Monday, December 26, 2016

FAKE THEOLOGY DIGEST



With the rise of what is being referred to as “Fake News” (ironically from the very news outlets which have repeatedly promoted fake news) I thought it would be helpful to provide my own digest of Fake Theology, from time to time hence, my Fake Theology Digest. I must give a hat-tip to Glenn Chatfield of The Watchman’s Bagpipes and his Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies series, whose format I am generally copying but with the hope that eventually I might find my own unique style. In the meantime my views and observations regarding Fake Theology
 

Rod Dreher, a supposedly statesman-like Evangelical who receives the fawning of a number of Evangelical personalities for his reasonableness, carries water for anti-Southern Baptist, Russell Moore, in his fake theology piece, Why Russell Moore Matters, asserting that errant theological and philosophical voices are somehow valuable. Watch out, there is a time for clearing tables and a time for subdued responses and the man who does not know when and where and with whom to fight, is a man who will lead you to go silently into the night as he and everyone else admires his level-headedness about it all.

The Gospel Coalition (likely you will find them to be a regular source of Fake Theology in this series which may stun a few of you but not surprise most, sadly) promotes ignorance of the two-kingdoms (the left kingdom or civil governments and their protocols and the right kingdom the spiritual kingdom or the church, even more specifically, with her unique and distinct protocols) in a blog post by racial provocateur and black trophyist (in my view) David Gunderson, who seems wholly impressed with himself that he has adopted 4 black children in his piece, Why I’m Not Dreaming of a White Christmas. One sentence from his piece perfectly reveals his theological ignorance with respect to the difference between the two kingdoms and how countries and their governments are to evaluate people vs. the church and Christians and speaks, rather broadly and condescendingly in a most stereo-typical manner against Christians in saying:
So I’m dreaming of a day when no American Christian can see a Latino and wonder about their immigration status instead of their eternal soul, or see an African-American teenager with baggy pants and a hoodie and think danger levels instead of image-bearer, or see a Marlboro hat in a rural trailer park and think hillbilly instead of human dignity.
Apparently Gunderson does not comprehend that it is not only permissible but Biblical to see people in both contexts and act accordingly. This wholesale indictment on the church should be robustly refuted for its blatant shallowness in accusatory posturing but more so, for its flawed theology. Thanks Gospel Coalition, you fail the church once again with Race-Based Special Interest Fake Theology.

Dove tailing on that is a masterpiece of Fake Theology from John Piper at the Desiring God blog where he writes an entry entitled, Structural Racism, A Child of Structural Pride. In truth, Mr. Piper has gone so far left, here, that he simply cannot be taken seriously anymore as any kind of theologically moored source (I believe that began with his book, Christian Hedonism, but for some, maybe this will be a wake-up call). He, too, is ignorant of the two-kingdoms in the Bible, left and right, and their distinct protocols. Added to this colossal waste is his redefining of terms, a game he regularly plays with his work so that he may come to the conclusion he wishes. In algebra we do not get to change the value of X but in Fake Theology, it is done all the time.

Bill Hybels has decided to continue to promote the idea from his 2012 book, The Power of a Whisper, now downloadable, that God communicates through Whispers. For you Hybels fans, I am not here to tell you that there are never promptings by God’s Holy Spirit nor that Mr. Hybels is always wrong, but this book will lead you to irresponsibly believe that you are receiving direct revelation from God and that the thoughts and prompts which occur can in your thought-life may precisely be laid on God instead of you taking responsibility for the direction you take to serve God which you, ultimately, choose. It can, as well, cause people to forgo wisdom of gifting, reality and genuine divine purpose through such mystic and frankly, Fake Theological recommendations to look for Whispers instead of wisdom in the Bible in decision making. In the book’s forward by Wayne Cordeiro, it states:
There is a frequency that your life was designed to be tuned to, and that frequency is the unique voice of God. Once you learn to hear it—and you actually can get better at picking it out—you will find that your craving for it intensifies as your soul strains to hear more from him. I experienced it first as a twelve-year-old and have known it consistently since: the ability to absorb heaven-sent input fills the sails of your life like nothing or no one else can.
Wow. Hybels, himself, formulates this thought:
Whispers can be dangerous things. They can come with huge price tags. God’s whisper to his Son, Jesus—to make a redemptive visit to planet Earth—was a costly one, and as we will see in the next chapter, high-cost whispers are a huge part of what has kept the kingdom dream alive throughout the centuries. Therefore it should come as no surprise that a certain number of whispers that come our way will drive us to our knees and stretch our faith like nothing else can.
This is the way of Fake Theology. Seldom is it flat out visibly wrong rather, it is truth mixed with error, just as our Lord warned, a little leaven. I say that because some of what Bill Hybels says is true and some, Fake Theology. I am not going to judge his whole ministry nor his sincerity, none of that is my place. He wants to do what he believes is correct and appears to want to please God so in that respect, he has my admiration. He follows his convictions. However, his convictions have consistently been built, as I have observed, on sophomoric theology which ultimately, while God uses sophomores and sometimes in substantial ways, their damage is also apparent. Over and over again I have watched people follow this spiritual Whisper formula stated in various forms, to horrible and bitter ends. He writes from a place of incredible monetary wealth while talking about paying a heavy price ...hmm.

Finally, in my first Fake Theology Digest, I draw your attention to a discussion blog I used to comment at called Sharper Iron. Its editor is a guy name Aaron Blumer, a former Pastor who left the ministry for full-time secular work (as far as I understand and if I am in error, here, please comment below) thus, ministers in a non-vocational manner I assume at whatever church he attends and with the blog. Sharper Iron is what I term a Calvinist avant-garde fundamentalist website, some might even say Fake Fundamentalist. I say, avant-garde, for two very deliberate reasons.

First - because the term, as generally defined, is not just something new in form but experimental which means, not well-vetted or tested. I assure you this is quite observable from Blumer, on down. He, in my view, resists genuine debate and rarely, if ever, concedes his mistakes. But this is rather consistent of the typical ego-invested Calvinist who simply cannot muster the humility to address weaknesses and flat-out wrong positions on anything.

Second - it elicits the implication about the group of assuming a posture of superior or greater enlightenment than their fathers or teachers. This may or may not be true, you be the judge, but their dialog regularly manifests a dilettantish and indiscreet manner of debate/discussion/dialog in which their auto-didactic style forces their regulars into what is known as a Hegelian Dialectic or a self-affirming group think where anyone speaking outside the group-affirming consensus is repeatedly attacked up to a form of social isolation which is fostered by the blog editors. Such interaction certainly betrays anyone who may claim or manifest an attitude of exceeding theological refinement over their masters.

To their credit, they do have a few noted and respected fundamentalist theologians/Bible teachers who post there on an intermittent basis, one for whom I have a great admiration and respect for his often impenetrable theological arguments namely, Dr. Rolland McCune.

As to their Fake Theology, my assertion is that it will primarily be found in their comments section with the blessing of its editorial staff by way of failure to moderate untruths. For your entertainment and not so much under Fake Theology rather, under manufactured outrage through Fake Righteous Indignation, you can sample a thread where a number of the poor souls had their avant-garde fundamentalist heads exploding at the idea that Jerry Falwell Jr. was considered for the position of Secretary of the Department of Education in the Trump administration, Jerry Falwell Jr. emerges as possible Trump cabinet pick. More exploration on your part will lead you to discover that its editor, Aaron Blumer, is a rabid and in my view, pathological, anti-Trumper. 

And as to Blumer's pathological anti-Trumpism as I have observed (you are free to disagree) just as has been observed with respect to almost all of these misguided crusaders, it appears that the objections and animus with Mr. Trump are not actually pragmatic nor political, rather, personal. I don't believe the average anti-Trumper from what we would consider the right, is even aware of the ego-oriented source of their motivations.

The truth is, as we see it now, Donald Trump is packaging one of the most powerfully pro-freedom, pro-liberty, pro-American, pro-capitalist, Christian friendly and socially responsible administrations in quite a number of years and has reached across the aisle in a manner unprecedented.

Yet, all we hear from the Aaron Blumers of the world are whines regarding personal anecdotes about Mr. Trump's personal life. There may be a point but the failure to be equally, if not far more outraged about the vicious serial corruption with Hillary Clinton belies claims of moral outrage at Trump and speak far more to someone with unchecked ego-threat and injury going on in their head in their objection to Donald Trump.

Anyway, this is the first edition of Fake Theology Digest. I can only hope it improves.
 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Alex, your artucle is helpful. Just a correction: Rod Dreher is no evangelical: I have followed his writings on the secular side of ledger for years. He started off as a traditionalist Catholic, who converted to the Orthodox Church in 2006. I can't tell right now if he is reconverting to Catholicism with his latest articles, but am sure that he is no evangelical at any stage if his life. He did say he grew up as a Protestant (Methodist) which I suspect is the mainline rather than evangelical wing, so I doubt he is a converted person.

This should, normally speaking, have disqualified his opinion to all but a few of even the most foolish evangelicals - evangelicals traditionally don't listen to anyone who is not a saved Christian (or put it in another way, evangelicals traditionally don't lisaten to anyone other than a genuinely converted person) without endorsement from another evangelical. But if I take your word at its face value, many evangelicals are trusting in Dreher. That should tell us something...

Alex A. Guggenheim said...

Thank you for the clarification on Dreher. He has courted Evangelicals and written as one, constantly speaking to their concerns thus, it seems his actions and interests at least place him in that camp so often one would wonder why he would not formerly identify as such.

Evangelicals are so easily enamored with intellectuals and rationalism which is common in Dreher, not to mention constantly seeking seat at the table of the ecclesiastical aristocracy/ruling class.

There is a general spiritual self-esteem issue going on that is encouraged by spiritually/doctrinally weak men, multiple degrees and vaulted positions or not, which leads them to be foolishly anxious to swallow the counsel appointed Guru's.

Thank you for stopping by with your contribution.

AG

Anonymous said...

I really appreciated your comments about Hybels and whispers. I done battle with Hybels' ideas for a long time now - been in three churches that came under his influence - intially good with a turning from being too inward looking to bad as gospel lite and felt needs fed by psychobabble came in. Self-love and self-esteem ... ugh!

Bibles instead of Hybels !!

What I like most was your idea of the 'prompting' of the Holy Spirit. I no more want mysticism than you do, but I do believe in such promptings (a good word and much better than 'the Lord told me ...') MacArthur-style cessationism has over-reacted to this and relegated too much of the ministry of the Spirit to the past. The lack of expectation is self-fullfilling, and manifests iself in an obsession with doctrinal correctness at a high intellectual level.

The balance for me is to study the word on the minstry of the Spirit, and ask for or 'be open to what' the word says the Spirit will do, including gifts and ministries. To be open to making mistakes as well. Anything outside of the word is to be rejected, so this excludes centering prayer and self-induced changes of consciousness not sanctioned in scripture that readily lead into deception.

Ken