Saturday, April 26, 2014

Scandal: Protestant Pastors Edition

It's always hard to know what modifier to use for this motley crew.  Fundamentalism makes me think Biblical inerrancy, 20th century, and anti-intellectualism, while evangelicalism is part of a longer Arminian tradition that stresses the possibility of salvation for all believers.  Our puritan ancestors, I was taught to call Orthodox Protestants and I'm always a little confused about how their theology maps on to any modern group, maybe Reformed Presbyterians, but that seems odd since I always associate the Presbyterians with the every Evangelical awakenings in America and the British Isles.  Reformed Protestants seem to have some Calvinism where you can still have Grace that I don't quite understand.  But considering how quickly people stopped joining the church of our puritan ancestors, I guess any congregation needs to offer something besides unfettered depravity.

In any case, two large and culturally important ministries have recently melted down.  The leaders of both Vision Forum and ATI have stepped down after credible accusations sexual harassment.  These ministries share a strict patriarchal worldview, a commitment to Biblical inerrancy (as a post-modernist it's hard for me to even wrap my head around that concept) combined with theological beliefs and cultural practices that don't seem to hew very closely to the Bible, and a strong commitment to the Gospel of Capitalism.  To the latter point, both functioned through a variety of for-profit and not-for-profit entities.  Vision Forum in particular seemed on track to act as a hybrid Amazon, B&N, and Target for the theologically reformed and culturally patriarchal.

Interesting commentary, admittedly from the already disenchanted, can be found here regarding ATI, and here in response to Vision Forum.  Here at The Common Room blog is an interesting analysis of sexual abuse within conservative Christian congregation and a response to those who question the victimhood of Doug Phillips (Vision Forum) alleged victim.

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