New Age Lite Conversation & Course at Leithart's Theopolis Institute


(Kyle Grindberg) #1

I’ve really benefited from some of the Theopolis stuff, but when Leithart published, “The End of Protestantism,” I was really disappointed by that. Sadly, it’s only gotten worse since then:

https://theopolisinstitute.com/article/paths-to-human-maturity

This is the article that starts the “conversation” as they’re calling it… It was so hard to get through, but the TL:DR of it is helpfully summarized by the author at the beginning of it:

What follows simply presents a list of topics and propositions relating to psychoanalysis, the Desert Fathers, Zen Buddhism, the self, breathing, silence, the unconscious, discipleship, counseling, and our deep and unsatisfied desire to be like Christ.

I was saved out of the New Age back in May of 2007, and we should not be flirting with any that smells of that evil religion. This syncretism needs to be repented of! To make matters worse, this David Field guy is teaching a class in the near future for the Theopolis Institute… There’s a level of plausible deniability if they were just posting it to discuss, but to allow this man to teach a course? That’s at least endorsement, although Leithart (president of the Theopolis Institute) wrote a glowing response to David Field’s article.

I was thankful for Pastor Wilson’s faithful response that they actually published, in which he threatens formal charges if this stuff isn’t repented of.

I responded to the article’s posting on Twitter with this, “Ooo ooo, for the next conversation and Theopolis course you should do one on modern Wiccanism and what insights Christians can gain from investigating and practicing it!”


(Joseph Bayly) #2

Quick question.

Wilson says that “All three of the suggested paths to maturity as suggested by David Field [are] heartily commended by Peter Leithart.” I read the Leithart post, and I sincerely couldn’t tell whether he was being critical or supportive of Fields. You called it a “glowing response” but your use of the word “although” seems to imply a contrast with “endorsement.”

As somebody who hasn’t been following along, has there been any doubt that Leithart is in favor of this article? The reason I ask is because I would have assumed that these quotes were critical, the final one of which closes his article:

As it turns out, the modesty is only skin deep. As David explains the “ prima facie case” for his proposal, his radicalism shows its face. He out-Bibles the Bible-only types, opening an expansive horizon for investigation along a Biblicist pathway.

David has , and has not , left the Bible behind. At first, it appears that Scripture serves as little more than springboard; much of what David says might be described as “natural theology,” drawn from steady observation of the simplest of human experiences. But his account of that experience is shaped at every moment by the Bible; every claim is theologically charged.

We follow the Bible wherever it goes to find our pathway to the place we want to be: Deep in the deep weird.

Is Leithart really saying that our goal as Christians is to arrive at “the deep weird”?


(Kyle Grindberg) #3

Thanks for the response.

I read Leithart’s article, and walked away from it with the impression that it was favorable to the Field’s piece, but I should revisit it with your words in mind, I don’t want to mischaracterize him. I read Leithart’s after reading Alastair Roberts’ and Uri Brito’s responses, both of which were not as favorable as Leithart’s, so perhaps Leithart’s response was more intense in my mind by way of comparison.

I am making an assumption here given that he is the director of the Theopolis Institute, I’m assuming a level of editorial oversight. In any event, it happened on his watch while at the helm of the organization. I also don’t know how much direction he gives for what classes are offered, so that’s also fair to question.

In summary, I’ll revisit and re-evaluate. It’s easy for me to be reactive when I see people I respect falling into sins that I’ve been saved from, so I should’ve been more cautious in my reaction to this.

Oh, and that deep weird comment, in my understanding that’s a James Jordan phrase meaning that the Bible takes us to strange places if we follow it closely, so it’s not the destination, but the consequence of closely studying the Scriptures.


(Joseph Bayly) #4

This is absolutely fair.

If this is the case, then it’s very clear that he’s giving his endorsement to what David Field wrote.

It’s mind-boggling to me that I literally couldn’t tell whether he was trying to support it or attack it.


(Tim Bayly) #5

Yes, it’s a perfect description of himself and James Jordan. After attending their conference a couple years ago and listening carefully and engaging Jim and Peter directly, I was flabbergasted. Some of Jim’s ideas said publicly and personally in our conversation are beyond wacko. I told a friend Jim is a crank and he responded “he’s brilliant” and I responded, “cranks are always brilliant.” Have nothing to do with these men is my advice to anyone and everyone. I wouldn’t even bother disciplining them. Let them shrivel up and blow away. Pray for them to go into the Roman Catholic Church and give THEM a bad name.

As for whether Peter approves of Field’s project and article, yes. He does, and the very statements that make Joseph unsure are those that made me certain. Start with “radicalism;” it’s always and everywhere good for kooks like Leithart and Jordan. Move on to his shambling dishonesty of verbal feints. This is the main style of Peter and you have to always keep in mind that he’s a verbal prestidigitator. When his words seem to lead in one direction, by those very words he’s actually moving you in the opposite direction. Nothing Peter writes is ever direct and thus nothing he writes is ever honest.

Wish men would simply condemn Peter. Condemn and leave him alone. Condemn him loudly and leave him loudly so the sheep take warning.

This stuff is so bad. I couldn’t help think how damaged a certain man excommunicated from our church and his wife would be if they ever saw this stuff. An elder’s son.

Love,


(Lucas Weeks) #6

I think @kylegrindberg’s reading of Leithart, which echo’s Doug Wilson’s, is spot it: it is a ringing endorsement of Field’s article. I’m very thankful for Wilson’s response.


(Kyle Grindberg) #7

Thank you, everyone, for your responses.

@jtbayly I went back and re-read it. You’re right that it was unclear if he was,

It was very mealy-mouthed and uncommitted to a perspective. I would alter my “glowing response to David Field’s article” statement slightly, it was more an enthusiastic summary and elaboration on Field’s points than anything.

@tbbayly Thanks. Yeah, I’ve found some of Jordan’s stuff helpful, but he sure does go off the deep end frequently. Also, he had a stroke last year, and he hasn’t been teaching or writing since then.

@ldweeks Amen.


(Tim Bayly) #8

Very sorry to hear this Love,