6/14/18

Why North Korea May be Trump’s Ticket to Re-Election

By: Frank Russo

For two years we have heard a massive critique of the Trump white house as “unstable”, many media heads comparing a position in the Trump administration to being that of a revolving door. With the firing of numerous high profile individuals such as Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, pundits claimed that Trump was unstable and that the White House would be hamstrung due to inefficiencies. These fears and critiques were put to rest and even proved wrong however, this last Tuesday, when North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un signed a bilateral agreement towards peace.

What the media fails to understand is that President Trump, through grandiose and bombastic statements, in conjunction with economic pressure placed on China, was able to officially end the Korean war, which has been in a state of Armistice since 1953. No credit will be given but Mr. Trump should be feeling high and mighty at this point in time.

However, what does this mean for his election, or rather re-election chances? Well the economy is doing well. It’s doing really well actually. It’s doing so well that leftist political pundit Bill Maher wants a big recession to happen in order that President Trump not be re-elected. Let it be noted that Mr. Maher is worth millions of dollars and would not be affected by said recession he wishes upon the rest of us plebians. But the important part of what happened Tuesday is this. Trump’s executive populism works. Rex Tillerson was an  Exxonmobil executive and a stale conservative. He is the swamp. His initial hiring for a position of such prominence when it comes to foreign policy was certainly a sore point for many Trump supporters. However, Trump did the thing Trump is known for and is best at. He fired him and took charge. He stopped listening to his advisers and started to take drastic action into his own hands and we have success because of it.

Leftists will bemoan the fact that Trump didn’t achieve a full denuclearization agreement or that he did not address the human rights violations of North Korea but that’s just another example of critics of the president moving the goal post. He was able to sit down, face to face with the leader of North Korea and achieve some form of accord and agreement to continue working together in the future. This is something that hasn’t been achieved in 65 years and the critique that any administration prior to his could’ve done it is hamstrung by the fact that none of them did. In fact Barack Obama was offered a chance to do so when Dennis Rodman communicated Kim Jong Un’s desire to speak with the president and yet Rodman and Kim were both rebuffed by the foreign policy in retreat president.

So why do I say that this could mean Trump’s reelection? As I said it proves that Trumpism works. It proves that Trump’s bombastic rhetoric towards a bully in conjunction with his shrewd economic prowess in comparison to our other presidents worked. By putting economic pressure on China we were able to bring North Korea to the table with a position of strength that hasn’t been possible before. Everybody critiqued every single one of president Trump’s policies and denounced him as a lunatic. When he passed our tariffs on China numerous people screeched about negative effects on our economy. Within a week Kim Jong Un was summoned to China to have a conversation with the Chinese government. When Trump started using our military power to back up his bombastic responses to North Korean jingoism, it was Kim Jong Un who backed down and Guam remained untouched. Trump might possibly be the new Bismarck, with his fluency in RealPolitik and recognition of an economy’s importance to foreign policy.

I can only hope that president Trump will rewrite the Iran deal as shrewdly and cunningly as  to undercut the failings of the former administration. It’s just a shame that Mr. Trump inherited such a foreign policy mess but he’s quickly proving to be apt at cleaning it all up. Considering that Mr Trump ran on fixing the mistakes of president’s past and how he has deviated so far from the establishment line one has to say that he is succeeding and keeping these promises are vital to mobilizing the same base that elected him the last time and even turning some new voters.

(The views expressed are the views of the author)

5/7/18

On Remaining Humble in Modern Academia

By: Jonathan Harris

After reading Richard Weaver’s monumental work Ideas Have Consequences last semester I was struck with one characterization of the “ideal man” that has since been shaping the way I look at my own academic future. For a young seminary student like myself pursuing “Christ-likeness” was a given, but my eyes were never fully open to what that meant in relation to my academic career and my identity in connection with it. Let me explain.

Weaver roughly traces the concept of the ideal man from the time of Plato up through the modern age by focusing on three different characters: the philosopher/theologian, the gentleman, and the specialist. Simply stated, the philosopher/theologian ought to be the ideal man, not because he is the smartest, but because he is the wisest. He is the wisest because he understands the connections which exist between fields of study and in knowing such connections has a more direct understanding of the immaterial eternal world of ideals and principles. The gentleman who replaced the philosopher/theologian retained the noble moral code of the previous station without the other-worldly glow. In short, he was the man of tradition defending the world passed on to him, but without a transcendent standard to be self-conscious of. While it was the case that the vast majority of gentleman drew their precepts from religion, it was not a requirement to be religious in order to attain to the status. The gentleman gave way to the specialist as modernity waxed. This is the world we currently live in. If you’ve ever seen someone dressed up in a lab coat trying to sell you the newest invention or medicine you are witnessing the elevation of the specialist. The specialist understands his limited narrow field of study and that is about all he is expected to comprehend. Those in society elevate the specialist because he is the “best” in his field. Not all of this is wrong in every way, but there is a fundamental deceptive element to it, and it relates directly to Christ-likeness, academia, and humility.

You see, the specialist is in danger of catching a disease all men are prone to, but not all men are exposed to, at least not to the same degree. Call it a bad case of having a “big head.” The Apostle Paul talks about it in 1 Corinthians 8:1. “knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.” Of course knowledge itself is not the problem, otherwise the Apostle’s reference to the “gift of knowledge” (12:8), or his multiple positive uses of the same term (i.e. 11:3) in the same epistle would make little sense. It is best to understand the warning as one of motivation and not education. It is the soil in which the seeds of knowledge are planted that prove to make the field inhospitable to the ideal of love. Academics is incapable of corrupting a heart, but a heart is capable of corrupting academics, and the heart of the classical philosopher/theologian has a much different purpose than the heart of the modern specialist.

The specialist approaches his field with an eye toward efficiency and success as chief virtues, and prestige and security as chief rewards. His is a world of competition against an ever shrinking group of participants the higher he climbs and the narrower his field becomes. To state it in a  vulgar way, the ivory tower has become the world where the nerds are finally able to gain the illusion of out-competing the jocks. I say “illusion”, because the nerds have simply found a field in which the jocks and most others simply do not compete for reasons usually having to do with pursuing other more traditional life goals.

Now, it is not wrong to pursue higher education. If it were, I would be the biggest hypocrite in the world. It is the way education is pursued, viewed, and used. The philosopher/theologian pursues education the way a loving man pursues his wife. He is not studying her to manipulate her. He does not view her like a stepping stone toward greater personal success. He does not use her strengths to boost his career. He pursues her because he loves her. He wants to know her because he cares about her. Romance is relational, and so is wisdom. The philosopher/theologian has a soul captivated with the mysteries of the divine and dives into the deep end knowing he will never explore the depths of the sea of learning as long as he lives. No academic program can contain it. It is a pursuit which never ends. The result of such a pursuit is a humble well-rounded man of wisdom. He knows he has merely scratched the surface. He knows his place is that of the passive observer attempting to comprehend principles set in place by someone far greater than him. He does not manipulate the world around him but uses the wisdom he obtains to faithfully occupy whatever station he possesses. If the philosopher/theologian has any responsibility it can be summarized with one word: duty.

The beauty of the philosopher/theologian is that any person is capable of being one. Academic accolades are not required, just a love for truth. Understanding one’s role as an inheritor of a tradition, culture, and religion are prerequisites however. The specialist often has a hard time seeing beyond his own nose because he has set out to make a way for himself solely based upon his alleged ability in one or two narrow areas. Take that away from him and he’s done for. This is why so often professors at academic institutions can exude an ere of arrogance. It must be understood by everyone they surround themselves with that they are important because of their expertise. Thus they are in danger of becoming insecure one trick ponies. Truth is not their pursuit. Domination in their field is. Not so for the philosopher/theologian who primarily sees himself as part of a faith, a heritage, and a family. Take his academic status from him and his pride is not hurt. He probably has a trade he knows a thing or two about. He may have even inherited it from his father. He knows his family and faith will continue well after he’s gone. His faith, hope, and love are rooted in heavenly institutions.

So what does this all have to do with Jesus? It’s quite simple really. He was the ideal man. But He was also the ideal philosopher/theologian. He worked for thirty years as a carpenter before he pursued his ministry calling. He bypassed the prestigious centers of education and instead “increased in wisdom and stature” through conversing with older religious leaders in a Socratic sort of way. He found his strength through His connection with God and upheld the tradition of His faith and people perfectly. His wisdom knew no limitation making Him the most profound speaker on every subject he chose to address. Finally, he fulfilled his heavenly and highest duty while being knowingly humiliated. His actions flowed from His character. He was the Savior of the world, as his name suggests, even before his ultimate duty was fulfilled. His identity was and still is secure in the eyes of heaven whether or not any recognition is afforded him on earth. 

As a young man with a strong connection to the academy, my goal and struggle is to keep the person of Jesus in mind as I pursue the next steps in my education and career. Part of this process is avoiding Weaver’s “specialist,” while embracing his, “philosopher/theologian.” My identity is not found in “what I do.” My function in a narrow field is not my source of worth. My goal is not the approval of men in the same field.

One of Richard Weaver’s interesting observations about the South is that it is in this region that modernity has been resisted for the longest period of time in the Western world. The echoes of the pre-modern world of the philosopher/theologian and certainly the gentleman still exist in pockets here. One such pocket is represented by the Abbeville Institute. I have had the privilege of attending one of the organization’s summer schools and one of their summits and have formed relationships with many of the faculty. I recently wrote Dr. Clyde Wilson who I met at an Abbeville event to gain his advise on remaining humble in graduate school. It is with our exchange that I close this contemplation.

Dr. Wilson,

After visiting the university you recommended me to over the weekend with my wife I am pleased to inform you that Dr. Smith offered me a position as a Graduate Assistant. I do believe I will accept his offer. Thank you once again for writing the kind recommendation.

The main reason I'm writing you is to ask a question about humility. You see, my wife and I were discussing how down to earth Dr. Roberts and Smith were when we had lunch with them. Dr. Roberts is a dean and Dr. Smith the head of an entire department at the largest Christian university in the world. Yet, there we were dipping French fries in ketchup at Five Guys and talking about the most common things one could imagine. They were approachable and accessible. I commented that they would be just as happy at a Nascar track as they are sitting in their ivory towers- perhaps happier.

Then it occurred to me that the professors at Abbeville are without a doubt the most humble group of academics, and perhaps men, I've ever met in my entire academic experience. To use yourself as an example- I've been slowly making my way through "Defending Dixie," and I've been simply amazed at your insight and use of the English language, yet you were humble enough to ask me about myself and listen to what I had to say---a 28 year old with an undergraduate degree---while eating Banana pudding at Marice's.

A few years ago I had the displeasure of meeting without a doubt the most arrogant group of men I have ever witnessed in my entire life. They inhabited the graduate history department at the University of Albany. I will spare you the story of the their condescension toward me, but it was quite potent. The seminary I attend is a great deal better, but still I find that many of the professors love to hear the sound of themselves talk, and are not capable of admitting they may not know something when it is clear they don't.

How is it that you remain as humble as you do after having the academic profession that you've had? How is it that this general kindness and humility seems to be common among the Abbeville professors? Is it a Christian/Southern influence? I'm asking because as I reach higher levels of learning I want to remain humble myself and not fall into the trap of arrogance most academics inevitably fall into.

-Jon

Dear Jon,

I find your message deeply interesting and gratifying.  Would you mind if I shared it with a few Abbeville Scholars?  They would be pleased at the evidence of their good works.

There is not the slightest danger that you will ever be like the bad professors that you describe, and for many reasons.

To explain them fully would require major study of English and German social, intellectual, and cultural history back into the Middle Ages.  You have DEFENDING DIXIE.  In my pieces "Scratching the Fleas"  and "The Yankee Problem" I make a stab at the margins of the problem.

These people have no religion, no culture, and no vocation.  You are guilty of none of these things.  All they have is their status which they cling to rigidly.  Without their status they would be nobody---just one more average cipher among the millions in modern urban society.

No religion?  Obviously they have no conception of a higher purpose of life, either as individuals and in their view of humanity.

No culture?  They lack any visceral inward connection with Western civilization such as has been for long been possessed by any uneducated farm boy or worker. Probably your good Welsh name is helpful in this regard.

No vocation?  Unlike you, they have no drive to understand life and our great cultural heritage, no devotion to learning.  They have merely picked out some niche of "expertise" that will give them status in a bureaucratic, soulless society.

Another reason that you can never be like them is that your career will be a struggle that will depend on ability, effort, and the small help that we can give you.  There will be no comfortable bureaucratic niche for you.

Thanks for your kind remarks about us Abbevilleans. We are not status conscious.  More importantly, we are civilized Christian men who feel an obligation to mentor the young to carry on a great tradition.  Those other people regard talented young people not as a blessing but as a threat.

Hope this helps.

As ever, Clyde

4/16/18

The gospel of "justice," a new way to preach "circumcision?"

By: Kenny Steier 

Over the past 2 weeks many at The Gospel Coalition’s MLK50 conference, and the Together 4 the Gospel Conference have been postulating the need for "racial reconciliation" in the church and "social justice," and calling them "gospel issues". Many of these statements have come from men whom I’ve reaped great benefit and encouragement from listening to. I still respect and certainly still love them in Christ, but I’ve become greatly concerned. What’s been troubling is their subversion of the Word to make the gospel say something more than it actually does thereby making their goals a Christian requirement.

Let me be clear; I detest racial prejudice, and seek to have it rectified when I see it. When I do hear about churches causing division on account of the color of someone’s sin I get sad and angry, for that is entirely against what scripture teaches. The Lord makes this very clear to Peter in Acts 10:34-35 “So Peter opened his mouth and said, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” If we show partiality by either giving someone more esteem or less esteem and care based on their ethnicity, we’re in sin. Another helpful example is in 1 Samuel 16:7 where the Lord says to Samuel when he’s going to anoint the new king of Israel: “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” These verses fly in the face of certain preachers who say that white people need to repent of their racist sins. Such a sweeping judgement of millions of people based on the color of their skin is clearly unbiblical. What they would be correct and justified in doing is to call out
specific instances of racism in the church. These do exist on both sides of the color spectrum in the church; real hurts have been given and received that should be dealt with. However, the perpetrators of the sin are the ones who need to repent and seek forgiveness, merely sharing a sin color does not mean that the guilt is also shared. “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”- (John 7:24)


So how exactly has the Bible been used incorrectly? In order to substantiate his claim that “My white neighbors and Christian brethren can start by at least saying their parents and grandparents and this country are complicit in murdering a man who only preached love and justice,” Thabiti Anyabwile, writing for The Gospel Coalition, justifies his remark by citing Titus 1 where Paul is talks about the Cretans.
One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. (Titus 1:12-14).
The error he commits is missing that Paul is describing a cultural problem, not an ethnic/racial one. He was instructing Titus on how to establish solid leadership over them so that they would not be led astray by false doctrine. Their tendency of believing in fantastic things and myths is not necessarily an inborn and innate trait of being born a Crete. Nowhere in the New Testament do we see the apostles urging the brethren to apologize for sins their tribe had committed to another one. There would be no end to the confessing. The Lord recognizes that we humans have a sinful tendency to hold onto to hurts, and to make sinfully prejudiced categorizations of other people groups. The apostles counteract that tendency. Paul does so very clearly in Colossians 3:10-11.
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
The NT does not deny the existence of ethnic diversity, but it certainly speaks to how we often treat it incorrectly, so Paul in a sense is saying “You know all those problems you guys have with each other because of your differences? Forget about them. You’re new creations in Christ, and are of one body in Him. Your citizenship and identity in Him greatly exceed any identification you previously held to.” The clarity of Paul’s words makes it shocking that men who can so skillfully exigete God’s Word mess up in an area that seems so cut and dry.

One article I found particularly disturbing was a confession piece by Paul Tripp in which he lamented how he’d been preaching an imbalanced gospel all these years. Preaching the gospel of grace, but not the gospel of justice. “By God’s grace, I have become deeply persuaded that we cannot celebrate the gospel of God’s grace without being a committed ambassador of the gospel of his justice as well.” Now here’s the thing, the author gets so much right in this article:


Of course, God would have never have participated in such a negotiation, because he is a perfectly holy God! And if he had, there would have been no need for the penalty-bearing, forgiveness-granting, and acceptance-resulting sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Think with me for a moment. Grace is never permissive. Grace never calls wrong right. If wrong were not wrong, there would be no need for grace. Forgiveness always assumes some offense against moral law.

That means we cannot celebrate and proclaim the message of God’s grace while we do what God would never do—close our eyes to the injustice around us. We cannot be comfortable with exegeting his mercy for all people without being an advocate for his justice for all people.
These are all true, and there are other grand truths of God the author puts very eloquently in that article. Of course the Christian ought to be for justice, because God is just, and we’re made in His image! Regrettably, here we find some very big inconsistencies that are concerning. The author talks about being committed to God’s “gospel of justice.” This makes no sense biblically speaking. ‘Gospel’ means ‘Good news’ God’s justice is punishment for our sins. We stand condemned before Him, and our sins earn us an eternity in Hell. God’s justice is the bad news part of the gospel! The good news is that if we’re in Christ, we’re spared that, and get to spend an eternity with Him because of His grace! Being a “committed ambassador of the gospel of his justice” is a bizarre thing to say. “Good news everyone! You’re all going to Hell!” I don’t think that’s what he intends, but biblically speaking, that is what that would mean. So lets overlook that poor phrasing of what I believe the author is really getting at which he states in the article with this “The cross forbids me to close my eyes to any form of injustice, whether personal, corporate, governmental, ecclesiastical, or systemic.” He never describes what being an ambassador of justice looks like. He talks about how he and his wife grew closer and had their eyes opened to some racist struggles black people in his church faced, yet he never mentions how he brought justice into it.

Another problem is where he says:

How can we stand for justice when we have let prejudice separate us? How can we understand the travail of others who we are never with, never see, and never hear? How can we stand for justice when, because of prejudice, there are those we will minister to, but whose leadership we wouldn’t serve under, for no other apparent reason than race? How can we advocate for the family when we are a broken and divided spiritual family?
Again no specific examples are given, and he uses a lot of generalizations. Now, I surely recognize that there are some churches, on both sides of the melanin spectrum which have people who struggle or give-in to racism in word or perhaps deed. These churches need a gospel-reformation. But he says things like “our churches” and “But to whose leadership we wouldn’t serve under.” Are there people like this? Yes, and maybe the author really was like this, but it’s fallacious of him to lump me in with his sin just because we look alike. For a lot of these allegations, he may speak for himself. I wonder if he’s even committed what he’s claiming to repent of, and if he just hasn’t been guilt-tripped into it. Justice after salvation is upholding God’s judgement without regard for someone’s background. What I see here is “because their background is this, then we must do X.” Don’t get me wrong, it is right to come alongside our brothers and sisters who have suffered! (Mourn with those who mourn) And we should do so regardless of their skin color. God does not show favoritism, and neither should we.

I truly believe that the gospel unites, and that when one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers with it. The big issue here is that these preachers have been trying to make this racial reconciliation and social justice a part of the gospel, when they aren’t. The gospel naturally accomplishes this thing, it is it's fruits. I look at my church as an example of this. It’s pretty diverse, and we don’t preach racial reconciliation or social justice, we preach the gospel. God reconciling man to himself through Jesus. All men are sinners, God shows no partiality in whom he saves. We all love talking about how great God is, His gospel, and living according to His Word so that as 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” No, we’re not perfect, but there’s definitely a oneness in Christ that was accomplished through the gospel, not diversity for its own sake. I pray that these leaders would return to that basic and wonderful truth that the apostles preached, and would turn from what really seems like a new way of preaching circumcision.

4/15/18

When should racism be preached against?

By: Jonathan Harris

Some have rightfully asked, in light of the recent controversies over neo-Marxism at Together for the Gospel and MLK 50, “When is it right to preach about racism?” Here are some helpful thoughts.

1) First to clarify- the current controversy is not over “racism,” at least not in the way it is being portrayed by those on the left side of this issue. James White, Doug Wilson, Phil Johnson, and Todd Friel etc. deeply believe that it is sinful for someone to be devalued by others because of the level of pigmentation in their skin. They are NOT contending that the sin of pride as manifested in racism should be silenced from church discussions. They are reacting to a false gospel disguised as “anti-racism.” The false (neo-Marxist) gospel is the issue. Thabiti Anyabwile, David Platt, and Russell Moore on the other hand are comfortable painting “white,” “evangelicals,” or “reformed” people, as the case may be, as bearing the stain of the sin of racism due to their group identification. If either side is in danger of slipping into racism it is not those on the right.

“Ok, even if the current controversy isn’t over ‘racism,’ shouldn’t the church do something to address the topic?” The answer is of course, “Yes.”

2) The sin of pride, as it manifests itself in ethnic superiority, should be addressed when the Bible speaks on the issue (i.e. when a pastor happens to be preaching through a text that directly addresses the topic). Part of the problem plaguing the left is poor exegisis. Those who would have a conniptions if they were ever associated with theonomists, are perfectly fine using texts from the Old Testament that contain the word “justice,” and reading into that word a meaning previously only associated with socialist politicians. The allegedly “anti-racist” sermons being preached have next to no exegesis supporting their applications. When exegesis was offered up, for example by James White in his walk-through of Collosians 3, it was mocked and dismissed by Thabiti Anyabwile without any attempted alternative interpretation.

Moral of story- if you’re going to preach on anti-racism, MAKE SURE the text you’re using supports anti-racism. If it does not, you probably are not preaching on the topic you think you are.

3) Another time to preach against racism, provided the text supports the message, is when there is a sin that needs to be corrected within the church. The logical next question would be, “What constitutes evidence that Christians are engaging in devaluing other images of God due to skin pigmentation?” So far it has been suggested by the “racial reconciliationists,” that the failure of “white” people in the church to adequately stand against slavery, segregation, Donald Trump, and police brutality are evidence enough that the church must address racism. David Platt went so far as to suggest that the ratio of white to black people at Together for the Gospel was evidence that the church has a problem with racism. This is usually where heart strings are pulled and things get emotional.        

    •    It is true that horrible situations have occurred, and individuals professing Christ have at times been on the wrong side of these situations. That being said, what is the solution? The gospel would indicate repentance, forgiveness, and moving on. The “racial reconciliationists” demand more—racial quotas, perpetual corporate apologies for ‘privilege,’ and a whole host of policies that are more consistent with identity politics than with anything resembling Christian reconciliation.

    •    The demand of those on the left in the neo-Marxist controversy is that apologies be made for past sins. Underlying this demand is the assumption that those with “white” skin are complicit in sins they never committed (nor did their ancestors in many cases) simply because they have “white” skin. (To give a very quick example- about 5% of Southern whites owned slaves, and it was probably a similar percentage of Northerners engaged in the nefarious “triangle trade.” Even if the Bible taught that slavery was a sin, “white” people at the time, many of whom were involved in progressive or immediate abolitionism, cannot be held responsible for being born into a culture in which slavery existed. Their great-great-great-great-great grandchildren less so.) By this logic every Christian who does not actively campaign to enforce immigration law is guilty of the crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

    •    Oftentimes, the sins referenced are not sins at all. It is not a sin to vote for Donald Trump. It is not a sin to belong to an organization more white people happened to have joined than black people. It is not a sin to live in the suburbs. It is not a sin believe the welfare state should be systematically dismantled. It is not a sin to support respecting the American Flag, or oppose the destruction of Confederate and colonial monuments. It is not a sin to be born into a middle class family. etc. etc.

Moral of story- if you are going to use Scripture to correct a sin, MAKE SURE it is actually sin you are correcting. Conversely, if their is an ailment you want to address (for example- poverty, family breakdown, etc. in certain communities), and there is a sin(s) causing the ailment, make sure you correctly identify the sin which is at the root! To misdiagnose a problem, and forcefully place a burden of sin on those who are not directly responsible for the problem, does NOT help those you think you might be helping. For example, if family breakdown in inner city communities can be tied more directly to fathers disregarding their responsibility in those communities, and government welfare policy encouraging such sin, preach against the ACTUAL issues from the passages that address them.

4) Racism should be preached against when it is a paramount not necessarily when it is peripheral. There’s an old Lutheran quote which states:
If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.
The Together for the Gospel Conference was held a few miles from an abortion mill where I’d like to note, if national statistics prove to be true, three times as many black children are being murdered as compared with white children. California is contemplating making conversion therapy a punishable offense. This means pastors who attempt to help those formerly living homosexual and lesbian lifestyles could be punished as criminals. Senator Cory Booker, while Together for the Gospel was taking place, grilled Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo for his Christian beliefs on homosexual perversion. I could go on, but you get the point. When you see certain Christians expending so much energy on issues that, if they are problems today are peripheral, while expending so little energy on the issues that will eventually take away the church’s ability to preach the gospel freely, you have to wonder what’s going on?

James White, Doug Wilson, Phil Johnson, and Todd Friel know what’s going on, and they refuse to go along. That’s why they have been verbally attacked.

To summarize:

It is right to preach against racism when the text of Scripture addresses it, or when there is a sin that needs to be corrected in the church, or the church needs to be warned against wrong cultural practices that are paramount. None of these criteria seem to apply well at all to those who fancy themselves as leading the charge against racism in the church at MLK 50 or Together for the Gospel

3/26/18

When Historians Lie

A contemplation of Christian and Marxist historiography
By Jonathan Harris


Eminent historian Dr. Clyde Wilson in one of his many books on American history expresses this sentiment about the "old-style history:"
History is not an expression of abstract laws, or the record of progress. It is a description of the actions of men, of life, which in turn is an expression of the (partly unknowable) mind of God.
The historical profession has been used, more than most perhaps realize (because they are often the victims of it), to indoctrinate the masses into an often times anti-Christian view of reality. Dr. Wilson talks about two uses of history: as a symbol for social unity and a record of historical fact. Both are important as can be perfectly observed in the biblical account of the nation of Israel.

The history commonly taught in today's schools is disjointed however. The record of historical fact is forced to fit a symbol for social unity that it cannot. Dr. Wilson uses the Civil War event as a perfect example of this, but this disjointedness can also be observed at almost every turn in almost all modern mainstream interpretations.

Portions of the historical record are conveniently left out when they do not fit the progressive narrative (symbol of social unity). What children (who then become adults I might add) walk away with is a firmly held conviction that Abraham Lincoln is a hero because "he freed the slaves," a noble example of social unity indeed if only the historical record matched the symbol. The founding fathers are recruited into the Lincolnian symbol of egalitarian human liberation though the historical record fits this interpretation even less (i.e. Jefferson supposedly wrote of “universal equality” in the Declaration of Independence).

Eventually the symbol can simply not be sustained by the record and a new symbol emerges, not because the record has changed but because the moral framework for judging the record has. The farther away from a Christian ethic the national conscience drifts, the more the old symbols are distorted beyond recognition (i.e. the founding fathers) or destroyed (i.e. Confederate memorials). Over the last decade the symbols of Lincoln and Washington have been painfully stretched to the brink. The rubber band is about to snap, as it has already snapped for symbols of the Old South. As Dr. Wilson writes again:

“The main theme of American history is being shifted from national unity and national achievement to what might be called ethnic multiplicity and ethnic achievement.” (This statement was written in 1982 before it was as obvious as it is in our age that other minority groups, such as homosexuals and transgenders, would start to rise to equal prominence as the overcoming heroes of the national story.) “The new history,” states Dr. Wilson, "has employed the poetic license of mythology without its healing and reconciling motives. It has assumed the prestige of objective, ‘scientific’ history without abiding by its standards.” What Dr. Wilson is saying is rather obvious to someone who thinks in term of presuppositions.

Symbols of national unity are no longer *meant* to bring people together. Swelling with a national pride that comes from an American identity is no longer permissible in the circles of the historian. This is why even supposed Christian historians have thought it morally obligatory to denounce their own country as a place of oppression, apologizing for a past they were not present for as if to perform civil penance for the crime of being a part of it! The intention behind the rising national symbols are rather meant to highlight the sins of the past, often times from a humanistic perspective (i.e. Stonewall national monument). It should be crystal clear that recognizing a moral failing from a biblical perspective is not at all what is being discussed, but rather utilizing a moral failing from a humanist perspective and then recruiting it as a symbol for tearing down national identity. Dr Wilson is again helpful here:
There is a vast difference between the writing of an American history that is a synthesis of the history and experiences of the various groups which have participated in the life of this continent, and presenting the central theme of American history as the mixing of these groups. 
Some conservatives would call this new history the servant of politics. Dr. Wilson himself rightly points out that “it is a product of the state and not of the culture.” But there is also something deeply religious about all this. Dr. Wilson laments that, “We historians . . . have surrendered our critical standards when faced with the question of minority contributions to American history.” The new symbols of national unity—or perhaps “disunity”—force the narrative to continue to sacrifice truth along what appear to be Marxist lines, because they are not really about national unity at all. What is at the bottom of all of this? Dr. Wilson hits bedrock when he writes:
A silent shift of America symbolically out of Western civilization, and attempted divorce of American history from that culture which used to be referred to as Christendom, into formless universalism [is the goal].
And now we are right back where we started.
History is not an expression of abstract laws, or the record of progress. It is a description of the actions of men, of life, which in turn is an expression of the (partly unknowable) mind of God.
History is interpreted in light of a worldview. The Christian worldview that created the Western world and lead to the formation of the United States is no longer the lens through which the historian views his subject. This shift is MORE than a moral one. It also involves DIRECTION. History is no longer composed of stories leading toward a point of biblical consummation. America is no longer viewed as a place in which men and women ordained by God live, learn, and move toward an eternal purpose with a duty to form their culture into a reflection of that purpose THROUGH the gentle and patient providence of God.

If two words can sum up this whole discussion they would be these. Providence vs. Progress. Modern progressives have infected even Christian institutions of higher learning with the disease that *human* progress is the goal of history. The direction is the liberation of man from the constraints of society and nature. Man is capable himself, without a divine will, of creating utopia in his own image. History itself becomes the tracks on which this train runs toward it's final destination. The human story is the reflection of the collective mind in its liberated state. History is not recorded as the passive observation of God's unfolding plan, but rather the active barometer by which to measure humanity's "progress."

The Biblical record however gives us a much different historiography, one in which there is a passive acceptance of a divine plan. It is a reflection of the mind of God as the term "fullness of time" suggests.
The symbols of social unity were meaningful because they were associated with the “glorious deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 78:4, Josh 4:6), passed down by fathers (as opposed to government schools) (Deut 32:7), meant to bring hope (Rom 15:4) and inspire righteous living (1 Cor 10:11), and injected with a transcendent moral standard with a future consummation. National unity according to the law of God was the goal. 

Many do not know that the patriotic hymn “America the Beautiful,” written in 1913 by Katharine Lee Bates contains three verses in addition to the commonly sung first verse. I believe they are appropriate words with which to close this contemplation.
O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine!

O Beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

3/19/18

Addicted to Social Media? There is Hope!

By: Jonathan Harris


If it's not obvious to you already, the advent of social media has fundamentally changed Western culture. If this does not put it in perspective, I don't know what will- There are adults today who do not remember a time when half the population was not looking down at their phones in public settings. It's just normal at this point to carry on a conversation with a family member or friend even though half of their attention is being given to a five by two inch screen. And if some of us are to be honest, sometimes we are the ones treating our phones as more worthy of attention than the images of God right in front of us!

Studies and articles have been coming out for years decrying the drug-like effects social media can have on the minds of humans. One recent article suggests:
There might be several reasons for this addiction but one the most prominent reason is increasing distance between the family members and lack of belongingness in the youth.
Though this may not be the only reason for the current epidemic it is likely a strong contributor. Scrolling for meaning and finding none is the situation our culture is in. Perhaps the, "Let's protest and actually do something!" crowd is recoiling in frustration against the meaningless feelings that come with trying to extract human value from a digital device.

Now in all fairness, social media is not all bad. I use it, and I'm thankful for it. It connects me (though superficially sometimes) to others and exposes me to useful information. But...then there's the other side. It sucks the time right out of my life! Or I should say, it did. . . until I realized something.

There are still settings in which I can overhear an older person complain about the "kids and their phones!" My grandpa will sometimes say with a sigh, when referring to such violators of the old conversational norms, "They like looking at screens." These complaints are diminishing however as grandparents are becoming just as hooked as their grandchildren. Again, this is not all bad. Parents and grandparent can see highlights from their children and grand-children's lives from half way around the world in instant time! What a marvel of the modern age! But there are some things about this that potentially are not good. How often can connectedness with someone we ought to be close with become restricted to cat videos and what we ate for supper?

My experience with social media changed somewhat when I traveled to Turkey last year. I had already recoiled against what I thought was a superficial use of Facebook and had relegated my page to the purpose of posting political thoughts aimed at convincing others and cataloging pictures I had taken from year to year. Of course, the political posts, in addition to convincing some, lost me Facebook friends who disagreed or who wanted to use their social media as an escape from the constant barrage of politics they already felt living in the world. The pictures earned me a substantial amount of "likes," and this did seem rewarding. I got into a habit of checking as often as possible to see how many "likes" I had, or responses to arguments I was engaged in. It zapped my day away without me realizing it. But I was no different than my peers who were also hooked to their phones, or was I?

Into an Istanbul coffee shop I walked. Ok, it was Starbucks. But in Istanbul, the atmosphere was different than what I had remembered in the States. We were told by the contacts we had in the region that Facebook was very popular in Istanbul. This was evidenced to me by the fact that I was getting friend requests from random strangers simply for checking in at various tourist destinations. The difference though was this: Turks used social media differently. As I looked around the coffee shop (and every subsequent restaurant and coffee shop), I noticed that everyone my age (a millennial) was well dressed, had good posture, and was engaged in face to face dialogue. Everyone had phones, but I did not see anyone using them when talking with someone else. Young people who appeared to be on dates did not engage in PDA of any kind. Rather they listened to one another with eyes locked on each other's faces.

What was going on here? Was I transported to the 1960s? No, that wasn't possible because occasionally someone would whip a phone out, but not while engaged in conversation, and not to the extent I had noticed in the States. An important aspect of Turkish culture may explain the differences between their world and ours when it comes to the use of technology. The advertisements in Turkey featured nuclear families. A mother, father, and more than one child would smile while holding up a product of some kind. In the 1990s such advertisements were common in the States, but slowly, over time advertisements began to feature peer groups and individuals. The reasons for this are not important for this discussion. What is important is this: The Turks had not yet become the individualistic (and I will venture to add narcissistic) culture so prominently displayed in the West. Sitting on a commuter train I noticed men still giving their seats up for the elderly and even a pregnant women. There was a sense of community that often seems missing in urban and suburban Western regions.

Then it dawned on me. The Turks had the same access to technology that those in the U.S. had, and yet they managed it differently. Was it because they were not quite as into themselves? Now don't get me wrong, there are a plethora of social problems in Turkey, many of which modern Western societies are miles ahead in, but there seemed to be an exception in this one area.

When a child grows in the States, oftentimes they are raised by the TV. Whenever the parent, who generally does not discipline the child, wants a break, screens are their ally. Screens aren't always bad, but they are overused. The child then in turn learns to glean entertainment and information from technology. The distraction is reinforced as a good thing by the parent, because the parent is rewarded with an opportunity to rest themselves from the crankiness of a disrespectful child. As the child grows older this pattern does not stop. The child is hooked on technology, oftentimes finding it difficult to hold conversations or think deeply. Their brains are occupied by a non-stop barrage of information and they become addicted to it. On social media, a child can block the disagreeable and find groups of friends and strangers who who accept the online version of themselves they have created. Social media accepts them when their parents do not. It offers "likes" when they're made fun of at school by classmates. It becomes the affirmation center. It gives instant gratification without working hard for it. It trains in superficial people pleasing, and discourages physical and mental exertion. In short, social media becomes a person's friend, something the Turks have not accepted as a possibility.

The problem is, social media is not a friend. It is a tool, and not one that should be the primary source of affirmation and acceptance. If social media becomes a channel for the worship of the god who is ourselves, it will leave us dry, but at the same time wanting more. All idols require their sacrifices.

I knew that my problem with social media was nearly as bad as some, but I knew that It wasn't right. I was falling into the direction of the culture around me to some extent. The reason I knew this is because when I went to bed my phone would be the last thing I'd look at, and when I woke up it was the first. I didn't usually go more than an hour without looking at it. However, I noticed when I was in areas without service I was more relaxed, likable, spiritual, happy, etc. The phone was draining me of my humanity. I knew I needed to make a change.

Here's what I did.

1) No phones in bed. I communicated this to my wife as well, and we've been a lot better in this area than we used to be.
2) No more than an hour on social media per a day. I literally time it using ATracker
3) No spending more time on social media than I do praying and reading my Bible.

Since I suspect that living in real familiar and social community is the antidote to the endorphin driven quest for "likes," I have made a concerted effort to put down my phone when my wife is talking to me. I don't log in to Facebook when we are on a date. I call my family members on the phone instead of merely posting things on their walls.

So far the results in my own life have been wonderful. I'm less stressed, more productive, and closer to the Lord than I was before. Who would have thought a group of young Turks at a Starbucks would help me see what I was increasingly missing out on- real life!

3/15/18

Trump, Hitler, and the Politics of Hysteria

by Frank Russo

The far Left can't go five minutes without a comparison between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler. But like President Trump or not you, there’s no way to rationally draw an ideological line between him and Hitler for many reasons. Trump’s rise to the presidency was completely different than Hitlers in a very significant way. Their policy differences also leave little doubt that these two are fundamentally different on a root level. Let me explain.

Trump was elected democratically. Hitler was not. In fact records show that the NSDAP only received about 35% of the vote. The difference lies in how democracy was set up in Weimar Republic Germany. Most importantly it was not a two party system as ours is. In fact it had a multitude of parties with the communists, social democrats, Catholic Center party and numerous other parties. In fact Hitler never “ran” for office. He tried to seize power violently in 1923 for which he was arrested. In 1933 a coalition government was formed by the majority conservative aligned parties in which Hitler, to placate his vote of 35%,(constituting the largest power block belonging to a single party in Weimar), was put in as Chancellor. This was in the hopes of controlling him which failed following the burning of the Reichstag and the death of President Paul Von Hindenburg in 1933. Hitler quickly granted himself and his party more and more executive power in response to what was a genuine crisis facing Germany in the form of the Moscow backed German communists. Hitler's brutal reign of oppression and suppression would follow immediately after. 

Why is this important? Because we need to know what we're talking about when comparing and contrasting. Like Trump of not being a populist or a nationalist doesn't make one “literally Hitler” unless George Washington, Charles De Gaulle and Winston Churchill were also Nazis. Donald Trump began his campaign, (something Hitler did not ever do), and won himself by a electoral vote,(again something Hitler did not do as he was appointed),. He has made no rapid moves to ascribe to the executive branch undue amounts of power nor has he exercised his power in such a way as to lack precedent. Rhetoric alone does not a dictator make and it is important to note that Hitler did not allow criticism of him. There was no Bill Maher show to incessantly mock him. There was no Twitter or YouTube and there certainly was not a women's March in Berlin. 

Another thing to note is the lack of racial policy. By 1937 Hitler and his party had passed the Nuremberg laws, regulating activity and rights open to Jews and other undesirables and activities not open to them. In fact Trump's son and law and daughter and grandchild are Jewish. It has been a year and a few months since Donald Trump has taken office. Yet there has been no work towards a racial policy. Many claim his speeches pertaining to illegal immigrants are really dog whistles about Mexicans. This comment however, is riddled with racist assumptions. The first is that all Hispanic people you see are Mexican, the second is that all illegal aliens are mexican and the third is that illegal immigrants are a separate race. In order to be “racist” one would need to hold that one race is superior to another. Illegal is an immigration status not a race and if you're assuming without proper evidence that it is a dog whistle you are acting by unbiblical principles. Beware the Christian who froths at the mouth about Trump’s racism. 

Trump ran on an almost isolationist campaign promising to pull out of NATO if other nations didn't pay up and other comments made about our involvement in the middle East. He has since reneged on these promises but if we're comparing him to Hitler one must know what Hitler promised and did. From the onset Hitler promised military expansion and lebensraum in the east, (Russia and the Baltic states),. He also promised to regain/gain lost German lands and populations in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Austria and Eastern France. Trump has not talked about expansion of territory. He has spoken about rebuilding the military but so did Bush, Reagan, Nixon and Kennedy. Nobody called them Hitler, wait yes they did. 

What needs to be understood is the left's constant reliance on the “Hitler” card. I've seen it done in conservative circles as well but nowhere near as much as leftists do and the thing about it is that that creates more Hitlers than at any time since 1945. We are fueling this. In my case leftist propaganda certainly fueled my pre-Christian beliefs. If one pulls up on Google statistics about right wing hate groups we will quickly find a BBC study saying that hate groups are on the rise in the u.s. The main source of their belief? Southern Poverty Law Center. The same people that cite everyone to the right of Bernie Sanders as holding Nazi sympathies. This includes Focus on the Family and Milo Yiannopoulos, the Gay, Jewish, British conservative commentator who makes constant jokes about his preference for interracial relationships. This is not to justify his actions but it is to highlight how ridiculous the SPLC’s system of classification is. Ben Shapiro is also on their list. Both men have had college students riot to prevent them from speaking. The doublethink it requires to call the opposition Nazis while rioting and burning your own campus to prevent two Jewish men from speaking is astounding. 

The SPLC says that there are over 1,000 hate groups operating within the u.s with over 10,000 members. This is against an overall population of 324 million people in the u.s. which means about .03% of the u.s population is a member of a white supremacist group. This in comparison to Islamic extremism in the world. There are over 1.9 billion Muslims in the world in which it is estimated that 7% is engaged in extremist violence. That's 75 million people engaged in holy war. That is accounting for only those who engage in violence. The unknown number of sympathizers must be large indeed. In the united states there 9.9 million Muslims, of which is 3.75% of the overall u.s population. Let's apply the conservative estimate of 5% to active jihadis for the u.s population. That is 450,000 men and women who have possibly been radicalized. 

However, Muslims are still a minority in the United States. Look at other nations where they are not. France and England notably. In fact of you look at statistics more British Muslims have joined ISIS than have joined the British armed forces. Yet if you look up hate crimes in the U.S Charlottesville is the first to come up. However, that is amongst the slew of other notably false hate crimes such as the woman who claimed three male Trump supporters ripped her Hijab off on a New York subway. Police resources were wasted investigating this crime and it was proven to be false. No charges were brought against the woman. Nothing more was said but numerous people went on believing this crime happened. The news sources that so eagerly reported this crime, CNN, MSNBC and many others were slow to or downright refused to print or report a retraction. In fact these fabricated hate crimes are all too often brushed over as genuine with no consequences. 

Charlottesville is high profile however. And it gets granted a huge amount of scrutiny. Like them or not America grants everyone a right to free speech and these men and women were granted the right to rally before it was unfairly retracted for political motivations. When they went ahead ANTIFA,(a noted terrorist organization that uses violence to accomplish it's ends), disrupted the rally violently causing a reaction. I have seen the first hand videos. The punch a Nazi in the face slogans and the bottle throwing. Blocking highways and attacking people. Yet these are considered to be single incidents to the media. The Charlottesville incident however, that is a condemnation of Trump and his supporters, (who are all neo Nazis to the media),. 

Celebrities are in on it as well. From Ashley Judd screeching that the ghost of Hitler is in the white house to Jim Jeffries screaming profanities at Piers Morgan saying “Hitler didn't kill Jews on the first day” we can see Hollywood flipping. In fact no anti semitism can be traced to Trump himself which is odd for a Nazi. He's painted by an association he has disavowed numerously. A disavowal from president Trump however, is not enough. He must spend his presidency atoning for it. In fact he has to spend his presidency not doing what he campaigned for to make the left happy. But Obama escaped his association from the hateful Jeremiah Wright and Terrorist Bill Ayers without a sigh. The media said that he was a separate individual and couldn't be painted as one. But Trump is guilty solely on his supposed associations. 

When it comes to Trump’s comments about African Americans none can be found. In fact he only cited source of his anti African racism is a comment with foul language about “*blank* nations”. The left’s reaction was scathing. In fact I saw many posts saying “he calls OUR nations that”. Two leftist dogmas are defeated by this assumption. The first is that any nation “belongs” to any group of people. The idea that African nations belong to unique African people is racist and discriminatory. The second is that immigration is good because these people have horrible chances in their own nation and need better lives. If Trump was wrong, and Somalia is really a sparkling Paradise then there is no need for immigration. Leftists in their Hysteria cannot even keep their stories straight and will find any excuse to justify their own preconceived notion of President Trump. They assume his motive and then look for evidence to support their verdict instead of vice versa.

Why is Hitler so polarizing though? Especially to leftists. The spectre of Stalin, who killed 20-30 million people, or Mao who killed 60 million should be more polarizing. Even Che Guevara, whose face can be found on leftist t shirts, is the perfect anti progressive. He was the executioner at La Cabantuana prison and oversaw 2,500 executions ranging from political enemies to homosexuals and kids who listened to rock and roll. Che even said that “the black is indolent and lazy and spends his money frivolously”. Yet Jay Z wears his face on his shirt. What makes the Austrian painter the most horrifying in a century of secular violence?

Utopia is my answer. Hitler's Utopia is different than the one leftists hold. His was racial while theirs is classless. That is why everyone against them is racist and their heroes are unblemished. 

Nazis have grown in number but nowhere near the level of hiding under every bed. The alt right is doomed to failure as they are not homogenous and not a dedicated party. Every evil has its roots in Godlessness and every evil and sin is cured at Calvary. I left that life behind me because Christ's love for me is greater than my hatred of others. To anyone who feels these things. To feel disenfranchised, hated or alone I hope you hear me and most of all I hope you hear Christ. From the Nazi to ANTIFA none of us are clean and our hatred and violence towards each other proves. Your Utopias are built upon sand and will crash with the surf. Only the Lord has the way. God bless all of you.

3/14/18

Why Moderates Can't Save Us From "Extremism"

By: Jonathan Harris

A recent article in the New York Times actually draws attention to a real issue. The author notices that there is a problem in communication between the left and the right. This is for the most part true. However, the author’s solution will never work.

One of the fallacies of our modern time is thinking that extremism is the problem. As long as people weren’t so extreme they could actually have dialogue with one another and make progress. This could not be further from the truth. Someone who is extreme in regard to their love for others does not need to be moderated. Similarly, someone who is extreme in regard to hating others does not need to be moderated. One needs to be championed and the other defeated.

The author seems to think that the solution for our political problems is going to come from the moderates. The moderates though are just as human as the liberals and conservatives. Consider the reason someone may describe themselves as moderate. Perhaps they have not thought through the issues as deeply and therefore are unwilling to take a side. It should go without saying that no solution will come from someone who has not thought through it. Or it may be that they have an alternative view on a particular topic. If this is the case then a third potential for extremism has just developed. Problem not solved. Still a third option could be they may have a chosen side but their tone is softer and more attractive. This probably comes close to the moderate described by the author. So potentially sneaky extremists, or extremists with better manners are going to save us?

There is no way to defeat trolls and smug elitists by condescending to trolls and smug elitists. The solution must come from defeating evil wherever it is found by another form of extremism. An extremism that teaches loving radically, speaking truthfully, and not mincing words when it comes to evil is the only way to combat the alleged extremism the author complains about.

What the author is really complaining about is a left and a right devoid of Christian value. The solution is to go back to Christian standards of belief and etiquette. Those will not come from moderating between two standards devoid of them. They will come from adhering to the once cherished standard of Christianity- something that Is not part of the make up of the ideal moderate because it sounds too conservative. Political discourse got worse when Christianity became less influential. A failure to recognize this is why the author’s solution will not work.

3/9/18

Land Seizure from White Farmers is Inherently Anti-Christian

By: David Harris
        
Many have heard by now the astonishing decision by the South African Parliament last week to give the go-ahead for land seizure of white-owned farms without compensation. While the decision must go under constitutional review, the very fact that it is a consideration should be morally appalling to South Africans and the rest of the world, regardless of political affiliation or the color of one’s skin. Why? Because the decision to take white-owned land is inherently anti-Christian. What makes it anti-Christian? Well, let me explain by briefly laying out some of the presuppositions behind land seizure, and then I will lay out why these presuppositions do not fit into a Christian worldview.

1) The problems that South Africa faces are due to a legacy and a history of oppression by white colonization

This is the most frequent assumption behind justifying land seizure or policies like BEE (Black Economic Empowerment). The assumption is founded in the faulty belief that the “white races” of England and Holland brought only terror and oppression to South Africa and that historic mistreatment is to blame for all current problems. While it is no doubt correct that there have been countless instances of mistreatment by whites upon blacks (and vice-versa) since Bartholomew Dias landed on Dias Beach in the 15th century, it is utterly flawed to assert that only oppression has been brought. How do we know? South Africa has long been the beacon of light on the “Dark Continent,” never having experienced much of devastating civil war and genocide that nations throughout Africa still experience. This is not due to the fact that the explorers who came to South Africa were white, but it has everything to do with the fact that they were typically Christian and their culture had been influenced as such for the better part of a thousand years. If one surveys World History they will come to find that a nation’s freedom and prosperity is directly proportional to its Christian influence. It is because of a Christian influence and the application of a biblical worldview that South Africa has been so prosperous despite being oftentimes ruled by unchristian leaders and policies (for example, Apartheid). It’s also important to note that the forces that have dismantled oppressive policies in the midst of white rule were almost universally motivated by Christianity. To reject the ideas of the colonizers in general requires a reject of the worldview that motivated them to settle in South Africa in the first place – you must reject Christianity or distort it beyond recognition (as the Zion Christian Church and other cults like it have done throughout the last century and a half).

2) The fact that whites own the majority of the land in South Africa demonstrates gross inequality                         

This presupposition comes in many forms throughout the world and is very easy to finagle into an emotional “that’s not fair” kind of argument. It is still true to this day that white people own the majority of land in South Africa while representing a small minority of the population. However, this is due primarily to commercial and game farming, both occupations and industries that are vitally important to the South African economy, and both requiring extensive land to accomplish. Quite frankly, the loss of these industries would spell perpetual economic doom for South Africa, as food is needed to live (and South African food is some of the best in the world, by the way) and the game farms provide much need economic stimulation through tourism. One need only to assess the history of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe to see this disaster in perpetual action. Aside from the economic disaster that will inevitably ensue, it should be recognize that forced redistribution of wealth in any form (including land) is not a Christian idea (no, Acts 2 does not endorse political redistribution of wealth). It is in fact, an inherently communistic and anti-Christian doctrine that flies in the face of almost anything that resembles good and decency as a blatant violation of the 8th Commandment and has played out in every corner of the world where it has been tried in miserable failure, usually resulting in a profound loss of life or quality of life. We must ask the simple question: should land or wealth be taken from one and given to another based solely on the color of skin of the involved parties? If so, how can this be biblically justified? Perhaps because the land was stolen to begin with by the ancestors of the whites? That leads us to our next presupposition…

3) The land in question was originally stolen from the black majority by the white minority during colonization
   
While I’m sure that someone could dig up some instances of land seizure by whites, typically land was appropriated by treaty with African tribes. The events that led up to the Battle of Blood River are illustrative of this (when the agreed upon treaty was not honored by the treacherous Dingane). The resulting victory by the Dutch Voortrekkers led to a lasting, though at times tenuous, peace with the Zulus. The long-term result of this “land grab” by whites has been the propagation of Christianity among the Zulus leading to many Christian strongholds in Zululand today. In a more general sense, the white settlers brought with them the idea of cash crops and livestock - this was not practiced by the indigenous peoples to any degree resembling what was common place throughout the Western World. The result of commercial farming (for profit) has been the economic betterment not only of those who run the farms, but also of the countless employees, many of them indigenous people who have benefitted from the increased standard of living. The consequence is that more land is currently in white hands in terms of acreage, but this will not be forever. As more black farmers learn commercial farming, the ratio of white to black farms will shift – but this must take time, not be forced, as noted above, the result will be an economic disaster.  
               
To seize land from whites will not solve a single economic or social problem that South Africa now faces. It will instead more explicitly mark an overall return to animistic tribalism – the darkness that the light of Christianity has exposed for several centuries in Sub-Saharan Africa thanks to the efforts of missionaries and subsequent African pastors. If a racist white person (of whom there are many) ever talks about the “eternal glory of whiteness” that has transcended the epochs, they are telling a rank and disgusting lie. Those who hail from a place of traditionally white complexion come from equally animistic, tribal cultures that once lived in utter darkness. Most of those traditionally “white” cultures are heading back to the pagan direction where they came from at the speed of a bullet train (for examples of this, see: United States/European popular entertainment and abortion statistics). Reverting back to pagan roots has done irreversible damage to the West – South Africa should learn from the examples of these nations. South Africa will not do itself a single favor by curtailing to the destructive racial Marxism that has already destroyed so much of Africa and the rest of the World. Only Christianity and an applied Christian worldview will bring peace, there is no hope in any other system or policy, not the least seizing land based on skin color.

3/5/18

Christianity saved me from white nationalism- helps me love those in it, says former Richard Spencer fan

By Frank Russo

I have an interesting take on the issue of white nationalism. It’s not because I am a self proclaimed expert on it like the SPLC, or because I am a lawyer who has worked to prosecute hate crimes. It’s because I am a white nationalist. Well rather I was one. It may be an odd thing to confess, especially in this political atmosphere, but it is vastly important to who I am and as evidence as to how the Lord works in people’s lives. I’m also writing this because I think that what I have to say is important especially in light of how people think these feelings and thoughts develop and how they react to it. How the country is trying to counteract this issue is dangerous and counter-intuitive. In fact it is breeding more Nazis than at any other time since 1945.

Let me start by saying that I wasn’t an out and out Neo-Nazi. I was an internet troll. I liked to post anti semitic memes and harass social justice warriors on twitter, However I can say with a little bit of justification that I was a little above the average Neo Nazi. I read the works that I thought were necessary to become one. Mein Kampf, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and all sorts of other tracts on National Socialism as a theory. I even read the program of the NSDAP and eagerly thought and discussed these ideas with friends and family in private, seeking to convince them of the dangers of the Jewish menace lying in wait on our doorstep. Was I always this way? An angry kid who came home from school in a rage at whatever leftist propaganda had been fed to me that day? Thinking of violence and ways to get even with those who were denying me my place in an imagined racial hierarchy? The answer is no. Not at all. Nazis don’t just poof into existence. They grow through their own experiences of the world surrounding them. Let me begin by saying that my childhood was mostly normal. I grew up in suburban New York with both parents in the picture. Despite the stereotypes they weren’t racist. Well not “real” racists. Sounds odd I know but let me explain. We’d watch the news and there would be some riot or mugging and my Dad, a product of the wild 60’s generation, would make some sort of racially charged comment and my mom would nod along. However, we would associate with blacks within the family circle and without quite often. And these interactions would be jovial, downright respectful and even familial. I was forced to call my Grandma’s friend’s husband, who happened to be black, uncle as a show of respect. My parents grew up in a race conscious generation where it was a clear cut mentality of us and them. My dad inherited racial views from my grandfather but not in any other sense than outwardly. He had many black friends that he spoke fondly of through the years. In fact I can recount numerous stories of his. So why the racial comments? Why the outward sign of discrimination? My best answer is its just how that generation happens to be. Whenever we got down to talking about race, and I would try and convince my dad otherwise, he would admit that he didn’t dislike blacks as a whole or even dislike them because of their race. He told me that his dislike would stem from his views on how their culture has shaped wide ranging attitudes amongst the black community as he saw it. This also extended to whites he deemed lazy or useless.

Now that’s not a Christian worldview certainly, but it’s not a “racist” worldview either. I had a racist worldview but once again not always. In fact I used to be a huge supporter of multiculturalism. As a kid I made friends with all people and during the 2012 election I was pretty happy that Obama was running. Everyone seemed to like him, my parents liked him and he seemed to be pretty nice so I liked Obama too and I was happy that he won. It wasn't any real type of support I get it. I was only 10 after all but even then I always talked about Obama like he was this great guy. You can ask my classmates in elementary school. Even then I was an annoying person who cared about stuff light years ahead of me. I didn’t give Obama much thought after he won, but over the years when I became more and more aware and informed, (again I always cared about stuff my peers thought was stupid), I began to dislike him. His racially divisive rhetoric, his failure to heed his campaign promises in regards to the middle east, his abandonment of Israel, (I was a huge supporter of Israel at the time too), and his gun control stance where things I found intolerable. So I turned against him and turned into a dyed in the wool Conservative. I campaigned for Nan Hayworth in 2012, (she lost), and supported Mitt Romney heavily with my entire family in the same year, (he lost too),. That’s where things began to go really wrong for me, ideologically speaking. How? I kept asking myself. I was convinced that this wasn’t right. Obama was not standing for America and he was working to undermine the American ideal as I saw it. It was an existential crisis for me. I felt like the world was ending, though to be clear I wasn’t crying in the streets and burning stuff down. It was more of a quiet depression. I think somewhere along this line I abandoned the America I saw. I got that belief from G.I. Joe and old war movies where we were always the good guys who stood up for truth. Well truth lost in my eyes and I was searching for a reason why. I continued to grow as most kids do and I began to notice things. The first was that I was an outcast. A fat, white kid who constantly tried to convince everyone the country was falling apart while they walked on by. I had no friends, no girlfriend and no real happiness. I felt utterly alone throughout a good amount of my school years and what’s worse is I saw all my peers begin to embrace the very ideals I had warned them against and then they started to mock me. I couldn’t handle being questioned. I had put all that work in over the years to being informed and constructing a worldview and reasons why and I was defeated by the cookie cutter one handed out to them in the classroom because I was outnumbered. The other part of it was that I never put enough thought into how to best convince. Screaming in a rage doesn’t make you smart, it makes you look like a madman.

Enter the 8th grade and a Black Muslim sjw English teacher. We spent the entire year writing about black history and I am not lying on this. I was also a huge fan of Israel still so when we only spent a week on the Holocaust and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas I was outraged. This is where my racial consciousness slowly began to kick in for real. I wasn’t shouting Nazi ideology or anything yet but I stopped talking about equality as much as I was. In this ELA class of honors students I was one of a few white males and out of the few that were there I was the only one not on a sports team.I continued to stew for a few more years, being the punching bag of most everyone who wanted a piece for a few years. A kid can develop a lot of anger and I tried to channel that into debates. I would engage anyone and everyone I even joined the debate team. Again outnumbered at every turn and losing because of it. I wasn’t content to be correct in my own mind. I had to convince everyone that I was right and that they had to follow me. It was pride that kept me angry. It was pride that kept me up at night trying to convince our generation that we couldn’t keep smoking pot and not getting involved. Enter my cousin Kacy. Strong, smart and got anything he wanted. I think he could sense it. Everyone could. I was smart, but malleable. I could be turned into anything that was needed as long as I was convinced I choose that path for my own good. He told me about the Alt-Right and he sent me books and links and all sorts of stuff. My worldview took a twist. Everything I knew was wrong and everything being taught to me by the people I despised had a motive. For so long I had seen my peers encouraged to develop a racial consciousness. In retrospect you can see the ideology of white guilt in action before white privilege was even a term. Black History Month was forcibly celebrated in schools. Happy Holidays replaced Merry Christmas. These were small things and in conjunction they became big things.The birth of my white identity came soon after. If its okay to be black and proud why is it not okay to be white and proud? And was I proud, not of my race but of me. That’s the major mistake people make about racism. It’s not really pride in one’s race but in oneself. I wanted to proud of myself but that was only part of it. I wanted others to be proud of me too and I didn’t have any means to achieve it. How do I get others to respect me and join me in brotherhood? Superficial appearances. It worked for the other clicks. The jocks all congratulated themselves on being sporty and so on with all other interactions I saw. Being on the other side of group bullying I saw how they worked together. How these small things tied them together when I would see them fight each other the day after teaming up on me. Sports was out of the question and I wasn’t cool or funny. But I was white and smart so I quickly joined in with the online troll community. It felt euphoric. I was finally getting back and even with all the people I thought wronged me. Nobody could tell who I was because I hid behind a picture and a name. I called people all sorts of slurs and said things I’d never get away with in public. I was unbeatable. I was fighting the powers that be and I had a sense of brotherhood…….well I thought I did.

When I saw behavior I thought counter to the goals of our movement I reacted and it earned me few friends. I attacked anyone on the right I saw as trying to subvert the movement or trying to hijack it. Conspiracies were everywhere and Jews, Catholics, feminists and leftists were all at the center of it. I was alone again in my own crusade and I had never felt more alone and depressed. I had a friend at the time though who saw what was happening. He brought me to his church and had me hear the words of the Lord. It wasn’t instant. Over time though, a change began to happen. I no longer wanted to hurt people and I spent less and less time picking fights on twitter. Eventually I began to hate myself more than any other group. I began to see that these racial feelings were part of what I felt was a lifetime of being wronged, of being hated. It took more time but eventually I came to Christ and had to acknowledge my evil. I stopped worshiping the swastika and bowed to the cross. Christ has worked a miracle in my life that his blood has saved me from the justly deserved fate that was in store for me. But is that the end of the white nationalist? No it’s not. I struggle often with these old feelings. Especially when I am confronted with the old nemesis that only Nazism seemed to bring release from. Abandoning racial hatred and white nationalism did not lead to me loving the left and embracing it’s doctrines as many who might have started to read this wanted to hear. I am not a propaganda piece. I am one story of millions of the Lord’s mercy. But a lot of these feelings and pains are still there. I still have to deal with the earthly consequences of my sin. I wake up everyday and promise myself to avoid things that will trigger my Nazi response but it’s not long before I am confronted with the equal evil and sin of the opposition party that demands “if you're not with us you're against us”. I read an article from Huffington Post, (“Toddlers Understand Consent” or “Trump’s Diet Habit is Dangerous to Our Democracy”) or whatever such swill is peddled I can’t help but have an echo in my mind demanding I return to the philosophy of hatred and struggle. My mind whispers that my only sin is having given up the struggle and abandoned the war. A interaction I had a few weeks back really hurt but also helped me. I liked a friends post about the gospel being the cure to racism and agreed wholeheartedly. However, I also read the comments below and was utterly dismayed at what seems to be a large attitude amongst the Christian community. A black gentleman after having a discourse on what racism is asked me “what are you doing to fight racism”. That hit me and not for the reasons you may think. I was hurt because he put such an accusation on me by insinuation, (I’m not helping oppressed or marginalized communities), when he genuinely did not know that I struggle everyday to decrease hate in the world by one. Me. Everyday I struggle with this and some days I come close to hating myself for it. It’s then that I realize that attitudes like that create more Nazis. It created me after all. By laying responsibility for one sin upon the feet of one group of people in it’s entirety you are guilty of the same sin you accuse others of committing. I am sorry for what other people have experienced, regardless of skin color or creed. But racial pride is not a white sin, it’s a world sin that every race is guilty of, every person is guilty of and is part of why Christ had to die on the cross for our salvation. If your eyes are constantly to the past, looking to rectify for the sins of past people by making others pay today how can you claim to be within Christ? I was doing the same thing. I was looking to get even too and nothing kept me further from the lord than that. Forgiveness is always an easy concept to grasp but never an easy action to commit, but if we are to ask forgiveness from the Lord we must forgive those who have wronged us in turn.

What does that mean for me today? Well it means one thing. Empathy. I understand and feel sorry for those still stuck in the circle of racial hatred. I was there and I understand why they are there. I can also tell you that “punch a Nazi in the face” doesn’t convert anyone to what will really help them.In fact if you come at the issue from a sjw leftist push towards utopia you will get nothing in return because you cannot combat hate with hate. Only the true perfect love of the Lord can do that.
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