28 June 2010

28 June 1914

28 June 1914...written on 28 June 2010

Ninety six years ago today the Habsburg heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot. It always amazes me, as it did people at the time, how this one event could unleash a chain reaction that completely changed the world. I reflect on this every year…so I decided to write a quick note.

Two Kingdoms- Neither Left nor Right on the political spectrum

I was posting a comment on a great website which is actually interested in discussion. It's called The Confessional Outhouse. The author/poster was writing about how Two-kingdom theology is accused of being leftist because they so heavily critique the Christian Right. He wrote a good piece talking about the same Constantinian tendencies on the left. I think he was right in what he said...I just wanted to comment, and interact a little with it.

Here's the blog posting....


Here's my response....

A very good article....

This guy gets it....The Kingdom, I mean. Why do some groups understand the nature of the kingdom but then bury it with legalism? Legalism in both senses, extra-Scriptural binding and meritorious salvation....it's too bad. But as far as understanding the nature of Power, God's wisdom and how that plays out in our lives...jobs...goals...money etc.... these folks seem to grasp it much better than the average Kuyperian or Christo-Americanist.

I haven't figured out how to make this a link, so just copy and paste, I guess...


27 June 2010

The Real Issue Behind the Pseudo-Isidorean Decretals

During the Carolingian Period, about the middle of the ninth century 'a mysterious book,' as Schaff says, turned up in Christendom. The genuineness of the book did not really come into question until the 15th century and was not definitively repudiated until the 17th. Most likely it is the work of a Frankish Ecclesiastic, but this book of Decretals…now known as the pseudo-Isidorian Decretals profoundly shaped the Middle Ages.

The Bereans versus The Gatekeepers

updated July 2012

A rebuke in the form of a rant

I am consistently amazed by what I call The Reformed Gatekeepers...

I don't understand why so many weblogs and websites bother with the comments-option, when they will not allow people to engage UNLESS they completely agree with them. If you post something they don't like, your comment is blocked or pulled. I'm not talking about comments blocked because they're crass or rude...they're blocked because of their content.

In frustration after more than a decade I am beginning to publicly discuss some of these ideas. But the moment I think I have it all figured out and won't allow someone else to engage...then it's time to hit the delete button and shut it all down.

Mercersburg and Hegelian Historiography

updated July 2012

Post number three of four dealing with issues related to Nominalism

Schaff's Hegelian Historiography:

The misguided quest to find a synthesis between Augustinian Ecclesiology and Soteriology

It's difficult to find a good Church History. They either suffer from brevity, or often in the opening pages you can detect the author is perhaps not a Christian and poorly interprets not only the Apostolic Period, but all of the early church controversies.

How to pastorally deal with the default setting...

updated July 2012

Fourth post concerning Nominalism

Nominalism and the modern Presbyter…pastoring the sheep to submit to the Pastor.

If you've read these posts you will understand that I'm arguing:

We, as Westerners think a certain way without realizing we're doing it and it profoundly affects how we read the Scriptures. By default, we (especially in our fallen state) utterly reject many of the categories the Bible teaches. This extends not only to theology but even to structure.

26 June 2010

I Remember... (A quick reflection and a note regarding the Sacralist reading of Tolkien)

updated July 2012 

I remember:

-Defending Calvin's role in the execution of Servetus
When in reality it was Sacralist murder

-Defending Augustine when he called upon the Roman government to 'compel' the Donatists
When in reality he was abandoning his own theology in the City of God

-Laughing when the Reformers ironically 'drowned' the Anabaptist dissenters
When in reality they were acting in the role of Antichrist at those moments

-Trying to defend America as a nation founded on Christianity
When in reality it was the first country in the western tradition to specifically not be founded on Christianity.......and now, I would say that it was a good thing, something to be thankful for.

-Walking around Budapest, seeing Unitarian Churches and thinking...if they had only had a strong Protestant Prince, they could have eliminated this heresy.
When in reality, a Protestant prince erecting a Sacralist state is more dangerous to the True Gospel and the faithful church than a handful of Unitarians running around.

-Arguing for the 'In God We Trust' motto on the coinage and for the inclusion of 'under God' in the pledge of allegiance.
When in reality, we as Christians should demand the state remove God's name from the coins, and no Christian has any business pledging allegiance to piece of cloth....

-Treating the flag as sacred
When in reality most Americans, and especially Christians have turned it into an idol.

-Defending Capitalism as if it were one of the planks of Biblical Orthodoxy
When in reality, much of Capitalism is at odds with Biblical Christianity. No economic system will really work in a fallen world. Our Christian economic is to love our neighbours as ourselves...and as far as a national economic policy, it doesn't really matter if we live in a Capitalistic, Socialistic, Anarchist or Communist system.

I remember when I was a Sacralist and traded the Kingdom of God, for the enticing power offered by the world.

A little aside.......For those familiar with Tolkien, he has a lot of Sacralist elements in the Lord of the Rings. Who can't recognize romanticized Merry OldeEngland in his depiction of the Shire? Who can't recognize something of a Charlemagne-Holy Roman Empire imagery in Aragorn and the renewed kingdom of Gondor? Or Byzantium in peril in Gondor during the Third Age?

Certainly you have medieval notions of Chivalry, relics, holy swords...a little Marian imagery with Arwen and Galadriel. All those things are there, and are things in history I do not appreciate.

But where Tolkien is spot on is with his understanding of power. The Ring wasn't symbolic of The Bomb or anything like that. It's the corruption of Power. Gollum is a powerful character in exhibiting fallen man's lust for it.

The character I often think of when I listen to Theonomists wax eloquent about the Triumphant Millennium and the Full Integrated Sacralism they envision...is Boromir. The Council kept trying to tell him....you can't use it! Good will be turned to evil. That's the equation....fallen man + power = an evil kingdom.

If there's anything 'biblical' in Tolkien, it is certainly that. We don't want a kingdom...ours is in heaven. Our power is in Christ...our hope is in him.

Like I've said somewhere else.......when I discovered the doctrines of Grace it was like getting a new Bible....when I discovered the dialectic in Scripture and was rescued from hyper-calvinism, it was like getting a new Bible again...and then when I finally was delivered from Sacralist thinking concerning history, state, and culture....I feel like I've come home.

But it is lonely outside the camp.

In many ways it feels like we're in the Middle Ages again.

Romantic Castles and Cathedrals

Romanticizing History

Anyone who has traveled Europe is awestruck and stirred to see the wonderful castles and cathedrals that dot the landscape.

And they are to be enjoyed. History is a fascinating journey.

But remember, for Medieval Sacralist society these were the symbols of power. For the Medieval Underground, coming into town to make purchases, meet in a conventicle, or for those who lived in the towns....these weren't beautiful romantic edifices as we see them now.

They were symbols of power....and of the terror and the system which oppressed them. They didn't look at castles and say, "Oh, how wonderful..." No, they looked at it and trembled.

Something to keep in mind......

In times of Interdict, the heretics rejoice

updated July 2012

This is part one of four posts related to Nominalism.

Nominalism and Scepticism…Sacralism Wounded

Due to the historical setting and fallout, 14th century Nominalism is often considered a departure from the Aristotelian Thomism developed during the previous century. Philosophically it demolished any notions of concrete abstractions, with the universals or forms cast into unverifiable doubt. This created an environment of skepticism.

The Papal Schism began in 1378 and there are multiple reasons leading to the climate that allowed for the chaos which followed for the next couple of generations. Many point to the influences of Nominalism which had as it were, put a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths…….

20 June 2010

Two Kingdoms and Separatism (updated)

updated 6 July 2012(originally appeared in June 2010)

Separatism…Tactic, strategy, or a misunderstanding of our relationship to culture?

There is a movement at present within the greater Reformed world that advocates a kind of Christian Agrarianism. However rather than derive this from the Bible it comes from a complex of social and historical categories mixed with a little theology, although I am unsure as to how many of these folks really understand the roots of their movement. It actually stems from a kind of Confederate Romanticism.

19 June 2010

Common Grace Culture

updated 29 June 2012

The other day I stumbled across a blog post related to music, 'pagan beats' and its dangers. I tried to post a comment, but it won't come up. Maybe they didn't like what I had to say? I find very few Christians interested in genuine discussion. It seems like Christian news and a lot of Christian radio programs are kind of hack jobs or at the very least misleading. The way the discussion is framed you can immediately tell what conclusion they want you to come up with. I hope that's not the case with this particular website I interacted with.

Attaching the term 'pagan' to a category of beat assumes the categories of sacred and secular music are valid. I would argue they are not.

Greeks, Turks, and Two Kingdoms

Last night as we watched Greek dancers perform some of the circle dances from Macedonia, Crete, and the Peloponnese, I thought about the sad history of the Greek people and the lessons we as Christians can learn from it. They still haven't recovered from the loss of Constantinople in 1453. This anger has only been exacerbated by four hundred years of Ottoman domination until the Greek Revolt in the early 19th century.

18 June 2010

Two Kingdom Theology On Guard

Two Kingdom theology is not retreatist. It defines the nature of the Kingdom differently and in fact maintaining a proper antithesis makes us ACUTELY aware of what the other kingdom is doing. We should be very clued in to what is going on around us....teaching the church not to be deceived by the world system. If we're part of the world system (as a competitor) we have to use their paradigms and we are easily enough taken in by the world's means and goals. Our battles are defined by them.

Dialectical Theology...

These issues of recognizing the two-fold nature of Theology...straddling as it were the Already and Not-yet, are core to understanding what some mean by Hyper-Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinists themselves will be sure not to see it, declaring dialectic tensions in theology to be irrational.

I will assert by not grasping this dynamic you are constantly faced with logical dilemmas...in your Bible reading (often called problem texts)...AND it gets even worse when you bring in Systematics.

More on the Visible Church

One unfortunate aspect in Verduin's work is the manner in which he deals with the visible church.

Often those critical of the doctrine accuse its adherents of trying to fill the church with unbelievers. Of course we categorically deny this, but there seem to be at least a dozen variations in understanding on this issue.

15 June 2010

#11 Dialectical Hermeneutics continued….

Augustine understood this to some extent. Maybe he wasn't conscious of a specific principle at work. Maybe he didn't map it out, but he obviously saw these things. He also expressed it in the City of God…two kingdoms, another dialectic. Sadly in practice, he like Luther, another professing Two-kingdom adherent was not always consistent. They lapsed into the Monism that has proved the legacy of Constantinian Sacralism. The Reformation vigorously embraced this. It was amended by many in post-Revolution America, but it never quite went away and in the last thirty years thanks to a Abraham Kuyper's influence on Rushdoony and Francis Schaeffer, it's back with a vengeance.

#10 Hermeneutics continued….

Now apply this dynamic/dialectical thinking to the Sacraments. On the one hand Baptism brings one into Covenant, they're dead and alive, identified with Christ…outwardly they are now part of the Body. They are saved. Baptism saves.
On the other hand, in the eternal, we know that the Holy Spirit regenerates the elect. This is a principle, not a practice. We can't see the heart. In the case of an adult convert the church must make a judgment, but it is not above fault. We can't make the call, and we don't have to.

#9 Augustine and Hermeneutics part 2

Now, Rome is very theologically Nominalistic……..all is VISIBLE. They do not acknowledge the two tier structure I presented in the last post. Things are what they are. And when they're not…like in the case of the Eucharist, well, they really are… they just engage in sophistry to explain away the issue of the accidents. What I mean is the bread and wine only seem like bread and wine; they are actually the literal body and blood of Christ.

Sacraments can't be symbolic of something else….forms pointing to a universal. Nominalistic thinking will not allow for such a Platonic category. But in this case it's not Plato, it's Paul! So, in a strictly nominalist, visible realm based way of thinking, the Sacrament actually DOES the thing it is associated with. Baptism isn't just a sign or symbol, the visible Word. It actually in and of itself saves. The Eucharist in and of itself saves. Someone is either a Catholic or they are not. To discuss whether someone REALLY believes is moot. They are baptized….period.

When the laws of logic are applied to a strictly lower tier visible system…you have to end up with ex opere operato. If Scripture and tradition are authoritative, you would have to end up with a charismatic Magisterium. You can't say the visible forms (Magisterium) could err and differ from an eternal truth/reality. The Visible has to be it……so the Magisterium must be governed by a special providence. It has to be the actual thing, the eternal truth made visible. There's no two sided thinking here.

#8 A Hermeneutical Key from Augustine

Augustine of Hippo completely baffled Louis Berkhof. If you read his 'The History of Christian Doctrines' you can sense his frustration with the 5th century African theologian. Augustine has been called the father of both Medieval Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation. There is a sense of course in which this is true. For with him you have both the seeds of sacerdotalism and of a Grace based system of Justification by Faith grounded in Divine Election. How can they be reconciled? Berkhof, a creature of post-Enlightenment rationalism could not, but for Augustine there was no conflict.

#7 Sola Fide as The Article part 2

Interestingly the quasi-denomination called The Church of Christ which came out of the Restorationist movement in the 19th century has what I would call a deliberately undeveloped theology. They deny Justification by Faith Alone because the Scripture doesn't explicitly teach the alone part. It also says we are Justified by Grace. It also says we are Justified by the Blood. They don't try to systematize, harmonize, or reconcile these articles. They just leave them be, because that's what the Scripture says.
Juvenile perhaps, but interesting. There is a danger in an undeveloped theology but there is also a danger in an overdeveloped theology. When your grid has blank intersects and you are prompted to push and ask questions like- Is the order of the decrees Supra- or Infra- lapsarian…or concerning the origin of the soul…is the Creationist or Traduceanist position correct? At this point, the Bible is not driving your theology…..your system is……more particularly you Epistemology is. More on that later….a huge issue for the contemporary church.
The Church of Christ also teaches Baptismal Regeneration because there are texts to support it. They don't explain it away because of earlier established systematic presuppositions? Are they right? Yes and no.
With the dissenters you seem to find this more undeveloped type of thinking. They wanted to obey the Scriptures. Did they view it as a Redemptive-History or a Legal Text? Probably more like a legal text, but there was some consciousness of Redemptive-History because they saw a significant difference between the Old and New Covenants. This helped define their main argument with Rome.
They didn't teach Sola Fide, they believed in trying to literally follow the Sermon on the Mount and they seemed to adhere largely to other medieval notions like Baptismal Regeneration. Now was it Sacerdotal Roman Baptismal Regeneration or was it a conscious Covenantal Category…understanding that it must be undergirded with a true evangelical faith? Anachronism many would cry at this point! Perhaps. BUT, they seemed to view themselves as a sort ecclesiola in ecclesia…a true remnant within a larger frame. This shows two-tiered thinking….maybe they applied that to their understanding of the Sacraments….but probably not.
The Scriptures do teach Baptismal Regeneration…but it is how we understand it that is critical. Is it the Word plus a sign……..everything and nothing? Or is it salvific ex opere operato in and of itself…the actual water?

#6 Sola Fide as The Article

Most Protestants seem to accept the Lutheran argument that Justification by Faith Alone is the article by which the church stands or falls. It is the core of the gospel and as long as 'a church' adheres to it, or doesn't formally deny it…it is still legitimate.
So for many the Roman Catholic Church was the legitimate Body of Christ up until one day in 1563 when the Council of Trent formally anathematized Sola Fide. At the moment there was a thunderclap or something and the church of Roman ceased to be the church. Conveniently there were now Lutheran, Anglican, and Reformed bodies which could take up the mantle.

#5 Lossky

For those who have read the Wikipedia article it includes a brief section on Vladimir Lossky and his work "The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church." Apparently Lossky misunderstands the nature of the issues surround the concept of "Shift." He gets hung up on Constantine's dubious Christian testimony and the Arian resurgence which occurred after his death. Fine, we can call the shift Theodosian or even push it further until the time of Justinian I. It was formalized and institutionalized over the course of centuries and with many setbacks, some coming from within the church and some external. Nevertheless, the genesis of the change, the turning point did indeed begin with Constantine I.
The argument that all nations have the Caesaropapal tendency actually proves my point. Sacralism is a pagan notion. Biblical Theocracy was temporary and can never return. Sacralism is man-initiated construct, a Babel-like attempt to build a heavenly kingdom on earth.
In fact as will be pointed out later we are specifically warned against this in the New Testament. The imagery of Revelation is replete with examples of this idea at work.

#4 Sacralism

Time does not permit me to write a scholarly work on these topics and I realized long ago no one would be willing to publish such a book. I have other projects and my goal is not getting another book published which no one will read. The hope I cherish is that people will stumble onto this site, read and ponder these issues. This won't be a website for the lazy…I'm not going to do the homework for you. I'm not going to footnote and reference everything. I want issues exposed and discussed. My role for now, I hope and pray is that of a catalyst.
Verduin in "The Reformers and Their Stepchildren" repeatedly uses the term Sacralism. I had grasped this concept long before I read him so that when I encountered his work it was akin to a thunderclap. Sacralism is basically making something holy. Obviously there is a Biblical Sacralism, when God commands something to be Holy to serve His purposes in Redemptive History or typology. Think of the Sabbath, or the Temple. These things aren't Holy in and of themselves, intrinsically woven into the fabric of the created universe, moral reflections of God's character. These things are Holy or were Holy because God commanded them to be so. Thus, they can also at a later time be taken out of Holy Status and made common. The Seventh Day is no longer Holy. Reformed Sabbatarians who try to argue the Decalogue is the eternal law of God also show inconsistency by switching the day, showing it wasn't intrinsic, it was a sacralized day. I would argue the New Testament teaches it was fulfilled in Christ, but if they want to argue its abiding validity they have a Redemptive Historical problem. That's another issue. I merely wanted to make a point. The Temple was Holy. Today we understand the Temple of Solomon or the 2nd/Herodian Temple were Holy, but with the advent of the New Covenant and the end of the old order in the year 70…the temple were it still to exist would no longer be, and rebuilt (as some dream) would certainly not be! Hence when people refer to the Holy Land, they do err. That land ceased to be Holy two thousand years ago, it also being a picture of Christ. All these promises were affirmed and confirmed in Him as per 2 Corinthians 1.
Sacralism in the sense Verduin uses it and in the context of the Constantinian discussion is referring to culture and civilization. God is in covenant with His people. They are in covenant with Him alone. We are the Holy Nation. We are His kingdom of priests and no other nation can claim that. The diatheke/covenant was given by God, a covenant of grace to which we can contribute nothing. Even when men swear the oath adding an element of conditionality it is still established and defined by God. No nation whether it be Edom, Egypt, Byzantium, Austria, Britain or America has the right to 'enter in' as a nation to the Holy Status. Israel was Holy, a theocracy in the true sense… not the way we use it today meaning a clergy run state. No, it was an actual theocracy, its charter from heaven, its battles Holy, its kings chosen, it indictments brought by Divine agents, viz. the prophets, thus ideological ruled by God through his agents.
The Holy Roman Empire, Britannia, nor America can ever 'claim' this status. What about the common Theonomic argument that the Mosaic Law was for the nations? How so? When the nations are indicted whether it be in Isaiah, Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets…what's the charge? Sin to be sure, but under what category? Natural Law. That's all they had. They were not holy nations so they are not accountable for Sabbath-breaking or taking the Lord's name in vain. They are judged for idolatry, the chief and greatest of sins, and for things like injustice, murder, theft, and so forth. They had no part in the Law of God. They could convert, but that would mean ceasing to be an Edomite or whatever. It meant becoming a Jew. Today it means becoming a Christian. To call a nation Christian is theologically erroneous. Sometimes it is meant in the sense that the bulk of the population is Christian, but that still doesn't allow for its government and status to be reckoned Holy. More often than not it means more than that, tending toward a Holy/exclusive status.
Next to heretical Christologies, Sacralism is the greatest heresy in the church. More to come….

#3 Early Dissenters

Schaff's colleague John Nevin wrote a fascinating essay entitled "Early Christianity." It is available in his book "Catholic and Reformed, Selected Theological Writings of John Williamson Nevin," published by The Pickwick Press.
In this work Nevin argues the old Puritan argument of a rapid decline in the church's obedience to the Apostolic Doctrine is ridiculous. He argues that such corruptions and deviations could not have taken place during a period so short as from the death of John around the year 100AD until the time of Constantine. For the whole character of Christianty to have changed, as per the old Protestant argument, there would have been massive protest of which we have very little documentation. It's as if he's saying, "C'mon, where's the proof?"
We've always argued the proof comes from the New Testament being set next to the post-persecution church of the 4th century. Something obviously happened. Nevin would say the argument of Apostolic Tradition must have some validity. If he's right, my flesh wishes he was…then we all need to go to Rome or Constantinople. We are all outside the church. But I can say with confidence from a simple reading of the Bible that Nevin is dead wrong.

#2 Constantinianism and the Constantinian Shift

Historically this refers to legalization/legitimization of Christianity by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in the early 4th century. The persecutions ceased, which of course was a good thing for the church, but the policy reversal, encouraging Christianity and beginning to fuse it with the state led to:
1. A watering down of Christianity. The church begins to lose its identity, its sense of salt and a spirit of nominalism began to creep in. Almost all histories agree on this fact, even someone as mainstream and ecumenical as Schaff.
2. A loss of identity, the sense of antithesis, in turn leading to new deviations of pietistic expression. Monasticism flourished from this time forward. Many innovations and Biblical deviations had already begun to make headway, but from this point they grew rapidly. The veneration of martyrs and their relics now expanded to a host of new corruptions.

Post #1...Introductory Concepts

All historians acknowledge there were dissident groups that existed for centuries prior to the Reformation. They are often referred to as Proto-Protestants. They were by no means monolithic in their identity or theology, but there are certain characteristics many of them shared. I want to explore some of the core issues they wrestled with and hope the reader will see their import regarding contemporary discussion. The Reformation's many triumphs over the Papal Antichrist were indeed a mighty work of God, but….with it something was lost. Wonderful things were accomplished, but many lessons were not learned, many evil doors were opened, and history is repeating itself. As one who formerly romanticized Protestant history and oft engaged in something akin to hero worship, I hope to share some of what I've learned. The result is cause for great hope but with it comes much sorrow especially as one views the Church of Jesus Christ in the present context. Hence this weblog.
We hope to interact with History, both church and secular…for they are often inseparable. We need to look at Historiography and understand what it is….and how un-Christian most Christian versions of history are. Also there are powerful philosophical and theological movements and arguments at work in the church. They need to be looked at and often engaged. Pardon the expression, but the very soul of the church is at stake.
And finally, there must of necessity be interaction with the present day. We the church, are always in a cultural context and there are a myriad of cultural commentators and interpreters surrounding us on Christian radio, in books, and of course the internet. We all have assumptions and presuppositions we brings with us as we seek to interpret the world around us. This blog will assert the vast majority of the assumptions present in the contemporary church are flat wrong and thus the commentators are often quite harmful.
The scope of these discussions falls within the confines of Biblical Orthodoxy. The Roman Catholic Entity is not a church. While there may be individual believers still within the walls of denominational groups like the United Methodists and the PCUSA….they need to repent and leave those bodies. They are apostate. We are committed to Historic Christianity….broadly speaking of course. In many ways the writings here are an attack and indictment of the historic so-called church.
These discussions are about the church……..they must not be confused with the culture or government of the United States or any other western nation. This way of thinking…this Constantinianism is at the very core of the problem. To peel back another layer….there is a fundamental misunderstanding of who God is…the nature of His Kingdom established by Christ…..what is the Bible….and why we are here.
May God give us wisdom.
For various reasons, I'm simply going by the moniker of Proto-protestant. I wish to protect my name and my family. I have my reasons. There are those who would be critical of using a pseudonym. I appreciate their concerns, but disagree and stand on the shoulders of a longstanding accepted and Biblically permissible tradition.

01 June 2010

Politicizing the Gospel (Glossary)

Politicizing the Gospel

This phrase denotes the tendency among those who have tied and/or equated the Kingdom of God with power and success. The Prosperity Gospel only differs in that it defines success in terms of individual attainment and well-being. Sacralists who have embraced a political gospel tend to view the question in terms of society, cultural norms, legislation and certainly in terms of both domestic and political power.

Wisdom means that we try and examine things with honesty and integrity and in a non-partisan and non-factional way. We're determined as much as is possible to set aside pre-commitments to tradition, denomination, and cultural bias. This is by no means easy. It's a process that we have to keep working on. I believe this is the renewing of our minds and a key part of our sanctification. Pre-commitments, allegiances, and pre-suppositions will cloud our judgment and shape our thoughts and if we're determined to be Biblical in our understanding we have to be willing to set these things aside and surrender our minds and hearts to the teaching of God's Word.

This is going to lead to an embrace of nuance and a willingness to acknowledge that some thinkers though contrary to you, might have some things right.

What will seem at times like compromise, ambiguity or equivocation will in fact represent a degree of humility in admitting that some of these issues are more complicated than we can even grasp. Sometimes context and motive come into play and force our thinking to be broader and less pointed.

When the gospel is wedded to politics all these things go out the window. Truth isn't the paramount concern anymore. All that matters is to win. You must have a specific agenda. Nuance doesn't help the cause. Granting anything to another camp gives them fuel, an audience and harms your ability to dominate. If the truth calls for you to take a position that straddles factions or demands a new paradigm, it must be rejected. The politicized Gospel is a rejection of wisdom and the embrace of a strategy to win.

The only information you seek is that which is useful. The only information you give to your followers is that which serves the agenda.

This is true not just with those who have tied the gospel to a political cause. It can prove equally so with those tied in with denominational power.

Politicizing the gospel is dangerous because it leads the sheep astray. They become focused on different things and for a different purpose. It re-shapes your ethics. If you're primary goal is to win, then admitting something is wrong or that someone from your faction (past or present) is wrong will invite defeat. So deliberately or perhaps subconsciously you excuse the wrong and re-cast it so that it is right.