Of sniggers, giggles, Perdition, and the Antichrist

 

 

Apparently, somewhere on the internet, my friend Bill Hamblin has quoted the New Testament epistles of John that offer a definition of the term antichrist:

 

1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
2 John 7   For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

 

Others, including some who doubt or even reject the deity of Christ (and perhaps even some who flatly deny his existence as a real historical person), are outraged that my friend Bill seems to be suggesting that they’re antichrists.

 

A reaction or two:

 

It doesn’t seem to be Bill who’s doing this, but the author of the epistles of John.

 

And, yes, it’s rather harsh and unfashionable language.  Not the kind of language that we tend to use today.  (Which is fine with me.)  But it’s biblical.

 

Finally, I’ve been struck, in recent weeks and months, by a trend among some — always or almost always politically liberal, so far as I can tell, which seems to me no mere coincidence — to picture true Christianity as completely accepting and nonjudgmental.  (For some, indeed, tolerance is far and away the principal Christian virtue.)  To these folks, the very idea of trying to draw clear distinctions or of attempting to define who and what can be plausibly characterized as fully “Mormon,” let alone of excommunication, is intrinsically unchristian and inappropriate.

 

But this seems to me historically unfounded:  The Jesus of the New Testament believed in Hell (something that Bertrand Russell thought an obviously lethal moral flaw in him), preached a final judgment, called the scribes and Pharisees all sorts of unpleasant names (e.g., “whited sepulchers,” “generation of vipers,” “liars and hypocrites,” and the like), talked repeatedly of people being “cast out” for various misdeeds, and, on one notable occasion, calmly braided a whip and, with it, drove a group of enterprising businessmen from the precincts of the Temple at Jerusalem.  He was the son of a tekton (often rendered as a “carpenter,” but, I think, more likely a “stone mason”) and, therefore, probably not the little weakling Jesus who, the young budding atheist schoolboy C. S. Lewis thought, looked in too many paintings “like a consumptive schoolgirl.”

 

Obviously, discipline and the regulation of membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a matter for those who have been appointed stewards over the Church.  And, just as obviously, such matters should be treated with charity, kindness, love, and concern for the welfare of souls.  In necessariis unitas, goes the saying often though mistakenly attributed to St. Augustine (who certainly doesn’t always seem to have observed the principle!), in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas (“in necessary things unity, in uncertain things liberty, in all things compassion”).

 

And, of course, it’s one thing, in the eyes of Christian believers, for Jesus to judge others, but rather a more difficult and problematic matter for us sinful mortals to judge each other.  (Let’s just stipulate right now that my own callous and blackened soul, cankered with perpetual anger and hatred and resentment as some of my critics routinely describe it, leaves me unqualified to judge anything at all.  This isn’t about me.)

 

Anyway, back to my story:  One of Bill’s critics is crowing on another board that Bill has identified him as “the antichrist.”  Somehow, this reminds me of the old oily anti-Mormon Ed Decker’s recurrent boast that, despite his manifest lack of the qualifications for so exalted a status, he’s a “son of perdition.”  Which, in turn, always reminded me of James Thomson’s amusing little poem “Once in a Saintly Passion”:

 

Once in a saintly passion
  I cried with desperate grief,
“O Lord, my heart is black with guile,
  Of sinners I am chief.”
Then stooped my guardian angel
  And whispered from behind,
“Vanity, my little man,
  You’re nothing of the kind.”

 

But at least James Thomson’s sinner honestly thought he was unrighteous.  (Which he almost certainly was.)  Ed Decker doesn’t really believe that he’s a “son of perdition.”  He’s just striking a public pose.  And Bill Hamblin’s pal doesn’t really believe that he’s an antichrist, let alone the antichrist — whatever the Bible may say.

 

 

Posted from Orlando, Florida.

 

 

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  • http://www.gawker.com LancePeters

    It never ceases to amaze me just how much of a fool you make yourself out to be. Congratulations Danny boy, you’ve done it again.

  • Erich Zann

    Lance,
    What a valuable comment! Your wit is only surpassed by your charm.

    • kosekosmou

      Erich, cool story bro

      • danpeterson

        Lance/Kose/Kore/andtenorfifteenothervariouslyspellednames:

        I’m probably going to start trashing your comments if they go on contributing nothing, insulting me, and making no sense.

        Just so you know.

        • Kiwi57

          Dan,

          I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you seem to have attracted a second “malevolent stalker,” to coin a phrase.

          • danpeterson

            Sigh. Yes, I’ve noticed. And there’s a third one, too. The latter only sends me private emails, but he’s been doing it for almost three months now. Pretty much daily, at least a paragraph or two. And, not seldom, two to four emails per day. Very, very weird.

          • Erich Zann

            Dan,
            I don’t know why you continue to defend your position in the face of such astute criticism as Lance/kosekosmou/etc. is delivering. His comments have certainly set the bar high for the rest of us here. You’ll have to forgive me though. Not all of us can be so brilliant.

          • danpeterson

            Hmmm. So you’ve read through the multiple posts and thousands of words that I’ve devoted to responding to him?

          • Erich Zann

            That was sarcasm, in case it wasn’t clear. To give this person the response he deserved would get me banned from commenting here. You have the patience of a saint for tolerating a single one of these colossal idiots for as long as you have, but three?

          • danpeterson

            Oh, I got it. I’ve paid precisely no attention to him/her.

          • Erich Zann

            Good. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was attacking you! I figured that any endorsement of korekosmou/Lance/etc. and his tactics would be plainly ridiculous, and I’m sure it would have been under normal circumstances. But I was reminded that korekosmou himself (and possibly others) routinely bombard this blog with equally ridiculous comments and actually mean them. Going just by that one comment of mine, one could be forgiven for thinking I was just another of this genius’s pseudonyms. I definitely wouldn’t want that.

  • The Old SGM

    I liked both Bill’s article and your discussion above. It might benefit those who are critical of both articles to spend some time studying the scriptures to gain some understanding of what you both were talking about. I believe the scriptures also discuss something about being hot or cold, loving one master and hating the other. They might want to consider doing that instead of making snide comments with no relevance to the topic at hand.

  • Stephen Smoot

    Where did Bill say this? I’d be interested to see his comments in full.

    • danpeterson

      I believe it’s on the Mormon Dialogue and Discussions Board, and I think the thread is called something like “Middle Road Mormons.” Sorry. Don’t have time to look right now.

  • Louis Midgley

    Dan:

    You may be thinking of a tribe called Middle Way Mormons, which is a version of New Order Mormons, which seems to be Recovery Board lite. As you know, I have had an encounter with a Middle Way Mormon on the Mormon Dialogure and Discussions Board over my recent essay in Interpreter. A Middle Way Mormon is, it seems, New Order Mormon lite. Kiwi57 might agree with me that, when someone has a different understanding of both divine and human things, they manifest pukuriri. She might also agree with me that those who pester you are perhaps porangi.

    • Kiwi57

      Kiwi57 does agree with you, on both points. Certainly there’s a lot of riri in both the things they write and the way they express themselves, both here and elsewhere.

      What I cannot see is why anyone would be so anxious to claim for themselves an “identity” involving a belief system they do not embrace. Maybe that’s where the porangi bit comes in.

  • Louis Midgley

    I just checked and Bill Hamblin has been in a conversation, if that is the proper word, on MDDB with people who self identify as Middle Way Mormons and/or New Order Mormons. some of the same folks who were more than a bit annoyed by my recent essay in Interpreter. And these folks self-identify as New Order Mormons and/or Middle Way Mormons. These folks should jettison both of these titles and find a more open and accurate label for their ideology.


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