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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, August 21, 2008

Compare and Contrast

We are conservatives, they are liberals. Their policies fail and our policies work. Choose.” ~ Ronald Reagan

A Call to Christian Groupies, Junkies, and Other Faddists

Ronald Reagan spoke the italicized words above in his presidential campaign against Jimmy Carter. It was only then that voters actually paused and reflected on the Carter years. What had they accomplished? Many young people today weren’t even born when Carter was President, so they don’t understand historically what a miserable failure he was. Interest rates for home loans and other loans were in double digits as were inflation rates. We won’t even begin on the Iran debacle that he completely botched. For those who don’t know better, when Reagan was inaugurated, the hostages were set free that Iran had held for over 400 days. That was a major difference between Carter and Reagan.

My point in using his quote, however, is not to speak of politics, but rather to ask why those who are the Emergent church movement junkies are still with such an unorthodox outfit. But there are some interesting political comparisons to make along the way, however. Conservative columnist, George Will, once commented that Barack Obama viewed the “mainstream” American voter as primitive, superstitious, and bigoted.[1] There are some interesting parallels here with the Emergent church movement.

Old Bri, for example, likes to hang with trendy, “thoughtful leaders” who know how to “go a little deeper, addressing the need to be relevant to culture and to contexualize their ministry to today’s world.”[2] You see, old Bri hangs with the hip, relevant, and culturally contextualized intelligentsia. What about mainstream Americans? Well, according to Mr. Relevant-to-Culture (a.k.a. ole Bri), the overwhelming preponderance of North American church leaders haven’t been “thoughtful” ever since colonization, which, if you’re a history buff, has been quite a while. Bri’s “generous orthodoxy” describes those unthoughtful modernists this way: “Most were preoccupied with other matters—arguments about religious esoterica, fights over arcane biblical interpretations, fanciful escapes into theological speculation, heat and fury over drinking or gambling or playing cards or using tobacco, controversies over whether guitars and drums can be used in worship gatherings or whether only pianos and organs produce holy music, and other matters that—in comparison to racism, genocide, carelessness toward the poor and various minorities, exploitation of the environment, and unjust war—seem shamefully trivial, weapons of mass destruction.”[3]

Here’s the comparison: At a private fund-raiser in San Francisco on April 6, 2008, Mr. Obama’s voice was recorded when he spoke in a derogatory fashion about small towns in Pennsylvania and the Midwest. What exactly did he say? Here’s the quote: “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations.” Who in the world would want to hang out with a group of gun-toting, religious fanatics from small town PA or the Midwest, who are xenophobic, when you could spend a lovely evening in San Fran rubbing elbows with the culturally elite?

But isn’t old generous Bri saying pretty much the same thing? Yes he is. Time and time again he references his “thoughtful” and “intelligent” friends, who ask all the right questions and support all the right social issues in all the politically correct liberal social gospel ways. While descrying and demeaning those who pursue religious esoterica, old Bri identifies himself solidly with the theological Left. For someone who is ostensibly writing about how to be generous, Bri falls far short of the mark. Apart from that, however, is the fact that Bri and the Emergent church movement tribe will acknowledge that an issue like abortion is important, but not as important as global warming or poverty. What ethical directives allow The Generous One to make such a statement? Wallis, McLaren, Bell, Pagitt, and others are just as adamant about their exegesis of Scripture and adherence to their perceived truth as the foundationalists they vilify.

What, other than theological and political liberalism, would ever cause a person to make such a statement. And even though Wallis and ole Bri claim that coveted (in the good sense, of course) territory of “neutrality,” in reality they are as liberal as Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Deciding-about-abortion-is-above-my-pay-grade Obama. As Wallis and ole Bri wax eloquent about how bad the war is, they fail to give us even the most fundamental information about the comparison of war related deaths and abortion. To liberals like Wallis and Code Pink Bri 5,000-plus deaths in the entire course of a war in Iraq is unconscionable, but the abortion of approximately 1.5 million babies every year is not as important as global warming (climate change), which is now taking on the moniker of “junk science” by reliable climatologists other than Al Gore and Michael Moore, and poverty. Of course, the Emergent church movement crowd doesn’t want you to think about poverty and recognize that the annual rate of real poverty has remained the same irrespective of whether the Republicans or Democrats are in power. They only tend to bring up “the problem” of poverty, however, when conservatives are in power.

Before we move on, I want to give you a rationale of why I believe abortion is more important than global warming. On the tenth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Ronald Reagan wrote a courageous article to the citizens of the United States, appealing to their morals and compassion. The title of the article is “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation.” President Reagan pointed out that “Our nationwide policy of abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy was neither voted for by our people nor enacted by our legislators—not a single state had such unrestricted abortion before the Supreme Court decreed it to be national policy in 1973.”[4] The President went on to explain that since the inception of Roe v. Wade, just a decade prior, “more than 15 million have had their lives snuffed out by legalized abortions.”[5] Today, that number exceeds 40 million.

In 1983, when President Reagan gave those statistics, he stated to the American public that 15 million was “over ten times the number of Americans lost in all our nation’s wars.”[6] That means that the number of innocents slaughtered in our country in the name of legislation currently exceeds the number of American lives lost in war almost twenty-seven fold and continues to increase yearly. As the pacifists and anti-war crowd rant about the length of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (do they recall that the Revolutionary War lasted eight years?) and about the loss of life (does anyone remember that in the battle of Cold Harbor, VA, 7,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died in half-an-hour?), there is a strange and eerie silence about those who were unable to protect or defend themselves and who died at the hands of those who had sworn to protect their lives.

For the life of me, I cannot fathom why anyone who is a Christian could or would support abortion or minimize this blight on our nation’s conscience. If you have merely a rudimentary grasp of the sanctity of life taught in Scripture, you must be vehemently outspoken against such an atrocity. But not ole Bri. He’s too sophisticated and thoughtful to demonize abortion. It’s important, but other issues are more important. Far be it from me to tell someone how to vote, but if I’m talking to a Christian, I would love to hear a biblical apologetic of how any Christian could be in favor of it for two reasons: First, “Our nation-wide policy of abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy was neither voted for by our people nor enacted by our legislators—not a single state had such unrestricted abortion before the Supreme Court decreed it to be national policy in 1973…. Make no mistake, abortion-on-demand is not a right granted by the Constitution.”[7] Second, it does not and cannot square with the sanctity of life and the concept of the imago Dei in the Bible. But given the deplorable immorality that runs rampant in the modern Church, what’s the big deal? Ann Coulter is correct when she writes, “No liberal cause is defended with more dishonesty than abortion.”[8] It’s one thing for biblically illiterate politicians to make such assertions about abortion. Democrats are only playing to their base. But for those who are supposedly Christians to make the same assertions makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Another interesting twist and quirk is that repeatedly Bri and the Emergent church movement claim that they are on a journey and that a modernist is quite arrogant to claim that they have or know the truth. But that’s all just a ploy for the emergents. Even if there are some simple souls that have drunk the Kool-Aid and truly believe that you can’t ever know anything for certain, they all certainly act like you can know things for certain, specifically what they know for certain, even if they’re uncertain that they’re certain.

It’s in vogue to wrinkle your forehead, raise one eyebrow, take a sip of your latte that you really can’t afford anymore because gas prices are through the ceiling and Nancy Pelosi is on a five-week vacation and claim that all life is less certain and less absolute than the modernists think. Some theologians like the late Stanley Grenz and John Franke want us to believe that we know what we know about God because it is the expression of our community’s understanding of the biblical message that the Spirit is speaking through the Bible in our called-out community. Yep. That all sounds relevant and contextualized. What are they proposing? It is a form whereby the community informs the Church what it believes and that then becomes biblical.

What irritates me to no end is the disingenuous manner in which the emergents write. If we really and truly cannot know anything for certain, why do old Bri, Pagitt, Bell, Miller, Spencer Burke, the heretic by his own admission (wouldn’t you just love having him teach your teenagers?), and the whole crew bother to write books? Why, does generous Bri still use language and trust that his readers will understand what he means? Why does he expect us to believe him when he tells us that he has discovered the “secret message of Jesus” or when Stephen Chalke is adamant about finding the “lost message of Jesus”? Why doesn’t anyone question the absurd comment of Rob Bell affirming that both heaven and hell are full of forgiven people? (cf. Velvet Elvis, 146.) How can Chalke make the blanket statement that Jesus believed in original goodness and not original sin?[9] Why is there no protest when Dave Tomlinson finds the biblical notion of radical depravity unbiblical, extreme, and profoundly unhelpful?[10]

Why is it that the emergent tribe rejoices in being thoroughly postmodern until they come to crucial points in their talks, writings, and books? Rob Bell spends way too many words and far too much unused—but no doubt recycled—paper to tell us about his loopy journey only to hit us with certainty at the end of Velvet Elvis. He writes, “We need you to join us. It’s better that way. It’s what Jesus had in mind.”[11] That’s really funny and inconsistent at the same time. Are we, is Bell, certain that it’s better that way? Does he know that for sure? It’s what Jesus had in mind? How does Bell know? He just spent over 170 pages telling us what we cannot know and then he tells us in no uncertain, propositionally true terms that Bell knows what Jesus had in mind. I see. We can’t know, but Rob Bell can. Why doesn’t anyone call these clowns on such nonsense? I guess I just did, but I’m not sure.

In his new book on Democratic presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, Jerome Corsi makes the following comment about Obama’s gaff in San Francisco by quoting what Karl Rove said on Hannity & Colmes recently. Rove said, “There is a sense in places like San Francisco that the United States consists of a narrow sliver on the East Coast and the narrow sliver on the West Coast and the rest of the country is uninteresting and unimportant, and that kind of attitude was evidenced in Senator Obama’s comments.”[12] With the necessary changes being made, something very similar is true of the non-leader emergent church leaders.

Are they really concerned about those to whom they refer, generously, of course, as religious esoterists or is their focus on those in the large cities that agree with Bri and the boys? What matters to them, it seems, is the elite and those twenty and thirty-somethings that toe the emergent line. They act like mind-numbed robots gnashing their teeth against anyone they perceive to be modernists and bowing at the altar of Birkenstock and the now-failing Starbucks to the god of postmodernism, at least until the end of the book when they tell you they’re right and everyone else is wrong. But the emergents are the “enlightened” postmodernists, while “the others” (read: uninformed rabble) are the despised modernists, those who love religious esoterica, and bow before the shrine of Enlightenment foundationalism—as if there were no foundationalism prior to the Enlightenment. Not only are the emergents bad theologians, they also have a very low view of Scripture, until, of course, we can prove that Obadiah was writing about Karl Rove.

D.A. Carson warned us back in 2005 about McLaren and the emergents when he said, “I have to say, as kindly but as forcefully as I can, that to my mind, if words mean anything, both McLaren and Chalke have largely abandoned the gospel.”[13] Since Carson wrote those words, we may safely add Pagitt, Bell, and Burke to the list, as well as other lesser lights. The Emergent church movement has entered the downward spiritual spiral into the maelstrom of liberalism. It’s just a matter of time now. Now wrinkle your forehead, raise your eyebrow, look thoughtful and profound and go out and have some brie and a glass of chardonnay and discuss why the murder of over 40 million babies isn’t as important as global warming.


[1] George Will, “Candidate on a High Horse,” Real Clear Politics, (April 15, 2008).

[2] Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), p. 32.

[3] Ibid., 21.

[4] Ronald Reagan, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1984), p. 15.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 15-16.

[8] Ann Coulter, Godless, (NY: Crown Forum, 2006), p. 78.

[9] Steve Chalke & Allan Mann, The Lost Message of Jesus, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), p. 181.

[10] Dave Tomlinson, The Post-Evangelical, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), p. 126.

[11] Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006).

[12] Jerome Corsi, The Obama Nation. Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, (NY: Threshold Editions, 2008), p. 8.

[13] D.A. Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), p. 186.

Labels:

34 Comments:

Blogger Solameanie said...

Ron,

You know you're just going to send Randall on another tirade with this post? It's sort of like Roy Scheider chumming the water in "Jaws."

BTW, check out the latest "Po-Motivators" posted by Phil Johnson today. Hilarious, and spot on as usual.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

k...

It isn't either one or the other. It never is.

We can be against abortion, but our only real course of changing things is to support programs and people who are involved with pregnant women who are considering abortions.

We can petition the Supreme Court and elect officials, but at the end of the day it is entirely out of our control.

This is not to say that we can't raise dollars, but.

Perhaps concern for the poor is primary within the scope of Jesus followers because it is one of the primary concerns of Jesus and his followers.

Perhaps it is that we want to honor the Scriptures. We can be pro-life and care for the poor.

The issue, as Brian and I see it, is that the republican right has hijacked the minds of Jesus followes as if abortion is the only concern on earth.

As for your 5,000 deaths? Since God created us in his image, and since God loves all of his creation including people who live in Iraq, that number of real deaths as a result of this war is estimated well above 100,000 by a number of groups.

My entire belief that care for the poor is primary and not secondary is has been primary to the people of God throughout history.

We simply justify why people are poor (such as poor decisions in life) so that we don't feel guilty for having SO MUCH!

If the life of Christ followers was captured by the fact that life has great value, then poverty and war would become central to politics in America.

Until then, we can feel good voting against candidates who are pro-choice while claiming to vote with our faith.

I'm not mad. I just believe my opinion has more biblical basis. I'm still pro-life; I am also for peace on earth and taking care of those with less than me.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
You are NOT pro-life if you vote for a candidate that supports abortion. In the case of Mr. Obama, he is the most liberal Senator in the Senate and has a 100% rating with NARAL and Planned Parenthood.
You may not make a valid case for being pro-life by saying that you are for the poor.
Our ONLY course is not what you suggested, but has to do with clear teaching from the pulpit and in the classroom what an abomination abortion is. We can also actively campaign against every pro-choice candidate that comes down the pike. Right now, you, Bri, and the emergent lefties are more than willing to vote for a pro-abortionist. In fact, you justify him. Unconscionable. One thing might help you. Go to a hospital and ask them to show you the aborted babies. It might be a good learning curve for you and thoughtful Bri.
BTW, where did you and old Bri come up with the notion that Jesus' central message was about the poor. I've read Bri's stuff and wonder how he can be so certain when he's not supposed to know anything for certain. Odd.
As for the 100,000: if you're talking about those Saddam tortured and murdered, then it's more like 350,000. But if you're citing sources to support that 100,000 for both coalition and US deaths, it's still not 10,000. You left an adjective off of your sources: left-wing.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

I am pro-life. Why can't you ever take people at their word?

You have no idea my involvement supporting pro-life effots in Michigan nor do you know my history.

How the heck do you dare to tell people what they believe when you have never met them.

As for good ol bri -- he has great passion and trust in the God of the Scriptures.

So, stop being a judging ass; you lack all wisdom for someone over sixty.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

and by the way --- just because we don't believe things exactly like you DOES NOT mean that we don't have values... I absolutely have values.

I begin by trusting people when they give me no reason not to trust them.

Perhaps I trust the gospel when it comes to our care for the poor... perhaps my own govt. cares less for people than you want to believe.

We frickin torture people in the name of what? And we abort babies for the same reasons... we want a safe and easy life. God forgive you and me.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

just because you pissed me off tonight...

you got a candidate who is on his second wife, can't remember how many homes he owns, is pro-choice, supports gay unions, loves creating wars to fight all evil because we can eradicate total depravity....

For your info... we can not eradicate evil or bad people no matter how many wars we start. Go back to your Calvinism. We all fall short of the glory of God.

you just pissed me off with that 'you are not pro-life' statement.

If you were here now.... I would say, "Man up old guy. I'm kickin your behind."

i'm goin to bed; i just worked an 18 hour day...

p.s. you aint pro-life; you are simply anti-abortion.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Go back and re-read your posts. (One can only wonder what you deleted!) Isn't it odd that you accuse people of being judgmental and then assume that I am going to vote for McCain?
Didn't McCain say at the Civic Forum that his divorce was his greatest moral failure? It would seem like a generous, compassionate guy like you would forgive him in a heartbeat. I know you'd forgive an illegal alien and be more than willing for the American taxpayer to fork over more money to support him. Besides, it's not expensive at all. Here in CA it's only cost us $10 billion in welfare costs, the closing of numerous ERs due to the financial drain, and about 5-6 American lives in the last few months because of murders committed by illegal aliens in sanctuary cities.
If, as you say, you are pro-life, you have a very funny way of showing it by supporting a man who is THE most liberal man in the Senate when it comes to the abortion issue; more liberal than Kerry, Kennedy, and the ultra-liberal Feinstein. Nice touch.
As for good ole Bri, he's a flaming, bleeding heart liberal, who, like yourself, fawns over a man who has no scruples whatsoever about continuing to murder the most unprotected in our society: the unborn.
You can quit with how much McLaren loves the scriptures. He chafes at the bit of the authority of the Word of God in his life. Where Carson believed a few years back if old Bri even knew the gospel, his latest works have raised the question in my mind if he's even saved.
If you haven't ever read Machen's "Christianity and Liberalism"--do they still read books like that at Calvin Sem?--why not take a little time and read it?
While you continue to drone on about "the poor," you haven't given us any indication about who that is. We know that Bush isn't poor and you believe the zany left-wing lie that all the wealthy were born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths.
The economist, Thomas Sowell, documents that well over 80% of the millionaires in the US got their money by hard work and wise investing. BTW, Randy, these are the people who are also the most benevolent and charitable when it comes to donating their money. Study after study reveals that liberals like you are the biggest cheapskates in America. It's all talk. You're happy to spend someone else's money but not your own.
In closing, I really don't care if any of this makes you mad. So what? You're mad at facts. How is that suppose to affect me one way or the other? Have a nice day. Go hug a tree and stop global warming like Al Gore, who flies in private jets and uses four times more energy than the average US citizen. It's all image and it's all hypocrisy. And you're pro-life. If you get the opportunity go to a hospital and make that speech to the aborted human beings thrown in dumpsters, but don't sell that drivel here. Disgusting.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

Hey Ron,

My wife and I donated over 30% of our income last year. McLaren & Wallis are incredibly generous with their money and lives as well.

I consider the poor to be those who struggle in life with finances regardless of their choices. They are still poor.

While we can't appreicate Obama's abortion platform, neither should we appreciate that McCain will flex muscle and threaten war at every turn.

While we are guilty of the abortions in our nation, we are also guilty of the tens of thousands of deaths in Iraq. Ironically, the 'right' has made no issue that three million Christians were displaced in Iraq.

The biblical text calls these people our brothers and sisters, and yet we justify our war because their leader was an evil man.

From a reformed perspective, that means all leaders are fair game since they all humans are capable of great evil.

So, I'm pro-life and agaist waging war. I think Jesus was making a few significant declarations when he taught the crowds.

You are pro-life and agaist abortion. Yet, being pro-life also includes feeding the poor and creating an the possility for peace rather than war.

Finally, why can't you trust people at their word?

7:14 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
It must be nice to sit around in a safe country and carp. The reason we haven't been attacked again since 9/11 is because our armed forces have been protecting us.
Unless Bri's supposed generosity is coupled with true biblical humility and true biblical orthodoxy, it will avail him nothing.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

I struggle with finances, but I do not consider myself poor in the least. Compared with someone in a Ukrainian or African village, I'm very well off and very thankful. I guess it's perspective, isn't it?

Aside from that, Randy, your geopolitical views are Pollyanna-ish and myopic, and that's being generous. You guys on the left, who pride yourselves so much on being "nuanced," are completely ignorant of all the nuances involved in issues such as war and peace in a global sense.

You have no idea what "the right," as you put it, are doing in or out of Iraq in a humanitarian sense. Perhaps the difference between do-gooders on the right and do-gooders on the left is that those on the right don't go around bragging about how good they are to the less fornunate. They just do what needs to be done behind the scenes and they don't worry about who gets credit for it.

You don't have the foggiest idea of what's going on in Iraq other than what you read in the Daily Kos. You seem to be completely unaware of the reconstruction that's been going on there with Western assistance. You seem completely unaware of those who are actually responsible for much of the killing that's taken place since Saddam was deposed.

Do you understand U.N resolutions under the U.N. Charter? Do you understand the meaning of a no-fly zone agreed to in the cease-fire after the first Gulf War? What happens when one party in a conflict refuses to honor the treaty to which they agreed? Those few questions are just for starters.

Where do you hear John McCain threatening war at every turn? Funny, but I seem to remember Barack Obama threatening to turn up the heat in Afghanistan. That bother you at all? You should have learned something from Ronald Reagan and his little phrase, "peace through strength." If you have a strong national defense and it is clear to aggressors that you will use it, the chances of keeping the peace are all the more stronger.

You still confuse the nation-state and its responsibilities under Romans 13 with what the Lord expects of us as individual believers. I am still waiting for you to work that one out.

I'm also still waiting for you to clean up your potty mouth. You make me angry at times, but I have yet to begin throwing vulgarities at you. I realize that using words like p****d, f****in etc. will get you applause with Anne Lamott and her crowd, but it really is conduct unbecoming of a minister.

2:51 PM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

I consider the poor to be those who struggle in life with finances regardless of their choices. They are still poor.

Which is a rather un-nuanced position for you, perhaps because it plays into your politics.

The Bible, however, plays no such games. Several of the Proverbs have to do with the sluggard, and are not complimentary of that person. Paul has to deal with those in Thessalonica who had stopped working and were mooching off of others.

While we can't appreicate Obama's abortion platform, neither should we appreciate that McCain will flex muscle and threaten war at every turn.

What a crock!!! When has McCain threatened war at every turn?? Please, Randy, reference that for us, so we can check it out.

While we are guilty of the abortions in our nation, we are also guilty of the tens of thousands of deaths in Iraq. Ironically, the 'right' has made no issue that three million Christians were displaced in Iraq.

Sorry, but you're going to have to point the blame to the deaths in Iraq to those who are really to blame--insurgents who make bombs that blow up people with little to no regard of who their victims are, for example. Or those who want Iraq's democracy to fail (why does the word 'Iran' come to mind?).

The biblical text calls these people our brothers and sisters, and yet we justify our war because their leader was an evil man.

So, what's your point? That they had life so much better under Hussein? How many did he kill, we may ask? How many did he persecute?

For your info... we can not eradicate evil or bad people no matter how many wars we start. Go back to your Calvinism. We all fall short of the glory of God.

So, we should stop trying? No law enforcement, so defense of anyone for whatever reason? Let the perverts and the islamofascists and the anarchists have their ways, because we can't stop them from being evil? We should have just let Hitler have Europe, and stood by while he killed all he didn't deem to be of his master race?

So, I'm pro-life and agaist waging war. I think Jesus was making a few significant declarations when he taught the crowds.

Really? Where did Jesus say anything about not waging war? He had some opportunities, you know.

You are pro-life and agaist abortion. Yet, being pro-life also includes feeding the poor and creating an the possility for peace rather than war

And you are someone who says he is pro-life but would sell your vote to someone who is for infanticide. With pro-lifers like you on their side, abortionists don't need pro-choicers.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Solo,

You wrote: You still confuse the nation-state and its responsibilities under Romans 13 with what the Lord expects of us as individual believers. I am still waiting for you to work that one out.

The reformers believed that all of creation was within the realm of God. Thus, people who follow Jesus are called to act as such even within their politics.

If followers of Christ are involved with politics in Ameria, we should not expect that they drop to the level of what is 'permissibile.' We should expect much more.

When the only difference between followers of Jesus in America and non-beleives is that we are 'saved,' then we've entirely missed the kingdom of God.

Paul tells us that we live with the Spirit within us. Yet, we decide to wage war and kill and neglect people who may not 'work hard enough.'

Jesus does call us to be peacemakers. Check out the Sermon on the Mount. Or was Jesus just screwing around with us?

It seems that I am taking the text at least as seriously as anyone here. Nobody else is willing to agree that peace is the way of the kingdom.

I also think that honesty is the way of the kingdom. It's time that followers of Jesus expect honesty from one another as well as their leaders.

That's why I've called ron on the matter of 'telling me' that I am not pro-life. I said that I am. What more does he need?

At the end of the day, we won't agree. I would simply hope for orthodox followers of Jesus to be generous with those who are not followers of Jesus as well as other believers who see things differently.

11:14 PM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

Paul tells us that we live with the Spirit within us. Yet, we decide to wage war and kill and neglect people who may not 'work hard enough.'

And once again, you gloss over what Paul says. I suppose the fact that he says that "the man who does not work, neither should he eat" just doesn't make a blip on your uber-liberal radar.

Isn't it funny how in the Bible the calls to help are for those who are mostly unable to help themselves--widow, orphans? It says nothing about helping those who are capable but don't put forth the effort.

Jesus does call us to be peacemakers. Check out the Sermon on the Mount. Or was Jesus just screwing around with us?

When someone descends to profanity, the debate is already lost for them.

It's amazing how you and others like you make 'peacemaker' into 'pacifist'. Considering that you can read the NT as much as you want and not find one place where a soldier is told to not be a soldier, considering that Jesus himself to His disciples to start taking swords with them on their travels, I think you are stretching the point to say to a degree unwarranted.

It seems that I am taking the text at least as seriously as anyone here.

Except you're not.

That's why I've called ron on the matter of 'telling me' that I am not pro-life. I said that I am. What more does he need?

And Mormons would call themselves Christians, but they're not. Obama has gone beyond mere abortion to supporting infanticide, and you think he's a fit man to run our country. Sorry, but your vote is speaking so loudly, I can't hear a word you're saying.

5:10 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

jazzy.
as you said, you can't hear a word I am saying. thanks for the same generosity that Jesus showed. i believe most peopel call it grace.

yet the 'conservatives' have very little grace... very little sense that God forgive and forgives and forgives and forgives and forgives and forgives... endlessly.

So, when followers of Jesus say that they love Jesus, you have NO reason to believe them. You have no reason to trust them. YOU have no reason to take them at their word.

So, when the Apostle Paul says that love trusts and hopes and perseveres, perhaps he wasn't really inspired by the Spirit? Perhaps that was his own idea?

The problem I have with conservatives who lack total grace and compassion... they fail to mirror the same kind of grace and compassion and forgiveness that God offers to people created in his image.

You may talk about wars, and laws, and people not breaking the laws... but Jesus really found himself hanging out with those people. Those were his people.

The legalists who couldn't deal with words like crap and poop... who believe God cares about what words we use to call human stink... those were the people Jesus didn't hang with.

You hang with whomever you want. I'll do the same.

I need to get to sleep. I have some young kids, some high school kids, some older folks, and a refuge family to spend time with tomorrow.

May the gospel become more alive tomorrow than it is today. May the kingdom come on earth as it is in the heavens.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Many of us fully agree that peace is the way to the kingdom. The problem arises when others don't want to live peacefully and abort babies or wish to harm us at gun point. You seem to be missing that aspect dreadfully badly.

You said, "Paul tells us that we live with the Spirit within us. Yet, we decide to wage war and kill and neglect people who may not 'work hard enough.'" ??? What in the world are you talking about?

Odd that you didn't mention holiness in your comments. Why isn't that important?

You may say that you're anti-abortion, but when you back a political candidate that is not only 100% pro-abortion, indeed, as the jazz-person mentioned is into infanticide--you do know that this is true, don't you?--then you should not be surprised when people call you on this. Btw, I'm not calling you on it as a Democrat, but as a Christian. If you expect me to be "Bri like generous" on abortion, then you're sadly mistaken.

Yeah, Randy, Jesus would "hang out" with illegal aliens. There were lots of Mexicans in Palestine changing the beds in the inns that no Palestinian would change. Jerusalem--and this is a little know fact--was a sanctuary city where a distant relative of Gavin Newsom lived. When these illegals murdered Jesus' people he just said, "Hey, man, it's like cool you know because this is the peaceable like kingdom." Surf's up.
I'll be praying for everyone you contact tomorrow that you don't infect them with whatever disease you have, that apparently affects the brain.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Also, maybe you can teach them how Jesus thought it was really nifty and cool to use foul language.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

When people murdered Jesus, not one of his twelve disciples reacted with anger and retaliation.

Interesting to note there were plenty of people who were reacting with force at that time, but the disciples did no such thing.

There was no mention of getting rid of Ceasar or Pontius Pilate.

Likewise, Paul did nothing to bring down the wrath of God on those who moved on his final trip to Rome.

Not one mention of getting rid of 'evil' powers. Not one attempt to challenge the standing powers.

The last stand seems to be Peter slicing off an ear. And Jesus put an end to that violence as well.

So, the ways of Jesus. The ways particular to Jesus and his disciples as written in the gospels, Acts, and the rest of the N.T. are not acts of aggression nor violence.

In order to support wars and threats of war, we need to revert to the Old Testament. This is not to say the Old Testament lacks value nor that it is even secondary.

It simply needs to be recognized that something changed with the arrival of an innocent baby.

Violence of abortion AND violence of war was not the way of the people that followed Jesus Christ.

Not until Constantine, well after the close of the Canon, do we begin to see the development of Jesus followers being people who advocated wars for various reasons.

Not until the church gains political power do we read of Christians as the aggressors.

The New Testament stands on its own in terms of how followers of Jesus followed.

Had the humility of Jesus followers been present with people in positions of power over the past eight years, this entire Iraq debacle would have never happened.

11:11 PM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

as you said, you can't hear a word I am saying. thanks for the same generosity that Jesus showed. i believe most peopel call it grace.

I think that the person who last week made accusations of racism and then didn't repent of them when called on it has no grounds on which to say anyone else is being 'ungraceful'.

Like I wrote in response to your sickening tirade, you've lost all respect from me, and so far have done nothing to reclaim any of it.

yet the 'conservatives' have very little grace... very little sense that God forgive and forgives and forgives and forgives and forgives and forgives... endlessly.

It's quite obvious, then, that you have known no conservatives, only you're mental projections of them, and the spin you and other liberals put on them.

So, when followers of Jesus say that they love Jesus, you have NO reason to believe them. You have no reason to trust them. YOU have no reason to take them at their word.

Way to jump to H, without establishing A, B, C, or any other step in between. Your statement here is not based on any fact, only your own attempts to make it seem like I've said what I haven't even come close to saying.

You may talk about wars, and laws, and people not breaking the laws... but Jesus really found himself hanging out with those people. Those were his people.

Really? Where? Come on, Randy, give us book, chapter, and verse where it says Jesus hung out with ancient hippies, anarchists, flower children, and the like.

The legalists who couldn't deal with words like crap and poop... who believe God cares about what words we use to call human stink... those were the people Jesus didn't hang with.

Again, book, chaper, and verse, Randy.

5:21 AM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

btw Randy, here's a bit of something for your further education.

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/warner-todd-huston/2008/08/18/campaign-admits-obama-lied-about-abortion-vote-media-asleep

As NewsBusters reported on August 13, the media pretty much ignored the great work by Jill Stanek in uncovering the truth that contradicted nearly 6 years of claims that Obama made concerning his vote on the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act when he was in the Illinois State Senate. Obama claimed that the Federal "neutrality clause" wasn't in the Illinois bill and that if it were he would have voted for the bill instead of against it. Stanek proved that the exact same clause Obama said wasn't in the bill was actually placed in the bill by the very committee Obama chaired. Yet he still voted against it.

So, even with the same "neutrality clause" in the bill, placed there by the very committee of which he chaired, Obama still voted against the bill. Even though for 6 years he has claimed he would have voted for the bill if the "neutrality clause" was there -- that he has been saying this whole time that the lack of that clause made him vote against the bill -- even with that claim being proven a lie, the media stays silent.

The fact is, Obama's abortion record is far more extreme than he and his willing Old Media accomplices are allowing for. Obama is in favor of allowing babies to die from neglect even if born completely healthy, but unwanted by the Mother. This is an extreme view.


Obama lied, children died.

It's that simple.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

jazz man. Go read your Bible rather than expect me to find chapters and verses for you.

you can begin with being born in a manger from an unmarried woman. he started out as a bastard child. he grew up in the outpost of Egypt where his ancestors has been in slavery. he ate dinner with a tax collector, had a whore who annoint his feet, and he healed those who had been cast out of their communities...

i know my Bible plenty well thank you. I've spent more time listening to its words around the table by the age of 12 than most people hear in their entire lives.

you don't need to lecture me on the biblical text.

back to the point of abortion -- you vote on your candidate entirely on one issue. one issue.

can followers of Jesus please be more thoughtful than being one issue candidates? is the Bible not a more integrated story for our lives than one simple issue?

so what do all these anti-abortion people do when roe vs. wade is overturned?

the fact is that one issue people have no comprehensive story that leads their lives. they don't really know that peace and compassion and care for the least of these are very central to Jesus.

so, we are left with Christians voting anti-abortion but having no story that centers their lives around the God of the Scriptures.

[oh -- I do know more than a few conservatives. I live in the Amway capital of the world. Do the sons & daughters of Amway's founders count?]

7:00 AM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

jazz man. Go read your Bible rather than expect me to find chapters and verses for you.

First off, cop out.

Second, it's jazzact13. 'Jazz' for short is acceptable.

you can begin with being born in a manger from an unmarried woman. he started out as a bastard child. he grew up in the outpost of Egypt where his ancestors has been in slavery. he ate dinner with a tax collector, had a whore who annoint his feet, and he healed those who had been cast out of their communities...

Funny, but I see a distinct lack of hippies, flower children, and anarchists in those accounts.

Jesus was a bastard? Please, how's that for disrespect. Are you next going to tell us that he was the product of a Roman soldier raping Mary?

To give again what you said...

You may talk about wars, and laws, and people not breaking the laws... but Jesus really found himself hanging out with those people. Those were his people.

Your references to those events does not prove your case.

back to the point of abortion -- you vote on your candidate entirely on one issue. one issue.

If McCain chooses a pro-choice VP, he will have effectively made himself unworthy of my vote.

can followers of Jesus please be more thoughtful than being one issue candidates?

Oh, yes, such a small issue, the murder of millions. Wasn't it Stalin who said that the murder of one person was a tragedy, the murder of millions a statistic?

is the Bible not a more integrated story for our lives than one simple issue?

Always funny how people such as you try to spin things. "All Christians care about is abortion!!!" Never minding all the other things we do care about.

so what do all these anti-abortion people do when roe vs. wade is overturned?

What a nonsense question.

they don't really know that peace and compassion and care for the least of these are very central to Jesus.

If it wasn't so sad, such a statement would be hilarioius. Does Obama really care for "the least of these" when he allows those who survived abortion to be left to die?

Or is all of this "least of these" rhetoric emergents and liberals are trotting out just another example of misuse of the Bible for political means?

so, we are left with Christians voting anti-abortion but having no story that centers their lives around the God of the Scriptures.

Laughable. We have the only story that does such things--Christ crucified and risen. More then a story, an account of real events, the truth.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

jazz

you effectivly stated that you are a one issue person. so what when roe vs. wade is overturned...

then what matters to you?

As for the biblical text, when Jesus hung out with the whores, that meant something. When he hung out with fishermen, that meant something. When he hung out with the leapers who were cast out of society, that meant something.

To think that he wouldn't hang out with IRS people, whores, flower children, and hippies... THESE are exactly the people Jesus would hang out with. ... and likely those with aids and homosexual behaviour as well.

Jesus hung out with the sinners and the people who were not clean -- aka those who were not holy according to the Jewish law.

So, why would he not hang out with the unholy and unworthy now?

8:37 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

Finally, why can't you trust people at their word?

You've never heard the saying, "Actions speak louder than words"? When your own words admit that your actions are inconsistent with your beliefs (you are "pro-life" but you support a radically "pro-choice" candidate), why should anyone take your word as to what your beliefs are?

Murder is a much higher degree of evil than bad economic policies. The murder of millions of unborn children is a much higher degree of evil than a morally ambiguous war in which thousands have died or been displaced. Death is a much higher degree of misery than is poverty.

None of this means you ought to vote for John McCain, but it does mean you have no business, as a professing Christian, voting for Barack Obama.

There was no mention of getting rid of Ceasar or Pontius Pilate.

Likewise, Paul did nothing to bring down the wrath of God on those who moved on his final trip to Rome.

Not one mention of getting rid of 'evil' powers. Not one attempt to challenge the standing powers.


You evidently don't understand that the church and the state are two separate institutions, both established by God for different purposes. No one should have to referrence Rom. 13 for you again. Of course the church didn't attempt to overthrow Pontius Pilate or Rome or any government. The church is not an earthly kingdom that it may wage war against earthly kingdoms. But the government "beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." Thus it is the right & responsibility of the state even to put evildoers to death. But it is not the right or responsibility of the state to take over the ministries of the church.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

I have all the busines in the world not voting for McCain.

His party supports torture. His party supports wars and rumors of war.

His party supports Blackwater --- a company that has murdered innocent people.

His party avoids justice by keeping detainees out of America to avoid our laws.

His party also led us into a war that has taken thousands of lives...

Ultimately, his party lacks wisdom at this moment. I believe wisdom is one of the highest characteristics of humans.

When/if the republicans can regain wisdom, then I'll begin to believe they have real values again.

When we read the biblical text, David did terrible things. Terrible things. Yet, he was a man after God's own heart.

So, to suggest that one issue determines that Obama is not after God's own heart... that totally ignores the biblical text.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy,

For some time, I have been debating with myself on what the best response to you ought to be. I've taken a sharper tone than normal of late because my patience is nearing exhaustion. I've wondered to myself, "this guy can't possibly be that much of an idiot." Other times, I've thought, "no, he knows full well what he's doing. He's being frustrating on purpose. He's only here to twit a man for whom he's conjured up an almost pathological dislike and disdain." Other times, I've thought, "he's really, really deceived."

I've read enough of Emergents and about where they get their root philosophies that I need read no more. I understand postmodernism. I understand how deconstructionists work. It's sad when pastors trained at once noble institutions like Calvin College and Seminary begin parroting the stuff, but such are our times.

You often refer to your Reformed heritage, and talk often about how we seem to miss the mark of a Reformed worldview (which is a ridiculous statement in my view.) I have to wonder -- in light of your statements -- what Calvin, Van Til, Bavinck, Knox, and other great Reformed men would have thought of what you have had to say here at this blog. I guess I can keep wondering.

To address the issue at hand, I'd at least like to have one more crack at it. So please do the following, and see if you can't help me grasp your mindset.

I'd like to see you do an exegesis here of Romans 13, verse by verse, at least the pertinent ones on government and rulers. Put down McLaren, put down Lamott, put down Chalke, Bell, Burke, Miller, and any of the other village idiots you've been reading and who pass themselves off as theologians, and pick up your Bible. I'd really like to see you put your education into action. Cross references verses in context, also.

Then, perhaps we can have some kind of coherent discussion.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Did you miss the holy wars in the OT or did you sleep through that class in sem? Various reasons.

"In order to support wars and threats of war, we need to revert to the Old Testament. This is not to say the Old Testament lacks value nor that it is even secondary.

It simply needs to be recognized that something changed with the arrival of an innocent baby." Really? Didn't the innocent baby say something about not coming to do his will but the will of his Father (cf. John 6:38) and that not one jot or iota would pass away from the OT (Matt. 5:17ff.)?

"The New Testament stands on its own in terms of how followers of Jesus followed." Really? Did you sleep through the lesson about how at least 10% of the NT consists of direct quotes from the OT?

"he started out as a bastard child." Even though I'm not surprised, you just stepped into the world of heresy. Would you like to rethink and reformulate your statement? Being conceived by the Holy Spirit hardly qualifies one to be illegitimate. You really don't grasp salvation and the redemptive-historical process, do you?

"To think that he wouldn't hang out with IRS people, whores, flower children, and hippies... THESE are exactly the people Jesus would hang out with. ... and likely those with aids and homosexual behaviour as well." Would he tell them to go and sin no more?

Moreover, how on earth can you be so callous about abortion. The way you talk about this atrocity is flippant. Where is your indignation?

"His party supports torture." Even though I don't like a number of McCain's policies, he has come out against torture. What torture are you specifically referring to?

Sola, Randy won't give us an exegesis of anything. Yes, he knows what he's doing. So do the other emergents like McLaren. They've imbibed of the Kool-Aid. Nothing rational or reasonable comes into play. BTW, Randy, thanks once again for keeping to the subject of the blog. Superb job. You are, indeed, the poster boy for emergents and postmodernism. Did you know that Jesus had a bunch of tattoos and did meth. Yep. Every time he would hang out with the prostitutes, he'd just do the things that they did. He smoked pot and tried to quell the rumors that he was illegitimate. You really ought to be ashamed of yourself, but in all likelihood your conscience is seared. You truly are one of the most disgusting seminary grads I've ever met.

11:05 PM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

Another example of the politicizing of "the least of these".

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/warner-todd-huston/2008/08/28/ohio-radio-dem-party-chairman-says-americans-are-selfish-against

In an interview with Toledo radio station 1370 WSPD, Redfern made the outrageous comments on how selfish Americans are and how we need government to force us all to care for, as he put it, "the least among us."

Finally, Redfern's claim that American's are too selfish to give charity is an outright lie. At least it is an outright lie where it concerns conservative Americans. For instance, ABC's John Stossel found that conservatives give far more to charity than liberals. Of course, based on Stossel's work, perhaps it is expected that leftist Redfern never met an American that cares much to indulge in charity? After all, if he only hangs around other leftists when would he ever meet a generous American? Maybe he at least has an excuse to think so ill about his fellow Americans? Seriously though, it is only his illogical, uninformed personal experience as opposed to an opinion based on any fact that would make him think so.

But, even that aside, Americans over all, liberal or conservative, are far more generous than other peoples across the globe. As I wrote in 2007, according to CAF International, Americans individually give 1.67% of GDP whereas the UK gives only .73% while Canada gives only .72%. From there the bottom drops out with Australia giving only .69% and the rest at 40% or less. Unsurprisingly, France brings up the tail with .14% of GDP.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

I have all the busines in the world not voting for McCain.

I didn't say that you should vote for McCain. I don't plan on doing so myself. I said you have no business, as a Christian, supporting Obama.

When we read the biblical text, David did terrible things. Terrible things. Yet, he was a man after God's own heart.

So, to suggest that one issue determines that Obama is not after God's own heart... that totally ignores the biblical text.


David committed adultery & was complicit in murder, it's true. And he suffered punishment. But David didn't run for election on a platform that advocated murder and adultery, did he?

Obama isn't king in Israel. Obama has not been anointed by God. Obama is running on a platform that advocates the continued murder of unborn children, and the protection of those who commit such murder or are complicit in the same. Obama advocates the moral equivalent of Molech-worship - throwing children into the flames.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

Hey Ronald,

I was reading Romans tonight, and after reading the 13th chapter I read into the 14th.

Interesting in light of your quote to me: You truly are one of the most disgusting seminary grads I've ever met.

And Paul wrote: accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgement on disputable matters. One man's faith allows...

I feel the love of... well, not God.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

So Randy, are you telling us that your faith is weak?

Perhaps you need to take a sabbatical from your ministry until your faith is sufficiently rekindled.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Just for the record, in both Romans and 1 Corinthians Paul identified himself with the stronger brothers and sisters. Perhaps you would do well to do the same. Stop playing the victim and step up to the plate and lead biblically.

Besides Scripture try working through James C. Rees' book "George Washington's Leadership Lessons." In the meantime, stop whining and making excuses. Lead and lead from the front.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

And Paul wrote: accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgement on disputable matters. One man's faith allows...

I feel the love of... well, not God.


Because abortion & blasphemy are disputable matters, right?

10:02 AM  
Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Hi Ron,

I love your article. And I love yours and SolaMeanie's replies to Randy.

Here's an article that you might find interesting and related to this post: Correspondence on Abortion and Voting

10:58 PM  

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