The Joint Work of Liberalism & Alienism

When living in a liberal social order moral principles are required to be considered nothing but individual subjective opinions which are all equally valuable and equally valueless. The chief public value of a liberal social order is that no public value is allowed to have public value in the public square above any other value. This means that Liberalism gives birth to Alienism inasmuch as Liberalism alienates the liberal from the idea that objective moral values exist. If there are no objective moral values that circumscribe all men then all that is left is an alienism from all else besides the sovereign autonomous self who does the value choosing/determining.

This in turn means that the Liberal is alienated from all other norm making mechanisms. The Liberal is alienated from his own civilization/culture, the Liberal is alienated from any idea of transcendent truth, the Liberal is alienated from any notion of an extra-mundane God and the Liberal is alienated from reality and all this because it is the Liberal’s creed that each of these and all of these are person variable. All that is left to the consistent Liberal is his own alienation born of the conviction of the sovereign autonomous self that there are no objective moral values that can circumscribe the sovereign autonomous self. There is nowhere else to go except to an alienism that supports the Liberal’s instinct that there is no objective moral order to call home. This explains why the Liberal tends to embrace those very realities that are in conflict with those realities that were once his own. Having been alienated from his own civilization/culture, transcendent truth, God, and reality the Liberal begins to own as His own that which is alien to what he is now alienated. Liberalism alienates and in alienating turns the alienated one to love the strange and the alien.

For the alienated “consistent” liberal the norms that once normed his world are now the enemy. For example belonging to kith and kin, love of God and country, and a sense of place instead of being sources of comfort for the Liberal are now to he who has become the Alienist, sources of all evils, oppressions, and injustice. However all this righteous self-indignation of the Liberal/Alienist is in fact driven by a inward disorder within themselves born of their insistence that no objective moral order exists. Their outrage against the norms that once normed their world is in point of fact their attempt to prove their foundational liberal conviction that they are masters of their self-created universe where no objective moral values exist. In order to sustain their Liberalism wherein they are the sovereign and autonomous creators of all private value they must embrace an alienism that denies any previous macro norms that normed all norms.

So, consistent Liberalism leads to Alienism and Alienism is the love of the other; of the stranger and the alien. This Alienism then leads to a need to attack and destroy all previous owned norms so as to demonstrate that there exist no objective moral public values that all must own. There can be no yardstick or canon to which the sovereign, autonomous Liberal/Alienist self must be measured.

Examples abound that demonstrate what I am getting at;

1.) The Liberal idea that the sovereign autonomous self cannot be challenged in determining moral values translates into the loss of a self-control that bespeaks conforming to a standard outside. This lack of self-control in turns eviscerates all other sense of traditional values as found in family or community. This evisceration creates Alienism in family structures and serves as a destroyer of familial stability and harmony. The family is irretrievably harmed and the irony enters in when the Liberal/Alienist blames the destruction of family values on the antiquarian Christian notions of family.

2.) The Liberal idea that the sovereign autonomous self cannot be challenged in determining moral values translates into the creation of a new morality that is at war with the previous norms that the Liberal/Alienist is now fighting against. Consequently, their arises the anti-morality morality of the sodomite, the tranny, and the Drag Queen child groomers. Once this new morality of the Liberal/Alienist begins to unravel as it must, the hue and cry goes up that the chao that results is the fault of repressive Christian values.

3.) The Liberal idea that the sovereign autonomous self cannot be challenged in determining moral values translates into the denial of patriarchy and the Christian idea of male and female roles as a pervious Christian norm. The Liberal/Alienist insists now that men and women are interchangeable cogs or are merely social constructs. When this creates the social disintegration that it must the Liberal/Alienist doesn’t own his mess but instead screeches that the problem is that too much patriarchy still exists and it is that patriarchy that accounts for the social disintegration.

4.) The Liberal idea that the sovereign autonomous self cannot be challenged in determining moral values translates into the destruction of home in the pursuit of expanding America so as to make it more inclusive and more diverse. The Liberal/Alienist insists now that the previous Christian norm that a nation was related to common descent is passe and so the Liberal/Alienist seeks to prove their Liberal/Alienist credentials by destroying home.  When that vision begins to demonstrate the creaking and cracking of racial/cultural tensions the Liberal insists that the reason for the lack of success is that there remain to many people who do not share the Liberal/Alienist vision.

That this Liberal vision would eventually lead to a normative destructing Alienism was always the vision of the far-sighted consistent Liberals as seen in a bevy of quotes from earlier Liberals;

“Every child in America entering school at the age of five is MENTALLY ILL because he comes to school with certain allegiances toward our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you teachers to make all of these sick children well by creating the international children of the future.”

~Dr. Chester M. Pierce

“What the church has been for medieval man the public school must become for democratic and rational man. God will be replaced by the concept of the public good…The common schools…shall create a more far-seeing intelligence and a pure morality than has ever existed among communities of men.”

~Horace Mann

“The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new–the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.”

~John Dunphy, The Humanist, January / February 1983

“Faith in the prayer-hearing God is an unproved and outmoded faith. There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, the immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes.”

~John Dewey “Soul searching” Teacher Magazine, September 1933

We see with this flurry of quotes another connection between Liberalism and Alienism and that is the conviction that man is naturally good. If Liberalism and Alienism (the love of the “other” over love of one’s own) stand together on the premise that atomistic man is sovereign and autonomous they are intertwined on the conviction that man in inherently good. This conviction must demolish every other competing anthropology that would deny this idea of man’s inherent goodness. This means that Liberalism and Alienism must be at war with any Civilizational or cultural order that embraces the Christian notion of man as fallen and by nature sinful. Liberalism/Alienism will not be satisfied until all other competitors to its civilizational hegemony are laid to waste and anyone who stands in the way of the Liberal/Alienist doyens do-gooders are not merely wrong but they are standing in the way of progress and so must be utterly destroyed.

This explains the conflict present in the conservative Reformed Churches that currently exists. There are a smattering handful of men and churches who get this contest against the Liberals/Alienist who are now providing the leadership in Reformed Churches today. These Liberals/Alienists are not epistemologically self-conscious that they are doing the devil’s work but in their defense of women pastors, their glorification of transracial adoptions and miscegenation, and their support for ever increasing immigration, they are striking at the vitals of Biblical Christianity. They are in league with Rosseau, Locke, and de Sade, against Christ and His idea of love patriarchy, one’s own people, and place.

Of course in the end Liberalism/Alienism is just another front in the long war against Christianity. In the end this triumph of the atomistic sovereign autonomous self that embraces the idea of the inherent goodness of man and which leads to bald Alienism is just another attempt to roll God off His throne. It is an attempt at Christo-cide.

In brief, the success of Liberalism with its presupposition of the sovereign autonomous self that brooks no outside objective set of moral values has brought in its wake an Alienism which in turn has wrecked havoc on all previous norms based on the fumes of Biblical Christianity. This Liberal birthed Alienism is where we have come. It explains the inversion of all previous norms that normed all norms. This explains why Liberal/Alienist is seeking to wipe out the white man as it is the white man considered in respect to his civilization who is most closely associated with the idea of eternal norms that are outside to us and which come to us by divine authority. The assault on the white man is a proxy war for an assault on the God of the Bible. It is not the white man ultimately that the Liberal/Alienist is after. It is the Triune God who rules over all.

The deepest cut in all this is that the Liberal/Alienist has won out. They are no longer the contender/outsider who is seeking to win his championship belt. The Liberal become Alienist is the insider, the one who controls the levers of culture, the one who is seeking to snuff out the last dying embers of biblical Christianity. It is Alienism that is cool. Yet, still, Liberalism become Alienism still tries to represent itself as standing alone on the ramparts fighting the legions of zombie Christians seeking to force their standard on the world, when in reality a handful of Christians remembering the old paths of Scripture and the words and examples of their Fathers are left fighting as saboteurs seeking only, at this point, to slow down the blob that is Alienism — a blob that has covered media, entertainment, politics, education, religion, sports, medical industry, and Government and corporate America.

We ask only for God’s strength and God’s wisdom for such a day as we find ourselves in.

 

McAtee Contra Doug Wilson on Sodomy

Below is a question to Doug Wilson along with his answer. I culled this question and answer from a very interesting video below that I highly recommend.

—-

Dear Pastor Wilson,

What are your beliefs on concupiscence, and specifically, as it pertains to homosexuality?

Noah

Doug Replies;

Noah,

I believe that the stirrings of such desire are temptation, to be resisted but not confessed, and that indulgence and expression of such desire is to be confessed to God as sin. Under no circumstances should it be made an aspect of your identity.

Doug

———-

A few observations on my part now follow;

First a definition of concupiscence, since it is not a word we use a great deal today.

Concupiscence

kŏn-kyoo͞′pĭ-səns
Noun

a.) A strong desire, especially sexual desire; lust.
b.) Improper or illicit desire; sensual appetite; especially, lustful desire or feeling; sensuality; lust.
c.) Strong desire in general; appetite.

As we examine Doug’s statement we note;

1.) There is a very thin line between temptation that is not yet sin and so to be resisted and temptation that already is itself sin and so needs to be both resisted and confessed. Indeed, we see that in the book of James;

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

James 1:14

Here we see temptation itself is driven by a desire that is not God glorifying. So, we quite agree that not all temptation is sin and we agree that temptation is immediately to be resisted and that temptation need not to be confessed as sin though humans, being inveterate deniers of sin, probably would not be hurt by confessing more of their temptations as sin since sinful desire is what drives temptation. In terms of concupiscence in relation to homosexuality we should note that in Romans 1:26 Paul says Sodomites are given up to “vile passions,” which is to say that the disposition preceding Sodomitic acts is itself vile, i.e. sinful. As such I would be inclined to say concupiscence in relation to homosexuality should both be resisted and confessed as sin. Because of this I have a qualified disagreement with Rev. Wilson on his answer to Noah.

2.) Elsewhere on this subject Wilson has said;

“I don’t think homosexual orientation is a sin.”

This is an odd thing to say and in my estimation reveals how much peace even the conservative church has made with sodomy. I say this because I am fairly certain that Doug would not also say;

A.) “I don’t think pedophilia orientation is a sin”
B.) “I don’t think necrophilia orientation is a sin”
C.) “I don’t think that bestiality orientation is a sin”

The only reason that the initial sentence sounds reasonable to people is because most people have made peace conceptually speaking with the sin of sodomy.

On this issue of orientation we must understand here that Wilson is using “Revoice logic,” and Revoice in turn follows Roman Catholic theology as it insists that one is only culpable for what they choose. The upshot of this in this theological matrix is that if one has allegedly unbidden homosexual desire/orientation one is not sinning in that desire since that desire was not volitional.

However, here we see the Pelagian (Non-Reformed) anthropology glimmering through. The sinfulness of sin is not found in our volition cooperating with the sin. The sinfulness of sin is found in the reality of sin — chosen or unchosen — present in our lives. It is Pelagian to say that it is our choice that makes sin to be sin.

Keep in mind that in the OT there were sacrifices for unintentional sins. The unintentionality behind the sin did not relieve the sinner from the guilt that came with having committed the unintentional sin.

Just so now. The fact that homosexual desire is allegedly not combined with volition does not mean therefore that the homosexual orientation that is a consequent of the homosexual desire is not sin. It is sin and we are not helping people who have, for whatever reason, a disposition towards this kind of desire/orientation when we seek to let them off the hook of responsibility. Those people are responsible for the sin of homosexual desire even if their volition to that end is absent if only because God says such desire/orientation is sin.

Scripture teaches Christians on this score …

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

The choice for all sinners in all the permutations of their sinful desires/orientations is to put to death (starve to death) all corrupt desires/orientations whether those desires/orientations are volitional or not.

3.) Doug says that under no circumstances should it (homosexual orientation) made an aspect of your identity.

This is to be applauded. Now if only Doug himself would not under any circumstances make homosexual orientation a part of Christian’s identity. Doug has admitted his church has “Homosexual members.”

Go to 44:15 mark.

How is saying that not working to the end of making the orientation part of their identity?

Let’s be clear here. Doug is saying that same sex attraction (Homosexual orientation) is not sin. It is not sin because allegedly there is no volition in the orientation. Yet sin is sin not because human volition makes sin sin. Sin is sin because God says sin is sin. Keep in mind also that there is no way to prove the presence or absence of volition in any given person.

Now, a Pastor might say, “I have people in my congregation who struggle with the temptation of homosexual orientation but as they do not identify with their struggle except so as to admit and confess their sin, they never refer to themselves as ‘homosexual Christians.'”

As an aside let’s try to keep in mind that when we refer to the “Homosexual” community or just to “Homosexuals” by using that language we are giving ontological status to those who are what they are not because they are ontologically a particular way. Rather they are who they are because of their patterns of sinful desire. Indeed, it would not be too much to say that homosexuals don’t even exist — at least as in the sense that we use that word today.  It is the work of Magnus Hirschfield and later Alfred Kinsey that created a whole new category of “homosexual,” as someone having some kind of unique ontological status.

Finally, let us admit that we destroy our language when we talk about things like “Homosexual sex,” or “Gay Marriage,” or “Homosexual intimacy,” as if we should think it even possible that homosexuals could have sex whatever they are doing or that it is even possible for two women to get married, or that it is even possible for sexual intimacy to occur outside it occurring as between a man and a woman in marriage. When we make our language bend to the zeitgeist by slamming these kinds of phrases together we are destroying our language and destroying our platform to defend the reality behind our language.

 


The Revolt Against the New Liberal Man

The liberal project, born of the Renaissance and matured upon the blood of the Enlightenment always has had at its heart the desire to set free the individual from the situatedness of life in which people were conceived and birthed into. Liberalism taught its padawans that the greatest freedom was freedom from any identity that wasn’t freely chosen by the autonomous sovereign self. We can hear this theme in the cry of the  sans-culottes; “No God, No King.” Self chosen identity, quite apart from any outside imposed or inherited identity would not be allowed.

With this flight from all situatedness institutional identity markers that had been held for centuries as the cornerstones of the Christian faith were attacked. The liberal vision attacked the natural bonds of family, community, and nation, setting the atomistic self free to rearrange these bonds in any order the new liberal man might see fit. With the flowering of the liberal vision came the end to the trustee family, the end of localism, and regionalism, and the end of the sense of belonging to the land and to the people. All of these were exchanged for the right of the sovereign self to choose his/her own identities. For the new liberal man the glue that would hold new social orders together would be abstractions like “liberty,” “equality,” and “fraternity,” and not a people, a place, and a present informed by God’s Word as it shaped the generations prior. For the new liberal man there would be “liberty leading a generic people” but there would be no fathers who would be heroes, no space which would be Holy, and no concern about leaving an inheritance behind for our children. The liberal demand for equality eliminated father heroes, Holy Space, and inheritance left for those who belong uniquely to us.

Liberalism rearranged reality in order to create a society where the new liberal man was not burdened by any previous situatedness. The new liberal man was a self creating God who could leave behind “belongingness” to pursue the happiness needs of the sovereign self. The new liberal man was a rights-bearing individual who conveniently was absent of any duty-bearing obligations to a prior received situatedness. With every success of the new liberal man came the necessity to push the boundaries even further in terms of how the new liberal man could create his/her own rights and reality.

However, snapback always comes. The pendulum can only go so far before it begins to swing back and it is that swing-back that we are seeing among some of the young men and women of the West who are crying out for an older view that goes behind liberalism. The Trad-West crowd are awakening to understand that reality and social organization predates their arrival and they long for the situatedness for which the new liberal man had such disgust. The young Trad-West crowd are reaching back for a stability that comes with faith, family, and place. Many of the Trad-West crowd don’t understand that only Christianity can give what they desire. They are properly put off with the “Christianity” that has been in service of the new liberal man’s vision of liberty, equality, fraternity and so have an animus towards Christianity.  Part of the challenge for the Christian faith is to communicate that it is Christianity alone which teaches that human beings are not the sum of their autonomous choices. Only Christianity consistently forswears the liberal (and Pelagian) anthropology that insists that humans are defined through acts of individual choice and self-expression alone. Only Christianity teaches original sin, sin nature, and then tells how situatedness can be beautiful for the Redeemed community. Christianity teaches that all men were born into a set of beautiful “givens” and that man is responsible to honor and cultivate that situatedness ordained and bequeathed unto him by God Almighty. Christianity with its covenant theology provides a way to embrace kinship, and descent as norms without family, people, nation or race becoming idolized. Christianity teaches a particularity of people, place, and patrimony which ought to have placed an properly ordered affection that properly prioritizes our people, our place, and our patrimony. All of that is hated by the liberal vision that is constantly bleating about the dangers of “identity politics” or the dangers of “racism” or the dangers of “Kinism.”

The liberal order is ending, though it is kicking and screaming as it is being pushed off stage. Thankfully, we will never go back to some kind of caste system where we are locked into a place that we can never be rescued from because of our family line. However, just as clearly, we are moving away from the liberal vision where the atomistic sovereign self choose and creates his own destiny quite apart from obligations and responsibilities to the situatedness in which he was born. The absolutizing of freedom characteristic of the new liberal man has created a social order where people are isolated, lonely, and miserable. The absolutizing of freedom characteristic of the new liberal man has created a nostalgia for belongingness that is natural and not contrived. There exists now among many a desire to return to thick identities explained by the belongingness that is a consequence of family, place, patrimony, and most of all by the reality that it is God who places men in families.

Liberalism, with its insistence that it would not be satisfied until the last King was strangled with the entrails of the last Priest dealt itself its own death blow as it sought to tear up the very roots of human identity. Liberalism was the vision of rending every natural (and Biblical) source of human belonging into a thousand pieces in favor of unnatural and so disordered affections. Liberalism pitted freedom and order against one another and gave us a freedom that was the worst bondage of all — the bondage of that absence of natural belonging.

The modern Church in the West seems to miss much of this. There is, among the modern clergy, a knee-jerk reaction against all that would stand for ordered affections as being distinctly Christian. The contemporary Church in the West is a liberal Church at its core as seen by its disassociating itself with books like “Who Is My Neighbor,” which demonstrates that Christianity has never been in favor of the new liberal man. The modern church — even in its most conservative expression — cringes at the notion that men owe a special allegiance to their own people, place, and patrimony that they don’t owe to the stranger and the alien. And this even after it has been insisted that love for one’s own people does not mean hatred for those who are not one’s own people. The “situatedness” that we are advocating for is essential for what it means to be human. As such we are no longer making mea culpas for advocating a social order that God has ordained and we are no longer acting ashamed because we are no longer adherents to a Christianity that is more Rousseau than it is Jesus Christ.

Different Worlds

The Friday before Christmas 2022 I had what they are now calling a “health event,” and as a result of that I’ve spent some times around mega-medicine. As a result I was impressed, in a way I had not heretofore been, that the world I was born into in 1959 and the world I inherited from those who were born before me is not the world I am living in now. That may seem like a fairly obvious truism but it struck me hard again in the last three days.

I’ve spent some times in hospitals along the way of my journey. I have seen them from the inside so to speak. This time around I was dumbstruck by how different of a people we have become. It is not that the people were not capable. They clearly were. It’s more that there is just a different feel in the way people are leaning into life. It could be this is just a case of the old complaining about the young but it could also be the case that something has gone broken along the way. Besides, the critiques of old people are not always errant. Here is one nobody took seriously from a couple generations prior to me that I’ve always liked. It was completely ignored when it was uttered;

So the final conclusion would surely be that whereas other civilizations have been brought down by attacks of barbarians from without, ours had the unique distinction of training its own destroyers at its own educational institutions, and then providing them with facilities for propagating their destructive ideology far and wide, all at the public expense. Thus did Western Man decide to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, labored with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over–a weary, battered old brontosaurus–and became extinct.”

Malcolm Muggeridge
Vintage Muggeridge: Religion and Society

Part of the reason that I am seeing what I am seeing is that very few took Muggeridge’s words seriously at the time he uttered them.

And what is it that I saw?

First, I saw that the multiculturalism New World Order crowd really are winning the day. I saw bulletin boards plastered with information regarding the importance of DEI (Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion). Big Medicine, like all other Big everything, doesn’t get this one wrong. Everywhere there were posters proclaiming “Expect Respect, Give Respect.” Clearly, it seemed to me, if one has to make a major add campaign based on this theme than an outsider could conclude that all this Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion doesn’t exactly breed Respect and so we must have a major add campaign that emphasizes how evil any discrimination in any degree would be, thus demonstrating that multiculturalism doesn’t really work unless those at the top hammer everybody into a ideological precast template that is labeled “nice.”

Whenever I see a superabundance of “nice,” I automatically think of C. S. Lewis’ “N.I.C.E.” Lewis uses the word as a acronym for an villainous technocratic movement in his Novel world which is hellbent in re-making the world into a dystopian progressive world where everyone and everything is better for being managed by that technocratic elite. All the naturalness of life is stripped away and in its place comes the managerial world operated by people who are always smiling, always saying just the right thing, and always having “your best interest at heart.” Beware nice.
.
I saw that people were just different. It was almost as if I were viewing them as being an alien plopped in their midst. Everyone is so in touch with their emotions and that comes out in their conversations. I was admitted @ 0430 in the morning and the questions I was being asked in order to be admitted left me scratching my head;

“What is it about you that we need to know about you in order to help you get better?”
“Do you feel safe in your home?”
“What is it about you that makes you different?”

The admission questions struck me as more akin to what one might find in a Rogerian psychotherapy session than what one would find in a sick person being admitted to a hospital. I get that they have their reasons but they are as reasons that exist in a different world than the one that I was bequeathed.

One thing I didn’t see much of were white male Doctors – indeed not much of white male anything came across my visual horizon. This takes us back to the victory of multiculturalism. When I was a boy we had foreign Doctors. I had a Filipino Doctor who helped put together my badly mauled right hand whose name was “Furtado.” I also had a Brit named “Warr,” who helped to the same end. I remember each of them as excellent Doctors. However, this time around white, male Doctors were a rare commodity. You wouldn’t think that would be the case in a country that is still somewhere around 62% white.

This is consistent with key findings from a recent survey of hiring managers:

–52% believe their company practices “reverse discrimination” in hiring

–1 in 6 have been asked to de-prioritize hiring white men

–48% have been asked to prioritize diversity over qualifications

–53% believe their job will be in danger if they don’t hire enough diverse employees

–70% believe their company has DEI initiatives for appearances’ sake

This is not a complaint at the ability of the foreign Doctors who were in charge of my care. Even if I could not pronounce their names – names I had never seen before in 63 years of living — I had no doubt that their training and ability was top drawer. However, to be honest, I have to wonder if my foreignness to them is a barrier to how much they might care for me as a patient. Would they not naturally care more for someone with my condition who was from among their people than they care for an aging cis-gendered Christian white male like myself? When one is desperately sick, those issues go through my mind even if scant few think like that today. I want to know my physician cares about me and can’t he care for me more were he a WASP like myself? Wouldn’t he naturally care for me more if he had a WASP name like myself — a name like Pete, John, or Sam, as opposed to a name that looks like it had never met a  vowel it liked?

 

I saw the usual assortment of tattoos, evidence of “alternate” lifestyles (if all lifestyles are accepted now can we really even use the word “alternate” any longer?) It’s all very different from the hospital personal who, even into my twenties, were all wearing pretty white dresses with pretty funny little white hats. (I married a nurse and I still remember her pretty white dresses.) Today they wear color coded scrubs and you might be more likely to be cared for by a very nice butch Lesbian nurse as you are cared for by a cis-gendered Christian white female. This is also very different from the world I remember.

One brief conversation encapsulates what I am getting at. There was a change of shift and the new nurse came in to introduce herself. She said her name was “Jon.” As I was listening with my old 1959 ears I just assumed she said “Joni” having never met a female before with the name “Jon.” I responded by saying, “You can call me ‘Mr. McAtee,’ or ‘Bret’ I don’t really care.” She immediately laughed with a kind of nervous laugh saying “Mr. McAtee,” as if the idea of addressing me that way would be a joke. Whereupon she immediately addressed me as “Bret.” You can see why I say that the “world has passed me by.”

A word to be fair … the people who work in those hospital settings are slammed with working conditions that are over the top. The ER I was in was wall to wall with people. It looked like a triage setting in a MASH unit. I was a fortunate one to have a room. I was fortunate to have been processed as fast as I was. I can envision that many very sick people have to wait a very long time to get care. I did not have to wait.

I realize that the world I inherited is gone and is not likely to return. Like the ante-bellum South after the War against Northern Aggression and like the Russian people after the Bolshevik Jews took over, the world I grew up in is “gone with the wind.” It is unlikely to return. That doesn’t mean something better won’t come. It does mean that the world I inherited, lived in and so presupposed is not going to be seen and so I have to quit being surprised at this different world in which I now live as the alien and stranger.

I Cor. 15:58 — New Years 2023

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
I Corinthians 15:58

“Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ”  Galatians 6:9

As we come to vs. 58 we see one of St. Paul’s famous “therefore” statements. When we run across these “therefore” statements (and Paul does this frequently in his writing) we must work to remind ourselves of the connectivity between what is about to be said and what has just been said.

And so, briefly, Paul has just argued that Christians can be confident of the coming Resurrection. Christian can be certain of their final triumph and this because Jesus Christ has triumphed. Their resurrection from the death of sin to the life of righteousness is a pledge of your participation in Christ’s resurrection from the grave. Paul says now, in light of all this reality

THEREFORE …

Therefore—because you are sure of the victory—be steadfast,” 

Therefore.–Because all this is so–because there is a life hereafter that we know we will share in–let this life here be worthy of that life to come that we are now participating in by being in Christ.

It should say something to us about Christianity that a chapter which leads us step by step by a irresistible logic  and arresting eloquence into the teaching of the Resurrection and immortality leads to the invoking of a “therefore” that throws all of us back upon the most plain and practical of duty. It should teach us that Christianity knows nothing where teaching is all abstraction and theory with no mention of Casuistry. Any Christianity that severs the life line between the life which is to come from the life that now is should come with signs stapled to it saying “there be dragons here.”

Notice also, before we get to the meat of the matter how St. Paul starts here. He addresses these Corinthians as “beloved.” This word is derivative of the Greek Word Agape. It is the tenderest and most resilient of all type of loves possible. I only bring this out to note how gentle Paul could be. If there ever was a Church that was populated by sundry and various rapscallions it was the Church in Corinth. Why, it was almost as bad as the modern Western Church. And yet, St. Paul calls these vexatious Christians… “Beloved.”

It would do well for all of us to pray that God might give us this kind of love for those in the Church who are troublesome, vexing, irritating, and downright distasteful. Paul was not being hypocritical here. He calls the Corinthians “Beloved” precisely because he loved them. May the triune God enlarge our  own hearts so that we both genuinely love all the saints and so that we realize it is we ourselves who really are the worst of all rapscallions.

It really is a matter of discernment here on our parts. Calvin said that God has given the minister two voices. One voice to drive off the wolves and one voice to gather the lambs. We have seen, on repeated occasions where St. Paul has used his “drive off the wolves” voice. Here we see his “gather the lambs” voice.

So the inspired Apostle writes,

Therefore — that is — “Seeing that you ought not to despair, but to share in this confidence of triumph.” —

Be Ye Steadfast.

The idea here is they were to be firmly fixed in your own conviction

Paul will say something similar in Colossians 1:23 where he writes that the Colossians are

not (to be) move(d) from the hope held out in the gospel.

And the singular mind of God speaks again as John says in 2John 9

Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

The duty that St. Paul enjoins upon the Corinthians in light of the Doctrine given them in chapter 15 is to “be ye steadfast.”

steadfast
ἑδραῖοι (hedraioi)
Strong’s 1476 — Sitting, seated; steadfast, firm, fixed. From a derivative of hezomai; sedentary, i.e. immovable.

St. Paul is calling for the recipients of his letter to not easily change.

Steadfast people are people who are implacable and because of that they are single minded. Steadfast people will not be moved. If the immovable that  comes next has to do with not being moved by others, steadfast would refer to not turning aside ourselves.

St. Paul is telling them to be laser-focused… single minded… hell bent for leather in the Christian life.

St. Paul understood that this Christian virtue of steadfastness was necessary for the Christian life. He had enough experience with those who had been the opposite of steadfast. Let’s call the opposite of being Mr. steadfast “Mr. Change with every wind of doctrine.”

If you remember St. Paul had to deal with men in his ministry who had abandoned him. There was Demas. There was Alexander the Coppersmith. There was, to his mind at least, even John Mark. To the contrary, St. Paul himself was the epitome of the steadfastness for which he is calling for. Perhaps no Christian throughout the annals of time was more steadfast than St. Paul.

For decades now steadfastness has been comparatively easy for a Christian but the time is  coming and now is wherein we are going to discover how difficult and at the same time how necessary this steadfastness  is. I suspect that the times are upon us when the Christian life is going to require a good deal of grit. Steadfastness is one component of the grit that is going to be required.

And remember, the steadfastness that is being called for is derivative of the confidence that we have that the victory as seen in the doctrine of the Resurrection which St. Paul had so thoroughly discussed. Our steadfastness is the byproduct of our certainty that we share in Christ’s victory. St. Paul, in order to anchor their steadfastness, points to the sinless Man – to the fulfilled idea of Christ. His argument previously, which all could understand, is summed up in the words, “Ye are Christ’s, and Christ is risen.” Your resurrection from the death of sin to the life of righteousness is a pledge of your participation in Christ’s resurrection from the grave therefore, because all that is true, be steadfast.

Well, fellow Christian, will your resolve right now again, that you won’t back down and that you will stand your ground? Will you resolve to be steadfast in light of the victory we have in Christ?

Being steadfast is not one of those particularly glamourous virtues. It just means remaining certain in our Christian convictions in a long direction. It means not being fickle or indecisive.

In a post-modern age this kind of steadfastness can be hated even as among our own midst. I had a Christian minister friend once who told me he how he was chided once by his leadership because in the pulpit he came across as “too certain about the matters of Faith” The complaint in essence was that he was too steadfast. What a strange world we inhabit when ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are chided for being too steadfast regarding our undoubted catholic Christian faith.

Well, in 2023 let us resolve to continue to be steadfast.

Let us push on here because we are also called here to be

 

Unmoveable. By others (Ephesians 4:14). Abounding in the work of the Lord. Doing diligently and ungrudgingly the work of your lives, which is his work. That your labour is not in vain. The thought of the verse is the same as that of Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”   4. A fourth point to be observed is the wisdom with which St. Paul holds himself aloof from speculative fancies, he does not, like Plato, appeal to the doctrine of “reminiscence” (anamnesis), or of unfulfilled ideas. He does not, like Kant, build any argument on man’s failure to obey “the categorical imperative” of duty.

steadfast
ἑδραῖοι (hedraioi)
Adjective – Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong’s 1476: Sitting, seated; steadfast, firm, fixed. From a derivative of hezomai; sedentary, i.e. immovable.

St. Paul is calling for the recipients of his letter to not be easily changed.

Steadfast people are people who are implacable and because of that they are single minded. Steadfast people will not be moved. If the immovable that is comes next has to do with not being moved by others, so steadfast would refer to not turning aside ourselves.

St. Paul understood that this Christian virtue of steadfastness was necessary for the Christian life. He had enough experience with those who had been the opposite of steadfast. If you remember St. Paul had to deal with men in his ministry who had abandoned him. There was Demas. There was Alexander the Coppersmith. There was, to his mind at least, even John Mark. To the contrary, St. Paul himself was the epitome of the steadfastness for which he is calling for. Perhaps no Christian throughout the annals of time were more steadfast than St. Paul.

For decades now steadfastness has been comparatively easy for a Christian but the time is  coming and now is wherein we are going to discover how difficult and at the same time how necessary this steadfastness  is. I suspect that the times are upon us when the Christian life is going to require a good deal of grit. Steadfastness is one component of the grit that is going to be required.

And remember, the steadfastness that is being called for is derivative of the confidence that we have that the victory as seen in the doctrine of the Resurrection which St. Paul had so thoroughly discussed. Our steadfastness is the byproduct of our certainty that we share in Christ’s victory. St. Paul, in order to anchor their steadfastness, points to the sinless Man – to the fulfilled idea of Christ. His argument, which all could understand, is summed up in the words, “Ye are Christ’s, and Christ is risen.” Your resurrection from the death of sin to the life of righteousness is a pledge of your participation in Christ’s resurrection from the grave therefore, because all that is true, be steadfast.

Well, fellow Christian, will your resolve right now again, that you won’t back down and that you will hold your ground? Will you resolve to be steadfast in light of the victory we have in Christ?

St. Paul also calls them to be immovable

[and] immovable.
ἀμετακίνητοι (ametakinētoi)
 Strong’s 277 — Immovable, firm. Immovable.

If the call to be steadfast was in reference to one’s self, this call to be immovable is likely in reference to not allowing one’s self to be moved off the dime of truth by others. So steadfastness is self directed and immovable is directed to the negative influence of others.

What is expressed here between the two then is the idea of Christian perseverance in general, under the figure of standing firm.  The Greek word here presents the perseverance more precisely as unseduceableness being in opposition to the possible seductions through the deniers of the resurrection.

Here St. Paul is calling the Corinthians, when it comes to the matters of what we know we believe and why we believe it to be pig-headed. If the call here is to be unseduceable it is because there are so many out there who are seeking to seduce. It was the case in the 1st century, and it remains the case now that it is huge marketplace of ideas. These different ideas — like the denial of the resurrection — look so shiny but St. Paul calls them to be immovable.

We are to be steadfast and unmovable on the doctrines of the Christian faith, one of which is the reality of the resurrection. We would of course note there are others such as the Deity of Jesus Christ, the idea of substitutionary atonement, the centrality of covenant, the importance of the visible Church as Institution where one can receive the means of grace. Currently cutting edge doctrines of the Christian faith that we must be steadfast and unmovable on is the idea that grace does not destroy nature but that grace renews nature and the exhaustive Sovereignty of Jesus Christ over every area of life.

So what has St. Paul said here? He has said we Christians are to be the stability of our times. We are to be steadfast and unmovable. Cinder blocks of truth that are not going to budge.

Now, if we are to be those cinderblocks of truth that are steadfast and unmovable then we need to be consumed with a desire to know the truth and upon knowing it, not to be moved from it.

Paul is not quite yet done. The man is always completely thorough in his arguments. He now gives the “do this” side that compliments his do not be moved side. He writes these Corinthians to be;

“always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:58

Always
πάντοτε (pantote)
Adverb
Strong’s 3842: Always, at all times, ever. From pas and hote; every when, i.e. At all times.

Note here that we are to be always abounding in the work of the Lord. The call is not to be always abounding in the work of the Lord when we are in the grace realm while always abounding in the work of Natural Law when we are in the common realm. No, we are, as Christians, to be always and at all times to be abounding in the work of the Lord. There are not some areas we walk in where we are not to be abounding in that area in the work of the Lord.

excel
περισσεύοντες (perisseuontes)
Strong’s 4052; From perissos; to superabound, be in excess, be superfluous; also to cause to superabound or excel.

Now the question might be raised … “What is the work of the Lord in which we are to be abounding?

And our catechism answers that question;

Question 91: But what are good works?

Answer: Only those which proceed from a true faith,5 are performed according to the law of God,6 and to His glory;7 and not such as are founded on our imaginations or the institutions of men.8

One more observation;

Knowing your labor is not in vain.

Why does the Apostle write this? It is really quite simple. He writes this because that is what he is fighting against. He is fighting against a people who might be concluding that their labor unto Christ is in vain since it has been argued that the resurrection was past. No, Paul says, your labor is not in vain. You good works will follow you. You will hear the “well done thou good and faithful servant.”

There is a temptation always in this life to say “What’s the worth.” Vanity of vanity all is vanity.” Paul steps up to the mic here and says, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “You labor is not in vain.” As Francis Schaffer used to say… “No little people. No little places.”

Here we are tucked in Chartucky Michigan or in other like places. It might be easily to conclude that our labor is in vain. But of course it is not. We must not let the enemy discourage us. We must not let our own diminutive statures convince us that our labors are in vain. God has told us our labors are not in vain therefore we know that to be the truth.

Because all this is true, therefore, let us take these for our New Years Resolutions for 2023

1.) I will be steadfast
2.) I will be immovable
3.) I will be always abounding in the work of the Lord
4.) I will remind myself at every turn that my Labor is not in vain