What’s the Difference between a Pro-Refugee Evangelical (Tim Keller) and a Democrat (Dianne Feinstein)?

Short answer: neither quotes the Bible.

Notice for instance the parallels among the National Association of Evangelicals, Ed Stetzer, Evangelical leaders (among them Tim Keller), and the Democrats.

The NAE:

“Christians and churches have been welcoming refugees for 2,000 years, and evangelicals are committed to continue this biblical mission. Thousands of U.S. evangelicals and their churches have welcomed hundreds of thousands of refugees over the past 40 years through World Relief and other federally approved resettlement agencies. We don’t want to stop now,” NAE President Leith Anderson said.

The Trump administration’s plans to make severe cuts to the admission of refugees are alarming. We call on President Trump to declare his support for the continuation of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, which is critical at a time when the world faces a significant refugee crisis.

Ed Stetzer:

Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, says it this way: “The decision to restrict all entry of refugees and other immigrants … contradicts the American tradition of welcoming families who come to the United States to start their lives again in safety and dignity. The American people — most of whom can trace their own families’ stories through a similar immigrant journey in search of freedom — are a hospitable people.”

He’s right. But, it’s not just because we are Americans. It’s because we are Christians.

God’s people should be the first ones to open their arms to refugees. We should welcome them and do what Christians, in your church and mine, have been doing a long time — showing and sharing the love of Jesus with them.

Tim Keller et al:

As Christians, we have a historic call expressed over two thousand years, to serve the suffering. We cannot abandon this call now. We live in a dangerous world and affirm the crucial role of government in protecting us from harm and in setting the terms on refugee admissions. However, compassion and security can coexist, as they have for decades. For the persecuted and suffering, every day matters; every delay is a crushing blow to hope.

Since the inception of the refugee resettlement program, thousands of local churches throughout the country have played a role in welcoming refugees of all religious backgrounds. Ministries to newly arrived refugees are ready, and desire to receive many thousands more people than would be allowed under the new executive order.

The Democratic Party (according to Damon Linker):

Many liberals argue that refugees are among the most vulnerable people on Earth and so must be welcomed with open arms. That forcing undocumented immigrants to leave the country is gratuitously cruel, violates their rights, and so justifies municipalities flouting federal law by turning themselves into “sanctuary cities.” That banning entry to refugees or immigrants not yet within the United States can violate their due process rights under the U.S. Constitution. And that the desire to restrict immigration is invariably an expression of xenophobia, racism, and other forms of irrational animus and so morally (and perhaps constitutionally) indefensible.

All of these claims are, at bottom, expressions of a fundamentally anti-political humanitarian ideology that is unlikely to fare well in the next presidential election. Democrats desperately need to confront the vulnerabilities of this position and stake out a more defensible and pragmatic one if they hope to push back against Trump’s populist-nationalist message in upcoming years.

Of course, evangelicals don’t need to worry about running for election (though the likes of Russell Moore does need to worry about ministry dollars going somewhere other than the Southern Baptist cooperative program). But evangelicals who live in the United States may want to think (with help from Linker) about how to love their actual neighbors who live within U.S. borders (Walter didn’t see his buddies die face down in ‘Nam for open borders):

Many Americans believe that their constitution presumes or appeals to certain timeless, universal moral truths that apply to all human beings. But the U.S. Constitution itself — like the constitutions, fundamental laws, and commonly affirmed norms and rules of all political communities — is nonetheless instantiated in a particular place, rooted in a particular tradition. It also pertains and applies only to people who are members of the political community known as the United States of America.

Those who are members of this community are known as American citizens. They get a say in what laws get passed and how they get enforced. Those who are not members of this community — who are not citizens — don’t get such a say. The community is perfectly within its rights to decide which and how many of these outsiders will be allowed to visit the country, how long they will be allowed to stay, when they will need to go, and how many, if any, will be permitted to join the community permanently by becoming citizens.

This is one of the most elemental acts of politics: the community deciding who to admit and on what terms. To treat this act as somehow morally illegitimate is to treat politics as such as morally illegitimate.

In other words, evangelicals think like 1kers, as if the U.S. is a Christian community. Imagine welcoming non-Christians into fellowship in a Christian congregation. What sense does that make? So why should citizens of the United States act as if they are the United Nations of the World. As Linker says, it’s a complicated question how Americans decide what to do with outsiders:

Note that nothing I’ve said tells us anything about how many immigrants or refugees the political community of the United States should welcome at any given moment of history, or what criteria should be used to make this determination. I generally favor liberal immigration policies; many Trump voters take a very different view. The point, as Josh Barro recently argued in an important column, is that the policy debate needs to be made in terms of the good of the political community as a whole and in its parts, not in terms of abstract, extra-political moral duties owed to prospective newcomers. A political community exists in large part to benefit itself — to advance the common good of its citizens. There’s nothing shameful in that. It’s to a considerable extent what politics is.

And don’t forget, if godless Democrats and progressive evangelicals agree that Jesus is on the side of refugees, w-w has failed.

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110 thoughts on “What’s the Difference between a Pro-Refugee Evangelical (Tim Keller) and a Democrat (Dianne Feinstein)?

  1. If only you had been born Lutheran, you would know that that we do not welcome or kill refugees in the name of Christ but only in the name of “thee/ whoever you may be”. Immigration and killing are only to be done in the name of the one kingdom have in common naturally and by providence. Jesus is the redeemer, not creator or lawgiver.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article135249589.html

    On the 14th of December that General Patton had the famous exchange with Chaplain O’Neill to write a prayer for good weather and to give a copy to each member of the Third Army. The Chaplain mentioned that it’s not a customary practice to pray for clear weather in order to kill fellow men. Patton’s response was direct, “Chaplain, are you teaching me theology or are you the Chaplain of the Third Army? I want a prayer.”
    Each member of the Third Army (approximately 250,000 at the time) was issued a small card on the 22nd of December, 1944—-“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations?’

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  2. Of course, God loved the world and the Great Commission tells us to go throughout the world. But what should also be included are these two points: 1) We have a responsibility toward refugees who have been placed in that predicament by the foreign polices pursued by the government we elected; and 2) loving our domestic neighbors and loving our foreign neighbors is not mutually exclusive. In addition, how many Christians who think that loving domestic and foreign neighbors is mutually exclusive also reduce the number of domestic neighbors they choose to love.

    It seems that some who promote 2kt believe that it implies that we have a small world theology (swt) as well. And it is possible that those who promote an swt are confusing conservative libertarian beliefs with what can be implied or suggested from the Scriptures.

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  3. Curt, think on this: the policy about refugees is one to come from the American people and their elected representatives. You can’t seem to accept that the U.S. is not a Christian country. My support for a policy arrived at by believers, Jews, Muslims, skeptics, and humanitarians is not libertarian. It’s American. Keep your faith to yourself.

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  4. ” It seems that some who promote 2kt believe that it implies that we have a small world theology (swt) as well.”
    No. Those who promote 2k agree that it is not sinful to support restrictive immigration law nor is it sinful to support open borders. I suspect the demographics of those who would refer to themselves as “2k” incidentily agree on lots of political positions. But we also agree that political disagreement is not sinful.

    So I may find your politics utterly wrongheaded, economic thought innumerate, and your affinity for Chomsky and Zinn naive, but I don’t think your poor analytic skills and awful taste are things you should be called to repent of, that you are not a true brother in Christ, or that your politics make you a bad Christian. 2k does not require you to be a libertarian or get on the “right side of history”. It does forbid calling something sinful where scripture is silent and to keep the church out of non-ecclesial matters and vice versa.

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  5. from today- http://www.desiringgod.org/seek-your-city-s-good – Christian 2k worldview and no ‘swt’ :

    -We each have been sent to our particular city by God.
    -God is not indifferent to the welfare of your city and in the welfare of your city, His people find welfare.
    -We do all for the real king and not just for eye service as men pleasers
    -We pray for our city (asking for great and good things to happen for the city and asking that they happen in His name and for His glory) because we trust God always answers prayer
    -We will do the most good for our city:
    -by keeping a steadfast freedom from its beguiling attractions and finding our deepest joys in all that God is for us in Christ
    -by serving our city with the values that are from the city that is to come
    -by calling as many of its citizens to be citizens of the Jerusalem above

    “Let us live so that the natives will want to meet our king.”

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  6. @Ali 2k isn’t a worldview. It is a particular view of the relationship between politics and Christianity. Is it sinful to embrace dumb political ideas? If you say the answer is no (i.e., that one can be a Bircher, Socialist, Green, Libertarian, Localist, Royalist, Reactionary, Fascist, Whig, Tory, Republican, or a Democrat without sinning), welcome to 2k!

    Keep in mind that a worldview is a comprehensive, coherent view of all reality. I argue that everyone has an amalgamation of disjointed particular views and that a “worldview” is impossible. I’d be interested in your case that a worldview along the lines that Sire describes is possible.

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  7. D.G.,
    If only Christians can be expected to act justly, then nonChristians do not sin when are unjust. But not only do we know that is not the case, we see example after example where nonChristians have acted justly and Romans 2 also testifies to such occurrences.

    It’s confusing to me that a 2ker would expect only Christians to pursue social justice when such justice used to measure society.

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  8. sdb,
    The issue over immigration law isn’t about size, it is about justice. American foreign policies have played a significant role in the current immigration and refugee crisis since the crisis started in 2004 following Ameria’s invasion into Iraq. America is significantly responsible for this immigration crisis and thus not only is there a lack of compassion for others by Trump’s attempts to further restrict the flow of immigrants and refugees here, it is immoral. In addition, Trump’s ban on refugees never mentioned how the current vetting process for refugees has been successful. And while Trump expresses concern over terrorists sneaking in disguised as refugees, none of those foreign terrorists who have attacked us come from the nations that are banned. Instead, they have come from nations like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, most of the nations on the banned list were targeted for regime change by our gov’t in 2001.

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  9. sbd,, Jesus has a ‘worldview’ and that is the one we ought have. We could argue about it, or we could pray about it because tragically ….. “Only 10 percent of Americans hold a distinctly biblical worldview even though 46 percent, or nearly 100 million adults in the United States, claim to lead a Christian life.”
    btw, hope you’re teaching your kids Jesus’s worldview because there is no greater joy than this: 3 John 1:4

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/1-in-10-americans-have-biblical-worldview-just-4-percent-of-millennials-barna-176184/

    Only 10 percent of Americans hold a distinctly biblical worldview even though 46 percent, or nearly 100 million adults in the United States, claim to lead a Christian life.

    In surveys published Monday by the American Culture and Faith Institute, seven out of 10 Americans called themselves Christians, but relatively few were able to answer questions about the Bible and Christian beliefs.
    “Our research collected information about attitudes and behaviors related to practical matters like lying, cheating, stealing, pornography, the nature of God, and the consequences of unresolved sin,” said researcher George Barna, who directed the studies.

    “That’s what makes the discrepancy between the percentage of people who consider themselves to be Christian — more than seven out of every 10 — and those who have a biblical worldview — just one out of every 10 — so alarming.”

    Barna noted that every person does have a worldview, however.

    “The critical question is which one people have embraced,” he said. “If we want to transform our culture then we will need to change the choices people make that produce that culture. And in order to change those choices we must identify the beliefs that led to those choices.”

    The ACFI researchers interviewed 6,000 people from three groups: the general public, theologically conservative Protestant ministers, and what they call “Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians” which they have been tracking since 2013.

    The questionnaire included 20 “Christianity 101” questions about basic spiritual beliefs and 20 others assessing behavior. The researchers then reviewed respondents’ answers to the 40 questions “in relation to biblical content and the number of biblically consistent answers was tallied for each respondent.”

    Only 4 percent of young people ages 18–29 scored 80 percent or better, qualifying as “integrated disciples” by the researchers.

    The term integrated disciple aims to identify where mere stated religious beliefs inform ones lifestyle, hence the survey’s doctrinal and behavior questions.

    “[I]n developing this instrument we discovered that someone may claim to believe something, but if their behavior does reflect those beliefs, it is doubtful that they really believe what they claimed to believe,” Barna noted.
    “Jesus taught His disciples that the right beliefs are good, but the real measure of where you stand is what He labeled the fruit of a person’s life, referring to the product of applying one’s convictions. As a result, we created this measurement process with the intention of blending both core beliefs and core behaviors to estimate the biblical consistency of peoples’ worldview.

    “Any time you attempt to measure people’s worldview or spiritual standing, you have to tread carefully. We recognize that this research provides an estimate, not an absolute. Only God really knows who is a Christian. Only He knows who has a biblical worldview. God alone knows what’s in the mind and heart of each person,” Barna said in response to potential criticisms of the study.

    The American Culture & Faith Institute will release additional results next month.

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  10. anti-metaphysics is metaphysics. The two kingdom ideology about worldviews is a worldview.

    http://www.garynorth.com/public/14582.cfm

    Gary North–What Lloyd-Jones really resented was the free market. . Lloyd Jones reserved his worst epithet for the free market: Arminian.

    “Arminianism overstresses liberty. it produced the laissez-faire view of economics, and it always introduces inequalities–some people becoming enormously wealthy, and others languishing in poverty and destitution” .

    Gary North—“Get this: the free market introduces inequality. It apparently wasn’t there before. This is inaccurate historically. As the voluminous researches of Prof. P. T. Bauer and other economists have demonstrated, the free market reduces economic inequality, and it also erodes the barriers–status quo, statist barriers–that tend to prevent upward and downward economic mobility. Lloyd-Jones joins the ranks of the ordained chaplaincy of conformity and has therefore been granted the right to use the language of progressive reformism–so long as it is not promoted in the name of Christian salvation.”

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  11. @Robert
    Does supporting idolatry by spending your hard earned income on meat sacrificed to idols harm people? This is an important test case. If your analysis leads you to say, “Yes, therefore it is sinful to support the purchase of meat sacrificed to idols”, then your analysis is in conflict with scripture.

    I’m sure that one can contrive a vote that would be sinful, but I don’t see any real options like that on the table.

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  12. The issue over immigration law isn’t about size, it is about justice. American foreign policies have played a significant role in the current immigration and refugee crisis since the crisis started in 2004 following Ameria’s invasion into Iraq.

    Maybe, maybe not. It isn’t sinful to agree or to disagree with this assertion.

    America is significantly responsible for this immigration crisis and thus not only is there a lack of compassion for others by Trump’s attempts to further restrict the flow of immigrants and refugees here, it is immoral.

    That America may be responsible for the immigration crisis does not entail that there is a lack of compassion for others as evidence by Trumps attempts to enhance the vetting of immigrants from countries that have insufficient mechanisms for distinguishing from innocent victims and dangerous terrorists. Whatever the truth of the matter may be, it is not sinful to oppose Trump’s restrictionist stance nor is it sinful to support it.

    In addition, Trump’s ban on refugees never mentioned how the current vetting process for refugees has been successful.

    I’m not sure how a ban explains how vetting processes are successful or not. There have been claims that the current vetting procedures have allowed dangerous terrorists into Europe and that the flood of migrants have destabilized communities. People can disagree on whether Trump’s ideas are good or bad without being sinful.

    And while Trump expresses concern over terrorists sneaking in disguised as refugees, none of those foreign terrorists who have attacked us come from the nations that are banned. Instead, they have come from nations like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, most of the nations on the banned list were targeted for regime change by our gov’t in 2001.

    Well that’s certainly a popular talking point. I’m not sure why it implies that support for enhanced vetting of immigrants from counties that have vetting processes deemed inadequate entails that it is sinful to do so. But then I disagree with your premise that America has a moral responsibility to help people in war torn countries like Syria. It might be a good idea, but I don’t see that it is sinful to disagree.

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  13. I never understood the reason for a 2K theory( as understood by Reformed Christians). No official state can call itself “The Church” but that doesn’t mean that nations can’t be more Christian than other nations IF their moral temperature ls attune to natural law( which is God’s law understood by natural reason). It can’t get us to our supernatural end, but it can help our civil society( and the reason for it) When the church or a Christian accepts revelation( which is meant for our supernatural end, being something we couldn’t know by reason alone) but actively rejects natural law( or argues that he doesn’t have to obey it), he is as much opposed to God as an unvirtuous pagan.
    The church being militant means that we resist the devil and the world that is opposed to God in any way( natural law included). It doesn’t mean that we deny that the world and the devil are up to no good, or that earth is supposed to be our sphere of influence.

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  14. sdb, it’s also possible to think America has a moral responsibility to refugees without falling into Curt’s social sin ditch. Disagreeing that it does doesn’t mean your impious, just a little too wound up in spots.

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  15. Susan, nations cannot be Christian (to say nothing of being more or less Christian). Same point to you as to Curt: until you can baptize and commune a nation, dispense with the Christian nation jazz.

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  16. Susan: No official state can call itself “The Church” but that doesn’t mean that nations can’t be more Christian than other nations IF their moral temperature ls attune to natural law( which is God’s law understood by natural reason).

    Pre-fall Adam had a “moral temperature” perfectly attuned with the natural law, but he wasn’t Christian (no faith in Christ needed until post-fall).

    In like manner, Jesus’ “moral temperature” was perfectly attuned with natural law at all times, but Jesus wasn’t a Christian either.

    These aren’t nitpicky points, but an alert to category confusion: Being Christian is not defined by moral temperature, but by being justified by faith apart from works of the (natural or otherwise) law.

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  17. Zrim,

    I think nations can be more or less Christian insofar as the people put themselves under God’s law. I can see a difference between the society of Israel vs. Iraq( Deut. 4:8). But, of course, no nation is the Christian Church that has people( wheat & tare) who are Christian by their baptism but realizing their supernatural end more or less by their adherence to the two-fold command. Jesus is King of the Universe and that is bigger realm than any nation but it includes nations.

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  18. Ali: Jesus has a ‘worldview’

    That’s debatable. The second person of the Trinity knows all things immediately; this is not the same thing as a worldview.

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  19. @Ali
    “Jesus has a ‘worldview’ and that is the one we ought have.”
    I’m not so sure he had “a” “world” – view. Where do you find evidence for that in scripture? I suppose that since God is omniscient, holds all things together, can’t lie or contradict himself, etc… he could be said to have a worldview of sorts. But of course, as we see in Job, that’s not for us. Whatever the case, Jesus certainly didn’t describe “a” “world”view.

    We could argue about it, or we could pray about it

    I”m not really interested in arguing. I would be interested in your case that scripture provides a comprehensive, coherent description of all aspects of reality. In other words, your case that Christianity is an ideology. I don’t think it is, but I’m willing to be convinced.

    “Only 10 percent of Americans hold a distinctly biblical worldview even though 46 percent, or nearly 100 million adults in the United States, claim to lead a Christian life.”
    btw, hope you’re teaching your kids Jesus’s worldview because there is no greater joy than this: 3 John 1:4

    Well I suspect that none of those people actually has a biblical worldview, and I certainly wouldn’t teach one to my kids as it isn’t taught in scripture. Barna is not a reliable authority on such matters. Sire does provide a succinct definition that is in wide circulation and captures what most evangelicals have in mind when they describe something like a worldview. It doesn’t mean “my beliefs” nor does it mean “content of my faith”. If we want to define it as something else, I suppose we can, but that makes communication hard. Perhaps you can help me out though. You seem to think that Christianity is all encompassing – how does Christianity tell me whether the laws of physics are fundamentally deterministic or indeterministic? Or perhaps you can explain something more pedestrian – does Christianity tell me whether the poor should be helped by wage subsidies or by wage mandates? Should health care be mandated through an insurance system or should we have a national system of healthcare. These all bear on parts of the “world”. If it is true that Christianity is a “world”view, then it seems to me that Christianity should tell us which option is consonant its worldview. If Christianity is neutral on these matters, then Christianity is not an all encompassing worldview. In other words, it is not an ideology. But I freely concede that I could be missing something here and I am open to having you explain what it is I’m missing.

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  20. @mm
    “anti-metaphysics is metaphysics.”
    Not if you ignore it in favor of a stance.

    “The two kingdom ideology about worldviews is a worldview.” I don’t see that 2k has anything to say about worldview. One can adhere to 2k (think the church shouldn’t meddle in politics and that believers have liberty on how to understand political ordering and believe in w-w.

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  21. SDB,

    I’m sure that one can contrive a vote that would be sinful, but I don’t see any real options like that on the table.

    My question wasn’t so much about immigration policy but more general.

    So to what extent, then, does the ability to define a vote as sinful invalidate 2K thought? I don’t necessarily have the answers, but just curious as to your opinion.

    The matter of buying meat is an interesting parallel. I think it could be applied to these discussions. My, my life is complicated.

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  22. But, Susan, it isn’t the law that makes anything Christian but the gospel. Nations are about law, churches gospel, so add that to the problems of calling nations Christian. Only persons can be Christians (nations aren’t people) and are defined by law (not gospel), concepts and distinctions not made well by Catholicism, which may explain why “never having understood the reason for 2k.”

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  23. Robert
    I think of 2k as analogous to the regulative principle of worship. I should only worship God the way he desires to be worshiped. Puppet shows, pop ballads, and interpretive dance are inappropriate for worship. Outside of worship I am free to listen to any kind of music I like unless it is expressly forbidden by God’s word. Of course the analogy breaks down, but I think this highlights the principal principle. The church must be silent where scripture is silent.

    That is not to say individual believers must be silent about politics anymore than it is to say it is sinful to enjoy puppet shows, interpretive dance, or Air Supply (even if the are creepy, stupid, or suck respectively). The fact that not anything goes does not undermine the principle in play. I’m sure we could devise a referendum that would be sinful for Christians to vote for, but the principle that the church may only bind the conscience of believers on matters required in scripture stands.

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  24. Jeff Cagle says: Ali: Jesus has a ‘worldview’ That’s debatable. The second person of the Trinity knows all things immediately; this is not the same thing as a worldview.
    sdb says: @Ali “Jesus has a ‘worldview’ and that is the one we ought have.”I’m not so sure he had “a” “world” – view. Where do you find evidence for that in scripture? I suppose that since God is omniscient, holds all things together, can’t lie or contradict himself, etc… he could be said to have a worldview of sorts. But of course, as we see in Job, that’s not for us. Whatever the case, Jesus certainly didn’t describe “a” “world”view.

    guys- worldview is the view of the world and if you don’t think Jesus- Who has been glorified with the glory He had before the world was, and through Whom all things came into being and apart from Whom nothing came into being that has come into being- doesn’t own and define worldview, I don’t think we are on the same wavelength.

    And not sure what you’re saying about the book of Job- I think in that book, the Lord kindly reveals to us much about about worldview.

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  25. doesn’t mean he’s in your head

    heart and head are the same often in His word and..

    1 Cor 2 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord that he will instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

    God is in charge of ‘mysteries’ and He discloses what He wants, to whom He wants, when He wants. The only way to know God’s mind is to know what He has revealed about His mind in Scripture and is understood only by the spiritual man and believers evaluate all things because we have His mind revealed in Scripture

    You can’t bring erudite, elite, knowledgeable unbeliever before me who can in one small way change how I view the world. He has nothing to offer to me. I have a complete understanding as revealed in Scripture. The mind of God, its vastness is unfathomable, of course. But there is truth that has been gathered by the Holy Spirit from the depth of the nature of God. It has been revealed and it has been written down through the process of inspiration as the Bible writers wrote the very words the Spirit of God prompted them to write. We have those words in a book and we have the resident truth teacher, the anointing from God that teaches us all things.” John MacArthur

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  26. @ Ali: I don’t think we are on the same wavelength.

    I think that’s likely. For you, “worldview” is a generic term that encompasses even Jesus’ omniscient understanding of the world.

    In fact, that term is borrowed from 19th century thought and has a more technical definition.

    Not that Wiki is authoritative, but it’s a start: A comprehensive world view or worldview is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society’s knowledge and point of view. A world view can include natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and ethics.[1] The term is a calque of the German word Weltanschauung [ˈvɛlt.ʔanˌʃaʊ.ʊŋ] ( listen), composed of Welt (‘world’) and Anschauung (‘view’ or ‘outlook’).[2] The German word is also used in English.

    It is a concept fundamental to German philosophy and epistemology and refers to a wide world perception. Additionally, it refers to the framework of ideas and beliefs forming a global description through which an individual, group or culture watches and interprets the world and interacts with it.

    Notice that a worldview is an interpretive grid, or filter, that shapes how we understand the world.

    Along those lines, here’s one popularization of worldview

    A worldview is a theory of the world, used for living in the world. A world view is a mental model of reality — a framework of ideas & attitudes about the world, ourselves, and life, a comprehensive system of beliefs — with answers for a wide range of questions

    And this was my point. God the Son does not have “models” of reality. He has immediate knowledge of reality. He does not have an interpretive filter.

    To say that Jesus has a worldview (unless you are specifically limiting the time frame to the Incarnation ~1AD-33AD) is to lower His understanding from divine to creaturely.

    And I think we agree that His understanding is divine and not creaturely, right?

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  27. @Ali: You can’t bring erudite, elite, knowledgeable unbeliever before me who can in one small way change how I view the world. He has nothing to offer to me.

    Did you have all believers who taught you grammar, math, science, politics?

    If you go to the doctor with a positive cancer test result, do you check his faith before he interprets that test result?

    I get wanting to be faithful to Scripture, and I join you in that concern. But Daniel knew how to draw lines: He didn’t eat the meat, but he did learn the lessons (Dan 1.5).

    Can you imagine him spending three years telling his teachers “You have nothing to offer me”? It would be less bravery than chutzpah.

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  28. Jeff Cagle :And I think we agree that His understanding is divine and not creaturely, right?
    -yes.

    Jeff Cagle: Can you imagine him spending three years telling his teachers “You have nothing to offer me”?
    -Not in so many words to them directly but yes -that not one of them, in one small way, could change HOW HE VIEWED THE WORLD- why do you think he acted as he did

    Colossians 2 Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

    D. G. Hart says: Ali, “heart and head are the same often”soft heart, soft head, softer w-w.
    -And the Lord has even speaks His mind of definitions and consequences of softness and hardness, When you get a chance, you might read His mind about that in His word.

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  29. sdb,
    That the invasion of Iraq started the refugee crisis is a possible alternative fact for you? The documentation is there. The number of Iraqis who fled their nation because of the invasion is well documented. That Syrians and Jordanians took many of those refugees in is well-documented. That after 9/11, those in the Pentagon actually told General Wesley Clark that the US had planned to overthrow around 7 nations including most, if not all, of the nations on the immigration ban list is documented.

    As for the lack of compassion, the Apostle John addressed that in his first epistle. If one has resources and shows no pity on those in need, that is a lack of compassion. In fact, causing refugees for the sake of foreign policy ideology shows a lack of compassion and that isn’t limited to Trump. That Trump tries to sell his immigration and refugee ban without mentioning the vetting process that is already in place along with its effectiveness does not reflect kindly on him especially when the stated reason seems to miss the point that none of the terrorists who have attacked us on our soil comes from the nations banned. They do come from other Muslim nations not on the ban.

    BTW, it isn’t our vetting process that has allowed terrorists to enter Europe. Our vetting process only controls who is allowed to enter the US. So your point here is confusing. And btw, your calling the fact that the terrorists who have attacked American soil come from the nations not on the ban a mere talking point distracts from the most important part of the statement. The most important part of the statement is that it is true.

    Listen, you are free to insult and then play games. I simply won’t respond to your games anymore.

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  30. SDB,

    The church must be silent where scripture is silent.

    I’m sure we could devise a referendum that would be sinful for Christians to vote for, but the principle that the church may only bind the conscience of believers on matters required in scripture stands.

    Okay. I agree. The issue I have as someone who is not totally opposed to speaking of a Christian worldview or of the church speaking to politics is that I don’t see anyone on that side saying that it is the duty to speak where Scripture is silent and to get involved with political matters where Scripture is silent. Unless we are talking about full-on traditional theonomists, it doesn’t seem to me that 2Kers and worldviewers are advocating something substantially different in principle. The difference is over to what degree we think Scripture has spoken on particular matters. It’s a hermeneutical question, not a philosophy of church and government question.

    It seems that the 2kers have adopted a hermeneutic that, from a worldview perspective, says that Scripture speaks to far less than what it actually speaks to. And from a 2Ker perspective, the worldviewers have adopted a hermeneutic that says Scriptures speaks to far more than what it actually speaks to.

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  31. Curt,

    I think it is beyond question that U.S. foreign policy has helped create or at least to exacerbate the refugee question, so from that perspective it would seem likely that the U.S. has a responsibility to help solve the problem. The difficulty is that I’m not sure how you can go from that to justifying some kind of biblical mandate that the state must solve it or that there is a certain manner in which the state must solve it. And I’m also not sure how John’s mandate applies, since he is speaking to the church and about love for our brothers in the church. As much as I might pity the Muslim refugee family, I have a mandate to first help the single mother in my local congregation before I even think about what I have to do for the Muslim refugee.

    So I think the U.S. probably has some kind of mandate, but I’m not sure what responsibility that puts on my shoulders as a Christian except perhaps to tell my representative that we should do something, and even then that is questionable because I don’t have the time or knowledge to contact my representative about everything we as a country have a responsibility for.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. That the invasion of Iraq started the refugee crisis is a possible alternative fact for you?

    No. Rather the truth or falsity of your statement is irrelevant to whether our response is sinful.

    As for the lack of compassion, the Apostle John addressed that in his first epistle. If one has resources and shows no pity on those in need, that is a lack of compassion.

    Yes, but it is one thing to use one’s own resources and something else to use somebody else’s. There is also a distinction between placing yourself at risk to help someone, it is something else to put other people at risk to help someone. What is appropriate for the state is not necessarily appropriate for the individual and what is appropriate for the individual is not necessarily appropriate for the state.

    In fact, causing refugees for the sake of foreign policy ideology shows a lack of compassion and that isn’t limited to Trump. That Trump tries to sell his immigration and refugee ban without mentioning the vetting process that is already in place along with its effectiveness does not reflect kindly on him especially when the stated reason seems to miss the point that none of the terrorists who have attacked us on our soil comes from the nations banned. They do come from other Muslim nations not on the ban.

    I generally try to avoid guessing what is in someone’s head. I don’t know Trump, and I expect that my impression of him would be quite different if I did. I’ve heard that he is quite a compassionate guy who can at times be quite vindictive and cruel. My understanding of the delay was not motivated by attacks from those countries, but from a report by the previous administration that the vetting procedures in those countries was in adequate.

    BTW, it isn’t our vetting process that has allowed terrorists to enter Europe. Our vetting process only controls who is allowed to enter the US. So your point here is confusing.

    Sorry about that! I was unclear. My point was that the inadequate infrastructure in those countries have enabled terrorists in those countries to avoid vetting by European countries and thus cause problems there. The concern was thus that the similar deficiencies in those 7 countries could enable bad guys to get here, so a 90 day pause was in order until that could be checked out by the new administration.

    And btw, your calling the fact that the terrorists who have attacked American soil come from the nations not on the ban a mere talking point distracts from the most important part of the statement. The most important part of the statement is that it is true.

    I don’t dispute the truthfulness, rather I dispute the relevance. It is a red herring. Look, my own view is that we should have open borders and unrestricted immigration, though we should have knowledge of everyone who enters. I think fear of terrorism is vastly overblown and mostly fear mongering. I disagree with the necessity of the vetting procedures and hurdles that we place before immigrants. But I haven’t seen a convincing argument that our nation has a moral obligation to do anything. National are fundamentally amoral things. My point in these posts hasn’t been to argue for a particular political stance. Rather it is to argue that those who disagree with me (and I suspect that on policy we more or less agree, so perhaps I should say, disagree with us) are sinning, lacking in compassion, adhering to alternative facts, etc…

    Listen, you are free to insult and then play games. I simply won’t respond to your games anymore.

    I apologize Curt. I’ve obviously offended you in some way and that was not my intention. I’ve not intended to insult you in anyway. I would hope that we could disagree without being offended. I admit to being playful in these comments, but I never intend to be hurtful and I am certainly not playing games. The thrust of my posts tends to be quite narrow – that is to restrict the language of sin, grace, redemption, forgiveness, etc… to the church and her activities and draw a bright line between the function of the church and the function of everything else in the world. The blurring of this distinction that has cause a great deal of problems for the church in recent years (from both left and right). Anyway, no insult or games intended.

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  33. @Robert Take a look at this voting guide. How many of the issues they comment on here are matters that scripture speaks clearly about. Originalist jurisprudence? The estate tax?Repeal of Obamacare? This is part of an outreach to churches with the goal of getting this material into congregants’ hands. The PCA church I attended in AZ a number of years ago called attention to these voter guides in Sunday worship and encouraged congregants to take a look at them. On the left there is similar activism in churches, such as the establishment of sanctuary churches for illegal immigrants profiled on NPR. Or Jamie Smith’s highlighting a believer speaking out against payday loan companies as an example of transformationalism done right. Then we have the historical examples of things like prohibition. This kind of activity strikes me as fundamentally inappropriate to a body called to the ministry of word and sacrament. One needn’t turn to theonomists to find examples of churches overstepping their bounds.

    Also, it isn’t just politics. Consider all the various cultural mandate types – various ministries tied to art, finance, etc… Is there a cultural mandate in scripture? If not, why is the church out to do so? Are we really spreading the gospel by sponsoring a jazz band in the park? I don’t see it.

    it doesn’t seem to me that 2Kers and worldviewers are advocating something substantially different in principle. The difference is over to what degree we think Scripture has spoken on particular matters. It’s a hermeneutical question, not a philosophy of church and government question.

    I’m not so sure about that. On the one hand, it is a hermeneutical question – does scripture give the church the authority to speak on more or less whatever it wants or is that authority constrained? But I don’t think we agree on the principle that follows from this…

    It seems that the 2kers have adopted a hermeneutic that, from a worldview perspective, says that Scripture speaks to far less than what it actually speaks to. And from a 2Ker perspective, the worldviewers have adopted a hermeneutic that says Scriptures speaks to far more than what it actually speaks to.

    I think that’s a fair assessment.

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  34. @Ali “guys- worldview is the view of the world” This is the crux of the confusion. This is not what is meant by worldview. I think Jeff’s definition is pretty good and gets at why some of us are leery of the concept of a worldview. I keep referring to James Sire as he wrote the book on worldview back in 1976 and it was this work that brought the concept into evangelical consciousness. Here is a link to the introduction of the book. This is the concept that is being critiqued around here, not the concept that we have “a view of the world”. So if “a view of the world” is not what is meant by worldview, then what is? I’m glad you asked. Here is Sire,

    So what is a worldview? Essentially this: A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) that we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.

    My criticisms of this concept are as follows – most of us do not work out actions foundationally. Rather, we look to scripture for God’s commands and align our behavior accordingly. Our ethical understanding is grounded exegetically, not philosophically. On matters not addressed in scripture (and more often than we should on matters addressed in scripture), we turn to social convention, habit, and instinct. Even if one had a fundamental set of presuppositions that answered his famous 8 questions, one would not be able to get from that to “what should I have for dinner”. This is in fact a very limited view of part of the world. It sounds all cosmic and grand, but it is quite a stretch to get from these presupposition to anything approaching our day to day decisions. Furthermore, scripture is quite clear that there are matters that are not in themselves sinful or not (adiaphora), but rather matters of conviction. These are generally emotional matters and here w-w is no help. They aren’t matters of what the world is really like. Should I meat or not? We can share the same presuppositions described by Sire and come to different conclusions indicating that they aren’t complete. In other words, my convictions are not determined by w-w. When we take neutral matters and affix the label Christian to them, we run the very real risk of falling into the behavior explicitly criticized by Paul in his letters to the Colossians (for example). Contra Schaeffer, Sire, and the other transformationalists, there isn’t a Christian way to do art, music, food, etc… When foodies rail against BigAg and insist that loving one’s neighbor means eschewing McDs and only shopping at Farmer’s Markets, they are doing what foodies do. But when they take on the mantle of Christianity when they do this and say that this is a Christian ministry, they are stepping into the role of the Judaizers.

    Not in so many words to them directly but yes -that not one of them, in one small way, could change HOW HE VIEWED THE WORLD- why do you think he acted as he did

    From whom did you learn that the Earth is round, rotates on its axis, and orbits the Sun? Is the view that the Earth is one of billions of planets in the galaxy part of how you view the world? Can you learn that from a non-believer? Maybe Daniel acted the way he did because some of the things he learned about the world came from believers even if other things he learned about the world came from non-believers.

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  35. The distinction between the two wills of God claims that “finitude” proves that God desires and offers to save the non-elect but without explaining the contradiction so that we could understand it with our “heads”. But the true distinction between law and gospel (between command and promise) has nothing to do with “two wills of God” concerning the non-elect. God’s command for all sinners to obey the gospel is not telling the non-elect that Christ has made enough propitiation for them also.

    The distinction between “common grace” and “providence” does not scare you? Are you frightened to reject the “ectypal” explanation that explanation is “rationalism”.? They know for sure that the “ectypal” distinction is the truth and they also know that if you deny the distinction you are denying God’s command to all sinners to believe the gospel.

    But Tim Keller’s non-mega church does scare you, but not because he does not talk about election???

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2017/february/tim-keller-stepping-down-nyc-redeemer-senior-pastor.html

    “The problem of the hidden God is a problem caused for Barth by the Kantian background of his own thought– the God who stands behind the phenomenal order as a transcendent and unreachable noumenon is not knowable….”

    What God has done cannot be offered, as if one were trying to sell something. When I offer you something, I give it with the expectation, hope and desire that you will receive it. “Would you like a cup of tea?” “You are invited to my birthday party.” These are offers—But God does not tender, proffer or propose something. In the gospel call, God commands. “Would you like salvation. It is available for you if you would like it, but if you would rather not, that is fine too.” . The bailiff of the court comes with a document from the judge. The document is not an offer: “You are cordially invited to attend my court room. I would love it if you could attend, but if it is inconvenient to you, there is no urgency to come.” The summons says, “Come!” And the bailiff has the power of arrest, should you refuse to come, and you will go to jail for contempt of court, if you fail to appear at the time appointed.

    The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son. And sent forth his servants to call them that were called to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are called, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage Many of the called refuse to come, and the king destroys, Then Jesus adds, “Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were, called were not worthy” (v. 8). After the wedding feast is filled with guests—who were not only called, but “gathered” (v. 10)—Jesus concludes, “For many are called , but few are chosen”

    The call of Matthew 22:14 is not the same as the call of Romans 8:30 (“whom he called, them he also justified”).

    Canons of Dordt II:5–Moreover, the promise of the gospel is that whosoever believeth in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have everlasting life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be declared and published to all nations, and to all persons promiscuously and without distinction, to whom God out of His good pleasure sends the gospel.

    The command to obey the gospel must be addressed to all hearers, and that call must go far and wide, but a command implies neither the intention of God nor the ability of man. A command only teaches us what our duty is. God does not promise anything to the non-elect. the gospel call serves to harden the non-elect (Isaiah. 6:9-10)

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  36. So I think the U.S. probably has some kind of mandate, but I’m not sure what responsibility that puts on my shoulders as a Christian except perhaps to tell my representative that we should do something, and even then that is questionable because I don’t have the time or knowledge to contact my representative about everything we as a country have a responsibility for.

    Robert, just for kicks, now make the issue abortion instead of immigration. Same take?

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  37. SDB,

    Thanks. I guess my most simple point is that I don’t know any worldviewers who are advocating that the church should speak into areas where God has not spoken and where God has not granted the right to speak. Neither are 2Kers doing that, so at that level, it’s a similar approach. The debate between the two groups is then at the level of what does Scripture speak to.

    There would be a real, substantial difference between worldviewers and 2Kers who say that the church should never say anything whatsoever about politics. But that’s not all of the 2K camp, as far as I know.

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  38. Robert, but this causes a lot of angst:

    Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.

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  39. Zrim,

    Sure. But again it is a hermeneutical question. What are “cases extraordinary”? The confession doesn’t enumerate it but leaves it up to churches to decide, it seems.

    If the critique is that worldviewers speak too much, then sure. But it would seem that 2Kers and worldviewers (at least the worldviewers I know) both agree that the church should not speak on matter to which it has not been authorized to speak.

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  40. Robert, some take the cases extraordinary clause to mean that which would compel the church to compromise herself, e.g. if the state compelled the church to stop inviting neighbors to church. Anything other than that and dump trucks are driven through the clause under the guise of “whatever we feel pretty strongly about and think others should as well, even if there are different views within the church that cancel each other out.”

    And I would challenge your suggestion that there are “no worldviewers who are advocating that the church should speak into areas where God has not spoken and where God has not granted the right to speak.” About 100 of them did just that recently and it’s all pretty common. Makes me wonder what rock you live under:

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/08/politics/evangelicals-ad-trump/

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  41. sdb says:.. your defintions… and “From whom did you learn that the Earth is round, rotates on its axis, and orbits the Sun?”

    ok sdb, thanks, I guess we can leave it there trusting we both desire to describe as best honors God.

    btw – re the round earth,etc : Does the Bible Say Anything about Astronomy?
    https://answersingenesis.org/bible-questions/does-the-bible-say-anything-about-astronomy/

    and from a focus on the family worldview discussion, beside definitions, notice the questions only 9% of professed born-again Christians believe – TRAGIC :

    What’s a Christian Worldview?
    A recent nationwide survey completed by the Barna Research Group determined that only 4 percent of Americans had a “biblical” worldview. When George Barna, who has researched cultural trends and the Christian Church since 1984, looked at the “born- again” believers in America, the results were a dismal 9 percent. Barna’s survey also connected an individual’s worldview with his or her moral beliefs and actions. Barna says, “Although most people own a Bible and know some of its content, our research found that most Americans have little idea how to integrate core biblical principles to form a unified and meaningful response to the challenges and opportunities of life.”

    1. What’s a worldview?
    A worldview is the framework from which we view reality and make sense of life and the world. “[It’s] any ideology, philosophy, theology, movement or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God, the world and man’s relations to God and the world,” says David Noebel, author of Understanding the Times.

    For example, a 2-year-old believes he’s the center of his world, a secular humanist believes that the material world is all that exists, and a Buddhist believes he can be liberated from suffering by self-purification.

    Someone with a biblical worldview believes his primary reason for existence is to love and serve God.

    Whether conscious or subconscious, every person has some type of worldview. A personal worldview is a combination of all you believe to be true, and what you believe becomes the driving force behind every emotion, decision and action. Therefore, it affects your response to every area of life: from philosophy to science, theology and anthropology to economics, law, politics, art and social order — everything.

    For example, let’s suppose you have bought the idea that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (secular relative truth) as opposed to beauty as defined by God’s purity and creativity (absolute truth). Then any art piece, no matter how vulgar or abstract, would be considered “art,” a creation of beauty.

    2. What’s a biblical worldview?
    A biblical worldview is based on the infallible Word of God. When you believe the Bible is entirely true, then you allow it to be the foundation of everything you say and do. That means, for instance, you take seriously the mandate in Romans 13 to honor the governing authorities by researching the candidates and issues, making voting a priority.
    Do you have a biblical worldview? Answer the following questions, based on claims found in the Bible and which George Barna used in his survey:
    • Do absolute moral truths exist?
    • Is absolute truth defined by the Bible?
    • Did Jesus Christ live a sinless life?
    • Is God the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe, and does He still rule it today?
    • Is salvation a gift from God that cannot be earned?
    • Is Satan real?
    • Does a Christian have a responsibility to share his or her faith in Christ with other people?
    • Is the Bible accurate in all of its teachings?

    Did you answer yes to these? Only 9 percent of “born- again” believers did. But what’s more important than your yes to these questions is whether your life shows it. Granted, we are all sinners and fall short, but most of our gut reactions will reflect what we deep-down, honest-to-goodness believe to be real and true.

    3. How does a biblical worldview get diluted?
    Here is the big problem. Nonbiblical worldview ideas don’t just sit in a book somewhere waiting for people to examine them. They bombard us constantly from television, film, music, newspapers, magazines, books and academia.
    Because we live in a selfish, fallen world, these ideas seductively appeal to the desires of our flesh, and we often end up incorporating them into our personal worldview. Sadly, we often do this without even knowing it.
    For example, most Christians would agree with 1 Thessalonians 4:3 and other Scriptures that command us to avoid sexual immorality, but how often do Christians fall into lust or premarital and extramarital sexual sin? Is it simply because they are weak when tempted, or did it begin much earlier, with the seductive lies from our sexualized society?

    4. Why does a biblical worldview matter?
    If we don’t really believe the truth of God and live it, then our witness will be confusing and misleading. Most of us go through life not recognizing that our personal worldviews have been deeply affected by the world. Through the media and other influences, the secularized American view of history, law, politics, science, God and man affects our thinking more than we realize. We then are taken “captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
    However, by diligently learning, applying and trusting God’s truths in every area of our lives — whether it’s watching a movie, communicating with our spouses, raising our children or working at the office — we can begin to develop a deep comprehensive faith that will stand against the unrelenting tide of our culture’s nonbiblical ideas. If we capture and embrace more of God’s worldview and trust it with unwavering faith, then we begin to make the right decisions and form the appropriate responses to questions on abortion, same- sex marriage, cloning, stem-cell research and even media choices. Because, in the end, it is our decisions and actions that reveal what we really believe.
    “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

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  42. ” I guess my most simple point is that I don’t know any worldviewers who are advocating that the church should speak into areas where God has not spoken and where God has not granted the right to speak. ”

    Isn’t that a tautology? Of course they won’t say they are speaking where God has not granted the right to speak.

    The theonomists will say things like there isn’t a square inch of Earth where Christ doesn’t say mine therefore everything falls under the scope of the church – there is no secular/sacred divide. Thus it follows we can expand the kingdom by pursuing excellence no matter our vocation. Whether you are a dish washer, artist, scientist, or pastor. The implication is that there is no neutral ground. I don’t see how to square this with scripture.

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  43. Zrim,

    And I would challenge your suggestion that there are “no worldviewers who are advocating that the church should speak into areas where God has not spoken and where God has not granted the right to speak.” About 100 of them did just that recently and it’s all pretty common. Makes me wonder what rock you live under:

    Those worldviewers believe the church has been granted the right to speak to those areas. You do not. It’s a hermeneutical question.

    None of those people signing the statement believe that God has not granted them the right to speak there. They might be wrong (I happen to think they are), but nobody is saying “Let’s speak where God has not authorized us to speak.”

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  44. SDB,

    Isn’t that a tautology? Of course they won’t say they are speaking where God has not granted the right to speak.

    I suppose. But you drew an analogy to the regulative principle that the church ought not to do in worship what God has not granted them the right to do and that the church ought not to speak where God hasn’t granted that right. My point is that the issue of debate isn’t over that principle, it is over it’s application. Both 2Kers and worldviewers agree on that specific principle, however.

    The theonomists will say things like there isn’t a square inch of Earth where Christ doesn’t say mine therefore everything falls under the scope of the church – there is no secular/sacred divide. Thus it follows we can expand the kingdom by pursuing excellence no matter our vocation. Whether you are a dish washer, artist, scientist, or pastor. The implication is that there is no neutral ground. I don’t see how to square this with scripture.

    I would question the theonomists on the assumption that thus because Christ owns it, the church must therefore have jurisdiction over it. Romans 13, it seems, makes it awfully clear that the triune God has jurisdiction in places where the church does not have it as well.

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  45. Ali, “If we don’t really believe the truth of God and live it, then our witness will be confusing and misleading.”

    So why are you confusing and misleading?

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  46. Robert, “God has jurisdiction in places where the church does not have it as well.”

    But who ministers God’s word? Ever since Gregory VII Christian church officers think they speak for God since the do more so than civil magistrates. Statesmen don’t preach.

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  47. Robert – I think we mostly agree that this is an exegetical problem. I’m not sure that clarifies much. The analogy to the rpw is the old question… can we do anything not forbidden or only that which is required. On the matter of worship I would say we are restricted to worshipping God only as he commands. In secular matters we are free to do whatever is not forbidden. By analogy, one way to construe 2k is to say the authority of the church only extends to that which is explicitly delegated by God. The 1ker recognizes no limits to church authority outside of what God forbids. Analogy isn’t perfect, but I think it helps clarify the basis of the divide.

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  48. Robert, and neither do RCs say that Christ’s work alone is insufficient to save sinners or that praying to dead saints is a form of idolatry. But that is the clear implication of their doctrine and practice. In the same way, worldviewers aren’t about to say they are speaking where God is silent but that’s exactly what they’re doing. Come on. How do you get this in the RC/Prot discussion but run such interference for the worldviewers?

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  49. “ok sdb, thanks, I guess we can leave it there trusting we both desire to describe as best honors God.”
    Heh… This reminds me of some of those 17th century titles… “A Brief Reply to ….” followed by hundreds of pages. Anyway, thanks for your thoughtful response. I remain unconvinced. I do agree that believers are not particularly well catechized into their faith.

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  50. Darryl,

    Statesmen don’t preach.

    Christian statesmen who are ordained elders who have to fill in a pulpit when the pastor is sick do. 🙂

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  51. Zrim,

    In the same way, worldviewers aren’t about to say they are speaking where God is silent but that’s exactly what they’re doing. Come on. How do you get this in the RC/Prot discussion but run such interference for the world viewers?

    I guess my answer is that some worldviewers are and some aren’t. There are plenty of world viewers who aren’t trying to lecture the U.S. government on the right way to deal with refugees AND who didn’t vote for Trump, for example.

    Maybe my experience with world viewers is different, but about the only issue I’ve personally encountered them jockeying on is abortion. And they do so based on their understanding of Romans 13 that says the duty of the state is to protect innocent life.

    I guess I’ve also seen some world viewers arguing that the Bible teaches capitalism, but there are loads of problems with that idea.

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  52. SDB,

    The 1ker recognizes no limits to church authority outside of what God forbids. Analogy isn’t perfect, but I think it helps clarify the basis of the divide.

    I don’t know. I’m not sure it’s fair to call world viewers 1kers. Pretty much in church history, no one has been a 1ker except for the popes. As Darryl has rightly said, we’re all 2kers in some form or fashion.

    Again, the worldviewers I know say that the church can bind the consciences of the believers only where Scripture does so and that beyond that, people are free. No whether they apply that consistently or not, I guess that depends on the world viewer. There is definitely the danger of overstepping one’s bounds. I’m not sure that 2k necessarily does a better job of making sure that that does not happen. Maybe 2kers fail to recognize church authority in critical places, or at least some of them do.

    That said, it may be wiser to err on the church staying out of politics as much as feasible, at least in the modern American political context.

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  53. Robert, Christian worldviewry runs the socio-political and denominational gamut, from progressive Red Letter Christians to Focus on the Family rightists to Catholic Social Justice. If abortion is the only issue you’ve witnessed (and that only in the anti direction), that only means you run in more rightist than progressive circles. But since you bring it up, I’ll ask again since I’m not sure you saw it earlier. When they do invoke Ro. 13 in the way you describe, would you suggest about abortion politics what you did above about immigration: “So I think the U.S. probably has some kind of mandate, but I’m not sure what responsibility that puts on my shoulders as a Christian except perhaps to tell my representative that we should do something, and even then that is questionable because I don’t have the time or knowledge to contact my representative about everything we as a country have a responsibility for.” I hope so, but worldviewers of rightist stripes seem to find this as perplexing and condemnable as Red Letters might on questions involving civil rights. In which case, I still scratch my head at the interference you seem to want to run.

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  54. Zrim,

    Do leftist groups a la Sojourners really claim to be worldviewers? Maybe they do, but I haven’t seen it. Is it worldviewery simply to try and apply the teaching of Scripture to politics?

    But as to your specific question, my answer would be largely the same. I think the more you know, the more responsibility you have. But in general, the Bible doesn’t give me any reason to believe that constitutional law applies to anyone outside of the United States. So I’m going to be more certain about what our government’s responsibility is to people within her borders then some amorphous group of refugees outside our borders that we may or may not have created. If the job of government is to protect innocent life, and I think that it is, then the government’s responsibility is to have laws and procedures in place to protect innocent life, first and foremost for the people within its borders. So that applies not only to abortion but to all areas.

    Now getting into the deep weeds of policymaking is complex, and I would say that an individual’s responsibility in that area depends on their knowledge of the situation, their other callings, etc. All of us have a hierarchy of responsibilities to deal with. So in the case of abortion, for instance, the church simply can’t lay a burden on people on how to support the unborn in specific ways. But it is certainly within its rights to tell people that abortion in most all contexts is a sin, as it is within its rights to tell people that to hate people simply for being a different race is a sin.

    So, if your concern is to make sure the church is not telling people that they way in which you must oppose abortion is to picket abortion clinics or (pick your strategy), then I’m with you. But I’m not sure how 2K theology is necessary to come to that conclusion. (And I’m not necessarily saying 2K is wrong, I’m just pushing back a little and thinking through a lot of these issues myself.)

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  55. Robert, the neo-Calvinist nomenclature may not be there but it doesn’t have to be. All it takes to be a worldviewer is just that–applying the faith to politics.

    But if you’re not sure how 2k helps, I’ll get anecdotal with you. Our Reformed church once let Right to Life set up shop in the narthex for a petition drive one Sunday morning. It wasn’t obvious to most why this might be a problem, it was all in keeping with what good, concerned Reformed folk do when RTL comes knocking. But more instruction on various things including how faith shouldn’t be politicized might have at least provoked a little less enthusiasm for it. But since a very particular social and political movement has been allowed to dictate to the faithful what is sound over against a more biblical theology (ahem), one wonders how something like this is really any different from, say, voting drives in progressive churches, which good Reformed folk are supposed to take a pass on. Funny how some can say with such 2k-ish ease what’s wrong with the latter example but all of a sudden go all weak-kneed-worldview when it comes to the a-word.

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  56. Zrim,

    Maybe the answer is that the leftist causes in questions aren’t biblically justifiable?

    Doesn’t a lot of it depend on what one thinks the role of the state is? If you think the role of the state is X, Y, and Z, then it’s not going to be a problem to do X, Y, and Z. Different people may give different answers to that question, of course, and it’s wise to question why worldviewery seems to lead almost always on the right to the Moral Majority, but I’m still not convinced. It would seem that the only way to be consistently 2K, then, is to relegate all matters of what the state should do to mere opinion. But if the Bible doesn’t address the role of the state at all, then why aren’t we excising the notion of humble petition or consent with respect to the church and state from the WCF?

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  57. @Z & R
    “All it takes to be a worldviewer is just that–applying the faith to politics.”

    I’m not sure that is quite right. w-wery is the position that we have a singular interpretive framework (e.g., Marxism) through which we view the world and that this framework determines everything we do. This is a form of extreme rationalism that does not accurately describe human experience, turns Christianity into ideology, and squeezes out the Biblical category of adiaphora. Fortunately most people who throw around the concept of w-w are really just trying to say that one’s faith should impact our behavior outside of church — who could disagree that I shouldn’t use the Lord’s name in vain while at work or at church? But that isn’t what the Sires of the world have in mind.

    This is only tangentially related to 2k/1k. If you believe that the Christian w-w determines (or at least should) everything you do, then of course, there is no room for diversity in how we approach politics. If Jamie Smith is right that opposition to payday lenders is a good example of how the Christian worldview is applied in the public realm, then those of us who support the status quo for payday lenders are standing in opposition to Christianity. Obviously a sinful stance for someone to take that we should repent of. Here there is a 1k/2k conflict I suppose, but the question of the role of the church acting as church really isn’t front and center. Another example may be art. If our Christian w-w determines what is beautiful, then to find a particular piece of artwork beautiful (or not) is a moral decision. If the Christian w-w says that Albrecht Durer’s work is great and I think “meh”, I suppose I am acting inconsistently with a Christian w-w. If this concept is valid, I would be sinning (perhaps Andy Crouch would insist that I go on a culture making retreat as penance?).

    2k/1k is really about the function of the church acting as church. 2k is the stance that the authority of the church is restricted to what God as explicitly given her…namely word and sacrament and the fencing of the table. The church does not have the right to bind the conscience of believers on matters not explicitly authorized by scripture (no insisting on days of fasting/feasting, no insisting on particular forms of activism, no admonishment about matters not determined in scripture, not calling for boycotts of Disney, etc…). I don’t think the role of the state is really a consideration unless the state attempts to prohibit the church of doing what God commands or require the church to do what God forbids. If the church were to forbid the printing/reading of Leviticus, then the church would have to act in the political arena. The fact that the state does not seek to punish women or doctors for abortion does not rise to the same level (for example).

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  58. Robert, that sounds like social gospel is bad only if it’s the other guy’s but when it’s ours it’s a-ok. Hello, Reformed narcissism. Plenty of lefties could say the exact same thing about the right’s causes. But as long as the state has the potential to cause the church to violate her conscience, the extraordinary circumstance clause makes sense. The question seems to be this: If the Bible really does reveal how the state should govern and that the church has a mandate to remind the state of its duties in relation to that revelation then shouldn’t the language about intermeddling be exised? If not, then what gives with Presbyterian pastors publishing their pious opinions?

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  59. sdb, it was just a thumbnail. Agreed on a more precise definition of worldview, but most who subscribe to “a singular interpretive framework through which we view the world and that this framework determines everything we do” also tend to apply faith to politics.

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  60. No, we are not all 2kers now, anymore than we are all now Catholics or “anabaptists”. Theonomists teach a distinction between church and state, but that does not make them 2k.

    More importantly. not all 2k teaching is the same, and I don’t merely mean that some are relatively more “radical” than others. Some “2kers” believe that the second kingdom is Satan’s kingdom. Other 2kers assume without argument that it’s not realistic to not be loyal (in a relative way) to at least two kingdoms.

    The Word they still shall let remain
    Nor any thanks have for it;
    He’s by our side upon the plain
    With His good gifts and Spirit.
    And take they our life,
    Goods, fame, child and wife,
    Let these all be gone,
    They yet have nothing won;
    Both kingdoms remain, not only the true church, but Germany also, sacrament-refusers be damned.

    Colossians 1;13-14 God has delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins

    Matthew 11:7 Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? 8 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothes? Those who wear soft clothes are in kings’ palaces.

    Chaplains of the status quo teach sphere sovereignty. The revolutionaries also teach hybrid existence and sphere sovereignty.

    John 18: 33 Then Pilate summoned Jesus, and asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about Me?” 35 “I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed You over to me. What have You done?” 36 “My kingdom is in this world but not from this world ,” said Jesus. “If My kingdom were from this world, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. My kingdom in this world does not come from this world. ” 37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.

    Luke 4: 5 So the Devil took Jesus up and showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 The Devil said to Jesus, “I will give You all this authority, because all this authority has been given over to me, and I can give all this authority to anyone I want. 7 If You then will worship me, all authority will be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered the Devil “It is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”

    http://www.credenda.org/index.php/Theology/dostoevsky-the-liberal.html

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  61. ” More importantly. not all 2k teaching is the same, and I don’t merely mean that some are relatively more “radical” than others. Some “2kers” believe that the second kingdom is Satan’s kingdom. Other 2kers assume without argument that it’s not realistic to not be loyal (in a relative way) to at least two kingdoms.”

    @mm I don’t understand this last sentence. What do you mean by loyal in a relative way to two kingdoms?

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  62. Most folks who would kill for the American empire but who would not kill for true churches would say that their willingness to kill for a specific family or nation- state is legitimate but does not have for them the same priority as their allegiance to Christ’s kingdom. They have “levels”.

    On one level, yes the family of a Christian person is not to be equated with the true church. And on yet another level. all visible churches together are not to be equated with Christ’s kingdom, as God’s covenant is not to be equated with God’s election. Although there is normally no forgiveness of sins apart from visible true churches, on the other hand, nobody knows anything for sure when they profess themselves to be a Christian parent..

    One version of this “two kingdoms are relative in priority” theory makes a distinction between motives. If you are trying to kill me as I represent a true Christian church, I will not fight but will instead imitate Jesus in leaning on the everlasting arms of the Judge, leaving place for His wrath. But if you are trying to kill my family or take my stuff, in that sphere I will do what any person in this age would do. Instead of putting God to the test, by trying to tempt God to protect my family, in this time and place I will do for my family what God might not do.

    I hope this is not a caricature. For sure I am not a two kingdom person. But my sense is that two kingdom people want people to make distinctions about why they kill or are being killed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX63szEpg1g

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  63. Zrim,

    But as long as the state has the potential to cause the church to violate her conscience, the extraordinary circumstance clause makes sense.

    But then that assumes that divine revelation lays out a specific role for the state—namely, that the state may not cause the church to violate her conscience—so hello church preaching to the state on, potentially, basically everything.

    The question seems to be this: If the Bible really does reveal how the state should govern and that the church has a mandate to remind the state of its duties in relation to that revelation then shouldn’t the language about intermeddling be exised?

    Not if the church is careful to intermeddle only when the state is violating its duties. So we’re back to a hermeneutical issue as to what are the state’s duties and what constitutes a violation thereof.

    If not, then what gives with Presbyterian pastors publishing their pious opinions?

    Well, the fact that some Presbyterian pastors might misunderstand and misapply Scripture doesn’t give warrant for abanondoning the principle that the church should be the conscience of the state any more than the fact that they might misunderstand and misapply Scripture gives us warrant to do away with sermons on Sunday.

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  64. Zrim,

    Robert, that sounds like social gospel is bad only if it’s the other guy’s but when it’s ours it’s a-ok. Hello, Reformed narcissism. Plenty of lefties could say the exact same thing about the right’s causes.

    Sure. The potential for bad communication and misinterpretation always exists. Of course I’m not sure how opposing abortion or a leftist cause like supporting minimum wage increases is necessarily in itself social gospel. Is anyone saying that opposing abortion is the instrumental means of justification? Or that the way to eternal life is to support minimum wage increases? I suppose it’s more likely on the left, but the mainline hasn’t had a biblical doctrine of salvation for generations.

    If the concern is that political engagement might supplant the church’s primary mission, I get it. But plenty of churches have gone what might perhaps be called the most extreme 2K way possible and they haven’t fared any better with respect to their doctrine. See the Amish.

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  65. Robert,
    Which biblical mandates did the Good Samaritan follow as he cared for the person he found robbed and beaten?

    It is possible to become so legally minded that our decision making is void of love. How can that be true? The more we become concerned with our obligations, the less we have time and energy to care about the welfare of others. Eventually, our only concern becomes what happens to us if do this action or don’t do the same action. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, it seems evident that the Good Samaritan was more concerned about what would happen to the person who was beaten if he did not act than what would happen to him if he acted.

    The pharisees were the experts of their day in knowing biblical mandates. And one of the points Jesus tried to get across to them was that you can’t follow God without loving others.

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  66. There is a higher calling than being a democrat or a partisan for evangelicals.
    Ephesians 4 Walk worthy of the calling you have received

    All Christians have something better to be and to do other than to kill. If we hear and listen to Christ the Son, we learn that our Lord’s commandments are not merely for conscientious objecting individuals with private scruples

    “be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world.”

    Christians having a “higher calling” does not mean that Christians also at the same time have a “vocation” to kill. Leaving the wrath to God dos not mean that we refuse the wrath on worship days and then live by the sword on other days. Those Mennonites who have now embraced some forms of Constantinian “responsibility for policing” are the same Mennonites who have rushed back to the Roman Catholics and to a Christendom worldview. Why should a Christian be called to serve as a chaplain to the American imperila power, when a Muslim chaplain can with equal competence hand out the same synagogue moralism?

    https://uwaterloo.ca/grebel/publications/conrad-grebel-review/issues/spring-2008/pacifism-policing-and-individual-conscience

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  67. “I hope this is not a caricature.”
    Not at all. I think I better understand what you meant. I don’t know that I would describe 2k quite that way though. I see it more as a difference in roles rather than degrees of loyalty. As a professor, I criticize my students’ writing, play devil’s advocate, and judge them (give them a grade). When my daughter writes me a note, I don’t send it back with corrections. I might give her a hug and a kiss though. I wouldn’t do that with one of my students. Certain behaviors that are essential to my function as an instructor are inappropriate with my family and vice versa. The analogy might also extend to the police or military – things that are appropriate for a police officer to do in service to the state are inappropriate to do as a private citizen. I see the same as my role as a church member, citizen of the state, individual, etc… The issue isn’t degrees of loyalty, but one of properly fulfilling a specific role. This is in part why there is a problem with Curt wanting to use the parable of the good Samaritan as a guide for state action. While it is proper for me as a individual to risk my well being to help a guy injured on the side of the road, it may not be proper for me to risk the well-being of someone else (say my kids in the car) to do the same thing. Whether it is the role of the state to do this is independent of my responsibility to do so as an individual.

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  68. Curt,

    Which biblical mandates did the Good Samaritan follow as he cared for the person he found robbed and beaten?

    The mandate to love his neighbor as he loves himself. The Good Samaritan was also an individual who stumbled upon an individual in the course of his daily business. That’s a far cry from a stay at home mother, for example, who has three kids under the age of 6 and is doing all she can to feed them much less stay plugged in to the world around her. She doesn’t have the same responsibility to refugees, for example, as the man who is working next to one every day at the office.

    It is possible to become so legally minded that our decision making is void of love.

    Sure.

    How can that be true? The more we become concerned with our obligations, the less we have time and energy to care about the welfare of others.

    Well, of course it is a danger. But the Bible lays out priorities. If a man won’t take care of his family, he is worse than an unbeliever. Then, do good to all but especially to the household of faith. Seems that in the ordinary course of business, priority is first family, then fellow church members, and then anybody outside the walls. Not everyone is going to have the same capacity to fulfill the third priority, let alone the second.

    Eventually, our only concern becomes what happens to us if do this action or don’t do the same action.

    That can be true. It’s a danger.

    In the parable of the Good Samaritan, it seems evident that the Good Samaritan was more concerned about what would happen to the person who was beaten if he did not act than what would happen to him if he acted.

    That is obviously true, but going from “you need to help the people you know as far as you are able” to “The United States must accept all refugees at all times” is a huge leap.

    The pharisees were the experts of their day in knowing biblical mandates.

    That is an often quoted idea, but I must respectfully disagree. They had a surface knowledge of the law, but not a true understanding of it. That is Jesus’ point again and again.

    And one of the points Jesus tried to get across to them was that you can’t follow God without loving others.

    The point Jesus tried to get across is that you can’t follow God without loving your neighbors as yourselves. So the question is in this specific instance, is the refugee I don’t know about in Russia my neighbor? It’s hard to have a neighbor you don’t know about. And then the question is, if we want to talk foreign policy, “Is it really loving my neighbor to receive the refugee into my country?” I’m not saying it is or it isn’t, but the “You aren’t loving refugees unless you are letting anybody in to your country who wants in” needs to be proven.

    And as far as the church goes, if my local congregation only has enough dollars to help one refugee family, for example, and we know of three refugee families, and only one of them is Christian, then the local church’s responsibility is to help the Christian family first. The clear NT teaching is that the church helps its own first, and then nonbelievers.

    Not one of us can help every person who needs help, and we can’t even help every person whom we know personally that needs help. It’s not a sin to set priorities.

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  69. Robert, how does a humble petition to self-preserve turn into an offensive to preach to the state about basically potentially everything?

    Not if the church is careful to intermeddle only when the state is violating its duties. So we’re back to a hermeneutical issue as to what are the state’s duties and what constitutes a violation thereof.

    But where is there any NT precedent for the church carefully intermeddling when the state violated its duties? The state killed apostles, something moderns seem to think is a violation of its duties. The NT doesn’t seem to. Now what?

    I’m not sure how opposing abortion or a leftist cause like supporting minimum wage increases is necessarily in itself social gospel. Is anyone saying that opposing abortion is the instrumental means of justification? Or that the way to eternal life is to support minimum wage increases?

    Red herring. Not even the classic social gospelers said anything that clunky and contrived. The point was always to say that faith implied something directly about worldly affairs, i.e. “the world sets the church’s agenda.” Social gospel isn’t that neatly formulated, Robert, it’s much sneakier. It’s the cultural version of faith-plus-works. You may want to mark it down to “bad communication and misinterpretation,” but that’s how the Reformation is explained away.

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  70. Zrim,

    Robert, how does a humble petition to self-preserve turn into an offensive to preach to the state about basically potentially everything?

    You spoke of violating conscience. If the church may intervene when state policies cause the church to violate her conscience, then hello the church defending the rights of its members not to sell flowers for gay weddings, or pick your issue.

    But where is there any NT precedent for the church carefully intermeddling when the state violated its duties?

    Now this is your strongest point, and it is something that the non-2kers need to take much more seriously. In brief, there is not much. Probably the closest thing I could suggest is Paul appealing to Caesar, but that’s not an airtight comparison.

    The stronger case is that we have examples of OT prophets preaching to states when states violated God’s moral law. (So a good 2K case can be made for states having to enforce the Noahic commandments are something like that). Now, where does the NT tell us to stop doing that? The Prophets were no less preachers of the gospel for doing what they did even if in condemning the states they weren’t preaching the gospel at that point.

    Honestly, more thought needs to be put into the NT precedent on this point for the non-2Kers. I would be curious, however, as to why 2Kers are going to assume continuity with respect to something like the baptism of infants even though there is no crystal clear example of it in the NT but all of sudden going to assume the church no longer has a responsibility to preach to the nations and to state governments under the NT when it certainly did under the OT.

    The state killed apostles, something moderns seem to think is a violation of its duties. The NT doesn’t seem to. Now what?

    Here we go again. This kind of stuff is not helpful to the 2K cause, and it isn’t going to help you convince those who need to be convinced. I say this as a person who is curious and appreciative of much of what you guys are trying to say. So one, you have a pragmatic problem.

    Two, we Reformed aren’s dispensationalists or prooftexters. Maybe it’s just the case that the state killing innocent people is so obviously wrong by good and necessary consequence and by OT precedent that the NT doesn’t have say specifically that Caesar sinned when he had Paul executed. Why is this so difficult?

    Three, I’m fairly certain this is not unique to moderns. Can you point me to anyone from any historical era in the church that said the state was not violating its duties when it killed the Apostles?

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  71. Honestly, more thought needs to be put into the NT precedent on this point for the non-2Kers. I would be curious, however, as to why 2Kers are going to assume continuity with respect to something like the baptism of infants even though there is no crystal clear example of it in the NT but all of sudden going to assume the church no longer has a responsibility to preach to the nations and to state governments under the NT when it certainly did under the OT.

    Good question. I think this deserve more attention than it can be given in a commbox. Let me outline just a few items (this isn’t an argument, just a list of the things one might flesh out to make an argument):

    1. I think the distinction between things continued and things not continued is not based on how often they get mentioned explicitly in the NT. Rather there is a logic embedded in the NT that we follow to make these distinctions. Baptism is a good case in point. Once we accept what baptism is (covenant sign) and how it connects to circumcision, its application to infants follows.

    2. One of the themes of the NT is that the church has supplanted the Levitical/Theocratic order, I understand that the implications are somewhat controversial, but I think we can all agree that the church was not established to be a temporal power unlike Israel. Our application of the admonitions from the OT prophets should take care to understand the distinction between speaking as a member of a called-out community (church) organized as a nation (Israel) and speaking as a member of a called-out community organized as a voluntaristic society (note that members of the OT church who violated the rules could be punished up to and including execution, members of the NT church who violate the rules can be punished up to and including shunning). The church is denied temporal authority to execute law breakers or even bear the sword in defense of her savior.

    3. The church has a responsibility to preach to all nations the Gospel. The call to repentance does not entail calls to social justice or shift in public policy (ask Onesimus – Paul’s appeal is hardly grounded in social justice).

    4. The NT does provide example of use of the courts by believers (Paul’s appeal to Caesar). It seems to follow that engaging as a citizen is fine. There is no NT example of the sort of prophetic voice that we see in John the Baptist’s condemnation of Herod (I realize that this is recorded in the NT, but the OT system was still in place while John was speaking prophetically).

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  72. “the church was not established to be a temporal power unlike Israel”

    Why then do you still consider the visible Jewish church (Israel) to be a type of a new covenant church?

    Why all of a sudden cherry pick and deny that the Abrahamic church is the type of a new covenant church’s responsibility to preach to the nations and to teach them God’s law?

    Rutherford: 1. For then God would not have commanded Joshua (chapter. 5) to circumcise all Israel because their fathers were externally within the covenant. 2. Their fathers were a generation of unbelievers who knew not God, who tempted Him, grieved his holy Spirit in the wilderness, and professed themselves by their murmuring never to be truly within the covenant.

    (Rutherford on Deuteronomy 29 ) To profess the doctrine of the covenant is but to be born Jews, avow the Lord in external profession and swear a covenant with Him , even when the heart is blinded and hardened . The argument of Separatists would prove that circumcision could lawfully be given to none but the children of parents professedly known to be faithful, holy, and separated from the profane world in the judgment of charity. This has no warrant of the Word. For: 1. The children of the most wicked were circumcised . We desire to know whom God forbade to be circumcised that were carnally descended of Abraham? 2. What God required in the parents was that they were born Jews. Show me one person being a born Jew whose child the Lord forbid to circumcise?

    https://reformedtheologybooks.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/rutherford-samuel-on-the-baptism-of-the-children-of-adherents-part-2.pdf

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  73. …oops…

    You spoke of violating conscience. If the church may intervene when state policies cause the church to violate her conscience, then hello the church defending the rights of its members not to sell flowers for gay weddings, or pick your issue.

    Robert, the church, not her members. Her members selling cakes and flowers in their private lives is completely different from the church’s officers publically preaching the gospel and administering the sacraments.

    Maybe it’s just the case that the state killing innocent people is so obviously wrong by good and necessary consequence and by OT precedent that the NT doesn’t have say specifically that Caesar sinned when he had Paul executed. Why is this so difficult?

    Maybe because saying Caesar sinned is different from getting in his face about it. The NT teaching to submit to persecution seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? Nobody is saying it’s easy, but where o where in the NT is there ANY precedent or teaching for pushing back against persecution? And if there is no warrant for the church resisting persecution from the state, how can there be for the lesser instances of the church pointing out the state’s foibles in carrying out its duties?

    I would be curious, however, as to why 2Kers are going to assume continuity with respect to something like the baptism of infants even though there is no crystal clear example of it in the NT but all of sudden going to assume the church no longer has a responsibility to preach to the nations and to state governments under the NT when it certainly did under the OT.

    Well, nobody is saying the church no longer has a responsibility to preach to the nations. Just as in baptism where the discontinuity is in how the sacrament is expanded from male only to both male and female children, the preaching to the nations is expanded to every tribe and tongue. IOW, it’s a call to all persons. 2k is actually about wanting to make sure the gospel is unfettered and not obscured by the mere trifling social and political interests of men. When the church is compromised and distracted to take magistrates to task for their policies and cultures for their trends, not only is that a law-based track instead of gospel, it’s that much more energy that is kept from calling PERSONS to reconciliation. Why would anyone want to dilute that great singular commission with civil rights and abortion and on and on and on?

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  74. b, sd,

    Certain behaviors that are essential to my function as an instructor are inappropriate with my family and vice versa. The analogy might also extend to the police or military – things that are appropriate for a police officer to do in service to the state are inappropriate to do as a private citizen. I see the same as my role as a church member, citizen of the state, individual, etc… The issue isn’t degrees of loyalty, but one of properly fulfilling a specific role.

    ring a ding a ling

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  75. ” “the church was not established to be a temporal power unlike Israel”

    Why then do you still consider the visible Jewish church (Israel) to be a type of a new covenant church?”

    Why would the fact that the church is not a state mean that it couldn’t be a type? The NT clearly teaches that it is. That it is a type does not entail that it is identical.

    “Why all of a sudden cherry pick and deny that the Abrahamic church is the type of a new covenant church’s responsibility to preach to the nations and to teach them God’s law?”
    Not sure what you mean. The great commission does give the church the responsibility to preach the gospel to the nations. It doesn’t follow that the church should tell the state how to organize its affairs. Maybe there is a case to be made that the church should do those things, but I haven’t seen it yet.

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  76. So is a new covenant assembly the reality which fulfills the Abrahamic church as a type? Or is a new covenant gathering the very same thing (essentially) as the Abrahamic church, and therefore also still a type?

    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/roger-williams-on-israel-as-a-type-of-the-church/

    I Peter 2: For you were called to THIS, if you happen to be in your private religious “role”
    because Christ also suffered for you,
    leaving you an example,
    but not in any public “role”, where other people are involved
    you only need to follow in His steps.
    when it comes to things redemptive, but not when it comes to creation
    or to serious secular stuff where other people depend on you and you can’t wait

    in those ‘roles” you need to threaten and then back your threats up
    not entrusting other people like your family to the One who may not judge justly until the age to come.

    Matthew 11:Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? One private person playing an unique “role”. But sometimes a man needs to dress in soft clothes and sit in congress where he can help make sure the right people kill the other people. As your redeemer, I know that you cannot imitate the atonement nor is there any need for you to suffer now that it’s time for you to play another ‘role”

    John 18: “My kingdom is in this world but not from this world ,” …. “If My kingdom were from this world, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. My kingdom in this world does not come from this world.

    But clergy have the mediating “role” to play in my kingdom, but for the rest of you there is also another kingdom, and in that kingdom, you get to play another ‘role” . In the one kingdom, sure, you leave the wrath to God, but in the other “role”, you take up the wrath, because in that ‘role” you are not merely submitting to the powers, but are agents of God’s wrath but now in this age without God’s guidelines In this age God still legitimates the death penalty but now you can’t do it as worship to any specific God. . Because even Satan is God’s servant and has a ‘role” to play.

    Luke 4: The Devil said to Jesus, “I will give You all this authority, because all this authority has been given over to me, and I can give all this authority to anyone I want.

    And so after Jesus died, even though the god of this world was disarmed, the prince permitted Christians to play a double “role” IN THIS AGE, so that in one kingdom they exercise authority in wrath, and like Satan masquerade as lights and yet in another role are servants of wrath As long as you worship the Lord your God, you don’t need to serve Him only, because you can also serve your fellow humans by killing other humans, and in this age without the restrictions of the old age

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  77. “Can you point me to anyone from any historical era in the church that said the state was not violating its duties when it killed the Apostles?”

    mcmark–Perhaps it might be the person who wrote that perhaps the state was not violating its duties when it killed Christ?

    Maybe there is a case to be made that the church should do those things, but I haven’t seen it yet.

    mcmark—The 2k case is that the Christian should do those things, but not in his role as a church member. But of course there is this one character in Brothers Karamzov who, unlike theonomists like Rutherford, rejects any separation between the church and the death penalty.

    Why,” began the elder, “all these sentences to exile with hard labour, and formerly with flogging also, reform no one, and what’s more, deter hardly a single criminal, and the number of crimes does not diminish but is continually on the increase. You must admit that. Consequently the security of society is not preserved, for, although the obnoxious member is mechanically cut off and sent far away out of sight, another criminal always comes to take his place at once, and often two of them. If anything does preserve society, even in our time, and does regenerate and transform the criminal, it is only by recognizing his wrongdoing as a son of a Christian society — that is, of the Church — that he recognizes his sin against society — that is, against the Church. So that it is only against the Church, and not against the State, that the criminal of to-day can recognize that he has sinned.

    If society, as a Church, had jurisdiction, then it would know when to bring back from exclusion and to reunite to itself. Now the Church having no real jurisdiction, but only the power of moral condemnation, withdraws of her own accord from punishing the criminal actively. She does not excommunicate him but simply persists in motherly exhortation of him. What is more, the Church even tries to preserve all Christian communion with the criminal. She admits him to church services, to the holy sacrament, gives him alms, and treats him more a captive than as a convict. And what would become of the criminal, O Lord, if even the Christian society- that is, the Church — were to reject him even as the civil law rejects him and cuts him off?

    What would become of him if the Church punished him with her excommunication as the direct consequence of the secular law? There could be no more terrible despair, at least for a Russian criminal, for Russian criminals still have faith. Though, who knows, perhaps then a fearful thing would happen, perhaps the despairing heart of the criminal would lose its faith and then what would become of him? But the Church, like a tender, loving mother, holds aloof from active punishment herself, as the sinner is too severely punished already by the civil law, and there must be at least someone to have pity on him. …So it seems at least in Lutheran countries. As for Rome, it was proclaimed a State instead of a Church a thousand years ago. And so the criminal is no longer conscious of being a member of the Church and sinks into despair. If the whole of the society were changed into the Church, not only the judgment of the Church would have influence on the reformation of the criminal such as it never has now, but possibly also the crimes themselves would be incredibly diminished.

    http://www.classicreader.com/book/276/10/

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  78. McMark: Why then do you still consider the visible Jewish church (Israel) to be a type of a new covenant church?

    I don’t. Israel the nation was a type of Christ (eg Isaiah). And the assembly of the faithful in both Abraham’s time and beyond *was* the church of that time (not a type thereof).

    There was typology in the OT worship, but the types were found in the rites, not in the body itself.

    It matters in this way. Types are not the thing they represent, but only a depiction of it. The assembly in the wilderness was in fact the called-out body of God’s people, not a representation of it.

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  79. Jeff—: Israel the nation was a type of Christ . And the assembly of the faithful *was* the church of that time (not a type thereof).

    mcmark: Amen, it can’t be both (it can’t be a type of a type). Those who cherry pick the old testament depending on which argument they are having sometimes end up with gospel playing the “role” of law, and law serving the ‘role” of gospel. They make a type wear “two hats”

    Jeff—the types were found in the rites, not in the body itself. Types are not the thing they represent

    mcmark–and again, Amen.

    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/substanceaccidents-substanceshadows/

    sdb avoids “dispensationalism and biblicist prooftexting ” by taking care to understand the distinction between speaking as a member of a called-out community (church) organized as a nation (Israel) and speaking as a member of a called-out community organized as a VOLUNTARISTIC society (note that members of the OT church who violated the rules could be punished up to and including execution, members of the NT church who violate the rules can be punished up to and including shunning)

    Since the world in which a church plays a role is a voluntaristic world, does this mean that a church itself is a voluntaristic society? And does that mean that God’s law applies only to those in visible covenant with the church, so that any specific God who is worshiped has no role to play in the public square? Do 2kers have some consensus now about when and where the first table of the Mosaic legislation applies?

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  80. Since God Himself has different roles, does this mean that the Son and Redeemer always plays a subordinate “role” in relation to the hidden God who creates and governs by means of natural law in your heart?

    Carter: Note the important rhetorical role played by Niebuhr’s appeal to the doctrine of the Trinity. Niebuhr used this doctrine to support his view that the radical and uncompromising ethics of Christ needs to be supplemented and corrected by the more conservative ethics of the Father as revealed in creation and the more flexible ethics of the Spirit as revealed in the historical community of the church. Yet this use of the doctrine of the Trinity does not conform to the New Testament witness where the Jesus tells his disciples that the Spirit will be sent by the Father in His name in order to remind them of what Jesus has said to them (John 14:26). The unity of the witness of Father and Son (and Spirit) is the point of Nicene orthodoxy. Niebuhr’s position is more in keeping with Sabellianism. By focusing on one “role” at a time, modalism allows for a more plausible and practical distinguishing of different social ethics as expressed by the three persons of the Godhead.

    https://www.goshen.edu/mqr/2003/07/july-2003-carter/

    Since God has flexibility in roles in that way, we also in this present age of distress certainly are at liberty to discard at times our role in one kingdom in order to take up another role in another kingdom.

    Each one must live his life in the role the Lord assigned when God called him. But also when needed in other callings, to take up those roles also. Was anyone already a Roman citizen when he was called? He should not turn in his citizenship. Was anyone called while not living in a voluntaristic democracy? He should not bother with revolution. Being occupied by Rome in this age does not matter and serving a role for or against Romans does not matter, but keeping God’s COMMANDS does matter.

    Each person should remain in the role in which he was called, if he wants to. For he who is called by the Lord as a slave in Satan’s kingdom is the Lord’s free man. He who is called as having authority in Satan’s kingdom is still Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. The time is limited, so from now on those who have wives should role play as though they had no wives , those who weep can role play as though they did not weep, and those who rejoice as though playing another role , those who buy stuff and kill for stuff pretending as God’s stewards that they do not own or use the stuff , Because this world in its current form is passing away, don’t get so uptight now about playing different roles or even contradictory roles…..

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  81. “It matters in this way. Types are not the thing they represent, but only a depiction of it. The assembly in the wilderness was in fact the called-out body of God’s people, not a representation of it.”
    Good point.

    ‘”sdb avoids “dispensationalism and biblicist prooftexting ” by taking care…”
    Maybe. I’d chalk it up to dumb luck since I don’t know much of anything about dispensationalism other than Scofield advocated for it and we reformed members aren’t supposed to be it.

    ” if you happen to be in your private religious “role”…but not in any public “role”, where other people are involved…”
    Who said anything about private/public distinctions? This isn’t a question about private/public – it is simply the recognition that appropriate behavior is determined by the role that I am playing as father, husband, professor, or
    Sunday school teacher. The fact that it is wrong for an individual church member to take up arms against one’s enemies does not entail on its own that it is wrong for a individual church member to take up arms as a loyal subject of the state.

    “Since the world in which a church plays a role is a voluntaristic world, does this mean that a church itself is a voluntaristic society?”
    The visible church is voluntaristic in the sense that you can’t imprison a wayward church member. Jason Stellman broke his vow as a PCA minster and abandoned his flock. The PCA doesn’t get to lock him up until he repents. If he decides to leave the RCC and be a Wiccan or whatever, the RCC doesn’t get to fine him for apostasy.

    “And does that mean that God’s law applies only to those in visible covenant with the church,”
    No. It means that we don’t judge those outside of the church. It isn’t our role…

    “so that any specific God who is worshiped has no role to play in the public square?”
    God has a crucial role to play in the public square – he sustains it (and all of creation). The church does not have the authority to judge those outside of her jurisdiction (members of her body). It does have the responsibility to preach the gospel to all nations, not determine the Christian approach to border security, aesthetics, speed limits, or movie ratings.

    ” Do 2kers have some consensus now about when and where the first table of the Mosaic legislation applies?”
    I don’t know about other 2k’ers, but I suspect that most agree that the first table applies to everyone all the time. But the church does not have the authority to enforce that on those outside of her. The political organization of the state is not ordinarily the church’s concern.

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  82. Choose your battles, pick your roles, and cherry pick which laws are a reflection of God’s law, and which laws are accidents and shadows of history And also which laws are no longer as enforceable, as they were in the good old days back when only Anabaptists thought themselves too pure to get involved with city councils or to use the smiting assistance of bigamist magistrates

    What is the difference between being pro-evangelical and a democrat and “gnostic retreat from our vocation as salt in society”?

    Scott Clark–The magistrate has a right and a duty to enforce marriage and divorce laws in order to enforce natural, creational boundaries in the same way he has a duty to protect a society from theft and fraud. To anticipate an objection, this is not a theocratic argument. It is not the magistrate’s duty to police EVERY SORT of violation of natural law and sin. For example, no one but theocrats want the state enforcing obedience to the first table of the law. The magistrate’s natural sphere of concern and authority is in the second table. Civil authorities have a right and duty to arrange a calendar (e.g. public holidays) of working and resting according to the creational pattern, to prevent and punish theft, to prevent and punish murder, and to regulate public sexual morality. Marriage is a form of regulation of sexual morality.

    https://heidelblog.net/2008/10/natural-law-the-two-kingdoms-and-homosexual-marriage/

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  83. For example, there was a time and a place where mob iconoclasm were a good thing for the Magisterial Reformation, but then there came a time when the iconoclasm was not going to get Luther and Zwingli the roles they wanted, so at that time you drink your beer and denounce the others as enthusiasts with hearts too warm to keep the order like you can.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2014/07/the-breaking-of-images/

    Duffy—Eire’s final chapter on the great Reformer is headed “Luther the reactionary” and deals with Luther’s violent repudiation of the apocalyptic radicalism of former disciples like Andreas Karlstadt and Thomas Müntzer,..The libertarian rhetoric of Luther’s reformation pamphlets, with their insistence on the freedom and dignity of every Christian and their onslaught on ecclesiastical corruption and established religious authority, certainly fueled and probably helped trigger the peasant uprising. “Let everyone who can smite, slay, and stab . . . remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful, or devilish than a rebel. It is just as when one must kill a mad dog. . . . Stab, smite, slay, whoever can.”

    Years later, Luther would tell admiring disciples, “It was I, Martin Luther, who slew all the peasants . . . for I commanded them to be slaughtered. All their blood is on my head. But I throw the responsibility on our Lord God, who instructed me to give this order.” Eire rejects a long and shrill tradition of hostile Catholic historiography that blamed Luther for unleashing not only religious but also moral and political chaos on the German nation, but Doctor Martin does not emerge well from this unblinking account of Luther the polemicist.

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  84. Zrim,
    Never believed in a Christian nation. But until you are ready to say that the Nazi invasions of their neighbors and their persecution of the Jews was amoral, then don’t complain about social sins. The existence of corporate sins doesn’t imply the need to convert nations. For all it says is that that when groups commit murder and theft, then they have sinned just as much as when individuals commit murder and theft.

    BTW, would like to see how you explain that what is immoral is not sinful.

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  85. Robert,
    There were no Biblical mandates that required the Good Samaritan to do anything that he did for the robbery victim he found. None. The Leviticus passage says to love one’s neighbor, but the point of the parable is in the definition of one’s neighbor. That is one reason why you have a Samaritan helping a person who is presumably Jewish. And the only OT verse that says to do so speaks in the context of what to do with fellow Jews (Leviticus 19:18). Rather, he acted out of love in ways that did not contradict the Scriptures. And that is the point here. Again, yes, the Pharisees were the experts in Biblical mandates in their day. But they interpreted the Scriptures in ways that excluded the requirement to love others. And thus their interpretations were skewed toward self-justification.

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  86. Curt, I believe I clarified with you on another thread recently that the point isn’t there isn’t a moral dimension to what nations do (there is). The point is that nations aren’t persons and simply aren’t dealt with in the same way. You don’t seem able to make that first distinction and end up speaking of nations the way others do persons. And yet, you stare into the distance when asked how to make nations baptized and communicant members of a local church. Does it sound silly? Then you know how silly you sound when you speak of nations as if they were persons.

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  87. @mm
    “Choose your battles, pick your roles, and cherry pick which laws are a reflection of God’s law, and which laws are accidents and shadows of history And also which laws are no longer as enforceable, as they were in the good old days back when only Anabaptists thought themselves too pure to get involved with city councils or to use the smiting assistance of bigamist magistrates”

    I don’t understand what this means.

    “What is the difference between being pro-evangelical and a democrat and “gnostic retreat from our vocation as salt in society”?”
    What does being an evangelical who votes democrat have to do with “gnostic retreat from our vocation as salt in society”?

    I don’t think I agree with Scott Clark, or at least I would want to heavily qualify a lot of what he writes there. I would say something along the lines that the magistrate is behaving prudentially by adhering to what Rawls refers to as “public reason” when ordering society. I would differ a bit from Rawls in that I would also say that what counts on public reason depends on the composition of society. Not all pluralistic societies are comprised of the same plurals.

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  88. Zrim,
    I have no problem with saying that nations aren’t persons and thus are dealt with in another way. At the same time nations do commit immoral acts, they do sin. And we must call attention to this so that those who suffer can find relief and those who support a given sin either through participation or silent complicity can repent. We have far more opportunities to speak out and, because of democracy and technology, far more neighbors to care for.

    And you have been reading too much of D.G.’s analysis of my views if you believe that I think nations can be baptized.

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  89. Curt, but you haven’t been picking up on my point if you think I think you think nations can be baptized. I know you know they can’t, which is why I’m using the point to show you the folly of some of your reasoning.

    But in one breath you concede nations aren’t persons and thus are dealt with in another way, then in the next talk about them committing immoral acts and in so doing sinning. That’s how one talks about persons, though, not nations. So what do you propose is done with nations that commit immoral acts and so sin? The only way Christianity deals with those that commit immoral acts and so sin is to discipline, and only those who are baptized and communicant members of a local church, everyone else is somebody’s else’s problem. So since you can’t do that with nations, maybe this “commit immoral acts and so din” language is off base? I mean, if my church can’t even discipline my unbelieving neighbor, what makes you think nations are subject to any? Or is it that you just want to cast judgment to nations you don’t like because you know nothing will come of it beyond your finger wagging, as in talk is cheap and makes the speaker feel righteous.

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  90. Meredith Kline—“The article in question contends, in part, that the Old Testament by precept and example gives to the Church alone the right and duty of training men for the ministry….to label the priests and/or the prophets as the church within the Theocracy is unwarranted. The priests were, indeed, the representative-mediators of the congregation in its approach to God, and the prophets declared the Word of the Lord to the congregation. But the king ruled in the congregation, and Israel was that worshiping, serving congregation. All alike who lived in the Theocracy were always engaged in specifically religious, because theocratic, business. God was in the midst of the covenant people and, therefore, all was church, as also all was family and all state – the church of God, the family of God, the Kingdom of God – all in one and one in all, and such was the Theocracy. However, if all is church and all is family and all is state, then nothing is church and nothing is family and nothing is state in the usual sense of those words.”

    https://straywave.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/the-relevance-of-the-theocracy/

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  91. Zrim,
    Your point is that unless one can be baptized for the washing away of sins, what was done was not sin. That is D.G.’s point and all that does is to deduce what can and cannot be sin by a standard that is not biblical. Rather, D.G. begs the question when he insists on that point. Sin is missing the mark and its existence does not mandate redemption.

    However, baptism washes away our sins and that can include our participation in corporate sin. Thus, even by your own standards, corporate sin exists.

    BTW, the Scriptures have spoken to nations specifically and not just to individuals. That is primarily done in the OT and yet we see Jesus and the Apostles speaking Jerusalem and even Israel as a single entity. And it is at that point, not in all other points, that we can say that the Scriptures have spoken to nations as one would a person.

    The problem here is the combination of rigid thinking and the over reliance on the use of deduction to determine whether corporate sin exists. Christianity, as you say, deals with sin only in the following way. However, if you use that to determine that what nations do cannot be considered to be sin because nations can’t be disciplined by the Church, then you are the one who insists on speaking to nations as if each one was a person.

    In addition, you try to deduce your statement to be true:


    The only way Christianity deals with those that commit immoral acts and so sin is to discipline, and only those who are baptized and communicant members of a local church, everyone else is somebody’s else’s problem.

    Christianity deals with sin in ways other than disciplining those who sin. In fact, the Church doesn’t even discipline its members for every sin they commit. Christianity deals with sin in a number of ways such as when we preach God’s Word calling on those who are sinning to repent. And again, this is important because we are not just dealing with corporate sin, we are also dealing with individuals who participate in corporate sin and calling on them to repent. So while you want to admit that nations can act immorally, you do not it call it sin. By your logic then, Christians can participate in immoral acts and not be called on to repent because what they do is not sin when they act in the right kind of group. Again, a group can murder and steal and Christians could not be called on to stop participating in murdering and stealing because they are doing so as members of a group. Does that make sense to you?

    So while you insist that what you have deduced is Biblical, the point that murder and theft cannot be called sin if nations do it seems to me to contradict the Scriptures and is rather Pharisaical in that sin is being rationalized because a nation is doing it, rather than individuals.

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  92. Curt, but the church only ever calls to repentance either 1) with an eye toward bringing into the church or 2) those who have to square their confession with their behavior. How a nation may be reasonably said to fit either of those bills remains quizzical.

    And a group of thieves and murders acting together are tried individually because persons and not groups do those things. I guess American jurisprudence is also guilty of rigid thinking and bad deduction?

    Christians can chastise and fear-monger nations all they want about things like abortion and immigration, but none of it makes nations into persons, which is what one suspects is going on with all of it. You may think me somehow pharisaical, but I’m not the one standing on a soapbox pointing out the sins of others. Hmmmm.

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  93. Zrim,
    Think about your logic here. You have deduced from the time of the Apostles what sin can and cannot be by the experiences of the Church then. To make your logic stick, you have to assume that the Church has experienced nothing that is significantly new from those times. That is despite the fact that God tells nations, not just Israel, in the OT about and judges them for their sin as well as the current Church has seen significant differences in the set of spiritual gifts available to the Church, that the Gospel has already been spread throughout most, if not all, of the world, and that we have different forms of gov’t besides the empire in which the Church began its life. It also despite the fact that what follows your contention is that when individuals murder and steal, it is called sin; but when certain groups like nations do the same, you say that such is no longer sin. And you do that without any scriptural justification.

    You have really never affirmed that when nations murder and steal, that such is immoral and that such is sin. If I am accurate there, answer this question: Was what the Nazis when when they invaded their neighbors and persecuted the Jews immoral? Was it sin?

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  94. Curt, if you can’t deduce my answers from I’ve already said then I’m not the only one bad at deducing. But since there is no commandment prohibiting it, neither one of us is sinning, although since you seem to want to slot everything into im/moral or un/sinful categories maybe I’m in trouble. But then so are you, which might give you some pause on wanting so badly to slot nations.

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  95. The corporate stuff still belongs to Satan
    that’s why we have to give in and have two kingdoms
    and not try to withdraw and retreat from the
    kingdom in which evil overcomes (or at least restrains) evil

    devils fill all the world
    All eager to devour
    This world’s prince still with
    fierce Scowl

    The old evil Foe
    Now means deadly woe;
    Deep guile and great might
    Are his dread arms in fight;
    On Earth is not his equal.

    Mark 1:4 4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance FOR the forgiveness of sins.

    Does the “FOR ” the remission mean “in order to” or “because of” the remission? Who knows and who cares? The point is that the remission might not take place at the same time as the water. The point is (a second point) is that the remission might not ever take place, at least not if the infant does not die before the ” age in which the table is no longer fenced against those watered at birth”. The point is that in the meanwhile we should presume remission because who knows anything for certain?

    “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ FOR the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children without exception because all Israel was always all Israel, and even though some do come by faith alone, there is no need for your children to do so, since they are already called and already near and here, and all they need to do is not leave. Not to deny that some also who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call, also come by faith alone, without Christian magistrates and without Christian parents, but of course not without water by clergy at some point.

    Acts 15 Some men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom prescribed by Moses, you cannot be saved!” … 9 God made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith….11 we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way they are.

    Acts 19 Paul came to Ephesus and found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” “No,” they told him, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 “Then what baptism were you baptized with?” Paul asked them. “With John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the Lord Jesus 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    Nicodemus came a runnin’ hard
    Said “Has anybody here done seen the Lord?
    I want to buy some ‘ligion, but what will it cost
    To get myself to Heaven ‘fore my soul be lost?
    Then my God spoke, He spoke so sweet
    Sounded like the shuffle of angels feet
    He said “Marvel thou man, if you want to be wise
    You got to believe and be baptized”

    Nicodemus said “I don’t understand! I want to know
    How can be born when he’s old?”

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  96. Zrim,
    I am talking about the over use of deduction. When we read Romans 9, would it be fair to deduce that God does not mourn the death of sinners or that He doesn’t want all to repent. But other Scriptures show the opposite.

    Sorry but you are wrong about the Scriptures. The Scriptures tell about the sins of nations and how the prophets challenged them to repent. But how is it true that hose same actions are no longer counted as sins just because we are in the new covenant. Not only that. the New Testament speaks to groups like Jerusalem, Israel and the nations. It just doesn’t speak to individuals.

    What is important is that how we follow what is written in the New Testament consists of more than just following specific commands and imitating specific actions. Why? Because there have been significant contextual changes. And that is why I pointed to the Good Samaritan parable. For again, the specifics that the Good Samaritan practiced toward the persons robbed are not commanded in the Old Testament. So love becomes the guide for what the Good Samaritan did just as it is the guide for John when he talks about how Christians should treat those brothers and sisters they see in need.

    So while you are looking for specific commands and examples, you are forgetting the same factor that the pharisees forgot: love. What does love of neighbor dictate to us when we see our neighbor sin or when we see them in need? That is the key question in social justice issues because we see the state and society sin and we see individuals or groups suffer when there is social injustice. And again, the existence of social injustice is documented in the OT with examples provided by both Israel and the nations not under God’s covenant. And when we look at Paul’s concern for the poor, James’ words of warning to the rich, and what Revelation says to the nations, we see examples there too.

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  97. Zrim,
    I have no problem with saying that Jesus is the ultimate Good Samaritan, but the parable is about condemning those who desired to justify themselves. And that should apply today as much as it did when Jesus told the parable. For didn’t He tell it to an expert in the law who asked who was his neighbor so that he could justify himself? And doesn’t Jesus tell him to do what the Good Samaritan did after He told this expert the parable.? And the answer to both of those questions are true, then how is it that that parable is exclusively about Jesus?

    Though I agree that we cannot be a perfect Good Samaritan, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t commanded to be a Good Samaritan. After all, isn’t the Good Samaritan one who perfectly practices the 2nd table of the law? And if this parable is only about Jesus, how could the 2nd table of the law be used to make this expert in the law, and ourselves too, aware of one’s sins. And if this parable only apples to Jesus so that we are are relived of the duty of loving our neighbor as the parable illustrated, then aren’t we also relieved of following any of the commandments from the 2nd table of the law including the one about adultery? After all, isn’t Jesus the only one who is perfectly faithful to God and thus has perfectly fulfilled the whole law including the commandment not to commit adultery?

    You referred to my understanding of the GS parable as being misguided and then you provide a link. But I don’t find the article linked to as providing sound exegesis of the whole telling of the parable. The interpretation provided by that article is to eager to jump in an allegorical/typological interpretation of the parable that does not fit the context of the parable at all. And to say from that interpretation that we are relived from loving those who are vulnerable who come our way seems to miss our need to show love whether it is to our neighbor, as this parable illustrates or to fellow Christians as commanded by John in his 1st epistle. And that would seem to follow the example of the pharisees who have their traditions, much like we have our standards and confessions but forget to show love and thus sought self-justification.

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