Why I Wouldn’t Sign (if I were evangelical)

Would you sign this expression of empathy with people who are not citizens of the United States? Here is how it begins:

The United States has experienced a contentious election and post-election season marked by fear, polarization, and violence. The current political climate reveals longstanding national sins of racism, misogyny, nativism, and great economic disparity. As faculty members of Christian institutions of higher education who represent varying degrees of privilege and power (but who are not representing those institutions in this document), we, the undersigned, join our voices with those who are most vulnerable.

We affirm the dignity of every human being as created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). We submit to the sovereignty of Christ who humbled himself unto death. As members of his body, we strive to consider others above ourselves (Phil. 2:2–8); to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15); to serve one another in humility (Matt. 20:26–28); and to honor and steward God’s good creation (Gen. 1:28). As one body, if one member suffers, all suffer (1 Cor. 12:26); if one weeps, the body laments with them (Rom. 12:15); even creation groans in bondage to decay (Rom. 8:19-23).

I wonder if these Christian faculty would be inclined to sign a man-made creed, say like the Westminster Confession or the Book of Concord? I thought evangelicals were supposed to be anti-creedal.

Oh well.

Here‘s why Chris Gehrz signed (even though he admits he hesitated):

Indeed, I think most Christians would affirm them, whatever their theological, political, or other differences. While hardly an exhaustive list of Christian beliefs, these convictions are nevertheless foundational to Christian faith, community, and mission. And, as the statement goes on to explain, such commitments need to be restated and acted upon in a time when there is “falsehood that seeks to undermine truth and any propaganda intended to obscure it,” when a “large portion of our communities is weeping” and there is genuine anxiety and fear among many of our neighbors.

A concern for truth is obviously important for academics, whatever their religious beliefs and doubts. Why our role as Christian educators would compel us to acknowledge “pain and woundedness” and then “entreat Christian communities to seek healing, reconciliation, and justice” may be less evident.

Here‘s why his colleague, Ray VanArragon (what a Dutch-American name), wouldn’t sign:

First, the petition is unduly expansive, covering a range of topics that include racism, economic disparity, the environment, and our lack of neighborliness. At the same time it does not offer any recommendations for concrete responsive action.

Second, it employs language that tends to put off people who live outside of academic circles. It speaks vaguely about “structural injustice” and “degrees of privilege and power,” without explaining what those terms mean. It slyly suggests that Christians ought to share the priorities of the political left – a suggestion reinforced by the fact that, expansive as it is, it makes no mention of abortion. Right-of-center Christians, even well-meaning ones, may be inclined to dismiss the petition as pompous, disingenuous, and one-sided.

Here’s why I’m not.

This statement:

The current political climate reveals longstanding national sins of racism, misogyny, nativism, and great economic disparity.

Does not go with this statement:

we affirm our deep resolve to pursue truth, to reason carefully, and to rely on sound evidence.

Outrage is easy. So is moral posturing. Thinking carefully so that you don’t exhibit moral overreach is a challenge. I’d have thought educators would know this.

Advertisements

126 thoughts on “Why I Wouldn’t Sign (if I were evangelical)

  1. “Outrage is easy. So is moral posturing.”

    There’s nothing more relaxing than moral posturing. Is there anyone on this list who did not vote for a Democrat in any presidential election? Is this the Evangelical Left version of #Resist? All I see are third-rate pseudo intellectuals from 3rd tier universities. And to see so many from Wheaton (Evangelicalism’s answer to Harvard) does not surprise me since so many of their faculty seemed confused on whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

    The dogs bark but the caravan moves on.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pretty much anything, anything coming out of academia now you can bank on as being annoyingly stilted. I wouldn’t sign because, well… why sign any of this predictably craptastic stuff by scholars explicating Scripture like they have some sort of paps mandate. It suggests an inflated sense of self-importance. And it assumes all we have some sort of obligation to save the world via policy, versus loving the neighbor next to us. Hey, if you want to help someone, go open your own wallet and do so. Don’t ask the government to further take from mine. That’s not rendering unto Caesar, it’s being abused by your feel-good, busybody Christian overtures. Anyone familiar with the über-affluent D.C. suburbs should gag at the suggestion the government needs more of anything.

    As for Gehrz, the only truths foundational to christian faith are the ones encapsulated in “The Son of God died for sinners and rose from the dead.” The Genesis mandate stuff… the more it is ballyhooed the more contrived it sounds, especially coming from a crowd that really doesn”t even believe that Genesis is more than Jewish folklore.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If all there is is moral posturing and outrage, then signing the statement could be done for appearances sake. But is what the statement says biblical? And if so, then isn’t the beginning of our response to these conditions moral posturing and outrage? And considering what is going on in the world that is generally touched on in the statement, isn’t the lack of outrage and moral posturing an indication that something is wrong with us? After all, this isn’t an all-or-nothing situation where one either chooses moral indifference or moral overreach.

    Like

  4. “This isn’t an all-or-nothing situation where one either chooses moral indifference or moral overreach.” No, nor is it a “‘We’ *have* to do something” situation when we are talking national politics versus the church’s mission. It is moral overreach to paint economic or military or environmental policies in black-and-white terms when they involve prudential judgements. Especially when those pronouncing are not specialists, and the fields in question are not laboratory sciences. And when we have no currently operating prophets who can boast of canonical status (unless Catholics want to invoke Francis). Which is why statements that suggest otherwise provoke in me not outrage by exasperation.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Usually educators don’t know this. That is the thing about movements like this, behind them one usually finds teachers (their unions), politicians, academics and all manner of net tax receivers. These folks have absolutely zero limits to the generosity of other people’s money. How big of them! Being a net tax producer and living in that world, it is tough to justify these bleeding heart dreams. Nice work, if you can get it. The USA is getting to the point where about 50% plus of us (to some degree or another/ households) are net tax receivers.

    Like

  6. The net tax receiver vs. net tax producer problem is far and away a bigger problem than is the national debt. Can’t dig out without enough producers.

    Like

  7. Paul,
    Some sins are corporate sins and some are personal sins. And how responsible we are for the former depends on how we have responded to society regarding those sins. Here we should note what then General Eisenhower did when his troops happened upon the Nazi death camps. He had his troops escort the nearby townspeople through those camps so they could see what their nation did. Not all were guilty. After all, some hid Jews on their property or in other locations while others resisted the Nazis through writings. Others tried to end the regime. But to sit by passively when one knew or could easily know what was happening did not imply innocence of the crimes committed by their government.

    Like

  8. Curt:

    This country has done a great deal to address all of the grievances listed. Although, we haven’t done much to stop out of wedlock childbirths. That is the fast track to economic disparity. I am disgusted by that state of affairs yet I have gone out of my way to aid unwed mothers. I’m not sure any of those women would be impressed were I to sign the national confession of guilt. Does anybody think God will be impressed?

    Re: IKE, I prefer the British SAS response when they encountered death camps. They summarily executed the Nazi’s. Nobody questioned where the SAS stood. The captive Jews were grateful. I doubt the Jews felt very much satisfaction when the German citizenry paraded through the camps to look at a bunch of emaciated bodies behind barbed wire fences. Treating Nazi victims as if they had zero human dignity . . . has anybody apologized for that yet?

    Like

  9. Paul,
    Poverty wages and offshoring are other fast tracks to economic disparity. And yet, what is our nation doing about both?

    What specific grievances has our nation done a great deal to address?

    BTW the British SAS response does not address what is said to the German population of those towns.

    Like

  10. E. Burns,
    And I wonder how many of those who would sign the Cambridge Declaration would sign on to the statement contained in the above article. Should any of us play the role of the pharisee from the parable of the two men praying?

    Like

  11. Curt:

    The most impoverished demographic in the U.S. consists of single mothers.

    LBJ past sweeping legislation.

    Killing the Nazi’s sent the message and everyone in the town understood. The message was, if you do evil, you will pay for it. You should ask some holocaust survivors what was more impactful to them — IKE parading a bunch of Germans in front of them as if the Jews had no human dignity or the SAS blowing the brains out of the Jewish captors.

    Lastly, the “Sins of the nation document” is nothing but weak, pathetic, posturing. I hope it makes somebody feel good. You should get together with some of them, build a business, pay “good” wages and out compete those operating offshore. I will gladly support that.

    Like

  12. Curt,
    Of course no one should play the Pharisee. The fact you think those who don’t sign this or agree with it are the Pharisse’s or the bigger part of the problem speaks to the issue of how imbedded the “Social gospel” has become.

    I believe one of the signed statements is better that the other. (Cambridge Declaration) I believe that one strikes at the core of the true Biblical gospel. I believe the 2 signed statements are very opposite in their idea of what the Gospel essentially is.

    That said, I do not believe that two opposite contradictory views can both be true. Maybe you do, which is a whole other problem if that is the case. In fact many times with situations like this that is exactly the case.
    My son attends one of the schools which has a large contingency of signers. While I don’t doubt good motives or their Christian sincerity, nor do I sit in haughty judgement over them, they are elevated items to the essential category which should not be. I greatly question their idea or understanding of what the gospel is. I flat out getting the gospel wrong. IE.. “Social gospel.”

    Getting the gospel wrong is no small thing. The Gospel goes way beyond filling bellies, women rights or making sure everyone has good wages. Eternal significance. Getting it wrong leads to false conversions in droves. What good is it for woman kind to gain the world of felt needs, only to lose their souls? What you don’t seem to grasp about those of us critical of movements like this (or critical of Tim Keller types) is not so much that we doubt their Christian sincerity let alone their Savation, it is their net results for the Kingdom that can be so awful. While they look good in the populist church growth department, if they are winning people to a false gospel and false Jesus then folks are still dead in sin. This is essentially the Howard Zinn/ left leaning version of the church growth movement of the 1980’s, false conversions will abound. What we win them with we win them too. Do you really want people won to a Jesus who is a labor leader, environmental activist, anymore than Jesus the Republican business leader/ military general? Do you really believe Jesus the hippie social justice King is the essential truth of who He is?

    I have read Howard Zinn and his misguided types. I would encourage you to read Evangelicalism Divided by Ian Murray or perhaps some of Dr. Harts books on revivalism. Perhaps RC Sproul’s book, “Getting the Gospel Right” Or J. Gresham Machen’s. “Christianity and Liberalism”

    But you have probably already read these and just disagree. ??

    Like

  13. ‘Many in the church growth (or social justice movement) movement believe that sociological understanding of those in the pew is as important to the success of the gospel as is the biblical truth which is proclaimed. As a result, theological convictions are frequently divorced from the work of the ministry. The marketing orientation in many churches takes this even further, erasing the distinction between the biblical Word and the world, robbing Christ’s cross of its offense, and reducing Christian faith to the principles and methods which bring success to secular corporations” or to “”social activism movements”

    Again, just the Howard Zinn version of the church growth movement of the 1980’s. I reject both.

    Like

  14. “”While the theology of the cross may be believed, these movements are actually emptying it of its meaning. There is no gospel except that of Christ’s substitution in our place whereby God imputed to him our sin and imputed to us his righteousness. Because he bore our judgment, we now walk in his grace as those who are forever pardoned, accepted and adopted as God’s children. There is no basis for our acceptance before God except in Christ’s saving work, not in our patriotism, churchly devotion or moral decency. The gospel declares what God has done for us in Christ. It is not about what we can do to reach him.””

    Like

  15. E. Burns,
    First, you completely misunderstood me about signing this. I never said anything about those not wanting to sign the agreement. After all, what the Pharisee did was to lift himself up while putting the publican down. And so the pharisee could be someone who would sign the agreement or the Cambridge declaration or neither or both. The pharisee lifts up himself up while putting others down. In one’s own eyes, the pharisee talks about others as he/she really doesn’t need grace because of their goodness. So anyone who admires what they have done or the group(s) they have joined can be the pharisee from the parable of the two men praying.

    Second, what you believe is fine, we can discuss that for as long as neither of us don’t look down on the other for our differences. My opinion is that that is what is needed the most. I think there are certain traits within the conservative Church that prevents it members from exploring ideas that, though they are very possibly biblical, are new to the traditions and past and present heroes of the faith. Those traits also interfere with discussing our differences. This is what Jesus said to the Pharisees about corban comes into play. A loveless approach to traditions and the Scriptures allowed the pharisees to excuse themselves from truly honoring their parents. Likewise, pride in belonging to our traditions, which are our confessions of faith and the catechisms, might interfere with what it means to love one’s neighbor today. I am not saying that everyone who refuses to sign on the statement of empathy shown above does so out of pride, but those who do are acting like the pharisees whom Jesus confronted. This loveless approach to adhering to our traditions while forgetting about what the Scriptures say about love and justice is also a perversion of the Gospel.

    And so with Machen, what you see is a black-white thinking approach to anything that could be considered either liberal or leftist–Howard Zinn was a leftist, not a liberal. Machen was 100% correct in condemning the reductionism employed by theological liberals that eliminated the supernatural from the Bible. But that doesn’t mean that every liberal concern or statement was wrong. This is where Machen, perhaps from his own experiences in the Presbyterian Church, overreached in criticizing liberalism. It is as if Machen was saying, using a Martin Luther King Jr. phraseology, that he and his fellow conservatives had everything to teach liberals and nothing to learn from them. Now we might come to that attitude from different experiences, but how different is that attitude from the attitude that the pharisee had from the parable of the two men praying?

    So if you want to disagree with Zinn, fine. But itemize your disagreements and honestly consider whether some of his observations are true.

    As for your following statement:


    Many in the church growth (or social justice movement) movement believe that sociological understanding of those in the pew is as important to the success of the gospel as is the biblical truth which is proclaimed.

    it seems as if you are approaching any sociological understanding of people in a black-white manner. What if we said that a sociological understanding of those in the pew is vital to effectively communicating the Gospel but is not as important as biblical truth? Would there be some sociological assessments of those in the pew which you would consider to be helpful? Or would adding a sociological understanding of those in the pew present you with a one-and-many problem with regards to our Apostolic faith?

    Finally, I don’t know of any evangelicals who would sign on to the statement of empathy cited above who are looking to replace or change the Gospel that proclaims that faith in Christ, for who he really is, and His substitution for our sins is the only way to the Father. What I see is that Christians are struggling with the issue of how they are to share society with others. Should they abstain from society because the issues that society deals with include items other than the need to believe in order to be saved? Should Christians seek a position of supremacy over others in society so they can control the laws being passed? Or should Christians seek to share society with others as equals? The answers we arrive at will greatly affect our effectiveness in sharing the Gospel with unbelievers. At the same time, perhaps we should not be afraid of the observations unbelievers make of us so that we could use their input to help us be better communicators. For example, consider the observation Lenin made in 1905 of the Christians he saw:


    Religion is one of the forms of spiritual oppression which everywhere weighs down heavily upon the masses of the people, over burdened by their perpetual work for others, by want and isolation. Impotence of the exploited classes in their struggle against the exploiters just as inevitably gives rise to the belief in a better life after death as impotence of the savage in his battle with nature gives rise to belief in gods, devils, miracles, and the like. Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward. But those who live by the labour of others are taught by religion to practise charity while on earth, thus offering them a very cheap way of justifying their entire existence as exploiters and selling them at a moderate price tickets to well-being in heaven. Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man.

    Certainly, he has perspectives that control his perception of reality which w must reject as Christians. However, not everything he wrote there should be ignored. For if the wealthy are oppressing others, isn’t it our duty both as fellow citizens and as Christians to point out where they are hurting others?

    Like

  16. Paul,
    First, you would need to documentation for your claims there. And your statement by itself implies nothing because the issue of single parenting is very complex one. But let’s assume your statement is true, does that mean that we ignore all other demographic groups of impoverished people.

    As for LBJ’s war on poverty, realize that fewer people live in poverty as a result of his programs. But even in the middle of that war, Martin Luther King Jr. saw a competing loyalty that would prevent LBJ’s programs from being more effective. That competing loyalty was militarism and the war in Vietnam. He saw the resources required by militarism and the war in Vietnam as having seriously hurt the efforts made in the war on poverty.

    Finally, your assessment of ‘The Sins Of The Nation’ document is too broad to comment on. You need to list the specifics as to why you view it the way you do.

    Like

  17. Curt, if everything was black and white for Machen, then why did he oppose prayer and Bible reading in public schools? Why, that’s liberal!

    Please read more about Machen before using him as an example. Also, don’t pretend to know Mencken.

    And now that I think about it, you may want to brush up on Presbyterianism.

    Like

  18. Curt,

    No strictly black or white dogmatism from me. I am no ‘Fox News-Jesus was a Republican culture warrior. I want to affirm your best motives for Christ. I do not seek to to misunderstand you. However, You are the one who used the term “Pharisee”. Furthermore you did so in a fashion and with a studied ambiguity that implied something. You are implying it with with a moral superiority to boot.

    IE…..those opposed to movements like this are leaning in the Pharisee direction. To deny that was your implication is to be intellectually dishonest, at least about how you communicated it. If that is not what you mean, then you need to communicate better, that’s on you. I will stop and give grace for that, as I know I am no perfect communicator. Brother, I wish no advancement of ill will between our differing views, but let’s have some intellectual honesty, enough to just acknowledge to opposing points of view. Which is why I will openly admit that I believe the trajectory of the signed “commitment” document gets the gospel wrong.

    All that said, The statement you site in bold is not mine it is from the Cambridge Declaration. Despite you claiming the contrary, the problem with the tactics you lefty’s use is that you insist everyone affirm your views. When they don’t they are viewed as morally “lessor” (Imperialist, misogynists, racists, etc.) I am inclined it is better to just acknowledge we disagree, sometimes (for some of us) those disagreements are radical. I am OK acknowledging those disagreements exists, I don’t feel compelled to synchronize them, nor do I believe that is narrow it un- nuanced thinking as you seem to believe. As Machen rightly pointed out, in this discussion there are two very different religions very often. I am not saying that is for sure the case with you and I. But in the case of the Cambridge Declaration VS. the document sited by Dr. Hart, (and sir, please acknowledge the gravity of its title…. Confession and Commitment ) they are incompatible with one another in the sense of what their main thrust is, as it relates to the Essential heart of the Gospel. That does not mean that I think all the individuals who have signed it are not sincere believers. Nor does that mean I look down my nose denying the human dignity of those who disagree with me. What leftist tend towards is to insist that those in my (like minded) position shift to be more agreeable to their position. You, and this document in question signed by many academics, seem content to claim moral superiority or the moral high ground. You can claim it all day long, as you’re doing here, but it doesn’t make it so.

    I do acknowledge the thinkers in the leftists camp, some have valid points. I can even acknowledge elements of truth in the quote you site from Lenin.
    Yes, with vigor, let us acknowledge and improve (and western society has in large degree), many of these issues, it is quite another thing to be fully on board with the overall trajectory of those thinkers or movements like this one that so many academics have signed their names to.
    Dr. Hart rightly pointed out this signed statement doesn’t acknowledge a conservatives point of view at all! So it hardly exhibits the Hegelian Dialectic you are so proudly insisting that I or others have. Your nuanced (non black and white) thinking is ankle deep. You (and this statement and movements like it) are just using the classic, boring and old tactic that so many “liberals” use…..
    …..if your opponents are not willing to follow your ideas and acknowledge them, affirm them, show more acquiescence and agreement with them, then one is a bigot, unloving, does not care about the planet, etc. etc,

    You state:
    “”I don’t know of any evangelicals who would sign on to the statement of empathy cited above who are looking to replace or change the Gospel that proclaims that faith in Christ, for who he really is.”” You are not paying attention. Besides as the Cambridge Declaration right points out…..“”While the theology of the cross may be believed, these movements are actually emptying it of its meaning.”

    Best as I see it (although this side of heaven through a glass dimly lit) at the end of the day you just seem to be engaging in a whole lot of Syncretism in order to advance your liberation theology and social justice theology. Your motives might be as pure as the wind driven snow, but you are still wrong.

    Like

  19. D.G.,
    There can be more than one reason to oppose prayer in school. And thus, people from more than one group can oppose it as well. To give an example from my neck of the woods. Russia’s capitalists opposed Lenin’s rule. But so did socialists like Rosa Luxemburg. Did opposing Lenin mean that Russia’s capitalists and Luxemburg adhered to the same ideology?

    Like

  20. Curt,

    It is not so much that Christians are in a deep struggle with “how to share society with others” (as if Christians own or control society) as much as guys like you struggle with how you can make your socialistic redistribution plans a reality.
    Case in point, the leftist Evironmental movement, sure some of them are concerned about about being good stewards of the earth (so am I) , but mostly it is just the home for displaced socialist to advance those agendas.

    Like

  21. E. Burns,
    Yes, the issue is about how we will share society with others. If you will note, for much of our nation’s history, as well as the history of many European nations, the predominant branch of the Church played a major role in determining the laws of the nation in which they lived. Here in America, many laws that were on the books were there because of the influence the Church had on society at the time. Our nation’s blue laws are primary examples.

    But if you want to talk about redistribution, realize that the center of Marxist Socialism is the proletariat dictatorship. As for redistribution, let me ask this question: How much of James Madison’s wealth morally belonged to him since he owned slaves? Now I am not asking how much of it legally belonged to him; I am asking how much of it morally belonged to him. And what if what over the 90% of the scientists who are convinced that climate change is being caused by man’s activity is true? Are some resisting that fact because the only way by which we can address wealth dispariy and our environmental problems at the same time is to talk about some kind of redistribution of wealth. Why is it Christian to oppose every kind of redistribution of wealth? What did James say in the 5th chapter of his epistle?

    Like

  22. Curt,

    I did not say it is Christian to oppose all redistribution. Is it Christian to fully embrace Communism or Socialism? I just believe Capitalism is a better system than the Socialist / Communist type you affirm. Society has rightfully corrected the ills of James Madison as far as slavery is concerned and it did not need to reject Capitalism in order to get there. Do you deny tremendous progress in society and culture on many of the fronts so dear to your gospel –race relations, environment, economics, medicine, standard of living, general quality of life???

    Sharing is nice, but the perfect ideal utopia you are shooting for is called heaven. We ain’t there yet. No, the ultimate issue in the universe , the highest order of things is not “sharing” and to make it such in the context of the Christian religion is to indeed expose exactly what this phrase from the Cambridge Declaration is striking at……. “While the theology of the cross may be believed, these movements are actually emptying it of its meaning.”

    On this issue, You need a theology of creativity more than you need a theology of liberation. You need to think about sustainable solutions, not just robbing people through confiscatory government regulations and policies. In other words the only way to really help the poor (at least when we’re talking about tangible ways of feeding their bellies advancing their place in society) is to harness the potential of innovative new wealth creation which does lead to all kinds of other advancements. You (like all socialists) have bought into this idea that there is a set amount of wealth in the world that cannot be increased and must therefore be fairly distributed / shared. So who is going to decide how that is done, you? The government? The church? God created a world with far more potential in this area than you give credit, granted its a fallen world, but your solutions lead Oneida, New York “Bible Communism” which in the end did give us good silverware but not good life or economic solutions. Capitalism and Free Enterprise are not perfect (nor are they more Christian automatically and they sure don’t fix sin in a fallen world), but they are better for the larger mass of people. Contrary to the Howard Zinn school of thought history has indeed shown this.

    Worse than any political misguided ideas you have, the worst is your distortion of the Biblical gospel. Just admit it, you really believe Jesus the hippie social justice King is the essential truth of who He is.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. D.G.,
    I simply gave you an example of how tow distinct groups could oppose the same thing so that opposition to that thing doesn’t meant that two individuals necessarily belongs to the same group. Thus Machen and liberals could oppose school prayer but such did not imply Machen was a liberal.

    As for your next questions, the answer to the first one is yes. The answer to the second question is that Christ fulfilled all my moral obligations and so I am called to love my neighbor and to love fellow believers. So are you called to love all fellow believers?

    Like

  24. E. Burns,
    Do you even know what Socialism is in order to oppose it? Or are you reacting to some stereotyped pejorative?

    Did you realize that Socialism, like Capitalism, is not a monolith? That there are various forms of socialism. And did you know that Socialism from the Marxist tradition’ has as it basic tenet proletariat dictatorship, not the egalitarian redistribution of wealth?

    If you take a look at today’s Capitalism, it is different from the Capitalism that followed WW II. That capitalism is called the Bretton Woods system. In that system, governments had far more control of a nation’s economy than today’s neoliberalism. Thus Capitalist economies under the Bretton Woods System were more responsive to the government of a given nation in which Capitalism was being implemented. In working democracies, that means that businesses were made accountable to democratic processes.

    Under neoliberalism, not only are businesses less and less accountable to democratic governments, governments become accountable to business. That makes business elites the ruling class of any nation. And in neoliberal globalism, that makes any government more and more accountable to business elites whether those business elites were from a given government’s own nation or not. And in neoliberal capitalism, what you also have is a growing wealth disparity. As a result, supporters of neoliberal capitalism rank the capitalist economies of nations by comparing the wealthy of the nations being ranked. BTW, both forms of Capitalism in America are heavily subsidized by the state.

    Undoubtedly social progress has been made here though our state of being is very volatile at the present moment. The questios are how did that progress come about and how much progress has really been made.That progress did not come about from the natural flow of Capitalism. War ended slavery and social movements have challenged Jim Crow and subsequent racism. But economic classism is rarely even partially addressed so that more and more people no longer consider America as a democracy. Rather they see it as being ruled by those with wealth. And when those with wealth follow the example set in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged or join Cain as he rhetorically asked the Creator if he was his brother’s keeper, you set up the conditions of rebellion, which I do not advocate, and when the Church sides with wealth, as it did prior to the revolutions in France, Russia, and Spain, the Church ends up unnecessarily persectuted and the Gospel is dishonored. That is because what you find in the economies where such ethics were pursued is the common practice of the wealthy robbing from the lower classes.

    See, the basic assumption in your declaration that what is needed is creativity over liberation is that wealth is being fairly distributed. When it isn’t being fairly distributed, one needs liberation though we should note that there are righteous ways of liberating and there are unrighteous ways of liberating people. See, when wealth is not being fairly distributed, that is when it is being consolidated, those with wealth have also consolidated power. And that power must be challenged. When you get to what Martin Luther King Jr. saw, you find that Capitalism’s unfair distribution of wealth held in check any battles that could waged against racism, militarism, and economic exploitation. And that was under the more benign form of Capitalism–the Bretton Woods System.

    So far, the advancements you have noted from your Capitalist system are materialistic advances only. They do not include advances in the relationships between different groups of people.The lack of improvement in the relationships between different groups of people within nations result, at the minimum, in civil unrest. The lack of improvement in relationships in people across borders can lead to wars and tyranny. For example, to introduce neoliberal capitalism in Chile and Argentina, coups had to be staged and military dictatorships had to be installed because the democracies there opposed that form of Capitalism. In England, it was imposed following the Faulkland Ilands War. In Russia, Yeltsin had to order the military to attack its Parliament building. And now Russia is ruled by an “elected” dictator. The change here came more gradual but it spiked following the 9/11 attacks.

    And not only all of that, opulent ways of life in different nations is now endangering the environment for future generations. And under Trump, is not even being acknowledged. That is because to acknowledge it, would necessitate changes in our way of life–or, to be more precise, our preferred way of business where wealth disparity continues to grow.

    So even if your Capitalism is a preferred to what you call Socialism, you economic system is not heading toward a good destination. In addition, since you really have no concept of my political beliefs, you seem to have no understanding of by Biblical views. And so your accusations at the end are false. They rely more on pejorative stereotypes than on any real understanding.

    Like

  25. Curt,

    Well aware that all thought in the camps of socialism are not monolithic. Yes, (pat head pinch cheek with Condescension right back at him here) I know what socialism is. But, I had no idea you had found its perfect strand or version, how enlightening. I made no claims that a capitalistic system is a catch all, that is your pejorative toward me. Yes, I read enough of your blog (to taste the sea, one only need a few drops) to come to the reasonable conclusion that you basically believe Jesus the hippie social justice King, the activist, liberation theology is the essential truth of who He and his gospel is. Now, you may want to pitch that in a different light, fine blog away, but it is there at your blog for the world to see.

    Brother, I don’t doubt your motives. I just think your system of economics and theology are wrong. Furthermore, I think that they lead to worse things than you seem to admit to. No perfect system out there, but in this case we differ as to which one we think is best for the most people.

    Like

  26. E. Burns,
    Sorry, but when you write:


    Worse than any political misguided ideas you have, the worst is your distortion of the Biblical gospel. Just admit it, you really believe Jesus the hippie social justice King is the essential truth of who He is.

    or


    But, I had no idea you had found its perfect strand or version, how enlightening. I made no claims that a capitalistic system is a catch all, that is your pejorative toward me. Yes, I read enough of your blog (to taste the sea, one only need a few drops) to come to the reasonable conclusion that you basically believe Jesus the hippie social justice King, the activist, liberation theology is the essential truth of who He and his gospel is.

    you strong evidence that you don’t know what you are talking about. But since you claim to know what socialism is, why did Luxemburg oppose Lenin? BTW, I never claimed to have a found a perfect strain. But of course you should have recognized that since you would know that not all Socialists believe in utopia. But it does seem that many Capitalists believe in a relative utopia. BTW, have you found a perfect strain of Capitalism?

    Like

  27. Paul,
    So the Nazi invasions of its neighbors and its persecution of the Jews were not sins? And if they were sins, were they not national acts? Or when God, through Amos, pronounces judgement on Israel’s neighbors, He wasn’t judging those nations for national sins?

    The list can go on but this is my problem with your objection. That when people kill and steal as individuals, it is sin. But when they do it in groups, it is not sin.

    But speaking of individual sins, when Jesus warns us about falling people fools in Matthew 5, shouldn’t we take notice? Isn’t it sin when either of us use similar insults on people? Please don’t go that way. You don’t need to be insulting to make your case.

    Like

  28. “That when people kill and steal as individuals, it is sin. But when they do it in groups, it is not sin.”

    Enough with the straw man. When a Nazi (or anyone else) shot, raped, or robbed a Jew (or anyone else), it was a sin. The German kid born in 1935 did not need to confess the sin of being a German. Therefore, it was not a national sin. Being outside of the covenant community under the old covenant was something one should have repented of. That of course changed with the new covenant.

    I am still curious how you appropriate the curses under the old covenant but then talk about homophobia as a negative today (for example). What is your basis? I get how a reconstructionist gets there even if I disagree. I don’t get how progressive Christians get there exegetically. It strikes me as a picking and choosing that aligns with one’s political priors (not so different from the way some on the right appropriate 2 Chronicles 7:14)

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Curt,

    I am making no excuses for sins done to individuals or large groups, whether committed by individuals or large groups. Furthermore I would even acknowledge those sins against humanity over the centuries. How that is ultimately solved however is where we differ. As pointed out by SBD, the kid born in Germany 1940 does not need to “confess” sin of the Nazi party. Would it be good if when he grows up he called it sin, sure. I have clearly stated I dislike many culture warrior activism tactics from the right or the left, so again I am not approaching you as a right wing extreme capitalist lover. There are aspects of the American capitalist system I detest.
    (In fact I really liked the book….”Is the American Dream Killing You”)

    SDB makes a great point here…..
    “It strikes me as a picking and choosing that aligns with one’s political priors (not so different from the way some on the right appropriate 2 Chronicles 7:1″”.

    You have beliefs which seem more driven by socialist activism than by sound Biblical exegesis or Biblical grounded nests. I acknowledge that right wingers do the same, they let their culture warrior politics drive all. Again, as stated before, I object to both. I established in my first post to you that there is no catch all in capitalism of any type, no special secret sauce. Then it was you who have essentially spent the rest of your time stating that if I and others only understood socialism better (or at least the secret sauce you understand and the rest of us just don’t get) we would see the the light. Which one would you like to see implemented in the USA and world wide, Luxemburg or Lenin? Which do you prefer, Curt? Do you really think the difference Luxemburg and Lenin had is the door to understanding?

    Yea yea we get it Rosa Luxemburg’s system thought Lenin’s system was too authoritarian, bigoted/ sectarian (among a few differences) so what!!?? The more important thing is what united them? Answer: worldwide overthrow of capitalism in favor of a socialist system. So again, here is your chance to be perfectly clear, which system to over throw capitalism, seize and redistribute wealth do you prefer Curt? (I already know, I read your blog) The workers of the world await in vast interest to your insight. Curt, is it possible you don’t properly understand capitalism? It’s possible, but I think it is more you just don’t agree with or like it. As sure as I don’t care for socialism. I am OK with those differences. Are you?

    Seriously! This is your lunch pin litmus test? (Luxemburg vs. Lenin) Your I gotch ya moment? No, it is your infinite regress diversion away from dealing with reality when someone disagrees with you and criticizes socialism. Because there is abundant proof of socialism being a vast bigger fail than capitalism this common tactic of…..”Well, you know it just was not done right, that’s all”…. is employed by socialist sympathizers and followers. Sorry, but that is Poppycock!

    By golly I guess two can play at that game…..
    What is Machen’s Birthday? What was the key essential difference between Calvin and Zwingli? If you are not studied on these fine details it proves you know nothing about the Reformation. By your own standard that is.

    I will stand by my statements on your basic trajectory, your view of Jesus and the gospel. You have displayed nothing that proves otherwise and in fact your own blog site makes it clear.

    ““”While the theology of the cross may be believed, these movements are actually emptying it of its meaning. There is no gospel except that of Christ’s substitution in our place whereby God imputed to him our sin and imputed to us his righteousness. Because he bore our judgment, we now walk in his grace as those who are forever pardoned, accepted and adopted as God’s children. There is no basis for our acceptance before God except in Christ’s saving work, not in our patriotism, churchly devotion or moral decency. The gospel declares what God has done for us in Christ. It is not about what we can do to reach him.””

    Like

  30. Curt writes:

    >>>>The list can go on but this is my problem with your objection. That when people kill and steal as individuals, it is sin. But when they do it in groups, it is not sin.<<<<

    I also asked if I was guilty of all the sins mentioned in the weak, feckless and flaccid statement because I am American (that is the group). NO. I am guilty because I am in Adam. Not in America, Britain, France, China, Russia or Haiti. In Adam.

    Don't know where you came up with the idea that I contend that people sinning in groups are not actually committing sin. People commit sins. Therefore, people who sin in groups, commit sin. However, if you and I attend the same Church and you go home and beat your wife, don't try to bring me in on it. See, we can be in a group, you can beat your wife and it can have nothing to do with me. Meanwhile, the holier than thou types that produced a weak, feckless and flaccid statement call me a racist, misogynist, etc. simply because I live in America!

    Rome did some bad things — hint: Rome was comprised of people. People do bad things. I don't remember Paul, a Roman citizen, repenting for the sins of Caligula. Nor do I remember Paul calling the Roman empire to repent. Maybe when Paul was alive, the people who normally do bad things stopped doing those bad things? Surely Paul would have penned something akin to the weak, feckless and flaccid statement we have before us had there been sin in the Roman empire. I think I've read that Rome was full of racism, nativism, misogyny and economic disparity.
    Just probably not during the lifetime of Jesus or the Apostles, right?

    DGH is good at History, maybe he can add some clarity.

    Like

  31. Paul, Curt thinks political authorities are groups of people. That’s how he waves his wand of moral superiority. States kill people legitimately. Persons don’t. One is execution, the other murder.

    I don’t suppose Augustine is in Curt’s playbook.

    Like

  32. D.G.,
    Your claim that I wave my hand moral superiority is merely a diversion. As for political authorities, sometimes they act as individuals while they at in groups at other times. When they give orders and those orders are carried out, they participate in groups.

    That states kill people legitimately is not arguable. But such doesn’t imply that states can also kill people illegitimately. Please remember that what is legal is not always what is moral. However, you are are wrong about individuals. If one individual kills another in self-defense having no other recourse, that is legitimate. But again, the existence of legitimate killing doesn’t rule out the existence of illegitimate killing. So what is your point?

    That individuals act in groups denies neither individual responsibility nor group action. In addition, if a kingdom acts without justice, it has become nothing more than a den of robbers.

    Like

  33. Paul,
    What is your point? If you are guilty of individual sin because you are in Adam, how does that prevent you from being guilty in corporate sin as well? Groups that kill and steal commit sins. When those groups consist of a nation, then that nation sins. Such doesn’t mean that everyone is guilty to the same degree of the same sin. Those who know or could know about state sin but are quiet, are in the same camp as those German civilians whom Eisenhower forced to tour the Nazi death camps. Their guilt is different from those who turned people over to the authorities or who aided the authorities or performed the killings or who ordered the killings. But a collection of sins doesn’t negate the fact that the end result was a group action that was a sin.

    BTW, I agree that DGH is good at history. But determining whether a nation can sin or not relies on facts and logic that is exclusive to the study of history. I’ve heard DGH on C-Span. He made some very good points. I know he has much to contribute in terms of history. But that does not make him more qualified than others to judge on whether nations can sin. If it does, what would you say to a historian who believes that nations can sin?

    Like

  34. D.G.,
    Want to correct a misstatement of mine. I meant to say that just because states can kill legitimately, that doesn’t imply that they can’t kill illegitimately. Sure wish you had an edit option on the comments here.

    Like

  35. Curt:

    The point is, you asked if the statement of confession is Biblical. The answer is no. That is the point.

    Regarding Dr. Darryl Hart and history, I said,

    >>>>Maybe when Paul was alive, the people who normally do bad things stopped doing those bad things? Surely Paul would have penned something akin to the weak, feckless and flaccid statement we have before us had there been sin in the Roman empire. I think I’ve read that Rome was full of racism, nativism, misogyny and economic disparity. Just probably not during the lifetime of Jesus or the Apostles, right?<<<<

    DGH probably knows whether or not Rome was guilty of the sins outlined by the pious evangelicals above. He also knows if Rome was in fact sinless from the time of Jesus' birth to the death of the apostles. That could explain the lack of national confession from Jesus or Paul. Had Jesus or Paul penned such a thing, I'm confident that Dr. Hart would agree that it is biblical.

    BTW, if I happen to be wrong about anything (or everything I've written) it is comforting to know that there are people out there who are repenting for me. If that doesn't work, well, I do own a coin that bears the Pope's likeness. I think I'll send that to DGH since he's accused of being wrong far more than me.

    Like

  36. Paul,
    Am confused by your last note. There are individual sins and there are group sins. It isn’t where there are only individual sins or there are only group sins. The problem with D.G.’s approach in trying to deny corporate sin is that he believes that if nations can’t rid themselves of sins like individuals can, then what they do is not sinful. But some of what they do is to kill and steal.

    Then D.G. says that the difference between the individual and the nation is that the state has the right to kill and the individual does not. But that statement is false on both accounts since it is only under certain conditions that either can kill. States are allowed to carry out executions for capital offense or when defending the nation from attack. But should the state be allowed to kill when it invades another nation in order to conquer and/or to obtain resources? Is the state allowed to kill by neglecting the consequences of its actions that make death inevitable? Can the state put its own citizens to death for non capital offenses? And when it kills people for unjust reasons, is it morally wrong? And if it is morally wrong , has it sinned? In addition, an individual can kill if it is in self-defense and there is no other recourse to avoid being killed by someone threatening their lives. So what all that says is that just because there are some circumstances under which either the state or individuals can kill, it doesn’t mean that there are no circumstances under which either are prohibited to kill.

    As for D.G.’s knowledge of history, what does that have to do with our discussion. Corporate was not dealt with in the epistles, but it was dealt with in the OT. D.G. concludes from that corporate sin only applies when the Old Testament covenants are in effect. But there are two problems with that reasoning. The OT prophets cited non covenantal nations with corporate sin. Also, some of the corporate sins carried out then are carried out today. Were those sins only counted as sins because corporate sins were done away with like the ceremonial law was? What we see today are somewhat different circumstances than what the Church in the times of the Apostles saw. We have democracies rather than dictatorships. And the Gospel has been spread throughout the world. So one question is this: Does it honor the Gospel when the Church is silent about corporate actions that cause theft and unjust death and destruction? The Apostles were very sensitive about what honors the Gospel and what doesn’t. We see that in some f the commands that the Apostles give us such as the one that tells us to strive to live quiet lives.

    Finally, D.G. has a a lot to teach and it is good to benefit from that. But it seems from your comments that you could add to what you learn from him a certain level of independence in thinking as you read and meditate on the Scriptures.

    Like

  37. Is the state allowed to kill by neglecting the consequences of its actions that make death inevitable? Can the state put its own citizens to death for non capital offense?

    Is blasphemy a capital offense? The old covenant that you use as a guide for how states should act certainly allowed executions for among other things, blasphemy, talking back to parents, and sodomy.

    But should the state be allowed to kill when it invades another nation in order to conquer and/or to obtain resources?

    Did the nation of Israel sin when they killed every man, woman, child, and animal occupying the territory they were invading? Again, under the old covenant that was presumably acceptable. Of course under the new covenant the church has not been given the authority to execute God’s judgment in that way.

    Perhaps a NT question would be better – Romans executed people for non-capital offenses, invaded countries to extract resources, and enslaved conquered people (among others). Paul was a Roman citizen and we have no record of him every criticizing Rome in any of his existing letters. Did the apostle Paul share in the guilt for Rome’s actions?

    And when it kills people for unjust reasons, is it morally wrong? And if it is morally wrong , has it sinned?

    If the state has sinned, has God provided a means of propitiation for the state’s sin? Can the righteousness of Christ be imputed to a state? If not, what hope does the state have?

    Like

  38. >>>>Finally, D.G. has a a lot to teach and it is good to benefit from that. But it seems from your comments that you could add to what you learn from him a certain level of independence in thinking as you read and meditate on the Scriptures.<<<<

    I think there is much to learn from Dr. Hart that goes unsaid on this blog. Not only is he a snappy dresser, knowing when and when not to wear a bowtie, he also appears to be a very fit man. We all would do well to follow his example.

    Like

  39. Curt,

    If I share my lawnmower that’s not the same as giving it away via a mandated government requirement or government rule and regulation that makes me give it away. You have a poor definition of sharing. In fact as is the case with so many socialist thinkers you speak in studied ambiguity and euphemisms. It’s not “sharing” that your worldview/system is driving at, it is confiscation, control and redistribution. Because your socialism drives your exegesis, you actually believe that system is more fruit of the spirit like, more Christian.

    Like

  40. “No one is talking about salvation under collectivism. We are talking about how Christians should share society with others.”

    Then why do you insist on invoking sin? Instead of moralizing the behavior of states, why not invoke concepts like prudence and wisdom.

    Like

  41. Paul wrote: >>>>What then must an American Christian do to atone for the sins of racism, misogyny, nativism and economic disparity?<<<>>>Why would you ask that question?<<<<

    Seriously, what do you or what do you suppose the authors of the "evangelical statement on national sins" expect Christians to do in response to the "confession of national sin?" I certainly hope there is more to it than giving them my amen along with a tax deductible contribution.

    Like

  42. Paul,
    Maybe it is because we tend to be a rigid people but why would our acknowledging national sins make us think that national sins are identical in every way to personal sins. Both sets of actions can be sins because they fall short of the mark. But one set of sins, in especially in NT times, are sins committed by groups consisting of Christians and unbelievers while our personal sins are committed by ourselves.

    This insistence that national sins must be atoned for because they are sins is due more to rigidity in thought than to our evangelicalism. For look at why some are disqualifying national sins as being sins? It not because the actions in question fall short of the definition of sin or heinousness of some the acts, it whether nations can atone for their sins. Such thinking minimizes injustices nations visit on other nations as well as their own people.

    Only Christ can atone for sins. And Christ’s atonement applies to our participation in corporate sins as well as our personal sins. But because Christ didn’t die to save whole nations doesn’t minimize how serious and horrible killing is when nation kill for unjust reasons.

    Like

  43. D.G.,
    Sure seems yours was a rhetorical question. After all, Hitler didn’t single handedly invade nations and executed the holocaust. Hitler as head of Germany directed his nation to perform such acts. And his nation complied when it didn’t have to. Germans didn’t have to participate in their nation’s sins, they could have resisted. And some did.

    So why do you think these apples are poisonous to my point?

    Like

  44. Curt,

    You also have weird definitions of “insult” I guess. No insulting going on, just debate. Lighten up Francis!
    Besides you are one to talk, your compassion is ankle deep and so is your credibility in the area of condescension/ insults and moral superiority.

    Curt states: “”Do you even know what Socialism is in order to oppose it? “”

    Please! Everyone here clearly does, they just disagree with you.

    I’m suddenly reminded of what George Will said……”In Jesse Jackson’s world what is the definition of a racist …..anyone beating him in a debate of ideas.”

    Do you or do you not believe a socialist system is more fruit of the spirit like, more Christian? Because my impression from reading you here for a long time as well as reading your blog is that indeed you do.

    Like

  45. Curt,
    Sin is any want of conformity to or transgression of God’s law. When one sins, one is made an enemy of God, and the only way to get out from under the curse and wrath of God is for propitiation to be made. Christ made propitiation for the sins of the elect. He didn’t make propitiation for the nations.

    In the OT, when a nation was cursed – everyone, every man, woman, child, and animal faced his wrath. When the Israelites took the promised land – they didn’t let the infants live. When God poured out his wrath on Sodom, the children weren’t spared. But that was under the old covenant.

    Under the new covenant, things are different. And this is the crux of my question for you (it isn’t rhetorical or an attempt to trap you – I am honestly interested in how you sort this out). Your appeal to national sins relies on appropriation of the OT (and the minor prophets in particular). In what way is the child born in 1930’s Germany guilty of the sins committed by the Nazi regime. I get how a child born among the Canaanites would be. But on this side of the cross, it isn’t Israel among the nations, it is the church among the world.

    Looking at the NT (and thereby setting aside thorny questions about how to apply the OT), we have the example of Paul. To what extent is complicit in the evil of slavery based on what he wrote (and didn’t write) in Philemon? “Rome” committed all kinds of atrocities and was clearly an unjust society, yet we have no record of Paul ever speaking out against any of these. What does it mean to say that as a Roman citizen (a status he took advantage of even while he did not use his platform to speak out on the social evils of his nation) to say that he was complicit in Rome’s sins? Was his blindness to this sin a sign that he was not truly regenerate? Presumably not. Does the NT anywhere teach that they should repent of the sins they share in as citizens of Rome? I can’t think of any offhand. All the sins I can think of (including James’s scolding of the rich) are focused on the behavior of individuals.

    Now setting aside the question of sin, there are other categories available to us to address problems in society. I suspect that by taking out the moral language, the call to action will sound much less like hectoring and be more likely to advance prudent courses of action that improve the lives of others.

    Like

  46. Curt, if Germany was a legitimate government, resisting or overthowing it was a problem. A long history of resistance theory in the West that your ad hitleriums don’t acknowledge.

    Like

  47. D.G.,
    When did Nazi Germany’s government become illegitimate? And if it was always legitimate, why would overthrowing it be a problem? And why would refusing to obey laws that allowed for the unjust imprisonment and killing of people pose problems?

    For how long will you attempt to use deduction to try to deny that Nazi Germany acted immorally and sinned when it invaded its neighbors and persecuted the Jews? Regardless of the legitimacy of the Nazi regime, the nation of Germany did those things when ruled by the Nazis. And yet, you are going to insist that Nazi Germany’s actions were not immoral and thus their actions were not sinful when they consisted of invading Germany’s neighbors and persecuting the Jews?

    Like

  48. sdb,
    So every nation that was punished by God saw everyone in that nation receiving plagues or being killed? Certainly when Israel was taking the Promised Land, the injunction that everyone be killed was employed. But was such an exception or the rule? And why put in the line about the minor prophets. Was what the minor prophets wrote less of God’s Word than what the major prophets wrote?

    Yes, there is were changes that took place once the NT replaced the OT. But do those changes mean that nations can destroy and pillage other nations with impunity? Look at the nature of the actions. Destroying property, killing people, and taking their resources and treasuries our of greed and/or ambition are not immoral, are not sinful?

    You are simply trying to use deduction here where the Scriptures do not encourage us to use it. And your use of deduction says that one nation can treat another nation in any way it can and it cannot never be immoral or sinful. So Nazi Germany was not immoral or sinful when it invaded its neighbors and persecuted the Jews. The US was not immoral when it allowed for slavery and then when it allowed for Jim Crow to follow.

    You are deducing away sin by using examples from an exceptional situation to establish a rule. And you do so because you live in a privileged position where there is no perceived immediate threat to you posed by another nation. And maybe that is why you reference Paul the way you do as well. You don’t mention the historical differences that exist between his time and now. Or maybe you forgot to read Augustine when he talks about what a Kingdom without justice is like. Finally, just maybe if your home was destroyed and/or you saw death all around you from war you would see things more clearly.

    Like

  49. E. Burns,
    You wrote:


    If I share my lawnmower that’s not the same as giving it away via a mandated government requirement or government rule and regulation that makes me give it away. You have a poor definition of sharing. In fact as is the case with so many socialist thinkers you speak in studied ambiguity and euphemisms.

    I have a ‘poor definition of sharing’ is not an insult when your projection of what I believe Socialism is so inaccurate?

    And since you insist that everyone here knows what socialism is, which socialists have you read so that you could know what socialism is? With your statement that everyone here knows what socialism is, you imply that socialism is a monolith.

    Right now, you are not even showing a legitimate effort to discuss socialism with any kind seriousness. Rather, again, you rely on being insulting by saying that you know what socialism and I don’t. But, again, which socialists have you read?

    Like

  50. Curt,

    No where did Dr. Hart or anyone else here defend the Nazi’s awful sins! It is actually you who are using tactics of illogical deductions.

    Unlike government run schools which typically no longer at least teach free enterprise along side the the socialist big government claptrap which is now more strickly taught, I had a broader education, where we did indeed study all the major thinkers behind socialism and collectivism. But clearly I am falling short to your standards. I will get right to work on reading your blog more and your recommended book list so that I can better understand your socialism ideal and the social justice/ activism gospel.

    Based on the core belief system clearly represented at your blog, yes I think you have a misguided idea of “sharing” among other things. Again, I will stand by my assessment of your social justice worldview as well as your view of what the gospel is. Your own blog as well as all you coninue to state here make it very evident.

    I in no way am personally insulting you.
    “In today’s therapeutic culture, which seems designed to validate every opinion and feeling, there will rarely be disagreement without anger between thin-skinned people who cannot distinguish the phrase ‘you’re wrong’ from ‘you’re stupid.'” -George Will

    Do you or do you not believe a socialist system is more fruit of the spirit like, more Christian? (At least your special secret sauce recipe of socialism?) Your blog would indicate that you believe that answer is yes indeed socialism is more in keeping with your version of the gospel and the Christian Faith. We have already established (because I made it clear in my first post on this thread) that I do not believe free enterprise or capitalism is somehow more Christian (I just think it works a bit better for the most people), but you refuse to answer this question here.

    If you could write an essay of the essense of who Jesus is, what would that look like? I would bet you have already done that, can you provide it here? Again we already have your blog, but just curious if you would answer directly here?

    Like

  51. So every nation that was punished by God saw everyone in that nation receiving plagues or being killed?

    Are there counter examples?

    Certainly when Israel was taking the Promised Land, the injunction that everyone be killed was employed. But was such an exception or the rule?

    Sodom and later Nineveh were not part of the conquest.

    And why put in the line about the minor prophets. Was what the minor prophets wrote less of God’s Word than what the major prophets wrote?

    Because you have appealed to them in these threads to justify your theological support for the notion of national sins. I’m trying to understand your exegetical approach. I’m as skeptical of various strains of left leaning political Christianity (e.g., Sider, Wallis, and the folks who find the editorial stance of Sojourners appealing) as I am of the way right leaning political Christians use 2Chronicles (for example).

    It is all the word of God, but the exegesis in both instances is dubious.

    Yes, there is were changes that took place once the NT replaced the OT. But do those changes mean that nations can destroy and pillage other nations with impunity?

    The question is who bears the guilt. Not whether the actions of the Roman army were acceptable.

    Look at the nature of the actions. Destroying property, killing people, and taking their resources and treasuries our of greed and/or ambition are not immoral, are not sinful?

    Yep. But was Rome guilty or the politicians and soldiers? The minor prophets to whom you have appealed were calling down curses on entire nations. So my question of Paul’s guilt stands.

    You are simply trying to use deduction here where the Scriptures do not encourage us to use it. And your use of deduction says that one nation can treat another nation in any way it can and it cannot never be immoral or sinful.

    No. I’m saying that the guilt is not corporate. Adam was my representative. He failed. Now it is Christ. I do nor bear the guilt of bad things our president commands or our soldierscarry out. That doesn’t mean they cannot sin or that I cannot sin.

    So Nazi Germany was not immoral or sinful when it invaded its neighbors and persecuted the Jews. The US was not immoral when it allowed for slavery and then when it allowed for Jim Crow to follow.

    No. Germany and the US did not sin. Hitler and Tillman did. I bear the guilt of neither.

    You are deducing away sin by using examples from an exceptional situation to establish a rule. And you do so because you live in a privileged position where there is no perceived immediate threat to you posed by another nation.

    You respond negatively when others here assume your position and motivations. I understand that irritation. I don’t understand why you feel at liberty to make any assumptions about me.

    And maybe that is why you reference Paul the way you do as well. You don’t mention the historical differences that exist between his time and now.

    I brought up Paul as a cleaner NT example.

    Or maybe you forgot to read Augustine when he talks about what a Kingdom without justice is like. Finally, just maybe if your home was destroyed and/or you saw death all around you from war you would see things more clearly.

    That is very condescending. You know nothing about me, my past, or my present status. Nor will you. The question I asked is how it is you choose to appropriate various parts of the OT. You have previously asserted that homophobia is problematic, so presumably you do not think the state is justified in executing gays. But you have also appealed to the minor prophets to justify your theological belief that nations can collectively sin. I’m curious how you arrive at this.

    The fact that I do not believe that God any longer pours out his wrath on nations or that we bear sin by virtue of belonging to a group that did bad things does not entail that I don’t think people can sin. I do think that invoking the language of sin and redemption should be reserved for the gospel. Talk of war and international relations (along with other political matters outside the church) should be restricted to public reason for the reasons given by Rawls.

    Like

  52. ——-“First, the petition is unduly expansive, covering a range of topics that include racism, economic disparity, the environment, and our lack of neighborliness. At the same time it does not offer any recommendations for concrete responsive action. Second, it employs language that tends to put off people who live outside of academic circles. It speaks vaguely about “structural injustice” and “degrees of privilege and power,” without explaining what those terms mean. It slyly suggests that Christians ought to share the priorities of the political left – a suggestion reinforced by the fact that, expansive as it is, it makes no mention of abortion. Right-of-center Christians, even well-meaning ones, may be inclined to dismiss the petition as pompous, disingenuous, and one-sided.””——

    He is correct, this movement and others like it are one sided.

    —-“The left learned lessons from the 1960’s never telegraph your ultimate intentions.” —-

    Occupy Unmasked is a documentary worthy of viewing. 99% of these folks like to party/ get their Woodstock on, 1% are true believers. Activism and protest, that is what lefties do for fun. 99% of the rest of us go to ball games and the like for fun.

    I think Curt is the real deal, legit, the 1%. He is not an acticist just to party or get his Woodstock on. But he is still wrong.

    https://ladyliberty1885.com/2012/09/30/review-occupy-unmasked/

    Like

  53. What lefties and social gospel folks don’t seem to understand about so called “economic disparity” is the upside.

    Like

  54. cid:86A4CBBB-93A6-4199-AEDC-4D4F0DC26518

    Of course the right wing “Jesus is a Republcan” camp is no good alternative either.

    Which is why the Jesus of scripture and His gospel is so refresher when heard in all its glory.

    Like

  55. E. Burns,
    First, you seem not to have been around much. The question about the Nazis goes to the question about corporate sins. If there are no corporate sins, as D.G. and others have insisted, then what do we say about the Nazis? Was the Nazis’ invasion of their neighbors and persecution of the Jews immoral and sinful? No one asked D.G. and others to defend what the Nazis did. What was asked is if there are no corporate sins, what do we say about what the Nazis did? So you don’t need to attack a straw man there.

    And so far, the standard you have fallen short of is to answer a simple question: What Socialists have you read? After all, you are the one insisting that your definition of socialism and what I advocate is correct despite the fact that I disagree with what you are saying. Thus, you should have some knowledge of socialism from those who advocated it rather than from its antagonists. So what Socialists have you read?

    And if you haven’t read any, then isn’t your knowledge of socialism about the same as Bill Maher’s knowledge of Christianity?

    And if you know so well what socialists like me believe, why the heck are you asking me any questions? And why should I answer because you are only contradict what I say if it doesn’t fit your view of socialism. And yes, you have been insulting. And quoting Will does what? Does it presuppose that he was right?

    So, you have two tasks: 1) answer the question I have been asking you; and 2) answer the question about socialist system bearing more fruit of the spirit for me. Then I will be glad to let you know what I think.

    About your upside of economic disparity. If any economic system has an upside, is it justified? So if economic disparity has an upside, is it justified? Or are these the questions we should be asking?

    Like

  56. sdb,
    Amos lists a number of nations that were about to be punished by God, was everyone killed in those judgements? Or when the nations that were used to judge Israel were judged, was everyone killed? Are you really trying to understand when you pose a model of thought that was not supported by the Scriptures in the first place and then try to prove that model by providing an inadequate number of examples?

    You are simply trying to use deduction to claim that there are no national sins in today’s world despite the fact that murder and theft are declared to be sins and that nations, via their foreign policies commit murder theft. And not only that, some nations in their domestic policies also commit murder and theft.

    And perhaps the reason why some want to deny the concept of corporate sins as practiced by nations is that such would require citizen accountability and response to those sins that would put them at odds with what they want from society. After all, Hitler didn’t invade his neighbors, the armies he commanded did. And Hitler didn’t kill any Jews, but those who carried out his orders did. Are you saying that when given orders like Hitler did, that the citizens of Germany did not sin by carrying them out? Or is the only obedience to the orders of a governmental authority that is considered to be sinful are those that violate the first table of the law?

    BTW, are you familiar with the Nuremberg Principles?

    Like

  57. I mentioned many I have read in previous threads, Rosa, Marx, Lenin and Howard Zinn to name a few. But again my stellar socialist credentials are not the issue here nor is it a requirement in understanding that capitalism is far better that any variety of socialism. (Even you special secret sauce variety, you know the one that if only we tried this one it would work) For you to make it such is regress and false delemma on your part. Your blog reveals clearly, but questions ( which you don’t give straight anaswers too) give you a chance to clarify.

    Tasks? You must have me confused with some who works for you at the commune. That’s insulting.

    Liked by 1 person

  58. @Curt

    I don’t understand your claim that deduction is not a valid exegetical approach. First, I’m not entirely sure what you mean by deduction – do you have in mind formal logic ( deduction as opposed to abductive and inductive reasoning)? Or do you mean something more general? The WCF talks about “necessary consequence” – do you think the reformers were mistaken on this front?

    In regards Amos and other OT records of curses called out on Israel’s enemies – I’m still not clear on your exegetical approach. In what sense were the people of those nations collectively guilty if they weren’t collectively punished? Of course, we speak colloquially about groups via a representative when we say, “Americans invaded Normandy on D-Day”. But of course, what we really mean is soldiers from America invaded Normandy. However, when we say that the human race is collectively guilty of Adam’s sin since he was our representative, we don’t mean that some subset of humans are guilty, but rather that we all are deserving of God’s wrath and born dead in our sins. This is collective guilt and we see other examples of this in the OT as well. Is this what you have in mind?

    When I say that there are no national sins, what I mean is simply that I don’t bear the sin of the choices of other people. In the case of Germany under Hitler, those who ordered sinful behavior and those who engaged in sinful behavior are guilty. Those who did not engage are nor guilty. Germany contained a mix of people – some who were guilty and some who weren’t. One was not guilty by virtue of being a German. In the case of Sodom, one was guilty by virtue of living in that city – everyone, every man, woman, and child was guilty. This isn’t the case of Germany.

    “And perhaps the reason why some want to deny the concept of corporate sins as practiced by nations is that such would require citizen accountability and response to those sins that would put them at odds with what they want from society. ”

    Could be, but it would be uncharitable to assume bad motives about other people. A more charitable reason might be that some deny the concept of national sins is that the category does not make sense with what God has revealed in his Word – particularly the NT. If the problem is exegesis, clarifying how using deduction is illegitimate would be helpful.

    “After all, Hitler didn’t invade his neighbors, the armies he commanded did. And Hitler didn’t kill any Jews, but those who carried out his orders did. Are you saying that when given orders like Hitler did, that the citizens of Germany did not sin by carrying them out?”
    No. I’m saying that citizens who did not carry them out were not guilty. Those who did are. One is not guilty because one’s countrymen do bad things.

    “Or is the only obedience to the orders of a governmental authority that is considered to be sinful are those that violate the first table of the law?”
    I don’t follow here. Adultery is always wrong. It is wrong when done with the authority of the state. It is wrong to order it, it is wrong to engage in it when so ordered. The fact that a nation uses rape as a weapon of war (a sin for those who decide to do so and for those who carry it out) does not implicate everyone in a nation. I think the sticky situation is what happens when one benefits from someone else’s sin. If an army defeats one’s enemies by using rape as a weapon of terror and down the road you, who thinks what that army did was awful and never would have done such a thing yourself, nevertheless benefit from those victories, do you share in the guilt. I say no. I gather that you think the answer is yes. Is that correct?

    Like

  59. “BTW, are you familiar with the Nuremberg Principles?”
    Yes, but I don’t see how these bear on the question of collective guilt.

    Like

  60. “What was asked is if there are no corporate sins, what do we say about what the Nazis did?”
    What each sinful thing each Nazi “did” was sinful. One doesn’t need corporate sin to recognize that. Perhaps a more subtle issue comes about when “good people” with “good intentions” intending to do “good things” create disastrous consequences. For example, Denmark evidently implemented very generous maternal leave policies, and as one would expect – many women took advantage of these generous leave policies. However, this policy killed a lot of people. Oops! OK, so while well intended, this was a bad policy. Who’s guilty? The legislators who meant well? The citizens who pushed for the policy? The new moms who took advantage of it? The patriarchy for making nursing a gendered profession?

    It seems to me that guilt is the wrong concept to apply here. Obviously the bad side effects of the policy need to be dealt with, but I don’t think the language of sin, guilty, and redemption applies. That doesn’t make the deaths that resulted less tragic or the need to reform the system in some way less urgent. But it does lower the temperature of the conversation about what to do by setting aside questions of guilt. One might say the same of other policies like the war on drugs, terror, etc…

    Like

  61. Curt, “If there are no corporate sins, as D.G. and others have insisted, then what do we say about the Nazis?”

    This is hard? What did Americans say about Parliament in the 1770s? Nazis didn’t invent tyranny.

    Like

  62. D.G.,,
    We are talking about corporate sin. And if corporate sin does not exist, are you saying that the Nazis were like the 1770s Parliament where they were only tyrannical? Or were the Nazis immoral too?

    Like

  63. sdb,
    Yes, each sinful thing the Nazis did was sin– which si just redundant. But remember, the Nazis acted as a group. So their example proves that corporate sin exists.

    As for the rest of your note, please use events or policies that are comparable. While the deaths that resulted from a shortage of nurses could have easily been prevented not by refusing to implement the policy in question, but by preparing for the effects it would have; how does that apply to the Nazis? Was the policy in question well-intentioned only to see it produce unforeseen, and thus accidental deaths? Were the Nazi policies well-intentioned only to accidentally produce bad side-effects?

    Like

  64. sdb,
    My claim isn’t that deduction can’t be a valid exegetical approach. My claim is that your particular example has no biblical support. All you are pointing to is a correlation that you can’t prove exists in the first place. Plus, sin isn’t defined by how God punishes it. Sin is defined by the fact that a particular act or thought violates one or more of God’s commands. And there are no grounds for using punishments to define sins. Plus, you can’t prove your point unless you go through Scriptures and show how when each nation sinned, the results you specified occurred. And you didn’t do that. You simply have no scriptural grounds.

    In addition, do we see God immediately punish every sin whether it is collective or not. Or does God overlook sins for a while. Think about Nineveh. Didn’t the people there sin and yet they were not punished?

    Or when God does collectively punish sin, is the collective punishment always the same? After all, isn’t that your claim? That when nations in the OT sinned, they were always punished the same way.

    You’re not taking careful approach to exegesis.

    Like

  65. E Burns,
    What did Rosa Luxemburg say about Lenin? After all, you have made the credibility of your knowledge of socialism the issue by your claim that everyone here knows what socialism is but the problem is that I disagree with their definition.

    So again, what did Rosa Luxemburg say about Lenin?

    Like

  66. Curt, you and I are immoral. What’s the point? Nazi Germany was immoral but the U.S. isn’t? Or is the U.S. also immoral like Nazi Germany? And if the U.S. is like the Nazi’s, you’re silly.

    Like

  67. Curt,

    You need to pay attention to posts in the convo. I already addressed Rosa vs. Lenin many posts ago. It’s a Non-issue because the bigger reality is what they had in common. For you to harp on me or anyone else’s detailed understanding of socialism or your isolated definition of socialism is outlandish infinite regress on your part. Understanding your isolated definition of socialism is not the litmus test for conversation or conclusions about social gospel movements. I guess when one sees themselves as “The Party leader” of the universe they think they can dole out tasks though.

    The issue of this entire post from the beginning was a signed document by a group of academics, who by signing the document are acquiescing at best or flat out agreeing with a kind of social gospel/ liberation theology perspective. It was you who went down that road of insisting on your “perfect” understanding of socialism , not me. I reject that premise. Besides the lame moral superiority/ condescending comment, “Do you even know what socialism is?” …… You also clearly implied something by your use of the term Pharisee. The treasure chest of moral outrage you social gospel types have is amazing.

    Now, Curt, (Party Leader) your task should you choose to accept (note how in my system you have a choice) is to answer these questions you have continued to avoid.

    Do you or do you not believe a socialist system is more fruit of the spirit like, more Christian? (At least your special secret sauce recipe of socialism?) Your blog reveals answer as a clear yes, but you can expand on the secret sauce here, do enlighten us. Why do you prefer that system to overthrow capitalism worldwide? (Overthrow of capitalism, which both sister Rosa and Lenin favored) As opposed to other inferior socialism systems? Will that system better bring people into the Kingdom? Is this what Jesus is all about? Liberation and social justice theology? Is it the essence of the gospel? What was Machen’s birthday? How many times per week did Lenin trim his sole patch? If you can’t answer can’t answer this last one you have no cred as a socialist.

    One last thing, when you get back to commune later today after handing out those pamphlets, remember that Vladimir and Ivan are human beings too and when you bark orders at them about “tasks” it may be seen as a micro aggression against their humanity or abuse of Party leader privileged status. Try instead to include them in the community hobby activitiy of protest marching as an ice breaker. Remember the workers need fun and down time too.

    Like

  68. @Curt

    Yes, each sinful thing the Nazis did was sin– which si just redundant. But remember, the Nazis acted as a group. So their example proves that corporate sin exists.

    I’m afraid I don’t follow your proof. The fact that three guys can work together to rob a bank and that all three who participated in the robbery (the guy who planned it, the guy who held up the teller, and the guy who drove the get away car) acted as a group and all are guilty of robbery does not entail that corporate sins exist – guilt by virtue of being represented by another. What am I missing here?

    As for the rest of your note, please use events or policies that are comparable. While the deaths that resulted from a shortage of nurses could have easily been prevented not by refusing to implement the policy in question, but by preparing for the effects it would have; how does that apply to the Nazis? Was the policy in question well-intentioned only to see it produce unforeseen, and thus accidental deaths? Were the Nazi policies well-intentioned only to accidentally produce bad side-effects?

    No. I guess the point is that when bad things happen, whether they are intentional or unintentional – the harmed are still harmed. Culpability is besides the point in my mind – the important thing is that we do what we can to rectify the problem and not repeat it. The language of sin and guilt brings heat, anger and defensiveness and, without a means of atonement, no possibility of resolution.

    My claim isn’t that deduction can’t be a valid exegetical approach. My claim is that your particular example has no biblical support.

    I’m afraid you’ve lost me here. I’d like to understand where you are coming from, but I don’t follow you. So we see examples of collective guilt in the OT: man’s collective guilt under Adam, Sodom, Korah, the Canaanites, and so forth. Here a group was held guilty because their representative was guilty. On this side of the cross, a group is declared righteous because their representative was righteous on their behalf. What I don’t find in scripture is any example in the NT of collective guilt outside of Adam. Rome was not “judged”. It seems to me that Paul, as a Roman citizen, did not share in the sins of Rome. Do you disagree?

    All you are pointing to is a correlation that you can’t prove exists in the first place.

    The correlation that I thought I was pointing to is that there are examples of corporate sins in the OT and not in the NT. The context in the OT is mostly (entirely?) based on the relationship of the nations to Israel. Now, the relationship is between the church and world (which is guilty based on Adam).

    Plus, sin isn’t defined by how God punishes it. Sin is defined by the fact that a particular act or thought violates one or more of God’s commands. And there are no grounds for using punishments to define sins.

    Yes and no. God is just and will by no means let the guilty go unpunished. Right? The scope of God’s punishment determines the scope of guilt. When Korah was punished, it was not just Korah, but all of his household. Every man, woman, child and animal was collectively guilty on the basis of the behavior of their representative. This is different from saying using the name of a nation as shorthand for those who came from that nation. Saying the US invaded Normandy is not to say that the US collectively invaded Normandy. Rather it is shorthand for troops from the US invaded Normandy.

    Plus, you can’t prove your point unless you go through Scriptures and show how when each nation sinned, the results you specified occurred. And you didn’t do that. You simply have no scriptural grounds.

    I don’t follow. My point is that I don’t understand how you arrive at your position. I see collective guilt in the OT based on who their representatives were. I don’t see warrant for that in the NT. I don’t see why the fact that a nation was not judged collectively at some point in the OT is relevant to my question of how to appropriate curses called down on nations in the OT apply to modern nation states.

    In addition, do we see God immediately punish every sin whether it is collective or not. Or does God overlook sins for a while. Think about Nineveh. Didn’t the people there sin and yet they were not punished?

    God is merciful and stays his hand for a while, but that patience is not unlimited. But of course, all sin is punished. Every single one. Either the sinner pays for eternity or Christ pays on the sinner’s behalf. I don’t think we disagree here. The question is how that applies to the modern nation state and the Christian within that state.

    Or when God does collectively punish sin, is the collective punishment always the same? After all, isn’t that your claim? That when nations in the OT sinned, they were always punished the same way.

    My claim is that there are examples of collective guilt in the OT and some of those examples apply to nation states (e.g., Sodom). We see that the nation is collectively guilty based on the scope of the punishment (the reason that it was just to slaughter the infants is because they were guilty on the basis of the actions of their representative). It is also possible that a lot of people in a country do something bad, and those people in the country are condemned for their behavior. This isn’t collective guilt.

    Fast-forwarding to the 20th Century – Germany doesn’t bear the guilt of the holocaust. The perpetrators (those who orchestrated, ordered, and executed) are guilty. The child born in 1943 is not guilty of the horrors of the Third Reich. The child born in Sodom two days before it was destroyed was. These are very different. Moving into more familiar territory, who bears the guilt of the atrocities committed under Jim Crow? Not America. The people who engaged in those sinful actions. Telling people today who were not even alive prior to when Jim Crow was dismantled that they share in the guilt because they have the same skin color or ancestors of the perpetrators of Jim Crow is firstly incorrect and secondly counter productive. One needn’t assume some collective guilt to recognize prudent policies that may ameliorate the effects from that age that continue to linger.

    But perhaps I’m missing something, and I would be happy for you to show me what it is that I’ve missed. I’m genuinely interested in how you handle the OT. I’m no biblical scholar to be sure, so I have no doubt that I have plenty of things to correct in my own understanding of how the OT relates to the NT. But I have to confess that I don’t follow your exegetical approach at all.

    Like

  69. sdb,
    Yes, when three guys work together sin, their group sinned. That doesn’t individual sin, still the group sinned. But three guys acting as a group is not comparable to when a nation sins. Why? First, it wasn’t just Hitler who invaded Germany’s neighbors and persecuted the Jews. German institutions, like the military for invasions and the legal system, participated in the invasions and/or the persecution of the Jews. German citizens also participated in both through taxes and helping the German government track down the Jews. In fact, silence in the face of such by most of the German population showed support for the actions of the state. Are you going to now say that the actions of a group of 3 guys is comparable to when all the mechanisms of the state are used to murder and steal?

    And yet, Germans had choices despite the totalitarian regime if the Nazis. Some hid Jews or helped them escape from Germany. Others tried to inform Germans about what was happening. For example, the White Rose, which consisted mostly of students from the University of Munich, ran an underground newsletter informing its readers of the truths about what their government was doing.

    And as for the problem with the nurses, what is being compared to? Is it being compared with actions by the state that murder and steal? Of course one fixes the problem, but not all problems immediately involve moral issues. Are you going to compare giving family leave to nurses with what the Nazis did?

    And as for you being lost by what I was saying, it is quite simple. There is no biblical precedent for using the abbreviated list of National sins being identified by the specific punishment that everyone in the nation was killed. There is no explicit statement from the Scriptures that make that point. There are examples in the scriptures where the results of sins are different. Compare Achan and David for example. Achan was punished by having him and his family killed. David was guilty of both adultery and murder and yet he remained on the throne despite his punishment. Plus, you have failed to address those nations that committed national sins but were not punished by having everyone killed.

    You acknowledge collective guilt. I do to. But it seems here that our disagreement comes in how to recognize when that collective guilt occurs. My point from the beginning is that it is recognized by comparing the actions of the group whether they consist of 3 guys or a nation, you contend that we examine the punishments incurred by the nations as described in the OT. At the same time, you write above that God is merciful but that his patience doesn’t last forever. The statement about God being merciful contradicts your contention.

    Like

  70. E. Burns,
    But you still have missed the point on Rosa vs Lenin. You wrote the following and while you read it, remember that you deny being insulting:


    Yea yea we get it Rosa Luxemburg’s system thought Lenin’s system was too authoritarian, bigoted/ sectarian (among a few differences) so what!!?? The more important thing is what united them? Answer: worldwide overthrow of capitalism in favor of a socialist system. So again, here is your chance to be perfectly clear, which system to over throw capitalism, seize and redistribute wealth do you prefer Curt? (I already know, I read your blog) The workers of the world await in vast interest to your insight. Curt, is it possible you don’t properly understand capitalism? It’s possible, but I think it is more you just don’t agree with or like it. As sure as I don’t care for socialism. I am OK with those differences. Are you?

    You missed much of Luxemburg’s criticizms. For in her criticisms, she does not criticize Lenin for bigotry or being sectarian. And in her criticisms, there is no mention of the redistribution of wealth because that wasn’t her issue. And one of my points is that while you claim to have the necessary knowledge about socialism, you haven’t read any socialists with the possible exception of my blog. To show this, in the same article where Luxemburg criticizes Lenin, she also parallel criticism of Kautsky. What was that criticsim? How does it parallel her criticism of Lenin.

    Frankly, you could not tell the difference between Stalinism and libertarian Socialism without looking them up. You don’t know that redistribution of wealth is not the center of socialism. But as for redistribution of wealth, you should note that its relationship is to the original distribution of wealth what the relationship history revisionism has to history. Do you know what that is?

    Why don’t you read actual articles from the marxist dot org website and then come back to discuss. But before you do that, distinguish the form of Marxism generally presented there from what Stalinists say. Read Gorbacbev’s criticisms of Stalin and then reconcile that with his affinity to Lenin. Watch the youtube video of Chomsky criticizing Lenin. Then you will be able to write from an informed viewpoint about socialism whether you are in favor of it or not.

    And, btw, yours I quoted above are very insulting. You seem comfortable with looking down on some with whom you disagree. If you want to continue to discuss socialism with me, then eliminate the insults and the condescending attitudes.

    Like

  71. Curt,

    Your still not answering and you won’t outline the secret sauce openly here. So often it is hard to tell the activists/ advocates from the victims. Being a victim is the Zeitgeist of our times, being a victim is a growth industry in America. A very Big Business as a matter of fact. Just like the health wealth gospel was in the 1980s, so too in the times that we live in now a kind of Howard Zinn / Pope Francis liberation theology is indeed very vogue. Christian ministry is not immune. If we want to know what the gospel is our best resource is the Bible. To observe what God says about it is our best resource, not the opinions of others, whether victims or not. This is where you go wrong. And again what this post was all about, was a signing of a social gospel/ liberation theology. The Gospel’s focus, core and center is not social justice activism. Jesus was not the great community organizer/activist. You and others who lean in the social gospel direction let your activism drive your view of the gospel and scripture. But unlike 20-30 years ago you are living on more fertile ground for it to get traction. Health wealth TV evangelists are out, social gospel/Pope Francis is in. Both are wrong.

    As pointed out, Outrage is easy. So is moral posturing. You do an awful lot of that Curt.

    Paul no where is found doing the kind of social activism that you endorse and tether so tightly to the gospel and Christianity. What did Paul get most outraged about? He was most outraged when people got the gospel wrong.

    “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-not that there is another one, but there are some trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you gospel contrary to the one we preach to you let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: if anyone is preaching to you a gospel country to the one you received, let him be accursed.
    For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I was still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:1-10

    I am not at all saying the gospel does not have implications to living or that it won’t be fruit producing. I even agree with some of your thrust of being weary of authoritarianism. I can even see it going astray in Reformed churches.
    I am on record of being pretty critical of folks like that.
    https://oldlife.org/2016/01/kevin-swanson-is-not-tim-keller/

    But your conclusions on so many issues don’t seem grounded in exegesis, more grounded in a hyper activism- victim- outrage worldview. Some of those things may be legit, be you greatly have the cart before the horse. You put the spotlight on the outrage, activism and social justice. Scripture is clear that spotlight should be on Christ.

    What is the gospel?
    http://wscal.edu/resource-center/resource/what-is-the-gospel1

    One reason many get concerned over academics signing a movement like (again let’s go back to Dr. Hart’s original post) this is that it has implications about the heart of the gospel. That I believe is the core disagreement here. Not ultimately what you or think about socialism. But you are wrong about that as well. ;-). That said, I in no way believe capitalism is more intrinsically Christian. I have been clear on that. However it does seem clear that you think socialism is more Christian.

    The vigorous and fun spirited sparring that goes on at old life is not insults, but again you are one to talk. Comes down to this….I believe the signed document referenced and linked in the original post is representative of a “different gospel.” You do not think that, you believe it is good stuff. As representative in your consistent and ongoing defense of movements like this. We disagree. Peace be with you.

    Like

  72. D.G.,
    Why is it silly to say that Nazi Germany was immoral and committed corporate sins when it invaded its neighbors and persecuted the Jews? Yes, you and I are immoral and sinful. But your tent of immorality is pretty big and obscures the degree of immorality involved in waging wars of aggression and trying to exterminate a race of people.

    Like

  73. E. Burns,
    First, you’ve made two false assumptions about what I believe. The first one has to do with believing that Socialism revolves around the redistribution of wealth. The second one is that I believe I have found the “secret sauce” for utopian or biblical form of socialism. Both assumptions are false.

    Second, you’ve made these assumptions because you presumed that you know what socialism is. And you refuse to show your expertise. I’ve read much more on socialism than you have and I wouldn’t claim to be an expert. But I do know enough to identify those who aren’t even knowledgeable on the subject. And while you write as if you are knowledgeable, you aren’t. You more less rely on old pejorative stereotypes which is why your two assumptions mentioned above are false.

    I have said a number of times that socialism, at least from the Marxist tradition, does not revolve around the redistribution of wealth. But that redistribution is more than just a red flag to some, it is an act of war. Redistribution of wealth occurs in both Capitalists and Socialist nations. And just like history revisionism is to history, the redistribution of wealth, the validity of the redistribution of wealth is inversely related to the validity of the original distribution of wealth. That was my whole point in bringing up Madison. I didn’t do that to promote socialism. I simply did that because you are fixated on this redistribution of wealth even though it is not the hub of socialism from the Marxist tradition.

    And as for your opposition to Christians being involved in activism, I favor it whether they are right-wing activists, liberal activists, or left-wing activists. Politics can be considered, from a biblical perspective, to be a field of Practical Theology. And what Christians must always ask themselves when deciding on whether they will become involved with politics or social causes is this question: How will we share society with others? Please note that those others are nonChristians. Perhaps, if we lived during the times of the Apostles, we would not have to worry about that question because other issues were more urgent. But such is not the case today and to be silent, in the name of Christ, on issues where gross immorality has become pervasive, is to associate complicity with the Gospel and thus dishonor the Gospel. This is especially true in a nation with a strong Christian presence.

    The only thing I ask Christians involved with social causes and/or politics to do is to remember two parables: the parable of the two men praying and the parable of the 4 soils. Other than that, as long as each sector of society gains enough of a voice in decision making both at work and in the public sector, then I am agreeable with the situation. After all, Socialism is about increased worker power so that the bourgeoisie does not control life for everyone else. I disagree with Marx on the proletariat dictatorship because I believe that to bar either side from making decisions results, at best, in a partial democracy.

    So before you go on about your list of faults about me, please check your faulty assumptions at the door. And you can drop your accusations that amount to nothing more than being distractions for those who read and sin for you–that is if you remember Matthew 5.

    Like

  74. Curt:

    I have not read a whole lot about socialism. Can you point to a nation today or society in the past that “did” socialism well?

    Like

  75. Curt:

    What was your response when you read about the professors confessing national sins? What are you now doing to address the issues cited and what do you plan to do in the future?

    Like

  76. E. Burns,
    How we share society with others is a reality in that we must deal with unless we live in monasteries. When D.G. criticizes Carter for his Gospel approach to reporting news, D.G.. reminds him that some jobs are about providence, not the Gospel.

    Like

  77. Paul,
    I can point to those who began socialism well, like Iran before the Shah and Chile before Pinochet. But how they would turn out is anyone’s guess since the US sponsored coups and installed dictators. And depending on what you cal Socialism, some European nations have done well and so did the US after FDR. But all that depends on what you call socialism.

    The general trend is this, nations that went in socialism through democratic processes were never given a chance because they tended to be in the West and the US overthrew their governments and installed dictators in most cases. Those that tried socialism after Revolutions tended to imitate the kind of tyranny that existed prior to the revolutions. There is one notable to example to that which was Nicaragua. Nicaragua overthrew and US supported dictator and became a democracy. But after years of US sponsored terrorism in which the World Court condemned the US for its actions, the people elected a non-scoalist government. However, the leader of that Sociallist government was elected back into office.

    Of course a negative example of a democracy that yielded a socialist leader was Venezuela. However, the Left criticized Chavez for not being socialistic in giving workers the opportunity to enter decision making positions. That was because Chavez imitated Castro.

    Thus, you see, there is no simple answer. However, there are pockets of socialism in the US. That is where workers own and democratically run the business. That is socialism in the private sector.

    As for Capitalism, what we see in foreign side of today’s neoliberal capitalism is a lack of concern for the environment and workers as well as a favoring for foreign investors over the voice of the people. On the domestic side of neoliberal capitalism, we see the same disregard for the environment and workers. The US, for example has been reclassified from being a democracy to that of being an oligarchy. And what you see with Trump as he eliminates protection for women at the workplace for businesses doing work for the federal government and he attacks Obama’s protections for clean air and water.

    So what seems like a simple question becomes complex for several reasons.

    Like

  78. Rev 153,
    Actually, the ministers I have heard of who stated this confessed to the denominational sin of supporting racism. I favor ministers recognizing our nation’s racism and trying to do something about it. As for me, I try to point out racism but I also encourage people to listen to those people who belong to races that have been marginalized. They are in a better position to tell us where racism still exists. The stigma around being labeled a racist produces a conflict of interests in people that prevents them from objectively examining themselves. And that includes me too.

    Like

  79. ” You acknowledge collective guilt. I do to. But it seems here that our disagreement comes in how to recognize when that collective guilt occurs. ”

    I think that is almost right..I think it is less disagreement than it is me trying to understand what you mean. Collective labeling can be used as a rhetorical shorthand and literally. I’m not saying one is true and the other false. I’m trying to understand which you mean in particular examples.

    For example, when I say Clemson won the National championship, I am using Clemson as shorthand for the players, coaches, and trainers who won. The history prof at Clemson who doesn’t know a football from a basketball did not win anything, doesn’t get a ring, commemorative jersey, or get to put on his cv that he was a national champion. So saying, “Clemson won” is rhetorical shorthand for saying the football team won.

    When three guys work together to sin, they are all guilty because each one individually materially cooperated in the sin. Refering to them collectively is again rhetorical shorthand. In this scenario, there is no one being found guilty because they were being represented by the three (say their wives, children, or friends).

    However, there are cases in scripture when one is found guilty on the basis of one’s representative. When Adam sinned, I was made guilty not because I also ate the forbidden fruit, but because I was represented by Adam. There are of course other examples where people bear guilt by virtue of their representative’s actions. Unlike the example of the three guys who cooperated on a robbery, collective guilt in these OT examples is not rhetorical shorthand.

    What I don’t see on the NT side of the cross are biblical examples of such collective guilt. Additionally, it is not clear to me how tp appropriate prophetic warnings made in the context of Israel’s covenant status for modern.nation states (application to churches following Revelation makes more sense). I certainly understand why one might reference individuals collectively from a grammatical stand point, but if we forget that these references are rhetorical shorthand it seems possible that one might misapply biblical texts that use similar rhetoric and mean something different.

    Looking at your example of Nazi Germany, we might argue over paying taxes to a state that does evil stuff makes one culpable of evil (if so Jesus and Paul commanded Christians to sin), but setting that aside, your rationale rests on the individual’s material cooperation rather than their group identity. Do you see my confusion?

    The reason this matters in the US is related to policy. If you say we are guilty of slavery and Jim Crow, many will respond, “I had nothing to do with it. Why should I repent or be expected to make amends?” If you are speaking rhetorically they make a good point. If you mean that they bear guilt based on their representative’s actions, I think you have a lot of work to do to demonstrate it. The way this discussion has evolved nationally is to take on the concepts of privilege and microaggression. The evidence is that this has been a counterproductive move (and is already being appropriated and weaponized by wealthy, white college students). There is a different path, but it is not very popular unfortunately. That is to set aside moral rhetoric when engaging public policy and adopt public reason. But that is a different conversation.

    My point, such as it is, is to understand what you mean by collective guilt and why.

    Like

  80. Curt,

    We were not talking about DG, we were talking about you. You consistently overemphasize and put the spotlight on “sharing society” with others and other social gospel/ liberation theology views. So it becomes hard to believe that is not your core view of the gospel’s essence. If we want to know what the gospel is our best resource is the Bible. To observe what God says about it is our best resource, not the opinions of others, whether victims or not.

    I pointed out that the Cambridge Declaration does a much better job of pointing to Biblical views of the Gospel than does the document in question from the original post.

    Also, the signers and the document itself referenced and link in the original post by Dr. Hart (again the point) were not talking about Providence. They say “gospel” clearly. In fact they hammer away about their leftist issues being the gospel.

    As one observer who refused to sign it rightly points out……..
    “It speaks vaguely about “structural injustice” and “degrees of privilege and power,” without explaining what those terms mean. It slyly suggests that Christians ought to share the priorities of the political left.”

    You do the same thing. But again that is why you are defending this document and movements like this one.

    Like

  81. those who began socialism well, like…Chile before Pinochet.

    Chile’s economy was in free-fall following the rise of Allende and headed to a Venezuela-like implosion. Pinochet and his regime did a lot of terrible things, but Chile remains much better off today as a result of many of the reforms he put in place that persist.

    Like

  82. E. Burns,
    We can’t talk about both? When you ask what I wrote about and part of what I wrote about addresses something D.G. said, we can’t talk about that?

    The problem I see for you is what you associate with sharing society with others. You seem locked on only one association with that concetp: Social Gospel and liberation theology. And even with that, it seems that one can’t see individual valid point with the Social Gospel and liberation without one embracing it as a whole according to your understanding. And such a view is too limited to recognize reality.

    Every Christian who is not living in a monastery deals with the question of how they as Christians will share society with others. Even theonomists deal with that question though their answer is somewhat different from mine. Any Christian who lives in society must deal that question.

    Your difficulty in believing what I am say has to do with the associations you insist on making when I bring up certain concepts. Basically, you’re jumping to conclusions based on what you have exposed yourself to before.. And again, your thinking has led you to believe that if one shares a few tenets with the political left, one embraces all of their theology.

    So tell me, why can’t a religiously conservative Christian share some of the tenets of the political left for different reasons than those on the political left do?

    Like

  83. sdb,
    Just because people in German society had different roles, doesn’t mean that they don’t share in the guilt of what they nation did. They just participated in different ways from the leaders who ordered the sinful acts to those who carried them out to those who knew what was going on and said not a word to those who could have known what was going on but made no effort to learn. Those who resisted, found ways to not participate in what Germany was doing then. The same goes for us now with what our nation is doing only suffice to say that we don’t have to be as bad as the nazis to warrant moral examination.

    Like

  84. Curt,

    Already established I do have certain empathy and agreement with some views of the left and that I am no right wing culture warrior Fox News junky Christian. But I lean more strongly, I tend to settle on the conservative side of things. I am OK just clearly stating such. I have no compulsion toward the Hegelian method. My trouble believing you has to do with your studied ambiguity and incongruent way of processing/ engaging. Your conclusion are not taking from exegesis, but from reading into things your prior political worldview (social gospel/ liberation theology) , hence you go off on infinite regress rabbit trails when someone tries to pin down what you are driving at. You clearly have a social gospel / liberation theology perspective, but when pressed you want to be coy and evasive, making things that are not at all the issue, the issue.

    Again sharing is good, it is the overemphasis that is the problem. The highest order of things in the Christian life is not sharing let alone many other things the social gospel and liberation theology make it out to be. That is where the signers of the document in the original post differ from those who refused to sign it and that is where you and I differ.
    I think at that heart of those differences is our views of the gospel itself. I think social justice/ liberation theology is essentially (although there are elements of truth in some of the issues they are concerned about) a “different gospel.”

    I can and do recognize the legit concerns (even agree with some things) of the left. It is where they ultimately take it that is the problem. Case in point, the original post and the signed document referenced is in no way reffering to Providence. They clearly make their leftist ideology tethered to what the essence of the gospel is. As I stated from the get go, that is wrong when the right does it and it is wrong when the left does it.

    Like

  85. Also another case in point, you state to sdb …….

    “Those who resisted, found ways to not participate in what Germany was doing then. The same goes for us now with what our nation is doing only suffice to say that we don’t have to be as bad as the nazis to warrant moral examination.”””

    While you give yourself somewhat of an out by kind of saying we middle class Americans are not as bad as the nazis.
    Nonetheless you are equating an awful lot here. (Studied ambiguity)

    So Curt, in what ways should we “”not participate in what our nation is doing””? Can you give us a list? What on that list requires similar type “moral examinations” that we would give Nazi’s. Please understand I think much that our nation does deserves deep moral examination. I can think of a list. But somehow I bet your list is going to be more like the one listed on the document signed by a bunch of left social gospel leaning folks from original post.

    “structural injustice” and “degrees of privilege and power,” etc. etc.

    When you state we “should not participate in what our nation is doing” and tie it into things nazi’s did and further more (as with the leftist views of original document in first post) tie it to the gospel…………..can you at all see where many of us find that a problem?

    Like

  86. ” Just because people in German society had different roles, doesn’t mean that they don’t share in the guilt of what they nation did.”
    No argument there. The question is whether people who had no role in what the nation did other than sharing a German idenity shared in the guilt. Does the German born in 1943 share in the guilt (like Korah’s children)? If the answer is no, then Germans aren’t collectively guilty – speaking of collective guilt is just rhetorical shorthand to talk about the large number of Germans who did bad things which I surmise is what yoy mean based on you writing,

    “They just participated in different ways from the leaders who ordered the sinful acts to those who carried them out to those who knew what was going on and said not a word to those who could have known what was going on but made no effort to learn.”

    So the question is what responsibility a believer has as a citizen of a state that does evil things. It just so happens that we have an example in the NT. Jesus tells us to pay taxes to Caesar, so paying taxes to an evil regime cannot be sinful. Paul tells us to honor Nero !?!!), so honoring a ruler who uses rape, genocide, and enslavement doesn’t count (financial support of demonic worship by buying meat sacrificed to idols isn’t sinful, so presumably indiresct subsidy of sinful behavior is not itself sinful), and Paul didn’t speak out against slavery and sent a slave back to his owner indicating not working against social injustice is not sinful. The NT examples provide boundary conditions for what should be included in a blanket declaration of sinful behavior.

    “Those who resisted, found ways to not participate in what Germany was doing then.”
    Right. So they weren’t collectively guilty.

    “The same goes for us now with what our nation is doing only suffice to say that we don’t have to be as bad as the nazis to warrant moral examination.”
    Paul tells us not to judge those outside the church, so we shouldn’t engage in moral examination of unbelievers. Prudential judgements in our role as citizens is a different matter. The church doesn’t have the authority to pass judgment on adiaphoric matters, and the scriptures do not provide a prescription for how citizens should engage the state thus it is not a moral matter.

    Like

  87. sdb,
    When you look at the list of people I already mentioned, who was left in German society to be those who had no role? People just born? They wouldn’t share but they shared in the results

    Btw, I never asked whether citizens shared the some the same guilt as the leaders. Citizens had their own guilt and failures.

    And, btw, if you look at he example of Achan, who should not have shared in his guilt?

    Like

  88. E. Burns,
    An out? How many nations sinned to the degree that Nazi Germany did? Almost all and people recognize that. But having sinned less than Nazi Germany does not leave us off the hook. So I am kind of saying the opposite from how you took it.

    As to how we don’t have to share in the participation of our nation’s sins, I think History provides a more comprehensive list than I could. So look at the past examples of how citizens opposed the actions and laws of their nations and compile a list. What the citizens in Nazi Germany did will contribute to the list as well as the actions performed by those who protested wars or those who protested Jim Crow. Certainly, those are not the only examples, but when you look at history, you will get a better list of ideas than what I could provide.

    Like

  89. Curt,

    The point is that while there may be elements of truth to some concerns about injustice, etc. social justice/ liberation theology is essentially a “different gospel.”

    Again, that is where the academic signers of the document in the original post differ from those who refused to sign it and that is where you and I differ.

    Like

  90. “When you look at the list of people I already mentioned, who was left in German society to be those who had no role? People just born? They wouldn’t share but they shared in the results”

    Right, so there is no collective guilt. Speaking of Germany sinning during ww2 is rhetorical shorthand for referring to the sins of individuals in the state.

    “Btw, I never asked whether citizens shared the some the same guilt as the leaders. Citizens had their own guilt and failures.”
    No dispute from me, but this clarifies that we are not talking about collective, national sin. The reason this matters is that it provides important boundaries for how we appropriate the OT passages for political guidance.

    “And, btw, if you look at he example of Achan, who should not have shared in his guilt?”
    Achan’s? Those who were not found guilty – those for whom he was not a repesentative. Those he did represent were collectively found guilty on account of their representative’s sin. Thus his children and even livestock were killed.

    Like

  91. E. Burns,
    I understand that liberation theology is a different gospel. That has never been the issue. The issue has always been what specifics from liberation theology can we learn from and use.

    So what in the confessional statement above do you see as being antithetical to the Gospel so that one could not honestly hold to both?

    Like

  92. sdb,
    Don’t know why you came to the conclusion you did. That the just born didn’t share in the collective guilt doesn’t imply no one did. There is a sharp distinction between those who had no role in Nazi Germany’s national sins and those who did.

    But even if we were to argue from the example of Achan, then even the born in Nazi Germany share in the guilt of their nation’s sins.

    So whether the just born share the guilt in national sins of Nazi Germany or not. there is collective guilt.

    Like

  93. Curt,

    Getting the gospel right, is the issue. It is the problem with the document in question.

    Curt states—“”So what in the confessional statement above do you see as being antithetical to the Gospel so that one could not honestly hold to both?””

    Ray VanArragon put it very well I think and he is also linked above in original post………
    “”First, the petition is unduly expansive, covering a range of topics that include racism, economic disparity, the environment, and our lack of neighborliness. At the same time it does not offer any recommendations for concrete responsive action. It speaks vaguely about “structural injustice” and “degrees of privilege and power,” without explaining what those terms mean. It slyly suggests that Christians ought to share the priorities of the political left – a suggestion reinforced by the fact that, expansive as it is, it makes no mention of abortion. Right-of-center Christians, even well-meaning ones, may be inclined to dismiss the petition as pompous, disingenuous, and one-sided.””

    It does speak vaguely about “injustice”, it also takes its direction about what the Gospel is not primarily from God, but rather from current social issues, “victims” and (as mentioned many times) from a left leaning sense of moral outrage. That is not the Gospel, but it has been elevated to such. I have no compulsion to synchronize these two, I have no compulsion toward the Hegelian method. In fact that is a big part of the problem you and the signers of said document have, your need to synchronize. Where I would seek to be more Christ like in the areas neighborly love is one thing, it is another to confuse my sharing, my activism, my “doing the gospel”, my perceived good works, etc. with the Gospel.
    That is a serious problem, as Paul pointed out in Galatians 1. Pretty strict warnings for those who mess with the Gospel. The document does “slyly suggest that Christians ought to share the priorities of the left”, ties it to the gospel (not Providence) and by implication if people are not in line with it they are not being as faithful to the gospel. But this is what happens when folks make the highest order of things in the Christian life “sharing society” and other such things.

    The Gospel is not about our activism, it is about the person and work of Christ.

    Like

  94. Don’t know why you came to the conclusion you did. That the just born didn’t share in the collective guilt doesn’t imply no one did. There is a sharp distinction between those who had no role in Nazi Germany’s national sins and those who did.

    If there is a sharp distinction between those who had no role and those who did, then that group (all Germans) are not collectively guilty. Rather the people who each had a role in the activity were individually guilty and bore their own guilt.

    But even if we were to argue from the example of Achan, then even the born in Nazi Germany share in the guilt of their nation’s sins.

    Right. If the leaders of a nation (or any other group) are moral representatives of the people, then people being thus represented are collectively guilty (or blessed) on the basis of their representative. There are instances where this is true. A few examples that I have provided are the people of Sodom, the people of Ninevah, the family of Korah, etc… The most famous example of course are the descendants of Adam. We are born “sinful and miserable” and under the curse of death not because of anything we did, but because of what our representative did on our behalf. Of course, the elect are made righteous not because of anything they did, but because of what our savior did on our behalf. This is the gospel! The God’s dealing with the nations under the old covenant was in the context of their relationship to His chosen nation. The blessings and curses described in the OT must be understood in this context. In the new covenant, the blessings and curses are described in relation to one’s belonging in the church.

    So whether the just born share the guilt in national sins of Nazi Germany or not. there is collective guilt.

    Again, I’m trying to gain some precision here so that I understand exactly what you mean. I don’t dispute the reality of collective guilt. I do dispute who the representatives are under whom guilt is collected. Citizens of Germany during the Nazi regime were not collectively guilty (guilty because of their citizenship). Each was guilty only because of what each did individually. This is different from the OT examples. My point is not that every punishment doled out for collective sin is the same, but instead to illustrate the scope of collective sin – the babies are mentioned explicitly to highlight how they were under the curse by virtue of their identity not their behavior. I gather you are not claiming that for Germans. Rather you are claiming that those who participated in the regime contributed materially to the crimes of the Nazis and all of those people (who all but a very few exceptional cases) are similarly guilty of the same thing. Is this what you mean by collective guilt?

    Like

  95. sdb,
    If collective guilt is the result of corporate sin, then why are you hung up on the status of those who did not participate in the corporate sin? That groups sin doesn’t mean that everyone in the groups played the same role in those sins. And for those who are not guilty or not as guilty, their non participation, as in the case of infants and small children, or their resistance to the group sin show that participation in sins of one’s own group is not necessarily inevitable.

    And realize here that when it comes to national sins, we are talking about how Christians relate to society. How they relate to society is is not necessarily a part of the Gospel proclamation. But that we must relate to society is a reality. Here, we are not just talking about a nation’s leaders being the moral representatives of the people, we are talking about people who either voluntarily contribute to the immoralities promoted by a nation’s leaders or who in silent complicity support the actions of a nation’s leaders.

    When a group murder and steal from others, that group is seen as a single entity as well as an organization of individuals. We see that within a nation when a company commits fraud, the company is punished or when a nation violates certain standards, the nation as a whole is punished. But then we also have the accountability of individuals within those groups because the individuals did not have the same roles in the lawless and/or immoral acts they performed. I get the feeling that one of the difficulties you have in seeing the points I am making is that you are employing an exclusive-or logic when thinking about individual and group sins.

    Like

  96. E. Burns,
    Again, understanding that the gospel preached by liberation theology is a false gospel is not the issue here. The issue is whether liberation theology, despite its faulty view of the Gospel, as any contributions to make to our understanding of how we should share society with others. Certainly you don’t believe that only Christians or only conservatives can help us understand how to better society. And how to work for a better society is both a reality and not a proclamation of the Gospel.

    And let’s remember what Jesus said during the beginning of His ministry. He quoted Isaiah when Isaiah was talking about those who were victims. In addition, Social Justice doesn’t speak to victims alone, it speaks to those who oppress and/or exploit those who are vulnerable. You might find it interesting that if you survey the topics mentioned in sermons, they vary according to whether the members of a congregation enjoy privilege or suffer through marginalization. Bonhoeffer discovered this when attending a church in Harlem while studying at Union Theological Seminary. Why did this occur? Because the members of the church he attended had to learn how to live through marginalization that included seeing members from other similar churches beaten, denied jobs, denied goods and services from business, or even murdered because of the victim’s race. Of course, those who live in privilege need only to pay attention to their inner spiritual state and whether they were breaking some taboo.

    Like

  97. Curt,

    You certainly read the hearts of those you deem as privileged don’t you! So while you finally acknowledge it (liberation theology) is a completely false gospel you are now making the driving issue that we get together and sing Kumbaya and learn from one another ??? So while it is utterly false we have a lot to learn from it? Wow! Ok. Is our next round of conversation going to be something like…..”it all depends on what the definition of is, is?” I think we should probably wrap this up.

    Understanding that the gospel preached by liberation theology is a false gospel and that the signed document in question from Dr. Hart’s original post is indeed very representative of liberation/ social gospel/ social justice theology is the issue here. Furthermore the original document ( as well as movements like it) openly tie it into the gospel. This is a misguided idea that we can “be or do the gospel”.
    Watch this for more Biblical view of what the Gospel is>> http://wscal.edu/resource-center/resource/what-is-the-gospel1

    This is yet again evidence as to why conversation with you is difficult, your incongruence is really staggering. It is why sdb won’t get any where with you , any more than I. You state you understand ..”the gospel preached by liberation theology is a false gospel”, but then have an entire theological life and world view (evidenced at your blog) which believes we have oh soooo much to learn from liberation theology. Indeed this is the driver in your theology. Again your compulsive need to synchronize incompatible theologies is evident.

    No we do not have much to learn from them, just some things we can agree on. Did Paul have “much” he needed to learn from the judaizers? Did Moses have “much” to learn from the Egyptian gods? I could certainly say that many of their (liberation theology) justice, human dignity in God’s image, respect for all classes and races, etc. are a good things. I can certainly agree with their concern over a Christian heart of care for those marginalized. But I did not learn that from liberation theology. I learned it from a Christian training, etc. etc. …..I learned it from a white “privileged” WWII vet grandfather who as a manager of a retail grocery store in the 1950’s when confronted with concerns from African American’s in his community about how…. “Mr. Burns we know we need to enter through the back door””, he responded….”My friends go through the front door.” At his great cost. (This is the part where you jump in and say he has no idea what cost is) I have no delusions of grandeur (nor did my Grandfather) that my grandfather experienced the deep societal marginalization to the degree that his African-American neighbors did in 1950. He was white, he was in no way marginalized to the degree that African Americans were at that time. It is your extremism that I cannot fully get behind, though I emphathize and respect (even to your surprise have supported) some of your concerns. It is your using the easy accepted “moral outrage” of 2017 and applying it as if those situations were as bad as 1950. It is your sly distortion of the gospel that I object to.

    That said, once again your conclusions are completely driven by your extreme activism socialist liberation theological worldview ( I don’t mind using that term worldview) not from exegesis of the Bible. No sir, I cannot in good conscience get behind their (liberation theology) “different gospel”! (Galattans 1) You get behind it far to much, it is indeed your driver. I want to believe the best of your motives and your love for Christ, but you are in error.

    “”While the theology of the cross may be believed, these movements are actually emptying it of its meaning.””

    What we win them with, we win them to. Let us make sure it is the Christ of Scripture, not the Jesus according to Howard Zinn.

    Like

  98. E. Burns,
    What do you mean I finally acknowledged the false gospel of Liberation Theology? What about you acknowledging the specifics of what we have to learn from Liberation Theology.

    And what did I say about the hearts of the privileged? What I am referring to but did not make clear is difference in sermon content between those churches whose members live in privileged circumstances vs those churches whose members are marginalized. This is observational data, not a claim to know any hearts–though I was not clear enough in saying that in my last comment.

    Finally, you can’t even specify what my socialist views are. For if you could, you would find that I am much more of a moderate socialist and, by Rosa Luxemburg’s standards, would be considered more of a believer in a bourgeoisie democracy than a socialist. So while you pretend to know what sociallism and my views are, the truth is that you have no clue regarding either. And you’re too phobic to really investigate the issue lest you discover something from Socialism with which you might agree.

    See, a 2ker like D.G. would acknowledge that, as individuals, Christians can work with nonChristians in building a better society. That is a basic tenet of 2KT. Where I disagree with 2KT is in its tenets that prohibit the Church as an institution from addressing corporate sins. For 2kers, that would mean that I would be a transformationalist, but I am not. For a basic tenet of transformationalism is that the Church merits a privileged place in society for establishing some degree of Christian rule over society. Transformationalists correctly, IMO, believe that the Church, as an institution, should address the state’s and society’s corporate sins, but they go too far in doing so. BTW, if you read Keller, what you find is that his kind of transformationalism, in some instances, results in the same kind of relationship between the Church as an institution has with society as 2Kers believe the Church should have with the state and society. For while he is not shy in supporting the Church in in its opposition to racism, he is a practical 2Ker when it comes to the Church addressing the injustices of our economic classism.

    But see, all of the above pertains to discussing how Christians should share society with others. Thus, the above is a practical theology issue, not a preaching of the Gospel issue.

    Like

  99. Curt,

    Then why did the original liberation theology document signed by nemureous academics make it a gospel issue?
    (You need to go read it again, because they clearly do, but you know that don’t you)

    Your incongruence and sly slight of hand (studied ambiguity) is showing again. But then again the document in question uses the same sly tactics. Birds of a feather.

    Like

  100. E.Burns,
    Actually, your misconceptions about what other believe as well as your all-or-nothing thinking is what is the problem. That liberation theology misunderstands the Gospel does not negate everything it states. And your pretending to know what socialism is about is obvious to anyone who has studied it.

    The same goes for your understanding of Liberation Theology. What in the statement that D.G. quoted above or in the whole statement from the source belongs exclusively to Liberation Theology? Do you really think that mere expressions of solidarity provides an exhaustive description of Liberation Theology?

    And what about the people from conservative institutions who have signed on? These institutions include Biblical Theological Seminary, BIOLA, Calvin College, Moody Bible Institute, Oral Roberts University, and Wheaton College. These institutions serve as the center of Liberation Theology? In fact, I know one of the people who signed the document and that person is not even close to being counted as a follower of Liberation Theology. Isn’t it possible that some of the things said in Liberation Theology can also be said by any Bible believing Christian?

    And what are the Gospel issues they bring up that have not been brought up by either the Old or New Testaments? BTW, here, you should remember that the Gospel is veiled in the Old Testament? What does Jesus say in the parables of the sheep and the goats or in the one of the Good Samaritan? What does John say in his epistles about not loving our brothers and sisters or neglecting those who are in need while we have resources? Or what passage from Isaiah does Jesus read to being his ministry?

    You really need to study subjects like Socialism and Liberation Theology before trying to make public judgements you made here. Because all you have shown here is the misuse of logic and an ignorance of what you are talking about.

    Like

  101. Curt,

    So now they are Gospel issues? Is it providence or is it being and doing the gospel, please make up your mind Curt. You need to understand definitions before you make judgements.
    Solidarity : Unity, fuller agreement, common ground, mutual working together.
    No Curt, those of us who come from a more Confessional Reformed perspective do not have that kind of Unity with Liberation theology any more than we do with Benny Hinn. It is a different gospel as well as practical theology. Yes, we may agree with some of their concerns but what you were asking for is a whole other story. No Curt, your total un-biblical understanding of the gospel is the problem here. It is not our understanding of socialism which is the issue here, it is your understanding of the Biblical Gospel which is the problem. I have already answered your questions. Your words really give a deep seeking of justice and such a peaceful feeling, makes me want to share society with others, so impressive. Your social sense of community, peace and justice stops the second someone opposes your ideas. It is not that I or others do not understand these issues, or your secret sauce socialism (easily accessible at your boring blog), it is not that we haven’t answered or clarified, it is that we do not agree with or affirm you and your comrades that pisses you off. Talk about all or nothing thinking.

    You state….What about the people who signed from “conservative institutions” ? (You really only think about what you are going to say next and don’t listen, did you not notice way back when I said one of my children is a student at one of these schools, I personally know some of these signers) As if Conservative institutions are monolithic? Ha! I thought you liked nuance. No what you like (insist on really) is full adherence to your world view and perspective. You’re going to make a great party Leader some day Curt, all the makings, giftings and talents are there. Of course many academics at those “conservative” places are lefty’s and radical activists like you. They have nuanced leanings etc. as do I. We often discuss, though we disagree. Unlike in your ideal circles it is OK to not follow the party line in “conservative institutions”.

    There you go again, back to your secret sauce. This is not about Curt’s ideal socialism, not all about your vision of social gospel fullfilment, not ultimately, but for you that is the ultimate issue here, that which all of life revolves around. Which is why you insist I and others agree with and affirm your position. (after all if we don’t agree with you, we are the privileged class that are keeping you down) It is the reason you keep driving everything back to that. It is your center, that is clear. Yes, we can agree with some concerns that socialist, liberation theology, and all manner of other groups have. That is not the same thing as allowing those movements to be the drivers via the extremism that you embrace. Where did Paul or Jesus ever make the thrust of their ministry what one will see at your blog? Jesus the community organizer, the Labour leader. Please!! That is a Jesus created in your own image Curt. That is just as bad as the Pathetic Rush Limbaugh Jesus of the right wing evangelicals. Not good when the right or the left drives the train. You state elsewhere that you do not believe that neither the proletariat or the bourgeoisie should be the driver. Nice sounding rhetoric and lip service on your part, but that is hard to believe considering the core of what you keep driving at and what your blog reveals. Constant pseudo intellectual protest, easy moral outrage and activism is your bourgeoisie, the capital you will only trade in, your gospel. I am not a consumer in your economy, count me out.

    The Gospel is not the pseudo intellectual liberation activism that you have embraced and which you insist on any more than it is a Rush Limbaugh version of it is. Just repeating ourselves, getting no where here. Like I say, we need to wrap this up. You can have the last word Curt.

    Grace and Peace

    Like

  102. E. Burns,
    Why are you so always aggressive? My first opinion was based on what was merely quoted above. My change simply came from reading the whole document. And my last view simply says that how we treat others must reflect how we have been treated by God in the Gospel–which is a view I’ve always had.

    But it isn’t a Gospel issue in terms of redefining the Gospel. There is no alternative salvation being offered or some alternative means of salvation being defined in the document in question. There is merely an expression of solidarity with marginalized people. So tell me, based on how God has treated you in the Gospel, why would you oppose that expression of solidarity? What in the Scriptures would make you opposed to showing concern with those who are marginalized either by race, economics, religion, etc? And if your claim about those who come from a confessional reformed perspective are true, then why, again, do signers of that document include people Calvin College or Biblical Theological Seminary? Don’t those signatures provide a counterexample to your claim?

    And consider the criticism I provided of your views. You are approaching this liberation theology perspective from an all-or-nothing viewpoint as if liberation theology has everything to learn from your particular confessional position and your position has everything to teach. On the other hand, you admit that there can be some common concerns. That seems like a mixed message.

    But as for your question about Paul or Jesus and their preaching, please answer the following. Did Paul only preach and teach on what Jesus said or did he preach and teach on more than what Jesus said? Aren’t there historical differences between the times of Jesus and Paul that moved Paul to preach on what Jesus did not cover in His preaching? So now, what about the changes in history that have occurred since the preaching of Paul? Wasn’t Paul determined to spread the Gospel throughout the world that knew nothing of it? And how does that apply to us since the Gospel has already been spread throughout the world. But not only that, the Gospel has been associated with injustices because of what some nations have done to other nations and people in the name of the Gospel. That wasn’t the case in Paul’s time.

    It seems that what is allowed by your theology is only that which was explicitly stated or could be imitated by Jesus and Paul. But times have changed. For not only has the Gospel been spread throughout the world and the Gospel has been dishonored by what some governments have done in the name of Jesus, we have democracies. And what was explicitly stated or shown by example by Jesus or Paul which tells us Christians how we should interact in a democracy? There is nothing in the preaching of either one telling us whether we should even vote let alone for whom to vote. And there is nothing their preaching that would tell us that we could run for office.

    But even on your own terms, Jesus told the parables of the sheep and the goats or the Good Samaritan because He was unconcerned with the marginalized and those who were victimized? Or Paul was unconcerned with the poor despite saying the opposite in Galatians 2? And isn’t the neglect of the marginalized condemned by the OT prophets?

    Just because D.G. and you find no merit in the “liberation theology” document cited above, doesn’t mean that no person from a legitimate Reformed Confessional perspective can’t find merit. But more important than what the Reformed Confessional perspective says is this: What in the Scriptures prohibit us from showing solidarity with the marginalized? Look at what Jesus read from Isaiah to introduce His ministry.

    BTW, most of your comments are not really addressing the issues here. Rather, they seem to be more of an exercise in trying to put down someone you disagree with. And in that, you are imitating Rush Limbaugh.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s