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Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Doug Wilson has a followup post to his previous one on the difficulties of discerning the difference between false teachers and false dichotomies.
One of the first things to distinguish is someone who wants to go the same place you do, but has a different view about how best to do it, from someone who wants to go somewhere completely different, but wants to use the same methods you are using. Distinguish principles and methods -- where you are going is more important than how you get there. This is not to say that how you get there is unimportant; it is simply less important.
So if one man wants to drive to the East Coast in a Ford, he has more in common with a man who wants to do the same thing in a Chevvy than he does with another man driving to the West Coast in a Ford. Couple this with the fact that it is possible to pass someone on the road who is going the opposite direction, and at the precise moment when you do that, you are in exactly the same spot. Further, somebody else who is going to the same place you are might be a hundred miles behind you.
And sometimes it is hard to tell, when you are in the same spot, if you actually are headed in opposite directions. The whole thing can be quite confusing.
Now in this context, what statement is being made when you team up with somebody? A lot depends on the nature of the yoke. If you are bringing someone on to the local session, you ought to be saying that you believe there is a fundamental like-mindedness. If you invite someone to your conference, it means at the least that you want to be friends and that you believe his ministry is going more good than harm. Or maybe it is doing more harm than good, but not by much, and you want to play the role of Priscilla and Aquila to his Apollos (Acts 18:26) simply because the trajectory is promising.
In order to sort all this out, you have to have a sharp and clear distinction between the fundamentals and the secondaries, and you have to have the right kind of suspicious mind concerning your own rascal heart. Rascal hearts find just the wrong thing to do at just the wrong time, just like raccoons can find the garbage cans.
Now, with this said, what issues are fundamental in our day? This is key -- one of the common mistakes is that of thinking that the decisive point in the 16th century has to be the decisive point today. This is yet another failure to read the narrative right. Principles are constant, but plot points aren't. But, lest this point be mistaken, as it always is, our Protestant fathers in the 16th century were right to take the stand they did, and the pope and his Council were wrong.
Where is the battle now? What are the issues that threaten the purity of the gospel now? Where are the compromises now?
The real rot that we must contend with begins with Darwin, not Bonaventure, and any and all accommodations with Darwin. Darwin gave modernity the mechanism it needed to throw off the authority of God's Word, and the sovereignty of the Lord Christ. Darwin is foundational to the secularist modernity project, but there is more. He is also foundational to the postmodern goo cauldron that is our culture today, and every form of what I have called pomosexuality. It is striking that postmodernists never want to be post-Darwinian.