Nov 04

Who Told You that You Were Naked, Victor Schlatter ??

I first met Vic Schlatter in 1969, when he had come home from furlough to the mission field. Vic was a energetic, and very magnetic personality, with a tremendous amount of smarts. Before becoming a missionary to the New Guinea Waola tribe, he had worked at Hanford as a nuclear chemist.

In this book, Vic covers some of his pet peeves, including the media bias, organized religion, feminism, political correctness, and the new world order. He does this is a quasi-historical fashion. Vic is not very straight-forward in his writing, putting on paper more the ramblings that would happen if he were speaking to you. All of his writing is laced with constant dry humor, which keeps you reading. Vic seems to have two special theses that he always driving home.

The first is the “Aristotleanization” of organized (and unorganized) contemporary religion. I remember him speaking about the influence of Aristotle on the church even in 1969, so, he hasn’t gotten this off of his mind. Unfortunately, he doesn’t define exactly the nature of this influence, and I remain hard pressed to understand. Certainly, we can blame Thomas Aquinas. But we also have to blame Plato, who, through Plotinus, was a heavy influence on Augustine, and thus the rest of Christendom. Vic tries to “de-Greek-ize” Christianity, which is unfortunately an impossibility, since even the New Testament writers were heavily influenced by their Greek world. As an example, Paul, John  and Peter write instructional letters to various churches, which was unheard of before certain Epicurian philosophers. It is a mistake to define orthodoxy as strictly abiding to a Hebrew mind-set.

So, Vic lapses into his constant and persistent rhetoric regarding the superior and transcendent nature of the Jewish. Now, I certainly have an appreciation for Jews, and have many good friends who are also Jewish, but I don’t view that as making the person any more special than any other race or color of skin on earth. I certainly hold that it is possible that in an age to come, a special relationship with God is again formed, but certainly don’t see that in the current age. Indeed, the Jews are living outside of the Covenant of their own Scriptures, and so stand condemned by God.

I met Vic recently at a funeral of a mutual friend, and inquired of his eschatological stance. He seemed to reject dispensationalism, yet his book still seems to drift toward a style of post-tribulational dispensationalism, though he never mentions a millenium. Perhaps his absence of clarity is Vic’s attempt to “de-Aristotle-ize” and to “Waola-ize” himself. Certainly, his view of the anti-Christ seems to drift from classic dispensational teaching. I would have liked to pick Vic’s mind more as to his true stance. All in all, I found Schlatter’s book entertaining but not terribly informative.

 

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