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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How Do We Do Social Justice? (II)

Who is Truly Needy?

We are investigating what Scripture says about “doing” social justice. Our starting point is intentional and will continue to hearken back to what the Bible says, because today there are those like Tony Campolo, Brian McLaren, Ron Sider, and Jim Wallis—just to mention a few—who are peddling their works as if what they are saying is what God says. For anyone with a modicum of biblical discernment, however, (and they are getting fewer and farther between) their works are little more than tendentious eisegesis, distorting the whole warp and woof of God’s redemptive-historical dealings with his people, wholesale distortion of biblical texts, and torturing translations and paraphrases to say what they don’t really say.

In one sense, this should come as no surprise as a number of pastors have been doing this for quite some time. Pretending to preach sermons, they have held topic “talks” on the latest, greatest secular self-help book. These sermonettes have produced a bevy of christianettes; people who cannot begin to tell you where to find the Ten Commandments in Scripture, let alone what they are; and those who cannot tell you the most fundamental, rudimentary truths contained in God’s Word. This—and myriad other reasons—is why less than 10% of those who call themselves “born again” are actually in possession of a biblical life and worldview.

I pointed out last time that writers like Campolo, McLaren, Sider, and Wallis often throw out a term as if everyone knows the precise definition of what they’re talking about. Moreover, they will not and do not take the time to define their terms because they know that if they do, someone will probably call out “Socialism!” Of the four men I’ve mentioned—and there are many more than can be added to the list—they are all strong proponents of the re-distribution of wealth and what is worse, they have the audacity to call the snake oil they’re peddling Christianity. Of course, they’re consummately concerned about the poor in all this—at least that is what they say.

Interestingly, in a number of recent surveys it was clear that those who call themselves biblical “conservatives” in fact gave more charitable donations than their liberal counterparts. Therefore, at the outset we are taking time to ask ourselves what poverty is, or better, what the Bible says constitutes real poverty and what it to be done about it. As (North) Americans we tend to have a rather stereotypic view of what constitutes poverty. For example, we might get our information from a newspaper article about what the “poverty line” is or how many people are living under that line. We might conclude that we need to throw (welfare) money at that problem.

But it ought to be patently clear to us that throwing money at a problem does not make it disappear. Some examples are in order. Two liberal U.S. Presidents, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter, literally threw trillions of taxpayer dollars at “poverty.” What was the net result? Nothing changed. We continue to be vague when it comes to defining poverty, probably because we listen more to the “stats” than we do to Scripture. That is why in many of our “poorest” counties in the United States 52% of those under the poverty level own television sets, 46% own automobiles, and 37% own washing machines. This does not even take into account how many of these smoke heavily, drink heavily, and play the lottery.

In order to come to a biblical understanding of who is actually “poor,” (physically, not spiritually) there are two Greek words that are helpful. First, is the word pénēs (pe,nhj) that “may be identified with those today who must work for a living rather than living on the interest and dividends of savings and investment.”[1]

Second, there is a word that is reserved for those who are truly poor, destitute and that word is ptōchós (ptwco,j). This individual does not work for his daily bread but is reduced to begging. Whereas the pénēs has nothing left over, the ptōchós has nothing at all.[2]

Theologian R.C. Sproul delineates four causes of poverty: sloth, calamity, exploitation, and personal sacrifice.[3] These are helpful categories for us to employ to distinguish those who are truly in need and those who are out to scam churches or simply to give a sad story so that the undiscerning congregation will simply throw money at their problem. Every congregation has experienced the telephone call from someone in distress needing money or a reasonably healthy looking man shows up needing something to eat. Who wants to be the hard-hearted schlemiel that turns a hungry person away? We’re going to answer that as we progress because the Bible does give us clear boundaries that enable us to make an informed decision, all the while being compassionate.

When we discuss a topic such as poverty in relationship to social justice it is essential to determine whether the poverty about which we’re speaking is self-caused or imposed from outside. This is a distinction that Jim Wallis and Brian McLaren do not make and it is a serious omission leaving their words open to almost any and all interpretations. For example, in Wallis’ God’s Politics he recounts a story of how a bunch of first year seminary students found every text they could in the Old and New Testaments. Interesting—sort of. From there, however, Wallis launches into a litany of left-wing socialistic web sites and organizations and that is supposed to pass for biblical exegesis. Perhaps it does at Harvard.

Working, Eating, & Other Biblical Descriptions

The late Carl F.H. Henry once commented that “moral poverty often dooms its victims to ongoing material poverty.”[4] This means that if the modern Church will truly be an agent of change in our society she must recognize both the moral and material aspects to the problem of poverty. It means that she neither can expect the government to step in and solve all the ills of society nor can she copy secular government’s methodologies, especially those that tend towards Socialism, and expect to remain obedient to Scripture.

One of the major, predictable problems with the Social Gospel was that it ended up looking substantially more like Socialism than it did the Gospel. Why was that? The answer is quite simply because Socialism subordinates all other considerations to man’s material well-being. Scripture, however, takes the whole man into account in a serious manner. What do I mean by that? In light of our current topic of doing social justice and poverty we must be informed by what the Word of God tells us about the subject and then move into action from there.

So what does the Bible teach about “self-caused” poverty? From the moral perspective, each one of the categories I’m going to mention is actually a sub-set of man’s rebellion against God. Since our modern Christian social engineers have an aversion to the presence and reality of sin—unless it’s Bush, Rove, or Cheney, who we all know are huge sinners—they omit what Scripture says about man’s sinfulness. The sinfulness of sin is an unwanted intruder in McLaren’s and Wallis’ discussion of social justice. In McLaren’s new book it’s not until you’re past page 200 that he even mentions sin and then it’s only in passing. This is a serious, debilitating flaw in their approach. Claiming to be Christian they refuse to take Scripture seriously and opt rather for liberal, secular solutions to spiritual matters. In fact, it is safe to say that Campolo, McLaren, Sider, Wallis, and others like them are kinds of ecclesiastical Jacobins. They are “gentler collectivists” asking our permission or an allegiance to them playing God with the human race.

I like to think of the book of Proverbs as “bumper sticker ethics.” Unlike most bumper stickers, however, Proverbs actually makes sense and imparts wisdom, while the garden variety bumper sticker is superficial and inane. This book in the Old Testament wisdom literature has a great deal to say about poverty and its self-imposed causes. For the sake of argument, I’ll mention three sub-sets that fall under the category of rebellion against the Law of God: laziness, foolishness, and shortsightedness.

Proverbs 10:4 is clearly one of those texts that “Sojourner Jim” Wallis and his merry band of liberals at Fuller Seminary missed while discovering that America’s Bible is full of holes.[5] What does this text say? “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Laziness has severe consequences in one’s life. It is also noteworthy that the Old Testament wisdom literature does not condemn industrious, conscious work to earn income. Proverbs 19:15 speaks in a similar vein: “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.”

Foolishness is symptomatic of those who continually try to figure out things for themselves, but keep running into brick walls. The much-quoted Proverbs 11:14 is an apt verse in this context.[6] Of course, the modern Church has long since left off acting biblically. She’s been too concerned with entertaining the masses to spend time asking herself what the Word of God would have her do about specific ethical issues. How bad has it become? Let me give you a few illustrations. Precisely because of the “entertainment” factor in the modern Church modern Christians are blatantly ignorant about everything except the words of John 3:16. Less than 10% of those who call themselves “born again” Christians have a biblical life and worldview, around 80% do not believe in absolute truth, and 85% of “born agains” still have their children in public schools. I went to a meeting this week about California’s desire to make traditional marriage a thing of the past. In short, our social engineers want to redefine marriage to include male and female homosexuals—for now. (Since there are no ethical brakes on this train, one can only wonder where this law will take us.) This is a very serious matter and 1,100 invitations were sent out to local pastors. Ten of us showed up. Ten! And we wonder what is wrong with the evangelical church today! Whether it was because of apathy or fear, I’m sorely disappointed in my colleagues. But they’ll be the first ones to cry like rats eating onions (Sorry. It was a favorite expression of my Company First Sergeant) when it passes.

It was interesting to see how all of a sudden those present were concerned about what might happen even though for the longest time all they’ve pushed was easy believism and entertainment. Now, with our backs against the wall they want to plead to God for a revival—a revival! Who do they think their people will be worshiping in this revival? They’ve neglected teaching them about the nature and character of God for years, they’ve demeaned biblical doctrine, and now they want to be politically active. Unbelievable. It seems like revival is the modern Church’s answer to everything—or, the social gospel is. What is needed is not revival but reformation and certainly not what McLaren suggests: revolution. “Revolution” is the unacceptable by-product of the French Revolution; Reformation is something quite different. Do we remember sola Scriptura?

Shortsightedness—spiritually and physically—lands one in poverty (cf. Prov. 21:5; Matt. 7:24-27; Luke 14:28-30). Beisner correctly adds, “Each of these is a symptom of rebellion against the Law of God, which sets forth a pattern of life that is both naturally fruitful and supernaturally blessed by God (Deuteronomy 8:11-20; 11:18-32; 28:1-68; 30:1-20).[7] In other words, a poor man or woman has poor ways. Can there be a movement out of self-imposed poverty and towards biblical stewardship? Absolutely. And I might add that the Church of Jesus Christ should have a key role to play in that movement. Yet, this movement can only happen when the cause of self-imposed poverty is deliberately rejected and weakened. Before poor people with bad stewardship habits can begin to overcome their poverty, they must first overcome the causes of their poverty and here is where the Church can be an indispensable agent of change.

What has happened, as often as not, is that the Church has followed the likes of LBJ, Carter, Wallis, and McLaren and simply thrown money at the problem or became gentler collectivists sipping Starbucks while wearing their Birkenstocks presenting ostensibly Christian solutions to our “global crises” while in reality they were striving to play God with the human race.

In our next installment we will, Lord willing, delve more deeply into the biblical notions of poverty and some of the presuppositions of men like Campolo, McLaren, Sider, and Wallis.


[1] E. Calvin Beisner, Prosperity and Poverty, (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2001), p. 193.

[2] R.C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 19767), p. 129.

[3] R.C. Sproul, Ethics and the Christian, 54-56.

[4] Carl F.H. Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority, Vol. 4, (Waco, TX: Word, 1976), p. 549.

[5] This is Wallis’ description, not mine.

[6] Where there is no guidance a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

[7] Beisner, PaP, 195.

Labels:

26 Comments:

Blogger jazzact13 said...

Very good thoughts. Yes, the Bible does recognize that poverty is caused by different things.

One thing I would point out. What country is more generous when it comes to helping those who have been victims of things like natural catastrophes then the US? What country is looked to most to help when such things happen, and what country responds so well? We've not perfect, of course, but to continually portray us as greedy self-interested immoral capitalist shows reflects more such people's dislike of the truth then the reality of what the US people are like.

May I suggest one topic for you? I think there is an aspect of poverty that has to do with a national level, even in the Bible. God would remove His hand from Israel when they would turn from Him and start worshiping idols, or when they would go through the motions of religion but their lives were filled with sin. Judgment in such cases would often take the form of drought or famine or conquest and enslavement by other nations--situations that would be signs of economic poverty, and would reflect their own spiritual poverty.

This is applicable today, I think. Yes, we should feel pity and help, for example, orphans in war torn countries. At the same time, how much are we to blame for their situation? Do their governments force a false religion on the people? Or an unjust economic system? Are the rulers more interested in padding their own accounts at the expense of the people as a whole?

9:02 AM  
Blogger Little Shepherd said...

As a lazy, shortsighted person I have to say right on. I'll spare you all the details, but I managed to burn through somewhere between $30k and $50k in the past few years(I don't keep good records of earnings, so the exact amount evades me). Part of that was student loans meant to help me out, but they just gave ol' short-sighted me more money to burn through and ultimately didn't help at all.

I had to come face to face with the results of my financial irresponsibility before I was willing to change -- before I even knew change was possible, actually, because I had almost 0 financial knowledge. I figured out approximately how much I'd wasted, and found out what that money could have done for me if I hadn't wasted it on video games, fast food, and other things.

It's not much, but I've curbed the bulk of my spending(that impulse to buy is so hard to control sometimes), and begun savings. I have a solid plan that involves high-yield savings accounts, and even investing! If you'd asked me a few years ago if I'd be investing, I'd have thought you were crazy, but here I am getting ready to buy into some mutual funds. I'm sure I'll do more as I learn more about how this stuff works, but it's a start.

Yeah, preaching on the sinful causes of poverty -- and providing something like a financial workshop in order to help those convicted learn how to change their patterns -- would be an extremely good step in the right direction.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Ron,

Just wanted to check if you got my E-mail?

4:13 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Kyle,
Which one?

6:09 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Ron,

The one with my paper on justice. I hope it didn't get caught in your spam box! The E-mail address is "kjsulli(at)gmail(dot)com." Let me know if you didn't get it, and I'll resend it.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Kyle,
Got it but haven't had the opportunity to read it yet. I'm very much looking forward to taking a look at it.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Ron, I just received our copy of World Magazine today. It looks very much like you were quoted on p. 18 in the "Quotables" section ("If you're going to send your kids to Caesar, you're going to get Romans back."). Is this, in fact, you?

It reminds of something similar I heard once: If you send your kids to Babylon, don't be surprised if they come back with Babylonian brains!

12:57 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Tim,
It wasn't me, but I've used that in a number of interviews, articles, and writings so it's possible that someone is just borrowing it. It is, I think, an apt phrase and one I hope Christian parents will ponder. Right now in the US, 85% of Christian parents have their children in public schools. When you think about the wide, wide variance--indeed, contradiction--between the secular humanist's view of God, man, society, truth (except the Emergents, of course), knowledge, and ethics, and the Christian's it should be a no-brainer to pull your kids out of Caesar's schools.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Just when I thought our convesation was going somewhere... shoot.

Ron, if you honestly read your post, while you are a committed follower of Jesus, you are an equally enthusiastic follower of Republican conservativism....

While you judge the theology of everyone on the left, you simply don't do the same thing with the 'right.'

We may talk about redistributing wealth by those on the left, but those on the right prefer to keep it to themselves. Those on the right have there own power games they play. Don't believe that our One Trillion dollars spent on an Iraqi war didn't benefit very wealthy people.

This is not to suggest the purpose of the war was for wealth gain, but more than a few people close to this administration have made hundreds of millions on this war.

We can talk about redistributing wealth, but the politics of this administration have not been conservative in any real sense of the term. Yet, I don't recall that I've read anything speaking out against its utter failure toward the American people.

7:10 PM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

-- you are an equally enthusiastic follower of Republican conservativism....--

Oh, and that's a bad thing?

--We may talk about redistributing wealth by those on the left, but those on the right prefer to keep it to themselves.--

And your point?

No, seriously, you make it sound like a bad thing, that people want to keep what they've worked for. Or that at the least, they'd rather be able to keep or give it as they see fit, rather then trust the government to do it for them.

--Don't believe that our One Trillion dollars spent on an Iraqi war didn't benefit very wealthy people.--

Or some very poor people, too. Or do you think the Iraqi people want to go back to Hussein's tyranny and life of wealth while they suffered under sanctions?

--We can talk about redistributing wealth, but the politics of this administration have not been conservative in any real sense of the term. Yet, I don't recall that I've read anything speaking out against its utter failure toward the American people.--

Granting that the Bush II presidency hasn't been all a conservative would have wished for, you rhetoric of "utter failure" isn't exactly accurate, either. Last I checked, we do have some tax cuts, we do have some good Supreme Court judges, and we have improved national defense.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
You've had your head filled with liberal egalitarianism--doesn't this help the conversation? You call me a name and I call you one back.
Yes,I am a conservative both theologically and politically.
According to Russell Kirk (Enemies of the Permanent Things) "To be conservative is to be a conservator: a guardian of old truths and old rights" (p. 21).
I have norms and they include the whole counsel of God and not the silly notion of "The Ethics of Jesus." A norm means an enduring standard. In the case of Scripture, it is a law of God, which we ignore or distort at our peril. God's words are universal rules of human conduct and public virtue.
Sider's (and others) views are clearly Marxist (including the oxymoron of Liberation Theology, which is also thoroughly Marxist, just like Campolo, McLaren, & Wallis). I say this as a kind of warning because it is patently true that men do not submit long to their own creations. Standards, ideas, and ideologies erected out of expediency will be hurled down, soon enough, by more human expediency.
BTW, your analogy about the Right keeping its money is just dead wrong. As much as you liberals talk about giving money, survey after survey shows that conservatives are far, far more generous with their money than you liberals.
But the point is this: Now I am giving you biblical evidence and reasons and you still refuse to engage in any type of rational, reasonable argument. This is truly your modus operandi and, quite frankly, it is tedious beyond measure. Either respond with some solid biblical evidence or be quiet.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

Rattle,

I read this today and thought of you.

Black America has yet to come to grips with its responsibility to tackle head on the problems that plague our communities. White America has yet to acknowledge the fact that here in the "home of the free," true liberty has evaded many for far too long.

"Too often these conversations are ended before they've truly begun, due to the ignorance, intransigence or simple unwillingness of people to acknowledge the validity of what the other side has to say."

Why do you have such and unwillingness to acknowleget that people on the other side have things of value to say?

Why do you talk about biblical truth and then quote Russell Kirk?

Why do you believe the 3 million Christians living in Iraq prior to this war now find it of greater pleasure to be displaced from their own country?

Why do you believe statistics about conservatives giving a larger percentage of their money when you won't believe the statistics of how many people have died in Iraq from our war?

What right do you have to call the ethics of Jesus secondary to the 'whole counsel of God?' As far as I know, Jesus is God. So, to say that one trumps the other is simply maddening. Don't claim to use big terms like 'full counsel of God' to trump those who use other language such as 'ethics of Jesus.' It strikes of pride and arrogance. Do I need to quote a dozen Bible verses to remind all of us that the biblical text is clear on the consequences of pride?

See. This is the irony of being 'biblical.' We can talk about the biblical text all day, but you are AT LEAST as guilty as me.

You claim to be above pride and arrogance.

You claim to be a voice that can judge the hearts of men because it's your calling to help us see the truth. Yet, you judge everyone. Everyone.

So, what truth do you hold to be true beyond the Constitution of the United States as interpreted by Thomas Jefferson? Should we be required to own property to vote as he had hoped? Should we still be allowed to own slaves as he thought was a right?

Or has the Spirit of the living God given us wisdom to see the errors of some of Jefferson's ways as well? Are we learning as God moves among us, or do we 'conserve' to keep things as they once were when...

What date exactly do we use as our point of 'conserving?' Is this when Calvin was born or died? Was it prior to nuclear weapons? Was it when Reagan gained control over that Communist regine of Carter? Or was it simply when Leave It To Beaver was as wonderful as sliced white bread?

You see. You leave a lot of questions as well. It's not really so simple. Perhaps we need to recognize that followers of Jesus, or perhpas the newly defined 'followers of the whole counsel of God,' have had a tough go of it.

Following an all powerful and all knowing and always present God is not so easy to understand. Even those 12 disciples screwed up and screwed up and screwed up. Still, Jesus turns to Peter and says, "On you I'll build my church." Talking about a looser.

But we now come along and claim that we know all there is to know, and we claim that anyone with a different party affiliation has the biblical text all messed up and...

WHAT RIGHT do we have to narrowly define God as we see fit? What gives you the right to ignore Solomon's great warnings about pride? What right do you have to know with absolute clarity the biblical truths of every God breathed word of the text when great scholars such as John Calvin and so many other argued for hundreds of years?

Rattler, my friend in Christ, above all else we need humility and love. For without these, we are nothing.

7:58 PM  
Blogger bpr said...

"...it was clear that those who call themselves biblical “conservatives” in fact gave more charitable donations than their liberal counterparts."

"What has happened, as often as not, is that the Church has followed the likes of LBJ, Carter, Wallis, and McLaren and simply thrown money at the problem..."

Glad to see the right has outdone the left in simply throwing money at the problem.

I am interested in taking a look at the surveys you mention regarding the generosity of the right vs. left. Could you refer me to the studies?

9:01 PM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

--White America has yet to acknowledge the fact that here in the "home of the free," true liberty has evaded many for far too long.--

Really? Where, exactly, have we "yet to acknowledge" such a thing?

--Why do you have such and unwillingness to acknowleget that people on the other side have things of value to say?--

What other side? Liberal, you mean? For one thing, often the problems they see are problem we see, too.

Very well, but when they propose their cures, that's when we rightly see that their "cures" are in many ways worse then the disease.

So, instead of helping poverty by providing people with real work and helping them in that way to help themselves to rise out of poverty, they'd rather take what others have worked for and give it to those who have not worked for it. Instead of dealing with ethical and moral issues through the absolutes of biblical morality, they'd rather do it through the relativism of personal feelings and standards.

--WHAT RIGHT do we have to narrowly define God as we see fit?--

Cartoonish caricature.

What RIGHT do you have to so broadly define God that people who worship Allah or whatever it is Buddhist worship can be included as being 'right with God'?

6:52 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Burper,
Start with George Gallup, Jr., "Is America's Faith for Real?" Princeton Theological Seminary, "Alumni News," Vol. 22, no. 4, Summer 1982, pp. 15-17. Liberals talk the talk, but when it comes to their own wallets, they don't walk the walk. Typically, they prefer to have their hands in someone else's wallet. That way, somehow, they feel morally superior.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
I read this and thought of you: "Black America has yet to come to grips with its responsibility to tackle head on the problems that plague our communities. White America has yet to acknowledge the fact that here in the "home of the free," true liberty has evaded many for far too long." Remember these? Your problem is that you divide America into black and white, while I simply speak of American.
It is very short-sighted on your part to think that people have not attempted solutions to the problems of poverty. In most cases, however, especially in light of the welfare state, they have sought the wrong pragmatic, utilitarian solutions.

Your quote about Kirk was just downright stupid, so I'll pass by it.

Why do you believe statistics that say that conservatives don't give more? What would it take for you to believe them? Short answer: nothing, because you're a bleeding heart liberal and you believe that conservatives are your enemy.

Who are you to talk about "rights?" Kinda dumb, huh? Randy, the reason I believe that the "Ethics of Jesus" is bogus is because it's a liberal ploy to separate what Jesus taught from the rest of Scripture. When Jesus stated that he didn't come to do his own will, but the will of the One who sent him (cf. John 6:38)he was clearly referring to the will of the Father in the OT. When Paul wrote in 2 Tim. 3:16-17 about the sufficiency of the scriptures, he was referring to the OT. Virtually to a (liberal) man, pacifists, textual critics, social gospel advocates, and theological liberals have juxtaposed what Jesus taught to what Paul (feminists), Isaiah, Peter, and Moses taught. Get it, Randy? Is it clear now? You really did waste your money at seminary.

Who ever said we know all we need to know? Why in the world do you think I keep studying, thinking, preaching, and writing? You are undoubtedly as thick as a brick.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
History and historians have rightly judged Jefferson's view of slavery as incorrect. I seem to remember reading some books about how America eventually fought a war about that, where more than 600,000 Americans died--a few more than Iraq.
What do you think historians will say about us and the infallible holy shrine of the liberals: abortion?
You can kick Jefferson in the shins, but I'm highly surprised that you fell into the old liberal trap of slavery when you could have used abortion.

10:45 AM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

--WHAT RIGHT do we have to narrowly define God as we see fit? What gives you the right to ignore Solomon's great warnings about pride? What right do you have to know with absolute clarity the biblical truths of every God breathed word of the text when great scholars such as John Calvin and so many other argued for hundreds of years?--

I just saw this next, and could help but connect it to the above. It's a question, then a reply by Oprah. Emphases mine.

First Caller (“Kelly from Alton, Illinois”): …Well, my question is regarding religion and spirituality.... In reading books such as Tolle’s … it’s really opened my eyes up to a new way of thinking, a new form of spirituality that doesn’t always align with the teachings of Christianity. So my question is to you, Oprah, how have you reconciled these spiritual teachings with your Christian beliefs?

Oprah: … I’ve reconciled it because I was able to open my mind about the absolute, indescribable hugeness of that which we call God. I took God out of the box because I grew up in the Baptist church and there were, you know, rules and , you know, belief systems and doctrine. And I happened to be sitting in church in my late 20s, and I was going to this church where you had to get there, and, you know, at 8 o’clock in the morning or you couldn’t get a seat, and a very charismatic minister, and everybody was just, you know, into the sermon. And this great minister was preaching about how great God was and how omniscient and omnipresent, and God is everything; and then he said “And the Lord thy God is a jealous God.” And I was, you know, caught up in the rapture of that moment until he said “jealous,” and something struck me. I was like about 27 or 28, I was thinking, God is all, God is omnipresent, and God is also jealous? God is jealous? Jealous of me? And something about that didn’t “feel” right in my spirit because I believe that God is love, and that God is in all things. And so that’s when the search for something more than doctrine started to stir within me….

…And, you know, it’s been a journey to get to the place where I understand… that what I believe is that Jesus came to show us Christ consciousness. . . . Jesus came to show us the way of the heart… to show us the higher consciousness that we’re all talking about here…. Jesus came to say, “Look I came to live in the human body and I’m going to show you how it is done. These are some principles, and some laws you can use to live by to know that way.”…

[ITunes podcast: “Oprah and Eckhart Tolle Discuss Chapter 1 of ‘A New Earth’” 3/3/08]


http://herescope.blogspot.com/2008/03/cheatn-hearts.html

1:35 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

"Thick as a Brick."

Hmmm. Reminds me of Jethro Tull.

Sorry, Ron. I had to inject just a bit of levity.

6:48 AM  
Blogger bpr said...

>Start with George Gallup, Jr., "Is America's Faith for Real?" Princeton Theological Seminary, "Alumni News," Vol. 22, no. 4, Summer 1982, pp. 15-17.

Citing 26 year old research is hardly indicative of a modern trend.

Any modern research indicating that conservatives contribute a higher percentage of their income than liberals?

9:09 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Burper,
Why is citing older information invalid, unless, of course, you're skeptical of anything that isn't important to you.
If you're really interested in the up-to-date stuff though, I suggest that you go to Laura Ingraham's web site and ask her about the latest data on this subject. If she can't help you, try Larry Elder's web site. You can also Google US stats on this subject.
Would you mind giving us a "kosher" list of what years are acceptable to you for stats and which ones aren't. I'd really be interested in your criterion for judging what is allowable and what we should refuse.

3:17 PM  
Blogger bpr said...

old research would be fine if the subject did not have a significant cohort effect. math, psychology, ancient history, music... all fair game for 20 year old research.

A doctor would not look at a 26 year old paper for the latest info on how to perform an operation.

A sociologist would not look at 26 year old research to make assumptions about a different generation and how they behave with their money.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Burper,
Should a theologian look at 26 year old exegesis or read a theologian who has been dead for longer than 26 years?
Your arguments are specious and self-serving. Get over being bitter or it will eat you alive--if it hasn't already.

6:42 AM  
Blogger bpr said...

>Should a theologian look at 26 year old exegesis or read a theologian who has been dead for longer than 26 years?

Sure, the Bible hasn't changed a lot in 26 years.

Either you don't read well or you don't debate well. The first thing I did was qualify my statement with: old research would be fine if the subject did not have a significant cohort effect. math, psychology, ancient history, music...

>Get over being bitter or it will eat you alive--if it hasn't already.

I'm not bitter. I just hate to see poor arguments made using the Bible to defend an agenda. As much as you hate that about the left, it is amazing that you still do it yourself.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Burper,
Thanks so much for clarifying things. Yes, it's true that I neither read well or debate well. Rather than admit the stats back up what I say, you can take cheap Internet bravado shots.
Thanks for stopping by. I'm off to other topics. Next time you might want to explain why stats that were valid in the 1980s and were recently reported still to be valid don't count. Did you look up the references I gave you?

3:50 PM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Hey bpr,

I was reading an article on townhall.com and thought it fit into your thread. Click here to read the article. That research, done by a registered independent, should be current enough for you.

6:29 AM  

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