Themelios, Volume 42, Issue 3

Themelios, Volume 42, Issue 3

162 Pages


Themelios is an international, evangelical, peer-reviewed theological journal that expounds and defends the historic Christian faith. Themelios is published three times a year online at The Gospel Coalition ( and in print by Wipf and Stock. Its primary audience is theological students and pastors, though scholars read it as well. Themelios began in 1975 and was operated by RTSF/UCCF in the UK, and it became a digital journal operated by The Gospel Coalition in 2008. The editorial team draws participants from across the globe as editors, essayists, and reviewers.
General Editor: D. A. Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Managing Editor: Brian Tabb, Bethlehem College and Seminary
Consulting Editor: Michael J. Ovey, Oak Hill Theological College
Administrator: Andrew David Naselli, Bethlehem College and Seminary
Book Review Editors: Jerry Hwang, Singapore Bible College; Alan Thompson, Sydney Missionary & Bible College; Nathan A. Finn, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Hans Madueme, Covenant College; Dane Ortlund, Crossway; Jason Sexton, Golden Gate Baptist Seminary
Editorial Board:
Gerald Bray, Beeson Divinity School
Lee Gatiss, Wales Evangelical School of Theology
Paul Helseth, University of Northwestern, St. Paul
Paul House, Beeson Divinity School
Ken Magnuson, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Jonathan Pennington, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
James Robson, Wycliffe Hall
Mark D. Thompson, Moore Theological College
Paul Williamson, Moore Theological College
Stephen Witmer, Pepperell Christian Fellowship
Robert Yarbrough, Covenant Seminary



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DESCRIPTION hemelios is an international, evangelical, peer-reviewed teological journal tat expounds and defends te istoric Cristian fait. Its primary audience is teological students and pastors, toug scolars read it as well. hemelios began in 1975 and was operated by RTSF/UCCF in te UK, and it became a digital journal operated by he Gospel Coalition in 2008. he editorial team draws participants from across te globe as editors, essayists, and reviewers.hemelios is publised tree times a year online at he Gospel Coalition website in PDF and HTML, and may be purcased in digital format wit Logos Bible Software and in print wit Wipf and Stock.hemeliosis copyrigted by he Gospel Coalition. Readers are free to use it and circulate it in digital form witout furter permission, but tey must acknowledge te source and may not cange te content..
EDITORS General Editor:D. A. Carson Trinity Evangelical Divinity Scool 2065 Half Day Road Deerfield, IL 60015, USAtemelios@t Managing Editor:Brian Tabb Betleem College & Seminary 720 13t Avenue Sout Minneapolis, MN 55415, USA brian.tabb@t Contributing Editor:Micael J. Ovey Oak Hill heological College Case Side, Soutgate London, N14 4PS, UKmikeo@oak Administrator:Andy Naselli Betleem College & Seminary 720 13t Avenue Sout Minneapolis, MN 55415, USAtemelios@t
BOOK REVIEW EDITORS Old TestamentPeter Lau Malaysian heological Seminary Seremban, Malaysiapeter.lau@t New TestamentDavid Starling Morling College 120 Herring Road Macquarie Park, NSW 2113, Australiadavid.starling@t History and Historical heologyJonatan Arnold Boyce College 2825 Lexington Road Louisville, KY 40280 jonatan.arnold@t
Systematic heology and BioeticsHans Madueme Covenant College 14049 Scenic Higway Lookout Mountain, GA 30750, USAans.madueme@t Etics and Pastoralia Jeremy Kimble Cedarville University 251 N. Main St. Cedarville, OH 45314, Mission and CultureJackson Wu International Cinese heological Seminary East Asia jackson.wu@t
EDITORIAL BOARD Gerald Bray,Beeson Divinity Scool; Hassell Bullock,Weaton College; Lee Gatiss,Wales Evangelical Scool of heology; Paul Helset,University of Nortwestern, St. Paul; Paul House,Beeson Divinity Scool; Ken Magnuson,he Soutern Baptist heological Seminary; Gavin Ortlund,Trinity Evangelical Divinity Scool; Jonatan Pennington,he Soutern Baptist heological Seminary; Mark D. hompson,Moore heological College; Paul Williamson,Moore heological College; Stepen Witmer,Pepperell Cristian Fellowsip; Robert Yarbroug,Covenant Seminary.
ARTICLES hemeliostypically publises articles tat are 4,000 to 9,000 words (including footnotes). Prospective contributors sould submit articles by email to te managing editor in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or Ric Text Format (.rtf ). Submissions sould not include te autor’s name or institutional affiliation for blind peer-review. Articles sould use clear, concise Englis and sould consistently adopt eiter UK or USA spelling and punctuation conventions. Special caracters (suc as Greek and Hebrew) require a Unicode font. Abbreviations and bibliograpic references sould conform tohe SBL Handbook of Style(2nd ed.), supplemented byhe Cicago Manual of Style(16t ed.). For examples of te te journal's style, consult te most recent hemelios issues and te contributor guidelines.
REVIEWS he book review editors generally select individuals for book reviews, but potential reviewers may contact tem about reviewing specific books. As part of arranging book reviews, te book review editors will supply book review guidelines to reviewers. Printed by Wipf and Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8th Ave., Eugene, OR 97401. ISBN: 978-1-5326-4588-4
hemelios42.3 (2017): 435–39
Sould Pastors Today Still Care about te Reformation?  D. A. Carson 
D. A. Carson is researc professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity Scool in Deerfield, Illinois, and general editor ofhemelios.
1 astors devoted to teir ministry ave so many tings to do. Apart from te careful preparation evaPngelism, te mentoring of anoter generation coming along beind, te incessant demands of ad-week by week of fres sermons and Bible studies, ours set aside for counseling and administra-tion, care in developing excellent relationsips, careful and tougtful (and time-consuming!) ministration and oversigt—not to mention te nurturing of one’s own soul—tere is te regular array of family priorities, including care for aging parents and precious grandcildren and an ill spouse (or any number of permutations of suc responsibilities), and, for some, energy levels declining in inverse proportion to advancing years. So wy sould busy pastors set aside valuable ours to read up on te Reformation, usually tougt to ave kicked off about five undred years ago? True, te Reformers lived in rapidly canging times, but ow many of tem gave serious tougt to postmodern epistemology, transgenderism, and te new (in)tolerance? If we are to learn from forebears, wouldn’t we be wise to coose more recent forebears? I offer nine reasons wy te Reformation still matters for today’s pastors. (1) A pastor is by definition someting akin to a GP (a “general practitioner”). He is not a specialist in, say, divorce and remarriage, mission istory, cultural commentary, and particular periods of curc istory. Yet most pastors will ave to develop competent introductory knowledge in all tese areas as part of teir application of te Word of God to te people around tem. Some pastors will feel te need to empasize one area more tan anoter: e.g., a pastor living in a neigborood wit many Muslims will want to devote time and energy to understanding Islam; an Arnold Dallimore will devote forty years’ wort of olidays to produce a magisterial two-volume work on George Witefield. Neverteless, pastoral ministry is muc more akin to te work of a GP tan to te work of an ears-eyes-nose-and-troat specialist, or to tat of a surgeon wo does noting but Mos surgery. And tat means e is obligated to devote some time eac year to reading in broad areas. One of tose areas is istorical teology. Well-cosen istorical literature exposes us to different cultures and times, expanding our orizons, enabling us to see ow Cristians in oter times and places ave tougt troug wat te Bible says and ow to apply te gospel to all of life. Keep reading! I was exposed to Jon Crysostom and Atanasius of Alexandria wen I was a young man; only in recent years ave I read muc more of tem. Reading Reformation sources is one part of tis appy privilege and responsibility.
1 An abbreviated form of tis essay as appeared in9Marks Journal.
(2) More specifically, a growing knowledge of istorical teology accomplises wonders in destroying te illusion tat insigtful and rigorous exegesis began in te nineteent or twentiet century. Not everyting tat was written five undred years ago, or fifteen undred years ago, is wolly admirable and wort repeating, any more tan everyting tat is written today is wolly admirable. But suc istorical reading is te only effective antidote to te tragic attitude of one seminary (name witeld to protect te guilty) wic long argued tat its students needed to learn only good exegesis and responsible ermeneutics: tey didn’t need to learn wat oters tink, for wit exegesis and ermeneutics under teir belt tey could turn te crank and deliver faitful teology all by temselves. How naïve to tink tat exegesis and ermeneutics are neutral, value-free disciplines! he reality is tat we need to listen to oter pastor-teologians, bot from our own day and from te past, if we are to grow in ricness, nuance, insigt, self-correction, and gospel fidelity. (3) But wy focus on te Reformation in particular? here are plenty of critics quite appy to write off te Reformation as a period wit merely antiquarian interest. One pundit at an Australian institution recently protested tat te Reformation was a great disaster because it “killed missions.” Sometimes one doesn’t know weter to laug or cry—but one ting is certain, suc negations display no first and knowledge of te primary sources. More broadly, any serious exposure to te Reformers’ writings makes it ard not to see te sweep and reac of te Reformation. Altoug it was triggered by te question of indulgences, debate over indulgences soon led, directly or indirectly, to probing debates on autority, te locus of revelation (Sould we seize on a deposit ostensibly given to te curc embracing bot Scripture and Tradition, or onsola Scriptura?), purgatory, te autority by wic sins are forgiven, te treasury of satisfactions, te nature and locus of te curc, te nature and autority of priest/presbyters, te nature and function of te Eucarist, saints, justification, sanctification, te nature of te new birt, te enslaving power of sin, and muc more. All of tese are still central issues in te teological syllabus today. Even te issue of indulgences is still important: bot Pope Benedict and Pope Francis ave offered plenary special indulgences under certain circumstances (toug in a more restrained structure tan tat adopted by Tetzel). Moreover, te study of te Reformation is especially salutary as a response to tose wo tink te so-called “Great Tradition,” as preserved in te earliest ecumenical creeds, is invariably an adequate basis for ecumenical unity—as if tere were no eresies invented after te fourt century. On tis front, study of te Reformation usefully fosters a little istorical realism. (4) In addition to te ermeneutical distinctiveness of te Reformation tat sprang fromsola Scriptura, te Reformers worked ard to develop a rigorous ermeneutic tat was clear of te vagaries of te fourfold ermeneutic tat crested during te Middle Ages. his doesnotmean tey were simplistic literalists, unable to appreciate different literary genres, subtle metapors, and oter symbol-laden figures of speec; it means, rater, tat tey worked ard to let Scripture speak on its own terms, witout allowing external metods to be imposed on te text like an extra-textual grid designed to guarantee te “rigt” answers. In part, tis was tied to teir understanding ofclaritas Scripturae, te perspicuity of Scripture. Witout in any sense reducing te role of te teacer/preacer of Scripture, let alone te many perplexities of Scripture, tey were convinced tat Scripture does not need an autoritative interpretation of Scripture provided by te Magisterium. Altoug contemporary discussions of ermeneutics largely focus on sligtly different agendas, te parallels are striking. In particular, Calvin’s commentaries are so adept at following te line of te text tat tey are still read appreciatively today.
Sould Pastors Today Still Care about te Reformation?
(5) It as been said tat if you want good teology grounded in robust exegesis and expository preacing, turn to Reformed teology, but if you want spirituality, turn to Catolicism. In te past I ave occasionally addressed tat bifurcation: e.g., “Wen Is Spirituality Spiritual? Reflections on Some Problems of Definition,”JETS 37 (1994): 381–94. Catolic teory on spirituality commonly distinguises between te living of ordinary Catolics, and te spiritual living of tose wo are really deeply committed Catolics. It’s almost a Catolic version of “iger life” teology. It is said to lead to mystical connection to God, and to be caracterized by extraordinary spiritual practices and disciplines. But altoug I ave read rigt troug, say, Julian of Norwic, I find a great deal of subjective mysticism and virtually no grounding in Scripture or te gospel. And for te life of me I cannot imagine eiter Peter or Paul recommending monastic witdrawal in order to attain greater spirituality: it is always a danger wen certain ascetic practices become normative pats to spirituality wen tere is no apostolic support for tem. he contemporary generation, tired of merely cerebral approaces to Cristianity, is drawn to late patristic and medieval patterns of spirituality. Wat a relief, ten, to turn to te warmest of te writings of te Reformers, and discover afres te pursuit of God and is rigteousness well-grounded in oly Scripture. hat is wy Luter’s letter to is barber remains suc a classic: it is full of godly application of te gospel to ordinary Cristians, building up a conception of spirituality tat is not reserved for te elite of te elect but for all broters and sisters in Crist. Similarly, te opening capters of Book III of Calvin’sInstitutesprovide more profound reflection on true spirituality tan many muc longer contemporary volumes. (6) he Reformation is of central importance for understanding modern Western istory. hree large-scale movements set te stage for te contemporary Western world: te Renaissance, te Reformation, and te Enligtenment. Eac of te tree is complex, and scolars continue to debate many facets of eac. Neverteless, te raw claim for te pivotal role of tese tree movements cannot easily be callenged. In addition to te focused clarity on te gospel fostered by te Reformation, many of its ideas—suc as te empasis on Scripture alone as te final autority, increased clarity on te distinguisable differences between giving to God and to Caesar teir respective dues (wic in turn led to developments in tougt, some elpful and some unelpful, on te relationsips between curc and state)—led directly or indirectly to Protestant denominations around te world, wic in turn contributed, directly or indirectly, to worldwide missionary movements, and to several European wars. (7) here are lessons to be learned from te Reformation about te sovereignty of God in movements of revival and reformation. After te fact, it is tempting to trace out wat appened and view te sequence of events as almost inevitable—relatively simple arrays of cause and effect. We begin wit Luter’s ninety-five teses and sow te reasons wy te Reformation unfolded te way it did. On te oter and, a little istorical imagination easily conjures up an alternative world in wic te posting of te ninety-five teses proved to be noting more tan a damp squib. After all, tere were oter reformers and reform movements tat sowed early promise, but tat largely sputtered out. Jon Wycliffe (c. 1320–1384) was a teologian, pilosoper, curcman, ecclesiastical reformer, and Bible translator, and te work e did anticipated te Reformation, but it could not be said to ave precipitated it. Jan Hus (1369–1415) was a Czec priest, reformer, scolar, rector of Carles University in Prague, and arcitect of a reforming movement, often called “Hussitism,” but of course e was martyred and is movement, toug important in Boemia, acieved little more in Europe tan predecessor status. Wy did Luter, Calvin, and Zwingli live on long enoug to give direction to a massive Reformation, wile Bible translator William Tyndale (1494–1536) was murdered? Historical indsigt offers many reasons wy tis one lived and tat one died, wy tis reforming action fizzled and tat one ignited an
irrepressible flame. he istorical details are wort understanding, but te eyes of fait will see te and of God in genuine reformation, and remind us to offer im our praises for wat e as done, and our petitions for wat we still beg im to do. (8) he Reformation stands out as a movement tat sougt to integrate exegesis of te biblical books wit wat we would today call systematic teology. Not all te Reformers did tis te same way. Some acted as if tey were expounding te biblical texts, but tended in reality to jump from seminal word or prase to te next seminal word or prase, stopping at eac point to unload teological treatments of te various “loci.” Bucer, for example, followed te text more closely but also unloaded is treatment of te “loci” as e went along, making is commentaries extraordinarily long and dense. Calvin strove in is commentaries for wat e called “lucid brevity,” and e reserved is systematic teology primarily for wat grew to become te four volumes ofInstitutes of te Cristian Religion. Indeed, Calvin’s commentaries are so “bare bones” tat not a few scolars ave criticized im for not including enoug teology in tem. But wat is striking about all tese Reformers, regardless of teir successes or failures to bring about appropriate integration, is te way in wic tey simultaneously attempted to expound te Bible and engage in serious teologizing. By contrast, today few systematicians are excellent exegetes, and few exegetes evince muc interest in systematic teology. he exceptions merely prove te rule. here are many reasons wy te Reformers were models in tis regard—but watever te reasons, we ave muc to learn from tem. (9) he Reformers read teir own times well. Wile leaning on te “norming norm” of oly Scripture, tey truly understood were te fault lines lay in teir own time and place. Some of te same issues prevail today. On te oter and, wat we sould take away from te Reformers in tis regard is not simply te list of topics on wicteymajored, but te importance of understandingourtimes and learning ow to engage our times wit te trut of Scripture. Doubtless tis is te place were it is wort including a few lines on some of te ways in wic we souldnotslavisly seek to imitate te Reformers. heir agendas are not always ours, and sould not be. Moreover, te mode of discourse tey commonly deployed was far more inflamed ten tan wat is acceptable today—toug it is not always clear if te contemporary restraint is a function of increased tolerance and courtesy, or te result of apaty and indifference to trut. After all caveats ave been entered, owever, te degree of invective in te age of te Reformation, especially (but not exclusively) from te pen of Luter, was not admirable, and is anti-Semitism was utterly witout excuse. here are tree wrong approaces to te Reformers and teir writings. First, we may ignore tem, but tat will simply guarantee tat we impoveris ourselves. Second, we may idolize tem, but like all idolatries tis one displeases God and guarantees we will not listen very well to oter voices in te istory of te curc. hird, we may do no more tan remind ourselves of teir errors, failures, and sortcomings, and in consequence dismiss tem wit contempt; but if we treat all istorical figures tis way, consistency demands tat we listen to no one, starting wit ourselves. here is so very muc tat is good in te Reformation eritage, even if I want to distance myself from parts of it. So let me end by mentioning a diversity of sources one may use to get started. he collected works of Luter are available in CD: my copy (given to me by a former student) is muc cerised. If you want to warm yourself wit Reformation spirituality, start wit te wolly admirable book by Calvin tat I’ve already mentioned, viz.,A Little Book on te Cristian Life(Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust, 2017). his is a fres and deligtful translation of several of te opening capters of Book III of teInstitutes. I am currently reading it troug wit te students in my Spiritual Formation Group. Serious readers
Sould Pastors Today Still Care about te Reformation?
will want to scan some of Calvin’s commentaries and work teir way troug teInstitutes. At some juncture, it is important to read good biograpies of te main players. For Luter, te standout volume is still tat of Roland H. Bainton,Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luter (New York: New American Library, 1950). I first read it wen I was in seminary almost fifty years ago; my wife as just read it, and found it no less gripping tan I did. I ave many biograpies of Calvin; I cannot say wic one is “best.” Stimulating and callenging are te essays in te recent book by Eric Landry and Micael S. Horton,he Reformation hen and Now(Peabody: Hendrickson, 2017). For tose wanting to immerse temselves in te way Genevan pastors, in te wake of Calvin’s teacing and influence, gave temselves to pastoral ministry, one simply cannot do better tan read Scott Manetsc,Calvin’s Company of Pastors: Pastoral Care and te Emerging Reformed Curc, 1536–1609, Oxford Studies in Historical heology (New York: OUP, 2013)—a work bot scolarly and lucid, bot informative and edifying. Keep reading!
hemelios42.3 (2017): 440–43
I’m (Not) Getting Sentimental over You  Daniel Strange 
Daniel Strange is acting principal and tutor in Culture, Religion and Public heology at Oak Hill College, London.
‘Post-Diana, Britain will indeed be anoter country. hat week we witnessed a defining moment in our 1 istory.’ hus Professor Antony O’Hear ends is infamous 1998 essay claiming tat in te extraordinary public reaction to te tragic deat of te self-styled ‘queen of people’s earts’ we were witnessing an apoteosis: sentimentality personified and canonised. he ten Britis prime-minister Tony Blair called 2 suc commentators ‘rigt-wing old-fasioned snobs’ Some of te tabloid papers revealed a darker side, labelling O’Hear as a ‘poisonous professor, a rat-faced, little loser.’ Now, on te twentiet anniversary of tose tumultuous events, events wic te media ave made us live trougagainin painstaking detail, O’Hear would seem to be vindicated. For all te genuine sadness, solidarity, and determination of te uman spirit, recent public responses to terror attacks, tragedies and celebrity deats ave igligted a pervasive and unbearably icky sticky sentimentality, seemingly immune from criticism, wic continues to seep into all areas of cultural life in te UK. Ostentatious public expressions of emotion, media interviewafterinterviewaboutowsuc-and-sucaneventmadeteintervieweefeel,morefrequentand increasingly lengtier ‘minutes of silence’ at major events, lapel badges tat we feel obliged to wear, simplistic analyses (‘terrorism as no religion’), and banal platitudes (pick any one of a tousand versions of ‘we just need to love one-anoter’) are slowly suffocating us. It’s all too muc because it’s so false, or to be more apposite, fake. Now immediately I’m caugt in a dilemma. I want to say some tings about tis sentimentality epidemic to an international audience, but I fear I can’t witout coming across as tat stereotypical Brit: somewatrepressed,buttoned-up,sti-upperlippedandworstofall,acynic.AndImnot.Imreallynot. Etnically, I tick te amorpous UK Census box known as ‘mixed’ (I’m alf Englis, alf Indo-Guyanese). Environmentally, I’m not te product of te kind of Englis educational system sometimes associated wit tese caracteristics. Personally, I like to tink I’m fairly self-aware and consider myself prone to bouts of passion and excitability. I’m more a eart-on-my-sleeve guy tan not. Moreover, teologically, in my seminary teacing over te years, I’ve entusiastically supported and advocated te Reformed re-discovery of a ‘kardioptic’ wolism in our understanding of Cristian worldview, biblical antropology, and cultural apologetics, all of wic sape our preacing, disciplesip and leadersip. he work of scolars suc as David Naugle, James Sire, and James K. A. Smit in tese areas as been
1 AntonyOHear,Diana,QueenofHearts:SentimentalityPersoniedandCanonised,inFaking It: he Sen-timentalisation of Modern Society, ed. Digby Anderson and Peter Mullen (London: Social Affairs Unit, 1998), 190. 2 ‘Blair’s blast at te Diana ‘snobs’’Sunday Mirror, April 19, 1998.
I’m (Not) Getting Sentimental over You.
3 a elpful corrective to wat can be a Cartesian rationalistic bent witin conservative evangelicalism. I am sympatetic wit Jon Frame’s perspectival take on te uman personality and is critique of te 4 primacyofteintellect.Insort,emotionandaectionarenotsecond-classfaculties.Andyet,tecorruption of emotion tat we see in sentimentality is worrying and needs to be addressed because our individual and communal Cristian lives are not immune to tis bligt. Tracing te roots of sentimentality back to te Enligtenment Romantic tradition is pretty 5 obvious. However defining wat we mean by sentimentality is notoriously difficult. We may well ave eardvariousaporisticdenitions.Asentimentalist,OscarWildewrote,isonewodesirestoavete luxury of an emotion witout paying for it.… Indeed, sentimentality is merely te bank oliday of 6 cynicism.’ D.H. Lawrence defines sentimentalism as
te working off on yourself of feelings you aven’t really got. We allwantto ave certain feelings: feelings of love, of passionate sex, of kindliness and so fort. Very few people really feel love or sex passion or kindliness, or anyting tat goes at all deep. So te mass just fake tose feelings inside temselves. Faked feelings! he world is all gummy wit tem. hey are better tan real feelings, because you can spit tem out wen you 7 brus your teet; and tomorrow you can fake tem afres.
he novelist Milan Kundera is often quoted as catcing te essence of te sentimental: ‘two tears flow in quick succession. he first tear says: ow nice to see cildren running on te grass! he second tear 8 says: How nice to be moved, togeter wit all mankind, by cildren running on te grass.’ Jeremy Begbie elpfully delineates tree linked elements in te sentimental: (1) te misrepresentation of reality troug te evading or trivialisation of evil, (2) emotional self-indulgence and (3) te failing 9 to take appropriate costly action. Sentimentality stifles. Drawing on Metrovic’s studyPostemotional 10 Society,Dick Keyes notes tat ‘our real and autentic emotions are tere, but are buried under feelings 11 tat we feel we aremeantto feel in watever situation we are in.’ As a result, our emotions ave become 12 dead and abstracted wit no commitment to action. Sentimentality simplifies. here seems little room for nuance, complexity and fortitude. Our world consists of clear-cuts: of goodies and baddies, victims
3 See David K. Naugle,Worldview: he History of a Concept(Grand Rapids, Eerdmans: 2002); James W. Sire, Naming te Elepant: Worldview as Concept(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004);James K. A. Smit, You Are Wat You Love: he Spiritual Power of Habit(Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2016). 4 Jon Frame,he Doctrine of te Knowledge of God(Pillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publising, 1987), 335–40. 5 For example see Lucy Sullivan, ‘he Corruption of Cristianity: he History and Origins of sentimentality’ inFaking It: he Sentimentalisation of Modern Society, ed. Digby Anderson and Peter Mullen (London: Social Af-fairs Unit, 1998), 191–212. 6 Oscar Wilde,he Letters of Oscar Wilde,ed. Rupert Hart-Davis (London: Rupert Hart-David, 1962), 501. 7 D. H. Lawrence,Selected Essays(London: Penguin, 1954), 224. 8 Milan Kundera,he Unbearable Ligtness of Being(New York: Harper & Row, 1984), 251. 9 JeremyBegbie,Beauty,SentimentalityandteArts,inhe Beauty of God: heology and te Arts, ed. Daniel Treier, Mark Husbands and Roger Lundin (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2007), 45–69. 10 Stjepan Mětrović,Postemotional Society(London: Sage, 1997). 11 Dick Keyes, ‘Sentimentality: Significance for Apologetics’ in ed. Bruce A. Little,Francis Scaeffer: A Mind and Heart for God(Pilipsburg, NJ: P&R Publising, 2010), 94. 12 Mětrović,Postemotional Society, 56.
and perpetrators, oppressed citizens and oppressive autorities. Every situation demands an immediate answer. Intractability is never entertained. In tis sense sentimentality is infantile. Sentimentality is selfis. As Roger Scruton puts it, ‘Sentimentality is tat peculiarly uman vice wic consists in 13 directing your emotions toward your own emotions, so as to be te subject of a story told by yourself.’ Altougitpretendstocareforteoter,itreallyonlycarecaresforteselftotedetrimentofte‘oter’ wo becomes a periperal means to an end. Public sentimentality as a peculiar caracter tat often accentuates tese traits to monstrous proportions. heodore Dalrymple speculates tat te rise of public expressions of sentimentality relates to te impact of mass media: ‘In suc a world, wat is done or appens in private is not done or as not appened at all, at least not in te fullest possible sense. It is not real in te sense tat reality television 14 is real.’ And as e later notes, ‘Emotions are now like justice: tey must not only be felt, but seen to be 15 felt.’ If sentimentality means te need to sow tat youreallycare, ten to be noticed in public one as to embark on a ‘reallysow you care’ one-upmansip programme wic becomes more and more excessive in its expression and terefore less and less appropriate wit te social situation itself. Add to tis media and social media getting in on te ‘caring act’ and tings are quickly wipped up into a care-fest frenzy. Is tere any arm in tis? Yes, because very quickly it is revealed tatnotto play tecaregameistobeseentobecoldorcallous(cf.terat-facedloser,OHear).Intisway,publicexpressions of sentimentality are coercive and monolitic, demanding an emotional conformity or an emotional correctness wic denies tat emotional expressivity migt differ among people and among cultures. I tink tis is partly wat was underlying te criticism of Britis prime minister heresa May’s 16 response to London’s Grenfell Tower tragedy earlier tis year. Public expressions of emotion sould ave a ealt warning attaced. hey sould be engaged wit responsibly, reflectively and possibly wit restraint. As Dalrymple notes, On te reasonable assumption tat it is under conscious control, te degree to wic an emotion is expressed is terefore a moral question. Wat is permissible and even laudable among intimates and confidants is repreensible between strangers. Indeed, te wis or demand tat all emotions sould be equally expressible on all occasions and at all times destroys te very possibility of intimacy. If te entire world is your confidant, ten no-one is. he distinction between private and public is abolised, wit 17 a consequent sallowing of life. Indeed, e goes even furter. Not only sould expressions of emotion be te subject of discipline but te emotion itself. He recognises tat tis is torougly counter-cultural to wat e calls te
13 Roger Scruton,Gentle Regrets: hougts from a Life(New York: Continuum, 2005), 102, quoted in Keyes,Sentimentality,93.14 heodore Dalrymple,Spoilt Rotten! he Toxic Cult of Sentimentality(London: Gibson Square, 2015), 83. 15 Ibid., 144. 16 See Maya Oppeneim, ‘heresa May is “not one of tose people wo sows emotion as openly as oters”, saysToryMP,Independent, 18 June 2017,ttp://eresa-may-doesnt-sow-emotion-bob-neill-grenfell-tower-criticism-a7796131.tml; ‘May’s Top Aide Defends PM’s Grenfell Re-sponse after Newsnigt Interview’he Guardian, 17 June 2017,ttps://www.t jun/17/teresa-may-avoids-questions-on-personal-response-to-grenfell-disaster. 17 Dalrymple,Spoilt Rotten!, 87.
I’m (Not) Getting Sentimental over You.
18 ‘Cartesian point of moral epistemology: I’m angry terefore I’m rigt.’ To say to someone tat tey are not ‘feeling’ rigt does not go down well. However, emotions are not self-justifying and can be controlled to te point tat a new disposition may be grown. Once again it is te appropriateness of our emotional response in a particular situation comes into question. Micael Hann as written tat te mourning sickness felt over a celebrity deat is down to te fact tat “tose born in te 1950s and 1960s 19 were te first generations to be co-parented by popular culture.” herefore wen a celebrity dies we feel we ave lost a family member. But on reflection we aven’t ave we? We ave ad no real personal relationsip wit tis person. We do not know tem, only about tem and te image tey and oters ave manufactured of tem. Sad and sympatetic yes, but grief-stricken and ysterical? In terms of teological antropology, sentimentality reflects te disintegration of uman personood tat follows te suppression of uman dependence on God. In modern society tis is wat 20 Andrew Fellowes calls te intensity over profundity principle. he modern self as turned in on itself and as lost its identity. We feel like gosts – noting is real and everyting is an image: How do you make a gost feel real? he criteria are simply pysical sensations. Wen I feel someting as a pysical sensation ten I know I am alive. he gost comes alive. Pysical sensations are tied to te body and tat means searc for myself will focus on my body. he more emotional I am te more alive I feel. However, sentimentality is an example of te rebellious image bearer’s suppression of trut. It detaces us from reality because we do not want to face reality. As Scruton notes, ‘Sentimentality causes us not 21 merely to write in clicés, but to feel in clicés too, lest we be troubled by te trut of our condition.’ Sentimentality is fantastical. It is tragically ironic tat te loser in all tis is te ‘oter’ wo forgotten and neglected. Sentimentality’s pressure for simplicity and quick response means tat autorities are bullied into quick fixes and not te ard slog of reflecting on wat migt be long term solutions wic really would be caring. Wile it testifies to te ruinedimago Dei, a stadium rendition of ‘Somewere over te 22 rainbow,owevereart-felt,isnotgoingtodefeatIsis. But as well as confronting sentimentality, we are able to connect wit it. Suppressedtrutis exactly tat. First, te public expressions of sentimentality we are witnessing, are a strange and unstable love-cild of materialistic and panteistic worldviews. Emotions are te way we participate in fundamental reality wic wen sared in mass movements offer a way of transcending te pysicality of emotional response. Emotional openness is openness to te concerns of oters wic someow opens up into 23 24 ultimate concerns. Second, wile we note tat under te sun, ‘troubles do not melt like lemon drops’ te soaring rendition of a song likeOver te Rainbowspeaks to our inbuilt and God-given recognition
18 Ibid., 90. 19 Micael Hann, ‘Co-parented by popular culture: wy celebrity deats affect us so deeply,’ ttps://www. ts-arry-dean-stanton-usker-du. 20 AndrewFellowes,Narcissism:heWorldviewofSelf,ttps://e-worldview-of-self. 21 Roger Scruton,An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Modern Culture (Sout Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press, 2000), 80. 22 IamtinkingereofArianaGrandesrenditionaspartoftebenetconcert,OneLoveMancester,eldon June 4, 2017, wic was organised following te terrorist bombing after er concert at Mancester Arena two weeks earlier. 23 Forexample,seeteFacebookvideo,hehingstatConnectUs,ttps:// 24 Taken fromSomewere Over te RainbowbyArlen and Harburg.