Tuesday Letters, Once More

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Social Justice and Justification

It follows, therefore, that the two predominant systems of social justification must fight a long and painful “religious” war. And, on the pointy end of every stick will be the biblically-distinct Christians.

Brandon

Brandon, it often works out that way.


McDurmon should take his own advice . . . What happened between McDurmon version 2010 and McDurmon version 2018?

Jonathan

Jonathan, not sure why it is happening. What is sure is that it is happening.


Re: American Vision and the Word that Justifies—the worst part about this piece is the cliffhanger of a last sentence when you tease your need to develop these things more. Oh, and another bad point was when you also tease another deeper post on the deeper meaning of Trump. But other than that . . . wow! The English language can’t do how great this post is justice (see what I did there?). And I can’t speak or understand foreign languages to know whether or not any of them would do it justice. So we’ll just have to assume all human languages will be incapable of describing how incredible this post is to the contribution of this debate. Thank you, brother!

Trey

Trey, brother, thanks for the kind response. But actually I honestly have to say that I believe I am pointing in the right direction, and am on to something. Other than that, pretty much everything is inadequate and insufficient.


Just wanted to say that your words here and in the past about justification and sanctification as features of every religion and its culture have been immensely helpful to me in making sense of the current scene. While everyone at Fox News is still wringing their hands over the hypocrisy, asking ad nauseam “But if a white man had done this, then . . . ,” , we can simply nod our heads in sad acknowledgement of the current religion at its work. And preach true justification to those merely “justified.”

Kevin

Kevin, right. All systems of justification necessarily result in some sort of double standard. The problem arises when the double standard is ungodly.


The Statement

I had a few nits to pick on “the statement,” and was wondering if you could weigh in for me. Under the Denial of statement VI (on the Gospel) there is this nugget: “applications of the gospel . . . are not definitional components of the gospel.” Maybe I’m overestimating the power of this statement, but it seems to imply to me that a gospel locked up in a glass capsule, not doing anything to anybody is just as much a gospel as one that has broken through and is actively changing lives. The affirmation of statement VIII (on the Church) reads, “when the primacy of the gospel is maintained, this often has a positive effect on the culture . . .” Why qualify with the word “often?” In the denial portion of this segment, it starts by speaking against political and societal activism, but really only goes into detail on political part. I agree that social activism is not integral to the gospel, but I think it can be (as long as activism is defined properly) considered one of the primary missions of the church (James 2:15-16). In statement XII (on race/ethnicity) the denial reads, “We reject any teaching that encourages racial groups to view themselves as . . . entitled victims of oppression.” I feel like this is using a universal hammer to strike at a particular nail. The current nail being aimed at, may need to be hammered (and I’m not even really considering that at all), but the hammer being used could have some collateral damage later. Certainly any group could misuse the Exodus story, but it is a story, and it can be used in the same manner that any other biblical story can. One way would be to find your place in it. Though perhaps I am under-estimating the import of the word “entitled” in that denial. The denial of XIV (on racism) includes this: “We deny that the contemporary evangelical movement has any deliberate agenda . . .” The noun “contemporary evangelical movement” is too unspecific of a noun. There could be a “contemporary evangelical movement” around the corner that does have an agenda unbeknownst to some wider “contemporary evangelical movement” that does not. There could be some danger in the imprecision here.

Brent

Brent, your last point about imprecision is a reasonable one. For the rest, I would just reiterate a point from my post yesterday—which I believe the drafters of the Statement would have no problem with. Fruit of the gospel is necessary fruit. If it does not produce fruit, it is not the gospel. But the fruit of the gospel is not the gospel.


“To reiterate: do I believe that the authority of Jesus Christ must eventually be brought to bear on economic policy, race relations, misogyny, quality health care, climate change, affordable housing, sewage treatment, just war theory, water rights, poverty, and globalization? I absolutely do. But I do venture to suggest that, contrary to what our bright thinkboys are currently up to, His authority will not weigh in on the stupid side of these issues.” This is a good example of what I keep seeing with this controversy: you (and others) seem to be accusing those on the other side of compromising the gospel because they disagree with you on a political issue. If they were doing the same thing but “bringing the authority of Jesus Christ to bear” on your side of the political issue, I have a hard time believing this controversy would exist. If there is injustice happening, surely there is cause to get involved as we do with abortion. Can’t we disagree with the facts of such issues without accusing each other of compromising the gospel?

Danny

Danny, not exactly. There are people putting forward policies I agree with that I believe are making the same mistake. Sane minimum wage laws are not a definitional part of the gospel any more than insane ones are. I prefer the sane ones, but not as part of the gospel.


Reductionistic Baptist here. So in spite of agreeing with every word in the statement, I won’t sign it. You know, I agree with the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy, and I never signed that. In a huge part, I can’t in good conscience sign onto these things because, being a reductionistic baptist and so on, the gospel. That is to say this: the gospel never assumes something co-equal with (or, heaven help us all, greater than) Jesus to be the savior. That’s why we are Protestants, right? Somehow a Catholic church in the sense that the Pope means (or has meant anyway until very recently) is out of the question because it has to be co-equal to Christ in the scheme of saving people. That’s why we believe in local churches, right? Somehow the divine method is word calling out workers, and then there is a context in every local place where God’s Word calls out these workers in this place who are then bringing the word with them to those people—and if someone leaves that place to go someplace else to call out more people, he is sent with the word and the means God has ordained for that mission (and maybe some pocket money if we are in any way not miserly). What that framework doesn’t need is a constitutional convention or an electoral college to take a vote—in fact, we know historically that this is how we always screw up the gospel: we start voting on it. We start making our own Magisterium which starts making its own rules for how we can or cannot gospel it up in good post-mil congruency. And what has happened in this case is that the SJW’s first had their congress, and now we are convening our counter-congress, and what is actually happening is that we look more like fighting political parties than ambassadors of reconciliation. It looks more like mid-term elections than it does filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which we became ministers according to the stewardship from God that was given to us for the sake of others, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. I think the statement is all truth, no love—and the only way to cure that is for it to have a local context of a local church which has the gospel, declares the gospel, and then lives as if it is true. A church like that is exceeding the requirements of the law with love, and confounding those who would say that somehow the gospel is not enough. God be with you.

Frank

Frank, thanks for your thoughts on it. But remember that we Presbyterians can get whizzed up about synods and councils. That’s our wheelhouse.


Amen!

Follow up letter . . .

(That “Amen” I just testified was for “Despite our Thinkboys”)

Steven

Steven, thanks.


The statement you signed means to guard and uphold the Scriptures which do not say woman is made in the image of God though the statement affirms that this is so. This couldn’t be more clear from 1 Corinthians 11:7 and Gen 1:26-27. My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.

Matt

Matt, I am surprised you cited Gen. 1:26-27, which plainly states that women are created in the image of God. The Hebrew word Adam is not just a personal name, but is also the word for mankind. And mankind is created in the image of God, and mankind is created male and female.


Thanks for this strong reminder. As a good Westminster Presbyterian myself, I find it highly disturbing that so many of our Knox-following brethren are so quick to adopt the latest intellectual fad. It does make me wonder how much of this relates to socioeconomics and culture. It is an overgeneralization, to be sure, but I get the sense that many of the Reformed thinkers who are quick to jump on the latest secular trend tend to be wealthier, urban, more educated, and sophisticated. Whereas many of those Baptists who are sticking to the “reductionist” version of the gospel are more likely to be poorer, more rural, less educated, and less highbrow. I know this to be true in the debate over six-day creation, and their attitude about the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter (which is local for me). It also tends to be true in the case of whether they support Trump or not. Is it perhaps the case that the tendency toward gospel compromise with secular thought is more a sociological phenomenon than a theological one?

BJ

BJ, I do think they are related. Jeshurun waxes fat, and kicks.


Some Kudos and Korrections

Doug, you are such a fantastic writer

Brad

Brad, thanks for noticing that I am at least trying.


Thinkboys: I remember the old Credenda article entitled “Our Baptist Betters.” What was the line that reminded me of the veiled insult from my producer? “I like what you’re trying to do.” Something like that . . . good on you for signing. If a person can’t grasp and agree with the bone-headed biblical simplicity of the “SSJWG” document, then yeah—too clever by a percentage point. Blessings, dear brother!

Tim

Tim, thanks.


You referred to “Hill” a couple of times where I think you meant “Perry”—her married name rather than her maiden name.

Kyriosity

Kyriosity, thanks. Oops. And merry cupola.


Fresh water for a weary soul. Thank you.

Douglas

Douglas, you are welcome. Thanks for paying attention.


With love from Nigeria! Your words are always striking. Soli Deo Gloria.

Daniel

Daniel, thanks.


Kavanaugh Hearings

Judge Kavanaugh’s Senate hearings will be over by the time you get this, but may be worth answering anyway. When asked whether Roe was correctly decided, Kavanaugh has said something like, “Roe v Wade set an important precedent that has been confirmed by later court decisions.” But he has neglected to say if Roe was correctly decided at the time. Now I’m hoping that Kavanaugh wants to overturn Roe and is just trying to improve his odds of confirmation with his answer that dodges the heart of the question. But as a Christian (Kavanaugh is Catholic) is it right for him to be squishy in his answer? If he really does believe that abortion is murder, should he come out and say it bluntly, knowing that it would likely kill his nomination? Or do the ends justify the means in this case? I don’t want anyone who calls themselves a Christian to be wishy-washy about abortion. Should I expect less from a Supreme Court nominee?

Roger

Roger, it doesn’t bother me at all that Kavanaugh was coy in his answer. I think everyone understands the code, and he was simply refusing to give the opposition something to flame him with. If he votes to strike down Roe, I don’t think he would have anything to apologize for, and he would need to seek forgiveness if he doesn’t.


Sam Allberry

A while back Collegiate Reformed Fellowship, a ministry of Christ Church, invited Sam Allberry of Living Out to speak at the University of Idaho. Video of the talk is still on Canon Wired’s website. For a long time I took that as a sign that you approve of his approach to dealing with homosexuality. But it’s clear that you do not agree with him. If that is so, why did you invite him in the first place? Has his approach changed over the years? Has your thinking changed since then? Thanks for the clarification.

Brent

Brent, I think Sam is a good guy, and means well. That said, I believe his approach has been shifting of late, and has been drifting in a worrisome direction. We would like to help out.


Another Word on Appropriation

I checked with my resident millennial (who outshines Torquemada in detecting and reproving thought crime in the elderly) about the rules governing cultural misappropriation. Dominant and privileged cultures may not appropriate from those less dominant and less privileged unless hundreds of years of history have intervened. So I can dress up as Scheherezade (although it would be a bad idea, productive of laughter and derision) but not as an Afghani lady in a burqa. This got me puzzling about my daughter’s annual thanksgiving pageant in elementary school where dozens of little Catholic mestizo children were dressed as Puritans and the handful of white kids were made to wear headbands with feathers. I can’t think of any way of casting this pageant without violating the current rules! A lot of the fuss is indeed ridiculous, but I am not willing to give cultural appropriation a totally clean bill of health. Doug mentioned frat boys in sombreros. I have read about some of these frat parties, and I can’t consider them innocent fun with no intention to offend. Hitler-themed parties with pledges playing terrorized Jews, parties billed as Colonial Bros conquering Nava-Hos, and parties where frats attend wearing blackface or KKK regalia shouldn’t be getting a pass from decent people. That many cultural misappropriation claims are ridiculous shouldn’t blind us to the fact that there is such a thing as deeply offensive appropriation.

Jill

Jill, I trust that your resident millennial does not employ the methods of Torquemada . . .? And of course, I agree with what you are arguing against, but still find trouble in the name cultural appropriation. Why can’t we just disparage cultural mockery or cruelty? Appropriation is far too broad a term.


Pain Free Repentance

“So the process of sanctification includes what Tim Bayly calls the grace of shame. Real Christians start to understand the maggot bed that we used to lie in. We start to understand it for the first time. And such an understanding is something that your shrink will try to give you medications for. Because, after all, everyone must feel good about themselves.” Bingo! I wonder how good the publican in the corner felt about himself, and what counsel today’s evangelical elite would give him today, and how that counsel would compare with Christ’s proclamation about the publican.

grh

grh (may I call you grrr?), yes, exactly. We want repentance without pain.


Re: Truth Off The Bay Thank you for your post. What I don’t understand from the article by Jackie Hill Perry (as well as comments by others on this subject) is this claim of Jesus loving us and making us His, as well as us being holy, but leaving out what God tells us He will do in Romans 8:29. God predestined is to be conformed to the image of Christ. Christ fulfilled the law, and if we are being confirmed to His image then we should be made to keep the law more closely. Which means we should not be desiring things that God declares abominable. Which applies to anything unholy, whether it be telling lies, covering what others have, sexual desires for anybody who we are not married to (marriage is defined as one man and woman by God), or witchcraft. We would be much better served to bring our thoughts and desires under subjugation to the Scriptures instead of vice versa. The OT is full of examples of the disastrous results of twisting Scripture and our worship to suit our desires. And God gave us that history for a good reason . . . May we not waste the opportunity to learn from what He has provided.

Robert

Robert, thank you.


Slavery Once More

The Cripplegate has decided to come after you. https://thecripplegate.com/the-bible-condemns-american-slavery/

BJ

BJ, who are they? They don’t want to outlaw slaverys, do they?


You Hirelings

“Servant leadership” is an oxymoronic term that does not appear in the Bible. All the verses used to fabricate it are instructions for the church. “But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45). This means that if somebody wants to lead the church they should serve the other men of the church by honoring them, and not tearing them down or chastising them in front of their wives and children. They should emphasize that only the man is created in God’s image, and as such is worthy of reverence. “Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Eph. 5:33). “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man” (1 Cor. 11:7). “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10). The pastor should honor the men of his congregation, not run them down in front of their already disrespectful wives. By not showing honor to other men the pastor is helping Satan destroy marriages. The marriage is not to be run like the church to servant/pastor relationship, but to be run like the church to God in total submission. That is where you hirelings always go off the rails and end up subverting the husband’s role of Lordship/Leadership (Eph. 5:24). Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Sorry, it is only church leaders that are to be the servants of all men. Nowhere does the Bible say that the husband is required to submit to the wife except for sexually in 1 Corinthians 7:4, and that is it. Elsewhere he is commanded to rule over his family well, and that is a requirement for church leaders. Anybody teaching husband as helpers is flipping God’s order on its head like Satan would want. God created the wife to be the helper/servant. There is no excuse for being ashamed to teach the plain word of God in this evil Feminist generation. The wife is the subject, the husband is the Lord, that’s what God said. Preach it God’s way.

Elias

Elias, I am afraid your confusions are all tangled up together. Yes, the one who would be great in the kingdom must be the servant of all, and the first place this should be evident is in the leadership of the church. Yes. And then what? “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation” (Heb. 13:7). Rulers in the church should have rule in their own homes, anchored the way the Lord Jesus displayed when He washed the disciples feet without ceasing to be their Lord. And watching this, the men in the congregation should imitate such rulers, considering the outcome of their way of life. That would not include browbeaten wives.


Conservatism

But “keeping well shy of idolatry” we ought to be loyal to those affiliations assigned by God. I mean family, tribe, location, etc.” Would you include race in this? Is it unbiblical for blacks to act consciously to further the interests of other blacks, so long as such behavior does not involve violating the natural rights of others?

Armin

Armin, I would not include it, largely because it seems to me to be arbitrary and capricious—like trying to have solidarity with other people with brown hair, or blue eyes, or people who are six feet tall. A black man whose ancestors have been here for three hundred years is from a completely different tribe than another black man in Kenya.


Perhaps I have a misconception or mis-defined notion of conservatives. If it’s not the currently sliding into tribalism mindset of the talk radio host (Hannity/Limbaugh, pro-GOP at all costs), and it’s not about solving problems (see government institutions like education, fiscal and foreign policy), then what is it? Because we’re not seeing it marketed well.

Ron

Ron, another essential feature of true conservativism is that it is bad at marketing.


Not Yet

I appreciate your short and simple definition of biblical masculinity—the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility—which I first read in Father Hunger and saw pop up again in “The Great Servant Leadership Mistake.” Do you have an equally short and simple definition of biblical femininity?

Eric

Eric, sorry. Not yet.


The Catholic Thing

Can you give your response to the current crisis in the Catholic Church?

Paul

Paul, yes. In the hopper.


Kuyper’s Prescience

Here is the “Kuyperian-thick approach” original from Kuyper himself: “Finally Modernism, which denies and abolishes every difference, cannot rest until it has made woman man and man woman, and, putting every distinction on a common level, kills life by placing it under the ban of uniformity. One type must answer for all, one uniform, one position and one and the same development of life; and whatever goes beyond and above it, is looked upon as an insult to the common consciousness.” Abraham Kuyper, The Stone Lectures on Calvinism: Six Lectures Delivered in the Theological Seminary at Princeton (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Theological Seminary, 1898), pg. 21 . . .

John

John, thanks much.

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Trey Mays
4 years ago

Agreed.

Armin
Armin
4 years ago

“Armin, I would not include it, largely because it seems to me to be arbitrary and capricious—like trying to have solidarity with other people with brown hair, or blue eyes, or people who are six feet tall. A black man whose ancestors have been here for three hundred years is from a completely different tribe than another black man in Kenya.” So you’d consider it arbitrary and thus invalid for black people in America with shared ancestral roots to form something like a tribe to look out for their specific interests? Would you deny an American black the right to… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Armin

Armin, I think people form “tribes” not because their so-called shared ancestry is a real thing but because they feel their interests are threatened by the society in which they find themselves. If people share a common problem (or think they do), they will naturally band together in self-defense. We see this in some “white pride” groups who believe that they are being disrespected or marginalized on account of their whiteness. Such a group may include whites whose ancestors are as ethnically diverse as Finnish Laplanders, Sicilians, and Croatians, yet it would be meaningless to say they share recent genetic… Read more »

Armin
Armin
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Jill, I know my above questions weren’t directed at you, but how would you answer them? Suppose a black person were to say the following: “I feel a deep kinship with fellow African-Americans. We share a common culture, history, and ancestry, and we must take care of and look out for one another. Furthermore, I’m proud to be black. I think black is beautiful and unique. Our music, our culture, our history, and our accomplishments are worth celebrating, and we ought to make sure that we encourage these same attitudes in our own children.” Would you tell a black person… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Armin

All fair questions, Armin. Being remarkably gentle and timid in real life, it is unlikely that I would ever tell anyone that his feelings were wrong. Only on this board do I ever do that, knowing that no one can send me into paroxysms of guilt with a disapproving look! But, if I could say what I think without giving offense, I would probably say the following. First, I am criticizing an instinct and pattern of thought that is very alien to me. I have been uprooted so many times in my life, and lived with such an incredible variety… Read more »

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  Armin

My first response would be to question the accuracy of the claim that you share a common culture. I find that a stretch. True, your ancestors shared a common culture with their ancestors, but I suspect 21st century Kenyan culture and 21st century American culture, within the African-American subculture, diverge quite a bit. Three to four hundred years can do a lot for a culture, unless you claim you yourself (not hypothetical you) would feel a lot of natural kinship were you plopped back into 17th century society — and not necessarily a stratum of society of your choosing, but… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
4 years ago
Reply to  Armin

Do American “blacks” actually treat all other American blacks like extended family? Do “whites” treat other whites like family because they are white? If someone would not treat me like family, at least like a cousin or uncle or nephew, then talk of extended family based on race or ethnicity would be pretty meaningless to me. I don’t expect that everyone should treat me just like family, but I don’t claim family ties based on distant ancestral roots either.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  JohnM

Your comment made me indulge in a lively daydream about knocking on a door in Beverly Hills and asking to spend a few weeks in the guest house. “I looked you up and our ancestors lived in the same remote Somerset village in 1640. Besides, can’t you see how white I look?” Extended family indeed!

OKRickety
OKRickety
4 years ago
Reply to  JohnM

JohnM, ‘Do American “blacks” actually treat all other American blacks like extended family?‘ It seems to me that they do, but maybe it is that they treat other American blacks as being in the same tribe. For example, I have seen black people at a social/work event meet another black they have never met in their life, and they promptly act like they are long-lost family. This seems to be most common in situations where there are few blacks present, and it often seems they specifically seek out the other blacks (understandable to some degree). However, they do not make… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

I think it is social behavior that doesn’t necessarily imply anything deeper. Part of it is being more outgoing and expressive with strangers, and part of it is undoubtedly due to sometimes feeling self-conscious in a mostly white environment. Probably the only time I would seek out a Canadian to hang with is if I felt awkward at a party and wanted to hear somebody say “eh”. But I don’t think active concern for one another’s welfare, as there would be in an extended family, is necessarily part of the culture. For Jews, it is quite different. If you want… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago
Reply to  Armin

“So you’d consider it arbitrary and thus invalid for black people in America with shared ancestral roots to form something like a tribe to look out for their specific interests? ” I’m not sure how you could come to that conclusion from his response. You’ve narrowed the example down to be something fundamentally different than what he was talking about. “Black people in America” are narrow enough of a group that it is possible at certain points that they could have shared interests due to their similarities when those similarities aren’t arbitrary. The more you narrow down the group, the… Read more »

Armin
Armin
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

“If they’re banding together to, alternatively, promote only shopping at #blackowned businesses, well, that clearly IS arbitrary” But what if black people didn’t feel that way? What if blacks felt that this was an important way for them to show solidarity and support toward their own community? What if they proclaim very passionately that this is important to them? Is Doug going to straight up tell them they’re wrong? Studies have shown that racial in group preference is real. What if this were merely an expression of that? I understand that Doug was trying to present a situation in which… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Armin

Armin, you have previously shared with us your view that black people in general are incapable of functioning as our equals in society. Some of us with long memories immediately recollected your houseguest analogy; when you weary of showering someone with your hospitality, it’s perfectly reasonable to tell him to pack his bags and depart. (Incidentally, is it normal for people to kidnap their houseguests and set them to picking cotton for a couple of centuries? If not, I don’t think the rules of host/guest etiquette really apply.) Your hook is a bit too obvious for most people to take… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
4 years ago
Reply to  Armin

I would not say banding together is the same thing as really viewing/treating one another as family. Families, sometimes even when members seldom see one another, do things like provide material aid, leave inheritances, send birthday or graduation gifts, gather for holidays, attend one another’s weddings, attend funeral’s, when one dies, and so on. Of course some families do those thing more than other families, but within families generally there is a sense of kinship even apart from frequent contact. I doubt black people do all those things, or would feel welcome by other black people to do all of… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago

Scripture is clear that men and women have different roles, but I am puzzled by Elias’s insistence that women are not made in the divine image. I have always been taught that my duty to God–to love Him and to obey His commandments–arises from having been made in His image with the gifts of reason and free will. To say that a person is not made in the image of God is actually to say that the person is not human but rather an animal–intelligent in its own way, trainable, and instinctually loyal and affectionate–but nonetheless an animal. Without rationality… Read more »

Nathan James
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Besides the pragmatic issues, to say woman is not made in God’s image is butchering the scripture.

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Don’t be puzzled. He’s just wrong. Genesis 1:27 could hardly be clearer.

Jonathan
Jonathan
4 years ago

“And of course, I agree with what you are arguing against, but still find trouble in the name cultural appropriation. Why can’t we just disparage cultural mockery or cruelty? Appropriation is far too broad a term.”

Amen

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

The answer of course, is that on average those who use the term aren’t interested in simply stopping mockery or cruelty, they’re interested in controlling your behavior.

Jonathan
Jonathan
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

I’m not sure that’s exactly true. I can’t speak for most of them, but for the few people I know who use that term, they’ve mainly been hurt by how they’ve seen their culture be abused for profit in the past, and become militant about not wanting to see it happen again. It’s an overreaction to a real issue (cultural mockery or cruelty) rather than a devious plot. One major example I’m familiar with, because a lot of my fellow Christians in college were Asian, was how often media uses stereotypes of Asian women in order to fulfill sexual fantasies… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
4 years ago

BJ,

You write that you “find it highly disturbing that so many of our Knox-following brethren are so quick to adopt the latest intellectual fad.”

As someone who is temperamentally conservative, I understand the feeling. Though … in their defense, they are following the lead of Knox – who himself adopted the latest intellectual fad of his own day.

The urban/rural divide held true in the 16th century too. It was the wealthier, more sophisticated types who jumped on the new ideas first – and the rural folks who resisted social and government pressure to accept the (often mandated) changes.

-BJ-
-BJ-
4 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

Oh, no doubt John Knox would support using genderqueer language in the liturgy and inclusive non-binary pronouns when referring to God. You know, seeing as how he just jumped on the latest intellectual fad.

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
4 years ago
Reply to  -BJ-

As C.S. Lewis points out, different ages fall for different fads.

In Knox’s time, “a certain severity (however seriously we may take it) was diffused even through that wider circle [of those affected by Calvinism], in the sense that denunciation of vice became part of the stock-in-trade of fashionable and even frivolous writers. … All our lifetime the current has been setting towards licence. In Elizabeth’s reign it was the opposite. Nothing seems to have been more saleable, more comme il faut, than the censorious.”

(C.S. Lewis, English Literature in the 16th Century, page 44)

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  -BJ-

BJ, The problem isn’t in John’s rejoinder, which is on point. It is in your framing. The fact that something is new, or an intellectual development, has little bearing on whether it is true. You muddy the water further with the comparison to YECism. Propositions and systens are true or false, prudent or foolish, regardless of their novelty. Clearly Knox was not an intellectual conservative, he was engaging with the intellectual and theological developments if his day in an intense way and staking out a radical position at great cost to himself. This just doesn’t map onto the contemporary issues… Read more »

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

The embrace of something you get thrown onto a galley ship for confessing generally requires a little more commitment and soul-searching before embracing than “the latest intellectual fad.” That’s just a potshot, John.

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Plenty of 19th and 20th century Marxists were jailed for their activities too.

I am indebted to C.S. Lewis for the observation (and to our host for bringing it to my attention):

This will at least serve to eliminate the absurd idea that Elizabethan Calvinists were somehow grotesque, elderly people, standing outside the main forward current of life. In their own day they were, of course, the very latest thing. Unless we can imagine the freshness, the audacity, and (soon) the fashionableness of Calvinism, we shall get our whole picture wrong.

(English Literature in the 16th Century)

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

It was initially a movement of the intelligentsia, wasn’t it? I think this must be why I have never been able to understand the core doctrines!

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

I think you’re being a bit anachronistic there. The activities of Knox and his contemporaries probably produced the fashionableness; I doubt it was considered fashionable when Knox took it up.

And yes, risking and losing a lot for a belief doesn’t make it right. But I wouldn’t call Marxism a mere intellectual fad, either. Unless “fad” means something that can encompass the natural development of a worldview from pre-existing trends, that can go on to deeply influence, and in some senses dominate, intellectual activity and world politics for the next two centuries and beyond.

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Knox became a Protestant pastor in the spring of 1547. The Reformation was entering its third decade and Calvin’s Institutes was in its third edition. Luther had been dead for a year and Henry VIII for a few months. England now had a fully Protestant king – Edward VI.

Knox would become a major fashion setter after the Scottish Revolution of 1560.

Modern left-wing social concepts have only been around for a few decades but will likely survive for some more centuries and may remain dominant for some serious part of that – thus graduating from a fad.

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

Intersectionality will only transcend fad-dom if it manages to survive another decade without consuming itself, which seems impossible from the cheap seats.

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Indeed, one would hope that an intersectional implosion is imminent.

I fear, though, that too many eminent persons have bought into it and it has become an immanent feature of our universities (at least until the current generation has moved on).

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

Oh, it’s popular and deep-rooted. But it’s already tearing itself apart. How could a movement that is literally based on the idea that conflicting interests will always be in conflict with no transcendent ideal to resolve them, and yet claims to support some of the most contentious of those interests even as they conflict with one another, be sustainable? It’s not that I hope it fails, it’s that I think it’s inevitable that it will fail, in the way Marxism (as an intellectual proposition, obviously not as a working system) is not as much of an inevitable failure. Failure is… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Sadly, we do not live in a world where belief systems inevitably fail when erected on unsustainable concepts.

There is another longstanding group who hold to a foundational proposition which has failure built right into it. The proposition essentially guarantees conflict while ruling out the only working mechanism for resolving the conflict it creates.

The unsustainability of the proposition was obvious to those who watched as it was sprung upon the world. Its adherents have since devised quite a diverse variety of mechanisms for coping with the problem.

Here’s a solid critique from an early observer: Hyperaspistes.

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
4 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

I’ll try formatting that link to Hyperaspistes again.

Here’s an (anonymized) excerpt which highlights how the foundational proposition caused (what should have been) unsustainable conflict from very early on:

Finally, why do your ‘brothers’ disagree so much with one another? They all have the same [foundational principle], they all claim the same spirit. And yet K disagrees with you violently. So do Z and O and C, who approve of K’s opinion though not of his reasons for it. Then again Z and B are miles apart on many points.

Given that precedent, intersectionality could survive for centuries!

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

I’m not merely saying the proposition is unsustainable. I’m saying that the very nature of the thing causes its adherents to be constantly at war not with outsiders, but also with one another. They can’t set aside their differences to work together, since even the internal differences are what define their mission. It’s not that the proposition falls apart in a logical sense, it’s more like trying to build a building out of dynamite. The proposition itself will CAUSE the destruction of the ideology, not merely fail to sustain it. There is no possible mechanism for coping with the “problem”… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

What keeps these groups (mostly) aligned is the perception of a shared enemy. The internal incompatible differences can be overlooked as long as everyone agrees that their mutual interest lies in opposing the cis-heteronormative-racist-ableist-speciesist-capitalist-patriarchy.

You are correct that logically they have to either splinter or forsake their core principle. They will end up doing one or the other.

Protestants have faced the same dilemma since the beginning: insist on your own interpretation and splinter, or forsake the notion that what you see as the clear meaning of scripture is more important than what you are told by your group.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago

If you’re on Aaron Renn’s email list, he has a great article on male/female relationships, Aimee Byrd (he’s not a fan), etc. It’s too long to copy, but I’m sure he’ll eventually add it to his archives:
https://www.urbanophile.com/masculinist/the-masculinist-archives/

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago

“Doug mentioned frat boys in sombreros. I have read about some of these frat parties, and I can’t consider them innocent fun with no intention to offend.”

I’m sure there have been a few bad examples…and I’m sure the HuffPo or Slate reported them 24/7. That said, I’ve seen plenty of Mexican-themed parties (Cinco de Mayo, etc.) with food, music, decorations and a few people wearing sombreros that were completely inoffensive. The idea that white people should never have these parties (however innocuous) is ridiculous.

And of course, the Appropriation Police have no problem with this kind of thing:
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/nick-cannon-whiteface-controversy-i-692231

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago

“Ron, another essential feature of true conservativism is that it is bad at marketing.”

Too true. Similarly, the fundamental problem with elected rulers is that those most capable of accomplishing the task are wise and humble enough to not want anything to do with it. Conservatives are unlikely to focus much on couching rhetoric with sohpistry and platitudes, a necessary component of mass conversion in the modern age.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Yep. It’s pretty much impossible for a true conservative to be a career politician (with lobbying, back room deals, endless compromises, etc.). Ron and Rand Paul were both doctors before they ran for office.