Identity Economics

I thought that neo-Calvinism was supposed to do away with the sacred-secular distinction that led fundamentalists to produce the Christian Yellow Pages — you know, the phone book that allowed Christian consumers to buy goods and services from Christian providers of goods and services. Well, even in the hipster land of urban Protestantism, the logic of every square inch only extends to redeemed businesses. Bethany explains:

But we also believe that God is working in areas beyond literature, academia, and journalism. In fact, as our Theological Vision for Ministry makes clear, we have a vision for a church that equips its people to think out the implications of the gospel on how we do everything—from teaching to plumbing to accounting. “Such a church will not only support Christians’ engagement with culture, but will also help them work with distinctiveness, excellence, and accountability in their trades and professions.”

This Christmas, our faith and work channel—Every Square Inch—wants to celebrate products made by companies founded by Christian entrepreneurs. As entrepreneurs, they created something from nothing and, along the way, have given people jobs, contributed to the economy, engaged in ethical business practices, been generous with their neighbors, and expressed the creativity of God.

This guide isn’t comprehensive. There are thousands of outstanding Christian-led companies, and I welcome your suggestions in the comments. Also, each company featured makes many products, not just the ones below, so I encourage you to explore. These items are simply “my favorite things.” I hope you that enjoy the guide and—even if you don’t find anything in it—that you’re encouraged to see God at work.

Aside from projecting a kind of insularity that conflicts with Redeemer NYC’s cosmopolitanism, Bethany fails to explain how exactly non-Christians fail to give people jobs, contribute to the economy, engage in ethical business practices, be generous to neighbors, and express the creativity of God. That sacred-secular distinction might come in handy and let Christians recognize the creational norms that govern not just sanctified but all human existence.

Maybe the explanation for Christians’ superiority is that only Christians can create “something from nothing.” If so, Bethany doesn’t understand ex nihilo or the omnipotence of God (where are TGC’s theological editors?). She also does not seem to agree with President Obama. Bethany appears to have us believe that Christian entrepreneurs “did build that.”

How Red State.

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56 thoughts on “Identity Economics

  1. So now we have C-to-C along with B-to-B listings (not talking about the caller, either). But what if one of these C-to-C retailers, tradesmen, animal breeders, etc. turns out to be unscrupulous in his dealings? To whose authority is he accountable? Will there be a C-to-C chamber of commerce? And instead of an Angie’s List, will they publish something like an Angel’s List? [the subscription fees donated to your favorite para-church organization, of course]

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  2. These C-to-C retailers To whose authority is he accountable?

    2k George, 1) same gov’t agencies as all are 2) same God as all are ?

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  3. Indeed Dr. Hart! Overflowing ‘hyperbole’ on my part ~ similar to the hyperbole of ‘go and sin boldly’……

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  4. JAS – I’m afraid your purchases will have to be relegated to the subversive C-to-C retailer with a reloading operation in his basement. Just don’t ask him where he gets his primers, powder, and bullets.

    Ali – sorry, I didn’t realize there was a spiritual camber of commerce. How does one contact them? Through charismatics?

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  5. “JAS – I’m afraid your purchases will have to be relegated to the subversive C-to-C retailer with a reloading operation in his basement. Just don’t ask him where he gets his primers, powder, and bullets.”

    Kahr Arms is made my Moonies (really). Do they count?

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  6. “Kahr Arms is made my Moonies (really). Do they count?”

    Sorry – beyond my knowledge level. You’ll have to take that up with the moderator.

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  7. George: Ali – sorry, I didn’t realize there was a spiritual camber of commerce. How does one contact them? Through charismatics?

    oh the hostility George, a lot of you guys here sound like that ,what’s with that, anyway. Anyway also, wow, didn’t realize about hearts, deeds, heartdeeds, etc….

    -I said to myself, “God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,” for a time for every matter and for every deed is there. Eccl 3:17
    -For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Heb 4:12
    -I, the LORD, search the heart,I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds. Jer 17:10
    -“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. Rev 22:12

    anyway also, also, have a good day, even though we had this type exchange already this am

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  8. “Hostility?” That’s kinda harsh. Sarcasm, cynicism, lampooning a lot maybe.

    Speaking of Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and the like, one thing they omitted was the value of taking few things seriously and maintaining a good sense of humor.

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  9. George: the value of taking few things seriously and maintaining a good (partial hostile, sarcastic, cynical, lampooning) sense of humor.

    proof texts George?

    🙂

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  10. Will – good point. Speaking of craft brew and micro-distillery stuff, I’ve let it be known that I’d like a container of either Bulleit Bourbon or Templeton or Rittenhouse Rye in the gift exchange stocking (I’m too cheap to buy the high quality products myself). Any more suggestions?

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  11. So in perusing a few of Bethany’s links, I observed that none of the ones I checked was obviously Christian; in fact it seemed they were attempting to look like a secular business. Shocking! I found the background on the Soma company picture (the part where they describe their company) interesting. They had magazine covers adorning their wall and one was a Cosmopolitan with an article about SEX on the cover. Oh no! None of the magazines were Christian (sacred) magazines and no links to Bethany or TGC or Every Square Inch. At the end of the day these companies got free advertising and possible market expansion – it’s all about the Benjamins!

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  12. Our covenant children weren’t even procreated ex nihilo. Yowza, Ms. Jenkins, just how powerful do you think faith is?

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  13. I didn’t see the WWJB bracelet….because I don’t buy nothing until I ask myself, ‘what would Jesus buy?’ I am not sure I can support that list, I Lost my WWJS bracelet.

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  14. the implications of the gospel on how we do everything—from teaching to plumbing to accounting. “Such a church will not only support Christians’ engagement with culture, but will also help them work with distinctiveness, excellence, and accountability in their trades and professions.”

    I hired some Christian plumbing contractors once–needed new copper re-piping, a big job–they had the little fish symbol on their Yellow Pages ad. Figured what the hell, mebbe they’d be honest in a field full of crooks.

    Fair price [though not cheap], best workmanship I ever got. It’s not a very tough concept, Dr. Hart. You shouldn’t mock it.

    “…wee must Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are uppon us; soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke wee have undertaken and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall be made a story and a byword through the world, wee shall open the mouthes of enemies to speake evill of the wayes of god and all professours for Gods sake; wee shall shame the faces of many of gods worthy servants, and cause theire prayers to be turned into Cursses upon us till wee be consumed out of the good land whether wee are going…”

    That a man might do a better and more conscientious job because he treasures Jesus’s name above even his own, well, that’s a good thing.

    Therefore lett us choose life,

    that wee, and our Seede,

    may live; by obeyeing his

    voyce, and cleaveing to him,

    for hee is our life, and

    our prosperity.

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  15. Tom – an interesting twist on your acclaim for excellent “Christian plumbing”:

    We know some folks who live in the South suburbs of Chicago in the area that is dominated largely by Dutch. A few years ago they needed some work on their furnace so they called one of these HVAC enterprises listed in their phone book to schedule someone to take a look at their issue. When the business found out that they weren’t Dutch, they refused to send any of their techs out to take a look at their problem.

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  16. George
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
    Tom – an interesting twist on your acclaim for excellent “Christian plumbing”:

    We know some folks who live in the South suburbs of Chicago in the area that is dominated largely by Dutch. A few years ago they needed some work on their furnace so they called one of these HVAC enterprises listed in their phone book to schedule someone to take a look at their issue. When the business found out that they weren’t Dutch, they refused to send any of their techs out to take a look at their problem.

    Or mebbe they just don’t deal with the non-Elect. Don’t want to waste all that good work on people damned to hell regardless. Could be a Calvinism problem, not a Christian one. 😉

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  17. Jesus did come.

    Yes, there are still two kingdoms.

    But why on earth would those identified as Christians identify with both kingdoms? Are they are going to do something in that second kingdom that non-Christians couldn’t do? Are they going to do something in that “left-hand kingdom” that Jesus Himself would not (or could not) do?

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  18. Tom, in Little Geneva I can’t swing a dead cat (sorry, Darryl) and not hit a Christian craftsman. My mechanic and HVAC guys are good neos and worth their weight in gold, but it’s not because of their faith but because of their learning and experience. After all, there are unbelievers just as good (and believers who aren’t as good), so the Jesus treasuring can’t be what explains both. It might thrill your religious-but-unassociated heart to think so, but it makes no sense if you think about it for more than 2 pious minutes.

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  19. D.G.,
    Though I think you are usually overly critical of the NeoCalvinists, I think this blogpost is good

    BTW, what do NeoCalvinists say that would make one think that they have eliminated the sacred-secular distinction? The video I’ve seen of Keller where he advocate Christian involvement in culture, he spoke of how atheists are arrogant in their pursuit of justice and that Chritians should surpass them. But a more indicator is that he seems to be telling Christians to work together for social justice rather than join atheists and other nonChristians in working for justice. In addition, he teaches that Christians can change different institutions by infiltrating them and building majority that would change the culture of an institution.

    In the end, he seems to be against the Church preaching repentance to those institutions involved in corporate sin.

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  20. Zrim
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink
    Tom, in Little Geneva I can’t swing a dead cat (sorry, Darryl) and not hit a Christian craftsman. My mechanic and HVAC guys are good neos and worth their weight in gold, but it’s not because of their faith but because of their learning and experience. After all, there are unbelievers just as good (and believers who aren’t as good), so the Jesus treasuring can’t be what explains both. It might thrill your religious-but-unassociated heart to think so, but it makes no sense if you think about it for more than 2 pious minutes.

    Easy there, big guy. We’re talking about ethics here. Christianity is still a religion, not a science. Competence is not being argued here. Conscientiousness and honesty, yes.

    Neither am I judging the Christian plumber merely as a consumer, if you read my entire post. In God’s eyes, it’s what you put in, as a sacrifice and a devotion to Him, not whether you’re the greatest plumber in the world or the worst. That everything you do is in His name, not your own.

    This was Winthrop’s point, with “City on a Hill.” I might become weak or tired or pissed off at the customer, and give less than my best. Screw it. This is where the rubber meets the road, not when we are at our best but at our worst.

    That’s when the God part comes in.

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  21. Herman Hoeksema—“In all attempts to show how a wholly corrupt tree may still bring forth good fruit, natural man, as he actually reveals himself in this world, is not totally depraved. The antithesis is obliterated and the chasm between the church and the world is removed, and the former is justified in making common cause with the latter in the things of this present life. The Confessions make mention of remnants of natural good, but never do they speak of an influence of God upon the natural man whereby he is improved.”

    Hoeksema–“The Confessions teach that by virtue of this natural light man retained some knowledge of God and of natural things, of the difference between good and evil; but never do the Confessions state, or even suggest by implication, that the natural man actually performs the good. And with regard to this so-called civil righteousness, the term does not occur in the Reformed Confessions, and that the Confessions deny the very idea. The Confession declares that the natural man is incapable of using this natural light aright even in things natural and civil, nay further, that in various ways man renders this light, such as it is, wholly polluted and holds it in unrighteousness.”

    http://www.prca.org/resources/publications/pamphlets/item/1598-a-triple-breach-in-the-foundation-of-the-reformed-truth

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  22. Hoeksema–“The Confessions teach that by virtue of this natural light man retained some knowledge of God and of natural things, of the difference between good and evil; but never do the Confessions state, or even suggest by implication, that the natural man actually performs the good. And with regard to this so-called civil righteousness, the term does not occur in the Reformed Confessions, and that the Confessions deny the very idea. The Confession declares that the natural man is incapable of using this natural light aright even in things natural and civil, nay further, that in various ways man renders this light, such as it is, wholly polluted and holds it in unrighteousness.”

    The Confessions teach contrary to the Bible, then?

    13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

    I admit I sometimes don’t know what you people are talking about [since you talk to each other in an esoteric code], but sometimes I suspect you don’t even know what each other are talking about and are afraid to let on, so you pretend to be having a discussion but really aren’t.

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  23. Tom, unbelievers are conscientious and honest. And it’s a pretty sentiment about what counts to God, but what about what counts to humans beings–who do you want cracking your chest, the competent one or the religious one? That kind of sentimentality is what draws eeeevangelicals to Ben Carson–who cares if he’s bad at history (Joseph built the pyramids) and foreign affairs (China is steeped in the middle east), he bleats spiritual in a vaguely Christian direction. Blech. Good doc, bad statesman.

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  24. Zrim
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink
    Tom, unbelievers are conscientious and honest. And it’s a pretty sentiment about what counts to God, but what about what counts to humans beings–who do you want cracking your chest, the competent one or the religious one? That kind of sentimentality is what draws eeeevangelicals to Ben Carson–who cares if he’s bad at history (Joseph built the pyramids) and foreign affairs (China is steeped in the middle east), he bleats spiritual in a vaguely Christian direction. Blech. Good doc, bad statesman.

    Oh Christ, now he’s gone directly to d-bagging the Religious Right. That’s what this is always about with you people, isn’t it?

    Show me you have the least idea what John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill” means before you bore me any further, OK, Mr. Z? A little foreplay first before you shtup us with your agenda.

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  25. “… I admit I sometimes don’t know what you people are talking about [since you talk to each other in an esoteric code], but sometimes I suspect you don’t even know what each other are talking about and are afraid to let on, so you pretend to be having a discussion but really aren’t ….”

    I can’t speak for anyone else here, but in my case it all depends on which side of the bed I got out of on any given day. This weekend, for example, I’m still recovering from having to endure an in-law relative who spent most of Thanksgiving evening pontificating about all of the great decisions his beloved ELCA has made in recent years (gay clergy, same sex marriage, lower-than-low view of scripture, etc.).

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  26. vd, t, better call the pope to resolve this one:

    [21] But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—[22] the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [25] whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. [26] It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26 ESV)

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  27. TVD,
    I’ll definitely admit that Mark posts some stuff that is way over my head sometimes. And, Hoeksema is a controversial figure for the reasons expressed in that paper (denial of common grace and denial of the free offer of the gospel).

    You will also note that the OPC (most of the guys I imagine you’re critiquing) is not in fellowship with the PRCA http://www.opc.org/relations/links.html It appears to me this is a question of interpreting the confessions.

    But to the point at hand, people may very well outwardly do the right thing (“do by nature things required by the law” or as Jesus said “you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children”) yet still sin in doing these things (“no one does good, not even one, their throat is an open grave” Rom 3 or “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” Gen 6).

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  28. D. G. Hart
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 11:05 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, does the god part come in when you comment at a blog and avoid answering whether you go to mass?

    D. G. Hart
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 11:07 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, better call the pope to resolve this one:

    Dr. Hart, please put your question in the form of a question. You’re speaking in Darryl code again but not even your fans know what you’re on about.

    Though I do. I’ve read Strauss and I was on Jeopardy[!], as you know. 😉 Alex would have kicked your ass to the curb.

    Makes no difference whether somebody who goes to Mass or somebody who doesn’t is writing. You dodge either way. Nice racket.

    This stands, Butch. Try answering the question. You can’t, which is why you just resorted to your customary d-baggery.
    ___________________

    Zrim
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink
    <<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>

    Easy there, big guy. We’re talking about ethics here. Christianity is still a religion, not a science. Competence is not being argued here. Conscientiousness and honesty, yes.

    Neither am I judging the Christian plumber merely as a consumer, if you read my entire post. In God’s eyes, it’s what you put in, as a sacrifice and a devotion to Him, not whether you’re the greatest plumber in the world or the worst. That everything you do is in His name, not your own.

    This was Winthrop’s point, with “City on a Hill.” I might become weak or tired or pissed off at the customer, and give less than my best. Screw it. This is where the rubber meets the road, not when we are at our best but at our worst.

    That’s when the God part comes in.

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  29. Walton
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 11:13 pm | Permalink
    TVD,
    I’ll definitely admit that Mark posts some stuff that is way over my head sometimes. And, Hoeksema is a controversial figure for the reasons expressed in that paper (denial of common grace and denial of the free offer of the gospel).

    You will also note that the OPC (most of the guys I imagine you’re critiquing) is not in fellowship with the PRCA http://www.opc.org/relations/links.html It appears to me this is a question of interpreting the confessions.

    I have no idea who is in “fellowship” with whom, which is precisely the point. “Presbyterian” is a meaningless term.

    But to the point at hand, people may very well outwardly do the right thing (“do by nature things required by the law” or as Jesus said “you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children”) yet still sin in doing these things (“no one does good, not even one, their throat is an open grave” Rom 3 or “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” Gen 6).

    Thx for the courteous reply on this, bro. Pls understand I’m reading a foreign theological language but you seem OK to me, for human reasons alone.

    I like Aquinas, so I like your natural law argument most. According to Paul [trained in Greek/Roman philosophy], the “Gentiles” occasionally do the right thing. Not by pure chance, but by some sense of what is objectively right or wrong. That there is some objective/cosmic right and wrong.

    Have you read CS Lewis’ The Abolition of Man? I’ll confess here it changed my life. [Feel free to use that confession against me, Darryl. @ Old Life anything you say can and will be used against you.]

    [So be it. Bring it on against CS & me.]

    Back to Brother Walton: alone among Lewis’s books, The Abolition of Man is not specifically Christian. The first two parts are a philosophical argument against

    1) Men Without Chests: sneering at “sentimentality” [Dr. Hart, didn’t you just do that? All brain, no heart.] You sneer at all human feeling, yes?

    Well let’s stop with 1) then.

    rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/c-s-lewis-the-abolition-of-man-chapter-1-men-without-chests/

    Gaius and Titius, Old Life, Men Without Chests. You’re a perfectly modern man, Dr. Hart. An educator.

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  30. — because they are citizens of each kingdom (if not refugees or illegal aliens, undocumented workers).

    mark: where does the Bible say that those identified with Christ are citizens of a second kingdom? or if you don’t want to be biblicist about it, where do the Confessions teach that Christians are citizens of a second kingdom, one that ignores the suggestions of the Sermon on the Mount and has instead its norm “natural law”?

    And if the second kingdom is governed by “natural law” and the Ten Commandments are “natural law”, why revise the Confessions to exclude the Ten Commandments from being the standard of the second kingdom? If we say “two kingdoms” but our meaning is not what Luther and Calvin meant, will there be more evolution to come in what “two kingdoms” means?

    If Christians are producing progress in their sanctification in one kingdom, is what these Christians do in the second kingdom also progress in their sanctification? If what we do in the first kingdom is for God, and what we do in the second kingdom is for our neighbors, why is “natural law” the standard for sanctification in the second kingdom but not in the first?

    Refugees are not citizens of two kingdoms. Exiles living in the space of another kingdom are by definition citizens of a kingdom from another place.

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  31. Walton, did you ever read the OPC minority report on the “common grace” question? Participation in the second kingdom (without appeal to either the Sermon on the Mount or the Ten Commandments) does not depend on any conclusion about any “grace” being universal but only about the nature of “general revelation”. What does God command? And does God punish disobedience to that command?

    http://reformedpresbyterianveritasdocuments.blogspot.com/2009/01/free-offer-of-gospel-dr-william-young.html#more

    In the fact that God has decreed to save only some, but has commanded the gospel to be proclaimed indiscriminately to all, there is no contradiction, but simply the difference between God’s decree and God’s preceptive will to search behind the revealed will in the gospel offer for a divine inclination to save those who have been foreordained to everlasting wrath, can only appear to be ascribing a real contradiction in the will of God.

    It has been claimed that the alleged desire is actually revealed in Scripture. Those who fail to find it there have been accused of having their minds made up and ignoring the analogy of Scripture. May it not be retorted that a person with universalistic prejudices comes to the Bible determined to prove that God wants all to be saved and either ignores the passages that teach divine sovereignty in salvation or explains them away, is seeking refuge in Irrationalism?

    Certainly the whole teaching of the Word is to be listened to, and listening means first the use of reason in understanding what God has said, while the limits of that understanding are recognized. The real question here is whether Scripture actually teaches the universalistic view in texts such as 2 Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 33:11 and Matthew 23:37…The broader context of 2 Peter 3 confirms the particularist view of the passage. Why does the second coming of Christ seem to be delayed? Because in the longsuffering of God the elect, who sometimes long resist the gospel, must all be made willing in the day of God’s power before they stand before the throne on the great day.

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  32. Would the regulative principle permit the use of a flag in the place where sacrament is dispensed to identify your common loyalty to the kingdom? What about two different flags?

    John Bolt from the Christian Reformed denomination reviews some of the history of the debate about the “good works” of those who are not yet in Christ.

    http://www.prca.org/articles/ctj1.html

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  33. Tom, it’s better than d-bagging the third commandment. But the religious right example was just to make the point, which you once again dodge.

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  34. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/dec/17/erdogan-sultan-turkey/

    Martin Luther could support the status quo in Israel—I will not oppose a ruler who, EVEN THOUGH HE DOES NOT TOLERATE THE GOSPEL, will smite and punish these peasants without offering to submit the case to judgement. For he is within his rights, since the peasants are not contending any longer for the Gospel but have become faithless, perjured, disobedient, rebellious murderers, robbers, and blasphemers, whom even heathen rulers have the right and power to punish….

    Luther—If he can punish and does not, then he is guilty of all the murder and all the evil which these fellows commit, because, by willful neglect of the divine command, he permits them to practice their wickedness, though he can prevent it, and is in duty bound to do so. Here, then, there is no time for sleeping; no place for patience or mercy. It is the time of the sword, not the day of grace.

    Therefore will I punish and smite as long as my heart bears. Thou wilt judge and make things right.’ Thus it may be that one who is killed fighting on the ruler’s side may be a true martyr in the eyes of God…On the other hand, one who perishes on the peasants’ side is an eternal brand of hell…

    mark: To those who presume continuity (and identity) between the old covenant people of God and the new covenant people of God, arguments from silence are all you need.

    You see, the problem is anabaptist revolutions against the “natural order” , and not German or Genevan lesser magistrates at war against emperor and pope or peasants. Though the earth in theory is the Lord’s, to be practical it must be kept from the parasites and preserved for the natural nobility, who even now have it in their power to make history go in a better direction that it would otherwise, all at the same time accusing others of immanentizing the eschaton…

    So when we fear the Muslims and the Turks, we do not need to tempt God by only relying on the second coming of Christ, because we have our American citizenship. And in the same manner as Paul was saved from death by the hands of the Romans (because he too was Roman, a hybrid, both Romans and Christian) so shall the status quo be saved, and us by means of that for-the present time regime.

    Acts 22: 2 When they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even quieter. 3 He continued, “I am a JEWISH man, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel and educated according to the strict view of our patriarchal law. Being zealous for God, just as all of you are today, 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women in jail, 5 as both the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me.

    So who brought up Paul’s Roman citizenship? And when?

    24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, directing that he be examined with the scourge, so he could discover the reason they were shouting against him like this. 25 As they stretched him out for the lash, Paul said to the centurion standing by, “Is it legal for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen and is uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went and reported to the commander, saying, “What are you going to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.”

    27 The commander came and said to him, “Tell me—are you a Roman citizen?” “Yes,” he said.
    28 The commander replied, “I bought this citizenship for a large amount of money.” “But I was born a citizen,” Paul said. 29 Therefore, those who were about to examine him withdrew from him at once. The commander too was alarmed when he realized Paul was a Roman citizen and he had bound him.

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  35. Zrim
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink
    Tom, it’s better than d-bagging the third commandment. But the religious right example was just to make the point, which you once again dodge.

    What was your point again, before you started your rant? My eyes kind of glaze over when people start that stuff and forfeit my attention.

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  36. I Cor 7—I don’t need to be out of jail, but also I don’t need to be in jail, therefore there is nothing you can get me for Christmas

    Paul used his Roman citizenship twice:
    Acts 16:37 The first time was after being beaten and imprisoned in Philippi. He used it to no apparent benefit to himself. He announced his citizenship after his beating and humiliation. The effect was to put the public authorities on the spot. Paul got a severe beating-and then an apology. He didn’t get, or try to get, an audience with the powers. They wanted him to leave town, and he did.

    Acts 22:25-27.The second time Pul used his Roman citizenship was after the Jews had tried to kill him, but BEFORE he was flogged. The consequences of this dragged on for the rest of Paul’s life. It did not keep Paul from being killed. Paul was never ‘free’ again, spending the rest of his time in the Roman legal system/under arrest. Paul used his Roman citizenship at the last minute, to avoid being beaten.

    Paul did not use it as a means to spread the gospel, because there was nothing about being Roman that could add to the gospel. For Paul the crucial issue was being in Christ, not the various ways one can be in the world. Being Roman didn’t make being in Christ more significant or effective. Being Roman didn’t create opportunity for the gospel.

    http://www.englewoodcc.com/NLArchive/504JA.html

    Philippians 4: 11 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content…. Still, you did well by sharing with me in my hardship….. you sent gifts for my need several times. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that is increasing to your account. 18 But I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you provided—a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

    Thanks for what you sent, but I didn’t need it. But now you need a thank you, and you will also receive reward from God for sending it to me (though you don’t need either of these things)

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  37. George Eliot describing a preacher resigned to the status quo. To me she sounds more than a little like Mencken

    http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/42612/

    Let him be ardent and imaginative on the coming advent of Christ, but cold and cautious toward every other infringement of the status quo. Let him be hard and literal in his interpretation only when he wants to hurl texts at the heads of unbelievers and adversaries, but when the letter of the Scriptures presses too closely on the genteel Christianity of the nineteenth century, let him use his spiritualizing alembic and disperse it into impalpable ether.

    Let him set up as an interpreter of prophecy, and rival Moore’s Almanack in the prediction of political events, tickling the interest of hearers who are but moderately spiritual by showing how they may have their Christian graces nourished by learning precisely to whom they may point as the “horn that had eyes,” “the lying prophet,” and the “unclean spirits.”

    In this way he may gain a metropolitan pulpit; the avenues to his church will be as crowded as the passages to the opera; he has but to print his prophetic sermons and bind them in lilac and gold, and they will adorn the drawing-room table of all evangelical ladies, who will regard as a sort of pious “light reading” the demonstration that the prophecy of the locusts whose sting is in their tail, is fulfilled in the fact of the Turkish commander’s having taken a horse’s tail for his standard, and that the French are the very frogs predicted in Revelation.

    Pleasant to the clerical flesh under such circumstances is the arrival of Sunday! Somewhat at a disadvantage during the week, in the presence of working-day interests , on Sunday the preacher becomes the cynosure of a thousand eyes, and predominates at once over those with whom he dines.He has an immense advantage over all other public speakers. The platform orator is subject to the criticism of hisses and groans. Counsel for the plaintiff expects the retort of counsel for the defendant. The honorable gentleman on one side of the House is liable to have his facts and figures shown up by his honorable friend on the opposite side. Even the scientific or literary lecturer, if he is dull or incompetent, may see the best part of his audience quietly slip out one by one. But the preacher is completely master of the situation: no one may hiss, no one may depart.

    Like the writer of imaginary conversations, he may put what imbecilities he pleases into the mouths of his antagonists, and swell with triumph when he has refuted them. He may riot in gratuitous assertions, confident that no man will contradict him; he may invent illustrative experience; he may give an evangelical edition of history with the inconvenient facts omitted:–all this he may do with impunity, certain that those of his hearers who are not sympathizing are not listening.

    For the Press has no band of critics who go the round of the churches and chapels, and are on the watch for a slip or defect in the preacher, to make a “feature” in their article: the clergy are, practically, the most irresponsible of all talkers.

    The great majority of his published sermons are occupied with the political interpretation of prophecy, and the criticism of public events; and the spiritual and practical exhortation, is tacked to them as a sort of fringe in a hurried sentence or two at the end. He is copious on the downfall of the Ottoman empire

    George Eliot—He has much of that literary talent which makes a good journalist–the power of beating out an idea over a large space. His writings have, indeed, no high merit. We feel ourselves in company with a voluble retail talker, whose language is exuberant but not exact, and to whom we should never think of referring for precise information or for well-digested thought. ”

    Theodore D. Bozeman, “Inductive and Deductive Polities”, Journal of American History, December 1977, p 722–Materially comfortable, the old school carried forward traditional Calvinist support for business and professional vocations. Having supported from the beginning a version of Protestantism supportive of property, the Old School leadership had incentive enough for worry about social instability… Old School contributions to social analysis may be viewed as a sustained attempt to defend the inherited social structure…The General Assembly found it necessary to lament the practice of those who ‘question and unsettle practice which have received the enlightened sanction of centuries’… Social naturalists assumed that the laws of society were not merely true, that is, given in the scheme of nature. They bore too the humbling force of prescription; they demanded compliance. The desire was to draw the ought out of the is…to make facts serve a normative purpose.”

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  38. Mark, I have not read that. But I am really interested in this topic (in part due to your comments here). I opened a couple prca articles last night but have yet to read them. I’ll definitely check them out.

    I read Knowing God by Packer a while back and he introduced to me to something I haven’t really heard emphasized, that the calling of the elect (in addition to their justification and glorification) was secured in Christ’s death. He also talks about how from our perspective faith is where salvation begins, but from God’s perspective faith is a benefit of salvation (which was accomplished in Christ’s work).

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  39. The abortionist efficiently kills the baby in the womb. But some of the other things he does are good, like voting instead of retreating, and serving in the national guard, standing ready to offer as sacrifice to God the death of any Christians from the Middle East who might try to attack his second kingdom.

    Question. 91: “What are good works? Only those which proceed from a true faith, are performed according to the law of God, and to His glory; and not such as are founded on our imaginations or the institutions of men.”

    Paul Helm—There are those who are firm confessionalists, prepared to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ’t’s of its wording, yet who have inhaled the vapours of the ‘presuppositionalism’ of Cornelius Van Til, or even the ‘Nein’ of Karl Barth, to any theological appeals to nature. But it can’t be done. At least it can’t be consistently done. Because the great Reformed Confessions, such as the Westminster Confession, inhabit the same climate of thought as Calvin’s. There is the witness of conscience, the universal religiosity of the human race, the recognition of the elements of natural law in society, and so on

    http://paulhelmsdeep.blogspot.com/2015/11/reprise-calvin-natural-knowledge-of-god.html

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  40. Walton, as much as I agree with John Owen against the idea of double jeopardy, I think we need to be careful about how we use Owen’s trilemma about all the sins of all people, or all the sins of some people (the third hypothetical being some of the sins of some people). The death (the righteousness) of Christ not only entitles the elect to justification (even before they are justified) but also entitles the elect to conversion.

    Even before they believe the gospel, the elect are entitled (because of Christ’s accomplished death) to the converting work of the Holy Spirit. Christ bought both the forgiveness of sins and the legal application of the righteousness God by nature needs to forgive and continue to be just and
    holy.

    God joins Christ’s death (not only the reward of the death, but the righteousness of the death) to some of the elect. Before the death, God imputed the death to some of the elect. After the death, God continues to impute the death to the rest of the elect.

    So there is a difference between Christ’s death and God’s imputation of Christ’s death. There is a difference between the federal union of all the elect in Christ before the beginning of the world and the legal union of the elect with Christ when they are justified.

    One result of being joined to Christ’s death and resurrection is the conversion which follows God’s legal joining ( imputation). Galatians 3:13-14: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by
    becoming a curse for us, so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come…, so that we would receive the promised Spirit through faith.”

    Walton, another text which teaches us that regeneration and conversion are results of God’s joining us to Christ’s death. Romans 8:10–”but if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

    Christ’s death purchased not only forgiveness of all the sins God imputed to Christ, but purchased also effectual calling by means of the gospel, so that the elect understand the gospel and believe, the gospel. II Peter 1:1 starts, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

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