oh, I’m much worse than that

I love this bit of self-deprecation and reliance on grace from Martin Luther as updated by Carl Trueman. This is some good stuff.

…..it has been brought to my attention over the last years that I am the hapless lackey of right-wing Christian America, the ruthless dismantler of everything good and virtuous at Westminster Theological Seminary (both the right and the left have advocated that one), a communist apologist for Islamic terrorism, a fundamentalist, a liar, a liberal (political and theological), an inveterate street fighter, a spineless girlyman, and a symptom of the crisis in American higher education whose very existence explains why so many young people leave college ill-equipped to deal with real life.

Now, I have to confess that, in the early days, the web insults that were forwarded to me did hurt a bit. I suspect that anyone who says that such things do not hurt is a liar. I may have had my blood replaced with ice water when I took the job of Academic Dean; and I can confirm the rumours that I do not have a shadow or cast a reflection in the mirrored glass in Machen Hall; but, despite the hearsay, I do remember getting a lump in my throat at the end of Bambi when I was child; and I can enjoy the occasional episode of Dancing with the Stars as much as the next man. Yes, I am human and I have the feelings too.

Look, to repeat: the web is bandit country. Let the wild and the whacky compete with the sane and the measured, the incoherent and rambling with the logical and well-argued, the extreme with the moderate. If people believe you are really a lizard from the Planet Iguanadon who has assumed human form and infiltrated a church or a seminary to make it the base for an Iguanaman takeover of the entire Christian church, then let them do so. Nothing you can say to the contrary will do anything other than convince them of the depth and sophistication of the extraterrestrial reptilian conspiracy. Their emotional and psychological needs are clearly more serious than your own; and if you respond to such nonsense, you give it credibility and allow the parasitic nature of the attack to succeed. Ignore it and it may not go away, but sane people will see it for what it is and walk by, slightly embarrassed, on the other side of the virtual information highway.

There is, however, a spiritual dimension to blog attacks which is, ironically, conducive to spiritual health and growth. Here I have learned much (as elsewhere) from the master theologian, churchman, public figure, and normal Christian believer, Martin Luther. It is well-known that in his writings in table conversation Luther would often refer to visits from the Devil, how the Devil would come to him and whisper in his ear, accusing him of all manner of filthy sin: “Martin, you are a liar, greedy, lecherous, a blasphemer, a hypocrite. You cannot stand before God.” To which Luther would respond: “Well, yes, I am. And, indeed, Satan, you do not know the half of it. I have done much worse than that and if you care to give me your full list, I can no doubt add to it and help make it more complete. But you know what? My Saviour has died for all my sins – those you mention, those I could add and, indeed, those I have committed but am so wicked that I am unaware of having done so. It does not change the fact that Christ has died for all of them; his blood is sufficient; and on the Day of Judgment I shall be exonerated because he has taken all my sins on himself and clothed me in his own perfect righteousness.

go read the whole thing. Hat tip to vitamin z.


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