Friday, June 08, 2012

Neo-2kers Confound

Another strange 2K post on the matter

Consider these neo-2kers. They're an odd bunch, I say. Well, at least most of them. At least the most prolific and bloggerific of them. Check it out:

I'm no theonomist, but theonomists are treated like dirt by these guys. They're told they "deny the gospel." They're blamed for almost all that ails Reformedom. They're mocked and ridiculed. Theonomic pastors are called "Rabi." They're called inconsistent Pelagians for their law/gospel confusion.

Similarly with "transformationalists" and "neo-Calvinists" and "worldviewers." If you read neo-2Kers and didn't know anything about those groups, you get the impression that they're silly, confused, stupid, and perhaps wicked. Guys like Darryl Hart, the above blogger, Zrim, etc., have some very strong and harsh things to say to them. They mock and ridicule them to no end. They clearly and obviously caricature them. For example, if you say you're a Van Tillian or believe in a Christian worldview, here's something you might hear: "But you believe regeneration raises the I.Q.." (actual quote by Darryl Hart).

Also, transformers and worldviewers and presuppers are all told that they value philosophy over humble submission to the Bible. That they think they can bring heaven down to earth. That they think the Bible is a manual for things like plumbing, and so they seek to impose it on all areas of life in a blueprint fashion. So motives can be guessed at, even when they've been clearly, forcefully, and ubiquitously denied.  But Carl Trueman makes some comments about probable motives for Stellman, or probable causal precursors, and what happens? He's condemned and scolded by neo-2Kers. "How dare he speculate!" "How dare he talk about motives when he's not inside Stellman's head." The hypocrisy is stunning. How do we make sense of it?

And, heck, you'd better hope you're not named "John Frame." You'll be called a "relativist" for promulgating "triperspectivalism." Worse, you'd be told that your views are "revolutionary," but not in a good way; rather, "revolutionary in the way the French were revolutionary in 1789" (direct quote from R.S. Clark). This is all rather light compared to some of the choice comments neo-2Kers have for Frame.

But, repeatedly, Jason Stellman is treated with respect and dignity. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, of course. But consider: Stellman is coddled and protected by neo-2Kers. Any comment taken to be disrespectful is met with strong force and condemnation. Indeed, some 2kers are saying that they're trying to defend Stellman (Zrim). If someone speculates or offers reasons for possible motives for Stellman's change, they're roundly rebuked. Told they're out of line. Told to show some "respect" and act with "comportment." We need to "pray for Stellman" and "love" Stellman. Have similar remarks been made by them about Frame?

Why (and why not)? You see, Stellman was an elder in a Reformed church, and most importantly, he defended Confessionalism and 2K—acts which cover a multitude of sins, apparently—so the 2kers rail and bellyache that he's not getting treated with dignity and respect. He's called "honorable" and "courageous." He's treated as a hero with integrity. Fine. But consider Frame again. Frame is an ordained elder, but that doesn't get him any respect, it gets him the opposite. Frame writes a book critical of neo-2K/Confessionalism, and prominent 2kers write that they are "shocked" and "saddened" by it. It "represents a new low in intra-Reformed polemics." But when one of their own denies SS and SF, they defend and protect him, laud him and glad hand him. He is "thoughtful" and "engaging," even when "we disagree."

Some people started off their response to Stellman by saying they were "shocked" and "saddened" by his recent stance, and Stellman declaimed, "Is that how you start off all your conversations? You don't want a dialogue." Many 2Kers cheered this response and jeered the Reformed commenter who began his comment that way. But consider how they speak to 1Kers, transformationalists, theonomists, etc. 

Or, consider how they talk to and about baptists. Or The Gospel Coalition. They write posts with titles like, "Young, Restless, and Dunked." But what if someone wrote a post with the title, "Beautiful, Bald, and Searching for a Funny Hat to Cover it Up." They'd be called "uncivil." Why? Because it appears that the worst thing to be is some kind of 1Ker, or transformer, or worldviewer, or homeschooler, or Framean, or Bahnsenian. What else explains the blatant, obvious, and undeniable hypocrisy? How can they explain this clearly inconsistent behavior?


  1. Neo-2K is all placing oneself into slavery. The fact that Stellman decided a religious monarch was a better form of slavery than a paper pope isn't all that surprising, except to other neo-2kers.

    OTOH, social conservatives of the Reformed Protestant variety who baptized themselves into Santorum suffer their own delusions.

  2. Neo-2kers just dumbfound me with some of their rhetoric. I remember a week or two ago, turretinfan posted about some miracle-promising pastrix and some Calvary Chapel preacher who stood up to her, and Zrim thought the important thing was about 2K and how bad Calvary Chapel is. I just don't understand how you can care about those things when the Gospel is at stake.

    But, what do I know? I'm just a borderline-Pharisee, leaning towards some form of Theonomy and all.

  3. I wonder what would happen, heaven forbid, if a 2ker became a transformationalist, redeeming the world one square inch at a time?

  4. Paul: "The hypocrisy is stunning. How do we make sense of it? ...
    What else explains the blatant, obvious, and undeniable hypocrisy? How can they explain this clearly inconsistent behavior?"

    I don't know how they would they would explain it. Other than to just own up to their "blatant, obvious, and undeniable hypocrisy."

    Thanks Paul for taking the time to point it out to them. It'll be interesting to see if they acknowledge the evidence that you're providing of their hypocrisy.

  5. You're painting with an awfully broad brush. Both RubeRad and Matthew Tuininga were appreciative of Trueman's post, for instance, as was Scott Clark though he had a couple quibbles with it being a bit ambiguous at time. I'm not sure I'd call myself a 2ker, but I found Trueman's article quite on point. I do think those who actually know or have interacted with Stellman like John Bugay here are in better position to make guesses as to what led to this crisis in Stellman's specific case, but I think Trueman's points in general are still valuable. It also is a bit ridiculous to lump 2K'ers with with Darryl Hart's invective which even he admits are over the top at times (or the vast majority of the time).

    I also haven't seen any 2K'er minimize the tragic reality of Stellman's apparent apostasy. Perhaps they're out there, but it's certainly not representative of either the doctrine or the people holding it. Stellman's soul is in peril, it's no light matter, and he is no hero. That said, many folks (including many non-2k'ers) have pointed out that they appreciate Stellman's forthrightness and honesty in the process, and his integrity in removing himself from the PCA instead of subverting the Reformed faith from within while waiting on judiciary processes to decide the matter. It's not a virtue that will save one's soul, but it is one that is commendable, especially given the recent turmoils in the PCA.

    I also don't really understand the Frame-Stellman analogy. It's two very different situations requiring different reactions. One is apostasy, the other is the publishing of a book critical (perhaps unfairly) of one viewpoint within Reformed theology. It's a different thing to be irritated and annoyed with Frame's representation precisely because you view him as a Christian brother. In my case and I'm sure in many others, those irritations are overshadowed by sadness in Stellman's case because of what he's rejecting. I doubt even Hart or Zrim believes 2K is anywhere near sola fide and sola Scriptura in terms of being at the heart of the Christian faith.

    1. Is Scott Clark's response to Trueman's article available online somewhere? Thanks.

      David R.

    2. He just mentioned it a few times on Twitter, including:

      "First reaction. I don't disagree with Carl re Jason. I might put some things differently. The gospel must come 1st."

      "Calvin's two central passions (not dogmas) were getting salvation (of which justification is the axis [cardo]) and worship right."

      "Carl's explanation is imperfect, however. We have to ask why Jason swung the pendulum so far toward the church? What provoked the reaction?"

      "If Carl is implying that 2K is somehow *inherently* responsible, then I dissent. Jason's view of the 2K isn't much diff from Carl's."

      "If one is dancing with Called to Communion and they're leading can we we doubt how things will turn out?"

      "The hist truth is that there have always been those who've entered the Reformation and moved on. It happens."

    3. "If one is dancing with Called to Communion and they're leading can we we doubt how things will turn out?"

      I'm glad to see him make this admission.

    4. Chris,

      I said "most" not all, which allows for your "Ruberad" and "Tuininga" counterexample. Moreover, I said most are an odd bunch and gave examples of some, that doesn't imply that those you site aren't odd for reasons other than I gave.

      I also never said anyone "minimized" things.

      The Frame-Stellman analogy is this: 2kers have put themselves out there as the "civil" and "respectful" parties to the debate, parties who act with "comportment." When some were (taken to be) verbally harsh with Stellman, 2Kers chastised them and claimed we should treat all men with respect, charity, etc. My point: those I cite don't treat Frame that way. Frame was but one example of many. Many popular 2Kers are kind and respectful to apostates, atheists, fellow 2Kers, but not transformationalists, 1kers, worldviewers, etc.

      I never said Hart and Zrim said 2K was anywhere near SS or SF. What *they* have said, well, at least Zrim, is that 2K is the only position out there about defending the gospel, all others, like those I listed, "deny the gospel" (Zrim quote).

      Please read more carefully before responding.

    5. When you say "most" you need to defend "most". All I see are references to Darryl Hart's headlines (and I've not read him complaining about the lack of civility towards Stellman), Zrim, and presumably combox conversations that you don't detail and could in no way be construed as representative. The fact that there are apparently just as many highly visible 2K advocates (Ruberad, Tuininga, Clark) who counter your pattern (and more who are silent) suggests the conclusions you drew are tenuous at best.

      You can point to the "Consider these neo-2kers. They're an odd bunch, I say. Well, at least most of them" as an escape clause, but if you're really speaking about a couple of folks, then why not say "Consider Zrim, he's an odd one" or something of the sort. Writing as you do gives the impression, intentionally or not, that you're attempting to cast aspersions on a whole group of people based upon the actions of a few, and you regularly drop the "most" or "many" qualifier later in the post. Surely you don't believe that there is something inherent to the content of the 2K doctrine itself that encourages such behavior.

      To demonstrate hypocrisy, you need to show that the same parties are making this hypocritical set of statements regarding Frame and Stellman. Hart has certainly been rough on Frame, but I haven't seen him pleading for civility in the Stellman issue either (please correct me if I'm wrong, honestly it wouldn't shock me too badly) The Christian Curmudgeon has hardly ever mentioned Frame, and, as I've read his blog with some regularity over the last year or so and he is generally very civil to his foils, even the *gasp* transformationalists. Showing one 2K'er playing one side of the hypocrisy and another playing the other is rather meaningless. Even if you did show some instances of hypocrisy, you seem to want to draw conclusions about the whole of the 2K community, which certainly requires more than showing Zrim or Hart doing something.

      Perhaps I'm reading more into your post than you intended, but it certainly has the feel of a hatchet job against 2K and I doubt I'm the only one who thinks so. I'm no dogged defender of 2K--I do have a certain sympathy for some of what they're trying to do, but I've also found critiques of men like Kloosterman to be useful and compelling. I thought the post by Tim Bayly, no friend of the 2K movement, to be the best on Stellman's departure. I'm just getting a little frustrated at Reformed folks using a tragic apostasy as an opportunity to get in a few cheap shots at other Reformed folks.

    6. "When you say "most" you need to defend "most"'

      I did, "At least the most prolific and bloggerific of them"

      Ruberad doesn't counter the pattern. Go read Stellman's combox. He criticizes rude respondents to Stellman. In fact, you haven't cited one person that "counters my pattern." To cite a person who agrees with Trueman doesn't "counter my pattern."

      I am attempting to cast aspersions on the most vocal of internet 2K warriors, yes, you have that correct. Not all of them, but many of them. People familiar with what I'm referring to and who have been involved in countless debates will immediately know what I mean. I don't need to provide links and quotes as I feel my statements are patently obvious to all the informed parties involved.

      Your claims about Hart are damning to 2kers. Where are the 2Kers flooding to his blog and demanding civility in the way he treats Frame et al? Nowhere. Where are they wrt Stellman? Everywhere. If you can't see the hypocrisy in this, I can't help. But, it's right under your nose.

      I have no desire to draw conclusions about "the whole of the 2K community." In fact, I wish the silent ones would come out and slap their titular heads around some.

      I think you are reading too much into my post. I'm not using apostasy either. I also don't consider this a cheap shot. 2Kers have been playing this pious card for far too long. In fact, most Christians have.

    7. I'll take your word on Stellman's combox, I've intentionally stayed away from it since this all went down for the sake of my own mental health.

      Perhaps I am reading too much into your post then, and for that I apologize. I still think it reads rather more broadly than you intended however. Even here you say,

      "Your claims about Hart are damning to 2kers. Where are the 2Kers flooding to his blog and demanding civility in the way he treats Frame et al? Nowhere. Where are they wrt Stellman? Everywhere. If you can't see the hypocrisy in this, I can't help. But, it's right under your nose."

      Which seem to be statements referring to qualities of the set "2kers". I just find this somewhat careless language and brings to mind, which isn't necessarily your fault, the incessant and irritating claims of Republican/Democrat hypocrisy in the political realm or Christian hypocrisy we see so often from unbelievers. Too often it isn't even personal hypocrisy that is being pointed to, but one member of the set contributing half of the hypocritical dyad and another member contributing the other, supposedly somehow making the both (and the whole set by association) guilty. It comes rather close to an association fallacy which, ironically enough, Hart not infrequently indulges as well. There are a few anti-2K posters in comboxs around the web that are no less vicious in their opposition to 2K and its leading personalities and yet who bridle when one says a damning word about Frame, Kloosterman, etc. I wouldn't be comfortable with someone making broad generalizations about the hypocrisy of 2K opponents based on their behavior either.

      All of that said, I'm with you when you express your annoyance with Christians playing the pious card too much.

    8. First, Chris, I will admit the post was intended to get attention and comments. Unfortunately, in the blogosphere, lengthy, detailed, careful and cautious, rigorous posts hardly get read or commented on. There are some times when, against my better judgment (I'd like to think), I'll write a post using some intention shock value or broad claims. For better or worse, these kinds of posts get the most attention (25 some comments is the most comments I've received on a post in years), and I do think there's a point in it and if the numbers break down to >50% of 2K bloggers/blog commenters as actually guilty, I'm fine with that. I'd say, though, that even if the figures don't go my way, it can't be argued that a majority of the loudest, most vocal, most popular, and most hard-core of the 2K bloggers/commenters are affected by my post. And if some change at the "top" transpires OR people starting calling out the top dawgs, the price was worth it.

      I grant you hypocrite 1-Kers/anti-2kers. But I couldn't comment on everyone, and I feel there's still much redeemable (pun intended!) about the neo-2K movement, and sides could move closer together, but there's several problems standing in the way. One is their sort of passive aggressive, snide put downs they make while at the same time trying to build up the attractiveness of 2K by pointing out how respectful and "comportful" they are. It is my studied opinion that this is a rhetorical ploy them employ due to an odd sort of Rawlsian anti-intellectualism (which I won't get into, but have in the past). They frequently intorduce *ethics of discourse* into debates and conversations, and once that is done, the conversation will always go south. Anyway, more broad brushing; but, this is merely a blog *comment*, not even a main post.

    9. "I feel there's still much redeemable (pun intended!) about the neo-2K movement, and sides could move closer together"

      On that you and I are in full agreement. I believe that in some ways the two sides aren't as far away from each other as the more strident of the parties are inclined to admit, and the manner of rhetoric being employed by many is not contributing to a healthy, useful dialog. In any case, I do very much appreciate what you guys do here at Triablogue, as I do your charitable engagement with my comments.

    10. I engaged you charitably because I was waiting for you to say, "I'm Chris Hanson with Dateline NBC, and we're doing a story on uncharitable bloggers . . ."

    11. Ha! Well it's true I have been having a hard time entrapping pedophiles on apologetics blogs...

  6. Paul, defending JJS is actually more about responding to his regrettable development with grace instead of law. That's what those who embrace the gospel are supposed to do in response to those who spurn it. Why is that so hard to grasp? Drink some more 2k, as in LGD, and maybe it'll make some sense.

    Chris H., your doubt that I believe that 2k is anywhere near sola scriptura/fide is spot on. Why, plenty of theonomists embrace sola fide. It's just that their theonomy is really getting in the way of their otherwise good confession.

    Does it help anyone here to know that this 2ker would fence JJS from the table even as theos who embrace the gospel would be welcome? Or are you only convinced if I rage against JJS and pile over-the-top personal invectives on top of a sufficient fencing?

    1. Zrim, it'd make things a lot easier for you over here if you'd just go ahead and rage.

      [just kidding!!!!!!!]

    2. Zrim, try to catch on: You paint yourself as civil, respectful, and comportful. You play internet moral police and tell people you consider rude or disrespectful or uncivil to knock it off. You are blind to how you do this, on a regular basis, to those who don't march in-line with your foibles. This has nothing to do with fencing JJS from the table. You are the master at redirection. Drink some rationalaid, maybe it'll make some sense.

  7. removing himself from the PCA instead of subverting the Reformed faith from within while waiting on judiciary processes to decide the matter


    My desire to "defend" JJS stems not from a highest priority of loyalty to 2K, but because he respected our confessions enough to walk away, rather than stick around and undermine them. In fact, I haven't even read Dual Citizens yet (except for the Sabbath chapter, in preparation for a debate), and now I don't want to.

    As for Frame, I think he's made himself a caricature. His review of Christless Christianity lost all of my respect for him. Then Escondido Theology came out which (I am told by people who read it) is just more of the same.

    1. People thin what Stellman did made himself a caricature. But if 1kers &c. used that as an excuse to mock him, disrespect him, etc.,, they'd be scolded by 2kers. I'm simply pointing out a hypocrisy among 2Kers. What explains it? My answer, in part, is that it's a *movement* and so most its members have a movement mentality.

  8. Thanks much for getting more readers to my blog.

    1. No prob. I know how blogs work. We link, people click. So no need to state the obvious as if it somehow undermines some agenda here to not allow people to read neo-2K stuff.

  9. I didn't see just 2Kers support Jason - I think it was mostly Catholics. Although, there was (and is) a fair share of holding back. I think John Bugay is justified in rebuking Jason; after all, that is what Scripture commands. In fact, there ought to be a strong Reformed polemic written in the blogosphere/web by a heavyweight in response to Jason's (and any others) who have made this switch. People need to be warned.

    1. I wasn't talking about Catholics. I'm not even talking about "supporting."

  10. Paul,

    I understand the sentiment, and I am not here to defend everything that 2kers have said or written since the whole Stellman debacle has unfolded. Like Scott said, I think that while there is some room to squibble over the tenor of John's initial response to Stellman, the substance of his rebuke was appropriate, and a good deal of us in the 2k camp are in agreement with the issues he raises.

    I realize that Stellman's 2k stance is somewhat inseparable to his prominence in the Reformed community, but this is, even by his own admission not the fundamental motivations for his change. The motivations are far more fundamental to Reformed doctrine, and should be something that unites the Reformed camp in response to Stellman. Heck, even the Bayly's have refrained from laying this at 2k's doorstep. I know for my part, the hesitancy to go after Stellman personally is motivated by the fact that we still are holding out hope that he will not defect to Rome. I realize that some of the vitriol is to be expected, but some of the persons who were writing as if they had personal insight into Jason's reasons for his choice typically show more restraint. Trueman, for example did have some valid observations, however, it was clouded by the fact that he implicated 2k unnecessarily - as if we don't feel betrayed by Stellman's choice as well. There's bound to be more to come out regarding what has actually transpired with Stellman, and when that comes, we can more accurately diagnose the errors that actually lead him astray without jumping to hasty conclusions. Which is why I would hope more of us would give the process time, and continue to pray for Jason and his family that the worst would not come to pass.

    1. Hi Jed,

      I'm not even trying to implicate 2K. I've simply had enough of 2Kers pretending that they're the civil and respectful and peaceful and graceful ones. Stellman's case just raises the issue. As you know, if you read the threads at CCC and other 2K friendly places, there are 2kers telling certain commenters to act with comportment and with grace and with respect. Yet 2Kers, esp. some prominent ones, treat ordained elders like John Frame with utter disrespect. They mock theonomists and use the very language they decry being used with Stellman on theonomists. They talk about respecting pastors &c. yet they call a certain theonomist pastor, "Rabi." So the freshness of this issue, coupled with the obvious facts of what's being said by 2kers and what has been said, makes it a prime time to bring it up. I don't know what it is, but many (neo) 2Kers are averse to reason, logic, and sometimes uncomfortable argumentation (no one likes to have their views cross examined and skewered). They (e.g., Hart, Zrim, RS Clark, some 2K mods at Green Baggin (def. excluding Gadbois), our friend the Curmudgeon, etc.) often show very poor reasoning skills and seem to care little for making sure they're using good reasoning and fostering intellectual virtues. Their often inane and absurd and off-topic comments can get quite frustrating. When the interlocutor gets understandably perturbed and annoyed, and it shows in his or her response, the 2Kers gets pious and points out how he acts with comportment and respect and dignity while the interlocutor acts in an "unbecoming" way. This passive aggressive and all-too-typical response is snide and insulting. It's worth it to call their bluff and the current events make my point hard to argue against. This is especially so since their moralizing and grandstanding is often used to take attention off the fact that they often don't have a good argument for their view. And the reason for this isn't that 2k can't be argued for, it's that they don't know how to and don't respect the rigors of the life of the mind (with some exceptions, of course). To whatever extent possible, I hope this post will be remembered when 2kers employ their same tricks against transformers, Christian philosophers, etc.

      Btw, not to pick on you, but note how many 2kers are calling for "prayer" for Jason. Has a 2kers ever once said this about John Frame or "Rabi Brett" or The Bayly brothers or Doug Wilson? 2Kers should reflect on this.

    2. PLM, I sure wish you could point to a post where 2kers claim to be the civil and gracious ones. Have you not heard? You're in the blogosphere.

      But here's where we differ. You claim to be the smartest guy in the room, the thought policeman:

      "many (neo) 2Kers are averse to reason, logic, and sometimes uncomfortable argumentation (no one likes to have their views cross examined and skewered). They (e.g., Hart, Zrim, RS Clark, some 2K mods at Green Baggin (def. excluding Gadbois), our friend the Curmudgeon, etc.) often show very poor reasoning skills and seem to care little for making sure they're using good reasoning and fostering intellectual virtues."

      So it really is about philosophy, not the Bible.

    3. D G said:

      "You claim to be the smartest guy in the room, the thought policeman:"

      Where did Paul ever claim to be the smartest guy in the room? Although in my opinion if he were in the room with the likes of the people mentioned above, then, yeah, Paul would be the smartest guy in the room.

      The fact that Person A says Person B shows very poor reasoning skills doesn't mean Person A thinks of himself as the smartest person in the room or that he's a "thought policeman."

      On the other hand, what you've said might fit with what Paul said: what you said shows very poor reasoning skills.

      "So it really is about philosophy, not the Bible."

      If you want to play this game, someone could just easily reply neo-2K really is about philosophy, not the Bible.

    4. Darryl,

      "I sure wish you could point to a post where 2kers claim to be the civil and gracious ones. Have you not heard? You're in the blogosphere."

      Sure, go read Zrim's post at Confessional Outhouse. Zrim is constantly calling attention to how evangelicals, neo-Calvinists, transformationalists, theonomists, etc., are not gracious and are rude and uncivil. Rather, Zrim says, if you're Reformed you'll act with "comportment" and in ways that are "becoming" of a Reformed Christian to act. But it doesn't stop with Zrim. Check your own combox out: You reply to me with snark and smarm, as well as backhanded compliments (like "You're so smart and I'm so dumb") so I respond back to with my own rhetorical tactics, and I am swarmed on by a hoard of 2Kers who condemn me for being uncivil and and full of law not grace. Funny thing, they never call you on the carpet for your churlish behavior—which you admit here ("It's the blogosophere.")

      "But here's where we differ. You claim to be the smartest guy in the room, the thought policeman:"

      I've never claimed that, though upon reflection, it does depend on the room I am in. But here's where we differ: you pose for pictures with a pipe and a bow tie. You may not be the smartest guy in the room, but by golly, you're gonna look the part.

      Now onto the thought police: Maybe this will help: Darryl makes a claim that he thinks is true. Darryl provides things he takes to be "reasons" for his claim. Whether you want to believe it or not, you actually *argue* for the truth of your position and the falsity of others. If your argument is a good one, everyone should accept it. If it is not, no one should—including you. So I will often point out why the reasoning is bad and thus show that no one in your intended audience should believe your conclusion based on the propositions you've called upon as support, and neither should you. But this isn't being a thought cop. If someone's argument depended on 2+2 = 37 (and no, it doesn't equal that "depending on what base you add in," sorry to disappoint), pointing out the math isn't policing, and one would think you should thank rather than criticize. Or, you may have a problem with language, such that your argument depends on vague or ambiguous terms. In this case, multiple interpretations are offered, some shown to be clearly false, and the plausible interpretations perhaps at odds with your position, or at least do not undercut the opposition like you had thought. Again, one would think you might thank me and others who help you out in this way.

      "So it really is about philosophy, not the Bible."

      I didn't follow that. So you're saying you can reason poorly and make bad arguments if you have a Bible in hand? So you'd affirm Zrim the time I pointed out that his argument logically implied the negation of his conclusion and he replied: "So what, that's just human logic. I'm right no matter what logic says." Really? Is this what your bold and brash 2K has come to?

  11. "but note how many 2kers are calling for "prayer" for Jason. Has a 2kers ever once said this about John Frame or "Rabi Brett" or The Bayly brothers or Doug Wilson? 2Kers should reflect on this."

    I would say "Amen" to this, but I know that I do not pray for my enemies (or even just those with whom I have strong disagreements) nearly enough.

    Probably impossible to paint with a broad enough brush on that particular subject.

    1. It's just one more piece of inductive evidence supporting the overall case. Not too much should be placed on that one quote, but it forms a chain in an overall cumulative argument against prominent 2K bloggers/commenters. When a group makes how pious, respectful, orderly, calm, measured, even-handed, kind, and graceful they are into some kind of support or argument for the attractiveness of their position and as a cudgel to beat down interlocutors, then these kinds of points are fair game.

  12. As you know, I'm still a bit of a rookie on the whole 2K thing. Not familiar enough with it to know the typical tendencies of their arguments.

    1. 2k has some good things to say and offer. What kills them (those I have in mind, the more prolific and bloggerific) is their anti-worldviewism, hostility toward Christian approaches to philosophy, apathy toward apologetics (Darryl Hart told me that teaching apologetics for a Sunday School class "denies the perseverance of the saints."), Rawlsian view of reason in the public square (i.e., a low view), overemphasis on historical theology, the temptation to think the confession offers either *arguments* or *exegesis* for its statements, and other things in this area. There are exceptions, of course, but the above is fairly standard, especially from the more vocal and internetally [sic] prominent.

    2. Paul, that's interesting. Can you comment more on the connection between Rawls' political philosophy and 2K? I think I see what you're suggesting, and it is tantalizing, but, if you're willing, I'd love to see it dealt with in more detail (if you haven't already somewhere else).

    3. Something like Rawls' veil ignorance/original position limiting the kind of arguments the rational person should make when it comes to public policy being akin to the 2k assertion that the civil kingdom is governed by natural law?

    4. Andrew, close.

      Matthew, I actually had written two posts on this a while back on some defunct blog of mine, but I deleted it and guess I didn't save the post in any other format. Here's a super duper truncated version, on which I can elaborate: Rawls thought we were getting nowhere—and could get nowhere—in political or public-sphere debates if all sides could appeal to what they thought was "ultimately true." So we need to remove our deep convictions about reality, man, our purpose in the world, etc., from our public arguments. Reason, in the traditional sense, failed to give us answers or solve our problems in these debates. We need to realize we live in a pluralistic age, and no one should be able to insert some highly debatable presupposition from their set of deep commitments into public arguments. This is uncivil and hinders compromise. So we ban those things from public discourse—but you may believe them in your heart and home. Darryl Hart provides an example of this when he writes,

      “[Christianity] also teaches that the nature of genuine religion is precisely private, personal, and not something for public display or consumption. . . .Which invites the question: If it is possible to keep such essential aspects of faith as prayer and almsgiving private, even within the privacy of one’s devotional life, why wouldn’t it be possible for a serious believer to keep that faith bracketed once entering the public square or the voting booth? The very essence of faith, at least the Christian variety, might be that it is private, personal, and something to keep distinct from expression in the public arena of politics." – A Secular Faith, pp. 176-177.

      What we can appeal to is Public Reason (something intended to keep traditional reason in check). In the posts I wrote, I cited many 2kers who portrayed the way we should "reason" in the public sphere and it looked an awful lot like "Public Reason." In fact, every 2ker that commented on my old post said they agreed with the Rawls connection. Essentially, (most, duly qualified, etc.) I take it that 2kers have lost respect for the role of traditional reason.

      This ties into something I mentioned in an email the other day, about how 2kers don't want to seriously and rigorously *argue* with people, they want a Confession to simply and easily settle all disputes. There was some relief, then, in a sense, about Stellman's leaving the PCA. Those like Leithart &c. who stay in are a thorn in the side of 2kers, who want to be able to say, without arguing the matter, "Confessionsaiditthatsettlesit!" They're disillusioned with debate and argument, and with allowing people to bring in deep commitments about reality, man, and other exegetical factoids. We get nowhere with argument and debate, and those silver-tongued among us can tie us in knots. We should all agree that a good reason or argument is that if the Confession teaches X, then X—and that's the end of it. If you don't like it, that's fine. Leave. No one will be angry (in fact, we will be delighted and we will commend your courage). If you believe Y, get your own confession, or join a group that confesses Y. But so long as you're in our game, it makes no sense to challenge and argue the point. The confession said it, that settles it. This is, of course, more classic Rawlsianism, without the confession bit, of course. Appeals to the confession for some in this have the appearance of citing *reasons* for your belief, but it really undermines reason and keeps it in place, much like Rawls' Public Reason, which, I have surmised, is the main or popular 2k approach to the public square—whether they realize it or not (Rawls does, after all, have his tentacles deep within much scholarly thinking).

      Certainly, the above needs filling out, qualifying, etc., but that's the gist of what I was getting at.

    5. Ah, I was in the wrong kingdom. Mostly.

  13. I guess I'll never understand the p---ing contests that seem to go on between the adherents of these different views.

    Are they all inherently mutually-exclusive and contradictory/antagonistic to each other on some fundamental level? And is that actually even possible, given that most (or all?) of the adherents/proponents of these views are Confessional (either Westminster Standards of 3 Forms of Unity)?

    I hate to sound like Rodney King, but why can't we all just get along?

    1. Andy, no, I've written much on how the sides could come closer together. But there are some, and they seem to be the most visible, prominent, and vocal, who do and say things that undermine Christianity (and their own position). I think it's a simple fix, but many 2kers seem hardheaded. For example, there's absolutely nothing about 2K and Confessionalism (2KC) that entails or presupposes that "Christianity has nothing to say to: metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy, science, etc." Nothing about 2KC entails that you can't rightly and reasonably give a stern moral rebuke to someone who, say, votes for the right to abortion (if it were a single vote, states issue, say). Nothing about 2KC entails that a pastor can't preach even one sermon against abortion. After all, this seems to be to be a prime application of the 6th commandment as well as the Catechisms statements on the 6th commandment.