Thursday, July 08, 2010

Protest at Appointment of N.T. Wright to St. Andrews

The Scottish Sun and the Scotsman both report a Glaswegian Episcopal Priest protesting the appointment of Bishop N.T. Wright to a Professorship at St. Andrews University for his opposition to gay ordination (HT: James Crossley).

There are two ironies here:

(1) In the USA Tom Wright is regarded in some circles as the greatest threat to orthodoxy since Marcion, yet in the UK he's chastised as a traditionalist and no one gives a flying donut roll about his views of Paul.

(2) The liberal left is, well, not really liberal (i.e. generous). They talk and cry about "inclusiveness", "diversity", and "tolerance" which is their gospel, and yet they are not willing to include those who have a different vision of human sexuality, ethics, and religion than they do! And yet they have the gall to call evangelical Christians hypocrites.

13 comments:

林怡潔 said...

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Michael Barber said...

Well put!

JeremyR said...

You seem to be confused.

The criticism that liberals are not liberal because they don't welcome those who discriminate against others is inane. Is it liberal to welcome raicsts, pedophiles, etc without judgment or reservation? No, it's simply irresponsible and stupid. You basically seem to think that it's better to be open about disciminating against gays then to dicriminate against those who discriminate against gays. That's a choice, a poor one in my opinion. However, don't pretend somehow your honesty about your discrimination is somehow in better faith than liberals. That's bullshit.

Ryan said...

I am surprised by the protest. Wright, even if one does not agree with him, is a first rate scholar.

Tyler said...

"flying donut roll" . . . better than "rat's ass"

And JeremyR, his point is that liberals are inclusive, diverse, and tolerant only of those who are within their camp (and thus just as exclusive, uniform, and intolerant as those they deride through their self-styled linguistic polemics). Your protest begs the question.

JeremyR said...

I understand what he's trying to do. He's trying to flatten out the differences between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives are open about not being tolerant whereas liberals practice selective tolerance only towards those who also share their liberal ideology.

My point is that it is not the same. I understand both positions end up discriminating to an extent, but I think the liberal position is ultimately less harmful that the conservative position. I just think it's sloppy to pretend that ultimately both sides are equally intolerant. The pragmatic political effects are different.

Kamal Weerakoon said...

JeremyR: So you're admitting that Liberals aren't actually liberal? That they actually have an agenda, that agenda being the affirmation of worldly thinking and worldly values?

The Liberal mission is to refect the world's agenda and value-system back to itself. And fair enough, too. If you don't have an authoritative, objective Word of God, then what else is left to guide ethics and behaviour than public opinion? Indeed, those who hold to an authoritative, objective Word of God, and are therefore out of step with public opinion, are at best old-fashioned, at worst oppressive. "Good" verses "harm" is defined anthropologically - it is measured according to public opinion.

In contrast, the Evangelical mission is defined by that authoritative, objective Word of God. The Evangelical mission is to hear, obey, and speak that Word of God, regardless of public opinion. As the word of God the universal creator and redeemer, it is good for everyone everywhere. "Good" verses "harm" is defined theologically - it is measured according to conformity to God, who reveals his character and will in his Word.

The difference between the two is that Liberalism improperly claims divine sanction to its pronouncements, while Evangelicalism is open and honest about it. And yes, the pragmatic political effects are different. If ultimate authority resides in public opinion, then we should shout, scream, protest (manipulate? Bribe? Threaten?) so as to get people to think like us. If ultimate authority resides in the word of God, then we should calmly, prayerfully proclaim it.

Matt said...

Amen, Kamal.

JeremyR said...

1) I wonder what you mean by Word of God (is this some sort of Barthian definition?)

2) If you mean simply scripture, then the notion that it is somehow objective and united is simply absurd. The Bible is far from internally consistent. I mean look at the way it was collated. My God it was so haphazard. Also, would a similar argument be made by slave owners claiming that they're not interested in being liked just interested in following the authoritative Word of God?

3) The idea that scriptures unilaterally condemns homosexual behavior is simply untrue. Why don't evangelicals listen to other parts of scripture? Why don't evangelicals refuse to marry, refuse familial ties, refuse all worldly riches? No, instead they find it rather convenient to discriminate against homosexuals under the pretense that they're simply in conformity to the Word of God. What about issues with women? Why don't evangelicals make women conform to the Word of God and its prescriptions on women's role in church? It's all very selective in my opinion. You find what's most convenient to follow and stick with that.

4) Ultimately, I don't give a damn about the liberal/conservative divide. I don't care to defend liberalism because I'm a marxist at the end of the day. I do think the notion of liberalism that's being critique here is a strawman, but hey it's much easier to caricature your opponents that way.

5) Finally when you define good theologically as in conformity with God I'd caution you to think twice about what God this actually is. I think it's quite tempting to project onto God whatever we ourselves believe. Pretty soon theology and anthropology become indistinguishable.

Kamal Weerakoon said...

Well spotted, sir! Personally, I hold to Biblical inerrancy. But I used the phrase “word of God” because I wanted to include Barthian – Neo-Orthodox within my definition. I have a very high regard for Barth, Bonhoeffer, and the others who stood against established church’s capitulation to Nazism – which was of course the result of a century of Liberal theology. And that’s not a caricature, it’s a historical fact.

You raise too many issues for me to answer here – and they have been worked over from early church times, as I’m sure you’re aware. Suffice to say that the Bible’s diversity creates a wonderful harmony that speaks a consistent message, centred on Jesus, through whom we come to know God. And the Bible teaches us how, in light of this Christ, to treat slaves, wives, family, riches, sexuality etc. Without this Biblical Christ, I agree, theology deteriorates to anthropology.

JeremyR said...

I'm glad I was correct about the neo-orthodoxy. Look I have no complaints about Barth (hell I'm spending 2010 reading through his entire CD), and I'm also not a big fan of liberal theology. I'm much more interested in liberation theology.

I was unaware you believed in biblical inerrancy. This probably makes it impossible for us to have a productive conversation.

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