Silly Me!

Apparently I wasn’t as discreet as I ought to have been. Scott Aniol and a few others have been having a discussion about this post which contained an assertion which I challenged here. Perhaps we can dive into more of this, but for now I think it important to address something Scott said in the comment section. In reference to the link I provided to a discussion at Remonstrans, Scott wrote, “But the point I was making above was that for Doran to use that as an example of how no one really knows what conservatism is was kind of silly.”

Three quick points:

  1. Scott skews my comment slightly in a direction that isn’t helpful—I actually referred to what “conservatism looks like in practice” and hence it was not in any way a comment that should be taken as negative toward conservatism. It was to point out that people agreed on conservative principles still often disagree with each other when it comes to application. I am sure he didn’t mean to do it, but his twist leaves the impression that I question conservatism. I know he didn’t mean that since he just posted a presentation I did on conservatism and gave it high marks.
  2. As for my real point, namely that the claim that pursuing a conservative approach leads naturally to unity is a flawed claim, I am glad that Scott acknowledged that he overstated his case. He is wrong, though, to dismiss the link I provided as a proof for one of my points as silly. There was more to that comment section than a disagreement between Scott and Disdains. Reference was also made to the tensions that come within churches when fighting the battle to implement a conservative philosophy. That admission, made by Scott himself, raises questions about the assertion of his which I challenged.
  3. I tried to state my case in pretty impersonal terms because I didn’t want to get dragged into what seemed to be a much too personal critique of a local church and its leadership. Yes, the pastor of that church is my friend, but my point was not to defend him (or the church or their decisions), but to critique a weak argument that seems to be popping up more frequently. I did in my post what I have done a few times in earlier posts and I have done in conferences, etc., namely sound a warning about a dangerous direction in argumentation. I would suggest that Scott’s assertion is similar to the line, “Your standards can’t be too high for God.” It sounds good, but simply isn’t right. Worse, it is the kind of argument that marginalizes those who disagree with you by making it look like you have taken the high ground while they are content with the lower ground.

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