Monthly Archives: November 2008
Once again I come back to John Piper as a constant source of encouragement…
By John Hendryx
posted on monergism.com
Before I start I want to make it clear that Scripture does not conceive of the church’s primary role in the world as one of opposing public immorality through political means. This is because in doing so we promote the law without the lawgiver. This message gives the world the impression that if they just changed their behavior patterns then all would be okay but we all know this simply is not the case. The problem is with our nature, not the mere symptoms of that nature. So our first essential as Christians is to witness to the historic fact of the resurrection, to pray for our friends, to worship, and, by grace, to live pious & holy lives. This witness, is ultimately the only one that matters in influencing society at a root level. If there is to be a vast change of public ideas of morals, it would have to come through the grace of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by an imperial edict or judicial ruling. The hostility of unrgenerate hearts must be disarmed so they love the law so if we are to make a global impact, our proclimation of the law must be accompanied by the gospel. Culture wars generally tends to have the opposite effect on people. Laws do very little to change people’s thinking or heart’s disposition. And there is no evidence that Jesus went out of his way to take on any political causes, probably because, in themselves, they do have any power to change hearts.
Of course, many wanted Jesus to be a political organizer but that wasn’t His interest (except in an eschatological sense). So because of this I have always viewed moralizing crusades with great suspicion. Jesus’ did not mistake any symptomatic aspect of our lost condition–sexual depravity, greed, poverty, war, ignorance–from the root cause (depravity) and remedy of that alienation: the gospel. So as Christians we should not distinguish ourselves by obsessing on the various homosexual and other political agendas. Of course when we vote, we must vote our conscience according to Biblical standards. But, considering the recent events in California, it is clear that homosexuality has by no means outpaced heterosexuality in the committing acts of evil.
I say all this as a preface to some of the strange arguments coming from the pro-homosexual “marriage” rights people in California. I saw in front of some megachurches the holding up of protest signs with slogans such as this: “Marriage is Defined by Love not Dogma?” Look at this statement very closely. The slogan is severely problematic. It is a atrocious argument for the reason that it is essentially a dishonest statement. How? you ask. It is dishonest because it is distraction from itself. This is because the slogan that decries dogma is itself is inherently dogmatic. It is not neutral as it would have one believe. When someone says “Marriage is defined by love not dogma”, is this not itself dogma? Is this concept not someones’ arbitrary preference based on someones’ self-declared authority? If the placard was honest it would say what they really mean which is: “marriage is defined by my dogma, not yours.” But instead they have chosen a sleight of hand type argument. Unfortunately this is how most debates (on a variety of issues) are conducted these days and if you watch out closely for each persons presuppositions you can expose such hypocricy from the start. The honest thing to do from the start is to acknowledge that there is no neutrality and we all have core beliefs or dogmas. The question isn’t love versus dogma but rather, which dogma will be imposed on our society.
|World asked to help craft online charter for religious harmony|
|Nov 14 05:14 PM US/Eastern|
A website launched Friday with the backing of technology industry and Hollywood elite urges people worldwide to help craft a framework for harmony between all religions.
The Charter for Compassion project on the Internet at http://www.charterforcompassion.org springs from a “wish” granted this year to religious scholar Karen Armstrong at a premier Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference in California.
“Tedizens” include Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin along with other Internet icons as well as celebrities such as Forest Whittaker and Cameron Diaz.
Wishes granted at TED envision ways to better the world and come with a promise that Tedizens will lend their clout and capabilities to making them come true.
Armstrong’s wish is to combine universal principles of respect and compassion into a charter based on a “golden rule” she believes is at the core of every major religion.
The Golden Rule essentially calls on people to do unto others as they would have done unto them.
“The chief task of our time is to build a global society where people of all persuasions can live together in peace and harmony,” Armstrong said.
“If we do not achieve this, it seems unlikely that we will have a viable world to hand on to the next generation.”
Charter for Compassion invites people from “all faiths, nationalities, languages and backgrounds” to help draft statements of principles and actions that should be taken. (END OF ARTICLE)
“In fact, these were mostly ordinary people who joined the temple because they wanted to help their fellow man and be part of something larger than themselves.”‘-Yulanda Williams (Survivor of Jim Jones Cult)
The point of Christianity is not compassion, it is Christ… The point of our generation is to Glorify HIM (and through this we will be more compassionate and loving than anyone could even attempt to imagine)… This is why I want to preach Christ alone…
As out country celebrates the election of a new president, let us not forget the one that has been in office for the past eight years. Found this on the Wall Street Journal’s Website, thought it was pretty insightful. I do not think that George Bush is the best President this country has ever elected, but I think this article hits on some very true issues.
The Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace
What must our enemies be thinking?
Earlier this year, 12,000 people in San Francisco signed a petition in support of a proposition on a local ballot to rename an Oceanside sewage plant after George W. Bush. The proposition is only one example of the classless disrespect many Americans have shown the president.
This is the price Mr. Bush is paying for trying to work with both Democrats and Republicans. During his 2004 victory speech, the president reached out to voters who supported his opponent, John Kerry, and said, “Today, I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust.”
Those bipartisan efforts have been met with crushing resistance from both political parties.
The president’s original Supreme Court choice of Harriet Miers alarmed Republicans, while his final nomination of Samuel Alito angered Democrats. His solutions to reform the immigration system alienated traditional conservatives, while his refusal to retreat in Iraq has enraged liberals who have unrealistic expectations about the challenges we face there.
It seems that no matter what Mr. Bush does, he is blamed for everything. He remains despised by the left while continuously disappointing the right.
Yet it should seem obvious that many of our country’s current problems either existed long before Mr. Bush ever came to office, or are beyond his control. Perhaps if Americans stopped being so divisive, and congressional leaders came together to work with the president on some of these problems, he would actually have had a fighting chance of solving them.
Like the president said in his 2004 victory speech, “We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America.”
To be sure, Mr. Bush is not completely alone. His low approval ratings put him in the good company of former Democratic President Harry S. Truman, whose own approval rating sank to 22% shortly before he left office. Despite Mr. Truman’s low numbers, a 2005 Wall Street Journal poll found that he was ranked the seventh most popular president in history.
Just as Americans have gained perspective on how challenging Truman’s presidency was in the wake of World War II, our country will recognize the hardship President Bush faced these past eight years — and how extraordinary it was that he accomplished what he did in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.
Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty — a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.
Mr. Shapiro is an investigative reporter and lawyer who previously interned with John F. Kerry’s legal team during the presidential election in 2004.