Reading Other People's Mail

This communication to the most powerful government in the world inspired me to make public one of mine to the most powerful news reporting agency on the planet:

May 18, 2005

To the editor of the New York Times:

Mark Lilla’s brief for liberal biblical religion in “Church Meets State” is odd for a couple reasons. First, he does not recognize that “liberals” such as Henry Ward Beecher and Woodrow Wilson fit precisely his category of Protestant who spiritualized the Bible and then read liberal democracy back into scripture to justify such campaigns as the Civil War and World War I. Richard F. Gamble’s recent book, The War for Righteousness (ISI Books, 2003), well documents the liberal religious origins of sanctimonious government action. Second, Lilla fails to notice that the old liberal Protestant culture warriors who defended WASP America and today’s Protestant Right both share a utilitarian understanding of religion that evaluates faith by the good it does in this world, as opposed to the world to come. Perhaps a truly conservative Christianity of Augustinian vintage might distinguish church and state better than Lilla’s liberal version.

D. G. Hart
Philadelphia, PA
215-247-7654 (h)
302-652-4600 (o)

I’m betting none of the people to whom these missives were addressed read/reads them. What the on-line readers are supposed to make of these letters is anyone’s guess.

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250 thoughts on “Reading Other People's Mail

  1. Perhaps a truly conservative Christianity of Augustinian vintage might distinguish church and state better than Lilla’s liberal version.

    Or not.

    Responding to pagan accusations about the sack of Rome, Augustine argues that Christian religion is not only incomparably better than pagan religion but also more apt to provide the citizens with civic virtue. First, with his lengthy attack on pagan religion, Augustine shows that the failure of pagan society to make a citizen virtuous originates in a false conception of divinity. This falseness is pagan polytheism. Several books of the first part of De Civitate Dei vehemently criticize pagan mythology as being responsible for the vices of Rome and the fall of the mighty empire. Second, in order to prepare a philosophical framework to show that Christianity allows and fosters an enhancement in civic virtue, Augustine refers to Scipio’s and Cicero’s definitions of the Roman commonwealth. Augustine defines the commonwealth in terms of rational people united by love of a common thing (De Civitate Dei, Book 19). By pointing to the importance of the “community of interests,” he lowers the scriptural standards of what qualifies as a just community and shows that a higher form of justice must come to the aid of human justice. True civic virtue can therefore only be acquired through the assistance of a higher form of justice, i.e., God.

    While Augustine believes in the existence of two distinct cities, he presents them as distinguishable only from the eternal perspective. From the earthly perspective, the two cities remain indistinguishable. The two cities are “interwoven and intermixed in this era” and await separation at the last judgment (De Civitate Dei, Book 1).

    http://perspectivesjournal.org/blog/2014/05/01/church-and-state-in-defense-of-augustines-allegory-of-the-two-cities/

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  2. vd, t, so which is it? You condemn the PCUSA but then you quote from Reformed publications where women’s ordination is acceptable and fellowship with the PCUSA is in play.

    Really vd, t, you treat Protestants the way you treat the local parish. It’s like Doc Severenson. You’re there. You’re not there.

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  3. How could the “other kingdom” (the one “we” have in common with pagans) NOT have an “utilitarian” understanding of religion? As Eisenhower taught us, religion is instrumental to morality, whatever your religion happens to be…..

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/books-and-arts/magazine/107211/wittenberg-wal-mart

    Some Christians “act as if some vast conspiracy is brewing in America over the Christian faith, with naysayers organized against Christians. They feel like they live life on the cultural margins, so they take that as their identity–they count their marginalization as their righteousness. They are not looking to Jesus as their only righteousness, and so they act from prejudice, assuming that everyone hates them, and they act in a way that confirms this.” (Crucifying Morality, p 105, R. W. Glenn)

    Romans 1: 24 Therefore God HANDED THEM OVER in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. 25 They HANDED OVER the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created INSTEAD OF the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen. 26 This is why God HANDED THEM OVER to degrading passions. ….because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God HANDED THEM OVER to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong. 29 They are filled with all unrighteousness,[ evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving,[t and unmerciful. 32 Although they know full well God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things DESERVE TO DIE—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.

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  4. Mark Lilla battles those who claim to be non-utiliarian–“This picture of our present will be familiar to anyone who reads the American theocons, left-leaning Radical Orthodoxy figures such as John Milbank, and occasionally Charles Taylor. Whether you find it plausible will probably depend on the kind of day you’re having: it expresses a mood, not an analysis. But unless you do accept it, very little in Gregory’s book will make sense to you, since it is essentially a five-hundred-page connect-the-dots puzzle that begins with the way we supposedly live now and works back to the Big Bang of the Protestant Reformation. Its method is an inverted Whiggism—a Whiggism for depressives.”

    Richard Gamble on saint Lincoln—http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2015/07/the-gospel-of-lincoln.html

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  5. Writing a letter to the editor is no more pissing into the wind than writing books about Romanists and Evangelicals (or Nevin). What really counts is what we write in these comment boxes. So be encouraged and rejoice in the wife of your youth.

    I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees….

    … Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my work, and this was my reward for all my work. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the work I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

    12 So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13 Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. 14 The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. 15 Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity

    David Gamble is lots of fun to read. http://www.opc.org/os.html?article_id=85

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  6. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 9:03 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, so which is it? You condemn the PCUSA but then you quote from Reformed publications where women’s ordination is acceptable and fellowship with the PCUSA is in play.

    Really vd, t, you treat Protestants the way you treat the local parish. It’s like Doc Severenson. You’re there. You’re not there.

    Genetic fallacy, Dr. Hart. Just because the PCUSA went Lesbyterian doesn’t mean your interpretation of Augustine and the “two cities” is authoritative.

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  7. I had heard Hyde went off the reservation, but I had no idea that he’d take his church with him on some Quixotic quest. How exactly is this building up the body of Christ? Is this going anywhere other than the US government’s circular file? How likely are practicing homosexuals to hear this message and repent?

    Gays have equal rights under the law, full stop, the legal system is not going to un-ring that bell. That doesn’t mean we have to like it, or endorse it in our churches. Whenever the church enters the fray in this culture war flash-point it ends up being all heat and no light.

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  8. “I had no idea that he’d take his church with him on some Quixotic quest.”

    Jed, given the obvious & inevitable ineffectiveness of such statements I keep trying to figure out why they keep getting written. All I can come up with is that it’s an opportunity to emote together. You know, like mermaid and others here demand so many decibels of anguish. If that’s not it, then I dunno.

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  9. has the self control of a jackass once again.

    Kent showing us his version of self control so as to avoid ad-hom comments. LOL…

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  10. Somehow, legalization of same sex marriage is on par with being fed to the lions. Huh, I’ll have to keep my dogs on the lookout for those lions. And somehow, 1 cor. 5 gets bypassed, again. ‘What have I(apostle of God) have to do with judging those outside the church……….

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  11. Jed, 50k points for that alliteration.

    MG (on collective emoting) and Sean (on 1 Cor 5), ding. Though, MG, I’ll see your point and raise another: Isn’t this the same group of Reformed believers who fault eeeevangelicals for wanting to be relevant? The need to be relevant is written up one side and down another in statements like these.

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  12. Mark Van Der Molen: avoid ad-hom comments
    ad-hom is avoided here?

    Sean: 1 cor. 5 gets bypassed
    true and sorrowful, do we not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough

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  13. Sorry, I’ll temper it down a bit Mark.

    You WANT to take a good run at DGH, but you CAN’T go full tilt and join in with Tom, for various reasons.

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  14. Hezek. 12:2 ? did you mean Ez 12:2

    Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house

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  15. Darryl, you going to dodge Rev. Cassidy like this? I do get it though, since there’s no skin in the game taking arbitrary shots at Oceanside.

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  16. I thought older catholic women had cornered the market on feigned persuction and martyrdom? Apparently not. Lions, and tigers and bears (oh my). And how does this reflect on the whole gender role reworking of the gospel? Brett and the Baylys and crew and Old RC women and, of course, Tom. Worthy of FB, fo shizzle.

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  17. how am I going to dodge Rev. C. if I’m speaking at his church

    I’m guessing you’d employ your usual non-sequiter dodge technique?

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  18. vdm, m, here’s how you should spend your afternoon. Find all the conferences where I’ve spoken and supply links where I used said technique.

    But shouldn’t you really just take a vacation day?

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  19. Nah, coming here between phone calls and conferences with dodgy lawyers feels like I’m not taking any time off.

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  20. So why did you, the unbard, call your peers “dodgy”?

    Because some of them happen to be, well, dodgy.

    Sort of like some historians.

    Duh.

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  21. <iAli
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink
    Mark Van Der Molen: avoid ad-hom comments
    ad-hom is avoided here?</i.

    <p-heh heh-p<

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  22. D. G. Hart: Ali, I meant Hezek 12:2. You didn’t see what I did there.

    ?

    but I did search for a text for you to insert, didn’t find one – no moths spoken of as dying in the Bible! Sorry. Also they are nocturnal, so that doesn’t match; and despite common notion, scientists think moths aren’t so much attracted to the light of a flame or other bright light as they are disoriented by it, so that might mean something.

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  23. Ali
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 10:44 pm |
    “no moths spoken of as dying in the Bible! Sorry.”

    ?

    Job 4:19 “…crushed like the moth.”

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  24. 1 Cor. 5?

    1Corinthians 5:1  It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

    That one?

    Oh. No judging. 5:13. Got it.

    Anybody renting to PP yet?

    The recent videos are creating some heat; they might even be getting their govt. funding cut off so they are probably gonna need some new facilities in a different neighborhood with a lower profile.

    Step right up. They ‘d probably appreciate a fax from your agent outlining the benefits of a quick move to that property you haven’t been able to keep occupied.

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  25. Bruce: Job 4:19 “…crushed like the moth.”

    Haha, you checked, thanks. some thoughts on Job 4:19…crushed before the moth! (NASB)

    “Eliphaz relates a vision. When we are communing with our own hearts, and are still, Psalm 4:4, then is a time for the Holy Spirit to commune with us. This vision put him into very great fear. Ever since man sinned, it has been terrible to him to receive communications from Heaven, conscious that he can expect no good tidings thence. Sinful man! shall he pretend to be more just, more pure, than God, who being his Maker, is his Lord and Owner? How dreadful, then, the pride and presumption of man! How great the patience of God! Look upon man in his life. The very foundation of that cottage of clay in which man dwells, is in the dust, and it will sink with its own weight. We stand but upon the dust. Some have a higher heap of dust to stand upon than others but still it is the earth that stays us up, and will shortly swallow us up. Man is soon crushed; or if some lingering distemper, which consumes like a moth, be sent to destroy him, he cannot resist it. Shall such a creature pretend to blame the appointments of God? Look upon man in his death. Life is short, and in a little time men are cut off. Beauty, strength, learning, not only cannot secure them from death, but these things die with them; nor shall their pomp, their wealth, or power, continue after them. Shall a weak, sinful, dying creature, pretend to be more just than God, and more pure than his Maker? No: instead of quarrelling with his afflictions, let him wonder that he is out of hell. Can a man be cleansed without his Maker? Will God justify sinful mortals, and clear them from guilt? or will he do so without their having an interest in the righteousness and gracious help of their promised Redeemer, when angels, once ministering spirits before his throne, receive the just recompence of their sins? Notwithstanding the seeming impunity of men for a short time, though living without God in the world, their doom is as certain as that of the fallen angels, and is continually overtaking them. Yet careless sinners note it so little, that they expect not the change, nor are wise to consider their latter end.” Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible

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  26. You mean MH’s “condensed” thoughts on Job 4:12-21. That’s so jammed up incoherent, it’s almost unreadable. The real MH is eminently readable, even if at times he overreaches the text (not unlike one well-known Victorian pulpiteer). Nobody’s perfect.

    As touching this place particularly…
    (from Matthew Henry’s Commentary [Unabridged] on the Whole Bible)
    2. Thence he infers how much less man is, how much less to be trusted in or gloried in. If there is such a distance between God and angels, what is there between God and man! See how man is represented here in his meanness.
    (1.) Look upon man in his life, and he is very mean, Job.4:19….
    [3] Angels are immortal, but man is soon crushed; the earthly house of his tabernacle is dissolved; he dies and wastes away, is crushed like a moth between one’s fingers, as easily, as quickly; one may almost as soon kill a man as kill a moth. A little thing will destroy his life. He is crushed before the face of the moth, so the word is. If some lingering distemper, which consumes like a moth, be commissioned to destroy him, he can no more resist it than he can resist an acute distemper, which comes roaring upon him like a lion. See Hos.5:12-14. Is such a creature as this to be trusted in, or can any service be expected from him by that God who puts no trust in angels themselves?

    In any case, the point of this whole business is point out that who presumes to teach, should know his material. QED

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  27. BS Bob, no this:

    But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    So there is judging, it’s just reserved for those actually within the church, not outside.

    It’s too bad that OURC doesn’t follow the cue of the larger URC denomination in deliberately not addressing worldly headlines. But statements like these always come across like the boor at a party who yells his opinion in the face of a friend who agrees because he’s really trying to convey his opinion to the guy across the room who not only disagrees but doesn’t really care.

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  28. Bruce: In any case, the point of this whole business is point out that who presumes to teach, should know his material.

    ? Not sure what you are mad about nor what clarification you are trying to make about that text, nor who your ‘ad-hom’ is specifically against; but that’s ok. (Try to) have a good day.

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  29. Bob, you have so much faith in the political system. But $50 OL bucks says PP will still be thriving a year from now.

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  30. It’s too bad that OURC doesn’t follow the cue of the larger URC denomination in deliberately not addressing worldly headlines.

    You must have missed the cue from the URC Synod 2010 when it exhorted the Department of Defense not to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

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  31. Mark, I understood that to be less a matter of scolding the state and more of watching out for the repercussions of repealing that could cause hardship on military clergy.

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  32. Zrim, it was both/and. Regardless of how one would characterize the relative emphasis between biblical testimony, exhorting, or warning of implications on religious liberty, the Synod did not deliberately avoid an issue which had certainly been in the headlines.

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  33. Z, sounds similar to the OPC statement on women in the military. The driving motivation was to produce a document that female OP’s could use to avoid military service. Sure, someone could rip it out of its context and make abstract claims about the degree of OP involvement in such things but if that (and the URC vote) had such practical motivation, any such argument is greatly weakened. It sounds like they were more intended to protect church members than tell outsiders what to do.

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  34. In context, Synod 2010 made a direct plea to the government to take specific action:

    3. Appeal: For the above and many other reasons affecting chaplains
    and military members in the ranks we humbly recommend that
    you consider the ramifications for religious freedom that legislation
    in this regard may have. It is of utmost importance that you
    take all necessary measures to ensure that our chaplains are free,
    without censure, to preach, teach, and practice in accordance with
    the beliefs of our federation. We plead for this on behalf of the
    chaplains who serve our churches and country.
    Stated Clerk, URCNA

    (Acts of Synod London, 2010, Articles 128, 132, p.82)

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  35. “Muddy, does it help if we just added a male cat?”

    NM: Only if it isn’t neutered, and it freely roams the neighborhood cruising for chicks( both work) and even then I’ll have to pray about it.

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  36. But, Mark, its headline nature was incidental. Had it not the potential to cause hardship on church members, it seems doubtful church energies and resources would ever have been spent (wasted?) on it, especially since the URC has deliberately avoided any formal statements on marriage even in the age of marital chaos. And why? Maybe because there isn’t as much cynicism about the effectiveness of the church nurturing her members in the ways of God. Statements like these never strike you as indications that the church is unduly insecure about that? But that direct plea seems entirely reasonable from even a rrrrrrrrrr2k perspective.

    MG, I rely on my flat feet to keep me out. If that doesn’t work, I’ll say a drive a Forester (see what I did there?).

    Darryl, no. And if he dons a bow tie it just makes it worse.

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  37. the URC has deliberately avoided any formal statements on marriage

    Zrim, you’re 0-2:

    URCNA Church Order Article 48
    Scripture teaches that marriage is designed to be a lifelong, monogamous covenantal union between one man and one woman. Consistories shall instruct and admonish those under their spiritual care who are considering marriage to marry in the Lord. Christian marriages shall be solemnized with appropriate admonitions, promises, and prayers, under the regulation of the Consistory, with the use of the appropriate liturgical form. Ministers shall not solemnize marriages that conflict with the Word of God.

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  38. I see the URCNA as the least involved in public rage for the NAPARC denominations, I guess they meant well writing that to the government. I wonder if it even was opened before getting round filed.

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  39. Mark, please. You know the point was an extra-ecclesial statement on a specific issue beyond a church order written to constitute a church, i.e. OURC’s bit. So why would OURC feel the need to write such a thing? Is Article 48 somehow insufficient? I thought they were confessional.

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  40. Darryl, I knew a few of those cats in college. Crash here for a few days then there for a few days…………….

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  41. You know the point was an extra-ecclesial statement on a specific issue beyond a church order

    So “any formal statement” excludes certain formal statements. Nice try.

    You’re 0-3.

    And both OCURC’s statements and the Church Order are “ecclesial” statements.

    0-4.

    Is Article 48 somehow insufficient? I thought they were confessional.

    The Church Order is not the Confession.

    O-5.

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  42. Mark, so any statement made by any church is ecclesial? Is that like Baptist ecclesiology, wherever two or more are gathered in his name (vs. wherever the three marks are)? Your Baptist slip is showing. And, yes the CO is not the confession, but that wasn’t the point. The point is that the church is constituted by both so what need of an additional statement on top of one already made by the church? Doesn’t OURC have confidence in her constituting documents? Or are you and OURC the “living document” crowd? Slip number two.

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  43. Bruce: In any case, the point of this whole business is point out that who presumes to teach, should know his material.

    Hope you had a good day yesterday Bruce. Anyway, I did want to follow up and say I’m right there with you about teaching error; don’t you hate when teachers seem to just want to tingle ears. I mean who wants to have to hear ALL the Lord has to say to us. Hate seems a strong word but we have to. Rev 2:6
    example ‘tickle-fallout’ twitter from this am: “sin? It wasn’t a sin it was a choice that had consequences! “

    Zrim: wherever two or more are gathered in his name

    The Lord ISN”T right there with two or more gathered in His name?

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  44. so any statement made by any church is ecclesial?

    Arising from it functioning as a church is the very definition of ecclesial.

    From Websters:

    Ecclesial:adjective
    1. pertaining to a church or its functions, teachings, or organization.

    And, yes the CO is not the confession, but that wasn’t the point.

    You only raised the question of OCURC’s confessionalism in response to my citing the CO. If you had a different point, you should state it rather than looking like you making them up to cover your whiffing.

    so what need of an additional statement on top of one already made by the church?

    The statement itself explains the reasons, including that we have a new circumstance threatening religious liberty.

    Doesn’t OURC have confidence in her constituting documents?

    Have you stopped beating your wife?

    Or are you and OURC the “living document” crowd?

    The statement makes no amendment to the confession or CO, but applies the principles of both to a contemporary issue.

    Most folks going 0-10 would think about grabbing some bench.

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  45. Ali, the question isn’t whether the Lord is there (he is), it’s whether those gathered comprise the church. He’s there when our family prays over our meal each night, but that doesn’t make us the church. A small platoon of the church, sure, but not the church.

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  46. vdm, m, sorry, but as Zrim shows, you committed another Side Show Bob. If whatever a church does is ecclesial, then that the Federal Council of CHURCHES did was ecclesial:

    The Social Creed of the Churches

    Adopted by the Federal Council of Churches on December 4, 1908

    We deem it the duty of all Christian people to concern themselves directly with certain practical industrial problems.

    To us it seems that the Churches must stand:

    For equal rights and complete justice for all men in all stations of life.

    For the right of all men to the opportunity for self-maintenance, a right ever to be wisely and strongly safe-guarded against encroachments of every kind.

    For the right of workers to some protection against the hardships often resulting from the swift crisis of industrial change.

    For the principle of conciliation and arbitration in industrial dissensions.

    For the protection of the worker from dangerous machinery, occupational disease, injuries and mortality.

    For the abolition of child labor.

    For such regulation of the conditions of toil for women as shall safeguard the physical and moralhealth of the community.

    For the suppression of the “sweating system”

    For the gradual and reasonable reduction of the hours of labor to the lowest practical point, and for that degree of leisure for all which is a condition of the highest human life.

    For a release from employment one day in seven.

    For a living wage as a minimum in every industry, and for the highest wage that each industry can afford.

    For the most equitable division of the products of industry that can ultimately be devised.

    For suitable provision for the old age of the workers and for those incapacitated by injury.

    For the abatement of poverty.

    To the toilers of America and to those who by organized effort are seeking to lift the
    crushing burdens of the poor, and to reduce the hardships and uphold the dignity of labor,
    this council sends the greeting of human brotherhood and the pledge of sympathy and of
    help in a cause which belongs to all who follow Christ.

    Or not.

    When ecclesial becomes social gospel and modernist to boot.

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  47. Wow, the old progressives could have at least scored one point with us if the called for no mandatory work on religious sabbaths, but they just had to go one day in seven, so broad were they.

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  48. If whatever a church does is, then that the Federal Council of CHURCHES did was ecclesial

    Then unlike me, you must think NAPARC = the church. Run that one past your presbytery.

    Pinch hitter, 0-1.

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  49. Mark, you have a ways to go before you catch up with the CRC.

    Position Topics
    Abortion
    Abuse
    Alcohol
    Baptism
    Bible: Authority
    Bible: Inspiration and Infallibility
    Birth Control
    Capital Punishment
    Christian Education
    Church and State
    Common Grace
    Creation and Science
    Creation Care
    Dance
    Disabilities
    Diversity
    Divorce and Remarriage
    Ecumenicity
    Eschatology
    Euthanasia
    Film Arts
    Gambling
    Homosexuality
    Justice
    Labor Unions
    Language for God
    Life Issues
    Lodge and Church Membership
    Lord’s Day
    Lord’s Supper
    Marriage
    Pentecostalism
    Pornography
    Race Relations
    War
    Women in Ecclesiastical Office
    Worldly Amusements
    Worship

    Following in the footsteps of the CRC – what could go wrong?

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  50. By that fallacious logic, the URC has some catching up to do with the apostasizing OPC:

    General Assembly Papers

    General Assembly papers are thoughtful and weighty treatises on important matters but do not have the force of constitutional documents, namely, our Confession of Faith and Catechisms and Book of Church Order.

    Abortion I: Report on abortion submitted to the 38th G.A. (1971)
    Abortion II: Statement on abortion adopted by the 39th G.A. (1972)
    Constitution: Report of the Committee on the Constitution submitted to the 2nd G.A. (1936)
    Creation: report submitted to the 71st G.A. (2004) [PDF]
    The Free Offer of the Gospel, report submitted to the 15th G.A. (1948)
    Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Report of the Committee on the Baptism and Gifts of the Holy Spirit submitted to the 45th G.A. (1978)
    Diaconal Ministry: Report of the Committee to Study the Principles of Diaconal Ministry submitted to the 51st G.A. (1984)
    Freemasonry: “Christ or the Lodge?” A report on Freemasonry submitted to the 9th G.A. (1942)
    Homosexuals in the Military: Humble petition to President William J. Clinton on homosexuals in the military adopted by the 60th G.A. (1993)
    Illegal Aliens: Report of the Committee to Study the Propriety of the Reception of Illegal Aliens into Church Membership submitted to the 74th G.A. (2007)
    Justification: A statement adopted by the 71st G.A. (2004) [PDF]
    Report on Justification submitted to the 73rd G.A. (2006) [PDF]. Note: if the Hebrew and Greek fonts used in this document do not display on your computer you may download them free from the following location: bibleworks.com/fonts.html.
    77th GA letter to Department of Defense concerning the proposal to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military (2010)
    Paedocommunion: Report of the Committee on Paedocommunion submitted to the 54th G.A. (1987)
    Peniel: Doctrines and Practices of the Peniel Bible Conference submitted to the 28th G.A. (1961)
    Race: Report of the Committee on Problems of Race submitted to the 41th G.A. (1974)
    Refusing to Baptize Children: Report of the Committee to Consider the Matter Proposed to the Assembly by the Presbytery of the West Coast submitted to the 33rd G.A. (1966)
    Sabbath: Report of the Committee on Sabbath Matters submitted to the 40th G.A. (1973)
    Song in Worship: Report of the Committee on Song in Worship submitted to the 13th and 14th G.A.’s (1946-47)
    Unordained Persons in Worship: Report of the Committee on the Involvement of Unordained Persons in the Regular Worship Services of the Church submitted to the 58th G.A. (1991)
    Women in Combat: Report of the Committee on Women in the Military and in Combat submitted to the 68th G.A. (2001)
    Women in Office I: Report of the Committee on Hermeneutics of Women in Ordained Office submitted to the 54th G.A. (1987)
    Women in Office II: Report on Women in Office submitted to the 55th G.A. (1988)

    Like

  51. Mark, doesn’t law school teach one to distinguish? Dig down deep and see if you can find anything different about those two lists.

    Like

  52. Muddy,

    How is this different from the OPC’s having a position paper on abortion? It is even highlighted on their home page and dubbed a “feature.” http://opc.org/feature.html

    They [still-to-see-the-light-of-day humans]should not, therefore, be destroyed by voluntary abortion in the absence of valid medical grounds demonstrating the necessity of such abortion to save the mother’s life. . . .

    Presbyteries, sessions and congregations [are] encouraged by the assembly to carry on further study of these matters, so that Christians may be better instructed concerning the Scriptural principles involved,

    and so that they might be motivated to take appropriate action relative to pending civil legislation or other pertinent situations in their communities.

    Like

  53. And, Newark, since Mark sees only what his worldview wants him to see, can you see a difference between the OPC list and the CRC list?

    Like

  54. Also –

    Does anyone else see an obvious problem here?:

    ‘Living creatures in the image of God,
    the objects of God’s particular providence and care,
    being prepared by God for the responsibilities and privileges of postnatal life,
    which Scripture obligates us to treat as human persons,
    given by God as a blessing to their parents,
    if medical grounds demonstrate that preserving the mother’s life requires it,
    can be destroyed by voluntary abortion.’
    http://opc.org/feature.html

    Couldn’t this position accurately be described as modified pro-choice rather than pro-life / anti-choice?

    FYI, I have reason to believe PP is watching this blog and looking up those who comment.

    Like

  55. Newark, I’ll try to answer your earlier question if you’ll rephrase it. (“How is this [?] different…”)

    Then, regarding your more recent comment, suppose a woman has an ectopic pregnancy. The fetus cannot possibly come to term and letting it grow in the tube will inevitably cause serious harm to the mother. Are you saying the correct choice is to let the fetus grow in the Fallopian tube until it ruptures?

    Like

  56. Muddy Mitch, never said there aren’t differences. It’s the similarities on the list. It’s called finding and applying precedent. Didn’t they teach you that in law school?

    And presuming you can count, you’ll note the similar items on both lists outscore the URC.

    You might do better concentrating on saving the OPC and Jim Cassidy’s church from the path of the CRC.

    Like

  57. Muddy –

    Don’t think I’m taking sides, just trying to clarify how the OPC’s taking a position is ok but not other bodies.

    Newark, what is “this”? Having position papers, lists, encouraging voting – none of which do I necessarily have a problem with – some issues are appropriate, others aren’t.

    And, Newark, since Mark sees only what his worldview wants him to see, can you see a difference between the OPC list and the CRC list?

    I feel like for the sake of my reputation I should say ‘yes, of course I do’ – but alas, I don’t. The OPC wrote a letter to Clinton on homosexuals in the military (a praiseworthy action, I think), so I don’t think the difference relies on some sort of 2k grounds.

    Caveat that I have no knowledge of the CRC (theology, morality), and couldn’t begin to guess what papers on “Film Arts” or “Dance” are about. The ethical implications of aesthetic works is an interesting and appropriate topic for those with a responsibility to give moral instruction, addressed rightly.

    Like

  58. Newark, I’m not into this to cheer for the home team. MVDM loves him some politics and loves him some worldview so he is very much in favor of churches addressing a wide variety of issues in a formal way as the church reclaims every square inch. An issue he chose not to address is if pre-occupation with extra-ecclesial (social/cultural) matters was a significant factor in making the CRC a denomination with enough problems that it inspired the formation of the URC.

    The OPC tends to be restrained about statements designed to address extra-ecclesial matters. That doesn’t mean it has never done so. It is worth noting that your quote above leaves individuals with a lot of liberty on how to react to the pro-life statement.

    Like

  59. Muddy –

    Newark, I’ll try to answer your earlier question if you’ll rephrase it. (“How is this [?] different…”)

    Sorry – to be precise:
    What is on the CRC list that is not appropriate for them to be addressing? What principles dictate these issues should be excluded? How do the OPC positions (including the encouragement of congregational voting with regard to abortion and advising the president regarding homosexuals in the military) not fall within the realm of applicability of these exclusionary principles?

    Then, regarding your more recent comment, suppose a woman has an ectopic pregnancy. The fetus cannot possibly come to term and letting it grow in the tube will inevitably cause serious harm to the mother. Are you saying the correct choice is to let the fetus grow in the Fallopian tube until it ruptures?

    If this were to happen to my wife and I, it would be a truly grueling situation to be in. I have a pretty good imagination, so I’m not saying it lightly. But yes, that is what I am saying.

    Given the state of progress in medical science, I expect this problem will be minimized.

    The following cases should be recognized (no stats are included as to the % of ectopic pregnancies not ending in abortion or miscarriage over, say, the last 10 years in which the mother survived):

    There have been cases where ectopic pregnancy lasted many months and ended in a live baby delivered by laparotomy.

    In July 1999, Lori Dalton gave birth by Cesarean section in Ogden, Utah, USA, to a healthy baby girl who had developed outside of the uterus. Previous ultrasounds had not discovered the problem. “[Sage Dalton]’s delivery was slated as a routine Cesarean birth at Ogden Regional Medical Center in Utah. When Dr. Naisbitt performed Lori’s Cesarean, he was astonished to find Sage within the amniotic membrane outside the womb […].”[43] “But what makes this case so rare is that not only did mother and baby survive — they’re both in perfect health. John Dalton [(the father)] took home video inside the delivery room. Sage came out doing extremely well because even though she had been implanted outside the womb, a rich blood supply from a uterine fibroid along the outer uterus wall had nourished her with a rich source of blood.”[44]

    On 19 April 2008 an English woman, Jayne Jones (age 37) who had an ectopic pregnancy attached to the omentum, the fatty covering of her large bowel, gave birth to her son Billy by a laparotomy at 28 weeks gestation. The surgery, the first of its kind to be performed in the UK, was successful, and both mother and baby survived.[45]

    On May 29, 2008 an Australian woman, Meera Thangarajah (age 34), who had an ectopic pregnancy in the ovary, gave birth to a healthy full term 6 pound 3 ounce (2.8 kg) baby girl, Durga, via Cesarean section. She had no problems or complications during the 38‑week pregnancy.[46][47]

    In September 1999 an English woman, Jane Ingram (age 32) gave birth to triplets: Olivia, Mary and Ronan, with an extrauterine fetus (Ronan) below the womb and twins in the womb. All three survived. The twins in the womb were taken out first

    — Wiki

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  60. OPC public website: “That some instances of abortion are sinful is obvious. That they all are is not. Yet, with one minor possible exception (medical grounds), the report of the committee concludes that they are. This is quite illicit.” Paul Woolley

    Like

  61. Newark, I need to check out for a while. Quickly, though, note what the report urges:

    > further study
    > appropriate action relative to pending civil legislation *OR*
    > other pertinent situations in their communities.

    Like

  62. Kevin, truth be told several of those statements originated from the Chaplains committee which is the right wing of the OPC. Lots of commissioners were against the statements but since the proposals usually come wrapped in the swaddling clothes of Christian nationalism, taking said statements on could bring you before the committee on Un-American activities.

    Like

  63. Kevin, once you get this blog’s schizophrenic worldview, you’ll learn that when the OPC issued its statements on civil matters, it was pious ecclesiastical advice. But if a lone URC consistory does the same, it must be from the liberal social gospel or plots by those dastardly Dutchies demanding to speak to *every* issue.

    Like

  64. Kevin, wow, but do you make room for those that make room for life of mother? If so, you might be a 2ker (watch out).

    Like

  65. vdm, m, nothing phobic about it.

    I find the passing of the mint endearing.

    Though I have always wondered about the implicit message sent by giving out candy so children can endure the sermon.

    Like

  66. DG-
    Kevin, truth be told several of those statements originated from the Chaplains committee which is the right wing of the OPC. Lots of commissioners were against the statements but since the proposals usually come wrapped in the swaddling clothes of Christian nationalism, taking said statements on could bring you before the committee on Un-American activities.

    It never ceases to amaze me how deeply this is now rooted in our culture, almost universally. I know very few traditionally-minded lay Catholics who are free of it – Rao in NY, Coulombe in LA, Matt at the Remnant, Vennari at CFN, EM Jones in South Bend, Ferrara of the Catholic Lawyers Association.

    Of these, only Matt in St. Paul is not originally from Philly-NJ-NYC. Perhaps the urban experience helps? Are the Reformed who don’t succumb to it also typically from a specific area?

    Like

  67. Zrim-

    Kevin, wow, but do you make room for those that make room for life of mother? If so, you might be a 2ker (watch out).

    I found myself in agreement with a short account of 2k Jed gave a couple of weeks ago, but don’t know enough to say either way.

    What do you mean by “make room for” -?

    Like

  68. Kevin, I mean are you tolerant of those who like you claim to oppose abortion but unlike you make an exception for life of mother? It’s the holding of two ideas like these at once in one’s head that suggests a 2k-ready mind.

    Like

  69. Zrim –

    “Toleration” has a few meanings (just did a quick search)- originally it meant patiently enduring physical pain, then enduring with patience things which are disagreeable but non-physical. More recently it has meant not employing one’s power to interfere with the actions of another one doesn’t agree with.

    “Pro-life-except” people give me a headache- we have a duty to believe in accordance with what is true. I hope that I will endure them with patience, since I have no choice but to put up with what I can’t change (and I recognize I am unlikely in the extreme to ever have any power over these people).

    What if I did have power? I would use it, justly I pray, and as I would ask those with power to use it to end what is a great scandal. For example, “pro-life-except” CINOs should be admonished, and if inveterate, excommunicated. I suggest those in other religious groups do likewise.

    Since I consider abortion clearly to contradict with “Thou shalt not kill,” then I see an assertion it is in any case permissible as a heresy.

    Aquinas has a “fun” passage which is relevant:

    Should heretics be tolerated?
    On the part of the Church […] there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but “after the first and second admonition,” as the Apostle directs:

    after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death.

    For Jerome commenting on Galatians 5:9, “A little leaven,” says: “Cut off the decayed flesh, expel the mangy sheep from the fold, lest the whole house, the whole paste, the whole body, the whole flock, burn, perish, rot, die.

    Arius was but one spark in Alexandria, but as that spark was not at once put out, the whole earth was laid waste by its flame.”

    Do I agree the ‘secular tribunal’ (SCOTUS?) should put people to death for advocating abortion? Seems rather strong a response. Perhaps that’s my ingrained American liberalism.

    In any case, if our courts are going to put people to death for what they advocate, I think I (and you?) are in a much worse position than pro-aborts.

    I wonder whether the professional embryophobe is still watching (just occurred to me that posting the company’s initials probably attracts the automated search algorithms).

    Like

  70. Zrim
    Posted August 21, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink
    Kevin, I mean are you tolerant of those who like you claim to oppose abortion but unlike you make an exception for life of mother? It’s the holding of two ideas like these at once in one’s head that suggests a 2k-ready mind.

    Actually, you just made the 2k mind look schizophrenic, which is the critique of it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink

    The exception for the life of the mother is quite logical–a question of self-defense.

    Like

  71. (Apologies for the formatting error)

    Tom-

    The exception for the life of the mother is quite logical–a question of self-defense.

    Except ‘self-defense’ requires an unjust attacker. An embryo isn’t attacking.

    If I am careening in my car toward a cliff on a narrow road and save myself by choosing to drive into a family standing by, that isn’t self-defense, it is manslaughter.

    Of course a mother has a specific obligation to her child, which makes it worse.

    Lawyers present can probably come up with more closely analagous cases than I can.

    Like

  72. Kevin in Newark
    Posted August 21, 2015 at 6:20 pm | Permalink
    (Apologies for the formatting error)

    Tom-

    The exception for the life of the mother is quite logical–a question of self-defense.

    Except ‘self-defense’ requires an unjust attacker. An embryo isn’t attacking.

    Both are innocent. The baby poses a threat, albeit unintentionally.

    You’re standing on a cliffedge. Someone trips, grabs onto you. You can’t hold on. Unless you shake them off, you’ll both go over. The person who tripped can’t be saved either way; the only question is whether both of you die.

    Look, if my baby could live even if I die in the process, I’d like to think my decision would be clear, and I’d accept death, even happily, if it saved the life of my child. But I can’t say that ethically or even morally I can make that decision for someone else. I’m not certain enough. The natural right of self-defense is indisputable.

    Then there’s this stuff. Oy.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem

    Like

  73. WebMD

    In a normal pregnancy, your ovary releases an egg into your fallopian tube. If the egg meets with a sperm, the fertilized egg moves into your uterus to attach to its lining and continues to grow for the next 9 months.

    But in up to 1 of every 50 pregnancies, the fertilized egg stays in your fallopian tube. In that case, it’s called an ectopic pregnancy or a tubal pregnancy. In rare cases, the fertilized egg attaches to one of your ovaries, another organ in your abdomen, the cornua (or horn) of the uterus or even the cervix. In any case, instead of celebrating your pregnancy, you find your life is in danger. Ectopic pregnancies require emergency treatment.

    Most often, ectopic pregnancy happens within the first few weeks of pregnancy. You might not even know you’re pregnant yet, so it can be a big shock. Doctors usually discover it by the 8th week of pregnancy.

    Ectopic pregnancies can be scary and sad. The baby probably can’t survive — though in extremely rare cases he or she might.

    Like

  74. You don’t get two lives out of the situation. Preserve the mother’s and you have one. It’s a wooden and cold ideology that would not preserve the mother.

    Like

  75. Kevin, so no to toleration? But you may make a good eeeevangelical with that word-study-missing-forest-for-trees stuff.

    Like

  76. To say or not to say………………………..I can’t imagine and I would not, and I’m not interested in any contrary personal testimony of miracle babies, insist or try to bind my wife’s or any other’s conscience to attempting, much less obliging them, to try to carry to full term an ectopic pregnancy. The action lives somewhere between cruelty, stupidity and abuse or wherever those may all intersect.

    Like

  77. Muddy- the article admits there is a chance (without quantifying likelihood) that the baby alone or mother alone or both can survive. While I don’t think stats (or even possibility of survival) at all bear upon the morality in this case, I would be interested to know them. This is exactly what medical research should be engaged in.

    Tom-

    Ethical questions can get very messy and painful even when theoretical, still more when lived.

    You’re standing on a cliffedge. Someone trips, grabs onto you. You can’t hold on. Unless you shake them off, you’ll both go over. The person who tripped can’t be saved either way; the only question is whether both of you die.

    Look, if my baby could live even if I die in the process, I’d like to think my decision would be clear, and I’d accept death, even happily, if it saved the life of my child.

    I thought first in reading your case of my own child. I am as sure as a man can be I would never kick him off if he were clinging to me, even were there no reasonable hope he could be saved, even in light of responsibilities to others nearby (to make the case more complex).

    But I can’t say that ethically or even morally I can make that decision for someone else. I’m not certain enough. The natural right of self-defense is indisputable.

    I still think ‘self-defense’ requires an attacking agent, not just uncontrollable circumstances.

    Perhaps not always someone with intent to do ill is required- trying not to be exotic, but if all I have is a grenade and a hunter is about to shoot my child dressed as a deer, I throw. Perhaps I need to clarify “attacker” or there is another term.

    Then there’s this stuff. Oy.

    I love it (the more sophisticated cases). It’s a shame casuistry ever got a bad name.

    Like

  78. Zrim
    Posted August 21, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink
    Tom, double think, huh? But as I said, your political correctness, i.e. group think, is precious.

    Unresponsive, then ad hom. I accept your surrender.

    Like

  79. Kevin in Newark
    Posted August 21, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink
    Muddy- the article admits there is a chance (without quantifying likelihood) that the baby alone or mother alone or both can survive. While I don’t think stats (or even possibility of survival) at all bear upon the morality in this case, I would be interested to know them. This is exactly what medical research should be engaged in.

    Yes. Perhaps the better question than these abstractions.

    “When it comes to the case of the life of the mother, you have to look at the individual situation,” Carson replied. “Recognize that that is largely a spurious argument, because we have advanced so much in medicine these days that that situation rarely occurs.”

    He is the second candidate to explicitly reject an exception on the grounds of maternal mortality in a week. During last Thursday’s debate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said that “there are many other alternatives” to abortion “that can also protect the life of that mother. That’s been consistently proven.”

    Doctors in the United States and around the world, especially Ireland, have agreed that physicians must attempt to save the lives of both mother and child.

    Hundreds of medical professionals have signed the Dublin Declaration on Maternal Health, which states, “As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion – the purposeful destruction of the unborn child – is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.”blockquote

    Tom-

    “You’re standing on a cliffedge. Someone trips, grabs onto you. You can’t hold on. Unless you shake them off, you’ll both go over. The person who tripped can’t be saved either way; the only question is whether both of you die.

    Look, if my baby could live even if I die in the process, I’d like to think my decision would be clear, and I’d accept death, even happily, if it saved the life of my child.”

    I thought first in reading your case of my own child. I am as sure as a man can be I would never kick him off if he were clinging to me, even were there no reasonable hope he could be saved, even in light of responsibilities to others nearby (to make the case more complex).

    We agree on the personal level, and why I tend to reject “Trolley Problems.” Where there is hope, there is life.

    “But I can’t say that ethically or even morally I can make that decision for someone else. I’m not certain enough. The natural right of self-defense is indisputable.”

    I still think ‘self-defense’ requires an attacking agent, not just uncontrollable circumstances.

    In the cliffedge scenario above, I cannot bring myself to condemn the person who saved himself rather than die needlessly. The person clinging to him was Schrödinger’s Cat, I suppose.

    Perhaps not always someone with intent to do ill is required- trying not to be exotic, but if all I have is a grenade and a hunter is about to shoot my child dressed as a deer, I throw. Perhaps I need to clarify “attacker” or there is another term.

    “Then there’s this stuff. Oy.”

    I love it (the more sophisticated cases). It’s a shame casuistry ever got a bad name.

    All roads lead to Aquinas. [Or away…]

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/11/hey-kids-free-casuistry.html

    Like

  80. Yo Grim, if you can’t follow an argument, maybe you ought to pipe down for a change.

    It’s pretty much understood that when the foundations are being destroyed, writing a public letter to those busy doing the destroying is not high on anybody’s list here. It certainly isn’t on mine right off the bat.

    That said, the ongoing discussion around here, whatever the OP’s, seems to go like this:

    We don’t judge the world.
    SSM is legal in the world.
    Ergo the church is not SCOTUS’s penpal shut up and bake the (wedding) cake
    or suffer a 2k beatdown is the approved 2k party line.

    OK, (pay attention closely, same argument, different circumstances) then why not rent to PP?

    Or, when does ‘not judging’ morph into enabling/participating/compromise?

    Of course, some think that so much bumpersticker bullshtick.
    Fine. They’re entitled to their opinion.
    Capiche?

    Next.

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  81. TVD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink

    Doublethink -simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct often in distinct social contexts. Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance — thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.

    morning proof text: Psalm 86:11; James 4:8

    Like

  82. if you’re suggesting a double standard is afoot, remember that some of OURC’s critics are URC.

    R2k is built on double standards. So its natural that a hyphenated mind could whack on little OURC but pull punches on the OPC, where one’s bread is buttered. Par for the selective course.

    As far as “OURC critics” that are URC, I know of only one. That would be you. Can you point to others?

    Like

  83. vdm,m if you read books you might have noticed this conclusion to chapter 9 of Between the Times on the social-gospel efforts of the OPC:

    If CUTS embodied a certain social awareness among Orthodox Presbyterians during a period of unrest in the United States, it also represented a significant departure from the church’s outlook prior to 1960. First generation Orthodox Presbyterians had been jealous to guard the denomination’s against participation in non-Reformed endeavors. Second generation Orthodox Presbyterians, as the experiment with CUTS demonstrated, were not no so particular. One reason for the difference might be an evolving and better understanding of ecumenicity. Just as likely is the effect of a desire for the church to be relevant and influential in ways that have a direct bearing on society. Indeed, the formal Social Gospel of American Protestantism emerged and prospered at the same time as the ecumenical movement in the United States. Between 1970 and 1995 roughly, although on a much smaller scale, the OPC experienced the effects of social activism on the meaning of Orthodox Presbyterianism.

    Sure, an author could say more if he were Donald Trump. But writing an authorized history is a different proposition.

    I do think the selectivity is all yours. When’s the last time you criticized anything Dutch (or Dutch wannabe’s like Rabbi Bret)?

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  84. vdm,m if you read books

    Yeah, among them being the goose chase you sent me on scouring your biography of Machen for his praise of Neo-cal worldview & Christian education. Fooled me once.

    I do think the selectivity is all yours. When’s the last time you criticized anything Dutch

    Perhaps I missed your criticism of the OPC’s 1993 appeal to President Clinton and 2010 Letter to the Department of Defense. But I’ll be happy to reconsider your selectivity if you mock Rev. Cassidy’s OPC church when you get down there. Still, I’m betting on the crickets.

    And true, I don’t go around criticizing “the Dutch” (but have criticized the *theology* of folks who happen to be Dutch– can you say Van Drunen & Tuininga?). But then again, ethnicity is not the point for me, unlike Dutchophobia is for you.

    Like

  85. Tom, another instance of how can a guy so smart be so dumb?

    BS Bob, yeah, why not? Do you have more than political correctness, i.e. a “thus saith the Lord” to forbid me?

    Ali et al, try making your case without committing reductio ad hiterlum.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum

    Mark, I could but I prefer to let them speak for themselves. Still, wouldn’t it be more telling if more particular URCs followed suit (or jumped on the OURC bandwagon)? So far, I don’t see much beyond a fistful of FB likes and high-fives.

    Like

  86. vdm, m, you continue to display your illiteracy. From chapter 11 of Calvinism: A History:

    These differences prevented a handful of the CRK congregations and pastors from entering the merger of the Secession and Doleatie bodies. On June 17, 1892 delegates from each church gathered in Amsterdam to participate in a Uniting Synod which would mark the beginning of the new church body. All of the Doleantie’s approximately 300 congregations entered the united communion. On the other side, only three of the almost 400 Afscheiding congregations stayed out of the merger. These dissenters were able to retain their name without legal haggling. The merged church took the name, the Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland (GKN). This ecclesiastical reformation was hardly the culmination of Kuyper’s life and activities. He still had almost three decades to live and by the turn of the twentieth century his success as a politician would move him into the office of the Netherlands’ Prime Minister. In other words, within the larger scope of Kuyper’s career his work as a churchman was secondary. Even so, herding the diverse strands of Dutch Reformed Protestantism into a relatively coherent whole took a man with the stamina, energy, and genius displayed by the remarkable Kuyper.

    #sideshowbob

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  87. Of course, you already know I read that book. As I said, the hyphenated mind can allow all sorts of contradictions and double standards. Suppress your Dutchophobia when books sales are on the line and historians are looking over your shoulder, but let the phobia leak out here among your blog followers.

    So what’s that again about you wanting me to criticize the Dutch?

    Like

  88. I could but I prefer to let them speak for themselves. </i

    It must be whispering behind OURC's back since I've not seen a public peep from the usual URC suspects.

    Still, wouldn’t it be more telling if more particular URCs followed suit

    If more URC’s followed suit, it wouldn’t remove your objection. You’d just be objecting to more URC’s following suit.

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  89. Suppress your Dutchophobia when books sales are on the line and historians are looking over your shoulder, but let the phobia leak out here among your blog followers.

    Being a card carrying member of the dgh-can-do-no-wrong fan club, I must have missed the “dutchphobia”. Alas…I guess I’ll have to hate all things dutch now. Oh well, I never really like Heineken that much anyway.

    Like

  90. Ali
    Posted August 22, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Zrim
    Posted August 21, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink
    “Kevin, I mean are you tolerant of those who like you claim to oppose abortion but unlike you make an exception for life of mother? It’s the holding of two ideas like these at once in one’s head that suggests a 2k-ready mind.”

    Actually, you just made the 2k mind look schizophrenic, which is the critique of it.

    TVD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink

    Doublethink -simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct often in distinct social contexts. Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance — thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.

    morning proof text: Psalm 86:11; James 4:8

    I’m glad somebody got it–although you’re not the one who needed it. 😉

    Like

  91. Mark, you’re right, it wouldn’t remove my objection. But how does the silence help your cheerleading? Silence isn’t actually what arises when most are inspired. It’s the response of the at least unsure.

    But keep those pom-poms high and that painted on smile wide. Go religion!

    Like

  92. Ali, it’s not double-think. Rather, it’s the ability to make distinctions and see nuances where highly ideological minds do not. To tell – force! – a woman to endure a pregnancy in the Fallopian tube where the fetus cannot long survive, thereby risking her health or life is itself a violation of the 6th commandment under which we are to preserve life. Frankly, this is not highly nuanced but something akin to common sense and decency. And, BTW, a politician who would not allow this is too deeply ideological to be trusted as President.

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  93. PS I am puzzled at how often “2K thinking” describes positions that are simply freed from political or Kuyperian ideology. But if it’s 2k to think like that, sign me up.

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  94. “I’ll have to hate all things dutch now.”
    That’s the spirit! Go, team!

    Yep… just finished grinding up all my tulip bulbs and melting down my dutch oven. I’m off to burn all my orange t-shirts.

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  95. So the 1993 and 2010 statements to the magistrate must have been the OPC’s Kuyperian political/ideological hiccups. Of course, Dr. Alan Strange could lay that premise to waste, so better not to mention them. Why take the fun off a hypocritical poke at OCURC?

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  96. just finished grinding up all my tulip bulbs and melting down my dutch oven. I’m off to burn all my orange t-shirts.

    Go make Darryl proud of you.

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  97. MVDM, I know it can be foggy looking through those presupps all the time but you shouldn’t need 2k to see that there is more than one conversation here.

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  98. Mark,

    What sticks out to you as a clear example of a contradiction or double standard that is derived from a 2k theology?

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  99. muddy, “I am puzzled at how often “2K thinking” describes positions that are simply freed from political or Kuyperian ideology.”

    ding

    Add Roman Catholic convert apologists

    double-ding

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  100. vdm, m, actually, since Dr. Strange is a student of Hodge and Hodge was a proponent of the spirituality of the church — who argued against the Old School endorsing the federal government in 1861 — I’m pretty sure Dr. Strange would have my back on the chaplain — wait for it — saber rattling.

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  101. vdm, m, look what I found:

    Perhaps it is best to end by re-focusing more sharply on the distinction of the church and state by examining the nature and limit of the relative powers of each. In brief, the state wields the sword and the church exercises the keys (even as the family the rod). It is given to the state to maintain order in civil society, being an encouragement to those who do good and a terror to those who do evil (Rom. 13:1-7). It is given to the church to evangelize and disciple, in short, to address that which pertains to the spiritual lives of its members and to maintain biblical doctrine, government, worship, and discipline among them (Matt. 28:18-20). The church gives expression to its doctrine in its confessions of faith and catechisms and to its government, worship, and discipline in its church order, which includes a form of government, book of discipline, and directory for public worship, all of which serve as reflection on and application of the Word of God. Our Form of Government (FG) in its opening chapters (1-4, especially) clearly sets forth these things about the nature and exercise of church power, especially chapter 3.

    In distinction from the nature and exercise of church power in the Roman Catholic Church, “all church power,” according to FG 3.3, “is only ministerial and declarative.” The Roman communion views church power as magisterial and legislative, and the Roman church claims the right to “bind the conscience by making laws on the basis of its own authority,” (FG 3.3) there being no necessity that “all … decisions should be founded upon the Word of God” (FG 3.3). In distinction from the nature and exercise of state power, “all church power is wholly moral or spiritual. No church officers or judicatories possess any civil jurisdiction; they may not inflict any civil penalties nor may they seek the aid of the civil power in the exercise of their jurisdiction further than may be necessary for civil protection and security” (FG 3.4). Here we have the clear distinction of church and state and the relative authority of each under God. A few modest comments about how the two might relate to one another have also been offered. Let me conclude by observing that of all that we have worked out in our theology, the precise relationship that the church and state bear toward one another warrants continued work and prayer.

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  102. Zrim-

    Kevin, I mean are you tolerant of those who like you claim to oppose abortion but unlike you make an exception for life of mother? It’s the holding of two ideas like these at once in one’s head that suggests a 2k-ready mind.

    Kevin, so no to toleration? But you may make a good eeeevangelical with that word-study-missing-forest-for-trees stuff.

    What’s “eeeevangelical” about consulting the tresor de la langue francaise (tlfi) and Perseus Project (for latin) to check etymology? You’re “logocentric” – no?

    I’m tolerant in the sense I don’t seek power beyond my (almost nonexistent) authority in the matter. I can talk, I can vote, I can teach my child. Beyond that, I put up with what I can’t change.

    Yes, I guessed what you meant, but your original question does indeed look like doublethink, or suggest a double-hearted position, or a double standard. Whatever it is, it is two, not one- it doesn’t obviously cohere.

    There is indeed a City of God and a City of Man (if that’s the basis for 2k), but they meet in the Christian. One is our guide in the other, through reason built on the Logos, in charity.

    If this is more of what Muddy (I think) called Kevin’s 3k, so be it, I at least think it doesn’t entail a divided self.

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  103. Mud, that’s a dud.
    Think Hobby Lobby.
    Whatever the civil magistrate says it’s all good.
    If cannibalism is legal, hey no prob.

    Grim. Don’t go Erik Charter on me.
    Nice way to avoid the question.

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  104. Muddy-

    ‘Living creatures in the image of God,
    the objects of God’s particular providence and care,
    being prepared by God for the responsibilities and privileges of postnatal life,
    which Scripture obligates us to treat as human persons,
    given by God as a blessing to their parents,
    if medical grounds demonstrate that preserving the mother’s life requires it,
    can be destroyed by voluntary abortion.’
    http://opc.org/feature.html (kc’s assemblage)

    Ali, it’s not double-think. Rather, it’s the ability to make distinctions and see nuances where highly ideological minds do not.

    I take the OPC position to be that ensoulment is at conception: unborn children are “being prepared by God for the responsibilities and privileges of postnatal life.” If “Scripture obligates us to treat [them] as human persons”, then how does it follow that they “can be destroyed by voluntary abortion” -?

    Further, you say a mother would be ‘risking her health or life.’ We still have no stats, just wiki, webmd, and the Dublin Declaration (900 doctors signing) via Tom; but we know we would be bringing death to a non-aggresor in the case of abortion, to “Living creatures in the image of God,
    the objects of God’s particular providence and care.”

    To tell – force! – a woman to endure a pregnancy in the Fallopian tube where the fetus cannot long survive, thereby risking her health or life is itself a violation of the 6th commandment under which we are to preserve life.

    It is not violating the plainest possible interpretation of a commandment, how ever unfortunate the circumstances. Killing is warrented in numerous cases, but the OPC conclusion stands apart from its premises. There is an exception to man’s duty to care for “objects of God’s particular providence and care” -?

    Even if we can’t fathom how, is it not true that children are always “given by God as a blessing to their parents” – even in an ectopic pregnancy? If not, then what is the ensouled mini-man – a curse?

    Frankly, this is not highly nuanced but something akin to common sense and decency.

    Ok, so I have a ‘cold and wooden ideology’, am ‘unable to make distinctions and see nuances’, and lack ‘common sense and decency’; to me new charges all, for what it’s worth.

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  105. Thanks for making my point, Darryl. Aside from Dr. Strange citing Kloosterman (a Dutchman!), you have this:

    Thornwell argued against those in the church who would condemn slavery as unbiblical and call for Christians to repent of slaveholding. He argued that it was a violation of the spirituality of the church for the church to condemn slavery and thus insert itself into what he claimed was a political question.

    Hodge, however, objected to the notion that “the action of the state, however inconsistent with the Word of God, could not be testified against.” In fact, Hodge maintained that this “new doctrine” of the spirituality of the church (as developed by Thornwell), placed a “muzzle” on the mouth of the church, keeping the church from “exercising one of the highest and most important prerogatives.”

    The OPC (eg.1993 & 2010), Rev. Cassidy and OCURC are with Hodge.

    You’re with Thornwell’s “muzzling”.

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  106. vdm, m, yes, I have for lo these many years seen neo-Calvinists running to Princetonians for support and encouragement.

    Not.

    And if you want to reject Machen, that’s your spirituality-of-the-church phobia:

    In the second place, you cannot expect from a true Christian church any official pronouncements upon the political or social questions of the day, and you cannot expect cooperation with the state in anything involving the use of force. Important are the functions of the police, and members of the church, either individually or in such special associations as they may choose to form, should aid the police in every lawful way in the exercise of those functions. But the function of the church in its corporate capacity is of an entirely different kind. Its weapons against evil are spiritual, not carnal; and by becoming a political lobby, through the advocacy of political measures whether good or bad, the church is turning aside from its proper mission. . . .

    Go ahead, condemn this statement, I dare you. And finding some neo-Calvinist trope in Machen’s corpus does not count. You can’t hide behind some other quote. Step up Dutch-American man.

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  107. Zrim: do you make room for those that make room for life of mother? If so, you might be a 2ker (watch out).

    that’s ‘2k’ ? maybe part of the confusion is the various 2k definitions bandied about?

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  108. Kevin, there’s logocentric and then there’s being wooden. Logocentrists know the difference.

    But while your humility is appreciated when it comes to having political power, why doesn’t that humility apply to having political views I wonder. To the extent that most pro-lifers make an exception for life of mother, your intolerance seems hard liner. That’s fine, but have you considered that you enjoy the benefits of being tolerated yourself?

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  109. Ali, the point was that 2k exercises theological intolerance but ideological tolerance. Maybe you’ll say that’s just more doublethink, but if you enjoy the American arrangement where there is no religious test for political practice (or citizenship) and religious believers are allowed to affirm or deny their faith and practice without any threat of political molestation, then you might think of going back to the drawing board.

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  110. @ Kevin: I’m in process of getting stats for you. The two relevant stats are,

    (1) Given a diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy, what is the likelihood of maternal fatality if untreated? If treated?

    (2) Given a diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy, what is the likelihood of fetal survival?

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  111. @jeff How are the stats relevant here? My intuition says they aren’t. From a 2k perspective, since the Bible doesn’t tell us what the state should do, the church should be silent on the political question. From a liberty of conscience standpoint, since the Bible doesn’t tell us how self preservation factors in with dangerous pregnancies, it seems that stats don’t have much bearing on how the believer navigates these issues. But maybe I am missing something here? Wouldn’t be the first time!

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  112. @Kevin there is an (in?)famous thought experiment you might have encountered. I would be interested in your thought. You are walking home and are knocked out. You wake up to find out you have been hooked up to a famous violinist. You are free to go about your business, but if you disconnect yourself from the violinist, before his treatment ends, he will die. Are you justified in disconnecting yourself? If it is likely he will die anyway, does it change your calculus? How much risk must there be for you before you would be justified in cutting ties?

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  113. Newark, but I haven’t called you a conspiratorialist yet. (“PP is reading this blog…”)

    But I can’t retract what I said. You discount contrary allegations of fact (online medical information) but then assert the possibility of miracle births, likely based on hearsay testimonials. I should think it would be more honest of you to simply say facts don’t matter and you will always have your same position even if it did always results in the death of the mother, ie., you would always accept two deaths over one death for the sake of your abstract principle.

    But Jeff, being more patient than I, is willing to engage this point. Go prove me wrong.

    Then maybe you can clarify this from your church:

    [From the reply of the Holy Office to the Bishop of Sinaboa, May 4, 6, 1898] *

    3338 III. Is a laparotomy licit, when it is a matter of an extrauterine pregnancy, or of ectopic conceptions?

    The reply is:

    To III.That when necessity presses, a laparotomy is licit for extracting ectopic conceptions from the womb of the mother, provided, insofar as it can be done, care is taken seriously and fittingly of the life of the fetus and that of the mother.

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  114. SDB, I don’t get how 2k makes facts irrelevant. Are you talking about church proclamations? Because from the POV of a personal decision, I sure do want to know if there is a 0% or 90% chance of a fetus maturing in the Fallopian tube.

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  115. Jeff-

    Thanks, although I’ll repeat that I don’t the stats bear on the morality of the case here.

    Nevertheless, if they are based on studies which allow for different types of ectopic pregnancies, other possible treatments introduced, and other relevant variables (whatever they may be), and are credibly analyzed, it would be interesting to know. Even if it is .01%. It would also be interesting to know the impact of medical progress- any improvement in the rates over the last, eg, 5-10 years?

    Also, I’m working on a spreadsheet regarding your Qs on the other thread.

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  116. @mg whether the risk is 1% or 99%, it isn’t clear to me the church should opine on a legal exception. I might say the same for the church’s moral guidance of members. If it violates your conscience to kill your baby if it threatens your life, then it is sinful. While I think the Bible allows abortion to save the life of the mother, it doesn’t spell out acceptable risk. That seems like one of many contingencies that would inform particular cases. Broad stats aren’t so useful.

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  117. “I don’t the stats bear on the morality of the case here.”

    Indeed, for you not even the basic math of 2-1= 1 or 2-2=0.

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  118. SDB, thanks. I’m primarily discussing personal decision-making. I haven’t read the OPC report on abortion.

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  119. Zrim-

    Kevin, there’s logocentric and then there’s being wooden. Logocentrists know the difference.

    I await enlightenment. I don’t pretend to understand logocentrism. I would think it would include a concern for careful use of words and concepts anchored in truth (natural or revealed), and encourage useful distinctions in the meaning of “tolerate”).

    But while your humility is appreciated when it comes to having political power, why doesn’t that humility apply to having political views I wonder.

    You moved from a specific case to a general statement regarding “political views”- I think abortion is more fundamental than politics (mothers shouldn’t kill their children), although it has secondary political ramifications (in the deprioritization of society’s orientation toward future generations, which is a problem in economic areas as well). You might not find me intolerant on political views proper.

    That’s fine, but have you considered that you enjoy the benefits of being tolerated yourself? To the extent that most pro-lifers make an exception for life of mother, your intolerance seems hard liner.

    So I should cease to advocate the truth as I see it out of gratitude to a society which celebrates free speech? I take that to be the very heart of Americanism (or, the Enlightenment as expressed in Anglo-American lands, presented as universal truth).

    What is the point of freedom-to-speak-the-truth-but-not-that-anything-but-that -? (Whatever ‘that’ should be). How is that coherent?

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  120. SDB-

    While I think the Bible allows abortion to save the life of the mother, it doesn’t spell out acceptable risk.

    Can you point me to where you see it does so? I’ve not encountered that argument.

    Muddy-

    Newark, but I haven’t called you a conspiratorialist yet. (“PP is reading this blog…”)
    If you posted and tracked your social media links, you might also see that “someone from PP looked at your profile.”

    But I can’t retract what I said. You discount contrary allegations of fact (online medical information) but then assert the possibility of miracle births, likely based on hearsay testimonials.

    Did you look at the Dublin Declaration participants? I didn’t take the time to study it any more closely than the webmd article, admittedly. Neither is worthy of prima facie dismissal.

    I should think it would be more honest of you to simply say facts don’t matter and you will always have your same position even if it did always results in the death of the mother, ie., you would always accept two deaths over one death for the sake of your abstract principle.

    If you re-read my comments to you, you’ll note I did so instead of questioning my honesty.

    But Jeff, being more patient than I, is willing to engage this point. Go prove me wrong.

    Seeing stats would just be intelligent people learning together, I hope- I wouldn’t see it as evidence for either the pro-life-strong or pro-life-except positions (although you would, and it therefore could be used to get people to cast aside arguments prioritizing stats in the unlikely case a significant percentage of either mothers or babies survive).

    Then maybe you can clarify this from your church:

    You’re reading that wrong. It means ‘can you attempt an early surgical birth (not normally permissible, only when necessary) in this case?’

    Here is my proof as to how it was understood at the time:

    I give you the following Magisterial statement specifically addressing the issue:
    To the Question:
    “Whether it is at any time permitted to extract from the womb of the mother ectopic fetuses still immature, when the sixth month after conception has not passed?”
    The reply is:
    In the negative, according to the decree of Wednesday, the 4th of May, 1898, by the force of which care must be taken seriously and fittingly, insofar as it can be done, for the life of the fetus and that of the mother; moreover, with respect to time, according to the same decree, the orator is reminded that no acceleration of the birth is lict, unless it be performed at the time and according to the methods by which in the ordinary course of events the life of the mother and that of the fetus are considered.”

    From the reply of the Holy Office to the Dean of the faculty of theology of the University of Marienburg, March 5, 1902

    “Still immature” equals “not able to survive post-procedure,” with 6 months as a rule of thumb.

    So this not approving abortion. It is approving somewhat extraordinary surgical techniques. Possibly new and somewhat dangerous ones- the letter you quoted was from 117 years ago… Now that’s fishing for inconsistency in medical matters.

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/breaking-news-the-magisterium-explicitly-addresses-ectopic-pregnancy/

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  121. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 23, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink
    And finding some neo-Calvinist trope in Machen’s corpus does not count.

    Of course it does, just as you argue the Vatican against the Vatican. You’re quoting Machen against the Princetonians as though he’s an infallible pope.

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  122. Newark, a fetus in the Fallopian tube can’t be there until viability, so your spin that “extracting ectopic conceptions” means delivering viable babies makes the Q & A absurd.

    “the letter you quoted was from 117 years ago.” So it’s my fault that your church declares what is it not competent to address?

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  123. “Newark, a fetus in the Fallopian tube can’t be there until viability, so your spin that “extracting ectopic conceptions” means delivering viable babies makes the Q & A absurd.”

    Oh, wait a minute, I forgot that facts don’t matter. I guess it’s all about coherence of ideas. Never mind.

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  124. Kevin, yes, logocentrism is concerned for a careful use of language, but that hardly entails getting mired in multiple meanings of a word at the expense of the larger point.

    You may think abortion is more fundamental than politics, but since the pro-life movement and its promoters have chosen to politicize abortion, it comes across as a tad self-righteous to suggest being beyond its politics. And so, personal views and political views have to learn to co-exist and one must make adjustments. While my own personal view opposes cases of rape and incest, I am willing to tolerate those who affirm it, both personally and politically. Contrary to popular pious opinion anymore, compromise is in fact not a four-letter word. It’s a function of humility. So, no, it isn’t that you “should cease to advocate the truth as you see it out of gratitude to a society which celebrates free speech.” It’s that you should perhaps learn a little humility and give space to those who don’t see everything the way you do, even if you have the power to disenfranchise them, which may actually be the better test for just how tolerant one is. It’s one thing to say you tolerate because you have no power to do otherwise, another to tolerate even when you do.

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  125. Muddy-

    Newark, a fetus in the Fallopian tube can’t be there until viability, so your spin that “extracting ectopic conceptions” means delivering viable babies makes the Q & A absurd.

    “the letter you quoted was from 117 years ago.” So it’s my fault that your church declares what is it not competent to address?

    Oh, wait a minute, I forgot that facts don’t matter. I guess it’s all about coherence of ideas. Never mind.

    It looks to me like doctors (perhaps at Catholic hospitals) were unsure about the morality of a procedure, so they asked their bishop, who asked the Vatican (perhaps because he was unsure, perhaps he wanted his boss’s authority behind the decision, perhaps he was asking on behalf of other bishops as well- this was before national bishops conferences became a major vehicle ).

    The Vatican’s job is to judge morality, not science. It said only viable life (i.e., not the “still immature”) could be removed early, only if necessary, and only after 6 months, and both the mother’s life and baby’s are a concern. Seems pretty reasonable to me. It would be interesting to know what P&R taught at the time.

    As for the science, perhaps the scope of “ectopic” has changed; perhaps doctors were trying to indirectly get permission for abortions. The Vatican gave the moral direction and skipped the science, as is proper.

    As for “PP is watching you,” Nielsen’s Buzzmetrics and Google’s Wildfire (or successor technology) scan the web constantly looking for keyword references for PR purposes (I interviewed at Buzzmetrics about 5 years ago). Given all the press, they probably had an intern click a link, saw the blog, and spent about 5 min checking the site out. I imagine we look relatively harmless, but thought others might find it interesting.

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  126. Zrim-


    since the pro-life movement and its promoters have chosen to politicize abortion, it comes across as a tad self-righteous to suggest being beyond its politics.

    It became a political issue when eugenicists clamored for its legality and worked behind the scenes to change the law. I don’t think one joins a movement or becomes a promoter by having an opinion, sharing it, and voting. Depends how you strictly you define ‘movement,’ but for the moment I’ll skip the analysis and defer if you insist.

    And so, personal views and political views have to learn to co-exist and one must make adjustments. While my own personal view opposes cases of rape and incest, I am willing to tolerate those who affirm it, both personally and politically.

    ‘Tolerate’ in what sense? The same sense I do- no unjust acts against others-, since I presume you also have no authority or power to do otherwise? Then we’re agreed on the practical.


    It’s that you should perhaps learn a little humility and give space to those who don’t see everything the way you do

    Not sure what you mean by “give space” or where the accusation of pride comes in.

    even if you have the power to disenfranchise them, which may actually be the better test for just how tolerant one is. It’s one thing to say you tolerate because you have no power to do otherwise, another to tolerate even when you do.

    The only ones with power to tolerate or not in this sense are those who make and enforce laws. If I were in government, I would act in every just way to prohibit activity I viewed as harmful to the common good- the key is to act justly and with prudence.

    The Grand Duke of Lichtenstein recently followed his convictions regarding abortion in refusing to promulgate a permissive law. He lost a measure of power as a result. I take that as a model of virtue in governance in unfortunate circumstances; he made a point, which I hope will (someday) bear fruit.

    Since when is toleration a virtue? I would call it an unfortunate necessity in a less-good society.

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  127. vd, t, no it doesn’t count until you try to account for the one AND the other. To say that everything is Christian and everything has religious significance (which Machen said) and then say that the church should stay out of politics and that Communists have as much a right as Roman Catholics and Protestants do to freedom of expression requires some kind of “explaining to do.” The neo-Calvinist love to quote the one side but not the other. The challenge is to account for either the inconsistency or find some way of putting the two sides together.

    As for my quotes from Roman Catholic sources, I don’t have to explain them. The apologists do. Like you. Simply saying that they are bad Roman Catholics doesn’t count, especially when the people talking are not Michael Sean Winters or vd, t but — wait for it — the very bishops who are supposed to protect the church from error.

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  128. Kevin,
    Looks like you have a pretty intense conversation going already. It seems to me that the bible allows killing to save the lives of others and perhaps one’s self. It doesn’t say one way or the other whether one can terminate a pregnancy in order to preserve one’s life. Following Paul’s advice about whether it is permissible to subsidize idolatry by purchasing meat sacrificed to idols, barring explicit prohibition by scripture (and obeying these is hard enough) one is free to follow one’s conscience. To be sure, the “elective” killing of one’s baby is always forbidden by scripture. Scripture does not provide guidance on what to do in the case when the abortion preserves the life of the mother.

    I think the question I posed to you about the violinist is a helpful thought experiment for framing how one understands one’s responsibilities to preserve life. It is particularly apropos to the question of abortion in the case of rape. From a political standpoint, I don’t think you could ever get an abortion prohibition that didn’t allow exceptions for rape. But once that becomes an acceptable exception in law, it is becomes nearly impossible to meaningfully enforce a ban (unless one wants to turn doctors into investigators).

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  129. “Since when is toleration a virtue? I would call it an unfortunate necessity in a less-good society.”

    So says every totalitarian, mass-murdering despot in the history of the world. Don’t vote for Kevin of Newark.

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  130. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 23, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, no it doesn’t count until you try to account for the one AND the other.

    Yeah, I knew this one would sting, Butch. Horrible when you’re held to your own standards, methods and tactics, eh?

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 23, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink
    And finding some neo-Calvinist trope in Machen’s corpus does not count.

    Of course it does, just as you argue the Vatican against the Vatican. You’re quoting Machen against the Princetonians as though he’s an infallible pope.

    You quote Machen like a pope.

    To say that everything is Christian and everything has religious significance (which Machen said) and then say that the church should stay out of politics and that Communists have as much a right as Roman Catholics and Protestants do to freedom of expression requires some kind of “explaining to do.” The neo-Calvinist love to quote the one side but not the other. The challenge is to account for either the inconsistency or find some way of putting the two sides together.

    Your challenge is to reconcile Machen with Machen: Mr. Van Der Molen caught you cold.

    Neither am I sure your version of “Two Kingdoms” theology is even congenial to Machen’s. Prohibition is not the same as abortion or even analogous except on a surface level. The former is not a violation of the natural law.

    Absent some better Machen quote-mining on natural law or abortion, I remain unsure Machen is even on your side. As New Jersey points out, issues such as the killing of the unborn are pre-political, not just “political.”

    As for my quotes from Roman Catholic sources

    Unless they’re authoritative Catholic Sources, not just crap you Google up

    I don’t have to explain them.

    you can’t explain them, because they’re worthless. You spread misinformation. This is bad.

    The apologists do. Like you. Simply saying that they are bad Roman Catholics doesn’t count, especially when the people talking are not Michael Sean Winters or vd, t but — wait for it — the very bishops who are supposed to protect the church from error.

    Don’t quote anything below a bishop. And then realize that everything any bishop said in 2000 years of the Catholic Church is not claimed to be infallible, and indeed is stipulated in advance not to be.

    You continue to blur the line between the rare claims of papal infallibility and the sensus fidei. Such a blurring amounts to great dishonesty and/or ignorance and you should stop.

    Hit the books, Dr. Hart. You have no excuse quoring amateurs when the real thing is a click away.

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_cti_20140610_sensus-fidei_en.html

    2. The sensus fidei and the magisterium

    a) The magisterium listens to the sensus fidelium
    b) The magisterium nurtures, discerns and judges the sensus fidelium
    c) Reception

    3. The sensus fidei and theology

    a) Theologians depend on the sensus fidelium
    b) Theologians reflect on the sensus fidelium

    4. Ecumenical aspects of the sensus fidei

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  131. sdb-

    Kevin, Looks like you have a pretty intense conversation going already.

    I fear they are both again convinced I’m a hopeless loony, and expect they are bored of the conversation by now.

    It [the Bible] doesn’t say one way or the other whether one can terminate a pregnancy in order to preserve one’s life […] barring explicit prohibition by scripture […] one is free to follow one’s conscience. To be sure, the “elective” killing of one’s baby is always forbidden by scripture. Scripture does not provide guidance on what to do in the case when the abortion preserves the life of the mother.

    I don’t think we have warrant to distinguish these cases, either from Scripture or natural law. Why put “elective” in quotes? In both cases, one elects to abort the baby.

    I think the question I posed to you about the violinist is a helpful thought experiment for framing how one understands one’s responsibilities to preserve life.

    9 months is a long time to be tied to a stranger- and I have duties to my own family and society which would suffer. Still, surely we would be morally obliged to give someone a few hours of our time, perhaps a couple of days. Probably not 50 years.

    If we were tied to our President, though, the obligation would be greater than to the violinist- I would see it as part of our duty to the State. If it were my wife, I’d be looking at 9 months or 50 years in bed.

    So the extent of one’s obligation to the violinist depends on the other obligations one has in life. I don’t see a one-size-fits-all answer.

    But the mother has a duty to her child – of the responsibilities God gives us, that to our children is one of the greatest. I can’t see how abortion in any circumstances is consonant with such a duty.

    It is particularly apropos to the question of abortion in the case of rape.

    I have never understood this proposed exception – what does the baby have to do with the circumstances of its generation?

    From a political standpoint, I don’t think you could ever get an abortion prohibition that didn’t allow exceptions for rape. But once that becomes an acceptable exception in law, it is becomes nearly impossible to meaningfully enforce a ban (unless one wants to turn doctors into investigators).

    We can work for the less good, then try for greater goods. It doesn’t occur to me to consider legislative or political strategy in the matter, though. I’m more interested in conversations and voting rightly.

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  132. Muddy-

    [kc:] “Since when is toleration a virtue? I would call it an unfortunate necessity in a less-good society.”

    [Muddy:] So says every totalitarian, mass-murdering despot in the history of the world. Don’t vote for Kevin of Newark.

    I have to admit I didn’t see that one coming; but how you are you going to top it next time? I may have precluded the sacrificing children charge in this thread.

    As you’re guessing uncharitably into my mind and don’t seem interested to comment on or investigate whether the OPC’s position as expressed on the site makes sense, perhaps we should call it a wrap on this particular interaction.

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  133. It is particularly apropos to the question of abortion in the case of rape.

    I have never understood this proposed exception – what does the baby have to do with the circumstances of its generation?

    The ethical, not so much moral–and this serves to illustrate the difference between the two–reasoning is that because the sex act was non-consensual [and this often goes to incest too because the young girl was unable to give informed consent to the sex act]–the mother [victim] has incurred no ethical obligation to the child.

    This doesn’t address the fetus’s “right to life” but it does free her from any ethical obligation to it, ethics being about justice, not morality. Ed Feser, per Aquinas [and contra the neo-Thomists], would argue you need a metaphysical dimension to invoke natural law.

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/10/whose-nature-which-law.html

    [Master class. The point being that ethics/justice is not synonymous with morality/natural law.]

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  134. vd, t, yes, the magisterium listens to the sensus fidelium until the apologists tell us that the magisterium gave us the Bible.

    It’s all arbitrary.

    Which is why it suits you. You can go to church. Or you don’t have to.

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  135. @Kevin
    I put elective in quotes to clarify I wasn’t talking about election in general, but to what the medical community would distinguish between elective as opposed to optional (i.e., one for medical necessity versus one as a means of back up birth control).

    “I have never understood this proposed exception – what does the baby have to do with the circumstances of its generation?”

    I guess that is why the violinist analogy is relevant, though perhaps I didn’t describe it in enough detail. I guess the idea is that the dying violinist didn’t request that his fans knock you on the head and hook you up to him. The implication being that if it is OK for you to kill the violinist by disconnecting yourself from him (because of other duties you have), it is OK for a mother to kill her fetus (at least in the case of rape) by disconnecting herself. I’m not sure duty to one’s children is sufficient to alter the analogy.

    Ultimately, thinking about what behavior we are going to use the power of the state to proscribe, we need really clear, distinct, answers for the public. Those answers must also appeal to “public reason” (in the Rawlsian sense) to have legitimacy in a pluralistic society such as ours. Drawing a distinction between the violinist who we may kill because we didn’t consent to connection and have a lesser obligation to (children>extended family>neighbors>enemies?) and a baby who’s conception was not consensual is pretty blurry.

    Just in the interest of full disclosure, I believe that killing a person in the fetal stage of development is wrong, but that it can be justified to save the life of the mother. I can also understand how one might justify it in the case of rape, but I am very uncomfortable with that (I might differ with you on our obligation to our neighbor – the sickly violinist).

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  136. Go ahead, condemn this statement, I dare you.

    As usual, you don’t provide the context of this quote from Machen’s 1933 “The Responsibility of the Church in Our New Age”. You don’t address his defense of religious liberty in the face of collectivist laws that infringe on that liberty (eg. in education). This is part of the backdrop to his concern in your highlighted quote about the church becoming *merely* a political organization that abandons fundamental biblical doctrines (like the Federal Council of Churches of Christ). You don’t mention Machen calls the church to be “radically intolerant” of other religions, lest it be “no Christianity at all.”

    finding some neo-Calvinist trope in Machen’s corpus does not count.

    As Mr. Van Dyke pointed out, you can’t just hide the parts of Machen you can’t reconcile and hope no one notices. I’d guess the Neo-Calvinist “trope” you have in mind is stuff like this– from that very same article, no less:

    “The true Christian Church will seek from the State liberty for all parents everywhere to bring up their children in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, will bring up its own children in accordance with the Word of God, and will try to persuade all other parents, becoming Christians, to bring up their children in that same Christian way.”

    So Machen has the Church asking the State for freedom for Christian Education. That’s gotta sting your Secular Faith.

    The problem is your selective quoting creates a Machen who would take exception to WCF Article 31, which allows the Church to make humble petition to the magistrate. Maybe he did, and I missed that part in your biography.

    And you still didn’t address the OPC’s 1993 & 2010 communications to the magistrate. If you are to be believed, those must be instances of the OPC turning its back on Machen the Muzzler as you construct him. But let’s not discuss that when it’s so easy to just mock OCURC’s humble petition for religious liberty.

    Poor Machen. Having to be defended by a Neo-Calvinist Dutchman (double ouch) against a biographer who treats him like a sock puppet.

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  137. I would have thought “Don’t vote for Kevin of Newark” would have sufficiently signaled that something less than 100% seriousness was going down. Having said that, I’m not that interested in talking about the OPC position paper on abortion. OPC position papers are not like RC councils so it’s not as crucial to parse them phrase by phrase.

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  138. vdm, m, now you want context? As if you and Dr. K. have ever thought about the context before condemning 2k and chalking it up to Dutchphobia.

    Seeking liberty from the state doesn’t cohere with “my secular faith.” Hey, vdm, m, ever heard that I’m a libertarian? Seeking liberty from the state is where it’s at.

    But you think a state that promotes the true religion is going to grant liberty? That makes a lot of sense. In case you haven’t noticed, neo-Calvinist are not big fans of libertarianism.

    I did address 1993 and 2010. They were the products of Christian nationalism which always trumps discernment about chaplains.

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  139. DGH, ding on the chaplains. When they ask for something it really does feel like any resistance is akin to professing Communism. So we also couldn’t say “no” to Bowe Bergdahl Day despite his tenuous ties to the OPC. That didn’t go so well.

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  140. dm, m, now you want context?

    Written to the guy who always points out you won’t provide context. As in ignoring context in turning WCF Art. 31 adhering Machen into your own put-a-muzzle-on-it Thornwellian image.

    Shouldn’t you let Machen rest in peace already?

    As if you and Dr. K. have ever thought about the context before condemning 2k and chalking it up to Dutchphobia.

    I’ve never thought Dutchophobia accounts for all of R2k, although in your case it leaks out more prominently. Van Drunen does a better job at hiding the heritage self-loathing. But as many have observed, there are plenty other categories of disordered thinking that help account for it.

    Seeking liberty from the state doesn’t cohere with “my secular faith.” Hey, vdm, m, ever heard that I’m a libertarian? Seeking liberty from the state is where it’s at.

    I did address 1993 and 2010. They were the products of Christian nationalism which always trumps discernment about chaplains.

    So the OPC’s two appeals to Christian liberty=undiscerning jingoism.

    Darryl Hart’s appeal to Christian liberty= discerning libertarianism.

    Right.

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  141. vdm, m, it’s not Dutchphobia. Maybe you’ve noticed (since you’re an active reader) that I write about Roman Catholicism, more probably than about Kuyper.

    So as Jeff Cagle explained somewhere here, the issue is hype. Groups that hype, groups that engage in pretense, inspire my jaws to tighten. In case you haven’t noticed, Dutch-American Calvinists have done a lot of breast beating in their time. And now that I’ve familiarized myself with the Dutch-African (Afrikaans) experience, I’m sensing that Dutch pride goes pretty far. Maybe it’s the napoleon complex thing, small nation needs to overcompensate for size. But if you could do a little intropsection in good Afscheiding fashion, you might spare yourself some of those knocks on the head from repeated steps on rakes.

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  142. <vdm, m, it’s not Dutchphobia.

    Sure. None of that bigotry in this:

    Dutch-American Calvinists have done a lot of breast beating in their time. And now that I’ve familiarized myself with the Dutch-African (Afrikaans)experience, I’m sensing that Dutch pride goes pretty far. Maybe it’s the napoleon complex thing, small nation needs to overcompensate for size.

    Still suffering from transference on the rake hits.

    You find Machen’s exception to WCF Art. 31 yet?

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  143. Mark, I call fubar on this Dutchphobia smoke screen of yours. Are you to the discussion what the disruptors are to the Sanders campaign–on a high horse so high you can’t recognize help?

    You did at one time agree with Chris Gordon that “we should not place ethnic traditions on par with the confessions.” Well, how are we to do that if not staying critical on the tendency to protect the cultural heritage, right or wrong? But it also looks like you’ve maintained this silly push back that the criticism owes to some subtle bigotry. What some others who share your ethnicity are quite able to see is that cultural heritage is a dangerous thing to rely on when it comes to spiritual matters. If it helps, I maintain that Little Geneva is one of the most attractive cities I’ve known–you people have some terrific genes, and more seriously have given the world some grade A cultural and religious goods. But you can’t skate on that forever. At some point you need to do some seriously critical thinking about the heritage.

    http://christopherjgordon.blogspot.com/2011/01/evangelical-egotists-wooden-shoes-part.html

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  144. zrim, good catch.

    And the funny thing, the more I study the Dutch — even the Afrikaans — the more impressed I am with the Dutch Calvinist resilience and vigor. For the Afrikaans to insist on racial purity is not good, granted. But their chops in resisting the British should warm the hearts of all European-Americans of non-English speaking dissent. I admire the Boers even while I have to disapprove of their racial theory.

    But you know the drill — certain parts of the Dutch-Calvinist world are sacred cows. You touch them and you’ve committed blasphemy.

    w-w with a vengeance.

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  145. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 24, 2015 at 6:27 am | Permalink
    vd, t, yes, the magisterium listens to the sensus fidelium until the apologists tell us that the magisterium gave us the Bible.

    It’s all arbitrary.

    Even if true, you conflate theory and practice. But that’s not theology, it’s sociology, and defective thinking–the infidelity of ancient Israel did not make the Torah false. Man’s infidelity to God’s word is the rule, not the exception, and does not reflect poorly on God.

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  146. Mark Van Der Molen
    Posted August 24, 2015 at 7:54 am | Permalink
    Go ahead, condemn this statement, I dare you.

    As usual, you don’t provide the context of this quote from Machen’s 1933 “The Responsibility of the Church in Our New Age”. You don’t address his defense of religious liberty in the face of collectivist laws that infringe on that liberty (eg. in education). This is part of the backdrop to his concern in your highlighted quote about the church becoming *merely* a political organization that abandons fundamental biblical doctrines (like the Federal Council of Churches of Christ). You don’t mention Machen calls the church to be “radically intolerant” of other religions, lest it be “no Christianity at all.”

    “finding some neo-Calvinist trope in Machen’s corpus does not count.”

    As Mr. Van Dyke pointed out, you can’t just hide the parts of Machen you can’t reconcile and hope no one notices. I’d guess the Neo-Calvinist “trope” you have in mind is stuff like this– from that very same article, no less:

    “The true Christian Church will seek from the State liberty for all parents everywhere to bring up their children in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, will bring up its own children in accordance with the Word of God, and will try to persuade all other parents, becoming Christians, to bring up their children in that same Christian way.”

    Yo, this Machen dude had balls. His epigones, not so much. What went wrong? How can we help them get their balls back? The fit has hit the shan.

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  147. Zrim,

    You left out the most salient part of my quote. You know, the part that argued against the R2k crowd constantly bashing the Dutch:

    However, it is a mistake to identify 24/7 creation, Christian education, and kingdom theology as uniquely ethnic “Dutch” issues. They’re not.

    Too often I’ve heard a form of this ethnic equation being used to answer those who may not concur that the “folks at WSC” have “injected vitality into the denomination”. My humble suggestion is that if folk want to have some substantive discussion {with vitality!} let’s drop the “blame it on the Dutch heritage” ethnic references. Confessional issues are typically in view, and fair minded people should be able to engage the matter at that level.

    Mimicry of Darryl’s selective quoting method is pretty lame.

    Fubar, indeed.

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  148. “Van Drunen does a better job at hiding the heritage self-loathing.”

    Yikes. I didn’t realize self-loathing came with the 2K package. But I really love my stroopwafels, I promise.

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  149. They aren’t the English, so, there’s nothing running cold in these veins, but, some of the ones I’ve encountered needed RC school recess time.

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  150. There you have it folks, 2K means you are deemed as self-loathing if you are…. what was this point again?

    Talk about a wax nose.

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  151. Mark, “constantly bashing the Dutch”? Only one more committed to the ethnic tradition than the confessions could think 2k is some sort of ethnic bash fest. But I’m only repeating your own words–“I can certainly agree that one should not place ethnic traditions on par with the confessions.” Is that only a ceremonial tip of the hat to what you think you should say, or do you really think that? If so, what would prioritizing the ethnic tradition over the confessions look like? Hint: day schools. Even good 2kers all of a sudden turn neo-Calvinist when it comes to academics.

    Darryl, as I say, great genes but rabid worldview.

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  152. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 24, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, you conflate where no conflaters have conflated before.

    Nice emission, but your bad logic and the defect in your tactics were exposed again.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 24, 2015 at 6:27 am | Permalink
    vd, t, yes, the magisterium listens to the sensus fidelium until the apologists tell us that the magisterium gave us the Bible.

    It’s all arbitrary.

    Even if true, you conflate theory and practice. But that’s not theology, it’s sociology, and defective thinking–the infidelity of ancient Israel did not make the Torah false. Man’s infidelity to God’s word is the rule, not the exception, and does not reflect poorly on God.

    When I bring up your religion going “Lesbyterian,” it’s not that the people have gone gay, it’s that the church has, the theology. Your game is trying to cover that up by attacking Catholics straying from the theology of the Catholic Church, pretending it indicts the theology.

    You want to tell us that the Holy Spirit speaks through Machen and you speak for Machen, fine. But your rap belies that.

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  153. “the infidelity of ancient Israel did not make the Torah false.” But it did illustrate the inadequacy of he law. The infidelity of ancient Israel (sociology) had theological implications by pointing to the need of a new covenant. Your insistence on drawing sharp lines of demarcation between sociology and theology is unwarranted. Theology bears fruit which is described sociologically.

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  154. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 24, 2015 at 10:17 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, well, your religion went Protestant. So when are you going to man up and own how your religion went bad?

    I dig Protestantism. Well, not “Protestantism,” which is a theological and ecclesiastical mess. Why, you Presbyterians can barely stand each other, schism after schism after schism.

    After “Lesbyterianism,”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/03/20/wilmington-lesbian-couple-ordained/25096151/

    how can you ever put your church back together? You can’t. Forget “catholicism” [small “c”]. “Protestantism” is a one-way ticket, Darryl.

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  155. Mark Van Der Molen
    Posted August 24, 2015 at 11:37 pm | Permalink
    as I say, great genes but rabid worldview.

    The O.L. attack on Machen continues. Poor Machen.

    You should continue to argue the real Machen against Darryl Hart’s Machen, if you can.

    I think you’ve already scored here. Dr. Hart might want to join Machen where he was quite assertive.

    “The true Christian Church will seek from the State liberty for all parents everywhere to bring up their children in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, will bring up its own children in accordance with the Word of God, and will try to persuade all other parents, becoming Christians, to bring up their children in that same Christian way.”

    Things are not going well on this front…

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  156. sdb,

    “But it did illustrate the inadequacy of he law. The infidelity of ancient Israel (sociology) had theological implications by pointing to the need of a new covenant.”

    I fail to see how this inadequacy was repaired or the theological implications met in the NC in your view, given you explicitly reject the infallibility of the magisterium. Thus your statement: “The nation of Israel was also of divine origin, but the scriptures trumped the traditions the leaders of that institution established. Further, folks outside of that institution had faith and were commended for it. The fact that the gates of hell won’t prevail (sounds like ultimate) does not mean that the church cannot fall into error or develop traditions of men that tickle the ears of those in her care. When she does (and she has), the plumb line we have with which to draw her back is scripture.”

    It seemed nothing changed in this regard for the NC for you. Israel had Scripture as sole final authority (according to you), NC just has more Scripture, and that’s about it. Couple this with the other side of the coin with Darryl and others statements in the Kuyperians thread about their constant damnable sinning every second and I fail to see how the NC does not remain inadequate in the context of infidelity.

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  157. vdm, m,

    Remember this, at least: the things in which the world is now interested are the things that are seen; but the things that are seen are temporal, and the things that are not seen are eternal. You, as ministers of Christ, are called to deal with the unseen things. You are stewards of the mysteries of God. You alone can lead men, by the proclamation of God’s word, out of the crash and jazz and noise and rattle and smoke of this weary age into the green pastures and beside the still waters; you alone, as ministers of reconciliation, can give what the world with all its boasting and pride can never give — the infinite sweetness of the communion of the redeemed soul with the living God. (“Consolations in the Midst of Battle,” Selected Shorter Writings, p. 205)

    I’ll take that w-w.

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  158. vd, t, as I say, if I have to own the PCUSA, you have to own Protestantism. If Presbyterianism produces Lesbyterianism (you seem to be proud of that one, Mr. Rotarian), then Roman Catholicism produces Protestantism.

    You can’t have it both ways (though you do by defending Roman Catholicism and not being Roman Catholic).

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  159. vd, t, you think vdm, m is interested in defending the rights of gay parents to rear their children in freedom from the state? Muslim parents?

    Your animus skirt is showing.

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  160. James Young, mechanical Christianity alert! I want my calculator to spit out precise answers and only an infallible magisterium will give it to me (even when they are the printer that won’t stop printing).

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  161. @cvd
    Jesus and the holy spirit. Big difference. Now Jesus is our prophet, priest and king. Church is universal…not restricted to Israel. We have unmediated access…no need for a priest to intervene for the forgiveness of sins. He is the sole head of the church and he gave us his Word. Hebrews is a great book! Church is now universal (not restricted to a tiny nation) and open to us gentiles.

    But point to Tom was that, following Hebrews, failure of Israel pointed to inadequacy of the law. In other words sociology matters.

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  162. sdb: But it did illustrate the inadequacy of he law.

    shouldn’t it be said the law was perfectly adequate for God’s purposes

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  163. DG, then embrace the whole worldview of Machen (he’s not your personal Charlie McCarthy):

    God has given us certain powers of mind, and
    has implanted within us the ineradicable conviction that these powers
    were intended to be exercised. The Bible, too, contains poetry that
    exhibits no lack of enthusiasm, no lack of a keen appreciation of
    beauty. With this second solution of the problem we cannot rest
    content. Despite all we can do, the desire to know and the love of
    beauty cannot be entirely stifled, and we cannot permanently regard
    these desires as evil.

    Are then Christianity and culture in a conflict that is to be settled
    only by the destruction of one or the other of the contending forces?
    A third solution, fortunately, is possible – namely consecration.
    Instead of destroying the arts and sciences or being indifferent to
    them, let us cultivate them with all the enthusiasm of the veriest
    humanist, but at the same time consecrate them to the service of our
    God.
    Instead of stifling the pleasures afforded by the acquisition of
    knowledge or by the appreciation of what is beautiful, let us accept
    these pleasures as the gifts of a heavenly Father. Instead of
    obliterating the distinction between the Kingdom and the world, or
    on the other hand withdrawing from the world into a sort of
    modernized intellectual monasticism,
    let us go forth joyfully,
    enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.
    “Christianity & Culture” , p.4.

    Which helps explain why Machen could affirm humble petitions to the magistrate to be subject to God’s rule, contra Thornwell and D.G. Hart.

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  164. Mark, what is your Machen point? That he had neo-Calvinist impulses? So what? 2kers have always been forthright about inspired men being also uninspired and thus no need to harmonize their bodies of work, which is to say when they’re right (2k) we agree and when they’re out to lunch (neo-Cal) we disagree, which is to say we take Kuyper’s lead in “not hiding the fact that we disagree with Calvin, our Confessions, and our Reformed theologians.” Can you do the same?

    We oppose this Confession out of complete conviction, prepared to bear the consequences of our convictions, even when we will be denounced and mocked on that account as unReformed.

    We would rather be considered not Reformed and insist that men ought not to kill heretics, than that we are left with the Reformed name as the prize for assisting in the shedding of the blood of heretics.

    It is our conviction: 1) that the examples which are found in the Old Testament are of no force for us because the infallible indication of what was or was not heretical which was present at that time is now lacking.

    2) That the Lord and the Apostles never called upon the help of the magistrate to kill with the sword the one who deviated from the truth. Even in connection with such horrible heretics as defiled the congregation in Corinth, Paul mentions nothing of this idea. And it cannot be concluded from any particular word in the New Testament, that in the days when particular revelation should cease, that the rooting out of heretics with the sword is the obligation of magistrates.

    3) That our fathers have not developed this monstrous proposition out of principle, but have taken it over from Romish practice.

    4) That the acceptance and carrying out of this principle almost always has returned upon the heads of non-heretics and not the truth but heresy has been honored by the magistrate.

    5) That this proposition opposes the Spirit and the Christian faith.

    6) That this proposition supposed that the magistrate is in a position to judge the difference between truth and heresy, an office of grace which, as appears from the history of eighteen centuries, is not granted by the Holy Spirit, but is withheld.

    We do not at all hide the fact that we disagree with Calvin, our Confessions, and our Reformed theologians.

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  165. Memo to Tom:

    We are not in communion with the PCUSA/Lesbyterians and they hate us. If you were/are a Roman Catholic you would be/are in communion with lots of Lesbinuns, Perv Priests, modernist liberals that would make a German blush, Marxist liberationists, bling bishops, and spooky syncretists. But prots are the devil.

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  166. vdm, m, your hostility to libertarianism is showing, which is what finally puts most neo-Calvinists off Machen. If you can defend Communists why not a group legally recognized by the state?

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  167. vdm, m so reconcile that with the quotation I gave earlier. I can reconcile them. All you do is cherry pick. I like this church because it’s Dutch. I’ll go there.

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  168. zrim, vdm, m can’t explain what went wrong with Machen. He had all this rhetoric of going out to conquer and yet he winds up in a marginal seminary and a tiny church. Neo-Calvinists could never figure out how you could be so transformational and then wind up so isolated.

    Wait.

    Maybe something happened.

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  169. CVD,

    To piggyback off of SDB.

    I fail to see how this inadequacy was repaired or the theological implications met in the NC in your view, given you explicitly reject the infallibility of the magisterium.

    The inadequacy is of the law to produce obedience. And that has not been fixed by an infallible magisterium, for would you not agree that many RCs disobey the magisterium?

    It seemed nothing changed in this regard for the NC for you. Israel had Scripture as sole final authority (according to you),

    Well according to you, who had it? The old covenant magisterium? If so, then nothing has changed for you. The obedience of the people? Not true for RCism any more than anyone else. So nothing has changed for you either. You just have more infallible statements to deal with than we do. Looks like we basically only get more Scripture in Romanism as well.

    NC just has more Scripture, and that’s about it.

    Umm, no. As SDB said, we have the final revelation of God in Christ Jesus. We have the Holy Spirit in greater measure. We have the reality of redemption accomplished. We have a Jew-Gentile church that doesn’t require the same home office like it once did in Jerusalem.

    Couple this with the other side of the coin with Darryl and others statements in the Kuyperians thread about their constant damnable sinning every second and I fail to see how the NC does not remain inadequate in the context of infidelity.

    This assumes that the purpose of the NC is to immediately eliminate “damnable sinning every second,” which clearly isn’t the case given the New Testament’s teaching that perfection awaits the age to come. If you want to make it that purpose, then Rome is a failure as well. Does every professing RC at any point have a life free of mortal sin? Can we not find at least one RC at every moment who is guilty of a mortal sin even if we buy the mortal/venial distinction? Of course we can.

    Rome has an overrealized eschatology. Perfection is for the new heaven and earth. The Bible teaches that repeatedly. Your sacramentology doesn’t allow you to say that.

    The NC does not remain inadequate. It has not yet been fully realized. If it has, then where’s your beatific vision?

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  170. 2k adherents, Zrim-

    Re:

    it cannot be concluded from any particular word in the New Testament, that in the days when particular revelation should cease, that the rooting out of heretics with the sword is the obligation of magistrates.

    DG posted this to me awhile back:

    III. [… The Civil Magistrate] has 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 ordainances of God duly settled, administrated, and observed.[6]

    For the better effecting whereof, he has power to call synods, to be present at them and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.

    How does this fit into 2k? Combined with Machen’s call for the consecration of culture and the world and statement that “The true Christian Church will seek from the State liberty for all parents [to teach and evangelize]”, it seems the two have intimate reciprocal duties.

    Machen was out to lunch, the OPC in at least twice advising the US gov operated contrary to its principles, and the WCF misinterprets Scripture?

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  171. Kevin, it’s not there anymore. The American church revised the confession:

    Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; or, in the least, interfere in matters of faith. Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the church of our common Lord, without giving the preference to any denomination of Christians above the rest, in such a manner that all ecclesiastical persons whatever shall enjoy the full, free, and unquestioned liberty of discharging every part of their sacred functions, without violence or danger. And, as Jesus Christ hath appointed a regular government and discipline in his church, no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief. It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretense of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance.

    That’s 2k. Most 2k critics object to the revisions and want to go back to the Erastianism of the original — except if the magistrate is a Democrat.

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  172. I can reconcile them.

    He had all this rhetoric of going out to conquer

    Ah, progress! Good to see dropping the pretense that the neo-Cal worldview Machen didn’t exist.

    and yet he winds up in a marginal seminary and a tiny church.

    And even in light of what happened, Machen held that his tiny church could humbly petition the magistrate. So difficult to figure out, eh, Darryl? Think WCF article 31.

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  173. Is not the issue that the neos and Dutch masters don’t like 2k’s emPHAsis? And the tiny cadre of 2kers would make a difference and enable “us” to TAKE BACK THIS COUNTRY if their “strength” was joined with the heretofore ineffectiveness of neos and evangelicals? Sure, boss.

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  174. DC2016: Who’s saying the church should never petition the magistrate or that she should comply with every conceivable law that might be passed?

    Nobody said so. It’s just that I have my own life and hassles to get trough and can’t work myself up into a Rumpelstiltskenian rage every time everyone on a blog wants to get one of their 26 or so pet causes worried over.

    And then attack me as worse than the enemy because all I can muster is “go team…”

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  175. Chorts, I think the real issue is they want philosophical sleeping pill. They didn’t sign up for the suffering. So, when tension hits, they deal with the ‘fear’ by lashing out, even if just rhetorically. And you’re trying to deprive them of their rhetorical Xanax.

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  176. The various ‘Merican golden eras to which 1Kers harken were dominated or heavily influenced by Unitarians, Deists, mad revivalists, progressives, or liberal mainliners. Beyond the fruited plain they must be thinking of Geneva (only where Servetus would have been given a good talking to or 48 hours in the stocks) or Constantine. But they’re smarter so can (theoretically) do it better this time.

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  177. vdm, m, well have you acknowledged the spirituality of the church Machen? Nope.

    And are you on board with a Machen who advocated petitioning the state for the freedoms of non-Christians?

    Watch out for that rake.

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  178. well have you acknowledged the spirituality of the church Machen? Nope.

    Wrong. As usual, you continue to miss the point that neo-Calvinism and Spirituality Of The Church are compatible. We see it in (the Real) Machen himself!

    But will you acknowledge that Machen’s SOTC (as with Hodge’s) is compatible with a church’s humble petition to the state? No way.

    Still suffering that rake transference.

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  179. DG –

    Kevin, it’s not there anymore. The American church revised the confession: […] That’s 2k. Most 2k critics object to the revisions and want to go back to the Erastianism of the original — except if the magistrate is a Democrat.

    That is very interesting – and while still under the Articles of Confederation (barely).

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  180. Sdb-

    The implication being that if it is OK for you to kill the violinist by disconnecting yourself from him (because of other duties you have), it is OK for a mother to kill her fetus (at least in the case of rape) by disconnecting herself. I’m not sure duty to one’s children is sufficient to alter the analogy.

    But if the limitation of our duty to the violinist (surely we’re obligated to give 2 hours if nothing else is pressing?) is grounded in other obligations, and we apply the same principle to an unwilling mother, then we have to consider the mother’s obligations.

    Ultimately, thinking about what behavior we are going to use the power of the state to proscribe, we need really clear, distinct, answers for the public.

    I propose parental obligation and the non-applicability of self-defense.

    Those answers must also appeal to “public reason” (in the Rawlsian sense) to have legitimacy in a pluralistic society such as ours.

    I take that to be a question of politics and political strategy, which is secondary to the morality of the issue.

    Drawing a distinction between the violinist who we may kill because we didn’t consent to connection and have a lesser obligation to (children>extended family>neighbors>enemies?) and a baby who’s conception was not consensual is pretty blurry.

    I think consent would only apply had we established an obligation by prior consent. This would in any case be subordinate to religious, familial, and state duties (in order of general priority, and depending on our station in life).

    tom- Interesting distinction, I’ll study the link. Feser is a smart one.

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  181. @Ali “shouldn’t it be said the law was perfectly adequate for God’s purposes”
    I don’t think there is any thing wrong with that statement, but I don’t think it is relevant here. I have in mind both Paul’s and writer of Hebrews reflection on the obsolescence of the old covenant. There are things the law couldn’t do and that was reflected in the fruit its covenant community bore. One might say that was the whole point and I would agree.

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  182. Kevin in Newark
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
    DG –

    Kevin, it’s not there anymore. The American church revised the confession: […] That’s 2k. Most 2k critics object to the revisions and want to go back to the Erastianism of the original — except if the magistrate is a Democrat.

    That is very interesting – and while still under the Articles of Confederation (barely).

    Dr. Calvinism: A History has shed less light and more darkness upon the Westminster Confession of Faith than his Catholic interlocutor. His slippery insertion/implicit endorsement of the magistrate if he’s a “Democrat,” is worth noting. Dr. Hart is a “conservative” who blatantly hates Republicans.

    Darryl, you’re so transparent. Oh, you voted for Ron Paul? That alone self-consigns you to the STFU pile. Kevin has nailed you.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink
    Kevin, it’s not there anymore. The American church revised the confession:

    In fact, Darryl, we all know your “Orthodox Presbyterian Church” undid the revisions of 1903

    http://opc.org/CF_old/WCF_orig.html

    when JG Machen was defrocked and went on to form his own [your] “church.”

    Darryl, here’s the connection: Papal Bulls and Reformed “confessions” are each authoritative, but still provisional, subject to revision as man’s understanding of both general revelation [natural law] and special revelation [the scriptures] grows.

    Test everything; hold fast to what is good. This is why God gave you not just a Bible but a brain.

    Dr. Hart gleefully pits papal bulls against each other, but it’s under the false premise that everything a pope or a bishop has ever said was put forth as “infallible.” That’s not right, not how it works, D.

    Papal teachings and your Protestant “Confessions” are both provisional, all subject to further review. Back off, man. Discerning God’s will for man is a cooperative effort, not a hostile one. You are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    That’s the starting point, and it makes you one of the already lucky ones. Proceed from there, out not in.

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  183. vd, t, “Papal teachings and your Protestant “Confessions” are both provisional.”

    Now who sounds like the Lesbyterians.

    And are you so sure that the orchestors of the Inquisition, Crusades, and Edgardo Mortara thought their statements were only provisional?

    Since when did you turn Rome’s statements into the Progressives’ living, breathing, Constitution?

    A liberal in the church and a conservative in politics. Par for the course I guess with those Americanist Roman Catholics.

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