06 August 2005

Bonus double post: two issues I might have blogged about if I had been blogging this week

1. The new laptop

To those who have asked, it's a Dell Latitude D810 with a wide screen. Even though the screen is wider, it's not as high-res as my previous laptop, so there's less real estate on my Windows Desktop, and the fonts don't look as smooth. But fonts and pictures are bigger, so it's much easier on the eyes. Already I'm not squinting as much.

I mentioned that getting a new computer is a drawn-out, high-stress ordeal for me. Unlike almost everyone else I know, I simply cannot start with a factory-installed version of Windows and add individual applications as I use them over a period of many weeks. I have this obsessive need to install all my software up front, set every program's options as nearly as possible to the same settings I had on the old computer, and make sure all my data, directories, and utilities are in exactly the same places they were on the old computer. Until then, I can't use the computer very productively.

One of the first things I do with a new computer is systematically uninstall and delete most of the factory-installed, space-wasting promo-ware, free trial software, and useless utilities that always come pre-loaded on a new computer. It's not that I need the space; I just despise the clutter. That gives you an idea of how finicky I am when it comes to setting up a new computer—and why it's at least a two-day process.

What's "new" about the new computer when Phil is finished with it? you may wonder. Well, I always change the wallpaper. And of course, I appreciate the higher speed and many additional features that come with every new computer. I also take the opportunity while reinstalling to make sure I have all the latest upgrades and drivers for everything. But I still want the new computer's directory structures, start menus, and program selection to work as much like the old one as possible.

For that reason, I'm still using a directory structure that had its genesis on the first IBM-PC I ever owned, back in the days of DOS 1.0.

As a matter of fact, I began using a personal computer for writing and editing in 1981, about 6 months before the start of the PC era and the rise of Bill Gates. My first computer (a NEC pc-8001) used an operating system called CP/M, which was very crude but quite efficient. CP/M was similar to DOS; in fact, a lot of DOS features were borrowed directly from CP/M. When you booted your computer, you got a C:> prompt; nothing more.

I still like C:> prompts and command lines. I'm comfortable with them. I prefer to be in control of the computer as opposed to having it control me. I also still do a lot of file-management stuff in a DOS window, using some of the same DOS utilities I've used for two decades. For that reason, I still name most of my files and directories with eight-character-or-less words, using (at most) a single three-letter filename extension.

Oh, and my favorite word processor is still WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS. I run it in a DOS Window, and use it ten times more than any other word processor or text editor. In fact, I use it exclusively when I'm dealing with book-length editorial projects.

So you know I'm not going to let a professional IT guy install my software for me. I appreciate what those guys do, but I want my computer set up the way I want it, as lean and mean as possible.

Incidentally, the two go-to guys for IT help at Grace to You are Bill and Ted.

No, I'm serious. Bill Fickett (one of the organization's key departmental directors) is a supremely competent guy who is more knowledgeable about the latest software and technology than anyone I know. Ted Ng, our main computer-support guru, can quickly fix most software and hardware problems. And if he can't fix it, he'll find out how. It's Ted's job to install software for everyone but me (and Bill, I suppose). I had to get Ted to bail me out about four times this week. I consulted Bill's expertise only once or twice. (Bill has had a family medical crisis this week, involving his son Cooper. Thankfully, the worst seems to be over, and Cooper is home from hospital.)

The only major glitch in all my software reinstalls came when Libronix (formerly "Logos Bible Study Software") stubbornly refused to run after installation, re-installation, and several tweaks and re-installations. I tried every remedy suggested on the FAQ at their website. Didn't help. A quick call to their support line got the issue resolved pretty easily. I think I made only one other support-line call, to Adobe, because my serial number for Adobe Audition (my sound-editing software), was an upgrade number, so Audition insisted that I reinstall the original version of CoolEdit that I upgraded from, and then go through the upgrades again. I have a few programs that require such a process. (It strikes me as sheer folly to make reinstalls so difficult for users.) In other cases, I have been instructed to save old versions in case reinstallation is ever necessary. But when I upgraded from CoolEdit to Adobe, the new software had no warning about keeping old versions, so I threw away my original CoolEdit programs two years ago, when I upgraded. That's just one example of the kind of thing that makes reinstalling software so intensely frustrating, but the Adobe customer service guy was friendly, helpful, and understanding—and he managed to work out a solution for me, even though it took about 30 minutes to do so.

Anyway, I've got the new computer pretty much all set up now. (There are just a couple of lingering issues Ted will have to help me resolve.) This is my first official blogpost from the new computer, and I already like it. The old laptop (a Dell Inspiron) had a flimsy feel and a noisy exhaust fan. This one looks and feels more solid; it is screamingly fast; and it's refreshingly quiet. Darlene refuses to let me have coffee while I'm using it.

Now I'm already planning for my next new computer, which will probably be a wholesale replacement of the main computer here at home. We have a monster antique desktop Gateway that still runs Windows 95, and I intend to take 3 days off work and replace it sometime in the next two months. When that happens, I'll also finally have high-speed cable access installed at home, with a wireless network to simplify life for everyone in the family. They can't wait. I'm already dreading the process again.

2. Roast PyroManiac au Jus

I returned to the blogosphere this morning to find that I'm getting savaged on one of my favorite blogs: Triablogue.

Jonathan Felt, posting as "Jus Divinum," does a pretty fair imitation of the encyclopedic style and long-winded form of Steve "Purple" Hays ("'Scuze Me, While I Diss This Guy").

As if Triablogue needed more long, text-heavy posts.

No, seriously, Triablogue is one of my very favorite blogs, and I normally agree with Steve Hays. But not on the issues of Christian Reconstruction and the church's duty with regard to the political arena.

Anyway, so far, "Jus Divinum" seems like more of a one-issue guy than Steve Hays. He's passionate about evangelical political activism, and he rarely misses an opportunity to defend the politics and strategies of the American Religious Right. Since I have on occasion expressed concerns about American evangelicalism's obsession with trying to address spiritual problems through political lobbying, I have heard from Jus on this matter before.

(For the record, I think both Scripture and history teach us that forays into secular politics are dead-end detours for the church of Christ. I've already indicated that I plan to post more on this issue, and I'm beginning to think it will probably be a time-intensive discussion.)

This time, Jus dissects an article I wrote a few months ago for the Shepherds' Fellowship. Steve Camp posted it on his blog yesterday (thus sucking me into the vortex of my second accidental controversy in what was supposed to be a slow week).

The original article was part of a series of rants I have written in response to some of the pet themes one finds in Christianity Today. In this particular one, I was critical of Chuck Colson's incessant pleas for "cultural engagement," pointing out that in Colson-speak, that involves ecumenical political activism.

Jus has replied to my rant with an eight-page post elegantly titled "Neo-Pietism or Ostrich Evangelicalism." You can easily read it for yourself if you have a few spare hours. No need for me to rehash it line by line.

But here's the Cliff's Notes version of Jus's argument: He points out that in the Christianity Today column I was replying to, "Colson never once mentions the need for ecumenical political alliances." Jus even describes my link to "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" as "gratuitous." He thinks I am being unfair and uncharitable to Colson to read the issue of ecumenical politics into Colson's plea for "engaging the culture."

Oh, puleeeeze. Who is taking the "ostrich" approach, here?

Colson's campaign for ecumenical activism has been his dominant message for more than a decade. It was the central point of his book The Body. It was the main motivation behind "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" (ECT), which Colson co-authored. ECT expressly defines "the Christian mission"—including the engagement of "culture"—in a way that focuses specifically on the issues of law, politics, and public policy. ECT also deliberately and pointedly downplays the significance of Catholic-Protestant differences on the core issues of the gospel. And then it calls for ecumenical cooperation in the political arena (arguing, in effect, that the church can better fulfill her "mission" if both Evangelicals and Roman Catholics forget about our soteriological differences relative to the gospel and focus instead on the moral and political issues where we ostensibly do agree).

It should be plain to most readers that both Colson's column in CT and my response are part of a much larger context. One would have to be willfully obtuse or incredibly naive to argue with any degree of seriousness that Chuck Colson's plea for engaging the culture has nothing to do with the ecumenical strategy he has laid out in multiple books and documents over the past decade or so. Since I don't believe Jus is either obtuse or naive, I have to wonder if he's just arguing for sport.

In the several times Jus has engaged me on this issue, he has never actually attempted a heartfelt defense of the pragmatic ecumenism that in fact does dominate the Religious Right. His argument, pretty consistently, is that he sees no necessary reason why ecumenism and pragmatism must go hand in hand with political activism. He'll point out that this person doesn't practice ecumenism, and that person didn't explicitly call for ecumenism in that particular context, so why is politically-motivated ecumenism such a major concern of the PyroManiac's?

I've pointed out repeatedly in reply that the kind of ecumenism I'm concerned about is a fact, not a groundless or superstitious fear held by those of us who don't think political activism ought to be moved higher up on the church's agenda. As I said in an earlier post, the evangelical political right has historically—not just theoretically—fostered an ecumenical drift.

Until Jus addresses that issue, all his other niggling arguments have no real traction. So far he has compared politics to dentistry, posted a long, impassioned defense of someone I didn't even criticize, and now devoted eight pages to a desperate attempt at obfuscating what is really a simple, straightforward, rather obvious point: Chuck Colson strategy for political activism has ecumenism at its heart.

And if Jus seriously thinks ECT is not germane to Colson's master plan for "cultural engagement," he ought to read the document itself.

Phil's signature

40 comments:

jane said...

Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth is on my reading list--I'm curious if you've read it and what you think of it. I read Cal Thomas'and Ed Dobson's Blinded By Might which gave their insider view of the problems with the religious right. To be fair, I was planning to read Tim Minnery's Why You Can't Stay Silent, but I never did. My husband has read John MacArthur's Why The Government Can't Save You, and I'm hoping to read it eventually. I also recently picked up (used book addict) The Culture of Disbelief by Stephen Carter. So what I'm trying to say is...it would be great if you added a recommended reading list (and its counterpart--books not to read) on your blog or a book review category. Maybe you already have one--tell me where to go if I missed it.

jane said...

Okay, since I appear to be the only one reading your blog on this fine Saturday when I should be blogging myself...let me just add a few more suggestions. Categories. Search engine. Something so we can dig through your posts to find specific subject matter.

Also, why isn't Biblical Discernment Ministries (wacko Jay Miesel with whom you've corresponded) in your really really bad theology bookmarks? I know the link is something like rapidnet/~jbeard and essentially he says everyone but him and a few close associates are going to hell. Even C.S. Lewis. Sheesh.

I'm saddened about Rob Schlaepfer. His site was where I began my conversion to Calvinism. I did think he was a little hypercalvinist and though maybe his change was just him becoming more balanced, but it sounds like he's swung to the opposite extreme.

Okay, I'll stop blogging on your blog now--just enjoying all your resources and finding agreement on most things except that having experienced four kinds of Christian counseling (mostly marital, some personal), the nouthetic being our last one, I do think that some psychological principles are Biblical and can be incorporated. I'm also very fond of personality typing and wish that you would at least share your Myers-Briggs four-letter type unless taking the indicator would go against your convictions.

Gaddabout said...

Every Evangelical is obligated to read Blinded By Might, Marla. The unadulterated Gospel is the true agent of change, not politics. If your politics downplays and sacrifices any part of the Gospel, your politics have produced a powerless Christianity.

Renee said...

Funny you shopuld post this today...

I just finished listening to a "certain" pastor :-) preach part two of your posting. He called them "unholy alliances". Just think of it:

You've got your group of varying religions and everyone joins your coalition to "moralize" America...

you can't exactly say "Hey, thanks for helping out, this was great...oh and by the way...you're going to hell"

That sort of hits home with your comments from your article:

"There is no mandate anywhere for the church to "redeem culture" through the apparatus of democracy. The gospel is the only message of redemption (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:17-25), and pagan societies are transformed for the better only as individuals respond to the gospel and experience the new birth. It is no part of our calling to cultivate a higher standard of external morality among pagans."

Exactly what is Colson (and others) redeeming culture for? So you make them more moral pagans, are they not still going to die in their sins and seperated from God?

Jeremy Weaver said...

Wish I could help you delete, Phil. I hate it when people do that to me.
Very interesting post. I'm going to comment on the serious part, you know, the computer:)

Does Jus really not believe that Colson is ecumenical? To tell you the truth, I've always thought of him as 'ecumaniacal'! Not to say that I don't like him or think he is a Christian. I liked 'Being the Body' (mostly). But to say he's not ecumenical, come on!

Josh said...

I love the way your write!

Bhedr said...

You said:Since I don't believe Jus is either obtuse or naive, I have to wonder if he's just arguing for sport.

You may have hit the nail on the head Phil. I snuck over here from Steve's site with new username. I hope he doesn't spot me. I really think he may be a lawyer by trade.

P.S-He and my brother would get along great. We argue just for the sake of arguing. Also I am a truck driver and you know what they say,(who is they?)"Arguing with a trucker is a lot like wrestling with a pig in the mud; after a while you begin to realize he likes it." I think the same might could be said for our dear friend Jus Divinum.

Jus Divinum said...

Since Phil Johnson isn't Steve Camp, I think it's safe to post a link here... for now ;-)

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2005/08/ostrich-evangelicalism-indeed.html

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Are Jus and Phil talking past each other here? Is the object of our affection Chuck Colson alone, or are we talking about Christian political activism? Is Phil saying that Colson is an example of what could happen in Christian political activity, or what inevitably will happen in Christian political activity?

I wonder: if God is sovereign over all affairs of men, are we not to glorify God by being involved in every sphere of society?

Sure Phil, there are abuses that lead to “unholy alliances,” but I believe it is a non sequitur to say that involvement necessarily leads to ecumenical compromise. I think you would agree.

Jus Divinum said...

Good point Jonathan. And I agree that your argument is a good one, and deserves a response. But as I point out, Phil has the temerity to say that it is my only argument. This is absurd on the face of it, to anyone who has actually read the piece Phil is responding to.

Ben Blakey said...

I also am concerned about the ecumenical trend among the religious right. The church is the body of Christ, and we should be concerned about promoting the gospel. The early church didn't turn the world upside down by ecumenical political activism.

All of this is not to say that Christians can't or shouldn't be involved in politics, but we need to remember that Jesus Christ is the only real hope for America. And when we compromise that message, what are we even talking about?

Phil Johnson said...

Jus,

I didn't "ignore what [Colson] actually said in [his] article," or what you said in yours. I said (with regard to the question of what constitutes legitimate priorities for the church), "[I] think it's a bit of a stretch to find a 'cultural mandate' for political activism in Genesis 1:28" I likewise have said repeatedly that I don't buy your contention that there's any inherent warrant in "common grace" for the church to redeem "the culture." Perhaps I didn't spend as many words denying your assertions as you did making them, but, frankly, I don't see you giving any reasoned biblical rationale for connecting common grace with a "cultural mandate" for the church; only repeated assertions.

On the other hand, you constantly miss the point I am making. I have never argued that Christians have no business being involved in politics or government or the army or the police force. I think it's fine and commendable for individual Christians to pursue any vocation that is not inherently sinful. (It is not and never has been my contention that interest or involvement in politics is sinful.) Thus your whole dentistry argument is far wide of the point I am making.

I'm simply saying that organizing a lobby for better dentistry is not the business of the church. Waging military campaigns against unjust nations is not the business of the church. Yet I agree completely that dentists and soldiers in just wars are ministers of God for good in the same sense magistrates and policemen are, according to Romans 13. But that's simply not the kind of "ministry" that ought to consume the energies of the church as a body. (BTW, Jesus' prescription for how the church should influence culture is spelled out pretty clearly in Matthew 20:25-28--and that applies even to Christians who do pursue a vocation in government or politics.)

In other words, I didn't refute your assertions line by line because I don't have to. Insofar as you argue that government and politics are legitimate realms in which Christians can and should function as salt and light, I already quite agree. Where you claim this constitutes a "mandate" for the whole church, I think that's an illegitimate stretch, and I have said so.

I also said at the outset that if you want to argue the case for theonomy, I'm not interested. If you are going to try to make a biblical case for political activism a corporate priority for the church or the bounden duty of every Christian, you're going to have to give me an explicit biblical command, an example from the apostolic church, or a coherent argument that doesn't presuppose a theonomic worldview. You have in essence acknowledged that you cannot do this.

To chide me as a pietist and anti-intellectual because I won't come to this argument with your presuppositions is unsportsmanlike conduct (and I suspect you know that in your heart). Furthermore, the suggestion that one's willingness to match the length and word-count of Triablogue-style posts is the real gauge of true intellectual honesty is a line of argument you might wake up and be ashamed of one day soon.

jane said...

sorry I unwittingly broke the rules, as Jeremy pointed out :( I'll understand if you delete my extraneous comments on principle.

Phil Johnson said...

Marla, Jeremy was referring to a couple of spammers who had posted long bits of total nonsense with some inappropriate links. I deleted them already.

BTW, I added a Google search button yesterday (see right sidebar). Thanks for the suggestion. Losing the search function was the down side of deleting the top banner.

Re: Rick Miesel. He is in my bookmarks. You'll find him in the apologetiocs section rather than "really bad theology," because I wanted the link there as a warning flag for peoplke searching for apologetic material. My annotation makes clear what I think of him, though.

rabbi-philosopher said...

Excellent blog; excellent comments section.
a) Phil, I'm jealous 'cause you actually have a CP/M background.
b) Having got in the game during the DOS 2.11 era, I still prefer to move files via the DOS prompt.
c) I like Colson a lot but anybody who believes political activism will save us hasn't paid attention to history.
d) Devout believers can disagree.

Pseudo-intellectual lunatic said...

i stumbled across your blog
all i can say is you have the best doggone template i've seen...well one of the best

Bhedr said...

You said:Since Phil Johnson isn't Steve Camp, I think it's safe to post a link here... for now ;-)

............ah ha ah ahh ha ha ha lol.

Bhedr said...

Phil,

Your response to Jus was terrific. I'm with Phil. Go Phil. Yahooooo!

As J. Vernon McGee once replied to a woman filled with political anxiety asking why McGee didn't join in with her efforts ot help clean up and change the world: God did'nt call me to clean up the pond, he told me to fish out of it.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Personally, I would like to see an exchange on the biblical evidence relating to political/social action. Perhaps God has called the fisherman by the pond not only to fish out of the pond, but also to be a good steward of the pond as a creation of God. Consequently, God is glorified in both acts. Is there biblical warrant for this?

Joe Fleener said...

I am right there with you on the new computer thing.

Your description of all the steps you take when you get a new laptop sounded exactly like the steps I follow as well! I dread getting a new computer for the same reasons, but the never last me more than two years either!

Oh well, I am only 7 months into a new one, so at least a year and a half to go!

Greg Hewett said...

> I think both Scripture and history teach us that forays into secular politics are dead-end detours for the church of Christ

I would interested in see your thoughts on this.

Bhedr said...

You said:Is there biblical warrant for this?

I believe the burden of proof is on you in this case.

Jesus said,"My kingdom is not of this world" and "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men."

It will be interesting to find biblical evidence that contradicts what Yeshua has said.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Yes bhedr (Brian Carey Hedrick), I too think you will find it interesting what the Bible says in contradistinction from how you interpret Jesus’ words in those passages you cited.

Rick said...

Why can't we just be thankful that there is a Christian voice in politics? It may not be everyone's particular ministry, but I am thankful there are people out there working for good in political matters.

Why shouldn't the Christian voice be heard in the political arena? Should Christians leave all secular workplaces and arenas too?

It is funny too that this issue is coming from reformers- the reformed roots are 'magisterial'. Calvin, Luther, and the Puritans were all intimate with the state, and they were highly involved in legislation.

That, of course, led to many disasters, so we see how NOT to do it from history. But for the principle, they believed that the church should work with the government because both were appointed by God for His purposes in society.

The Body of Christ is diverse- I'm thankful the Lord has Christians fighting for good in government. That may not be a "gospel ministry" but it is good to know there are Christian worldviews active and that we have not left everything up to the pagans.

Bhedr said...

You said:It is funny too that this issue is coming from reformers- the reformed roots are 'magisterial'. Calvin, Luther, and the Puritans were all intimate with the state, and they were highly involved in legislation.

You make a most excellent point. Jesus said refomations don't work though and that after a house is swept and clean more demons will return and make the latter end worst that the first. We now have many mini-me's of the reformation movement. Constantine mini-me's.

The strong man was never bound as Yeshua said,"MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD" I counsel you to read Trail of Blood. You can click on to it from an article off of my blog. Oh how I wish I could get people to study the people of the way's history. This is the true Kingdom of God.Find out who the Ana-Baptists were. They got the whip from Catholics and reformers alike.
I love my country, I even fought for it in the Marines as an 0331 Machingunner. This was my duty but my heart lieth with the Kingdom of God and not the powers of flesh. I believe us to be so distracted that we no longer understand The Way. America is fast mirroring Romanism and we can't even see it.
I really believe that when the mark of the beast comes those that feel they are Christians will think themselves to be doing the will of God in enjoining themselves with it. Please read Trail of Blood. You can click on to it off of my site.

Bhedr said...

All you guys... I think your great just a little misled is all but on the lighter side, don't feel bad I have been misled in the past myself. We Marines used to refer to ourselves as U.S.M.C-Uncle Sam's Misguided Children(aptly named as we always got the clean up work) :-)

Jabbok said...

I would have thought that the longevity of your Gateway Desktop would have inspired you to stay with them. I have 2 Gateway desktops and a Gateway laptop. I wouldn't trade them for anything.
My brother bought a Dell laptop last week (They were having a sale) against my urgings. He called support three times in the first two days and never did understand what that guy from India was telling him to do.

Jus Divinum said...

Thanks to Phil for his brief reply above. He also posted it at Triablogue, so I'm giving a link to my (brief) reply, here:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2005/08/ostrich-evangelicalism-indeed.html#112342711042262122

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2005/08/ostrich-evangelicalism-indeed.html#112351758788506153

More on the topic, Real Soon Now(tm) :-)

jane said...

Thanks for the clarification, Phil. I'm a sensitive soul :)

David said...

I have to score this one for JD

Bhedr said...

Jus,

Who is David and who is Steve or are they ghosts too?

Jus all I ever asked you to do last month was read Trail of Blood.
Will you read it now? Why won't anyone respond to the statement Yeshua made, "My kingdom is not of this world"
All I get is statements that the rest of scripture contradicts this but none to back this claim up.
Jus, Have you read 2 Chronicles 16? What is your response to this?
Jus you can debate this with your own logic and use of human syllogisis but what does Scripture demand?
The body needs to stop asking what would Jesus do(a hypothetical doctrine of sand) and instead: What did Jesus do?

steve said...

Hi Brian,

This is Steve, you know...one of the ghosties that JD refers to. Your appeal to Jn 18:36 is mistaken on two counts:

i) You are interpreting the "world" as if it denoted the earth or mankind.

In Johannine usage, it generally carries a negative, moral connotation--of the fallen world system or the evil world order. The kingdom of darkness as opposed to the kingdom of light.

Obviously, Jesus is not the king of the world in that sense, for he is the king of God's kingdom, not the kingom of darkness. Why don't you do a concordance study sometime of "world" in John and 1 John.

ii) You are assuming, based on a faulty grasp of English grammar, not to mention Greek grammar, that the force of the Greek preposition (ek), must mean "over," rather than "from" (source/origin).

Christ's royal authority doesn't derive from ("of") the world. But he is Lord over ('of") the world.

Jus Divinum said...

Hi Brian,

If you think that there are any particularly biblical arguments in "The Trail of Blood" (http://users.aol.com/libcfl/trail.htm) that you think I need to be apprised of, you're of course free to point them out, and then we can chat about them.

Yes, I've read 2 Chronicles 16. My 'response' to that chapter is that it is inerrant and edifying Scripture. Are there further lessons here you wish me to take on board? If so, what?

James Spurgeon said...

Phil, I'm pretty late to this party, but thought I'd do my little dance before it's over.

I wonder what you would think about the historical fact that Baptist political activism under the leadership of John Leland both before and after the War for Independence was largely responsible for the first amendment and the establishment clause. A good, historical case could be made that Baptist political activism got us our religious liberty at a time when it was not the most popular idea among Christians.

I blogged on this a month or so ago: http://howlingcoyote.blogspot.com/2005/07/more-notes-on-john-leland.html

Your thoughts?

general said...

1. Being a reader of both PyroManiac and Triablogue, I have to say that Phil is in no position to talk about anyone being too wordy.

2. I'm hoping to see a change in Phil's writing style soon...so that I don't have to read about his apparently intense dislikes. I'd rather LEARN from both sides and make up my own mind without having to consciously sift the genetic fallacies and strawmen from the content.

James Spurgeon said...

'genetic fallacies'? Is that like a hole in the genes?

Jus Divinum said...

James Spurgeon said,

'genetic fallacies'? Is that like a hole in the genes?

Cf. http://www.fallacyfiles.org/genefall.html

One might say that Phil's statement that political activism is somehow undermined by the fact that "the evangelical political right has historically -- not just theoretically -- fostered an ecumenical drift" is an instance of the genetic fallacy. However, I'm not quite sure how to precisely categorize the inference in question. To be fair, he makes this historical claim as a reason to hold that political-activism-leading-to-ecumenism is not "a groundless or superstitious fear". That seems sensible, I guess, even though giving it a larger, more sweeping significance would not.

general said...

The genetic fallacy is endorsing or condemning an idea solely on the basis of its origin without regard to its actual merit.

I suppose that my comment was directed more at Phillip's writing style than at anything in this post in particular. He appears willing to write off the words of someone he disagrees with solely on the basis that he's disagreed with that person before. I could be wrong, not having read everything Phillip's written.

I'm wary of anyone who uses an ad hominem attack (one kind of genetic fallacy) to bolster one's argument...something that I DO see in this particular post.

Bhedr said...

Jus said,
Yes, I've read 2 Chronicles 16. My 'response' to that chapter is that it is inerrant and edifying Scripture. Are there further lessons here you wish me to take on board? If so, what?
What did King Asa do that upset YHVH and brought more wars to the land?
What matters bove all else to YHVH?

Breuss Wane said...

Another thumbs up for Blinded By Might. One more theologically oriented is "Where in the World is the Church" by Horton.

Great post, Phil. Thanks for stating the obvious.