Friday, September 18, 2015

My Final Post and New Developments

This is my final post at this blog.   I want to summarize some conclusions reached and address some problems that have come up.  I thank God that I have been a small (albeit very small) part of the group exposing and warning the cultish activities in some CREC churches.  I really have nothing to add that Spiritual Sounding Board, Wartburg, K. Botkin, and others haven’t added.  

Theologically, I have remained Protestant (and will do so).  I think my defenses of Sola Scriptura, a Protestant understanding of tradition, and a Protestant rebuttal to Anchorite claims are sound.  But I get tired of correcting misunderstandings.  More on that later.

When I first made this blog I held to a Barthian epistemology and view of God--namely rejecting substance metaphysics.  After spending a few years reading and interacting with JP Moreland and Alvin Plantinga, I believe a Barthian epistemology is a trainwreck and his view of God a non-starter.  

Accordingly, I have moved away from dialectical theology.

I have a new blog.

I have several goals:

  1. I want to pursue the connections between the church fathers and the doctrine of the soul.
  2. I believe that a patristic understanding of the soul allows for real healing.  
  3. Physical healing often needs physical treatments.  However, there is also a correlation between neuroscience and philosophy of the mind (see the book Heartmath).   
  4. This is critical in terms of pastoral counseling, as the recent disasters in Moscow, ID make clear.  Telling victims to “get over it” and not go to court, besides tampering with witnesses (which is illegal), ignores many dimensions which remained unhealed.  
  5. Healing must be total and wholistic, which many of the Fathers intuitively recognized.
  6. While I can’t agree with some of the theological overtones behind monastic theology, there are interesting parallels between the monastics and later psychology (at least at its best)
    1. Monastics urged one to confide in a confessor.  Not so much to “get my sins forgiven,” but to reveal what my baggage is.  
    2. A strict diet of good foods (which does include fasting) and self-denial makes the acolyte acknowledge weak points.
    3. While I can’t buy into Hesychast models of prayer, there are different breathing methods that calm the body and some scholars suggest a parallel between the physical heart and the mind (Moreland, Kingdom Triangle, ch. 6).  Interestingly, the fathers often spoke of “nous” and the “heart.”
  7. This blog has been very harsh on “convertskii.”  I’ve now come to the point that if someone wants to convert to Rome or EO, there is little I can do to stop him.  Nor really should I.  Contrary to some convertskii narratives, we do make choices and do use our sinful western rational judgment.  St Paul says every man stands or falls before his own master.   However, I’ve come to realize that some people might have defensible rationales (!!!) for becoming EO.  I’m here to help that person either stay Protestant or make an informed judgment on EO before jumping ship only to find the same garbage elsewhere.  
  8. I want my new blog to help on the narratives. I've realized that I probably know more about Russian and Balkan history than 99% of Americans (and more than 100% of news anchors). I know how tempting it is to paint Kosovo Poltje as a crisis point. I want to deconstruct a few narratives while still affirming what is good in those narratives.
  9. And I realize I've read a lot about the church fathers. I don't want to boast but neither will I engage in false humility. And I've come to realize that the picture is very complicated. The Fathers affirmed a lot of things I probably won't affirm, yet we don't see them (at least early on) affirming what Convertskii want them to affirm.
  10. Once I made peace with myself that Protestants can experience Kingdom Power, go to heaven, and the like, I realized I didn't need to change my church identity based on someone else's narrative about his own salvation (Orthodox Bridge).

A parting shot across the bow

one of the victims' father is speaking up.

A response to Sumpter.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Disagreement = satanist

Wilson tries to defend his actions by pointing to a warning by CS Lewis on the tyrannical Nanny State. In Screwtape Letters and The Abolition of Man Lewis pointed out that “therapeutic punishment” is always more tyrannical than retributive punishment.  If you do something wrong--steal from the IRS, witness-tampering, molesting a two-year old, etc--then you receive the penalty appropriate to the crime and that’s it.  Punishment over.  The Nanny State sees you as sick and wants to “rehab” you until you are better.  Of course, it will determine when, if ever, you are better.

Like of all of Wilson’s posts, he deflects any blame from himself by pointing to the abortion industry.  “Yeah, attacking the victim and covering up pedophiles might be bad, but you should see the abortion industry.”  True, the abortion industry is bad, but that’s not what I am talking about at the moment.  Further, when Wendell Berry tried to pull the same stunt you called him on it.  

But in this post is Wilson even talking about the Sitler/Wight scandal?  It’s hard to say, initially.  He does leave us hints.  

In controversies over abuse, victims, brokenness, and so on, this is why appeals to justice (i.e. let’s find out what actually happened) so often fall on deaf ears. They don’t care about executing the right prisoner. That is not what this is about. They don’t need to find out if you were the culprit. All they need to know is whether you are the patient.

Since he is talking about victims of “abuse,” he probably doesn’t mean Planned Parenthood.  So I take this to be a reference to Sitler.  

But before you are allowed to attack him, he brings up Jesus.

This is why proclamation of the gospel has two parts. The first concerns the objective content of the gospel — what God has done for us as sinners. The contents of the Apostles Creed would be a wonderful summary of the message of the objective gospel in this sense. Christ born, Christ crucified, Christ risen, Christ ascended, and Christ pouring out His Spirit of forgiveness on a lost and truculent world.

This is great and true and all.  I never once doubted Sitler’s repentance (though his failing a lie detector test--something the Wilsonistas ignore--did give me pause).  The problem is not “Can Jesus forgive him?”  The problem is, “Granted that Jesus forgave him, we must also realize that the abuser is still wired a certain way and we have to protect other sheep, including the abuser’s (future) children.”  Jesus’s objective dying for me or anyone else doesn’t change the fact that we still have physiological garbage.  This is what St Gregory the Theologian called ataktos, chaotic flux, baggage.  

The passions must be healed.  This is a lifelong process.  The CREC has never been known for self-denial and biblical ascetism.

Anyone who disagrees is a Satanist

This quote should bother you,

So when confronted with the frenzied spirit of accusation, that central tactic and technique of the father of lies, the only appropriate response is to declare the gospel, and to take refuge in the gospel by declaring it. This is why — all through last week’s outcries — I turned again and again to the death of Jesus Christ for sinners. When I did this, I was not changing the subject. That is what all of this is about.

Translated: anyone who accuses me is under the Father of Lies.  This is why anyone hoping for reform within the CREC is deluding himself.  As long as the pope of the CREC associates “accusations of him” with “The Father of Lies,” well, why bother?

So no, there is nothing to fix. No, not at all. This is what we are called to. Jesus died outside the camp, and He died in a contemptible place. We are not told to bring that cross of His inside the city limits, silverplate it, and start leaving baskets of fruit in front of it.

This is worse than anything Jay Adams has ever written.  It's like saying, "There can't possibly be anything wrong with your brain. Therefore, you're okay."

Let’s put it this way:

If a man murders someone, asks Jesus to forgive him, and then hides behind the altar when the cops show up, what do you do? (This was a common situation in some ancient churches.  LOL)

A homosexual struggles with his desires but repents and believes in Jesus.  His sin is objectively covered by Jesus, yet he still wrestles with his desires.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hide ya womens, y'all

So one of the sites documenting the Sitler/Wilson connection was hit with a court order to remove a video.  Another interesting post, while not documenting any criminal activity, but nonetheless creepy, is here. It raises the question over how widespread this mentality is in the CREC.  I suspect, while maybe not universal, is more widespread than one would wish.

What are some consequences for the larger Evangelical world on this?
  1. I don't think this will bring Wilson down.  He's weathered storms before.  I do think it will further discredit the CREC in general.  
  2. It took some steam about of the Reformed world's anti-abortion polemic.  A few months ago when the Daleiden videos were released, we were drunk with battle joy and Wilson was leading the charge. Praise God the witness will go on, but no one can rally behind him any more.  
  3. I think the Evangelical egalitarian movement will get a shot in the arm.  It's really hard to lose a debate against Patriarchy at this moment.
  4. I am finding it harder to argue against people converting to Eastern Orthodoxy.  Almost all of these "converts" are from the CREC.  Let that sink in.  And when I urge them not to, they could easily respond, "Yeah, well, I don't want my daughter to get raped and have the elders cover it up and threaten excommunication on the victim."  Admittedly, I can't really rebut that point.
  5. It would help to have the NAPARC world formally identify and condemn the CREC.  Granted, it means nothing in day to day life, but it is official and would warn other families.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

About to launch some old Doug Wilson posts/criticisms

Back when I was flirting with Eastern Orthodoxy I had a lot of posts criticizing some of Wilson's wackier statements.  I might try to find those and launch them, especially in light of the current scandal(s).

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Penultimate post on Moscow

I doubt this will be the last post on the issue.  But it will be the last one I play as investigative historian blogger on.  The more I read up on the back stories the more it felt like I was investigating the Mafia.  None of this happens in a vacuum.  You realize that the connections go way back.  And we had been warned at least five years ago, but the Reformed world stayed largely silent (and it's not just Doug Wilson who sees repentance as a panacea).

(Sorry that you now have nightmares, but that is what it feels like).  And like investigating the Mafia you get the suspicion that this could explode.

Will this work?  Will this take down Wilson's Empire?  I doubt it.  At least it won't convince his disciples to renounce him.  He can do no wrong.  Truly they are a cult.  But I'm not worried about them.  Will this convince John Piper and The Gospel Coalition to sever ties?  We shall see.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Moscow Scandal Linkstorm

I am not doing this with rancor.  Since all of this is public and most of these links are links to court documents (or links to links with court documents), very little is my opinion.  And it isn't slander. Just the facts.  The only reason I give a damn is because there is a CREC church in my home town.   Presbyterianism is mortally wounded in northern La.  There are a few struggling communions but the CREC church is the dominant one.  And when people here I am Presbyterian, they say, "Oh yeah, just like ____________."

I have friends who, while not connected to the local CREC, are familiar with it and Wilson's doctrine.  (And can we drop the CREC act?  It's Wilson's denomination and that's that).  They will not join Auburn but neither have they divorced themselves from Wilson's theology.   I hope this post convinces them to do so.

Katie Botkin makes connections between Jamin Wight and Wilson (accessed 10 September 2015).  Some of Botkin’s implications, if this tweet is accurate, are quite interesting.
wilson jamin natalie tweet.jpg

Wartburg Watch points to new website on Sitler, implying bigger revelations are to follow (accessed 10 September 2015).

Interactive site and timeline on Sitler (accessed 10 September 2015).

R.C. Sproul Jr-Sitler connection (accessed 10 September 2015).

BalyBlog distances themselves from Wilson (accessed 10 September 2015).  

During the Phillips-Lourdes scandal, Wilson refused to identify the victim as a victim (accessed 10 September 2015).

Some background on the Jamin Wight story (accessed 10 September 2015), with links to Natalie Rose’s blog.  It also points out that Wight was a member, not of Wilson’s church but Leithart’s.  
  • If Rose’s report can be believed, Wilson and Co. sat on the accused’s side of the courtroom.
  • Wilson/Leithart (Leithart’s ministerial jurisdiction has never been clear) placed under church discipline.
  • Rose’s original account (accessed 10 September 2015).
  • Most recent account of the above is here (accessed 10 September 2015).

Court documents on the original Jamin Wight case (accessed 10 September 2015).

This claims that Wight was abusive to his family in 2013 (accessed 10 September 2015).

Doug Wilson on Marriage (Botkin).  Mostly summarizes the issue but does list that there was a court recording ten days before the marriage (accessed 10 September 2015).

But can you make babies?

The main problem in talking to Wilsonistas is that when critics point out that maybe marrying off a pedophile to a naive girl isn't wise, we are met with, "We are all sinners?" or "Don't you believe in God's grace?"

The problem is that Wilsonistas collapse and identify God's grace with marrying and making babies.