I Didn’t Think Kevin Spacey was an Orthodox Presbyterian

Despite what we now know about the actor, I remain a big fan of The Big Kahuna, a movie I even recommended as one of Hollywood’s better renderings of evangelicalism. (Trigger warning: language is vulgar in places.) Spacey starred in and produced the movie. Am I in danger of my publisher removing all copies of That Old-Time Religion in Modern America because of the way the book opens?

The Big Kahuna may not have been a box office hit, but the 1999 movie starring Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito offered a surprisingly candid glimpse of the way many Americans have come to regard the subject of this book, twentieth-century evangelicalism in the United States. The film features three men who work for a firm that produces industrial lubricants and are assigned to host a cocktail party at a hotel in Wichita, Kansas, during a convention for industry-related vendors and producers. Two of the characters are from the sales division, experienced salesmen for whom the task of pitching the company’s product has nurtured a degree of cynicism and weariness. The third is a young, bright and somewhat naive evangelical Protestant who works in the research division. Their chief task on this particular evening is to make contact with the owner of Indiana’s largest manufacturing company, the “big Kahuna,” whose contract could salvage the salesmen’s declining careers.

Of course, Kevin Spacey is not the only one vulnerable. But we have no better sign of how Harry Emerson Fosdick lost and fundamentalists won than the way that mainstream institutions are employing standards that would have made my fundamentalist Baptist congregation think they were living in a Christian nation. Back then, as I have remarked before, I was under the impression that anyone I should esteem as a hero should also be a Christian. And with that logic, I turned my favorite athlete, Richie Allen, 3rd-baseman for the Phillies (and rookie of the year in 1964), into a born-again Christian, only to be crushed when a television camera showed him smoking a cigarette during a game.

Has our culture really come to that, the moral calculus of an eight-year-old dispsenationalist Baptist?

Of course, Peter Leithart tries to put a better spin on it:

But is private morality so easily distinguished from public ethics? Can we trust someone who lies, bullies, and manipulates to cover up the embarrassment of private sin? Doesn’t such a person prove himself a liar? Hasn’t he proven that he lacks the basic public virtue of justice?

Leithart is writing with politicians in mind, but the same point applies to artistic expressions? Should I sit with an author, director, or musician for anywhere between 30 minutes and two weeks who may be performing acts in private that would prove distasteful in public?

But here’s the other side that few of the new morality police seem to consider: why are good works whether performed in private or public any sort of guarantee of admirable character? If good works are filthy rags, if people do good works for noble and ignoble reasons, and if someone is unregenerate, how trustworthy are they (especially by our current Wesleyan standards)? According to the Confession of Faith:

Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands; and of good use both to themselves and others: yet, because they proceed not from an heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God, they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God: and yet, their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto God. (16.7)

I get it that sexual abuse is bad. But let’s not fool ourselves about any actor or politician. The doctrine of total depravity teaches that behind that image of virtue and decency lurks a heart that is desperately wicked. Who can know it? Agents, spouses, interns, anyone who sees the public figure off camera.

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25 thoughts on “I Didn’t Think Kevin Spacey was an Orthodox Presbyterian

  1. Good one, D. A lot of virtue signaling going on. Nothing new apparently… ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector…’

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  2. thank you god that i do not virtue signal as others do

    At least I am not self-righteous when it comes to politics or my participation in Satan’s kingdom.

    Being neither a baptist nor a theonomist does not make you neutral

    Isn’t Roy Moore a Methodist, and also a paedobaptist and a Sabbatarian?

    How shall we escape the cynicism of thanking God that we are not like the Pharisee?

    Every attempt to be more catholic involves also excluding those who are not inclusive in the same way you are.
    Every attempt to say that some are too sectarian involves separation from such separatists.

    Every attempt by the true church to promote “Christian liberty” when it comes to the day or the nature of keeping Sabbath ends up excluding those you think are more “fundamentalist” or “legalistic”

    ….and the irony doesn’t go away even we are self-conscious about it

    http://babylonbee.com/news/police-cite-woman-failure-virtue-signal-crisis/

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  3. People who don’t believe the Bible have no gospel, so of course they will call what they do have “gospel”

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/repent-and-believe-in-the-gospel-over-300-christian_us_5a13384fe4b08b00ba6732d2?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003

    Those who equate “family values” with “church” like to raise funds to put up monuments of “the moral law”.

    But I don’t see anybody tearing down the statues of false religion (like they did back in the Reformation before those in charge put a stop to it) Roman Catholics say that Mary never died. They say Mary was assumed and ascended into heaven. The Papists deny that Mary could have died because they claim Mary never sinned. Romanist Idolaters argue that Mary never had Adam’s sin imputed to her. She grew up in the covenant.

    Gary Demar–.The Southern Poverty Law Center is a fund raising industry designed to silence conservatives who want their country back. They promote the fiction of America’s secular past…

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  4. It’s hard to hear Christians use that verse (Jer 17:9) for themselves-especially when justifying and excusing their sin- without acknowledging what the Lord has done/is doing in them:

    Ezekiel 36:26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

    Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

    “Without some such shock treatment, the nominal Christian and the worldly Christian may never wake up to the fact that they are believing and abiding and praying the way the devil does.”
    Good article here this am https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/do-you-pray-like-the-devil

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  5. Great post, and another classic line:

    “And with that logic, I turned my favorite athlete, Richie Allen, 3rd-baseman for the Phillies (and rookie of the year in 1964), into a born-again Christian, only to be crushed when a television camera showed him smoking a cigarette during a game.”

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  6. Darryl, you’re disappointment regarding your favorite “athlete” (also my favorite Phillie in the sixties) was unnecessary:
    Former Phillie John Kruk informs…

    It was spring training, and John Kruk was significantly overweight.
    He was also drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. A woman recognized him, and she approached him. “You should be ashamed of yourself. You’re an athlete,” she said.
    Kruk responded, “I ain’t an athlete, lady. I’m a baseball player.”

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  7. Don’t those baseball guys play on the Sabbath?

    Leithart–Smith complains about the “how-to” approach of handbook Biblicists. Fine. He thinks that Biblicists flatten Scripture, displace Christ from the center, ignore complexities, treat the Scriptures as a tidy technical manual for living. True. But these hermeneutical decisions are detachable in particular from the question of whether Scripture has “universal applicability.”. Scripture is Christ-centered when it makes historical claims, when it provides the pattern for constructing a tabernacle in the wilderness and offering animal sacrifice, when it provides a songbook of Israel’s praise, when its prophets castigate Israel’s idolatry and injustice, when it gives commands and promises, when it speaks of marriage and money and power and violence This sort of approach allows Westminster Seminary’s Vern Poythress to move “from an affirmation that Scripture is essentially about Christ and the gospel to the claim that the Bible instructs Christians “in every area of life.” …He receives Scripture’s Christ-centeredness as God has chosen to confer it.

    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2011/08/a-cheer-and-a-half-for-biblicism

    Christian Smith–The way universality functions in a biblicist framework (characterized by pervasive interpretive pluralism) is very different than with the kind of Christocentric hermeneutic I propose. Of course Jesus Christ is the universal creator, upholder, redeemer, and Lord of all things. But I do not accept Leithart’s view of “universality” Leithart’s focusing our attention on “do unto others” instead of the many other more difficult, strange, and seemingly indigestible passages of scripture diverts attention away from the magnitude and intractability of the larger problem.

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  8. @ Mark:

    Do I remember correctly that you self-describe as 1k?

    If so, then where lies your difference with a Poythress or Leithart?

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  9. “But we have no better sign of how Harry Emerson Fosdick lost and fundamentalists won than the way that mainstream institutions are employing standards that would have made my fundamentalist Baptist congregation think they were living in a Christian nation.”

    What do you mean by this? I thought the old liberals were moralists just like the fundamentalists.

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  10. Jeff, I think you already know the answer but I don’t mind repeating it for you. You two kingdom folks put yourselves in the middle between us pacifists (who won’t vote and kill for Satan’s kingdom) and theonomists like Calvin (who insisted that the Geneva city magistrates not let Servetus flee elsewhere). So, yes I have more sympathy for the theonomists on the other extreme, not only because I want to be extreme on my side, but also because these theonomists tend to expose the “neutral” pretensions of those who defend the status quo by means of the “spirituality of the one church” .

    DGH –The conversion of emperors and kings gave a plausibility to Christianity that made the evangelization of medieval Europe more plausible than it would have been with Christianity as a minority and persecuted faith

    https://oldlife.org/2017/02/06/the-2k-middle-way/

    Despite being a disciple of Machen, Hart has a Constantinian fear of Christian liberty when it comes to Sunday morning and evening church. Hart wants the clergy to give us high church and is also willing to qualify religious liberty so that even Pilate gets a pass when Pilate does what Pilat needs to do to defend the status quo. Leithart’s wing of the theonomists is also very high church but without 2k’s question-begging boundaries between spiritual and non-spiritual, (or between this age and the age to come).

    Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom , Peter Leithart, IVP, 2010

    Leithart believes that that the efficacy of infant baptism will save not only the children of OPC families but also the world in this age. Thus Leithart puts pacifist John Yoder in the “anti-realist”category , then puts the Niebuhrs on the other end (original sin but no regeneration) , and then sits himself in the middle. “In the end it all comes down to infant baptism.” P 341. When asked how Constantine and infant baptism will save the world, Leithart asks us to stop being so impatient. Baptism has happened, and it will change the world. Baptism is not what we do, baptism is what God has done.

    Jeff, Leithart is still a theonomist, and his high church ritualism (Theopolis Instititute, James Jordan) has not changed his dogmatic agenda that “the Old Testament is normative for politics”. (p 131). When somebody like James Carroll (Constantine’s Sword) complains about the anti-semitism of Augustine, Leithart is quick to defend the good old days of the middle ages. The Jews were merely not allowed to proselytize, and besides, he is pro-Jewish because he thinks the OT is normative for politics. And he’s against all kinds of sectarian proselytizing, except of course his own proselytizing for the one visible universal church which will leave the opc and the roman catholics far behind…

    Leithart very much opposes the “John Locke” Protestantism in which separatists (isolationists) “hold opinions that divide them from the general public”. Leithart quotes Rushdoony (p 181) about Trinitarians resisting imperialism. If you won’t support killing heretics, then you are left with “invisible churches”.

    Which church? Whose ordinations? Leithart cautions us to be patient about all such details. All we need to know for now is that infants are being watered in the name of the Trinity. . It’s happening, no matter what kind of “nominalist” objections brought up by “individual conscience”.

    If you won’t defend Augustine for killing Donatists who “re-baptize”, then you simply show that you are a revivalist or a pietist at heart and not a real Protestant who teaches grace. . Real Presbyterians still know that it’s a sin not to have your infants watered by the one church. We cannot say that Constantine had no mission, because his mission was the empire, and in order to become a citizen in that empire, you also needed to be watered and if you object to that, you show yourself to be a modernist, a liberal and not a Christian. .

    Indeed, argues Leithart, Constantine really subverted the empire (you see) because Constantine used his great power in the empire to change the empire! How could Constantine have ended the gladiatorial shows, if he had retreated from cultural engagement like the poets and the pacifists do ?

    If you can vote, you must vote , and if you can kill for a more civilized culture, then the killing itself becomes civilization!

    If Daniel can dream for the Department of Homeland Security, doesn’t it stand to reason that you also must become emperor if you can kill enough people to do so? And shame on Constantine for refusing to wear the purple when he thought he was near death, as if being emperor and being Christian were in competition. This is where two kingdoms distinctions come in. Christian liberty means we don’t need to stop doing stuff not forbidden if we have the right office. Stuff like killing

    Augustine was a Christian. Augustine was not a pacifist. Therefore Christians do not need to be pacifists.

    Christians need only to reject “their wars” (the wars of others, the wars of the Marxists and the liberation theologians and the pacifist sectarians). But when Constantine becomes a Christian, then Constantine’s wars become Christian wars, and thus our wars.. Everybody’s wars.

    Leithart explains to us that Yoder was effected by his social location—writing in Europe against the state churches of Europe, Yoder could not see that modern nation-states are not the same thing as the medieval achievement of cultural unity. We must all agree now that justification by faith alone is mere Gnosticism and that the future aspect of justification is by obedience to God’s law, and for that we need high church.

    Sure. Constantine’s history Is somewhat messy (especially his family life) but the alternative is the impatience of perfectionism. Leithart appeals to all us who grew up in evangelicalism or fundamentalism and now see ourselves as superior to all that. Surely, “ our time now is not an empty parenthesis.”, We need to work with that which has come about with the passing of time, and if we resist the gradualism of the Magisterial Reformers, we will end up with no high church and no more conservative culture!

    If you are patient enough, you can make the world Christian in the same way that you make an infant a Christian. You water the world with the name Christian. . And then you start talking to the Lutherans and the Methodists and the Romanists like they are Christians, instead of being suspicious about it. If you do not agree that the Arminians are all already Christians, already baptized, then what can you say to Arminians about what they should do to reform?

    Leithart ( 333): “The Creator made man to participate in and prosecute His wars.” Jeff, I don’t think we need triangulation here between different offices or two kingdoms. Either killing is right or we pacifists are right. Leithart contextualizes Jesus, so that His dying at the cross rather than killing, is particular, specific, and unique, and never ever an example for anybody. How could we possibly think that what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount was for all Christians in all places and for all times?

    Do we get to pick which kingdom we are loyal to, depending on circumstance and situation (is it the Sabbath) ? If you used to be a pacifist, then you might think the problem is pacifism. If you used to be a theonomist, then you might think the solution is saying that the Abrahamic administration of “the covenant of grace” is not like the Mosaic administration of “the covenant of grace”.

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  11. Jeff, I know you ask the questions, but can you tell me what a “sacerdotalist” is? I mean, something more specific than the “they are sacerdotalists but we are not” answer. Also, something beside the “efficacy at a different time” or “efficacy sometimes but not always therefore efficacy” answers….

    dgh–A high view of the Word (preached) and Sacrament, in turn leads to a very different picture of the minister than the one that prevails in contemporary Presbyterian churches. Indeed, the special office of ordination is the place where low-church Presbyterianism comes full circle and reduces the work of the pastor to one of the many ministries that God’s people conduct in all stations and walks of life. Here the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers and the Great Commission have been perverted to mean that ministers render services that are no different from what other believers do…. Yet, if preaching really is the Word of God and if the Sacraments really communicate the benefits of redemption, then the people who perform such acts are clearly different from other believers and should be set apart (ordained) to perform such holy tasks. What is more, Christ’s words in Matthew 28:18–20 to go into all the world and make disciples are not a legitimate basis for every Christian thinking that he is called to minister the Word. Christ’s instructions make it clear that the means of discipling the nations are Word (teaching) and Sacrament (baptism). And if Evangelical or low-church Presbyterians are going to cite the Great Commission…,then they will need to make sure that in addition to their Bibles they also carry some water for baptizing.

    dgh explains how the anabaptists did not know anything about Mattthew 18 and church discipline (they were only into legalism) —“Aside from the Pauline Epistles, the shapers of the Reformed tradition went for biblical support to another set of texts that scares most low-church Protestants: Matthew 16:19 and 18:15ff., where Christ instructs the apostles about the “keys of the kingdom.” The obvious reason for low-church fear here is Rome’s appeal to these passages for papal supremacy and authority. But that appeal did not put off the earliest Protestants who were not interested in throwing out the ministry altogether to be rid of papal claims. From their perspective, Rome’s application of these texts was flawed, but not the idea of church officers possessing the keys of the kingdom. …To be sure, the Reformed took the keys away from the sacerdotal ministry of individual priests and gave it to the declarative work of ministers and elders. Still, just to avoid what they regarded as the errors of Rome, they did not devise a conception of the Christian life that made church membership optional Reformed and Presbyterian Christians have asserted that membership in the church matters desperately, so much so that the Westminster divines wrote of the visible church that, outside of it, there is no “ordinary possibility of salvation”
    http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=13-10-020-f

    if you know that Donald Trump and Garrison Keiller are not in the Opc, do you need to ask if they have been baptized in the name of the Trinity? And if they have been baptized in the name of the Trinity, does that mean that you avoid telling them what to do or not to do but instead tell them about the ordinary blessings to be found in a denomination’s “means of grace”? If these sinners do not need to first signal to the one church their virtues, do they need to remind the one church that they have been baptized in order to receive back the signals of grace?

    Tim Keller— “Christians believe that in Jesus, God’s Son, divinity became vulnerable to and involved in suffering and death. Jesus didn’t come as a general or emperor..True, we don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, but we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be. It can’t be that God doesn’t love us. It can’t be that Jesus doesn’t care. God so loved us and hates suffering that he was willing to come down and get involved…”

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  12. McMark: Jeff, I think you already know the answer but I don’t mind repeating it for you.

    No, I wasn’t sure. Thanks.

    MM: can you tell me what a “sacerdotalist” is?

    It is someone who believes that the action of administering the sacrament confers grace.

    This is in contrast to the Reformed view that the efficacy of sacraments is by faith on the part of the recipient.

    MM: if you know that Donald Trump and Garrison Keiller are not in the Opc, do you need to ask if they have been baptized in the name of the Trinity? And if they have been baptized in the name of the Trinity, does that mean that you avoid telling them what to do or not to do but instead tell them about the ordinary blessings to be found in a denomination’s “means of grace”? If these sinners do not need to first signal to the one church their virtues, do they need to remind the one church that they have been baptized in order to receive back the signals of grace?

    These questions seem confused because they lack context. For what purpose would I ask if they have been baptized in the name of the Trinity? And once I have that information, what would I do with it?

    And why in the world would I refrain from telling President Trump what to do? As a citizen of the USA, I have a basic right to appeal to the governing authorities.

    And why do sinners need to “signal their virtues” to the church in order to “receive back the signals of grace”? That doesn’t make any sense to me, and it sounds awfully neonomian or something.

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  13. MM: also because these theonomists tend to expose the “neutral” pretensions of those who defend the status quo by means of the “spirituality of the one church” .

    This is mistaken. 2k would oppose either “defense of the status quo” or “progress toward the future” that is grounded in a supposed God’s revealed will for government. And it would accept that either status quo or progress can be championed by those who are Christians.

    The pretension — or projection, to be specific — is on the part of progressives or theonomists who wish to harness religious convictions in service of progress, and find 2k standing in their way. Wrongly believing that all agree on the principle that religion must be practical to be true, they assume that 2k resistance is a defense of the status quo instead of being exactly what it claims to be: a rejection of spiritualized politics.

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  14. mcmark, I don’t think I framed Pilate in terms of religious liberty. But if that’s what a pacifist hermeneutic brings, so be it. My point was about the need for the execution of a savior. If Pilate had followed you, we still be stuck with sacrifices or on the outside of Jerusalem looking in.

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  15. perhaps… I don’t really understand the transition over time for modernists. Do you know of any historians that tackle the evolution of progressivism? In the early 20th century, the modernists were moral absolutists (prohibition) and theological relativists. Their children, in the second half of the 20th century into today, ended up as moral relativists and largely abandoned organized religion. I bet that made for awkward dinner conversations.

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  16. There’s a you and a me, but no “we” here. I am very glad to be outside looking in. I don’t want to be executed by the symbiotic relationship of your two kingdoms, but even more I don’t want to be included. There’s nothing “pacifist” about the question of Pilate being sinful or being moral when he killed Jesus. It’s just that people like you who want to be neutral in their public life disagree with other anti-pacifists (theonomists) about the criminality of the powers.

    God overcomes evil with evil, but we are not God.
    God ordaining evil does not make evil good.

    The new covenant gives no sinner the standard to be agents for God to use evil as a means to good.
    God uses evil as a means to good. God neither tempts nor sins. Even though we are still sinners, God commands us not to sin. God does not tell us that the example of Christ is only for “during church” situations.

    When religious institutions make things up about how God is doing what their “church” does (and also what “their country” does), they call these things “objective reality” and claim that their traditions flow from Bible inferences.

    Oliver O Donovan—The more the political character of Israel’s hope engages us, the more know how it has actually shaped the government of nations. And the more we see the problem of our own modernity

    Edmund Burke — The appalling and disruptive idea that political institutions are human contrivances, not the edicts of an omnipotent divinity, and that underneath all pomp and rectitude lies the vulnerable flesh of human beings…… . Regicide, and parricide, and sacrilege, are but fictions of superstition, corrupting jurisprudence…

    When sacramentalists talk about the “objective reality” of the relation between God’s biblical promise to save as many as God has elected and the “efficacy” of “the means of grace”, they are making things up. They talk a lot about the one church, but their theory does not match up with their own biographies and their different denominations.

    Luke 12: 11 Whenever they bring you before synagogues and rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how you should defend yourselves or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said.”

    Hebrews 13 Your spiritual life should be free from the love of money. But in your secular life in this age, it’s not wrong to kill to protect the American economy.

    The Lord is my helper;
    I will not be afraid.
    What can man do to me?

    7 Remember YOUR leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. …12 Jesus also suffered outside the gate, in order to sanctify people by His own blood.

    (but don’t forget that the Spirit puts you into the blood, the Spirit has to be in you before you can be in Christ’s death, and also even Christ’s death leaves you only partially set apart and for the rest of the progress the Spirit in you will give you certain hints if you have endeavored enough to prove that you have faith)

    13 Let us then go to Jesus outside the camp, bearing His disgrace. 14 For we do not have an enduring CITY here; instead, we seek the one to come.

    (but it’s good for Christendom not to be bound by pacifism or we would not even have a temporary city)

    15 Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name. 16 Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. 17 Be persuaded by your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over you as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. 18 Pray for us; for we are convinced that we have a clear conscience, wanting to conduct ourselves honorably in everything.

    http://www.opc.org/nh.html?article_id=349

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  17. @ McMark:

    There’s a fundamental tension in your own position. On the one hand, you want to disavow earthly powers altogether as being evil. On the other, you want the earthly powers to become pacifist, and thus normed by God’s word (as you interpret it).

    How do you propose getting from A to B?

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  18. PAH, I believe modernists were relativists by convenience. As much as they said truth evolved, they believed evolution was a static truth. Same goes for democracy and equality.

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  19. Jeff–you want the earthly powers to become pacifist, and thus normed by God’s word (as you interpret it).

    mcmark—-I am sure you agree that it’s not about what you and I want. I do think that God’s new covenant law commands me not to sin. I do want to be a person who does not sin. My never being that person does not change God’s command , and does not change what the law of Christ says is sin.

    By what standard? It’s still a simple question. Not only Rushdoony, Bahnsen, and Gary North asked it. Calvin asked the question and answered the question. Calvin’s interpretation of God’s law (including Sabbath) was that the Mosaic code was not the standard when it was not convenient to what he and the magistrates “wanted to: do in Geneva. And thus Calvin moved back to traditional distinctions between “moral law” and other categories, not when he was debating papists about justification by the law, but when Calvin was wanting to keep infants in the covenant, and needed to say that one gospel always means one covenant always (but with Mosaic and Abrahamic administrative accidents not “natural law” etc).

    I never expected that Kevin Spacey was not a sinner. The older I get, the more I remember my own sins (past and prseent) and I have many regrets. I more and more see how messed up my own life has been, how much I have squandered my “potential” and poached off the good graces of other people. The older I get, the less “reversible” history feels. It doesn’t make me bitter and cynical when I read Twain and Mencken and other full time sinners. I don’t expect the American empire to become less worse that it has been.

    Jeff, I don’t even expect you to become a private pacifist (on your own time). I for sure count my own practice of pacifism dung, “in order to gain Christ and be found in Christ, not having a righteousness of my own but the righteousness that is through faith in Christ. ” What I cannot yet forget, God can and does forget. God loved me in Christ. And then because God loved me in Christ, Christ died for me and thus completely satisfied God’s law which was against me.

    I don’t expect any nation to become pacifist before Jesus comes. It’s not my focus to tell people who don’t profess to be Christians how to do Satan’s work. It is my concern to ask people who profess to be Christians how they can be loyal to two kingdoms at the same time. ( There is quite a bit of “tension” involved in continually bashing evangelicals but then also teaching that church is not about being suspicious of conversions).

    To be specific, by what standard should those in a democracy (who think they are the magistrates (in this new situation) kill their enemies? If Jesus is not the standard, and if Moses or Abraham are not the standard, are you making up the standard as you go? is there no standard, does might makes right? Since God has ordained Satan to do evil, does that mean that evil is good?

    II Peter 3:10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day … works on the earth will be found out 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness 12 as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming[ of the day of God…. while you wait for these things, make every effort to be found at peace with Him without spot or blemish

    I Corinthians 15: each in his own order—Christ, the first fruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when Christ hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For Christ must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy to be abolished is death. 27 For God has put everything under his feet.

    Hebrews 2 What is man that You remember him,
    or the son of man that You care for him?
    7 You made him lower than the angels
    for a short time; You crowned him with glory and honor[b]
    8 and subjected everything under his feet.[
    For in subjecting everything to him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. But we do see Jesus

    Jeff, we may never agree about all of what God’s law says. But I hope we do agree that the only truly safe place to be is inside what Christ did 2000 years ago outside of us when Christ died for the sins of the elect and rose again.

    Colossians 3: 3 For you HAVE died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. 4 WHEN the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, THEN you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

    http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/12/is-kerby-anderson-christian.html

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  20. MM: eff, we may never agree about all of what God’s law says. But I hope we do agree that the only truly safe place to be is inside what Christ did 2000 years ago outside of us when Christ died for the sins of the elect and rose again.

    Yes, we do.

    Like

  21. mcmark, “It is my concern to ask people who profess to be Christians how they can be loyal to two kingdoms at the same time.”

    Doesn’t that apply to marriage? It may be two kingdoms, it’s also multiple allegiances and vocations.

    We juggle. When you want consistency, you drop all balls but one.

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