Theology & The University

“War is the continuation of politics by other means.”

General Carl Von Clausewitz
German war theoretician 

As RJR notes in the quote below the same is true of Theology and all other disciplines. Every other discipline that can be named among the Humanities is just the continuation of theology by other means. This is why Theology was once understood to be the Queen of the Sciences. Our forbears understood that conclusions arrived at in the other humanities were only as good as the theology from which they were drawing.

Indeed, this understanding of Theology as the “Queen of the Sciences” is where we get our whole idea of “University.” The word “University” etymologically derives from the idea of “the whole,” or “the aggregate.” The idea was, in the midst of the various multifaceted disciplines offered and studied at a University there was a “Uni” that bound all the disciplines together. That “Uni” in “University” is Theology. Without theology as “Queen of the Sciences,” one no longer has a “University” but only a “Multiversity.”

The fact that we have given up Christian theology as “The Queen of the Sciences” goes a long way towards explaining the irrational age which we inhabit. Since we have no unifying glue to hold us together all that is left is the bizarre and the irrational.

Consider also, how modern Western man’s habit of compartmentalized thinking also is derivative of the refusal to have Christian theology be the “Queen of the Sciences.” Modern man is schizophrenic. He is a centripetal being. There is nothing that keeps him from the most strange and queer contradictions in his life. For example, modern man will, at one and the same time, espouse evolution and then turn around and attend church on Sunday. Modern man will complain about the Government and then keep on voting as if his vote will change what it has not changed for over a century. Modern man will see the modern woman for the feminist being she currently is and yet will still propose marriage. Modern man is a contradictory mess and that is largely accounted for, by the fact that he refuses to take Christian theology as the “Queen of the Sciences.”

What is interesting, though despite all the above being true, is that theology is an inescapable category, which means, that when man flushes Christian theology as the “Uni” in his “University” he doesn’t by doing so get rid of theology. Instead, he embraces something else has his theology. Marxists embrace Economics as their theology. Many moderns embrace “Science” as their theology, not realizing that that Science is only as good as the theology it is pinned upon. Cultural Marxists have, perhaps more insightfully than the rest, chosen culture as their theology. (More insightfully, I offer, because of the tight nexus that exists between culture and theology.) The point is that one never completely evacuates some kind of theology as the adhesive that is the sticking agency for something that passes as a pastiche of coherence for all the particulars.

As an aside all of this underscores again why R2K is such a stupid incoherent theology, arguing as it does, that there is no such thing as Christian law, or Christian Education, or Christian culture, etc. R2K strips Christianity of its fixative social order functioning and replaces it with the irrationality of a social order based on a “natural theology” that has only successfully existed when Christianity has dominated the culture.

Sociology, Literature, Psychology, Anthropology, Economics, Law, … all of it is just so much the continuation of theology by other means. If and when people ever come to grips with that truth, it will make conversation a good deal easier.

We end with the great Rushdoony making the same point.

“An abstract theology is only formally or technically systematic. Systematic theology must of necessity deny because God is sovereign, that there are any neutral facts or any areas of neutrality. All factuality is God-created and God-governed and interpreted. All facts are therefore theological facts, and every area of life, thought, study, and action is a theological concern.

Education, politics, science, the arts, the vocations, the family, and all things else, are theological concerns. A theology which does not involve itself in every area in terms of the sovereign God and His infallible law-word cannot be systematic: it is only abstract.”

 

Trying to Explain the Trump Phenomenon Among Christians

“You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” 

Donald J. Trump
Interview with Esquire, 1991

In this piece I’m seeking to explain the popularity of Trump among otherwise conservative Christians. One would think quotes, like the one above, would be enough to be off-putting to biblical Christians in terms of voting for Trump, not to mention the chameleon like character of Trump that finds Trump saying just about every thing imaginable under the sun regardless of how contradictory it all is to what he is saying now. However, Trump’s record, flowery quotes, and ethic of a Tomcat are irrelevant now to many Christians who insist that God may use Trump like God did Cyrus of the Old Testament to accomplish His purposes to change the trajectory of America in a more God pleasing direction.

That there is little evidence to believe that is quite out of the question for those Christians who have arrived at the point of admitting that they don’t care what policies Trump may or may not pursue as long as he keeps making the right people angry.

So what is it that explains Trump’s popularity among those whom one would think would have scruples regarding voting for a man who is currently married to a former porn magazine centerfold, and who was married twice before this current marriage? What is it that explains Trump’s popularity among those whom one would think would have scruples regarding voting for a man legendary for building casinos where risque entertainment for men  (Strip clubs) is provided? What is it that explains Trump’s popularity among those whom one would think would have scruples regarding voting for a man legendary for boasting about his sexual conquests? What is it that explains Trump’s popularity among those whom one would think would have scruples regarding voting for a man legendary for saying “I don’t think I’ve ever asked God for forgiveness”? What is it that explains Trump’s popularity among those whom one would think would have scruples regarding voting for a man legendary for saying he has no problem with sodomites in the Military and who is on record as resigning himself to the fact  that sodomite marriage is the law of the land?

What I offer below is an attempt to explain why it is that otherwise good Christian people continue to support Trump despite the fact that Trump is the antithesis of everything they say they believe. Just so everyone understands …. this is intended as an explanation of why otherwise good people support Trump. It is not an endorsement of Trump or of thinking in this manner. Personally, I think such “thinking” that ends up supporting Trump is, at best, anti-rational.

1.) Trump has become symbol.

Trump, for many many people, has Transcended being merely human, and has now become the incarnation of a symbol of resistance and defiance. Trump hit a never with his anti immigration talking points and his anti political correctness stance. Symbols don’t have to be rational or consistent. They don’t have to explain or justify themselves in light of past utterances. Symbols are intuitive to people. When people want to identify with their symbols it is stupid for someone to expect an explanation. Symbols are trans-rational (which is different from irrational). Now that Trump has articulated an anti immigration stance it no longer matters that he chastised Republican during the Romney 2012 campaign for being too “mean spirited” concerning immigrants. Now that Trump has articulated an anti immigration stance it no longer matters that Trump has as recent as July of 2015 supported a form of amnesty. Trump is a symbol and one simply does not try to ratiocinate with those who are symbol minded.

So, much as Obama and Palin became symbols in 08, so Trump has become a symbol in 16. It isn’t rational and it’s idiotic of people, like me, to expect it to be rational. People are looking at Trump the same way that patriotic Americans look at Old Glory. It is an emblem of something that moves them deeply in their psyche and emotions. Trump has become intuitive for people and as intuitive the facts no longer matter.

2.) Trump as become hope for the hopeless.

Other Trump supporters who are Christians do not fall into the “Trump as symbol” category, but are those who are seeking to grasp any slim ray of hope they can find. They know that Trump has been all over the map in his rhetoric and in his positions. They know of Trump’s unseemly and sometimes even slimy character but out of desperation they are putting all their chips on Trump to keep his word.

For these folks I often use the old Charles Schulz comic strip “Charlie Brown,” as analogy. In Schulz’ series Schulz would return periodically to a theme where Lucy promises to hold the football for Charlie Brown to kick. The problem was that every time that Charlie Brown approached the ball to kick it, Lucy would pull it away at the last second, resulting in Charlie Brown falling on his backside. Over and over again, through Schulz’s series, Lucy would promise that “I’ll really hold the ball for you this time Charlie Brown, and, after some initial skepticism on Charlie Brown’s part, Charlie Brown would try again, only to have Lucy, despite her varied promises, pull the ball away yet again. It didn’t matter how many times Lucy had played Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown was all about the hope of one day kicking that ball out of the cosmos.

Those who insist that Trump is a real hope are like Charlie Brown. Despite all the evidence of past disappointments with lying politicians … despite all the evidence, as seen in his plethora of contradictory positions, that Trump is not the man who is really going to deliver … despite all the pulled footballs of the past the “Trump as hope for the hopeless” supporters still cannot bring themselves to reality. They seem to not have the capacity to realize that, any reason for hope regarding Trump’s current position on anything must have as a presupposition that he is a man of character who will actually do what he says.

The problem is here though that beyond Trump’s constantly changing positions, this presupposition is most obviously false to anyone who looks at even the most recent history of the man. This praise of Trump by people who should know better that he’s an opportunistic charlatan is perhaps what should be expected from people who need the illusion of hope.

3.) Trump as the anti-Obama

David Axelrod, in a recent New York Times piece, put forth the idea that Trump is attractive to people because he is the antithesis of the departing man who has been serving with the title of “President.” Whereas Obama is creepily detached and lacks passion, Trump is just the opposite full of vim and vinegar. Whereas Obama is seeking to destroy America by his immigration policies, and his policies with Iran and his policies to push America into a Internationalist order, Trump desires to “Make America Great Again,” desires to build a wall on the Mexican border, and desires to let the International order go pound sand in order to concentrate on America’s needs.  Trump is the anti-Obama.

Like #1 above this is more of a psychological point than a rational point. (Yes, I consider Psychology “irrational.”) The idea here is that just as people get tired of the feel of an old car and can’t wait to get a new one that is different than the one they are “finally getting rid of,” so voters, on a psychological level, get weary with old Presidents and desire, when switching, to upgrade to another model that has a feel that is very different from what they are getting rid of.

4.) Trump as pragmatism

Many Christians will insist on voting Trump, despite knowing his checkered past and despite agreeing that he has been all over the map regarding his positions because they affirm that “at least he’s saying the right things and so you take the coin toss, if for no other reason than to advance the position itself.”  This is pure pragmatism where the end (the hope of a restored America) justifies the means (voting for a man who himself has said, in the past, that he is a Democrat). That Trump’s past character is what it is and that Trump has repeatedly articulated a progressive worldview is irrelevant as long as there is a hope (see #2) that, against all odds, Trump will advance anti-Internationalist agenda. In my estimation this is voting for wickedness that good might come, merely because the one with the known wicked track record has, only recently, begun warbling a different tune. In my estimation this is like voting for Hugh Hefner to restore family values, merely because in the last 5 years or so he has begun to talk about the importance of family. In the Christian faith, pragmatism of this variety is eschewed and the Christian does what is right and leaves the consequences with God. Can it really be right to vote for a man who has taken positions so contrary to Biblical Christianity just on the pragmatic basis that it could end up well after all?

5.) Trump and R2K

There are those in the Christian community who will suggest that as the 2016 general election lies in the common realm therefore we are not bound to apply a Christian moral template to these matters.  For these folks we are to live with the fact that there is no such thing as Christian voting or Christian politics and so we may vote for just about anyone.

Others will arrive at this position by noting that “we are voting for a President, and not a Pastor,” as if we are relieved of having Christian standards for a President. These people forget that the only other position, besides the position of Elders, which are referred to as God’s servants in the New Testament, are magistrates. In Romans 13 the magistrate is  “not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” Now, if the Magistrate as God’s servant (“The Magistrate is the minister of God” — Romans 13:4)  is not to be a terror to good works then should we not be voting for men who have demonstrated themselves to be workers of good works?

R2K, whether of the Lutheran or Reformed variety, is a sure recipe for doing the devil’s work when it comes to election cycles.

6.) Trump as the bulwark against illegal immigration

Actually, this is the one that almost pushes me into the Trump camp. I agree with many experts who contend that if we lose on immigration we lose on everything. One this issue I  have become a “one issue voter.” I am convinced that the International Money interest has determined, in pursuit of a New World Order and in the pursuit of eliminating biblical Christianity that America’s historic Christian and ethnic character must be destroyed. I am convinced that mass immigration is being done to the end of leveling America’s ability to resist the control of the International Money interest. I am convinced that the program of mass third world immigration into the West is pursued to the end of creating a have vs. have not Marxist social order. If I really believed that Trump was going to be a bulwark against this, I might consider voting for him. Alas, I am convinced that Trump is not to be trusted.

I can only adjudicate a man’s intent to keep promises based on his past ability to keep promises. Trump’s failed promises in his previous two marriages suggest to me that I have no reason to believe he will keep his promises to us now. If a man cannot keep his vows as taken publicly before God and man how can I trust him to keep his vows to a nation?

Next on this point, Trump has said, as recently as July of 2015 that his plan to clean up America’s illegal aliens problem is to send them all back so that they can come back legally. Now, Trump wouldn’t let them all return. He has made it clear that the criminal class will not be allowed back. Still, any plan that allows huge numbers to return to America remains an amnesty plan. Such a plan does not answer the intention of the International Money interest plans to assimilate the globe into a New World Order.

I wish Trump were a bulwark to oppose immigration. I do not believe his record or words demonstrate that he is.

7.) Trump as Punishment to the GOP

Of the all the previous one’s I’ve mentioned this one comes the closest to making sense. The GOP, has not, for decades now, represented its conservative base. The likes of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, George H. W. and George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, FOX News, National Review, Red State, Talk Radio, Hillsdale College, the Claremont Institute, Cato Institute, David Frum, Glen Beck, Jonah Goldberg, Charles Krauthammer etc. (what is commonly referred to as “Conservative Inc.) have been the recipients of conservative largess all the while hijacking the Conservative movement and being traitors to Conservatism original intent of regionalism, limited and diffuse Government, and respect for common law and the age old traditions of Biblical Christianity. These Trotskyite neo-cons have slipped the blade to the older conservatism and have successfully reshaped conservatism into their image. They are a loathsome brood of spiders and snakes and if anyone group ever deserved the rise of Donald Trump these people do.  This is why, if Trump is elected, there will remain a part of me that rejoices that these people have been anguished.

These people, who are really Fabian progressives, have never been conservative in any meaningful sense. They are Conservative the way that Marilyn Monroe is conservative when compared with Miley Cyrus. They are the Montagnards to the Girondists of the French Revolution. Their only goal has been to retain power. They have never intended to break up the Jacobin worldview predominating in Washington.

Of course, Trump just doesn’t solve this. I suspect that Trump will end up being just another form of dictator that will serve just another expression of the left.

The hatred of genuinely Christian conservative people for Conservative Inc. is understandable and to be applauded but voting for Trump, while burning down Conservative Inc. will not rebuild the fortunes of America.
The only thing that can do that is Reformation and a return to Christ in our families, our Churches, and our Civil realm.

 

Dr. Piper and His Insistence that Christians Should Lie Down and Die — Part V

Dr. Piper offers,

7. When Jesus told the apostles to buy a sword, he was not telling them to use it to escape the very thing he promised they should endure to the death.

 
[Jesus] said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough [that’s plenty].” (Luke 22:35–38)
 
I do not think that Jesus meant in verse 36 that his disciples were to henceforth be an armed band of preachers ready to use violence to defend themselves from persecution. Jerry Falwell, Jr. said in his clarifying remarks on December 9,
 
It just boggles my mind that anybody would be against what Jesus told his disciples in Luke 22:36. He told them if they had to sell their coat to buy a sword to do it because he knew danger was coming, and he wanted them to defend themselves.
 
If that is the correct interpretation of this text, my question is, “Why did none of his disciples in the New Testament ever do that — or commend that?” The probable answer is that Jesus did not mean for them to think in terms of armed defense for the rest of their ministry. Jesus’s abrupt words, at the end of the paragraph, when the disciples produced two swords, were not, “Well, you need to get nine more.” He said, “It is enough!” or “That’s plenty!” This may well signify that the disciples have given a mistaken literal meaning to a figurative intention. Darrell Bock concludes,
 
Two events [are] commentary on this verse [36]: Jesus’ rebuke of the use of a sword against the high priest’s servant (22:49–51) and the church’s nonviolent response to persecution in the Book of Acts (4:25–31; 8:1–3; 9:1–2; 12:1–5). In fact, Acts 4:25–31 shows the church armed only with prayer and faith in God. Luke 22:36 sees the sword as only a symbol of preparation for pressure, since Jesus’ rebuke of a literal interpretation (22:38) shows that a symbol is meant (Fitzmyer 1985: 1432; Marshall 1978: 825). It points to readiness and self-sufficiency, not revenge (Nolland 1993b: 1076). (Luke, volume 2, page 1747)
 
What seems plain to me is that the uncertainty of this text (which I share) should not be used to silence the others I have cited.

Bret responds,

Those passages that Dr. Piper cites that are supposed to overturn the passage in Luke 22 Piper doesn’t like are in a historical context. Jesus is speaking to his disciples about eventualities that will come upon them. Even if the message to the disciples was to “lie down and die” that wouldn’t necessarily mean that would be the message for all time and all disciples everywhere. The fact that the passages that Dr. Piper quotes (Luke 21:12-19, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 10:16-22) are not necessarily for all disciples at all times everywhere is proven by a differing counsel that the Lord Christ gave to His disciples in Luke 22:36-38

36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

The Lord Christ counsel the purchase of a sword in vs. 36 because unlike the previous, in-house missionary journeys to their fellow Israelites, the Lord Christ knew that He was now sending his disciples out into the hostile/pagan Gentile world and they would need to be prepared to defend themselves. Dr. Piper is reading the Scripture through his Anabaptistic – Pacifistic lenses and so he concludes what he concludes but Anabaptist theology is not God honoring theology.

Dr. Piper follows up his eisegesis with more or arguing from silence. “The Apostles didn’t say anything about self defense therefore that proves we shouldn’t use self defense.” Can you say “fallacious argumentation?”

Dr. Piper complains about Dr. Falwell Jr. trying to use Luke 22 to silence other texts and then Piper turns around and tries to use the other texts to silence Luke 22 by appealing to the time honored evasion of “symbolism.”  On top of that there is the whole reality that Piper is trying to keep this debate in the New Testament. Dr. Piper does this because he knows that if the God’s Word in the whole of Scripture is allowed to speak on this subject his Anabaptist pacifism is even more dead on arrival than it has been seen to be demonstrated in this series.

Dr. Piper offers,

8. A natural instinct is to boil this issue down to the question, “Can I shoot my wife’s assailant?”
 
My answer is sevenfold.
 
1) This instinct is understandable. But it seems to me that the New Testament resists this kind of ethical reduction, and does not satisfy our demand for a yes or no on that question. We don’t like this kind of ambiguity, but I can’t escape it. There is, as I have tried to show, a pervasive thrust in the New Testament pushing us toward blessing and doing good to those who hate, curse, and abuse us (Luke 6:27–28). And there is no direct dealing with the situation of using lethal force to save family and friend, except in regards to police and military. This is remarkable when you think about it, since I cannot help but think this precise situation presented itself, since we read that Saul drug men and women bound to Jerusalem (Acts 9:1–2).

Bret responds,

a.) Everyone reading this should have pity and compassion for Noel Piper, Dr. John Piper’s wife.

b.) Note again how Dr. Piper goes out of his way to limit this discussion to the New Testament. This is all very Marcion of Dr. Piper.

c.) As I have shown in the first entry on this subject, the Reformed Confessions demand that we conclude that we shoot an assailant of our wife if that is the only means from keeping her from being maimed and killed. To not shoot such an assailant would incur God’s displeasure against us for being so cowardly in disobeying the 6th commandment.

d.) Dr. Piper, as I have demonstrated in previous entries, is in error, when he presumes that it is doing evil to those who intend to do harm to the judicially innocent, when we stop them from doing evil. It is not doing evil to them but is returning to them good for evil.

e.) In Dr. Piper’s last sentence above he, once again, argues from silence.

Dr. Piper offers,

2) Our primary aim in life is to show that Christ is more precious than life. So when presented with this threat to my wife or daughter or friend, my heart should incline toward doing good in a way that would accomplish this great aim. There are hundreds of variables in every crisis that might affect how that happens.

Bret responds,

a.) Our primary aim in life is to glorify God. The 6th commandment, with the attendant Catechism explanations, demonstrate that if we do not defend life when defending life is possible we are defaming God.

b.) The fact that our primary aim in life is to show that Christ is more precious than life is itself reason to honor Christ by taking the life of the wicked who would take the life of my wife, daughter, or friend. Christ is glorified when the 6th commandment is esteemed.

Dr. Piper offers,

 
3) Jesus died to keep that assailant from sinning against my family. That is, Jesus’s personal strategy for overcoming crimes was to overcome sinful inclinations by giving his life to pay debts and change hearts. It is no small thing that Peter based non-retaliatory suffering from unjust treatment on the atoning work of Christ as exemplary: “To this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

Bret responds,

a.) Dr. Piper does not know that the Lord Christ died to pay the debt of the assailant who is trying to kill a family member. If the Lord Christ did die for the debt of the assailant then Dr. Piper can be sure that when he fires his weapon to defend his wife, or daughter, that he will not inflict a mortal wound since God never fails to win His elect for whom Christ died.

b .) God’s personal strategy for overcoming crimes is for people to obey his law and the law in Exodus 22 clearly and unambiguously teaches self defense.

c.) Peter is writing a suffering people who have no recourse. Peter is not writing to recommend going out of one’s way to come under suffering.

Dr. Piper offers,

 
4) I realize that even to call the police when threatened — which, in general, it seems right to do in view of Romans 13:1–4 — may come from a heart that is out of step with the mind of Christ. If one’s heart is controlled mainly by fear, or anger, or revenge, that sinful disposition may be expressed by using the police as well as taking up arms yourself.

Bret responds,

a.) Here John’s Anabaptist pacifism reaches so far as to suggest that calling the police would be dishonoring to Christ.

b.) The only way the heart can be in step with the mind of Christ is by esteeming the law of God which requires, via the 6th commandment, self defense. Here John is divorcing God’s Word from the mind of Christ.

Dr. Piper offers

 
5) I live in the inner city of Minneapolis, and I would personally counsel a Christian not to have a firearm available for such circumstances.

Bret responds,

John might as well say,

“I live in the inner city of Minneapolis, and I, as a Anabaptist pacifist, would personally counsel that you make no provision to obey the 6th commandment.”

Dr. Piper offers,

 
6) I do not know what I would do before this situation presents itself with all its innumerable variations of factors. And I would be very slow to condemn a person who chose differently from me.

Bret offers,

That’s big of John to allow that someone who defended his family from murder and mayhem, by way of self defense, might not be condemned by John Piper.

Dr. Piper offers,

7) Back to the first point, it seems to me that the New Testament does not aim to make this clear for us. Its aim is a radically transformed heart that lives with its treasure in another world, longs to show Jesus to be more satisfying than life, trusts in the help of God in every situation, and desires the salvation of our enemies.

Bret responds,

a.) And yet here Dr. Piper has spilled vast amounts of cyber ink to suggest that the NT does make matters clear for us. This statement is schizophrenic on John’s part.

b.) Self defense does not negate, as I have demonstrated in all these entries, the desire for a “radically transformed heart that lives with its treasure in another world, longs to show Jesus to be more satisfying than life, trusts in the help of God in every situation, and desires the salvation of our enemies.” I can do all these things and defend my pregnant wife and toddler children as in keeping with the 6th commandment.

c.) Of course with the way that John has crafted his #7 we see his Marcion like admission that the God of the OT was different than the God of the NT. What John is implying here, perhaps without even realizing is, is that the NT God has one aim while the OT God has a different aim.

Dr. Piper offers,

9. Even though the Lord ordains for us to use ordinary means of providing for life (work to earn; plant and harvest; take food, drink, sleep, and medicine; save for future needs; provide governments with police and military forces for society), nevertheless, the unique calling of the church is to live in such reliance on heavenly protection and heavenly reward that the world will ask about our hope (1 Peter 3:15), not about the ingenuity of our armed defenses.
 
God is our refuge and strength. (Psalm 46:1)
 
My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
 
You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. (Luke 21:17–18)

Bret Responds,

a.) Pretty soon, I expect Dr. Piper to go all John Reed on me and write, “Property is theft.”

b.) If John really believes this then why does he own anything? Is not his ownership of anything proof that he is not living “in such reliance on heavenly protection and heavenly reward that the world will ask about his hope?” Does John lock his door at night? Proof that he isn’t acting as a Christian. Does John lock his car doors? Proof he isn’t acting as a Christian.  Does John buckle up when he goes for a drive? Proof that John isn’t acting as a Christian.  Does John have a savings account? Proof that John isn’t acting as a Christian. Does John vote for the candidate he thinks will be best? Proof that John isn’t acting Christian. All these things that John is doing that is keeping the world from asking about his hope. John should be ashamed and riven with guilt.

Dr. Piper offers,

 
This article is about the people whom the Bible calls “refugees and exiles” on earth; namely, Christians. It’s about the fact that our weapons are not material, but spiritual (2 Corinthians 10:4). It is an argument that the overwhelming focus and thrust of the New Testament is that Christians are sent into the world — religious and non-religious — “as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3). And that exhorting the lambs to carry concealed weapons with which to shoot the wolves does not advance the counter-cultural, self-sacrificing, soul-saving cause of Christ.

Bret responds,

a.) On the potential spirituality of guns see the 3rd paragraph of this entry,

http://ironink.org/?p=5915

b.)  John Piper must really not like the 6th commandment and the Reformed Catechisms that comment on it.

c.) Piper continues with his false dichotomy to the bitter end. There is no dichotomy between protecting the lives of the judicially innocent and advancing the cause of Christ. Indeed, Dr. Piper might be amazed at how people stand up and notice the cause of Christ once a few Christians step forward to defend their wives and families from deranged sociopaths with weapons.

Honestly, I hope that Dr. Piper.’s writing can be explained by his suffering from some form of dementia that is driving him to write this kind of drivel. I would hate to think that Dr. Piper honestly is in full possession of his faculties and so really believes this eisegesis. This kind of drivel is detracting from the really stellar work he did 20-30 years ago. 


Dr. Piper and His Insistence That Christians Lie Down and Die — Part IV

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/should-christians-be-encouraged-to-arm-themselves.

Dr. Piper offers,

4. Jesus set the stage for a life of sojourning in this world where we bear witness that this world is not our home, and not our kingdom, by renouncing the establishment or the advancement of our Christian cause with the sword.

 
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36)
 
Jesus said to [Peter], “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)

Bret

a.) Jesus also came to die for the sins of His people. Does that mean that we likewise are called to die for the sins of people? Jesus also went about doing miracles. Does that mean that we likewise are called to go about doing miracles?

Of course the point here is that we are not called to do everything that Jesus was called to do. We are not called to born of a Virgin. We are not called to resurrect on the third day.

b.) Dr. Piper fails to explain how self-defense of the lives of the judicially innocent from the threat of the wicked is an example of trying to “establish or advance our Christian cause with the sword.” Dr. Piper fails to demonstrate that those who follow the 6th commandment in self defense means that we are trying to communicate that this world is our Christian home and is our Christian Kingdom.

c.) We could just as easily argue, in contradiction to Dr. Piper, that as Jesus came to establish His Kingdom in and over this world we should likewise seek to establish the Kingdom of God in and over this world.

d.) Dr. Piper then offers Scripture, completely taken out of context and misinterpreted.

For Dr. Piper’s mishandling of John 18:36 see,

My Kingdom Is Not Of This World

The Matthew 26 passage has a very established context. The most we can prove from it is that we should not use self defense to protect people who are on their way to the Cross to die for the sins of the world. This is especially so, where elsewhere in the Synoptic Gospels (Luke 22:36f) the Lord Christ expressly instruct His disciples to carry a sword.

Dr. Piper offers,

To be sure, there are many ambiguities about being exiles on this earth with our citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20), while at the same time being called to serve in the structures of society (1 Peter 2:13). But no book of the Bible wrestles with this more directly than 1 Peter, and the overwhelming thrust of that book is this: As you suffer patiently and even joyfully for your faith, do so much good that people will ask a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15).
 
I think I can say with complete confidence that the identification of Christian security with concealed weapons will cause no one to ask a reason for the hope that is in us. They will know perfectly well where our hope is. It’s in our pocket.

Bret responds,

a.) The fact that Dr. Piper admits there are ambiguities might mean that he should be a little less dogmatic on his pacifistic declamations.

b.) The fact that Christians will suffer — and should do so patiently and joyfully — is not itself proof against the fact that Christians are commanded to defend themselves when able. The way Piper is reasoning here, one would think that Christians should be required to seek to put themselves under suffering.  Peter’s book is speaking in the context of when suffering comes upon us. Peter is not teaching that all Christians must themselves seek out situations where they can suffer.

c.) Dr. Piper again makes the mistake of supposing that all because someone takes the 6th commandment seriously therefore that means that they are identifying with the tools used to esteem the 6th commandment.

d.) Given Dr. Piper’s reasoning one could as easily say, “I think I can say with complete confidence that the identification of Christian security with wearing safety belts will cause no one to ask a reason for the hope that is in us. They will know perfectly well where our hope is. It’s across our chest while driving.”

Does Dr. Piper wear a seat belt while driving? Well, clearly no one will now ask him for the reason of the hope that is within him.

Dr. Piper presses on,

 
5. Jesus strikes the note that the dominant (not the only) way Christians will show the supreme value of our treasure in heaven is by being so freed from the love of this world and so satisfied with the hope of glory that we are able to love our enemies and not return evil for evil, even as we expect to be wronged in this world.

Bret responds,

a.) Why would Dr. Piper suppose that self defense means that those defending themselves no longer have as their supreme value our treasure in heaven? All because we take the 6th commandment seriously it means that we are not freed from the love of this world?

b.) Why would Dr. Piper think, that firing a weapon in defense of the judicially innocent against the wicked, who would unjustly and without biblical warrant take the life of children and women, be an example of returning evil for evil?

c.) Why would Dr. Piper think that because we expect to be wronged in this world therefore we should do everything we can to facilitate being wronged in this world? When Dr. Piper is wrongly accused of some heinous crime he committed while doing counseling does he not defend himself against such accusations because he expects to be wronged in this world?

d.) I would insist, in keeping with the 6th commandment, that when we return fire upon evil men seeking to take the lives of the judicially innocent we are at that point most certainly not returning evil for evil but are returning good for evil.

Dr. Piper offers,

 
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:38–39)
 
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:44–45)
 
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11–12)

Bret responds,

a.) The “turn the other cheek” passage (Matthew 5:38-42), often cited to support an extreme pacifism, clearly addresses our reaction to personal insults and inconveniences, and not serious threats to one’s life, family, livelihood, or home.

b.) When justice, in the context of self defense, is visited upon the wicked who are seeking to harm the judicially innocent,  we are loving our enemies.

c.) Matthew 5:11-12 has nothing to do with this conversation. We can still defend ourselves and remember that we are blessed with others revile us and persecute us and utter all kinds of evil against us falsely on the account of Christ.

Dr. Piper offers,

The point of Matthew 5:11–12 is that Christians are freed to rejoice in persecution because our hearts have been so changed that we are more satisfied in the hope of heaven than in the hope of self-defense. This is the root of turning the other cheek and loving the enemy. The steadfast love of the Lord is better than life (Psalm 63:3). Or as Paul put it, “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7–8).
 
Jesus struck the note that the way his disciples demonstrate most forcefully the supreme value of knowing him is by “letting goods and kindred go, this mortal life also,” and calling it “gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Bret responds,

a.) Matthew 5:11-12 says nothing about the abjuring of self defense. This is complete eisegesis on the part of Dr. Piper.  I can be free to rejoice in persecution and reload at the same time.

b.) The steadfast love of the Lord lies upon those who esteem the 6th commandment.

c.) All because I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord doesn’t mean I stand by and allow women to be raped, children to be killed, and the judicially innocent to be attacked because I’ve concluded, by way of the grossest eisegesis, that the Scriptures teach Anabaptist pacifism.

Dr. Piper continues,

 
6. The early church, as we see her in Acts, expected and endured persecution without armed resistance, but rather with joyful suffering, prayer, and the word of God.
 
“Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:29–31)

Bret responds,

a.) Dr. Piper continues to compare apples with hot pocket’s pizza. Of course it is the case when we have been stripped of all ability to defend ourselves we must entrust ourselves to the God of hosts who fights for us. However, all because we entrust ourselves, when completely stripped of the ability to use tools to esteem the 6th commandment, to the God of hosts who fights for us, doesn’t mean that when God has providentially provided weapons of self defense we should not use them. The Hebrew children could not fight against Egypt because they had no way to resist Egypt and they witnessed the God of Host be Warrior on their behalf. Later the God of Hosts fought through them and their weapons of which they now commanded.

b.) The Acts 4 passage and Dr. Piper’s usage of it is another example of gross exegesis. What could that passages possibly have to do with the propriety of self defense. Dr. Piper takes a unique historical situation and absolutizes it to prove that Christians shouldn’t defend the judicially innocent against the intention of evil men firing weapons.

c.) Doubtless there will again be times when Christians have to endure persecution as unarmed. One thinks of the Armenian Christians in Turkey at the turn of the 20th century. One thinks of the Ukrainian Christians during the Holdomar. But the reality of these persecutions doesn’t prove that therefore we should do all we can to make sure that we too come under the hand of the Satanists. Should God decide to place us in the kiln of oppression we should rejoice for great is our award in heaven. However, that is not the same as crawling in the kiln of oppression by our own idiotic reasoning.  

Dr. Piper offers,

In all the dangers Paul faced in the book of Acts, there is not a hint that he ever planned to carry or use a weapon for his defense against his adversaries. He was willing to appeal to the authorities in Philippi (Acts 16:37) and Jerusalem (Acts 22:25). But he never used a weapon to defend himself against persecution.

Bret responds,

This is called arguing from silence and is universally recognized as weak argumentation.

R2K Advocate Dr. Rev. Brian Lee and Planned Parenthood II

“But the command to not take a life is not a command to pass a law not to take a life. Nor is it a command to politically agitate or lobby for such a law. Such political activity could be understood to run counter to Paul’s command to church to “live quietly and mind your own affairs” (1 Thessalonians 4:11).”
 
~ Dr. Brian Lee, WSC grad & R2k disciple.