We live in a time of great cultural blessing, by which I mean that God is no longer permitting us to talk nonsense, at least not without that fact becoming manifest to all and sundry. Secular man is just standing there, shivering in his skivvies, listening to the imperious demands of Muslim clerics on the one hand, and the imperious demands of poofter pride on the other.
These conflicting demands are God’s way of using current events to run a reductio ad absurdum on us. Thus far, we are continuing to embrace all the absurdities, as we are able, in the hope that no one will notice.
When this kind of thing happens, it reveals all our hidden assumptions and secret commitments. This most recently happened to Russell Moore, who was trying to respond to the actions of Chief Justice Roy Moore. The feds are despotically trying force homo-mirage on a nation that does not want it, and Roy Moore instructed the judges in his state to disregard the illegal actions of the feds.
What Russell Moore did was say that judges should either comply with the federal requirement, or resign their office. Quoting from the article . . .
“Russell Moore, a national official charged with representing Southern Baptists’ beliefs with regard to culture and public policy, told Baptist Press any judge who ‘could not discharge the duties of his office required by law’ because of objections of conscience ‘would need to resign and protest it as a citizen.’
He said that there is a role for civil disobedience, but not for ‘judges and state Supreme Court justices … in their roles as agents of the state.'”
Before addressing the glaring problem here, we need to note the foundational moral compromise already present in this. He does not say that judges must resign, period. He says that judges must resign rather than protest in an official capacity, but not that they must resign rather than authorize a same-sex mirage. You may be okay with that. You must not be okay with defying the state. What this illustrates is that Russell Moore is a statist. He wants to stand for biblical principle, just so long as unbiblical people have given him permission to.
I said earlier that this kind of situation reveals hidden assumptions. What Roy Moore is doing, while many soi disant defenders of traditional values are pulling their skirts away from him, is an almost perfect example of the Protestant doctrine of the lesser magistrate. What we need is a thousand more men like Roy Moore.
Suppose a dispute arose between North and South Dakota, and a man who lived on the state line received a bossy letter from the secretary of state of each respective state. Say that one said he had to paint his mailbox blue and the other said he had to paint it red. The man was trying to figure out if one, or the other, or neither, had the authority to require something like this. So what would we think if Russell Moore walked up and said that what the man should do is “obey the existing authority.” Okay. Who might that be?
There are two debates going on in Alabama. One of them has to do with same sex mirage — that is the presenting problem. But the actual problem, as Roy Moore has cogently pointed out, is over who is the appropriate authority. Who has actual jurisdiction according to the law? Why would Russell Moore want to assume that the feds had jurisdiction just because the feds said they did?
So I have a simple question for Russell Moore. The question is designed to determine if he has a doctrine of the lesser magistrate at all, or if he has entirely capitulated to our lords on the Potomac. And if he has a doctrine of the lesser magistrate somewhere, where is the line? And why have we apparently not crossed the line with the sin that caused fire to fall upon Sodom from heaven? When would we cross the line? How bad would it have to get?
So here is my question. Is it possible for an agent of the federal government to tell a lesser magistrate to do something that the Constitution says he may not tell that lesser magistrate to do? Is that possible? If it is possible, what are the lesser magistrates to do if such an event occurs? Why would Moore say that he must resign rather than resist, but not say that he must resign rather than comply?
More importantly, is it possible for an agent of the federal government to tell a lesser magistrate to do something that the law of God forbids? If so, then is there ever a point when that lesser magistrate should resist in his official capacity? Or must he step aside in order to allow wolves to devour the sheep?
Suppose we get to the point where abortions are mandatory, as they are in some places in the world. Suppose a pregnant Christian woman appeals to a Christian judge, who stands with her. A federal district judge — one who in Russell Moore’s polity outranks the Christian judge — decides against the woman. What must that judge do? And why?
Russell Moore appears to be a good Christian man. But he is in the position of the proverbial man who brought a knife to a gun fight. We are in the midst of a clash of civilizations, and you cannot be a defender of Christian values apart from Christian civilization, and you cannot do that if you have no idea what the first principles of Christian civilization actually are.