Defending ReformedTheology From R2Kt Attacks

Dear Herbert Goforth Marcuse,

Let’s start with a definition of culture.

Culture is the outward manifestation of a people’s inward beliefs.

Culture thus reflects and incarnates the God and the theology that it worships. As such culture is hopelessly theological and while in itself not redemptive it does reflect some kind of theology. The R2kt insists not only that culture is not in and of itself redemptive (something all Reformed Christians agree with) but goes on to insist that it isn’t theologically rooted and imbued, as if it is a-theological. This is more than unfortunate.

Your letter seemed to affirm the idea of a ‘wall of separation between Church and State. The Puritans never agreed with the pagan idea of a wall between church and state. The puritans believed that there were two distinct realms, (one responsible for ministering grace while the other was responsible for ministering justice) but that the realms were complimentary and interdependent. The Puritans never held that the Church should have a wall between itself and the State and later protestants wanted a wall only in order to keep the State from meddling in the affairs of the Church, not to keep the Church from influencing the State. Frankly, the idea of a ‘wall between Church and State’ is a pagan idea and one that isn’t possible anyway as the current arrangement in this country reveals where the Church is located in the government schools and serves as the State Church.

The idea that ‘by looking for religious significance not in this world but in the world to come, liturgical Protestantism lowers the stakes for public life while still affirming politics’ divinely ordained purpose’ is an idea that creates a kind of platonic dualism with religious significance, including what happens in Church, being placed in the upper story while the ‘common realm,’ including what happens everywhere but what happens in Church, is located in the lower story. This is why it is often accused of gnosticism. This argument completely divorces nature from grace seeing them as two completely different and irreconcilable realities. Now, to be sure, there is always the danger of over identifying nature with grace not making the necessary distinctions between the two but the danger of one extreme doesn’t justify embracing the danger of R2kt virus. The danger of immanentizing the eschaton isn’t solved by making the eschaton so transcendent that it touches only the cultus.

Second, you quote somebody who talks about politics as the divinely appointed means for restraining evil but ‘evil’ is a theological category. In order to know what evil is we need Christian theology to inform the magistrate as to what evil is. As one example of the problem here, Natural law, in a community of homosexuals, is not going to restrain the evil of sexual license. So, even your quote above advocating R2Kt virus must presuppose my position in order to deny my position.

Third, since Theocracy is an inescapable category and since we are living under one even now, I see nothing un-Biblical in desiring a Theocracy that is increasingly reflective of Biblical categories then one that is increasingly reflective of the values of Marx, De Sade, and Freud. I am amazed at your disparaging attitude that Christians should desire the Kingship of Jesus in the communities in which they live.

Fourth, Woodrow Wilson had divorced Christian anthropology and soteriology from His eschatology and as such he was a defacto operating humanist. Accusations against him don’t lay a glove on post-millennialism. In a biblical post-millennial theology it is Christ who is bringing His Kingdom to earth and not in your words, ‘his followers who are trying with their human effort to build utopia.’ Therefore your criticism on that count doesn’t stand either, though as a functional a-millennialist I am not surprised that you would accuse post-millennialism of being just another brand of Oneida type utopianism.

Fifth, it is true that the R2Kt virus does define morality but only on an individual and personal level. They may say that murder is wrong but they dare not, if they are consistent, proclaim from the pulpit during the preaching of the Word, that killing Jews is wrong for that is something that belongs to the political realm and so not something that the Church should speak to since the Church’s responsibility is to proclaim personal salvation as found in Christ. As such, Church members are free to advocate killing Babies or not killing Babies in the public square and if R2kt virus types are consistent they will not be disciplined. Now, it may be that they will be inconsistent and speak to the issue but given their position if they are consistent they will follow their own theology and recognize that the Church as the Church has no voice on these matters.

You may indeed voice your concerns as a Christian in the public square on a host of issues. You may even contend that your position is THE Christian position proving it from scripture. BUT theoretically it is the case that a person who shares membership with you at the local R2kt Church can voice just the opposite view as yours, likewise proving it from Scripture and likewise insisting that theirs is the truly Biblical position. And since the Church as the Church can’t speak to such issues believers are left without a Word from the Lord and with each man doing what is right in his own eyes.

Give my best to the family,

Pastor Bret

Just The Way Things Work

A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40)

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6

Between Kindergarten and 12th grade the average child in the average government school will have sat for 14,000 class hours. The government school education is uniformly decidedly anti-Christ. Now, this only considers the saturation time in Government catechism that our children are being dunked in. It does nothing to consider the additional hours that are dedicated to reinforcing this teaching in government anti-Christ schools by other cultural outlets (i.e. — extra-curricular school activities, media outlets, etc.).

Given this reality, Christians ought to fall on their knees and praise God that there is any witness that remains within the Church.

Another point we ought to ponder here is that the Proverbs and Luke passage are merely recognitions of the way reality works. If you saturate beef in a mustard base Barbecue sauce sauce your beef will have a mustard base taste. If you put cake in a refrigerator with an open fish container your cake will taste like fish. Similarly, if you saturate a child in our culture the child will be a signpost for the culture. Christian parents have to begin to realize that you can’t counteract the 14,000 hours of class time that is augmented and reinforced by other cultural megaphones with a few scriptures memorized (usually out of context) in an AWANA program or by making sure their children attend Church and youth group twice a week. This is especially true, given that many of our Churches are led by people who are themselves cultural signposts.

The Church in the West continues to lose its children, and we are losing them because Proverbs and Luke 6 are true. It is true that regeneration is a supernatural act of God but when we allow our children to be trained by pagans we are committing the sin of putting the Lord thy God to the test, and thus we shouldn’t be surprised that God doesn’t visit them with effusions of grace.

For generations Christian parents have lamented that they have lost their children. For generations we didn’t realize how the culture was fighting against our Christian convictions. Well, now we know.

In light of this knowledge how can we continue to turn our covenant children over to the false gods for instruction and training?

A Open Response To HGM — RtKt

Herbert Goforth Marcuse,

Keep in mind that I am not opposed to two Kingdom theology. I am opposed to radical two Kingdom Theology. Princeton certainly was two Kingdom (as am I) but they certainly were not, in any shape way or form, radical two Kingdom. For pete’s sake Herbert, much of Princeton was post-millennialist. You can’t be post-millennialist and be radical two Kingdom theology.

The idea that there is no neutrality is something I got from Jesus who said, “He who does not gather with me, scatters” and “You can not serve two masters” (he didn’t mention that it was possible to be neutral and so serve no masters). There is no such thing as neutrality Herbert … no such thing in any realm or sphere. One cannot go to the ‘common realm’ and think that in the common realm positions will be pursued and ideology developed (which is the animating catalyst for those positions) that is not beholden to some God or some Theology. Culture is not neutral, never pluralistic, and is always the public declaration of a peoples cultus and theology. This is why we can speak of ‘Christian Culture,’ ‘Hindu Culture,’ Muslim Culture, or even Balkanized culture (synonymous with R2Kt culture). Indeed, even the position that culture is neutral, that it should be pluralistic, and is not the public declaration of a ethnos’ cultus and theology is a declaration of that people’s cultus and theology — and it is a declaration of a cultus and theology that is not Biblical. When you attempt to pluralize the public square Herbert (something that can never be achieved for very long without brute force — think Tito’s Yugoslavia or Stalin’s Soviet Union) the consequence is that there must be a god that arises that serves as the god of the gods. This god is THE god in the culture and it makes rulings on how far the other gods can and cannot go in the public square. This god in the radical two kingdom virus theology is the State. This theology most assuredly cannot be rescued by ‘natural theology’ if only because in order for ‘natural theology’ to work you must have a homogeneous people who are sin bent in the same direction and so agree on what natural theology reveals. And yet, it is this very homogenization that radical two Kingdom theology is against as it argues mightily for the pluralization of the public square. Herbert, lift your eyes and look at the horizon. Natural law is being used to condone homosexual marriage. Natural law will not get us out of the morass that our culture is in, for by appealing to natural law theory every man will be well grounded to explain that what is right in his own eye is indeed supported by Natural law. And this is because, Herbert, those who advocate natural law theory don’t really believe that those who are receiving the natural law revelation are suppressing it and making a false version of it to support their own sin perversion.

Just this week, at a book sale, I was leafing through a recently released volume on Natural law from one of those chaps at the Acton Institute. In his book I noticed that he cited all kinds of churchmen (Rutherford, Althusius, etc.) who used Natural law. Such citations, given as proof for why we need to return to natural law theory, don’t really hold water for the men they cite were writing and working in an epoch and time dominated by a thing called Christendom. This is important for it explains why their works were able to be received by Europe and by their countrymen. They were received and accepted because there existed a certain homogeneity that Christendom had created. Take their works and arguments and put them in a pagan and non-Christian environment and they would be just laughed at. Natural law theory doesn’t take the noetic effects of sin seriously Herbert.

Herbert, you wrote something in your letter I wanted to quote directly because I find it so interesting,

It is your mockery of Christians, and not just nominal Christians — but the keepers of the “old Princeton” theology, the keepers of Reformed theology in America (that I find so objectionable). You actually make a mockery and a caricature of yourself by attacking them so harshly. And you contribute to the caricature that “feminists and homosexuals” have of Christians, by simply being another Jerry Falwell, pointing the finger and saying “Listen, America,” and America “listened” and now we have George Bush, the stupidest president in history. And you give them the spectacle of Christians killing other Christians in the public forum.

First, I hope that I have cleared up for you that ‘Old Princeton’ certainly was not infected with the R2kt virus. Now, neither do I claim ‘Old Princeton’ for my position but the post-millennial strain that you can find in the likes of Warfield, Archibald Alexander, J. A. Alexander, and the Hodges bodes better for my theology then it does for the R2kt.

Second, as I have mocked with equal gusto the moral majority and the Falwells of the world as I have the R2kt gang I hardly think your charge hits home.

Thirdly, as I think it is a disastrous thing for the R2kt gang to be speaking for Christians in the public square, on this particular issue I hardly worry about the spectacle of my exposing the lack in their reasoning for all to see. If I am really the embarrassment that you claim me to be I shouldn’t think you should be to worried about my effectiveness, though I am humbled by your concern for my reputation.

Fourth, are you suggesting that the way to win God’s enemies is by them seeing how reasonable we are? What standard shall we use in order to determine what is reasonable Herbert? Allow me to suggest that Homosexuals and feminists will only find Christians to be ‘reasonable’ when Christians quit holding that such ideology and lifestyle is sin in the same way that Jews and Muslims will only find Christianity reasonable when we quite insisting that Jesus is the divine Son of God who is the Messiah. There is nobody alive Herbert that wants to be liked more then me but I just can’t sacrifice fidelity to Christ in exchange for being seen as reasonable by homosexuals and feminists.

Fifth, we might be in agreement about the ‘stupidest President in history.’ Still, you have to keep in mind that I was saying that 8 long years ago.

You close by noting that ‘I really should trust that God can save his world, with or without my help.’ I thank you for that reminder. Now, allow me to sign off with a reminder to you. While it is the case that God can save His already saved world with or without my help it is also the case that, for reasons that are quite beyond my ability to fathom, He has condescended to involve His people in His ongoing work of saving His saved world. For His people to retreat in this work because, “God can save His world, with or without them” has a gnostic whiff about it.

You might want to beware of that whiff Herbert.

Thanks for your friendship and your love for me that impels you to warn me of my failures.

Pastor Bret

Memorial Day — The Honored Dead

Another Memorial day has passed in America. The parading bands were out. Red, White and Blue bunting festooned houses. Little American flags flew promiscuously in yards all across a thousand communities. Family graves were visited and spruced up. In the Midwest, this is a weekend when people will plant their family gardens. Here in Charlotte, we had the Vietnam Wall memorial visit us and many people made pilgrimage to the wall. Also, in Charlotte the Methodist Church held her annual luncheon barbecue where the community gathered to hob-knob and talk about the Pistons and the Red Wings.

Just another Memorial Day in small town America with cherished customs and traditions that have been pursued for years and years.

On this Memorial Day though I couldn’t help but think about the purpose for which Memorial Day started over 100 years ago and that is to remember our war dead. And then when I started thinking about the necessity of remembering the war dead and the sacrifice they made I began to wonder if those who died for their country at Saratoga and at Cowpens died for the same country as those who died for their country at Fallujah and Rumaylah? I wondered if those Brave Americans who died on the beaches of Normandy or at sites across the South Pacific would still want to risk dying for the country we have become? Would my Father still have jumped with the Airborne troops in Korea and would my Grandfather still have wanted to drive for the Big Red One in the Battle of the Bulge if they could see what the country for which they risked all has become? Would the American Dough boys who did not return from Marne or Belleau Wood recognize the country for which they died?

On this Memorial Day I couldn’t help but ask myself, as I remembered the sacrifice of American Brave, what the sacrifice has accomplished. Did our Fathers fight and die in the jungles of Vietnam to stop the falling dominoes of Statist Communism so that the falling dominoes of Statist Globalism could be achieved? Did our Fathers land and die at Inchon and crush the Reds so that America could be landed on and crushed by the environmentalist Greens? Did our Father’s in WWI stop the Hun from covering Europe in order that ‘political correctness’ could cover the world? Did our Father’s in WWII stop the holocaust of the Jews so that the Americans would have the right to bring a generational holocaust upon the unborn in our country?

On this Memorial Day I wondered if America’s Dead could speak what they would say? What would they say about America being invaded and conquered by illegal immigrants? Would they notice the ghastly irony in their dying to protect America from foreign influence only to see later generations invite foreign influence? Would the brave American dead, if they could speak, lecture that they did indeed die to protect the rights of Homosexuals to get married? Would they say that they charged that machine gun nest or jumped on that grenade in order to protect the disintegration of the American family? Would they wax eloquent that their great sacrifice was accomplished to protect the right of no fault divorce, 30% illegitimacy rates, and 1.3 million abortions annually? Would they use close and carefully reasoned arguments to prove that they died in order to protect the right of their progeny to kill the America they died for through cultural hari-kari and demographic winter? Would they explain that they died in defeating Empires in order that their sons and grandsons could die building an Empire? Would they lead the rhetorical charge in explaining that they died so that their daughters and grand-daughters could die in a military uniform? Would they explain that they made the supreme sacrifice in order that the ideological sons of their enemies would rule their descendants?

Yesterday, during Memorial Day, I was patriotic with the best of them, but my patriotism was flowing in different channels. I pray God that He might once again raise up a brave warrior class that are willing to live and die for the America for which our Father’s died — an America very different from the one in which we are living.

On Mocking & Compassion

Recently, someone inquired of me how my pastoral heart is evidenced by the satire and sarcasm in which I sometimes engage. This is a understandable and fair question which goes to the issue of compassion. We might summarize the issue by asking; Is it a lack of compassion to mock God’s enemies?

First, we would have to determine what kind of ‘enemies’ with which we are dealing. Certainly you deal differently with different kinds of people. It would hardly be wise to mock somebody who is tentatively embracing a un-biblical idea or behavior and is still willing to consider counter arguments to their position. However somebody who is epistemologically self conscious in their hatred of God and is leading others into sin might be a perfect candidate for a kind of mockery that reveals the compassion of a pastor’s heart.

To suggest a concrete example we would probably deal differently with a Freshmen college student who is beginning to embrace the legitimacy of homosexuality as just another social relationship then we would her college professor who is self-consciously teaching her in such a way that hides all the counter arguments from her. If we entered into conversation with the Freshmen student we would probably try to engage her argument by offering counter arguments and by exposing where she has been led astray. We would tend to exhibit more patience as we sought to help her sort out her ill informed thinking. If we entered into conversation with the College professor who is responsible for the Freshman’s confusion and who is pursuing an agenda and who is an epistemologically self-conscious God hater mockery might be the perfect vehicle of compassion.

When we consider the issue of compassion and mockery we must keep in mind that compassion is seldom a zero sum game. That is to say that often it is the case that when we show compassion to one party we are thereby showing callousness towards another party. Let me try and explain.

Let’s take the women in office issue that I have written a few posts on lately. Clearly I have been callous towards those who hold to and advocate such a position, but those who have noticed the callousness are required to examine what purpose the callousness is serving. Is my callousness towards the feelings of those who are advocating egalitarianism and feminism born of just a callow meanness on my part or is it possible that it is really compassion that drives my mockery?

If we continue to consider the feelings of those who are advocating high handed sin do we at the same moment do violence to the feelings of those who are being shattered by their perverted advocacy? We must keep in mind that when we treat the ideas that God haters advance with tact and compassion that we might, by that posture, be communicating that their ideas are worthy of respect, thus investing a certain validity to their ideas. If ideas that contain high rebellion against God’s word are discussed in a “civilized” compassionate and respectful tone does that not suggest a lack of urgency regarding the ideas being discussed?

For example, how sane would most people find it to observe two people in polite debate over the idea that not enough Armenian Christians were killed by Muslim Turks in the great Armenian holocaust at the turn of the 20th century? Naturally, such civility appalls us. There are some ideas that by their very nature should not be treated civilly and should be met with the most scornful mockery possible.

Now, thus far, we have only considered the issue of compassion and mockery on the horizontal level of man to man. What of God? When we fail to mock those who are self consciously mocking God are we joining in their mockery? Should our compassion for those who resist God be greater than our compassion for God? Does our compassion for God’s enemies reveal a callousness towards God on our part? Does not Elijah’s mockery of God’s enemies on Mt. Carmel suggest a compassion on Elijah’s part towards God and towards God’s people.

Compassion thus cannot be considered in a vacuum. Compassion towards a murderer is callousness towards the victim’s family. Compassion for one who is effectively advocating homosexuality as just another life-style is callousness towards those who are being charmed by that argument. Compassion towards egalitarians and feminists who are quite self conscious about what they are attempting is callousness towards every daughter and every wife who will be hardened and hurt by the culture that the advocates are seeking to build. Just as it is callousness towards every son and every father who will be emasculated and emptied by that same culture. The loathing that is revealed by any mockery reveals a corresponding compassion and love for the opposite of that which is being mocked and lampooned. A pastor’s heart can express compassion in both positive and negative movements.

All of this to say that I offer no apologies for my mockery and putative callousness. I am glad though for people who correspond with me and warn me about ‘the lack of my pastoral heart.’ I am glad for them because it gives me a chance to communicate that there are times when mockery is the very essence of compassion. Speaking only for myself, if I could not mock the enemy all of my time would be drenched in tears. Crying gets boring after awhile.

I have daughters in my family and young ladies in the congregation I serve who I love deeply as a Father and a Pastor. My pastoral heart towards them would be made of iron fibers if I did not show them compassion by mocking the egalitarians and the feminists.