Monday, November 30, 2009

...12 dangers of Evangelical Co-Belligerence related to the Manhattan Declaration

"The church is being redefined before our very eyes. Soon it will be just a faint memory of what God had truly designed it to be; like an old faded picture on a wall." -Author Unknown

In John 18:36 our Lord says these surprising words in answer to an inquisition by Pontius Pilate, “…If my kingdom were of this world, my disciples would be fighting…” These words cut straight to the heart of the matter before us today. Clearly, the Lord’s kingdom is not of this world. Jesus did not come as a social revolutionary to clean up the culture from lascivious delinquents; or as a religious zealot to overthrow the Sanhedrin; or even as a political agitator to dethrone the Emperor. His kingdom is eternal; it is not of this world. What we do here on earth now, we will do in glory in unbroken fellowship for all eternity—give Him unceasing praise and adoration as King of kings and Lord of lords. As the great Pauline doxology says:“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17).

His Disciples are Fighting
But why then is it today, beloved, that we do see His disciples fighting? –and fighting not for eternal things, but for the temporal things of this earth. Fighting for religious rights; fighting against unregenerate people for acting like unregenerate people; fighting against the secularization of public policy; fighting for a social moral imperative; fighting against senate filibusters; fighting for family values, etc. And yet, with an eerie wholesale silence we don’t see them contending for the faith, boasting in the cross, heralding the good news of the gospel of grace through faith in Christ alone, and proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the answer for the social ills plaguing our society today. Why is it that some of His disciples are striving for political influence and unity on community causes rather than laboring exhaustively for that which is eternal only with believers in Jesus Christ?

It may seem strong to suggest, but I believe that Christianity is under siege today. Not by liberal academics or atheistic adherents. But by much-loved evangelical leaders who have unwittingly marginalized the faith, redefined the church, gagged the gospel and made all but insignificant the Word of God by legitimizing a strategery to recover the moral fiber of this nation through the political process promoting cultural unity with anyone who agrees with “societies scarlet letters” as defined by ECB. In this politically charged environment they are holding Christianity hostage. It is the New Moralism – where postmodernism, faith-based values and cultural conscientious objectors intersect. This is ECB. Are they ashamed of the gospel? Have they let the flag wave higher than the cross? Has the concern for Christian influence in public law eclipsed the gospel’s transforming power in the lives of the citizenry? I hope the following will in part address some of these important questions.

History - A Lucid Teacher
To answer these important questions we turn our eyes back to the rich 19th century ministry of England’s finest expositor and preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Mr. Spurgeon faced similar issues in his day and he stood firmly and boldly against the tide of common trends within the Baptist Union in England warning them that they had slipped into compromise by adopting a worldly methodology that would eventually give way to a skewed theology if they didn’t “have the courage” to make dramatic and necessary changes. Though Mr. Spurgeon faithfully sounded the alarm against modernism, he quickly became one of the most hated ministers by most of his fellow churchmen. He would even be the object of his own brother’s scorn, which evidenced itself in helping the opposition vote him out of The Union (so much for family values). This broke his heart and caused him to sink into such grave depression that many felt it ultimately contributed to his death.

Listen to Spurgeon’s own words of warning: “Biblical truth is like the pinnacle of a steep, slippery mountain. One step away, you find yourself on the downgrade. Once a church or individual Christian gets on the downgrade, momentum takes over. Recovery is unusual and only happens when Christians get on the 'up-line' through spiritual revival.” As one very well respected pastor has insightfully noted, “Christians today tend to forget that modernism was not first of all a theological agenda, but a methodological one.” Spurgeon was right and this is exactly what we are facing today.

Are we on the downgrade today beloved? According to Mr. Spurgeon’s criteria… unmistakably!

The Times... They Aren't a Changin';
Just as it was in Spurgeon’s time so it is in ours. It is men of God, genuine believers in Christ—not liberal worldly theologians—who are leading the charge. ECB is taking the church down an almost irreversible path of destruction. It’s Achilles heel is the nonbiblical justification of normalizing a pseudo-morality based upon some general goodness inherent in society absent of regeneration through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I must say at this point in fairness to my brothers of ECB that I have never heard one of them ever claim, for example, that Romanism is truly Christian. They would all say, as far as I know, that Romanism is a false religion, representing a false gospel, under false leadership, under a false church. That has never been a point of contention with my brothers. But shockingly what is, is that even though they affirm a right view of Romanism—they cast it aside and are quick to say, “though we must stand apart from them confessionally in terms of faith, we must stand together with them in the battle of "the culture wars.” That my dear friends is called compromise!

That is what makes this issue so alarming--the purposed casting aside of all that is dear to the faith and the gospel to create this new alliance for societal renewal. This kind of cultural methodology will prove to be gangrenous to the entire body of Christ. Why? Ultimately it will demand the invention of an evangelical co-belligerent theology to justify its existence if its pundits are to continue to champion its validity. There can be no justice on any given Sunday when the Lord's Day is turned into a political rally and the preaching of God's holy Word is abrogated to allow a Romanist to turn a pulpit into a punch line for his shared moral cause with evangelicals. We need ECB men of God to repent and return to a biblical Christianity in practice—not just in precept, once again in our day.

Human Rights; Human Dignity; Human Happiness
Listen to these defining and dynamic words written by one of ECB’s most influential voices: “Western civilization now faces a new invasion of the Vandals, and Christians are again confused about the meaning of our current struggle. Theological vandals seek to undermine the Church; political vandals have debased our civic discourse; legal vandals have turned the law into a playground of invented rights; moral vandals entice with a promise of polymorphous perversity; psychological vandals have made every self a victim; and the academic vandals have transformed the university into a circus of irrationality.” I wholeheartedly agree on his analysis of our culture’s condition; I just don’t agree on the cure they are prescribing.

As one advocate and architect of evangelical co-belligerence has stated, ”In the sovereign providence of God, we face a great cultural challenge. We must be unembarrassed co-belligerents in this battle. Human rights, human dignity, and human happiness hang in the balance.” I couldn’t agree less. What hangs in the balance is the gospel of Jesus Christ; the veracity of His Word; the function and purpose of the church; and how we as Christians are to be salt and light in a pagan world. Rights? I have none--"I have been crucified with Christ." Dignity? It is only found in the Lord--"I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." Happiness? It’s all about obedience--"love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your soul and with all your strength..."

Many have recently requested for more specific concerns about co-belligerent philosophy over the past four weeks. I have tried to outline for you at least twelve dangers (there could be more as this movement unfolds) of ECB that I prayerfully trust in God’s grace will serve as a grid by which to encourage the church to biblical discernment on this issue.

His unworthy servant in His unfailing love,
Steve Camp
1 Timothy 6:20

"Truth can always stand the test of scrutiny. Error never wants to be challenged--it always breeds tolerance."

Twelve Dangers of ECB
1. The Lack of Biblical Foundation
There is no Scriptural foundation or instruction for cultural co-belligerence found anywhere in holy writ—none. If it cannot be biblically or theologically supported (and no one who is involved in this movement has developed any Scriptural foundation for its justification) then why do those who believe in Sola Scriptura still claim loyalty to this practice? If this is such a vital contribution to Evangelicalism/Protestantism in winning the culture wars, influencing government and turning back the tide of moral decay in society, why was it not taught or practiced by the Lord or any of the Apostles?

DANGER: People who champion co-belligerence do so outside the authority of Scripture and therefore cannot affirm Sola Scriptura in its practice.

2. The Removal of the Offense of the Cross
trying to achieve unity in the cultural war or even advancing a moral agenda recovery program with non-believers absent of the gospel of Jesus Chirst removes the offense of the cross. It is a biblical certainty that because the world hated Christ it will therefore hate His followers (John 15:18-19). The servant is not greater than the Master and if they persecuted Him, they will most assuredly persecute His people. The Apostle Paul gives this precious promise, “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (1 Tim. 3:12). It is unavoidable. Even Peter encouraged other believers that were suffering for the sake of Christ to “think it not a strange thing that this fiery ordeal has come upon you…” (1 Peter 4:12). Suffering for His name sake is part of living for Christ. The word of the cross is “foolishness to those who are perishing;” and to preach Christ crucified is to the “Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks folly” (cp 1 Cor. 1:18, 22). If the Apostle Paul believed in an evangelical co-belligerent strategy to fight against the social ills of Nero in his day, he could never have said, “But may it never be that I would boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which this world has been crucified to me, and I to the world; from now on let no one cause trouble for me for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus” (Gal. 6:14, 17). Paul was no co-belligerent; but oh, what a tremendous Christian!

DANGER: People who champion co-belligerence do so without “preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” For the sake of cultural unity the offence of the cross is purposely removed.

3. The Secularization of Being “Salt and Light”
Many co-belligerents site the biblical phrase, “salt and light”, as applying to any people/social/political group that will come together with believers to stand against the moral ills of our day. But that is a secularization of the term. The phrase “salt and light” applies only to those who have responded to the gospel of grace (Matt. 5:1-12); who now have a righteousness “better than that of the scribes and the Pharisees” (Matt. 5:20); and whose good works when seen by pagans will “give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). In other words, this is our cultural mandate for change, for influence, for impact and for being an effective witness in the culture to others. Being salt; letting our light shine is the evidence of the transformed life by the gospel.

DANGER: People who champion co-belligerence adopt a secular view of being salt and light—applying that reality to anyone who rallies with them on the social cause which their moral conscience agrees.

4. The Promotion of a Moral Human Imperative
There is no such thing in Scripture as a “moral human imperative” that applies to all peoples absent of the gospel. The co-belligerents of Christ’s day were the Pharisees whom the Lord rejects and condemns in Matthew 23. In Matthew 5:20 the Lord absolutely shatters their claims to any kind of moral righteousness due to their own merit, moral compass, or inherent culturally beneficial good works. Creating a “moral majority” a “Christian coalition” a “religious right” according to the standard of societal moral acceptability, family values, or in the words of the late Pope John Paul II “a gospel of life” is a biblical fallacy.

DANGER: People who champion co-belligerence do so in support of a moral imperative derived from works righteousness thinking God is pleased and society redeemed with the veneer of pseudo-spirituality.

5. The Denial of the Efficacy of the Gospel
The “great divorce” suggested by leaders of evangelical co-belligerence is the purposed separation of the social cause from Christ and His gospel—standing together/standing apart. This at best is social schizophrenic spirituality. If you amputate the gospel from the social concerns, you end up promoting, proclaiming and promulgating a “morality or righteousness” apart from Christ that the Lord Himself calls "iniquity or lawlessness" (Matt. 7:21-23). There can be no meaningful social change or impact apart from the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus). Why? Because only the gospel can produce life transformation.

ECB promotes the idea that real change in our society against moral decay can occur without the power of the gospel. Our Lord is so clear, “Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matthew 15:17-19). The fountain from which any social straying from morality flows is the heart; and it can only be transformed by the gospel--not by social co-belligernce.

Christian political activism is simply a flirtation with moral justice; (i.e. evangelical leaders confuse access with the oval office with impact.) Résumé’s, press releases, and well-nurtured political alliances do not change the world; committed Christians living under the Lordship of Christ in obedience to the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God through the means of the gospel do.

DANGER: People who champion co-belligerence do so to the purposed exclusion and amputation of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in their social causality.

6. The Condoning of Unequally-Yoked Alliances
It is against the command of Scripture to partner with an unbelieving world in any kind of spiritual ministry or enterprise. This is what the apostle Paul called “being unequally yoked” (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1). To do so is to forfeit the blessing of God and His favor on any venture they embark. Listen to Paul’s powerful words and stinging rebuke to would be cobelligerents: “What partnership have righteousness and lawlessness; or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” Could it be anymore clear? There can be no “shoulder to shoulder” standing together with anyone who rejects the gospel of Christ or doesn’t know Christ as their Lord and Savior. Evangelical Co-belligerents for the sake of political capital and influence, cultural cleansing and family values restoration will “unashamedly and unembarrassingly” stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone that agrees with their cause regardless of faith preference, truth constraint, or doctrinal conviction.

Parnering even with other faith-based groups such as Romanists, Orthodox or Jews still violates the command of Scripture. There can be no "shoulder to shoulder" alliance with this world; even with "faith-based pagans." This is a page right out of the ECT (Evangelical and Catholics Together) and The Ecumenical Jihad playbook.

DANGER: People who champion co-belligerence must yoke themselves with nonbelievers; they do so in direct disobedience to God’s Word forfeiting His favor and invoking His judgment.

7. The Alienation of Unbelievers for “Acting Like Unbelievers”
Evangelical Cobelligerents fault and accuse nonbelievers in society for living like nonbelievers. When ECBers publicly fault nonbelievers for their failure to change their moral convictions in conformity to theirs; coupled with the use of legislative/political muscle, they end up alienating the very ones that need the transforming power of the gospel of grace. Apart from regeneration through Jesus Christ our Lord and His restraining grace any of us could be slaves to all matters of sin in our lives. Let me ask the ECBs a question: if you didn’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, what would you be living like? And then, would you want someone to picket you, boycott you, petition against you, vilify you, strong arm you, coerce you, legislate against you – or would you rather someone had come to you with the gospel of grace and walked with you as your neighbor and explained how to have eternal life by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone?

DANGER: People who champion cobelligerence lose sight of eternity in those because of temporary social moorings and therefore become calloused and hardened against the very ones that need the gospel. They therefore cannot fulfill the Great Commission for they have elevated worldly concerns above another eternals soul.

8. The Body of Christ Turned Into Political Agitators
Co-belligerents really distrust the Sovereignty of God in His working through the governments and the leadership of those governments that He by His own choosing, purposes and will has raised up in power to accomplish whatever He has predetermined them to accomplish. Even wicked, corrupt, insidious authorities He will ultimately use for His eternal purpose and glory.

There is an amazing verse of Scripture on this theme found in 1 Peter 4:15. He says, "Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler." That phrase troublesome meddler literally means a "political agitator." Peter warns them not to suffer for that reason... Suffering as a Christian and for the name of Christ is one thing; suffering as a political agitator though brings no glory to the Lord and is forbidden biblically. We are not to be seen in the culture as ones who would disrupt the political process and its leadership to forward our own moral or spiritual agenda.

Listen to the Word of God:
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” –Romans 13:1-7.

“Submit 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” –1 Peter 2:13-17.

Even in exile under Babylonian captivity the Lord instructs His people how to live. Notice, He doesn’t call them to organize and overthrow their captors. He says,

"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5'Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6'Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. 7'Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare” –Jeremiah 29:4-7.

DANGER: People who champion cobelligerence live as political agitators fighting for morality against the very authorities that the Lord has sovereignly placed in power.

9. The ECB Political Entitlement—“Religious Rights”
Evangelical Cobelligerents say they exist to protect our religious rights. This is spiritual smoke and mirrors. First, we don’t have any religious rights to violate (our only rights lie in Christ, not in culture). Secondly, even if all our “religious rights” are violated (i.e. say for a moment they mean prayer, worship, the reading of the Scriptures, etc.), we then must “obey God rather than man” regardless of the consequences (Acts 5:28-32).

Proponents of this kind of thinking will site examples like in 1963 when they say that the Supreme Court outlawed prayer from the public schools. This is patently untrue. What they outlawed was sixty seconds of token silence. That isn’t prayer—it’s just sixty seconds of silence. Beloved, we are to pray without ceasing (Eph. 6:19-21); not just give God a minute a day. I have five children and they all attend public schools. As a praying parent, I still can walk down the hallways of their respective schools and pray quietly for the teachers and leadership there; I even pray with my kids before they have lunch; and on occasion I have let their teachers know that I am praying for them as well. The only way that prayer can be taken out of the public schools is if Christians in those schools stop praying. My rights have not been violated one bit. But if they saw me praying and asked me to stop, I would not; I could not. I would obey God rather than man.

I realize that this is a difficult way of thinking in our times, but as Christians we only have one right—to have no rights. Paul even brings this home to the courts when saying in regards to lawsuits that you only “have the right to be wronged.” (see 1 Cor. 6:1-10). (If all of our so-called “religious rights” were taken away from us in this country tomorrow, it would be a tremendous blessing from the Lord. For we might actually find out who is really saved and who isn’t.)

DANGER: People who champion cobelligerence fight to protect religious rights, violate the Scriptures in John 18:36 where our Lord said, “if my kingdom were of this world, my disciples would be fighting.” But His kingdom is not of this world—all our rights lie only in Christ.

10.The Pagan Co-belligerents – Still “Safe” in Their Sin
Paul never allowed unbelievers that he encountered in the culture to remain in their ignorance. Even on Mars Hill he didn’t meander on Stoic philosophy, Greek political issues or pagan rituals. He immediately directed them to the God of creation and called them to repentance. Even when he appeared before Felix and Festus he gave a defense of the gospel and the testimony of Christ, not political moral justifiers for a better nation. When Paul was ready to be beheaded for the cause of Christ under the wicked hand of Nero, he called himself the prisoner of the Lord and used his incarceration as an ambassador in chains to further the gospel and do all things for the sake of the elect. Paul was always about the winning of men’s souls, not the moral fiber of a nation.

DANGER: People who champion evangelical co-belligerence seldom get around to sharing the gospel with their opponents; the societal concerns on cultural or political issues have overshadowed and robbed them of seeing their opponents as sinners in need of Christ (cp, Luke 14:21ff).

11. The Church Turned PAC/Lobbyist/Voting Force
One of the most tragic fallouts of ECB philosophy is reducing the body of Christ to nothing more than a political force. We have slowly, subtly, and serenely become the fourth major arm of American politics (Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Evangelicals). We are unfortunately not known today by our divine duties: proclaiming the gospel; worship and glory of God; loving our neighbor; taking care of the widow and orphan; discipleship; missions; church discipline of sin; prayer; honor the ordinances of baptism and communion, and preaching of the Word of God. (read Acts 2:40ff; 1 Timothy; 2 Timothy; Titus).

DANGER: People who champion evangelical co-belligerence dumb-down the body of Christ to the status of a political action committee for the purpose of flexing our religious muscle to sway candidates, issues, morals, elections and party platforms to line up with our social-moral values. This violates the standard of Scripture as to the purpose and function of God’s church: “which is the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

12. The Inevitable Conclusion: Win the Culture War; Lose a Voice for the Gospel
What if the culture war could be won through co-belligerence? What if the tide of moral decay could be reversed and we saw a moral societal shift back to traditional family values in our lifetime? What then? You will have to ultimately return back to the divine duty that God has had for his people all along: the preaching of His Word; the proclamation of the gospel; loving your neighbor; the worship of God; the fellowship of the saints; being salt and light to our world; praying for those in authority over us; etc.

But under ECB social philosophy of cultural ministry we will have a tragic situation on our hands. We will have a moral society that is left safe in its civility—but not saved; a church that is comfortable because the cultural ills have been inoculated by co-belligerent Christians who have whitewashed the landscape with the veneer of spirituality absent of real regeneration—but not holy. We will have grateful politicians—but Washington will still be corrupt; we will be on mainstream media talk shows—but they will still have not heard the gospel; and we will be organizing Christians to be outraged with disdain by something else someone who doesn’t know the Lord has done—but we still won’t go to them, share the gospel and be known as our Lord was as “a friend of sinners.” We will wake up in Laodicea and we will be neither hot, nor cold—just lukewarm and we will call it Christianity. This, beloved, is the apostate church where the Lord is knocking at its doors asking to come in and fellowship with us again.

So while Rome is indulgencing, the Mormons legitimizing, the Islamic moralists smirking, the atheists applauding, the agnostics dancing, the media craving, the politicians praising, and the flag is still waving, will you hear again the faint powerful lyrics of the Apostle Paul ringing in your ears once again: “We preach not ourselves; but Christ Jesus as Lord and ourselves as your bondservants for Christ sake” (2 Cor. 4:5).

DANGER: People who champion evangelical co-belligerence will never win the culture wars, though they might improve them some. But they will have failed miserably by sacrificing the gospel message, sound doctrine, theology, the church, and the biblical duties that the Lord has called us to all along “for a piece of political pie” with the reward of temporary fame, increased fortune and the still unrealized fantasy of a moral Christianized world without Christ and His truth at the core.

In Closing
When one eliminates the centrality of the gospel from the social cause; or amputates the call to repentance to unregenerate people they’d rather play politics with, share picket lines with, boycott corporations with, legislate morality with, and strong arm politicians by militant means with—rather than deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus Christ with; when one tries to focus on everything from family; to culture wars; to filibusters; to elections; to religious rights; to a bankrupt social moral imperatives; rather than on focusing on the Lord and His “once for all faith delivered to the saints”, where does this all lead? You end up with ECB.

May the church turn away from this defection from Christ and His Word and come back to the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel as the cure for the sin sick hearts of mankind.

a timely encore presentation


Bhedr said...

Campi said:Ultimately it will demand the invention of an evangelical co-belligerent theology to justify its existence if its pundits are to continue to champion its validity.

This hunch you have? So true! So true! I think that this most likely will indeed happen.

The rest of the article? Sound and full of scripture. I render a hearty amen and a call to the other campers: Stand behind this voice brothers for if we truly proclaimed the Gospel and live as Paul lived then the heat would intensify and you might even find the co-be's anxious to see you put in prison. Remember that the churches persecution came for the most part from the religious right of their day who lived in peace and appealed to Rome for strength.

Unchained Slave said...

There is an old saying, "When you lie down with dogs you get fleas."

There is a line in a movie that goes something like, “When you dance with the Devil, you don’t change the Devil, he changes you.” It is an excellent paraphrase of the importance of standing firm on beliefs. Fortunately, the opposite is true, and promised. When you spend time with God, God changes you! (Romans 12:1-2).

Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

It seems obvious to me that the ECB is getting more than just fleas...

But, now comes the 'hard question'.
Besides being 'transformed', and being the true 'salt and light', what is our spiritual duty to the ECBs themselves? Knowledge of sin in the church, requires condemnation of sin in the church...
What is our duty as Christians to these 'brethren'?

Jeremy Weaver said...

I echo Unchained's question,
"What is our duty as Christians to these 'brethren'?"
I for one do believe they are Christians. But Scripture is clear. They must be confronted with their sin because they ARE our brothers.
That being said, they have been confronted, and as far as I can tell, there has been no repentance or even an indication that they accept Biblical standards on this issue.
"What is our duty as Christians to these 'brethren'?"

Bhedr said...

live as Paul lived when others around him forsook and made things harder on him. Some are Christians but some are not.

Unknown said...

"Human rights, human dignity, and human happiness"

Sounds sort of similar to that credo of Englightenment humanism: life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.

SJ Camp said...

By sharing the gospel on TV while on a secular talk show, I just don't mean the plan of salvation; but THE FAITH (Jude 3)--biblical Christianity. John MacArthur is one of the few evangelicals that always deliver the Word on Larry King and that is why I have loved and appreciated my brother over the last many years of friendship and ministry. (My bad if I wasn't as clear as i could have been.)

Unchained slave and Jeremy have rightly asked: "What is our duty as Christians to these 'brethren'?"

Excellent question. Here are some first steps:
1. you need to pray for them as our brothers in Christ;
2. you need to write them and ask them for a biblical explanation for their actions to justify ECB;
3. we need to encourage them as to the great voices they have been in previous years for the gospel and the Word and beseech them to return to being heralders of those things once again rather than being detoured to political speak;
4. we need to humbly ask them to repent of making political remedies for the moral condition of our nation via judiciary activism and turning worship services into political rallies, and publicly make this right to the body of Christ that they have energized for this purpose;
5. affirm your love for them as fellow Christians, but that your concerns need addressing;
6. no press releases allowed—you want first hand information, not spin;
7. let them know you agree with them on the cultural issues; but you don’t agree with the solution to those issues;
8. as you write, write with Acts 17:9-11 in mind as faithful Bereans examining all things in light of Scripture. Be respectful, but pull no punches;
9. by all means, keep it fun and enjoyable. Use humor in your communications with them and employ them to see that our primary concerns on this earth should be eternal, then the temporal;
10. lastly, contact their local church and ask the pastors of those churches to give you the same information as you’re asking the ECBers above. Inquire of them if their church practices church discipline and would they consider this an issue worthy of beginning to implement according to the Matthew 18:15-20 if they cannot produce biblical foundation for their actions?

I have sent many emails to several of them without a response from virtually any of them. You most likely won't hear from them either--it's not their usual SOP to invoke discussion and respond to constructive criticism. They like staying isolated and “feel that they are above scrutiny” from others. (You won’t see any of them blogging, posting comments from others and responding from time to time to those comments as I and others have tried to do on this site.) Nonetheless, keep on with your duty to them.

Grace and peace,
Steve Camp
Galatians 6:1-3

Bhedr said...

I don't know. The last couple of days; I haven't felt too humorous; just deeply grieved right now. We are being led astray by beguiling spirits. Maybe I do need to lighten up; but I just don't think anyone is listening and neither do they care. Jesus said my sheep hear my voice and to some degree we have to say that some of these men may not belong to the fold. I'm sorry I am just to disgusted right now as this juggernaught moves on and we try to find more verses to encourage it's presence.

littlegal_66 said...

scribe said: "What troubled me, though........On the same page as this wonderful piece are listed links to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and The Weekly Standard — co-conspirators in this 'moral' fight as well as some of the greatest offenders of truth and fair reporting of the news."

scribe, let not your heart be troubled. Just because there are links to these sites, does not mean that Campi agrees 100% with everything Hannity and Limbaugh believe. (He's merely giving links to sites whose news reporting can be trusted). Though I have not always been in agreement with them on every single belief, their theology or methodology, I find them to be very truthful in reporting the news. Could you perhaps email me with some examples of their reporting untruths? As for their being co-conspirators in the moral fight, Steve has stated in previous articles that Hannity is a Romanist; he is well aware of that fact.

Steve, perhaps you should add a link to CNN or 60 Minutes, so we can see the difference between fair/unfair and truthful/untruthful. ;-)

Ted M. Gossard said...

I appreciate the readiness you have to contend for the faith that the Lord has once for all entrusted to us, his people (Jude).

I would like to express disagreement on this issue. Though I myself am not entirely in step with the "religious right" and especially their penchant to "power politics" (in my view).

However, this being a democracy, really a democratic republic, I do believe that when Christians engage in the political process that at times there may be "strange bedfellows" indeed.

For example, let's go back to the Civil War, and pre-Civil War era. Many of the most devoted Bible preaching churches defended slavery on the basis of their interpretation of Scripture.

There were other churches, who like William Wilberforce in England, disagreed and believed that Scripture supports the abolition of slavery. And, of course, especially in the northern states, you found opposition to slavery that was not firmly (if at all) grounded in Scripture, from religious and nonreligious people and institutions alike.

Of course I know much more was going on in people's minds during that time, not just the slavery issue.

So am I being told here that Christians should not engage in the political process because of who may join them or be part of their efforts?

If you are saying churches should not, then I agree thoroughly.

But if you are saying that individual Christians cannot become active in giving to organizations such as "Right to Life", just because Mormons or whoever may also be giving to that cause, I question that logic.

Where in Scripture are we forbidden to engage in a cause (e.g., maybe we need bumps on the street to slow down drivers) just because those joining us in the effort are not Christian?

Just some thoughts. I'm thinking out loud so I expect that either someone could point out a mistake in my thinking, or else could show a better and clearer way- all with reference to Scripture. Maybe your point is a bit different and we're talking past each other.

I believe God gives us reason but the only authority is God himself and the one rule he has given us for faith and practice is the Bible. Of course we need the Spirit to help us receive the truth of that inscripturated revelation.

Unchained Slave said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unchained Slave said...

Sorry, but you missed a couple of articles...(and comments)

Steve has maintained (and I agree) that it is our 'duty' to BE INVOLVED with the political process.

What he (we) are upset about is 'using' the church as a 'Political Action Committee'.

The puplit should not be used for political rallies, it should be used to preach 'The Word'.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Unchained Slave, I am relatively new to this post. Thanks for your clarifications.

I agree that the church must not get sidetracked from our calling from God.

The message of God's kingdom in Christ is not of this world. Yet by it we are to be God's salt and light in the world.

I believe in considering the church's call, we do need to take into account all of Scripture, as well as especially those scriptures pertaining to the church.

In doing so I think it is good and right for churches to speak out on behalf of the poor and oppressed, as well as the unborn. But to do so as a moral position.

One must remember that God uses people like William Wilberforce who himself was a politician. But I'm sure this post agrees with that, and probably essentially with what I have been saying.

I will say that I don't find it objectionable by Scripture for Christian organizations to appeal to Christians to let their political representatives know what they think about a certain issue. I myself do not engage in such activities. But I think there may be appropriate times we can benefit from such organizations, and let our voice be heard in Washington.

Thanks again.

Bhedr said...

Whatever bedfellows one wants in history still doesn't make all things right. I never look to other men. My only point is that the bedfellows we are choosing are not bedfellows but in fact we are in bed as Goldilocks asking to look at our would be bedfellows teeth. Right or wrong we can go on and on.
I don't look to men in fact I sympathize or rather the one with the most sense in the Bible was Balaam's donkey and I am not ashamed to admit it but that is who I feel like the most right now. EEEE haaaw EEEEE haw but so be it. Wake up and smell the Romans. There comes a point when someone needs to shock everybody away from this as scripture and reason doesn't seem to work.EEEE haw EEEE haaawwww. There. i feel so much better now.

Unchained Slave said...

I agree with your comments totally,

I'm just reiterating:
- Yes it is good as individuals to be involved.
- Yes it is good for organizations with a strong Christian foundation to be involved.
- Yes it is good for Teachers (pastors, ministers, to take on 'hot-button' politically charged topics from the pulpit - teaching what Scripture says about it.

- No it is not right for the pulpit to be used as a 'political' tool to threaten politicians with the 'church vote' or to further a political agenda.

- No it is not right for the church to make alliances with 'strange bedfellows' to further those political agendas.

NOW TOTALLY OFF THE SUBJECT - Has anyone else noticed that 'Microsoft Word' is 'politically correct'?

Type in 'saving grace' and it spits out "redeeming quality" & "redeeming feature" as 'grammatical corrections'...

Ted M. Gossard said...

Unchained Slave, thanks again.

I went to the previous blog and found Campi's last comment, then made comment #30.

He is saying the same things there.

Shawn said...

I just saw some of Justice Sunday II on TBN (I know this is weird),

I totally see the concerns more deeply as Steve Camp had said and seeing it directly has sharpened my concerns.

There are big concerns and Steve you have enumerated them well in this list. It is rapidly becoming in the category of the "health and wealth" gospel or "prosperity gospel" in my understanding of the theology of it. It's very dominion oriented theology, but actually telling us we are just "proposing".

My biggest impression of the event is the constant appeal from the speakers about our "rights" as Christians and the thunderous applause from the audience each time that was brought up. These are appeals to the flesh. I have the rights to take up MY CROSS and follow Him in the path of suffering for the sake of the gospel and I didn't see one person stop clapping. It was a political rally the parts I listened too.

I was so surprised to see the constant statements running through it like that, except from Chuck Colson who said to pray for those who oppose our political beliefs.

I hope to hear other people's impression.

Anonymous said...

Camp... amazing... truly amazing. If every man studied as you do (and as people like Phil Johnson and MacArthur do), how effective could Christianity here in America be? Not only do you show yourself approved (2 Tim. 2:15), but you proclaim truth to those discerning enough to listen. I wholeheartedly agree. I am sick and tired of hearing about politics; politics will die with the world... but salvation is eternal. The church has much more important business to attend to!

As for the comment on MacArthur, I believe the person who said that has not done enough research or read any of the Larry King/MacArthur transcripts. MacArthur, aside from being my college pres, is an amazing man of God, dedicated to the Word and its proclamation, and has always used every chance he gets on Larry King to boldly preach truth as everyone else on the show shamelessly hounds him. Thank you, again, Bro. Camp, for rightly defending a great man of God, and thank you for your own ministry. I continue to read your blog and that of Phil Johnson!

Dave said...

Campi, you mentioned the removal of offense and denying the efficacy of the cross. I see this as THE KEY issue at hand here. The "ECB" movement has allowed blantant heretics (read Catholics) and neo-pagans (read cultural conservatives that deny Christ) to remain comfortable in their sin. You know Phil Johnsons testimony! Men who are more concerned about a political agenda than the salvation of the souls around them ought to be ashamed!

I understann engaging you political community, I am politically active here in Toledo. But I would not allow a heretical Romanists to take the pulpit of my church for ANY reason. This simply allows him to gain even more comfort in his rebellion.

And as far as MacArthur's numerous appearances on Larry King, the issue is not that one articulates the gospel line upon line every time one gets a platform, but the the issue of the gospel is the central focus ones theology and practice, not a socio-political conservatives.

Incidently, isn't the root of the Religious right the amillinialism?

Lance Johnson said...

Right on target, Steve. You have expressed quite well what I have thought for a long time.

"Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts." (Zec 4:6 ESV)

Unknown said...

I think this article distorts the purpose of the Manhattan Declaration. Basically, the document says Christians will not PARTICIPATE in abortion or gay marriage. It does not dictate to the world morality, but basically indicates we will not submit to forced participation. That's it. That's the purpose of the document.
I think sometimes we lose sight the lives lost through abortion. The world will be deaf to the gospel if the Church goes along to get along, participating in human sacrifice by funding it. I hope that in Stalin's Russia, or Pol Pot's Cambodia, or Hilter's Germany, or during the Turkish Armenian genocide I would have stood with those being persecuted and killed - even if that meant standing with Russian Orthodox Ministers or Armenian Christians with whom I did not agree theologically. I have participated with Roman Catholics in pro-life activities primarily because they are the people most active in saving lives through protests, outreach, post-abortion counseling, etc. Where I live, I am glad to see some Lutherans (Missouri Synod) also taking a strong stand for life. My convictions lie much closer theologically to the Lutherans, but I will gladly help those who are willing to do the work to save lives.
Is preaching Christ Crucified for the forgiveness of sins important? Absolutely. It is the Christian message. However, if Evangelical Christians, Reformed Christians, and Reformation-minded Christians don't stand up now - when do they? If the state says you can't preach the whole of Scripture on the radio - do you shut down? Or modify your sermons? When the state says you must have abortion coverage for workers at a Christian University should they simply comply? I see the Manhattan declaration as more of a call to Christians to stay true to their faith and stand with those who share similar convictions although principally not the same faith. And there may be consequences for those who do not participate in the state’s agenda.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"12 dangers of Evangelical Cobelligerence"

I've always enjoyed this exchange from a post called "Witch-burners for Christ."

Phil Johnson: "You seem to deduce from your theonomic beliefs an implicit imperative for political activism and aggressive, formal co-belligerence (where evangelicals join cartels and forge yokes with anti-Christian religions to campaign for moral causes)."

Steve Hays: "There are two separate issues here. Let’s deal with one at a time:

First of all, as regards political activism there are three possible options:

1.A Christian is duty-bound to participate in the democratic process.

2.A Christian is duty-bound not to participate in the democratic process.

3.Political activism falls under category of the adiaphora.

Now, there are arguments for and against (1). And it isn’t essential to my position to argue for (1). At least, not here and now.

However, some of the critics of ECB talk as though they espouse (2). They regard political activism as a false priority. For them, preaching the gospel should be our priority, and since political activism necessarily diverts time and resources away from that endeavor, it is wrong for Christians to invest any time in political activism.

As to (3), this can be taken in more than one way. As I’ve said before, I think the proper way to establish Scriptural warrant operates not on a one-to-one correspondence between a specific injunction and a specific practice, but on a one-to-many correspondence between a general injunction and a variety of special cases which adapt and apply that general injunction to our particular circumstances.

Now how, exactly, we apply the general norm is, in some measure, a matter of Christian liberty. There may be more than one way we can do it. But whether we do it at all is not a matter of Christian liberty.

So, for example, look at what Paul has to say about the civil or political use of the law in 1 Tim 1:9-10. How, exactly, we implement that standing obligation varies with our opportunities and circumstances. There is more than one way of enacting and enforcing this moral norm. But we are certainly not at liberty to disregard it if we are in a position to honor and uphold it.

Secondly, there is the question of what associations are licit and what are illicit. Are we talking about first-degree separatism, second-degree separatism, or what?

For example, critics of ECB are critical of alliances between Evangelicals and non-Evangelicals. This would be a prescription for first-degree separatism: don’t associate with non-Evangelicals or unbelievers.

But they are equally critical of those who, while Evangelical in their own profession, associate with non-Evangelicals. Dobson and Colson are favorite whipping boys in this regard.

That would be a prescription for second-degree separatism: don’t associate with those who associate with non-Evangelicals or unbelievers.

And although critics of ECB are fond of quoting 2 Cor 6, they don’t explain how their apparent endorsement of second-degree separatism is consonant with 1 Cor 5:9-11.

Thirdly, critics of ECB are not only critical of cobelligerence, but they are equally critical of political activism per se, on the grounds that it diverts time and attention away from the only real solution to crime and moral decline, which is the gospel.

But if that is the case, then the objection to ECB is secondary. For even if such political alliances were limited to fellow Evangelicals, whether in the form of first- or second-degree separatism, critics of ECB would still disapprove on the primary grounds that we should not lobby for legislation anyway; since legislation treats the symptom rather than the cause."

James Hunt said...

Dear "Truth Unites and Divides"

I say that individual Christians should be involved in the political process as much as they feel the impulse to do so; however, I don't believe that they should sign on to documents such as the Manhatten Declaration or Evangelicals and Catholics Together for the sake of common Christian interest when such a document ASSUMES THAT ALL SIGNING ARE LEGITIMATE PROMOTERS OF THE BIBLICAL GOSPEL. Therein lies the issue for me.

Please...please give even one example in scripture of anything that lends weight to your position of ECB.

James Hunt said...

Brother Camp. Excellently and thoughtfully written. Good job.

Rick Frueh said...

How are you, Steve? I was asked about the MD as well. I wrote my opinion in a parable.

I appreciated your thoughts.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

James Hunt,

Here's an argument for you to consider. It's by Andrew Sandlin and it's titled "Lordship Salvation is Not Enough: A Response to John MacArthur. Excerpts:

“MacArthur is wrong on two counts. First, he over-generalizes and oversimplifies the Gospel.

Second, and more relevantly, MacArthur underestimates the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The MD presupposes an ethical calling wider than the Gospel, and we dare not shrink back from the implications of this wholly valid assumption: the Gospel is one of the great themes of the Bible without which there can be no “true and ultimate remedy for all of humanity’s moral ills,” but the Gospel is not the entire, or even the most important, message of the Bible. It is a crucial dimension of an even more momentous message, which is the sovereignty of God over all things (2 Chron. 20:6; Ps. 103:19; Pr. 21:1; Zech. 9:10; 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 19:6).

The MD is suggesting that Jesus is Lord of the state, too, not just Lord of redemption. And when the state transgresses its God-ordained role, it stands as a rebel against the kingdom of Jesus Christ to which it, too, and not just the church, is called to submit.

But what MacArthur does not seem to grasp, and what the signatories of the MD do grasp, at least intuitively, is that the Lordship of Jesus is wider than individual salvation. This fact is easy to prove.

The MD takes a step toward recovering an understanding of the full-fledged Lordship of Jesus — that Christians must speak prophetically to the ethical issues of the time, and expect the state to stay within its divinely prescribed limits. Just as Jesus’ Lordship is wider than the church, so Christians’ message must be wider than the Gospel.

Unknown said...

I am wrestling with where the line aught to be drawn with Christian influence in the political arena. I look at a man like William Wilberforce who because of political influence changed the tide of human slavery. I am reminded of a verse from Rev 22:11a 'Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile.' We can't Christianise the world, that isn't what we have been commissioned with by the Lord, we can't expect to bring moral revolution to a 'righteously void' people. But does that mean we have to part to play in politics? Look at David, Daniel and his companions, Ezra, Nehemiah, with their influences, they served God powerfully and brought honor to His name. But the line, I suppose, I have drawn within my self is 'the sanctity of life'. Love, compassion, kindness, mercy, etc... all of God and all should be evident of coming from us. Not banning something like 'gay-marriage' because it's wrong and we know God doesn't like it, but because of what will come next, gay couples adopting, a whole new generation messed-up. We can't stop people from indulging their sins by bringing about an outward appearance of moral uprightness, because in the dark and secret places man does what he does because of who he is. Only the power of God through the hearing of the gospel can change a person, no Christian compromise will made things 'good', but does that mean we step out of the political arena? Please correct my thinking.

Rick Frueh said...

"Second, and more relevantly, MacArthur underestimates the Lordship of Jesus Christ."

Wow. That is just innacurate. Jesus in His own words is not "Lord" over everything. He even rejects some who say He is Lord and in fact He is not in the obedience manifestation.

Obvious Jesus is the Creator and as such the Master/Lord over everything, but He is not the Redeemer/Lord over everything. In the end, He will destroy much. But to say MacArthur underestimates the Lordship of Jesus is genuinely a misrepresentation.

As a matter of fact, MacArthur has taken much criticism for overestimating the Lordship of Christ. Sometimes you just can't win.

James Hunt said...

Truth Unites...

I read the document you linked to. What follows are my initial thoughts:

When you disagree on the application of the Gospel you disagree on a fundamental issue connected to the Historic accomplishment of redemption. That is, the facts of the Gospel are intertwined with the application of the Gospel. In other words, if someone holds a false view on how the Gospel is applied to the individual then they have lost the Gospel itself. After all, if the Gospel is not a properly applied Gospel then how is that truly good news? Therein lies the rub, again, with me. That is, Orthodox and RCC "Christian" institutions teach a different way by which one is saved. Regarding the issue of redemption...all the signers of the document...DO NOT agree on the fundamental facts of what Christ accomplished through His righteous life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. Heck, even Southern Baptists (of which I'm one) can't even agree on the issue of what Christ actually accomplished on the cross - most are general as opposed to specific atonement adherants). There is a large chasm of variation of soteriology of the signers of the MD. Again, it assumes all signers possess the true Gospel. They don't both in belif regarding what Christ accomplished or how it is applied.

Regarding Christ's Lordship over all things...sure! Absolutely, Jesus is Lord! But not all things have yet been brought under His full domination yet. Is this not in part the message of Ephesians (for instance)? Some day that full domination will happen and every knee will bow. Until that time the god of this age rules (to be sure - he "rules" under the authority of God's sovereignty). One day the heavens and earth will desolve in a fervent heat (remember Peter's message) and all things will be made new - back to their original design (message of Revelation). Until such time we live among pagans who will act like pagans and rule like pagans. We are in a republic and are free as individual believers to make our voices heard in the political arena. I simply do not agree, however, on yoking up with unbelieving religious folks by signing a document that assumes those unbelieving religious folks are truly Christians.

Babylon's Dread said...

Count on the Calvinists to shift the focus of important issues and pretend their dogma is at stake. This is why we lose every moral initiative and every cultural battle. Divided we fall.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Count on the Calvinists to shift the focus of important issues and pretend their dogma is at stake. This is why we lose every moral initiative and every cultural battle. Divided we fall."

Unfortunately, this is a nasty internal battle among conservative Protestants. On one side, some conservative Protestants believe that the Gospel is at stake because of the language in the Manhattan Declaration seems to indicate that Catholics and Eastern Orthodox are Christians with a Gospel message on par with Protestantism. On the other side, there are conservative Protestants who don't believe that the Gospel is at stake because the focus of the MD is narrowly limited to 3 issues and that differences among the 3 Faith-Traditions are noted and acknowledged.

To really put a sharp point on it, the anti-MD Conservative Protestants regard the pro-MD Conservative Protestants as Gospel Compromisers for teaming up with the Judaizers. While the conservative pro-MD Protestants regard the conservative anti-MD Protestants as condemning Pharisees. Basically, the virulent anti-MD Protestants function as the Protestant Sanhedrin.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon: "We may take the example of the Evangelical spokesman, John MacArthur, Jr. His complaint was very simple: The Manhattan Declaration scans only the symptoms of these social evils but neglects to address their root cause. That is to say, this document fails to proclaim the Gospel of salvation, which is the sole remedy for every social ill.

The objections of MacArthur and Tobias are curious in their evident presumption that Christians, when they speak in public, should limit their discourse to the proclamation of the Gospel and the summons to repentance.

This may be a legitimate view, though it is neither shared by many Christians over the centuries nor obviously favored by the prophets. Jonah, for instance, preached judgment—not repentance—at Nineveh, nor did his proclamation include one syllable of Good News. If this was true of Jonah, what shall we say of Nahum, whose own message to the Ninevites was just an expansion of Jonah’s meager half-verse?

Respectfully, these objections to the Manhattan Declaration (including its rhetoric) could easily have been made against any one—and perhaps all—of the biblical prophets. Our modest Declaration, as a statement of social concern, invites the endorsement of Christians who share that concern. The matter is truly as plain as that.

James Grant: "I disagree with what I would consider a sectarian view of Christianity that would require me to never agree on these issues with Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians. I had no problem signing it. I would encourage you to to read it and sign it as well."

Anonymous said...

I think that people don't realize is they tend to address these issues from a protestant prospective Rome has an agenda with Co-beligerency

I wish people would read the 59 articles on ecumenism their is also such a thing as Ecumenical co-beliegerency the problem is where do we draw the line, I have known people who take this stance and then you find yourself working as an agent of Rome Billy Graham is a prime example of co-beligerency as is Melody Green it is another Road to Rome.