Tag Archives: ideology

Functional Ignorance


It’s not what he says that bothers me. It’s that what he says is all he knows. His worldview is informed only by his worldview, and maybe by his worldview’s prefabricated responses to other worldviews, so investigation won’t be necessary. And of course he’s sure he’s right.

Aside

Zealous leader, the more you try to save us from ourselves, the more we need to be saved from you.

The Objectivism Cult


Michael Shermer avoids a false dilemma in his assessment of Ayn Rand—and in the process reveals something that is bigger than him and her. Reading the following quotation, ask yourself, have you ever felt similarly about any other point of view or school of thought?

“I accept most of Rand’s philosophy, but not all of it. And despite my life-long commitment to many of Rand’s most important beliefs, Objectivists would no doubt reject me from their group for not accepting all of her precepts. This is ultimately what makes Objectivism a cult.”

Rand’s followers, the Objectivists, seemed to have demanded perfect assent to all Randian doctrine. Read all of Shermer’s The Unlikeliest Cult in History. It’s an outstanding article.

Jonathan Merritt sees an ideological mode among Reformed Christians


The blogger and author on Twitter:

Do you think he’s right? Why? Or, why not?

(“Xians” is short for Christians.)

 

‘still frantically concerned…to keep thought separate from the exigencies of the flesh’


quotation by Steven Shaviro from tiredshoes.tumblr.com

from tiredshoes.tumblr.com

Compare what Shaviro says with the information on Pietro Torrigiani’s marble bust “Christ the Savior.” Consider physicality and materiality, and wonder about the default modes of anti-materiality and anti-physicality within Western culture and sub-cultures.

What makes Chrnalogar’s book significant, and why is it relevant for today?


Recently, I used the book Twisted Scriptures to assess Mars Hill Church and Pastor Mark Driscoll’s leadership as reported on other blogs.

Before I used the book, I should have established its credibility.

Of course, nothing and no one carries full credibility across all spectra.

For that we can thank the successful infiltration of ideological mentalities and propagandistic modes of thinking.

In other words, a man could utter a perfectly true and practically applicable statement, and the first thing many of us would want to know is his affiliation and identity and worldview.

Even so, here is my attempt to identify the credible nature of the book:

The first edition of Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free from Churches That Abuse was released by Zondervan in 1997. Revised editions appeared in 1998 and 2000.

On the back of my 2000 edition, author Mary Alice Chrnalogar is identified as a 19-year veteran of rescuing victims of cults and abusive church groups. She has conducted rescues and interventions in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Israel, and Spain, according to the back of the book.

In the book’s acknowledgments, Chrnalogar says she consulted Timothy Brouns, a Baptist minister and graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Stephen D. Martin, a pastor, graduate of Nazarene Theological Seminary and former staff member of Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, a “restorative place for victims of controlling groups,” located in Athens, Ohio.

The back of the book cites Edward J. Green, Ph.D., the Guerry professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Green wrote, “This is controversial… many sheep will be told not to read it. Anyone told this should read it immediately. This is an important book — not only to help victims break out of bondage, but every pastor should be required to read it.”

The credentials of Chrnalogar and the above-mentioned men should suggest some credibility.

 

Tullian Tchividjian apologized; should Tim Keller and D.A. Carson apologize, too?


The Tim Keller and D.A. Carson blog post of May 21 begs for further analysis.

The purpose of the post was to clarify some changes that had taken place on The Gospel Coalition website: Tullian Tchividjian’s blog had been removed, and the names of C.J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris had been deleted from the list of Council members.

Here, I want to focus on the May 21 post, not its fallout (Tullian said some angry things in response his blog’s premature removal), or its encouraging resolution (Tullian apologized).

In their post, Keller and Carson write,

In Tullian’s case, it was obvious to observers that for some time there has been an increasingly strident debate going on around the issue of sanctification. The differences were doctrinal and probably even more matters of pastoral practice and wisdom. Recently it became clear that the dispute was becoming increasingly sharp and divisive rather than moving toward greater unity. Earlier in the year our executive director spent two days with Tullian in Florida. Coming out of that meeting, it was decided that Tullian would move his blog. Finally the Council at its meeting last week decided that Tullian should move his blog immediately, and we communicated this conclusion to Tullian. (emphasis added)

And then, in last paragraph, Keller and Carson write,

We commit ourselves to not recount the parting of the ways in such a fashion that it makes us look good and the departing persons look bad…. John Newton’s famous letter “On Controversy” should guide us all at such times. When warning that the “leaven” of self-righteousness exists in the best of Christians, Newton wrote: “Controversies, for the most part, are so managed as to indulge rather than to suppress this wrong disposition.” Pray for us that moves and changes like these will be marked on all sides by the startling, visible graciousness that should be present in all saved by grace. 

Consider how peculiar it is to accuse someone of divisiveness and stridency and then to say they won’t make “the departing persons look bad,” and then to jump to the moral high ground by warning everyone against self-righteousness with a thunderclap of authority from a John Newton letter.

It’s a great technique: Readers of The Gospel Coalition website naturally will be dazzled by the reference to a Newton letter — plus, they’ll immediately know that self-righteousness is a horrible label we can all agree we’d like to avoid.

So Keller and Carson’s last paragraph pulls the rug over the earlier accusations of divisiveness and stridency, or directs attention away from the accusations. But, whether Tullian deserved it or not, in that post, Keller and Carson have already made him look bad (“strident” and “divisive”), which in turn makes their call to avoid self-righteousness and their commitment to avoid making “the departing persons look bad” seem disingenuous.