It’s said that a sign of the rightness and confidence in your position is how you react to criticism/slander. If one erupts violently and responds in kind, then that person isn’t too confident in their position (and could very well be wrong). If one takes the criticism calmly and responds with calmly asked (and usually unanswerable) questions, then that person is very confident in my position.
Ultimately, I don’t know how confident I really am in my beliefs. I think I am right on most topics but I know how frail my worldview can be at times. In any case, to the subject at hand…
I guess Doug Wilson is doing some kind of 3 minute interview series on various questions people ask. Really, that’s a genius move that few people have picked up on. I wish more people would do that. Nobody is going to read that 30 page essay you wrote on “The Strains of Nestorianism in post-Leonine Ontologies” (yes, that’s a real book). A few more might listen to that 30 minute talk you gave on Leo I. But 30 minutes is a lot to ask of someone. Most, whether they are really interested or not, will probably listen to the short interview.
Given the savage hatred most Federal Vision guys have of Eastern Orthodoxy, Wilson’s interview was surprisingly mild. He really didn’t say anything to noteworthy, either good or bad. There were a few howlers. EOx do not worship or pray *to* icons. A casual reading of Letham–which I know for a fact Wilson has read Letham–would have corrected that. Also, it’s funny when these guys define “the gospel” with “the Reformed faith,” so that disagreeing with the latter is abandoning the former. But this raises the immediate question: What of those who lived before the Advent of Calvin? What if I’m simply taking St Ignatius of Antioch (who literally sat at the feet of the Apostle John) as a reliable guide to the faith? Did Ignatius fall “into doctrinal sin” by not holding to the Reformed faith?
I’m not bashing the Reformed faith. It was the Reformed faith that gave me a deeper understanding of Scripture. It was Reformed mentors like Greg Bahnsen, Keith Mathison, and Robert Letham that taught me to read well and ask the “real questions.” Never once do I seek to “deny sola fide.” I simply asked questions on the canon and the nature of the Church.
Anyway, Wilson’s talk really didn’t bother me. I got a little irked when he said looking East is “serious doctrinal sin.” I wonder if he would have said the same thing to Athanasius.
But a friend of mine told me, “Don’t get defensive when people challenge you. They might be helping you see the truth. Look at their challenge and see 1) is there truth in it? and 2) if/where do they err? 3) how would you respond?”