Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Anthropological Modalism, exhibit #29

A while back, Steve Hutchens over at MereComments made a reference to the Anthropological Modalism of Egalitarians. When I asked him for clarification, he was kind enough to post, A Note on 'Anthropological Modalism' . I initially disagreed with his assessment, believing the primary error of Egalitarianism to be a sort of gnosticism. And while there is evidence Egalitarians believe themselves to have accessed a knowledge not previously available to the Church and that they certainly denigrate the human body and our glorious differences as male and female, it has become increasingly apparent that this denigration of our sex difference is the key to their rebellion. In other words, evidence is accumulating that Hutchens was right in his assessment and I was wrong (ouch!).

Some months ago, I noticed one such instance over on the CBE blog. You can read the entire post and comments here: What is most important? But I wish to highlight the relevant portion of one particular response:

I think to take the focus off flesh (female flesh or male flesh) and place it on character would take us out of those two categories and free us to develop real character–fruit of the spirit character. Look at Jesus’ character… his love, justice, compassion, courage, holiness, righteous anger, active faith, kindness, sharp wit and ability to think about what is good, what would bring shalom (justice and well-being).

Then I don’t need a feminine face for God or a male face for God… I need a human face for God and a human model of godliness. We are then in God’s image because we are human and made in his image…and there is not a feminine way to be that image and a male way to be in that image. It is freeing for both men and women to focus on the Spirit… and character… not on flesh.

This is a textbook example of Anthropological modalism - the human is reduced to mere humanity. And sex? Male and Female? Reduced to mere accident, a distracting inconvenience.

Although, there is that focus on spirit to the denigration of flesh . . .

3 comments:

S M said...

Greetings, Kamilla. I don't think it a matter of one of us being right on the point. You have correctly pointed out some of egalitarianism's gnostic elements, and I its peculiar form of modalism. But all heresies are connected at the root, which is the hatred of evil spirits for Christ, and through him man--both incarnate spirit--in which is always found the desire to dominate by deception, and so to incarnate themselves in the object of their hatred to the highest possible degree.

One can hardly find a better example than in the piece you excerpted:

I think to take the focus off flesh (female flesh or male flesh) and place it on character would take us out of those two categories and free us to develop real character–fruit of the spirit character. Look at Jesus’ character… his love, justice, compassion, courage, holiness, righteous anger, active faith, kindness, sharp wit and ability to think about what is good, what would bring shalom (justice and well-being).

Then I don’t need a feminine face for God or a male face for God… I need a human face for God and a human model of godliness.


About as "spiritual" as one can get, eh? But the shoe drops firmly in the last paragraph where this person declares (what has been being said all along, almost unconsciously, almost as as a kind of amanuensis) that he or she does "not need" the "face" (shall we translate this prosopon?) in which God has become incarnate--that of a man. True enough, considering the ultimate source of the notion.

You are right that this is a classic example of anthropological modalism, but on a deeper level it is pure diabolism. Keep peeling away the layers used for deception of the simple and this is what will be found.

Have a blessed Christmas.

Steve

Kamilla said...

Steve,

Thank you - and you're right about both elements being present. Last night, I started reading William Oddie's "What Will Happen to God?" and in the very first chapter, he points to some of the rather bone-chilling elements of gnosticism in religious feminism.

I'd excited that the used copy I picked up has been signed by him, which is kind of nice. I hope to have a review up before the end of the year.

alaiyo said...

An obvious problem with this view is that there is no such thing as a merely "human" face -- faces come only in EITHER male OR female modes . . . Sigh.