14 August 2010

Biblical Christianity and the Ground Zero Mosque

I had planned to write a post concerning the 'Ground Zero' mosque controversy, but was pleased to discover someone else had already written a conscise and quite adequate response.

Here's the link.

Compare this with the response over at American Vision...what's even more astounding are the comments. This exposes the heart behind Sacralism and especially the Theonomic version.

This is not Biblical Christianity. Some of the readers I think, understand why I can get a little passionate about this! When you consider the massive numbers of people following these types of sites.......

I ask is there much difference between 2010, and 1210? We are in a dark time.


Philip Robinson said...

Not being American, it is maybe easier for me to say I agree 100%, having checked out the link, but I try and think of other examples closer to (my) home, and I can feel the tribal instincts kicking in.
I'd be interested to hear your take on Anne Rice. Mine is - on superficial reading of her background - good call, not so sure about the reasons.

Protoprotestant said...


Thanks for commenting. Please feel free to expand on the Ulster situation. I visited the Republic back in the 80's but things weren't so good up north then and we stayed away. A good many of us here in America come from Ulster Plantation heritage, and of all the areas in the British Isles I think Ulster has the most in common with old American culture.

Have you read Albion's Seed? Just curious.

As far as Anne Rice...I'm not sure what to say. I haven't paid much attention to her. To me it just sounded like a case of a poor woman who thought she had become a Christian and then decided to reject it...but her reasons were culture-based rather than something she found in Scripture. It seemed she was most upset about women, gays, and exclusivity, things like that.

It seemed like the Evangelical world got all excited, but they always seem to when a celebrity converts. But, considering she converted to Roman Catholicism, I'm not sure why they were so energized.

What's frustrating to me....is many people hate Christianity, and yet the Christianity they hate isn't even the Christ or Christianity of the Bible.

The gospel is an offense and ultimately fallen man will hate it to, but I'm afraid these days it's too often for the wrong reasons.

I'm not sure if that answered your question. Please feel free to elaborate.....

Anyone else can join in as well. We've got large numbers of readers, but so far I haven't had much success in generating comments. I'm not looking for accolades...I'm hoping people have discussions. Feel free to critique. I'm pretty thick skinned and I don't for a second profess to have all the answers.

Thanks. Your note today was an encouragement.

John A.

Philip Robinson said...

Yes, I'm really interested in the Ulster-Scots (Scotch-Irish) connection with America, and I was very impressed with Albion's Seed. Quite a few academics in America slated it, but on very shaky grounds - it seems they have bought into the 'Celtic' culture thing too much.
I'll get back on some of the other points again (bed time here!), and really interested in the content of your blog site.
By the way, I only discovered it because you had left a comment on another site I follow. I think you could let your light shine better (and get regular comments by adding the "follower" facility, so that people like me can dip in semi-automatically, and be notified of each new posting.

Protoprotestant said...

Ah, you read my mind. I was going to ask you what you thought of Fischer's Borderer thesis vs. the Celtic thesis so popular right now.

I imagine you're aware of the very popular Born Fighting book by Webb?

Have you read McWhiney and McDonald's Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South?

I'm not sure how familiar you are with the Reconstructionist movement, but certain segments of that movement are really into antebellum/pre-Civil War culture, particularly agrarianism. They appeal to the cultural differences between the agrarian Old South vs. the Industrialized North. And they have picked up on the Celtic v. Anglo-Saxon idea you get wiht McWhiney. The funny part is...I don't think they've read his book. It's not very flattering.

Of course, if you're not a Constantinian, you might view some of the 'cultural issues' a bit differently. The book didn't upset me as much as it would others. The book is impressive in its portraiture of the Old South, but to call it Celtic is too simple. I think Fischer's more or less correct. Even his models might be a little on the simple side, but more helpful.

I dunna ken why but many Americans think Scots is a Celtic language. As you know (in case anyone else is reading)...it's Anglo-Saxon in origin.

Obviously there was some overlap in past times. The Hen Ogledd (Rheged, Strathclyde etc...)overlapped with the Saxon kingdoms, but that was Brythonic not Gaelic. I suppose there was some Gaelic mixing as well on Mull and around Ayrshire and Galloway....but would you agree, the majority of the Lowlands culture is Anglo-Saxon and then Norman?

I've met more than one Protestant here that gets all excited about Braveheart (which was rubbish) but then somehow equates that with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the '45.

They don't like it when I explain the descedants of the Lowlanders who won at Stirling were not cheering the exiled Stuart monarch. They liked the Hanovers. They liked the Duke of Cumberland. Most of them eventually supported the Act of Union. There's Cumberland this and that everywhere in the Ulster-Scots pale of the United States.

I think I added the Follower feature. I'm not sure how, but someone figured out how to do it before. I'm still learning about some of these features.

Thanks for the encouraging words and I look forward to talking with you about these issues.

I didn't think anyone in Albion or Erin cared much about their long departed cousins. Very interesting. I know about the Woodrow Wilson family home that serves as an Ulster-Scots museum but I figured that was for the American tourists.

John A.

Philip Robinson said...

Yes again, John A. I think 'Born Fighting' was a watershed in bringing out American awareness of the unique role the Scotch-Irish had in forming America - out of all proportion to the size of the 'home' country (I think 14 Presidents of Ulster-Scots ancestry). The 'borders' cultural zone in Albion's Seed was a revolutionary concept, that broke down the culturally artificial construct of a British Isles made up of 4 'nation states' and therefore 4 'nations'. The idea that Ulster, lowland Scotland, and northern England (the Borders) are 'Celtic' is piffle, whether in culture or language, and their commonality of culture and language is just as you say. Braveheart and 'Celtic, cracker culture' belong to the same dustbin.

I'm not up to all the complex terminology of your own postings, but can't see anything I disagree with, and lots I do go along with. As you might see from my own 'Soul-searching' blog, I'm more on a voyage of discovery than on a mission. I call myself post-denominational (although I am an elder in my local Presbyterian church) because I truly believe we have set up shibboleths of 'one true' faith regarding baptism, communion, election, even the Bible, and miss the 'sole fido' principle. In fact I am increasingly convinced that we are in danger of tuning these issues into objects of idolatry. So I am constantly self examining my own tribalism for the faults I see so quickly in others.

Protoprotestant said...

Believe me I'm no expert. I've just been fascinated (even as a child) with Britain and especially the Welsh and Scottish frontiers, and the interplay between Ulster and the Hebrides. The post-Roman period shrouded in myth and legend always intrigued me. The old Welsh kingdoms in the north cut off by the Anglo-Saxons etc....Then later the Gallowglass and all those folks. Have you ever read HV Morton?

Overlap regions are always the most interesting to me, whether it be Britain, the Balkans, the Caucasus, or even Central Asia. Where all the different cultures collide and overlap makes for some interesting stories and fascinating cultural tapestries.

I think you find something of that with the Borderers. Roman-Brythonic/Welsh-Gael-Saxon-Viking-Norman etc.... what a mix.

God willing I'll spend a little time at your Soul-Searching blog in the next day or two. Suddenly I've been a bit swamped by the cares of daily life. I've got a few pieces I'm working on, but probably won't get to for a day or two.

What type of Presbyterian? I was just talking last night with a friend who has been at an RPCNA in Boston and there were some visitors there from an RPCNA in Ulster. They were talking about Paisley etc. and the recent flare up of troubles.

I'd be quite curious as to anything you had to say on that. Paisley's always been a fascinating fellow to be sure, but my opinion regarding him has changed considerably over the years. But again, I don't live there, I just read, so if you have anything to contribute I would be most interested. I listen to a lot of BBC while I'm at work, so that keeps me somewhat abreast of UK matters.

I think I agree with your statement about shibboleths. I've spent my entire Christian life in the Reformed World, and I'm still broadly speaking in that camp. But I think the WCF (as good as it is) has been turned into something of an idol. I've been quite uneasy for years with how many interact with tradition and refuse to allow the Bible to speak. There is a reticence to admit in some places the Reformed tradition has been wrong. That can quickly degenerate into idolatry.

You last statement grabs me. I found living outside of my own country for a couple of years to be the best thing I've ever done. What an eye opener. That combined with a love of history, ideas, and Scripture reading has allowed me (I hope) to step back and look at my own culture, how we're taught to think and what we do with that as we approach God and His Word. I don't find too many people who are willing to self-examine in the sense you mean. Sadly with our culture the way it is...many don't even know where to begin.

That's part of what I'm trying to do here. I'm trying to play the role of iconoclast not just for the sake of tearing down but to provoke, shock a bit. I'm sure I lose a lot of people right at the beginning, but those who are thinking might sit back and say...I don't agree with everything he's saying, but he's making me think about things I've never thought about or at least think about them in a different way.

If that happens, I am thrilled.

Glad for this exchange. Back to work......

John A.

Philip Robinson said...

You asked about Paisley. A 'big' subject here. His "Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster" is not really a splinter of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland or is it related to the Free P's of Scotland. It is basically his own creation, and the church membership does not equate to his political following. Certainly the Paisley of today is not the same anti-establishment man of the 60s and 70s. I don't think the bare essentials of the Paisley religious fundamentals are anything new, but for myself it is more a question of the style.
The following quote from another Ulster blog I follow sums up my own reservations:
"Unfailing courtesy, kindness, tenderness and consideration for others are some of the greatest ornaments to the character of the child of God. The world can understand these things if it cannot understand doctrine. There is no religion in rudeness, roughness, bluntness, and incivility."
Bishop J.C. Ryle (1816 - 1900)

Having said that, I know he is/was a champion of the Reformed tradition.

In Presbyterian terms, the present Presbyterian Curch in Ireland (which I belong to) is, by far, the largest Protestant denomination here. There are 2 smaller Presbyterian "off-shoots"
a) The Reformed Presbyterians (Covenanters), and,
b) The Non-Subscribing Presbyterians.
The latter include some Unitarians, and so the whole denomination is often tarred with the same brush, but they refuse to subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith when being ordained. Their liberal political heritage is something they are proud of, and I feel a sort of sympathy, not only for that, but also for the principle of not having to subscribe to a man-made creed.
The Covenanters retain much of the old Presbyterian forms of worship, such as only singing Psalms, no instrumental music, and standing for prayer. Until recently they refuse to participate in politics, even voting. I also am attracted to their 'Old Testament tribalism' - so you can see how much of a ditherer I am!

Protoprotestant said...

I'm pretty familiar with the RPCNA- Covenanters. Some of their congregations are not too distant from where I live. I attended a Bible study led by one of their pastors.

Good folks, but I don't agree with them on many things...obviously!

I remember years ago being intrigued by their non-participation political stand, but then I realized it's because the US Constitution isn't explicitly Christian and their views that we (the USA) are under the Solemn League and National Covenant and until we subscribe to it as a nation...they won't participate.

I guess they got tired of holding their breath.

In what sense do you mean tribalism?

I was looking at your blog and didn't realize you were the former curator of the Ulster Folk Museum. Is that the "Wilson" museum I mentioned?

Is there a lot of interest in Ulster-Scots traditions etc?

Interesting things to be sure......

Philip Robinson said...

I meant tribalism in a 'nice' way - simply strong feelings of historical and cultural identity. (Not in the sense of British Israelism! although that is quite strong here in some quarters - the Tribe of Dan unfortunately being assumed in legend to be our 'tribe').

The Woodrow Wilson "ancestral home" in county Tyrone is a museum of sorts, but the Ulster Folk Museum I worked in is a large 'national' folk park with many re-erected traditional buildings. I think there are about 12 American "Presidential Homesteads" in Ulster - I've been dealing with the Andrew Jackson one recently on my own "Steinbeck's Redemption" blog,