Humbly Separate Church and State In the Name of Christ (of course)

Since I don’t listen to State of the Republic Union speeches, I’m not about to spend much time on what presidents say at National Prayer Breakfasts. (Why can’t it be National Word Breakfast? Why is it a monologue of Americans speaking to God and not the other way around?) But given the attention that President Obama’s remarks have received, I figured I’d try to discern what all the fuss is about. (More to come on the current efforts to rehabilitate the Crusades as a defensive war.)

The president thinks we have three ways to keep religion from being used as a “weapon” — humility, the separation of church and state, and the Golden Rule. It sounds nice in a “have a nice day” sort of way but it also sounds like what I’d expect to hear at a forum ready made for civil religion. Here’s the thing. If you want the separation of church and state, why have a National Prayer Breakfast? But someone like my mother might ask — what harm can a little prayer do? Has anyone heard of blasphemy? Might it be a tad blasphemous to invoke a generic god for all believers in the land? Would the first Christians have participated in such syncretism? So why do today’s “conservative” Christians (Protestant and Roman Catholic) so easily fall for this stuff? Maybe for the same reason that they let Jesus’ words, turned into John Winthrop’s — city on a hill — describe not their congregation or communion but their nation. I will give Michael Sean Winters credit on this one. He is disturbed by the mixing of religion and politics (even to the point of questioning whether Pope Francis should speak to Congress):

I confess I am very wary of the Pope’s addressing Congress: The optics seems all wrong, such a specifically political setting, and a powerful one too. Note to papal visit planners: The White House, the Capitol, the UN, even in its way the National Shrine, none of these really represent the peripheries where Pope Francis is most comfortable and where he has repeatedly said he wants the Church to be. I get creeped out when, at the Red Mass, they play the national anthem after the processional hymn but before the Mass begins in earnest. Of course, no politician would have the courage to simply refuse to go to the prayer breakfast. It would take a preacher-turned-politician, like Mike Huckabee, to pull that off, as it took a Nixon to go to China. I think we can all agree that a Huckabee presidency would be too high a price to pay for the breakfast to end. So, it will continue and presidents will continue to speak about things they should not speak about and say things about religion that are deeply cynical. There are worse things that happen in the world.

Aside from that last sentence, I think Winters is right. The worst thing in the world is to reverse the order of the Great (not pretty good) commandment and the Second that is like it. Upsetting your neighbor is one thing. But upsetting God?

For that reason, as much as I appreciate Matt Tuininga’s return to blogging (but why close comments?) and his push back against the conservative pundits who went batty over the president’s speech, I am not sure why Matt would be so positive about the “overall tone of the speech.” Matt included this excerpt as representative of that tone:

Our job is not to ask that God respond to our notion of truth — our job is to be true to Him, His word, and His commandments. And we should assume humbly that we’re confused and don’t always know what we’re doing and we’re staggering and stumbling towards Him, and have some humility in that process. And that means we have to speak up against those who would misuse His name to justify oppression, or violence, or hatred with that fierce certainty. No God condones terror. No grievance justifies the taking of innocent lives, or the oppression of those who are weaker or fewer in number….

If we are properly humble, if we drop to our knees on occasion, we will acknowledge that we never fully know God’s purpose. We can never fully fathom His amazing grace. “We see through a glass, darkly” — grappling with the expanse of His awesome love. But even with our limits, we can heed that which is required: To do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.

I pray that we will. And as we journey together on this “march of living hope,” I pray that, in His name, we will run and not be weary, and walk and not be faint, and we’ll heed those words and “put on love.”

Au contraire. If our job is to be true to God, how do we do that while tolerating those who aren’t true to God? How could we ever be true to God in a way that suggests we don’t know what being true to God looks like? How can we say we don’t know God’s purpose when he has revealed it in his word, and how can we say that we don’t see his grace when he has revealed himself in his son, the word incarnate? And who exactly is this “we” when we have a separation of church and state and freedom of conscience that includes in this “we” Americans who do not believe in God (or who believe in the wrong god)?

What the president said reminds me yet again of the casuistry that Ishmael in Moby Dick used to rationalize blasphemy and idolatry:

I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I. Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and earth – pagans and all included – can possibly be jealous of an insignificant bit of black wood? Impossible! But what is worship? – to do the will of God – that is worship. And what is the will of God? – to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me – that is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg would do to me? Why, unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form of worship. Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn idolator. So I kindled the shavings; helped prop up the innocent little idol; offered him burnt biscuit with Queequeg; salamed before him twice or thrice; kissed his nose; and that done, we undressed and went to bed, at peace with our own consciences and all the world.

The challenge, then, is not to hold to Christianity, Judaism, or Islam in a way that recognizes a common religious enterprise that unites us all. It is to find a form of diligent and serious Christianity (and more) that engages believers in a common civil enterprise with other believers and unbelievers. That is what two-kingdom theology and the spirituality of the church try to do. As valuable as that remedy may be, I for one don’t want to see the president talk about it at a National Prayer Breakfast. That would do to 2k what Constantine did to Christianity.

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74 thoughts on “Humbly Separate Church and State In the Name of Christ (of course)

  1. Not everyone has your wit to do open comments effectively.

    I pretty much appreciate anyone sticking their neck out and posting public.

    It’s a service to open comments for others who can not.

    Thanks for this post.

    Like

  2. It is to find a form of diligent and serious Christianity (and more) that engages believers in a common civil enterprise with other believers and unbelievers. That is what two-kingdom theology and the spirituality of the church try to do.

    I’d hang this on my wall if my wife cross-stitched it. Just great.

    Like

  3. So, now evanjellyfish are riding on the backs of trad RC’s to a ‘defense of the crusades’. The American trad RC movement looks more and more like fundamentalists prots by the day or vice versa. Maybe the fundies think they have found a new home, the problem is Vat II abandons them to a history it largely repudiated. But even in that parallel, since when did pre-vat II RC’s and Fundies, see themselves as brothers in any religious sense. Enemies for sure. So, likely, as with ECT the prots are giving up all sorts of ground while the trad RC’s gladly let them do so.

    Like

  4. It is to find a form of diligent and serious Christianity (and more) that engages believers in a common civil enterprise with other believers and unbelievers. That is what two-kingdom theology and the spirituality of the church try to do.

    This is beautiful because it’s true.

    I look forward to your posts on the Crusades.

    You would know better than I do, but I don’t think the revision is possible. First reason is Runciman, the second is the self-knowledge/bulwark in a pluralistic and free society that deeply confirms that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    Turn your head, DGH because I know you don’t like this, but this is for your friends (I’m looking at you, Erik): DGH is the trophy to be had that will not be had. A very good mind, yet, faith that is innocent ad loyal without ignorance playing a role.

    Christ not disappearing before our yes as agape-gossamer but Jesus of Scripture. For those of us who suffer from doubt, Scripture is the only place to look for His voice, however hard you may have to strain to find it.

    Like

  5. I meant Christ not disappearing before our eyes, though I’m not sure yes can’t work.

    Reminds me of a time when I wrote hair-brained instead of hare-brained and person I was corresponding with first corrected me but then said he thought it could still work.

    Like

  6. Oh, that’s funny. His bio no longer has the line, “Traux most recently served as a deacon in the PCA.”

    The hamsters must have gotten to it before Zrim did.

    I should have printscreened it. Note to self next time.

    Traux, thoughts? One deacon to another,
    Andrew

    Like

  7. DGH – Jas, too long for a bumper sticker.

    That’s what I was looking for. Almost said “tattoo”, but that would have been (all about) my former Neo-Cal life pushing back into my subconscious. [pulls shirt sleeve to cover shoulder]

    Like

  8. Zrim, so I contact Shane Anderson on twitter, and ask him whether he’s “a.” and he denies it. Ok, fine. Then a “Shane Anderson” with his fancy avatar photo shows up on the strings where I told him you were doing the sh(a)ne. anderson stuff, and the shane and a. comments only got weirder.

    I’ll drop you a line at the outhouse, rube’s been putting up some good vos stuff, I just haven’t had the time.

    Round and round we go, yo.

    Like

  9. CW – Favorite food groups are brown and yellow-gold. Can’t go wrong there.

    Just had a wonderful tenderloin biscuit for breakfast. Truly, no wrong there.

    Like

  10. This post is why I come here, D. Hart. Thanks.

    I recently got into a dust-up about the Crusades on Facebook with a pair of rad-trad RCs, a Lutheran, and a Presbyterian. All four of these guys were defending the Crusades as being defensive wars – the armies of Europe defending Christendom from the Heathens. I expect the rad-trads to do this, but Lutherans and Presbyterians? Come on. We know better. Funny, the Orthodox aren’t exactly big fans, though….

    Why, when Christians are criticized for the Crusades, do they feel the need to get defensive and preen their Templar tail-feathers? When Obama or someone else pins radical Islam on the Crusades of almost a millennia ago, why do we even humor that argument? Why on earth would we ever respond to such an ahistorical claim by defending the Crusades? Shouldn’t our response be “Wrong century! Take it up with the guys who divvied up territory after the Ottomans fell.” ?

    Oh, and it might help to just say, Yeah, sorry about those Crusades. 2K, yo.

    Like

  11. Seth, it’s ok. You can repent of your FB hating ways at the Ash Wednesday service coming up at your local PCA. I’m gonna go ahead and do Carnival

    Like

  12. Seth, that’s not worse in my book. But you do know they’re not letting you back in. Wittenburg was scorched earth tactics as far as they were concerned

    Like

  13. The RC’s aren’t letting you back in. Don’t worry it’s a silly joke. Nothing pejorative meant toward Lutherans or you. The RC’s only do reform and reconciliation on their terms.

    Like

  14. Seth – You’ve got it backwards. We’re not letting them back in.

    If this combox were a screenplay, this is where goosebumps would be raised.

    Like

  15. Well, technically I don’t have it backwards. The guy who was quoting another guy about the Lutherans and their determination to fix the RC’s, to which I was referring, got it backwards, says you. But, still, if we’re gonna do penance than I’m gonna get my Carnival on. And if these gets weird, too, I’m a be unhappy.

    Like

  16. DGH: If you want the separation of church and state, why have a National Prayer Breakfast? But what harm can a little prayer do? Might it be a tad blasphemous to invoke a generic god for all believers in the land? Would the first Christians have participated in such syncretism?

    mcmark–Amen to all that, except how are we going to stop turning the “common” we share with idolaters (the of this age second kingdom) into another idol of its own? Any secular patriotism people are willing to kill for is going to be inherently religious.

    Why am I so surprised to even hear Reformed Protestants join with the papists in the “special pleading”!—-“it was a defensive war, so it was just to kill women and children, and when they say “you started it”, they are wrong”….

    or this—- the Inquisition (or the 30 years wars) was not Christian war but “medieval” war that Christians killed in. And so why isn’t the war that Muslims kill in not a “Muslim” war but a “modern” war?

    Because Christians as Christians are not killing but Muslims as Muslims are killing—-and this makes a big big difference to whom?— not to those who think of Christianity as self-righteous moralism….

    my sin is invented, yours is real;
    my sin was in the past, your sins are now,
    you have forgotten my sins, but I remember your sins ,
    no need to repent of my sins

    it wasn’t me
    those sins were not Christian sins
    my sins don’t prove I am not a Christian
    the sins of one Muslim are also your sins
    your sin proves that you are Muslim

    I was born in the covenant and never a Muslim

    Blasphemy and false gospel. Any notion that sinners give their sins to Jesus in order to “make an exchange” is as blasphemous as saying the sinners who killed Jesus made the atonement

    Like

  17. Sean,

    It’s all fun and games until someone gets excommunicated (less likely these days).

    Eh, Carnival and penance – they both involve beads and sometimes taking your top off.

    Like

  18. Seth,

    Good of you to bring up Madden. Other articles relevant to recent crusade scholarship include (leaving out www to hopefully avoid the moderation filter):
    orthodoxytoday.org/articles5/MaddenCrusaders.php
    crisismagazine.com/2011/the-real-history-of-the-crusades
    ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/tmadden_crusademyths_feb05.asp

    Like

  19. Cletus,

    I brought up Madden because he begins the the article so nicely “Modern Radical Islam has nothing to do with the Crusades.” He could have stopped there. Why humor the metahistory? End of story.

    But then he goes and defends the Crusades. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    Even more dumb, his random jabs against Protestants:

    [I]n the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Protestants and then Enlightenment thinkers rejected the idea of temporal penalties due to sin…

    News to me.

    Fetishizing the Crusades is tacky and, frankly, blasphemous. Like I said, I’d expect that from a rad-trad or a SSPX geek. Not from Protestants who, in every other case of abuse of Papal power, freak out and cry “Antichrist!” Is this abuse okay just because the uniforms were cool and the Muslims were involved? I call shenanigans. To quote my favorite Lutheran:

    “If I were a soldier and saw in the battlefield a priest’s banner or cross, even if it were the very crucifix, I would run away as though the very devil were chasing me!”

    Like

  20. Seth,

    Lepanto – good abuse of papal power or bad abuse of papal power?

    And Madden and other modern historians are not defending the crusades in every jot and tittle as rainbows and unicorns but they are offering what they think are necessary correctives and nuances to outdated narratives/scholarship.

    Like

  21. Rainbows and unicorns? Clete, you must be alluding to the time when Saint Tedious and a contingent of Swiss Guards riding magical unicorns smote the Mohammadean mullahs with a thermonuclear rainbow beam near Ossapathia. Was that it?

    Like

  22. Cletus, can you hook up with a.? He posts on some threads, and is a non-denom guy, needs some ecclesiological perspective (not of the romish kind, mind you, but maybe you can help him think such things through?).

    Anonymous posters like you guys kinda creep me out, is there somewhere you all go and post amongst each other, does it look like this place?

    Like

  23. Just an observation: in most of the Christian reactions to Obama’s speech there is loud objection to his comparison to the Crusades and absolute silence about his comparison to American Christian support for slavery.

    The Crusades ended in what, the 14th Century? Not a great comparison, chronologically speaking. The Crusaders killed Muslims 700 years ago. ISIS burned someone alive last week.

    I find the Christian support for slavery in the US hits much close to home: both geographically and chronologically. Perhaps the reason the Crusades are a big deal is because those Christian raising a fuss about Obama’s speech would much rather deal with 700 year old wars than they would with slavery that was legal 150 years ago and today’s ongoing racial issues.

    Like

  24. Ken, I’m not sure I understand your point, even if they were defensive, somehow that justifies/d the church in trading upon religious loyalties to rally it’s folks to war? Or worse sought conversion by the point of the sword. Martyrdom is always a possibility and since I’m not Constantinian I have no reference for a ‘christian nation’ outside the visible church whose kingdom is spiritual. Now, are the murderous jihadists criminals? Absolutely. Should they be dealt with as such? And quickly. Does that prosecution advance the Kingdom of God(cult)? Absolutely not. The Kingdom of God goes forth as the gospel is preached and the sacraments administered. Full stop.

    Like

  25. Sean,

    Gotcha. So you would say then that even if they were defensive in nature they would still be morally unacceptable. For me, when I hear about one million people getting kidnapped into slavery, christian states being subjected to islamic law, etc. I find it….. somewhat appealing and satisfying that the crusades happened. You don’t get any sense of that?

    Like

  26. Kenneth, so the sacking of Constantinople was defensive? As well as wiping out entire Jewish communities? You could make a case that one or more of the crusades were defensive; but are the crusades something you really want to defend? After all, shouldn’t you be asking yourself, WWFD (What Would Francis Do)? Now that you mention it, doesn’t it seem a bit hard to square Francis w/ Pope Urban II — especially if both are supposed to be the Vicar of Christ? Has Christ changed that much, or just his voice??

    Like

  27. Ken, quickly, outside of now defunct OT Israel, I have NO idea what a christian state is. But, I’m as patriotic as the next guy, I suppose. Atrocities and tragedies hold no appeal to me. I try to not let my patriotism for country bleed over into my loyalties to the church. I realize the state may ask me to choose some day(unlikely) between the two and I hope I have the courage(mainly the supernatural grace) to choose my savior.

    Like

  28. I guess this thread got onto Islam because Darryl used that word in his post?

    Maybe the good readers of this illustrious blog won’t mind a copy/paste, for good measure (look, you don’t have to watch some dumb youtube video):

    On How to Treat Islam and Muslim People:
    January 28, 2015 at 1:58 pm (Apologetics, Evangelism)
    From some of the recent stories that have been circulating about how some pastors have treated the Islamic faith, the Koran, and Muslim people, you would think that these people rejoice in the idea of Muslims going to Hell. The Crusades are apparently not so dead as we had hoped. Any story of a Muslim converting to the Christian faith that I have heard of involves two things: 1. the sharing of the gospel; 2. an outpouring of love. Perhaps the one single thing that speaks to Muslims most powerfully of all is the love of Jesus Christ in action two thousand years ago. One thing is certain: we will not see any conversions of Muslims to Christianity through making fun of their religion, burning the Koran, or flaunting our Western prosperity in their faces. Understandably, these actions make them very upset (though I do not mean to imply that the Muslim attack in Paris was justified: if there is one thing that I have learned about the Muslim faith, it is that Muslims are DEADLY serious about their faith, and they cannot laugh about it). They are the incredibly stupid actions of people who apparently think that they do not have enough attention, and want to become martyrs. I suggest a different approach. Build relationships with Muslims, and show them love and kindness. Show them hospitality (this speaks volumes to someone from the Middle East).

    Although I don’t tend to get political on this blog very much, I will say that Ron Paul’s stance on the sovereignty of other nations makes a lot of sense to me. He argues that one of the main reasons that Muslims hate the West so much is because we interfere all the time in their political affairs. We would never tolerate the kind of interference from someone else that we regularly dish out to all the world. What makes us think that Muslim countries are rejoicing when we offer to “help?” Ron Paul argues that our interference with Middle Eastern politics is one reason why 9/11 happened. It is difficult to gainsay Paul’s conclusion on this point. Protect ourselves? Sure. Interfere with other nations? I would prefer not.

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  29. Sir Runciman’s competitors are not going to be able to dismiss him as a “popularizer” or one who has “beautifully written” an out-dated narrative.

    A narrative can easily be synonymous with world-view. Any man can then consider 1) what he knows of human nature 2) what he can learn or know of historical, human exigence and action during economic distress, contagion/disease, recurring (or not) rebellion by those conscripted into a total society to break free or lash out, the consequences of continued conscription over the period of centuries, etc and then decide which narrative he likes best.

    Scholarship deals in finding truth, as best as one can, in facts (that still need interpretation) primary sources, reliable secondary sources when primary are not available, and last but not least, knowledge of the language(s) of primary/secondary sources, if necessary.

    Runciman is the standard by which his competitors measure themselves. He leads, they necessarily follow.

    I have all three volumes of his History of the Crusades. The first volume was engaging but still daunting. The others I’ve barely opened.

    Anyone interested in reading his history might enjoy this.

    If link doesn’t work, here’s the address: http://www.historytoday.com/anthony-bryer/sir-steven-runciman-spider-owl-and-historian

    Like

  30. Don’t let just the atheists try to end the Nat’l Prayer B-fast. Indeed it is blasphemous to invoke a generic god for all believers in the land and the first Christians didn’t do it. Syncretism be damned.

    “Ken, quickly, outside of now defunct OT Israel, I have NO idea what a christian state is. But, I’m as patriotic as the next guy, I suppose. Atrocities and tragedies hold no appeal to me. I try to not let my patriotism for country bleed over into my loyalties to the church. I realize the state may ask me to choose some day(unlikely) between the two and I hope I have the courage(mainly the supernatural grace) to choose my savior.”

    Very well said.

    Great Green Baggins post too.

    Like

  31. Luther—“How shamefully the pope has this long time baited us with the war against the Turks, gotten our money, and destroyed so many Christians and made so much mischief! When will we learn that the pope is the devil’s most dangerous cat’s paw?” (The Concise History of the Crusades by Thomas F. Madden, page 192-193)

    later Luther changed his mind about that, and also about immortality as God’s gift

    it seems that Luther wanted Scripture alone but never alone. Scripture AND the tradition of the church catholic….

    Like

  32. But remember – the Crusades were “mostly” political and economic wars. Which makes the Crusades a bit more palatable in my book, but still leaves the Pope looking like Iago.

    Some people will do anything for their cinnamon and cardamom, yo.

    Like

  33. The Crusades were nice because they were the most state-of-the-art way to attain an indulgence. Still pretty tedious, though Sell off your family’s lands, join a holy order of knights, kill the Saracen, take back Jerusalem, and poof – No Purgatory for YOU!

    Luckily, in this vastly superior and modern age, we have quick and easy way to get the same result.

    I love it how modern RCs like to distance themselves from the “Protestant” claim that Romanism is little more than spell-casting and superstition, and then you have Father Z here acting like he’s the Dungeon Master, just helpin’ a Dwarf Ruby-Paladin out. Roll the die to see if you get +14 mana and the title of King of the Indulgence Nerds, or get hit by a -14 Protestant I-Told-You-So enchantment.

    Can’t stand it any more. I’m out.

    Lord Luther Malancthon – Elvish Snark-Mage of Wittenbergia

    Like

  34. DeYoung explains how the Americans were not attempting to evangelize the Japanese when they dropped the atomic bomb—–and the Crusaders were not attempting to add more Christian lands but were only killing in order to regain “holy lands”

    http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2015/02/09/what-about-the-crusades/

    “Christians lands had been captured. Surely, they thought, this could not stand. For an American, it would have been as if Al-Qaeda sacked Washington D.C. following 9/11, set up shop for Bin Laden in the White House, and turned the Lincoln Memorial into a terrorist training center. It would be unthinkable, cowardly even, for no one to storm the city, liberate its captives, and return our nation’s capital to its rightful owners.”

    I guess that shows us all how some things are worth killing for, no matter what the Sermon on the Mount says, because that was written for private isolated individuals, so let’s do the killing with others and for the sake of the others, with the others of course being us (and our covenant children)

    “Our land?” Perhaps. Our Lord? Always.”

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  35. Hi all–

    Zrim and Andrew,

    I’m not sure why I keep being brought up here… getting a little odd. If anyone needs to contact me, or discuss something: shanea7@me.com

    I’ve tried to make it clear–I have not posted anonymously, or under “a” or any other name… Don’t people have to register to post here?

    –Shane

    Like

  36. Shane, I only mentioned you parenthetically. You sure read OL closely for such a non-OL-reader.

    If it helps, I’ll go on record as taking responsibility for causing the (Sh)a(ne) confusion. Mea culpa–you and a. are not one and the same. Far be it from me to cause any more stupid personal antics that have gone on around here of late.

    Like

  37. Seth: The Crusades were nice because they were the most state-of-the-art way to attain an indulgence.

    Pretty much the first, in fact. The call to the first crusade was the first plenary indulgence to be announced.

    Like

  38. There is more than one possible reason to not get on a high horse and force others to agree to your faith. One reason of course is when you attempt to do that and fail—the making of the Westminster Confession comes to mind. Another reason would be if you “happen to think” that the kingdom of heaven is already now coming on the earth and that the power for this kingdom does not come from earth and so therefore Christians do not fight or kill.

    As Roland Bainton shows so well in his The Travail of Religious Liberty, one other possible reason for “tolerance” (not exactly the same thing as liberty) is the dogmatic certainly that nobody can know anything for sure. It seems to me that the revivalist strand of “evangelicalism” is founded on this very “humility” Consider the following essay from Piper’s Desiring God, which does not lack for self-confidence in its knowledge about other people being pharisees.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/you-cannot-serve-both-god-and-theology

    hear the soundbites, be chastened by the zingers—If you attempt to deconstruct the differences, it will only show that you do not have “true religion”….

    Knowledge about God can replace an authentic knowing of him to our destruction, especially for the theologically refined and convinced. We all should want our theology to be not only true, but Spirit-filled and fruitful.

    We have often loved what we have learned about God more than God himself….

    Be committed to having a right theology, but be as committed to having a relational theology — a growing, humble, and heartfelt intimacy with God.

    Do not simply search the Scriptures for soteriology, but search for salvation

    Journal as a way of stimulating your heart over the things your mind is beginning to understand.

    We will never be truly satisfied by knowing about God. We need to know him. If that dichotomy doesn’t make sense to you, beware.

    Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison—“the heart in the biblical sense is not the inner life, but the whole man in relation to God”…..The Christian must therefore really live in the godless world, without attempting to gloss over or explain its ungodliness in some religious way or other. He must live a ‘secular’ life, (as one who has been freed from false religious obligations and inhibitions). To be a Christian does not mean to be religious in a particular way, to make something of oneself (a sinner, a penitent, or a saint) on the basis of some method or other….

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  39. Michael Sean Winters… the liberal version of Bryan Cross. Insufferable. And yet I have to agree with him and thou on one.

    Like

  40. Luther—“How shamefully the pope has this long time baited us with the war against the Turks, gotten our money, and destroyed so many Christians and made so much mischief! When will we learn that the pope is the devil’s most dangerous cat’s paw?” (The Concise History of the Crusades by Thomas F. Madden, page 192-193)

    which is worse? a black seven day adventist pointing the finger or a Romanist servant of the “vicar of Christ” ?

    Like

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