Monday, August 13, 2012

Political Leaders Make Poor Teachers

Nick Bulbeck dropped in at FBWTS again recently. He left a nice long comment that I want to make others aware of. It is under:

Seattle Slavery Pushing

You can go there and read it in it's entirety. But here is a snippet to whet you whistle.

" I mean any one of numerous "teachers" who are nothing of the sort, but are gifted leaders and politicians who cultivate a reputation for being "biblical" merely by banging a drum for a selected handful of conservative doctrines. There are thousands of local pastors out there who think everyone but their own tribe needs to get "back to scripture", and who are just Mark Driscoll writ small. Historically, of course, there's the Papacy, which is Mark Driscoll writ large."

More understanding of the Driscoll phenomenon from over the pond.


Kristen said...

I wanted to make a remark on this comment of Nick's:

"And if my theology won't let Him, then my theology needs re-educating as to which One of us is God. It's not rocket science! The early Jewish church could do this when the Spirit fell on uncircumcised gentiles; why can't we?"

It's interesting to note that one of the Pharisees' main faults was that they couldn't do this. "He can't be the Messiah! The Messiah doesn't come out of Nazareth!" "You can't be the Messiah if you heal on the Sabbath!" "You are not doing these things by the power of God, but by Beelzebub!" And so on, and so on.

Mara Reid said...

People all over have a hard time with new wine and with being new wine skins. So often they believe that the old is better even when God is trying to get us into the new things He is doing.

Nick Bulbeck said...

Hi to both of you! Indeed, there's a lot of Pharisee-ism about. (Without hanging any weighty theology on this, I note that the Pharisees and their associates are called "teachers of the law", not "teachers of grace" or "teachers of the spirit"!)

I was interested in the post you linked to, Mara, by Wade Burleson yesterday. I found his post very interesting, though of course that's easy for me to say since it basically agreed with me. But then I waded (no pun intended) through the first 200 comments, at the end of which I was losing the will to live.

I was disappointed with the rapidity with which the comments descended into trench warfare, with the various protagonists flinging scripture quotes, Greek, and semantic logic at each other over the barbed wire. And no few accusations, too, though in fairness it was less obscenely vitriolic than a typical YouTube thread. I think Wade did pretty well to stay out of most of it, actually! But the thing that really got to me was the conviction that none of said protagonists was any less spiritual than I am, any less Christ-like, or any less loving of God's nature, kingdom, truth, etc etc. They were in print what I am in real time.

I think I'm right in saying that we three here reject the "lordship of scripture", meaning that we don't believe you arrive at truth by determining whose scholarship is best and who thereby owns the "correct interpretation" of scripture. The Holy Spirit is alive and well and perfectly capable of joining the discussion. And I suspect that's a very fundamental point that would separate me from most of the participants on Wade's blog. But that doesn't mean that, when someone criticises a theology I agree with (I'm not famous enough for anyone to criticise me), I love them for it.

Sigh... my doctrine may be perfect *, but it doesn't seem to've made me Christ-like yet...

* er...

Mara Reid said...

Yeah, sorry.
I haven't read many of the comments over there because of time.

The debate is very heated and people want to use the measuring rod of scripture to prove their point one way or another.

I have to admit that I've been involved in those types of arguments before, now I have a tendency to appeal to the red letters of Jesus in these arguments claiming that we are to build the church on the rock of Jesus and what He said and that when we take the foundation of the prophets and apostles and put it anywhere else than the red letters (like on the traditions or preferences of men) then the house will not stand.

I don't do this because I've arrived at some elevated level of spiritual enlightenment. I do it more because I simply don't have time and am very tired of the fight.

Nick Bulbeck said...

I came across a good response to theological disagreement a while back, in a Q & A session conducted by Patricia King from Extreme Prophetic (they're a lot saner than they sound - you might like them, actually!). To cut a fairly short story even shorter, someone in the audience said he couldn't agree with her on some matter she'd been teaching on. He wasn't clearly audible on the CD but I think he cited a scripture as well. Patricia's response was simply, "Well, all I can say is, I've come to a different conclusion".

What's really good about this approach is the way it separates the contention from the person. It kills the one stone dead without dishonouring the other.

Mara Reid said...

That doesn't work too well over here with a lot of those that push their agenda.

They just decide that your conclusion is wrong because you are either not as spiritually enlightened as they are or that you simply haven't done your research like you should. Because they assume that if you HAD done your reseach correctly, the way they did it, then you would have come to the same conclusions.

I know, I know. It's a convoluted mess. It really is. And no one making these claims is able to see their own arrogance.

Nick Bulbeck said...

"That doesn't work too well over here with a lot of those that push their agenda." - yes and no. It all depends on what you mean by "work". If you're trying to change the mind of a contentious and self-righteous person, then no, it probably won't work; their security is in their doctrine, and they dare not let go of it even if they wanted to. We have them over here too, by the way; indeed, I used to be one.

The point is actually to control the controllable. You know the Proverb: The one who is slow to anger is better than the one who is strong; and she who rules her own spirit is greater than the one that takes a city. What Patricia was doing in the example wasn't designed to win an argument but to avoid being drawn into one. You might say she was just establishing her own boundaries:

- I know what I believe, practice, and teach others to practice;

- I am ready to give an account of why I believe this [in this context, she had just done so];

- I get that you believe differently - I do not judge you for this and I am willing to hear your beliefs;

- BUT I will not be drawn into an unprofitable dispute about words - you cannot pull me into your world or your sphere of control;

- NEITHER can you cross the boundary into my life and try to alter my beliefs; I will consider your case in my own time and at my leisure.

Some people will never listen to you, and in fact will continue to judge you and/or assimilate you like the Borg. You don't sink to their level; you just keep them out. Others actually will listen to you given the space to do so without feeling threatened or losing face; so you give it to them. At the same time, you yourself remain humble and teachable without being unstable and double-minded, blown and tossed by every loud "christian" with a forceful personality.

My customary apologies for the length of post - in part that's because I was thinking all of that through for myself while I was typing. Does any of it make sense?

Mara Reid said...

It makes lots of sense.
It is gracious and probably the route to go.

I'll have to confess here. I have gotten into verbal battles on the internet with those that I knew I couldn't change their mind. I did so, not for their sake, but for the sake of those watching who have been held in bondage to certain ways of thinking so that they could see that there WAS a valid argument against the oppressive doctrine that has held them in bondage. IOW, I've engaged those that I knew I couldn't convince in order to convince those I couldn't engage.

Speaking of engage and "The Borg"
(Nick:"Some people will never listen to you, and in fact will continue to judge you and/or assimilate you like the Borg.") I see that you have a sympathetic streak toward Science Fiction.
Just for fun and if you have time, take a look at this:
(you'll have to cut and paste the link because I'm technically inept at how to make it an actual link in the comment section of blogger.)
(also, no prob on length of comment. I like getting feedback)

Nick Bulbeck said...

That's a really good idea - must admit I'd literally never thought of that.

I kind of have a soft spot for sci fi; not a big Star Trek fan myself, but I seem to recall that the Borg is a kind of collective consciousness with no individuals in it that eats people by assimilating them. (Evidently, you saw the analogy!) I have a softer spot for Tolkien.

To get clickable hyperlinks, incidentally, you type the following, replacing the square brackets with angular ones (i.e. "<" and ">"):

[a href=""] interesting link [/a]

The result is interesting link .

(I couldn't use angular brackets in the example because I couldn't find a way to stop The System assuming they were meant to be html code.)

Mara Reid said...

Thanks for the link tip, my friend Charis has tried to help me with these things. Someday it might actually stick for me.

AFA Star Trek, you are aware of The Wartburg Watch, right? It's in my blog roll. Dee, one of the hostesses gave her heart to Jesus after watching one of the original episodes.

Someday I'm going to read Tolkien again. I tried once before but it was slow going and I gave up. I loved the movies and can't wait for the Hobbit to come out. But I understand that Tolkien hard cores aren't crazy about the movies.
Is that true?

Nick Bulbeck said...

I've read a bit of Wartburg Watch stuff, yes. As regards Dee becoming a Christian through watching Star Trek - well, that part's different! :-)

I read The Lord of the Rings to my son from cover to cover when he was younger (he's 12 now and a bit old for me to read to him!). Not in one go, obviously. But Nathan found the story slightly slow going too, at least up until about halfway through the first book, when things start to happen in earnest.

The thing about Tolkien die-hards not liking the films is an interesting one. You're right; inevitably, Jackson had to take certain liberties to make it work cinematically. Also, the characterisation and sub-plots are subject to interpretation. But people get stuck on their own interpretations of Tolkien, and hey presto: Tolkien fundamentalism. There are those who seem to forget that he only wrote it as a story, and Middle Earth is only pretend! I think Jackson did a decent job, personally. Essentially, he told us: this is what I think Tolkien's Middle Earth would be like to live in. There are differences, but he certainly produced an amazing spectacle.

All of which kind of brings us back on topic. Tolkien is dead, and Tolk-a-mentalists are free to argue ad nauseum about who has the correct interpretation of his work. But the Holy Spirit is not dead...

Mara Reid said...

That's a good analogy or parallel between Tolk-a-mentalists and fundamentalists.
(gonna make a post about it)

As I mentioned, I also liked Jackson's movies. We own them on DVD myself and a couple of my children have made attempts to read the books. My daughter was successful. My son has one in his room with a bookmark in it. Next time we take a road trip he plans on reading further. He has also read several of H G Wells books. And he is not a big reader.

My younger daughter and I have just completed The Hunger Games Trilogy. It is far more suited to the fast-paced, MTV generation than Tolkien or any of the classics.
I read Pride and Prejudice after watching the movie. I made it through and parts were extremely well written. But other parts were a lot like slogging through mud.

So, I guess, long and short, I'm grateful for the movies that highlight the classics that I would probably otherwise miss.