Decoding Progressivism (10)

Toxic Masculinity Edition

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Nancy Pelosi Defends the Honor of Violent MS-13 Gang Members

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi responded to President Trump calling violent MS-13 gang members “animals,” at her weekly press briefing Thursday morning. Pelosi says Trump’s comments as reported are a new low, and make her wonder if the president believes “we are all God’s children” or not.

“When the president of the United States says about undocumented immigrants, ‘these are not people, these are animals,’ you have to wonder, does he not believe in the spark of divinity? In the dignity and worth of every person? ‘These are not people, these are animals,’ from the president of the United States.”

“Every day you think you’ve seen it all, along comes another manifestation of why their policies are so inhumane,” she said.

“Calling people animals is not a good thing,” she said, before ending the news conference and walking out.

Nancy Pelosi Can’t Find a “Spark of Divinity” in Middle Americans who Don’t Vote Democratic

Emphasis added.  Wow.  Surely suburban men are now even worse!  By the way, Progressives now also hate white suburban women.

Scarborough asks her:

But how do Democrats who have the right policies economically. in their minds, how do they reconnect with a middle America who feels like sometimes they are looked down upon because of their faith or their values?

PELOSI: Well, thank you for asking that question because the cultural issue, and especially when it comes to rural America, the isolation that some people feel there, plus they don’t think that Democrats are people of faith, when the fact is that we are. And I say, this will be a little not in keeping with the spirit of the day of unity, but I say they pray in church on Sunday and prey on people the rest of the week, and while we’re doing the Lord’s work by ministering to the needs of God’s creation they are ignoring those needs which is to dishonor the God who made them.

Can there be any doubt why President Trump encouraged the Democrats to re-elect Nancy Pelosi to Speaker of the House?  Please Speaker Pelosi, keep sharing your Progressive Wisdom with us!

So you see, by Nancy Pelosi’s logic it’s not MS-13 gang members who prey on others, but rather church-going middle Americans.  Thanks for so conclusively confirming Peggy Noonan’s statement that “we are patronized by our inferiors.”

President Obama Denies the Source of Islamic Terror

Emphasis added.

This week came news that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant burned alive a Jordanian pilot in a metal cage. … — beheadings, mass murders, rape, human slavery, state sponsorship of terrorism, and military conquest — jihadists are perpetrating in Muhammad’s name. …

Obama has reinforced the left’s proclivity to condemn critics of radical Islam instead of the jihadists who fight in its name.

Only last week, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz staunchly denied to an incredulous press corps that the Taliban is a terrorist organization. … The purpose of the White House’s ludicrous denial is to hide that the basis of the Taliban’s enmity, strategy, and objectives is a doctrine of Islamic supremacy.

Such suppression is nothing new for the administration. As early as early 2009, it renamed campaigns in the struggle against Islamic extremism “overseas contingency operations.”

Progressive Chris Murphy Explains Away Islamic Terror

Shortly after three men with knives and a van spent eight minutes murdering and maiming people at random on London Bridge, one of the Democratic Party’s leading voices on national security responded on Twitter. Chris Murphy began by criticizing Donald Trump for sounding the alarms. “My god,” he wrote. “@POTUS has no idea that the goal of terrorists is to instill a level of fear in the public disproportionate to the actual threat.” The Connecticut senator tried to put the threat in proper proportion. “Terrorism is a real threat,” he acknowledged, “but remember that since 9/11, you have a greater chance of being killed by a falling object than by terrorists.” Murphy then issued a five-point rebuttal to Trump’s approach to terrorism. He did not issue a five-point plan for defeating falling objects.

Maybe Murphy didn’t do this because falling objects are not equivalent to three men ramming and hacking people to death on London Bridge.

And yet we continue to kowtow to this movement’s presumption of intellectual and moral superiority.  They grow strong through our cowardice.

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Environmentalism Becomes a Death Cult (4)

climate-cultEnvironmentalism Becomes a Cult (2)

I’ll begin by sharing a definition of a cult.

great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work

In environmentalism we find its adherents demonstrating “great devotion” to an “idea” (climate change, previously global warming) an “object” (earth) a “movement” (the political project to save the world) and a “work” (the supposedly scientific project to prove that destructive global warming, or climate change, or something really really scary) is occurring.

The First Step to Cult-hood

As long as this movement acknowledged the fact that their hypothesis was falsifiable, they could maintain that their project was scientific.  The first major step away from this position occurred when they began to maintain that “the science was settled.”  The unavoidable fact is that science is never completely “settled.”

In 1633, when the Catholic Church convicted Galileo of heresy, it was “settled science” that the earth was at the center of the universe.  Of course, eventually the empirical data proved that this was not the case, so the position taken by science changed accordingly.

movel-vs-real-climate

Our computer models aren’t wrong, the world climate is wrong!

In the early 1900’s the Newtonian theory of physics had reigned supreme for centuries.  This was “settled science” if ever there was.  However, it was overthrown by the revolutionary theories of Albert Einstein (i.e., general and special relativity).

And yet, the adherents of environmentalism maintain that a relatively young branch of science, using computer models as its main source of information, has delivered unassailable laws of nature!  By so doing they reveal that they are actually operating as a cult.

Retreat to a Non-Falsifiable Hypothesis

But full cult-hood was not reached until, in 2009, the priests of environmental “science” changed their movement’s name from “global warming” to “climate change.”  By so doing they officially abandoned the pretense that they were investigating a falsifiable hypothesis to embrace a theological, non-falsifiable belief.

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Yet another non-emotional, scientific argument for “climate change”!

The benefit is that virtually anything can be blamed on “climate change.”  Is it colder than normal, it’s “climate change!”  Is it warmer than normal, it’s “climate change!”  Are we experiencing a drought, it’s “climate change!”  Is it raining more than average, it’s “climate change!”  Are there more or less hurricanes, it’s “climate change!”  And on and on.

But it gets even more pathetic.  One of the Power Line site’s favorite pass-times is documenting all the insane non-climate things that are blamed on “climate change.”  For example, ebola outbreaks, ISIS and Islamic terrorism, rising and falling water levels in the Great Lakes among many (and equally absurd) others.

My personal favorite is the climate scientists who had to abandon their expensive, long planned expedition to study Arctic ice thinning (due to global warming) by ice thickening…and blamed the fiasco on, you guessed it, “climate change!”

As a practicing Christian I am not against religion.  However, I am against a religious cult masquerading as a scientific endeavor.

That is what has happened to environmentalism.  And, there are real-world consequences to the foisting of this hysteria onto the general public.  A significant portion of people now live in a state of unresolvable guilt for simply existing.  They fret over every thimble of gas consumed, every plastic bottle or straw used.  They think that the world is ending within decades, so are deeply depressed.  They doubt that they should have children.  And, they flee to the politicians who claim to be their saviors but who are actually charlatans who fleece their wealth, freedoms and self-respect.

But this is not the end point.  For, in recent days it has become apparent that environmentalism is transitioning from a mere cult into a death cult.

Environmentalism Becomes a Death Cult (3)

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We’re not cult, we’re serious followers of science!

Environmentalism Becomes a Cult (1)

Can a movement that claims to be “scientific” actually be a “cult?”  This post will begin to explain why I think the answer is a definite yes for environmentalism.  Note that at this point I haven’t modified “cult” with “death,” but this will come in good time.

Environmentalism is not “Scientific”

For something to actually be “scientific” it must adhere with reasonable fidelity to the “scientific method.”  Most of the general public who harangue us climate change skeptics have no understanding of the scientific method.  So, I’ll start by the subversive tactic of education.  Here is a good definition of the scientific method.

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Although the entire definition is important to understand I’m going to focus on the key phrase “experimentation to the truth of falseness of the hypothesis.”  A “hypothesis” is defined by Google as:

a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.

If the hypothesis of “climate change” or “global warming” were scientifically assessed it would have been discared long ago.  Here are a few reasons why.

Falsified Predictions

One of the most compelling means by which a hypothesis can transition to a credible theory is by demonstration of predictive power.  That is, before an event occurs it can accurately predict the outcome.

More Numerous and Powerful Hurricanes

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More frequent and powerful hurricanes are coming due to “global warming”!  What?  Never mind, nothing to see here!

Do you remember the hysteria-mongering of the “global warming” community following the tragic Hurricane Katrina disaster?  Let this remind you.

“I think the biggest lesson from Katrina a year later is that those same ingredients, you know, a city below sea level hit by a major hurricane, will be replicated by global warming all along our Atlantic and Gulf Coast lines,” Tidwell said on August 24, 2006.

CBS anchor Russ Mitchell predicted that there would be “continued high levels of hurricane activity and high levels of hurricane landfalls for the next decade or perhaps even longer.” “For years now, experts have been saying we’ve entered a period of increased hurricane activity that may last a long time.” (September 22, 2005)

On September 18, 2005, Nightly News anchor John Seigenthaler said, “scientists studying the earth’s climate say we are experiencing stronger hurricanes in this century, a trend that’s likely to continue.”

So, these climate scientists were undeniably making predictions based on their theories of global warming.  So, you might ask, how accurate were their predictions?

As the years passed, the more obvious it was that fewer major hurricanes were hitting land. In April 2015, the American Geophysical Union reported that the United States has been in a nine year Atlantic hurricane landfall drought. A record low. AGU said, “Such a remarkable ‘hurricane drought’ has never been seen before – since records began in 1851 … the last major hurricane – of Category 3 or higher – to make landfall in the U.S. was Hurricane Wilma in 2005.”

So, did the climate change community own up to this pathetic predictive failure?  No, they simply pretended it never happened and hoped the rest of us would not notice.

The Ice Caps are Disappearing

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Look! A polar bear is on ice!  That’s irrefutable scientific proof for “global warming”!

The “climate change” hysterics have also been predicting that “global warming” is causing the polar ice caps to melt.  However, in 2015 data from NASA satellites debunked this prediction.

Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.

ship-in-ice

We were prevented from proving that the ice caps are melting by unexpectedly thick ice!  But it’s because of “climate change”!

We also have what could go under reality making satire obsolete, as scientists saying into the arctic ice sheet to prove it is melting…but with embarrassing results.

Scientists who cancelled their Arctic expedition due to thick ice conditions haves an interesting excuse for why they had to abandon their research project — climate change. …

Barber’s expedition set out in late May after being caught in 25-foot thick ice off the northern coast of Newfoundland. The expedition was forced to turn back after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for a four-year project to study the effects of global warming on Hudson Bay.

Now, Barber and fellow researchers are blaming their botched expedition on global warming, or climate change, as they call it.

Their evidence? Not much, except the opinions of some scientists involved — at least, The Guardian didn’t present any evidence otherwise. The paper just assumed climate change was the culprit.

So, did the climate change community own up to this pathetic predictive failure?  No, they simply pretended it never happened and hoped the rest of us would not notice.

Global Temperature is Significantly Rising

The very term “global warming” contains a falsifiable hypothesis.  For, if the empirical data shows that the earth isn’t actually warming at anything near the rate predicted (or even at all) then the hypothesis has been disproved.    And, wouldn’t you know it, scientists have been publishing peer-reviewed papers at a high rate that are not supportive of the “global warming hypothesis.”

temperatures-global-real-proxy-steiger-17Last year there were at least 60 peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals demonstrating that Today’s Warming Isn’t Global, Unprecedented, Or Remarkable.
Just within the last 5 months, 58 more papers and 80 new graphs have been published that continue to undermine the popularized conception of a slowly cooling Earth temperature history followed by a dramatic hockey-stick-shaped uptick, or an especially unusual global-scale warming during modern times.
Yes, some regions of the Earth have been warming in recent decades or at some point in the last 100 years. Some regions have been cooling for decades at a time. And many regions have shown no significant net changes or trends in either direction relative to the last few hundred to thousands of years.
Succinctly, then, scientists publishing in peer-reviewed journals have increasingly affirmed that there is nothing historically unprecedented or remarkable about today’s climate when viewed in the context of long-term natural variability.

This is a big problem for “global warming” hysterics.  The real world data wasn’t following the predictions of their computer models (recall the discussion in this post).  Something had to be done to keep the multi-billion dollar government funded gravy train running.

So, between 2008 and 2009 the previously dominant term “global warming” was replaced by a new dominant term, “climate change.”  And, as I’ll discuss in the next post, this is when all pretense to “science” was dropped and environmentalism became a cult.

Environmenrtalisn Becomes a Death Cult (2)

climate-cops

Just another carefully reasoned, dispassionate argument for the credibility of climate science!

Scientific / Technical Ignorance in Advanced Western Society (2)

Computer Simulation Challenges

How many people in the general public know that the entire theory of destructive “global warming” rests on the output of computer simulations of the earth’s climate?  Surely it is a small minority.  How many people in the general public know even the most rudimentary facts about how a computer simulation is constructed, what are its limitations and how to judge the credibility of its results?  A tiny minority is clearly the case.

earth-computer-modelI actually know quite a bit about this general area having managed development of a comprehensive and sophisticated commuter simulation of wireless systems.  Mind you I am not claiming knowledge of world climate computer modeling.  However, it is certainly true that the understanding of wireless system operation is massively more mature and certain than that concerning the earth’s climate.  It is also true that the scope and complexity of a wireless system computer simulation is a tiny fraction of that required for world climate.  Therefore, were it the case that even for much simpler wireless system models there were deep, intractable issues concerning evaluation of the credibility and accuracy of their results, this would then also apply to earth climate modeling.

It turns out that there were major issues concerning credibility and accuracy.  Other groups in the company developed their own computer simulations.  Since a multitude of engineering decisions had to be made on model application and parameter settings these models didn’t always agree.  Given that for each group professional ego and future funding was at stake it became impossible to resolve these differences.  This failure significantly undermined senior leadership confidence, as tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in contractual performance were regularly in the balance.

If, due to the often unpredictable and chaotic behavior of wireless signals propagating in the real world (among many other issues), it was exceedingly difficult to assess the credibility and accuracy of wireless system simulators, then the difficulty is massively more for assessing earth climate simulations.

The difference is that, whereas with the wireless company incentives of profit/loss pressed towards truthful resolution, in “climate change” all incentives press towards ignoring these issues.  For the scientific community future funding is directly dependent on the belief that the results are true.  For the media, profit and influence are maximized by reporting terrifying results.  And for the funding politicians future political power is directly related to frightening the general public into voting for more government power to address the “problem.”  Thus, although there are huge issues with the credibility and accuracy of computer climate modeling, their discussion is effectively suppressed by all of the interest’s groups who benefit from climate hysteria.

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Global Cooling, Global Warming, Climate Change … It really doesn’t matter so long as the general public is panicked into ceding more power to our elite caste.

Yes, I know that I’ll now be branded a “climate denier.”  But then, when all the opposition has is character assassination you can be sure that the facts aren’t on their side.  I’ll also point out that 90+% of those making this accusation don’t know the first thing about the actual scientific method, let alone computer modeling or climate science.  But, when you terrify people with incredible claims what can be expected other than emotion overriding critical thinking and common sense?

Environmentalism Becomes a Death Cult (1)

environmental-death-cultOpening Comments

Over the years of this blog I’ve rarely addressed the area of environmentalism.  Although I may have commented as an aside somewhere, the only post specifically dedicated to this topic is this one.  This lack of coverage isn’t due to a lack of interest or attention on my part.  Rather, I simply always had higher priority topics to address.  However, now that there is a Democrat majority in the U.S. House of Representatives it appears that radical environmentalism will become a major political issue.  Therefore, it’s time to comment at some length.

I will eventually directly address the “death cult” issue.  But, if you will grant me your patience I’d like to begin a couple of steps back.

Scientific / Technical Ignorance in Advanced Western Society (1)

We live at a time when the wondrous benefits (not a universally accepted description) of science and technology have been made available to mass-market consumers.  One of the most visible and utilized is wireless communication technology.

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The author in discussions after presenting at the International Symposium for Development of Radio Resources in Tokyo, Japan (2008)

I’m focusing here because it is an area in which I am highly knowledgable.  I have had an almost four-decade career in technical and business areas of the wireless industry.  I worked for 27 years at what was then a dominant U.S. based wireless systems company, starting as an engineer and eventually becoming a senior technical leader.  I was a primary technical contributor (with a dozen issued U.S. patents) to the first fully digital wireless system (virtually all current wireless systems are digital) designed by that company, which became a highly successful, long running product line.  I have represented this company at national and international forums, communicating technical information on cutting-edge wireless system research.  I’m not sharing this to brag, but rather to explain that I actually do know a tremendous amount about this area.

Therefore, prior to discussing environmental science (an area in which I am certainly not an expert), I will comment on the general situation in the area where I certainly am.  I trust that this discussion will be useful for illuminating some of the key issues associated with the general public’s understanding of and policy prescriptions for environmentalism.

Uninformed Emotional Responses

People who don’t know anything about a given technology but who have become paranoid about their health can respond irrationally.  I came across this response at least twice in my career.

In one case, a group in Scandinavia opposed installation of a cellular site in their neighborhood.  Their concern wasn’t aesthetic, but rather that since the antenna “looked big” it was a cancer concern.  Little did they know that the electro-magnetic field strength caused by the site was tiny compared to that of a cell phone operating near their body.  But they felt otherwise due to an uninformed emotional response.  Note that cell phones have been shown by a multitude of substantial medical experiments to pose no risk of cancer.

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Field strength plot using a color temperature scale (see left-side of the figure).

In a second case I was presenting to a regional director of the Department of Transportation on ad-hoc wireless technology.  We used a color temperature chart to plot electro-magnetic field strength on a road grid.  It is normal practice to plot the highest strength signals in red (the “hot” color) and lowest in blue (the “cool” color).  When I put up the chart the director said something to the effect of “So you’re saying that I’d get cancer on the red streets?”  Of course, this was utterly ridiculous.  However, due to their powerful emotional response the entire presentation became useless.

If you take all the false claims of cancer risk from cellular systems and multiply them by one-million then you may get close to the level of emotion-directed fear mongering that has been applied to “global warming” / “climate change” theory.  The resulting emotional chaos in the general public is thus not surprising.

A New Reformation (4)

New-Reformation-ComponentsSeven Components of a New Reformation (Part 3)

This post completes the summaries.

7. Transformed church governance

It appears that every form of church governance, from highly hierarchical (e.g., Catholic) to highly democratic (e.g., Congregational) and everything in-between has been corrupted by secular ideology.  Nor does it seem likely that any established denomination will agree to change their existing form of governance.

Obviously I’m in no position to comment on denominations beyond the PCUSA.  However, significant light can be shed by this experience to suggest some general conclusions.

The fundamental point about the demise of the PCUSA is that it was an act of “murder” as opposed to “suicide.”  By these (shocking I expect) metaphors I mean that the rank and file members resisted the apostasy of the leadership for decades.  In fact, it appears that it was only by subversion of the governance process that the leadership was able to gain the upper hand.  The “fingerprint” of this betrayal can be seen in the following figure.

Church-Membership-Loss

The 2006 Subversion

Note that from 1999 through 2006 the number of churches “dismissed” (i.e., exited the denomination) was negligible. Over this same time period we see a general increase in the number of members lost. However, in 2008 the number of dismissed churches and lost members became significantly worse than the general trend would lead one to expect.  Did anything happen in the PCUSA to cause this or was it simply random variation?  It was the former.

Here is the report of a pastor on the 2006 General Assembly that tells the tale (emphasis added).

A number of years ago our denomination’s constitution was amended to limit ordination to those who are faithful in marriage, which is between one man and one woman, or chaste in singleness. This wording was approved by a majority of the regional bodies, and re-approved twice by larger majorities each time. At the time it was added it was not a new limitation, but made explicit an understanding that had historically been practiced within the denomination (and for that matter in nearly all Christian denominations).

What made the PUP Report unconscionable was that it amends the denominational constitution by an unconstitutional process. It by-passed the regional bodies whose approval is required by the constitution itself. It is as though the U. S. Constitution were to be amended by a simple majority vote of Congress, by-passing the states. Advocates of the ordination of ineligible people, unable to change the constitution, proposed to “interpret” it by altering the meaning of the phrase “shall not” so that it from now on it means “may.” A prohibition was changed by interpretation into permission, because the advocates of change could not muster the votes to pass an amendment.

If you think that this description is a partisan distortion, note that it was confirmed by a national news source.

Like other mainline Protestant groups, Presbyterians have been debating for decades how they should interpret Scripture on salvation, truth, sexuality and other issues.

But tensions erupted after a June 2006 meeting, when delegates granted new leeway in some cases for congregations and regional presbyteries to sidestep a church requirement that clergy and lay officers limit sex to man-woman marriage.

Note that this subversion of church governance occurred after the “wording [on sexual requirements for leadership] was approved by a majority of the regional bodies, and re-approved twice by larger majorities each time.”  The conclusion is unavoidable, that being the elite leadership chose to use corrupt means to get their way in direct contradiction of the denomination’s clear and legitimate will.

Illegitimate Victory

The loss of membership that followed the 2006 coup eventually allowed the Progressives to gain the upper hand.  Here’s how I have previously described this process.

But because they had jettisoned the Bible and Confessions, other means of achieving their ends had to be found.  Those means were abuse of the PCUSA’s rules, turning their democratic assumptions into cudgels by which to beat any opposition into submission.  This was accomplished by making life miserable for any majority that opposed their radical ends, and eventually, to drive them out of the church.

The result has been a PCUSA transformed from a Christian denomination to something completely foreign.

The elite Progressive strategic goal was always to deceive, discredit, demoralize and ultimately destroy any and all opposition from orthodox-minded Christians.

In this cruel goal they have succeeded.  Now they undisputedly control the PCUSA.  To accomplish this end they have made it into a theological laughing stock and a pathetic little appendage to the secular Progressive political machine.  And, having illegitimately achieved this position they now demand that those of us in opposition shut up or leave.

Lessons Learned

What lessons in church governance can we take from the appalling experience?  I suggest the following as a starting point for reform, once again with a focus on the PCUSA.

  1. A semi-permeant denominational bureaucracy, centered in our Presbyteries and General Assembly, was allowed to grow too powerful over the past fifty years or so.  They became the core, unstoppable force that sustained unwanted movements over the decades of theological/political warfare necessary to grind down opposition.  This class of nomenklatura has virtually no allegiance to Christianity as a lived faith and total allegiance to the diktats  of secular Progressive ideology.  Therefore, any reformed form of denominational governance must dissolve this power base and prevent its regrowth.
  2. As much as I love our historic (i.e., pre-1968) Confessions it must be admitted that they have proved ineffective as defensible boundaries for orthodox theology.  One obvious issue is their age, thus rendering their language almost incomprehensible to contemporary minds.  But a second major issue is their scope, comprehensiveness and number.  That is, they are so all-encompassing and complex, so many in number, that the core doctrines of Christianity become difficult to discern.  Thus, though they must not be lost, we need a simpler, clearer definition of orthodox Christian doctrine upon which to build a reformed church.
  3. Financial accountability must be reestablished between our governing and educational institutions and the laity.  Therefore, financial support must move from the current “Per-Capita” involuntary tax to a voluntary system of local church support.  By this means our institutions would have to “earn their keep” by demonstrating their effectiveness and efficiency.

Clearly the above ideas are short on implementation detail.  However, unless we identify the top-level goals of reformed governance the whole process can be easily derailed.

A New Reformation (3)

New-Reformation-ComponentsSeven Components of a New Reformation (Part 2)

This post continues the summaries began in the previous post.

4. Separation of theology and ideology

Over the past sixty years Christian theology has been fragmented into many ideology-driven paths.  For example we have feminist, liberation, queer, environmental, black, social gospel, pacifist, postmodern and many more.  These theologies explicitly embrace a human-derived ideology as their foundational organizing principle.

However, the invasion of ideology into Christian theology is far broader and deeper.  For, when we investigate the work of Mainline Protestant denominations we find an almost perfect correlation in time and focus area between theological output and secular Progressive ideology.  In fact it’s worse than that, because it is clearly secular Progressivism that sets the agenda for supposedly Christian denominational leaders.

This corruption of theology by human ideology has deeply undermined the credibility of Christianity, both for those inside and outside of the church.  Although there will always be different theologies, we must find our way back to arguing about what the Bible teaches rather than how to align theology with human ideological movements.

5. Social and cultural engagement

Some Christians have proposed social and cultural isolation as the model, the most prominent example being The Benedict Option.  While I too long for an ark into which to flee, the growth of the state in scope and power makes such a move impractical.  Yes, the secular barbarians may continue to leave the Amish alone.  But they will surely continue their assault on religious freedom with unabated vigor against the rest of the Church.

Our best hope is to reengage with the culture as unapologetic Christians.  We should not try to create our own ghettoized sub-culture, but rather invade the institutions of entertainment, ideas, information and education.  Yes, we will be hated and powerfully resisted.  However, we must hold fast to the promise that God has made through the Gospel.  I believe that throughout our institutions of cultural power there are people whose lives are empty of true hope and meaning.  With God’s providential power as our source of confidence we can unashamedly make our case for Christ in the most hostile of domains.  Even if we should fail in the near term, who can say what God will do in the long term with the fruits of this Christian cultural labor?

Through the Gospel we can offer true hope and renewal to a broken, darkened world.  Let’s go forth with that faith, hope and love as our shield and sword.

6. Christ centered ecumenicalism

There will always be theological and denominational differences among Christians.  However, if we can’t unite around a core set of beliefs we will continued to be divided and conquered by the secular world.  We will also continue to be undermined internally by false teachers who leverage the unavoidable fact of doctrinal disagreement into “anything goes” theologies that deny and contradict Christ’s Gospel.

Perhaps it is the two “ecumenical creeds,” those being the Apostles and Nicene around which we can attempt such a unification.  These creeds are already accepted by most denominations (I apologize to my Catholic and Orthodox friends for this generalized term).  The point here isn’t to limit Christianity to its lowest common denominator, but rather to agree on a common set of essential beliefs that sit at Christianity’s core.  By so doing we can find common ground upon which to fight back against the forces of secular tyranny and religious heresy that seeks to destroy Christianity.

A New Reformation (2)

New-Reformation-ComponentsSeven Components of a New Reformation (Part 1)

Were a “New Reformation” to occur, what would it seek to reform in Christianity?  Over the past four years I’ve explored in depth what appears to have gone wrong.  I could go on documenting the nature and causes of our crisis, but at some point a critic must turn to solutions.  In any case, I believe that enough has been disclosed, analyzed and discussed to enable a first cut at possible solutions.

In the figure heading this post I have listed the seven components that could guide the directions of a New Reformation.  They are only one man’s opinion.  I have surely left out important components.  Others may be found to be unnecessary or even counterproductive.  However, the point isn’t to get it absolutely right, but rather to get Christians thinking about the reforms necessary to address our current predicament.

I will provide short summaries to get the ball rolling.

1. Unity in Christ alone

The core issue that is driving our societal crisis is identity politics.  We have been shattered into warring factions along the lines of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, geography and culture by a political movement that benefits from the ensuing chaos.  The Church is internally roiled by this same dynamic.

Christianity offers the one alternative that unites believers — identity in Jesus Christ.  In Christ we all meet as sinners in need of His redemption.  In Christ we can be united by humility and thankfulness.  The newly reformed Church must openly and effectively offer this alternative in identity to our broken world.

2. Return to Biblical authority and theological orthodoxy

We have come to the point in the Mainline denominations at which our most highly credentialed theologians tell us that the Bible teaches things that are quite different than what the text actually says.  Nor do they stop at mere interpretive distortion, but boldly proceed on to atheism, heresy and apostasy.  In virtually all cases the motive appears to be the alignment of Biblical teaching with a secular Progressive political policy.

This situation has arisen in part due to an abuse of trust by our academics, clergy and theologians.  However, these abuses have become so common and obvious that we in the laity must accept responsibility for silently accepting what we know is false teaching.

There will never be total agreement on Biblical interpretation or theological doctrine.  However, unless a means can be found to more clearly delineate the boundary between credible and false Biblical interpretation / theology we will never extricate ourselves from the current chaotic, destructive environment.

3. Gospel focused preaching, education and evangelism

If we decide to place our identity within Christ then we must recommit ourselves to following Him.  Therefore, we must at the very least agree on what is at the core of His Gospel.  This by no means should restrict the work of understanding and applying the Gospel to our lives.  However, if we can’t even agree on what Christ’s Gospel is at its core then we will be condemned to unending chaos.

So, when I say “Gospel focused” I don’t mean to limit the scope of “preaching, education and evangelism” to the endless repetition of a rote statement.  I do hope that by agreeing on just what the core of Christ’s Gospel is we can more confidently and faithfully live out our calling as Christians.

A New Reformation (1)

New-Reformation-GlassWhy We Need One

The Original Reformation

Before I address a new Reformation, a summary of the religious and social context for the original Reformation is necessary.  Here is the Encyclopedia Britannica’s.

The world of the late medieval Roman Catholic Church from which the 16th-century reformers emerged was a complex one. Over the centuries the church, particularly in the office of the papacy, had become deeply involved in the political life of western Europe. The resulting intrigues and political manipulations, combined with the church’s increasing power and wealth, contributed to the bankrupting of the church as a spiritual force. Abuses such as the sale of indulgences (or spiritual privileges) by the clergy and other charges of corruption undermined the church’s spiritual authority.

The Current Church Crisis

When I survey the political-spiritual situation in the Western Church today similarities with the 16th century Reformation are obvious.  Although the current Church has nowhere near the practical political power as did the medieval Roman Catholic, its subservience to secular political power is undeniable.  Anyone who has been following this blog will have been exposed to many examples within context of the PCUSA.  However, were I a member of the Episodical, Congregational, Methodist, or Evangelical Lutheran Church (among other Mainline denominations) the evidence for secular politics’ dominance would be of similar weight.

In the age of Trump we see the more conservative Evangelical churches embracing a man who just a decade ago would almost certainly have been rejected.  While I make no defense of President Trump’s morals, it takes a mountain of chutzpah for progressive Christians to criticize the politicization of Christianity by Evangelical leaders.  Some progressive Christians, upon seeing their strategy turned back on themselves, are beginning to recognize the danger of a Christianity captured by human ideology.  However, their voices are drowned out in the maelstrom of SJW Tweets and mob action.

This crisis is certainly not limited to the Protestant churches.  The positions of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on health care, poverty programs, human conflict, environmental policy and immigration are almost as inseparable from secular progressive cant as are those of the Mainline denominations.  However, they remain at odds with progressivism on abortion and religious freedom.  Thus the political situation is less certain.

However, it is in the area of sexual morality that the Catholic Church is experiencing an existential crisis.  As state Attorney Generals have become more aggressive in pursuing sexually deviant Catholic clergy it has become undeniable that there has been a longstanding, wide and deep coverup of pederasty.  This scandal directly involves Catholic leaders at the top of the hierarchy.  Potentially even Pope Francis has been credibly implicated in the protection of criminal clergy to advance the coverup.  Unless the Catholic Church fundamentally reforms we could be heading for a crisis on the order of the Protestant Reformation.

At the core of all these developments is a loss of spiritual authority that can be traced back to a substitution of human ideology for religious faith.  It appears that at some time in the last century many in the Christian clergy and laity concluded that, in effect, “God is indeed dead.”  However, they also realized that the institutional church yet wielded great moral power that could be put to “good” use.  When they looked around for a new moral compass they settled on secular progressive ideology.  This development is well summarized in An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America by Joseph Bottum.

Formed in the victory of civil rights activism, a new version of the social gospel movement became the default theology of church bureaucrats in the Mainline.  The churches “increasingly turned their attention to the drafting of social statements on a variety of contemporary problems,” as the religious historian Peter J. Thuesen has noted, and their statements “revealed a shared opinion among Mainline executives that the churches’ primary public role was social advocacy.”

As has been noted the Catholic Church is far down this path as well.  One can only guess as to where the more conservative Protestant churches are heading, though the polar opposite of the progressive denominations seems to be most likely.

As I recently wrote:

However, regardless of if we find ourselves in the Mainline Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox or Nondenominational branches we must seriously consider if our Christian testimony has been so corrupted by the poison of secular cults that it has been fundamentally compromised. My thought is that something akin to a new Reformation will be required for the Church to rise to this challenge. But, not my will be done, rather His.

I believe that only something on the order of a New Reformation has the power to extract the Western Christian Church from its current crisis.  Too many denominations and leaders have been corrupted by secular political power for anything less to do.

This isn’t a new idea.  But if my prayer can add to those of others seeking God’s intervention then let me not remain silent.

2018 Blog Results

Yearly Views and Visitors

I almost killed this blog in 2016 by focusing too strongly on Biblical exposition.  While this domain will always be important, I understand that my readers’ interests are not always aligned with mine.

In 2017 I broadened the blogs scope and was rewarded with significant growth in both visitors (dark bar) and views (light bar).  However, although the number of visitors exceeded that of 2015, the number of views fell significantly short.

This year the blog finally exceeded 2015 in both visitors and views.  This result is likely due to the continued expansion in scope.  This is still a small blog in a vast internet world.  However, I trust that for those who have visited it provides a unique and informative perspective on topics that are rarely covered elsewhere.

Screen Shot 2018-12-27 at 12.22.07 PM

Most Popular Blog Posts

Screen Shot 2018-12-27 at 12.23.23 PMThe most read posts for 2018 are shown to the left.  Many of these posts are from years prior to 2018.  It’s interesting that the top two both deal with specific information about the PCUSA’s decline (in membership and theological orthodoxy).

I’m thankful that numerous posts of Biblical exposition have made it onto this list.  I will publish an eBook in early 2019 on God’s Acts of Providence.  The fact that four posts from this topic made the list is greatly encouraging.

The post on immigration policy is as close as I usually come to commentary on current issues.  I’m also glad that one of my posts on satire made the list.  “Jesus Christ Avatar” remained popular.

Finally, my series on “The Death of Beauty” caused me some confusion.  Numerous individuals who run sites on fashion and cosmetics “liked” and started to “follow” the blog.  Since the topic was beauty in writing this perplexed me.  Finally, an acquaintance explained that there are automated programs that search the web on key words and then connect with sites that meet some set of criteria.  So, either this occurred or people focused on physical beauty are also lovers of beautiful theological writing.

Visitors by Country

One of the great pleasures of this work is the ability to communicate internationally.  While over 90% of visitors are from the United States, a significant minority are spread over the globe.  As the below figure shows I have had visitors from all six inhabited continents.

2018-World