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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.

Friday, April 25, 2008

How Do We Do Social Justice? (VI)

Choosing Secular Ways Instead of Scriptural Ones to Help the Poor
Just last weekend I heard another one of my evangelical colleagues praying for revival. For much of evangelicalism today, revival is the default setting or doxological panic button. For every ill in society, we need revival, so the evangelical mantra goes. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against revival per se, but it seems to me that what we need substantially more is reformation. Once true reformation occurs, then—and only then—should we be talking about revival; and then only about a specific kind of revival. Historically, the Second Great Awakening was thoroughly Arminian and the modern Church is still reaping the saccharine, effeminate whirlwind that it produced. To make matters worse, the modern Church is without a compass when it comes to engaging the culture. Ironically, evangelicals don’t know what’s wrong with the culture because they don’t know what’s wrong with the evangelical church. On fewer occasions have the saved been so lost.
During the Second Great Awakening, revivalists like the now infamous Charles Finney “reviled churches for their formality and openly attacked their piety, liturgy, and clergy…. Finney and his followers orchestrated man-made revivals using techniques and manipulations designed to be entertaining and reproducible at any time and place.”[1]
In his latest book, David Wells issues the same verdict against modern evangelicalism. He writes, “In the last two or three decades evangelicals have discovered culture. That actually sounds more flattering that I intend. I would welcome a serious discussion about culture. We should be exploring what it is and how it works, rather than just looking at polls to see what is hot. A serious engagement with culture, though, is not what most evangelicals are about.”[2] What, then, does Wells believe evangelicals are “about?” “They want to know what the trends and fashions are that are ruffling the surface of contemporary life. They have no interest at all in what lies beneath the trends, none on how our modernized culture in the West shapes personal horizons, produces appetites, and provides us ways of processing the meaning of life…. Pragmatists to the last drop of blood, these evangelicals are now in the cultural waters, not to understand what is there, but to get some movement.”[3]
All of the foregoing is a kind of prelude to what I want to continue to say about Christians “doing” social justice. As often as not, if Christians speak about biblical methods, evangelicals are so steeped in pragmatism and so used to denigrating the Old Testament or ignoring it altogether that the tendency is to throw up our hands and say, “It’s too complex. Too much water is over the dam; you simply cannot reverse the welfare problem in America.” It surprises me that some pastors will take that approach and yet lament the immorality and poverty in our country. Therefore, as a Reformed pastor, I’m going to continue to lay out what I believe the Bible teaches on this matter and let the reader decide.
We have been saying that the Church is under no obligation to dole out money or food indiscriminately. A little later on, we’ll talk more about a difficult term: discrimination, and look at its positive use. It doesn’t always have to connote racism or bigotry. That needs to be said, because anytime Christians attempt to exercise biblical discernment these days, there is always the bleeding heart theological liberal who wants to scream “Foul!” It simply is not the case that the Church must be a spiritualized form of the government.
Calvin Beisner has concluded that 1 Timothy stipulates only two categories of people who are eligible for ongoing support from the Church. He writes, “In sum, Paul considers eligible for systematic financial support by the church only those who (1) have been left alone, unable to care for themselves and depending solely on God (5:5), or (2) are rending service to the church, whether preaching and teaching (5:17, 18).”[4] He continues, “Connection with the church must be seen not as a means of financial gain, but as an opportunity for service.”[5] This notion is all but lost on most evangelical churches today. In fact, it’s a rarity to find a great deal of exegesis or biblical reference occurring in modern evangelical writings. Perhaps that is why David Wells wrote the following concerning classical theological liberalism: “Liberals said Christianity was about deeds, not creeds. They said it was about life, not doctrine.”[6]
This is precisely the mantra of Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Don Miller, Doug Pagitt, and the rest of the emergent tribe conversation thing. The main problem is that the longer the “conversation” exists, the more Bible believing Christians have ample cause for alarm. Most recently, the cardinal Christian doctrines that have been called into question by the Emergent church crowd include the atonement, hell, the Second Coming of Christ, homosexuality, and the questions of inerrancy and infallibility will not be long in coming. David Wells describes it this way: “Emergent—at least those who read theology—seem to have stumbled on the postliberals, and this is what is now driving this new understanding of the function of Scripture.”[7] It would seem that emergents who read theology are truly few and far between. In fact, it is precisely the sloppy or non-existent exegesis that characterizes and typifies the writings of Wallis and the emergents. Even though they might not use the precise words that Wells uses, it is more than patently clear that Wallis and McLaren, especially in Wallis’ and McLaren’s latest books, are more about deeds than creeds, although McLaren in particular has long eschewed any creed after Nicaea.[8] This is a very clear and discernible trend in Wallis and McLaren and it is rather surprising to me that serious Christians even give them a second look; in fact, serious, discerning Christians don’t. The emergent movement is particularly attractive to the children of mega-church adherents, who received no spiritual legacy from their parents, who were busy being entertained to death. Wells is correct when he says that “Emergents are doctrinal minimalists.”[9] In one sense, they are only mimicking what their parents taught or didn’t teach them about how full of doctrine Scripture actually is.
It is essential that we fully grasp the above because a lack of scriptural truth will be crucial for developing any type of Christian notion of social ethics. Part of the major problems with Wallis and McLaren (and others) is precisely their lack of appreciation of Scripture, even though they may make, at times, make tangential, albeit tortured, reference to the Bible. How can we expect to derive anything that resembles a biblical worldview vis-à-vis the many social issues that face us today or, a personal ethics, for that matter? Having said that, I want us to understand the concept of poverty from a biblical perspective. There are many good books on the subject, but it seems that each generation has to look at the data anew. Therefore, let us proceed to our further discussion of what Scripture says about poverty and how it should be handled.

More Principles from the Book of Ruth
We’ve already investigated two principles about Old Testament gleaning from the book of Ruth. As we do this, we will listen to what George Grant wrote a couple of decades ago, but which is still applicable for us today. First, Grant pointed out, it was a law in Israel that required hard work and second, that in ancient Israel charity was almost always done on a private basis.[10] It is his third principle that brings us into a discussion concerning “discrimination.” He writes, “Biblical charity knows nothing of promiscuous handouts to sluggards.”[11] To the modern mind, this sounds harsh, but it isn’t. If Ruth worked, she ate—and so did Naomi; if she sat around waiting for the government to step in and save her, she would be very hungry. This is not unjust, because the author to the letter to the Hebrews reminds us of the following: “For since the message declared by angles proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Heb. 2:2-3). Laziness is a sin according to the Bible, so that those who chose not to work suffered the consequences of their sinful choices.Moreover, Grant reminds us that biblical discrimination, “far from being a villainous vice, is very often a venerable virtue…. Whereas the Bible explicitly condemns racism, unfairness, and oppression, it condones discrimination.”[12] Examples of divine discrimination are readily available. God chose Abram’s seed and rejected the surrounding nations. He discriminated between Jacob and Esau (cf. Gen. 25; Rom. 9:13). The wolves must be distinguished from the sheep; the goats from the sheep; and the tares from the wheat. That is not to say that we never care for needy wolves, goats, or tares, but that discrimination and discernment are of the utmost importance. Next week, Lord willing, we’ll continue along these lines.

[1] Bradley Heath, Millstones & Stumbling Blocks, (Tucson: Fenestra Books, 2006), p., 74.
[2] David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), p. 3.
[3] Ibid.
[4] E. Calvin Beisner, Prosperity and Poverty, (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2001), p. 204.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Wells, TCBP, 5.
[7] Ibid., 16.
[8] See for instance, A Generous Orthodoxy where he does this repeatedly.
[9] Wells, TCBP, 17.
[10] See George Grant, Bringing in the Sheaves, (Atlanta: American Vision Press, 1985), pp. 80-81.
[11] Ibid., 82.
[12] Ibid.

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35 Comments:

Blogger Randy said...

Ron,
When Jesus was asked, "Who is my neighbor," did he talk about those who didn't fall within that group of people?

When Jesus talks about giving food,water, clothing,and shelter to those in need, does he exclude some from that group?

It seems that narrow exegesis will always get one to the theolgoical conclusion of ones choice.

Our neighbor extends to anyone and everyone who falls within the boundaries of our lives... and perhaps even further.

When Paul writes that we are required to seek not only our own interests but also the interest of others, he is not suggesting 'some' others.

We can talk about who may be excluded from the eternal kingdom of God, but we don't know...

In the parable of the great banquet, it was pretty clear that everyone was invited, and everyone who showed up was blessed.

Jesus continually talked about the kingdom of God being at hand, and then he says that we will do even greater things than he.

An amazing God indeed.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
It never ceases to amaze me how imperious you are to the actual point. I gave you biblical reasons for what I said. Show me where the Bible is wrong or where my understanding of Scripture was incorrect please.
My wife and I were just out in Dana Point for dinner with some old friends. He was telling me about a person that has fleeced the church repeatedly and is able bodied except he's a heroin addict.
Please address what I wrote and don't write your own little meta-narrative. This is not a pomo blog.

10:53 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Context, Randy. Context. What you call "narrow" exegesis is actually correct exegesis. What you engage in is called eisegesis.

And, if you want to dive into the political realm for a moment, your handling of Scripture is exactly how liberals handle the Constitution. Rather than original intent and strict construction, you rather interpret it in the manner of changing its meaning with changing times (or the immediate convenience of the moment).

You have yet -- in this post or past posts -- to actually deal with the substance of what is being said, and the application of the actual Scriptures being used. Instead, it's the same Emergent Village talking points.

5:59 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Randy,

When you ask the question as to whether Jesus excludes some from the group that is given clothing etc., the answer is ABSOLUTELY.

He told us about it through his servant the apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3. You can read the whole chapter that was passed down to us by the Holy Spirit. The part that strikes me most is verse 10, where we read:

"For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat.""

Scripture tells us that it is inappropriate to be blindly inclusive. Do we need to extend help to the needy among us? Yes. Do we need to extend help to the lazy and idle among us? My question to you is: What instructions does Jesus' follower Paul leave us in 2 Thes. 3:10? I know we need to be merciful, but I think Scripture lays out some boundaries which we need to exercise in love for the sake of the person. Otherwise how will an idler learn to be productive (as they are commanded to be, again in Scripture)?

7:29 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

O.K., I'll deal with the exact topic at hand:

Ron - How do you KNOW that Jim Wallis & Brian McLaren don't appreciate the Scriptures?

It seems to be your own evaluation of their theology that has brought you to this conclusion. It's a biased conclusion that comes from a hyper-reformed theolgoical perspective.

To state that they don't appreciate Scriptures is simply dishonest. It lies and lacks integrity.

I'm called an internet 'troll' and yet you can claim this ccusation as 'truth?' If you want to claim truth, at least live into it well.

fyi... both of them have studies the Scriptures extensively, and they are passionate about following the God of the Scriptures.

So, while your theology doesn't match up, at least live into the gospel story as a follower of Jesus.

Thanks.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
I know because I've read their books. McLaren, for example, denies the substitutionary atonement of Christ, eschews a "violent" Second Coming of the Savior, is ambivalent about homosexuality, doesn't like the biblical doctrine of hell, and generally speaking is a lousy exegete, primarily because he's an English teacher who takes great pride in not being theological, although he is very theological, just in a very bad, unbiblical sense.
What in the world do you mean by "hyper" reformed? I am reformed and make no apologies for it, but you accuse me of being hyper-reformed and I am asking you to give me specific examples of where you believe I deviate from the traditional understanding of the Reformed faith, in men like Calvin, Bullinger, Bavinck, Kuyper, Edwards, Dabney, Thornwell, and others. I'm looking for clear, specific examples. To this point, I believe that you wouldn't know Reformed if it walked up and hit you in the face.
Moreover, what specifically do you disagree with in terms of the explanation that I've offered in terms of the scriptural evidence I've brought to bear on the social justice issue. To this point, I have not seen one shred of biblical evidence from you.

9:46 PM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

--When Jesus was asked, "Who is my neighbor," did he talk about those who didn't fall within that group of people?--

What group of people?

--When Jesus talks about giving food,water, clothing,and shelter to those in need, does he exclude some from that group?--

Is this in reference to "the least of these"? But if so, you have to add "the least of these my brethren". Now, who are "my brethren"? Is it simply anyone? Is it the poor, as some seem to teach? Or is it believers? What about the context of the phrase, which involved the judging of the sheep and goats. Would not "the least of these" be among the sheep?

And even then, there is wisdom still to be used. Paul gets on the Thessalonians a little bit because some of their people quit work and were lazying about waiting for Christ to return. He even makes that very anti-liberal statement "If a man does not work, neither shall he eat".

And that was concerning fellow believers.

If you're so all-fired-up about charity, I've no doubt you could find plenty of people who could use your charity to good and godly ends--missionaries who take the Gospel to people who haven't yet heard, orphanages that look after abandoned children, organizations that take food and medicine to places in the world that are hard-hit from weather and social issues.

Just don't try to tell us that welfare is some kind of Christian charity, that it's somehow biblical to support the lazy and unproductive habits of otherwise able-bodied people who are more interested in watching soaps and Oprah all day then in putting in a hard day's work.

6:02 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

I have to agree is jazzact Randy. Are you going to respond to the 2 Thessalonians 3:10 verse?

8:50 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

I don't think I called you an Internet troll. I think I said you are increasingly acting like one.

As to your response, again..it had little to do with the substance of what Ron wrote. Instead, "how do you KNOW" McLaren, Wallis etc. don't "appreciate" the Scriptures.

So-called "appreciation" isn't the issue. It's their interpretation and usage of the Scriptures that is at issue. In McLaren's case, his apparent outright ignoring of Scripture or wildly re-interpreting it in Lewis Carrollian fashion.

Try again. You're at strike two now.

9:37 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

While I am at it, let's look at the passage you've brought up on more than one occasion, the passage where Jesus answers a question about "who is my neighbor."

From the context, it really requires a huge stretch -- of Flubber proportions -- to extrapolate that meaning that a nation-state has to open its borders willy-nilly to anyone and everyone who wants to come knocking at the door. Individual succor to someone we find beaten up on the road or a needy family in our community is one thing. Hoards of people flooding over a border in violation of our laws is quite another thing.

As to the aliens mentioned in the Old Testament, again..it takes a huge stretch to extrapolate those instances into our situation today. Even then, if you read the passages in question, aliens among the children of Israel were still required to follow the law.

The clue in this whole argument with you can be found in your opening comment when you say "narrow exegesis." I can respond by saying you seem to follow a tortured, overly broad exegesis. In all honesty, I can't call what you've been doing here exegesis at all.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Ron... you can't know for certain someone's appreciate of Scripture unless you ask them or if they write it as an answer to the specific question.

On more than one occasion McLaren has written and spoken of his love for the biblical text. So, to say thet he doesn't appreciate it simply is false. It's dishonest for you to state such.

I'm getting to the point of the post. It's not entirely honest. McLaren, Pagitt, Jones, and Wallis are all passionate lovers of the biblical text.

Furthermore, the substitutionary atonement isn't the only theory of the atonement considered by the reformers of centuries past. It's one theological position among many great church fathers.

I believe your desires for a healthy and faithful church are genuine. Yet, painting others as less than faithful while their lives reflect solid faithfulness isn't helpful for God's people.

While you strongly embrace reformed theology, it isn't helpful for kingdom living to minimize such people as Charles Finney. Many people came to a saving understading of Christ as a result of the Spirit's moving at that time.

To question the value of such movements or faithful people groups seems to directly question the moving of the Spirit of God.

If the Spirit of God choses to move among a Zen Buddhist monk, who are we to question such when a community of discerning believers affirms God's moving.

There are more than a handful of people connected to the full council of God who know the lives of Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, and Doug Pagitt.

Because you don't agree with them, doesn't give you the right to judge their commitment to the Scriptures. While this country allows free speach, the biblical text teaches us how we are to treat those with whom we disagree.

Dishonest blogging doesn't fall withing the biblical parameters.

Blessings.

8:27 PM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

--I'm getting to the point of the post. It's not entirely honest. McLaren, Pagitt, Jones, and Wallis are all passionate lovers of the biblical text.--

Randy, here's how someone like McLaren "loves" the biblical text.

From "Everything Must Change", p. 145

For example, they misread Revelation 19:15, where Jesus, in a blood-stained robe, "strikes down the nations" using a sword; they fail to notice that the sword comes out of his mouth--a rather unmistakable case of symbolism to a reasonable adult reader, I would think, unless he imagines Jesus actually thrashing his head around, slinging a sword between his teeth like a giant cigar of mass destruction.

...Jesus' "striking down the nations" with a sword "coming out of his mouth" has a different meaning. Jesus' word--the unarmed truth of the gospel of the kingdom--is the force that overcomes the "kingdom of this world", the dominant system, the suicide machine. It conquers not with physical weapons but with the message of justice (Revelation 19:11), and the blood on Jesus' robe is not the blood of his enemies, but his own blood (12:11, cf. 5:6).

...we have a poetic description of the way the gentle First Coming Jesus powerfully overcomes through his nonviolent "weakness" (cf. I Corinthians 1:18-25), a prince of peace whose word of reconciliation is truly mightier than Caesar's sword.


And here is the passage in Rev. 19.

19:11 And I saw the heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and he that sat thereon called Faithful and True; and in righteous he doth judge and make war.
19:12 And his eyes [are] a flame of fire, and upon his head [are] many diadems; and he hath a name written which no one knoweth but he himself.
19:13 And he [is] arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
19:14 And the armies which are in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white [and] pure.
19:15 And out of his mouth proceedeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty.
19:16 And he hath on his garment and on his thigh a name written, KINGS OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid heaven, Come [and] be gathered together unto the great supper of God;
19:18 that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and of them that sit thereon, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, and small and great.
19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat upon the horse, and against his army.
19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought the signs in his sight, wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them that worshipped his image: they two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone:
19:21 and the rest were killed with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, [even the sword] which came forth out of his mouth: and all the birds were filled with their flesh.


I think that pretty much puts paid to any notion of how McLaren "loves" the biblical text. He may "love" it, but only insofar as he can 'deconstruct' it fit his preconceived ideas. When it doesn't, he'll find some way to disregard what doesn't.

4:37 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Randy said
"If the Spirit of God choses to move among a Zen Buddhist monk, who are we to question such when a community of discerning believers affirms God's moving."

1. We can easily question this as the monk continues to worship Budda. And as it stands presently, he still is.

2. We can question what basis (which should be God's scripture not one's agenda) this community of discerning believers are employing via their discernment.

3. We then should question our own
abilities to discern who we consider to be discerning believers.

5:01 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
In David Wells' new book, "The Courage to Be Protestant," he writes about pomos who use prefixes such as "hyper-," "post-," "ex-," and others as empty obfuscation. I have asked you to give me specific, concrete examples of where I am, by your accusation, "hyper-" reformed. In other words, where do I deviate from classical Reformed theology?
For you to ask the question or make the statement that McLaren, Bell, et al. love Scripture is really a joke. Just for starters, apart from the other texts that have been raised here, I would refer you to the Rob Bell interview with Andy Crouch in "Christianity Today." When you make these types of statements it makes me believe that you haven't read these guys or that you have imbibed of the emergent Kool-Aid--or both.
Finally, many have raised interesting queries about you answering certain biblical texts. Unless you are willing to step up to the plate and give good, solid answers to their questions, you leave us no alternative but to add you to the list of those who have a low view of Scripture.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

All,
Here is an interesting link to Jim Wallis:
http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=62811

8:48 AM  
Blogger Matt J. said...

Randy said:

"...it isn't helpful for kingdom living to minimize such people as Charles Finney. Many people came to a saving understading of Christ as a result of the Spirit's moving at that time."

Randy... you can't know for certain that many people came to a saving [understanding] of Christ through Finney unless you ask them or if they write it as an answer to the specific question.

Your rules...not mine.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
You wrote, "While you strongly embrace reformed theology, it isn't helpful for kingdom living to minimize such people as Charles Finney. Many people came to a saving understanding of Christ as a result of the Spirit's moving at that time."
You realize, of course, that Charles Finney was a heretic with his full-orbed Pelagianism, don't you?
How can you say that a heretic was good?

You also said, "you can't know for certain someone's appreciate of Scripture unless you ask them or if they write it as an answer to the specific question." So I guess I'll never know what Bultmann, Tillich, Brunner, Pannenberg, Moltmann, Schleiermacher, or even Bavinck believed about Scripture. Do you have any inkling how ridiculous your statement is? You might sell that to your pomo friends, but it will not fly here.
I'm still waiting for the examples of my hyper-reformed views.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

I've been with Jim Wallis, Brian mCLaren, and Doug Pagitt when they've talked extensively about their passion for the Scripturs. So, I know a bit about them.

Ron, you deviate from reformed theology by placing human judgement above love for neighbor. You continue to ask me to refer to the biblical text. I submit to the ten commandments for starters. Jesus reminded us that the entire Scripture rests upon the first and second commandment.

You feel the freedom to judge everyone, and choose to love whomever. Yet, you have the balls to question my love for the biblical text?

While you judge me so fairly, remember it was Jesus who hung with the whores, had bloodlines to the whores, befriended the gays, and renewed the outcasts.

Perhaps it's time to stop playing preacher games, and it's time to start loving a few outcasts... God forbid they be hispanic illegals though.

For Christ sake, stop beating on other Christ followers.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy, with that last post you basically disqualified yourself from serious discussion on anything. It's obvious now that you're either not serious, or you are in way over your head. If this is the kind of education coming out of Calvin College and Seminary, oy vey!

Just where did Jesus befriend the gays in Scripture?

So McLaren and his ilk "talk about their passion" for the Scriptures. Talk is talk. They show by their treatment of the Scriptures that they have nothing but contempt for Scripture. Unfortunately, they are apparently so deceived that they can't see their own contempt.

You accuse Ron of deviating from Reformed theology by supposedly "placing human judgment above love for neighbor." What breathtaking gall! To make such a charge, you have to ignore a huge dollop of what Scripture actually says about some of the issues you raise, and more than that, make the huge mistake of assuming that calling someone on sin or heresy is somehow "unloving." On the contrary, it is the most loving thing someone who supposedly loves the truth can do.

It will do little good to gush Kumbayah and "love love love," and then send someone into a Christless eternity, which is precisely what embracing the theology of these heretics will accomplish.

Not only do you owe Ron an apology for your false charges, but I continue to be appalled at your very coarse language. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." If all you have to offer is coarse vulgarity, then decamp from here and post at Emergent Village or some other blog. If I can manage to communicate my thoughts without vulgarity, I would think someone of your supposed education could do the same.

Let me close with this. Ron, I am sure, disagrees with me on eschatology. That's fine. We're adults and fellow believers, and can love and respect one another without agreeing on every jot and tittle. But I'll say this at risk of him nailing me. If premillennial eschatology is correct, you are a classic case of someone who will be deceived by the Antichrist and end up in the global apostate church.

You've been warned.

10:25 PM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Randy,

I think solameanie nails it. If you're going to refer to the summary of the law as your guide you're being to simplistic. What does "love" mean? How do you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?

I think of it in terms of parenting. As a dad, I love my kids more than anyone else (except my wife). How do I love them? By teaching, correcting, rebuking and sometimes punishing them. If I did not do those things, I would not be a good father because I would not be preparing them to turn away from from either spiritual, physical or emotional danger. In fact, it may not only be dangerous, but also harmful. To say that judgment of ideas is not loving is, in my mind, completely simplistic. Not to mention the fact that it is a judgment in and of itself. Words and ideas have meaning, and when they oppose Scripture they need a rebuke, sometimes harshly so. There are plenty of examples of that in Scripture even from Jesus himself (the Pharisees come to mind).

Tying it back to poverty and social justice, Paul tells us how to love someone who refuses to work. "If you shall not work, you shall not eat." (2 Thes. 3:10). So what our love is to look like is defined in Scripture, not by the society we live in.

I'd like to see some address of the Scripture in a specific sense from you Randy. Instead of a vague reference to the 10 commandments, can you show me how 2 Thes. 3:10 is contrary to loving my neighbour as myself? Where does Scripture teach me that this principle is no longer in effect?

Randy, I also would like to say that your language is completely unnecessary. You have the opportunity to demonstrate your respect for Scripture by living according to Ephesians 5:4.

6:32 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
1. Where in Scripture do we find Jesus befriending gays? That one was really funny in a pomo kind of way.

2. I'm not interested with what Wallis, McLaren, Pagitt, Bell, Miller or others have said to you about Scripture. It is just talk. All of these men are ideologues of the worst sort and I cannot, for the life of me, understand how you can be upset with me for judging and not, for example, be upset with McLaren and Wallis who constantly judge others who do not agree with them--or did you miss that?

3. I understand that there are various theories of the atonement, but they are not all equally biblical, viable. What McLaren and the Emergent tribe are doing strikes at the heart, the vitals of the gospel--or did you miss that?

4. Even though I'm willing to tolerate you on the blog, I admonish you publicly to clean up your language right now. You may find it cool, hip, emergent, and/or to pomo to use foul language, but I find the way you use our Lord and Savior's Name disgusting and I pray that you have asked God to forgive you. If you hold to the Ten Commandments as you say you do, I seem to remember something in there about not taking the Lord's Name in vain. Clean it up immediately or you are history.

5. I do not "play preacher games," son. I take what I do quite seriously. Now, why don't you stop playing games and answer the scriptural questions that have been put to you on this blog. I believe Icedawg deserves an answer. I personally believe you're stalling because you don't have one. We're all waiting. Anytime before the Great Tribulation would be fine.

6. Just for the record--listening well to those who disagree with you is not your long suit--no one I've read on here is opposed to immigration. Yes, I am opposed to illegal immigration irrespectively of whether those in question are Hispanics, Asians, Europeans, or any other race. Clear?

7:08 AM  
Blogger Calvinist sojourner said...

Randy,

I was to frustrated with your first reply to read any of the other responses. So forgive me if someone else already said this. But your statement below is most definitely wrong!

When Paul writes that we are required to seek not only our own interests but also the interest of others, he is not suggesting 'some' others.

See Paul does discriminate here!

ESV Galatians 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

Ron, you wrote:

"I'm not interested with what Wallis, McLaren, Pagitt, Bell, Miller or others have said to you about Scripture. It is just talk."

And so is your blog... it's just talk. Theology is really just that... talk about God... or perhaps god for some of us if we are wrong.

Jesus likely did hang out with gays... he hung out with the sinners. Dishonest tax collectors,
whores, murderers... perhaps gay is
scarier though.

The biblical text talks about followers of Jesus being people of honesty.

When I say that Ron is a liar in his evaluation of McLaren, Pagitt, and Wallis regarding the biblical text, I'm on rock solid ground.

If you need biblical texts to find
out about lieing, go to Bible Gateway or one of your exegetical software programs.

As for being reformed Ron -- reformers don't typically try to one up others with proof texts. That undervalues the entire biblical text as a whole. As a reformer, you should know that.

And 'son', no. My three hundred years of biblical roots take I Cor. 13 as a basis for love. Beating the crap out of others to prove their superior theological position
runs contrary to the gospel message. Do I need to proof text Jesus words to the teachers of the
law as well?

Why not allow the Spirit to keep his church pure since he reigns? God is capable of caring for it.

Remember --- Good reformers know that God reigns... unless it's simply talk that isn't really believed.

10:09 PM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Randy,

So... you're not going to address 2 Thes. 3:10 I guess then? It seems to me that you're only looking at Biblical passages that you like. However, even if we take 1 Cor. 13 that you refer to, giving your money to the poor is one of the things that is described that can be done without any love in it (v. 3). The question that you have not addressed at all is "What does biblical love look like?" Hebrews 12 and much of the book of Proverbs are great places to start to get some insight into how God loves His children, in my mind. I would say these books trump McLaren, Wallis, Sproul, Calvin, Luther, would you not agree?

For me, quoting a text really is not a question of trying to "one-up" anyone with proof texts at all. It is exactly about letting the Holy Spirit reign through the words He gave us in the Bible. I don't think that is beating anyone up. It actually reminds me of something the reformers mentioned from time to time: Sola Scriptura. All Christians have to reference all their thinking to Scripture. If you don't do that, you have relativism, and then you may as well stop talking.

Just a comment from a marginalized participant who up to this point is disenfranchised by your lack of response to his posts :-)

I couldn't resist...

5:59 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Rarely in my life have I met someone who missed the point of conversation so badly, so often as you. I'll try to 'splane in my best legal immigrant language.
Given your pomo relativism, I cannot imagine why you care what people do. If everything is relative, what does it matter if you proof text or not? But to that point: there have been some who have misused and abused proof texting, but their abuse does not exclude proper use. For example, both the Westminster Divines as well as Ursinus and Olevianus (Heidelberg Catechism) provides scriptural evidence for what they were teaching. There's nothing wrong with that. To that end, it's just a ploy for your nonsense. On the one hand, you cry out for us to use Scripture and when we do you scream "Proof texting!" You can't have it both ways. Answer Icedawg's question about the text.
"Jesus likely did hang out with gays." Pure speculation.
"When I say that Ron is a liar in his evaluation of McLaren, Pagitt, and Wallis regarding the biblical text, I'm on rock solid ground." Phunny! Phunny! Phunny! If I quote them--which I do--I'm a liar. Where does that leave you, Randy. Are you a liar for quoting me?
Good Reformers--Calvin, Bullinger, Luther, Edwards, Kuyper, & Bavinck--held to "sola Scriptura." Do you have any clue what that means?

7:30 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Let me try that again. I didn't express myself as clearly as I wanted.

Ron, I begin to think it's hopeless. I think we have enough evidence that Randy simply doesn't want to genuinely, honestly deal with any issue at hand. He simply doesn't want to deal with Scripture in a forthright, rational and contextual manner. He is here merely to be a verbal blunderbuss to hash over the same pomo deconstruction and talking points no matter what is said.

Not too long ago, Dr. John MacArthur preached on the subject of God abandoning a nation. Mixed in was a discussion of false teachers and genuine salvation. One of the signs of God's judgment on a people is that they lose the ability to think. We see more and more of that every day.

I don't know whether Randy is truly born again or not. Only God knows. However, his continual misuse of Scripture give me great pause. God takes His Word very seriously, and those who teach it are under a stricter judgment. I would hate to face Him and have Him tell me that I misrepresented Him before people, and twisted the meaning of His Word. That ought to sober anyone who claims to be a spiritual leader and teacher.

9:22 AM  
Blogger bpr said...

>I have not seen one shred of biblical evidence from you.

>you leave us no alternative but to add you to the list of those who have a low view of Scripture.

>Now, why don't you stop playing games and answer the scriptural questions that have been put to you on this blog.

I was going to leave it alone, but since you seem so adamant to use scripture, would you be able to go back to this post and counter my biblical points biblically? That was really all I had wanted. Be biblically I mean using the bible, not telling a story about a rapist that comes in the night, leaving the parents in the bedroom with a gun to make a difficult, if somewhat contrived decision.

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=20011186&postID=7690461566479516851

If you will not, I can only assume that you hold a low esteem for scripture.

11:06 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

The link you gave leads to an error page. Can you check and repost?

11:18 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Bpr,
What in the world do you mean if I don't do this or that you assume I have a low view of Scripture?
Please explain yourself more fully.

4:59 PM  
Blogger bpr said...

ron,
I was just paraphrasing you from earlier in these comments. You seemed upset that randy would not biblically back up his point while you did.

It just reminded me of when I used the bible to back up my opinion and you made up stories and called names. So I was asking you to do the same for me as you are asking of randy. It seems unfair of you to use the scriptures now when they are on your side but appeal to common sense over scripture when you disagree.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Solameanie, you wrote:

Dr. John MacArthur preached on the subject of God abandoning a nation.

I believe the only nation within the favor of God for more than a short time was the nation of Israel.

On the cross, Christ dies. The curtain seperating the people from the most Holy place where God was present rips. God goes out, and his Spirit moved among all people and places. People begin to follow the Living God from all corners of the earth.

From the biblical text, there isn't much evidence that nations have fallen within the favor of God. I would love to see evidence of where a nation was blessed for more than an occasion from God? To suggest that America has been blessed by God lacks historical biblical evidence.

Perhaps the great Dr. is speaking out of patriotic hopes for America than from biblical evidence?

10:26 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy,

Have you heard MacArthur's sermon? I doubt it. John is one of the most able handlers of Scripture that we have these days. Give it a listen and then tell me what you think.

As to your remark about nations falling in and out of the favor of God, I am speechless. I can't believe you could make a remark like that with a straight face. Do you spend any time in Scripture at all? Do you even read the same Bible I do? I am not even going to try and mount any sort of response on that one. It shouldn't even be necessary. If someone else wants to take up that gauntlet, fine. I suddenly feel very, very tired.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

BPR,
I believe your assessment is a little one-sided, but I'm not going to bicker with you. I've done that before and I'm done with it. Typically, I use Scripture to substantiate what I'm trying to say. You may disagree; that's fine.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy,

Just in case I am misunderstanding you, what exactly do you mean when you deny that America has been blessed by God?

Just so that you don't misunderstand me, I am not --and did not--say that America was chosen by God in the same way national Israel was chosen by God. I also do not intend to say that America was or is perfect, or was/is a theocracy like national Israel was. However, we were founded largely by Christian men (and even the deists had at least a Christian consensus) on Judeo-Christian principles. Alexis deToqueville (sp?) made reference to the pulpits of America "aflame with righteousness." America has enjoyed huge blessing from the Lord.

Any nation that begins to plunge headlong into sin will eventually experience God's judgment. That is very plain throughout Scripture. Just why do you have a problem with that notion?

6:24 AM  

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