Nisbet and McAtee on the Professional Man of Knowledge

“Who, we are obliged to ask, looks with respect any longer to the professional man of knowledge: whether scientist or scholar?”

Robert Nisbet 
Twilight of Authority — pg. 110

Nisbet goes on to explain why this is so. This is so because the putative “wise men” for so many generations have disappointed and let us down. People have gotten wise to the con that the professional men of knowledge pulled for so long. For a couple generations, now these men have been all hat and no cattle.

In my environs, I see this most commonly among the clergy. The clergy was once accepted as the professional men of knowledge par excellent. This is rightfully no longer the case among and for those who are not simpletons or groupies.

The clergy has shown themselves too often to be vacuous hacks whose expertise is more akin to the kind of expertise one finds in those who have made a career of building McDonald and other fast food franchises.

Clergy as “Professional men of knowledge?” That is almost as incongruent and ridiculous as the idea of Psychologists as being “Healthcare providers for the mind,” or “Friends of the Court” as being “Friends of the family.”

And so, we must each, on our own, go to the well of knowledge, and labor to be our own “Professional men of knowledge,” because it is unlikely (though not impossible) that we are going to find Professional men of knowledge in this culture. We must become a culture of autodidacts, eschewing the popular outlets of knowledge such as University, and Pulpit.

Now, don’t mistake this commentary as the kind of anti-intellectualism found among what was known as the Fundamentalist movement that arose in response to the Liberalism of the early 20th century. If anything this is a plea for a return to a Biblically centered and grounded intellectualism. Everywhere we turn it seems as if Nisbet’s professional man of knowledge has been educated into imbecility. We are asked to believe the most outlandish contradictions and to embrace the most preposterous suppositions. In the Reformed Church alone we are presented with just ridiculous systems to believe in such as the New Perspective on Paul, Radical Two Kingdom “Theology,” “Reformed Catholicism,” “Federal Visionism,” and “Liberation ‘Theology,'” not to mention the usual Pietism that has infected the Reformed Church for so long.

The Professional man of knowledge, may well still exist, just as the Bornean orangutan or the Black-footed ferret exists but all and each is nigh unto extinction.  If you find a live professional man of knowledge still in his original habitat make sure you do all you can to protect him from predators. If you can’t find one, it is to the library you must go for only there does the professional man of knowledge still exist.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

2 thoughts on “Nisbet and McAtee on the Professional Man of Knowledge”

    1. Debunking R2K

      The World is Christ’s by Willem J. Ouweneel
      The Escondido Theology by John Frame
      Christ and Covenant Theology: Essays on Election, Republication, by Cornelius Venema
      Kingdoms Apart: Engaging the Two Kingdoms Perspective by Ryan C. McIlhenny

      Federal Vision

      The Auburn Avenue Theology Pros & Cons Debating the Federal Vision by E. Calvin Beisner
      The Federal Vision and Covenant Theology: A Comparative Analysis by Guy Prentiss Waters

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