This interview of Budziszewski, one of Marvin Olasky's colleagues at University of Texas, is quite helpful--particularly in the context of reformed pastors and elders abdicating their authority in the civil realm, generally; and most recently with regard to sodomy and sodomite (non) marriage. But more on this later.
As one of those reformed pastors, I haven't yet nailed down where, exactly, I stand on natural law (and I know I'm pretty old to be writing that). Still, as we're surrounded by the crumbling foundations of the West, I'm gaining sympathy and think, regardless of the reader's own position, he'll profit from this interview and be better able to articulate the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all creation.
Of course, by posting this interview I'm not at all commending the recent (Easter) conversion of Dr. Budziszewski and his wife to Roman Catholicism.
Contra Neuhaus, Colson, and their comrades-at-ambiguity known as Evangelicals and Catholics Together, little things like the cult of Mary, the unique authority of Scripture, imputation, and justification keep getting in the way of rapprochement. Nor do I agree with Budziszewski's recommendation that Christians place a decreasing emphasis on the testimony of Scripture in witnessing to our culture, and a correlative increase in the testimony of natural law. In fact, there are a number of things I wish Budziszewski hadn't said. Still, there's much more I'm glad he said and find wise and helpful.
And while I'm at it, I am well aware how many readers of "World," and thus of Worldblogs, are Roman Catholic--in fact, here as I write, I find that a recent comment posted on this blog is by a dear brother in Christ who, many years ago, first introduced me to much of what I have come to hold dear in my life--a scepticism concerning the use of birth control to separate the unitive and procreative functions of the marriage bed; a parallel belief that children are one of God's chief blessings; a fatherly (and I must admit, somewhat haphazard) practice of praying over my children as they go to bed each night; a conviction that it is an act of piety and holiness to battle against false shepherds; a love of the writing of G.K. Chersterton and Joe Sobran; and so much more--all this happened one night when my wife, Mary Lee, and I sat for hours at John and Molly Archibold's dinner table, watching, listening, and learning. One night, and then we moved to Massachusetts and, decades later, the Archibolds moved from the Episcopal to the Roman Catholic Church. But we continue to love the Archibolds, and to look toward that day when we will have completely transparent fellowship in the Presence of our Lord.
Note: At the very bottom of the piecce, you'll find appended the extended section of Calvin's Institutes Budziszewski (briefly) quots in the first half of the interview.
The following was written over a year ago as my own personal mental discipline in response to a certain teaching elder within my own denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, coming out in a prominent national forum in favor of the repeal of all sodomy laws across our country. I have not published these thoughts on the blog or in any other forum. Now, though, I am putting them on this blog to assist others in fighting against this betrayal of God's Truth and the souls and lives of those vulnerable to sodomy. I would welcome E-mails from any who have additional sources or arguments to add strengthening this case.
Genesis 2:20-25 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." 24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
God ordained the nature and meaning of sexuality prior to the Fall, and no human authority may separate what God has joined together: sex is to be within species and heterosexual (between man and woman). This is a universal truth rooted in the Creation Order and therefore binding on all men across all time. This is the teaching of Genesis 2 and other texts having to do with sexuality, and marriage only builds upon what Genesis 2 declares.
Exodus 20:14 You shall not commit adultery.
As the Westminster Standards teach, sodomy is prohibited by the Seventh Commandment. If, despite the teaching of this Commandment, the man of God is justified in opposing and seeking the repeal of the civil authority's laws proscribing sodomy, are there any sins against this Commandment the civil authority may proscribe?
(Thanks to James) On this Election Day, here's an artifact of history from the editors of Touchstone, a Christian magazine I subscribe to and recommend. Originally run in 2003, this editorial is more pertinent today than it was five years ago. If you read nothing else, be sure to read the last two paragraphs...
Practical atheism revisited
Last week I came upon an editorial I wrote during the 2003 political season which seems to me even more applicable now. Today I would add that whatever one thinks about Senator Obama's plans for using government power to take money from those who have more of it and give it to those who have less, the social control which must be gained to make such things come to pass has never boded well for Christians in the countries where it has happened. The Gentiles, even--or perhaps especially--the religious ones, have not changed their opinions about people who regard them as morally unclean, nor will they fail to punish them for it when they gain sufficient power. What concerns them, I believe, is not so much that the poor be enriched, but that the middle classes be brought as low as possible by confiscation of their ethically significant wealth...
Over at the Poythress/Frame site my friend and coworker, Andrew Dionne, has added another essay by John Frame critical of the two-kingdom, all-clean-neat-unctuous-and-sanctious approach which increasingly dominates the theology of Westminster West.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 13, 2010 - 11:55am
(Tim) This piece ran in Eternity magazine back in June of 1984, in Dad's (Joe Bayly's) monthly column, "Out of My Mind." The sin of indifference Dad was condemning is the sin of reformed pastors and elders today. Some of us hide behind missional concerns and talk of contextualization; others behind talk of the spirituality of the Church; others two kingdom theology; others redemptive historical preaching; and there are those who make no effort at all to hide it. If nothing else, readers may understand David and I haven't fallen far from the tree. Dad was ordained to the Gospel ministry.
I should add that, when he wrote this, Dad had just served several years as Executive Director of Christian Medical Society, the national professional association of physicians with evangelical doctrinal commitments.
* * *
Our Reich of Indifference
"We castigate the apathy of Christians in Nazi
Germany-and ignore our own silence on today's holocaust of abortion..."
There is a sin of indifference. It is the sin that binds evangelicals
as the Lilliputians bound Gulliver, preventing us from exercising the
influence that God has given us in these years-years that are destined
to come to an end and may never be repeated.
To me, the outstanding example of indifference is in our reaction to
the great sin of abortion that is the shame of our nation...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 13, 2010 - 4:12pm
(Tim) One of our interlocutors posted a comment largely made up of a statement on a few matters issued by the faculty of Westminster Seminary in California. The purpose of the statement being posted in our comments was to make the point that WSC has no desire to disengage in areas where God's Word is under attack today. Reading it, though, I came away with the conviction that even this statement is an example of the very thing David and I have been concerned about. Here is one part of the WSC statement:
Concerning the Ordination of Women we believe:
That men and women equally bear the image of God and are to serve him with all their gifts according to his specific callings to them.
That from creation, men were given authority and ultimate leadership in the family and in the covenant community.
That Christ, as he makes clear in his Word, does not call women to the authoritative offices of teaching elder (minister) and ruling elder in the church and therefore the church may not ordain them to these offices.
This summary of Scripture's doctrine of God's Creation Order of Sexuality is defective...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 14, 2010 - 10:40pm
(Tim) One of the lines of error Darryl Hart was pursuing in a recent comment string here on Baylyblog was that emanation from a penumbra commonly referred to as "separation of church and state." Undoubtedly, Dr Hart and his two kingdom compatriots will judge this correction as an effort to restore those halcyon days of old when women were good looking, men were strong, children were just average, and America was Trinitarian Theist. Nothing could be further from the the truth.
We just don't want bad history to go uncorrected--even if it's bad history in the furtherance of a Lutheran cause. This, then, from a ruling elder named Brian Bailey.
* * *
"...our constitution does not recognize God, requires no religious belief for holding office, and separates church and state. How do you live in the U.S.A.?" -Darryl Hart
Dear Dr. Hart,
Which constitution are you referring to? If to the U.S. Constitution, it actually does recognize God: “Done in the Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven . . . .” (U.S. Const. art. VII.) Only one God could fit that description. But let's assume that's mere pious formalism...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 15, 2010 - 6:56am
(Tim) At a former church, the wife of the longtime Moderator of our Elders board used to get up from her seat and march out of the sanctuary if I mentioned the word 'abortion' in my sermon. This happened any number of times and it's inconceivable to me how I could be at all faithful to the Gospel here in the shadow of a major research institution without it being a constant in my ministry. Our world is so similar to the Ancient World the Apostles ministered within. Why would they live on the brink of death and we'd live lives of ease--unless, of course, we had come to a sophisticated knowledge of some of the nuances of Scripture they had missed. Help me! Where are those nuances? I'd love to find them. I'm very tired of suffering attacks.
This in from our Asian correspondent, Joel Linton, who with his Taiwanese wife, Judy, serves as a church-planter in Taiwan under the PCA's Mission to the World.
* * *
It's a comfort to remember that people walked out on Jesus...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 16, 2010 - 11:08am
(Tim) Our parents lived in Cambridge on Mass. Ave when they were first married. Dad was I-V's first staff worker there in New England (it was all his terrritory) and he and Mud (Mother) attended Park Street Church when Ockenga was in his prime. David, Nathan, and I bought our M.Divs at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and while living on Boston's North Shore, were on the most intimate terms with the city's best and brightest.
So I was interested to see the kind of vision being cast for the ministry
of the PCA there, now. Turns out the PCA has a congregation there called Citylife Church. The man leading Citylife's work is "Reverend Doctor Stephen Um" and, from the church's web site, here's how Dr. Um describes himself and summarizes his own philosophy of ministry on his congregation's web site:
Excellent comments, Ken, although I'd like to tweak your statement slightly: "Christianity is a threat to the existing religious (or cultic) order because it’s a call to turn from the our worship of the cult of the state to worship the One True Living God. Mind you: He has appointed a day when He will judge all men..."
In other words, let's acknowledge not only that the US Constitution does not establish separation of church and state, but also that there's never been a politas in history that's had separation of church and state. And those who reassure themselves they live in such a politas today here in these United States are deluded.
Among a host of things proving their error is the river of Molech’s blood we swim in each day. Millions of slaughtered children—a billion worldwide, now—proving precisely which god our state worships. His name is Molech, and we remain at ease in Wheaton and Escondido and St. Louis and Manhattan.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 18, 2010 - 8:01am
(Tim) Where have good card-carrying confessionally Reformed evangelicals shown more alacrity in signaling their commitment to keep their religion private than the matter of the meaning and purpose of God's Creation Order of sexuality?
Covenant Theological Seminary's professor of theology and ethics called for the repeal of anti-sodomy laws in a round-table with Christianity Today. It's fine for Christians to preach and teach against sodomy in the church, but what's the purpose of condemning it outside the church? We don't need these laws any more. Why make unbelievers live by Christian standards? I mean, think how divisive it is for our laws to say "No" to sodomy. Unbelievers can't live by God's Law anyhow, can they? Let's repeal these laws and let pagans be pagans. Gays shouldn't suffer just because they're gay.
So, today, I'd guess most Christians are two-kingdom, spirituality-of-the-church men when it comes to anti-sodomy laws. Sodom will be Sodom, after all, and our business is the Gospel.
As with sodomy, so with feminism. My years working with the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood drew to an end over the cheerful and carefully-cultivated silence of the Council over...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 19, 2010 - 8:32am
(David) I've been looking through Heidelblog, Modern Reformation and several of Darryl Hart's books trying to discern the dividing lines two-kingdom pastors observe in preaching and shepherding--and after several days of reading I'm more confused than when I began.
How does a pastor preach the Law to Christ's Kingdom without spillover into other kingdoms? How are we to preach God's Law so that the Christian understands God's demands without leading the unconverted to think he can keep the Law as well? How do we preach on cultural sins to Christians without addressing any kingdom beyond Christ's? How do we parse the person, dividing earthly citizenship from citizenship in the Kingdom of Christ? How do we parse the Law, applying it carefully in Christ's Kingdom yet avoiding its implications for the kingdom of man?
by David and Tim Bayly on February 20, 2010 - 6:38am
(Tim) About forty years ago, Dad published this article in his "Out of My Mind" column in Eternity. It's helpful to the godly trying to make sense of the 2-kingdom men in our midst. Where and how ought we to stand as we watch the oppression, not of negro slaves but unborn babies, today.
No generation of so-called Christians has ever lacked for careful theological distinctions that allow us to feel self-righteous in our cold silence towards the widow and orphan God commands us to love; to feel perfectly justified in looking the other way when we drive past the baby slaughterhouse on South College Avenue; to condemn others who engage in what we love to refer to as "the culture war" while we sleep well at night after leaving the drunk on the sidewalk outside our front door.
Titles and subtitles are precisely Dad's when the article first ran back in May of 1971, the month I graduated from high school...
I've previously said that advocates of a radical two-kingdom theology apparently see no limits to state authority over Christians and the Church in the civil sphere. Their second kingdom, the kingdom of man, rules with absolute authority over both. Moreover, when the Church seeks to apply God's Word to the civil sphere it is violating not merely civil authority but the will of God who grants civil authority its power. The only check God permits upon civil authority is natural law; applying God's Law to civil authority is denying the legitimacy of that authority.
Thus, the Church is to be silent before the world on the major cultural sins of our day. It should be as silent on abortion today as it ought to have been on prohibition in the early twentieth century--and believe me, as Darryl Hart has made clear in numerouscomments on this blog, the two are closely related social ills in his two-kingdom view. The Church may speak to Christians about such matters but not to the world. Before the world the Church speaks only of Christ, not of God's Law.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 21, 2010 - 8:55am
(Tim) Part of the work of pastors and elders in churches with military men is helping those men think through the morality of war, today. And lately, it's not been easy to say that the Christian man can enter any branch of the Armed Forces and accept any assignment.
Of course, we start with the Christian's opposition to carpet bombing and nuclear warheads. A basic commitment of historic Christian principles of just war has been the distinction between military personnel and civilians. No matter who orders them to do so, Christian soldiers don't kill civilians, intentionally.
There's also the matter of the mainstreaming of women in military deployments. This leads to at least two critical issues.
First, men going into the military must pick a branch of the service where they aren't going to have to live with gross temptations to fornication and adultery. Modesty matters to Christian men and women and this means the Marines are more likely a better choice...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 21, 2010 - 1:15pm
(Tim) Speaking of Shiphrah and Puah, here's Calvin on the godliness of these Hebrew midwives in rebelling against the unspeakable wickedness of Pharaoh demanding the slaughter of Hebrews' infants. It's clear Calvin would not be a 2-K man, today. TODAY.
* * *
Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other was named Puah; and he said, “When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” (Exodus 1:15-16).
The tyrant now descends from the open violence and cruelty which had availed nothing, to secret plots and deceit. He desires the infants to be killed at their birth; and commands the midwives to be the instruments of this dreadful barbarity.
We read of no such detestable example of inhumanity since the world began...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 22, 2010 - 5:10am
(Tim, w/thanks to Alan) Now that it's safe, movies are made and books written about the men and women who feared God and took action to save the lives of Jews during the Third Reich. Corrie ten Boom and Dietrich Bonhoeffer are the best-known in evangelical circles. Oskar Schindler was the inspiration behind Steven Spielberg's Academy Awards Best Picture, Schindler's List. Too, there's the relentless (and unjustified) attack on Pope Pius XII for his purported failure to defend the Jews.
But back when Hitler was still in power and the Jews were still being slaughtered, who then was making movies about Corrie ten Boom, Oskar Schindler, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer?
No one. Our Lord made it clear prophets don't get garlands until they're dead and buried.
And while, elsewhere on this blog, the debate rages over whether any pastoral prayer should include a petition that God our Father would cause our civil magistrates to repent of their hatred of justice and mercy and bring an end to the slaughter of untold millions of unborn babies they have presided over, there are a few heroes at work in our cities today...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 25, 2010 - 7:22am
(Tim) Here's Calvin's matter-of-fact statement commending the two-kingdom faithfulness of this servant of God in his rebuke of, not only the immorality, but also "all the wicked things" done by his civil magistrate. Clearly Calvin had no idea how careless he was being with the proper distinctions that must be made between what should never be said by God's "ministers of the truth" to secular authorities.
Some may want to go into long explanations of the precise limits and boundaries of a minister's authority and of distinctions that must be made between the calling of a prophet and a minister of the Word and Sacrament. But note Calvin's declaration that "all pious teachers ought to possess" this same moral courage in the face of the "all the wicked things" done by the civil magistrate.
Note also his statement that the "ministers of the truth" who are accepted by the "great and powerful" do not honestly serve God...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 26, 2010 - 7:42am
(Tim, w/thanks to Doug) Many of our readers have trouble understanding what's going on in the debate over the relationship of believers to the state that's been consuming this blog the past two weeks. Everything needs a context.
Here's a song written by a believer named Steve Taylor expressing his complicity in the execution by starvation carried out here in Bloomington, Indiana, at the hospital where many of us have given birth to our children, had our lives saved, and some of us work saving others' lives.
At the time, the Surgeon General was Presbyterian C. Everett Koop of Tenth Presbyterian Church...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 28, 2010 - 2:33am
(Tim) The oped piece by Nicholas Kristoff in today's Timesargues that liberals should cut evangelicals some slack on the compassion scale, recognizing they do a lot of what even secularists would recognize as good deeds. It takes him by surprise, but really it shouldn't. The Western world is living off the capital of godly men and women who, from the love of Jesus Christ, have loved their neighbor and done what is necessary to help him. AIDS patients and orphans, slaves, Jews under the Third Reich, disenfranchised black Americans, prisoners, the sick, small children working and dying as chimney sweeps, the hungry ad thirsty, the unborn...
But of course, not the unborn. Never ever the unborn.
This is the reason David and I bring these little ones up so often. Yes, there are many who pay lip service to the unborn, claiming to be opposed to abortion, personally, but to think it's a states rights issue. Or a religious issue: "While I'm personally opposed to abortion and think the fewer of them we have, the better; still, every child should be a wanted child and our Supreme Court has declared it's a woman's right to choose."
The unborn never quite make the cut as legitimate victims needing the protection of the civil magistrate. Lots of professed concern, but nothing approximating Righteous Job's snatching them from the jaws of the wicked...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 28, 2010 - 9:15am
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27).
(Tim) Comment #16 under Mr. Kristoff's blog follow-up to the oped piece he ran in the Times, today:
No church in the country has had a higher visibility in evangelical
leadership during the twentieth century than Boston's Park Street Church
where, for decades, Harold John Ockenga formed the consciences of
coming generations of evangelical leaders. Go back to the eighteenth
century and it's Park Street on Boston Common where William Lloyd
Garrison spoke, repenting of his colonization compromise on the slave
question, announcing his new commitment: "No union with slaveholders."
Before that, Park Street was central to the Sunday school
movement--another national work of the Christian social conscience.
to say that the sort of evangelicals tracing our theological heritage
back to men like Jonathan Edwards (who suffered in his second pastorate
for his unflinching defense of the native Americans in his small
village) have always been the bleeding edge of liberal when liberal
means loving and generous and, like good Job, snatching the innocents
from the jaws of the wicked.
To those who know historic--not
mass-market blowhard evangelicalism, the suggestion that President Bush
was a sea-change in our concern for the poor and disenfranchised is
humorous. Jim Wallis has never spoken for us...
In the deep South, Reformed people were adamantly opposed to any interference with the practice of black slavery and emphasized aspects of the tradition that favored confining the activities of the church to strictly "spiritual" issues. -George Marsden
(Tim) Where did R2-K Normative Withdrawalists come from? They like to claim the Apostolic Age, but the Apostles were persecuted and died at the hands of the civil magistrate, and it wasn't for their ministry of the Word and Sacrament during Lord's Day worship services. Certainly they can't trace their lineage back to Calvin's Geneva or Knox's Scotland. And they themselves deny a Puritan blood line and much of any affinity for Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards.
Some try to trace it back negatively, claiming it's the necessary lesson to be learned from certain errors of those who have given themselves to Christ's command to clothe the naked and feed the hungry. Men feeding the hungry and clothing the naked in the past were Quakers or suffragettes or Arminians, so there you have it: doctrinal heterodoxy proves the danger of Christians joining together to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.
Or it's bad when the church does it. Or bad when the pastor of the church does it. Or bad when the church and the pastor and the church officers do it. Or bad when someone preaches the necessity of doing it on a blog. Or bad when someone says its still normative today--the feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, that is--in such a way as to call into question justification by grace alone...
(Tim: this from Pastor Andrew Dionne) John Frame’s review of Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity ends with a summary of arguments from Horton’s work that cannot be justified by arguments from Scripture or classic Protestant confessions. Number seven from Frame’s list is this: “Preaching of the gospel must never use biblical characters as moral or spiritual examples. Nor must it address practical ethical issues in the Christian life.”
In Christless Christianity, we read the following helping us understand why Dr. Horton...
(Tim) Since Christless Christianity has come in for some knocks, here, I want to post this excerpt forwarded by Pastor Andrew Dionne having to do with the Christian approach to slavery. Still, the approach commended by Dr. Horton in the second paragraph is not what developed here in these United States as the spirituality-of-the-church, nor the R2-K Normative Withdrawal the Spirituality-of-the-Church has morphed into.
* * *
Surely the abolition of the slave trade was a noble work, yet it is interesting that in Britain it was not the church as an institution that abolished it but Christians who had been shaped by the church’s ministry and held public office in the state. When William Wilberforce came to John Newton for advice on whether he should enter the ministry, Newton encouraged his friend to pursue politics instead. It was as a member of Parliament that Wilberforce loved and served his neighbor, benefiting from the ordinary means of grace that Newton ministered to him. The church preached God’s transcendent law and gospel, and her children pursued their cultural mandate in their secular vocations. Thank God that Newton was a pastor and Wilberforce was not!
I often wonder how American history might have turned out differently if the churches in the South had disciplined members who held slaves...
(Tim) This just posted as a comment by Craig French. Never read it before, but it puts into words a conviction David and I've had for quite a while, now. Thank you, Craig.
remind ourselves that the Catholic righteousness by good works is
vastly preferable to a protestant righteousness by good doctrine. At
least righteousness by good works benefits one’s neighbor, whereas
righteousness by good doctrine only produces lovelessness and pride.
(Tim) Lest anyone who's been watching the debate with our R2-K brothers think they're making much ado about nothing, check out this NYTimes piece about the various ways churches in the Pacific Northwest are replacing Father God with Mother Earth. Millwood (Washington) Community Presbyterian Church, for instance, holds a very successful Greenies market in their church parking lot where deeply spiritual beef and sanctified vegetables are sold.
When the city fathers came to the church and told them to stop hosting the market or start paying taxes, the church started paying taxes. Pastor Craig
Goodwin explained it this way:
“It’s like we’ve got more going on in our parking lot than we do within
the walls of the church...."
Jones made a valiant
effort, but was doomed to failure. These ordering principles
written and adopted by Wheaton's Education Department are indefensible,
particularly for a school claiming to be under the authority of the Word
of God. There's barely a hint of that commitment in this piece of
Yet this is not just propaganda. Here we
have the document used to vet Wheaton faculty hires as well as Education
majors seeking teacher certification. The Conceptual Framework
has teeth. The last third of the document is titled "Performance
Expectations and Assessment of Candidates" and includes statements like
(We have) instituted a referral process for
identifying and assisting candidates who do not exhibit appropriate
dispositions to teach. This process is described in detail in the Unit
Assessment Plan. In essence, any professor may complete a referral on
any candidate who, in the professor’s judgment, does not exhibit the
appropriate dispositions to teach. The ramifications of such a referral
include both remedial and punitive aspects.
course, no one wants Wheaton's Ed. Department to pass on for
certification men and women lacking the knowledge or gifts to teach. But
read the earlier two-thirds of the document and it's apparent Wheaton
defines "appropriate dispositions" by a student's ability to silence his
biblical conscience in the context of the toxic, anti-biblical
multiculturalism pervasive throughout our public schools. The entire
document is an exercise in teaching Christians how to go along to get
“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way" (Luke 6:26)
"Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name" (Matthew 24:9).
Taking the measure of how Wheaton's Department of Education will implement their Teacher Education Program Conceptual Framework and what kind of Christian witness it would allow Wheaton students to have and still be certified requires seeing the increasingly narrow constraints applied through these three "goals/outcomes related to social justice" spelled out on page four.
The first outcome required of the students is that they "work effectively with all children and their families regardless of race, creed, religion, national origin, sexual preference, disabling condition, or capabilities." As Professor Rasmusen said under an earlier post, as long as "work effectively" is fairly defined and doesn't exclude the diversity of orthodox Christian thought and speech related, for instance, to sodomy and sodomites, we have no problem.
But anyone half alive in these United States today knows how "work effectively" is likely to be defined. As I said to George Marsden years ago when he was busy arguing that Christians should also have a place at the table (of the modern university), if they give us our place and we open our mouths about the slaughter of the unborn children all around us; or if we utter a single word about Adam being created first, and then Eve; we'll be removed. In a heartbeat, our place will vanish. Poof! It's gone.
So we move on to the second "goal/outcome related to social justice" required of students. They are "to ensure that diversity is respected and that candidates have the opportunity to work in diverse environments and with diverse colleagues and teachers." Now we begin to see how "work effectively" is defined by Wheaton's profs as they evaluate their students. The above diversities must be "respected." Of course we respect different races and national origins and disabling conditions and capabilities. No problem.
But would a student be "respecting" the diversity of sodomy or Islam if he presented a loving and graceful and merciful and cogent and truthful witness against it? If he taught the true history of expansion by Jihad...
"For every Baby Doe, there will be ten-thousand Grandma and Grandpa Does." -C. Everett Koop
"Can a man take fire in his bosom And his clothes not be burned? Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched? (Proverbs 6:27, 28).
"The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes. Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts. To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the LORD more than sacrifice. ...The violence of the wicked will drag them away, Because they refuse to act with justice." (Proverbs 21:1-3,7)
If the heart of the king is a river directed by the hand of God, much more so the hearts of the men leading our nation in Congress and the Senate. And despite the conniving claims of Emergelicals that Jesus would be for the nationalization of health care, I've been to Jerusalem and seen what turning one-sixth of the economy of these United States inevitably will produce.
My brother, David, and Pastor Curell and Doug Ummel and Joel Belz and Paul Fratiani and lots of others with your scribe were there five years ago in Pinellas Park, Florida, when our civil servants murdered Terry Schiavo. We saw it with our own eyes and we know the rule of law is gone in these United States. The civil magistrate has become the predator and he devours the lives of the weak and innocent and oppressed.
Make no mistake about it: there are many nice things about nationalized health care that will make it go down smoothly. I have a dear relative who finally will be able to get coverage without his serious pre-existing conditions ruling him out...
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) One more bit of evidence Calvinists are so busy defending the spirituality of the Church that only Roman Catholics have courage or interesting proposals for cultural reform. Check out this piece from InsideCatholic.com by Anthony Esolen titled, "Brothers, Sing On," arguing for single-sex education.
Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed. (Matthew 26:74)
(Tim) In one of his more recent comments, Darryl wrote that I'd called his "profession" into question. This is not true. I've nowhere questioned Darryl Hart's faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
So how could he think so?
My guess is Darryl can't understand how I could accuse a man of discouraging the holiness and sanctification of believers without considering that man doing the discouraging an unbeliever, himself. In other words, such an accusation is so serious that the one making it must be holding another far more serious accusation in abeyance.
Reading through the account of Passion Week from the Gospel of Matthew last night (as is our congregation's habit on Palm Sunday evening), we were confronted by the Disciples' utter failure as Jesus went to His death...
by David and Tim Bayly on March 30, 2010 - 12:25pm
(Tim) Ten years ago, I read this column by Joe Sobran. Joe's declaration of faith gave me joy, but what struck me, particularly, was this statement:
Great as Shakespeare is, I never lose sleep over anything he said. He
leaves my conscience alone.
Still today, I find myself wondering whether what's lacking in
Shakespeare is not also lacking in my own preaching? Do God's sheep leave my proclamation of the Word of God each Lord's Day
morning with easy consciences? Is their sleep always peaceful? If so,
what an unfaithful minister of the Gospel I am.
Then we hit Sobran's promotion of the Roman Catholic error of transubstantiation. If you think it scandalous that I'd give any space to Sobran's defense of transubstantiation, never fear. Think about this.
Jesus didn't say, "this wine which is poured out for you," "this wine is the new covenant in my blood," or "for as often as you eat this bread and drink this wine...."
Rather, He said:
“This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood" (Luke 22:20b). And the Apostle Paul said, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. (1 Corinthians 11:25-28).
Reformed Protestants have no need to fear the Roman Catholic dogma of transubstantiation. If their claim to hold to the literal meaning of these texts were true, it wouldn't be the wine, but the cup that becomes our Lord's blood. Have you ever tried to drink a cup?
by David and Tim Bayly on April 10, 2010 - 12:35pm
(Tim) Our country is filled with non-profit religious organizations
that call themselves a church and identify as “missional" or “Gospel-centered.” Such churches say they’re all about the Gospel, yet rarely do they speak of “good works,”
“righteous acts,” “proving to be Christ’s disciples,” or the holiness or
“sanctification without which no one will see God.” 
Usually, these churches claim this label in order to communicate that their leadership has made a conscious choice to focus on the entry point to the
Christian life. They’re more than happy to leave it to others to deal
with the deeper things of God—particularly those things they dismissively refer
to as “piety” or “doctrine. This is an old technique with deep ruts
across the prairie of twentieth century church history. For many decades, now,
men have been using the fruit of evangelism as justification for their neglect
Fifty years ago, a poem by Sam Shoemaker called “I Stand by
the Door” made the rounds of evangelical churches, and it remains a helpful
summary of this keep-it-simple philosophy of ministry...
(Tim) Readers will recall there was a Wichita man sentenced to life imprisonment for first degree murder, recently. He'd shot and killed the so-called doctor who'd become infamous for making his living off murdering babies of viable age.
What the media conspired to keep from us is that Kansas state law protects those babies--even at this late date. Or rather, Kansas legislators had passed a law they intended to protect those babies. Trouble was, the state's judicial authorities refused to enforce that law.
You know, like all the old westerns where the cattle baron's hired guns are killing off the farmers until The Loner Who Loves Justice arrives. Seeing all the blood, reluctantly he takes up his gun one last time. With the coward wearing the sheriff's badge hiding behind his desk, The Loner goes to work killing the Baron's hired guns; then finally, the Baron himself.
Where was Clint when Wichita really needed him?
The Man of Justice who actually showed up wasn't Clint Eastwood or John Wayne. He was no heartthrob causing Wichita's beauties to swoon...
(Tim) One of our Homeschooling couples was leaving church last Sunday morning and someone saw they were having an unusual moment of levity and he snapped this pic. At first when I saw it I thought the husband was pregnant, but then I realized he's just fat.
Sadly, this wonderful couple's tried and tried to open up their home for ministry, but every time they've invited someone over for one of their lutefisk dinners, they get turned down. It makes them very sad.
We think the people turning down their invitations do so at least partly because of their weird dress, but really it's not any weirder than the Pentecostals or Gothardites. If you have any suggestions, please send them to me privately. Thanks.
Woe to those who enact evil statutes And to those who constantly record unjust decisions, So as to deprive the needy of justice And rob the poor of My people of their rights, So that widows may be their spoil And that they may plunder the orphans.
Now what will you do in the day of punishment, And in the devastation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your wealth? Nothing remains but to crouch among the captives Or fall among the slain. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away And His hand is still stretched out. (Isaiah 10:1-4)
(Tim: This by Brian Bailey, an attorney and elder here at Church of the Good Shepherd) On October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the
Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Congress tacked
the hate crimes act onto the tail end of an already 646-page, $686 billion Department
of Defense bill.
Ahate crimes racket?
What is a federal
hate crime? “[W]hoever, whether or not acting under color of law, in any
circumstance described in subparagraph (B) or paragraph (3), willfully causes
bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous
weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury
to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin,
gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person”
commits a federal hate crime.
We can breathe a sigh of relief. We don’t plan to cause
homosexuals or cross-dressers “bodily injury,” and thus the statute could not
possibly apply to us. But . . . why this nagging doubt about the reach of the
hate crime act?
(Tim) I'm not making this up. Two days ago I had an hours drive in the middle of the day and turned on the radio. I'd read of Glenn Beck once a while back, picking up from the article that he's the first serious contender for the throne long occupied by Rush Limbaugh, but this was the first time I'd actually heard him.
Beck was opposing something he called "social justice," saying all the liberals in Christian and Jewish and Moslem churches had mounted an attack against him. But all of them are socialists, he said, and they're using talk of "social justice" to rid America of her precious liberties.
Parts of it set my teeth on edge. Yes, generally, the social justice rap is bad karma. And yet, do I really want a conservative talk show host sending his troops into churches to root out any doctrinal commitments their hero disapproves of? Later, brother David told me Beck is Mormon. It figures.
This just to relate the humorous part of the show...
(Tim) Yesterday, a friend sent me a satirical piece his son and
several friends had written about a bunch of new city church plants with
names like Elevation Church, Dust, The Line, Infusion Church, and
Austin City Life (see Howard Davis' comment, below). He commented, "What is really amazing is their unique
web sites all look alike (and) I bet all their unique worship services
are the same. And... they're all about being in the 'city.'"
reading many city
church web sites, it's clear such churches normally aren't missional if missional means faithfulness to Jesus' Great Commission commands. Most indicate no practice of rebuke, preaching God's Law, or calls to repentance. Instead, they prattle on about being "for the city" and they're positively chipper.
It's all about seeking common ground with
unbelievers. And if they mention God's perfections, it's only those
perfections that would be likely to make unbelievers feel good about
themselves and think God might not be so high and mighty and scary
after all. Christian faith and the Church are presenting as uniting believers
and unbelievers in the same brotherhood and sisterhood of man in and for the city. Convicting the world of sin and righteousness and judgment is out and assuring the world of our goodwill toward them in God's Name is in.
Reading Augustine's City of God
earlier today, I came across this excerpt. Augustine knew something about preaching the Gospel in the city and contextualizing the Lordship of Jesus Christ to urbane men and women world-weary in a decadent
(Tim) Under "What is Gospel-centered ministry, really...," there's been a lengthy series of exchanges in the comments concerning whether it's proper to preach evangelistic sermons to established churches. This is an exceedingly important discussion and I want to encourage readers to go down and read those comments in their proper context. But knowing some won't go there, here is my most recent response which can, to some degree, stand on its own. Whatever else you don't read, make sure not to pass over the critically important quote from Luther here recorded.
* * *
Augustine said, "Many sheep without, many wolves within." From the
founding of the Church, this has been the universal experience of
pastors as we care for our flocks. Yes, the Epistles demonstrate a
presumption that letters to believers are letters to believers. It's
hard to imagine how they could have been written otherwise. "To those
purporting to belong to Christ who are a part of that organization
purporting to be a true church in Galatia?" It doesn't work.
But do the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles provide evidence that our
Lord and His Apostles called the faith of those marked by the signs of
the Covenant into question? The answer to that question is an emphatic,
"Yes!" How long shall my list be? Think of those Christ contradicts,
telling them their father is not God, but the Devil (John 8:38
& ff.). And if we want to let ourselves off the hook by dismissing
Christ as our paradigm for pastoral care today under the rubric of His
omniscience, let's move to the Apostolic warning given to Simon Magus in
Acts 8. Or on to the many exhortations to baptized believers recorded
in the Epistles carefully calculated to warn against and expose
presumption--including the Letters to the Seven Churches (eg. Revelation
So yes, we are to preach to our people normally addressing them as
true believers. But we also must test ourselves to see if we are in the
faith and call our flock to follow us in this discipline...
(Tim) Because I'm a citizen of these United States of America and have a number of men in my congregation who serve in our Armed Forces, I care deeply about the integrity of our nation's homeland security forces (the mandate our military used to follow). That integrity has already been gravely damaged by the mainstreaming of the weaker sex among our soldiers. Everything now indicates our President's resolve to further politicize and weaken the military, using it as an instrument to oppose God and His Moral Law by repealing the ban on sodomy and sodomites.
And as an explanation to new readers, I discipline myself to use the words 'sodomy' and 'sodomite' as a Biblical witness so that shame and horror will continue to be attached to this sexual perversion. For 2,000 years, this usage has been common, reminding us all of the fire of God's wrath that rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah's abominations.
There are a number of voices in the wilderness calling our nation back to sanity in these matters. As an aid to our fulfilling our Christian obligation to be salt and light, here are some useful links...
(Tim) This question from a reader, followed by my answer.
An honest question, no snark, from someone seeking to further understand your viewpoint here: If one's religious beliefs compel them to denounce those of the homosexual persuasion I can understand that regardless of whether I
share those beliefs.
However, we live in a country that does not have a state-endorsed
religion. With that in mind, how does someone such as yourself, Mr.
Bayly, advocate legislating your religious beliefs? The military is an
extension of the government and I'd just as rather see my church stay
out of such things.
Once again, thanks in advance for your explanation. I truly do seek
to better understand a viewpoint other than my own on this issue.
Love of sinners and their victims is what causes Christians to denounce the wicked sexual perversion known as sodomy, just as love of sinners and their victims causes us to denounce murder, rape, and incest.
These awful crimes against God and man are all the same...
(Tim, w/thanks to Ben Crum) Speaking of the Western World's repudiation of God's Moral Law, replacing it with an infinite number of trivial laws passed by nanny-state legislators: here are two good articles (one and two) on child booster seats demonstrating that the laws requiring them that are in vogue and have recently been passed across the country do nothing to protect our children. "Nothing" as in nothing.
They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with the blood. - Psalms 106:37,38
(Tim: At my request, Josh Congrove submitted this report. Please note that in a city of 65,000, only four Christians protested this use of our taxes. In your own city, dear reader, it's likely the funding goes through without anyone other than Roman Catholics showing up. Who cares about the babies?)
Nearly every year (see here, here, and here), Planned Parenthood makes a request to the city of Bloomington for public funding for their programs, and this year was no exception. This past Wednesday, the Bloomington City Council once again granted this request voting 8-1 (only Councilman Brad Wisler voted in the negative) to disburse public money to an organization that performs hundreds of abortions per year. Though the vote itself was a foregone conclusion, a few of us from Church of the Good Shepherd attended and spoke against the funding.
(Tim, w/thanks to Bob P.; this happened a year ago, but I'd not heard of it) Reformed isolationists like to think the barbarians sacking the West will leave them alone if they keep church and state separate and don't go meddling in public morality. But it's a Faustian bargain. There never has been such a thing as separation of church and state, and never will be. Presently, Christians believe the push for pluralism and diversity and tolerance is sincere and will protect the people of God in our private judgments and ministries and worship, but it won't...
(David) A brother wrote suggesting Baylyblog explain that it's not good for congregations to recite the Pledge of Allegiance during Lord's Day corporate worship. So, here goes...
It's not good for congregations to recite the Pledge of Allegiance during Lord's Day corporate worship.
There now, that's done. Anyone have a bulletin documenting the Pledge in an order of worship? Some of the spirituality of the church guys might like a copy--particularly if it's a Presbyterian congregation. Send it to me and I'll post it. But please make it a digital copy.
Finally, for extra credit, which commandment(s) would such a pledge violate?
(Tim)Craig French writes: Not that you should know who Katy Perry is, but a headline on MSN caught my attention. Apparently Katy Perry doesn't like other people making a living by way of blasphemy... Ironically, she's a former CCM "artist" now known for her overt sexual displays and singing of the joys of kissing other girls. There was a curious quote that reminded me of (a certain well-known Reformed man):
"(People say) I'm a very hypocritical person: 'How do you say that and (sing), I Kissed a Girl?' Spirituality and sexuality are two separate things. When you decide to put it into the same subject, it gets interesting for some people."
It appears Perry and (our well-known Reformed man) have something in common when it comes to faith and practice. A snippet from an Offspring song summarizes it well: "Ya gotta keep 'em separated!" Perry ...seems to understand (these guys') Law/Gospel dialectic quite well.
(In September of 2008, preaching in the midst of a raging controversy
over racism that was dividing his own congregation) Pastor Bulkeley condemned the
neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, saying its leader taught
that Nazism was the "racial order" of God and that Jews should be
eliminated. "This teaching was evil," Bulkeley told his congregation.
"It is heretical. It is from the pit of hell and it's a direct offense
against the gospel. There should be no mistake about that. It is
completely contrary to everything the Bible teaches."
(Tim, w/thanks to Joel B.) Here's an article and sidebar from the Summer 2010 issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report telling the story of good church discipline carried out in Friendship Presbyterian Church outside Asheville, North Carolina. The discipline ended up also being adjudicated by the congregation's appellate court, Western Carolina Presbytery (PCA). (And if you don't understand why I'd refer to a PCA presbytery as an appellate court, read Brother David's superb commentary on the state of the PCA post-General Assembly union, here.)
Racism was the sin, and thus the Southern Poverty Law Center this one time stood on the side of the angels. Both the article and the sidebar attempt to provide some of the historic context for the battle against racism throughout the history of the PCA--very much a southern denomination with its roots deeply embedded in "The Recent Unpleasantness."
These articles have both the weaknesses and strengths of their origin outside the PCA. I hope you'll take the time to read them.
First, though, one prefatory remark. Dealing with abortion or racism or feminism is a bloody work...
(David) It's easy not to worship God. I can read a blog rather than the Bible. I can go to a soccer meet rather than a worship service. But tragic as such gross rejection of worship is, there is an easier and more insidious way for the Christian to refuse to worship God.
It's a far deeper and more soul-searing rejection of worship to read the Bible and only find within it what we want to find, to attend and invest ourselves in corporate worship only when that worship is precisely aligned with our personal likes and dislikes.
In the Reformed world this kind of refusal to worship is often cloaked by a deep-voiced intonation of the "requirements of the Regulative Principle of Worship."
(Tim) So, speaking only personally, I have a friend fired from the faculty of Greenville College (a small Christian liberal arts college in Southern Illinois where three of my in-laws attended), for defending Christian orthodoxy; another friend denied the Ph.D. by Harvard because his thesis defended Christian orthodoxy; another friend ejected from his Ph.D. program in the history department at UW-Madison (my own alma mater and major department) because of his commitment to Christian orthodoxy; another friend terminated from Covenant College who found the atmosphere there stifling to Reformed orthodoxy; another friend disciplined and publicly humiliated by the Vice Chancellor in the Faculty Council (on which he sat) for holding to Christian orthodoxy (see here, here, and here); and now, another friend has been terminated...
(Tim, w/thanks to Heather) There's more than ample evidence that, if confirmed to SCOTUS, Ms. Kagan will serve for many years as President Obama's hack, faithfully politicizing our highest court in order to protect the murder of many millions of children across our land.
No better proof of the depth to which Ms. Kagan has sunk in the past, and is likely to continue in for decades in the future, is this account by former Surgeon General and longtime member of Tenth Presbyterian Church, C. Everett Koop, detailing how Ms. Kagan supported the murder of unborn, but viable, babies by manipulating the words of...