Friday, September 09, 2011

Have You Hugged a Presbyterian Today?

Two reasons you should:

1. Should I ever attend the SBC annual meeting again, it's going to be sorely tempting to nominate Carl Trueman for our president. Here's why:
Southern Baptists should be delighted that the organizers [of the National Cathedral's 9/11 commemoration] had the sensitivity and foresight not to place them in the grim position of having to turn down such an invitation in order to avoid compromising their orthodox, Protestant identity. The public relations disaster that would have followed this elementary stand for biblical truth and exclusivity would have been spectacular. After all, how could one maintain that one is taking seriously 1 Timothy 2 while sharing prayer time with a real-life incarnate lama?

The Southern Baptists need to stop feeling disappointed that such a well-intentioned but theologically incoherent gathering does not want their presence and they should instead remember the wisdom of Marx - not Karl, but Groucho: you should never want to join any club that would have you as a member.

2. When I watched Collision, a documentary of debates and conversations between Doug Wilson and Christopher Hitchens, I was looking for a clear exposition of how Hitchens' atheistic worldview is compatible with his affirmation of the existence of objective evil. Though Hitchens addressed the issue with characteristically entertaining disdain, I didn't find his argument coherent. Unfortunately, the medium didn't really permit a sustained clash of ideas. But now Wilson's dismantling response to Hitchens' recent declaration that 9/11 was a day of "pure evil" provides exactly that. Wilson's essay is one of the rare things you find on the internet that's worth reading more than once. Here's his conclusion:
[Hitchens'] atheistic rhetoric is full of borrowed theistic words. He sounds like totalitarianism is objectively bad. His approach would seem to indicate that being vicious is a sin. The big lie would be a violation of the Ninth Commandment, of course, but I thought we had explained all that.

I for one am glad that Hitchens wants to repudiate the big lies. I am glad that he stands against vicious totalitarian ideas. Thus far I can applaud him. But in order to stand against anything, however obviously bad it is, you must have something to stand on.


Ross Shannon said...

Great Trueman quote! Spot on.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to go hug my wife right now, and I think she'll hug me back. Then, we will both have hugged a presbyterian today!

Oh, and just to add a little historical depth to your point . . . Wilson is just chanelling Francis Schaeffer (from waaaaay back in the 1960s-80s) with the "borrowed theistic words bit." And, of course, Schaeffer was drawing deeply on Old Princeton, Machen, and Kuyper (Dutch Reformed, not presbyterian, but you Baptists probably can't notice the differences).



Ben said...

Keith, I hugged my wife, who used to be a Presbyterian. That may be as close as I get to one today.

Good reminder on Schaeffer. Somebody posted a link to a bunch of his audio a couple years ago. Solid stuff if y'all out there can find it.

d4v34x said...

All the Presbys round these parts are PC-USA. Not sure they deserve the same hug-uppance as the OPC or PCA types.