Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Justice Sunday II
...God save the United States and this Honorable Court

A.W. Pink said, "To insist that some men, at least, do thwart God's will and overturn His counsels, is to repudiate other Scriptures equally explicit. Weigh well the following:" "But He is one mind, and who can turn Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth" (Job 23:13). "The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations" (Psa. 33:11). "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD" (Prov. 21:30). "For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?" (Isa. 14:27). "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else! I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure" (Isa. 46:9-10).

They're back and at it again folks. Justice Sunday II is in full swing. Though information is limitied at this time, Justice Sunday II, per their advertisement, seems to be centering around the Supreme Court, the Ten Commandments, and President Bush's possible appointee(s) to the Court. Those participating this year are: Senator Zell Miller (D-GA); Tony Perkins, Family Research Council; Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family; Chuck Colson, Prison Fellowship Ministries; Bill Donohue, Catholic League; Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum; Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Family Research Council; Dr. Jerry Sutton, Two Rivers Baptist Church; Bishop Harry Jackson, Hope Christian Church. (I must say, I was delighted to see the absence of Dr. Al Mohler's name on this Justice Sunday roster for whatever his reason may be).



JSII wants God to "save the United States and this Honorable Court." I know that "save" here means to "preserve, protect and endure," but how do they propose to do this? Political activism by the church. This is so foolish ladies and gentlemen, again. It is the Lord who establishes governments and they are under His sovereign control (Psalm 2:1-5; Rom. 13:1-7). The Lord Himself came not to make society moral or encourage His disciples to fight for cultural change; but to build His church and that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

A piece of ECB trivia: Seven out of the nine sitting Supreme Court judges were appointed by Republican Presidents; only three of those judges are conservatives. The track record is poor to say the least. The hope for the moral crisis our nation currently faces is not judicial appointees of any bench, but is through the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed; believed; obeyed; followed; and lived.

In light of Justice Sunday II's recent announcement, let's set the record straight on a few key things:

1. As Christians and as individual citizens in a free society, can we make our voice known on political issues without violating the standard of Scripture? Yes. We enjoy that freedom as individuals constitutionally in our nation to voice our views in a lawful manner and to do so in a way that doesn't tarnish or diminish our testimony for the Lord, His gospel, or His Word and still show respect for those in governing authority in our land (Romans 13:1-7). We may do so through voting, contacting our Senators or Congressmen; through lawful assembly, and local community involvement. We can make our voice known, but then we must leave the results to the Lord; for He is sovereignly in control over all the affairs of men and will even use unrighteous governments and their leaders to fulfill His perfect and providential will on the earth.

A.W. Pink says it in these powerful and biblical terms: "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will (Prov. 21:1). What could be more explicit? Out of the heart are "the issues of life" (Prov. 4:23), for as a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7). If then the heart is in the hand of the Lord, and if "He turneth it whithersoever He will," then is it not clear that men, yea, governors and rulers, and so all men, are completely beneath the governmental control of the Almighty!

No limitations must be placed upon the above declarations. To insist that some men, at least, do thwart God's will and overturn His counsels, is to repudiate other Scriptures equally explicit. Weigh well the following: "But He is one mind, and who can turn Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth" (Job 23:13). "The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations" (Psa. 33:11). "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD" (Prov. 21:30). "For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?" (Isa. 14:27). "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else! I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure" (Isa. 46:9-10). There is no ambiguity in these passages. They affirm in the most unequivocal and unqualified terms that it is impossible to bring to naught the purpose of Jehovah.

We read the Scriptures in vain if we fail to discover that the actions of men, evil men as well as good, are governed by the Lord God. Nimrod and his fellows determined to erect the tower of Babel, but ere their task was accomplished God frustrated their plans. God called Abraham "alone" (Isa. 51:2), but his kinsfolk accompanied him as he left Ur of the Chaldees. Was then the will of the Lord defeated? Nay, verily. Mark the sequel. Terah died before Canaan was reached (Gen. 11:32), and though Lot accompanied his uncle into the land of promise, he soon separated from him and settled down in Sodom. Jacob was the child to whom the inheritance was promised, and though Isaac sought to reverse Jehovah's decree and bestow the blessing upon Esau, his efforts came to naught. Esau again swore vengeance upon Jacob, but when next they met they wept for joy instead of fighting in hate. The brethren of Joseph determined his destruction but their evil counsels were overthrown. Pharaoh refused to let Israel carry out the instructions of Jehovah and perished in the Red Sea for his pains. Balak hired Balaam to curse the Israelites but God compelled him to bless them. Haman erected a gallows for Mordecai but was hanged upon it himself. Jonah resisted the revealed will of God but what became of his efforts?

Ah, the heathen may "rage" and the people imagine a "vain thing"; the kings of earth may "set themselves," and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Christ, saying, "Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us (Psa. 2:1-3). But is the great God perturbed or disturbed by the rebellion of his puny creatures? No, indeed: "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision" (v. 4). He is infinitely exalted above all, and the greatest confederacies or earth's pawns, and their most extensive and vigorous preparations to defeat His purpose are, in His sight, altogether puerile. He looks upon their puny efforts, not only without any alarm, but He "laughs" at their folly; He treats their impotency with "derision." He knows that He can crush them like moths when He pleases, or consume them in a moment with the breath of His mouth. Ah, it is but "a vain thing" for the potsherds of the earth to strive with the glorious Majesty of Heaven. Such is our God; worship ye Him."


2. Is it biblically permissible to unit the body of Christ by turning them into a "voting block entity" or "religious PAC" to use in threatening or militant tones to try and strong arm politicians to fulfill our political agenda? No. The role of the church collectively and biblically, has never been to promote governmental legislation or to act in an aggressive manner against the governing authorities over us. The Apostle Peter warns against this in 1 Peter 4:15 when he exhorts those who are suffering under the tyrannical and torturous reign of Nero, to not suffer as a "troublesome meddler." Or as they are known in our day... "political agitators." They were to suffer for only being a Christian as a faithful witness of the gospel; not suffering as a Christian for being a political agitator against the governing officials--as noble as it might appear. Nero was unjust and ruthless--a wicked madman who had a bloodlust vengeance against Christianity. But still, the Lord gave the instruction to keep to the work of the gospel. To try and twist politicians with the threat of not being re-elected (we will remember in November was the montra last July) is prohibited biblically; and is not befitting of Christlikeness or His gospel. (The role of the church is clearly and primarily defined in 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus. Take an hour today and reread those great pastoral epistles and discover afresh the role, purpose and function of the body of Christ; what pleases the Lord and brings glory to His name.)

3. Is using a Sunday Evening Worship Service in a local church and turning it into political rally permissible in the Word of God? Never! There is not one example in the N.T. where the assembling of God's people worship of the Lord, the preaching of His Word, the sharing of His gospel, the fellowship of His people, the practice of baptism and communion, prayer, etc. is ever to be subverted for political strategery against sitting politicians or judges. That is not the purpose of local church worship gathering (Acts 2:42ff). This is astonishing that Sunday Worship services today have now evolved into political/cultural rallies without virtually a sound being heard from the evangelical community. Justice Sunday 1 was a disappointment. Dobson's political muscle in many ways over the last year has atrophied. He was certainly trumped in the aftermath of JS1 by "The Senate 14" who now control the "procedural activity" of the senate without the formality of senatorial rule change, a majority vote, or constitutionality. He and his well-meaning JS1 friends can stir the evangelical community up in a political froth for a few days, get some petitions signed, and a waterfall of phone calls ringing on The Hill. But the pragmatic results are very disappointing: with a conservative, Christian President: with Republicans having a majority in the House and Senate; and with all the airtime and banter that Dobson & Company have been afforded these past few years, there has still yet to be one piece of real legislation enacted into law that represent conservative, evangelical, Christian ideals and values. So why not do what we know God has clearly commanded us to do? To subvert the worship of God and preaching of God's Word on the Lord's Day (even if cloaked in spiritual language) for a political concern is unthinkable. What would the Apostles say of today about the state of contemporary evangelicalism in America? Elevating temporal political concerns over the eternal worship of our Lord is unthinkable. Who spiked the "living water" thinking that this is now biblical Christianity to do so?

Paul exhorted the Corinthians with these words: "For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake (2 Cor. 4:5). "We do not preach ourselves..." Paul never promoted himself, but in humility preached only Christ Jesus as Lord. He never preached any other cause or message; he never lowered the gospel to political fare; he never used the gathering of God's people for worship for anything except that which gave glory to the Lord by exalting His name according to His truth; and Paul had ample opportunity, but he remained faithful as "a servant of Christ, a steward of the mysteries of God..." (1 Cor. 4:1). He stood before kings and governors, but yet his purpose was never legislative, but only "Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). He even warned the church at Corinth "to not exceed what was written" (1 Cor. 4:6). Paul was concerned about sectarianism dividing the church and he put the kibosh on it immediately. It's a good principle. Do not exceed what Scripture teaches--that's the grace restraint for life and godliness in each of our own lives as well.

Pray for those in authority over you (1 Tim. 2:1-3); honor them (1 Peter 2:17); submit to them (Romans 13:1-7); to not be political agitators (1 Peter 4:15); but let your good works be visible for men to see as we live as salt and light (Matthew 5:12-16); preach His Word in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:1-5); proclaim His gospel (1 Corinthians 9:16); live holy lives (1 Peter 1:13-15); recognize your duty to the magistrates in a pagan society (Titus 3:1-2); remember your depravity (Titus 3:3); and rejoice in your deliverance (Titus 3:4-7). The result of such godly living is: “These things are good and profitable for men.” (Titus 3:8).

This is how we are to live to the glory of God in a lost world.
Grace and peace,
Steve Camp
(Colossians 1:9-14).

67 comments:

Joshua_Duncan said...

Not much to add but "amen," Steve.

Phil (Col 1:27-28) said...

I have ahd such a rising concern because of what I am seeing arising within the church of the west, especially in the USA. I truly appreciate your post and heartedly say Amen to it!

Blessings in Christ Jesus!

Jus Divinum said...

Your point 1 justifies "ECB", all by itself. If Christians can do this "as individual citizens in a free society," then they can do this _with other individual citizens in a free society_. If you deny freedom of association, then you don't really believe we are "citizens in a free society".

Your point 2 is a straw man. First, it is impossible to "threaten" and "strong arm politicians to fulfill our political agenda". This is a democracy. We vote. That's not 'threatening' anyone. How is _exercising our rights_ as individual citizens in a free society (remember your point 1?) a form of "acting in an aggressive manner against the governing authorities"?! What, when you pull the lever in a voting booth, a gun goes off somewhere? :-) I mean, if you think democracy and its privileges should be abolished, just say so ;-)

1Pe 4:10-16 means that threatening politicians that they won't be re-elected is _prohibited biblically_? Something as specific as American democracy is really in Peter? :-) Are you really saying that the Bible teaches we can't hold elected public officials accountable through lawful means? This contradicts your point 1, which says that we _can_ make our voice known to our elected officials. I think you're in two minds here.

You keep on talking about "the role of the church," apparently forgetting that a bunch of Christians cooperating with non-Christians in political activism _is not the church_. It's something else. So your points aren't even relevant. You might as well say that Christians can't cooperate with non-Christians in the cooperative endeavor of Little League, because "it's not the role of the church". You can't have it both ways. Freedom at the individual level _includes_ freedom to associate with others, _or else it's not freedom at the individual level_, is it? That's why your presentation looks to me like it's self-contradictory. I mean that very nicely, of course :-)

Your point 3 is also a straw man, since no one is _using_ a "Sunday evening worship service to promote a political rally". Rather, something else is being done _in place of_ the service. Big difference. Perhaps you can point me to the positive biblical basis for mandatory evening services in the first place. Because if you can't, then we're free to do what we want. You have to decide whether or not JSII is supposed to be a worship service, and then let your criticism proceed. It can't be both at once, can it?

BTW, some of the Puritans would criticize you for having _only_ two services :-)

SJ Camp said...

Dear Jus:

Thank you for post. To help you in this discussion:

1. Does not justify ECB. Excercising individual 'voice" through voting and other recognized channels is not ECB at all. Do you understand what it is? ECB is using political process to try and cure the moral ills of this nation absent of the gospel and standard of His Word.

2. This is not a straw man. Do you realize that Dobson and company have threatened politicians with being reelected by taking out full page ads against them in their own voting districts with militant accusatory language towards them? This goes way beyond voting. It sounds like you're either not well read on this subject or just naive.

Your point following is also not on target. Making your voice known is fine: but becoming "political agitators" (1 Peter 4:15) trying to oust certain ones and affirming others that only agree with our agenda is not befitting of Christ nor consistant with the Scriptural mandate for the church or our response to governement. We may certainly hold others to accountability, but that is not what is taking place on Justice Sunday Ii nor is it the issue here.

Lastly, the political rally is in substitute for the worship of God. That is without debate even from those promoting it. When the people of God are gathered together for the purpose of His worship, the teaching of the Word, etc. and that is given a back burner to political considerations, then something is dramatically wrong.

I would suggest to you Jus, that you do take some serious time to understand these issues better and study God's Word correctly about them. Your post is fine, but its a bit off target here and seems only a surface reaction, not thought through well.

I would encourage you to study Acts 17; Roms. 13: 1 Peter 2 and 4; 1 Tim. 2 and 6 and Jer. 29 to begin with. William Hendrickson is excellent and John MacArthur has some very practical commentaries too.

Stay in the Word...
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Jeremy Weaver said...

Stay the course Steve.

Breuss Wane said...

Great post, Steve.

Where have all the good reformers gone?
ECB + Emerging church = A new kind of protest.

Bhedr said...

Hey did you guys hear Dr. jeremiah today. Wow he was sizzling. Wouldve made us all beam and gush with hearty amens. While he was talking about Constantine I kept thinking of the ECB way.

Nathan White said...

Isn't it funny that...

Jesus in His day faced one of the most corrupt governments of all time (Romans), yet He and His disciples didn't march down the street carrying a sign. He didn't lead any campaigns on Rome.
And that the Jewish society, being of outwardly moral excellence, was the most inwardly wicked collection of leaders the world has every seen? -[They killed God in the flesh. What evil can ever top that?]

Jesus made it clear in Matthew 12:43 - 45 that the WORSE state a man can be in is outwardly moral and yet not know God.

What are these people thinking? There is no doubt that this issue runs deeper than just a group of zealous Christians who slightly misunderstand the scriptures...

Efrayim said...

Nathan,

Your comment,

"And that the Jewish society, being of outwardly moral excellence, was the most inwardly wicked collection of leaders the world has every seen? -[They killed God in the flesh. What evil can ever top that?]"

shows that you are ignorant of what took place at the execution of the Messiah. The idea that certain "Jewish" leaders took His life away is not the testimony of the Scriptures. It seems that you do not understand the difference between His being "killed" and Him placing Himself into the hands of the unbelievers to accomplish His purpose.
I hope you realize that it is not possible to "kill" Elohim. What was put to death was the flesh. Yours and mine. Everyone who has ever transgressed Torah is responsible for the death of the Son of man.
What evil could top that? I suggest that it might just be someone who, after knowing the truth, rejects that death and what it truly means. As far being outwardly righteous and inwardly wicked, has anything changed from that time until now? Have there not always been those who live that way? And are they any less evil if they take the life of one of the children of Elohim?

Nathan, please keep in mind that all of the talmadim (disciples) of Messiah came from that "Jewish" society. And the first believers, they were Jews (Israelites actually) who also came from those people. Yeshua wept over Yerushalayim, not Antioch. In purely human terms, if I reject your children, I have rejected you. And if I have rejected you, I have also rejected your father, and so on.
Such broad, general statements as you have written do not serve the body of Messiah well as they do not edify, but, rather, divide. These last days are bringing a restoration to His people. You would do well to look into what is happening and see how the prophecies are coming to pass. I suggest you start in Hoshea and may Elohim give you wisdom and understanding in what you read.

Shalom,

Russ

littlegal_66 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
littlegal_66 said...

I find it striking that the previous "Justice Sunday" event was held in Louisville, KY, and this one will be held in Nashville, TN, both of which are "conveniently" located within the Bible belt. Similar in size, I think it is no accident that these particular cities have been chosen. I feel that the organizers are unashamedly and openly attempting to play on the emotions of the southern Christian constituency in particular, in order to promote their agenda.

As they say, politics make strange bedfellows, and the Protestant community as a whole is being lured into political "trysts," (for lack of a better term)--being used as expendable pawns in a master game of chess.

These events are saddening, disconcerting, and the exploitation that is occurring is bordering on obscenity. This is a vivid example of a gross misuse of power, and the organizers should be ashamed.

Jus Divinum said...

Hi Mr. Camp,

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to interact with me. I'm glad you haven't taken anything I've said personally, and of course I don't take anything you've said personally either. I think stating our differences bluntly is the most efficient form of communication in forums like these, as long as we all realize that we are still brothers in Christ.

You say:

"1. Does not justify ECB. Excercising individual 'voice" through voting and other recognized channels is not ECB at all. Do you understand what it is? ECB is using political process to try and cure the moral ills of this nation absent of the gospel and standard of His Word."

This is precisely the problem. As I pointed out in the other thread, you claim that "ECB"'ers see political activism as _the_ solution to moral ills (at one point you said they think that government can save men's souls). I think I asked you who actually said these things. Well, who are they?

Unless you can show that you're not really fighting some mythical entity, I will continue to assume that ECB is little more than Christians cooperating with various non-Christians in order to pursue political objectives that are neither eternal nor spiritual. And again, I see no good arguments (so far) that that activity is objectionable. Now, if your original point 1 stands, then as "individual citizens in a free society" we are perfectly free to engage in such cooperation. If you deny this, then you don't really believe that we are individual citizens in a free society after all. I made this point last time, but you didn't address it (although I know you are probably short on time): "Freedom at the individual level _includes_ freedom to associate with others, _or else it's not freedom at the individual level_, is it?"

You also seem to imply (repeatedly) that "ECB"'ers think that moral ills will be "cured" _absent_ of the gospel. But again, who really believes this? I mean, have any of them actually _said_ such an outlandish thing? When I vote for President (or whoever), I think my activity is important, but I don't think it's a _substitute_ for the gospel changing people's lives. Don't you think that you should (in charity) assume that your fellow Christians also believe this, unless you have evidence to the contrary?

You say:

"2. This is not a straw man. Do you realize that Dobson and company have threatened politicians with being reelected by taking out full page ads against them in their own voting districts with militant accusatory language towards them? This goes way beyond voting. It sounds like you're either not well read on this subject or just naive."

It's perfectly possible that I'm naive, and I thank you for the reminder :-) But again, I think this "threaten" language is ambiguous in the exact way I earlier stated. 'Threatening' politicians with not being re-elected is quite different from 'threatening' someone with violence. No one has the right to shoot me on a whim. But if I am a public elected official in our society, I enter into that status well aware that the public has the perfect right not to vote for me next time if they disagree with my policies or my actions. In fact, it is _expected_ that the public will exercise their rights in this way.

Yes, this "goes way beyond voting". It is, as I said earlier, "holding elected public officials accountable through lawful means."

Speaking of 'aggressive manner,' I've looked up some of your past blog posts on Albert Mohler. (A recent entry at http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2005/07/camp-rant.html got me thinking along those lines.) Talk about aggressive language! You make many personal accusations against the guy! How is what you are doing any different from what the "ECB"'ers are doing, in the area of aggressiveness? Maybe I should compare your "militant accusatory language" towards Mohler and Dobson, with the political ads :-) Are you not both holding public figures accountable for what they say and do? In the OT, the prophets regularly held public officials accountable for their wicked policies. I realize that we are not inspired like them, but are you saying their example has _no_ relevance to today? (Cf. 2Ti 3:16-17).

You say:

"Your point following is also not on target. Making your voice known is fine: but becoming "political agitators" (1 Peter 4:15) trying to oust certain ones and affirming others that only agree with our agenda is not befitting of Christ nor consistant with the Scriptural mandate for the church or our response to governement. We may certainly hold others to accountability, but that is not what is taking place on Justice Sunday Ii nor is it the issue here."

I don't know of a single English translation of 1Pe 4:15 that uses the phrase "political agitators". Where are you getting this? Here's what Thomas Schreiner says in his recent (2003) commentary on this verse: "The fourth word represents one of the most difficult interpretative problems in the New Testament. This word, translated 'meddler' by the NIV, occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, nowhere in the Septuagint, and nowhere in other Greek literature before 1 Peter... though certainty is impossible, a reference to being a busybody seems most probable. Peter wanted believers to refrain from acting tactlessly and without social graces" (_The New American Commentary_, vol. 37, pp. 224-225).

Somehow, I think you want your criticism of "ECB"'ers from 1Pe 4:15 to run a bit deeper than this, don't you?

It would be interesting to see how "ECB"'ers are 'busybodies' but your blog is not :-) seeing as they both seek to hold public figures to the standards of Scripture (whether doctrinally [in the case of your blog] or morally [in the case of "ECB"'ers]). Notice in particular that whatever you want to make of 1Pe 4:15, Peter does not make a distinction between expressing political concerns and expressing theological concerns. _All_ activities are to be done without being "troublesome meddlers" (NASB). I submit to you that whatever standard you use here to make 1Pe 4:15 rule out the "ECB"'ers, it would also rule out most of the theological contention that you promote here on this blog against other Christians. (Again, I think your blog is great, in general; keep up the good work :-) I just don't see the consistency of promoting theological agitation yourself, and then turning around and using 1Pe 4:15 against "ECB"'ers alone.)

BTW, you never responded to my comment that "ECB"'ers aren't the church anyway, so appeals to "the role of the church" don't look very relevant. I'm sorry, but I still think the Little League illustration is a good one :-)

You say:

"Lastly, the political rally is in substitute for the worship of God. That is without debate even from those promoting it."

Well, then I guess we'll have to disagree. Again, is this actually being promoted as a Sunday evening worship service in the first place?

Thanks for the pointers on commentaries.

Nathan White said...

Russ,

That is a needless and ridiculous attack on me for such common use of terms. It seems to me that you are a way too sensitive in this area and it might serve you well to stop looking for opportunities to express your displeasures with whatever or whoever you think has done you wrong.

You said:“Your comment…shows that you are ignorant of what took place at the execution of the Messiah…

Tell me Russ, where do I say that Jesus was killed by man and not by giving up His spirit? Where do I deny that the sin of you and I put Him on the cross? Where do I point out that the Jewish leaders are solely responsible for the death of Christ and therefore the responsibility lies on them alone? How does my sentence even make sense if this is what I am trying to say??

You’re splitting hairs here and looking way too deep into a very broad statement. I only wished to point out that the religious leaders of that day (who did plot to kill Jesus and ultimately put Him on the cross when Herod found no fault with Him), were morally pure on the outside. My point was that yes, those Jewish leaders were more wicked than anybody who will ever live (Jesus pronounce curses on them and said they would be cast into ‘outer darkness’ and would be subject to 'greater punishment'), and yet they were morally pure on the outside. Thus proving that even the most wicked of generations ever to walk the earth would’ve stood tall and proud with the moral agenda of this age.

The object of my statement isn’t to point out the wickedness of those Jewish leaders, but that outwardly moral people can commit the worse crime in the history of the universe! Standing against abortion, gay marriage, prayer in school etc means nothing if your heart isn’t cleansed, and if those Jews were alive today they would probably join forces with the religious right –despite their being wicked on the inside.

No, I am not ignorant of Acts 4:27-28, which says that God put Jesus on the cross. Yes I understand that God used the Jewish leaders as a vessel of wrath prepared for destruction to carry out His good pleasure. But no, this does not take the responsibility off of Judas, Caiaphas, and the other religious leaders who crucified God in the flesh despite His sinlessness, His miracles, and His fulfilled prophecies. I in NO way mean to place any additional blame on the Jewish people, this was completely devoid of the point I was trying to make. But to say that those Jewish leaders were no more evil than anybody who lives today is, in reality, truly ignorant of the scriptures and the severity of the crime committed.

Please do not see this as an attack on any particular RACE, but an attack on outwardly moral people who are capable of committing the worse of sins.

Jus Divinum said...

P. S. to Nathan,

Thanks for your comments, but there is a _reason_ why Jesus "and His disciples didn't march down the street carrying a sign. He didn't lead any campaigns on Rome." Rome wasn't a democratic republic, susceptible to any kind of reform through the critique and lawful actions of its citizenry. So doing that in that day and age would have been utterly pointless. You probably would have been killed if you offered any kind of principled critique of the Emperor. Not so today, in our country.

Jesus and his disciples didn't vote either, but that isn't a reason for Christians not to vote. So I think arguments from silence are of very limited value here. Cf. D. A. Carson, _Exegetical Fallacies_ (2nd edition), pp. 138-139. Carson's example here is of liberal scholars who say that because Jesus never mentioned limitations upon women's roles, therefore that fact is of some significance. It's not. (I'm not saying you're liberal, of course; I'm just talking about arguments from silence in general :-)

SJ Camp said...

Here is what Dr. MacArthur's Study Bilbe says on 1 Peter 4:15: Peter is dealing with matters that would lead to persecution. Such as getting involved with revolutionary, disruptive activity, or interferring with the funciton and flow of government. (It might also refer to being a troublesome meddler in the workplace). A Christian living in a non-Christian culture is to do his work faithfully, exalt Jesus Christ and live a virtuous life, rather than try to overturn or disrupt their culture." That's the issue here. ECB seeks to overturn cultural moorings through pollitical means. (your example of whether a democracy or dictatorship is irrelevent. the form of government is not what's in quesiton, but how the Christian lives under any government is (Rom. 13:1-7).

You wrote: "Peter does not make a distinction between expressing political concerns and expressing theological concerns." Jus, You take this completely out of context.

As Dr. MaxArthur pointed out, the context here is "suffering" (in fact suffering under the wicked hand of Nero). Peter makes the comparison between suffering as a "thief, murderer, evil doer or a troublesome meddler" to suffering for the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the distinction. Suffering for doing things that were crimes against the laws of the day vs. suffering for living for Christ and sharing the gospel. The whole of his epistle is about suffering and submissiveness.

This, of course, is not the manner or method of evangelical co-belligerence. This is nothing new; I have been addressing this for many years (since the mid 1980's). The issue here is simple Jus, the purpose, function and role of the church is not to be battling government over moral suasion or religious rights; or trying to upset or overthrow the cultural even if one thinks their cause is moral and based upon traditional family values. We are to only suffer for being a Christian--being persecuted for Christ's sake and for His gospel. Any other kind of suffering, noble as it sounds, Peter does not acknowledge as suffering for Christ. That's the point.

Where ECB comes in (a term I coined) is that they are trying to fight spiritual battles with carnal weaponry (2 Cor. 10:1-4). Abortion, Gay marriage, etc. are not political problems, but are issues of the heart and are spiritual ones. They need the gospel; not legislation.

ECB makes their focus political rather than biblical--of which Dr. Mohler calls (and i agree with him fuly) "the idolatry of politics." No ECBer to date has offered or produced any biblical foundation for its practice and existence. NONE.

Lastly, we are permitted biblically to be faithful Bereans (Acts 17:9-11) examining what anyone might teach in light of Scripture. Paul commands it and commends it in doing so as being "noble of character." You or I have the duty, Jus, to measure Dobson, Mohler, Camp, Johnson, anyone etc. against the clear infallible, inerrant standard of Scripture. ECB clearly falls short in this area. We don't have the right biblically to go around holding unsaved people to that same standard (1 Cor. 5; Rom. 6:20) as they do in many of their writings and radio broadcasts (Being constantly critical of non-believers for living like non-believers.)

Thank you for your post. Keep on and may we all think biblically--not politically or pragmatically.

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

PS - Try something that I did yesterday. I called Dobson's organization yesterday and the FRC too. I had a lovely talk for about 30 minutes concerning Justice Sunday with their appropriate staffers. I asked them, "do you have a pamphlet outlining from the Word of God the bibiical call to co-belligerence on these cultural issues you are asking us to fight as Christians? The person said, "what exactly do you mean?" I simply repeated my request and she said no. She went on to say that no one has ever asked them that before, but she wholeheartedly agreed that it should be done and then wondered out loud, "how come we are doing this without the Bible as our authority?" Good question don't you think?

I did the same thing with Dr. Richard Land's group during the SBC convention about a month ago here in Nasvhille. They said virtually the same thing: they had no material written giving a biblical foundation for their engaging the church in political activity to fight the moral ills of the day facing our nation and using the political process as their methodology rather than the heralding of the gospel or the preaching of God's Word. Before I left, they had me write down several questions I had brought up including Scriptures and were going to consider bringing this up at their next leadership meeting. That person also apologized and then said to me, "how come no one has asked us this until now?" Again, a very good and telling question.

What does that say to you? What is this revealing about these organizations and the whold Justice Sunday concept? It is saying that these groups, as well meaning as they are, do not think or operate primarily from a biblical world-view; just a pragmatic political one (their words, not mine). the tragic thing is that they are influencing millions of evangelicals down this path championing moral causes (many of which i agree) but in a methodology that is foreign to the Scriptures.

Think about this Jus...
Steve

Douglas said...

"Brian said...
Hey did you guys hear Dr. jeremiah today. Wow he was sizzling. Wouldve made us all beam and gush with hearty amens. While he was talking about Constantine I kept thinking of the ECB way."

He does not have any discernment about Ken Blanchard's teachings. They are shocking. And many teachers are going down the same broad way. What gives?

The pied pipers of purpose.

Dr. David Jeremiah Joins Ken Blanchard at the Lead Like Jesus Conference

-----------------------------------
Dr. David Jeremiah, of Turning Point Ministries, will be speaking at Ken Blanchard's Lead Like Jesus Conference this year. Because Lighthouse Trails Publishing made this fact known on a recent radio program when asked if this were true, Dr. Jeremiah wrote a letter to Deborah Dombrowski, defending his position regarding Ken Blanchard. Shortly after Dr. Jeremiah sent the letter to Deborah Dombrowski, Turning Point began making the letter public. Because we have been contacted by numerous people regarding this matter, we are obliged to make this information available to the body of Christ.
-----------------------------------
Continue here for more shocking evidence that things are sick in the church:

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/
jeremiahblanchard.htm

Efrayim said...

Nathan,

I do not think it would be proper to use Steve's site as a place to argue one way or the other. But, let me say this, because your statement lacked the very details you say were implied, the result would be predictable in almost any setting where the Scriptures are discussed openly. Your words would be taken as I took them. Not personally, but with concern for what it was you were trying to say and how you chose to say it.
And the fact that you are willing to place one sin above or below another makes it seem that you have become a judge of these matters. Are you a judge of Torah?

Btw, I did, and do, see your point. I just thought it was poorly made and seemed to be at the expense of others, whether they be guilty or not. Which is the problem with sweeping statements. You may sweep up something you were not intending.
Take it however you like, but it was meant to be instructive, not destructive. I am sorry if I offended you. Please forgive me.

Shalom,

Russ

Nathan White said...

Jus,

Obviously I said this in jest; I word it this way to show just how radical these ‘crusaders’ are. Just because there was no democratic republic in no way opens the door for the possibility of Jesus acting this ridiculous.

“Jesus and his disciples didn't vote either, but that isn't a reason for Christians not to vote.”

You’re comparing apples with oranges here. Voting is not a spiritual issue. In fact, one can vote privately without:

-Joining forces with other moral lost people for the sake of political gain. [Leading to unholy unions and inclusivism].
-Making enemies out of lost people who are just living like their depravity. Enemies we should love and evangelize, not judge and condemn.
-Picking and choosing certain sins to attack while leaving all others by the wayside. Therefore mudding the water in the eyes of the watching world.
-Bringing unneeded persecution and HATRED towards Christians for the WRONG REASONS.

I could go on. Point being, reform out society on your knees instead of blaspheming the name of God in front of an already crumbling society.

I made the statements about the time of Jesus to emphasize that this is not our true commission as Christians, and it is in fact never commanded in the NT. We need to get back to obeying what we’ve been told, recognizing that His kingdom is not of this world, and evangelize the lost instead of pushing them away and causing them to hate us for acting according to their nature.

SDG

Public Theologian said...

Dear Steve--

As Director of Religious Affairs for the Christian Alliance for Progress, I am on the opposite side of the political fence as the fundamentalists but I think that they are correct in being engaged politically. (My in-laws attend the Two Rivers Church in Nashville, BTW) The capacity to vote , to organize, to lobby on behalf of the poor and the oppressed, is as much a stewardship issue as if a million dollars dropped in every Christian's lap. It is an anchronism to go digging in the Bible for a direct answer to this, however, inasmuch as the governments were not democratic and no one asked the masses what they thought about anything--ever. So to say that because there are not Bible verses which tell Christians to join a PAC that they ought not be doing this is about as meaningful as telling them that they shouldn't use mental health care because everyone in antiquity who was mentally ill was thought to be demon possessed.

I also think that you have gone overboard on the Sunday night thing too. Sunday night worship services are a relative novelty historically speaking, and are not even practiced by the majority of Christians worldwide even now, nor was it ever the majority practice. Furthermore, in antiquity, time was marked from evening to evening, so from the perspective of the New Testament, a Sunday night service is actually not taking place on the Lord's Day, but rather at the very beginning o fthe second day of the week.

Regards,

Rev. Timothy F. Simpson aka Public Theologian

SJ Camp said...

Thank you Timothy for your post.

The issue of Sunday night worship service is not a matter of when, but of what... When recognized pastors/elders of any congregation call for the public gathering of God's people for worship and preaching of God’s Word and His gospel, we should honor their leadership and have fellowship one with another (Heb. 13:17).

But taking a recognized time in a particular local church and purposely subverting the worship of God and the preaching of God's Word to focus on lesser things like judicial appointees, culture wars, etc. is nowhere condoned biblically. When do the Lord, His glory, His Word and His gospel ever play “second fiddle” to any cultural issue. That is a legitimate concern.

Why don't the ECBers rent a hotel ballroom on a Friday evening and have their program without subverting the eternal things of God to political pragmatic problems?

The secondary issue with ECB-Justice Sunday 1 & 2 is sharing the pulpit and platform with Romanists. (The Reformation actually did occur didn't it?) When do the false gospel, false church and false leadership of Romanism ever been welcome on the platform of any evangelical church to share the pulpit on any issue? When did Paul, our Lord or any of the apostles for that matter ever partner with or create alliances with those "angels of light" in their day for the cultural purpose of moral political suasion? Never--it was unthinkable to them.

Certainly this violates 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1. A believer in Christ can no more have an equally yoked alliance with a non-believer in a spiritual ministry or enterprise than Christ and Belial could be yoked together to share in some “moral cause” led by religious co-belligerents? In fact, the Lord in Matthew 23 in His pronouncement of the seven woes, declares eternal condemnation and indicts as rubbish the “religious morality, decency and practices” of the co-belligerents of His day, the scribes and Pharisees. He calls them hypocrites—strong language to be sure. Then why today do ECBers think at a political rally championing “family values; the ten commandments and Supreme Court judiciary selection” that a Christian and a Romanist could be yoked together in any kind of alliance with Christ attached to it? This is very serious.

Besides brother, what if the ECB agenda could be fulfilled? What if our government and culture embraced this moral political social family value ethic and the Reconstructionists won the day? What then? All that we have then unsaved people living a little bit better lives--but still are unregenerate, lost, and facing eternal perdition. Will the church then decide when the world is moral enough to actually get to the business of presenting the gospel and preaching God's Word again? Why not just do what the Lord has commanded us to do initially?

We need a new reformation...
Grace and peace to you,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Nathan White said...

Russ,

Thank you for your kindness. In the future I will strive to do a better job clarifying my statements in order that I might not risk offense with any of the brethren. Please forgive me for this. I guess I was shocked at your reply because that was so far from what I had in mind. I was not offended however, and I certainly accept your apology.

You said: “And the fact that you are willing to place one sin above or below another makes it seem that you have become a judge of these matters. Are you a judge of Torah?”

Certainly not! I am not placing any *one* sin above any other, I base this view of different levels of punishment from the scriptures. Particularly:

2 Peter 2:20-21 (NKJV)
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.”

And also,
Hebrews 10:28-29 (NKJV)
28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

And,
Luke 12:46-48 (NKJV)
46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

And finally,
Matthew 11:21-24 (NKJV)
21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”

Cross reference Matthew 10:15 and Mark 6:11

My point being, those who A) knew God’s will and didn’t do it as opposed to those who never knew it, and B) saw the Creator of the universe in the flesh, partook in His ministry, and saw His miracles, and yet still murdered Jesus, will both be punished more than any other human beings ever to disobey the law. Therefore, my original point stands. The Pharisees where outwardly moral and would join any such cause today standing up against the truth of scripture, but in reality they were the most wicked generation to every walk the face of the earth.

Do those scriptures strengthen my 'poorly made' argument? I pray so.

SDG

Bhedr said...

Amen Campi,

Keep stirring the Co-BEEE's!

Nathan,

I'd like to impress you with what efrayim was trying to convey to you. We here in America have a false religion much like that of Constantine. With our creed and Doctrine we have at sword point tried to convert the Pagan into Christian. It is a religion based souly on anxiety. Constantine forced everyone including Arians to accept the fundamental doctrines of the faith without allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work and thus man tried to sieze the Kingdom of God.

We have a religion here in America that lets men in white sheets who burn crosses think that if they have their doctrine squared away; pray a prayer, they can believe and I've heard them quote on documentaries"Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour!"

What gives? My father graduated from a fundamental university that cheered the day Martin Luther King Jr. was shot to death.

Jesus used word pictures for those who despised others and thought they were righteous. Many men back then were conservative in their doctrine and gaurded the Word in light of the Macabee revolution. Jesus said they weren't righteous enough? What gives?

In the book of Acts God was moved by Cornelius. He was a Roman who was moved to love and support the precious Jew. Until you bow your knee to His race; you cannot know that you love Yeshua. Salvation is of the Jews.

The Gospel went to Israel and then on. It is amazing to note that the Arab would bow to their God as well and they would be one of the first in that day. In fact the syriac translations are some of the most well kept and meticulously cared for.

What an amazing day that was at Pentecost when Yehovah breathed upon the earth. oh that He would return again.

Please consider this Nathan before you compell efrayim to think that he is splitting hairs. He is helping us. We are so illiterate to the first languages and have hid YHVH behind the King of England's wishes and for some reason his wishes still exist today.

Bhedr said...

Oddly enough Dr. Jeremiah has written on the New Age movement. My parents know him personaly. His mentor was my Uncle Carson Fremont from the mission field in Hong Kong. His father helped found Cedarville College. He was home grown in the fundamentalist movement. If he is New Age then that will be a shock to me. I have written him on the "seeker sensitve" movement and as of yet; he and MaCarthur seem to be the only ones directly speaking to it.
Perhaps Lutzer as well although he is usually a little more indirect to stimulate people to think.

Is Jeremiahs position as strong as I would like it to be? No, but I wish to pray for him.

Don't pull up the weeds! The enemy has laid what is existing today. God will sickle them up. We must do like Campi and White are doing. Contend for the faith while encouraging unity at the same time.
The sheep are scattering like flies. If you find a man that is willing to listen like Jeremiah; please don't shoot more ammo at him. Please consider this.

Breuss Wane said...

Brian wrote:
>my Uncle Carson Fremont from the >mission field in Hong Kong.

Oh my... what a small world. Uncle Carson & Aunt Darlene (now w/ Jesus), Aunt Joyce, Marcia, Paul, Carol, John. They've been as close as blood relatives to our family since I was knee high to a grasshopper. :-)

"Uncle" Carson has mentored many, many others like Dave Jeremiah. This world has not enough Carson Fremonts.

Bhedr said...

Hey Breuss how about that. It is a small world indeed. Yeah Dad and uncle Carson were the best of friends in Hong Kong. Robert Hedrick is my dad's name. We were all a buch of happy fundy's back then. I miss those days; but know the circle will be back together one day. Johny Fremont was my mentor in regards to humor. Have you heard from Paul or Marcia? And Carol...whoa I almost forgot everybody.

Hey and to think last week we were in disputes. Elohim bless you.

Take care Batman. Do you get that a lot?

Breuss Wane said...

Campi wrote:
>The Lord Himself came not to make >society moral or encourage His >disciples to fight for cultural change

Absolutely. When Matthew and John witnessed and chronicled Christ's statement to Peter, "put your sword into its sheath" and to Pilate "my kingdom is not of this world", the point to the early church in its persecution was clear: Christ's kingdom is not won by sword (or vote). It is not of this world. We have too many evangelicals waving swords that belong in their sheaths.

Bhedr said...

Hey Bruess,

If you read 'Under The Shadow Of The Dragon' by Uncle Harry Ambacher you will find that Uncle Carson led a man named Teddy Chang to the Lord and my dad pastored and discipled him. Uncle Harry hitched a star to Teddys wagon and the rest is history in Hong Kong. It is amazing what God did with that little man in Hong Kong whom Uncle Carson led to Jesus.

It was all God though. Not Teddy or my Dad or even the great Uncle Carson. I sure do miss him. He was so full of life. I guess he mentored me as well. Had it not been for men like him...Well he just helped me see that God was real and helped me look past all the fundamentalism I grew up with. He was faith in action.

After we moved back to the States; things got a little tough for Mom and Dad in fundy circles. It was all part of God's soveriegn hand though.

GeneMBridges said...

Speaking from the perspective of a Southern Baptist, I find it particularly distressing when I find that pastors and denominational leaders, two of whom have been named in your comments, Steve, and who worked to formulate the BFM 2000 so blatantly disrespect it. The day the Convention passed it, all the discussion centered around the Section on the nature of Scripture, and, in our theological upheavals, it appears that was the only portion that certain among us took seriously anyway.

The BFM 2000 says:

With respect to the Christian and the Social Order:

All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.

With respect to Religious Liberty

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.

Note the highlighted portions.

The problem I see here isn't so much that there are those of us that have organized but that many of them are simply leaders from whom I personally have heard very little from in recent memory with regard to the gospel itself when addressing these issues. Many, when they do, seem to address the gospel in a tangental fashion. Granted, I don't listen to Focus on the Family much as it is, but when I do, I don't hear much in the way of sin being the root problem. Some leaders have a habit of inserting their feet into their mouths. Dr. Land got himself into trouble a few years ago at a large SBC church in Raleigh, NC in which he, among other things, called certain Democrats some not so nice names from the pulpit and declared that anybody in the congregation that disagreed with him was in the wrong. His comments made it into the Biblical Recorder in all their glory too. Granted his job is to represent the SBC in WDC regarding political and ethical issues, but in recent years, I can't help but wonder if it's really a good idea for the SBC to keep one person in denominational leadership in such a position for so long when they seem to be ignoring the full content of the new BFM.

Anybody familar with denominational politics in the SBC knows that some associations and state conventions have tried to make the new BFM a test of fellowship since it was passed. Why then are we not holding our denominational leaders to the standards of the documents that some of them helped draft? If we're not going to follow it, then why did they draft it? Are we only going to unite around the parts we like or take seriously? How can assoications dare to hold local churches to these documents as some have tried and not cry out for particular visible leaders to do the same?


I admit that I would not have as much of a problem with these moralizing crusades if they would:

a. Present us a biblical justificaiton for them. I mean lay out an exegetical defense. I'm theologically Reformed and have profound disagreements with my Arminian brethren, but I'm also the first to say that I have much more respect for those among them that (a) articulate what I believe correctly and (b) make an attempt to provide an exegetical basis for their theology...I may disagree with them profoundly, but at least they've made the attempt.

b. Devote time in both their public communication efforts and their written literature to the root issue: the unregeneracy of the human heart. That's painfully absent from much of this movement.

Christ is King of all the world, and, in His function as Judge is judge of both regenerate and unregenerate. I'm all for the moral will of God being expressed in secular laws, but am dismayed that the church would resort to the secular laws to achieve ends the gospel itself must undergird. Feel free to complain about unregenerate men acting unregenerately...as long as you and your movement are doing something about that problem to go along with the rest of what you are trying to achieve. As the BFM states, the gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone and such efforts cannot succeed if men's hearts are unregenerate.

c. Not associate with just anybody and everybody. As you so rightly point out, to associate with Rome, whose gospel simply does not save, and with Word of Faith teachers who harbor serious doctrinal heresies of their own is simply unsupportable. The Reformers would be horrified.

Focus on the Family and The Eagle Forum both oppose pornography. So does the radical feminist movement. Shall we invite Patricia Ireland into our pulpits to address that issue too should the need arise? Of course not. why then do we consort with Rome and others? We oppose the NOW's political agenda, but we also oppose Rome's theological agenda. We'll not consort with the NOW, but we'll consort with Rome, who has anathematized the very gospel that makes us who we are?!

As an aside to Jus, the argument that we live in a free society and this boils down to our legal right to free association isn't the issue...Nobody denies we have that legal right in our society, thus what is legal for us and a freedom we enjoy as individuals is not the issue. The issue is whether, as evangelical Protestants we should be comporting with Rome and others in these efforts in the name of Christ. To me, that violates the portion of the above confessional document that says we should work with men of good will without compromising loyalty to Christ's truth. I'll work with a Catholic to oppose abortion when I vote...but allowing one to speak from a Protestant pulpit seems to blur the line. When Dobson can brush aside Al Mohler's comments about the Pope and Catholicism as just one of those silly things that he expects a Southern Baptist to say, that betrays a level of compromise that goes further than cooperating on a common goal to consorting with the enemy.

d. Not usurp the declared meetings of local churches for these events.
How I wonder does this fit in with the regulative principle of worship, if, that is, any of these congregations have any inkling of what it is?

Related to this, I'd like to respond to a couple issues Jus raised:

>>Perhaps you can point me to the positive biblical basis for mandatory evening services in the first place.

That would be an incident, not an element of worship. The local church is free to set its meeting times. Perhaps you could point us to a positive biblical basis for holding a political rally during the set worship service of a local church or in lieu of said services? The content of said services would be an element that requires biblical justification.

>>>Again, is this actually being promoted as a Sunday evening worship service in the first place?

Let's put it this way: If they are holding the event in lieu of the Sunday service at the same time as the "normal" service and promoting it within that local congregation how would that not be promoting it as a worship service? As Steve said, why can't they rent the ballroom of a local hotel or convention center?

SJ Camp said...

Dear Gene:

Thank you for saying so well and so biblically the concerns surrounding these issues. I am very grateful and will be quoting you in future blogs.

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. 3:16-17

Jus Divinum said...

Hi Mr. Camp,

Thanks for quoting Dr. MacArthur, but I fail to see why what he says is of relevance against ECB. JMAC says, "Peter is dealing with matters that would lead to persecution. Such as getting involved with revolutionary, disruptive activity, or interferring with the funciton and flow of government." Perhaps you could explain to me how ECB falls into _any_ of these three categories? Attempting to persuade people on matters of voting by giving speeches and engaging in letter-writing is "interfering with the function and flow of government"? Come on, that's preposterous. You don't believe that, do you? _That's exactly how government (at least, our government) 'functions' and 'flows' in the first place!_

JMAC says: "A Christian living in a non-Christian culture is to do his work faithfully, exalt Jesus Christ and live a virtuous life, rather than try to overturn or disrupt their culture." And then you say: "That's the issue here. ECB seeks to overturn cultural moorings through pollitical means." This is a poor argument, on two counts. First, JMAC says _nothing_ about "political means". That's you reading into JMAC, and, apparently, into the text of Peter itself. I pointed this out last time. Second, the notion of "overturning cultural moorings" is ambiguous (just like your earlier notion of "threatening" politicians was ambiguous between violence and simply exercising citizen's rights to vote and make our voting intentions clear). If by "overturning cultural moorings" you mean something like physically occupying the White House, or flying planes into buildings, then sure, we all agree that's bad. But if you simply mean "cultural transformation," then your argument is way too strong, since it would rule out _the preaching of the gospel itself_. To make your argument work, the text would either have to be teaching that it's wrong to seek cultural change (in which case Peter would be ruling out the preaching of the gospel), or it's teaching that it's wrong to seek cultural change by lawful political process (in which case you've simply foisted this on the text, since it's not there). Either way, you _cannot_ get a forbidding of lawful political activism from the text of Peter. This is a classic example of eisegesis. (How does one "disrupt a culture," anyways? I must admit this is a strange turn of phrase; what does it mean?)


You say:

"(your example of whether a democracy or dictatorship is irrelevent. the form of government is not what's in quesiton, but how the Christian lives under any government is (Rom. 13:1-7)."

Well, those comments were in response to Nathan, not to you, so this reply above is a bit misplaced. Of course I agree it's very important _how_ the Christian lives under any government at any time, but the question is how Peter in particular excludes _political activism_, which in the end boils down to peaceful things like giving speeches, writing letters, and voting in certain ways, and _not_ taking up arms against the state or inciting riots, or anything else we _normally_ associate with "revolutionary, disruptive activity" (to use JMAC's words). So I think your application of JMAC here isn't credible at all.

You quote me as saying, "Peter does not make a distinction between expressing political concerns and expressing theological concerns." And then you say: "Jus, You take this completely out of context. As Dr. MaxArthur pointed out, the context here is 'suffering' (in fact suffering under the wicked hand of Nero). Peter makes the comparison between suffering as a 'thief, murderer, evil doer or a troublesome meddler' to suffering for the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the distinction. Suffering for doing things that were crimes against the laws of the day vs. suffering for living for Christ and sharing the gospel. The whole of his epistle is about suffering and submissiveness."

All of this is true as far as it goes, but the application of any of it to ECB is very strange to me. Yes, Peter is distinguishing "suffering for doing things that were crimes against the laws of the day vs. suffering for living for Christ and sharing the gospel." Obviously, ECB falls into _neither_ of those categories! So what possible application does Peter's distinction have to ECB? This has been my point all along. It is _not_ a "crime against the laws of the day" to give speeches, write letters, and ask people to vote in a certain way. How ironic that you say that _I_ take Peter out of context.

You say: "This, of course, is not the manner or method of evangelical co-belligerence." Really? These guys are "suffering for doing things that were crimes against the laws of the day"? What are these "crimes"? It looks to me like your description of ECB gets further and further from reality :-)

You say: "The issue here is simple Jus, the purpose, function and role of the church is not to be battling government over moral suasion or religious rights; or trying to upset or overthrow the cultural even if one thinks their cause is moral and based upon traditional family values." I don't know why you keep saying things like this. I already made the point (twice now?) that ECB is not "the church," so appeals to "the role of the church" don't look very relevant. You might as well say that millions of evangelical fathers voluntarily cooperating with non-Christians in coaching Little League is forbidden because it doesn't fulfil "the purpose, function and role of the church".

You say: "We are to only suffer for being a Christian--being persecuted for Christ's sake and for His gospel. Any other kind of suffering, noble as it sounds, Peter does not acknowledge as suffering for Christ. That's the point." Of what relevance is _any_ of this to ECB? How are ECBers suffering in the first place? There doesn't seem to be any consistency in your critique. In your other blog posts you go on about how ECBers are welcomed and accepted by the Republican hierarchy and have little to show for it, and now you imply that they're being whipped, beaten, and chained for their political activism. Which is it? Are they in favor with the elites, or are they suffering like outcasts? If you can't answer this simple question, then it looks like Peter's statements aren't relevant to ECB _at all_, because ECBers aren't suffering, which _is_ the context of Peter's statement, is it not?

You say: "Where ECB comes in (a term I coined) is that they are trying to fight spiritual battles with carnal weaponry (2 Cor. 10:1-4). Abortion, Gay marriage, etc. are not political problems, but are issues of the heart and are spiritual ones. They need the gospel; not legislation." Why are you not responding to my earlier points, which directly address your claims here? _Who_ among the ECBers believes that unbelievers _don't_ need the gospel? _Who_ among the ECBers believes that legislation is _the_ cure for moral ills apart from the gospel? As I said before, it looks to me as if _no one_ falls into the category that you are criticizing.

BTW, no one denies that abortion and gay marriage "are issues of the heart and are spiritual problems". Do you know of any ECBer who denies this? But it is a false antithesis to say that we therefore shouldn't openly support (and persuade others to support) laws that address these situations in society. As Mr. Steve Hays (who has apparently picked up on this thread) puts it over at http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2005/07/anarchy-in-camp.html, it's _also_ the case that murder and theft "are issues of the heart and are spiritual problems". Do we therefore not have laws against murder and theft? Surely a Christian supporting laws against murder and theft is not a denial of the gospel! I would urge you to consider Mr. Hays comments about the proper interpretation of 1Ti 1:9. The law was made for the lawless, not the lawful.

You say: "ECB makes their focus political rather than biblical--of which Dr. Mohler calls (and i agree with him fuly) 'the idolatry of politics.' No ECBer to date has offered or produced any biblical foundation for its practice and existence. NONE." To date, you have neither offered nor produced any biblical foundation for the practice and existence of Christians cooperating with non-Christians in the cooperative endeavor known as coaching Little League. Why not? Do you believe millions of evangelical fathers can be involved in this kind of cooperative activity, apart from express biblical command? In addition, do you believe _in general_ that it is wrong for Christians to cooperate with non-Christians for the sake of producing goods that are neither eternal nor spiritual? I already asked you this question (twice), and got no answer. Unless you can answer 'yes', you simply have no case against ECB, and no case that there needs to be a positive case from Scripture _for_ ECB. And as I already said before, I think your doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture needs some thoughtful reflection and revising.

You say: "Lastly, we are permitted biblically to be faithful Bereans (Acts 17:9-11) examining what anyone might teach in light of Scripture." Correct. And that is exactly what the ECBers are doing, examining what _anyone_ might teach (or do), in light of Scripture. You have a problem with this? :-)

You say: "Paul commands it and commends it in doing so as being 'noble of character.' You or I have the duty, Jus, to measure Dobson, Mohler, Camp, Johnson, anyone etc. against the clear infallible, inerrant standard of Scripture." Why stop with Dobson, et al? Current politicians and their policies are fair game as well, correct? You yourself just said this is a "duty" that applies to examining "anyone". It looks like you are being inconsistently restrictive here.

You say: "ECB clearly falls short in this area." It does? So we _don't_ have the duty to measure "anyone" against "the clear infallible, inerrant standard of Scripture"? I'm confused; I thought you just said we did. Isn't that what ECBers are doing, holding politicians to biblical standards?

You say: "We don't have the right biblically to go around holding unsaved people to that same standard (1 Cor. 5; Rom. 6:20) as they do in many of their writings and radio broadcasts (Being constantly critical of non-believers for living like non-believers.)" Wow! I must say that I am stunned! I know on the basis of your other blog posts that you're not an antinomian, so now I'm really confused. You don't believe the law of God applies to unbelievers (1Ti 1:9)? You've offered a total misreading of Ro 6:20; check out any standard Reformed commentary here. Paul was _not_ "free in regard to righteousness" _in the sense that_ he was not under any obligation to obey God's law before he was a Christian. Why would anyone need the gospel unless they were _guilty_? And why would they be guilty unless they had disobeyed a law _which they were obligated to keep_? _Of course_ God's law applies to unbelievers. The standard Reformed confession chapters on the law of God are _very_ clear here. I really don't want to come across as condescending, but I am really amazed you are taking this position! By preaching the gospel, we _are_ "holding unsaved people to that same standard" (of God's law). Christ came to save sinners, people who have disobeyed a law they _ought_ to have obeyed. No universal applicability of the law, then no universal applicability of the gospel!

You say: "Thank you for your post. Keep on and may we all think biblically--not politically or pragmatically." And thank you for yours!

Jus Divinum said...

Hi Nathan,

You say: "You're comparing apples with oranges here. Voting is not a spiritual issue. In fact, one can vote privately without:

-Joining forces with other moral lost people for the sake of political gain. [Leading to unholy unions and inclusivism]."

But first, this is a biased reading of the situation. No one is pursuing "political gain" as if it were an end in itself. They are pursuing the social good of having moral principles enshrined in the law of the land. You might as well say that Christians can't work with non-Christians in order to get laws against murder and theft passed.

Second, you speak of "unholy unions," but again you've got to show from Scripture that ECB activity is both a "union" and "unholy". I can point you to a whole bunch of cooperative endeavors that Christians have with non-Christians in our society, for a variety of ends, that you would gladly accept (in fact, I've already named a few in other comments on this blog). The ECBer associations are entirely _voluntary_; they're not covenants like marriage. They're not even contracts like the workplace. So the description here is a distortion at best.

You say: "-Making enemies out of lost people who are just living like their depravity. Enemies we should love and evangelize, not judge and condemn."

It seems to me that we should do _both_. Did not John the Baptist (the greatest prophet of the OT, according to Jesus) rebuke Herod, a godless pagan? Is not the judgment of the law the very presupposition of the gospel?

The problem here is that in principle your position is impossible to hold consistently. Would you join non-Christians in condemning Muslim terrorists who blow up innocents? Would you seek laws seeking their capture and extradition, at the very least? If so, then on your logic you have a consistency problem, because after all they're just pagans living out their depravity! Let's just ignore them :-) If you were robbed or a close relative were raped, would you cooperate with non-Christian police to see that the social good of catching and putting these people behind bars is obtained? Wouldn't that be to "judge and condemn" pagans for their depravity? Would that be an "unholy union" with the police? I can't see that the ECBer relationships are any _less_ voluntary, or any _more_ earthly and temporal.

You say: "-Picking and choosing certain sins to attack while leaving all others by the wayside. Therefore mudding the water in the eyes of the watching world."

But how do you know this? You _know_ that people like Mohler don't regularly preach the whole counsel of God? You _know_ what ECBers do in their private lives, and in their personal relations with others? You actually can make generalizations like this?

You say: "-Bringing unneeded persecution and HATRED towards Christians for the WRONG REASONS."

But this just begs the question. The whole debate is about _whether_ their reasons are wrong. So you can't appeal to the wrongness of their position, as a means of proving the wrongness of their position :-)

You say: "I could go on. Point being, reform out society on your knees instead of blaspheming the name of God in front of an already crumbling society." Well, if only you could give a good argument that these are the relevant alternatives :-)

You say: "I made the statements about the time of Jesus to emphasize that this is not our true commission as Christians, and it is in fact never commanded in the NT. We need to get back to obeying what we’ve been told, recognizing that His kingdom is not of this world, and evangelize the lost instead of pushing them away and causing them to hate us for acting according to their nature."

But why think that people who support ECB are _not_ "evangelizing the lost"? You're making a lot of assumptions here, like the idea that someone who takes time out to write a few letters or vote a few times _doesn't do anything else_. How do you know this? And again, is coaching Little League, or changing flat tires, "our true commission as Christians"? Think about how many goods you promote in society, by your activities as a free citizen in our society, that are _not_ spiritual or eternal. You really wish to condemn all these activities because they are "not our true commission as Christians" (e.g., no explicit Bible verse for them)?

Jus Divinum said...

Hi Mr. Camp,

In reply to your response to "public theologian":

You say: "The issue of Sunday night worship service is not a matter of when, but of what... When recognized pastors/elders of any congregation call for the public gathering of God's people for worship and preaching of God’s Word and His gospel, we should honor their leadership and have fellowship one with another (Heb. 13:17)."

So, you have it on good authority that, with respect to JSII, the "recognized pastors/elders of [the] congregation [have] call[ed] for the public gathering of God's people for worship and preaching of God's Word and His gospel" on that particular night? Is it not, in fact, _the opposite_, that they have _not_ called for worship and preaching that night? You say: "we should honor their leadership," but apparently you don't care what the leadership of the church has set for that particular date. You can't have it both ways here, affirm submission to church leadership and then spurn their plans! :-)

You say: "But taking a recognized time in a particular local church and purposely subverting the worship of God and the preaching of God's Word to focus on lesser things like judicial appointees, culture wars, etc. is nowhere condoned biblically."

Yes, _you say_ they are "purposely subverting the worship of God and the preaching of God's Word," but, of course, _it's not a worship service to begin with_, is it?

You say: "Why don't the ECBers rent a hotel ballroom on a Friday evening and have their program without subverting the eternal things of God to political pragmatic problems?"

This is a good question, in the sense that I agree that another evening of the week makes much more sense, all things considered. I don't consider this to be a very damaging argument against ECB in principle, however, just that they lack wisdom on this particular occasion.

You say: "When do the false gospel, false church and false leadership of Romanism ever been welcome on the platform of any evangelical church to share the pulpit on any issue?" Whoa! The Romanist gets to preach his false gospel from the pulpit? Really? Didn't Dr. Mohler explicitly bring up sola fide when he introduced JSI the last time? Are you really saying that the Roman Catholics who are present at these meetings get to expound their particular denial of the gospel? I don't think you're right here.

You say: "Certainly this violates 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1. A believer in Christ can no more have an equally yoked alliance with a non-believer in a spiritual ministry or enterprise than Christ and Belial could be yoked together to share in some 'moral cause' led by religious co-belligerents?"

Sorry, it's up to _you_ to prove that the perfectly _voluntary_ relationships entered into by ECBers are somehow an "equally yoked alliance with a non-believer". You might as well say that when I buy a refrigerator from an unbeliever at Lowe's, and start a series of payments over a year, that I have "an equally yoked alliance with a non-believer". 2Co 6:14-7:1 condemns this? :-) And ECBer relationships are _more_ voluntary than this, because you can opt out at any time (unlike paying off the refrigerator bill) :-) So I think you've stretched the meaning of "yoked" to the breaking point. A paper collar is not a yoke :-)

You also characterize ECB as "a spiritual ministry or enterprise," but that's another false characterization. It's not a gospel ministry. It's not the mission of the church. It's something else, and that's all right, because _ECBer relationships are not the church_.

You say: "Besides brother, what if the ECB agenda could be fulfilled? What if our government and culture embraced this moral political social family value ethic and the Reconstructionists won the day? What then? All that we have then unsaved people living a little bit better lives--but still are unregenerate, lost, and facing eternal perdition. Will the church then decide when the world is moral enough to actually get to the business of presenting the gospel and preaching God's Word again? Why not just do what the Lord has commanded us to do initially?"

I must say, it's shocking to see you resort to these kind of pragmatic arguments :-) Surely, _any_ enterprise involving goods that are neither spiritual nor eternal _could_ end in failure. So what? Is that a reason, in and of itself, to abandon the enterprise?

Jus Divinum said...

Hi "genembridges",

"Speaking from the perspective of a Southern Baptist, I find it particularly distressing when I find that pastors and denominational leaders, two of whom have been named in your comments, Steve, and who worked to formulate the BFM 2000 so blatantly disrespect it."

That's a strong charge. Is it true? Let's see.

You cite the BFM 2000:

"All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ."

You emphasize the second sentence, as if it excludes ECB, but it doesn't do that at all. All it lays out is a _sufficient condition_ for the 'means and methods' being 'truly and permanently helpful'. Namely, regeneration. But how does this in any way forbid ECB? It doesn't lay out a _necessary condition_ for the 'means and methods,' only a sufficient condition for their success. So, at best, all it says is that ECB won't produce _permanent_ change unless people get converted. Fine, that's true. How is it an argument against ECB? Why can't Christians write letters, vote, and persuade others to vote _and_ preach the gospel for eternal change? Why must everything be done at once? It's also true that having prisons in our society won't be "permanently helpful" unless prisoners get regenerated. Is that an argument that we shouldn't support the establishment of prisons?

You go on to cite the BFM 2000:

"Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth."

You emphasize the last clause of the last sentence here, but of course it's up to you to prove that ECBers _have_ "compromised their loyalty to Christ and His truth". Saying that ECBers _shouldn't_ do this is not an argument that they _have_ done this, right? So you need quite a bit more here to make your case.

Also, you fail to emphasize the first sentence: "Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love." Whoa! Industry and government? Do you really agree with the BFM stating that this should be the goal of Christians? This is a charter for ECB, I'm afraid. Perhaps that's why so many Southern Baptists are committed to it :-)

You cite the BFM, with emphasis: "The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends."

But again, this begs the question. No one is saying that ECB is _the work of the church_. Therefore, it's not the case that _the church_ is resorting to the civil power to carry on _it's_ work. Indeed, if by definition ECB involves cooperation with _non-Christians_, then _it's not doing the work of the church_, in terms of its specific mission. But so what? Neither is coaching Little League. _No one_ is claiming that ECB is "pursuing the ends of the gospel of Christ". It's something different. So this is just irrelevant.

Notice that, according to the material you cited but did not emphasize, "God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it." And that's exactly what's wrong with your and Mr. Camp's arguments against ECB. You are laying down "the doctrines and commandments of men" which are "not contained in it [His Word]." Nowhere in the Bible is ECB activity forbidden, but you expressly forbid it for Christians. This is legalism, isn't it? Interesting that this statement appears in the chapter on Religious Liberty.

I'll get to your other comments later, when I get the time, but I just wanted to first address your appeal to the BFM, because I think it is a misapplication of that document. It simply doesn't say what you want it to say, I think. (And again, I mean that in the nicest way possible :-)

SJ Camp said...

Dear Jus:

Firstly, you might want to listen to a series that JMAC did on Titus 3:1-8--he is clearly against ECB in all its forms. John has been my dear friend for about 16 years and it has been a joy to be ministered to by him and to learn from him. (And by saying that, I am not affirming that John has read my articles or agrees with me on everything I have tried to write on this issue).

Secondly, you wrote: "As Mr. Steve Hays (who has apparently picked up on this thread)" Oh please... Aren't you the one who initially informed him about this discussion and then posted a comment on his blog with links to my blog; articles and comments about this discussion? If I am wrong, I'll stand corrected.

Thirdly, two follow ups:

(a.) You wrote: "Yes, _you say_ they are "purposely subverting the worship of God and the preaching of God's Word," but, of course, _it's not a worship service to begin with_, is it?"

I think this is part of the problem. Yes it is a worship service. I met with a member of Two Rivers today who confirmed that.

(b.) You also wrote: "You also characterize ECB as "a spiritual ministry or enterprise," but that's another false characterization. It's not a gospel ministry. It's not the mission of the church. It's something else, and that's all right, because _ECBer relationships are not the church_."

You're right, ECB is "something else." You just proved my case...thank you, I am indebted to you. And here I didn't think any good thing could come from someone who believes in Theonomy and Reconstructionism...

Grace and peace to you,
Steve
1 Peter 2:12-15

SJ Camp said...

Dear jus:

You wrote: "It's not the mission of the church."

But that is precisely what evangelical leaders in this movement claim... That is their appeal to the church-at-large; that this is a "mission of the church" - that they're "on a mission from God" (a kind of "Blues Brothers" approach to "political, cultural, moral ministry" :-).

In addition, no one in ECB is affirming that this political. cultural, moral movement is benign spiritually. They would deny that... Again, that is part of the concern here. Their practice so far has been: ECB = "political remedies for moral maladies, propagated from church and evangelical leaders absent of the heralding of the gospel and preaching of God's Word."

I can honestly say, Jus, for you and others who are on the opposite side of the biblical fence on this issue, if these gatherings by ECBers were to biblically inform the body of Christ across our land on the following I would be affirming them and not challenging them:

1.) the role of government, Scripturally;

2.) the role of the church in a pagan society and to government, Scripturally;

3.) the role of the individual believer in a pagan society and to government, Scripturally;

4.) how we are to engage society and/or government when we disagree with its practices and moorings, Scripturally;

5.) what are the issues facing our culture that we should biblically address and why, Scripturally;

6.) how we can/should pray for our government officials in those matters, Scripturally;

7.) how do we bring the gospel into that arena so that we can fulfill the Lord's clear command for the church in the Great Commision, Scripturally;

8.) how does God sovereignty and our human responsibility as regenerated beings in Christ through the Holy Spirit practically unfold itself in this arena, Scripturally;

9.) and lastly, what kind of actions as citizens of this earth, upholding the laws of the land, but yet faithful first and foremost to the Lord and His Word can Christians engage themselves without comprosing their testimony or the standard of Scripture?

If their purposes for gathering were anything resembling the above I could be for them...

Listen to Peter's instruction to the dispersed and persecuted under Nero's ruthless reign: "13Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,
14or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

18Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God" (1 Peter 2:13-20).

This is how the Lord has designed that we are to live in our day and age as well. This brings Him glory... amen?

In His Sovereign Will, Plan and Pleasure,
Steve
Rom. 13:1-7

Nathan White said...

Jus, (boy you've sure got a lot of people responding to you on this one)

I am sorry that you fail to see the testimony of the scriptures in our great commission. I have briefly laid out a few my arguments in the post above, and your responses are so far from refuting them than I rest my case. Its seems like you are confused on what spiritual issues are, and what social order, protection, safety, and general kindness issues are. –And in your confusion you keep repeating yourself in hopes that a repetitious argument will somehow stick. Christ didn’t say or do anything in regards to this issue because He plainly said “My kingdom is not of this world” –‘If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting.’ Instead, you would prefer to follow the one example in the New Testament where this subject is clearly seen: the Pharisees. Good luck.

GeneMBridges said...

>>>>
Why can't Christians write letters, vote, and persuade others to vote _and_ preach the gospel for eternal change?

I never said otherwise. I was once a lobbyist in the NC General Assembly for a group that wanted to get some help for persons with terminal illnesses like AIDS and cancer; I regularly write letters to my senators, and I vote. I'm also involved in ministry in my local church. The question is "Where do you draw the line?"

Personally, I've not heard Dobson preach the gospel proper in a long time. I tire of tuning into D.James Kennedy and hearing all about America's decline, but very little in the way of biblical exposition from his own pulpit. Easter is about the only time of year when his ministry airs some pretty good apologetic material. I realize his church does a great deal...my problem lies with the inconsistency with his public television ministry and the local ministry of his church. Surely his folks aren't getting a lecture on American politics every week, but you wouldn't know it from his public ministry. His church pioneered Evangelism Explosion, so I honestly don't believe he's all politics and no gospel. My "beef" with him is that for folks that are that visible, that's often the only thing the public will ever know about these leaders.

There's nothing wrong with writing letter, etc...and nowhere, not one time have I ever condemned that practice. Please don't insert words that I did not write. If you notice, I went on to say that I don't have a problem with them organizing to do these things as long as they at least make the attempt to do certain things, and I'm all for the moral will of God being expressed in secular laws, and you can feel free to complain about unregenerate men acting unregenerately...as long as you and your movement are doing something about that problem to go along with the rest of what you are trying to achieve.

However, in the context of the BFM, it sets its own delimiters for means...and the one place where we the civil power being mentioned it explicitiy says the church should not resort to it to carry on its work. I'm merely following the natural reading of the BFM. More on this below.

I will concede that part of the problem with the BFM is that, in typical SBC fashion, it attempted to be a compromise document on several levels, so it's not terribly clear in some areas.

>>> it's up to you to prove that ECBers _have_ "compromised their loyalty to Christ and His truth".

Do you really want to go there?

Not all ECBers have compromised the gospel and I have not said they all have...but a sampling of their leaders is telling.

A. I remember when Dr. Falwell was literally charging President Clinton and Hillary with being involved with murder during a regular airing promoting some sort of tell all video during the Clinton era.

B. When James Dobson says things like this: DOBSON: Well, first of all, he [Mohler] did not make a vehement anti-Catholic statement. He's a Southern Baptist, for Pete's sake. You expect a Southern Baptist to say that he does not honor the pope in the same way the Catholics do. It's a different theology. Is that not right? That's not an attack on the Catholic Church." he has compromised the gospel.

James White says it well. "Excuse me? How can any rational person switch "false church/false gospel" into "You expect a Southern Baptist to say that he does not honor the pope in the same way the Catholics do"? Those are not even slightly equivalent statements. Honor the pope the same way Catholics do? No kidding! Can you imagine if someone dared to read the language of the WCF/LBCF regarding the Pope as the man of sin? Goodness, you'd probably be arrested. Let's be real clear here. Al Mohler was right in 2000. Rome is a false church. Why? Because Christ's Church is subject to Christ's Word, and Rome is not. Because Christ's Church presents Christ's gospel, and Rome does not. And Rome's gospel cannot save because it tears the very heart out of the gospel and replaces it with a semi-Pelagian treadmill of sacramental forgiveness---or, in lots of places in the world today, has dumped that for an inclusivistic/universalistic mishmash of New Age philosophy and post-modernism that would make Pope Pius IX spit nails. In any case, the gospel of grace has been anathematized by Rome---and thrown under the bus by pseudo-evangelicals, but it remains the only power of God unto salvation."

C. It's no secret that we're signing onto these moralizing campaigns along with the Word of Faith teachers like Parsley. We're including men like T.D. Jakes, a modalist, one of the most influential and visible false teachers in this country. Recently one of the largest SBC churches in my area got together with the local radio station to raise money working with Phillips, Craig, and Dean and neither the radio station nor the leadership of this church, a church that I once served on as ministry staff responded to complaints from myself and many others from as far away as FL about using these men to do this knowing full well that they preach the gospel of Oneness Pentecostalism, not the gospel of Christ. John Hagee is on record as not believing we should evangelize Jews.

What ECB leaders have taken a stand against these men? Al Mohler is about the only one. I'm not nearly as hard on Al as Steve has been. Al was the Editor of a Baptist Newspaper before coming to SBTS, so I expect him to be vocal regarding a plethora of issues. For that reason, I'm willing to cut him some slack. I honestly haven't heard Richard Land address these issues in a long time. I expect him to be very vocal too, since that's his job...but, as I said, I have to wonder, given his increasingly shrill tone if it's not a good idea to rotate folks out of his position on a more regular basis. That, of course, brings up another issue...the SBC employs Land and his agency for the purpose of doing these things for us. Why then are so many SBC churches also getting on the bandwagon? Are they not satisfied with the work of the denomination?

D. Rome, Sabelliius, and the Neo-Gnostics are enemies of the gospel, sir. Whose next, Benny Hinn? The Mormons? The Jehovah's Witnesses? The E in ECB is EVANGELICAL? Are Catholics, modalists, and neo-Gnostics evangelicals? I realize Steve coined the term ECB, but the irony is that the ECB movement, if it was to adopt the name for itself, would have to redefine the evangelion to use it!

E.. 2 John seems clear on this: 9Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

Seems to me if you let them in your pulpit, you're crossing that line.

Did Paul consort with the Ebionites and Elkeasites to spread the gospel? Did John ally himself with the Gnostics? Do you honestly think it is okay to stand in common cause with enemies of the gospel as long as you can agree on a political agenda? It's one thing to go the synagogue to preach the gospel, another to comport with the Sanhedrin. Then why are the ECB's allying with Rome and these others? The least they could do is exercise some discernment and not shoot the apologetic community in the foot in the process. Seems we're willing to consort with enemies of the gospel and Christ to further our political goals, raise money for our radio stations, or what have you. Isn't it ironic that we'll not have common cause with folks who are both political "enemies" and theological/spiritual "enemies," but we'll have common cause with folks that have declared themselves enemies of the gospel and irreformable.



F. How soon we forget the cries of the last decade to literally "Take over" local school boards.

G. The rubber really meets the road when these organizations will organize protests and rallys and intensely lobby state legislatures for such things as constitutional amendments forbidding gay marriage without the presence of an evangelical church in any gay neighborhoods and, when the ones are present they do a sum total of zero to reach out to homosexuals.

Case in point: Atlanta. It is no secret that FBC Atlanta has moved out of Midtown. This happened at the turn of the century. She was one of the only evangelical churches in Midtown, the largest "gay ghetto" in the SE, with the exclusion, perhaps of Wilton Manors, FL. All the other churches are liberal...I mean liberal, not neo-orthodox. There are two "African-American" churches in the area. I think they are evangelical, but I know for a fact that neither do any outreach to the gay community.

For at least five years now, there has been no working evangelical presence in that neighborhood that reaches out to these men and women, and there is one ministry in the metro area that visibly reaches out to homosexuals with the gospel, and it is located in Roswell. I know who leads it, and he has told me how difficult it is, because he's always under pressure and he's the only one really doing anything. He's in a large church, but the ministry is very small. Meanwhile the gay men in Atlanta are falling into methamphetamine addiction, the STD rates are rising, etc. Only God changes hearts, but it seems to me this mission field is wide open. Yet...no church planted, no help for his ministry.

A few years ago, at a Gay Pride march, a couple persons with AIDS needed a place to sit in the shade because they were exhausted. The parade was on a Sunday, and FBC was letting out. Two men asked the PWA's to please get off the grounds. The church across the street, a liberal Methodist congregation, went and got them up and gave them water. This event is still in the memory of the gay community in Atlanta. It's these little things that make or break a testimony and send people into churches that don't preach the gospel, to the peril of their souls.


All this is to say that these organizations can raise all this money and lobby soooo intensely, but they can't cooperate to plant a church or start more ministries to actively reach out these large pockets of gay men who are in desperate need? I know some of them personally. What's wrong with this picture? We'll lobby against gay marriage and write checks to these PAC's (and that's what they are PAC's), etc, but there is precious little awareness of these kinds of ministries and many of them are struggling to stay afloat. There is extensive development going on in that area and the condos, for example, are ripe for the planting of Bible studies where home missionaries can work to teach the gospel to these folks. God will give results if He has so decreed, but since when did we have to peer into His decretive will to plant churches and establish Bible studies and work the mission field?

I wrote my congressman and senators to support such an amendment, and I specifically voted my congressman into office this past election because of that person's support of such an amendment, but I also support these ministries on a regular basis. These ECB organizations have taken on a life of their own, where they devote all of their energies to politics and address the root issues in a tangential fashion. As I said, I have no problem with politcal activity, as long as these other things are being done too. I don't see that. I see us fighting to keep 5 ton monuments to the Ten Commandments on the grounds but not living the Ten Commandments daily. I see us lobbying against homosexual marriage but not planting churches or establishing Bible studies in gay neighborhoods that have no churches and need the gospel desperately. I see us pressing for 1 million baptisms as the sine qua non of church growth (what happened to a regenerate membership?) and filling our ranks with unregenerate members, not planting churches in areas that desperately need them. I see us asking PWA's to get off the grounds and essentially handing them to the liberal church that has no gospel , literally across the street, and not taking a clear stand for the content of the gospel and our very identity as Protestants in the name of political expediency by consorting with the declared enemies of the gospel.

>>>_No one_ is claiming that ECB is "pursuing the ends of the gospel of Christ". It's something different.

A. How do you know? If the movement isn't as nebulous as it claims, then we should be able to tell what it is and isn't. We should be able to get an answer to a request for an exegetical defense of their works. Since we can't, we really don't know. All we have is what we observe.

B. If it's not a gospel ministry, what is it? Is it part of the work of the church or not? The BFM says that the church should not resort to using the state to do its work. IMO, part of the problem with ECB ministries is the same problem as many para-church ministries: People gravitate to them as a substitute for the local church. When I know of situations like the one in Atlanta that have gone unmet for so long while intense political work has gone on, I have to wonder if somebody's priorities aren't a tad bit out of place.

C.Regarding the BFM it says "its work" and then ties this to the gospel of Christ." Where in that section or any does the BFM restrict the gospel of Christ to evangelism? Does the gospel of Christ not include the Lordship of Christ in every area of life? Is it not the gospel of the kingdom? Is it simply a spiritual gospel about spiritual forgiveness? That's a tidy dichotomy you have there.

The BFM states: The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King....Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ...The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Are you seriously limiting "the work of the church" to the rubric of evangelism? I have no problem with laws that promote and establish Christian principles...my problem is with the means we're using. We're employing resources for x without doing y. When y is mentioned, its not put at the core.

There is nothing wrong with working with men in common cause...but not when it compromises truth, not when it usurps the worship services of the local church, not when it resorts to the civil powers to carry out its duty. What you don't hear is as telling as what you do hear from these folks. As Steve challenged you: ask for a statement for the exegetical foundation of these crusades and you can't get an answer.

>>>Nowhere in the Bible is ECB activity forbidden, but you expressly forbid it for Christians.

I did not "expressly forbid" it: I wrote:

"I admit that I would not have as much of a problem with these moralizing crusades if they would: provide a biblical justification for them, devote time in their public communication efforts and their written literature to the root issue, not associate with anybody and everybody, not usurp the declared meetings of local churches for these events...I'm all for the moral will of God being expressed in secular laws, and you can feel free to complain about unregenerate men acting unregenerately...as long as you and your movement are doing something about that problem to go along with the rest of what you are trying to achieve.

Where did I "forbid"Christians from ECB? Please do not put words into my mouth. My problem is the inconsistency within the movement, not its existence, and that, if you are seen to disagree with it or point out these glaring problems, folks jump on you for "laying down teachings of men," and "legalism." No, I'm just calling for some sanity in these proceedings.

Breuss Wane said...

Jus divinum wrote:
>It's not a gospel ministry.

And because our two views are antithetical in their exegesis of the text, there will never be an agreement on this issue. The above is flat wrong. *Any* activity of the collective church (official or otherwise) *is* de facto ministry. ECB has no exegetical claim to "common grace" in its cobelligerence precisely because the moment the church comes together is the moment in which the gospel is involved and ministry is *done*. The idea that ECB is a collection of individuals coming together as simply citizens is a mirage.

Breuss Wane said...

Jus Divinum wrote:
>"As Mr. Steve Hays

You'll have to excuse those of us who simply dismiss the theonomically inclined argument outright without feeling the slightest compunction to answer.

Breuss Wane said...

Jus Divinum wrote:
>Why must everything be done at once?

Because the gospel is inherent to everything that a Christian does in the marketplace of ideas. There is no equivalence to buying a car, or attending a sporting event, or mowing the grass AND engaging the marketplace of ideas. The moment a "philosophy" is involved is the moment "the gospel" becomes involved de facto (whether we admit it or not).

>_No one_ is claiming that ECB >is "pursuing the ends of the gospel of >Christ".

And that's precisely the problem. ECB has deluded itself into thinking it can involve itself in the philosophies of the world without involving the gospel or doing the ministry of the gospel. ECB is a violation of 2 Cor. 6 because its collective existence *is* ministry that involves the gospel.

Engaging the philosophies of the world is *never* a neutral activity for the Christian. Therefore, ECB can never claim its activity is legitimately in the realm of common grace.

Jus Divinum said...

OK, just to follow up on the second half of "genembridges" first post. I suppose I'll have to get to the later posts in a bit.

Just to make a point in a previous post of mine clear, the idea that "means and methods used for the improvement of society" can only be "permanently helpful... when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual" is perfectly fine as far as it goes. But that is simply a claim about the inherent limitation of any social goods procured in this life. The question is: are we _limited_, in our daily lives, to pursuing _only_ that kind of societal improvement that is assured of permanence? Notice that the BFM statement has little to say about _that_ kind of (extreme) limitation, and yet that is precisely what one needs to exclude ECB. No ECBer I have read somehow thinks that political legislation is going to bring in the eternal kingdom of God, or save souls. And the same can be said for a variety of activities that Christians regularly engage in to produce various social goods. So what?

Also notice that the statement in question is just that, a statement. It is not a _prescription_ for Christian service, but a _description_ of the kind of service that is going to be permanently helpful. Again, this is all true as far as it goes, and a good reminder, but what is its relevance to ECB? I suppose if ECBers went around asserting that they are producing _permanent societal goods_ by political legislation, they would be running afoul of the BFM's statement. But no one is doing that.

You say: "I admit that I would not have as much of a problem with these moralizing crusades if they would: a. Present us a biblical justificaiton for them. I mean lay out an exegetical defense."

Isn't the burden on you to show that political activism is prohibited by Scripture? Or to show that cooperation between Christians and non-Christians for the sake of producing goods that are neither eternal nor spiritual is prohibited by Scripture? Let's say I'm a librarian, or a physics professor, or a car salesman, or a real estate agent, and that's my full-time calling. Do I really have to present a "biblical justification" for spending my time like this? What would that look like, seeing as the activities in question are not so much as mentioned in Scripture? Again, the problem with your position is that it ironically runs afoul of the BFM's statement about religious liberty. You've invented a commandment of men -- "thou shalt not be an ECBer" -- but haven't bothered to show why it's anything _more_ than a commandment of men.

You say: "b. Devote time in both their public communication efforts and their written literature to the root issue: the unregeneracy of the human heart. That's painfully absent from much of this movement."

I think this might be a helpful reminder to ECBers, but only as a general encouragement to all Christians, and not to ECBers in particular. Why should they have to devote any more time than any other Christians in "their written literature" on "the root issue"? Again, let's say I'm a librarian, and I'm interesting in building the best public library possible for my community, involving works covering the entire range of the Dewey Decimal System. That's a social good (admittedly nonspiritual and noneternal) that I'm interesting in bringing about. Do I really have to come out with pamphlets about the unregeneracy of the human heart? Why? To be sure, I suppose the library will only be _permanently_ useful to people if they're Christians, but why is that relevant?

Now, I would have special concern for any _pastors and church leaders_ who identify with the ECB movement, who are not addressing the root issues in their local church ministries. But that's not because _ECBers as ECBers_ have some special responsibility to do this; they're much too diverse in their individual callings. Rather, that's a special responsibility of pastors and church leaders: to proclaim the _whole_ counsel of God. But why pin that responsibility on just any voluntary association of Christians and non-Christians? I mean, it's not even the church anyway. It's something else.

You say: "I'm all for the moral will of God being expressed in secular laws, but am dismayed that the church would resort to the secular laws to achieve ends the gospel itself must undergird. Feel free to complain about unregenerate men acting unregenerately...as long as you and your movement are doing something about that problem to go along with the rest of what you are trying to achieve. As the BFM states, the gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone and such efforts cannot succeed if men's hearts are unregenerate."

I think this is just a biblically indefensible standard for Christians. First, why are you calling voluntary associations of Christians with non-Christians "the church"? Second, no one is "resorting to the secular laws" to achieve the spiritual regeneration of _anybody_. Third, why must the _ECB_ movement focus on turning unregenerate men into regenerate men? That's not its purpose. Isn't that the job of the public proclamation of the word and individual witness? And fourth, efforts to put new laws in place, and enforce the ones which are already in place, _can_ "succeed if men's hearts are unregenerate". So none of this is very persuasive to me. Your contention seems to be, 'Since ECBers aren't the means of personal regeneration by gospel proclamation, then their activity is illegitimate.' But not only would that rule out most of what we do day in and day out, but it totally misconstrues the purpose of ECB.

You say: "c. Not associate with just anybody and everybody. As you so rightly point out, to associate with Rome, whose gospel simply does not save, and with Word of Faith teachers who harbor serious doctrinal heresies of their own is simply unsupportable."

But what kind of "association" are we talking about? Which ECBers are proclaiming that Roman Catholics are fellow members of the true church, or associating with them as such? Not Dr. Mohler, who is apparently a chief architect of the ECB movement (although I guess he didn't come up with that acronym). He thinks the Roman Catholic church is an apostate church. Since ECBers are not claiming to be doing gospel ministry, then why can't they associate with who they want, temporarily, for various temporal ends? No one is saying, "Look, we all believe the same gospel." Instead, they are saying, "We have all of these unresolved doctrinal differences, but we are willing to work together for these temporal societal aims." What is wrong with such an association? That's exactly how Dr. Mohler sets it up in "Standing Apart, Standing Together".

You say: "Focus on the Family and The Eagle Forum both oppose pornography. So does the radical feminist movement. Shall we invite Patricia Ireland into our pulpits to address that issue too should the need arise?" The ambiguity of "invite into our pulpits" is very misleading. You make it sound as if evangelical churches are asking Roman Catholics _to give sermons_ when they get up there, or to _proclaim their version of the gospel_ from the pulpit. They are not. It's something else. They're not even talking about the gospel. _And they don't have to_. No one has to talk about the gospel, all the time, every time. That's just an impossible standard.

You say: "The issue is whether, as evangelical Protestants we should be comporting with Rome and others in these efforts in the name of Christ." There's a difference between a Protestant saying, "I pursue ECB in the name of Christ," and a Protestant saying, "Both me and this Roman Catholic over here are pursuing ECB in the name of Christ." Only the second is objectionable. Who is doing the second?

You say: "When Dobson can brush aside Al Mohler's comments about the Pope and Catholicism as just one of those silly things that he expects a Southern Baptist to say, that betrays a level of compromise that goes further than cooperating on a common goal to consorting with the enemy." I totally agree: Dobson should be _rebuked_ for this. But that's not because he's an _ECBer_, but because he's a Protestant who is saying stupid things about the classic Protestant position on Rome. I would rebuke _anyone_ who thought Mohler's rejection of Rome was illegitimate. Is there room for theological improvement across the broad spectrum of ECBers? Sure. But that's because there's room for theological improvement across the church as a whole. There's little reason to make this a particular criticism of ECB. It's certainly not a principled argument against political activism. It's just one piece of anecdotal evidence that may or may not apply to anyone else.

You say: "d. Not usurp the declared meetings of local churches for these events." I tend to agree, and I personally think that this aspect of the ECB movement has gone astray here. It's just a poor choice of day and environment; not wise at all.

You say: "The local church is free to set its meeting times. Perhaps you could point us to a positive biblical basis for holding a political rally during the set worship service of a local church or in lieu of said services? The content of said services would be an element that requires biblical justification."

I don't understand this request. You just said that "the local church is free to set its meeting times". So if a local church wants to cancel an evening service one week, it's perfectly free to do that, correct?

Here's a question: _how do you know_ that the church isn't having its regular evening service earlier in the day, such as the afternoon, on that particular day, so that no regular ministries are disrupted? Why are we so eager to jump to conclusions about what that particular church is doing on that day? Do you _know_ that the evening service has been cancelled, rather than moved to another time of that day, or another day of that week? Likewise, all of these accusations about how these people are not "focusing on the gospel" or "making written literature getting at the root issue". Who really knows what they do in their local churches, or in their personal lives? All of this rule-setting and personal-judgments without actual knowledge of the situation just looks like so much fundamentalism to me.

You say: "Let's put it this way: If they are holding the event in lieu of the Sunday service at the same time as the "normal" service and promoting it within that local congregation how would that not be promoting it as a worship service?"

That's right: _IF_ they are holding it in lieu of the Sunday service. What do you know about this, really? Shouldn't you investigate before rendering a judgment?

You say: "As Steve said, why can't they rent the ballroom of a local hotel or convention center?" Yes, I agree with Steve here. I don't think they made the best judgment here. Ah well, so see, we can end all this on a note of brotherly agreement :-)

Jus Divinum said...

Hi Mr. Camp,

You say: "Secondly, you wrote: 'As Mr. Steve Hays (who has apparently picked up on this thread)' Oh please... Aren't you the one who initially informed him about this discussion and then posted a comment on his blog with links to my blog; articles and comments about this discussion? If I am wrong, I'll stand corrected." No, you're correct. What exactly was the problem with my comment? If I am wrong, I'll stand corrected, but it appears that you've proven me right :-)

You say: "I think this is part of the problem. Yes it is a worship service. I met with a member of Two Rivers today who confirmed that." OK, then I stand corrected. I think it's great that you have the integrity to investigate your claims. We can all learn from your example. I certainly don't agree with Roman Catholics speaking at a Protestant _worship service_ for any reason whatsoever. So I think the ECBers stand in need of some correction here, and you've provided it. But again, I don't think the correction bites very deeply. A few ECBers chose a bad time to have a meeting. That's hardly a principled argument against the very idea of ECB. But perhaps you didn't intend it as such.

You say: "You're right, ECB is 'something else.' You just proved my case...thank you, I am indebted to you. And here I didn't think any good thing could come from someone who believes in Theonomy and Reconstructionism..." Come on, I expect more from you. That's an argument? Your _entire argument against ECB_ is predicated on "the role of the church". But since ECB isn't the church, then you don't have a good argument against them, it appears. You call this victory? :-) I call it: "Refusing to acknowledge that my original argument against ECB was a strawman" :-)

BTW, I'm not a theonomist. The "general equity" of God's law is what is relevant for today. Check out any standard Reformed confession.

You say: "But that is precisely what evangelical leaders in this movement claim... That is their appeal to the church-at-large; that this is a 'mission of the church'." Who says this? How many times have I asked you for simple documentation on this point?

Now, let's say you come up with someone. OK, so I disagree with them. How does that discredit _ECB_? It doesn't. At best, it only discredits _one particular claim_ that _some_ ECBers make _about_ ECB. So this whole line of reasoning is a dead-end.

You say: "In addition, no one in ECB is affirming that this political. cultural, moral movement is benign spiritually. They would deny that... Again, that is part of the concern here. Their practice so far has been: ECB = 'political remedies for moral maladies, propagated from church and evangelical leaders absent of the heralding of the gospel and preaching of God's Word.'" This is, of course, a _pseudo-quote_. I've asked you several times to identify _who actually says this_. Aren't you bordering on false witness here? _Who_ says that political activism is _the_ cure for moral maladies? Who? How many times do I have to ask this simple question before you give an answer?

You say: "If their purposes for gathering were anything resembling the above I could be for them..." Here's the problem: you want a Bible study, but they're doing something else. So what? Are they _claiming_ "our activities involve providing Bible studies"? No. That's the work of the church.

You say: "This is how the Lord has designed that we are to live in our day and age as well. This brings Him glory... amen?" Yes, amen! Peter is correct :-) So how is political activism, which involves giving speeches, voting, and persuading others to vote, somehow _rebellion against the established authorities_? This argument is preposterous to me! _The government itself_ says we can do these things. You've gone from one misreading of Peter to another.

Jus Divinum said...

Hi Nathan,

You say: "I am sorry that you fail to see the testimony of the scriptures in our great commission."

Well, I'm sorry you haven't bothered to interact with my arguments.

I of course _believe_ in the great commission. I also _believe_ that we as Christians are perfectly free to cooperate with non-Christians for the sake of producing goods that are neither spiritual nor eternal. How do these conflict, exactly? Can you give me an argument here? Coaching Little League involves said cooperation. Because it doesn't carry out the GC, is it forbidden? Entering into agreements with healthcare providers involves said cooperation. Because it doesn't carry out the GC, is it forbidden? When I go to see the doctor, or check into the hospital, I'm depending on a medical system which is staffed by many unbelievers. I have entered into a contractual relationship with these people. Maybe I'm even one of the doctors. None of this fulfills the GC. It is forbidden? This line of reasoning is _crazy_!

I _don't_ "fail to see the testimony of the scriptures in our great commission". The problem here is that I don't see the _restrictions on Christian behavior_ that you apparently see. And I don't see any good arguments for said restrictions, coming from your side of things.

You say: "I have briefly laid out a few my arguments in the post above, and your responses are so far from refuting them than I rest my case."

Well, sure, talk is cheap :-) _Where_ did my responses go wrong? I even made reference to Scripture, and you didn't bother to interact.

You say: "Its seems like you are confused on what spiritual issues are, and what social order, protection, safety, and general kindness issues are."

The problem is that I _distinguish_ spiritual issues from things like social order, protection, safety, and general kindness. You say that your favorite authors include Calvin and Owen. Are you aware of all of the uses of the law that Calvin talked about? This is basic Reformed stuff. It's in the _Institutes_. It's _not_ just to convict us of our sin, but has a "civil use" as well. Surely you're aware of Calvin's Geneva. Calvin wasn't a stupid guy who refused to read his Bible. Owen was a _military chaplain_ for Cromwell. Why would an apolitical Christian get mixed up in exhorting soldiers to battle? The Westminster Standards were drafted by order of Parliament. What, did your favorite authors "forget the Great Commission"? Are you wiser than them?

You say: "Christ didn't say or do anything in regards to this issue because He plainly said "My kingdom is not of this world" –'If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting.'" It's these _basic_ kinds of confusion about ECB that are so disappointing. _Which_ ECBers claim they are _bringing in the kingdom of God_ by their activities? Anyone? Got any names here? If not, this is yet another straw man. It's not clear who you're arguing against any more, when you cite texts like these. You might as well say: "Christ's kingdom is not of this world; therefore, don't be a doctor in a hospital, don't be an accountant, and certainly don't coach Little League. That's all the pursuit of social goods that won't last." Preposterous!

You say: "Instead, you would prefer to follow the one example in the New Testament where this subject is clearly seen: the Pharisees. Good luck." Well, so far I have refused to call any of the people who disagree with me the equivalent of Pharisees. I will continue to do so.

Jus Divinum said...

Hi "genembridges",

You say: "Personally, I've not heard Dobson preach the gospel proper in a long time." What does this have to do with anything. Dobson is a psychologist (or psychiatrist?) by training. Is he _called_ to preach the gospel on a regular basis on his radio show? Would you be willing to apply this requirement across the board, to all Christians in any calling whatsoever?

You say: "I tire of tuning into D.James Kennedy and hearing all about America's decline, but very little in the way of biblical exposition from his own pulpit." I've never listened to him, but I'll take your word for it. If Kennedy is still a pastor of a church, and is devoting the bulk of his time in the pulpit to something other than exposition of God's word, then he needs to be rebuked. I'm happy to agree with you on things like these. But this is just anecdotal stuff. It doesn't touch ECB proper.

You say: "I realize his church does a great deal...my problem lies with the inconsistency with his public television ministry and the local ministry of his church. Surely his folks aren't getting a lecture on American politics every week, but you wouldn't know it from his public ministry." Oh, OK, so he might be pursuing a fine local ministry in his church week by week, but your problem is what he does _in addition to_ this. I'm not sure where you're getting this standard. If someone preaches the Word week in and week out, but in addition to this gives American history lectures on the radio or something, would you have a problem with this? What responsibility is he failing to discharge?

You say: "My 'beef' with him is that for folks that are that visible, that's often the only thing the public will ever know about these leaders." I understand your concern, but I really think that's a judgment call. You're not saying he's failing at his local church ministry, but that he's not saying what you want him to say on the radio. I don't know how someone would support a standard like that. I mean, what if I'm a hardworking pastor who _never_ has a radio show or TV show? "The public" will probably know next to nothing about me. Certainly that's not wrong, is it?

Still, I see what you're saying. You're raising a stewardship issue of public profile, and raising a question as to what issues you should focus on, given that you have to make a choice. I think sincere men of good will can disagree here, but I don't think your judgement in this case is without merit.

You say: "I'm all for the moral will of God being expressed in secular laws, and you can feel free to complain about unregenerate men acting unregenerately..._as long as you and your movement are doing something about that problem to go along with the rest of what you are trying to achieve_."

Why _aren't_ we free to do otherwise? What's the real argument here? Essentially, what you are saying is that: "If X isn't sufficient to 'solve' a problem, but Y is sufficient, then you're not allowed to do X apart from Y." Why should we accept this? Again, _it's not what the BFM says_. At best, the BFM says that X is not a permanent solution apart from Y, but presumably, most ECBers are apprised of that. How is that an argument that you can't focus on X, and leave Y to the various gifts and callings in the body of Christ?

Also, it seems to me like you are saying that it is the goal of ECB organizations to achieve individual regeneration of sinners. And since political activism can't do that, but the gospel (blessed by God) can, then if ECBers are going to pursue political activism then they must _also_ pursue the preaching of the gospel. One problem here with your entire analysis: it is _not_ the goal of ECB organizations to achieve individual regeneration of sinners. So when you talk about about "what you are trying to achieve," I really think you're attributing to ECBers a goal they don't have. Again, if they _said_ their goal was individual regeneration, then they'd be entirely _stupid_ to say, "Hey, let's attain this goal by political activism!" But they don't say that's their goal.

You say: "However, in the context of the BFM, it sets its own delimiters for means...and the one place where we the civil power being mentioned it explicitiy says the church should not resort to it to carry on its work. I'm merely following the natural reading of the BFM."

I think I agree. _The church_ should not resort to civil power to carry on _its_ work. The challenge is to show that (1) ECBer associations are "the church" and that (2) the work of ECBer associations is properly the work of "the church". I think this is wrong on both counts. So the criticism simply doesn't apply.

You say: "I will concede that part of the problem with the BFM is that, in typical SBC fashion, it attempted to be a compromise document on several levels, so it's not terribly clear in some areas." I agree :-) Then again, the Westminster Standards were a compromise document (according to J. I. Packer, at least, in his tape series on the Puritans), so that people with differing view of the divine decrees, or assurance of salvation, could sign on. So the BFM has some noble precedent in this area, I think :-)

You say: "Not all ECBers have compromised the gospel and I have not said they all have...but a sampling of their leaders is telling." Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear. What I meant was that it's up to you to prove that ECBers have compromised _in virtue of being ECBers_. I agree that many of them have compromised on various issues. But I don't think that's something inherent to ECB itself. It applies to all Christians everywhere, in virtue of their theological compromise, but not in virtue of being an ECBer. (Unless, of course, you can show this, which is what I was asking. Sorry.)

On to your examples. Yes, I agree that this Falwell episode in particular was dreadful :-( Conspiracy mongering, basically. And yes, Dobson doesn't know what he's talking about on this particular point. But is any of this inherent to ECB? I mean, a lot of _Protestants_ say dumb things over the years, but I don't conclude from this that _Protestantism_ inherently compromises biblical truth (even though many Roman Catholic apologists like to make this lame argument).

I agree with the James White quote :-)

Yes, yes, Parsley, T. D. Jakes, Hagee, et al, are all lame. OK. But again, that's why I've _defined_ ECB as Christians cooperating with _non-Christians_ for the sake of producing goods that are neither spiritual nor eternal. I'm not saying that they're non-Christians (well, OK, Jakes :-), but I'm saying _even if they were_ that would not be a judgment against ECB. _The whole point_ is that doctrinal differences do not hamper temporary cooperation on a specified list of political issues. And it is _that_ kind of cooperation that I don't see forbidden anywhere in the Scriptures.

Re: "the local radio station," what were they raising money _for_? Gospel ministry? Or something else? When one of these "relief" agencies raises money for the hungry, it often involves cooperation of evangelics with Roman Catholics. Do you have a problem with this?

You say: "Why then are so many SBC churches also getting on the bandwagon?" I guess I'm not familiar with what you mean here. Are there statistics on this or something?

You say: "The E in ECB is EVANGELICAL? Are Catholics, modalists, and neo-Gnostics evangelicals? I realize Steve coined the term ECB, but the irony is that the ECB movement, if it was to adopt the name for itself, would have to redefine the evangelion to use it!" I think this misconstrues the acronym. "ECB" does not mean that _everyone_ involved in it is 'evangelical'. It is talking about evangelical _co_-belligerence. In other words, evangelicals cooperating with _others_ (namely, non-evangelicals). There's certainly no claim that everyone involved here is an evangelical. Dr. Mohler certainly doesn't believe that when he introduces the head of the Catholic League. If the acronym has led you to believe this, then perhaps Mr. Camp's acronym is misleading (although I don't think he intended this).

"ECB" describes evangelicals view of _themselves_, when they engage in ECB, not their view of everyone who is involved in co-belligerence.

You say: "Seems to me if you let them in your pulpit, you're crossing that line." Well, I deplore the symbolism of a Roman Catholic stepping into an actual _pulpit_ in an evangelical church. Again, I agree that this is unwise. But technically, it depends on what they _do_ in that pulpit, right?

You say: "Did Paul consort with the Ebionites and Elkeasites to spread the gospel? Did John ally himself with the Gnostics?" You know, I just continue to be totally confused by the use of Scripture in this whole discussion. _Why think_ that the aim of ECB is "to spread the gospel"? It's not, and so Paul's example doesn't apply. It just doesn't make any sense to me. Scripture isn't being handled all that well in this discussion.

You say: "Do you honestly think it is okay to stand in common cause with enemies of the gospel as long as you can agree on a political agenda?" Yes! Haven't I been clear about this from the beginning? It's the precise view I'm defending. And so far, I haven't seen _any_ genuinely biblical argument against it. What I have been seeing is a whole lot of attributing to ECBers purposes that they don't say they have, and then judging them (by Scripture) on the basis of these faulty attributions. So the arrows keep missing their target, because the target has been misdescribed. _Of course_ it's utterly pathetic to _spread the gospel_ by means of political activism. I also think it's utterly pathetic to think that political activism is _the_ cure for moral maladies (to cite Mr. Camp's slogan). But no one is doing this as far as I can tell. I keep asking for citations here, but none are forthcoming.

You say: "Then why are the ECB's allying with Rome and these others?" Let me try to make this very simple. Let's say I'm a doctor in a medical system that is staffed by many unbelievers. Here I am _obviously_ cooperating with non-Christians for social goods which are neither spiritual nor eternal. Is there really something objectionable about this?

Well, you may say, "that's not _allying_ with Rome". But then it's up to you to bring out the real difference here. In neither case is explicit appeal being made to the soteriology of Rome in order to advance the cooperative purpose. And in neither case is the cooperation covenantal (like marriage). In fact, in the doctor case the cooperation is _contractual_ whereas in the ECB case it is not. So you actually have _more_ of a case for "allying" in the doctor case than in the ECB case (which is totally voluntary and rescindable at any time), but surely the doctor case is a perfectly legitimate instance of Christian / non-Christian cooperation for social goods which are neither spiritual or eternal! What, then, is the problem with ECB? If you're frustrated by the length of my comments, and just want to pick two paragraphs to respond to, this is it. This is the _core_ of the issue for me: I want the rejectors of ECB to explain to me what the relevant difference is here.

You say: "How soon we forget the cries of the last decade to literally "Take over" local school boards." Actually, this was accomplished in many cases :-)

You say: "The rubber really meets the road when these organizations will organize protests and rallys and intensely lobby state legislatures for such things as constitutional amendments forbidding gay marriage without the presence of an evangelical church in any gay neighborhoods and, when the ones are present they do a sum total of zero to reach out to homosexuals."

My only question: is that the fault of ECB, or of _the evangelical church in those communities_? Surely the latter. That's why I don't see comments like these as really all that relevant against ECB.

You say: "These ECB organizations have taken on a life of their own, where they devote all of their energies to politics and address the root issues in a tangential fashion." As they should. _They're not the church_. I've also heard that hospital, libraries, and tons of other cooperative endeavors involving Christians and non-Christians _also_ "take on a life of their own". Is this really a criticism of these endeavors?

You say: "As I said, I have no problem with politcal activity, as long as these other things are being done too. I don't see that." Perhaps there really isn't that much disagreement between us, then. I entirely agree with what you say here. However, it seems to me that what you are implying is that the groups that do the political activity are _also_ obliged to aim for the more spiritual and enduring purposes. But that's where I disagree; that's the job of the church, not voluntary cooperative endeavors between Christian and non-Christian. We both think _both jobs_ need to get done. Where we differ, I think, is that you think any group that works on the first job must work on the second job as well. And I simply see no biblical basis for this (fairly radical) restriction on our activities as individual Christians in a free society. Strictly speaking, we'd have to abolish all hospitals or libraries, unless they were proclaiming the gospel. Indeed, _government itself_ would have to be abolished unless it proclaims the gospel, since _it_ is a cooperative endeavor that doesn't accomplish spiritual and eternal goods :-)

You say: "Since we can't, we really don't know. All we have is what we observe." OK, then. So, _based on what you observe_, _who_ is claiming that ECB is "pursuing the ends of the gospel of Christ"? Any ECBers actually saying this? Who? If you want to appeal to your observations, go ahead. That's exactly what I'm asking about! What have you observed? Since I haven't observed what you have apparently observed, I'm in a position to learn something here.

You say: "If it's not a gospel ministry, what is it?" Something that's not a gospel ministry? :-)

You say: "Is it part of the work of the church or not?" It's not a part of the work of the church. Neither is coaching Little League, working as a librarian, as a doctor, as a car salesman, and perhaps a thousand thousand other cooperative endeavors. What of it? Are Christians actually prohibited from these thousand thousand activities?

You say: "The BFM says that the church should not resort to using the state to do its work." Well, then, so much the better that ECB is not the church. I mean, come on, does Dr. Mohler really get up there and introduce the Catholic League guy and say, "I'm so glad we're all part of the church. Now, let's talk about the work of the church. Mr. Catholic League guy, will you please inform all of us how we're doing the work of the church?" :-)

You say: "IMO, part of the problem with ECB ministries is the same problem as many para-church ministries: People gravitate to them as a substitute for the local church." Sorry, big difference here. The problem with Campus Crusade, InterVarsity, and all that is that they _are_ attempting to do activities that are properly the province of the church: teaching, evangelization, discipling, sometimes even the Lord's Supper (God forbid). But ECB isn't fulfilling the mission of the church, in terms of the Great Commission. It's not meant to. So your comparison here isn't really apt.

You say: "C.Regarding the BFM it says "its work" and then ties this to the gospel of Christ." Where in that section or any does the BFM restrict the gospel of Christ to evangelism? Does the gospel of Christ not include the Lordship of Christ in every area of life? Is it not the gospel of the kingdom? Is it simply a spiritual gospel about spiritual forgiveness? That's a tidy dichotomy you have there."

I'm sorry, I guess I don't understand where you're going with this. Could you explain where the work of ECB is the work of the church? It's only if you can do this that the BFM applies here.

You say: "Are you seriously limiting 'the work of the church' to the rubric of evangelism? I have no problem with laws that promote and establish Christian principles...my problem is with the means we're using. We're employing resources for x without doing y. When y is mentioned, its not put at the core." With all honesty, I think this criticism is confused. If you "have no problem with laws that promote and establish Christian principles," then surely it's obvious that you don't need individual regeneration to accomplish the work of ECB. All you need to do is pass the laws. Again, the idea here is that the group that seeks X must be _the same group_ that seeks Y. I don't know what anyone should believe this, especially since the first group isn't the church.

You say: "There is nothing wrong with working with men in common cause...but not when it compromises truth, not when it usurps the worship services of the local church, not when it resorts to the civil powers to carry out its duty." I've already agreed with you about the "usurps the worship services" part. But you have yet to show that truth is really being compromised. Is truth "compromised" as a doctor if I don't point out to the guy I'm doing surgery on that all these non-Christians around me are actually going to hell? And again, what ECBers are "resorting to the civil powers" to carry out the "duty" _of the church_? You are again assigning to ECB an aim it does not have.

The fact of the matter is that, according to the word of God, it is the _civil powers_ that have "duties" before God, and all ECBers are trying to do is to persuade fellow members of our democratic republic to see that it carries out its duties. No reference to the church _per se_ is needed. And that's the point. If Christians help form a society in a newly converted region of the Middle East, and they push for laws banning child slavery, are they _at that point_ doing the work of the church? No. Rather, they are seeing to it, as best they can and with lawful means only, that the civil power does _its_ duty. It's the Baptists who understand best, I think, through powerful experience, the distinction between church and state. I think you're blurring that distinction in a major way, in your critique. You think the ECBers are crossing the line; but in effect, you're erasing it, by thinking that all moral obligation whatsoever pertains to the church as the church, and not also to the civil powers.

You say: "As Steve challenged you: ask for a statement for the exegetical foundation of these crusades and you can't get an answer." And as I challenged Mr. Camp (and others) in previous comments: please give me the exegetical foundation for coaching Little League, being a doctor, a car salesman, an accountant, a librarian, a real estate agent, and so on. These are all cooperative endeavors involving Christians and non-Christians. These all involve pursuing societal goods which are neither spiritual nor eternal. What is the "exegetical foundation" for these activities? Can I get an answer? :-) I don't submit to double-standards; I never have.

You say: "Where did I "forbid"Christians from ECB? Please do not put words into my mouth. My problem is the inconsistency within the movement, not its existence, and that, if you are seen to disagree with it or point out these glaring problems, folks jump on you for "laying down teachings of men," and "legalism." No, I'm just calling for some sanity in these proceedings."

Here I want to offer my sincere apologies, and ask for your forgiveness! I think I read Mr. Camp's glowing endorsement of your post, and mixed up his views with yours. I entirely agree with you that _any_ inconsistencies within the movement need to be addressed and reformed. Please forgive me for broaching the issue of legalism in your case, without warrant. I spoke in haste.

Breuss Wane said...

Jus Divinum:
>BTW, I'm not a theonomist. >The "general equity" of God's law

Which, given everything else you've stated here, merely proves what some of us have been saying for some time... that there's little pragmatic difference between the "general equity" view of the confessions and "theonomy".

Jus Divinum said...

Breuss Wane says:

"there's little pragmatic difference between the "general equity" view of the confessions and "theonomy"."

Wow, this will come as a great surprised to all those Reformed Baptists out there :-) Amazing!

Jus Divinum said...

P. S.: Not to mention that it will be a great surprise to all those Westminster faculty members, fully subscribing to the WCF which asserts "general equity,", who penned a lengthy _critique_ of theonomy :-)

SJ Camp said...

Dear Jonathan (Jus):

Per your quesiton:

Read the last year's worth of blogs and website articles by Dobson, Perkins, Land, Rogers, Mohler, and sometimes Colson, etc. (this will cover last July's Senate debate on a proposed Constitutional Ammendment on traditional marriage, over and above what DOMA did; to Judicial Filibusters, to present concerns). Then listen to the hundreds of online interviews, sermons and updates that I have this past year as well on their respective websites and you will have your evidence (do your homework brother).

The reason that I named this movement ECB (Evangelical Co-Belligerence) is because one leader after another, with Dr. Dobson leading the charge, was targeting millions of evangelicals through the local church to rally them on these issues. But you will quickly discover that most if not all in the forefront of this movement do not provide any biblical support for the church to "rise up and be counted" in the cultural wars as they prescribe (even at these nationally promoted events).

If I have overlooked any biblical presentation justifying ECB and their movement, by one of their leading voices, please direct me to the links or websites that do so that I may read their Scriptural conclusions and convictions. (To date, none exist that I have been able to find.) I want to honor the Lord by being accurate and bibical in all that I do for His glory. I have no problem recanting on any issue if someone can show me biblical evidence to the contrary.

But Jonathan, and I mean this to encourage you, I would hope that you would invest a considerable amount of time in researching these things biblically and through the various websites, etc. as well. For there are some tremendous men of God like R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Alistair Begg, Phil Johnson (see Phil's blog today) and others who do not support this political movement within evangelicalism and the local church today either. Have you read any of the ECT documents? ECB is just a continuing page right out of their playbook.

Also, I have heard from literally hundreds of pastors of reformed and non-reformed churches from around the country who are equally as concerned; who also have not seen any biblical foundation for this latest movement within evangelicalims. They may not have "the microphone" as their counterparts do, but these are dear servants of the Lord whose voice should not be dismissed lightly.

BTW: I have spoken with F&F and the FRC recently and both of them told me that they don't have "any information that is biblically written to support their actions." Both affirmed to me "that rallying and engaging the local church is their target audience." And both voiced to me, "I wonder why we don't have any material like that... we should if the Bible is our final authority too... dont' you think?" I fully agreed.

BTW: Have you spoken to any of them lately?

Grace and peace,
Steve

PS - Are you a student at Cornerstone in G.R.?

PSS - For the record: I am a reformed baptist (Calvinistic and Baptistic, 1689 Confession); I am a conservative politically; I am not antinomian; and I am a biblicist. I believe in cultural engagement (partnering with other Christians and the local church; by the heralding of the gospel and the preaching of God's Word), but I do not support evangelical co-belligerence.

Bhedr said...

Dear Jus,

I like men like Dobson, Falwell and some of the other c-bee's as well; but it was hard for me to admit that something is way out of balance.My heart goes out to them because I know they are sincere in what they feel is right. Please consider(and I am serious, I don't mean this as a joke.) that when men of God take a strong stand against tinky-winky and Sponge Bob yet roll the red carpet out for the Pontiff...something is seriously wrong.

Have you ever studied early Christian history. For a quick synopsis I recomend "Trail of Blood" , you can find it on the web for free @Byran Station Baptist Church. It is interesting to note that Ana-Baptist(first named the people of the way, then Christians, then given the title of Re-Baptiser..Ana-Baptist: they did not believe in fighting in war or capital punishment. Now I am not saying that you have to adopt their beliefs, but look at how far we have come and are men like Falwell true Baptist by the true historical definition let alone clear teaching in scripture. These are just some things to think about and research. The only people around today that live as the true Baptists once did are Mennonite.

Breuss Wane said...

As for some Reformed Baptists and some Westminster faculty, I've read their critiques...they fail to realize their own position of general equity is implicit grounds for theonomy.

Nathan White said...

Hey Jus,

No, I would prefer not to interact with your arguments. First of all I do not have the time to respond to all of the stuff you threw out there, and second of all, others in this blog have already refuted your arguments enough to where I don’t have much to add.

It seems you just want to justify the fact that you are making enemies of lost people for no good reason, and you are causing the name of our God to be “blasphemed among the gentiles” (gentiles in this case being the lost), instead of honestly dealing with the ramifications of what this sort of action causes to the name of Christ.

(It is funny however that you start this conversation as a rebuttal to my comment about Jesus not leading any campaigns on Rome, and that the Roman government was not such that this could be done. But then you turn right around and try to use John the Baptist as your ‘scriptural reference’ for him standing up to Herod. Bottom line, the reference to JTB has no relevance to the topic at hand; therefore I did not mention it. You seem to be confused on what actual preaching of the gospel and calling people to repent truly is.)

I just want to deal with a root issue here. I pray that you would go back to Matthew 5. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Do you see that the earth is not under our dominion, but that with meekness we will in the end it will be given to them? How can you keep this attitude of meekness though all of your political rallies, marching down the street, and speaking out so vehemently against the outward sins of lost people like homosexuals, pornographers and abortionists? “Blessed are the poor in spirit…blessed are those who mourn.” How can you with a straight face claim that you are portraying these godly attitudes to the watching world by all of the rallies and fuss? Please remember what the primary mark of true godliness is: humility. And as hard as it may be, we should never even have an appearance of anything opposite to this. Dissention should be avoided at all costs, as we should strive to "live peaceably with all men." I’m sorry to be this objective, but ECB and associates are miles away from this kind of portrayal…and that’s a fact.

You say: “Well, so far I have refused to call any of the people who disagree with me the equivalent of Pharisees. I will continue to do so.”

Please forgive me for coming across in this manner. I am not calling anyone a Pharisee. I only wish to point out that point out that from what you have argued, the only model in the NT that follows this type of action were the Pharisees. Remember how the Pharisees believed the Messiah would come to deliver them from the Romans? They thought that God’s kingdom was of this world, and that the Messiah was going to come on the throne and reclaim the kingdom! Instead, Jesus came humbly and on a donkey. They focused so much on the external, and the fact that they were under pagan rule, that they didnt even recognize God in the flesh when He came to them.

The greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the servant, the foot-washer, the humble. Where do you want your focus to be? Do you want to spend much time, money, and energy on outward morality? Or do you want to focus solely on being humble, being a servant, and demonstrating a godly, humbly attitude to all men?

SDG

Jus Divinum said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jus Divinum said...

Hi Mr. Camp,

Per your rules, I'll try to avoid "posting in book form" :-) It will mean that I won't be able to respond to all of your arguments in detail as previously, but as long as that's understood up front, I guess it won't reflect poorly on me, since we now realize we're all under these kinds of constraints.

You say: "Per your quesiton:". I'm not really sure _which_ question you're referring to when you go on to refer to "blogs and website articles" (without actually citing any). I asked _several_ questions in my last direct comment to you on this thread:

1. _Who_ says "This is a mission of the church"? What you posted isn't an answer.

2. "_Who_ says that political activism is _the_ cure for moral maladies"? Again, what you posted didnn't answer my question.

3. "How is political activism, which involves giving speeches, voting, and persuading others to vote, somehow _rebellion against the established authorities_?" Again, what you posted you didn't answer my question.

You say: "But you will quickly discover that most if not all in the forefront of this movement do not provide any biblical support for the church to "rise up and be counted" in the cultural wars..."

OK, let me give you the results of a simple two minutes of research. iVoteValues.com is probably one of the biggest ECB organizations out there. It's a wing of the SBC. When you go to their website, click on "Pastors Only" and then "Resource Arsenal", you can get their "Christian Citizenship Message," which is based on Mt 22:15-21. In outlining "5 things that every Christian ought to give his government," the very _first_ thing they emphasize is to "_seek God_ for your government". It's an extended exhortation to prayer, based on 1Ti 2:1-4. Here's an excerpt:

"Above all we pray that they would come to know Christ and be saved (v 4). That is really the only way our nation will be changed is through the Gospel... Bottom line: The biggest burden for the health of our nation does not rest on the White House, or on the State House, but on the Church House, it rests on you and on me."

This isn't buried in some footnote. It's front and center as the very first point, in a document only two clicks away from the main webpage.

The five points of the message, BTW, which is based on "giving to Caesar what is Caesar's," are:

1. Seek God for your government
2. Support your government
3. Submit to your government
4. Stand up to your government
5. Select your government

_Explicit appeal to Scripture_ is made _multiple times_ for every one of these points.

I found this in about two minutes. It's really not all that hard to find biblical defenses of political activism from these guys, or the _express conviction_ that true change only comes through the gospel. I'm not saying they've exegeted all the texts with 100% accuracy. I am saying it's a bit of a misnomer to say that no one on their side of things ever attempts a biblical case for their convictions, or that they've 'substituted' political activism for the gospel. They realize you can be committed to both as long as you understand what you're doing. There are plenty of activities that are legitimate even though they don't accomplish the purposes of the gospel.

You say: "I have no problem recanting on any issue if someone can show me biblical evidence to the contrary." Thank you for your integrity here. Just like your music :-)

BTW, do you have positive "biblical support" for selling music CDs? I'm not trying to be annoying. I think some people should say you should do this for free. Since you're not a pastor (right?) you can't say that the church at large ought to pay you for your gospel ministry (a right Paul enumerates for gospel ministers). It's these kinds of common-sense freedoms that would be excluded on your particular understanding of Scriptural sufficiency in applied ethics. In addition, your _blog_ isn't mandated Scripturally. So should this be forbidden for you? You see, once you start saying that everything's OK because you can _indirectly_ justify selling music CDs and having a blog, by referring to 'spreading truth' or 'making a living' or 'loving my neighbor,' then you open the door for an equally indirect defense of ECB from general principles of Scripture.

You say: "Have you read any of the ECT documents? ECB is just a continuing page right out of their playbook." Yes, I deplore ECT. But surely you've read Dr. Mohler's "Standing Together, Standing Apart," where he _explicitly rejects_ the ECT approach. He's gone to painstaking lengths to explain what went wrong there.

I appreciate your comments here about "hundreds of pastors" and so on, but really this is just an argument from authority. I think this should be settled Scripturally.

You say: "BTW: Have you spoken to any of them lately?" What, with volunteer phone operators who are asked to cough up an instant exegetical defense of ECB? No, I haven't :-) Maybe you should talk to Dr. Mohler or Dr. Land directly. I've already pointed you to some of Dr. Land's exegesis :-)

You say: "Are you a student at Cornerstone in G.R.?" No, though I've heard of it. You mean Cornerstone University, right? No, I'm at Grand Valley State University.

You say: "For the record: I am a reformed baptist (Calvinistic and Baptistic, 1689 Confession)..."

OK, so you subscribe to a Reformed confession, like the LBCF. That's great. I hold to the Three Forms of Unity myself. One paragraph you might find interesting is in the Belgic Confession of Faith: "We believe that our gracious God, because of the depravity of mankind, has appointed kings, princes, and magistrates; willing that the world should be governed by certain laws and policies; to the end that the dissoluteness of men might be restrained, and all things carried on among them with good order and decency. For this purpose He has invested the magistracy with the sword for the punishment of evil-doers and for the protection of them that do well" (art. 36). This follows straight from Calvin's view of the law in the _Institutes_.

But on another topic, look at what your confession says: "God alone is Lord of the Conscience, and hath left it free from the Doctrines and Commandments of men, which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or not contained in it" (21.2) As you know, commandments can be prescriptive or prohibitive. In this case, you're urging a prohibitive command: ECB is forbidden by God. Now, what case can you make from the Bible that ECB is forbidden by God? Are you not giving a commandment for all Christians that isn't contained in the Bible?

Again, you've said more than once (I think) that the law doesn't apply to unbelievers. But that is directly contrary to your confession: "The moral Law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator; who gave it: Neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation" (19.5). The moral law does for ever bind all _as well as_ justified persons.

Well, I hope this wasn't a "book". Please let me know.

Jus Divinum said...

Hi Nathan,

Thanks for explaining your reasons for not continuing to dialogue. I think we simply disagree over whether anyone has actually given my arguments a fair shake.

As for your final comment, no forgiveness is needed in the first place; everything's OK :-)

You say that I am "making enemies of lost people for no good reason," and then that I "want to justify" that fact. But this just begs the question as to whether you've shown that there is "no good reason" for ECB in the first place. Since you won't interact with my criticisms, I guess I can't pursue this any further if you're not willing to go there.

Re: the JTB reference, if you go back you will see that I was _directly_ addressing your false claim that we should _only_ love and evangelize our enemies, and that there is no place for judging and condemning them. It wasn't meant as a positive justification of ECB. So you've misread my purpose there, I think. Everything in its place.

I'm not sure why you think that I'm "confused on what actual preaching of the gospel and calling people to repent truly is." The fact is that I'm _very_ clear on these things; in fact so clear that I don't confuse them with ECB :-) And that is the point. Why would what I wrote make you think any different?

The same Jesus who gave the meekness beatitude (to which you refer) cleansed the temple through physical action, even though it made him lots of enemies. Of course, that's not a justification of ECB :-) but it shows that your antithesis is a false one.

Your comparison to the Pharisees continues to confuse me. You say: "They thought that God's kingdom was of this world, and that the Messiah was going to come on the throne and reclaim the kingdom!" How many times do I have to say it? _ECBers do not believe that they are "bringing in the kingdom" through political activism! This comparison is just a dead-end. Once again the target has been woefully misdescribed, and then all the arrows miss their target. This isn't a careful handling of Scripture in the context of this discussion.

BTW, I agree with you about the issue of priorities. That has never been the issue with me. The issue is the legitimacy of ECB in the first place. _Any_ freedom or activity can be abused and turned into idolatry, but that's not a criticism specific to ECB, but applies to just about anything we do in life. Any Christian father can become a workaholic in his job, and neglect other priorities, for example. That's no argument that his job is illegitimate.

Jus Divinum said...

Since many of you are looking for a positive biblical justification for ECB, let me try to give you _one_ justification very quickly. If we define ECB under the rubric of "Christians cooperating with non-Christians to bring about social goods that are neither spiritual nor eternal," then there's a simple way we can justify it. Clearly the Scriptures teach that civil law according to God's principles, not only enacted but enforced, is a _deterrent_ to evil behavior. This is clearly Calvin's view in the _Institutes_, as I've already alluded to. Calvin refers to 1Ti 1:9-10, but you might also want to look up Ecclesiastes 8:11.

OK, so deterrence is a social good. It may not benefit the one who does the crime, but it sure benefits the rest of society! Now, the question is whether Christians can cooperate with non-Christians in order to help bring about this social good (which, again, is _not_ to regenerate people, or save their souls, or anything else which is spiritual and enduring).

I say: _of course_! Not only is this a case of holding the civil authority accountable for discharging _its_ duty before God (which is always a good thing, and repeatedly modelled for us in the OT), but we pursue _other_ social goods all of the time. I've named _so many_ of these, but none of you want to interact with them.

So, I give to you a kind of 'parity argument'. To the extent that we have positive biblical basis for coaching Little League, or being a doctor, or a real estate agent, or a librarian, or being a part of the healthcare system, so we have a positive biblical basis for ECB. _All_ of these endeavors are cooperative endeavors between Christians and non-Christians. _All_ of these endeavors involve pursuing societal goods. _All_ of these endeavors involve pursuing goods which are neither spiritual nor eternal. _None_ of these endeavors involve making appeal to or relying on the soteriology of the non-Christians in order to accomplish the good in question. Will someone please point out to me what is the difference here? Why does ECB fall by the wayside, but none of these other activities do not? Do you really want to abolish hospitals and libraries?

And, as I pointed out to "genembridges," in many of these scenarios that absolutely _no one_ has a problem with, the status of the 'alliance' is actually _contractual_, where that's _not_ the case with ECB, which is totally voluntary through and through! (No one can 'force' Dr. Mohler to show up to Justice Sunday II :-) So you actually have a _better_ case for some sort of 'unholy alliance' in the non-ECB cases, then in the ECB cases.

OK, that was only five paragraphs. I tried real hard to be concise. Where have I gone wrong?

SJ Camp said...

Dear Jus:

I will respond one last time to you on this thread. However, feel free to email me at stevecamp@a1m.org if you would like to continue to dialogue on this important issue...I am here to serve the Lord.

A few brief comments:

1. I always go to the source of any issue I am addressing... I have sent many emails with all the ECBers i have addressed. I have always done this for twenty plus years. I will sit with anyone, anytime to discuss matters of faith. Al Mohler is a friend and I respect him deeply and his voice and witness for the gospel.

2. The link that you quoted from, from Dr. Land's organization isn't a biblical foundation for ECB (co-belligerence is different than political activism.) I agree with those five points Dr. Land outlined.

3. you said, "again, you've said more than once (I think) that the law doesn't apply to unbelievers. " I have never said this nor do I believe this. Where did yo get this from? I have written extensively on the law of God and am very burdened that it is absent from most gospel preaching.

As to my comment about ECBers being critical of "nonbelievers for living like nonbelievers" is not denying the law of God written on the hearts of all people. It is to say that some evangelical leaders in ECB are faultiing nonbelievers for not living better lives... and this absent of regeneration in Christ. Dr. Dobson for example has made a career of this hasn't he? And that is a shame. What nonbelievers need to hear is the message of the gospel of grace and that includes the preaching of the law of God to bring conviction upon their souls. But let's be honest here, how would we be living if we didn't know the Lord and have His restraining grace in our lives?

4. You wrote: "BTW, do you have positive "biblical support" for selling music CDs? I'm not trying to be annoying. I think some people should say you should do this for free. Since you're not a pastor (right?) you can't say that the church at large ought to pay you for your gospel ministry (a right Paul enumerates for gospel ministers)."

I think I see where the problem is now coming from. You really don't much about me, what I believe, who I interact with, etc. Get on my website and read the 107 THESES... I have called CCM music to reformation for many years and left the industry because of the secular ownership of all major CCM labels. I do not charge anything for my CD's. They are for whatever people can afford and if they can't afford anything, they may have it for free. I don't charge tickets to my concerts or demand hefty honorariums. I come to churches for love-offerings only. I don't believe in charging for the gospel or for worship or any kind of ministry. That has been my practice for over ten years now.

5. Lastly, you still don't understand the difference between ECB, political activism, cultural engagement and Little League.

Functioning in society Jus, as citizens means that we interact with non-believers at many different levels--including Little League, soccer, McDonald's movies, and so on... That is not the issue here.

But parnering with those of different faiths who deny sola fide (Romanism) in confronting the social ills of society absent of the gospel and the Word of God preached (not one event they have ever held has shared the gospel, prayed for the ones commiting the moral ills or preached the Word as to the churches biblically duty to impact culture) is prohbited biblically (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1)

Dr. Mohler's paper "ST/SA" is a prime case of this (and remember I love Al, respect him, support him at many fronts, have served with him, I have preached at Southern Seminary, led class seminars there, have ministered at conferences with him, etc. but I don't agree with him on this issue and I am far from being alone on this). No Scripture was mentioned in the entire paper (except one brief verse out of Acts on page 12 pertaining to C.S. Lewis). No systematic theology was presented to show how you can have "cultural co-belligerence without theological compromise." (his words). Calvin in the Institutes does not quote Scripture at every turn; but the entirety of his work, which I affirm, is deeply doctrinal and always theological. Al's paper was neither. And he was speaking in front of an ecumenical audience and missed a great opportunity to share the gospel; call them to repentance; and challenge them from the words of Scripture not his own cultural burdens.

I have been in those same scenarios; and by God's grace have not stuttered when it came to His gospel or preaching the Word. I have even been beat up after certain meetings and have been persecuted for the cause of Christ. I also know the temptation that exists for us all with pride, furthering our name, enjoying media opportunity, etc. If I ever get invited back to Larry King you have my word on this, I will lovingly share the gospel and the plumbline of Scripture with him when asked; but I will also lovingly call him to repentance on his show for how many times has he heard the gospel and has had many Christian leaders on, and yet, he is comfortable with them in doing so. Where is the offense of the cross? Not me or them offending him, but where is his offense to the cross?

I tell you why he welcomes them and is "at home" with them... he has never been confronted with his own sin, his lost state, his depravity, his alienation from a holy God, and no one has ever called that dear man to salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. I will make this commitment to you all, if I am ever invited back (I was asked to come on a few years ago, but the them of that show was cancelled at the last minute due to a pressing issue in Iraq) by God's grace, Larry will be given the call to repentance and to folllow Christ.

ECB is a dangerous unbiblical movement that well prove fatal for biblical Christianity in the long run. I am all for engaging the culture from a biblical worldview with other believers; I am for voting, making speeches, contacting your Congressmen, holding public forums to inform other believers of their civic duties; but I am not for the wholesale militant and threatening tones by turning the body of Christ into a PAC (a religious right) that certian evangelical leaders use as political muscle or capital in trying to force an agenda.

BTW, I know many congressmen and senators; my own brother-in-law was a Congressmen out of the state of Nebraska and my sister-in-law works extensively with Washington and foreign dignitaries today. Christians in government can make a valuable contribution to the laws of this nation and to its people. But moral rightness and real change, and they will tell you this, comes only through the gospel.

Al Mohler and others are not political commentators; elected officials or lobbyists. They are ministers of the gospel, preachers of God's Word, shepherds of God's people--my whole concern in all of this is that we need to encourage them to get on with their heavenly charged duty to "preach the Word in season and out season" and leave the lessor things of politics to those we have elected and to the "we the poeple."

I'll keep listening to Limbaugh, Hannity, Matthews, Noonan, Coulter, York, Thomas, etc. Why? They are better than Mohler, Colson, Dobson any day at political commentary and giving solid information. But Al especially is one of the greatest voices for the gospel we have in the world today--preach it man... just preach it!

I'm finished on this thread... let's move on. And again, any of you, including Jus may email me for futher dialogue. stevecamp@a1m.org

Grace and peace,
Steve

Jus Divinum said...

Hi Mr. Camp,

Thanks for your final post. I think I've already addressed many of the things you say (e.g., your use of 2Co 6:14-7:1, the ambiguity of the word "threatening," the alleged need for explicit biblical texts in applied ethics, etc.), but I won't copy out the relevant points again, because that would be burdensome for everyone. If you want it to rest, that's fine with me. It's your blog!

I'm not sure I see what is wrong in "faultiing nonbelievers for not living better lives." _God_ faults nonbelievers for not living better lives, that is, the kind of life prescribed by the depths of his holy law (what _other_ kind of life would be a "better life"?). That is the very presupposition of the gospel. If God _doesn't_ fault them in this way, then there really is no need for the gospel.

You are right in that I had no idea about your praiseworthy stance about CCM in the past ten years. You are surely to be commended for this. Please let nothing I said detract from that! It was just an example. If it doesn't apply it you, that's fine, but I can think of thousands of activities we would find legitimate that involve cooperation with non-Christians.

I chose my examples carefully. Coaching Little League, being part of a healthcare system, being a doctor, a librarian, a real estate agent involves _much more_ than merely "interacting with non-believers". It is a form of _cooperation_ with them in order to produce various social goods that are neither spiritual or eternal. In _that_ respect, ECB is no different. Christians don't _always_ have to aim for spiritual conversion in _every_ cooperative endeavor they're a part of. It would be impossible to function in society according to that restrictive standard. In fact, it would be impossible to _have_ a society.

Thanks for your time. I truly appreciate it.

2Tal said...

I'm a little confused. John Piper mentions in "Brothers We Are Not Professionals" that he has been thrown in jail for fighting abortion. So do we rebuke him and condemn his activity as political activism or do we follow him in fulfilling the scriptural mandate to defend those who cannot defend themselves?.

Breuss Wane said...

Apparently, John Piper has a fault. I'd also be interested to know if his thoughts about his own activity has changed in subsequent years (subsequent study).

SJ Camp said...

2tal wrote: _John Piper mentions in "Brothers We Are Not Professionals" that he has been thrown in jail for fighting abortion._

I like and admire John very much. My question is what specific actions was he doing in "fighting abortion" that warranted jail? Was he part of an operation rescue sit in? Was he lawfully handing out Bibles, giving cold drinks and coffee to those entering the abortion clinics while sharing the gospel but someone filed a complaint against him? Did he unintentially offend a police officer who was trying to move the pro-life supports away from an abortion clinic's entrance? The circumstances would bear upon my response to you...

Some more information form anyone about this would be most helpful before I comment. Thank you all in advance.

Grace and peace,
Steve
1 Tim. 4:12-16

2Tal said...

Bruess Wayne said:Apparently, John Piper has a fault. I'd also be interested to know if his thoughts about his own activity has changed in subsequent years (subsequent study).

On Desiringgod.org Piper says abortion is "child killing". Some may not agree here. I'm just quoting. IN His book "Brother's We ARe NOt Professionals"(2002) Piper definitely defends his stand against abortion as in other books. No question. His convictions here have not changed.

In defense of this man of God I will quote from the book as well as scripture. Please bear with me.
He says,
"I speak and pray at pro-life gatherings outside abortions clinics".."I try to encourage the Sanctity of Human Life Task Force in our church".."I have joined peaceful protests and have been arrested numerous times and spent one night in jail. I have made my case for life before angry crowds, before judges, and over lunch with an abortionist."

Piper says abortions is "the shedding of innocent blood" In the chapter "Brothers Blow the Trumpet for the Unborn" he says, "IN light of God's grace in Jesus Christ, we are, in fact, to lay our lives down in loving our enemies so that they might see the truth of saving grace in our bodies."

For Biblical support he quotes many verses. For example "Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;maintain the rights of the afflicted and destitute. Rescue to the weak and the needy; deliver them from the land of the wicked."Ps 82:3-4

For those who ignore or fail to see how utterly horrific abortion really is he quotes Proverbs. "Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbing to the slaughter. If you say 'Behold we did not know this', does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will He not repay according to man's work?"Prov. 24:11-12 (See Ex. 22:21-24, Ps 68:5; 94:5,23)

He believes just as change came about in the concentration camps of WWII, with Wilberforce in England, or with Lincoln in America and our slave laws, change could also happen here as well "by the grace of God, prayer, the perseverance of His people, and POLITICAL ACTION."

What wrong with this? I say the more people speaking out for what's right the better! I am I the only one who agrees with myself? We say we should confront the lost with the law and their sin. But they must feel the weight of law and their sin by clarifying the wrongness of these issues, (i.e. abortion, gay marriage, child interent porn etc.) Can we call sin "sin" or can't we?

Breuss Wane said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jus Divinum said...

2tal (a reference to the bully on the Berenstain Bears? :-) refers to Piper:

"He believes just as change came about in the concentration camps of WWII, with Wilberforce in England, or with Lincoln in America and our slave laws, change could also happen here as well 'by the grace of God, prayer, the perseverance of His people, and POLITICAL ACTION.'"

I second all of your comments. Notice that political action is just one among _many_ things in this list. Can it be idolatrous through overemphasis? Of course. Is the possibility of abuse a reason to think it is illegitimate? Of course not.

I truly want to give Mr. Camp and others here the greatest benefit of the doubt in understanding their position. Based upon Mr. Camp's positive response to the piece at iVoteValues.com, it is unclear to me whether he would support what we might call EB, which is _evangelicals and evangelicals alone_ cooperating to bring about social goods which are neither eternal nor spiritual (in this case, the good of having moral laws enacted and enforced in our society). Since he apparently _agrees_ with the iVoteValues piece, which was clearly a call to EB, then it seems that his _real_ disagreement is with E*C*B, which is Christians cooperating with _non-Christians_ to bring about social goods... etc. In other words, it is the cooperation with non-Christians which is objectionable (thus, his reference to 2Co 6:14-7:1), not the fact of political activism itself.

But then again, at other points it looks like he opposes EB as well, given his comments about the significance of 1Pe 4, or about how legislation is not "needed" in the case of abortion and gay marriage, or that a call to political activism constitutes "turning the body of Christ into a PAC," etc. These seem to be directed at ruling out even EB.

I think you've given us an interesting example of another broadly Reformed but baptistic Christian who is supportive of political action in our society. (At best though, all we can get from his example is EB, not ECB, which is why I made the distinction.)

Somewhat off topic, I just finished Piper's _Counted Righteous in Christ_ this morning, which is an exegetical defense of the imputed righteousness of Christ as essential to justification. It's freely downloadable from desiringGod.org. This is an _incredible_ book; I'd make it mandatory reading for _anyone_ interested in how to combat the New Perspective on Paul and Auburn Avenue foolishness. Thankfully, since it was a work of exegesis, the Jonathan Edwards quotes were in the footnotes, where they belong :-)

Breuss Wane said...

My somewhat lengthy response to Piper's defense of civil disobedience is given at my own blog (per the Rules of Engagement): http://breusswane.blogspot.com/

I'm not sure I agree that there is a one-to-one correlation between "rescue" of the weak and an abortion clinic "rescue". When we're exegeting these texts, among the first order of interpretation is to understand to *whom* is the directive directed. The pastor is not a "king". I'd have to study the contextual issue of Psalm 82 more before I sign off on Piper's forceful use of it regarding abortion.

Breuss Wane said...

jus divinum wrote:
>it seems that his _real_ disagreement >is with E*C*B, which is Christians >cooperating with _non-Christians_ to >bring about social goods...

This is somewhat correct, I think... although Rod Parsley's entrance into ECB muddies the waters on this point. Personally, I don't think there's distinction between Parsley and Donahue.

And then there's still the question of whether the dichotomy between the gospel and "social goods" is justified exegetically.

Jus Divinum said...

I said: "it seems that his _real_ disagreement is with E*C*B, which is Christians cooperating with _non-Christians_ to bring about social goods... etc."

And then Breuss Wane said: "This is somewhat correct, I think..."

Do you think so? But then if EB is legitimate after all, then what are we to make of the argument from 1Pe 4 against "political agitation" (read: EB), or the argument that we don't need legislation but the gospel, or the argument that political activism constitutes turning the body of Christ into a PAC, or the argument that political activism is the equivalent of the Pharisees seeking to "bring in the kingdom," or the argument that it violates the beatitude on meekness, and so on? All of these, if sound, would rule out EB (and not just ECB). So something's got to give here. If the _real_ problem is ECB and not EB, then these other arguments have got to go, and we have a much more manageable disagreement on our hands.

You say: "And then there's still the question of whether the dichotomy between the gospel and 'social goods' is justified exegetically."

Surely there are social goods which are not the gospel. Having speed limit laws on the freeway promotes a social good, but it is not the gospel. Having functioning healthcare systems (such as HMOs) promotes a social good, but it is not the gospel. Having police who apprehend bank robbers promotes a social good, but it is not the gospel. And so on and on and on. Do you really need an "exegetical justification" for something that is as obvious as the light of day?

Are we allowed to promote these social goods in cooperation with non-Christians? Why not?

Mark said...

Steve,
My reading of the following quote coincided with the reading of your post and I thought it might be food for thought. Thanks for the good post(s).
soli Deo gloria,
Mark

“You see, beloved, by what hath been said, that it is the greatest duty and concernment of Christians to be mute and silent under the greatest afflictions, the saddest providences, and the sharpest trial that they meet with in this world. If this be so, then this truth looks sourly and wistly1 upon several sorts of persons. As,
1. First, This looks sourly and sadly upon murmurers, upon such as do nothing but mutter and murmur under he afflicting hand of God. This was Israel’s sin of old2, and this is England’s sin this day. Ah! what murmuring is there against God, what murmuring against instruments, and what murmuring against providences, is to be found amongst us! Some murmur at what they have lost, others murmur at what they fear they shall lose; some murmur that they are no higher, others murmur because they are so low; some murmur because such a party rules, and others mutter because themselves are not in the saddle; some murmur because their mercies are not so great others’ are; some murmur because their mercies are not so many as others’ are; some murmur because they are afflicted, and others murmur because such a and such are not afflicted as well as they.”
1. ‘Wistfully,’ earnestly
2. Exod. xvi. 7-9; Numb. xii. 14, xvii. 5, 10; Exod. xv. 24; Deut. i. 27; Ps. cvi. 25.
(Brooks, Thomas. A Mute Christian Under the Rod. Choteau, MT: Old Paths Gospel Press. p. 40.)