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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

All this hubbub about the US Supreme Court’s recent decisions touching sodomite unions has people wondering if the United States is caput. Many are also wondering what place of the church of Jesus Christ has to speak to all of this political/judicial/moral carnage.

As a Christian (read: Bible-believer), I am opposed to homosexual activity. I don’t think that a man can “marry” another man. By his Word God defines marriage, and that necessarily precludes same-sex marriages. There is A LOT more to say than that, but at least that needs to be said.

Jefe, would you say that we have a plethora of sexual perversions?

Okay, so if the church of Jesus Christ follows the written Word of God, she will be opposed to homosexual perversions (as well as the PLETHORA of other sexual perversions). What shape should that opposition take?

Like everything else, there is a lot to say about this. In the remainder of this post, I want to highlight a very helpful distinction between the church as institution and the church as organism. The institution of the church is the form the church takes in her government and liturgical ministry. The church of Jesus Christ IS an institution: it has officers (elders and deacons), formal discipline (ending in excommunication), and a formal ministry (the liturgical preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments). However, the church is also rightly conceived of as an organism, a living being. The church is a body fit together with all sorts of people, each of whom are gifted and empowered by the Spirit to live out the commandments of God in their own lives, in communion with one another, and in this world.

The concept of the church as institution is roundly hated by many, including many Christians in our day. We read silliness like, “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.” The reality, of course, is that it is both of those and more. Regarding our point, the church as organism is dependent upon the church as institution. The regular function of the institutional church empowers and protects the functioning of the church as organism.

Alright, if that distinction makes sense, let’s move on to apply it to the present situation of homosexual “marriage.” How should the church as institution oppose sodomite unions? Should our elders, sessions, bishops, etc. tell us to vote for this or that candidate? Should our pastors stand in the pulpits and say, “Support proposition X” or “Oppose candidate Y”? I do not think so. That’s right. I do NOT think so. I think that the FORMAL ministry of God’s Word should be just that, a ministry of the God’s Word: Law and Gospel. The people who sit under that faithful ministry should go forth, as the organism of the church, and live according to that Word. Thus, the people of God could rightly band together in political/social groups to oppose this issue or support that one. The institution of the church, however, should not engage in that sort of political and social work directly. The institution of the church should continue heralding God’s Word in faithfulness, empowering the organism of the church to apply that Word faithfully in all areas of life.

This distinction, if kept, will allow Christians to live as Christians in EVERY age without making the institutional church the water carrier for any particular age’s political/social agenda. The distinction, if lost, will subject the institutional church to the political/social whims of every age and will rob the organism of the church of her very power house: the ministry of Word and Sacrament.

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Before we even get into it, I want to highlight a few things that are important:

A Super-Cute Newborn

I know that life situations can be very hard, sexual problems can be intensely difficult, unplanned/unwanted pregnancies will often change lives drastically, and that many people seeking abortions are hurting in big ways; they need help. I have committed my life to the service of Jesus Christ and, therefore, to the service of other people. I am quite interested in helping people, but not all “help” helps. Because I follow Jesus and try to live according to his Word, the Bible, I firmly maintain that abortion IS murder and should be illegal, punished just like any other murder. The modern/current discussions surrounding abortion are, like a freshly brewed mug of coffee, almost always too hot to hold for very long. I am not interested in the heat, but I am interested in reasoned, substantive and honest discussion. Mostly, I’m interested in ministering to and helping people in a moral, Christ-honoring (and therefore helpful) way.

Okay, let’s get into it. Any casual observer of pro-abortion polemics would think that rape and incest are two major factors leading to a goodly number abortions. In fact, if we add those two reasons to the big mama, the life/health of the mother, we have the three-legged foundation of a “reasonable” approach to keeping abortion “safe and legal.” (more…)

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Can We Discuss This?

At the risk of beating the same drum (I’m no John Henry Bonham), I want to post another little ditty on the issue of gun control. In a word, this post is a plea for some clearheaded thinking in the discussion.

The furthest thing from clearheaded thinking would be insanity; politics is full of insanity. As it comes to this issue, there are plenty on the right side of the aisle who simply chant (read: scream), “FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!” It’s hard to have a clearheaded discussion with someone who simply screams a mantra back in your face. On the other side of the aisle, we have some who view firearms as items just waiting to kill (note that they will almost never say murder) someone. It’s hard to have a clearheaded discussion with someone who is filled with both irrational fears and “righteous” indignation. What I’m saying, here, is that both sides paint each other as unreasonable and, to some degree, both sides are correct in that assessment. This unfortunate reality will stop the discussion from moving forward. It will not, however, stop public policy from moving forward. (more…)

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The Logic of Gun Laws

AR-15

I don’t pretend to be a specialist or to have any sort of extensive knowledge in this (or any) area. I’ll admit to being a gun enthusiast. Like most things that I’m enthusiastic about, I’ve read a little about guns and crime. I consider the unspeakable tragedies of late to be wicked, debased, and utterly odious. I have been (both in private and in pubic) in prayer for the families of the victims of the recent shootings. These were not “killings”; they were murders. So, hopefully nothing in this post is misconstrued. As one who very recently lost a child, I can sympathize with our countrymen in Connecticut and here in Oregon, too. These tragedies necessarily bring up questions about how these sorts of tragedies can be stopped. That is a worthy and necessary discussion. Let’s have that discussion honestly and without rancor.

Nearly 100% of the population in our country wants to stop these vicious murders in malls, schools, and the like. (more…)

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Dr. D.G. Hart

A good friend of mine told me to get a load of D.G. Hart’s post… you should get a load of it, too. If you don’t read it, this post won’t make much sense. However, if you do read it, this post may still not make sense… let’s see.

For those of you who do not know Dr. Hart, he’s a stud. I read Recovering Mother Kirk in seminary, and I loved it. He’s a wonderful historian. I have enjoyed his work on American Presbyterianism and on Machen. I have wanted to read his work on Nevin for a number of years, but evidently not bad enough to do so. So, when we’re dealing with Hart, we’re dealing with an accomplished scholar, a seminary professor, and an ordained elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The man even smokes tobacco. Not. Too. Shabby. (more…)

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Having just got my first cup o’ coffee this morning, I was met by The Oregonian, which proclaimed: “Conservatives: With a bad election hangover, Republicans are taking a long look in the mirror”. The author of this article, William Douglas, quoted a former GOP political director in Iowa as saying, “The biggest problem isn’t President Obama. It’s ourselves.” This is, no doubt, true. It can, however, be pushed in the wrong direction. This Republican self-assessment has all the potential to go horribly wrong.

Let’s face it: the GOP took it in the shorts on Tuesday. Why? Was our candidate not “centrist” enough? Did his policies and plans not have “broad enough appeal” to the American people? Should the GOP’s naval-gazing end up producing  some new candidates who “better reflect the diversity of the American population”? In other words, should the GOP become more like the nation? OR… OR… OR should the GOP actually attempt to lead this nation?

Grab your socks and hose and pull – we should expect our leaders to lead. When they give up leadership and exchange it for buying votes, when they leave off principles and speak only of pragmatics (which, ironically, seem not to work), they deserve nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. Those trampling men, when that job is done, should turn to their party and insist upon a candidate who will lead their country.

What are historic Republican principles? Let’s just start with economic and civil liberties and political freedom with limited government under the rule of law. How have the past number of GOP presidential candidates worn these principles? I don’t pretend to be an expert in this, but take Bush (41), Bob Dole, Bush (43), McCain, and Romney as your test group. These are the leaders of the GOP for the past quarter century. What do you think? Do these men tend to represent the increasingly liberal, egalitarian, and “pragmatic” society of the United States, or do they tend to represent those strong, old, historic Republican principles?

When we Republicans (that’s right, WE – I’m one of us) look in the mirror, I hope we see what we once were, I hope we find our lost principles, and I hope we, then, clearly see what we have to offer to our country. I hope we can BE Republicans and thus lead our country.

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So, presidential hopeful and devout polytheist, Mitt Romney, declared twice in his closing statement in tonight’s final presidential debate, that America is the hope of the earth. I ask you, as a Christian, what in the hell could that possibly mean that is in any way Christian?

Romney might be a devout polytheist, but he’s nowhere near a devout Christian based upon that repeated remark. In the first place, polytheism isn’t quite Christian. (more…)

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