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J.P. Moreland & the Psychoses of Evangelical Cultural Engagement

I recently did something that I make it a point to never, ever, ever do.  I picked up a copy of a book by J.P. Moreland, Kingdom Triangle.  I was wrong to do it and I should have stuck to my guns and just put the book on the shelves after cataloging it at work.  But alas, I did not.  Instead I skimmed through the whole thing and am now thoroughly convinced of one important theological point: the only difference between Radical Orthodoxy and contemporary evangelicalism is that RO has more rhetorical flourish and has read some western literature and continental philosophy.  Other than that, they are the same.  Both of them consist of asserting that the contemporary cultural zeitgeist is inherently nihilistic, irrational, barbaric, and stupid and the Christian worldview, or metanarrative (which they understand with absolute perfection) is the only solution to the world’s woes.  Or, more specifically, the only solution to the infinite nihilism and vicious solipsism of the horrifyingly secular world is for the Christian worldview/metanarrative to take over the world with the church regaining cultural dominance and power.  In short, they are both so terrified of modernity that Christendom sounds super wonderful and awesome.  So let’s do that!

I’ve already wrote enough on RO about this for the time being, so evangelicalism, and particularly Moreland are really in my crosshairs right now.  His book opens with this following statement:

The year 1974 was declared the Year of the Evangelical.  Apparently no one was listening.  The year came and went as our culture continued slouching towards Gomorrah.  Fast forward to 2007.  Islamic terrorism threatens our borders, our political discourse is shrill and spoken in sound bites, and an epidemic of pornography addiction threatens the very possibility of healthy relationships between men and women.  People have to think twice about whether saving aborted babies or snail darters are more important.  We can’t agree about the sexual makeup of a healthy family. (p. 12)

Moreland goes on to say that the reason evangelicals didn’t rise to the occasion in 1974 is because the cultural revolution of the 60′s was still so recent that we hadn’t yet reached the bowels of Gomorrah and seen the fullness of horrors that has resulted from our culture’s rejection of the “Judeo-Christian worldview”.  However, now that we have seen all those aforesaid horrors, we must now rise to the occasion:

Since the mid 1800s, there has never been a greater window of opportunity for us to seize the moment and, by our lives and thought, to show our culture the way forward.  Now is the time for us to stop being thirty years behind the times.  Now is the time for us to gather our confidence and lead. (p. 12)

Yes!  Absolutely!  Christians must take over the world for God!  Here is the quintessentially nostalgic contemporary evangelical battle cry.  We must regain control of the world and save it with our better worldview.  Moreland goes on to argue in his book that the two principle opponents of Christianity today are “naturalism” and “postmodernism” which yield a “thin” and “meaningless” world.  The solution is his “kingdom triangle” which is to 1) recover the Christian mind (aka analytic philosophy and foundationalism), 2) to renovate the soul (aka spiritual formation in the vein of Dallas Willard), and finally 3) to restore the Spirit’s power (aka to recognize that there are still miracles going on á la Jack Deere – I guess Moreland’s some kind of neocharismatic now).

I could continue to supply a litany of references from this book that reveal its totally nostalgic, fear-driven, and power-grabbing thrust.  Moreland wants evangelicals to run the world for God.  The “we” of his book is always Christians in America, and America is the subject of his hoped for Christian takeover.  His uncritically Americanized cultural polemic immediately assumes that Christians have a stake in making America work and that America somehow has a special claim on Christian’s loyalty.  This of course has everything to do with Moreland’s hopes for an Amerianized Christendom where conservative family values run the world.

However, his hopes for how this wonderous world of American Christendom  are to be realized are utterly pelagianistic and hinge on Christians having the most unassailably brilliant philosophy and strategy that we will sweep away those damn secularists and postmodernists and finally get things back to the way they were in the good old mid 1800s.  I could go on a tirade about this forever, so let me just give two main points of critique.

 First, Moreland’s proposals for cultural engagement are Pelagian and driven by an utter lack of trust in the Triune God.  The inside flap on the front cover of this book states that “the biblical worldview [is] the only hope for the world”.  Maybe this is just a faux pas on Moreland’s part, but a statement such as that is not simply wrong, it is heretical.  The only hope for the world is not a worldview, but a person, Jesus Christ.  However, I think this statement much more than a faux pas, but rather the thrust of the entire book.  Moreland’s whole agenda is for the church to save the world that is “slouching toward Gomorrah“.  There is no sense of trust and hope in the transcendent power of the Triune God to transform the world, or more accurately that in Christ the transformation of the world has already happened.  Rather, for Moreland it is our job to get God’s work done by saving the world. 

This is nowhere more evident than in his third element of the “kingdom triangle” that we are to “restore the Spirit’s power”.  What could be more pretentious and heretical than the idea that it is up to us to be restoring the Spirit’s power?  Moreland’s book seems so terrified by how culture has fallen away from his particular understanding of conservative politics and values (his “Judeo-Christian worldview”, which by the way is an abstraction, but that’s another discussion) that instead of faith in God being proclaimed, instead we are thrown back upon ourselves to renew our minds, renovate our souls and restore the power of the Spirit.  However, in the Bible it is the Spirit who blows where he wishes and now one knows where he is going or coming from (Jn. 3:8).  Likewise it is not we who transform ourselves by renewing our minds, but God in Christ who conforms us to the image of the beloved Son (Rom. 8:29, 12:2).  Moreland seems to think that these activities are not the works of the Triune God extra nos, rather we are thrown back upon ourselves to accomplish these tasks, thereby saving the world, at least in a provisional sense.  This is functional Pelagianism at best.  The irony is that Moreland hails from a Calvinistic and dispensational premillennialist school and is here advancing a proposal that is Pelagian and postmillennial.

 Second, Moreland’s critiques of contemporary culture are a bunch of bourgeois, affluent, western platitudes driven by a typically American conservativism.  Just glance at the above quote on Moreland’s litany of what’s wrong with our hellish culture.  For Moreland the symptoms of our culture’s descent into Gomorrah are evidenced by Islamic terrorists, political rhetoric(read: liberals), pornography, abortion, and homosexuality.  Now let me be clear, I don’t think any of those things are good at all.  If you’ve read this blog much you know I’m pretty conservative on sexual ethics and I think abortion is a terrible reality in our society.  That said, what does it mean when these are the issues that define what Moreland is against?  His snide comment about saving darter snails just makes light of Christians who think we should be concerned about the environment. And where is poverty?  Globalization? Consumer capitalism?  I shouldn’t even mention that racism never appears in Moreland’s field of vision – though, since he is so nostalgic about the mid 1800s maybe we better not bring that one up?  I don’t know how anyone but a white Christian could make so stupid a statement as Moreland’s implication that the 19th century was the golden age of Christianity.

This agenda is a typical conservative one.  It is bourgeois and elitist to the core.  Only someone how has never had to go hungry or been unable to afford clean water has time to sit around and imagine that the gay family next door and internet porn are the biggest problems with our culture.  In a world where ethnic cleansings and genocides (which have everything to do with global capitalism and the conditions it creates) are ignored because they aren’t being perpetrated on people in the western hemisphere, if the only cultural critique Christians are able to produce is rants about sexual morality and abortion, then Christianity is in a sad state indeed.  It is self-righteous and immoral for Christians to parade agendas like Moreland’s while ignoring the “weightier matters of the law” (Matt. 23:23).  And that is exactly what this book does.

Believe it or not, I really am trying not to be too shrill with this critique, but I find Moreland’s perspective on culture to be so asinine and militant that I’m sure I get a little too revved up about it.  I hope that won’t alienate all readers.  But regardless, I think books like this and thinkers like Moreland are far more dangerous to the church than nutty atheists like Richard Dawkins.  It is the militants like Moreland who polarize Christians and cripple our authentic witness as they try to grab cultural and political power for the church.  It has nothing to do with cross and resurrection and everything to do with crossing the Rubicon.  Christians should be horrified by such a theological and political agenda.

27 Comments

  1. Bobby Grow wrote:

    You’re white, you’re not hungry . . . right Halden?

    Let me say, I don’t agree with Moreland, on quite a few things, esp. his complimentarianism, and his “rationalist” approach to Christianity. Didn’t you know that molinism is all the rage at Talbot, and theologically, many of the profs are Arminian.

    But I think your critique is overstated . . . but then again you did note that you get revved up here. Anyway, it does bother me that Moreland focuses on some moral evils (homosexuality, abortion, etc.), and not others, which are most pressing (i.e. poverty, disease, famine, etc.).

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007 at 11:12 am | Permalink
  2. Halden wrote:

    I’m not pretending to belong to the oppressed, Bobby. I know I’m part of the elite. I’m doing my best to repent by living a life of intentional sharing, giving, and simple living but I make no claim to have perfectly repented. But I don’t think I have to have reached perfection in discipleship or be impoverished to make a legitimate observation that Moreland’s theology is elitist and bourgeois. I stand by that.

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007 at 11:27 am | Permalink
  3. Matt Wiebe wrote:

    Thanks for this critique Halden. I just finished reading the book itself (more like, I forced myself to read it) and I came away deeply disturbed by the first corner of his “triangle.”

    I read the book because I was intrigued to see that a apologist was also encouraging the pursuit of miracles and spiritual gifts. I hoped to see some intellectual rigor balanced out with some desire for the Holy Spirit’s activity, because it often seems that there’s an uncrossable divide between intellectuals and charismatics.

    Sadly, I found only the same old apologetic bombast, coupled with an overly simplistic pneumatology. Throw in some right-wing politics for seasoning, and a dinner that’ll leave me passing gas for a couple of days is served…

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007 at 5:04 pm | Permalink
  4. Jordan wrote:

    While I am not arguing that we should not critique one another, I am surprised to read such an arrogant blog post that acts as though you got in the head of Moreland and now know all of his hidden agendas or “fears” that remain behind the scenes. You said yourself that you “skimmed” the book, and your post seems to reveal (I’m willing to be wrong here) that you don’t even know Moreland. Do I expect you to? Yes and no. No, because not everyone can know the authors they read. But yes, because your post is so rigorously argued that it would seem as though you’ve interacted with him on a personal level. You’re unaware of Moreland’s recent theological developments (e.g. being charismatic – you assume this rather than knowing that he actually is charismatic) and you oversimplify his arguments at every possible turn. In the end, your critique tries to leave Moreland in shreds, and you show him very little grace. It seems to me, rather, that you had a bone to pick before you even opened the book, and that somehow the book fulfilled your greatest assumptions only to foster and fuel your desire to unload on Moreland and those like him. I get tired of these kinds of critiques.

    I don’t agree with things J.P. says (so don’t begin by lumping me as a Morelanite or whatnot), but as a person who has conversed with Moreland, taken a class with him, and heard him on many other occasions, I can honestly say you know very little of what he actually thinks/believes (and why), nor do you know his heart. While you’re sick of “conservative militants” like Moreland, I get sick of your kind who launch every possible attach at these people and cease to graciously love and direct those with whom you disagree with. A fine example NOT to follow.

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007 at 7:03 pm | Permalink
  5. Ben wrote:

    I cannot believe someone painted that picture of Jesus “flexing” himself off the cross. Look at how buff he is! I’m not even sure what it’s supposed to imply, unless it’s intentionally sarcastic?

    That’s the Jesus many people want to follow, though.

    Great blog, by the way – found it a few weeks ago.

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007 at 8:32 pm | Permalink
  6. unknownphilosopher wrote:

    This is the most biased, one-sided, mean-spirited, and ignorant review of a book I may have ever read–and I have read thousands. I can only make a few points here. I hope to review the book elsewhere.

    1. There is nothing Pelagian about Moreland’s view. He is simply arguing for radical engagement. While JP is Arminian (not Pelagian!) and I am a Calvinist, I agreed with his approach almost entirely. The results of our efforts are in God’s hands, but we are responsible to think and act. That is JP’s call.

    2. Moreover, there is nothing elitist or uncaring about JP’s approach. He is arguing for a multi-dimensional Christian movement. He says nothing to rule out ministry to the poor and gives some positive examples from such ministries. Simply because he is concerned about homosexuality and internet pornography (which are two tremendous blights on our culture) does not mean that this is all he is concerned about. That is the fallacy of the false dichotomy.

    3. Lastly (I could go on), what JP is advocating has almost nothing in common with Radical Orthodoxy (RO), which is not an evangelical movement at all and which shuns rational apologetics. Apologetics is central to JP’s proposal, as is a high view of Scripture, something also not shared with RO.

    This review is more than just plain wrong; it bears a terrible false witness against a valiant defender of the gospel and a Christian activist–a man who should inspire us to greater faithfullness and courage for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

    Douglas Groothuis

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007 at 9:43 pm | Permalink
  7. Halden wrote:

    Jordan,

    I don’t know Moreland personally, but I am thoroughly familiar with his other work, chiefly Scaling the Scular City and Love the Lord your God With All your Mind. I also studied under students of his, if that means anything to you. While I didn’t intend to convey that I know his every inner thought (I don’t), I do think that our thoughts and feelings come out in texts and that is what I was responding to. I don’t claim to interact with Moreland personally, but I think authors are responsible for what they write and I am familiar with his writings, so the fact that I don’t know him shouldn’t mitigate that. If you find me arrogant, you’re probably right, I know that’s one of my weaknessess. I tried to indicate in the post that the book revved me up, and I hope that qualification would be taken into consideration. And if, after finishing a thorough read of the book I find I was wrong, I’ll happily note that in another post. And the exhortation to love always applies to us all, you’re right about that.

    Doug,

    I’ve read your blog (and some of your books, actually if that interests you) long enough (without commenting, I didn’t want to stir up trouble) to know that we disagree on most everything. I’m sorry that you find me the most mean-spirited, ignorant, biased false witness out of all the “thousands” of book reviews you’ve read. That’s quite a feat, by the way. Thousands? Really? I can only aspire to such things, I guess. I hope you reconsider your opinion of me at some point.

    In regards to your “points”:

    1. I know what Moreland’s soteriology is, I don’t think he is pelagian in the techincal sense, I would hope that would be obvious. However, to state that it is our task to “restore the Spirit’s power” at least sounds pelagian. It implies that the work of the Spirit is something we perform. That is simply bad theology and and I don’t apologize for pointing that out.

    2. I guess you can assert that his desires are multi-dimensional, but that isn’t an argument, and you of all philosophical bloggers should know that. In Moreland’s writings (including, but not limited to this book), he only emphasizes the concerns I listed, which are the concerns of middle class americans. That’s elitist and provincial, not multi-dimensional. I’m against homosexuality and pornography as I note in my post. I just don’t see any indication that the other concerns related to poverty, race, economics, etc that I mentioned are a big deal to Moreland. If he’s really being so multi-dimensional, why don’t any of those things make it into his tirades about all the ways our culture is slouching towards Gomorrah?

    3. The similarity between Moreland’s approach to Christianity and RO is that both believe that it is the Christian worldview/metannarative that is the only hope for the world. Only if everyone is a Christian can the world avoid nihilism. I believe that Jesus Christ is the only hope of the world and the the providence of the Triune God prevents the world from descending into nihilism. Moreland thinks (at least according to his writing, and that’s all I have to go with) that its the church’s job to do that. On that point we disagree.

    And, to be honest, I’d be really surprised to hear if you’ve actually read the RO series. Have you, or is this just all second hand? I’m open to being wrong on this, of course.

    Regardless, thanks for the critique, I know I’m not above error. And, while we disagree on much I would like you to know that we share a common liking of Jacques Ellul’s work on technology and visual media. So maybe there’s some common ground out there between us on that!

    -Halden

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007 at 11:36 pm | Permalink
  8. Derrick wrote:

    Halden!

    Just thought I would throw out some encouraging words, since the there seems to be some fierce reactions to your latest blog entry! While I have not read the book in question, and I have the advantage of knowing you, I thought that, despite the critical tone of the post (it was, after all, a review) I never got the impression that you were being “mean spirited” or “ignorant.” At any rate, whether or not you were harsh (like I said, I haven’t read the book) I was amused (though I’m sure the whole thing wasn’t funny to you) at the callousness of some of the responses, and am still contemplating the irony of the responders duplicating through their ‘critiques’ the worst of the traits they thought they perceived in your post (oops, maybe I’m doing that now…) At any rate Jordan, whose response ender about him being sick of “your kind” (!!) who launch “every possible attach [sic; I'm assuming 'attack'] at these people, and cease to graciously love and direct those with whom you diagree,” is a priceless exersize in not following his own advice. Apparently diatribal embargos on ‘vitriolic rhetoric’ can be suspended when reflexively applied against ‘offenders.’ At any rate, I hope all of us can get along, especially in our disagreements in methodology, material theological decisions, apologetics, social reform, etc…

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 12:19 am | Permalink
  9. Jordan wrote:

    Halden,

    Maybe this wasn’t clear before. I’m not saying you can’t review or critique someone unless you know them. What frustrated me was that your review made such sweeping comments about Moreland’s intentions that were far removed from where he actually stands. And again, as one who knows Moreland on an academic level, I can easily say you’re way off (as does Groothuis). Critique all you want – the academic community needs it. Thus, I’m not upset with ‘what’ you did, but ‘how’ you did it. Perhaps you would never have said half of this to Moreland’s face, and so you simply sat comfortably behind your computer screen as you typed your scathing critique – I have no idea. Hopefully your different in person. Overall, I’ll just be straight up with you: you remind me of an academic snob, and one who seems to realize that this is the case. If you know you struggle with arrogance, perhaps you shouldn’t post reviews when you’re all “revved up.”

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 5:37 am | Permalink
  10. adamsteward wrote:

    Yowser!
    It seems like the Gomorrah Moreland sees us slouching towards isn’t Ezekiel’s. Through this whole thing I was thinking of Eagleton’s quote, and how so much of modern political evangelicalism is just the inverse of the post-modern fixation on bodies: both agree to ignore the starving ones, but we’ve decided to rant against the coupling ones.

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 8:59 am | Permalink
  11. Halden wrote:

    Jordan, don’t you see the irony here? You rant about how I’ve made “sweeping comments” about Moreland and gotten “inside his head”, while all the while telling me that you’re sick of my “kind”, that I’m an “academic snob” and so on. If that’s what you think and you feel compelled to try to make points to personal ridicule, then fine, go for it. I did say some strong thing about what Moreland wrote, but those statements were never personal attacks. I didn’t call him names, I critiqued what he wrote and called it for what I saw it. If that doesn’t sit well with you, then go on over to Doug Groothuis’ blog and I’m sure you’ll have much to high-five each other about.

    My critiques were based on what Moreland wrote and what that conveyed. If what he wrote doesn’t convey how his is in private, then awesome. But you can’t hold me accountable for that. When an author publishes a book they subject the positions that they put forth to scrutiny and critique. An author owns his material and you can’t duck out of a critique by saying “Well if you knew me personally, you’d see how wrong you are.” Moreland may care more about poverty and race relations than anyone else in the world, but in his writings, those are not the concerns he puts forth – and that’s all his readers have to work with, what he writes is what’s making an impact on the church. For these, and other reasons I think the proposals he’s making are deleterious to the Christian faith and I don’t apologize for saying so.

    Thanks for being willing to condescend and talk with an academic snob such as myself. I won’t return the favor and start slinging vitriol at you personally.

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  12. macht wrote:

    I haven’t read the book but based on the review and comments, the following are legitimate concerns, IMO, that haven’t been responded to:

    - Moreland’s use of the phrase “restore the Spirit’s power” is highly troubling

    - I generally don’t trust book covers to accurately reflect what is in the book, but if the contents of the book are in agreement with what is written on the cover (“the biblical worldview [is] the only hope for the world”), then Moreland is surely wrong

    - Halden, you really shouldn’t review books based on a skim

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 10:36 am | Permalink
  13. Jordan wrote:

    Halden,

    I was just being honest with how you presented yourself to me. I thought your critique and replies were snobby, and you think Moreland is fear-driven. To me these are both the same kind of critiques or judgments. You came in throwing punches, so hopefully you can take a few back. While you claim your just judging Moreland by what he wrote, I believe you’re trying to read between the lines and your allowing your preconceived notions of conservative evangelicals to get the best of you. Did Moreland ever have a fair chance to begin with? I’m willing to bet he didn’t. Again, I’ve never argued to stop critiquing Moreland because you don’t know him. I’m simply asking you to perhaps ask some questions and state some problems a little differently. While you think Moreland comes out looking like a power-hungry evangelical who wants to take over the world for Christ, you come off as a bully and disrespectful. Maybe you just don’t care. I can’t really say

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  14. Halden wrote:

    Macht,

    Thanks. Let me just say that this wasn’t really a book review, I was responding to central recurring emphases that I found throughout the book that I found problematic. When I said that I skimmed the book, I don’t mean that I just looked at a couple things. I read through the entire book, I just did so a bit quicker than I normally do without marking pages, etc. I don’t consider it a thorough read until the book is marked and notes are taken! Maybe I should have made that more clear.

    And I feel very confident saying that the statements on the cover reflect the material quite well.

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 11:06 am | Permalink
  15. Halden wrote:

    Jordan, as one who went to a conservative evangelical college and seminary, and still works at one, I think I have first hand experience with conservative evagelicals, not just a bunch of “preconceived notions”. And my attitude toward evangelicals is overwhelmingly positive. I consider myself part of that tradition. Do I dissent on some points? Sure. But your assumption that I just operate off of unfounded assumptions about evangelicals is simply ill-founded.

    Did Moreland ever have a fair chance with me? I guess it’s just good you’re not a betting man or you’d be getting visits from leg-breakers pretty quick. I’ve read his older books as I noted above and his stuff on the life of the mind was helpful to me in the past. Also, and if you’ve read anything on this blog would know that I have little patience for “postmodernism” or “naturalism”. On those points I’m sure Moreland would agree with me. My beef with Moreland’s stuff in this new books is his political rhetoric and his desire to stimulate Christians to take over culture in the name of conservative values. If all you do is keep saying that it’s snobby to criticize that perspective, then it just seems obvious that you hold those values yourself and other people disagreeing with them publicly puts burrs under your saddle.

    I’m happy to take punches, but frankly all you’ve been doing is taking cheap shots and whinning since you entered the discussion. If you have any real critique to make other than “You’re an academic snob and I don’t like you or your kind” then by all means go for it.

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 11:23 am | Permalink
  16. Jordan wrote:

    You keep missing my point. You said:

    “If all you do is keep saying that it’s snobby to criticize that perspective…”

    I have NEVER said that. I’ll say this one last time: I am not against criticizing another’s point of view, no matter where they stand. I am against, however, HOW you do it. Your presentation was snobby (in my opinion). Your content is always welcome, but I am simply asking for a higher standard of presentation that involves a little more grace. When I say grace, I do not mean that you stop criticizing Moreland, or that you let him slide on what you find problematic. Again, it’s how you’re criticizing, not the fact that you criticized him. I’m concerned with your method rather than your content.

    Thanks for filling me in more on your background.

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 12:37 pm | Permalink
  17. Halden wrote:

    I guess I find that weird since you said that my method of criticizing Moreland and you calling me a snob are “the same kind of critiques or judgments”. Why is it ok for you to do it and not me? Frankly it makes my eyebrows go up when I’m exorted on to gracious and loving writing through a stream of personal insults.

    You said earlier that you were “just being honest with how [I] presented [my]self to [you]“. Well, I was just being honest with how Moreland presented his views to me in his book. If you really are concerned with my “method rather than [my] content”, I think you need to take a long look at your methods as well, because by your own admission we’re both doing the same thing. However, if the real issue is that you disagree with my critique, all of this is just dodging the task of actual argument.

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 12:49 pm | Permalink
  18. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Halden said:

    I guess I find that weird since you said that my method of criticizing Moreland and you calling me a snob are “the same kind of critiques or judgments”. . . .

    Let me be the third pary of reason . . . you’re both wrong ;) . Just because Jordan is engaging in the same, doesn’t make yours’ right, Halden (you relativist ;) . . . and just because, Halden is snobby, doesn’t make your tone right, Jordan . . .

    I say this in gist, come on now . . .

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
  19. Jordan wrote:

    I see what you’re saying. To note, I’m not dodging the task of actual argumentation. I’ve taken issue with your method, and thus tried to stick to that issue. I feel that I have tried to be honest with you without blasting you out of the water. I’m open to admitting that I took it too far, and in the end may have simply committed the same action that I was so strongly against. If I did, I genuinely ask for your forgiveness. I still hope that you will change the way you review books, whether it’s J.P. Moreland or whoever else. Blessings.

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 1:46 pm | Permalink
  20. Halden wrote:

    Ok, cool, guys. Glad we could bring things into a different tone. We all have stuff to learn. Except Bobby, of course, paragon of virtue that he is! ; )

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
  21. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Halden said:

    . . . Except Bobby, of course, paragon of virtue that he is! ; )

    Ah, yes . . . this is starting to concern me, Halden, we have agreed on two things in one day (see my site) ;).

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  22. Halden wrote:

    Well if you really want to be freaked out, I’m sure we agree on the following as well:

    Jesus is God
    The Holy Spirit is God
    The Father is God
    There is only one God
    We are saved by grace
    Jesus physically rose from the dead
    Jesus will come again

    And I could go on. So there’s nine things we agree on. Hope you don’t have a seizure! : )

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 2:29 pm | Permalink
  23. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Somebody get a defibulator . . . ;)

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 3:12 pm | Permalink
  24. Halden,

    loved it! Eagleton-esque (that, in my opinion, is a huge compliment!) …where did you find the picture of the muscle-bound Jesus?

    I think your qualification of a ‘functional’ Pelagianism is apt if what you have given us is a fair representation of the book.

    I came across this in Eagleton the other day:

    “better to rule in hell than serve tea in suburbia” (How to Read a Poem)
    I think if Dante had added another circle, it would be suburbia!

    Keep up the good work!

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 4:50 pm | Permalink
  25. nick l. wrote:

    “I shouldn’t even mention that racism never appears in Moreland’s field of vision – though, since he is so nostalgic about the mid 1800s maybe we better not bring that one up? I don’t know how anyone but a white Christian could make so stupid a statement as Moreland’s implication that the 19th century was the golden age of Christianity.”

    Thank you for this. Can’t help but be reminded of the reformed types who view the days of Puritanism as another golden age.

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 9:23 pm | Permalink
  26. Geoff wrote:

    Any blog post which results in Douglas Groothuis calling someone “biased, one-sided, mean-spirited, and ignorant” must being doing something right (wow, talk about pot and kettle)! :-) It’s amazing how quickly those who speak in fiery tones pull out the “you’re being mean” card when the fire is pointed back at them. I suppose we’re all prone to that at times. Anyway, great post, Halden. Thanks.

    Saturday, July 28, 2007 at 1:16 pm | Permalink
  27. aaron g wrote:

    Preach it.

    Saturday, July 28, 2007 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

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