Southern Baptist Legend John Broadus Against R2K

“We live not only in a world of persons but of powerful social organizations and institutions, which exert constant and relentless pressure upon the moral and spiritual life of individuals. The preacher cannot be indifferent to these wider and more complex areas. He must pass unflinching judgment upon the wrongs of society; he must voice the Christian principles of righteousness and justice and good will; he must stir the consciences of men to meet the conditions and practices of social order with unselfish devotion to truth and honor and common humanity… But what shall he propose in a practical way? Devise strategies and programs for labor or for capital? Write platforms for the political parties? Propose and advocate particular statutes for legislative bodies? Agitate for particular solutions of the race problems? Turn expert in international procedures? Obviously, such things are beyond his ability and outside his function [note, he is speaking directly to the minister in terms of structuring a sermon. So, in developing a sermon, creating detailed social policies are not his purpose]. He is not an expert social planner. He is a prophet, a seer, and critic, and voice of high conscience in the name of God. He should not be complacent in the belief that society is impersonal organization and natural process. Society is composed of men, women, and children. the forms of society are created and managed by persons. The human factor is determinative of many things, including principles and goods. Human responsibility for the social order is, therefore, real, and the preacher must not permit complacency in himself or in those who hear him… But he must ask in knowledge, not ignorance, speaking out of an understanding of conditions and problems won by diligent study. With such understanding, he will be able to affix blame where the blame lies and to propose with boldness the ways and means that brotherhood, honesty, high motive, and reverence for God will suggest. Such is the preacher’s function. It is within his province and responsibility to bring every kind of evil, individually and corporately upheld, to the light and judgment of Christ’s moral principles, and then to insist that men put these principles to the test where they are, making adventure along paths which an enlightened conscience can choose.”

Dr. John Broadus (1827 – 1895)
Southern Baptist Minister

Short Critique On Eastern Orthodox’s Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option”

Rod Dreher with his call for cultural withdrawal via his “Benedict Option,” keeps saying “politics will not save us,” and as such Christians should give up on Washingtonian politics.

A few points,

1.) Whoever suggested that politics will save us?

2.) It is true that politics will not save us but it is also true that not doing politics will not save us either. So, what’s the point Rod?

3.) Where in Scripture do we find the authority to give up the antithesis in any area of life?

4.) Whatever happened to “take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ” Rod?

5.) The answer to lousy saltiness is to become exceptionally lousy in our saltiness?

6.) One can not isolate and cordon off areas of life like this. Life is lived as an integrated whole. Because that is so if Christians were to retreat from Politics the consequence would be that pagan politics would go on the attack seeking to increasingly circumscribe the Christian witness in every other area of life.

We have to find a name to live by besides “Christian” because the way the “Christian” is used now is something God certainly abominates.

A Few Observations — Matthew 28:18-20

In the Great Commission, we see that the Christian, per marching orders from the Lord Christ, is required to be future oriented, message-oriented, and nation oriented.

Future-oriented because we have been given a teleology that requires us to be constantly looking to the future extension of the Kingdom. Message-oriented because we have been given a set core of truth that is required to be transmitted. Nation oriented because we are tasked with discipling nations as nations.

In the Great Commission Christ created in His people a future orientation. He left them a task that gave them a teleology … a goal. With that goal of seeing the present Kingdom ever expanded they were oriented towards the future. They were not to be past- oriented nor present-oriented. They were to be future-oriented

As Harvard Scholar Banfield put it, “[T]he individual’s orientation toward the future will be regarded as a function of two factors: (1) ability to imagine a future, and (2) ability to discipline oneself to sacrifice present for future satisfaction.”

The Great Commission fulfills these two requirements. In assigning the Great Commission there is an imagined future when the Nations bow to Christ and secondly God’s people have decidedly modeled an ability to discipline oneself to sacrifice for the future.

A future orientation can manifest itself in many ways.

1.) Entrepreneurs forgo short term pleasure spending so they can plow their profits back into the business.

2.) Students being trained in highly skilled abilities will eat Macaroni and cheese or live in less than ideal housing so they can reap the larger benefits down the road.

3.)  Trustee families forgo present splurging looking to benefit future generations.

4.) In this text, the future orientation implied is connected with the Missionary endeavor to see Christ’s Kingdom expand. What we see in Scripture is the enduring of hardships so the future would be characterized as the Nations bowing to Christ. The willingness to undergo present hardship so that the future would look increasingly Christian.

I.) With the great Commission, Christ ensures that His people will be a future-oriented people.

This past week I’ve been working through a book that deals with the history of Communist Revolution. One thing that is clearly seen starting with Robespierre and Babeuf and working through Chernyshevsky, Tkachev, and Lenin is that though they were loathsome people they were future oriented. They gave up everything in the present in order to work towards a utopian future in which they believed.

This future orientation used to be characteristic of Christians. They envisioned the swelling of Christ’s future Kingdom and sacrificed in the short term to see that future become the present.

Of course future orientation, that identification marker once characteristic of Christians is no longer seen.  The modernists, not being able to ever have enough golden eggs, finally kills the golden goose in hopes of getting more. The instant gratification of materialism and of sexual license that bespeaks a presentism, ever beckons us to be unfaithful to our wives, unfaithful to our children and unfaithful to God.

Christians are to be future oriented and the future orientation is tied to leaving a godly inheritance to subsequent generations. That godly inheritance includes discipling our children so that they can be future oriented so that they will disciple their children.

Without Christ man is characterized by a sin and guilt that works in him a presentism that says, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow ye die.” In Christ death which paid for our sin and guilt we’ve been released from our inherent presentism to be future oriented and so to work for the extension of the Kingdom in being hearlders of the Great Commission, first to our covenant children, then to our extended Kin and then to our nation and then to the Nations. Our own Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the Earth.

II.) Message Oriented

“teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;”

And what had Jesus commanded them? Well, only what the Father had ever commanded His people and that is to walk in terms of God’s gracious Covenant Law Word.

Jesus Himself had said,

17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not [h]the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches [i]others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever [j]keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

So, when Jesus gives the Great Commission here he is reaffirming the standard and normalcy of God’s law. The Nations would not be regenerated or Justified by observing God’s law but upon being regenerated and Justified …. having been made right before God they would now be a people who would love God’s law and delight in it both day and night.

Jesus did not come and give a new law as if He were a new God. When Jesus tells those disciples to teach the Nations to observe all that He commanded them He was authorizing them to be Champions of God’s law.

There would yet remain many Nations but each of those nations were to be ruled by God’s One Mediator and God’s One Law. Here we see, in microcosm, the idea of unity in diversity.

III.) Nation Oriented

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them

If all the Church had was this one passage it would be enough to suggest that Christianity is a religion that affirms nations and so a biblical Nationalism. Of course, this idea of Nations coming into the Church as Nations has lost its luster and has been replaced by a kind of Christian Cosmopolitan Internationalism where the first requirement for being Christian is that we forgo our National identity. We seem to be agreeing with enemies of the Church like Adam Weishaupt who could say,

“Princes and nations will disappear without violence from the earth, the human race will become one family and the world the abode of reasonable men.”

-Adam Weishaupt, quoted in Paul Johnson, Intellectuals (London: Orion Books Limited, 1993), p. 32

Contrary to Weishaupt, and all New World Order types, Rev. Hugh M’Neile could properly offer,

“We cannot agree in that cosmopolitan view of Christianity which undermines the particularities of our National Establishment, any more than we could agree in such a cosmopolitan view of philanthropy as would extinguish domestic affections, in all their vivid and constraining peculiarity of influence.”

Rev. Hugh M’Neile, M.A.
Sermon — Nationalism in Religion
Delivered — 08 May, 1839

Christ here affirms Nations. It is the Nations as nations to which we are to Teach, Baptize and convert and as we learn in the book of Revelation it is Nations as Nations which are found in the New Jerusalem.

“Nationalism, within proper limits, has the divine sanction; an imperialism that would, in the interest of one people, obliterate all lines of distinction is everywhere condemned as contrary to the divine will. Later prophecy raises its voice against the attempt at world-power, and that not only, as is sometimes assumed, because it threatens Israel, but for the far more principal reason, that the whole idea is pagan and immoral.

Now it is through maintaining the national diversities, as these express themselves in the difference of language, and are in turn upheld by this difference, that God prevents realization of the attempted scheme… [In this] was a positive intent that concerned the natural life of humanity. Under the providence of God each race or nation has a positive purpose to serve, fulfillment of which depends on relative seclusion from others.”

-Geerhardus Vos,
Biblical Theology

The way the Nations are gathered is by Baptism,

Marxism as a Christian Heresy

Demonstrating that Communism is a Christian heresy.

“Tkachev zeroed in on a mushy contradiction in the Marxian construct: the contradiction between the Marx’s doctrine of the inevitability of the revolutionary cataclysm and proletarian triumph through economic determinism and the need of young revolutionaries to organize and act and play a meaningful role rather than simply to ride passively on ‘the wave of the future.'”

Eugene Methvin
The Rise of Radicalism — pg. 221

Note what is going on here. Marx posited a humanist predestinary note by insisting upon the “inevitability of the revolutionary cataclysm and proletarian triumph through economic determinism,” and yet if all this is predestined then there is nothing that humans need to do to aid what is inevitable. With Marx’s humanist predestination men had become stocks and blocks. Tkachev provides an answer by injecting consciousness into the masses. It is unsatisfactory but it is an answer,

“The very difference between a violent revolution and a so-called ‘gradual-revolution’ lies precisely in the fact that the revolutionary minority is no longer willing to wait, but takes upon itself the task of forcing consciousness upon the people.”

Tkachev’s answer here to Marx’s contradiction is that while revolution is indeed inevitable, it can be speeded along by injected consciousness upon the people so that violent revolution speeds along the inevitability of it all. So, Tkachev would help along the Marxian Predestination but of course wouldn’t even the time of predestination be likewise predestined so that Tkachev isn’t really helping speed along the Marxian revolution?

Marx’ works themselves also likewise support the idea that his theory was merely Christian heresy. Marx’s Communist Manifesto capsulized the fundamental concepts of Marxist ideology as,

1.) Marx — The in group-out group identification of the class struggle.

Marxism — Proletariat as in-group. Bourgeoise as out-group.

This parallels the Christian idea of in group-out group identification of the struggle to advance God’s Kingdom

Christianity — Christian as in-group. Non-Christian as out-group.

2.) Marx — The idea of a chosen class

Marxism — Proletariat as the chosen class.
Christianity — The Elect as the chosen class.

3.) Marx — Economic determinism

Marxism — Historical of dialectical materialism
Christianity — Predestination via God’s Ordination

4.) Marxism — Inevitability of Proletarian triumph

Christianity — Inevitability of the triumph of God’s people in the context of God’s Kingdom

5.) Marxism –Obsessive future orientation (fixation on a seductive future that devalues the present)

Christianity — The postmillennial future orientation that avoids a devaluing of the present by understanding that the future is the trajectory of a well lived present.

6.) Marxism — The commitment to violence

Christianity — When the Kingdom of God breaks into this present age it is breaking into the domain of Satan and sin (see Ephesians 2:2) and does so unto overthrowing Satan’s present evil age as by conflict.

In the end, Marxism is merely a Materialistic heresy that owes its origins to Christianity as bastardized by the Serpent.

Von Stein on Difference Between Socialism and Communism

“Socialism is essentially different from Communism, which has a purely negative character vis-a-vis the present state of things, or which aspires in a confused and unconscious manner to realize the idea of a new social order which it conceives of vaguely. The difference is essential; socialism is positive, whereas communism is negative, socialism wishes to create a new society, whereas communism wishes to destroy the present society … Socialism wishes to realize its ends by the power of truth, whereas communism wished to do it by the violence of the crowd, by revolution and crime.”

Lorenz Von Stein
Socialism and Communism in Today’s France — A Contributed to Contemporary History — pg. 28