“The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, he is close to them, but he does not see them; he touches them, but he does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country.”
A few days ago The Gospel Coalition published an article by Jared Wilson entitle “This Theologically Orphaned Generation” in which Wilson argued that:
The younger generation now is basically a bunch of theological orphans. They are the latest theologically orphaned generation. Why? Because their church leaders have effectively abandoned them—we’ve left them to figure out discipleship by themselves, to figure out church growth by themselves, to figure out the application of biblical Christianity in general by themselves…
We’ve been abandoned by our teachers. Our guides have left us without fathers. The men and women we looked up to have gone against everything they told us to believe in. We wonder if they ever really believed it themselves.
Evangelicals, for whom Jared purports to speak, feel abandoned by their leaders. So we are told. And so this makes a great opportunity to Wilson and Co. to fill that void. “Your parents have abandoned you, but we are here and we truly care for you, unlike them. Come on over to us.”
And yet, where are Wilson and Co. on the issues plaguing white people in the West today? They are sympathetic to homosexuals, transgenders, Muslims, sexual deviants, feminists, but not white people as such. They have no moral leadership over this demographic other than to call them to account, condemn, mock, or ignore them.
So, in the recent acquittal of Kate Steinle’s 5x illegal alien murderer these new gospel- leaders have nothing to say, no sympathy for white natives, no moral tutelage for us to follow. What are we supposed to think about this? If following our new leaders, the answer is that we are not to think about it.
The new leaders take opportunity at the abandonment from the old leaders to fill their void, yet they themselves leave much wanting.
I was just telling my wife that being inside the Anglican world very much does feel like a Mere Christianity, as the Anglicans imagine themselves as the middle way between Catholics and Protestants. They are what Leithart is seeking, and yet there still is not reconciliation or cooperation. But my point was that being inside Anglicanism is an attempt at mere Christianity and I can say that it feels very bland and hollow. Anglicanism, in order to be moderate and broad for all, has to strip away theological emphasis in general in favor for liturgy, rituals, prayers, holidays, and administration. Within the broad lines of the Nicene creed, you can believe whatever you want and there is no real discussion or teaching or tradition of doctrines otherwise. This is the reason the women’s ordination issue is there for Anglicans. Technically the Bible doesn’t say one cannot ordain them.
Even as the issue is being discussed, not many people in the Anglican world are writing or arguing about it. Theology and doctrine are not their thing, generally speaking. (There are a few that would disagree, but they are the few as represented by Anglicanism’s aristocratic structure.) The reason is that they want to be broad enough for everyone to be included. They want unity and compromise as a fundamental principle. So, as I said, inside this world I feel like I have had my theological heritage stripped from me. It is really deflating and enervating. Anglicans as a culture of people don’t discuss the Bible, or theology, or anything particular to church history and contemporary topics. They talk about moral lessons, how to grow Anglicanism in the sense of being broad, compromising, and unified. It is so broad as to be shallow.
I grew into Christianity loving theology and identifying strongly with a tradition of orthodoxy developing throughout the centuries. Entering Anglicanism for lack of options in my region, I feel as though all the centuries of Christian teaching – along with the heritage of its people – have been taken away and replaced with a bare Nicene formula and a Unity Mandate. My question for Leithart, middle way Anglicans, and for the general movement today among multi-ethnicists is, “Where is the Unity Mandate in the Bible? And where does it tell us to emphasize a broad unity in place of a de-emphasis on rich, deep, particular truth-centered doctrine?”
Jesus’ prayer to make us all one no more makes us the same, indistinguishable, or removes denominational variations than it does in removing marriages. We’re all “one” in Christ but I still have a marriage, a wife, and children who come before others. In other words, unity in Christ doesn’t dissolve distinctions or even hierarchies among us. Calvin and a whole line of Protestant and Catholic teachers say the same thing, up until the mid 1800s when everything became rationalistic egalitarian such that “equality” meant sameness in every way. There is no reason why being one body requires us to be inside one church building or denomination.
The push for a mono-church will lead to a least-common-denominator theology:
Peter Leithart in “The End Of Protestantism”:
“American Protestants may find it easy to work for unity with other Protestants. White churches may also find it easy to reunite with other white churches. Crossing the boundary between Protestant and Catholic is edgier; negotiating the minefield of American race relations is more difficult still. But if American churches are going to make headway in achieving a semblance of catholicity, these are the places where reconciliation must take place…The racial divisions of the church will not be overcome if white Christians reconcile with other whites while keeping a safe distance from black denominations. Denominationalism will cease to be an obstacle to unity only when we attack the thicker, more impenetrable barriers. Black-white, Protestant-Catholic: these are the boundaries that must be transgressed, the dividing walls that must be broken through. So long as these walls remain, American denominationalism will go on its comfortable, childlike way, bowing low before the American way of life…So long as these walls remain, we will not fulfill the prayer of Jesus.”
Little do people mention that race is not the only thing that divides “white” and “black” denominations. There is a stark divide of theology as well. The same goes for protestants and Catholics. For the two racial groups to come together, a lot on one side or both are going to have to change their theology in some serious ways. Im not talking about end times stuff, nor of worship style. I mean soteriology and sanctification.
Speaking more broadly, it is perhaps the largest of errors of the multi-ethnic movement in the church that it is devoid of theology or that at best it relegates theology and doctrine and creed to secondary status. Unity is to be achieved at all costs.
But really, think about it. How can whites and blacks and Mexicans all get together in church with their vastly different beliefs about the Christian life and faith? Are multi-ethnicists so ignorant of those nonwhites whom they claim to love that they do not know of their differences in Christian teaching? Black church tradition, for instance, have very liberal, socialist, liberationist, and feminists beliefs and practices. Mexican churches are extremely charismatic (if not catholic/superstitious). To bring both of these into white, protestant, reformed circles will require the removal of theological barriers such as creeds, confessions, doctrinal statements, theological traditions like Calvinism, and so forth.
In fact, traditionally prominent figures such as Luther or Edwards are already being brought into question because they did not accept all people (Luther: Jews) or treat others as multiculturally equal (Edwards: slaves). The 500th anniversary of the Reformation could not go by without voices within the neo-reformed movement pointing to its fouled wellsprings:
CT in 1956: Theologian intellectual Carl Henry becomes first editor-in-chief.
CT in 2017: “The Sweatiest Bible Class In America”
“Revelation Wellness’ slogan sums up the appeal of Christian fitness for many believers: ‘Love God. Get healthy. Be whole. Love others.’ … The ministry uses fitness as a pathway to freedom, encouraging participants to ditch what weighs them down physically and spiritually. Prayers and pushups go together. Scripture is preached as reps are counted. Together, healing happens. For Keeton’s team, physical fitness is not the end goal — it is merely a tool to proclaim Christ…’My encouragement to women is that the judgment is in: You’re loved. You belong,’ she said. ‘And there is sickness inside of you. Go to the feet of Jesus and have him pull it out, and then move your body in response to the goodness of his love…’ She preache(s) fitness, freedom, and faith to others, inviting people to live fully as themselves.”
The trend of Christian articles that speak of Multi-Ethnicity and Racial-Reconciliation, follow a pattern of 1) establishing ethnic/racial identity of self as primary and of whites as “others”, 2) leveraging those two identities as fundamentally incompatible, 3) moving to Higher Ground that transcends ethnicity/race, 4) and returning to solidify ethnic/racial categories.
“1) As an Asian-American, 2) I am not at home among whites. White-majority (ie., non-Asian-majority) institutions do not meet my Asian expectations. 3) The gospel teaches that we should help the oppressed, welcome the stranger, no Jew or Gentile, etc. 4) Ergo, ethnic-racial divisions are real, and the church should accommodate for my ethnic/race-identity preferences.
#1 establishes one’s ethnicity/race as the primary starting place for reason and experience. Implicit in #2 is that the (minority) would feel more at home among a culture dominated by his own ethnic-racial people. #3 is often pure spectacle, a rhetorical baptism meant to persuade. “Gospel-issue” etc. In #4 ethnic-racial divisions are re-emphasized, tied to this gospel-rhetoric, and turned into imperatives and mandates.
In short, these sorts of articles are saying, “As a (ethnicity/race), I do not feel accepted around other people. The bible says all should feel accepted. I want to be around my people.”