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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, August 08, 2008

Obama, McLaren, & the Christian Left

McLaren Tips His Hand
Yesterday Phil Johnson and the funny guys over at Pyromaniacs had a link to's article, "Obama works to mobilize 'Christian Left.'" He has the support of groups like Matthew 25, which is a political action committee. The name is "inspired by a biblical passage, in the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, in which Jesus says, 'For I was hungry and you gave me food, i was thirsty and you gave me drink.'" Just for the record, it's Matthew 25:35, but we really cannot expect anyone at CNN to know that.

Anyway, our friend, ole non-leader, apolitical Bri is now the "informal" adviser to the Obama campaign. Why are we surprised. I'd be willing to bet that even on Jim Wallis, Rob Bell, Don Miller, Doug Pagitt, Spencer Burke, and Anne LaMott are Obama fans as well. It would be safe to wager that all of this non-leader, fully balanced, non-political crew voted for Kerry in the last election and Gore in the election before that; and Clinton before that.

McLaren is targeting what he considers to be a "very, very sizable percentage" (somewhere according to his calculations, between 33-50%, taking "amahoro," the U.S. Suicidal System, the secret message of Jesus [that no one knows except old Bri], and the quasi-socialistic societal machine. Understand? You will once you reframe Jesus. For right now you just need to trust Bri who knows, but doesn't, but wants you to understand and follow what he writes.) "especially younger evangelicals, who are very open to somebody with a new vision." That's very helpful. Anyone who has read McLaren's ridiculous, laughable book "Everything Must Change," will know--sort of, in a modernists kind of way--what I mean.

What might this "new vision" look like. Well, old Bri is not going to get caught up in those silly, traditional social issues that conservatives want to see resolved like abortion and gay marriage. No, by his own admission, he wants to focus on global warming and the war in Iraq. Once again, what a surprise. But this is the so-called "Christian Left." The blood of innocents murdered at the hands of those who took an oath--what does that mean anymore?--to protect and defend life is not as important as global warming, which, by the way, is about on as solid footing scientifically as evolution and the war in Iraq.

McLaren's complaint is summed up this way: "We've watched the evangelical community be led--be misled--by the Republican Party to support things they really shouldn't have supported; the blind support for the Iraq war when it was launched on either mistaken or false pretenses." It never ceases to amaze how old uncertain Bri can get pretty specific and certain at times. It's almost as though he knows.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I really wonder how Christian the Christian Left is. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a Kool-Aid drinker for the Republican Party. In fact, I prefer simply to be called a conservative. I've been quite critical of President Bush and many of his policies, but I could never bring myself to vote for a political party that had as one of its infallible shrines the murder of babies, and that, my friends, is the current Democratic Party. I cannot fathom how anyone who has a basic understanding of the fundamental truths of the Bible could support abortion, gay marriage, women in ecclesiastical office, women in combat, and heavier taxation. For those who haven't taken the time to work out how much Obama has promised in terms of a tax burden, let me explain that what he's proposing would not lead us into a recession, but rather it would take us into a full-orbed depression. How can ole Bri come out and endorse a man whose voting record is even more to the left than Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Boxer, and Feinstein? Barack Obama makes Nancy Pelosi look like Barry Goldwater, who, by the way, was a real conservative.



Blogger jazzact13 said...

we make a big deal about issues that Jesus said absolutely nothing about.
Mclaren, Charlotte, NC newspaper interview

Like global warming? Like class warfare and the redistribution of wealth? Like legalizing immorality? Like gun control?

Yeah, Mr. McLaren, you really do make a big deal out of things that Jesus said nothing about. Not that it will stop you, I'm sure.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

The only qualifier I would throw out there on Barry Goldwater is that he must have hit his head on something in his later years. The once staunch conservative began warming to homosexual rights (no doubt because he had a gay grandson) and took pot shots at Christian conservatives. Too bad he had to end an otherwise noble legacy like that.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Spencer said...


This is our 3rd Presidential election cycle at I invite you to check out our message board forums where the political discussions take place - - and make your own assessment as to the bias or agenda.

I have personally (and as the creator of TheOOZE) been very careful - we host a conversation that is open and respectful, while challenging each other to follow in the way of Jesus.

Your post seems to give room for someone to be a "conservative" but not of another political view... (you could support Bush in the last election, but others can not support Obama in this election). We have tried to create a safe environment for everyone to engage, no matter their affiliation.

You might want to check out my friend Shane Claiborne (another emerging non-leader)

Spencer Burke

12:59 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Thanks for dropping by and posting your comment. I really don't mind conversations that are open and respectful. However, having said that, I don't like conversations that are so open-ended that one never arrives at any biblical conclusions.
Christians have the freedom to vote as free men and women. As Christians, however, we are bound by scriptural principles that must, in every instance, guide our decision-making process. This is my main criticism of Bri and has been from the outset.
At the expense of not sounding open, respectful, or charitable if your book on the heretics guide is any indication of what you consider to be open and charitable, then I am obligated to put you in the same open category as Grenz and Pinnock.
Many--most--Christians are conservative politically because for the longest time, the Dems have been the party of death: abortion. That is their sacred cow. I understand that many in the emergent confusion don't know what we should think about homosexuality and that's because you are also confused about what Scripture really is.
As I wrote in my blog, Bri and you guys are ostensibly still journeying when it comes to key, fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith until--until--you all draw your conclusions. Then you are as certain as any modernist on the planet. How else could Bri write about how he knows the "secret" message of Jesus? Did the Almighty wait for Bri to be born and negate over 2,000 years of church history?
Ultimately, how do you know that your book is an accurate guide to heretics, although you clearly made the point that you're in that camp and if I'm not mistaken, old Bri wrote a favorable intro to that book.
On balance, you don't even have to be a modernist or foundationalist to know that when it's convenient to you guys, you rush to a meta-narrative as quickly as anyone else.
Let's keep talking.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Spencer said...

I am heading out with the family for vacation - I would love to keep the conversation going...

When you say "Many--most--Christians are conservative politically", I assume you are contextualizing the past 50 years of American politics. Over the past ten years of one thing I have had the privilege of learning is, how wonderfully diverse the "body of Christ" is around the world, and how "alive" we are as we engage the world around us...

Maybe we can hook up in a couple of weeks.


7:34 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Careful, Ron..

You might be about to get dialogued to death, LOL.

2:19 PM  
Blogger sister said...

"Clowns to left of me, Jokers to the right, Here I am, stuck in the middle with you."

4:36 PM  
Blogger Les said...


Man what a breath of fresh air you are in the Reformed blog world. I knew there must still be a few of us out there who still wear pants and hadn't traded them in for skirts.

I have linked to your blog for a while now and check in every few days. Great stuff!

My blog partner Randy quoted you from this post and linked to it. Hopefully many, many Christians will find their way here and get their eyes opende to the leftist agenda of Bri, et al.

Les Prouty

12:47 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

A Gerry Rafferty/Stealer's Wheel fan here on C:D&E?

Whoda thunk it? :)

12:48 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Thank you for your kind comments. I'll check your blog out as well.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Spencer shows up at your blog and you question his faith? We never do this to you. What give you the gull?

As for followers of Jesus... do you realize the Iraq war dislocated and/or killed 3 million Christians in that nation? We care more about our nation's own safety rather than our own brothers and sisters in Christ.

Where is the conservative biblical outrage?

You talk about abortion. Not all of us who support Barack support abortion. You have conservatives who recognize abortion as a positive thing. Yet, the Republican party has elected some of these people.

As for all of your other jibber jabber... a report out today states that our deployed military men and women support Barack by 6 to 1. They are donating to his campaign by about the same margin.

What gives on that point?

The simple fact remains that the entire Sermon on the Mount is ignored by the Republican party. There is simple arrogance that supports threats of war and war as the best means of directing this world.

When does the biblical text tell us that this posture is the best means of living within the kingdom of God. Even the great warrior King David rarely held such a posture.

It's time our posture resembles the biblical text... a posture of confidence but humility. A posture of honesty and integrity. A posture of leadership that encourages dialogue over bombs.

Perhaps if our faith becomes primary and our nationalism becomes secondary (no other god's before me), then we recognize the bibilcal test for the amazing story that it is... God with his people.

A God of love, grace, and forgiveness who sends his son to put the broken world to right. A God who calls us to live as a different king of people if we are to be his followers.

Either we choose to hear the words of Jesus with hope for this world or...

9:41 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Taking time off from here doesn't improve your abilities to think and speak clearly.
I question Burke's faith precisely because of what he wrote in his book on the heretic's guide to God. He is just that. For you not to see that means that you are simply blind to what the man wrote. Btw, ole Bri wrote the intro to that work on how heretics think, didn't he? Are you emergents so loyal that you'll rail against biblical conservatives and adoringly embrace such unbiblical clap-trap? Apparently you are. It is for this, and reasons like it, that Christians are so rightly critical of you guys.

"do you realize the Iraq war dislocated and/or killed 3 million Christians in that nation?" Randy, you need to stay off the left-wing web sites and stop drinking that ridiculous Kool-Aid. Ironically, you have nothing to say about the real numbers of people that Saddam tortured and murdered. Typical.

"As for all of your other jibber jabber... a report out today states that our deployed military men and women support Barack by 6 to 1." Phunny. Having served in the military, I can tell you that by and large, the armed forces are peopled by those who are quite conservative and patriotic. Your numbers are bogus. No reasonable person would believe that for a moment. Listen, with Obama's numbers and McCain's being about even, why would the military be in such opposition? This, too, Randy, is some left-wing fabrication that no reasonable person will believe.

"The simple fact remains that the entire Sermon on the Mount is ignored by the Republican party." That's quite possible, but it would be even more true of the Democratic Party. You see, you, old Bri, Spencer, Bell, and the others are on record that abortion and gay marriage are not nearly as important as global warming (phunny) and global poverty. (Read my recent blogs on poverty and then go to the book of Proverbs and read what it says about how many people become poor.)

Dialogue over bombs? Why don't you explain to us how you would go about that, Randy. I'm certain it would be an interesting discussion. Do you mean unilateral disarmament? If you do, you're more naive that I ever imagined.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Actually, Ron..I was wondering more about you having "gull." I didn't know there was such a quality. The only gulls I know of are the white kind that fly around bodies of water.

I'll have to do some research into this new kind of "gull." Perhaps Mr. Buist meant "gall," which could mean gallstones. With Emergents, terms change their meaning depending on the intent of the user, and even then we can't be certain.

We really can't be certain of anything, can we?

5:36 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

I'm sure you know this already, but you made the right choice. Clearly, the panhandler wanted money for something other than food. Too many people are a "soft touch" and end up contributing to the person's addiction.
Your offer was genuine and compassionate.

12:15 PM  

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