The confusion on the relationship between man as both a spiritual being and a corporeal being continues to flex its muscle among those reputed to be pillars in the Church. If this confusion were a disease the fatalities among the inhabitants of the Evangelical/Reformed/Lutheran Church would be so catastrophic that people would be thinking the church would never recover from this pandemic.
The most recent example of someone showing all the symptoms of diapslama-ia is Dr Joe Boot. I find this most disappointing since I’ve profited by the writings and speaking of Boot. I’ve read many of the man’s works and though I’ve had a quibble here or there, (like being too influenced by the Amsterdam philosophy school) on the whole I have recommended his writings.
Now I will have to explain to people, to whom I recommending reading Boot, that he is not trustworthy on the issue of the man as a dichotomous being.
Before we get to the Boot quote, allow me to interject that I am no apologist for Dr. Stephen Wolfe. I offer that because the Boot quote comes as lodging a complaint against Wolfe. My problem with Wolfe is his reliance on Natural Law theory. However, this complaint by Boot as little to do with that aspect of Wolfe’s thinking.
So, here is the monstrously stupid quote from Dr. Joe Boot;
“Wolfe seems oblivious to the fact that, had his course of making a given country the absolute cultural possession of its people – simultaneously absolutizing a ‘natural right’ of ethnic and cultural particularity – been taken seriously by missionaries to the Anglo-Saxon world, none of us would be Christians today, but would still be drinking the blood of the dead! Nor would William Carey, the remarkable British missionary to India, have worked against his host culture to abolish the heinous custom of Sati (burning the living wife on the funeral pyre of her dead husband). In his enthusiasm to preserve the remnants of the Anglo-European Christian culture of America, Wolfe fails to grasp its religious, not ethnic root (incredible in itself, since America is a new nation of immigrants) and cuts a re-paganizing America off from the possibility of godly transformation by incoming Christian missionaries from around the world calling the nation to repentance.”
“Christianity Versus Racism”
1.) Boot’s accusation here, boiled down to its essence, is that Wolfe is a ethno-cultural particularist to such a degree that Wolfe is saying that if we really took seriously the necessity of every people to have its own cultural particularity then we would not take up the Great Commission in order to herald Christ to heathen anti-Christ cultures for fear of changing their cultural particularity.
The problems with that assertion by Boot against Wolfe are;
A.) Nowhere, have I read Wolfe propose any such nonsense.
B.) The accusation that Wolfe would not be interested in Missions endeavors in no way follows the idea that Wolfe favors cultural particularity for people of a particular country, who are the absolute possessors of its culture. It does not follow because when the Gospel works to redeem Christ-haters from their empty way of life as handed down to them from their ancestors it does not mean they lose their cultural particularity. What redeemed cultures lose, is the sinfulness that characterized their culture. Boot seems to forget that grace restores nature and the nature that grace restores is what makes for the particularity of any given people. Now, to be sure, there will be changes in those cultures but those changes that come from being redeemed will not eliminate the particularity of any given people. Wolfe can hold to cultural particularity of any given people and still believe in the necessity of the Great Commission, knowing that a redeemed people and so culture will still be unique vis-a-vis other redeemed people’s and cultures.
2.) Basically, Joe Boot is arguing that to believe ethno-cultural preservation and separation precludes receiving the Gospel and repenting as corporate national salvation would require giving up the sinful expressions of an ethnicity’s identity. Boot is saying that Wolfe so favors nature that Wolfe’s position requires the refusal of grace to restore nature.
So, this accusation despite 2000 years of Church history that teaches that the Gospel changes people, peoples, and cultures while still leaving them a particularly ethnic people. Does Boot think that if different people groups become Christian therefore all cultures lose their particularity and so are going to be the same across the board?
As my British friend Henry Plantagenet said in a conversation concerning this monstrously stupid Boot quote;
“It’s as insane as saying that if we believe gender is fundamental to being human that we are precluding the Gospel from redeeming men and women because to do so would change the particularity of their gendered expression.”
3.) Joe Boot’s presupposition here is that to believe that blood relations have inherent and defining characteristics upon the nature of man, as Wolfe and all sane people do, is to reject the spiritual power of the Gospel. Boot is accusing Wolfe of absolutizing the corporeal side of man so that it would be impossible to own spiritual impact. As such, Boot is accusing Wolfe of being a materialist in this accusation, which I find interesting because it is the kind of accusation one might expect to find a Gnostic make against someone who claims that man’s material (genetic) side is really real. Is Boot laced with Gnosticism?
4.) Boot’s accusation that Wolfe prioritizes a people’s ethnic over religious root is insane. Indeed, some of us have been saying that Wolfe prioritizes man’s religious root over his ethnic roots. Wolfe has gone out of his way to insist that his theory of “Nationalism” does not absolutize, nor even necessarily prioritize ethnicity/race.
5.) We need to realize here that culture is merely the outward manifestation of a people groups belief. Culture is theology poured over ethnicity as existing in a particular place. Given that definition of culture (theology made manifest) when Boot accuses of Wolfe of what Boot accuses him of, Boot is saying that Wolfe is not interested in seeing a people’s theology changed to be Christ honoring. This is a serious accusation to make against a fellow Christian. Does Boot really believe that Wolfe desires for the unconverted to remain unconverted?
6.) Boot raises the old canard, that just isn’t true, that America was a nation of immigrants as if it never had a ethno-racial base, but was solely founded on ideas (propositional nationhood). I have demonstrated so often here, with quotes from the founding fathers, that the founders would have said that Joe Boot was full of fertilizer when he insists that we are a nation which has not ethno-racial base. If anyone happens to be reading this and wants me to reproduce the quotes once again, I’ll be happy to do that.
Let’s here from Henry Plantagenet again;
“I don’t get why everyone today fails to recognize that the redemptive order is simply the original Creation order cleansed from the power of sin.”
So, unless Boot repents, count him as just another platformed Reformed scholar who is stupid when it comes to the issue of basic Christian anthropology.