A Paradigm For A New Reformation

“I have noticed the following parallel between the fourth century and the sixteenth century, periods I consider to be times of fundamental reform for the church. In both periods the dominant theology was a kind of synthesis between biblical thought and Greek philosophy: in the fourth century, Origenism; in the sixteenth, the theology of Thomas Aquinas. In both periods there came a heresy that upset the balance; in the fourth century, Arianism, in the sixteenth, the sale of indulgences by people like John Tetzel. Then came a Reformer: in the fourth century Athanasius; in the sixteenth, Luther. Then came a consolidator, someone who rethink the whole of the Church’s theology in the light of the gains of the Reformation: in the fourth and fifth centuries, Augustine; in the sixteenth, Calvin.”

Rev. John Frame 
A History of Western Philosophy and Theology — pg. 107

I am convinced that Rev. Frame is on to something here and I would suggest applying this template to a 21st-century setting. However, instead of Greek thought being the syncretistic factor as being added to Biblical thought and categories I would suggest that the syncretistic factor as being added to Biblical thought and categories is the hybrid form of Marxism called “Cultural Marxism.”

Per Rev. Frame’s model, I would offer something like,

1.) 20th-century syncretistic synthesis of Christianity with the Cultural Marxism originating with Antonia Gramsci, as introduced in America by the Frankfurt School (Herbert Marcuse,  Wilhelm Reich, Theodore Adorno, etc.) popularized by the civil rights movement in the 1960’s, and embraced in principle by many young Reformed Churchmen who would later become leading light in the Reformed Church. They absorbed this thinking during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and at the very least have said very little to overthrow this warfare on God ordained distinctions.

2.) This syncretism that developed as a combination of Christianity and Cultural Marxism begat the egalitarian heresy that currently infects all of our social order including the Church. The egalitarian heresy has given us a warfare against distinctions wherein ontology as well as roles are flattened out so as to result in a social order where all colors, differences, and distinctions bleed into one. Viva la the distinction-less society.

3.) We are still awaiting a God raised Reformer to emerge to lead the Gideon sized orthodox army to do battle with the multitudinous heretics who currently control the Church.

4.) Then comes the consolidator who will rethink the whole of theology in light of the knowledge gained in what will be a new post tenebras lux.

This is the way that God has worked historically. First, the downgrade as exemplified in one particular person, then the widespread infection, then the battle to heal as exemplified in one particular person, and finally the reconstruction, again, as exemplified in one particular person.

We might add here that with each example in each century (fourth, sixteenth, and prospectively the 21st) the issue really comes down to the Supremacy of God. Athanasius and Luther, each in their times, were contending for the Sovereignty of God vis-a-vis the desire of man to pull God off His throne. The 21st century is no less a battle for the supremacy of God. If the Egalitarian heresy is given in its head then the final outcome will be the removal of the distinction between God and man… between the Creator and the Creature.

It is also interesting here that while the Reformations in question (4th, 16th, 21st) are separated by centuries the formal cause of Reformation in each case is the issue of Scripture as Authoritative.  The material causes of Reformation may switch but it seems the formal cause of Reformation is always the issue of whether or not Scripture will be taken as Authoritative. In the 4th century, the Arians refused to come under the authority of Scripture pertaining to the deity of Jesus Christ just as the Medieval Roman Catholic Church refused to submit to the authority of Scripture pertaining to the issue of justification by grace alone just as today the modern church refuses to submit to authority on the issue of God-ordained distinctions. In each Reformation, the formal cause remains the same (the authority of Scripture) while the material cause (the occasion for Reformation) changes.

In reading what I have offered here some may think that I am involved in a kind of Hegelian dialectic where I have posited a  Thesis/ Antithesis/ Synthesis.  Allow me to note the distinction between the Hegelian dialectic and what I am advocating here.

 First, the Hegelian dialectic is man wrought in opposition to God. This is a matter of God’s providence.
 
Secondly, there really is no synthesis here because it is the previous synthesis that is being pushed off the scene in favor of God’s thesis reality.
 
Thirdly, the Hegelian dialectic presupposes that truth is always becoming. There is no absolute Truth. This paradigm presupposes absolute truth and a return to God’s reality.
 
Finally, the Hegelian dialectic speaks of historical “progress” via the outworking of the Geist. This approach is not about progress or process so much as it is about providence.
 
 In brief, while the Christian offers a Thesis (proper distinctions) contra the Thesis of anti-Christianity (no distinctions allowed) no synthesis between the two or of the two is allowed.  Orthodoxy allows no synthesis. Only repentance and then realignment to God’s thinking and reality.

Our role is to pray that God will work to bring the man and the moment together as He did with Athanasius’s opposition to Arius and as He did with Luther’s opposition to schoolmen of his time.

“On Out ‘Enemying’ the Enemy” part II

“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.”

Deuteronomy 18:9

“Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men.”

Proverbs 14:4

My last column by this name generated some conversation and so I wanted to return and clarify some matters.

When I say that we do not want to become the enemy in order to defeat the enemy I am not saying we should just hold prayer meetings. Anybody who knows me knows that pietism is not my cup of tea. I’m not opposed to prayer meetings but I do not believe that prayer meetings are the only strategy to use in order to defeat the Cultural Marxists.

In terms of methodologies to avoid I was mainly referring to embracing the kind of outright lying, and deception, like the Cultural Marxists, engages in order to advance their agenda. The leadership of the Cultural Marxists knows very well that their propaganda is just sophisticated lying. They know the narrative that they are trying to create is not the on the ground reality.

Having said that I have no problem with Christians using a counter- propaganda that is in service of overturning false propaganda and is committed to telling the truth. Personally, I don’t even consider this “propaganda” but I understand that the enemies of the Christian faith would call this propaganda because it is contrary to their propaganda.

Christians don’t need the kind of propaganda that would be advancing lies. Christian do need the kind of propaganda that would be deconstructing the false narratives of the Mephistopheles propaganda. Those who use propaganda as a means to create a false reality are of their Father the Devil and those propagandists when they propagandize they speak the native language of their Father.

A Christian propagandist believes the Russian proverb, “One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world.” Christians don’t need to rely on deception, misdirection or spin. All they need to do is tell the truth. Telling the truth can happen in many ways. It can happen in the context of a logical well structured rational argument but let’s face it… in the age of social engineering and sociological techniques logical and well-structured arguments are typically not going to get it done. We live in an age where thinking is defined by keeping your cattle nose in the arse of the cow in front of him who is keeping his nose in the arse of the cow in front of him, ad infinitum. As such, logical well-structured arguments are often useless. As such Christians must present the truth in other more emotive ways. Pictures and/or videos are now more often than not are the way to present truth. For example, pictures of castles and beautiful European women juxtaposed with chaos and the ugliness of the inner city as created by the third world immavasion can be considered Christian propaganda. These kinds of methodologies, as they communicate truth, need to be used by Christians.

Another propaganda technique that can and should be used is that of ridiculing the enemy. Saul Alinsky in his “Rules for Radicals,” wrote,

“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

Alinsky was a Christ hater but as he stole this principle from the Christian Sfaith to begin with it can be safely stolen back. So, faithful propaganda can and should ridicule the enemy just as Elijah ridiculed the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel, just as Amos ridiculed the women of Northern Israel calling them, “Cows of Bashan,” just as Jesus ridiculed His enemies “white washed sepulchers full of dead men’s bones,” just as Paul ridiculed his enemies by wishing they would go all the way and emasculate themselves. Ridicule is seen everywhere in Scripture and it should be a common usage by Christians in order to deconstruct the lies of the enemy.  By way of ridicule, in a time of nearly universal deceit, we can be those telling the truth as a counter-revolutionary act.

So, Scripture does not allow us to out enemy the enemy, thus becoming the enemy, but Scripture does allow us to use one word of truth in whatever way delivered to outweigh the whole world of lies.

ADDENDUM

Recently I was asked if I could name an example from history where seeking to out enemy-ing the enemy led to someone become the enemy they had vowed to fight.

Well, clearly Robert E. Lee was aware of that possiblity as is seen in his Gettysburgh Order to the Southern troops. Robert E. Lee told his troops during that invasion,

“no greater disgrace could befall the army,” or discredit the Confederate cause, “than the perpetuation of the barbarous outrages upon the unarmed and defenceless [sic] and the wanton destruction of private property that have marked the course of the enemy in our own country.”

Lee here is warning his troops not to be so embittered by the enemy’s techniques that they become the enemy by employing the very same techniques.

Secondly, on this score, we have the explicit word of God, as cited at the beginning, that his people were not to become like the enemy.

There is no promise in out enemy-ing the enemy. To do such always ends in defeat.

 

A Biblical Approach to Price Gouging

“You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.” 

Deuteronomy 23:19-20

110. What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?

Not only such theft and robbery as are punished by the magistrate; but God views as theft all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we seek to draw to ourselves our neighbor’s goods, whether by force or with show of right, such as unjust weights, ells, measures, wares, coins, usury, or any means forbidden of God; so moreover all covetousness, and all useless waste of His gifts. 

Heidelberg Catechism 

The issue has come up recently whether or not it is Biblical to engage in price gouging. The thinking on the part of some is that price gouging is always perfectly legitimate except possibly for cases where charity is needed for the poor.

I, however, do not agree with that reasoning. I believe, based on a principle that is found in the Deuteronomy passage above that price gouging while allowable is not universally allowable.

In the passage above having different fiscal dealings with different groups of people is clearly limned as acceptable. A foreigner may be charged usury because in such a way a foreigner is decapitalized in favor of God’s people who are capitalized. Usury was a means of taking dominion over the wicked and God’s law clearly allows for such dominion.

“the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous”

However, that very same usury could not be practiced on someone who was part of the covenant community because at that point the person charging usury is capitalizing himself at the expense of his brother.

It seems, therefore, we have a principle here that would apply to price gouging when it comes to fiscal interaction. Price gouging is acceptable when practiced upon those outside of the covenant community but when practiced on someone who shares a common faith in Christ it is not acceptable lest God not bless in all that they undertake.

So, the law concerning usury was kinda a split the difference approach establishing a key spiritual principle of distinction between those inside and outside the covenant/national community. Here we must articulate that with regard to this law, the covenant and ethnic/national community were basically treated as synonymous. This is to say that the covenant community that we are not allowed to decapitalize is inclusive of those who are part of a shared people group but who may not affirm the Christian faith. Even here, not all of Israel is of Israel so to speak. This is as simple as to say that a son would not price gouge his mother even if she didn’t share a common faith.

Per the Heidelberg catechism quoted above, I think a strong argument can be made gouging is a form of theft, especially when used against one’s own people, analogous to the usury case cited. We must be on guard certainly against the market idolatry so prevalent among Libertarians today and strive to look at the matter from a Biblical perspective. The market, comprised as it is of buyers and sellers is not Sovereign if only because the Market is comprised only of humans. To make the Market sovereign then is to make man sovereign then and is to give us a form of humanism. While the dynamics of a free market must certainly be taken into consideration those demands do not get the final word. Entrusting everything to a sovereign market only turns man into Homo Economicus wherein the only consideration is shekels.

For the Christian man as Homo Economicus is to be eschewed as economic theories centered on man as Homo Economicus (economic man), is a concept that teaches that humans are consistently rational and as such are narrowly self-interested actors who consistently pursue their subjectively determined self-centered ends. Yet, the Christian is to be the man who pursues not only his own needs but also the needs of his brethren. Price gouging those who have a shared faith and / or a shared ethnicity is hardly a case of not thinking only of our own needs but also the needs of the brethren (Philippians 2:4). We must not fall into the Gordon Gecko thinking that “greed is good,” forgetting that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”

It is interesting that the same people making videos explaining the goodness of all price gouging are the same people who support usury hammer and tong.

Price gouging has been practiced repeatedly in history. In 1862 Major General Ulysses S. Grant issued general order #11 prohibiting the presence of all Jews in the theater he was serving in for the precise problem of the price gouging in cotton in which they were involved.

Likewise, Carpetbaggers and Scalawags took advantage of price gouging during the era of deconstruction to decapitalize the defeated Christian south and in the usage of this price gouging, Southern Christians went from being the head of the social order to being the tail of the social order. This proves, as mentioned earlier, that price gouging, like usury, decapitalizes who is subjected to it and capitalizes those who use it.

So, to make this all concrete let us consider an example. If one had ice in an area that had no power that ice becomes important to someone who needs to store insulin. For Christians selling ice their consideration, per the Scripture above, would be to consider the needs of the household of faith by charging a few lesser shekels vis-a-vis the household of those outside the covenant who would be able to pony up with a many more shekels. This would fulfill God’s command to the Church to ‘care for one another.’ In this example, the Christ hater would have to pay a more substantial per unit price of whatever product is being sold. The Christian, on the other hand, should be given a break and sold the same product as still for a profit but a lesser profit than what would be asked of the buyer outside the covenant. In the former case the Gougers makes a profit in the latter case profit is still made but not as much.

I will gladly concede that in a social order like ours it is extremely difficult to make these distinctions once the gouging begins, but I would hope that some effort to that end might be employed. For example, a Christian who owns a hardware store or gas station in the affected area could go out of his way to not make as great a profit of off fellow members of his Church as he would those he knows are opposed to Christianity but still make a handsome profit.

Now having said all this I do not think the State has any place making laws against price gouging.  Anti-gouging laws would likely make the prices even higher because laws against gouging increase the risk and with an increase of risk the prices go up correspondingly to offset the risk involved. Also, all because anti-price gouging laws exist, doesn’t mean that gouging won’t happen. The black market (which is the free market) will always exist.

Gouging is likely an inescapable reality. It is the way the market works and you can’t make the market unwork by making laws. But woe is the man who prioritizes his huge profit at the expense of those who share a common faith.

On “Out ‘Enemying’ the Enemy”

“No cultural conservative could seek to copy the left’s means and create conditioning mechanisms of our own because psychological conditioning leads to a Brave New World regardless of what attitudes it is attempting to impart. That is not where we want to end up.”

William S. Lind

In the article from which this quote comes Lind is warning against the instinct to use the techniques of the cultural Marxists in order to defeat the cultural Marxist. Lind’s point is that if we have to become like our enemy in order to defeat our enemy our enemy has defeated us inasmuch as we have become him.

Any victory that is found against the Cultural Marxists by using their techniques against them will be a victory that is defeat. Success in this way will mean failure as we become the same venomous sons of Belial that the Cultural Marxist already are. Oh, sure, people will be dancing in the streets thinking that they have had great success because the beast of Cultural Marxism has been slain but if that beast is slain by the same tools that it used to slay Biblical Christianity than whoever has won the field of battle it is not the Biblical Christians and it is not Christ.

Jesus himself told us that Satan does not drive out Satan and so we can be sure that if the techniques to drive out Satan are being used by someone else purporting to be ‘good-guys’ but who use the same techniques as Satan than it is not the case that Satan is being driven out. At best he is merely changing uniforms in order to keep ruling.

When you fight someone to win at all costs you will do literally anything to win. You will even take on that person’s vices if that is what it takes to win. You will, in essence, become that person. You become your enemy. And your enemy wins because now there’s another one of him in the world. Oh sure, your cause may well triumph but what profit is it to gain the whole world while losing your own soul? And what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Another way of saying this is that you cannot accept the presuppositions of your enemy and still expect to defeat your enemy. If you accept the premise of your enemy you lose even if you win. One cannot use the enemies methodologies, techniques, and assumptions as un-reinterpreted through a biblical grid and win without becoming the enemy.

In literature, this has been teased out a couple times that I know of. In C. S. Lewis’ “Prince Caspian,” the character Nikabrik desires to win at any and all costs. Nikabrik makes it clear that he believes in anything or anyone that will rid Narnia of the Telmarines: Aslan OR the White Witch. After the Narnians suffer many defeats at Aslan’s How and Susan’s Horn appears to have failed, Nikabrik concocts his own plan. Nikabrik invites two of his “friends” — a Hag and a Wer-Wolf — to the council, and suggests that they use black sorcery, calling up the White Witch to defeat Miraz. When the Wer-Wolf mentions preparing the blue fire, a fight breaks out between Nikabrik’s group and Caspian, Doctor Cornelius, and Trufflehunter. At that moment, Peter, Edmund, and Trumpkin, who had been listening outside the door, rush in to help. During the fighting in the dark, Nikabrik is killed, though no one knows who killed him. Caspian says,

“I am sorry for Nikabrik, though he hated me from the first moment he saw me. He had gone sour inside from long suffering and hating. If we had won quickly he might have become a good Dwarf in the days of peace.”

One easily sees that Lewis’s “Nikabrik” had no problem becoming the enemy to defeat the enemy. However, even with a White Witch very real victory, there would have been no real victory.

It is possible that many of our people are going “sour inside from the long suffering and hating” that the West has had to endure since the Endarkenment. It’s perfectly understandable that some people, like Nikabrik, want victory so badly they will call on any and all powers to deliver them but at the end of the day victory achieved with these kinds of tools will remain defeat.

The other example is Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” The Fellowship of the Ring refused to wield the ring of power even though the ring of power guaranteed victory. They all understood (except possibly Boromir for a space of time) that victory with the ring meant defeat. The Fellowship refused to use the methodologies, techniques, and tools of the Evil One in order to defeat the Evil One because they understood that victory gained by techniques of darkness means defeat even if you call defeat “victory.”

The German “philosopher” Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche also understood well what I’m getting at in this article. Nietzche wrote,

“He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.”

Monsters defeating Monsters leaves Monsters.

So, what are the means of victory against our enemies?

Well, first we need to realize that it has taken several generations to come to this point and so victory is not likely to come over night or with abrupt suddenness. We need to gird up our loins for a long fight that begins in our homes and with our families and then radiates out from there first into Christian churches and then to different institutions and walks of life. The victory over our Cultural Marxist enemies will only be won if we train up our children in the way of the Lord Christ and His righteousness. A lack of worldview training and catechesis in the home is almost certain to guarantee the loss of the next generation. If the enemy keeps stealing our children than all talk of victory is mere stand up comedy. Of course, this also means not sending our children to Government schools, not letting them be influenced by the Ichabod Church in the West,  and not sending them to University. Likewise, this also means our children must see their parents standing for righteousness and opposing wickedness and wicked people. This can happen any number of ways from activism for Biblically righteous causes to standing in public forums contesting for Christ against the wicked. Children must not only learn it between the ears they must see it lived out with their eyes. It must be both caught and taught.

In order to be victorious in the long fight, we must also get out of the cultural current and dare to think differently than the zeitgeist. This means reading, study and research. Lots of it. I’ve known any number of families who have homeschooled and yet remain in the zeitgeist and so part of the problem because they continue to support a Republican “Patrick Henry College” type mindset for their children. These types end up being in league with the enemy that needs to be defeated.

Finally, for this article, I’m going to get out on an edge and insist that this long fight will only be won to the degree that we are Calvinists. Throughout history with the Reformation and since Calvinists have been the particular expression of Christianity that those intent on tyranny most hate. Whether you are talking the Calvinist Dutch against the Catholic Habsburgs of Spain, or the Glorious Revolution of 1689, or the American Counter-Revolution of 1776 Calvinists have always been those who are willing to resist on Biblical grounds. Inasmuch as the steel spined Calvinism (as opposed to R2K “Calvinism” and Cultural Marxist “Calvinsim”) goes into eclipse in just that much any hope for recovery goes into eclipse.

But the victory, however long it might take, begins in the home and if Christians keep routinely losing their children as they currently do all talk of looming victory is just so much happy talk.

 

 

 

Sermon … Luke 13 … Tower of Siloam

The point is simple – not every bad thing is indicative of sin. But everybody is guilty of it, so everybody needs to repent.

_______________

Forrest fires burning in the West. Hurricanes pummel Houston and are bearing down on Florida. Earthquakes in Mexico. Tyrants spill the blood of the judicially innocent. Now as then people begin to question the Divine in the affairs of men.  Where was God in it all? What were God’s purposes?

Those questions arise here in Luke 13.

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (13:1–5)

Though we have no historical account regarding this particular blood shedding this kind of malevolence was not unusual in the ancient world. The Jewish Historian Josephus gives accounts of other similar incidents. For example, Josephus in his Antiquities tells us that at one Passover, “during the sacrifices,” 3000 Jews had been massacred “like victims,” and “the Temple courts filled with dead bodies” (Jos. Antt. xvii. 9, § 3); and at another Passover, no less than 20000 (id. xx5, § 3; see also B. J. 11. 5, v. 1). Early in his administration, Pilate had sent disguised soldiers with daggers among the crowd (id. Luke 18:3, § 1; B. J. 11. 9, § 4).

So, in light of this most recent outrage, Jesus is queried about God’s intent in all this.

As is His habit Jesus answered their question with His own question.

“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered in this way?”

I.) Consider Two Assumptions in the Questions,

1.) The first assumption in the question is that personal disaster is in direct proportion to personal sin.

That Jesus couches His response in the way that he did demonstrates that assumed in the account He was given was that the suffering of people was in direct relation to their degree of being bad people. The more wicked they were the more suffering that came their way was the thinking. This idea is found throughout the Jewish mindset,

A.) John 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from his birth.And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Master, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

B.)Job 4: “Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? Or where were the righteous cut off?

c.)Job 8:20 “Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will He help the evildoers,

D.) Job 11:and that He would show thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.

E.) After a list of accusations against Job in Job 22 Job’s accuser ends with,

10 Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee,

Jesus’ answer here goes a long way towards suggesting that it is not always the case that the amount of personal disaster and suffering in one’s life does not always correlate to the amount of sinfulness in one’s life.

We simply cannot automatically conclude that those Christians we might call snakebit are being hounded by God. The book of Job alone proves this.

 

________
It also reveals that the questioners believed that tragedies were not something that happened outside the countenance of God. Many questioners today wouldn’t ask this question because they would just assume that God had nothing to do with falling towers or the ugly behavior of tyrants. No, the question reveals an understanding of God’s total sovereignty. These tragedies happened. God is sovereign. God is to be inquired as to why it happened.
_________

Of course, suffering and death came into this world in the first place because of sin. So, Jesus’ questioners were correct in assuming that there is a connection between moral evil and physical suffering. But Jesus took that opportunity to remind them that we cannot leap to the conclusion that all people suffer in direct proportion to their degree of sin.

The Bible makes this point very clearly. It shows that the wicked sometimes prosper and the righteous sometimes suffer deeply. The book of Job especially belies the idea of a proportionate relationship between sin and suffering by showing that even though Job was the most upright man in the world, he was visited with untold misery, and then had to endure the questioning of his “friends,” who assumed he must have fallen into terrible sin.

Thus, when Jesus asked His disciples: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?” the answer was obvious. No, they were not worse sinners than anyone else. Jesus wanted to get the idea of a proportionate connection between sin and suffering out of the disciples’ minds lest they think that they were better people in God’s sight because they had not suffered and died. So, He warned them: “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

To drive His point home, Jesus mentioned a similar incident: “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?” Again, the answer was clearly no. These victims were no worse and no better than any other Jews. So, once more He warned them: “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Those who were killed by the Roman troops and those who died when the tower fell may have been upstanding citizens. But in the vertical dimension, in their relationship to God, none of them was innocent, and the same is true for us. Jesus was saying, “Instead of asking Me why a good God allowed this catastrophe, you should be asking why your own blood wasn’t spilled.” Jesus was reminding His hearers that there is ultimately no such thing as an innocent person (except Him). Thus, we should not be amazed by the justice of God but by the grace of God. We should be asking why towers do not fall on us each and every day.

When anything painful, sorrowful, or grievous befalls us, it is never an act of injustice on God’s part, because God does not owe us freedom from tragedies. He does not owe us protection from falling towers. We are debtors to God and cannot repay. Our only hope to avoid perishing at the hands of God is repentance.

Jesus was not being insensitive or harsh with His disciples. He simply had to jolt them out of a false way of thinking. We would do well to receive His jolt with gladness, for it helps us see things from the eternal perspective. We can deal with catastrophes in this world only by understanding that behind them stands the eternal purpose of God and by realizing that He has delivered us from the ultimate catastrophe—the collapse of the tower of His final judgment on our heads.

___________

And, as a general and national repentance did not take place, Christ’s threatening was most awfully verified. For there was a remarkable resemblance between the fate of these Galileans, and that of the main body of the Jewish nation; the flower of which was slain at Jerusalem by the Roman sword,

___________

He cautioned his hearers not to blame great sufferers, as if they were therefore to be accounted great sinners.