Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Easy, there, Johnny

That rumbling-and-gurgling sound you hear is John Knox rolling over in his grave to vomit.

I got my copy of the book catalog from Westminster/John Knox Press today. Here are the books on the front cover:

Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief by Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury.) [ John Knox critiqued Anglicanism as being Popery without the Pope. His assessment is more true every day as the Church of England comes closer and closer to outright reconciliation with Rome. I wonder what Knox would think of a house which bears his name publishing a theological work done by a man who has done his best to smooth-over the controversy over gay clerics in the Anglican church?]

Thomas: the Other Gospel by Nocholas Perrin. [ From reading the advertising about this book, it comes down, eventually, on the side of giving this gnostic "gospel" a second-century date. But if your contention is that it falls rightly far outside the Canon of Scripture, then why call it "The Other Gospel" as if it deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with the familiar, scriptural Four? Could it be...to boost interest, and therefore sales? Hmmm?]

Caring for Mother: A Daughter's Long Goodbye by Virginia Stem Owens. [ Now, obviously, there's nothing wrong with a tear-jerker book about losing a loved one to a drawn-out decline in disease. But this is Westminster/John Knox Press, not the Oprah magazine, for cryin' in the night! Anyone remember Westminster and the theological standards produced by that assembly? Anyone remember Knox, who proved himself adept at wielding two sorts of swords, the Word of God and the Scottish broadsword?]

The Gospel According to the Simpsons by Mark I. Pinsky. [No, I'm not making this up. It's a real book. I'd pay good money to watch John Knox give Mr. Pinsky an old-fashioned Highlander's education in how not to treat sacred things as if they were frivolous and common.]

I Want to Live These Days With You by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. [Okay, this is the only book on the front cover I can see John Knox actually looking at without retching. It's a daily devotional using snippets of Bonhoeffer's writings. The Reformer who publicly called for the regicide of Catholic Queen Mary would probably be able to feel some affinity with a preacher who refused to compromise his faith in the face of tyrants, and eventually died for his part in a plot to kill Hitler. I can almost hear the brogue in his "Good on ya, man!"]

It doesn't get better on the back cover, either. You have the waste of a tree called The Gospel According to Hollywood, and a pop-psycho babble screed called Losers, Loners, and Rebels: the Spiritual Struggles of Boys (apparently this will help where tools like, oh, say...the Bible have historically failed so miserably at raising Christian men.)

But the kicker, the one that's surely making Knox beg for just twenty-four hours to walk the earth with a sharp blade in his hand once again: Frank J. Matera's New Testament Theology. Hold onto your hat, there, Pastor Knox, but Matera's a Catholic theologian, and WJKP is publishing this book with the explicit hope to "integrate both Catholic and Protestant approaches."

Okay, okay, I know: John Knox is in the presence of his Lord, the King, Jesus Christ, and the silliness that goes on in his own small name is surely now of little consequence to him. I confess though: it ticks me off. I'm mad on Knox's behalf. I'm still here, after all, and anti-biblical doo doo like this still gets my goat.


Exist~Dissolve said...

His assessment is more true every day as the Church of England comes closer and closer to outright reconciliation with Rome.

It is unfortunate and saddening that this is seen as a negative thing. Christians should rejoice that the Church is moving towards reunification after a thousand years of division.

Rhett said...

Reunification at the expense of truth is nothing to celebrate.

When Rome Reforms, then maybe we'll think about it.

That's my $0.02...

Exist~Dissolve said...

Reunification at the expense of truth is nothing to celebrate.

Nor is division for the sake of petty exclusivity and mischaracterizations fueled by centuries of hurt feelings, false information, and deliberate misleading.

As all are divided, all share a piece of the blame. No communion has the corner on truth, for that was lost when unity was fractured. To arrogantly claim otherwise is endemic to the problem and only engenders exactly that which continues to plague the fractured body of Christ.

Gordan said...

Is that a sad violin I hear playing? Puh-leeezzzz

The Protestant exodus out of Rome is no more to be ahamed of, or repented of, than the Jewish exodus out of Egypt. It's more to be rejoiced in than when Judah came out of Babylonian captivity.

I totally agree that no church can claim exclusive capture of the truth. It's not the Reformed who make that claim, so maybe you ought to go and call for repentance on that issue somewhere else--like at the doors of the churches which do, located in Rome and old Constantinople. They're the two schismatics, the two "One True Churches." We've made no such claim.

Exist~Dissolve said...

We've made no such claim.

So "It's more to be rejoiced in than when Judah came out of Babylonian captivity" would not be that? Really? Perhaps you've assumed the violin...

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

"Above all things beware of letting your tongue outrun your brains. Guard against a feeble fluency, a garrulous prosiness, a facility of saying nothing....Elongated nonsense, paraphrastic platitude, wire-drawn common-place, or sacred rhodomontade, are common enough, and are the scandal and shame of extemporising. Even when sentiments of no value are beautifully expressed, and neatly wordered, what is the use of them? OUt of nothing comes nothing"
~Charles Spurgeon

Exist...that is all your comments are. You have mastered the use of wonderful elongated philisophical discourses that have no value and are utterly meaningless. You would be wise to listen to the words of Charles Spurgeon. So you know big words? I'll bake you some cookies. But your philosophy belongs in the same place as the paper I use to wipe my rear end.

Exist~Dissolve said...

But your philosophy belongs in the same place as the paper I use to wipe my rear end.

Perhaps you could explain why that is. Because you have no answer for it? Because it is compelling to you, yet violates your own deeply instilled philosophical paradigms that you are afraid to jettison in favor of a stronger argument?

Saying that my philosophy belongs in the crapper is quite a bit different than compiling a compelling series of proofs to substantiate such a claim. I would also suspect that such an approach will not be tolerated in your future academic endeavors.

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

I mainly said that to get you riled up. But I say that, because you fail to use scripture. It is philisophical jargon, and not exegetically derived. There was one comment on one of our posts that you attempted exegesis, and even though I may disagree with your exegesis, I appreciated that much more than your amazing use of philisophical words that are strung together. You arguments are not stronger because they are not biblically derived. Philosophy is not my authority, but Scripture. Grab you a good book on Biblical Hermeneutics, read it, and then let us discuss God in the Scriptures, and not philosphize about God. I would listen to what you have to say if you use the Word of God. If you don't use the Word of God, what you say is meaningless, no matter who strong you think your argument is.

Rhett said...

Compelling??! A stronger argument? Ha! LOL!!

Hardly! If your argument is stronger and your philisophy superior, I must be too ignorant to recognize it!

The philisophical arguments and skepticism you exude remind me of the conjecture that my former co-worker used to justify his Agnosticism.

I would be interested to see how much of a Bible would be left if you were to remove from it those things in which you believe to be either in error or mythological.

Hiraeth said...

Petty divisions are wrong. However, when real divisions still exist and those are over such important matters as the divisions between Rome and the Protestant churches. For example, whether Christ made on the cross 'that one perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world', or whether the sacrifice of Christ is repeated, albeit bloodlessly in the mass.

Or, for that matter, whether salvation is by faith in Christ alone, or whether by faith and our good works.

Is our salvation sure, do Christians have a 'sure and certain hope of the resurrection', or do we live this life without assurance, hoping that we will be good enough?

Are the sacraments signs, or do they confer grace by their mechanical operation?

When Rome teaches salvation by faith alone through Christ alone, affirms that the Lord's Supper is a commemoration, teaches that assurance may be known in this life, and denies the mechanical view of the sacraments, then I will gladly join with her.