Personal Sins Require the Cross, Institutional Sins Only Need Policy

Here’s why the talk of systemic sin and social salvation comes up short. It underestimates the gravity of sin and the significance of the remedy. Consider R. York Moore’s case for corporate repentance:

Salvation for American Christians is a transaction between two individuals—themselves and God. This over-simplification of sin does not make sense of systemic, corporate evil, brokenness, and social maladies. American evangelicals reason that if someone is poor, perhaps it is due to his or her individual sinful choices. If someone is denied access to education, perhaps it is because of his or her work ethic or ability to work with others.

Notice that relations between God and man on the sin score card over simplify sin. Never mind that the remedy for my sin only required the eternal son of God to take human form and bear the guilt and penalty of my sin by dying a brutal death. Overly simple? I don’t think so.

Moore goes on to mention ways that healing and restoration “in Christ” may come for the social maladies and corporate injustices of “banking and land development policies [that locked blacks] into cycles of poverty, inadequate housing, and educational opportunities.”

Here are a couple ways to engage the environments, cycles, and systems of injustice that disproportionately impact Black communities.
• Land developers can work with political leaders to create affordable housing that has better potential for wealth creation.
• Policy makers in the banking industry can work toward pathways of empowerment for Black entrepreneurs.
• Law enforcement can pursue racialized quotas in their ranks coupled with substantive ethnic diversity training.

If I follow the implications of Moore’s logic, viewing sin from the perspective of sin and salvation is simplistic because corporate sin is so much more complicated. But the remedy for these structural sins that are so much graver than personal sins comes from a few policy changes that seem inconsequential when compared to the crucifixion.

This is why talk of social sin and social redemption is worrisome. It treats the saving work of Christ as insignificant compared to political reform.

Who’s simplistic now?

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86 thoughts on “Personal Sins Require the Cross, Institutional Sins Only Need Policy

  1. While we are certainly not close, I happen to know R. York Moore. His cell number is in my phone.

    You can thank in large part N.T. Wright for this mindset of his, which believe me, you have not even scratched the surface of. Not that that is a criticism of this article Daryl, but trust me, it’s far worse than even this. He takes Schaeffer’s totally unbiblical doctrine of “co-belligerence” to it’s logical conclusion. Joining hands with militant Black Lives Matter pagans who don’t even claim to be Christian.

    “Social justice” in the form of christianized liberation Marxism is one the preeminent poisons coursing through the veins of American Christendom.

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  2. In their childish and vain attempt to attract the people, the modern clergy give socialist programs the function of being schemes for putting the Beatitudes into effect. The trick behind it consists in reducing to a collective structure external to the individual an ethical behavior that, unless it is individual and internal, is nothing. The modern clergy preach, in other words, that there is a social reform capable of wiping out the consequences of sin.

    From which one can deduce the pointlessness of redemption through Christ.

    – Nicolas Gomez Davila

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  3. The question is “do i need a crucified and risen Saviour to handle this”

    The great irony is that a dozen or so total losers in my life improved everything as soon as they found out their fornication had resulted in getting someone with child.

    Some found God and have raised a decent family, it was a good move, but some did the same with basic common sense and decency for the first time in their life.

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  4. Over on the Dreher thread on the difference between evangelicals and catholics, a commenter includes the following in her comment,

    Cradle Catholics, on the other hand, when they’ve studied Church moral teachings in any depth, know that Catholic sexual doctrine, as well as its understanding of abortion, are based in natural law (and therefore, like other truths taught in scripture, never inherently opposed to scientific knowledge). The authority of scriptural injunctions therefore flow from that, not vice versa, which is why some are not pertinent in modern times and yet others transcend time and culture. The Church is accepted as a reliable guide on all moral issues, more reliable than an individual no matter how learned, yet its infallibilty isn’t normally invoked on ordinary matters of theology, including sexual morality, the truths of which should be apparent to all humans of goodwill.

    While I doubt that she is faithfully rendering orthodox Catholic teaching, she has clearly articulated a clear dividing line I see being played out in RYM’s comment. The commenter above notes that the authority of scripture flows from the extent to which it is congruent with natural law. In other words, natural law is prior to scripture. Moore’s dismissal of the way in which the gravity of sin is really based in how it offends God’s holiness (I wonder how he handles Psalm 51?) is following the same pattern. Moore’s essay indicates that God’s word derives its authority from the way in which it coheres with his experience. This is of course a temptation for everyone, but I think we see that among the modernist the embrace of this flow. Insofar as evangelicals embrace this line of argument (a line of argument apparent in debates over sexual ethics and gender roles as well), they are on the same road that the mainline followed a century ago.

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  5. the significance of the remedy
    Who’s simplistic now?

    Amen. Jesus: I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

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  6. “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
    ― Blaise Pascal, Pensées

    Social Activism must be a really nice substitute for the ordinary, monotonous, sometimes thankless, obscure work of being a “National Evangelist for InterVarsity.” I can’t imagine that this job pays really well either. Moore has nothing in his experience to suggest that he knows anything about solving all of these social problems. Advice for land development, banking policy, and the police – all from Moore’s sinecure as a “National Evangelist for InterVarsity.”

    So the old question – “Who, Whom?” – will still apply. Who gets to write these gospel-centered policies? And which Blacks are to benefit? Will recent and future Black immigrants from Jamaica, Haiti, Africa, benefit from “affordable housing” and “pathways of empowerment for Black entrepreneurs” Who has to pay?

    Moore’s entire emphasis is Black vs White. Where do Chinese, Korean, Mexican, or Indian immigrants fit in this drama of Black Victimhood vs White Systemic Institutional Racism.

    Why evangelize when you can pontificate?

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  7. Instead of acknowledging that there is corporate sin, you are still competing by trying to minimize it. Isn’t all sin serious? And shouldn’t individuals repent and ask forgiveness for their participation in or complicity with corporate sin? And doesn’t the existence of corporate sin prevent from living the song It’s A Small World After All? For those who prefer that small world, they must be confronted with the Good Samaritan parable. For that parable teaches us that our neighbor are those who are in need and cross our path. And today’s technology as well as political and economic structures make our neighborhood bigger than some care to exist.

    This isn’t an exclusive-or choice. Both individual sin and corporate sin exist. And if we are to take sin seriously, then wouldn’t we take corporate sin as seriously as we would take individual sin? It seems that to miss the seriousness of either kind of sin is to underestimate the gravity of sin.

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  8. Ronald Coase and the other institutional economists address all of these issues, and do so without relying so heavily on do-gooderism.

    I’m generally in favor of not trying to immamentize the eschaton, either at the individual level or the corporate level. The mistake of revivalists was to seek to do so at the individual level. Now, latter-days revivalists want to extend this to the corporate level. Perhaps it’s better that we not oversimplify the issue of ridding toe world of sin, and leave some of that for the return of Christ.

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  9. @sdb

    But even Calvin refers to the “two books” of God’s revelation. Certainly God doesn’t reveal His truth inconsistently. Thus, when it comes to matters unrelated to the First Table, we ought to be concerned if the conclusions we draw from our interpretation of Scripture lie askew from what we observe in nature. In that sense, if our interpretation of Scripture leaves us with no moral basis for criticizing a harm that we observe, then it ought to make us think about whether we’re interpreting Scripture correctly. The same goes when we criticize something as immoral based on our interpretation of Scripture, but can point to no harm that the activity in question causes. In fact, I’d argue that, on most matters of practical everyday morality, pragmatic wisdom will take you far further than interpretative gymnastics involving an ancient text. See, for example, T. David Gordon’s piece entitled, “The Insufficiency of Scripture.”

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  10. I don’t know if you had it in mind but this post speaks to the PCA overture on racial reconciliation. In my opinion instead of “we confess and repent” it should have said “we condemn and repudiate.” I was on the Overtures Committee and realized that there was no way to replace “confess and repent” with “condemn and repudiate” – the committee would not stand for that change. We had a hard enough time striking the words “covenantal and generational” and replacing them with “corporate and historical.” In spite of its flaws, in the end I voted for the overture because there was more good in it than bad.

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  11. Curt Day says: Instead of acknowledging that there is corporate sin, you are still competing by trying to minimize it.

    Amen
    confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. James 5:16
    (and it’s ok to be generous about it)

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  12. D.G.,
    Refraining from sin is trivial? And again, you seem intent on judging the validity of things on unnecessary competition. The insistence on competition presupposes an exclusive-or choice. But if sin is sin, then we need to be concerned about our participation in both kinds of sins. IN addition, we have two parts to corporate sins: the sins of a group and the individual’s participation in or complicity with corporate sins. And the individual’s participation in or complicity with sins are redeemed by the cross.

    But if you want to judge how seriously one is to take things. It is rather difficult to take the denial of corporate sin seriously when we count those sames actions seen in corporate sin, when performed by an individuals, as very serious sins.

    I think the real issue for you is that the recognition of corporate sins makes your neighborhood bigger than you want it to be. I understand that but don’t think it is biblical.

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  13. @evan

    But even Calvin refers to the “two books” of God’s revelation.

    This metaphor is overdrawn.

    Certainly God doesn’t reveal His truth inconsistently.

    Sure, but other than saying that nature isn’t an illusion (God didn’t create the universe 10m ago with our memories implanted such that we think history happened), so what? Hume et al. are right. You can’t go from is to ought. Galileo was right too – if you want to know how the universe works, do science (empiricism), if you want instruction on matters of faith and morals read the Bible.

    Thus, when it comes to matters unrelated to the First Table, we ought to be concerned if the conclusions we draw from our interpretation of Scripture lie askew from what we observe in nature.

    I presume you mean second table, but we don’t observe moral imperatives in nature. What would be theft, rape, and murder for humans is par for the course for animals. If you mean that our reading of scripture should not contradict basic facts about the world, I agree. Or if you mean that we need basic facts from outside of scripture to read it rightly, I also agree. Who doesn’t? How would you know how to read, distinguish genres, etc… without extra-biblical knowledge. That does not entail that the moral imperatives presented in scripture flow from natural law (which I reject).

    In that sense, if our interpretation of Scripture leaves us with no moral basis for criticizing a harm that we observe, then it ought to make us think about whether we’re interpreting Scripture correctly.

    Or that scripture isn’t concerned with climate change, acid rain, or extinction events…even if we read it correctly. I don’t believe scripture is comprehensive (hence the 2k business). It doesn’t tell us how the government should weigh various trade-offs, it doesn’t tell us how to assess probabilities of harm, it doesn’t tell me lots of things.

    The same goes when we criticize something as immoral based on our interpretation of Scripture, but can point to no harm that the activity in question causes.

    That presumes a level of knowledge we don’t have. The fact that I may not know what the harm is does not entail that there isn’t a harm. Further, the harm may not be this worldly or even physical. It may be a spiritual harm. So I might criticize viewing pornography even if doing so may have some benefit (reducing incidence of rape and prostrate cancer) and no social harm. Why would I? Because Jesus tells me that viewing a woman lustfully is committing adultery and sin is bad for my spiritual health. Perhaps it is better die of prostrate cancer and go to heaven than live to be 110 and go to hell? Not sure your utilitarian calculus is going to get the right answer on this one.

    In fact, I’d argue that, on most matters of practical everyday morality, pragmatic wisdom will take you far further than interpretative gymnastics involving an ancient text. See, for example, T. David Gordon’s piece entitled, “The Insufficiency of Scripture.”

    As I’ve noted here many times, I reject metaphysics and natural law theory. Prudence and custom takes care of most moral quandaries we face. However, as Nietzsche noted, our moral customs in the west are inextricably linked to Christianity. It is still thoroughly infused (albeit indirectly) by God’s word (what you dismiss as an ancient text). I think if you were to read beyond Gordon’s provocative title, you would see that he is not questioning the authority of scripture on matters upon which it speaks. He is questioning those who take it to be comprehensive (it is not). While I think his article is a helpful corrective, his reading of the data he draws on to motivate his conclusions is incorrect. While it is true that self-proclaimed evangelicals divorce at about the same rate as the broader culture, there is a huge difference between church going evangelicals and those who do not adhere. If the problem is that evangelicals are just too gosh-darned devoted to the Bible, one might expect the reverse. Perhaps the problem is rather, nominal Christianity that stands in judgment of God’s word or dismisses it rather than a too slavish a devotion on matters where it doesn’t speak?

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  14. Sure some poverty is a result of sin, but most of it is simply how the post-fall world is. Man will work the ground. All day. Man in his natural state is poor. Will Obama repenting of his drone strikes relieve some poverty? Maybe. What would it look like for the U.S. to repent of it’s sin of mass incarceration? Moreover, what can anyone even do about it? Vote? Give me a break.

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  15. “…but we don’t observe moral imperatives in nature.” -sdb

    Surely you’re not serious. Nearly every culture throughout history has had some kind of prohibition against murder, theft, etc. There was nothing particularly unique concerning the second table. One can just as easily provide supporting arguments for such maxims by resorting to principles of utility maximization.

    Besides, if the Fall so clouds one’s mind that he cannot rightly extract such principles from his observation of nature, than I fail to see how the Fall wouldn’t equally cloud his interpretative abilities. Never mind that Scripture was never intended to be some kind of rule book concerning these kinds of things.

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  16. Curt, you don’t see necessary competition between the cross as a remedy for sin and policy as a remedy for corporate sin? You’re eating too many burgers (and don’t let your lefty friends know you eat meat).

    Plus, I have no way of repenting of systemic injustice unless I blow up the system and start over. I know, you’re a radical. That sounds good.

    The cross may save you from corporate sin. But you have no way of repenting of corporate sin. If the society is still going tomorrow, you’re stuck participating in social sin again. As long as the system prevails, you’re on your knees. No time to protest or eat burgers.

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  17. SDB,

    I presume you mean second table, but we don’t observe moral imperatives in nature.

    That would violate Romans 1–2, especially Romans 2.

    Rom. 1:28–32:

    And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

    Rom. 2 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.

    And to add to this, Without moral imperatives in creation, most of Paul’s points about divine judgment are nonsensical. As are the words of the prophets when they condemn the nations for violating laws against oppressing the poor and other such things.

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  18. “…but we don’t observe moral imperatives in nature.” -sdb
    Surely you’re not serious. Nearly every culture throughout history has had some kind of prohibition against murder, theft, etc.

    That may or may not be. That does not enable one to infer moral imperatives. Nearly every culture has embraced some for xenophobia, slavery, and patriarchy. Is does not entail ought.

    There was nothing particularly unique concerning the second table.

    Agreed. That doesn’t entail that these moral imperatives were acquired by the right study of nature.

    One can just as easily provide supporting arguments for such maxims by resorting to principles of utility maximization.

    Probably not.

    Besides, if the Fall so clouds one’s mind that he cannot rightly extract such principles from his observation of nature, than I fail to see how the Fall wouldn’t equally cloud his interpretative abilities.

    I don’t see what this has to do with anything.

    Never mind that Scripture was never intended to be some kind of rule book concerning these kinds of things.

    Well I’m not sure about rule book. Moses seemed to have the idea that the law was there to tell them how to live (do this and live…). Paul seemed to think that the purpose of scripture was to equip its readers for good works. I agree that the purpose of the NT in particular was not to provide a “rule book” (a bit of a straw man though), but instead to point us to a need of a savior. That being said, Paul also notes that we wouldn’t know what sin was apart from the law. You’re overreaching.

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  19. @Robert
    Or it could mean that we have an innate sense of right and wrong apart from what we “observe” in nature. No natural law theory needed! How we acquire this innate sense is a different question – one might argue that it is part of being created in the image of God. Or one might argue that it is a selection effect (the apes that lacked it couldn’t form the complex communities that squeezed the others out). I read Paul to be saying that it is part of our nature, not that one can determine moral imperatives from scientific study.

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  20. evan 773 says Never mind that Scripture was never intended to be some kind of rule book concerning these kinds of things.

    The Blessing of the Third Use of the Law from R.C. Sproul Jr. Sep 21, 2013

    God’s law serves at least three purposes, which Calvin wisely expressed. He affirmed that the law first serves as a mirror for us. It reveals the perfect character of God, and in so doing, it exposes our sin. This might be called the schoolmaster function. The law instructs us in our need for God’s grace. It reveals His perfection, and our failure to measure up. It reveals our need for Christ.

    The second use is often called the civil use of the law. Here Calvin argued that those outside the kingdom are restrained by the revelation of the law. It doesn’t change the heart of the unregenerate, but it can create a sense of fear. As the civil law reflects God’s revealed law, and with it, civil sanctions, it restrains the wicked.
    The third use of the law is likely the most controversial. Calvin argued that the law reveals to us that which is pleasing to God. That is, it tells us what to do. As we obey it we please Him. Some fear that in embracing this third use we muddy up the first use. If we argue with respect to the law, “This you must do” are we not at least obscuring the truth that “This you cannot do.”?

    My fear, however, operates in the other direction. If we obscure the third use of the law we obscure the first use of the law. That is, if we are not called and required to follow the commands of God, our failure to do so doesn’t mean we are at enmity with God. The schoolmaster cannot tell us of our need for atonement if we have not failed to do what we are called to do. Secondly, however, without the third use of the law we end up worse off than the heathen. We don’t know what to do. We are left without direction. If we are not called to do what the law of God says, how will we decide what to do?

    Some will say, “Let love decide.” Great answer. Trouble is, the Great Commandment, which calls us to love God and our neighbor, is that which binds up all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:40). Which means that “love” is not a new, indistinct, culturally conditioned law, but is instead the law of God. We are not left with what we think love means, by abandoning the law, but are left with what love actually means by keeping the law.
    The third use of the law, however, has this other benefit. We could see it as the other side of the second use coin, or as an extension of the third use. The law tells us how to have a good life. It tells us how to be blessed. It tells us how to do what we were made to do. To put it more poetically, the law is the gateway to joy. This is less because, especially for believers, God sends thunderbolts down on us when we disobey Him, or rose petals on us when we obey. It is more because the law is good in itself. Obedience is blessing long before obedience brings blessing. We were made for this.

    David certainly needed the law to convict him, to point him to his need for Christ. But he sang, “Oh how I love your law” (Psalm 119:97) for the joy that it brings. God’s law is not a list of pleasures we are not allowed to have, a list of delights we are not allowed to touch. It is instead pleasure and delight. Having been, while yet unbelievers, restrained, having been at our conversion convicted, having been in our walk instructed, may we be in our hearts, as we will be in eternity, ever joyful.

    http://www.ligonier.org/blog/blessing-third-use-law/

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  21. sdb, curious, what do you make of confessional statements about the ‘light of nature’? Is that Imago Dei derivation or observation? Wholesale rejection of NL would lead you away from some philosophical underpinnings of confessional commitments that are distinct from Thomism and might, quite unintentionally, I’m sure, lean you toward theonomy.

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  22. SDB,

    Or it could mean that we have an innate sense of right and wrong apart from what we “observe” in nature. No natural law theory needed!

    But natural law theory includes the innate sense of right and wrong that we possess. I think you are quibbling over a point. It may be true that it’s hard to discern moral imperatives from nature. It’s certainly true that is does not mean ought. I question the possibility of natural law as a sufficient guide to morality. But Scripture seems rather clear that there is a innate sense of right and wrong that is inherent to the natural order and is knowable apart from special revelation.

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  23. Zrim says: Ali, so what’s your point, that the Bible is indeed some kind of rule book?

    I think the Sproul link is excellent and needs nothing more so I’m not sure what you want.
    If you want to ask that question anyway, though,maybe you could quiry B. (over at ‘Lord’s Day’ post) about it.

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  24. ok, Zrim, don’t like the Sproul’s clear post, how ’bout :

    Chapter I Of the Holy Scripture
    I. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.

    VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

    Chapter XIX Of the Law of God
    I. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which He bound him and all his posterity, to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience, promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it.
    II. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables: the first four commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six, our duty to man.
    III. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, His graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly, holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the New Testament.
    IV. To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging under any now, further than the general equity thereof may require.
    V. The moral law does forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it. Neither does Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.
    VI. Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned; yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life informing them of the will of God, and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts and lives; so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin, together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of His obedience. It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin: and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve; and what afflictions, in this life, they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law. The promises of it, in like manner, show them God’s approbation of obedience,and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof: although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works. So as, a man’s doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourages to the one and deters from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law: and not under grace.
    VII. Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it; the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requires to be done.

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  25. Madam Secretary, so, NOW you’re concerned about unclassified emails that the Russians hacked. So, Russians accessing DNC emails is horrifying event but hacking classified emails that directly impact national security, MAY have been a mistake though you would strongly disagree with the FBI’s characterization as reckless.

    Somebody just give me the codes. I’ll keep them safe on my Google Drive. None of you are worthy.

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  26. Ali, what part of taking Presbyterian church membership vows doesn’t embrace the work of the Reformation? But here’s how to answer a simple question: no, the Bible is not some kind of rule book. It’s a revelation from God, which is an entirely different thing.

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  27. So, which is more HORRIFYING impact on American democracy, being a jerk and not agreeing to prematurely capitulate to losing the election as requested by the Presidential Committee on Debates or whatever their exact title is, or storing classified emails on a private server and then bleaching them after they’ve be subpoenaed?

    Just vote for me. I got this.

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  28. @Robert

    But natural law theory includes the innate sense of right and wrong that we possess. I think you are quibbling over a point. It may be true that it’s hard to discern moral imperatives from nature. It’s certainly true that is does not mean ought. I question the possibility of natural law as a sufficient guide to morality. But Scripture seems rather clear that there is a innate sense of right and wrong that is inherent to the natural order and is knowable apart from special revelation.

    If you can’t go from is to ought, then it isn’t hard to derive moral imperatives from nature. I agree that we have an innate sense of right and wrong. While this may also be accepted by natural law theory, but the belief that we have an innate sense of right and wrong is not the sum total of natural law.

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  29. sdb, curious, what do you make of confessional statements about the ‘light of nature’? Is that Imago Dei derivation or observation? Wholesale rejection of NL would lead you away from some philosophical underpinnings of confessional commitments that are distinct from Thomism and might, quite unintentionally, I’m sure, lean you toward theonomy.

    I take the light of nature to be custom, tradition, prudence, etc… I don’t see that the wcf necessarily entails Thomistic nonsense or requires a belief in a teleology that allows us to derive moral precepts from the supposed “ends” of various body parts. I guess you could say that I’m one of those crazy post-modernists (Rorty had a point!) that Greg likes denounce. I prefer to think of it is as an anti-metaphysical pragmatism guided by scripture on matters of faith and morals. But perhaps I’m wrong.

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  30. sdb, how about a cult/culture distinction(so, no one day in seven creation ordinance ‘obviousness) that further stipulates that what is GR revealed about God per “light of nature” captures a ‘sense’ of God’s grandeur, power and judgement(red tooth and claw) but is inadequate to reveal the SR redemptive opportunities(Christ, mercy and grace).

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  31. SDB,

    While this may also be accepted by natural law theory, but the belief that we have an innate sense of right and wrong is not the sum total of natural law.

    Sure, but it is a natural law theory of some kind to say that we have an innate sense of right and wrong. It might not be the fully developed theory of Thomas, but it is a natural law statement.

    The question then becomes, how does the innate sense factor into political discussions or if it should at all?

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  32. Zrim says: But here’s how to answer a simple question: no, the Bible is not some kind of rule book. It’s a revelation from God, which is an entirely different thing.

    oh, ok Zrim (despite WCF use of “rule of faith and life”, “general rules of the Word”, “perfect rule of righteousness”). Maybe you use that nuance raising your kids – you have various ‘revelations’ to them for their consideration.

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  33. “There’s my YUP published historical scholar.” Now, send money and when I win I’ll honor the results. Btw, Al Gore is still trying to invalidate votes in Dade County. It’s HORRIFIC how W stole that election said everybody in the media, DNC, Michael Moore, the Clintons and Tipper. I’ll see you in court they said.

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  34. D.G.,
    I don’t see competition between individual and corporate. I only see competition when you present them. That only one can be accepted and which is accepted is determined using logic rather than the Scriptures. For example, saying that you have no way of repenting from systemic sins as an individual unless you blow up the system is an attempt at using logic to deny the existence systemic sins.

    I say it is an attempt because you haven’t established the relationship to assert that the only way to repent of systemic sins is to blow up the system. Thus, your claim that one has no way of repenting from systemic sin has not been proven. In the meantime, the scriptures say that to steal or to murder is sin. And the Scriptures make no allowances for stealing and murdering if you do that in the name of the state.

    If you deny systemic sin, then, logically speaking, you have denied that Nazi Germany sinned when it invaded its neighbors or when it killed millions of Jews. Is that what you really believe? Is that what you would say to a room full of Holocaust survivors or to anyone who doesn’t hold to your “Reformed” definition of sin?

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  35. Curt,

    I’m actually sympathetic to the idea of corporate sin, but Darryl’s point about how one repents for it is a good one. If we take American slavery, for example, how do we repent for it at this point other than saying, “We’re sorry, the country never should have done that”? I know some talk of reparations, but at this point, all citizens of the U.S. have benefitted from what the slaves built in some way. Some more than others perhaps, but nobody’s hands are “clean” so to speak.

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  36. Robert, Curt’s problem goes beyond that. How does a nation repent, become baptized and communicant in a local church? If that’s how sin is handled and if a nation can’t be handled that way then sin can’t be its problem.

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  37. Because I think there is a biblical answer to the “corporate” question, I offer this response for those with ears to hear.

    They are correct who point out that there is no redemption for corporate guilt; and therefore there is no point in trying to repent for it. What use would it be for Adam to repent in the garden… unless (!) a different arrangement than the Covenant of Works was offered him? Repentance is not an option, unless there is a Covenant of Grace introduced.

    There is no “Covenant of Grace for Corporations.”

    So, in Adam all die. That’s it. Repent all you please, personally or in unison with your neighbor, there’s no evading the punishment that rolls down upon all the individual sinners, and all that compounded interest on their collective involvement in some sin. Does it make you feel good to wallow in righteous indignation against the solidarity’s sins? That’s nice; no soup (grace) for you.

    No amount of collective works-righteousness fixes any sin problem in the smallest–not the least significant–way. If people get together in a congress and decide to do X today instead of–or to address the consequences of–doing Y yesterday, that’s a policy change. Judge it on its merits, compare it to what they did before. Ho hum. No one or group should try hand-carrying or trucking that legislation and knock-knock-knock on heavens doe-oo-war to see what God thinks of it. The drawbridge is lifted on Broadway.

    The solution to “collective guilt” is “individual secession.” In theological terms: for a limited time you may switch allegiance and trade the old for a new corporate head, join a new body and achieve more than a new “sense” of self; but actually have a renewed self. The old has passed away….

    Do you want to evade the cloying taint of America’s sin, of herself? Guess what–there’s no way to not simply be what you are, or what you will be as the decay continues–not as long as you maintain your identity as “American.” So, I think the righteous indignation thing is amusing, and ridiculous; somebody thinks he’s a white blood cell.

    Or, you could just live here; and be salt and light. Love your neighbor. By the way, it isn’t an example of loving your neighbor to pick his pocket and give the proceeds to your needy-of-choice (minus a finder’s fee, er, salary). That’s just governance, just one policy option, man.

    One man lessens his individual share of the collective guilt of any earthly corporation, by taking his scarce resources–spiritual and material–and investing more in his heavenly citizenship. That’s it; there is no other way. Divest yourself of some percentage of your “American” identity, if it improves your conscience. Any little bit should help; and besides, Jesus said something about laying up treasure.

    As for the city where the Lord has caused you to dwell–pray for its peace. Obey the Law, laws, and your vocation. Volunteer at the soup kitchen, or run for office. Just don’t try to guilt me because I’ve got other priorities than yours. And if you can’t stand the overall stench of corruption, and can’t get city hall to unclog the sewers, and you can’t retreat to the serenity of the company of the baptized, then emigrate. It’s that simple. Secede. Find a place where you can live for a while a little cleaner, a little more ethically with your neighbors.

    But don’t stick around and pull out your bullhorn and castigate passersby for ignoring your bandwagon covered with posters for the Regime of the Virtuous. Picture one of those sleds. I think of Mad Max,

    as in: Robespierre, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Virtue

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  38. Curt, here’s the problem:

    “I don’t see competition between individual and corporate. I only see competition when you present them.”

    So then show how they are not in competition by arguing it. So far no one here is buying. And history is not on your side.

    Then you make not so smart assertions like this:

    “saying that you have no way of repenting from systemic sins as an individual unless you blow up the system is an attempt at using logic to deny the existence systemic sins.”

    That’s not an answer. You still haven’t said how I should repent of systemic sin and why I don’t spend the whole day in repentance since each minute of the day the system is in place.

    Then you go apeblank batty by calling me a denier.

    Nice doing business with you – not.

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  39. D.G.,
    Your original article attempted to negate corporate sin because its remedy didn’t measure up to the remedy of individual sin. You wrote the following:


    Here’s why the talk of systemic sin and social salvation comes up short. It underestimates the gravity of sin and the significance of the remedy…

    If I follow the implications of Moore’s logic, viewing sin from the perspective of sin and salvation is simplistic because corporate sin is so much more complicated. But the remedy for these structural sins that are so much graver than personal sins comes from a few policy changes that seem inconsequential when compared to the crucifixion.

    This is why talk of social sin and social redemption is worrisome. It treats the saving work of Christ as insignificant compared to political reform.

    Thus, your claim you only see competition in how I present them is contradicted by your original article here and then you try to blame me.

    In addition, you try to rule out corporate or systemic sin by saying that one must blow up the system. The following are your words, not mine:


    Plus, I have no way of repenting of systemic injustice unless I blow up the system and start over. I know, you’re a radical. That sounds good.

    Actually, that doesn’t sound good to me. And, in fact, Martin Luther King Jr proved your statement wrong by how he used civil disobedience and peaceful protests including prohibiting both internal and external violence to challenge systemic sin. On the other hand, what he added to us shows how perhaps we are more sinful than we care to admit. For he stated, and correctly so, that those who are silent in the face of evil are complicit with it.

    BTW, I have already state how one can repent of systemic sin. First, one can withdraw, as best as one can, one’s participation in systemic sin. Then one publicly oppose it and that must be done peacefully. After all, would the OT Prophets and NT apostles be counted as guilty if they were silent about the sins of the people they were charged to preach to?

    There are multiple reasons why religiously conservative Christians must, for the honor of the Gospel, challenge systemic sins. For one thing, churches are looked upon by multiple parties as institutions of indoctrination so that people fit into society the way they “should.” That sounds all well and good except when society promotes and practices injustices that mush addressed. For when the Church doesn’t challenge systemic sin, either as an organism or as an institution, then complicity with injustice is associated with the Gospel. BTW, below is a quote from the report The Crisis Of Democracy. Note what is says about churches and their place in society while it critiques the 1960s and what was called an “excess of democracy”:


    Authority has been challenged not only in government, but in trade unions, business enterprises, schools and universities, professional associations, churches, and civic groups. In the past, those institutions which have played the major role in the indoctrination of the young in their rights and obligations as members of society have been the family, the church, the school, and the army.

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  40. Curt, you still haven’t answered why they aren’t in competition. You only say they are not.

    So peaceful protests challenge systemic sin.

    Well, why didn’t you say that?

    But that’s not repentance.

    So you’re not really radical. The system that King challenged is still the system, man.

    He wasn’t repenting.

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  41. D.G.,
    How can they be in competition? Aren’t we really talking about the spheres in which sin is performed and handled? That when the state or society sins, then it becomes incumbent for the state or society to stop what it is doing wrong? Why? So that innocent people, innocent relative because of the context, do not have to suffer injustice. How is that competing with Gospel’s approach to handling individual sins?

    In addition, I think the burden of proof here is on you. You have not shown where they compete. The reduction or elimination of systemic sins does not promise a reconciled relationship with God. But what it does is to reflect the work of God’s common grace. Those who belong to the privileged group may have problems seeing the need for the state or society to refrain from practicing and/or promoting injustice. But it is certainly on the minds of those who are not from the privileged group.

    What seems difficult to grasp here is how if an individual murders or robs someone, that is sin. But let the state does that it is not sin. So again, the issue of whether what the Nazis did when invading Europe and pursuing the Holocaust was sin becomes the issue. According to you, because of your perceived competition between salvation for individual sin and corporate sin, what the Nazis did was not sin. Please, try saying that to a mixed audience where you have some survivors of the Holocaust in your audience. Would you tell a holocaust survivor that what the Nazis did in pursuing the holocaust was not sin, was not immoral? If not, why?

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  42. D.G.,
    I never said I was radical–that is if blowing up the system is your definition of what is radical. Here you are alluding to the pejorative concept of anarchism. But you have not addressed the concept of real anarchism.

    And yes, there is still systemic racism. But, because of the work of King and others, some of yesteryear’s systemic racism has been curtailed.

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  43. Curt, tell me how to repent, not protest, systemic sin.

    Until you explain that, they are in competition. That competition is: I know how to repent of sin; I don’t know how to repent of systemic sin.

    Capiche?

    Also, as long as you play the Ad Hitlerum card I’ll play the Ad Paulerum card.

    Paul didn’t call Nero’s injustice sin. So what makes you all inspired and infallible?

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  44. I have been following this conversation with some interest and pretty much agreeing with Darryl. However a couple observations if I may.

    Number one is that there is a vast difference between “national repentance” on the secular front where you have all different kinds of people living in a place that most of them were born into involuntarily, and something like denominational repentance wherein a voluntarily agreed upon policy has been in place and can be forsaken as an identifiable community.

    The PCA statement, while largely symbolic and ultimately meaningless, is still a gesture of good will and takes that weapon away from critics, so why not? It might be argued that a loose precedent for this is found in the 6th of Acts.

    Number two is that Nero’s injustice WAS personal sin Darryl. It was an individual man’s sin. It need not be explicitly called that for us to know that it was. Which brings me to point three.

    With monarchs whose lone will IS the law of the land, a single person’s repentance could on that level and in some sense be referred to as national repentance if they were to turn from wickedness and pursue the glory and justice of the Lord in their domain. While not strictly synonymous with the new covenant era, we see at least the existence of this principle throughout the OT. Both amongst the Jews during the time of the divided kingdom and the heathen (Nineveh).

    The take away point, and one never to be forgotten by anybody yearning to be close to God’s truth, is that Curt is wrong. It’s a simple rule with exceedingly few exceptions which will serve the faithful Bible student well.

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  45. Greg, Nero and rulers ordained by God do not follow the same standards in their public conduct as they do in their personal affairs.

    Think about killing. We don’t let anyone kill someone else (minus abortion) except for police and soldiers. We don’t prosecute police in court by the same standards as we prosecute citizens. It’s the deal we make with political authority — polices are arms of the magistrate.

    You really don’t want to go Black Lives Matter on us and say that cops are murderers, do you?

    And if you have a system that allows for the legitimate taking of human life by court appointed officers, you have a system that defies Christian categories of sin and salvation.

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  46. D.G.,
    I’ve told you already how to repent of corporate sin. BTW, why isn’t protesting a sin that one use to participate in part of repentance?

    In addition, they are not in competition. Your’s is an empty claim made by you where you try to put the burden of proof on me. Unless I disprove what you’ve said, you say your claim is true. THat is an interesting way of proving one’s point especially when you deny the obvious objections to what you are saying.

    The only way repenting from corporate sin competes with repenting from individual sin is when one must choose between repenting from one kind of sin or the other. But there is no such exclusive-or choice. One can repent from both especially when one can repent from one’s participation in corporate sin while repenting individual sin. In addition, if we are silent about the sins of others, we bear a degree of responsibility for their sins. That is what was told to the prophets and that is one of the reasons why Paul preached the Gospel.

    ON the other hand, you fail to address the issue of whether Nazi Germany sinned while invading neighboring nations and carrying out the Holocaust. Again, tell me how you would explain to a Holocaust survivor that Nazi Germany did not sin and did not do anything immoral in carrying out the Holocaust.

    See, again, you avoid addressing issues and answering questions. And you try to put the blame on others for that. As far as I am concerned, your behavior lends support for the left’s view of Christianity when the Left says that the Church is just another institution of indoctrination to support the status quo for the benefit of those with wealth and power. And I, who is someone who follows Reformed Theology, sees that, what would non Christians see inf your to explicit say that Nazi Germany sinned when invading neighbors and carrying out the Holocaust?

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  47. @ Darryl
    I was thinking more along the lines of Nero murdering his family, burning down his own capitol for self exalting ends and lighting his parties with burning Christians for instance. That’s not conducive to God’s long term favor on somebody’s kingdom.

    Nebuchadnezzar style repentance is probably a good idea. (Daniel 4)

    “And if you have a system that allows for the legitimate taking of human life by court appointed officers, you have a system that defies Christian categories of sin and salvation.”

    I must be misunderstanding you. As here stated this is famously untrue. (Romans 13)

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  48. Greg, so you believe that different standards apply to law enforcement (Nero) than citizens.

    Curt doesn’t seem to make any distinction between structures of society and persons. Another totalizing faith.

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  49. D.G.,
    No one said the US is innocent. It is that what we decide deductively must be confirmed inductively. So when we can find counterexamples to what we decided deductively, we know that what we deduced was wrong. Nazi just provides one of the very worse examples.

    Now if the US is not innocent, where is the American Church, both as an organism and institutions noting how there are many denominations here, telling the US where it is wrong?

    And yes, I do distinguish between structures of society and persons. I just don’t deny the sinfulness of either one.

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  50. @ Curt:

    One need not deny the reality of “corporate sin” to think that the term needs careful definition and argument.

    Corporate sin is a reality. First, in terms of federal headship, the divinely appointed federal heads may sin or obey on behalf of their people. Second, groups may sin by taking official actions. The common example is that a session may sin by making an unjust decision. In those cases, it is entirely possible for the session as a session to repent, remedy, and apologize.

    That all makes sense. What does not (yet) make sense are some of your arguments that individuals should be asked to repent for their participation in and complicity with corporate sin.

    These arguments do not make sense yet because you have not defined which corporations that individuals are obligated to view themselves as a part of. You have not yet defined which actions on the part of corporations are in fact sin, and which are imprudence. And you have not yet defined what “complicity” means in Biblical terms.

    The reason that those terms need definition is that there are a number of different players with megaphones who are happy to assert guilt on the basis of complicity for corporate sin. Some of these players have political motives, and assertion of guilt is a way to seek allies and silence opposition.

    Assuming that our consciences are bound by the word of God and not the word of man — we do share that assumption, yes? — then it follows that these claims need to be tested rigorously against Scripture.

    If there is real guilt, it needs to be confessed and repented of. If there is not real guilt, then placing false guilt on another’s conscience is itself a sin.

    That’s why these terms need to be clearly defined from Scripture.

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  51. Curt, I didn’t say the U.S. was innocent either.

    But what society is innocent? Can I move there?

    Or are you simply a Marxist gone utopian? If Paul says the magistrate uses the sword and doesn’t say that Christians use the sword but turn the other cheek, a different standard applies to the magistrate.

    Go ahead. Throw a tantrum about the injustice sin of states using coercive force. I dare you.

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  52. @sean

    sdb, how about a cult/culture distinction

    What’s the distinction?

    (so, no one day in seven creation ordinance ‘obviousness)

    I’m not sure what the relevance is here. You seem pretty set on this whole one in seven business. Do you disagree that a sabbath day was ordained at creation rather than as part of the Mosaic Law? Or that the day changed from seventh to first? The point I made to Ali about the sabbath is that MacAuthur is wrong about the 4th commandment being abrogated, the seventh day adventists are wrong about the Lord’s Day being Saturday, and Susan is wrong that the only reason we know Sunday is the Lord’s day is the teaching of the RCC. A biblical case can be made that the sabbath was not merely a component of the ceremonial law (namely that it was rooted in prelapsarian creation), and that post-resurrection it is now celebrated on Sunday (NT apostolic authority). General revelation doesn’t give us that. Is your concern that we not think that the Lord’s day is any day we want as long as we hit the drive through church service once a week? If so, I agree. Or am I totally missing your point?

    that further stipulates that what is GR revealed about God per “light of nature” captures a ‘sense’ of God’s grandeur, power and judgement(red tooth and claw) but is inadequate to reveal the SR redemptive opportunities(Christ, mercy and grace).

    Well I agree that we have a sense of the divinity that is stirred by things we observe in nature and that that sense doesn’t lead us to saving knowledge. My principle objection to Natural Law is that there is not a telos discernible from observation of nature that informs right action. Aristotle was wrong (about everything).

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  53. @Robert

    Sure, but it is a natural law theory of some kind to say that we have an innate sense of right and wrong. It might not be the fully developed theory of Thomas, but it is a natural law statement. The question then becomes, how does the innate sense factor into political discussions or if it should at all?

    I’m not sure why you are so set on maintaining the label “natural law”. It obfuscates rather than clarifies. I reject the George, Maritain, Aquinas, and Aristotle’s conception of diving ethical principles from observation of nature. When put to practice, the track record is pretty embarrassing.

    As far as our innate sense in political discussions…. I think they just do. I’m not sure there is a normative claim to be made here.

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  54. Sdb, my objection to the prelapsarian one in seven principle is that it’s not a prelapsarian one in seven principle, it’s a seventh day sabbath enthronement that finds it’s fulfillment in the Sabbath rest still held out for us in Christ(Hebrews 4:9). Now, that Sabbath enthronement was available to all before the fall in a probationary opportunity but since the fall(postlapsarian) we have a cult/culture distinction in which not only is a one in seven principle no longer legible or sensible but, in fact, never was a creation ordinance. How would one like a non cult member to practice the Sabbath? In honor of their eschatological doom? I have no objection to a Lord’s day observance(preaching of the word and administration of the sacraments) for the people of God. I’m all for it. There’s a lot more to the argument, but I’m in drive by.

    As regards, nature informing right action, I think you might have some difficulty sustaining that, in full, considering some of the wisdom literature as regards both the industry of creatures and their laxity and the way the earth renders it’s produce/fruit and the attribuition of that to the mercies and generosity of God. Again, it needs to be teased out a lot more but I gotta go.

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  55. SDB: My principle objection to Natural Law is that there is not a telos discernible from observation of nature that informs right action. Aristotle was wrong (about everything).

    I have a lot of sympathy for this, but Proverbs restrains me. How am I supposed to gather wisdom from the ant if there is nothing in the ant that informs right action?

    Is it possible that Aristotle was overstated rather than completely wrong?

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  56. @Jeff
    But how do we know that the ant is our model and not the grasshopper? The Proverb seems to be saying that we can understand something about a principle described in special revelation by way of analogy to an ant. I don’t have any problem with appealing to nature by way of analogy. Scripture is full of such examples of course. Consider the case of the parable of the dishonest manager (Luke 16). Here we see an analogy between what the dishonest manager does and what we are to do as Christians. But we do not determine normative Christian ethics by way of observation of crooked employees. Rather there is a characteristic here that is used to illuminate a particular aspect of Christian living. How do we know the scope and limits of this analogical description? Special revelation. The same is true of the ant I think. We don’t determine normative moral rules about prudent harvesting from watching ants. We can use the ant to illustrate what we mean by rules that are determined otherwise. This isn’t natural law though. What do you think?

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  57. @sean

    Sdb, my objection to the prelapsarian one in seven principle is that it’s not a prelapsarian one in seven principle, it’s a seventh day sabbath enthronement that finds it’s fulfillment in the Sabbath rest still held out for us in Christ(Hebrews 4:9). Now, that Sabbath enthronement was available to all before the fall in a probationary opportunity but since the fall(postlapsarian) we have a cult/culture distinction in which not only is a one in seven principle no longer legible or sensible but, in fact, never was a creation ordinance. How would one like a non cult member to practice the Sabbath? In honor of their eschatological doom? I have no objection to a Lord’s day observance(preaching of the word and administration of the sacraments) for the people of God. I’m all for it. There’s a lot more to the argument, but I’m in drive by.

    Fair enough. I’m afraid I’m not following you here.

    As regards, nature informing right action, I think you might have some difficulty sustaining that, in full, considering some of the wisdom literature as regards both the industry of creatures and their laxity and the way the earth renders it’s produce/fruit and the attribuition of that to the mercies and generosity of God. Again, it needs to be teased out a lot more but I gotta go.

    I’m not sure that the wisdom literature is so helpful on this point. No problem with analogies to nature (see response to Jeff), but how does one know whether it is the ant or the cat I should model my behavior after?

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  58. Sdb, I would never argue that norming the cult(church) is or can be done from mere observation of nature (what would be the point of SR?) but even proverbs speaks of hard earned wisdom that assumes not only Imago Dei capacity but learning norms, even virtue from nature and the living of life(experience). The idea isn’t that you require SR to know which model to utilize but that wisdom can and needs to be had from GR(which includes observation of nature). None of that would be an argument for the adequacy of NL for norming the Christian life but it is an argument that GR and SR play a complementary role in the norming, which certainly points to the relevance of NL, though certainly it’s inadequate to a holistic understanding of Christian virtue.

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  59. D.G.,
    Marx was a utiopian, but many socialists from the Marx tradition are not. I am certainly not a utopian.

    But I think it is important to speak out against state and societal injustices provided that one remembers the parable of the two men praying. So when one speaks out against those injustices, they do so as fellow sinners and they apply the Golden Rule to those causing the injustices by trying to correct them in the same way they would want to be corrected when correction is a fixed cost.

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  60. Gospel of Luke, 6:22 The words of Jesus:

    “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.”

    Matthew 10:22 Jesus speaking to His disciples.

    “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.”

    John 15:19 Jesus speaking again.

    “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”

    John speaking in his 1st epistle, 3rd Chapter, 13th verse:

    Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.

    The apostle James chapter 4 verse 4b

    Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God./strong>

    The defining reason? The Lord Jesus speaking of Himself. John 3:19-20

    19-“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20-“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
    —————————————————————————-
    Where do we find God’s people being promised “justice” in here Curt?
    (Oops. Jacked up the tags on James 4:4 the first time.)

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  61. Greg,
    So you quoted all of the scriptures regarding justice? Or is the subject that we all should be pursuing justice rather than waiting to see if was promised?

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  62. Do you see a reasonable expectation of justice and fair and equitable treatment toward God’s covenant people from the world in bible Curt? It’s a very simple question.

    Leta’s see your passages please. Preferably to the right of Malachi. There’s that whole NEW covenant thing ya know. But if you can find God telling Israel to expect to be loved by the nations, we can look at that too. Take your time.

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  63. Tiribulus,
    But are God’s people the only ones treated with injustice? And did Peter distinguish between the times when we suffer for what we have done wrong vs suffering for Jesus’s sake?

    If we are all treated with God’s justice, none of us could stand before God. As for the relative justice in the world, there are times when God’s people were treated justly by some. What we are prohibited from doing is to return injustice for injustice.

    Certainly the NT is closed regarding Revelation. But the history of the Church is still open. And much of that modern European history shows the Church to be abuser more than victim. So what if we quit abusing and started to treat others with justice? We don’t what follows.

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  64. Curt says: “But are God’s people the only ones treated with injustice?”

    What would make me think that if the eternally elect covenant bride of Christ is promised all the marginalization, persecution and hardship the scriptures say, that any other group should expect more than general common grace civilization? Meaning that the magistrate can forbid me from killing or stealing from or enslaving you, but he cannot make me love you and treat you justly beyond that. Gods’ people aren’t even promised that. Why should we expect it for any other minority? Nero was emperor when Paul wrote Romans 13. That didn’t seem to be much on his mind.

    —————————————
    Curt says: “…there are times when God’s people were treated justly by some.”

    Do you have an institutionalized example from unbelievers

    —————————————
    Curt says: “What we are prohibited from doing is to return injustice for injustice.?”

    Quite so.

    ————————————–
    Curt says: “…much of that modern European history shows the Church to be abuser more than victim.”

    The false visible church, yes. Christ’s name and honor have been horribly sullied by those calling themselves Christians. Here too. Still is. I maintain in ways that we may even find agreement on.

    ————————————-
    Curt says: “So what if we quit abusing and started to treat others with justice?”

    YOU WIN!!!!

    This right here is the key to this whole family of issues and where your entire world comes crashing in if the bible is actually God’s Word. “WE” and “TREAT” are the operative terms here.

    “WE” are commanded to DO justice, to “TREAT” others justly, in Jesus name. Not to demand it from Rome like Paul didn’t.

    In this country anyway the church seems to think that an envelope on Sunday (maybe a charity or two) and or a vote for some liberation Marxist political agenda constitutes biblical justice and charity.

    When the saints are spending more of THEIR OWN time and money on others than themselves, we will be in the ballpark.

    There’s enough money and time in the American church to induce the death of the welfare state by natural causes through lack of need. It’ll never happen. The vast majority of professing Christians on this continent spend FAAAAR more time and money on TV, movies, sports and music than they do on any of the New Testament mandates to charity and justice. Or anything else God commands, like evangelism for instance. People spend their time and money on what they really love most. Themselves.

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  65. Tiribulus,
    Regarding God’s people receiving just treatment, aren’t there Biblical examples of this. And when Christendom reigned, weren’t Christians treated more than fairly by European governments? To believe that one will always be persecuted for their faith goes beyond the expectations set by the Scriptures.

    And yes, the Church, both visible and invisible have proven to be abusers of people throughout history. do you want to make the claim that no American settlers who participated in the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans or that there were no Christians who held slaves or supported Jim Crow? Or do you believe that Martin Luther was not a real believer when he called on German citizens and princes to persecute Jews for their unbelief? Or did Calvin’s Geneva have the right to execute heretics and witches. THe Puritans themselves martyred 4 Quakers.

    Finally, we must choose between the Church and the state regarding who should help those in need? Are you saying that the state should not represent those in need and thus should have no programs to help them? And are you saying that with many churches moving out of poor neighborhoods that the Church wants to take care of the poor?

    Also, you have no idea what Marxism is about. Perhaps you should do some reading.

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  66. Curt, the world needs tampons? Why don’t you care about that injustice?

    According to a recent sanitation report from the United Nations, WaterAid, Unilever, and Domestos, more than 800 million women between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating on any given day. And for many of these women, the lack of tampons and other disposable menstrual products—and the lack of clean, private space in which to use them—is still a source of ongoing difficulty.

    According to studies conducted in Kenya and Ghana, as girls reach puberty, they miss more school because they can’t manage their periods in the public space of the classroom. A study in Ethiopia and one conducted for World Vision Zambia reported the same thing. In addition, poor hygiene practices and reused menstrual cloths mean that women are more likely to get reproductive and urinary tract infections. According to the multi-group sanitation report, women in a Bangladeshi factory tended to use rags from the factory floor to soak up menstrual blood, leading to infections that kept them away from work several days each month.

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  67. D.G.,
    It is called priorities and being limited by age and capabilities. Now if your comment was a sincere one, you would be picking up the slack on the tampon issue after seeing that I was busy with other issues. So keep me informed on how the tampon issue is going.

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