Pooh’s Think

… with comments

Wilson Literally Lynches Scott Clark Over Metaphor

…and for his willingness to say that the FV is

a cult for its slavish submission to one or two personalities


From here:
“This might explain why Prof. Clark doesn’t wish to debate. http://tinyurl.com/y2av6z “Like Doug Wilson, Greg [Bahnsen] was fast on his feet and a good debater. Greg was a trained philosopher and could be intimidating. That also probably contributed to reluctance to debate him.”

Paul Nanson – 12/23/2006 9:58:14 AM | Report Comment”

Scott Clark of Westminster Seminary CA is not the first person I want to be in the position of defending. Westminster West guys likely wouldn’t give a handshake to Wilson whether he was a good or bad buy. And that defensive hubris will likely keep them safe and isolated from the real churn ups going on in our religious society, the thought of which reminds me of a little story; a friend who was a student at Westminster Seminary decided to pass out my publication Semper Reformans on campus years ago, even to the faculty—it wasn’t my idea. The issue presented to Scott Clark happened to have a small, mild note about the OPC. Clark retorted, “There talking about us!” And he vehemently rejected the publication. (Again, this is from what I recollect my friend describing to me, although my memory is usually pretty good about these sorts of things.) So in general I think these guys can take care of themselves as far as I’m concerned.

But alas, internet assassin Doug Wilson is now shooting at Professor Clark. Given Wilson’s cleverness, I shall attempt to reduce the level of harm Wilson seeks to do on this one; a good judge/defense attorney can’t let past personal difficulties get in the way of seeing a little bit of justice done. So here we go:

The problem is that Clark ran with a metaphor his unconscious mind began priming, and Wilson “caught” him in the act, just like he caught the PCA judges, Metzler the “liar”, Carla Henderson, and the crime committed hopefully first outside his mailbox. Here’s the post, and here’s what Clark said under investigation:

Certainly this is what this wailing and gnashing of teeth by the FV boys is really all about. If there was nothing afoot I doubt the reaction to the investigation of Wilkins would be so intense. They know that once the Wilkins Code has been broken that he has likely given his critics the the enough rope to hang him, ecclesiastically speaking.

That lynching, combined with the committee report, could be the end of the FV in the PCA.

Wilson replies:

Scott Clark has called the treatment that Steve Wilkins is getting an ecclesiastical lynching. But before you start scratching your head over this puzzlement, he does say this like its a good thing. HT. Mark Horne

Land of Goshen! [this is comparable to a normal person saying Holy Crap!] if I may exclaim here with more than my usual vehemence. Or looking at it from another angle, hush my puppies! [#$%$!!!!%^&^&#$!!!!!!!!] The entire post needs to be read in order to be believed.

Ok. Clark would probably have edited this language upon a second read through, which is why Wilson had to pounce. Just on the face of it, it is a rhetorical mistake; but allow me to employ some cognitive science. First note the cognitive slip of the additional “the.” Whatever kind of glitch this was, it is certainly the kind that a Professor like Clark would catch on a second read through; this glitch is found within the beginning of the metaphor development, likely originating in his imagination at the time of writing the first “the.” The larger context of the grammar is also confused: “critics the the enough rope to hang him.” The enough rope to hang him? It is clear that something has already gone very wrong cognitively.

Second, note Clark has already used a metaphor and presented it stylistically: “Wilkins Code.” We should expect that when systematic theologians begin to think metaphorically they will have cognitive stress immediately. And so what we know about Clark predicts the double “the,” the larger grammar confusion, as well as the failed attempt at the second metaphorical employment of his imagination (since Clark defends the Covenant Idea in la la Platonic land, we should expect a disaster at this point of his post).

Third, “lynching” is now just a semantic disposition that he is carrying from the more mild and more dead metaphors involved with “enough rope to hang him.” If the metaphor stopped there, Wilson would not have what he needed rhetorically to do his hit job. But now Clark’s faculties are suffering duress from thinking imaginatively and his long term episode memory system has now been primed; so primed in fact, that it would not be surprising to have the word “lynching” right at the tip of his tongue. And folks, consider this: priming as related to word usage does not require that the images associated with these words be present. So even at this stage, Clark may not have even concretely simulated the experience behind the use of this metaphor. The “thought of” Wilkins getting “lynched” was likely not present at all.

But there is something more important that precedes the need for such an analysis of the cognitive processes going on in Clark’s brain at the time of writing this post. The “lynching” here is not speaking to the courts of the PCA. It is referring to the mass of layman “critics” out there who would be unjustly chomping at the bit to use a just ruling, the breaking of the Wilkins Code. Breaking a code is a successful unmasking, a meeting with truth through creative interrogation. Even if Clark was imagining Wilkins getting literally lynched, and even if this was an intentional employment of this metaphor, this last consideration alone undoes Wilson’s rhetorical show to whip up the masses. There is no evidence that Clark approves of this kind of lynching, but is rather merely predicting its occurrence. What is pleasant to Clark is the judicial “breaking of the code.”

That Wilson. He’s a rhetorically dangerous man. He certainly deserves the label of “internet assassin.”

But that is not it; now Wilson berates Clark with the accusation that is more justly leveled at himself:

And so, as you can see, because Dr. Clark’s concerns have apparently not been addressed satisfactorily, I would like (again) to cordially extend an invitation to discuss/debate these matters to:

R. Scott Clark, D.Phil
Associate Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology
Westminster Seminary California
“For Christ, His Gospel, and His Church”
Associate Pastor
Oceanside URC

However, I have already revealed the hypocrisy of this move, as you can see here. Wilson is the one who refuses debate. He will not even finish one debate that was almost complete; this was a debate with Pooh Bear scheduled for Credenda. Well, ok, but what if Pooh Bear is just an idiot and doesn’t deserve another stroke from Wilson’s pen? Well, why doesn’t Clark have this same response available for Wilson? He does have this response available, but he doesn’t need it after responding here.

In the comment section, Wilson writes:

David G, do you have a take on why Scott Clark won’t debate? He obviously feels strongly about it, and has done enough spadework to contribute to a book. And I would be more than happy to travel to Escondido.

Douglas Wilson – 12/21/2006 6:11:39 PM | Report Comment

I doubt they want to give Wilson the advertising and honor. If you look at the other part of the post, you will see what Wilson is trying to cover up:

So, it seems to me that they should quit troubling churches that profess to be confessional and align themselves with a federation (which I regard as a sect as defined by Belgic Art 29 for its theology and as a cult for its slavish submission to one or two personalities) that is clearly becoming the de facto home of the FV movement.

In any case, as a general note to this whole mess: it is amazing how dishonest these FV men are the way they confuse:

Subscription to a document within a living tradition.


Disputes about how the language of that document might be corrected, qualified, or challenged from the language game of scripture, external to that confession’s tradition.


January 2, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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