Some of the critics of ECB are whining about the word-count of what JD and I write on the subject. At the risk of being blunt, I think we need to interject a dose of candor here.
There is a very simple formula for generating repetitious, run-on debates that drag on and on with no end in sight. And that is when one side refuses to give straight answers to simple questions at the time the questions are first posed. If each question were dealt with directly as it comes up, one at a time, the questions wouldn’t pile up like a traffic accident on the LA freeway.
For example, anyone can see from scoping out Triablogue that I get questions from time to time. These do not generate open-ended debates for the simple reason that I answer a question when I’m asked a question, and I answer a question the way it is asked.
The reason that any attempt a rational dialogue with someone like Steve Camp quickly spirals out of control is because he either ducks all the questions he can’t answer or pretends to answer them when he is really caricaturing the opposing side, which forces the opposing side to take unnecessary time out to correct the caricature and repeat the question in a pedantically qualified form, at which point he either continues to rehash his old caricatures, endlessly paraphrasing and repackaging the same old, oft-discredited arguments, or else he diverts attention by trotting out a new set of charges with a new set of caricatures—on top of all the old unanswered questions and caricatures.
Then this same type of critic will throw up his hands and whine about how time-consuming this is and how it’s becoming a big waste of time. And I agree. It does become a waste of everyone’s time.
JD and I quite capable of being terse and to-the-point. We would be more than happy to take a short-cut. It’s the critics who choose to drive in circles and detour around the question, not us. We know better than anyone else that the shortest distance between two points is a straight-line, and we know this because we are the ones having to hunt down a circuitous quarry.
BTW, didn’t John MacArthur write a 200+ page book on the subject? What is 8 pages compared to over 200 pages?
And at the risk of having to repeat ourselves one more time, it was, remember, the critics of the C-bees who were castigating the C-bees for failing to take the time to make a Scriptural case for political activism and cobelligerence. When, however, someone rises to the challenge and calls their bluff, they just keep on bluffing and yawning and looking at their wristwatch.
Again, you have someone like Steve Camp, and I single him out, though he is hardly alone in this, because he is the worst offender in this regard, whereas Phil Johnson is stepping up to the plate—someone who raises objections, and then blows off anyone who addresses the objections he himself has raised.
I don’t find this elementary lack of ethical self-consistency either admirable or amusing. There is no excuse for such duplicity within the Christian community. Maybe it comes of being a celebrity. Certainly we see it often enough among the Hollywood glitterati who act like a law unto themselves, answerable to no one while they savage anyone and anything they disapprove of with the impunity of those who can write their own ticket—the Moores and Clooneys and Baldwins and Penns and Sarandons and Damons of the world.
As I’ve said before, the leading critics of ECB are high enough in the food change that they could surely arrange a personal powwow with the leaders of ECB. Have they made any effort to have a face-to-face talk with the Colson or Dobson or Land or Mohler? Have they ever even picked up the phone and spoken to one of the “Fab Four” directly over this issue? It doesn’t look very Christian to me. Have they no sense of honor? Why attack a straw man when you can talk man-to-man with the individual in question?