On Refusing to Live in Pinkletown

A little while ago, a few weeks back, we had a discussion here in this space about my insistence on using um, flamboyant and non-PC language when discussing the homosex phenom. We had a good time in that discussion, but we weren’t done yet.

Let me appear to change the subject for a minute. In The Art of War, Sun Tzu says something profound, something that very few conservative culture warriors, God bless them all, get. He argues that the wise general first attacks the enemy’s plans, then secondly, his alliances, and then third, his army or his forces. Get that? You don’t attack the enemy in the first instance; you attack what he is doing. You attack his plans first.

The push for homosexual marriage is very recent, and it is still ongoing. That particular battle is still in process, and no, we haven’t actually lost it yet. But we did lose some earlier battles, which is why the challenges are so great now. Conservatives tend to think that “the plan” is to corrupt our laws as a way of corrupting our youth, and so on. But that is a later phase of the strategy. The plan, as Orwell could have told us, was to corrupt the language first. The goal was to do this by establishing themselves as the sole arbiters of what constitutes “hate,” what puts the phobic into homophobia, what forms of discourse are automatically out of civilized bounds, what qualifies as hate speech, and so on. They put on the robe, walked up behind the bench, and have been issuing decrees ever since.

Unless we draw the line sometime, there will soon be laws against putting those foamy hand soap dispensers in homeless shelters, on grounds of hobofoamia. We are up against it, people.

For some strange reason, mainstream conservatives have tried to fight these characters on the explicit issues of law, but have not challenged them in this central corruption, the corruption that gives them the power to pursue all the rest of it. To be sure, conservatives have complained about the weird standards as they have been applied (“How is it ‘hate speech’ to simply say that I believe Prop 8 should have been enforced in California?), but complaining to the ref does one thing that we should never want to do in this instance, which is acknowledge that these guys have any right to act as refs. As soon as we grant that fundamental usurpation, surprise, surprise, we will have plenty more weird calls to complain about.

What we must needs do is this, confreres? What is their plan? They want to be the discourse cops. Instead of making them discourse cops, and then spending our time pointing what a bad job they are doing at it, why not gleefully embrace the duty and high responsibility of tweaking them every lawful chance we get? We tweak them by doing whatever it was they just prohibited. This is quite different from objecting to them applying their bogus standards all the times when we didn’t do anything.

Now I say “lawful chance” because, while they are not the discourse cops, there is such a thing. The Holy Spirit wants us to keep our speech gracious, seasoned with salt. Jesus tells us that we shall give an account for every idle word we utter. We should shun corrupt speech, and steer completely clear of the shrill malice of the Westboro Baptists. But we only do this because Jesus requires it. We frankly don’t care what the harridan in charge of Speech Codes at Behemoth State Cow College thinks of it. Do we? We care for her good opinion about as much as we care for the good opinion of the Westboro Baptists.

So what is their plan? They have assumed the center by seeking to regulate what we may and may not say. Before all marriage law battles, before every legislative clash, before any of that. And I have sought to assume a different center — the center of a conservative resistance to their central hubris, a hubris that was in evidence decades ago, and which they are taking full advantage of now. I promised at the top that I would be writing about my refusal to live in Pinkletown. Someone might point out that in fact I am doing so, so what about that? I should rather say that I refuse to live in Pinkletown while calling it by its approved name, which is something like DignityandAffordableHousingforAllville. And by refusing to acquiesce in this aboriginal corruption, this perversion of words, I am making it possible for my great-grandkids to live somewhere besides this linguistic shantytown.

The reason conservatives are dismayed today by how the ground appears to be shifting beneath their feet is that they do not recognize how complicit they have been in this whole process. Let me make up an example, and I will leave it to you to decide how true to life it might be. A junior research assistant for the DC office of FamiliesRUs is talking to some reporters the day after the Supreme Court debacle and in response to a question, off the record, he said he “really had to hand it to the homos. They were dedicated to their mistaken cause, far more dedicated than many of our people are,” etc. Despite being off the record, a tape of the exchange was leaked, and the uproar was lurid and overdone. Of course, FRU started apologizing like crazy, fired the assistant on the second day of the controversy, and then started apologizing for not having fired him on the first day. And when I say “apologizing,” I mean apologizing like Paula Deen would have for having said kaka in kindergarten. At least, that’s what it sounded like. Press releases, video tape, a second video tape, a press conference, and then pressuring a conservative publishing house — that was going to publish this hapless young man’s book in the fall — to spike it.

Impossible, you think? Conservatives! The opposition of the today’ radical proposals, enforcers of yesterday’s.

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44 thoughts on “On Refusing to Live in Pinkletown

  1. “The Art of War” doesn’t show up in my edition of the Bible.

    “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12

    As long as we think of it as a war against enemies and use the world’s means of attacking enemies, then we are going to lose by default. We don’t want the people we are engaging to lose, we know that Satan will lose, and we want the people we are engaging to end up on the right side. It is not the world’s ways of fighting, but Christ’s ways that we are asked to emulate. And Christ says that we are supposed to engage them by loving them. Love, meekness, humility, servanthood, taking up a cross – all those look “weak” in the eyes of the world. The philosophies of “The Art of War” look quite strong. But our God is not of this world.

    “Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” – John 18:36

    “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” – 1 Corinthians 1:20-25

    “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” ” – 1 Corinthians 3:19-20

    “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

  2. Jonathan,

    I think you are right to say that the Art of War is not our handbook (that is the Bible), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Art of War does not contain wisdom.

    Instead of reacting to the mere fact that Pastor Wilson references the Art of War, I’d be more interested in hearing whether you agree or disagree with the way in which he APPLIES it.

    I think it is very Biblical to refuse to accept the enemy’s language (which is Pr. Wilson’s application of tAoW). Jesus did, a number of times, refuse to accept the language of the Pharisees that disguised what was true and what wasn’t. I would point to basically every time they invoked the Sabbath against Jesus and also about the guilty woman they were going to stone “lawfully”.

  3. I support even Westboro Baptist’s right to say whatever they want and to spread their version of the Bad News close to funerals near you. Are they hateful? By my book, sure, but so what? You can’t legislate that people speak only kind words, nor should we try. I’m no fascist.

    At the same time, I don’t see how the Christian Right is “kind” when they quote Leviticus’s mandate for the bloodshed of “queers” with a twinkle in their eye, knowing full well that the same covenant mandated death for working on the Sabbath (amongst many other trifles that they conveniently ignore). I also don’t understand a theology that asserts that a “kind” and benevolent deity creates sentient beings for the sole purpose of burning the skin off their bones in a literal lake of fire forever just to showcase His ability to do so.

    So perhaps if you’re going to complain about being called “hateful”, why not bother to attempt to provide a coherent definition to the rest of us, because I’m not getting it.

  4. Hey Johnathan,
    The biblical term for homosexual is sodomite. It is much easier to repent of sodomy than to repent of homosexuality. One label accepts responsibility the other does not. We cannot let unbelievers define “seasoned with salt” for us because invariably their definitions will prohibit us from using biblical language. Biblical language demands repentance.
    Tim

  5. James,

    For one, there are many attributes to God, and being ‘just’ is one of them. the Leviticus quote is what is ‘just’ for that behavior in the eyes of God. It may not seem ‘kind’ in the sense we want to give it, but it is ‘just’.

    As for the ‘twinkle in their eye’… well that’s a whole other problem with people using the bible as a means to support their hate, not using the bible as an authority to guide their actions… Wilson is speaking to the latter.

    And for the ‘lake of fire’… that’s simply what life without God is like. If you spend your life NOT submitting your life to Christ… you are saying that you don’t need His salvation, and with the gift of Free Will, God says, “Okay, if you don’t want me around, I’ll leave you alone.” Only being left alone by God (who encompasses all good things) ends up feeling like Hell.

  6. There’s a term out there that I believe fits Jonathan’s little maneuver there: I believe the kids call it the “Jesus Juke”.

    It’s rather ironic that Pastor Wilson is attacked using the same tactic that he just encouraged because he encouraged that particular tactic.

    Pastor Wilson encourages attacking the plans of the enemy; Jonathan (I’m not saying that he is the enemy) then counters with attacking Wilson by attacking his plans….

  7. James Bradshaw, would you enlighten us on your judgement of doctors who shove scissors through babies’ skulls and suck their brains out and the people who support and protect their work? You must really hate abortion since since violence is so outrageous to you.

  8. Brilliant comment, Wesley, and spot on. Jonathan’s maneuver might work on some, but it was hilariously transparent to me.

  9. Mr. Bradshaw,

    The “coherent definition” that you seek is the whole Word of God. He is the Author, and therefore is controlling with full authority over all of the terms, including “kind and benevolent”.

    The fact that humans do not enjoy His definitions does not invalidate them. God underscores the vast gap between man’s ability to comprehend and His Own majesty in the Book of Job. In another place God says “You thought that I was altogether like you”; the reality is that the difference is so great that it is incomprehensible and without His Word and the definitions thereof we are reduced to babbling incoherence. (Or randomly fizzing molecules as atheists insist by their foundational premise.)

    Good, kind, benevolent, or any other quality is all and only what God declares them to be, not more or less.

  10. Mr. T,

    Indeed!

    And another attribute of that tactic is “cherry picking” only the attributes that fit the idolized philosophy. The whole counsel of God destructive to that tactic so it is not used.

    Context is a baloney sandwich, which requires bread, baloney and bread. Without the bread, its just baloney.

  11. Thanks. I hadn’t heard the term “Jesus Juke” before, but it definitely captures a particular art of war that occurs often enough among Christians that it needed a name for it.

    The reason that the tactic is effective (or at least annoying) is because it uses the old standby of guilt. The juker doesn’t attempt to remove the log (which usually isn’t even a log), but to allege or imply the log. It’s a means of putting the opposition on the defensive. It’s nearly the same thing as the political correctness guilt tactic, except it’s the religious equivalent rather than secular.

    Christians with a sensitive conscience are very susceptible to being silenced by even the possibility of having a splinter. Shame is one of the primary causes for the loss of the sexual culture war. Either by Christians who really do have real sexual sins in their past, and so feel disqualified, or else by Christians who don’t, but feel that a guilty posture is pious, or at least safer.

    The reason guilt works is because we still feel guilty. We Christians need to ask ourselves why. We need to examine ourselves daily. If we really are guilty, then there is no option but to repent. If we are not guilty, or if we have been forgiven, then we must act like we are a forgiven people. When Jesus’ blood has washed us clean, we may need to repent of the new sin of not acting like a forgiven people.

    The only one who will stand up and stick their neck out in a culture like ours today, and speak the truth about sin from a compassionate heart, regardless of the arrows, is the one whose conscience is clean and who really understands forgiveness.

    If the forgiven ones do not respond to the guilt manipulation, then culture wars will be won again. The whole world will be won.

  12. Jonathan is not wrong to point out the need for love and compassion, but he is wrong to assert that it is missing here. He hasn’t made a convincing case, but has willfully distorted Doug’s labor. That in itself tells us more about Jonathan’s motives. It’s a simple matter to clarify the record and we should be happy to defend a brother from a false charge.

    Regarding Sun Tzu, his name doesn’t show up in the Bible, but the true art of warfare does:

    “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” — 2Cor 10:3-6

    I wonder why Jonathan didn’t quote that passage? It sure seems relevant to the topic, but perhaps it wasn’t passive enough to serve his agenda. Ours is a simple Word *boldly* proclaimed. This is weakness by the world’s standards, but note that the Word is active and bold, not passive and flattering.

    If we distinguish between the enemy civilian and the enemy combatant, we can direct the Word appropriately in love, either as a balm, or as a serrated edge. Jonathan may refuse to see the difference, but this distinction will help us avoid any false guilt.

  13. katecho,

    Thank you sir for your consistent erudition.

    ” If we are not guilty, or if we have been forgiven, then we must act like we are a forgiven people. When Jesus’ blood has washed us clean, we may need to repent of the new sin of not acting like a forgiven people.”

    Indeed, God declared Abraham righteous, and more to the point, also his nephew Lot.

    I think that modern American Christians pall at that description (of Lot, and consequently all of those “of the faith of Abraham”)) not because of our (personal) faith, but because of little faith. It is in the very passage that is a hallmark of faith that Lot is declared righteous, but we resist God’s fiat.

  14. Hey katecho,
    I appreciate your comments, though I do have one small concern. False guilt is a Freudian concept that I think we should reject. All guilt is real and the result of an offended conscience. Our consciences can be misinformed so that we feel guilt for things that are not sinful, i.e. speaking against homosexuality. However, this does make the guilt false, it simply indicates that the conscience is misinformed and needs to be educated with Scripture.
    In short, if a person feels so guilty about his own list that he feels unable to speak against homosexuality that is a good thing and the result of a conscience that is rightly condemning him of his hypocrisy. The solution is to turn from the lust so that you can help the sodomite turn from his, or keep your mouth shut. I suspect some of the concern about speaking against homosexuality is resulting from a lack of trust in the ability of Christ to ACTUALLY deliver people from any sexual sin.
    Your thoughts?
    Tim

  15. Kirsten asks: ” You must really hate abortion since … violence is so outrageous to you.”

    I’m not a supporter of abortion and think there needs to be greater legal restrictions, yes. If a bill was proposed to ban abortion after a detectable heart beat, I’d vote for it.

  16. @James,

    real nice to hear that. my conscience limits me before that, but i have yet to see why this heartbeat = life reality is so easily ignored by those fighting for the right to abort. it feels like an obvious place to draw a line from a completely secular perspective

  17. James Bradshaw: I’m glad you would vote against abortion, and apparently you would also vote against stoning and Hell. But forgive me for not feeling safe and reassured by this, because I don’t trust my fellow men to be righteous and perfect judges and law-givers. God alone is perfect and just and I’m going to trust His judgments. He KNOWS more than you and me. You and I have opinions, but He KNOWS. That’s why people like me can affirm that the Bible is God’s Word and not balk at any part of it. He is holy and righteous and I’m not, therefore He sits in judgment of me and I don’t sit in judgment on him and his Word. You can think I’m an awful person all day long, but I’m sticking with God, and thank goodness, he has promised to stick with me!

  18. Tim M. wrote:
    “In short, if a person feels so guilty about his own lust that he feels unable to speak against homosexuality that is a good thing and the result of a conscience that is rightly condemning him of his hypocrisy. The solution is to turn from the lust so that you can help the sodomite turn from his, or keep your mouth shut.”

    Thanks, Tim. I would certainly agree that there is a kind of person who feels guilty because he really has unconfessed sin, or recurring lusts, etc. It is a very natural response to be ashamed of our sin, and to just want to hide like Adam and Eve. There is only one solution to that kind of active guilt, and that is confession and repentance. Silence and continued hiding is not a solution, even if it is the desired goal of the accuser.

    There is also a strain of Christianity that equates guilt with piety. Perhaps as a visible badge of honor, or as a form of penance to repay Christ’s loan. We can certainly acknowledge that “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” In that sense a sweeping general sense of guilt is not a fake guilt. However, we need to ask if Christ’s forgiveness really frees us from the former guilt or not. If we still carry the shame of it, then what becomes of forgiveness? Where is the scandal?

    I do think that there is such a thing as guilt manipulation though. This is why the use of guilt is so important for the opposition, and why Christ’s victory over sin and guilt is such a scandal. The easiest place to see the manipulation is when the tactic is applied against Christ, since He had no sin. He had many accusers, who tried every guilt play from washing of hands, to paying taxes, to hospitality among various sinners, to sabbath keeping. We could describe this as “false guilt”, but maybe a better term is “projected guilt” since Christ would not have had any guilty feelings or instincts for what He had done. No “false guilt” would even have occurred to Him. Their intent was to use guilt as a lever to silence Christ. The only difference is that we actually have sins in our past, from which guilt can be readily drawn and revived. The question is whether the accusation involves something that is even a sin, and whether we have permission to resurrect that guilt if Christ has covered the sin.

    If the charge involves something that isn’t even sinful, then an instinct to feel guilty about it anyway would be a more straightforward example of what I mean by “false guilt”.

    Tim M. wrote:
    “All guilt is real and the result of an offended conscience.”

    I think I see your point. For example, sin and guilt from the past may be quite real, and though it is forgiven by Christ, the original guilt may still flare up again in us. So when I say “false guilt” I don’t mean to imply that there was never any grounds for guilt in the past. The past guilt was likely completely legitimate. I mean to say that resurrected guilt is not legitimate when the sin has been covered by Christ. That’s mostly what I mean by false guilt.

    I suppose someone might then say, “now I feel guilty for having false guilt”, but that’s a new guilt and a real guilt, and we can repent of that also. And we should.

    Jesus didn’t surrender to the manipulation tactics of His accusers, and if we are clothed in Him, neither should we.

    If anyone could have been forever silenced by the guilt of their past, it would have been Paul. He owned his past sins, but he was emboldened even more by Christ’s forgiveness, and he spoke with power and authority in spite of his critics. We need to follow this example, and live the scandal. An appropriate shamelessness is a great testimony of the power of forgiveness. We have been set free, and we are free indeed.

  19. Jonathan seems to have left out Matthew 16:18:

    “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (ESV)

    Christ said to engage them by loving them, true enough. That same Christ said the church was an offensive weapon that would batter the gates of hell.

  20. Scripture is repleat with sarcasism, pointed-words, and word play. Prophets in the bible did not mince words or speak gently.

    Reading in 1 Kings this weekend to the kids and noticed this little gem: “And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” In today’s day and age, Elijah would be strung up by the PC police for intolerance and hate speach.

    Well spoken, Elijah!

  21. My favorite OT prophet moment is Elisha in 2 Kings:

    23 Then he [Elisha] went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!”
    24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.
    25 He went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.

  22. James, Leviticus also contains that trifle of “love your neighbor as yourself.” If the “shellfish (or Sabbath-breaking) argument” applies, then it applies.

    Of course, it doesn’t apply. Acts, Galatians, Hebrews make this clear.

  23. Matt – Matthew 16:18 is a fantastically appropriate passage! I certainly agree that we should be a battering ram on the gates of Hell. The mistake would be believing that the gates of Hell are men, and not principalities and powers. It seems obvious to me that the principalities and powers are the ones we are the offensive weapon against, and our fellow sinners are the ones trapped inside. Thus, being offensive against our fellow sinners would certainly be uncalled for.

    Katecho – 2 Corinthians 10 is also relevant. We do NOT wage war as the world does. We do NOT use the weapons of the world to wage this war. If you are reading “ready to punish every act of disobedience” as meaning that Paul is suggesting the believers are meant to punish acts of disobedience by non-believers or people outside their own church, I think you’re quite wrong. The context is clearly a pastoral letter addressing issues within the church itself (especially considering what he just said in 2 Corinthians 10:1-2), and is meant to either be applied either withing to the church body or to one’s self.

  24. I’m amused (somewhat sad, but in this context mostly amused) that some consider a call to act in the manner that Jesus calls us to act a “Jesus Juke”.

    That’s certainly not the manner I’ve ever heard that term used before (a quick look at stuffchristianslike and urbandictionary shows that’s not the manner they define it either). But name-calling is certainly convenient, because it allows one to dismiss an argument without actually engaging it.

    I think we should always act as Jesus asks us to act. I think that this conversation is an incredibly relevant place to address that. If you’d rather keep Jesus out of the conversation, then this isn’t the place that I thought it was.

  25. Johnny – do you think that it was ever morally wrong to eat shellfish? When Jesus says “it is not what comes from outside a man that makes one unclean”, he seems to be stating a general principle that is always true, not something new or even related to his death and resurrection at all, right?

    I think the main reason people try so hard to apply parts of Leviticus 19-20 directly to Christians today is because they couldn’t find anything to apply in Leviticus 1 through Leviticus 18. The idea that you’d read through 18 chapters of material clearly meant to apply directly to a different group of God’s people at a different time, and then cherry-pick select verses of Chapter 19 to apply directly to us today (but not, say, Leviticus 19:3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 33, 34, 20:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 18, 25, 26, or 27, and often not even 19:11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, or 20:10), seems disingenuous.

  26. This might be only the beginning, but at the end it will be an army of Richard Wurmbrands against the queens of Stonewall. The gays will never be willing to die for their cause (this is why Communism was an actual threat). This issue will be done and dusted before we know it, historically speaking. Wam, bam.

  27. And speaking of the culture of death and their rebellion against God, in Texas where the Legislature is trying to pass a law forbidding abortion past the 20th week, yesterday the pro-death group chanted “Hail Satan” and declared hopes that the legislator’s wives and daughters would be raped.

    It appears that the location is just across the street from Lot’s house.

  28. Jonathan, yes, it was morally wrong to eat shellfish prior to Christ’s coming. The shellfish didn’t defile but the disobedient heart did.

    Subsequent revelation makes clear which laws still apply in the same way as before. Jesus affirms the continuity of love for neighbor and for sexual purity.

  29. Ah, there goes Jonathan attacking my plans and schemes through definitions…. touche, Jonathan… quite the tactician you are….

    Not only has he learned from Pastor Wilson, but he’s actually put the principle into practice–behold, a Wilsonite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!

  30. I’m not a commentor here, but when the Jesus Juke makes it’s way into the conversation, I feel compelled to defend my generation’s machinisms. Jonathan, you did in fact pull one. It was wonderful, and glorious, and fantastically clear. To open with, “Well, MY Bible doesn’t have that.”; just, well done sir. In Titus 1:12, Paul, quotes an unbeliever. He’s using wisdom and truth of the world to attach to the even greater truth of God. He even says, “This testimony is true.” Same as in Acts 17, as he uses the inscription of the Unknown God to attach to an even greater truth they could never stumble upon without the Word of God.

    You said a couple of posts up that we should always act as Jesus asks us to act. Where exactly in YOUR edition of the Bible do you see Christ using fallacious arguments, such as opening the discussion with an accusation that Doug considers Sun Tzu to be preaching what is equal to the Word of God. I know that wasn’t your intent, but that IS the implication.

  31. Jonathan wrote:
    “I certainly agree that we should be a battering ram on the gates of Hell. The mistake would be believing that the gates of Hell are men, and not principalities and powers. It seems obvious to me that the principalities and powers are the ones we are the offensive weapon against, and our fellow sinners are the ones trapped inside. Thus, being offensive against our fellow sinners would certainly be uncalled for.

    Jonathan has promoted this same distortion in an earlier thread, but I think my reply on that thread fits here as well, so I’ll re-post it.
    ——————————————

    What is the nature of cultural warfare and kingdom conflict? Is it brandished swords, machine guns, crusades, top-down political maneuvering, and setting of legal traps? Jonathan seems to want to hang such imagery around Doug’s neck and wag his finger. But what is Doug actually doing? Doug is fighting using arguments, and principles, and ideas, and labels, and definitions, and with the Gospel, and with worship. This is primarily how Christians do culture war. It is how we take thoughts captive to obedience to Christ. We also do culture war by going as sheep before wolves and lions, as necessary. It simply doesn’t matter that Jonathan wants to portray kingdom warfare as something other than this, or as something unjust. We will still be in a culture war, and there are still enemy combatants and wolves that need to be confronted because of love for the sheep and love of the Gospel.

    Jonathan wrote:
    “I already replied to your made-up categories of “civilian” and “combatant” before.”

    I’m not sure which is more troubling, that Jonathan seems unwilling to acknowledge the nature of the broad culture war that we are in, or that he thinks the distinction between civilian and combatant is made-up. He seems to want to portray every sinner as a lowly civilian, with only private sins, just needing a caring hand. This is the social justice conception of the lost, which is recklessly short of the full story.

    Jonathan began with an attempt to erase all categories of kingdom warfare among people with his blanket declaration “we battle against principalities and powers, not against people.” The problem is that Jesus did battle with people, and so did Paul, and Stephen, etc. Jesus also pointed out that the conflict He brought would strike between mother and daughter, father and son, resulting in enemies within the same household (i.e. people). Jonathan finds himself at odds with Scripture on this issue, but rather than back down he clings even tighter to the notion that Jesus only confronted the religious leaders among God’s people:

    “The only category Jesus seemed to treat differently were the religious leaders of his own people. He never spoke that way to people who weren’t even among God’s people yet.”

    It seems revealing to me that the only exception that Jonathan sees to his original assertion is for “religious leaders”. Perhaps this explains why he views Doug as fair game.

    In any case, Jonathan must acknowledge that Jesus did not merely battle with spiritual powers of darkness, He battled with religious leaders as well, and religious leaders are people. Christ’s weapon was primarily the use of the Word of God, but whips also came into play. So Jonathan’s original claim that kingdom warfare is “not against people” is trivially wrong.

    But did it stop with religious leaders as Jonathan now suggests? Christ’s attention to the people of Israel may have had something to do with the fact that Jesus was honoring the principle of treating God’s house first, then the rest of the nations. He was sent “to the Jew first”, according to promise. But even so, we have defiant exchanges like this one:

    Just at that time some Pharisees came up, saying to Him, “Go away and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.” And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.’ — Luke 13:31-32

    Notice that Jesus testified against Herod by calling him a fox, and openly defied his threats. Herod was an Edomite king, and not a religious leader. Herod was also a person.

    We can’t ignore that Christ was setting the stage for a global culture war. One that would touch at every level, from kings and governors down to the members of one’s own household. He was sending His disciples into all the earth where they were expected to meet opposition, including from governors and kings (not simply the religious leaders among jews).

    When it comes to kingdom conflict and Christian conduct in it, we are fortunate that Jonathan is not in charge.

  32. Kingdom warfare is not animal violence, but it is resistance. As occasions arise, it involves worship, defiance, and honor of God rather than men. It involves reclaiming language, holy days, culture, and art. It involves humiliating the proud, and defending the weak. It involves standing up for the honor of a friend, and self-sacrifice. It involves a soft word, and a sharp rebuke. It involves salt. It involves distinguishing between civilians and enemy combatants.

  33. A weird part of the people who say that I’m trying to use Pastor Wilson’s tactic (attacking the plans of the enemy) are missing two huge points.

    1) Pastor Wilson is not the enemy.

    2) I don’t have an issue with Pastor Wilson’s goal in this issue (I’m not a supporter of homosexual sex). The thing that I ACTUALLY have an issue with is Pastor Wilson’s tactics. My reply is not about homosexuality, it’s about using the tactics of natural to attack people we portray as “the other” instead of using the means Jesus did to help lost sinners find God.

    Of course, since several people here seem to think of me as “the enemy”, I’m not surprised that they would feel that it goes the other way too.

  34. Jonathan may not name Wilson as an enemy, but there is such a thing as “friendly fire” or “collateral damage”. When we see Jonathan set his sights on Wilson to resist, rebuke and mischaracterize him, and when we also see Jonathan distort Scripture on the nature of kingdom warfare, it is important to set the record straight.

    Jonathan may not be able to admit of a kingdom warfare that involves people on the other side. He may not be able to admit of any conditions (except perhaps religious leaders) where sinners should be treated as enemy combatants to be resisted, humiliated, rebuked, etc. Jonathan seems only willing to see the private, civilian sinner, minding their own business, and simply needing to be educated by the Gospel. So Jonathan is only willing to endorse the passive, deferential, and sacrificial passages of Scripture as our pattern. But it’s not because he hasn’t been shown the full set of tactics that we are expected to use, with discernment.

    It is clear that Jonathan wants to paint Wilson as an attacker and a hater, etc. He wants to accuse and rebuke Wilson. But it is not clear how this is consistent with Jonathan’s overall message of passivity and tolerance and loving tenderness toward all. It is as if Jonathan is able to make an exception for what he is doing. It is as if Jonathan feels that only he is able to discern when it is appropriate to use the tactics of resistance and conquest. Instead of continually calling Wilson an attacker, maybe Jonathan can use Wilson to demonstrate what his vision of loving sinners looks like. At the moment it just looks like Jonathan is willing to use all of the same tactics that Wilson uses, but hold Wilson guilty of using them.

  35. I have never, ever made any argument for passivity, in my actions or my words. I think that passivity is a church-killer.

    One thing that Pastor Wilson and I strongly agree with (one of the most important things), is that we believe that God’s will and the truth of Christ should affect every little corner of our lives, our actions, and our relationships.

    I also have never wanted to mischaracterize Pastor Wilson. That would be completely defeating and useless, because if I think Pastor Wilson is doing something right, then I would want him to keep doing it, and if I think Pastor Wilson is doing something wrong, then I’d want to call out the actual thing I think he’s doing wrong. Pastor Wilson and I aren’t playing some game with a scorecard, and I’m not performing for an audience, and so trying to get some sort of fake “wins” based on false distortions would be profoundly stupid.

    Also, it would be “tactical” idiocy, because most of the people reading this are supporters of Pastor Wilson almost all the time and read Pastor Wilson’s own words before they read mine. If I was distorting him, they would already have gotten his version first, and see through my fake ploys in a second.

    You can have my absolute assurance that I don’t say anything which I don’t believe. To do anything less would be a sin against God, unfair not only to Pastor Wilson but also everyone else here, and a really stupid waste of my time.

  36. Why are you against homosexuality? You do realize, don’t you, that homosexuality isn’t a choice and it can’t be changed, which means that being against homosexuality is like being against a person’s skin color or ethnicity, which are both also unchangeable and innate. I’m sure you think it would be hateful to be racist or xenophobic, so why do you think it’s somehow not hateful to be against homosexuality? (Oh, and I myself am bisexual, so I can tell you for a fact that I did not choose to be this way. Ask any other LGBT person and they’ll tell you the exact same thing.)

    Also, just because you think the Bible says that homosexuality is wrong doesn’t mean that you should believe that homosexuality is wrong, you know. After all, the Bible is just a book, which was written, edited, revised, and translated by fallible, error-prone human beings, which means that it’s got to have at least one error in it, and it has plenty. Have you ever actually looked at the Bible with a critical eye, instead of just blindly believing that it’s free of any sort of errors? Critical thinking isn’t a bad thing, you know. It’s certainly a lot safer and smarter than blind belief is.

    Heck, have you ever actually studied the history and context of all of the supposed “anti-gay” Bible verses? Heck, have you ever even read those verses in the original Greek and Aramaic (before they were translated a million times), and do you know what the words “arsenokoitai” and “malakoi” mean? Or are you just blindly trusting what others (such as your Christian friends and your pastor/priest/whatever you call him) tell you about those verses, even though those people are capable of being wrong, which means you shouldn’t blindly trust anything they say? I mean, why believe that homosexuality is a sin at all if you haven’t even done any research on that topic?

  37. This article in the July issue of Tabletalk magazine by RC Sproul is helpful:

    http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/judgment-charity/

    “That’s what I mean by the judgment of charity. We don’t impugn people’s motives and don’t assume the worst of them when we disagree with them. We make a distinction between best-case and worst-case analysis. The problem we all have as sinners on this side of glory is that we tend to reserve best-case analysis to our own motives and give worst-case analysis to our brother’s and sister’s motives. That’s just the opposite of the spirit we’re called to have in terms of biblical humility.”

  38. To actually answer Hannah’s extremely prudent question, “arsenokoitai” and “malakoi” are best translated as “sodomites” and “men who behave in the manner of a woman,” respectively. So, at best, you’re passages are are giving us a lovely bit of justification for misogyny. Additionally, nearly every biblical reference to homosexuality refers specifically to male homosexuality. I guess there’s no problem with lesbians, then.

    This is an important issue, as you all claim. If therefore demands that we treat it with the gravity it deserves and think independently. Otherwise, an unnecessary genocide will once again occur in the name of “God.”

    I part with this question: Why is a god that condemns us for truly loving in our hearts better than one that condemns for fanatically hating our neighbors?

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