The Huckster Priests & The Mad Theologians
We have seen that it can take a good deal to get your head out of your cultural/religious point of view, even after the keepers of the gate have proven themselves liars and manipulators. You need your incarnated Jesus teacher to represent the kingdom of God to your senses; you need that guide to heaven who can continuously spin your counter-civilization conservative point of view as all the individual pieces of experience violently protrude themselves into the next release of “the story” in which you act. You go deeper, but your mind gets thinner.
The level of irrationality from Wilson supporters has reached new levels over the last week. For illustration, I just received an email from apologist Chris Witmer concluding his exposure of all the slander and lies here at Pooh’s Think. You might remember that Witmer just inserted himself into the local community listserv to expose our shameful deeds while covering the COTK scandal. We responded. We demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that Witmer was not only wrong, but clearly suffering from some strong form of psychological denial. What is Witmer’s reply to our refutation, a refutation that just might one of the most decisive refutations yet seen in the Wood? Well, I’ll tell you:
Since you asked, I just checked your site but I couldn’t see where you had publicly retracted everything you had published based on testimony from “Frank Vance.” Isn’t it rather disingenuous of you to focus on the collapse of “Mrs. B’s” credibility when “Mr. V’s” credibility is tied up in it too? That’s a rhetorical question; please don’t hit the reply button. I don’t intend to write to you again and I just added your mail address to my spam filter. I wish you a productive, godly life, which is another way of saying I wish you would find something better to do with your time than rake muck on the Internet. Bye!
Hmmm. I thought we were talking about the COTK. In fact, I’m sure we were talking about the COTK. I didn’t start this polemic, public exchange; Witmer did. Witmer wanted to talk about the COTK. Witmer had evidence that proved us wrong—so he claimed. But instead of Pooh getting “exposed,” Pooh just once again gets banned, banned right out of Witmer’s Inbox. Same thing happened with Gibbs. Gibbs posts an entire letter to the Wood. I responded. Gibbs then thought it fitting to send me emails, which grew to the level of harassment. But every time I replied, Gibbs informed me, via email, that he was deleting everything I sent him without reading it; yet, Gibbs continued to make assertions in these very emails to me. In other words, I give Gibbs access to full posting privileges at Pooh’s Think and his response is to ban me from his own private email Inbox. Strange stuff.
(As for Vance, even though Witmer pulled this topic out of his hat in the spirit of random subterfuge, I’ll briefly respond: if you look carefully at the archives on this matter you will discover that I did not publish any analysis of the Ligonier Law suit “based on testimony from ‘Frank Vance,’” and my analysis still stands. End of story. New events have certainly provided additional evidence with which to work, but this new evidence does no damage to my original analysis, and in fact does little to mitigate even most of my previously tentative conclusions.)
So the priests keep lying and the people keep following. The priests’ stories get more convoluted, but the following just ensures a deeper level of irrationality to preserve the hubris and social identity. But what about the other side of this “lynching” of Wilkins? Scott Clark, after all, apparently understands Christ Church and the thin penumbra of Wilson following across the world to be a “cult.” True, Clark is not a part of a cult the way kirkers are; and true, those following the general reformed tradition are more integrated into academia and society than Wilson followers. They are also better protected from harm (of the cultish form) and more likely to lead a peace-loving and at least mildly patriotic life. However, the reformed tradition is still largely a schismatic splinter group within conservative America, and an arrogant one at that.
The “religious” person, vulnerable in their frailty, standing in wonder at the beauty of creation, and filled with awe at life itself, or the worshipper, who seeks to be comforted by personal assurance directly from the mouth of a loving and powerful God, will not find much refuge in the scholastic construction of the reformed theologians. Covenant theology is a sham. It is farce. It is meaningless math with no real point of reference. All the babbling about artificially created terms over this FV matter is just further proof of this. The static, timeless, covenant “concept” or “idea” doesn’t exist but in the very thin cognition of a handful of theologians and their theology wonk following. Everything found not just in the ‘content’ of scripture, but in the very way of scripture, refutes this absurd scholasticism at every point.
A passionate God acting directly and personal in the affairs of men, promising and assuring, metaphorically taking up the literal practice of karat berith (carving off even the karat the first time we find God poetically “giving” his berith assurance in Genesis), is exchanged for a static idea that we can keep in our drawer, our old dusty books, and within our banal, self-important theology discussions and polemics. The rigid heart and stern mind of the theologian is blind, or else frightened, by the moving melody of story, song, and literary symbol development of the holy books.
The theologians are left dumb and without authority now that they have rejected their role as grace dispensing priest. They therefore create useless fictions. They create technical terms and define and redefine them endlessly, and impose such abstractions onto the text of scripture with the wave of the wand, expecting the masses to stand in awe of the real rational structure underlying the holy books. Once the rational structure is discovered and the code broken, little more must be done—just protect your system like an angry mother bear.
Western civilization has already unmasked this social and intellectual scandal; the reformation conducted by the humanists in the 16 th century was part of the unmasking. As Crites nicely put it:
If I were a German theologian I might say that the Gospel is a word of judgment against all public ideologies, all metaphysical assertions, all the kingdoms of this world. But let us just say that the Gospel is one ironical story, an irony, in particular, against the triumphalistic temptations of the Christian religion and its assertorical theologians. If there is a joke in this divine comedy, the joke is on them.
The reformed theologian’s blindness to the roots of their own tradition does indeed suggest that Crites is correct. Their mad employment of the long ago exposed and rejected scholastic practice, that perverse confusion of Plato and religious language, does indeed appear to be a divine, comic joke.
As for me and my household, we will not serve the huckster priests or the mad theologians.
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