18 June 2008

Two kinds of Law

by Frank Turk

I have about 20 minutes this morning to make a post, and I wanted to expand on my brother Dan's response in the meta to my reply to him about his post last Friday.

A-hem. Dan said this:
Did God judge Sodom and Gomorrha because they weren't saved, or because of their sins? How about the iniquity of the Amorites getting "full" for judgment (Genesis 15:16)? How about Jeremiah 18:7-8, or 29:4-7? Do these and the many, many related passages have no application to this discussion?
It's a great question, as one would expect. But I think it tries to go too far.

Here's what I mean: the truth -- as we receive it from Scripture -- is that God's Law didn't save anybody. I mean, sure -- all those examples Dan listed are where people got condemned, but those aren't all the examples, are they? Seriously: nobody was saved by the Law. Nobody kept the whole Law; none of the sacrifices of the Law ever took away sin. The Law condemns. This is so vivid when we even read the institution of the Law in Deuteronomy, and then in Joshua, and then in Samuel: God, by a prophet or judge, says to the people, "keep my commandments," and the people say, "Yes, God: we will," and God -- either to the Prophet or to the people -- says, "well, that'll be a testimony against you, because I know you won't."

The Law of God does not save. Instead, it is (as it says in Galatians), a tutor. That is, it teaches us what's wrong in order that, when what is right comes, we are ready for that.

So if the Law of God doesn't save, why would we think even for a minute that the law of man will ever save? See: this is the point I would make (and I think Phil has been making) when I have blogged in the past about para-church politicking. I think you should vote and attend local governemnt meetings and so on. But I think -- I think -- that when we put it on government that it should make a law like God's Law in order to rule, we forget that the only purpose of that law is for the lawless. It is to condemn them so that they will seek a savior.

And unless our state is also our church, the savior that the state will evangelize will not be Christ. I would say that even if our state was also our church, it would probably not evangelize for Christ.

We are not ambassadors for some worldly power: we are ambassadors for Christ. We live in a place, and will abide its law insofar as it does not offend the law of God. But we live under a higher law, one sealed by the blood of a great savior, and ratified by his resurrection.

That's where our time and money need to be spent if we are serious about changing the world.







101 comments:

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Amen, Franklin. I agree 100% with your 20 minute diddy.

DJP said...

Thanks for an opportunity for further clarification. (That, BTW, was one of my aims in posting my own post, to-you-and-Philward: to provide an opportunity for further clarification, if you wanted it.)

Law — man's or God's — does not save fallen men. Period. And "fallen men" are the only variety treading the sod today. Legislation will not accomplish spiritual salvation. No amount of legislation will bring in the kingdom of God.

I hope there is no single cell in your or anyone's brain that even suspects that I was writing to persuade otherwise, or that any cell in my brain suspects otherwise.

HSAT, when I see one of my boys brutalizing his brother, I don't think, "You know, the law won't save him, and it won't bring in the kingdom of God... so I think I'll go to my closet and pray that he gets saved."

Nor do I say, "I don't have any comment about what you just did... but please turn with me in your cartoon Bible to Genesis 3:15...."

Nor do I say, "It is wrong to hit your brother. Stop hitting him, treat him more lovingly, and you will be saved, and the Kingdom of God will come to earth."

I read that legal authorities are "sent by [the Lord] to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good" (1 Peter 2:14). But how does it know which are which? Sodom and Gomorrah came to believe (among other things) that homosexuals were good, and they fell.

So, what's my aim? To legislate America to salvation? To legislate America to bringing in the Kingdom of God? Boy, I hope nobody still needs me to answer THAT one.

But — and here please plug in the entire contents of my post on this subject — my responsibility as one who (A) DOES know something of God's declared will, and (B) has been given a role in shaping the legal stance of my country, it IS my responsibility to bring that to bear.

AND to preach the Gospel for all I'm worth. Well, more than that.

I think I'll leave it there for now.

DJP said...

...and, BTW, I think we're all agreed that ANY Turk is better than NO Turk at all.

HSAT:

Shall we call this "The 20-minute Turkout"?

Daryl said...

"...and, BTW, I think we're all agreed that ANY Turk is better than NO Turk at all."

Amen X10

Frank Turk said...

DJP:

So here's the question, given our mutuial admiration and general agreement --

Should Christians form Political Action Committees to do the activities you describe? Is that a viable, tennable "church" objective manifested as a "para-church" institution?

Lilith said...

Seriously: nobody was saved by the Law. Nobody kept the whole Law; none of the sacrifices of the Law ever took away sin

The word of God says Paul kept the whole law (Philippians 3:6) "touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."

So if the Law of God doesn't save, why would we think even for a minute that the law of man will ever save?

No one thinks the Law of Man will save, but some think the Law of God is the best template for the Law of Man.

Mike said...

I largely agree with the post, but:

"...and God -- either to the Prophet or to the people -- says, "well, that'll be a testimony against you, because I know you won't." "

Not 'you won't'. It's 'you can't.' You can't be justified by the law, and the OT people realized it eventually. That 'I know you won't' isn't conducive to God's attitude towards man.

They were "saved" based upon the promise of the coming Messiah. That the Messiah was promised was seen through prophecy and Biblical typology.

Mike said...

"Should Christians form Political Action Committees to do the activities you describe? Is that a viable, tennable "church" objective manifested as a "para-church" institution?"

I hope you don't mind my interjecting an answer here. My answer to both questions is no.

Carlo said...

Dan: Nor do I say, "I don't have any comment about what you just did... but please turn with me in your cartoon Bible to Genesis 3:15...."

Dude, you kill me.

Mike said...

I realize that my first post here introduced a contradiction of sorts, because I'm saying this: "well, that'll be a testimony against you, because I know you can't."

'You won't' is valid when it's understood from a standpoint of making a choice to live or die (Deut 30:19). But it's not God's club.

'You can't' is God's premise, because you won't be justified through the law; you'll fail. And that's what brings people to Christ based on the promise of the coming Messiah.

Mike Riccardi said...

Mike,

They can't and they won't.

Carlo said...

Frank:I think -- I think -- that when we put it on government that it should make a law like God's Law in order to rule, we forget that the only purpose of that law is for the lawless. It is to condemn them so that they will seek a savior.

I disagree that this is the "only" purpose of the law. Don't misunderstand me, I'm sure you parents out there want pedophiles to seek the Lord, but the reason, chief reason, perhaps there are laws against child pornography and pedophlia, is to protect children.

There has always been evil in the world and always will be until Christ returns, but one of the big differences between this generation and prior to the generation of TV, iPods, internet, radio, etc. is that the family had some control over the kinds of exposure the children have to the world. That world is gone and I think some of laws we have is to protect children.

Mike said...

DJP:

"...and, BTW, I think we're all agreed that ANY Turk is better than NO Turk at all."

Just be glad he's not Turkish, all right?

DJP said...

The FrankinatorShould Christians form Political Action Committees to do the activities you describe? Is that a viable, tennable "church" objective manifested as a "para-church" institution?

1. I sense a trap. But... where is it? And what to do? Think, Phillips, think....

2. Given #1, above, you mean formed by a church? Or formed by Christians?

3. If the latter, sure, why not? I don't see why doing something by myself would be virtuous, but doing it in teamwork with others would not be. And doing good more effectively is, I think, more better.

Mike said...

Ricardi:

"They can't and they won't."

Yes, but the reasons for each are not mutually compatible, so it's not both as an inclusive set, but it's either/or based on the context.

Mike Riccardi said...

but the reason, chief reason, perhaps there are laws against child pornography and pedophilia, is to protect children.

... from the lawless.

Not of This World said...

really good post and reminder brother :D

Mike Riccardi said...

Mike,

Not sure what you're getting at. They can't and they won't because they're dead in their sins.

I'll try to clarify, and you tell me whether we agree or disagree.

The sinner is neither able nor willing. The sinner loves his sin and wants nothing to do with God. Sure, he can't want anything to do with God because he doesn't have the nature to want that. But, in his nature, in his fallenness, he actively desires "not-God" and will not obey the Law of God.

Romans 8 says it nicely, I think: "...because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so."

Hostility and insubordination are active things. They are active exercises of the will of a fallen man, bent away from God. And of course we remember that the reason for this is that the fleshly mind is not even able to subject itself to the law.

I guess what I'm guarding against is the notion that sinners want to obey God's law, but God's preventing them from doing so. The sinner is not only totally unable, he is totally unwilling.

Mike said...

"I don't see why doing something by myself would be virtuous, but doing it in teamwork with others would not be."

I have the opposite view. Nothing's wrong with voting, because it falls in your area of voluntary involvement. But political involvement by teamwork invites error, because it's definitely not where the cloud is not moving. I'd rather wait until He returns.

DJP said...

That makes absolutely no sense.

You see a woman being mugged. You go to help her. A Christian friend says, "I'm with you." You stop dead, and say, "Sorry, the cloud's not moving that way."

I don't think I've heard a... less contentful objection.

Frank Turk said...

DJP --

1. I sense a trap. But... where is it? And what to do? Think, Phillips, think....

That's like the racoon hearing the tin door close and then cursing himself for being partial to apples.

2. Given #1, above, you mean formed by a church? Or formed by Christians?

That is the question, isn't it?

Let's imagine two scenarios:

[A] First Reformed Christian Church establishes an NPC which advocates for the right-to-life called "Reformed Christians for Life", and while it accepts volunteers from any church, the elders of FRCC consitute a large portion of the board of directors from FRCC LC.

[B] First Reformed Community Church has a group of concerned and very troubled homeschool moms (no offense, anybody) who start having bake sales and silent auctions to start a mailing campaign about the right to life. After the first mailing, they form a 501c3-certified NPC advocacy group called "Community Christians for Life".

Both, essentially, sending the same message for the sake of our question.

Should Christians form Political Action Committees to do the activities you describe? Is that a viable, tennable "church" objective manifested as a "para-church" institution?

3. If the latter, sure, why not? I don't see why doing something by myself would be virtuous, but doing it in teamwork with others would not be. And doing good more effectively is, I think, more better.

See above. Answer with your usual care. :-)

a_simple_bloggTRotter said...

The very law that Paul was blameless in keeping, he confessed was in his own righteousness, and was a major part of what he called "dung". So, no, Paul’s blameless-ness is not what God as looking for. He would be guilty on That Day, as will all who are not in Christ.
This is why is says: "To know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering.

Paul was showing his pre-conversion "righteousness": that” blameless-ness" which was no blameless-ness ever.

Frank Turk said...

And after your last answer here, Dan, about the woman in danger, I think you see my point clearly. Let's see if we can agree that this is the point.

Let's say that, statistically, your 5-block radius is well known for this sort of thing going on -- women get accosted and/or molested all the time.

Should the local churches rally up the men-folk, create a logo with the appropriate fish or cross on it, and start sending out men in groups to advocate by force the tenets to the Law of God to those who are, frankly, perishing in their sin? And for the older men who cannot go out and muster the muscle to hammer-lock some young roughian and restrain him from violence, should they be in the local governing body's face about the law of God, citing chapter and verse, regarding these attacks on women?

Is that how the church should spend it's time in that situation?

DJP said...

I think, Frank, that the moral thing in both of your scenarios... er... the moral thing is that, since it's YOUR post of which this is the meta, YOU answer the questions first!

:^P

Mike said...

Riccardi:
By "context" I meant the context of Frank's post, or any discussion. The biblical context of the testimony Frank mentioned ("well, that'll be a testimony against you, because I know you won't") doesn't jive with the context of Frank's post. Frank's post isn't on "they won't," but on "they can't"--justify themselves by the law.

"I guess what I'm guarding against is the notion that sinners want to obey God's law, but God's preventing them from doing so. The sinner is not only totally unable, he is totally unwilling."

I agree with this, so I think we agree.

Mike said...

DJP:

"You see a woman being mugged. You go to help her. A Christian friend says, "I'm with you." You stop dead, and say, "Sorry, the cloud's not moving that way." "

LOL, I'm talking about political activity, not Samaritan situational ethics. What you described above has nothing to do with politics.

DJP said...

Really? Fighting off creeps bareknucked is a moral imperative, but passing laws with the goal of keeping guys with knives away from helpless babies isn't?

I think your structure is a few Legos short.

Mike said...

Frank...

"Is that how the church should spend it's time in that situation?"

I'll answer that: no. Not in that fashion.

believer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

DJP:

"Really? Fighting off creeps bareknucked is a moral imperative, but passing laws with the goal of keeping guys with knives away from helpless babies isn't?"

You can't legislate the heart of man. What you're proposing is to work from the outside in, but Christ works from the inside out.

DJP said...

So fighting off a mugger will change his heart?

Are you even paying attention to this discussion? Did you even read the second comment in the meta? Disagreeing is fine; tying on blinders and chanting a slogan is... boring. At best.

Daryl said...

"You can't legislate the heart of man."

That only counts if that's what Dan is trying to do, which it isn't.
If that falls under "legislating the heart of man" then why legislate against tax-evasion or murder or theft or anything else for that matter.
Not legislating morality is a non-starter. Legislating morality is exactly what governments are supposed to do.
The question is, what is the church's role in that regard.

For my part, I think the church's role is to preach the gospel (duh). Individual Christians can and (perhaps) should organize like-minded citizens to stand for good laws. Not as a Christian coalition or as a church thingy but as citizens.

Luther's 2 kingdom view is for this, no? As Christians we must be good citizens. Good citizens work, with other good citizens, for good laws. Good citizens don't try to legislate Christianity. They do try to legislate morality.

The church, on the other hand, operates as an embassy for a forgeign country. We represent our country first.

Think about this. Is it wrong for an Canadian ambassador to Denmark to attend Danish schools and try to help make those schools safe? I don't think so.
On the other hand, is it out of line for the Canadian embassy staff to organize, as embassy staff, to change the laws in a foreign country. Certainly it is.

believer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Solameanie said...

Bareknuckled? Whatever happened to the trusty old meat chub?

And didn't Rod Stewart once have a song called "Young Turks?"

Never mind.

Good post, Frank. Or should I say Franklin?

Now that I'm done with the rimshots, think about this one. Of course the law doesn't save, but it is a benchmark of what one ought to do. Same way with secular law. It's what one ought to do. Scripture tells us we're supposed to obey the law.

Taking Paul's idea of what the law produces i.e. coveting of every kind, I can imagine someone arguing for doing away with all secular laws because all they do is provoke someone to break them. That is obviously a silly idea. When someone breaks the law, that is why the state bears the sword, electric chair, rope, gas chamber or gurney.

One can break the law if one so chooses. But there will be a consequence. Christians can choose to sin, but those actions will often involve consequences. At the judgment seat, one will certainly lose rewards when the wood, hay and stubble burn up.

Isn't it interesting that arguments over law vs. Gospel haven't stopped in 2,000 years?

Daryl said...

Remember this Mike. The state doesn't and shouldn't care about the hearts of it's citizens. It's responsibility is to protect people from the actions of others.

As Christians we need to care about both. And that's the tricky part of this discussion. We care about people's hearts because salvation is paramount (of course), but we also care about actions because bad actions cause hurt and hurt is bad (generally).

DJP said...

Looking forward to Frank's response to Believer.

Mike said...

"So fighting off a mugger will change his heart?"

No, Christ will, through salvation and the preaching of the Gospel.

Mike said...

Daryl:
"Remember this Mike. The state doesn't and shouldn't care about the hearts of it's citizens."

The state doesn't preach the gospel, either.

"It's responsibility is to protect people from the actions of others."

That's the government's job, not the church's.

Frank Turk said...

Wow. I got Dan to resort to the "you first" defense. I'm writing this day down.

(-:

Should Christians form Political Action Committees to do the activities you describe?

No. It is counter-Gospel to do so. It causes the church to seeks a form of redemption for others that does not redeem.

Me or you personally joining the republic or democratic party as a citizen is one thing; making that choice, and all the subsequent choices based on political philosophy, a subset of "being a christian" misrepresents what "being a Christian" really means.

Is that a viable, tenable "church" objective manifested as a "para-church" institution?

No. The "church"'s objective is to preach the Gospel and proclaim the kingdom which is hung essentially on the matter of the resurrection, first of Christ, then of us.

We are trying to proclaim a truth which, when people hear it, they say either (as the Greeks did), "That's crazy talk, dude," or (as the Jews did), "Mazel Tov -- but show me a sign I can believe or else I have to stone you," or "what shall we do to be saved from the coming judgment?" When we proclaim it as a half-truth -- as in, "I think that a human judge should condemn you for being a libertine fornicator, because the Bible tells me so," -- they just want us to shut up with our hypocrisy.

Lilith said...

Blogtrotter: Paul was showing his pre-conversion "righteousness": that” blameless-ness" which was no blameless-ness ever.

Granted that keeping the law does not result in sanctifying grace, but when people assert it is impossible to keep the Law, they must reconcile that with Paul's assertion that he was blameless as touching the Law. That means he kept all of its precepts.

Mike said...

Believer:

OK, I'll offer something:

" If we cannot have laws to stop abortion why do christians have any responsibility in voting or government at all.why do we have lawfully assembley? protest at all? "

If you feel God's calling you to do activities of this sort, then by all means, do it.

It's not a true function of the church, though, to be politically active. There's no basis for it. In fact, sooner or later, the gvmt will turn on us.

believer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daryl said...

"That's the government's job, not the church's."

Which is precisely what I said. That's why we need to distinguish between the church and individual believers operating as good citizens.

Do you believe that I can operate as a citizen? Like when I go to work. It's my duty to work to support my family. That is not the church's duty.

Voting and working towards good laws fit in the same category. Good things to do, as citizens, not good thing to do, as the church.

It seems to me that there is no substantive difference between voting and running for office. Both are good. Neither is a job of the church yet Christians should do both.

Mike said...

lilith:
"they must reconcile that with Paul's assertion that he was blameless as touching the Law. That means he kept all of its precepts."

That's very simple. He was an unsaved Pharisee, blameless according to the Pharisee Law, but not according to the faith of Jesus: Romans 3:20-21

Jim Crigler said...

Lilith ---

When Paul said he was "blameless" (in Philippians 3:6) the English can be rearranged this way without changing the meaning: "I couldn't be blamed." Is that a fair statement? If so, that means that there must be someone on the other end blaming people, right? If that's true, then it's fair to ask, Who?

From the little bit you have written here, I have inferred that you mean that Paul is saying that he couldn't be blamed by anyone, including God. NB: My response is based on this inference, so if I have it wrong, please correct me.

My response: Paul was not saying that God could not blame him, only that other Pharisees couldn't. If he could keep the law perfectly, inside and out, he would be auto-qualified for Heaven. Recall that this is the very same Paul who in 1 Timothy 1:15 said, "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost."

Was the foremost (chief) sinner also "blameless" in the eyes of God?

Mike said...

In my post above, I misquoted a ref: "Romans 3:20-21"

I meant Rom 3:21-22. Related to that are the verses below.

Mike Riccardi said...

but when people assert it is impossible to keep the Law, they must reconcile that with Paul's assertion that he was blameless as touching the Law.

Blogtrotter did that in his post that you excerpted from. Quite well, too.

Rabbit said...

Lilith, Mike, Jim -

"For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord." - Paul, in I Corinthians 4:4

Paul admits here that his self-evaluation is not the final word.

a_simple_bloggTRotter said...

Lilith:

No, the stated purpose of the Law is to bring one to Christ (Gla. 3:24). And , again Paul clearly states that his “Blameless-ness” in the law was dung.

Keeping the law has only one context: pleasing God. He is the Law-Giver, the One whose character is reflected, the essence of the divine standard to be found in the law. Also, Paul, was reflecting his former, pharisaical, delusion of keeping the law. According the twisting ( I.e. Corbin, etc) of the law, the added regulations, ( washing hands as the traditions of our fathers), and their overall arrogant blindness, (their instance that they had never been slaves), Paul’s statement of keeping the law is correct…as a Pharisee.

And we indeed see that in light of what the law was designed to do, and the character of the One who gave it, he is making the point his “blameless-ness” was worthless in the eyes of the giver of that law. And , that is the point.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

I am going to watch this thread. It touches on a lot of things I have wondered about for some time.

I even have some dumb question of my own to ask: (such as) is a country or empire or any political critter in which sin in institutionalized ( emperor worship, legalized, even normalized abortion and same sex unions) a closer resemblance of the cultural and moral setting of 1st century Christianity?

And if so, can we apply Paul's "activism" of spreading the gospel at all costs over and against political activism. I mean, it's going to become political: the gospel is going to draw the fire of this world.

If any of this makes sense, and if it is close to correct, then what damage does it deal to our American instinct to legislate and evangelize?

What about: Are there some ways in which it might be easier to be a Christian in a monarchy?


Just a few dumb question for the Pyro brains.

Mike said...

rabbit, Amen!

Al said...

It’s Dan Phillip’s John Calvin to Frank Turk’s Menno Simons… This place never ceases to surprise me.

Al sends

Stan McCullars said...

I want to club a mugger.

a_simple_bloggTRotter said...

Off to town, I'll check in later

DJP said...

And to add to the mix, Al — which one of us is the say-it-loud-and-say-it-proud dispensationalist?

believer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jugulum said...

Frank,

Let me see if I can paraphrase your last comment about Christians forming PACs:

Christians can form & join PACs to bring about changes to the law--but they shouldn't be "Christian PACs". We can form "The Committee To End Abortion", or "South Dakota Right-to-Life", but we should't form "South Dakotan Christians For Life".

Is that right?

Frank Turk said...

I'm making an admin decision and calling Lilith's comments in this thread "off-topic".

Stick to the topic, and not Lilith's musings.

Lilith:

Review Rule #3. Over time, you are making yourself (unintentionally I think) an unwanted guest. Please try to engage what's going on here rather than make these comments an overflow valve for your blog.

believer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Turk said...

Jug:

I wouldn't limit it to right-to-life, but yes. The concept of a "religious right" or whatever it is Tony Campolo calls himself is what I am giving the frownie-face to. Attaching a political movement to the church by calling it "Christian" is ugly.

Mike said...

I agree with Frank here. That kind of stuff is the wood, stumble, hay that'll burn up. The real direction to go is away from that: personal sanctification and getting ready for Christ's return. How many believe God is in control, anyway?

Mike said...

(Dunno who Tony Campolo is though.)

DJP said...

My stars and garters, Mike, you're like a walking, typing cliché-generator! Have you read anything anyone has ever written on this blog about anything, and thought about it?

donsands said...

"I would say that even if our state was also our church, it would probably not evangelize for Christ."

I remember when Maryland used to have a Bible in the courts, in order to swear on.

Was that simply a cultural thing? I recall that George Washington, at his inauguration as President, knelt before the Bible.
Was this more than a cultural thing going on in America?

Deep things to ponder here.

For believer, who seems to be fired up to fight for the unborn, I say keep on.
Pray for the doctors and nurses who commit this sin, and write to your Congressmen, and Congresswomen. If your heart has burned to do this for the Lord, and for His Gospel first, then keep on.

But beware of pride, and pointing out that others should be doing what you are doing. I have seen this a lot in the pro-life movement.

Jesus our Lord said to Peter, when Peter question Him about John, "You do what I tell you to do, and don't worry about John". (paraphrased) John 21:17-23

Mike said...

DJP:

Ha, ha... yes, I considered Riccardi's, and he was right; but I realized I phrased my comment the wrong way. So I changed gears.

Mike said...

"I remember when Maryland used to have a Bible in the courts, in order to swear on."

Don't they still use the Bible for that purpose?

It'll be interesting to see which Bible Obama swears on during the swearing in...LOL

"Was that simply a cultural thing? I recall that George Washington, at his inauguration as President, knelt before the Bible.
Was this more than a cultural thing going on in America?"

I don't believe swearing by it has any practicality, so it's probably cultural. See Mat 5:34

Jugulum said...

mike,

I wouldn't call it wood and hay, any more than giving food to a poor family is wood and hay.

Part of personal sanctification is good works. You know, visiting orphans and widows, etc. Stopping the slaughter of innocents is good, just like William Wilberforce's work to stop slavery was good. The problem with Christian PACs isn't that the work isn't worthwhile for Christians to be doing. The problem (as Frank is describing it) is attaching political movements to the church.

Frank Turk said...

Mike:

I am pretty sure I didn't say what you said. Dan and I, I think, have expressed a pretty wholesale agreement here except for the issue of the utility of parachurch ministry.

And Al -- I'd clown you if this was my home blog.

a_simple_bloggTRotter said...

Back from town and a little disappointed that Mr. Turk had pulled the plug on Lilth having to stop chasing that rabbit and deal with the text.

Oh, well.

Still some great thoughts here. Most, a real encouragement.

Mike said...

Jug-Frank:
OK, then... you would consider what Jesus would do: preach the Gospel. "I've never seen the righteous begging bread" (Ps 37:25). What does that tell you? The poor you'll always have with you. You don't feed the poor with food. You feed it with spiritual food (the gospel), and they'll be blessed and the Father'll cause their needs to be met. The poor are poor for a reason; it isn't because they happened to be.

The multitudes were fed in Jesus' day; He multiplied the loaves and fishes. But that doesn't give validity for feeding physical food to the poor, because Jesus did it for a different reason, and Jesus never did it again because they came only for the food.

Jesus never had a political agenda. Never had a humanitarian agenda. Or any agenda...except the gospel.

Al said...

Frank, I thought you Mennonites were all about peace?

al sends

Jugulum said...

Oh, brother.

Be prepared to explain yourself.

(Or because it says, "the least of these my brothers", do you take that to mean that feeding hungry Christians is good, but feeding hungry non-Christians is not a good work that brings glory to God? Before you give food to hungry people, you first ask whether they're Christians, and then refuse to give them anything if they're not?)

Frank Turk said...

Mike:

I think you should re-read the Old Testament before you say anything else. There's something about the Law, and about what it calls "justice" and "mercy" which, I think, you simply do not understand.

Frank Turk said...

BTW, Mike, where you are taking this is off-topic. Get back to the topic of "what is a proper Christian involvement in the politics of the day" or go start your own blog.

Frank Turk said...

Al --

I feel very much at peace with clowning you. In fact, it makes me happy.

Mike said...

Frank: OK.

JUG:

"Before you give food to hungry people, you first ask whether they're Christians, and then refuse to give them anything if they're not?"

No. That wasn't my premise.

believer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lilith said...

Donsands: But beware of pride, and pointing out that others should be doing what you are doing. I have seen this a lot in the pro-life movement.

Yet the members of that movement have grounds to judge righteous judgment against those who are content not to move at all, those who are happy just to blog the bible, or to sit on the porch waiting for the rapture.

Romans 2:13 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Jim Crigler said...

Ya want something on-topic? Okay, no one has brought up St. Francis yet.

Francis Schaeffer wrote about Christians banding together with non-Christians for political and social causes. He called them not allies, but cobelligerents — people who want the same thing but for a different reason.

Therefore, as an example, if you remember what the Reformation was for and you have a Roman Catholic neighbor, it's okay to work with that neighbor to end abortion. And it's okay to use civic reasoning in the civic square to get people to vote your way.

But (to avoid an omission), in your church you shouldn't use civic reasoning, you should bow to God's word.

<suit type="NBC">Taxation levels are not "Christian" issues. Only the issues God has specifically spoken of in the Bible can be treated that way. We may be involved in political activity related to taxes (the gathering or the use), and in America we have been given the incredible privilege of participating in the process of governing, but cobelligerence as Christians (for our part) does not extend there except as it touches on the standard set by God's word.</suit>

donsands said...

"Yet the members of that movement have grounds to judge righteous judgment against those who are content not to move at all"

I disagree.

And your Bible verse is out of context.

You seem to be for righteous actions, but your blog is on the unrighteous side to me.

a_simple_bloggTRotter said...

I .
Am.
Trying.
to.
Be.
Good.

believer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

And I.
Am.
Trying.
To.
Stay.
On.
Topic!

Mike said...

jim crigler, what you said there reminds me of the Kingdom Now theology: prepare the world for the return of the Lord.

Mike said...

"they had prayer meetings almost every night!!!!During WW2.."

Every night? That's good. My church is open for prayer every night, too--excepting Fridays, although even then sometimes people are there. Hebrews 10:25 comes to mind.

Mike said...

Again, staying on topic ;)

"that when we put it on government that it should make a law like God's Law in order to rule, we forget that the only purpose of that law is for the lawless. It is to condemn them so that they will seek a savior."

I don't agree with the purpose of the law here as stated ("to condemn them"). The unsaved are already condemned (John 3:18). The purpose is the same as the OT law:
1) it's a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Gal 3:24)
2) by the law is the knowledge of sin (Roman 3:20), so we know sin by the law (Rom 7:7)
3) law exist so that offense might abound (Rom 5:20)

There's more to the purpose of the law than just "a law for the lawless," but one of them is not to condemn.

Al said...

Is the Law good? I mean intrinsically good. Can it be the standard for what is right apart from faith, so that the unrighteous can do what is right and just without faith? Why would this be incompatible with the Gospel?

When Is 42:1 says that the Lord’s Servant will bring justice to the Gentiles I think he means government. If you were an age for age dispensationalist, like your good friend Dan, I think you would point to some future, sin banished, recreated earth. But I think teaching “justice” is a Christ like act and good news in its own right even if it is not The Good News.

al sends

Lilith said...

Al: Is the Law good? I mean intrinsically good. Can it be the standard for what is right apart from faith, so that the unrighteous can do what is right and just without faith?

If not the Law of Moses, then what, if anything, should be the standard for the Law of the Land? Some say the gospel, but it's too general, there is no systematic set of New Covenant principles covering everything from how much of the harvest to leave in the fields for the gleaners to how many lashes to administer for transgressions.

Micah 4:2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Mike said...

al,

"Is the Law good? I mean intrinsically good. Can it be the standard for what is right apart from faith, so that the unrighteous can do what is right and just without faith? Why would this be incompatible with the Gospel?"

Yes, the law is both holy and good (Rom 7:12). Also 1 Tim 1:8. It's not compatible with the Gospel because the "handwriting of ordinances" are nailed to the cross, which affectively says we're not justified by the law.

As for the law being the "standard" of doing right apart from faith, well, it could be, I suppose (because of Gal 3:24); but the result is like a cop who enforces the law who feels righteous because he does everything right by it. But that's not the purpose of the law.

Mike said...

al,

"When Is 42:1 says that the Lord’s Servant will bring justice to the Gentiles I think he means government. "

Um, I don't think so. Below is an excerpt from the JFB commentary:

judgment — the gospel dispensation, founded on justice, the canon of the divine rule and principle of judgment called “the law” (Isa_2:3; compare Isa_42:4; Isa_51:4; Isa_49:6). The Gospel has a discriminating judicial effect: saving to penitents; condemnatory to Satan, the enemy (Joh_12:31; Joh_16:11), and the willfully impenitent (Joh_9:39). Mat_12:18 has, “He shall show,” for “He shall bring forth,” or “cause to go forth.” Christ both produced and announced His “judgment.” The Hebrew dwells most on His producing it; Matthew on His announcement of it: the two are joined in Him.

believer said...

lilith-
on keeping the law of God, Jesus made it simple rather than vague, I believe.
Jesus Said Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

The law of Gods Government in the Old Testament was it not?

If we have the right to free Government, we can (did?) use these Words of
Jesus Christ in the forming of out Government.
While doing that we press on with the Great Commission growing in Christ, loving and worshiping and serving Him..As the only real eternal freedom through Jesus Christ.

The GOSPEL is defined in 1 corinithians 15
1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1Co 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
1Co 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
1Co 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Al said...

Mike,

Calvin said of this verse that their can be no proper government unless the inner man has been changed. I agree totally, but the fact is that Jesus is the one who establishes righteous government and that through his body, the Church. And as Christians form governments they should look to the law of God as their guide for righteousness.

And if a wicked man gains power, one of the things a Christian should do is show this man how the law of God is being violated. The Law is perfect, converting the soul someone may have said.

It is not a requirement that we also tell them that Jesus loves them. Sometimes it is OK to call a brood of vipers a brood of vipers.

I am going to go read some John Knox to get my bearings back.

al sends

Mike said...

al,
"...the fact is that Jesus is the one who establishes righteous government and that through his body, the Church."

To this I agree. This is an ecclesiastical application. It has no place in the governments of today, however, because it will be rejected, even the same that Saul did as the first King of Israel. The people wanted a king, rejecting the Lord in the process. It's the same here.

However, there will be a physical ecclesiastical government set up on earth. That does not mean we need to get involved in the process of preparing a physical "kingdom" before He returns, because He doesn't need help. It's a government made without hands, just like the church. This is a eschatological subject which is covered in a book by Dwight Pentecost, "Things to Come." Took me a year to read and study it.

"And if a wicked man gains power, one of the things a Christian should do is show this man how the law of God is being violated."

Rather, just preach the gospel. He is not going to be open to your case if he's not born again, and you couldn't do that with the likes of Hitler or Saddam Hussein. Dropping seeds is all you can do in preaching the Gospel, because God is the one who draws all men to Himself.

"The Law is perfect, converting the soul someone may have said."

That'd be Ps 19:7. Contrast that with the fact that the law cannot justify a man, cannot save (see Rom 3:21-22, 28). You said it pretty good when you mentioned "...[there] can be no proper government unless the inner man has been changed." The "converting" through the law has no soteriological value; it only restores the soul back to its sound mind or right reason. (So says the Clarke commentary) Salvation is of the heart, not the mind.

"I am going to go read some John Knox to get my bearings back."

If I needed to get my bearings back, I'd be reading the Bible.

Al said...

"If I needed to get my bearings back, I'd be reading the Bible.

says the guy who starte off with a JFB quote.

al sends

Mike said...

The quote helped, it contained further refs for consideration. The Bible is still the main point of reference.

Daryl said...

"The Bible is still the main point of reference."

And we think that needs to be pointed out to Mr. Sends why?

Mike said...

Well, because it's better than Calvin and John Knox. Not that any aspersion is cast.

believer said...

The Bible is #1 And that is why God gave the gifts of the Holy Spirit of teaching and preaching to christians to build up sheep like me...

Daryl said...

Mike and Believer,

My point wasn't that the Bible isn't the place to go, it was that Al knows that and anyone who follows this blog knows that...oh never mind.

Go ahead and ask him, the John Knox line was a joke...

Mike said...

It doesn't matter. I had the choice to quip back to Al by saying: "So says Al who reads John Knox." But I did not do that. Do you know why?

And so, your point is moot.

Al said...

Mike,

Ummm... I cannot tell whether you are being obtuse on purpose or not, but let me just say that telling me to read my bible after you provided me with a quote from a commentary is just ironic. Seriously, don’t you see that?

Al sends

Mike said...

Al,

I admit I was a little obtuse, but it wasn't on purpose. But seriously speaking, no, I don't see that, because the commentary contains Bible refs pertinent to the discussion.

But it does not matter whether I was obtuse or not, does it? This is one of those things that, to me, neither I nor anyone has a gift of knowing on such matters, because the Lord has not given it.