04 December 2011

American Christians are more outraged over Socialism than they are a false prophet…

A few comments on the effects of Sacralism on the Church with regard to politics, morality, social narrative, race, and authority

I’ve been watching for some time, looking for Christians to speak out about Mr. Herman Cain. Why?

This man presents himself as a Minister of Christ’s Church, a leader of God’s people. He also has declared himself a prophet, one who has conversations with God. God told him, he claims, to run for president. Whether he takes the label of prophet is irrelevant. His claims identify him as such.

I regularly listen to American Evangelical leaders blast European morality and the loose morals of their society. Admittedly Europe is not as strict when it comes to sexual morality.

Of course loud obese Americans gobbling up slave produced cheap plastic goods and dropping bombs all over the world, (in many cases claiming God has all but directed them to do so)…don’t carry a lot of moral authority in Europe either. I guess from their perspective a topless beach is less of a big deal than blood-soaked babies.

The American Church is permeated with scandal and sin. While I’m certainly not advocating Wesleyan Perfectionism, I’m suggesting there’s something seriously wrong with the American Church.

Many Worldview teachers look with dismay at the statistics. The American Church doesn’t really live or even think any differently than the hordes of lost people that surround them. There is very little in the way of conscious thought-through antithesis. You can pretty much take any sin and find the Church is just as permeated with it as the rest of society.

It’s because they haven’t been taught….is what we frequently hear. If we can just get these people to learn the Biblical Worldview concerning, family, politics, economics and so forth…the Church will change.

I would suggest the majority of these people probably aren’t Christians to begin with. The Gospel has been so perverted by various forms of Consumerism and Easy Believism that there are very few who can even begin to elaborate the basics. Words like Justification and Atonement are pretty foreign to most Evangelicals.

And the concept of Authority is patently absent. We see it with the flood of pagan ideas and syncretism entering the Church and we see it in the loss of any concept of delineation or discipline. We know of many Churches in our community tolerating open sin, in some cases spouses divorcing and without missing a beat taking up with someone else in the congregation…and in some cases before the actual divorce (whether right or wrong) is actually completed. We have open adultery in the Church. And I’m not talking about the Mainline United Methodist and Presbyterian (PCUSA) congregations. They’ve had cohabitors and others openly attending for years.

Evangelicals seem quite eager to apply Old Testament Law to the polity of the United States. So what about Herman Cain? Deuteronomy 18 is pretty clear concerning the prophet who speaks in God’s name and is proven false. I’m not advocating for Old Covenant law to be applied to our nation, but many Evangelicals, even those who aren’t avowed Theonomists, make this appeal. Why isn’t any one calling him out and denouncing him for what he is….A False Prophet?

Regarding the adultery charges…well, they’re certainly not proven but I don’t think too many people are impressed with a man who was financially supporting ‘a female friend’ for years without telling his wife. I guess what I’m saying at this point is…I don’t think there’s really anyone who doesn’t think Cain is pretty shady and less than faithful to his wife.

Now in the Church we have forgiveness…of course there hasn’t been a lot of honesty or repentance has there? We can forgive…but that hardly means that we just forget and allow someone like this to press on with their lies and agenda.

I must forgive an employee who steals from me. But am I obligated to keep him in my employ? Is part of forgiveness allowing him to continue working in my store or warehouse, or if I work in other people’s homes…do I allow him to have other opportunities to steal from customers/clients?

When it comes to Cain, Gingrich or Bristol Palin, the Church is very forgiving. Palin was lauded for her decision to ‘keep’ her out-of-wedlock child. What a pro-life statement.

If Chelsea Clinton had turned up pregnant during the Clinton years, we would have heard endless dronings by the Dobsonites about the lack of moral character in the White House and the message this sends to the youth. But with Bristol Palin, her sin and the utter disarray of her mother’s lifestyle become…a message of life.

Gingrich the arch-hypocrite is forgiven, but Mitterrand of France is lambasted because he simply had his mistress and didn’t care.

Of course in the United States our leaders have long been notorious for their private misdeeds…notorious that is to those who are paying attention and who bother to read.

Those who consume mass media usually have no idea, for in our system the supposed ‘liberal’ media usually protects the establishment figures unless they make a grievous public error or if it’s something that cannot be hid, because other media outlets are reporting it. Thankfully our media landscape is changing…there’s more chaos, but also more truth.

Europeans tend to be a little bit more mature about these things. Don’t misunderstand me…I’m not saying it’s mature to accept sin. I’m talking about their society in general. They’re less inclined to play these games and try and maintain the façade that we do in America. The majority non-Christian Europeans seem to have a better and more honest understanding of human nature than the ‘Christian’ citizens of America. The United States has this narrative about its moral standing and leadership in the world. Adulterous leaders don’t look good raising the flag atop the Shining City on the Hill.

All of this works together to shape a consumerist media that in the past (before Clinton) wouldn’t report on the adulterous affairs of American Presidents. Candidates for office are not granted the same protection as those who are actually wielding power.

We have this kind of mythic narrative about our country and cultural Christianity (Sacralism) is wed to our politics. I’ve met so many Baptists who just loved George Bush while there were numerous Mainline United Methodists (like Bush) living in the same town (many of them Republican) that they would have nothing to do with. In fact these same Baptists found them to be spiritually repugnant and not Christian at all. They seemed to miss the fact that if Bush was living in their town, that’s where he would go to Church, not their Independent Fundamental Baptist congregation.

What is it? Blinded by celebrity? Majesty? Why do hard-line fundamentalists give a blank check to theologically dubious and morally loose characters like the Bush’s and Reagan…and in many recent cases Herman Cain?

Aside from all this…what if a Democrat in the style of Jim Wallis or Tony Campolo stood up and said, “God told me to run for president. I was like Moses, I didn’t want to lead, I didn’t want to speak, but He told me to?”

There would be a loud and very rabid denunciation of this, and rightly so.

But with Herman Cain, I heard very little. Because of his politics this arch-heretic false prophet gets a free pass.

It’s very telling about the state of the church and where people’s hearts are at. That is to say, what really matters to them, where their true affections are directed.

Let’s say for a moment I was Charismatic in my concept of Divine Authority and I accepted George Bush’s claim about God wanting him to run for president. Seemingly it was vindicated because he won.

But what about Herman Cain? His prophecy was obviously false! He’s obviously NOT supposed to be president. He just heard wrong? Well, it’s a little more serious than that. What if people believed him and voted for him because they thought…well, God told him so, so that’s what I’m SUPPOSED to do?

There is great evil at work within the Church. The Church does not know its right hand from its left and certainly knows very little about the Lord it purports to serve. And we’ve reached a point that you can’t talk about these things. If you raise them, all people hear is…you’re pro-Obama. I couldn’t care less about Barack Obama. He’s just yet another Caesar that lies, cheats, steals, bombs, and deceives.

But the Church isn’t clamouring after Obama. They are clamouring after a bunch of people that are just as bad, in fact worse, because they do it with Christ on their lips or claiming to be speaking for the God of Holy Writ.

Here is our war. What’s happening today is like the United States invading Madagascar instead of Normandy in 1944. Wrong war, wrong enemy, wrong tactics and so forth. The enemy is in the camp, within the walls. The watchmen…they’ve not only not done their job…they’re agents of the enemy. They’ve opened the gates.

Some have undoubtedly dismissed him because he is part of the ‘Black’ Church. American Evangelicals have proven quite schizophrenic in this regard.

Up until the late 1990’s, white Evangelicals were pretty universal in their denunciation of the ‘Black’ church. Martin Luther King was a Marxist and an adulterer. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were objects of scorn. The Civil Rights era was tied in with the anti-American liberalism of Lyndon Johnson and the anti-War movement.

But then suddenly Chuck Colson and others change the narrative…and a decade later Christian leaders and people like Glenn Beck are trying to ‘claim’ the Civil Rights movement as something Christian, something akin to what they are about. Anything perceived as good or positive has to be claimed by the Dominionist narrative. Unbelievers can't do good things. So no matter what the truth is...they're Christian.

Martin Luther King is suddenly a hero and Jesse Jackson and Sharpton…they become some kind of deviationists who lost the pure vision. They act like Martin Luther King were he alive would be working for FOX news.

I’m a little confused. While I can socially admire someone like Martin Luther King…the social values he stood for…I cannot stand with his theology. Racism is incompatible with Christianity, but so is theological liberalism that denies the Divine Authorship of the Bible. King was morally loose. But since I’m not buying into the Sacralist narrative, I can look at someone like King and say very good for society…but very bad for the Church.

I can look at someone like Gandhi and admire him and yet reject his religious ideas. But his social ideas flowed from his Hinduism some might say. Not exactly. Mainstream Hinduism’s caste system was hardly compatible with his ideas. Although there are certainly non-Brahmanic strains within Hinduism that support his ideas. Nevertheless what I find appealing is that a pagan stood against a Christian Sacralist Empire and shamed it into acquiescence.

Sacralist White Anglo-Saxon Protestant American Christianity was shamed by the people it had formerly enslaved.

But imagine Tories going to India and trying to claim they stood with Gandhi? The same is happening today with Colson, Beck and the African-American community.

But then when someone like Cain comes along and spews forth such blatant quackery…well, that’s the ‘Black’ church and they’ve got some theological problems. Indeed they do. It’s very sad. The African-American Churches in the United States have largely lost the gospel. Politics, the post-slave narrative, and self-help are their gospel in most cases.

We have a confused mess. Some perhaps wouldn’t want to call out Cain as a false prophet out of fear of being labeled racist. Others as I’m trying to say would at this point distance themselves from the theology of the Black Church…except when it is politically convenient to do otherwise.

Forgive this meandering ramble, but maybe you see that Biblical Truth has nothing do with how American Christians deal with these issues. It’s all about politics and power. And because of it…we tolerate false prophets in the camp.

My 9 year old son put it best… “He should go back to making pizza!”


29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Socialism and liberal politics are just as destructive to the Church. They are theological heresies.

Cain should have been called out but at least he stood for a more Christian vision of society and culture.

Jim said...

Anon,

Exactly how was/is Herman Cain's vision for society "more Christian"?

Cal said...

How is Socialism, an economic model of a country, destructive to the Church? How is an economic model a theological heresy?

Anonymous said...

He's not very good at elaborating, but Cain is anti-abortion, believes America should stand for Christian values, and his economics are more in line with the Bible.

Socialism violates the eigth commandment. The government steals your money to give to someone else.

Worldviews are at their core theological, they say something about what your believe about God. Socialism believes the state can solve society's problems and in practice is a sinful system. It encourages unChristian values.

The core problem of socialism is that it doesn't take God's laws into account. Some go too far with that but secularism is no solution either. It did wonders for the 20th century didn't it?

Cain's agenda wasn't perfect, but better than Obama's. He's a bit goofed up, but his heart is in the right place and as a businessman I would rather have him leading than a Keynesian.

Anonymous said...

I would also add we shouldn't be looking for perfection. I don't agree with Cain's theology but are we going to say Charismatic people aren't worthy to be called Christian?

He messed up on lots of things, but I don't understand why that would mean that I should stay home or vote for Obama. Maybe there are better options, but I don't think this blog would approve of any of them.

Cal said...

Anon:

I fail to see any logic in Socialism violating the 8th commandment. The kind of corporate capitalism we have here promotes all sorts of coveting, one must be thoroughly greedy to survive the cut-throat world of business. In Socialism, the government isn't stealing your money, it's taxing you more heavily. Jesus told us to give back to Caesar what is Caesars, Paul told us to stay calm and pay taxes. Why? Because the Kingdom of the World has no real authority over those in the Kingdom of God. It is a place to spread the Good News.

You scoff at secularism, well I'd rather live under a Stalin or Mussolini than a Henry VIII. Atleast these two evil tyrants are not claiming to be acting as an agent of Christ. The less the devil masquerades as an angel of light, the better. Let men see evil as it is really is, not under the deception of sacralism.

Obama may be allowing the death of unborn babies, but he is wary to go off touting that it is the "Christian" thing to do. When someone like Perry or Cain gets on a platform and tells me that it is the "Christian" thing to support them, that threatening war with Iran or any other country, or continuing the corporate capitalism or rubbishing the truth for the sake of a worldview, I'd rather have Obama by far.

Cain is a false prophet because he says he was told by God to run for president and then he withdrew. This is the sign of a false prophet. If his prophetic understanding was to direct the nation back (as if America was Israel?!?!) then why did he quit. He abandoned that whole track, didn't even lose. It's clear it was all a ploy to get gullible "Christians" (I am ignorant to their heart's status) to send him money to fund his quest for the throne of Babylon.

I pray the scales fall off your eyes friend.

Jim said...

I'm not sure exactly where to begin so I'll start with economics since that's where the discussion appears to be going.

First of all, there seems to be some confusion as to what exactly socialism is. Progressive taxation may or may not be a necessary condition but it is certainly not a sufficient one. The technical definition of socialism is the collective ownership of the economic inputs of a society wherein decisions regarding production and distribution are made on the basis of utility as opposed to profitability. The government (if there is one) serves (or at least is supposed to serve) as a representative managerial council in the same way an executive with his/her board of directors serves a corporation. Of course, whenever this system has been put into practice the government has always assumed the rights and responsibilites of ownership along with management making economic decisions on the basis of their own interests, usually at the expense of the freedom and welfare of their constituents. Like the owner of this website says...it looks great on paper but when you throw human nature into the mix the results are usually less than rosy.

When has a system like this EVER existed in the United States and what political candidate - Democrat or Republican - has this in his/her platform?

--- --- --- --- ---

On a different note, when I first asked how Herman Cain's vision was "more Christian", I should have gone back a further step. How is using legislative and executive power to implement the ethical norms of the Christian religion on a society Christian in the first place? Where in the New Testament do you see anyone doing this? Where do you see Christ or any of the apostles commanding people to do this in any way?

Protoprotestant said...

Just got home...and hey, there's an interesting little discussion going on here.

Yeah I don't think a lot of Americans get the European model which Socializes things like utility companies (sometime by making them into co-ops)...things like resources...transportation, health care, but at the same time are very much committed to a regulated free market system.

Socialism isn't...the government owns everything. Also...and I think Jim you alluded to this...there are some forms of socialism that are anarchic. There are many different schools of thought.

I only wish to address the question of heresy... I would say making Capitalism part of Christian Orthodoxy, or Democracy as part of Christian Ordthodoxy...any of these represents the syncretizing of an extra-Biblical system with Christianity.

None of them are Christian. Some work better than others. Sometimes it depends on the context. Cities need a lot more regulation than the country. Where I live we don't need building codes...but we do need to manage resources. Cities don't need to worry about timber and gas, but if you don't have some rules about transportation and housing...you can have some big problems.

In cities...a badly built roof can affect potentially hundreds of thousands of people. Around here...people have different values about their houses and so forth...you find a little bit of everything.

In some ways, my position might seem like a cop out. I'm saying these problems defy solutions. I'm for...whatever is going to work best and be reasonable. I pray for the peace of Babylon.

999 was no more Christian than progressive taxes, no taxes, or 40-40-40. It's all the same.

I've heard the 8th commandment argument. I don't buy it. I think Cal said the same thing. Taxes were used in Roman times to fund the building of pagan temples, wars, barbaric gladitorial shows...you name it. We're to pay them.

If we live in a country where we can vote on something...fine, do it. But not assuming that we're going to somehow make it Christian.

I don't like Obama. I thought I made that clear. What's our option? Maybe there isn't any. I've wrestled with the voting question for years. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't bother.

I'm not sure it really matters all that much. The president only holds a certain amount of control.

Anonymous said...

Well I can only say it so many times, I don't agree with Herman Cain's theology, but as a businessman he has a better understanding of how the economy works. Government can't create jobs and by removing the motive for profit, theres little incentive for work ethics or innovation.

God limits the role of the state to the enforcement of contracts, national defense, rewarding good and punishing evil. Romans 13 doesn't say anything about Socialism.

Any social system which makes people look to government instead of God is something we ought to oppose.

Cal, I think you're really fooling yourself about Stalin and Mussolini. Maybe Henry VIII wasn't great either, but there's was at least some support of Christianity. At least at that time all of society was assuming Christian models for everything. It doesn't mean they got it all right, but they were on a better playing field than we are today. We've got a lot of work to do just to get back to that point.

We live in a scary evil world and I guess I would just rather have someone who is a Christian running my country, even if they don't have everything right. There's no utopia to be found in secularism.

All the questions regarding Iran and China must be dealt with and I'd rather have someone who understands sin and human nature than someone who just believes- Yes we can!

And answering Jim- Obama doesn't call himself a socialist but every economic analyst who is worth anything will tell you that's what he's standing for. He wants to spread the wealth around.

The magistrate is a minister of God, we are to be salt and light. Obviously we don't all agree how and to what extent that is put into practice, but the idea of supporting or even worse wanting a secular government just doesn't stand in light of the whole of Scripture.

The New Testament alone can't be used to work these things. I believe all 66 books of the Bible are pertinent to these questions.

Protoprotestant- not voting would be wasting and abusing our stewardship, the gift we have been given. Not using it will lead to it being taken away.

Not all tax plans or governments are neutral. I believe God speaks to these things and as Christians, with Bibles in hand we can look at these issues and figure out what is the best way. Like I keep saying, Cain wasn't perfect, but 9-9-9 is more fair and just (therefore more Christian) than our progressive tax system which is based on coveting.

I do agree with one thing you said. The president doesn't control everything, but he's the face of the country, the moral representative and I'm ashamed that someone like Barack Hussein Obama is leading our nation.

I read your little thing about Gnosticism, but you can't escape the charge that easy. Your notion of Christian interaction with the world and your views of morality are very dualistic. I find them confusing, inconsistent, and I sure don't find this wishy-washy view in the Bible.

Jim said...

Anon,

If all these analysts are saying is that Obama favors the redistribution of wealth then they're not necessarily saying he's a socialist.

Those who are applying that label to him are wrong. Period. Obama has not eliminated private ownership. People can still own their own businesses and make a profit. Yes, some sectors are run by the government such as road construction and policing but as proto has iterated countless times, that's not necessarily "socialism". What you have in America is a "mixed" economy and it's always been this way, regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican has been in the White House.

Again, none of this is to say that I support socialism. I'm only saying that Obama's economic policies come nowhere close to conforming to the definition I provided in an earlier post.

When you mention the magistrate is a "minister of God" I assume you have Romans 13 in mind where this is stated. You then go on to say that supporting or wanting a secular government does not follow. Of course, supporting a government (presumably out of necessity) is different from actually desiring it to exist and while it is true that the argument Paul presents in that passage does not warrant the latter it certainly warrants the former. Think about who he's addressing: Christians in Rome - and Paul is saying that that all magistrates - from the Emperor down to the tax collector - are appointed by God. In light of that we "support" them by paying our taxes ("render unto Caesar") and obeying the law so that we may go about our own business (1 Thess. 4:11).

On a related note it is in no way a "blueprint" for society. Paul is simply exhorting the believers in Rome to live a certain way in light of the present situation and explaining the basis upon which to do so.

Finally, you are correct in saying that the whole Bible - Old and New Testament - is normative for faith and practice but the Old Testament is interpreted in light of the New. Christ is the fulfillment of the law. To go to passages like Deut. 21:18-21 and suggest that on that basis we should have laws that mandate the death penalty for 40-year-olds who still live with their parents and drink all day is just bad hermeneutics, pure and simple.

Anonymous said...

Acts 4:32ff 32  And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
33  And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35  And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

Did Paul, Christ, Luke, anyone rescind this? OR for that matter find fault with it? Isn't this that dirty "S" word??

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I did not post the earlier "anon posts" but I am the author of the Acts quote post. Mrsjimp

Protoprotestant said...

Thanks for clarifying that Mrs Jimp.

Yes lets make sure we at least sign something or other, just so we don't end up confused...

that is unless you're posting under an ID.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The only reason Obama hasn’t taken us further down the Socialist path is because of opposition, from the Right, largely led by….ding,ding,ding! Christians. Yes, Christians doing what they’re supposed to do. Stand up for honest scales, fair and level playing fields, letting private citizens make their own agreements without government intervention.

We’re a long way from success, but at least the Socialist big government freight train has been largely stopped for now.

Was Herman Cain perfect? No, but he would have helped further the anti-Obama, anti-European model agenda.

The only thing that’s supposed to be social/federal is defense (which might include some main arteries of transport), law enforcement, and the promotion of good…laws like DOMA, Federal laws prohibiting abortion, alliances and so on.

I think Paul was outlining what the government was supposed to be. Rome was in rebellion, against God. And Christians worked to change government and society…and eventually they did.

Only when Christians quit being salt and light did things start to slip. Finally Christians are waking up and starting to do something. Rather than sit and attack people like Herman Cain, we should work together. Unite not divide. I don’t want him for my pastor, but I’d rather him for my president than old Hussein.

Well I can play the hermeneutic name calling game too. I can say just looking to the New Testament for laws and social examples is also bad hermeneutics. It is ignoring the unity of God’s people through the ages. That type of theology is what made the Church drop the ball so badly in the 20th century. Some go too far…I admit. But they are few. Most are arguing for the general equity of OT law and nothing more. If God prescribed punishments for civil issues under Israel why wouldn’t it apply today? Israel was to be a light to the nations. They blew it, but that’s what they were supposed to do.

Three things can be said about Acts 4.
1. It was Apostolic, the time of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I am a cessationist
2. It was voluntary
3. It was the church, not for society.

Dan aka anonymous

Protoprotestant said...

Dan, you’re making rather sweeping assumptions. You assume many points that no one here is conceding. Christians doing what they’re supposed to do?
Let’s stick with an Old Testament example since that might please you more….
Babylon…did the Jews in exile worry about Babylon’s economic policies? Contract law? Tax system?
In another post I posited the notion of a proto-Zealot party that wanted to make Babylon into Zion and build a new temple (a covenant claim of Divine presence)…what would the faithful Jews have done? Based off the tabernacle incident when they were settling Canaan with the Trans-Jordan tribes and the constant rejection of High Place worship (even to Jehovah) I can say with confidence this Zion-Babylon project would have been rejected.

That’s what you’re suggesting.

Obama and Cain, Bush and Clinton…they’re all cut from the same cloth. From the standpoint of the Church…I don’t see that it makes any difference.
We are to pray for the peace of Babylon.
From that starting point, THEN we can discuss whether Nebuchadnezzar or Nabonidus are better.

We can discuss economics and all the rest…but understanding that neither Babylonian, Chaldean, Persian, or Greek way are in any way…Christian. Some might be better than others. I’m not an expert on any of our modern systems, but I know enough to say…none of them are moral, nor are any entirely amoral. They all have their positives and negatives.

The Romans 13 blueprint argument is a bad case of eisegesis. You’re reading the blueprint model into texts that essentially removes of them of their context. This is bad theology.

You’re building frameworks rooted in philosophical assumptions and speculations and then you go looking for proof texts from the Bible.
Did the Church change Rome or by 395 had Rome completely changed the Church? That’s a matter for historical interpretation. I think the ‘Christian’ Middle Ages was an abomination and I think the Protestant ‘Christian’ states repeated this. America has always been something of an interesting hybrid…but when the Imperial/Beast/Babel bug really took hold in the late 1800’s…the Church sold out and went along with it.

You’re free to disagree but I think the Herman Cain, Bachmann, Santorum, Gingrich, Perry, and certainly the Mormons are all enemies of Christ. Mr. Paul I have mixed feelings about. I think he’s a decent man who means well. I just think he’s wrong on some things.

Don’t you think the New Testament interprets the Old? Doesn’t Acts 15 teach us how to read Amos 9? I think the point with Acts 4 is that the principle (whether or not it is applicable today) should not be quite so offensive if it indeed was the practice of the Spirit-filled early church.

Cal said...

"Maybe Henry VIII wasn't great either, but there's was at least some support of Christianity."

Was it better when he was having reformers burned or catholics? Where in the New Testament does it say a king can claim to be the head of any Church? Henry VIII was evil, we both agree. But I don't want the devil to be wearing any more masks. Why would it be better for evil men to be slaughtering in the name of Christ?

So is the Christian position "anti-European"? We're going to judge a culture's figure of government over another as more Christian? Do you want Europe to lay an American blue-print over themselves? Would they be better, more 'Christian'?

"I think Paul was outlining what the government was supposed to be. Rome was in rebellion, against God. And Christians worked to change government and society…and eventually they did."

This is just bad history, nearly as soon as the Church was given heaps of money and possessions and honor from Caesar, the first heretic was legally executed. Was this the high-day? Or was it when lecherous popes would have all sorts of courtesans floating through their courts.

"f God prescribed punishments for civil issues under Israel why wouldn’t it apply today?"

If this is so, be consistent. We should have a priesthood, sacrifices, and mandatory circumcision. The Torah was for Israel, if we're implementing it America is either Israel or we're in the realm of christendom and the government of America must be absorbed.

Anonymous said...

Cal,
The Church is always going to make mistakes and there will always be men who usurp power. Okay, I don’t want people burned either, but look at the context, look at the times, look at what was going on. That was the world they lived in. We’re not doing that today.

With the bad comes the good. The Church is promoted, Bibles are printed and learning is advanced. We can even learn from their mistakes. The Church is forced to tangle with these conundrums and hopefully, we won’t make the same mistakes.

Henry made himself head of the church but that was more about politics than it was theology. What’s sad is that Edward died when he did. A whole lot more good could have been done.

When I say anti-Europe, I mean anti-Enlightenment Europe. I don’t remember who said it but they said the future would be a battle between Rome and Geneva. Not Calvin’s city, but Voltaire. It’s Christianity and the Civilization it has bred (you can’t divorce the two) vs. Secular Humanism. I’m not a fan of Rome, but I can appreciate the point of the illustration. At one time we were all part of Rome.

And yes, Europe took a bad turn in the 1700’s. Mostly they turned their back on God and it shows today. You can’t see that?

Would Europe be better off being more American? Well since we’ve been protecting their backsides for the past 70 years or so…a little gratitude would be nice.

No one is trying to pretend the Popes and the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages got it all right. It’s a learning process. No one is saying the Church isn’t filled with false converts and people who care more about their own lusts than honoring Christ. I can’t defend what happened but I don’t have to.

But I’ll keep saying it- it’s better to have a government and society trying to be Christian than pushing a Christianity that just goes along to get along.

Last point referencing Israel- now that would be bad hermeneutics to just try and apply it all today in the way you’re describing. No, we have to carefully study the Bible and figure out what laws have been fulfilled and which laws are Moral and everlasting and which laws are social or civil. That’s what the Church has always done. Saying the law is just gone is antinomian and Anabaptist. It’s what Marcion did to the Bible.

I have to say I haven’t seen any arguments that have impressed me much. You accuse me of assumptions. I can say the same for you and in addition I can accuse you of something else- novelty.

Dan anonymous

Protoprotestant said...

Dan,
The Church may not be doing that today, but is on the road, on a path returning to such heinous practices. The Church will always do this when wedded to power.
The Beast is the deified state seeking to make a name for itself, seeking to be worshipped, seeking to make the kingdom of heaven manifest on earth. Except you always get a pseudo-Zion, a false kingdom. The church speaking like lamb with the voice of a dragon deceives people with this false gospel of culture and civilization…all the enticements and trappings of power, wealth, the lust of the eyes, flesh, and pride of life. The covenant community changes and ceases to be a bride.
It becomes a whore and rides the beast joining with it in its project. The individual heads come and go. It looks like it’s going to die, but always seems to rise again. The bedrock the foundation, the ideological framework for this pseudo-zion is provided by the Whore which ends up persecuting all who do not go along with the programme. They’re cast out of the church, and in some cases physically suffer.
The Church of Jesus Christ is to come out from this, not participating in murder, violence, power-seeking.
Many whom you revere are members of the False Church, Babylon ..they are murderers and deceivers.
Satan is a counterfeit. Sure, build these elaborate worthless buildings, print Bibles…but make sure no one reads them or understands them. Bury the truth with tradition, cultural interpretations, and false doctrines.

Teach people to trust in the magistrate and put their focus on securing his power…like lemmings, like fools, they think they do God service…but really they serve the Beast. Let them become confused about the identity of the Kingdom of God, let the symbols of the Beast kingdom be confused with and usurp the Covenant symbols given to the Church.

Sorry man, but Henry viii was wrong, Edward was a poor manipulated kid and wrong too! Elizabeth was wrong. Cromwell was wrong, and on it goes…..
The Enlightenment was bad because the ideas permeated culture and Christians because of the Sacralist teachings you promote couldn’t tell the difference between the Gospel and their civilization. Then the ideas entered the Church and polluted it. Culturally speaking, Deism and other fruits of the movement were practically speaking…fresh air. Generally they gave us a non-hostile environment in which the Gospel could be promoted…except Europe was already inoculated.

Your interpretations of current events and history are clouded by American Imperialism and Westernism. Why? Because the Sacralist ideology that permeates your thought won’t allow you to see the truth. It forces you to cast wars in terms of the Good v. the Bad, instead of lost nations v. lost nations. It blinds you to the evil and manipulation of men.

Protoprotestant said...

You end up calling evil good and good evil. You end up perpetuating myths like Europe can have their social system because the US provided their defense. No wonder so many like you hate modern France. They’re one of the only countries that’s had the guts to say…it isn’t so.
The Papacy, Crusades, and Inquisition aren’t learning experiences. They’re blood and death, roads to hell, antichrist reigning in the Church.
No one here is promoting Marcionism. No one is saying matter is evil. No one is advocating world-flight. I’ve been pretty adamant about rejecting both your Transformationalism and the Pietism many embrace.
The Old Covenant was a unity, a package. The NT which interprets the OT never for one second allows us to divide up the OT law and bring some types and forms forward and leave others behind.
The whole approach is wrong and indicates a crucial fact. You’ve missed what the typology was about. God wasn’t providing a blueprint for civil societies in the Common Grace order, Rome, Babylon, America, China and so forth. He was provided a picture of Jesus Christ as Judge and Saviour, Prophet, Priest, and King. Jesus is the Land, Jesus is the True Israel. Can America be the True Israel? Britain? I think not. And if they were, that would mean Christ wasn’t.
All I can say in the end is that you’ve misread the Bible on massive scale. You’ve missed it and you think you’re glorifying God…but the doctrines you stand for are how can I put it nicely? Not helping to advance the Kingdom.

Cal said...

The "this is their world, we can't fairly pass judgment" is not valid.

Who do you think this was from in regards to the burning of Servetus:

"Calvin says that he is certain, and [other sects] say that they are; Calvin says that they are wrong and wishes to judge them, and so do they. Who shall be judge? What made Calvin the arbiter of all the sects, that he alone should kill? He has the Word of God and so have they. If the matter is certain, to who is it so? To Calvin? But then why does he write so many books about manifest truth?...In view of the uncertainty we must define the heretic simply as one with whom we disagree. And if then we are going to kill heretics, the logical outcome will be a war of extermination, since each is sure of himself."

Yes a 16th century man (Sebastian Castellio) said these

Anonymous said...

I give arguments and I get quotes from Unitarians,

I get called names and identified with evil.

Yet I'm the one who's arguing we need leaders who will stand up to the evils of the world like Islamic Iran,and those who would have us worship the state, and kill babies.

You folks would either do nothing or make arguments to support evil.

You're Amish that use technology, nothing more. And wowee, they're sure making an impact on the world.

Well done. I think I've had enough. I'm starting to get mad, so I think I shall not waste any more time here. I've got work to do. Maybe I'll stop back in a few months. I know what you'll be doing----nothing.

Dan

Jim said...

Hey Dan,

Sorry to see you go when the discussion was getting good. I can understand why; it's hard to have your presuppositions challenged to the extent they have been here and walk away unscathed.

After all, your arguments reflect a mode of thought that's existed in fundamentalist and evangelical churches for decades and that's not something easily undone. I used to think along the same lines as you and I didn't change my mind overnight.

Cheers,
Jim

Protoprotestant said...

Ditto.

The arguments aren't anything new. I used to make them myself.

I have often found that when pushed people like Dan turn to emotional arguments...and the old...c'mon don't we all just want the right thing to be done?

We do, but we don't fight Kingdom battles wearing Saul's armour...and for that matter we don't fight the wrong battles.

It's sad that oftentimes it's the people on the fringes like the Anabaptists and Socinians that suddenly sit back and see some of the big picture. They're so trampled on it's no wonder they start to question a lot of other things as well and consequently (at least to me) go a little too far.

I would point out that the Roman world had abortion. The Church opposed it then, but Salt and Light meant kindness, compassion, love, and a sacrificial economic ethic.

Persia under the Parthians and Sassanids was an old enemy. The Christians flourished in Persia, that is until the time of Constantine. Then they were viewed as a 5th column and persecuted.

And there's no worship of the state here. But with a so-called Christian state...you can end up with idolatry. Scripture, history, and our own day demonstrate this quite clearly.

What a muddled mess. What an enormous wall that's so hard to break through.

Cal said...

Conversations like me sometimes confuse me, and greatly at that.

I called myself "christian" under the guise of an American Identity. I could argue 'liberals' under the table, they were all out to destroy this great country. I fought for all the right battles and supported our grand army of the republic, in fact I wanted to join and serve gloriously.

Then I become Christian and all of this stuff begins to unravel in my hands and I see it as it is.

So I wonder how the Americana views me. Was I a righteous pagan before and now an apostate heretic? I would've fit in better, I knew how to add in my 2cents theologically and then get back to the real work of protecting my country.

Dan if you read this, I don't think you're evil. I think you're mistakenly adding to a horrifying empire.

Protoprotestant said...

I assume you meant conversations like 'this'?

I also find it frustrating and a little bizarre, because at one time I would have argued the same way and probably with a little mroe heat and vigour.

I was convinced I was right and so...I made lots of excuses and sweeping generalizations.

That's one reason why I'm pretty comfortable where I now stand. I don't have to defend the horrors of the past or present. I don't have to make excuses and try and justify sin.

It's a totally different paradigm. It's rather liberating and eye-opening because now I can go back and read history and current events with a totally different eye.

Yeah for me...I was raised good ol' Dispensational American...flag waving, patriotic, racist-lite, militant and all the rest.

I remember back in 1991 saying that Saddam should be captured and executed on live tv...telling the world- this is what happens when you mess with the USA.

Of course that's kind of what happened, but I find America's 20 year war on Iraq to be shameful, disgusting and quite evil.

I've had to repent of a lot of my words and thoughts.

You raise a very interesting point.....

They will be far more tolerant of you if you're a lost pagan who doesn't espouse their ideology than if you're a Christian who (Bible in hand) rejects them.

They also see in this case the greater threat is from within. They're more scared of Christians refuting them than pagans.

Likewise we need to realize the greater threat is from within....Christians with Flag-Bibles rather than Obama, Mormons, Muslims or anyone else.

I think I was the one calling him evil. I can't see people's hearts. Some of them are very sincere, but they're still very wrong. But what they're doing...is in opposition to Christ's Kingdom

Cal said...

"They will be far more tolerant of you if you're a lost pagan who doesn't espouse their ideology than if you're a Christian who (Bible in hand) rejects them."

My issue is even deeper than this. What would they prefer if I could hold a Bible, look like a good decent fellow, and be able to join in on the dialog. I talked the same talk.

I kept a notebook of topics I'd write little editorials on or opinions on certain issues, to make my thoughts concrete. I read through it to see how I thought in the past.

It is disturbing. I wrote a head nod or two about the "enlightenment of Christ" that "through God is our only salvation". But I was no Christian. I didn't need to read Scripture. I knew the 'gist' and like many "evangelical americana", I knew enough to paste over my agenda.

Dig deep, ask a couple of penetrating questions, and I would've been shown a sham. But no one in this movement is interested in it. They want to know preach making America a "christian nation" again, about enforcing morality and all that jazz.

Did any American tell me about the Gospel? No. All I got from America is Dobson and I agreed generally with it as a 'pagan'. It took an Englishman who, before his regeneration, wanted so desperately to go into British politics to stand up to America. That reason alone.

My real question is, what would they think? Was I better and closer to "god" when I was a conservative with the little sociological title 'christian'?

eliyahu said...

Very interesting conversation. Anonymous/Dan/ and whoever else represents the Americhristian-Republichristian position the church is filled with today. Even though there's no scriptural backing for it, so many advocate for a partial theocracy-enforced by big government at the churches' request, while simultaneously advocating 'limited government'. He/ she/ they allege the government's only job is to maintain a military, police force for protection of citizens, and upholding contracts; then allege it is to maintain morals through use of laws, like Defense of Marriage and outlawing abortion; never realizing they are contradicting their own "God ordained a small, limited government" argument! And with no Biblical or constitutional support, they construct a theocracy using bits and pieces of the Torah which they perceive will favor their interests, and ignoring large portions of the New Covenant which contradict this theocracy.
So many actually believe Obama or democrats are socialists, they don't even realize what actual socialism is-they just respond to a over exaggerated boogeyman that frightens them into excited action-like an adrenaline rush, or a good book.
Maybe anonymous doesn't realize God, through Paul, was telling all believers to obey the governments they lived under, regardless of what kind it was! That God didn't have to mention socialism-it was not necessary to mention by name a form of economics/ government not in existence until two millennia later; you don't get a free pass to pick and choose which governments you don't like to obey and pay taxes to. This mindset allowed the colonists to fight the king, but is still antiChrist as much today as it was then.
The point is, the Christian sacralist's "worldview" really is founded on the premise that it is the Christian duty of the church to make Christianity the dominant, ruling religion of their nation through government support and enforcement over society. The fact that all such arrangements have caused such horrific bloodshed and sheerly antichrist persecution is irrelevant-just a few mistakes people make. But raising their taxes 2% is the work of the antichrist Soviet fifth column sitting in the white house as he prepares to confiscate their guns and lands and ship them off to the FEMA concentration camps and turn the US sovereignty over to the UN and implements sharia law. I'm not exaggerating here; this is widespread belief in the church today, and is being actively used by shrewd, worldly politicians and pastors to whip these Christians into fearful, obedience to the republican party.
It's a shame for Christians to believe that one's belief in a form of government or economics actually matters to their salvation; as if Jesus preconditioned His unmerited Grace to people's political choices. Like heaven has a "Republicans Only" sign over it. This is a pollution of the gospel as it allows Christians to steal, kill and destroy, as it has in the past for centuries, all in the name of Christ and civilization the church is allegedly bringing. Such a belief system is actually enabling such acts to be continued on in this day, and in those to come.; and one day, that beast the church is riding will turn on it and eat it's flesh and burn it with fire. Might be a good time to leave it now.

eliyahu said...

And as a side note about limited government-where does God in scripture give man inalienable rights? And if they were so God given, why were they contradicted by scripture-like 'No other gods before me', and 'now commands all men everywhere to repent'..? That doesn't sound like God is granting all men freedom to worship as they please; nor is He granting the church the ability to legislate unbelieving society into observance of it.
Or that you have the right given by God to curse the government and it's rulers with free speech, and keep weapons to overthrow them whenever they displease you, even though He ordained them and set them there, and commands us not to do this even to the worst of them. Kind of contradictory, eh?
Probably because the Constitution is a work of man; a product of the European, liberal, secular "Enlightenment", not of The Bible. But such a conclusion would be absolute anathema to the Christian nationalist, and would make many condemn your faith as false for saying so; making you their enemy for telling them the truth.
This belief system has enabled the church to go and slaughter their brothers on the battlefield over money (taxes) and claim it's not only just before God; but is their "God given right", and to seek to do so in the future. We need some serious prayer here, because Christians are defending and pursuing an antichrist forgery of the faith of Jesus, and it's allowing many to kill "Christ's" name by using a social gospel.

Protoprotestant said...

Eliyahu,

Your comments were absolutely refreshing.

As I was reading it was kind of weird.

Rarely do I find someone saying something that I agree with 100%, but in this case....I think I do.

Well said and thank you.