(By John Henderson)
There are at least two ways to talk about bologna. A favorite way, especially among those who are trying to undermine an established belief, is to begin with the raising, feeding, and slaughter of the animals. That is followed by a description of the processing of the meats and animal parts involved—parts you would never eat otherwise— all the way through to plopping down a loaf of bologna for the slicer.
It is then sliced and packaged nicely and sold as sandwich meat. You know it is bologna but enjoy the sandwich meat so much that you never think about the ingredients—which if you did, you might find the “sandwich meat” unappealing.
I prefer to talk about bologna by telling you at the start that it is bologna and working back from there. You have a better chance of not becoming confused about whether or not I am always talking about bologna.
So, what is the bologna to which I refer? To be fair, I have to identify it by name, and that includes the name of the writer and who published it so you can check behind me if you wish. I intend no ridicule of the publisher or the writer because I am interested only in the content of the article.
The article was published in “Holiness Today,” September/October 2012 and was written by Al Truesdale. The name of the article is, “Why Wesleyans Aren’t Fundamentalists.” It is available online at NCN News.
I call the article’s conclusions and arguments bologna because they are false or unnatural meat with no resemblance to the meat of the Word. It begins with a bias, uses a host of logical fallacies, and concludes with circular reasoning that uses its on premise as the evidence for its conclusions.
I begin with a clearly stated biases. My bias is this: Christians have no other source for what they know and believe about the things of God other than what is written in the Bible. That leaves writers who take the approach as represented in this article with no external sources of legitimate authority so they must rely on what they can conjure up philosophically. One cannot discredit the Scriptures by referencing the Scriptures, especially since they are internally self-evident.
They will argue, as is done here, that they actually represent the inspired Scriptures but by the time they are finished with the qualifications for their reasoning, one is still left questioning the whole Bible, if only portions of it.
Truesdale’s arguments are focused on the presumed inadequacies of the argument for the inspiration of the Scriptures by “fundamentalists” (whom he narrowly defines to suit his narrative) and the supposed adequacy of the “soteriological” inspiration of passages ensconced in a collection that is not ”soteriological”. By “presumed”, I mean that he makes no case for what he accepts as a given. It is as though what he says about those matters are self-evident based on his description of them.
There is no need for me to take apart his argument here. There are ample published repudiations that do that very well. I am looking only at the pattern of his logic and approach. His data are pre-biased because they are arbitrarily selected and narrowly defined to fit his narrative, rather than to fit his narrative to a more comprehensive understanding of key elements such as fundamentalism in a wider-ranging definition.
For example, he neglects to tell us that Nazarene leaders of a previous generation at least, boldly declared Nazarenes as being fundamentalists.
Also, he calls his position Wesleyan but never directly quotes John Wesley or any of the early Wesleyan leaders in support of his “soteriological” position on inspiration. In fact, he never supports his claims for “soteriological” inspiration either from the Scriptures or reason.
There is no definitive identification of the “soteriological” versus “non-soteriological” passages. Especially he has not demonstrated how a perfect, infallible God would allow such a mixture of iron and clay in the only Book that is the sole source of revelational truth about the things of God. He breaks down and tears apart but he never builds. He leaves us with no alternative, from his argument, but a Bible that is part-inspired and part-pagan. However Wesleyan the writer thinks himself to be, John Wesley has already spoken on this issue that contradicts the entire argument: “Nay, if there be any mistakes in the Bible, there may as well be a thousand. If there be one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth.” – John Wesley – Journal (24 July 1776).
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