Some Background about Apartheid

HF Verwoerd, Prime Minister of South Africa 1958-1966

HF Verwoerd

The word apartheid is an Afrikaans word meaning apartness or segregation, to keep apart. Apartheid initially was the manifest that the Herenigde Nationale Party (Reunited National Party) entered into the general elections of 1948 against the other big party in South Africa at the time, the United Party. The Hereningde Nationale Party won the elections and became the ruling party in South Africa with Apartheid as a ruling creed which called for the prohibition of mixed marriages, for the banning of black trade unions and for stricter enforcement of job reservation. The party changed its name to the Nationale Party and ruled until 1994 expanding the ideology of Apartheid to just about every sphere of life in South Africa. HF Verwoerd became prime minister in 1958 and under him Apartheid became the extreme oppressive system that made South Africa a notorious name associated with racism throughout the world.

Lizzie van Zyl - A victim of the British concentration camps

The Afrikaner (Afrikaans speaking white people) tasted what oppression was like during the colonisation and rule of South Africa under Britain, especially during the second Anglo-Boer war. They lost their farms and houses that were forcefully taken and often burned down in the scorched earth policy Britain followed. It is estimated that more than 26 000 women and children died in the British concentration camps and more than 25 000 men were sent overseas as prisoners of war. The Afrikaner was a deeply religious nation grounded in the Christian faith as expressed through Calvinism. Through this lens they saw themselves as the elected nation to rule in the Southern tip of Africa and after 1948 the previously oppressed became the oppressor. (I would like to note here that not all Afrikaner clergy went along with Apartheid but there where people like Beyers Naudé who opposed Apartheid and paid a high price for his convictions.)

Steve Biko died in captivity under the Apartheid regime

Steve Biko died in captivity under the Apartheid regime

My experience with Apartheid was one of mainly ignorance for most of my life up to the age of about 13. The news media was strictly controlled by the government so we only got the “good” news. Whenever people of colour were shown they were portrayed as of lower class – rags for clothes, missing teeth, dirty and less intelligent. There were words that went with this image of them meant to demean as well (I only mention them here to give a fuller picture, they are considered VERY demeaning): kaffer, houtkop, hotnot, meit, booi… White people were seen to be superior in all spheres of life. While in high school (grade 7 to 12) we had what they called Kadettes when the local commando officers of the South African Army would come to train and give us lectures on the Swart Gevaar (black danger) and Rooi Gevaar (red danger – communism). During these lectures they would tell us how all black people opposing the Apartheid government wanted to make South Africa a communist state. All who fought the Apartheid system were seen as terrorists not deserving to live. The history handbooks that we had excluded the history of the Black, Coloured, Indian and Asian people of South Africa except where it clashed with the white man’s history and then we were taught how brave the white men and women were who fought off this danger to the plan of God to let the Afrikaner rule in South Africa. We were utterly indoctrinated.

Whoopi Goldberg in Sarafina!

My eyes were slowly opening to the truth when I left home and went to University. Some of my friends went to the army or police force as part of compulsory conscription of two years to “serve” our country. They came back with many horror stories of raids that they participated in. I couldn’t believe my ears and my heart told me that something was seriously wrong. After I saw the movie Sarafina! together with some other members of our youth group we fell to our knees, repented to God for the sins we and our fellow Afrikaners perpetrated against our brothers and sisters and asked for the healing of our country. Suddenly my eyes were open to all the lies that were told to keep the system of Apartheid going.

Nelson Mandela walking out of prison a free man

The years just prior and after 1994 was one the most wonderful times in history to be alive in South Africa and see how God could change a nation divided by colour and bring healing to many. The un-banning of the ANC, the release of Nelson Mandela, the peaceful elections on 27 April 1994, the smooth transition of government, the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission all stand out as special moments during this time. Amazing stories of forgiveness and reconciliation was born out of this dark time in South African history like this one about Ginn Fourie and Letlapa Mphahlele.

Apartheid in the Body of Christ?
It is with much sadness that I notice a form of Apartheid growing in the Body of Christ lately and the internet has become a tool to spread the propoganda of this Apartheid. This post about the Neo-Reformed in two parts, here and here, shows a prime example of this. The Neo-Reformed is not the only ones guilty of it and I think we need to look closely among ourselves for signs of this oppressive system.

Let me highlight a few dangers that I see that correspond with the characteristics of the Apartheid system (I would like if we could discuss it further in the thread as I am sure I only see a small tip of this iceberg from my perspective and are probably blind to those in my life.):

  • The idea that one expression of the Christian faith has the monopoly on Truth and that it should be defended against the danger of the ………….. Gevaar.
  • The notion that I am part of a small elect called to bring God’s rule into this world system (culture, governments, moral values) and that this must be defended by all means.
  • The broad brushing of people by labelling them and then assigning the worst of those who fit into that label to the majority.
  • The dehumanising of the above. When we do not know people personally or view them as a group it is easy to vilify them.
  • The debasing names that are being thrown around to demean Christians who think and do differently than we do.
  • Hate speech is acceptable when directed at those outside our expression of Faith or sympathisers of them.
  • The ignorance towards other expressions of Christianity and the caricature following it.

If these things are allowed to continue in the Body of Christ we are entering a new dark age. Who will the world turn to for guidance toward Christ Jesus when His followers can no longer be recognised as there is no love to be found between us?

Moving Towards Truth and Reconciliation
One thing I have learned is as I got to know people of colour personally the idea that was programmed into me about them changed. I met intelligent, righteous, truthful people not different from me as the Apartheid system taught me. The same is true when we get to know Christians from other expressions personally. Personal knowledge of such a person also has a radical impact on our perspective of the group that person belongs to. We learn the truth about people different from us and that helps us on the road of reconciliation. I now purposefully make an effort to meet people of different races than me and of different expressions of Christianity and even Faith than mine.  I found that there are many Christians in all denominations who long for unity. Last week I had the privilege to be part of a Learning Community made up of people from many denominations and with differing backgrounds. We talked, listened and learned from each other and dreamt of how church should and could be in the world today. There are also many community blogs on the Internet where Christians get together and talk about their backgrounds, experiences and hope for the future. These give me hope, my life is being enriched by relationships with people I would previously view with suspicion and I see God work his miraculous power all over.

May we see the truth about ourselves in the body of Christ and reconcile to each other.

May we be freed from this Apartheid system that keeps us apart and from seeing the good in a fellow brother or sister.

May we be known for the love between us.

May we be made one as the Father and the Son are one!

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 23rd, 2009 at 2:46 pm and is filed under Church and Society. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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137 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 3:13 pm

An excellent post, Gene. I have never believed that heresy (hate speech) can be employed to confront doctrinal heresy. I have always found it curious that those that tout God’s sovereignty, and the complete absence of free will, are the ones that seem to be hyperventilating about heresies far and wide.

How can deception deceived the incurably deceived? But then again, without heresy some would have no ministry, and without moral failures some blogs would have to cut down on their posts. It is sad and tragic.

2   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Eugene, A hearty Amen; one point, however.

We must unify around truth and not error. The Scripture MUST be the standard. All too often, this ecumenism (for lack of a better term) leads to the liberization of views as opposed to a conservative view. The tent cannot be so broad as to accept, for example, idol worship.

3   Brett S    
February 23rd, 2009 at 3:35 pm

The Scripture MUST be the standard. – Pastorboy

Pastorboy,

Is it possible thats what lead to the problem? Just asking??

4   Bo Diaz    
February 23rd, 2009 at 3:44 pm

We must unify around truth and not error. The Scripture MUST be the standard. All too often, this ecumenism (for lack of a better term) leads to the liberization of views as opposed to a conservative view. The tent cannot be so broad as to accept, for example, idol worship.

translation: believe like I believe or you’re not really using scripture.

Just run for Pope while you’re at it, boy.

5   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 3:47 pm

# 3 Brett

The problem is that there is a move in the post-modern age to run away from the absolute truth found in the scripture.

6   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Thank you Rick and PB,

We must unify around truth and not error. The Scripture MUST be the standard.

How will we know truth or error? How will we know the right interpretation of Scripture if we are not in fellowship with the Body of Christ?

7   the template of general disdain    
February 23rd, 2009 at 3:49 pm

“The Scripture MUST be the standard. – Pastorboy

Pastorboy,

Is it possible thats what lead to the problem? Just asking??”

Case closed!
Wonder why the longest “song” in the bible is Psalm 119?

We do not create unity, we maintain what has already been established. God has spoken We don’t need boring history lessons of which anybody with a rudimentary knowledge of history should know.

8   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 3:53 pm

We must unify around truth and not error. The Scripture MUST be the standard. All too often, this ecumenism (for lack of a better term) leads to the liberization of views as opposed to a conservative view. The tent cannot be so broad as to accept, for example, idol worship.

One man’s truth is another man’s error…

We must unify around Jesus Christ first of all. We have to hold Jesus higher than Scripture. It’s possible to actually have a view of Scripture so that we engage in a type of Bible idolatry where we miss the forest for the trees.

9   Brett S    
February 23rd, 2009 at 3:57 pm

The problem is that there is a move in the post-modern age to run away from the absolute truth found in the scripture.

Pastorboy,

Maybe because Christians have too many scriptural versions of “absolute” truth.
Plus it kinda leaves the poor souls who can’t read in the dark.

10   Bo Diaz    
February 23rd, 2009 at 3:57 pm

I notice that Ingrid has set herself up as pope now as she despises the very scripture she claims to look to as authority:

With about 150 different versions of the Scriptures now, it doesn’t even help to tell evangelicals to sit down and actually read the Bibles they carry.

Don’t read your Bible, folks, just listen to Her Holiness Pope Ingrid.

11   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 3:58 pm

An interesting observation that was made at the Learning Community last week was that we should have Scripture interpret us rather that us interpreting it…

We tend to read Scripture for all doctrinal reasons and miss the transformational message of it.

12   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:01 pm

“The Scripture must be the standard.”

Does that include the Scriptures about loev, mercy, grace, humility, forbearance, and correcting in the spirit of meekness considering thyself? Do those Scriptural standards apply as well? How can you confront error WITH error?

We have made isols of certain truths and like the Pharisees left the others undone.

13   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:05 pm

It’s late in SA, so I’m out of the conversation. Please play nice and try to stick to the OP.
Good night everyone

14   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:09 pm

isols?

are you speaking like Johnny Dangerously?

15   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:12 pm

#10

Even to have scripture interpreting us, we must have a high view of it, not picking and choosing the passages we like.

#7
We cannot know Christ without knowing the scripture. We cannot know the scripture without the Spirit illumining it for us. We don’t care about the scripture until the Father draws us and teaches us.

16   M.G.    
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Pastorboy,

You have written before that Obama supporters (like me) cannot be believers. How is it faithful to Christ and our common faith to elevate the Republican national platform to the status of “essential to the faith?”

17   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Bo,

Your bitterness is apparent to all. Did Ingrid hurt you? Did I? I am so sorry. I hope you can forgive me.

18   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:18 pm

#15 – I don’t believe you can be a Christian and vote at all. :cool:

19   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:18 pm

We cannot know Christ without knowing the scripture. We cannot know the scripture without the Spirit illumining it for us. We don’t care about the scripture until the Father draws us and teaches us.

Untrue…

A person can know Christ without knowing any Scripture. Scripture’s primary purpose is to reveal Christ, but to say that a person has to know a certain amount of Scripture before knowing Christ is backwards. Paul says that nature actually reveals Christ so that no one is without excuse. All of creation reveals Christ, actually.

20   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:20 pm

John – Bo’s expressions may have a little more bite than necessary, but his perspective about Ingrid is dead on.

21   Brett S    
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:22 pm

We cannot know Christ without knowing the scripture.

Pastorboy,

Absolute truth?
Then how did Paul go around preaching to fellow Christians, before he had even written the scriptures?

I think you can’t really know the scriptures without knowing Christ. It’s hard to know Christ, no matter how many bibles you read, if you don’t know one of his members.

22   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Phil – apparently only a small set of translations apply here, according to Ingrid. So John’s observation “We cannot know Christ without knowing the scripture” must be altered to a more accurate “We cannot know Christ without knowing the certain translations of the scripture”.

23   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:25 pm

#15

Take Obama out of it. Take parties out of it.

Commandment #6 Thou shalt not kill. How can you support politically the man who has already signed an executive order that will permit and fund more abortions in this country and around the world?

No one is raising party lines. I just wonder aloud how you can justify it?

Your salvation is between you and God, your actions (fruit) are judged by other believers. That fruit demonstrates a lack of caring about what God’s law says.

24   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:27 pm

#20
Paul used the Old Testament and what Christ had taught him.

#18
Nature points to Christ, but it is an incomplete revelation of God and the work that Christ did.

25   Brett S    
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Pastorboy,

#23

So to be more specific; we CAN know Christ by knowing the Old Testament scriptures if we have a good preacher to go along it?

26   Bo Diaz    
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Your bitterness is apparent to all. Did Ingrid hurt you? Did I? I am so sorry. I hope you can forgive me.

There’s no bitterness, only what’s apparent to everyone but an ADM.

None of you give a damn about scripture. You stand there and make your proclamations about it, but really what it comes down to is you’re angry that you don’t really matter anymore. The churches you like are dying, the leaders you worship are petty and inconsequential. And so when people like Rob Bell, or Rick Warren start teaching the scriptures you lie about them and pretend like you care about the scriptures, when what you care about is power, prestige and relevance.

27   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:34 pm

PB,
So what verses of Scripture are required for a person to know before they can be saved?

28   Bo Diaz    
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Commandment #6 Thou shalt not kill. How can you support politically the man who has already signed an executive order that will permit and fund more abortions in this country and around the world?

What a ridiculous statement coming from someone who stated he would kill at the request of the President and would run down Osama Bin Laden in his car if he saw him crossing the street.

Seems by your own standard you aren’t a Christian.

29   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:37 pm

“So what verses of Scripture are required for a person to know before they can be saved?”

There was a man from the land of Uz whose name was Job.

30   Bo Diaz    
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:40 pm

So what verses of Scripture are required for a person to know before they can be saved?

All those Christ-followers who died before the NT was written must be really screwed. Not to mention all those people who had the scriptures kept from them. Sheesh.

31   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:42 pm

#24
The OT is filled with types, shadows, and prophesies about Christ.

#26
The Scripture does not save us, the blood of Christ saves us. By the teaching of God, He uses scripture (different for all of us) and the proclamation of the Gospel to make us aware of our sin, the need for repentance and faith, and as he sanctifies us we are continually learning by the illumination of the Word by the Holy Spirit.

#27
Bo, you add nothing to the conversation.

32   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Many missionaries to tribes without any written languages have to teach with stories containing many idioms and metaphors, and without any “Scriptural” construct. In other words they convey truth with communicative creativity and the Holy Spirit guides the hearers.

33   Bo Diaz    
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Bo, you add nothing to the conversation.

Oh, I’m sorry, was I interrupting your Popely duties? Or am I keeping your from getting in your car and running down the enemies of your country?

34   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Boys, boys.

35   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Commandment #6 Thou shalt not kill. How can you support politically the man who has already signed an executive order that will permit and fund more abortions in this country and around the world?

How can one support a pastor who states he would run down his “enemy” (Osama be Laden) but get mad about abortions… in fact he still pays his taxes instead of living his convictions and putting his mouth where his convictions are and not paying them… instead he bad mouths others while supporting abortion by his finances through his taxes…

hypocrisy cloaked in political self righteousness comes full circle especially when one mixes Christianity and his politics…

iggy

36   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:51 pm

“hypocrisy cloaked in political self righteousness comes full circle especially when one mixes Christianity and his politics…”

That’s something I never thought of!

37   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:58 pm

We can come to Christ through the Scriptures… but the Scriptures cannot give us life.

John 5: 39. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40. yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

Yet, salvation is not based on our knowledge or even understanding… it is based on Grace through Faith… we give a humble heart to God in response to His Love by faith and receive the Grace and Mercy from God which is our salvation.

God alone is our salvation… not the Bible… it only can lead us to the Person Jesus that can save us.

iggy

38   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 23rd, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Rick,

#35

That’s something I never thought of!

Somehow I doubt that… :wink:

39   M.G.    
February 23rd, 2009 at 5:12 pm

PB,

You do know that if you ran over Osama Bin Laden with your car, the police would arrest you for murder, right?

Why can’t you see the irony of your statement?

40   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Many missionaries to tribes without any written languages have to teach with stories containing many idioms and metaphors, and without any “Scriptural” construct. In other words they convey truth with communicative creativity and the Holy Spirit guides the hearers.

This is exactly the point I’m getting at. Scripture is the record of God’s revelation to His people. But Scripture itself isn’t the point – Christ is…

41   Brett S    
February 23rd, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Pastorboy,

#30

Somebody better tell that poor cripple I heard about in Mark’s gospel this past Sunday, that he is not really saved. You know the fellow whose friends dropped him in through a hole in the roof and trusted that Jesus could save him.
Did he leave with false hope not having heard a proper proclamation of the scriptural gospel?

42   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 23rd, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Eugene,

Great post BTW… and I think at the core is there is apartheid practiced by those who have ghettoized themselves by declaring themselves the “remnant”…

Interestingly I wonder if one can truly tell from scripture that the remnant of the bible knew they were… One comes to mind… Elijah who though himself alone… yet God stated to him there were more… did Elijah know he was let alone who the others were? Or was the prayer of Elijah more out of despair that God may have forsaken him also?

So to me that one declares himself so set apart as to be the “remnant” are making declarations that possibly might be beyond their own perception unless revealed by God… in the same way God did Elijah… tome IF God did such a thing to them, how presumptuous and arrogant to not assume God would do it for someone else…. thus judging someone else seems to negate the humility it would take to receive such a revelation.

iggy

43   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 5:21 pm

I will say this much: Eugene wrote a great post. Thanks Eugene, I appreciate this very much. It has given me a lot, a great deal, to think about and reflect upon. Hopefully, we can all take a step back and examine ourselves.

44   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 23rd, 2009 at 10:52 pm

And CRN links to a post on the John Birch Society blog. Brilliant!

45   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
February 23rd, 2009 at 11:12 pm

#28
There is a difference between abortion and a soldier. John’s assanine, moronic statement about running Obama down with his car notwithstanding.

I for one am sick of people trying to use a pro-war view to justify Obama’s position on abortion.

46   Neil    
February 23rd, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Pastorboy,

You keep using “post-modernism” in a negative way… as if “modernism” was a friend to Christianity.

47   Bo Diaz    
February 23rd, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Joe,
I understand that people of conscience can differ on this issue, but I find it hard to understand how any Christian could become a soldier for any country. Killing is contrary to Christ, no matter what form it takes.

48   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
February 23rd, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Bo,
Fair enough, but being a soldier does not equal being an abortionist.

49   Bo Diaz    
February 24th, 2009 at 12:01 am

Well, there is a difference. Abortionists are guaranteed to kill, soldiers only have that possibility.

50   John Hughes    
February 24th, 2009 at 12:02 am

99.99999% of everything you know about Jesus is from the Scriptures. One cannot be saved without sharing the Gospel in some form and the Gospel no matter how communicated is a quote of or at least some basic paraphrase of Scripture communicated to the hearer. The Gospel is not salvation but it is the God ordained means unto salvation and the two are inspearable by holy design.

To cry “bibliolotry” against those defending Scripture is indefensible when the Holy Spirit Himself has time and time again instructed us just how high and elevated the scriptures are. God has magnifed His Word to the same level as His name. (Psalm 138:2) Time would not permit to expound on even Jesus’ exaltation of the Word.

Yes, Jesus the person is The Life, not Scripture, but one comes to Jesus via the Gospel, i.e, Scripture and you pastors’ primary commission is to preach the Word or have you forgotten that?

“Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. ” (John 6:68)

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63)

It’s a paradox guys, a mystery. but not really as these spiritual words are but a conduit, but a **necessary** conduit indeed. A power line or a battery is not electricity but you cannot have an empowered light bulb with out one or the other. But please don’t accuse one of biliolotry just because they hold a high view of scripture.

And as much as I detest Calvinism and all it stands for I would much rather stand with a Calvinist than someone who has a low view of Scripture. And don’t give me that crap about well which translation is the right one John. There are thousands of translations, I suppose, of the eternal Word of God, none of which are perfect. But there is a Platonian Ideal Word in the truest sense of the concept, eternally preserved in the Person of Jesus Christ. God’s Word, eternal, which will never pass away. And God in His omnipotense has ensured that we have received a reliably and sufficiently accurate transmittal of that eternal Word in order to suffice for all life and godliness. And though we humans may disagree on various interpretations of specific points of doctrine and practice there is an undeniable core of truth which is this: there is salvation in no other name than Jesus Christ and he who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Unity is both created and maintained around this eternal truth.

51   Bo Diaz    
February 24th, 2009 at 12:17 am

For most of Christianity’s existence the vast majority of people had zero access to the scriptures. None. There’s a reason why the various creeds developed when and how they did.

Currently within protestantism we have about a million words to describe the same thing. Inerrant, infallible, etc. Why? Because this same thing has gone on time and time again. Group A and Group B have a conflict about interpretation of the scriptures. Group A smears Group B with the charge of not believing the scriptures and so replaces the word “inerrant” with “infallible” which is apparently super super awesome, while “inerrant’ is only super awesome.

And what we’re left with is the body of Christ divided by a straw man, and done so in order to demonize and maintain power.

52   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 24th, 2009 at 1:15 am

Joe,

There is a difference between a soldier (even a Christian one) who is commanded to kill someone in the wartime… and a civilian who decides to run down a war criminal without proper justice.

To me adding that one is a pastor who thinks it is better to run down his enemy than attempt to reconcile or at least let the proper authorities handle the situations then condemns an administration for expanding abortion is ludicrous… let alone the administration he “backs” did nothing to stop abortion… but he was OK with that.

A soldier does as he is commanded and a Christian one does as best he can to live in the two worlds… God can only judge the heart of a person. I see this as a matter of conscience and that in some way to protect ones nation and having to kill to do so is still covered by the blood of Jesus.

I do not read that a man serving his country is told to no longer do so when he comes to Jesus… though at least to me, and I say this with the greatest respect, it falls in line more with if one is a slaved (owned by another) they should seek their freedom. (1 Cor 7:21) This is my own conviction though I do not expect you to have it…

iggy

53   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 2:53 am

Man this time difference is a real nuisance!

Pastorboy, you are using a false dichotomy as a reason not to live in unity with Christians of different expressions than your own. You accuse people of having a low view of Scripture who you know very little about. I want to draw your attention to this part in the post:

One thing I have learned is as I got to know people of colour personally the idea that was programmed into me about them changed.

Being in unity does not necessarily mean we agree, but it does mean we live in love, respect and we do not demean each other or the views of those we differ with by accusing the other of a low view of Scripture. Having a different view is not the same as having a low view.

Can we please move on from this point? I did not address the issue of Scriptural authority in this post, so I see no need to discuss it further in this thread.

54   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
February 24th, 2009 at 6:05 am

Your salvation is between you and God, your actions (fruit) are judged by other believers. That fruit demonstrates a lack of caring about what God’s law says.

What an interesting quote… as we are not to judge others fruit… in fact if we see fruit, it is God’s fruit and we only bear it… we are only the branch but we do not produce the fruit… God does.

The only fruit we produce is when we keep with repentance (Matt 3:8)… again … repentance is a one time shot… we come from darkness into the light… and as we bear that fruit we then bear God’s fruit. Repentance is the response we should have to God’s loving Kindness toward us.

In Matt 7:16 though Jesus is not saying we are to judge anyone.. but that when we see the fruit of repentance which makes us the branch dependant on the Vine, we produce God’s fruit.

In fact if we are to really see what Jesus is doing, he is stating that bad trees produce bad fruit… and what man is “good”? Jesus even answers that… Mark 10: 18 states , “No one is good–except God alone.” Paul states it as “no one is righteous, not one.” (Romans 3:10) and notice this is after and still in the context of not judging as Paul comes out of Chapter 2?

Matt 12: 33 expounds on this thought as he states “make a tree good and it will bear good fruit.” so we are to be made good by God…

James makes it clear also in 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

So it is God who is only “good” and every good thing comes from God… and in that as we abide in the Vine we being made branches… produce God’s fruit by, in and through us.

So to say we are to judge others fruit is taking the whole teaching out of context and making God’s fruit a tool to judge, condemn, and abuse others… and that is a very dangerous game to play.

iggy

Gal 5:22-23 22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

55   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 6:58 am

iggy and Jerry,
Thank you for saying such nice things about my post!

So to me that one declares himself so set apart as to be the “remnant” are making declarations that possibly might be beyond their own perception unless revealed by God… in the same way God did Elijah… tome IF God did such a thing to them, how presumptuous and arrogant to not assume God would do it for someone else…. thus judging someone else seems to negate the humility it would take to receive such a revelation.

I agree with you iggy.

I would, however, repeat what I said in the post that we should not only notice the dangers of Apartheid in others but should investigate ourselves for it (and be thankful towards other when they point it out in us – not so easy!). We need to be aware that some attitudes of Apartheid remain in us. When I have to stop at a traffic light and there is a black man standing next to the road I lock my car doors but if it happens to be a white man I don’t. Why do I do that? That which that has been programmed into me about black people is still there and I will have to deal with it. The same is true when it comes to Christians of other expressions of our Faith and may I be so bold as to say people of other faiths. I am not saying we should unite with other faiths but rather that we should love and respect them without compromising our faith. To be able to do the above we’ll have to address our prejudice. If we don’t address our prejudices we will not be able to be obedient to the commandments of our Lord in John 13:34-35 and Matthew 28:19.

56   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 24th, 2009 at 7:44 am

I am confused about something. Did John say he would run over President Obama with his car, or Osama bin Laden? Please show me the comment where he said that.

57   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 7:50 am

I am confused about something. Did John say he would run over President Obama with his car, or Osama bin Laden? Please show me the comment where he said that.

I remember PB saying it about Osama bin Laden but really, must we drag this up again? Let the Holy Spirit deal with John about it now, he has been reminded about it enough. I would really like it if we would stop pointing fingers and start discussing the post.

58   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 24th, 2009 at 8:36 am

Gene – I only raised the issue because I could not believe he said it about Barak Obama which is what Joe suggested. That’s all.

*****

To the post. I have seen the uselessness of some constructed battles concerning the Scriptures. Here are some of my thoughts about “Biblical Aparteid”.

* No one comes close to obeying the absolute authority of the Sermon on the Mount, just three chapters, so when we suggest we are defenders of the Scriptures we seem to be kibitzers rather than defending them with our lives.

* Communication is not text specific and inerrant. What I mean is that we all explain texts slightly (at least) differently and everyone receives and processes that communication differently.

* Truth, even Biblical truth, can be adequately communicated through different words, not just a certain English translation.

* Much of the Bible wars are self serving and create an atmosphere of superiority, competitiveness, and a feeling of speaking in God’s defense.

* Most evangelical church goers from all theological stripes hardly ever read the Bible, even those who attend Biblically militant churches.

* Over the years some of the faith community have lifted up an array of doctrines much higher than is Biblically warranted.

* In the end, who Jesus was and is, what Jesus did, who we are, and how we can gain eternal life are the core issues of faith which should bind us. There are those who do not seem to speak clearly on these particular issues, and that is very troublesoms, however we should be able to behave as humble followers of Christ even while sometimes discussing these issues.

The danger will always remain, that self righteousness can grow when we separate ourselves from other brothers and sisters in Christ, and especially if we take on the ministry of identifying who is a believer and who is not.

59   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 8:45 am

Well said Rick.

60   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 24th, 2009 at 9:41 am

By Bible idolatry, or Bibliolatry, I’m referring to what J.P. Moreland describes in this piece, more or less. The term may be a bit misleading, because I don’t think the issue is with Scripture itself, but it’s more us placing our specific interpretation of certain passages over and above the mandate for us to love on another.

61   Brett S    
February 24th, 2009 at 9:46 am

John Hughes,

the Holy Spirit Himself has time and time again instructed us just how high and elevated the scriptures are

Amen! to that. I am also a firm believer in absolute truth (having learned some of it the hard way). I do have a hard time understanding Christians who claim to believe in absolute truth, and use the bible in a way it was not intened to claim things that are false.

Unity is both created and maintained around this eternal truth.

Amen. I find it fascinating (in a good way) that you ended with that statement, and the scripture you reference was John 6. The church (from way, way back) had a common understanding of John 6 in terms of unity.
Peace.

62   chris    
February 24th, 2009 at 10:01 am

Let the Holy Spirit deal with John about it now, he has been reminded about it enough. I would really like it if we would stop pointing fingers and start discussing the post.

I agree. . . but how will John ever know he did anything wrong unless we constantly scream at him about his sin? I mean what if some of us were called to be the bullhorn in John’s life…err…nevermind.

I keed, I keed

63   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
February 24th, 2009 at 10:18 am

Hit a B instead of an S there guys.

64   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 10:31 am

Huge difference between this

and this and this

Osama deserves to die, and if we see him on the street, we should not reconcile with him. We should detain him if there is any way. If there is not, we should kill him. I will not back down from that. He is not an innocent like a baby in the womb. He is not like our honorable soldiers sacrificing their lives for our freedom.

65   Chad on Sabbath    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 10:37 am

Wonderful post, Eugene.

Reading just the first handful of comments along with PB’s usual arrogance and ignorance (and the snippy, unhelpful vomiting of “disdain”) reminds me again why I am on Sabbath.

Thanks.

66   Chad on Sabbath    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 10:39 am

If there is not, we should kill him.

While we were sinners, while were were weak, while we were enemies of God, Christ died for us, thus proving God’s love towards us.

PB – I am convinced you worship a different God than I.

67   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 24th, 2009 at 10:41 am

John – should God have killed Paul for murdering his family members? Or should He have offered him the grace of Christ, as He did?

You are more of an American than a Christian in this.

68   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 24th, 2009 at 10:42 am

Does grace end at the flag?

69   Neil    
February 24th, 2009 at 10:46 am

Pastorboy, you are using a false dichotomy as a reason not to live in unity with Christians of different expressions than your own. You accuse people of having a low view of Scripture who you know very little about. – Eugene

While I was in seminary, it was common to refer to Amillennialists as having a low(er) vire of Scripture because they took parts allegorically/metaphorically that we took literally. Therefore, our literalism meant we had a hgher view of the Bible, there fore we were more serious about it…

Then, a few years ago I started reading the actual works of some Amillennial folks – and guess what I found? They have just as high a view of the Scriptures as I do/did.

70   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 24th, 2009 at 10:52 am

You know what? Maybe John is on to something. The new prison ministry format – kill em all and let God sort em out!

Brilliant!!

We are agents of life, not angels of death. I attribute this view to nationalism infiltrating the church. I used to feel the same way.

71   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 11:05 am

Wow, John you have a gift for high-jacking threads!

72   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 11:08 am

You know what? Maybe John is on to something. The new prison ministry format – kill em all and let God sort em out!

Brilliant!!

We are agents of life, not angels of death. I attribute this view to nationalism infiltrating the church. I used to feel the same way.

It was this sort of nationalism mixed with a warped Calvinism that led to Apartheid!

73   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 24th, 2009 at 11:14 am

“Warped Calvinism”

A redunancy.

74   Bo Diaz    
February 24th, 2009 at 11:15 am

The ADM way would be to declare that PB is not a Christian because he continues in this sin and doesn’t repent.

75   vida blue    http://www.pastorboy.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 11:28 am

Psalm 3:6-8 6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around. 7Arise, O LORD!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.
8Salvation belongs to the LORD;
your blessing be on your people!

Psalm 58:5-7 5 so that it does not hear the voice of charmers or of the cunning enchanter. 6O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD!
7Let them vanish like water that runs away; when he aims his arrows, let them be blunted.

Yep, that David needs to repent.

76   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 24th, 2009 at 11:39 am

John – you have a warped sense of Christianity. I could provide a multitude of verses from Jesus who says things like “turn the other cheek” and “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword” and “do not render evil for evil.”

Jesus was such a spineless pacisfist. A true follower of Jesus Christ must be willing to sacrifice his own life to conform to our supreme example – the cross (not a gun).

77   Bo Diaz    
February 24th, 2009 at 11:42 am

Yep, that David needs to repent.

He often did.

Why is it that ADMs so often confuse themselves with prophets? Divining the mysterious will of God outside of the scriptures, yet they can’t seem to grasp the most simple of commands given to us by those same prophets and apostles through scripture.

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
- Romans 12:9?

I guess when Paul isn’t condemning gays he’s not really worth paying attention to.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:43-48

I’m sure if you get into the greek what jesus really meant was “run over the enemies of your country with a car”.

And then there’s always this:

Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.[a]‘ 14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:12-15

But I suppose when you’re one of the elect who has earned your salvation through real repentence that has been approved of by the Popes of Calvin you can withhold grace.

78   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Here’s something to think about:

25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26″What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]”

28″You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36″Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

79   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
February 24th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Joe,
I understand that people of conscience can differ on this issue, but I find it hard to understand how any Christian could become a soldier for any country. Killing is contrary to Christ, no matter what form it takes.

Bo, there are many Christians that are called to serve our country not in just the logistical part of the military but also in combat.

but I find it hard to understand how any Christian could become a soldier for any country

A statement like that is exactly what Eugene spoke about that causes the “apartheid” that is within Christianity. That’s just heaping guilt an another segment of society based on what YOU believe……that is different from the ADM’s how?

80   Bo Diaz    
February 24th, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Scotty,
Its different in a number of ways. First, I never said soldiers were outside of Christ, and I never referred to them as “enemies of Jesus”.

Frankly, I don’t understand how a Christian can justify participating in an endeavor that is meant to secure or spread the power of Caesar. It is distinctly at odds with teh admonitions of Christ to not pursue power as found in Matthew 20.

Just a little curious Scotty. Is there anyone who shouldn’t be condemned? What about the people who deliberately made loans to people they knew couldn’t afford them resulting in the current housing crash? They profited from this situation knowing that many people would eventually be crushed by their actions. Can I say that that is contrary to the kingdom of God? Or would that be causing apartheid?

81   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 24th, 2009 at 1:30 pm

hoosing to serve in the military by a believer is a matter of personal conscience. Even though I have my own questions, I consider most of them heroes and committed to putting their lives on the line for us.

I can discuss the merits of Christian particpation, but I would never question the courage, committment, and the faith of a believing soldier. Some of those believing soldiers in Iraq have been used of God to lead other soldiers to Christ.

Halleluiah, God gets His glory in every circumstance!!

82   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
February 24th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Scotty,
Its different in a number of ways. First, I never said soldiers were outside of Christ, and I never referred to them as “enemies of Jesus”.

Never said you did. What I addressed was the implications of your statements that somehow if one was viewing this from your position then they would see it, as if your point of view is the correct point of view. I’ve heard it from the other side all too often, “How could ANY Christian do that!!” I’ve had that club bounced off the side of my head WAY to many times!!

I don’t understand how a Christian can justify participating in an endeavor that is meant to secure or spread the power of Caesar

I see this as you having a problem with the leadership of the military(our elected officials). I can live with that. But once one is a soldier they don’t have the options that civilians do in questioning authority. That’s where we as citizens come into play, be it by vote or petitions to the powers that be…..you can’t and shouldn’t drop the issues one has with a countries leadership at the foot of the military. The military can’t function properly when it is asked to deal with the political. It’s just the way it is and has to be. And, I admit it’s difficult for most civilians to grasp that….

As to your last paragraph, that’ a whole other OP, I’m not going to go there.

83   Bo Diaz    
February 24th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Scotty,
You asked me how it was different, I told you. You can’t ask me how it was different then respond with “I never said you said that”. No, but you asked me how it was different. Am I allowed to answer at all?

84   nc    
February 24th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Scotty,

I hear Bo trying to raise the question of how do Christians–before taking up the constraints of the military life–come to the conclusion that that is a viable option for a Christ-follower?

The first time we start to see softening on this is with the Church Father Ambrose–mentor to Augustine of “just war” fame.

He was a magistrate, patrician class type guy. He’s the first to start stating it’s ok for Christians to take up arms.

We have to consider his own social class standing/vested interests.

It’s not wrong to ask Christians to take a step back from deeply held assumptions that relate to vested interests of nation-states, national culture, etc.

The conclusions may still be same, but they are things that deserve and need theological reflection.

The counter-cultural witness is most definitely NOT with a non-participation stance in this country.

The Church would do well to raise questions of conscience about this in the USA context. Especially given our propensity to deploy Augustine’s “just war” theory willy-nilly without regard to the fact that Augustine was trying to articulate the basis on which Christians can take up arms as the rare exception–not as as a way of life.

That intent is critical to understanding the use of the arguments for just-war, etc…

Some things to think about…

:)

85   Chad on Sabbath    http://www.chadholtz.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Thanks God for voices like Bo and nc.

86   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
February 24th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

hoosing to serve in the military by a believer is a matter of personal conscience. Even though I have my own questions, I consider most of them heroes and committed to putting their lives on the line for us.

I can discuss the merits of Christian particpation, but I would never question the courage, committment, and the faith of a believing soldier. Some of those believing soldiers in Iraq have been used of God to lead other soldiers to Christ.

Thankfully, a fella named Cornelius agrees with you. As does David. As does Naaman. And Abraham who was known as a warrior. And probably not a few others.

87   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
February 24th, 2009 at 3:56 pm

You asked me how it was different, I told you. You can’t ask me how it was different then respond with “I never said you said that”. No, but you asked me how it was different. Am I allowed to answer at all?

I didn’t miss the nuance of your original point that you didn’t call them “enemies of Christ” or “outside of Christ” that‘s what the difference between the ADM‘s and you. My point was, albeit you didn’t say that, the way it was phrased(“how can any Christian…..”) can have a condescending tone. That’s how I read it….I thought you were being condescending. If I read that wrong, my apologies. I see the subtleness of condescension just as damaging.

NC

Scotty,
I hear Bo trying to raise the question of how do Christians–before taking up the constraints of the military life–come to the conclusion that that is a viable option for a Christ-follower?

As Rick said, they follow their own consciences. I can’t condemn nor question motives of Christians wanting to join the military.

I don’t see where what Ambrose has to say about anything concerning what “just war” is, matters. We weren’t addressing that.

The Church would do well to raise questions of conscience about this in the USA context. Especially given our propensity to deploy Augustine’s “just war” theory willy-nilly without regard to the fact that

That just takes us back to politics.

Eugene’s point was reconciliation. And that’s where I was attempting to take it. To question a Christian for wanting to join the military doesn’t fit the bill. That’s all…….it’s between them and their God!

Rick sees the bigger picture and I do too, he beat me to the punch as usual…..

Some of those believing soldiers in Iraq have been used of God to lead other soldiers to Christ.

Bottom line, THAT’S what it’s all about!! God has a plan, for military and non-military alike!!

88   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
February 24th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

It’s not wrong to ask Christians to take a step back from deeply held assumptions that relate to vested interests of nation-states, national culture, etc.

The conclusions may still be same, but they are things that deserve and need theological reflection.

True but often it doesn’t sound like “asking” it sounds like commanding.

89   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
February 24th, 2009 at 4:30 pm

hit submit too soon. It sounds like commanding and condemning.

90   nc    
February 24th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

It’s not condemning motives to ask people about how they came to their conclusions.

Actually, Ambrose represents a departure from the express uniform teaching of Christians that marked the first 400 years of the Christian faith. It matters.

Why? because that’s the source of the question today. It’s irresponsible to take an a-historical view that places everything in the “private” court of the individual believer.

Being a Christian means something bigger than that and being a Christian has implications for the Church.

To raise the historic arguments of the Church to Christians within the USA context is not some callous move toward politics, but is an invitation for people to consider their own actions in light of the possible critique of Scripture.

You may still come to the same conclusions, but challenging them or asking you to consider that they represent something not so “neat” as personal conviction is not playing political games.

That’s called discipleship as we listen to each other.

To be clear, I’m not trying to attack you and I don’t think people are bad because they take a different view from me on this issue.

I just don’t think the answer to avoiding that kind of convo is to then say that any questioning of your position is therefore “politic-ing”.

You’re right…it is about reconciliation. And the position I’m outlining is that it isn’t just about private hearts that love reconciliation…it’s about being a people of God that bear witness to reconciliation in their collective witness by refusing to take up weapons.

We can disagree, but I’d rather see the Church be a people that would rather die than take another life.

There’s enough people willing to kill in this world. Our armies won’t fail if there aren’t any Christians joining them.

The evangelism thing, while great that people are coming to the Lord, doesn’t validate your argument.

Joe,

I’m not condemning.

I would say that the failure to ask people to really come to terms with their position on the substance of it–even if you still come to the same conclusion–should concern us.

This whole “my personal conscience” argument has to have limits.

I’m genuinely asking:

On what basis would you scripturally base your belief that Christians should and can serve in the military?

peace,

nc

p.s. I come from a family who have all been involved in the military. A good chunk have been career military.

I say this because I want people to know I respectfully disagree and I am not just some “commie” unpatriotic dude who hates America or some other immature rhetoric used to neutralize discussion.

Just say’n…

:)

91   nc    
February 24th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

another thing:

just as a point of clarity…

I don’t see people as military or non-military…they’re just people.

Being in the military or not doesn’t bestow any special status in the eyes of God–and therefore to me as well.

It also doesn’t mean I condemn people in the military.

92   Bo Diaz    
February 24th, 2009 at 5:08 pm

The evangelism thing, while great that people are coming to the Lord, doesn’t validate your argument.

Simply because God uses something doesn’t make it moral or valid. It just means God can do whatever God wants to do, even bringing good out of evil.

93   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 24th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

nc and Bo – of course it does not validate anything, except God’s loving grace. However we must be careful to sound condemning of faithful believers, some more faithful than are we, believing they are defending their families through the military.

The only instance where I believe there is wiggle room concerning violence is in self defence and more importantly the defense of others. I do engage the nationalism issue, but I make it clear that I respect those soldiers and families that sacrifice their safety for us. I believe the war in Iraq has a more Biblical reason (self defense – although I disagree with that assessment) than did the Revolutionary War (taxes).

But Washington was still a great leader in a misguided cause and probably a believer.

94   nc    
February 24th, 2009 at 5:51 pm

I don’t think there’s anything in my comments on this thread that condemns believers.

If anything there is a bristling when people are asked to really reflect on their assumptions about this issue.

to question is not to attack.

95   Bo Diaz    
February 24th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

However we must be careful to sound condemning of faithful believers, some more faithful than are we, believing they are defending their families through the military.

Rick,
I think this illustrates something I’ve been saying pretty much everytime an ADM says X can’t be a Christian because of unrepentant sin. Its possible (in fact its likely normative) for Christians to be living in sin and still be Christians. All of us have particular sins that haven’t been revealed to us (or we refuse to see). This ridiculous and unBiblical theology that Christians have repented of every sin or they’re on their way to hell is just another form of self-righteous works theology.

Which is why if I say something like X is a sin, I can do so knowing that there are people doing/believing X who are more faithful than me, and I can do it without some mealy mouthed “I am a wretched sinner” caveat that is immediately contradicted by the next sentence out of my mouth, or the next action I take.

It also keeps me from looking like an ass by trying to keep up the facade that I’ve managed to repent and excise every sin in my life. Sadly, it doesn’t keep me from looking like an ass when I do other things, like karaoke.

96   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 24th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

I respect believing soldiers infinitely more for placing their lives on something they believe, than those that sit in comfort and say:

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Bell, Blah, Blah, Blah, Warren, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Miley, Blah, Blah, Blah, Haggard, Blah, Blah, Blah, “I’ve been saying for decades”, Blah, Blah, Blah.

All of which costs nothing.

97   nc    
February 24th, 2009 at 9:06 pm

oh, no Rick.

You’re mistaken…

and it might even be that your comment represents a profound attack of rage against the absolute Truth.

come out and be ye separate.

I have a beautiful glass of spitoon juice for you.

;)

98   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 24th, 2009 at 9:23 pm

“I have a beautiful glass of spitoon juice for you.”

I take mine on the rocks with a twist of hubris. :cool:

99   nc    
February 24th, 2009 at 10:15 pm

oh, there’s no doubt I have some beautiful hubris on hand…it seems to always be “in season”.

100   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
February 24th, 2009 at 11:18 pm

NC,
I was talking more in general terms not so much you. Although I believes Bo’s comment that first caught my attention seemed close. Often, those from your side of this discussion, and yes some of yours, do not come across as questions, they come across as statements.
For instance, no where in the New Testament do we see a soldier who has come to Christ or the early church get out. Now, I’m sure you have a different argument for me, but it’s irrelevant. I probably wouldn’t have joined the Roman army. It was very different than ours. So different that to compare should be likened to comparing Apples and Oranges.
Romans 13 talks about the government wielding a sword, I believe that should inform us to some extent. I wonder about people who say that a Christian cannot be in the Military, can a Christian be in Politics. Will we see blogs spouting up for President Obama (who has been called a Christian by many anti-military people) to get out of Politics because it is against the way of Jesus?
I doubt it. War is ugly. It’s painful. Bad things happen. Sometimes, it is necessary to defend those you love. If you don’t want to be a part of that, I understand. All I ask is that people stop making blanket statements about the eternal disposition of those who disagree with them.
Now, I’ll let you have the last word. I’m not going to have a protracted discussion on this in this forum.

101   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
February 24th, 2009 at 11:19 pm

I forgot to ask about cops. Can Christians be cops? Now, I’m done.

102   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 24th, 2009 at 11:39 pm

I probably wouldn’t have joined the Roman army. It was very different than ours. So different that to compare should be likened to comparing Apples and Oranges.

True dat…

I don’t think many people willingly joined the Roman army… they were conscripted for the most part, and in some ways it was close to slavery.

I think the one thing you could say that’s consistent in the NT is that Paul tells people to stay in their current situation a lot – even if they are slaves. The hardships they endure do not compare to the furthering of the Kingdom. I think in some ways it’s almost meaningless for me to say something like I’m anti-war or whatever when I have the luxury of choosing my station in life to a big extent. It would be much different I had to make a decision that would potentially cost me my life.

103   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 25th, 2009 at 7:03 am

Let us all be clear, as we live as believers in this fallen world we will always be presented with many conundrums about which there are really no answers.

* Is it right for me to have ice cream while children starve to death?

* If I am a cop, should I arrest an abortion protester who is blocking a teenage mother’s entrance when the abortion doctor asks me to?

* Should I play golf with all the suffering in the world?

* How can we believers knowingly go over the speed limit (26 in a 25) and claim to be concerned about sin in general?

* Should you use the same garbage company that removes the dead fetuses at the clinic? The same electrician? The same lawn service? Etc.

* Is it right to watch TV for an hour and pray for ten minutes?

* Should you use the same bank that made the loans to abortion clinics, strip clubs, and an array of unsavory establisments? (All banks do it)

* Should I feed ($) a dog who is just a pet and not for any real purpose when there are millions of orphans who need a home?
(Bless you Chad)

* Isn’t legislative morality an attempt to circumvent redemption?

* etc., etc., etc..

These are only a few of the many conundrums inherant with living in this world. The only answer is God’s grace. That is why we can convinced about many things, even adamant about some, but NEVER condemning of others who either do not share our view and never will or who are still in process as we were and still are.

In the end, we all live by faith in God and His grace and must exhibit that grace in tangible ways.

104   nc    
February 25th, 2009 at 10:15 am

Joe,

I hear what you are saying.

If my strong statements in the past on this have alienated you, I’m sorry.

I don’t have an opinion about the eternal disposition of Christians, even if I think it is a wrong move to join the military.

I’m deeply ambivalent about Christians being in government.

I also don’t think Christians should be in law enforcement either.

I’m trying to be consistent.

Rick sounds an important note…that these things are murky.

However, you can’t deny that the automatic default position in the culture is most definitely not mine.

I think we need to listen to these arguments on this. Precisely because I generally see an automatic move to not think about it, or to conflate someone’s views with their patriotism, etc. etc. etc.

I don’t think the lack of command on the part of Jesus or the positive command of Paul really matters.

It’s clear that Paul thought the end of the world was coming in his lifetime and so he thought God was going to reorder a world where armies wouldn’t be part of it anymore…

105   M.G.    
February 25th, 2009 at 10:49 am

Part of the problem with these conversations, and this really gets back to the OP, is that because Christians are stuck (to quote Dallas Willard) with doctrines of “sin management” our thinking about moral issues is far too binary.

Our conversations are framed with whether something is sin or not. Are you in or are you out? Are you going to heaven or going to hell?

This is absolutely the wrong framework for Christians to be operating in.

Christians need to (re)-learn that our actions are better classified as sinful, wrong, harmful, tragic, helpful, good, better, best, etc. We need a richer moral vocabulary. And the reason why, is that if there is something we should consider as a single “moral theory” undergirding the New Testament, it is not some bland utilitarianism (like Rick seems to suppose), it’s a virtue theory build around the person of Jesus Christ.

So our actions, judged against Christ, can be anywhere from the very opposite to what he would do, all the way to the precise thing he would do, with an infinite number of possibilities in-between.

That way, we can spur each other on to imitate Christ, without turning disagreement into something that implicitly condemns that person we disagree with into a hell-bound reprobate.

The point of these conversations isn’t to figure out “what is permissible” it is to figure out how we can have the mind of Christ.

106   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 25th, 2009 at 10:57 am

“And the reason why, is that if there is something we should consider as a single “moral theory” undergirding the New Testament, it is not some bland utilitarianism (like Rick seems to suppose), it’s a virtue theory build around the person of Jesus Christ.”

A profound thought with many connected facets. The only “change” i would make is this:

“And the reason why, is that if there is something we should consider as a single “moral theory” undergirding the New Testament, it is not some bland utilitarianism (like Rick seems to suppose), it’s a virtue redemptive theory build around the person of Jesus Christ.

But your whole comment was very thoughtful and requires more than a passing read. (I hate it when that happens)

107   nc    
February 25th, 2009 at 11:06 am

104:

Joe, let me amend that…

the second statement said “If..”

It’s clear that is not the case.

so…

Joe, my statements in the past have alienated you, not maybe or possibly, but really have.

I’m sorry.

108   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 25th, 2009 at 11:11 am

nc – you are a groveling sycophant who is a spineless compromiser without any conviction or moral comapss.

Well, maybe you’re just a peacemaker.

109   Bo Diaz    
February 25th, 2009 at 11:53 am

MG,
I’ve been thinking about this in the same way as you. So much of ADM theology is about defining who’s in and out. Look at the labels they use: goat herders, enemy of Jesus, false churches, man-centered… and on and on it goes. These are terms that are focused on figuring out who’s in and who’s out of the kingdom of God. This creates a huge problem, of course, because it means you have to create a line of demarcation between everyone you don’t want in and yourself. the problem is that sin doesn’t respect your lines or your categories.

And so ultimately you end up with an empty, shallow theology that amounts to little more than a list of sins that are ok to commit, and a list of sins that aren’t. And of course this sort of thinking doesn’t hold up to Biblical scrutiny so you have to further demonize anyone who points this out with ridiculous claims of knowledge pertaining to motivation and the inner life of people you’ve never met.

Which is why you end up with finger pointing condemnation that uses words like “true repentance”. And it all descends into utter buffoonery that looks nothing like Christ. Then when you’ve reached the point where you’ve built your entire identity and “ministry” into this sort of thinking there’s no going back. It only gets more and more vicious and less and less Christ-like.

110   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
February 25th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

nc

It’s not condemning motives to ask people about how they came to their conclusions.

If indeed it’s their conclusions you really want to know. Do you really want to know their conclusions or do you want to use it as a platform to express your views. Don’t take what I just said personally. Just trying to show how some things can be perceived. And here’s the reason and the crux of it all…….

There’s enough people willing to kill in this world. Our armies won’t fail if there aren’t any Christians joining them.

You’ve made your point many times in other posts your dislike for the military. You’re free to view it any way you wish. But, I would hope that you can see that statement could be perceived as condemnation.

nc, killing is the LAST thing a soldier wants to do.

You asked Joe this question:

On what basis would you scripturally base your belief that Christians should and can serve in the military?

I don’t think that’s the fair question. I think the fair question would be: On what basis would you scripturally base your belief that Christians shouldn’t and can not serve in the military.

111   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 25th, 2009 at 2:20 pm

I don’t think that’s the fair question. I think the fair question would be: On what basis would you scripturally base your belief that Christians shouldn’t and can not serve in the military.

I know the question wasn’t necessarily directed at me, but my first reaction to it would be this:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

I have a hard time reconciling how dropping bombs or taking up arms against another country or person looks like loving our enemies. And this is coming from someone whose father was a military chaplain. I understand the whole self-defense aspect that people will bring up, but the more I learn, the more trouble I have squaring this passage with stuff.

112   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 25th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Phil – I completely concur and would even site the fallacy of national allegiance. But I am sure you would eschew condemning sincere believers that serve as well, right?

113   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 25th, 2009 at 2:48 pm

But I am sure you would eschew condemning sincere believers that serve as well, right?

No, I for sure would not condemn them. I would pray for their safety and trust God to guide and work through them where they are. I know several people who have come back from Iraq, and sadly I believe many of them have encountered things that will haunt them for life.

114   nc    
February 25th, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Scotty,

I’d be happy to answer the question.
Phil has cited a pertinent text. Also, the passage where Jesus articulates his command to not resist evil–the word “resist” in the greek carries the specifically of “armed” or “belligerent” action.

Walter Wink’s small work is a great expansion on how the command of Jesus (i.e. “turning the other cheek” etc. etc.) is NOT passivity, but a creative means of revealing the bankruptcy and shame of violence and oppression without becoming like or participating in the violence.

Jesus’ command is to not use the means of violence to fight violence, etc. etc.

The uniform witness of the Church for 400 years (in light of a delayed return of Christ) has been to understand this command as I’m sharing with you here. Again Augustine was trying to articulate an exception rather than a justification as a way of life.

History and the mind of the Church also matter in this respect to me.

Some other issues:
First,
Why is my question unfair?
If it is, then your re-framing of it is unfair as well.

Second,
I freely admit that my position has become the minority report here. Tragically so, IMVHO.

Why is raising it and bringing it into view merely just an exercise in me wanting to “express my views”?

Why is the voicing of that minority report a problem?

Third,

I’d draw a distinction between wanting to kill and being willing to kill.

You may not want to, but you certainly have to be willing to if you’re in the military. Is that condemning to recognize that reality and state it plainly? If you don’t believe your position is wrong, then why is it problematic for me to state your own position?

I don’t think people are ogres or awful for being in the military as Christians. (See…I think they’re Christians) I see it as a profound mistake…but is that wrong to see it as such? Does that threaten something?

115   nc    
February 25th, 2009 at 3:15 pm

For the record, I also agree with Phil…

praying for the safety of military personnel is important…and the right thing to do.

116   nc    
February 25th, 2009 at 3:34 pm

so, now…I’d love to hear how Scripture personally plays into a pro-participation view on the military from some folk.

117   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 25th, 2009 at 4:01 pm

“I’d love to hear how Scripture personally plays into a pro-participation view on the military from some folk.”

Actually, it doesn’t. But I am intoxicated by some spittoon juice in a frosted mug.

118   nc    
February 25th, 2009 at 4:13 pm

frosted mugs!

Lovely

119   nc    
February 25th, 2009 at 5:55 pm

chirp, chirp, chiiiiiirp.

120   nc    
February 25th, 2009 at 10:49 pm

crickets…

I see…

Well, when people want to actually engage this issue, I’ll be willing.

121   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 25th, 2009 at 11:05 pm

nc – it is impossible to SCRIPTURALLY defend a believer killing others, even in war. Would God approve of a true believer from China killing a true believer from America based upon each other’s loyalty to a nation over their loyalty to the Savior?

I judge no one on this, and I used to believe otherwise, but should Jesus tarry I believe many in the church will see more clearly the spiritual compromise that is inherant in being bound in heart to any nation here on earth. All believers belong to a kingdom not found here, and that kingdom trumps any supposed loyalties here.

I am not saying I would not kill an intruder attempting to harm my family because I would. I am saying I cannot justify it Scripturally. But I hold in high esteem men like Scotty are passionate in their views and have been shaped by a different journey than have I.

I believe there is absolute truth, but I absolutely believe I have not found it all yet.

122   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
February 26th, 2009 at 2:43 am

I’m pleasantly surprised by the direction this thread has turned. I agree with Rick that M.G.’s comment requires more than a passing read so I’ll quote it again:

Part of the problem with these conversations, and this really gets back to the OP, is that because Christians are stuck (to quote Dallas Willard) with doctrines of “sin management” our thinking about moral issues is far too binary.

Our conversations are framed with whether something is sin or not. Are you in or are you out? Are you going to heaven or going to hell?

This is absolutely the wrong framework for Christians to be operating in.

Christians need to (re)-learn that our actions are better classified as sinful, wrong, harmful, tragic, helpful, good, better, best, etc. We need a richer moral vocabulary. And the reason why, is that if there is something we should consider as a single “moral theory” undergirding the New Testament, it is not some bland utilitarianism (like Rick seems to suppose), it’s a virtue theory build around the person of Jesus Christ.

So our actions, judged against Christ, can be anywhere from the very opposite to what he would do, all the way to the precise thing he would do, with an infinite number of possibilities in-between.

That way, we can spur each other on to imitate Christ, without turning disagreement into something that implicitly condemns that person we disagree with into a hell-bound reprobate.

The point of these conversations isn’t to figure out “what is permissible” it is to figure out how we can have the mind of Christ.

And this gem deserves a place in “Quotes of the century”:

I believe there is absolute truth, but I absolutely believe I have not found it all yet.
Rick Frueh circa A.D.2009

123   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 26th, 2009 at 9:36 am

I have now read MGs comment three times slowly. (Because of its depth I must suggest a ghost writer :) )

Here are some thoughts which in my mind have always revealed a delicate and nuanced approach to some issues rather than a “binary” (black & white).

Prov.26:4-5 – Answer not a fool according to his folly…Answer a fool according to his folly…

There must be some nuance in those verses without concluding a direct contradiction, right? And I have never heard an acceptable definition of a “spirit”, so how nuanced can the truth of God’s essence be? And of course Paul compared with James reveals a rather layered approach to regenerative life.

One of our problems is that we demand a written and detailed creed about everything to make us feel secure. And every orthodox denomination that esouses absolute truth complies a theology with differing explanations about what the Bible teaches. In a way we have constructed the Mosaic tablets of stone in our extensive systematic theologies, which 99% of all believers will never read and are not able to Biblically defend. It is abstract and alien to most believers. Like being a courier carrying a sealed envelope whose contents are unknown to you and yet you aggresively defend the specifics of its contents as explicit, unequivocal, and singularly understood.

There are the core truths concerning Christ and His redemption, but even discussions like “open theology” are interesting but conjectures on all sides since explaining how God “operates” on that level is like eating cotton candy, just when you begin to chew it disappears and demands a new supply.

So I agree with MG on this, we have created a moral and theological mouse maze and suggested that every believing mouse can only complete the course through the one among many corridors. And who can show us which corridor leads to freedom? There are many mice who claim they have completed the maze, made it to the finish line, and have graciously gone back into the maze to help/demand every mouse to go follow their specifc theological corridors.

The only problem is that many of these directing mice are pointing to slightly different theological corridors, some saying right turn while others say left, but all of them boldly proclaiming the absolute of their map but allowing a few “left turn/right turn” variations among their theological friends.

What’s a few differences among friends?

The answer: Nothing (grace) if you are a friend, but everything (law) if you’re not.

124   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
February 26th, 2009 at 10:38 am

We’re just going to run ourselves in circles and my point being, You said:

Phil has cited a pertinent text

I see that text as a stretch in making the point that a Christian shouldn’t be in the military.

Also, the passage where Jesus articulates his command to not resist evil–the word “resist” in the greek carries the specifically of “armed” or “belligerent” action.

You’re parsing over a single word, I see the overview of that verse that tells me not to repel one outrage by another. If I do it makes me precisely what the other is. It has little to do with the topic.

Walter Wink’s small work is a great expansion on how the command of Jesus (i.e. “turning the other cheek” etc. etc.) is NOT passivity, but a creative means of revealing the bankruptcy and shame of violence and oppression without becoming like or participating in the violence.

Wink even admits that there is a time when action is necessary.

In the New Testament we find four soldiers, centurions or captains in the Roman army. the Lord said of one of these that he had greater faith than Christ had found in Israel. Another, at the cross, believed in Jesus as the Son of God. To the third God sent Peter to introduce the Gospel to the Gentiles. When this man heard the Gospel he believed and the Holy Spirit was given to him immediately. There is no indication that any of these discontinued his military service, nor is there any command in the New Testament that a Christian should not be a soldier. On the other hand, there is a mandate given by the Lord through Paul that we should remain in the calling in which we are called (I Corinthians 7:20).

So what does this all boil down to? We need to go back and read “The Heart Of The Matter” that was posted here some time ago. It all breaks down to this:

1. A = Absolutes (cross-cultural truths)
2. C = Convictions (cultural truths and values systems)
3. P = Preferences (what we like)

We’re simply debating numbers two and three. And at what price?

You may have to squint a bit to see it but, there is a slight haze in the air. In that haze is things like, hymns are the only adequate music for worship services, how can it be a church when it’s in an old theater, baptismal regeneration and yes, Christians shouldn’t serve in the military…….just a few of the many that hover in that haze.

All this serves only to hint that someone is just a little bit less of a Christian if they don’t agree with the above.

If you don’t believe your position is wrong, then why is it problematic for me to state your own position?

It’s not problematic at all for me. I come to the defense of those in the military. You’re debating if a Christian should be in the military, I’m saying that certain words can do damage.

Am I sensitive? You bet! It doesn’t serve any of us to “hover” around the edges of condemnation for those that have a differing view. From my perspective I see you doing a lot of hovering. We need to apply grace to the Christian that chooses to be a soldier.

I don’t think people are ogres or awful for being in the military as Christians. (See…I think they’re Christians) I see it as a profound mistake…but is that wrong to see it as such? Does that threaten something?</blockquote>

The last line gave me an Amy flashback!

I heard ‘em all when I came back from the war I fought in and still hear it today. And some of the most damning things I heard came from the brethren in the very form I heard here. “Why would ANYBODY want to serve in the military‘. How could a Christian serve in the military.” “How do you live with the fact you killed people”. It was bad enough that I, in essence, went into hiding in so much that I didn’t volunteer the information that I was in the military, let alone during war time! It is seldom even now that I make it known.

I’ve seen the damage that comments like that do to people that are not only carrying the physical scars of war, but the mental scars that are part and parcel war. Often carrying enough guilt, survivor guilt being the worst, without someone adding more to it. We can’t take too lightly what we say. There are ripples in areas we often don’t see, those that lurk in the shadows and listen to what’s being said.

And that, I think, brings us back the Eugene’s great OP, thanks Eugene! Apartheid comes in many forms, the subtlest forms can do the most damage.

125   nc    
February 26th, 2009 at 11:05 am

Wow, Scotty.

If anything, I’ve been trying to be as careful about being honest about my position on this.

I’m not the one who cast the issue as “how could any Christian join the military”.

Would you please stop conflating my careful statements here with Bo’s initial comment?

Honest disagreement isn’t hovering around the edges of condemnation.

Far wiser Christians than you or I have deployed the very texts that you so easily dismiss.

You still haven’t answered the question, Scotty.

I did.

Why can’t you?

Why is it unfair to ask you to do the same thing?

I believe my answer to your question was stated clearly without condemning.

Unless of course, disagreeing with you is “condemning”.

Is it possible that you aren’t open to the discussion precisely because of your being bashed before?

If so, I’m sorry.

But I’m not sorry for disagreeing.

disagreement isn’t bashing or “hovering near condemnation”.

AGAIN, I didn’t make the comment. Bo did.

I’m not a bad guy simply because I believe it’s a mistake to join the military on theological grounds.

I’ve repeatedly said that I don’t see you or others as bad or less.

Apparently that’s all I’m allowed to say, but I’m not allowed to express this minority view without it being a bad thing.

I’d still like to see on what Scriptural basis you’ve taken up a pro-participation view.

Considering that there is the uniform view of the Church for at least a quarter of its history that my view was in your category A and that there have been streams of Christian thought that have maintained that view for the remainder of that history.

I’m not alone here, despite being in a minority in our context.

I’ve openly shared my views here.
If people don’t conflate my statements on this thread with Bo’s–who dropped the bomb and then left. ;)
then I’d be open to see how my clear statements here have been bad or untoward.

Unless, again, disagreeing is now the basis of being untoward.

126   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 26th, 2009 at 11:18 am

It’s not problematic at all for me. I come to the defense of those in the military. You’re debating if a Christian should be in the military, I’m saying that certain words can do damage.

Am I sensitive? You bet! It doesn’t serve any of us to “hover” around the edges of condemnation for those that have a differing view. From my perspective I see you doing a lot of hovering. We need to apply grace to the Christian that chooses to be a soldier.

I’ve never out and out said Christians shouldn’t be in the military, but I do think it is something that should be thought out carefully. I don’t want to condemn anyone.

The odd thing to me is that people seem to get much in arms about saying someone saying something like, “Christians shouldn’t be in the military” compared to someone saying something like, “Christians shouldn’t work somewhere that serves alcohol” (something I heard a lot growing up). Plus, there are a lot of other things I could list that people didn’t seem to have problems condemning. This is where I think Rick is on to something with the national idolatry thing. Why is that questioning this one thing garners such a reaction from people? Is it just because the idea the military service is a virtuous thing is so ingrained into our national psyche?

It’s very interesting to me, from my perspective, there is a lot more support for Jesus saying Christians should not resist through violent methods than for many other “moral” issues that Christians get hung up on.

127   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 26th, 2009 at 11:52 am

“I’m not a bad guy simply because I believe it’s a mistake to join the military on theological grounds.”

Of course not, there are an array of other far more superior reasons. :)

You guys are talking past each other. Take a pain pill with a glass of wine and meet me here in an hour!

128   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
February 26th, 2009 at 11:56 am

Theological Grounds is going to be the name of the coffee shop I’m opening up… :-)

129   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 26th, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Phil – LOL! You have inspired me on some other spiritual establishments:

Doctrinal Doughnuts
Hoagies for Heretics
Bible Bagels
Scriptural Subway
Spiritual Smoke Shoppe

130   nc    
February 26th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Rick,

I would agree that Scotty is talking past me.

I’ve been directly answering his questions and critiques–without condemning…

and, yet, the charge of “condemning” is still laid at my feet.

I’ve asked some real questions now that are based on his actual words.

I think Phil has raised another interesting question.

If, without conflating Bo’s initial comment into my own, people think I am condemning in my disagreement I’d be open to being shown how I’m doing that.

I think I’ve demonstrated a real stance of openness and candor here, but I could be wrong.

Or maybe I’m just learning that it’s not worth having these discussions when minority views like my own can’t be countenanced.

It’s probably inconsiderate of me to not consider how my understanding of this may be a stumbling block to others.

But I will take Rick’s suggestion to have a glass of wine…it’s Chateau D’Spitoon, vintage reserve.

;)

131   nc    
February 26th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

I would also invite Scotty to be open to the idea that his sensitivity on this issue clouds his ability to distinguish between reasoned disagreement and condemnation.

132   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
February 26th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

If anything, I’ve been trying to be as careful about being honest about my position on this.
I’m not the one who cast the issue as “how could any Christian join the military”.
Would you please stop conflating my careful statements here with Bo’s initial comment?

But then I read this:

I hear Bo trying to raise the question of how do Christians–before taking up the constraints of the military life–come to the conclusion that that is a viable option for a Christ-follower?

Sorry for the confusion…….

I’d still like to see on what Scriptural basis you’ve taken up a pro-participation view.

I never attempted to put forth a “pro-participation” view. My contention has been that it’s OK to participate. That was my point in pointing out the roman soldiers depicted in the New Testament. The Bible is silent on pro-participation as it is silent non-participation.

saying something like, “Christians shouldn’t be in the military” compared to someone saying something like, “Christians shouldn’t work somewhere that serves alcohol” (something I heard a lot growing up). Plus, there are a lot of other things I could list that people didn’t seem to have problems condemning.

Phil, I would defend Christians serving alcohol to make a living just as much as I would for a Christian being in the military. I spent most my life as a musician working in the secular side of the industry. I’ve felt the same heat that that Christian waiter or waitress feels in those positions. I see the same hipocracy as you do there!

I have a friend in NY that works at the armory in Albany, they make cannons there, cannons that the military uses. How far should we take the non-military view. Should Ralph have contemplated if this is a viable option for a Christ-follower or should he have done what he did, take that job to feed his family. What about Microsoft, what is their participation in the military, how should that be viewed. I think Bill Gates is going to hell just for inventing Windows alone. :) What about the people that make the computers that may be used in the military.

We can even take to the straining of gnats area, what about the person that works in the nut and bolt factory, maybe some those nut and bolts could end up being used in a tank that could kill. Do we question how they make their living and how they came to the conclusion that it is OK to work at that nut a bolt factoryas a Christ-follower??

The numbers in the “Heart Of This Issue” keep coming up two or three….

133   nc    
February 26th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

RE: Apartheid comes in many forms, the subtlest forms can do the most damage.

Apartheid is predicated too on dominance and power.

My view in no way dominates the thinking of North American Christianity.

For crying out loud, at my church we pray regularly for those in the military–especially those from our parish.

I don’t advocate for you being put out of the church, or being condemned for your participation. I don’t doubt your salvation or the strength of your commitment to Christ.

I don’t know how many times I have to state that…but I will repeat it until it gets through.

Disagreement is not apartheid.

134   nc    
February 26th, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Scotty,

My last comment just passed yours in the posting.

A.
My comment about what I heard Bo saying was an attempt to move the convo toward an actual discussion of the issue and away from comments about “how could any Christian do X,Y, or Z”–thereby implying that no real Christian would do so.

But simply asking for the thought/discernment process of committed, genuine believers on the issue.

B.
I guess you and I will have to disagree that Scripture is silent.

I think there are arguments for and against that do come from Scripture.

C.
I’m sorry for pressing you to demonstrate it Scripturally. It’s clear I must not have been ‘getting’ that you don’t think it bears on the issue. That’s an honest position. I get it now. Again, I’m sorry if I communicated that I was disregarding your understanding.

135   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 26th, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Peace, brethren.

I don’t believe a Christian should be a blogger since that would mean being unequally yoked with all kinds of miscreants. :cool:

136   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 26th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

“My last comment just passed yours”

Is that like gas?

137   nc    
February 26th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

136.

Yes.

Just like gas.

Silent, but deadly.

;)