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Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by NaphtaliPress, Dec 6, 2007.
A Troubling Post « Reformed Musings
I really fear that we will see much fallout from this continuing drama. These two brothers defend Wilson from the attacks of his critics, but never rebuke him for his attacks against others. It seems that all this with Wilkins and Wilson will continue to escalate. I cannot see how they can defend Doug Wilson, but then depraved people do strange things. We should really be in prayer because this it certainly a spiritual battle.
I find it amazing what goes on in the Blogesphere. We have seen it on this board as well. Maybe its just that I don't get the new virtual reality. Writing things before really thinking about what you would actually say to someone if you were to say it face to face is simply nonscensical. I would bet dollars to donuts that the comments made about Bob Mattes would not have been made if they were in the same room together. DW And Mr. Lawyer might have thought about it but I would think they would have felt that discretion was the better part of valor.
If we are going to exhort the Bayly's for rebuking one-sidedly (?) doesn't that involve us in also exhorting everyone else who rebukes one-sidedly? If we are going to reprove inconsistency, then we must reprove inconsistency consistently.
What I think we sometimes lose sight of is the fact that what "goes on in the blogosphere" is something entirely new. The truth is the same kind of exchanges have been going on in Christendom for centuries. The difference being that until now they were conducted using letters, tracts, and innuendo, but believe me the exchanges during the 16th-19th centuries were every bit as heated and bitter and the name-calling if anything was worse. Opponents regularly became "sundry blasphemers" "barking dogs" "imbeciles" etc. The mistake is in assuming that human nature suddenly degenerated in the late 20th century and we went from high-minded civil and gentle exchanges to mud-slogging. For instance, I was just reading in Calvin's Treatise on Relics and was mused by his blog-worthy comment:
"The above-mentioned work is filled with fables still more extravagant than the one which I have related, and which entirely throw into the shade the celebrated tales of Munchausen. Jerome complained that many people, whom, in his Christian meekness, he calls Scyllean dogs, were laughing at the stories related in those works, and which he begins by invoking the assistance of the Holy Ghost. Was it then a wonder that a Christianity, defended by such wretched superstitions, was frequently abandoned by
individuals, who, comparing the Christian legends of the kind quoted above with the fictions of Pagan mythology, preferred the latter as being more poetical?"
There you have it, in one paragraph we have the great Jerome calling his opponents (who were correct in this case) Scyllean Dogs and invoking the Holy Spirit against them, Calvin tongue in cheek referring to this as his Christian meekness and then comparing the "wretched" work he defends to the tall tales of Munchausen.
What we need to do is get past the pious sounding hand-wringing over incivility which is either consciously or unconsciously used as a smoke-screen for bad theology, and get down to discussing the issues. The politics and discussion around Nicea was as nasty and dirty as it gets, and yet the council eventually produced a creed that has served the church better than any of the so-called love, peace, and granola filled "ecumenical" endeavors of the church in the last 200 years. The Apostolic church's dealings with the Judaizers and proto-gnostics was equally heated, difficult and uncivil.
Brothers, what do you expect? The World, the Flesh, and the Devil to play nice and above board when their tare planting, Synagogue of Satan creating operations are under attack? Or the proponents of the truth to be entirely perfect this side of glory? When has that EVER been the case? We should expect the process of responding to any serious error or heresy to be almost as awful in this fallen world of ours, our three great enemies will ensure it will be such, but that doesn't mean for a moment we should stop doing the right thing! Act with integrity, be gentle and winsome whenever you can, but for heaven's sake, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like MEN, be strong."
We should measure out rebukes indiscriminately of friendships and bias, period. But, I don't think anyone has to go hunting for examples for some kind of tit for tat simply because we are calling attention to and discussing this one.
I expect all those who profess Christ to stand up and be counted. The church at Ephesus was commended by Christ for farroting out false teachers and standing up for the truth. Should we not do the same? Is not the very Gospel at stake? I have seen up close and personal what happens to a congregation when FV/NPP comes in and it isn't pretty. In fact I would say that the vast majority of the blog comments about FV are rather tame. In fact tamer that they should be.
Unfortunately the language of Calvin or Luther is nowadays considered "unloving" and not representative of "Christian virtue". I have no doubt what kind of scathing tract would be penned by Calvin against some of the FV proponents, and rightly so. In fact I would hazard to guess that Calvin would have no problem saying it to their face!
But I do find the personal attack against Bob Mattes way out of line and that Mr. Lawyer would not have had the nerve to say it to his face. But on a blog?? there seems to be no problem.
Mr. Webb, thanks for the quote. I have long thought that at least in Calvin's polemics along with the excellent instruction there is also a high amount of entertainment value.
If I may say this without being misunderstood, I am not really concerned about discourtesies or even lapses of temper (while recognizing that a person who does not control their anger is certainly in sin). But I think there are two principal kinds of dangers from the FV. One is what you could call the direct danger of people being deceived: and that danger, must be opposed with all the wisdom and intelligence and pastoral sensitivity and discernment that can be brought to bear upon it. We don't need less criticism of the FV: we need more, and higher octane. But there is also a reflex danger from the FV.
1. Even in opposing them we run the risk of collapsing into heterodoxy ourselves.
2. And we also run the risk of malice, where any stick is good enough to beat them with.
3. And in addition, we run the risk of falling into hypocrisy: where people who ought to be opposed or rebuked or whatever get a free pass simply because they oppose the FV. Thus we can squeal if the FV tries something, and remain silent if the TRs try the same thing: that is not justice, and that is not Christian.
While I think the FV is a serious deviation from Scripture and the Standards which needs to be roundly refuted and silenced, I fail to see how we have gained much if we drive out that error and yet learn to turn a blind eye to hypocrisy or other forms of heterodoxy. We can agree that opposing the FV is the work of the Lord; but we need to remember that there is a curse pronounced on those who do the work of the Lord deceitfully.
And, the seemingly inevitable disclaimers in online conversations: I am not saying that anyone has done this. This is a warning sign, not a ticket, so to speak. And the other disclaimer is that it's fine with me if parties all around would like to call one another "nincompoops". And a subsidiary disclaimer, that I didn't personally just call anyone a nincompoop.
How ironic that in a blog post chastising the Baylys from their one-sidedness, we get true gauge of the author's contempt for his opponent with phrases such as "He Who Must Not Be Named (HWMNBN)".
I've come to the conclusion that many teaching and ruling elders are spending far too much time jumping from one blog to the next hurling insults at one another. One side picks a fight and the other side feels compelled to respond defending their manhood (Reformed credentials). Or they choose to read their opponent's comments in the worst possible light rather than with abundant charity.
Makes me long for my dispensational days when Jesus was gonna return real soon to straighten all these things out.
To be fair, I think there's been quite a bit of good-humoured comparison of Wilson to Voldemort, including on this board. So I don't think "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" or "Dark Lord" are necessarily malicious titles for him. Certainly I meant nothing malicious when I used them on his blog, here and on my blog.
Quite right; I think it is reading too much motive to say Bob is being contemptuous of Wilson; but maybe Bob would like to address this since he's a PB member (in good standing ).
Well, I hear what y'all are saying, but somehow I fail to get the "humor" in the midst of the terrible accusations that are flying back and forth. I think such attempts at "humor" in this context are, at best, ill advised.
In the meantime I'll stand by the substance of my comment.
I confess that py3ak's idea of relating HWMNBN to the (I think, according to Google) Harry Potter antagonist is quite clever, far more clever than the actual reason. I used the initials to prevent my blog from showing up when folks do Internet searches for "Doug Wilson". When I used his name a lot in a blog post back in June, I received a large number of page hits looking up the slavery thing and other unsavory issues, with which I do not wish my blog to be associated. Unless I've missed a reference, you'll find that his name almost never appears more than once (on rare occasions twice) in any single post, and doesn't even appear in many posts. With such a low occurrence, my blog isn't likely to come up in a search on these other subjects. I actually mentioned this technique in a post I did way back in the summer. With the same reasoning, I try NOT to abbreviate "Federal Vision" too often because I DO want my blog to come up in searches for that topic.
So, sorry, not much humor there--just keeping under the search-engine radars for unsavory topics. I think that I may have used the initials once recently on GreenBagginses, but later realized that was silly because Wilson's name is all over Lane's blog. I will admit, though, that I did start finding it a bit humorous after typing it for a while. I'll post a link to this comment on my blog so others may benefit from your question.
"Terrible Accusations?" C'mon Tom, this isn't a case of someone saying someone saw Preacher so and so coming out of the Adult Bookstore with a large parcel, its a case of individuals, theologians, seminaries, and denominations examining the published and spoken materials produced by FV advocates like Wilson and Wilkins and then concluding that they are neither Scriptural or Confessional and then issuing statements and papers to that effect and explaining why. Once that has been done, the next logical step is to discipline the men who hold to those errors if they insist on remaining within the denominations that hold their teachings to be erroneous. You can historically expect voluminous complaints from the men being disciplined and all sorts of insinuations while the process is taking place. You can also expect those doing the disciplining to occasionally become angry and impatient, after all the problem is that you have sinners disciplining sinners.
But those ever-present problems do not, and indeed cannot form an invincible obstacle to the proper exercise of the third mark of the true church. Simply put, as imperfect as the process is and always will be, it is what we are commanded to do. The consequences of NOT exercising church discipline are always far worse.
Well, I understand it a bit better now. The only problem is the "intelligence" in the alogorithms of Google. There's a number of them including Latent Semantic Indexing that will eventually associate HWMNBN with Doug Wilson so that if someone searches for Doug Wilson then your posts might still come up depending on how referenced they are.
I confess that I've read a few of the Baylys' posts and I just don't get it either.
True enough but let's remember that the issue is a both-and and not an either-or. I agree with many who are criticizing the tone and one-sidedness of some FV critics but all sin has to be exposed. Wilson's arrogance has long preceded this and can even be found in his books before he became persona not gratia. Even when I was still a fan of his writings and would recommend him to others I always warned others about his attitude toward people. This is par for the course for him for at least a decade now. I used to find in it something witty and insightful and now I just see in it a "mean-spirited Will Rogersesque" smartest person in the room attitude. The man simply can't write something without spinning some harsh analogy that he thinks captures the essence of things. All his devotees fawn: "Oh, he's so folksy...." I've gotten to the point where I can't stand the poison of asps that drips from his tongue.
It occurred to me the other day that Elders are supposed to be those that have a good reputation among those in the community. Wilson is reviled. Why? Because he's made a career out of being personally offensive to the world instead of offending for the Gospel's sake. He dies glorious deaths on all the wrong hills and glories in his disdain for the lost.
I also agree with you that there are serious issues elsewhere that some critics need to note in their own backyard but, again, the focus of this blog post is rather specific. It is strange how they simply will not acknowledge not only his tone but also his butting in to the PCA and its SJC process.
This is an example of serendipity. Some time ago several of us on here (in good humour) started calling Wilson He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and almost simultaneously (but, I think unrelatedly) someone else started to do it. We actually informed Mr. Wilson of this and I don't recollect him registering any objection, in spite of the explicit connection to Voldemort.
Now the vital question is to determine who corresponds to Moaning Myrtle in this equation.
Rich, are you saying that what Wilson would call the "serrated edge" you consider to be "the poison of asps"?
Excellent. Thanks for a clear answer. Do you have any pointers on where to draw the line between allowable "strong rhetoric" and abusive language?
Incidentally, in that assessment, I'm not asserting that he's reprobate but only that he gives too much room for using his pen to tear down rather than to build up.
Would anyone accuse Wilson of this:
In everything that I've ever read of his or heard from him I've seen lot's of satire but I've never seen this:
Now, for my part, I see it clearly because that sin exists in my own heart at times and I can be as biting and critical as Wilson if I so desire. But I hate that in me and it is the evil that I do that I do not wish. I regularly repent of wounding others here when I do it. Wilson so glories in it that he commends it.
I have always found it interesting that those promoting errors find it so easy to distract those defending the faith. Instead of focusing on the issues threatening the faith, we are directed to question one another's motives. Not to be taken in a context other then what I intend, I agree we should seriously question our motives and keep one another accountable, however, what I see is those defending being led into obsessive questioning of one another causing confusion and appearing to be in conflict with one another while their opponents push their agenda with more effectiveness due to the confusion they have fomented in their opponents.
Ouch, I hadn't heard that. I have more research to do. On the one hand, it makes fuzzy searching closer to possible, but I like being able to at least get some tailoring in attracting the right kind of hits while avoiding ones that I don't want. Thanks for letting me know.
Wow, that's bizarre. We must have momentarily passed through a cosmic zone of syncronicity. On the other hand, sometimes great minds think alike!
If y'all will recall, I mentioned in another thread how I'd finally given up trying to come up with a unique thought.
Ecclesiastes was dead-on, and there truly is nothing new under the sun, up to and including "HWMNBN".
Frustrating, that's what it is. Frustrating.
Maybe you can just cycle through different names for him. For instance you could write: "...and then the Tisroc (may he live forever) called the PCA a bunch of pirates...."
Seriously, unless your blog becomes really, really huge I wouldn't worry about it. It's probably unlikely to get people hitting your site looking for slavery stuff because that pseudonym won't be associated with that material if you know what I mean. I was just trying to make sure you knew that Google's (and others) algorithms can make some really interesting connections.
I feel your pain.
An FYI that there have been some apologies given and accepted and some clarifications pertaining to this matter.
Fat Souls: Letter of apology to Mr. Mattes
A Troubling Post - Revised « Reformed Musings
Excellent news, indeed.
And once again the LORD redeems a situation that human nature had messed up.
He's good at that. ;^)
Indeed, a worthy cause for celebration. The Lord is most gracious.
I have an explanatory post on the subject at Attack From Moscow - Replaced.