12 September 2007

Temporarily Humble County

by Frank Turk

Before we really get going here, the title is modified version of a Firesign Theater sketch -- a skit which is really about how much we Westerners and Americans think of ourselves. It's sort of a satirical Ozymandias, so it is apropos that we use it here to talk a little about the word "humble" and what it should mean to us.

Here's why I chose this topic: there's a blog out there which isn't actually "new", but it's new to me -- and it's being authored/supplied by a handful of young guys who, all in all, are guys I like insofar as I know their work. The site is New Attitude.org, and apparently they had a conference this year.

They are now blogging about something which is an interesting topic -- something they are calling "Humble Orthodoxy", and all things being equal, I say good on them. Their link there gives a broad definition of what they're trying to say, and this month they are blogging to work out or anecdotally-demonstrate what they're talking about.

And it turns out that this is the root question: in what way should "orthodoxy" be "humble"? I mean, I'm not sure anyone is going to go on-record to say, "Wow -- shouldn't orthodoxy be arrogant and a little sassy and bossy and aggressive? Doesn't orthodoxy have a right to be like Fred Phelps or somebody like that because it's God's sovereign Truth™ and it's not wrong?"

You know: not even us Pyros think of orthodoxy like that -- in spite of what our critics will say about us even after this little bit of yammering from me. Certainly, God's truth -- which is what the Greek-derved word "orthodoxy" means in this case, the doctrines which reflect God's truth -- has authority.

And that is the first place where the matter of being "humble" comes in: as someone said over at the NA blog, it's a phony humility which is not orthodox. It's inherently not humble to be doubtful of God's word or of God. That's actually sinful and arrogant in an ontological way.

So we can agree that the first place where "humble" and "orthodox" come into contact is before God: we ought to be humble before God -- which is not, btw, an academic humility, but the kind of humility which actually bends the knee and (as they say in the OT) gets face-down before God, recognizing that I'm a contingent nothing without my Creator, Sustainer and Savior.

For the verse-number guys who think you can't spill out God's truth without the verse numbers, check out 1 Pet 5:6, Luke 14:11, Zeph 2:3, and Dan 5:21-23.

But then there's one verse which has to catch your eye as you bumble through BibleGateway.com:

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."(ESV)
(again, for the verse people, 1 Pet 5:5) And while we might expend 1000 words on the nuances there, one thing's for sure: Peter is talking about relational humility of people to people, so in some way "orthodoxy" causes "humility" one to another among Christian people.

But what does that mean? Not to be thick-headed here, but does it mean (as one writer at NA put it this week) that we have the truth but we act as if we don't know it?

Here's my 2¢ on that to keep my Wednesday post brief this week: I think that "humility" in "orthodoxy" has to be first a conforming of me to God's word. Not to open up old controversies here, but Francis Chan had a great sermon on the Holy Spirit a couple of weeks ago in which he said that unless we have the Holy Spirit in us, we're not going to repent and turn toward God. That's the primary work of the Holy Spirit -- and in turning toward God, we start doing the things God wants us to do, the way God wants them done. That's the first "humble" thing: God's word, God's work, God's way.

But then there's a consequence there which, I think, get missed in the, um, (I almost said "rush to be humble", but I'm not sure that "rushing" is compatible with "humility") urgency to be humble now that we know what that is: "God's way" is to declare truth, and deliver truth, and to live truth -- which necessarily means "in spite of error". Again for the verse guys, I'd go back to 1 Timothy and Titus to see what Paul thinks about having behavior which is according to healthy doctrine.

Cap in hand, I get the appeal of wanting to be like David Carradine in the 70's TV series Kung Fu. I get the appeal of a pseudo-monastic lifestyle because it seems a little mysterious to people who don't really know what you're up to. But even Kwai Chang Caine had to stand up for what's right every now and again -- about once every 20 minutes (including commercial breaks) if memory serves me right.

So in the end, if that's actually humility -- taking action in truth after being transformed by the truth in the first place to right action -- should we care that some people will interpret our (metaphorically speaking) moral and spiritual Shao Lin disciplines as being unhumble and ungracious?

If so, when should we care?

That's what the meta is for, and I leave that to you today.







105 comments:

David said...

"Don't crush that dwarf, hand me the pliers".

And just how many of your readers have listened to that!

Tyler said...

I love it when you write "it's a phony humility which is not orthodox. It's inherently not humble to be doubtful of God's word or of God. That's actually sinful and arrogant in an ontological way."

Mister Larry said...

I love the double-barreled Pyro logo.
OT & NT = Word of God.

Mark B. Hanson said...

Second Firesign Theater quote in two days from widely varying sources. Synchronicity?

The operative question, it seems to me, is how to "humbly proclaim" the Word of God - boldly (or boldly proclaim the Word, humbly).

One thing I think it means is to get out of the way, and trust the Word to do the work. We are bold because the power in the Word is God's power, and that assures success. And we are humble for the same reason: it is not our power or eloquence or logic that brings God's results.

donsands said...

"It's inherently not humble to be doubtful of God's word or of God."

Amen.

Like Luther said, " "Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason —I do not accept the authority of chickens and councils, for they have contradicted each other— my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe."

centuri0n said...

David: Shoes for Industry. Beat the Reaper. ah,Clem.
__________

Tyler: glad to be of service. I only embellished that from the NA guys -- Justin Taylor specifically. It was totally quotable.
__________

Mr. Larry: Me, too.
__________

Hanson: I was lost, but now I'm found. I have Dear Friends at Spoilsport Motors.
__________

We should think about whether "humility" in the case of "orthodoxy" means we behave as if we're still in the dark, or as if we have (ahem) a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

centuri0n said...

And I just want to make sure I say it first: everything you know is wrong.

DJP said...

Really, really good, Frank. Tyler already quoted the bit I wanted to single out.

There just really is nothing humble about nodding in sympathy when the Tempter asks, "Has God said?" — when God clearly has said.

Mike Riccardi said...

I'd really like to be in on the inside joke about: All your base are belong to us.

M said...

I think another aspect of humility is willingness to modify your core beliefs as you study the Bible. Arrogance is believing you've got it all sewed up.

As my sanctification process continues, I've been, at one time, an old earth believer (not any more), a Partaker Theology advocate (not any more), etc. I'm always open to understanding God's word better by using God's word as its own commentary.

centuri0n said...

Riccardi:

I thought you were evidence that our readers were the smartest in the universe.

You need to be able to view YouTube videos to be better informed.

Al said...

When faced with unrighteousness truth requires boldness, which is not the same thing as brashness (unless you are John Knox). There are coppersmiths in need of the in-your-face kinda truth.
But... when we are delivered from those who “did (us) great harm” our response is deflective, pointing away from ourselves and toward Christ.

He is the one who delivers us from the lion’s mouth; but those who desert, oppose and persecute need to know that they are who they are. They should be biblically defined.

And why? Well, we tell them the truth so that they may repent and God not charge their sin against them. May God be glorified. And I be humbled. (2 Tim 4:9-18)

al sends

Johnny Dialectic said...

I've read Andrew Murray's classic book, "Humility," so I know more about the subject than you do. And from this elevated position, looking down, I see that this is a marvelous reflection.

Also, thanks for bringing up one of my favorite all time TV shows. You really snatched the pebble on this post, Frank (er, Grasshopper)

Mike Riccardi said...

Thanks for the link Frank.

Let me say now that I really appreciated that comment you made yesterday -- and Dan's affirmation.

But lest such encouragement go to my head, I was given a thorn in my flesh, manifested in: All your base are belong to us.

DJP said...

Send us up the great comments!

Charley said...

Rather than personally comment, I'll just leave a link to a post by Steve Camp on his CampOnThis blog regarding the need for Bold Orthodoxy. It pretty much says what I think.

HERE'S the link.

Charley
Get Serious Blog
HomeDiscipling Dad blog

centuri0n said...

I wonder, Charley: what's that link to Steve's blog have to do with the links I provided as context for this post? Are you saying the guys at NA are "Emergent" guys? Or that they have soft-soaked the Gospel in some way?

I'd love to comment on Steve's post, but I guess I don't know how it is associated with this post except that they are both blog posts.

"Quoter" said...

I'm confused! Are you saying....

=)

Mike Riccardi said...

and in turning toward God, we start doing the things God wants us to do, the way God wants them done. That's the first "humble" thing: God's word, God's work, God's way.

I think this is where the Emerging guys have aneurysms. They totally flip at the idea that we can claim to know what God's word, work, and way are.

But, if we're confident and assured that God's Word is absolutely true and authoritative, the humble thing to do is to proclaim it, extra nos. It's not our "truth" that we're peddling. It's not our message; we're only ambassadors delivering the message of the One who sent us. So in that way, it's humble to proclaim the Truth that we had nothing to do in creating or conceptualizing.

While I can't stand anything that goes on in the Emerging/Emergent conversation, and while I'm hesitant to sympathize with anything and anybody that has a soft spot for emerging ideas, I do think that you can call that humble. I don't like that it seems to be a 'countermove' to Generous Orthodoxy, though... AT ALL.

But I don't think that "a humble orthodoxy" is necessarily emerging, as Charley via Steve Camp seems to suggest. I also don't think it necessarily rules out a bold proclamation. It's humble insofar as it points to the excellence of the originator of the Truth and not the messenger who has the joy and privilege to proclaim it in His Sender's Name.

centuri0n said...

So Riccardi, are you saying that there's a way to point out the truth, and it be the truth, and you're not pointing just because the truth exists but that because people should know the truth?

Dude, that's racy. That's gonna step on some toes.

Mike Riccardi said...

I guess I'm operating on the assumption that if truth exists, it warrants being known by everyone. When you add that the truth that does exist is the reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that puts it over the top. At that point, it's like, "If that's the truth, then everyone needs to know!"

centuri0n said...

Amen. You're back in good graces, Riccardi.

LeeC said...

Be humble in regards to things that are you, be bold in things that are Gods.

God is proud, God is self centered, and that is right, and it is good.

And as long as we are certain that we are not trying to use Gods name to get our agenda across, but instead are standing on His Word then we can be bold as lions...on that Word, while at the same time being humble in regards to ourselves.

If I go into the office look at some people that are my peers in the chain and say "Get this report done right away!" I am being arrogant and proud.

But if I im told by our employer to tell them to get the report done right away and I go in and say "Thus says the boss 'Get that report done right away!" I can do so emphatically, without being proud, or arrogant.

LeeC said...

"God is proud, God is self centered, and that is right, and it is good."

That sounded bad in print even though it is right, but lets just say God is worthy of ALL glory honor and praise.

SolaMeanie said...

I think the next book or blog should take up the "Big O" question with the following nod to C.S. Lewis:

"Mere Orthodoxy"

I would say more, but I am really struggling with certainty and clarity this morning. That's what being up until 1 a.m. does for you. I almost drew up plans to mow a labyrinth into my lawn, but I exorcised the demon immediately.

LeeC said...

"I would say more, but I am really struggling with certainty and clarity this morning. That's what being up until 1 a.m. does for you. I almost drew up plans to mow a labyrinth into my lawn, but I exorcised the demon immediately"

If you had bound Satan properly he couldn't have made you want to do that you know.

Mindy Hemmelman said...

"Are you saying the guys at NA are "Emergent" guys?"

I don't think that anyone is accusing the Na guys of being Emergent, but just in case anyone is tempted to think that, DON'T!

Na is an organization and conference started by Joshua Harris and currently run by Eric Simmons, both of whom are pastors (Harris is the senior pastor) at Covenant Life in MD, a church started by CJ Mahaney, who is part of the Together for the Gospel group.

The intense focus Cov Life puts on the Gospel and teaching sound doctrine completely eliminates them from any Emmergent label.

Mike Riccardi said...

Mindy,

I don't necessarily disagree with you about the Na guys not being Emerging, but it's neither their associations with sound pastors nor the verbal tribute they pay sound doctrine that gets to decide that.

Mark Driscoll is a case in point. He's a guy who's spoken at a DG national conference and who gives a lot of lip service to the importance of doctrines, but he's still emerging, too influenced by postmodernity to be an effective Christian witness... in my opinion anyway, which is worth about $.02.

It just concerns me that they seem to be using Emerging lingo (e.g., Humble Orthodoxy, which is clearly the counterpart of Generous Orthodoxy) to get their point across.

david rudd said...

too influenced by postmodernity to be an effective Christian witness... in my opinion anyway, which is worth about $.02.

Mike, your opinion has to be worth more than that as it is shared by "He Who Shall Not Be Named". (most recent CT, i don't have it near my desk to give the actual quote)

As I recall, Mark said he appreciated the "spanking", as it demonstrated that he was "in the club"...

David said...

Frank

More Suger

No anchovies? You've got the wrong man. I spell my name...Danger!

Mike Riccardi said...

Rudd,

Don't know what you're talking about. I don't get Christianity Today, because I think if I did Carl F.H. Henry wouldn't talk to me once I get to Heaven.

Fill a brother in?

Chris Hemmelman said...

"...but it's neither their associations with sound pastors nor the verbal tribute they pay sound doctrine that gets to decide that."

What does get to decide this, then?

Having sat under the leadership, teaching, and ministry of a lot of the Na guys, I can say it is no "verbal tribute" that they give to sound doctrine, but a strict adheareance to living and proclaiming Scripture.

The issue here is a heart attitude that they are trying to cultivate. It is precisely because these guys have such a high view of God's word that they approach it with humility.

Josh Harris once explained it this way...He said the stumbling block of the gospel should be the message of the gospel, not our attitudes and presentation.

I would encourage you to listen to sermons given by some of these guys. It will come out very clearly their desire to preach and live out the gospel.

Oh, and the post under Mindy H was actually mine, I didn't realize that it was her account that was logged in. Sorry.

Mike Riccardi said...

Chris,

Nothing like a selective quotation to confuse the issue, eh?

Let me reiterate, I'm fond of the Sovereign Grace guys as well as JT (the others I don't know very much of). I don't think that they're emerging.

You asked me what does get to decide whether they are or not. My answer is that wisdom is proved right by her actions. In this case, it would be how they treat the ideas espoused by the emerging church, as well as what they promote as a philosophy of ministry.

I don't think they do a bad job of doing either. But I would appreciate it if they were be a bit more outspoken against those ideas. Add that to countering "Generous Orthodoxy" with "Humble Orthodoxy" and it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

That's all. :o)

Mike Riccardi said...

Oh... and just because you used this phrase....

Do you think you (or anyone really) could give me an example of someone approaching the Scripture humbly, and then someone approaching it arrogantly.

Thanks.

centuri0n said...

Oh brother -- I have hardly called the guys at NA "emerging" or "emergent" or "pomo" or anything like that.

If you want to, go do it at YOUR OWN BLOG. Don't start things you can't finish.

centuri0n said...

Riccardi --

The Scribes and Pharisees approached the Scripture arrogantly; Paul, after his conversion, approached is humbly.

Sewing said...

"Before we really get going here, ..."

Uh-oh!

Phil Johnson said...

I really like what I've seen from the NA guys. It's true that they don't seem to have much of a taste for the sort of hard-edged outspokenness that's our trademark here at Pyromaniacs. But seriously: who really wants everyone to be a thundering warrior all the time? I sure don't.

We've recently answered people who hammered us with "Why can't you be more like John Piper?" by pointing out that God uses Eljiahs as well as Obadiahs. Sometimes mourning is called for, other times we need laughter (Matthew 11:16-19). Both are equally valid in their proper place, and both can be effective in reaching people. It's folly to think funeral dirges are always better than wedding songs—or vice versa. I'm thankful for skillful musicians in either case. What drives me crazy are the people who neither dance nor mourn, but only sit and criticize.

The NA team are a breath of fresh air in a medium that is dominated by smart-alecky DIY pundits and theologians who care more about beer than they do about truth.

david rudd said...

Mike,

CT has a quotATION (just for you, Dan) of MacArthur saying something very similar about Driscoll's ability to be an effective witness as you.

i would think that immediately raises the value of your 2 cents.

...unless by 2 cents you were thinking of cloning Frank?

Sewing said...

Frank, I'm trying to get how the Kung Fu paragraph fits into the rest. Maybe I was distracted by all the cultural allusions.

I'm taking it you're saying that the hermetic/monastic vocation may have some appeal, but you can't turn that into meaningful action on God's Word in the world (being sequestered in prayer and devotion in a monastery, cave, or what have you). So while humility is one of the qualities cultivated by hermits and monastics, their way is not necessarily the best application of that quality—or something like that?

(For what it's worth, I used to think the Desert Fathers were paragons of faithful living, but now I'm thinking that those who come down from the mountain and get their hands dirty in the city are a better model to emulate.)

Sewing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sewing said...

Okay, reading some of NA's posts on this theme cleared things up. They're saying the same thing you're saying, and my understanding was not totally off-base.

We must strive to be right in our understanding of the Word of God (knowing that we are imperfect, flawed sinners who see through a glass darkly, guided solely by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit), but we must also humbly strive as God's servants to do whatever He has called us to do to help proclaim His gospel to the world, whether it's serving in a hospital in the mountains of Asia, being in the local church's prayer chain, or putting out the coffee cups each Sunday morning.

Correct me if I'm still getting this wrong....

I love the graphic of the old leather-bound tome, by the way, complete with coffee ring.

centuri0n said...

Since Sewing asked, here what I think:

Ah, the whole Caine thing came to me at the end and I shoulda reworked the post before sticking it in there. It's a better place to start the comparisons than Temporarily Humbolt County, but I was running out of time today as I was writing.

Pheh.

M said...

I don't claim to speak for the author but what I got out of the Kwai Chang Caine reference is this:

Godly humility does not mean an unwillingness to fight. It simply means only fighting when necessary (to preserve the purity of the Gospel in our case, or when a farmer gets beat up in Kwai Chang Caine's case).

For a humorous example of an overeagerness to fight, google or wiki Ti Kwan Leep sometime...

Just don't be an Ed Gruberman.

Chris Hemmelman said...

Frank,

Are you concerned that "humble orthodoxy" is going to become "pansy orthodoxy"? :)

ALL FOR ONCE/ ONCE FOR ALL said...

Sewing: (For what it's worth, I used to think the Desert Fathers were paragons of faithful living, but now I'm thinking that those who come down from the mountain and get their hands dirty in the city are a better model to emulate.)
_____________________________________
UH-OH! Who knocked over the contemplative peace bong? You spilled false humility everywhere.

centuri0n said...

Chris:

Yeah, in one sense I'd say, "yes -- that's one of the things I see here." The term seems easily misinterpreted as being a chick-flick kind of guy equals being a Christian guy.

One of the other things I see, however, is the real strength of the proper definition of "humble" as that refutes at its core the idea that orthodoxy does not matter on the right basis of understanding orthodoxy -- which is God's place above all things.

Is this is about the latter and not the former, I'll start making Humble Orthodoxy t-shirts and send a large part of the profits to NA for their edification and encouragement.

centuri0n said...

One of the other things I see, however, is the real strength of the proper definition of "humble" as that refutes at its core the idea that orthodoxy does not matter on the right basis of understanding orthodoxy -- which is God's place above all things.

Um, what language is that? Let's try this:

One of the other things I see, however, is the real strength of the proper definition of "humble". It refutes at its core the idea that orthodoxy does not matter by rightly understanding the basis of orthodoxy -- which is God's place above all things.

Thank you. I need a nap.

Travis said...

"Oh brother -- I have hardly called the guys at NA 'emerging' or 'emergent' or 'pomo' or anything like that."

Well there is that slightly obsessive fondness for Starbucks coffee... ;)

No, no -- good article! Surprisingly, I'm lovin' the comments, too!

Chris Hemmelman said...

"I'll start making Humble Orthodoxy t-shirts..."

Can I get mine in black?

Charley said...

I personally know Justin Taylor and I am a huge fan of CJ Mahaney, Joshua Harris, and the Sovereign Grace Ministries...and in no way would I ever consider any of them "Emergent" or even "Emergent-friendly."

And I don't believe that was what Steve Camp was getting at in his article, either. He was calling them out on the need for boldness as opposed to humility...but I don't think he was saying they were in the Emergent category. In his piece, he moved from the New Attitude folks specifically to how "humbleness" in orthodoxy plays into the hands of the emergent folks.

I quote MacArthur from his book, The Truth War, in a POST of my own at my blog as follows: "MacArthur writes again, 'one of the highest values (if not the supreme virtue by which all others are measured) is a particular notion of 'humility'--namely, the standard postmodern species of humility, which starts with the assumption that certainty, assurance, and bold conviction are arrogant and therefore wrong.' Therefore to be "humble" in the eyes of most of the church today, one cannot express anything with certainty, assurance, or bold conviction. Your viewpoint might be heard, but you must present it with the mindset that you have no conviction about it, that it couldn't actually be true for everyone! MacArthur points out that the humility being called for here 'is actually a form of unbelief, rooted in an impudent refusal to acknowledge that God has been sufficiently clear in His self-revelation to His creatures.'"

One must be extremely careful with what is considered "humility" today. If we let it be defined by those in the emergent world, we have compromised Biblical truth. So the question really is to define how to boldly proclaim and stand for truth in a humble manner! And I applaud the NA guys for giving it a go...but hope they are careful to not sacrifice orthodoxy on the altar of humility.

Charley
Get Serious Blog
HomeDiscipling Dad Blog

Catez said...

I took a look at Steve Camp's post. I don't agree with him.

He says:

Truth, by definition is exclusive

My question is - exclusive of what? In some ways truth is inclusive - it includes a number of things. It even invites inclusion within the boundaries of itself. Truth is not exclusive of humility for example. At the same time it excludes claims which contradict it or compete with it.

There is nothing "humble" about truth.

Then Jesus is not and was not ever humble. Because Truth is not an abstraction - Jesus is the truth. "I AM the truth". So right there I am wary of divorcing humility from truth because that's the character of Jesus we're talking about.

It is absolute.

Sure - but "absolute'" is not an antonym of humble.

And I know that there are some well-meaning and well-respected pastors that are calling for a "humble orthodoxy" -- but may I humbly say, they are wrong. That kind of reasoning is really postmodern at its core.

I read some of the posts over at the NA Humble Orthodoxy blog and couldn't find anything postmodern in them. What's postmodern about humble orthodoxy? Is it saying that there is no absolute, no metanarrative? No. Is it saying that humble orthodoxy means orthodoxy is only one of a plural of viable expressions? No. Is it encouraging doubt and uncertainty and equating them with humility? No. Is it presuppositionally based on despair? No.

What I read on their HO blog referred to Kuyper's view, which has been solidly used by Schaeffer, Pearcey, and many others in regard to a worldview which sees things from the perspective of creation, fall, and redemption, within orthodoxy. I didn't see anything which attempted to redefine orthodoxy and make it nebulous, relative, part of a pluralistic competing set of ideas, or clouded with uncertainty.

The fact the "humble" is used as a descriptor for "orthodoxy" doesn't change the boundary of orthodoxy. And it certainly isn't "postmodern to the core". I find nothing postmodern about it. Humble does not mean lacking in strength, or majesty when we refer to Jesus as humble.

Humility doesn't mean a lack of boldness. "Moses the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth". Moses didn't lack boldness, wasn't unorthodox, and certainly wasn't postmodern.

Catez said...

P.s. The ref for the Moses verse is Numb. 12:3

centuri0n said...

Charley:

Here's where I think you, and by extension, The Right Reverend Camp, go off the rails here --

[1] As I talk to these fellows at their own blog, the primary attribute of being "humble" comes in the relationship between man and God -- that is, man must be humble before God. Their primary concern (as Justin Taylor said, and I reiterated here) is that a humility -without- orthodoxy is -not- humility but sin. So whatever they are talking about (and let's be honest: I think they have a sketchy idea of what they mean right now, so let's not bag-and-tag them as something they are not) is -not- about compromise or backing away from being right before God.

[2] There is a secondary question of what that means in real life -- after you resolve that God is God and you are not. For example, that 1 Peter 5:5 verse I cited in the blog post says that Christians ought to be humble toward each other, esp. in the context of younger men toward their "elders" (there the word both meaning "the older ones" and "the overseeing ones"). That's an interesting verse for Steve Camp to resolve as he is on-record as being a guy who thinks that people who can't tell his music is better than CCM from a spiritual standpoint ought to be people who are scrutinizing their pastors and elders spiritually. So there's a person-to-person humility which Steve doesn't much talk about which the Bible does talk about, and I think it behooves me to say, "I am sure Steve believes what the Bible teaches here -- he just never says anything about it."

[3] Adjoining that Christian-to-Christian "humility" is the humility we find in Romans 12 where Paul tells the Romans not to be smarty-pants and go-getters but to "associate with the humble". Surely that's a relational humility which is not man-to-God but man-to-man where we are, at least, bearing each others' burdens.

[4] And let's think on this: the ultimate humility of Christ was his taking on the form of a servant and being obedient even to the point of death -- death on a cross. So the example of Christ is death-taking, life-giving humility for those who will be saved. One application of this is the death of martyrs as a reflection of the willingness to testify in spite of the cost. That is -both- humble and bold.

Steve's fear is that we will stop contesting for truth, lay aside legitimate, crucial, essential differences for peace, and roll over for the phonies.

I don't see that in the NA guys -- and if he does, he should be more specific. Justin Taylor is a pushover, a guy who will accept peace over saving Gospel truth -- while he's working on the ESV study bible? Josh Harris?

I'll leave it at that. Anything else I would say would be construed as excessive, and I'm not going to go there today.

Sewing said...

m wrote:

Godly humility does not mean an unwillingness to fight. It simply means only fighting when necessary (to preserve the purity of the Gospel in our case, or when a farmer gets beat up in Kwai Chang Caine's case).

Thanks for clearing that up. Kind of like one taekwondo practitioner who said to me something quintessentially martial-artistic: "The point of martial arts is learn to never use them." Or something like that. Or restrain oneself in a Kwai Chang Caine-like manner.

Sewing said...

All for once/once for all:

Even worse—I used to think contemplative spirituality was a worthwhile goal. I mean, all the great historical practitioners of it talk about communion with God and emptying oneself as a servant of Christ.... Even though it's all ostensibly about denying self, it seems in its single-minded pursuit of metaphysical experiences to be singularly selfish.

(Since this is TOTALLY OFF-TOPIC, I beg those who would disagree with this to mull it over for themselves offline. I just needed to clarify where I was going with this tangent.)

centuri0n said...

Catez:

Truth is, by definition, exclusive. It's the law of non-contradiction: a thing cannot be "A" and "not A" at the same time.

Christ cannot be savior and not savior; sin cannot be hated by God and not hated by God. Men cannot be sinners and not sinners. Truth is what is, and Falsehood is what is not.

So of all the things Steve said, that's hardly a point of real contention. Where he calls the slogan "humble orthodoxy" "post-modern" is simply a category error. It would be like calling a "worship-centered life cruise" a "post-modern" construct.

The rest is simply what Steve does. If that's what he wants to do, I say it must work for him.

Sewing said...
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Sewing said...

Did I mention how much I love that All Your Base Are Belong to Us book mock-up? I did, but as a book-lover, I need to say it again. All it needs are the marbled endpapers, onion-paper endleaves, and Gustav Dore engravings.

Sewing said...

I've got the technical jargon all wrong, but I'm thinking of those old books with the illustrations on glossy paper on unnumbered pages, with the thin paper to protect them from the facing pages of printed text.

Catez said...

Frank,

Truth is, by definition, exclusive. It's the law of non-contradiction: a thing cannot be "A" and "not A" at the same time.

I think you missed my point - and maybe I didn't explain it well. A thing cannot be "A" and "not A" - I agree. But truth is not exclusive of what it contains within itself - i.e. truth is not exclusive of humility. In other words - humility is not "not A" - it comes as part of "A". That's really what I was getting at. Which is why I added that truth does exclude claims which contradict or compete with it. So yes, I was agreeing that contradictions to truth are not truth, but I was also spotting that truth is not exclusive of things which Steve sets in juxtaposition as though they were not truth, i.e. "humble". And that is why we do have to ask "exclusive of what?" because the faulty premise comes from a faulty "not A".

So of all the things Steve said, that's hardly a point of real contention.

It is a point to be contended if "not A" is set as something that should not be excluded from truth. Which Steve goes on to do - so in that context yes, it is. If Steve simply posited that truth excluded falsehood - fine, I agree. But when his proposition contains a faulty exclusion then responding to that is part of looking at the flaw of the premise.

Where he calls the slogan "humble orthodoxy" "post-modern" is simply a category error.

I think it's a little more than that when the statement says it is "postmodern to the core" - in which case it isn't just lumping it into the wrong category but investing it with properties it does not contain.

It would be like calling a "worship-centered life cruise" a "post-modern" construct.

Agreed. It has become something of a fad to use the word postmodern to refer to any style one does not like or have a preference for (I do not say that in regard to Steve Camp but as an observation based on other things I've read elsewhere - too many of them).

Mike Riccardi said...

Frank: Oh brother -- I have hardly called the guys at NA "emerging" or "emergent" or "pomo" or anything like that.

If you want to, go do it at YOUR OWN BLOG. Don't start things you can't finish.


If that was for me, I sincerely apologize. The record should show that I haven't desired to call the NA folks any of the above three things either.

Phil, the point you made about Obadiahs and Elijahs was well-made and is well-taken. I see how I might have seemed to have been calling for all Obadiah all the time. I do see the folly in that.

Thanks for making that point.

Catez said...

I realise that "A" and "not A" don't do it for some people, so I'll quickly put this part of my other comment here:

"Truth, by definition is exclusive

My question is - exclusive of what? In some ways truth is inclusive - it includes a number of things. It even invites inclusion within the boundaries of itself. Truth is not exclusive of humility for example. At the same time it excludes claims which contradict it or compete with it."

So I'm not aruing against truth being exclusive - I'm asking exclusive of what? Truth contains truths. It is inclusive of truths within itself. Jesus is the Truth and spoke and lived truths. If we say Truth is by definition exclusive then the exclusion needs to be untruth - and we differentiate between untruths and things that are true and are included in Truth. :-)

I liked the Humble Orthodoxy blog - very interesting thoughts and it did challenge me.

donsands said...

"Veritas vos liberabit"

He is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed!

NWProdigal said...

I, too, love the double-barreled "offensiveness"!

Humility is great, but when one is called on to earnestly contend for the truth, can righteous ire co-exist? Absolutely!!

We are to do all things in love, so it's the intent that determines if we are humble or not. God is the Judge.

Theophilus said...

He (Jesus) must Increase, I must decrease.

If we are more interested in contending for the honor of God than our own ego or pet projects, we're probably on the right track.

Moses was more meek than all men, but he didn't back down from a conflict just because it would be unpleasant.

Humility would take the "me" out of the conversation, would it not?

Sean said...

I love the graphic of the old leather-bound tome, by the way, complete with coffee ring it reminds me of my first creation as a designer in web design company of double-barreled Pyro logo.

HarryJ said...

Frank

I thought this article was quite good and represented a good balance between standing firm for the truth and being humble servants toward each other - especially those that are nonbelievers (1 Peter 3:15-16).

I also clicked on the link and read Steve Camp's article on a bold orthodoxy and humble servants. I thought he really did present a well balanced argument as well and in some ways even more biblically specific than what you did here.

Camp's contention seems to be linking the two words of "humble" and "orthodoxy" together. At first glance, I must also say that it seemed a bit incongruent to do so. It can leave the impression that orthodoxy is to be humble. It's a clever slogan, but not really biblical at its core. Maybe the NA guys can come up with a title or phrase more in keeping with Scripture.

I do like MacArthur's quote that someone posted here too. James White did a broadcast on this recently where he also questioned using the terminology humble orthodoxy. And if my memory is correct, he also said it was a postmodern assertion. IMHO, Camp seems to be in that tradition of things with MacArthur and White.

Humble before God and man; bold in the truth. Humble servants proclaiming unapologetic, uncompromising truth. Isn't that the right balance that we are all striving for?

On a personal note Frank, I do think you trying to jab at Steve continually here is getting old and needs to be curbed. I have heard him teach before at some conferences and concerts he has given and he is an excellent expositor of God's Word as well as a very good songwriter. FWIW, maybe you should consider to show a little humility in your heart towards Campi.

Thanks again for the article.
HJ

centuri0n said...

HJ:

Thanks for your unbiased opinion. Turns out I didn't bring up Steve Camp here -- someone else did.

centuri0n said...

For the record, HJ, Charley dropped the MacArthur quote into the comments at Steve's blog -- and what's interesting si that what Dr. MacArthur is talking about there has nothing to do with what the NA guys are talking about.

I know it's out of character for a lot of the critics of our blog, but try reading the post and/or the links in them. The definition of "humble" from NA.org doesn't match the one Dr. MacArthur was criticizing, so the application of that criticism to this issue is, um, strained at best.

I would also like to point out that it's funny how the virtue of "humility" has now been co-opted by people we perceive as being theologically-distressed. isn't it important to disabuse them of their error here and un-co-opt the term and bring it back into othrodox circles?

Here's the challenge to you and yours, HJ: let's fight the culture war rather than cry about it when the other side starts taking our weapons. Let's not just surrender all the terms and surrender all the virtues and retreat father back into our evangelical/reformed/smaller circle bunker when the heat gets turned up.

Sewing said...
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Sewing said...

Cent: is the comment preceding harryj's first comment link spam? It looks like it. (Delete this one, too, if you delete that one.)

Chris Hemmelman said...

"...It's a clever slogan, but not really biblical at its core. Maybe the NA guys can come up with a title or phrase more in keeping with Scripture."

HJ, have you actually taken the time to read what the NA guys have written? What they are espousing is nothing but biblical! To even suggest that these guys are in any way part of the pomo, touchy feely, don't step on my toes crowd is laughable.

To echo Frank, have we allowed the idea of humility to be co-opted by the Emmergent/postmodern crowd?
If you really dig into what the NA guys are saying you will see a desire to counter the pomo crowd and their attempt to separate humility with theological clarity and boldness.

Does not the Reformed tradition carry with it this idea of humble orthodoxy? We preach Christ and him crucified all the while knowing that Salvation and Sanctification are all about God's work in us. This should drive us to HUMILITY!

donsands said...

When we truly understand the truth of His mercy, then we are humbled.

"Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand."

Sewing said...

"So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, 'For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.' The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip." (Genesis 32:30-31)

True humility is the kind that brings us to our knees before god, wretched sinners saved solely by his mercy.

Sewing said...

"But,' he said, 'you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.' And the Lord said, 'Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.'" (Exodus 33:20-22)

True humility is that which arises when the Lord causes us to see that he is so incomprehensibly holy and righteous—and yet so loving and merciful the He would cover our faces as He passes by.

Sewing said...
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Sewing said...

"For [Peter] did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, 'This is my beloved Son; listen to him.'" (Mark 9:6-7)

True humility is fearful reverence as we stand in the presence of God. (Peter was yet to commit his greatest betrayal of Jesus...he still sinned after the Transfiguration, which should humble us even more in realizing how easily we sinners turn against God, even after He has justified us.)

Sewing said...

"And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, 'Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!'" (Matthew 20:30)

True humility is when the only words we can muster up are to ask the Lord to have mercy on us sinners, knowing that He alone is the source of all mercy and the only just propitiation for our sins.

HarryJ said...

Don
I am always edified by your words. Where is that quote from? Very powerful!

Chris
I have read the NA guys; and I didn't say the NA guys are postmodern. I did say that the phrase "humble orthodoxy" at face value does sound postmodern and is unclear. I didn't come up with that discovery; men far greater than me (whom I'm sure you would respect) have expressed that first. Also, I do like Josh Harris and appreciate what he is trying to do for young adults within the church today.

You expressed my view very well when you said: "We preach Christ and him crucified all the while knowing that Salvation and Sanctification are all about God's work in us. This should drive us to HUMILITY!"

I have also read many of the Emergent types as well and am very concerned in how they have all but abandoned sound doctrine in what they write and teach. To them, "humility" seems almost synonmous with "a lack of certainty" when they speak about biblical truths. I think men like McLaren, Pagitt, Bell, Burke, Sweet, Miller, etc. could easily affirm the phrase "humble orthodoxy" for it implies that truth itself must be self-deprecating, fluid, liquid, adapting, always evolving, etc. Isn't this exactly what Phil has humorously tried to confront through his very well done po-motivator posters?

I personally think that "humble servants proclaiming a bold orthodoxy" really says it better; though not as succinct or pithy.

The term "humble orthodoxy" itself could really be improved upon. But at the same time I also think that we are on the same page as to its definition.

Psalm 119:160
HJ

Sewing said...
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Sewing said...

"He was despised
and rejected by men;
A man of sorrows,
and acquainted with grief;

And as one from whom
men hide their faces
He was despised,
and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded
for our transgressions;
He was crushed
for our iniquities;

Upon him was the chastisement
that brought us peace,
And with his stripes
we are healed.

All we like sheep
have gone astray;
We have turned—every one—
to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on him
The iniquity of us all."
(Isaiah 53:3-6)

True humility is being shown by God that the humblest man of all was also the greatest man of all, and the only perfect man. True humility is being shown by God that we are saved solely by his grace and mercy, at the incalculable price of the humiliation and sacrifice of Christ. True humility is being shown that we vile sinners who cannot even be in God's presence without being cleansed by the purifying power of the Holy Spirit from head to toe, inside and out—that we were saved by a Lamb, the most humble and innocent of all creatures.

Chris Hemmelman said...

"To them, 'humility' seems almost synonmous with 'a lack of certainty' when they speak about biblical truths."

I agree completely with this statement. I just want everyone to realize that this is not what the NA guys are doing at all.

The pomo crowd views humility as the acknowledgement that truth "must be self-deprecating, fluid, liquid, adapting, always evolving," (good adjectives!) while the NA guys view humility as the correct response to God's revealed Truth, the revelation of his character.

Humble orthodoxy is not about uncertainty, it is about a gospel centered, worshipping heart and attitude that recognizes it is God that is at work in our lives.

An idea that I see reoccuring in their blogs is the idea that humility is our RESPONSE to orthodoxy. It is an attitude that puts the focus on God and his glory.

As Frank has pointed out, they are very clear that this too is (to borrow an Emergent slogan) a conversation. They are still working out what "humble orthodoxy" looks like. I think in the end we are all going to benefit from what they discover.

Chris Hemmelman said...

Also, let me throw one more idea out here concerning Josh...he is known for his books for young adults, particularly singles.

However, he is infact a very gifted speaker and pastor. I would encourage anyone to listen to his sermons, particularly those on 1 Corinthians. I think you will find a very bold proclaimer of the gospel.

donsands said...

"Where is that quote from? Very powerful!"

It's from an old hymn; a Christmas hymn: "LET ALL MORTAL FLESH KEEP SILENCE"

Sewing said...

Humility (I won't even dare presume to call it "true humility") is confessing that despite all my pompous and flowery prose, I am still a sinner, and am in need daily of repenting before God.

I like those lines too, Don, by the way.

Catez said...

Harry,
I thought this article was quite good and represented a good balance between standing firm for the truth and being humble servants toward each other - especially those that are nonbelievers

Why do you separate humility from standing firm for the truth? That strikes me as unbiblical - we can stand for the truth and be humble at the same time. Unless you suggest we be proud while standing for the truth. Your "balance" is based on a false dichotomy here.

I also clicked on the link and read Steve Camp's article on a bold orthodoxy and humble servants. I thought he really did present a well balanced argument as well and in some ways even more biblically specific than what you did here.

I think his postion in the post lacks a biblical premise - he asserts "There is nothing "humble" about truth." That directly contradicts the character of Jesus as portrayed in scripture.

Camp's contention seems to be linking the two words of "humble" and "orthodoxy" together. At first glance, I must also say that it seemed a bit incongruent to do so.

Why? What's incongruent about humble orthodoxy if you use the word humble with it's true meaning? Humility is not sin, it's not weakness, it's not wrong. It's what Jesus exemplified - truth and humility.

It can leave the impression that orthodoxy is to be humble.

What's wrong with that? Should orthodoxy be proud? Jesus is the truth - he is orthodoxy in the fullest sense of the word - we see in part. So Jesus exemplifies humble orthodoxy.

It's a clever slogan, but not really biblical at its core.

You haven't provided anything to back up that assertion - you've not shown at all that it isn't biblical.

James White did a broadcast on this recently where he also questioned using the terminology humble orthodoxy. And if my memory is correct, he also said it was a postmodern assertion.

He may have asked questions - so? Since you are going by your memory I won't comment on James White - but you are using him to say it's a postmodern assertion - that is misusing the term postmodern.

Humble before God and man; bold in the truth.

So we're humble before man. But we also present the truth to man and that is then we are not humble? This contradicts itself.

Humble servants proclaiming unapologetic, uncompromising truth. Isn't that the right balance that we are all striving for?

Balance between what? Between being humble and proud? So we should strive to be humble sometimes and be proud other times - that's a balance? Let's think about the logical extensions of your position here.

I think men like McLaren, Pagitt, Bell, Burke, Sweet, Miller, etc. could easily affirm the phrase "humble orthodoxy" for it implies that truth itself must be self-deprecating, fluid, liquid, adapting, always evolving, etc.

??? How does "humble orthodoxy" imply any of those things? Humble orthodoxy means self-deprecating, fluid, liquid, adapting, always evolving? Then Jesus was self-deprecating, fluid, liquid, adapting, always evolving. There is nothing in the term, or at the HO Blog, to suggest any of those things - you've simply tried to pile those things on top of the term in a tautological way, i.e. it is postmodern because postmodern is all those things, and it is all those things because they are postmodern. Problem: You've only gone round in a circle giving examples of what you call postmodern - you have provided no connection of substance between that and "humble orthodoxy".

Daryl said...

Has anyone tried to define "humble" here? I don't recall reading it.
Isn't humility basically seeing ourselves honestly and accurately with no distortion. Maybe that's not a dictionary definition but I'd submit that it's pretty good.

That is, it is not proud for Peytom Manning to say "I'm pretty much the best quarterback in foot ball today", because he is. Although it would be proud to say it while acting like it matters anywhere but on the field.

So how is it proud to say "This is Orthodox Christianity, what so and so is preaching is not"?

Humility is not "Aw Shucks, it's just wittle ol' me", and it seems to me that most people here who are arguing that "Humble Orthodoxy" is a bad term have that idea of humility.

Given the current state of affairs with the EC, it may be a difficult term just because it will need to be properly explained all the time, but maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Mike Riccardi said...

I personally think that "humble servants proclaiming a bold orthodoxy" really says it better; though not as succinct or pithy.

The term "humble orthodoxy" itself could really be improved upon. But at the same time I also think that we are on the same page as to its definition.


I think this is extremely well-put, though I'm a little unsure as to how orthodoxy can be bold or humble. (And by the way, I'm not sure that boldness and humility are antonyms.) A person can be bold or humble, but can truth be bold or humble? As far as I see it, truth is truth, and isn't adequately described as being bold or humble.

Now, I know we can say that Jesus is the truth, etc., but that's not what's meant when we say orthodoxy. The NA guys don't mean "A Humble Jesus;" it seems to me that by orthodoxy they mean 'sound, true, biblical doctrine.' Again, I'm not sure doctrine can be humble or bold.

So to modify even HJ's definition, I might go with "humble servants proclaiming orthodoxy boldly." This, I think, gets at what we all do agree upon here.

HJ, do you have a link or something for that James White reference? I'd like to see what he says.

Daryl said...

Um...that would be Peyton Manning...football...

ezekiel said...

Humble orthodoxy.

Is not the balance we seek best depicted by the OT prophets?

Being persecuted, eating food cooked with dung, laying on their side, running from Jezebel...Yet bold enough to confront kings, and priests....

The boldness, the authority and the power comes from the WORD and moving of the Holy Spirit. The one that delivers the message is acutely aware of his standing or lack thereof, in the presence of the all powerfull, gracious, merciful God.

candyinsierras said...

I believe C.J. Mahaney coined the term "humble orthodoxy" and if I am not mistaken, it could have surfaced in his book on humility.

Sewing said...

Good illustration, Ezekiel.

Catez said...

Mike,
Interesting thoughts there.

A person can be bold or humble, but can truth be bold or humble?

Sure - if we view this with Jesus in mind then how can it not be? Jesus is the truth - the truth is a person. Jesus is humble.

Bold is not an antonym for humble. Scripture contrasts humility with pride - it's a theme throughout the bible that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.

But let's think on this - that Jesus is the Truth - that the Truth is a person. Then we ask - can the Truth be humble? Yes.

Now, I know we can say that Jesus is the truth, etc., but that's not what's meant when we say orthodoxy.

Isn't it? it might not be what you mean - but the Truth, the Logos, Jesus - contains truths. When I say orthodoxy I certainly take the Logos as the metanarrative and thus orthodoxy as being contained in the Truth.

The NA guys don't mean "A Humble Jesus;"

No-one has said they do mean that. I'd say you haven't looked closely at what's been said. What I've referred to is humble orthodoxy - or humble Truth. Jesus is both. In other words, if you are going to substitute Jesus name into the term "humble orthodoxy" then you need to be consistent and say "Jesus Jesus". Not "Jesus truth" or "humble Jesus".

If orthodoxy is just a set of abstractions to some-one then it won't make sense. If orthodoxy is about living the truth - in belief and action - then it makes sense.

Catez said...

I meant to add something on this:

A person can be bold or humble, but can truth be bold or humble

This is the same false dichotomy that keeps appearing. It is not either or - it isn't either bold or humble.

If it is proposed that we cannot be bold in humility then we are left with an unbiblical alternative - boldness without humility - which is boldness in pride. "Bold" is a red herring argument here because it is a flawed comparison. Moses did not lack boldness and at the same time was very humble - the most humble man on the face of the earth according to Numbers 12.

"in whom we have boldness and access wth confidence through faith in him" - Eph. 3:12

I don't see this as meaning we don't have humility when we access him, or that we can be bold and lack humility - then scripture would contradict itself.
Some-one can be proud and bold, or humble and bold - that's about the quality of the boldness, and what motivates it.

centuri0n said...

HarryJ:

When you peddle backwards, you don't go faster -- uinless you are already headed downhill.

HarryJ said...

Mike Riccardi
"humble servants proclaiming orthodoxy boldly." Thank you; very well said.

Catez
I may not have communicated effectively, but I am not trying to seperate humble (or humility) and truth. I tried to say that both are important - and what I have read about the NA guys, they are saying the same thing too. Humility is the character that we should have when we speak to others about the truth of Christianity.

Frank
I'm not sure what you're trying to say to me in your last comment; but I do see the value of unpacking this phrase "humble orthodoxy".

Don't you think that Riccardi hit the nail on the head in what I mentioned above? This may also just be semantics at some point too. BUT: "Humble servants proclaiming orthodoxy boldly." To me, that's gold.

Mike Riccardi said...

Me: A person can be bold or humble, but can truth be bold or humble

Catez: This is the same false dichotomy that keeps appearing. It is not either or - it isn't either bold or humble.


I wasn't trying to set them up against each other. Neither was Harry J. You did that for us on your own.

Me: (And by the way, I'm not sure that boldness and humility are antonyms.)

We could have used other adjectives like angry, sad, outspoken... all things, btw, that one can say of people, but not things or ideas... unless you're speaking figuratively.

And there's my point. When people speak of orthodoxy, they don't mean the person of Jesus. They do mean a set of right, true, sound, biblical doctrines. You're adding the whole "Jesus is Truth" distinction where you want, and where it fits your argument, and then not applying it where it doesn't.

Since that point is rather inconsequential on its own (and apparently, though surprisingly, debatable), for the sake of argument, humor me and think of orthodoxy as having this referent: true, sound, biblical doctrine.

If that's the case, orthodoxy can't adequately be described as bold, humble, confident, brokenhearted, empowered. Those are all things that are spoken of one who proclaims orthodoxy.

The orthodoxy, by itself, emboldens, humbles, makes confident, cultivates brokenheartedness, and empowers. But it cannot properly be said to have the above characteristics.

It follows, then, that adjectives like humble, bold, etc. are only rightly applied to those who proclaim the truth, not the truth itself.

Charley said...

OK...how about this? It seems like a lot of people are talking/typing past each other, having a difficult time making themselves understood. That includes me.

Click HERE for a post by Ingrid Schlueter of Slice of Laodicea (now defunct due to server issues) where she quotes extensively from E.M. Bounds on the topic of humility. Someone once said that books aren't worth reading unless the author has been dead over 100 years!!!

Charley
Get Serious Blog
HomeDiscipling Dad Blog

SJ Camp said...

Frank:
This is off topic here... but I wanted to be one of the first to say to you: HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROTHER!!!

I love you man...
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Charley said...

Well...I see Steve dropped a comment right after mine, but was humble enough not to advertise his latest post.

So I will do it for him!

Click HERE for his latest contribution to this question.

Charley
Get Serious Blog
HomeDiscipling Dad Blog

Catez said...

Mike,

Mike: A person can be bold or humble, but can truth be bold or humble

Catez: This is the same false dichotomy that keeps appearing. It is not either or - it isn't either bold or humble.


Mike: I wasn't trying to set them up against each other. Neither was Harry J. You did that for us on your own.

Harry can speak for himself - and linked a post by Steve which does set them up against each other, and said that was his comment. Go back and have a read. :-) And, well Mike, when you say "a person can be bold OR humble" that does set them up against each other.

Mike: (And by the way, I'm not sure that boldness and humility are antonyms.)

We could have used other adjectives like angry, sad, outspoken... all things, btw, that one can say of people, but not things or ideas... unless you're speaking figuratively.


Catez: I don't see the point of this - it would just create more false dichotomies. Here is the point:
We are not called to always be sad, but we should always be humble. Think on that in regard to your other substitute words - we are not called to be all those things all the time, but we are called to be humble. We aren't humble all the time - but the ideal is that we would be.

And there's my point. When people speak of orthodoxy, they don't mean the person of Jesus. They do mean a set of right, true, sound, biblical doctrines.

Catez: What people? You aren't speaking accurately for this person for starters. You've missed my point here Mike. I haven't said orthodoxy isn't right, true, sound, biblical doctrines. So take a look back and see what I did say - in regard to metanarrative, the Logos, and Truth - and what is contained therein. And then it follows that you can't separate truths from Truth.

You're adding the whole "Jesus is Truth" distinction where you want, and where it fits your argument, and then not applying it where it doesn't.

Catez: No substance to this I'm afraid. Firstly Jesus is the Truth, and secondly - it's not a distinction. Now if anything so far comes close to postmodernism it's your postion here - because you've just relativised the metanarrative.

Since that point is rather inconsequential on its own (and apparently, though surprisingly, debatable),

Catez: ??? Whoa brother - this is heading into postmodern territory at a gallop. The metanarrative is inconsequential? Goodness no.

for the sake of argument, humor me and think of orthodoxy as having this referent: true, sound, biblical doctrine.

Catez: Referent? The referent is the metanarrative.

If that's the case, orthodoxy can't adequately be described as bold, humble, confident, brokenhearted, empowered. Those are all things that are spoken of one who proclaims orthodoxy.

Catez: Pluralism run amok here. A bunch of words given equal ranking within a relativised frame. Why can't orthodoxy be described as humble? Humility is not an option among many - something can be humble and confident, humble and broken-hearted, humble and bold, humble and empowered. Humility is something always required. (Empowered is a funy one to add when you don't want to use a living metanarrative as referent).

The orthodoxy, by itself, emboldens, humbles, makes confident, cultivates brokenheartedness, and empowers.

Catez: By itself? Split off from Jesus? Just knowing doctrine does all those things? Sounds more like gnosis to me. Still don't see you getting the flow here - start with the metanarrative:
Truth >>> truths (very simply).

But it cannot properly be said to have the above characteristics.

Who said it had to have all those characteristics? Not me. Too relative.

It follows, then, that adjectives like humble, bold, etc. are only rightly applied to those who proclaim the truth, not the truth itself.

They can all be applied to those who proclaim the truth - but not all are the same. Missing the point still with this. Logos. Logos. Logos. :-)

Catez said...

Charley,
That seond post by Steve Camp is much better. Thanks for pointing to it.:-)

centuri0n said...

End of thread. Wow.

centuri0n said...

Catez got cut off when I closed comments, and he asked me to post this final rejoiner:


-----
Correction: Harry didn't post the link to Steve's post - he followed
on in his comment from it and reiterated some aspects. Sorry. My
response to his comment still stands.
-----


Thanks.