21 October 2006

Bully Pulpit

by Phil Johnson

e've had a hard week here at PyroManiacs. Some of our critics have been talking amongst themselves and decided that we are common bullies. We're theological thugs who will stand for no dissent.

At first, we lodged a mild protest: Every post here has an open comment-thread. We permit anyone to say anything he (or she) likes, with just a few simple rules to circumscribe the discussion. We ask that commenters keep their comments within the bounds of good taste and biblical propriety. We insist that they avoid profanity. We request that they stay on topic (or thereabouts). We don't particularly like it when someone posts spam. And we expect all our commenters—friends and foes alike—to take responsibility for their views and assertions.

But our commenters post lots of dissenting opinions. We get more people trying to pick fights with us than just about any blog I regularly read, with the possible exception of the gentlemen at Triablogue, and occasionally (depending on what he is dealing with) Tom Ascol.

Frankly, most blogs that deal with as many controversial issues as we do simply refuse to permit comments (including some who are generally friendly to our perspectives, and others who despise pretty much everything we stand for). It's hard to argue against the claim that most hostile comments are unedifying. Yet because some of these comments are edifying and others give us opportunities to clarify our views or improve our logic, we have opted to allow all comments.

I enjoy the feedback. (It's the most valuable aspect of blogging, if you ask me.) And we rarely ban anyone from commenting here.

As a matter of fact, Frank Turk singlehandedly doubled the size of our Banned-Commenters List yesterday by interdicting two commenters at once. But (despite the expressions of contempt one fresh commenter instantly spat at the whole blog) that's hardly a typical day at PyroManiacs.

The timing was somewhat unfortunate. Even before Frank banned the two antagonists, another blog was already sponsoring a comment-thread about how terribly gauche and mean-spirited we are over here. That thread has now deteriorated into a discussion about who among the three regular PyroManiacs posters is the most contemptible. (I would have expected Frank to be the clear hands-down winner if creative sarcasm truly equals cruelty, but to my surprise, Dan and I seem to be running neck and neck for the lead. No one has even seriously argued that Frank is our worst bully—even though he is the only one among us who has actually banned anyone in the past six months, and he embargoed two at once.)

Anyway, I'd like to point out that apart from one unfortunate episode involving a frozen beef chub, none of us has ever stooped to threats of violence or aimed at being menacing. There is a legitimate place for righteous indignation, but even at our most curt, we don't ever deliberately use an angry tone instead of an argument.

So on what grounds do our critics call us "bullies"? Our chief sins, it seems, are these: We reserve the right to answer our critics with as much rhetorical force as they themselves employ. We have the bad taste to tell people who express disagreement with us that we still think they are wrong. Sometimes (especially when dealing with critics and gadflies who aren't being serious) we refuse to treat off-the-wall arguments seriously. In such instances, we might even state an opinion tersely or mix sarcasm with our disputation. We never (well, OK, rarely) change our theological opinions, a fact which is set forth as irrefutable proof that we lack humility. And we stubbornly refuse to submit our blog to postmodernism's rules of engagement.

We make no apology whatsoever for any of those things. If someone is upset with us for refusing to imbibe the spirit of postmodernism, we can direct you to some blogs you might like better, where the edges of truth are purposely made blurry and every kind of doctrinal mischief is politely taken on board as part of the "conversation."

On the other hand, we don't claim to be free of all guilt with regard to our words, our tone, or our attitudes. "We all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well" (James 3:2).

I'm a man of unclean lips (descended from ancestors who all had the same fault) and I live in a community of people who revel in having unclean lips. I freely confess that I stumble often and fail to bridle my tongue as I should. Moreover, it does indeed grieve me when someone is insulted or offended by something I have written, even if the offense stems from a misunderstanding.

So for those times when I have been unkind, thoughtlessly posted an insult, or put a real offense in someone's way, I sincerely beg forgiveness of the aggrieved parties. There are probably more instances of that than I realize, but, frankly, most of the complaints we get about our "tone" on the blog aren't specific enough or objective enough to be very helpful.

If someone wants to confront me about a specific offense, please quote the actual instances of my unkind or ungodly words, and show me my sin with reference to a biblical principle of righteousness (not merely postmodern standards of politeness). I would be eager to right any such wrongs, and it would be my duty to make an expression of repentance that's as public as the offense.

(I have no doubt that the other Pyros would echo the same thing, too.)

However, if the point is merely that you would prefer a milder tone at PyroManiacs, let's just say we get that. We would prefer not to see truth and error get jumbled all together in the Christian blogosphere and the compromise winked at in the name of brotherly kindness. Both goals are good and valid, but they do sometimes conflict.

Also, we're serious about what we are doing here, even if we sometimes inject some fun and silliness.

For the record, however, the post that touched off this week's anti-Pyro blitzkrieg was written with nothing but goodwill and benign intent, and without so much as a hint of foul temper in my heart. If I had even written something that could reasonably be interpreted as unfriendly or spiteful, the recent outpouring of rage and fury from our critics might be understandable, and I would crawl on broken glass to beg forgiveness if that's what it took to win my brothers.

But that's not what happened in this instance. I disagreed with someone's interpretation of something I wrote. I expressed my disagreement in a way that some of my readers found humorous. The person I disagreed with was not amused. I'm sorry about that. I did not offend anyone purposely. I'm terribly disappointed that someone was offended. But I said nothing unkind; I do disagree; and I still think the critic's original complaint was pretty far-fetched. I gotta be honest with you.

I will, however, be very careful what I BlogSpot in the future, so as not to call attention to any disagreements I might have with those who are so easily offended.

Incidentally, it has heretofore been my policy to BlogSpot just about anyone who links here via an actual in-post link. (You can't usually earn a BlogSpotting link by putting this blog in your blogroll.) I rarely include more than a single-sentence remark about a critic's reference. The point is to link them, not refute them, and I do try to be brief and fair.

In the future, however, I'm going to avoid linking to those who just seem to be spoiling for a fight.

To be clear: we're not hoping for a fight. But neither will we back away from a necessary fight (Jude 3) when a vital point of truth is at stake.

Now, how about some BlogSpotting?

This will be very short this week, because Blogger has been down for a couple of hours and I don't have an infinite amount of time. But without further ado:


Phil's signature

88 comments:

goodnightsafehome said...

When people STOP being offended, then start worrying. Keep her lit!

rabbi-philosopher said...

Instead of "Pyro-Maniacs," how 'bout THE THEOLOGICAL PIT-BULLS?

TheBlueRaja said...

There is a legitimate place for righteous indignation, but even at our most curt, we don't ever deliberately use an angry tone instead of an argument.

Perhaps part of the problem is that righteous indignation and argument seems to be your only responses to differing viewpoints (instead of, say, withholding judgment for further reflection, modified/partial acceptance, receiving correction, etc). That’s not to say that your whole life is characterized by only defensive argumentation for your own un-correctable views, but it is to say that the meta seems to be generally characterized that way. Your admission that you never (or rarely) change your theological positions implies that you are always (or most often) right about everything when it comes to theology. By definition, that means you’re un-teachable, since you’ve nothing (or very little) to learn from anyone. Surely that’s not the case (and even more surely you don’t think it’s the case). But on this blog, at least, it’s easy to see where the accusation of pride may come from, since, by definition, anyone more willing to admit their potential theological shortcomings and have them corrected are condemned as “postmodernists”.

On the other hand, we don't claim to be free of all guilt with regard to our words, our tone, or our attitudes. "We all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well" (James 3:2).

With all due respect, this seems like nothing more than window dressing. How can you say that you stumble often and fail to bridle your tongue, or that you’re grieved over it, generically when haven’t apologized for unkind, thoughtless or insulting comments to the actual people you’ve insulted, in the public forums you’ve insulted them? It seems as though it would be better to not apologize for anything at all than to admit guilt generally only to then require that someone document your guilt before you accept specific responsibility. If you don’t know of a specific offense you’ve committed, apologize. If you’re not aware of having offended anyone, don’t apologize. But don’t try to do both – it’s obsequious at best. The bottom line seems to be that when people are offended it’s because:

a) They deserve it

b) Regardless of what you say, they just don’t know your heart and that you didn’t feel angry/condescending/whatever/fill-in-the-blank when you said it

c) They are too easily offended

or

d) They’re actually faking offense, and don’t deserve to be heard because of the nasty “tone” of their confrontation, which is hypocritical because they are objecting to your “nasty tone” (though, to be clear, it’s NEVER simply your “tone” to which people are objecting)

Strangely, in all of these cases, specific apologies aren’t really necessary and you’re never the one doing anything wrong. Pointing that out, of course, is characterized as nasty, postmodern, hypocritical, and not worth regarding. It’s THAT RESPONSE to which many are objecting.

I enjoy the feedback. (It's the most valuable aspect of blogging, if you ask me.) And we rarely ban anyone from commenting here.

In light of the above, I think this isn’t a serious point, since you’ve admitted that the only possible purpose of feedback is reinforcing the beliefs which you already hold, since your beliefs are never (or rarely) subject to correction.

No one has even seriously argued that Frank is our worst bully—even though he is the only one among us who has actually banned anyone in the past six months, and he embargoed two at once.)

Personally I’ve gotten the sense that Frank actually listens to what dissenters say. I can usually agree with the way Frank characterizes an opposing view, which makes it easier to accept disagreement or be convinced by him. I don’t think all the pyros take as much care with that. Sometimes they skip accurate description of opposing views altogether and characterize those more concerned with it as “postmodern”. Everyone does it now and again, but it seems to be a pattern for some more than others.

In any case, I’m really sick of the drama, and I know you are too – I’ve apologized to you pretty specifically in the past about harsh statements I’ve made in the meta here, I’ve been embarrassingly honest about my motives for them and even publicly retracted a criticism of you in response to interactions with you. I don’t think that’s ever been reciprocated for some of the innuendos about heterodoxy you’ve made of me. I’m less interested in an apology in my case, and more interested in constructively communicating what many people think is wrong with TeamPyro – even though most of us who feel that way love a good many of the posts we read here.

TheBlueRaja said...

I'm on vacation, by the way - which is both why this post was made at 3:47 a.m., and why I don't know if I'll be able to check back anytime soon - so forgive me if I don't respond to subsequent posts.

TheBlueRaja said...

That should have read:

If you KNOW of a specific offense you’ve committed, apologize. If you’re not aware of having offended anyone, don’t apologize.

Sorry - it's late.

Kim said...

I would have expected Frank to be the clear hands-down winner if creative sarcasm truly equals cruelty, but to my surprise, Dan and I seem to be running neck and neck for the lead.

Awww, you guys are such pussy cats.

This is a great blog. I love it. Sometimes, you guys shock me with what you say, but that's because I'm a woman and a home school mom and we offend easily. I have come to the conclusion that if there is a blog that gets under my skin to the point where I just can't avoid saying something contrary, then that's my signal to stop going there. I had to do that recently with a blog. I feel better. If there are some who comment here who just can't help themselves, maybe it's their issue.

And I, for one, am really happy that you don't give into the postmodernism's rules of engagement.

Carla said...

Like Kim, I love this blog. I have three blogs I read first every day, and this is one of them. :o)

Frank I've been reading for a long time, and even though I don't always understand what in the world he's getting at - I know that's just me - since many others get his point just fine.

Dan I first met through this blog, and is quite possibly one of the most interesting bloggers out there, in my ever so humble opinion.

Phil I've been reading for hmmm... maybe the last 8 years? Maybe longer, I'm not sure how long his various pages have been up. In any event, I can say without question Phil is one brother who has been extremely influential in my Christian life, for a very long time.

Do I always agree with these brothers? Nope, I don't, but I've learned and am learning that there are constructive ways to disagree with someone (and let them know you disagree with them) without resorting to the hoo-haa that seems to be so common among bloggers. Plus, there's always the possibility that I disagree with them at times because they know more about a certain topic than I do. I have to keep that in mind at all times as well.

In any event - I'm glad you brothers have opted to keep comments open, and I'm especially grateful for this blog. It's one of the very FEW blogs in the Christian blogging community that really does feel like a community & a welcoming place to express an opinion.

Have a blessed Lord's day folks.

SDG...

Tom Chantry said...

Wow. I never relized that rarely changing one's theological views was a sign of "unteachability"! I had this wierd idea that it meant to "no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes."

I love men whose doctrine stays the same. I'd rather talk with a brother with whom I have disagreed in the same way for ten years than muddle through a conversation with anyone whose opinions won't stand still long enough to be analyzed and understood.

Steve Sensenig said...

Phil, you have been given specifics in the past, and you have ignored them.

If you want to see specific examples of what I was talking about, here are two specific posts that demonstrate:

This post and the entire meta following it, including this comment where I continued my attempts to show Dan where he had crossed a line in his responses to me. (Ironically, the dialogue had been relatively friendly to start with, which caused me to be even more surprised at the sudden turn.) I left my personal email address in that comment. As anyone can see from reading that thread, Dan refused to apologize for anything, and continued to allow slanderous comments of me to stand without apology. And I received no email from him.

Similarly, although much tamer in tone, was this attempt at clarification on my part, where you accused me of using "histrionic tones" in calling for an end to your attempts at discussing cessationism. In the context, you also implied that I had "taunted [you] with questions and challenges", which was simply not true.

I asked (as one can see reading that thread) for clarification, edited my post to clarify, and once again, submitted my personal email address for discussion. Not a single response or retraction from you, yet you showed up several times in the thread to retort to others. And no email.

This present post now continues the Pyro technique of evasion. Turn it all back on those who raise the concerns. Deflect criticism back to them. Claim innocence while blanketly "apologizing" for something you don't think you've done to the people who are asking for the reconsideration.

By the way, you keep talking about "tone". It is not "tone" to which I have repeatedly objected. It is the arrogance.

And to paraphrase one of my comments to you on the thread to which you refer, yet didn't link, that's not postmodernism, Phil. It's reality.

centuri0n said...

Raja --

I'm going to suggest something here that's perhaps a bit thuggish, but that is, after all, who I am -- I eat babies, I don't evangelize, I am a bully, my blog's not a ministry, I am a drunk, friend of sinners, etc.

My suggestion is this: there are two kinds of bloggers in the Christian theological blogosphere today. The first type is the persosn who just discovered that theology and our Faith are not disjointed pastiches of unrelated Bible verses -- even though that's how he was taught our faith in AWANA and Sunday school. That person may even have an advanced degree in theology, and may even be in pastoral ministry -- this isn't about rank but about depth. These guys (and to be fair, there are some young ladies in that mix) ought to be prepared to apologize often -- because in their blogs, they are riffing on things they have thought about for only the first or second time -- and they are usually doing it with little or no guidance.

The other camp has been around the block -- and most of them were once in the first camp. In fact, one of the reasons they are no longer in the first camp is that they did take their lumps, they did demonstrate a little humility, they did learn something, and they had the good sense to seek the guidance of their theological betters -- causing them to have some kind of spiritual maturation process which resulted in fully-formed opinions.

Now, let me give an example of how the second camp works. This last week, I posted a serious criticism of Peter Leithart and Doug Wilson here at TeamPyro. Superficially, it looked like a joke, I am sure -- because that post was actually funny. But Doug Wilson knew I wasn't kidding -- and what did he do? He linked to it -- if only to point out that it's a good post which, when you include the meta, represented his ideas and thoughts correctly even if it disagreed with him, even if I reject his thesis.

His feelings weren't hurt because I thought his cohort Peter Leithart should have put his criticisms of the contemporary church in a form that doses the gluteus maximus rather than in a pretty hat. And of course, one of the reasons his feelings weren't hurt was that I represented what they both had said accurately -- which is rare for both of them.

Now, that said, isn't it odd that this week Phil did exactly what I did contra a mistake someone else made, and Phil turned out to be a bully? Which camp or camps were interacting, do you think, where the second round of interaction on a topic devolves into hurt feelings and (unsubstantiated) charges of bullying?

I have this great post which has been lost in the bandwidth over the years that talks about who and what a bully is. It comes down to this: if I want a pair of blue shoes, and a salesman comes and sells me blue shoes, he's not a bully for selling the shoes to me -- he's showing me that the shoes are worth a price which I have to pay. But if I want a pair of blue shoes, and a salesman start foisting orange shoes on me at a higher price than what blue shoes cost, demanding that the orange shoes are in fact blue shoes, the salesman has crossed over from selling to bullying.

I'm not a vile mysanthrope for regarding the claim that "orange equals blue" is false. I'm not a classless thug. I want blue shoes. I have seen and worn blue shoes, and I want what I know I want. But someone who says that I am a vile mysanthrope and a classless thug for wanting blue shoes -- that's a bully.

One of the problems in the current controversy is that I think some people have fallen in love with a label because it makes them cool. You know: I am a catalyst for change in the church (note my word choice there) if I bear a certain and specific label. The future church will be emerging (note my specific word choice there) in a certain way, and all those who cause that are the good guys.

That paradigm is false. John Piper repudiates being a part of the Emerging or Emergent church, as does Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll. The proof is that they align themselves with David F. Wells -- they endorse his view of what's wrong with Emergent's consumerist view of the faith. But yet some people (Brad at Broken Messenger for one) can see that these trees are not in the Emergent forrest -- they think that all the trees they see as useful are in the same forrest, when that's simply false.

Sorry. It's not blue shoes. I could show you blue shoes, but why bother? Piper is wearing blue shoes, and that has been overlooked. Mark Driscol has a lot of mud on his blue shoes, and but his shoes are blue. Presenting blue shoes apparently is not enough to change minds about this thing.

But at that point, if I am a bully for pointing out that the shoes are in fact blue, and the trees are in a different forrest, then we have also changed the definition of bully.

And note to Phil: we shouldn't apologize when other people are trying to leverage our good consciences for the sake of salvaging their untennable arguments. I would really rather that they continue to think of me as a completely vile and disfellowshipped jerk than apologize for poking a little good-natured fun at their own wildly-incorrect ruminations. You're not a bully because some boy in a hybrid turned up the chick music to drown out your criticism.

When you come back from vacation, Raja, I'll beat you up for real. For now, consider that everyone in the blogosphere is not equal, and some of the people you're siding with don't need enablers: they need the cuts of friends. They should sob when they are struck by iron: they should spark.

centuri0n said...

Sensenig:

Let me tell you that your complaints are exactly like the fly in the soup complaining that there isn't enough salt in the broth.

You think about that at church today, and I'll explain it to you tomorrow.

centuri0n said...

That last line in the Raja post shoudl read:

"They shouldn't sob when they are struck by iron: they should spark."

Rob said...

I think you're wrong about most things you post, but I don't consider you bullies. Misguided but not bullies.

Rob

rick said...

I'd like to go on record as saying that I like the controversy. I like reading your views which represent a mix of those I that wholeheartedly agree with and those that I vehemently disagree with.

I especially like it because you guys, as I've noted before, make great use of Scripture. I'm personaly looking for more consistent use of that great use of Scripture (and a smidge more warmth unless you see me as a heretic).

I get frustrated:

(1) when I think you haven't accurately represented the opposing view
(2) when I think that you've grouped people who have similar views but are fundamentally different
(3) when I think you have written off a person or group as a whole because of some teaching/behavior that you view as errant
(4) when you implicate a person or a group's motives rather than point out their error through your strength area, i.e., use of Scripture
(5) when after disagreement I don't sense a "yep, I see how you get that from Scripture. I think you are wrong but I do see you are not just out there livin' whacko" - or some statement in that vain.

Net - I like the back and forth - and on a selfish note, I like being blogspotted - it causes my readership to double (easy to do because of my small base).

Seriously, I can imagine that some get quite ugly and I believe you have been commendably patient. Deal with that as you may but please don't stop the tit-for-tat. Just keep it Scriptural and honest.

Libbie said...

I'll be honest, I get weary of the scrum online occasionally. But, funnily enough, Pyro is one of the few places I visit even if I am really cutting back on controversy, because I really find the clear-minded certainties helpful.

I've been doing some half-hearted toe-dipping into engaging the emerging voice recently, and it's probably been one of the more depressing activities I can remember being involved in.

Blue shoes for me, please. Can I have mine in a sweet little T-bar style?

Phil Johnson said...

Quick as I can, because I have to go to church:

Raja: "Your admission that you never (or rarely) change your theological positions implies that you are always (or most often) right about everything when it comes to theology."

There's actually a less sinister for that, Raja. On many theological questions, you could barely even get me to offer an opinion. For example, if you asked me for an exhaustive account of how the Holy Spirit's ministry in the New Covenant differs from His operation in the Old, I'd let someone else answer the question. Although it's a question that interests me, I haven't really studied it in detail, and I'm not going to be dogmatic. In fact, someone else can answer that question if you want an intelligent and thoroughly biblical answer.

The blog is not a place where I usually just think out loud. The stuff I write about here tends to focus on issues I have thought a lot about and studied with some degree of care. So my opinions on those issues tend to be fixed enough that it would take a lot more to change my opinion than the musings of some fresh-faced high-school graduate who is just reacting in the comments section of my blog to an issue he has never before devoted 20 seconds thought to untangling.

Also, I have a couple of friends who undergo seismic paradigm-shifts in their thinking every three years or so, like clockwork. And when their friends don't follow every wind of change, they tend to get really upset. Actually, the blogosphere sometimes seems dominated by people like that, and they like to blog nonstop about the recalcitrance of Reformed opinion.

Who is more "arrogant"? Someone who refuses to compromise even when popular thinking shifts against him, or the guy who never settles on any truth and yet constantly argues about everything anyway—not really because he himself has stumbled on something he is certain about, but merely because his contempt for other people's strong convictions is the way he justifies his waffling in his own mind?

Raja: "How can you say that you stumble often and fail to bridle your tongue, or that you’re grieved over it, generically"?

Yeah, I don't like generic "apologies" either. On the other hand, I did ask one simple thing of those who are clamoring for an apology from me: if they feel I have sinned, please quote the specific words I have said that they feel are ungodly or unworthy of a Christian. I mean that, too. I'm not just looking for an argument. My hope would be that the critics who accuse me on general grounds might discover if they really examined my actual words that I have been far more careful with what I say than they give me credit for.

Why not try the exercise? If you can demonstrate that I have sinned, I will apologize, I promise. If you come up dry, you can apologize and stop repeating the accusations.

Raja: "I’m less interested in an apology in my case, and more interested in constructively communicating what many people think is wrong with TeamPyro."

Well, thanks for interrupting your vacation to do it. I think I understand you pretty well. I just don't always agree with you.

Steve Sensinig: "It is not "tone" to which I have repeatedly objected. It is the arrogance."

Look: in a forum where strong theological opinions are regularly being posted and vigorous feedback is encouraged, anyone can accuse anyone of "arrogance" and probably make a credible case, just based on the fact that an argument is being made. From the perspective of Greek philosophy, Paul's comments on Mars Hill seemed "arrogant." Elijah was pretty "arrogant" with the Baal-priests, and John the Baptist was "arrogant" with the Pharisees when they pretended repentance. Some of your recent comments about PyroManiacs have been less than self-deprecatory, if you ask me.

The problem with accusing someone of "arrogance" is that it requires knowledge of the person's heart and motives. That's arrogant, too, you know.

That's why I asked that accusations like these in the future be as objective as possible, quoting the actual words that offend and making a biblical argument to show where the person sinned. A link to a thread where you got offended, buttressed with new accusations of "arrogance" doesn't really accomplish the same thing.

candyinsierras said...

Love the graphics!

DJP said...

Phil and Frank: my observation is that usually, the more loudly these folks cry, the more fairly and directly they were nailed.

Sometimes they're thoughtful enough immediately to turn around and prove our point, better than we ever could have. This was the case in every one of the examples I saw cited.

Thank God for the public nature of these interchanges!

Van Edwards said...

Phil: The problem with accusing someone of "arrogance" is that it requires knowledge of the person's heart and motives. That's arrogant, too, you know.

It's not just arrogant, it's a sin according to I Corinthians 4:5.

Phil, you guys do a spectacular job of posting on biblical issues, injecting humor, sarcasm and "righteous indignation" as required. While accusations seem to fly fast and furious for this, for the most part you stay on an even keel. Blogging is gutsy in the first place and being able to make a stance and defend it biblically is tough. I'm often challenged by the posts here (lately Dan's) and instead of reaching for my revolver, I try to take a good long think.

I'm glad you don't stick your finger in the wind before you post. If you, Frank and Dan were afraid of the criticism or backed off when it was thick, I probably wouldn't read this blog as often.

DJP said...

Phil -- ...to my surprise, Dan and I seem to be running neck and neck for the lead

1. < high-fives Phil >

2. That must be a surprise, since I know you and Frank see me as a touchy-feely lightweight. (c;

3. I resolve to try harder.

Libbie said...

Methinks we need one of those Angelz cartoons that James White has.
Dan will obviously be tooled up with his sword, and Phil can have his customary meat-chub...
Maybe Frank could have a shoe-horn...

TheBlueRaja said...

The moral remains the same: You guys are always right, and everyone else is always wrong. I've been "around the block" at least long enough to know that's an impenetrable disposition.

The decieving thing is that you actually post about stuff and let people comment about it. I don't see why posts with actual content are necessary. Just give page numbers in Spurgeon books referring to the positions you hold and make "When it comes to the Bible, I'm always right" rule number 4.

I really do get it. Other people should bend to your convictions, because you're mature, your every doctrinal conviction is wise and considered while everyone else is faddish, a sign of the times, sloppy and patently unbiblical. No news there.

Killer graphics, though.

donsands said...

I am almost always encouraged and challenged with the posts and comments here.

This is a good place to come for growth in His grace and knowledge; especially when the lessons and teachings are of the deeper subjects of the Scriptures.

Keep on Teampyro.

raja,
"You guys are always right, and everyone else is always wrong"

That's a pretty bold statement. I don't think they are always right, and everyone else is always wrong.

rick said...

I'd expect team Pyro to only post things that they think they are right on. What kind of person is sharing stuff they think is wrong?

I'm happy they think they're right. And I'm happy that they think it strongly.

I guess that's why I come back here, they speak with conviction. I would never ask them to soften their position. And I would hope that their position is thought out well enough that it would not be common for a bumper sticker comment to cause them to shift their thinking.

Again, from my perspective, I'm just looking for some acknowledgment that those that came to a different conclusion might have done it from an honest heart and a serious study of Scripture.

And I guess I'd like it if warnings against extremes were separated from the argument. There's no need to remind me what happens if someone holds my position but perverts it. That is not an argument against my position, it is an argument against perversion - an argument that could be made on against any point of theology.

So team Pyro, don't back down. Don't get soft. Keep things stirred. Just remember, if I'm in error, confront me with the Scripture - don't suppose my motive, God will do that, don't derail the focus with side issues or extremes, you'll just make me think you are accusing me which will distract us from the point, etc..

sk said...

The Pyros are teachable. You just have to know how to read it. They go silent when they are schooled on something. And their eyes narrow, and smoke rises up off the tops of the heads, but they remain silent.

They especially don't like it when they say "X is not Y, sorry to upset you all, but hey, guess what, we all have to get upset at times...it's called learning the truth!" and then somebody posts a quote from Spurgeon saying: "X most certainly is Y."

Charles Whisnant said...

Phil
My wife who proof-read's my articles I write on my blog often says, "Do you really want to say that?" "Well, yes dear, I do." It is my blog isn't it. I am new to this blogger. When I write a sermon, I don't ask ten people what they think before I preach it. Jack Hyles taught me that I quess. Kidding.

Bulling! That is what they say about most preachers who preach with some authority in their voice.

As a reader of this Pyr-Maniac, it's for me to read what you fellows think and believe. I may disgree, but it's not my place to get bad because you present your point of view in a the style that each of the writers do.

So I would say, here is my article, my point of view, and my style of writing. It's for your reading. Enjoy if you can.

Don't get like a lot of preachers, they are so careful not to hurt anyone's feelings.

And don't let your wife read your blog.

JSB said...

Those who take theology seriously are inevitably going to take strong stands, as they should (though I love it when such are attended by the whimsy found here). Those of opposing views will, at times, feel put upon. They shouldn't. These matters deserve hardy disputation. Theology shouldn't be jacks.

But let's remember when these debates are "in house" that a little respect goes a long way, too. Words can be weapon like. Neft bats are to be preferred to brass knuckles.

Wesley and Whitfield had a famous falling out for a time, but later, when Wesley took ill, Whitfield wrote the following to him. All sides would do well to model such a spirit:

"Rev. And Very Dear Sir,

"If seeing you so weak when leaving London distressed me, the news and prospect of your approaching dissolution hath quite weighed me down. I pity myself and the church, but not you. A radiant throne awaits you, and ere long you will enter into your Master’s joy. Yonder he stands with a massy crown, ready to put it on your head, amidst an admiring throng of saints and angels....My heart is too big, tears trickle down too fast, and you are, I fear, too weak, for me to enlarge. Underneath you may there be Christ’s everlasting arms! I commend you to his never-failing mercy, and am,

"Rev. and very dear Sir,

"Your most affectionate, sympathizing, and afflicted younger brother in the Gospel of our common Lord,

"G. Whitefield."

centuri0n said...

Raja --

For a guy who likes to look at the desiderata of any given pericope, methinks you need to go back to 10th grade and learn about the basics.

Do you really think that the thrust of my last post to you was "we're right; you're wrong. Deal with it"? If it is, can you please explain in what way my exchange with Doug Wilson is an example of that?

Doesn't it seem to be far more likely that my point was that you crackers are the bullies? Why give that last bit about the blue shoes and the forest in which the trees are found if my point was "I'm right"? My point is that we can't find out "who is right" unless the side which is doing the actual bullying doesn't give it a rest.

The rest of us -- the Phils and Dougs of the blogosphere, and the me's who ride their coat-tails -- are in fact frequently at odds without having to resort to bullying of the flavor "my feelings got hurt" or "that's mean and therefore godless" or "your readers are just like you but my readers are saints -- just like me". Isn't that a bizarre way to say "I'm never wrong" -- to point out that the mature people don't have to resort to emotional blackmial to engage in dispute?

TeamPyro doesn't have to be right -- we simply represent what we actually represent, and we do it without a lot of apologies because we don't expect anyone to apologize to us. If what you want us to do is reconsider post modern linguistic theory, or the doctrine of the incarnation or the virgin birth, or to extend the prudery of discourse from the "7 forbidden words" to "any hint of what makes reading enjoyable", you can forget it. We don't use dainty doilies here, and the 3-piece plastic service suits us much better than the 7-piece silver which no one but my wife knows how to use in public.

When someone misreads Phil, and Phil offers him correction, and that person's first reaction is "bully", that person has the problem -- not Phil. This isn't about whether I called someone a jerk for being a culture prude -- something I have done and apologized for because it was unwarranted and unkind. This is about someone on your team being unable to read criticism without a box of kleenex (the ones with the lotion for his sensitive nose) right there -- and a sympathetic friend standing by to hand him one after each sentence.

And let me offer this as well -- let's imagine that TeamPyro is wrong, for example, about the Emergent Church. As I review the tape, we're not the ones who can't go three rounds of exchanges on the topic without breaking down into hysterics. If you or anyone can come to the table, voice criticism of our position, and then defend the criticism, you might get a "huh! Maybe we should think about that some more!" from us. But when the best effort to sharpen iron around here on that topic has yet to be presented, let's not try to strap me, or Dan, or Phil with the tacit accusation of arrogance.

JSB said...

Well! Clearly anyone who uses "desiderata" and "pericope" in the same sentence is, ipso facto, arrogant and a bully!

Jim Crigler said...

I gotta do this fast 'cause I've gotta put a ham in the oven.

1. The "Complaint Department" graphic was really great. (I almost wrote, "da bomb", but that's too bad a pun even for me. Wait ...)

2. I was waiting until the "lordship controversy" posts were over before adding these thoughts:

2.1 Great series.

2.2 Now that Phil has managed a whole series, I wonder whether we can get a restart on private revelation without the conversation getting waylaid by the continuationist - cessationist robber band. (Boing!)

H.C. Ross said...

Phil,

Just wanted to send a word of sincere thanks for your two excellent talks on postmodernism and the emerging church/movement, online at (http://www.swordandtrowel.org/PJ-CDA14.htm).
I sent that link to all my friends in ministry. Your teaching is clear and punchy ... and true! I'm trying to figure out a way to tie this topic to Puritanism somehow, so I can mention them at the Conventicle. Great work! Combatting strongholds, arguments and pretensions indeed ...

H.C. Ross said...

Phil,

Just wanted to send a word of sincere thanks for your two excellent talks on postmodernism and the emerging church/movement, online at (http://www.swordandtrowel.org/PJ-CDA14.htm).
I sent that link to all my friends in ministry. Your teaching is clear and punchy ... and true! I'm trying to figure out a way to tie this topic to Puritanism somehow, so I can mention them at the Conventicle. Great work! Combatting strongholds, arguments and pretensions indeed ...

Lindon said...

Phil Wrote: "If I had even written something that could reasonably be interpreted as unfriendly or spiteful, the recent outpouring of rage and fury from our critics might be understandable, and I would crawl on broken glass to beg forgiveness if that's what it took to win my brothers."

Wow. This is the most powerful thing I have ever read on a blog. Does not fit the bully profile, though. :o)

Steve said...

Blue raja said: "You guys are always right, and everyone else is always wrong."

To the contrary, Blue, having watched your comments for months, I'd say you are the one who has a serious problem with such self-righteousness, and not TeamPyro. Phil, Frank, and Dan speak their convictions with humility. If only you could somehow get out of your own shoes and read your own posts. You have helped to increase my admiration for Phil's patience by quite a few notches.

To TeamPyro: In regard to that blog on which people are voting which of you is the meanest...you know how it goes. When those who disagree with you are unable to respond with substantive and legitimate arguments, they resort to ad hominem attacks. It's an immature and fleshly way to strike back and try to salvage one's pride when they're on the weak or losing side of a debate.

David said...

BR - you said
"Your admission that you never (or rarely) change your theological positions implies that you are always (or most often) right about everything when it comes to theology. By definition, that means you’re un-teachable, since you’ve nothing (or very little) to learn from anyone"

or, it means they have spent far more time contemplating these issues compared to 99% of those in the meta, long before they ever started this blog.

I have had my disagreements with Phil and Frank (but not Dan - I will have to work harder on that), but they have come to thier views through alot of hard work (and prayer), and as such, I would be shocked if someone in the meta actually caused them to change their postion.

Paul Doutell said...

I agree with Steve.

joythruChrist said...

Charles Wisnant said:
And don't let your wife read your blog.

< guffaw > I laugh because the same thing goes on here w/hubby, only I don’t say "Do you really want to say that?" I say “ Do you really want to say it that way?”

I’m not a fan of controversy, but I sometimes think I’m a magnet for it. I believe in remaining firm in your convictions, but respecting the humanity of those who disagree. Been seeing a lack of that lately. Not here, but elsewhere around the blogck. I actually don’t even know the specifics that are being referred to here, because I only read a handful of you regularly, and that through bloglines. Sigh, if only there was more time...

There’s a real problem with text. I could be in tears as I write this comment, and no one would ever know it. (And I love the lotion kleenex!) All you see is my cheesy smile in my profile photo, so you have no idea what my motives or feelings are as I write this. With any single comment or post, we’re only getting a snapshot of who that person is, right? How many of us know each other personally? All I’m saying that I think we should refrain from judging one another on the basis of text alone. Or at the very least, on the basis of the text of one or two posts alone. I know for a fact that I’ve written some very truthful things with a heart full of grace and then been called evil and spiritually blind as a result. Hmmm...

All that said (whatever it meant to whoever read it) I love PyroManiacs, and will continue to read the edifying things here no matter who says what about them.

One more thing, totally off topic. And I admit I’m putting this here because TeamPyro gets far more traffic than I ever will... Please pray for my brother, Dave, who just had a heart attack and goes in for bypass surgery tomorrow. He’s only 42, and not a believer. Thanks.
Blessings,
Jen

donsands said...

Jen.

I pray for your brother.

Have a blessed and restful evening in His grace.

DJP said...

David -- I have had my disagreements with Phil and Frank (but not Dan - I will have to work harder on that)....

Well, one of us will have to work harder.

(c;

Carla said...

I was just now sitting here trying to come up with something to disagree with Dan on. Imagine that.

Jen - will definitely add your brother and family to my prayers.

Now, about that Dan guy... I'll have to work on that.

Char said...

I often think when reading the whinings of the chronically offended that these people need to be schooled in nastyness so they know what it actually looks like.

While the opinions are, as stated, strong, I don't see Pyros as being particularly mean or bullying, and I have some good experience in that department.

It seems to me that the real issue for some (though not all I'm sure) of these detractors is that Pyros refuses to be controlled by their headgames. The Pyros don't seem to get that they are sensitive victims and everyone is supposed to tiptoe around them, saying things in a way that pleases them lest the waterworks go off. Of course that makes them the most horrible people on earth.

This is something I could rant on all day, But I'll just say thanks Pyros for meaning what you say and being a consistant burr under the saddles of those we affectionately call the terminally tight***ed.

Char said...

Oh and Frank is not in the running as the meanest because he gives people free shirts. Speaking of which, I love my free shirt, even if the Athanasius design did get you critism, heh. Thanks Frank!

Now just imagine how galling Athanasius would be to the post-modern mindset and know you are in good company.

Char said...

Clarification of my first statement; the Pyros' in their insensitivity are the Most Horrible People. The poor little whiney babies are perfect of course.

Gordon Cloud said...

This is really edifying and ministering grace.

marc said...

Dan,
I want an apology for your dispensational views (which, only recently have become obvious to me, though you try to hide them), they offend me deeply.

Frank, seriously, your vocabulary makes me wince with envy.

Blueraja, why do you keep coming back for more?

Mark W. said...

And we stubbornly refuse to submit our blog to postmodernism's rules of engagement.

This statement seems to be the crux of the "bully" issue. Anyone with any training in rhetoric/argument/persuasion, etc. can easily see that the guys at Pyro are always careful to back their statements with evidence, rationality and fairness. This isn't bullying, it's good form. It's also something that is, unfortunately, in short supply these days.

As someone whose original comment at Pyro was biting and sensationalist to say the least, I was quickly surprised to find that these guys really do care, and they go out of their way to respond with depth to comments much more than any other blog of this type (though, perhaps there really isn't another blog of "this" type - Pyro is very unique).

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I've been turned: I've gained a great deal of respect for these guys in the last fews months of lurking here and reading the posts and commentary. Phil writes that, "we expect all our commenters—friends and foes alike—to take responsibility for their views and assertions. There are a lot of prolific commenters out there who could use some experience in "taking responsibility for their views," and I think that reponsibility for ones view of God and eternity is the most important area in which to learn this bit of character.

I feel that I am continuing to mature in this area myself, and I thank TeamPyro for maintaining standards of reason and being honest and forthright in their posts and commentary. They are a great example for the contemporary Christian.

Caddiechaplain said...

The "Theological Pit-bulls" sounds too much like the "Evangelical Pit-bull, Ergun Caner. Whatever he says that means?

Bobby Grow said...

Maybe the Blue Raja realizes that the doing of theology is a reflection of the way one views God. Since God is defind by His intra-trinitarian relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--any theology that is done, in light of our "relational God" will realize that the doing of theology is a dynamic venture.

Conversely,

the typical western engagement of the doing of theology is a static engagement. In other words, western theology, aptly reflected by the Pyros, sees God as an static (ie. unmoved mover) substance which is reflected by the way the Pyros approach most of their posts and consequent engagements in the comment meta. I.e. they have a static view of theology which believes that theology is passed down from one generation to the next, unchanged (i.e. static), thus once a person (the Pyros) has "mastered" "received theology"--there really is no space for correction or change--because to question their particular theological position would be to imply change--and since theology (at a prologemenological level)is shaped by one's "fundamental" view of God (e.g. Theology Proper) for the Pyros to admit change in a traditional "received theological view" would imply that God has changed (at least in the typcial Western approach of doing theology).

The dynamic view of doing theology (i.e. the eastern tradition which emphasizes the threeness and relationality of God) has space in its doing of theology for "movement" since God is seen as dynamic and actually a "mover and responder" to His creation.

It seems to me that the Raja has the right approach in the doing of theology because he seems to recognize the dynamic character of God, and thus the doing of theology.

I realize everything I just said "sounds" deep, but after all is really just "silly" ;~).

Stephen Dunning said...

When we enter the blog world, whether it is posting comments or articles, whether it is agreeing with the team or not, we all have a duty to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), remembering that
men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
Mt 12:36).

TheBlueRaja said...

Marc,

Because I'm dumb. I'm not sure how I can have all the same heroes, all the same theology, and the same philosophy of ministry and find myself alienated. And I'm sad. I've seen humble, good believers utterly devestated by the kind of "ministry" which is characterized by some of what I've seen here. It's the relative absence of any warm, personable, charitable, relational concern that I've personally seen push people over the edge of apostasy, severe doubt, or bewildered questioning (ask yourself what percieved problem is the emerging movement filling, and why do these perceptions exist?). So, mostly, it's an emotional reaction to a percieved problem that troubles me very deeply and very personally.



Frank, I was talking to Phil - I'm still thinking about your comments.



I still can't see how anyone's actually responded to my concerns - but as I said - I made my comments purely for your consideration. If you've considered them, and decided to discard them, that's your privilege. I'll just be the idiot that says something when he can't stands no more. I wouldn't get so agitated if I didn't like so much of what I read here.

TheBlueRaja said...

It's great to see you around again, bobby! I would just mention that I don't view the essence of God's nature as dynamic (i.e. changing in response to creation) - but I would view our understanding of God, and more relevantly, our understanding of the Bible and our methodology for mining it's gems, as dynamic. In other words, I believe our theology is always under revision, with the main renovator being the Bible itself (under the explicit direction of the Holy Spirit).

DJP said...

Char -- It seems to me that the real issue for some (though not all I'm sure) of these detractors is that Pyros refuses to be controlled by their headgames. The Pyros don't seem to get that they are sensitive victims and everyone is supposed to tiptoe around them, saying things in a way that pleases them lest the waterworks go off. Of course that makes them the most horrible people on earth.

(First emph added)

Phil, do we have a Post of the Day? I think I have a nominee.

Gordon Cloud said...

I think the last comment by Dan proves the point that Blue Raja, Steve and others have been trying to make.

When confronted directly with things that are offensive (as per Phil's request), the minions of the Pyros dogpile on the "detractors", calling them "cry-babies", "whiners", etc. and accuse them of playing "head-games".

Instead of responding graciously and in a scriptural manner, the Pyros nominate such school-yard behavior for "Post of the Day".

I am a regular reader and commentor here. I usually am blessed by what I read, but I must say I am finding this thread very disturbing.

Paul Doutell said...

Bobby said:

"They have a static view of theology which believes that theology is passed down from one generation to the next, unchanged."

Just like another stuffy theologian named . . . Paul:

"The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witneses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2).

I mean, it's almost like Phil is trying to follow these thoughts:

"Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you" (2 Timothy 1:13-14).

If you want to frame this discussion in terms of the character of God, "immutability" will eventually come into play.

DJP said...

Gordon -- ...the Pyros nominate such school-yard behavior for "Post of the Day"....

1. Well, really, only one lone, little, insignificant Pyro.

2. You're right, though: I erred.

I should have said "Comment of the Day."

Luke & Rachael said...

Since I began reading TeamPyro, I haven't so much been concerned with the tenor of the responses, more with what I take to be a failure to take opposition seriously enough.

I think this is what the blueraja is getting at. Often serious crticism--conducted in sincerity, on decent biblical and other reasonable grounds--is either ignored or mis-represented and promptly swept under the rug. I could provide links to several comments I've made (particularly in relation to Dan's series on Straw Men and Slippery Slopes) in which I articulated sincere questions and doubts about inerrancy, only to be ignored. This reinforces the perception that TeamPyro is more willing to chalk up disagreements to postmodern premises (or whatever) on the part of those disagreeing, than to actually engage in meaningful debate.

I also have a question concerning the posting policy. My question is whether or not an individual's reputation or observed behaviour *elsewhere*, on another blog, puts them behind in the count when they show up here and start posting. Is TeamPyro in the habit of basing their warnings and expulsions, at least in part, on the behavior of the poster in forums other than TeamPyro's?

The reason I ask is b/c Frank's expulsion of a certain commenter last week seemed to derive at least part of its justification from this sort of policy. I'm not saying such a policy is indefensible, though it does strike me as at least somehwat problematic. Thanks.

Bobby Grow said...

Raja,

I don't believe God changes either, in His essence. My point was that His essence is defined by his intra-relationship which is charged with dynamism, which should and does impact the way we do theology--i.e. our interaction with the text of scripture. I'm glad you're out there blogging still too, Raja, where do you blog at now-a-days?

Paul D.,

With what I just said to Raja in mind, immutability is a category provided by Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, not the Bible (I still believe in the "changlessness of God")--immutability is tied to another category, impassibility, which is tied to God's "actual inifinity", which is tied to God as the unmoved-mover, which is tied to the idea that God is a monad and singular (i.e. denigrates and does not emphasize the relationality of our trinitarian God).

Actually Paul was highly dynamic and trinitarian in His theology contra the static thomistic theology that the western tradition has been shaped by in general.

In Christ

Paul Doutell said...

Bobby,

In your earlier post you said about your own post:

"I realize everything I just said "sounds" deep, but after all is really just "silly" ;~)."

Does that apply to what you just said as well? I'm not sure what you intend for us to take seriously.

TheBlueRaja said...

I'm still at Soylent Green, Bobby. I'm also at the Boar's Head Tavern, an establishment which I still can't figure out what's generating controversy among other conservative bloggers. It's really more like a bulletin board than a blog. There are people there that I'd probably disagree with about almost everything, some of which is rather serious. But they're smart, fun conversation partners.

Bobby Grow said...

Paul,

actually that little comment was a rhetorical joust at djp, since he said that of one of my comments on the prior article to this one sounds deep, is silly.

Most theologians would take what I just said seriously, i.e. that Artistotelianism has so imposed itself upon western theology, that the God it produces doesn't look much at all what the God of the Bible looks like.

Why don't you respond to my assertion on the impact that Aristotelianism has had upon theology, rather than engage in the typical evasion that characterizes almost all of my few interactions that I've ever had on this blog.

Raja,

thanks, I'll look you up again. I took a look at the Boars Head, an interesting forum, I read your most recent post there--have you cut ties with TMS (i.e. as an institution).

SolaMeanie said...

Pheh.

After reading through this, I don't know whether I feel tired or cranked.

After years of involvement in apologetics, I have heard the charge of "arrogance" and "immutability of position" ad nauseum. In our current culture both inside and outside the church, to be certain of anything and to argue your position forcefully is tantamount to committing the unpardonable sin.

If it was possible for me to send people back in time, I'd send a host of complainers to the Socratic Club at Oxford headed by C.S. Lewis. You would see robust, masculine debate along with a good deal of mother wit. (Ladies, I use "masculine" to make a point here..don't be insulted..and the fact that I'd even have to SAY that is instructive) You might even hear (horror) drollness, sarcasm and occasionally even a caustic remark or two. Did both camps get in a snit and go home sulking? Did they protest how "mean" their opponents were? Hardly. In fact, most of them enjoyed the exchange immensely.

I hope I never intentionally wound or hurt a brother or sister out of a spirit of malace or true arrogance. However, I will not apologize for arguing a position with clarity, nor occasional sharp wording when necessary. Considering how the apostles and prophets phrased certain things, I feel I am in excellent company.

The old adage is "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." I think that applies here. If someone is going to advocate a doctrinal position that falls short of biblical orthodoxy, you are going to be challenged. Expect it and get over it. It is generally the mindset of the cult leader who bridles when someone challenges their theology.

Paul Doutell said...

Bobby,

I knew I liked djp for a reason. I agree with him.

It's so rich that you accuse me of evading Aristotle while simultaneosly evading the Scriptures I cited (which were the main point of my comment, anyway).

But if you're just really itching to get the admission, here it is: I'm not prepared to discuss Aristotle's impact on theology. OK? Maybe someone else will.

Cha-ching!

Yaay! Point for Bobby!

Now, what about the Scriptures? You get the final word as far as I'm concerned, and the readers can judge whether you deal with my comment fairly or not.

Luke said...

Paul,

Maybe Bobby's point is precisely that the Aristotelian legacy conditions the very way in which we view and interpret the Scriptures themselves.

We all make hermeneutic assumptions when we approach the text, assumptions that can't be extracted verbatim from the text itself. The question is whether those assumptions are justified, and just what's doing the justifying work (reason, experience, scriptural support, or whatever).

I don't think the Bible by itself can get you a very robust hermeneutic; there's just not enough in there about the Bible itself, how to read it, etc. Bobby seems to be pointing out that, by and large, Western Christianity's hermeneutic assumptions have been based, explicitly or not, on a static Aristotelian framework. Maybe you disagree. At any rate, the point is that, if two preople don't share similar hermeneutic assumptions about how Scripture works--what it is and what it is not--simply appealing to Scripture won't do much good.

Bobby Grow said...

Paul,

Luke clarified my point more succinctly than I was able to. When Paul penned the words in Timothy, the ones you cited, had the inter-relationship between Christ's humanity and deity been articulated as we have them now (i.e. Chalcedon); no! That's my point, given the relational nature of God's character, we shouldn't expect to have all of the i's and t's dotted and crossed. Our knowledge of God is dynamic and growing--I'm not saying that I don't believe that there isn't any established truth about God's character and nature--I'm just saying given His trinitarian nature the "way" we engage Him and do theology should reflect His dynamic nature.

And I also do believe, as Luke pointed out, that indeed many of us come from differing confessional interpretive traditions--thus our committments to such traditions will not allow us to dialogue with eachother in a fruitful manner, unless we are willing to recognize this reality and thus jettison our sectarian tendencies (the body of Christ is much larger than MacArthur's dogma will allow).

IN Christ

Denny said...

Col 1:19-23 “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, GROUNDED and STEADFAST, and are NOT MOVED AWAY from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister."

The word “steadfast” in Greek is “ “hedraios” and also means “settled". If you are unsettled in your faith and see that others are settled in their faith, do you have any foundation for judging them at all?

Rom 16:25-27 "Now to Him who is able to ESTABLISH you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures HAS BEEN made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen."

The word "establish" in Greek is "sterizo" and means "to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix". As much as some struggle with this, God "IS ABLE TO ESTABLISH YOU". This promise is said repeatedly in the Scriptures in many ways. If you are double-minded you will be unstable in all of your ways and in this you may wish that others, who have "an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast", would cut their anchor and join your being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine which comes and goes within every generation, as will the "emergent" doctrine. Get settled in the unchanging Word of God and "Truth of the Gospel" and you will know why some speak with confidence and authority which is often seen as arrogance by those who have not done their studying well and are not yet settled.

Some have been diligent to present themselves approved to God, workers who do not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Because these men are contending "earnestly for the faith which was ONCE FOR ALL delivered to the saints", those who are not yet settled will be offended by the steadfastness of their faith. If they bear the fruit of the Spirit as was exemplified by the founders of our faith, and in doctrine they show "integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned" then what can you honestly say about them?

2 Thes 3:3 "But the Lord is faithful, who WILL ESTABLISH you and guard you from the evil one."

James 5:8 "You also be patient. ESTABLISH your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand."

All quotes from nkjv (emphasis added)

Luke said...

'If you are unsettled in your faith and see that others are settled in their faith, do you have any foundation for judging them at all?'

Denny,

Who said anything about being unsettled in the faith? Here you're assuming that just b/c someone doesn't share your view of what it *means*--what it looks like--to hold fast to the gospel, that makes them ungrounded and non-steadfast.

Does holding fast to the Gospel entail believing that all 66 books of the Old and New Testament are the inerrant word of God? That would have made it pretty hard for Paul's readers in Collosians to follow his advice, given that some of those books weren't yet written.
Everyone's going to agree that holding fast to the Gospel is crucial. But does that mean we can't disagree over whether Christ's work is best understood by a forensic or Christus Vistor model of the Atonement? Does it mean we can't disagree over whether or not the gifts have ceased? Does it really entail that every time I question a brother's or sister's hermeneutic decision ('What? You really greet each other with a holy kiss? Whoa!'), that means I'm somehow not anchored in the Gospel, not holding fast, being swayed to and fro?

I don't really see how your post solves anything. I acknowledge the verses you mention, but don't see how the conclusion you want follows. This illustrates the very point I made in my last post. You're here hitting me over the head with Bible verses that I, like you, regard as authoritative; but we're no closer to understanding and meaningful debate.

Paul Doutell said...

"Artistotelianism has so imposed itself upon western theology, that the God it produces doesn't look much at all what the God of the Bible looks like."

I don't think you can go very far with your argument before you effectively deny the perspecuity of Scripture and the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit.

So do we have to understand Aristotle before we can understand the Scriptures and have peace with God? Has western logic so twisted our minds that the Holy Spirit can't cut through it and give us understanding?

You can kick all you want, but that *is* what you're implying. To the extent your theological constructs take you there, I won't say it's silly.

It's just plain wrong.

Kim said...

I've been thinking about this, and I wonder how the apostle Paul would be received today by some of folks here.

Char said...

I am a minion? Well I am already the happy minion of someone on the art sites I frequent...

This is simply what I have seen over and over again with this and other blogs. It is indeed a game, an attempt to win people over not through good or biblical argumentation (which they usually don't have) but through tugging on the heartstrings of others and playing the victim. I have dealt with this personality enough to recognize it when I see it. I've seen many here.

I do respect the person with different opinions and strong biblical reasons for them. I don't agree with everything the Pyros believe, so sometimes THEY are the ones obviously wrong and I'm still okay with them. :)
However I see more and more of the other type; people who can not make a sound argument, but think all should bend for them so they don't feel bad.

Reach waay back in your memory: remember Phil's Jury Duty post? Remember the comics? Now tell me there has never been a dissenting commentor who fits the MO of the perpetual victim who takes offence at anything. These people would have been (deservedly) eaten alive in any serious debate in past ages. Today, they are the powerful ones. There is something wrong with that picture.

I will also say I think it is interesting that gordon cloud's reading of what I said disingenuously suggested I was making a blanket statement about all dissenters when I clearly said I was not. Where is the grace and charitable reading? Apparently it only has to go one way and does not apply to the Mean People.

Ah maybe I should just get with the times:

Don't you people know JESUS WAS NEVER MEAN! And he NEVER called people NAMES!





...Well except the times he was and did, but we don't think about them.

Gordon Cloud said...

Char, upon further review of your original comment to which I referred, I realize that you did not paint with as broad of a brush as I made you out to do.

You are correct that it was ungracious of me and I apologize.

Phil Johnson said...

Incidentally, since we have some reading-comprehension-challenged lurkers who like to mix their theology with copious amounts of lager, let me make something clear:

I never said my doctrine is beyond correction. What I said was that if I have studied an issue carefully, I'm probably not going to change my mind the first time my opinion is challenged by a serial smart-alek who thinks virtually nothing is clear or certain and who admits that he himself has never held to any one worldview consistently for longer than 18 months at a time.

William Dicks said...

To our dear PyroManiacs,

I have written a post on my blog that says what I want to say about your blog. I see you guys as a positive influence in Christian Blogdom.

The post is called Pyromaniacs a bunch of mean-spiritied bullies?

God bless!

Jon Unyan said...

Howdy,

I completely understand where Frank was coming from when he banned the person in question. When the primary purpose of your blog (the banned commenter's blog)is to publish hit pieces about the character and integrity of a Pastor in the church of Christ (Doug Wilson), one who is duly recognized by the people of God as His gift to a particular local church, such a person should be called to account for it. Now, I disagree with Pastor Wilson quite hardily on several key issues. Be that as it may, to my knowledge he is an honorable Christian brother who is not under church discipline for a scandalous sin that has disqualified him for the ministry...

In my relatively short Christian experience, there have been disaffected members of my church who left, not for doctrinal reasons, but because of their own sin. Then they start bad-mouthing the Pastors (the most godly men I've ever known), and figuratively speaking try to burn the church down on their way out. Now, if one of them set up a web site to mock the Pastor, point out his every supposed inconsistency, put the worst spin on the Pastor's intentions and motives for whatever he does, should I give him a hearing? Absolutely not! Why should we give Metzler a hearing? He should be rebuked. The internet gives him an outlet to vent his sin, and other people (unknowingly in many cases) give credence to what he says. Now, he is not refuting theological positions with biblical argumentation in a spirit of charitableness, mind you. He is making Doug Wilson out to be a wicked man. So, I have no sympathy for his behavior or his blog.

The other thing I have found to be quite insidious with guys like Metzler, is that they attempt to portray a very respectable, courteous tone and demeanor when dealing with people. This lends an air of respectability to their own person and to what they say. That's the diabolical part. So when you come out strongly against them like Frank did, you look like the harsh and unkind one and they look innocent and victimized. Worms like that need to be exposed...

Well, all that rambling is to say I don't think Frank or Phil has acted in a manner inconsistent with a Christian testimony (they're not the ones soiling a good man's reputation), yet the "victim" wants to turn others against them. What Char posted was very insightful and true.

And besides that, some people walk around with sore toes just waiting to stub them...

And finally, Phil's last comment is right on the money. If he's posting his position on a blog he should very well have seriously studied the Scriptures on the matter before making his views public. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise. So, you can be teachable, yet firm and stable in your theology. Who would respect Phil if he started questioning his doctrinal positions based upon the comments of weirdos like me who spend too much time reading blogs? Well, that's my .02. Sorry for clogging up your blog....

centuri0n said...

Luke:

If what you're saying is that we ought to live in a box here and not recognize the behaviors of people who have proven themselves frankly untrustworthy at other blogs when it comes to mainatining reasonable (note: I think "civil" is asking too much of many people, but at least one should expect from himself what he expects from others) dialog.

The real irony I see in your recent concern here is that somehow we (TeamPyro) ought to offer informed opinions -- but we (TeamPyro) should not let information guide our actions. If a person is behaving badly all over the place, and we see that in their posts, and they come here and start playing the same notes on the same instrument in the same overture, and they get fair warning, it's up to them to find a new sheet of music.

That's all I have to say right now. If something else comes up, I'll let you all know.

Luke & Rachael said...

As I said, I was just asking a question about TeamPyro's posting policy. This question stems from the fact that, as soon as the poster in question shows up, and seemingly before any untoward posts on his part (here at Pyro, at least), Frank proposes an 'experiment' intended to elicit not-so-friendly feelings toward the person in question.

If you want to base your warning and expulsion policy on goings-on outside the realm of your own blog, that's fine. But at least be clear and up front about it. That's all.

bill melone said...

Heres another way to look at the issue--what change is desired in people that think differently? How can those thoughts be offered in a way that will cause those people to really think it over?
In other words, if its the emergents that you want to think differently, how can you offer your thoughts in a way that is going to cause them to really think the things through that you want them to? To get specific, my dad works at a seeker sensitive church. If I offered to him (or any of the other pastors there) the thoughts I regularly see here, I have no doubt that he (they) would stop reading after a couple paragraphs, shrug shoulders and say 'we disagree about ways of doing church', completely unfazed--not because of lack of fire, or even perhaps lack of brilliant thoughts, but because you failed to say anything to get his attention--you do not tailor your words in a way that is intended to really change/bring repentance in emergents/seeker sentives.

My guess is that you would respond to that by saying that following Paul's/Jesus'/JtheB's examples of being firey/strong is tailored to bring a right response--and I would respond two ways--1, none of them were always that way with everybody, and 2, if you are right about the topics you address, you should have every care, and do everything in your power to be aware of how something you say (and the way you say it) will be perceived. You may not sound like you are ranting to yourselves or people who are used to the theological discussion that appears on this level, but I think you do sound like you are ranting to emergents et al. I think that to them you sound like you desire their humiliation rather than their repentance/restoration. Maybe thats their problem if they see your motive as being what it isn't, but if somebody doesn't understand me the first time, I'm going to try to say it again and again till they do and are cool with me.

I think one thing Raja might be meaning to say is that you are too strong in your self-belief of understanding how to apply theology (rather than actual theology).

Anyway, hope I'm clear and not over-bearing.

Bobby Grow said...

Paul D.,

"you're just plain wrong . . ." so there ;~).

It's easy to make an assertion, Paul, but let me just say you haven't dealt with my assertion that Aristotelianism has been the defining feature of Western theology. This isn't even a debatable issue . . . all Christian theologians would recognize the "thomistic" character of western theology. How does this imply that I'm denying the perscipuity of the scriptures (I hold to both the inner and outer clarity of the scriptures, Paul, do you [?]--I'm an full innerantist).

All I'm asking is what impact has Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas had on our understanding and interpretation of the Scriptures. And has it been fruitful or detrimental to our articulation of Theology proper, anthropology, soteriology?

What are you so afraid of Paul? Why are Christians, of all people, afraid to engage the truth--wherever that leads? We all know that if we are truly seeking the truth it will inevitably lead us to Jesus, and not some liberal/PoMo epistemology that denies the reality of the Jesus of Faith.

Paul, maybe if you understood a little bit of Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas' integration of his categories with Christian theology, you would be more discerning, and better equipped to cultivate a deeper more intimate realationship with Jesus Christ. At least that's what drives me in my study of such mundane tedious things such as the history of ideas and historical theology presents us with.

Be a man Paul, and quit cowering in your comfortable static tradition . . . be willing to "grow" (cf. John 17:3)in your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

centuri0n said...

Bobby:

You are getting foggier and foggier.

Here's a question intended to clear up the cloud of questions and hypotheses you are prividing at this point:

John 1:1 demonstrates something about Christology and Hermaneutics proper in describing Jesus Christ. You may have to explain what that something is in order to answer this question, but riddle me this: is the message of John 1:1 dependent of a Jewish understanding of the Messiah, or is it dependent on something else altogether?

If you can answer that question at all, you will have simply taken your views expressed in this thread about when "our" understanding of what Scripture is for and when the basis for handling it the way "we" do was formed and tossed them out the window.

The premises for the hist/crit model of hermeneutics are implicit in the NT and in the OT -- and are foundational for handling Scripture at all. To say otherwise is to overlook the purpose and methods of writing the NT authors implemented in their works. Sorry.

Bobby Grow said...

Frank I just spent 40 min. repsonding to your points, and stinkin blogger dumped it when I tried to publish it. I'll answer your points in a post at my site at a later date. But there really is nothing to be sorry about ;~).

Paul Doutell said...

Bobby, grow. I already conceded that I wasn't in a position to discuss Aristotle.

Your affirmation of the clarity of Scripture is meaningless if you continue to insist that we have to know Aristotle's impact before we can know God, and your juvenile taunts about my fears and manhood (really, Bobby--grow) aren't a substitute for answering a simple question. I'll ask it again in case you missed it:

"I don't think you can go very far with your argument before you effectively deny the perspecuity of Scripture and the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit.

"So do we have to understand Aristotle before we can understand the Scriptures and have peace with God? Has western logic so twisted our minds that the Holy Spirit can't cut through it and give us understanding?"

If you're not going to answer those two questions honestly and without further evasion, just say so and stop wasting our time.

Bobby Grow said...

Paul,

I never insisted that you had to know Aristotle to know God, just that if one knows Aristotle's impact on Christian theology it might help enhance that person's relationship with Jesus (i.e. able to discern what part of theology is based on speculative theology, and what part is the Bible). BTW sorry about the comment on being a man . . . a bit of passion mis-directed . . . I apologize and ask for forgiveness on that point (seriously).

Would you concede that when doing systematic theology, we have used, both in the past and at present, philosophical categories to articulate God's nature?

Explain, if you will, why I can't go very far with holding to the perscipuity of the scripture . . . so far you've just made an assertion, and I'm not understaning the causal connection between my view on Aristotle and my supposed inability to hold to the persc. idea.

I think you're misunderstanding me, Paul . . . which is probably my fault in my under-communication.

Frank,

I'll try to turn on the fog-lights as soon as I have more time . . . off to work.

Luke & Rachael said...

Frank,

Let me push back a little. John 1 obviously presupposes some very Jewish ideas about the Messiah; it's intent is to re-tell the story of Israel in a way that would have sounded deeply subversive to non-Christian Jewsih ears--as a story that culminates in the not-so-Messiah-like (given Jewish expectations) actual Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Still, it seems a bit of a jump from acknowledging that a correct understanding of John 1 requires something like the hist-crit method to claiming that such a method is implicit in the OT and NT. I'm not saying it isn't, and in general I think the hist-crit method (used properly, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) is the best game in town.

This said, I don't think it's altogether clear (in fact, I think its' demonstrably untrue) that Paul, for one, assumed a hist-crit hermeneutic (in the sense we usually think of it), particularly in his handling of OT texts. It seems clear that the Christological spin Paul puts on just about every OT text/event he comes into contact with violates one of the basic premises of the hist-crit method, namely, to interpret texts and/or events in original historical context, such that one's interpretation reflects what the contemporaries of the text and/or event would have understood by it.

But how many Israelites would have understood OT texts and/or events in the way Paul does? My point is just that, for Paul, at least, it seems the Spirit does far more hermeneutic work than any hist-crit premises. Not to be difficult, but I think your position requires more argumentative work than one or two two lines. Richard Hays has a good collection of books on Paul's use of the OT; I think it's called The Re-Invention of the Imagination (or something like that). Good stuff.

Denny said...

Hi Luke. Sorry for the delayed response.

I appreciate your comment in response to mine. I really didn't know that I was hitting (specifically) you over the head with the Bible. I didn't mean to. I suppose that would hurt if I was using my hardback John MacArthur NASB (just joking with you Luke). I hope that I am keeping fairly on topic here. You have asked many questions and I'm not sure that I should use much text here to answer all of them succinctly. And frankly I'm not sure I could. I will try to better explain what I mean when I said that one is "unsettled" or "settled" in their faith.

First of all, as the Apostle Paul said: "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me". (Phili. 3:12) The point I wish to bring out here is "Jesus took hold of me". He is still working on me, for there is much work needed. I did not take hold of Him until He securely held me. He is the Sovereign, I am the servant. He is the Potter, I am the clay. I can't see Him or the meaning of His words until He shows Himself to me through His mercy and grace. For we all have sinned and are in darkness until He chooses to shine His Light of Truth. All of Scripture makes this fact very clear. But it is also written in many different ways that men can read the Scriptures and not ever perceive their truth until they are humbled and acknowledge their total dependance on Him for sight. Many argue with the meaning of the text of Scripture. Some very intelligently. Some with the influence of their own desires or the desires of others. But Jesus said: "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (Jn 5:39-40)

It is the foundation I am referring to when I say "settled". This foundation is laid by God Himself "for no-one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ"(1Co 3:11). "Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens"(Ps 119:89). Jesus Christ never changes nor does His Word or the meaning of it. This is the "settled" that I speak of. Some who "speak with authority" and sound like bullies do so because they have the right foundation laid by God and are following Him in their diligent study of His Word as God illuminates. John ch. 6 and 8 shows those who had a faulty foundation in their so-called faith in Christ where Jesus “bullied” them for this and they were found out. If you are of the true Spirit of God you will pass the test of "every word" which proceeds from the mouth of God (All Scripture) without any perversions or excuses or retaliation or contrary philosophy. It all falls into it's proper place by the Living Word of God Who gave it. If you have God’s Spirit His Words (the Bible) contain all that is needed to comprehend Truth. We have “helps” to assist us there but it is all “settled” in His revealed Word. We grow in this grace and knowledge, but the foundation must be of the True One or we are laboring in vain. We do learn more but the foundation of our salvation NEVER changes. Is it a "what" (a philosophy) or is there a "Who"(a Savior) that we are building on? Has He set you free or are you endlessly seeking freedom through philosophy?

No accusations here. God is the Judge along with His Words and how His Spirit backs their real meanings. It really doesn't matter how intelligent we are by human standards, for it is written "not many wise" or "not with enticing words of mans wisdom". I personally thank God for this. Many of the founding Apostles were unlearned men but they were with Jesus and "knew" all they needed to "know" for their eternal life and that of those who would have ears to here them. They "knew" Him. Everyone everywhere all over the world soon after Christ ascended on High has argued meaning of the Holy Bible. This reflects a spiritual battle, not just a battle with semantics or interpretation. Christ is not confused nor is He schizo. He has One Mind, and it is not fuzzy. He does not change, we do. What Spirit or spirit are you in fellowship with? Are you certain you have the real Savior of the World in the foundation of your faith? Our eternal life should not be as a game of "To Tell the Truth", where we wait to see if we got it right in the end as we speculate or philosophize on "what is truth?". We can know the Truth before we get there. And we must "know" the Truth to get to Heaven.

Ep 2:20 “having BEEN BUILT on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone”
Ep 3:5 “which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it HAS NOW BEEN revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets”
Its All been said and done! We must see this to believe it.

Please forgive my long windedness. I hope it was beneficial.

Paul Doutell said...

Bobby,

I accept your apology and gladly extend the forgiveness you requested. Who among us hasn’t said words we wish we hadn’t?

Let me summarize our interaction and try to give you a succinct answer. In pertinent part, it went like this:

> Bobby: “Artistotelianism has so imposed itself upon western theology, that the God it produces doesn't look much at all what the God of the Bible looks like.”

> Me: “I don't think you can go very far with your argument before you effectively deny the perspicuity of Scripture and the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit.”

> Bobby: Explain . . . I'm not understanding the causal connection between my view on Aristotle and my supposed inability to hold to the persc. idea."

OK. Bobby, I’m going to assume your question is sincere and you’re not setting up a game of “gotcha.”

To me, you seem to be saying that someone who approaches the Bible with western thought patterns is incapable of coming to an accurate understanding of God because “Artistotelianism” [sic?] has tainted the process of understanding. I don’t know how else to understand your comment that “western theology . . . produces [a god] that doesn't look much at all what the God of the Bible looks like.”

That’s a serious charge that borders on being irresponsible, Bobby. You’re saying that regenerate men, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, studied the Scriptures and the fruit of their teaching was basically a false god because of their (knowing or unwitting) dependence on the thought and philosophy of Aristotle.

Sorry, I’m not buying it. I don’t have to know Aristotle to reject that. Believers can say: “I have more insight than all of my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation” (Psalm 119:99). “We have received the Spirit of God so that we may *know* the things freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

The Scriptures are clear and the Holy Spirit gives understanding to believers so they can understand the things revealed by God and come to a true knowledge of Him through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here’s the point. If you maintain that Aristotle and Aquinas have had such a pervasive influence that we in the West just *can’t* “get it,” you’re saying that the Scriptures aren’t clear enough and the Holy Spirit not powerful enough to overcome those obstacles that are in our way. That is a denial of perspicuity in practice even if you affirm it in theory.

I realize there’s more to say about this, but this comment is too long for a meta already. Bottom line: I think you’ll ultimately and openly deny the perspicuity of Scripture with the course you’ve apparently chosen, and join with others who say "clarity is overrated."

Bobby Grow said...

Frank,

I agree with the other Luke here, NT does not provide a normative herm. for us to follow. The NT authors engaged in the herm. practices of their day, i.e. pesher, atomization, allegorization, spirtulization, midrash, etc. Not only that they used different text-types, i.e. LXX, and Hebrew text, to make their points. They operated under inspiration, and apostolic authority we don't. They didn't use the LGH to ascertain meaning from the scriptures, we do.

On Jn 1:1. Yes Jesus particularized HImself in the man Jesus of Nazareth in a hellenistic world. All John is doing is using lang. of the time that best captures who Jesus is, i.e. logos lang. Of course John's usage of logos becomes reified and different than the Classic Greek usage of it, in the sense that Jesus is the One who is true wisdom and the source of all reality vs. the demiurges of Greek Stoic thought.

P.S. I have many articles that substantiate my claims about NT usage of the OT--I have some posted at my site. My friend Matt Waymeyer adominately agrees with me on this, Frank.

Paul,

I didn't originally make this observation about Aristotle, many people (PhD's, theologians) have before me (see Colin Gunton).

You never answered my question on if you believe that systematic theology uses philosophical categories to articulate God's nature.

BTW, the idea that Artistotle has been used to articulate God is called "Thomism" (after Thomas Aquinas).

Actually, Paul, it's my commitment to the clarity of the Scriptures that drives my concern about the integration of philosophical categories with scriptures communication.

My points really aren't arguable, its a well established fact that Systematic Theology makes use of speculative philosophy to engage and articulate who God is. Ask any of the Pyromaniacs, and if they're honest they'll agree with my above assertion, Paul. It just seems that you're unaware of this reality.

In Christ

Allen R. Mickle, Jr. said...

I must say, I'm quite proud that Pyromaniacs decided to leave a negative (although I think a little tongue-in-cheek) BlogSpot comment about my blog. In fact, I'd love a bumper sticker that says "I was BlogSpoted by Team Pyro!"

I agree. My post about the T-Shirt contest from Pyromaniacs on my blog did ruin the look and feel of my blog so I deleted it. :)

Keep up the good work.

Allen Mickle

Phil Johnson said...

Allen:

That wasn't "negative"; it was purely tongue in cheek. The remark about ruining your "look and feel" was supposed to sound self-deprecatory, not accusatory.

If you want the car decal, though, just e-mail me your mailing address and I'll send you one. In your case, since you thought I was dissing you, I'll waive the requirement for a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Allen R. Mickle, Jr. said...

Phil,

No, I realize the intent of your comments. I thought it was fun (since I made the comment myself in the post that it didn't fit in with my "blog") and no harm done at all! :) I'm just poking some fun now!

And no worries about the decal, I also was just playing into some fun over this whole post. Just keep up the good work. I enjoy your blog.

Allen Mickle