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Posts Tagged ‘John Robbins’

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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Amy Coney Barrett and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As if 2020 weren’t already tumultuous enough, the death of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has managed to stir things up even more. 

Talk, not only of Ginsburg’s death, but also of her replacement, has dominated the news since her death on Friday, September 18.  Perhaps the most notable feature of the discussion has been controversy about whether Donald Trump should name her replacement now or wait until after the November election.

This is a discussion that should not even come up.  The president has the right to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court and the Senate has a right to hold confirmation hearings.  About this there is no question.  The Democrats don’t like it, but their not liking something is not the same as it being illegal or unconstitutional. 

Noteworthy but unsurprising was the reaction of many Democrats to the possibility that Donald Trump would nominate a new justice to replace Ginsburg before the election.  Not only did they argue that a nomination of a new justice must wait until after the election, but actually threatened violence should the President and the Senate attempt to carry out their constitutionally mandated duties. 

And the threats of violence were not coming from some dark corner of the internet or from obscure people, but from several high-profile Democrats and progressives on Twitter and other high-profile platforms.  Reza Aslan, a writer who has written numerous books, produced a series on world religions for CNN and is currently a professor of creative writing at University of California, Riverside, took to Twitter and threatened that, “If they [the Republicans] even TRY to replace RBG [Ginsburg] we burn the entire…thing down.” 

Canadian professor of Political Science Emmett Macfarlane tweeted, “Burn Congress down before letting Trump try to appoint anyone to SCOTUS.” 

Scott Ross, a member of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission tweeted, “If you can’t shut it down [the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice], burn it down.”

Playwright Beau Willimon commented on Twitter, “We’re shutting this country down if Trump and McConnell try to ram through an appointment before the election.”

In the pages of GQ, writer Laura Bassett threatened, “If McConnell jams someone through, which he will, there will be riots.”   

It’s tempting to say that such threats have become the modus operandi of Democrats and progressives in recent years.  But in truth, Democrats and progressives have a longstanding tradition of using violence and threats of violence to get their way.  It’s how they roll.  Not for nothing did Samuel D. Burchard refer to the Democrats as, “the party whose antecedents are rum, Romanism, and rebellion.”  Burchard made the comment in 1884.  It was true then, and it is true today.

Since the matter of selecting a new justice is a matter of supreme importance both to Democrats and Republicans, and since the upcoming Senate  confirmation hearing of Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg, promises to dominate the headlines in the coming weeks, perhaps overshadowing even the upcoming election, it seemed good to this author to take the opportunity to weigh in. 

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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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Black Lives Matter protesters march through Portland, Oregon on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

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

  • Isaiah 1:7

Is America under the judgment of God?  Many Christians think so, this author among them. 

Some of our largest, most prosperous and best-known cities are literally burned with fire and will take years to recover, if they ever do. Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Chicago and New York have seen massive riots and property destruction on a level that few Americans could have imagined just six months ago.  On the internet one can view the daily, destructive handiwork of Antifa in Portland and Seattle.  The Portland riots have been going on for three months now and show no sigh of abating.  In fact, the riots may be spreading, as there are reports just today (8/23/2020) that the sort of disturbances that have been going in the Portland have spread to Denver.       

Our political system is a mess.  The Democrats have veered off in a radical socialist/social justice direction.  So overt is their radicalism that it has caused concern even among some of the older, mainstream liberals in the party.  The Republicans, relatively speaking a saner bunch, have nevertheless lost their moorings in many ways.  There was a time, not all that long ago, when Republicans at least pretended to be the party of fiscal restraint.  Yet under President Trump debts and deficits have exploded and almost no one says a word.  When Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) objected to the house passing the budget busting $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill without a vote, he was denounced by President Trump as a, “third rate Grandstander.”  Trump went on to say that Massie should be thrown out of the Republican party.  That was Massie’s reward for standing up for the Constitution.

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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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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

Major Study Finds The US Is An Oligarchy” was the way Business Insider reported the findings of a 2014 Princeton University peer-reviewed study of American politics.  In it, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page concluded,  “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

Since this is a Scripturalist blog dedicated to the proposition that the Bible alone furnishes us with knowledge, readers may question why this author would cite a secular, empirical study to make a point about the state of American politics in the early 21st century.  One reason for doing so is that, while this study reflects the opinion of its authors, he believes that their opinion is an accurate reflection, politically speaking, of the state of affairs in this nation.  Opinion, while not knowledge – knowledge is always true – nevertheless can be both true and useful.    

If this study is right, and the author is persuaded that it is, the United States, founded as a republic, has devolved into a vulgar oligarchy, which is defined as, “a government in which a small group exercise control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.”  Why has this happened? John Adams, one of America’s Founding Fathers put it this way, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Adams was, of course, right.  Paper restraints are wholly inadequate to hold back sinful man’s desire – and this desire is found both among those who would govern and those who are governed – for big government.  If the American people do not believe in constitutional capitalism, the political and economic expression of Christianity, then there is nothing to stop the nation from devolving into some form of authoritarianism.    

Now it may be worth pausing for a moment to explain that the common understanding of the term “religious” in Adams time meant “Protestant.”  The population of the American colonies at the time of the revolution was 98% Protestant, and it was this sort of religion that the framers had in mind.  Today, it is common for people to understand by “religion” or “religious” that the framers of the Constitution were referring to all religions – e.g. Romanism, Judaism, Islam.  But these three medieval religions are incapable of creating or sustaining a free society.  It is Christianity as expressed in the 66 books of the Bible and systematized during the 16th century Protestant Reformation, that alone provides the necessary ideas needed to constrain government to its proper, limited role of punishing evil doers and rewarding the good. 

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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

Just yesterday, we celebrated the 244th anniversary of America’s independence from Great Britain, while, ironically enough, a substantial portion of the country found itself under house arrest due to dictates from various government officials.  It’s almost as if we’ve come full circle.

Actually, it seems as if we’ve come more than full circle.  Government was much smaller, and the tax and regulatory burdens were much less, under British colonial rule than they are now under own home-grown government.  This is not to suggest that it was wrong to have fought the Revolutionary War, but it does say something about how far America has drifted from its limited government roots.   

What has been the cause of this political sea change?

In his Forward to Gordon Clark’s A Cristian View of Men and Things, John Robbins explained it this way, “A Christian View of Men and Things presents the argument that the West is disappearing because Christianity, on which Western civilization was built, has already virtually disappeared in the West.” 

It needs to be pointed out there that when Clark and Robbins speak of “Christianity,” they are talking about the plain statements and logical implications of the 66 Books of the Bible, the centerpiece of which is the doctrine of Justification by Faith (Belief) Alone.  That is to say, they are talking about the Biblical Christianity of the Protestant Reformation. 

There are other systems of thought that claim to be Christianity, Roman Catholicism for example, but which are not Christian, because they teach that sinful man in some sense is able to put God in his debt, as if salvation were the rightful wages of the sinner’s good works.  These other systems are, in fact, not Christian at all, and their growing presence in the United States and elsewhere in the West are the collapse of the West. 

Western Civilization is rapidly disappearing from the face of the Earth, yet almost no one, even among those who lament its disappearance, understand, as did Gordon Clark and John Robbins, the connection between the disappearance of Christianity and that of Western Civilization. 

Writing about the Northern Kingdom in his day, the prophet Hosea commented, “Aliens have devoured his [Ephraim’s] strength, but he does not know it; yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it.  The kings and rulers of the Northern Kingdom, for which Ephraim was another name, lacked the discernment to realize the precarious position of the nation and to see that its collapse was nigh.  Some scholars believe Hosea wrote from about 750 BC until just a few years before the dissolution of the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC, when the Assyrians conquered the capital city of Samaria and took the inhabitants of the nation into captivity. 

So why did the Northern Kingdom fall to Assyria?  That is a very simple question to answer, one requiring no speculation: “[T]hey left all the commandments of the LORD their God” (2 Kings 17:16).  It was because of this that “the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight” (2 Kings 17:18).

It is this author’s contention that we in the West, the heirs of the Reformation, are in a position not entirely different from that of ancient Israel.  We have forsaken the Lord our God, his law and his gospel, and have followed after strange gods, which are not gods at all, but the work of the vain imaginations of men’s sinful hearts.  John Robbins put it like this, “the collapse of the West can be viewed as the collapse of the of the attempted Thomistic (Roman Catholic) synthesis of human philosophy and Christ, and the West’s fatal choosing of non-Christian philosophy, not Christ” (A Christian View of Men and Things, 12).   

It’s one thing to read about the collapse of the Hebrew Republic as documented in the pages of the Old Testament, or even about the collapse of the Roman Empire as recounted by Edward Gibbon.  It’s altogether another thing when the civilization in collapse is your own and you have the opportunity to watch it live streamed in high definition.

In the opinion of this author, it is high time that American Christians, and Christians in other nations of the West, face the reality of the situation we are in, as unpleasant as it is, and prepare themselves for the likely further collapse of the West. 

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The Black Lives Matter street mural recently painted right next to Cincinnati City Hall. The Mainstreaming of this Marxist organization is all but complete.

“I have heard many such things; Miserable comforters are you all!”

  • Job 16:2

An old saying among military men is that generals are always ready to fight the last war.  Perhaps the classic example of this is the French military leaders, who, having learned by experience in World War I that trench warfare and fixed fortifications were the way to fight, built the Maginot Line to defend the nation against a future attack from Germany. 

From all accounts it was a well-built defensive line.  A very impressive military installation it was. And not only that, according to Encyclopædia Britannica, the 800,000-man strong French army, “was thought at the time to be the most powerful in Europe.” 

Unfortunately, as the French general staff again learned by experience in the Spring of 1940, in the intervening twenty of so years since the last war Germany had developed a new form of warfare, Blitzkrieg (lightning war).  Blitzkrieg, sometimes called third generation warfare by military historians, is based on speed and movement.     Instead of slugging it out toe to toe with the French in the trenches, the German army simply went around the Maginot Line through Belgium and down into the heart of France.

The Germans began their attack through Belgium on May 10, 1940.  France surrendered just six weeks later on June 22.  If it were a boxing match, you’d call it a first-round knockout.

The French generals, who were wonderfully prepared to fight World War I-style trench warfare, did not anticipate Germany’s new tactics and thus failed to defend their people.  In France’s hour of need, they were miserable comforters. 

In the view of this author, Republican and Evangelical leaders are making a similar mistake today.  Thinking that the country is still fighting the civil rights battles of the 1950’s and 1960’s, they seem to think that white racism is the root of all evil in America today.  They can’t wait to denounce white racism, as if there were a Klansman waiting behind every bush, when the truth of the matter is that it is white people, who, more often than not, are the victims of racist rhetoric, racist polices and racially motivated violence, not the perpetrators of it.

And yet, if you listen to leading Republican and Evangelical voices, one could easily believe they’ve all internalized the accusation Hillary Clinton leveled at Trump voters 2016 and really truly believe that their party and their congregations are made up of nothing but a bunch of irredeemably deplorable racists, sexists and homophobes, who, not only are being justly punished by the righteous and terrible swift swords of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, but that they have not yet received from the Lord’s hands double for all their sins.  The beatings will continue until moral improves.  This seems to be the motto of those in positions of authority, both in the state and in the church. 

Not only do Republican and conservative Protestant spokesmen fail to defend their own people who are being subjected to the most vicious psychological, spiritual and even physical attacks I’ve ever seen in this country, not only do they fail to stand up and speak up and refute the slanders of the Marxist mobs howling for the destruction of the country, the very country that was principally built by the people they claim to represent, but these same Republican and Evangelical leaders actually pile on, joining with the enemies of their own people in beating down their congregations and political base.

Miserable comforters are they all. Miserable! Inexcusably, utterly miserable.

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