Tuesday, July 29, 2003
An Open Letter To My Friend, Ed Lang*
Although you did not address either of your comments to me, please allow me to reply to you anyway. At the outset, I apologize for the length of this post, but I have time to kill on the plane, I seem to have some explainin' to do in the wake of my Law and Love post, and after all it is my blog. :-P
First of all, I am in complete agreement with you about Mr Wilson's faithfulness in family life and kingdom building. Moreover, I'm not sure how you read my post as a personal attack on him. I did not call him an infidel; I merely stated that some of his publications - not all or even most - embarrass me.
Second, I should make explicit that embarrassment does not necessarily imply a lack of love or respect. Some of the people we love the most also embarrass us the most. (Think about family members.) Also, I agree with many of Mr Wilson's criticisms in Law and Love of Gary North's rhetoric, all the while maintaining a great deal of respect for Dr North. Both are men whose brilliance, faithfulness, and accomplishments have far exceeded my own. And, the publications of both men still embarrass me at times.
Third, I realize that criticizing Mr Wilson hits close to home since many of us are indebted to his teaching and pastoring. I also realize that my public criticisms of Mr Wilson may seem inappropriate, coming as they do from a young man to his elder. Just so you know, though, Mr Wilson and I have discussed these matters at great length in private, and he knows that he has not answered all of my objections in a way that has satisfied me. Faced with this impasse, he has suggested that I am morally obligated to simply side with him despite my disagreement; and yet, the main reason I am not Roman Catholic is that I do not embrace the doctrine of the infallibility of the magisterium, so why would I go a step further and embrace some sort of Protestant super-magisterium? What ever happened to being a Berean?
Fourth, if anyone were to insist that I write a fuller critique of Mr Wilson's rhetoric, two things would come to mind: 1) Law and Love is fourteen pages long, and its treatment of Jim Jordan's hermeneutic is, objectively speaking, some of the worst criticism I've ever read. Mr Wilson quotes no more than a few sentences from Jordan's commentary on Judges, and proceeds to misinterpret Jordan and build a two-page straw man. 2) How long did Credenda readers complain before Mr Wilson promised A Serrated Edge? Then, once it was promised, how long was it before the book was actually published? I suppose I could refer any naysayers to "my forthcoming book," A Sharp, Double, Plain Edge, and then, a year later, publish 100-some pages with conspicuously few footnotes. But I'm not going to do that. Both of these points are just to say that, in all of this, I am not going to be held to a publishing standard or schedule that Mr Wilson himself has not even met.
Fifth and finally, I do not intend to start a lengthy debate, either public or private. I am only making a simple observation and comparison: Mr Wilson's rhetorical stance, in my opinion, has a lot in common with Dr North's. And, in the next breath, despite some definite disagreements, I have tons of respect and affection for both Mr Wilson and Dr North.
* Ed Lang is headmaster of Auburn Avenue's Geneva Academy in Monroe, LA. He is married to my old friend, Heidi, and together they have two daughters and a child on the way. Ed and Heidi are both graduates of New St Andrews College.
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