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12.29.2011

Dave Armstrong Syndrome

I'm the first person to mock the shallowness of academia and academics including of the seminary variety. I'm the first to mock their self-assessed elitism, such as it is. I often refer disparagingly to the priesthood of scholars, and not just regarding modern Bible version issues.

But I'm seeing a lot of lunacy on the internet lately (and people will say I'm projecting, so be it, you should still be able to get something from what I'm about to say) regarding what I'll called Dave Armstrong Syndrome.

Dave, back when he was desperately trying to get Wikipedia to allow a page on him to stay up (which they eventually took down), kind of pulled me into the controversy (I forget how, but I have written several articles for Wikipedia which have actually had some staying power, many also which get nuked quick though), where I just off-handedly told the Wikipedia editor that Dave Armstrong considers his collected blog posts to be as world-historically valuable as the collected works of Luther and Calvin combined. That didn't help his case.

I'm seeing a similar lunacy in other quarters of the Christian blogosphere.

Now, I personally think Professor R. Scott Clark of Westminster Seminary California left the internet because he was seeing this same thing, from his own perspective. I know there was some unspoken thing that occurred where he apologized to his church and so on, but basically I believe, from what I observed over the years, that he left simply because of the lunacy of a thousand instant experts opining and getting to the point where they were showing a rather belligerent lack of respect for people like himself, and they were doing this on issues where clearly they didn't know what they were talking about. (The lack of understanding, persistent, petulant and pious lack of understanding, of law and gospel, the basics of Federal Theology itself, Meredith Kline in numerous ways, etc., is a constant amazement and frustration for many.)

So I listen to an interview where Frank Turk (he's really famous) of Pyromaniacs (a blog) is sounding like Dave Armstrong, or like he too has Dave Armstrong Syndrome. He's quoting the apostle Paul in a context that relates to him and his fellow bloggers ("People are saying, 'I'm of Frank Turk, I'm of Phil Johnson...'"), he's critiquing Reformed theologians on subjects he clearly doesn't grasp, and really has no value for (i.e. he's being a busy body outside his own stated camp).

We don't have a Magisterium in Protestantism, and we don't want one, but I, lowly street Calvinist that I am, beneath Bunyan in my formal education, feel the same frustration when I see slow-brains moderating forums and dictating to others on subject matter they clearly don't grasp. And further, being totally unteachable.

I'm just writing about basic Federal Theology. I understand it. I see the power in it. The simplicity in it. I'm able to come to terminal understanding of biblical doctrine. I can understand that others are still learning, or in different stages of coming into understanding of the whole, and thus not yet able to see the parts in relation to the whole, which is a good definition of understanding. The problem is the lunacy. The vanity. We have bloggers and forum moderators and commentators lecturing people who have written sound books on the subjects at hand, and - important point - they are lecturing from a position of ignorance, and doing it piously and belligerently and making themselves totally unteachable.

One thing I've always been is teachable. I've lost every argument I've ever had with Louis Berkhof, for instance, other than regarding infant baptism. I understand Vos, I understand Kline, and I know how difficult it is when you first encounter them, but there is a lunacy around these days where when you disabuse a person 20, 30 times on some point of doctrine or something they think about Federal Theology or Kline or whatever, where they are clearly just factually mistaken, or don't know the politics involved, or can't yet see the subtlety of the Reformed position, or something similar, and they come back as if you never wrote a word and they continue to lecture in their ignorance, you have to scratch your head and wonder if something else other than invincible ignorance is at work.

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