Friday, October 15, 2010

Plainly and Simply Crazy

Further Remarks on Frank Schaeffer’s
Impatience with Fundamentalism and 

Infatuation with Mysticism
Due to Studied Ignorance of the  Protestant Reformation

While this is not a complete book review,  just an examination of the Prologue  which can be read for free on the internet,  to Frank Schaeffer's latest book, some things are still a dead giveaway. Schaeffer still tells us what he thinks as  bluntly as he used to in the old days when, as “Frankie”, an angry young evangelical, he wrote A Time for Anger, The Myth of Neutrality in 1982.

Yet for those who appreciated his father, the well known Christian pastor, theologian, philosopher  and best selling author Francis Schaeffer, even as separate and apart  from his  political activism with Frank in getting the Religious Right started and Reagan elected in 1980, these have not been happy days since Francis died in 1984.   Among other things, Frank ended up joining the Greek Orthodox Church in 1990. 

 
Unfortunately that means when he is not voting for or playing the Byzantine sycophant to Barack Obama - see for example his Open Letters to the Republican "traitors"   and the President -   he’s been busy castigating both his parents  and his past involvement with   the Religious Right. Ergo his book  Crazy for God : How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back (2007).

Patience with God
Now however, in his latest title of 2009,    Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism), while Frank is beyond being crazy for God,  he’s still crazy -  as in irrational. (But that’s  OK because it’s part of being both religious and experience oriented according to Frank.) His latest tells us of his irritation with and  rejection of both evangelical and the secular “New Atheism” fundamentalism as opposed to his fascination with Kierkegaard’s philosophical existentialism, if not again Eastern Orthodoxy, which always hovers in the background.

In other words, his thesis is that these two mysticisms, philosophical and theological  thoroughly refute  the various contemporary fundamentalisms, religious or otherwise. Uncertainty, paradox and experience are the ultimate truths that rebut those who arrogantly claim to know different  ultimate truths. While this makes for a  bizarre and eclectic  melange of a substitute for those same evangelical fundamentalist  certainties, it comes at the expense of the genuine Reformation alternative. Hence the following.

Mr. Schaeffer is either genuinely ignorant of,  if not that he deliberatively chooses to ignore, Biblical Christianity,  at least  as it was understood and confessed at the Protestant Reformation in the Reformed Faith by the Presbyterian and Reformed churches in concocting his rebuttal of fundamentalism. Of course, Mr. Schaeffer is entitled to his opinion on these matters; that is beyond question. That his arguments are new, of substance and persuasive is an entirely different matter. Consequently an examination and critique of both  evangelical fundamentalism on the one hand and existentialism and Eastern Orthodoxy on the other is in order, as below and  in contrast to Mr. Schaeffer's evasion of the orthodox and Biblical solution to the issues he raises.

Monday, January 11, 2010

8/10/01 A Reply to Credenda Agenda

Leithart, Schlissel, Wilson  and Hal Lindsey  versus the Westminster Assembly, Ursinus, O.T. Allis, R.L. Dabney and John Knox 

[Something else grubbed up from the archives and  formatted for the web, in light of Mr. Schlissel's latest confusion on the RPW.]

Letter to the Editor
Credenda Agenda
Mr. Doug Wilson
August 10, 2001

Dear Sir,

In order to forestall any incipient prelacy in the New World order, Moscow, Idaho style, the Credenda Agenda, if not its good Editor, need to stop hem-hawing around and clarify its position on worship. Specifically this means explicitly affirming the historic reformed exposition of the Second Commandment commonly known as the Regulative Principle of Worship (the RPW hereafter): "Whatsoever is not commanded in Scripture is forbidden in the worship of God."

6/25/01 A Reply to Messiah's Update on the Four R's:

Romanism, Reconstructionism, the RPW and Rom. 3

1/11/10
As was alluded to in the previous on Mr. Schlissel's latest, been there, done that  is the short hand response. Of course, shortly after the old letter below  was mailed, our active and congenial acquaintance with the mailing list for Messiah's Community Church Update ceased and desisted.

Along with worship issues, the  influence of N.T. Wright's covenantal nomism can also  be seen developing in Mr. Schlissel's gloss of Rom. 3 as not applying to the Jews, at least not as totally depraved according to the classic view of reformed theology and the confessions. The gospel is all about the covenant or ethics or ecclesiology; not justification, how a man might be right with God. Now of course the Federal Vision  is in full blossom; Schlissel, Wilson, Jordan, Lusk, Barach and Wilkins all came out of the closet at the Auburn Avenue Pastors' Conferences beginning in 2002.

June 25, 2001
Messiah’s Update
2662 East 24th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11235

Dear Mr. Schlissel

A few comments regarding past Updates that the generosity of Messiah’s has deposited in our mailbox.

If we are going to insist that Romanists are in the covenant but unfaithful to its terms, informing them of those terms includes informing them that Rome has apostatized from the covenant. Funny how that got left out of the April 2001 letter. And if we’re going to quote Calvin in the first place, go on to include his concluding remarks in the same chapter. “But, on the other hand, because those marks, which we ought chiefly to regard in this controversy, are obliterated, I affirm, that the form of the legitimate Church is not to be found either in any one of their congregations, or in the body at large (Inst. IV:2:12).” The differences between Rome and Protestantism were worth dying for at the Reformation. And still are.