30 May 2017

Comey and Conservative Theological Liberalism

It is not my intention here to comment on the Comey-Trump scandal and all that goes with it. I hope to write something about these early days of Trump in the near future.
I found this article interesting because awhile ago I picked up on the Comey connection to religious education and the fact that he had been a Sunday School teacher in a United Methodist Church.
Suddenly this Niebuhr-related article tied it all together. His place in the grand order of things suddenly made sense.

That said, his life also demonstrates the danger in Reinhold Niebuhr's essentially non-Christian position. Niebuhr was not a believer as the Scripture would define it. He was classic Conservative-leaning theological liberal, a retainer of forms without substance, forms which had to be read into and applied to today's modern secular and technological context. To some he was brilliant visionary providing the Church a means to interact with and survive in a modern world.
To others like me, Niebuhr is the sort we are warned about on the pages of the New Testament, one who takes the Gospel and makes it live at peace with the world system. It must be granted that Niebuhr believed it was the job of Christians to affect change, to shape the world system. He was no defender of the status quo. Yet, in the end Niebuhr's influence has demonstrated that the Church did not change the world but instead the world has invaded and all but subverted the Church.
James Comey and many like him represent this very influence. Comey is by all standards, by the Constitution of the United States and more importantly by Christian moral standards, an evil person. He has utilised and abused power in order to maintain lies and to buttress and support the powers of others who seek mastery of the world. Law, whether man-made civil, revelatory or even natural law has been violated at every turn by the policies that he has implemented and supported.
I do not lament his fall. He chose to live by the sword (for that's what politics and its enforcers are) and now he suffers ruin as a result. He doesn't need to be defended. He needs to repent.
This does not in any way shape or form exonerate Donald Trump. That's a separate issue.
There is something we can be thankful for. Niebuhr's poisonous doctrine always self-destructs. It always leaves a wasteland which in terms of the Church can prove tragic but in the end a purged and slimmed down Church is better than a gluttonous and bloated adulteress drunk on power.
Comey's seeming integrity and even humility are false. This man was and is a megalomaniac bent on power and strengthening the claws of empire. He was and is an enemy to human freedom, religious conscience and ultimately pluralist society and the principles which undergird it.
The fact that he was fired by a detestable gangster who outstrips his own ego ten-fold is beside the point.
John Yoder has provided some interesting discussion when it comes to Niebuhr, the Mennonites and the crisis/fall-out of World War II. Niebuhr's challenge (fallacious I might add) to their pacifism drove some of them to embrace social action. Amazingly within just a couple of generations, these groups have all but abandoned anything that remotely resembled Biblical Christianity. While standing in some cases for some noble ideas they have largely embraced the world. Their theology and activism are naught but a Christian veneer attached to Leftist politics. While I may appreciate some of their positions when viewed in light of the quasi-fascist proclivities of the Christian Right, in the end they're in the same boat. The Gospel, antithesis and the pilgrim calling have been altogether lost.

1 comment:

  1. Lost people talking about lost people.

    Niebuhr's own pick for America's greatest theologian just says it all.