...are the ones that make the biggest difference

9.09.2005

A new definition of heretical fundamentalism

In case you hadn't noticed, things have gotten a little busy around here of late. The author of my post on Christian fundamentalism found his way here and we entered into a little debate out the usage of emails. Well, the debate still rages over on his blog though things have taken a bit of an odd turn. No longer are we merely debating views of scripture, hermeneutics and the role of tradition. Thanks to a few different posters*, we have moved into truly debating with heretics. And that's not a term I use lightly. There are a great many people with whom I would disagree on some pretty fundamental things, but I still honor them as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Like Calvinists, for instance. I think its an erroneous teaching, clearly unbiblical and ahistorical, but at the very least they are Trinitarian and that provides a good basis for dialogue.

The same cannot be said for Keith, who has brought his own particular flavor of non-Trinitarian "Christianity" to the table. Keith takes an extremely high view of scripture, as you can see:

To me, inerrancy means that the Bible is perfect. It has no errors or blemishes, but is complete and whole like God is complete and whole. But what is perfect can only be divine, right? How could something be “perfect” and not be God, because only God is perfect. If you truly believe in inerrancy, then you must believe that the Bible is divine. If something is divine, it must be worshipped. Thus, to me, we worship the Bible as much as we would worship God...

Another poster** said:

What else can we place our trust in? Are you claiming that I need place my faith in some ethereal notion of the Son of God? The Son is only made known throw the Word….the Word was made flesh. Ergo: Bible = Jesus.

As you can imagine, dialogue with these 2 has been rather (ahem) difficult since there is no middle ground, no common foundation on which to build. And, surprisingly, for a group that, literally, idolizes the Bible, they don't quote from scripture much and don't respond to correction from it, either. Keith has said repeatedly that the Bible is the only way to know anything about God and has persisted in this error even though Romans 1 has been pointed out to him a couple times. The debate has largely fallen apart since Keith won't really respond to any logical arguments and tends to rely solely on emotional appeals and calling people "liberal" when you disagree with him.

For me, this debate has only served to further demonstrate the insufficiency of sola scriptura. Without a thoroughly Trinitarian understanding of God as expressed in the Nicene Creed, anything is possible. I had unreflectedly assumed that this error would only go in the more liberalizing direction. I see now that I was very wrong.

*I suspect that at least a few of them are the same guy using different handles.
** I'm pretty sure he and Keith are one and the same, or at the very least, go to the same church.

7 comments:

alana said...

I had a couple of independent baptist fellows on my doorstep sometime last year saying, eventually, the exact same thing: the Bible IS Jesus.

...at that point I lost my cool and screamed "Get off my property, you heretics!" Not my finest hour. But this heresy is definitely not unique to the people you have been reading. It's alive and well and knocking on doors.

Anonymous said...

I suspect Keith is not what he seems. A close reading of his comments reveal that he is likely Orthodox "playing" (quite cleverly) a fundamentalist. Read back over his comments...

Nathan said...

"I suspect Keith is not what he seems. A close reading of his comments reveal that he is likely Orthodox "playing" (quite cleverly) a fundamentalist. Read back over his comments..."

Another person has suggested that to me and at first I thought it was a distinct possibility. Now, however, I'm leaning very heavily in the other direction. He's just too vehement and has had several opportunities to release the trap he'd be trying to lay if he was Orthodox. The possibility, though, has added a bit of excitement to what is turning into a rather laborious debate.

Nathan said...

"But this heresy is definitely not unique to the people you have been reading. It's alive and well and knocking on doors."

Being from Arizona, I'm only used to the Mormon variety of door-knocking heresies!

alana said...

I labored through the whole dang debate today, and I really don't think Keith is an Orthodox pretender. For one thing, his arguments were not intelligent enough. In order for someone to pretend effectively, they'd need to be fairly intelligent. This guy is just spouting the same lines over and over ad nauseum without engaging in any intelligent debate.

As far as setting intellectual traps, I have a few ideas of my own to try out, but don't think it'd be good to go there.

Anonymous said...

"This guy is just spouting the same lines over and over ad nauseum without engaging in any intelligent debate."

different any moose from the other...

from where I sit spouting the same lines over and over ad nauseum without engaging in any intelligent debate _is_ playing the part true to the character. where he steps out of character is where he hints with a tad too much doctrinal precision

maybe he's wanting to suggest more than convince... planting a seed of doubt that may grow on its own. theres not gonna be a victory here... just the chance of subversion

Anonymous said...

When I was about 12, our church youth pastor tried to simplify things for us kids. He thumped the Bible on the table a couple times and said: "THIS is your God!"

Thankfully my parents had taught me well enough to understand that this was a serious error. I mentioned the incident to my Dad (who was one of the elders of the church) and the youth teacher got a good talking to. But yikes!

I think we need a name for this kind of thing. I submit: Bibliodulia.

-Doug