Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Psychoanalyzing Separation

Carl Trueman suggests a possible explanation for why Lloyd-Jones' criticism of and separation from J.I. Packer was more severe than than his disposition toward John Stott, after both of them refused in 1966 to follow Lloyd-Jones out of the decreasingly evangelical Anglican Church:
Lloyd-Jones' very distance from Stott meant that [Stott] was never a threat to him and his leadership in the way that Packer was. . . . Packer was the only man within Lloyd-Jones' orbit who could pose a serious challenge to his leadership because of both his intellect and, crucially, his grasp of the history and theology of the Reformed tradition. One might also add that it is a typical phenomenon, noted by sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists alike, that the outsiders closest to a particular tight-knit group are often the ones singled out for particularly brutal treatment by the group because of the crucial need to be very clear and precise about establishing boundaries.

From Trueman's essay, "J.I. Packer: An English Nonconformist Perspective" in J.I. Packer and the Evangelical Future, ed. by Timothy George, pp. 123-124. [emphasis added]


Mike said...

"Suggests a possible explanation" is just that--suggestion, speculation and possibility. Really no way to know since the Dr. is dead.
Should we psychoanalyze the psychoanalysis?
What was done wrong in the practice of the separation, (if there was anything done wrong, which again is speculation) should not be reason to throw out the Biblical doctrine or the practice of it.

Ben said...

Mike, feel free to psychoanalyze the psychoanalysis. Trueman's actually citing an article by a friend of Lloyd-Jones' and acknowledges that it's speculative. Interestingly, Iain Murray's response to Trueman questions the notion that Packer was a threat to Lloyd-Jones' leadership, but does not address Trueman's assertion that Packer was more severely treated than Stott.

And lest anyone thing that Trueman is sympathetic to Packer's stance in the events of 1966-1970, Trueman is without question Packer's harshest critic in the volume (though not the only one), most pointedly over the matter of Packer remaining in the Anglican Church.

PS Ferguson said...

I think that it is silly to speculate on the basis of no objective factual foundation. You could just as easily argue that Lloyd Jones was more severe on Packer because he was so close to him and felt more at liberty to rebuke. MLJ also could have felt that Packer (who shared much more of the convictions of MLJ) was more accountable for the knowledge he had and thereby needed a greater rebuke.

I have read much of Lloyd Jones and still do. Packer needed rebuking as did Stott - the degree is a matter for debate, not the fact!