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Posts Tagged ‘Doug Wilson’

t Jefferson II

As mentioned in my previous post, Christian Resistance, part I, I am finding my heart these days for Christian resistance to be more about what is happening inside the walls of American churches than outside them.  However, I still agree with Edmund Burke:  The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.  The parable of the faithful and wise manager, reminds us that to him who has been given much, much is required and from him in whom much has been entrusted, more is demanded (Luke 12:48). 

The confessing church in America still maintains many God-given freedoms to “work the system” and fight for the issues that touch the heart of God.  Much will be required of us who have been given much in this country.  To this end, I believe, we need to steward well our domains of influence and what freedoms remain, looking both inside our churches as well as outside, bringing the character and nature of God to bear on current issues… while it is day.  As R.R. Reno said, “The Church did not need constitutional protections in order to take root in a hostile pagan cultures two thousand years ago.”  

To this end, I share Doug Wilson’s summer post on “Ground Level Tactics of Christian Resistance.” As stated in my post, Reaping the Whirlwind, we must remember who our real enemy is.  Wilson does a good job at drawing our eyes away from the skirmish to see the battle for what it is.  Just as one might coach someone afraid of heights to “not look down,” Wilson encourages us away from despair and tells us to keep our eyes on our Commander for our courage and direction. 

Wilson says of his tactics for Christian resistance that some are tactical versions of larger principles, some are Christian restatements of Saul Alinsky’s tactics, and some are just free information from somewhere else.  There are 21 of them listed below and expounded further on. 

1. Think cosmically, act locally.
2. Cultivate personal loyalty.
3. Relate everything to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
4. Courage is exhibited on the individual and family level.
5. Don’t be a jerk (we have a tendency toward this, unfortunately).
6. Worship God every Lord’s Day.
7. Provide your children with the best Christian education you can find.
8. Defend free markets at every opportunity.
9. Do not assume that government regulators have the authority to tell you what the true meaning of Romans 13 is.
10. Do not accept any sexual bribes (duh).
11. Love and encourage your wife and children, constantly (see why).
12. Do whatever you can with whatever you have.
13. Utilize social media (discriminately).
14. Cultivate a robust sense of humor.
15.Make your adversary live up to his own rules.
16. Don’t fall for abstract calls to repentance (ala John, the Baptist).
17. Keep the pressure on.
18. Enjoy yourself.
19. Keep your weapons sharp.
20. Conflict is always personal, and so don’t be shy about keeping it personal (read further for clarification).
21. Accept and acknowledge what our ultimate goal is… the reestablishment of a mere Christendom.

 

1. Think cosmically, act locally. This is a rip-off of the progressive bumper sticker which urges us to think globally, act locally. What they mean by that is think in gauzy abstractions, act irrationally in the moment. What we mean by it is that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, and that all authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Him, and that therefore we must spend our time discipling all the nations of men, teaching them how to honor and follow Him.

2. Cultivate personal loyalty. Your only absolute loyalty is to God and His Word, but because of this, He has required that you love your wife, love your neighbor, and love your enemy. Everybody you meet will be at least one of those. Not only so, but God has defined for us in His Word what love and loyalty look like in each one of those instances. Your love for God, your loyalty to Him, must be constant. Because it is the one constant, your love and loyalty to your family and companions, and adversaries, can look very different at different times. But it must be the same constant thing, looking different, not different things, falling apart.

3. Relate everything to the lordship of Jesus Christ. This will help you break down the walls of arbitrary dualisms in your head. Think in such a way that you learn to relate your opposition to gun control, your support of free markets, your love of mercy ministry, your embrace of new media, and so on, to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Doing this makes you a biblical Christian, and not a Republican or a right-winger. People will call you that — except for the secular Republicans, who will consider you a dangerous hazard to all their hopes and dreams.

4. Courage is the testing point of every virtue, and because the point of every conflict is always local, courage is exhibited on the individual and family level. Be sure to love and encourage your wife so that she is with you in it. Be sure to love and teach your children so that they grow up in such a way as to stand with you in the city gates. Do not neglect your family for the sake of “the cause.” Your family is part of the cause . . . an essential part. One of John Knox’s daughters was named Elizabeth, and she married a great preacher, a man named John Welch. He was exiled to France for many years, until his doctors told him that he would have to return to England for his health. So Elizabeth (Knox) Welch came to the court of King James to seek for permission for him to return. She was told by the king that he could return to England if he would submit to the bishops. She lifted up her apron and said, “Please your majesty, I’d rather kep (receive) his head there.” She was on board.

5. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t let the martial spirit overtake you in such a way as to justify all your personal failings. Of course, if no one ever complains about you, you aren’t doing your job. But it does not follow from this that if people are complaining about you, that you are doing it.

6. Worship God every Lord’s Day. Confess your sins. Sing psalms. Listen to sermons that are preached out of the Bible. Confess your faith. Take the Lord’s Supper. Between worship services, read your Bible daily. Pray without ceasing. Read books. Prepare for next Sunday.

7. Provide your children with the best Christian education you can find. There is no excuse for Christians giving their children over to the enemy for their education. There is no sense in giving them over for education in “the neutral parts,” for there are no neutral parts. Christian children must have a Christian education.

8. Defend free markets at every opportunity. It is not possible to understand the gospel of free grace intelligently if it does not lead to a love for free markets. Free grace creates free men, and free men trade in free markets. If you have a biblical worldview, you cannot be a libertarian. But if you have a biblical worldview, you will be accused of being one.

9. Do not assume that government regulators have the authority to tell you what the true meaning of Romans 13 is. We are to submit to the governing authorities, but not in everything, and not in the ways stipulated by them. Understand the important role of civil disobedience, and realize that it can occur in areas other than worship or gospel preaching. Gideon was threshing in the wine vat because he was hiding from the tax man. The apostle Paul ran a road block at Damascus. David spent a good deal of time in the wilderness evading a man whom he acknowledged to be the Lord’s anointed.

10. Do not accept any sexual bribes. Chesterton once noted that free love is the first and most obvious bribe to be offered to a slave.

11. Love and encourage your wife and children, constantly. What the world needs first is gospel, and your family is the best place to showcase the gospel to a lost and wandering culture. The gospel must be preached by anointed evangelists, but what we desperately need is a chorus of amens coming from families that live out this gospel.

12. Do whatever you can with whatever you have.

13. Utilize social media, but not in a way that identifies you as a vapid waster-of-time on the one hand, or a certifiable crank on the other. If you are the kind of person who sends Instagrams of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with updates on your periodic potty breaks, you are wasting a precious resource. But on the other hand, if you are in deadly earnest all the time, and will tweet nothing not found in Leviticus, then we all hope that the concerned furrows on your brow don’t stick that way.

14. Cultivate a robust sense of humor. Use irony, satire, and ridicule, as appropriate. Whether or not it is appropriate should not be determined by the target. The target never likes it.

15. My fifteenth rule is Alinsky’s fourth. Make your adversary live up to his own rules. Turn in papers that act on the assumption of absolute relativism taught in the class. Apply for affirmative action scholarships because of your Scottish descent. Your clan was persecuted in the 14th century, and you are still dealing with it. Have your son try out for the girl’s shot put event. Make them say, “No, girls are different.”

16. Don’t fall for abstract calls to repentance, and don’t use abstractions to make you look like you are a courageous denouncer of sin. Call for “Repentance! Broadly considered!” and lots of people will call you The Thunderer. But call for repentance for homosexuality, or porn use, or confiscatory taxation, and people will suddenly say you have become “too political.” You have left off preaching, and got to “meddling.”

17. Wherever you are on the line, keep the pressure on. Do not spend your time worrying about how you are going to put out the fires that the adversary sets. Wake up in the morning thinking about the fires you can set. Let them be the fire department.

18. Enjoy yourself. God is in control. Jesus is on the throne.

19. Keep your weapons sharp. Read. Study. Reflect. Grow.

20. Conflict is always personal, and so don’t be shy about keeping it personal. As Alinsky stated in his 13th, we are to pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. But there is a caveat. This is a valuable principle, but we have to understand it in a Christian context. Because of the cross of Christ, it is possible to distinguish a sinner and his sin. This means that your adversary might wind up repenting, as Saul of Tarsus did, and if you have trouble with that possibility, you are being vindictive instead of being principled.

21. Accept and acknowledge what our ultimate goal is, which is the reestablishment of a mere Christendom. We do not insist on the whole thing now — we are incrementalists, and this is a long war — but we know what the point of our labor is. We must know the objective, and that objective, assigned in the Great Commission, is for every tribe and nation confess the name of Jesus, and bow down to Him. We do not believe we have to conquer Canaan in the next ten minutes, but we also don’t believe that we have the right to settle down and make peace treaties with Amorites.

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medieval priest
Doug Wilson wrote a mid-summer post , giving tactical advice for the Christian resistance.  It’s pretty good stuff, much of it unexpectedly calls the church back to its distinctiveness; some concerns itself with our handling of current issues that touch the character of God. 

As much as there is something tantalizing about being part of a resistance (I mean, they’re usually the good guys in any tale of history), my battle cry has been changing a bit this past year, especially since the last election and the bombshells of the last two Supreme Court sessions.  I see a great need for the American church to take care of its own orthodoxy and equip the saints for our day, a day that is increasingly becoming antagonistic to the one, true God.

The medieval church of old, which governed every aspect of village life, performed their Masses in Latin and established themselves as the sole arbiters of the Word of God.  They denied the peasantry direct access to the Word and warned them that it was only the clergy who were qualified to read Scripture accurately.  Instead of first-hand biblical knowledge, the ignorant common man was reliant on the priests to tell him what he should or should not believe.  Unfortunately, the modern American church looks very different, but acts under much the same mentality.

Biblical literacy in America is at an all-time low.  As pollster George Gallup summarized:

Americans revere the Bible—but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.

Virtually every home in America has at least one Bible. Four Americans in five believe the Bible is the literal or inspired word of God, and many of those who do not, still regard it as the basis for moral values and the rule of law.

A percentage of Americans who believe the Bible is the word of God, only one-third of Americans read it at least once a week—15 percent read it daily and only another 18 percent read it one or more times a week. Another 12 percent read the Bible less than weekly, but at least once a month. More than half of all Americans read the Bible less than once a month, including 24 percent who say they never read it and 6 percent who can’t recall the last time they read the Bible.

 

For the sake of gaining appeal, many American churches have willingly tossed aside their distinctiveness and have not valued the sacred trust they’ve been given from past generations, that of rightly handling the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) and implanting it in the hearts and minds of those in their seats every Sunday.  The message conveyed is that “we love the Bible, we talk about the Bible, but it’s not so important that we need to teach the Bible.  We’ll be sure to let you know ‘the good parts,’ the especially good nuggets we think you should know, but further than that, don’t worry about it.”  The clergy in these churches convey the belief that the Bible is too stodgy for everyday fare and fear it will keep folks from streaming in, those who come for the dramas and the “lights and big drums” (see previous post, Choosing a Church).  They redefine terms in the hope of making the gospel relevant and palatable for the unbeliever in their midst, thus effectively denying that “faith comes through hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).  As Mark Dever has said in his book The Deliberate Church, “What you win them with is likely what you’ll win them to. If you win them with the Gospel, you’ll win them to the Gospel. If you win them with technique, programs, entertainment, and personal charisma, you might end up winning them to yourself and your methods (and you might not!), but it’s likely that they won’t be won to the Gospel first and foremost.”      

The American church has re-embraced the ideology of the late 19th – early 20th century, German theologian, Adolph von Harnack, who reduced the whole counsel of God to two precepts, believing the essence of the Christian faith to be (1) the universal fatherhood of God and (2) the universal brotherhood of man.  In other words, God’s love gives us all value and we’re all brothers in Jesus; we just need to love one another.  In these churches, the gospel lacks urgency, because there is no mention of God’s equally-true natures of holiness and justness.  If sin is spoken of at all (usually in terms of “brokenness” or “faults,” or “mistakes” etc.), it is only in terms of God’s over-riding love for us.  The second precept plays out in the oft-repeated message of service as the main method of sanctification for the believer (and unbeliever too).  Social justice is their battle cry and in an environment bereft of Scriptural grounding, the book of James, alone, keeps resurfacing in sermon series’ and Bible studies from year to year.                 

So even while embracing Wilson’s call to be calm and carry on, I am finding my heart for Christian resistance to be more about whats happening inside our church walls than outside them.

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TornadoI

Can anything good come out of California?  Well, if I didn’t have a beloved aunt and uncle and other extended family living there I’d have to say no.  Even so, a Lot-like escape for them (with all remaining salt-free) would be welcome by this niece (Genesis 19).  We have surely crossed the Rubicon and there seems no stopping the whirlwind to come – that is, the natural end to secular hedonism (vs. Christian hedonism) and the world is following suit. 

 

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed the nation’s first law catering to students who believe they are transgender.  There is no limit to their every whim… boys who wish to use the girls bathrooms, girls locker rooms… you’ve got it!  Girls who want to sing in the men’s choir… not a problem.  The western world is falling over itself to promote the homosexual lifestyle, being careful to avoid any Emperorer’s New Clothes-like declarations.  Even the United States Air Force in Los Angeles hired the drag queen group “Jewels and the Brunchettes” to perform at their Diversity Day event, supposedly in solidarity with the gay rights movement. 

 

There have been many to sound the alarm as to the slippery path we were trodding.  First the language needed to be managed.  Instead of homosexual… now it’s same-sex or gay.  Instead of partners… now they’re couples.  Instead of civil unions… now it’s marriage.  In the face of obvious contradictions, why work so hard to change the language?  As Doug Wilson has questioned, why would we call “marriage” that which looks completely different (not two people of differing sexes), is consummated in a totally different manner (obviously), and is unable to bring about the same result (children)? 

 

What’s in a name? Despite Juliet’s love-sick pining, is an object’s name irrelevant to our experience of it?   Anne of Green Gables did not think so and neither do the social engineers of our day.  The current social battle is for a thing so obviously not marriage, both in the senses that Doug Wilson mentions (above) or in any dictionary written before 2000.  Why wouldn’t proponents just give it its own name and fight for it as a civil right?  No, co-opting the language is of great importance. By attaching their objective to the language of a legitimately-recognized mainstream activity, they gain respectability and produce a sense of a common bond with those in traditional marriages.  Even though it’s a completely different activity with no apparent societal interest (i.e. child-bearing), once it is called marriage and viewed in a traditional light, those who wish to preserve the traditional meaning of the word are deemed cold and unfeeling.  The transformation of the meaning of this word seems virtually complete.  Even those in the church speak now of homosexual marriage or same-sex marriage, even while denying its possibility. 

George Orwell was apparently correct when he warned, “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ”  Pedophiles are now calling themselves “minor-attracted persons” and claiming theirs is a sexual orientation, not a deviance.  They are seeking equal rights, hoping to ride the shirttails of the homosexual movement.  Again, the language must be overcome, so Dr. Gregory Herek, a fellow of the APA and the Association for Psychological Science and past recipient of the APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology, makes a tactical maneuver in writing, “’Pedophilia’ and ‘child molestation’ are used in different ways, even by professionals.”

 

The term is a bit harsh, but the definition applies here – Wikipedia defines the term useful idiots as “people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they do not understand, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause.”  There are those who display their bumper stickers, sign petitions, share posts on Facebook, write letters to the editors, and blog – all believing themselves to be agents of change for the cause.  Little do they know they are cynically being used as tools in the hands of the true leader of the cause. 

 

So again, why is this issue so important?  I suggest the enemy of our souls to be the true leader of this cause, using whatever mouthpieces will serve his agenda.  But to what end?  Beyond the destruction of body and soul of those made in the image of God (see July 23 post, Who Am I? Part I), Doug Wilson believes it is to ultimately force a choice between sexual libertinism and religious liberty.  “Depend upon it — you can’t have both.” 

 

Now, I do not write to rally the troops for battle, to “take our country back.”  Nor do I speak in any way of hatred or abuse of homosexuals.  Indeed, they demand our pity as any other person held hostage by their sin.  They are collateral damage in the enemy’s war against his Maker.  I speak, here, only to those who claim to be of the Church.  I wonder if the church itself, within its walls and from its pulpits, will continue to hold fast to Scripture in light of a society that demands not only tolerance any more, but acceptance of its every desire?   We’ve already seen several branches turn and give allegiance to society’s pressures and embrace sexual libertinism.  No wonder Christ asked, “When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

 

Pastor Dave Monreal sees another reason this issue is so important to the enemy of our God: 

 

“Why does the enemy care that much about destroying the institution of marriage?  Well it’s his nature (“the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” John 10:10).  But beyond this, we need to understand, that God uses marriage, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, as an illustration of his relationship with his people.    Ultimately, marriage was designed by God to be a living illustration of Christ’s relationship to his people, the Church.  The full expression is found in the culminating celebration of the marriage supper of the lamb in Revelation 19, but as we see…in Ephesians 5, the Apostle Paul tells us that marriage is an illustration of a greater reality – of Christ’s love for his Church.  It’s an illustration of the gospel; it’s an illustration of God’s covenant relation with his people.  And so the destruction of the institution of marriage and the concept in people’s minds goes beyond just the reality of marriage, but it goes to distort the very Word of God, itself.  And so we see that marriage is under [spiritual] attack.” (Sermon, 06.23.13)

 

Both Wilson and Monreal would warn us that we are in a cosmic spiritual battle and, of course, we have been since our federal head, Adam, first listened to the father of lies (Genesis 3).  Pastor Monreal:

 

“The enemy would love nothing more than to attack the good thing which God has created… John Owen wrote on sin [which applies equally to the tempter]:  ‘Every time [he] rises up to tempt or entice, might [he] have [his] own course, it would go to the utmost sin of that kind.  Unclean thought or glance would go to adultery if it could, every covetous desire would be oppression, every thought of unbelief would be atheism, might it grow to its head.’ 

 

“As sin is in this life, so is Satan in this world, wanting to take to the farthest degree possible, not to re-write the definition of marriage, to broaden it, to represent any two people in a so-called committed relationship, but ultimately to distort and destroy the concept of marriage in peoples’ minds so that it is no longer recognized and it is discarded and disregarded.

 

Today it is homosexual marriage, but the promotion of polygamy is in its seed form.  “Lest we think that’s such a far-fetched reality, keep in mind the television shows on cable television that are beginning to normalize polygamy.”  Pastor Monreal warns of the progression of sin in a society:

 

“First we joke about it.
Then we tolerate it.

Then we accept it.
Then we embrace it.
Then we promote it.
Then we stop opposition.”

 

It’s been asked in this space before:  “If the foundations are destroyed, what will the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3) “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24).  Depend upon it – you can’t have both.

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