At Ease in Exile
Amos 3: I have known only you
out of all the clans of the earth;
therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities.
Amos 6: Woe to those who are at ease in Zion
and to those who feel secure on the hill of Samaria—
the notable people in this first of the nations,
those the house of Israel comes to.
2 Cross over to Calneh and see;
go from there to great Hamath;
then go down to Gath of the Philistines.
Are you better than these kingdoms?
Is their territory larger than yours?
3 You dismiss any thought of the evil day
and bring in a reign of violence.
4 They lie on beds inlaid with ivory,
sprawled out on their couches,
and dine on lambs from the flock
and calves from the stall.
5 They improvise songs to the sound of the harp
and invent their own musical instruments like David.
6 They drink wine by the bowlful
and anoint themselves with the finest oils
but do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
7 Therefore, they will now go into exile
as the first of the captives,
and the feasting of those who sprawl out
will come to an end.
It’s ok to not work all the time. I like Stellman’s chapter 11 against the puritans, even though I wish he could have found somebody besides the Romanist (Calvinist-hating) Chesterton to make his case. But he does quote a book I like: How to be Idle by the British writer, Tom Hodgkinson.
We don’t need to talk about “common grace” to make this point. Read Protestant Reformed leader Englesma’s plea against profaning grace in his answer to Mouw .
I do want to recommend some better books on the topic of living in exile in the world. I will only list one Mennonite book: For the Nations, by John Howard Yoder (Eerdmans), expecially the chapter on diaspora, “See How they Go with Their Faces”. And one book by a Quaker, A Biblical Theology of Exile, by Daniel Smith-Christopher( Fortress). And by the premill evangelical Robert H Gundry, Jesus the Word According to John the Sectarian (Eerdmans).
On the land, read Reformed amill The Israel of God, by Palmer Robertson (P and R). On weakness, read the Lutheran (and expert on Ellul) Marva Dawn, Powers, Weakness, and the Tabernacling of God. For Romans 6, read Robert Haldane. If you want something very short on Romans 6, read Steele and Thomas, Outline on Romans , p46.
Federal visionists (Leithart, James Jordan) use Hauerwas to defend something a lot more Constantinian than what I think Stellman would approve. But Stellman seems to agree on sacrament holding the church together .
I am not sure that Hauerwas and Stellman would be agreed on what to say about the Exodus 32 ordeal/ intrusion. After the golden calf, Moses asked: who is on the Lord’s side? Go forth, and kill your brother… Today you have ordained yourselves for service. “ Even though they want to follow the OT (the covenant) model for worship, they are not agreed about what is legitimate for the people of God when they operate in another kingdom.
Stellman has an interesting note about being guilty as a member of what he thinks is the “legitimate” (natural law) second kingdom because of the guilt of the innocent killed in Iraq.(p71)
But he still interprets God’s protection from the death penalty (on earth) as being about God’s “common grace” giving the state to protect us. (p56) I guess he thinks it’s good to kill for the state (or the economy), just so long as we don’t make the mistake of thinking this is redemptive.
As a pacifist, of course, I don’t find much to get excited about in this distinction. It’s like talking about talking about the glories of the new covenant, as a chaplain in the military!