King David: Warrior and Poet After God’s Own Heart (35)

King-David-at-Prayer-Pieter de GrebberClosing Thoughts (2)

The causes, nature and consequences of this “prison of guilt” were brilliantly summarized in an essay titled “The Strange Persistence of Guilt,” by Dr. Wilfred M. McClay in The Hedgehog Review.

 

What makes the situation dangerous for us, as Fredriksen observes, is not only the fact that we have lost the ability to make conscious use of the concept of sin but that we have also lost any semblance of a “coherent idea of redemption,” the idea that has always been required to accompany the concept of sin in the past and tame its harsh and punitive potential. The presence of vast amounts of unacknowledged sin in a culture, a culture full to the brim with its own hubristic sense of world-conquering power and agency but lacking any effectual means of achieving redemption for all the unacknowledged sin that accompanies such power: This is surely a moral crisis in the making—a kind of moral-transactional analogue to the debt crisis that threatens the world’s fiscal and monetary health. The rituals of scapegoating, of public humiliation and shaming, of multiplying morally impermissible utterances and sentiments and punishing them with disproportionate severity, are visibly on the increase in our public life. They are not merely signs of intolerance or incivility, but of a deeper moral disorder, an Unbehagen that cannot be willed away by the psychoanalytic trick of pretending that it does not exist.

This is the description of a culture in which the affected members feel guilt-ridden about every possible ill that exists in this fallen world because they have been convinced that it all can somehow be traced back to them as the prime cause.

Dr. McClay also discusses the means by which the post-Christian world has employed to deal with this overwhelming sense of guilt.

But victimhood at its most potent promises not only release from responsibility, but an ability to displace that responsibility onto others. As a victim, one can project onto another person, the victimizer or oppressor, any feelings of guilt he might harbor, and in projecting that guilt lift it from his own shoulders. The result is an astonishing reversal, in which the designated victimizer plays the role of the scapegoat, upon whose head the sin comes to rest, and who pays the price for it. By contrast, in appropriating the status of victim, or identifying oneself with victims, the victimized can experience a profound sense of moral release, of recovered innocence. It is no wonder that this has become so common a gambit in our time, so effectively does it deal with the problem of guilt—at least individually, and in the short run, though at the price of social pathologies in the larger society that will likely prove unsustainable.

Here we recognize that class of people who, by identification with the world’s certified victims, claim a moral purity (and thus moral authority) that places them above other mere mortals.  And, it is clear that in order to maintain this status they cannot support war, since it by definition is the act of a victimizer.  It is by these bizarre moral gymnastics that millions of people in the West have convinced themselves that support of civilizational suicide is the only moral path available by which their guilt can be assuaged.

The obvious issues are that:

  1. They actually are all just frail, fallible mortals, under the same curse of sin as are all the rest of us, and,
  2. They are proposing to sacrifice not just themselves, but all of the other human beings who find themselves to be members of Western Civilization, to the idol of their supposed moral perfection.

I am not here denying or diminishing the fact that there are victims in this world who are to be affirmed and assisted.  What I am opposing is the creation of a post-Christian (in and outside of the Christian church) moral economy in which the currency of moral authority is fraudulently credited only to those who most loudly claim victimhood or identification with the same.  Everyone else is thus arbitrarily condemned to the outer darkness of moral poverty, including any member of a certified victim group who won’t play by the established rules.

This post-Christian moral economy is irreconcilable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For, whereas this fraudulent economy separates humanity into saints and sinners via victim status (by gender, race, civilization, orientation, class, etc.), the Gospel unequivocally unites all of humanity in our common fallenness, our uniform need for a Savior.

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. …

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.  (Romans 3:21-25a, 27, 28)

Here we finally see the ultimate consequence of having succumbed to pacifistic, narcissistic and perfectionistic modes of thought.  For, we have turned our backs on the Gospel in order to obtain counterfeit moral currency. The fact that this ideology exists in general society is understandable. The fact that it exists in any church calling itself Christian is inexcusable. It is long past time for those of us who reject this moral con game to speak up, particularly those of us who claim allegiance to Christ’s Gospel.


bouguereau-david-the-shepherd-1895-210x300x72Thus, I return to King David: Warrior and Poet After God’s Own Heart.  In this series I have attempted to reestablish the connection between King David and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I have also attempted to show how this flesh and blood man who lived within the challenges and joys of his era became, through God’s grace alone, the greatest king in all history.

David obtained this position not because he was a great man, but rather because God filled him with a great faith that no evil in this world could overcome.  By that faith he fought for his life and that of his civilization.  By that faith he was inspired to compose Psalms and prayers of wonderous beauty.  By that faith his reign served as a foreshadow of Christ’s eternal kingdom.

And, by this same faith our civilization can be renewed and defended.

Amen.

King David: Warrior and Poet After God’s Own Heart (28)

ps60-05David’s Song of Praise (2)

2 Samuel 22:17-20

In the previous passage David describes God’s wrath and its consequence on his enemies.  David now describes God’s purpose.

17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
20 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Thus, God’s acts were in support of His sovereign choice to make David king.  However, by the combination of David’s (God-given) character and David’s (God-ordained) experience, the resulting nature of this king was unlike any other.  That is, God has seen to it that David’s kingship would be the seed from which would grow the church of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  John Calvin brilliantly describes this act of God thus.

Here there is briefly shown the drift of the sublime and magnificent narrative which has now passed under our review, namely, to teach us that David at length emerged from the profound abyss of his troubles, neither by his own skill, nor by the aid of men, but that he was drawn out of them by the hand of God. When God defends and preserves us wonderfully and by extraordinary means, he is said in Scripture language to send down succor from above; and this sending is set in opposition to human and earthly aids, on which we usually place a mistaken and an undue confidence.

John Calvin’s Commentary on Psalm 18

Thus, David’s experience of God’s grace was so clear, so profound that he could not possibly conclude that it originated from “human and earthly aids.”

Finally, when David says that God “delighted in me” he is speaking from the position of divine election.  We in this life cannot claim a shred of justification for why God should have “delighted in me.”  However, how can one so redeemed, protected and justified discuss such an ultimate salvation without reference to the personal nature of this mysterious, blessed gift from God?

Decoding Progressivism (8)

Communism/Socialism must be counted as one of the most tragic, persistent and deadly lies of all time.  Stalinism was just one particularly monstrous phase of the lie that has reaped tens of millions of murdered humans and ruination for hundreds of millions more.  And yet, the elite Progressive Leftists choose to contribute mightily to the keeping of this lie alive.  Here’s what the lie looked like in the 1950s.

It is in the nature of Stalinism for its adherents to make a certain kind of lying – and not only to others, but first of all to themselves – a fundamental part of their lives.  It is always a mistake to assume that Stalinists do not know the truth about the political reality they espouse. If they don’t know the truth (or all of it) one day, they know it the next, and it makes absolutely no difference to them politically.  For their loyalty is to something other than the truth.  And no historical enormity is so great, no personal humiliation or betrayal so extreme, no crime so heinous that it cannot be assimilated into the ‘ideals’ that govern the true Stalinist mind, which is impervious alike to documentary evidence and moral discrimination.

from a Hilton Kramer essay.

Never Give Up on Socialism

The nostalgia for Communism is never far beneath the surface in the Progressive Left, as was recently reemphasized in a New York Times oped (emphasis added).  There could be no better confirmation of my recent condemnation of the Progressive Left’s whitewash of Communist genocide (see below figure from this post) than the statements from this oped.  Here’s how the lie looks today.
communistevil

The top two are just unsuccessful do-gooders while the third is utterly evil!  Let’s keep trying Socialism until we finally get it right!

New York Times Oped:

We can get to this Finland Station only with the support of a majority; that’s one reason that socialists are such energetic advocates of democracy and pluralism. But we can’t ignore socialism’s loss of innocence over the past century. We may reject the version of Lenin and the Bolsheviks as crazed demons and choose to see them as well-intentioned people trying to build a better world out of a crisis, but we must work out how to avoid their failures…

But since Communism doesn’t currently have the power to destroy Western Civilization, other “strong horses” must be used to achieve this fundamental goal.
In a recent Kurt Schlichter essay (emphasis added), Stop Lying to Us, we find that although the specifics of the lie have changed, the destructive civilizational purpose of the Progressive Left remains essentially unaltered.
But for the so-called elite that seeks to rule us, it’s all lies, all day, every day, about everything, since they can’t be honest because we normals reject what they want whenever we are exposed to the truth and are allowed a say. So their go-to move to impose their sick will is to obscure or hide the truth, and try to suppress our voices.
When it comes to terror, they prioritize their cocktail party clichés over our lives. They are willing to accept the risk of dangerous Muslim radicals infiltrating our country rather than admitting the truth and taking action.
Then there are the informal ways the left seeks to protect the lies – the attempts at public shaming, plus the intimidation by political correctness that tells the truth-speaker that his reputation, his job and maybe his physical safety will be in danger if he dares point out that the lies are lies.
No, they would rather you lie and die than tell the truth and live. But unless we choose not to stand up for ourselves, our families and our Constitution, we still get a say.
What is “rather you lie and die than tell the truth and live” other than the purposeful sacrifice of human beings to the idol of their own narcissism?
Finally, closing the circle between idolatry and lying.
Such idolatrous lies falsify a person, obscuring and distorting who the person is.  The lie destroys true relationship as humans stop relating to God as he knows himself to be, instead treating him as they have fashioned him.  Idolatry strongly expresses human sovereignty, but sovereignty at the expense of true relationship.
Passively in the face of lies causes us to become complicit in their evil consequences.

King David: Warrior and Poet After God’s Own Heart (17)

Gerard_van_Honthorst_-_King_David_Playing_the_Harp_-_Google_Art_Project

Gerard van Honthorst – King David Playing the Harp

God’s Promise to David (1)

We here turn from David the warrior to David the poet.  However, note well that in the following passage, in which God’s purposes for David and his house are made clear, it is God’s support of David the warrior that has opened the opportunity for David the poet to prosper.

2 Samuel 7:1-11a

After terrible struggle, terrors and heartache, David is now the King.

After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”

Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”

King David feels a sense of guilt because his home is far more impressive than that provided for the ark of God.  Nathan’s reply is based on a general principle which appears to be certainly established by events.

But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:

“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

The Lord God corrects Nathan’s error.  Note that His point is that David’s intention is based upon his own thoughts rather than on God’s Word to him.

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you.

God is not here speaking in ephemeral metaphors.  The “cutting off” of David’s enemies including King Saul, opposing Israelites and foreign foes has occurred by bloody, deadly conflict.  David and his followers dealt out death and destruction by their own hands.  At some points God intervened to cause death.

Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

Far from finding fault in David, God begins to explain His purposes for David’s life and reign.  God intends to make David’s name “great, like the names of the greatest men on earth.”  That is, David and his reign as king over Israel will be known far into the future as a sign and symbol of God’s purposes through the Israelis.

Through the decisive victories in open warfare here on this fallen earth, God has created the space for Israel and its king to be planted with deep roots of religious, and cultural tradition.  For a time they will be free from oppression by the external forces of wickedness.

This is a precious gift.  In these ancient times peoples generally lived deep in the shadow of imminent death and destruction.  Thus, their time and energy was almost completely consumed by the requirements for physical survival.  Here God is allowing the nation of Israel rest from those terrible challenges.  Thus, space has been made for King David the poet to, by the Spirit’s leading, to create the Psalms that will guide and encourage God’s people throughout all succeeding history.

Decoding Progressivism (5)

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Projection is a form of defense in which unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person, where they then appear as a threat from the external world. A common form of projection occurs when an individual, threatened by his own angry feelings, accuses another of harbouring hostile thoughts.

What should we call it when the individual in question appears to be perfectly comfortable with their “angry feelings?”  I think that current events create the need to define a more depraved stage of this psychological state.

Assassinate-Porn

Mother’s Day, 2017

Mother's-Love

I believe that motherhood at its most noble state creates a uniquely humane connection between living souls.  This link is a shadow of that eternal connection made through Christ between God the Father and His children.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. (John 15:9)

Through this special bond, a mother can see beyond the flaws and frailty of her children into the wondrous value of their lives.

Under typical circumstances that insight is created because at the beginning a mother and child experience the utmost intimacy of a shared body.  There is simply nothing in life equivalent to the sight of a mother, who has lived for months in bodily communion with her child, holding her birthed baby for the first time.  The joy is beyond description.

However, in the case of adoption a mother can still establish that same wondrous bond with her child.

So, on this Mother’s Day, let’s acknowledge and honor that special part of God’s love that shines through our lives, as thankful and blessed children.

I Know that my Redeemer Lives!

Piero_della_Francesca_-_Resurrezione

The Resurrection – Piero della Francesca

Easter, 2017

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living Head.

He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high.

He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with His eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I’ll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.

He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to His Name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!

What does the Bible Teach on Immigration and Refugee Policy (2)

bible-bordersThe Reverend Gradye Parsons’ Letter

I’ll begin the careful scrutiny of this issue by discussing the PC(USA) “Stated Clerk issues letter to Trump on refugees, immigrants” (dated October 2, 2015) that was introduced in my previous post.  The value is that a high officer is here explaining the denomination’s policy positions in an official capacity.  Thus, what is said, implied and unsaid is of great significance.  The Biblical interpretative, philosophical and communication strategies utilized are also important aspects of the analysis.  All text from the letter is included in order as quotes, with my commentary inserted as regular text.

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
725 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10022

Mr. Trump,

I am the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the denomination of the congregation in Queens, New York, where you were baptized. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) develops its policies through councils of teaching elders and ruling elders. At the national level it does that through the General Assembly. I would like to share with you the Presbyterian policies on refugees and immigrants.

There was a time in my living memory when such a preamble would have elicited an expectation of Christian profundity.  I detect a sense of chastisement here, as Rev. Parsons deigns to educate Mr. Trump on the refugee and immigration positions of his own denomination.  I must say that on this point we are in agreement.  However, whereas the issue at hand elicited this response, for me it began when Mr. Trump said “I’m Presbyterian.  Boy, that’s down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness.”

Presbyterians profess a faith in Christ, whose parents were forced to flee with him to Egypt when he was an infant to save him from King Herod. Knowing our Lord was once a refugee, faithful Presbyterians have been writing church policy urging the welcome of refugees and demanding higher annual admissions into the United States since the refugee crisis of World War II.

Here we find the one and only Biblical reference, summarizing Matthew 2:13-20.  What startles is the unexplained logical leap from our Lord’s specific experience to an apparently general application.  Does the fact that Jesus Christ was once a refugee mean that any and all who claim that status have been automatically bestowed with His sinlessness?  Is it possible in Rev. Parsons’ ideology for someone who claims refugee status to yet harbor evil intent?  And, if this is a realistic possibility, would a sovereign nation be obliged to welcome that person into their population?  Note that these real and pressing issues don’t even warrant acknowledgment let alone serious consideration in this authoritative statement of the PC(USA)’s positions.

Presbyterians have a mission presence in many refugee-sending countries, including Syria and Lebanon, where we have been present since 1823. Our relationship with people of faith and communities in these countries gives us knowledge of the root causes of the flight of refugees and further cements a commitment to welcome.

1983-beirut-bombing-by-hezbollah-iran-e1404967583363

1983 Hezbollah Bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut Lebanon

These two sentences manage to encompass the decadence and irresponsibility that defines our national denominational leadership.  Here we have mentioned two countries, one having experienced and the other currently embroiled in bloody, brutal civil war, held up as places from which blameless refugees are guaranteed to originate.  Who, I wonder, has been doing all of the killing in Syria resulting in almost 500,000 dead?  Weren’t upwards of 150,000 killed in the Lebanese Civil War (1975-90) by someone?  Isn’t Syria the home of ISIS and Lebanon of Hezbollah, both vicious, genocidal Islamic terrorist groups who target the United States?  Is it not possible that someone complicit in or directly responsible for this mass murder might seek to enter the United States as a refugee?

isis-san-bernardino-terrorists

2015 San Bernardino ISIS Terrorist Murderers

And yet, in the face of this absolutely obvious set of circumstances, the Rev. Parsons bestows blanket innocence upon all refugees from these troubled countries because of the PC(USA)’s supposed “knowledge.”  What can possibly account for the existence of this level of moral blindness?  The Rev. Parsons, speaking for the PC(USA) General Assembly, is more than happy to signal their supposed superior virtue while ignoring the real and present danger to their fellow citizens from uncontrolled entry of refugees.  That is, they will happily claim all of the virtue points for their “compassionate” stance on refugees but deny any culpability for associated crime and terrorism because “their intentions were good.”  This is not virtue, it is its opposite, and, it’s long past time that we ceased allowing our national leaders to have it both ways.

Presbyterians through decades of policy have demanded humane treatment of people of all nationalities and faiths who find themselves within our borders.

This sentence is a masterpiece of obfuscation.  On the surface it appears to be undeniable.  Yes, absolutely, we in the United States should treat all within our borders humanely.  And yet, what if someone finds “themselves within our borders” because they have entered illegally?  Is it inhumane to deny them social services, welfare, work?  Is it inhumane to deport them?  If they commit a felonious crime, is it still inhumane to deport them?  All of this is left unaddressed.  One has to dig a little to uncover the true position of the PC(USA).

We have challenged our government when it neglects to acknowledge the refugee status of those fleeing persecution.

Has the PC(USA) ever supported laws or policies that ensure careful vetting of refugees?  Unless information to the contrary can be presented, their position on vetting refugees from lawless, violent nations appears to be that it shouldn’t be done at all.

We have pushed for due process at the border and we continue to petition for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented persons.

I believe that “due process” likely means that a non-citizen of the United States should be given all of the Constitutional rights as has a citizen even when outside of the country.  Were this position to be accepted then the ability of the United States to control entry of non-citizens would be at the very least severely damaged.

As a Presbyterian I acknowledge my immigrant ancestors and my new immigrant sisters and brothers. I also respect that we came uninvited to a land already occupied by people. This creates a sense of humility about my citizenship that shapes my views on those who seek a place here.

This is an excellent example of the Jonathan Gruber school of political discourse: “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”  For, obscured behind all of the virtue signaling is effectively the demand for “open borders.”  Yes, the Rev. Parsons doesn’t explicitly say this.  However, since he admits guilt for his ancestors coming “uninvited to a land already occupied by people,” the most reasonable conclusion is that anyone who seeks “a place here” should be allowed in.  Of course to say so outright would create yet another reason for members to exit the denomination.  So, the position is only tacitly communicated.  However, I have little doubt that “open borders” is both what is meant and what is being pursued by the PC(USA) leadership.

I hope you will find this helpful. I especially hope it will inform you on your policies going forward.

In Christ,

The Reverend Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

It certainly was helpful, but not necessarily in the way intended.  This letter helps by exposing the unsupported logical leaps, lack of theological seriousness, irresponsible virtue signaling, disdain for the safety of our citizens, obfuscation and purposeful ambiguity of the PC(USA)’s national leadership.  Only a leadership clique hermetically sealed inside an alternative-reality ideology could be capable of generating, approving and releasing such a defective statement.