Monday, May 12, 2014

Some Linkage

Some linkage from me to you...

I don't often link to a Methodist but I liked Timothy Tennent's post on the topic of Orthodoxy versus Heterodoxy, Orthodoxy vs. Heterodoxy: The Fundamental Divide in the United Methodist Church. Dr. Tennent makes the imprtant observation that the struggle we see in the church should not be classified as "conservative" versus "progressive" but rather orthodoxy versus heterodoxy. As he points out, the term "progressive" implies that these notions will move the church forward, whereas I see the majority of positions described as "progressive" having the opposite effect. By using politically charge terms this struggle loses the deadly seriousness that is better reflected by the terms "orthodox" versus "heterodox". His summary is quite good....

However, the two groups should never be called “conservative” and “progressive” and they should never be viewed as equivalent groups. What we actually have is a group (however imperfectly) which is committed to historic Christianity. The second group (however imperfectly) is committed to a re-imagined church. One, however flawed, is committed to the recovery and defense of historic Christian orthodoxy. The other, however nice and erudite, has not demonstrated a robust commitment to historic Christian orthodoxy. Thus, we actually have two groups; one orthodox and one heterodox. I will be the first to concede that even orthodoxy in North America has become so weak and bland that is has become hardly recognizable. Likewise, I believe that many in the heterodox camp are driven by important “branches” of the gospel, even if they have lost touch with the Christian “root.” But, this should not confuse the deeper point I am trying to make.

This is the struggle the entire church is facing. As someone committed to the doctrines of grace and principles of Anabaptism I still recognize many streams of the church as part of the historic faith while others fall outside of that definition and into the various and sundry heterodox groups throughout the ages. I did find encouragement in Dr. Tennent's observation that heterodox groups have come and gone all through the 2000 year history of the church but the orthodox has always persevered. Today's modern iteration will make a lot of noise and generate a lot of press but will eventually die as all the others have, learning the same lesson that when you no longer stand for anything you no longer have any reason to exist.

This was kind of cool, I saw it this yesterday: Still Paying For The Civil War. Hard to believe a child of a civil war veteran was still collecting a pension. I also got a grim chuckle out of this quote:

"The promises of President Abraham Lincoln are being delivered, 150 years later, by President Barack Obama, " Secretary Shinseki said in a speech last fall. "And the same will be true 100 years from now—the promises of this president will be delivered by a future president, as yet unborn."

Leave it to the current administration to somehow turn every single event that happens in America into an opportunity to point out how invaluable President Obama is in our everyday lives. What would the pensioners do without Mr. Obama sitting up to the wee hours of the morning writing out their check every month with a quill pen? Also odd that they seem so concerned about the "ye unborn" when they show no interest in protecting them from the abortionist today and no qualms about indebting them for the future.

Remember when Mitt Romney was the "conservative" alternative to Barack Obama? Yeah, me neither but the more distance we get from that election (I voted for the Libertarian instead of the Republican for the first time in my life) the more I conclude that things would be only marginally different with a President Romney. Case in point:

Even Romney should know better than that. The minimum wage is a farce that does nothing to improve the standard of living of the lowest wage earners and causes price inflation for the rest of us. Remind me to watch that video the next time I consider voting for a "conservative Republican".

National Review takes a predictable look at the latest faux-troversy over some show on HGTV. Apparently a couple of guys lost their show or something. That doesn't by itself interest me but the article, The New Fascism Rolls On, does make the point that what we are seeing can be ignored in isolation but the pattern is one of a contemporary fascist tyranny. The irony, as I have pointed out before, is the McCarthyite mindset of the very crowd that would most loudly complain about Joe McCarthy.

Every pope has been dangerously and damnably wrong on matters of theology but my boy Jorge compounds that with a naive economic religious socialism that is becoming increasingly difficult for even his most ardent apologists to defend. His latest foray speaks for itself. From the official Vatican news source, here is the pertinent section of Pope to UN: Resist the economy of exclusion, serve the poor (emphasis mine):

Consequently, I do not hesitate to state, as did my predecessors (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 42-43; Centesimus Annus, 43; BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 6; 24-40), that equitable economic and social progress can only be attained by joining scientific and technical abilities with an unfailing commitment to solidarity accompanied by a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness at every level. A contribution to this equitable development will also be made both by international activity aimed at the integral human development of all the world’s peoples and by the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.

Didja catch that? "Legitimate" state redistribution of "economic benefits". So who determines what is or is not "legitimate"? The pope? While his economic naivete and foolishness pales compared to his pronouncement of theological error, it nonetheless is amusing to watch people invested in a religious system built around a fallible man trying to continually explain why he doesn't mean what he very clearly is saying.

My lats entry is from Al Mohler on the recent modern day snuff film produced by a young woman undergoing an abortion and filming it to show how great it is. His article, “I Feel Super Great About Having an Abortion” — The Culture of Death Goes Viral, is chilling but not surprising. I can't and won't watch the video just as I wouldn't watch a video of a person shooting a baby or setting a child on fire but the death culture is growing more bold daily. If only the church would show an equal boldness in the defense of life.


Aussie John said...


What many "orthodox" people, including those who speak for "orthodoxy" don't seem to realize is that they don't have a clue what " historic Christian orthodoxy" is.

Most of what is understood as "orthodoxy" is post Constantine!

In this part of the world "orthodoxy" is welded to institutional groups, some ancient, some quite recent, which accuse those who don't belong to their group as being heterodox.

Marshall said...

may we, with compassion and in truth, encourage the abandonment of nationalism in order that we may all together advance the Kingdom that is not of this world?

Arthur Sido said...

John, understood and agreed but yet there are some teachings that are heterodox whether or not the institutional church embraces them or not. Not every teaching held by institutions is wrong, thus my warning to be cautious to not throw out the doctrinal baby with the institutional bathwater.