My Other Blog
Blog Schedule
Past Blog Posts
Various &
a Sundry Blogs
My Stuff
On The Web
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, June 21, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For June 21, 2017

June 14

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost on the Regulative Principle. This appeared in Heidelblog.

I believe that the regulative principle is more destructive than constructive. This principle that we can only worship or run the Church by what is specifically commanded or explicitly shown by example in the Scriptures does not help the Church. In fact, it is more destructive because by not recognizing the full transition that came with the New Testament, this principle has transitioned from a fulfilling of a command to the building of a fence. And while keeping a fence can give the appearance of keeping God's commands, it sometimes actually interferes with doing what God wants us to do.

Even during the later Old Testament and intertestament times, we breaks with the command to only worship in way that were stipulate by what God said in the OT. For we see Jesus attending events that were not commanded in the OT. And when Jesus talks to the woman at the well, He announces that a transition has already taken place. We also see, in both synagogue worship and in the Feast of the Dedication of Jerusalem, forms of worship not stipulated by the Old Testament. Jesus attended both. We see in the NT a list of acts of worship in the NT that weren't stipulated by anyone but formed spontaneously. Speaking in tongues was one such act of worship. 

But we also need to go to Acts 15:10 see reasons why the regulative principle should not be followed. For in that passage, we see a fuller awareness by the Church of the transition that has taken place with the advent of the New Testament. For there, Peter asks, regarding circumcision, why should the Church put the same burden on Gentiles that no Jew had been able to bear. That burden was the Law. And in Peter's speech in Acts 15, we see Jesus' statement to the woman at the well becoming more and more apparent in the growth of the Church as it started to include Gentile believers with Jewish believers. From here, we might want to note how the Church transitions from what Jesus said, in Matthew 5, about reconciling with those one has offended with what Paul said in Corinthians about letting fellow believers offend one and  what Paul said in Ephesians about how those who steal should stop stealing.
My observation is this, those who follow the regulative principle are not only more unnecessarily judgmental of fellow believers who do not follow that principle, they limit the application of the Bible because they tend to not recognize the differences in historical context that exists between Apostolic times and today. It isn't that we are not still in New Testament times; but is that New Testament times are not a monolith. Some things have changed since the times of the Apostles

The beginning of New Testament times saw supernatural acts wrought by believers who were given miraculous gifts. In addition, there was the giving of God's Word in the New Testament. We don't see that today. During the times of the Apostles, we saw the chief concern of the Apostles being the spread of the Gospel. Today, the Gospel has already been spread throughout the world. During the times of the Apostles, we saw the Church living in a one empire dominated world. Today we have multiple empires as well as democracies. How the regulative principle can hurt us here is that it tends to lead to looking in specific commands and literal examples how to live in one world while we live in quite a different world. 

It isn't that there is nothing to learn from the regulative principle. The concern that we should be careful not to do what God doesn't want us to do applies as much today as it ever has. But beyond that, the regulative principle forces us to fit the context of either Old Testament times or the times of the Apostles into present times as we try to follow their words and actions and sometimes that results in trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.


June 19

To Joseph Mussomeli and his blogpost on comparing America’s relationship Iran with that of Saudi Arabia and how we should change those relationships. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative Blog.

There are many excellent points that Mussomeli made about Saudi Arabia and the strange relationship that the US has with that nation. This is especially true when he contrasts that relationship with our relationship with Iran.

But there is something amiss as well. For the reason why we have pursued our faulty relationship with Saudi Arabia is both praised and criticized. That reason has to do with the interests of one's own nation. My guess is that national interests (which often means business interests but can also mean strategic interests) is the reason why we let Saudi Arabia slide on so many issues. And letting certain nations slide on issues, such as human rights issues, is not new for us. In 1953, we replaced democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mosaddegh with the Shah who treated dissidents brutally, but the Shah served our business interests. Something similar happened in Guatemala in 1954 and Chile in 1973. So supporting Saudi Arabia with all of its trappings for national interests is not new to American foreign policy.

So why rationalize the acting in one's own interests by both our leaders and Israel's leaders when we see that acting in our own interests, even if that means tolerating the spread of a hostile religion and the tolerance of human rights abuses, has produced some rotten fruit in Saudi Arabia?

What we should note here is that the national interests of a nation can have several components including different components and different time periods. And thus a nation can have conflicting national interests in how it acts in a region or how it relates to a particular nation. In addition, we sometimes need to choose between acting in particular national interests and acting morally.


June 20

To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost about how health care should be solved through solidarity via a subsidiary approach rather than through socialism. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative website.

The above article sounds more like a turf battle between those who want the local communities to solve our problems vs the larger communities as represented by our various government associations. An indicator of this interpretation is seen in the the emotional rejection of government intrusion in providing health care. Of course, the context for that rejection includes government requiring Christian employers to provide kinds of healthcare options to employees that go against their conscience. But in addition to the turf battle, how the government solution to health care, or pretty much anything else dealing with individuals who live in families, is so negatively presented, it is pretty clear that all-or-nothing thinking is being employed here.

On a practical side we need to ask if local resources adequate to help everyone with health care. And we might especially ask that question for people who choose not to belong to the Church. And if they don't choose to follow Pearce's religious views, isn't our government obligated to represent them when they are in need? We might also note how Pearce sees the government as being obligated to follow the Roman Church's social teaching. Certainly, the government should listen to all proposed solutions. But what kind of religious liberty do we have when our representative government is required to follow Church teaching? 
Another indicator that all-or-nothing thinking is employed by Pearce is his definition of socialism in his subsidiary vs socialism model of thought. We should note that, at least from a Marxist perspective, large government programs does not make socialism. Marxist socialism puts the first emphasis on who is in control of both government and the workplace. Thus, when big government interferes, if workers do not have an equal or dominant voice in making the decisions, it isn't socialism. But that is besides the point. That the local has absolute sovereignty over any larger community where the larger community involves local, state, or federal government is the giveaway to such thinking. All this amounts to is a greater division within our nation than what exists. For our division is no longer just in terms of ideology, but, according to Pearce, it should be in terms of local communities as well. For Christians to fully benefit from what Pearce is proposing, then Christians would have to move into Christian communities. But then how could such Christians practice virtues like charity when they only participate in their own voluntary communities.
But the local having precedence over the larger communities is not consistently followed by Pearce. For in joining Christian co-ops, one is joining a larger community. Thus, this isn't even a local community vs the world turf battle. Rather, the battle is between the communities one volunteers to be a member of vs society as represented by the various forms of government from local government to the federal government. And such does not provide a solution for everyone.

Pearce does well in recognizing the state of health care coverage before Obamacare. And he has a very legitimate concern over Christian employers having to provide for abortaficient drugs and abortions in their employee health care plans. But his all-or-nothing thinking has not created a viable approach for those who choose not to belong to the Church for certain, and possibly for those for whom Pearce wrote this article. For ties to the larger communities that are represented by governments aren't so easily cut nor should they be.

No comments: