Tolkien On The Senselessness Of War

“I have just heard the news…. Russians 60 miles from Berlin. It does look as if something decisive might happen soon. The appalling destruction and misery of this war mount hourly; destruction of what should be (and indeed is) the common wealth of Europe, and the world, if mankind were not so besotted, wealth the loss of which will affect us all, victors or not. Yet people gloat to hear of the endless lines, 40 miles long, of miserable refugees, women and children pouring West, dying on the way. There seems to be no bowels of mercy or compassion, no imagination, left in this dark diabolic hour. By which I do not mean that it may not all, in the present situation, mainly (not solely) created by Germany, be necessary and inevitable. But why gloat?! We were supposed to have reached a stage of civilization in which it might still be necessary to execute a criminal, but not to gloat, or to hang his wife and child by him while the orc-crowd hooted.”

At the time of V-E day J. R. R. Tolkien wrote again to his son Christopher;

“It all seems rather a mockery to me, for the War is not over …. But it is of course wrong to fall into such a mood, for the wars are always lost, and the War always goes on; and it is no good growing faint!”

“In these two brief excerpts from Tolkien’s letters we find much of what has gone into the tale of the Ring, and much of what makes it Biblical;

1.) The primary emphasis on compassion.
2.) The tragic sense of the ‘besotted’ human condition.
3.) The sense that all sides are to blame, not just ‘theirs.’
4.) The renunciation of ‘self-righteousness,’ and ‘gloating.’
5.) The necessity of taking extreme action under pressure.
6.) The conviction that all of life is an ongoing battle.
7.) The certainty that the Shadow will always gather strength and return.
8.) The determination to persevere


We find all of this in the story,front and center. And we find something more; the overarching presence of the unseen hosts of heaven, flashing through the work in brief strokes of unforgettable brilliance.”

Fleming Rutledge
The Battle for Middle Earth; Tolkien’s Divine Design in the Lord of the Rings — p. 14-15

War should be avoided at almost all costs. It is a terror inducing phenomenon that results not only in dead but the living dead. However it has happened in history that war is forced upon a people and when that happens then war it must be. And if forced into war then our mindset towards the enemy must be what noted Presbyterian Deacon Gen. Thomas Jackson’s was. When a member of Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s staff asked, “What can we do about this kind of barbaric behavior?”

The Presbyterian Deacon Jackson replied, his voice trembling with rage, “Kill ’em. Kill ’em all.”

Religious Secularism, Unitarianism, & the Scrubbing of Hegemonic Christianity

In as much as what is known as Secularism works to the end of de-sacralizing and so profaning the public square in that much what is known as Secularism is a Unitarian movement. If there is no room for the sacred in the public square then all that is left is for everything is the public square to be profane. If everything is profane then everything can be treated without regard, honor, or respect. At that point everything is the seen as the same. The heterosexual is the same as the homosexual is the same as the Transsexual, is the same as the Pedophile, is the same as the Necrophiliac. If the public realm is ONLY secular then the public realm becomes by default Unitarian because the loss of the ability to distinguish between profane and sacred in the public realm implies the loss of making value judgments about anything.

And so, that which is known as secularism feeds egalitarianism as egalitarianism feeds secularism as they together reciprocally support the monism of Unitarianism.

One more lap here. If the goal in what is called secularism is really about eliminating the privileged position of the once hegemonic Christianity then what has to be eliminated as well are those who have historically been the carriers of Christianity. Secularism can not eliminate the idea of Biblical Christianity without eliminating the concrete White Anglo Saxon Christians who have been those who have been the carriers of civiliational Christianity. One requires the other. Just as one does not eliminate the disease of the bubonic plague without eliminating the rats that carried the disease so secularism can not eliminate Biblical Christianity without eliminating the civilizational carriers of Biblical Christianity.

There are those who get the first point here that “religious secularism” implies the elimination of hegemonic Christianity but they void their bowels over tying the work of religious secularism with the elimination of hegemonic Christianity as necessarily implying the elimination of White Anglo Saxon Christians. In my estimation that fear is because religious secularism has already done more than half of its necessary work.

Scripture & the “R” Word – II



We continue to examine this article of Timothy L. Cho

https://faithfullymagazine.com/bible-silent-racism/

Cho, produces the Image of God as Scriptural proof that “Racism” is not biblical. Cho in this proof finally gives us a definition of “Racism.” Cho offers,

1. THE IMAGE OF GOD


In the opening verses of the Bible, we learn that the Creator of all things uniquely created humanity in His own image (Genesis 1:27). Inherent to humanity is image-bearing. It is actually inaccurate to say that people have the image of God, as though it’s something we have rather than who we are. It is more accurate, according to the Bible, to say that we are the image of God. What that means is that nothing can strip a person of that inherent dignity. Further, any attempt to ignore, hide, or demean that image-bearing is like smashing a portrait of God Himself. Racism is “a system of advantage based on race,” as Beverly Daniel Tatum states. Such a system directly attempts to contradict the inherent dignity that is due equally to every person. It is replying, “No, He didn’t,” to the Bible’s statement that God created humanity in His image and likeness.”

First, let us deal with Mr. Cho’s definition of “Racism,” as borrowed by Beverly Daniel Tatum, “a system of advantage based on race.” With this definition we learn that all love for family is an example of “Racism.” Think about it. A Father earns his paycheck. At the end of the week he buys shoes and groceries for his family (and not for every other family on the block) and so provides for his family. At that point per Choiand Tatum the Father is now a committed “Racist.” Family, and for that matter Marriage, is a system of advantage based on blood (Race). This definition is ridiculous and if genuinely serious is an attempt to completely destroy the family. So, we see that Cho’s definition of “Racism,” is obscenely vacuous. If this is the true definition of “Racism,” then all men should plead daily that God would grant them the gift of Racism.

Second, we are happy to conceded that all men, regardless of their race are image bearers of God.

Third, since Cho and Tatum’s definition of Racism is utter nonsense we therefore reject the idea that people who are of the same race are denying the inherent dignity of other races when families prefer their kin over and above the stranger or the alien. Indeed, Scripture requires that men uniquely provide for their own distinct people,

I Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Keep in mind that by Cho’s definition of Racism, St. Paul is a Racist given what he wrote to Timothy above.

So, the first Scriptural proof that Cho produces as proof against “Racism,” is utterly bankrupt.

Cho continues with his hilarious proofs from Scripture that “Racism” is sin,

2. MOSES’ CUSHITE WIFE

What many readers of the Bible fail to realize is that when God liberated the Hebrews from their oppression in Egypt, many non-Hebrews joined them in their sojourning (Exodus 12:38-39). This multitude was ethnically distinct from the Hebrew people, and among them was a Cushite woman whom Moses took as his wife (Numbers 12:1). “Cush,” in that time, regularly referred to a large mass of land south of Egypt, meaning that Moses’ wife was likely a Black African woman. Miriam and Aaron speak against Moses because of this interracial marriage, but in response, God curses Miriam with leprosy, making her “as white as snow” (Numbers 12:10). The play on words is intentional and striking. It’s as if God is saying, If you have a problem with the Cushite woman’s dark skin, I’ll make you as white as snow, Miriam. This account in the Bible is where the rubber really hits the road. Often, a test of racism is how integrated you are willing to have your life with those different from you. God’s curse on Miriam is a clear sign that interracial marriage is not only approved in His eyes but that any attempts to argue against it and an integrated life are fundamentally cursed by God.

Here Mr. Cho’s exegesis suspect. The above turns on how we understand Numbers 12. There we find that Moses marries a foreign wife but when his sister and brother speak against Moses, God strikes Miriam with leprosy and Aaron is not punished. How do we make sense of this? John Calvin’s Commentaries provide the answer and helps us understand this difficult passage.

Calvin says Miriam (mentioned first in verse 1) stirred up her brother Aaron and the two spoke out against Moses out of jealousy for the special relationship their younger brother, Moses, had with God. God rebukes them, for He chose Moses for a closer relationship than all the prophets, as seen by God speaking face-to-face with Moses rather than by visions. Rather than challenge Moses’ place, Miriam should have instead been thankful that she was gifted to prophesy and Aaron should have been thankful for the priesthood given to him and his sons — both gifts given to them because of their relation to Moses. God cursed Miriam with leprosy for instigating the rebellion and had mercy on whom He would have mercy (i.e. – Aaron), perhaps because of the priesthood. Seeing his sister’s leprosy, Aaron recognized the punishment upon both himself and his sister (“us” verse 11). He was also forced to acknowledge the place of his younger brother, Moses, by crying out to him for mercy: “my lord.”

Who was the foreign “Cushite” wife Moses married?

The notion that Moses took a second “Cushite” wife comes from the historian Josephus (Antiquities Chapter 10). Josephus claimed that a young Moses living in Egypt had married a Ethiopian/Cushite woman named Tharbis prior to fleeing Egypt and marrying Zipporah. Irenaeus quotes Josephus here.

Calvin says “the Cushite” was not a second wife but Moses first and only wife, Zipporah, the Midianite (descended from Abraham, Gen 25:2). Habakkuk 3:7 mentions together the “the tents of Cushan,” and “the land of Midian,” showing the close relationship between the names of those living in the region of Arabia. Augustine and the many other commentators agree with this view. Cho is just in error and this passage does not approve that Christians are more noble if they have lots of minority friends above those dirty racist Christians who only have friends from their own race.

Cho next appeals to Ruth as a Scriptural proof that Racism is a sin,

3. RUTH THE MOABITE


The story of Ruth is often told like a Hallmark movie, but we miss out if we neglect God’s love story underlying the love story between Ruth and Boaz. It was the duty of Israelite men to act as kinsman-redeemers when their relatives were found in dire straits. Because of the death of Naomi’s husband and both of her sons-in-law, both Naomi and Ruth were in a highly vulnerable state. When the closest of kin is asked to act as kinsman-redeemer, he at first agrees, but then changes his mind when he realizes that this would involve marrying Ruth, a Moabite woman. This man replaced the command of God to be a kinsman-redeemer for his own ethnic comfort.

Boaz stands in his place as someone who loved God more than personal and social discomfort. The ending of the book tells us as well that in three generations in the line of Ruth comes King David (Ruth 4:18-22). This is profound because of a previous law that stated that no Moabite or any of their descendants for ten generations may be admitted to the assembly of the LORD (Deuteronomy 23:3). This tells us two things. First, the prohibition of Moabites entering into the assembly of God’s people was temporary, likely to ensure that God’s people would not commit heinous idolatry. Second, and most importantly, God intentionally bent His own law in order to prove the point that ethnic superiority is contrary to His will. Ruth – in all of who she is – is listed not only within the genealogy of the great King David but also the Greater King Jesus (Matthew 1:5).

Here once again Cho misinterprets Scripture though we will allow that this passages is hotly contested among scholars as to the exact identity of Ruth.

First, this is supposed to provide a proof against “Racism,” and yet even were Ruth a Moabite she was still of the same race as Boaz. They were both Shemites. They would’ve been of different ethnic lines within the Shemite race but they were of the same race. Therefore, even if Ruth and Boaz were married as Moabite and Hebrew their marriage would not have provided a proof against Racism.

Second, nowhere in the account of Ruth is the closest relative who refused Ruth condemned as being unfaithful to God or involved in sin by refusing Ruth or as someone who loved his comfort more or God less than Boaz.

Third, there are scholars who contend that Ruth was not even an ethnic Moabite. This claim may be counter-intuitive but there is biblical history which suggests that the Mobabites had long been destroyed before Ruth showed up in the land that was formerly Moab’s. In the history of this land Amorites under their King Sihon, wiped out the Moabites and occupied their land sending the Moabites into captivity (Number 21:29-30). At a future time Israel then pushed out the Amorites from this land just as the Amorites had earlier pushed out the Moabites (Numbers 21:33-35; Dt. 2:30-34). Israel then crossed the Jordan leaving to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh the land which had belonged to the Amorites and before that to the Moabites (Deut. 3:12-16; 29:7-8; Josh. 13:32) as those tribes requested land inheritance (Nu. 32). What all this tells us is that by the time of Ruth’s lifetime the Moabite people who remained were landless vagabonds. The land which had once belonged to the Mobabites remained known as the “land of Moab,” but the inhabitants were ethnic Israelis. This would mean that Ruth was, in point of fact, a descendant of Israel.

Then there are several passages in Ruth that would seem to confirm the idea that Ruth was an ethnic Israelite. In Ruth 2:20 we read,

Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.”

This language seems to point to the reality that Ruth was not a Moabitess for how could Ruth have a close relative in Israel if she was a Moabitess? How could she have a Kinsman-Redeemer if she was not kin to Israel?

Again,

Ruth 3:13 Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the Lord lives! Lie down until morning.”

Boaz was a close relative of Ruth as was another man who had first crack before Boaz. This forces us to say again that Ruth was not a Moabitess since if she had been a Moabitess Boaz could not have been her close relative.

Then there is the commandment of God that Moabites were not allowed into the Temple to the 10th generation. If Ruth was a Moabite then King David could not have entered the Assembly since Ruth was only 3 generations prior to King David.

Deut. 23:3 “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever.

All of this is just to say that what Cho has provided does not prove that Scripture speaks against a system of advantage based on race (Racism).

Cho plods on to prove that the Bible speaks against a system of advantage based on race (Racism). Cho puts forth Jonah as his text proof,



4. JONAH’S RACISMJonah believed he knew better than God, but in this way, he demonstrated that he was deficient in knowing how much he himself needed grace. His ethnic protectionism blinded him from the scandal of grace.”

Another story that is well-known is that of Jonah. Though many may emphasize Jonah and the big fish, what is often missing is the fact that Jonah’s disobedience to God was at least in part racially motivated. Jonah knew that God would be gracious and compassionate and stop His hand from destroying the land of Nineveh if they repented (Jonah 4:1-3). Nineveh was the capital of oppression to the Israelite people. They were known for their immorality, tyranny, and heinous actions against God’s people. In Jonah’s eyes, they were beyond forgiveness. They were not only non-Israelites, but they were anti-Israelites. If he followed God’s command to preach in Nineveh, there was a chance that God would forgive them and they would be brought to equal footing with His own people. To prevent what he thought was the greatest nightmare imaginable, he disobeyed and ran. Jonah believed he knew better than God, but in this way, he demonstrated that he was deficient in knowing how much he himself needed grace. His ethnic protectionism blinded him from the scandal of grace.

Contrary to Cho’s assertions there are points for not calling Jonah “Racist.”

Jonah’s sin is not found in his putative “racism” but in his falling into the sin of Rationalism. Jonah lifted his well intended reasoning above God’s Revelation. God had told Jonah to go to Nineveh. That is all Jonah needed in order to go. Instead Jonah reasoned that God would be dishonored by his going to Nineveh and by the Assyrians repentance. Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh because he knew that God would give repentance to Assyria (Nineveh) and Jonah reasoned that would detract from God’s glory if the God haters who were not God’s people repented while the Northern Kingdom who Jonah labored in calling to repentance did not repent. Jonah understandably believed that if those who were not God’s people repented it would blacken God’s glory because those who were God’s people (Northern Kingdom) did not repent. Jonah had labored all his life in Samaria among his own people calling for repentance with no fruit. Those of the Northern Kingdom were God’s people. It was there that repentance should have been expected.

Secondly, Jonah did not want “to be the instrument that God would use to bring Nineveh to repentance, because such a action would make Jonah look like a traitor to his own people. The rabbis held a similar position. According to M. Avrum Ehrlich, many rabbis concluded that “their actions (Nineveh’s repentance) would show the Hebrews to be stiff-necked and stubborn.” Another Midrash explains that “Jonah… chose to disobey God so as to save his own people.”

So, contrary to Cho’s modern evangelicalism’s knee jerk insistence that Jonah was a racist, we might instead see Jonah, whose sin was not Racism, as committing a sin of a rationalism that found Jonah lifting his own ratiocination above God’s explicit command. Jonah’s sin was born of two instincts gone wrong,

1.) A wrong headed desire to protect God’s glory that defied God’s explicit command

2.) A desire to protect his own people, born of love now misguided, from being shamed

This great affection of Jonah’s for his people is something that was shared by others in God’s Revelation. Paul could say in Romans 9,


1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness, and continual sorrow in mine heart. 3 For I would wish myself to be separate from Christ, for my brethren that are my kinsmen according to the flesh,


 And Moses uttered this same desire, that somehow his death may be the propitiation for his people when he said in Exodus

32:32,  “Therefore now if thou pardon their sin, thy mercy shall appear: but if thou wilt not, I pray thee, blot me out of thy book, which thou hast written.”

Will we also accuse St. Paul and Moses of Racism?


So if we are going to fault Jonah, let us fault him for the proper reason. Jonah’s fault was found not in some kind of 21st century version of racism. Jonah’s fault was that he loved his conception of God and God’s glory above the God of the Bible. Jonah was zealous for God’s glory according to his fallen human reason as opposed to being zealous for God’s glory according to God’s command. Secondarily, Jonah’s fault was that he loved his own people, just as Paul and Moses had done, above loving God’s command. Jonah’s sin was the sin of a wrongly directed love. Jonah’s sin was not the sin of a wrongly directed hate. Not wanting to go to Nineveh had to do with Jonah’s falling into the same kind of Rationalism that Adam and Eve fell into when they lifted their reason above God’s command.


Jonah’s sin was not racism. Jonah’s sin was rationalism. Cho’s handling of the Jonah text is a mishandling of the text. Cho gives us eisegesis and then calls people who don’t agree with him “Racist.”

In part III we will conclude dismissing Timothy L. Cho’s charges of the Church’s “racism.”

From the Mailbag; Fencing with Arminians

Pastor,

So, before you confessed Christ you were already saved?
Evan Ulmer

Hello Evan,

Well, careful theologians make the distinction between objective justification and subjective justification. Objectively, I was set apart for from the foundations of the world, justified in the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ and subjectively justified when the Holy Spirit regenerates and publishes to my consciousness my salvation to the end that we repent, confess, and subjectively inheriting what was laid up for me in the work of the Cross.

Think of Objective justification, as based on election from eternity past and as gained by the death of Christ on the Cross, as all the elect having an inheritance set apart for them that they will, by God’s grace alone, subjectively acquire on the appointed day of regeneration.

This is what the bible teaches,

1.) The lamb of God was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13) thus giving us a glimpse that our Justification is eternal in its intent. This is underscored by the language in,

2.) Eph. 1:4 “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He [a]made us accepted in the Beloved.”

This is reinforced in St. Paul’s language in Romans 3

3.) Jesus Christ was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised BECAUSE of our justification.

We were objectively justified in the work of Christ

In Christ, God’s elect one, Christ’s elect brothers and sisters were saved from the foundations of the earth. Hebrews 2 when take together with what we have already demonstrated states this as well,

Hebrews 2:4 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Note here that the elect were considered children BEFORE they partook of flesh and blood. Being the God of all grace to His pre-incarnate elect children the elect Christ is incarnated that His elect own might be released from the devil.

It is the Arminians who remove the focal point of the cross insisting that the Cross itself cannot saved. Arminians insist that “dead in trespasses and sins” humans must add their will to Christ’s work in order to make Christ’s work efficacious. Christ is the Nitro but he is an inert component without the glycerin of the human will consenting.

Calvinists believe that CHRISTS DEATH SAVES. Arminians believe that Christ death gives dead sinners the opportunity to save themselves by choosing Christ.

From the Mailbag — Twin Spin On Church & State

Pastor,

I always hear Christians talking down on the idea of a theocracy and praising the idea that America has no religious test for holding public office. Whats your take on this?

Noa Napoleon
Hawaii

Noa,

Thank you for writing. This is a question that is bandied about quite a bit and so it is good to have a go at it here.

Folks who speak the way that you have asked about have embraced a common error. It is so common we now have a whole theological school committed to the possibility of this impossibility. It is called “R2K,” or “The Escondido Theology.” Contrary to the R2K boys, we simply must realize that Theocracy is an inescapable reality. ALL governments (EVERY LAST ONE THAT HAVE EVER EXISTED OR WILL EXIST) are theocratic. All Governments descend from, reflect some, embody some or dependent upon a theology / religion. This includes ours. Our Government, speaking out of both sides of its mouth will say at various times that either all religions must be allowed in the public square — and then serves as the true God by saying how far the various gods are allowed to walk in the public square, — or alternately that no gods may walk in the public square and then serves as the true god by being the god that locks all the other gods out of the public square. So, our pluralism really isn’t pluralistic. Instead we have one God who the FEDS serve. The name of the God in our system is named “Demos,” and the religion our Government practices is Statist Democracy.

Secondly, America DOES have a religious test. Its religious test is that religious tests are disallowed. No one will be allowed to affirm loyalty to any singular God alone and if they will not abide by that they will never be elected.

So, Noa, theocracy is an inescapable concept. I think we ought to replace the religious test we have to a Christian religious test that requires affirming the God of the Bible and His Law-Word.

Allow me to put a fine point on this answer regarding religious tests and seek to give some context. First, when the founding fathers spoke of “religion” or “religious test” they assumed some ilk of Christianity. To them “no religious test” meant that public office should not be limited to Presbyterians or Lutherans or Congregationalists. To them “no religious test” was not meant to leave public office open to Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, and whatever. The religious test idea was pushed off because they didn’t want any one stripe of Christianity to be able to forbid other stripes of Christianity from serving in the Federal Government. They desired to leave the issue of State religions to the various colonies / states, many of whom already had their own arrangements between a particular denomination and support from an individual state.

Secondly, the original understanding of our US Constitution was that it was created by 13 nation/states for their mutual protection. The federal government was one of strictly defined delegated and enumerated powers. The prohibition against test oaths was only for that federal government. Most, if not all, of the 13 nation/states had mentions of Christ in their own constitutions and had no prohibition against oaths or creeds declared in the federal constitution regarding their own state required religious tests and oaths. The federal government would be comprised of men who had already taken religious oaths when they served in the various State governments from which they would be drawn to serve eventually in the Federal Government.

—————-

Dear Pastor,

Are you saying that false teachers and heretics, do not have a right to practice their faith and believe and do you want the government involved in that process of determining which religion gets to practice their religion and which doesn’t?

Matthew Pasalic
Maryland

Dear Matthew,

You will be glad to know that I am not saying that.

I am saying that God says just that.

It is correct that Christ-haters do not have a right to practice their Christ hating faith and beliefs. If they had the right to do that where would that right come from? From the God who demands that there shall be no other Gods before Him?

And in terms of the Government being involved in the process of determining who does and does not get to practice their religion, well, they already are. Just try to tell the US Government that you have the place to teach Christ in the Governments schools. Just try to tell the FEDS that the FEDS must make sodomite marriage illegal again.

Every law that a governing body makes is an establishment of a religion since all laws are based on a morality and all morality is dependent upon religion. Lawmaking thus is the government being involved in the process of determining who does and does not get to practice their religion.

See … Governments always are inescapably involved in that process of determination.

This is why R2K is such a torpid “theology.” It desires to keep religion out of the public square and out of Government, as if such a thing were possible. R2K theologians with their desire to consign the Christian religion to the Church guarantees that other religions will take over the public square. A singular religion in the public square is an inescapable reality.