Evangelicals shamefully throw Josh Butler under the bus to appease the mob.
Hah! I've had pleasant interchanges with several wokefolk persecuted by universities, though others have ignored my friendly emails. I didn't get any comment from the subject of my "In Defense of Professors Who Want To Kill People" though. https://ericrasmusen.substack.com/p/in-defense-of-professors-who-want
What is Josh Butler doing now? Does he need assistance?
Now that Tim Keller has met his Maker, it is perhaps worthwhile to reflect on his long-term legacy. My conclusion is this: "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." This may seem critical, but is perhaps the most that can be realistically asked for, out of present-day American evangelicalism.
Tim Keller was not a great evangelist, and not a great church planter. His church in NYC was comprised of yuppies who grew up evangelical Christian and wanted to comfortably, gradually convert from evangelical Christianity to Progressivism, rather than make a sudden lurch.
Tim Keller was not a great intellectual apologist of Christianity. Evangelicals got excited about The Reason for God, but not because of any arguments contained therein. Rather, they just wanted to stare at and talk about a big, thick apologetics book written by someone in a tweed-and-turtleneck suit. But did they miss anything by not actually reading it? Was there anything original that he had to say?
Tim Keller was not to blame for the woke turn within American Evangelicalism. The French Revolutionaries invented a memorable slogan, “No enemies to the Left!” The Revolutionaries spiraled leftward because they were unwilling to criticize extremists on their own side. Evangelicalism, defining itself in contrast to Fundamentalism on its right, has always had a policy, “All enemies to the Right!” The bogeyman of Evangelicalism has always been someone to the right — the self-righteous Pharisee, the repressive Catholic, the un-winsome Fundamentalist. Tim Keller brought the supply to meet this demand. In the form of lectures and books like The Prodigal God, he argued that Christianity’s bad PR was the fault of those on the Right — which he labeled as “religion” not “Christianity”. None of this was new or original, though. Hipster evangelicals were determined to find anyone who could offer them this tired message, and trumpet it as something fresh and revitalizing.
Tim Keller was not a bad person. It’s true that he betrayed Josh Butler, but this habit is so deeply ingrained within American conservatism that one could not have expected otherwise. It’s true that he was lacking in courage, and devoid of loyalty to the rank-and-file not-hip Boomer evangelicals who actually funded his various enterprises. But this is simply how American church leaders think about their flock. The flock exists to be sheared and lectured at, and not to be fed. The flock implicitly knows this, which is why there have been ongoing efforts to arrange cancellation insurance: it is taken for granted that churches won’t lift a finger in support of a member who has been cancelled for standing up for an official doctrine of his own church. At least Tim Keller, unlike prosperity gospel preachers and the Catholic hierarchy, did not exploit and abuse his parishioners. As far as we can tell, despite his fame and success, Tim Keller avoided scandalous behavior. In the Year of Our Lord 2023, this is in itself praiseworthy.
What, exactly, is wrong with his analogy? It IS THE PRECISE BIBLICAL VIEW OF SEX in marriage. I couldn't find a single thing that I disagreed with or that contradicted scripture.
And, what was "cringe" about it?
Here is the problem. We live in an age of LIES. TOTAL LIES! We tolerate the evil, demonic practice of allowing agents of Satan to destroy the innocence of our children but are offended by straightforward language on sex. People, allegedly "Christian" people, can't tolerate TRUTH.
It is all upside down.
Reading Dreher's piece on Josh Butler, this jumped out at me:
'A female Evangelical reader writes to say that it's not the Puritans who canceled Josh Butler, but the sex abuse survivor community among Evangelicals. "Nobody wants to be in their crosshairs."'
How does one push back against that "community", which tends toward the same harms as every other movement that seeks to weaponize victimhood? (Aside from the obvious harm of treating accusations as equivalent to convictions, there's also the harm of ignoring sexual violence that doesn't result in long-term trauma or distress.)
I just read the excerpts... and I'm kind of shocked. People went crazy over this? Did this make people blush? I'm a bit out of the loop, but this stuff seems pretty basic and tame to me.
Your link to the original article in the Wayback Machine no longer works. Did you save it any other way, e.g. printing it to PDF?
As they say on Twitter: If you want to discuss a tweet, you have to grab a screen capture or save it in some other way. Nothing on the internet is permanent, not even the Wayback Machine.
Agree with basically all of this. Let's also note that Butler had been writing for TGC for years, posting pretty generic apologetics takes. He goes out on a limb one time and that might be the end of that career for him, at least from where things look today. I suppose my thought would be that if you want to start a new apologetics center, you should be prepared to take risks and try some things that aren't being done in the apologetics space today. We can be assured there won't be any more of that from the Keller Center.
I suppose my only question is, how much better were things in the 20th century, really? It's not like the scapegoat and the fall guy were invented 15 minutes ago. Nor was the empty suit bureaucratic corporate functionary.
"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."
Well-known words, written over 100 years ago. Are our "best" really that much more cowardly?
Meador's lengthier post was good, not sure if it is linked above:
I'm partly persuaded by a couple of the critiques of Butler on substance (linked by Meador), basically "you can't simply equate marriage and sex."
But what the woke mob never explains is: why is it not sufficient to make constructive criticisms and have a productive dialogue? Why must the offender be expunged and eradicated? The only explanation for that dynamic is a religious one IMO.
You’re are right. Courage is in short supply and I’m not exactly sure why. Many times those in charge search for boogeymen that doesn’t exist so as to not do the right thing.
The Butler saga was just more evidence the gynocracy is real