Posted tagged ‘pacifism’

BE A MAN Kill your Enemies

September 2, 2013

Freddy, you are the one who’s queer
How could you do this to me?
Why do you seek the living among the dead?

Derek Webb, singing to Fred Phelps about graveyard protests

“A man who cannot defend his wife and family from an attacker because he ‘equally loves’ the attacker is hardly a man. We do not respect such a person. There is a time to love and a time to hate just as there is a time for war and a time for peace. An inability to discriminate in such a matter is a sign of sickness in a man. We despise and shun those who are cowards in times of war. We have no respect for the man who cannot make sound and proper decisions in these matters. “ , one of my theonomist friends

I Peter 1:21—“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you would follow in his steps. When He reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly.”

mcmark: now the sarcasm alert:

First of all, let us notice that Jesus never had a wife or children. If Jesus had a wife and children, then surely he would have been a queer, a fairy, or possibly effeminate, not to kill any and all sinners who might pose a threat to His family. We could not respect Jesus if He had been unwilling to kill to protect his mother.

His inability to tell the difference between the Roman occupation and the constitutional government of Israel does call into question his idea that the true kingdom on earth comes by power and not by fighting. (John 18:36)

Second of all, since God loves some of His enemies but not all of His enemies, we must despise the man who waits for God to justly judge enemies. In some cases, when the enemies are far away (or don’t live next door), the best way to prove one’s non-homosexuality is pre-emptive killing .

Even though God loves some of His enemies, for us it is wise to love only those who return the love. Why put your own life at risk when someone attacks your wife, when you could own a gun and simply kill them if they need killing?

Third of all, while it is true that Jesus ended up dying at the hands of His enemies, we need to remember that Jesus did not love all sinners but only some sinners. Even though God has from before the creation of the ages by election united to Christ SOME of His enemies, we who believe in sovereign grace don’t need to discriminate when it comes to enemies.

Since we are not God, and only pansies wait for God to protect our wives (when we could use means and do it ourselves) or to provide vengeance (we can do that also) for our wives, it’s best simply to kill more enemies.

This includes also of course all the enemies of Israel, and all the enemies of Israel’s servant-nation, the USA. If you want to be thought of as a man, if you want to be respected, then you will kill even women and children if they live in a country that might attack the USA.

Even though we do not have a specific command to do that kind of thing in the new covenant, we know God did command this in the old covenant. And since there is only one God, only one gospel, only one covenant, only one church, only one circumcision, and since God has not said to stop bringing slaves into the covenant, and since God has not said to stop killing enemies, there is no need to get in a sweat about the example of the person who died on the cross for the sake of some of His enemies.

Since our deaths would not save anybody, why should we die when we could grow a pair and act like men who love our wives in a way that does not pretend to love the wives we kill in Syria…

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Romans Thirteen

July 22, 2013

“Christians cannot measure whether we should revolt against the state, as if a certain states could fall short on the status of being states, and therefore need to be revolted against. Nor can we measure by this yardstick whether a nation-state has been ordained by God, because all nation-states have been predestined by God. All the powers that be are subject to the sovereignty of God, and Christians are to be subject to them all.

It is not by accident that the imperative of verse 13:1 is not literally one of “obedience”. The Greek language has good words to denote “obedience”. What the text calls for, however, is subordination. The Christian who refuses to worship Caesar but who is put to death by Caesar, is being subordinate even though he is not obeying.

The motives of this subordination are found not in fear or in calculations of how best to survive, but “in the mercies of God” (12:1) or in “conscience” (13:5). If the reason of our subordination is not God’s having legitimated the wrath of the state (or delegating the wrath to the state), what is our reason? Further attention to the motif of subordination as it is urged upon the slave ( I Peter 2:13) or upon family members (Col 3:18), shows the reason to be that Jesus Christ himself accept subordination and humiliation (Phil 2:5).

The willingness to suffer is then not merely a test of our patience or a dead space of waiting for Jesus to return. Willingness to suffer instead of killing is an imitation of God’s victorious patience with the rebellious powers of his creation.

John H. Yoder, Politics, p 213

Do As God Says, Not As God Does

April 10, 2012

God will judge the secrets of our hearts (Romans 2:16, Hebrews 4:12), but we humans cannot and should not try to imitate the coming apocalypse. God does some things we cannot do, and that we should not do. Sometimes we are to obey God rather than to imitate God.

Some liberals think that any notion of God being judgmental in the future only leads to violence now. But historically that is not how the “peace-churches” have understood it. Instead of reading current events as divinely right (or wrong) we quote Romans 12:19-“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

In Luke 13:4-5, the Lord Jesus responded to those attempting to interpret current events: “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them; do you think they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will likewise perish.” That threat from Jesus is not an endorsement of violence, nor is it an excuse for us to kill anybody.

God judging justly is one reason we are not to kill. The other reason we are not to kill is that, when the soldiers killed Jesus, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” (I Peter 2:24) Liberals will tell us that this event was only humans killing another human and that God had nothing to do with it. But I Peter in context assumes that God does indeed punish His Servant for the sins of the others. Isaiah 53: “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; his soul makes an offering for sin…”

As I Peter 3:18 has it, “Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous.” There is no need for any of us to be killing, since there is now no other sacrifice for sins. Liberals will deny that Jesus was punished for the sins of His friends, but it is that very hope which serves as the reason for patience in the face of the history which is coming toward us.

I Peter 2:21—“leaving you an example, so that you would follow in his steps…when he suffered, he continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

Is Supporting the Troops Like Supporting Homosexuality?

February 8, 2012

Today I got interested in a series of videos telling us seven reasons why President Obama is not a Christian. We don’t need seven reasons. NONE of us is born a Christian. ALL of us are born lost, guilty, dead in sins. ALL of us will stay that way unless God causes us to hear, understand, and believe the gospel. Period.

The third reason given by the videos was that “Obama supports homosexuality” I am curious about this idea of “supporting” something. 1. Are there tears for Obama when folks talk about him not being a Christian? 2. What does it mean that he “supports it”? Does this mean that Obama advocates that people begin to practice homosexuality? Does it mean that he supports the civil liberty to become homosexuals, if that’s what people decide, even though he doesn’t agree with the decision?

3. Will there also be a series explaining why every Republican candidate is not a Christian? 4. Will there be a series explaining why every Roman Catholic is not a Christian? 5. Will there be a series explaining why every Mormon is not a Christian? 6. Will there be a series explaining why no USA president has ever been a Christian? Which of them knew the gospel of God’s sovereign free grace in which His righteousness is revealed?

More importantly, will somebody be explaining why it matters if the President is a “real” Christian? Since the law says there’s to be no religious test for office, why is it important for us strangers and sojourners to be deciding about a politician’s religion? 8. Is the USA “exceptional” because its leaders have been or were “Christians”?

I don’t propose to answer all these questions in this essay. But I want to ask some more. If you “support the troops”, does this mean that you advocate that people become soldiers? Does it mean that you
think that Christians should become soldiers and kill for Christ and His glory? Does it mean that you support the civil liberty to become soldiers, if that’s what people decide, even though you don’t agree with the decision? Does it mean that you think it’s one way for poor people to go, but not the best for your children?

Would you fault the “moral compromise” of the Lord Jesus for His submission to the occupying empire and its allies on the Sanhedrin? Is Christ’s rejection of Peter’s sword an endorsement of the gross and blatant evil done by the Romans, or do you think that the Roman administration of Roman laws was basically good for business and civilization?

Acts 2:23 “this Jesus, handed over according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”

We should never confuse what’s “necessary” (because it’s predestined by God) with what is good or practical or legitimate. I can agree that nation-states do great evil, without in any way seeing any duty or mandate or vocation for us to attempt to fix these regimes or replace them. “Submit” does NOT mean “do the evil they command”. But neither does “submit” mean ” I accept suffering from them because I think they are good and legitimate”. By what standard would we make this judgment? By the standard of the Mosaic covenant? By the command of the Noahic covenant that blood that takes must be taken as a sacrifice to God? Which God? By the standard of what your “natural instincts” tell you to do?

Patience, even such that we wait for the Lord Jesus to come and judge, is not necessarily cowardice, and most definitely not approval of that which is evil. To do nothing when nothing wise can be done is to avoid the evils which come when we attempt to overcome evil with evil. We cannot dismiss the command with the idea–”if it were only me suffering that’s one thing, but it’s not only me suffering, so therefore I am one of the gods who must do something about it.”

I Peter 2:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

mark: God’s foreordination is not God’s approval. God’s purpose in Christ involves His second advent, and apocalypse will uncover the evils done in the name of the good.

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

mark: What some speak of as the “spirituality of the church”, I think of as the “politics of the church”. The words “ecclesia” and “politics” do not belong only to those willing to do violence. God’s
purpose in Christ is manifest when ecclesia happens and ecclesia will happen. There is something very “religious” about “supporting the troops” of an evil empire, and there is something very “political” about knowing that church is more important than family or race or national boundaries.

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the
day of visitation.

mark: Unless we adopt a situation ethic (now we have the spectacle of democracy!), since when do aliens tell the nation in which they live how to conduct their affairs??? Agreed, you surely are not going to listen to what Jesus Christ said, but we like our plan B better than your plan B???

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the
ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants[ of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the
emperor.18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.

mark: On this matter of unjust suffering, the idea is not to restrict the suffering to something “private” or something which is “religious persecution”. Rather, the imperative depends on the indicative of what the Lord Jesus Himself did in a situation where his people were threatened by an evil occupying power. The text does not say to move to Jerusalem and be a carpenter and not have a wife. But the text does say that Christ is our example in suffering, also that we do this by “trusting Him who judges justly”.

19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sin, live to righteousness.

Some Folks Like Sacraments Better Than Memorials, Because Sacraments Can Kill You but Memorials Can’t

May 27, 2011

when we deny that each atom of the bread
contains God completely,
the priests explain that it makes no difference
what those sectarians think is happening

because history tells us, the tradition,
the story that works
(not for the sectarians ,we killed them)
that Christ is fully present in the bread

the chaplains defend the narrative
thank god this day for constantine
and all those who make it possible for us to worship
in liberty and peace

grateful to those in the military
the service men and women, the heroes,
the killers who stand between us
and the chaos of apocalypse and liberalism
thankful we do not have to face revelations

the soldiers are cheap, their lives also,
they kill for us so that we don’t have to
the priests cost more but they assure us

this is not nostalgia for the past,
the sacrament is liminal
here where now is and no there or no then

We have paid the priests to tell us about the one church
for all times and all places,.
to tell us that sectarians are atheists posing as protestants

Leithart (page 333): “The Creator made man to participate in and prosecute His wars.” Of course Leithart is not only describing what God has predestined; his concern is ethics. Mine two.

Either Leithart is right or we pacifists are right. According to Leithart, Adam’s problem was that he was a pacifist in regard to Satan. If Leithart is right, as we get to newer covenants (or, “newer administrations of the one covenant”, as the ideology likes to say it), then the newer the covenant, the more responsibility all of us have to kill for the sake of the covenant.

And thus Leithart contextualizes Jesus, so that His dying at the cross (rather than killing) is particular, specific, and unique, and not an example for anybody.

I remember the old days when theonomists mocked Ron Sider for his leading questions: is God a Marxist? Ron never said God was, but he kinda implied it. And so today, the theonomists ask the leading question: is turning the other cheek a rebuke of self defense or the defense of others?

How could we possibly think that what Jesus said in the Sermon was for all Christians in all places and for all times? We know that church history is not an empty parenthesis, and we know that Augustine was a Christian, and thus we know that Augustine’s version of Just war was also the politics of Jesus.

You Wouldn’t Kill for Jesus, but You would for the USA?

May 27, 2011

Romans 5 teaches that humans are born imputed with Adam’s guilt. Only a liberal would deny original sin. There are numerous other examples of corporate guilt in Scripture. For example, in Joshua 7, thirty-six Israelite killers die because of the sin of Achan, and then his family members are executed with him because of his sin. In II Samuel 2, seven of Saul’s sons are executed for their father’s sins.

What God in his sovereignty ordains gives no humans anywhere an excuse to hate other sinners. Even though so many soldiers have died because of the lies of Bush and Obama, this historical fact does not mean that their deaths are justified.

Deuteronomy 24:16 explicitly prohibits humans from killing one person in the place of another: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers.”

This means that we cannot read the face of providence (as the Westboro group does) and determine when and how justice was done. God will judge the secrets of our hearts (Romans 2:16, Hebrews 4:12), but we humans cannot and should not try to imitate that apocalypse.

Some liberals think that any notion of God being judgmental in the future only leads to violence now. But that liberal judgment defies Romans 12: 19—“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

In Luke 13: 4-5, the Lord Jesus responded to those attempting to interpret current events: “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them; do you think they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will likewise perish.” That threat from Jesus is not an endorsement of redemptive violence and “peacemaking war”. It is not an excuse for us to kill anybody.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” (I Peter 2:24) Liberals will tell us
that this event was only humans killing another human and that God had nothing to do with it. But I Peter in context assumes that God does indeed require the blood poured out (the soul, the death of the life of) His Servant for the sins of some other people.

Isaiah 53: “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; his soul (his blood poured out) makes an offering for sin…” Liberals will tell us that this is a “flat Bible approach” and much of the Bible is wrong and that we need a more “Jesus-centered” reading.

I Peter 3:18 reads, “Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous.” There is no need for any of us to be killing, since there is now no other sacrifice for sins. Liberals will deny that Jesus was punished for the sins of His friends, but it is that very hope which serves as the reason for patience in the face of current tragedies.

I Peter 2:21—“leaving you an example, so that you would follow in his steps…when he suffered, he continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

Infant Baptism Will Save the World?

February 7, 2011

Stanley Hauerwas, A Better Hope, p43–“Gerald Schlabach sent me criticisms of my work that another Mennonite had posted on an e-mail forum. The critic argued that my work is far too Catholic and thus incompatible with an Anabaptist perspective: ‘Hauerwas has a Constantinian fear of Christian liberty. He wants the clergy to tell us the story and the church to have the sanctions to enforce it.’ In his response Schlabach agreed that this is an accurate (although insufficiently nuanced) summary of my views but defended the position nevertheless. ”

Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom , Peter Leithart, IVP, 2010

Leithart is a high church theonomist. He teaches at Doug Wilson’s little school in Idaho. Like others in the anti-federal “federal vision”, he teaches justification by works, with a particular emphasis on “sacrament”. His book is endorsed by Anglicans who teach justification by works: Stanley Hauerwas, John Milbank, and NT Wright.

Leithart believes that infant baptism will save the world. Constantly caricaturing one side against the other, he calls John Yoder an “anti-realist”, then puts the Niebuhrs on the other end, and then sits himself in the middle. “In the end it all comes down to infant baptism.” P341.

When we ask how Constantine and infant baptism will save the world, Leithart asks us to stop being so impatient. Baptism has happened, and it will change the world, because justification by works has worked and will work.

Make no mistake: Leithart is still a theonomist, and the ritualism of James Jordan has not changed his dogmatic agenda that “the Old Testament is normative for politics”. (p131). When somebody like James Carroll (Constantine’s Sword) complains about the anti-semitism of Augustine, Leithart is quick to defend the good old days of the middle ages. The Jews were merely not allowed to proselytize, and besides, he is pro-Jewish because he thinks the OT is normative for politics. And he’s against all kinds of sectarian proselytizing, except of course his own proselytizing for one universal church.

Leithart very much opposes the “John Locke” Protestantism in which separatists (isolationists) “hold opinions that divide them from the general public”. We are reminded that theonomy is not about a combination of church and state but about having one church (with bishops) which can stand up to the state. He quotes Rushdoony (p181) about Trinitarians resisting imperialism. If you won’t support killing heretics, then you are left with “invisible churches”.

Of course we could ask all kinds of questions here, like which kind of visibility? Which church? Which bishops? Whose ordination? But Leithart cautions us to be patient about all such details. All we need to know for now is that infants are being baptized in the name of Trinitarianism. It’s happening, no matter what kind of “nominalist” objections and theories are being suggested. And Leithart himself is still ordained by the PCA, and if the PCA were to become a sect and disqualify him, then he would simply move on to the one church which remains the one church.

If you won’t defend Augustine for killing Donatists who “re-baptise”, then you simply show that you are a baptist at heart. True Anglicans still know that it’s a sin not to have your infants baptized by the one church. We cannot say that Constantine had no mission, because his mission was the empire, and in order to become a citizen in that empire, you also needed to be baptized (and have your infants done, along with your wife and slaves) and if you object to that, you show yourself to be modernist plain and simple.

Indeed, argues Leithart, Constantine really subverted the empire (you see) because he used his great power in the empire to change the empire! How could he have ended the gladiatorial shows, if he had retreated from cultural engagement like the quietists and separatists? If you can vote, you must, and if you can kill for a more civilized culture, then the killing itself becomes civilization!

If Joseph and Daniel can dream for the emperors, doesn’t it stand to reason that you also must become emperor if you can kill enough people to do so? And shame on Constantine for refusing to wear the purple when he thought he was near death, as if being emperor and being Christian were in competition. There is a bad justification by works, like when you do stuff not commanded, or stop doing stuff not forbidden, like stop killing, but then there is a good justification by works, when you can baptize the nations in the name of the Trinity.

Leithart knows that anti-Constantinianism is a cover for liberalism, or even worse, for pacifism. And so he argues simply, for those of us who are too dumb to get it. Augustine was a Christian. Augustine was not a pacifist. Therefore Christians do not need to be pacifists. Christians need only to reject “their wars” (that of the Marxists or the Anabaptist sectarians). But when Constantine becomes a Christian, then his wars become Christian wars, and thus our wars.

Leithart explains to us that John Yoder was effected by his social location: writing in Europe against the state churches of Europe, Yoder could not see that this kind of sectarian nation-building is not the same thing as the medieval achievement of cultural unity. In other words, with Milbank and Hauerwas, Leithart is accusing the ecclesiology of Yoder of still being “modernist”. Even if we can’t be quite Roman Catholic yet, we must all agree now that justification by faith is mere Gnosticism and that justification is by obedience to God’s law, and for that we need both character and community.

And of course Constantine’s history Is somewhat messy (especially his family life) but the alternative is the impatience of perfectionism. Leithart appeals to all us who grew up in dispensationalism and now see ourselves as superior to all that. Surely, “church history is not an empty parenthesis.” (p325) We need to work with that which has come about with the passing of time, and if we resist the gradualism of the Magisterial Reformers, we will end up with no church at all, and no conservative culture!

In order to “de-sacrifice the empire” and thus eliminate the confusion of patriotism and religion, we need to do two things, according to Leithart. First, we need to sacrifice (kill) the enemies of Rome. Second, we need to move the patriotic rituals out of the realm of the empire and move them into the church (which will support the empire). And one great immediate effect of this is that blood sacrifice is ended in the Jewish temple in Ad 70. Sure, in theory, the blood in the temple never worked, certainly not after Christ died, but if you want to see the real coming of the Christ, see it there in the Roman invasion of Jerusalem in Ad 70. (No wonder the theonomists and the preterists like NT Wright’s “end of exile” theology so much!)

If you are patient enough, you can make a nation Christian in the same way that you make an infant a Christian. You baptize it. And the great commission is for you who baptize, which is to say, first you say to a nation that it is Christian, and then you can talk to it like you do to Christians. But if you do not agree that the Romanists and the Americans are all already Christians, already baptized, then what can you say to them about what they should do?

You may think that my sarcasm has simply got the best of me, and that there’s no way that Leithart can be saying any of the things I think he is saying. To that, I say: read him for yourself. If you don’t have time to read the other theonomists (Rushdoony, Doug Wilson, James Jordan, Greg Bahnsen, Andrew Sandlin) or the preterists ( American Vision, Gentry), begin with Leithart’s earlier book: Against Christianity.

I quote from Leithart’s page 333: “The Creator made man to participate in and prosecute His wars.” Of course he is not only describing what God has predestined; his concern is ethics. Mine two. No triangulation needed here. Either he is right or we pacifists are right. According to him, Adam’s problem was that he was a pacifist in regard to Satan. If Leithart is right, as we get to newer covenants (or, “newer administrations of the one covenant”, as the ideology likes to say it), then the newer the covenant, the more responsibility all of us have to kill for the sake of the covenant.

And thus Leithart contextualizes Jesus, so that His dying at the cross rather than killing, is particular, specific, and unique, and not an example for anybody. I remember the old days when theonomists mocked Ron Sider for his leading questions: is God a Marxist? Ron never said he was, but he kinda implied it. And so today, the theonomists ask the leading questions: is turning the other cheek a rebuke of self defense or the defense of others?

How could we possibly think that what Jesus said in the Sermon was for all Christians in all places and for all times? We know that church history is not an empty parenthesis, and we know that Augustine was a Christian, and thus we know that Augustine’s version of Just war (not like that of Bush and Rumsfield) was also the politics of Jesus.

It’s sad that IVP published the book. What’s next for IVP? Will one day they even publish a book defining Calvinism in way that you don’t have to believe the doctrines of “tulip” to be a Calvinist?