The deafening silence...

This piece, "The Deafening Silence" by Nathan Ed Schumacher, demonstrates that the silence of Emergent and R2K men in the face of the wickedness and oppression in our public square is of the same fabric. Fear of man is a principle that knows no boundaries. (TB)

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. - Matthew 5:14

He that is not with me is against me. - Matthew 12:30

Qui non improbat, approbat [He who does not disapprove, approves]

Causae ecclesiae publicus causis aequiparantur [The cause of the church is a public cause]

-Maxims of Law

When Obama started his latest war in Libya, I wasn’t surprised – but I did start looking for some reaction from those in official senior positions of Christian leadership...

Then a few days ago I gained another insight into the true nature of things – the sorry state of what passes today for ethics and morality in modern Christianity. I was having a discussion with a conservative Presbyterian pastor, a graduate of a long established conservative west coast Presbyterian seminary, as to why church officers were silent everywhere. Essentially, his response was that I just did not understand theology – the church was about spiritual concerns and had no business addressing “politics”. Pastors were silent, I was told, not out of cowardice, but out of deep theological convictions.

"But," I said, “it's not about politics – it’s about moral issues, ethics, and gross public sin when the President rebels against the Constitution and uses his office to commit open crimes”. These did not qualify as “spiritual” issues in his mind and he affirmed that the church leaders should remain officially silent. All my arguments from church history to the contrary were brushed aside. I protested (in vain) that an official silence from any church was then an official consent and approval by that official church government for those public criminal actions committed by public officials according to the very principles of law. He dismissed the argument. So finally I put the question squarely to him: “So even if the President is committing open murder and tearing down the lawful government, assaulting the safety, rights, and freedom of the Christian people, and putting the next generation of Christian children in grave future physical danger, then you believe that church officers should remain officially silent”? “Yes”, he responded without hesitation, “that’s correct – they are to only address spiritual matters”.

Here we have a spirituality radically disconnected from morality – an ethereal religion not connected to historic Christianity and its application of ethics to the real world. What kind of “spirituality” or theology is this that can disregard morals, ethics, and God’s Law and even silently abide open murder? When wolves attack sheep and shepherds are too spiritual to insert themselves between the wolves and the sheep, and plead neutrality instead of shouldering responsibility and giving leadership, then we must ask: “Is that “spirituality” admirable – or offensive”?

So although I am no church Officer, just a mere foot soldier, my conscience became increasingly disturbed by this silence, and I felt compelled by conscience to speak out about this, to say something very brief and to the point. Surely, I thought, at least some of those who held esteemed or “big name” positions within the conservative Christian establishment, or those who are senior pastors of local churches, would react publicly and seriously to this latest public criminal action of our President. I searched many websites, but no, nothing of the slightest consequence – if anything at all.

Surely the official governing bodies of various conservative denominations would speak out and oppose open public sin at the highest levels of that vast criminal enterprise Christians have been taught to accept as “our government” – especially since historic Christian theology affirms that tolerance of these great public sins will bring God’s own discipline on our heads – not to mention the heads of our children.

So I searched many websites. If a king’s own officers are not motivated to jealously defend his honor, crown rights, law, and kingdom on his own soil, why should anyone anywhere have anything but the very slightest of regard for that king? The Muslims clearly understood this principle and showed their regard for the “honor” of their god in their recent international reaction to just one Koran burning – at least they took Allah’s right to rule seriously.

Certainly, I thought, Officers of the church with true allegiance to the King of kings would take great affront to His law being publicly overthrown in a world that Scripture tells us is His world where only He has all authority in heaven and on earth to make law. Certainly, I thought, faithful church leaders would example leadership and respond publicly and sharply.

No – nothing at all. Dead silence. Not an official word. No protest anywhere.

We live in an astonishing time in America where the President is making open war domestically on the Constitution, and openly making unlawful wars internationally – such wars outlawed by the Constitution and long vested by the Rule of Law as war crimes and open murder – and formally recognized as such by the Nuremberg trials. When a President publicly usurps the Constitution, making an open show of violating its limits on exercising power, whether it be by his making illegal war, giving secret orders, punishing American soldiers for exposing truth, building secret prisons, operating torture chambers, running kidnapping operations (rendition), publicly asserting his right to kill American citizens with no trial or process, openly publicly stealing money via “bailouts”, taxing in violation of the Constitution, openly violating the Bill of Rights, creating illegal Federal agencies and programs, etc., ad nausem, then what does that mean according to the Principles of Law? It means, without question, that he has invoked the Law of Belligerents against the American people by acting as a belligerent upon the American people themselves, because publicly assaulting their Constitution is, in fact, an assault upon them. In other words, the President is openly making war upon the American people by these belligerent actions – actions which are open, public, and undeniable. If you don’t understand this, you are not paying attention. Our Constitution formally defines this as treason. Also, under the Principles of Law, Congress is profoundly guilty of the same by its refusal to impeach and indict the President. And yes, according to the Principles of Law, all who remain silent are guilty of the President’s actions – silence is long vested as consent in Law: Qui non improbat, approbat

But the most astonishing thing about this total collapse of Lawful Order is the silence of those who are supposed to be the “light of the world”. Why are the Christian men silent? I believe the answer is that they are following their church leaders. It is long vested in Law that the church is a public government and a public cause – historically it speaks via its Officers in the public square. In other words, the church Officers are public officers and must speak publicly and officially – not just as private citizens. This is long vested in Law, custom, and usage as a solemn duty. When they are silent, it sets an example.

So what happens when the President makes open war on the American people in general, and the Christian people in particular, and church Officers do not speak publicly and officially concerning his arrogant public sin, crimes & rebellion against God and the established Lawful Order – sins which if not corrected will bring God’s judgment down on all of us? Well, what really happens is that silent church Officers then ratify and approve those actions. There is no neutrality in God’s sight – or in the long vested Principles of Law. And another thing happens: Church leaders as moral authorities, who refuse to speak publicly and officially, then undermine every man’s voice who speaks out individually.

Conclusion

It is long past time for church Officers to convene formal and official church councils and synods all across this land to address the open lawlessness and public sin and crimes of what passes for “our government”- and to address the way forward. Nevertheless, it is probable that they can be expected to refuse to do this – and likely that they will always have a long list of lofty “spiritual reasons” as to why they cannot accept responsibility. But if church Officers, who are the official voices of moral authority, refuse to do this then there is a deafening silence and they cannot expect to be found faithful – and the rest of us will suffer the continuing consequences of their dereliction of duty – praying that God will raise up some “Thomas Beckets” who are jealous for the church, the Law of God, and who will have the courage to say “No” to our present political “king”.

* * *

NOTE: This post was corrected; the author is not an attorney.

Comments

Excellent post. A sort of blandness permeates. Lukewarmness. R2K=the compartmentalization of life.

When you say the president is "waging war," do you mean he is literally using guns and tanks to harm people? Because I don't see that happening.

>Because I don't see that happening.

But it is. Amongst other things we are using drones, probably Predators with Hellfire missiles, to place ordnance on our foes.

Seems to me a friend has written something recently about the Great Commission You know, making disciples of all nations and stuff like that.

More seriously, an excellent and humbling reminder that the horror of the public square doesn't changed depending upon its naked because we withdrew or because we let ourselves be pushed out.

Tim,

I am in agreement with you but I am sure some of my brothers would respond that we just don't see Paul all that concerned about the goings on of Caligula. How do we address this?

When I read about the extent of this dereliction of duty, I wonder what these dogs who won't bark would have done when the Emporer demanded that Christians drop a pinch of incencse onto a coal in the public square.

"For crying out loud! It's just a few grains of tree sap, burnt to ashes. You're going to make a big deal out of THAT?? Who cares if the Emporer gets all warm and fuzzy inside his pagan heart when people do this? Stop playing politics as if it were some sort of holy exercise. Focus on SPIRITUAL things for a change, will ya?"

I agree that a singular, unitary voice, of some kind of formal pronouncements be made. TBS, what is the end game? Do you seriously believe that secular ears will listen? If they didn't listen last century, if conservative voices couldn't keep great conservative schools from becoming bastions of liberal activism and this country from sliding into the morass of official abuse, do you really believe official synods would keep ...the rest of us from suffering the continuing consequences of government's dereliction of duty... Really? If a formal "word" was issued what would it be like? The Manhattan Declaration? That really worked. The Barmen? That would be much better. But, what would be the nature of the synod, a reformed Moral Majority? God forbid.

Men, Tim and David, what would you recommend those of us who are just normal pastors do? I want to address the issues specifically, but how? By writing articles? By preaching against it? By lodging formal protests? I think in order for it to get to a synod/council level the average pastor must make it a priority. How should we do that?

Peter Jones, Pastor

Christ Church of Morgantown

>>we just don't see Paul all that concerned about the goings on of Caligula.

The Apostle Paul (and I think we should discipline ourselves to refer to his office when we name him) was not called to be a civil magistrate. So most of what we know about his work is as an officer of Christ's Church through his letters to those churches and their shepherds.

Still he spoke in and to the public square. Look at his words to the Areopagus in Athens. Rampant public idolatry was addressed and roundly condemned to the city's leading men. This is all we need to see him doing to know that it is sin to argue against such witness to the civil magistrate.

In other words, we don't need to see it happening constantly with the Apostle Paul or John the Baptist or Jesus or Augustine or Calvin or Edwards or Machen in order to know that the R2K men are wrong when they oppose the church and her officers standing against theft, oppression, rampant gross immorality, the repudiation of the rule of law, and the massive bloodshed of the slaughter of hundreds of millions of wee ones.

When you find yourself arguing that John the Baptist is no model for pastors today, you should wonder whether, just maybe, your cowardice has gotten the best of your faith.

But there's another thing, here: we do not live as subjects of the Roman Empire. We live as citizens of a democracy with delegated authority given to men we elect to exercise our authority. Which is to say, we are the Roman Emperor. We are the King. Our president and congressmen and senators and governors and mayors and councilmen work for us and are accountable to us--each of us, as citizens. So even if we saw that there was not one single example of John the Baptist or the Lord Jesus or the Apostle Paul or Augustine or Calvin rebuking or opposing their civil magistrates, it's different for us. As citizens of a constitutional and representative democracy, we have an obligation to be faithful stewards of the trust we hold.

What we do and say, how often we do and say it, where we demonstrate and where we preach, how loudly we yell, what we write and how it's published, whom we exhort and rebuke and encourage, what leadership we give from our pulpits regarding public life: all these things are matters we should pray over and seek counsel concerning. But that we have a Christian obligation to break the jaws of the wicked, snatching the oppressed from his bloodlust, is basic Christian discipleship.

Do we really want to raise sons who will sit by as the bully beats up the fatherless son or curses the woman teacher or steals lunch money from the kid on the bus who always wets his pants?

Of course, we could all make a principle of never having our children hang out with children of unbelievers and that would solve that.

Love,

>>I agree that a singular, unitary voice, of some kind of formal pronouncements be made. TBS, what is the end game? Do you seriously believe that secular ears will listen?

I'm not talking about the end game, but rather just the beginning of Christian citizenship. About having a conscience and hating sin and loving our Prophet and trying to follow His example somewhere other than the safe confines of the sanctuary Lord's Day morning, family devotions following supper, Christian conferences in rented venues where you need to show your registration name tag, and ghetto blogs like this.

Let mighty men who claim to speak for hundreds of thousands and build organizations that claim all of these United States as their purview work on those formal pronouncements of singular, unitary voices. There's surely a place for that.

But for myself, I'm concerned that each reader of Baylyblog stand for righteousness where God has called him. The doctor and lawyer, for instance. The school teacher. The teachers' union rep. The professor. The car salesman. The soccer club manager. The financial advisor. The graphic designer. The many, many mothers and wives.

And of course, the pastors and deacons and elders; every last one of us should make sure we show and live and die for our religion in public so the pagans don't even think about trying to make sure we're never alone.

Our religion is public or it is no religion at all. Our Lord preceded his Great Commission with these words: "All authority has been given to me in Heaven and on earth." That is why we are to "Go."

He didn't say, "Stay, therefore" or "Hide, therefore" or "Cringe, therefore."

As for whether secular ears will listen, that's not our responsibility. If it were a war we were engaging, it would be our duty not to kill unless we believed killing would, for instance, save lives. But we're not killing. We're simply speaking and listening and picketing and marching and loving and showing compassion and breaking the jaws of the wicked. God calls us to be faithful--not successful. Of course, this is no excuse for stupidity or the absence of strategic thinking, but in the final analysis, we need more men and women who take a shot at the oppressor and miss than those waiting for the perfect opportunity.

>>a reformed Moral Majority? God forbid.

Really? There are many, many failures of all of us, including Jerry Falwell and Jim Dobson. But one day soon, I have no question that there will be "well dones" given to many men for precisely the things that caused them to be most hated by the chattering classes and their religious sycophants in Wheaton and South Bend.

Love,

>>what would you recommend those of us who are just normal pastors do?

Dear Brother Peter,

Each of us is different and should follow our conscience and gifts. Some of us will serve on ethics boards of hospitals. Others will confront execution by starvation in the hospital room. Others will speak at public hearings on the promotion of sodomy in our public schools; confront the president of our community's college or university on his organizational support for perversion; picket the slaughterhouse of our community; set up an appointment with the local ambulance chaser and use that appointment to shame him over his greed and fomenting of bitterness, envy, and malice; rebuke and exhort and encourage the judge in our congregation concerning his decisions; and on and on it goes. We should testify against the election of a president who says he'd want his daughters to murder his grandchildren; we should post on our blogs about the violation of our Constitution by our justices and judges and congressman and imperial presidents; and more.

Something--anything--that brings the Lordship of Christ out of private safety into public witness where we are known for our influence for purity and truth and the rule of law and the end of oppression and slaughter, and the protection of children and...

If anyone dares to say that these things are antithetical to preaching the Gospel, that man has not begun to learn how to preach in the church, and thus doesn't begin to know how to preach anywhere else.

And if someone says the Church at corporate worship in it's private facility makes the civil magistrate tremble, I agree; yet there's not a single reason why that should be only place God's truth is preached, the prayers of His people and the singing of His glory are heard and make the civil magistrate tremble.

Love,

Brothers,

I'd like for others to follow up on further questions, please.

Thanks,

Francis Schaeffer, I believe, said about the less than sophisticated attempts by Jerry Falwell and the Mortal Majority, to speak into the public square, "If you think you can do better, by all means, do." Brothers remember that while our last "stand" at Princeton was to embrace evolution, in tiny churches all across the land there were men with fat ties and shiny hair who wrongly divided the Word of God, but stood by it. Which would you rather have, bumpkins polishing the brass on a ship they think is sinking, or sophisticates suggesting that Jesus' lordship over the brass and the ship is real, you just can't tell? Give me soldiers who insist we will lose the war over scholars who deny the war exists any day.

Let me say that what is termed "R2K" seems biblically off base. There is some truth in it, but it basically isolates the church and the Christian life in general in a way that historic Christianity did not and biblical, reformed Christianity particularly did not.

In applying the Scripture to all of life, Christians will speak as individuals in their own capacities to their society, including its political arrangements. They will, and are to influence them toward the Kingdom of God.

The Church, however, institutionally must be careful to speak on clear biblical, moral grounds, and in such a way as to not distract from her purpose of discipling individuals toward His Body.

So, it's hard to conceive of the church fulfilling biblical mandate by speaking to a specific version of a balanced budget amendment, even thought the Scripture speaks to debt, overspending, and presumption.

But, it is not hard to conceive it speaking out to defend the unborn, defending the sanctity of life.

Mr Jones (by extension the hosts of this blog): You can write letters to editors of local & national newspapers, etc. You can write your congressman and senators, you can even write to the President of the US. But all that writing MUST be done as a private citizen, not as a minister of the Church of Jesus Christ. You have every write to speak/write on these things as an individual citizen to other citizens and civil servants. You do not have any right, warrant or authority for speaking to the Church or on behalf of the Church in these matters. There is no biblical warrant for the Church as an institution to take sides on political and fiscal matters.

Cris D, an OPC ruling elder

Can you post a link to the original essay, can you post a link to the author of the essay. Please document sources!

What is a political matter? And who gets to decide? Sounds like anything debated in public can be labeled political. If, then, your pastor is not able to speak "to the Church" on these matters, what kind of sermons do you hear? 3-point expositions of the customs of Babylonian court officials in the late first temple period with some applications to eunuchs serving in Nebuchadnezzar's harem?

Concerning comment number 12 above, after being gone for a couple days, I'm back.

>>in such a way as to not distract from her purpose of discipling individuals toward His Body.

Dear "PCA Friend,"

Very weak. When all the Early Church Apostles and pastors and elders went to jail, were they speaking to the surrounding idolatry and condemning the civic religion in such a way as to distract from the church's purpose of discipling individuals?

You realize your rubric, here, is precisely what has gagged pastors for decades, now?

We do grace. We do Evangelism. We're Gospel-centered.

We don't condemn the theft of trillions from unborn generations of our descendants. We don't condemn men who falsely vow submission to the Constitution in order to legislate sodomite marriage from the bench. Yes, we have judges in our congregations, but who are we to condemn their sins--particularly their professional sins? Who are we to judge--God made them the civil magistrate! Not us! Anyhow, what do we have to say to them?

I'll tell you. Nothing! We need to mind our own beeswax.

Who are we to condemn the father who commits adultery? It's his marriage. His home. His vows.

I mean, there's a whole world in here that we can overlook while we "disciple individuals." Doctors and lawyers and judges and governors and mayors and professors and senators and CEOs and all kinds of men sitting in our pews, and we scurry around trying not to step on their toes in our sermons and Bible studies and justify it in the name of being very careful not to harm our ability to "disciple individuals."

Well, if a pastor can't condemn the civil magistrates false and broken vows; why raise the matter of husbands' and wives' false and broken vows?

Honestly. You'd think no judges or profs or CEOs or lawyers or justices or mayors or senators or soldiers or policemen or county council members or doctors or game wardens or (highest of all) voting citizens attend church, given how silent we are about their sin and what high hurdles we build for speaking against false vows and theft and slander and bribes and blood quilt and swords in the bellies of pregnant women and what-not.

Love,

>>But all that writing MUST be done as a private citizen, not as a minister of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Actually, you have an obligation to write as who you are--a follower of Jesus Christ. By all means, quote God's Word and warn of the coming Judgment--just as the Apostle Paul did to the city's leading men of the Areopagus. Don't waste your voice speaking simply as one ignoramus among many when you are serving the One Who told us to make disciples of all men because all authority had been given to Him in Heaven and on earth.

Like the Apostle Paul, ask your brothers in Christ to pray for your boldness as you testify to sin and righteousness and judgment. Warn the men who rule that God has given them the sword to punish the evil-doer--not to protect the baby-slaughterers. Read Romans to him and tell him it's God's very words. Tell him what God has said about the necessity of executing those who shed the blood of man because God has lodged His Image in man, alone.

Then go ahead and tell the civil magistrate that this is also why he ought always to make a disctiniction between all of creation and man, contrary to what many green idolaters say.

Take every opportunity to proclaim the Word of God like John the Baptist who was executed for doing so with the civil magistrate of his time. And don't let the fact that you're not a pastor keep you from demanding truth and justice and mercy as Scripture defines them, from your civil "servants" who are accountable to you, personally.

And so on...

Love,

>>You do not have any right, warrant or authority for speaking to the Church or on behalf of the Church in these matters. There is no biblical warrant for the Church as an institution to take sides on political and fiscal matters.

Cris,

Where does God's Word give you the authority to silence other Christians? You have no right or warrant or authority to speak to the Church in this matter. Show me one text of the Word of God that commands you to add to the pool of cowardice gagging the people of God in this evil day? We must not condemn the breaking of vows to uphold the Constitution? We must not condemn the civil magistrates use of the sword to protect evildoers and to persecute the just? We must not speak to the Church or in the Church's behalf condemning the slaughter of hundreds of millions of wee ones?

Are you sane? Have you ever read the Bible?

Silence from you, man!

If you want to go into that dark night quietly, that's your bad conscience. But don't use this blog to seduce others to your sin.

Sincerely,

>>Can you post a link to the original essay, can you post a link to the author of the essay. Please document sources!

This is the source. Baylyblog.

Oh, I think pretty much everything enumerated in the paragraph 3 up from the Conclusion. All those accusations about how the POTUS is trampling the Constitution and Bill of Rights, etc., etc. I think the plain meaning of his words allows us to decide the topic is politics and pretty easily at that.

What I said was ministers can speak FOR the Church (implying they speak for the Lord), can't represent the Church as if there is one and only one position on political and government policy issues, to which all must submit.

As for the Babylonians, Persians, etc... Nice try to trivialize the proclamation of the Word of God... But about that empire that took Israel & Judah captive. Did you ever note that even when the LORD moved Cyrus to allow the return from exile, after the Deportation and the Return, there was never a resurrection of the Davidic monarchy?

The Israelite nation (in either/both of the kingdoms, Israel & Judah) went into exile as a defeated nation & kingdom, and come out of exile as an Imperial Province. Under the Maccabees they had some independence, but by the time of Christ's first coming (Fullness of time, Gal 4:4), Israel was reduced to a Roman province, the Israelite Religion (or OT faith) had been reduced to Judaism; and Judaism was dependent (humanly speaking) on the protection of the civil magistrates. Christ established His Church into this context, with nary a hint or whisper that the people of God as a Church were to set the magistrate's agenda beyond what His Apostles wrote in 1 Tim 2:1-4,; Rom 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17.

Best you think about these issues based on the Scripture, and not your cultural/political affiliation.

>>there was never a resurrection of the Davidic monarchy?

No one's trying to resurrect the Davidic monarchy, Cris Dickason. We simply believe warnings against God's judgment of sins like this ought to be made by men of god today:

"Thus says the LORD, 'For three transgressions of the sons of Ammon and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead In order to enlarge their borders" (Amos 1:13).

And I notice you refuse to cite any Scripture as justification for gagging Christians. So I'll ask you again, precisely where does Scripture tell Christian men or Church officers not to condemn bloodshed and oppression? Not to break the jaws of the wicked? Not to speak out against theft from our unborn descendants? Not to warn against oppressing the sojourner in our midst?

Nowhere. Rather the Bible is filled with examples of men of God doing precisely these things.

(Job 29:1-25) 1 And Job again took up his discourse and said, 2 “Oh that I were as in months gone by, As in the days when God watched over me; 3 When His lamp shone over my head, And by His light I walked through darkness; 4 As I was in the prime of my days, When the friendship of God was over my tent; 5 When the Almighty was yet with me, And my children were around me; 6 When my steps were bathed in butter, And the rock poured out for me streams of oil! 7 “When I went out to the gate of the city, When I took my seat in the square, 8 The young men saw me and hid themselves, And the old men arose and stood. 9 “The princes stopped talking And put their hands on their mouths; 10 The voice of the nobles was hushed, And their tongue stuck to their palate. 11 “For when the ear heard, it called me blessed, And when the eye saw, it gave witness of me, 12 Because I delivered the poor who cried for help, And the orphan who had no helper. 13 “The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, And I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. 14 “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban. 15 “I was eyes to the blind And feet to the lame. 16 “I was a father to the needy, And I investigated the case which I did not know. 17 “I broke the jaws of the wicked And snatched the prey from his teeth. 18 “Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest, And I shall multiply my days as the sand. 19 ‘My root is spread out to the waters, And dew lies all night on my branch. 20 ‘My glory is ever new with me, And my bow is renewed in my hand.’ 21 “To me they listened and waited, And kept silent for my counsel. 22 “After my words they did not speak again, And my speech dropped on them. 23 “They waited for me as for the rain, And opened their mouth as for the spring rain. 24 “I smiled on them when they did not believe, And the light of my face they did not cast down. 25 “I chose a way for them and sat as chief, And dwelt as a king among the troops, As one who comforted the mourners.

In the love of God's justice and mercy,

Mr. Bayly, you falsely accuse me of sin. You dare to read into my statement the most twisted and stupid possible interpretations. I wrote a caution, in harmony with the Word of God - see 1 Tim 2:1-4; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17 - that the Church of Christ as a body, organism, organization, institution, however you want to denote it's visible, public, local and regional manifestations, that Church has no warrant from God to act as a political entity, has no warrant to endorse one fiscal policy over another.

I'll leave you to fester in your feverish self-righteousness.

Cris,
But it seems then like you must be saying that Paul in the Areopagus was not speaking as an Apostle but as a private citizen, and John the Baptist was not speaking to Herod as a prophet of the Lord but as a private citizen. Is this what you are asserting?

>>that Church has no warrant from God to act as a political entity...

No one has ever suggested the Church act as a political entity. Read the Scriptures listed above. That sort of godliness and witness and justice is what R2K men oppose.

As for misconstruing the R2K position, we wish we were.

As for festering, there's been a lot of that this summer here where we live. But the heat hasn't come from self-righteousness. Neither calling men to faithfulness to Scripture nor warning them away from the cowardice that dogs us all is self-righteousness.

On the other hand, smearing men with accusations of self-righteousness is a good way of intimidating them into silence.

Firmly,

Cris,
Also, all the Old Testament prophets prophesied against the pagan nations around, not just against Israel and Judah. ("Woe to you, Moab!" etc.) They surely didn't put aside their prophetic mantle and prophesy those things as private citizens, did they? Many were from Judah (Davidic kingdom) if that matters, but some were from Israel. It appears to me that whether they were in the Davidic kingdom or not, they prophesied against evil wherever it was found.

Are you saying that they when they prophesied they did so as private citizens and not as prophets of the Lord? Or that it was a different situation since some of them were from the Davidic kingdom? Help me understand.

Readers may wonder why the intensity of opposition to this error, and to help them understand, I reprint this article Dad wrote a long time ago. Our sinful flesh is always looking for justifications for cowardly silence in the face of great wickedness, private and public, and I am determined to expose such justifications as the sin they are lest we become more sinful than we already are and think we're very pious and moral to never show our light and to lose our savor completely.

R2K men fit into our world too perfectly, bearing no resemblance to righteous Lot or the Confessing Church of the Third Reich.

* * *

Title: "Our Reich of indifference"

Subtitle: "We castigate the apathy of Christians in Nazi Germany-and ignore our own silence on toady’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. Each year, one-and-a-half million humans who bear the image of God are murdered, many, perhaps most of them, with accompanying great pain to which a group of non-Christian physicians recently attested. The pain is that of poisoning by a saline solution or dismemberment, being torn apart and removed in pieces from the uterus. (In the latter part of the second and in the third trimester, this is now the procedure of choice, since it removes the possibility of delivering a viable infant.)

Many Americans who protest Canada’s annual seal hunt, in which baby seals are clubbed to death, are the most vociferous in defending a mother’s right to have her not-yet-born child killed, with greater pain than the baby seals suffer.

We Christians are indifferent. After all, the Supreme Court of the United States by an 8-member majority condemned these millions to death (by some estimates, 17 million since Roe v. Wade in 1973).

As good Christian citizens we accept this as the law of the land.

Our Christian physicians will be judged for their indifference. With notable exceptions the United States medical establishment, including Christians, has been silent about our great national sin.

Why this silence?

According to Father John Powell, Roman Catholic Spokesman for the antiabortion movement, the answer is money. “I have heard many doctors say that even if the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade and declares abortions illegal, they will continue to perform them. I have never heard a doctor say that he will continue to perform abortions if he is not paid for them.”

We blame Christians in Germany during the Third Reich for their indifference to the murder of Jews.

“Why were you silent?” we ask.

Some day we will be asked the same question. And a righteous God will not judge the German nation without also judging our nation.

Ironically, in 1975 (two years after our own Supreme Court’s decision that a fetus is not a person) Western Germany’s Federal Constitutional (Supreme) Court firmly stated the unborn child’s right to life. Thus the heirs of the Third Reich alone among Western nations that ruled on abortion statues during a two-year period (United States, Austria, France, Italy, Western Germany, and Canada) affirmed the historic, Judeo-Christian position.

Why are we silent, Indifferent to the anti-abortion movement? (I prefer this to pro-life, just as I’d have preferred an anti-gas oven movement in Germany to a pro-Jewish life movement. We like to turn horrible matters into more pleasant positive statements.)

One reason for our indifference, I believe, is the silence of our preachers. Few are crying out against this great evil, pronouncing judgement on a nation of killers. “After all, we don’t want to make a young woman in the congregation who has had an abortion feel guilty.”

Maybe a woman should face up to the fact that her action has destroyed a human life-a life totally independent of her own-that is growing within her.

I think another reason is that our priorities are skewed. We emphasize growth in the congregation’s size, new buildings, exciting programs; these are the test of our effectiveness. Yet how we’d scorn a German Christian who said, “Let me tell you about the new building we put up and paid for during 1938-40,” or “We had such a great singles program.”

Still another reason is the identification many make of the American government, including the Supreme Court, with the Kingdom of God, or at least an Old Testament theocracy. The lines have been blurred between God and Caesar. We have a knee-jerk reaction that Caesar;s decree is morally and ethically right; this determines our evangelical ideas of morality and spirituality. We’re really convinced that God is only concerned about personal morality, and that only as it is related to narrow areas of life. Let the state handle the big issues.

In 1948 I was in Europe for a Christian student camp. One night we were discussing the recently ended war. The group of 10 included French, British, and German students, all of whom, except for me, had seen active duty. A German student told about the crucial experience that stood out for him. He had taken a stand against dancing. (Afterward another German student, from the same small evangelical denomination said he had taken the same stand.)

“I ruined my chances for officers training,” the German student said, “because I refused to participate in social dances, which was required of officers. But I had been brought up, in home and church, to believe that dancing is wrong.”

“‘Dancing is wrong’--but what did they teach you about the murder of Jews?” I remember how the thought raced through my mind. Perhaps to my shame, but out of concern for Christian unity and peace in the cabin, I didn’t say it aloud.

Are we giving moral training to the teens and young adults--and older adults--in our evangelical churches? Or are we silent as government and television train them-while we’re satisfied to guard them from dancing and other similar perils to the soul?

God, forgive our indifference. Make us burn with white heat against injustice, especially the destruction of the weak and totally vulnerable, who bear your divine image.

- Joe Bayly, "Out of My Mind,"June 1984 issue of Eternity magazine.

>>There is no biblical warrant for the Church as an institution to take sides on political and fiscal matters.

Lewis was right when he said "they'll tell us we can have our religion in private and then they'll make sure we're never alone." You would cede to the state the ability to determine on what the church may and may not speak. And to my horror as an OPC elder. Shame!! So if the state says parents don't have authority to raise children in the faith what say you?

Daniel @ 25 - I'm not suggesting any such thing about Paul's sermon in the Aeropagus. But Paul in Acts is an excellent example: He was proclaiming the Word of God in all its authority, But what was he saying, and to whom was he speaking. He spoke to the attendees at the Aereopagus. He addressed them with the claims of the Gospel of the Crucified, Risen, Ascended Lord Jesus.

Paul was not, in Acts 17, or in any other place in Acts or Epistles, addressing the Roman emperor with a message to throw out his own edicts and follow Paul's demands for a changed government. Paul did not take a stance as an Old Covenant Prophet and address the Roman Empire as a wayward Israel. Paul committed no such category confusions. He understood the redemptive historical timeline.

As for John the Baptist. Although Judah was no longer a sovereign nation, and Herod was no Davidic king, there was just enough of a vestige of the former arrangement to allow for the final OT Prophet, announcing the new era, coming in spirit and power of a prior prophet, to speak to Herod as he did. John Baptist was properly speaking out of the old paradigm.

If someone today wants to wrap themselves in John Baptist's mantle, then it would be to address his own congregation with dire threats of God's judgment if they don't believe the Gospel. By all means address the unbeliever too, warning of the wrath of God already on those who do not trust in Christ.

But that's a far cry from accusing POTUS, and judges, etc of trampling the constitution. The Church doesn't have the task to hold politicians to account for their campaign promises in sermons or synods or conciliar pronouncements.

THE GOSPEL - deliverance from sin in Jesus Christ - that is the Church's mandate as counter-cultural witness to all political parties and ideologies, to every culture - in every country and always in this time between the first and second comings of Christ.

@29 - An OPC elder who stands with Machen in this regard.

I didn't say the government controls what we can and can't say as Church - I said the Church controls that, because the Church is to submit to the LOrd and His word that lay out His Church's mission and agenda.

And the Church is misguided if an when it thinks to lecture the magistrate on policy. The Church is misguided because it has lowered itself to being just another special interest group, just another faction in society.

>>An OPC elder who stands with Machen in this regard.

Don't kid yourself.

>>And the Church is misguided if an when it thinks to lecture the magistrate on policy.

To repeat the simple question: if the state says parents don't have authority to raise children in the faith what say you?

>>Paul was not, in Acts 17, or in any other place in Acts or Epistles, addressing the Roman emperor with a message to throw out his own edicts and follow Paul's demands for a changed government.

Again, straw man, Chris; no one here has ever proposed such a thing. Why not respond to what's been written instead of what you wish had been written?

>>there was just enough of a vestige of the former arrangement to allow for the final OT Prophet, announcing the new era, coming in spirit and power of a prior prophet, to speak to Herod...

What a bunch of pious-sounding gobbledegook.

>>The Church doesn't have the task to hold politicians to account for their campaign promises in sermons or synods or conciliar pronouncements.

Again, what on earth are you talking about, Chris? No one here has ever mentioned campaign promises. What on earth are you talking about?

What we have talked about are vows and truth and mercy and bloodshed, but you say these are beyond our purview. Above our pay grade.

What a religion.

>>the Church is misguided if an when it thinks to lecture the magistrate on policy.

Again, who on earth has ever talked about "policy?"

What we have written about is truth and vows and bloodshed.

But then you go and morph it into "policy," acting as if this is a discussion about Republicans and Democrats and we're Republicans and you're trying to keep the Christian faith from being tied to Republicans.

Thing is, the things we're calling Christians to speak against are almost equally committed by both Republicans and Democrats.

Gentlemem,

I am catching up with reading this thread, but since and while it is still active, I have a question:

Must I cast a vote in every election, for every office, if I am eligible to do so? I realize this may be pulling things off track so a private email response is fine. But, should the Republican nominee be Michele Bachmann and shoud my Christian beliefs require me not to promote women in office - am I still required privately to cast a vote for the lesser evil if no reasonable alternative presents itself? What if I simply neglect to tick the box for my presidential choice?

Kamilla

P.S. I may also have to "fast" from FB until after the election, it seems that every time Mrs. Bachmann sneezes someone reports it in my news thread.

Who is talking about policy? It sure seems like the post was:

"We live in an astonishing time in America where the President is making open war domestically on the Constitution, and openly making unlawful wars internationally – such wars outlawed by the Constitution and long vested by the Rule of Law as war crimes and open murder – and formally recognized as such by the Nuremberg trials."

And if you don't think government is all about legislation and policy, what exactly are you guys talking about?

>>Who is talking about policy? It sure seems like the post was...

Well sure, if Roe v. Wade and the torture of enemy combatants is policy, I suppose the violation of vows to uphold the Constitution is just policy, also. Bloodshed and truth and torture are just policy and we're back in the Third Reich piously condemning the Confessing Church for "moralism." This is the degraded condition of Reformed men's consciences and doctrine, today.

Yeah, I forgot. You guys are the most virtuous in the room.

>> Yeah, I forgot. You guys are the most virtuous in the room.

Apparently if you speak with force about *anything*, even the blood of innocents, you draw fire as being self-righteous.

It blows my mind.

I meant to say, EVEN THE BLOOD OF INNOCENTS.

THE ***BLOOD*** OF INNOCENTS.

God help us.

How can they be unmoved? How grievous is this hardness of heart.

The Lord rebuke them.

The Lord forgive them.

Wait, wait, wait. "You guys are the most virtuous in the room."? What? These men aren't claiming to be the most virtuous anything. I know that their consciences are afflicted by the very things that they speak about here. Remember, they preach to themselves as they preach to us.

It is no shame for a Christian to be pricked in his conscience! Reading this post helps me to realize that my silence and my complacency in this evil day is condemnable.

Instead of simply being pricked in conscience yourself, you lash out at the authors of the post. Are you actually going to make the argument that the murder of little babies down the street, or perhaps the torture of enemy combatants in our prisons, falls outside of the purview of a Christian man?

At what point are we supposed to speak out against it? When the hordes are coming with their machetes to our churches to kill us and our babies in our sanctuaries?

It is one thing to speak of a moral truth and do so with conviction. It is another altogether to cast aspersions on fellow officers in the church, as in, "This is the degraded condition of Reformed men's consciences and doctrine, today."

Sorry but that sounds really pharisaical.

It's not casting aspersions, it's pointing out sin. It is God's grace to us to have our sin exposed, otherwise how will we know it and repent of it?

Calling this pharasaical would mean that Jesus and John the Baptist were pharisaical, since much of their ministries were exposing sin and calling to repentance.

The Pharisees were the ones who, confronted with their sin, bridled and said, "Don't tell ME to repent!"

Daniel Meyer, may not there be different interpretations of a person's conduct, especially if it involves silence? The Baylys themselves concede that officers in the church, from Paul to Machen (comment #9) were silent in numerous cases where the Baylys would be vociferous. If it was possible for Paul to be silent about the abuses of Nero or Caligula, is it really plausible that those who are silent today are so because of a lack of testosterone or unfaithfulness? In other words, might there be charity for those with whom we disagree?

Norm, the issue here is with men in the church who are NOT silent. Rather, they speak loudly and often about the sinfulness and presumption of any pastor who would dare to meddle in politics by stating that the state should not torture, or subsidize the killing of unborn children. If you think that I'm exaggerating, read some of the R2K posts here on Baylyblog and take a good look at the comments.

The amount of pushback from Christians on these simple, clear-cut moral issues is tremendous. Having become wise, we became fools. We feel entitled to live lives free from rebuke, conviction and repentance.

Is abortion a legitimate area of Christian liberty, where disagreement is innocuous? Is murder? Torture? Theft? Do these things no longer matter when they are perpetrated by men who have been elected or appointed to government office?

Norm,
Of course there may be different interpretations. The question is, which is the faithful interpretation? Bring the opposing arguments (you've got the beginnings of one in comment #44) and see if the thrust of the main post can stand.

As for charity for those with whom we disagree, there *is* charity here. If none of this mattered, charity might be to leave you alone with your opinion. But if in the American evangelical church we are committing and continuing to commit heinous offenses against Almighty God (and we are), charity for those with whom we disagree compels us to sound the warning loudly.

Surely you would agree that if this were a matter of great dishonor to our Lord and bloodguiltiness of many who profess the name of Jesus, we could do nothing less than we do. If you disagree that it is a matter of such import, bring your argument. But don't call the warners graceless!

A couple of helpful starting points for understanding why we can't, in love, just tone it down a little, are are over at Pyromaniacs:
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2006/10/bully-pulpit.html

http://phillipjohnson.blogspot.com/2005/11/cant-we-all-just-get-along.html

Dear Norm,

I'm leaving your last comment up for now, but if you attribute words to us we've not written again in the future I will pull your comments.

Anger often leads us into uncharitable territory, causing us to justify dishonesty. But the greater danger is what causes your anger over these issues, not what issues from it.

In Christ's love,

David Bayly

Andrew Henry, what 2k advocates have said that the Baylys sin by their political advocacy? What 2k advocate has questioned their masculinity?

Start with Darryl Hart. I won't link to his blog here, but he's been exceedingly vocal in his criticism of the Baylys, and he has a whole crowd of like-minded R2Kers patting themselves on the back at his blog.

Andrew, I agree. Hart is a fool. But where has he said that the Baylys are sinners or lack courage?

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