Taking a break from the endless Duck Dynasty controversy in the U.S. (yes, it is a first world issue, as the worker bees of this world have to work hard to make a living and don’t have time to get into endless arguments about who could have said “homosexuality is sin” in better words than Phil Robertson did), I tuned to BBC World News coverage of the Arab Spring and of one country where homosexuality is still regarded as sin, without much debate on the issue. Egypt.
Interesting that the analysis being presented shows a pattern in Egypt that prevails no matter how much the people want change: Egypt is always, always ruled by an autocrat. Mubarak was one, Morsi was one, the current general who is running the country and looking good to be freely elected in the next round of elections is one . . . As the BBC said about Egypt and about other countries involved in the Arab Spring, they have only changed autocrats. No one has ever yet achieved democracy.
Why are we surprised? Those raised without freedom don’t know how to handle it. So, when given a chance, they will vote against it and “dance with the devil that brung them.” Or, rather, they won’t even run any candidates representing true democracy.
If a country wants to develop democracy, they need help over a number of years, if not decades.
And maybe they don’t need help from the likes of us, as we only seem intent on stifling opposing viewpoints over here these days . . .
Rather than turn back to Duck Dynasty (urp!), let me turn to a group I know pretty well.
I turn to my friends, the IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptists) and their next generation, many of whom are anti-IFB.
This is my beloved denomination, by the way. It has warts, both nationally and in each local church. But which body of humans does not?
What I have been seeing that is disheartening though is that the “next generation” of pastors and theologians who are rising up to rebuke the simplistic thinking and the sound bytes that have been issued from IFB pulpits over the decades (we are not a denomination known for writing or even reading many books–to our great shame, I am afraid) are falling far short of any scholarship of their own.
Many are reading the New Reformers (Young, Restless, and Reformed) and either accepting Calvinistic thinking in one swallow (not thinking it through first) or rejecting Calvinism but pasting the rest of the New Reformed thinking over their current theology.
Can you think of anything more convoluted and confusing? I honestly have not reached conclusions about many areas of doctrine as taught by Calvin, Spurgeon, etc. But rather than just start spouting words which I don’t fully understand yet, I leave the issues on the backburner of my mind and heart and read more about them . . .
That is how reasoned theological stands are formed. That is also how reasoned (and reasonable) debate takes place. People who merely quote sound bytes they heard from people who were much more educated than they were (and who took the time to think through their stands) do much violence to the cause of Christ by not really knowing what their theology is at all. It is so unnecessary to be this way, too. Rather than sniping at the Old Guard, these guys could be engaging in some scholarship of their own!!!
But, ironically, rather than work on forming a solid theological understanding, these are the guys who spend their time rebuking their elders for inconsistent theological stands based on sound byte theology.
Far as I can tell, extremists in both groups have done exactly the same thing. They have resorted to sound bytes in order to rebuke everyone who disagrees with them.
One group of autocrats replacing another. Mubarak (the IFB elders) being replaced by Morsi (the anti-IFB young bucks).
Thank God the living, breathing, loving IFB pastors whom I know locally are not of that ilk. They study, they teach, they preach the gospel tirelessly. Bless them.
The others, the extremists, will just stand there rebuking each other for the next several decades while a world of lost people slides closer and closer to hell . . .
Know-it-alls are often autocrats. Autocrats are often know-it-alls. Neither are people in a position to lead us in evangelizing a lost world . . .