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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, July 12, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For July 12, 2017

June 20

To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost about how health care should be solved through 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.


June 26

To Dante Stewart and his blogpost on his grief and other reactions to the verdicts of the police officer who killed Philando Castile. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website

Justice is delayed here and at least sometimes that delay is provided in order to give us a chance to repent.

But I think that it is not enough just to attribute the tragedy of the verdict to general truths such as our world is fallen because of sin and that there is much darkness around us. We also need to look at the specific, immediate causes of the shooting and the verdict. And one of those immediate causes has to do with the rise of authoritarianism especially as that rise has emanted from the 9-11 attacks. For some from the West who desired more power have used the 9/11 attacks to make their power grab more acceptable to the masses. In turn, their power grab has sparked an embrace with active authoritarianism by law enforcement and lawmakers and a passive authoritarianism by the populace.
Take away that authoritarianism and we will find more people be willing to ensure that those making or enforcing our laws become more accountable for their actions. Should note, however, that taking away that authoritarianism will not take away sin and darkness from the world. Taking away that authloritarianism can reduce the some of the ways in which that sin and darkness are manifested. 


June 28

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost about Senator Sanders unconstitutionally using a religious test in determining whether Russell Vought is fit to hold the office President Trump appointed him to. This appeared in Heidelblog

What is missing here is the original point that could be made. I am not saying that Sanders made this point and I certainly disagree with Sanders analysis and response. But what is missing is Vought's criticisms of Hawkins from Wheaton.  While Vought seemed to have ignored Hawkins distinctions in contexts in how she was answering  questions. Vought himself was associating Christianity with a narrow mindedness and intolerance by his indiscriminate response to her. And because of that association, Sanders unnecessarily saw Vought's confession of faith, as right as that confession was, as a red flag warning of intolerance. Thus all of us who take the label of Christian might be warned that doing so associates all that we do and the stands we take with Christ and the Gospel.

And it isn't that Sanders had to look at Vought's treatment of Hawkins to see an orthodox confession of the Christian faith as a red flag of intolerance; we Christians ourselves have provided multiple reasons why that should be the case. For example, when many of us opposed the legalization of Same-Sex marriage in society or when people have heard many of us supporting Trump's travel ban while ignoring the record that the US vetting of refugees program has compiled, we were wedding orthodox Christianity with intolerance of others in society.

This whatever we do or stands we take we associate with Christ and the Gospel is what we should take away from Sanders' inappropriate response to Vought's confession of faith. But on
the hand, with what some of us have associated Christianity with, who could blame Sanders?

June 29

To Albert Mohler and his blogpost on whether we should opt for religious freedom despite the discrimination against the LGBT community it practices. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition Website.

Considering that Jim Crow had its Christian apologists who used religion and the Bible to defend the segregation and marginalization that Jim Crow promoted, it seem that we've had this debate before. In fact, integration was called 'Communism' by some Jim Crow defenders.

If we consider the history of the LGBT community in this nation, we find that many religiously conservative Christians have spent centuries marginalizing the LGBT community. Why? Because it was their way of exercising control over the situation. Society was employed by the Church to be an extra disciplinary arm to marginalize those who were homosexual.
So there comes two questions here. First, is it possible to preach BIblical standards on sexuality without stating, implying, or suggesting that one group is superior or inferior to the other?

Second, If the answer to the first question is no, then is what is being suggested merely an imitation or returning of the favor by one group of the other?


July 4

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on American Civil Religion and Christianity. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

Carter's objection to veneration of the nation within the walls of the Church are most appropriate. And yet, this mixing of veneration of other gods with the Christianity can occur outside God's House as well. We should note that we call ourselves Christians, whatever we do or whatever causes we work for or whatever ideologies we adhere to are now associated with Christianity. Thus,  when we associate Christianity with any political or economic ideology, we can also tarnish the glory of the Gospel. And this is especially true when we Christians uncritically embrace political or economic ideologies.  That means that we all have mixed records in terms of what we associate with the Gospel. And failure to show where our favorite political and economic ideologies differ from the Scriptures results our dishonoring of the Gospel by the associations we make just as correcting those ideologies can result in honoring the Gospel.

The above is illustrated by the context of Rousseau's comments, which Carter cites, on Christianity and the state. That context found that the Church during part of Rousseau's time had aligned itself with the aristocracy in passing legislation that favored the two over and against the 3rd Estate--that is the common people of France. Thus, Christianity was understandably seen as an enemy of the people by many who believed and fought for the French Revolution. And that process of the Church becoming an enemy of the common people is all too easily repeated when Christians uncritically adopt political and economic ideologies. For many of those ideologies will involve supporting privilege over equality.

Despite his oversight, Carter makes an excellent point in stating that there is too great a divide between American, or that of any other nation, civil religion and Christianity. However, we can work for a set of civil moral standards. That is what Martin Luther King Jr. worked for. Unlike civil religions, civil moral standards do not necessarily violate a Christian's worship and following of Jesus. But they can if we adopt those standards without examining them in the light of the Scriptures.


To Russell Moore and his blogpost on how religious freedom is for non-Christians too. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

I find Moore's take on freedom of religion to be Conservative-American-Christian-centric rather than Christian. One can see that in the underhanded, uncorrected statement it makes about Islam when Moore writes the following:

Some would say, based on their reading of the Qur'an, that non-violent Muslims are inconsistent Muslims, the equivalent of cafeteria Catholics.

And yet, there is an area in which Moore's exploration of religious liberty shows his limited perspective. That area involves equality for the LGBT community. For here, we need to ask whether  opposing Same-Sex Marriage and equality for the LGBT community is a violation of religious freedom. After all, there are those who have no religious qualms over homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage. In fact, some of them claim to be Christians. And allowing Same-Sex Marriage and working for equality for the LGBT community doesn't prohibit us from teaching and sharing what God's Word has to say about marriage and about homosexuality.

As Christians, we need to broaden our perspective of religious freedom and how we see the world. And we need to see that such a broadening can easily occur without our having to compromise any teachings from the Bible. But what we might find is that broadening those beliefs might result in limiting the esteem we have for ourselves.


July 9

To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost denouncing Obama’s and Clinton’s opposition to Russia while hoping that the Trump can further America’s friendship with Russia. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

I've now seen attempts by both the left and right to support a non-contentious relationship with Russia. Those on left do so out of opposition to US imperialism and perhaps from a romantic notion that today's Russia is carrying some continuity with yesteryear's Soviet Union. Here, the reason for someone on the Right who is supporting deepening a friendship with Russia is for a reason that might not be identifiable. The stated reason has to do with opposing globalism.

It's not that I agreed with Obama's and Clinton's approach to Russia. They were increasing the chances of a nuclear exchange by the kind of conflict they were pursuing. But one only needs to see how dissidents and journalists (see https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/03/23/here-are-ten-critics-of-vladimir-putin-who-died-violently-or-in-suspicious-ways/?utm_term=.ff04a2465ea4  and  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/05/02/dozens-russian-deaths-cast-suspicion-vladimir-putin/100480734/ ), political opponents of Putin (see http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/27/why-putins-opponent-was-arrested-and-what-it-means-for-russias-future.html ), and the LGBT community have been treated to see that Russia is not furthering freedom and democracy. We should also include Putin's treatment of Chechnya in this list. And perhaps that is why Pearce is supporting a closer relationship with Russia. Just perhaps, Pearce sees Russia as providing an internal example for us to follow where freedoms are taken away and the Church is given greater pull in the State to dictate certain laws. Should note that Russia recently passed laws that  prohibit evangelism by churches that do not belong to Orthodox Church. After all, it appears that Pearce is impressed by Putin's leadership style.

One other point to make here. To say that globalism threatens the sovereignty of all nations is imprecise. Globalism can take many forms. The globalism pursued by the Democrats certainly did weaken national sovereignty of all nations. All nations would be partially controlled by foreign elites. But how much better is it really when the nation is ruled by domestic elites instead? And what kind of general public is served when sovereignty is enforced is defined and enforced by a strong arm leader?


July 11

To Rev Ben Johnson and his blogpost on Europe’s possible responses to the US dropping out of the Paris Agreement. Johnson claims that the Paris Agreement includes a ‘market distortion’ because of how developed nations, like the US, should help undeveloped nations in cutting emissions with funding. This appeared in the Acton blog.

Trying to respond to what could be catastrophic climate change in the future is a market distortion? Here the question to be asked is whether the market exists as a piece of a pie or is it the whole pie? If it is the former, why make the 'market distortion' moniker such an absolute judgment as if no other concern should ever change how the market operates? If it is the latter, then all of life must answer to the reality dictated by the market.

As for EU revenge for dropping out of the Paris Accords. Since dropping out can hurt the welfare of others, isn't the call for EU revenge simply a call for sanctions? And aren't economic sanction simply an economic tool that the US so easily uses on other nations whose behavior our leaders disapprove of?


To Joe Carter and his blogpost that rhetorically asks if the Free Market should be used to provide health care. This appeared in the Acton blog.

The free market mantra is maximize profits for oneself. So what could go wrong with letting the free market provide for a basic necessity in life? Try people either putting off or not getting treatment for what could be life threatening diseases because of the healthcare costs? Or health care costs becoming a leading cause for personal bankruptcies is something else that can occur. We should note that the free market does its job in reducing or eliminating waiting lists for certain procedures by filtering out those who could not afford them.

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