Recently dear Fran Griffin brought out a compilation of Joe Sobran columns celebrating his life and witness, particularly during the years he did the most popular column in National Review. Sobran had a coherent social and political philosophy--something no Reformed man I'm aware of has today--and it was unsurprising it came out of his orthodox Roman Catholicism.
If there is a wise public intellectual writing in these United States today who is Reformed, it's news to me. All those with gifts in that direction I know of are gagged by terror because their life's goal is financial peace. Have you also noticed how Reformed men never sign their first and last names to anything Biblical that's politically incorrect?
So we have decayed from Augustine and Calvin and Knox to Hart, whose specialty is providing all the cover needed by Reformed Walter Mittys who write anonymously during their evenings while spending their days the petty bourgeoisie their seminaries and elders called them to be. Who knows, maybe it's the Protestant work ethic after all? But I'm very sad at the absence of any coherent public witness by Reformed men throughout my lifetime who consider it a life worth living to speak to the sins of the age, loving their neighbors through their pens as Augustine and Calvin and Knox did.
Jesus didn't call us to private thoughts and anonymous observations... He told us all authority had been given to Him in Heaven and on earth, and on the basis of that authority He commanded us to go into all the world preaching the Gospel, making disciples of all men baptizing and teaching them to obey everything He commanded. A Gospel that says nothing against the wholesale slaughter of our unborn, that refuses to call our relatives and neighbors to repent of their barren materialism and sterile androgyny, is no Gospel at all.
Think about this, brothers: during the past quarter-century, maybe the five most eloquent pens calling our nation to repent of the slaughter of the unborn, defective newborn, feeble, and elderly--a slaughter that dwarfs the slaughters Hitler and Stalin presided over--are Bernard Nathanson, Richard John Neuhaus, Nat Hentoff, Robert George, and Joe Sobran. In order, they are a Jewish atheist who converted to Roman Catholicism, a Roman Catholic, a Jewish atheist who hasn't yet converted to Roman Catholicism, a Roman Catholic, and a Roman Catholic.
Read the New York Times and you see never stop noticing how the bloodguilt of abortion drives almost everything, especially their political ideology. They simply can't stop confessing the horror that never stops tormenting their consciences. Yet somehow, Reformed preachers and elders have come to the conclusion that expositing the Sixth Commandment by calling men to repent of this bloodshed is a political act to be avoided like the plague lest anyone think such preaching is politically motivated. Unbelievable.
We have a nation drowning in bloodguilt and Reformed preachers have come up with a slew of justifications for setting up a firewall between that bloodguilt and Gospel calls to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, atheist Jews and idolatrous Roman Catholics title their pieces "Sleepers Awake" and die with their pens in their hands.
At a dinner honoring him sponsored by the utterly Roman Catholic Human Life Review (to which I subscribed for many years until they joined Buckley and Neuhaus in purging Sobran), Hentoff said,
I live in Greenwich Village as did e.e. cummings. I never met him, but I knew his poetry and he certainly understood the power of birth. “We can never be born enough; we are human beings for whom birth is a supremely welcome mystery; the mystery of growing. It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”
Too many Reformed men will die never having had the courage to be who they really were. And although they will bear the greatest condemnation for their silent burial of their gifts, their seminary professors, fathers, and pastors will themselves bear a hefty share of that condemnation.