<< A TA at a Reformed Seminary recently claimed that I "owe the Christian community an explanation" for why I wrote a blog entry linking to another person's blog entry that questioned some of the assumptions of the 1982 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Whatever for, I have to ask. In light of the foregoing exposition of the complaint, and the questions raised about it, I think that whole mentality of "Laymen's blogs are dangerous to Truth and the Gospel! Somebody from the Approved Authority Bureaucracy better clamp down on them!" is just plain weird. You have to start wondering what the Approved Authorities are afraid of. >>
This is a completely dishonest characterization of our exchange. Remember how Enloe replied to my commentary?
<< (4) I want to know who you are, Steve, to pontificate about my supposedly needing to keep "doubts" private and not using blogs to "plant seeds of doubt in others minds." Good grief, man, get some perspective. I am not a leader in some movement, much less do I have any authority in the Church. I am just a guy with a blog. I am in lawful biblical submission to local elders, to whom I have made my internet activities known. They, and not you or any one else like you, have the care of my soul so I don't see why I should care about your opinions of what I am doing in the first place. Who are you to me?
Did I pull rank on Enloe? Did I object that he had no standing to say what he did? Did I fault him for making “unauthorized” statements? None of the above.
What I said is that, having criticized the Chicago Statement on inerrancy, he had an obligation to follow that up with a clarification of his position on inerrancy. This assumes, does it not, that I was, in fact, granting him the right to express himself?
Now notice how he’s twisted this all around. He accuses me of challenging his authority, although I did nothing of the kind. By contrast, if you read his original response, he was the one trying to pull that one on me. He was the one questioning my right to express myself.
<< When asked "simple" questions I frequently "stonewall" via name-or book title-dropping that tells no one anything except that I think I'm really something super special and don't have to make any arguments for my views. Once more into the breach and all that, but I really don't know how to respond to this. People who talk this way seem to me to fall into three classes. First, there are those who just flat do not seem to be acquainted with the very large amount of explanatory work that exists on my site (this site is far more than a blog; just look at the Website Menu on the sidebar), and who therefore seem to think that highly abbreviated presentations that appear in blog entries or comments boxes are all I have going for me…Third, there are those who seem to want only the "Cliff Notes" versions of complicated materials, but when they are given exactly that even the Cliff Notes appear to be so intimidating that they have no response but "You're just blustering."
The answer to the first group is to point out the explanatory materials that exist on this site and then make them assume the responsibility for becoming acquainted with the larger world that exists behind "mere" blog posts on this site or the "mere" comments made by me on other sites.
The answer to the third group is similar to the answer to the first group, but with the added qualifier that not every issue can be reduced to Cliff Notes because understanding some issues requires lots of reading and lots of hard thinking, no two ways about it. I can't help someone who, upon seeing me say in shorthand that Martin Luther's speech at the Diet of Worms should be set in the larger context of the 15th century conciliar movement's battle with papalism, finds himself so out of his depth and so threatened by the challenge to his Cliff Notes understanding of the Reformation that all he can say is "You're arrogant! How dare you challenge the caricature of the Reformation which I love!" The person who reads a short, clipped paragraph about the influence of D'Ailly and Gerson and Thomistic natural law theories upon the ecclesiological framework that most deeply influenced the Reformers should demonstrate some familiarity with the actual things in the paragraph before concluding I'm just blowing smoke and have no arguments. Again, there is an immense amount of explanatory material on this website. I've already read it. I don't think it's too much to ask my harsh critics to read it too. At least then they might have some kind of idea what I am talking about, and thus be able to issue intelligent criticisms rather than mere blustering denunciations.
i) Tim once again disregards the elementary distinction between an answer and an explanation. It doesn’t take 300 pages to answer a “what” question
For example, Turk asked Tim a “what” question, not a “why” question. Turk asked Tim to state what he believed. This was Turk’s question—really two related questions: “(1) Who determines what law is “unjust”? What standard does he use?"
Was Turk asking Tim how the Magisterial Reformation arrived at its answer? No? Was Turk asking Tim why he took the position he did? No.
It should only take a few sentences or a paragraph or two to answer a “what” question. You state your basic position along with whatever caveats you wish to add.
ii) Now, having posted the above on his blog, Tim says, in the comments box of my own blog, that he could list the relevant articles. Fine. Why didn’t he do that all along?
iii) But let us review what my questions were:
Is Enloe’s denial of “objective” reality applicable to his own statement?
a) Enloe says there is no “objective” reality.
b) This statement is, itself, a statement about reality—to wit: there is no “objective” reality.
c) This statement, if true, is self-referential and therefore self-refuting.
d) Ergo, this statement, if true, is false.
e) Therefore, it is false.
In his debate with Lee Irons, Wilson seems to endorse a preterist version of postmillennialism—a la Bahnsen, Gentry.
i) Does Enloe share that view?
And does this mean that Wilson would preterize Rom 11 as well? If not, why not? If so, how does he harmonize preterism with futurism? In what sense, on a preterist version of postmillennialism, does Rom 11 await fulfillment?
ii) How does a postmil eschatology entail ecclesiastical reunion? If, even now, Christians can still be Christians although they represent different theological traditions exemplified in different visible denominations, then how would Christianizing the entire world automatically dissolve their theological differences?
iii) Finally, there's the question of which theological tradition, if any in particular, supplies the doctrinal template for reunion? What is the creed of the reunited church? Is it more Lutheran? Anglican? Presbyterian? Roman Catholic? Greek Orthodox?
The real question is whether we define “ministerial” authority as something over and above the application of Scripture itself.
Unless you happen to be Plymouth Brethren, most Evangelicals will grant that God has given teachers to the church. They will grant that there is such a think as church office in the NT.
That’s not the issue. The issue, rather, is whether ministerial authority is a limited, conditional authority--contingent on its fidelity to the truth of Scripture--or whether it’s something above and beyond a direct extension of Biblical authority. Is ministerial authority authorized by Scripture--authorized to that degree, and to that degree only, that it reproduces the teaching of Scripture itself? That’s the question.
Or is it a kind of implicit, proxy faith, in which the layman believes whatever the pastor believes? Is the pastor the official Christian? Is he deputized to believe on behalf of and instead of the layman, is the sense that the layman has delegated to the pastor the sole responsibility of interpreting God’s word? Can our spiritual duties be contracted out to a second party? Is Enloe recommending a return to blind ecclesiasticism? That’s the question.
If he no longer subscribes to the “Chicago” school of inerrancy, then what does his alternative, postmodern version look like? What does he affirm that the Chicago doctrine denies? And what does he deny that the Chicago doctrine affirms? Specifics, please!
In fact, Enloe seems to agree with Joel Hunter. Enloe tells us that he doesn’t reject inerrancy itself, but only “form” or version of inerrancy articulated in the Chicago statement.
So the remaining issue is: how much distance does he put between himself and the Chicago doctrine?
These are my four standing questions for Tim.