Monday, February 27, 2012

Santorum and the Sword of the State

Albert Mohler,  President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written a very positive blog post about Rick Santorum, which you may read here.

He concludes,

Finally, Rick Santorum attracts protests on college campuses because people believe him when he speaks. William McGurn of The Wall Street Journal pointed out recently that, even as Rick Santorum opposes same-sex marriage, so did Barack Obama when he ran for the White House in 2008 (and, at least in terms of official statements, even now). But Santorum gets jeered and Obama gets a pass. Why? McGurn understands: “There’s no mystery why. Mr. Santorum is attacked because everyone understands that he means what he says.”
This is an excellent point. Rick Santorum is a Roman Catholic that probably believes what he is saying. This seems to be refreshing to many Conservative Evangelical voters. In fact, there are many things that he says I could whole-heartedly agree with. It is true that homosexuality is a violation of natural law. It is true that the sexual revolution was not a good thing. It is true that Mainline Protestantism is dead. Of course this is nothing new. These cultural and theological battles are as old as the hills.

But I find this paragraph interesting.
When moral conservatives reveal their reasoning, the elites hear the launch of a new Inquisition. It is simply incomprehensible to them that sane, rational, educated people might still believe in the Father of Lies. When Catholic Rick Santorum speaks theologically at Catholic Ave Maria University, the secular elites go into toxic shock. The same would be true of an Evangelical politician who would speak theologically of such issues at a truly evangelical college. Speak on love and you will not be in much trouble, but admit that you believe in the Devil and the press corps will go into apoplexy.

It is true that elites hear all kinds of nonsense when conservatives speak simply because they live in a modern world (modern world = no moral absolutes). So to hear someone say something is morally wrong would be threatening. But I would like to suggest another course than the one conservatives have been on for a looooong time.

Rick Santorum has no love for conservative libertarians.

“I would say the conservative movement believes that this country is a moral enterprise, we have God-given rights, and with God-given rights come God-given responsibilities, and we have a set of values, and if everyone does whatever they want to do, then we have George Soros, we don’t have America.”

Now I believe Rick Santorum really believes the "government has a role". But this is the problem with the culture war. Well meaning people have been sucked into attempting to save our country through governmental means. It would be one thing if Santorum were just wishing to limit government away from Modern Leftist ideas, but that simply isn't the case. Santorum will escalate the culture war with his policies.

We know in church history the fastest way to spread error is through a centralized ecclesiology. This has been true in American politics with the centralizing of the Federal government.

Let's use homosexuality as an example since that seems to be a big discussion at the moment. Ron Paul is right. If we take government out of the equation and de-centralize government in this entire debate over marriage then how could the homosexual movement force upon citizens their entire enterprise?

The simple means of accomplishing this is through the return of private property rights. By removing government coercion of cultural issues one way or the other, citizens could restrain one another through local means such as churches and other organizations. Business owners would not have civil rights legislation and bureaucrats coming down on them with the barrel of a gun.

Now this could go both ways. Homosexuals could prevail throughout a culture, but the reverse is true. Remember, fads come and go. The homosexual movement would eventually fall under its own weight and not have the ability to have a government perpetuate a culture war for them or against them.

When Rick Santorum says the Devil is attacking America, he is opening the door for the government to fight the devil with authority that it does not have. Only the church of Jesus Christ has the right to take that offensive and to do so not through military might, but through prayer. So although the government does have a role, its role is to restrain evil, not actively go after it. If you doubt this is Santorum's purpose, as Mohler seems to do, then just remember that Santorum has no problem with the government killing 16-year-olds at a dinner table simply because the President says they are worthy of death.

This kind of power belongs in the hands of God alone. Of course Santorum seems to not have a problem with taking that role.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Political Left-wing Propaganda

I must state at the beginning of this post that I am writing as a Christian, who actually believes the Bible to be God's Word while also standing well inside the Libertarian political camp.I also realize that much of this propaganda is satirical and meant to provoke those who are not Leftists.

I don't want to merely defend the Republicans in this post. Lord knows how the police state is growing just as much under them as it is under the Democrats, but a friend of mine posted on his Facebook page typical stereo-type stuff with shallow arguments. But what I find interesting is how people think and the assumptions they make without ever feeling they have to prove them. In fact, one commenter states that Religious wackos are waging war against the Democrats. Yet the material shows that non-religious people hold on to their Traditions just as religiously as any so-called Religious/Conservative Right-winger.

Here are the claims through pictures.

Now here are the arguments or shallow propaganda for the Left.

Notice the equivocation. Based upon the recent news stories I assume the context is that government owes women as a fundamental right, free access to birth control. Apparently, to say government shouldn't pay for or supply women birth control is to say we "are not going to let women use birth control." It is very subtle but very effective for the closed minded state worshipers.

Now I am not a Newt fan by any means. In fact, I think I'd rather have Obama...okay, that's not true. But I say that to express my total disdain for Newt. But I think Newt's point ought to be obvious. Even black men within the black community have expressed the same thing. But to put a picture of the golfing/party throwing/Nobel Peace Prize winning while waging war overseas President as the chief counter-argument is not convincing to those who would disagree with you.

Notice again the assumption. The Prolife movement has successfully argued and demonstrated over and over that there is not "the possibility of one" child in the womb. It is a child in the womb. This is so obvious that Prochoice philosophers have had to go to the greatest lengths and contortions to come up with ways of getting out of this. This is probably why my Prolife scholar friend can't find anyone to debate the subject anymore. The only side that is waging war is the one doing the murdering of babies and defying God's created order of the family. And they do this while claiming Jesus is on their side to boot.

Now I also realize that there is a picture about rape. That is another debate in itself and only about 3% of babies killed would come under that rubric. Therefore this is another straw-man argument.

Now this one is perhaps my favorite. It is true that Jesus may have been considered a Liberal in the classical sense. But Jesus was no more a Liberal in the Modern sense that He would be a Conservative. Let me offer an example.

In the fourth point, it says he hung out with criminals, whores and other unsundry characters. True enough. However, Jesus always explained to them they must repent of their sin. He didn't go to the so-called righteous because the righteous don't think they need to repent. Hence Jesus' teaching to them, "It is the sick that need a doctor, not the well." [my paraphrase]

In other words, Jesus would just as much be kicked out of a Liberal church as a Conservative one for being too judgmental.

The other one that reads anachronistically into Jesus' words is that Jesus "advocated giving away your personal belongings, and paying your taxes." Now what is funny is that Modern Liberals don't give away their personal belongings. Studies have shown that Conservatives and Republicans in general are far more likely to donate money to charity than Liberals and Democrats. But the anachronistic part is that Jesus never advocated the State to have the power to steal your money to give to another person in the form of welfare. Instead Jesus loved "cheerful givers" who give from the heart in order to fulfill the Law of God.

In fact, when it comes to Social Justice, Jesus was ignoring the role of government altogether. Everything he did was outside of government while submitting to their earthly authority when necessary.

One last picture.

There is much that could be said here but as one who is on the Libertarian side I say woo hoo! Set me free baby!

In conclusion, the idea that women need to be free from the role God has given to women is to accept the false premises of the Left, but ironically, those false premises are the same as those that the Left considers Conservatives who wish to make women second class citizens.

Women are not second class citizens simply because the Creator has made them differently from men and to have a different role from men. As a Christian, I see God's purpose for women as something to be cherished, not denigrated as the Left does. But also as a Christian and one in the Libertarian camp, I see another way to challenge the role women play.  Allow me to offer an example.

What if instead of being a "mere house-wife" [as if that is a bad thing, which it is not] a women is a helpmate to her husband in other non-conventional ways. An illustration may help here. What if a woman were to be a helpmate to her husband, who is a doctor, by becoming a nurse. My wife's cousin, who is a doctor, was greatly assisted by his nurse wife in the birth of my second child. Perhaps she should be encouraged to press on in her education and become a doctor herself and being an even greater assistant to her husband! What a team that would be.

In other words, we all make assumptions that could be wrong or inconsistent with what we say. We all need to be challenged in that area. It is the Left, however, that needs to stop accepting the false premise that women are second class citizens simply because there is a created order that God has given to women.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why Catechize Children?

Before I mention anything, I must confess that I am probably the worst parent when it comes to teaching my children the Christian faith. I have no special powers nor am I a well self-disciplined person. I like playing video games and watching TV as much as the next guy. Yet I think catechizing children by using one of the children's catechisms is far more important than most Sunday school material you will find in most churches.

On nights that I actually put my children to bed, I try to ask a couple of the questions from Keach's Childrens Catechism. Again, it is not something I do every night or even do with any consistency. It is just something I do as I do it.

The other night I witnessed the reason I have sought to do this. I asked my 5-year-old, "How many Gods are there?" To which he responded with the obvious answer, "one true and living God." I then asked how many persons are there in this one God. To which he then correctly answered "three". I then asked, "Who are they?" And again, via rote memorization he said, "the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

Then I decided to ask a fourth but more difficult question. "Is Jesus both God and man?" He honestly was caught off-guard. "What? Of course Jesus is not God. He's Jesus." Now when he said, "He's Jesus." he was simply making the observation that Jesus was a man.

I then asked, "Is Jesus the Son?" To which he responded, "Yes." I then went back through the first 3 questions, stressing the Son. I asked if the Father is God, and he said "yes". I asked if the Son was God and he said, "Yes". At that point he said out loud, "I didn't know Jesus was God!"

The light bulb went off in the mind of a 5-year-old. Now I suppose this may be unusual or maybe it is something that happens often. I don't know at this point. However, I have heard of this happening to people of all ages. We teach children to memorize knowledge because that is part of the learning process. Sooner or later the mind will understand as God's will determines.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Covenant Theology by Greg Nichols

Well, I am finally half way through Greg Nichols book, Covenant Theology: A Reformed and Baptistic Perspective On God's Covenants. As the Preface states,

This book stems from systematic theology lectures. Christology covers the eternal plan, the solemn promise, and accomplishment of salvation. God expresses his solemn promise of salvation in his covenants.

The first half of the book surveys Reformed Theologians/Theology such as the Westminster and London Confessions, John Gill, Charles Hodge, Robert Lewis Dabney, the Dutch Calvinists and contemporary modifications. This is extremely helpful for Nichols shows the many insights and contributions each have given to this area, but Nichols is also honest in demonstrating some of their weaknesses as well.

For instance, early in the book, Nichols asks a question that he asks all of his students in his classes and offers a chart of the possible ways to see this in a chart on page 12. He explains a potential problem between the Westminster Confession and the Larger Catechism question 31 when we try to distinguish between the essence/substance verses the implementation of God's Covenant of Grace. He quotes the London Baptist Confession 7:2.

...a covenant of grace, wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.

To which he then leads his students in a series of questions as to the nature and application of the covenant of grace.

What is the promise? And someone says, life and salvation by Jesus Christ....Now who are the partakers? To whom is this promise made? And now another student says, sinners. Correct. And so I ask, what is the condition? What does God require sinners do to be saved? And the class answers, believe, have faith. It says, "requiring of them faith in Him."

Now follow his train of thought here in his next questions.

Then I ask, are these sinners converted or unconverted?

Of course the class inevitably answers unconverted because of the command that they must believe.

To which he responds:

So then, the partakers are lost sinners indiscriminately, all unconverted persons who hear the Gospel. Thus if this defines the essence of the covenant of grace, then it would be a conditional covenant between God and unconverted sinners.

Now here is where things get a little tricky when he deals with the effectual call.

What is the promise?

To which the students respond.
promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.

Now who are the partakers? Obviously this would be God's elect. So what does God require of the elect? What does He require them to do?


To which Nichols responds to his students,

Then it's unconditional...So then someone has to admit, the elect are viewed as unconverted, and it says that God promises the unregenerate elect that he will give them his Holy Spirit to make them willing and able to believe....

Now if you see the problem then you have a sharp mind, but if you don't then let me cite Nichols again from page 12.

So now I say to the class, does this define the essence of a covenant between God and His people? Now, not reluctantly, but emphatically, and usually a little shocked, they affirm that it does not.

Nichols uses this approach in order to help the reader understand those whom he surveys. It becomes obvious when Nichols interacts with Hodge and Gill and the others that they also saw this problem in their attempts to provide a sound covenant theology. As he concludes in his chapter, Summary of the Classic Reformed Doctrine,

The general and effectual call should not be regarded as distinct expressions of divine covenant. Rather, God, in His inscrutable wisdom, has determined to fulfill His covenant of grace, His pledge to apply redemption to His elect, through the general ad effectual call of the gospel, not in isolation, but in combination. Thus, it is not the hearers of the gospel who partake in this divine covenant, but the receivers and doers of the gospel, who obey the gospel in repentance and faith.

Therefore we must keep the means and essence of the covenant distinct when seeing how we define the covenant of grace.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

God Saw Obama Care, and It Was Very Good


This gets even better. Apparently, God wants everyone to have access to contraception. Read here.


So God made President Obama pass Obama Care. As this story from Buzzfeed reports,

"And so when I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren’t discriminating against those who are already sick, or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren’t taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us, I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody. But I also do it because I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years, and I believe in God’s command to 'love thy neighbor as thyself.'"

So there you have it. Love Thy Neighbor is now equivocated to forcing your neighbor by the barrel of a gun to pay for your health care. This same man, who has won the Nobel Peace Prize, has also loved his neighbors with bombs. Neighbors that we are not even at war!

Now to be fair, we are all moved by our religious beliefs, and those beliefs animate us in the public sphere. Fair enough. However, keep in mind, it is the Left that constantly makes fun of this kind of reasoning. Think of abortion. I am moved by a simple belief that abortion is murder. It also happens to be fundamental in my religious beliefs that the unborn are fully human persons. Yet isn't it the Political Left that argues I should keep my religious beliefs out of the public sphere?

The hypocrisy shines ever so brightly with this man.