[*] Top 5 reasons I feel sorry for Tim Enloe

5 communio sanctorum. He associates himself with people who damage his reputation as a credible person.

Tim is one of those fellows who has chosen his company unwisely. Speculation as to why he has done such a thing is worthless. The question is only when he will find himself in a position to say, “I wish I hadn’t burned all my bridges with people who could have helped me; I wish I hadn’t made fellowship with people who take Mormon heresy as less-disturbing than the differences between confessional Baptists and Confessional Presbyterians.”

4 He doesn't have a college degree. It's painful to see someone so smart working at WAL*MART.

I am certain this reason comes across as petty or personal, and in some ways irrelevant. Those who will object in this way do not understand the value of a college education, especially an advanced degree.

See: blogging and creating your own personal internet library of articles is fun, rewarding in its own way, and easy. It is not quite the antithesis of academic study, but it comes close. Consider, for example, the fact that Tim has blogged on many subjects and has received rebuffs from college professors and church elders regarding his grasp of facts – but he simply scorns those rebuffs. When he takes up his studies again and finds that his professors have the ability not only to disagree with him but to demonstrate that disagreement with an appropriate grade, perhaps it will temper his willingness to use his considerable mental abilities like a kazoo.

3 He doesn't represent his opponents fairly. That's not to say he should be nice to everyone: that's to say he ought to criticize them for what they actually do rather than a caricature of what they do.

This relates directly to the previous reason to feel sorry for Tim. When I have witnessed others doing this (thanks for reading, Dave Armstrong), I have made it clear that this is dishonest – and it is. The question really is what motivates the disconnect from “what ‘X’ really said” and “what Tim is complaining about from ‘X’”.

Some people have a vested interest in continuing to be dishonest – it “pays the bills”, as they say. But Tim’s inability to handle, for example, exegetical objections to any of his theoretical points without man-handling his opponent’s point of view and misrepresenting the epistemic and theological bases for those objections is not founded on self-interest – not in the sense that he is earning anything at all by his views, except a reputation for belligerence.

And think about this: that’s me saying, “Tim, you are too rough.” Me. The guy in Dave Armstrong’s “hall of shame”.

2 He believes everything he reads -- except those who disagree with him. That's “the long way” of saying “he only reads those who agree with him.”

For example, in Tim’s recent joy ride through Sherrard’s thesis about Christian society, Tim says this:
To borrow from a previous post of mine, Holy Scripture is divinely-inspired but it is not a self-contained, fully Rationally-reducible system of knowledge (that is, an episteme) which gives us an unmediated, untainted grasp of the fundamental essence (eidos) of what we are trying to understand. To think of Scripture--and our process of understanding it--in such a manner is to think like an idolator precisely because it reduces Scripture to something fully immanent, which we can control with our Reason.

How does such "controlling" of Scripture happen in the Enlightenment Protestant scheme? Like this. In the Modern world, when immanent Reason faces a problem it creates a technology (that is, a techne) to solve it. In terms of the Modern problem with finding "certainty" of interpretation the technology which has been created is "scientific" hermeneutics.
Yet this view is rejected by someone as non_baptist as they come – Robert Reymond. I agree with Robert Reymond when he says this:
Christians should be overwhelmed by the magnitude of this simple truth that they take so much for granted – that the eternal God has deigned to share with us some of the truths which are on his mind. He condescends to elevate us poor undeserving sinners by actually sharing with us a portion of what he knows. Accordingly, since the Scripture require that saving faith be grounded in true knowledge (see Rom 10:13-14), the church must vigorously oppose any linguistic or revelational theory, however well-intended, that would take away from men and women the only ground of their knowledge of God and, accordingly, their only hope of salvation. Against the theory of human knowledge that would deny the possibility pf univocal correspondence at any point with God’s mind as to content, it is vitally important that we come down on the side of Christian reason and work with a Christian theory of knowledge that insists upon the possibility of at least some identity between the content of God’s knowledge and the content of man’s knowledge.
(Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 1998, Thomas Nelson, 102)(Italics from Reymond, underlined emphasis added)
To those who at this point say, “well, duh!” but then go on to complain about the use of historical/grammatical exegesis as a means of receiving the truth of Scripture, God spoke and wrote for the express purpose of being understood. Even Reymond, in outlining the WCF’s doctrinal confessions of Scripture, elaborates emphatically
The Scripture’s doctrine of Scripture, espousing its own revelatory and inspired character, binds us to the grammatical/historical method of exegesis. … that each biblical document and each part of any given biblical document must be studied in its immediate literary context and the wider situation in which it was written. This will require an understanding of (1) the structure and idioms of the biblical languages, (2) a document’s literary genre (is it prose or poetry, history or allegory, parable or apocalypse?), (3) the document’s historical background, (4) its geographical conditions, and (5) its Sitz und Leben (“life-setting”), that is, what occasioned it? What problem or question did it intend to address? (Reymond, 49)
It is not arrogant (or, as Reymond points out, idolatrous) to read the text closely, critically, even grammatically to try to begin to comprehend it. It is in fact what Scripture calls us to do. It is not, apparently, what it calls Tim Enloe to do.

1 He has a hard time handling Scripture fairly.

I am sure this one will draw the most fire from Tim and his friends. When he has the audacity to cite 1Pet 2:9 as an endorsement of the idea that only by living inside the church can we gain a knowledge of the “most important” doctrines of the faith – something I thing is easily refuted by Acts 2 or 1 Cor 15 -- and when he can cite 1Cor 2:14-15 in order to draw the conclusion that because all properly-spiritual men are found in the church, the church is necessary {edit: that italic text originally said "necessarily the proper place", and that's not what I meant to say} for spiritual formation – when the church is in fact an effect and not a cause, as 1Pet 2 says – then I think there is sufficient evidence to say, “Tim: you need to take Scripture at least as seriously as you take all the other books you have read.”

I am sure nobody believes this, but I like Tim Enloe. I see in him strength that can be useful to a godly man. God willing, he will find a way to make use of those strength rather than harp on the fact that I think his weaknesses deserve some corrective attention.