Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Irrationalism, QIRE, and Challies

In this recent blog post, mega-blogger Tim Challies reports of another reason for why he left a confessionally Reformed church in favor of an Anabaptist one, this time the rationale being that the former did not have a strong "evangelistic" suit, born, he claims, out of a seemingly deeply-ingrained distaste for the unregenerate.

While his criticism may indeed be valid, his reaction of going from the context of strong, historical, and Reformed confessionalism to the converse does not share the same quality. In fact, I would say that it is irrational. If irrationalism is the claim that all that is true are the particulars around us, and that there are no universals that dictate upon how particulars operate, then Challies' subsequent embracing of more "feely," experience-driven Anabaptism fits the bill of irrationalism very nicely.

While it is possible for him to assert that the confessionally Reformed faith lacks the quality of "universal" (archetypal), based on biblical theological grounds, it is more likely that the reason he "jumped ship" is that, experientially, he was not being satisfied. This reminds me of Dr. R. Scott Clark's QIRE (Quest for Illegitimate Religious Experience):

"QIRE is then the practical dimension of QIRC. It denies that God mediates His interaction with man through the means of grace, namely, the preaching of the gospel and the sacraments. It posits that man is able to connect with God apart from the institutions that God has ordained in Scripture, thereby blurring the Creator-creature distinction. It is easy to spot more glaring instances of this error in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, but subtle variations also occur in the spiritual disciplines advocacies of many notable figures that are common in supposedly Reformed circles." (Underdog Theology, BOOK REVIEW: Recovering the Reformed Confession (Our Theology, Piety, and Practice) by R. Scott Clark—Chapter I, 'Whatever Became of Reformed Theology, Piety, and Practice?' PART 1)

While Challies' regression from Reformed confessionalism to Anabaptism is lamentable, the blessing that his wisdom has afforded many, through his blog and books, is definitely laudable.

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