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Dem Debate 1_Night 2

Democratic debate night 2, Miami FL, June 27, 2019.  From left to right:  Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Michael Bennet.  Photo. Saul Loeb AFP/ Getty Images.

“I lack the words.” That was my first thought in hearing the remarks of the Democratic presidential candidates last week. From Beto O’Rourke and others babbling in Spanish – are these guys running for President of the United States or President of Mexico? – to lecturing Americans about how horrible they are for not wanting their country invaded by welfare migrants to Bernie Sanders admitting that, yes, he wants to raise taxes on an already over burdened middle class to pay for his big government initiatives of universal single-payer health care and free college for everyone, a more out of touch group of candidates seems hard to imagine.

The message I heard loud and clear from these men and women was this: America, we hate you and want to destroy you.

Generally, I try to steer clear of making overtly partisan remarks on this blog. When discussing politics, my preference is to frame the issue in terms of what the Bible has to say about a particular topic and critique the statements and actions of men based upon the standard of Scripture. I do this, because the problems facing our nation ultimately are not political or economic, but spiritual.

Further, I come from a family of Republicans and I myself have been a Republican and have been all my life. “You hypocrite,” someone may say, “You criticize the Democrats for their shortcomings but fail to see the problems with your own party.” Admittedly, going after the Democrats could be construed this way. But I would say this in my defense, I hardly thing the Republicans are perfect. Far from it. This author has many disagreements with mainstream Republican thought, including some of the policies of the Trump administration.

But what I see from the Democrats that I don’t see from the Republicans is the raw contempt for this country, its people and its institutions – a hatred that I’m even tempted to call demonic – that constantly issues forth from the mouths of various Democratic leading lights. Democrats as a matter of course regularly attack individual liberty, private property, limited government and equality under the law. They cry crocodile tears over the children of illegal immigrants while working overtime to make sure as many American women as possible retain the inalienable right to murder their children. They call their fellow Americans “deplorables” and “bitter clingers” while knowingly advocating policies that are damaging to the legitimate interests of the very people they presume to lecture. They stand for sodomy, socialism, feminism, and cultural Marxism. They can’t wait to take your guns and to give away your hard earned money. They are a party that countenances the use of violence against those with whom they disagree. They are world class experts in political dirty tricks. This is a party so corrupt that several times their activities have forced me to admit that, yes, I indeed have been wrong about them; the Democrats are in reality far more corrupt than I ever thought possible in my wildest imagination.

Not that massive corruption is anything new to the Democrats. They were the party of slavery in the ante-bellum South and the party of Jim Crow afterwards. The Democrats identification with the Confederacy is what in part led Presbyterian minister Samuel Burchard to famously refer to them as the party of “rum, Romanism and rebellion.” Burchard was right in 1884 and his words are still true today. The Democrats rebelled against the Constitution in the 19th century and they are still in rebellion against it the 21st. The 19th century big city political machines – Tammany Hall, for example – were all run by Roman Catholic Democrats.

So what are we to make of the 2019 edition of the Democrats? It seems to me that there are certain broad issues that characterize the party, among them are: Socialism, Environmentalism, Identity Politics, Open Borders and Abortion. All of these are openly at odds with the teaching of Scripture and the provisions found in the US Constitution. Let’s take a look at them.

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In anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine [of Christ], do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

2 John 10-11

While it may come as a surprise to some Christians that they can become guilty by association, nevertheless the Bible teaches that this is the case. Christians are to point out, and to avoid association with, those who teach heresy. By failing to point out the heresy of false teachers, a Christians are like, “the watchman who sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet.” That’s bad enough. But by associating themselves with heretics and unbelievers, Christians actually can share in the evil deeds of others.

This is a sobering thought, one not to be taken lightly.

I bring this up today, because, after reading through the material on the Evangelical Immigration Table website, as well as material about the organization found on other sites, it is hard for me to reach any other conclusion than that those associated with EIT not only have failed to sound the trumpet to warn Christians of the false teaching on immigration offered up by the Roman Church-State, but they have, in fact, received into their house and greeted those who do not bring the doctrine of Christ, both false Christian teachers as well as rank unbelievers.

Put another way, those who lend their names to EIT have sinned a great sin, one of which they have urgent need to repent.

So just how have those affiliated with EIT failed, not only to blow the trumpet when they saw the sword coming, but also welcomed into their house and greeted those who do not bring the doctrine of Christ? There seem to me to be at least three ways: By associating themselves with 1) feminists, 2) false teachers and 3) other infidels.

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As the current presidential election cycle draws to a close, it seemed good to me to put down in writing what I see as the big issues at that will be determined by the November 8th vote.

It’s not uncommon to hear the upcoming election described in superlative terms such as “the most important ever,” or “the most revolting ever.” For my part, I try to steer clear of such statements, if only because I’m not sure how prove that they’re true.

But if I hesitate to say that the 2016 election is the most important ever in American history, I am willing to go on record and say that it may very well be the most important election of my fifty-year lifetime. I do not recall any previous election in which there were so many major issues at stake, issues, which depending on how the vote goes, that very likely will determine the course of our nation for a long time to come.

With that in mind, today’s post is intended to be more high-level, addressing the major overarching themes of this election, which I have cast in these terms: Oligarchy vs. the Rule of Law, Feminism vs. Patriarchy, and Globalism vs. Westphalian Sovereignty.

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Wittenberg-1536.jpg

Wittenberg as seen from the Elbe, 1536.

October 31 is known to much of the world as the pagan holiday of Halloween. But for Christians, October 31 represents something quite different. It’s what we call Reformation Day.

 

For it was on that date in 1517 that Martin Luther’s nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg church door and forever changed the world for the better.

The Gospel of Justification By Faith Alone – the idea that sinful men are saved, not by doing good works, but solely by faith in Christ Jesus – once again shone forth in all its brilliance after a millennium of suppression by the Roman Church-State and millions were saved as a result.

But Luther’s rejection of church tradition in favor of the objective, written Word of God did not revolutionize the church only. It resulted in a whole new civilization, what we now call the West, coming into existence.

Ideas such as the sanctity of private property, honesty in exchange, the rule of law, capitalism, written constitutions, secular work as pleasing to God all found their origin in the Protestant Reformation that began with Luther.

Though it is not commonly understood by Americans, our nation owes its very existence to the Biblical ideas recovered at the time of the Reformation.

Most of us are taught to trace the foundations of our republic to Greece and Rome. But limited, constitutional government did not begin with Greco-Roman civilization. It began with the Hebrew Republic as recorded for us in the Old Testament. Thus the Bible is foundational to our political system.

In like manner, our economic system of capitalism or free enterprise finds its origins, not in the writings of pagan philosophers, nor in the thought of medieval scholastics, nor in the principles of the Renaissance, but in the propositions of the Word of God, the 66 books of the Bible.

To put it another way: No Protestant Reformation, no United States of America. To quote John Robbins,

One of Luther’s most brilliant followers, John Calvin, systematized the theology of the Reformation. The seventeenth-century Calvinists laid the foundations for both English and American civil rights and liberties: freedom of speech, pres, and religion, the privilege against self-incrimination, the independence of juries, and right of habeas corpus, the right not to be imprisoned without cause. The nineteenth-century German historian Leopold von Ranke referred to Calvin as the “virtual founder of America” (Civilization and the Protestant Reformation).

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trump_clinton_2

In last week’s post, I set forth a framework for helping Evangelicals think through the issue of whether then can support Donald Trump for President. I suggested we ask ourselves the following questions when considering whether we can vote for Trump: What is more important, What is less important, What is not important at all.

Today, I would like to apply that analysis specifically to the issue of the vulgar Donald Trump/billy Bush video that was released a few weeks ago.

That video, showing both men engaged in what has been euphemistically termed “locker room talk”, has threatened to undermine Trump’s support among Evangelicals, who, with good reason, are offended by what was said on the recording.

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trump_clinton_2

The Bible distinguishes knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is the ideas taught in Scripture either by direct statement or by implication. Wisdom, on the other hand, is the correct application of knowledge to the particular men and circumstances that we encounter in our lives.

As a way of getting them to apply their knowledge, John Robbins sometimes would tell people they needed to decide what is more important, what is less important, and what is not important at all. This approach can be a helpful way for Christians to think through a host of different issues, including the decision how to vote in elections.

And given the stakes inherent in any presidential election, maybe especially this election, it is important for Christians to have a Biblical framework for evaluating the candidates.

For my part, I have struggled with the election more than any other. There are numerous reason why I would never consider voting for Hillary Clinton. Some of them I have outlined below.

On the other hand, the thought of voting for Trump presents challenges as well.

One Christian writer, put off as he is by the release of a video with Trump making lewd sexual remarks, has equated support for Trump with idolatry and a decision that harms our witness for Christ, “Enthusiasm for a candidate like Trump gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord” (Andy Crouch, Speak Truth to Trump).

Over at World, Marvin Olasky penned Unfit for power, an editorial calling for Trump to step aside as Republican nominee.

One suspects that the arguments put forth by both these writers reflect the thoughts of many Christians. And it is not hard to understand their agreement with Crouch and Olasky.

My view is different. As I shall argue, I believe both these gentlemen miss the mark with their commentaries. Given the circumstances, In my opinion a vote for Trump, rather than being idolatry, may very well be an act of good judgment.

Concerning the call for Trump to step down, it’s worth asking whether there have been any calls from World for Mrs. Clinton to step aside for her many, blatant and serious crimes, not to mention several other significant problems that make her unfit for office.

Before presenting my argument, there are a few points I would like to make.

First, what I say in this post is an opinion. I do not offer it up as a necessary deduction from Scripture. I do not claim it as knowledge. As one who’s spent more than a year struggling with what to think about Trump, and to some extent avoiding commentary on the subject, I can appreciate Crouch’s and Olasky’s concerns and do not doubt their good intentions.

Further, there are many good brothers and sisters in Christ who, as a matter of conscience believe they cannot vote for Trump. This post is not aimed at them. If someone believes voting for Trump is wrong, he should by no means go against his conscious. To do so would be sin.

Third, I acknowledge my own biases, sinfulness and ignorance and realize that all of these shortcomings color any analysis that I do. A Hillary Clinton administration will be, in my view, a heavy burden upon the American people. Perhaps my own intense dislike for her has unfairly colored by assessment of Trump. In light of this, it is possible that I am wrong and those who oppose a Trump presidency are right. That I will leave for others to decide.

Fourth, I write what I do in good faith in the hope that the body of Christ may find it edifying. It is not my intention to castigate those who come to conclusions that are at odds with mine. And if I’ve made errors in my reasoning, perhaps at least some of what I’ve set forth will stimulate thought concerning the election choice facing the nation.

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The specific purpose of this series has been to look at what the Bible has to say about the now popular idea that , not only is it improper for voters to reject a presidential candidate because she’s a woman, but that having a female head of state is itself actually a positive development, demonstrating progressive thinking on the part of any nation whose electorate votes for such a thing.

More broadly speaking, it has been my intention to make people aware that what Martin Luther called the SchriftprinzipSchriftprinzip is German for “Scripture principle” – applies not just in matters that Christians normally think of as “spiritual”, but to all facets of life, politics included. A typical formulation of the Schriftprinzip is this: Scripture is, “in itself 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” (emphasis added).

Note well Luther’s use of the words “all” and “nothing”. All statements of all men must be judged by nothing other than the words of the 66 books of the Bible. For some, the idea that the Bible has anything to say about politics may be a new thought, let alone that what it has to say is authoritative. God is not the God of 11 am on Sunday mornings only. He is God 24/7, and his Word is authoritative in all things 24/7.

This means, among other things, that when Christians think about politics, they must not take their cues on what is right and what is wrong from secular thinkers, but they are required to bring the statements of the political pundits and philosophers back to the Bible to see if their opinions square with the Word of God.

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