Allow me to take just a brief moment to respond to some of the arguments presented here by Brad Littlejohn, in response to my recent interactions with N.T. Wright on the question of women’s ordination.
Brad has a three basic problems with my take on the N.T. Wright business with women bishops.
First, he is concerned that conservatives not dismiss the liberals with “the very same sort of arrogance and incomprehension” that (he acknowledges) they treat us with. Now I quite agree that we ought not to act like they do, and so I don’t. But it is not arrogance to take Wright to task for exegesis that he feels sheepish about, and which he introduced to us with a very British self-deprecating cough. As those who follow this blog know, I have honored Wright (and a bunch of his work) plenty in this space. But on this issue he has beclowned himself, and we are not fooling anybody by declining to say so.
Second, Brad is concerned with my “remarkably anti-intellectualist posture,” and my too easy dismissal of the Serious Scholars Clown Car Review. I might surprise everybody here by seeming to grant the charge. I am an anti-intellectualist. Having said this, as I am sure Brad knows, I am not at all opposed to a diligent cultivation of the Christian mind, and I have spent decades in the labor of promoting just that. But there is a difference between an anti-intellectualist and an anti-intellectual. There is a difference between men who love the Lord their God with all their minds, and those intellectualoids who want us to submit the things revealed by God to a peer-reviewed circle jerk. I am only against the latter.
“Scripture was once tenaciously invoked in favor of geocentrism, but then ‘serious scholars’ recognized that Scripture could and should be read so that it did not require that view.”
Actually, it was serious scholars who got us into that particular jam in the first place, and it wasn’t primarily an exegetical question involving Scripture. That was a battle, not between fundamentalists and scientists, but between the old science and the new science. The serious established scholarship of the day insisted on working within Aristotelian categories, and the renegade outlaw scholar Galileo published a dialog in which the representative of that “serious” view was named Simplicio. That was one of the things the pope didn’t like — it was as though Galileo was debating with the straw man editor of the Serious Scholars Clown Car Review, edited by the Rt. Rev. Ravi K. Dumbunni.
The third problem is that I appear to be invoking the slippery slope fallacy when I explain (yet again) how cultural rot is progressing in the floor timbers of the modern church. Precisely because I am not anti-intellectual, I would simply point out that the existence of the slippery slope fallacy does not establish in any way that there is no such thing as a slippery slope out there in the wild world. And if you are an Anglican living in the UK, the kind of person who says “be that as it may” or “at the end of the day” a lot, it is not a fallacy for an Idaho Yank to observe that you guys are tobogganing down a slippery slope right this very minute, the ends of your green stole flapping behind you. In fact, you are two-thirds of the way down, and headed for a fat tree.
Shall I be more direct? A little more plain? When the door is kicked open to women bishops (not if), here is an up and coming candiate for you.