Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Swallowing Foolish Reductios

“The final divide between the embarrassed and unembarrassed horrifies those moderns who take the Enlightenment seriously, but it should also horrify decent, clean-shaven modern Christians, because so many of us are instinctively embarrassed by the claims of the Christian view of reality. Though the Judgment will forever divide the embarrassed and the unembarrassed, the embarrassed do appear to be making up a large portion of professing Christians. Think for a moment about how many squabbles in the Church stem from not wanting to have moderns think we are unenlightened throwbacks… dare we say, medieval? Consider how agitated we get in our rush to assure our Enlightenment lords that scriptural faith endorses nothing so obviously embarrassing and unmodern and wicked as excommunication, the death penalty, patriarchalism, slavery, a young earth, and monarchy, or that Scripture condemns sodomy, public schools, recycling, or whatever else might make moderns shake their fingers at us.

“But the important test question here isn’t whether Christianity teaches egalitarianism or an old earth, but what if it clearly didn’t? Would we be embarrassed then? What if Scripture really taught all those horrible things mocked so loudly by moderns—would we be ashamed? This is a wonderful personal test. Think of the most horrible moral or scientific accusation raised against the Christian faith and then ask, what if it’s true? Would we be embarrassed to stand by Christ? Or could we thumb our noses at modern scowls? We are promised that idolatrous wisdom is less than false; it is foolishness. The very first commandment calls us to disdain all other loyalties and fear God alone. That sort of attitude makes up the radical Scriptural challenge, ‘Let God be true, but every man a liar’ (Rom. 3:4). Every man? Could we stand firm if every scientific study and political expert denounced Christian truth? Could you stand loyal and unembarrassed against laughter pouring forth from the president of N.O.W., Stephen J. Gould, and Calvin College? Evangelicals have tended to buckle their knees at much less. We don’t know the great joy of swallowing the reductios from our opponents. Let them have their feeble idols; we have Christ.” (Angels in the Architecture: A Protestant Vision for Middle Earth, Douglas Jones and Douglas Wilson, pp. 48, 49)

(end of post; ignore continue reading statement below)


Blogger Bobber said...

This kind of ranting reminds me of the "double dog dare" in the movie, "Christmas Story". At the heart of this challenge is a call to be faithful to Christ and of course, we all want to be faithful to our Lord. But perhaps I could say something similar in reverse. For example, if you look at scientific data, measurments which suggest an earth which is much older than 10k years or so, will you have the faith to suggest that somehow, the data and the bible do not contradict? They must both be true in some way which preserves the integrety of each. If there is a confilict it must be due to bad scientists, bad theologins, or both. If the data is strongly corraberated and verified, how do we deal with it? Close our eyes? Run away and condemn anyone who measuers the speed of light our counts rings around a tree trunk? Or measures radiologic decay in materials? Hasn't God created a desire to know in us so that we can and do use our minds to figure things out? Or will you reject the use of technology and live like the Amish?

11/07/2006 12:00 PM  
Blogger Derrick Olliff said...

This has nothing to do with a dare and it isn’t even an “argument” designed to demonstrate some position. Rather, it is a call to self-inspection before one even gets to the public table to rally for or against some view. And it is hardly addressed to a non-existent problem. But if someone applies this “personal test” and honestly finds that he wouldn’t be embarrassed even if, e.g., he were to conclude that some “difficult” portion of the OT was still binding, he would then be able to address the issue without the problem mentioned in the quote. On the other hand, if the mere thought of supporting a hypothetical biblical position X makes him uneasy or squeamish, he might want to look into it. This personal test is a perfectly legitimate and relevant motive check. It’s hardly a rant.

11/07/2006 6:20 PM  
Blogger Bobber said...

I don't agree completely. Wilson clearly has certain positions in mind and his intent is to use this knee buckling charge against people who hold these positions.

11/09/2006 9:09 AM  

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