17 February 2017

Establishment Civil War: Deep State Narratives and a Proposed Taxonomy of Factions Part 5

Crisis, Conflict and Taxonomy
The period of 2006-2008 brought the final implosion and collapse of the George Bush regime. Many of the ideologues had been forced out or had willingly abandoned ship. US foreign policy was in shambles, the military was shaken and the economy was on the brink of catastrophe.
This crisis which would extend over the whole of the Obama presidency has created the conditions for what could be rightly called an Establishment Crisis or even a Deep State Civil War.

Establishment Civil War: Deep State Narratives and a Proposed Taxonomy of Factions Part 4

A System in Crisis and the Threat of Phoenix-style Counterinsurgency
By 2006 PNAC/Neo-Conservative project had been discredited. Clearly their grasp of geopolitics and its doctrinal application in terms of Rumsfeld's military doctrine had failed. As Wesley Clark famously revealed they had planned regime change operations in numerous countries but Iraq had become something of an albatross.

Establishment Civil War: Deep State Narratives and a Proposed Taxonomy of Factions Part 3

The Various Reincarnations of the Rollback Faction
The Deep State underwent a period of reorganisation in the 1970s. The CIA survived the various commissions which though revealing tremendous amounts of information functioned in many ways as a means of damage control. Cynicism set in but society marched on. The 1970s were an era of social darkness, a time of intrigue, lies exposed and deeper lies being hidden.

Establishment Civil War: Deep State Narratives and a Proposed Taxonomy of Factions Part 2

The Crisis of the 1970's and Watergate
The loss of America's absolute ascendancy of the world economic scene brought a degree of dynamism and instability. Germany, and Western Europe were becoming economically powerful and in Asia, Japan had recovered. South Korea would soon follow. They were in many ways (and still are) US satellites. The US militarily occupies these nations and controls both their military and foreign policy. But what to do about their economic competitiveness? Some believed they needed to be subjugated, limited and controlled. How to do this? There was no consensus. Others believed they needed to be incorporated and managed. This could be done in part through cross investment, collaboration and through such an agenda it was possible to strengthen both their interests and that of the United States.

Establishment Civil War: Deep State Narratives and a Proposed Taxonomy of Factions Part 1

The Nature of the Deep State and the Post-War Era
I could spend 2 years, write 1000 pages, breakdown and footnote everything and make my case. Apart from a few observations and explicitly Christian commentary my narrative regarding the Deep State wouldn't be unique. I don't have the time or resources for such projects so instead I offer an account based on my years of study, investigation and reflection. What I hope to do is develop a background narrative leading up to the various divisions within the Deep State power structures that command the contemporary US Empire. Due to events of the past decade I believe they are presently in a state of crisis which has produced a great deal of instability and even volatility.

15 February 2017

Lutheran Sacralism: Veith on Economics

GE Veith is a retired professor, formerly associated with Virginia's Patrick Henry College. A conservative Lutheran he has long been associated with Evangelical and Dominionist projects from World Magazine to Wheaton, the Heritage Foundation and Patrick Henry. His writings primarily focus on the Christian relationship to arts and culture. The link is to a talk on economics given by Veith at the 2016 Just and Sinner Conference.
I respond due to the fact that he's a popular teacher and the message he presents is one that resonates with contemporary Evangelicalism. As he represents a posture and theology contrary to what is taught in the New Testament, it needs to be challenged. I hope my brief comments will at the very least introduce a different set of categories and concepts for readers to interact with and consider whether Veith is representing the Christianity of the Apostles or something quite different.

07 February 2017

Inbox: Neo-Evangelicalism within the Framework of Evangelical Development

What's the difference between Neo-Evangelicalism and regular Evangelicalism and when did it arise?
It's not an easy question because no one can agree on what these terms mean. That said, though it's hard to be precise many seem to know almost intuitively what is meant.
If I were to provide a generalised narrative that is so broad as to be inaccurate and easily criticised, but still provides a starting point...
I propose three phases:
1950s-1970s
1970s-1990s
1990s-present
There won't be another phase.

01 February 2017

American Dominionism and Europe's Evangelicals (Part 2)

These social and cultural changes and this shift within European Evangelicalism began to take place just as the 'new' theology started to arrive and wield a greater influence. It has been aggressively promoted and heavily backed by American money. The effects have been nothing like what is happening in the United States and frankly seem 'minimal' by comparison.
Nevertheless the ideas are there and they are growing.

American Dominionism and Europe's Evangelicals (Part 1 of 2)

The influence of Dominion theology continues to grow. It's nothing new in terms of the European Evangelical scene but it clearly continues to gain influence and now like its American cousin has become almost universal.

23 January 2017

The Rise of the New Religion

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/29/the-long-slow-death-of-religion/

It is not uncommon to encounter these types of articles and essays but as usual the author misses something. While he celebrates the demise of religion in the face of secular reason, it has completely escaped him that rather than religion being replaced by secularism, a religion is being replaced by... a new religion.

08 January 2017

Riddles of Fundamentalism 5: Biblicism, Oracular Presence and Concluding Thoughts

Faced with the overwhelming and crushing burden of philosophical collapse and the onset of scepticism we are presented with another option. It comes in the form of a Person, a Way, a Door, a Prophet. We are called to listen to His Voice and trust in Him. As Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ, the Word of God... Scripture comes into the picture. It contains the accounts of the good news, the doctrine, the paths of discipleship and it is, is centered on, and culminates with the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

07 January 2017

Riddles of Fundamentalism Part 4: False Fideisms, False Biblicisms and the Quest for Coherence

It is at this point in the discussion wherein fideistic and anti-modernist labels that are used to describe many 20th century movements such as Neo-Orthodoxy, Barthianism and the 21st century Emerging Church are exposed as flowing from the same polluted Athenian font that continues to overshadow virtually all Western intellectual endeavour.

05 January 2017

Riddles of Fundamentalism Part 3: Faith and Epistemology

While often accused of being Anti-Modern and fideistic, Fundamentalist epistemology could be more accurately described as representing a Evidentialism with a strong tendency to rely upon Coherentist arrangements and interpretations of empirical data, all resting upon axiomatic basic beliefs. Its Foundationalist ideology must be understood as a variant of Empiricism and within the general flow of what has come to be known as the Analytic tradition.

03 January 2017

Riddles of Fundamentalism Part 2: Epistemology, Social Context and the Charge of Anti-Modernism

Industrialisation proved traumatic for Western society. Traditions, what we might call social forms of coherence, accepted norms, standards and commonalities were modified and in many cases jettisoned. A new urban culture began to form that changed many economic, social and thus finally familial and traditional dynamics. While on the one hand this was the outcome of modern thinking and the science and technology it produced, in another sense its non-coherence and fragmentation led to a social crisis. The mechanistic view of the universe first moved God to the periphery and then abandoned Him altogether. Science and technology came into their own and created a new type of Foundationalism for the new era. The previous coherence of what we might call Enlightened Christianity, the form familiar to late colonial and early Republican America was no longer needed or viewed as valid.

02 January 2017

Riddles of Fundamentalism: Modernist Epistemology and the Question of Biblicism Part 1

The other night I was watching the old Fess Parker version of Davy Crockett and found myself trying to explain to my kids his mannerisms and the 'can-do' and 'aw shucks' common sense of the frontiersman.

It's just a movie of course and yet there's something to be said on that topic. The old backwoods sensibility and pride in lack of sophistication is something deeply rooted in sections of American culture. It took one form in the log cabin and another in the halls of academia along the Eastern Seaboard, and yet it's something common to the American experience and its intellectual tradition.

28 December 2016

The Head of State and the benefits of Constitutional Monarchy

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has intervened and blocked the nomination of the first female candidate for Prime Minister. Incidentally as a member of Romania's Tatar community she would have been the first Muslim as well.
It seems odd today, but back in the 19th century as many nations were being transformed into modern states, Constitutional Monarchy was certainly one of the more popular forms of government. It seems quaint and archaic because few today see a role for a monarch. And yet thinkers of the time understood that it was important even in a parliamentary or constitutional system to have someone who could function as caretaker.

07 December 2016

Identity Politics and the Myth of Cultural Marxism

The nightly news seems to be dominated by police shootings. A seemingly endless stream of racial tensions have dominated American culture over the past couple of years prompting a call to revisit the unresolved questions of the Civil Rights Era. A new generation is wrestling with the issues, and minority communities have been forced to grapple with the reality that a Black president did not signify the end of racial tension. In fact many have come to believe the election of Obama has inflamed simmering passions and instead of moving our culture closer to a state of peaceful coexistence, things have taken a bad turn.

29 November 2016

A Lutheran Interpretation of Reformed Two Kingdom Theology: Some Observations and Considerations

http://justandsinner.libsyn.com/a-critique-of-escondido-two-kingdom-theology

Jordan Cooper of Just and Sinner recently lectured on some of the significant differences between the Reformed and Lutheran versions of Two Kingdom Theology. The Reformed variety usually associated with Westminster Seminary West in Escondido California is often conflated with the Lutheran variety and this troubles Cooper. He wants to set the record straight. This has probably been furthered by the fact that to many, Westminster West also has (more or less) embraced a Lutheran Soteriology and understanding of sola fide.

27 November 2016

2016: Theonomy Revisited

Every once in a while I feel it necessary to check-in with the Old Guard Theonomists. There aren't that many of them left. While I have always disagreed with them I at least appreciated their integrity. The Theonomy of the 1980s and 1990s was open in its rejection of Classical Liberalism in the form of democracy, rights, individualism as well as its rejection of Libertarian impulses.

17 November 2016

A Generation Passes

Chick, Ruckman, LaHaye and Schlafly

So far this year has seen three significant figures pass from the Evangelical and Fundamentalist scene. The torch is being passed and at this point there are only a handful of leaders remaining from that older generation that rose to prominence in the 1970s with the creation of the Moral Majority. The remaining voices, men like James Dobson and Pat Robertson are now in their eighties.

30 September 2016

The Sanctification of Social Conformity: Offering Incense to Caesar and Christian Second-Class Citizenship (Part 2 of 2)

Our criticism of the system is on the one hand an example of shining light in the darkness but primarily our concern is to expose the nature of the system and thus reveal the apostate nature of Christendom which has constructed this system and is still heavily invested in it. As has been said before, lost people are going to engage in such behaviour. It's no great shock. But when professing Christians do it, then it needs to be called out and exposed. This criticism needs to be understood as not anti-state or political. At worst the result of criticism and exposure should be non-participation... which admittedly can threaten the system and the world will certainly find it offensive and accuse us of being 'bad citizens'. But considering that Christians will only ever be a small minority in any given social system, there is no real or existential threat. The state may not view it that way, but it is nevertheless true.

The Sanctification of Social Conformity: Offering Incense to Caesar and Christian Second-Class Citizenship (Part 1 of 2)

In Roman times Christians were excluded from many aspects of society, many occupations, clubs, guilds and other means of fully participating in the social order were all but closed to them.

They often excluded themselves because participation and membership in these organisations meant worshipping Caesar. All too often simple rituals, prayers, libations and other elements of the pagan cult were part of the warp and woof of daily life in these institutions. Christians could not in good conscience participate in even these seemingly harmless, even trite rituals. As a consequence they were decried as anti-social.

22 September 2016

Sacralism and the Invitation System

Iain Murray's 'The Invitation System' rightly condemns the Altar Call for its tactics of coercion and manipulation, for making emotional appeals that lack substance. As an unbiblical method it creates a false conversion and ultimately does more harm to the hearer than if they had never heard the gospel in the first place.

The Altar Call is built on a spurious theological foundation. Misunderstanding conversion, the gospel, sin, repentance and salvation it is a dangerous caricature of the true gospel invitation to heartfelt repentance and brokenness.

At this point I heartily agree with Murray, who condemns the theology of Charles Finney as well as those who came after him and took up his mantle and legacy. This theology gave us Moody, Sunday, Graham and it could be argued was re-cast once more in the Seeker movement. These men have done irreparable harm to the cause of Christ.

And yet, for all that, in another form this is the very theology advocated by Murray.

How so?

15 September 2016

The Cosmology of Tolkien

While perhaps a little off-topic for this website, I wanted to share a few thoughts regarding Part 1of this lecture on Tolkien's Silmarillion. The topic has long attracted me and in fact there are aspects of it that grow more interesting to me over time.

For many years I have been interested in both Tolkien and Lewis and in particular how their Cosmological understandings play out in their fantasy works. Their writings reflect the Middle Ages, the era both authors appreciated, but some time ago I realised this question was more complex than the intricacies of Medieval Scholastic Speculation. There are larger questions regarding Apocryphal literature. That's easy enough to dismiss but I continue to revisit the issue in light of the New Testament's interaction and utilisation of certain works.

28 August 2016

Jeroboam's Altar and Christo-Americanism

Like Babylon and Assyria of old, America can indeed be called the 'servant' of God and His Providence. In the New Testament the state is in the same spirit called His 'minister'. The ideas if not the words are the same.