The psalmist, in one of his controversies, lamented the fact that every day his words got twisted (Ps. 56:5). Sometimes the twisting was deliberate, and sometimes it was probably just a matter of somebody not getting the joke.
And now comes Joan, trumpeting the mojo of local professional, credentialed historians, men who do not know how to spell the names of those whom they oppose. Kind of like Churchill going after that "wicked man, Hilter, a man who must be stopped at all costs." Footnote: see Adulf Hilter, Mein Kumpf.
Joan also points to "judicious and thoughtful" nature of their "academic review." Her definition of judicious and thoughtful means that apparently her copy of the diatribe does not show the spittle-flecks. But why trust the professionalism of men at one hundred and fifty years when they don't know what is going on in their own tiny, little town, just a couple blocks away? We are not talking about the points under dispute, we are talking about the fact that it is Peter Leithart, not Leithard, George Grant, not Gary Grant, etc. If you guys really intend to make these gentlemen your champions in the great contest of whose footnotes are the buffest, then may I politely suggest that some remedial work is necessary? You have yourselves a couple of Professional Historians who not ready for prime time yet. But it is not that I am demanding this -- I like their work just the way it is. "Too long we have slumbered! We must do the hard, academic, Professional work that only we few Credentialed folk can do, so that we may finally stop that nefarious Wouglas Dilson as he attempts to set up a new Zion right here under our credentialed noses!"
Sandra "making it up as she goes along" Jensen does have a way with words, for she on honeydew hath fed. Her words flow nicely and make a pleasant sound as they sail past the ear, but notice what she is maintaining at the end of the day. She maintains that my very basic questions are being dealt from the bottom of the deck. In other words, to continue the metaphor, in a public debate about ethics, for someone to ask about foundations for ethical claims is a form of cheating. That's a good way to deal with hard questions!
"Why do you say that?"
"Aaaa! No fair! Cheater! Call the sheriff!"
Sandra the Law says that owning another human being is wrong, period. She then says, "You're free to call this moral relativism." No, I don't call it moral relativism at all. I call it arbitrary absolutism. And I want to know why the universe must listen to Sandra the Law. "Bad news, Osama. Sandra says 'no.'" She says she is content to continue the ethical practice of making it up as we go along and rejects the idea of "eternal verity." This, in the same post where she avows the eternal verity that slavery is always wrong. Which is it? Are we for eternal verities or against them? If you are for them, then give the basis for them. The hand is over -- show your cards. But if you are against eternal verities, then where is all this moral indignation coming from? If there is no absolute right and wrong, then what could possibly be wrong with our slavery booklet? If there is an absolute right and wrong, what is the basis for it? I may not be Socrates, and this may not be Sunday School, but it is a relevant (and unanswered) question nonetheless.
Without an arche, you have no transcendent authority over us all that requires us all to listen and heed. You reject all forms of such a transcendental ethic, binding on all, to which all must submit. And then a moment later, along comes a post containing an ethical claim to which all must submit. One moment, all is relative. The next moment universal ethical claims are being applied to all and sundry. This is not moral relativism, it is simply moral confusion.
But the Lord Jesus is not like this. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Jesus Christ is Lord. His word governs all things. He commands us to come to God the Father through His own sacrifice of Himself on the cross, and we are to do this in the power of the Holy Spirit. His word binds all things together, and in Him all things consist. He is the ultimate arche. He tells us to forgive one another, just as we have been forgiven. He tells that we must lay aside all malice, bitterness, wrath, clamor, and evil-speaking. He by His great grace offers us salvation. More than that, He has effectually brought salvation to the world. But He does not accomplish all His purposes suddenly -- we do not lurch into the new heavens and new earth. Rather, His way of doing things works through the world as leaven works through the loaf. This is how the world has been transformed, and continues to be transformed, as Christians follow His Word carefully in whatever place the providence of God has placed them. "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:27-28). Notice that important phrase -- "bond nor free."
In love, God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ. In that love, why not be reconciled? And when He has accomplished His great gift of saving the world, all forms of slavery will have been ended forever, along with the foundation for every form of slavery -- which is slavery to sin. No friend of sin was ever a true foe of slavery.
Apologetics in the Void" are repostings from an on-going electronic discussion and debate I had some time ago with members of our local community, whose names I have changed. The list serve is called Vision 20/20, and hence the name "visionaries." Reading just these posts probably feels like listening to one half of a phone conversation, but I don't feel at liberty to publish what others have written. But I have been editing these posts (lightly) with intelligibility in mind.