Wednesday, November 7, 2018

On Gregg Frazer's New Book

Check the story out here. As it reads:
New from the University Press of Kansas: God against the Revolution: The Loyalist Clergy's Case against the American Revolution by Gregg L. Frazer
About the book, from the publisher: 
Because, it’s said, history is written by the victors, we know plenty about the Patriots’ cause in the American Revolution. But what about the perhaps one-third of the population who opposed independence? They too were Americans who loved the land they lived in, but their position is largely missing from our understanding of Revolution-era American political thought. With God against the Revolution, the first comprehensive account of the political thought of the American Loyalists, Gregg L. Frazer seeks to close this gap.

Because the Loyalists’ position was most clearly expressed by clergymen, God against the Revolution investigates the biblical, philosophical, and legal arguments articulated in Loyalist ministers’ writings, pamphlets, and sermons. The Loyalist ministers Frazer consults were not blind apologists for Great Britain; they criticized British excesses. But they challenged the Patriots claiming rights as Englishmen to be subject to English law. This is one of the many instances identified by Frazer in which the Loyalist arguments mirrored or inverted those of the Patriots, who demanded natural and English rights while denying freedom of religion, expression, and assembly, and due process of law to those with opposing views. Similarly the Loyalist ministers’ biblical arguments against revolution and in favor of subjection to authority resonate oddly with still familiar notions of Bible-invoking patriotism.

For a revolution built on demands for liberty, equality, and fairness of representation, God against the Revolution raises sobering questions—about whether the Patriots were rational, legitimate representatives of the people, working in the best interests of Americans. A critical amendment to the history of American political thought, the book also serves as a cautionary tale in the heated political atmosphere of our time.
Thanks to Marshal Zeringue for posting this.

69 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

I find the counterarguments and rebuttals to the Loyalist view of Romans 13 and the 'divine right of kings'--from Bellarmine, "Calvinist Resistance Theory," and John Locke's commentaries on the Epistles--to be far more interesting and historically important.

If Gregg does not present that end of the story, he has wasted a great opportunity and has contented himself to write a fundamentalist polemic.

I hope he has not. :-)



Our old friend Winspringer, counterarguing theologically:

http://theking25.blogspot.com/2009/05/response-to-gregg-fraser-on-romans-13.html

Jonathan Rowe said...

I was looking up how your Barry Shain viewed this issue. He doesn't think much of anything if at all of the first two paragraphs of the DOI. He certainly doesn't believe that the natural rights doctrine articulated there is part of the "organic law" of the United States.

What he does think important is the rest of the DOI that deals with the "rights of Englishmen" and the way in which America tried to articulate its case under the extant positive law (which was then existing British law!).

His conclusion is that this was a rather a complicated legal technicality under British law and I agree with him on that particular point (without addressing the other issues).

The way it worked was that it was Parliament who had the final say over how to interpret and implement British law. So the position of America would be more akin to a dissenting opinion in a judicial report. The dissent may or may not be -- as far as we see it -- "correct." But the majority opinion rules in a power sense, regardless.

Now, if one disagrees with this -- if someone for instance, so disagrees with the opinion that the Supreme Court of the United States gives -- one can ignore the precedent terming it "lawless" or what have you.

But then one gets a constitutional crisis. And the possibility of actual war is what occurs in such crises.

And that's what occurred in both the Revolutionary AND the American Civil Wars.

Tom Van Dyke said...

The way it worked was that it was Parliament who had the final say over how to interpret and implement British law. So the position of America would be more akin to a dissenting opinion in a judicial report.

The colonies held that since their charters came from the king, before Parliament took over in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Parliament had no legitimate authority over the coloneis. See Hamilton's "The Farmer Refuted, and the penultimate paragraph of the Declaration itself:

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.



As for natural rights, I prefer James Wilson, one of the 3 major Framers [along with Madison and Gouverneur Morris] of the Constitution, directly disagreeing with Blackstone's theory of parliamentary supremacy:

"Man, says Mr. [Edmund] Burke, cannot enjoy the rights of an uncivil and of a civil state together. By an uncivil contradistinguished from a civil state, he must here mean a state of nature: by the rights of this uncivil state, he must mean the rights of nature: and is it possible that natural and civil rights cannot be enjoyed together? Are they really incompatible? Must our rights be removed from the stable foundation of nature, and placed on the precarious and fluctuating basis of human institution? Such seems to be the sentiment of Mr. Burke: and such too seems to have been the sentiment of a much higher authority than Mr. Burke -- Sir William Blackstone."



And frankly, I don't care much about Barry Shain's opinions on judicial philosophy. I think he is correct in his role as a historian, that the Founders [esp the Puritans] were more communitarian than radically individualistic.

Gregg Frazer said...

I do not take or identify with a "side" in my new book. I simply present the Loyalist arguments. They made legal, theoretical, biblical arguments, arguments based on the American situation (inc. the relationship between the colonies and mother country), arguments based on colonial actions (inc. organizing their own military, the Tea Party, outrageous and "un-American" treatment of Loyalists), and based on the creation and actions of the Continental Congress (creating "committees,"imposing nonimportation, nonexportation, & nonconsumption; etc.). I present them all.

The idea is to allow a reader to imagine him/herself in the place of an American colonist in 1776-1783 and to make an informed decision concerning whether or not to participate/support the Revolution. Such an informed decision was largely denied to Americans at the time because the Patriots suppressed and shut down the Loyalist side. Americans were not free to decide one way or the other -- or even to be neutral.

Other than in passing and in contrast, I do not lay out the counterarguments and rebuttals that Tom would have liked presented. The biblical argument is just one chapter and there was not room to explicate both sides -- and that was not the purpose of the book. Perhaps because they are more "interesting" and "important," the creative interpretation and application of Romans 13 is the subject of dozens of books. Tom may find them more interesting and important, but they are also quite familiar and have been hashed and re-hashed many times. I am trying to contribute what has largely been MISSING in the corpus of American political thought by laying out a comprehensive presentation of the Loyalist argument. As to the idea of a "fundamentalist polemic," I'm not sure what that means in this context.

Since he's interested in both sides of any question, Tom will be happy to know that I include the Loyalist legal arguments in response to the notion that Parliament had no authority based on the colonial charters.

Tom Van Dyke said...

The idea is to allow a reader to imagine him/herself in the place of an American colonist in 1776-1783 and to make an informed decision concerning whether or not to participate/support the Revolution. Such an informed decision was largely denied to Americans at the time because the Patriots suppressed and shut down the Loyalist side. Americans were not free to decide one way or the other -- or even to be neutral.

Other than in passing and in contrast, I do not lay out the counterarguments and rebuttals that Tom would have liked presented.


Yeah, I figured. I do not know how one can imagine himself in the place of a colonist having to make an informed decision having only one side at hand. Assuming that the reader is already expert on the revolution side of the arguments limits the number of those who can "imagine" the dilemma to even a small percentage of historians, let alone the general public. :-(

Gregg Frazer said...

The book is not primarily intended for a general audience or as a popular history. It is a book of American political thought to fill a gap in that discipline. Those for whom it is intended will already be familiar with Bailyn's "Ideological Origins of the American Revolution" and Rossiter's "The Political Thought of the American Revolution" and numerous other books that detail Tom's side of the argument.

Even so, as I talk with many people today, most of them went to school and are familiar with the Patriot argument. There is little deficiency there. What they don't know is that there is another option/view.

As for a colonist at the time, they were VERY familiar with the Patriot argument as it was widely disseminated and the only argument allowed in public discourse.

Early reviewers "get" it (see, for example, November's Christianity Today online.

Gregg Frazer said...

Tom: you may have heard of a "monograph." That's what my book is. The views that you find more interesting and important were also put forward in monographs -- but they were OK?

I don't know what you mean by "a fundamentalist polemic" (I know what "fundamentalist" refers to and I know what a polemic is, but I don't see how either applies here), but the works you prefer would apparently fall into that category, too. The difference is that in their monographs, Locke and the others are actually advancing their own theories, while I am merely reporting someone else's arguments and not identifying with them. It seems to me that by the normal definition, their works are closer to polemical than mine [though I do not think theirs or mine is polemical].

Bottom line: it seems that works are valid scholarly endeavors when Tom agrees with their views and worthy only of scorn when he does not.

Tom Van Dyke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Van Dyke said...

Bottom line: it seems that works are valid scholarly endeavors when Tom agrees with their views and worthy only of scorn when he does not.


Now now, Gregg. I didn't say your 'endeavor' is invalid. I said it's a missed opportunity, and will fulfill its stated purpose of

allow[ing] a reader to imagine him/herself in the place of an American colonist in 1776-1783 and to make an informed decision concerning whether or not to participate/support the Revolution.

for a only very singular few.


Even so, as I talk with many people today, most of them went to school and are familiar with the Patriot argument. There is little deficiency there. What they don't know is that there is another option/view.


Doubtful. And most of the people we talk to here--who are history buffs--are unaware that Filmer's Patriarcha [Jefferson of course had a copy] was a response to Cardinal Bellarmine and was responded to by Locke's First Treatise--or even what's in the First Treatise.


[Neither have I heard you refer to these things. What was Aquinas's teaching on regicide? Does Calvin's commentary on Daniel allow a loophole? What of his successor Theodore Beza?]


Even many historians are woefully ignorant of theo-political philosophy, especially of the Christian sort [the Schoolmen, 'Calvinist Resistance Theory,' etc.]. To assay the subject with barely mentioning these things certainly assures that precious few readers indeed will get the whole picture and be able to 'imagine' themselves in the Founding milieu.

Gregg Frazer said...

It seems that whenever I contribute on this site, I am defending my books against people who have not read them and who complain because I didn't write the book they wish I had written. It is kind of like a movie critic reviewing a movie he hasn't seen and criticizing the director for not making the movie that he would have made.

Did you get the part about a "monograph?" Without monographs, you would not have many of the works you tout. What, exactly, makes the monograph form legitimate for them to use, but not for me -- other than that you agree with them?

I may not have mentioned -- in our limited encounters -- some of the works you mention (and seem to think are indispensable), but I teach some of them in my classes. I have never seen you present the views in opposition to those you hold. In the case of this book, I am presenting what the Loyalists said -- I do not have the luxury of talking about whatever I want. They did not comment on most of your chosen texts because the Patriots did not use them. Bailyn and Rossiter have the same deficiency and their entire works are presenting the Patriot case. That's because they deal with the arguments actually made at the time in the Patriot literature.

Re being in the position of an American colonist: perhaps you can point me to some Revolutionary-era sermons or widely-disseminated Patriot materials that quote Aquinas or Locke's commentaries on the Epistles or Bellarmine. Those are NOT the arguments made by the Patriot preachers or apologists. I present the arguments made by actual Americans at the time of the Revolution against actual arguments made by actual Americans at the time of the Revolution. They did not have universal access to literature and they did not know at the time what you personally would find most persuasive.

The Loyalist clergy answered such arguments as were put forward by the Patriot preachers and apologists at that time, but their (the Loyalists') sermons and pamphlets were suppressed and destroyed, so I am supplying the content of those sermons and pamphlets to readers who ALREADY have access to what the Patriots said (not what you WISH they had said or think they SHOULD have said). In that way, an interested reader could imagine himself in the place of an INFORMED colonist. If you don't think that's a valid exercise for most, OK. Some readers will find it intriguing.

You say that not many today know the particular arguments that you find most persuasive -- but they didn't know those at the time, either -- so they are irrelevant to the question of whether or not a colonist might support that Revolution at that time. When I said that most people know the Patriot position, I meant that they know the basic Patriot arguments -- such as "no taxation without representation," the "right of resistance," and the desire to rule themselves. Those were the generally-known arguments at the time, along with elements of Lockean thought (from the "Second" Treatise, not the First). So, this is what I -- and other scholars of American political thought -- are concerned with; not what WE would have argued if we had been there.

[I apologize for using all-caps; I don't know how to use italics or other features in this format.]

Tom Van Dyke said...

It seems that whenever I contribute on this site, I am defending my books against people who have not read them and who complain because I didn't write the book they wish I had written. It is kind of like a movie critic reviewing a movie he hasn't seen and criticizing the director for not making the movie that he would have made.

No, Gregg, it's more the predictability of the sort of book you would write before you've even written it. And once again, I am correct. ;-(


I disagree that the colonists were unaware of the arguments from Aquinas to Knox to Locke, even if they did or could not source them. The arguments themselves were well infused in the theo-political culture. And even Cardinal Bellarmine is known via Filmer's Patriarcha, since the latter is a rebuttal to the Catholic attack on the Divine Right of Kings. So too, it was surely well-known that King James publicly burned the works of the Schoolman Suárez on the same subject!


Tho the Schoolmen were corrupt, they were neither stupid nor unlearned: They could not but see that which all Men saw, nor lay more approv'd Foundations, than, That Man is naturally free; That he cannot justly be depriv'd of that Liberty without cause, and that he dos not resign it, or any part of it, unless it be in consideration of a greater good, which he proposes to himself.--Algernon Sidney, in his only book, Discourses Concerning Government, published posthumously in 1683

Jefferson and Adams, of course, put Sidney up as Locke's equal.


Neither were the colonists unaware of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which had already settled the Divine Right of Kings once and for all, and installed Parliament as the true seat of sovereignty, that is, popular sovereignty.


These concepts are the starting point for the subject--you pick up the argument[s] far too late, in the mid-1700s, just as I hoped you wouldn't. Picking up at that point--as many or most do--is to miss the first 12 rounds of Ali-Frazier.


In our [growing number of] years of jousting together, I have never questioned your scholarship on a single point. But you have written nothing so far to change my opinion that your "book" is a missed opportunity, Gregg. That [separate] argument follows.

[con't]

Tom Van Dyke said...

[con'd]

As for your chosen form of "monograph," had you included both sets of arguments, it would still be a "monograph." But what you are admitting here is exactly why I mourned this 'endeavor' as a missed opportunity [pardon my Wiki]:

Unlike a textbook, which surveys the state of knowledge in a field, the main purpose of a monograph is to present primary research and original scholarship ascertaining reliable credibility to the required recipient. This research is presented at length, distinguishing a monograph from an article. For these reasons, publication of a monograph is commonly regarded as vital for career progression in many academic disciplines. Intended for other researchers and bought primarily by libraries, monographs are generally published as individual volumes in a short print run.

In Britain and the U.S., what differentiates a scholarly monograph from an academic trade title varies by publisher, though generally it is the assumption that the readership has not only specialized or sophisticated knowledge but also professional interest in the subject of the work.



My experience is that even most historians are only dimly aware of the opinions of Aquinas, Calvin, Knox, Locke, et al., on the theology at work here.


As it stands, you have covered the Frazier-Ali fight by only recording the punches Ali threw in the last 2 rounds--and he was the loser. This you freely admit, and further, freely admit that many or most of the arguments you cite were not even heard by the colonists at the time, making them of highly questionable historical value.

Citing theological arguments that in the end had no palpable effect--indeed, were heard by few--is a theological endeavor, not history, and you freely admit they didn't have an effect and further admit they probably were never even heard by the majority of Loyalists.



By contrast, I quite strongly argue that the stuff you dismiss were pillars of the theological tradition that was built over 200 years across Europe, in England, and finally culminated in the American Revolution.

And for the record, I also strongly object to much of the work by "Straussian" Michael Zuckert and some on the paleo-right [Gary Amos?] who argue John Locke's philosophy was a "poison pill" in the American Founding.


The historian qua historian is concerned only with the palpable effects of ideas, and the colonists did not understand Locke as the Straussians do [even if correct]; as you yourself posit, even if because of supression of those ideas, neither did the colonists ever seriously consider the arguments you present in your book.


[Scratch "book"--MONOGRAPH.]

Gregg Frazer said...

So, let me get this straight. You've never read either of my books -- or even any of my published articles -- but you know exactly what I write and that it is inadequate. Hmmmm.

You've never written a book, but feel qualified to refer to mine (published by a respected university press and peer reviewed by four established scholars in the field) as a "book" in quotation marks to suggest that it doesn't quite meet the standard of a real book. It doesn't matter that respected scholars say it is "an important contribution to the religious and intellectual history of the Revolutionary era" and that it is "well-researched" and "argues persuasively" and is "a signal achievement."

You cherry-pick a definition of "monograph" from who-knows-where (Wikipedia?) and use it to strongly imply that my book (which you haven't read) is of inferior academic quality -- rather than using the standard, simple definition (which is what I used in my "admission)." If your chosen definition stands, then you cannot take seriously most of your treasured texts. It's also strange that my first book (a monograph in the normal meaning of the term) was reprinted twice in hard cover, now is thriving in paperback six years later, and has been cited more than twenty times in other books and journal articles. A nice "short print run."

I apparently don't know what I'm talking about, yet I have written two peer-reviewed books that have been endorsed and glowingly reviewed by top scholars in the field and ABC-CLIO pursued me to write four encyclopedia entries for their encyclopedia on American religious history. I have a PhD specializing in political thought and have taught it for more than 30 years, but I don't understand what is really important in political thought. Curious.

I have not written anything to change your opinion on the book you have not read -- have you EVER changed an opinion that you held before investigating something?

How convenient for you to vacillate between meanings of the word "colonist" in a Machiavellian fashion. When it suits your argument, "colonist" means an average American on the street; at other times, "colonist" means a well-educated elite colonist leading the rhetorical fight. When you say that the "colonists" knew the arguments of Aquinas (no one doubts that they knew Locke) but that "they did or could not source them," you join David Barton and others of his ilk who cannot demonstrate a connection or influence, but "know" it "must" be there. Congratulations. Of course the colonists (both types) knew the Glorious Revolution (you would see the Loyalists' comments on it IF you actually read my book).

So, I pick up the argument "far too late" -- did you miss the description of what the book is ABOUT? Once again: IT IS ABOUT THE ARGUMENTS OF THE LOYALIST CLERGY AGAINST THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. It is NOT about the universal argument over revolution or the Schoolmen's argument or Beza's argument or Rutherford's argument or Gregg Frazer's argument or Tom Van Dyke's argument. If the Loyalist clergy did not comment on Bellarmine or Aquinas, et al, it is because those they were debating -- the Patriot pamphleteers and Patriot preachers, did not comment on them. Tell the Loyalist ministers and the Patriot pamphleteers that your indispensable people HAD to be dealt with -- don't tell me. I'm sure they would feel compelled to agree with you and confess their folly. I'm sure that it's just an oversight on their part that they would be anxious to correct. I'm sure that the fact that you "quite strongly argue" it would be determinative for them irrespective of the lack of citation.

Gregg Frazer said...

And, AGAIN, I do not "dismiss" any of the arguments. I cover some of them in my classes. BUT they are not germane to the subject of THE BOOK. I do not "dismiss" arguments for the gospel or arguments for the superiority of the Green Bay Packer franchise, but they are not germane to the subject of THE BOOK, so they're not included in THE BOOK. Blame the Patriots for not identifying the same "pillars" as you do -- don't blame me. They apparently thought they could construct the building effectively without those pillars. Because I did NOT write a "polemic," I was limited by what THEY argued THEN.

Those of you who do not deign to write books and subject your distinctive arguments/views to scholarly peer review should not be so harsh on those of us who suffer under the need to make a cogent, persuasive argument on a subject of scholarly importance that will pass muster with recognized scholars in our fields. Perhaps you could find a publisher willing to publish your idiosyncratic views and who will accept claims or musings without substantiation. I do not know of any.

As for the arguments of the Loyalists having no influence or significance: 1) so only the views of the VICTORS are significant and worthy of attention/study?? How very authoritarian of you. And, for that matter, ahistorical. 2) IF YOU ACTUALLY READ THE BOOK, you would see that they DID have an influence for the brief time and in the particular areas in which they were allowed to be disseminated -- even influencing one colony to refuse to approve the proceedings of the Congress, to refuse to send a delegation to the Congress, and to send its own petition to England (in line with the recommendations of two of the Loyalist clergymen). In another instance, at the clergy's urging, so many Loyalists showed up at a meeting to choose committee members that the meeting was declared illegal [because rebels were not in the majority] and adjourned. Readers of Loyalist pamphlets from Delaware to Maryland affirmed their effect.

It was BECAUSE they were so effective and persuasive that the Patriots banned Loyalist ministers from their pulpits, closed their churches, destroyed their publications, and exiled or imprisoned the ministers themselves to keep their ideas (that they could not refute) from spreading.

Thanks for explaining to me what historians do -- because you're obviously in a much better position to know that than me. But I would remind you that this book -- like my first -- is not primarily a book of history, but of political thought. I'm not sure that even you have the power to erase the existence of the hundreds of thousands of people in America (roughly 1/3 of the population) who DID in fact "seriously consider the arguments" presented in my book (which you do not even know, having never read it). Or are you using your more restrictive sense of "colonists"? Wait, it doesn't matter, because the educated elite colonists seriously considered these arguments, too -- that's why they felt it so necessary to suppress them that they were willing to jettison their expressed principles of due process of law, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.

I suggest that you get outside of your comfort zone and dare to be challenged by a book containing views with which you might potentially disagree. Read a book that you don't already know you'll agree with. You might find it stimulating -- or even enlightening. But DO NOT READ MY BOOK; it would impede your ability to instinctively and indiscriminately criticize.

Tom Van Dyke said...

So, let me get this straight. You've never read either of my books -- or even any of my published articles -- but you know exactly what I write and that it is inadequate. Hmmmm.

I've dealt with you long enough to be able to predict with complete accuracy exactly what type of book you would write, Gregg. It remains my opinion it is a missed opportunity to deal with the subject comprehensively rather than just focusing on your particular theological druthers, which are clear and obvious.

Gregg Frazer said...

I dealt with THE SUBJECT comprehensively, Carnac, as peer reviewers of the manuscript and reviewers of the finished product attest. THE SUBJECT was the Loyalist clergy's arguments against the Revolution. I did not deal with YOUR PREFERRED SUBJECT comprehensively; apparently YOU need to do that because I suspect no one else would be able to do so to your satisfaction.

And, if you actually read it, you would see that only ONE CHAPTER deals with theological arguments and they're not my arguments, but those of the Loyalist clergymen. [If I were to make my own theological argument, it would actually be quite different -- but I'm sure you divined that] Other chapters deal with legal arguments, secular political theory arguments, arguments based on the American situation, and arguments based on the actions of the Patriots.

So, Carnac, it appears that you've predicted "with complete accuracy," but mostly wrong.

If you are interested in anything about the actual content of the book I wrote, I would be happy to respond. But I'm done dealing with YOUR unwritten book.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Dr. Frazer, you REALLY NEED TO LEARN how to use italics on the internet.

https://www.w3schools.com/html/html_formatting.asp



As for the rest, presenting only one side of the argument is not "comprehensive." You are playing word games now.


And Wilsey's review of your book even deepens the accuracy of my prediction about your BOOK--in fact it appears to be more polemical and theologically contentious than I thought.

:-(

Gregg Frazer said...

Unless the one side of the argument IS the subject.

But, you're right, Carnac, the eight scholars in the field who have actually read the book are not in position to determine whether or not it is comprehensive coverage of THE SUBJECT. Someone who apparently cannot grasp what the subject is, who has not read the book, and is predisposed to object to whatever the author writes is in a much better position to make that judgment.

Blessings on you.

Gregg Frazer said...

I am proud of you for at least reading the review of the book. I know what a sacrifice and risky venture that must have been for you.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Unless the one side of the argument IS the subject.

Sophistry. Each side answered the arguments of the other. No controversy has only one side.


Furthermore, Frazer asserts that while the Loyalists appealed mainly to Scripture, history, and the law, Patriot clergy relied on “theory, fear, and John Locke.”

Pathetic, Gregg. You're entitled to your opinion, but this is polemics, not scholarship. Worse than I feared.

Gregg Frazer said...

Have a nice day, Carnac.

Our Founding Truth said...

Tom, I'm wondering what scriptures the patriots used to support rebellion against a divinely appointed king. Authorities that exist are from God because He's sovereign over everything. By the use of clear logic, a lower authority can't overthrow a higher authority because both are from God. Some of the reformers caved because their friends were getting burned.

CryptoExchange said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tom Van Dyke said...

Our Founding Truth said...
Tom, I'm wondering what scriptures the patriots used to support rebellion against a divinely appointed king. Authorities that exist are from God because He's sovereign over everything. By the use of clear logic, a lower authority can't overthrow a higher authority because both are from God.



Jim, I'm not surprised to have you argue theologically as the fundamentalist Protestant that you are, and that's OK. I just object when putative historians do it. This is indeed theology, not history.


To the theology: Surely you're familiar with the theological rebuttals to the Divine Right of Kings.

And I am familiar with the fundamentalist rebuttals to those.

http://www.puritans.net/news/revolution041003.htm


My main point is that it was a debate, a controversy and there are 2 sides to these things. By favoring Calvin's side over Locke's and Bellarmine's is merely to favor one theology over the other, an overstep for the historian. Further, John Calvin is not the last word on Reformed theology!!

And remember, Anglican Christianity was a hybrid between the scholastics like Bellarmine and the Reformed theology of Calvin, Beza and the rest. Neither school has an exclusive claim on England and the colonies.

Contra Calvin, the holiest of theologians also derived the principle that sovereignty lies with and through the people, and is given by God to the ruler only by that channel, not directly.

The historian has no standing to judge which is correct, which one is the will of God. That is my point here, and my objection to Gregg's method. He has no standing to judge whether Paine's use of the first book of Samuel is "Biblical" or not. [It may be bad theology, but it's biblical as hell, LOL!]

http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2010/04/thomas-paines-common-sense-as-heard-by.html


As to the theology itself, a trump card was in arguing that James II "abdicated" when chased to France in 1687, and it was also argued in the Declaration of Independence that


For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.



Under this approach, the theology is moot.

Tom Van Dyke said...

See also this, "The Right of Resistance in Lutheranism and Calvinism." According to some or many, even John Calvin might have left some loopholes.

https://books.google.com/books?id=DeUkFt1AOTQC&pg=PA177&lpg=PA177&dq=nefarious+perfidy,+because+they+fraudulently+betray+the+liberty+of+the+people,+while+knowing+that,+by+the+ordinance+of+God,+they+are+its+appointed+guardians.%22&source=bl&ots=7ZFX5QLgiJ&sig=zs-pV16QTYPmp2n7E0piHuG8JV4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjSguXdpOneAhUBDHwKHTrlC2EQ6AEwAHoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=nefarious%20perfidy%2C%20because%20they%20fraudulently%20betray%20the%20liberty%20of%20the%20people%2C%20while%20knowing%20that%2C%20by%20the%20ordinance%20of%20God%2C%20they%20are%20its%20appointed%20guardians.%22&f=false

Anonymous said...

"I just object when putative historians do it. This is indeed theology, not history."

It doesn't matter if you're a car salesman. What you do doesn't change the sense of words. One view is true, the other false. In this case, there is no debate about the sense of the words.

"By favoring Calvin's side over Locke's and Bellarmine's is merely to favor one theology over the other, an overstep for the historian"

Not at all. It's not about theology at all. It's about the sense of the words themselves, the same as we read anything else in life. There's no overstep in anything.

"John Calvin is not the last word on Reformed theology!!"

He sure is. No one else even comes close. He's the only one that devised his own systematic theology.

"Contra Calvin, the holiest of theologians also derived the principle that sovereignty lies with and through the people, and is given by God to the ruler only by that channel, not directly."

Where did he say that? The people only give that authority practically speaking, but Calvin understood God is the power behind the people.

"He has no standing to judge whether Paine's use of the first book of Samuel is "Biblical" or not"

Yes he does. Anyone can make that judgment. Paine knew his audience. Paine was an infidel and his book clearly contradicted 1 Timothy 2:1, Rom 13 and 1 Peter 2:13-18. "Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance (institution) of man as unto the Lord..." Peter repeats exactly the same thing Paul does in Rom 13.

Calvin was great, but he wasn't always right.



Tom Van Dyke said...

"John Calvin is not the last word on Reformed theology!!"

He sure is. No one else even comes close. He's the only one that devised his own systematic theology.



Calvin was great, but he wasn't always right.


I can't engage this contradiction. Thanks for your comments. Please read the link above re John Ponet and Christopher Goodman. The historian cannot choose between them and Calvin.

Or even between Calvin and Calvin [see his later work on the book of Daniel.] That was up to the believers themselves.

Our Founding Truth said...

I don't believe Ponet was a theologian; not sure about Goodman, but I'm fairly certain he was for resistance before the others. Most Christians have never heard of those two, but they know Calvin.

Our Founding Truth said...

Ponet and Goodman were more so political philosophers than theologians. Calvin was both, but a theologian first, with commentaries on almost every book.

Tom Van Dyke said...

You are stuck with arguing Calvin against Calvin, if you read the link. Further, Calvin is not the last and only word on Reformed Theology.

Again, the historian cannot choose sides as to what the Bible says or means, He can only study what its believers think it says and means.


I don't believe Ponet was a theologian; not sure about Goodman


All that matters is what the believers believed. If they accepted Ponet's political theology over the Loyalists', that is all that matters to the historian, despite Gregg's protestations that one method is more "Biblical" than the other.

"Plain reading" is itself a theology, not entirely shared by Calvin and especially Luther, who pulled his own share of philological tricks. "Plain reading" is an illusion, and fundamentalism is more a creature of the early 1900s than the Founding era or the early reformation.


"Plain reading" is the death of theology, and everyone from Augustine to Aquinas to Luther to Calvin to Ponet to even Locke did theology.

[Locke's analysis of Romans 13 was not philosophical, it was theological. He did his own "Protestant" analysis of the Epistles as the last project before his death.]



FTR, Mayhew's famous sermon had at its core George III trying to raise up Charles I as some sort of saint, which would be against the will of God as Protestants understood it. Perhaps a disingenuous argument [I think so], but totally in line with Calvin's "exception" to Romans 13 per Daniel's disobedience of Nebuchadnezzar and later commentary at the end of HIS life which as I recall you disavow.

Disavow all you like, but your theological axe is of no interest to me as I am not a Reformed theologian, only a student of history.

And so it is with my critique of Gregg Frazer's method. I've read Mayhew's sermon and remain unimpressed, even looking through Protestant eyes. But the Protestants of his day bought it, and I am unqualified to accept or reject its theological validity.

I can see what he was after, and why he picked that to harp on, IMO because it fit Calvin's Book of Daniel loopholes to absolute obedience of the ruler.


http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/discourse-concerning-unlimited-submission-and-non-resistance-to-the-higher-powers/

Gregg Frazer said...

I don't understand why you, Tom, are commenting at all on what Calvin says, because you have said that texts mean whatever their believers say they mean. By your standard, you have nothing to say re Calvin because you're not a Calvinist, so you are apparently incapable of understanding and interpreting his words. And why bother? Texts have no actual meaning; it's all up to each individual believer's whims -- isn't it?

For the record, Calvin does not contradict himself at all. You think he does because you are making the common mistake of conflating disobedience with rebellion. Calvin does not do that. That's why he begins and ends section 32 of Chap. 20 of Book IV with references to "suffering." When a tyrant -- or any ruler -- demands that a believer disobey God, the believer must disobey, but remain in subjection by taking the punishment. That's how Daniel ended up in the lion's den and Shadrach et al ended up in the fiery furnace and how Paul ended up writing Romans from jail. Rebellion is not an option, however. Calvin never uses any form of the words "rebel" or "revolt" in a positive or approving way -- neither does the Bible.

Disobedience is aimed at the specific law/command; rebellion is aimed at the authority behind the law/command. Because that authority comes from God, to resist it (as opposed to having to disobey it [Acts 5:29] in order to obey God) is to oppose the ordinance of God (Rom. 13:2).

Tom regularly mentions Calvin's commentary on Daniel. There, in chap. IV, section 19, Calvin says : "although he (Daniel) might deservedly have detested him (Belteshazzar), yet he reverenced the power (authority) divinely assigned to him. Let us learn, therefore, from the Prophet's example, to pray for blessing on our enemies who desire to destroy us, and especially to pray for tyrants if it please God to subject us to their lust; for although they are unworthy of any of the feelings of humanity, yet WE MUST MODESTLY BEAR THEIR YOKE, because they could not be our governors without God's permission; and not only for wrath, as Paul admonishes us, but for conscience' sake, (Rom. xiii. 5), OTHERWISE WE SHOULD NOT ONLY REBEL AGAINST THEM, BUT AGAINST GOD HIMSELF."

Gregg Frazer said...

One more thing, Tom: please stop commenting on my "method" when you have no idea what my method is in my scholarly works; you haven't read any of them, so you do not know. Did it occur to you that I could take one approach in a blog exchange and another in a peer-reviewed book published by a university press?

I challenge you to point out any place in either of my books in which I declare that one approach or argument is more "biblical" than others. [but then, you'd have to actually read them, huh?] Again, to say that one is a "plain reading" and another "nuanced" is to recognize a reality that other acclaimed scholars have also affirmed. Whether it is more "biblical" to use one approach or the other is not something that I assert in my books that you have not bothered to read before casting aspersions on my professionalism and scholarship. I certainly have an opinion on the subject and I am happy to express it to any who might be interested in informal settings or in any setting in which my opinion is sought. But I do not impose it on readers (a category that does not include you, of course) in a scholarly analysis of the political thought of the Revolutionary era.

I assume they are reading the book to learn something of what the principal players at the time thought -- not what I think. I know how to separate the two.

Gregg Frazer said...

Our Founding Truth:
Your question about what scriptures the patriots used to support their rebellion is a perfectly legitimate question historically as well as theologically. To report what scriptures they appealed to and how they appealed to them -- i.e. their arguments -- is history, not simply theology.

Chapter Three of my first book "The Religious Beliefs of America's Founders" answers that question. It deals with the arguments of the patriot preachers -- biblical and otherwise.

The short answer is that they primarily appealed to the example of the Israelites leaving Egypt and to the same two passages most often cited by the loyalists and by the Reformers who are often discussed in this blog: Romans 13 and I Peter 2. The difference between the patriot and loyalist use of Romans 13 and I Peter 2 is that the patriot preachers added qualifying words to the texts and cut words out in order to make their case. The loyalists took the texts at face value. Tom is not impressed with Jonathan Mayhew's creative interpretation of Romans 13, but the patriot preachers and John Adams were.

In his excellent treatment of the use of the Bible in the revolutionary period, "Sacred Scripture, Sacred War," James Byrd lists the biblical texts most cited. By his count, they are: Romans 13, I Peter 2, Exodus 14-15, Galatians 5, Judges 4-5, I Kings 12, Psalm 124, and Matthew 5. Most of these were not used to make a case for rebellion, however, but to extol freedom, to attempt to shame loyalists, and to identify America with Israel.

Tom Van Dyke said...

One more thing, Tom: please stop commenting on my "method" when you have no idea what my method is in my scholarly works; you haven't read any of them, so you do not know.

We see your method right here, Gregg. You are more interested in your brand than the truth of these matters.

My opinion that you have missed an opportunity to write a comprehensive treatment of the Romans 13 controversy is only more brightly illustrated. That was the opinion that set you off, the rest from you has been noise.

When you mention the 'other side,' it is in passing, and pejoratively.



I challenge you to point out any place in either of my books in which I declare that one approach or argument is more "biblical" than others. [but then, you'd have to actually read them, huh?]



Take it up with Wilsey.

Furthermore, Frazer asserts that while the Loyalists appealed mainly to Scripture, history, and the law, Patriot clergy relied on “theory, fear, and John Locke.”


You use "John Locke" pejoratively here, lumping him in with "fear" and in contradistinction to "Scripture." But as we see, Locke is quite scriptural.

http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2018/11/john-locke-on-romans-13.html

[You want to discuss the topic rather than continue lashing out, the comments on that post remain open.]



The difference between the patriot and loyalist use of Romans 13 and I Peter 2 is that the patriot preachers added qualifying words to the texts and cut words out in order to make their case. The loyalists took the texts at face value.


Question-begging again--and your bias is clear. "Cut words out"? "Qualifying words?" Luther added the word "only" ['sola'] when it came to faith*, as that was his interpretation. This is part and parcel of Reformationism. "Face value" and "plain meaning" are theological contentions--and more characteristic of 19th century fundamentalism--not historical context.


That is your method, and I object to it. It is theology, not history.


___________________________

*http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2006/02/luther-added-word-alone-to-romans-328.html

Gregg Frazer said...

You (Tom) insist on lecturing me and others about what constitutes history and about my methodology -- even though you are completely ignorant about my methodology in my published works (which is what this comment section ["On Gregg Frazer's New Book"] is supposed to be about). It makes me wonder what your credentials/bona fides as a historian are -- apart from winning the Joker's Wild, of course.

What, exactly, are your credentials as a "historian?" I am particularly interested in what makes you a more reliable and authoritative reviewer and analyst of what counts as history than the scholars from Stanford, Dartmouth, Duke, American University, the University of Texas, William & Mary, University of Georgia, and Notre Dame (to name a few) that have affirmed my work [after having read it, of course].

Gregg Frazer said...

When I mention the "other side," it is factually, but you call it pejorative because you do not like the facts. I back up those facts with documented research that has been acclaimed as such by top scholars in the field. You are ignorant as to whether my mention of the other side is "passing" or not because you have not read any of it.

You call my reference to John Locke as an emphasis of the Patriot preachers pejorative, but no actual scholar in the field would deny that the Patriot preachers emphasized and relied upon Locke -- whether you like it or not. When was the last time you read a sermon from the Revolutionary period? Have you ever read one, apart from Mayhew's? Do you know how often they cited the "celebrated" or "sagacious" "Mr. Locke?"

I do not "lump" Locke with "fear" -- I LIST him with "fear" because the Patriot preachers emphasized both. I do not put them next to each other pejoratively and I do not put Locke in contradistinction to Scripture. I simply list two sets of three emphases of the Patriot preachers. I probably should have consulted you and you could have advised me to put the two three-word groups in a different order. You call it pejorative because you don't like the lists.

Don't tell me to take it up with Wilsey; he is not making spurious and false charges against my work. Of course he's not doing so because he's actually read it and has seen EVIDENCE that you are not aware of or are unwilling to recognize (in contrast with the multiple scholars who have seen it and specifically affirmed it). By your analysis, I am responsible for a reviewer's language. Interesting. That ranks with your claim that texts have no actual meaning.

Here's the richest part of these exchanges:
1) you unfairly criticize my work without having the intellectual honesty to actually read ANY of it;
2) I defend my work against your assaults; and
3) you accuse me of "lashing out." Gall; hutzpah; brazenness, presumption -- I could wear out a thesaurus.

Whether Luther added or subtracted words is entirely irrelevant. This is a deflection on your part. But if I were to write a history of what Luther argued, I would note that he added a word to the text although his added word ("only") is in context simply a restatement of how the text actually ends: "apart from the works of the Law." I agree with Luther, but nonetheless, I would point out that he or anyone else added to the text if they did so. None of that changes the FACT that the Patriot preachers routinely added to the text (or subtracted from it). That is historical fact and anyone who can read -- irrespective of their theology -- would rightly recognize it when doing scholarly analysis of what those preachers said and how they "quoted" from Scripture. It is history, not theology.

I reject your characterization of "plain meaning" and "face value" and see no reason to prefer your judgment to that of actual scholars.

There is only one biased fundamentalist in these exchanges -- only one of us refuses to even look at evidence that is inconvenient and is willing to condemn work sight unseen because it might disturb his orthodoxy. One of us has actually read the Patriot sermons and the Loyalist sermons and one of us has read the book that this comment section is designed to discuss. Galileo would not be safe around Inquisitor Van Dyke.

Our Founding Truth said...

Tom, I don't see how anyone can critique someone's written material without reading it. That being said, I know what the fundamental beliefs are about the person of Christ and in my research, Locke did not believe them. His Adversaria Theologica proves my point. His proof texts for Christ's Deity and the Trinity are awful.

Further, Romans 13 is clear as day. You don't have to be an historian to understand it. And it's supported by other New testament texts.

Maybe read Dr. Frazer's book and it will clear things up for you.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I do not "lump" Locke with "fear" -- I LIST him with "fear" because the Patriot preachers emphasized both.

That's bullshit, Gregg, and an insult to my and your own intelligence. You're busted; your agenda is clear.

I reject your characterization of "plain meaning" and "face value" and see no reason to prefer your judgment to that of actual scholars.

That's bullshit too, Gregg. Defend your own ideas and don't hide behind other people's skirts. Yes, I know you got your Locke riff from other scholars like Munoz, but you're misusing it.



_______________________

Tom, I don't see how anyone can critique someone's written material without reading it.


Jim, Gregg and I have exchanged thousands of words on this blog. I'm quite familiar with his ideology and agenda. I predicted with complete accuracy that his book would give short shrift to the Patriot arguments and he's pissed.


He can write any book he wants but it was a missed opportunity. I doubt very many of even his fellow historians are familiar with stuff like Locke's commentaries on the Epistles.

I have not discredited Gregg's scholarship. I'm sure it's fine and accurate--as usual. I was disappointed he took his usual angle instead of a comprehensive one. That's the long and short of it.

Gregg Frazer said...

I repeat: you (Tom) insist on lecturing me and others about what constitutes history and about my methodology -- even though you are completely ignorant about my methodology in my published works (which is what this comment section ["On Gregg Frazer's New Book"] is supposed to be about). It makes me wonder what your credentials/bona fides as a historian are -- apart from winning the Joker's Wild, of course.

What, exactly, are your credentials as a "historian?" I am particularly interested in what makes you a more reliable and authoritative reviewer and analyst of what counts as history than the scholars from Stanford, Dartmouth, Duke, American University, the University of Texas, William & Mary, University of Georgia, and Notre Dame (to name a few) that have affirmed my work [after having read it, of course].

Gregg Frazer said...

Profanity and name-calling -- the last refuges of those who cannot support their charges.

I suppose my agenda would be clear if I were asked to list numbers and responded with "1, 2, and 3" or asked to list seas and said "Mediterranean, Red, and Baltic." But you're right, of course, lists that Tom doesn't like are inherently pejorative and reflect a sinister agenda (by definition).

At this point, I don't see how I could insult your intelligence or call it into greater question than you're doing on your own.

I've tried defending my own ideas with logic and with evidence (and about 1000 mostly primary source citations), but those do not pierce your superior hide. I thought maybe that mentioning that premier scholars such as Noll, Dreisbach, and Byrd (among others) say the same thing I do might make a dent. But that was a fool's errand because no scholar knows anything but what Tom approves.

Since you "know" that I got my "Locke riff" from Munoz -- whom I've never actually read on the subject -- would you please tell me what else I've read that I don't know about (just so I have a record)? All that you dream up has "perfect accuracy," so I must have read it un- or sub-consciously. I've never known anyone who knew so much about someone they'd never met -- and whose WORK THEY'D NEVER READ -- than you know about me. Amazing work, Carnac. Johnny Carson would be proud.

Aquinas's works also do not cover all aspects of the Patriot arguments; neither do Bellarmine's; neither do John Grisham novels or histories of ancient Greece. They do not cover all aspects of the Patriot arguments because they are about OTHER SUBJECTS -- as MY BOOK IS. You need to let all authors know that they cannot get your approval for their how-to books or cookbooks or histories of the Persians unless they cover all aspects of the Patriot arguments because books may not be about any other subject and be legit. Tom says so.

What I can't understand is why you're wasting time with Locke's commentary. It is a monograph (which makes it insignificant); it does not cover ALL of the various views of Romans 13 (so it's not a scholarly or legitimate treatment of ANYTHING -- including its particular announced subject), and its text has no real meaning anyway (except what each individual decides it means). Tom says so.

Your instruction has been so enlightening; I'm sure we're all grateful.

Mark Hall said...

For what it is worth, I have read Gregg's recent book and think he ably describes the arguments of the Loyalist clergy. My old mentor had a sign on his wall reading something like Non Omnes Possumus Omnes, which he translated as "not even a possum can do everything." It is true that Gregg could have described the Patriot clergy's arguments, but (a) a great deal has already been written about them, (b) doing so in detail would have made the book twice as long--and I'm sure his publisher would not have gone for that.

Gregg doesn't really weigh in on whether he thinks the Loyalists were right in the book, but he does argue the war was unjust here: Gregg Frazer, “The American Revolution: Not a Just War,” Journal of Military Ethics 14 (2015), 35-56. A good counter-argument is made here: Eric Patterson and Nathan Gill, “The Declaration of the United Colonies: America’s First Just War,” Journal of Military Ethics 14 (2015), 7-34. I'll weigh in on this question in the sequel to my forthcoming book Did America Have a Christian Founding? (to be published by Thomas Nelson in October of 2019).

Mark David Hall

Tom Van Dyke said...

Gregg wrote exactly the book I predicted he would. It pisses him off that he's so predictable. And yes, it totally fits his agenda that you describe in his “The American Revolution: Not a Just War” [as if I didn't know he'd written it].

And this IS bullshit.

I do not "lump" Locke with "fear" -- I LIST him with "fear" because the Patriot preachers emphasized both.

Nice to hear from you, Mark. If the book were twice as long and useful as a comprehensive overview of the controversy, perhaps it would have sold twice as many copies.

Gregg Frazer said...

"I have not discredited Gregg's scholarship. I'm sure it's fine and accurate--as usual. I was disappointed he took his usual angle instead of a comprehensive one."

Only someone who holds your view that texts have no meaning could say or believe that you have not attempted to discredit my scholarship -- as in direct statements such as "that's not scholarship." You are correct that you have not actually discredited my scholarship because you don't have that power, though you no doubt believe that you do.

As for being disappointed that I took my "usual angle," I've never written anything about the Loyalists and their arguments before. Never. So, I didn't have a "usual angle" on THE SUBJECT of my book. But then, since you've never read any of my scholarly works, you wouldn't know that, would you? You can be disappointed that I didn't write the book you would have preferred, though, if you think everyone must clear their book subjects with you to prevent the resultant books from being un-scholarly, unimportant, and colorful profane nouns.

And I repeat that all of the pre-publication peer (scholarly) reviewers and the post-publication reviewers have extolled the COMPREHENSIVE nature of my coverage of THE SUBJECT of the book, which is the arguments made by the Loyalist clergy. They understand that a book has a subject and covering other subjects is not germane. I actually originally wrote another chapter, but the peer reviewers suggested I cut it (which I did) because it was not strictly the subject of the book. It is, of course, not a comprehensive look at baking cookies or building an aircraft engine or all of the arguments concerning Romans 13 or any subject other than the arguments made by the Loyalist clergy.

As far as I know, most books only seek to comprehensively cover their own specific subject and not all subjects. But I haven't read every book. Or have I? You apparently know more about what I've read than I do.

Tom Van Dyke said...

We're not disagreeing about anything, Gregg. You wrote exactly the book I predicted you would, judging by your religious beliefs and past patterns. IMO, it was a missed opportunity.

And you REALLY need to learn how to use italics. Capital letters on the internet make you look like a maniac.

Gregg Frazer said...

Here's a critically important point that Mark understands, but Tom apparently cannot comprehend: in the paper on whether or not the American Revolution was a just war, I was expressing/presenting MY OWN VIEW on the subject. It was part of a symposium in which each contributor was contracted to present his own view of the argument. Mark gives the page numbers of the opposing view. I present one side and another presents the other side -- that's how symposiums work.

In my book on THE LOYALIST CLERGY'S ARGUMENTS, I do NOT present my own view, but that of THE LOYALIST CLERGY. I do not identify with their arguments (as Mark, who has read the book attests) in the book or "weigh in on whether (I) think the Loyalists were right" BECAUSE I am a professional and a scholar. Tom apparently cannot imagine fairly and dispassionately presenting a viewpoint for the purpose of filling a needed knowledge gap. When one does research and writes with reason rather than cherry-picking sources and emoting, one can do fair coverage.

Mark also notes: "a great deal has already been written about them (the Patriot clergy's arguments)." That's what I tried to explain in the very first of these exchanges. My book is intended to break new ground, not beat dead horses.

You wouldn't know this, Tom, but as Mark points out, the publisher would not publish a longer book -- it would be unlikely to sell more copies if it were not published.

Gregg Frazer said...

We're disagreeing about just about everything, Tom.

I won't be here long enough to need to learn to use italics.

This exchange has reminded me why I quit this site long ago.

Gregg Frazer said...

Jonathan:
Thank you very much for posting a reference to my new book and for posting the CT review. I really appreciate it.

I had hoped to have some actual discussion of the content of the book and to answer questions of those honestly interested in it. Alas, that never seems to happen when I come to this site.

Hopefully, some will actually read the book and make their own evaluation of its quality based on knowledge of it.

I continue to wish you well.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Hopefully, some will actually read the book and make their own evaluation of its quality based on knowledge of it.

Some will. I'm sure I would find some interesting things in it, just not 30 bucks worth. In the meantime, I trust the gentle reader to decide for himself whether

Furthermore, Frazer asserts that while the Loyalists appealed mainly to Scripture, history, and the law, Patriot clergy relied on “theory, fear, and John Locke.”


is pejorative in a "plain reading".

This exchange has reminded me why I quit this site long ago.

You quit this site because you're unable to defend your thesis without playing the authority game.

To wit:

[cont'd]

Tom Van Dyke said...

"Further, it is more difficult to draw limits to Calvin’s teaching that public duty must be guided by one’s conscience. Again, Walzer ably summarises the dilemma:

He (Calvin) linked private conscience to public duty in order to produce political activity. As a direct consequence of this, however, he could hardly avoid the admission that such dramatic forms of activity as tyrannicide and prophetic denunciation might well be conscientious and dutiful. Secular order was thus subject to disruption by conscientious men: it was a difficult, even an untenable, position for a theorist whose fundamental teaching was one of discipline and obedience.

Not surprisingly, within a decade Calvin’s disciples had abandoned his refusal to sanction common people rebelling against constituted authorities. This became evident in the Huguenots crisis when the Protestants in France, acting in accordance with the demand of pietasrather than the demand of legality, took up arms to defend themselves in the face of persecuting authorities. Likewise, the English exiles under John Knox engaged in plotting against Queen Mary.

Tensions will naturally arise from Calvin’s teaching of a close, albeit distinguishable, relationship between the civil order and spiritual order. But as Harro Hophl rightly points out, the conflict between the demands of pietas of right worship and pietas of obedience to secular authority ought not to have been placed on par with one another. The issue of priority must be clearly delineated. In addition, we may distinguish between Calvin’s more permanent valid social principles which flow from his theology and his contingent legal recommendations given to address specific historical circumstances. Given these caveats, we agree with Hophl’s conclusion that “Calvin’s political thought was not so bonded to his theology that a man might not detach the former without tearing the latter.”

https://www.krisispraxis.com/archives/2017/11/john-calvins-response-when-civil-government-turns-bad-calvins-social-theology-part-34/

Jonathan Rowe said...

Thanks Gregg. I'm ordering a copy (or two) of your book today.

I enjoyed the thread.

Gregg Frazer said...

I quit this site because I am not willing to re-type the evidence contained in 230 pages for someone not willing to engage any evidence that he doesn't like and I don't have time to play these ridiculous games.

Gregg Frazer said...

And you're not willing to list your credentials (which I've requested twice) because you don't have any. That is why you refuse to grant any significance to the fact that top-notch scholars have affirmed and confirmed my work. If appeal to authority is invalid, why do you keep citing Aquinas and Locke and Bellarmine and ......? Oh, yes, only authorities that agree with you are legit authorities.

It doesn't bother me in the least that you don't like my work. The only thing that bothers me is that you intimidate others from joining in an actual fair discussion. You are the Antifa of this site.

I'll leave you, Tom, with one sincere concern: you made a joke about Paine's views being "as biblical as hell." You're half-right: hell is, indeed, a biblical concept. Jesus talked about it more than He did heaven. I sincerely hope you give that reality some thought.

Gregg Frazer said...

I'll check back periodically to see if anyone wants to discuss either my book or the subject of my book.

If anyone wants to do that, I would be happy to interact with you.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Gregg Frazer said...
And you're not willing to list your credentials (which I've requested twice) because you don't have any.


Ouch. Gregg just hit me over the head with his diploma. :-O

But thousands of words later, my original comment that sent Gregg off in a tizzy still stands unmolested.

Tom Van Dyke said...
I find the counterarguments and rebuttals to the Loyalist view of Romans 13 and the 'divine right of kings'--from Bellarmine, "Calvinist Resistance Theory," and John Locke's commentaries on the Epistles--to be far more interesting and historically important.

If Gregg does not present that end of the story, he has wasted a great opportunity and has contented himself to write a fundamentalist polemic.

I hope he has not. :-)



Gregg, you did exactly the book I predicted you would, and I'm confident our more gentle readers will find stuff like

“theory, fear, and John Locke.”

to be as polemical as I do.

After all this time now--years and hundreds of exchanged comments!--I know your act. I didn't have to drop 30 bucks to read its latest manifestation.


Antifa, Gregg? Really?

Gregg Frazer said...

Anyone who wants to talk about my book or its subject matter?

Our Founding Truth said...

Dr. Frazer,

The more I read the scriptures and study the founding, the more I agree with you on this subject. I haven't read your book yet, but if the founders did supress dissent, it's a stain to their legacy and everything they tried to accomplish. To make matters worse, the revolution is one more instance they weren't orthodox in a variety of ways that I had initially thought.

They allowed much tyranny, promoted by the Presbyterians no less (VA Assessment comes to mind), that Calvin and the reformers would never have allowed. Many of the heterodox sects of the 19th century came about partly because of the founding fathers. What happened to Roger Sherman and his friends? He kept quiet as did the other Calvinists. What about Samuel Adams? He followed Locke as well.

Some of them may have been evangelicals, but most of them were immature in the faith, especially in the case of Locke. He didn't even believe in original sin. That should have been a serious problem for them. They obviously believed Locke over Calvin in various matters.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Gregg Frazer said...
Anyone who wants to talk about my book or its subject matter?



Cut the crap, Gregg. The subject matter of your book IS being discussed. You just freak out when the other side is presented. Your thesis does not hold.


"The colonial clergymen who justified political resistance to British authorities from 1763 to 1783 did so in continuity with previous justifications of political resistance found within Reformed Protestantism. Clergymen such as Jonathan Mayhew who justified a right of resistance in the eighteenth century did not rely upon new varieties of Enlightenment or Lockean rationalism in formulating their arguments for political resistance. They instead reasserted common arguments found in traditional Protestant views of political resistance. The colonial clergy followed the theological precedents that were found not only in seventeenth-century resistance to Stuart absolutism and but also to the Stuart-imposed government of Edmund Andros over New England. The clergy tended to justify resistance to British policies on the basic grounds of self-defense as conflict with Britain intensified in the mid-1770s. The protests and arguments used by American clergymen were not uniquely American, as the same positions were held by many of the British clergy as well."

Dr. Gary Steward. Assistant Professor of History, Colorado Christian University

https://digital.library.sbts.edu/handle/10392/5336

Gregg Frazer said...

For those who have not read my book and who have trouble with the plain reading or face value of a sentence and who will ignore it yet again because their "predictions" cannot be wrong and because they do not believe that words have actual meaning:

The subject of my book is the arguments made by the Loyalist clergy against the American Revolution (the subtitle of the book).

The subject is NOT the history of viewpoints on revolution or the arguments made by the Patriot clergy.

Gregg Frazer said...

Our Founding Truth:

Thank you for being interested in the actual subject of my new book.

It is disturbing to those of us who are believers in Christ. As for the pastors who preached rebellion, many of them were not Christians in the 18th-century American Christian understanding of the term. That is, they did not believe in the fundamental doctrines of the faith as outlined in their own creeds, confessions, and doctrinal statements.

In my first book, I examine the pastors' education and the fact that congregations complained of the pastoral product they were getting out of Harvard -- that the pastors sent to them were not Christians and taught Enlightenment thought and not the Bible. As a result, Yale was founded to meet this need, but within a decade or so, it had gone the way of Harvard. If you're interested in this, I recommend Mary Latimer Gambrell's 1937 classic "Ministerial Training in Eighteenth-Century New England." It is hard to find, but if you have a library near you, they should be able to acquire it by inter-library loan.

One of the recurring arguments made by the Loyalist clergy was the hypocrisy of those claiming to be fighting for "freedom" and against "tyranny" and "slavery," but who were at the same time tyrannizing the Loyalists: denying them every type of freedom, and holding blacks in real slavery. The treatment of Loyalists by the Patriots is strong evidence for those who argue that Christian faith was nominal on a large scale and that Christianity was largely a matter of lip service at the time. If you're interested in the persecution of Loyalists, in addition to my book you should check out Holger Hoock's "Scars of Independence."

Samuel Adams is problematic. Here's a guy who claims to be a believer in Christ, but his primary contribution is lying -- running the propaganda machine filled with false stories and exaggerations -- and organizing rebellion.

I am confident that Sherman was a believer (one should read Mark Hall's "Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic" for an interesting biography). But he was a member of the Continental Congress and must have approved and/or at least known about the persecution of Loyalists, the denial of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and due process of law.

Locke was not a Christian by the standard established by 18th-century American Christians. As you say, he did not believe in original sin; he also did not believe in the deity of Christ or the Trinity or the atonement or other central doctrines. Of course he identified as a Christian -- nearly everyone in that general period did, including Jefferson.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Locke was not a Christian by the standard established by 18th-century American Christians. As you say, he did not believe in original sin; he also did not believe in the deity of Christ or the Trinity or the atonement or other central doctrines. Of course he identified as a Christian -- nearly everyone in that general period did, including Jefferson.


Since Rev. Jonathan Mayhew doubted or disbelieved the Trinity, by Gregg Frazer's method, Mayhew wasn't a "Christian" either!!

Absurd, and leaving Frazer's latest book moot.

So there goes fundamentalist Protestant Frazer again taking it upon himself to define what and who is "Christian," once again returning to his fundamental flaw in his work.

As a theologian or even a layman, he's entitled to his theological opinion; as a historian you must share his religious beliefs to accept his assertions.

What Frazer believes is irrelevant. What the Founders believed is our concern.

"I am equally far from believing that Mr. Locke was a friend to infidelity ...

The high reputation which he deservedly acquired for his enlightened attachment to the mild and tolerating doctrines of Christianity secured to him the esteem and confidence of those who were its friends...

The consequence has been that the writings of Mr. Locke, one of the most able, most sincere, and most amiable assertors of Christianity and true philosophy, have been perverted to purposes which he would have deprecated and prevented had he discovered or foreseen them."
---Justice James Wilson

Keep digging, Gregg.

Our Founding Truth said...

No one need to dig up dirt on Locke. His Adversaria Theologica is proof enough against him, in light of the clear statements from Christ himself and the early creeds. Wilson was simply wrong about Locke.

In my opinion, Mayhew was not a Christian. It has to do with theology, which is not relevant, correct?

Besides the sense of the words in the text, the biblical doctrine forbidding revolution against authorities is the sovereignty of God.

Jonathan Rowe said...

But Tom, as a matter of history the position on who, according to late 18th Cen. American standards, gets to be a Christian was a real dynamic that Gregg captures.

This is how Richard Price summed it up (in an address to which Washington gave his approval).

"Montesquieu probably was not a Christian. Newton and Locke were not Trinitarians and therefore not Christians according to the commonly received ideas of Christianity. Would the United States, for this reason, deny such men, were they living, all places of trust and power among them?"

Not saying that Gregg supports such religious tests. But on the question of who gets to be a "Christian," Gregg describes those "commonly received ideas of Christianity" even as he is on the other side of Price (an Arian and considered himself to be a "Christian").

Gregg Frazer said...

Tom, your capacity for irrationality knows no bounds and continually astounds me. By your logic, if I'm wrong about whether or not Mayhew was a Christian, then my "latest book" -- which has nothing to do with whether Mayhew was a Christian -- is "moot."

Your inability to read or understand simple text continually astounds me, too. I explain that the standards by which I make such determinations are not my own beliefs or my own standards, but those laid out in the creeds, confessions, and doctrinal statements of the Christian churches in America in the 18th-century; i.e. the standards that the churches of that historical period had established. Your arrogance allows you to claim that this is somehow my own "fundamentalist" definition. I point to actual historical standards, while you pontificate based on your own opinion, but I'm ahistorical and you are, of course, "completely accurate."

By the way, YOU are "taking it upon (your)self to define what and who is a 'Christian,'" too by saying definitively that Locke and Mayhew WERE Christians and that I am wrong. You need to work on self-awareness. Historians make these kinds of evaluations all of the time. Mine is based on the standards of the historical period -- yours is based on your own opinion or today's standards or just the insatiable desire to oppose anything that I say.

"What Frazer believes is irrelevant": here's one statement with which I completely agree. That is why in writing a scholarly book that passed peer review muster, I did not base my evaluations on "what Frazer believes"; I wanted the conclusions to be scholarly and historically accurate. Tom, on the other hand, simply makes declarative statements without the historical backing, but his are definitive and more accurate than what people of the day said.

18th-century Christian churches said that one was not a Christian if one did not believe in the Trinity, in the deity of Christ, and the atonement (among other things), so neither Locke nor Mayhew was a Christian BY THEIR STANDARDS. If you can show me in those official statements of doctrine where they allow for Locke's and Mayhew's beliefs, then your view will be more than your view.

If you are arguing that Locke and Mayhew self-identified as Christians or that being a Christian is a club membership that anyone can legitimately claim irrespective of what they believe, then by THAT standard, Locke and Mayhew were Christians -- but that was not the historical standard of Christian churches in 18th-century America. Yours is the non-historical, anachronistic standard -- applying today's standards to the 18th century.

Anyone who thinks that a judge (who is often identified as a deist) is a more reliable determiner of who is or is not a Christian than the Christian churches themselves will be persuaded by your quote.

Gregg Frazer said...

Tom's arrogance, pride, and irrationality are on full display in his continued and repeated claims that he knows the subject of my book better than the author does, better than Mark Hall does (who has read it and tried to tell him), better than the peer reviewers did, and better than the publisher who agreed to the subtitle: "The Arguments of the Loyalist Clergy Against the American Revolution" (which is the actual subject). Amazingly, none of those people thought to ask someone who has not even read the book what the subject is. Go figure.

Tom is not a scholar, so he's never had to write in scholarly voice and clearly does not understand that concept. Tom sees some of what I write in a blog and assumes that is the only way I write because it’s all he knows – and, since reality is limited by what Tom knows, that has to be the way I write in my books. Consequently, he doesn’t have to read my scholarly books to know exactly “with complete accuracy” what’s in them and to declare that they are not scholarly and not history. His fallacious notion of how I write in my scholarly work, therefore, comes out just as "completely accurate" as his claim regarding the subject of my book: i.e. not at all accurate.

Tom has no concept of writing in scholarly voice; i.e. without taking sides. Mark Hall is a scholar and tries to explain that my book is written that way and that I do not take the Loyalist side in the book, but Tom cannot grasp that. Mark also explains the subject, but that isn't what Tom wants to talk about, so he petulantly denies that it is the subject of the book.

Tom reads SOME of what I write in the blog – he skims over it to pick and choose points that he wants to attack; unlike a scholar, he spends no time actually considering alternate points of view or evidence that conflicts with his conviction (which is what his views are). He doesn’t respond to evidence presented, but instead deflects by offering other evidence or changing the subject.

Degrees don’t impress him because he has no idea what is required to get the degree and because it puts him at a credibility disadvantage. If he cites an authority, that is golden; if someone who disagrees cites authorities who disagree with him, then that’s “appeal to authority,” inability to make your own argument, and some randomly chosen scatological expletive (often his closing argument).

In the appropriate context – a symposium – in which I am CONTRACTED to present my own view, I do present my own view (supported by cited primary evidence). Tom says "gotcha" and takes that as validation that I always write my own opinion (like he does). Since he’s never read my scholarly books, he can rest comfortably in his false preferred view.


Tom Van Dyke said...

Jonathan Rowe said...
But Tom, as a matter of history the position on who, according to late 18th Cen. American standards, gets to be a Christian was a real dynamic that Gregg captures.

This is how Richard Price summed it up (in an address to which Washington gave his approval).

"Montesquieu probably was not a Christian. Newton and Locke were not Trinitarians and therefore not Christians according to the commonly received ideas of Christianity. Would the United States, for this reason, deny such men, were they living, all places of trust and power among them?"

Not saying that Gregg supports such religious tests. But on the question of who gets to be a "Christian," Gregg describes those "commonly received ideas of Christianity" even as he is on the other side of Price (an Arian and considered himself to be a "Christian").


The fundamental flaw is that Gregg conflates doctrinal beliefs with political theology. Did Trinitarians agree with Mayhew and other theological liberals on the permissibility of revolution?

Of course they did. John Knox, the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland!

This is why Gregg's thesis rests on faulty ground. Doctrinal liberalism and revolution may have been correlated but are not essentially connected. What Mayhew thought of the Trinity is an academic footnote, not the text.

[Same is true of Richard Price. Once again I remind you that Benjamin Rush behhed Price to keep is non-Trinitarianism secret, lest it hurt his reputation as a thinker on other subjects.]

______________


Our Founding Truth said...
No one need to dig up dirt on Locke. His Adversaria Theologica is proof enough against him, in light of the clear statements from Christ himself and the early creeds. Wilson was simply wrong about Locke.

In my opinion, Mayhew was not a Christian. It has to do with theology, which is not relevant, correct?



Yes it certainly is a theological question. Gregg has found his audience, a fellow Protestant fundamentalist. But for the rest of us with no dog in the theological fight,

As a theologian or even a layman, he's entitled to his theological opinion; as a historian you must share his religious beliefs to accept his assertions.

You prove my point, thank you.

Besides the sense of the words in the text, the biblical doctrine forbidding revolution against authorities is the sovereignty of God.

And again. That is a strict reading of John Calvin, but John Calvin is not the last word in Reformed theology. He was no prophet, no pope. His immediate followers did not share his opinion.



That sovereignty is granted to the people, and only via them is transmitted to the ruler, is the fundamental break--and predates Locke by well over 100 years. Indeed, it dates back at least to the Schoolman Jesuit Francisco Suarez.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/25700987?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

It is not a creation of the Enlightenment. [See Filmer's Patriarcha.] And although the Protestants of England seldom ackowledged Catholic sources, they were well familiar with them. James II--yes the KJV King James--had the hangman publicly burn the works of Suarez at Paul's Cross in 1613!


The story cannot simply be told only by whatever direct citations there are in the sermons circa 1776 and it's a scholarly error to even try. The theology of revolution had been developing for well over 200 years. The sermons of the revolutionary period were echoes of echoes of echoes. John Calvin is only one of 1000 echoes.

[Well, to his credit, let's say 100. ;-)]

Fuck Off Tom said...

Tom's just a fucking diva! I used to frequent this blog years ago but he's ruined it and chased away a ton of the good contributors and commentators who made this place fun. Fuck off, Tom. Please!

Tom Van Dyke said...

hi Lindsey, :-D

Tom Van Dyke said...

Pace Gregg Frazer's ad hom attacks on me [I "attack" only his work as a professional scholar], here are two accredited scholars who support my main argument, nearly verbatim:


https://digital.library.sbts.edu/bitstream/handle/10392/5336/Steward_sbts_0207D_10371.pdf?sequence=1


p 187:

"[John] Witherspoon’s justification of political resistance falls squarely within the Reformed resistance tradition. While to modern ears Witherspoon and the American clergy may sound Lockean in their arguments for resistance, it is important to remember that Locke himself was predated in his resistance thought by the Reformed resistance tradition, and the defenders of resistance did not distinguish between Locke and the Reformed theologians on the question of resistance.

As Jeffry Morrison helpfully states,

Witherspoon, like other Reformed Americans, saw himself as the inheritor of a sturdy tradition of Protestant resistance to the divine right of kings and civil tyranny that antedated Locke and Sidney by a century. . . . English, French, Scottish, and Swiss reformers developed a sophisticated body of literature arguing against the divine right of kings and, more important to Witherspoon, articulating a case for resistance to arbitrary or tyrannical government.


It is in this vein of resistance thought that Witherspoon carried forward the doctrine of political resistance with an overall philosophical continuity with his theological predecessors."

Our Founding Truth said...

Sidney was a Calvinist and high on the list of patriot preachers. Montesquieu greatly admired Calvin and his wife was a Calvinist. And the reformers believed in the state of nature because it was about political liberty, not spiritual liberty.

Yes, the later reformers changed views from those of Calvin, but a cursory examination of the scriptures shows they were wrong. The persecution got to them. It's that simple.