Sunday, January 01, 2017

Journey to nowhere

A few more comments on this:

Doubt, lack of certainty, skepticism. Call it what you will. The experience is inevitable in the Christian faith.

We all get to points in our lives where we just don’t “know what we believe anymore.”

You have to wonder if Enns believes his own propaganda. Does he really believe these hasty generalizations? Is he so insular that he truly believes every Christian, or even most Christians, "inevitably" get to points in life they just don't know what they believe anymore? Sure, that's true for some professing believers. But it's hardly inevitable. It's hardly true for every professing believer. 

When we enter that period, our first priority is not to get out of it, fix it, and bring it all back to the way it was.

Once the doubt hits, there is no going back to the way things were.

Another hasty generalization. Again, is he really so insular to think that's the case? Certainly there are people who never get back to the way things were. But certainly there are people who do recover. 

Our only choice is how to live, and for people of faith I see three choices:

1. Make believe nothing happened and everything is OK. Stay in the game, bury your thoughts, and keep on as usual.

2. Think of that period as a temporary bump in the road, and if handled properly, you will safely wind up back where you were, perhaps with even greater resolve.

In Evangelical and Fundamentalist circles, choices 1 and 2 reign: “Stop making waves and get with the program” or “My period of doubt was simply a momentary lack of faith on my part, but now I have clearer reasons for why my faith is just fine as it is.”

Notice his scornful attitude towards (1) and (2). And, once again, is he so insular that he doesn't know any better? There are, in fact, Christians who suffer a crisis of faith, but work through it and come out the other end with their original beliefs intact, and they are stronger as a result of that crisis. They now have a battle-hardened faith. They now have clearer reasons for what they believed. 

The trick, as many skeptical Christians have found out the hard way, is finding people to talk with about their doubts without being made to feel like they just “don’t get it.” As a college professor I deal with these types of inner struggles in my students on a regular basis.

Of course, schools like Eastern College, where Peter Enns and Kent Sparks teach, aggressively subvert the faith of students. Their "inner struggles" are the direct result of what they hear in the classroom. 

Enns isn't a reluctant "sceptic". Enns is proud of the fact that he no longer believes what he used to believe. He derives self-esteem from belonging to the smart set. 

3. Accept that period as an opportunity for spiritual growth, an invitation to take a pilgrimage of faith without predetermined results.

For me, choice 3 is far more intellectually appealing and spiritually satisfying:

“I’m not sure what has happened and I’d give anything to go back to the way things were. But I know that can’t be. Instead I choose to try and trust God even in this process, to see where the Spirit will lead, even if I don’t know where that is. I need to let go of thoughts and “positions” that gave me (false) confidence and begin the journey toward learning to rely on God rather than ‘my faith.’”

The obvious problem with that euphemistic description is that it's vicious circular. Given his skepticism, he has no justification for believing there is a God at the end of the journey. No justification for believing that God is leading him on a pilgrimage of faith. 

For all his self-congratulatory rationalism, Enns is a shallow, incoherent thinker. Although Enns constantly indulges in intellectual posturing, his bromides are logical nonsense. He's like the swami or Tibetan monk in B-movies who dishes out pseudoprofound twaddle. 


  1. So many came down on WTS when they questioned Enns work and removed him. They were undoubtedly right to do so, especially in hind sight. I wonder what the most vocal critic (Longman) would say now? Has he been proven a fool or is he on the same trajectory?

    1. I believe there was some people wondering why Westminster cleaned out the Old Testament department. Peter Enns is showing those people why it was necessary.

  2. I am a Reformed believer, who converted to Roman Catholicism and suffered through 4 years of 'mortal sin' and the constant threat of Hell imposed by their theology...and I recovered recently. I feel like an idiot; I've not yet gained the wisdom to confidently explain what caused my attraction to Rome. I can only express my sincerest gratitude to God for leading me out of it again. ... The closest analogy to this experience I can think of is dating a girl with multiple tattoos, piercings, dyed hair and daddy issues. Red flags should have been going up everywhere, but...I was seduced by the whore of Babylon, promising me doctrinal certainty and the comfort of belonging to something 2000 years old. What I got instead was Pope Francis...

    1. "promising me doctrinal certainty and the comfort of belonging to something 2000 years old"

      I'm not sure about you, but that seems to be a common answer. People crave certainty.

    2. Harry -- please contact me, johnbugay at gmail dot com if you'd like to talk about your experience. It's good to have you back on our side!

  3. Pseudoprofound twaddle--my new favorite phrase and right on the money.