These days, I don’t write an entire article defending myself against an attack on my position, unless the person making the attack is important, or else the person making the attack represents a position that I regard as important. I used to. I sometimes would write a book in response. Not any more. I have grown mellow.
But when a black theologian goes into print saying that I am part of something he calls “ideological tribalism,” I just can’t resist. His name is Anthony Bradley.
I am 72 years old. Much of my mental imagery is the product of the years I spent in movie theaters in my youth. The movies did not shape my ideology, but they surely shaped my imagery. So, when I learned that I am part of an ideological tribe, the image that instantly popped into my head was from King Kong. Carl Denham has taken his camera crew to Skull Island, and they are secretly photographing the tribe’s dancers, who are dancing in a circle, in preparation to offer a human sacrifice to Kong. “Uga, uga, uga — Kong!”
[Note: I did not see it in 1933. I’m old, but I’m not that old. I saw it in a re-release in 1954.]
I can visualize myself in a straw kilt. “Uga, uga, uga — Mises!” My vote for the appropriate sacrifice would be Paul Krugman. But I digress.
The theologian got his Ph.D. from Westminster Seminary. I also attended Westminster Seminary. He speaks the same dialect that I speak: Reformed Protestant, with a Dutch accent. We both learned this arcane language at seminary. He says things like “sphere sovereignty.” Not many people speak this dialect, let alone with the accent.
His article was published in World Magazine, a magazine in the Reformed tradition.
[Note: the magazine exists because of me. It was started with the profits generated by the Christian school newspaper, God’s World News, formerly called It’s God’s World. That venture was the result of an article by David Chilton in the newsletter my Institute for Christian Economics published in the 1980’s, The Biblical Educator. Chilton in 1981 recommended starting a Christian version of the newspaper for public school elementary school kids, My Weekly Reader. The people who started World did what Chilton recommended. The 1982 issue summarizing the background of all this is here. I am not sure what World had in mind when publishing this article, but this much is clear: had I not been doing my homework in Christian economics, and raising the funds to publish The Biblical Educator, World would not exist.]
His article is prefaced by a glowing promotion by Marvin Olasky.
[Note: Dr. Olasky is the editor-in-chief of World in part because of me. He also hired Dr. Bradley to serve as a professor at King’s College, where Dr. Olasky was once the provost. Dr. Olasky had a position in academia, also in part because of me. In 1980, he came to Tyler, Texas, to ask my advice. Should he take a position at the University of Texas, Austin, to teach journalism, or should he accept a job by a huge grant-issuing organization, which today is known as a neocon outfit, to hand out grants? I recommended the teaching position, where he could influence students. He took my advice.]
With this as background, consider the article, which is the magazine’s lead story: “Anthony Bradley vs. evangelical tribalism.”
YOUR TRIBE AND MINE
He begins with an encounter he had with a student at Duke Divinity School. The student was a Progressive in every sense: politically and theologically liberal to the core. He dismissed Dr. Bradley as follows: “His body of work is a textbook in blaming the victim and reducing problems to pathology.” So far, Dr. Bradley sounds like my kind of guy.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)