Whenever I am preoccupied with other responsibilities, I am now putting the comments section of this weblog in hidden mode. I view this as the equivalent of locking my house when I leave home. This is necessary to reduce the amount of vandalism that occurs whenever I am away from my computer. A group of fundamentalist bloggers have been relentless in posting the equivalent of electronic graffiti in the comments section of my weblog. So, if you would like to make a comment or ask a question while the comments section is in hidden mode, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a personal weblog. It is the equivalent of my electronic home. Guests are welcome, but those who insult the host and other guests quickly wear out their welcome.
On occasions, even when I am at home on the weblog, I have simply deleted rude, incendiary and impertinent comments. Generally, however, I persist in working to secure a measure of common respect from my fundamentalist interlocutors. Extending respect is fairly easy for them as long as the topic of discussion does not challenge one of their fundamental beliefs. Whenever one of their core beliefs are challenged -- which is frequent on this weblog -- they tend to post long comments, incessant questions, and remarks that are insulting both to my intelligence and spirituality and to that of my readers.
Some people have asked me why I don't just delete all their comments and ban them from the weblog. The reason why I endure such impertinence -- something that you'll find none of their own leaders doing (try posting a comment on Al Mohler's blog or Russell Moore's commentary) -- is that I know what it is like to be a fundamentalist.
I grew up in an independent, fundamental Baptist church. I understand the quest for psychological security and spiritual certainty that makes fundamentalism so attractive. All it requires is a "presupposition" about the "inerrancy" of scriptural revelation. Once this "leap of faith" is made, the certain foundation for thought and belief that fundamentalists believe is necessary to validate "truth claims" seems assured. They think inerrancy will guarantee that any proposition that can be deduced from scriptural revelation by syllogistic logic can be proven to be true.
There was a time when I shared this rationalist apologetic. I was not so rude as to insult the intelligence or spirituality of the learned interlocutors that God put in my way to challenge my faith in it, but I was persistent in asking for guidance toward resources that could help me understand different positions. I studied their sources and made sure I fully understood the logic of their thought. I never expected serious theological thought to be reducible to "nutshell" explanations and "bumper sticker" slogans. I was willing to do the research and follow the way of truth wherever it led.
I spent years researching both sides of this issue. Most of what I learned can be gleaned from the essays at these links:
The Gist of the Inerrancy Conflict
The Priority of Scripture
Mainstream Baptists and the Bible
2000 BF&M Tries to Bury Truth
On the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message Revision
The best single summary of my position is in my essay on "Which Word Do We Worship" in Stand With Christ: Why Missionaries Can't Sign the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, ed. by Robert O'Brien.
If you want a deeper theological and philosophical understanding of my position, you'll need to learn enough philosophy to gain a good grasp of Paul Ricoeur's philosophy.
If you think you understand my position and want to challenge it, start your own blog, write a critique and send me an e-mail. If I think the critique is worthy of a response, I'll write one.
One final note, I'm not impressed with propositional truth, syllogistic logic and rigid applications of the law of non-contradiction. It doesn't apply to the deepest truths of the Christian faith. The law of non-contradiction insists that Jesus is either fully God or he is fully man. He can't be both. The law of non-contradiction also insists that either there is one God or there are three Gods. It can't be both.
Christians have to either give up the incarnation and the trinity or they have to stop pretending that their propositional truths consistently observe the law of non-contradiction.
I've made my choice.