Christian Homeland

Thomas Wolfe wrote You Can’t Go Home Again, a book that I once started but could not finish even after visiting the Wolfe home in Asheville, NC. If Christians could go home again, where would it be? The Garden of Eden? The sword-wielding angels guarding the place would make that difficult. Judah? Adding Protestant Christian claims to the difficulties in Palestine sure seems unwise. Plus, Protestants never had much of a presence in Jerusalem or Israel (except vicariously if Christendom and the Crusades do anything for you). The Netherlands? Scotland? England? Massachusetts Bay? The U.S.? Protestants have lots of vested interests in certain national identities. But most of us, no matter how Kuyperian, neo-Puritian, Covenanter, or exceptionalist would concede that none of these so-called Protestant nations are really the center of God’s redemptive plans (the way that Eden and Israel were).

In other words, we’re all in exile because Jesus has gone to prepare a home for his people.

But some Protestants still regard Israel as a “holy” land in the way they understand Israeli-Palestinian relations. I certainly understand why Western powers would have wanted to secure a homeland for Jews, especially after World War II. But why place the nation of Israel, established with some kind of Zionist sentiments, smack dab in the middle of an ethnically and religiously hostile territory? Might a better place have been Newfoundland or Montana? Just create a Jewish state somewhere in North America. (And by the way, if American diplomats these days find a 2-state solution attractive, why not a 2-state option in 1861? If you look at maps of Israel, the Confederate States of America’s borders looked a whole lot more secure than the situation that John Kerry faces.)

And then, what happens if the only biblical holy land is heaven? Bill Smith points the way:

Does the Israeli state have a right to the territory allotted to the tribes of Israel by Joshua? If you are a dispensationalist, you do think that, because you believe that the Jews are God’s people, that there is a future for Israel distinct from the church, and that the Old Testament land belongs to Israel by divine right. You believe that the human race is divided both as believers and unbelievers and as Jews and Gentiles. We live in a parenthesis (the Church Age) which will be followed by God’s implementation of his original plan for Israel and the fulfillment of his ancient promises to Israel.

My question to those who are not dispensationalists is, Why do you respond to the actions of the Israelis on dispensationalist assumptions? That is, Why do you respond to the conflicts in Palestine as though you believe a geographical land belongs to ethnic Jews and the modern Jewish state? Or, Why do you instinctively support what the Israeli state does as though it has a special status that trumps every other consideration?

In other words, it seems to me that the right way to view the national claims and geographical aspirations of ethnic Jews is to view them the same as we would any other group of people in the world. It is to view these claims and aspirations as we would if (as is the case) ethnic Jews do not have a Biblical claim to land in the Middle East. The modern state of Israel is no different from any other nation as to its rights and obligations.

Advertisements

196 thoughts on “Christian Homeland

  1. In other words, it seems to me that the right way to view the national claims and geographical aspirations of ethnic Jews is to view them the same as we would any other group of people in the world.

    You see, there really is hope for the thousands of “wayward” Presbyterian denominations and the PCUSA to merge:

    http://www.pcusa.org/news/2014/6/20/slim-margin-assembly-approves-divestment-three-com/.

    And then when that happens (!) what will Bill Smith and all his new Israelite brothers do with the original recipients of the New Covenant, whom God loves… covenantally?

    “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the LORD, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.” Thus says the LORD, “If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declares the LORD.” (Jer. 31:31-35)

    Like

  2. http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/ruthrefwil.htm

    Why worry about over there in that holy land, when it is not yet decided if “evangelicals” (baptists for short) should be tolerated by Reformed custodians of the American holy land? Being Reformed means saying that, since there is only one gospel, there is only one covenant of grace and only one promise, and that promise is not only for us but also our children (but not them or theirs).

    Being old old life is not the same as being revised old life.

    C Gribbon—-This reading of Rutherford’s Free Disputation, set in the context of its times, challenges any idea that the modern, politically passive Presbyterian mainstream can be identified either with the theology of the Westminster Confession or that of its most influential divines’s Rutherford’s commitment to shaping an entirely Presbyterian world, where public deviations from orthodox faith or practice should be met with the most severe of legal consequences, is a world away from the political complacency of modern evangelicalism and the self- justifying myth it sponsors of the pluralistic benevolence of the Scottish Covenanting movement,”

    The final text of the Confession was “a consensus statement, broad enough to be agreed with by Divines who held somewhat different views of the contemporary applications of the Mosaic judicial laws.” Rutherford seems to stand at one extreme of the Assembly’s range of opinions, arguing, with the apparent approval of the Commission of the Kirk’s General Assembly, that the OT judicial laws ought indeed to be the basis of the Presbyterian state for which they were working.

    C Gribbon—It is important to realize that Rutherford’s theonomic opinions were shared by many puritans who could not have endorsed his narrow ecclesiastical ambitions. Even those who favored a broader toleration of those orthodox Calvinists outside the Presbyterian system looked to the OT judicial laws as their program of action. Cromwell’s Rump Parliament established the death penalty for blasphemy.’”

    John Owen was prepared to argue that some of the judicial laws were “everlastingly binding.” The Fifth Monarchist radicals were famous exponents of a Hebraic legal renaissance. The Westminster Confession doctrine of the “two kingdoms,” where church and state operated independently but with mutual reliance on the law of God, did not at all favor a religiously neutral state. Thus the Confession charged the state with the highest of responsibilities: “The Civil Magistrate. . . hath Authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that Unity and Peace be preserved in the Church, that the Truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all Blasphemies and Heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in Worship and Discipline prevented, or reformed; and all the Ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed” (WCF 23.3).

    Crawford Gribben, “Samuel Rutherford and Freedom of Conscience,” Westminster Theological Journal, 2009, 372

    Like

  3. Ted, finish the book (The Bible). Try the New Testament.

    Darryl, you’re missing the all about you beauty of it all. You really can find your kin by giving a Facebook “like” to the first few verses of Jeremiah above and “unfriending” those immediately after, just like the PCUSA.

    https://oldlife.org/2014/07/pcusa-hire/

    You should be thanking me for showing you your kin-folk. But mine is the Body of Christ, where I live, thank you.

    Like

  4. http://www.sizers.org/articles/ebook_sizer.pdf

    I do not understand what dispensationalists do with the conditionality of the Mosaic covenant.

    But then again I do not understand how the Abrahamic covenant could have been purely unconditional “the covenant of grace “{conditioned on Christ alone, and not on the sinner) and yet these very same people could later be placed under a Mosaic covenant of works.

    It seems too late already for a repetition of the first “covenant of works”. Don’t eat of the tree, and you will be given eternal life? Or is, don’t eat of the tree, and you will get to stay in the Abrahamic covenant? It seems too late already for the brothers of the fathers to do something to make sure that one of their sons is going to be the Christ the Messiah. That blessing has already been promised to Isaac not Ishmael, to Jacob not Esau.

    Deuteronomy 5: 2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3 NOT WITH OUR FATHERS did the Lord make this covenant, but WITH US

    Like

  5. There is actually great book, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon, that does have a Jewish state in Sitka, Alaska. If I remember right it is something like a 99 year lease of Hong King with antisemitism reappearing such that the USA does not renew the lease. But it covers the idea of a people without a homeland – a people always resident in someone else’s home – from a Jewish perspective while also being a great little murder mystery.

    Like

  6. Didn’t Monty Python make a film called “The Yiddish Policeman’s Other Ball”?

    Speaking of films, Cinemark is screening “Lebowski” on Sunday afternoon and Wednesday evening starting tomorrow.

    Those concerned about the Lord’s Day may want to opt for Wednesday.

    Like

  7. Surely there are other than dispensational grounds for defending the right of Jews to a national homeland in Israel?

    1. There is a (hotly debated, I know) arguable case that Jews have an accent right to that land
    2. 6 million Jews were murdered, not very long ago, in part because they did not have an internationally- recognized homeland (“the Jewish problem”)
    3. The entities (both states and quasi-political, terrorist organizations) that oppose them in the region also seek to destroy the West
    4. The modern Israeli state is multi-ethnic and though perhaps not as tolerant as we might like (but neither are we) they do represent at least some of the same political virtues espoused by America

    Like

  8. orrrrrr we could just mind our own business as Americans, quit giving Israel (and every other country) foreign aid, handing out rockets to both sides of issues, and feeling the need to be the judges and jury of international conflict. Wouldn’t as Christians (especially Calvinists) we be eager to admit and point out both sides are wrong, heinous aggressors of violence, and breakers of God’s law.

    Most Americans, especially the christian right, think american not only IS but even ought to be prophet, priest, king of every international crisis. We must declare (prophet) to world who is right and wrong in every case (when usually we know nothing) and call them to repentance not to mention fiscal purgatory until sufficient penance is produced, we must be the mediators between every side and we must be the heroic ones to sacrifice (priest) ourselves for the side we choose (well not ourselves, whatever poor chaps we send in), we must bring the iron-fisted rule (king) of democracy and liberty (through violence of course).

    Also remember when Christians (like machen) thought statism was a real and serious problem, not the solution. Libertarian rant over.

    Like

  9. Yes, it seems like it would be easier for non-dispensationalists to be partisans for Zionist violence. If the land is unconditionally theirs, why the need for alliances with the American empire? But those who teach a works=principle (for us also, not only Christ) in one or more “administrations” of ” the covenant of grace” should be able to see their way to conditionality.

    Exodus 32, the Levites ordained themselves with jealous violence against other Israelites. Phinehas (Numbers 25) killed another Israelite for having sex with Moabite woman (even though David was a descendent of a Moabite woman, Ruth) and thus brought in enough righteousness to halt the revelation of God’s wrath in history for a time (24, 000 dead) .

    Christ the promised Israelite brought in righteousness by being killed by other jealous Israelites

    James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

    Psalm 76: 7 But you, you are to be feared!
    Who can stand before you
    when once your anger is roused?
    8 From the heavens you uttered judgment;
    the earth feared and was still,
    9 when God arose to establish judgment,
    to save all the humble of the earth.
    10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise you;
    the remnant of wrath you will put on like a belt.
    11 Make your vows to the Lord your God and perform them;
    let all around him bring gifts
    to him who is to be feared,
    12 who cuts off the spirit of princes,
    who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.

    Like

  10. Exodus 40: 12 And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water.
    13 And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
    14 And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats:
    15 And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an EVERLASTING priesthood throughout their
    generations.

    Hebrews 8: 6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of A better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
    8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
    9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; BECAUSE THEY CONTINUED NOT IN MY COVENANT and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

    mark: and we know that the first is the Mosaic, and not the Abrahamic, and we also know that the better second covenant is not the new covenant, because the new covenant is not a covenant but an administration of “the covenant of grace”, which came first before the first. And if you don’t agree with that, then to be consistent you have to deny that there is one gospel….

    Is the Abrahamic covenant an administration of “the covenant of grace” or is the Abrahamic covenant the very same as ‘the covenant of grace” (except for those bits which led to the temporary Mosaic, those bits which don’t reflect the unchanging character of God)?

    Like

  11. Nice to see WestWest profs (well, OK, I former prof) eying each other here. Beats paying seminary tuition to attend the disputations and see who prevails.

    Like

  12. Scott,

    Immediately post WWII, they should have put in a claim for the Rhine Valley. Then the Mideast despots would lack a major scapegoat on whom they could blame lousy conditions.

    Like

  13. Dr Clark,
    First, can you explain the “accent” right the Jews have to the land?

    Second, why should we add to the suffering of those Jews who were killed in the holocaust as well as those who survived the suffering of Palestinians by leaders who learned more from their oppressors than from the experience of being oppressed?

    Third, who opposes the West and why? Could it be that Palestinians would just like to live in peace with justice? And why shouldn’t some in the Middle East oppose the West. Realize that we overthrew a democratically elected gov’t in Iran and put a dictatorship in its place. Realize that we have given unconditional support for Israel despite the atrocities they have committed. Realize that we have supported dictators because they buy our weapons and support our agenda–see Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq with Saddam Hussein before Saddam invaded a rich friend, and Bahrain for examples.

    Fourth, Israel is multiethnic but provides privileged status only for those who can prove Jewish ancestry. Privilege based on race sounds somewhat like what we allowed in our country.

    The horrible atrocities we see in Gaza are partly because of European Christians. It was the European Christian persecution of Jews in the many centuries before the creation of the state of Israel that not only drove Jews to seek a homeland for their own and gave them reasons, it gave them a model for how to treat the people they rejected.

    What I really struggle with your note is that it indicates a support for tribalism. The Arabs vs the West with Israel representing the West. Hearing the stories of Palestinian Christians who have suffered because they are not Jewish moves me to disagree. But more than that, we are called to place a higher loyalty to principle and morals than to any group. Realize that when group loyalty trumps commitment to principles and morals, we have tribalism. And tribalism is nothing more than an Anthropological term for gang mentality.

    Instead of picking out a gang to root for, we should be acting as prophets by calling all to repent.

    Like

  14. The future of the Jewish Remnant. John Murray and Charles Hodge has an interesting point of view… .

    The Epistle to the Romans, John Murray,
    …”Beloved” thus means that God has not suspended or rescinded his relation to Israel as his
    chosen people in terms of the covenants made with their fathers.
    Unfaithful as Israel have been and broken off for that reason, yet God still sustains his peculiar relation of love to them, a relation that will be demonstrated and vindicated
    in the restoration.”

    Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. III.
    “The plan of God, therefore, contemplated the calling of the Gentiles, the temporary rejection and final restoration of the Jews…
    The future restoration of the Jews is, in itself, a more probable event than the introduction of the Gentiles into the church of God.”

    Like

  15. As much as I would like to be an isolationist, it does appear that things go to pot pretty quickly in a lot of places when we’re not involved.

    The Chinese mostly appear to be interested in sucking out commodities and selling cheap crap to wherever they go. Policing potential despots and terrorists doesn’t appear to be their bag.

    Europe might care, but they don’t have the chops.

    Maybe we can give the Jews Wyoming or something. Get them the heck out of the Middle East.

    Like

  16. There are only 7.9 million people in Israel, and, as Napoleon Dynamite would say, many of those folks have great skills. We could find room for them here. Lots of human capital there, and their religion is compatible with Christianity (if that’s still important to Americans).

    The political problem is that American Jews overwhelmingly vote Democratic, so Republicans who are “friends of Israel” (as they almost all claim to be) would never go for inviting them all over here.

    They also have their own nukes, so they are ultimately safe, although they will be fighting their neighbors until the end of days. If Iran gets nukes, things could get way too interesting in a bad, bad way.

    Like

  17. “As much as I would like to be an isolationist, it does appear that things go to pot pretty quickly in a lot of places when we’re not involved.”

    So what? Why is that America’s responsibility? On what basis?

    Like

  18. “They also have their own nukes, so they are ultimately safe”

    Exactly! So they can defend themselves; what need have they of help from others? Got nukes; nobody messes with you. Look at North Korea… Don’t really have nukes – even if others pretend you do – then you might get invaded by America, like Iraq, which never actually had nukes…

    The best way for a country to be safe is to possess nuclear weapons; nobody will invade if you do…

    Like

  19. mark mcculley
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    This reading of Rutherford’s Free Disputation, set in the context of its times, challenges any idea that the modern, politically passive Presbyterian mainstream can be identified either with the theology of the Westminster Confession or that of its most influential divines’s Rutherford’s commitment to shaping an entirely Presbyterian world, where public deviations from orthodox faith or practice should be met with the most severe of legal consequences, is a world away from the political complacency of modern evangelicalism and the self- justifying myth it sponsors of the pluralistic benevolence of the Scottish Covenanting movement,”

    The final text of the Confession was “a consensus statement, broad enough to be agreed with by Divines who held somewhat different views of the contemporary applications of the Mosaic judicial laws.” Rutherford seems to stand at one extreme of the Assembly’s range of opinions, arguing, with the apparent approval of the Commission of the Kirk’s General Assembly, that the OT judicial laws ought indeed to be the basis of the Presbyterian state for which they were working.

    C Gribbon—It is important to realize that Rutherford’s theonomic opinions were shared by many puritans who could not have endorsed his narrow ecclesiastical ambitions. Even those who favored a broader toleration of those orthodox Calvinists outside the Presbyterian system looked to the OT judicial laws as their program of action. Cromwell’s Rump Parliament established the death penalty for blasphemy.’”

    John Owen was prepared to argue that some of the judicial laws were “everlastingly binding.” The Fifth Monarchist radicals were famous exponents of a Hebraic legal renaissance.

    The Westminster Confession doctrine of the “two kingdoms,” where church and state operated independently but with mutual reliance on the law of God, did not at all favor a religiously neutral state. Thus the Confession charged the state with the highest of responsibilities: “The Civil Magistrate. . . hath Authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that Unity and Peace be preserved in the Church, that the Truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all Blasphemies and Heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in Worship and Discipline prevented, or reformed; and all the Ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed” (WCF 23.3).

    Crawford Gribben, “Samuel Rutherford and Freedom of Conscience,” Westminster Theological Journal, 2009, 372

    Heh. Whose Calvinism indeed?
    _______

    As for Israel, Darryl continues to remind me of Jimmy Carter more and more every day.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2007/05/carter_seeks_to_split_evangeli.html

    Like

  20. Erik – As much as I would like to be an isolationist, it does appear that things go to pot pretty quickly in a lot of places when we’re not involved.

    Brian – O come on Eric, rookie mistake. We usually agree too. How times do we have to explain the difference between non-interventionism and isolationism?! How has it occurred to you guys that is precisely our intervention policing, funding, and picking sides that has produced and heightened these conflicts! Aggression leads to aggression, there’s a reason no one rants about how much they hate Switzerland. National security is threatened not aided by our involvement, it only procures further hatred, antipathy, and action. But pragmatism isn’t the point, the point isn’t what is more useful for our security but what is just and right for the promotion of peace. Aggression is only appropriate in self defense, we were not attacked.

    This is just war theory 101! Come on people! Who’s picture is all over this website!? Listen to Machen, he knew what was up and what world war 1 would lead too. All this “an attack on Israel is an attack on us” is how you get world wars.

    You can believe that as soon as trade stops crossing borders armies will.

    It’s a funny thing how diplomacy, trade, and non-aggression promote peace. Somehow violence doesn’t.

    Like

  21. @ Brian: Hear, hear!

    “has it occurred to you guys that is precisely our intervention policing, funding, and picking sides that has produced and heightened these conflicts!”

    It has not occurred to them. They are blinded to that fact, as most Americans are; only a handful of Americans see clearly on such matters.

    As a Canadian, I see it quite clearly…

    Like

  22. @ Curt Day: Hear, hear!

    (BTW, I suspect Dr. Clark meant to type ‘ancient’ rather than ‘accent’, but was a victim of ‘autocomplete’ / ‘autocorrect’; they are such annoying features…)

    Like

  23. I left evangelicalism and embraced the Reformed faith for a variety of reasons; one of which was my lack of belief in dispensationalism, and my dislike of evangelicals’ knee-jerk Zionism, usually based upon it.

    I’ve been disappointed to discover that, despite eschewing dispensationalist eschatology, all too many Reformed folk have come up with other reasons to be knee-jerk Zionists, going along to get along with their fellow conservative Protestants, rather than embracing the full philosophical, theological, and political implications of rejecting dispensationalist eschatology. We don’t have to be Zionists! We Christians are the true Israel of God; God is finished with his old covenant people completely, now that the new covenant is in effect. We don’t have to view Israel differently from every other nation; we should stop embracing Zionism, and reject it in toto.

    I was disappointed, when a Reformed brother, Michael Peroutka, ran for the U.S. presidency a decade ago, during W’s reign, that Christian Renewal and the Reformed world in general paid little attention to him and the Constitution Party. CR was full of puff pieces about W., always gushing about him, and ignoring one of their own, also running. It was shameful.

    Like

  24. The best way for a country to be safe is to possess nuclear weapons; nobody will invade if you do…

    No kidding. NK’s got “weapons of mass destruction” and we send The Worm, Dennis Rodman.
    But if Iraq did have WoMD how would we know? That’s easy. We got the invoice, if not the canceled check. And if we don’t, France or W. Germany does.

    America’s de facto foreign policy?

    “Be nice and do as we say or we will bring democracy to your country.”

    (Yeah, that actually is a bumpersticker.)

    Israel>
    I always thought they were kicked out of the land for disobedience and weren’t going to get to come back until . . . . they stop burning New Testaments?
    Rom 11, we are not to be high minded, but fear. They were broken off, that we – the gentiles – might be grafted in, but regardless zionism is not judaism.

    Like

  25. That was presumptious of me; I have no idea if you’re American. I’m just guessing you are. 🙂

    Anyway, Canada has been safe by being boring. Which isn’t perfectly reliable; I’d rather have Weapons of Mass Destruction, like America does, and a few other members of that select club.

    Like

  26. “But if Iraq did have WoMD how would we know? That’s easy. We got the invoice, if not the canceled check. And if we don’t, France or W. Germany does.”

    No doubt.

    Also: America would never have invaded Iraq in the first place; if there really had been WoMD, America would have known, and not invaded, same as North Korea is left alone, despite similarly being labelled as part of the ‘Axis of Evil’ by W, along with Iran and Iraq. I presume Iran has been left alone simply because America is unsure, and doesn’t want to risk it; if America does end up at war with Iran, we can assume it will have been determined that Iran doesn’t pose a nuclear threat to America or Israel…

    Like

  27. Will, as a Canadian I am gratefully compelled to join a European based Reformed church and am outside the definitions of US and Scottish exceptionalist Presbyterian views, many of which are scarily isolationist and needlessly combative. At the same time they have a lot that is edifying, and I enjoy studying the differences.

    There is practically no Presbyterian teaching in Canada that is acceptable to one who gladly joins a NAPARC entity. We don’t lack for alternative means.

    Like

  28. Will,
    Thanks for the info. So I will reframe the question to Dr Clark. What ancient right do Jews have to the land? What right do they have to kick nonJews off the land, to treat some nonJews like dogs and then express surprise when they act like animals? What ancient right do they have to ethnically cleanse nonJews off the land?

    I would simply refer people to an article written by Haaretz writer, Gideon Levy

    It’s all Hamas’ fault, right Israel?

    Like

  29. @ kent: Well, I’ve belonged to Dutch ones ever since I became Reformed (I’ve belonged to three different denominations / federations: the now defunct OCRC, the URC it merged into, and at present, the CanRC), and I am happy to be part, even though I’m not ‘onze volk’.

    In terms of political orientations, though, they can be just as knee-jerk neo-con and Zionist, alas. Though at least some folks prefer alternatives like the Christian Heritage Party, which is still too neo-con and Zionist for my liking, but at least more uncompromising on moral issues than the Conservatives, for whom I have not voted (nor for any other party) since 2000…

    I could never belong to one of them Covenanter Presbyterian denominations like the RPCNA, or the even more traditional RPNA, because I disagree fundamentally with their ‘Solemn League and Covenant’. And the hardline confessional Presbyterians have a much narrower view of what is permitted on the Sabbath than the Dutch Reformed churches do, further than I think is Scripturally defensible; plus they make silly extraBiblical (IMO) rules on things like attending stage plays, playing cards (I don’t even play cards, but it’s the principle), and such, which, for strict adherents of the Westminster Standards, are forbidden. I’m glad the OPC and PCA aren’t as hardline; I could see myself belonging to an OPC or conservative PCA church, in the future, if I lived somewhere without any confessional Dutch Reformed churches…

    At present, due to where I’m living, though my membership is still in a CanRC church two hours away, I’m attending a much closer church (my elders know), a hardline, fundy Paisleyite church (you can Google it, I’m sure you’ll find it). It’s not ideal, but the preaching is Scriptural, and Reformed. But I could never belong, due to their insistence on extraBiblical rules like mandatory ‘voluntary’ teetotalling, as well as their 19th-century campfire Baptist songs, dislike of C.S. Lewis because he seems too ‘Romish’ for their liking, etc. I hope to move away in time for work purposes, but it’ll do for now, till then.

    Like

  30. Will – So what? Why is that America’s responsibility? On what basis?

    Erik – On the basis that not being involved will cause things to happen that suck more than if we were involved.

    Knowing when this is the case requires a bit of a crystal ball, but that’s life. It’s not simple.

    When a small group of terrorists can kill thousands of Americans at one time we have to care about what’s going on in the world.

    And yeah, I know whack jobs think Bush was behind 9/11, but whack jobs don’t set foreign policy, thankfully.

    Like

  31. Brian – How has it occurred to you guys that is precisely our intervention policing, funding, and picking sides that has produced and heightened these conflicts!

    Erik – Yeah, beacause if Americans weren’t around, different Muslim sects would just spend their time picking flowers together in order to send Ron Paul a flower hat for his birthday.

    Like

  32. Will – I was disappointed, when a Reformed brother, Michael Peroutka, ran for the U.S. presidency a decade ago, during W’s reign, that Christian Renewal and the Reformed world in general paid little attention to him and the Constitution Party.

    Erik- Yeah, that Southern secession idea just didn’t catch on.

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2014-07-30/news/bs-md-ar-peroutka-press-conference-20140730_1_secession-hate-group-southern-poverty-law-center

    Like

  33. Scott, but a lot of those other reasons, like democracy and constitutionalism, are at odds with notions of blood, land, and religion. Israel represents an outlook that we once used to justify Christendom. But nations based on ethnic or religious identities are supposed to be a problem, especially after the nationalism that fueled WWI and WWII.

    So why does Israel get a pass? Of course, anti-semitism is a big part of the explanation. But the idea of putting a Jewish state in that part of the world was downright meshuggah.

    Like

  34. Will and Erik, and to add to EC’s point, if the U.S. gets involved in places like Israel or Iraq, can Americans just opt out (the way we do with marriage — except for American gays)?

    Like

  35. Will, agreed about not joining covenanter churches, agree that I would easily join an OPC or PCA if it was available and I was looking

    I thought about that Free Church but found a URC entity within a comfortable drive from home

    Remarks from the pulpit last Sunday left no doubt as to zero neo-zionist feelings on hand

    Like

  36. Erik – Yeah, because if Americans weren’t around, different Muslim sects would just spend their time picking flowers together in order to send Ron Paul a flower hat for his birthday.

    Brian – You’re kidding, and I bet you actually believed Bush that they attacked us because our freedom and greatness? You do realize our problems in places like in Afghanistan go back at least to World War I? Turns out constant bombing and occupation leads to terrorists attacks, if only some one could have predicted this!!!!! (ya know like in a congressional speech they gave two years before 9/11) Or are you really so naive to believe the war propaganda and think that on Sept 10 it suddenly occurred to them how much they hate America for being free and having scantily clad women? If Americans would trade with people instead of bomb them, and not fund rebels and then later find out the rebels are worse than the previous regime and start funding the other group until the only equality the country has is how much they all equally hate us for killing their nephew, cousin, and brother maybe they just wouldn’t bother us.

    But hey! since government picking winners and losers in economics works so well, lets let them do it with foreign policy! That’s sure to work!

    Besides I watch Fox News and I know that Iran and Hamas are a serious threat to our national security, what with their giant air force and navy and all that cross whole continents in a day, we should be shaking in our star-spangled boots. Cheney said so! He said we shouldn’t trust Ron Paul and remember how much we liked Cheney! He’s such a propagandizing war-monger he couldn’t help but get a little trigger happy with his huntin’ buddy!

    Like

  37. Darryl,
    But nations based on ethnic or religious identities are supposed to be a problem

    Do you mean to say that an ethnic Japan or an ethnic China, or Arab for that matter is “a problem?” It’s not like Israel has no diversity, ethnic as well as religious.

    Like

  38. Would the Middle East have been more peaceful since 1948 without a strong pro-Western military power? Hard to say, of course, but assuming that Islamism was resurgent since the 19th century, before the formation of Israel, and the collapse of colonialism, then Israel has been a buffer against Islamist expansionism.

    Like

  39. Tom, it was DGH who first pointed us to the Crawford Gribbon’s quotation. He knows the score.

    “But if Christian freedom is principally about freedom from the penalty of sin, if it is a spiritual as opposed to a political reality, and if it is something enjoyed as much by Christians in a liberal democracy as by believers once persecuted by Roman emperors, why all the fuss about the infringement of religious liberty? D.G.Hart, A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church and State

    In the light of the long term future (Christ’s second coming) perhaps there is no reason to care about political liberty or about separation of military from the church, and therefore it would not be an absolute evil to go back (or forward) to a Presbyterian Christendom. If we are not going to be “political”, why bother to conserve what has NOW come about with the passing of time? Maybe the American client of Israel needs to also have levels of citizenship, in imitation of the new Zion.

    Claiming not to be “political” is only another way of trying to have dominion over what counts as “political”. Do nukes make politics unnecessary? Maybe it’s the “nation-states” who do not have nukes yet who are the “persons” not yet really “political”.

    Colossians 2: canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This God set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 God disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them IN HIM

    I Peter 2–But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you would follow in his steps.

    Like

  40. Dr. Clark,
    The Western presence in the Middle East was first in order to gain control over resources such as oil. In addition, again we have to remember Modern Zionism started as a European venture because of the centuries of persecution and rejection of Jews by Christian Europe. Realize that Modern Zionism started in the 19th century. The emigrating to Palestine to start an exclusive Jewish homeland was just another Western presence. So was another reason for the Britain’s military presence there to protect that new Western presence? I think you have your answer there.

    But the issue of paternalism with the above ulterior motives also arises. Do you think the West was there to rule over people for their own good? That question brings up 2 more questions. First, how did that work out? Second, doesn’t support for Western parternalism by 2kers make them into transformationists by proxy?

    Finally, the issue of Western paternalism brings up a Martin Luther King quote about our Vietnam invertvention:

    The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just

    Like

  41. Dr. Clark – “Israel has been a buffer against Islamist expansionism.”

    Brian – I’ll grant you that, but they do a fine job of being that buffer on their own and we should stop putting our foot in the door (or billions of dollars in their banks).

    Like

  42. Brian,

    Are you saying that Islam is a “religion of peace” and without Western agitation there would be no Islamic terrorism, warring Islamic sects, and hatred of the West and of Christianity?

    Evidence for that, please…

    Like

  43. @ Erik: Nice try, attempting to connect me to them whack-jobs. But I ain’t a ‘Truther’.

    What you, like most neo-cons, fail to appreciate, is that 9/11 happened BECAUSE of America’s interference in that part of the world, unappreciated, to put it mildly, by the people who live there. Same as the U.S.S. Cole bombing.

    If America would mind its own cotton-picking business, it wouldn’t make enemies.

    You still haven’t satisfactorily answered my query as to why it’s America’s business to try to stop things from ‘going to pot’ in various hellholes around the world; I contend if America didn’t interfere, and make things worse as it tends to do, things would be better.

    As for Peroutka’s secessionist tendencies, they weren’t at work in his Constitution Party run; he genuinely wanted to be President of the United States, not a renewed Confederate States. That is irrelevant.

    Like

  44. @ DGH: “Will and Erik, and to add to EC’s point, if the U.S. gets involved in places like Israel or Iraq, can Americans just opt out (the way we do with marriage — except for American gays)?”

    I’m not sure I understand your question, Dr. Hart. Could you elaborate further, please? Not sure I follow.

    Like

  45. hmmmm the remnants of christendom are strong with this one….

    There 1.6 billion Muslims and percentage wise barely any have committed violence, and whether we want to face it or not we have provoked enabled lots of terrorists acts and group within Islam through our aggression and the vacuums of power we create. We have 330 million people or so and its hard to think of a place we haven’t bombed unjustly or put a military base in or funded a revolution. So oddly the precious “christian” nation (we’re told many of them see it that way) is the one who has proved to be the nation of violence.

    Not too mention it was this same policy in the name of our economic and national security interest that supported several different Muslim dictators in the area.

    Just a question for you Eric,say it is a religion of violence and hates the west because we have McDonalds and Budweiser, does that make unjust wars (preemptive war) okay? Even if it might better serve us does that allow us to attack and use violence even when we aren’t attacked?

    Like

  46. @ Erik: “On the basis that not being involved will cause things to happen that suck more than if we were involved.”

    As long as America isn’t getting anyone there angry, why should America fear repercussions of things going to pot further?

    And why is the amount of suckage of things the responsibility of America to fix? Who appointed America the world’s geopolitical saviour?

    Like

  47. @ kent: “I thought about that Free Church but found a URC entity within a comfortable drive from home”

    Oh good! I like the URC; I’ve belonged to it three times previously, and would happily belong again, depending where I’m living in the future. I’m also equally at home in the CanRC, even though there are slight differences.

    “Remarks from the pulpit last Sunday left no doubt as to zero neo-zionist feelings on hand”

    Great! As it should be.

    I once belonged to an OCRC, where the pastor was a cheerleader for W. in Iraq, and actually prayed, during worship services, for American troops. I told the elders I didn’t think we, being Canadian, should be doing so, any more than we’d pray for British troops, Dutch troops, etc. That put a stop to it; at least, for the rest of the time I was there, anyway; and by the time I’d left, W. was gone…

    Some Canadian folks in our circles forget they’re Canadian, and identify more with America. That drives me up the wall… It’s not impossible for Canadians to emigrate there; those who like America better should try… Of course, now that Obama has been elected, they’re a little more quiet these days, not complaining about Canada so much, since we have a Conservative government, after all, unlike America’s…

    Like

  48. And what’s so wrong about neo-secessionism, provided the neo-Confederates in question don’t want to re-establish slavery and/or Jim Crow laws? Not all neo-Confederates are KKK types, and I wouldn’t go by what the Southern Poverty Law Center has to say about anything, as they have labelled trad-cons and others who are not bigots as bigots, just for opposing gay marriage, etc.

    To heck with the $PLC.

    Like

  49. @ Erik: Sorry, I meant to direct that comment above towards you, in reference to Michael Peroutka.

    My point is, why does holding a neo-secessionist POV automatically place one beyond the pale, so that one is too toxic to be even noticed and paid attention to, not only by mainstream media (of whom I expect such treatment) but also by fellow Christians, even Reformed?

    Like

  50. Brian & Will,

    Ron Paul thanks you for your support.

    And the CREC is jazzed about the Confederacy, Will, if you need a church home. Don’t know if they’ve arrived in Canada yet.

    Like

  51. Curt – The Western presence in the Middle East was first in order to gain control over resources such as oil.

    Erik – Not resources such as oil – just oil. What other resources are there in the Middle East? Sand? Maybe natural gas.

    Like

  52. As a Canadian, I have zero interest in neo-Confederate movements, and I tend to shy away from ministers like Doug Wilson who have such as their agenda. But I wouldn’t automatically consider a person for office unfit just because of some affiliation with such. I’m more open-minded than that, and I don’t let the $PLC or the Atlantic Magazine crowd dictate what is politically acceptable to me.

    Like

  53. I do like Ron Paul; I wish he’d had the guts to actually leave the Republicans, and take his votes with them.

    I liked Pat Buchanan, back in the day, too.

    The two-party system y’all are saddled with is awful; both parties suck. You need some alternatives, and I don’t mean Ralph Nader or Ross Perot or their ilk.

    Like

  54. @ Curt: And don’t forget agriculture: dates, figs, tropical fruit… Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, all export such. They have oases; they’re not all desert land…

    Like

  55. At a prior church, to remain nameless, the pastor yelled that if Israel were blown off the face of the planet tomorrow it wouldn’t make a diff to him at all

    The topic was end times and I guess he was flashing his anti-Dispy credentials

    Like

  56. I believe the host of this blog also happened to support Ron Paul if I’m not mistaken…?

    I prefer Machen though, and even a cursory reading of his thoughts would suggest he would side more with Ron Paul than you and your neo-con buddies.

    Like

  57. Scott, but the middle east would be more peaceful if the Ottomans were still around. And if the Soviets had been around, the Balkans would have been more peaceful. I’m not saying I favor authoritarianism. But liberal democracy is not the solution to every setting.

    Like

  58. Will, all I’m saying is that if you buy a car (start a democratic Iraq or Israel), you can’t just abandon it when you don’t want to drive anymore. Some of America’s global footprint — however naive and proud it can be — has to do with trying to be responsible for what you initiated.

    Like

  59. Will, ” Who appointed America the world’s geopolitical saviour?”

    Well, the Europeans sort of did that. They were and still are the great globalists and their world wars botched that globalism. The U.S. for good or ill was there (as a nation of European descendants) to pick up the pieces when Europe could not exactly be trusted.

    Like

  60. haha yes, the anti-federalists federalists. But I remember a Christ the Center interview where you gave Mr. Paul some favorable remarks….

    Like

  61. Daryl,

    Jack, emperor worship in Japan was no bargain. Can’t say about China. But I seem to recall that Serbian nationalism has caused a number of difficulties.

    True. But why the focus on Israel? They’re all kingdoms of this world. They are what they are. All are passing away. A side show, as it were, to the coming kingdom that Christians now have a foretaste of in the church. So one persons says, “Yes to the nation of Israel.” And another, “Yes to Japan…” Another, “Yes to an Israel free Middle East.” Isn’t this all civil kingdom stuff upon which there can be disagreement that doesn’t necessarily involve some “Christian seal of approval” one way or the other?

    Like

  62. D.G. Hart,
    America appointed itself as the internal cop on the beat but it did so not for the sake of being morally responsible, but for financial reasons. Either they were exploiting lands for their resources or supporting dictators because they were good customers of our hitech and military products.

    Like

  63. @ DGH: “Will, all I’m saying is that if you buy a car (start a democratic Iraq or Israel), you can’t just abandon it when you don’t want to drive anymore. Some of America’s global footprint — however naive and proud it can be — has to do with trying to be responsible for what you initiated.”

    I don’t know that the analogy holds. As far as I’m concerned, Iraq can go hang; let it fall to ISIS; why should we care? As for Israel, they can look after themselves – if the American government doesn’t prop up Israel, you can be sure that American Jews will donate more money to help their brothers. Or they won’t; either way, why should America be responsible?

    “Well, the Europeans sort of did that. They were and still are the great globalists and their world wars botched that globalism. The U.S. for good or ill was there (as a nation of European descendants) to pick up the pieces when Europe could not exactly be trusted.”

    Was America morally obligated to do as it did, with the Marshall Plan? America could have left Europe to rot; everyone in western Europe was too impoverished at the close of WWII to have been capable of being a threat as Nazi Germany had been; and the Soviets were too tired of war themselves, by that point, to have bothered trying to exploit western Europe’s misfortunes through invasion, though they could have supported communist insurrection movements, admittedly. Still, America had the bomb, nobody was going to threaten it. I see little reason other than economic and military establishment prerogatives for America’s not returning to its pre-war isolationism; the military is a bureaucracy like any other, and having gained power and influence from WWII, found the perfect way to keep the tax dollars flowing by maintaining a global enemy to mobilize against, replacing the defeated Nazis with the still-at-large Soviets, hence the Cold War; the business community surely saw advantages in resurrecting the European economies, to be purchasers of American goods and services. Like Curt Day, I’m convinced it was self-interest, not altruism, that motivated America after WWII…

    “Will, and where do you stand on an independent Quebec? Just asking.”

    I believe they have the right to secede, if they wish to vote to do so – I hope they don’t, though – and they will have to be willing to settle certain shelved territorial disputes, such as the exact location of the land border with Newfoundland and Labrador, and naturally be willing to pay off their percentage of the Canadian debt owed to the rest of Canada. And they wouldn’t get to keep using our currency, or have their federal civil servants keep their jobs, etc. So long as Quebec agreed to such terms, which are only fair and just, then if they want to go, we should let them.

    I hope they never do choose to leave, though.

    Fortunately, Quebec separatism reached its peak in 1995, when they lost in that referendum by less than 1%, unlike in 1980, where they lost by 20%. And there hasn’t been any desire for a referendum in Quebec ever since; they’re more concerned about more mundane matters these days, such as economic, health-care issues, etc. And what’s more, the high levels of immigration of non-French, non-English immigrants into Quebec have lowered the proportion of French-Canadians in that province to such levels that it’s now virtually unthinkable that they could win, when English-speaking and non-French-speaking Quebeckers would almost completely line up against separation, along with many French-speaking ones as well, if ever put to a vote again.

    So I don’t worry much about it; no reason to lose any sleep over Quebec secession, any more. 🙂

    Like

  64. Curt and Will, we have categories other than victim or monster for evaluating the U.S. I am by no means happy with what the U.S. has become. I even imagine sometimes what it would be like to be Canada (and I’m not drunk), though I prefer Switzerland as a model confederated republic. But your cynicism about the U.S. rivals the worst parts of the American academy.

    Like

  65. Though if Canadian, I prefer British Columbia, based on the international reaction to the slaughter in Gaza, would prefer Bolivia. But then again, I can’t stand insects and bugs. I guess I am in exile.

    Like

  66. @ DGH: I actually like America; I lived there for a year a decade and a half ago, and enjoyed my time there. I have been several times on vacation, and will again.

    I just don’t like the American government, military, and big business. But the rest of Americans, and the country itself, I like fine. 🙂

    I’m not bothered that I sound like a leftist academic. Rightists can be anti-imperialists, too, and for far better, more nuanced reasons – such as mine. 🙂

    America is an empire. Interestingly enough, at one point, that was almost recognized, even in children’s books. 🙂

    Like

  67. Darryl,
    I thought that Reformed no longer believed that physical Israel is the holy land. It’s just another nation, for better or worse, in the family of nations on this earth.

    Like

  68. @Eric,

    Ted, What’s with the italics on your entire post?

    Html lameness, that’s all. Notice the lovely blockquoting too.

    There’s been a lamentable lack of dispensationalist bashing in the last few comments. Oh, btw, did you know that dispensationalists don’t see the “Israel in the land” right now as the fulfillment of the OT promises yet (well, the ones who take the details seriously, anyway).

    The gathering of ethnic Israel to her homeland in fulfillment to Isa. 11 hasn’t happened yet:

    “Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, And from the islands of the sea. And He will lift up a standard for the nations And assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, And those who harass Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, And Judah will not harass Ephraim. They will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west; Together they will plunder the sons of the east; They will possess Edom and Moab, And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them. And the LORD will utterly destroy The tongue of the Sea of Egypt; And He will wave His hand over the River With His scorching wind; And He will strike it into seven streams And make men walk over dry-shod. And there will be a highway from Assyria For the remnant of His people who will be left, Just as there was for Israel In the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt” (Isa 11:11-16).

    We don’t have a standard lifted up for the nations, nor Israel’s enemies cut off. We don’t see that highway, nor the seven streams, etc.

    When the great Reformed theologians speak of a gathering of Israel at the end, such as Hodge and Murray, they see their restoration as occurring within the body of the Christ, not as a gathering of Israel as Israel with distinct promises from those given to the churches. Dispensationalists disagree with their Reformed brethren. We see Israel’s restoration as distinct from the body of Christ as God will undertake to fulfill all the ancient promises made to the ever-disobedient ethnic people of the Jews, thus making them obedient at last through the application of the New Covenant.

    Like

  69. Will, I don’t deny that America is an empire. But the post-wwii iteration of it was more complicated that simple assertions about economic interests. Politics has always been about balance of power. If the U.S. goes into a shell (which I prefer and why I like the U.S. as republic) now it isn’t good for order in the world. That’s why I wouldn’t mind the Ottomans coming back to power. You think Israelis and Arabs would be at each other’s throats then, or that we’d have to disrobe when going through airport security?

    Like

  70. Jack, yes. But in my hyphenated self, I am part Christian, part American and my country’s foreign policy for the last 60 years gives more attention to Israel than China (and Christian beliefs about the Holy Land have a lot to do with that).

    Like

  71. Never mind the Arabs and Israelis, bring back the Ottomans just to check the Balkans. I haven’t figured out how to reward the Kurds without pissing off the Turks, but we gotta find a way.

    Like

  72. Darryl,
    Understood. But it sounds like you are lumping all who would would support Israel as an ally of the U.S. into the dispensational camp. A lot of people (dispensationalists) have the wrong reasons for supporting Israel. Does that automatically make all other arguments invalid? And sometimes the wrong reason (“Israel is God’s people”) can still end up furthering what otherwise can be argued on other grounds as a justifiable policy. I don’t think Nixon took the U.S. to a DefCon 5 confrontation with the Soviets in 1973 because he was making a decision to support Israel in that war due to his “”Christian” beliefs…

    Like

  73. Jack, maybe I am but that is because English Protestantism’s support for Israel goes way beyond dispensationalism. Warm thoughts about Israel and cool thoughts about Muslims are part of our cultural DNA. I am open to mere diplomatic arguments for US/Israel relations. But I don’t think that’s the way that Americans operate (myself included). Is it wrong to try to figure out our bias (which is separate from how Israel is acting)?

    Like

  74. @ DGH: Politics traditionally was about balance of power, but America has allowed ideology as well as self-interest (economic- AND military establishment-driven) to drive their foreign policy, post-WWII. That’s why the Cold War was seen as a moral crusade, and why America is committed so much to Israel.

    Frankly, I don’t think America is very good at imperialism; at least old powers like the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the British Empire, etc. tended to be driven by purely self-interest alone, without having to worry about public opinion (a shortcoming of trying to be democratic while maintaining an empire), and could be more pragmatic.

    I’d love to see a return to old-fashioned, monarchy-based empires! 🙂

    Like

  75. Will, I don’t know, if Ferdinand had been less concerned for people, he wouldn’t have got shot. Though he was there out of sheer ostentatiousness. Flip a coin. I do like the idea of patrolling the empire with crests emblazoned on our drones. Oops, got that going already too. Maybe we aren’t half as bad at this as you thought.we were. The Ukrainians or Putin? We’ve already allowed Germany to come back together, how long before Greece and Spain just push them beyond temptation.

    Like

  76. Darryl,
    Is it wrong to try to figure out our bias (which is separate from how Israel is acting)?

    Of course it’s wrong! 😉 Not…

    But if we, in any decision we make in life, wait until we can come up with absolutely pure motives then we would never do anything. There’s always somewhat of a mix. So yes, look hard for our predisposed biases. If those biases are errant and all that we have then a case can be made to shelve moving ahead. But, I may have and recognize some cultural biases regarding Israel and yet have other considerations regarding the civil kingdom perspective that loom larger and can stand on their own as a rationale for supporting that nation in certain situations. And if I’m wrong, then I’m wrong for reasons that don’t have to do with the Bible or Israel as God’s holy nation. In other words, the argument can take place on secular grounds.

    Like

  77. If you suffer, God must be displeased….

    Although true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned; yet is it of great use to them…. to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin, and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve, and what AFFLICTIONS IN THIS LIFE THEY MAY EXPECT FOR THEM, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law.

    The promises of it, in like manner, show them God’s approbation of obedience, and WHAT BLESSINGS THEY MAY EXPECT UPON THE PERFORMANCE THEREOF, although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works

    II. Church censures are necessary for …. preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the Church, if they should suffer his covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.

    the not yet hyphenated mcmark, here now in america but no part of america———In the light of the long term future (Christ’s second coming) perhaps there is no reason to care about political liberty or about separation of military from the church, and therefore it would not be an absolute evil to go back (or forward) to Christendom. If we are not going to be “political”, why bother to conserve what has NOW come about with the passing of time?

    I Peter 2–But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you would follow in his steps.

    Like

  78. jack, you might want to consider “the grace of doing nothing”. It takes patience to not choose between two sides. Do we have some other choice besides the need to make a choice?

    http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=99

    “not the inactivity of those who call evil good. It is the inaction of those who do not judge their neighbors because they cannot fool themselves into a sense of superior righteousness. It is not the inactivity of a resigned patience, but of a patience that is full of hope….”

    Like

  79. If you don’t need to be American and “support Israel” (part-time, on your days off,) then you must be one of those individuals with a sensitive temperament and tender conscience who has nothing to tell anybody else about anything “political”.

    Stan the man—-John Howard Yoder spent a lifetime trying to convince Mennonites that they should not accept the Niebuhrian “compliment”-i.e., absolute pacifists are to be admired as long as they acknowledge that they are politically irresponsible. In essay after essay and book after book, Yoder patiently developed a Christological account of Christian nonviolence that refused the Niebuhrian distinction-a distinction that has no exegetical basis-between nonviolent resistance and non-resistance.

    Yoder’s title, The Politics of Jesus , is a refusal of the Niebuhrian attempt to make Jesus’ “ethic” nonpolitical. In the Epilogue to Paul Ramsey’s Speak Up for Just War and Pacifism , I challenged Ramsey’s contention that Niebuhr’s distinction was simply a given needing no justification.

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2002/02/002-in-a-time-of-war-an-exchange

    Like

  80. Hauerwas once more—-Christian advocates BOTH of nonviolence and of just war believe that, through the cross and resurrection, we have been given the time, the patience, faithfully to follow Christ by refusing to use violent means in the name of a good cause.

    Like

  81. mcmark,
    jack, you might want to consider “the grace of doing nothing”. It takes patience to not choose between two sides. Do we have some other choice besides the need to make a choice?

    I’m fine with that as an option to be considered. I’m not saying we as a nation should always “do something.” All I’m advocating for is the legitimacy of advancing arguments for this or that option based on things like national interest (which isn’t always evident on the surface), ability to achieve stated goals, being faithful to our national pledge in signed and enacted alliances. I take the approach regarding abortion when discussing in the public square. I don’t need to bring in “Christian or Biblical values” in order to make a case against abortion.

    And, btw, sometimes the “grace of doing nothing” can be a cloak for one’s pacifism…

    Like

  82. Will, “Politics traditionally was about balance of power, but America has allowed ideology as well as self-interest (economic- AND military establishment-driven) to drive their foreign policy, post-WWII.”

    So you’re shocked, SHOCKED!! to find that politicians are human?

    Like

  83. Jack, imagine a conservative Protestant writing this:

    I agree with both of Linker’s points about the legitimacy of a response. Deliberately targeting civilians, which is what the rocket fire amounts to, is a war crime, full stop. It remains a war crime even if there was substantial provocation. Once you accept that, it’s very hard not to conclude that a response of some sort is justified.

    But that still leaves something important out of the equation – namely, the larger context within which the war is taking place. That context imposes not only prudential constraints, but moral ones.

    Israel’s stated goals for this operation are partly military and partly political. The military goal is to destroy, or at least dramatically degrade, Hamas’s war fighting capabilities – destroy tunnels, rocket-launchers, kill or capture operatives, etc. The political goal is to get the people of Gaza to blame Hamas for the destruction wrought by the war, and turn against the organization and a strategy of armed confrontation with Israel.

    Leaving aside whether the political goal is likely to be achieved – I think the opposite effect is more likely – it should be clear, from the overwhelming preponderance of the decisions of the current Israeli government, just how limited its political horizon is. Israel does not have a strategy for settling the conflict. It has a strategy, good or bad, for managing the conflict within its current contours. Israel is fighting to preserve the status quo.

    And Millman is Jewish.

    Like

  84. More Desired than Our Own Salvation
    The Roots of Christian Zionism
    by Robert O. Smith
    New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. 284 pp

    Reviewed by Christine Williams
    International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, Canada
    Middle East Quarterly
    Spring 2014

    Smith correctly traces the roots of American Christian Zionism to English Puritanism and Calvinism….

    http://www.allbygrace.com/puritanillusionpt3.html

    Like

  85. At least the WCF does not teach that there will be chastening for those who do not “support Israel”.

    Although true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned; yet is it of great use to them…. to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin, and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve, and what AFFLICTIONS IN THIS LIFE THEY MAY EXPECT FOR THEM, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law.

    The promises of it, in like manner, show them God’s approbation of obedience, and WHAT BLESSINGS THEY MAY EXPECT UPON THE PERFORMANCE THEREOF, although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works

    Rick P—- “Yet it is of the nature of regeneration and saving faith that our new status in justification is always simultaneous with a new nature that is engaged…We deny that sanctification flows directly from justification, or that the transformative elements of salvation are MERE consequences of the forensic elements.”

    mark–Merely Christ, merely Scripture, merely faith….However, faith alone is never alone, because faith alone is the one benefit which comes before “union” and which is not a blessing resulting from “union”.

    Like

  86. Darryl,
    Indded, much of Protestant conservatism is very one-dimensional in its thinking regarding Israel. No argument there. But one of the reasons Israel “does not have a strategy for settling the conflict” might be the mindset (see quote below) as well as the political and military goals of its sworn enemy. So for Israel, the best it may be able to do is simply “preserve the status quo.”

    A top Hamas official said last week on live television that Jews use blood to make matzos.

    “The Israelis concentrate on killing children,” Osama Hamdan, a top Hamas representative in Lebanon, said on Al-Quds TV. “I believe that this is engraved in the historical Zionist and Jewish mentality, which has become addicted to the killing of women and children.”

    “We all remember how the Jews used to slaughter Christians in order to mix their blood in their holy matzos,” he continued, referring to the traditional unleavened bread that Jews eat during Passover.

    This use of blood, Hamdan said, “is a fact, acknowledged by their own books and by historical evidence.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/384542/top-hamas-offical-jews-use-blood-matzos-molly-wharton

    And men think women are difficult to reason with…

    Like

  87. I have not read the whole thread, but searching turned up no occurrence of “70”, so I thought I’d drop this in:

    Surely AD70 is God emphatically terminating any ancient right the Jewish people had to the land of Israel, right?

    Like

  88. @ DGH: “So you’re shocked, SHOCKED!! to find that politicians are human?”

    Yes; I expected better! 😉

    I guess I’d like less ideology, and more naked self-interest. People and countries can err in different ways; some errant ways are surely better than others. 🙂

    Like

  89. Season one of HOC was entertaining, but season 2 was rather snooze inducing. When it comes down to it, pure politics on screen is pretty boring, even when people who look like actors (as opposed to people who look like politicians), play politicians.

    Season 4 of “The Killing” is now on Netflix. Season 3 was so disappointing that I don’t know if
    l’ll bother.

    Like

  90. Ah. I have only seen Season One of HOC so far, and have enjoyed it… I’ve been considering checking out the original British one; I’ve heard it’s even better than Netflix’s American one…

    Like

  91. D.G. Hart,
    I am not shocked to find that politicians are human. But I am disillusioned when most American Christians will not preach repentance to our human politicians for their sinful political decisions some of which hurts so many while they are more than happy to lament over the sexual sins of those around them.

    Like

  92. Curt, maybe too much is made of politicians in terms of redemption. The correct balance is hard to define and your views may change at each stage of life, mine drastically so.

    The law and gospel are preached every Sunday at true churches, in humble buildings by sinners called to preach.

    We believe this has the power to convict and preserve those for whom it is intended, as required.

    Like

  93. Kent,
    Again, it is the sins of the individual which are targeted by most conservative preaching. Political and economic systemic sins get a free pass. This has led the Left to believe that the Church is just another institution of indoctrination to maintain the status quo for the benefit of those with wealth and power. The facts on the ground which I keep observing seem to support what the Left believes about the Church more than what you’re saying. And if it appears that way to a Christian like me who is reformed in theology, imagine how it appears to those who don’t believe.

    So how is it that the preaching in Church is contains the law and the Gospel for individual sinners but not for those participating in and supporting systemic sins? Would you say that if we never mentioned the sin of sexual immorality in Church, that the preaching of the law and the Gospel would be adequate?

    And why the double standard?

    Like

  94. Sexual immorality, along with the rest of the catalogue of sins are dealt with every Sunday by a recitation of the Law of God, personal/corporate confession, and the preaching of assurance of forgiveness of sin for the repentant and faithful. The seventh commandment is always on our minds.

    And then a good chunk of sermons will deal directly with the big sins.

    Ruined by the billions, rescued one by one.

    Like

  95. Kent,
    First, you neglected to address my question.

    Second, James and the prophets deal with political and economic systemic sins but they are not even taught sporadically by most conservative churches. At the same time the prophets tell us that to neglect such sins disqualifies our worship of God regardless of its proper form.

    Third, no, from my hearing, the political and economic systemic sins are not dealt with by a “good chunk” of sermons. Rarely do I hear conservative sermons address these sins.

    Like

  96. Curt, “…it is the sins of the individual which are targeted by most conservative preaching. Political and economic systemic sins get a free pass”? What, are you new here? Ever heard of “Sanctity of Life Sunday”?

    Like

  97. Curt, the individual before God is the key. System attacks are practically a waste of time, but make some people feel good about themselves. It goes nowhere.

    Failure to live to the standards of:

    Not stealing
    Not lying
    Not bearing false witness
    Not coveting
    Not committing adultery
    Not murdering wantonly

    Cause a bit of a problem out there…

    James and the prophets are constantly involved in sermons at my church. If others are neglecting that whole swath of Scripture, that’s isn’t a good thing.

    How do you have this handle on what every church is teaching? I have trouble enough keeping up with my local church and maybe 3 or 4 others that interest me…

    Like

  98. And Curt, there is a level of belief out there that the uselessness of preaching overall is a judgment of God, sent to tickle the ears of those who deserve even less than they are getting.

    I’m sort of on that side of thought, but I’m too Canadian to gloat over all those who are willfully lost.

    Like

  99. Kent,
    If they are such a waste of time, why did the prophets talk about them? Hate to tell you but we need to apply the Scriptures to how our political and economic system works so people can connect the dots. In addition, quite often what people won’t do as individuals they will do in groups assuming that their group has an exemption. Also, we have consider whether Christianity has more influence on American culture that the cult of American individualism has on Christianity.

    Again, the Left hears our silence and says that the Church is just another institution of indoctrination to maintain the status quo for the benefit of those with wealth and power.

    Like

  100. Curt,

    What exactly do you mean by ‘conservative’? Politically conservative Christian pastors and churches are not shy about publishing their opinion on any political topic. They even formed the Constitution Party, and they nominate their pastors as candidates for the presidency.

    A quick search of John Piper’s church’s website shows that he’s taught on marijuana legalization, illegal immigration, labor unions and the right to strike, capital punishment, racism, education policy, and Ayn Rand.

    Just because they’re not condemning capitalism does not mean that they aren’t ‘preaching against’ political sin as they understand it.

    Like

  101. Sorry Curt, worrying about politics and economic systems fades after you get your first real job.

    It’s fun to banter sometimes about it though.

    Like

  102. Curt, and what some call what individuals do in groups is groupthink. But there are persons in conservative Reformed churches who actually refuse to sign the Right to Life petition in fellowship hall after the morning service on 2k principles. Do your lefties hear that?

    Like

  103. Curt – Again, it is the sins of the individual which are targeted by most conservative preaching. Political and economic systemic sins get a free pass.

    Erik – That’s because it’s so hard to get Political and Economic Systems in the building on Sunday morning.

    Like

  104. I once got on the Iowa Democratic Party about the rich benefit packages that unionized state employees receive. Their response was that someone had to set an example of what the working man is entitled to, even if he doesn’t realize it. As a private sector employee I was somehow not comforted.

    Like

  105. In other words, high taxes might put your private sector job in jeopardy, but at least you can take comfort in the fact that public sector employees are keeping their jobs and getting better benefits than you.

    Try selling that one in a political ad.

    Like

  106. RL,
    Conservative Pastors are only concerned about the sins that belong to the Democrats only. But they are very silent on the abuses of Capitalism and American Empire. And what are the sins the Constitution Party addresses? Abortion–sin of the individual. Same-sex marriage–individual sin. Gun control–individual concern.

    Of course the Constitution Party does address group concerns: Obamacare, Common Core, Agenda 21, and Amnesty. But none of those issues address the oppression of others. Rather, the concerns are motivation out of fear of what will happen to one’s self should the nemesis they fear continue. And that is the problem with Conservative thought, it is so self-oriented in its concerns there is no adequate group or social consciousness. Agenda 21 protects American individual consumerism.

    As for Piper, yes, he has addressed racism along with Tim Keller and Anthony Bradley. But what about economic classism, wealth disparity, neoliberal capitalism, State Capitalism, privatization of resources such as water, American Exceptionalism, American Imperialism, Western violations of International Law, consumerism and harm to the environment, and American foreign policies and international treaties that that hurt others and increase illegal immigration?

    Plus if Piper follows Keller here, then the method of change he calls for is not to publicly challenge political economic systems but to try to influence the culture behind the problems. Not that influencing cultural change is bad, it isn’t. But by itself, it is inadequate and does nothing to help the suffering today. To show the inadequacy of relying solely on cultural change, one only needs to reflect on who was living on the margins when Christianity had a stronger privileged position in directing and controlling American culture.

    Now compare Piper with the Declaration of the Occupation Of New York City found at the link below:

    Declaration Of Occupation Of New York City

    There are a couple of items in which what Piper addressed and OWS share, but the Conservative church is silent about the rest while telling individuals to be ever more vigilant regarding their own personal sins. BTW, please note that the charges listed by that declaration do not imply support for any political ideology.

    Finally, where are the Conservative churches standing with regard to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians? As bad as its theology is, at least the PCUSA is becoming more sensitive to injustices taking place in the world especially those that are carried out with American support.

    See, one of the problems is that the conservative preaching against sin as they understand it doesn’t exclude them from having their knowledge of sin contaminated by their loyalty to the America and its way of life. THat is especially true with the American emphasis on individualism.

    Like

  107. Mom doesn’t care about the economic system being harsh to the working man, nor the inequalities of the political system or the whole capitalistic bag coming down, man….

    You have to get off her couch and get a job.

    And go to church, even though a lot of them are doing a bad job.

    Like

  108. Curt, did you notice that some of us from OL were also in that combox? But you keep missing the 2k-SOTC point, which is for ecclesiastical bodies to refrain from political intermeddling. You complain about a certain amount of silence, but that may be the sound of confessional fidelity.

    Like

  109. Curt, Bradley skirts such issues as slavery being legal, slavery condoned by Jesus and the apostles, the Reformed doctrine of scriptural sufficiency (the church can’t make stuff up), and the opposition to abolitionism by most Americans (including Lincoln). Does that mean that Southern Christians (Roman Catholics too defended slavery) acted honorably or without self-interest? Again, I’m shocked, SHOCKED to learn that no one is pure, almost as much as I am shocked that people who believe in total depravity are shocked by a lack of purity.

    Like

  110. Curt needs to hook up with Jason Stellman. Jason’s about due for his next reinvention. They could work side by side at Starbucks and stick it to the Man during their off hours.

    Like

  111. Curt,

    I wasn’t in anyway endorsing the politics of the Constitution Party or the teaching of Piper and Keller. I used them as examples of just how vocal ‘conservative’ Christians are in the public square. I’m still not sure what you mean by ‘conservative.’

    I get the sense that your real gripe is with socialist Christians and their lack of organization. You seem to want a church that teaches that radical socialist activism is the highest and truest since of Christian piety. You don’t want ‘conservatives’ to talk about politics because you don’t like what they say.

    Why can’t we have a church that doesn’t micro-manage how its members choose to promote justice and further the wealth of all people? The Eighth Commandment requires us to pursue these ends, but it doesn’t require that we all pursue them in the same way. Some might be activists. Others might make sandwiches or teach in schools or work in courts or make tents or whatever.

    Consider the WLC’s teaching concerning the duties God requires of us in the 8th Commandment (Q141):

    “The duties required in the eighth commandment are, truth, faithfulness, and justice in contracts and commerce between man and man; rendering to every one his due; restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right owners thereof; giving and lending freely, according to our abilities, and the necessities of others; moderation of our judgments, wills, and affections concerning worldly goods; a provident care and study to get, keep, use, and dispose these things which are necessary and convenient for the sustentation of our nature, and suitable to our condition; a lawful calling, and diligence in it; frugality; avoiding unnecessary lawsuits, and suretiship, or other like engagements; and an endeavor, by all just and lawful means, to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own.”

    And this is what’s prohibited by the same commandment (Q142):

    “The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, theft, robbery, man-stealing, and receiving anything that is stolen; fraudulent dealing, false weights and measures, removing landmarks, injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man and man, or in matters of trust; oppression, extortion, usury, bribery, vexatious lawsuits, unjust enclosures and depredation; engrossing commodities to enhance the price; unlawful callings, and all other unjust or sinful ways of taking or withholding from our neighbor what belongs to him, or of enriching ourselves; covetousness; inordinate prizing and affecting worldly goods; distrustful and distracting cares and studies in getting, keeping, and using them; envying at the prosperity of others; as likewise idleness, prodigality, wasteful gaming; and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate, and defrauding ourselves of the due use and comfort of that estate which God hath given us.”

    When hear the law read that is what we call to mind. It’s the standard to which we hold our ourselves and our pastor’s teaching, and it’s also what we teach our children and anyone else who will listen.

    Are you not even a little bit worried that a sustained focus by a pastor on condemning those outside the local church (whether they be homosexual celebrities or bought-and-paid-for corporatist politicians) tends to promote not only self-righteousness within the congregation but also the otherization of whatever group of sinners one is denouncing.

    Would you have applauded Fred Phelps if he had focused his wrath on the ‘banking community’ instead of the ‘homosexual community’?

    Like

  112. The problem with any system other than free market capitalism is that it presupposes the existence of an unbiased referee who can determine what’s “fair” for all.

    Let me know when you find that guy or gal.

    Under capitalism some fail and some succeed, but at least everyone has a shot.

    Like

  113. Look at socialist Europe where you can get good pay, generous benefits, and lots of time off … if you are not one of the 25% who is unemployed. Meanwhile you’re competing against 300 million poor people in China who will work for next to nothing because they have little choice.

    Like

  114. I guess the 25% who are unemployed do enjoy lots of time off.

    Reminds me of hearing unemployment statistics in the United States. The unemployment number does not include those who “gave up looking for work”. That’s an option?

    Like

  115. Erik, not that I disagree wit u, but let me know where free market capitalism is going on. Last I checked, it’s all pay to play. But yes, at least we are little more stratified and less oligarchy-ish.

    Like

  116. RL,
    It’s not necessarily the platform of the Constitutional party I object to, though I do. What I was point out was that their concerns still revolve around us as individuals and not about the system, for the most part.

    And no, my gripe isn’t with Socialist Christians. My gripe is with theologically conservative Christians who harp on individual sins but are quiet about political and economic systemic sins. Part of their silence is to their syncretism, if not conflation, of American Conservative politics and emphasis on the individual with Christianity. Their joining together of the two blinds them from seeing economic and political sins because of the significance they feel when linking America with Christianity. The enjoyment of pride and the fear of offending fellow believers who are politically conservative makes them focus on the individual.

    Also, you will have to leave the WCF and Catechisms and read what is going on in the real world. Read the standards while neglecting to address what is going on the world is to both live in a bubble and prevent oneself from applying what the Scriptures say. Let’s read the whole word of God including Jeremiah 22:15-16. Let’s read Isaiah 58-59. Let’s read James 5:1-6. Let’s read the rest of the Bible and start taking names and preaching repentance. Let’s challenge the vast number of companies that pay their employees such low wages that these employees must apply for government assistance. Let’s the government and arms dealers who have armed almost every country in the Middle East for profit and those countries use those weapons so suppress political dissenters. In fact, let’s perform a correlation between US military foreign aid with human rights abuses. Let’s challenge the energy companies that destroy the environment while extracting resources in order to increase their profit margin.

    See, just by reading law, we neither mention the prophets nor do we explicitly link violations of God’s Word with specific acts of those with wealth and power. Granted that we always need to do this as fellow sinners, not as the pharisee from the parable of the two men praying. But both Christian individuals and the Church as an institution must point out these sins. And Conservative preachers are the last ones to mention these sins.

    As for your concern, note how Paul lists the sins and both those who don’t believe in God and those who do (Romans 1-2) and how he completes the thought with Romans 3:9. And listing these sins does not imply that we don’t list the individual sins of people. This is not an exclusive-or choice; it is conjunction. We need to realize how, to varying degrees, we participate in both sets of sins especially when we are silent about the sins of the political and economic systems. But this idea that we read the law and rely on believers to deduce the rest gives believers too much credit and says nothing to unbelievers.

    Like

  117. D.G Hart,
    Are you being serious here? Yes slavery was legal and the issue was why the Church did not take a stand against it. The answer had to do with more than the Biblical noncondemnation of slavery in the New Testament since slavery in the South was not the same as the slavery that occurred in the OT. And, in fact, as you read Paul, you get hints that he was moving to an anti-slavery position but that witnessing for Christ in the initial century of the Church took precedence. We should note the historical differences between the first century church and the church today.

    But I am puzzled by your shocked reaction. If the issue was sexual immorality, none of us would be responding that way.

    Like

  118. curt, “Yes slavery was legal and the issue was why the Church did not take a stand against it.”

    So why don’t you ask that about Jesus and the apostles? Why don’t you ask that of Moses? See Ex 21. God’s men had the liberty to sell their daughters into slavery.

    Like

  119. Here’s where I see free market capitalism at work: I can command pay and benefits based on my skills and experience independent of who I work for. If my boss is not doing well, he needs to figure out how to pay me or I can go elsewhere if I choose. If my boss is doing really well, he doesn’t necessarily have to pay me more, the extra profit is his, not mine. My skills and experience have independent value because capitalism rewards human capital.

    Most of the people who bitch about capitalism are those who want to be paid a lot for not really doing anything that requires much training, experience, or skills.

    If you are an unskilled laborer, you didn’t do well in school, and you haven’t done anything to learn or keep up since you left school and want to be paid really well — get real. You are competing against those 300 million poor people in China. They aren’t paid well, why do you expect to be?

    One aspect of this that may be somewhat beyond the control of said individuals is the poor quality of so many public schools, but guess what — the public school system is a union shop that demands that all teachers be treated equally regardless of how good or bad they are. And Curt wants all of society to be like this? Even when schools are bad, it’s ultimately not an excuse for individual students or their parents — they need to seek out and demand an education for their kids. Ever heard of the public library? Get off of Netflix, You Tube, and video games and read.

    Capitalism isn’t perfect, but socialism always sucks unless its consequences are hidden or delayed (like in a country with insane, temporary oil wealth).

    Like

  120. D.G. Hart,
    So the Church reasoned that what is legal is moral? Kind of legalistic attitude and one that didn’t look out to the slaves, wasn’t it? And see, that that is the problem. People apart from the Church knew that it was wrong and the Church didn’t because of that reasoning.

    Like

  121. Curt,

    No, the problem is guys like you who spend their whole life dwelling on things like “the big picture” that people can not see.

    Unless you are a tenured academic I suggest that you just get to work.

    Like

  122. Another place socialism can work (for awhile) is a country with skilled labor, a homogeneous population, and tight control on immigration — that’s Scandinavia, not the United States.

    Have generous welfare and they will come — as we are learning.

    Like

  123. Here’s a really interesting experiment, especially if you live in a small town. Every year when the school district salaries come out in the paper, write down the top 20 and ask your kids if that ranking makes any sense in terms of how good of teachers those people are. What you’ll find is that the ranking is based on (1) Whether they are a teacher or administrator, and (2) seniority. Quality has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    If all of society were to work like that, what would that say about how efficiently resources were being allocated and how long would that kind of resource allocation be sustainable in a global, competitive marketplace?

    Like

  124. E: Most guys here aren’t as fretful about sex as your caricature suggests. We’ve watched “The Wire”, after all.

    I almost went to see Salo when it hit the big screen in Toronto. Kind of something you have to do if you want to be a patron of the ci-ne-maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    But decided not to, couldn’t justify it.

    Like

  125. But if the Mosaic covenant is but an administration of the pure Abrahamic covenant of grace, then there must be in that covenant of grace a. the physical seed of the spiritual seed of Abraham and b conditions and c. laws about what the nation-state should do about immigration.

    Or do we cherry-pick the consequences of saying that the law is also the gospel promise?
    a but not b and c?
    a and b but not c?
    b is accident but a is of the unchanging essence?

    Bill Smith is back on the scene
    http://thechristiancurmudgeonmo.blogspot.com/2014/08/when-grids-are-blinders.html

    Smith—-On July 11 the Gospel Coalition site published a piece by a Reformed Baptist Pastor, Felix Cabrera, on the crossing of the United States border by children coming from Central America. Some of my friends no doubt think I am a liberal on immigration. I favor some kind of immigration reform because I know it is not possible to round up all the illegals and send them back where they came from. With regard to the young people from Central America I favor erring on the side of liberality, providing for their needs right now, and, if they cannot be reunited with their families, finding them foster homes in the U.S for the long term. These are my political views which I happily acknowledge are not based on Biblical precepts. But, Mr. Cabrera sees this issue through a grid which he believes is Biblical… he argues that our treatment of them should be directed by God’s instruction TO ISRAEL regarding the treatment of sojourners, citing Deuteronomy 10:17-19, and by our Lord’s distinction between the sheep the the goats based on their treatment of others, citing Matthew 25: 35-36.

    mcmark—but if all our children are born into Israel, but can later be cut off from the covenant of grace, how can what God said to Israel be removed or replaced?

    Like

  126. Erik,
    I don’t understand your objection. I simply said that your proposed situation is simply not a microcosm for the financial world. And therefore we need a bigger picture. We need a bigger picture because we need to see how free market affects all stakeholders, and not just ourselves.

    Like

  127. Erik,
    You might want to consider that, just like Capitalism, Socialism is not a monolith. And what was called Socialism with the USSR is debatable especially since many, though not all, socialists can give a reasonable argument for why it wasn’t.

    Like

  128. D.G. Hart,
    Again, compare the kinds of slavery being referred to. Then compare the historical times. Are they even comparable? Remember what Jesus said about divorce. Why can’t that be true about other matters? See, unless you know the context and why something was allowed, you are forever stuck with limiting what you can believe to what was literally addressed.

    Did Jesus address slavery and if so, why and how? And what did Paul say about slaves and why? Were they supporting it, condoning it, or tolerating it?

    But what are you saying? Are you saying that slavery in the South was Biblical?

    As for what believe about Marx, read the blogpost linked to below:

    http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/2014/03/rcsproul-vs-martin-luther-king-on-karl.html

    Like

  129. Beat me to the Marx reference. Curt, you wouldn’t happen to be an econ prof or currrently taking related courses? Nothing like bashing economic models with a wiffle bat.

    Like

  130. Curt, how does a Christian oppose something as unbiblical when the Bible is silent about said something? Now if you want to claim that morality is larger than the Bible, fine. But that’s not what Presbyterians and Reformed Protestants have held. Paul says everything is lawful, not everything beneficial. You seem to be saying something unbiblical — somethings are unlawful and harmful.

    I’m not defending slavery. I’m defending those against whom cheap shots are often taken. And if you’re going to bring up context, then — HELLO — the context of the nineteenth century U.S. was not exactly one where everyone knew slavery was wicked. Lincoln didn’t even believe that and he advocated colonization for a time — his views on race were the same as most southerners and northerners and westerners.

    So what’s your point? There are good kinds of slavery and bad kinds? You want to list and defend the good kinds of slavery? Have at it.

    Like

  131. D.G. Hart,
    Whether the Bible was silent about something depends on if we expect the Bible to address each issue directly or indirectly? Is it ok to listen to rock music because the Bible is silent about it? I heard a person use that kind of reasoning in saying yes. Of course the reason why the Bible was silent about it is because it didn’t exist. But is it possible for the Bible to be silent about other topics for other reasons?

    Let’s talk about slavery from the beginning of our country to the Civil War. Slaves were stolen from their homes and sold. Wasn’t this understood back then? And wasn’t it widely believed that Blacks were not as fully human as Whites? And wasn’t the justification of slavery based on that hierarchy? And we could go on. Did the Reformed Churches address these issues? So what cheap shots are you referring to? Just because people didn’t believe slavery was wrong does not mean they have an excuse.

    See, Romans 2 addresses this. When those who don’t have God’s Word do what is right while those who have God’s Word do what is wrong, it doesn’t bring glory to God. And wasn’t bringing glory to God and credibility to the Gospel a main concern of Paul when he called on Christians, not all in society, to suffer for the sake of the Gospel? So you have Paul not condemning a staple in Roman society and its economy. What does that imply?

    You would think that people who knew that all are made in the image of God and that in Christ there are no divisions of people that they would then, even the Church, understand that what was legal could be immoral. Of course, we could mention that addressing the rights of slaves as people and equals was not as profitable for the Church as addressing the rights of slaveholders. If you want to deny that what is legal could be immoral, then let’s justify churches supporting abortion. After all, haven’t they sold out to someone?

    Finally, my point wasn’t that there is good slavery and bad slavery. My point was that if you use Moses to defend slavery, then make sure that the slavery you are defending followed the slavery Moses allowed for.

    Like

  132. “Whether the Bible was silent about something depends on if we expect the Bible to address each issue directly or indirectly?”
    I think that is exactly what we believe. I seem to recall the WCF says something about being clear in scripture or plainly deduced. If it isn’t in scripture or plainly deducible, then the church does not have the authority to discipline her members on said issue (say advocating for Communism or voting for Obama). So yes of course it is up to you to decide whether it is OK for your to listen to rock music – the rest of us don’t get a vote because it isn’t plainly spelled out in scripture.

    The bible does not speak to all of life, so we are left to figure some things out for ourselves:

    What should the speed limit be on a road, how much should wealth be redistributed, what is the best way to allocate scarce goods, how many days should the school year have, what should the learning standards be per grade level, at what point should our government impose its will on another by use of force, should legal protections be extended to minors and if so which protections, should legal protections be extended to the unborn, and on and on…

    Christians are likely to disagree on these things, and that is OK. It is not OK for a minister to abuse his authority and discipline a member for disagreeing on a disputable matter. I could be wrong, but this seems to me to be the essence of the 2K position.

    Like

  133. Curt, you did say that the South’s slavery was different from other forms, and by implication that makes it worse and so the church should have seen (even though you also appealed to context and that appeal lets up on the church).

    How does it feel to be a slave of Christ? You were bought with a price? Humans being bought and sold?!? For shame.

    If the Bible is silent, you better be careful getting up on your high horse.

    Like

  134. D.G. Hart,
    Certainly the South’s slavery was different than the slavery during the time Moses but that should affect the comparisons only. The grounds for slavery is what the Church should have been attacking, even the churches who would keep silent on slavery due to the lack its condemnation by either Jesus or Paul. Again, the slaves were kidnapped and then sold. Did that touch on the Church’s conscience? That slavery was based on viewing Blacks as being inferior to Whites. Did that bother the Church? We could add that in many cases, the treatment of slaves was brutal. Did the Church challenge that?

    As for being a slave Christ, remember that Christ is God. So is being a slave of Christ comparable to being a slave of a mere mortal who acts as if I am untermenschen?

    See, the Bible is somewhat silent on slavery in terms of speaking against it directly. But when what nonChristians say about slavery matches the implications from the Bible because of what the Bible says about people while the Church remains silent, then we have brought dishonor to God and have discredited the Gospel before others. And that is what Paul battled in the NT Church.

    Like

  135. Curt, why not change your website to flamingmodernist because you do a pretty good impersonation of Harry Emerson Fosdick:

    The second element which is needed if we are to reach a happy solution of this problem is a clear insight into the main issues of modern Christianity and a sense of penitent shame that the Christian Church should be quarreling over little matters when the world is dying of great needs. If, during the war, when the nations were wrestling upon the very brink of hell and at times all seemed lost, you chanced to hear two men in an altercation about some minor matter of sectarian denominationalism, could you restrain your indignation? You said, “What can you do with folks like this who, in the face of colossal issues, play with the tiddledywinks and peccadillos of religion?” So, now, when from the terrific questions of this generation one is called away by the noise of this Fundamentalist controversy, he thinks it almost unforgivable that men should tithe mint and anise and cummin, and quarrel over them, when the world is perishing for the lack of the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith. . . .

    The present world situation smells to heaven! And now, in the presence of colossal problems, which must be solved in Christ’s name and for Christ’s sake, the Fundamentalists propose to drive out from the Christian churches all the consecrated souls who do not agree with their theory of inspiration. What immeasurable folly!

    We’re here for you, Curt, trying to walk you away from that ledge. No thanks necessary.

    Like

  136. D.G. Hart,
    The difference between me and those like Fosdick is that I use conjunction when discussing religion and the world scene, he uses an exclusive-or. You will find that the OT prophets also used conjunction but they were a bit more inspired and error-free than I am.

    Like

  137. Chortles,
    If you are dying to know then access the link I left in one of my previous comments on page 4 of the comments. I basically follow Martin Luther King’s criticisms except for criticism #3. It is in the blogpost link.

    Like

  138. Congrats, CCCP — you’ve joined the millions (mostly college freshmen and sophomores) who have decided Marx was pretty cool and think that, despite history’s evidence, they’re smart enough and virtuous enough to make this crap work.

    Like

  139. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink
    Curt, you did say that the South’s slavery was different from other forms, and by implication that makes it worse and so the church should have seen (even though you also appealed to context and that appeal lets up on the church).

    How does it feel to be a slave of Christ? You were bought with a price? Humans being bought and sold?!? For shame.

    If the Bible is silent, you better be careful getting up on your high horse.

    Yes, but this illustrates again radical 2 kingdom theology’s smugness, impotence, rejection of right reason, and ultimate moral imbecility.

    Ite ad Thomam [& successors, p. 83]!

    http://anthonyflood.com/maxwellslaverycatholicchurch.pdf

    Can’t even come up with an objection to slavery let alone an Rx. Drones.

    Like

  140. Curt, i need your quick 1000 word opinion on the Battle of Nomonhan and then your view on the highest level I can set my toaster to get the toast just right.

    Like

  141. sdb,
    And so when the Bible talks about each person being made in the image of God, what does that imply about slavery in which masters are regarded as being fully human and slaves are not? The same goes for Galatians 3:28.

    Like

  142. Chortles weakly
    Posted August 6, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink
    Tom, back in winsome mode I see.

    Cheers, CW. I remain the least of Darryl’s problems, since slavery no longer exists here in America, an abstract discussion. Ho hum, like abortion.

    You are of course familiar with Frederick Douglass.

    When the Presbyterian assembly was called on a few years ago, to say that slavery is a sin against God, it was voted by the Assembly, that it is inexpedient to take action on the subject, and as soon as that was done, Dr. Cox jumped up and clapped his hands, and thanked God that their Vesuvius was capped; and having got rid of slavery, they all engaged in prayer; while the poor heart-broken slave was lifting up his hands to them, and clanking his chains and imploring them in the name of God to aid him; and their reply was, it is inexpedient for us to do so: and Dr. Cox clapped his hands and thanked God that the Vesuvius was capped; that is, that the question of slavery is got rid of. And so it was with Methodists; and so it is with almost all the religious bodies in the United States. It was these reverend doctors who led astray the British ministers in the Evangelical Alliance, on this question of slavery; they dared not go home to America as connected with the Alliance, if anything had been registered against slavery by that Alliance; they knew who were their masters, and that they must be uncompromising—(hear, hear) . . . .

    Answer that, me bother. What has changed? That’s where I’m going with this. The radical Two Kingdoms theology is still smug and self-satisfied. You’re all going to heaven but it’s almost like it’s better you had never been born atall.

    Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

    Like

  143. Erik,
    First, I am not a Marx group who finds no fault with him. The post I provided a link to shows significant differences between his views and mine. But I do find him to be correct on certain subjects. So tell me how accurate the his quote below is about the bourgeoisie in describing today’s world as it is run by neoliberal capitalism

    [the bourgeoisie] has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self- interest, than callous “cash payment”

    Like

  144. Chortles,
    You mean that the rich referred to by James in chapter 5 doesn’t count? Of course, the Bible also doesn’t know about rock music. Wonder why? BTW, did the Bible know about serfs and vassals or mercantilism or the different forms of capitalism?

    But here is something for some here. I noticed that mild insults used to respond. I would ask those who pride themselves on being Biblical, is that the fruit of the Spirit?

    Like

  145. Curt, how about a little levity already? Can we just agree that capitalism is the oppression of man by man and socialism is the reverse?

    Like

  146. Curt, it’s bad form to go spiritual therapist. Really big buzz kill. I’ve already had to read about journaling and Haiku’s and things that remind me of my wife’s toiletries. Let’s keep it beer and nuts, please.

    Like

  147. Darryl,

    Yes, and what is driving them to need to know the answers to all of this life’s questions, as well as the need to be on the right side of every question.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.