Dark Brightness

Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

Contra ad hominem.

One of the comments from yesterday is that many people who are progressives are good. That is correct. But there were many communists, many Islamist and many fascists who were good people. Ideologies organize good people to do great harm. Men will fight, kill, maim… and die or be maimed for their tribe, their way of life. to preserve the , and because the ideologies of this age have invented a group of secular priests who bind us into demographic clusters that they betray as they trade off interests in parliament and congress.

Now, the church stands against this. Augustine defined our city as the city of God, not the cities of this earth. We travel through, doing good when we can, but our primary allegiance is not to king or country, progressivism or conservatism, but to God alone.

When the church stops being tribal we are called evil by those who indeed live well and good lives. Because Ideology blinds them.

1 Peter 3:13-22


13Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, 15but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. 17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. 18For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you – not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

John 18:33-37

33Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Now, the times are not good. Apparently calling someone an Aussie is Racist if it offends a Kiwi (I am embarrassed that someone from my nation stooped that low). The people in power will try to restrict our speech and make us silent.

And we can go along with it. Because the people telling us to do this… are nice, respectable, from places of authority. Because the areas where you can have a polite conversation are decided by the same people of power.

You have to disconnect the person from their ideas. The tag nihil ad hominem was created not to protect us from speech by evil men, but from the errors in the speech and teaching of the good. Most heresiarchs are quite pious and holy — from Nestorius to Wigglesworth.

New Zealand is a small place. Over some years, I have had to interact with many politicians — in part because my then wife used to work in a Union owned medical centre. And the nicest, most gentle person… the one woman who was simply liked, was leading the Green Party. Their policies (and she was a true believer) would cripple this nation.  But she was simply nice, and won arguments almost without words.

What are we to do?

We are to have courage. We are to confront errors in doctrine. We will not be liked for doing this. Consider for a second what the good Cramner has to say

MPs are queuing up in a concerted effort to impose equality upon the Church of England. Leading their ranks are Labour’s Ben Bradshaw and Chris Bryant, who both doubtless have a further equality agenda in mind, just a little beyond the current vexatious one relating to episcopal gender.

This development is  concerning, not least because (unlike some other Christian denominations) the Church of England has its own democratic structures for debating change and enacting legislation, and it’s not even as if all of those who voted against the recent proposal are opposed in principle to women bishops: quite a few were manifestly unhappy with the wording of the legislation put before them, which both sustained anti-women discrimination and merely exhorted ‘respect’ for the traditionalists. It was a bit of a fudge, not to say a dog’s breakfast.

But, in the myopic world of Westminster, it was simply and straightforwardly a vote against women bishops, and this is offensive for it breaches equality law;

Equality law is an ideology. I am not convinced that there is such a thing as apostolic succession, but I am aware that there are qualifications for eldership. They are unequal — being a faithful husband of but one live (that’s me out, as someone who is divorced), being male (the Catholics have that completely correct) and being competent in the management of one’s own affairs — management of the house, having children who are not rebellious, and practicing hospitality.

Most people do not meet the qualifications for leadership within the church. The church is profoundly unequal, and any ideology imposed from above will destroy this. (Besides, when women were allowed to join the ministry in NZ — and indeed become bishops within the Anglicans — this did not lead to a great improvement in the moral life of the nation or the health of the church. Instead, the men left, the church lost authority, and things have got worse).

We are going to get opposition. We need to look not at what the polite and nice say but the implications of what this means. For you can lose your freedom — or indeed your salvation — just as much from polite compliance as active rebellion. For the times, as always, are evil.