30 November 2013

Proto-Protestantism: Narratives and Nomenclature (Part IV/Final)


Today, with the Culture Wars the emphasis is on continuity with the Middle Ages and the whole of Christendom. But even a generation ago this was not the case. Some claimed the proto-Protestant groups because of their anti-Catholicism. Some exploited them for nationalistic purposes and created narratives concerning the true faith being present in this or that land...a sort of 'God has always been with us' badge. Those that use them in this way show a lack of understanding, a failure to grasp what these groups were actually about. The Hussites of course would be something of an exception. There are always exceptions. This is the nature of history and exposes the problems of those who wish to use it for their own ends. Both the Taborites and Utraquists were nationalistic. And yet other Hussites weren't and the groups which formed after the dissolution of the Taborites were not. As always it's complicated.

Proto-Protestantism: Narratives and Nomenclature (Part III)


When did groups like the Waldensians emerge? Conventional histories point to Peter Waldo in the late 12th century but older historians and the Waldensians themselves always argued this was not the case. Waldo was not greatly appreciated by the Lombard group and they certainly did not view him as their founder. There's confusion over whether or not there were more than one 'Peter' and some have argued he was not Peter Waldo but 'Peter the Waldensian'. In France they were known as the Vaudois, and Waldo is a corruption of this term in a local Italian or German patois.

Proto-Protestantism: Narratives and Nomenclature (Part II)


It must be remembered that strictly speaking before the Enlightenment Protestantism on a social level was quite Liberal and Progressive. It was rejecting the conservative norms. It wasn't looking back, it was looking ahead. Only after the Enlightenment shift was underway and decimating the church and society did Protestants start to look back with longing.

Proto-Protestantism: Narratives and Nomenclature

The Bible itself provides us with an example of a meta-narrative. There's an overarching storyline from Genesis to Revelation regarding the Person of God Himself and the story of a fallen creation. It's a story of alienation and redemption and from beginning to end it's the story of Jesus Christ.

While Higher Critics and other Biblical sceptics chafe at the suggestion that sixty-six books composed over a period of 1500 years could somehow supernaturally be bound together in a common theme, Christians recognize this as reality. It is indeed miraculous and the fact that God has spoken to us and we have His Words is a profound and essential truth theologically liberal 'Christians' and other unbelievers fail to grasp. And thus, they entirely miss the narrative of Scripture and cannot comprehend its message or themes.

22 July 2013

The Words of Jesus Cannot Be Manipulated

For some trend watchers, this observation has already been recognized but I’m not sure how many Christians are aware of the argument or see this coming.

For many years, there has been an argument common in theologically liberal circles…that Paul came along and corrupted the original message of Jesus.

16 July 2013

Local/Decentralised Power and the Regional/Corporate Override

Checks and Balances is a concept we all learned about in our high school civics class. This Separation of Powers was a key concept in the mind of the Founders and framers of the new republic. By breaking up power into many pieces and distributing it among different bodies, no one person or group could garner too much power. Everyone would be accountable and if someone did manage to grab power there was both a process and a timetable that could take it away from them.

14 July 2013

Bureaucratic Dictatorship

My father always said that America was a Bureaucratic Dictatorship. At the time I didn’t understand what he meant. In retrospect the observation contains some merit on an empirical level, though I think the problem is actually more profound.

03 July 2013

The Already and the Not Yet (2/2)


David Jeremiah tried to vindicate these prophetic chronology-breaks by appealing to Jesus' use of Isaiah 61.  In Luke 4 Jesus reads the passage and applies it to Himself.

David Jeremiah tries to argue that he specifically stops at the beginning of verse 2 because the rest of the Isaiah passage applies to the 2nd coming.

Look at the passage:

The Already and the Not Yet (1/2)


A Discussion on the Kingdom of God, Eschatology, Millennialism, Hermeneutics and a brief Historiographical note.

The Already-Not Yet framework allows us to rightly understand the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. By understanding the relationship between This Age and the Age to Come we are able to grasp the nature of the Kingdom of God.

30 June 2013

High Place Worship and the Doctrine of Vocation

It's interesting that in some Protestant circles, particularly the Reformed who are rightly concerned to argue for the Scriptural regulation of worship then at the same time identify their secular work as worship. Their secular work is an offering (as it were), it magnifies God and advances the Kingdom.

12 June 2013

Mandela, the West, Cold War Africa and Geopolitics

Undoubtedly Nelson Mandela will soon be departing this life and there will be considerable commentary reflecting on his life. In fact teams of reporters have been more or less camped out in South Africa for the past several years, expecting his death at anytime. This will be a massive story and internationally may even surpass the coverage of Margaret Thatcher's recent death.

09 June 2013

Covenant Contrast: The Weakness of the Mosaic System Apart From Christ

Redemptive-Historical Structures, Deuteronomy, Distinguishing the Old and New Testaments

Recently I was particularly blessed while reading Deuteronomy with my children. We've been spending a lot of time trying to work out how the Old and New Testament relate to one another. How can God command the Israelites to massacre the people of Og and Sihon and yet those actions are not immoral nor would we call it genocide as it would be called today? They've certainly learned about the Nazis and yet how is this different?

The Veneration of Militarism and the Ethics of Patriotism

Recently we were at my niece's high school graduation. The valedictorian was absent because she had already joined the United States Air Force. She is training to be a Linguist and as I recall the entry windows to that field are very limited. If you miss the window, you may have to wait a year or more to enter the programme again.

08 June 2013

Considering D-Day and the American Narrative Regarding the Victory in Europe.

In no way do I mean to diminish the difficulties experienced by the Allied forces who stormed the beaches of Normandy, but every year I am struck by the mythologizing of history.

When the Western front opened in June of 1944 it led to some pretty huge battles, massive casualties and incredible stories.

And yet in the United States a narrative is perpetuated that is simply not true. The Anglo-American forces did not defeat Nazi Germany. They helped, but in June of 1944 they were already more or less defeated.

06 June 2013

Establishment Priorities and the Public Interest

In the wake of the September 2001 attacks the Patriot Act was passed and in a hurry. Bush was riding on the wave of the attacks, capitalizing on the fears of the public. A subservient congress largely acquiesced and though I believe the US Constitution has long been essentially dead... the passage of this act was the proverbial nail in the coffin.

05 June 2013

Facebook and a new website


Every day I encounter articles, podcasts and other materials I want to share but I've also wanted to avoid any extra clutter on this website. It's already a bit overwhelming to newcomers. I want this website to be devoted to the now hundreds of longer articles and essays and I've decided to set up a companion website where I can post links with short commentary.

31 May 2013

Politicizing the Gospel part 2/2

To continue with the issue of politicizing the Gospel....

Politicizing the Gospel, Apostasy and Embracing the Kingdom of the Lie

A discussion about wisdom and worldliness, apostasy and witchcraft, the Temple of God, the various ways to speak of the Church, why we are Christians, and how we define victory.

 
Politicizing the Gospel. What is meant by this? It's a term I frequently use but I don't know that it's clear to everyone what this means.

30 May 2013

Syria and some lessons from the past

 
Listening to the latest reports about Russia sending in missiles to Syria and the response from the American public prompted me to write this short essay.

There's this country out there and it's brutally trying to suppress a rebel movement within its borders. Everyone knows it's just a puppet for a greater power. This power behind it is supplying it with weapons and other aid while thousands of civilians are being killed. The world is outraged and wants intervention. This must stop.

28 May 2013

Truth, Myth, and the Baptizing of Lies in the American Church

Part 3 (Final)

Even supposed America-hating liberals praise the military. Just tonight Admiral Stockdale came up in a conversation. For those who don't remember he was Ross Perot's running mate in 1992. He was also a Vietnam POW who with John McCain participated in Operating Rolling Thunder. By the time Johnson ended the campaign in November 1968 somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 Vietnamese were dead. Long before its conclusion both McCain and Stockdale were rotting in the Hanoi Hilton.

27 May 2013

Patriotism is Harlotry

Part 2

Written by one who used to be fervent and violent patriot. But Christ delivered me...

Social consensus cannot grant moral legitimacy to military members or their actions. As Christians if we accept this argument then we are guilty of embracing another law-source. Our ethic at that point is derived from another authority, one that sets up a moral code contrary to the Kingdom of God.

The Celebration of War in American Liturgy


This is part one of three. Here's a link to a related post.

Memorial Day 2011

Beginning with Memorial Day and ending with the 4th of July extends a period of time associated with American tradition and patriotism. It's a time of flags, parades, outdoor barbecues, air shows, graduations and vacations. These civil holidays have always been part of American Church life but over the past twenty years or so, particularly since 2001 these days seem to have taken on a whole new meaning.

25 May 2013

Humble Pride- Friday Night Conversations with a Mennonite Evangelist

It was Friday night in small town Pennsylvania and we were out procuring some groceries. I noticed the Mennonites were in town passing out tracts and so instead of wandering the drudgery of the grocery aisle I decided to talk to one of them.

20 May 2013

Sacral Syncretism- Lessons from the High Places

In the Old Testament we find syncretism in the realm of worship is best symbolized by the High Places. Time and time again the kings of Israel and Judah are evaluated by how they eradicated them or failed to do so. Even many of the good kings failed to adequately deal with the High Places.

16 May 2013

Sacralism, The Culture War and Marketing the Gospel

Listening to Christian radio the other day I overheard an author discussion regarding a new work of fiction, a Christian alternative to the 'Twilight' series.

30 April 2013

Vocation and the False Kingdom: Worldliness Masquerading as Piety

If success is our goal and success is defined by the culture I contend we have a real problem. Either we are faithful to the Pilgrim ethic of the New Testament or we abandon it in order to succeed in the world.

27 April 2013

Vocation and the Prosperity Gospel

Whatsoever we do is to be done to the glory of God. We are to work as unto God and not as unto men. These Biblical teachings are well known and receive special emphasis today as the Church seeks to wage the culture war. To build a successful and thus powerful culture or civilization it requires a deliberate work ethic.

25 April 2013

Some thoughts on news coverage, the state of knowledge and media within the Christian Church, and the future of this website

We live in a world of media chaos. We are assaulted by more information than we can possibly take in, assimilate or interpret. I am almost filled with despair when I interact with Christians or when I look at Christian media or the 'conservative' alternatives Christians look to for information.

24 April 2013

Neo-Byzantinism: Russia and the New/Old Paradigm Wars

Russia’s actions have to be understood in light of history. Americans have often made the mistake of assuming that the world really and truly changed after 1945 and that the events of 1991 set the changes in stone. Nothing could be further from the truth.

14 April 2013

Baker's Banner of Truth Commentary- A Corruption of the Kingdom (Part 2 of 2)

Baker’s Banner of Truth Commentary- A Corruption of the Kingdom (Part 1 of 2)

Some readers will not be familiar with the Banner of Truth. This publishing house was founded in 1957 by Iain Murray and others and played a key role in republishing old Puritan and Reformed works. By the dawn of the 20th century these old works were hard to find and one had to comb through old dusty bookshops in hope of locating them. Today these writings are once more widespread and undoubtedly ‘The Banner’ played no small role in the revival of Reformed Christianity in the latter part of the 20th century.

06 April 2013

Worldwide Persecution, Sacralism and the Colson/Metaxas Pseudo-Zion

It’s been awhile since I’ve bothered with an interaction/critique but I heard this today on BreakPoint and I felt compelled to write something. In terms of Biblical doctrine and how it plays out in the world and history, BreakPoint in many ways represents the antithesis of everything I stand for. It’s ‘ministries’ like this more than anything else that compel me to speak out and do what I can. I realize at best I will only reach a handful of people while their audience is in the millions. But I believe they represent not only a dangerous error but also their commentaries represent the kind of foolish misinformed and twisted perspective the American (and increasingly worldwide) ‘church’ is so eager to embrace.

30 March 2013

Neo-Ottomanism


An Old Paradigm Reborn

If the Euro currency fails and the European Union itself collapses, more than ever we will be returning to an older paradigm and one in which a unified Germany is placed in an awkward and undesirable situation.[i]

But perhaps even more interesting than Germany is the position of Turkey. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed and its lands were devoured by the Anglo-French alliance, even the Turkish lands of Anatolia were under threat. The British and French were more than ready to carve up Asia Minor into ‘protectorates’.

25 March 2013

Holy Week 2013

I've been so busy (actually far too busy) I forgot it's 'Holy Week'. That means it's time to re-post some old links appropriate to the season. Down the left side of the main page there's a 'holiday' section where I've left these up all the time. Many will have already read them. Some will read them and probably be a bit offended.

If so, please read 'The Temptation of the Tactile' and the last link about the spirit in which I say all of this. It will help you understand where I'm coming from. If you're coming out of mainstream evangelicalism some of my views regarding the holidays will seem especially strange. But as you will see, even if you don't agree with me, there's both historical precedent and a Biblical case for my position. You still may think I'm completely wrong, but I can almost guarantee it will get you thinking a bit.

Easter and Holy Week Part 1

Easter and Holy Week Part 2 - Binding the Conscience

The Temptation of the Tactile

Easter- Supplemental Discussion

The Spirit in which I say these things....

24 March 2013

Unipolar v. Multipolar Paradigms

The Cold War vis-a-vis Eurasian History

While some heralded the end of the Cold War as the victory of Democracy others were more sceptical. In some cases the end of the bipolar world order has created a time of instability and fear. Not a few movies and novels in the 1990’s reflected this.

Some in the United States believed not only had America won, America would now go on to dominate the earth and certainly America’s actions during the latter part of the Clinton era and ever since has been geared toward this end.

Geopolitical Entanglements- Syria and Russia

Watching the unfolding tragedy in Syria I've often been shocked at how blatantly the American media seems to be trying to push the American government into action. Or of course it could be posited the forces within the American government (via their mouthpieces in the media) are trying to prick the consciences of the American people.

Whatever the case may be, I'm used to seeing pretty graphic images of war being aired on networks like Al Jazeera English which doesn't believe in filtering out the bloodshed. However American mainstream media is usually pretty selective in what they'll show. Several months ago when I saw dead children on the CBS Evening News, it seemed pretty clear they're trying to fire up the public. Newspaper articles about the Maine or the Lusitania, or even news of Germans in Belgium won’t quite do it anymore.

20 March 2013

Profits and Social Stability- Perceptions and Reality

In the United States we’re committed to private ownership of public utilities. We’re convinced that profit oriented companies will provide better and more efficient service than a non-profit government entity or even a non-profit co-operative.

And yet this has created other difficulties. Profits are subject to market forces, the price of energy, fluctuating costs, natural disasters etc., and yet the service these companies provide is something that is not only deemed as desirable but absolutely necessary to social stability, the economy, and even national security.

Can something socially essential be left to the whims of the market? What are the moral dimensions to this and are they being rightly perceived by the Church?


17 March 2013

Shining a Little Light on Some Common Tax Deceptions

I just find it increasingly bizarre that so many Conservatives, so many Christians I speak with are so concerned with global conspiracy and the threat of Socialism and yet cannot see the institutionalized corruption and Corporate Socialism in our own system. They cannot see the economic racket our own country has created.

Obama and Beelzebub

Sorry I couldn't resist posting this link....

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/wiles-fly-landing-obama-may-be-sign-he-demonic

02 March 2013

Pilgrim Sociology and the Martyr-Prophetic Voice

I feel compelled at this point to stop for a moment and take stock lest some misunderstand the motivation behind what I’m writing about in dealing with these political, economic and social issues.

The Seed of Cain

I don't usually link articles too much anymore but this was a good one. I highly recommend it. Some of you will recognize its author 'Cal' as a frequent visitor here.

Jerusalem's King: Cain and Jesus

28 February 2013

The Cancer of Militarism

Social Parasites Part 4


While it may seem that I've strayed off topic, all of these issues are related. For example with so much of the economy structured around the 'defense' industry it has become like a cancer that can't quit growing. Throttling down the militarist engine wounds the American economy. Rather than secure our freedom the Military-Industrial complex and especially those who sit atop it have made us all into slaves. They're the worst thing for our country, for our society and for the world but we can't divorce ourselves from them....it would bring America down.[i]

21 February 2013

The Economics of Empire

(Social Parasites Part 3)

Our economy long ago abandoned producing functional things that people need and became dependent on people buying things they want. And when the economic model reached the breaking point it has rescued itself through various means. In the 1980's as Capitalism reached its limits with the American framework, new doors were opened through outsourcing and easy credit. In the 1990's a new economic energy was generated via the Internet which made the potential of globalism more accessible to small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Today there are new adjustments taking place that allow the economy to continue to function, but clearly the limits are being stretched to the breaking point.

20 February 2013

Money's Ethos and Essence- Security and Power

(Social Parasites Part 2)

Many of these impoverished folks make foolish decisions with their money. In some cases it exhibits a lack of patience, in other cases their actions exhibit short-term thinking. Renting appliances and furniture is a prime example of this. The companies engaged in this business are disreputable and sleazy, they prey on the poor and take advantage of them. Often it would be better to save the money and buy the couch or washing machine outright...and when they fail to do this, they are condemned for a lack of prudence.

But this judgment is invalid because it is made from a secure standpoint. The financially secure judge the poor but they're projecting their own security into the mindset of the poor.[i]



19 February 2013

Sparring with an Elder over the state of the Church and what to do when you live in a Spiritual Wasteland


This is an exchange I had a couple of months ago with a pastor who is also a longstanding friend. We respect each other but we often disagree. One of my frustrations is that people who are coming from what I might call the ‘default’ position concerning culture have a terrible time even grasping what a Two Kingdom/Pilgrim theology person is trying to say.

Again and again it seems that if you say our task is not to focus on cultural transformation that you’re somehow suggesting that the lives of individual Christians don’t have to be transformed. In addition to their way of thinking it seems to suggest that you somehow leave your faith behind Monday thru Saturday. When I hear or read these suppositions I’m immediately aware of the fact that they’re not grasping the argument.

My friend wrote the following…..

18 February 2013

Social Parasites

(part of an ongoing series of articles called Living in Babylon)


mooch (v.)

mid-15c., "pretend poverty," probably from O.Fr. muchier, mucier "to hide, sulk, conceal, hide away, keep out of sight," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Celtic or Germanic (Liberman prefers the latter, Klein the former). Or the word may be a variant of M.E. mucchen "to hoard, be stingy" (c.1300), probably originally "to keep coins in one's nightcap," from mucche "nightcap," from M.Du. muste "cap, nightcap," ultimately from M.L. almucia, of unknown origin. Sense of "sponge off others" first recorded 1857.

 Obviously the connotation of this word has changed a bit and no longer matches the actual denotation. It's a word that's thrown about quite a bit these days, particularly in light of the recent election.

To most people a 'moocher' is someone always on the take, someone who lives by taking from others, something of a social parasite, one who does not contribute, one who only takes and does not give.

17 February 2013

Restorationism, Localism and The Sacralist Chasm

Part 9 of Restorationism

Non-Sacralists have historically been Anti-Nationalistic, and thus Anti-Imperial. Since they have been opposed to the Establishment order, their political affiliations (if any) have historically been to the Left on the Socialist, Anarchic, or Libertarian pole, although few have embraced Libertarianism in the realm of economics. They would argue sin and fallen man's quest for Babel would prohibit this and would also argue the unrestrained Free Market system always leads to monopoly and the wedding of corporate interests with power. Free Markets are fine but only a local level. And in the end that's what Anarchism and many forms of Communism are all about... a lack of government because society is ordered voluntarily at the local level.

Tribalism, History and Old Photos

Last weekend I was struck down by the flu which has afflicted so much of the country. And no, I didn’t get a flu shot.

It had been years since I had the actual flu with the aches and pains and range of symptoms like but yet unlike the cold I get about once a year. It wasn’t fun.

16 February 2013

Restorationism and Political Ideology

(Part 8 of the series on Restorationism)
 
On a philosophical level and contrary to common perceptions, Socialism is not about the state. Many forms of Socialism are not opposed to property and/or market economics. Socialism can of course be wedded to the state and even in this form, where the means of production are controlled by the state, it can contain many Capitalist elements. It can have functioning markets and private enterprise but these endeavours are conducted within a collectivist framework, with National interests put first, and promoting non-individualist goals.