Surrender the Good Surrender?

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Carl Trueman says a lot of good things here, and I invite you all to reflect on them. Having done so, I want to take this occasion to argue with his selection of one word, about which more in a minute.Surrender

Trueman sees right through the posing of those Christians whose idea of “engaging culture” is really just an excuse for aping pop culture, driven by a deep-seated need to show clips from top movies during the sermon. But fondling the Egyptians’ gold and leering at the Egyptian girls is not the same thing as plundering the Egyptians. Quite a different mindset is involved.

So the word Trueman uses that I want to take issue with is anti-culture. If it really were an anti-culture we were up against, this would mean not only that they had abandoned all traditional cultural “standards,” but also that they had abandoned all enforcement of them. But this is not the case at all. The ruling elites have an identifiable standard, and they promulgate it fiercely. It is unified, and it is clear. That standard seems absurd to Christians, but this is because it is alien, not because it is non-existent.

The unbelieving culture around us shares the characteristics of all unbelieving cultures. And it is a force to be reckoned with. To pretend that we are up against “no culture” would put us in the position of a hapless evangelical football team, playing against an anti-football team. This is so unfair, we complain pitifully — they walked off the field ten minutes ago, and we still can’t score! That is not where we are. The other team is very much on the field.

So what we are really up against is a despotic culture, an evil culture, a tyrannical culture, a humanistic culture. They have a different god, they have a different law, they have a different police force, and so the Christian response must be to insist that all of their idols have to be overthrown. That is what true Christian cultural engagement is. That is the only thing that Christian cultural engagement can ever possibly be.

Disciple the nations, Jesus said. He didn’t say to exegete Beyoncé songs in our sermons. But neither did He call upon the church to pull a “brave, brave, Sir Robin” move. He didn’t say copy the nations, and He didn’t say run from the nations. He said disciple the nations. Not only so, He didn’t say that we could limit discipling the nations to those seasons when it was easy, during those times when the nations wanted to let us.

He didn’t tell us to request authorized ghettos either. Trueman wonders briefly about the “Benedict option,” as though the kind of culture we see taking shape around us would even remotely allow Benedict option communities. Tell me another one. A Christian civilization would allow it, but then again if we had a Christian civilization, we wouldn’t need it.

As the grim realities of past compromises (urged upon us by our feckless Christian leaders) start to manifest themselves more and more clearly, look for many of these same Christian leaders to attempt to “surrender the good surrender.” But that is hardly what we were told to do.

There is a biblical way to lay down your sword and shield, but the only place we are allowed to do it is down by the riverside. When God finally calls us across Jordan, we need not make that journey armed. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). But until that day, our central task is to win the world for Jesus Christ. I am interested to know if Carl agrees with that. Is that our assigned mission? If it is, then we should get on with it.

All of current cultural dilemmas flow from the fact that we have flinched and compromised at that point. If any human culture is allowed its head for long enough, then it will of necessity become the kind of thing we see happening now. Satan fell, Chesterton said, by the force of gravity.

Cultures apart from Christ cannot avoid decadence. Cultures apart from Christ cannot avoid the abyss. Cultures apart from Christ cannot stand. Cultures apart from Christ cannot contain or hide their hatred of the Father. Cultures apart from Christ must eventually call down the chaos. And here we are.

Christ is the only Savior. Christ really is Lord of heaven and earth. But our immediate task is not to get the world to confess that. Our first and most pressing task is to get over twenty percent of evangelical and Reformed leadership to confess it. Then we would really be getting somewhere.

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Eric
Eric
6 years ago

I think by “anti-culture” Trueman means that secularism seeks to destroy culture instead of build it. It sounds, however, that he thinks there is a group of people Jesus can’t save. So yes, he’s basically given up.

Len
Len
6 years ago

You forget, though, that by surrendering now the world will get worse quicker thereby hastening the return of Jesus to take us out of the world and begin the tribulation which will allow all those who are part of the world’s evil culture to finally get what’s coming to them. PRAISE THE LORD FO EVIL! (In case you missed it, I’m being sarcastic.)

ME
ME
6 years ago
Reply to  Len

I wish you were just being sarcastic, but unfortunately that truly is what some people believe.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago

This is just feel good mumbo jumbo.

One pious platitude piled on another piled on another.

But practical advice? Zip. Zilch. Zero.

Heck, forget practical advice – how about any remotely plausible ideas?

Same there. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

Doug says, correctly, that you’re not going to be allowed to practice the Benedict option.

But you are going to be allowed to disciple the nations?

Lotsa luck with that.

Let me know how it works out for you.

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
6 years ago

You got something against martyrdom?

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago
Reply to  Rob Steele

Yeah, I like being alive. But I won’t be facing martyrdom. I’m not a baker or a florist. No one is going to force me to bake a cake for a same-sex or interracial wedding. If some freak of a woman wants to use the bathroom stall next to mine, what do I care? (Heck, Judeochristians don’t care either – try to find an example of one of them opposing trannies in the restrooms that doesn’t narrowly focus on the danger to women of having men in their restroom. Ever heard one speak out about the perversion of a woman… Read more »

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
6 years ago

I agree about Evangelifish (DW’s word, I think). Are you one of them?

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago
Reply to  Rob Steele

No. I’m a traditional Christian.

Evvies are Judeochristians.

That’s a completely different species.

Doug Wright
Doug Wright
6 years ago

uh, I think they’ve decided to be hip; so it’s “gender” not/ ‘sex roles” thank you. It’s reforming/wadda you want? Middle East in here? could be the women pissing out hormonal “birth control” or the belly fat androgen that’s converting the lazy boy ‘teachers’, but I like the semper genus. which in this case means always chasing after the joneses.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago
Reply to  Doug Wright

English, please.

Thanks.

Doug Wright
Doug Wright
6 years ago

look in the mirror and read it sloowly with good enunciation. Porfavor usted usar este palabra ‘gender’ y no ‘sexo’ como las christianos.

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
6 years ago

“But you are going to be allowed to disciple the nations?”

Do you think Jesus commanded the discipleing of nations as an impossible task?

RFB
RFB
6 years ago

Not only is it not impossible, it is a (trigger warning) command. I believe that it has something to do with Mr. Chesterton’s statement regarding the fact that it”…has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried”. That, combined with a hermeneutic that says yes, your arms are long enough to box with God, that yes He will lose some, that yes there is someone strong enough to snatch them out of the Father’s hand, and that well, even though He did say “all authority”, He did not mean all all. A hermeneutic that… Read more »

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
6 years ago

Prof. Truman be all like “Get off my lawn” and Pr. Wilson say “Shoot them!”

timothy
timothy
6 years ago

Trueman uses the word “we”. There is no “we” in this. It is us vs them. It is good vs evil.

Build our own laws, polity, civics, armies and rule ourselves as Christians.

Let them burn; I will bring the gasoline.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago
Reply to  timothy

Trueman uses the word “we”. There is no “we” in this. It is us vs them.

Um, if there’s no “we”, then by definition, there can’t be an “us”, either.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago

I had to laugh at this line in Trueman’s article: I am not entirely sure that Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option is the way forward, partly because it seems at the moment to be a work-in-progress with regard to the practical details. Um, yeah. Talk about overpromising and underdelivering….Dreher, the original Squishy Con, has been talking about how the Benedict Option is now our only hope for being able to live out our beliefs for probably over two years now. He says if we don’t embrace the Benedict Option, the state will force us to bake cakes for perverts, and there… Read more »

ashv
ashv
6 years ago

Retreat is impossible — our enemies won’t let us go. Direct confrontation is impossible — they control the cultural, political, and military institutions. Our available option, then, is subversion. Preach the truth to people who’ll listen, hide it from people who won’t. Raise your family to not live by lies. Find people whom you can trust, encourage each other to believe the truth and trust in God. From there, we can start building our own institutions and society, as much out of sight as possible.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

I say we do it in the open; loudly. I think we outnumber them and that we are stronger than them. I think they are weak, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. Look how easily the Republican “elite” just fell. They have no clue what just hit them. It is entirely outside their realm of possibilities that they are being removed from power. The “Culture” of the enemy is a top-down thing. Chop of the head. The body will wither. Tax strike. Armed civil disobedience. Own currency. Jury nullification. Parallel institutions and civic duties. Withdraw consent. Own military. These… Read more »

lloyd
6 years ago
Reply to  timothy

We ought to be able to carve out some un-used or mostly un-used land somewhere in this nation and form our own laws and society with little involvement from the federal government outside making trade fair between us and others, and protection from foreign powers.

We could call it a State… oh, wait, they tried that.

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  lloyd

Ahem. “Waco”.

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  timothy

These are things you can do when there is support for your cause in the existing power structure. We clearly do not have that right now. The entire media, academy, police, and judiciary stands ready to suppress “right-wing extremism” if it tries to assert any kind of visible independence. It’s a waste of time and talent to do this. Look at what happened to General Piquemal in France.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

Ash is right.

Besides, if you did try something, probably half of your movement would be undercover feds. And they’d be the ones egging you on to “quit talking and start doing.”

http://www.amazon.com/Aberration-Heartland-Real-Timothy-McVeigh/dp/1634240030/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462654309&sr=8-1&keywords=wendy+painting

katecho
katecho
6 years ago
Reply to  timothy

Timothy is correct that there are still lots and lots of Christians who could be allies in such a cause. The approach he describes requires us to have representation, and organization. That’s what we need to work on building. Of course it will also require faith and unity. Cynics like 40 ACRES do nothing to retain unity, but rather ridicule and mock from the sidelines. I’ve invited 40 ACRES to be more constructive; to try to offer solutions, instead of just naming problems in a cynical fashion; and I’ve invited him to give encouragement to those who are doing rightly.… Read more »

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Hey, man – I marched with Dr. King!!!

jillybean
jillybean
6 years ago

You marched right over him maybe.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Why you gots to be like dat?

jillybean
jillybean
6 years ago

I spent 99% of my life suppressing the smart ass retort. Every now and then I have to let my inner imp out for a run around the block.

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Representation and organization aren’t a substitute for power.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

Pre conversion, where you strong?

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Cynics and naysayers are always with us. I learned long ago to ignore them (or the occasional naysay of a good man) and look for the good and noble.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago

The Bayly brothers blogged about this the other day. It’s Bill Hybels, one of the best known and most influential pastors in America, literally boo-hooing over how badly gays and trannies are oppressed by Christians, and how much that just grieves his heart.

So watch this video from the 19:00 to the 32:00 mark, and tell me how long you think this guy is going to hold out against gay marriage.

https://willowcreek.tv/sermons/south-barrington/2016/05/ask-bill/#ask-bill

http://baylyblog.com/blog/2016/05/bill-hybels-has-lgbt-dream

Doug Wright
Doug Wright
6 years ago

Obama just condemned an Amish for squatting in an un-gender-neutral field. Everyone and MSM is talking about it. I swear if I could drive my suv overseas……well, and if the defense contractor I work for would relocate me…I’d be living in Mexico or Russia or Iran…just anywhere where I wouldn’t have to be a lgbt to get respect, That’s: Libertarian/Gop But not for Trump. Or If I could get to Tel Aviv by the 29th and live on a Khanith.

ME
ME
6 years ago

“They have a different god, they have a different law, they have a different police force, and so the Christian response must be to insist that all of their idols have to be overthrown.” I enjoyed this, but I have to say, there are far too many “they’s” in this post. “They” are not the enemy, they are us. “We come to point fingers at you, to overthrow your idols, and to declare you the enemy” is not spreading the good news. Often it becomes very difficult to tell who the Christians are, to distinquish the bad guys from the… Read more »

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  ME

Was Gideon wrong to kick over the altar of Baal? If there isn’t an
“us” and “them”, then what did Paul mean by “do not be unequally yoked,
for what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? What portion
does a believer share with an unbeliever?”

Hostility and ostracism are not sins.

ME
ME
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

“…By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned….”

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  ME

I asked those questions because I wanted an answer, actually.

ME
ME
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

I’m sorry, but that is the answer, to read the whole chapter in context, which really does speak of longsuffering and kindness. Paul is not telling people to go for the Benedict option, nor to withdraw and pour hostility over others.

ME
ME
6 years ago
Reply to  ME

I forgot about Gideon. Gideon does kick over the idol of Baal, but than he makes his own idol, his ephod out of the gold of his enemies and it becomes a snare, a trap. Scripture tells us, “All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there.” Than we learn, “No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted
themselves to the Baals.”

I’m not sure I’d say Gideon was wrong to kick over the idol. but I’d say that he was unable to really fix the problem.

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  ME

“The Benedict Option” is just Rod Dreher’s cloud-castle and not worth actual discussion. I agree that longsuffering and kindness are absolutely required. But that still doesn’t answer my questions, and it still doesn’t make hostility and ostracism (rightly applied) sinful.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago

Simple minded people love to repeat stuff like, “Persecution just makes the Church stronger.” Which is nonsense. It has happened in the past, but it’s certainly not the case that persecution always makes the Church stronger. It’s not even the norm. The first point we need to get clear is that, historically speaking, it is simply not true that persecution always helps to strengthen and refine the church. Sometimes persecution simply destroys a church. Once upon a time there were thriving churches in northern Africa, the Middle East, China, and Japan. Then they died. (You can read about them in… Read more »

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago

But that’s no reason to despair. For example, many people say that Europe is a post-Christian society. Well, post-traditional Christianity, yes. But Judeochristianity is alive and well in Europe:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_C–olgLsQE

Doug Wright
Doug Wright
6 years ago

“talmudochristianity’

Wendell Dávila Helms
Wendell Dávila Helms
6 years ago

So can you tell me without sarcasm how you would like to see true Christians respond to what’s happening with our culture now (if that isn’t too big and broad of a question)?

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago

So can you tell me without sarcasm how you would like to see true Christians respond to what’s happening with our culture now

They should respond with mockery and sarcasm.

Wendell Dávila Helms
Wendell Dávila Helms
6 years ago

I didn’t mean specifically how we should respond to the assertions of the non-Christian culture. And I don’t mean to deny a place for mockery and sarcasm, but I’m assuming there’s also a constructive, non-reactionary answer to how we should respond (or simply proceed in the midst of the culture around us.) Isn’t that the next step? And if so, where does it take us?

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago

Your friend has a bad habit of taking foolish risks. You’ve warned him repeatedly that he shouldn’t do it. But he just laughs and says there’s nothing to worry about, he’s got things under control, and, besides, Professor Bloomstein at the university says that risk-taking is what life’s all about. One day he calls you, in a panic. Seems he went skydiving and didn’t bother to give his parachute a thorough check, because “what are the odds?” and Professor Bloomstein says “life’s too short to worry”, and now he’s five miles above the earth without a parachute. But he has… Read more »

Wendell Dávila Helms
Wendell Dávila Helms
6 years ago

Confess his sins and trust on the Lord Jesus is what I would tell him, but I don’t see how any of this has anything to do with the question I asked you.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago

Confess his sins and trust on the Lord Jesus is what I would tell him,

And that will prevent him from falling to his death?

but I don’t see how any of this has anything to do with the question I asked you

Well, then you clearly haven’t got any idea how bad things are.

Wendell Dávila Helms
Wendell Dávila Helms
6 years ago

> And that will prevent him from falling to his death?

No.

> Well, then you clearly haven’t got any idea how bad things are.

Perhaps if you think you’re safely on the ground at the other end of a telephone connection, then you clearly haven’t got any idea how bad things are, but I still don’t see how any of this has anything to do with the question I asked you.

Nathan Tuggy
Nathan Tuggy
6 years ago

40 ACRES is clearly of the opinion that there *is* no next step. That there is literally nothing Christians can do at this juncture to fix anything at all.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago
Reply to  Nathan Tuggy

That there is literally nothing Christians can do at this juncture to fix anything at all.

I wouldn’t go quite that far.

Judeochristians can fix some trivial things.

Like tightening the screws on one of the banisters of the Titanic as you wait for the Carpathia.

But nothing of any real importance.

Doug Wright
Doug Wright
6 years ago

Wilson’s n a quandry over whether or not Trump will take over Hasterts Wed. Bible Study.

Luke Pride
6 years ago

But Romans 13 means that if the false idols are part of the Government, it is our moral duty to support them!

Wendell Dávila Helms
Wendell Dávila Helms
6 years ago
Reply to  Luke Pride

Can you spell your point out a little more?

Luke Pride
6 years ago

Sure, When it comes to other biblical principles; submission in marriage (for those who hold that) obedience to parents, following of church authorities or others, those who preach them are ready to say that at any moment these authorities start demanding something contrary to scripture or outside of their authority, (such as the family excommunicating a church member, the church punishing criminals, or an elderly mother telling her 30 year son what oufit he has to wear) they are no longer to be obeyed. But with the state people take Romans 13 and other passages and apply it to mean… Read more »

timothy
timothy
6 years ago

Our first and most pressing task is to get over twenty percent of evangelical and Reformed leadership to confess it.

Dear Lord, grant your leaders some manhood.

Amen.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago

Here is how you “lost” the ‘culture war’ … Price turns to his computer and begins tapping away at the administration’s well-cultivated network of officials, talking heads, columnists and newspaper reporters, web jockeys and outside advocates who can tweet at critics and tweak their stories backed up by quotations from “senior White House officials” and “spokespeople.” I watch the message bounce from Rhodes’s brain to Price’s keyboard to the three big briefing podiums — the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon — and across the Twitterverse, where it springs to life in dozens of insta-stories, which over the… Read more »

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago
Reply to  timothy

The culture war was lost decades before Twitter existed.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago

The paucity of numbers at the ‘top’ hasn’t changed. The idiots who is Price and Obama are nobodies.

Yet, ‘the church’ is driven by these mewlings.

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  timothy

Culture is downstream from power.

andrewlohr
andrewlohr
6 years ago

The reason the promised land is still full of Caananites is that the ten spies said the Canaanites were in charge.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago

Doug, you said on the recent thread about PresidentTrump:

I would rather be executed by the bad guy than play Russian roulette with the crazy guy.

In other words, you’d prefer certain death to a 50/50 chance of of surviving and ridding the world of a homicidal maniac.

Now you’re saying that we should fight the good fight, and not “surrender the good surrender.”

So which is it?

Lance Roberts
6 years ago

False dichotomy. Voting for either means voting for a pro-death candidate.

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago
Reply to  Lance Roberts

Your reading skills need some serious improvement.

As do your hermeneutical skills, if you think the God of the Passover Holocaust is a “pro-lifer.”

andrewlohr
andrewlohr
6 years ago

Uhn hunh. To CT, copy here: If it ain’t my kind of culture it ain’t “culture” at all? And the Plymouth Brethren don’t have “liturgy”?? Awww, whatever we got–however awful–is culture by a more common understanding. If you wanna define your kind as “culture” and the kind you rightly abominate as ‘not culture,’ you sound highfalutin, not exactly wise. If you got better stuff, sell it to us. Use whatever points of contact work. Get down from your high Presbyterian horse and (re?)read PEACE CHILD, by a missionary who went to a culture that valued treachery, so the first time… Read more »

wow
wow
6 years ago

**since Wilson has attempted to make the controversy go away by no comments and the issue hidden in a corner on his blog, this comment over at Rachel Miller’s blog site says all you need to know…wow!** Speaking as an actual academic,* this review does not merely devastate Douglas Wilson’s claim to scholarly credibility; it annihilates it. The level of plagiarism here is egregious. A single one — any one — of these occurrences in a published book or article would be sufficient to ruin the reputation of a legitimate career scholar. Heck, any college freshman should know better. No… Read more »

wow
wow
6 years ago

you may want to check out the other article Carl Trueman wrote about you Doug…you know the one that had this quote in it, “But it is the Year of the Donald, I guess — though it’s a bad sign for society as a whole when the politicians are as teflon-coated as the church leaders.” http://www.alliancenet.org/mos/postcards-from-palookaville

40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
40 ACRES & A KARDASHIAN
6 years ago

Wow. Homeschoolers are almost as PC as everybody else these days. It used to be that homeschooling parents were a lot more open minded and tolerant when it came to alternative views of history, and weren’t PC SJWs. Those days are evidently over. There’s a new audiobook version of G. A. Henty’s racist “classic” for young boys, With Lee In Virginia. Henty books have been popular with homeschoolers for decades, despite their blatant racism. And the makers of the audiobooks have bowdlerized the text to make it as PC as possible, given the subject matter: The audio and the book… Read more »

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
6 years ago

“This is an important milestone, and it marks a sea change.”

Isn’t this the same sea change that you say has been going on for the last 50 years?

ashv
ashv
6 years ago

And they named their college after a slave-owning racist! For shame.

Matt
Matt
6 years ago

I don’t go for all the circle the wagons us-vs-them stuff, but I agree with the assessment of the claim of “anti-culture”. I’m not even sure what it would mean to have an “anti-culture” or for a people to have no culture. Do they just not do anything?

Lance Roberts
6 years ago

“Culture is religion externalized.” Therefore, since everyone has a religion, everyone has a culture.

The Canberean
6 years ago

Amen to that. Succinct and acutely accurate.

IdPnSD
IdPnSD
6 years ago

The laws of nature are the only truth. Nature always demonstrates it laws. So we must observe the nature to find these laws. Take a look at the free book https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/ for more on laws of nature. One such law is – birth, maturity, and death. I am sure you will find this law in the Bible also. It must be there in all other religions too. We have observed this law ourselves. Scientists have discovered that stars, galaxies also die. Thus sun, moon, earth will be dead at some future time. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism will all die. So,… Read more »