Preach to the converted and get popular
I wonder so, so many times, why my blog is not so popular (I blog mainly in Spanish, so that may be part it). I get an average 40,000 visitors a month, but some, as Jim West, gets more than that in two weeks!! (he blogs more, and has been doing it for longer, and besides, it seems that Zwingli helps him beyond the grave).
But I don’t aim to be popular. In fact, I usually have a go at many golden calves in the Latin American evangelical world. But I found this post (thanks to Jim West) that actually shows the way I think.
In Latin America, Albert Mohler, D. A. Carson, R. C. Sproul, Paul Washer and the like, have gathered a following. This is good, since it opens Latin Americans to a better scholarship and also corrects the ever growing ignorance that reigns in the continent. Nevertheless, it also creates a bubble. It creates the image that they represent the latest and best scholarship available, when in fact, only within their bubble are great. Outside of it, they are not even taken seriously (as in the case Washer). One example is Albert Mohler, who was the one that inspired me to do this type of blog. he is seen as a great defender of the faith, and organizations as T4G or TGC, have catapulted him as a great theologian. But his thinking is extremely pro-american, and his theology is at best parochial.
I have found a blog by Ken Schenck who is Dean and Professor of New Testament at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. he says the following:
So D. A. Carson style scholarship seems to rule the roost in most American Christian colleges, it seems. This is the neo-evangelical power block that rules ETS and produced the ESV. IMO, a scholar in this world is the person with the most creativity in supporting what everyone already wants to think. The Bible expert in this realm, the teaching pastor, is the person who is able to memorize well.
This is is what I mainly find in the New Calvinism in Latin American, as many of those who claim to be “reformed”. They have become good parrots, but with a very, very diminutive power of thinking. If you can repeat what the masters from the North say, you can be considered a great, faithful and biblical theologian. Don’t get me wrong, Carson is great, so is Sproul, but they are not the only ones, and for sure, they are not the best in the world, as many take them to be. Sometimes, as in the case with Carson, they are among the best, but not the best!
On the other hand, many denominations have taken the decision to create their own theological institutions, so they can grant Ph.D. that go according to their theological perspective. Schenck comments:
The late twentieth century saw the increasing empowerment of Christian institutions to offer their own PhDs. This allowed traditions to teach their own in a more insulated way. For all the benefits, you also could now get a PhD for being clever at justifying your own tradition without engaging the “other” on its own terms. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, large churches can circumvent educational institutions altogether in deference to the great cloud of memorizers.
So there you have it. You have a choice, either you are free thinker, or you tow the line.