Response thread to Elmer’s Brother – on nationalism, abortion, and pre-emptive war

Hi EB,

So as not to be off-topic in your current posts I reposted here. I take it that you’re:

  1. a practicing Christian
  2. Pro Israel
  3. Pro America (a nationalist)
  4. by 2 and 3, neoconservative

I don’t believe that Christians act primarily for the benefit of the state nor Israel (hence the “I disagree with the nationalism and “Politely knocking on Taquiyya’s door” bit). Instead I am convinced that we act out of God’s interests, derived from a heart of worship to God, which in turn may or may not be in the mutual benefit of the state.

I also believe Christians don’t have the moral obligation to protect the state of Israel. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus give this commandment.

Regarding my allergy to nationalism, I believe this was one of the root causes for the spiritual wandering of the Israelites found in the OT.

These are some of my reasons.

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41 thoughts on “Response thread to Elmer’s Brother – on nationalism, abortion, and pre-emptive war

  1. [Ed. note: this text was taken from here, where the thread originated.]

    If you mean to insult me by labeling me and trying to put me in some kind of pile that’s convenient for you..I don’t really care.

    I don’t mean to insult. If that is how you took it, I’m sorry – I guess that’s just how I’m used to approaching issues where I have radically different opinions?

    However the term is necessary to understand where you stand on certain issues such as American expansionism, War on Tyranny, and the like.

    Do you mean to use neoconservative as a derogatory? A lot of people who use the term refer to the notion that Jews are running our government? It’s sometimes used as an anti semitic term?

    Neoconservativism has negative connotations for me, yes. It could be inferred as being mildly derogatory as it as a political philosophy contains many of the guiding principles of W’s foreign and possibly domestic policy. The more extremist, IMO, sides of it include your latter guesses. Some examples from Wiki:

    As compared with traditional conservatism and libertarianism, which sometimes exhibit an isolationist strain, neoconservatism is characterized by an increased emphasis on defense capability, a willingness to challenge regimes deemed hostile to the values and interests of the United States, pressing for free-market policies abroad, and promoting democracy and freedom. Neoconservatives are strong believers in democratic peace theory. Critics have charged that, while paying lip service to such American values, neoconservatives have supported undemocratic regimes for realpolitik reasons.

    [EB:] Frankly Albert I think I can support my country, support Israel and be a Christian.

    The Old Testament does say in Genesis that those who bless Israel will be blessed. Besides the obvious reasons of supporting one of the only democracies in the Middle East, I take God’s promise seriously.

    Paul also wrote in Romans that we owe Judaism a debt.
    I agree with your first clause, and you do hold an orthodoxy to which I adhere to in regards to priorities:

    Because I love my country and love God do not infer that my country would come before Him. A big mistake.

    However I want to take it a step further and reason that Christ, like God, wanted worship given only to him. Like I said in the post,

    Instead I am convinced that we act out of God’s interests, derived from a heart of worship to God, which in turn may or may not be in the mutual benefit of the state.

    So no, I don’t hate “America” if you’re referring to the land. Neither do I hate “Americans”, if there really were such a thing. The definition of what it means to be American is rapidly changing (as you probably already know) and will eventually, like all things, come to an end.

    I love the earth that God has provided for us; yet globalism, accelerated by American policies, is destroying it. I wish peace for both the Israelite and the Muslim; yet American money is funding Israelites which further aggravates tensions and helps incite violence. Do you see what I’m getting at here?

    That being said and having traveled all over the world this is a country that God has blessed. Having been all over the world I have not experienced a country that is as great as this one. Do we have our problems? Yes. Has secularism replaced God in places like our universities etc. Yes. I don’t like any of it. Am I fighting against a culture that has abandoned those values. Yes…see my post on my anniversary for an example.

    Blessed in term of what? Great in terms of what? Who is “we” and what are “problems”? How did God view great in the OT? Wasn’t it only through adherence to the law of Moses (ref: Josiah, Hezekiah) and heartfelt return to continueal worship of God even through difficulty and struggle?

    “Don’t like it” because it doesn’t teach about God or because you believe in force-fed legislation like anti-abortion?

    Do you see what I’m getting at here? Worshipping God is not just about morality. It’s a varied, complex, Spirit-driven situational ethics (for the most part) approach to solving the multiple injustices in the world (even though it seems to accomplish nothing), affecting every facet, past present and future, of your life motivated by a future that will be spent with the Father.

    Howard Hendrix has said that if your Christianity doesn’t work at home it doesn’t work. This is the frontlines of the counterculture for me.

    So as a result, this is why I think the logical end to Christian growth is to follow in the footsteps of the missionary and apostle in Christ-like ministries. This is, to me, the ultimate expression of the faith that we must all strive for, NOT the distribution of conveniences and material goods (I might be making an assumption here, if I’m wrong please call me out).

    [Aside: I’d also like to note that nationalism is a challenge often issued by the neoconservative elite to assure American uniformity of opinion.]

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  2. I asked the questions for clarity sake not as a vindictive, just so you know.

    I haven’t made an altar with GW’s picture if that’s what you mean. I also realize this country has made mistakes. Our liberty is a gift of God not granted by the government. I hope to never tire in praying for my country, it’s repentance, my repentance and for those in authority. I know too that a true patriot will oppose his government if it opposes God. I believe I should also care enough for this country to remind my countrymen who their true and rightful King is.

    You can correct my grammar if you want…I know it’s not the best.

    I think that I should also honor God ordained authority. (not idol worship)Romans 13 e.g. The government is ordained by God to wield the sword against evil when necessary.

    Clarify why you won’t also place blame on the radical Islamists as well as what you perceive as American imperialism? After all I was a jack booted thug for 20 years.

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  3. Blessed in that we can worship as we want. I have been to countries where Christians are not able to worship when, where and how they want. My in-laws are missionaries in such a country.

    Blessed in that I can diagree with the government, I have freedom of speech etc.

    My wife and I home school, I can teach them about the Lord and not fear the government. Totalitarin countries would not allow such a thing.

    I am not referring to material goods when I say blessed.

    So are you an American? Do you live in America?

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  4. I know too that a true patriot will oppose his government if it opposes God. I believe I should also care enough for this country to remind my countrymen who their true and rightful King is.

    Ah, patriotism is the word I was looking for in the previous post.

    But hold that thought. Define “true patriot” and “countrymen”.

    I think that I should also honor God ordained authority. (not idol worship)Romans 13 e.g. The government is ordained by God to wield the sword against evil when necessary.

    I don’t see where such verbage is used. This kind of authority is only wielded by God himself, made apparent in the OT based on God’s omnipotence regarding the possibility for non-Israelite repentance, no? Your second sentence is basically saying government, being ordained by God, can thereby usurp Jesus’ command of loving others by order of authority. Government > Jesus’ commands

    Clarify why you won’t also place blame on the radical Islamists as well as what you perceive as American imperialism? After all I was a jack booted thug for 20 years.

    Chomsky has thoroughly demonstrated the historical use of American force typically as dogs of ideological, often highly un-Christlike agendas. While I’m not sure about what you mean by not placing blame on American imperialism, I won’t place blame on radical Islamists if it means posting about their atrocities and then making a mockery of murderousness. Like Cate said, their actions speak for themselves (unfortunately). No sense in beating a rotting, stinky horse when you’ve got much greater issues to confront, such as waywardness (1 Cor 5), apostasy (2 Peter 2), and conspiracy (Ezekiel 22:23-29) – which all hold imperatives for the formation of a complete orthopraxis.

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  5. Here is where I think your perspective is somewhat off.

    Blessed in that we can worship as we want. I have been to countries where Christians are not able to worship when, where and how they want. My in-laws are missionaries in such a country.

    Worshipping as we want doesn’t necessarily mean it’s meaningful to God. In fact, if you look at Acts, the times of greatest church growth and steadfastness was when the church was persecuted.

    So, as far as it has promoted backsliding and apostasy on the national scale, I see it as also being a curse.

    Blessed in that I can diagree with the government, I have freedom of speech etc.

    Freedom of speech w/in the government is being/has been stifled, as is disagreement via accusations of lack of patriotism. I’m sure this is a trend bound to continue, too, as Unpatriotism is harmful to the establishment and is viewed as radical anarchism.

    So are you an American? Do you live in America?

    Okay, I’m getting your tone a little better. Yes, I’m “American” in the sense that I was born/raised in America and currently live in Chicago.

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  6. This kind of authority is only wielded by God himself, made apparent in the OT based on God’s omnipotence regarding the possibility for non-Israelite repentance, no?

    Sorry, meant to say implausibility for non-Israelite repentance.

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  7. I thought the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade was force fed. The people can no longer decide via voting etc. That seems force fed to me…judicial fiat?

    Chicago – went through training in Waukegan. Tried to stay off of State St. I was told it was a rough neighborhood in Chicago.

    Are you pro-abortion? and if so what Scripture do you use to justify it?

    I understand that persecution can strengthen the Church. It is happening where my in-laws are working.

    I wouldn’t call someone who disagrees with the government unpatriotic but I would question why you don’t think the government would want to protect itself given the majority of Americans like this brand of freedom. (whether it’s orthodox Christianity or not)

    I prefer this clarity over agreement.

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  8. 1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    This from Clarke’s Commentary: As far as I have learned and been taught this is an orthodox view of this passage.

    NOTES ON CHAP 13.

    To see with what propriety the apostle introduces the important subjects which he handles in this chapter, it is necessary to make a few remarks on the circumstances in which the Church of God then was.

    It is generally allowed that this epistle was written about the year of our Lord 58, four or five years after the edict of the Emperor Claudius, by which all the Jews were banished from Rome. And as in those early times the Christians were generally confounded with the Jews, it is likely that both were included in this decree.

    For what reason this edict was issued does not satisfactorily appear.

    Suetonius tells us that it was because the Jews were making continual disturbances under their leader Christus. (See the note on Acts xviii. 2.) That the Jews were in general an uneasy and seditious people is clear enough from every part of their own history. They had the most rooted aversion to the heathen government; and it was a maxim with them that the world was given to the Israelites; that they should have supreme rule every where, and that the Gentiles should be their vassals. (This sounds like our own times and the radical Muslims) With such political notions, grounded on their native restlessness, it is no wonder if in several instances they gave cause of suspicion to the Roman government, who would be glad of an opportunity to expel from the city persons whom they considered dangerous to its peace and security; nor is it unreasonable on this account to suppose, that the Christians, under a notion of being the peculiar people of God, and the subjects of his kingdom alone, might be in danger of being infected with those unruly and rebellious sentiments: therefore the apostle shows them that they were, notwithstanding their honours and privileges as Christians, bound by the strongest obligations of conscience to be subject to the civil government.

    The judicious commentator adds: “I cannot forbear observing the admirable skill and dexterity with which the apostle has handled the subject. His views in writing are always comprehensive on every point; and he takes into his thoughts and instructions all parties that might probably reap any benefit by them. As Christianity was then growing, and the powers of the world began to take notice of it, it was not unlikely that this letter might fall into the hands of the Roman magistrates. And whenever that happened it was right, not only that they should see that Christianity was no favourer of sedition, but likewise that they should have an opportunity of reading their own duty and obligations. But as they were too proud and insolent to permit themselves to be instructed in a plain, direct way, therefore the apostle with a masterly hand, delineates and strongly inculcates the magistrate’s duty; while he is pleading his cause with the subject, and establishing his duty on the most sure and solid ground, he dexterously sides with the magistrate, and vindicates his power against any subject who might have imbibed seditious principles, or might be inclined to give the government any disturbance; and under this advantage he reads the magistrate a fine and close lecture upon the nature and ends of civil government. A way of conveyance so ingenious and unexceptionable that even Nero himself, had this epistle fallen into his hands, could not fail of seeing his duty clearly stated, without finding any thing servile or flattering on the one hand, or offensive or disgusting on the other.

    “The attentive reader will be pleased to see with what dexterity, truth, and gravity the apostle, in a small compass, affirms and explains the foundation, nature, ends, and just limits of the magistrate’s authority, while he is pleading his cause, and teaching the subject the duty and obedience he owes to the civil government

    Verse 1. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.] This is a very strong saying, and most solemnly introduced; and we must consider the apostle as speaking, not from his own private judgment, or teaching a doctrine of present expediency, but declaring the mind of God on a subject of the utmost importance to the peace of the world; a doctrine which does not exclusively belong to any class of people, order of the community, or official situations, but to every soul; and, on the principles which the apostle lays down, to every soul in all possible varieties of situation, and on all occasions. And what is this solemn doctrine? It is this: Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. Let every man be obedient to the civil government under which the providence of God has cast his lot.

    For there is no power but of God As God is the origin of power, and the supreme Governor of the universe, he delegates authority to whomsoever he will; and though in many cases the governor himself may not be of God, yet civil government is of him; for without this there could be no society, no security, no private property; all would be confusion and anarchy, and the habitable world would soon be depopulated. In ancient times, God, in an especial manner, on many occasions appointed the individual who was to govern; and he accordingly governed by a Divine right, as in the case of Moses, Joshua, the Hebrew judges, and several of the Israelitish kings. In after times, and to the present day, he does that by a general superintending providence which he did before by especial designation. In all nations of the earth there is what may be called a constitution-a plan by which a particular country or state is governed; and this constitution is less or more calculated to promote the interests of the community. The civil governor, whether he be elective or hereditary, agrees to govern according to that constitution. Thus we may consider that there is a compact and consent between the governor and the governed, and in such a case, the potentate may be considered as coming to the supreme authority in the direct way of God’s providence; and as civil government is of God, who is the fountain of law, order, and regularity, the civil governor, who administers the laws of a state according to its constitution, is the minister of God. But it has been asked: If the ruler be an immoral or profligate man, does he not prove himself thereby to be unworthy of his high office, and should he not be deposed? I answer, No: if he rule according to the constitution, nothing can justify rebellion against his authority. He may be irregular in his own private life; he may be an immoral man, and disgrace himself by an improper conduct: but if he rule according to the law; if he make no attempt to change the constitution, nor break the compact between him and the people; there is, therefore, no legal ground of opposition to his civil authority, and every act against him is not only rebellion in the worst sense of the word, but is unlawful and absolutely sinful.

    Nothing can justify the opposition of the subjects to the ruler but overt attempts on his part to change the constitution, or to rule contrary to law.

    When the ruler acts thus he dissolves the compact between him and his people; his authority is no longer binding, because illegal; and it is illegal because he is acting contrary to the laws of that constitution, according to which, on being raised to the supreme power, he promised to govern. This conduct justifies opposition to his government; but I contend that no personal misconduct in the ruler, no immorality in his own life, while he governs according to law, can justify either rebellion against him or contempt of his authority. For his political conduct he is accountable to his people; for his moral conduct he is accountable to God, his conscience, and the ministers of religion. A king may be a good moral man, and yet a weak, and indeed a bad and dangerous prince. He may be a bad man, and stained with vice in his private life, and yet be a good prince. SAUL was a good moral man, but a bad prince, because he endeavoured to act contrary to the Israelitish constitution: he changed some essential parts of that constitution, as I have elsewhere shown; (see the note on Acts xiii. 22;) he was therefore lawfully deposed. James the Second was a good moral man, as far as I can learn, but he was a bad and dangerous prince; he endeavoured to alter, and essentially change the British constitution, both in Church and state, therefore he was lawfully deposed. It would be easy, in running over the list of our own kings, to point out several who were deservedly reputed good kings, who in their private life were very immoral. Bad as they might be in private life, the constitution was in their hands ever considered a sacred deposit, and they faithfully preserved it, and transmitted it unimpaired to their successors; and took care while they held the reins of government to have it impartially and effectually administered.

    It must be allowed, notwithstanding, that when a prince, howsoever heedful to the laws, is unrighteous in private life, his example is contagious; morality, banished from the throne, is discountenanced by the community; and happiness is diminished in proportion to the increase of vice. On the other hand, when a king governs according to the constitution of his realms and has his heart and life governed by the laws of his God, he is then a double blessing to his people; while he is ruling carefully according to the laws, his pious example is a great means of extending and confirming the reign of pure morality among his subjects. Vice is discredited from the throne, and the profligate dare not hope for a place of trust and confidence, (however in other respects he may be qualified for it,) because he is a vicious man.

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  9. This’ll be my last post of the night. I’m hoping we can continue this thread tomorrow, EB!

    I thought the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade was force fed. The people can no longer decide via voting etc. That seems force fed to me…judicial fiat?

    IMO it’s more force fed when you’re delegating restrictive morality in place of God. As a Christian I believe our stance should be pro-life, but at the same time I don’t believe we should force that opinion or morality down the throats of others who think otherwise. If the current social environment is any indication, God is allowing this in the US and abroad but biblically speaking is clearly morally against it.

    Under freedom of choice women are allowed to stand for life a priori, or (hopefully) learn from the mistake of having an abortion later. (All things are permissible but not necessarily beneficial 1 Cor 10:23)

    Chicago – went through training in Waukegan. Tried to stay off of State St. I was told it was a rough neighborhood in Chicago.

    That must’ve been a while ago, then. State St has become a main thoroughfare downtown and extends towards the Cellular field neighborhood now… lots of development

    I wouldn’t call someone who disagrees with the government unpatriotic but I would question why you don’t think the government would want to protect itself given the majority of Americans like this brand of freedom. (whether it’s orthodox Christianity or not)

    I agree, it’s in the government’s interests to protect itself. However, it’s not necessarily in the best interests of the people, orthodox Christianity nonwithstanding. For example, the increasing wealth gap in the country has resulted in some calling the US “the richest 3rd world country in the world“. Now, add in Christianity to the mix and you just get a heretical/backslidden state. Sure – the majority of Americans “like this brand of freedom” now, but I think historically it’s really just another microcosm of how there’s most always been a conflict of interest b/t what God wants and what we – as fallen, sinful beings in need of redemption – want.

    I prefer this clarity over agreement.

    I enthusiastically agree! A false unity is a far cry from the truth.

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  10. 1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    I agree with the idea of pacifism – I don’t espouse anarchy, although I would call myself an anarchist. The label just doesn’t fit, because by route of standing for God first, the Christian might have a conflict of interest with the government – as was demonstrated time and time again through the OT prophets.

    I say refer to the Weimar-era German church and Galatians 6:11-13 for a more proper balance of viewing God-ordained authority:

    11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

    There’s another quote I’m trying to remember about obeying the law of the land that goes something like “Obey the law; yet, do even more than that – do good, be of such a moral character that others may see and be saved”.I’ll have to address some of the broader parallels you mentioned tomorrow. Thanks EB

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  11. I believe you may have misapplied I Cor 10. Paul was referring to the eating of meat sacrificed to idols. He was dealing with schisms in the church. Applying this to a civil law I believe would be a stretch. As I wouldn’t want to cause another to stumble I would try to refrain from eating meat sacrificed to idols. So I would oppose a law that would cause someone to stumble, such as abortion.
    Italicized from Clarke’s commentary:

    Verse 23. All things are lawful for me I may lawfully eat all kinds of food, but all are not expedient; ou panta sumferei? It would not be becoming in me to eat of all, because I should by this offend and grieve many weak minds. See the notes on 1 Cor. vi. 12, &c.

    Verse 24. Let no man seek his own, Let none, for his private gratification or emolument, disturb the peace or injure the soul of another.

    Let every man live, not for himself, but for every part of the great human family with which he is surrounded.

    Philipians 2:5 would apply here.

    In Deuteronomy God exhorts Israel to choose life that it might be well with you. God was driving home the importance of life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose life…choose blessing.

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  12. I believe you may have misapplied I Cor 10. Paul was referring to the eating of meat sacrificed to idols. He was dealing with schisms in the church. Applying this to a civil law I believe would be a stretch. As I wouldn’t want to cause another to stumble I would try to refrain from eating meat sacrificed to idols.

    Hey EB,

    I don’t believe it’s a misapplication at all. Allow me to illustrate, because the saying is quoted in 1 Cor 6:12 as well, in the context of sexual immorality:

    “Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything. “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

    By this, I believe it is more than likely that this saying was used not only in the specific sense of sexual immorality and eating rituals, but had ramifications applying to the general standard of Christian living.

    I believe it has direct correlation with causing a brother to stumble as well, but a greater correlation could be made in the sense of the scope of the book – that is, taking on the likeness of Christ as a witness to others in Corinth in general. It makes greater sense in the context of the book if it’s looked at from the broader scope of what Paul is trying to accomplish in his letter.

    Also see 6:33:

    Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

    Again, it applies in the more general sense of being an example to all, not just prevention of being a stumbling block to others.

    So I would oppose a law that would cause someone to stumble, such as abortion.

    I can’t really follow the line of reasoning here, even when applied to non-believers. In the sense of Philippians 2:5, what was Jesus’ response to the prostitute? Didn’t she approach him after her sin had been committed? Isn’t that indicative of freedom of choice, which God is even now currently allowing? So I agree,

    5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
    6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
    7but made himself nothing,
    taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    8And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!

    So the issue doesn’t become about life – God can and will determine that on his own. Just look at the situation in Calcutta.

    Besides, if your intent is to truly “work on frontlines of counterculture”, as it were, would not the best way to witness to the pro-abortion feminist liberal be to stand on her side? After all, doesn’t it cover both bases by default?

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  13. I’d also be interested in your biblical justification for being an anarchis.

    Well, as I mentioned earlier,

    I agree with the idea of pacifism – I don’t espouse anarchy, although I would call myself an anarchist.

    Jesus himself espoused a type of anarchy, but didn’t support open rebellion. Call it a kind of libertarian socialism, if you will. He commanded obedience to authority, but not “honor” in the sense that I think you’re using it. See Matthew 22:15-21:

    15Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 18But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

    21″Caesar’s,” they replied.
    Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

    Paul also warns, in Eph 6:12:

    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

    Yet at the same time, in the same passage, encouraging slaves to obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

    6Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.

    So as I was saying, it’s a form of anarchy because it regards God as a greater authority over government. But it’s not because government obedience is encouraged to make a better witness to others.

    What’s your take? Which do you think is more beneficial to the feminist pro-choice unbeliever, pro-life or abortion? Which is more sensible, the authority of God or the authority of man?

    In that sense patriotism makes it difficult to discern who is wrong or right. That’s why I’d call myself a humanist instead (although that label doesn’t fit quite well either).

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  14. I could make a very crude remark about his position but I will refrain.

    By all means, EB, I’m all ears. And I’m also wondering what you think about my apologetics offerings here; why no response? Do they sound logical? Are they justified?

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  15. In that sense patriotism makes it difficult to discern who is wrong or right. That’s why I’d call myself a humanist instead (although that label doesn’t fit quite well either).

    I don’t discern right and wrong based on patriotism.

    Please understand the tone of this question is to clarify not a vindictive.

    Do you find it difficult to commit to any one label/system? The Humanist Manifesto calls itself a religion. Would you call yourself a Christian Humanist?

    I know what honor means:

    It is God who gives true honor or “promotion”. Psalms 75:6,7, NKJV. “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.”

    It is good to give honor to each other. Romans 12:10, TLB. “Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honoring each other.”

    Honoring parents is one of God’s commandments. Exodus 20:12, TLB. “Honor your father and mother, that you may have a long, good life in the land the Lord your God will give you.”

    The following is the orthodox Christian view.

    Romans 13

    Authority is the lawful right to enforce obedience. It is the power to influence or command behavior. In order to have authority over someone they must submit to your authority..hence Paul’s exhortation to submit.

    God is the ultimate authority, and there is no authority except from God. Citizens are clearly commanded to be in subjection to governing authorities according to Romans 13.

    Government has a rightful authority from God that we must submit to, unless the government orders us to do something that is in opposition to God’s law. In those circumstances Acts 4:19,20 teaches us to obey God before man. Acts 4:19,20 – But Peter and John answered and said to them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard. In these verses, the apostles Peter and John had been commanded by the government to no longer speak or teach about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter and John knew it was against God’s law to not speak about Jesus Christ, so they did not submit to the government authority.

    Reply
  16. EB: Well if obeying the authority as a better witness and

    A: Anarchism is the name of a political philosophy or a group of doctrines and attitudes that are centered on rejection of government, or the state, as harmful and unnecessary and support its elimination.[1]The term “anarchism” is derived from the Greek αναρχία (“without archons” or “without rulers”).

    EB: this seems an oxymoron.

    EB, please re-read comment 21. It is vital for you in understanding how I believe these two things – the “form of anarchism” and obeying authority are not two mutually exclusive concepts. It is a paradox.

    You think Jesus advocated not having any rulers or form of government…I find that a big stretch…

    Again, this isn’t my viewpoint. I believe Jesus and his disciples complied to authority insofar as it didn’t conflict with God’s commands and that we should follow their examples. But Jesus redefines authority by stating God – as opposed to government (Caesar for context) – as supreme authority. (ref: Phil. 2:5-8 in comment 18)

    So if one thinks abortion is murder how does it not cause a woman to stumble?

    …I also find it a stretch to think that by supporting a woman having an abortion is a godly pursuit when I can support her in a way that encourages her to have her baby.

    The key idea I was connecting this to was 1 Cor 9:22:

    To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

    In the previous post I gave the example of a “pro-abortion feminist liberal” (assumed to be non-Christian in comment 18). How do you go about being a witness to her when her sense of morality conflict with yours?

    Well, here’s where the paradox of situational ethics applies: if she were to, say, become pregnant by nonconventional means, then you could, like you implicated, go out of your way to ensure that she and her child might be cared for. This would seem to be a great way to serve as a witness.

    Moreover, even if she did end up going through the abortion, no doubt she may probably end up going through a depressive stage where she realizes her error in killing her own. There again you might be able to serve as a witness, instead of demonizing her.

    I think this is captures some of the essence of the “love your enemies” approach.

    I guess if you don’t believe in a government nor it’s rules/laws it shouldn’t surprise me that you think this

    Again, I believe in abiding with law or “believe in government” to the extent that it doesn’t conflict with God’s commands or authority.

    Tell me Albert did you have a colored mohawk and listen to the Clash in high school? LOL

    Heh not really actually I was the typical clean cut straight-lace who struggled with authority.

    Reply
  17. I don’t discern right and wrong based on patriotism.Please understand the tone of this question is to clarify not a vindictive.

    I hope you don’t see my questions as being vindictive or accusational, either. If it does come off that way, please tell me.

    But, I think your first assertion is hard to verify. Patriotism and its entailing honor system is the crux of our disagreement for good reason. Perhaps we disagree on the practical definition of honor:

    I know what honor means:

    It is God who gives true honor or “promotion”. Psalms 75:6,7, NKJV. “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.”

    It is good to give honor to each other. Romans 12:10, TLB. “Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honoring each other.”

    Honoring parents is one of God’s commandments. Exodus 20:12, TLB. “Honor your father and mother, that you may have a long, good life in the land the Lord your God will give you.”

    I believe honor occurs at a cost; more spefically, when you become less, and the person you honor becomes more. Hence your usage of the TLB (yet another new translation, all of which I take issue, but that’s another discussion). Refer to the NIV and KJV translations:

    10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. (NIV)
    10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; (KJV)

    (and in Exodus 20:12 the TLB makes a key contextual error:)

    12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (emphasis mine, NIV)
    12Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. (emphasis mine, KJV)

    Your post continued:

    The following is the orthodox Christian view.

    Romans 13

    Authority is the lawful right to enforce obedience. It is the power to influence or command behavior. In order to have authority over someone they must submit to your authority..hence Paul’s exhortation to submit.

    God is the ultimate authority, and there is no authority except from God. Citizens are clearly commanded to be in subjection to governing authorities according to Romans 13.

    Government has a rightful authority from God that we must submit to, unless the government orders us to do something that is in opposition to God’s law.

    My emphasis is exactly the last sentence. But I also add this – when we are living in the Spirit, by default we will be living good, holy, and righteous lives instead of merely “civil” or “civic” lives. It’s somewhat ironic that the passage I was looking for was in your blog tagline:

    12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

    13Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. 1 Pet 2:12-17

    This, of all people, coming from someone who cut off the ear of a soldier with his sword.

    In those circumstances Acts 4:19,20 teaches us to obey God before man. Acts 4:19,20 – But Peter and John answered and said to them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard. In these verses, the apostles Peter and John had been commanded by the government to no longer speak or teach about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter and John knew it was against God’s law to not speak about Jesus Christ, so they did not submit to the government authority.

    Yes, that is the paradox of situational ethics(!) – living by the Spirit in recognizing God as supreme and not only acting on his commands first and foremost, but allowing the Spirit to take over every aspect of your life – in essence, dying to yourself (through risking gov’t disobedience) so that you might live (for God’s glory).

    Do you find it difficult to commit to any one label/system?

    The Humanist Manifesto calls itself a religion. Would you call yourself a Christian Humanist?

    Due to the system of paradoxes I find it hard to label myself (or Jesus for that matter) under any specific system, although situationally I might come out being more one thing than another. This is because of the paradox of Spirit-based living.

    I think this might be primarily due to conflicting ideas of morality within each of the individual thought systems.

    Reply
  18. Bush goes ballistic about other countries being evil and dangerous, because they have weapons of mass destruction. But, he insists on building up even a more deadly supply of nuclear arms right here in the US. What do you think? What is he doing to us, and what is he doing to the world?
    Our country is in debt until forever, we don’t have jobs, and we live in fear. We have invaded a country and been responsible for thousands of deaths.
    The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren’t living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

    Reply
  19. Bush goes ballistic about other countries being evil and dangerous, because they have weapons of mass destruction. But, he insists on building up even a more deadly supply of nuclear arms right here in the US. What do you think? What is he doing to us, and what is he doing to the world?

    Good questions. The official line is that he’s doing for “security.” But that’s at the expense of civil liberties, the American standard of living, and American democracy in general, among other things. In my point of view, he’s doing it to line the pockets of himself and his own. You’re right, the US is a hypocritical country. What exactly gives us the right to be a global policeman? Nothing. Bush may as well think he has Heaven’s Mandate when it comes to these matters, and its contrarian to any sense of the ideals of Christianity; it’s merely a guise that he uses for political purposes.

    Our country is in debt until forever, we don’t have jobs, and we live in fear. We have invaded a country and been responsible for thousands of deaths.
    The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren’t living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

    You’re spot on. As long as “freedom” is defined by those now in power, people will never realize that they’re living under slavery. That’s why I think it’s necessary to work internally, starting with the reform of our institutions – using the framework of the explosive power of the gospel.

    Reply
  20. albert,

    You wrote:

    I came to this blog because someone clicked on your link to mine. I can see the ways in which you agree with some of my beliefs, but have you read my post “Response thread to Elmer’s brother“? It talks (briefly, I think) about how Jesus was essentially apolitical – in spite of his words and actions having political ramifications – and how supporting abortion might actually serve as being a witness to others.

    Here is my response.

    You wrote in your post: “I also believe Christians don’t have the moral obligation to protect the state of Israel. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus give this commandment.”

    Amen. The modern state of Israel isn’t even the same thing as the Israel that the Bible talks about. “Christian Zionism” is one of the most dangerous cults around today, and the leaders in our government are a part of it.

    I believe that I should expose the unfruitful works of darkness within our government (Ephesians 5:11). Jesus may have been apolitical in a certain sense, but that shouldn’t stop us from keeping God’s command to expose evil, even if the evil is in our government. Rulers must be just (II Samuel 23:3), and ours are not.

    This, however, does not necessarily amount to trying to exert significant influence on the government. I’m more interested in encouraging the People towards a more Godly religious and political lifestyle, which would necessarily mean (1) disdain for the evil government (II Samuel 23:3), (2) a willingness to expose this evil (Ephesians 5:11), and yet still (3) obedience to it when that obedience does not cause us to sin (Romans 13:1-4; see also I Samuel 24:6).

    Know also that some of my beliefs have changed slightly since the time I made the posts on my blog. I haven’t posted on it in a while because I too am more apolitical.

    You wrote, albert:

    As a Christian I believe our stance should be pro-life, but at the same time I don’t believe we should force that opinion or morality down the throats of others who think otherwise. If the current social environment is any indication, God is allowing this in the US and abroad but biblically speaking is clearly morally against it.

    Under freedom of choice women are allowed to stand for life a priori, or (hopefully) learn from the mistake of having an abortion later. (All things are permissible but not necessarily beneficial 1 Cor 10:23)

    Indeed, our stance should be pro-life, and indeed, we (as Christians) cannot enforce our morality by the sword (II Corinthians 10:3-5). However, the government still has a responsibility to uphold the law, and the law is “You shall not murder.” Whether the murderer feels she committed murder or not is irrelevant.

    You misused I Corinthians 10:23. It reads (NKJV): “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.” You interpreted this to mean that “Everything permissable,” as the NIV puts it. But this is a lie. Murder is not permissable. Take it literally from a more accurate translation, and the more correct interpretation is that all things (material objects, e.g. cigarettes, yes even marijuana, guns, etc.) are legal… and then the keywords are for me. A Christian can smoke without sinning, as long as he does not break the law (I Peter 2:13), for “Unto the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15).

    But this does not mean that abortion is permissable, even for Christians. Abortion is not a thing, but rather an action (a murderous one). My advice, just use a better translation.

    Finally, I’ll end with agreeing with your civil philosophy: “As long as ‘freedom’ is defined by those now in power, people will never realize that they’re living under slavery. That’s why I think it’s necessary to work internally, starting with the reform of our institutions – using the framework of the explosive power of the gospel.”

    Amen.

    For the Crown Rights of Jesus Christ,
    The Crown Rights Patriot

    Reply
  21. Hi CRP,

    Know also that some of my beliefs have changed slightly since the time I made the posts on my blog. I haven’t posted on it in a while because I too am more apolitical.

    I guess I’ll have to read more into how you’ve changed, because this response did seem to be yet politically charged (read: Conservative) to me. You wrote:

    Indeed, our stance should be pro-life, and indeed, we (as Christians) cannot enforce our morality by the sword (II Corinthians 10:3-5). However, the government still has a responsibility to uphold the law, and the law is “You shall not murder.” Whether the murderer feels she committed murder or not is irrelevant.

    You misused I Corinthians 10:23. It reads (NKJV): “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.” You interpreted this to mean that “Everything permissable,” as the NIV puts it. But this is a lie. Murder is not permissable. Take it literally from a more accurate translation, and the more correct interpretation is that all things (material objects, e.g. cigarettes, yes even marijuana, guns, etc.) are legal… and then the keywords are for me. A Christian can smoke without sinning, as long as he does not break the law (I Peter 2:13), for “Unto the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15).

    But this does not mean that abortion is permissable, even for Christians. Abortion is not a thing, but rather an action (a murderous one). My advice, just use a better translation.

    “Thou shalt not murder” isn’t a Constitutional mandate, but rather a state statute with varying clarifying subsections (see the wiki Unborn Victims of Violence Act, Criminal Law, and Murder entries). As the Constitution is, whether for good or for worse, the law of the land, states are responsible to act in accordance to it, including all restrictions on its power whether by Congress, the Executive, or the Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade marked a defining moment for abortion in that it was upheld through the argument of both the Ninth Amendment, which guarantees the right to privacy, and that the fetus does not have Constitutional protection as a fully-qualified personage. So, it would follow that the law of the land is, essentially, “abortions are legal in the United States to a limited extent.”

    I’ve also been looking over the texts in NIV, KJV, and NKJV and have been thinking about what you’ve applied, but I still don’t think 1 Cor 10 is misapplied. A thing is defined to be any action, special situation, event, statement, attribute or matter as well as artifact or material object, per Princeton’s web glossary. This definition is consistent across a few other sites as well: dictionary.com, m-w, and Cambridge, among others. If you look further down to one of the following responses, I think can be used in context as an “action” as well, in terms of sexual immorality in 1 Cor 6:

    12All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

    13Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

    14And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

    15Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.

    16What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

    17But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

    18Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

    19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

    20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

    If you also look at it in context of Jesus’ life, you can draw a similar conclusion: his breaking of Sabbath law by healing was a violation of the law, but was physically (and possibly spiritually, given that he was indeed healed) beneficial to that man on the receiving end (Matt 12:10, et. al).

    The argument, then, could be made that the action of having an abortion, or for the matter anything else, would be permissible for the Christian, which could provide some insight, for example, of a Catholic wrongdoer who had been stealing the day before church and then going for forgiveness the day after (sorry, it’s an anecdote I can’t find a reference for). Whether or not that person is a true believer, on the other hand, could be a subject of debate.

    CRP: I believe that I should expose the unfruitful works of darkness within our government (Ephesians 5:11). Jesus may have been apolitical in a certain sense, but that shouldn’t stop us from keeping God’s command to expose evil, even if the evil is in our government. Rulers must be just (II Samuel 23:3), and ours are not.

    That’s a stretch, I think. The “works of darkness” the Ephesians passage refers to isn’t so much the government as the more general “your neighbors,” although it could be argued to a certain degree. Let me just say that if your intent is to “reform” our government, you’re in for an endless and unwinnable war in which possibly there will be no fruits to your labor. The government is entrenched in Eisenhower’s military-industrial (he unfortunately omitted -congressional and now -think tank) complex and has little in the way of any recourse.

    This, however, does not necessarily amount to trying to exert significant influence on the government. I’m more interested in encouraging the People towards a more Godly religious and political lifestyle, which would necessarily mean (1) disdain for the evil government (II Samuel 23:3), (2) a willingness to expose this evil (Ephesians 5:11), and yet still (3) obedience to it when that obedience does not cause us to sin (Romans 13:1-4; see also I Samuel 24:6).

    A disdain for evil government is a given through the books of the Prophets. I don’t think this should be our primary concern, though – and I don’t think this was the case for Jesus, either. Our mandate is to be bearers of good news for all people, and I think this necessarily means that our lives must be lived by the Spirit – that being, in this context, not by adherence to any system or code of conduct but God’s (via the Spirit) which is outlined in the NT. I know that sounds somewhat mystical, but the main point is just that God becomes our priority first, followed by our fellow man; and although your political philosophy does agree with that somewhat, I think (and I may be out on a limb here), the overall thrust needs some tweaking in terms of its practice (as do we all, with possible exception to the native missionaries out in the 10/40).

    Reply
  22. albert,

    You asked how I’m apolitical when my post was political. My answer is that although I may advocate Biblical government, I never once advocated voting for a particular candidate, nor did I say anything else suggesting that I would enact my beliefs using civil government. I’m simply stating what I think the Biblical model of government is, without suggesting that we change our current government (not that I would have a problem with a change in our government, though).

    For example, to say that abortion, being murder, is a crime worthy of death is not a political statement. However, to say that a certain candidate ought to be elected who would put abortionists to death would be a political statement. I have no desire to kill abortionists. Instead, my only desire is to spread the Gospel, which inevitably includes “You shall not murder.”

    You wrote:

    As the Constitution is, whether for good or for worse, the law of the land, states are responsible to act in accordance to it, including all restrictions on its power whether by Congress, the Executive, or the Supreme Court.

    The Constitution sets forward restrictions on the Federal Government, some of which do not apply to state governments. For example, in the early American republic some of the states had chosen to establish state churches while other states chose to not have a state religion. The First Amendment protected states from being forced to establish or disestablish state churches.

    Don’t get me wrong, though; I have no interest in establishing state churches. I have no desire to be persecuted for my beliefs.

    You wrote:

    Roe v. Wade marked a defining moment for abortion in that it was upheld through the argument of both the Ninth Amendment, which guarantees the right to privacy, and that the fetus does not have Constitutional protection as a fully-qualified personage.

    I have to sigh right now… another abortion debate…. How on earth does a right to privacy include the right to commit murder? Should we give rapists the right to privacy as well?

    And what about the rights of the unborn child? Where in the Bible does it make any distinction between the rights of the unborn vs. the born?

    You said: “So, it would follow that the law of the land is, essentially, “abortions are legal in the United States to a limited extent.”

    This is false. Laws that contradict God’s Laws are not laws; they are lies. Abortion can never be legal, no matter how many times the judiciary usurps the authority of Congress to make laws, and no matter how many times the Congress tries in vain to change God’s Law.

    You said: “I think [it] can be used in context as an ‘action’ as well, in terms of sexual immorality in 1 Cor 6.” Look at verse 18: “Flee fornication.” Now how is fornication okay for a Christian when just a few verses later it says “flee fornication”? Likewise, how is abortion or any other kind of murder lawful for anybody when the Law clearly says it’s not?

    You’re using I Cor. 6:12 to override God’s Law, but God’s Word must be taken as a whole (Matthew 4:4). Thus, the whole command is “All things are lawful for me” (I Cor. 6:12) except “murder” (Ex. 20:13), “adultery” (Ex. 20:14), etc. etc. etc.

    You said: “If you also look at it in context of Jesus’ life, you can draw a similar conclusion: his breaking of Sabbath law by healing was a violation of the law.”

    This example is void, because breaking the Sabbath is no longer a violation of the law (Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:16; see also, if you care, Romans 14:5-6; Hebrews 4:9-10).

    You said: “The argument, then, could be made that the action of having an abortion, or for the matter anything else, would be permissible for the Christian.”

    Restate that sentence replacing the word abortion with the word murder, and hopefully you’ll see my point.

    You wrote:

    Let me just say that if your intent is to “reform” our government, you’re in for an endless and unwinnable war in which possibly there will be no fruits to your labor. The government is entrenched in Eisenhower’s military-industrial (he unfortunately omitted -congressional and now -think tank) complex and has little in the way of any recourse.

    Amen.

    Finally, you said: “[…] the overall thrust needs some tweaking in terms of its practice (as do we all, with possible exception to the native missionaries out in the 10/40).”

    Right. My blog just so happens to be a bit more political, but my blog is a very small part of my life.

    Reply
  23. CRP,

    Thanks for the response. Comments interspersed below:

    You asked how I’m apolitical when my post was political. My answer is that although I may advocate Biblical government, I never once advocated voting for a particular candidate, nor did I say anything else suggesting that I would enact my beliefs using civil government. I’m simply stating what I think the Biblical model of government is, without suggesting that we change our current government (not that I would have a problem with a change in our government, though).

    I see. I can agree with this model in practice, but disagree with it in theory. I believe the NT model is a non-hierarchical, grassroots based moralism that has some democratic overtones, but is essentially meant to conform or operate within any given system. In terms of the state of US democracy today, I think that little to nothing can be done to reform our institutions, whereby

    For example, to say that abortion, being murder, is a crime worthy of death is not a political statement. However, to say that a certain candidate ought to be elected who would put abortionists to death would be a political statement. I have no desire to kill abortionists. Instead, my only desire is to spread the Gospel, which inevitably includes “You shall not murder.”

    See, this is precisely where I think you’re misleading yourself. The heart and soul of the gospel is not authoritarian legalism, but a type of grassroots quasi-anarchy that engenders submission to the government. “You shall not murder” was an OT law and subscribes to legalism, wherein morality is legislated (read: forced) instead of becoming the result of individual pro-action, which is what occurs when you live by the Spirit.

    albert: As the Constitution is, whether for good or for worse, the law of the land, states are responsible to act in accordance to it, including all restrictions on its power whether by Congress, the Executive, or the Supreme Court.

    CRP: The Constitution sets forward restrictions on the Federal Government, some of which do not apply to state governments. For example, in the early American republic some of the states had chosen to establish state churches while other states chose to not have a state religion. The First Amendment protected states from being forced to establish or disestablish state churches.

    Don’t get me wrong, though; I have no interest in establishing state churches. I have no desire to be persecuted for my beliefs.

    I’m not sure how this addresses the point I was making. You’re asserting – here and below – that it is the role of the government to uphold God’s laws, but there is no such clause either in the Constitution or in the Bible. God ordained authority on earth, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that authority is God-centered. Pointedly, in the case of the Israelites, often this God-ordained authority was instrumental in leading the Israelites away from God.

    It’s often said that the US founding fathers were Christian men seeking to establish a Christian nation, but this is a common misconception. The FFs wanted to establish a secular state that supported some of their ideas of the social contract, separation of church and state, and nationalism (which is not a Christian model of governance). But nationalism was appropriate in the context of a Judaic theocracy, and only to the extent that it encouraged the worship of God, which Kings of the OT oftentimes didn’t.

    Now, do you assume that because, say, Bush claims to be a Christian, he is responsible for upholding God’s law? I suppose you could make a weak case for such, but it would ultimately require him and his cabinet to temporarily step down and go to church rehab, which just isn’t going to happen (because even church rehab has become secularized). Like I mentioned before, Christian governance is and should be a grassroots model and will stay that way until the return of Christ. You can find some solid examples of this in Acts and Jesus’ life, to name two.

    albert: Roe v. Wade marked a defining moment for abortion in that it was upheld through the argument of both the Ninth Amendment, which guarantees the right to privacy, and that the fetus does not have Constitutional protection as a fully-qualified personage.

    CRP: I have to sigh right now… another abortion debate…. How on earth does a right to privacy include the right to commit murder? Should we give rapists the right to privacy as well?

    And what about the rights of the unborn child? Where in the Bible does it make any distinction between the rights of the unborn vs. the born?

    ——-

    You said: “So, it would follow that the law of the land is, essentially, “abortions are legal in the United States to a limited extent.”

    This is false. Laws that contradict God’s Laws are not laws; they are lies. Abortion can never be legal, no matter how many times the judiciary usurps the authority of Congress to make laws, and no matter how many times the Congress tries in vain to change God’s Law.

    Laws that contradict God’s laws are, unfortunately, still laws, whether extant in other societies or ours. Abortion is legal in other countries including Japan, Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba, France, Germany, Greece, NZ, Russia, Poland, Norway, and several others.

    The mistake I think you’re making is confusing “legality” with “morality.” Morality exists in a higher plane of law than common law… the union of the two is the formative basis of a theocracy, which is espoused in the OT but not the New.

    You said: “I think [it] can be used in context as an ‘action’ as well, in terms of sexual immorality in 1 Cor 6.” Look at verse 18: “Flee fornication.” Now how is fornication okay for a Christian when just a few verses later it says “flee fornication”? Likewise, how is abortion or any other kind of murder lawful for anybody when the Law clearly says it’s not?

    You’re using I Cor. 6:12 to override God’s Law, but God’s Word must be taken as a whole (Matthew 4:4). Thus, the whole command is “All things are lawful for me” (I Cor. 6:12) except “murder” (Ex. 20:13), “adultery” (Ex. 20:14), etc. etc. etc.

    No, you’re misinterpreting the meaning of the verse. “All things” means what it means, “all things.” Otherwise, the doctrine of purification would be meaningless. On the other hand, it is debatable whether a person who commits such acts in violation of the law is truly Christian.

    You said: “If you also look at it in context of Jesus’ life, you can draw a similar conclusion: his breaking of Sabbath law by healing was a violation of the law.”

    This example is void, because breaking the Sabbath is no longer a violation of the law (Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:16; see also, if you care, Romans 14:5-6; Hebrews 4:9-10).

    Outside of Colossians 2:16 these verses don’t really support your point.

    Romans 10:4
    4Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

    Colossians 2:16
    16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

    Romans 14:5-6
    5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

    Hebrews 4:9-10
    9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.

    The Sabbath does remain part of the law, unless you’re reinterpreting what the “Law” is. What do you mean when you say it? Mosaic Law? The Law of Love? Grace? Freedom? Atonement?

    You said: “The argument, then, could be made that the action of having an abortion, or for the matter anything else, would be permissible for the Christian.”

    Restate that sentence replacing the word abortion with the word murder, and hopefully you’ll see my point.

    The replacement isn’t necessary, I saw where you were going with it already. The main difference as to why we’re in disagreement here is that you’re adhering to a legalistic definition of the law, whereas what I’m trying to convey is a law or rule by law without limits through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We both disagree that murder and abortion is wrong, but you’re extending that to mean that the government, as a God-ordained authority, is also responsible for upholding that moral and by not meeting that, we are therefore responsible for reforming or replacing that authority with someone who will take responsibility to do so.

    However, this is not how our system of governance works. Even if such a statute were to be passed through Congress, the other two branches of government would be responsible for the execution and interpretation of said law, which would require further reform/replacement and so forth.

    This ultimately adds up to an insurmountable goal, because that is simply not how God has willed it. The power of prayer in the modern age is limited in this sense to mostly microcosmic particulars, not revolutionary changes (in terms of world governance).

    In any case, I’ve got a question for you: did you leave your last church? If so, why?

    Reply
  24. I’m enjoying our contentions, albert.

    You said: “I believe the NT model is a non-hierarchical, grassroots based moralism that has some democratic overtones, but is essentially meant to conform or operate within any given system.”

    Indeed, the NT is the universal instruction manual for any Christian in any time or place, whether fascist Germany, communist Russia, or secular America.

    You wrote:

    See, this is precisely where I think you’re misleading yourself. The heart and soul of the gospel is not authoritarian legalism, but a type of grassroots quasi-anarchy that engenders submission to the government. “You shall not murder” was an OT law and subscribes to legalism, wherein morality is legislated (read: forced) instead of becoming the result of individual pro-action, which is what occurs when you live by the Spirit.

    You’re setting up a model wherein injustice (e.g. murder) is tolerated by Christians. Indeed, we submit to our government, but not if submission means tolerance of evil. How can you live this way knowing how many women are raped per day, how many thousands of children or murdered by whores each day, …?

    You wrote:

    I’m not sure how this addresses the point I was making. You’re asserting – here and below – that it is the role of the government to uphold God’s laws, but there is no such clause either in the Constitution or in the Bible.

    The Constitution sets up a government that is capable of upholding God’s laws, depending on whether or not the People wish it. As for the Bible,

    The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. (II Samuel 23:3)

    You wrote:

    No, you’re misinterpreting the meaning of the verse. “All things” means what it means, “all things.” Otherwise, the doctrine of purification would be meaningless. On the other hand, it is debatable whether a person who commits such acts in violation of the law is truly Christian.

    Okay. But if someone who claims to be a Christian does commit such acts, as fornication, or murder, we know whether or not he is actually a Christian by whether he continues unrepentantly or picks himself up again after having stumbled. If, after having received the knowledge of the truth, he commits such acts willfully, he is incapable of repentance.

    You wrote:

    The Sabbath does remain part of the law, unless you’re reinterpreting what the “Law” is. What do you mean when you say it? Mosaic Law? The Law of Love? Grace? Freedom? Atonement?

    Doesn’t really matter… regardless of whatever I said, I simply meant that since we are free from the law of righteousness, people are not to be executed for working on Saturdays.

    You wrote:

    We both disagree that murder and abortion is wrong, but you’re extending that to mean that the government, as a God-ordained authority, is also responsible for upholding that moral and by not meeting that, we are therefore responsible for reforming or replacing that authority with someone who will take responsibility to do so.

    I’m a bit confused here — did you mean what you said, or did you mean to say that we both agree that murder and abortion is wrong? (You used the word disagree.)

    Anyway, I do think government is responsible for being a terror to evildoers (Romans 13:4), i.e., to uphold justice. The Declaration of Independence, the moral foundation of this country, specifically calls us to put pressure on our government to preserve the Right to Life:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that […] [all men] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. […] — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government […].

    Finally, you said: “In any case, I’ve got a question for you: did you leave your last church? If so, why?”

    I was never part of any church to begin with. I started out a five-point Calvinist, but after discovering the church I linked you to, I got rid of all my labels (like “Calvinist,” “Reconstructionist,” etc.). However, I’m still pretty Calvinistic. I agree with about four of the five points; Limited Atonement is a lie (1 John 2:2). However, that church I linked you to is on the other side of the country, so still, I don’t really belong to any particular church except the body of Christ itself (the sum total of all true believers in the world; the narrow way, Matthew 7:14).

    Reply
  25. crp,

    I’m enjoying our contentions, albert.

    I’m glad =). It is my hope that not just ourselves, but all Christians, edify one another with word and deed.

    You wrote: See, this is precisely where I think you’re misleading yourself. The heart and soul of the gospel is not authoritarian legalism, but a type of grassroots quasi-anarchy that engenders submission to the government. “You shall not murder” was an OT law and subscribes to legalism, wherein morality is legislated (read: forced) instead of becoming the result of individual pro-action, which is what occurs when you live by the Spirit.

    You’re setting up a model wherein injustice (e.g. murder) is tolerated by Christians. Indeed, we submit to our government, but not if submission means tolerance of evil. How can you live this way knowing how many women are raped per day, how many thousands of children or murdered by whores each day, …?

    Unfortunately, yes toleration is something that we at some point will have to practice, whether by choice or not. The very scope of mass media today exposes us to a bevy of injustices, whether ranging from the recent empty apology of Va for victims of slavery, atrocities of Dharfur, suicide bombings of Iraq and Sri Lanka, or even local things such as the plight of the homeless or the gender wage gap. These are all injustices, are they not? Yet by choice or by situational requisite, it’s impossible – outside of prayer – to adequately address these things as a single person.

    Moreover, that God himself allows – no, predestined – these things to persist should show you where you are needed most as a representative of the gospel. I think God wants us to see the fruits of our labor as we tend to the fields, and moreover wants us not be so fixated on things that are – and will continue to be – largely out of our control.

    You wrote: I’m not sure how this addresses the point I was making. You’re asserting – here and below – that it is the role of the government to uphold God’s laws, but there is no such clause either in the Constitution or in the Bible.

    The Constitution sets up a government that is capable of upholding God’s laws, depending on whether or not the People wish it. As for the Bible, The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. (II Samuel 23:3)

    Yes, your first sentence is arguably true; but, like the implied powers of the executive, it’s never explicitly stated. The same could be said for a contrary belief, such as Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, or secular humanism provided one interpretation of “God’s law” operated under an alternate system of belief.

    Second. The verse you pointed out was written with the perspective of the Mosaic law which was fulfilled following the resurrection of Jesus. So, the first application of it should be to the OT, specifically the Jewish kings. By their failure to abide to this precept, their kingdoms fell. But the application to the NT bears a different twist: in time, all other kingdoms of this world will fall as well (Matt 24). So do we stand for the reform of the state or obey the Great Commission? I think the choice is obvious.

    You wrote: No, you’re misinterpreting the meaning of the verse. “All things” means what it means, “all things.” Otherwise, the doctrine of purification would be meaningless. On the other hand, it is debatable whether a person who commits such acts in violation of the law is truly Christian.

    Okay. But if someone who claims to be a Christian does commit such acts, as fornication, or murder, we know whether or not he is actually a Christian by whether he continues unrepentantly or picks himself up again after having stumbled. If, after having received the knowledge of the truth, he commits such acts willfully, he is incapable of repentance.

    Hypothetically it can go both ways – that is the law of grace. This is why even we must keep on guard constantly for anything that causes our focus to deviate from loving God. In reality, it’s impossible if we are still living under the law (Romans 8); but anything is possible through living in God (Romans 8, Philippians 4:13; sorry, these references are all NIV). It’s also the responsibility – when possible – of the church to pick that brother back up, carrying each other’s burdens (Galatians 6); love is by nature not meant to be self-contained. But it’s not meant to be blind, either (1 Cor 5).

    You wrote: The Sabbath does remain part of the law, unless you’re reinterpreting what the “Law” is. What do you mean when you say it? Mosaic Law? The Law of Love? Grace? Freedom? Atonement?

    Doesn’t really matter… regardless of whatever I said, I simply meant that since we are free from the law of righteousness, people are not to be executed for working on Saturdays.

    The law of righteousness was not a Mosaic precept but a NT one (see this search in Romans), which is used to elaborate on the factors responsible for the formation of the Abramic covenant – primarily of which was the result of a life lived by faith which fostered a relationship with God (Romans 4). This righteousness, moreover, is credited to us because of the sacrifice of Jesus, not for any works we do for ourselves.

    We are therefore withheld from execution not because we are free from Mosaic law, but rather because Jesus – and our subsequent salvation and indwelling of the Holy Spirit by his blood – is the fulfillment of the law (Matt 5).

    You wrote: We both disagree that murder and abortion is wrong, but you’re extending that to mean that the government, as a God-ordained authority, is also responsible for upholding that moral and by not meeting that, we are therefore responsible for reforming or replacing that authority with someone who will take responsibility to do so.

    I’m a bit confused here — did you mean what you said, or did you mean to say that we both agree that murder and abortion is wrong? (You used the word disagree.)

    Heh, yeah, sorry. I did mean to say, “agree,” thanks.

    Anyway, I do think government is responsible for being a terror to evildoers (Romans 13:4), i.e., to uphold justice. The Declaration of Independence, the moral foundation of this country, specifically calls us to put pressure on our government to preserve the Right to Life:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that […] [all men] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. […] — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government […].

    Romans 13:4 clearly doesn’t hold true when applied to the rule of Nero, so it needs to be interpreted in terms of its context , cross reference with Paul’s other writings about authority, and its relevance to the life of Jesus. Addressing the first issue, the context is one of totalitarian dictatorship, not a republican democracy (understandable given the times). This model alone assumed that rulers were by default good and inclined to stand up for justice, to which Paul would later learn the contrary (point 2; Ephesians 6:12). The Constitution, being based especially on the Lockean concept of the social contract, represented yet an additional departure from the assumed benevolence of dictators to the recognition of the contrasting duality of human nature and human intellect. However, the general meaning of obedience, not anarchy does still apply today (point 3), as set in Jesus’ timeless example.

    The DoI moreover doesn’t specify the putting of pressure on the government, but calls for the partial or total abolishment of it when it becomes destructive of the ends of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The three qualifiers at the end alone should jump out at you, though: do you think “the pursuit of happiness” is necessarily a godly pursuit? Or, to flip the question around, do you think that a godly pursuit is always going to lead to “happiness”? Even further, do you think that an abortion qualifies as a “pursuit of happiness” for an individualistic mother?

    Finally, you said: “In any case, I’ve got a question for you: did you leave your last church? If so, why?”

    I was never part of any church to begin with. I started out a five-point Calvinist, but after discovering the church I linked you to, I got rid of all my labels (like “Calvinist,” “Reconstructionist,” etc.). However, I’m still pretty Calvinistic. I agree with about four of the five points; Limited Atonement is a lie (1 John 2:2). However, that church I linked you to is on the other side of the country, so still, I don’t really belong to any particular church except the body of Christ itself (the sum total of all true believers in the world; the narrow way, Matthew 7:14).

    That’s really interesting. The reason I brought it up is primarily because I don’t have a really good reason to not be in church. As I (somewhat) implied earlier, I think Christianity is meant to be lived out with other people – whether it’s through individual evangelism or the bastardized form of communal gathering we have here in the states. This is its most natural extension – and it’s hard to live it out especially when you’re doing it by yourself. Granted, the internet has, like most other things, revolutionized the way a believer can connect with others, but it’s still largely inadequate in dealing with issues of injustice because of its exclusively virtual nature.

    That said, I was recently trying to bring about reform in the last church I was going to through the contention of a number of points (political and doctrinal) that would have otherwise passed unnoticed. Even so, while it’s a largely uphill battle, I think it’s possible to incite good change provided you have a solid understanding of the complexities of the gospel. As a result, I often went in with an open, but critical, mind – a position that’s not going to win you any friends, but I’m sure can have some positive impact for the kingdom.

    Reply
  26. albert,

    I’m sorry it’s been over two weeks since your last comment. My pride held me back from replying until now, but finally I must admit, as one who walks in the Spirit, that you know the Bible better than I do. You’ve proved me wrong on most counts, but I still have some questions, objections, and whatnot.

    Romans 13:4 clearly doesn’t hold true when applied to the rule of Nero, so it needs to be interpreted in terms of its context , cross reference with Paul’s other writings about authority, and its relevance to the life of Jesus. Addressing the first issue, the context is one of totalitarian dictatorship, not a republican democracy (understandable given the times). This model alone assumed that rulers were by default good and inclined to stand up for justice, to which Paul would later learn the contrary (point 2; Ephesians 6:12).

    I think Romans 13:4 is only talking about rulers in the sense of II Samuel 23:3; i.e., a ruler is defined as a just minister for God. If you are a ruling authority who is not a just minister, you’re not a ruler, but a tyrant, and so the verse need not apply.

    Ephesians 6:12 advocates that we oppose evil rulers, but not that we disobey them. David fled from the evil King Saul (I Samuel 21:10), yet was his most faithful servant (I Samuel 22:14), was without sin against him (I Samuel 24:11), and stayed his hand from killing Saul when God delivered him into David’s hand (I Samuel 24:6).

    You wrote,

    The three qualifiers at the end alone should jump out at you, though: do you think “the pursuit of happiness” is necessarily a godly pursuit? Or, to flip the question around, do you think that a godly pursuit is always going to lead to “happiness”? Even further, do you think that an abortion qualifies as a “pursuit of happiness” for an individualistic mother?

    These are tough questions, and I’m not really sure how to answer them, or whether or not I can. All I know is, we have a right to be righteous. Righteousness tends to lead to happiness. But whether or not the government is allowed to dictate to us what leads to happiness, and what not… well, I guess it doesn’t.

    I was recently trying to bring about reform in the last church I was going to through the contention of a number of points (political and doctrinal) that would have otherwise passed unnoticed.

    If they do not consent to the wholesome words of Scripture (1 Timothy 6:3-5), you probably shouldn’t stay in that particular church. But then, I don’t know of any mainstream church that doesn’t in one way or another teach against the Word of God (2 Peter 2:1).

    CRP

    Reply
  27. crp,

    I’m sorry it’s been over two weeks since your last comment. My pride held me back from replying until now, but finally I must admit, as one who walks in the Spirit, that you know the Bible better than I do. You’ve proved me wrong on most counts, but I still have some questions, objections, and whatnot.

    Your genuineness is refreshing, and is a testament that the Spirit is working in you. Praise God. Keep looking for the truth and don’t be afraid to act out of the urgings of the Spirit.

    Comments interspersed below:

    Romans 13:4 clearly doesn’t hold true when applied to the rule of Nero, so it needs to be interpreted in terms of its context , cross reference with Paul’s other writings about authority, and its relevance to the life of Jesus. Addressing the first issue, the context is one of totalitarian dictatorship, not a republican democracy (understandable given the times). This model alone assumed that rulers were by default good and inclined to stand up for justice, to which Paul would later learn the contrary (point 2; Ephesians 6:12).

    I think Romans 13:4 is only talking about rulers in the sense of II Samuel 23:3; i.e., a ruler is defined as a just minister for God. If you are a ruling authority who is not a just minister, you’re not a ruler, but a tyrant, and so the verse need not apply.

    It’s somewhat of a semantic argument you’re making there. In the modern age, at least, a tyrant is a ruler regardless of his moral affinity.

    To resolve this, I think we should revisit 2 Samuel 3-5 (KJV):

    3The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

    4And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.

    5Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

    Here we see the verbage used is “He that ruleth over men must be just,” not “will” or more vaguely “can’t not.” While it is a command, it is not necessarily going to be followed, even with those executives who assert a Christian religious affiliation (our executives nonwithstanding).

    The command is thereby issued by the “elite” (David), for the “elite” – i.e., that who is in command of a Mosaic theocracy. Because those don’t really exist now (and were only partially represented in Israeli history), the hypothetical Christian executive, while recognizing that this is wisdom, doesn’t operate under its precepts (which harks back to the earlier comment about Mosaic law).

    What then, does the hypothetical Christian executive then operate under? That’s a rather difficult question, because there are really no express Christian laws written in relation to the executive, only to the individual who is responsible as being a representative for Christ through word, thought, and deed. The only thing that would have some vague relevance to a command to the executive would be something similar to that found in 1 Tim 3, where Paul talks about deacons and “overseers” (bishops in KJV):

    2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    3Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

    4One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

    5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

    6Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

    (Deacon reference found in 7-13). But even these are subject to cultural interpretation.

    You next say:

    Ephesians 6:12 advocates that we oppose evil rulers, but not that we disobey them. David fled from the evil King Saul (I Samuel 21:10), yet was his most faithful servant (I Samuel 22:14), was without sin against him (I Samuel 24:11), and stayed his hand from killing Saul when God delivered him into David’s hand (I Samuel 24:6).

    Ephesians 6:12 indicates our necessity to pray for our rulers (1 Tim 2:1-3), not oppose them – because of their proclivity to sin, like any other non-Spirit driven man or woman. Additionally, that prayer is for the ruler’s salvation (verse 4), not for “good rulership” that might add to a country or king’s own prestige. I’m not sure how your summary of David’s transition to kingship relates to disobedience, but that’s a good recap.

    You wrote,

    The three qualifiers at the end alone should jump out at you, though: do you think “the pursuit of happiness” is necessarily a godly pursuit? Or, to flip the question around, do you think that a godly pursuit is always going to lead to “happiness”? Even further, do you think that an abortion qualifies as a “pursuit of happiness” for an individualistic mother?

    These are tough questions, and I’m not really sure how to answer them, or whether or not I can. All I know is, we have a right to be righteous. Righteousness tends to lead to happiness. But whether or not the government is allowed to dictate to us what leads to happiness, and what not… well, I guess it doesn’t.

    I’m glad you agree with me here. Watch out with this saying, though “we have a right to be…”. “Rights” are defined by earthly authority; salvation, and all its attendant benefits, is given to us by God alone. In terms of righteousness, we don’t have a “right” to be righteous, we are made righteous through Jesus. It is our choice to pursue that righteousness which makes us enslaved to righteousness (Romans 6:15-22).

    I was recently trying to bring about reform in the last church I was going to through the contention of a number of points (political and doctrinal) that would have otherwise passed unnoticed.

    If they do not consent to the wholesome words of Scripture (1 Timothy 6:3-5), you probably shouldn’t stay in that particular church. But then, I don’t know of any mainstream church that doesn’t in one way or another teach against the Word of God (2 Peter 2:1).

    I think what you might have been getting at was that mainstream churches are pretty wayward. If that’s the case, I agree – that’s why I would say the first institution in need of reform is the Church. But historically, that’s always been the case. Each one of us may be used as a part of the body (1 Cor 12), but we should ultimately make it our desire to seek after the greater gifts (1 Cor 12:31).

    Reply
  28. albert,

    It’s somewhat of a semantic argument you’re making there. In the modern age, at least, a tyrant is a ruler regardless of his moral affinity.

    […]

    Here we see the verbage used is “He that ruleth over men must be just,” not “will” or more vaguely “can’t not.” While it is a command, it is not necessarily going to be followed, even with those executives who assert a Christian religious affiliation (our executives nonwithstanding).

    The command is thereby issued by the “elite” (David), for the “elite” – i.e., that who is in command of a Mosaic theocracy. Because those don’t really exist now (and were only partially represented in Israeli history), the hypothetical Christian executive, while recognizing that this is wisdom, doesn’t operate under its precepts (which harks back to the earlier comment about Mosaic law).

    This was sitting in the back of my mind as I wrote my convoluted response. You’re right.

    What then, does the hypothetical Christian executive then operate under? That’s a rather difficult question, because there are really no express Christian laws written in relation to the executive, only to the individual who is responsible as being a representative for Christ through word, thought, and deed.

    I think there’s a reason for this. Do you know of a single truly just, truly Christian world leader in the history of the world since Jesus’ death and resurrection? I don’t. And I don’t think there ever will be, until Jesus takes the throne in the second coming. Why else would He come and rule the earth if not because no sinful man’s capable of it?

    Ephesians 6:12 indicates our necessity to pray for our rulers (1 Tim 2:1-3), not oppose them – because of their proclivity to sin, like any other non-Spirit driven man or woman. Additionally, that prayer is for the ruler’s salvation (verse 4), not for “good rulership” that might add to a country or king’s own prestige.

    Are you against the Iraq war? I am. Although I would never go to the White House to commit some sort of crime in protest, I’m still in a sense opposing him by suggesting that the war is a bad idea. Yet, I would obey the President if it’s required of me. Also, if our prayers for a ruler’s salvation are successful, and he does get saved, wouldn’t that lead to good rulership (assuming he has the intellect and talent for the job)?

    I’m not sure how your summary of David’s transition to kingship relates to disobedience, but that’s a good recap.

    Since David fled from Saul, you could argue that he, in a minimal sense, opposed him. But the point is that although David was opposed to Saul, he never disobeyed him and ensured that his men didn’t kill Saul.

    I’m actually somewhat surprised. I was expecting to come here and in another pompous debate, a battle of egos, but instead you’ve exposed how little I know and remained kind and patient in the process. Thank you.

    Crown Rights Patriot

    Reply
  29. [comment has been edited: grammatical mistake and part left out of last interspersed comment]

    crp,

    A: What then, does the hypothetical Christian executive then operate under? That’s a rather difficult question, because there are really no express Christian laws written in relation to the executive, only to the individual who is responsible as being a representative for Christ through word, thought, and deed.

    crp: I think there’s a reason for this. Do you know of a single truly just, truly Christian world leader in the history of the world since Jesus’ death and resurrection? I don’t. And I don’t think there ever will be, until Jesus takes the throne in the second coming. Why else would He come and rule the earth if not because no sinful man’s capable of it?

    Exactly. So Jesus is essentially advocating personal (again, through the Spirit), not hierarchical leadership, that at its heart promotes social change (complete worship of God through heart, soul, mind and strength. Luke 10:27). Politically, this would look like a grassroots movement, but since it has no direct political ends it can be interpreted as a kind of apoliticism.

    A: Ephesians 6:12 indicates our necessity to pray for our rulers (1 Tim 2:1-3), not oppose them – because of their proclivity to sin, like any other non-Spirit driven man or woman. Additionally, that prayer is for the ruler’s salvation (verse 4), not for “good rulership” that might add to a country or king’s own prestige.

    crp: Are you against the Iraq war? I am. Although I would never go to the White House to commit some sort of crime in protest, I’m still in a sense opposing him by suggesting that the war is a bad idea. Yet, I would obey the President if it’s required of me. Also, if our prayers for a ruler’s salvation are successful, and he does get saved, wouldn’t that lead to good rulership (assuming he has the intellect and talent for the job)?

    I’m against the Iraq war, but geopolitically, I can see how it might be an unfortunate necessity – and I think that a lot of Americans don’t realize this. Let me illustrate: on one hand, it minimizes potential disaster for the US and the West both in terms of oil and terrorism (thereby fulfilling one of the eight roles of leadership by the executive), but on the other hand, obviously, there is complete devastation of returning vets, Iraqi citizens, and the long-term future of the country, among a lot of other things. At this point in the war, a significant amount of people have changed their opinion primarily because all the negative media coming out of the country (at least 40%).

    A: I’m not sure how your summary of David’s transition to kingship relates to disobedience, but that’s a good recap.

    crp: Since David fled from Saul, you could argue that he, in a minimal sense, opposed him. But the point is that although David was opposed to Saul, he never disobeyed him and ensured that his men didn’t kill Saul.

    I can agree with the assessment, but I think the greater point of Ephesians 6:12 and Romans 8 is the worship of God. To expand, I think this basically boils down to knowing when to stand against or oppose a ruler by disobedience or death (by sacrificing your life), or stand for (read: not “with”) a ruler by seeing the potential for his/her salvation.

    The second thing about Romans 8 is the key word “governing authorities” in verse 1 (Both NIV and NKJV has this as “governing authorities,” but KJV has this as “higher powers.” I think in this case the KJV might be biased; see all three versions here). The relationship of the Judges – who are also ordained by God – in 1 Samuel 8 describes the ongoing transition from benevolent dictatorship (i.e., rule by God) to an occasional defense-driven people group with ordained electorate (the Judges) to something approximating an on-again, off-again theocratic monarchy (the kings, except there was a formal separation of “church and state” w/ the Levites and king).

    Then you have Jesus coming in representing the unification of king (Matt 1) and priest (not a Levite priest, but descended from Melchizedek. Good article available here) – but again, for no political ends. Instead he gives us – as it is God’s will – the power to rule over our earthly nature so that we might be restored to our original relationship with God (a la Adam and Eve: naked and innocent).

    I’m actually somewhat surprised. I was expecting to come here and in another pompous debate, a battle of egos, but instead you’ve exposed how little I know and remained kind and patient in the process. Thank you.

    As for the first part of your comment, as I’ve continued with the blog, I’ve witnessed the blog title at times has invited people to make quick judgments about the content of the blog (generalizing). I’ve made this mistake a number of times, too, and the two things I can recommend are: doing research on the person you dialog with to avoid making erroneous judgments, and showing humility when you’re wrong about that person’s views (if you don’t do #1).

    In regards to the second part: thank you for the compliments – but also be careful not to fall into the trap where you’re kind of agreeing to everything a person says – unless that person is truly guided by the Spirit. This you have to measure on a day-to-day basis, because we can all at some point, despite being guided before, fall away and be guided exclusively by our “intellect,” becoming prideful (as shown implicitly in the earlier-quoted Galatians 6) – especially when the medium of communication is, as it has become in the West, communication only, and no action (to which, I must admit my track record is less than adequate).

    Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the old model of discipleship (best described in the Star Wars Jedi model, heh) no longer exists, having (following the institutionalization of the Byzantines) become replaced with the Chinese model where qualifications are standardized, and leaders are educated to meet (sometimes) the orthodoxy requirement, but are often woefully inadequate in the orthopraxis (right practice) department (read: in the West). The only remedy I see to this is continuous prayer, petition, and accountability on each other’s behalf.

    Reply
    • Nice to hear from you too, Barry. You do realize that this is a four year-old thread, right? The writing back then could certainly use some editing, but I hardly think that it was pompous. I tried to make clear that my source of pride lies in God, not myself. I have too many weaknesses to be arrogant in my own “accomplishments”.

      Reply

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