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Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

Credit: AP
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, center, smiles with his mask pulled down as he watches an opening day baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees at Nationals Park, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“New year, same old virus.  Masks on, Ohio.”  That was the cheery New Year’s greeting on the electronic message boards on the interstates around Cincinnati yesterday.

How is it that the government has managed to turn “fifteen days to flatten the curve” into over nine months of lockdowns, mask requirements, and social distancing with no end in sight?

From the very first time I heard about Covid and all the attendant liberty and economy destroying measures the experts insisted we follow lest we die the death, this entire so-called pandemic has struck this author as a psyop designed to allow wanna be tyrants the opportunity to enact measures they otherwise could never get away with.

From the standpoint of the authoritarians and globalists, Covid certainly has been a far better tool for restricting freedom and bolstering their own power than climate change. 

Compared to the threat of a supposedly killer virus which could strike you dead without warning while driving to work, climate change seemed downright boring.

Two years ago, socialist con-artist and Congress critter Alexandria Ocasio Cortez tried to scare people with her Green New Deal, eloquently warning people that, “like, the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”    

Queue the collective public yawn.    

But a killer virus, one that’s not merely an epidemic, but a pandemic?  Now that’s just the sort of thing to make people sit up and pay attention!  And pay attention they did.

Nearly the entire developed world went into lockdown mode in February and March of 2020.  When I first heard about lockdowns, I thought the whole idea was so absurd, so clearly a violation of people’s liberties, and so obviously destructive of the economy, that I really didn’t think governors would actually go through with them.

Obviously, I was wrong. 

Not only have public officials – including Ohio Governor Mike DeWine – embraced lockdowns, mask requirements, business closures, etc., but they have done so with great gusto and with relatively little effective pushback from citizens who are daily having their lives destroyed by their policies.

And it’s the pretty much the same wherever you go in the formerly free West.  Some places are a better, some are worse. But with very few exceptions, not only has Covid been used as an excuse to destroy liberty, but the level of destruction is continually ratcheted up.

Just today, CNBC ran the headline “Tougher lockdown restrictions likely on the way, says UK PM Boris Johnson.” 

The beatings will continue until moral improves!

It was only in November that headlines were declaring that the UK economy had suffered the worst recession in more than 300 years. 

Now, Boris Johnson wants to do more of the same thing that’s already substantially destroyed the economy of his country and the liberties of his people.

This is madness.

It’s also sinful.

But, sadly, it’s also typical of the sort of thinking that has gripped the minds of civil magistrates throughout the West.

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Pharaoh decrees the drowning of every new male offspring among the Israelites by Michiel van der Borch, 1332.

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.

  • Hebrews 11:23

We Christians in the West have been singularly blessed in that we have rarely been faced with the option of either obeying God or our governors.  For the most part, the laws of the state have not required us to violate our consciences.

But that period of relative peace seems to be drawing to a close. 

In the next few years, it is very likely Christians in America and elsewhere in the formerly free West will be faced with a choice either of obeying the civil authorities or God. 

This will come as a new and strange experience for most of us.  In my own life, I’ve not found myself in such a position.  Ideally, this should be the case.  Civil magistrates, if they are properly doing their jobs, will seek to pass laws that are in accord with the law of God.  The Bible tells us that one of the two legitimate functions of civil government is to “praise the good,” by which is meant pass laws that are in accord with God’s law.  If men violate these laws, they are to be punished.  This leads to the other legitimate function of civil government, punishing those who practice evil by breaking those laws.

Perhaps in part because Christians in the West have, for the most part, not had to face the choice of either obeying the civil magistrate or God, many Western Christians are uncomfortable with talk of civil disobedience.  “That’s the stuff of Marxists and radicals,” they may say.  “After all, it says right there in Romans 13, ‘Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.’ That settles the matter.” 

This argument carries a lot of weight with Christians.  It certainly seems convincing, at least if we take this passage in isolation.  Christians, it appears, must without question always obey the government in all things everywhere no matter what.  And if Christians do not obey all governmental edicts to the letter, they get what they have coming to them when they are punished by the civil authorities. 

I have no doubt but that most ordinary Christians who hold this position are sincere in what they say.  They want to be law abiding citizens.  But if we follow out this form of thinking to its ultimate conclusion, we find that the practical effect of their stance – Christians must always obey the government in whatever it says – is some form of tyranny, where right an wrong are determined by the will of the leader.  Put another way, Christians who hold this position are unknowingly endorsing the fuhererprinzip, the leadership principle, where whatever the leader says goes. 

But the fuhererprinzip is not Christian. Christians are not called to blindly follow government edicts, but to compare what their civil magistrates are saying with the Scriptures.  The Christian idea of judging the statements of civil magistrates, and all others for that matter, by the Scriptures is known, not as the fuhererprinzip, but the Schriftprinzip, or the writing principle.

In his essay “Christ and Civilization,” John Robbins provides several quotes from Martin Luther on the Schriftprinzip.    

  • We intend to glory in nothing but Holy Scripture, and we are certain that the Holy Spirit cannot oppose and contradict himself.
  • I have learned to hold only the Holy Scripture inerrant. All other writings I so read that, however learned or holy they may be, I do not hold what they teach to be true unless they prove by Scripture or reason that it must be so.
  • Putting aside all human writings, we should spend all the more and all the more persistent labor on Holy Scriptures alone…. Or tell me, if you can, who is the final judge when statements of the fathers contradict themselves? In this event the judgment of Scripture must decide the issue, which cannot be done if we do not give Scripture the first place…so that it [the Bible] is in itself the most certain, most easily understood, most plain, is its own interpreter, approving, judging, and illuminating all the statements of all men…. Therefore nothing except the divine words are to be the first principles for Christians; all human words are conclusions drawn from them and must be brought back to them and approved by them.
  • Scripture itself…alone is the fount of all wisdom.
  • And even in the writings of the fathers we should accept nothing that does not agree with Scripture. Scripture alone must remain the judge and master of all books.

Now if what Luther said is true, and it is, then this implies that Christians have, not only the right, but the duty before God, to compare what their civil magistrate is saying with the Scriptures.  And if it is found that the laws of the state require what Scripture forbids, or forbid what Scripture requires, then they are bound to obey God rather than men. 

But not only is civil disobedience an implication of the Scriptures, there are many examples in Scripture of believers resisting tyrannical edicts of civil magistrates.  And these individuals, far from being censured by the Word of God, are praised for the stances they took. 

With this in mind, let’s look at some of these examples of resistance to tyranny in the Bible.

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Ebed-Melech resuces Jeremiah, Jan Luyken (1649-1712), 1712.

“For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,” says the LORD.

  • Jeremiah 39:18

Jerusalem was in trouble.  The powerful Babylonian army that had been besieging the city had temporarily left to fight the Egyptians but would soon return with a vengeance.  Many false prophets (false teachers) had been telling the people that Jerusalem would be spared, but Jeremiah knew better and was not afraid to say so.

This made the prophet a very unpopular fellow, especially with the ruling class. 

“Do not deceive yourselves, saying, ‘The Chaldeans will surely depart from us,’ for they will not depart.  For though you had defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only wounded men among them, they would rise up, every man in his tent, and burn the city with fire.” Such was a typical rebuke Jeremiah would deliver to those optimists in Jerusalem who thought that somehow everything was going to work out just fine in the end. 

Perhaps even more disturbing, at least from the perspective of the ruling class, was that Jeremiah was telling the people of Jerusalem to defect to the Babylonians, the very nation then destroying the land of Judah.  “Now you shall say to this people, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.  He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out and defects to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be as a prize to him.  For I have set My face against this city for adversity and not for good,” says the LORD.  “It shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.”’

Indeed, it was suspicion that Jeremiah himself was defecting to the Babylonians that landed him in prison.  And now that Jeremiah was in prison, his enemies in king Zedekiah’s court decided to move in for the kill.

In Jeremiah 38 we read, “Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedeliah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken to all the people, saying, “Thus says the LORD: He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence: but he who goes over to the Chaldeans shall live; his life shall be as a prize to him, and he shall live.’ Thus says the LORD:  ‘This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.’” 

In verse 4 of Jeremiah chapter 38 we read, “Therefore the princes said to the king, ‘Please, let this man (Jeremiah) be put to death, for thus he weakens the hands of  the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them.  For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their harm.”    

To this demand King Zedekiah replied, “Look, he is in your hand.  For the king can do nothing against you.” 

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And how shall they hear without a preacher?
            – Romans 10:14

Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad.” That was the explosive headline from last Wednesday in the New York Post announcing a Wikileaks-like disclosure of sensitive emails from a computer belonging to Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son. 

The Post published two more stories related to the first.  You can read them here and here.

If true, and it is the opinion of this author that the emails are genuine, the revelations in these stories ought to be enough to force Joe Biden’s resignation as Democratic presidential candidate.  Not that this will happen.  It almost certainly will not.  But in any nation where a Christian view of right and wrong holds, using one’s official position to enrich oneself at the expense of the nation one is supposedly serving is not only a sin, but a crime. 

Public officials on the take is one of the chief characteristics of corrupt nations.  Speaking of the degeneracy of Judah in his day, the prophet Isaiah wrote of the nation’s political leadership, “Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards” (Isa. 1:23).  In times past, Isaiah tells us, Jerusalem, “was full of justice.”  But now it was corrupt.  It had become a sort of banana republic. 

Much more could be said on the topic of corruption, both of Joe and Hunter Biden and of government In the United States more generally, but that is not the main focus of this post, so I will leave it at that. 

Getting a bit closer to our main topic, receiving almost as much attention last week as the Hunter Biden stories themselves was the blatant censorship of them by the major social media companies.  For example, the main Twitter account of the New York Post (NYP), the newspaper that broke the stories, was locked, as was the account of President Trump’s press secretary and that of the Trump campaign itself, all because they shared links to the first of the stories released on Wednesday, October 14. 

Facebook likewise made it difficult to share the link on its platform.  Andy Stone, a former Democratic political operative and current Facebook employee, tweeted, “While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want to be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners.  In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.” 

So, we have a former Democratic operative working to reduce the distribution of a story unfavorable to Joe Biden on Facebook. No election interference to see here!       

Of course, Twitter’s and Facebook’s quick actions to suppress and discredit the Hunter Biden story should surprise exactly no one, given the blatant attacks on free speech from the social media companies in recent years.

Although censorship in various forms had been going on for some time previously, it was in August 2018 that the social media giants really raised their game.  Most notably with the banning of Alex Jones from all the major social media platforms in the course of one or two days early that month. 

Since that time, the purges have not ceased.  Just last week there was another wave of purges from YouTube, with several established and large channels being removed as if they never had existed. 

As with the recent revelations about Hunter Biden and how he leveraged his connection to his highly placed father to enrich himself, much more can be said about the censorship problem on the social media platforms.  But as this also is not the main focus of this post, I likewise will pass over commenting further on this matter for now.

As the title of this post suggests, the main focus of this post, and likely the next few posts, will be on making the Christian, Biblical case for free speech. 

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The Death of Athaliah, 1870, by Gustave Dore.

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • 2 Kings 11:1

“To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, contumelious to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and finally it is the subversion of good order, and of all equity and justice.”

To modern ears could a more offensive sentence be found in all of literature?  Not having read all of literature, this author does not pretend to be able to answer that question definitively.  Yet with that said, it is hard to imagine an idea more repugnant to 21st century readers than this quote from John Knox’s essay “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women” (hereafter, TMR).

We have, all of us living in the West in the early 21st century, been steeped in feminist theory from our youth up to the point where, for most of us, Knox’s words are little more than noise from a bygone era with no relevance for us today, except perhaps as a cautionary tale to warn us about how bad the bad old days really were.

Liberal Democrats, were they to read Knox, would quickly be triggered, alternating between outrage, ridicule and calls to have his ideas removed from social media.  Conservative Republicans, on the other hand, would attempt explain away what Knox wrote by saying that he was a product of his age, that what he was really writing against was 16th century liberal women and that if he were alive today he would gladly support a female presidential candidate so long as she was pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and promised to fight against the Green New Deal. 

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The Death of Athaliah, 1870, by Gustave Dore.

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • 2 Kings 11:1

“I wouldn’t vote for her.”  That was Ayn Rand’s curt response to a question from a woman in the audience of the Phil Donohue show.  She had asked Rand, “Do you believe that there is going to be a day when there is going to be a female in the White House as President and how do you feel about that?”

From the questioner’s reaction and from that of the audience, Rand’s answer was not expected, neither was it appreciated.  You can see the 1979 clip for yourself here:

Worth noting is how shocking and controversial Rand’s statement was as far back as 41 years ago.  Now this was the Phil Donohue Show, and Donohue himself was a feminist, and his audience, most likely, tended to skew liberal.  But that said, it is not clear that the audience reaction from a conservative Republican audience would have been much different.  Certainly in 2020, any Republican expressing anything remotely approaching Rand’s statement would quickly find himself making an apology tour. 

Donald Trump has expressed his support for a female president on more than one occasion.  In late August, Business Insider ran the headline “Donald Trump plugs Ivanka as the first female president claiming Kamala Harris is ‘not competent’ enough for the top job.” Note, Trump’s objection to Kamala Harris was not that she was a woman, but that she was not the right woman.  Further, he promoted his daughter as the right person to be the first female president.

There have been rumors for some time that Trump has wanted to see his daughter in the Oval Office, and the prominent role she had at last month’s Republican Convention and the statement reported in Business Insider certainly support those rumors.  It would not shock this author to see Ivanka declare herself as a presidential candidate in 2024 with the full blessing of her father.  Of course, she will have other female rivals to the throne, quite possibly including former UN Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. 

In fact, it would not surprise this author at all if the 2024 election doesn’t bring us the choice between a Republican woman and a Democratic woman presidential candidate.  It’ll be pick your poison. Of course, the conservatives and liberals will tear one another apart with each side passionately denouncing the choice of the other party, while both parties miss the fundamental error they are committing.  That is to say, both sides will be equally ignorant that, in the words of John Knox, “To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, contumelious to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and finally it is the subversion of good order, and of all equity and justice….”   

Yes, way back in 1558 John Knox dropped the mic, so to speak, on the matter of government by women in his devastating treatise “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.”  In it, Knox did not argue, as so many feminized men are prone to argue today, that this or that woman was unfit to hold public office because of her position on this or that issue.  No, Knox’s argument was more fundamental and more Biblical than that.  Knox argued that the Bible prohibited women from severing in civil government altogether. 

Knox was right.

After reading it, I want to stand, applaud and praise the Lord for the insight and courage that he gave the Scotsman.

So impressive is “The Monstrous Regiment” that had Knox done nothing else in his life except to write that treatise, it would be enough to qualify him for Christian hero status.  Without a doubt, “The Monstrous Regiment” is one of the greatest political treatises ever written by a Christian and a serves as a model for how Christian scholars ought to use the Scriptures when dealing with political questions. 

Let’s take a closer look at Knox’s work to see if we can identify what makes it so devastating. 

For our walk through, I’ll be using the Trinity Foundation’s edition of “The Monstrous Regiment” titled “The Place of Women.”

Worth noting is that “The Place of Women” was first published by the Trinity Foundation in August 1984, most likely as a response to Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale’s choice of Geraldine Ferraro as his vice-presidential running mate in that year’s election.

Since that time, other women have followed in her footsteps, most notably Sarah Palin, who served as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, Hillary Clinton who headed the Democratic ticket in 2016, and now Kamala Harris who’s Democrat Joe Biden’s pick for vice-president.    

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The Death of Athaliah, 1870, by Gustave Dore

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • 2 Kings 11:1

As of this writing in early September 2020, Americans find themselves faced with another presidential election in just two short months.  As is the American custom, much ink has been spilled over the past year concerning the November election.  In reality, the spilling of ink began much earlier.  With so much election commentary out there, surely, it would seem, there’s nothing more this author could add to the mix that hasn’t already been discussed thousands of times and by people much better qualified.

But this would be a mistake.

There is one topic, and a significant one to be sure, that, on the one hand, is a prominent feature of the 2020 presidential election but, on the other hand, has received hardly any commentary at all.  

Joe Biden’s March 15th promise, and the fulfillment of that promise, to choose a woman running mate. 

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Pastor John MacArthur speaks at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, July 26, 2020. Video screengrab via Vimeo/Grace Community Church

We ought to obey God rather than men.

  • Acts 5:29

Back in April, this space featured a post titled “Church, Sate and Coronavirus: Does the Civil Magistrate Have the Authority to Ban Church Gatherings?” It was a complaint principally inspired by a threat made by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to punish Christians for gathering for worship on Easter Sunday.   According to an article published on the Gateway Pundit website, “The state of Kentucky is cracking down on Easter weekend worshippers by recording the license plates of people who attend services and forcing them to ‘self-quarantine’ for two weeks afterwards.”

Go to church on Sunday as the Good Book commands; Governor Beshear sics his hall monitors on you and rewards you with two weeks house arrest.  What a guy.

The intervening four months since the above article appeared have seen a continuation of the coronavirus Caligulas’ crackdown on American Christians’ liberty to worship.  As such, it seemed good to revisit this issue. 

Of course, the coronavirus Caligulas don’t limit themselves to cracking down on Christians.  There are plenty of examples of governors and mayors decreeing this or that thing verboten that no one until just a few months ever so much as thought would be banned for any reason.

All this in the name of fighting the dreaded “second wave.”

But for now, these other outrages I elect to pass over.  Not because I think them unworthy of discussion, but because time and space would fail me were I to go through them all. 

If you’re inclined to learn more about the ways in which big government, big pharma and various and sundry globalists are joining forces to use Covid to strip you of your God-given, Constitutionally guaranteed, liberties, there is no better source than the Ron Paul Liberty Report.  There you will find dozens of videos on the Covid crisis made over the past five months.

One recent video that is especially relevant to our discussion today aired Thursday, August 13 and is titled “Defiance! 6,000 Attend ‘Illegal’ California Church Service.”        

This video concerns the decision by Grace Community Church (John MacArthur’s church) to hold services in defiance of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s July 13 ban on indoor church services on the state’s COIVID-19 monitoring list.  This affects about 80 percent of California’s population.  The California Governor’s decision to ban indoor services altogether followed a ban earlier in the month on singing in church

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Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate as overthrown by strangers. Isaiah 1:7

“…because of Western civilization’s love of material comforts, there is an unwillingness to face unpleasant realities.”

  • Gordon H. Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things, p.53

“‘How did you go bankrupt?’ Bill asked.  ‘Two ways,’ Mike said.  ‘Gradually and then suddenly.’“ So wrote Ernest Hemmingway in his novel The Sun Also Rises

Although Hemmingway’s book was a work fiction, what he said about bankruptcy is a phenomenon many of us have seen in real life.  Individuals and organizations that appear to be in robust financial health experience sudden financial collapse. 

Perhaps the poster child for sudden financial ruin is Lehman Brothers, a famous 150-year-old Wall Street investment bank.  Having earned record profits during the height of the real estate bubble from 2005-2007, early in the morning on Monday, September 15,2008, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.   

The collapse of Lehman Brothers to this day is still the largest bankruptcy in American history. 

Gradually, then suddenly.  That same pattern can be seen in the Scriptures as well.  In Deuteronomy 32:35 we read, “Their foot shall slide in due time.”   Some will recognize this as the text on which Jonathan Edwards based his famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Wrote Edwards,

It [the saying “their foot shall slide in due time”] implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction.  As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning: Which is also expressed in ‘Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction:  How are they brought into desolation as in a moment? (Psalm 73:18-19).

Sodom and Gomorrah met with destruction in a single day. 

After centuries of rebellion against God, Jerusalem was sacked in a single day. 

In Daniel’s time, the mighty city of Babylon was overthrown in a single day. 

In Revelation, the voice from heaven prophesies that the destruction of Babylon the Great will come in a single day.  The kings of the earth are said to lament her destruction, crying out, “Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city!  For in one hour your judgment has come” (Revelation 18:10).  

In all of these cases, the sudden final destruction was really the end result of a process that had been going on for many years.   

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