Loveless, bland, and left behind...

Jesus said: "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. (Matthew 5:13).

(Tim) Explaining to a friend the other day that I've found Roman Catholics writing about almost anything other than the five solas of the Reformation infinitely more interesting and helpful than Protestants, I lamented the inability of Reformed men to go against the flow. Why is that?

We went against the flow in the Reformation; and for years after, critical thinking under the Word of God belonged to us. But now, the only ones doing good critical (and often Biblical) thinking about ethics and war, sex, medicine, politics, art, demographics, culture, fertility, and the list goes on are almost exclusively Roman Catholic. About the only thing Protestants, and particularly Reformed Protestants, today are able to think about in an interesting way is how best to trim the coin of the doctrines of Scripture in such a way as to lower the hurdle barring entry to the Church for pomos who hate light, authority, meekness, humility, and truth. All our creativity goes toward church growth. Which is to say, all our creativity goes toward perfecting the idolatry Vernon Grounds warned against when he pointed out that the evangelical world worships at the altar of "the bitch goddess of success."

Show me any evangelical who's written on the place of vampire flicks in the sodomization of the Western world as...

E. Michael Jones has. To evangelicals--including PCA pastors--vampire flicks are entirely innocuous. Even cute.

Show me any work written in defense of the Biblical doctrine of sexuality that's half as wise and helpful and Biblical as Stephen Clark's Man and Woman in Christ. I promise you, there's none. Not even close.

Show me any review of the media, art, music, and publishing that's close to the "New Criterion." Any political commentary the last half of the twentieth century half as wise as Joe Sobran's. Any news collection and critique of the sodomizing priest scandal in the Roman Catholic church that was half as forthright about the systemic complicity of Roman Catholic hierarchy in this betrayal of souls as "The Wanderer." Any Protestant group of physicians or ethicists who have been even one tenth as careful and wise and courageously Biblical in their research and writing as the Vatican. (Have you read what Cardinal Ratzinger's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith produced on euthanasia and compared it to the sorry statements of the PCA or the Christian Medical and Dental Society? Do so--it's quite instructive)

Show me any baby-slaughter business down the street from you and I'll show you Godly Roman Catholics demonstrating up close and personal the same thing their intellectuals demonstrate in journals and reviews and bookstores: a Godliness that leads them to stand against the tide precisely at the gaps in the wall. Precisely where the blood flows. At great personal sacrifice. Judie Brown, anyone? Joe Scheidler? Richard John Neuhaus? It's laughable to think of "Books and Culture" running one tenth the column inches opposing the slaughter of the unborn, feeble, and elderly "First Things" habitually runs.

Try to get evangelicals--Reformed evangelicals, especially--to think about Africa. What do they come up with?

Micro finance is good. So said "World" a few years ago, while failing to note that over 95% of micro finance loans go to women. Intentionally.

"Well, what's wrong with that" you ask? Yes, yes; what's wrong with that. You must be the product of a Reformed seminary or a Reformed church where you learned to shut up about life and death and manhood and womanhood and sodomy and oppression and adultery, right? A Protestant who learned the Reformed doctrines of grace meant that the world is going to Hell in a handbasket and what's really needed is for you to share the Gospel. Just the Gospel, that is. And by Gospel, we mean we have determined to know nothing more than Jesus Christ and Him crucified. No making of disciples needed. Only the making of converts. No teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded. Don't you know about grace? Are you Roman Catholic or something?

Well, to answer your question, it's about Christian Africa having no husbands and fathers who work or are faithful to their wives. Can you believe I wrote that? Don't I know Willow Creek won't invite me to their bitch goddess love-fests if I post such hate speech? Actually, for those with Biblical eyes to see, what you just read was love speech, but love speech that people lacking Christian charity and a Biblical worldview are incapable of hearing or understanding.

So, as Randy Shilts put it, the band plays on. But if you've read this far and you have the Christian faith to love people groups, check this out and ask yourself if you could ever imagine "World" or "byFaith" or "Christianity Today" or "Books and Culture" or the "Evangelical Missions Quarterly" publishing it?

Never in a million years. We're too busy growing our churches to worry about truth. Souls. Races. Continents. Oppression. Injustice. Child slaughter.

Well, Merry Chistmas anyhow! I love you and ask you to use your gifts for Christ and His Kingdom. He gave them to you for His Own glory. Don't hide them in the ground or put them under a bushel basket.

If you're able to think and write, do it. Salt should be salty.

Comments

I've got a couple more for you in the realm of literature:

No one addresses sin as forthrightly and honestly as Flannery O'Connor, and Michael O'Brien wrote one of the most detailed and helpful (and biblical!) critiques of children's books in _A Landscape With Dragons_.

I've often been dismayed at this phenomenon, as well, particularly in the last election cycle.

Blessings,
Carmon

It's very easy to look outward and be critical, even in a broad way toward our brothers and sisters.

You sir, are an example of the kind of "salt" you lament is not existent amongst reformed Christians.

There are many, many others who have a biblical theology and engage truth in every aspect of culture, every day.

You will find the same kind of lament within the Roman system as well. Some there admire people like you for similar reasons.

You know that.

With respect.

Tim,

Thank you for posting this. Frankly, I don't know how Jones does his work. I found "Monsters from the Id", (it follows the development of horros in fiction and film), fascinating. But his larger work, "Libido Dominandi" was just too much for me - the darkness he necessarily chronicles in that work was every bit as oppressive to me as the last time I tried to read a vampire-themed novel. But I am glad there is someone strong enough to document such things.

As for Clark's work - I am profoundly grateful for your pointing me in his direction. The book is phenomenal and essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the fight over sex and the different places of men and women in the church today. I found it interesting that, after having read Clark, I went in search of Egalitarian responses. I had never heard of it as an Egal and was shocked after reading it, that no one had responded to it. In my search, I found about a half dozen mere mentions of the work -- but not one single Egalitarian author that I could find had seriously engaged it.

The last time I spoke with Doug Groothuis, he made a point of telling me I had to respond to the new and improved arguments about Kephale made by Gordon Fee or Rebecca's logical argument in Chapter 18 of Discovering Biblical Equality in order to have a leg upon which I could stand with Patriarchy. I just shook my head - the case for it is so much wider and deeper, as Clark shows, than a word or two in the New Testament or someone's nouveau logical contortions.

Thank you for the encouragement - and we all will continue to use our gifts as you, our salty shepherd continue in leading us.

Kamilla

Good post. I think part of the problem is the evangelical inferiority complex. Noll wrote about The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, and evangelicals believe they're stupid and ignorant (without saying so outright) and don't try to argue with the world. Roman Catholics actually feel proud of going to places like Boston College instead of Harvard, and think they've got the logical arguments--- or at least the Vatican does, and they can share the glory. Evangelicals tend to deflect rational argument with "I believe it because the Bible says so, and I guess if you don't believe the Bible, there's no use me trying to convince you, because the Bible's not logical."

Having Rome is a great comfort for Roman Catholics. It's okay if the World ridicules them, because they know that the Vatican respects them for it. We evangelicals have to fall back on God alone, which is theologically correct but psychologically difficult. If an evangelical speaks out and is ridiculed by the world, he doesn't get the respect of church leaders--- he may get their commiseration, but it's more in the Nature of "Of course you know and I know that you're right, but how could you be so foolish as to speak out like that? You're making us all look bad."

Tim,

Great stuff.

BTW, I wrote on Vampires on my blog --just hoping to make it to the Bayly blogroll. :-)

But you are precisely right. It bothers me to no end that Reformed people aren't doing world-and-life view work, and thus we drink freely from the font of Roman Catholicism (neo-conservatism is Catholicism, good and bad, written on the world stage).

There is much to value in the Catholic world-view, and much to eschew.

But, Reformed people need to be doing this work --whole counsel of God work, not just a limited gospel.

Ken,

If you want people to visit your blog, put the url in the space for it so we can follow the link and see what you wrote about vampires (grins). I'd be interested in reading it.

As to your post on the other thread, since it is about sons, I'll slip something about that discussion in over here, on this thread. I don't mind telling you that I've gained a soft heart myself through hard preaching. That's good. It's the hard shell I sometimes wish I'd been able to keep. It would be useful for the times when the harpies start singing their songs of hate.

Kamilla

Tim Bayly: "A Protestant who learned the Reformed doctrines of grace meant that the world is going to Hell in a handbasket and what's really needed is for you to share the Gospel. Just the Gospel, that is. And by Gospel, we mean we have determined to know nothing more than Jesus Christ and Him crucified. No making of disciples needed. Only the making of converts. No teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded. Don't you know about grace? Are you Roman Catholic or something?"

Good post Tim. Some conservative anti-Manhattan Declaration Protestants might take issue with some of the statements in your post....

How is it possible that false teachers (Roman Catholics) can have such spiritual discernment?

For what it's worth, Tim, I can count myself (along with many other young people) who came to learn the truth of the evils of feminism and sodomy, the biblical view of manhood and womanhood, and the importance of speaking out against the slaughter of the unborn THROUGH a Reformed church (instead of a Catholic one). We (my husband and I) have attended three different Reformed churches in the last several years, all of which addressed at least some or all of the above. They might not be big and mighty Tenth Pres. churches, but they are out there, preaching the gospel and all that it commands. (Maybe because they haven't become the "big and mighty Tenth Pres" churches yet...;)

>>How is it possible that false teachers (Roman Catholics) can have such spiritual discernment?

All truth is God's truth. It only belongs to Him--not to Protestant or Reformed men. And when He chooses, God may reform Protestants through the faithful witness of Roman Catholics, and it's to His Own glory to do so.

Envy doesn't belong to the Jews, alone.

Love,

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