Saturday, April 27, 2013

The LCMS: Meet Some Real Fundamentalists

Many Baptist fundamentalists I know are real fundamentalists and others are sinking in ignorance, either from the start or from running to it, bereft of soundness to save them from their race and clamor to post-modern Christianity and the gleeful enlightenment of a sophomore in college who has finally thrown off dad's old politics. I mention them because they have, in the most pronounced way, utilized this (the fundamentalist label) as their identity in comparison to other groups during the last 60-70 years. But they aren’t the only kind of fundamentalist. There are others and one of those groups is The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. However, before I engage my presentation with their virtues, I wish to deal with what a fundamentalist is and share a few observations about a trend in Baptist fundamentalism and Evangelical fundamentalism (if there be such a thing).

Fundamentalism is the history of the church. That is, those who hold to and defend essential doctrines and its properties as well as insure sound guardianship of secondary issues and what Lutherans call adiaphora, commonly referred to matters of liberty, these are the church’s fundamentalists throughout history. They have gone by various names at various times and were not always related to one another. It is this group of believers during all ages who have been a constant faithful to the whole counsel and mission of God and bore the brunt of an ever-changing weaker element in the body of Christ who regularly cry for the leaven of Egypt as an acceptable diet for God's people.

Fundamentalism is not simply attendance to major doctrines or essential doctrines as some wish to assert but the perspicacious treatment of all theological/spiritual/ecclesiastical matters. And for Lutherans and particularly The LCMS, The Book of Concord stands as a witness to its detailed and exhaustive treatment of such matters, from the primary to adiaphora or that of the liberty of the conscience.

The Modern Baptist Fundamentalism Drift

During its heyday, Baptist fundamentalism had two main veins. One was the very evangelistically oriented side which did not give great attendance to matters such as hermeneutics or systematic theology. For that matter, anything heavily scholastic regarding a treatment of the Scriptures was neglected. Out of that grew some toxic local churches, Pastors, Evangelists and associations and schools but not necessarily always, to be fair and we must always be fair in our accounts.

The other avenue was those who recognized the importance of Greek and Hebrew/Aramaic training, systematic theology, history, science, anthropology and so on and that they were essential contributors to a thorough theology and practice. They were far less visible of the two kinds of Baptist fundamentalists. And though their scholarship was not often appreciated by those outside of their sect, it was, nonetheless, serious and weighty at times.

Now mind you, not every local church or Baptist fundamentalist institution (such as schools) were either/or, some were part of each vein but in general, in most, a persuasion in one direction or the other could be found as I see it. But among their differences they both shared the understanding of their distinctiveness, both in belief and practice, which resulted in an integral separation from those unlike them, though others be brothers in the Lord. Much like denominations and various sects practice today. It is called ecclesiastical integrity, denominational distinction. And one need not be a formal denomination to maintain these associative and practical distinctions by way of separation.

Unfortunately, these twins did not evolve to be of benefit to one another. The fact is, the former, being theologically disoriented, though certainly sincere in their efforts, were susceptible to the influence of carnal methods for gathering Christians together in order to grow a church, so to speak. Their more theologically minded brothers were treated with suspicion but oddly, a necessary evil. 

Men did need training and these were the places to go but it seemed best for the evangelistically minded side to throw off as much of their academic dust as they could when finished with school and get with the business of winning souls and building a church. But what they both rightly sought was to retain, to their credit, the fundamentals to which they held and were taught, even if along with the less theologically centered segment there came some oddball heterodox ideas. And these fundamentals were not just essential doctrines but secondary matters even to that of liberty, not just in utterance but in practice as well.

Within this time, of course, the Evangelicals who were less constrained, by and large willingly gave way to all kinds of novel approaches to Biblical interpretation and certainly, practice. In fact, it came to a point, and is this way now in many places, that practice would determine theology and not theology determining practice. Worse, among their population are fools who pretend theology still drives their practice by way of proof-texting magic. But of course, when testing their formulas in a clean hermeneutic lab the frailty and error of their constructs are revealed. So within this laxness of theological rigorousness, Evangelicals grew their well-known branch of church-building philosophy/theology. However, unlike the Baptist fundamentalist it was not based on direct evangelism but soft evangelism or “seeker-sensitive” methods. And it worked, that is if by worked we mean it attracted a great number of people to their churches.

And over time this church-growth paradigm found its way into the minds of susceptible Baptist fundamentalists who appear to have consumed to their delight this seeker-pleasing construct and have turned the church of God into a house of childish and juvenile pleasure where liturgy is not a foretaste of things to come but an indulgence into cultural relevance. To what should not be your surprise, these susceptible Baptist fundamentalists were those who were not burdened by theological comprehensiveness like their twin but by what appears to bring in the bodies, i.e. so-called evangelism/church growth.

By contrast their more doctrinally minded Baptist fundamentalist brothers, who are tempered by allegiance to theology which produces practice instead of practice altering theology (or at least contradicting it), are at a crossroads with the other. And though I do not share all detailed views of the more theologically minded Baptist fundamentalists to which I refer, I do share much, very much in the way of their pursuit of purity and integrity verses the pragmatism of their developmentally challenged counterpart and I believe in their cause.

I cannot tell you how bizarre it is to see one Baptist fundamentalist group after another discover a little license in the absence of a robust theology and start introducing Shaggy and Scooby as their new worship leaders. Additionally peculiar is their fortuitous and magical discovery that music forms for worship are not really an issue with which to be concerned and consider such debate a bit Pharisaical in their now enlightened minds. 

Sure, Baptist fundamentalists needed to identify and address their excesses and still do but they are doing so, in mass, minus a strong theological development and are turning into the very thing that will hurt them most; that thing is their attempt to use culture to make our Lord relevant when our Lord did not come at all for such a thing. He came to make us relevant to God. This is a serious matter but a measurable segment of Baptist fundamentalism has not only drifted but drifted quite leftward in practice though with their lips they claim a rightward spot on the map.

The LCMS and the Book of Concord

It is funny reading claims by both Neo-Baptist fundamentalists and Evangelicals such as The Gospel Coalition that secondary issues and certainly matters of liberty, again adiaphora, are not matters of either separation or serious debate which can legitimately lead to a lessening of fellowship. And though funny, it is dismaying just as much to hear or read them say to those who would posture otherwise that such people are close-minded, legalistic, theological Neanderthals and quite uncharitable in disposition seeing everything must be nuanced and the confession to which one must hold needlessly detailed.

Well friends, again let me introduce you to some fundamentalists who disagree with such haltering in their certainty on theological, spiritual and ecclesiastical matters and are everything these others wish they could be; thorough in their theology, faithful, scholarly and academically honest in their hermeneutics, rigorous in their approach to God’s Word, vigorous in their liturgy and exhaustive in their confession, they are called The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod or LCMS.

The Book of Concord. What is the book of Concord, you ask? Well, if you are the easily offended and misled type as described above, it will probably offend you and cause your reactionary fabianistic disaffection to produce in you a person desperate to find an escape. But for those of you who understand the importance of both an exhaustive confession and adherence to it, The Book of  Concord will be to your good pleasure, even if you do not agree with all of its tenets.

The book in its 2nd edition is 826 pages. Confessional Lutherans are understood to pledge themselves to its doctrine and practice before entering ordination and ministry. Local assemblies are disciplined when there are demonstrative departures from this volume. It is their witness to God, their confession of the truth and deals in more than a cursory manner with essentials, secondary matters and adiaphora. In fact, on the matter of liberty it contains something the evolving sect of Baptist fundamentalist who seem to be enchanted by relativism would do well to hear what The Book of Concord has to say (and this is but a sampling):

"Namely, when under the title and pretext of external adiaphora such things are proposed as are in principle contrary to God's Word (although painted another color), these are not to be regarded as adiaphora, in which one is free to act as he will, but must be avoided as things prohibited by God. In like manner, too, such ceremonies should not be reckoned among the genuine free adiaphora, or matters of indifference, as make a show or feign the appearance, as though our religion and that of the Papists were not far apart, thus to avoid persecution, or as though the latter were not at least highly offensive to us; or when such ceremonies are designed for the purpose, and required and received in this sense, as though by and through them both contrary religions were reconciled and became one body; or when a reentering into the Papacy and a departure from the pure doctrine of the Gospel and true religion should occur or gradually follow therefrom [when there is danger lest we seem to have reentered the Papacy, and to have departed, or to be on the point of departing gradually, from the pure doctrine of the Gospel]"

The LCMS, though imperfect and certainly at various local assemblies you will find variations and within those variations some contemporary elements, and I do not argue they are not subject to such influences, still has a rather significant and serious approach to even the least of any Biblical dogma. But to many modern Evangelicals and certainly now a segment of Baptist fundamentalists, their confession of how to go about dealing with even the seemingly least of matters, is pursued with license which simply claims there is no forbidding, therefore engage! How thoughtless, how selfish and how lacking in theological or spiritual perspicacity. 

Final Words

Lutheranism did not survive on relevancy, instead it was birthed in conviction and grown by faithfulness, not only to what some describe as essential matters but all theological, ecclesiastical and spiritual matters. Their theology and liturgy give evidence to critical, circumspect and disciplined development. Their insistence upon a confession that exceeds one man’s own narcissistic and novel theological current but embodies enough material for over 800 pages by men whose theology has been tested, over and over again, is what has yielded for so long incredibly gifted communicators of orthodoxy and local bodies administering grace, from the gospel that saves to the least of our concerns, though they be matters of liberty they are yet real and demand a Godly response to which The LCMS has authentically responded with answers from God’s Word.

The LCMS has been and is faithful to this. Baptist fundamentalists and those claiming to be Bible fundamentalist or even Evangelical fundamentalists, you should take note. The high order of theology and practice found in the LCMS did not come from appealing to the lowest common denominator or a lessened confession but from a detailed and specific confession on all matters. Your dilution of what you are is not going to lead to something greater, something more worthy or something more significant but to a lessening, a weakening and eventual great loss.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Wartburg Watch: Be Careful When Crusading That You Do Not Become the Thing You Hate or The World of “Fabian Disaffectionists”

The Wartburg Watch

Revised Nov 2013

Have you ever encountered a seemingly beneficial group only to discover they are becoming or have become the very thing they oppose? This reality is not phenomenal in the least, it happens often. People who are being abused are regularly rescued by crusaders who end up abusing them as well, only in a different manner. You have seen this and I have seen this.

Ex: A girl grows up in an abusive home. Enter hero boyfriend (there is a reason hero boyfriend and abused girl are attracted to each other in the first place, not necessarily for bad reasons always but sometimes for unhealthy reasons with unhealthy results). No doubt he will either be informed of or observe the abuse (or both) and wish to intervene in some manner and rescue his darling from her oppressive ogresses.

Occasionally, the parental overlords are overpowered and the swashbuckler is victorious. On the way out of the door in the arms of her lion and entering her new estate of freedom, the once burdened damsel hears her buccaneer tell her that he would like her to work on her choice of words when speaking to him, after all he is the savior figure and sacrificed quite a bit for her emancipation. She obliges but somewhere inside of her rising up, though immediately forced down, is the all too familiar sound of her former masters.

Well, welcome to The Wartburg Watch as I experienced it recently, and continue to find it. Now for some of you who find part or most of what they do or say beneficial in some manner, there is the temptation to instantly clamor because, after all, they aren’t the ogres, remember? And to your surprise I agree, they are both a group who has given enlightenment where darkness or at least lesser light has shown and they aren’t the ogres. But the problem is they can, at times, be the other guy.

Where or what is the source of my claim? It comes from two contexts. The first is my ongoing reading of The Wartburg Watch over the last year or year and a half and my brief but rather enlightening experience directly interacting at The Wartburg Watch. I will cite that event in a moment but before doing so I want to present what positive thing they might be recognized for and what I believe to be a weakness and fundamental flaw in their construct which I term Fabian Disaffectionism which is rather common among Baby Boomers and beyond these days, Christians ones included.

Exposing and Opposing Shameful Hypocrisy

The Wartburg Watch blog, as I have observed, inaugurated itself with an emphasis on Neo-Calvinism, ecclesiastical malfeasance of many sorts but particularly with sexual misconduct or abuse and patriarchalism/complementarism excesses or even its existence. Something needed in general, though I certainly do not subscribe to all of their criticisms or theological persuasions and certainly not their growing cachophany of ungodly behavior in the way the approach and then discuss matters in their comment section, at least as I see it.

Since then it seems they have kept with this template for the most part. Their capital effort, in my view, was bringing to light the reality of the SGM disaster along with the committed and shameful support of Theologians and Bible Teachers such as Al Mohler ($$ The Mahaney Money Machine $$ is a must read in my view), John Piper and related parties or the contemptible omission by others who, while not speaking out in support of an unqualified and now disqualified ministry and its leaders, added to the injury of all parties with their silence.

And you will not be disappointed if you read The Wartburg Watch and wish to discover things many people simply will not, but should, tell you. Things that you ought to know. They are detailed and earnest. Hence, before I lean into them understand that I am not telling you to not read them. I rarely would say that about any Christian publication because no matter what is being said, even if to stay informed regarding error, one still needs to stay informed.

But what I will and do warn you about is something underlying that can easily infect you, if you are not careful. Such philistine troubles are part and parcel of the work of crusaders. Hence my experience and what I believe you need to know.

My Experience

I have recommended The Wartburg Watch in the past but at the present time, cannot do so. Nevertheless, if you read their blog you will find that at times they do not miss on their points. Unfortunately, in my view, again like most crusading organizations, they are not adept at holding themselves to their own standards. What do I mean? Enter my exchanges in the What Doug Wilson Should Have Learned From Anyabwile About Racism comments thread.

The article emphasized what Doug Wilson should or could have learned. Of course it assumes much in its arguments which is a flaw in and of itself, but that notwithstanding the overall take away by The Wartburg Watch was with an emphasis on Wilson stopping to listen and learn from someone unlike himself, someone with a different experience and so on who might have something to teach him.

Okay, I am all for that. And so with that you would expect at the blog that both its moderators and participants would share this vital sentiment of understanding and learning from others unlike themselves, right? Well………………………..not so fast my friend. Here is what I posted in the comments section and some portions of some rather shallow responses directed toward me in return:
Alex Guggenheim said:

Do not care for Doug Wilson but Anyabwile erred greatly in affirming Race Based Special Interest Theology and Practice. While he does not offend with deliberate Afro-centric theology as Bradley does he attempts to legitimize the purposed racial *prerogatives in part in what is a spiritual body, namely the church.

Additionally, I found Anyabwile’s arguments dubious in many places and always qualified with the acknowledgment he cannot be dogmatic yet he went ahead and was dogmatic anyway. His exegesis was sophomoric in many places.
*(I fixed my typo of prerogatives for the record)

So what do I get in return? Do I get anyone trying to identify with a foreigner? Do I get anyone trying to understand or learn from others, unlike themselves? You can deduce for yourself what I received:
dee said:
@ Alex Guggenheim:

So, when you said “His (Anyabwile) exegesis was sophomoric in many places.” I wondered if you were attempting to take into consideration his particular experience as a man who experienced the indignities of “walking while black.” If you are an African American, then I would assume that you have and argue my point from another direction.
Okay so dee wants me to take into consideration Anyabwile’s experiences and his experience as a man who allegedly underwent the indignities of “walking while black”. You see? She expects me to identify and relate to or validate the point from which he approaches. But will she or others do that for me? Again, let’s see. By the way, here is my response to that:
Alex Guggenheim said:

While one experiences unique indignities none of these kinds of individual or group proprietary experiences gives weight to theological arguments which is my focus. Anyabwile’s race is not a matter of extra or lacking sensitivities. I believe it is encumbent on us and for Teachers especially to rise above egocentrism when dealing w theology, hence I assume the best of Anyabwile and that he is, with respect to being able to receive the force of my words, not going to be guilty of projecting racial antagonisms, and to the readers here as well.

I understand sensitivity but even the lack of it cannot be treated with any force as an argument on the issue.

I do agree that Wilson’s diplomacy is debatable but that aside and to the greater concern, the principles and theology of the matter, I do believe Anyabwile would do even worse face to face in a debate and believe much of what he argued to be weak.
Now for the outpouring of understanding by others and dee, herself, toward me, the foreigner:
elastigirl said:

I get the impression that you, like Doug Wilson, are in the habit of treating your subject matter like a mathematician treats numbers — as logical formulas — or an astrophysicist deals with data — reality in the form of calculations. Deeply engaged in it all, to the point of unawareness of what human beings actually experience on ground level. It doesn’t seem to have much relevance.

I tend to think that you & Doug either expect or would prefer that your fellow humans be programmed automatons, responding to perfectly calculated equations, rather than the ruckus of stimuli that is reality (visible, invisible, biological, psychological, spiritual, creative, memory, inherited memory, sensory, etc. — a coin with so many sides)
ScotT said:
Alex, you need to give this up. Anyabwile isn’t the one with “sophomoric exegesis.” And, ironically enough, Wilson isn’t the only one using confusing, “smarty” language.
Okay, I am a mathematician or astrophysicist and treat people like numbers or a formula? No, wait, I see, my language is offensive because it is “smarty language”? I get it, because I don’t use language the others I am the offender. Ah yes, I am the offensive one, right? We call that bigoted where I come from. Hmmm…sensitive consideration during discussions or debate at the Wartburg Watch? I don’t think so.
dee said:

@ Alex Guggenheim:I think you did not have to say his arguments are sophomoric and you should stick to the knitting. In debating matters such as race, we can argue our theological leanings while being sensitive. For example, you call Anyabwile’s thoughts “sophomoric” and merely say that Wilson’s diplomacy is debatable. Guess which one comes across more strongly?
My post argues beyond the theology (which is important) to love which shows an understanding of the pain of those who suffered under a supposedly “Christian” nation racism.
No, dee, I said his exegesis was sophomoric, you are using deceptive language and misrepresenting my statement. You should have more integrity than to reform people’s statements which end up altering what they said and implying something less favorable, but if it serves you best I suppose this is what you call “sensitivity toward others”?. I don't subscribe the the myth that the United States is under ecclesiastical mandates, hence Anyabwile's argument is irrelevant unless he and you are affirming belief in a theocracy, if not then again, your point here and his as well, is moot.
Beakerj said:
Holy crud, I snorted so hard that stuff almost came out of my nose! Alex sounds like he works in a very technical field, & is stuck in that linguistic loop. A friend of mine doing a PHD in Theology puts up the most linguistically dense status updates on fb that I have ever read,which crack me up. Thankfully he follows them up with pics of him & his 5 year old on a train or geeking on Star Wars. I can get bogged down myself when having to write funding applications or summarise work with a client for social services or something, but Alex does have a special talent for it.
More personality and linguistic bigotry.
Daisy said:

Did you ever see the first Terminator movie? There’s a scene where the hero from the future who is rescuing the lady tells her a Terminator (cyborg) has been sent to kill her.

He explains that Terminators are programmed to kill: they never sleep, don’t feel pity, remorse, sympathy, or compassion.

Sometimes, some Christians come across this way, so programmed to follow logic, proper debate rules, and their view of correct doctrine, they seem like Terminators.
And if I were black what would I be? Oh wait, sensitivity only for those you chose but not for all, right? I speak in a manner unfamiliar to this commenter and what do I get? I receive bigotry and abuse. And finally from dee:
dee said:

@ Alex Guggenheim:I do not get you. I am trying. I have even tried humor. State your case or move on. This is a blog, not a term paper or an oratorial exercise. That means it is important to state your case clearly and simply. When few people get what you are saying, including me and I have been around this milieu for a long time, it means you need to up your game in this arena.
This speaks for itself but lest you are asleep, it is called linguistic and personality bigotry. Yes, bigotry, that nasty thing against which The Wartburg Watch crusades. They appear, however, to tolerate some forms of it when it concerns their crusading.

Overall Observation of the Event

Asking my blog readers to tolerate the tedious task of reading through the posts is one for which I seek pardon of this necessity, but still an essential it is because of what it reveals. It demonstrates just what my title suggests, that crusaders can often become the thing they claim to oppose.

The Wartburg Watch objects to the insensitiveness which lead to abuse and indignity. They rightly identified this common cause of abuse. Yet, when a foreigner with whom they are not familiar (and apparently does not fit the profile have chosen for their sensitivities and anti-indignities crusade), comes in their midst and speaking in way in which they are not familiar and with which they allegedly do not immediately identify, what do you find? Why you find the very kind of treatment they espouse leads to abuse and claim to oppose. At lest you will find it in my case and if there is one case there are usually more.

Am I Being Petty? 

Glad I asked that question. I entertained it for quite a while until I was certain that this was not merely a matter of some subordinate misbehaving but as well, by way of The Wartburg Watch leadership (specifically dee and both my interaction with her and her failure to moderate the indignities and insensitivity heaped upon this foreigner within her borders). Thus, this comes from one who forms policy but unfortunately willingly engaged in the kind of awfulness and inconsistency she regularly rebukes in her subjects. This is quite revealing. It manifests something contrary to stated claims and beliefs, in my view, and something which is critical to anyone engaging with such a group.

One always should expect underlings to be capricious, particularly toward a pledge. Children are not their parents but parents ought to reign in the children when they are out of order and when parents do not, they are negligent as guides. But worse, when parents involve themselves at the same level and in the same manner as their offspring, one then needs to take a long look at the parents’ personal constitution and understand there is something amiss.

This is the way it is with those in any position of authority. To understand their quality one must inquire and observe whether they uphold or dismiss their own values when their pet views are at stake or the community under them acts contrary to such values. Because to some, to scold temperamental members would be to lose face. Such moments are watersheds which reveal the core of a person or organization in spite their propaganda claiming otherwise.

Think Of the Opposite: A Linguistically Challenged Black Man

One kind of abuse we all recognize is when those who are linguistically challenged decide to speak. Their oddity and abnormality regarding the group makes them prey for emotionally adolescent “group-think” types who seek to pounce on incidental and insignificant departures from the norm. Now, it is true that The Wartburg Watch cannot be held accountable for its commenters with respect to their opinions but it is responsible and accountable for permitting and/or remaining silent when commenters become abusive or even participating in such a manner.

So imagine if I were a black man commenting who was linguistically challenged and my atypical way of speaking was a source of contention and criticism by some people commenting? What do you think would ensue, then? Right! The Wartburg Watch would be on high alert and in concert with its community, all would be there to rescue the abused foreigner from the disgusting and insensitive bigot(s) who faulted the person simply for speaking differently. The Wartburg Watch failed to uphold their own principles with a different kind of stranger in their midst and became, in my view, the very thing against which they crusade and ironically in the comments section of a post about being sensitive to people who are different.

Understand, however, I am not hurt, that isn’t the point. This is not about me. I only serve here, as a test case and example so that you may utilize The Wartburg Watch in a more informed manner. I expect this, always, everywhere. I am not a child, I understand the level of inconsistency, rudeness and self-deception that can go on with Christians. It is the na├»ve person who gets injured, upset and personally destabilized in such cases because they are trained to be gullible and open to such wounding.

This will happen, even with people you might like. You will not change this reality, ever, though you can make yourself and others aware of it so you and others curb such human deficiencies from unabridged expression. Humans fail. What you must do is be informed with regard the whole of something and not merely it’s good. Much like eating cake and then and watching your weight balloon up and then asking, “Why didn’t someone tell me that was part of eating cake”? Thus, I am telling you what I believe about The Wartburg Watch which I hope will help you better use it as a tool for information because you do not want to throw it away. However, if you are going to use it as a tool you certainly do want to know what it cannot do and what it might do if you use it naively.

When You Have No Argument You Always Are Reduce To Form (Sidebar)

People who have no argument or at least are on the losing end of an argument are normally reduced to debating someone’s form or style. This is ultimately a sign of surrender. This is what happened here for dee and the others. A few participants did get past my form which was labeled “smarty language”. To them I give credit. Nevertheless, to this claim I was amazed seeing I used vocabulary we all learned in the 8th and 9th grade and I had typos to boot. This is what they call smarty language and one might ask this out loud were we all still in the 8th or 9th grade, "are you serious"?

I have written more than once about detecting signals in debate and identifying when one is invested egotistically and when one is objective. This was certainly not a case for the latter. Remember, even as a sidebar but worthwhile principle, when your debate opponent starts to become preoccupied with form he has entered the petty and insignificant. This does not mean form can never be addressed but when one's form is well within reason, though still retaining its uniqueness, people who seize upon such idiosyncrasies do so because they have surrendered their case.

Fabian Disaffectionists

While it might seem redundant, I have coined a term to describe what I believe The Wartburg Watch is in its fundamental form, a community of Fabian Disaffectionists. First, they are Fabians in my mind because they reflect the anti-hierarchical traits of the British Socialist Fabian Society.

The Fabian Society arose in Britain in the late 19th century by idealists, artists and young adult aristocrats. Such types are accomplished at identifying real or theoretical flaws in organizations but rarely, if ever, offer alternatives which result in robust societies that lead the state to be either producers or super-produces. And without such prosperity, which is an axiological element necessary for a nation to sustain itself and perpetuate its internal wealth and freedoms as well as external securities, all the Fabians in the world would be left with their words, criticisms and some hopeful porridge, if they are lucky. They are idealists to a fault and you will see this magnified on certain occasions and undoubtedly in their theology, at times be they Christians.

Secondly, they are Disaffectionists because as I have observed, they are frequently fueled by their disaffection toward something which they or their community has observed or experienced. The inherent defect of such a movement is that it lends itself to extremes such as self-righteousness and the inability to see one’s own inconsistencies and problems not to mention the failure to give credit where credit is due, particularly when opposing someone or something.

The Tiger Woods Phenomenon. I think PGA Pro Tiger Woods is an excellent lighting rod which displays the problems with disaffected people in general. Tiger is, at this point, one of the four greatest known professional golfers in the sport’s history. His character in the past, however, was not so great and in fact quite a failure and the public, for the most part, knows all too well of his adulterous and sexual exploits.

As a result of this many people were disaffected toward Tiger. Hence, when they watched him they could not even give him credit for skills displayed on the golf course. Any success was resented and generally categorized as lucky. They have become delusional, to some degree, and unable to acknowledge Tiger’s accomplishments due as a result of investing themselves in their disaffection thereby losing objectivity. They distort and undervalue the against which their affection is set.
When you combine fabianism with disaffectionism you get a bit of a toxic combination if you are not careful. As I said, some might view fabianism as resulting from disaffection but not always. Not all Fabian Society members were necessarily disaffected people. However, they did attract such people, hence becoming influenced by them and at times permitting injurious extremes to their discredit.

And this is how I would characterize The Wartburg Watch. Their superintendents, to me, are primarily Fabians while many of their followers are primarily disaffected types and the influence of the latter, unfortunately, leads them to license and offense of which either they are ignorant or aware and refuse to acknowledge which would mean they have traversed into a crusader-mentality arrogance and that is a place from which few return to reside again with a healthy and objective perspective in life.

Final Words

I have decided to end any participation at their blog in the comments section, apparently they simply cannot help themselves from acting like adolescents and mobbing those who do not get on their bandwagon. However, I do plan on reading their material because staying informed of all those claiming to be a voice of biblical discernment is essential.

What I want for my readers is to understand the nature of the animal with which they are dealing. Do not get sucked into their tendency toward self-righteous crusading to the point that you engage in a manner identical to the very kind of thinking and behavior you seek to expose as harmful.

The Wartburg Watch for what I label as Fabian Disaffectionists, could out-pace many so-called orthodox groups and provide a service for which could be appreciative. But they have seriously degraded into cat-calls, pettiness, the tolerance of celebrating the failures of others and an over all "meeting ungodliness with more ungodliness". To combat a pie in the face they simply throw pies in faces or allow them to be thrown with little interference.

They do take in with sympathy and affection the injured. They regularly hold court and present some evidence for their cases, though not all the evidence available at times in every case. And too often I find the evidence to regularly be presented in a rather biased manner, minimizing and sometimes outright dismissing fair counters on the other side. And that is the point. Do not permit your idealism or disaffection to lead you blindly or else a tool that can help will end up harming you.

The Christian life is both one of discernment of error and affirmation of truth. And it is not about you or your experiences, your demanding people be sensitive to you or your unique context. That is called spiritual narcissism which can easily be accepted as a substitute for genuine spirituality which revolves around Christ and his Word. Fabian Disaffectionism can lead you to such a selfish end if you do not understand the limits of these kind of contributions. On the other hand, if you ignore any truth they have to say, you have harmed yourself as well.

So, engage wisely and to The Wartburg Watch I say, until they make a fundamental change in their dialog and particularly in their comments section where they regularly fail to uphold their claims of desiring forthright, dignified and frank but mature treatment of people in the exchanges of comments as well as participating in these themselves, thumbs down. My belief is that those who do believe in leading in discernment by exposing hypocrisy and duplicity, certain do not approve of their dancing on graves, group cheering and speaking of the failures of others as "juicy".

Do they make points? Yes, but the demand for wise counsel does not stop at having a point. I believe they are unwise and an unhealthy  form of group-think or dialectic which does not free people but only removes them to another form of cyclic injury. That is of course, merely my opinion.