Who's Radical Now?

After lots of push back (at least from some readers) on gay marriage and resistance to it (the Summer of SSM), an attempt to reset the 2k thermostat might be in order.

Once again, a common objection to 2k is that if you don’t oppose same sex marriage or support Kim Davis “the way I do,” then you must really favor same sex marriage and the imprisonment of Kim Davis. It’s the same old problem that J. Gresham Machen faced because he opposed Prohibition. Taking issue with legislation or those who support it is not the same thing as favoring what the legislation opposes. Just because you object to Prohibition (Kim Davis) does not mean you favor drunkenness (political tyranny). The nooks and crannies of politics and legislation don’t allow for such simple calculations. But that doesn’t stop some attorneys from being simplistic (oh the inspirational qualities of Kuyperianism to hyperventilate away complicated matters).

But beyond this besetting problem of Americans (looking beyond the cause to the tactics of pursuing the cause), another obstacle that 2k faces is the charge of cowardice. For some Christians, apparently, serving the Lord and pursuing holiness is insufficient if it is not also creating problems for the wider society. In other words, if Christians try to make accommodations with the new legislative and marital landscape, for instance, they are not being faithful to their Lord. Only if they stand out like a sore thumb can they be counted among the true, the faithful, the holiest.

What needs to be observed about this inclusion of obnoxiousness to the fruit of the Spirit is that it is not the practice we see among some of the heroes of Reformed Protestantism. Did J. Gresham Machen try to be a pain in the neck for the ruling authorities, such as when he objected to the proposed Federal Department of Education? No. He testified before Congress, showed respect and deference in his testimony, and tried to figure out ways for Christians to pass on the faith even in the midst of legal challenges (which is why he supported private Christian schools)?

Or how about Abraham Kuyper? For all of his emphasis on the antithesis and his opposition to political liberalism (read secularization), Kuyper figured out a way to accommodate the diversity of Dutch society such that Calvinists would be able to maintain their faith and associational life even while accepting the presence of Roman Catholics and secular liberals as part of Dutch nation.

The way that previous Reformed leaders have tried to get along in their society — rather than taking the Amish or Islamist option — suggests that the real radicals today are not 2kers but the anti-2kers (RA2K). It is indeed radical to oppose the social and political order. Sometimes it may be necessary. But to make it a badge of Christian faithfulness is not only historically unprecedented but anti-biblical. Peter and Paul preached submission to and honor for the emperor, and Paul said Christians should pray for peace and quiet so they could live out their lives faithfully. But if 2kers employ arguments designed to secure such social stability, we are traitors and deny our Lord.

Funny thing is, we are actually in the majority of Americans:

62 percent of those polled support jailing people for contempt of court; only 15 percent said they opposed it

Of Republicans polled, 64 percent said they supported jailing people for contempt of court

Strong majorities in every demographic category (except for African-Americans) supported jailing people for contempt of court The region where support for jailing them was strongest? The South, Kim Davis’s home region

An overall majority of people (53 percent) believe religious liberty is under threat in America. Four out of five Republicans believe that, and 55 percent of Independents do. The only demographics that didn’t believe that? Democrats, those making over $100K per year, and those living in the Midwest (though in the Midwestern case, it was a plurality).

A slight overall majority (52 percent) believes that elected officials should not be given a religious exemption from doing their job, though the numbers break down along partisan and regional lines. Republicans alone among the political orientations are divided equally.

Majorities in all regions except the South believe elected officials should be required do their jobs regardless of their conscience — and in the
South, the “do your job” faction polled a 47 percent plurality, versus 38 percent of Southerners who believe in the conscience deferment, and 16 percent who aren’t sure.

An overall majority said Kim Davis, in particular, ought to have gone to jail for contempt of court. Interestingly, Republicans, who answered generically that someone in Davis’s position should go to jail, were evenly split when Davis’s name came up.

Big majorities across every demographic category say that Kim Davis ought to resign as a matter of principle. It’s not even close. Only 22 percent of people say she should keep her job and remain defiant

Those numbers may suggest salt that has lost its savor. I actually think it indicates which Christians are on their meds. But it hardly makes us radical.

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86 thoughts on “Who's Radical Now?

  1. I am having trouble sorting out this issue. I have been swinging both directions. The Bible isn’t helping me, as it seems to support both sides. Help!

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  2. Gary, “swinging in both directions” just add another layer of complexity. Let’s not go there. Just read my comments over the last two weeks and the lights will go on like a football stadium at night.

    Or read a gospel + Acts + Romans 13.

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  3. It’s simple Gary, either you post 500 times on here saying “it’s the law blah blah blah, therefore you can’t do anything, in fact start making fun of the looks of the woman” you can read that over the past few weeks or take my summation of it here.

    Or you don’t feel good about any of it and don’t like where things are heading. And no side seems to be a decent answer.

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  4. “Just because you object to Prohibition (Kim Davis) does not mean you favor drunkenness (political tyranny).”

    Why is it so hard to see this is what we’re trying to say?

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  5. Jas, if people can shut their ears and scream they will shut their ears and scream. All they need is a shiny red button that makes all the alarms go off.

    Kent, you “don’t feel good about any of it.” How Canadian of you.

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  6. This is v. helpful. I suppose the antagonism is bred by thinking of antithesis not as ‘in opposition to’ but as ‘in active opposition to’.

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  7. It’s like watching the riots in Chicago at the Democratic convention in 1968, and not feeling too good about the LBJ/Daley side or the Abbie Hoffman side

    And then people you thought were even 2% cool were cheering for the LBJ war side. Really belligerently, getting everything too muddy to believe.

    And in the name of religion to boot in the Davis matter.

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  8. Yes Muddy, Canadians have freedom of conscience, they are allowed to think.

    Unlike that huge percentage of Americans goose stepping around, leading to the abysmal view of your country that everyone else on the planet holds.

    But I can’t go that far just yet.

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  9. It strikes me that the divide here may be as much sociological as theological. After all, evangelicals don’t merely object to those who have opposing views. They also object to those who generally agree with them, but do so in a manner that is more nuanced. In other words, it’s no longer acceptable to say, “The case for A is more persuasive than the case for B.” Rather, one has to say, “A is unquestionably correct, and anyone who disagrees with me is evil.”

    There’s nothing about evangelical theology that requires us deny the existence of uncertainty and to demand that everything have a clear, black-and-white answer. In fact, nothing in Kuyper’s writings suggests that he believed the now-common belief that there’s a singular biblical way to do everything.

    I’d suggest that this futile quest for certainty says more about the movement’s weakness than its strength. After all, if your views are persuasive, you don’t have to go around leveling accusations of heresy against those who disagree with you on ephemeral political issues.

    In many ways, evangelicalism was as much a socio-political movement as it was a theological movement. It represented an effort to restore civic Christianity to cultural dominance, e.g., in a kind of soft-core theocracy. It was a syncretistic admixture of American middle-class populism with revivalistic strands of Christianity. As Molly Worthen noted, inerrancy was never primarily about the veracity of the biblical text; instead, it focused on the veracity of fundamentalist interpretations of that text, especially on social and economic matters. Coming out of the social turmoil of the middle decades of the 20th century, the movement played a necessary stabilizing effect. But such movements require crises (or the threat of crises) to keep people committed. And, for better or worse, the culture simply isn’t plagued with a sense of crisis.

    I would hope that a robust orthodox Protestantism can emerge apart from evangelicalism. But evangelicals seem desperate to discredit that emerging movement. But these obstructions are no sign of evangelical strength; rather, they represent the desperate failings of a movement in the throes of death.

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  10. Or not.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/may/pew-evangelicals-stay-strong-us-religious-landscape-study.html

    Pew: Evangelicals Stay Strong as Christianity Crumbles in America

    Amid changing US religious landscape, Christians ‘decline sharply’ as unaffiliated rise. But born-again believers aren’t to blame.

    Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra [ POSTED 5/11/2015 11:04PM ]

    1) Evangelicals have remained remarkably stable
    Over the past seven years, evangelicals have lost less than 1 percent of their share of the population, holding steady at about 1 in 4 American adults (25.4% in 2014, vs. 26.3% in 2007) and preserving their status as the nation’s largest religious group.

    In contrast, mainline Protestants have lost almost 3.5 percent of their population share and are currently less than 15 percent of American adults, while Catholics lost about 3 percent of their population share and are currently about 21 percent of adults.

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  11. Big majorities across every demographic category say that Kim Davis ought to resign as a matter of principle. It’s not even close. Only 22 percent of people say she should keep her job and remain defiant

    That’s about right. Only a small minority ever have any guts. The rest sit back and let the bad guys take over.

    How can this come as a surprise to you, Dr. History?

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  12. Would Madchen have applied for a gov license to serve as a minister and reported to gov training sessions? Those following him will have to, at least in the UK:

    The strategy, which was supposed to be published in spring this year, has been delayed for months amid deep concern in some parts of government and most of the counter-extremism community about its most radical measure, to ban individuals whose behaviour “falls below the thresholds in counter-terrorism legislation” but which “undermines British values.”

    So religious leaders who have broken no law but ‘undermine British values’ will be banned from serving as ministers.

    And they mean it:

    [Prime Minister] Cameron has said: “For far too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens that as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach.”

    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/religion/britain-plans-registry-of-religious-leaders-will-require-government-specific-training-security-checks

    (Apologies if I missed that this has aleady been discussed)

    If an OPC minister were required to submit recordings of his sermons, character references, and responses to a ‘British values’ questionnaire on an annual or quarterly basis for maintenance of his license, should he comply?

    If he were denied the right to preach, what would the appropriate course of action be:

    Obey the magistrate and fail to publicly proclaim the gospel?

    Defy the prohibition openly and rack up the fines which would no doubt be imposed on the congregation supporting him?

    Instruct OPC members (privately or publicly) to seek to change the law?

    Speak about it to the press?

    Attempt to privately discipline any OPC members in government (hypothetical) who participated in enacting the legislation, or even those who tacitly supported it?

    And are functionaries hired by the state obliged to cooperate with the gov in administering these policies?

    e.g., if the policies seem to be implemented in a way which favors licensing certain religions while denying others (e.g., giving Catholics a pass for beliefs which would cause an Imam to be denied a license), is the administrator obliged to seek consistency in application of the policy – to sincerely do their best to silence those with unapproved values?

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  13. @Kevin

    What’s interesting is that the original Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) includes the following:

    The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath 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.

    It would seem that the Tories are acting in accordance with the WCF. Now in America, the General Assembly revised the WCF. You can compare them here. It provides interesting contextual insight to the establishment clause in the Bill of Rights. For the present discussion, one of the key differences is in the following,

    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.

    The idea that the magistrate should be neutral with regard to Christian denominations is a distinctly American viewpoint (at least by historic standards). It stands apart from the British stance. Machen of course subscribed the the American revisions to the WCF, so I would expect that he would object to the state licensing of ministers, however, I don’t think his British counterparts would take the same stance. Of course, those who did formed “free” churches…many of whom who faced persecution in Britain for not conforming to state licensing laws. The real historians around here can correct my egregious errors if they feel moved to do so, but my sense is that Machen would have recoiled at the idea himself, but he would have opposed discipline for those who registered and those who didn’t.

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  14. Only a small minority ever have any guts.

    Yeah, it takes a lot of guts to answer a pollster you agree with Davis…the pollster my gasp in disbelief after all. Quelled Horreur!!! Or maybe, just maybe, there are principled reasons for thinking what she did was wrong. Chest beating in commboxes (or on cable news) is not productive.

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  15. and in this am’s news….:

    Here’s a way to add some color to your chips and salsa platter: Doritos is producing rainbow-colored chips in partnership with nonprofit It Gets Better. Doritos Rainbows are a limited-edition version of its Cool Ranch-flavored tortilla chips to show the chipmaker’s support of the LGBT community. The chips come in shades of green, blue, purple, red, and orange inspired by colors of the Pride flag (or, perhaps, Skittles’ “taste the rainbow” tagline).

    “There’s nothing bolder than being yourself,” the company declares on the package.

    https://www.yahoo.com/food/taste-the-rainbow-doritos-to-launch-pride-129278336241.html

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  16. So the transformation of sdb from Cagle-like to Muddy Gravel/Zrim-like is fully complete?

    From scientist to stooge in one summer.

    Impressive.

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  17. Kevin, I know some RC’s are Bible-challenged, but why are these questions difficult?

    You do everything you can — short of sin — to keep ministering God’s word (not tradition). And if the gubmint says you can’t preach, then you say while impersonating the apostles, “I must obey God rather than men.”

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  18. “…. Here’s a way to add some color to your chips and salsa platter: Doritos is producing rainbow-colored chips in partnership with nonprofit It Gets Better. Doritos Rainbows are a limited-edition version of its Cool Ranch-flavored tortilla chips to show the chipmaker’s support of the LGBT community. The chips come in shades of green, blue, purple, red, and orange inspired by colors of the Pride flag (or, perhaps, Skittles’ “taste the rainbow” tagline).

    ‘There’s nothing bolder than being yourself,’ the company declares on the package….”

    Uh-oh. Do I detect another Chick-fil-a type boycott in the offing? But let me see, instead of lining up for hours at the drive through window, this will require volunteers to march back and forth in front of retail stores with placards and sandwich boards.

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  19. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 6:27 am | Permalink
    vd, t, you’re bravery is inspiring.

    So’s your’re spelling. ;-P

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  20. sdb
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink
    @Kevin

    What’s interesting is that the original Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) includes the following:

    The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath 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.

    It would seem that the Tories are acting in accordance with the WCF. Now in America, the General Assembly revised the WCF. You can compare them here.

    Whose Calvinism is it, anyway? People quote the early Reformation when it’s useful, and ignore it when it’s not. Nice racket.

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  21. TVD:
    Whose Calvinism is it, anyway? People quote the early Reformation when it’s useful, and ignore it when it’s not. Nice racket.>>>>>>

    Exactly. I was thinking about the cultural milieu at the time of the Reformation. Europe had already been Christianized for a long, long time. It was fairly easy for the Reformers to appropriate what was already a Christian culture. Now, for some reason the regulars at Old Life hate the idea of worldview – even though the college that Dr. Hart works for is all about worldview, but never mind – but the Reformers were steeped in Christian worldview.

    I cannot believe that they would keep silent or tell others to keep silent as our culture slips into greater and greater paganism – which is what is happening as many note. They inherited the culture that stood up to paganism and won.

    If you read the Westminster Confession of Faith and other Reformed and Lutheran confessions and catechisms, you can easily see that the foundation is – [gasp!] – Catholicism. There was no other Christianity in Europe at that time. The Reformers believed they were reforming and restoring Catholic Christianity. Hence the moniker “Reformed”.

    There is more to the history of that time, but basically the Reformers were inheriting the work of others. In fact, they just took over churches, monasteries, universities, and other institutions that were originally Catholic. Now, I am not here to say that they were right or wrong – at least right now. I’m just pointing out the fact that the were not inheriting a pagan culture, but rather a Christian one. Did it need reforming. Of course it did. However, the greatest Catholic reformers stayed in the Church to work from the inside – and yes, I think Luther would have stayed, but things were really chaotic and all that.

    They even appropriate many of the Catholic saints, like Olaf. a.k.a., St. Ikea. [had to throw him in there]

    Part of that Catholic culture included the Catholic teaching on marriage and family life. Of course, Protestants modified it to include divorce, but not all Protestants. Many Protestants still hold to the no divorce, no remarriage after a divorce teaching that reflects the Catholic view

    So, all that to say this. I don’t think that the guys here who argue against Christian worldview and against Christians standing up to our rulers when they are breaking their own laws are the real inheritors of Machen let alone the Reformed movement itself. It doesn’t add up.

    I think these guys need to read a good dose of the Scottish Covenanters to get in touch with their history of civil disobedience. These are not the descendants of John Knox, either, let alone Calvin.

    Now watch the “let’s not get upset” chorus’ heads explode.

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  22. DG-

    Kevin, I know some RC’s are Bible-challenged, but why are these questions difficult?

    You do everything you can — short of sin — to keep ministering God’s word (not tradition). And if the gubmint says you can’t preach, then you say while impersonating the apostles, “I must obey God rather than men.”

    I completely agree with your stated principle (not sure why the Bible swipe is necessary)..

    But let’s assume by way of example a minister who states SSM and all instances of abortion should be made illegal. (I realize the OPC as body teaches neither position, but surely at least 1 OPC minister does). He is denied a license on those grounds (stating publicly a position contrary to British values).

    Obey the magistrate and fail to publicly proclaim the gospel?
    Amend to “the gospel as he understands it.” Perhaps he should be disciplined by the OPC for disobeying the magistrate in these two cases the OPC does not regard as being gospel-determined?

    Defy the prohibition openly and rack up the fines which would no doubt be imposed on the congregation supporting him? Instruct OPC members (privately or publicly) to seek to change the law? Speak about it to the press? Attempt to privately discipline any OPC members in government (hypothetical) who participated in enacting the legislation, or even those who tacitly supported it?

    Could be seen as bringing harm on the OPC- again, warranting disciplinary action?

    And are functionaries hired by the state obliged to cooperate with the gov in administering these policies? e.g., if the policies seem to be implemented in a way which favors licensing certain religions while denying others (e.g., giving Catholics a pass for beliefs which would cause an Imam to be denied a license), is the administrator obliged to seek consistency in application of the policy – to sincerely do their best to silence those with unapproved values?

    Am I correct that your position is that as long as nothing contrary to the official OPC interpretation of the Bible and the 3 Forms of Unity is grounds for denying a license, OPC members should obediently cooperate, including if it results in a banning of Orthodox and Catholic priests from public ministry?

    Indeed, that this would be a positive good (not per the old WCF statement on the magistrate’s role, but per your understanding of Catholic liturgy being displeasing to God), so long as those in conformity with official NAPARC teachings aren’t interfered with?

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  23. The Little Mermaid
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink
    TVD:
    Whose Calvinism is it, anyway? People quote the early Reformation when it’s useful, and ignore it when it’s not. Nice racket.>>>>>>

    Exactly. I was thinking about the cultural milieu at the time of the Reformation. Europe had already been Christianized for a long, long time. It was fairly easy for the Reformers to appropriate what was already a Christian culture. Now, for some reason the regulars at Old Life hate the idea of worldview – even though the college that Dr. Hart works for is all about worldview, but never mind – but the Reformers were steeped in Christian worldview.

    I cannot believe that they would keep silent or tell others to keep silent as our culture slips into greater and greater paganism – which is what is happening as many note. They inherited the culture that stood up to paganism and won.

    If you read the Westminster Confession of Faith and other Reformed and Lutheran confessions and catechisms, you can easily see that the foundation is – [gasp!] – Catholicism. There was no other Christianity in Europe at that time. The Reformers believed they were reforming and restoring Catholic Christianity. Hence the moniker “Reformed”.

    There is more to the history of that time, but basically the Reformers were inheriting the work of others. In fact, they just took over churches, monasteries, universities, and other institutions that were originally Catholic. Now, I am not here to say that they were right or wrong – at least right now. I’m just pointing out the fact that the were not inheriting a pagan culture, but rather a Christian one. Did it need reforming. Of course it did. However, the greatest Catholic reformers stayed in the Church to work from the inside – and yes, I think Luther would have stayed, but things were really chaotic and all that.

    They even appropriate many of the Catholic saints, like Olaf. a.k.a., St. Ikea. [had to throw him in there]

    Part of that Catholic culture included the Catholic teaching on marriage and family life. Of course, Protestants modified it to include divorce, but not all Protestants. Many Protestants still hold to the no divorce, no remarriage after a divorce teaching that reflects the Catholic view

    So, all that to say this. I don’t think that the guys here who argue against Christian worldview and against Christians standing up to our rulers when they are breaking their own laws are the real inheritors of Machen let alone the Reformed movement itself. It doesn’t add up.

    I think these guys need to read a good dose of the Scottish Covenanters to get in touch with their history of civil disobedience. These are not the descendants of John Knox, either, let alone Calvin.

    Now watch the “let’s not get upset” chorus’ heads explode.

    Excellent. The question of who’s the “better historian” remains quite open, although Calvin was not down with Knox.

    OTOH, although Calvin “founded” Calvinism, Knox founded what became the Presbyterian Church in the US. There are so many scratchouts on the Protestant scorecard!

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  24. “Anyone who has watched this video tape .. I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain. This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.”

    – Carly Fiorina

    And somehow this is not supposed to upset us, that PP is actually killing live babies in order to be able to sell the brain. Do you know what that means? Does it bother you at all?

    That little, tiny baby was made in the image of God and fully human, and was murdered so that some godless research organization could have his or her little brain to experiment on.

    This is not a horror movie. This is real. …and you are bickering over who owns the Reformed brand. Unbelievable.

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  25. “They inherited the culture that stood up to paganism and won.” Lewis disagrees, but what does this have to do with British licensing of pastors and the difference between US and british understandings of the relationship between church and state or the ecclesiastical question of the churches authority to punish believers who are insufficiently politically active?

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  26. sdb
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Permalink
    “They inherited the culture that stood up to paganism and won.” Lewis disagrees

    Please, Brother SDB, establish your premise before you go onto the rest. Ariel is kicking serious Old Life ass around here. You’re some sort of scientist or something.

    “They inherited the culture that stood up to paganism and won.”

    Thomas Aquinas also inherited “the culture that stood up to paganism” and brought us all under the love of Christ. Aristotle, ibn-Rushd, Maimonides. Pagan, Muslim, Jewish. All brought under The Incarnation, God becomes man.

    But you already knew that. So does Dr. Hart, who can argue Averroës with the best of them.

    Dr. History mocks her as “Mermaid,” but “The Little Mermaid” is kicking his ass. She even absorbed his petty insults by renaming herself “The Little Mermaid.”

    Darryl, mock me all you want [and I deserve] but mocking her isn’t right. She is the real thing.

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  27. Regarding some specifics like same-sex marriage, this is where SOME 2kers joined their neocalvinist friends in trying to push Christian standards on culture and government in the name of natural law. Then again, some don’t. Other than that, I don’t know what one’s position on same-sex marriage has to do with 2K.

    The contempt of court stats need more nuance. A distinction between saying that those who defy court orders should be imprisoned vs saying that those who defy court orders could be imprisoned is necessary. In addition, support for imprisoning those who defy court orders could be determined on a case by case basis.

    In addition, we could ask about Quakers serving in the Marines. Should Quakers choose to serve in the Marines knowing what Marines could be called to do? If no, then why is that different from saying that Kim Davis should not choose to run for county clerk?

    But another issue goes to how things are phrased. Can Christians really pursue holiness if they don’t try to separate themselves at least some of the corporate sins the society they belong to is committing? Are justice issues like an spiritual honors program Christians can choose if they so wish? Or do we need to be transformed rather than to conform?

    And references to the fruit of the Spirit go beyond which political stands you take to how you relate to others who have different political and theological positions others have.

    Like all theological models, there are problems and inconsistencies in 2K and that indicates deficiencies in those models. Then again, there are contributions 2KT makes and that indicates that the model has touched on some truths. What 2Kers need to be ware of is acting like conservative Lutherans act who believe that their confessions are without error.

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  28. Mermaid, “Europe had already been Christianized for a long, long time.”

    Yes, those Renaissance popes were clearly interested in holiness. Reformation was completely ex nihilo.

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  29. Kevin, you are missing the middle proposition. What a minister declares to be God’s truth is not the same thing as declaring how a civil polity implements such truth (nor whether the civil magistrate needs to follow God’s law for it to be legitimate. I believe ssm and abortion are wrong. That doesn’t mean I think society needs to reflect those truths.

    Heck, the OPC establishes preaching stations in all parts of the world and exists with states and laws that do not follow biblical teaching. Now we expect the U.S. to conform?

    The Bible swipe was important because tradition as a source of religious truth is not going to give you the grounds for resisting tyranny. Rome needs to man up and admit that tradition is not authoritative the way the Bible is.

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  30. Curt, “Are justice issues like an spiritual honors program”

    No, they are like kindergarten. Sometimes you grow up and understand the world is fallen and always will be.

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  31. Have I missed something? I didn’t think Davis has a problem issuing ssm licenses; she just doesn’t want her name used in print as the issuing authority. Isn’t that the difference between Polycarp paying taxes to Caesar, and refusing to proclaim Caesar as lord? That seems more analogous to me than Machen and Prohibition. I bet a poll asking “Do you think rebellion against Caesar should be punished” would have been answered yea by the majority. The YouGov poll quoted is similar; the questions beg answers. Of course the majority thinks you shouldn’t be without consequence for defying a court order. Ask specific questions about MLK or Rosa Parks and you’re going to get a different answer about defiance. The Davis issue really has been controlled in public opinion because of those holding the microphone, and not the realities of the circumstances.

    Not advocating that it should be made into a “badge of Christian faithfulness.” However, doesn’t this post get close to alluding that Christian response should be driven by public opinion?

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  32. DG –

    I understand your distinction between stating that an act is immoral and stating that the immorality should be prohibited by law. I recognize you don’t believe there is a Biblical case for prohibiting SSM all abortion. However, I am positing someone who disagrees with your analysis and yet is currently in the good graces of the OPC / NAPARC.

    My question – which I think reflects a scenario likely to come soon – is (with somewhat pedantic clarity):

    Let’s say an OPC minister believes that a compelling Biblical case can be made that either or both SSM and abortion (in all cases) should be prohibited, and therefore that he is compelled to preach on it publicly. These beliefs are, admittedly, contrary to official OPC (all of NAPARC?) Biblical and WCF interpretations. I take it they are currently tolerated opinions, though, which can be preached on publicly?

    If PM Cameron or any other government’s officials were to deny him a public ministry license, would the OPC/NAPARC instruct him to conform in his public behavior (Sunday preaching) to the government-determined standards as long as they were not in conflict with the OPC / NAPARC official positions?

    I think that yes, the OPC / NAPARC understanding of the role of the state (at least as I’ve picked it up here) would compel them to discipline this ‘errant’ minister, who is resisting the state’s prohibition on publicly teaching that SSM &/or abortion should be (in all cases) illegal.

    Further, that OPC / NAPARC members (and presumably all Christians faithful to their principles) who work in government should assist the state in carrying out its new policies- e.g., denying licenses to preach, and perhaps in the future, to teach or serve in other occupations.

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  33. Justin… it’s ok … things have now moved on to just mocking Davis’ appearance (The Afterglow of Mencken Day post)

    verse today: God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7

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  34. Justin, no, the post suggests that the folks who oppose 2k are the non-mainstream ones.

    Polycarp is irrelevant. Was he a clerk? Did his proclaiming the Lord prevent him from doing his job? I bet he’d resign.

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  35. Kevin, the OPC doesn’t have policies about this. The ethos is a mix of Christian right indignation and spirituality of the church let it go. If the state actually gave ministry licenses, we might have a policy. But if history is any example, the feistier elements of the Scottish Presbyterian tradition would suggest OP’s would be all over insubordination to protect the crown rights of Jesus over his church.

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  36. DG –

    If the state actually gave ministry licenses, we might have a policy. But if history is any example, the feistier elements of the Scottish Presbyterian tradition would suggest OP’s would be all over insubordination to protect the crown rights of Jesus over his church.

    In the UK, Cameron’s “Extremism Bill” makes this an issue requiring consideration.

    How would insubordination to protect the crown rights of Jesus over his church be reconciled with with 2k principles as you understand them, given the government would say it is protecting British values and not addressing religion; and that the issues of prohibiting SSM and abortion (all cases) are not defined under OPC/NAPARC-WCF as having religious grounding?

    You see 2k as the mainstream for Reformed ministers, yes – meaning those advocating insubordination in this case would be ‘non-mainstream’?

    Cameron’s “Extremism Bill” closely associates (conflates?) ‘speaking contrary to British values’ with ‘non-violent extremism’ with ‘terrorism’ – it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a next step requiring the reporting of ‘extremist’ activities to the government. Indeed:

    Next month, from nursery schools to optometrists, health services to universities, all will be legally obliged to monitor students and patients for any sign of “extremism” or “radicalisation”.

    Seumus Milne, The Guardian, June 24 2015 – so this is in place now.

    Would your understanding of 2k then have OPC/NAPARC members out of obedience to the government report ministers who teach publicly that SSM or abortion should be illegal? Not for jailing or fines (that’s not on the table), just for denial of permission to preach (Cameron’s avowed policy).

    I would think you would want to say “no, OPC members should not report ‘non-mainstream’ ministers”; I would just like to understand whether there is a rational basis for a “no”- which at present, perhaps out of ignorance, I don’t see arising from your principles.

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  37. D.G.,
    I’m suggesting that those who support 2k are only in appearance of being mainstream because of the media template. For example, the actual voters have responded to issues like abortion and ssm over and over again, consistently rejecting them at the state ballots. They are now considered ‘law of the land’ because of 1 swing vote at the Supreme Court, not because of the will of the majority (and if they were non-popular decisions, like the current view of Plessy v Ferguson, … or if the court had voted the opposite way on the ssm issue… descent would be celebrated). However, I do agree that the populace is moving in that direction.
    Machen is no more relevant if being a clerk is the standard for making analogies to Davis.
    If Davis’ response as a clerk is the topic, then there is a lot more to consider in the relationship of civic participation and Christianity. Does Christianity prevents you from participating in the civic process via civil disobedience on ethical grounds? You say “sometimes it may be necessary.” Is that just when it violates your religious conscious? Is there any time when an elected official should practice civil disobedience instead of just resign, even narrowed to a Christian perspective?

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  38. SDB,

    What’s interesting is that the original Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) includes the following:

    I wonder whether the American WCF adherents would say the 1646 position is incorrect, or whether it expresses a policy permissible in some societies (Puritan England, Presbyterian Scotland) but not others (the US).

    It would seem that the Tories are acting in accordance with the WCF.

    In the case of Cameron’s policy I don’t think they would frame it that way – they would say they are interested in public security, not religious truth. They want to prohibit religious groups from expressing certain opinions (explicitly anything qualifying as ‘non-violent extremism’ or ‘terrorism’, but also “behaviour which ‘falls below the thresholds in counter-terrorism legislation’ but which ‘undermines British values'”).

    So I don’t think one would be able to charge the government is interfering with religion if ministers are only denied permission to preach as a result of speaking on subjects not defined as religious by the bodies they belong to. The only grounding for a definition of what would count as a violation in that context I see in the words you quote is: no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof [discipline in his church], among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief”.

    But if banning SSM and abortion (all cases) are not articles of faith of the OPC/NAPARC, then the government isn’t interfering with OPC/NAPARC ministers to deny them permission to preach with the argument that advocating prohibition of SSM and abortion is contrary to British values.

    And while numerous bodies are protesting this, I can’t see that the 2k position outlined here could say anything other than “obey the magistrate”- including cooperating with the suppression of ‘non-mainstream’ 100%-pro-life/anti-legal-SSM OPC/NAPARC ministers.

    Worthwhile comment two days ago from someone in the Free Church of Scotland:
    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/welcome.to.1984.where.religion.must.have.a.government.approved.stamp/64953.htm

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  39. Zrim: Ali, that isn’t good news, you know. (verse today: God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7)

    Aww, Zrim. Are not only a card carrying member of R2K, but of W2H2ALS also ? (=Who Wants to Have to Hear All the Lord Says). I mean, I guess, though, it is very convenient to the flesh to not think or talk about that we are new creations (2 Cor 5:17) with new hearts (Ez 36:26-27), so that we can be content basking in total depravity,maybe even bragging about it, and not having to deal with the pain of surrender of our own wills.

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  40. Ali, it’s not basking or bragging. It’s honest dealing. You seem to read the text the way a mother coddles her children: don’t let those kids get to you about your braces–I know what’s on the inside and it’s oh so wonderful. But have you considered that the point is that man is weak in his discernment and all his self righteous put-ons for others who are easily fooled the Lord sees through and knows his wicked heart?

    Or simply put: do you really want God to see the things you think or say or do in your more less charming moments?

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  41. Kevin, way too much detail in your questions. I don’t know the UK situation and I can’t extrapolate a 2k position based on that.

    You’re making this harder than its.

    My point about 2k being mainstream is that everyone is functionally 2k except perhaps for the Amish or the Covenanters prior to 1980.

    Asserting Christ’s Lordship over the church is a meme in Scottish Presbyterianism. I’m sure OPC pastors would find it if conditions required. Right now folks don’t use it as much as they do Kuyperianism’s Lordship of Christ over every square inch.

    It sounds good (and theonomic). But it still doesn’t mean folks are not functionally 2k.

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  42. Zrim: Or simply put: do you really want God to see the things you think or say or do in your more less charming moments?

    No choice, He knows everything already, and isn’t that why He helps us be honest within ourselves about the things He already knows

    Zrim: have you considered that the point is that man is weak in his discernment and all his self righteous put-ons for others who are easily fooled the Lord sees through and knows his wicked heart?

    Zrim, I think the point is He was very merciful truly seeing David as ‘a man after His own heart’ incredibly, despite David ;and have you considered that God is merciful and sees us just as He says He does, and also that He is carrying out the plan He said He would – we have been changed and are being changed.

    Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:17 -18

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  43. DG-

    Kevin, way too much detail in your questions. I don’t know the UK situation and I can’t extrapolate a 2k position based on that. You’re making this harder than its.

    I didn’t think I was departing more than a single speculative step beyond what is straightforward and soon-to-be-current law in the UK, and am just trying to probe current understandings and get a sense of who is likely to do what in the future. But fair enough.

    My point about 2k being mainstream is that everyone is functionally 2k except perhaps for the Amish or the Covenanters prior to 1980.

    Pursuant to Jed’s recommendation, I have a Van Drunen book on the way from Amazon.

    Asserting Christ’s Lordship over the church is a meme in Scottish Presbyterianism. I’m sure OPC pastors would find it if conditions required. Right now folks don’t use it as much as they do Kuyperianism’s Lordship of Christ over every square inch. It sounds good (and theonomic). But it still doesn’t mean folks are not functionally 2k.

    It will be interesting to see how this will play out as gov power expands within areas you might view as legitimate (albeit greatly undesirable) but some OPC/NAPARC ministers might find at variance with Scripture – with or without institutional support.

    Thanks for the reply, anyway.

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  44. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:15 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, it does upset me.

    What upsets me more is ambassadors of Christ proclaiming a false gospel.>>>>

    Dodging the issue I brought up, Brother Hart, but I am glad that the murder of little, tiny babies who have survived an abortion only to have their lives snuffed out so that some godless research something or other can harvest their brains.

    What upsets me is that you who claim to own the Gospel rarely proclaim it at all, if Old Life is any indication. The little short hand “full stop” is not much of a Gospel. It is, well, full stop – fully stopping at the little detail found in Ephesians 4.

    This is all Gospel, but Protestants too easily ignore it and pretend that it is not in the New Testament at all. Christ has one body, not 33,000 and counting, all claiming sola scriptura as its own.

    Ephesians 4
    4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

    Forget the racist, anti-semite Mencken for a little while. Forget Ms. Davis’ need for a personal trainer. Turn off the Wire. Focus on the one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, and grace given to each one according to the measure of Christ’s gift. How do you as an elder in the OPC understand this passage?

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  45. D.G.,
    Not surprised by your answer. You deflect questions about how you refer to those who have different views from you whether they be social justice people or those who bring in therapy issues or Tim Keller and the Neocalvinists (not referring to the singing group here). It’s sad because you easily so insult people like talking about b.s. indicators or calling people kindergartners as if those people are below you and you have nothing to learn from them. And that is where the lack of humility is. But keep using those deflector shields so you don’t have to reflect on how you refer to others.

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  46. Curt, what’s so hard? I disagree with you, TKNY and the neo-Calvinists. You’re the one who has a problem with disagreement. Like I haven’t tried to explain my disagreements? All I do is make fun? All of those understandings of Christianity are always so serious and lacking in posturing?

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  47. Mermaid, there are few public individuals who refrained from comments that seem anti-semitic in their writings

    There is a major dividing point between the time before the first films of WW2 death camps were shown and after.

    And besides, there is a major difference between those with views that are racist and those who thought it was okay to mass murder children and others civilians. I have a dozen anecdotes collected from people who personally experienced the difference firsthand when people risked their lives to rescue people because even their racist views didn’t go so far as consenting to the mass murder of children.

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  48. Kent –

    Very much agreed, those are important distinctions- ‘what seems racist to us today’, ‘what is racist’, ‘the relation (or not) of approval of violence to racist belief’.

    It says something fundamental about our culture that most are habituated to not recognizing these distinctions and reluctant to consider them.

    I also think it is important to keep in mind:

    a) the distinction between “Talmudic Judaism” and non-Talmudic Judaism, the former filled with false and offensive claims about Christianity – and difficult to reconcile with the OT, I would say;

    b) the distinction between rejecting Talmudic claims and making statements of about a particular genetic or cultural group- we as Christians are called to affirm certain truths of theology, and to affirm a truth is to at the same time deny falsehoods which contradict it.

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  49. “I wonder whether the American WCF adherents would say the 1646 position is incorrect, or whether it expresses a policy permissible in some societies (Puritan England, Presbyterian Scotland) but not others (the US).”
    Good question. I don’t know about that.

    As far as the British system goes, it is tough. The WCF give the magistrate power that makes what Cameron is doing OK. I disagree and would likely be a free churcher in the uk which I think means resisting meddling by the magistrate over issues that are the church’s job. That includes deciding what the Bible teaches about ssm, abortion, racism, environmentalism, etc… But I may be wrong. I really need to think this through more carefully. I am pretty sure this won’t happen in the US. More likely there will be pressure on parachurch organizations to compromise or lose tax exempt status, accreditation, or licensing.

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  50. sdb –
    I am pretty sure this won’t happen in the US. More likely there will be pressure on parachurch organizations to compromise or lose tax exempt status, accreditation, or licensing.

    Agreed, there’s no way Americans in the foreseeable future would stand for gov approval or denial of ability to serve publicly as a minister. We’re too ornery. Not essentially a good thing, but in this case a good result.

    Catholic dioceses in the US are quickly getting out of the hospital business. Not so long ago 25% of US hospitals were Catholic, I think. Universities have been going the same way for 40 years (e.g., non-Catholic Notre Dame with a half-lay board and no episcopal or pontifical oversight).

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  51. Ali, yours still seems like a muddled reading. God sees David as a man after God’s own heart despite himself? What’s that even mean, that is, if God wants from his man perfect righteousness? “Sees us just as he says he does”? How’s that. the compromised creatures that we are, or as he sees the uncompromised Christ? If the former, how can God possibly be satisfied? If the latter, then you’re getting closer to good news but how does God see David as a man after his own heart despite himself?

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  52. Ariel, you claim not to hear the gospel proclaimed much around here and fault the full stop stuff for it. But the point of 2k is to keep the gospel (Christ and him crucified, full stop) from being obscured by peripheral issues and the traditions of men. I don’t expect one who mixes the two purposely to have much sympathy, but to say it’s all an effort to “easily ignore it and pretend that it is not in the New Testament at all,” is odd. Where in the NT is there anything about abortion and ssm?

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  53. Zrim,

    Abortion is an instance of murder.

    The NT gives us criteria for marriage.

    The OT and NT teach homosexuality is immoral.

    We are to love our neighbor, which in this context I take to include all subject to US policy.

    Let’s not be theonomic, fine, but government not oriented toward the common good is in error – the lawmakers and executives are personally in error for a failure of duty – and I don’t see a successful argument that increasing murder and incentivizing sodomy promote the public good.

    Further, if our yeas be yeas and nays nays, then perhaps we cannot even legitimately use the term ssm- it is a qualified equivocation on “marriage,” misleading in the most profound way possible.

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  54. kent
    Posted September 19, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, there are few public individuals who refrained from comments that seem anti-semitic in their writings

    There is a major dividing point between the time before the first films of WW2 death camps were shown and after.

    And besides, there is a major difference between those with views that are racist and those who thought it was okay to mass murder children and others civilians. I have a dozen anecdotes collected from people who personally experienced the difference firsthand when people risked their lives to rescue people because even their racist views didn’t go so far as consenting to the mass murder of children.>>>>

    Point well taken. There is a difference. Now explain the comments about Ms. Davis that really have nothing to do with anything.

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  55. Zrim
    Posted September 19, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink
    Ariel, you claim not to hear the gospel proclaimed much around here and fault the full stop stuff for it. But the point of 2k is to keep the gospel (Christ and him crucified, full stop) from being obscured by beastiality. I don’t expect one who mixes the two purposely to have much sympathy, but to say it’s all an effort to “easily ignore it and pretend that it is not in the New Testament at all,” is odd. Where in the NT is there anything about abortion and ssm?>>>>>

    Zrim, the NT says nothing about beastiality either. It says nothing about cross dressing. So, what was prohibited in the OT as abominations is now permitted in the NT because nothing is mentioned about these sins?

    Besides, Ephesians 4 does not fit the category of “peripheral issues and the traditions of men”. You do realize that, don’t you? Can you tell the difference?

    Let me quote it once again and many you can exegete it as best you can. Start with the meaning of the word “one.”

    Ephesians 4:4-6English Standard Version (ESV)

    4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

    Here is is in the Greek.

    ΠΡΟΣ ΕΦΕΣΙΟΥΣ 4:4-61881 Westcott-Hort New Testament (WHNU)

    4 εν σωμα και εν πνευμα καθως [και] εκληθητε εν μια ελπιδι της κλησεως υμων

    5 εις κυριος μια πιστις εν βαπτισμα

    6 εις θεος και πατηρ παντων ο επι παντων και δια παντων και εν πασιν

    The word “one” is a number both in English and in Koine. It means, well, one.

    one ένα (m: ένας, f: μία, n: ένα)

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  56. Kevin, no disagreement that abortion is an instance of murder and both the OT and NT teach that homosexuality is sin, but that’s all law and none of it is the gospel. The gospel is that Jesus lived and died and was resurrected on behalf of his people and all the benefits of his righteousness are applied to them by grace alone through faith alone.

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  57. Ariel, no, that’s not the point–do you really think anybody here is saying that beastiality is permitted? Good grief, woman. While the ceremonial and judicial laws of the OT are abrogated in the new covenant era, the moral law still abides. So the moral abominations in the OT are still prohibited. But as I say to Kevin, none of that is the gospel. It’s all law. Your point about Eph 4 isn’t very clear. What does any of it have to do with abortion and ssm?

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  58. Zrim-

    That is indeed a fundamental distinction you’re drawing which I wasn’t familiar with. Some of the past conversations here make a bit more sense.

    It might be useful to post in the blog’s About section a short primer of 2k basics the Catholic and non-2k non-Catholics DG attracts arrive without an understanding of. Otherwise, I understand it gets frustrating to repeatedly explain things and conversation can get stuck on what is seen here as elementary truths.

    Thanks for explaining, I’ll think it over.

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  59. Kevin, throw into that mix a distinction between cultic norms and specificity-SR(OT and NT) and ‘mere’ imago dei consideration-GR(human being). So there is NL overlap but not all cultic norming(privileged status-Jews privileged in that they had the statutes of God(Rom 1-3), though they failed to conform to the norm) is intended for human being norming after the fall. My go to, 1 cor. 5

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  60. Sean,

    Kevin, throw into that mix a distinction between cultic norms and specificity-SR(OT and NT) and ‘mere’ imago dei consideration-GR(human being).

    Glad to see “cult” is not a forbidden word, I’d mostly been avoiding it. SR and GR? I’m guessing not Einstein’s contributions. “Specificity” -? GR has to do with natural law in human nature?

    So there is NL overlap but not all cultic norming(privileged status-Jews privileged in that they had the statutes of God(Rom 1-3), though they failed to conform to the norm) is intended for human being norming after the fall. My go to, 1 cor. 5

    Not clear what this means, but I’m interested.

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  61. Kevin, SR(Special revelation-Holy Writ) GR(General revelation). SR is just that, special, privileged, unique, not intended for every people. Thus, cultic norms in God’s governance may and are often distinct from the non-sanctioned cultic(cultic antithesis between the kingdom of light and dark) but nevertheless God-governed sphere(common world). You see Paul make just such a distinction in 1 cor. 5 as regards discipline and regard for those guilty of sexual impropriety.

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  62. “Universities have been going the same way for 40 years (e.g., non-Catholic Notre Dame with a half-lay board and no episcopal or pontifical oversight).”
    I suspect the folks at ND would find your characterization pretty odd. The fellows pick the board and are half bros of the holy cross and half other drawn from the board of trustees. Their charge is to in part:

    “Ensure that the University maintains its essential character as a Catholic institution of higher learning”

    Since it is a ministry of the congregation of the Holy Cross, it is hard to see how it isn’t under episcopal oversight.

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  63. Sdb,

    ND is, from an official governance standpoint, ostensibly an intermediate case – numerous smaller universities have severed relations with the RCC entirely. But there is more to identity than the clerical or lay state of a relatively small percentage of the top leadership.

    Since it is a ministry of the congregation of the Holy Cross, it is hard to see how it isn’t under episcopal oversight.

    Just looked up the order, but it is headed by a (non-American) priest – not a bishop. Further, the Bishop of South Bend as no say in what goes on. The USCCB has no authority over it. The pope alone is in a position to tell the handful of clerics and mass of laity running things to change course. But my point is that this is an American university which the American church has no control over.

    I suspect the folks at ND would find your characterization pretty odd.

    I find the fact people are persuaded by a football team and TV ads that ND is Catholic is pretty odd.

    The fellows pick the board and are half bros of the holy cross and half other drawn from the board of trustees.

    I don’t think 6 of 12 Fellows being priests is enough to make the university Catholic. The Fellows don’t run the university – the Board of Trustees has possessed “the general power of governance” since 1967.

    Makeup of the Trustees? 49 in total, of which 7 are priests.

    And the executive leadership? The president’s council has 22 members, of which 2 are priests; one of the lay members being an Anglican minister (described misleadingly as an “Episcopal priest” on the website).

    Their charge is to in part: “Ensure that the University maintains its essential character as a Catholic institution of higher learning”

    And how good a job are they doing at that? More importantly, are they even trying?

    A stated mission, half-ordained collection of fellows, and ordained president are not more important in determining identity than actual actions taken over decades.

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  64. Zrim: but how does God see David as a man after his own heart despite himself?

    good question -would like to know what you think Zrim? Back to 1 Sam 16:7, we do know the context of the verse is God explaining His choosing of David and not his brothers, so your thought that the verse is saying He is seeing his wicked heart doesn’t make sense in that context.

    After He had removed him (Saul), He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart who will do all My will.’ Acts 13: 22

    But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” 1 Sam 13:14

    “I have found David My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him, with whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him. Ps 89:20-21

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  65. Ali, it makes sense if you understand David to be the type of Christ, so that when he speaks of David being a man after God’s own heart (who will do all my will, is anointed, will be established by my hand, etc.) he’s not speaking of David the sinner but David the Christ figure. David isn’t chosen from among his brothers because of anything in David but because he is foreshadowing the appointment of Christ over his kingdom. And to the extent that believers are in Christ by faith alone, the same is true for us, i.e. we will be appointed to eternal life and all it entails not because of anything in us but because of the merits of Christ alone.

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