iBooks Publish Announcement: A Denomination’s Debacle

I have published my fourth eBook on iBooks.  If you have an iOS device then you can use this link to access.  If you do not use an iOS device, a PDF version can be found on my blog using this link.

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A Denomination’s Debacle

This book is an indictment of the leadership elite who have driven the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), or PCUSA, into an utter debacle.

The most visible aspect of this debacle is the unprecedented loss of membership and churches that occurred between 2011 and 2017. Over that time span the PCUSA experienced a net loss of 601,000 members and 1146 churches, which is almost 30% of its membership and almost 12% of its churches. But these numbers don’t capture the human cost in broken trust, lost faith and shattered relationships that has occurred behind the scenes.

What remains is a denomination dominated by a post-Christian elite who use their power to advance a social gospel that is virtually indistinguishable from the secular Progressive political project. To some readers this charge against the PCUSA leadership will seem to be not just extraordinary, but also unbelievable. This book contains the extraordinary evidence that justifies the charge.

Preface Excerpt

The reader may well ask why I feel compelled to tell this story. I do so for three reasons.

First, the elite denominational leadership has obtained this end under the cloak of purposeful deception. This deception is not found in their policy and theological positions. No, they have aggressively advanced their cause with general honesty. The deception is that they claim to have been doing so as a legitimate expression of orthodox Reformed Christianity. By so doing they have preyed with premeditation and malice upon the trust of the denomination’s parishioners. We will never recover from this spell unless the truth is exposed.

Second, there are still many faithful members and churches in the PCUSA. However, unless they fully understand the forces arrayed against them they will likely eventually succumb. Only if they understand that their presence in the denomination is as a light shining in the darkness can they be protected from the apostasy and heresy that surrounds them. That understanding is what sustained the Apostles and early Christians as they proclaimed the Gospel as isolated individuals and churches in the pagan Roman Empire. The challenge we face is far less extreme. Yet, if we prioritize the comfort and peace of our lives over our responsibilities as followers of Christ even the small courage required will elude us.

Finally, the forces that have corrupted the PCUSA act upon our general culture and thus are not unique to this denomination. Therefore, we can expect that other churches and denominations are struggling under the same theological onslaught as has laid the PCUSA low. Thus this book attempts to explain these forces and how a corrupt leadership can by deception and seduction smuggle false theology into an otherwise orthodox Christian fellowship.

Table of Contents

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Taking Stock at the 500th Post

500posts

General Comments

So here I am writing the 500th post on this blog!  The first post is dated November 25, 2014 and titled “Opening Thoughts.”  My first paragraph is:

This blog will focus on my sense of sojourning through a foreign land as an orthodox, Reformed Christian.  This sense has been a longstanding one with regard to the popular culture here in the United States. I am by no means isolated from this country’s entertainment, political and business cultures.  In fact, I am an active participant in them all.  Though many aspects of these cultures are troubling, I am accustomed to dealing with the challenges and benefits that they provide.

Looking back 499 posts later I’m reasonably comfortable with my adherence to this framework.  That being the responses of an orthodox Reformed Christian to a wide variety of issues within the United States.

I am shocked by the speed that this “foreign land” has expanded over these mere four and a half years.  At the start my sense of alienation was clear but not central. Now I find myself fundamentally alienated from my Christian denomination, the culture and the political environment.  Therefore this blog has transformed from one  centered on exploration to one focused on identifying and exposing the myriad of insane ideas that are driving our civilization towards destruction.

Thus what began as an exploration focused on the PCUSA has expanded into areas such as environmentalism, philosophy, economic systems, politics, heresy, literature, abortion and anti-Semitism, among many others.  I have published three eBooks, all focused on topical issues addressed through Biblical exposition and meditation.  Most recently I have added satire as a means of communicating my concerns.

I have identified the prime driver of civilizational destruction to be Progressive ideology as practiced by both secular and religious institutions.  Therefore I have focused strongly on a critique of this ideology’s foundations, strategies and results.  Some of the major themes of this critique are:

I’ve also attempted to understand and then explain the philosophical underpinnings of the Progressive project (e.g., postmodernism, nihilism, Marxism, multiculturalism, intersectionality, pacifism, Gnosticism, identity, etc.).  My goal is to enhance our ability to counter their positions and to unmask the shocking evil that hides beneath that wafer-thin veneer of moral and intellectual posturing (many people who parrot the Progressive ideology have no idea what they are actually supporting).

Although I have expanded my scope far beyond the PCUSA, I still maintain a regular focus on this my denomination. The only way that I can maintain my Christian conscience is by a posture of opposition and rejection.  Yes, there remain many faithful pastors, elders, deacons and members in the denomination.  However, the theology and behavior of the dominant Progressive leadership has been so outrageously apostate and dishonorable that to remain silent is tantamount to support.  My voice is small, yet I will not choose silence.  So, as long as I’m in this denomination I will speak out as necessary.

I’m currently working on a new eBook provisionally titled A Denomination’s Debacle.  The book pulls together much of the PCUSA information and associated commentary from this blog with the addition of new material to fill-out the story.  It’s currently over 300 pages long, which is almost twice the length of my previous longest eBook.  It troubles me that through exclusive use of publicly available information such a substantial case for the PCUSA elite’s apostasy and corruption can be made.

the-truth-about-truth-a-nietzsche-feature-darwin-festival-version-3-638The “God is Dead” Christian Elite

Throughout this blog’s existence I have occasionally paused to discuss why our elite Christian leadership believes and behaves as it does.  Along these lines I have explored postmodern Christianity, the Social Gospel, Gnosticism and raw power politics, among others.  However, identification of a single unifying principle for this phenomena has to this point eluded me.

Perhaps the foundational principle is that these “Christian” elites agree with Nietzsche that belief in “God” as a reality upon which Western Civilization can base its religious/moral world view, “is dead.”  Let’s think through the consequences of this hypothesis.

Let’s say that you are a pastor or elder who has personally lost faith in the Christian God (or any god for that matter). And, you find that there are many others in the church who hold similar views.  So, you all find yourselves in an organization (i.e., the church) whose fundamental reason for existing has, in your opinion, vanished.  Yet the church has many remaining members and wields moral power in the civilization.  What then to do?

Well, you could work to dissolve the church by openly arguing that it has become obsolete and useless.  However, given that tens of millions still (foolishly in your opinion) believe in God’s existence you would likely fail and be expelled.  Therefore you would have to create a new organization to advance your philosophy.  That’s a very heavy lift with a small likelihood of success.  Far better to remain in the church but work for its transformation into an institution that does “social good.”

Of course, if “God is dead” and the Bible is thus null and void, how to find the social good to pursue?  The answer was found in the most aggressive, organized and presumptive human ideology supposedly pursuing the “social good,” that being what we now call Progressivism (which has its roots in Marxism, as contemporary Progressives are finally admitting).  Thus the elite Christian leadership of Mainline Denominations turned their churches from the Gospel of Jesus Christ to “the gospel of social change and justice” as defined by the secular Progressive political project.

chasmFor decades this stealth-coup was hidden behind multiple complex theological smoke screens that orthodox Christians had great difficulty penetrating.  However, with the advent of gay ordination and marriage the chasm between orthodoxy and heterodoxy became so vast that no amount of smoke could obscure it.  Thus we have seen the parting of ways where so many orthodox members and churches have exited.

Yet some orthodox members and churches have so far decided to remain.  If they do so with the clear understanding that they are missionaries to a now pagan, post-Christian denomination then perhaps they can successfully maintain their orthodox Christian identity.

However, if they pretend that they remain part of a “Christian” denomination then they will almost certainly be eventually converted and then absorbed.  This will occur because they grant legitimacy to the denomination’s dominant post-Christian ideology and thus will increasingly fall prey to its influence.  If that be their end then they have no excuse, for they have been warned and their consciences will testify against them at the time of accounting.

The Problem of Righteousness (8)

Eph+2+8-9The Reformed Christian Solution

This blog series has attempted to explore the proper place of righteousness in our Christian lives and the secular culture.  Central to this discussion is how our motives impact the outward manifestation of righteousness. Is our intent to place ourselves above someone else? Or, do we seek to advance healing and wholeness in this fallen world? Do we usurp God’s role as the only true judge, or, do we testify to His redeeming love through the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

We touched on other important issues including the purpose and use of Biblical standards of righteousness, calibration of our responses to the people and situations that call for judgement and the unavoidable conflicts that will occur as we live out our faith.

Not surprisingly my mind turns to the central theological doctrine of justification through faith alone as the lens through which to understand Christian righteousness. I’ve become convinced that this doctrine’s diminution is central to much that vexes the modern church. This is particularly relevant to the misunderstanding of righteousness that can lead to a judgmental Christianity. Following are some brief thoughts as to why.

To begin, just what is this doctrine? Though there are many statements from which to choose, I’ll go with John Calvin’s (emphasis added).

Scripture, when it treats of justification by faith, leads us in a very different direction. Turning away our view from our own works, it bids us look only to the mercy of God and the perfection of Christ. … when, by the intercession of Christ, he [the fallen human] obtains the pardon of his sins, and is justified; and, though renewed by the Spirit of God, considers that, instead of leaning on his own works, he must look solely to the righteousness which is treasured up for him in Christ.
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (3.11.16)

The most powerful contemporary doctrine of justification in the modern Western church is often called “Semi-Pelagianism” (another related term is “Arminianism”). R.C. Sproul explains this doctrine as follows in “The Pelagian Captivity of the Church” (yes, this is a repeat, but it’s essential to this discussion, emphasis added).

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R. C. Sproul

Semi-Pelagianism said this: … While we are so fallen that we can’t be saved without grace, we are not so fallen that we don’t have the ability to accept or reject the grace when it’s offered to us. … There remains in the core of our being an island of righteousness that remains untouched by the fall. It’s out of that little island of righteousness, that little parcel of goodness that is still intact in the soul or in the will that is the determinative difference between heaven and hell. It’s that little island that must be exercised when God does his thousand steps of reaching out to us, but in the final analysis it’s that one step that we take that determines whether we go to heaven or hell — whether we exercise that little righteousness that is in the core of our being or whether we don’t.

You won’t be surprised to hear that I joyfully accept justification by faith alone and reject Semi-Pelagianism / Arminianism. There’s so much that could be said, but I’ll focus on some implications for self-righteous Christianity.

If we believe that our salvation depends on having, or not, that sufficient “island of righteousness” on which all depends, then it becomes a matter of the utmost importance to find it within ourselves. The tragic truth is that we most often seek to prove its existence by comparison with others. This makes sense, since the island’s presence should manifest itself in our visible actions, and, the larger is this island the more likely that it can be found to be sufficient for our salvation. So, off we go, quietly or openly comparing ourselves to others. If we can find someone “worse” than ourselves then we feel a bit more confident. However, if we find someone else “better” we begin to wonder if our island is indeed sufficient. We also often begin to examine this “better” person with great interest, looking for faults and failings that might “bring them down a notch.”

This dynamic leads to destructive competition between Christians, a sense of superiority over non-Christians and a narcissistic focus on ourselves. It also leads to habitual acts of petty, self-serving judgement, as we seek prove righteousness in ourselves and its lack in others.

However, justification by grace alone frees us from all this. Our focus shifts from morbid scrutiny of ourselves and others to the wondrous love of God. By trusting fully in God’s grace, we find in ourselves the desire to obey and serve Him. We also can live in confidence that God’s sovereign grace to us cannot be thwarted or removed.

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Martin Luther

It’s a terrible blow to our pride to confess that no “island of righteousness” exists in ourself. However, in my experience, justification by faith alone is both joyful and freeing. I am no longer bound to others through competition, but rather can hope for God’s grace to all. When I fail and falter, I need not fear for my eternal fate, but can trust that God will complete His good work in me.

Finally, I’m well aware that the above comments may cause discomfort to my brothers and sisters in Christ who hold Semi-Pelagian / Arminian views. My expectation is not that you must agree with my point of view. Rather, I simply ask that you read, consider, pray and contemplate. You must judge for yourself if this is an accurate statement of Scripture’s teaching. If you disagree, then let’s continue the discussion in good will and trust.

For, I stand squarely with Charles Spurgeon:

I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven.

This is the understanding of righteousness that, if reclaimed by the Church and compellingly communicated to our society, can free us from self-righteousness that is driving our nation towards dissolution.

Amen.

The Problem of Righteousness (7)

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The perfect-righteous link arms in a perfect-mob to wreak vengeance on this evil nation that dared to reject their perfection!

A Nation Gone Mad with Righteousness

Close your eyes and imagine a nation in which huge segments of the media, political, educational and religious (among others) establishment decided that they must be more righteousness than the common folk.  Over time this goal becomes a compulsion to be the most righteous.  Finally, they embrace what can only be called a new cult that demands perfect righteousness as defined by an ever changing standard.  Hard to imagine?  Not really.  Simply open your eyes and look around at the chaos and wreckage at work in our contemporary society.

What we are witnessing is a collective nervous breakdown by a group that viewed themselves as the perfect-righteous; confronting the cataclysmic reality that over sixty-million citizens disagreed enough to elect their polar opposite to the Presidency.  In fact, enough citizens in states that had for decades voted reliably for the “righteous” politicians turned traitor to righteousness and voted for an “unrighteous bigot.”  This outcome has launched the elite perfect-righteous into a state of mind-shattering cognitive dissonance from which escape will be at the very least painful and difficult.

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The disintegration of the perfect-righteous elite individual personality.

What has emerged is a group of people who occupy powerful positions in our nation whose personalities have disintegrated and been reconstituted as seemingly undifferentiated components of a massive social justice mob.  They will believe anything, say anything and do anything, in collectivist unison, to destroy the source of this atrocity committed against their sense of perfect-righteousness.

The alternative is too horrible to contemplate, that being they are not perfectly, most or even more righteous than their fellow countrymen.  The thought of descending from their perches of perfect righteousness to join the rest of us is anathema.

After all, didn’t everyone they know (or at least who count) agree that their Progressive ideology should from 2008 until the next century at least win every Presidential election?    Wasn’t it agreed by all that the revenue (IRS), justice (department, including the FBI) and intelligence services (CIA, NSA) should be weaponized to ensure that the American electorate always voted the “righteous” way?  Wasn’t it unanimous in their circles that with the victory of gay marriage all Christian conscience to the slightest contrary should be snuffed out?

They wonder, who but utter moral degenerates would find fault with support of abortion up to delivery and infanticide after?  Only the irredeemably evil, they reason, could oppose the creation of a totalitarian green-state. What kind of morons would question the idea that Conservative speech is illegal violence but Progressive violence is protected free speech?  And surely only the already guilty would oppose transition to a system of justice based on guilty until proven innocent (and Progressives never guilty of anything as long as their hearts are in the right place)?

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High ranking, perfect-righteous FBI agent Peter Strzok text message while at a Walmart store.

How could the smelly rabble have failed to recognize their moral, intellectual and spiritual inferiority?  After all, hadn’t the high-priestess of the perfect-righteous put them in their place during the 2016 Presidential campaign?  How dare these deplorable everything-phobes/ists reject that which their betters had deigned to offer them — membership in a second or third-level quasi-caste?

It is impossible to predict just where this belief system and consequent behavior will lead.  But let there be no doubt, the forces that led so many supposedly educated, responsible, powerful people to join the thoughtless, ranting social justice mob have not yet run their course.  A Conservative self-righteous counter-attack will only push us further down the road to perdition.  Our nation will either reform and recover or descend into a Weimar Republic-like state, possibly on its way to something much worse.

This is the consequence of an insane pursuit of self-righteousness.  Without the Church reforming itself and reinserting a Christian understanding of righteousness, sin and redemption into this nation’s moral life we may well be lost for the foreseeable future.

The Silence of the Lambs (6)

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Image and caption of the BBC report quoted below.

A Timely and Tragic Confirmation

For anyone who suspected that I’ve been exaggerating or am being overly-dramatic about Christian persecution note that none other than the government of the United Kingdom has confirmed my position.  In fact, their commentary on this issue is significantly more extreme than has been mine thus far.  Here’t the BBC report titled: Christian persecution ‘at near genocide levels‘ (emphasis added):

The review, led by the Bishop of Truro the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, estimated that one in three people suffer from religious persecution.
Christians were the most persecuted religious group, it found.  Mr Hunt said he felt that “political correctness” had played a part in the issue not being confronted.

The interim report said the main impact of “genocidal acts against Christians is exodus” and that Christianity faced being “wiped out” from parts of the Middle East.
It warned the religion “is at risk of disappearing” in some parts of the world, pointing to figures which claimed Christians in Palestine represent less than 1.5% of the population, while in Iraq they had fallen from 1.5 million before 2003 to less than 120,000.
“Evidence shows not only the geographic spread of anti-Christian persecution, but also its increasing severity,” the Bishop wrote.

The report itself has this to say about Christian persecution in the Middle East.

Regional Focus: Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

The persecution of Christians is perhaps at its most virulent in the region of the birthplace of Christianity – the Middle East & North Africa (MENA for short). As mentioned earlier, forms of persecution ranging from routine discrimination in education, employment and social life up to genocidal attacks against Christian communities have led to a significant exodus of Christian believers from this region since the turn of the century.

Regional Focus: South Asia

To the east of the MENA region lie countries with a diversity of majority religions. In nearly all of these there is routine discrimination against Christians which has crossed over into outright persecution in recent years.

Numerous other regional areas are covered, each with its own unique set of religious, cultural and ideological issues that lead to varying levels of Christian persecution.

christian-persecution-1Note that this report also supports my contention that “political correctness” is a key reason that Christians in the West have abandoned their brothers and sisters in Christ to their fates.    Let’s be clear: if true this means that Christians in the West value their own social standing far higher than the actual lives of Christians throughout the world.  I believe that this is at least in part true, and that it is a shameful consequence of our purposeful ignorance and selfish need for social affirmation by a godless secular culture.

The Problem of Righteousness (1)

Righteousness

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Psalm 11:3

Introduction

One key driver of the contemporary crisis in the United States is the problem of righteousness.  Righteousness is a core driver because, having cast off much that Christianity has taught, we now are consumed with the monumental task of rebuilding this concept from the foundations up.  And, the tools by which this rebuilding project is being conducted are the least capable implements that one  could imagine — those being the mob-inducing, narcissist-encouraging, mind-numbing, spirit-destroying Social Network Platforms.

This thought crystallized across exposure to numerous sources.  Initially I was struck by this paragraph in an article from The Federalist (emphasis added):

When I look at this generation, I see young people fiercely, desperately trying to be good. A righteous fervor is sweeping America, shaming and punishing all who do evil. Yet the standards for “good” and “evil” seem unfamiliar and arbitrary. This is a strong indicator that the post-Christian agnosticism is over, and a new religion—one I’ll call progressivism—is rising from the ashes.

So yes, I can easily agree that our “young people” are “desperately trying” to be righteous.  But the reason that they are starting from scratch is because their elders (i.e., parents, teachers, pastors, coaches, politicians, bosses, etc.) have somehow failed to pass on the Christian-derived civilizational wisdom that should be their inheritance.  I must include myself within this failure as all three of my beloved children are currently not looking to Christianity for the answers to their most fundamental questions.

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 2.26.22 PMA second source brought into sharp focus the nature of that Christian-derived civilizational wisdom along with the most influential challenging ideology to it.  The source is Jordan Peterson’s preface to the The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (emphasis added).

And it is exactly the necessity for interminable sacrifice that constitutes the terrible counterpart of the utopian vision. “Heaven is worth any price”—but who pays? Christianity solved that problem by insisting on the sacrifice of the self; insisting that the suffering and malevolence of the world is the responsibility of each individual; insisting that each of us sacrifice what is unworthy and unnecessary and resentful and deadly in our characters (despite the pain of such sacrifice) so that we could stumble properly uphill under our respective and voluntarily-shouldered existential burdens. But it was and is the opinion of the materialist utopians that someone else be sacrificed, so that Heaven itself might be attained; some perpetrator, or victimizer, or oppressor, or member of a privileged group. A cynic might be forgiven, in consequence, for asking: “Is it the City of God that is in fact the aim? Or is the true aim the desire to make a burning sacrificial pyre of everyone and everything, and the hypothesis of the coming brotherhood of man merely the cover story, the camouflage?”

The implication of this dichotomy between our Christian heritage and the newly resurrected materialist utopians is profound.  For, whereas in a Christian society members are encouraged to look into themselves to find the source of evil and suffering; the people seeking a materialist utopia try to divide the world into the evil oppressors and the spotless victims.  But, as Mr. Peterson goes on to explain, there is no way to draw such a line in a just and stable manner.

Thus the doctrine of group identity inevitably ends with everyone identified as a class enemy, an oppressor; with everyone uncleansibly contaminated by bourgeois privilege, unfairly enjoying the benefits bequeathed by the vagaries of history; with everyone prosecuted, without respite, for that corruption and injustice. “No mercy for the oppressor!” And no punishment too severe for the crime of exploitation! Expiation becomes impossible because there is no individual guilt, no individual responsibility, and therefore no manner in which the crime of arbitrary birth can be individually accounted for. And all the misery that can be generated as a consequence of such an accusation is the true reason for the accusation.

Finally, just why is it that the attempt to create a human-made righteousness that excludes God has proved to be not just difficult, but rather a genocidal failure?  Here I found the following statement by David P. Goldman in his review of Chumash Mesoras Harav – Complete Chumash with Commentary Based on the Teachings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (Claremont Review of Books, Vol. XIX, No. 1) to be of great help (emphasis added).

Man has free will, but never knows to what extent his will is free. The penitent cannot know the full extent of his guilt. He cannot escape “the unknown and irrational” because his powers are limited. He is declared not guilty when he accepts that ultimate knowledge and power reside in God. God not only summons man to partnership, he consoles him in his lowliness.

Yes, we cannot ever escape the unknown and irrational nature of our existence by our own human resources.  For we are ultimately a mystery even to ourselves, let alone to others.  We can never fully understand and therefore prove our own righteousness.  We can only go on erasing and drawing lines that attempt to define who is righteous and who is not.  But the lines always eventually fail to accurately and definitively separate the righteous from the unrighteous.

girl-blaming-guyAnd so a war of all against all ensues.  For to be declared unrighteous is to suffer humiliation, social isolation and physical want.  To be found within the bounds of the righteous means automatic moral superiority, social preeminence and wealth.  But those who seem safely inside the bounds of righteousness today can be thrown out into utter darkness tomorrow.  Thus is explained the paranoia and destabilization that we see throughout our society.

What is happening now are the skirmishes that precede the total war that always accompanies a utopian totalitarian project.  We need not go to war.  But to avoid such a conflagration those of us who know better need to take a stand.

 

The Silence of the Lambs (5)

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The ghastly aftermath of a radical Islamic suicide bomb attack against Christians worshiping at an Easter service in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan Christian Massacre

The Easter mass massacre of Christians at their houses of worship by Islamic terrorists in Sri Lanka is a barbarous atrocity.  The Federalist published an article that well summarizes this savage attack and places it in worldwide perspective (emphasis added).

… the coordinated bomb blasts aimed at Christian worshippers on Easter Sunday, which killed at least 290 people and injured hundreds more, demonstrates the kind of meticulous planning, funding, resources, and support that is still exclusively the domain of radical Islamic terrorism. It’s not merely that the act was planned to maximize the death toll, but that it is a continuation of long-standing efforts by Islamists to destroy the Christian communities left in Asia.

Those who kill in the name of Islam are part of a worldwide, historic, ideological, and political movement that includes, to various degrees and various reasons, radicalized men and women from both great factions of the faith. Then again, terrorist groups—as well as their recruitment and propaganda outfits—are often functioning in Islamic regimes, which either actively sustain terror, tolerate these groups, or pay them off to engage in terrorism elsewhere.

I predict that even in the face of this enormity the Western Church will at most make a few vague statements of sorrow and then move on.  The sad fact is that many Christians suffer from a sense of self-hatred, seeing Christianity itself as an oppressive force in the world.  Even Christians in Sri Lanka who are completely separate from Western Civilization apparently bear guilt for the sins of Christianity.  Therefore, while it is regrettable that they were attacked, it’s difficult for many Progressive Christians to be outraged at their fate.

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How many people in the West are willing to risk accusations of being “far-right” when that label is tightly associated with “white supremacist” by the dominant Progressive media?  But doesn’t this Progressive position imply that it is only the “far-right” that cares about Christians of other races and nationalities?  If your ideology leads to moronic contradictions then maybe its time to question your ideology.

There’s also the fact that the perpetrators of this atrocity happen to be members of an officially designated victim group.  Therefore, they bear little responsibility for their evil acts because they are just reacting to our acts of oppression.  It doesn’t matter that the attacked Christians are a minority community who live under actual oppression by the majority.

Even those Christians who are outraged find it difficult to break through the general disinterest of their fellows.  They are also often intimidated by the Progressive party line (secular and Christian) that to speak up about this issue is an incitement to hate and violence.  And thus if you speak up it must be because you are a white supremacist, even though you are seeking to protect people of races different than caucasian!  The same Federalist article also addresses this issue.

The idea that a similar threat exists in the West is risible. There’s not a single Western country that doesn’t afford Muslim citizens the same rights it does as all other citizens. No government on Earth supports white supremacy.

There is no funding infrastructure for those who support white power. There is no Christian or Jewish denomination, or any notable political factions, in those nations that imbue white supremacy with any theological or ideological legitimacy. There is no white supremacist government trying to obtain nuclear weapons, and none sending their terrorists to other countries. In the world’s free nations, where any political party can participate in the process, the power of racist groups is minimal.

Yet the American left continues to downplay the danger, first by arguing that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, then by lumping every white-skinned person who commits a terrorist act into one imaginary coherent political movement to contrast against it.

Let’s be clear, regardless of the reasons why our abandonment of Christians throughout the world to persecution is a scandal of epic proportions.

 

The Silence of the Lambs (4)

Religious Hatred Here and There

How can we place the following statistics on worldwide Christian persecution into perspective?

  • 3,066 killed;
  • 1,252 abducted;
  • 1,020 raped or sexually harassed;
  • 793 churches attacked or destroyed.

After all, aren’t we in the United States bombarded with media reports claiming that, particularly in the “Age of Trump,” our society is saturated with religious hatred that manifests itself in hate crimes?  Were that claim found to be true then we would have no moral right to point our finger at others.

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2017 FBI Hate Crime Data

It turns out that, so concerned is our federal government about the occurrence of hate crimes that the FBI has been directed to collect and publish data in this area.  The FBI publishes this data on an annual basis, the most recent year being 2017.  Thus it is easy to find and assess the level of hate crimes across many years and for many groups including religious, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, etc.

The following figure shows the total number of murders, rapes and arsons identified as motivated by hate against Muslims in the United Stated between 2008 and 2017. Note that so unheard of is abduction motivated by hate that there is no category for this crime.

FBI-Hate-Muslims

The results are likely surprising to some readers.  Please keep in mind that these are results across our entire nation of 320 million inhabitants.  Some of my observations are:

  • The hate crime statistics against Muslims are identical between the year of Obama’s 2008 “hope and change” Presidential campaign and Trump’s 2016 “make America great again” campaign (i.e. 0 murders, 0 rapes and 5 arsons);
  • In the ten years covered not a single rape occurred against a Muslim due to hate in the entire United States;
  • In the ten years covered six murders occurred against a Muslim due to hate in the entire United States, which is well less than one per year on average;
  • In the first year of Trump’s Presidency there were zero murders, rapes and arsons against Muslims due to hate, a result that never occurred during Obama’s Presidency.

What can we conclude but that, in spite of massive Progressive propaganda to the contrary, the United States is an exceedingly tolerant country?  Yes, we are deluged with accusations of Islamophobia, but the actual hate crime data shows the opposite.  The reason for this falsehood’s persistence is that any criticism of the Muslim faith or of some Muslim individuals and organizations is attributed to Islamophobia.  In other words, the Progressives have placed Muslims outside the realm of criticism by designating any concern about their religion or behavior as a kind of mental illness.

And yet Progressives criticize, mock, condemn and yes, hate Christians on a massive scale without being accused of “Christaphobia.”  I must ask, from the Progressive multicultural perspective are only Western Civilization, Christianity and Judaism capable of sin?  Were we to examine the history of Islam, Hinduism, etc. would we find only sweetness and light in their past and present?  Are the past and present for all countries and ethnic groups outside of Western Civilization beyond reproach, beyond criticism?  The apparent Progressive multiculturalist answer is YES!

So, when we note that thousands of Christians are murdered, abducted and raped throughout the world because of their faith we in the United Stated do have moral standing to care and criticize.  For, if the religious tolerance that exists in the United States were replicated throughout the world the number of hate crimes against all people for all reasons would be massively reduced.

Yes, we are far from perfect.  Yes, we sin in a many ways.  Yes there are many and deep reasons to criticize our nation.  But for goodness sake, why can’t we acknowledge and celebrate that a level of tolerance has been achieved here that enables human flourishing at a remarkable level?

We can and must.  For to do otherwise is to become complicit in the Progressive multiculturalist lie that only the West, Christianity and Judaism are capable of sin.  All other religious, ethnic and country peoples are presumed to be either incapable of or justified in their sinful acts.  We Christians have doubly no excuse for supporting this lie.

as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”

Romans 3:10-12 (ESV)

Am I saying that because Western Civilization is more tolerant then it must be more righteous than all others?  Not at all.  For the righteousness of which the Apostle Paul speaks is the perfect righteousness demanded by God.  As is well said by R.C. Sproul:

Good is a relative term. It is defined against some standard. If we establish what that standard is, we can congratulate ourselves and take comfort in our attainment of it. But if God establishes the standard, and His standard includes outward behavior (that our actions conform perfectly to His law) and internal motivation (that all our acts proceed from a heart that loves Him perfectly), then we quickly see that our pretended “goodness” is no goodness at all. We then understand what Augustine was getting at when he said that man’s best works are nothing more than “splendid vices.”

There are aspects of Western Civilization in which we are far worse than others, with abortion being a particularly shameful and stark example.  But there are other areas, such as religious tolerance, where we have achieved far better results.  We must not denigrate our successes because in other areas we have failed.

Thus we should in clear conscience and loud voice speak up for out brothers and sisters in Christ who are experiencing brutal persecution.  While so doing we must also look at ourselves and recognize that there is great sin at work in the West as well.  But it is inherently unjust and unsustainable to apply one standard to ourselves and another to anyone else.

The Silence of the Lambs (1)

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Muslim destruction of Joseph Colony, a Christian region, in Pakistan, 2013

Introduction

One of the primary failures of contemporary Western Christianity is its silence on persecution of Christian communities throughout the world.  This situation was recently highlighted during the absolutely legitimate outrage over the massacre of innocent Muslims as they worshiped at two Mosques in Christchurch New Zealand.  Without a doubt these vile acts of murderous terrorism must be powerfully denounced.  And they were.

However, contemporaneously to this terrible event was another that would seem to be of similar weight, that being the massacre of over one-hundred Christians in central Nigeria.

The mosque attacks were indeed a horrific affair and worthy of universal condemnation. Presidents, prime ministers, royalty, and religious leaders rushed to extend their condolences to victims and their families — as well they should — while decrying the hate that purportedly motivated the shootings.

Without exception, the mainstream media gave top billing to the shootings, with newspapers carrying the story on their front pages and television news channels leading off their broadcasts with the story.

The bizarre aspect of the coverage was not, in fact, the attention paid to a heinous crime committed in New Zealand, but the absolute silence surrounding the simultaneous massacre of scores of Christians by Muslim militants in Africa.

Bible-Microscope

Can only Christians and civilizations built on Christianity sin?

It appears that Western Christianity has become deeply uncomfortable with the idea of standing up for their brothers and sisters in Christ who live under persecution.  Simultaneously we have become obsessed by a sense of shame about the sins of our own civilization while minimizing or ignoring the sins of others.

In this series I will attempt to examine and discuss this strange blindness to evil acts perpetrated against Christians accompanied by our obsessive microscopic examination of our own failings, real or imagined.

Erasing the Old Testament (2)

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Robert Zünd, Gang nach Emmaus 1877

The Founding Scriptures of Christianity: The Old Testament

I am regularly dumfounded by the aggressive behavior of people in the Christian community who seek to erase the Old Testament.  One key aspect of this dynamic is their claim that only (or primarily) the New Testament accurately contains the doctrines appropriate for Christian life.

This absurd canard can be demolished in multiple ways, but the first unassailable point is this:  The New Testament didn’t exist as an authoritative collection of writings until the second century A.D., as is explained by F.F. Bruce.

The first steps in the formation of a canon of authoritative Christian books, worthy to stand beside the Old Testament canon, which was the Bible of our Lord and His apostles, appear to have been taken about the beginning of the second century, when there is evidence for the circulation of two collections of Christian writings in the Church.

At a very early date it appears that the four Gospels were united in one collection. They must have been brought together very soon after the writing of the Gospel according to John. This fourfold collection was known originally as ‘The Gospel’ in the singular, not ‘The Gospels’ in the plural; there was only one Gospel, narrated in four records, distinguished as ‘according to Matthew,’ ‘according to Mark,’ and so on. About AD 115 Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, refers to ‘The Gospel’ as an authoritative writing, and as he knew more than one of the four ‘Gospels’ it may well be that by ‘The Gospel’ he means the fourfold collection which went by that name.

Thus, though the Books that would eventually comprise the New Testament were individually written between 40 and 100 A.D., their incorporation into the Christian Canon of Scripture didn’t even begin until after 115 A.D. at the earliest.

Thus by even the most generous accounting it is by the Scriptures of the Old Testament that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed for the first 100 years after His resurrection.

This fact demolishes claims of the “New Testament” church.  In fact when we actually read the New Testament we find Jesus Christ and His Apostles using the Old Testament as the authoritative Scriptural basis for the Gospel.  Yes, the Apostles also quote Christ, but this authoritative source was at that time based on a carefully preserved oral tradition and perhaps a written list of “the sayings of Jesus.”

However, it is Jesus Christ Himself who used the Scriptures of the Old Testament as the authoritative source for His Gospel, culminating with the Risen Lord’s words on the Road to Emmaus.

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.  (Luke 24:25-27)

Thus it was by the Old Testament Scriptures that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed to the pagan Roman world.  And, by these Scriptures the Christian Church experienced sustained, explosive growth.

And yet, in this appalling ignorance or worse the “New Testament Christians” claim that the Old Testament is unreliable as God’s Word and unsuitable as a source of Christian doctrine.