One of the results of posting snippets of a book while you are writing it is you get to see who is going to fire a full broadside at you without ever once considering fairly a thing you have ever said, are saying, or will ever say. While typing away on the chapter on pluralism I happened to look up a URL someone had posted. Then, my eyes fell on a feed that I have in only one of my Sage set ups and that I haven’t looked at in ages, and for some reason (insanity?) I clicked on it. And there I found Kevin Johnson spouting off about the brief comments I posted from a previous chapter (titled “Identity Theft” by the way) on the topic of the Lord’s Supper. Mr. Johnson is a Former. What do I mean? He lives his life sniping at everyone who is where he once was, which, given the winding path he has taken over the past two decades, means he has a pretty wide field of fire. He’ll just as much shoot at Doug Wilson as at me. In any case, it is hardly surprising that he didn’t like what I had to say, and I had to chuckle that in the comments Brian Harrington, likewise a Former, joined in. I do not invest time or energy in following these folks around (last time I heard Harrington had been associated with Steve Schlissel’s church but it doesn’t seem he is any longer), but I guess they have a lot of extra time on their hands. Contrast the attitude Harrington exudes in the following quotation with that consistently put forward by Bill Shishko, OPC pastor, long time moderator of the Great Debates on Long Island, and my opponent in an intramural debate on baptism coming up 10/19 on Long Island:
White’s work is not remotely near their orbit in terms of careful interaction with church history, as well as their pastoral sensitivity. It would be like comparing A.W. Pink with Eichrodt, or Charles Ryrie with Vos.
Baptist errors and/or heresies re the “ordinances as acts of man” vs. the Reformed confession of “sacraments as acts of God on behalf of man” underscore the former’s fundamentally subjective and rationalistic articulation of the Christian faith, which articulation must be strenously rejected by orthodox Christians, and thus NOT deemed as some kind of intramural/fraternal divergence.
The leaven of religious pluralism has led to a most unfortunate toleration of Baptist distinctives by otherwise noble Reformed men and church communions. But it must be purged out of the church’s thinking, if she is to advance along the Kuyperian lines of extending the kingship of Christ over all spheres of life and thought.
As long as “Reformed” Baptists have as their chief apologetical organ the writings/ramblings of James White, or various pamphlets published by ARBCA, we can be grateful that their tribe will likely continue to decrease.
I wonder if Harrington is still in the New York area? I’d invite him to the debate on the 19th where he will be able to see Scripturally-based, intramural, God-honoring interaction. Might do him some good! And I am very thankful that Harrington thinks I’m our “chief apologetical organ.” That leaves the truly brilliant guys like the Renihan brothers and Sam Waldron and Fred Malone and Richard Barcellos and Robert Martin to continue their work unhindered by the woosh of sniping from the tree line.