Thursday, December 3, 2009

but it's attractive.

"Some wonder why many of us are making such a big fuss about the Manhattan Declaration, and I’d submit that it is because some of us see a dangerous drift happening. Packer, who signed the MD and also the original ECT document, is representative of this drift. It seems, and this deserves further exploration, that Packer’s initial steps in this direction started in the mid-1960s, then bloomed more fully in the decade following. Packer’s biographer, Alistar McGrath, acknowledges that Packer’s support of ECT “can be seen to rest on precisely the theological foundations developed by Packer in England during the 1970s” (J. I. Packer, p. 160). Specifically, Packer took the side of evangelical ecumenism in opposition to Lloyd-Jones in 1966, then co-authored a work with two Anglo-Catholics in 1970 (Growing into Union) that many evangelicals felt conceded too much biblical ground on critical doctrinal issues. The publication of that work led to the formal break between Lloyd-Jones and Packer, bringing an end to the Puritan Conferences.

I think this backdrop is important so that we see this issue in relation to the larger issues. Too many defenses of the signers of the MD err precisely by seeing only this document, not the larger questions on the table and trends at work. Once ecumenism has been embraced, common ground becomes the goal. That almost without fail means that differences are minimized or dismissed altogether. Perceived piety or devotion to good works gradually trump soundness on the gospel as the evidence of genuine Christianity. That seems like the only way to explain how Packer can claim that Teresa is a model Christian because “what one does for others is the real test of the genuineness and depth of one’s love to God, and specifically to Jesus Christ the Lord” (p. 262).

As I said earlier on this subject, the Manhattan Declaration represents another step toward accepting the false notion that being a Christian is demonstrated by doing something about social issues. It seems clear to me that J. I. Packer has taken that step."

ecumenism is attractive to me. a desire to be friends with everyone (people pleasing), a desire for social justice (perhaps stronger than a desire for personal piety and holiness a la James 1) makes the perfect formula for a wish for "why can't we just all get along?"

but, i'm also really stubborn and i don't like to be self-contradictory, and it doesn't make sense for me, to "hold hands and kumbaya" with people who don't hold to the same core views. If we have different reasons for wanting the same outcome, it's bound to turn out like a man on two horses. The horses might run together for a while, and he'll look really cool, but one horse is bound to turn one way or another and the man will fall; or even worse, the horses will approach a tree and the horses will naturally swerve to avoid the tree and the man will slam into the tree. It's bound to happen - at least it does in cartoons anyway.

the point of this is just to say, i wish, but i understand why not. and perhaps this is a good time to understand this as many of my friends go onto humanitarian efforts... just because we both seek relief for the downtrodden, doesn't mean we do so with the same motives or even that we can cooperate together beyond a certain superficial point.

i feel regretful, but it's only surface regret. i think right underneath that little crust, i know what i know.. but i want to at least acknowledge that it's not a single, determined, ignoring-all-other-options knowledge.


in other news. it makes sense that true Christians would have the gift of literacy... since true Christians want the Word and since the Bible isn't easy literature, people are naturally going to get better at expressing themselves and understanding. Furthermore, I think logic also gets a boost since we're not as blinded by sin. Really! Does this sound bigoted? I hope not. I KNOW there are plenty of non-Christian geniuses with great literacy. .. but there's also a lot of not-smart Christians, who for some reason can write or speak beautifully, logically, simply, or clearly.

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