From the Mailbag — Pastor I’m For Open Borders … Why Aren’t You?

Dear Pastor,

I ran across this quote from R. J. Rushdoony and I’m pretty sure you would support it,

We must render honor and justice to all men wherever due, but we have a particular responsibility to care for our own. This means first of all our families. . . . Biblical conduct is regulated by relationship, and to subvert this is to lead directly into welfare economics and socialism. If a man must exercise towards all men the same care, oversight, and charity he does towards his own family, then an impossible burden is placed on him. . . . Every system of ‘universal’ ethics is at one and the same time a system of universal slavery.”

R. J. Rushdoony
On illegal immigration and Amnesty
“Politics of Guilt and Pity”, p. 248

Pastor, I see this quote not as an argument for regulation of immigration, walls, and border patrols but rather as an argument against welfare. I do not see how the need to take care of my own family necessitates that I have a government that prohibits an individual from crossing an imaginary line in say Arizona. This is not logical. Furthermore, to construe this to mean that Rushdoony supported immigration laws is not honest. Could you help me see what I’m not seeing?

Lovey Jardine

Dear Lovey,

Thank you for writing. First let’s consider the RJR quote itself to see if it speaks to immigration. RJR says,

“If a man must exercise towards all men the same care, oversight, and charity he does towards his own family, then an impossible burden is placed on him…”

I would say that this indeed is an argument for regulation of immigration, walls, and border patrols as well as an argument against welfare. So, I do believe you misinterpreting the quote when you say it is not about immigration at all. To hopefully help you see where the relation is between “imaginary lines” and taking care of your family, allow me to offer,

1.) The need to take care of our own families includes the idea of having a stable culture and economy. The flooding of our nation with people of a different religion and culture means your family will not be taken care of because the consequence of such policy means the balkanization of this Nation into hostile religion, ethnic, and economic enclaves which demands a Centralized tyrannical Government can keep in order. One reason the FEDS are following this policy Lovey is that it creates a need for their presence since only a strong handed Government can mediate the hostilities that will arise from the policies of purposeful balkanization that they are pursuing.

2.) The depression of wages resulting in the destruction of the middle class is assured by the current immigration policy. This likewise will eventuate in the voiding of care for our current families. Harvard Professor and Immigration expert George Borjas has analyzed the effects of immigration on the middle class and the conclusion is that this immigrations redistributes capital upwards with the consequence that the mega-Rich get richer and the middle class are increasingly impoverished so that what is created by this policy is a have vs. have not social order. I’m sure you’ll agree with me Lovey that impoverishing your children in order to enrich the Mega-Rich Corporatism class, via this immigration policy, is not taking care of your family.

3.) This quote clearly advances the idea that RJR supported immigration laws when the consequence of them meant the voiding of the care, oversight and charity towards one’s own family. The current status quo does just that. Here is another quote from Rushdoony that communicates much the same idea that Scriptures do call for the extension of hospitality and justice, but not an open-borders re-ordering of social life.

“To call for the modern, humanistic society with an open relationship to all men would have appeared to the Israelites as the ultimate tyranny. The law did not require any such a re-ordering of any man’s private life: It simply required justice in dealing with all men.”

Highest Regards Lovey,

Pastor

______________________________
Lovey wrote back,

Dear Pastor,

Part of your answer was that “immigration “brings down wages”? So we should keep wages artificially high by regulating the number of people that can live or move through a particular area? I guess we not thinking in terms of a free market economy.

When Rushdoony said we need to “take care of our own families” I am sure you are right an he meant extending more power to the government to interfere with the natural right of individuals to move about freely. Yep, that sounds like something Rushdoony would say.

Lovey Jardine

Dear Lovey,

Thank you for writing back. Let’s see if we can tease this out for you.

First, I am not the kind of Libertarian that you seem to be. I do not support this free market economy that you are championing because it is most certainly not a Free Market economy. What you are supporting is the Corporatism wherein the Mega-Corporations are in bed with the Mega-Government to the end of turning the rest of the citizenry into slaves for their pleasure and use. This current immigration “policy” enriches the Mega-rich class and destroys the middle class. Statistics (See George Borjas’ work)

http://www.vdare.com/articles/national-data-by-edwin-s-rubenstein-276

clearly show that current policy means a transfer of wealth from the Middle class to the Mega Rich who are in bed with the Government class. I’m all for free markets when they are fair Markets but the game is rigged right now and I do not support a policy which destroys the infrastructure of the middle class in order to worship at the feet of Austrian Economics while at the same time serving the ends of creating a Globalist New World Order.

Second, per RJR, he was not the Libertarian that North is. North has been destroyed by his worshiping at the feet of Austrian economics.

Thirdly, I would challenge you on your individual natural rights language which is straight out of Enlightenment Humanism. Strictly speaking individuals have no natural rights. As Christians, we have duties. Only God has rights. In this case, per the first RJR quote, my duty and responsibility to care for my own is my particular responsibility. Since Biblical conduct is regulated by relationship my duty as a Christian to my family outstrips your Humanist idea of individual rights. I have already demonstrated in the first response how all of this impinges upon my duty to my family.

A good book to help you think through your whole “Individual Natural Rights” language is,

http://www.amazon.com/Whats-wrong-rights-Robert-Ingram/dp/B0006CZ1R4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1406212559&sr=8-2&keywords=T.+Robert+Ingram

Fourth, you warn about artificially high wages but I hardly believe that anybody would make the case that we are currently living in a time where artificially high wages is a problem for our families which reflect the middle class. The real problem here is the artificially low wages that would result were we to turn this country into a huge sweatshop. Also, I would repudiate the idea that immigration restrictions necessarily lead to extending more power to the Government especially when the policies you are advocating concerning immigration works to the end of setting in concrete a Tyrannical state. The immigrants we are speaking of here are a natural constituency for the Marxist (Democratic) party. That party will use the votes of the immigration pattern to grow the Government into a centralized top down Usurping State. So, you chastise me for my alleged support of larger government because I want it to “provide for the common defense and yet your support of the current immigration imbroglio assures the rise of the totalitarian state. I fear you have not calculated the impact of Corporatism enough in your thinking Lovey. I also think that you need to listen to the RJR lectures where he points out that Libertarianism and Marxism are two sides of the same coin.

All the Best,

Pastor

From the Mailbox — Pastor Bret, aren’t you ignoring the Biblical arguments of the NT regarding Exile?

Dear Pastor,

I read your recent post on “absolutizing the exile” and was struck by how you seem to ignore the Biblical arguments of the New Testament that explicitly refer to believers as exiles, strangers, and aliens. The New Testament absolutizes the exile experience for the Christian.

Hendrick Van Everouma

Dear Hendrick,

Thank you for your query. I shall seek to broaden on what I already wrote on the sermon in question. I did anticipate this objection by noting this,

“We understand because of our own antinomian unfaithfulness we are living in an age of Exile but there is no reason to absolutize this Exile as if it is the norm for all times and places. Scripture speaks repeatedly of the Triumph of Christ in time and space. The Kingdoms of this world are shattered by the rock cut out of the Mountain that rolls over the Kingdom statue. The Knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. The Kingdom of heaven leavens all. The mustard seed of Christianity becomes a great tree in which all the Nations (Birds) find refuge.

There is something altogether unseemly in a theology that says “’we’ve always lost, we are losing now, and we will only ever lose, though spiritually speaking that losing is really winning. If we want to be faithful we have to see ourselves as perpetual exiles in every generation.’”

Of course you know that in a 30 minute sermon matters have to be condensed and packed tightly. Further you know that there is no way you can take into the pulpit everything you’ve learned in your study. As such much that is good gets left on the cutting table.

As it pertains to Scripture, we are explicitly told that God’s people will inherit the earth. Don’t you agree that upon our inheritance (and remember our Hermeneutical methodology of “now, not yet”) of the earth it would be rather odd to speak of us as exiles in the earth we have inherited?

Further Scripture clearly teaches that with Christ’s victory (Resurrection, Ascension and Session) the age to come has inaugurated and is rolling back this present evil age. Would you really hold it to be the case that where God’s already present inaugurated Kingdom is expanding in a particular nation or people group so that Christ’s reign is respected and so that God’s Word is incarnated into Family, Education, Courts, Law, etc. that at that point God’s people are exiles in the sense of not belonging to such a Christian social order?

You see, knowing you as I do, the reason you insist on absolutizing the exile theme of Scripture is because you are an amillenialist in your eschatology, and so, being consistent, you must absolutize exile. At least some of your friends have a eschatology does not allow for speaking of realities like “Christian social order,” or “Christian Education” or “Christian Law,” or “Christian family.” As such, all that is left in such a “theology” is exile.

Of course I think your eschatology is under-realized and you think mine over-realized. But to suggest that I am ignoring NT arguments is, as we have seen, almost as if you are trying to steamroll me on this issue.

Other texts we might appeal to from the NT is when our Lord Christ said,

“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.”

Now if the ruler of this world was cast out with the cross then clearly exile does not need to be a theme that is absolutized in Scripture. Now, I quite agree that there is a “not yet,” to this “now,” but why should we absolutize the “not yet” with the absolutizing of “exile” and so not include the idea that “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever,” or, “For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet.” Surely when the Kingdoms of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord at such a time God’s people will not be exiles. I know you think that won’t happen until Christ returns but for those of us who do not hold your eschatology we are required to object.

And of course there is Psalm 2

8 “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

Of course we know that Christ has already been given the uttermost parts of the earth as His possession in principle and that He reigns now, but we look for that already present reign to progressively ever more manifest itself as the age to come keeps rolling back this present evil age.

You see, our disagreement here is that you see the fulfillment of these words as “spiritual,” while I see them as also spiritual but as also having corporeal impact upon real nations. Again, it is the difference between amillennial and postmillennial eschatology. I will pray for you that you do not under-realize the present age to come Kingdom if you will pray for me that I do not over-realize the present age to come Kingdom.

Now, we could take this a whole different direction by noting the problem you have by “absolutizing the exile” theme. Remember, that exile in the Scripture is typically associated with God’s judgment at His people’s disobedience. While I agree that there are epochs of exile, do you really want to suggest that God’s people are always under God’s exilic judgment until they die and go to heaven?

Well that is enough. Forgive me for going on and on but I reckoned that if you were having these thoughts others out there in the Internet land might also be having them as well and as such I wanted to go on and on just a wee bit.

Thanks for your question.

McAtee Contra Tchividjian On His Political Views

Florida megachurch pastor Tullian Tchividjian has said that the increasing association between evangelical Christianity and the religious right has had a negative effect.

In an interview published Friday, Tchividjian warned against bonding political views with religion.

“I think the impression that most non-evangelicals have is that [evangelicalism is] a political movement — it’s a culturally warring movement,” he told The Blaze.

“Closely associating the core message of the Christian faith with a political ideology has always been a huge mistake.”

McAtee responds,

1.) This is merely an appeal from the political left, of which Tullian is a member, to disassociate Christianity from its moral base. The truth of the matter is that the Christian right has merely stood for issues like “babies being born,” “men not marrying men,” “Christians not sending their children to government schools,” and “The State not stealing from the public via Marxists religion.” Is Tullian really suggesting that it is wrong to advocate for God’s mind when the political realm starts leaking into the Church. You see the problem with Tullian’s thinking here is that it is not the case that the Church is butting into the political realm but rather it is the case that the political realm is butting into the bailiwick of the Church as it pertains to Christian morality.

2.) Of course, with this misguided statement, Tullian has indicted Calvin’s Geneva, Knox’s Scotland, and Kuyper’s Holland. Tullian has also suggested that the work of Thomas Chalmers was a huge mistake, the work of William Wilberforce was a huge mistake, and the work of John Witherspoon as a huge mistake. The fact of the matter is, is that it is Tullian and his non Biblical opinion on this matter which is the huge mistake.

3.) If it is true that culture is but religion externalized then it is obvious that Biblical Christianity should war against the culture where the culture is an expression of a pagan externalized religion. Of course the foundation of such warfare is the finished work of Jesus Christ. Because of the finished work of Jesus Christ, and His following Resurrection and Ascension the Lord Christ has every intent to make war on those cultures that are organized in defiance of Him.

The Christianity today article offered,

Tchividjian, who is the grandson of famed evangelist Rev. Billy Graham, said that the use of Christianity in politics has damaged the religion.

“My take on it having grown up in the evangelical world … the sort of rise of the religious right and its close association between the church and politics has done big-time damage to the brand of Christianity in the public sphere,” he stated.

Ask someone what it means to be an evangelical, he said, and their answer would likely contain views on political issues.

1.) First, can we just observe that it was Tullian Grandfather who was forever being seen with Political figures. If Tullian is going to disavow the nexus between politics and religion let him disavow his Grandfather who was seen with every President from Truman to Bush II. Second, let us not forget how political his Grandfather’s decision was to go to the former Soviet Union when so many people begged him not to because of the political message it was sending.

2.) Of course we must lead with Christ crucified but to suggest that there is no relation to Christ crucified and Christ risen, Ascended, and ruling is to abstract the Gospel to make it a antinomian Gospel. What shall we say? Shall we go on preaching Christ crucified without preaching Christ Resurrected, Ascended, and Ruling?

3.) Of course pagans are going to charge Christians with the most unsavory untruths. Why should we think that they would ever do otherwise? Does Tullian think that when we ask a pagan what it means to be an Evangelical, they are going to say, “Oh, Evangelicals, why they want me to understand that Christ died for me. I don’t like the Evangelicals who expect repentance but I sure like Tullian because he never says anything about the necessity to repent.”

Christianity Today as channeling Tullian continues,

“As important as those things might be to discuss, that’s not the central message of what it means to be an evangelical,” Tchividjian said.

“Historically speaking, evangelicals were good news specialists and because we’ve become so closely aligned with political ideologies and culture warring issues, what’s been lost is the core Good News message of the Christian faith.”

The Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church also urged pastors not to discuss politics in their churches.

“I have lots of opinions … on just about anything,” he said. “I basically almost refuse to make any kind of public commentary on anything other than the gospel [from the pulpit].”

He concluded, “For the last 40 years we’ve talked more about what’s going on in our culture … than we have preaching Christ and him crucified.”

Bret responds,

1.) The Good News is that “there is no other name under heaven by which ye must be saved.” I agree. We must herald that.

But saved from what? How can we talk about salvation without talking about sin? And how can we talk about sin without talking about God? We command all men everywhere to repent and be Baptized. But repent from what? From sodomy? From a lack of compassion? From preforming and submitting to abortions? From Statist Marxist theft as against the 8th commandment? How can we apply Christ Crucified unless we talk about these sins which the political realm has forced upon the Church by its seeking to try and reshape our message?

It looks to me that Tullian wants all the image with none of the substance. He wants a Crucified Christ to preach without the ethical substance that a Crucified Christ looks to forgive.

2.) Even with Tullian’s comment that we should not comment on politics from the pulpit he has made a political statement. He is telling us we should not raise our voice against those sins for which Christ was crucified. Tullian is being extraordinarily political in desiring a closed lip policy against the States interference with Christian morality.

Maintaining our Christian Identity While Living On the Margins

Introduction

Conversation with Friend concerning preparing the Church for what looks to be coming

Article by one of the Church’s Theologians on living as Exiles

Any honest appraisal of the era that we are currently living in includes the idea that Christians are and that the Christian belief system is being pushed to the margins of our culture. In my estimation a good case can be made that as the perverted are being allowed out of the closet, the Christian is being shoved into the closet, being required to keep silent now as perversion previously had been. Our cultural absolutizing of Science and the technological as the arbiter of all truth has resulted in the claims of Christianity being seen as worthy of derision. Belief in the supernatural is made to look fairly tale-ish compared to evolution. Abortifacients, no-fault divorce, and now the push to the accepting of sodomite marriage have made orthodox Christian sexual ethics look pass’e, out of date, and mean. In some cultural circles to even espouse a traditional Christian mindset is to invite charges of “hate crimes.”

Of course we are not the first ones to have to live with Christianity being seen as culturally unacceptable. The book of Hebrews gives us insight into some early Christians who were exiles among their own people. In the book of Hebrews the congregation is informed to bear the reproach of Christ. They are reminded that given their times they have no continuing city and they are told to seek the city to come.

We will look closer at that theme in just a moment but for now we want to consider other options that some Christians will choose in order to avoid being marginalized in this culture and in order to avoid becoming cultural outcasts.

Obviously one tactic will be to compromise,

I.) Biblical Christianity will be reinterpreted through a different grid

The result of this will be that what was once seen as beyond the pale, will now be seen as needful to support if one is to be seen as “Christian.

This is happening already.

Over the past decade, evangelical support for same sex marriage has more than doubled, according to polling by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute. About a quarter of evangelicals now support same-sex unions, the institute has found, with an equal number occupying what researchers at Baylor University last year called the “messy middle” of those who oppose gay marriage on moral grounds but no longer support efforts to outlaw it.

This compromise and reinterpretation is seen especially among the Church’s young people under 35. Among that age group just slightly less than 50% now support same-sex marriage. Reflecting that homosexual student organizations have become to crop up at various “Christian” colleges across the nation including Wheaton College.

Even some of the most prominent evangelicals—megachurch pastors, seminary professors and bestselling authors—have publicly announced their compromise on this subject recently. In April a fairly prominent Pastor in Ann Arbor let the world know that he had “seen the light” on the issue and was now recanting his former views.

This tactic of compromise has been a time honored maneuver in the Church over the decades and even centuries. On another subject it was seen again most recently in a well known Church publication. In this article, compromise was being urged on in the way that the Scriptures define Adam and Eve.

“Adam and Eve: Traditionally we’ve been taught that Adam and Eve were the first human pair, Adam made out of dust and Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. But sustaining this doctrine is extremely difficult when we take seriously the human race as we know it today sharing ancestry with other primates such as chimpanzees. Where in the slow evolution of homo erectus and homo habilis and homo sapiens do Adam and Eve fit? We will have to find a better way of understanding what Genesis tells us about Adam and Eve. . . .”

We could spend the whole morning elucidating compromises in Church history. It is sufficient to understand that one way of avoiding the Hebrews counsel to be willing to bear the reproach of Christ is to compromise the faith in order that we may remain “relevant” to our culture.

II.) The Scriptures themselves warn against this turn to compromise when Paul spoke to the Ephesian Elders,

“I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverted things, to draw away disciples after them.”

In the letter to the Hebrews the author likewise warns against this temptation to compromise by giving them the example of Moses,

“24 By faith Moses when he was come to age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 And chose rather to suffer adversity with the people of God, than to enjoy the [z]pleasures of sin for a season, 26 Esteeming the rebuke of Christ greater riches, than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, and feared not the fierceness of the king: for he endured, as he that saw him which is invisible.”

And then the author of Hebrews, sets forth the Lord Christ as an example as one who did not compromise to gain relief from the threat of cultural irrelevance and exile.

“…let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set at the right hand of the throne of God.”

III.) Exile in the OT as a Pattern

Being exiles is not a theme that is that foreign to Scripture. Joseph was exiled by His Brothers. Moses was exiled and rejected by Israel. It is not too much to say that the law typologically foreshadows Christ as the rejected and exiled prophet. Jesus came unto His own and His own received Him not. Exile.

And yet Scripture also seems to set forth the pattern that God uses His exiled people to be the means of deliverance for God’s people. Joseph was rejected and exiled but eventually God judged Joseph’s brothers, (Gen. 43:21-22; 44:16) exalted Joseph (Gen. 45:9), and through judgment brought the brothers to repentance (44:16, 18-34, 50:15-18) and all along what they meant for evil God meant for good (50:20). So also with Moses; though Israel had rejected him (Ex. 2:14), God exalted Moses (Ex. 4:16), judged Israel when they grumbled against him (Numbers 14:1-23), through judgment brought them into the Promised Land (Dt. 2:16), and made his glory known (Ex. 14:4, 34:6-7, Num. 14:21).

The pattern is fulfilled in Jesus who was rejected and exiled, with the book of Hebrews informing us that Jesus suffered outside the gate, while despising the cross and enduring the shame. He was a exile. And yet we know that God exalted this rejected exile and that through the judgment that fell on Him, His people are delivered as they trust in Christ alone. The Lord Christ is the fulfillment of all the previous typological OT prophets who were rejected and exiled and yet finally were vindicated and used as the means by which God’s people would be delivered.

III.) Exile in the NT and in Church History

However, that which was true about Christ as being rejected and exiled is true not only about the OT saints who anticipated Him but it seems that in some epochs of History it is also true about those that belong to Christ. They likewise are a rejected and exiled people. Whether we speak of the Apostles in the New Testament,

9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. 11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; 12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: 13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

or whether we look at the congregation of the Hebrews here, or whether in history we consider the Huguenots, Covenanters, or the Puritans, God’s people have in their History this living their lives as those considered exiles.

Of course this sense of exile has not been the burden of Christians in the West for some time. The West was built by the Christian faith of Christian men and women. The Christian faith dwelt in the hearts, hearths, and homes of the West. This was so true that they often refer to the West as “Christendom.” This Christendom was never utopia but it was a place where Christian beliefs and mores could be found in wide acceptance. Christ was seen as the Redeemer and Savior of His people. God’s law was seen as the standard, not only for personal ethics, but also for the ethics that were enshrined into the laws and institutions of the West. Confessing Christ was seen as necessary and required for holding different political offices. Being Christians Mothers and Fathers, raising a Christian family, giving the children who would eventually arrive a Christian education was seen as the the goal of every newlywed young Christian man and wife. The Christian Church with its Christian worldview echoing from the pulpit, and ensconced in a myriad of weekly publications was the predominant molder and shaper of the culture. Exile was not a familiar theme.

That time has gone into eclipse and now we must reckon with the fact that we live, as the congregation did in the book of Hebrews, as Exiles.

IV.) Well how shall we successfully live as Exiles in this Brave New World

A.) First, we realize that our status as exiles has no need to be the only theme among Christians. There is currently a theology in the Reformed Church in existence that wants to absolutize the theme of exile so that any suggestion of building successful Christian culture is seen as Triumphalism or as a dastardly theology of glory. We understand because of our own antinomian unfaithfulness we are living in an age of Exile but there is no reason to absolutize this Exile as if it is the norm for all times and places. Scripture speaks repeatedly of the Triumph of Christ in time and space. The Kingdoms of this world are shattered by the rock cut out of the Mountain that rolls over the Kingdom statue. The Knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. The Kingdom of heaven leavens all. The mustard seed of Christianity becomes a great tree in which all the Nations (Birds) find refuge.

There is something altogether unseemly in a theology that says “we’ve always lost, we are losing now, and we will only ever lose, though spiritually speaking that losing is really winning. If we want to be faithful we have to see ourselves as perpetual exiles in every generation.”

Continuing on with addressing how to successfully live as Exiles …

B.) Church and Worship

1.) For Exiles Church and Worship becomes a haven where identity is reinforced.

I’m convinced that this is one reason why the author to the Hebrews can tell this congregation of Exiles to,

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

As Exiles a way to maintain or identity and also a way to continue to fight is to have our identity reinforced in the gathering of the saints for Worship. In worship we walk out of the liturgies of the world which would shape us consistent with the belief systems of the zeitgeist and we walk into the liturgy of the Church where the centrality of Word and Sacrament permeates the whole of the rest of the liturgy.

In our worship the Word informs the Liturgy and during the dance of worship our identity in Christ is underscored and so we rejoice at being Exiles for and in Christ. In the Word Christ is championed as being the great reconciler between God and man and in whom we find a peace with God that the zeitgeist can never offer. In the word Christ is our great liege Lord to whom all our loyalty gladly belongs. In the Word Christ is seen as the one in whom are hidden all the treasuries of Wisdom and knowledge which reminds us of the zeitgeist follies we walked out of in order to enter the sanctuary.

So important is Worship that Dr. Peter Leithart can ask and then answer his own question by observing,

“Christians in the US are entering a period of crisis that will lead to martyrdom…

How do we prepare? Not by military exercises or organizing militias. We prepare by learning to use finger-weapons, not hand-weapons, which is to say, by learning to battle with musical instruments. We prepare by training our bodies as musical instruments, by learning to sing lustily, especially by learning to sing God’s songs.”

Via the singing of God’s songs … via the Heart of Christianity communicated via Reformed Liturgy … via the emphasis that one finds in Reformed Sermons of a Christian worldview that takes captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ the Exile and marginalized retain their Christian identity.

Now, I would never contend that Worship is the only means of living successfully as Exiles but I would contend that it is one of the means of resistance. Via Biblical Worship we are washed of the foul false word and liturgies of the zeitgeist and we are re-oriented by the Word and Sacrament as they inform our Liturgy and so we are able to once again find ourselves rooted and grounded in Christ. This simple but beautiful Worship where the Word saturated Liturgy finds us Welcomed by the God who reminds us of His law every week. This Liturgy where upon the hearing of God’s law God’s people confess their sin and then find comfort in God’s absolution of their sin and the turning away of His judgment because of the finished work of Christ. Then because of this pronounced absolution God’s people are reminded of their resurrection in Christ. This liturgy where God speaks to His people through the voice of His spokesman who brings to God’s people from the Holy desk both the harmony and disharmony of Law and Gospel.

C.) And then out of that worship we fight

The visible Church is the Church militant and like Peter on that 1st pentecost we continue to command all men everywhere to repent. And so we contend for the crown Rights of the Lord Christ.

The Dutch theologian Kuyper could say here,

“When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.”

We wrestle against principalities and powers. We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. We put on the whole armor of God. We study to show ourselves approved, workmen who needeth not to be ashamed. We are ready to give an answer of the hope that lies within us. We have our minds transformed and renewed to think God’s thoughts after Him on every subject under the sun. As Exiles we are witnesses to the Nations until the Nations are converted to Christ.

Conclusion

re-cap

Fisking R. Scott Clark On Laws Against Religious Freedom

http://heidelblog.net/2014/07/christianity-is-not-private-bakery/

I am fisking only parts of the article. Those who want to read the whole article by Clark are encouraged to go to the site provided.

Despite the 1st amendment and his (Constitutional) oath, Sen. Schumer (D-New York) says that religious Americans have a choice: hold their religious faith or go into business but, according to Sen. Schumer, religious people cannot both practice their faith and conduct business in America. Why on earth would an American senator, who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of United States say such a remarkable thing?

Note here at the outset that Dr. R. Scott Clark (RSC) begins his article outraged that a sitting Senator is speaking against religious freedom in the common realm and ends the article complaining that Natural law is not being followed in the common realm. It sounds to me what RSC is really upset about is that his religion (Natural law as he interprets it) is not being allowed in the common realm.

Also, note, that R2K has consistently insisted that the common realm is common and that the common realm is grounded in Natural law and not religion. Well, if that is true then RSC should hardly complain that Sen. Chuck Schumer is getting rid of religious freedom since the common realm is not religious conditioned. How is it possible to have “religious freedom” in a common realm where religion doesn’t exist?

Thirdly keep in mind that it is R. Scott Clark who has said “good riddance” when speaking of the demise of Christendom. Well, the flooding of the common square with those things that the Westminster-California objects to is but the natural consequence of ridding ourselves of Christendom.

Clark complains,

The first part of the answer is that, in the modern period, as I explained my post for Independence Day 2014, it became a given in the modern period that religion is an essentially private, theoretical matter. With this assumption, politicians and policy makers assume that when the founders spoke of religious freedom—when they think about the original intent of the founders—they were speaking about the right to hold private religious views. Many of those who make our laws and write the policies by which we live seem to have never come into contact with anyone who does more than hold private religious beliefs. This shapes the world within which politics and policy are formed. Further, as several writers have noted recently, as the federal government grows and becomes more involved in our daily lives, the less freedom citizens have to practice their religious convictions. When the federal government was smaller (before the Great Society) and therefore less intrusive there were fewer opportunities for such a collision. Now, the collision between government and religious conviction is not only inevitable but a daily occurrence.

Bret offers,

The whole burden of R2K has been to sanitize the common realm of the Christian religion and now that it has succeeded in that venture Clark wants to complain that the State wants to sanitize the common realm of the Christian religion? We have had it from some friends or students of Clark that Bestiality should not be legislated against, and that same sex civil unions could be supported by Christians or that Brothers marrying Sisters is a legitimate possibility and now Clark wants to raise his voice against a US Senator who likewise believes that private religious beliefs be only private?

For Pete’s sake, R2K has been telling us for at least a decade now that religion is essentially a private, theoretical matter when it comes to the common realm. Why should we be surprised that now Sen. Schumer agrees with Irons, Van Drunen, Horton, and Clark et. al.?

Thirdly, note that RSC can’t seem to connect the dots between his “good riddance to Christendom” and the rise of the Messiah State. Only Biblical Christianity, with its Jurisdictionalism, can provide a bulwark against Messianic Statism. It is not an accident that the power of the Messiah State has grown as Christendom has gone into abeyance.

RSC bemoans,

The second part of the answer is really a question. How did it come to be that, in America, a nation founded on the principle of the right of relatively unencumbered religious practice, in which civil and religious freedom was defined not as “agreeing with the majority” or “agreeing with the reigning political party” but rather “the relative absence of civil restriction” that a politician would feel free to say what Sen. Schumer said? The Bill of Rights used to be sacrosanct in American politics. Even the biggest of the Big Government Democrats in the 1960s (e.g., Hubert Humphrey) would never have said what Sen. Schumer said. The world seems to have been turned upside down. God (he’s out), mother (unless she’s a Lesbian), and apple pie (only if it’s fair trade) all seem to be politically incorrect today.

Bret queries,

Clark asks how did these things come to be? We answer, “because we have surrendered notions of Christendom in favor of notions of the Messianic State.” Where now your “Good riddance to Christendom” Dr. Clark?

Secondly, R2K has wanted God and His explicit law out, in terms of the common realm, since Lee and Misty Irons were brought before a Church court. Oh, sure … R2K is all for Natural Law being “in” but for R2K God and the idea of Christian Family (Mom) has been politically incorrect, for the common realm, from the beginning.

Clark presses on,

As I’ve been arguing for a while, we are experiencing some unintended consequences from the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We can see these consequences in Sen. Schumer’s remarks. By going into business, by forming a corporation, according to the senator, one’s property is no longer his. It is no longer private. This is part of the reasoning behind forcing bakers and photographers to serve homosexual weddings. When homosexual couples use the strong arm of the state (and when courts support them) they are saying that one may privately think that homosexuality is sin but one is no longer free to act on their conviction.

Steven F. Hayward explains how the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s has been corrupted. As a matter of fact, Dr. King believed that homosexuality was unnatural, a disorder. Only a few years ago our president was opposed to homosexual marriage, he said, because of his Christian convictions. In other words, as late as 2012 it was culturally permissible in as late as to form policy on the basis of one’s religious convictions and to act on that policy but in 2014 it is not. That is a cultural Blitzkrieg. Hayward traces the roots of the loss of the freedom of association and the free use of private property (including one’s business) to the attempt to redress slavery.

Bret,

Long ago the Messianic state overthrew the Constitution’s recognition of the pre-existing right we call the freedom of association. It stands to reason, by the reasoning of the Messianic State, that if we are not allowed freedom of association because of one type of perceived barrier then we should not be allowed freedom of association because of another kind of perceived barrier. Given RSC’s R2K convictions I really don’t know what he is complaining about? The Messianic State has said that nature teaches that freedom of association is archaic. What is he complaining about if the Messianic State broadens its boundaries for disallowed freedom of association? Christendom is dead. Good riddance.

RSC offers,

The American solution is to recognize that bakeries and photography shops are private property. They may serve whom they will. They are not tax-funded public entities (e.g., busses and trains). Unless we recognize the fundamental right of private property owners to act according to conscience the American definition of civil liberty is dead. At the same time, secularists and Christians alike must recognize that religious convictions are not merely privately held beliefs without public consequences.

Bret

This is rich. One of the most rabid defenders of R2K — a “theology” that insists upon the maintenance of the religiously common realm — is insisting that religious convictions are more than privately held beliefs and that said religious convictions have public consequences.

RSC embraces Peyote smoking in order to restore private property rights

In an attempt to shame us into repudiating the notion that religious beliefs have public consequences some critics have attempted a reductio ad absurdum: if we allow Hobby Lobby not to provide abortifacients to employees or photographers not to serve homosexual weddings, what then? We shall have allow Native Americans to smoke peyote. Using the ghoulish Lemon Test, the Supreme Court (1990) has held that there is not a right to use peyote, even if for religious purposes. Nevertheless, in the interests of maximizing religious and civil liberty, I would support permitting the religious use of peyote if that’s the price we must pay to regain the freedom to act according to conscience. If the use of peyote renders one unemployable (because of intoxication), that is not the employer’s problem. It is reasonable to expect employees to be able to be employed and employable. What about polygamy? A natural law argument can be made against both homosexual marriage and, on similar grounds, polygamy. Both are contrary to the nature of marriage. The state may license unaided human flight but it is still against the laws of nature. Anyone who tries it will suffer the consequences. So it is with homosexual marriage. Courts may license it but such marriages are legal fictions.

Bret,

You heard here first folks. Dr. Clark is for legalizing all drug usage that is religious if Christian businesses are allowed to refuse sodomite customers.

(Wait a minute Scott, per your R2K I didn’t think it was possible for photographer or bakers to practice their craft as Christians? If it is not possible for businesses to be Christian why are you so worried about their religious convictions in the public square? Shouldn’t you be telling these Christians to “get over it?”)

Scott weighs in,

Why may the state regulate homosexual marriage but not compel a private business to serve a homosexual marriage? The state has no compelling interest in compelling a private business to associate with (by doing business) or endorsing a homosexual marriage. No one has a natural right to my cake or my services as a photographer—unless of course we’ve abolished the very notion of private property. Until I sell it to you, the cake and my services are mine. They are not yours. That’s why we have laws on the books against theft. There is a fundamental difference between mine and yours. We all learned that in kindergarten. Apparently Sen. Schumer missed that session?

Bret answers,

And the state does have a compelling interest in regulating sodomite marriage?

If the State does have a compelling interest in regulating sodomite marriage then I would suggest that, by the Messianic State’s reasoning, it also has a interest in compelling a private business to associate with (by doing business) and endorsing sodomite marriage. The Messianic State, upon their premises, can argue that as all citizen should be treated equally, no citizen has a right to refuse service to another citizen service upon any pretext concerning the person with whom they are doing business. Sodomites have every right to the cake-makers cake as any other person has a right to the cake-makers cake. R2K teaches us that Christian cake-making is a myth after all and so since there is no such thing as Christian cake-making there likewise should be no such thing as common realm cake makers having a right to deny service. Christendom is dead. Good riddance.

RSC throws dust in the air when he talks about “theft.” I’m sure that the Messianic State will require all customers they are forced to do business with to pay for any services rendered.

RSC opines,

In contrast, the state has a compelling interest in limiting what sorts of marriages may be contracted. No one has a fundamental right to do things that are contrary to nature.

Bret queries,

Who says that the state has a compelling interest in limiting what sorts of marriage may be contracted?

By what standard are we saying that no one has a fundamental right to do things that are contrary to nature? Is it nature that is the standard and if so and if I’m a sodomite I’m insisting that this is a serious misreading of nature.

And besides, by R2K reasoning, this idea that RSC has put forward is merely a religious shibboleth of RSC’s that has no place in the common realm.

RSC offers,

Thus, incest is properly illegal. Pedophilia is properly illegal because it is contrary to nature. Bestallity is properly illegal. This is why suicide is properly illegal—not because it is immoral or sinful but because it is contrary to nature. Humans do not have a fundamental right to murder others or themselves. No society, as the Netherlands shall soon discover, can legally sanction suicide and survive. One Dutch physician writes, “Deliberate termination of life of newborns (involuntary euthanasia) with meningomyelocele (MMC) is practiced openly only in the Netherlands.” A society that gave legal approval to bestiality could not be cohesive even if gave the broadest possible definition to the word. Imagine a man and his bestial “wife” checking in to a hotel. Now, that’s absurd. The family is a natural, creational institution and these practices, even as they are gaining approval among some influential intellectuals, are destructive of any sense of family. In other words, if we are going to live together, there must be basic rules common to a society if it is to retain that title. Otherwise we shall have descended into a Hobbesian state of nature.

Bret

Apparently there is disagreement among the R2K lads about matters like incest, bestiality and pedophilia because some of them have said that the state supporting these issues is most certainly not a absurd position.

Here is R2K Pastor and Westminster-California Grad Todd Bordow on the non absurdness of Beastiality in the common square,

“Not being a theonomist or theocrat, I do not believe it is the state’s role to enforce religion or Christian morality. So allowing something legally is not the same as endorsing it morally. I don’t want the state punishing people for practicing homosexuality. Other Christians disagree. Fine. That’s allowed. That is the distinction. Another example – beastiality (sic) is a grotesque sin and obviously if a professing member engages in it he is subject to church discipline. But as one who leans libertarian in my politics, I would see problems with the state trying to enforce it; not wanting the state involved at all in such personal practices; I’m content to let the Lord judge it when he returns. A fellow church member might advocate for beastiality (sic) laws. Neither would be in sin whatever the side of the debate. Now if the lines are blurry in these disctinctions,(sic) that is always true in pastoral ministry dealing with real people in real cases in this fallen world.”

Here is R2K Doctor and Westminster-California Professor Dr. Michael Horton on the non absurdness of Sodomy in the common square,

““Although a contractual relationship denies God’s will for human dignity, I could affirm domestic partnerships as a way of protecting people’s legal and economic security.”

Again,

“The challenge there is that two Christians who hold the same beliefs about marriage as Christians may appeal to neighbor-love to support or to oppose legalization of same-sex marriage.”

And another graduate of Westminster-California, Rev. Steve Lehrer, has offered in the book, “New Covenant Theology: Questions Answered.” — pg. 154

“Suppose that it were legal in our country for a man to marry his sister. If this were the case, and a man who attended your church wanted to marry his sister, would your church perform the wedding?”

Answer

“We need to get our initial shivers and our “yuck, ick, disgusting” first reactions out of the way. . . . In the New Covenant Scriptures no mention is made of the impropriety of marrying one’s sister. Although the practice is illegal in many countries, which makes it sinful for Christians living in those countries to do (Romans 13:1), it seems that if you and your sister are both believers and you live in a country that deems marriage between siblings to be a lawful practice, then your marriage would be holy in God’s sight.”

Apparently absurdity is in the eye of the R2K beholder.

Further, is RSC trying to tell us that all things contrary to nature are illegal because ipso facto if is contrary to nature it is immoral and sinful? Really, what Scott is saying here is that if something is contrary to nature then it is, by definition, immoral and sinful. Yet Scott wants us to believe he doesn’t have a problem with something immoral and sinful in the common realm though he draws the line at something contrary to nature. (Insert rolling eyes icon.)

Incest, Pedophilia, Bestiality, and Suicide are bad not because they are immoral or sinful but because they are against nature? Really? I can’t wait to preach that.

“Incest, Pedophilia, Bestiality, and Suicide are bad, not because they are in violation of God’s law, but rather they are bad because they are in violation of nature.”

A few questions for Dr. Scott given this last paragraph,

1.) Who says that survival and cohesiveness are according to nature?

2.) By what standard does RSC measure “absurd,” and is he saying that “absurd” is immoral and sinful? How does he know?

3.) Where do these “basic rules” come from if not from some kind of religious presupposition RSC?

4.) RSC calls for Nature to be the ruling standard but then turns around and complains about the Hobbesian state of nature? What gives RSC? Why complain about Hobbes? Isn’t his judgment of Nature as valued as yours?

Finally, the family indeed is a Creational institution but as Creation fell and all the institutions along with it, Family must be restored by Grace, and as such this Creational institution can only find its true self as it finds itself, as part of nature, restored by Grace.

Scott finishes,

We should all hope that Sen. Schumer and all who think as he does on these issues will reconsider the history of the Republic and the violence that must be done not only to our constitutional documents and principles but also to the very idea of liberty itself. They may get their wish and banish religious objections but they may come to regret it when their most deeply held and formerly protected convictions are also sacrificed on the same altar. To what will Sen. Schumer appeal then, when his basic liberties as well as ours have rubbished?

Bret responds,

1.) They will never banish all religious objections. That is not their goal. The goal of Schumer and Reid and people like him is to banish all Christian objections. This is the character of the Messianic State. Christendom is dead Scott. Good riddance.

2.) R2K has a “Theology” has contributed to the creation of this fecal sandwich all Biblical Christians are being forced to eat. Dr. R. Scott Clark has been one of the major proponents of R2K. I think he should just get used to the consequences of his “theology.”

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