Tim Enloe: “I…repudiate the entire mode of discourse.”

Note: these links are now dead, after several years.


Societas Christiana » Tim Enloe: Reformed Polemicist, R.I.P.

I never heard of this guy till I stumbled across this post today. I love this so much I just want to memorialize it here, and extract a few quotes that are particularly well-stated. The bold is MINE.

I hereby openly repudiate the entire mode of discourse… the fundamentally adversarial mode and its entrenched negative intellectual and social orientation. I deny that truly constructive, properly Christian discourse with other Christians, and chiefly between Catholics and Protestants, can be carried on from an adversarial standpoint. I want nothing to do with this type of “dialogue.” It is a sham that lives in the worst parts of the past (bitterly carrying on the 17th century Wars of Religion by different means) and the worst parts of the present (taking Fundamentalist Protestantism and Fortress Catholicism as normative).

I hereby formally repudiate that mode of discourse and all my doings from within its paradigm. Although thereare things within the linked materials with which I would probably still agree and things with which I probably would not, I consign the whole mass to the category of “Fruitless Bickering” carried on, at
least from my end, by someone whose priorities were deeply out of
order. For several years, apologetics—chiefly apologetics against
Catholic controversialists on the Internet—virtually consumed my life,
and I believe I was ultimately intellectually and spiritually poorer
for it.

There are certainly times when fighting must occur,
when men must stand up for what they believe is right and, if
necessary, slug it out with other men. However, I do not believe that
the bulk of fighting on the Internet, especially between Catholics and
Protestants, constitutes such times of necessary fighting. To be fair,
the online apologetics community is made up of a variety of people.
Some on both sides have noble intentions and do actually seek
to respectfully and constructively discuss troublesome issues with
their counterparts. I count among my friends a number of Catholics of
this type who have often been most faithful to me by inflicting wounds
that have driven me onward and upward toward Christ. [Edit: Although
truthfully, probably none of these Catholics would consider themselves
“apologists” proper, and apologetics proper does not constitute the
bulk of their Internet activities].

Nevertheless, for the most part Internet apologetics on both sides is a morass of ill-taught, insecure, and intransigent people on both sides. Their incessant bickering in the grand name of “Truth” ultimately reduces to shameless, sinful intellectual and cultural fratricide. There are significant issues between Catholics and Protestants which need to be addressed, and which are very difficult to discuss because of our long legacy of bloodletting and caricaturing of each other. It is difficult to avoid tension when talking about disputed issues of theology, history, and Christian experience in the world. Nevertheless, I deny that these issues can be properly addressed, or that solutions can be found, if discussions are carried on within the war-mongering matrix of apologetics.

Rest, Tim. God, in His mercy, has delivered you from “apologetics.”