Tuesday, August 22, 2006

more on the doctrinal standards

If you're interested in further discussion about the liberal interpretation of United Methodist Doctrine check out this post from John the Methodist about my post and the comments that follow. Especially interesting is this comment from Daniel McLain Hixon:
My own experience has been talking with people at my seminary (Perkins) who are actually planning to lie to their BOM - b/c they come from conferences that are "too conservative." It is beyond me how one can begin one's work as a minister of the Lord (presumably the one from the Bible), by speaking lies, and taking an oath (in the ordination vows) before God and his church to uphold doctrines and discipline that one believes to be wrong and has no intention to uphold. I mean would these same people plan to lie when they take their wedding vows?? (maybe so according to statistics on clergy divorce rates) No wonder so much of our ministry seems devoid of divine blessing. I am also entirely baffled that such people do not join the Unitarians, since they seem so conscientious on other issues of (what they see as) justice.


Daniel McLain Hixon said...

ha - you never know what might happen to your comments! To make sure people don't take this too far in the wrong direction I should point out that I said "i have met people making these plans at my seminary" but that by no means should be taken to mean "everyone is doing this." Everyone is not doing it. But the fact that it happens at all distresses me (as you might have picked up from my comment) for the reasons that I mentioned (it is dishonest and unjust).

Daniel McLain Hixon said...

PS - "mclain" is my middle name; but it sure is cool, isn't it?

Jason Woolever said...

hey daniel, your friends comments are so revealing about how unorthodoxy has snuck in and is killing mainline churches. thanks for sharing. I'll change your name in the post!

Anonymous said...


You guys might flame me. Especially quoting the researcher that said ..."without at least the capacity to lie, a person is not fully human and may even require professional help..."

Take this with a grain of salt. Maybe the entire shaker if necessary.

John 18:38 (English Standard Version)
Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

Modern Definition of Truth: There is a

generation of people of influence today who do

not wish to define their world with God. But,

they still need a word like truth so, like the

cults, they have determined to retain truth but

with a new definition.
References: The Great Ideas A Syntopicon,

Britannica Great Books, v. 3 pp. 915-922

noting the introduction views. The Critique of

Pure Reason, Britannica Great Books, 1781,

Immanuel Kant, V. 42, Sec. VII, p. 192

New definition of Truth: It is relative, subjective,

and situational. ibid. p. 20-21 This means truth

can not be objective, knowable or learnable

except on an individual basis. We express this

concept when we say things like, "That seems

fine for you, but it just doesn't seem to be true

for me." This anarchistic view of truth is

divisive. Once people debated and discussed

things to uncover truth. Now everyone is right

even those with opposing views.

This new truth

changes according to situation, circumstance,

or cultural backdrop. This is the definition of

truth that produced the situational ethics that

allowed Hitler's Germany to destroy six million


Pragmatism-a philosophy that included a new

definition of truth based on the usefulness of

ideas rather than their correspondence to

absolutes. The new philosophy was influenced

by the trauma of the war and the Darwinian

revolution in science, and is responsible for

many ideals that we value today including

those of cultural pluralism, academic freedom,

and freedom of speech.

Television gives a new definition of truth: The

creddibily of the teller is the ultimate test of the

truth of a proposition. So, if people believe the

"teller," then what is said must be the truth --

in effect, some news anchor who is reading the

news is a "truth teller."

Lying and Deception in the Postmoden Age

In The Post-Truth Era: Dishonesty and Deception in Contemporary Life, Ralph Keyes presents the postmodern age in all its ambiguity, calling it a post-truth era and ethical twilight zone.

Keyes believes people were more honest in the past, not so much because they were more conscientious, but because the concept of truth was more absolute, and most interactions took place among familiar faces. Not only does postmodernity blur distinctions between right and wrong, online communication makes lying and deception easier.

If David Smith is right about homo sapiens being a species of natural-born liars, how much more does the postmodern atmosphere inflame our genetic inclinations? In a world where truth is a social construct, and useful myths are valued more than barren truths, honesty grounded in facts becomes almost pathological. Jeremy Campbell isn’t being overly cartoonish when he says that to a postmodernist, being too concerned with telling the truth “is a sign of depleted resources, a psychological disorder, a character defect, a kind of linguistic anorexia; without at least the capacity to lie, a person is not fully human and may even require professional help” (The Liar’s Tale, p 260). This squares with Smith's findings about those who are too honest (especially with themselves): they are mentally unhealthy.

Similarly, sociologist J.A. Barnes suggests that what others call lies a postmodernist might call “meaningful data in their own right” (A Pack of Lies, p 60). Keyes notes that a biographer of Liberace agreed with this principle, saying that the pianist’s lying under oath in court (denying having engaged in homosexual activity) signaled a broader truth about the danger of being openly gay (pp 144-145). Binjamin Wilkomirski's firsthand account of the Holocaust won prizes and was hailed as a classic of Holocaust literature in 1995, until withdrawn by the publishers four years later after being exposed as a hoax ("Wilkomirski" wasn't even Jewish, rather a Swiss gentile named Bruno Doesseker). Amazingly, many people excused the hoax for being "emotionally honest", a lie pointing to a greater truth which could help victims of the Shoah (p 140).

Some legal scholars (notably Farber and Sherry, in Beyond All Reason) have even suggested that we need to replace our truth-seeking proclivities with “storytelling” and “narratives”. According to them, trial participants need to be free to relate their own versions of truth, unhindered by the constraints of fact-finding accuracy. As Keyes notes, “this grows out of the political position that socially constructed versions of ‘objective truth’ invariably favor the powerful and should be replaced with narratives and stories” (pp 147-148). Farber and Sherry thus envision legal proceedings in which the oppressed would be able to state their case without getting bogged down in factual details.

Although “postmodernism has lost its cutting edge” (Keyes, p 146), the idea of truth as a relative construct has set in, rampantly fueling our inclinations to lie and deceive.
John 14:6 (English Standard Version)
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

This is the Truth as revealed to me by study of the written Word of God, the Holy Bible. Here I stand, so help me God.

John Flores
Frisco, Texas