Men of God, not Churchian mice. [Nic Cave is a better theologian than most liberals]

It’s odd. I have this song in part of my Spotify account. And both songs make me both weep and drive me to fury. For Nic Cave knows the true religion: it may curdle in his veins all too often, but he has heard the word (at Brampton Oratory, among other places) and sees the falsity in the pious conservatism of Churchian life.

Instead, like most men in this time, when the feminine is worshipped, his adoration is for his wife. His love song is so tender, but broaches worship. As if the masculine is now forbidden.

One does not quietly shout the praises of God, As if we were mice. For we are men, and men who need to be well-armed.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.

Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

(Ephesians 6:10-24 ESV)

There are many in the church who thing that we should all be about peace and love. Not merely be pacifists (although that is not scriptural) but we need to expunge any discussion using military language, or conflict, from our church. Who will not sing the Battle him of the Republic because pacifism, or talk of God as father and son because sexism.

As if our Lord a penis did not have.

Instead we are to be well armed. We are in a battle. While Hozier write videos accusing the Church of homophobia in middle America[1], and is silent about the feral bastards from the Islamic State casting gay men from high columns to kill them, and the Iranians hanging them from cranes, we need to ask how Christian our society is; particularly when Hozier writes a good song. But not as good as Luther does.

We need to be righteous. We need to speak truth. We need to proclaim the gospel. We need to be able to defend our faith: with words, with prayer and with at times weapons. (If an Islamic mob tries to break into my church, or Femen, or Gays, and challenges the women and children, I will stand in the way. They will not pass but over my unconscious body).

So let us not listen to those who would censor our language. Let’s confront those who would silence us, or remove the masculine. For there is a role, in leadership, in prayer and protection, for men in the pews.

Our war is not with the rulers of our countries but with the powers that are evil, true. But when the Argentinian government sponsors feminist troll conferences that attempt to desecrate cathedrals, or the Italians let in immigrants that assault a man praying in front of a statue, or if a poor gay bastard gets assaulted by a mob, we need to call these things as the evils they are, and talk about it.

If you get rid of the masculine you remove courage and are left with an effete church. And all men will turn away, for their very nature is denied. And they will take the women with them, leaving only those who are so effete they consider dissembling cowardice righteousness. Those who Nic Cave mocked. In his revulsion at the compromise many churches have made with the fashions of this world, he is a far better theologian than most liberals who wear that title proudly.

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1. The Hoozier video shows, graphically, a young man being dragged from his home, murdered and immolated, because he’s got a male lover. I’m not going to link to it, as this site aims to be “PG”. (It’s not the boys kissing that made me make this choice, it’s the killing)

The implication from the lyrics is that the people doing this are Christians. They are not: in Christ we accept that all are broken, all have sinned, all have weaknesses and all have to suck it up. Including this divorced heterosexual. Killing gays? May it never happen. Letting them into the eldership? Have to be celibate, or be the husband of but one wife: the divorced are disqualified, as are those living together. And there are more straights fornicating in the pews than gays.

Do not let the tantrums of the feckless control your leadership.

OK. Following on from yesterday we need to look at what leadership is. It is not being that concerned about the feelings of those below. we are clearly taught not to be tyrants, but to train our children, and treat our servants with respect.

Those of us who find themselves in leadership — and it is one of those things that mean I don’t take leadership positions — have to expend as much energy in building and supporting the team of people around us as we do in directing the job. It’s one of the things I had to learn when I moved into a consultant role at work. Most preachers have to deal with this, and most preach against our own errors

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I believe that this concept came about to fight the tendency of some who lead to lord it over their teams. My church works with this heavily – it’s not because we don’t all know who’s in charge, it’s something they use to remind themselves to dwell in humility, that they’re ultimately serving Jesus, and to keep the “I’m the boss, I do what I want!” thing in check. I have seen that latter take down church after church – it is a needed check.

And I believe that’s why we hear it from the pulpits, especially in large churches. The power and adulation that the preachers get is insane. The “leader guys” can default to treating their wives like underlings instead of beloveds and get annoyed at our weaknesses (raise your hand if you’re married to a command guy and this has never happened to you…). They *need* the check of being willing to be servants. I mean, how many of them aren’t command guys? So of *course* they see their own weakness and sin and preach to that, never thinking that someone would be foolish enough to try to take it the wrong way. No one in their immediate circle is that stupid!

And then some woman in the pews turns ’round and tells her husband to stop being so mouthy, ’cause he’s her servant. I’m sorry, that’s just twisting things. Humans are very good at that.

So thus, the point of this lovely blog written by our friend E. This is where you get untwisted. And where the women speak to the women with truth and without a lot of sugar-coating.

We have all swallowed the feminist kool aid, to a greater or lesser extent. As if wives do not have authority. They have: they always have — over their children, and in many times, over slaves or servants or apprentices (there are differences: the apprentice and the child are expected to be trained and leave: the servants not). The translator used bond servants here — referring to those compelled by law to serve.

And we are taught to respect Authority as if to God. We are not to take clear teaching and twist it so that the person who should be doing the work is trying to boss from below. Or turn leaders into the servants of servants, instead of those who coordinate the mission, the task.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

(Ephesians 6:1-9 ESV)

One of the things I like about Elspeth’s place is that it is a space where women can discuss things plainly, and the women who run it are far to realistic about themselves to pretend they are perfect.


The issue that I have (and that I am cautioning against here)
is the idea that personality traits that skew towards the way females tend to be are held up as Christian virtues.

Malleability, conformity, being pleasing to a fault, things like that. In the church today these are painted as meekness and humility when they are often serious weaknesses which hinder our ability to walk out our God-given calling as leaders. This is as true for mothers as it is for husbands/fathers/pastors and the like, but when husbands and pastors buy into this, the results can be quite disastrous.

One of the things my father used to say is that a man has to stand for what’s right even if he has to stand by himself. You have to have convictions. And you have to take seriously your responsibilities as man of the house. Sometimes that means your kids aren’t going to be pleased or even your wife.

I’m not sure how any of those things is antithetical to Christian character unless you subscribe to the notion that love means you never have to make a hard choice or take a firm stand or tell your wife that she is wrong, but always be willing to twist yourself like a pretzel to be whatever the heck it is her fickle feelings demand that you be on a particular day. Cause that’s love, right?

No. There is authority and structure in this world. It can be abused: indeed it is frequently, and when that happens it can be disastrous, to the church (which was the point Hearthrose made in the first comment) and to the family as a whole. A family is not a democracy. Children, particularly infants, do not get a vote. As the children grow, they take more responsibility under direction and, with training and prayer, gain the faith of God and become responsible citizens.

We have a responsibility, if we have authority, to remember that the children or subordinates we are accountable for, to God and Society, are themselves as worthy of the love of God as we are. We have a responsibility to be gentle.

But being gentle requires strength. Raising children requires consistency. And giving into the tantrums of the feckless, in the family or in society, is no way to train, no way to correct bad and destructive behaviour, will not allow the other to grow into Godliness, and is unloving.

Let us be trapped in marriage.

Scripture is clear, and it is good. What we here is important, and how we manage it is very important. Now we are told all too often that Scripture is wrong because men wrote it and that is sexism. Or that it is outmoded. Or that our society has changed, and this leaves you at great risk. Among men, the risks are now reaching the point where many advise men simply not to even date, for there be unilateral divorce (“Frivorce”), dragons and lawyers.

If your goal is to avoid frivoce at all costs, my “counsel” would be never marry ANYONE. MGTOW is the ONLY way. Yes, even that 23-y/old virgin college grad can frivorce your @ss. You bet she can. All marriage is marriage 2.0 until they amend the Constitution of the United States outlawing all unilateral divorce at the state level.

If your goal is to minimize the risk of frivoce, but you MUST marry (as you are “burning”, desire children, and jerking off to free pron just doesn’t do it for you anymore) my “counsel” would be marry a college grad with a SL-count (that is a student loan count) of $0. That might even be MORE important than her N-count.

If you must get married and you don’t care about frivorce, my “counsel” would be to see a professional counselor as you are medically insane.

What we here and what society tells us matters, for that is how we adjudge what is right, and by those rules we will be judged. If we are honest, by those rules we have failed. Our current tendency to blame others does not help, and the legal system we have does not help.

But within the church there are clear duties for husbands and wives. The duty of the wife is to submit in all things, the duty of the husband is to care and to love her. Many people hate half of this passage: there are many teachers who will teach the male part (You must love that woman, regardless of what she does, because scripture commands and she does not need to love you unless you are doing all this) or the female part (All wimmenz must submit to their husbands: the Mennonites are the correct model. Regardless of how he loves). But the context matters. Consider the verses above. We are not to be like this world. Including in how we act with those we are wedded to.

And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

(Mark 4:21-25 ESV)

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Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

(Ephesians 5:15-33 ESV)

This is one passage. We are told to be sober, to use our time wisely, and then wives are to submit… for it is a model of how the church submits to Christ. Husbands are to love, sacrifically, for that is how Christ loved us.

Clear scripture. Balanced. Wise.

Hated in this generation. The feminists hate this because it talks submission, and continuity, and respect. And the Men’s rights people hate it because you have to treat women decently, and not as objects for seduction and abandonment. The elite hate this because this makes couples into families, and families self organize without the micromanagement of the state and the attendant fees.

As if marriage is not a one way thing. As if divorce does not damage your soul, your spouse, your finances, your future and your children.

We are not to be part of this world. And we have accommodated all too much. Yes, this teaching is hard, and we want to stop our ears. Yes, we are fallen. Yes, our society will think we are crazy. But if we marry, let us be trapped in it.

UPDATE.

Sister Elspeth understands this and she writes in a new post.


The chief error of the Focus on the Family types is a common one
, of mistaking correlation with causation. Because single men without wives and children tend to work a little less diligently and play a little bit more, they assume that women civilize men. They then compound the error further by prescribing that we turn the reins of the marriage over to the woman’s superior spiritual leadership by calling the head of the wife her “servant leader”. Another mistake. My husband isn’t my servant. He serves Christ by leading me.

She has this alright. When you love another, you do things for them: you need to provide for them, and you can’t just make teh 20-30k[1] you need to live well as a single bloke. Her post is commended.

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1. Captain capitalism reckons the number is 15 – 20 K in the US, but I live in NZ.

We need to name bitter truths to mature, or the problem of proxy measures.

I was reading last night: an introduction by Chuck Colson to “Smart Sex” by Jennifer Morse. Which is a goodish book: she understands that families make society, and argues (from an economic and libertarian perspective) that traditional sexual mores are good for kids, and society, for society requires self disciplined and mature citizens.

But I started thinking “Proxy Measures”. It is easy to count who is married: marriages are registered, they are public ceremonies. But the qualities required to make a marriage work, such as fidelity, charity, and sufficient self-reflection to forgive and love the broken parts of your spouse, as they love yours, need to be there first. And this requires that you are grown up. For a Christian there are some more restrictions, such as being of the faith.

I thought it was like houses: it’s not owning the house which predicts a functional life, it is having the self-discipline to save a deposit and to budget for the mortgage. Our society is set up in such a way that marriage is fungible and we are told to build our lives on the quicksand of feelings, not on covenant and deep trust, supported by society and the church.

They think it’s a shortage of marriage. They claim that if guys would just marry all these women, we wouldn’t have problems like divorce, bastardy, welfare mamas, rampant porn, and premarital sex. All these problems are laid at men’s feet: We wouldn’t have divorce if men would be nice to their wives and give them what they want. We wouldn’t have bastardy and welfare queens and premarital sex if men would just keep their dicks in their pants. Porn would be eradicated if bad men wouldn’t use it. They gloss over the real causes, like women initiating the vast majority of divorces, women making poor sex partner choices. And one has to point out that the reason most men use porn is because they’re not attractive enough to attract even a homely or plain woman; even after trying. These men are a decade behind because no one ever taught them about intersexual attraction or even told them they needed to learn about it or work on it.

At this late date, you’re not going to get a systemic solution, because even its advocates don’t want to do what it will take, and that’s complete nationwide overhaul of family law. Abolition of no fault divorce. In the event of divorce, children go to the father. If the divorce is the woman’s fault, she takes no assets other than her personal belongings. Of course, none of this will happen. So conservatives and tradcons and Christian activists like Stanton are left with agitating for systemic solutions which cannot possibly be instituted. So they agitate, and make it look like they’re doing something about the problem without actually doing something about the problem.

Deti, who was commenting at Dalrock’s place, was talking about the church. About things that should not occur, and should not need to be named. Because the church should be regulating its own.

Christ calls whom he will to the Kirk or invisible church, but the Church visible is not a compulsory organization. One does not need to belong — and in many societies belonging to the church leads to stigma gossip and shame, even persecution and death. If you say you are of Christ, you should keep the rules of Christ.

And this is where we are all challenged. For at times we want to follow our desires, our greed, our passions.

But to covet is idolatry, and impurity should not be among us.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

(Ephesians 5:1-14 ESV)

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I am male. I’m fully aware that many women are attractive, and that it is our consciences (and the fact that most men who like women don’t want to make them cry) that means that I don’t troll among the LBD that are in the night clubs patronized by the academics, office workers and nurses in my town. In manosphere terms, I’m a lousy alpha, because I don’t bother playing. I want a wife, not a harem.

However, on this, and many other issues, the Law of Love stops us. The expansion of this, shown in the epistles and in the Mosaic law, act like rails on a bridge: they give us safety guidelines while giving us freedom on how to act. As a loving parent has few rules (For you must keep rules consistently) with his children, so God gave us a few rules, and stated them plainly.

For our own good.

We have seen what happens when we take the rails away. We now have a generation that were neglected from infancy (when their mother placed them in child care to return to her career), abused — if not by the now divorced mother’s boyfriends, by the school system that micro regulated behaviour and medicated those what could not comply — and we have now a fragile generation of young people who faint (without even the Victorian excuse of a corset stopping their breathing) at the sight of any rules or barriers while trying to micromanage society so all hazards are removed.

The delusions of this time are as great as the evil. And we are not to be part of this. When we, as a Church do become part of this, we lose our witness, and then are left wondering where the young have gone, forgetting that we are now lying, and the young require truth to mature. particularly when it is bitter.

A birthday and a funeral.

This morning there is a birthday in the family and a funeral. One of the friends of my family, whom I grew up with, is being buried, and the day of celebration is admixed with grief. Half my family, those who were close will be there, and one of my sisters has used social media to get many of the friends from our childhood to the church.

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I am neither a philosopher nor a theologian, but I am a mother, and I have chosen to raise my child in a religious community with religious values. He feels he is a part of something and surrounded by like people who care about him. We talk about the saints who came before us, we sing the Agnus Dei as people did for centuries. Religion meets different needs in different people, but I’m not confident I could manufacture anything out of whole cloth that would be as relevant or inspirational as what Christian tradition offers. And it would not be a connection to my ancestors or their lives.

From what I’ve seen over the past 43 years, attempts to bypass the negatives of “organized religion” while still maintaining its “spiritual” benefits have failed, and the Boomers had the benefit of being raised in a functional society with actual rules and obligations. I’m not foolish enough to think I could do better on my own.

And the text today can be seen as commenting on itself. For religion is human, and a comfort, but left to ourselves we become unwise in this. Our faith is more than religion. The Pagans have religion, and the very long text we have is a commentary on this. They have the form of religion but lack the power.

And as a result, they are abandoned to their instincts and feelings, making not a new mystery but their individual hell, as unique as another pair of jeans from the manufacturer.

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

(Isaiah 44:9-20 ESV)

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

(Ephesians 4:17-32 ESV)

We do have idolatry in this world: we call it ideology. But what we need to do is look today at how this works in our time. The obvious things are people who think that their impurity (we all have some) is perfectly OK.


The SJW mobbing up you see here is why Facebook and Twitter are dying
, and why the hip kids rely on Snapchat and Kick to share things through photos, tags and Snapchat Stories.
Why? Because they are ephemeral – gone in 24 hours – and as private as you want to them to be. No way to get SJW flamed like you can with a Tweet or status update, which can be tagged and retweeted, and which can go round the world in hours,living on even if you pull them down, getting you fired, your data doxxed, you banned by a self-appointed Twitter tribunal, and threats to your family and clients far more hateful than whatever un-PC thing you unfortunately typed..

Sounds like a secular version of the inquisition, does it not? These people do not acknowledge that there are ways we ought to live, in obedience to Christ

For as we put our idols away, so we should put our sins. But we do not.

Feminist Degree will always lose to scripture.

Well, this is taken from a post by Dalrock which links to another post by a devout man that lists 10 types of women that a man should not marry. There are over six hundred comments so far, and the tweetage rage from the Christian feminists slash SJW is… frenzied. Shark jumping frenzied.

Screenshot - 190115 - 18:44:24For younger men, I would agree with the bulk of the list. A young man of God needs to find a wife who is a Christian, not career minded, not child hating, not a feminist, not divorced or a baby momma, a virgin, and with a fervent devotional life and (missed by the author) head over heels in love with him.

I have some issues for those of us who have been through the mill and are now divorced, for various reasons, given the antichristian family courts we have in most countries.  I’m reformed, and the party who has been left by an unbeliever for licit reasons (adultery and abandonment) can remarry, for the other party is as dead for them. (I would allow abuse, perhaps: I accept that a person who has repented and lived as a single person in celibacy for some time can remarry, after some time, but this is allowed for the fact our hearts are hard)

But that is not what I want to comment on. It is the argument to authority. Please note that the commentator’s handle is Juliet Davis.

as someone with a Doctorate in Theology and Philosophy, and a Christian, there are so many laughable things about this it’s difficult to know where to start. The unbeliever is probably the only sound theological suggestion because people who don’t share a faith will possibly struggle to go in the same direction in life.

I love it when people start quoting the Bible chapter and verse because they miss out all the interesting things like using the death penalty for working on the holy day. Using a quotation to support your argument lends no credence to it – it just means that another human being shared your opinion. St Paul, and all the contributors of the Bible that the Catholic Church chose to include, are men. It is written during a time in history, and in a society, very different from our own. In today’s world we are lucky to find love.

Well, Juliet, some comments that will ensure that I am on your avoid list.

  1. Your degrees mean nothing. Yes, they were won with tears and exhaustion. Yes, the thesis was exhausting. Yes, it was five years of your life. But compared to scripture, they are nothing. I have a number of degrees, and they got me into the community of scholars: what matters more is my papers and my citation statistics. I’m not sure if you have a PhD, or a Th.D, or both: but both mean little beyond your thesis. Your thesis topic would tell me more.
  2. Your disavowal of creeds makes me wonder what breed of Churchian you are. Ah, you say, but I said I was a Christian. Yet you criticize scripture. Scripture is the rule of the Church. It contains the very data on which our salvation is formed: including that the just penalty for breaking the laws of God — which we all have inside us — is to die. This is shown in the Mosaic law. You criticize scripture as being written by men (using feminist tropes) as if this deconstruction can preserve the Gospel. Need I remind you that Christ either rose from the dead, giving us hope for our salvation, or he did not, leaving us the most pitiable of deluded fools? You cannot have the form of Christianity and deny the power of the gospel.
  3. Shaming does not work. Arguing from authority, or shaming people since you state you have authority, is circular. You need to show data. You need to cite evidence. The standard way theologians have done this is to cite scripture, carefully, respectfully. Saying “I is a theologian and you are wrong” does not work in this era: many laymen have read theology, are equally educated, can parse Greek if not Hebrew and will argue right back.  From Dalrock’s comment stream:

    I love the classic appeal to authority from the chick with the doctorate in theology. Nothing screams churchian feminazi like a doctorate in theology.

    Shame works both ways. Disavowing Data leaves you with your feet firmly in the ether.

Juliet, arguing from authority has always been a weak argument. Arguing from feelings has been not much better (which I note you did not do) and arguing from ideology indicates that you are placing your ideology before scripture.

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And, given the progressive memes, consider, carefully, if you are living contrary to the evils inherent in this world, or living in a manner that supports them.

Visible Church, invisible Kirk.

I am not that concerned about the fate of the Church. For the church is Christ’s and the Church is one. Those of are of Christ are called to him from every nation and from every church. But not one church is perfect.

I tend to write in shorthand here, and I have used the Scots word Kirk to refer to the church frequently. I generally mean those who are of Christ, in every church, not just those who are members of a congregation. I tend to use the word Church to refer to congregations, to buildings, to what we can see now.

In all its broken state, and corruption. the politics of the church have been a sorry state and a poor witness as long as I can recall. For speaking the truth all too often has been without love, or if given in love, has been heard as offensive.

As if the exquisite tenor of our most base feelings should rule us and the church. This is not true teaching, and not of Christ.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”

(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

(Ephesians 4:1-16 ESV)

Hooper's inlet, taken by the photog.
Hooper’s inlet, taken by the photog.

I do not think the doctrine of the church invisible and church visible is unique to the reformed church. It is clearly Catholic: it is clearly Orthodox. The Kirk is those of Christ: we know there have been bishops appointed by various rulers whose agenda was that of the State, and there have even been heretical popes[1]. Luther called the Borgia popes Antichrist, and he was probably correct: they spent far too much on a big gilded Basilica for the glory of their renaissance reign, and cared not enough for the Church, and not at all for the Kirk.

We need to find a unity among those of us called by Christ, and we need to tolerate the cross-grained stubbornness of those around us. We must, on these issues, be charitable, for we cannot perceive the state of another’s soul.

Perhaps the most succinct and the best statement of the church as invisible and visible is found in the Westminster Standards. Chapter 25, “Of the Church,” states: “The catholic or universal church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all. The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation” (sections 1, 2).

Reformed theologians emphasize that this distinction does not mean that God has two separate churches. Indeed, they assert that Jehovah has founded one church, that Jesus has only one bride, people, church, or body. Our Lord does not have two churches but only one. The terms “invisible” and “visible” are used to describe two distinct aspects of the one church; or, to put it another way, the church is considered from two different perspectives. It is not that there are two separate air tight categories with one group on heaven and another on earth. On the contrary, there is a great overlap between both categories. All genuine believers are members of the invisible church whether they are living in heaven or on earth, whether they are alive or dead (i.e., have died physically). Not all professing Christians, however, who are members of the visible church, are members of the invisible church. Some people who make a profession of faith and are baptized are hypocrites. Such people do not truly believe in Christ (thus are never truly united to Him by faith) and are not part of the invisible church.

A few years ago I had to counsel trainees who faced this question in their specialist examinations.

“A psychiatrist in the community is like a carp in a rice field. Discuss”

The question was poorly worded, and alluded to Mao saying a revolutionary in a village should be like the carp in a rice paddy — there but not seen. Since most people sitting the examination did not have any knowledge of this, they did not give the answer the examiners wanted.

Those who are of Christ swim in our communities and in our churches. We cannot see them: they probably don’t blog, for blogging requires a certain snarkiness. Let us pray that we are part of that fold.

For functionally, those of the kirk agree on more than they disagree on. They can meet, and disagree, but continue to care for each other . It is the Secular world that assumes that everything is correct, and our thoughts must be united, in a form of lock-step. It is the secular world that wants to merge churches, perhaps hoping that they can poison the faith of the remnant.

But now this: Christ calls his own. And without him, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.

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1. Mundabor has an excellent page on this very subject, from which I found this link.

How the boomer SJWs are mostly wrong.

I’m a fairly fast reader. While waiting for a flight down to Dunedin and on the flight I read Thom Hartman’s book “The crash of 2016″ from cover to cover.

He takes an idea which is fairly true: that over eighty years we forget the errors of the previous long generation, combines it with another true idea, that the very rich use depressions to acquire assets, and then makes a conspiracy out of it.

He claims all this dates back to an obscure memo, and that the USA has followed that to a hollowing out of the state. He is correct again that the state is hollow and collapsing, but in his tendency to blame the right for this (as if a vast right wing conspiracy exists, and I take money from the Koch Brothers) reflects a truth he did not state.

Paranoia, blaming others, externalising the responsibility for errors, is a sign you are defeated, or are about the be defeated. We saw this with Nicky Hagar publishing “Dirty Politics”, claiming there is a conspiracy between the leader of NZ Tories and Tory bloggers.

I do not know that much about US politics, but NZ politics… I know enough of the players. And the main person accused of being in the conspiracy, one Cameron Slater, is controlled…. Nah. The data that has come out includes the PM’s staff telling him to back away from stories. Slater pushed back. There is no conspiracy. There needs be no conspiracy.

The suggestion there is a conspiracy indicates a sense of failure in the Left.

It is at least well-understood that there are seasons in history, but they seem to have a mysterious, implacable dynamism that mere humans can only hope to ride like great waves, hoping to not get crushed. In the background of the present disturbances are not only the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, but the imminent collapse of the machinery that boosted up the greater Islamic economy of our time: the oil engine. It was oil and oil alone that allowed the populations of the Islamic world to blossom in a forbidding desert in the late 20th century, and that orgy of wealth is coming to an end. So will the ability of that region to support the populations now occupying it.

The violent outreach of Islamic wrath is actually a symptom of the region’s death throes, already obvious in the disintegration of one nation-state after another across North Africa and the Middle East. Saudi Arabia will only be one of the last dominoes to fall because it is so stoutly girded by desperate American support. The current theory is that Saudi Arabia can ride out $40-a-barrel oil because of its built-up cash reserves. But that seems mostly a schematic idea. Long before Saudi Arabia goes absolutely broke, it will face terrible internal political strife between the clans and the princes who happen not to be descendants of Muhammad ibn Saud — which represent only 15,000 of the roughly 29 million in the kingdom, and only about 2,000 of those actually in the power loop. King Abdullah is past 90 years old, a mere bit of fragile baling wire holding the whole thing together. Islamic violence is fierce as it is because the Islamic world is actually losing its mojo.

So, I disagree with Hartman’s main thesis. I disagree with his politics. But I agree with description of the USA infrastructure as dirty and shabby: one can be a conservative and support a welfare state, and one can run a welfare state with a reasonable income tax rate if you get rid of the complexities of tax law (Here NZ speaks from experience) but that alone does not solve social problems.

I’d go further. The USA has institutionalized structural problems, due in part to its racial politics, that are greater and more disabling in the long term than the Commonwealth countries. Yes, NZ, Australia, the UK and Canada have a state based health care system — with marked waiting lists. I avoid it, even though I work in it, because when I need problems dealt with I want no delays: I have to get back to supporting a family. Yes, all commonwealth countries have disadvantaged minorities, and this has got worse, not better for them, as their access to an income without work has increased. And yes, we all have problems with minorities that do not integrate and exploit the systems we have — from the Islamics to our suburbs of despair.

But we have still, just, a basic loyalty to each other. We are not divided against each other: we are too small to have a complete infrastructure of propaganda aimed at only one skin colour, gender, or religion. The US is that big, and the politics of the country (encouraged by gerrymandering, which is illegal in the commonwealth) encourage people into factions which are farmed for votes as efficiently as a southern landowner managed his sharecroppers.

This is not a problem of the right: it is a problem of the left. If you want to blame the Republicans for allowing bankers to be feral, you should also blame the Democrats for insisting that bad home loans are given, as if the result (home ownership) leads to the virtue (financial prudence).

Hartman talks about the neofeudalism of the republicans, but he does not see that he himself is a member of the same class, and follows the same structure: the Democrat party is no more for the workers than the Republican party is for small business. Both are about supporting the state, and keeping control among a meritocracy. And that is what is fragile.

So Hartman is incomplete. He sees a coming collapse, but his analysis is distorted, either by his politics or his sense of existential despair. The rage of the left is akin to that of the Islamics: their ideology (which would be considered a “total system” and akin to a religion by Popper) is failing.

What will replace it is either collapse or Christ.


On a recent Sunday, my family and I only showed up 10 minutes early for Mass
. That meant we had to sit in fold-out chairs in the spillover room, where the Mass is relayed on a large TV screen. During the service, my toddler had to go to the bathroom. To get there, we had to step over a dozen people sitting in hallways and corners. This is business as usual for my church in Paris, France.

I point this out because one of the most familiar tropes in social commentary today is the loss of Christian faith in Europe in general, and France in particular. The Wall Street Journal recently fretted about the sale of “Europe’s empty churches.”

Could it be, instead, that France is in the early stages of a Christian revival?

Yes, churches in the French countryside are desperately empty. There are no young people there. But then, there are no young people in the French countryside, period. France is a modern country with an advanced economy, and that means its countryside has emptied, and that means that churches built in an era when the country’s sociological makeup was quite different go empty. In the cities — which is where people are, and where cultural trends gain escape velocity — the story is quite different.

But back to our parish. Is our pastor some outlier with megawatt charisma? In terms of flair, he would win no public speaking contests. But there is something that sets him apart from many of the Catholic priests my parents’ generation grew up listening to: he is unapologetically orthodox. He is tactful, but unafraid to talk about controversial topics. He will talk about a lackadaisical approach to the liturgy being a kind of unfaithfulness to God. A few weeks ago, I even got to see something for the first time in my life: a Catholic priest preaching about Hell.

But there is no rigoristic hectoring at our parish. Our pastor will stress the importance of living in accordance with the Church’s rules, and in the same breath say something like: “Is the real problem in the Church people who are divorced and remarried, or people who are homosexual? No, the real problem is people who go to church every Sunday and are not willing to see everyone as a child of God, are not willing to welcome them.”

My life, my riches, and my honour are on Christ. Let us pray for revival: for the secular world, (which includes Islam) has disappeared down some sort of rabbit hole, seeing despair as a result, and calling it good.

We are all in the mission field

I was sitting in the back of church with the photographer. She has friends in a Baptist Church, one I had never been to: my usual Kirk is in recess. And up stood this 85-year-old man to preach. He talked about how he had been converted at 16: he had been to a church camp primarily for the beach, but God called him. And he was called to India as a missionary, and then to England to run the mission. He had now returned to his home church from his youth.

At this time my ears perked up. For he gave a very simple sermon. The first part was that the mission field has changed: one cannot just arrive in India with a passport and preach: you need a foundational job: the church now has more missionaries from Korea and Brazil and (in his case) Southern India who are working transculturally within the same society.

His second point is while this has happened, Christendom has imploded. If we thought we had a security in our society, and our society was going to be one in which Jerusalem could be made, we were grossly deluded. Christendom was sacrificed for the idol of multiculturalism, and in tolerance of other faiths, including a theology of no faith and nihilism.

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His third point was that God has not changed. The way we preach — he included the internet, radio, TV, and at 85 was using a tablet for his sermon notes — has changed. But God has not changed. Our need for God has not changed. And the gospel has not changed.

Paul made this point a couple of millennia ago.

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.

See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.

(Hebrews 6:17-7:10 ESV)

Why does the Author of Hebrews get so complicated? Why does he go back before the law and covenant of Moses? Because we need to know that the word of God is reliable and true, that we can stake our lives on it completely.

For the preacher this morning is correct. Our salvation is nothing we have done, and it has very little to do with religion. If India had a deficit of religion there would be no need for missionaries. If the gospel was merely a deficit in wisdom it would not be needed for all nations, for wisdom is distributed, like religion, widely. The gospel is about the completed work of Christ. He has already gained the victory, including in our lives.

And, as the preacher reminded this morning, we are all in the mission field.

The Gospel is not about the inner light.

I started reading one of the book (dead three) collection we have acquired over the holidays. For it was interesting: the argument he made was that the Gospel– the good news, of our salvation, is being drowned in our church by religion, and this is not a new thing, as Chesterton once wrote:

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It is commonly the loose and latitudinarian Christians who pay quite indefensible compliments to Christianity. They talk as if there had never been any piety or pity until Christianity came, a point on which any mediaeval would have been eager to correct them. They represent that the remarkable thing about Christianity was that it was the first to preach simplicity or self-restraint, or inwardness and sincerity. They will think me very narrow (whatever that means) if I say that the remarkable thing about Christianity was that it was the first to preach Christianity. Its peculiarity was that it was peculiar, and simplicity and sincerity are not peculiar, but obvious ideals for all mankind. Christianity was the answer to a riddle, not the last truism uttered after a long talk. Only the other day I saw in an excellent weekly paper of Puritan tone this remark, that Christianity when stripped of its armour of dogma (as who should speak of a man stripped of his armour of bones), turned out to be nothing but the Quaker doctrine of the Inner Light. Now, if I were to say that Christianity came into the world specially to destroy the doctrine of the Inner Light, that would be an exaggeration. But it would be very much nearer to the truth. The last Stoics, like Marcus Aurelius, were exactly the people who did believe in the Inner Light. Their dignity, their weariness, their sad external care for others, their incurable internal care for themselves, were all due to the Inner Light, and existed only by that dismal illumination.

The gospel does not have the role of religion. Religion is good, and a human thing. It consists of moral teachings and words of comfort. It tells us to listen to ourselves, to cultivate the spiritual.

Christ reduced the law of Moses to two commands: Love God and your neighbour. This was not new: the Pharisees taught this. The problem with religion is that we do not have the power to change ourselves, and that good and just moralism may inspire us, yet we cannot keep that which we know.

And that is why religion has words of comfort for those who err, and encourages us to cultivate our souls, to be disciplined, to be spiritual.

But the gospel is not spiritual. We are not called in Christ to earn our way to salvation in some for of asthenic discipline, or ecstasy of ritual. The work of the gospel is done.

Christ did it. It is not our doing. it is finished: it is done.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

(Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV)

What we have done, by trying to be nice, non condemnatory, inclusive, is that we have not taught that we are all sinners damned in front of a righteous God. No matter how good and pious we are, we err, and we live in a society, which, at all times and in all ages, institutionalizes injustice, bringing that society into disrepute.

The sin of the men of Sodom was their sexual perversity, but the sin of the women was their love of luxury, for which they tolerated the exploitation of the weak and the proclivities of their husbands.

What is unique about Christianity is Christ. What proves Christianity is the resurrection. Without that, the faith is naught.

And we tend to forget this. Which is why Paul prays that we have the courage to be reminded.