Thursday, October 24, 2019

When And How Should Christians Publicly Fight For Their Faith?

How should the church’s voice and presence in 21st century culture mirror how God’s messages to the world were revealed by the prophetic voices in the Bible?

I have been wrestling with this for a while. The Bible clearly calls Christians to be “salt” that adds spiritual savor, to be “light,” that casts the light of truth and hope into a sin-darkened world (Matthew 5:13-16).  How do we do this well? What does the proverbial “word fitly spoken” look like? What is within our power to do to make sure we do not lose the savoriness of our salty message? How do we use our freedoms in a democratic system to best represent Christ and spread the life of the Kingdom of God?

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Means Define Who You Are In The End: Why "He Fights" Does Not Deserve The Applause Of Christians

I noticed an article circulating on social media recently. It was falsely attributed to a liberal mayor; turns out it was from an article called "He Fights" written by Evan Sayet for Townhall (read the full text here). Here are the portions that are of the most interest to me.
“My Leftist friends (as well as many ardent #NeverTrumpers) constantly ask me if I’m not bothered by Donald Trump’s lack of decorum. They ask if I don’t think his tweets are “beneath the dignity of the office.” 
Here’s my answer: We Right-thinking people have tried dignity. There could not have been a man of more quiet dignity than George W. Bush as he suffered the outrageous lies and politically motivated hatreds that undermined his presidency. 
We tried statesmanship. Could there be another human being on this earth who so desperately prized “collegiality” as John McCain? 
We tried propriety – has there been a nicer human being ever than Mitt Romney? 
And the results were always the same. This is because, while we were playing by the rules of dignity, collegiality and propriety, the Left has been, for the past 60 years, engaged in a knife fight where the only rules are those of Saul Alinsky and the Chicago mob….While the Left has been taking a knife to anyone who stands in their way, the Right has continued to act with dignity, collegiality and propriety. 
With Donald Trump, this all has come to an end. Donald Trump is America ’s first wartime president in the Culture War… And what’s particularly delicious is that, like Patton standing over the battlefield as his tanks obliterated Rommel’s, he’s shouting, “You magnificent bastards, I read your book!” 
That is just the icing on the cake, but it’s wonderful to see that not only is Trump fighting, he’s defeating the Left using their own tactics. That book is Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals… It is a book of such pure evil, that, just as the rest of us would dedicate our book to those we most love or those to whom we are most indebted, Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer… 
So, to my friends on the Left – and the #NeverTrumpers as well -- do I wish we lived in a time when our president could be “collegial” and “dignified” and “proper”?  Of course I do. These aren’t those times… so, say anything you want about this president – I get it, he can be vulgar, he can be crude, he can be undignified at times.  I don’t care.  I can’t spare this man.  He fights.
The article gives numerous examples of dirty political pool from the Left to back up the author's broader claims. Not every detail is correct, but the overall picture is clear. Politics has always been an ugly game. The writer conveniently overlooks the political Right’s tawdry history – I mean, it's easy to find- and conservative media is hardly devoid of its own fake news, but point taken on how the game is played. It bothers me too.

But what bothers me more is not that the political Right wants to take the gloves off (to whatever degree they were ever on). I just kind of assume that when one lives in an empire, the empire sets the rules. What bothers me more is how many Christians I have seen repost this. Let me see if I have this right:
“It’s wonderful to see that not only is Trump fighting, he’s defeating the Left using their own tactics. That book is Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals… It is a book of such pure evil, that… Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer…
So, Christians are cheering "using the tactics" of a book of "such pure evil" that it is dedicated to Lucifer. [1] And this is okay because - what, desperate times call for desperate measures? This is baffling to me.

This is not the ethic of Jesus.

This is not the ethic of the Bible.

This is not an ethic taught in seminary, Sunday School, or sermons.

Why? Because it’s not an ethic of the Kingdom. It’s an ethic of the Empire. 

  • Do the ends justify the means? No. “As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct…” (1 Peter 1:15-16)
  • Is all fair in war? Not for the Christian; Just War Theory demands just means among other concerns. One does not get to use unjust means just because they work.
  • Can one drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of Lucifer? No. (1 Corinthians 10:21)
  • Does one cast out demons with demons? No. (Matthew 12:26-27)
  • Can sheep take on the clothing of wolves? No. Because they become wolves.

Shane Wood, in his book Between Two Trees, recounts  an incident from the life of David (as written by Gene Edwards in Tale Of Three Kings) when David had the opportunity to kill Saul.

Why did David not end his - and their - years of misery? "Better he kill me than I learn his ways. Better he kill me than I become who he is. I shall not practice the ways that cause kings to go mad."

The ends don't justify the means; the means define who you are in the end.

If you play the wolf, you will become the wolf. If you want to use the tactics of Lucifer, don't be surprised if people begin to see Lucifer when they look at you. As the Psalmist said of idols, "Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them." (Psalm 115:8)

There is no path for the Christian other than the path of Christ. We leave the trail of his footsteps at our peril.


[1] Here is what Alinsky wrote: "Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer."