Sunday, October 06, 2019

Rauser's persecution complex

Tentative Apologist
An angry Calvinist blogger targeted me this week.

i) The "angry Calvinist" trope as the lead-in. That defamatory trope says more about Rauser than it does about Calvinists. 

ii) What is Rauser's evidence regarding my emotional state when I wrote the post? Compare his lead-in with what I wrote:

I invite him to quote and explain the passages which show that I was angry when I wrote it. 

iii) The "angry Calvinist" trope is part of a larger scurrilous narrative that internet Arminians have constructed around Calvinists. They reduce Calvinists to fictional characters or villains in their imaginary narrative. That's a common tactics by bigots in general. 

iv) Does Rauser impute anger to me because he's projecting his own motives onto me? When he attacks the position of, say, Robert Gagnon or Michael Brown on the LGBT agenda, does that mean Rauser is an angry progressive blogger? 

Turning to his post:

i) Is his objection to heresy hunters per se or only to hamfisted heresy hunters? 

ii) BTW, notice that he offers no substantive rebuttal to my post. 

Calvinist blogger Steve Hays has a long list of people he needs to monitor on a regular basis and I’m apparently on that list. 

i) Even though he's Canadian, Rauser monitors Pres. Trump on a daily basis and issues daily tweets about Trump and Trump supporters. If you want a study in obsession, start there. By contrast, you could count on the fingers of one hand (with fingers to spare) the tweets he's issued about Justin Trudeau. His priorities are stark.  

ii) I comment on representatives of various positions. Regarding progressive theology, Rauser is about as good a spokesman as anyone for that position. In the past I commented on Peter Enns, but he's banal and repetitive, so I stopped reading his blog(s). I used to comment on Roger Olson, but he has a limited repertoire, so that's repetitive. 

iii) So Rauser suffers from a persecution complex. My "monitoring" and commenting on his posts and tweets has gotten under his thin skin. He can't stand the scrutiny. 

To begin with, I have never claimed that my “progressive theology or ideology” (whatever that is supposed to be) should be considered a necessary stumbling block for Christian witness. On the contrary, I’ve repeatedly defended alternative views (e.g. Roman Catholicism, open theism, and Hays’ own Calvinism) as fully consistent with mere Christianity and faithful Christian witness. Given that Hays regularly monitors me and thus he must be aware of what I’ve written, I’m forced to conclude that either we label him an egregiously inept reader or a liar.

i) As a progressive theologian, it's not exactly earthshaking that he's defended other progressive theologies/theologians like open theism and the Catholicism of Pope Francis. 

ii) He tries to burnish an image of even-handedness, but that's a ruse which enables him to be utterly one-sided when push comes to shove. Jeff Lowder is the same way. 

iii) I appreciate how he concedes my point. I noted that when he rails against unnecessary stumbling blocks to the Christian faith, he exempts his own progressive theology. He responds by agreeing with me: 

I have never claimed that my “progressive theology or ideology” (whatever that is supposed to be) should be considered a necessary stumbling block for Christian witness.

Which is exactly the point I made in the original post. He never classifies his own (progressive) theology and ideology as  unnecessary stumbling blocks. Yet oddly enough, Rauser then accuse me of being "an egregiously inept reader or a liar" because I said something he agrees with. But wouldn't that make Rauser "an egregiously inept reader or a liar"? I guess that makes also him a hamfisted progressive blogger. 

It’s trivially the case that each individual will distinguish necessary from unnecessary stumbling blocks based on their beliefs about which doctrines are essential to mere Christianity (i.e. the dogmas) and which are non-essential (i.e. theologoumena; adiaphora). It takes a particularly hamfisted heresy hunter, somebody like Steve Hays, to take a trivial and universally applicable fact and try to spin it into an indictable offense…

Once again, I appreciate Rauser's concession that when he says we should avoid unnecessary stumbling blocks to the faith, he's making a trivial observation. In the future, will he preface his observation with the declaimer that what he's about to say is trivial because it amounts to the claim that what makes these unnecessary stumbling blocks is that progressive theologians disdain them?  

…for his perceived enemies. Sadly, Hays is so focused on attacking others that he has not only sacrificed critical nuance and charity in reading his enemies but he has even lost sight of basic consistency and self-awareness.

i) Like the nuance and charity Rauser brings to bear when attacking evangelical Trump supporters. A telling illustration of Rauser's moral self-deception. 

ii) The confabulation continues with my "enemies". That's another example of Rauser's imputations. Ironically, it's not my state of mind but his state of mind. He has no direct access to my state of mind, so the imputation is a reflection of his own state of mind. A figment of his malicious or paranoid imagination.

This, too, is part of the prejudicial narrative that progressives construct around religious and social conservatives. He pats himself on the back for his "charity," consistency and self-awareness when–in reality–he stereotypes people on the right.

iii) Rauser greatly overrates himself by casting himself in the role of "my perceived enemy". But for Rauser to be my enemy, he'd have to be in a position to harm me in some fashion. Since I don't take him nearly as seriously as he takes himself, he doesn't make the cut of "my perceived enemies" (assuming I even have any perceived enemies). 

iv) He is, however, an enemy to others. He's an enemy to the faith of students at Taylor Seminary–as well as other young people he counsels. Progressive theology is counterfeit Christianity. That's a mortal threat to the salvation of those who fall under its spell. Likewise, the progressive ideology he shills is a threat to the well-being of normal, innocent men, women, and children. 

I recognize that Hays seems to feed off conflict and will likely use this article as more fuel to write articles against his enemies. 

i) Notice how "my enemies" becomes an instant trope. Take a seat and watch a legend in the making.

ii) So if he responds to me, that's legitimate, but if I respond to him, that's "feeding off conflict". Yet he's the soul of consistency and self-awareness. Yeah, sure. 

And what about his nonstop tweets regarding Donald Trump? Why isn't that "feeding off conflict"? He's the casting director in the movie in his head, and he's cast himself as the superhero with cape and Batmobile. 

I can’t change that fact, so instead, I offer this commentary as a salutary warning for the rest of us lest we too fall into the trap of becoming a hamfisted heresy hunter.

It's understandable that heretics resent heresy hunters. And his entire post is unwittingly revealing. If you randomly throw rocks into the bushes and you hear a coyote yelp a moment later, it gave itself away. 

1 comment:

  1. Steve - I'm genuinely sorry Randall won't deal with you properly. I'll pray for him.