Real briefly today: two odd, odd things I saw this morning. First, TGE was confusing “New Covenant Theology” with various other viewpoints he doesn’t like, and in the process said,
The Incarnation means the SPACE TIME world is IMPORTANT, which therefore means that BODY is important, which therefore means that RITUAL is important, which therefore means that theology that downplays these things in favor of “spiritual” things is WRONG. No matter how many prooftexts it appeals to, it’s WRONG. And when that wrongness is coupled with a radical refusal to even recognize other people’s baptisms–even those of one’s fellow Protestants!–it becomes a kind of “gnostic” flight out of the physical world, every bit as idolatrous and heretical as many things it itself condemns.
Hmm…since this was said about “Baptists” in general, for some odd reason, let me just say again: the Incarnation is important; God’s Word addresses the entirety of life; rituals are important if God’s Word says they are, but just because it is a ritual that you invest spiritual meaning in doesn’t mean I have to think it is important; baptism is defined by Scripture, which you don’t seem to think is perspicuous enough any longer to even address the issue; if I am convinced by the Scriptures that there is a proper ground and means of baptism, upon what basis should your opinions and traditions over-ride my convictions?; “gnostic” is a lovely buzz-insult but given that I know what the gnostics believed, having a biblical view of baptism and being under the authority of Scripture before tradition in obedience to Christ’s command does not make me a gnostic; do you really, really think my view on baptism is “every bit as idolatrous and heretical” as the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice that perfects no one for whom it is made? If so, upon what basis?
Yes, that’s as brief as I can be. (8-D
Second item that makes you want to stick bamboo shoots under your fingernails came from one of the most brilliant scholars on the planet (at least that’s the impression I always get from reading his comments) posted on an apologetics list. While condescendingly demonstrating his deep and exhaustive knowledge of all things theological, and rebuking the concerns shown by backwoods American evangelicals regarding the inroads being made by NPism (primarily through the writings of NT Wright), and assuring us that even the most well-trained scholars really don’t have a handle on these things yet (remember, fundamentally, this means we have no idea, really, if we have peace with God because Christ’s righteousness is ours or not…ponder that one for a moment and mourn for the state of “Christian scholarship” in general) we were informed, “I don’t consider the discussion about the New Perspective to be an apologetic issue at all, and thus it is outside the focus of this list. I see it solely as an issue for biblical studies and theology.” Now mind you, I’m a nobody to this writer, an ignorant person utterly without standing, but even I can figure out what this means. This person (and he is surely not alone: this is the attitude that gave rise to How Wide the Divide?) rejects the intimate connection between apologetics and biblical studies and theology. I obviously hold a different view of apologetics. I see apologetics as a biblical mandate of elders in the church (to my knowledge, this scholar is not an elder, Titus 1:5-9); I see it deriving its very essence from a sound biblical theology. In fact, I do not believe a sound apologetic exists outside of first arriving at a sound biblical theology that then gives rise to the apologetic (one of the primary problems with many in popular apologetics). But a sound theology will demand obedience, and its view of truth will demand an apologetic. NPism involves a radical reductionistic view of the gospel itself, and of justification in particular. It’s monochromatic disemboweling of historic Reformed theology is just as apologetic in nature as anything the Council of Trent had to say and, due to its origin, maybe more so. When justification can be moved en toto from soteriology to ecclesiology (it was always ecclesiastically vital, but that due to the fact that soteriology determines ecclesiastical participation) you are obviously altering the basic message that is preached. How that can be considered to be separate from apologetics, I cannot begin to understand. But, that may well be due to the fact that I am obviously a dolt and will always be a dolt because I do not spend my every day in the hallowed realms of the Academy. I actually have to invest time and energy in the real world of ministry, the church, teaching, not only of seminary students, but of kids and laypeople and stuff like that which will forever preclude me from “getting it.” Ah, but I digress….