidden adjective, or unspoken distinction, to be implied where… Read more »

timbushong
Member

I’m sorry—I saw a discussion about the FV and foolishly dove into the deep end. “This is simply false.” In may be ‘false’ from your perspective, but surely not ‘simply’? All I meant was that a) before becoming aware of the FV, I had never heard those terms used regarding divine election, and b) I personally don’t use those adjectives, either, and neither do the apostles. I certainly don’t hear my Reformed or Presbyterian friends dichotomize between ‘decretal’ or ‘covenantal’ election either, especially in dialog with Arminians or Roman Catholics. Just see the Chris Comis/Phil Fernandez debate—it was just confusing… Read more »

ashv
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ashv

Paul equivocated on this topic too: “Not all who are of Israel are Israel”.

Katecho
Member

jigawatt wrote:

As opposed to Christians who are unbelieving covenant members, right? Whether or not Doug would agree with that terminology, it was the baby baptizers who equivocated first.

Careful there. Scripture distinguishes between outward and inward circumcision, and did so all the way back with the baby circumcisers of the Old Testament. And it wasn’t equivocation. There were unbelieving covenant members back then too.

vRico
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vRico

There are, apparently, those that will come into the midst of the body of the Church in order to deceive us. Matt 24:5, Mark 13:6 come to mind in the most extreme (possibly easiest to recognize?) manor. but even if you relegate those verses to only pertaining to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD I would ask about how Jesus handled these followers: Matt 7-21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say… Read more »

jigawatt
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jigawatt

Thanks for the reply, vRico. Yes there are those who are elect of God (“decretally elect” as katecho prefers), and we can’t tell that about a person from looking at them. (I think it was Spurgeon who said if all the elect had a yellow stripe down their back, then he’d only preach to them, or something like that) What we can tell is whether a person has visible fruit consistent with a professed faith (think James 2:14ff). If he does, we can reasonably believe that such a person is elect, justified, saved, etc, but we can never be 100%… Read more »

Katecho
Member

jigawatt wrote:

He would say that if a person has been baptized, that person is objectively a member of the New Covenant, no matter what happens later in life.

This isn’t entirely accurate. I also affirm that God is sovereign over the pruning of branches out of the Covenant family (i.e. excommunication).

In the Olive Tree metaphor that Paul uses, natural branches (Old Covenant) were broken out for unbelief, and Paul lays this exact same warning on wild branches (New Covenant), saying that if God did not spare natural branches, neither will He spare wild branches.

Capndweeb
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Capndweeb

Wonderfully written!
It brings to mind the following song. We are called to be unhinged Christians.
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. (Romans 12:11)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrajzjddeWA

insanitybytes22
Member

Oh! “Unhinged Christians!” I rather like that.

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

I looked up “unhinged” and the synonym is “deranged.” Yes, by the definition of the world, I am deranged! I believe God created the universe and everything in it and that Jesus Christ is Lord, who saves people from sin and death by faith! HALLELUJAH!

wtrsims
Member

People take this guy seriously?comment image

Eagle_Eyed
Guest
Eagle_Eyed

Physiognomy is real.

FX Turk
Member

I’ll say it: Merritt is an unhinged homosexual. This causes everything he writes.

Jill Smith
Member

Did Doug mean Merritt when he said “the little faggot’s got his own airplane”?

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Jilly, it’s a line from “Money For Nothing,” a 1985 song by Dire Straights. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_for_Nothing_(song)

demosthenes1d
Member

Mark Knopfler is such a reactionary homophobe. I can’t even watch Princess Bride any more.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jan/18/direstraits-popandrock

JP Stewart
Member

Great guitarist and doesn’t give in to the SJWs. What’s not to like about Knopfler?

adad0
Member

Mkt, I think D is commenting on the goofiness of the whole issue!

JP Stewart
Member

I know, I’m just giving credit where it’s due.

Nathan Smith
Member

I really dont understand how someone could say such things as publicly calling another believer and “unhinged racist,” especially in light of Galatians 5:14-15 unless they are trying to cast you as being outside the body of Christ.

I also dont understand the state of the contemporary American church. I guess you’re right: “Wanting to Matter is the central lust of evangelicalism, and this is why evangelicals are having such trouble believing the Word.” Its disheartening in an Elijah kind of way. I guess I should take heart in an Elijah kind of way as well.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt
Nathan Smith
Member

Also, Merritt’s article (Why I’ll take courageous Jen Hatmaker over her cowardly critics any day – I tried to link it but had some trouble), has layers of irony. He’s here to explain to Christians why they are all wrong about Jen Hatmaker, and as proof he offers up an authoritative quotation from his recent book, and goes on to say: “Jesus may not be prophesying about modern America, but his words remind us that religious people have a tendency to believe that they’ve been commissioned by God to purify the church of those who refuse to genuflect to the… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

You ain’t never gonna get anywhere trying to defend a definition of “racist” that makes you one of the good guys. Your distinctions of “racial pride” and “racial vainglory” are good, because pride and vainglory are actual sins. The problem here is with people who are OK with pride and vainglory so long as you don’t drag race into it.

(“One race with ethnic variations” is a rhetorical dodge that may work for a while. But I expect its shelf life will be short.)

wtrsims
Member

Perhaps Stephen Colbert provides a good example of how to face calls for one’s firing or burning at the stake from the other side?

Matt
Guest
Matt

It doesn’t even make sense. “One species with genetic variations” is accurate, but trivial.

Christian Histo
Guest
Christian Histo

ashv is always quick to stand up for racism.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Yes. Now, take a guess why that is.

Jill Smith
Member

I don’t totally understand Doug’s definition. Is it that you can notice variations but must not attribute any group’s apparent superiority on a particular scale to genetics? Or may you notice the variations but not believe that they carry any significance?

The other point that puzzled me is how, using Doug’s premise, to account for the artistic and technical accomplishments of ancient Chinese civilization. Clearly it was not the effect of the gospels.

ashv
Guest
ashv

My personal take is that the problem arises from saying one group of people is spiritually or metaphysically superior to another. After all, this is what John the Baptist and Jesus got after the Pharisees for; they were trusting in their inheritance instead of in God. That said, Christendom arose in the civilised Roman empire, not the savage tribes of sub-Saharan Africa, and it’s plainly ridiculous to ignore the observable differences between people groups. (North Africa was both civilised and Christian, of course, until the Mahometans came through.)

lndighost
Member

Are you on board with DW’s ‘one race’ position?

ashv
Guest
ashv

It’s a rhetorical move, not position of substance. No one claims that humanity comprises multiple species. The words “race”, “nation”, “ethny”, “tribe”, “clan”, “family”, etc all denote variously-sized groups of related people. It’s like saying one believes in feet and miles but not yards. If you say so, OK, but you haven’t addressed the concept of distance substantially. Which is why my favourite retort to “there’s only one race, the human race” has been “there’s only one gender, the American gender”.

lndighost
Member

Thanks for replying. In my view, the problem with using the word ‘race’ to group human beings is that it has a quasi-scientific connotation when in fact it is as much a social construct as any of the other words listed and even less precise. I’m not convinced that ‘one race’ is merely a rhetorical device. For the last two hundred years or so there has been a muddying of the waters among Christians on whether every person really is made in God’s image, and really is descended from Adam. When these fundamentals are abandoned, you end up eventually with… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

The science of human variation has really taken off in the past few decades. A DNA sample can identify race with near-perfect accuracy; even examination of skeletal proportions is a pretty reliable indicator. My only problem with the phrase “social construct” is that it’s commonly used as a fancy way of saying “not real”. In common usage, “race” is a social apprehension of biological reality. The muddying of the waters about descent from Adam typically comes from people who either don’t believe the Bible or are looking for a good excuse not to. Paul said “He made from one man… Read more »

lndighost
Member

Well, yes, if by ‘race’ you mean ‘where your great great great grandparents came from,’ but even though that information can be personally interesting I don’t see that it must or ought to affect our loyalties. I guess we live in such different worlds that I have difficulty understanding your viewpoint here. I understand my duty to care first for my own family, which, as you say, is clearly spelled out in Scripture. It’s what comes after that gets confusing. How do you define ‘nearest’? Who comes next? I think it’s the family of God. My children go to a… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

I have trouble with that too. Perhaps those of us whose families scattered to the four winds have a harder time understanding this point of view. I’m a first generation Canadian now about to become an American, my siblings live 1500 miles away, and my cousins are all over the globe. If I defined “my people” only as blood relatives or fellow Canadians, I would be lonely indeed.

ashv
Guest
ashv

First off, yes, obviously our adoption into the body of Christ forms our primary loyalty and Jesus did come to set people in every other form of relationship at odds when those relationships conflict with our obedience to Him. Well, yes, if by ‘race’ you mean ‘where your great great great grandparents came from,’ but even though that information can be personally interesting I don’t see that it must or ought to affect our loyalties. Well, let’s start from the other end. If it does, is that bad? Why or why not? For example, is it bad if Christians choose… Read more »

lndighost
Member

Well, let’s start from the other end. If it does, is that bad? Why or why not? For example, is it bad if Christians choose to organise themselves into national churches, as the Orthodox do? I think it is usually bad. For one thing, those Christians open themselves up to charges of racism (as you no doubt know) but more importantly, it creates the impression for outsiders as well as members that nationality matters as much as Christianity. If you choose to worship with not just Christians but with [insert ethnic qualifier] Christians, you are exalting ethnicity above its proper… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

I know a group of English-speaking South Africans who worship as a determined foreign enclave. They actively resist fellowship with other Christians.

Given how the Boers have been treated by other Christians over the past century, I think they are the absolute last group of people who should be picked on for keeping to themselves.

lndighost
Member

That attitude preserves the ‘us and them’ mentality to everybody’s detriment. Mistreating fellow believers is sinful. Holding on to suspicion and resentment of fellow believers is sinful, especially when they themselves have not wronged you in the first place. Let’s not make allowances for either of these unsanctified behaviours on the basis of ethnicity.

But I hope that you take my larger point about unity in worship. When we come together on Sundays it should be a foretaste of heavenly glory; not you in your small corner and I in mine.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Trust betrayed is not quickly restored. I don’t think “distrust” is the same thing as “suspicion and resentment”.

Unity is a great thing, but most people talking about “unity” both inside and outside the church really are pursuing sameness instead, which is a rather different goal.

lndighost
Member

But you know very well that it is actual unity and not sameness that I am talking about. ‘Distrust’ is perhaps a more charitable term than mine, so sure, let’s use that one. Suppose you arrived in New Zealand, having suffered at the hands of some prejudiced or unmerciful Christians in your own country. Suppose you settled here, and then at the end of forty years, having been shown kindness on all sides, you were still distrustful of kiwi Christians and snapped at any who spoke to you. That is not the fruit of spiritual maturity. I would see that… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

The science of human variation has really taken off in the past few decades. A DNA sample can identify race with near-perfect accuracy; even examination of skeletal proportions is a pretty reliable indicator. I have to laugh at the fact that some people completely accept the science of ancestry which shows the relationships between humans going back tens of thousands of years….except for the parts they don’t like about what that science shows. A DNA sample can identify race with near-perfect accuracy Can you explain exactly which races these are that a DNA sample can delineate with “near-perfect” accuracy? The… Read more »

wtrsims
Member

The reason that race is a social construct is because the choice to delineate people between those particular DNA traits, as opposed to a multitude of other ones, is arbitrary.

Genuine question and not coming from any particular position: What are some of the other traits that are arbitrarily ignored?

Matt
Guest
Matt

Well who is white? People with European ancestry, or people with Northern European ancestry? You could make a reasonable case for either position.

Race in general strikes me as one of those “how many grains makes a heap?” questions.

demosthenes1d
Member
wtrsims
Member

Your points are why I reject the idea of pan-whiteness or pan-blackness. The idea of one white race, or one black race (or Asian, or etc etc…), is clumsy and ignores a lot about reality if used as anything more than for speaking loosely and very generally.

For example, I’m willing to accept the idea of some sort of “white” privilege if you then clarify and define who you’re talking about, because I live around what a lot of people would call white trash and who would like to ask about what kind of privilege you think they have.

demosthenes1d
Member

Race means something…there is easily enough genetic, morphological, behavioral, and geographic differences among population to support several subspecies of homo sapiens. However, the commonly delineated “races” are facile, and they are used for self-aggrandizement.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/08/which-population-is-most-genetically-distant-from-africans/

If you were constructing race in a purely biological way, you will have a dozen of more in Africa and 1 or 2 in the rest of the world.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

There are, what, 30,000 genes in the human genome? (I don’t remember off the top of my head and my internet is barely allowing me to open new pages now) In order to distinguish between the races, often we’re not even looking at different genes, but looking at different nucleotide placements that, as far as we can tell, don’t even affect the protein expression but simply reflect different copy histories. At other times we’re looking at one barely-relevant gene here or there, something that gives a degree of immunity to some particular disease, for example. The fact that the differences… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

“Tens of thousands of years” isn’t science, it’s a theory of history. (If you can’t observe it, it’s not science.) Anyway, as I said, yes, “race” is a social concept describing biological reality. It’s not precise, but that’s not the same as being totally arbitrary. I don’t think it’s a complicated or controversial concept to say that I’m likely to have more in common with my first cousin than my fifth cousin. Similarly, two people with common ancestors a dozen generations ago will have more in common than ones whose ancestry diverged 100 or more generations ago. So when I… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

“Tens of thousands of years” isn’t science, it’s a theory of history. (If you can’t observe it, it’s not science.) I think you need some serious time in a philosophy of science class. Your claim about what is or is not science is quite silly, and, among other things, relies on a long-discredited view about what “observation” can even consist of. I don’t think it’s a complicated or controversial concept to say that I’m likely to have more in common with my first cousin than my fifth cousin. Similarly, two people with common ancestors a dozen generations ago will have… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

So, then, you do agree that the historic concept of race is a description (however imperfect) of a biological reality?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Hair color is an imperfect description of a biological reality. It doesn’t mean that it means anything I care about.

It’s also a bit tough to answer your questions when I’m not even certain of which social construct of race you’re using. Can you tell me what the races are, in your view?

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

“…I’m likely to have more in common with my first cousin than my fifth cousin. Similarly, two people with common ancestors a dozen generations ago will have more in common than ones whose ancestry diverged 100 or more generations ago.” That is correct. In fact you may have nothing genetically in common with your genealogical fifth cousin, whereas you certainly do with a first cousin. Likewise, it is possible any particular one of your g-g-grandparents (16 total) may not be one of your genetic ancestors. You didn’t receive your own genetic makeup from everyone you can identify as an ancestor,… Read more »

Bibcnsl
Guest
Bibcnsl

I do understand how a person observing the usage of the term “race” today could conclude that it is difficult to distinguish from “ethnicity,” and does not necessarily carry connotations of multiple “species” of humans. However, if you have interacted with scientific racism, and Darwin’s actual views on the subject, this seems more difficult to maintain. From my reading of Darwin and understanding of history, the concept of “race” was introduced, along with natural selection, as a means of presenting a clear hierarchy of races such that some races were considered to be less evolved from primates than others. Scientific… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

Sure. My point is that racism has a much better scientific footing than it used to. ;-) More seriously — Yes! of course blacks (and Yankees, and Aztecs, and Chinese, and Persians, and Canadians, and …) are alien! They have strange ways! They are different from us! This doesn’t require “science”, just opening your eyes, watching people, and talking to them. The glory of the gospel is that different people are united in Christ without losing their differences. The priests of liberalism do not have Christ as the subject of history, only Man – and so they have to pick… Read more »

Bibcnsl
Guest
Bibcnsl

We are using “alien” in two different senses, and I think you know that :) I agree that we live in a society which suppresses basic observations about people. To the extent that someone is simply trying to ask people to wake up and notice that the NBA does not have a lot of Caucasians in it and suggest that there is probably a biological explanation for this phenomenon, I am largely supportive. Facts are friends. However, one can describe this biological basis through a scientifically racist, Darwinian framework, i.e. one “race” is stronger than another “race” because it is… Read more »

Christian Histo
Guest
Christian Histo

That would be a “no”.

insanitybytes22
Member

“That said, Christendom arose in the civilised Roman empire..”

Is the same empire that was crucifying people, raping young boys, and persecuting Christians? Just kind of curious how you define “civilized?”

Eagle_Eyed
Guest
Eagle_Eyed

Civilized doesn’t equate with moral.

insanitybytes22
Member

“Civilized doesn’t equate with moral.”

It certainly does, “a stage of social, cultural, and moral development considered to be more advanced.”

Jill Smith
Member

That’s true, but when people talk about ancient civilizations, they usually mean the technology, engineering, and the arts. Like with China. We talk about gunpowder, paper, and Ming vases, but not about leaving unwanted babies to die on hillsides.

adad0
Member

Ruh-Roh! ????

Christian Histo
Guest
Christian Histo

Modern day Africa is more civilized than Rome in 0 AD. We think of Europe as civilized because of 2000 years of Christianity. When Christianity first came it was wild men with painted faces, violent crime, and constant war. Did you know that as recently as 1400 AD London had much higher murder rates than modern day Detroit?

You are a racist because you assume that the cause behind the differences we see in modern day Africa and modern day Western World are the result of ethnicity and not the result of Christianity. Wilson believes no such thing.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Modern day Africa is more civilized than Rome in 0 AD. Parts of it. But parts of Africa were also civilised in 0 AD. Africa is a very big place. We think of Europe as civilized because of 2000 years of Christianity. When Christianity first came it was wild men with painted faces, violent crime, and constant war. Of course. But the Chinese civilised the Mongolians, too. Did you know that as recently as 1400 AD London had much higher murder rates than modern day Detroit? I haven’t seen the numbers but it doesn’t surprise me. For one thing, Detroit… Read more »

Christian Histo
Guest
Christian Histo

Haha. You are not as dumb as this post are you? Please tell me that you are not quite as dumb. The link you provided says nothing about Christianity. The fact that you think it does, shows that you are a combination of anti-Christian and stupid that makes my head spin a little. Africa does still have a lot of crime (compared to the West) but the rates are dropping and are much lower than Europe was 500 years ago. Keep in mind it took Europe a thousand years for crime rates, face painting, witches, and constant war to die… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

Did you know that Africa has seen amazing economic gains since its widespread adoption of Christianity in the last century? Did you know that crime rates in countries that are Christian have been dropping steadily? Did you know that nations that are Christian are more stable? Did you know that Christian nations in Africa treat women better? Did you know they have better systems to help the poor? Christianity is having a huge impact there. 100 years into Christianization and they civilizing way faster than Europe did. I am quite prepared to believe all of this – I have no… Read more »

Christian Histo
Guest
Christian Histo

“Have you ever disagreed with anyone smarter than you, Histo?”

Yes, I have.

holmegm
Guest
holmegm

I’m not sure I understand your puzzlement. Common grace wouldn’t be available in ancient China?

Jill Smith
Member

Hi holmegm, I’m not sure what common grace is. I thought it was the grace not to be as bad as you possibly could be, but I didn’t understand it as something that enables technological advances. But, if it is, of course it would be available. But I understood Doug to mean that the reason Europe had advanced civilization and the sub-Saharan Africans didn’t is that the gospel went northward and not south.

lndighost
Member

God sends rain on the just and on the unjust, is one example of common grace. Another is found in Romans 1:19-20 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them [everyone], because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. Also, there seems to be some evidence that ancient Chinese civilization was informed by some knowledge of the One True God. (Here’s a book I’ve been recommended but… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Thank you! I will look it up.
Somebody posted a picture of Wellington on my Facebook because it was just voted most livable city (taking the title away from my hometown Vancouver). It looks absolutely gorgeous.

lndighost
Member

It’s got character! I’ve heard great things about Vancouver too. My Canadian travels have only taken in Toronto with one meal stop in Montreal, but I have distant relatives in Vancouver who make welcoming noises from time to time so I hope to see it one day.

bethyada
Member

Yeap, lived there too.

holmegm
Guest
holmegm

Restraint of sin is part of it. This seems to be a reasonable overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_grace

wtrsims
Member

Doug writes a post about an effeminate ankle-biter labeling him an “unhinged racist,” and Histo shows up and claims ashv is defending “racism”. Someone — not me, of course — might call that funny.

Christian Histo
Guest
Christian Histo

Doug wilson is not a racist and defends himself when called such (which I commend him for doing). Ashv is a racist and his complaint with Doug Wilson’s post was that he actually defended himself.

By the way, Ashv’s response to my comment agreed with me (not you) and admitted that he is quick to stand up for racism….and when ashv and I agree with each other but disagree with you…. that is sort of funny

ashv
Guest
ashv

If Pastor Wilson is not a racist, then neither am I.

If I am a racist, so is Pastor Wilson.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Anybody else getting ads again?

Nathan Smith
Member

A couple days ago I was getting a video add that “demanded” it was on-screen at all times so I couldnt scroll up or down.

Jane
Member

I am all for the campaign to get ads out of here, but ad blockers are the way to avoid putting up with them in the meantime. I haven’t seen any of the nonsense people are complaining about.

Nathan Smith
Member

I’m OK with ads as along as I can still use the site, and I generally can.

valerieab
Member

See Doug’s comment under last Sunday’s sermon post.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Yes! Did you hear about Ellen?

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Cool trick repeating his name like a refrain. Kind of like “the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.”

For anyone not getting the Dire Straits reference.

joshbishop
Guest
joshbishop

Why I’ll take courageous Doug Wilson over his cowardly critics any day.

insanitybytes22
Member

Speaking of the People Who Matter and being mollycoddled, I wrote a post in favor of Pastor Wilson today.

https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/i-really-appreciate-pastor-wilson/

adad0
Member

Nice post Memi.
It was totally without…….
“Merritt”! ????????????

insanitybytes22
Member

Very funny A-dad.

Oddly, it really is about Merritt, in the sense that he is a sexual abuse survivor with issues around sexual confusion, by his own admission. So, it is just as cruel to tell a victim they were just “born that way” as it is to out right persecute homosexuals. If you genuinely wish to be kind to people, to promote healing, then you simply stand in The Word.

Why is homosexuality wrong? Well,this is one reason. Advocating for it’s acceptance creates moral ambiguity for victims of abuse and fails to protect the innocent.

drewnchick
Member

But of course, the only real reason why homosexuality is wrong is that God roundly condemns it.

insanitybytes22
Member

Yes, but if you get to know Him, you can see that there is a rhyme and a reason behind the things He condemns. These are not arbitrary and random rules passed down by a dictator. Often they serve a vital purpose and that purpose relates to our own well being.

drewnchick
Member

True. I certainly wasn’t implying that God was being arbitrary or random in His pronounced abhorrence of queerdom. But if you get to know Him, you’ll find that He IS a dictator…albeit a benevolent one; He dictated His Law to Moses and has subsequently commanded that we obey. Nevertheless, you are correct; all of God’s laws serve a vital purpose that relates to our well-being. I would attest that it is always for our spiritual well-being, and sometimes it is also for our physical well-being. My point was that there is a primary reason for things being wrong. You were… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

It’s a good point, Malachi. There are things we may not understand and so trusting that it’s wrong simply because “God said” can be wise.

What people today tend to do is they don’t understand, so they just change the rules because they believe the rules are flawed and not their own understanding. Homosexuality is a good example of that.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Somewhat off-topic but we should all thank President Trump for finally giving us Religious Freedom today. Ha HA, that’ll show ’em!

Jill Smith
Member

Doesn’t it just change the tax codes to allow churches to endorse political candidates? It was nowhere near as far-reaching as I expected. Or were you being ironic? I need an icon that spells out Irony Alert.

Jane
Member

It didn’t even change the codes. It says the IRS doesn’t have to enforce against violations, if it doesn’t want to. Seriously.

I’m sure jiga was being ironic.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Irony. But it does look like the House just voted to defund that baby-killer Planned Parenthood.

Zachary Hurt
Guest
drewnchick
Member

I am increasingly curious of the theology behind those running the Bee. Seems they just might be kindred spirits…

Jane
Member

The Bee is run by Adam Ford (Adam 4d). He’s clearly a kindred spirit. The way he picks on Calvinists is pretty obviously in-house self-deprecation of the kind we often engage in — at least it’s obvious to me.

adad0
Member

Shorter version of this post:

“I don’t self identify as un-mounted hardware or a judge of the superficial.”

????

Johnny Simmons
Guest
Johnny Simmons

Arius had no trouble with the Apostles’ Creed.

John Warren
Member

Yeah I tried to leave a comment to the article yesterday to the effect that calling you a racist makes it really hard to take Merritt seriously. But I don’t see it in his comment feed today.

Billtownphysics
Guest
Billtownphysics

I think just about everything Merritt says makes it hard to take him seriously. He is promoting apostasy and doctrinal confusion, and a total disregard for Christian orthodoxy. He is an unhinged relativistic millennial.

John Warren
Member

Dire Straits reference!

bethyada
Member

If Hatmaker had come out and voiced her advocacy of incest—the home is the place where young children should be exposed to increasing levels of sexuality to help transition into a fully orbed adult sexuality—would Merritt be defending her?

If not, surely his article is premised on the moral acceptability of homosexuality rather than the freedom to share new scriptural insights. Because the latter is how he has framed it.

bethyada
Member

Merritt I think of evangelical pastor John Piper actually believing he had the authority to excommunicate then-pastor Rob Bell via Twitter because Bell questioned traditional notions of hell.

I though it was Bell’s dallying with universalism?

And hasn’t Bell’s subsequence justified Piper?

bethyada
Member

Merritt Ousting is a typical culture war tactic. We take someone who has different thoughts or convictions, and declare them anathema. We cut them off. Then we chop off anyone who likes that person too. Then anyone who likes the person who likes that person, well, they also have to be cleaved. The result is an insulated group of people sitting in an isolated echo chamber where conservatives become more conservative and liberals become more liberal. No one has permission to think for themselves. This kind of behavior reminds me of Jesus’ words in John 16:2: “For you will be… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

Merritt makes a good point when he speaks of genuflecting to the region’s warlord. A bit tongue in cheek here, but Jesus is my warlord. If He is your warlord too,well then let’s genuflect together. The problem arises when we create an environment where the favor of man begins to trump the favor of Christ and Jesus is no longer really the head of the church, some guy is, or an institution or bureaucracy.

bethyada
Member

I would say in the current environment, the liberals are more keen to bow before the secular claims than the conservatives.

Merritt gets around this by talking of Christian warlords. But we shouldn’t be kneeling before Belial either.

Daniel Fisher
Member

Concur. As if liberal congregations do not similarly exclude traditional doctrines about atonement, hell, women’s ordination, homosexuality, etc., declaring these views (and those who espouse them) as dangerous, hateful, backward, mean-spirited, etc., and ensuring that no one that holds such views could ever teach in their churches, lead their Bible studies, etc., etc.

Merritt’s lack of self-awareness is profound. He doesn’t realize he is not actually judging the actual practices themselves, but rubber stamping approval or disapproval based on the degree he agrees with one side’s positions.

Jane
Member

Off-topic: I just noticed in the sidebar that there are comments dated tomorrow. Maybe I’m the last to notice, but exactly what time zone does this blog operate in? I’m three hours ahead of Moscow, ID, and it’s STILL not tomorrow yet. ;-)

bethyada
Member

It’s Friday here, been so for 15 hours. Is that tomorrow yet?

Jill Smith
Member

Despite my sister living in NZ and going back and forth for the last 40 years, I can never remember which way it goes. So you’re five hours behind west coast time but on the next day.

bethyada
Member

Yes it is easier to calculate a time by adding or subtracting a small number. So I add 6 hours for the US but know that they are living in the past.

bethyada
Member

She still there? Baby sis?

Jill Smith
Member

No, big sis. She no longer lives there but she visits every couple of years. She is going next January for a month. She was a teacher at Seddon High School in Auckland in the late 1960s. She married a New Zealander but he got hired by an American engineering firm so they spent their married life in the U.S.

Jill Smith
Member

It’s tomorrow in Newfoundland.

Jill Smith
Member

Maybe Disqus does the posting from somewhere in a time zone all its own.

Jane
Member

My guess, and that’s all that it is, is that Disqus defaults to GMT and allows the blog admin to adjust it for the blog’s needs, but the Powers That Mablog didn’t do so.

Billtownphysics
Guest
Billtownphysics

It’s five o’clock somewhere.

Matt
Guest
Matt

“But all we need to do to demonstrate the lameness of this argumentative
standard, at least as far as Merritt is concerned, is to point out that
the Apostles’ Creed does not condemn unhinged racism anywhere either.”

This is true. There are and have been plenty of Christian racists. But then Merritt never tried to declare you Not A Real Christian (in this article), so this doesn’t actually defeat any argument of his. It may be that Merritt wants the tent to be smaller than it is, but then so do you.

adad0
Member

And the Lord of the tent is……?
????

Eagle_Eyed
Guest
Eagle_Eyed

Pedantic and ultimately wrong (like most of your posts). Merritt hurled his accusation as moral condemnation and meant to weaken the reader’s belief in Wilson’s moral character–and ultimately–his Christian witness. If his slur weren’t ultimately meant as an attack on Wilson’s Christian witness then it would have no weight on the matter at hand, since it was from Wilson’s presumed Christian witness that he attacked Hatmaker.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Are you sure you read the article? The racist accusation was literally one line and primarily meant to cast aspersions on the gospel coalition, portraying them as hypocrites. Wilson is not mentioned in any other capacity nor linked to any attacks on Hatmaker. As I noted, Merritt might actually believe that racism means one is Not A Real Christian, but it has no bearing on his article here.

Daniel Fisher
Member

And unless you show me otherwise, in Merritt’s original article, he wasn’t claiming that Hatmaker’s detractors were claiming that she was “not a real Christian”. But her (new) stance on homosexuality resulted in “outrage [among] some conservative Christians [and] Lifeway Christian Stores even banned her books from their shelves.” and the conservative blogsphere “slapping her wrists red”. In short, people expressed outrage at a view she held, and Merritt is implying that the outrage was unjustified because “she did not deny a line in the Apostles Creed.” Hence I think Wilson makes a very insightful analogy. If outrage at her,… Read more »

Matt
Guest
Matt

I don’t know why you’d invoke the Apostles Creed though unless you were trying to say someone is or is not a Christian. So while Merritt might be wrong about what Hatmaker’s critics are claiming, I think he is definitely claiming that they are claiming she is Not A Real Christian. If he is wrong, then his invocation of the AC is meaningless and proves nothing.

But is he wrong? If Hatmaker showed up at Wilson’s church, would she be prevented from communion?

Daniel Fisher
Member

I read again his article, all he claims is that she was ostracized, criticized, had books banned, lots of critical articles on the net that “slapped her wrist”, etc., etc. Thus I think we all concur that we are at a loss as to why he felt the need to invoke the Apostles’ creed for this discussion. I concur his invocation of such is meaningless. I can’t speak for what Pastor Wilson would do, but one observation: if a church were to bar someone from the table either due to their sinful actions, or for gross heresies that they have… Read more »

Jane
Member

FWIW, and I might need to be corrected on this, but I believe that if Jen Hatmaker walked into Christ Church, she would be welcomed to the table on the grounds that her own elders have admitted her and not found reason to bar her. Christ Church is catholic, rather than sectarian, in that sense. If she sought to join Christ Church, however, at that point these matters would be addressed.

Samuel Adams
Guest
Samuel Adams

I’ve seen this in the PCA as well…although never seen it practiced by the elders. I expect everyone’s conscience determines whether to participate or to personally decide to abstain.
Of course, in this day and age, denying anything to anyone is a risky venture.
The Table is open to the brotherhood of believers. Refusing to protect it (and the Body) from those publicly known to be in opposition with church teachings (abortion, co-habitation, prostitution, etc.) and not having approached the elders to discuss repentance most likely carries spiritual consequences.

Jane
Member

The Table is not what is in need of protection, it is the person partaking who is in need of protection. Those who refuse to avail themselves of protection are guilty of their own sin. The elders responsible for such a person are also guilty for lack of discipline, but the elders of another church have no authority to excommunicate, nor can they reasonably be held responsible for investigating the disciplinary status of every person who walks through their doors. You won’t find the concept of protecting the Table in scripture. It’s protecting people from the Table, for whom it… Read more »

Samuel Adams
Guest
Samuel Adams

A good point and supported by Scripture. I think, by inference, that accepting individuals to the table who are living in unrepentant sin, and this fact is known to the body of believers, and communing with the fellowship of believers…that there is a level of accommodation and compromise that hurts a church’s commitment to righteousness before the world. And that tolerance for sin in various churches and communities is addressed several times in Paul’s letters and in Revelations. However, to return to your comment, I’ve heard the pastor always preface the sacrament with that very same warning. I’m not sure… Read more »

Jane
Member

Yes, I think this is how it would work also. However when you’re talking about someone known to be a professing member of another body, I think involving the elders of that other body would be a necessary part of the process.

I probably gave they impression they’d let it slide until she requested membership. I didn’t quite mean that. If she became a persistent presence, I’d expect them to contact her church. Or at least, not knowing that church very well, but knowing what mine would do, I’d hope so.

Samuel Adams
Guest
Samuel Adams

The Elder Police will be visiting your house…

valerieab
Member

In Jane’s case, an officer has already been stationed on the premises. ????

duellsquimby
Member

Wow, my first thought after reading Merritt’s article is why he took a year to respond like this… Why so long to come to Hatmaker’s defense? I must have missed a memo somewhere. If he wants to be like Matt Walsh he’s got to be much quicker off the mark.

But its really clear which side he’s put himself on.

Andrew Price
Guest
Andrew Price

So racist against Burmese sewage workers.

BDash76
Guest
BDash76

TGC are a bunch of closet feminists anyway….
give it time everything will reveal itself…

David Oman
Guest
David Oman

What? Do explain

BDash76
Guest
BDash76

Jared Wilson- Stay at home dad role reversal advocate John Piper- telling young men to man up and marry career women and support them… Challies- not TGC but same lot- it is fine to take instruction and teaching from women as long as it is in written format,NOT oral… TGC womens conference- where men play wife and mom so the women can go and discuss theology with other men??? (what happened to asking your husbands, respecting him etc) https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/at-home-work-not-just-for-women constant excuses for lazy women this one flies around the country for conferences etc while her husband looks after her kids… Read more »

duellsquimby
Member

Why is Merritt jumping up and down about Hattmaker at this point? Where was he last year when this was all breaking. I must have missed the memo.

But reading through his post after Doug’s, it’s sad to see what side of the line he’s placed himself on.

Daniel Fisher
Member

From what I read, I would respectfully submit that Merritt’s approach is closer to the approach recommended by supernatural guidance: that “Jargon, not argument, is your best ally.”

Daniel Fisher
Member

Additionally, I looked up Merritt’s original article so I could get the context. I could not get past the title without recognizing the vacuity of his claiims. Jen Hatmaker is “courageous” and her critics “cowardly”… but I imagine he doesn’t even realize that he categorizes them as such exclusively because of which side of the homosexual issue each falls on. If a recognized liberal voice gave serious thought and changed their mind, becoming orthodox in their view of homosexuality, I somehow doubt that Merritt would be as quick to label this person as “courageous” or to label their detractors as… Read more »