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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, May 15, 2009

A Life and Death Issue: Universal Health Care

Rushing Towards Medical Mediocrity—At Best

Some might find it a little dramatic to discuss universal health care as a life and death issue. For those who have lived under universal health care (American politicians, tenured professors, and the general population of the United States), it might appear to be a good idea and to offer advantages over our current system. This is a false notion. I believe I qualify to write on this subject for a number of good reasons, not least of which is that I lived under it for nine-plus years in Holland and then, being a glutton for punishment, another nine-plus years in Canada. This fact alone puts me ahead of the curve for those who want to recommend universal health care to us.

Moreover, I have read widely on this subject and want to explain to those who are willing to listen that it is not merely about health care, but rather this issue spreads its tentacles out to a variety of ethical issues. For example, universal health care has an enormous impact on questions surrounding abortion, euthanasia, and stem-cell research, not to mention economics, free market principles, the government’s take over and nationalization of banks, schools, the auto industry, and health care as well as the broad topic of (real) poverty.

The Obama administration is rushing this country headlong in the direction of Socialism and it just announced that Mr. Obama would like to have universal health care, or some semblance thereof, in place before July 31st. This administration is moving at breakneck speed towards fulfilling Mr. Obama’s agenda, which has already cost Americans more than they, their children, and their grandchildren can repay and the prognosis is that it’s only going to get worse. Even though it’s getting to be a hackneyed phrase, one cannot help but wonder aloud and on paper why the United States wants universal health care, when every country that has ever tried it finds it to be a dismal system that cannot and will not deliver what it promises. Why would anyone want to attempt to implement a system that has failed (miserably) wherever it’s been tried? Almost every morning I wake up these days wondering what stupid thing our elected and appointed representatives have done while I slept. Today it’s universal health care.

In the course of these issues, I want to lay out the numerous reasons why universal health care is a bad choice, in addition to the fact that it’s comparable to the Department of Motor Vehicles or the U.S. Post Office running your health care. Moreover, if this is such a crackerjack undertaking, why don’t Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Reid, Boxer, Feinstein, and Schwarzenegger lead by example and use this program as their only form of health insurance? The short answer is: for the same reason they oppose school vouchers, want you and me to send our children to government schools, and who send their children to exclusive, expensive private schools. It’s the same reason a huge number of public (read: government) school principals send their children to private schools as well. Our government schools receive failing grades across the board and the same is true of every country that has every experimented with universal health care.

Make no mistake: it is an experiment that repeatedly demonstrates unfavorable results. In this preliminary installment, I want to begin by taking a look at the universal health care of our neighbor to the north, Canada, and a link to an excellent video by Dr. Walter E. Williams, an economist from George Mason University in Virginia. Way back in 1991, Dr. Bill Gairdner wrote an excellent exposé on the overall ills of Canada.[1] Chapter 11 of this fine work is entitled “Medical Mediocrity. Canada’s Sick Health-Care System.” Gairdner begins his discussion with a series of newspaper headlines from Canadian papers such as, “Metro wait for surgery forces 100 heart victims to hit U.S.,” “Patients wait in line for hospital bed,” “Second heart patient dies as surgery delayed nine times,” and “No one blameless in rise of health costs, study says.”[2]

After using these headlines as a jumping off point, Gairdner continues, “regular cost overruns, long line-ups for surgery, experts leaving the country, patients dying as they wait for service, lack of equipment, wage clashes between professional staff and hospitals, fee-schedule battles between physicians and government”[3] all add up to a sad but predictable story. It’s sad because I know from personal experience about a congregational member who died waiting for a heart transplant; he waited eight years and his wife found him dead in the living room one morning. It is also sad because in the past when anyone wanted to flee from their abysmal universal health care system, they could come to the United States. If Mr. Obama gets his way, this will no longer be the case. It’s predictable because it was doomed to failure from the outset. Every country that has toyed around with universal health care had the same predictable results. For Mr. Obama, that doesn’t seem to matter because he’s intent on establishing a Nanny State here in America.

Gairdner makes my point that universal health care is, indeed, a life and death issue when he writes, “But the predictable breakdown of our medicare system—yet another of our social-welfare schemes—will eventually confront us all, some in the most heartbreaking way, as we watch a loved one deteriorate at home, or die lined up in the corridor of some hospital, for lack of adequate service, facilities, or equipment.”[4] What makes this difficult for Americans right now is that (1) it’s still an academic question until universal health care finally gets implemented, (2) it sounds good: free medical care, and (3) it sounds compassionate.

But then again, history teaches us that whatever sounds good, compassionate, feasible, etc. might not actually be all of those things. There is an important economic principle involved here. You might have heard—way back when—someone say something about “supply” and “demand.” It is a basic, fundamental marketing principle, but few seem to understand it anymore or have any respect for its validity. I say this because it is germane to the discussion of universal health care. Here’s the overarching principle: The demand for an unlimited free commodity is infinite.[5] This is so obviously true that I’m almost embarrassed to mention it. I mention it though because recently I walked into a store where a young person was singing the praises of Mr. Obama (Apparently, to this young person, Obama is da man.) I asked him what in Mr. Obama’s economic policies he found attractive. He informed me that he had never heard the word “economic” before. Just another 18-year-old product of our government schools. Anyway, the principle is a sound one and applies in spades to every country that has given socialized medicine—that is what universal, government sponsored health care is—a shot.

There is also the adage that there is still no such thing as a free lunch rings true. Nothing is “free.” The government doesn’t pay for all this, the taxpayers do. The government will create yet another gargantuan bureaucracy that will mismanage taxpayer dollars, lose funds, make the politicians and bureaucrats wealthier, and provide, at very best, mediocre coverage for those who used to have good health care coverage.

In our next installment, we will delve deeper into this socio-economic problem, but in the meantime, I want you to contemplate the principle that the demand for an unlimited free commodity is infinite. That is to say, if health care is “free” (socialized medicine is very expensive free health care), human nature will dictate that people will make use of it more frequently, which means long lines and scarcity of medicines, procedures, and doctors appointments. If you have cancer and don’t mind waiting six to eight months for an MRI, Mr. Obama’s plan is just what you’ve been waiting for.


[1] William Gairdner, The Trouble with Canada, (Toronto: General Paperbacks, 1991).

[2] Ibid., 299.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 299-300.

[5] Ibid., 300.



Labels:

34 Comments:

Blogger Church Watch said...

Dear Ron

I first want to mention, I trust that God has continued to provide his wonderful Grace and care for you and your family. About your article regarding universal medicine it is so true. Thank You. However, I wonder have you ever studied and pursued God's Word on health care and how the Word speaks of this subject.

Over the past 5 years I have been very involved with a man by the name of Dr. Randy. I consider this man a dear friend as well as a child of God. As your life has been a journey in truth for God and his Word so has this man's life has been a journey in God's Word but in health care.

We as Christian today are faced with the most intense conflict of the dark side known to man - what we call modern western medicine. Yes, is case of medical mergencies such as car accident, gun shots, falls, breaking of bones - western medicine has been equipped though the Grace of God. However all these health issues are treated as a symptom. But what does modern medicine do with diseases such as cancer, diabetes, swine flu common cold etc? Answer -They approach the situation as a symptom and do not treat the cause.

If a Christian confesses that God created us perfect and after the image of God, has that changed in man regarding disease and what does scripture teach? God's creation has not changed or his perfection but the attack of the dark side is blinding. What God has created is still perfect and Christians are commanded to pursue that mandate of his image of God.

Ever wonder how God is omni present -simple His Spirit. Man was created with his own spirit. What is God's Spirit- His light? How do we attract to other Christians but though His Light? Where does perfection lie is us? In our Spirit and body which was created after the image of God. We confess that our physical body will be destroyed as Christ's was on the cross BUT our spirit lives and someday we will receive a new body. We as Christians know that the Churches and their buildings throughout the years is not perfect. We have had many discussions and writings about this fact but what about the Holy Spirit and the Spirit God created in us?

Our saviour walked this earth for a little more than three years spreading salvation and healing. I carefully say without negative comment “How has the Church presented God his Son and Holy Ghost in scripture regards to healing? Yes, one could say all healings comes from God-so that’s the answer. Sorry but that is a part of the answer.

God created us with Body, Mind and Spirit. I ask humbly can we not without the aid of western modern medicine heal our bodies against disease using the Body Mind and Spirit. In one of the events of Christ's healing on the earth the Spirit passed on to the sick woman and she was healed. What healed her? You may say Christ or the Spirit or was it her commitment to her salvation in achieving perfection?

I have said enough now and leave with this thought - Can we not use our mandated created perfection to overcome our diseases through Body, Mind and Spirit. And has the church (body of believers) not used it prior to the last 45-50 years of western medicine?
God Bless
John Roza

8:20 AM  
Blogger donsands said...

"yet another of our social-welfare schemes"

Yep.

Thanks for the excellent post. This world, and our antion is really getting cloudy and it's very depressing.
But at the same time, I can seek things above, and see Christ, our sovereign King laughing at the rulers in this earth, and His wrath being stored up (Psalm 2). And so it makes me want to tell people to kiss the Son. Not like Judas did though.

Have a blessed Lord's day.

10:05 AM  
Blogger randy buist said...

Ron,

You perspective on universal health care may be accurate. We do need to remember the biblical text: Jesus reminds us time and time again that 'whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me."

So, every time a child or adult is denied good health care, we deny living into the kingdom of God that we are called into.

Randy

8:17 AM  
Blogger Jim W said...

Randy, as usual, you miss the point entirely. It isn't up to any government to force me (or you) to take care of "the least of these". If it is forced giving, that isn't giving and God won't care how much you were forced to give. If we truly care and wish to follow God's commands, we will give freely-not forced-as we see the need. Having said that, I'm having trouble making my copays-want to contribute? It's the right thing to do...Right?

1:33 PM  
Blogger randy buist said...

Jim W.

I didn't miss the point; I entirely understand Ron's point.

If we can't support forced giving, neither can we support forced morality. Drug use should be legal as should abortion.

... but it doesn't make us better people for being a nation that supports abortion. Neither does it make us a better nation when we fail to help our citizens get to a doctor.

I don't always 'give' because I feel generous. I give because it is the right thing to do. I don't always want to pay taxes, but I realize some of those dollars are used to help people that need help.

Regardless of the arguments against a more generous health care system, all arguments are based on those with resources keeping those resources to themselves.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

Is George Bush a Christian?
He says he is. He also says he and Muslims worship the same God.
Totally contradictory? Yes.
Irrational? Yes.
We see this irrational belief system everywhere.

We see the same thing here.

Can someone be a Christian? Yes.
Can someone be a Socialist? Yes.
Can someone be a Christian and a Socialist at the same time? No.
The two are completely contradictory, and to believe in both at the same time is irrational.

Such is the state of things today. People can hold two contradictory ideas in their head at the same time with no angst, no cognitive dissonance.
What is incredibly frustrating is that issues that have been settled for thousands of years keep popping to the surface like poop in a toilet.

The 8th commandment says "Thou shalt not steal." Socialism says "Thou SHALT steal." The Bible says unjust weights and measures are an OBMINATION. Socialism says they are desirable. The Bible says that charging a rich man more for something than a poor man is a sin. Socialism says it is a good idea. On and on, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

I really blame the church. We have done such a poor job at educating our congregations on the most basic aspects of what it means to live as believers, to be Kingdom minded, that we still have people in the church universal who think this way. I'm not questioning their salvation, but their understanding of what it means to be a Christian is so flawed at such a basic level, and they are so unreachable, so deliberately ignorant, it defies description.

12:08 PM  
Blogger randy buist said...

Ron,

What happens when we mix capitalism and unchecked greed for money and power? Capitalism has as many issues as true socialism - of which most countries you have labeled as 'socialism' are a mix of both.

As for your summation of those who live under universal healthcare, most Europeans & Scandanavians are fairly pleased with their different systems.

Once again, remember the gospel text: "whatever you do to the least of these..."

7:30 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

So Randy, you're against the separation of church and state? You indicate that you want the government to take over that role which you assign to the church (caring for "the least" among society).

What other roles could the government enforce for the church? How about some blue laws? Reverse Roe vs. Wade or Lawrence vs. Texas? Since the church has failed miserably in bringing about utopia (oops, "the Kingdom of God"), I'm sure the government can do a much better job of it, right?

And when Jesus was praying "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done," I'm sure he envisioned that happening because all the compassionate liberals got into power and replaced all those nasty conservatives - you know, the unchecked, greedy ones who believe in private property rights(gasp, horrors), and limited federal government (double gasp - limited federal government - horrors, that might lead to greater individual liberty - totally at odds with "utopia").

7:49 PM  
Blogger donsands said...

".. most Europeans & Scandanavians are fairly pleased with their different systems."

How do we know this for sure?

You know, Jesus said, "I pray not for the world."
Why would He say that?

The kingdom of God is holy and the subjects of King Jesus are not of this world. He loves His own like we could never, ever imagine, or know. Surely we have a foretaste of Christ's love from the Cross, and the good news of forgiveness, and a new Earth one day.
We, who love Christ look for a new country, and are pilgrims here.

While we are here we need to occupy, and live for our King.

8:26 PM  
Blogger randy buist said...

Don,
I have plenty of friends who are European and Scandanavians. They speak pretty highly of their medical care.

Wordsmith,
You still forsake that followers of Jesus are called to care for the poor, the sick, the marginalized. The biblical text still trumps our hopes and dreams and desires for a specific economic system.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Geoff said...

My main problem with universal health care is who is managing the money. I think I've made this point before. A secular government may give free health care to some of the "least of these" but they also fund the murder of over 100,000 "least of these" per year in Canada with free abortions. Now my question would be: How many murders can you justify to support universal health care? Is 1,000 abortions acceptable so long as some poor people can visit a doctor "free" of charge? 10? 1? I think you see my point. I would suggest that instead of surrendering to a secular, God hating culture, the church would be well served to step up and provide true care to the truly poor while still being able to protect the unborn. In the US an organization like Medi-Share is a great example.

I know this is anecdotal and Sister may dispute, but most people I know are far from speaking highly of Canada's universal health care. I'm not saying they're looking to replace it, but there are definitely lots of imperfections. For example, my father-in-law fractured his cheek bone in a fall and had to go to the fracture clinic. His appointment was for 10:30 a.m. and he was seen at 12:15 p.m. You can also see in most Canadian elections that Canada's Health Care system needs fixing since the politicians make this a numero uno priority every time they get near a ballot box. Here in Ontario, the premier Dalton McGuinty (think Governor Schwarzenegger, but 100 miles further to the left) made reduced wait times for health care a major part of his election platform.

One final thought. I think you are confusing some things here Randy. Healthcare does not equate to taking care of the least of these. For example, I pay little income tax in Canada because of the size of my family (8 kids) and my personal income. However, I am far from qualifying for the "least of these" category. However, when I go to the doctor, someone else basically pays for me because they pay the tax that I don't. So some "least of these" are getting care, but the majority are just middle class people who can easily afford it if they would only give up some of their essential quality of life items.

5:42 AM  
Blogger Jim W said...

No, Randy, you do miss the point. God wants us giving freely, not at the point of a gun. Forced giving isn't giving at all.
We support forced morality every day. Do you stop at Stop signs? Do we obey the speed limits? Sounds forced to me. In your world-view harmful drug use is OK? Why not allow anyone to buy and drink alcohol, then? Let any age get a driver's license. Go ahead, dig your hole deeper. You don't have any rational arguments that support your world view and there is certainly nothing in the Bible that supports your view. Your view is nothing but "feel-goodism" supported by out-of-context Bible verses and a dash of popular secular philosophy thrown in.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and posting comments. I'll give you some cold, hard facts first and then attempt to deal with some of Randy's rants, especially the one about "most" Europeans being pleased with universal health care; something that is patently untrue.

First this: In 2006, the Census Bureau reported that there were about 47 million people in the U.S. without health insurance. Cause for alarm? Nope. Let's break the numbers down. Between 11-12 million of those people are in this country illegally. If Americans decided to "help" them by "giving" them money for medical care that is fine. It's called charity. If the government comes to us and forcibly takes it from us, it's no longer "giving." Now we're dealing with coercion.
Second, another 17 million of those without health care coverage live in households earning more than $50,000 a year, who could, if they wanted, purchase health care, but, for whatever reason, had opted out and decided not to have it. Their choice. Are you keeping score? We've reduced the number of uninsured by 29 million. But wait! There's more.
Third, this global number also included those who were temporarily unemployed and who regained jobs and insurance within four months (50%).
Fourth, this number also includes those who are young, in gangs, and spend their money on clothes, X-boxes, DVDs, and movies instead of health care coverage.
Fifth, of those remaining (substantially less than 47 million), if they have emergency medical needs, they are covered.
Why do Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack H. O'bama (the Irish President)throw these numbers around? Because they don't want you to know the truth and because they all want to foist universal health care on this country.

Now to Randy's Rant. There is hardly time and space to address all of them, so I'm going to touch on Randy's quasi-irrefutable survey (all of his theses fall into the "near-infallible" category; at least in his own mind. You see, Randy believes that all he has to do is say it or mention his grandparents and we are all to bow the knee.)about "most" people in Europe and Scandinavia loving universal health care.
This really doesn't explain why in Sweden, Holland, Britain, and Canada there is a strong movement towards privatization of health care. Moreover, if Randy's friends in his local survey are young and disdain facts as Randy does, they might not have had the experience of being in their 60s and having to line up with the chronics and acutes and wait (interminably) in the queue for medical attention. How many did you actually survey Randy? What were their ages? Why were they qualified to answer? Where does Jesus say anything about "forced" giving and your link to abortion makes you, once again, the king of the "non sequitur." No health care system qualifies as "generous" when it coerces money from those who have worked hard and earned it and gives it--according to bureaucratic principles--to those who have not worked for it.
Finally, Randy, you do not have a clue what I said or why I said it.

12:54 PM  
Blogger randy buist said...

Rattlesnake,

You claim to love Jesus, but you sure do treat me like an ass. Love your neighbor as yourself has no bearing when you disagree theologically does it?

In other words, your love and respect for humans stands entirely apart from your love for God. When we speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, we are nothing more than resounding gongs and clanging cybals.

Of course, you right-wing reformers don't really believe in biblical theology anyway do you?

And Ron, I do have a clue. You bleed republican politics and you pledge yourself to the flag. The gospel tells us to have one God and not two or three. Your passion for American Christianity is second to none. The biblical text reminds us that all other powers besides those of the kingdom will pass away because they are not of God.

By the way, how did that experiment with privatizing the military go? How is your blackwater fairing?

4:43 PM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

What a nonsense answer Randy.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Jim W said...

Randy, you claim that Ron treats you like an ass. Well, it's what you deserve. You apparently forget that Jesus treated those who were full of themselves as asses, too. So, I don't see any problem with Ron's responses to you. You are an egotistical anti-intellectual-just like the Pharisees.

6:17 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy loves biblical theology except when it turns around and bites him in the rumpus.

For someone who waxes so eloquently about love, he sure manages to spit a lot of venom.

6:26 AM  
Blogger donsands said...

"The gospel tells us to have one God and not two or three."

The gospel, or good news is that Christ came to die for sinners, like you and me.

The good news says that there is some bad news for sinners who do not receive the good news. The bad news is hell for all eternity, which we sinners deserve by the way. Ever minute of hell for all eternity will be deserved by all those who will suffer there forever. And all the pleasure and joy those who are forgiven and who receive the good news will have will be 100% undeserved, but purely the mercy of the Lord for his glory and His purpose.

Sinners need to hear the good news Paul taught, and if anyone distorts the true gospel, even a little, like McLaren and others, then let them be accursed. And if we twist the gospel, and make it so it's insipid, then let us be accursed as well. or even an angel from heaven, let him be accursed.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

I've asked this question before when dealing with Emergent types, and never get an answer. So I'll ask it again.

Do Christ's commands to love God and to love our neighbor supersede all other commandments? Do these commands negate the rest of Scripture?

1:19 PM  
Blogger randy buist said...

Solamenie,

These two commands are central the the gospel message. So, they are primary. Christ himself says that the entire law rests upon these two commands.

We can argue all we want, but when we fail to love our neighbors, we fail to love the things of God. I shouldn't have to remind us of the Good Samaritan or the Prodigal Son or God's enduring grace.

Why do we expect God to extend endless grace, but then we cant' extend it to those who can't afford their own food, clothing, shelter, or a doctor's visit

Why do we believe our own ambitions and those of our own country are blessed by God? Phillipians 2 tells us to look for the interests of others as Christ did for us.

So, we can argue all we want, but until we are willing to forgo our own monies for the sake of others, we follow Christ without being serious disciples.

When we are more offended by another term for 'butt' than we are by the fact that we have starving kids in America, then our gospel message has very little gospel.

To allow the first and second command to be replaced by secondary issues creates a gospel that has very little to offer a hurting world in desperate need of a Saviour.

Solameaine, there is my answer.

7:28 PM  
Blogger randy buist said...

Solamenie,

These two commands are central the the gospel message. So, they are primary. Christ himself says that the entire law rests upon these two commands.

We can argue all we want, but when we fail to love our neighbors, we fail to love the things of God. I shouldn't have to remind us of the Good Samaritan or the Prodigal Son or God's enduring grace.

Why do we expect God to extend endless grace, but then we cant' extend it to those who can't afford their own food, clothing, shelter, or a doctor's visit

Why do we believe our own ambitions and those of our own country are blessed by God? Phillipians 2 tells us to look for the interests of others as Christ did for us.

So, we can argue all we want, but until we are willing to forgo our own monies for the sake of others, we follow Christ without being serious disciples.

When we are more offended by another term for 'butt' than we are by the fact that we have starving kids in America, then our gospel message has very little gospel.

To allow the first and second command to be replaced by secondary issues creates a gospel that has very little to offer a hurting world in desperate need of a Saviour.

Solameaine, there is my answer.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Jim W said...

You do like to ignore what people actually write, don't you, Randy? No one that I have seen writing on this blog or anywhere else that tends to the conservative side ever suggest that we shouldn't feed or otherwise help those in need. All we ask is that the government keep out of it. Let us take care of those who need it, don't have the government take our money and property to help those they have decided need help. That's all we ask. Is that too much? Let the government do the things the constitution delineates-not a bunch of extra feel-good stuff. OK?

8:20 PM  
Blogger randy buist said...

so, we want our govt. to protect our families (Those with money) and our property and our free market economic system ... so long as it doesn't take money away from me, and so long as it doesn't force me to do anything that I don't want to do.

And Ron... just for a reminder. I put in nearly 100 hours of physical work over the past seven days. I know plenty what it means to work hard. I also realize the money that I make from that labor doesn't belong to me. As a follower of Jesus, that money belongs to God. I simply am the temporary keeper of those funds.

Regardless if it's the church, other non-profits, schools, business ventures, or our governments, I give it with the expectation that good things will take place as a result of that money.

Why should we not expect good things of our national government?

11:07 PM  
Blogger randy buist said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:07 PM  
Blogger Jim W said...

Like I said, Randy, you don't read. Are you really just stupid, or do you consciously ignore whatever you don't like? That's an oxymoron, isn't it?

4:52 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Randy,

What if your government turned around and funded institutions that kill babies? Is that enough reason to think that maybe they won't use it for good necessarily?

5:22 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Wow! 100 hours of physical in a whole week! I did that for 3 years running when I was in the military, but congrats anyway.
As far as the money goes, we all agree that it's God's, which is all the more reason that we are to be good stewards with it and not throw it away on ridiculous, wasteful, government run and operated programs, managed by a bunch of leftist bureaucrats who just want to give it away. Socialism is great until you run out of other people's money.
Yes, I really do want a free market system, because that is how markets work best.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy: These two commands are central the the gospel message. So, they are primary. Christ himself says that the entire law rests upon these two commands.Okay. Now we must flesh out what "loving God and loving our neighbor" means, and to whom that command is addressed. We also need to understand what the purpose of the law was, and is.

As I have pointed out before, loving God includes keeping His commandments. That includes revering ALL of His Word, not just the "love and mercy" parts of it. We agree that the needy should be helped, but we disagree in how to help them. You seem to think a statist solution -- including redistribution of wealth and confiscatory taxation, is the only viable option. I do not believe the Bible teaches that.

I think you get what the state is supposed to do confused with what the church -- and we as individual Christians -- are to do. Just because we do not believe in statist solutions is no grounds to charge us with failure to "love our neighbor."

Even the examples you cite of the Good Samaritan and Prodigal son are lessons for individuals, most notably believers. Neither the Samaritan or the father of the Prodigal acted as entities of the state. They acted as individuals. The state is called to a different role.

Churches historically have had wonderful outreaches to the poor and needy, as have private individuals. The government has usurped a role that is not proper. You cannot force someone to be charitable. In fact, the way the government handles resources and manages programs ought to frighten anyone away from statist solutions. Remember that Scripture says that God loves a cheerful giver? Note that it says "giver." Confiscatory taxation is not giving. It is stealing and denying the individual laborer the fruit of his labor, by which he can also bless others.

Now, in terms of other commands of Scripture being "secondary." I ask you again to consider Romans 13 and what the state has been ordained by God to do. It is to be a terror to evildoers and bearer of the sword. When the state performs those functions legitimately, it is an outworking of God's justice AND His love. Also, God's love is NEVER at the expense of His justice. At times, it is necessary for a sovereign state to use its military to protect its citizens. That means killing people and breaking things. When you have someone like a Hitler, a Mussolini, a Hussein, or some other monstrous figure who brutalizes their own people or invades other peaceful nations, it is just and thoroughly biblical to oppose them, both in philosophy and in use of lethal force. It is also thoroughly appropriate for an individual to use lethal force to protect others if there is no government entity able or around to do it.

You cite Philippians 2, so I would ask you to look at the context of that passage. This passage has to do with believers as individuals and the church corporate. It has nothing to do with statism.

Randy: When we are more offended by another term for 'butt' than we are by the fact that we have starving kids in America, then our gospel message has very little gospel. To allow the first and second command to be replaced by secondary issues creates a gospel that has very little to offer a hurting world in desperate need of a Saviour.

Again, you say "replace" the first and second commandments. Not so fast. Can't you understand that obeying Scripture and the working out of God's other commands are all a part of obeying the first and second commands? Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments." That means all of Scripture, not just the parts you like such as the Beatitudes. The same God that says to love your neighbor is the same God that legitimized the use of the sword. He is also the same God that said, through Paul, "if a man will not work, don't let him eat."

The modern welfare state only encourages more poverty, not less.

That, Randy, is my answer to you.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

I meant to also address your "butt" comment, but forgot to do so before I hit the "post" key.

Am I offended at profanity and obscenity? Yes. I have really strived to clean up my own language, because I know that such language grieves the God that commanded us not to use it. If you love God and love your neighbor, we'll clean up our mouths, won't we?

5:53 PM  
Blogger randy buist said...

Solameanie,

A few brief things this morning:
~ As for the language, perhaps you are correct. Yet, when we totally negate any value for others, I suspect that our God cares more about personal pride than a word that is not 'liked' by others. The word I chose is simply another word for the anatomy. Am I not correct?

I appreciate your thoughts in your reply, I do want to point out something though. While Ron argues that 'emergents' pay little attention to the biblical text, he does the same.

Both John & Paul tell us that people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ are just that. While we may disagree over some things, we have NO right to argue that they don't follow the Christ.

Jesus Christ himself warns us against judging others. He tells us it is the task of the Father, and the Father's alone, to judge the salvation of individuals.

When Jesus disciples start to argue over who will be 'seated' in partilar positions in heaven, he tells them that this is the task of the Father. He also upsets the entire apple cart by telling them that the first will be last and the last first.

So, for Ron to claim a higher view of Scripture is absurd, and its simply inaccurate. He's gone so far as to mock my mention of grandparents. He has NO idea of their faith. His mockery may be similar to questioning the faith of any of the disciples. Can you really imagine?

In terms of health care, we will simply need to disagree. I believe it is my responsibility to help create a government that is responsible. Jefferson and Madison thought as much.

To have tens of millions of little kids without health care in America is... you tell me. It isn't like they can work for their health insurance, and it isn't just the responsibility of their parents.

While I hear much language against socialized medicine on this blog, and I hear much talk about how it is the responsibility of the church to take care of issues such as this, we have not one 'church' leader in America who has proposed how the 'church' will implement a system of health care that will watch our for all of the kids who have none.

For all the great minds and hearts for God, the conservative evangelical church has not one decent proposal on how to take care of these kids. Why not? How do we dare to claim to follow Jesus Christ and not care for the children in our midst? The are our responsibility. They are our neighbors as well as those who have no voice and are incapable of defending themselves.

It always comes back to the money doesn't it? It always does... and yet we dare to call ourselves followers of the most high while holding our money so tightly...

If I need to proof text the Rich Young Ruler, I can gladly do so. If I need to proof text how the early church pooled their resources... Both of us know better.

It's simply time for followers of Jesus to become disciples.

6:53 AM  
Blogger donsands said...

"Socialism is great until you run out of other people's money."

Excellent quote.

"The socialist tradition...
goes back to Jesus Christ, not (Karl) Marx."
"Jesus was the first socialist..."
Both quotes from Mr. Gorbachev

I wonder would Obama amen him?

7:46 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Jefferson and Madison would not recognize this country. Time and time again in our history proposals for welfare relief were presented only to have our early presidents reject them; not out of callousness, but because there was nothing in the Constitution about welfare. They were right.

No, it's not always about the money, but it is about prudent, biblical stewardship. Why do you think the Church of our Lord need to come up with a "national" proposal (like Jim Wallis, whose proposal looks like O'Bamas) when local pastors can address their respective congregations and deal with particular situations. Many do that, Randy, but don't trumpet it. Many do a great deal regarding helping other countries, but don't find it necessary to have their photo-op pictures made with children from another country.
Finally, yes your language is disgusting and highly inappropriate for a Christian. In short, there is neither reason nor excuse for your false Internet bravado. No mature Christian finds it appealing; no mature Christian thinks it's cute. It is merely one more sign of your immaturity and that you're a Mark Driscoll wannabe. Pathetic.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy,

Here's something to consider. Is the church even able to implement any solutions to child care or health care in today's climate? I think it would be very difficult given the level of government-mandated bureaucracy and interference in what is done.

Something else I have to wonder about. I've known some doctors and hospitals in my time. I don't know of any that would turn away a sick child just because there was no money to pay for his/her care. There are usually programs available for the indigent to get health care. Here locally we have something called Crusader Clinic where low-income people can get day to day care.

Now I'll freely admit that I am not omniscient, nor have I been in every city, town and village across the United States. There may well be some poor individuals who were told to get lost at the emergency room door. I just don't know of any, and I tend to be skeptical of the news media because many of them have an agenda. It's called activist journalism.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

In fact, here's a link to Crusader Clinic so you can see what I'm talking about.

11:55 AM  

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