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5.09.2012

Why Michael Horton, who is not a horrible theologian, annoys me

I have to be careful because long ago I said I shouldn't come down on theologians I basically agree with 99%, so I'm not really doing that, but... I think that what annoys me about Michael Horton can be traced to his upbringing, or more his reaction to that upbringing. He apparently grew up in a fundamentalist church and environment. And then he grew, or developed, away from it. So far, so good. I'll get to what it is he does based on his past, but some of what annoys is also a degree of academic elitist silliness he possesses. But that aside. Here's my point. His reaction to his past can be seen in 1) his general tone of voice (including how he writes), and 2) his use of the straw man fallacy, which he uses to the degree of a bridge troll.

The tone of voice is as if he is always speaking to young kids, though obviously his audience is made up of young and mature adults. He obviously takes great pleasure in using this tone of voice. "I went to Oxford. That's in England." Ahh. OK. I just got a buzz cut at the barber and was drinking a bottle of Coke while in my white short sleeve dress shirt waiting for the Preacher to arrive, and I was just wonderin' where that Oxford place was.

Then the use of the straw man. Here's a typical intro to a White Horse Inn podcast: "How many times have we heard Evangelicals say, "If I just carry this cross in my pocket, and even kiss it a few times, money will rain down upon me from the sky?" "Um hm." "Yep!" His cohorts chime in. "Or what about this," Horton continues. "If I just read the Bible hard enough, and think about God hard enough, I won't have to die. I'll be taken up into the sky like Enoch or Elijah. I won't have to suffer either. Because, you know, Christianity isn't about suffering, right?" "Noooooo..." "Just tell that to Stephen!" "Ha, ha..." the cohorts again.

Wow. You convict me, Michael. I'm just as stupid as your fundamentalist uncles whose heads all exploded when they heard you got a degree from Oxford, even though they didn't know where Oxford University was. And thanks for talking to me like I'm six years old. Otherwise I wouldn't understand anything you are saying, rather than just not understanding about ninety percent, which is about as much as any lay person can approach in their understanding of what you say to begin with.

I'm not slamming Michael Horton though. I guess I'm questioning a bit his maturity and seriousness, but I'm not slamming him as a theologian.

The childhood baggage, though, and the Oxford degree... He needs to become a man, and put away childish things.

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