04 July 2006

Labels: love 'em, hate 'em

by Dan Phillips

How we feel about labels often seems to vary in accord with whether we deserve a bad one. Or so I've observed. Liberals don't like to be called liberal, nor do leaky-Canoneers, emergents, pro-aborts, and a host of others seem to love the appellations that (at least to some degree) fit them.

Fundamentalist. Worse still, labels at their best are of varying utility. Take "Fundamentalist." If you asked me whether I was a Fundamentalist, depending on a variety of factors my response would probably be, "Tell me what you mean by that."

Historically a Fundamentalist was someone who affirmed what were adjudged Biblical fundamentals, Scriptural doctrines particularly under fire in the early 1900's: the virgin birth, deity of Christ, inspiration of Scripture, miracles, and so forth. If that's what you meant, and if you didn't mean that these were all the doctrines I affirmed, I'd cheerfully admit that I was indeed a Fundamentalist, and an industrial-strength one at that.

But then the term strayed from its high birth to a lowly dilution in the following decades. From a very positive beginning, it came to a primarily negative connotation. Fundies were known by what they were agin', rather than what they were fer. They were angry and defensive. They came to be associated more with cultural pecularities (stands on nylons, lipstick, the touching of the alcohol, rock and roll, etc.) than with directly Biblical issues. The term came to be synonymous with "low-brow, angry, belligerent idiot." I'd not welcome a label, given that connotation.

And now the press has mangled it beyond easy recall, applying "fundamentalist" to anything they don't like -- fundamentalist regimes, Muslims, and so forth.

"Evangelical." I've often lamented the bastardization of "Evangelical." It once was nearly synonymous with "Fundamentalist," and had the distinct meaning of one devoted to the Evangel, the Good News, the Biblical Gospel. What does it mean now, when "evangelicals" embrace religions such as Roman Catholicism and Mormonism, sects that deny the Gospel at its root? When Fuller Seminary and Dallas and Westminster all equally can be called "Evangelical," I have to admit I have no idea whatever what it means anymore, and wonder whether it has any usefulness at all -- except to describe anyone to the right of Marcus Borg.

"Cessationist." Since I came to affirm that Holy Spirit's description of the sufficiency of Scripture and definition of the confirmatory or "sign" gifts, I didn't know what to call myself. "Non-charismatic" falls into the same ditch as "anti-abortion," defining a very positive and uplifting position by what it isn't, by what it opposes.

Then "cessationist" came along, and I was temporarily relieved at least to have a descriptive term. But then I realized with disappointment that, yet again, I was defining myself by what I didn't believe in, that I didn't believe that the Canon should be forced ajar and Scripture diluted to allow modern imitations to be lumped in with the exponentially-different Biblical phenomena. So I've tried for months, with no success, to come up with a fittingly positive term.

"Lordship salvation." I frankly don't love that label at all, and never use it of myself. Given that the other side characterizes itself (falsely) as affirming grace, it tacitly and unintentionally seems to agree that we see works as part of salvation, which we emphatically do not.

But what do you call the "other side"? The "grace" school? Surely this is to credit the position in ways it does not deserve, and foster misunderstandings.

As an aside, one of the bizarrest cross-linkings I've ever seen was to a post of mine in which I affirmed "Grace alone." Almost all of you will recognize this as the historic, Biblical, Reformed position, a distinctive that marks Christianity off from Roman Catholicism. Yet the author was evidently an adherent to this... this anti-Lordship, or whatever, school, and thought it strange that I, a 5-point Calvinist, should affirm grace alone.

It's enough to drive one to despair of all attempts at communication.



But I digress.

So what are better labels? In the light of 1 Corinthians 15:13, should I call mine the "Powerful Grace" school? Or, in the light of Titus 2:11-12, the "Saving-and-Sacntifying Grace," or the "Effective Grace" position? Either way, I think it best to call the other side the "Impotent Grace" faction, though I doubt they'd agree.

I could go on and on with other terms that are not as useful as one might hope, since they either say too much, too little, or too varied depending on the audience: Reformed, Calvinistic, conservative, and so on.

So is the answer, with some, simply to throw up one's hands in frustration and say, "I'm a Christian, period!"? To say, "I hate labels, I don't like them, I won't use them"? To adopt the (unintentionally) elitist, superior stance that I am so lofty and transcendently supercalifragilistic that I cannot be defined by a label, like lesser mortals can?

It has its appeal, but I'm afraid it's neither possible, nor desirable. I think we're hardwired to use labels. In fact, I think it's part of how God made us.

Genesis 1:26-28, as I read the Hebrew, effectively describes the "image of God" as the equipment necessary to rule and subdue creation under and for God. This work of exercising dominion is man's birthright, legacy, and calling, by creation.

Then when Genesis 2 pulls its tight close-up on the origins of man, we see the specifics. Adam wasn't simply told, "Subdue the earth... on three! One... two...." He was set down in the Garden, to work and subdue it (2:15), as his first assignment. In this connection the animals are brought to him, and he names them (2:19-20).

We read the narrative very badly if we see it as a quaint, "just-so" tale. To name a thing is to assert ownership of it; and to pick a name is to exercise study, analysis, and understanding. Naming involves categorization, categorization is an operation of subduing, and subduing is in our nature.

So it is necessary and desirable that we label positions. It is in our nature to think about, to analyze, to "capture" and subdue intellectually. It is this broken but brokenly-functional image that drives lost scientists to try to get a handle on aspects of creation, and it is this same image that moves us to get a handle on doctrinal and philosophical positions.

So labels are necessary and, in fact, unavoidable. They're an outgrowth of the imago Dei.

I just wish we had better ones -- and that they'd stay put once we make them up!

Dan Phillips's signature

108 comments:

C.H.H. said...

That was a great- refreshingly thought provoking.

The Hungarian Luddite said...

They are only necessary because we choose to make them necessary.

It seems the early followers of Jesus were able to do without all the labels........we sub-divide and then sub-divide again.

There is ONE Church. Either we are in it or we are not. That should be sufficient.

I am of the opinion that all the labels do is promote sectarianism and division.

Of course alot of folks wouldn't know what do do what those two things.

IT is far t oeasy for "labelers" to become "keepers of the Book of Life." Rather than the Scripture being the Standard, the label, with all its loaded terminology, becomes the standard.

Christian is good enough for me. And yes, that includes ALL whom call on the name of the Lord.

Randy said...

I'm not so sure that labels are the cause of division as much as they are the result of division. Labels are how we communicate our preception of others. That can be good or bad. And just because someone gives themself the label "Christian" doesn't make them one. Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Stephen Dunning said...

Labels are often given to us by other people, not by ourselves (e.g. PURITAN).

goodnightsafehome said...

If you went into a supermarket [foodstore, I guess] and someone took all the labels of the tins, there would be in great confusion. They are a necessary evil, not only in a divided world, but in a divided church. If you take them away, you end up using hundreds of words trying to distance yourself from heretics.

kletois said...

Labels?
I'm a homophobe, islamophobe, racist, calvinist, NCTer.
Hey, someone has to be.

(The above is not meant to be taken seriously)

Libbie said...

I have no problem with labels. They often reveal as much about the person who uses them as the labelee.
I've been incorrectly labeled before now. Or a label I have used myself has been misconstrued. You know what happened? I actually had to communicate with people so that I could explain myself properly.
*shock*
Perhaps half the problem with the early church saying 'I follow Paul, I follow Apollos' is that people tend to grab onto labels, or apply them without taking the time and trouble to find out what they actually mean.

How about biblio-sufficientist? As catchy as ebola, that one.

Larry said...

Interesting, though I think your definition of fundamentalist is a little skewed. A fundamentalist was not just someone who affirmed those things, but as Laws said, was willing to do battle royal for them. Many wnat to be fundamentalists but don't want to fight and separate for these fundamentals.

I also have to wonder what is up with the picture. What is that about?

Jon from Reidville, SC said...

I like the argument that labeling is hardwired into us. I think it really holds up to scripture and to experience.
But what do labels really do for us. I am proud to be a Fundamentalist in the historic sense but I don't want anything to do with some of the idiots that use the term of themselves.
A label is great when it works. My wife is Canadian. When she tells people that it tells them something clearly definable about her. If I tell you I was raised in an Independant Baptist Church that tells you something clearly definable about my upbringing.
So clearly we need a label that we define and that clearly tells the world something about its adherents. The best I have been able to come up with is Neo-Puritan and even that is loaded with witch-hunt baggage!

Mike Y said...

Personally, I'm against self-labeling. I believe we should define ourselves by our positions, which are hopefully based on immutable doctrine. The problem with labels is that the connotations are constantly changing. Do redefine ourselves by taking modified lables makes us look as if we're unsteady in our positions. Either that or we have to keep explaining how the other side has warped the meaning.

I think this is one of the values of a comprehensive statement of faith. We can elaborate precisely on our views of specific key doctrines.

Many churches seem to have these pithy statements that a very generic in nature. I think it reveals much about their gospel.

Anyway, I don't have an issue with anyone who enjoys taking on labels. But it's not my preference.

lilrabbi said...

What is the label for a 5 point calvinist who posts pictures of girls in mini-skirts on a blog? "Inconsistent"? Something like that.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I like the dictionary definition of fundamentalist, someone who strictly adheres to a standard. I also don't mind lordship salvation. What other kind of salvation is there? Non-lordship? And like Larry, I'm wondering what I'm supposed to do when I get to the woman in the hotpants standing on the pyromaniacs logo. She seems to be pyro of a different kind.

Phil Johnson said...

For all the fundamentalist lurkers whose minds are in the gutter, the girl in the picture is wearing shorts, not a miniskirt or hotpants. The dog is the one in the miniskirt.

Longtime readers will recognize the girl from the cover of one of the biblezine parodies published on the original PyroManiac blog last year.

Her name is Chiquita, but she shuns labels.

Dan B. said...

Dan,
You pointed something out that I think is quite helpful in the discussion of labels. (You may have not said it explicitly, but I gathered it from the article.)

Labels can be useful if definitions of those labels can be agreed upon, like measuring to a standard. If so, then labels can be helpful communication (just as the previous commenter said about someone being "Canadian"). Definitions are important when using words in any language. If the definitions for words such as "evangelical" are redefined by each generation or each individual, then they become at least hard to work with and use, and at worst dangerous when trying to convey ideas.

For most of the words you mentioned, and with some folks redefining terms, I think at best labels can be a starting point in the conversation, provided that the hearer allows the person provides the labeler the opportunity to say what they mean by that label. Oftentimes, however, labels are used by the proclaimer pejoratively and in a way that skews the real meaning of the word.

(a similar argument I think could be made for literature or art, when a reader or observer makes it what THEY want it to mean, rather than what the writer or artist intended)

PreachermanMCBC said...

Phil Johnson,

How very judgemental of you to proclaim that those who are offended with the picture have their "minds in the gutter." And I am not talking about "righteous judgement." No sarcasm at all. I'm totally serious.

I suppose that Paul's mind was in the gutter when he related that women should wear modest apparel???

Judging righteous (Biblical)judgement , I affirm that Kent and others are exactly right for questioning this. This is spiritually sickening that a picture of that type is posted where men of God are encouraged to read. The clothing and the pose have sensuality written all over it. Now, you can go ahead and mock and say I'm the one with the problem, but maybe the Holy Spirit was the "one with the problem" when He warned of this very "look" in the book of Proverbs???

With your attitude it is an absolute joke to me that you are known as the keeper of all things Spurgeon. Spurgeon warned of your type in his day. He despised the unholiness, the worldliness, the sensuality of his time. He preached against going to plays, for Pete's sake! And he preached strongly that specific sins should be denounced. Maybe you should actually read some of his sermons.

Maybe I'm just another "angry, belligerant IFB," or maybe I'm just someone who believes what the Bible says.

Disgusted by your picture and your comments . . .

Steve-O said...

Dan the man:

Nothing wrong with defining yourself by something to which you are opposed. Heck, any negative statement can be turned into a positive. In fact, it's a great tactic to use against atheists who use the old: "atheists affirm nothing and so they have nothing to defend" route. Change that negative into a positive and give them something to defend (ie. "What evidence do you have that the universe emerged out of nothing?")

Okay. I am rambling a bit. I am sorry. Great definition for cessationalist: Someone who believes that God has ended his written revelation to man through the Bible.

Hoo-wah!!!!

Mike Y said...

I suppose if you're of the mindset of legislating self-righteousness, the girl in the photo could be quite offensive. And perhaps, to avoid getting into doubtful disputations, it should be removed.

However, the passage I believe that is being referred to is for women who profess godliness to avoid letting their spirituality be known by their apparel, their hair, or their jewelry. And their apparel was to be appropriate.

Getting off on a holier than thou slant is just as offensive to me as I'm sure the picture is to some of you. It's part of a parody. Please get over it and over yourselves. If you don't approve of the apparel, or the pose, then I would encourage you to keep your wives and daughters from both, as the head of your own household.

Phil/Dan, while I understand the origins of her, it may be a good use of liberty to replace it. Just a suggestion.

Steve-O said...

I'm a 33-year-old single dude (with a wandering eye) and that picture isn't even in the same universe as "suggestive."

Just my take.

Mike Y said...

steve-o,

Maybe Phil and Dan will hook you up?

Nutria Boy said...

I'm offended that I would be labeled by a label. Labels tell information about the contents of the container and no one has a right to know what is in mine.

I, hereby, call all peoples everywhere to wrap themselves up in an Archie-Bunker yellow and black generic label named, "Human being".
If you want to know more then you'll have to engage one another in dialogue.

It is worth noting, however, that those who oppose labels the most seem to need them the most.

Label on you vile labelers!

Broken Messenger said...

So labels are necessary and, in fact, unavoidable. They're an outgrowth of the imago Dei.

I don't necessarily agree with this conclusion, Dan. Labels are often unnecessary because they reveal how we have set presumptions in concrete in order to avoid what we are generally too lazy to do: investigating an individual, church or group on the basis and merits of what they actually do and say. I fully acknowledge that I am often guilty on this one too... That said, if someone takes a label upon themselves, I would consider them to be fair game.

...the girl in the picture is wearing shorts...

Phil, what troubles me is the thought of how many times you had to use the zoom feature in Paint Shop/Photoshop in order to truly tell that they were shorts. 300%? 500%?! Was your wife with you as you were conducting this, uh, chore? ;o)

Brad

Kim said...

Libbie said:

I have no problem with labels. They often reveal as much about the person who uses them as the labelee.

I think I tend to think this way at times. Sometimes, labelling is a way for an individual to sort through identities in his or her mind. I think it's often unavoidable.

Here's a question for someone who is a more astute thinker than I: is labelling someone the same thing as creating a stereotype

Kim (who is hoping to get the conversation of the "girl" which I know nothing about)

Phil Johnson said...

A Note Regarding the Controversial Picture:

My dear wife (who has strict Victorian sensibilities and is easily offended at virtually every expression of actual immodesty) was not the least bit offended by the picture in question and thinks some of you guys need to calm down.

Even my beagle, Wrigley, who is offended only by the sight of male dogs dressed in effeminate clothing, found the picture well within the bounds of good taste, especially given the point it was meant to illustrate.

However, out of deference to the weaker brethren, and with no wish to be the object of some irascible fundamentalist's fatwa, I have removed the picture anyway.

For the record, the girl in the original picture had striped socks that covered her legs up to a point above her knees, mid-thigh-length shorts, no exposed midriff, medium-length sleeves on her shirt, and no plunging neckline. There was nothing remotely obscene about the picture (unless you consider a punk hairdo and a punked-out dog "obscene"). And the girl pictured was not being venerated as any kind of role model. Rather, we were lampooning her for the superficiality of her attempt to be "authentic."

Anyway, those bold souls wanting to judge the girl's costume for themselves may follow this link.

And Broken Brad: as a matter of fact, Darlene did approve the picture, which was originally large enough to distinguish the shorts fairly easily without any zooming. (Although for the sake of full disclosure, it may be more accurate to say they are a variety of culottes).

PreachermanMCBC said...

So, for the sake of "weaker" brethren you will remove the offense and mock the weaker brethren?

Very Christlike. Very much like Paul. SARCASM

Paul's teachings concerning weaker brethren and liberty have NOTHING to do with violating Biblical standards of holiness. Yep, I said standards. Biblical standards. There's that nutty IFBX again. That vile word. I wonder if it violates the rules?

The whole liberty, weaker brethren, etc. teachings deal with MEAT as in FOOD as in vegetables, meats, meats offered to idols . . . Hello? Why do New Evangelicals (there's a label) stretch it to cover everything that they WANT to do? It is like liberals stretching the First Amendment!

I didn't know our understanding of modesty came from our wives, single men, beagles (yes, I know that was a joke), etc. I was under the assumption that the Bible is the final authority.

Why not just humbly admit that your picture was wrong? What is so hard about that?

Steve-O said...

Preacherman:

I think you're kind of making a mountain out of a molehill here. I didn't find anything titillating about the picture Phil posted. In fact, it didn't even register as "possibly titillating" until it was brought up on this board.

And of course there is a Biblical maxim for modest dress. The problem is that the Bible doesn't spell out exactly what is proper and what it improper. It doesn't give us guidelines (do not expose your midriff, ensure that skirts come at least two inches below the knees, etc..) precisely because the Bible is a trans-cultural book. What our society may view as modest may be seen as extremely kinky in another society.

For example, did you know that is some Asian cultures, a woman baring her feet in public would be considered just as taboo as her revealing her breasts in ours? (I'm not even going to mention the burkas that many women in the Middle East must wear.)

Phil posted a picture that, to my mind, was not titillating or suggestive by western standards. Honestly, I can't see what the big deal is.

Greg Linscott said...

Phil and Dan,

I'm sorry.

BTW- where can I get some of those cool Fundie Burkhas? Do they come in maternity sizes? We just found out #4 is on the way.

Greg Linscott
Achieving Fundamentalist Dominance One Child At A Time (R)

DJP said...

[From an internet cafe in Mammoth Lakes, checking in....]

To the three people (+/-) who actually read the post and responded to it: Thanks.

Everyone else: Sheesh.

Phil: Sorry, no fooreboding about that graphics-choice whatever. Predictometer totally failed me. Now... what is it that's taken Chiquita's place?

Mike: LOL

Linscott: Congratulations!

Libbie: Definitely going in the right direction.

Steve said...

Back when the girl showed up on the Biblezine cover on the original Pyromaniac site, I don't recall anyone complaining about the image (and it was bigger back then, too). Evidently TeamPyro has picked up some new readership along the way.

I'm sorry, but I just don't see how it's a suggestive image--as someone else stated, the clothes aren't revealing even by western standards. The shorts and top are very standard. If anything, the image is chaotic, not suggestive.

For the record, my wife and I are very conservative and modest. Interestingly, I once had a legalistic fundamentalist roommate who said men should always wear T-shirts under a dress shirt because "button-up shirts don't cover up enough of a man's neck." Yet around Christian women, he had "wandering eyes" worse than what I'd encountered among most unbelievers. That sure said a lot.

Kim said...

[From an internet cafe in Mammoth Lakes, checking in....]

Oh, you are a dedicated Pyromaniac.

Steve said...

Phil: You couldn't have picked a better replacement photo. Touche.

DJP said...

Kim -- if, in Canada, "dedicated" is a synonym for "alarmingly obsessed," you're absolutely right.

(c:

Greg Linscott said...

Dan,

I think that "alarmingly obsessed" would be synonymous for "those who live in the States, eh?" in the minds of most Canadians.

PreachermanMCBC said...

THE issue with me is mainly how the men of God, Christian brethren, who expressed some concern over the picture were immediately "labeled," scorned, and treated as fools. Try that one on instead of going on about the girl. Deal with the fact that you treated the ones who were originally "offended" as pathetic, slobbering, morons. Then, you offered a response to them as "weaker brethren" that you proceeded to mock some more.

The hypocrisy is astounding.

Even So... said...

The camel is killing me...I am dying of laughter over here...

Hasn't anyone seen the irony in what has happened here? I know it was serendipity, Dan, but I believe God has played it out as sublime in its effect...

Hello? Anyone? Object lesson? Hello?

Phil Johnson said...

1. Further on this subject, see this classic post from the original Pyromaniac blog.

2. On "weaker brethren," see this.

3. On the apostle Paul and the use of sanctified sarcasm, see this.

4. On Spurgeon's attitude toward artificial sanctimony in preachers, see this—especially this part:

"Not by any peculiar jargon in your speech are you to be known. For my part I abhor in any man that sanctimonious tone and sacred whine which many affect; even in the pulpit I despise it. I believe that the reason why the pulpit has lost so much of its former power is because men must needs mouth our blessed Saxon tongue, and talk as if everything natural were to be eschewed there, and men, metamorphosed into ministers, were to be as unnatural and grotesque in their modes of speech as possible. No, not these, not these; all such artificial separations we leave to the people whose vanity feeds on its own conceit. Nor need you make any straining effort to be distinguished by any stiff buckram of your own; do not try to make yourself look like a Christian. True Christians can do a great many things that sham Christians must not do. As for me, I am never afraid to laugh, for I shall never crack the paint on my face, laugh as I may. A sincere man may do a great many things that a hypocrite dare not do, for he will split the garments of his hypocrisy if he ventures to run as a Christian may. Heavenly realities within do not always need to be plastered up and labelled outside, so that everybody may see and recognize you, and say, 'There goes a saint.' There are other modes of being distinguished from the world than any of these."

Phil Johnson said...

PS: Greg Linscott:

Congratulations!

But will you please see to it that the angry fundies get back to SharperIron before curfew tonight?

PreachermanMCBC said...

What does Spurgeon's detestation of sanctimonious preachers have to do with this? I haven't seen powdered wigs, makeup, or hypocritical piety by the men who related their opinion that the picture was distasteful.

Quoting Spurgeon out of context proves nothing.

Using the phrase "weaker brethren" out of context proves nothing.

Mocking, scorning, and "labeling" Christian brethren as "hyper-fundies" proves nothing.

The issue is how offended believers are treated by you. Again, the hypocrisy is astounding. An objection is stated and the "loving, accepting, open-minded, non-belligerant, non-hyperfundies" immediately begin lambasting the offended.

Incredible.

Carla said...

Brother Daniel Booyah Mammoth Lakes Obsessed Pyro, sir...

I read the post and thought it was very good. Labels (or the use of them) tend to rub some folks the wrong way, and yet we all use them. We have to.

Here's a cute (short) story:

When my uncle was about 4 years old, he was in trouble with his mom (my grandma). He informed her that he was going to change his name. He said he would not tell her what the new name was, and the next time she passed him on the street and said "well hello Merle, good to see you" he would just keep walking, because Merle would no longer be his name. She replied and said "well you will still be Merle no matter what you call yourself".

I think in many ways, that sums it up for us Christians. The positions we hold, the convictions we have, no matter what they're called by others (or ourselves) are still the "labels" we're known by. Sometimes that's okay, but sometimes it's frustrating because in the minds of others, the label has a negative meaning and leaves a false impression with others.

My husband's friend Tom calls me "that fundie chick" and to me that's okay - I know that what he means when he says that is that I am staunch 5 pointer with strong, old fashioned values. To many others however, it would have a really negative connotation, and they might even argue that my husband's friend's definition of a "fundie" isn't even accurate. (We have in fact had uncomfortable confrontations with others over this very innocent label, if you can believe that.)

I didn't mean to ramble on, but I really enjoyed this post.

SDG...

Oh yes - and congrats to Greg Linscott on the news of the new baby! What a wonderful blessing
:o)

Greg Linscott said...

Phil,

Actually, I was kind of enjoying having someone else have as much "fun" as we have been... ;-)

Bobby,

I have to be honest here. I understand that you might object to the picture- but I do find it hard to believe that you are offended in any substantial, personal way that would warrant a need for reconciliation.

It's not your blog- it's not your conversation. Have some respect for your hosts, recognizing that your convictions on this particular issue aren't theirs (a fact I'm certain you were aware of).

Anyway, I've probably said too much. I have enough moderating to keep me busy elsewhere- so I really shouldn't be trying to do it here.

Phil and co.- Your congratulatory words are appreciated. BTW- Tell Frank if he can get a Team Pyro-emblazoned maternity burkha in the store, he just might have himself a customer!

Kent Brandenburg said...

More labels have been contributed, I noticed. The legalistic self-righteous, for instance. Weaker brother is a common one. I read the article and one statement Dr. MacArthur made: "I would venture to say that 99.9 percent of all movies are immoral to one extent or another, either in what is depicted or implicit." Do most people at Pyro agree with that? If I wrote that, would I be attacked for legalism?

Prove all things. That's all that's happening. I see a huge lack of discernment, not Christian liberty. Romans 6:1 would have been a good message to post, because we don't have freedom to sin. Yielding our members, our eyes, for instance, as members of righteousness, is not self-righteousness. Neither is it legalistic.

Is this really fundamentalist? I didn't know. I thought it was just Bible.

The weaker brother is someone drawn easily back into idolatry through the idol house meat market. His conscience wasn't exercised to God's truth enough to prevent a fall. A sensitive conscience is a strong conscience. Exposing ourselves to unclean pictures doesn't help the conscience, rather deadens it for when we need it most. He that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.

The left attacked Ken Starr when he tried to prosecute purgery by the White House over something that happened with an intern---they said his mind was in the gutter.

PreachermanMCBC said...

Greg,

If you would actually read my posts you would find what my chief concern is.

My concern relates to the fact that some "brethren" were offended and they were immediately lambasted. It is disconcerting that those who profess to oppose the hard-nosed, name-calling, mean-spirited . . . . approach immediately become all of that when questioned about the content of their site that is designed to exhort "brethren."

Why is my concern so hard to acknowledge. Why do you and others want to keep talking about the picture?

CuriousSaint said...

Sorry just to bust in here...but I have to partially agree with preacherman...he is making a point that has made itself evident, at least on the outside, in the posts of those involved. Admittedly, I know not anyone's heart involved in this conversation, but I suspect all had good intentions to start with. Maybe we should stop, pray, and rethink this whole thing.

Phil Johnson said...

No one was "lambasted" for complaining. No one was even called a "legalist" for complaining. Check again. All the anger and histrionics in this comment thread have come from a couple of commenters who seem determined to find an offense where none exists.

And the reason people "keep talking about the picture" is that's the crux of the matter.

Again, the image of Chiquita was posted to illustrate the phony "authenticity" of the punk lifestyle. No one endorsed punkism, and no one attempted to incite anyone to lust or evil thoughts. The angry outrage expressed by a couple of our more overweening fundamentalist brethren was quite unnecessary.

Now, if someone really is truly offended by the sight of a punk hairdo and a sullen posture, fine. Criticize the hairdo or the posture. But calling that image an "unclean picture," pretending it's somehow obscene, or suggesting that anyone who looks at it is yielding his eyes as members of unrighteousness unto sin exaggerates the complaint all out of proportion to reality, and it is a slander against Daniel, who posted the picture.

That's the kind of stuff that made fundamentalism a bad word.

Kent Brandenburg said...

It started with this:

Larry: I also have to wonder what is up with the picture. What is that about?

Then from me: And like Larry, I'm wondering what I'm supposed to do when I get to the woman in the hotpants standing on the pyromaniacs logo. She seems to be pyro of a different kind.

Overweening so far? Not really.

Then Phil: For all the fundamentalist lurkers whose minds are in the gutter, the girl in the picture is wearing shorts, not a miniskirt or hotpants. The dog is the one in the miniskirt.

"Fundamentalist lurkers whose minds are in the gutter." I would say that is where it escalated. Others can judge.

And now slander? Wow.

I'm out.

Steve said...

Phil said: "...a couple of commenters who seem determined to find an offense where none exists."

That pretty well sums up the problem. The picture simply is not suggestive or provocative. To make it so would require reading into it something that's not there.

Mike Y said...

Well Phil, you removed the pic out of consideration and the gripes are pouring in bigtime. I guess you can't please some folks.

My take is that if someone was truly offended by it, and is godly, he would either leave the site or pluck his own eyes out. But I'm sure nestled somewhere between Malachi and Matthew there is something there about making the rest of society conform to one's "standards".

I love it when I hear that term. My wife, sister-in-law, her husband, brother-in-law, former pastor, his wife, and others were brainwashed with that nonsense at Hyles Anderson. But after a very long time, and via much scripture, they now find it to be garbage and not in the bible.

And funny that they're offended at the labels being tossed their way when they keep calling themselves IFBx or IFB.

This is just mind numbing.

David Cho said...

The Biblezine parody:

"Paul wore chains too." LOL

PreachermanMCBC said...

Phil, you can say whatever you want about "the crux of the matter." You are so obsessed with the picture that you cannot see, hear, or comprehend my point.

Once again, what I find amazingly hypocritical is your treatment of Larry and Kent who kindly let you know that they thought the picture was a little out of line.

You have added yet another label to them: "Overweening fundamentalists."

The irony continues.

Thanks to Curious for being honest about the point I have made.

Phil and gang, I'm beginning to think you get the point, you see the problem, but you just refuse to admit it. It is more fun for you to pretend that THE main issue is the picture.

Don't say that I labeled myself IFBx. That was written in sarcasm as being from one of you.

I am simply a Bible Baptist. Fundamentalist does not describe me well because the movement is too broad for me.

Mister Larry said...

Ugh... I hate to identify myself as a fundie (which I am) from what I've read here, but it seems that some overweening "Fundiefascists" have taken offense over an image, and still can't accurately describe the offending image of a punked out female in shorts and dog in a miniskirt (like much else that fundies can't get the facts straight, like evil Bible versions and JMac being an apostate). I hate to see this thread being hijacked over this. Perhaps the labels some get put on them are correct in describing a 'sect' of Christianity, for better or for worse.

Thomas H.B. Slawson said...

I personally love William Perkins' "label"....

I'm a student of the science of living blessedly forever.

Use that one on a plane ride next time someone asks you "What do you do?"

marc said...

Whoah! That woman in the Burka is HOT! Phil, please take it down its causing me to stumble.

Ben said...

I'm shocked . . . shocked! to discover that fundamentalists read this evangelical blog (let alone POST on it). I thought fundamentalists believed it's wrong to associate with disobedient brethren (i.e. non-fundamentalists).

Why would fundamentalists read evangelical writings? Everything good that the evangelicals have they hijacked from the fundamentalists.[/sarcasm]

Go away, folks. Nothing to see here.

Chris HH said...

We apply labels to people, but people are not labels. In them the true Imago Dei lies.

As has already been mentioned, labels, like all other words, should be judged by how well they communicate. Do they help categorise, or do they hinder and divide? Do they inform or do they attempt to define?

People rarely live up to the stereotypes we apply to them. We make colourful excuses for our own ways, yet see those of others in black-and-white.

No matter how virtuous our own labels may be, we should never be more loyal to them than to the living testimony of the Scriptures.

If the label doesn't fit - shed it!

John W. Lost Us said...

Boy, that whole thing was much ado about nothing. I think they were looking for the slightest thing to criticize Phil about, so they could get him to admit being wrong about something and force an apology. I think you're right on about this Phil. If you check Preacher Man (Bobby Mitchell)'s profile he lists his favorite book as the "The Bible--Authorized Version", KJV only, anyone? Preacher man--we get your point. Any complaints about the new picture, I mean the camel is NAKED!!

Mike Y said...

John W. Lost Us,

I noticed the same thing when I checked his profile. Definitely have a good idea of where he's coming from.

Hey Phil, is that a Bedouin radiation suit?

SolaMeanie said...

First, as to the stupid mini-skirt kerfuffle, I take a back seat to no one in terms of being conservative theologically and morally. Most of the time, when I see a woman in something showing too much flesh (you don't even have to go to the beach anymore to see some woman or teen walking down the street with her gluteus maximus showing) my first temptation is to take a bull whip, leave a welt and tell her to get her clothes on. I find nothing attractive in such displays whatsoever. I am more attracted by elegance in a women.

Having said that, these kinds of food fights among Christians are time-wasting and childish. Perhaps Phil's initial response was a bit strong, but the reaction he received by a couple of posters are a classic example of WHY he reacted the way he did. Phil lobbed a ladyfinger firecracker and Preacherman responded with a phosphorus grenade. It was all downhill from there. This really borders on legalism.

Did you ever stop to think that what women wear today in the most conservative, fundamental circles (including Preacherman's) would have been ostracized - maybe even tarred and feathered - during Victorian times? During the American Civil War, pregnant women weren't even supposed to go out in public because it was considered indecent.

I think cultural arguments can be used too much to try and explain away some Scripture, but there is some validity to how things are viewed in a given culture or society. While we certainly shouldn't be indecent or immodest as believers, our society is not going to go back to the Victorian era with its girdles and corsets. Most people don't even notice girls in shorts these days, however they do notice thong bikinis. Does that mean we let culture dictate biblical standards? Of course not. However, in the body of Christ, the matters of individual conscience and "weaker" brethren certainly do apply in a case like this. We ought to respect those who are offended by something like this and take that into account, but it is equally wrong for those who are offended to revel in BEING offended, and then trying to ram their bugaboos down the throats of everyone else who might not have a conviction in this area.

I can remember when I was in Russia with John MacArthur. He was teaching a pastors' conference there, and the subject of smoking came up. As is his commendable wont, John said that smoking was not addressed in the Bible and thus it had to be an issue of conscience. John made it quite clear that he didn't approve of smoking, believing it is bad stewardship of our bodies. But to be biblically faithful, he couldn't call it sin when the Bible didn't address it. This caused considerable consternation among the Russian brothers, because they consider smoking a sin. Eventually, John had to let it be and move on. But it was a case that their personal convictions overruled the actual text of Scripture. Because they haven't had a lot of theological training there, that is to be expected - and I say that with the highest regard for them, their love for Christ and strong conservative convictions. Give them time and training.

Enough of that hobbyhorse. As to labels, it is unfortunate that we have to use them, but use them we must. I do like what C.S. Lewis said once, that labels were often an excuse to avoid thinking.

Oh, horrors. What did I just do? C.S. Lewis smoked. I repent in sackcloth and ashes.

C. T. Lillies said...

Oh come on!

You all know the pyro gang plays hard ball and they don't apologize for it. No need to call in the nukes there Bob. Why can't YOU admit that it was a good post? You were the one who mentioned you were a "nutty IFBX" or whatever. Are you not sick of the connotations of that? Probably just as sick as some of the rest of the folks here are of being called "hypercalvinist".

even so nails it again with "Hello? Object lesson?"

Yer's fer bein' agin nekkid wimmin waterin' the camels...
Josh

Larry said...

You guys make me laugh ... all of you. Fundiefascits? Minds in the gutter? Kerfuffle? Hilarious. I agree that if someone is driven to lust over that picture they have serious issues. I was not titillated by it in the least, nor caused to stumble into sin. I don't know that it was particularly offensive. I simply thought it was a strange choice of pictures for a blog about Christianity. I didn't know the history of it since I am not a long time reader (although the Biblezine cover was pretty funny). It just didn't seem to fit with the topic of the thread. And I didn't look close enough or long enough to see if she was wearing shorts, a miniskirt, or hotpants. Maybe I should have spent more time on the pictures rather than the content. Then I could be a real fundamentalist ... or something. (isn't that how it works, Phil?)

I wasn't trying to blast Phil or cause dissension. I simply was asking why the use of that picture? (Now all my SI friends will accuse me of compromise, so I can get hit from both sides.) Sorry to cause confusion over the picture. It just seemed out of place to me.

My original comment was simply that the definition of fundamentalist given was insufficient because it involved no notion of separation of any kind. Fundamentalists have always separated, not simply believed.

I think labels are useful provided they are rightly understood by all parties involved in their use. If I believed Phil had properly defined fundamentalist in his little talks in the couple of years, I would never use the term. There are no doubt that some that fit that mold. But I want nothing to do with them. Fundamentalism as I know it and claim has nothing to do with people who get bent out of shape about women wearing pants, or people who believe the KJV is the only Word of God.

But labels serve for shorthand. I can tell you I am a Baptist, or I can spend an hour telling you what I believe and in the end you will say, "O, you are a Baptist." So labels are helpful. They are not excuses for not thinking (regardless of who said they were). In fact, the use of labels requires some thought to understand the label and use it rightly. So use labels ... just use them right.

Mike Y said...

Well said Larry.

Caleb Kolstad said...

This IS the kind of stuff that made fundamentalism a bad word.

Some people need to get out a little more.

These are some of the reasons why i don’t use the term Fundamentalist to describe myself anymore.

The Pyromaniacs sure know how to attract em- From Raja on one side to these foaming at the mouth, secondary separation folks on the other side of the pendulum. :)

I guess thats what makes this place so much fun!

Antonio said...

Dan,

The significance of my post that linked to yours is different than you suppose here in the OP. It was that you articulated that both the Mormon and the Roman Cathlolic share Christ as a referent of their beliefs the Lord Jesus Christ. I agree with this statement. Most in the Reformed Tradition would state that the Mormon (and to a lesser degree the Roman Catholic) does not.

Nevertheless, neither has believed the promise of the Gospel of Christ: that Jesus Christ guarantees eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him for it.

They, (not unlike the Traditionalist), have conditioned final entrance into heaven upon the faithful endurance in works.

Broken Messenger said...

And Broken Brad: as a matter of fact, Darlene did approve the picture, which was originally large enough to distinguish the shorts fairly easily without any zooming.

You took it down?! Oh, I was just pulling your leg, Phil, that picture didn't offend me in the least. I apologize if I gave you the impression otherwise...I thought the wink ;o) had this covered.

Brad

Christopher said...

I read this post after the picture was already replaced, so I never saw the original offending photo. If I am correct in assuming that the picture of the girl has been replaced with the camel - that is too funny Phil!

I think it’s a bit too subtle though for the crowd that needs to spend some time internalizing the principles from the end of the second chapter of Colossians.

donsands said...

"love 'em, hate em"

Yep.

Good post. And interesting comments to read over.

Don "Reformed Sinner Saved by Grace Alone" Sands

Scott Hill said...

This comments section is the best example of a hijacked blog post I have ever seen.

Dan, it was a great post and if you come up with that replacement for cessationist let me know. I personally like labels.

I must be either highly sanctified or totally desensitized, because I barley noticed the picture. I noticed when I came back to read the post again that the picture was different, but couldn't remember exactly what the other one looked like.

PreachermanMCBC you should really go do an indepth study on the weaker brother.

Matt Waymeyer said...

A photograph of a woman wearing shorts and punk hairdo? No problem. But allowing a picture of a Zane Hodges book in the comments section??? I'll never read this blog again!

maranatha man said...

Great post! My sentiments exactly!

Steve said...

Scott Hill said: "if you come up with that replacement for cessationist let me know."

The best I myself have been able to do is add prefixes to help bring a bit more of a positive flavor to the label. But I'm sure the continuationists will consider this cheating:

Pro-cessationist

Anti-cessationist

For accuracy's sake, in light of one of Phil's posts on this subject, continuationists cannot truly call themselves that. They are partial cessationists or minimal continuationists.

Trinian said...

*fooom* *kapow* oooooooooo
*foom* *pop* *pop* *pooooww* aaaaaaah

Nice 4th of July fireworks there, Dan. A superb lesson on modern fundamentalism - I've listened to Phil's sermons on the movement, and it just doesn't come across as well until you see it firsthand.

As for the content, I have a suggestion for a replacement for "cessationist". Borrowing from last week's post, how about "Contentist"? Being that we're content with the content of Scripture. Those believing that they need some special supernatural revelation, feeling, or experience to continuously validate their salvation would then be "Discontentists", being themselves discontent with the revealed word of God, and the Spirit's divine intervention in their lives.

Eh?

Eh?

Ah well, I'll go back to lurking now. :)

~Trinian

FreedfromBondage said...

YAWN!!! Z-Z-Z-Z-Z!!

To my blessed brethren..preacherman & others..since we are all Biblicist, let us examine the Word of our Lord. PSALM 119:165 "Great peace have they which love thy law: and NOTHING SHALL OFFEND THEM." (caps added for attention, and the visually impaired) So I guess since we all Love Jesus, and LOVE the Bible then there should be no one offended. YEA, problem solved! PEACE...get ya some!

Trinian said...

freedfrombondage:

Oof, sorry, KJV language rears its ugly head again.
Unfortunately, that verse, because of the English in which it was written, does not mean what you think it means. I'd suggest checking out a few other translations to help you out in your study. (ESV, NASB, etc) It's not that the KJV version of this is wrong, it's just that shoving the modern definition of "offense" into the language in which this verse was written could lead you to wrong conclusions.

Peace brother,
~Trinian

Trinian said...

Just as a small followup (because for some reason I feel compelled)...

offend
c.1320, "to sin against (someone)," from M.Fr. offendre, from L. offendere "strike against, stumble, commit a fault, displease," from ob "against" + fendere "to strike" (found only in compounds). Meaning "to violate (a law), to make a moral false step, to commit a crime" is from 1382.

Funny how language evolves, yeah?
~Trinian

Phil Johnson said...

AN APOLOGY

Chiquita wants everyone to know how sorry she is to have caused so much offense. She's got some fundamentalist women helping her get her act together.

Chelle Y. said...

Too funny Phil!!

Mike Y said...

Uh, that last one was from me. My wife hijacked my laptop again.

Steve said...

Phil, I know you've already got 50 different "PyroManiacs" headers, which is plenty.

But the woman in the Burka--along with the camel--surely deserves to be immortalized in Pyrohistory as image #51.

Phil Johnson said...

We're way ahead of you, Steve. Chiquita II is already header #108.

Pastor Jim said...

I don't have a problem with "labeling." Its kind of like racial profiling. Its good to have an initial idea about a persons beliefs. I agree that we should investigate and get to know someone better, but if they tell me that they are Roman Catholic, I already have a pretty good idea about their beliefs. If they say they are Baptist, I have a pretty good idea. It doesn't mean that I am looking down on them. I am just doing the preliminary investigating.

p.s.

Not offended by the picture. I didn't even notice it until it was brought up. I'm just use to overlooking pictures.

LeeC said...

How we interpret someones comment is as big a barometer of our hearts as the comments we make.

For about a half a second after I saw Chiquita I thought to myself "Should I find that innapropriate?" and before I finished discerning the question I read:


"For all the fundamentalist lurkers whose minds are in the gutter, the girl in the picture is wearing shorts, not a miniskirt or hotpants. The dog is the one in the miniskirt."

Which I immediately took as a good natured comment to help the reader put things into perspective. I read it as a humorous way to ask me as a reader to look into my heart and be certain of WHY I might be offended?

Then I looked and realized "Nothing to see here folks...move along."

If I was pugnacious I might get offended by that comment, but instead I choose to think the better of a brother in Christ, and take the less easily offended interpretation.

In my old crowd we had a saying that "Picking on you is a sign of our affection, be more worried if we DON'T poke fun." And so I take it as a compliment when someone is willing to banter with me is such a way.

BugBlaster said...

This string is better than the average Purgatorio, but not quite as serious or thought provoking. Just what you were shootin' for, eh Dan?

I thought Chiquita was a six inch plastic action figure.

Tom_B said...

Well I for one enjoyed the post (as always).

And I got a bigger kick out of the kerfuffle over Chiquita. What'd she do to deserve so much negative attention? All she did was . . . oh yeah never mind.

But hey I'll bet some of you out there even dated girls like her once!
But now that they've converted they can all join the Burkha Babes Kamel Watering Drill Team! :)

After years of trying to figure out fundamentalists, I'm glad to see them on display to reinforce what I've learned about some of them.

I just wish we had better ones -- and that they'd stay put once we make them up!
Dan,
you ever have a bunch of cans that lost their labels?
Labels work better if you use clear packing tape!

Phil Johnson said...

LeeC: Bingo.

Thanks for putting things in proper perspective.

Incidentally, for those concerned about Chiquita, she was doing very well in a discipleship program, but she has backslid seriously. That's not a King James Bible

DJP said...

Phil Johnson: That's the kind of stuff that made fundamentalism a bad word

Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding!

Right in the ten-ring.

Char said...

HahahaHAHAHAHA.
Phil and the Pyromanicacs:
I remain in awe of your amazing ability to attract crazy people like moths to flames (heh see what I did there, heheh...Okay nevermind). And yes I did label you all as crazy-but do prove me wrong by refraining from the silly comments.

Seriously though, I was going to say that I agreed with Dan's original post. Also I feel that labels are a necessary and useful shorthand which provide us with a basic foundation to work from. If one observes and thinks about people's quirks one can think of many ways to categorize them (a particular hobby of mine) and comunicate with them more effectively (of much less interest to me, alas).

I think the success of a person's use of labels depends on how good a judge of character they are to begin with. It also helps if they realize they can only take the label so far.

Libbie said...

Oh, the trusted ability to take a joke and run and run with it...

On the cessationist thing - how about completist? As in, we have everything we need in the scriptures?

4given said...

I'm lost... what was this post about again????

Actually... I read it and thought it was excellent. As far as being labeled, what a wonderful opportunity to share what you believe and why. Part of labeling is setting yourself apart. This is can be good and/or bad. Bad if you are labeled a homophobic, way too easily aroused, foolish disputer. Good if you are labeled...say.... a Biblical theologian that embraces the Truth without compromise.

FreedfromBondage said...

Gee, Trinian, thanks for the Bibliology 101 refresher. At this time, we ask that you place your tongue in close proximity to your cheek, and try again. :P

So many crackers, so little time...

Peace!

LeeC said...

Glad I was right Phil.

So often I see people upset, or discontent in the church and find out that it is because "So, and so said this, or didn't invite me to that, or isn't as loving as they should be."

And don't think that I have not falen victim to it also, but praise be to God that He has shown me that when I feel that way the issue is often with me, and how I CHOOSE to view a brother in Christs actions.


As to labels, great post Dan!
I just had this discussion with a frined in my discipleship group. He felt that we should do away with terms like Calvinist, Arminian, or Baptist.

But words have meanings, and labels often have a meaning that encompasses and entire school of thought. I like how in Naomis' blog she says "I am a Calvinist, but not of Calvin".

Calvin and I read the same Word of God and come to the same conclusions. Some of these are quite in depth, and so if I want someoen to generaly know about me and my theology one of the ways to impart a large amount of information easily would be to say "I am a Calvinist."

Now we have something to work on. My view may not properly reflect Calvins view, or the person I am talking to might be an Arminian, or an Ergunbot, but hopefully we can now begin to understand one another from at least a general frame of reference and triangulate from there.

Sam H. said...

Having not seen the post with its initial pic, I had to see it by phil's link--out of context. (phil, do a hit count on that pic location--just curious how many went to see it...) My question about it would have more to do with its meaning--i'm not in cali, and I don't see poseur punkettes too often--I had to have that explained to me. Even the emergents here in Grand Rapids wear burkahs to the beach...

but, I was surprised the tone of the comments made to those who dared to make comments re: the pic.

"crackers?" "crazies" --seriously if you guys read them a little more closely, you might see some of their tongues poking into some of their cheeks...but, that's what happens when we label...

Sam H. said...

Not sure why this didn't make my first post...
Dan,
appreciate especially the "evangelical" remarks. My mind goes back to commentary evaluation and recommendation while at dbt seminary. I recall my profs often (in attempts at honesty and charity) putting many adjectives in front of "evangelical"--"broadly evangelical", "moderately evangelical", "firmly evangelical", etc. Their attempts at both candor and recognition of orthodoxy helps me still as I look at churches, authors, and other Christian luminaries.

SolaMeanie said...

Phil,

I could have gone all day without seeing those "cat's eye" glasses. It conjures up all sorts of horrific memories from 1960s public school, especially the elderly substitute teachers who wore spectacles like those, along with those horrid nylon stockings with the black seam down the back.

I can feel my hair being pulled right now. (What's left of it)

And Dan, I do apologize for what part I played in hijacking this thread. However, I seldom have the opportunity to use an archaic word like "kerfuffle." It so adequately describes the hullabaloo and was too delicious to pass up. The Emergent Church is eating away at the evangelical church like a cancer, but some are more concerned with whether shorts are appropriate dress or not. Sigh.

At least she wasn't sporting a tattoo or a tongue stud.

DJP said...

What a funny thread.

You know, this is just further confirmation (as if I ever needed it) that I'd better not quit my day job and hire out as a prophet. We're nearing 100 comments on this one, and it went off in 2 or three directions, brought in all sorts...

...but by contrast, I've had some that was sure would create bench-clearing brawls or at lesat a whirlwind of conversation, and POOF! Nothing! Ten comments, maybe twenty, coming in very slowly.

Just no telling. At least, not by me!

LeeC said...

Just to add a tangent.

Wath wong wit a tung thtud?


*ducks & runs*

SolaMeanie said...

Well, Dan..I think (all joking aside now) that this illustrates part of what gives error such as the Emergent Church a foothold in the door of heretofore conservative, Bible-believing churches. So much energy (if not venom) gets expended wielding the sword against fellow believers who might disagree in an area of secondary doctrine. In the meantime, while we're fighting over whether some lady is allowed to wear a dress an inch above the knee, the EC makes fun of such legalisms and draws people in, and then they proceed to go beyond the silly legalisms and attack core doctrine such as the substitutionary atonement. When will we ever learn?

I don't mean to say that issues of dress and behavior before the world aren't important. Of course they are. I would hardly advocate believers wearing thong bikinis. However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where it really begins to get stupid.

Finally, and oddly enough, this can tie into the "labels" issue as well. The very labels that get used to describe some people in the body of Christ tend to generate over time because of controversies such as this.

DJP said...

Kim asked: "is labelling someone the same thing as creating a stereotype"

I'd say no. To look at it one way, stereotyping is saying that all members of a class are like one member of a class. It is overgeneralizing from one particular. Labelling is, at its best, definition and description, based on observation and analysis.

(BTW, you'll notice that this is how I described it in the essay -- and that several who disagree with me either didn't read, or overlooked my description of what I meant by labelling. But I digress.)

For example: one label that fits me is "inerrantist." Even the marginally-informed should know that this means I believe that the Bible affirms no error. Calling me an inerrantist is labelling me, and labelling me correctly.

But if someone knew one inerrantist who was opposed to all scholarship, and extrapolated from that the notion that all inerrantists are opposed to all scholarship, that would be stereotyping.

Kim said...

Thanks for the comment Dan!

lilrabbi said...

Wow.

Phil- you'll have to forgive me, I'm not a 'ditto-head' around here, nor do I subscribe to that 'bible-zine'. It didn't seem to fit and I didn't see the humor. I just happened to wander over here (not the first time, but the first time in awhile). It took me awhile to find my way back to this thread.

I was at least a little less than entirely serious in my initial post. I was surprised that you responded so strongly. But then again, you don't know me, so I'm not surprised you said it like that.

FWIW, I would be more inclined to argue against the less calvinistic fundies more than to argue against your use of a picture or your 'associations'. Seriously. And, FWIW, I'm fond of Linscott and Aniol and those types.

In response to your first post, I want to say, "where's the due process that you get all riled up about?" But my post didn't sound very charitable either.

Terribly sorry to have ruined your blog.

LeeC said...

Lilrabbi,

I don't think Phil was riled up at all. I reiterate, he was using humour.

There are things you can say to a "buddy" that if said to a stranger might be taken wrong.

This is Phils' blog he tends to speak and joke very informally here. take it as a compliment. He jokingly throws a shoe out there, not really implying it fits anyone, if it really does not fit you, then its NOT your shoe, so don't worry about it. :-)


Lee

Phil Johnson said...

lilrabbi: What does "due process" mean in a comment-thread on a blog?

For the record (as LeeC already surmised above and I affirmed), my first comment was intended as "a good natured comment to help the reader put things into perspective." It included two or three notes of humor that I assumed would obviate the need for smilies.

Nor did I misinterpret your first comment. I assumed the best intention on your part. The reply from someone who began "How very judgemental of you. . . " was the first clue I had that someone was actually angry. Search my replies and you'll see that I never replied in kind. (I even removed the picture without further protest and replaced it with one that seemed above reproach by any measure of modesty.) Every comment I made after that was also more or less humorous (except for one that quoted an excerpt from Spurgeon in reply to someone who thought it strange that a Spurgeon aficionado wasn't sympathetic with hyper-prudery.)

So I'm mystified by the suggestion that I was the one who seemed out of sorts in this thread. I thought I responded in good humor, even after it became obvious that one or two people were serously attempting to accuse me of a pretty serious sin.

I'm even smiling in the picture that accompanies my comments. For future reference, you can take that smile at face value unless I say otherwise.

Trust me: if I get "riled," I won't be ambiguous about it.

Maybe tomorrow I'll post a comic-book cover just to prove I'm not in a bad mood.

lilrabbi said...

Makes sense. I hadn't thought twice about this thread until someone joked about it. I had to do some searching through links on other blogs to find this again. When I left, there were 10 comments, and there are 100. Perhaps I shouldn't skim long threads like this. Phil, your first paragraph about 'fundamentalist lurkers' with their 'minds in the gutter' seemed to come on a little strong. I can see the humor now.

I was joking about due process. I was using that as a segue to admitting that my first comment didn't seem very charitable. That was when I assumed your harsh comment was serious and directed towards me.

We're solid now, right? I hate this sectarianism and division. Where's the good Reverend Doctor when one needs a good counseling session?

(Pardon my computer illiteracy, but here is the link to the bit about being solid and the good Reverend Doctor: http://www.steadfastsoftware.com/gravitas/paper/20051029.pdf)

lilrabbi said...

http://www.steadfastsoftware.com/gravitas/paper/
20051029.pdf

lol, whatever.

TheBlueRaja said...

Classic stuff. Entertaining.

Ranger said...

Wow...what a thread. Some people just don't seem to get it. I can't figure out why they care so much about the picture. I can kinda see their argument about the way they were "labeled," but they responded by doing the same thing...Ridiculous.

Anyways, I got so enveloped in reading these comments that I missed the fact that somehow my TV had slipped over to TBN, Benny Hinn was on, and somehow I was too engrossed in the comments to grab the controller and change it...

John H said...

Of course, the word "Christian" can be just as problematic a label as any of the others.

But on the "Evangelical" label, I can't resist pointing out that this originally applied to those Christians that eventually got saddled with one of the worst labels of all, "Lutherans".

As I understand it, by the mid-16th century the heirs of the various Reformation movements were referred to either as "Evangelicals" (i.e. Lutherans) or "Reformed" (i.e. Zwinglians/Calvinists"). Only later did Reformed Christians start to appropriate the "E" word for themselves, mainly (I believe) so as to fit themselves into the post-Thirty Year War religious landscape of Germany, which allowed states to be either "Catholic" or "Evangelical".

So what I'm saying is, "It's ours! Give it back!" :-)

Daniel Portela said...

In Brazil, where I live, chiquita would be considered a nun (in respect to her dress).

I think this whole slug-a-roo about chiquita was once more caused by the one thing you DON'T have through written communication (tone of voice and facial expression). Okay, maybe two things.

Good entry on labels though, got me thinking on the issue.

Sincerely,

Daniel Portela

Cameron Cloud said...

Thanks to Dan for the post.
Thanks to fellow fundies for demonstrating the accuracy of Dan's statement:

"Fundies were known by what they were agin', rather than what they were fer. They were angry and defensive."

and...
Thanks to Phil for providing the entertainment.

Frank Martens said...

I gotta know one thing...

Is this going to go down as one of the "Favorite Posts" for be the most off topic?

But pertaining to the actual post... one thing I find amazing about "labels" is that they can be commonly used as ways to judge the motives without fully getting the facts.

Again, labels are good, but without a correct understanding of the correct definition of the label (which could be paragraphs long). They can be severely missused and very judgemental ways to "label" people.

Anyway, I agree for the most part with ya Dan. But I think the real problem is not in the label itself, but in the definition or the understanding of the definition.

hosea46 said...

A little belated, i know, but i thought maybe someone might find it interesting what wikipedia had to say about fundamentalism ... hear, hear!

I should invite the label 'conservative' into the same boat.