Doug, you must post this one:
Mark, thanks. Okay, everybody, go take a look. It is a beautiful picture.
Foundations of Social Justice
I think you more or less addressed this, but the King/Trump comparison reminded me how much it does not matter to Trump-publicans that their boy is an adulterer when it mattered so very much that B. Clinton is. For whatever it’s worth, Clinton at least didn’t ditch wives. Seems there is more than one narrative in play here.
John, yes. Exactly. While the sins may be different, the reactions are the same.
Thinking caps are required for an article of this kind. Good taste but can be a bit chewy. Looking at our current situation through the lens of social justification is, so far, making much if the strange behavior from evangelicals make sense. The topic of social justification could potentially be teased out into a whole tome. If such a book has yet to exist, you might consider it. If you don’t, maybe I will. Thanks for all the great writing.
Blair, it certainly seems like a book on it is necessary.
Thankful for this. I think Russel Moore and Co. are guilty of the same wrong perspective I held for many years as a child. Growing up in Non-Denom/soft-Baptist churches and being taught about the story of Adam and Eve from felt boards by teachers with good intentions, but were inept in doctrine messed me up in multiple ways. One of the primary ones was understanding the nature of Satan’s lies. For years I read the Genesis narrative and believed the serpent delivered on his word, but the man and woman should have trusted God. What I mean is that is seemed as though the man and woman were given the knowledge of good and evil. It seemed as though Satan gave them what he promised. But, as Jesus exposes in the wilderness temptation narrative and in John 8 when he is condemning the Jews, Satan is a liar and murderer and all he can do is lie and murder because that is his nature. He was lying to Eve and spun a narrative that wasn’t remotely true. True freedom is not in the “knowledge of evil.” It’s not having options, rather it is being in the presence of God and believing him. It is only as I have begun to see the main weapon Satan has in his arsenal is perpetuating a false-narrative and having others hop on board with it that the Christian life in general has made more sense. Every time I am tempted, I am being told a lie about God and being sold a bill of false goods. It is incumbent upon me to face temptation and like Jesus did in the wilderness, correct the narrative. I appreciate what you have and continue to write on these matters. As you said weeks back, one means of taking dominion in this world is by using words under the authority of God in ways which glorify him. Praying that more and more people would see the false narratives being presented and be willing to correct it, no matter the amount of hissing, cussing, complaining, and personal attacks that follow thereafter. You are touching on the root issue here. People don’t like being told they are living in delusion. They especially don’t like it when you present a narrative that means they can’t keep doing what they want. If you were to go to a sorority house early on a Saturday morning and flip all the lights on you would be met by unfiltered rage. This culture, its narratives, and its liturgies aren’t all that more mature than that.
Michael, thanks for this—“the main weapon Satan has in his arsenal is perpetuating a false-narrative.” Pure gold.
“So the definition of social justice rides on the definition of social justification.” Indeed; and what a genius paragraph that sentence begins. Thank you!
Doug, thanks very much.
In your post on Social Justification, you mentioned that it was an awfully long post. I just wanted to say that I really enjoy the longer pieces you write. Your writing is a wafting of cool air that clears away the smog for a bit, so as far as this reader is concerned, the more the better.
Re: MLK’s “justification.” I’ve been in the conservative/reactionary orbit for a while, and I’ve heard of MLK’s sins before, but I still think “but it’s MLK!” when they’re mentioned. My affection for the man descends below reason. Perhaps others feel similarly about Nelson Mandela. Another powerful example is when Senator Gillibrand said (two decades post facto) that Bill Clinton should have resigned. It tore at the soul of her party. “President Clinton is beloved,” one Democrat said. It was like watching a church schism. I felt both gratitude to God for striking at the unity of the wicked, and pity on those pained by the realization that their father (both the man and the worldview) preyed upon the defenseless. What is left in the world for someone who realizes that, if they do not love Jesus? Thanks,
Keith, you are touching on something I did not develop, which is that the word of justification, the fiat declaration of “not guilty,” is a powerful thing. It can be powerful even when grounded on a lie.
It occurred to me while reading your post on the “righteousness” attributed to minorities, women, and the woke, that there is another thing about Jesus liberals get wrong. They smugly say that he ate with sinners and prostitutes back then so He would support all woke causes now. But if Jesus ate with the unmentionables of society then, he would eat with the real racists and bigots and fake ones now. And be criticized all over again. PS. You are doing a great job, I find your writings so helpful in this world of confusion.
Ben, thanks. Yes. I have noticed that the left emphasizes the fact that Jesus ate with the prostitutes, but not that He fraternized with the quislings (tax-collectors) and the enemy (centurions). Our admiration for how He loved the unlovely is quite selective.
As a believer who wants to be faithful and wise with regard to racial issues, it seems that I’m continually hearing strong opinions (and condemnations) by Christian leaders I trust, but coming from opposite directions. In the morning I’m made to feel guilty for being unfeeling to the hardships and pain of racial minorities and then in the afternoon I’m made to feel guilty for being a Marxist because I listened to the guy in the morning, and so on. Reading your passage under “biblical Justification” and the reminder of Romans 8:1, a weight came off. I actually straightened up in my seat and breathed more easily. Thank you!
Benjamin, thank the Lord. All real Christian social action flows out of no condemnation.
This is an engagement of the Social Justice and the Gospel statement that is quite resonant to your concerns and particularly your critique of Joel, but is also helpfully critical in a sharpening way of the statement itself. To wit, it makes your blogpost look brief in comparison! Both I found very edifying and helpful. Link:
Michelle, thank you.
Thanks for your work, pastor. I’m curious whether you’ve noticed the liberal tendency to shove as much meaning into the verb “exist” as they possibly can. Not being an LGBTQWERTY ally is now being opposed to somebody’s right to exist. Anything less than open borders is not wanting Mexicans to exist. (Obviously the next step is that we’re Nazis, and then it’s okay to punch us in the face.) What’s the way you would suggest responding to such a statement?
Dane, good observation. The way I would respond is with a question that exposes the hidden assumption. “So you are saying that people aren’t really people unless they come here and be like us?”
Not related to any specific column—but certainly related to many: I have long appreciated your distinction between apostles of the world and refugees from the world, and the different approach we take as we engage each. But I have increasingly encountered what seems a third category in the middle: call it, perhaps, “deceived by the world” or “disciples of the world.” To explain: some years ago, when awareness of basic morality was still extant in the larger culture, there were those that knowingly and deliberately scorned that morality, (apostles of the world), and others who knowingly and deliberately came into a church fully expecting it would likely be a bastion of traditional morality (refugees from the world). Those were the days that even most mainstream denominations still held some veneer of traditional morality, and one would have to specifically seek out a “metropolitan” church to find wholesale blanket approval of homosexual behavior within a church. But now that embrace of such immorality has been increasingly embraced by so many governments, mainstream churches and even so-called, self-proclaimed evangelicals, I am increasingly finding people—especially young people—coming into evangelical Christian communities (sometimes with their same sex partner) and they are shocked, shocked to discover that traditional sexual morality is seriously held. Sure, they’ve heard that there are some weird fringe people out there like Westboro baptists that disapprove of homosexuality, but they have grown up in an era, and in churches, where they’ve never heard anything but blanket approval of all manner of sexual immorality, and haven’t read enough of the Bible to have their assumptions challenged. They just assume that any decent church would of course embrace the clearly “moral” position of supporting LGBT behavior. They embraced the world’s perspective not because they gave it thought, but precisely because they have not given it any thought. They come into our churches and are not (yet) refugees from the world, but neither do they seem to me in precisely the same category as the world’s apostles. Have you any thoughts how we approach these people? We certainly can’t embrace them as refugees if they are currently expressing no repentance, but neither does it seem like we should treat them as the eyes-wide-open activists openly proclaiming their contempt of God’s standards.
Daniel, I think there is much in what you say, and I think we are going to see more and more of this. But when they arrive in our communities, there needs to be a moment, early on, where they realize that they must decide. They must agree to be discipled according to the Word, or continue to be discipled by the world. If they choose the latter, then they are apostles of the world.
On Wilson Getting Out a Bit More
I have a quick solution to the debate: Have the authors of the defenders for signing the statement and those who don’t want to sign it, live in the rough neighborhoods of Chicago or California. Douglas Wilson living and writing from east L. A, I guarantee you, will have a lot more articles on how nuanced his views are now because he now sees daily how police and local churches are actually a negative in the lives of people of color, and it mainly goes to racial prejudice. But, I will not hold my breath that Wilson will climb down from Idaho to the lowest of places.
Luis, sorry, but I won’t bite. Democrats have governed the sorts of places you mention for well over a generation, and have turned them into hellholes. Why don’t we turn the thought experiment around, and bring someone from east LA to Idaho, where we would treat them with dignity and respect?
I find it problematic that you allow Elias to spew his vitriolic ideas, yet you have cut off comments from all and sundry. Or, to be fair, most and sundry.
Leslie, not exactly. Elias gets to comment when everybody else gets to comment—which would be on Tuesdays and Thursday. Those are my open thread days. And when he commented, I answered him—people like that need to be answered.