29 August 2010

Nothing new under the sun- Part 4

Part 4


Apostate Christianity is the great enemy, the great curse upon the Church today. We are surrounded by multitudes of 'churches,' and yet one is hard pressed to find one that teaches the Bible. You'll find many who pay lip-service to it, but within minutes of conversation it is usually quite clear the leaders have little idea of what they're doing. Even in many theologically conservative and Bible-affirming churches, rather than Scripture, the leadership seems most versed and interested in the latest innovations pertaining to church growth, so-called ministry, and the latest fads and techniques in worship.

Pardon me if my tone seems contemptuous, but if you understand my argument, you'll see I'm not overly concerned with Al-Qaeda, Pelosi, Obama, Ahmadinejad, illegal aliens, Ground Zero mosques, or gay marriage. I'm concerned with apostate Christianity. And I grow very concerned when apostate Christianity is wedded to political power as with George Bush and Ronald Reagan, or even historically with someone like Abraham Lincoln, or the British Empire.

Here's the problem. If I say, homosexual marriage is not that important to me, because knowing history I can say with confidence, we've seen these things before. Then immediately I must be a pro-abortion, pro-gay, anti-gun, socialist, earth-goddess worshipper. There's no room for discussion.

The people who think and argue this way, live and operate in very small little boxes…one's given to them by their ideological superiors. And frankly, there's very little you can say to them. Blinded by their Sacral commitments they are unable to step back and engage in honest conversation, and usually they're not interested in trying to have a conversation at all. In the last piece I mentioned that with the removal of Divine Restraint, there also seems to be a removal of discernment regarding the Church. The words strong delusion come to mind.

27 August 2010

Confusing the Holy and the Common

Corporate v. Individual Conduct or What we do as the Church vs. What we do as individual Christians

Here's one of those laugh/cry stories. It concerns a small town in Northeast Ohio where a small church has protested and picketed a strip club and are now being counter picketed by the strippers.

What a mess!

But there are a couple of lessons that can be learned.

Nothing new under the sun- Part 3

The Early Church response was different, because it did not have a Sacralistic view of the Kingdom.
and
Sacralism affects theologically liberal Churches as well, in fact it's one of the reasons people still attend them.

Part 3

What of the pervasive and omnipresent cultural wickedness? How did the Christians in the first century view it? We find no emphasis on the pages of the New Testament which would drive the Church into some kind of activism. We find no encouragement or seed of doctrine leading us to look to the magistrate to transform society. Nor do we find it in the writings of the Early Church Fathers. We do not find it in the letter to Diognetus, nor in the letters of Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin, Tertullian, or Irenaeus. It is only in the Constantinian times that we begin to see this kind of thinking and action.

Why was it absent before the Edict of Milan? Because they lacked the means that we now possess? I would argue they rightly lacked the vision. Their understanding of the Kingdom was not one of political power. They had a different vision.

Sacralism is a dangerous thing, because it confuses us. I wonder how many Americans are really upset over these same social issues the first century Church dealt with, because of their devotion to a romantic and theological vision of America?

25 August 2010

Nothing new under the sun- Part 2

Many similarities in different forms...how the Roman world was very much like our own, and how the Church responded.

The similarities between Imperial Rome and America are often astounding. Certainly we've had other empires in the past with more of a universal military and political character granting them perhaps a stronger claim to the Roman analogy. But Rome like America, was also the source of a powerful cultural imperialism. And like America, Rome wasn't really original in its cultural creations, it was how it transformed or Romanized the other cultures. Today we would say, it was the packaging.

24 August 2010

Nota Bene on 24 August

Today is the anniversary of both the destruction of Pompeii in AD79 and the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572.

Nothing new under the sun- part 1

In the centuries right around the time of Christ's birth, what was the status of marriage in the Roman Empire? Rome, like all civilizations had some concept of marriage and family. We argue these stem from natural law and yet like all interpretations of General Revelation, its application by fallen man was flawed and imperfect.


Roman society had some different notions than we do today about what was private and what was public. Marriage is an interesting example. We often focus on the habits of the patrician class since they were the movers and shakers in the annals of the day. But what of free men, the common citizens? They had nothing equivalent to what we would call a marriage license, no ceremony before a justice of the peace, in fact nothing that civilly recognized the actual creation of a household, the joining of husband and wife. The state in no way sanctioned or regulated the marriage relationship. It was considered a private matter.

22 August 2010

Learning to ask the right questions as we interact with the past and the present.

Part of what we've been doing here is examining theological and cultural presuppositions which have led to a what I call a dumbing down and sometimes complete blinding of the Christian mind. We've talked about the historical record of this and focused particularly on what has happened with the American Church.

I've tried to argue for looking at history in a different way with a Christian view of the world that doesn't think in nationalistic, patriotic, civilizational, or Sacral terms, but seeks to honestly discern what has happened and what is happening. Once Sacralism is abandoned it allows us to view the world in an entirely different paradigm and places us not only outside of what passes as Christian thought and politics but for that matter completely outside the spectrum of the majority of the historical and political discussion in America.

Contrary to charges of isolation and irrelevance this different perspective helps us to consciously maintain our identity as the Church, offer a powerful critique and demonstrate wisdom in looking at the problems and issues of the temporal realm. The gospel will always remain an offense, but sadly when overlapped with a Sacralist agenda few unbelievers are ever really exposed to the genuine gospel of the Kingdom.


21 August 2010

Who's Hiding What and Why?

Who's hiding what and why? More on Wikileaks. Great questions....one's not being asked by our statist media. What are Christian conservatives in the United States saying?

Here's a link to a post by Fred Reed.

Word of warning. Fred is not a Christian and can be a little borderline. What I mean is...a little crude at times. I have hesitated to post links to him before, but we're all adults here, and I think he's often worth the read.

It's another example of an unbeliever engaging in honest discussion and evaluation. He understands the world far more than the Christians writing over at American Vision or any of the other similar sites. Does he get it all right? Of course not. But as I keep saying over and over, he's willing to ask the questions those with specific agendas are unwilling to even ask. Does he have a Christian worldview? No, but the Sacralist writers don't either......
Who's hiding what and why? This is more on the Wikileaks issue. These are great questions....one's not being asked by our statist media. What are Christian conservatives in the United States saying about this issue? They want treason trials and executions....no interest in finding out the truth.


Fred's ex-military, an expatriate, very insightful and sometimes hilarious. Obviously I cannot endorse everything he says, but like I said, we shouldn't be afraid to ask questions and read things that challenge us a bit.

So, you've been warned....

I went ahead and posted his text here, but I included the link to his actual site up above.

20 August 2010

Five Point Reductionism- Part 3...Accused by Onesimus

Recently, I had an occasion to interact with someone who was clearly not understanding the dynamic/dialectic of Scripture. As I mentioned in part 1, I was at another website, on a post dealing with Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace. The author of the post gave the standard Arminian position, and I responded. Another commenter going by Onesimus accused me of sin and blasphemy.

Here's my first post, followed by Onesimus and then my reply. I haven't heard back. I hope he answers.

Please feel free to comment, especially if you don't agree.......

19 August 2010

Five Point Reductionism- Part 2, Method and the danger of Meta-system

In the end, the Five Points express truth but are a wholly insufficient and lopsided expression of it. I've always marveled at Calvinism's insistence in employing these points as an expression of their system, or even worse as a starting point. The Five Points resulted from the work of the Synod of Dordt in the early 17th century. The Arminian party put forward the Five Points of Arminianism, I summarize:



Partial Depravity

Conditional Election

Universal Atonement

Resistable Grace

Conditional Salvation



And the Calvinists responded with their Five Points...



Total Depravity

Unconditional Election

Limited Atonement

Irresistable Grace

Perseverance of the Saints.



So the Calvinistic points are just responses to another faction's argument. Calvinists then take the Five Points and teach them as a bedrock to their system. Again, while true, how can we think we can reduce the faith to five doctrines? Why would we want to? On one level we could say the bedrock or foundation is one point....Christ Jesus. On another level we would need to insist on a hundred points.

18 August 2010

Five Point Reductionism- Part 1

Recently I was on another website and responded to an article concerning Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace. Some of you will recognize these two doctrines as the 'U' and 'I' in the famous Calvinist acrostic TULIP. If you're unfamiliar with it, read on.

While TULIP is certainly true, the problem is the Bible also teaches reciprocal truths on each of these points. The so-called Five Points are dealing with eternal truths, focusing on the decretal activity of God as it pertains to individual salvation. It deals with fallen man's state and need, God's purpose and how salvation is applied. But the categories all deal with what I would call the eternal or invisible. This would include God's workings beyond the realm of space and time (meta-creational/eternal) and with man's internal or spiritual state.

17 August 2010

The Vaudois

Though no fan of Darby's theology, he wrote an excellent little paper concerning the Waldensians or as they were often called The Vaudois. He deals here primarily with the most famous group in the Cottian Alps to the west of Turin. They seemed to have been descendants of the Lyonist group. The Lombardic Waldenses were east of Turin and spread throughout Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, Germany, and Poland.


The Vaudois

J. N. Darby.




I know not whether your readers are interested, as I have been, in the hunted remnant of the middle ages, both east and west, during the time that ecclesiastical corruption and wickedness were on the throne of their power. They laboured under a double disadvantage. They have no historians but their enemies, alike bitter and unprincipled, who would stop at no calumny to blacken them, their own stupendous wickedness making the accusation of it a natural weapon. This was one reason why we know so little truly of them, and that little to their disadvantage.


15 August 2010

The Reformation: Romanticism and Reality

A few reflections concerning the Reformation.




Historians have long debated the reasons for the success of Martin Luther, Zwingli, and the other Reformers versus the failures of other per-Reform movements. Why did Luther succeed in 1517, but Hus fail in 1415?

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.

12 August 2010

Saul's Politics

For those unfamiliar, a quick discussion on law, what the Evangelicals do with it, and the most important part...why?


As brilliant as the founders were in constructing a government with balanced powers, there are certain issues regarding the law in relation to this balance that remain unresolved.

There is a 3-fold tension between:

Legislative power

Judicial Review

and the

Popular Sentiment


11 August 2010

Vietnam and the Clash of Ignorance

Here's a story from the AsiaTimes regarding Vietnam. It's ironic, but now they are actually looking to establishing stronger economic ties to the United States due to the growing power of their ancient enemy...China.

The United States pulled out in 1975, and 35 years later the United States though militarily defeated has won, almost.....with Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken. You can defeat Imperial Legions with guerilla warfare, but you can't defeat the most flesh-pleasing and enticing culture the world has seen since the Roman Empire.

10 August 2010

Will the U.S. really pull out of Iraq?

A link to the latest Margolis article. A frank discussion of America's plan for Iraq.

A quick follow up on the Nazi article...

The recent post.... What type of theology leads the church to support something like Nazi Germany, is largely a recapitulation of ideas already discussed here. I wasn't as careful in how I wrote it. Readers already familiar with the ideas here can follow it without difficulty, but newer readers might be a little confused.

In addition, I freely admit, it's a bit of a rant. I'm usually pretty level headed, but this one theological-historical interaction is something that really upsets me. I consider their arguments to be deceptive and quite dangerous.

If you're looking for something a little easier to read in regard to Two Kingdoms and Nazi Germany then I recommend these two previous posts......

Two Kingdom Theology on Guard

and

Why am I talking about this?---part 4


Blessings.

Beasts at play

A follow-up on the Afghanistan article focusing on three issues.

1. The NGO workers
2. The Afghan girl on the cover of Time
3. A few more comments on regional issues and a link.

09 August 2010

What type of theology leads the Church to support something like Nazi Germany?

Yet another interaction. This time with Gary DeMar of American Vision.

These people mass produce this type of material and I compliment them on their ability to package and market what they write. People read it and do not think it through. We better start and helping our friends to start thinking or we're in trouble. DeMar and others have contributed to the erection within the church of an intellectual framework that teaches Christians NOT to think. They have made them very susceptible to propaganda. Just look at their websites and read the comments after the articles.


In this post, DeMar builds up an argument, making great hyperbolic leaps to the point he's really trying to get to....Two Kingdom theology lets something like Nazi Germany happen.

If you've read anything at this site, you'll know I argue the exact opposite. I argue Sacralist Constantinianism creates the culture and cultural conformity that leads to a compliant church-population (wherein church is defined as culture) that will allow atrocities to happen and even willingly participate in them. History has shown this, and we can play all the little games we want with the history of 19th century and inter-war Germany, but as the video I linked to a few days said.....Gott Mit Uns, says it all.

Germans believed God was with them. American Vision promotes the same idea for the United States.

Here's the link to the DeMar article.....

08 August 2010

Sorrow upon Sorrow: Two-Kingdoms, Sacralism, Ethics, and Wisdom applied to the question of Afghanistan

or


The convoluted and irresolvable complexity of geo-political ethics.

Ten members of the International Assistance Mission were killed recently in Badakhshan Province located in northeastern Afghanistan. A wild and remote region, almost separate from the rest of the country it sits wedged between the Pakistani Northern Areas, the Pamirs of Tajikistan and China.

Largely free from the violence plaguing the rest of the country, these NGO workers were journeying back to Kabul via an indirect route when apparently they were attacked by the Taliban and massacred.

This was a clear case of murder, and while much of the killing in war can certainly be classified as murder, cases like these seem especially egregious. Already the American media is at work, and we can already presume what the response will be from Christian sectors.

A murder is a crime and sin, the deaths are tragic. This is the knowledge we have attained, facts we have been given.

How to respond and interact with these facts requires wisdom and there is a danger in oversimplifying the questions. People are dying, that's pretty straightforward and clear. But the reasons behind these deaths and the deaths of other innocents is anything but simple.

07 August 2010

The international audience, cultural influences, and a note regarding the validity and trustworthiness of the Scripture.

So far I'm amazed at the volume of traffic reaching this website. In just a couple of months, this site has gone from just a few visits a day up to over a hundred on some. I wondered if anyone would read it all. Writing on these subjects has helped me by finally after many years putting some of these things down on paper (so to speak). I'm so glad to find out I'm not alone. There are other people committed to the Christ of Scripture who also have grave concerns regarding what has happened to the Church in history and how traditions and systems have been elevated above the Divine Word.




There are people reading articles from literally all over the world. Africa is the only continent that has not brought any readers yet. I hope that will change.



For years I have been concerned about a specifically American or even Western version of the gospel and Christianity going out all over the world. As I've written, it seems so often when I read books or articles, listen or watch reports, the Christianity I hear about in other parts of the world has been specifically tied in with western cultural values. Though somewhat unavoidable, I hope for the churches outside the West to escape some of the problems that plague us, while they still have a chance. I'm very disappointed when I see people from other countries echoing Americanism. I expressed this in my post 'Propaganda Indeed,' where we find a man from Bulgaria writing on American Vision and promoting a distinctly and completely American theological agenda. Bizarre. Why would they fall for it? It's like all the Mormons in Europe. How could people fall for something so obviously American, so clearly provincial in nature? As we say in America, out of the frying pan and into the fire!



A few additional examples....

06 August 2010

Angle no Angel

Here's a link to an article at the Las Vegas Sun.

Sharron Angle is runing for the Nevada Senate. This is a classic scenario we keep encountering. While we don't necessarily want to support Harry Reid, Angle represents something much worse.

The Transformative Power of Propaganda

How sad to find unbelievers who desiring to understand the world and find the truth, have a better understanding of human nature and the corruption of power than many of the agenda-driven members of the Christian community.

As I often say, Leftists sometimes ask the right questions, the very ones the Right is afraid to ask or refuses to entertain. Does the Left come up with the right answers? Sometimes, but often not. But I can guarantee the Right will never come up with good answers or workable solutions because they refuse to engage, ask necessary sometimes ugly questions, and deal with the world as it is. They keep pressing for their idealist fantasy which smacks of the Utopianism they like to accuse their opponents of.

05 August 2010

Zechariah 5, Mystery Babylon and the Woman Wickedness

This is from Kerux, a publication devoted to Biblical Theology. These articles by Kline were later put into the book Glory in Our Midst. He's not an easy read for those unfamiliar with him, but once you are comfortable with his cadence you will find his writings to be quite rich and the topic could not be more relevant.


Anathema*


Meredith G. Kline



Introduction. Structural Issues: According to the pattern of the introductory formulae (cf. 1:7-8; 2:1; 2:5; 3:1; 4:1-2; 5:1; 6:1) there are seven visions in Zech. 1:7-6:8, not eight, for Zechariah 5 is not to be divided into two visions but regarded as a unit, the sixth vision. The two triads of visions bracketing the central hinge vision (Zechariah 3) all include the phrase, "I saw and behold," but that is absent from Zech. 5:5, where many commentators would begin a separate vision. The phrase we find instead at v. 5 is like one which marks the middle, not beginning, of a vision at Zech. 2:7 [Eng. 2:3].1



The unity of the two parts of Zechariah 5 is also indicated by certain interdependencies of grammar and terminology. Thus, the suffix in "their appearance" (v. 6) has as its antecedent the thieves and perjurers of v. 3. And the phrase "in all the land" (v. 6) resumes "all the land" in v. 3. Most compelling, however, are the clear thematic interrelationships of the two parts of the chapter and the remarkable intermeshing of their symbolism. The sixth vision portrays the judgment curse of exile, distinguishing its two distinct stages: destruction of the victims' holdings in their homeland (vv. 1-4) and deportation with relocation in a foreign land (vv. 5-11). Details of the interlocking imagery of the two parts will emerge in the exegesis below.

Why appeal to Providence when you refuse to submit to it?

Here's a link to a Covenant News article by Buddy Hanson.

For some this will be redundant, but I keep reading articles like this and I have to say something. They sound so good. They sound so logical and reasonable and God glorifying. It's simply not the case.


I hope my readers are seeing through all these interactions, how to pick apart their arguments and though packaged nicely, discover their fundamental fallacies.

If you go to his website at the end, have a look at his Worldview Survey. Notice how the questions are framed. It's dishonest. It reminds me of surveys I've received from the Heritage Foundation and other organizations. They surveys are not truthful interrogations. Even the questions have a propaganda-like nature.

It's not about seeking out facts, putting them together and trying to form a picture of truth. It's about indoctrination, rather cultic I'm sorry to say.

May you benefit from this.....

04 August 2010

Horns like a lamb with the voice of a dragon....

He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon...Revelation 13.11

I heard this Chuck Colson Breakpoint commentary the other day ......
My comments are interspersed....

03 August 2010

How can telling the truth be treason to people who claim to worship the Truth?

Here's the latest from Eric Margolis on the Wikileak scandal/saga. Just some interesting commentary on what's happening and some of the issues with Pakistan that many have been talking about for years but are generally not reported in the statist media.

02 August 2010

Legacies of Empire

I find no joy in writing this, but it is something that needs to be said. I've written elsewhere, especially in the Why and How posts about the willful ignorance of the American and particularly Christian American public. I've written about the so-called Christian Worldview that instead of seeking truth, re-writes history, and filters current events and interprets them rather than interacts with the facts.

Our so-called liberal media which is in reality a corporate media complex has chosen to ignore many stories of vast significance. I also mentioned how the United States has the most powerful propaganda machine in history. It's not one of suppression, but one of distraction. The information is all available but is generally ignored, or for many disputed, because it comes from 'foreign' sources and is therefore untrustworthy. Some foreign reporting is undoubtedly false, but no more than American reporting and manipulation of facts.

Beslan, The Chechens, and The Legacy of Sacralist Russia part 2

Someone responded to my comments regarding the Beslan tragedy. It was over at a website called Defending/Contending. I didn't expect a response because it would seem all I succeeded in doing at the site was angering everyone. There's a thread called...It's about the beat.... some of you might be interested in it. It was largely a debate between a Pietistic view of Culture vs. my position in arguing Culture is Common. Some of the same issues appear here as a Sacralized view of culture will not allow for us to think outside a certain box that's often provided for us. I argue Pietism is one variety of a Sacralist view of culture and it interprets Christianity through that specific cultural lens. My post called The Good Old Days deals with that a bit.

I had intended to leave off interacting with this site. They pretty much seem to despise me. I'm sure to them I'm a worldly, leftist, apostate or something.

There are actually a lot of good things at the site. That said, it's often (to borrow Moo's phrase), like a symphony out of tune. They really like Spurgeon and Pink. Me too, but as I tried to point out, Pink and Spurgeon didn't exactly teach the view of culture and pietism they are espousing.

One type of Sacralism in viewing culture as holy focuses on power and conquest.

The other variety in viewing culture as holy focuses on separation-ism and critique.

I argue both tactics are wrong because they identify culture in the wrong manner. Am I saying we don't separate? Oh, we have to, especially when we live in a Sacralist culture. We may even be driven from the churches which espouse it. We have to be very self-conscious and very careful. It's actually easier for us to be self-conscious when we live in a secular state, which is what we as Christians should wish for. Shocking I know. Daryl Hart has recently written on this. Of course no state or society is static. In the end they will all move one way or the other.

Pietism seeks to escape worldly influence and thought by creating a Christian sub-culture. But the sub-culture is still defined by the larger culture and they cannot help but conflate or blend the two ideas. Thus often Pietistic Separatists are often just as pro-America and pro-Imperial as the Transformationalist variety.

I argue we need to be in the world, but not of it. Our Separatism is not about clothes or music per se. We need to do those things as Christians too. But the Kingdom is not about clothes or music....meat or drink....it's about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

So I'm calling for what would seem to a Transformationalist....as separatism.

What seems to a Pietist....as worldy.

This view doesn't make sense to either of them, because I'm refusing to accept their categories of thought.

Anyway, here is the exchange. A man named "Pilgrim" responded to my post from early July.

01 August 2010

Follow up on the Socialism piece

N.B.

In regard to the Socialism article. I posted a one liner at the New Geneva Blog the same day I posted my interaction. I just said there was a critique of the article and gave the link.

Well, they removed that pretty quick. Now if you visit the site, it says there are no comments on the article.

I hope Halbrook the author responds, but just like McAtee of IronInk, and many others, they won't post comments or links if they don't like what you're saying. They seem afraid to allow their readers a chance to see the other side, or for that matter, even read a critique concerning the method of argument.

So be it.