Martin Symposium Paper; “Christ as Savior and King”

In 2008 I was asked to present a paper at Indiana Wesleyan University’s inaugural Martin Symposium.  This was originally posted on Iron Ink around that time but for some reason, I have posts that disappear from Iron Ink. Fortunately, I  backed them up and now I can repost them.

Dr. Glenn R. Martin chaired and taught in the Social Sciences Department at Indiana Wesleyan University where I attended between 1977-1982. Martin was the Arminian version of R. J. Rushdoony and he was the man who first introduced me (a very rough around the edges 18 year old) to presuppositional and Weltanschauung thinking. He was my mentor and though I have left the Arminian expression of Worldview Thinking for the more consistent expression of the same found in Reformed thought and theology Dr. Martin will always remain the man who made all the difference for me.

His posthumously published book is entitled “Prevailing Worldviews,” where on the back cover you will find an endorsement by yours truly.

My endorsement reads,

“Dr. Martin’s ability to combine passion with intellect in the cause of King Christ is something which the Church yet stands in desperate need. Likewise, Dr. Martin’s critical thinking skills as displayed in his ability to analyze and offer solutions from a Christocentric position is an elixir that the Church must drink again if the West and its culture would again be of any consequence.”

If all the World could be Arminian the way that Dr. Glen R. Martin was Arminian I would be close to being content. Unfortunately, as is often the case with geniuses the University that employed him has done their best to drop him down the memory hole. Martin’s presuppositional Worldview thinking is not a piece with Arminian Barthianism and postmodernism that is characteristic of Indiana Wesleyan University today.
Christ As King – A Brief Overview
Dr. Glenn Martin’s guiding premise was the Lordship Of Jesus Christ over every sphere of reality. He expressed this constantly by his call to think in such a way that begins and ends with the God of the Bible regardless of what sphere or discipline one is contemplating in their thought life. This paper is an attempt to speak to the Church’s responsibility to proclaim the Mediatorial Kingship of Jesus Christ.
Beginning with God’s revealed word we would contend that the purpose and mission of the Church, in submission to Christ’s office as Prophet, is to proclaim Christ in His Mediatorial capacity as High Priest and King of Kings. The Church’s purpose and mission to proclaim Christ necessitates a return to an emphasis where Jesus is once again placarded to men in His Mediatorial offices as Prophet, Priest, and King.
That Scripture has such a purpose and mission for the Church is seen in what is commonly referred to as the great commission (Mt. 28:18-20).
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen
Here we find Jesus, having completed His High Priestly work on the Cross, now in His office as King, speaking as one with all authority. From His office of King He commissions the first representatives of the post-resurrection Church to bring the Priestly (baptizing) and Kingly (teaching to observe all things) work of Christ to all the nations.
In I Corinthians 15 we find one of the greatest explanations regarding the implications of the High Priestly work of Christ in providing His Church’s salvation. The Apostle can start by noting,
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…
Yet even in this Chapter, we find lineaments putting forth the Kingly office of Christ.
25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
The Kingly Rule of Christ mentioned here by the inspired Apostle obviously has a ‘now, not yet’ quality that is put together in such a way to suggest interesting eschatological conclusions, but regardless of one’s eschatology, clearly the Church is reminded by Paul’s inspired words in I Corinthians 15 that discussions regarding the gospel includes the idea of the absolute Kingship of Jesus Christ.
Again in Ephesians 1, the idea of Christ as Priest and King are brought forth in tandem. Early in the Chapter we are told, in reference to Christ’s Priestly office that,
In Him (the beloved) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
This is followed just a few verses later by a reference to Christ’s Kingly work where we are reminded that the working of God’s mighty power was,
worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
Once again, we see that our great High Priest is King over all for the sake of the Church. Since this is true the Church cannot proclaim a Gospel that does not include the news of Christ’s absolute Mediatorial Kingship.
In Acts 5:31 Peter can put these two offices together by noting of Jesus that,
“God hath exalted Him to His right hand to be Prince and Savior.”
Again in Acts 17:7 those who opposed the Gospel had no doubt that the Gospel pronouncement was not limited to Jesus vested in His High Priestly office but also included the authority of Jesus in His office of High King. The envious Jews in Thessalonica framed their objection to those who brought the Gospel by charging that,
“Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.”
Indeed throughout the book of Acts, the twin themes of the Preaching Church were the Kingdom of God and the Resurrection. These twin themes lend support to the observation that the Church’s purpose and mission are to proclaim Christ in His Mediatorial capacity as High Priest and King of Kings.
Most importantly, the idea that the purpose and mission of the Church include the good news of Christ as Priest and King is seen in the complex of the redemptive events in the person and work of Christ. Jesus was crucified as a sin offering accomplishing that component of His Priestly work of salvation while in His Ascension Jesus’ Kingship was inaugurated. The Church can hardly speak of one of these offices without immediately referencing the other. The offices are certainly distinct but they are in no way divorced.
So, if we are to begin and end with God in our thinking regarding His Church we must conclude that the primary mission and purpose of the Church is to proclaim Christ in His Mediatorial capacity as High Priest and King of Kings.
The teaching of Scripture on the primary purpose and mission of the Church is too often in abeyance in modern America. The Church’s proclamation on Christ’s Mediatorial Priestly office wherein He is Savior has been eclipsed by categories foreign to that message. The Church’s proclamation on Christ’s Mediatorial Kingly office wherein He is Lord has been replaced by a view where Jesus’ Kingship is of the Gnostic-like variety. We shall deal with these in reverse order.
The Gnostic King Jesus; His Incredibly Shrunken Realm
In the abstract most evangelicals would mouth the words that ‘Jesus is Lord,’ but when that confession has the expectation of being made concrete in this world the Lordship of Jesus begins to dissipate. I submit that the Evangelical Church has embraced a type Gnostic King Jesus who is Sovereign in the Spiritual ethereal realm but whose Kingship has little to do with the corporeal material realm in which man does his daily living.
The way this has developed in the West was by embracing a Theology / Epistemology where a sacred realm was created where the Lordship of Christ is unquestioned, leaving a putatively secular neutral realm where believers in Christ and believers in other “gods” co-operate according to the dictates of shared autonomous reason.
“The ‘form-matter’ dualism (of classical philosophy) was transferred into the medieval variant, the ‘nature-grace’ schema. Natural philosophy or natural reason…was given full autonomy in the area of ‘common ground.’ Both believers and unbelievers can use this hypothetically neutral reasoning faculty to discover identical truths in the realm of nature. Grace, the realm of faith, was alone closed to the reasoning powers of the pagan world. Revelation was needed to provide men will full knowledge of faith, the sacraments, and the Church.”1 (Gary North, Foundations of Christian Scholarship pg. 129)
The problem of course with this arrangement is at least threefold. First, by appealing to ‘reason’ what happens is that man’s intellect is made autonomous in the common realm and so the starting point for all his thinking is self-referential. Instead of beginning and ending with God, he begins and ends with himself. In essence man, either in his individual _expression or in his corporate _expression, is now Lord of the putatively neutral realm.
The second problem with this idea is the notion that man can have any realm where he can operate without a pre-commitment to some theological apriori. Man can do nothing in any realm without being informed by some faith commitment. I believe that Dr. Martin required his students to read Thomas Kuhn’s ‘Structures in Scientific Revolution,’ in order to awaken them to the reality that man can not escape his apriori faith commitments.
The third problem is that in assuming that a shared common or neutral realm can exist, apart from the Lordship of Christ, one destroys the idea of the anti-thesis that one finds in Scripture. From Genesis 3:15 through the end of Holy Writ God’s Word teaches a warfare worldview where the seed of the serpent and their Lord contest against the seed of the woman and the Lord Jesus Christ. Where the anti-thesis is in total eclipse, this side of the eschaton, there the Lordship of Jesus has been surrendered.
Now because of this compartmentalization, we have a sacred realm where Christ is Lord and the standard is His eternal Word, while at the same time having a secular realm where autonomous man is Lord where the standard is his relativistic word. In the former realm, man begins and ends his thinking with God. In the latter realm, man begins and end his thinking with the autonomous self. The consequence of this is a contemporary Church that is filled with individuals who claim a Jesus who saves their non-corporeal souls but who have not been taught to think God’s thoughts after him in every area of life and who have not been taught that Jesus as King, has a Word on how to incarnate and bring their salvation into the material world through the holy callings in which they are called. Jesus thus is a Gnostic King with an incredibly shrunken realm. He saves our souls but leaves our material realm largely untouched.
This dualism with its sacred-secular dichotomy has survived successfully as long as it has in America for two reasons. First, because of the remaining influence of a Christian World and life view on the societal and institutional infrastructures the autonomously manufactured common realm has been able to function. The leavening of Christendom in American, through the beginnings of the Holy Commonwealth, which did not allow for the kind of bifurcation that we have spoken of, has taken centuries to completely eradicate. Such is the strength of Biblical Christianity.
Second, the ‘secular’ realm has survived because the sacred realm (Christianity) has increasingly redefined itself in order to accommodate the demands of the ‘secular’ realm. This second eventuality was recognized over 70 years ago,
“[i]t will be remembered that the theory of evolution found its bitterest and most persistent opponents among the theistic religionists. Only gradually and with reluctance has orthodoxy readjusted its theology to make room in it for the theory of evolution. There are many Theists today who believe in evolution, but they have had to make over their idea of God considerably. Indeed, they have not yet succeeded in making a satisfactory adjustment. It is still to be seen whether or not Theism will survive the shock which the theory of evolution has given it.” (2) Charles F. Potter; Humanism, A New Religion (New York, Simon & Schuster, pg. 15
Theism has survived the shock but its survival has more often been in spite of the visible Church’s lack of proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over every area of life, rather than because of its resistance to alien worldviews.
This Evangelical and American trend to compartmentalize reality into Sacred and Secular categories is the legacy of the work of Thomas Aquinas and later in Protestantism by Bishop Butler. Aquinas held that while the will in man was fallen the intellect was not. With this understanding of an incomplete fall of man, pandora’s box was opened releasing all the villainy that autonomous man could achieve with his reason divorced from revelation.
This has led to an approach described by Dr. Greg Bahnsen.
“The Thomistic approach assumes that fallen man is capable of reasoning in a proper way (prior to repentance of sin and submitting to the Savior) and that knowledge and intelligible interpretation of experience are philosophically possible apart from God’s revelation (i.e. – possible in terms of a basic perspective different from the Christian Worldview). Man’s own intellect, when used at its best, is thus granted the ability and the right to pass judgment on the credibility of God’s word (it’s worthiness of faith). Reason – set up as a judge, not simply a tool – takes a privileged position alongside faith.(3)
pg. 47 Van Til’s Apologetic, Bahnsen
The consequences of such an approach are manifold. First, as we have seen, the Lordship of Jesus Christ ends up being limited to the arbitration of human reason deciding where Christ will be allowed to be explicitly Lord. Man, in determining the sway of Jesus’ Lordship, becomes his own Lord. This was brought home to me again when in a recent discussion with a prominent Reformed Theologian I was informed that “There is no ‘Christian’ economics,” and this despite the fact that his own confession gives a statement on theft that would make a good beginning in formulating a Christian economics.
“In God’s sight theft also includes cheating and swindling our neighbor by schemes made to appear legitimate such as: inaccurate measurements of weight, size or volume; fraudulent merchandising; counterfeit money; excessive interest; and any other means forbidden by God…” (HC LD 42)
The second consequence of such a Thomist approach is that in removing the Lordship of Christ from the ‘secular’ realm one removes His law standard in that realm and at the same time replaces it with the legal standard of some other lord. As Dr. Martin was fond of saying, ‘Nature abhors a vacuum,’ and since that remains true the removal of Christ as Lord from the Secular realm means a replacing of all objective standards found in the revelatory scriptures of the King for subjective standards found in Sharia law or positivistic law, or Hindu caste law, depending on one’s self-referential desires.
From Light To Darkness
In the days of the Reformation the principle was submission to God; in these days it is a revolt against God. That is why there rages again today one universal war in church, state, and the world of learning, one holy battle over the supreme question: to submit unconditionally to the law of God, or not. Groen Van Prinsterer – Lectures on Unbelief and Revolution(3)
The embracing of a different standard can be seen by the shift in the approach of the Revolutionary West to educational disciplines beginning especially with the endarkenment (sometimes euphemistically referred to as the enlightenment) and continuing through to the present. This shift has made itself known in the various disciplines with their emphasis upon increasing humanistic, evolutionary, naturalistic and Statist type training standards that are derived from some pagan lord. We will consider just four of those fields in order to provide a kind of Whitman’s sampler of the shift that the Church is facing as it contemplates its necessity to once again proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ over every area of life.

Education

In the area of Education, the Unitarian, Horace Mann led the way in America moving education away from its Biblical moorings exemplified in the Puritan requirement for an education that was rich with Scripture.
“It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep man from the knowledge of Scriptures, as in former times, keeping them in an unknown tongue, so in these latter times, by persuading from the use of tongues, so that at least the true sense and meaning of the original might be clouded and corrupted with false glosses of deceivers; and to the end that learning may not be buried in the grave of our forefathers, in church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors;
It is therefore ordered by this court and authority thereof…to teach all…children to read and write…they shall set up a grammar school, the masters thereof being able to instruct youths so far as they may be fitted for the university.(4)
In doing so they used books like the New England primer that had children learning the letter ‘A’ by reciting “In Adam’s fall, we fell all.” The Puritans were interested in educating their children under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
But starting in the 19th-century men like Henry Barnard, John Swett, John Dewey, William H. Kilpatrick, and Harold Rugg followed in Mann’s wake, setting in concrete a humanistic evolutionary, naturalistic, Statist, teaching model that the discipline of pedagogy and Education now holds as the definitional Standard. The guiding assumption of modern education has been expressed at various times by its leadership.
Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth. In this way, the teacher is always the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of heaven.”(5) Pedagogic Creed, School Journal vol. 54 (January 1897), pp. 77-80
Dewey, as a signatory to Humanist Manifesto I wasn’t thinking of a proper social order that yields allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Eighty years later this kind of thinking was still holding sway in the Educational Establishment.
Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well – by creating the international child of the future.”(6) Dr. Chester Pierce, Harvard University, keynote address to the Association for Childhood Education International, Denver, Colorado, April 1972
There were voices of protest in the Church against this denial of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the realm of education,
“I am as sure as I am of the fact of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, which this sin-rent world has ever seen… It is capable of exact demonstration that if every party in the State has the right of excluding from the public schools whatever he does not believe to be true, then he that believes the least must give way to him that believes absolutely nothing, no matter how small a minority the atheists or the agnostics may be. It is self-evident that on this scheme, if it is carried out in all parts of the country, the United States’ system of national popular education will be the most efficient and wide instrument for the propagation of atheism which the world has ever seen” (A. A. Hodge, “Popular Lectures on Theological Themes,” 1889, pages 281-283) (7).
The Church, as is her custom, ignored her prophets.

Jurisprudence 

In the area of Law, men like Christopher Columbus Langdell, Roscoe Pound, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Benjamin Cardozo moved the discipline of law away from its Biblical moorings evinced in Puritan Commonwealth documents like “Abstract of the Laws of New England,” towards standards that evinced a humanistic, evolutionary, naturalistic and Statist paradigm. In the late 1800’s Langdell did yeoman’s work moving law training away from a century of Lawyers in America concentrating on what the Constitution said to Darwinian inspired notions of where the law was perceived to be moving (case law training). By Langdell’s work, the Constitution came to be seen to be evolving under the guidance of an imperial judiciary. Roscoe Pound followed Langdell at Harvard Law School and strengthened Langdell’s notions of law set inside a evolutionary Weltanschauung. At one point Pound wrote,
We have . . . the same task in jurisprudence that has been achieved in philosophy, in the natural sciences and in politics. We have to rid ourselves of this sort of legality and to attain a pragmatic, a sociological legal science.” (8) Mechanical Jurisprudence” by Roscoe Pound, Columbia Law Review, vol. 8, no. 8, December 1908, p. 609
It would take paragraphs to tease out all that is wrong about this quote but at the very least here Pound, following Langdell, subtly advocates using the Law in an evolutionary sense (hence the need for a pragmatic nature) so as to serve pagan-elitist perceived changing societal norms. Secondly, Pound presupposes that Law can be a ‘legal science’ as if that ‘legal science’ can exist without being derivative of some Theology or some God concept. Science of any form is just a handmaid to some Theology. Pound’s irrational search was for an objective point of reference based upon changing subjective norms. Pound’s desire to attain a pragmatic, sociological legal science presupposes a pagan theological paradigm (legal positivism) that is in anti-thesis with a Biblical paradigm.
Oliver Wendell Holmes served on the US Supreme Court from 1902-1932, in defining truth Holmes could write that it was, “the majority vote of the nation that can lick all the others.” Holmes’ view of law paralleled his view of truth as he rejected absolutist transcendent moral categories for law opting instead for a kind of cultural relativism.
“The justification of a law for us cannot be found in the fact that our fathers always have followed it. It must be found in some help which the law brings toward reaching a social end.” (9) Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Collected Legal Papers. NY: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1920. P. 225, “The Law in Science—the Science in Law.” Cited in Barton, Original Intent. P. 229.
Once again, we see an evolutionary view of law where Law is understood not as something static or eternal but rather as a something that is constantly in flux serving always changing social ends.
Finally, for purposes illustrative to show that some other Lord has usurped the Crown Rights of King Jesus in the field of Law and to establish that a neutral realm is a myth we cull a couple quotes from former US Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo who said, “I take judge-made law as one of the existing realities of life.”(10) The Nature of the Judicial Process 10 (1921) What is judge-made law except that it is a man-made law with man as Lord? In another place Cardozo stated,
“If there is any law which is back of the sovereignty of the state, and superior thereto, it is not law in such a sense as to concern the judge or lawyer, however much it concerns the statesman or the moralist.”(11) Benjamin Cardozo Problematics, supra note 2, at 1638
Here Cardozo clearly has citizens living, moving and having their being in the State.
The Church has the clear responsibility of proclaiming to God’s people that the transcendent reference point for Law is found in the Law-Word of King Jesus and it is the Church’s shame that her pulpits are full of men who are mute to this responsibility.

Sociology 

Sociology, in our culture, is a given but the word itself wasn’t coined until the 19th century by Auguste Comte. Comte came up with Sociology as a way to explain men’s behavior apart from Biblical Christianity. In America men like Lester Frank Ward, William Graham Sumner, Albion Small, and Franklin Giddings were pioneers in anchoring the humanistic, evolutionary, naturalistic, and Statist paradigm of Sociology (whether leftist or rightist) on the American consciousness.
Sumner was a Darwinist influenced by Herbert Spencer. That Sumner pushed an evolutionary, humanistic and statist sociology is seen in his teaching.
“Nothing but might has ever made right, and if we include in might (as we ought) elections and the doctrines of the courts, nothing but might makes right now…. if a thing has been done and is established by force (that is no force can reverse it), it is right in the only sense we can know and rights will follow from it which are not vitiated at all by the forces in it. There would be no security at all for rights if this were not so.” (12) Folkways: A Study of the Sociological Importance of Usages, Manners, Customs, Mores, and Morals
It seems that Chairman Mao’s famous aphorism that ‘power comes out of the barrel of a gun’ was just a pithy reduction of the American sociologist Sumner.
Franklin Giddings sociological paradigm shared with Comte’s the idea that mankind had progressed in an evolutionary fashion through certain stages. Whereas Comte had three stages, Gidding’s discerned four stages of human evolution: zoogenic, anthropogenic, ethnogenic and demogenic. Like Comte, he believed that he lived in times that were an expression of the higher end of the evolutionary scale.
Ironically, Frank Lester Ward used Darwin and Spencer to fight the Social Darwinism of the Gilded Age. Ward revealed how in debt he was to Darwin’s evolutionary thinking and perhaps Hegel’s dialectic in his Address as the President of the American Sociological Society at its First Annual Meeting.
(Sociology) has gone farther even than physics, which has thus far only discovered the law of gravitation, but has not yet discovered its cause or principle. Sociology has not only established the law of social evolution, but it has found the principle underlying and explaining that law. Just as in biology the world was never satisfied with the law of organic evolution worked out by Goethe and Lamarck until the principle of natural selection was discovered which explained the workings of that law, so in sociology is was not enough to formulate the law of social evolution, however clear it may have been, and the next step has been taken in bringing to light the sociological homologue of natural selection which explains the process of social evolution. That principle is not the same as natural selection, but it serves the same purpose. It also resembles the latter in growing out of the life-struggle and in being a consequence of it; but, instead of consisting in the hereditary selection of the successful elements of that struggle, it consists in the ultimate union of the opposing elements and their combination and assimilation. Successively higher and higher social structures are thus created by a process of natural synthesis, and society evolves from stage to stage. The struggling groups infuse into each other the most vigorous qualities of each, cross all the hereditary strains, double their social efficiency at each cross, and place each new product on a higher plane of existence. It is the cross-fertilization of cultures.(13)
In this quote, we see several naturalistic, and humanistic presuppositions. First, Ward cites that sociology has ‘established’ the law of social evolution, which is the Hegelian synthesis between the thesis and anti-thesis of competing social structures. This presupposes a purely naturalistic mechanism that locks the God of the Bible out of the equation. Second, Ward’s presupposition of a closed world is seen in the whole notion of a sociological evolution that needs a homologue to biological natural selection.

Psychology 

The individualistic attempt to do in an anti-Christian fashion what Sociology attempted to do on a corporate level started as phrenology and eventually developed (?) into what we today call Psychology. Today, Psychology like Sociology is a given in the American mindset, and like sociology in its origin, it was anti-Christ to the core. Psychology became part of the America psyche thanks to work of men like Freud, Jung, Rogers, Maslow, Skinner and a host of others. The various fields of psychology and sociology have spawned countless fields in the West the way Spielberg’s Gremlins multi-duplicated with the addition of water, and with just as much danger.
Clearly, neither sociology nor psychology dwells in a neutral realm and as such the Church needs to proclaim the crown rights of King Jesus over these realms of thought.
I would submit that regardless of what discipline we inquire into (including Christian Theology) we find that Secular Humanist presuppositions and assumptions holding the field so much so that a foundational challenge to these positions is often taken as an un-Christian attack on good wholesome teaching by those in the Church who spent their formative years being trained in the “Secular” realm where reason was King and in a Church where God’s law-word was either ignored or reinterpreted through the assumptions of Secular Humanism. All of this is why in 1961 Harry Blamire could say,
“There is no longer a Christian mind….As a thinking being, the modern Christian has succumbed to secularization. He accepts religion – its morality, its worship, its spiritual culture; but he rejects the religious view of life, the view which sets all earthly issues with the context of the eternal, the view which relates all human problems – social, political, cultural – to the foundations of the Christian Faith, the view which sees all things here below in terms of God’s supremacy and earth’s transitoriness, in terms of heaven and hell.” (14) Harry Blamires The Christian Mind pg. 4
Blamires’ point wasn’t that there weren’t still some people living who thought like Christians, rather his point was that the context for conversations among those people in different disciplines didn’t exist in such a way that the influence of Christian thought could be brought to bear upon a set people or culture. Blamires’ point seemed to be then that those who did think like Christians were so isolated in their various fields that for all intensive purposes the Christian mind was in eclipse.
The purpose of establishing these matters by our light dusting is that,
1.) There is no such thing as a neutral or secular or common realm. Neutrality is a myth. Therefore the Church must proclaim the Lordship of Jesus in these areas.
2.) ‘Neutral’ realms are always reflective of some Theology and are derivative of and beholden to some God concept.
3.) If the transcendent and absolute standard of King Jesus is not the standard by which we measure in the putative secular realm then some other standard of some other Lord will become the standard by which we measure in the ‘secular’ realm.
Though these disciplines have ‘evolved’ over time, there is little evidence that on a large scale they have ‘evolved’ in a Biblical direction. The covenant seed continues to be trained in ways that compromise their confession that Jesus Christ is King.
The reason that the Church needs to return to a proclamation of Jesus Mediatorial Kingship is first because it is the Church’s unique privilege and responsibility to proclaim King Jesus in more than an abstract or gnostic fashion.
Second, none of our other cultural institutions are going to do it since they have already largely been compromised by the Spirit of the age. We are now several generations into this kind of evolutionary, humanistic, naturalistic and statist Weltanschauung and if Reformation and awakening is to come there has to be some institution that is sounding the tocsin seeking to alert God’s people that Jesus is not a gnostic King and that God’s people are responsible to think His thoughts after Him in every area of life and measure by the King’s standard.
From Darkness To Light
This is a proclamation though that the Church must make in the face of severe resistance for our churches are often led by professionals who have been trained in an unbiblical Worldview, who, because of that, will likely feel ideologically threatened by such a bold proclamation. As just one example, see how threatened people feel, if, from the pulpit or the lectern, it is insisted that the Lordship of Jesus requires parents to pull their children that God has given them out of Government Schools since such education is universally premised upon false gods and as such is idolatrous.(15) Secondly, proclamations of the Lordship of Jesus Christ will also face resistance because frankly much of the Church in America is filled with people who prefer to be entertained and who would leave for other Churches if it were required of them to do the difficult work of thinking. (16) Thirdly, proclamations of the Lordship of Jesus Christ will face resistance because the implications of submitting to that Lordship could be personally and professionally ruinous for people. Imagine Biology Teachers showing up in school prepared to teach something as innocuous as intelligent design. Finally, proclamations of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the Church will face resistance because many church goers don’t like and aren’t equipped for the confrontation that this doctrine brings in a culture where other lords are in usurpation against King Jesus.
The remedy for all of this is easy to advocate but harder to implement. The remedy, as we have suggested, is first, found in eliminating the notion of a secular realm, if by secular realm we mean a realm that is unaffected or unmoved by some Theology. While Dr. Martin was correct to insist that there is no institutional hierarchy there can be no doubt that Theology remains the Queen of the Sciences, the protestations of modernism notwithstanding. In order to provide solution to the current problem of compartmentalization we must first recognize that no realm exists nor can exist that is not derivative of some Lord or lords and hence some Theology. One’s belief about God drives everything. Everything about us is the outward manifestation of our inward beliefs about the character and nature of some God. As a Christian people we must wake up to the fact that everything, that happens around us from School curriculum, to magazine covers, to Presidential Speeches, to forms of government, to what is considered chic in apparel, to hairstyles, to music, to parenting styles, is driven by some faith commitment which in turn descends from some God concept. The only question is which faith commitment and which God. Neutrality is a myth. Once that is recognized we must go on, as Dr. Martin tirelessly repeated to re-interpret every area of life in light of the Scripture.
Second we must expose the aberrant theologies that are currently being incarnated into this realm we call secular and presume to be neutral. The realm that we now call secular in all actuality is a humanist realm largely ruled by the State and it won’t be satisfied until all Christian notions of ‘sacred’ are either completely isolated to what happens in the Church building on Sunday or isolated to a very private sphere of personal holiness. In heralding the Lordship of Jesus Christ the Church must expose Humanism for the faith system that it is. Like all other faith systems humanism does have a sense of the Sacred (The Nation State absolutized). Humanism is a faith system, like all faith systems, that is replete with Priests (Psychologists to whom moderns make their confession), sacraments, (abortion and the vote) catechisms (school textbooks), and martyrs (Matthew Shepherd). Since it is a Worldview System in opposition to the God of the Bible it’s sense of the Sacred and its Holy is what Biblical Christians would consider profane and unholy. In Secular Humanism, Man, considered either individually or collectively, is that which is ultimately Sacred, and since Man absolutized handles all that he handles apart from God, all that Man absolutized makes sacred is therefore automatically profane from the view of a Christ submitting Christian. If the Church is to return to the proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ from the pulpit then it must at the same time seek to demolish every stronghold and pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. In our times and in this country that means an extended assault on humanism; the defacto established religion of this country. Does the Church and its ministers have the courage to do that?
Thirdly, understanding that Theology remains the core discipline that informs all other disciplines every college student should be required to start with the core discipline of Theology before moving on to other disciplines that are but seeking to express and incarnate the core discipline in sundry ways. Failing the pursuit of that solution, at the very least Professors ought to be required to reverse engineer their disciplines so that the students have the opportunity to see how their discipline is growing up out of the soil of Scripture.
Fourthly, ministry students should be required to take classes that seek to integrate Theology, Worldview thinking, and Christian Ethics.
These four solutions are nothing but the re-articulation of Dr. Martins’ call to know what we believe and why we believe it and what we don’t believe and why we don’t believe it.
Impact
Where the Church and God’s people take seriously Jesus office as King in an unrestricted sense there a cultural context is created that makes it easier for the gospel to be heard by unbelievers. Think of context and text when reading a book. The context helps the reader to make sense of the text that he is immediately reading. The text itself would be nonsense if it were set in an entirely different context. In the same way when the ‘Gospel’ goes forward in a cultural context that is informed by the unrestricted Kingship of Jesus, there the text of ‘Jesus Christ as the great High Priest’ makes more sense. Where Jesus in His Kingly office is lived out there isn’t such a huge disconnect between the message of Jesus Christ crucified and the reality of a culture that is defying King Jesus at every turn. When we don’t live out allegiance to Jesus in His Mediatorial office of King we make it more difficult for people to hear the strains of the message of the great commission because we are helping to create a social order context that is in opposition to the gospel proclamation. Consequently when we disconnect the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate to have dominion under King Jesus what we inevitably end up creating are Christians who view their salvation as unrelated to their cultural endeavors, or who see their cultural endeavors as unrelated to their salvation. The result would be to give us both an anti-nomian Church and an anti-nomian culture.
When we find the proper tension between these offices we discover that people who have been saved and brought into the Kingdom, now seek to bring that salvation wherein they have been saved into every area of life, so that those spheres may experience salvation. In obedience to King Jesus those who have been saved by Jesus as their great High Priest now bring salvation to the gardens they tend, and the children they raise, and the books they write, and the Churches they attend, and the judicial decisions they hand down, and the art they paint, and on and on. So, as Jesus in His Priestly office saves individuals, they bring that salvation to their corporate life in obedience to Jesus in His Kingly office, which in turn, as we noted above, provides a general cultural context where it is easier for unsaved individuals to comprehend the Gospel.
Now if the objection is raised that what I am contending for is a kind of naturalistic program for the Church where I deny the supernaturalistic agency of God for men to be Redeemed and instead am relying on cultural infrastructure to convert lost men, I would respond by saying that God appoints means to ends. The salvation that the Spirit of Christ brings to men, while a spiritual reality, happens inside a physical and corporeal context. I would say that it is gnostic to suggest that we can get to the spiritual reality without considering the physical context. Men will never be saved by the proper cultural infrastructure but it is certain that their natural individual resistance to the message of Christ crucified will be accentuated and emboldened by cultural infrastructure that is built in defiance of King Jesus.
God putting the offices of Jesus together they must not be cast asunder. The Church must return to proclaiming the Crown Rights Of King Jesus in every area of life.

Dr. Fancis Nigel Lee’s Apologetic For Biblical Nationalism

Of course, there is to be contact between the nations, but not supranational miscegenation or slow genocide. National seclusion is wrong, but even a supranational ecumenical movement can be guilty of seclusion! For as Dooyeweerd remarks:

“The history of the building of the tower of Babel, viewed in the light of the cultural commandment of Genesis 1, shows that seclusion and isolation in cultural development is contrary to the Divine ordinance. Cultural expansion, the spread of humanity over the surface of the earth in the differentiation of the cultural groups, and the cultural contact between these groups, have been set as a task to mankind.”114

And again: “In the removal of the rigid walls of isolation, historical development moves in the line of cultural integration. The latter has its counterpart in the process of an increasing differentiation. This process of cultural integration and differentiation should be sharply distinguished from the leveling tendencies which in our days threaten to penetrate the so-called under-developed cultures with secularized factors of Western civilization.”115

In spite of a slight amount of marginal intermixing and still less of intermarriage with other stocks, God preserved the Israelitic nation and its culture (and land and language) up to the advent of Christ.116 Neither did Christ destroy nationality but sought to preserve it and to cleanse it from sin and to perfect it. And this involved at least two things: His mandate to improve international relations, but also to sanctify national life to His glory. Christ insisted on His followers improving international relations. And this they were to do by loving their neighbors as themselves,117 yes, by loving even their hostile Samaritan neighbors.11”

Also, they were to pray for their enemies,119 even for their Roman conquerors,120 and, after Christ’s death and ascension, to go into all the world and teach all the nations, as commanded in Christ’s Great Commission.121 Yet they were also to sanctify national life and to promote specifically the national welfare. Jesus Himself clearly taught the necessity of the Israelitic believers’ ministering first to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,”122 and that it was not meet to take the Israelitic “children’s bread and cast it” to other nations.123 Nor should Samaritans be encouraged to inundate the temple of the Jews in Jerusalem, but rather worship God in their own temple in their own land, for “God is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit,”124 that is, in one and the same spirit and not necessarily in one and the same international or supranational geographical locality. And, having assured His followers that nations would still be in existence on the future Day of Judgment,125 and that many would then come from the east and west into the kingdom of heaven,12~ He told His followers to go into all the world, and disciple all the nations121 (as nations!), beginning amongst their own nation in
Jerusalem, but going forth thence even into the hostile territory of “Samaria, and into the uttermost parts of the earth.”127

Shortly after that, the risen Christ poured out His Spirit on the day of Pentecost, causing the disciples to speak of the wonderful works of God in every then known language for the benefit of those Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Cappadocians, Pontians, Asians, Phrygians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Libyans, Cyrenians, Romans, Cretans, Arabians, etc., who were then in Jerusalem for the feast. Far from suggesting the future creation of a one-world nation with a one-world language, this important event certainly suggests the sanctification of the then existing nationalities to the service of God, inasmuch as “devout men, out of every nation under heaven” there heard the Gospel “every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born.”128

Nor did the Christians later lose their nationality. Even amongst the early Israelitic Christians, the Greek-speaking Israelites maintained their group consciousness vis-a-vis the Hebrew-speaking Israelites.129 Paul became a Roman to the Romans solely so that he might save some,130 but in spite of this he still remained an Israelite,131 spoke always to the Jews
first and then to the Greeks,132 and loved his people so much that he was prepared to sacrifice himself in their stead, as it were.l33 At the same time. he emphasized that in Christ there is neither Greek nor Jew nor barbarian nor Scythian,134 and that as the nations of the world were progressively more and more won for Christ,135 and as Christians of each nation prayed for their kings and those in authority so that Christian men may lead a quiet and peaceable life and so that all men may be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth,136” national and international relations would improve, in spite of all temporary setbacks, as the Gospel runs its course through the world of nations.137

The Cretians may be liars, evil beasts, slow bellies; the Corinthians may be factious and passionate; the Galatians may be foolish; the Thessalonians lazy; and the Israelites blinded;138 but the day is coming when Christ shall be all in all.139

For “in the last days it shall come to pass that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”140 And in the new Jerusalem on the new earth, “the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. . . – And they shall bring~thc glory and honor of the nations into it.”141

Dr. Fancis Nigel Lee
Communist Eschatology — pg. 770-772

Reformation Day 2016 Homily

I Cor. 10:31 — So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.

Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
 
1 Peter 4:11
If anyone speaks, he should speak as one conveying the words of God. If anyone serves, he should serve with the strength God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

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With these passages we are taught that there is a distinctively Christian way to lean into life … to do all that we do from the most mundane matters to the most exalted. For the Christian nothing is done from a neutral position. For the Christian all is done to glorify God.

This mindset was captured in the Reformation byword of Sola de Gloria. To the glory of God alone.

The Reformed desired to re-order all of life in ways consistent with God’s Word for the purpose of glorifying God alone in ALL they did.

Increasingly that mindset … the mindset of doing all we do for the glory of God is absent in our thinking. The very few that remain that seek to employ that in their thinking and writing are met with the catcalls of their “brethren” saying that Christianity has nothing to do with those areas that they are thinking about how one might live for the glory of God.

There was a time for example when it was routinely understood among Reformed folk that Christianity had a doctrine that had implications for our social order.

It was not thought that Christianity was to be applied only to the matter of salvation of souls. It was understood widely that Christianity created a whole unique social order.

And so with this cry of Sola Dei Gloria Reformed Christianity reshaped the West. This is so true that

World renowned German Historian Leopold Van Ranke could write,

“John Calvin was virtually the founder of America.”

“He that will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty”

George Bancroft — Historian
History of the United States of America — Vol. 1 — pg. 464

These men were not speaking of the fact that Reformed Christianity had particular doctrines of Grace that were unique. They were speaking of the Doctrines of the Reformation that created a unique social order and way of living as a people.

So, in seeking to do whatever they did to the glory of God they approached a social order that maintained distinctions and which denied egalitarianism. They saw passages such as “Honor thy Mother and Father,” as passages that taught social hierarchy.

Westminster Confession

Q. 124. Who are meant by father and mother in the fifth commandment?
 
A. By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only natural parents,[649] but all superiors in age[650] and gifts;[651] and especially such as, by God’s ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family,[652] church,[653] or commonwealth.[654]

Calvin echoed this,

“All are not created on equal terms … This God has testified, not only in the case of single individuals; He has also given a specimen of it in the whole posterity of Abraham, to make it plain that the future condition of each nation was entirely at His disposal.” – John Calvin

And so wanting to do all they did to the Glory of God and believing in social hierarchy the Reformation created a social order that was opposed to both a static hierarchy and the kind of egalitarianism that the much of the visible Church promotes today.

But it did not stop here. All along the social order the Reformation did all it did for the glory of God.

As another example … The idea of covenantal solidarity that we find communicated in Reformed understandings of Baptism found its way into our Constitution when the Founders wrote they were seeking to,

“secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,”

This is a very Reformed and covenantal way of thinking.

And so the Church has become silent and in becoming silent a vacuum has been created so that other worldviews have achieved a cultural hegemony that would never have been possible in cultures that were epistemologically and self consciously Reformational.

Where the Reformation once called for social heirarchy, the Church has now retreated and  so soul killing egalitarianism is all the rage. Where Reformation thinking called for a social order with Limited Governments, the modern Church has retreated and so no tocsin is sounded warning about the rise of Tyrants and Usurpers. Where the Reformation talked about the effects of man’s original sin, the modern Church has retreated and no word is spoken of how original sin manifests itself in our political, educational, aesthetic or economic programs.

In the name of saving souls the Church has become silent about doing all that is done Sola Dei Gloria. As a consequence, we have lost our social order and it is now informed and shaped by pagan religions with the effect that the Church can in no way compete with an alien messaging that is being drummed into people 24-7. Further, because Christianity has surrendered the social order people are now shaped by that social order and bring that shaping into the Church with them with the result that Christianity ends up being reinterpreted in a pagan direction.

We should not be surprised that the Church, with a Reformational message, is largely seen, by a now alien culture, as being hateful, mean, and not nice. We should not be surprised that the Church that does not carry a Reformation message are seen as the haunts of the Simpson’s Rev. Lovejoys of the world.

And God’s people love it so.

What other examples besides the few we already communicated demonstrate this Reformation desire to do all that was done to the glory of God get in and create our social order?

We could talk of checks and balances in Government. We could speak of limited and diffuse Government. We could speak of ordered liberty. We could speak of the Protestant work ethic. We could speak of the idea of male and female roles. We could speak of how the Reformation affected views of Art in the West. We could speak of the formation of a vast network of volunteer societies that sought to ameliorate the hardships of the indigent and the poor. We could speak of adoption agencies and orphanages. We could speak of the pressing need for schools and education so as to teach children to think God’s thoughts after Him. We could speak of the valuing of human life that informed our Doctors and nurses for generations. We could speak of the Trustee family and how it informed generations of family life in the West.

Some of this existed before the rise of the Reformation but all of it was reinvigorated by the Reformation and all of it and a host of other unmentioned issues worked to form a Reformed culture that existed in order to do all that was done to the glory of God.

But now we are told, even by many of the Church, that all this must be shoved aside. It is whispered that all of this is the result of cultural bigotry…. white privilege … institutional racism even. Many in the Church are insisting that this concern about the Reformation in terms of how it leaves a decided stamp on cultures and social orders is something that the Church need not be concerned with.

But as for me and my house, it remains sola deo gloria whether we eat or drink … in word or deed, in every area of life.

God’s Schadenfreude and Ours

Schadenfreude

[shahd-n-froi-duh]

 

noun

1.

satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.

 

Jonathan Edwards

“The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardour of the love and gratitude of the saints of heaven.”

The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever. . .Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell. . . I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss.

[“The Eternity of Hell Torments” (Sermon), April 1739 & Discourses on Various Important Subjects, 1738]

Thomas Boston, Scottish preacher, 1732

“God shall not pity them but laugh at their calamity. The righteous company in heaven shall rejoice in the execution of God’s judgment, and shall sing while the smoke riseth up for ever.”
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Normally, the idea of schadenfreude would be seen as automatically out of bounds for someone who claims Christ but some of the best theologians of the Church throughout history have thought just the opposite and have embraced ideas of what we might call “Biblical Schadenfreude.” To be clear, there have been many of our greatest lights who have spoken that one character trait of the redeemed in heaven will be to delight in the misery of those who occupy hell who fought against Christ during their whole lives on earth.

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Peter Lombard, the Master of Sentences

“Therefore the elect shall go forth…to see the torments of the impious, seeing which they will not be grieved, but will be satiated with joy at the sight of the unutterable calamity of the impious .” Sent. Iv 50, ad fin

Gerhard

“…the Blessed will see their friends and relations among the damned as often as they like but without the least of compassion.”

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We should say at the outset that schadenfreude is a dangerous emotion only when injustice is celebrated, not when justice is served. In other words people can have a schadenfreude that is both consistent with a Biblical mindset and inconsistent with a Biblical mindset.  A Biblical schadenfreude would be to feel pleasure when the wicked who dug their pits for the righteous, finally themselves fell into those pits (Psalm 7:15).

The Scripture drip with this kind of biblical schadenfreude.  Read how Israel sings about Pharaoh’s defeat (Exodus 15). Go to the book of Proverbs and see the clear and  unmistakable schadenfreude of Woman Wisdom (Proverbs 1:20-33). Go to I Kings 18 and join in Elijah’s schadenfreude as he mocks the bloodied pagan Priests.

This schadenfreude in Scripture reveals again that the Church in the West, as following the PC codes, is attempting to be nicer than God. There is no longer any capacity by Christians to laugh at the overturning of God’s enemies or to delight and cavort when those who attempt to overthrow God’s Kingdom are themselves overthrown. Indeed, the very mention of such an idea turns the stomachs of most modern Christians.

________________

Andrew Welwood

(speaks of the saints as being) “overjoyed in beholding the vengeance of God ,” and their beholding of the smoke of the torment of the wicked as “a passing delectation.”

Bishop Newcomb

“The door of mercy will be shut and all bowels of compassion denied, by God, who will laugh at their destruction; by angels and saints, who will rejoice when they see the vengeance’ by their fellow-suffer the devil and the damned rejoicing over their misery.” Catechetical Sermon

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John Portmann, a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia, set forth his own schadenfreude theory several years ago in his book, ‘When Bad Things Happen to Other People.’ Portman offers that we all consider justice a virtue and feel pleasure when we see lawbreakers brought low. We might say that it’s all to the good that Christians experience biblical schadenfreude, because this pleasure reflects our reverence for God’s law and God’s character. We rejoice in the wicked’s misfortune, not in a sadistic manner, but rather because their misfortune vindicates God’s righteousness against their attempts to de-god God and en-god themselves.  Thus, according to Portman, there is such a possibility as Biblical schadenfreude and to experience Biblical schadenfreude would be a corollary of justice rendered to the guilty and so God’s law being upheld.

_____________________

Tertullian

“At that greatest of all spectacles, that last and eternal judgment how shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness; so many magistrates liquefying in fiercer flames than they ever kindled against the Christians; so many sages philosophers blushing in red-hot fires with their deluded pupils; so many tragedians more tuneful in the expression of their own sufferings; so many dancers tripping more nimbly from anguish then ever before from applause.”

“What a spectacle. . .when the world. . .and its many products, shall be consumed in one great flame! How vast a spectacle then bursts upon the eye! What there excites my admiration? What my derision? Which sight gives me joy? As I see. . .illustrious monarchs. . . groaning in the lowest darkness, Philosophers. . .as fire consumes them! Poets trembling before the judgment-seat of. . .Christ! I shall hear the tragedians, louder-voiced in their own calamity; view play-actors. . .in the dissolving flame; behold wrestlers, not in their gymnasia, but tossing in the fiery billows. . .What inquisitor or priest in his munificence will bestow on you the favor of seeing and exulting in such things as these? Yet even now we in a measure have them by faith in the picturings of imagination.” [De Spectaculis, Chapter XXX]

Augustine

“They who shall enter into [the] joy [of the Lord] shall know what is going on outside in the outer darkness. . .The saints’. . . knowledge, which shall be great, shall keep them acquainted. . .with the eternal sufferings of the lost.” [The City of God, Book 20, Chapter 22, “What is Meant by the Good Going Out to See the Punishment of the Wicked” & Book 22, Chapter 30, “Of the Eternal Felicity of the City of God, and of the Perpetual Sabbath”]

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But where does all this biblical schadenfreude come from? Well, I would say that we laugh at the misfortune of the wicked because we laugh with the schadenfreude God of laughter.

Why do the heathen rage, and the people murmur in vain. The kings of the earth band themselves, and the Princes are assembled together against the Lord, and against his Christ. Let us break their bands, and cast their cords from us. 4 But he that dwelleth in the heaven shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure…

The wicked need repent or face God’s laughter and mocking. God laughs at the thought that the created would rise up to plot against the creator and God laughs as he vexes them in sore displeasure. God is a God of schadenfreude mirth and it only stands to reason that His people should be as well.

________________

Thomas Aquinas

In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned. . .So that they may be urged the more to praise God. . .The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens. . .to the damned. [Summa Theologica, Third Part, Supplement, Question XCIV, “Of the Relations of the Saints Towards the Damned,” First Article, “Whether the Blessed in Heaven Will See the Sufferings of the Damned. . .”]

Isaac Watts:

During America ‘s “Great Awakening” the popular hymn writer, Isaac Watts (1674-1748), even set Christians’ feet to tapping with this crisp little verse:

What bliss will fill the ransomed souls,
When they in glory dwell,
To see the sinner as he rolls,
In quenchless flames of hell.

St. Anthony Mary Claret

“Once [a soul] is condemned by God, then God’s friends agree in God’s judgment and condemnation. For all eternity they will not have a kind thought for this wretch. Rather they will be satisfied to see him in the flames as a victim of God’s justice. (“The just shall rejoice when he shall see the revenge . . .” Psalm 57:11) They will abhor him. A mother will look from paradise upon her own condemned son without being moved, as though she had never known him.”–

“The Pains of Hell,” Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, consisting of thirty-five meditations from The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius as explained by St. Anthony Mary Claret. St. Claret’s “explanations” were written in Spanish in the late 1800’s.
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It is schadenfreude that the saints will experience in the judgment of the wicked at the great white throne judgment. The saints will and should find satisfaction and pleasure in the wicked’s misfortune because God’s justice is vindicated and their wicked plans to overthrow God are crushed.

Indeed, we might go so far as to say that where there is no schadenfreude where the wicked are caught in their own trap and so destroyed, there we find an example of sub-biblical Christianity.

__________________

Catholic Truth Society

What will it be like for a mother in heaven who sees her son burning in hell? She will glorify the justice of God. – Pamphlet from the late 1960s, part of a catechismal teaching [cited in an essay by the English poet, Stevie Smith, “Some Impediments to Christian Commitment”]

J.I. Packer

“…love and pity for hell’s occupants will not enter our hearts.” J.I. Packer in article “Hell’s Final Enigma” in “Christianity Today Magazine, April 22,2002 .”

___________________

This is a hard truth for modern Christians with our Arminian sentimentality.  People in the modern Church see this as mean, and yet they do so without pausing to consider that not having a sense of satisfaction and pleasure at the misfortune of the wicked would be to not have a sense of satisfaction and pleasure that God’s name is upheld and esteemed.

Of course we should not enter into schadenfreude to soon. Even now, we should plead with the wicked that they might escape both God’s shadenfreude and ours. Even now, out of passion for God’s glory, and compassion for the rebellious we should command all men everywhere to repent. We should remind the need of men to “Kiss the Son lest He be angry and they perish in the way.”

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Martin Luther

When questioned whether the Blessed will not be saddened by seeing their nearest and dearest tortured answers, “Not in the least.”

Samuel Hopkins

“This display of the divine character will be most entertaining to all who love God, will give them the highest and most ineffable pleasure. Should the fire of this eternal punishment cease, it would in a great measure obscure the light of heaven, and put an end to a great part of the happiness and glory of the blessed.”


 

 

Random Thoughts Surrounding Advent

During this Advent season we celebrate that the King has come and that the Victory has been won. During this season there is no gloom and doom because Advent shrieks that the Lord of Host has sent His Captain to gain the certain victory. The age of the “not yet” which was front loaded in the Old Covenant is now past and the semi-eschatological age to come is now front loaded in the consciousness and disposition of God’s people. Advent pronounces that the Warrior King has come and in remembering Advent we remember we are a Warrior king class ourselves pursing the allegiance of every nation for the crown rights of the Lord Christ.

Advent reminds us that the Governments are now upon the shoulders of He who is the Prince of Peace. In belonging to Christ there is no negotiation in us with those whom Christ defeated in His Cross work. In leading captivity captive He has already defeated all His enemies so that we need not yield one inch to them.

Our victory is inevitable because the Victory has already been won.

If you can’t postmillennial during Advent then there is something wrong with your Christianity.

Be of good cheer … Christ has overcome the World.

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During this advent season we must be mindful that the two Advents of our Lord Christ, past and future, are really one advent when viewed as coming as Inauguration of the King and Kingdom and coming as Consummation of the reign of King and Kingdom. Celebration of the Advent season reminds us of our “now, not yet” theology. The King and Kingdom has come. The King and Kingdom is coming.

Advent reminds us of the logical consistency of postmilliennialism. The King who has come bringing the Kingdom, will not come again until the purpose and intent of His inaugural coming flowers in the visible expansion of His already present Kingdom. The first advent, for the Postmillennialists, is a physical coming with a physical global impact that is capped by the second Advent of our Lord Christ. The Postmillennialist finds the consummative in the Inaugurative, yet not so much so as to blur the 2nd advent.

Amillennial Advent celebrations disconnect 1st advent from 2nd advent by positing that the first advent was a physical coming with only a spiritual impact. For the Amil, the “not yetness” of the Kingdom swallows whole the “nowness” of the Kingdom by turning the “nowness” of the Kingdom into an abstracted spirituality. The amil is all Inaugurative with no consummative for the here and now except in spiritual (gnostic?) terms.

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During this Advent season we are reminded that the blood Mary spilled in birthing the Messiah, was promissory of the blood the Messiah would spill in birthing the re-creation.

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