Sorry About That
As you can see from the title, I had a boatload of letters, but when I clicked publish, the computer spazzed and ate most of my answers. I conclude from this the Lord did not have as high a view of my answers as I did. Oh, well. And I need to go to work. And quit fooling around. These are the letters that made the providential cut.
Back to Rittenhouse
One quick questions going way back, on Rittenhouse:
I teach civics and OT, and confirm that vigilantism is sinfully acting outside our authority. But that authority is arresting suspects, holding trial carrying out penalties. I taught my students last semester that it is not only optional but a moral imperative to protect anyone (including ourselves) who is being harmed if we are aware of it. If I am aware of my neighbor’s person or property being damaged (whether that awareness comes from being there or hearing about it) I should defend him and his property and use force if needed; that is not vigilantism. While the police should also be called, the responsibility to prevent harm is not a role solely given to the state. I do not see Kyle as stepping in because the state was not doing their job (though the latter fact is true) He did not go there to hunt criminals, but to stand guard and use force to stop people in the act of harming innocent people and property. Nor when he preserved his own life with force (also a moral imperative) he had not been hunting them down in an investigation (the state’s job) but the attack was initiated by the group threatening people’s persons and property. I think it is dangerous to call doing what IS the moral role of all people Vigilantism. Rittenhouse no more “broke the social compact” than a man who sees a woman being raped, calls the police, and realizes he should not just wait and watch until they get there.
Any correction of my own position or clarity on yours would improve my teaching of Civics and Ethics
Luke, I agree completely.
Augustine and Calvin
Where would you point to in the Institutes to show how Calvin actually sorted out the problems that Augustine was trying to sort out in his work “Rebuke and Grace” and other places on the gift of perseverance? This question came up from you telling James White in the “Federal Vision” sweater vest dialogue that the “Dark Stout” FV guys are more Augustinian/Lutheran and you being an “Amber Ale” FV guy are more Calvinistic.
Jonty, I don’t have time to look up any sources, but I can tell you what I was referring to. I was talking about the necessity of the new birth, and the fact that regeneration is not reversible. For Augustine, regeneration could be undone, while election obviously could not be. So both Augustine and Calvin held to the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation, but Calvin was an evangelical, using that term in its modern sense.
Believers and Health Care
In covenant theology the family is responsible for education, healthcare and welfare. As reformed Christians we have done a great job of pulling our kids out of government schools and taking responsibility for their education. It has gotten to the point (because of preaching and teaching) that a family might feel an uncomfortable stigma if they keep their kids in the government schools. As a result of the shift to home and private schools many new options have began to spring up.
With regard to welfare many families have taken it upon themselves to learn to grow a little food at home and maybe to shop farmers markets instead of just going to the grocery store. Some places have started forming co-ops where community members can help to support each other in the event of a shortage or “supply chain” issues. More teaching and encouragement is still needed to weather the next wave of mandates and or restrictions.
We however rarely consider that the doctor that is seeing our child sat right next to the public school teacher through elementary, jr. high, high school, and probably even the first four years of college. After college they most likely spent the next 6-8 years in a couple of God hating universities learning how to treat a body that evolved from primordial ooze. You now stand before this state trained doctor with your son who broke his arm falling out of a tree and you want him to respect you religious objection to the covid “vaccine” and to not call CPS because you refuse to vaccinate him? We have all been trained to “ ask our doctor” if we think something might be wrong with us. If that logic follows then the gold standard for a question on what to teach our children should be “ask your public school teacher”. If we want to know what to eat then “ask the USDA”. The medical system is godless and we have been paying them to rule over us. We pay though tax dollars, insurance premiums, deductibles, and finally copays. We pay all of this money into a system that kills 250, 000 people every year just in medical mistakes. Is there another industry that could survive killing that many people every year?
In years past people took much more of an interest in their own healthcare and that of their families because doctors were reserved for the emergencies and when all other options had been exhausted. It is going to be a steep and uncomfortable climb for many of us to regain our God-given healthcare independence from the government system. The first step is to learn as much as you can about the basics of family healthcare. Find people in your community who have a knowledge base and are willing to bring you along. Start acquiring supplies to take care of little injuries and illnesses. Support those who decide to birth at home. Start a deathbed hospitality ministry. The more we take back of our healthcare, the less we will be forced to bow to all their wishes in order to get the help we need.
It would be good and right to admonish a father who gave his children over to Caesar to be educated or to McDonalds to be fed. Why should we not hold each to the same standard with regard to the healthcare of our families?
Joshua, there is much value in what you say. The medical system has been co-opted by secularists and statists, and has almost entirely discredited itself. So our health care system needs to be overhauled, and Christians need to detach any form of implicit trust from it. That said, I don’t want to be a perfectionist, and I want to make distinctions. If a kid falls out of a tree and breaks a leg, it would likely be a better idea to go to the ER for the medical treatment. You would have to make a judgment call on how likely it would be for them to call CPS.
Would you please interact with this article? It has to do with Aquinas and Natural Theology. I know James White and Owen Strachan are active in the canceling of Aquinas. Joe Rigney just tweeted about this topic the other day defending Aquinas. What say you??
Thankful for your ministry,
Silas, James White and I were just talking about this issue over lunch last week. I will give you the short form now, and I think it is perhaps likely that I am going to delve into this building controversy more thoroughly later. I am slowly working through the Summa now, and there are many places where I think Aquinas is invaluable, and other places where I think he is wide of the mark. The central thing is this. All Thomists are classical theists. Not all classical theists are Thomists. Thomas is within the bounds of orthodoxy, but he is not the definition of orthodoxy. And given the tenor of our times, I would want to use our language more carefully. Disagreeing with Thomas is not “cancelling” him. It is simply disagreeing with him, and that is something that fellow classical theists have every right to do.