Recently, Rod Dreher picked a fight with Pastor Dan Phillips of Copperfield Bible Church in Houston, then, because he is Rod Dreher, ran away and blocked him on Twitter:
Over the weekend, I got into a brief Twitter exchange with a pastor of a nondenominational “Bible church” (as if all churches aren’t Bible churches) in Texas who said that I am not a Christian, because Orthodox and Catholics are not Christian. I pointed out to him that Christianity did not begin with the Reformation, but then decided to block the guy on Twitter, because the last thing I wanted to do was get into an exchange with a guy like that.
The offense seems to have been the tweet I've highlighted among these remaining:
Jon Swerens says:
After congratulating himself for his beliefs of the moment after Methodism, agnosticism, and Catholicism
An hour later, I was standing in our Orthodox vespers service, thinking about that guy and smiling. There we were, praying in a church that can trace itself in an unbroken line back to the apostles
and following a critique of Phillips dimensionally beyond anything contained in Phillips' actual tweet above, the theological disagreement between Phillips and Dreher sets Dreher up to raise this ominous a priori eschatological question:
Well, anyway, I have no interest in engaging in theological disputation here, and won’t. What prompts this post is my curiosity about this question: Does laying hold to a position so extreme and so ungrounded in history leave people like Mr. Bible Church vulnerable in other ways to the forces of modernity, which deny the authority of the past? That is, does the nature of their conservatism leave Christian fundamentalists particularly vulnerable to the cultural forces that are tearing Christianity apart in the West
But it seems that it's not just fundies like Phillips who are vulnerable to the "cultural forces that are tearing Christianity apart" foreseen by Prophet Dreher. Just about everyone else is, too: conservatives, Protestants, even Catholics:
This reminds me of firebrand political conservatives who seem to think conservatism began with Ronald Reagan, and that before his appearance among us, there was a vast void between the age of the Founding Fathers, and Reagan’s coming. Their historical ignorance denies them deeper philosophical resources that they could rightly draw on to defend their position against contemporary challenges. All true conservatives — as opposed to ideologues — lay hold to continuity with the past, and the democracy of the dead.
Christians who refuse, even denigrate, the Church’s deep theological roots in history, strike me as holding a conservatism that is a hard outer shell. What happens when the experience of living in modernity, with its valorization of radical autonomy, erodes or pierces the armor? With their creedless, non-denominational, make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach to Christianity, they are sitting ducks. They deny themselves the wisdom and profundity of tradition, which would give them deep roots. Ironically, their approach to ecclesiology is itself part of modernity, the very thing they oppose so fiercely. Christian fundamentalism, especially in its nondenominational variety, is parasitic on older, more ancient forms of Christianity, in ways that its adherents don’t appreciate.
It’s like political conservatives who don’t grasp that conservatism is a far broader and deeper thing than Reaganism and post-Reaganism. Given Reagan’s celebration of the free market, they don’t know what to say when questions are raised about the market’s role in undermining traditions that conservatism has historically stood for upholding. So they double down on dogmatism and ideology, which, as time goes on, persuades or attracts fewer and fewer people.
This is going to happen to fundamentalist Christianity, I think. It is an unstable thing, and far more vulnerable to the vicissitudes of time than its believers think. We can all look at liberal Protestantism and liberal Catholicism, and see how they are withering. Fundamentalism looks strong by contrast. I think this is deceptive.
And yet, it must be conceded that all that tradition, and all that doctrinal depth and comprehensiveness, is not producing Catholics who believe in what their own church teaches,
When all these other institutions and structures ultimately crumble and fall, as Prophet Dreher has foreseen they must, this tacitly leaves one Last Church Standing with roots deep enough and a - what? appropriately not-hard outer shell - to ultimately withstand and weather the "cultural forces that are tearing Christianity apart in the West". Which church could that be?
Why, Rod Dreher's own personal current church of choice, Eastern Orthodoxy, of course.
As one of his commenters explains and which Dreher, who constantly adds NFRs to comments he disagrees with, makes no effort to deny or repudiate,
There is no such thing as “small-o Orthodoxy.” None whatsoever. There is the Church, and then there is everything outside it. This does not mean that there are no God-fearing people outside the Church. Far from it! I think of God-fearing people, outside the Church, as contemporary versions of Cornelius the Centurion in the Gospels, whose hearts are in the right place, but who simply haven’t received the whole truth yet.
However, what this does mean, is that a Christian life is not possible outside the Church. Only within the Church is a fully Christian life possible...The New Martyr, Metropolitan Hilarion Troitsky, explains this further in his sermon “Christianity or the Church?”
So, if you're going to take Rod Dreher's Benedict Option™ in order to strategically withdraw (as Dreher did from his Twitter fight with Phillips) from the world and cultivate your Christian values offline rather than fighting for them openly in the public square, there's really only one political and religious option within which Rod Dreher's Benedict Option™ can be warranted safe and effective for you and your family if taken as directed: Rod Dreher's personal church of choice.
You want to be Saved from the "cultural forces tearing Christianity apart", don't you, particularly your own fragile, shallow-rooted, inferior Christianity or, worse, God-less social conservatism. Don't you?
Then don't risk being Left Behind in the apocalyptic cultural wasteland Prophet Dreher foresees for you.
Run, don't walk, and convert to the one true church guaranteed by Prophet Dreher to deliver a satisfactory Rod Dreher's Benedict Option™ today. Operators are standing by.