When Pastors Talk about Politics without Righteousness

Sometimes pastors make sense.

This makes me think about the issues that are most important to me. Here is a list that is neither exhaustive nor in any particular order:

1) respect for the Constitution while not treating it as divinely inspired, inerrant, and infallible.
2) appointment of judges who can say with Scalia, “I’m a textualist; I’m an originalist; but I’m not a nut;” judges who will do the “legal” not the “right” thing,
3) repeal and replacement of the ACA but not in a way that says the only way to deal with the distribution of healthcare is to let the market decide who gets what, with the results mitigated only by private charity,
4) reform of immigration in a realistic, rational, and compassionate way that does not attempt the impossible, the deportation of 11 million+ people, but does slow to a trickle the influx of illegals,
5) ending partial birth abortion and reducing all abortions through through persuasion and legislation,
6) reduction of the size and intrusiveness of the federal government, pushing more decisions and control down to the states and individuals,
7) increase of American military strength and flexibility with the ability of the US to project power internationally when necessary.
8) dealing with the deficit and balancing the budget, which will require difficult and painful decisions and actions, in a rational, practical, gradual manner,
9) preservation and reform of Medicare and Social Security by putting them on a sound fiscal footing so that they are viable for the future,
10) reduction of restrictions on individuals and businesses that keep them from thriving, but not on the assumption that free market results are a revelation of the divine will,
11) protection of the freedoms of the churches to preach, teach, and practice Christian truth and morality without review or interference by government, while protecting the rights of all persons to act in accord with their consciences so long as their actions do not actively interfere with the rights of other citizens under the law,
12) assurance of the civil rights of all persons and protection of their freedom to achieve all that they can within the limits of their ability, allowing neither discrimination nor preferential treatment to prevent or guarantee outcomes.

When I look at my list I find it is based on my political philosophy and principles, on prudence and common sense, and on preferences. I do not believe they are derived from the Bible or are an expression of my Christian faith.

Are David Robertson and Rick Phillips paying attention?

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142 thoughts on “When Pastors Talk about Politics without Righteousness

  1. Bill,
    You hit the nail on the head in your post. It still needs to be said loud and clear that Christians should not be taken in by the budding nominee who can press the right buttons which make evangelicals think they are ‘the one’. Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush and even ol’ Clinton had the evangelicals eating out their hands as they knew the church folks would be their vocal and ardent supporters if they could court them enough. I have first hand experience of how evangelical folks in the USA somehow believe the nation is under judgement for allowing women to wear a militairy uniform and serve in the forces. How they get this from the Bible is still a mystery to me.
    You write Cruz is somehow disliked in the Senate, but I can not find examples of why he is not trusted. Is he a theonomist? I sense this belief is still sadly very powerful in some so called Reformed circles.

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  2. “Evangelical” has always been a word signifying nothing, useful in two contexts

    1. getting a job in an “evangelical” college or institution, or writing “evangelical” history

    2. a category that journalists use in order to avoid dealing with particular persons

    Don Dayton—define “evangelical” as “somebody who likes Billy Graham”

    Growing up fundamentalist meant being separated from “evangelicalism”. I was never taught anything but disrespect for the opportunism of Billy Graham in regard to papists and other power-brokers. Fundamentalists like Carl McIntire taught me that the Sermon on the Mount had nothing practical to say to this present age and that the only way to survive was to vote against anybody who questioned the right of capitalists to wage war at any time for any reason.

    But the old fundamentalism did caution us to do politics as private individuals in order to keep the appearance of a church/state distinction, and also to avoid interaction with papists. Back then, the fundamentalists did not rejoice in the pulpit about the murder of Martin Luther King. They waited until they got to the parking lot and then publicly agreed that this is what needed to happen to anybody who questioned the war in Viet Nam.

    https://www.google.com/amp/www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/471093/?client=safari#fpstate=amp_viewer

    Carl Truman –“For Roman Catholics, the challenges of our cultural exile are different. Rome has somehow managed to maintain a level of social credibility in America, despite holding to positions regarded as intolerable by the wider secular world…”

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  3. I have to say that the connection between these items and me is not clear. I wrote a short post pointing out three biblical reasons why Christians should not endorse socialism (and I was rather hard on capitalism, too), reasons which you (assuming this was written by DH) earlier stated agreement with. So, other than personal venom, what is the reason for pointing at me regarding matters on which I have never written a word?

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  4. Rick, maybe it has something to do with trying to tie your political/economic philosophy to the word of God that would necessarily bind one’s/another’s religious conscience. Maybe it’s an misapplication of religious authority and a break from the spirituality of the church.

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  5. I can live with that list.

    When I consider candidates for office, the central concern for me is point six: the reduction of the size and intrusiveness of the federal government. At the same time, I want to see in a candidate a healthy skepticism in Wall Street and big business. Big global corporations and financial institutions with their market-based solutions are not our friends either. What is most essential to conserve is not so much the individual but the small, local, mediating structures of society. Of course that includes the church and family.

    As a follower of Jesus Christ, I have never felt so pandered to in this political moment as I have in past years.

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  6. Adding to what Sean wrote above, I think Rick is trying very hard to find something in the Bible that isn’t there. Could Rick and Ted Cruz be twin sons of different mothers?

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  7. A side order of hyperbole, anyone?

    Sean, you say that I am “trying to tie [my] political/economic philosophy to the word of God.” Can you point out a single place where I espoused a political/economic philosophy? (Saying that socialism violates the Bible is not espousing a political/economic philosophy.) You say that I am binding others’ conscience. So you think a blog post that uses the Bible binds the conscience of its readers? You say I have misapplied religious authority. Can you point to the sermon in which I have spoken a word about these things? An overture to the general assembly that I wrote advocating a political agenda (I have opposed many but never supported a single one)? You say I am breaking from the spirituality of the church. But the spirituality of the church says that church courts should not make pronouncements on political candidates or strategies. This does not mean that the church cannot say, “Marriage is between a man and woman,” but that it cannot say, “Support legislation 42-B” or “Candidate X” Can you point to a single sermon or church court where I have made any reference to these or other political matters?

    I don’t think that you can provide any of these, but because you don’t like something I wrote you think I should be accused of a litany of things on which I have never spoken. I get it now.

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  8. Mark,
    Can you specify what in the Bible I am looking for? Can you explain why you think I am like Ted Cruz? You seem to have great insight based on very little information. Or do you just speak about people this way for fun?

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  9. Rick, you’re a little fired up. But, yes, saying socialism vioiates the bible prohibitions against stealing and slavery, as I recall, is, in fact, trying to ground, at least in part, your political/economic philosophy to the bible and necessarily that obviously attaches religious authority to said philosophy. As a matter of faith and conscience, I don’t have the opportunity to be ‘neutral’ about what the bible commends or prohibits. So, if in fact the bible does not declare that socialism(you addressed it as a holistic matter-socialism, focus on ‘ism’) then you’ve illegitimately marshalled the authority of the word of God to buttress or give authority to your declarations. You, in fact, made a point that xians AND pastors should speak out on such prohibitions. So, regardless of what capacity you intended to inhabit in your article, it’s an illegitimate application of scripture-divorced from covenantal context and ahistorical and possibly an abuse of your position or at least a lack of circumspection about which hat you intended to wear at that moment. But, I do appreciate your distinguishing between what you do from the pulpit and what you do as a blogger. Maybe you could work on being more clear about that demarcation in the future and moreso, be not so quick to trade on ‘biblical principles’ or utilize ‘biblically speaking’ when trying to make your point for or against your ‘ism’ that your blogging.

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  10. mcmark (not the other mark) to sean–do you think Tim Duncan is going to play big minutes against the Rockets tonight?

    “General readers” make commentson blogs , but the people with PHDs should police their comments?

    Rick P—-“I would enthusiastically agree that through union with Christ faith and works are not isolated but are joined (even while they remain distinct). … I would greatly commend the summary by Evans of Vos and Gaffin with respect to the dynamic nature of justification and the organic relationship of faith and works through union with Christ. … Two good starting places would be Vos’ “The Pauline Eschatology” and Gaffin’s “By Faith Not By Sight.”….I would still, however, plead against the expression “efficacy of works unto salvation.” It is true, properly circumscribed and exposited. But ….the word “salvation” simply is not precise enough accurately to describe what this is.”

    Rick P—“Nor should we expect general readers to assume the context of our rarified Vosian explanations, compelling and rich though they are. ”

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/06/relating-works-to-justificatio.php

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  11. Mark,
    You have completely lost me. Not sure how this relates to the current topic. You seem to have a thing about me. No problem.
    Sean,
    Thanks for the friendly advice, which I take as kindly given. I do think you are using “binding the conscience” pretty forcefully here. Cannot I not read a book that explains a Bible passage without having my conscience bound? I also think that if you go back and read the article to which these comments are attached, you will probably see that it is quite a bit of overkill. In any case, I have to go back to looking over my sermon for the morning — Gen. 2:16-17, The Covenant of Works.

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  12. Disagreement with what a person writes does not mean I “have a thing about you”. Did Rick P and his network “have a thing about” Tullian?

    I often agree with some of what Rick write, especially on “the judgment according to works” I agree that Christ was not “under grace” Rick P— “I do appreciate the desire to acknowledge something more than mere nature in God’s pre-fall dealings with Adam. God bestowed positive blessings on his creatures in the Garden and any obedience that Adam might have offered to God resulted not from virtues and powers that had their origin in Adam but that derived from the gift of God. Nonetheless, to assign the term “grace” to these pre-fall dealings is to change the definition of our term “grace” so that it ceases to refer clearly to God’s salvation of sinners. ..While graciousness is an attribute of God, this does not exactly line up with our confessional meaning of that grace by which sinners are saved.”

    I disagree with the answer of Rick Phillips to this question— Surely you don’t really disagree that sanctification begins with a deeper appreciation of our justification?

    Rick P—“Actually, I do disagree with this, as I am a WTS union-with-Christ guy. Sanctification does not begin with justification or an appreciation of it. Sanctification begins in the effectual call of Christ and its effect of regeneration within me. Justification and sanctification are the dual graces that result from union with Christ through faith and both “begin” in him. This is why the new covenant promise in Jer. 31:31-34 and Heb. 8:10-12 can list sanctification first and justification second, as does Calvin in Book III of the Institutes. So no I would never agree that sanctification begins in justification or my appreciation of it. It is inseparably joined to justification, of course, through my union with Christ in faith, so that sanctification is never abstracted from justification (or vice versa). Tullian writes that “Sanctification is… moving deeper into the reality of our justification.” This puts justification in the place of Christ!
    ….The relationship between justification and sanctification is that between twin brothers, not a master and his servant. So just as it would be wrong to say that justification is the status gained from your sanctification, it is also wrong to say that sanctification is living out your justification. ”

    Rick P—” I would certainly agree that Romans 2:6-7 is not hypothetical but actual. Paul means it when he writes, “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. Romans 8:13: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” The context in which this statement is made – Romans 8:13 – is one focused on sanctification. So in pointing out the necessity of good works we must pointedly separate it from justification. Romans 8:13 is absolutely true, but it is not speaking of justification. ”

    http://heidelblog.net/2014/05/berkhof-on-the-necessity-of-good-works/

    Rick p—“Why would I put myself through the ordeal of discipline, sacrifice, and sweat, much less risk-taking business endeavors, if I can have a wonderful life without working for it?”

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  13. Rev. Philips, you said “I would urge Christians to refrain from giving praise (and political support) to socialism and candidates who promote it.”. Now, to me, that translates into urging Christians not to vote for Sanders. I won’t. Most folks in my Church won’t. A few will. I know some of them very well. I had coffee with one of them yesterday morning. I jokingly called him a seamless garment Baptist. His reasoning for his vote is at least as deeply spritually and Biblically motivated as any vote I have ever cast. (I am a long time tribal Republican. ) Were you the Pastor of our Church, the quoted statement would cause us to join together and try to run you off. We would likely be successful..

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  14. Just a reminder of the general principles of civil government, as defined in the….Pennsylvania State Constitution… .
    Which, it may be noted, has some very pointedly personal theological presuppositions.
    Can anyone make note of any correlation of any of the Ten Commandments to any of the indefeasible rights noted in Section 1.? And, make a comparison with socialism (where the State owns the means of production and distribution of goods).

    “WE, the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

    Article 1
    DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
    That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and unalterably established, WE DECLARE THAT –

    Inherent Rights of Mankind
    Section 1.
    All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.

    Political Powers
    Section 2.
    All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness. For the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think proper.”

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  15. How is Rome socially credible in America? Well, the pope spoke to congress, just like prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But I think you are correct that Trump is going to have to kiss the rear of Israel’s prime minister in a way that he will not have to kiss the pope’s foot.

    But it was not me but Carl Truman who suggested credibility –“For Roman Catholics, the challenges of our cultural exile are different. Rome has somehow managed to maintain a level of social credibility in America, despite holding to positions regarded as intolerable by the wider secular world .”

    Well, that “wider secular world” is divided into different groups, and the First Things group advocates killing for Israel, and this idea is only intolerable in some of “the secular world”. In this “wider world”, only the baptists who have made their peace with the papists (Timothy George) have any credibility, but Truman’s strategy to be heard is to insult all baptists as antinomians who don’t care about church discipline, and to cozy up to Rome with his “catholic continuity’. it’s too bad that Rome won’t let him into the “sacrament”, but really that still shows the power of Rome, and Truman and the Reformed generously accept Rome’s water.

    Michael Horton–“There are many Roman Catholic individuals-perhaps more than at any other time, with whom we can share significant agreement even on the nature of the gospel itself. Roman Catholic New Testament scholars like Joseph Fitzmeyer argue an essentially EVANGELICAL position on justification, while many evangelicals are rejecting such “Lutheran” exegesis! Rome’s official teaching is better than the Pelagian creed that seems to dominate so much of American Protestant religion …. While we will not be serving each other Communion any time soon, nothing should keep MATURE Protestants from taking advantage of the rich resources of contemporary Roman Catholic theologians and pastors .”

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  16. DG:When I look at my list I find it is based on my political philosophy and principles, on prudence and common sense, and on preferences. I do not believe they are derived from the Bible or are an expression of my Christian faith.

    Christian faith….
    1) wisdom: either righteousness from God or foolishness from the world and or/flesh
    2) Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above
    3) Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing (of any worth).
    4) What do you have that you did not receive? Answer:nothing
    5) And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? answer: you can’t but if you do: pride

    Christian faith always glorifies God.

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  17. oops, I should have said: Christian faith ALWAYS glorifies God.

    We have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us; and the life which we now live in the flesh we live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself up for us. Gal 2:20

    What happens when we die. It is only Christ who lives.

    In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3:6 -7

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  18. Oops. I should have said Christian faith ALWAYS glorifies GOD.

    …not me, not you, not anything created, not any institution, not any person, not any spiritual or non-spiritual leader, not dead people, not angels, not dead works, not any idea or thought…not ANYTHING but GOD
    (If however anything else were to be chosen to be given glory, it is GOD Who glorifies.)

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  19. Regarding #1, though I appreciate the statement on not including The Constitution with the original autographs of the Scriptures, we still have to remember the purpose of The Constitution itself was to strengthen the federal gov’t so that it could better respond to insurrection and publice challenges to the status quo of its own time. All one has to read to see this is to read the 2nd Amendment and then read all of the Constitutional references made about militia alond with Federalist #10.

    #2, one can’t be both a textualist and an originalist. For the text that informs us of the original intention is not the text in The Constitution itself. And where parts of The Constitution were written out of compromise, one ends up being politically selective in terms of filtering which writings should be used in interpreting The Constitution

    #3, if the gov’t is forbidden from caring for those in need of healthcare, then the government is forbidden from representing those who are need of healthcare

    #4, included with any imigration bill must be limits on foreign polices, some of which have caused the need for people to leave their own country. Limits should include constraints on trade agreements that either immediately or eventually hurt the economies of other nations and a prohibition on regime change. The last time I looked, the 3 source nations where the most illegal immigration comes from are nations that have either been hurt by trade agreements or by regime change involving the US.

    #5, add to #5 federal help women who need help in seeing pregnancies through and in supproting children of these pregnancies.

    #6 is not well-defined enough to comment on

    #7, since America spends more on its military, spread throughout several department budgets, than on around the next 8 to 9 nations combined, I think this is already covered. We should note that the picture of the strength of our military as portrayed by the Republican candidates is not accurate. For example, when talking about the size of our Navy, Obama’s Navy has 9 to 13 ships less than Bush’s except that the newer ships coming on line, the Zumwalt and the soon to come new class of aircraft carriers, are more powerful than their older counterparts. What is really needed regarding the projection of American military power is that our military will be accountable to the ICC.

    #8, here my question is painful to whom? Before answering this question, we should thoroughly understand who benefits the most from our federal budget. For example, when we give military aid to foreign countries, our dollars go to American weapons manufacturers while their products go to designated foreign countries. So who benefits the most from this deal? Or we should look at the low-interest to no interest loans repeatedly made to elites in our financial sector so they lend out money at exhobitant rates

    #9, Actually what is threatening the Social Security fund is that it is the biggest holder of Federal debt. In other words, our gov’t has been reducing the deficit by borrowing from Social Security. Thus, Al Gore’s lock box suggestion was most appropriate. Other than that, it is sufficiently self-funded and removing the cap on income which is taxable for Social security would allow it to both hold that deb and provide the promised services. As for medicare, allowing gov’t to negotiate pharmaceutical prices would go a long way in making medicare financially secure

    #10, is simply a slap in the face of democracy. Regulations by a democratic gov’t are the people’s way of saying to business, ‘This is how you are to do business with us.’ The problem comes in when the gov’t no longer represents the people but is paid to cater to private sector elites.

    #11, we already have that with the exception of when some in the Church seek to infringe on the rights of other groups like the LGBT community

    #12, we are losing #12 because of the influence of money on gov’t and because we are experiencing a backlash to the Civil Rights measures passed in the 60s

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  20. Since Dan posted that Greg Boyd post, I’ve been reading some other stuff by him. This is good despite the transformationalist leanings.

    And, if our total hope for the world is in Jesus and his kingdom, as it ought to be, then none of our hope should be in Caesar and his kingdom, whatever version happens to be in place. So why would we think every single vote for a kingdom in which we have no hope “matters”?

    What do you have to say in response to those who claim that voting is our “civic duty” as responsible adult American citizens?

    I say that my duty as a citizen of the kingdom of God (Phil 3:20) trumps whatever “civic duty” my culture wants to place on me. Indeed, as a citizen of a kingdom that is “not of this world” (Jn 18:36), I am a “foreigner” in this land (I Pet 1:17, 2:11), so the “civic duties” of the land in which I’m stationed don’t apply.

    Many assert that voting is a way for Christians to care for the widow and orphan. What are your thoughts on this?

    Expressing an opinion about what government should do once every couple of years is a “token” way to care for the widow, orphan, poor and everyone else. People do their “civic duty” and can go back to their comfortable lives feeling good that they’ve “cared for” these folks because they had an opinion about how Caesar should care for these folks.

    http://reknew.org/2014/11/greg-on-politics/

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  21. Paul, Cruz’s colleagues don’t trust him because he grandstands, constantly attacks his colleagues, has no loyalty to his Party and its leadership. The perception is that his loyalty is to himself.

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  22. Walton, Boyd, like other “neo-” Anabaptists, can’t seem to shake his transformationalism. But he is a perennial favorite with many of the young people in our church.Better him than Shane Claiborne, I guess. I try to get them to read Hunter’s “To Change the World.”. My sense is that none of them are ready for Old Life.

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  23. Curt,excuse me, but my quote above from Scalia is in response to your #2 not #1. If Scalia thought he could be both, then I expect one can be both. With exegesis one always begins with the words themselves, and then tries to get at original intent. There are times when what the words seem to say (the “first look”) are not what they were meant by author to say and not what the original readers understood the words to say.

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  24. Curt, re #6,what part of that general statement is not sufficiently defined in your eyes? Make the central government smaller and restrain its growing intrusiveness. Let individuals and local governments do what they are supposed to do – make decisions, take initiative, and not allow the nanny state tell them what is good for them and what they may do. Don’t tell me what size soft drink I can order. Don’t tell an 18 year old he can’t buy a beer. Let local school districts decide what is best for their communities. Don’t make decisions about marriage and abortion that you impose on the states. We have a federal system. Get it?

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  25. Curt, with regard to #1 frankly I don’t see the relevance of what you write to the point I made. Possibly you are wanting to segue from my statement about the interpretation of the Constitution to a point you want to make about the Second Amendment, but it seems irrelevant.

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  26. Walton, Hunter on the neo-Anabaptists:
    “Like the Old Order Anabaptists whose style and life practices are frozen in the mid-nineteenth century, here too style and life practices would be frozen in the 2010s. The neo-Anabaptists in fifty years would all wear Toms, be locavores, play guitars, patronize microbreweries, and worship in ugly buildings. Their pastors would all have soul patches (and other finely groomed facial hair) but operate great Web sites and tweet all of the time. The tour buses will drive by and . . .”
    http://theotherjournal.com/2010/09/22/neither-triumphalism-nor-retreat-a-conversation-about-faithful-presence-with-james-davison-hunter/

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  27. Curt, re #4, immigration is one distinct issue. It can be dealt with in terms of doing something about those who are her and those who are not here yet. We say and mean, “We do not want and will not accept immigrants who come by other than legal means.” Foreign policy and trade agreements are issues to be dealt with on their own.

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  28. Walton, I read Boyd as more Anabaptist. His repudiation of the nation where he resides sounds good. But he derives lots of benefits while sneering at America.

    I agree Christians have a higher loyalty and I especially detest civil religion that sacralizes the state.

    But there is something in between — loving neighbor (Americans) and vocation (citizenship). Then juggle.

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  29. Re #7 Curt, we disagree about the state of US military power. The military has been cut. This is partly a budgetary issue and more greatly an ideological issue. At this stage in the history of the world and the US’s role in the world the US has a need to be able to project power not only for her own defense but also for the preventing of chaos in the world. We must be able to restrain China, North Korea, Russia. Islamist states. We are likely not always have this role but we have it now. And I can’t think of anything more foolish that to make the officers and men/women of the military subject to an international body. What we need to do is to make it clear that under no circumstances will we allow our military personnel be subject to international control or judgment.

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  30. Curt re SS Al Gore had no more intention of putting that money in a lock box than I have of voting for Hillary Clinton. There are hard decisions about SS and one thing that makes very good sense is to raise the retirement age. And re Medicare, I really like it and my supplemental insurance which means I pay $0 for medical and hospital care, but I don’t see how we are going to avoid rationing of care. Re Part D, you have to remember that there must be money for R&D. It takes a whole lot of money to develop, test, and bring a drug to market. Drugs extend and improve life but drugs are expensive.

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  31. Dan and DGH, That quote about how Anabaptists never change, nice. I had never noticed the emergents as neo-Anabaptists. Probably cause this is the first time I’ve checked them out since high school when everyone was about Claiborne, Rob Bell, and Pete Grieg (and I didn’t know what an Anabaptist was then). And with regards to the something in between, I think I’m with you, DG. The way Boyd refers to all governments as “Caesar” makes him sounds like a theonomist of the anarchist-left. Which makes sense as he talks about “voting for the Kingdom.”

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  32. Rw #10 Curr I as one of the people have never fell like I was expressing myself via government regulations though I know that is some convoluted fashion attribute such romantically conceived role to regulations. As far as I am concerned to a large extent those regulations restrict and constrain my personal freedom and drive up the costs of goods and services, I’d just as soon the the regulators not be the way democracy works. Feel most undemocratic to me.

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  33. To justacurmudgeon,
    His intentions aside, the idea itself merits consideration since its implementation would preserve Social Security especially seeing that Social Security is the biggest holder of federal debt. The idea that our gov’t can borrow from SS so that it funnel money to private sector elites through military spending, or foreign aid for military spending or can provide corporate welfare in others ways should be abhorrent. It is stealing since that money was provided by those work. And so we run the fund low by borrowing so we can pay private sector elites and thus have to cut benefits or consider other measures is theft. We shouldn’t tolerate it.

    As for ratoining care, we were alsreay doing that. Many who couldn’t afford healthcare wouldn’t get or wouldn’t get it in a timely fashion. Which means that their lifespan became shorter. You also have to remember that much of the R&D is already done by the government. What we are really talking about is paying prices that benefit shareholders of Pharmaceutical companies. Switching to a single payer system itself would decrease the cost of healthcare since it would decrease administrative costs. Administrative costs are very high. In addition, some of these health insurance companies delay or deny payment as much as possible.

    Don’t iknow if you knew that the Left opposed the ACA. Liberals didn’t, but the Left did. We knew, as well as some conservatives did, that it was the health insurance industry that would most benefit from the ACA. In fact, one of the keywriters of the ACA came from the health industry only to return to it afterwards. As with our financial sector and the military, there is a revolving door policy between members of the private and appointed employees of the public sector. And the purpose of that revolving door is to provide corporate and personal enrichment. So this idea tht we are paying for R&D is well overstated.

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  34. Re 11, Curt, I am all for protecting the civil rights of homosexuals. Though I think it turns history and meaning on their heads, I can live with homsosexuals contracting marriages. But I also want the protection to say your lifestyle in wicked. And, if I don’t want to back your cake that says Alex and Harry or don’t want to take you pictures kissing at the altar and slow dancing at the reception, I don’t see why you can’t get some other bakery or photographer to take care of you. I mean do you really have to make me experience yuck so you can exercise your freedom? I mean as Willie Nelson says in “Ain’t Goin’ Down on Brokeback Mountain” “that shit ain’t right.”

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  35. Just a Curmudgeon,
    Again, we spend more on defense than the next 9 countries combined. We have between 500 to 700 military bases around the world. And for what purpose? Is it so we can at least partially control who leads what countries? Or is it so, because of the structure of our economy, those businesses that provide goods and services tor the military can survive or even thrive? Saying that our military has been cut implies nothing bad when we consider the full context of military spending.

    What we should also include here are foreign policies that provide the impetus for new enemies. That Al-Qaeda came about because of US interventions is beyond doubt. That they declared war on us because of our foreign policies is beyond doubt. And the same applies to the creation of ISIS. Our sledgehammer foreign policies started ISIS. IT put many conservative believing Muslims into a similar time context that Mohammad had once faced.

    We should also note that we allow no one to put our actions before the ICC. Now if we were interested in promoting justice rather than projecting power, one would think that there would be objection to subjecting our actions to the ICC. In fact, according to former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, peace could better be pursued by subjecting all nations to the ICC. But we refuse to subject our actions to any standards. This should provoke Christians to thinking more deeply about our country.

    The military gap between the past and present has been widely overstated and portrayed outside of any legitimate context.

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  36. Just a Curmudgeon
    Unless you are in business providing goods and services for someone, those regulations don’t affect you directly. But what they are designed to do is to protect us from those who deliberately or negligently fail to operate in fair and safe manner. That doesn’t meant the more regulations, the safer we will be. It does mean that we we need regulations and that any further discussion on regulations must be done on a case by case basis.

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  37. DGH—-His repudiation of the nation where he resides sounds good. But he derives lots of benefits while sneering at America.

    mcmark–Now the “hybrid” has to “JUGGLE” because Hart can’t keep both hats on at once? Where Romans 13 teaches us to submit to “them”, because God is in control of “them” and therefore any “benefits” are a result of God’s control of evil against evil, Hart cannot obey Romans 12 which commands us to leave the wrath to God, but instead argues that we need to take off our “mother kirk” hat and put on the hat in which the ends justifies the means and help our neighbors in the need to overcome evil with evil. Hart exempts himself from being neo-Calvinist because he does this “if you are going to benefit, you need to approve and pay for the killing that it takes to keep a culture” but NOT in the name of Christ or the church, but simply as one sinner among other sinners.

    Instead of rejoicing that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, Hart refuses liberty of conscience to those who sneer at war and the nations who prosecute war and agrees with the brothers Neibuhr that the reality of sin in the world and the reality of our own sin means that killing people is not sin. Hart does not appeal to what the Mosaic covenant said, and he doesn’t go by the standard of the Sermon on the Mount, and therefore nobody can call him a “theonomist.”. But nobody can call Hart an “anarchist” either, because he’s not merely submitting to the powers—when Hart takes off his “mother kirk” hat, he puts on the hat which says that (in this new situation, where there is no monarchy) “we” ARE “them”, and Christian now being the magistrates are now the agent of God’s wrath (not defined by God but by the constitution) and Christians who won’t do this are ungrateful jerks who should perhaps be exported because they don’t see the need to thank Satan for Satan’s service to God. Since Satan does what God needs Satan to do, and God in sovereignty orders what Satan does , anybody who complains about Satan might sound good when they complain but they are denying all the good that God works from what Satan does.

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  38. Just a Curmudgeon,
    I agree that we must have the right say that homosexuality is sinful. But we must also avoid marinalizing those from the LGBT community in society. And failing to provoide business goods and services in a capitalist economy contributes to the marginalization of the LGBT community in society as well as increases the risk that they could suffer either a paritial or full deprivation of goods and services because of sexual orientation. Allowing businesses the right to refuse goods and services to s same-sex wedding, for example, follows in the line of part of Jim Crow where people could refuse goods and services to people because of race. What makes that most significant is that it occurs in a capitalist economic system where goods and services are procurred through the private sector only.

    I have several friends from the LGBT community. For some, the scars of past marginalization has provided stumbling blocks to them listening to the Gospel by making it difficult to distinguish between someone saying that homosexuality is sinful from someone saying that homosexuals are not equal and thus do not deserve to be treated in society as everyone else. For some, the emotional scars are very deep and they have had to pay a very high price for our arrogance.

    Yes, homosexuality is sinful, very much so. But it is still very possible for us to inflate the differences between us heterosexuals and those homosexuals by what we say and how we treat them.

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  39. Just a curmudgeon,
    Perhaps we need to talk to mothers in those situations before judging how well the gov’t is doing. After all, those kids serve as part of our future as well as our own kids do.

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  40. Just a Curmudgeon,
    When trade agreements and foreign polices are the biggest driving factor for a signficant part of our immigration problem, then how is it that trade agreements and foreign policies should treated as being unrelated to our immigration policies?

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  41. Just a Curmudgeon,
    Never said you are a nut. I am simply saying that one cannot be both an originalist and a textualist. By definition, they are mutually exclusive. For to be an originalist, one must introduce texts that are not part of The Constitution. And all too often, and unavoidably, the use of other texts is done selectively.

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  42. Just a Curmudgeon,
    Regarding #6, your statement needs further specification. For example, when we increase the size of the military, we increase the size of the gov’t. In addition, history shows that the control a nation exerts over others in their region or the world eventually comes back to the control over its own people. After all, there is a price to be paid for maintaining an empire.

    As for what is pushed on to states, that should be done on a case by case basis that just referring to the 10th Amendment will not help. For example, the FAA was never specified in The Constitution. Should we eliminate it and let the states control their own airspaces?

    In addition, the more duties we push onto the states, the more those state budgets grow. And they would be doing so without federal help.

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  43. Walton, I guess it is fair to put Boyd in the emergent camp, but that is not a term I have heard very much in the last few years.I hope it is past its sell by date, to be joined soon by flourishing. Like Hauerwas, I find Boyd to be a serious thinker on many levels. That he can get the younger folks to take seriously the idea that Satan is an active force in the world is, to an old fart like me, a real plus.

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  44. Mark, I’m reminded of Doug Wilson in his response to DG on Christ the Center’s Christ and Culture. DW said that if DG was a magistrate, he might want to outlaw abortion, but when asked why, he couldn’t say “Because I’m a Christian.” I’m not sure if this is an accurate assessment, but I generally agree. The ten commandments say “thou shalt not kill.” Does this mean that for a civil society to get along, murder should be illegal? God has not told us what we need to maintain order. People can decide among themselves what they want their neighbors to do and to not do in order to remain peaceable.

    The theonomists say “All freedom is religious freedom. All legislation is morality.” I wish that all legislation was purely pragmatic. Murder is definitely wrong, but must it be illegal in order to maintain a society? Well it depends on your society.

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  45. It’s easier to call the enemies of 2k “neo-anabaptists” than to see them as “post-liberals” or “anti-liberals”. Because 2 k, as taught by “natural law Reformed” and “Lutheran” and ‘Conservative Mennonite” votes Republican but claims to do so not as Christians. In other words, the “juggling two kingdoms and two masters at once” folks reject Christendom, but do so only in the name of “liberal” political theory. By “liberal” political theory, I do not mean either the Republican party, which practices crony military-entitlement capitalism, or the Democratic party, which does that plus also engages in other non-liberal redistribution by taxation. By “liberal political theory”, I mean the “secular state” ideas which informed the Constitution and the founding fathers. 2k folks like Hart assume that the the only positive alternative to Christendom is liberal political theory. Help the state to do the killing which needs to be done to preserve the liberal experiment (against what could only be worse), but don’t do it as Christians or as the church.

    So let’s not think of a sociologist like Hunter as a “neo-Calvinist” or a “neo-transformationalist”. But does Hunter want to “change the world’ by being the church? No. Since the people in the church are also sinners, Hunter thinks that changing the world means keeping liberal democracy. Hunter—“Why do the neo-Anabaptists reduce the life of Imitatio Dei to the parameters of the church?”’ Sounding very much like the brothers Niebuhr, Hunter ” claims that because they fail to understand power and its pervasiveness, Neo-Anabaptists try to keep their hands clean. ”

    A focus only the church and the gospel, which does not “balance” and “juggle” and “struggle with the tension” of putting the “other kingdom” hat on, would NOT use power to overcome evil with evil. Hunter thinks that what needs to be done to maintain the liberal American empire and even to make it better. And 2 k people seem to agree. Maybe their votes won’t help, they think, but nevertheless it’s not only their duty but also the duty of “neo-anabaptists” to try to vote for the person who will move history in the right direction. And sure, if history does NOT move in the right direction, we can all agree that God is still in control, and perhaps the result will be a just punishment for us for not being liberal enough or for torturing our enemies (too much), but in the present age (secular time) we can’t afford to be patient enough to only not do what Jesus told us not to do.

    (I must wonder why people want me to vote. Is my approval of liberal democracy so important to them that it does not matter if I don’t vote for for the person they think will move history in the right direction? I DO understand why they think people who won’t use power to overcome evil with evil need to shut up and have no liberty to talk at all about power or good and evil. )

    “Because Hunter does not affirm the political end of formation in the church–that Christians are to instantiate an alternative politics–he renders Christian action a mere instrument within the world’s power game. Yet the church, through its worship of Jesus as Lord, enables the Christian to be critical toward the world’s conception of “power.” The worship of Jesus Christ–the crucified God– allows, in other words, the Christian to see power in a form that the world will consider madness..”

    http://www.ekklesiaproject.org/blog/2011/08/james-hunter-neo-anabaptists-and-the-ekklesia-project/

    II Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, because the end of power is weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, in order that Christ’s power reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ.

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  46. McMark, I was the person who labeled Boyd a neo-Anabaptist in this thread. He led his Church to affiliate with one of the Mennonite conferences, so the Anabaptist label fits. Since he never claimed to personally be an Anabaptist until around 5 years ago, the neo part seems to fit, too,

    As far as Hunter goes, he probably would be much more comfortable with the likes of Niebuhr than I am. But, as the EP article you link to says, there is a lot of his diagnosis that seems spot on.

    I am perfectly fine with your not voting.

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  47. McMark
    Interesting comment. I for one appreciate the enlightenment, liberalism, and capitalism (and the soft-Imperialism that has brought us 70yrs of Pax Americana) . These are the engines that have dramatically reduced violence, disease, and hunger worldwide. It has laid the ground work for making Christianity a global religion. Frankly, I don’t see any alternative to these that doesn’t bring with it a dramatic decline in global living standards. That being said, I don’t believe these are unmitigated goods and take the point of their critics.

    Just laying my cards on the table….more to the point, I don’t think that socialists like Curt (as loony as I find his views), critics of liberalism like yourself (as wrongheaded as I think you are), or monarchalists at tge FPR, etc… are somehow sinful based on your very different politics. All other things being equal, I don’t see why we couldn’t worship together as co-congregants. I take this to be the essence of 2k. When one claims socialist governance is sinful they have strayed. I certainly don’t think you should be obligated to vote. In fact if you don’t support my candidate (who is the only hope for western civilization…natch), then I prefer you don’t…HA!

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  48. sdb: I certainly don’t think you should be obligated to vote.

    I don’t know sdb. If we are ‘obligated’ to pray for all leaders, ought we not also be ‘obligated’ to step out and vote then?

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  49. “Allowing businesses the right to refuse goods and services to s same-sex wedding, for example, follows in the line of part of Jim Crow where people could refuse goods and services to people because of race.”
    I don’t think this is an accurate description of Jim Crow. The states didn’t simply allow segregation, they mandated it. In the south it was de jure. In the north it was de facto. Secondly, it seems to me that we can draw a line between requiring a baker to sell cookies to everyone and being able to refuse expressive jobs. Yes the law should require the baker to sell a cake to adam and steve, but it shouldn’t require her to put a pair of groomsmen on the cake and write “congrats on your wedding day adam and steve”. Whether refusing to do so is a good idea or not is a different question. I don’t see why the state shouldn’t make exceptions for expressive endeavors.

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  50. Scripture commands one, but not the other. If a law were passed requiring us to vote, since scripture does not forbid voting, then I think we would be obligated to do so. Happily that is not the case.

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  51. the word of God – and the His wisdom,discernment leads us to our conclusions sdb. I appreciate yours, though I disagree about optional voting, if we are praying about it’s outcome.

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  52. Ali, in addition to sbd’s point, have you ever considered that abstention is a perfectly legitimate option in a modern democracy? One doesn’t actually have to choose the lesser of two (or more) evils. Abstention can be a way of saying to the process and its players, “Not good enough. Try harder and bring me something better.” You sound like an after school special about government, with a spiritual glaze on top.

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  53. Zrim:You sound like an after school special about government, with a spiritual glaze on top.

    really? I’m wondering in what why, and how you came to that conclusion, since all I said was prayer was important and voting with that prayer was also important -my conclusion

    but…as anticipated, Zrim I see while it appears you would like respect for your conclusion, another’s conclusion is not only disdained, but distorted. Just another day in the life of old life.

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  54. Ali, you suggested that voting was more than important, that it was obligatory the same way praying for leaders is obligatory. Still, “important”? Maybe. I’m guessing your the type to see pure virtue in voting and that it has more to do with how the nation is governed than other, more complicated factors. After school special.

    So no respect for the point about abstention? Too bad, it’s true anyway.

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  55. Zrim – I said if I am praying about God’s placement of leaders, I conclude I must vote also. Is that conclusion ok with you? Can you perceive that one could get to that conclusion?

    The rest of what you are saying – I’m not sure what you are saying – you like to use words like ‘your type’ ‘virtue’ ‘etc –
    thinly veiled disdain, so the hearer (me) just says, whatever zrim, carry on with your putdowns, bias and shut down dialogue

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  56. Ali, what you said was “If we are ‘obligated’ to pray for all leaders, ought we not also be ‘obligated’ to step out and vote then?”

    I said if I am praying about God’s placement of leaders, I conclude I must vote also. Is that conclusion ok with you?

    I don’t know what this means. I abstain from answering your question. Return with a better worded statement and I’ll consider again. See?

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  57. pastor Martin Luther–“When Christians went to war, they struck right and left and killed, and there was no difference between Christians and the heathen. But they did nothing contrary to Matthew 5;38-39 because they did it not as Christians. but as obedient subjects, under obligation to a secular authority.”
    http://ollc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Secular-Authority-To-What-Extent-It-Should-Be-Obeyed.pdf

    I Corinthians 7—I don’t need to be out of jail, but also I don’t need to be in jail, therefore there is nothing I could gain if Roman citizens had the vote about occupying Israel.

    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 Paul 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. Most likely Paul was never ‘free’ again, spending the rest of his time in the Roman legal system/under arrest..

    Paul did not use his Roman citizenship as a means to spread the gospel, because there was nothing about his being Roman that could add to the gospel or create an “apologetic” for the gospel. For Paul the crucial issue was being in Christ, not the various options on how one can be in the world. Being Roman didn’t make being in Christ more significant or effective. Being Roman didn’t create opportunities for the gospel. God’s effectual calling does not depend on what liberal political theory likes to call “religious liberty”.

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

    Martin Luther —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 the ruler 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, the ruler permits them to practice their wickedness, though he can prevent it, and is in duty bound to do so. Here, then, there is 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…

    mcmark–You see, the problem today is with neo anabaptists sneering at the benefits the “natural order” which has been preserved for us by those whose vocation for God is to kill. The problem is not German or Genevan lesser magistrates at war against emperor and pope or peasants. Though the earth in the age to come will be the Lord’s, to be practical in this present age the earth must be kept from the parasites and preserved for the invisible hand of providence. And this means we can vote (and be glad that other people don’t vote, democracy does not depend on majority consent). Only idealists cannot compromise between two evils, and we can accuse such people as those who immanentize the eschaton…

    So when we fear the Muslim Turks, we do not need to tempt God by only relying on the second coming of Christ, because we have our American citizenship. And we can either make alliances with them or bomb them. And in the same manner as Paul was saved from death by the hands of the Romans (because he was a hybrid, both Roman and Christian) , we too will not tempt God by trusting God to save us, even though two swords may not be enough,

    Hitler (after the failure of the assassination plot)—“it was providence that spared me. This proves that I am on the right track. I feel that this is the confirmation of all my work.”

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  59. “Paul did not use his Roman citizenship as a means to spread the gospel, because there was nothing about his being Roman that could add to the gospel or create an “apologetic” for the gospel. For Paul the crucial issue was being in Christ, not the various options on how one can be in the world. Being Roman didn’t make being in Christ more significant or effective. Being Roman didn’t create opportunities for the gospel. God’s effectual calling does not depend on what liberal political theory likes to call “religious liberty”.”

    I don’t buy this. He did use his citizenship to spread the gospel. It saved his neck and allowed all those prison epistles. Of course God could have used any means, but in fact used Paul’s citizenship.

    “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. Most likely Paul was never ‘free’ again, spending the rest of his time in the Roman legal system/under arrest..”

    Well of course he eventually died (in the long run we are all dead right?) but there is no question it delayed tge inevitable so that we coukd read those letters written while he was in chains right….

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  60. sdb,
    Actually, Jim Crow laws differed from state to state so that the refusal of some businesses to provide goods and services to Blacks was voluntary. But it fit under the Jim Crow culture and that is what we have to assess when those of us who own businesses refuse to provide goods and services to a same-sex weddings in, and the following is a very important part of the formula, a Capitalist economy. Jim Crow was about the instutional and systematic subjugtoin and marginalization of Blacks in society. The question Jim Crow was trying to answer was: How should Whites share society with Blacks? The answer was in hiercrchical structure where there would always be a guarantee that Whites secured a place of supremacy over Blacks. Those Whites promoting Jim Crow had no intention of sharing society with Blacks as equals.

    So now we arrive to our present time where far too many of us religiously conservative Christians were asked the same question regarding the LGBT community as Whites were asked regarding how they would relate to Blacks during Jim Crow. And whether it is from our opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriages to our promotion of laws excusing Christian businesses from serving those in the LGBT community at various levels to our playing the victim card when we use Religious liberty as a cover for our businesses denying services to same-sex weddings, too many of us have decided not to share society with those from the LGBT community as equals.

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  61. D.G.,
    When they were arrested for practicing homosexuality.

    But let me ask, is denying the right to vote the only way a group of people can marginalized and persecuted? Did you know that those from the LGBT community can lose their jobs because of their sexual orientation in 29 states? Please note the present tense was used in the question. Do you know how maby from the LGBT community have been harassed, threatened, or even beaten because of their sexual orientation?

    As with all who belong to privileged groups, understanding the hardships of those who are starting to come out of a period of marginalization is difficult.

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  62. Actually, Jim Crow laws differed from state to state so that the refusal of some businesses to provide goods and services to Blacks was voluntary.

    No doubt that since these were state laws and not federal laws, there was variation from state to state, but Jim Crow Laws explicitly refer to mandated segregation of public facilities (including facilities of public accommodation such as hotels and restaurants). Do you have examples of ex-confederate states that did not require segregation of restaurants for example?

    But it fit under the Jim Crow culture and that is what we have to assess when those of us who own businesses refuse to provide goods and services to a same-sex weddings in, and the following is a very important part of the formula, a Capitalist economy. Jim Crow was about the instutional and systematic subjugtoin and marginalization of Blacks in society. The question Jim Crow was trying to answer was: How should Whites share society with Blacks? The answer was in hiercrchical structure where there would always be a guarantee that Whites secured a place of supremacy over Blacks. Those Whites promoting Jim Crow had no intention of sharing society with Blacks as equals.

    This is half right. To be sure, in the south where most of the southern states had very large black populations (in contrast to the North), there was real fear about how to keep whites in charge…thus the laws (and voting shenanigans). In the North, there was still very real racism, but they did not have Jim Crow laws. The did have de facto segregation. I’m not saying that it was OK, but it was not nearly as vicious as what blacks faced in the south (and thus the great migration). The experience of blacks in the North is a much better analogy to LGBT than Jim Crow.

    So now we arrive to our present time where far too many of us religiously conservative Christians were asked the same question regarding the LGBT community as Whites were asked regarding how they would relate to Blacks during Jim Crow. And whether it is from our opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriages to our promotion of laws excusing Christian businesses from serving those in the LGBT community at various levels to our playing the victim card when we use Religious liberty as a cover for our businesses denying services to same-sex weddings, too many of us have decided not to share society with those from the LGBT community as equals.

    Of course there is a huge difference between the morally neutral construction of race and inherently immoral status of homosexual sex. Asking whether that behavior should be circumscribed by law or not is very different than asking whether someone should be made a second class citizen on account of their race. Secondly, I remain unconvinced that engaging in expressive work for hire automatically means that one should not be able to decline to produce certain creative expressions. Nothing you’ve written above makes a case for that. Thirdly, you write about at will employment for being gay as if that has some equivalence to the experience of African Americans under Jim Crow – the wealth gap is strong evidence that this is not the case. Fourthly, Christians are not asking the same questions about blacks under Jim Crow (where the black population approached 50% in many southern states) and LGBT (where we are talkng about a few percent of the population). The question is intrinsically moral and goes to the heart of the Christian tradition and the authority of scripture. You’re allowing the fact of marginalization to blur significant distinctions.

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  63. Acts 21—You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law. 21 But they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, by telling them not to circumcise their children or to walk in our customs. 22 So what is to be done? They will certainly hear that you’ve come. 23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have obligated themselves with a vow. 24 Take these men, purify yourself along with them, and pay for them to get their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that what they were told about you amounts to nothing, but that you yourself are also careful about observing the law. 25 With regard to the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter containing our decision that they should keep themselves from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality.”
    26 Then the next day, Paul took the men, having purified himself along with them, and entered the temple, announcing the completion of the purification days when the offering for each of them would be made. 27 As the seven days were about to end, the Jews from Asia saw him in the temple complex, stirred up the whole crowd, and seized him, 28 shouting, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place. What’s more, he also brought Greeks into the temple and has profaned this holy place.”

    Acts 26: 29 “I wish before God,” replied Paul, “that whether easily or with difficulty, not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am—except for these chains.” 30 So the king, the governor, Bernice, and those sitting with them got up, 31 and when they had left they talked with each other and said, “This man is doing nothing that deserves death or chains.” 32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

    Paul could have simply gone to Rome. God had been able to direct Paul before without having to resort to such convoluted arrangements. Paul had enough popular appeal that people, influential people, wanted to see and hear him. But Paul didn’t go to Rome: he went to Jerusalem. The prophetic word his brothers and sisters received before he went there led them to strongly urge him not to go. He rejected their counsel. Their wisdom was driven by their concern for Paul and was under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Even if one has a “word from God”, that word does not have self evident meaning— it must be evaluated.

    The chief men of the church in Jerusalem were concerned about appearances, so they had Paul do something which was unnecessary in an attempt to improve his standing with the Jews. They had him take four men through the rite of purification with him, a practice the Jews might appreciate but which had no value for the maturing of the church in Jerusalem. In fact, it seems more like accommodation to the religious culture than anything. This is the event that caused the problem; not Paul or the men being there, but the assumption by some Jews that Paul had gentiles in the temple. This might be a good example of what results when we are concerned with appearances. Paul accepts the counsel of those in Jerusalem he is not particularly close to, of whose high standing he professes to have no particular regard, and who are motivated by their concern for appearances.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/february-web-only/politics-and-pulpit.html

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  64. SDB,
    My purpose in comparing the refusal to provide goods and services to same-sex weddings with the refusal to provide goods and services to Blacks during Jim Crow was not to the analogy to give an overall picture of the plight of the LGBT community in society. Rather, it was merely to compare the act of regusing to provide goods and services to same-sex weddings with something comparable. And the reason for making the comparison is to show that the religious objections that Christian business people would tend to have to providing goods and services to same-sex weddings is not the only issue involved and the personal rights of those Christians are not the only personal rights involved.

    I remember, though as a white person, some of the travails Blacks had in the North. I grew in suburban Philly. And in the township in which I grew up, it was illegal to sell your house to a noncaucasion. So I’ve seen some of that segregation.

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  65. Curt, All of that may be true. LGBT members (except for descendants of slaves) never faced slavery or Jim Crow.

    Silly me, but I think those injustices outweigh others.

    And did you know that lots of people feel marginalized, and some lose their jobs because such marginalization exists.

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  66. @curt seems needlessly inflammatory to me. Kind of like invoking the Nazi’s: The Nazi’s confiscated people’s guns. You support gun control? You are like a Nazi. Even if true, a comparison of gun control advocates to Nazi’s is decidedly problematic. The same goes for comparing objections to providing expressive services (not all general services) with state mandated segregation. The right to housing and education and the right to having a baker write the message you want on a cake are not comparable. If your point is simply that rights have trade-offs, well duh. This means judgement and discretion are called for. Should a Jewish printer be forced to publish religious pamphlets by the Creator Church? Does denying them burden a despised religious minority? Maybe, but it is hard to see that the burden on the church is equal to that of the burden on the Jewish printer. Should a gay t-shirt screener be required to print t-shirts with homophobic slogans on them for Westboro? I think not…even if it burdens the ability of marginalized groups like minority cults to get their t-shirts. Should the gay t-shirt guy be allowed to refuse to sell them plain t-shirts because he doesn’t like their religious views? I don’t think so. But I don’t see why he should be required to violate his conscience as a condition for staying in business. The same could be said about the baker or anyone else engaged in expressive commerce.

    I know the history of redlining and restrictive covenants. That isn’t the same thing as state mandated segregation – perhaps you have something else in mind? Discrimination was a real thing in the north (along with de facto segregation), but the great northern migration happened for a reason and it wasn’t the superior weather in the rust belt.

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  67. D.G.,
    Kust one face what Blacks faced in this country to be marginalized? If your ansser is yes, then why? But if your answer is no, the what is your point. Those from the LGBT community were sentenced to jail becuase of thier sexual orientation, shunned by family and friend, many of them can still lose their jobs, some have been beaten and even murdered because of their sexual orientation, they have been denied the opportunity to marry whom they love, along with other punishments that some have experience and I can’t think of. So why does that not significantly count if they have faced slavery? BTW, they have faced their own Jim Crow.

    Why are you bent on discounting what those from the LGBT community have suffered? If Christians had suffered all of that over the past several centuries for their faith, would you minimizing it by saying they haven’t faced slavery? Or is slvaery and Jim Crow the only forms of persecution any group can face?

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  68. SDB,
    What I wrote was inflammatory? Please explain.

    I’ll ask you what I asked DG. Does a group have to suffer the exact problems that Blacks have suffered in our country in order for their suffering to be counted as significant? Please note the trials I’ve listed in my last comment to D.G.

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  69. Having your florist demure from helping you celebrate what she finds blasphemous (perhaps she finds it a descration of a sacrament ) is not in the same category as using state sponsored violence to keep a group of people impoverished because their skin is the wrong shade.

    Lots of ways to be marginalized. Those of us in academia with right of center politics and/or conservative theological views are marginalized too. Does it compare to the treatment of say Turing? Nope, and drawing such an analogy would be self indulgent and inflammatory. Making snide remarks about a superstious belief in a sky god (think Coyne’s reaction to Collins going to NIH), is not the same as turnung someone’s life upside down for being gay. Similarly the treatment of gays in the US is nothing like African Americans. Here the violence was state sponsored (not merely tolerated) and a systemic attack on their existence…not an attack on certain behavior that could be kept private.

    Comparing passing putting certain messages on a cake to state sponsored violence like you did above is a rhetorical move to marginalize religious trads by associating them with egregious behavior. This is what it means to be inflammatory.

    One might ask if it is wise for a Christian to decline such expressive activity, if the Christian religion forbids writing messages that one finds sinful (akin to the discussion about acting on the other thread), but to associate such people with Jin Crow Laws (and by extension the architects of such laws such as the odious Benjamin Tillman) is a conversation stopper. Seems like a corollary to Godwin’s law is in here somewhere.

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  70. D.G. & sub,
    Are you interjecting Einstien’s theory of relativity here here? The question isn’t whether the persecutions suffered by Blacks during slavery or Jim Crow the same or on the same level as those persecutions suffered by the LGBT community to see if the LGBT community has really suffered. In fact, that comparison is a red herring. The question is whether that which has been and is suffered by the LGBT community is significant. And the only reason why I brought in the Jim Crow comparison is because a speicific part, not all, of Jim Crow relates here especially in principle.

    Again, the LGBT community has or still is suffering from the following

    1. Criminal prosecution because of sexual orientation
    2. Beatings and even murder
    3. In 29 states, the threat of losing one’s job because of one’s sexual orientation
    4. The threat of being rejected by family and friends
    5. The inability of marrying the person of their choice
    6. The denial of equal rights

    And what you want to add is the right of businesses to refuse to provide goods and services either to specific, normal public functions that the LGBT community wishes to engage in. And don’t forget that during the public debate over same-sex weddings, several states introduced bills that would allow businesses to refuse to provide goods and services to the LGBT community as a whole and not just to weddings.

    So let’s say you are planning a wedding for one of your children, but because your child or their future mate is a Christian, every bakery in your area can refuse to do business with you. And they not only do that with you, they do that with all Christians in your area. Is that unfair enough to oppose?

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  71. Curt, no you and gay advocates have likened the situation of homosexuals to blacks. That’s the way to show how bad the oppression is. “We’re victims like blacks!”

    They aren’t.

    So now you want to avoid the analogy to Civil Rights? Stay on point.

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  72. Curt: So let’s say you are planning a wedding for one of your children, but because your child or their future mate is a Christian, every bakery in your area can refuse to do business with you. And they not only do that with you, they do that with all Christians in your area. Is that unfair enough to oppose?

    We are witnessing a shift in our society — a shift which inevitably leads to Christians being treated as pariahs at every level of our national life. Louie Giglio’s Christian views on marriage got him removed from the President’s inauguration. Brendan Eich’s support for traditional marriage got him dismissed as CEO of Mozilla. Kelvin Cochran’s Christian faith got him fired from his position as fire chief of Atlanta. Two bakers in Oregon had to shutter their business and are now facing bankruptcy for refusing to participate in a gay wedding. The stories are mounting. Who will be next?” http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/20/living/stutzman-florist-gay/index.html

    “You have to make a stand somewhere in your life on what you believe and what you don’t believe. It was just a time I had to take a stand.” Barronelle Stutzman

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  73. @Curt
    Look, when someone says “Gay sex isn’t OK just because they didn’t choose to be attracted to members of the same sex. Pedophiles don’t choose to be attracted to babies either.” people rightly recoil at the analogy because it is inflammatory. It is not enough to say gay men and pedophiles are not identical in all ways. Such an analogy is effective insofar as it preys on peoples’ stereotypes about gays.

    Saying that a baker who feels he cannot write a message celebrating a gay marriage on a wedding cake is like Jim Crow is analogous. Indeed, in much of the professional world, it is much more dangerous to your livelihood to be outed as an opponent to ssm than to be gay. How many states can you be fired in for donating to Prop-8 or similarly engaging in the political process against ssm? I know you can in California, Texas, Tennessee, Oregon, and North Carolina. I would not be surprised if you could in all 50 states. Does that mean traditionalists suffer like the LGBT have? Of course not, and drawing such an analogy would be offensive. On the other hand, the rhetorical moves to paint religious trads opposed to gay marriage as modern day equivalents of Bull Conor and George Wallace are attempts to marginalize people who believe that gay sex is inherently sinful. One can recognize that sexual minorities have been treated shabbily without painting trads with the racial bigotry brush.

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  74. sub,
    It’s analogous in terms of principle. The refusal to provide goods and services to a group is the principle involved. And it doesn’t matter what you think of that group. And thus, if you want to agree with businesses refusing to provided goods and services to same-sex weddings, you are simply following one of the principles behind the a part of Jim Crow.

    As for your prop 8, please document how people can be fired in those states for donating to prop 8. And then compare that with those in the LGBT community who can be fired from any job because of sexual orientation. You’re not comparing apples to apples here and I strongly oppose the dismissal of CEOs who donated to Prop 8. Do you understand how many from the LGBT community have been treated because of their sexual orientation? it is in the history books. I’ve seen it in the lives of friends and acquaintances and people I’ve discussed these issues with on the web.

    See, it isn’t traditions per se that are bigoted. It is those whose adherence to traditions causes them to show intolerance for those outside of the traidition who are bigoted. Do you want Christian business owners to have the right to be bigoted against the LGBT community in the name of Christianity? After all, realize that many who supported Jim Crow did so for religious reasons. And so, it’s not the degree of suffering that I am referring to here. It’s the very principle that we can feel free to not treat others as equals in society that is the point here. And in Capitlalist economy, allowing a business to refuse to provide goods and services to a group puts the members of that group at risk for either partial of full deprivation of those goods and services. It also sends the message that to those who belong to the group that they have no right to those goods and services. Rather, their ability to obtain those goods and services is at the mercy of the provider while all others can demand the same goods and services. That only brings about marginalization. So what is the difference whether the group targeted for marginalization is based on sexual orientation or race? And that brings us back to the principle of the issue. At that level, what is the difference between showing prejudice to people based on their sexual orientation vs showing prejudice based on their race?

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  75. Ali,
    Not sure what your pooint is. For your analogy simply substitutes Christians for the LGBT community and thus if it is wrong to treat Christians that way, isn’t it wrong to treat those from the LGBT community that way?

    The question we have to ask is whether our positions in society of being pariahs are from our own mistreatment of people. And what we are seeing in some of the examples you listed and what SDB was alluding was a reaction to what others see as our mistreatment of the LGBT community. When I was kid, we want those people to be in jail. THen we wanted the right to have them fired from certain jobs. Then we fought tooth and nail to oppose same-sex marriage. And now we want to, in the name of our religion, have the right to discriminate against the LGBT community in variouos ways.

    Yes, the firing of those execs because of their donation to Prop 8 or whatever was wrong. That is not the issue there. The issue is whether we can see why it was understandable. Some of us have been conducting a war against the LGBT community. And so why would it be strange for us to see some from the community strike back with bigotry as they are battling to end their marginalization? What is happening there is that some from the LGBT community are learning from our example rather than from the experience of being persecuted.

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  76. D.G.,
    Regarding the degree of suffering from bigotry, the two groups are not comparable. But in terms of the principles involved, how is discriminating against someone because of their sexual orientation not the same principle as discriminating against someone because of their race?

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  77. Curt, it is possible for a person of whatever sexual orientation to keep such sexual identity private and hidden. It is not possible to hide skin color. Nor is skin color something that should be kept private. Sex should.

    That’s why we have movies.

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  78. D.G.,
    Do you know how much pain people have had to experience by living in the closet? True, those in the LGBT community can hide their orientation. But in the past, they have only done so out of fear. And that hiding helped exasperate promiscuity, which is a problem for many regardless of sexual orientation.

    The other alternative is not to be in the closet. And not being in the closet has put those in the LGBT community at risk for reprisals from those who would attack others because they are intolerant.

    BTW, do you keep your sexual orientation private? Do you go out on dates with your wife? Or has that been a heterosexual privilege that we have taken for granted?

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  79. D.G.,
    Are you saying that opposition to an ideology is equal to being bigoted against a given group of people? If that is what you are saying, then, as a Capitalist, aren’t you bigoted against Socialism and Socialist societies?

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  80. Curt, I asked first. You’re the one making it seem like you aren’t bigoted. I think you rank me as some form of bigot. If not, certainly a sinner guilty of corporate sin.

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  81. Darryl says: “Greg, I don’t think so. Why do you?”
    You read that Facebook post and don’t think it represents 2K thought? I promise you I am asking because I’m interested in your view. Is there a short version of why you don’t think so that you could send?

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  82. I hold the views I do, not to conform to any particular established label, though at this late date there is a label for everything (pert near), but because they are the views I find in the scriptures. I like labels too btw. Properly utilized, they are very useful.

    Whenever I think 2K, yours is the first face I see. I’m genuinely interested in a short critique of why you think that what I say there is not in line with 2K thought. I am not picking a fight. You have my word. I’d prefer you tell me to get lost if you don’t want to do it, than to tell me you don’t have maybe 10 minutes to do so.

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  83. “The refusal to provide goods and services to a group is the principle involved.”
    So if I refuse to pull a beer for a guy who is clearly blotto, I’m just bigoted against drunks? If I refuse to toss a pizza for a bunch of rambunctious teens running off customers I’m bigoted against teenagers? If I refuse to print “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” because I find the text offensive, I’m just a bigot? Is Curves bigoted against men? These are all the same principle? Seems to me that there are lots of ways to justify refusing goods and services to a group without lumping them all into something akin to Jim Crow. One important distinction is that Jim Crow was not just allowing merchants to discriminate on the basis of race, but refers explicitly to state mandated discrimination. Not wanting to engage in what one finds to be offensive expressive activity hardly seems to be in the same category. In other words, a florist who has no problem selling a bunch of roses to a gay guy that says “Get well”, but cannot in good conscience prepare decorations for what she finds to be a blasphemous event is not the same principle as refusing to seat black people in your restaurant because you don’t like their kind.

    “Yes, the firing of those execs because of their donation to Prop 8 or whatever was wrong. That is not the issue there. The issue is whether we can see why it was understandable.” No, the issue is whether it makes sense to compare a baker who demurs from writing something he finds offensive on a cake to Jim Crow. The principle is no more the same than the gun nut who thinks every form of gun control is fascist because the Nazi’s confiscated guns and “it’s the same principle”. The principle exists in a context that makes all the difference.

    “…a reaction to what others see as our mistreatment of the LGBT community. When I was kid, we want those people to be in jail. THen we wanted the right to have them fired from certain jobs. Then we fought tooth and nail to oppose same-sex marriage. And now we want to, in the name of our religion, have the right to discriminate against the LGBT community in variouos ways…”

    So I’m curious… God instructed Moses to execute those guilty of engaging in gay sex. I understand that we do not live in a theocracy on this side of the cross (I am 2k after all!), but we understand that God’s Law reveals something about his character. You keep referring to gays who have been imprisoned for their orientation, but I’m not aware of any such law. I do know that pre-Lawrence that sodomy (hetero and homo) was illegal in many states, and not too long before that was illegal everywhere. Now you are telling me that it is bigoted to outlaw such behavior. Why wasn’t it bigoted for God to demand death? I understand that such a law may not be prudent today and that we aren’t living in theocracy on this side of the cross. But you are going further and calling that bigotry. I’m curious how you work that out. Did Moses get it wrong? Is God a bigot? Is it bigoted now that we do not live under the Levitical system? What other Mosaic laws would not only be imprudent but bigoted for the state to implement today?

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  84. Very good sdb. There is no analogy whatsoever between having amoral black skin (or any other skin) and a full frontal assault upon the created order of the holy God in the form of homosexuality. A thing singled out in the bible as especially grievous and abhorrent in the sight of this God. Yes it is Curt. Don’t embarrass yourself by attempting to deny that please.

    If there is any sin more abhorrent than homosexuality, it is self righteousness. So, no, I don’t want them dead and I don’t want them imprisoned. I want them redeemed as fellow warriors in the Lord’s army. I am in the same lake of fire that they are without Jesus. However, making them as comfortable as possible in their sin and legitimatizing their rank perversion is something I would not want to answer for at the judgement.

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  85. Greg, your post shows a kind of paranoia (the Devil and his minions is out to get Christians) and manichean outlook (the world is divided between believers and unbelievers) that I do not associate with 2k. 2k does affirm and emphasize the antithesis, but identifying external evil with spiritual evil is what 2k avoids.

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  86. sub,
    let’s look at what you are saying. I wrote:


    The refusal to provide goods and services to a group is the principle involved.

    And you come back with the following:

    <b?
    So if I refuse to pull a beer for a guy who is clearly blotto, I’m just bigoted against drunks?

    The struggle I have with your analogy is this: hasn’t the drunk already recived goods? And if so, how does that fit into our discussion where we are talking about a group that will be either partially or fully deprived when businesses do not provide goods and services to a same-sex wedding. In addition, why in analogies meant to show that businesses should be allowed to deny goods and services to same-sex weddings, the comparisons used are always with groups that are easily negatively depicted? If you are going to use analogy, you need to make more concerned with the analogy fitting than being opportunistic in using the comparisons.

    See, each time you use an anlalogy, the comparisons in it show your view of those in the LGBT community. And the basic message you’re giving is that they do not deserve to be treated as equals in the reception of goods and services. And when you continually pass that message along, you need to realize that you are bringing dishonor to the Gospel in the eyes of both those who support equality for the LGBT community as well as neutral observers.

    And, btw, a bakery was required, by court, to provide services for a KKK cake, if memory or the internet serves (see https://tribuneherald.net/2013/08/23/kkk-wins-lawsuit-against-bakery-for-discrimination/ ).

    And yes, regarding the firing of a few CEOs because of their support for prop 8, the issue for us is to see if it was understandable. Why? Lest we overreact to the wrongful firings of these CEOs and interpret those firings as being persecution on us. We conservative Christians have a horrific history in terms of how we have tread the LGBT community in this country. So that once the shoe is now on the other foot, our history provides a context for understanding those overreactions. And again, look at the objects of comparison in the analogies you brought up. All of them were negative characters. Is that how you want society to view the LGBT community?

    But there is another issue in the firing of CEOs for their support for different issues that makes comparing their firing incomparable with the decision of Christian businesses to refuse goods and services to same-sex weddings. THat is a person in such a high profile job, such as CEO, can easily be fired if their past actions could possible shed negative light on the reputation of the company. Now are you saying that providing goods and services to same-sex weddings damages the reputation of those businesses? And if so, is that because of your negative view of the LGBT community?

    Finally, if you want to bring up the law of Moses here, we can. But if you insist that we use the law of Moses to determine how we must treat the LGBT community, then we should use the law of Moses to determine how we will treat everyone. But if you do that, then you would have accept the fact that like the Hebrews of Moses’ time, America is God’s covenant people.

    The biblical alternative to your using Moses is to use Paul’s description in Romans 1. Since unbelief was the driving force for the homosexual behavior he wrote about, we must treat both unbelievers and homosexuals the same way before the law. So that if homosexuality was such a perversion that required every soceity to use the law to punish them, then the driving force for that behavior, which Paul said was the driving for some other crimes, must be punished by law too.

    Also, we need to consider that some heterosexual behaviors are worse than homosexual behaviors. At least that is what is suggested by Paul in I Cor 5. Where as homosexuality was demonstrated by unbelievers, sleeping with one’s own stepmom was not even seen among the Gentiles.

    The real issue with you is that you have such a negative view and emotion toward the LGBT community, you want to see them deprived of being treated as equals.

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  87. D.G.,
    When I take the wife out to eat, my orientation is publicly pronounced. So does that mean that if you are keeping your orientation private, you don’t take your wife out to eat?

    Also, it seems that while you were interpreting my words as a personal accusation against you, Considering that I have not made such an accusation here, why are you asking? Why are you taking my use of hyptothetical situations and turning them into accusations of bigotry? I was merely trying to point out heterosexual privilege in our society and such contributes to the marginalization of the LGBT community–a marginalization they are rightfully trying to undo.

    So again, is oppostion to an ideology on par with being bigoted against certain groups of people? Note here that I am answering your question with a question. Becuase if the answer to my question is yes, then we are in the same boat only at different ends.

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  88. D. G. Hart says: Greg, your post shows a kind of paranoia (the Devil and his minions is out to get Christians) and manichean outlook (the world is divided between believers and unbelievers)

    Dear screwtape… paranoia? Please read the whole Bible; if you don’t have time, some Biblical synopsis:

    And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Rev 12:9

    Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field. Gen 3:1

    you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Eph 2:1-2

    We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 1 John 5:19

    Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour 1 Peter 5: 8

    the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:10

    I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ….. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light; his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness 2 Cor 11:1,14-15

    Rev 20:10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

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  89. Ali, you seem to think that simply spouting texts says something, but as it’s been pointed out to you before, all biblical texts have an interpretation. And Greg’s comports with a form of fundamentalism if Horton’s outlook (from “God of Promise”) means much:

    …we begin the story with one creation, one covenant, one people, one mandate, one city. Then after the fall, there is a covenant of creation (with its cultural mandate still in effect for all people, with the law of that covenant universally inscribed on the conscience) and a covenant of grace (with its gospel publicly announced to transgressors), a City of Man (secular but even in its rejection of God, upheld by God’s gracious hand for the time being) and a City of God (holy but even in its acceptance by God, sharing in the common curse of a fallen world). Just as the failure to distinguish law covenant from promise covenant leads to manifold confusions in our understanding of salvation, tremendous problems arise when we fail to distinguish adequately between God’s general care for the secular order and his special concern for the redemption of his people.

    Religious fundamentalism tends to see the world simply divided up into believers and unbelievers. The former are blessed, loved by God, holy, and doers of the right, while the latter are cursed, hated by God, unholy, and doers of evil. Sometimes this is taken to quite an extreme: believers are good people, and their moral, political, and doctrinal causes are always right, always justified, and can never be questioned. Unless the culture is controlled by their agenda, it is simply godless and unworthy of the believers’ support. This perspective ignores the fact that according to Scripture, all of us—believers and unbelievers alike—are simultaneously under a common curse and common grace.

    Religious liberalism tends to see the world simply as one blessed community. Ignoring biblical distinctions between those inside and those outside of the covenant community, this approach cannot take the common curse seriously because it cannot take sin seriously…everything is holy.

    …[But] the human race is not divided at the present time between those who are blessed and those who are cursed. That time is coming, of course, but in this present age, believers and unbelievers alike share in the pains of childbirth, the burdens of labor, the temporal effects of their own sins, and the eventual surrender of their decaying bodies to death…there is in this present age a category for that which is neither holy nor unholy but simply common.

    Have you and Greg ever heard of a Venn Diagram?

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  90. Curt:bringing dishonor to the Gospel

    Curt: What bring most dishonor to the gospel is not sharing it, withholding the gospel, from those who need it (ie everyone) ….how we’re separated from God, His enemies, toast without it
    You expend a lot of energy on this, but it does not seem like on that which is paramount to loving best

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  91. Zrim: Have you and Greg ever heard of a Venn Diagram?

    Don’t want to speak for Greg, but the diagram I prefer is the Bible. Always thought if I would have written it, the better idea would be in a simple outline form, with very simple connecting of all dots. But, alas, our Creator had a better , more perfect layout.

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  92. Curt: And the basic message you’re giving is that they do not deserve to be treated as equals in the reception of goods and services. …The real issue with you is that you have such a negative view and emotion toward the LGBT community, you want to see them deprived of being treated as equals.

    Curt,
    Barronelle Stutzman is a Christian. She loves Jesus. She loves gay people. And she says: “….. I never imagined that using my God-given talents and abilities, and doing what I love to do for over three decades, would become illegal. Our state would be a better place if we respected each other’s differences, and our leaders protected the freedom to have those differences. Since 2012, same-sex couples all over the state have been free to act on their beliefs about marriage, but because I follow the Bible’s teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, I am no longer free to act on my beliefs… my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important. Washington’s constitution guarantees us “freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment.” I cannot sell that precious freedom. You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver. That is something I will not do…I kindly served Rob for nearly a decade and would gladly continue to do so. I truly want the best for my friend. I’ve also employed and served many members of the LGBT community, and I will continue to do so regardless of what happens with this case….” Barronelle Stutzman

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  93. and sheesh, Zrim, now that you have used one man’s writing, synopsis, interpretation, one has to take the time to check every bit of it against the Bible – don’t have time right now to do all that – but just one comment – the time is actually NOW, ie. begins NOW when we can be truly blessed. And so as not to give you a headache or irritate you, I’ll just use one verse saying, even now, …Blessed are the poor in spirit (and all that means, effects, affects), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:3)

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  94. Ali, the Bible as a how-to-connect-the-dots manual. Sounds…enchanting. But despite what you may think as a biblicist, you’re going to check the Bible with your own grid. In fact, you already have and you sound prosperity-esque. Joel Osteen on line two.

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  95. Curt, so you’re another OL reader who doesn’t watch tv or movies? You’ve never heard of gays or lesbians leading lives as straight?

    Oh brother.

    I ask about your bigotry to see if your membership in the left camp is ever construed as tribal? That’s all you see on the right. Why not give up enlightenment objectivity and come out of the closet of your tribe?

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  96. Zrim: Ali, the Bible as a how-to-connect-the-dots manual. Sounds…enchanting. But despite what you may think as a biblicist, you’re going to check the Bible with your own grid. In fact, you already have and you sound prosperity-esque. Joel Osteen on line two.

    It is fun to banter with you (sorta, usually, even though you puzzle me (sometimes, maybe usually).
    So, from this 1) I read you as saying your go- to-grid is Horton and 2) you are saying God is ‘prosperity-esque’ which He probably appreciates since it’s true, if you aren’t meaning it derogatorily, which that is suspect, since you refer to Osteen, and in that cause I would just caution any mocking of His word (eg here Matt 5:3) 3) glad you’re enchanted cause if the Bible didn’t connect its own dots, we’d wonder about God’s sincerity that He really wants us to know everything He has told us

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  97. Ali, how is a reference to Osteen derogatory to you? You both say your best life is NOW. 2k says it’s actually LATER and that NOW is a mixed bag.

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  98. Sometimes that Venn Diagram gets a little complicated. Because, according to Mike Horton, some but not all of the non-elect are also born into the “new covenant”. As such, there is a “grace” for these non-elect which is common with the elect. But also, there is also a profane grace shared by those in the new covenant with those never watered into the covenant. Since the world has for now both wheat and tares, and since any visible church most likely has wheat and tares, for Horton this means that both wheat and some of the tares are “in the covenant”.

    Horton thinks that anybody who does not agree with his reading of the Hebrews warnings does not understand those warnings , even though he is proud to be neither bibllcist nor rationalist. Horton insissts on “instrumental conditionality” and “new covenant curse”. Horton is quite ready to dogmatically accuse anybody who disagrees with his “everything is gray now in the not yet” worldview of having a “theology of glory”.

    Horton–” The human race is not divided at the present time between those who are blessed and those who are cursed. That time is coming, of course, but in this present age, believers and unbelievers alike share in the pains of childbirth, the burdens of labor, the temporal effects of their own sins, and the eventual surrender of their decaying bodies to death…there is in this present age a category for that which is neither holy nor unholy
    but simply common.”

    Because we don’t know yet who is non-elect, some conclude that nobody knows if they are elect yet, and all they can do is remember that they are (for now) “in the covenant” and remember the water. Mike Horton—“The New Testament lays before us a vast array of CONDITIONS for final salvation. Not only initial repentance and faith, but perseverance in both, demonstrated in love toward God and neighbor ” God of Promise, p 182

    Mike Horton—”To be claimed by water baptism as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. HOW CAN ANYONE FALL UNDER THE CURSES OF A COVENANT TO WHICH THEY DID NOT BELONG? ”

    Mike Horton–“God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet the instrumental condition is that they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they fall under the covenant curse without Christ as their mediator.”
    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/09/13/kingdom-through-covenant-a-review-by-michael-horton/

    Mike Horton—“Some have insisted that there is nothing common about grace and there is only one kind of grace, which is sovereign, electing grace. However, it MUST be said that whatever kindness God shows to anyone for any reason after the fall; is not only providence but CAN ONLY BE REGARDED AS GRACIOUS. ”

    mcmark;; I suppose “the covenant” is holy. And that the “means of grace of the church” is holy. But nevertheless being catholic (and not fundamentalist) means for Horton saying that “grace” is in all parts all over the Venn diagram.

    To suggest that all “in the covenant” part of the Venn diagram have been promised saving grace is very much like thinking that God promised saving grace to Ishmael and Esau in their circumcisions. This reading of the warning texts implies that God ‘s grace is often ineffectual. The reason this “grace” fails, it is said, is Esau’s lack of persevering in faith in the conditions of the covenant. . Whatever the reason, grace does not realize itself in one to whom God is gracious. It seems to follow that grace succeeded in the case of Jacob, not because of the Christ’s death for Jacob but rather in the sovereign power of grace enabling Jacob to keep meeting the “conditions of the covenant”.

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  99. D. G. Hart says: Ali, “I’d rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian.” Luther.

    what, you think you are saying something different than I believe in that (necessarily, depends); but thinking we may not agree that there are two kinds of wisdom – worldly and from above. Not sure we also agree, in any case, that whichever ruler – his heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD who turns it wherever He wishes. Prov 21:1 [Gotta’ quit Bible quoting before Zrim is completely disgusted]

    Zrim: Ali, how is a reference to Osteen derogatory to you? You both say your best life is NOW. 2k says it’s actually LATER and that NOW is a mixed bag

    now you are sounding like mermaid, Zrim . How is saying the time begins NOW when we can be truly blessed saying THE BEST is now and does not negate the mixed-bag concept (necessarily), though, I would have to THINK on that, cause if we have faith, we believe that all things work for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose; ie, blessed period.

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  100. Ali, call me greedy but I want complete perfection before I say the best is NOW. But if you’re opposed to prosperity gospel then why speak its language? Why not emphasize the mixed bag outlook and be content with that? Have you ever heard of immanentizing the eschaton?

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  101. @DGH – ““I’d rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian.” Luther.

    Nice quote, but FYI, other historians have debunked the claim that Luther ever said that.

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  102. @Petros – Do you have a source for that handy? Do you know where it came from? I like to keep track of false quotes…a quirky hobby I guess.

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  103. Zrim Ali, call me greedy but I want complete perfection before I say the best is NOW. But if you’re opposed to prosperity gospel then why speak its language? Why not emphasize the mixed bag outlook and be content with that? Have you ever heard of immanentizing the eschaton?

    Ok, Zrim , you ARE mermaid, repeating that I said the ‘best is now’, when I didn’t say that ; I’m going to be asking for an apology soon, or should I say your repentance. 🙂 

    Be careful about calling yourself ‘greedy. The Lord equates greed with idolatry (Col 3:5) :)

    God is the author of ‘prosperity’ gospel so His definition should be the measuring stick. I love Jer 29:11: For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. “ to THINK on all the ways it is true even now

    What do YOU mean by ‘mixed bag’? Until you explain, I will try to withhold judgement that you are disagreeing with God. ps, only interested in prooftext support

    Yep, heard of immanentizing the eschaton – who’s trying to make what belongs to eternity-later belong to eternity-now. Only God could do that, anyway, or maybe He couldn’t in order to be consistent with His character, would have to THINK on that.

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  104. Ali, sure you did. Sayest thou: “…the time is actually NOW, ie. begins NOW when we can be truly blessed…How is saying the time begins NOW when we can be truly blessed saying THE BEST is now…”

    A mixed bag is some good, some bad, some mediocre. How can a mixed bag existence be said to be THEE BEST NOW? Yours is the kind of careless language that confuses believers to the point of having guilt when they don’t in fact experience THEE BEST NOW but a mixed bag. God doesn’t need pious cheerleaders and neither do his people.

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  105. “12) assurance of the civil rights of all persons and protection of their freedom to achieve all that they can within the limits of their ability, allowing neither discrimination nor preferential treatment to prevent or guarantee outcomes.”

    That gives away the house. Civil rights are not natural rights, they are rights invented by government for political purposes. Civil rights typically infringe on natural rights.

    Discrimination is a wonderful thing. I think I was highly discriminating when I married my wife. I discriminated against the LGBTQP community when choosing a spouse, and it would have been sinful for me to not discriminate against gay men. Laws against discrimination are laws that violate freedom of association, the natural right that you can be left alone to decide with whom you do or do not want to associate.

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  106. Mark: To suggest that all “in the covenant” part of the Venn diagram have been promised saving grace is very much like thinking that God promised saving grace to Ishmael and Esau in their circumcisions. This reading of the warning texts implies that God ‘s grace is often ineffectual. The reason this “grace” fails, it is said, is Esau’s lack of persevering in faith in the conditions of the covenant.

    Hi Mark,

    I enjoy reading your posts as always. I’d like to distinguish several views here, because you’ve equated Horton’s with Federal Vision’s view at this point, which is somewhat inaccurate.

    Let me explain the mental framework first, and I apologize in advance if I’m saying things you already know.

    It all comes down to the word “condition” and how that word is understood. Typically I distinguish:

    * Instrumental conditions, or instrumental causes. These conditions bring about the effect in the world of time and space. Faith is the instrumental condition for justification IN THAT faith receives the righteousness of Christ, thereby causing the sinner to be cleansed in God’s sight.

    In turn, the work of the Spirit in regeneration is the instrumental condition or cause of faith.

    * Ground, or logical or legal conditions. These conditions are the ground upon which a declaration is made. The righteousness of Christ is the ground of our justification. We are justified because of Christ’s righteousness, imputed. The Spirit regenerates on the ground of the Father’s election.

    * posterior or evidentiary conditions. These conditions are necessary results of previous causes, so that if those conditions are not present, we have strong reason to believe that the previous cause was absent. Sanctification is a posterior condition of justification: If a man is not being sanctified, we have reason to believe he was never justified.

    One way to clearly distinguish Catholic from Federal Vision from traditional Reformed is to observe how each relates the conditions of salvation.

    For the Catholic position, faith is an instrumental cause and a ground of justification: We are justified because God imputes our faith to us as righteousness, and because by faith we receive the grace offered in the sacraments. This view was rejected by the Reformers.

    For the Federal Vision position, the language of condition is conflated, so that sanctification is treated as a ground for final justification. Yet, the work of the Spirit in election is the ground for the ongoing work of sanctification, so that only the elect are ever finally justified. Hence, an FVer (or “FV dark” at least) would say that God enables the believer to remain within the covenant by enabling him to continue to fulfill the condition of perseverance.

    It is this position that you have attributed to Horton, but I think he falls rather into the following view.

    For the traditional Reformed position, election is the ground of regeneration, which is the instrumental cause of faith, which is the instrumental cause of justification (by appropriating Christ’s righteousness as the ground), which is the ground of our adoption, which is the ground of the indwelling of the Spirit, who is the instrumental cause of our sanctification.

    Viewed in this way, sanctification is a condition for salvation — but a posterior cause ONLY.

    So Horton can say that perseverance is a condition for final salvation (and I would agree), but I very much doubt that he means (and if he did, I would disagree) that grace succeeded in the case of Jacob, not because of the Christ’s death for Jacob but rather in the sovereign power of grace enabling Jacob to keep meeting the “conditions of the covenant — which is the FV position.

    Rather, it would be that Jacob’s continued persevering was evidence that the grace Jacob received was genuinely salvific.

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  107. Zrim: A mixed bag is some good, some bad, some mediocre. ..Yours is the kind of careless language that confuses believers

    Zrim, and I could say YOURS is the kind of careless language that confuses believers and can lead them to be circumstance-dependent and idolaters. God is everything, always enough, always glorious. Period.
    I’m thinking you would have fit in really well with the wilderness-Israelites who did nothing but complain and test God, even though He rescued and freed them from Egypt/from captivity/out of the house of slavery,then ONLY blessed them in their wildnerness experiences -personally teaching them, discipling them, preparing them, testing their hearts to remove any idols. How He blessed them continually.

    Have a great weekend Zrim, try not to speak badly of any of the Lord’s perfect work; and keep teaching your kids His ways are not their ways; keep teaching them to flee all idolatry,keep teaching them to count and thank for every custom-designed blessing, which is always ‘producing and achieving’ for them. In all- to God be the Glory.

    -Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved ….….therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry 1 Cor 10:6, 14
    -those the Lord loves He disciplines, He scourges every son whom He receives. Heb 12:6
    – when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world 1 Cor 11:32
    -Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
    -For momentary, light affliction…. is producing for us….an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 2 Cor 4:17

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  108. Curt,

    When I take the wife out to eat, my orientation is publicly pronounced.

    Not necessarily. Do you assert to all patrons, “This is my wife”? Why would they not assume that she was just an ordinary female Platonic friend? How do they know that you are not just pretending to be heterosexual?

    The questions go on.

    But the bigger question is where is all this “discrimination against LGBT people” happening today? Are their society-wide cases of gay couples being refused dinner service? Is there a separate water fountain for homosexuals? Yeah, maybe in some situations in some select cities there is a danger of being fired or something like that. But I could find places where I wouldn’t be hired or would be fired if they knew I was an evangelical.

    Who is calling for hospitals not to treat gay patients or grocery stores not to sell them food?

    I mean honestly, must everything be a micro-aggression?

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  109. SDB, I found this site specifically directed at spurious attacks on Luther. http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com

    Would have saved me a lot of typing had I known about it a few months back.

    Like the legend of Luther throwing an inkwell at the devil, the “wise Turk” remark SHOULD be true.

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  110. Jeff- For the traditional Reformed position, election is the ground of regeneration, which is the instrumental cause of faith, which is the instrumental cause of justification (by appropriating Christ’s righteousness as the ground), which is the ground of our adoption, which is the ground of the indwelling of the Spirit, who is the instrumental cause of our sanctification….I would disagree that grace succeeded in the case of Jacob, not because of the Christ’s death for Jacob but rather in the sovereign power of grace enabling Jacob to keep meeting the “conditions of the covenant— which is the FV position.

    Mark: 1. Not all ‘traditional positions” are the same. My concern is about how election governs “covenant”. 2. Not all with the “traditional” position speak of “new covenant curse” (Kline changed his mind on this question). 3. But to the extent that the “traditional position” cannot be bothered to notice discontinuity between the New covenant and the Abrahamic covenant, the tradition is going to say that some of the non-elect are in “the covenant of grace” and therefore in the “new covenant”. (Some say that only the Mosaic covenant is “old covenant”, and insist that the Abrahamic covenant (which includes some of the non-elect) is no different from the new covenant.)

    Not all “federal vision” theologies are the same. And not all “traditional” positions are the same, because some use “conditionality” language in a way that other “traditionalists” would not approve. So, Jeff, I am NOT trying to say that “the Federal vision is the tradition at its most consistent”. But to get to the practical point about how those in the “new covenant” are to speak politically to the world, it does make a lot of difference if one denies that “the new covenant” is defined by election.

    It’s one thing not to know who’s elect, and not to know who’s in the new covenant, but it’s quite another thing to say that water baptism promises salvation to the “non-elect in the new covenant” Jeff, you can ignore those in “the tradition” (Bavinck for example) who deny this. But an understanding of “the covenant” in which the “Venn diagram” has :”flexible boundaries” is something like a cat who is both dead and not dead at the same time.

    There is a certain double talk involved. Some here like the word “cheery-picking”. But I would call it “selective choosing”. In argument with federal visionists, the external- internal distinction gets the emphasis. Some of the non-elect are in the new covenant visibly but not really. But in argument with anti-paedobaptists, the “we can’t know yet in this age” gets the emphasis. And those who claim to be most “balanced and catholic” insist that they (like Goldilocks) are right in the middle, with the two extremes on either side of them. When it comes to being in the covenant promising grace to some of the non-elect (on conditions), they are good with that. But when it comes to the idea that these non-elect were really Christians and then lost grace by not persevering, they want to get off the Venn diagram.

    Jeff—election is the ground of regeneration, which is the instrumental cause of faith, which is the instrumental cause of justification (by appropriating Christ’s righteousness as the ground), which is the ground of our adoption,

    mcmark—If you want to pursue it, Jeff, I can give you my quotations from the tradition against the idea of “instrumental conditions”, but at this point I only want to point to the grace which is based on the righteousness of Christ, the mediator of the new covenant. Election is not the ground of Christ’s death, but Christ died only for the elect. Christ did not die also for some of the non-elect. Regeneration and its result faith, are both results of God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect as their legal death. While I would never use either the words “appropriate” or “instrument, the main point is that the faith in the gospel which results in justification is a result of God having placed the elect into Christ’s death (Romans 6).

    Sure, we all agree that faith is not the righteousness, but if we say that the righteousness is imputed because of faith, then how shall we say that faith is given because of righteousness imputed? (II Peter 1:1) One way to get this syntax correct is to stop saying that water baptism promises salvation to some of the non-elect on condition of faith. Another way to get this right is to stop saying that some of the non-elect are “in the covenant”.

    Brandon Adams — “Historic Presbyterianism was very different than modern Presbyterianism. Modern Presbyterianism will consider a non-communicant member who has reached the ‘age of discretion’ and does not profess saving faith in Christ to be a covenant breaker and thus excommunicated. That was not the historic position. Instead, non-communicant members could remain members of the church without making any credible profession of saving faith. That was only required for communicant membership. Thus everyone in a nation was required by law to profess the true religion but they were not required by law to profess saving faith.

    They did not see themselves as “dividing up the world into saved and lost”. They saw themselves as judging “the one church”. because they assumed that the only way to politically command people was if those people were “in the covenant”.

    Mike Horton—”To be claimed by water baptism as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. HOW CAN ANYONE FALL UNDER THE CURSES OF A COVENANT TO WHICH THEY DID NOT BELONG?

    http://reformedlibertarian.com/articles/theology/the-half-way-covenant/

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  111. Horton–“Religious fundamentalism tends to see the world simply divided up into believers and unbelievers. Sometimes this is taken to quite an extreme– believers are good people, and their moral, political, and doctrinal causes are always right, always justified, and can never be questioned. Unless the culture is controlled by their agenda, it is unworthy of the believers’ support. This perspective ignores the fact that according to Scripture, all of us—believers and unbelievers alike—are simultaneously under a common curse and common grace…. the human race is not divided at the present time between those who are blessed and those who are cursed.”

    mcmark—As a sectarian in exile, I have never been a fan of liberal democracy. But I like Romney even less.

    Notice the political consequences of the preaching. of the Lord Jesus.

    Luke 4: 25 But I say to you, there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them—but to a widow in Sidon. 27 And in the prophet Elisha’s time, there were many in Israel who had serious skin diseases, yet not one of them was healed—only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged.29 They got up, drove Him out of town, and brought Him to the edge[ of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl Him over the cliff.

    Did you ever complain about anti-paedobaptists “narrowing of the covenant”? While it’s ok with us if God wants to include some more gentiles, surely (it is thought)God would have no LESS in the new covenant than God had in the old covenants. Since it was not wrong for God to have some non-elect in the Abrahamic covenant. then it could not be wrong for us to say that the new covenant also has some non-elect in it!

    The “new perspective” wants to add gentiles to the mix, but without talking about many Jews NOT being elect. For this reason alone, it seems clear to me why the “new perspective” would be so often welcomed in the PCA and in other Reformed congregations without confessional membership. They want to add baptists to the mix, but without talking about many infants not being elect or “in the covenant”. In Luke 4, the objection is not only to gentiles being added, but to Jews not being included.

    Will we divide the new covenant from the Abrahamic covenant so as to exclude some non-elect, or only “include more” ( females, unmarried males)?

    Will we include the spouse and the slaves and the teenage children of a father, or even the grandchildren of those with parents who were cut off from the covenant?

    But only fundamentalists jump to All or nothing. Only fundamentalists extend the logic of the flexible slippery slope–if we want to include instead of excluding, why not let’s water everybody (not only infants from some families)? Why not include into the covenant all who come our way–then we can begin to teach them the commands of the covenant and thus we can teach all those who hear our preaching that God has promised all of them grace, in such a way that God desires the salvation of the non-elect? And why not use the notion of “common grace” (and “common curse) to justify our continued participation in institutions which presume the need for more killing to keep culture going?

    And all we need for that is a common enemy scapegoat—those who refuse to be magistrates, we can accuse them all of wanting to take over as magistrates—and thus find unity between ourselves by excluding fanatics loyal only to one kingdom.

    https://chantrynotes.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/how-presbyterianism-solves-everything-or-not/

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  112. I do appreciate the answer Darryl. Sorry it took me so long to reply. Super busy today.
    Dr. Hart says: “Greg, your post shows a kind of paranoia (the Devil and his minions is out to get Christians)”
    You don’t find this in the bible?
    Or this?
    Dr. Hart says: “and Manichean outlook (the world is divided between believers and unbelievers)”
    The world IS divided between elect and non elect. Sheep and goats. Spiritually speaking that is. This is what I mean:
    WCF III
    III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.

    IV. These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it can not be either increased or diminished.
    That’s not Manicheanism 🙂 It’s Calvinism.

    Dr. Hart says: “2k does affirm and emphasize the antithesis, “
    Is there somewhere you have written about your understanding of the antithesis? Properly understood, I subscribe wholeheartedly to Van Til’s “absolute ethical antithesis”. I’m not asking you to answer me (though of course feel free), only for a link to somewhere your understanding of it is found.

    Dr. Hart says: “but identifying external evil with spiritual evil is what 2k avoids.”
    This topic is potentially enormous. This (identifying external evil with spiritual evil) would be absolutely true in some areas and instances and absolute legalism in others. I’ll leave it alone for now. Thanks again.

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  113. I Corinthians 5: 12 “For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? 13 But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves.”

    mcmark—I wonder if the Apostle Paul is being “fundamentalist” or even “Manichean” in this exhortation. It’s one thing to tell those in a church (or in a “covenant”) not to judge those outside the church (or “covenant”) . But two questions. One, does not judging outsiders translate into “on practical questions like supporting the institutions we need to keep killing to keep every square inch safe for liberal democracy”, does Paul tell those who have the credentials on the outside to become outsiders and help the outsiders judge right and wrong?

    Two, how can we know who’s on the inside and the outside? Since the boundaries are flexible and there is overlap on that Venn diagram, and so we can know for sure than nobody knows anything for sure, all we know is that if a person has one parent who professes to believe the gospel, then that person can stay in the covenant until “grace” fails and that person stops attending the “means of grace” (if that person is old enough to do that).

    http://www.kouroo.info/kouroo/concepts/ComeOutism.pdf

    Mike Horton—“Some have insisted that there is nothing common about grace and there is only one kind of grace, which is sovereign, electing grace. However, it MUST be said that whatever kindness God shows to anyone for any reason after the fall; is not only providence but CAN ONLY BE REGARDED AS GRACIOUS.

    Mike Horton–“God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet the instrumental condition is that they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they fall under the covenant curse without Christ as their mediator.”

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  114. David Robertson—“Rick accepts that Capitalism is wrong when evil people run it (as a good Reformed theologian he will know that means everyone!), but he says that Socialism is per se evil. Therefore anyone who is a socialist, votes for a socialist, or advocates socialism in any way is supporting an evil system and should be preached against.”

    “While we both agree no economic/political system can save us, Rick thinks one system is de facto evil while the other is redeemable. If Reformation 21 and Rick were not extolling the virtues of capitalism over socialism, then I look forward to the article on why capitalism is evil. Is it too cynical for me to say that such an article would never appear in a mainstream US Reformed publication because of the financial implications?”

    “Rick’s position seems to be that if there are taxes he does not agree with, he can call it stealing. Capitalist taxes are fair. Socialist taxes are stealing. I wish that Reformation 21 would allow a response to Rick’s attack on socialism as evil on its own website. Maybe Reformation 21’s constituency needs to hear more about the evils of Trump than it does of Sanders?”

    http://theweeflea.com/2016/03/10/help-ive-been-rickrolled-responses-to-my-socialistcapitalist-articles/

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