I am amazed! Our Dr. Tenke, a research scientist by training, has written another letter
that is all thesis and no data, all assertion without proof, all opinion
with nothing to back it up. Surely he wouldn’t go about his scientific work
with such basic disregard for data and analysis to prove his theses.
While I have done nothing less than meticulously show exactly what is wrong with his opinion and document numerous reasons
why it is wrong, Dr. Tenke, in some inexplicable attempted reversal of reality,
claims it is I who has said nothing new. Go figure.
Among the errors Dr. Tenke continues to commit are these:
|Egocentrism. He assumes that Part I and Part II
of the “Unintended Consequences” papers ought to address points he made in
his letters, and accuses us of ducking his assertions. The truth is that
the papers were written prior to any Tenke comments. It’s not all about him.
logic. He asserts that we supposedly did not address his concerns (written
AFTER our papers), because the premise of our papers is in error. That stands
for logic? Our papers were written for a general audience; my letters have
been written about his letters, and they DID address his concerns.
without proof. He contends the unintended consequences Dooling and I write
about are false. Okay, now he needs to prove it. WHY are they false? His
mere giving his unsupported opinion does nothing for the debate. (Well, unless
he considers himself God. God can do that, and it’s just fine with me.)
statement. He says I close my letter with “an advertisement for the Presbyterian
Coalition.” Is that careless reading on Tenke’s part? I closed by directing
him to a fine set of articles
for further discussion of the points at hand. Those with a true interest
in understanding the issues will have that much more opportunity to read
and interact with the ideas. The articles happen to be contained on the Presbyterian
Coalition website. To dismiss a footnote-like reference as an advertisement
for the Coalition is either sloppy or deceptive.
hominem attacks. Unable to refute our reasoning, Tenke attempts to discredit
Dooling and me by personal attack. According to him, we’re fearful, we thrive
on discord and apparently work to stir up that discord, our motivations are
best described as political, and our work is analogous to a particularly
poor scientific paper he remembers (again with no evidence; only the opinion).
analysis: Tenke contends that the removal of the Authoritative Interpretation
would ELIMINATE discord. Hello-oo! Which planet are we on? Either Tenke is
incredibly naïve, parochially sheltered among people of only one mindset,
or brazen enough to try to pull a fast one on us. Could anybody who understands
the situation in the PCUSA seriously believe that removing the foundational
theological position paper explaining our biblical beliefs about homosexual
practice would END our discord?
inference. No one has contended that Tenke is “any LESS concerned about the
possibility of any ‘Unanticipated Consequences’ to sexual minorities.” In
fact, I have assumed just the opposite: My letters and papers assume that
everyone is very concerned about the consequences and would not care to be
surprised by consequences they hadn’t envisioned. I don’t think Tenke is
less concerned. I think he’s confused.
To be fair, I must agree with Dr. Tenke on three points
writes, “These pieces are apparently aimed at moderates who are looking for
insights.” That is perceptive. There is an enormous piece of disinformation
being floated around these days: that the Authoritative Interpretation is
really nothing anymore, just a dated, meaningless, trifling, mostly forgotten,
remnant of history with about as much usefulness as an appendix. The hard
left knows how strategic it would be to remove the A.I. so they could then
begin the full frontal attack against G-6.0106b. If they can do it through
subterfuge, well, whatever works. The strong conservatives and evangelicals
know how much fine biblical theology and policy is found in the Authoritative
Interpretation, so they highly value it. Thus it is the moderates, plus those
not up on the matter or neophytes to the subject, who could be most easily
taken in by the big lie about the “disposability” of the A.I. People are
subject to believing the mischaracterization of the A.I. being tossed
about these days, despite the fact that General Assemblies and
presbyteries at multiple times and in numerous ways have approved and defended the A.I. for 25 years.
Bob Dooling and I wanted people to read about all of the consequences of
removal that aren’t being trumpeted, and we wanted people to gasp. So, yes.
We wanted to point out, especially to the moderates, the valuable baby they
would be throwing out with the supposed bath water. I believe that is rather
clear in the introduction to the papers. What isn’t clear is why it is that Dr. Tenke is struggling, albeit clumsily, to discredit both our motivation and our message.
writes, “I'd advise the target audience for the Berkley & Dooling articles
to read them for what they are, and to look elsewhere for additional information.”
While I believe Tenke means this to be pejorative, I’ll take it at face value.
I, too, would love the target audience to read Dooling and me for what we
are: Presbyterian pastors with a lot of background in these matters over
many years, who are trying to place sound information in people’s hands for
them to evaluate as they make important decisions. And I, too, would encourage
people to look elsewhere for additional information. In fact, I already did
that, when I pointed Tenke to the set of articles
that goes into the subject in depth. But I’ll go farther: Look into voices
on all sides of the matter, evaluate what they’re saying, separate what people
merely contend (perhaps falsely or ignorantly) from what they can prove,
decide what is biblical and God’s will, and then vote with knowledge
and conviction on the matter.
finally, Tenke writes, “I do continue to be amused by Rev. Berkley's sharp
wit.” Wow! He’s as perceptive as my mother about that! [big, broad grin]
James D. Berkley
Issues Ministry Director
Presbyterians For Renewal