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.


  1. I don't know why you keeping jumping blogs, but your stuff is always interesting.

  2. I appreciate all the work you've done and continue to do.

    A lot of your concerns, and connections, between the early Church and now have awakened a lot in myself. I have not read probably as much of you, but I have plunged into the Church Fathers in ways that make my thinking feel alien to a lot of fellows.

    And personally I've got to terms with the beauty and healing in Church practices mostly forsworn among evangelicals. The power of confession, penance, monastic practices etc. Anything can be abused, and these have been manipulated into bad arguments for bad paradigms.

    I'm curious, and maybe when you're feeling more daring you'll engage, about how to build the gains of speech-act theory into substance metaphysics and proffer a "verbal ontology". For me it might take Kant seriously, and yet reject his paradigm, which leads to hunkering down in Platonic or Aristotelian grammar, accepting scientism and go to town carving up the Scripture, or take to existentialism.

    Anyway, I'm glad to see the transition.


    ps. I'm still curious, in light of a focus of healing and irenic church resourcement, what you'd say about episcopacy.

    1. There is no contradiction between substance metaphysics and speech-act. Well, at least not between realism and speech-act (since two of the biggest proponents, Wolterstorff and Alston, are realists).

      Verbal ontology is up in the air.

      Still working on bishops.