The Church vs. Conservatism
Just so you all know, throughout this talk I will distinguish between spurious conservatism, represented by others, and true conservatism, represented by the positions I hold.
In many ways, these are very similar issues to what we have been addressing in the earlier talks.
“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace . . . Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph 4:3-13).
Keep the unity until we all come to unity. This is the challenge of true conservatism. And by this, I do not just mean doctrinal or theological conservatism, although that is certainly included. We have rejected bogus dualisms (while keeping the good ones!) and so we as Christian leaders are also responsible for the integrity of cultural and political conservatism as well. We have to keep this sorted out in our minds.
In order to have the unity of the roof as we put up the trusses, we have to have built consistently with the unity of the foundation—we have to have built in line with the apostolic foundation, without trying to perpetually redo the apostolic foundation. Primitivists want to pour concrete in the attic, because the apostles used to pour concrete. Heretics want to build a dorm wing for the homosexuals, even though the apostles laid no foundation there.
The true conservative knows how to read blueprints. The false conservative is like a building inspector who always wants to tag the building and stop everything right where it is currently. The true conservative builds from the received foundation, and he does so in straight lines. He is accused of denying conservatism because he is building at all. “We have never done this before.” “Right. We have never built eaves before because we hadn’t gotten this far yet. But we are here now.”
A Few Test Cases:
The situation is complicated because there are so many pomo-types who believe that if you have grown a soul patch, then there is no need to look at the blueprints, which are “tired” and “overused” anyway. They are building . . . a shack, actually . . . with no foundation. The situation is not helped any by our more rigorous and orthodox brethren who have taken to meeting in the construction trailer in order to study the blueprints perpetually. Instead of swinging a hammer, they are giving one another quizzes and tests over the blueprints, which they have almost worn out. Periodically, they will thrown someone with poor test scores out the window.