Between Abraham and Jeremiah

Carl Trueman thinks that we live in a time of exile (I generally agree but I think the conditions for it extend well beyond the sexual revolution — back to Peter’s first epistle):

The strident rhetoric of scientism has made belief in the supernatural look ridiculous. The Pill, no-fault divorce, and now gay marriage have made traditional sexual ethics look outmoded at best and hateful at worst. The Western public square is no longer a place where Christians feel they belong with any degree of comfort.

For Christians in the United States, this is particularly disorienting. In Europe, Christianity was pushed to the margins over a couple of centuries—the tide of faith retreated “with tremulous cadence slow.” In America, the process seems to be happening much more rapidly.

Trueman also thinks that Reformed Protestantism has the spiritual resources for Christians facing exilic conditions, among them Psalm singing:

This recognition of exile and the hope we find in the Psalms permeate historical Reformed worship and theology in a way that is not so obvious in other Christian traditions, even Protestant ones. For example, the worship of the American Evangelical Church of the last few decades has been marked by what one might call an aesthetic of power and triumph. Praise bands perform in churches often built to look more like concert venues than traditional places of worship. Rock riffs and power chords set the musical tone. Songs speak of tearing down enemy ­strongholds. Christianity does, of course, point to triumph, but it is the triumph of resurrection, and resurrection presupposes prior suffering and death. An emphasis on triumph, often to the exclusion of lament, will not prepare people for life this side of resurrection glory. It will not prepare us for a life of exile. I fear we are laying the foundations for disillusionment and despair.

So much of this piece makes sense and I risk getting bloody (because no one wins an e-knife fight with Carl) only because of the way he handles the Puritans and Dutch. He glosses something that does not work out so well for Reformed Protestants who would live in exile:

It is this consciousness of civic responsibility—and of a firm place to stand in Christ—that frames Calvin’s Institutes and has served to make Reformed Christianity such a powerful force for change in history, from the Puritans to Abraham Kuyper. There have certainly been excesses in the history of the Reformed Church’s engagement with the civic sphere, but Reformed theology at its best is no clarion call for a religious war or a theocratic state. It is rather a call for responsible, godly citizenship.

The thing is, if you wanted examples of Calvinists in exile I wouldn’t turn to the Puritans of the Dutch who were actually part of colonizing efforts and did not live like exiles with native populations in North America or Africa. The Calvinists who did live like refugees were the Huguenots and the German Reformed. They dispersed to places like North America and persisted in their enclaves or assimilated. But the English (and Ulstermen and Scots) and Dutch were engaged in a form of conquest and it is that transformational part of the English Puritan, Scottish Presbyterian, and Dutch Calvinist enterprises that inspires modern-day U.S. Calvinists to think about either taking every square inch captive (for Christ, of course — no self-serving here) or reaffirming America’s Christian origins. (If you want to see one of the odder parts of German Reformed history in the U.S., think about the exilic experience of these folks in Iowa.)

Instead of the Abraham option (transformationalism) or the Benedict option (withdrawal), Samuel Goldman (American Conservative, July/Aug 2014) recommends the Jeremiah option (sorry, it’s behind a paywall):

First, internal exiles should resist the temptation to categorically resist the mainstream. That does not mean avoiding criticism. But it does mean criticism in the spirit of common peace rather than condemnation. . . .

Second, Jeremiah offers lessons about the organization of space. Even though they were settled as self-governing towns outside Babylon itself, God encourages the captives to conduct themselves as residents of that city, which implies physical integration. . . .

Finally, Jewish tradition provides a counterpoint to the dream of restoring sacred authority. At least in the diaspora, Jews have demanded the right to live as Jews — but not the imposition of Jewish laws or practices on others. MacIntyre [read Benedict option] evokes historical memories of Christendom that are deeply provocative to many good people, including Jews. The Jeremiah option, on the other hand, represents a commitment to pluralism: the only serious possibility in a secular age like ours.

We might even call this the Petrine option, were it not for the last millennium of popes who fought infidels, patronized artists, ruled Christendom, and lost power only to speak on every single issue known to political economy and foreign affairs. After all, it was Peter who called Christians strangers and aliens. Were the French and German Calvinists more an inspiration to contemporary Reformed Protestants, Carl’s call to living as exiles would find a receptive audience. As it is, the lure of domination, even though gussied up with the mantra of Christ’s Lordship, that is far more the norm than it should be because it is a whole lot more inspiring to be on the winning side of history. (Who roots for the Cubs?) And for that reason, Carl’s call will likely go unheeded.

Update: Here‘s additional support for considering the French Reformed instead of the English or Dutch.

81 thoughts on “Between Abraham and Jeremiah

  1. Nice. Succinct and trenchant. I agree and I am first to post on this thread, maybe.

    But.
    But Carl has said good things about Bryan and he thinks the English version of the Democrats is skookum.

    signed, sincerely confused as always

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  2. As a subscriber to TAC, I appreciated Samuel Goldman’s Article on “The Jeremiah Option” but with my Calvinist proclivities, I thought his optimism was not grounded in a realistic view of human nature. Goldman didn’t balance Jeremiah 29 with Jeremiah 17…”the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”

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  3. Why is God taking us out into this desert (the new American normal) to die? It would be better if we had stayed in Egypt (i.e., pseudo-“Christianized America”). At least there we didn’t have contraception, gay rights, and no-fault divorce. And they fell in the desert because of unbelief.

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  4. Yeah, the recipe didn’t call for that dash of triumphalism, did it?

    If not for that, maybe CT would have earned an OL “ding“.

    There’s always next year..

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  5. Given the choice between living in a country where some Christians may have to bake cakes for gays and living under ISIS in Mosel, Irag, please pass the Betty Crocker mix and eggs.

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  6. “Yoder argues that the cross reveals the form of God’s activity in the world. Church practices follow Jesus’ ministry and form the paradigm for society, but do not attempt to engineer life in the wider world. Yoder does not presume a secular space authorized to ensure the church’s mission, but rather stresses the tension in which the church lives before the kingdom of God is visibly consummated.”

    http://www.directionjournal.org/40/2/beyond-suspicion-post-christian.html

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  7. Ted G—In the story Jeremiah tells, we see the folly of trusting in military power, in political schemes and in all-too-easily corrupted politicians. Even the great King David, chosen of God and renowned for his faithfulness, fell prey to the arrogance of power. And the later kings mostly were worse. We also see the folly of trusting in religious practices that seek to contain God and to reduce God to being, in effect, an errand boy on behalf of the king’s policies.

    We see the folly of religion that proclaims that all is well and thereby desensitizes people to the will of the true God. This God cares not so much for order and harmony on behalf of the status quo… Jeremiah does more than express anger. Jeremiah gets down to grief: “Thus says the Lord of hosts; Consider and call for the grieving women to come; send for the skilled women to come; let them quickly raise a dirge over us, so that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids flow with water. For a sound of wailing is heard from Zion: ‘How we are ruined! We are utterly shamed, because we have left the land, because they have cast down our dwellings’” ( 9:17-19).

    For Jeremiah, there is no dancing on the grave of those he prophesied against. Jeremiah does not rejoice in others’ misfortune. Jeremiah does not gloat – even though he had been right in warning of coming judgment. Jeremiah deeply identified with the people even as they reaped the fruit of their false trust. He grieves at what is lost. He’s not self-righteous at being vindicated. He’s not proud that his principles proved valid.

    http://peacetheology.net/the-bible-on-peace/16-israels-fall-and-its-hope%E2%80%94jeremiah-818-22-isaiah-431-7/

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  8. John Howard Yoder—what Stout “after Babel” regrets losing is what JHWH in the Genesis story said his creatures should not have been trying to protect …. The first meaning of Babel in Genesis is the effort of a human community to absolutize itself…. Genesis places the multiplicity of cultures under the sign of the divine will. It was rebellious humankind, proud and perhaps fearful, who wanted to live all in one place, and thereby to replace their dependence on divine benevolence by reaching heaven on their own. The intention of the people at Babel was to resist the diversification which God had long before ordained , and to maintain a common discourse by building their own … city. They were the first foundationalists….

    Yoder—God responded graciously to that defensive effort, namely by the divinely driven dispersal of the peoples, restoring the centripetal motion. It was JHWH who scattered them, for their own good. This scattering is still seen as benevolence in the missionary preaching of the Paul of Acts (14:16f., 17:26f.). It is “confusion” only when measured against the simplicity of imperially enforced uniformity. It is narrated as a gracious intervention of God, reinforcing the process of dispersion which had already begun and which God intended as a good thing. Thus the “confusion of tongues” is not a punishment or a tragedy…. Later readings have considered that first dispersion to have been a wrathful act of an offended God, That is not in the text.

    http://brandon.multics.org/library/John%20Howard%20Yoder/seehowgo.html

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  9. Yoder— “Jeremiah does not tell his refugee brothers and sisters to try to teach the Babylonians Hebrew. The concern to learn goes in the other direction. Jews will not only learn the local languages; they will in a few generations be serving the entire ancient near eastern world as expert translators, scribes, diplomats, sages, merchants, astronomers. They will make a virtue and a cultural advantage of their being resident aliens, not spending their substance in fighting over civil sovereignty.”

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  10. When I read Owen, I feel hope,
    When I read Luther, I feel hope
    When I read Calvin, I feel hope
    When I read Bunyan, I feel hope
    When I read Dathenus, I feel hope
    When I read Trueman, I feel that I need to ‘get this right’, and then ‘get that right’…..etc.
    Hope sinks…

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  11. Another thing I’ve noticed among the French/German Reformed (Lutherans are another story!) is their immunity to Pietist tendencies.

    Why are the English the only ones having ‘Awakenings’ in history?

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  12. Engelsma—-The movement influenced by Puritanism, particularly the Puritan doctrine of assurance, called itself the “nadere reformatie.” This name should be translated, and understood, as ‘further reformation,’ expressing the movement’s conviction that the sixteenth century Reformation did not do justice to piety and experience and that it was the high calling of the “further reformation” to complete the sixteenth century Reformation. This, the men of the “further reformation” set
    out to accomplish by a theology and ministry that emphasized personal piety and introspective experience.

    Engelsma— See the brief introduction to the “further reformation” in English in Arie de Reuver, tr. James A. De Jong, Sweet Communion: Trajectories of Spirituality from the Middle Ages through the Further Reformation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007), 15-24.
    “The Further Reformation developed a comprehensive pastoral psychology by which it intended to provide guidance on the manner in which the applied work of the Holy Spirit brought people to certainty of faith The significance of de Reuver’s work is his frank acknowledgment that the experientialism and spirituality of the further reformation were (and are!) derived from the medieval (Roman Catholic) mystics. Almost all reliable analysis of the “nadere reformatie” is found in
    the Dutch language. de Reuver gives the sources.

    Engelsma–Completely unreliable, indeed misleading, is Joel R. Beeke’s account of assurance in Calvin and the Reformed tradition. His book is ominously titled The Quest for (not: “Gift of”) Full Assurance: The Legacy of Calvin and His Successors (Banner of Truth, 1999). As the subtitle indicates, Beeke contends that the Puritan and “nadere reformatie” doctrine of assurance was a faithful development of the doctrine of Calvin, when, in fact, it was a radical departure from the
    Reformer’s …..
    http://www.prca.org/prtj/apr2009.pdf

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  13. The admissions made here about some of our past spiritual brethren are very refreshing. And because we live amongst unbelievers, certainly what Peter said about living as exiles is true. And unfortunately, there have been attempts to create a premature homecoming–something that is quite impossible when we realize where our real home is.

    But because of where our real home is, we should add to the living as exiles the idea that we are also living as the Hebrews who wandered the wilderness did. Why? Because while exiles had been to the promised land, the wandering Hebrews never were.

    Now as to how we should relate to society and the differences that exist between its values and ours, I believe the answer is complex and nuanced and thus deserves other models of thought in addition to what the images of being in exile or wandering the wilderness provide.

    Finally, regarding the mode of music, it really isn’t different from the use of classical music in principle. What we need to watch is that the cultural style of music picked doesn’t become so predominant as to make our musical worship of God a worship of culture, and thus ourselves, too. That can happen whether we are singing the old hymns or using rock bands as musical backup.

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  14. The question is, where may any safe exile take place? Looks like only Antarctica is still available, largely uninhabited, just a little chilly, but at least the taxes are low… .

    Shall we, who are attached to the Reformed / Presbyterian doctrines desert en mass the very works of our esteemed predecessors, that at great cost of their blood, was accomplished in America? Do we even remember, let alone honor their memory ? Do we even know who they are?

    Perhaps a look at exile, as experienced by our Scots/Irish Presbyterian forbearers may prove instructive. As noted in the link below, the most severe persecution by the Stuart kings (i.e. the Government ) was directed at those Scottish Covenanters, who often signed their pledges in their own blood. In 1685, one group was sold into indentured slavery, branded with a “T” on their face, or had their ears “Cropped” as witness to their “Treason”. When a government agent is burning a “T” into your soon to be exiled cheek, civil polity takes on a very close and terrifying dimension… . Then they were sent to exile, at what is now Tennent, NJ.

    Later, during the Battle of Monmouth, another British Government attempted to deliver their punishment on the Presbyterian “traitors”, who, wherever found, were singled out for “special” treatment. Understanding this should bring context to the value of the U.S. Constitution and the all-important Bill of Rights, which in the main was shaped by Witherspoon’s prime student, James Madison.

    Tennent Church, served as the venue for a long line of the luminaries of American Presbyterian history and a tour of their cemetery is quite instructive. So is a tour of Princeton Cemetery. Perhaps only Princeton has interred a greater number of the most revered men in conservative Presbyterian theology. Just standing at the graves of men like Samuel Davies, Jonathan Edwards, John Witherspoon, Ashbel Green, Archibald Alexander, Samuel Miller Charles Hodge and those at Tennent, should prod us to honor their memory by taking what they taught to our generation.

    The lesson of Luther’s Germany, full of church buildings, but so far apostatized in the 1930’s the people voted into power a ruling party so enraged against the Gospel that the remaining Christians were classified by Borman as a sect of Judaism is starkly before us. They were subject to the same plan of elimination and it serves as witness to the fate of a nation that saw great light, defiantly turned to great darkness, and proceeded to drench Europe in rivers of blood.

    Perhaps Christians today should consider “exile” in the aforementioned modern context, which is the historical norm… . Those who would exile us today if they could, have no intention to make it an easy one… .

    http://www.oldtennentchurch.org/Church_Location/churchhistory.html

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  15. DG Hart and other Old Lifers,

    This is completely unrelated butttt…..while looking up who had the cheapest copy of Pilgrim Theology I found this…http://www.wtsbooks.com/pilgrim-theology-michael-horton-9780310330646
    if you click on WTS reviews tab they shamelessly have a two-set-up-questions so-called”interview” pasted below the book followed by a video of Lane Tipton explaining Lutherans views of justification versus WTS and then promoting their faculty book (imply what you will) Justified in Christ LOL. Did no one think of how this looks or just didn’t care.

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  16. Were the French and German Calvinists more an inspiration to contemporary Reformed Protestants, Carl’s call to living as exiles would find a receptive audience. As it is, the lure of domination, even though gussied up with the mantra of Christ’s Lordship…

    Dr. Hart, in order to make your particular “[radical?] Two Kingdoms” worldview work, you’re obliged to keep glossing over the fact that in this time and place, we elect our magistrates: For practical purposes, we ARE the magistrate. Therefore

    “For if there are now any magistrates of the people, appointed to restrain the willfulness of kings (… perhaps, as things now are, such power as the three estates exercise in every realm when they hold their chief assemblies), I am so far from forbidding them to withstand, in accordance with their duty, the fierce licentiousness of kings, that, if they wink at kings who violently fall upon and assault the lowly common folk, I declare that their dissimulation involves nefarious perfidy, because they dishonestly betray the freedom of the people, of which they know that they have been appointed protectors by God’s ordinance.”–Calvin, Institutes (4.20.31)

    You’re not in exile–or captivity–quite yet, Darryl–Dr. Hart–although you’re doing your best to urge all of us to shirk our duty as protectors of the freedom of the people, as Calvin describes that duty above, presumably as self-evident.

    With all due respect, sir. You’re not MIA, you’re AWOL. And urging others to desert their duty as well.

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  17. In Romans 13, “we” are not the magistrate. “We” submit to “them”, And “they” are disobeying the commands of Romans 12. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave wrath to God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

    “We” cannot be AWOL from something God never commanded us to do. Or is there no “regulative principle” for how we are political in this age?

    The Ten Commandments are Special Revelation.

    The Noahic covenant is Special Revelation.

    Romans 12 and 13 are Special Revelation

    And the Special Revelation of Jeremiah is not an argument for either “Christian hegemony” or “common grace”

    —-for in its welfare, you will find YOUR WELFARE

    which w word is more forbidden—wview or wfare?

    who’s the “we”, Kemo Sabe?

    http://itself.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/on-the-toxic-nostalgia-for-christian-hegemony/

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  18. Hart’s rabbi explains that the exile is now over. NT Wright agrees with the rabbi. Now is no time to wait for the king to come, because praying for the kingdom to come means Hart and the rest of us need to cut down on our sinning and get busy growing the kingdom (which has already come) by transforming the world so that the world cuts down on its sinning also….

    http://ironink.org/2014/07/the-exile-wars-mcatee-contra-hart/

    “Christ became a curse, was hanged on a tree, and thereby redeemed his people from the curse. Thus what Isaiah prophesied about the sins of the people being pardoned because they had been punished (Is. 40:2), has at last been realized. That statement of Isaiah is recognizably set in context in which he deals with Israel’s glorious eschatological restoration that will come through and after judgment, after exile. There is a sense, then, in which the exile finds it fullest realization in Christ’s death on the Cross The curse was poured out in full. This kind of fulfillment of that payment for sin prophesied by Isaiah (40:2) is also in keeping with what Isaiah said about the one who would bear the sins of the people (Is. 52:13- 53:12, exp. 53:4-6, 8). Isaiah even said the servant’s work would benefit many nations. (52:1; cf. Gen. 12:3), that would ‘see his seed’ (Is. 53:10; cf. Gen. 22:17-18), who would be ‘justified’ because he too bore their sins (Is. 53:11). Isaiah made it clear that the judgment he announced against Israel arose from their failure to keep covenant, and Is. 1:2, where Isaiah calls on the witnesses to the covenant), and so the servant in Isaiah 53 is bearing bearing the punishment the people deserve for having broken the Mosaic covenant. In Galatians 3:13-14, Paul is arguing that Jesus has taken the punishment incurred from the failure to keep the Mosaic covenant, with the result that the blessings promised to Abraham, can be enjoyed by the Gentiles: “Messiah has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us, … in order that the blessings of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Messiah Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Gal. 3:13-14). THE EXILE IS OVER. THE RESTORATION BEGUN, AND THE AGE IN WHICH THE SPIRIT IS POURED OUT HAS DAWNED (cf. Gal. 3:2).

    James M. Hamilton Jr.
    God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment — pg. 474

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  19. But, Tom, you remain in denial. You may want to enlist him to prop up the popular idea that the ruled are really the ruler, but it’s hard to see Calvin coming to such convoluted conclusions.

    He exhorts Christians that they must “with ready minds prove our obedience to them, whether in complying with edicts, or in paying tribute, or in undertaking public offices and burdens, which relate to the common defense, or in executing any other orders.” [ICR 4.20.23]. He goes on to make clear that this applies to bad rulers as well as good: “But if we have respect to the Word of God, it will lead us farther, and make us subject not only to the authority of those princes who honestly and faithfully perform their duty toward us, but all princes, by whatever means they have so become, although there is nothing they less perform than the duty of princes…The only thing remaining for you,” Calvin adds shortly thereafter, “will be to receive their commands, and be obedient to their words.” [ICR 4.20.25-26].

    And when elucidating on the topic of civil disobedience and resistance qualifies his words by saying, “I speak only of private men.” Calvin made some interesting stipulations about the less private and more extraordinary men known as lesser magistrates, typically the doctrine invoked to justify rebelling against a magistrate who says some people can’t sit at lunch counters or on certain sides of buses. Not only may “lesser magistrates curb tyrants,” but “only magistrates who have already been appointed for such a task.” How any of that adds up to the ruled being ruler is mystifying. Maybe rhetoric that appeals to a populace nurtured on resistance as a virtue instead of a vice, but hardly something Calvin would approve–he was a Bible man.

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  20. TVD,

    Try not voting and see if that changes your perspective. The odds of your vote determining a single election even of your local dogcatcher are worse than winning the lottery. And even if, once they are elected they would not follow your wishes. Elected magistrates; a distinction without a difference once they arrest you.

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  21. Zrimm,
    Calvin was also a man of his times. And it bothers me not if I do things he disagrees with. What would be interesting would be for him to observe the resistance given by people like Bonhoeffer and King. Would it be possible for Calvin to learn from them?

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  22. Curt, it’s purely speculative, but if we’re playing with crystal balls let’s get some real fire going and see what he does with Kuyper who said he’d rather be unReformed if to be Reformed meant following Calvin on the magistrate.

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  23. mark mcculley
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink
    In Romans 13, “we” are not the magistrate.

    In America or any representative democracy, “we” sure are. The rest of your argument is unresponsive.

    Doug Hart
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink
    TVD,

    Try not voting and see if that changes your perspective.

    There’s much more to the political system than out single vote. There’s contributions, volunteering, speaking out and persuading.

    Zrim
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink
    But, Tom, you remain in denial. You may want to enlist him to prop up the popular idea that the ruled are really the ruler, but it’s hard to see Calvin coming to such convoluted conclusions.

    We are the “princes.” Kuyper was a “prince.” The world of Romans 13 under Nero was a completely different scenario.

    Your “exile” is self-imposed.

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  24. Right, Tom, I’ll be sure to remind the cop who stops me for not wearing my seat belt again that he’s ticketing a prince so step off. And I guess that means Romans 13 is completely negligible for moderns. Do Christians who unlike you take the Bible as the Word of God but like you want to esteem resistance theory realize they can’t like you have their cake and eat it too?

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  25. Mark G. – Given the choice between living in a country where some Christians may have to bake cakes for gays and living under ISIS in Mosel, Irag, please pass the Betty Crocker mix and eggs.

    Erik – Good one.

    Vanilla or Chocolate frosting?

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  26. Zrim
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
    Right, Tom, I’ll be sure to remind the cop who stops me for not wearing my seat belt again that he’s ticketing a prince so step off.

    That’s an abandonment of the discussion. “Magistrate” is not simply synonymous with “cop.” And I’ll stipulate your reading of Romans 13 re seat belt laws.

    If you have anything that engages rather than elides my argument, I’ll reply. Otherwise, we’ll revisit it the next time DGH puts his foot in it.

    “I am so far from forbidding them to withstand, in accordance with their duty, the fierce licentiousness of kings, that, if they wink at kings who violently fall upon and assault the lowly common folk, I declare that their dissimulation involves nefarious perfidy, because they dishonestly betray the freedom of the people, of which they know that they have been appointed protectors by God’s ordinance.”–Calvin, Institutes (4.20.31)

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  27. In this work of fiction, it takes some sons of adventists to get the adventists to see that they they do NOT need to think of themselves as the magistrate in order to witness to the magistrate. Romans 12/ 13 is not a situation ethic. It’s a very good novel.

    David James Duncan, The Brothers K (Dial Press, 1996)
    “It is a stunning work: a complex tapestry of family tensions, baseball, politics and religion, by turns hilariously funny and agonizingly sad. Highly inventive formally, the novel is mainly narrated by Kincaid Chance, the youngest son in a family of four boys and identical twin girls, the children of Hugh Chance, a discouraged minor-league ballplayer whose once-promising career was curtained by an industrial accident, and his wife Laura, an increasingly fanatical Seventh-day Adventist.

    The plot traces the working-out of the family’s fate from the beginning of the Eisenhower years through the traumas of Vietnam. One son becomes an atheist and draft resister; another immerses himself in Eastern religions, while the third, the most genuinely Christian of the children, ends up in Southeast Asia. In spite of the author’s obvious affection for the sport, this is not a baseball novel; it is, as Kincaid says, ‘the story of an eight-way tangle of human beings, only one-eighth of which was a pro ballpayer.The book portrays the extraordinary differences that can exist among siblings—much like the Dostoyevski novel to which The Brothers K alludes in more than just title
    —Publishers Weekly

    http://www.adventistpeace.org/resources/books

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  28. Given the choice between living in a country where some Christians may have to bake cakes for gays and living under ISIS in Mosel, Irag, please pass the Betty Crocker mix and eggs.

    IOW if the choice is between being dead or a dhiminni, the latte set chooses . . . having their coffee cake and eating it too.
    And so can you, pilgrim.
    Yay!
    See. Isn’t that easy.

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  29. Ouch, the American what?
    And Dreher belongs to a sect that thinks two dimensional icons can’t be idolatrous, because they – by definition? – are three dimensional.
    I already waste enough time reading the combox here to bother with adding AC to the list.

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  30. Tom, in that case, why don’t you get concrete and show how the ruled-are-actually-ruler theory has legs–what can I do tomorrow to prove I’m my own civil authority?

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  31. Zrim
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Permalink
    Tom, in that case, why don’t you get concrete and show how the ruled-are-actually-ruler theory has legs–what can I do tomorrow to prove I’m my own civil authority?

    Calvin’s Geneva? Early America? America until Everson v. Board [1947]?

    The first step is questioning the premise here. “Exile” is a w-w, sorry, and one that begs the entire question.

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  32. Mark – I wish I had the time to contribute something, but as a development officer for a major public university and a very busy elder, I don’t have time.

    Erik – Do you also have many leather bound books and does your apartment smell of rich mahogany?

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  33. Zrimm,
    Hardly speculative at all. Very authoritarian and could be bombastic, though not as much as Luther. And hunted down witches for burning at the stake. He would also add heretics to the list.

    Everybody is a person of their own times, you can’t help it. You try so that it doesn’t cause you to compromise on the essentials. At the same time, you see where your time something to offer to the writings of people from other times.

    And I do agree with Kuyper on that statement

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  34. Very good, Brian — though our host prefers that we go easy on the video links. And Erik to New Mark, yes — bigtiming/humblebragging doesn’t go over too well around here. Hall monitor, out.

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  35. Tom, you’re still at 30k feet. I don’t live in those times and places. I still have no idea what it means to be my own magistrate.

    The ruled-are-rulers sentiment is the political version of every-member-ministry.

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  36. So DG Hart, any comments or historical remarks about a recent article about a so-called under-rated leader?

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/vastly-underrated-leader

    Well I cant argue, the guy was definitely a typical right-wing conservative evangelical. Blame the movies, blame the communist, but O yeah, he stayed in the PCUS even through the 1930’s….
    In this article we find “world-sweeping revival which will solve the problems of individuals and of nations” and we find “Bell blamed popular culture, especially movies and novels, that titillated and ultimately destroyed moral fiber.” “His defense of social conservatism would earn him seven awards from the right-wing Freedom’s Foundation of Valley Forge” and “Alongside this longing for revival he was determined to buttress American civilization.” Surely this merits a response or at least some historical comments about this guy from an esteemed Machen defender.

    Like

  37. Tom, or you have no answer to a simple request–except to toss a link in the air. How Bryan Cross of you. Now off to polish my princely crown and get my rule on…

    Like

  38. Zrim
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink
    Tom, or you have no answer to a simple request–except to toss a link in the air. How Bryan Cross of you. Now off to polish my princely crown and get my rule on…

    No, you’re in exile. Or captivity. Self-imposed. W-w.

    [And the link was just something I was reading that’s somewhat relevant to the discussion. That we’re not having.]

    Like

  39. Tom,

    How’s that being your own magistrate thing working out for you as a citizen of California? Getting it your way more or less than you do at Burger King?

    Like

  40. Erik Charter
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 8:47 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    How’s that being your own magistrate thing working out for you as a citizen of California? Getting it your way more or less than you do at Burger King?

    Not well. Romans 13 applies. California hurts like hell, man, believe me.

    That said in all good cheer, EC, Mr. Z’s formulation “being your own magistrate” is dishonest, sophistic. Although a passable sophistry. And of course this rocks Darryl where he lives, an entire scholarly lifetime built on “radical” Two Kingdoms theology. He can scarcely expose himself to fire at this late date. Nothing to gain, all would be lost.

    Several PhDs have written me that they envy me my freedom. The worst the establishment can do to me is, well, nothing, EC.

    Yet such freedom is such a great burden, eh? Poor Luther, poor Calvin.

    Like

  41. Several (male) Ph.D’s in the town I work in walk around town in lady’s clothing and accessories.

    What does having a Ph.D. have to do with wisdom or virtue?

    Like

  42. Tom, you’re the one who said “We ARE the magistrate.” But the sophistry is yours. Ours is a representative democracy where elected officials are theoretically charged with ruling in the “interest of the people” but not necessarily always according to their wishes. That’s a far cry from the citizenry being princes and magistrates.

    Like

  43. Perhaps we need a Government document to settle the confusion about “Christian America”, and the functional working of Romans 13 between the people and the magistrates.
    Straight from the New Jersey Constitution of 1947.

    Note 1. “year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and forty-seven.” Clear reference to Christ. Can’t mean anything else !

    Note 2. “grateful to Almighty God”, and “looking to Him for a blessing”. Calls for a present help, with the presupposition He exists, and supports righteous human affairs..

    Note 3. “enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.” The magistrate needs to keep this general principle in mind when conducting government business !

    Note 4. “Government is instituted for the protection, security, and benefit of the people,”. Compare this to what most governments do, namely the polar opposite.

    NEW JERSEY STATE CONSTITUTION 1947
    (UPDATED THROUGH AMENDMENTS ADOPTED IN NOVEMBER, 2013)

    A Constitution agreed upon by the delegates of the people of New Jersey, in Convention, begun at Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick, on the twelfth day of June, and continued to the tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and forty-seven.

    We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

    ARTICLE I
    RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES

    1. All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.

    2. a. All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security, and benefit of the people, and they have the right at all times to alter or reform the same, whenever the public good may require it.

    Like

  44. Erik Charter
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink
    Tom,

    Freedom to do what? Freedom from what? If you’re paying taxes (especially in California) your freedom is being curtailed.

    Screw taxes. Give to Caesar is stipulated. Geez, Erik.

    What did Calvin mean by “freedom?” Duty, “protectors.” Magistrates?

    Eric, your co-religionists avoid these terms. This observer [a sympathetic observer] can barely detect a coherent conversation between Darryl and the rest of you, let alone with me. I remain the least of your r2k problems.

    What did Calvin mean by “freedom?” Duty, “protectors.” Magistrates? Your words, not mine.

    “For if there are now any magistrates of the people, appointed to restrain the willfulness of kings (… perhaps, as things now are, such power as the three estates exercise in every realm when they hold their chief assemblies), I am so far from forbidding them to withstand, in accordance with their duty, the fierce licentiousness of kings, that, if they wink at kings who violently fall upon and assault the lowly common folk, I declare that their dissimulation involves nefarious perfidy, because they dishonestly betray the freedom of the people, of which they know that they have been appointed protectors by God’s ordinance.”–Calvin, Institutes (4.20.31)

    Like

  45. Chortles weakly
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink
    Doubting Thomas, is not “PhDs envy me” a little Burgundyesque?

    Their words, not mine, CW. True story. One [righteous] PhD gave me his J-STOR password so I can access scholarly articles you common sucks can’t, so I can give the [corrupt, secular, leftist, atheist] academic establishment hell.

    I enjo freedom because I have nothing to lose–nothing at risk:

    Academics–Darryl too–have to feed their families and must play the game. Darryl was a librarian for years, denied an academic post while his inferiors got jobs teaching Bob Dylan.

    As much as I wrestle with Darryl on substance here in this little corner of the internet–because he has substance–these frauds can’t carry his jock. My only problem with Darryl is that if he wants r2k and Christians to accept exile in America, the Western World, the entire Planet Earth

    So go preacher, scholar. W-w. No offense. That God is a reality is w-w.

    Like

  46. Tom, here’ a hint–the church has been in exile from the beginning. There’s nothing new to the claim. But you need to ditch the cultural lenses for spiritual ones to grasp it. Repent and believe, great warrior.

    Like

  47. Chortles weakly
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink
    Stay classy, Tom. Emulate the the humility of Francis. Press on red, white and blue pilgrim!

    In a weak moment, I actually said something nice about Darryl. Didn’t call him names or anything, yo.

    As for red white and blue, “We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” But this

    http://valuesandcapitalism.com/c-s-lewis-s-lesson-on-enterprise/

    is not a discussion your w-w permits. Which is a shame, because I know Mencken was at least concerned with schooling our kids. In the present regime, Leviathan has its hand in everything. I don’t know what “freedom” means to you people, but whatever Calvin meant by it, it wasn’t limited to simply to worship in our self-erected ghettoes.

    Like

  48. Chortles weakly
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink
    Tom — “That God is a reality” is bad news if you don’t heed Z’s exhortation, the last part at least.

    You Arminian bastard, you. Who let YOU in to this theologicizing society? ? I could, can and do believe and repent, but I’m screwed regardless.

    Dang.

    Like

  49. Chortles weakly
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Permalink
    Tom, thanks for that. And you can be forgiven (even for that mullet you had in the 90s) so there is hope.

    It WASN’T a mullet.

    OK, it sort of was. But I designed it myself. Short hair with a “tail.” All mankind followed my example for at least 6 months thereafter.

    That God will forgive me for it, I do not know.

    Like

  50. Zrim
    Posted August 3, 2014 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
    Tom, not worldview but faith. Repent and believe (not view).

    According to your theology, my repenting makes no difference whatsoever. I’m either in the Elect Club or out. I have no way of knowing, and neither do you.

    I might be the Good Thief. I might be the thief in the night. As for you and Darryl’s crew here, I dunno. How you are better than Sarah Palin or Billy Graham or John Winthrop or Abraham Kuyper I don’t see yet. In fact you’re pretty lame in comparison, no offense.

    I do appreciate the righteous response, though. But I think this “exile” riff is BS. W-w.

    You might be Pilate.

    Like

  51. Tom, if you think repenting makes no difference per Reformed theology then you demonstrate your complete lack of understanding it. If you think it’s possible to be the thief in the night, you need to break the blue pills in half next time.

    We’re all Pilate–there is no “might” about it.

    Like

  52. Erik Charter
    Posted August 4, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink
    Tom,

    If after you die there is a judgment day, will we be your excuse for not embracing Christ?

    You might consider a better excuse.

    Excuse?

    Wait–why don’t you just die and put us all out of your misery? I’m just not feeling this. I don’t know why you were born atall.

    Just to miss me when you go to Heaven and I’m not there? That’s not even worth you driving through traffic every day on this mortal coil. The meaning of life is to be relieved of drudgery?

    Dude. Erik.

    Plus the real point here is that you’re Elect and I ain’t. I’m so screwed, bro. Dang. You’re sop saved and all. I wish I was you. Or Darryl. Or John Knox. What have you.

    Embrace Christ? What good would it do me? And what if I have embraced Him?

    Thx for your concern, though, EC. You keep going all Arminian on me, trying to save me and all. [No offense.]

    Like

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