Musings After Listening to Sodomite but Celibate Rev. Dr. Greg Johnson Interview

After listening to a Greg Johnson (he of PCA celibate sodomite Pastor fame) interview last night followed immediately by reading the PCA open letter penned and signed by 13 of the past 15 PCA Moderators assuring God and the world that all is fine in the good ship PCA I was struck with the fact of how this is a classic worldview contest.

I am convinced that these moderators who penned this open letter as well as the nearly 600 Elders who signed the previous open letter are completely bumfuzzled as to why anybody could possibly have a problem with Dr. Greg Johnson serving as a PCA minister. In point of fact, these folks believe that Johnson is proof of God’s rich mercy and thank God for Johnson’s presence in the PCA.

Meanwhile, I am at the same time equally convinced that those who oppose Johnson are overwrought with the shame that Johnson brings to the PCA.

These two groups might as well be living on two different planets speaking two different languages. There is simply no way that anyone member of one group can thoroughly understand the position of the other group on this subject.

This kind of thing happens when people on both sides are each using the same words but are filling those words with completely different content. And that happens because there are two completely different worldviews. Words take their meaning depending upon the worldview in which they are operating.

So in this PCA mess, everyone is talking about “grace,” “sin,” “God,” “forgiveness,” “sanctification,” etc. but each side is obviously filling those words with a different meaning. The PCA wouldn’t be at this point if that was not the case.

In my estimation, those who are championing Johnson have their roots in some way in the Sonship movement originally started by Jack Miller. The hallmark of this movement is the graciousness of grace but the danger is that grace would often end up being defined by the Sonship advocates in such a way as to leave the door open for antinomianism. Grace was so wrongly emphasized that it diminished the necessity to take seriously God’s word when we are instructed,

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Johnson, in embracing his same-sex attraction reality that can’t be changed as somehow normative for him and others who have the same attraction Johnson champions a kind of grace that makes way for an antinomian license. Grace not only reminds us of how we are always forgiven, loved, and accepted in Christ. Grace also drives a gratitude that is relentless in making it our goal to please God.  God is not pleased with His children turning grace into license.

In the past the knock against some Sonship devotees is that they forgot St. Paul’s words, “Shall we go on sinning that grace may abound? God forbid.” As this works itself out in the Dr. Greg Johnson (a celibate sodomite Pastor) case, it is my conviction that God’s grace is being used as a cover for the embrace of Johnson’s same-sex attraction.

Another thing this means is that the PCA has to split or congregations have to start individually leaving as they can. This is a massive worldview split that is going to start revealing itself more and more all the way down the line in every subject matter.

Post-Modern Hermeneutic Taught At A Wesleyan University

“One can very well hear God’s voice through Scripture just fine without the AHA, but you will never understand Scripture as it actually is if you think the meaning you see in it is ‘in there.’ Meaning is not ‘in’ a text. Meaning is a function of the way words are used by readers. The meaning of the Bible is not in the Bible. It is in the reader of the Bible.

If the reader of the Bible reads the words with the assumptions of common Christian faith, they will read it as Scripture. They will read it Christianly. If a person reads it with their denominational assumptions, they will read it and see the teachings of their denominations. And if one reads it in terms of the assumptions of the original contexts of each text, then one will read in it in terms of what it actually and originally meant.”

Wesleyan University Professor (WUP)

1.) WUP has given us a text in which, according to his own testimony, has no meaning in it. There is no meaning in this text. The only meaning in the text that WUP has given us here is a meaning of how I, the reader, use the words. Though it should be kept in mind that given WUP ‘s understanding, WUP has not really given us any meaning but only words in which we bring meaning.

So given that reality, the meaning I, the sovereign reader, find in this text is that “there is a need to pick up some Hairspray for Cinco-De-Maya day festival, condoms for party favors, hair glue for that stand up finish, and horses for pool dipping excuses.”

Now, of course, everyone thinks that silly but there is a point that I am making here and that is that in order for WUP’s postmodern interpretive process to get off the ground he is assuming what he denies to be the case. He is assuming some kind of static meaning in what he writes that is decipherable and yet he wants to deny that same static meaning to be found in other texts.

Second, on this score, clearly, as an author trying to communicate with a reader, WUP  would not want someone to do such interpretive damage to what he has written and yet that is a legitimate outcome according to his hermeneutic. Once the author is dead, there are no limits on where the sovereign reader can take a text.

2.) WUP denies that there is meaning in the text but still insists that God’s voice can be heard in Scripture. Clearly, the question is, “How.” Whatever voice of whatever god that WUP is hearing in the text is a God and a voice that has no connection to God as the author of the text. The advocacy of hearing God’s voice through Scripture in such a theory can only be the hearing of a completely objectively unknowable god. WUP has given us the mystical hearing of god’s voice that one might find in the writings of Meister Eckhart.

3.) Note that WUP still writes about “understanding Scripture as it actually is,” as if the text of Scripture has some stable objective meaning that can be appealed to. And yet such a statement is in clear contradiction to everything else WUP writes in these two paragraphs. If meaning is what the reader invents and has no correlation to any authorial intent then there is no understanding Scripture as it actually is because there is no Scripture that objectively is apart from a plethora of potentially differing sovereign readers.

4.) For all I’ve said so far, it must be conceded that meaning is not isolated to the text. In order for meaning to be realized, there has to be a confluence of the author’s intent w/ the reader’s understanding. The text does have objective meaning but if the subject who is reading the text never arrives at that meaning, meaning has not been achieved for the subject and remains dormant in the text and unrealized in the reader.

5.) It is curious that WUP would admit that “Meaning is a function of the way words are used by readers,” and yet not simultaneously realize that meaning also is a function of the way words are used by writers. Still, we have to realize that for WUP, the author is dead.

6.) WUP tells us that we must get to the assumptions of the original contexts in order to get to what was actually and originally meant. This is either subterfuge or ignorance on WUP ‘s part for it it simply is the case that according to WUP’s own paradigm it is impossible to get to the assumptions of the original contexts since it is only by means of texts that have no inherent meaning that one can explore the assumptions of the original contexts. If only texts can give original contexts and if no text has meaning that the reader does not bring then how can original contexts give us assumptions that informed texts?

7.) Note that for WUP that God as the author has completely disappeared. One can read the text w/ Christian assumptions and so come up w/ Christian meaning. One can read the text with Denominational assumptions and so come up w/ denominational meanings. And in a contradictory voice (see #6) WUP writes that one can read the text with originalist assumptions and come up w/ originalist meanings. However, what WUP never says is that the text can be read w/ God’s assumptions and so one can come up with God’s meaning of the text.

8.) Now having said all this, I would insist that arriving at God’s meaning in the text is not a “science.” I do think that arriving at God’s meaning in the text can at times be as much intuitive as it is following some kind of 10 step method. However, in order for the intuitive to work our intuitions have to be trained by an ordered process. Much like before an acclaimed artist can break the boundaries of his art, thus creating true masterpieces, so the Maestro Biblical interpreter will break the boundaries of his circumscribing methodologies and discover truths in God’s word that others will never see because he follows intuition that was formed by years of ordered process.

WUP wants to skip all the ordered processes and go straight to the Masterpiece. This is like thinking that a 5-year-old just beginning to learn the violin will create some masterpiece.

WUP ’s methodology is going to give us a generation of men in the pulpit that are just as dangerous as he is.

A Brief Meditation on Ecclesiastes 7:13

Consider the work of God

For who can make straight what He has made crooked.
Ecclesiastes 7:13

1.) Note that God is ascribed the power of making matters crooked. Clearly a statement of God’s sovereignty.

2.) Christians often are guilty in history of rushing in to make straight what God has decreed to be crooked and as such find themselves to be fighting against God.

3.) Note that God is not absent from the crooked things in the world. Things or matters are not crooked by fate, chance, or any other impersonal abstraction. God is personally present in all things … both crooked and straight

4.) Coming as this does in the context of wisdom, the appeal seems to be for the wise to show their wisdom by being able to discern what in God’s work he has made crooked.

May God give us the wisdom to rightly discern.

Revelation Before Reason

Naked Reason cannot rebuild Christian civilization.

No, there must first be a pre-theoretical revelational commitment that is anchored in the testimony of the Scriptures in order for reason to be reasonable and in order for reason to be of usage in rebuilding Christendom.

Well… it is not only Christians who understand that putatively naked reason cannot provide answers. It is also the case that many non-Christians get that point also. This explains our turn to the non-rational and the irrational. Pagan Intellectuals have for decades now have understood that there is no rational reason for rationality.

As of late, we have been deluged with the philosophy of postmodernism which boldly says things like what was recently said by a Syracuse University philosophy and religion professor Prof. John Caputo who critiqued the notion of pure reason as simply being a “white male Euro-Christian construction.”

Given its emphasis on first principles and abstract thought, it may be tempting to view academic philosophy as a turf where the race of participants matters little, but Caputo says that’s entirely untrue. In fact, race is of central importance, and it’s proven by the mundane phrases philosophers use. Captuo offered that the supposed “reason” underlying philosophy is just another form of white privilege … or something of that nature.

So, academia in many cases is proudly touting that reason and logic are themselves socially constructed, and being socially constructed they (logic and reason) are used by white people to be oppressors. And as this is becoming a watchword among academia it teaches us again that reason alone will not rebuild Christendom.

International Woman’s Day with Eta Linnemann … Identifying Historical-Critical Methodology

I thought in honor of International Woman’s Day, I would spend some time reading a female theologian. I am sensitive to these kinds of special days as I am always trying to find ways to fit in. In light of that,I am finishing up Eta Linnemman’s, “Historical Criticism of the Bible; Methodology or Ideology?” Linneman was trained by some of the best known Historical-Critical “theologians” on the Continent (Bultmann, Fuchs, Gogarten, Ebeling). After writing a couple books using this methodology she was, by her own testimony, converted. In this book, she examines her former “theology” from a Biblical foundation. From the outset Linnemann lets her mind be known,

“Today, I realize that historical-critical theology’s monopolistic character and worldwide influence is a sign of God’s judgment (Romans 1:18-32).

Eta Linnemann
Historical Criticism of the Bible; Methodology or Ideology — pg. 18

She has confirmed for me that the Historical-critical hermeneutical school is characterized by the following,

1.) Historical-Critical theology presupposes that the supernatural is not true. Now, they may talk about the supernatural and they may talk about God but in their worldview “God” is defined in one of two ways. God is either defined as non-transcendent so that he is completely immanent

“A scientific historiography arose which first excluded God as an active agent in the historical process by introducing ‘a god of the philosophers’ who conveyed awareness of himself immanently in the course of history. This pseudo-god soon turned out to be superfluous, but he had served to eliminate the possibility of the true God’s real and ongoing activity in human history. In this way there came to be a totally atheistical historical ‘science.'”

Eta Linnamenn
Historical Criticism of the Bible; Methodology or Ideology — pg. 30

Or God is so transcendent that His transcendence is beyond the ability for the creature to know anything about himA God this transcendent ends up being no different than a God who is completely immanent. Any talk of the “supernatural” for this kind of theologian finds such supernatural as the result of the outworking of the Geist in the historical process. This remains a completely immanent process.

Yarbough offers in the introduction to Linnemann’s work,

“In the historical-critical hermeneutic, God as understood in historic orthodox Christian, thought is systematically ruled out of consideration and is replaced by human self-awareness and purely immanent forces; as the historical theology textbooks put it, anthropology replaces theology.”

Robert Yarbrough
Translator’s Introduction
Historical Criticism of the Bible; Methodology or Ideology — pg. 12

2.)  Historical-critical theology insists that the text must be approached by neither presupposing that it is or is not true or false. Complete neutrality as accompanied by a putatively presuppositional-less bias is the required approach. Of course, by not presupposing that the text is God’s authoritative Word the result is that man becomes sovereign over God’s Word in determining what is to be believed and what is to be eschewed. Of course, this is sold as the ability to be “completely objective,” but objectivity has been completely surrendered the minute that presuppositions affirming the truthfulness of God’s Word are surrendered. There is no reasoning from nowhere. Everyone approaches texts with faith assumptions. Surrendering proper God-centered presuppositions means embracing improper humanist centered presuppositions. Neutrality is a myth.

Linnemann offers,

“In Historical-Critical methodology, the research is conducted ut si Deus non daretur (as if there were no God). That means the reality of God is excluded from consideration from the start, even if the researcher acknowledges that God could bear witness of Himself in His Word. The standard by which all is assessed is not God’s Word but ‘scientific’ principle…. Scientific principle has come to have the status of idol.”

Eta Linnamenn
Historical Criticism of the Bible; Methodology or Ideology? — pg. 84

3.) One sign of Historical-Critical theology is the tendency to read the varying human authors of the Scripture as if they are in contradiction with one another. As a random example, when one pits the “Theology of Luke” against say the “Theology of Peter,”  as if they contradict each other what one has done, whether they realize it or not, is to have embraced a paradigm that eschews divine inspiration. If God is ultimately the one author of all the authors of Revelation then it cannot be held that those authors contradict one another unless one is willing to say that God contradicts Himself.

4.) The Historical-Critical method tends to find a canon within a canon. This arbitrary canon then becomes the prism through which all other books of the bible are read.

Linneman again,

“In order to do justice to the claim of authority which the Biblical canon has for the church, and also for personal orientation, one seeks a canon within the canon. A few come up with little more than Romans 7, the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, and the parable of the final judgment in Matthew 25. For others, this ‘canon within the canon’ extends further. In either case, this standard is used to assess the rest of the Bible, and Sachkritik (a method in which what is deemed to be of central importance is used as a standard against which other parts of the Bible are measured) is employed, whether implicitly or explicitly.”

Eta Linnamenn
Historical Criticism of the Bible; Methodology or Ideology? — pg.  86

By using this Sachkritik methodology all that lies outside of or is in contradiction to the Historical-Critical “theologian’s” hobby horses are readily overturn.

5.) The art of Pseudomorphosis is ubiquitous. Linnemann informs us that Pseudomorphosis is when concepts are emptied of their meaning and then filled with a new content which has no more in common with the original meaning than the name itself.  In Pseudomorphosis Christian words and phrases, while being retained, have been hollowed out by the Enlightenment project. The ideas of the Endarkenment, from Deism to Transcendentalism – Romanticism, to Darwinism, to Existentialism – Nihilism to Postmodernism, all have been as so many ichneumon flies who laid their eggs inside their Christian host. On the outside, the host may look fine but on the inside, the larvae are eating out the host from the inside out. The outer form of Christianity has remained undamaged. We still use the same language and jargon. But the thing itself is dead, and what will soon emerge is the ugly offspring of the flies who successfully laid their eggs. What Linnemann offers as Pseudomorphosis others have labeled as “linguistic deception.”

6.) There is a distinction made between the words of the Bible and God’s Word. The Bible is the Word of God is exchanged for “the Bible contains the word of God and so may become the Word of God.” This forms the genesis of what became known as encounter theology. The Bible may well become the word of God for the reader in an encounter that results in a meaningful experience but Scripture itself is not the objective word of God.  Eta Linnemaan offers,

The Bible is no longer esteemed as God’s word in the way it is handled. It is taken for granted that the words of the Bible and God’s words are not identical. The printed matter between the two covers of the Bible is said not to be God’s word in and of itself. It becomes God’s Word only from time to time when it functions as through reading or preaching.”

Eta Linnamenn
Historical Criticism of the Bible; Methodology or Ideology? — pg.  85