J. D. Hall’s most recent post criticizing Chris Bolt and labeling him a liberal has a funny title but flimsy content. Whatever your take on the claim that Bolt once ‘white knighted’ for the wrong people, after this post (the title of which refers to Hall mocking people by panting and faking a lisp), and a weak tea reply, we can all agree that Hall is playing the black knight now.
It used to be, back before the advent of Christian alternative media, Southern Baptist pew-sitters could be convinced of their leaders ‘conservatism’ by a few words well-spoken about inerrancy and positionally aligning with the pro-life movement. Thankfully, today’s Internet-savvy news consumers are well aware that paying lip-service to those two issues is not the be-all and end-all to real Biblical conservatism. Rather, those two things often just constitute a mask snuggled in over the snout of a wolf.
Interestingly, Bolt agrees on this point, and wrote about it at Conservative Resurgence Voices, a website Hall claims is a “sham.” But Hall wants to take this observation further and apply it to Bolt. The only way Hall can say his ridiculous criticisms of Founders Ministries aren’t woefully wrong is if he proves that Bolt’s liberal. The problem is, he can’t.
Is Bolt Liberal?
Hall gives three reasons he believes Bolt is a liberal.
- Bolt says he is conservative.
Hall claims Bolt is liberal because, “liberals masquerade as conservatives.” So what Hall would have us to believe is that if someone claims to be conservative, then that person is actually liberal, which of course isn’t true, and would implicate Hall.
- Bolt deleted Twitter.
Hall also claims Bolt is liberal because, “He deleted his Twitter after our criticism, no doubt trying to scrub it of five years of gushing liberalism.” Hall steals Bolt’s recent rhetoric, claiming Bolt, “ran for the hills, deleting tweets as fast as he could that demonstrate he’s a liberal wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Hall states Bolt is, “genuinely one of the most audaciously ignorant human beings” he’s ever encountered.
But Bolt’s Twitter account isn’t five years old, Bolt routinely deletes his tweets, and Bolt regularly takes breaks from Twitter regardless of what he’s tweeted or what’s going on. It may have been helpful for Hall to know these things before taking his wonky walk down a path of problematic inferences to the conclusion that Bolt was trying to hide something. In other words, it looks as though Hall is the ignorant one, not Bolt. Pot, meet kettle, and all that.
- Bolt considers Mohler conservative.
Hall claims Bolt is liberal because Bolt considers Mohler conservative. Here again, Hall mistakenly believes something to the effect that if a person claims Mohler is conservative, then that person is actually liberal. Obviously, that doesn’t follow, and for more reasons than mere disagreement with Hall regarding his subjective a-historical understanding of the terms involved.
Is Hall Conservative?
Hall writes, “Of course, I dismiss [Bolt’s] flaccid critique of Revoice because he supports the people who serve as its muse and who endorsed the conference.” Of course, even if it were true that Bolt “supports” such people (which it’s not), it would not follow that Bolt’s critique is “flaccid” or otherwise wrong. Hall is engaging in the genetic fallacy, dismissing a critique of Revoice because Bolt wrote it rather than explaining what he finds wrong with the post series itself. In short, Hall is acting in an incredibly suspect manner, perhaps in an attempt to distract from the fact that Bolt signed the Nashville Statement, while Hall did not. Hall picks at Bolt’s, “tumbleweed-blown ghost town of a blog,” which is a good description, but didn’t prevent Hall from commenting on it only a few months ago after the blog had been silent for years. Hall finds it “odd” that Bolt wrote in the third person and infers Bolt is “crazy” as a “loon.” (Ah, but how does Hall know there’s not a third person involved?) Hall writes, “Weird, right?” No more weird than a ‘discernment ministry’ that can’t discern a liberal from a conservative. No more weird than a supposed ‘conservative’ who won’t sign the Nashville Statement and gets really upset that someone wrote a critique of Revoice. No more weird than a ministry that charges for premium ‘discernment’ content but still advertises for Mormonism on its blog.