Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Perspectives, New and Otherwise

Dan Phillips, a self-proclaimed Pyromaniac, has some very interesting thing to say about the common practice of congenital followers:

Some seem more temperamentally prone to it than others. These folks feel the lunar tide pull of strong personalities, present and deceased. Big-name preachers, teachers, writers, living and dead, functionally become their Canon. In seminary, you hear young preacherlets sounding off, and you can almost tell by their style who their pulpit idols are.

Or these folks wed themselves to a dead theologian, or a school of dead theologians. These worthies may make very fine instructors, but they are very poor gods. The devotees may be about as right as their exemplar—but no righter. If Right Hon. Rev. Dr. So-and-such didn't see it, then by gum they're not going to see it, either. They won't finger a rosary with a Romanist, but they're equally wed to tradition, and equally blinded to portions of the Bible. Just a different tradition, and different portions.

It seems to me that some of the Federal Vision/Auburn Avenue/New Perspective controversies are characterized by this type of participant. In addition to those who follow blindly, however, there are also those who react allergically to certain well-known personages of the "wrong" party. Perhaps God will grant us unity of dogma, but let us pray first for the unity of the body ... characterized by a respectful and charitable exchange of viewpoints while dogmatic differences remain.

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