28 July 2011

Speaking of "Justice" . . .

by Phil Johnson

Before we get to the actual blogpost . . .

Don't miss the announcement that Grace to You is waiving registration charges for September's "Truth Matters" conference. The theme is "The Gospel According to Paul," and the conference will offer lay people a taste of the hospitality and style of teaching pastors receive annually at the Shepherds' Conference. GTY Donors are generously covering the cost of registration. You still have to register—and don't delay, because capacity is limited and the conference is filling up quickly. If you are one of the thousands who registered early and paid the fee, you will receive a refund. How's that for good news?


The "Poverty and Justice" Bible
This excerpt was part of a longer post that covered several topics a couple of years ago. I had been asked to review a niche Bible designed, I gather, for Sojourners-style lefties.

(First posted 4 December 2009)

he American Bible Society has published The Poverty & Justice Bible—on recycled paper (because, you know, that makes a statement against Global Warming, perhaps the greatest human "injustice" some of our liberal friends are capable of imagining). They've sent me four copies to give away to our blog readers, and they hoped I would review the publication at TeamPyro. Here's the most succinct review I can give you tonight:

The "Bible" aspect of this work is of course its best feature, though I'm not at all a fan of the watered-down, dumbed-down, gender-neutraled, politically-correct "Contemporary English Version" they have used. I can't see any scenario in which such a poor translation would be truly useful, and with the plethora of translations available today, this one certainly would not be my choice. Perhaps one example of this translation's deep-down badness will suffice for this short review. Here's the CEV rendering of Acts 9:22: "Saul preached with such power that he completely confused the Jewish people in Damascus, as he tried to show them that Jesus is the Messiah." (ESV: "But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.")

The worst feature of the book, however, is the way it treats "poverty & justice." The editors' and (most of the endorsers') notion of "justice" is clearly straight from the canons of political correctness. Not that they really have much of any substance to say about either poverty or justice. There's a thin section of United-Methodist-style devotional essays stitched into the center of the book and unwisely titled "The Core." Aside from that, the main clues about the editors' perspective on "poverty & justice" come from the verses they have selected to highlight (or not). The highlights are in burnt orange (another unfortunate choice). Ostensibly these are all the key Bible verses about poverty and justice.

So with that in mind, I thumbed through to check a few verses that I knew would pose a challenge to the currently-popular politically-correct perspectives on "poverty & justice." It was frankly not surprising to see that 2 Thessalonians 3:10 ("If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat") didn't merit the editors' orange smear of approval. Neither did Deuteronomy 7:1-5, which spells out God's prescription for justice to the Canaanites, Perizzites, Amorites, and so on. Galatians 6:7 ("whatever one sows, that will he also reap") was ignored by the highlighter pen. Predictably, so was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 and God's judicial abandonment of sinners to their sin in Romans 1.

In other words, the view of "justice" this Bible tries to promote is the same humanistic perspective we have heard nonstop from Tony Campolo, Ron Sider, Shane Claiborne, most of the Emergent/ing districts of the blogosphere, and Acorn.

Phil's signature

107 comments:

Chris said...

I'm sure the Biola University bookstore preordered the largest shipment of these!!

stratagem said...

"Justice" is all "rights," and no responsibilities or adverse consequences?
WHO KNEW?

mp said...

I think I want to buy both the Poverty and Justice Bible and the Patriots' Bible and set them next to each other on my bookshelf. Or maybe someone should publish an interlinear hybrid and really confuse people.

Chris said...

Other Possible Translations Out There, I'm Sure:

PMNLT:

Post-Modern Neo-Liberal Translation

ACLUAV:

American Civil Liberties Union-Approved Version

DADAV:

Devout Atheists Deeply Abridged Version

APSFV:

American Public School-Friendly Version

CWAJGAV:

Can't We All Just Get Along Version

NOV:

Non-Offensive Version

Oh, the list could go on and on couldn't it?

JR said...

It's still better than the effort Zondervan made here: http://www.amazon.com/Wild-About-Horses-Bible-Zondervan/dp/031072256X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311867430&sr=8-1

"If you love horses...you'll love this Bible."

Really, horses are why I should love God's Word? Horses?

I see what they did there.

DJP said...

Instead of stars, some posts should have "BAM"s. This is a five-BAM post.

VcdeChagn said...

[b]Instead of stars, some posts should have "BAM"s. This is a five-BAM post.[/b]

Ummm...60's camp Batman "BAM" or 90's Emeril "BAM"

It does make a difference, you know.

Robert Warren said...

I offer one of my favorite quotes:

"The word 'justice' attached to anything unrelated to crime and punishment — environmental justice, economic justice, jobs with justice — is a red flag: You're being hustled by liberals with an agenda they can't sell on its merits."

- Jim Wooten, token conservative, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

fireline said...

Don't forget the NASCAR Bible. It probably comes with coupons for 20% off of Busch Lite.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_box_?k=NASCAR+bible

DJP said...

Robert: Ooh, I like that.

Jeff said...

> Instead of stars, some posts should have "BAM"s. This is a five-BAM post.

What does the Bible Answer Man have to do with this? :)

DJP said...

Eww. We do not speak of Haaaanegraaaaaf.

stratagem said...

I probably shouldn't admit this, but if I had a pre-teen daughter and I thought it would get her to read the Bible more often, I would buy it.

stratagem said...

The wild horses Bible, I mean. NOT the "justice" one!

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Whoaa, dude, aren't ya like....forgettin one?

http://surfersbible.info/

Matt Aznoe said...

While not defending this particular Bible, it should be noted that Biblically justice is not just about "crime and punishment". It is about fairness and equality in regard to the enforcement of the law -- criminal as well as financial, etc. It is not allowing the rich to oppress the poor. It is not showing favoritism to anyone -- showing the love of Christ to all people equally... yes, even the leftists. It is also about giving God His due honor and praise. It is doing what is right regardless of public opinion or personal cost. It is all about loving your neighbor as yourself and loving the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It is loving your neighbor and considering his needs above your own. That is Biblical justice.

And don't fall for the left versus right duality foisted upon us by the worldly government and media. Get back to the scriptures and the Holy Spirit and let politics stay in the world where it belongs.

Scooter said...

Keep this a secret, but my big idea to fund my Europeans backpacking adventure where I find myself is the W.H.I.N.Y. (White Hipsters In Neverending Y00tness) Bible. Inside you'll find:

- Peter takes Jesus out to coffee for Satan name-calling
- the Prophets reformatted with edgy and dirty languages for bar witnessing
- daily devotionals using the Psalms yoga
- carbon offsetting paper
- for an extra $15.95, also includes a pack of clove cigarettes to support struggling Indonesian tobacco farmers
- for an extra $29.95, also includes one pound of organic, free-range, no hormones added, fair trade, UN certified, coffee

Scooter said...

In addition, I plan to use some of that money for grammar and punctuations classes. All the more reason you need to buy my book!

Jeff said...

I don't care what you all say, as soon as the Chuck Norris Bible comes out, I'm buying it.

Bill Honsberger said...

ooh - the Chuck Norris version - I don't think we will be given a choice - it will be imposed by sheer will to power!
Speaking of will to power - yall notice how the emergents, all dedicated Postmoderns in full contempt of all things "modern" - are virtually to a man all big fans of Marx and Darwin. Aren't those two like the ultimate modernists? So confusing...

Jeff said...

I saw a sneak preview of the CNV (Chuck Norris Version):

Genesis 1:Creation
1) In the beginning there was nothing. 2) Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked the nothing and said "Get a job!" 3) Thus the universe was created.

Jeff said...

Full disclosure - I wish I thought of that Chuck Norris-ism but I didn't. :)

Chris said...

Matt,

I understand what you are saying, and I agree with much of it. If what you mean is that we should never put our hope in government on either side of the fence to save us, I couldn't agree more. However, the way you have generalized and limited the left verses right worldviews to a simple matter of partisan politics alone gravely misses the deeper, ideological, and spiritual dimensions of many things that must be confronted that only seem to be matters of politics--and, yes, much of it comes from the "lefties" you seem a bit too quick to defend or ignore for my taste, wanting to simply write them off as being of a different political party.

What Paul warned about regarding principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places (the spirit of the age) is clearly manifest in many (okay I'll say it: leftist) ideologies that we see so prevalent today, and which are finding their way into the church. Also, consider the heretical and/or deeply religous roots to them. This is as much, or more, a matter of bad theology and/or blasphemous, false religion as it is politics. For example, in 2011, we have: radical environmentalism, feminism, socialism, communism, religous pluralism, theological liberalism, intellectual and societal "tolerance" of a host of things God abhors and forbids. It would sure be nice to write all of this off as a matter of partisan politics--as though they were on the same level as campaign spending.

Matt Aznoe said...

Chris,

I will not deny that there is not a lot of bad doctrine that comes from the liberal side of the spectrum, but there is more than a little wrong with the "right" side of the spectrum as well. Unfortunately, I do not think most would suffer to hear it here because they are still wrapped around the world-view fed to them via Fox News and talk radio.

Please understand this: this is coming from someone who was a die-in-the-wool Republican, pro-military, Rush Limbaugh fan, outspoken conservative. But through my son's premature birth, I was unplugged from the media for over a month during which time my only "entertainment" was reading the Bible, which I did a great deal. When I came back to the "real world", I was absolutely appalled at what I had been allowing to come into my life.

We are so quick to throw the liberals under the bus that we do not see how vile and corrupt the "conservative" movement is, especially in light of scripture. We endorse a great deal of selfishness, prejudice, and destruction in our dogmas that have nothing to do with Jesus Christ. We coddle greed and hatred and vindictiveness that corrupts our souls and leaves our churches lifeless and powerless. The Holy Spirit is grieved, and God's reputation is soiled.

If you do not believe me, I challenge you to take the month of August and watch no television, listen to no radio, and read little to no Internet news (maybe weather if you live in an area with tornadoes) and instead, with the time usually spent in those things, read your Bible and pray. Let God renew your mind and then come back with a clearer vision. I truly believe you will be blessed if you do (even if, in the end, we still do not agree).

Zoarean said...

Matt, I believe you meant “I will not deny that there is a lot of bad doctrine…” in your opening line, instead of what seems to be a double negative.

I agree that Repubs. sometimes fail to represent Christian values at a personal level, but I honestly see little in the platform that fails those values. I’m glad that Limbaugh doesn’t represent himself distinctly as Christian, given his often crass attitude down in the minutiae of daily events; nevertheless, I still agree with his larger political stand most of the time- not that I take much time to listen to him. So that is where I stand with you; wasting less time with political pundits frees up more valuable time in God’s Word.

But attempting apolitical correctness is most certainly where we do not agree. We cannot, nor should not, attempt to divorce ourselves from our Christian responsibility to effect political change.

Matt Aznoe said...

"Matt, I believe you meant “I will not deny that there is a lot of bad doctrine…” in your opening line, instead of what seems to be a double negative."

That is correct. Sorry about the confusion.

"But attempting apolitical correctness is most certainly where we do not agree. We cannot, nor should not, attempt to divorce ourselves from our Christian responsibility to effect political change."

Where in the Bible (especially the New Testament as we are no longer a theocracy) do we see the early Christians engaging in politics? We do not see them lobbying the Roman senate to enact religious reforms. We don't see them being encouraged to vote or influence politics to remove the current powers. Their focus seems to be entirely on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have heard similar statements before, but I have started to challenge these kinds of sayings with this: what is the Biblical foundation for that assertion? We are called to pray for our leaders and governors and to pay taxes, but where are we obligated to seek political influence or to take responsibility to "effect political change" in the Bible?

On the other hand, Jesus said that our kingdom is not of this world. We are supposed to be advancing the kingdom of God by preaching the Gospel and making disciples -- that much is certain.

Zoarean said...

As for these ad hoc Bibles, their only value lies in the specter of getting someone to read a Bible centered on them. I fully understand that is utterly counter to the mind of Christ, but Paul himself speaks of drawing his fellow Jews to Christ with the base nature of jealousy.

Still, it's disturbing that the editors chose to label content other than God's Word as "The Core".

Chris said...

Matt,

Missed.The.Point.

I'm afraid that you are the one still locked into that political mindset. Only now, it is from the formerly-die-in-the-wool-Republican-perspective. You see? Most of what you've written in your reply is politically-driven. it is political.

I am well aware of the corruption on the right side, believe me, as I am the first to say there is nothing Christian about someone like Limbaugh. I do not look to government or politics on anyone on either side to save me, only Christ. I do not look to a political leader I might prefer or like as being anything close to the caliber of my pastor(s). That's not my point.

I'm saying the assualts coming in rapid fire on our faith are spiritual and ideological...as they have always been in the church...through false teaching and heresies...by apostates. Well, if you haven't noticed, the left side of the political spectrum these days is where so many of these false teachings are being rebirthed and thrust into society...and churches.

Matt Aznoe said...

Chris,

And I am saying that you are missing half of the battle. False teachers will be wolves in sheep's clothing. Do you not think that wolves can look like conservatives too?

As you yourself admit, Limbaugh is not representing Christian values. Would that not make a false teacher with a false doctrine as well?

Satan attacks the church from all sides: liberal and conservative.

Zoarean said...

"Where in the Bible (especially the New Testament as we are no longer a theocracy) do we see the early Christians engaging in politics?"

I'm not saying that we should focus on politics, rather that we should not desire to apolitical. First century Christians lived in an entirely different political structure than we have now. They did not attempt to effect government because they largely could not effect government. Even Roman citizens had little political influence in Caesar’s palace, so certainly a captive people would have none.

But an extrapolation of the good Samarian parable poses a difficult quandary for being apolitical. What if that Samaritan had come upon the victim in the moment of the attack? What would be the “good” thing to do then, especially if he was strong enough to thwart the attack? To forcefully intervene, of course, would be the only right response, with the assumption that a sovereign God has granted such an opportunity, given the concurrences of time, place, & ability.

Neither time, nor place, nor ability were in place for the great majority of the early Christian conscripts to effect any political change, so the choice for them was obvious. No choice is an easy choice every time. But God clearly has given us a choice in this free & democratic republic.

Nevertheless, I’m not at all saying that preaching & representing the Gospel should not be foremost, ahead of any political instigations.

mike said...

I wonder if Romans 3: 25-26 was highlighted.

Sir Aaron said...

@Strategem: Amen

Andy Morrison said...

This is a classic over here in kangaroo-land

http://www.biblesocietynsw.com.au/moreaussiebible

it is honest enough to not purport to be a translation on par with even the message, but it does retell the bible.

Chris said...

Matt,

Lemme say it this way, at the risk of possibly sounding too generalized: while this is in NO WAY intending to justify the sins of the right, Republicans' sins are what they are, have been, and probably always will be insomuch as they are on the table, as it were, for what they are, and not hiding in illusive movements or couched in ideological waves of thought that capture the hearts and souls and minds in the same way as so many "isms" do in the left-leaning world. Republicans' sins are human sin, be depraved humans, and thus involve the whole spread of sins related to lust of the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life. Of course, this aint no small list of sins, and there's nothing insignificant about them in God's economy. The lost among them will indeed spend eternity the same way as their leftist counterparts--without salvation in eternal hell. In other words, I can very easily see Limbaugh and Obama spending eternity together in the very same place; Pelosi and Beck. You know what I'm saying, or i'd go on and on with pairs of unlikely bedfellows in hell.

Now, with that said, I can hopefully shift this over to the main point I'm trying to convey here (the point I hoped you would see earlier), which is that I'd venture to say that Republicans' sins are like the rest of their platform: individualized and not group, or movement, oriented. Does that make sense to you? Seems like a simple distinction, but the ramifications are more significant, I think.

This is not to say certain Dems will not make headline scandals with their personalized sins either (e.g. Weiner, Wu), just like the Republicans and their scandals; BUT, this is to say that leftist/liberal IDEOLOGIES and/or MOVEMENTS are philosophical in nature, and as a Christian, you know that such soil is fertile for satan to plant damnable lies and surround them in appealing packages--first to the pagan culture and then right into the church...where so much of it resides. And, again, none of it is new.

For example, contemporary feminism is an extension of ancient Gnostic heresy and all that it entails; it is also fused with a good dose of evolution, socialism, and Greek mythology. Its proponents (who, by and large, are on the left of the dial) make it clear how much they hate the Word of God and the (aweful) patriarchy it supports.

I'm sorry, but the Republicans are not out pushing these kinds of movements...nor is there a movement stemming from the right that even compares to the global impact of the environmental insanity movement...of the left? Take a very real life (and death) matter like abortion; nobody, or a very small number, on the right supports that vile practice of murdering the unborn; most on the right oppose it. Guess what? God also hates the practice, just as He hates Earth-worship and feminism. The left proudly support all of these, along with the ideologies that fuel them.

Chris Nelson said...

Phil, I'm so confused, your power was overwhelming. I'm now going to read my Al Gore I invented the Bible Bible.

Robert said...

I wonder is Exodus 23:3 is highlighted?

"nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit. " (ESV)

stratagem said...

I can't say that Limbaugh never represents Christian values. In some cases, he does, case in point that he would support the idea that if a person doesn't work, they don't eat what another person sows and reaps. There are other issues where his positions are out of line with Christian values. I am pretty sure he is not a Christian as we know it, same as Neil Boortz!

Of course, the same can be said of even a shyster like Jim Wallis of Sojourner fame.

Both sometimes represent Christian values, but it's strictly accidental when they do.

DJP said...

What a week. Wednesday, a post about Dave Armstrong; then Thursday, a post about Rush Limbaugh.

Matt Aznoe said...

Chris,

I understand what you are saying, but you are wrong. As I said in the beginning, if you do not believe me, take my challenge and unplug yourself from worldly influences and let God renew your mind.

I can try to explain until I am blue in the face, but until the Holy Spirit can speak to your heart, you will not change. That can only happen by silencing the voices of the world and dedicating yourself to prayer and reading the Word. Truly seek the Lord and learn what He has to say about life and godliness.

If you choose to do this (or anyone else reading this), let me know so that I can pray for you during that time.

donsands said...

"...I do not think most would suffer to hear it here because they are still wrapped around the world-view fed to them via Fox News and talk radio." -Matt

Not sure I agree with that statement.

"In other words, the view of "justice" this Bible tries to promote is the same humanistic perspective we have heard nonstop ..."

Sad to take God's Word, and His truth and twist it to one's own mind and heart. May it never be by Your grace Lord in my heart that I would manipulate Your Word, but instead humble myself under Your truth. Amen.

There are many 'angel's of light' within the Church in our day.

"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds."-Paul the Apostle

Have a terrific weekend in our Savior's joy and strength! Especially on the Lord's day, as we come to worship Jesus Christ our King of kings, and our heavenly Father, in Spirit and Truth.

Chris said...

Matt,

Howzabout a challenge for you? Try spending one week as a reformed/ Calvinistic, dispensational, Bible-believing Christian within the bastions of a secular-humanist-hedonist-feminist-socialist-atheist-and generally Philistine English department within a community college...as an instructor! This is not merely "being the product of the media," as you suggest. This is life in a trench.

UNPLUG, you say? Novel idea. I'd love to, really. Sounds so simple. Well, notsomuch! Maybe I can reside in a Christian bubble somewhere and talk about how sympathetic, and impartial, I am to the ideologies of the left...from a nice, safe distance??

It sounds as though you are comfortably downstream enough to see this stuff float along gently in breeze, but I'd suggest you try spending some time at academic falls, where it is all hatched and spawned. Swim in THAT water for a while, and you'll get tired quick, my friend. Actually, I wouldn't want you to do that. I am genuinely happy for you, brother, that you are not in such a hostile place!!

But, I don't see a NT example of unplugging from the places or circumstances in which God places us; only HE unplugs (and I'm praying He will do just that, BTW). I don't recall Paul unplugging from all the places in which he found himself (e.g. Mars Hill)...or any of the prophets or apostles for that matter. Ideological, philosophical, theological, and spiritual attacks on TRUTH cannot be ignored...nor should they. Confrontation, whilst equipped in the full armor of God and having a complete awareness that that the battle is spiritual and not carnal--that's the game plan for the church.

stratagem said...

Chris
I think you just hit the nail on the head as far as the challenges for some professional, institutional Christians, trying to understand the life of the amateur Christian. Well done.

Matt Aznoe said...

Chris,

Now I see the problem. You are so steeped in the mire of the problems of the left that you are unable to see that the same pile of filth exists in those areas steeped in "conservative" values. Just as you have a deeper sense of problems of liberalism than I do, I see more clearly the problems with the right as that is my environment. I do not discount the utter filth that you encounter every day, but I am telling you that you do not have a monopoly on ungodly philosophies.

As for unplugging in the NT, I can think of several. Jesus would often go into the wilderness to pray. Paul, following his conversion, left and stayed in Arabia for three years. The disciples unplugged from the world, in a sense, when they waited for Pentecost. Even the prison cell became a place of solace and renewal for the apostle Paul.

There is a time and place to step away from the influences around you and renew your walk with God. It sounds to me, if I will, that you are in that place right now -- and a simple media fast won't be enough.

If you are feeling the need to unplug, are you sure that God is telling you to wait or is that desire to get away the Spirit trying to tell you to do what it takes to do so? Sometimes God thrusts it upon us, but sometimes He looks for us to put that desire into action by willful obedience and sacrifice.

I will be praying that you will find peace and restoration in the Holy Spirit. May God be with you and bless you with His presence.

Mr. Fosi said...

On topic: Good post, Phil. I'm glad that you are willing to wade in that cesspool so I don't have to.

It seems to me that, given the issues inherent to translation (literal vs. intent), any overt allegiance to some extra-Scriptural ideal such as the waxy-nosed political-speak things such as "poverty and justice" is a serious issue. Discerning believers, it seems to me, would instinctively steer clear of things like these custom Bibles.

Off-topic: The church is the place that believers gather to worship, fellowship and be taught. That's the closest to "unplugging" that most professionals get. This was apparently close enough for the Apostles (and those they shepherded) and via divine providence, enough for us as well since there aren't any admonitions to be found that tell believers to "unplug" from their daily lives IRL and go on walkabout.

We can interact with other believers outside church, such as meeting in houses, but when you have a family and a job that is exhausting, you aren't likely to trade much of your already sparse down-time to do a lot of that.

Speaking as one who is pursuing an advanced degree in a public university science dept, I see much more value in actually contending for truth IRL than "unplugging" and gazing at my navel. The people around me are deceivers being deceived and any retreat that I affect away from the defense and contention for truth isn't loving my neighbor.

Chris said...

Matt,

I'm sorry, but your last bit was so loaded with generalizations and assumptions that I don't even know where to start. I'm not being sarcastic, just honest.

First, you assume I cloak myself in Republican politics as my sole identity because I am so well aquainted with the "filth" on the left in my job (good word, filth, btw). Where did I say, or even suggest, that I do not see the problems of the right?? Not so. I thought I made myself as clear as I could on this point earlier?? Hell is and will certainly be BIPARTISAN in terms of its eternal occupants!

Second, you assume "media" (hugely generalized word, media, btw) is where I am so "influenced" in my thinking. Wrongo buckaroo. Life, reality, work, etc....this is where I see and hear stuff/filth. Yep, when I do see "media," i see plenty of filth on both sides of the partisan aisle!!

Third, all of the examples you give of "unplugging" among people in the Bible are actually refreshing themslves...in prayer, in the Word, and in fellowship with other believers. They are not escaping the world nor the circumstances in which God placed them.

FYI: the word you like to use so much--"unplug"-- was popularized by MTV of all places, was it not, when they began a series of music artists "unplugging" all of the extra sound equipment they usually use and going strictly acoustic? Do you watch MTV?? Just curious. I frankly cannot stand the channel for so much of what they represent, so I gnerally pass on any of these unplugged episodes, even if I might otherwise like the artist performing.

Fourth: You assume I somehow do not get refreshed in the Word, prayer, or fellowship. Whoaa...big, and grossly inaccurate, assumption there my friend.

Matt Aznoe said...

I think you all are misunderstanding what I mean by "unplugging". I am not talking about being a monk in a commune; I am talking about turning off the external influences of the media that speak against the Word of God.

I am planning such a fast next month, but during that time I will continue to go to church, meet with my various groups of men, work at my job, and do whatever other works of ministry God brings to me. But too many of us waste time by watching TV, reading the Internet, and listening to radio instead of praying and reading our Bibles -- especially praying. There is no greater source of renewal than spending time with God in prayer, but it is one of the activities most neglected in the church today.

This is all about setting your mind on things above and trying to recognize what ungodly influences we are letting into our lives -- especially those over which we have direct control and no business letting into our lives and homes.

If I am wrong in my assertion, I apologize, but I see far too many pop-culture references and irreverent jokes on this forum to believe that I am far from the mark. In fact, by the level of response I am receiving, I am convinced that a nerve has been struck.

Zack Flummerfelt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zack Flummerfelt said...

Another aspect that often gets overlooked among these social justice types is the confusion of the concepts of "justice" and "mercy." This was better understood in previous times. What is often called "social justice" should be coined "social mercy." The message of the Cross makes this distinction most clear and proper. We get mercy due to Christ getting justice on our behalf. We don't "deserve" mercy merited by the Cross and neither do many in this world deserve mercy who are poor. They(along with the rich) deserve justice.

repost reason: edited typo

stratagem said...

I know that there are plenty of ungodly people and attutudes on the right and the left, but if anyone thinks it is insignificant that most atheists and agnostics associate themselves with the left, I think they are willfully blinding themselves.

But I have never felt compelled to find moral equivalence in everything, the way many younger folks have been taught to do.

stratagem said...

Zack: Correct, but activists can demand justice from you, and they can't demand mercy from you. So they re-coin all their causes as "justice."

Matt Aznoe said...

stratagem,

I am not overly concerned about agnostics and atheists. I am concerned about those who claim Christ's banner but whose deeds are from Hell. The former are the minority, the latter the majority (and closer to home).

donsands said...

"..I see far too many pop-culture references and irreverent jokes on this forum.."-Matt

I have to disagree here as well.

The Three Amigo TeamPyro guys have one of the most reverent blogs out here in the blogosphere. Been coming by here for quite a while now, and am always encouraged, or at least challenged. Thank you Phil, Frank, alias Centurion, and Dan. Keep up the excellent labor of love for our Savior and KIng, our Lord Jesus. Your rewards are in heaven, and nothing can rust them away.
Have a joyous Lord's day in the truth and love of Christ. What a salvation we have.

Here's a good hymn to ready us for the Lord's day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tX_ISi_2EGM&feature=related

stratagem said...

Matt - maybe where you reside that is true, but not where most of us reside.

Zack Flummerfelt said...

Zack: Correct, but activists can demand justice from you, and they can't demand mercy from you. So they re-coin all their causes as "justice."

Exactly. Bad circumstances, individual or social, are transformed from opportunities for charity into excuses for coercion.

stratagem said...

I wonder when "reverence" (other than for God) became a Christian virtue? Just asking.

Sir Aaron said...

@Chris: I can't figure it out. Is Matt telling you to take the red pill or the blue one?

allanclare said...

Hello Pyromaniacs.
I'm sorry, but this has nothing to do with the post - I couldn't find out how to contact you directly on a new issue.
I was wondering what you thought of the CJ Mahaney/Sovereign Grace Ministries events? Have you read the two main blogs that have been detailing stories about ex-members of the churches? Have you read the wikileak files? If so, what did you think about their idea of biblical accountability?
I'm currently just about starting my MA dissertation which, in a nutshell, will look at 'covering' and 'heavy shepherding' (with a look at a book called 'Under Cover' by John Bevere.) I'm unsure why many prominent evangelicals haven't addressed the issues that the Wikileak files have brought out (unless they're still ploughing through the files..). Apart from Ligon Duncan and Al Mohler (two disappointing statements as far as I'm concerned) there's been no words from anyone as far as I know.
Regards,
Allan Clare.
allanclare@gmail.com

DJP said...

It is off-topic, but about 92% of this meta is off-topic; but such requests are fine subjects for email.

Phil has Tweeted that this article pretty well expresses his thoughts.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Sir Aaron,

Hmm...not sure. That's a tough one. I know he's saying the red one is filthy! The blue one, I think he's trying to say, is a bit less filthy in light of the filthiness of the red one. Or, maybe he is saying both of those nasty pills are awful to even touch because they are exactly the same--they were made in the world...and they've been displayed in the media?

Sir Aaron said...

@Chris: I think worse. We'll both be lambasted for making another irreverent pop-culture reference.

Strong Tower said...

Served with a healthy dose of lighter fluid, one might just enjoy the warm glow.

At one time Scripture was use by secret societies to convey messages to underground resistence fighters. But, the covert messengers didn't change the translations. They just coded their message.

Overt attemps by propagandists to make Bibles that aren't say things the Bible never said are at least easy to spot, and to discount. The real sabbatouers are those who don't change the translation, but write prolifically about what they say Scripture means. It is far more subversive to use a code book to explain the secret meanings of the text, than to nakie where everyone can mock your true self.

allanclare said...

I have to admit my heart sank. Not a discerning article on the situation and some things which are simply not true. (I've spent hours and hours and hours on the sgmrefuge and sgmgsurvivors blog for 'research'). And, please, this is not a cessationist issue! (Over here, some people are banging on about how it all happened because of SGMs views on complementarianism... I suppose you just pick your axe to grind.)
Without sounding too harsh, CJ simply got from Brent a 'taste of his own medicine' in a skewered system of supposed accountability which, in face, is 'heavy shepherding' - the essence of the issue (quite apart from blackmail, which the article doesn't mention..)
And this is also definitely off topic for this thread!
Many thanks for the reply,
Allan.

donsands said...

"Every one of us is ambitious for something or someone. (Yep, that includes you.) But too few of us have thought biblically about ambition. We don't like to talk about it. We assume that if we avoid the topic, we'll avoid temptation. We need someone to talk with, someone to teach us about our aspirations. ...
So if you think, like I once did, that humility and ambition can't coexist, turn the page." CJ Mahaney, Foreword to the new book, "Rescuing Ambition", by Dave Harvey

Since we were talking about CJ a little, and I just read this, thought it may be a good way to encourage us to read this book by Dave Harvey, which looks like a dynamite teaching for the Body of Christ to me.

Have a great Saturday in our Savior's Hesed.

mike said...

Since we're off-topic anyway, I'm really enjoying reading The World-Tilting Gospel.

And yes, I know that Dan wrote the book and not Phil.

DJP said...

Thank you for that, Mike.




And also for the encouraging words about The World-Tilting Gospel.

(c:

Rachael Starke said...

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Many popular configurations come preprogrammed, including:
The Bieber Bible
The Missional to Alderanal Bible
The Blog Comment Anarchist Bible
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Matthew D. Schultz said...

In terms of "justice" and the political discussion that has gone on in this thread, it is likely that Christians looking back on America in three-hundred years will be appalled at its rank materialism. When asked to identify our deepest lordship commitments by our actions, history will indict the American spirit as fundamentally consumed with the accumulation of toys and trinkets at the expense and exploitation of poorly paid workers in underdeveloped countries. It is, of course, completely at odds with what Christ and the prophets identify as the proper use of wealth. And this kind of American exceptionalism is perpetrated by both liberals and conservatives, often more so by those on the right, and enormous numbers of Christians engage and excuse this lifestyle by appealing to defenses of the free market.

So that I am not misunderstood, I am a (reluctant) capitalist and have little love for liberal ideologies. But the liberal motivation is often based on real, not merely perceived, faults in our modern society, of which there are many. The tragedy is that they, especially those of the anti-religious Marxist tradition, are groping for answers to gross human suffering that exclude Christ, either by denying his Word or by ignoring it, and thus are without an ultimately meaningful and satisfying solution to the evils of the world. Some of their ideas are downright foolish, and deserved to be called such, but in their hearts they are desperately seeking ways to confront and solve the evil of the world, and placate their own guilt before the Lord, in every way but submission to Jesus. And in this they should have our compassion and love, rather than simply mockery and disdain.

I'd add that "justice" has not been served in many politically conservative, Christian communities on some critical issues, a major one being divorce.

The broader choice between (R) and (D) has seemed much less one of choosing between good and evil as one of picking between two kinds of spiritual decay. Whether one is better than the other is like debating whether one should be bitten by a snake or stung by a scorpion.

Someone above mentioned Marx. I don't agree with much of his material, and it is good to be wary of his ideological commitments and exaltation of the economic reality, but he is right inasmuch as I am aware of no other major philosophical writer in the history of the world who held a high view of manual labor. The only other person who did so happens to be a carpenter I love more than life itself.

It's also important to remember that Marx's writings were motivated in part by the utterly monstrous working conditions inflicted on young children in capitalistic economies. The excesses of unbridled greed, whether we call that capitalism proper or not, are something we should all agree is not just deeply concerning, but downright sinful.

Dwain and Amanda said...

I love the commendation this Bible received...it seems the only thing better would be the Chuck Norris Bible.

http://sacredsandwich.com/archives/5207

thomas4881 said...

2 Timothy 4:3For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

stratagem said...

Matthew D. Schultz:
Your post sounds incredibly conflicted with itself. You say that Liberals are seeking answers to the world's problems that are real and not just perceived... presumably that does not include the fact that they've been at the forefront of paving the way for hundreds of millions of abortions worldwide, the disintegration of the family due to normalization of divorce and open sexual relationships, which has led to kids growing up with several sets of parents, and are now at the forefront of redefining marriage itself. Methinks you give them way too much credit, and I wonder why. But perhaps the issues listed above are just perceived and not real, in your estimation.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

stratagem said:

You say that Liberals are seeking answers to the world's problems that are real and not just perceived... presumably that does not include the fact that they've been at the forefront of paving the way for hundreds of millions of abortions worldwide, the disintegration of the family due to normalization of divorce and open sexual relationships, which has led to kids growing up with several sets of parents, and are now at the forefront of redefining marriage itself.,

I think you need to reread what I wrote. Your response conflates two different issues. I hate abortion, and liberal sexual values are often confused, at best. What I did say is that they can identify basic problems with society. This does not mean their solutions are helpful, as you seem to think I said.

Restated in other words, some of the motivations for liberal solutions were born out of a desire to reduce real suffering. Just because their answers are not always right does not mean they have failed to identify valid problems. I already mentioned Marx and child labor. I'll go ahead and mention feminist ideology. When men, including professed Christians, beat their wives and this is largely ignored in society, liberal feminists are right to say that such a state of affairs is henious. Of course, their proposed solutions--e.g., the deconstruction of gender--absent as they are from Christ and his Word, are fundamentally flawed and, as I already said, will end in hopelessness.

I am trying to push back at the mentality where we functionally dismiss everything the nasty "Marxists" and "liberals" have to say without even listening to their positions, and thus lose an opportunity to see if their complaints are valid. It's a fundamentally insular approach, and leads to all kinds of mischaracterizations of these positions, which also does little to help our apologetic. It tends toward a posture that lacks compassion for lost sinners.

Methinks you give them way too much credit, and I wonder why.

Your thinly veiled insinuation will be rejected for what it is. I basically said these people are groping in darkness for answers, and will never find them unless they submit to Jesus. I also said I had no love for their ideologies. I'm not sure how that's giving them "too much credit."

If it helps, I am simply applying the old path of loving the sinner and hating the sin. Typical political discourse on this subject by Christians tends toward conflating the two, and hating both, if not always in word, most often in practice.

But perhaps the issues listed above are just perceived and not real, in your estimation.

Only if you conflate the identification of problems with proposal of solutions, which I otherwise distinguished in my comment.

Tim said...

Their misquote of Matt 5:3 ("God will bless you people who are poor") is a wonderful illustration of the way they need to twist Scripture to fit their theology.

stratagem said...

Matthew, I think you might be the one confusing things. Identifying "problems" in society should be easy, but when the solutions cause even greater evils than they solve (e.g., abortion as a solution for anything), then one's ability to even recognize a problem is suspect, isn't it? Let me put that another way: if what we call liberals can't see that abortion is akin to the Holocaust (at least), then you could say they are among the blindest of all in identifying society's ills. I don't believe that most liberals proceed from a genuine concern about social ills, but rather (like Marx) they proceed from a restructuring of the world that will benefit them in some perceived way.
IOW, I still think you are giving them way too much credit, imaginary straw men about the majority of Christian men beating their wives, or not.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Matthew, I think you might be the one confusing things.

I explained how you misread what I wrote. You're not interacting with that explanation.

Identifying "problems" in society should be easy, but when the solutions cause even greater evils than they solve (e.g., abortion as a solution for anything), then one's ability to even recognize a problem is suspect, isn't it?

It depends on the situation. You have to judge on a case by case basis. You can't extrapolate from one instance of a bad solution to some group's general ability to identify problems. There's a premise missing from your argument, which you have yet to provide other than suggesting some implicit connection.

Even abortion is offered up by liberals to solve societal problems that all sides largely agree are really problems.

I don't believe that most liberals proceed from a genuine concern about social ills, but rather (like Marx) they proceed from a restructuring of the world that will benefit them in some perceived way.

Where's the evidence? We know what motivated Marx. How could his desire to prevent the abuse of children in abysmal working conditions, for example, benefit Marx? Perhaps in some guilt-conscience soothing manner, but that doesn't seem to be what you have in mind.

What have you read by Marx? Or other liberals for that matter?

imaginary straw men about the majority of Christian men beating their wives, or not.

This demonstrates you aren't listening. I never said the majority did. You need to read more carefully.

I think I've said enough on this topic. You are welcome to have the last word.

Matt Aznoe said...

Matthew,

As much as I agree with what you have said, there is one point where even you are a little off. Abortion is not just a "liberal" issue. Check out this recent article on the BBC.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/14213136

Specifically, consider these statements:

"It had to do, Hvistendahl writes, with the West's paranoid population control movement during the Cold War - a growing fear that more hungry babies would grow up and turn to communism."

"In 1969, sex determination was included as one of the 12 new strategies for global birth control at a US workshop. Henry Kissinger, then secretary of state under Richard Nixon, signed a classified memo stating that 'abortion is vital to the solution' of population growth in the world."

These are conservatives promoting abortion. (And this is just one issue of many that I could raise.)

My point is to not take either pill but to "take" the Holy Spirit and cling solely to the Word of God. We are consistently lied to and encouraged to believe a left/right paradigm when the true division is spiritual and perpendicular (or at least tangential) to the any political divisions or borders. Do not fall for the deception and thereby divide the church.

There are many "liberal" brothers and sisters in Christ as well as those that might be open to the Gospel that we have pushed away not because of doctrine but because of political ideologies. And Satan is very pleased.

Maybe instead of laughing at and deriding those who are trying to promote "social justice", we should first examine our own doctrines to see if we truly show love and care for the poor, widows, orphans, and oppressed. After all, if we did, we would truly take the wind out of their sails.

Chris said...

Matthew,

You said "Some of their ideas are downright foolish, and deserved to be called such"

Not to be pickey on words, but howzabout "downright wicked and evil??" Those are the terms I think of just before I'm about to say "downright" just before them. I point this out because I think your word choices reveal something about your sypathetic position towards the left...and subsequent, emergentesque rhetoric of opposition towards the right regarding the muddied definition of "justice" these days among left-leaning evangelicals.

I'm not buying the masked, side-door leftism you are clearly trying to impose on this meta. What gives you away is not what you say as much as what you fail to say about the powers of wickedness behind the leftist ideologies (principalities and powers) that are running amuck in 2011 like never before. Why? The movements of the left are inherently postmodern in nature; in this postmodern age in which we live, every conceivable movement and/or ideology on the left is not only accepted, but celebrated and even esteemed as virtuous--both in society at large and in churches.

Speaking of which, are you a regular over at the emergent "Ooze" site, if it still even exists??

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Chris,

I said I hate abortion. I also said the policies of the left are so often groping in darkness and without hope. If you are too partisan to read that for the negative spiritual judgment that it is, I'll just say it in your language: some of the policies of the left are deeply evil and abhorrent.

Of course, not all of the policies on the left are downright evil. Some are really just foolish, such as making poor choices about some economic matters.

I've critiqued the epistemological and theological failings of the emergent movement at Triablogue in a paper I wrote on the subject. The emergent church has serious problems and needs to repent of them.

I have no idea what "Ooze" site you are talking about. I am conservative and Reformed in my theology.

And if you must know, I am a political libertarian.

Your knee-jerk reaction is a fine example of what's wrong with political discourse in this country, Christian or otherwise.

Chris said...
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stratagem said...
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stratagem said...
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stratagem said...

Matthew, okay, I get it: You want us to know that you are a Reformed, Christian, political Libertarian who happens to skate as close as he can to the edge of praising liberalism's motives, without praising liberalism itself. Why are people confused?

stratagem said...

PS: You asked what I've read of Marx's works. Plenty, but it was 30+ years ago, and only a scarce amount over the years since then. I do vividly recall that he had a privileged birth, eschewed the day job, was a failure at providing for himself and his family, and instead of working, enjoyed organizing revolts and assembling disciples unto himself. So, we can't say what motivated him; we can say that he took advantage of a reactionary movement of labor toward the industrial revolution, but whether or not he actually gave a hoot about laborers is anyone's guess. If anyone has told you definitively what motivated Marx, I suggest they come out of the institutional ivory tower for a breath of fresh air.

Chris said...

Matthew,

In a word, you do a fine job at (academic) doublespeak, lopsided to the left; you must have picked up this nifty skill at some university somewhere? It sounds like your involved with a "Christian" university, so-called, as either a student or a faculty member?? If so, and if not at one of only a TINY handful of actual Christian schools left in the entire country (e.g. Master's College and few enough others to count on a hand), then your particular, emergent, and textbook topics of evangelical doublespeak, such as "justice", are clearly explained.

I know that rhetorical strategy (postmodern wordplay and/or doublespeak) all too well because I once used it, I'm presently surrounded by it in secular academia (in a radically liberal department), and I frankly despise it. I can't stand the dishonesty in it.

Don't you see that your urgent need to somehow counterbalance your perceptions of a long-favored position of the right in America with left-leaning sympathies and faux-objectivity is exactly in keeping with a secular culture swept up in the current spirit of this age, which is postmodernism? It is characterized by arrogant, intentional reversals everywhere of what was once right and descent with their exact opposites...just because they believe they can. Then, when they find anything sinful in the individuals or decisions of the descent past, they pouce on them in their desperate need to justify their newfound embracing of the left.

Certainly you know that what I've just described is entirely the current thinking in society at large? Then, both to the surprise and shock of the secular world AND true followers of Christ come all these evangelical lemmings out of their watered-down churches in a politically-correct parade of their own, rattling off the mantras of a fallen postmodern society.

Don't you see that such ridiculous and spiritually toxic thinking characterizes almost every so-called Christian university out there--which are all part of the massive intellectual and theological downgrade in America? At least at secular schools, it is only a massive intellectual downgrade we are and have been witnessing for the past 30+ years, as they plummeted morally and theologically many years before that.

If you haven't yet checked out the Ooze website, of which I've since done after writing my last message in order to verify whether or not it is still up, go there and see for yourself where all of this postmodern downgrade thinking ultimatly ends up. It is a sad theological wasteland absorbed in damnable lies.

stratagem said...

What Chris said, much better than I. That's it exactly!

stratagem said...

Last night, as a result of the convo with Matthew Schultz, I contemplated whether there is much to admire in those who simply can identify problems in society and then craft ill-conceived or evil responses to them, as the liberals have done. The thing that occurred to me eventually is that that is exactly what the Nazis did; the problems they addressed were real problems, but their ways of addressing them resulted in far greater evils. Likewise, Marx's ideas resulted eventually in the deaths of hundreds of millions, and the modern-day liberals "solutions" (including abortion) have resulted in the deaths of at least tens of millions of unborn. Why the great need to assign moral admiration to the liberal movement and the Marxist movement, which resulted in mass murder, while we all can see the clear evil in the Nazi movement's mass murder?

I just don't get it.

Mr. Fosi said...

And now Matt has been Godwined.

Having read more than a couple things Matt's posted at TriB, I'm more than a little unhappy with the slaps he's received here.

It seems like the responses so far have served to reinforce Matt's perception of needless/thoughtless polarization.

It's a bummer, but I suppose every blog has its own set of commentators and flaws (read: irony).

Chris said...

Yes...what Strategem said regarding half-baked and evil "solutions" by the left, much better than I.

stratagem said...

If he received any slaps, it's for what he said here, not for what he's written, there.

Chris said...

Mr. Fosi,

I'm just curious why something ELSE by Matthew needs to be read in order see what has been written here?? Would that (unnecessary) move not precisely validate the so-called "slap" of his use of doublespeak?

The larger question regarding Matthew's rhetoric is this: what motivates someone to look for the bits of good, and then attempt to push for acceptance of such bits, that come from the worst examples of evil in society (individuals and movements) in the name of some sort of balancing act? At best, it is immature playground activity of faux fairness under the guise of objectivity. It is very academic behavior, and I know it all too well. This urgency to force balance and fairness on that which should rightfully and simply be labeled wrong, evil, or worthless is such a postmodern activity. Aside from being an academic violation, would it really be so awful (for Christians, especially) to say that a man like Marx gave up any right for history to declare him anything but evil?? Why would anyone be so concerned to look for the good bits of his wretched life and actions? Why should Marx or contemporary movements of the left be treated "fairly?"

Chris said...

PS: The popular notion of attempting to gain "academic respectability" is behind such rhetoric like this--especially in so-called "Christian" colleges and universities or places like Biologos. This is pandering to the discourse rulebook of pagan, Philistine academics and what THEY determine are virtues. What business does any Christian have in subscribing to and following such rules? For Christians in academia to follow certail protocol with regard to legitimate practices, such as credible research methodolgy, is one thing; BUT, playing the rhetorical games of pagans, governed by standards and values that are entirely postmodern, is quite another activity altogether.

Mr. Fosi said...

No offense, gents, but having lived and breathed as a conservative and Christian in one secular academic setting or another for the last 15 years, I'll keep my own counsel for what constitutes pandering to gain academic respectability.

I frankly don't see what Matt has written as postmodern in any real sense. He hasn't redefined or quibbled about the definitions of terms. He hasn't tried to wiggle away from your criticism but rather met it head on. Instead of simply shielding himself with having been misread (which I think he has been), he instead offered rejoinders to clarify his position. And the list goes on.

I'll agree that correctly identifying a problem them prescribing the wrong solution is, at best, unhelpful. However, if you can't even concede where your opponent has done the first, your criticism of the second just looks ornery and cantankerous.

Person 1: "That door is red but should be painted blue."

Person 2: "No it isn't and no it shouldn't!"

Person 3: "There are really good and true reasons that it shouldn't be painted blue, but the door is red."

Person 2: "Retreating to postmodernism to gain respectability is no way to be a Scotsman!"

I suppose while we are condemning Matt, we should also condemn Michael Horton since he failed to repudiate Rob Bell as strongly as we could have liked in his talk "Is Love Winning?" I guess for all his bluster about the dangers of postmodernism, Dr. Horton is falling prey to it as well?

Obviously, I think not.

Rather it seems that not all responses to all people need to be, at all times, bombastic and polemical. There are times for measured responses.

As a regular reader and oft commentator here at Pyro, I know this probably doesn't sit well with some of the Pyro readership, but that doesn't make it the defining mark of postmodern pandering.

Chris said...

Matthew: As for love and compassion towards the lost, nothing I am saying here denies this mandate nor does it indicate that our hearts' desire should be anything less than loving for the lost, on either the left or the right side of politics.

Now, with that said, I am and have been addressing two areas that have nothing to do with reaching the lost individuals of our society: 1. dead men of old whose time is well-spent and who are presently residing in hell, beyond the reach of Grace (Marx, Hitler, Stalin); I need not say anything charitable or compassionate about such swine any more than I need to figure out or consider the redemptive qualities in Judas Iscariot. I need not celebrate even their slightest desire to accomplish something good in their miserable lives of terror and descruction, driven by the agents of hell. What I am concerned about is the present threat, to the lost in our society today and even among professing Christians, of the ideologies (principalities and powers)that were authored by Satan then through such men and are continually resurfacing through demonic agents and children of the devil in the world today.; 2. movements, not individuals, that are permeating our society. There is absolutely no biblical mandate to have compassion on an evil movement, or an understanding of the good solutions such movements might be attempting to solve. None. When, however, on an individual basis, I encounter someone (an actual person) who is a victim of such a movement, namely by being an advocate of it, then rescuing his or her soul and loving them becomes my chief concern. This pleases the Lord, who likewise hates these movements that undermine His Truth.

Also, as I said to Matt in an earlier post, my comments about the left are in no way trying to set up a contrast with the right--foolishly attempting to call the evils on their side anything but what they are. However, as I also said earlier, ideological movements out of the left--entirely postmodern in nature--are blasting society in general, and even spilling into the church. Aside from the Capitalism in which we all live (and enjoy many aspects of, I might add) as Americans in a free market society, something you yourself admit to doing reluctantly (namely because your only option would be to pack up and move), the sins of the right are far more individualistic that movement-oriented. This is in keeping with their general, party-line characteristics. Their sins are in keeping with their virtues, as it were, by being marked by either individualism or collectivism as a characteristic. This brings me to the point I was trying to make to Matt and now to you, that while I am completely aware of the problems/sins on the right, their individualism makes them far less of an ideological and/or spiritual threat to carrying out the work of the devil in society than group-oreinted, heavily ideological, Socialist-like movements have in attacking God's truth on a large scale, through institutionalizing such attacks--which, of course, are spawned in the halls of academia.

Matt Aznoe said...

"This brings me to the point I was trying to make to Matt and now to you, that while I am completely aware of the problems/sins on the right, their individualism makes them far less of an ideological and/or spiritual threat"

And this is where your conservative bias gets you into the deep woods. What makes you think that individualism itself is not a "movement" of Satan? If a vice or trend makes itself evident in large portions of society, even if those people are not organized in any clear way, does that not constitute a movement? Consider the impact that Rush Limbaugh had on conservatives in the nineties or Glenn Beck in the past five years. While there was no collectivist organization, you cannot deny the impact (good or bad) that they had on millions of people.

In fact, the rugged individualism of the right is counter-Biblical in that it undermines the concept of unity and community in the Church by the Holy Spirit. Many of the commands of scripture are given to the community of Christians, and we are called to submit to one another and serve each other.

Instead of justifying our philosophies or political views, we should humbly search the scriptures for God's philosophies and then make them our own. Whenever we see any philosophy (conservative or liberal) that runs contrary to God's Word, we should reject it.

That is and has been my point.

trogdor said...

"Instead of justifying our philosophies or political views, we should humbly search the scriptures for God's philosophies and then make them our own. Whenever we see any philosophy (conservative or liberal) that runs contrary to God's Word, we should reject it."

Exactly. Which is why we should reject liberalism in its entirety, and embrace the vast portions of conservatism which are completely Biblical. Glad we agree.

Matt Aznoe said...

Trogdor,

Before you "reject liberalism in its entirety", perhaps you should define what exactly liberalism is. Further, are you certain that those "vast portions of conservatism" are, in fact, Biblical?

Free enterprise? Personal wealth? Rugged individualism? The American Dream? The self-made man? Pride in our accomplishments and possessions? Being a self-starter? Patriotism?

Chris said...

Matt,

Forgot personal responsibility for one's actions, which happens to be a staple characteristic of individualism. Interesting omission, that. How many Proverbs would you need to eliminate if you tried to eliminate the principle of responsible individualism from scripture?

Also, what you have named is not an organized movement (e.g. a pervasive ism such as environmentalism, feminism, postmodernism). Before you say it, I already know where you are going. "What about materialism? That is a pervasive movement and/or ism is it not, which is an extension of capitalism?" First, materialism is a choice to sin or not to sin, like any indulgance such as gluttony or alcholism. Conservative politics is not trying to legislate it or force you to buy what you don't want; second, as for capitalism, nobody denies the inherent sins of it, or multiple ways in which to sin through it, but it is how our free country operates and which has offered a far better way of life than most of the planet under alternative economic systems. Would you actually venture to say Socialism or Communism are equally bad???? Capitalism, expressed through responsible individualism, has helped to allow families and churches to thrive far better than anything else. Depraved sinners take such opportunities and use them for sin, but that does not make the option any less the best because of this reality. Take alternative forms of government that are inherently anti-biblical to the core, and there you'll see believers persecuted...for being believers! This is no different than the old Communist Russia or contemporary institutions of higher education everywhere. Here's a thought, Matt: I noticed from your webpage that you enjoy a fairly comfortable locale in texas, from which you minister through your music (which, btw, is quite good); well, you are enjoying the fruits of the capitalism you are trying so desperately to criticize, and in a state that expresses its appreciation for such liberty like few others. Also, you seem to enjoy the priviledge you have of selling cds, right? Why don't you just give them all away? Wouldn't that be "justice" for people who can't afford to buy them?

stratagem said...

Were Abraham's herding and breeding operations a free enterprise? If they were, were they sinful? If they were sinful, why didn't God rebuke him for those operations?

trogdor said...

You got me! I, like everyone else here, has not put so much as a single second of thought into any of these issues. If we had, obviously we would see how incredibly foolish we've been, and more importantly, how supremely enlightened thou art!

Now, if you're ready to admit that others have actually thought this through, we can continue. For the record, I believe you have actually thought about this. I think you're completely wrong and wrong-headed, but I think you've actually put some thought into it. So here we go.

First, liberalism. Take every plank of the current Democrat party as a starting point for liberalism. It'll be tough to find even one to stand on. Go on, I dare you! (My apologies to the mods if that counts as troll food.) And if you're going to argue for anything to the left of current Dems (which at this point only leaves a few bits of communism), please give fair warning. The only thing better than a good comedy is a bad attempt at being serious, and I would need to get in full MST3K mode to properly enjoy that comment. K thanks.

As for conservative values that are Biblical, let's see. Start with justice (real justice, not any of the garbage that's had 'justice' attached to its name for rhetorical purposes). Equal standing for all in court, fitting punishments for evildoing, that sort of thing.

Continue to economic values - personal responsibility (particularly to provide for one's own family), generous provision for the destitute and particularly those in the church, the ol' Protestant work ethic, correlation of compensation to value provided, non-favoritism, etc. Basically what you deride as 'capitalism', if you will.

The duty of government to wield the sword to curb evildoing - against wicked men both foreign and domestic. Sneer at that as 'patriotism' if you will.

Respect for God-ordained institutions such as family and church. Beyond the sickening attempts to bless various perversions with the glorious term 'marriage', and the equally sickening easy-divorce laws. Conservatives hold that responsibility for child-rearing belongs to the parents, whereas liberals hold a "the state is mother, the state is father" view worthy of Psi Corps. If Alfred Bester is someday named Secretary of Education, don't be surprised.

Honesty/integrity matters, especially among leadership. I don't care if someone can help promote my views, if he's a snake, treat him as such. If an argument is false, even if it would be for a 'good cause', don't make it. Don't just do the right things, do them the right way.

I may be able to continue later, but for now I have to get back to work - clearly this is evidence that I'm helplessly mired in the anti-Biblical American materialist capitalist pigdog system! Pray that I may one day join your super-compu-hyper-mega-enlightened view and be freed from this compulsive desire to provide for my family, instead being content to have the government forcibly take my provisions from some eeeeeeeeevil rich person. 'Coz that's what Jesus was all about.

Chris said...

Bingo Strategem!


With regard to so many of Matt's/Matthew's comments in this thread, I think of the expression my mom always used: "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater". Thanks, mom, for that expression...it really fits all of these guys' critical comments about a country God has richly blessed in the past, through free-enterprise capitalism btw, even if such a country is now on the downgrade as a result of abandoning God. Within that abandonment, and gross sin against Him as a nation, is a vast pile of moral filth and societal degeneration that began among rebellious students in the tumultuous sixties and pervades the boomer generation to this day...only now with more traction through the form of legislation such boomer rebels are writing and establishing as a result of the titles and careers they established for themselves, namely through the polititians, lawyers, academics, and faux-pastors among them. They can now do far more damage to America in the name of justice than they could in the protest rallies of their glory days!

Chris said...

Trogdor,

Well said, sir!

Chris said...

Oh, as for the boomer generation faux-pastors out there, they get to do far more damage to the church--as the seemingly 'wise' emergent leaders within local congregations everywhere--than they could as rebellious, unattentive kids they were in their youth groups at the churches they were dragged to by their Bible-believing conservative parents!! ...and nobody can make them get rid of their gray pony tails or tell them how to dress for church...plus, they can't find clip-on ties that fit them even if their church expected them to wear one.

Matt Aznoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Aznoe said...

Chris,

If you would look at my website, you would see that, in fact, I do give my music away with absolutely no strings attached as long as it is not used commercially. It is a ministry, a gift from God that I freely share for the glory of God. Currently, God has provided me a decent job to cover bills until He sees fit to send me into full time ministry (if He ever does -- I rest in His plan).

We recently uprooted ourselves from Michigan to live in Texas. For six months, we lived in a 900 square foot apartment with five little boys on a tight budget because I believed that God had led us here (I still do!). Even now, we live in a modest home that was truly a gift from God (long story there, but God's provision is amazing). I wouldn't exactly call it extravagant living by American standards -- although compared to the world's standards, we are exceedingly rich! We have spent the past two years paring down our possessions and opening our hearts to let God lead us.

---------------------------------

Let us just let this conversation end and let God have the last words. Let the Spirit speak to you as He will.

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."
(Philippians 3:8-11 ESV)

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [the great saints that have gone before and testify to us of the faithfulness of God], let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
(Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)

Chris said...

Matt,

I'm sorry for that oversight regarding the cd's; great to hear that the Lord has blessed with resources enough to do that. I'm afraid I assumed you were selling them, which would certainly be understandable if you were not able to do what you do. Nonetheless, you are a smart man who can see the point I was trying to make. As for where/how you live, I know that you know what I meant by this as well. Comfortable and able to enjoy life with your family, in Texas or another state, a 900 square-foot apartment or by a lake on 900 acres, the point is the same. You are enjoying your ability to live and minister freely through your music and website in free America.

donsands said...

"Free enterprise? Personal wealth? Rugged individualism? The American Dream? The self-made man? Pride in our accomplishments and possessions? Being a self-starter? Patriotism?"

Pride is a sin for sure. Ambition is a good thing, that most Christians seem to avoid. Sad.
But one can be proud that he is not rich, can't he. And a rich person can be humble and thankful in the blessings of the Lord.
Been there seen that.

Good discussion.
Iron sharpens Iron. It's the way the Holy Spirit works and molds us so that we become more like Christ, whether we are rich or poor, God is the Potter, and we are the clay. Different uses for the clay are in His loving and sovereign hands.