Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Too well-educated to criticize..."

The current controversy at the Crystal Cathedral may prove how difficult it is to return to orthodox doctrine once it has been disregarded. Joe Carter suggests it exemplifies Neuhaus’ Law:
Richard John Neuhaus once defined Neuhaus’ Law as “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.”
Some otherwise bright people have indicated their puzzlement with that axiom but it seems to me, well, axiomatic. Orthodoxy, no matter how politely expressed, suggests that there is a right and a wrong, a true and a false, about things. When orthodoxy is optional, it is admitted under a rule of liberal tolerance that cannot help but be intolerant of talk about right and wrong, true and false. [emphasis added] It is therefore a conditional admission, depending upon orthodoxy’s good behavior. The orthodox may be permitted to believe this or that and to do this or that as a matter of sufferance, allowing them to indulge their inclination, preference, or personal taste. But it is an intolerable violation of the etiquette by which one is tolerated if one has the effrontery to propose that this or that is normative for others.
A prime example of this law in action can be found at the Crystal Cathedral church in Garden Grove, California. The L.A. Times has a story about the “controversy” over choir members being asked to sign a statement that—are you sitting down?—God intends sex only for married heterosexuals. The shocking paragraph from the Crystal Cathedral Worship Choir and Worship Team Covenant reads:
Crystal Cathedral ministries believes that it is important to teach and model the biblical view. I understand that Crystal Cathedral Ministries teaches that sexual intimacy is intended by God to only be within the bonds of marriage, between one man and one woman.
A well-established orthodox [and biblical] position that, unfortunately, the founding pastor disagrees with. Carter again:
.... Robert Schuller (who is also the father of the current senior pastor, Sheila Schuller Coleman) says the statement “goes against what he has built his church upon.”(!)
“I have a reputation worldwide of being tolerant of all people and their views,” he told the Orange County Register.

“I’m too well-educated to criticize a certain religion or group of people for what they believe in. It’s called freedom.”
I’ve heard the purveyor of positive thinking called many things but “too well-educated” is not one of them. ....
Neuhaus’ Law and the Crystal Cathedral » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog