I am victim II: A dialogue with Steve (a progressive Christian)

Craig Carter has written an interesting post entitled, “Secular Politics Infiltrating the Church: Hell’s Scheme to Bring Down Evangelicalism.”  There I’ve entered into a rather lengthy discussion with a self-proclaimed progressive who apparently believes himself to be Christian.  I reproduce here my comments and his responses.  I think it demonstrates that while progressives claim to care about people, they really despise people and are more concerned about re-engineering society to make it more equal–who cares who dies or suffers along the way, just so long as the rich can no longer parasitically leech off of others.  I responded first to his manner in which he responds to Craig Carter and Gordon (another correspondent), while mercilessly libelling the Tea Party.  Later, I explained how progressive, with their need to enlarge the state, had forced me to renounce my US citizenship, resulting in my suffering the loss of my birth right.  The reason that I insist on telling my story about how I’ve suffered is that I still can.  Those whom the progressives around the world have murdered can no longer tell their story.

Peter W. Dunn said…

That’s amazing Steve. You praise Craig and Gordon for civil tone of their responses to you, and then insult the Tea Party, libelling them as liars. Wow. An entire movement of people who want smaller government libelled as liars. You called Ron Paul demonic.

I think you should read my blog Steve: The Righteous Investor. You could start with this:  Worship the invisible God or our modern Idols:  which? 

You wrote:

“Progressives are not trying to replace a deity through gov’t, as you suggest, but progressives do not believe in a theocracy. We believe that ended with Jesus. The gov’t should meet the needs of all people, not just those who are wealthy or favoured by majority status.”

Well with these lines you have proved Craig Carter’s main point in the post. Because a god or an idol is what we have faith in to meet all our needs. You suggest that it is government. I suggest that Jesus is still alive and that it didn’t end with Jesus but he still lives in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. I’m not advocating theocracy–like the progressives who believe in big government that meets all our needs–I believe in small government that doesn’t suck up all the oxygen in the room and thus allows other institutions, like the family and the church, to breath a little too. But you advocate government as panacea and that ultimately is evil.

The socialists, of course, reject God as Jehoveh Jireh, because they believe in government-jireh, which provides everything we need. Who needs faith in a God who strictly prohibits in his Ten Continue reading

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The best of all worlds: Candide’s Pangloss now working at Harvard University

In a book entitled, The Better Angels of our Nature, Harvard Professor Pangloss (Steven Pinker) says we are living in a more humane world today (see his article “Violence Vanquished“).

Well, I beg to differ.  He argues that violent death is less frequent than in previous periods in human history, and that the number of people who die peaceably in their sleep all over the world is at a higher percentage than ever before. True, because he’s only counting those who manage to make it out of their mothers’ wombs without first suffering a violent genocidal demise.  That’s only 4 out of 5 people.  So stay out of your mother’s womb.  It is a game of Russian Roulette (I prefer my chances with six shooter).  But also, we are now on the verge of war breaking out all over the globe (starting with Egypt, Libya, Yemen, etc.) caused by economic instability.  Apparently, the Christian Century published similar drivel, just before the outbreak of World War I.  Today, with global instability caused by monetary policy, the doctrine of Total Depravity is gaining traction.

Pangloss pictured right: click on picture to watch video at Market Watch

Pacifistic Redistributionism, Or, Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

[This was cross-posted at City of God.]

I have a confession. I don’t understand something about some anarcho-socialists whose writings I follow semi-regularly.

I don’t understand how someone can simultaneously believe that Jesus took a principled stand against all violence in his life and death, and yet at the same time believe Jesus’ call for justice requires the state to violently expropriate and redistribute property. Sometimes, such proponents will go even further, and suggest that a truly free (i.e., non-violent) market would result in oppression of the poor.

Just to give an idea of what I’m talking about, here are two snippets from the writings of Brian Walsh. Walsh is not the only example of this kind of thinking I have seen, he’s just the person I have heard most recently express it, and whose writings I was able to search through most quickly. Firstly, an example from a meditation on Colossians:

If the gospel was not about the reconciliation of ‘all things’ in Christ, there would be little biblical basis for the transformation of cultural life. It is precisely such comprehensiveness that we meet in this poem.

But how is reconciliation accomplished? Note how the poem ends: God was ‘pleased … to reconcile to himself all things … by making peace through Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross.’

The irony of these words is deep. Jesus brings peace – one that goes infinitely beyond the Pax Romana – but does so through crucifixion at the hands of the imperial powers.

This is the ultimate subversion. It is not imperial political, economic and military power that brings about reconciliation but suffering love.

So here, Jesus’ politics is explicitly opposed even to bringing social harmony through “…economic…power…”. And yet, here are some comments made about tax systems in the context of the recent Canadian federal election:

So where is Jesus on the question of taxation? Let’s be clear, taxation that favours the rich and the powerful to the detriment of the poor is always unjust taxation. So any political party that advocates tax cuts for the rich in a society where there remain deep economic divisions between the very rich and the very poor is a political party that knows nothing of the way of Jesus.

When Zacchaeus met Jesus he not only abandoned the practices of an oppressive taxation, he engaged in a radically generous act of wealth redistribution. Giving away his wealth and repaying those who had been oppressed was an act of deep faith and profound economics.

At its best, taxation is a means of redistributing income to create a more level economic playing field. At its best, taxation is the way that we all contribute to the common good. In a radically individualist culture, the notion of something that is “common” is difficult to imagine. But if we root our lives in a commitment to love our neighbour, then progressive and responsible taxation could be one way that we seek justice and promote the common good.

I honestly cannot understand how these two positions fit together. I would appreciate some help.

Who owns Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Liberals or evangelicals?

My wife and some other friends have enjoyed reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. There have been some negative reviews of Metaxas (see this post), and it seems it can be boiled down to one thing:  certain Liberal critics believe that Bonhoeffer belongs to them, that he is part of their heritage: he is a liberal like them, so evangelicals find inspiration in Bonhoeffer only illegitimately because he believed, among other things, in biblical criticism.  Therefore, Metaxas portrayal of Bonhoeffer is wishful thinking, a reading into the history of Germany his own sentiments.

Why are they saying this?  And why are liberals, who don’t hardly even believe in Jesus, claiming the author of The Cost of Discipleship as one of their own, when they hardly even desire to be disciples of Christ and mock those who do?  My hunch at this point is that liberals are running from their terrible legacy in Nazi Germany and they want to hold up Bonhoeffer as their own because he is the most famous theologian that opposed Hitler.

Liberal theologians are largely distinguished from orthodox Christians by their questioning of tradition:  this includes both scriptural (the Bible) and ecclesial traditions (the creeds).  They also have a tendency to insist upon evolution as the only means to explain the origin of the species, and they also tend to believe in human progress and the ability of government to provide solutions to social problems (statism, socialism, etc.).  Well it doesn’t take much research to see which side the liberals were on in Nazi Germany.  They were often anti-semitic–since they themselves belonged to the more evolved Arian nation race–and generally supporters of the Third Reich.

Against them, the more conservative Christians with whom today’s evangelicals can mostly identify–affirmed the reliability and authority of Church tradition, including both the Bible and the historic creeds.  Bonhoeffer signed the Barmen Declaration which claimed the exclusivity of Christ and opposed both the liberal church and the Nazi state; he belonged to the Confessing Church which remained faithful to the authority of the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, against the liberal German Christian Movement which denied it.  Then, Bonhoeffer went further and was involved in a plot against Hitler.  If Bonhoeffer wasn’t an American evangelical, he wasn’t an 21st century liberal either.  But the liberals of today, who constantly question the reliability and authority of the Scriptures stand closest not to Bonhoeffer, who affirmed these basic truths, but to the Harnacks and the Wellhausens, the anti-semites, whose theology led to the support of Hitler and the genocide of the Jews.  This is a terrible legacy and it is no wonder that some liberals would want to revise history and expropriate Bonhoeffer for themselves.

Resources:
HITLER’S THEOLOGIANS: The Genesis of Genocide
by Stan Meyer

Was Bonhoeffer an Evangelical?

Belief in Action review by Joseph Loconte in WSJ

Bonhoeffer: Liberal, Evangelical, or None of the Above?

Appendix: I made the following comment at the City of God to Dan’s post:  News flash:  Non-evangelicals are non-evangelical, which suggested that Bonhoeffer and C. S. Lewis were not evangelicals, depending on the definition, and which occasioned my above reflexions:

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