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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Comments Which Conservatives Block For January 21, 2015

Jan 19

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote of Jonah Goldberg on how underreported  is the percentage of anti-Judaism attacks while the much lower percentage of anti-Muslim attacks merit warnings about an increase in such an attack .This appeared in Heidelblog

Note that the spike in anti-Muslim attacks following the 9-11 terrorist attacks shows that a backlash against Muslims after a terrorist attack is very well possible. The FBI stats following the 2007 London attacks show that such a backlash does not always occur, but because it has happened, it could happen again. 

So what is Goldberg's point? Is it that because of the percentage of anti-Judaism attacks that we should not care about what happens to Muslims? Such a response would be evidence of tribalism. 

To warn against a possible upcoming spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes is not the problem. The problem is the lack of urgency in addressing anti-Semitic and anti-Judaism. To see this in any other way is to play the "victim game."


Jan 20

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost of the historical context for the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo. This appeared in Heidelblog.

First, let's realize that Jihad is not a monolith. It is approached in many different ways. But we apply the word as a monolith on those who most violently oppose Western interests. We should add to the non-insanity plea entered above for the Jihadists the same context we could add for the Ayatollah Khoemeini. That is both were directly or indirectly victims of a brutally violent Western imperialism. Thus their extremism just might partially reflect how Western interests have been advanced in their part of the world through Western intervention and strong-armed proxy leaders.

We could apply to the Jihadists in the Paris attacks what journalist Jason Burke says about Al-Qaeda. That all of the impediments that stand in the way of committing such violent terrorism suggests that terrorists are manufactured. And here, he is not stating that they are manufactured by Islam. Rather, he is stating that they are manufactured by the same conditions used by the West to advance their interests. We should note the 'Who's Who'  of those whose brutality in the Orient received Western support. That list includes, Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Mubarak, the current military regime of Egypt, the royal family in Saudi Arabia, the gov't of Bahrain, and the Shah of Iran. And left out of that list is Israel's brutal occupation of the Palestinian Territories.


To Joseph Sunde and his blogpost on how we are to interact with the world by serving it in order to help it flourish. This appeared in the Acton blog.

Since the message is general in the sense that it could appeal to both sides in the Reformed division between NeoCalvinists and 2 Kingdom advocates and it alludes to the Babylonian exile, it says some useful things in how balance life in exile with a call to serve. 

But we do need to call attention to issues that were glossed over. For example, where Sunde partially quotes the Scriptures in writing:

To seek the good of our neighbors, the flourishing of our cities, and the prospering of the nations across all spheres and through all “modes of operation”: our work, families, education, creativity, political involvement, and so on.

we should note that some prospering of our nearest neighbors includes the exploitation of our farther neighbors. Distance often makes the losses of the latter group invisible to those of us who are myopic. And when that happens, a way of interacting with the world, which was not mentioned in the above post becomes necessary. That way is to speak prophetically to the world regarding its exploitation of others. After all, aren't we already charged by the Great Commission to make disciples throughout the world. And when the those around us, whether they be our immediate neighbors or those with wealth and power who are near and far, practice injustice, then our model for interacting should be the OT prophets who not only spoke to Israel about their sins, they spoke to the neighboring nations as well. And considering that social injustice involves the breaking of the commandments prohibiting murder and theft, then acting as prophets in the face of social injustice should be part of our fulfilling of the Great Commission.

It is the role of acting as a prophet, when governed by and included with being a servant, that more fully illustrates our relationship with the world.


To Jordan Ballor and his blogpost on Martin Luther King Jr and his approach to law. This appeared in the Acton Blog.

But in his speech about law, King called for strong legislation to address the employment and housing problems just as he called for strong legislation that would address Civil Rights problems. In addition, in his speech, King talked about the intrinsic value of each person. But the free market recognizes only the extrinsic value of each person in terms of the property they can own and what they can do to increase the value of the market itself.

Some like Martin Luther King Jr because of some of the individual statements they can take out and apply. But the real wealth of King's thinking is found in the whole of his thought. It is found in the connections that exist between his approach to legislation and the law, to nonviolence and having the passion to win people over, to his preference for a person-oriented society over a thing-oriented society the last of which emphasizes gadgets, profits, and property rights,  and to racism, poverty and materialism, and war and militarism. Once one starts to see the interconnections of all of the individual parts, one starts to discover the true wealth of King's thinking which cannot be obtained just by studying some individual positions.


To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost containing a video clip of a minister prohibiting creativity in worship services. This appeared in Heidlelblog.

This is the problem with some Reformed exegesis and preaching. You take an example and perhaps some verses from the OT about worship and then, despite the transition and change in context that occurs in the NT, you use the OT to prohibit or mandate for all time some approach or practice. In the end, what you guarantee is an unnecessary procedural righteousness.

To rule out creativity because God doesn't need it would demand that we rule out our energy or even love because God doesn't need them either. But what is perhaps the biggest problem here is that creativity isn't the real problem, it is tailoring a service to please man for the sake of drawing more people regardless of what we are calling them to. That is the specific problem. One can be creative without doing that. 

Yes, we can also overemphasize creativity so that our worship services are an exercise in self-exaltation. That is a valid concern. But to rule out all creativity in worship because of the OT example and passages used without addressing the tremendous transition in worship which the NT brings, is neither right nor Biblical.

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