8/11/20

Why Do We Say "Stay Safe?"

By: David Scott        



Have you noticed that essentially everyone you talk to in 2020, whether it be in person, on the phone or talking to you from the radio will add in at the end of the conversation the parting words, “stay safe.” Indeed, this has undoubtedly become the motto of at least the first half of 2020. On its face, the farewell seems like what those who say it intend – a kind gesture that invokes the hope that you will not get sick with the COVID-19 virus; that you will remain healthy. Yet the word “healthy” is not used. Somewhere over the last few months, we started to say “safe” instead of “healthy.” Why do we say “safe?”

In the realm of psycholinguistics, linguists try to theorize about how things like word choice, meaning, register or dialect influence individual or group perceptions about language. Often this takes research into the fascinating field of dialectology – how populations of different geographic and social regions speak in different ways, and how those difference influences the way they live, think and speak. With modern media attaining the capability of communicating to populations on mass, we’ve seen in many ways the disintegration of specific regional dialects in favor of a normalized “American” way of speaking, or perhaps more realistically, in favor of specifically favored dialects to the disadvantage of others (for example, the perception of the American Southern dialect as being indicative of ignorance has led to a rise in de-accenting services for individuals with that dialect to change to a more normalized American one)[i]. One of the resulting phenomena that have come from mass media is the normalization of spoken American English – this has led to nearly identical accents developing in young people, from recent immigrants to the children of those with thick regional accents.

While it’s possible that widespread media induced accent normalization is more recent in its prominence, media induced sayings are most definitely not. Often during times of peril, whether during war or natural disaster, specific sayings rise to prominence while being driven by government encouragement (“lose lips sink ships,” “keep calm and carry on,” etc.). The current public health predicament has delivered a number of clever maxims to be oft repeated over radio waves, on billboards and over WIFI – “do your part, stay six feet apart,” “we’re all in this together,” “stay home, stop the spread,” “stay home, stay safe.” Each of these phrases are designed to enforce a way of thinking among all who hear them, namely to take COVID-19 seriously, but of all of them “stay safe” seem probably the most run of the mill and typical. However, the mere choice of saying, “safe” has probably caused more paranoia in a subconscious sense than perhaps any of the others. To understand how, we need to examine what linguists call the “semantic load” (all the meaning that is “loaded” into a particular word) of both “healthy” and “safe.”

When someone says, “stay healthy,” they are making an obvious and straightforward imperative. While “stay healthy” could be said at any time, the context of the Pandemic renders the phrase to essentially mean, “Don’t get Coronavirus.” The term “healthy” is specific enough that it really can only pertain to one’s physical state. In contrast, saying, “stay safe” doesn’t quite elicit the same meaning – the meanings are close, but there is a difference between “healthy” and “safe.” What is the difference?

To begin with, the word “safe” has a broader meaning than “healthy” does. Safety may include health but is definitely not limited to it. (though it may be argued that this difference is even starker in other languages, for example in Spanish where “safe” is translated as “segura” which also means “secure,” and healthy is translated as “saludable,” or “wholesome”). When used pre-COVID-19, “safe” would most often be used, in the English language, to refer to a “safe neighborhood” or a “safe trip” – rarely was it used specifically to refer to someone staying healthy. Why is this? Safe is an adjective, but it has morphed over time from a verb (to save, from the Latin salvus[ii]). To “save” means to rescue or protect someone or something – it denotes being “uninjured.” In usual contexts, “safe” almost always refers to protection from potential, usually immediate, physical harm – a criminal, an enemy, a dangerous animal – it is a far more broad term than “healthy,” and again, it can include health, but it still typically sticks to more physically present threats, ones that can be seen, heard, touched and imagined much more easily than a virus. We know the effects of a virus, but few have actually seen the physical virus under a microscope, and so our association with illness is much more abstract than with, for example, a hungry, angry bear in the woods that we want to “stay safe” from. To put this idea to the test, imagine any other illness – the flu, measles or a norovirus outbreak in your local community – could you imagine yourself saying, “stay safe” to a fellow community member while bidding them adieu? It sounds and seems awkward; you would instead say, “Stay healthy.” Thus it is clearly seen that we collectively say “stay safe” not because that’s what we say when there’s an outbreak of illness, but because of the scope of this particular illness – or is there another reason?

What is the psychological effect of saying “safe” instead of saying “healthy”? Basically, it adds urgency and somewhat of a personification to the Coronavirus – it isn’t a strain of illness that we hope to be kept from getting – instead it’s a “silent killer” that lurks on every surface and behind every face mask outside our home. A survivability rate of 99.98% will do nothing to alleviate our fears because it’s a physical, personified threat to us every moment of every day. The paranoia that the word choice cultivates is supported by every news report we watch, every mask being worn that we see while we’re out and constant image of a nefarious looking red virus blown up to poster size.

When considering ways to lessen or even eliminate one’s own paranoia over the COVID-19 outbreak, there are a number of strategies that can be implemented to varying success. While turning off the TV, putting the phone on silent and getting some fresh air outside unmasked may all be effective, don’t forget your speech – it can solidify your way of thinking even without you realizing it. Stay healthy.


What Happened to Max Lucado?

Max Lucado has wandered down the social justice path. Why? Video:

Audio:

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/worldviewconversation Subscribe: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/conversations-that-matter/id1446645865?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4 Like Us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/worldviewconversation/ Follow Us on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/conversationsthatmatterpodcast Follow Jon on Parler: https://parler.com/profile/JonHarris/posts Follow Jon on Twitter https://twitter.com/worldviewconvos Follow Us on Gab: https://gab.ai/worldiewconversation Subscribe on Minds https://www.minds.com/worldviewconversation More Ways to Listen: https://anchor.fm/worldviewconversation Mentioned in this Podcast: Why are All My Friends Marxist?: http://www.worldviewconversation.com/2020/06/why-are-all-my-friends-marxists.html Black Lives Matter and the New Religion: http://www.worldviewconversation.com/2020/06/black-lives-matter-and-new-religion.html Russell Fuller: http://russellfuller.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/#/

8/10/20

The Founding Fathers on Rights and Responsibilities

 Jon gives an overview of what the Founding Fathers thought of rights and responsibilities and how it differs from today's assumptions (using examples like Covid 19 overreach and how prominent evangelicals have reacted to it).

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Mentioned in this Podcast:

Biblical Parellels Between the US Constitution and Bible
https://nccs.net/blogs/articles/parallel-concepts-between-the-u-s-constitution-the-bible

Thomas Jefferson on Rights and Duties
https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2012/07/thomas-jefferson-on-rights-and-duties-jeffersonian.html

Founding Fathers on Virtue
https://thefederalist.com/2017/04/28/the-american-founders-knew-a-virtuous-republic-requires-virtuous-people/

8/8/20

Neil Shenvi, John MacArthur's Friends, and Historical #CancelCulture

 First, some discussion on how to better access Jon and some helpful book recommendations. Then, some thoughts on Neil Shenvi's positions on Resolution 9, Danny Akin, Jarvis Williams, etc. (12:10). After that, John MacArthur travels down a lonely road (51:38). Finally, some explanation on the Republican party's reaction to historical #CancelCulture on Confederate monuments and symbols (60:00). Video: Audio:

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/worldviewconversation Subscribe: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/conversations-that-matter/id1446645865?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4 Like Us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/worldviewconversation/ Follow Us on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/conversationsthatmatterpodcast Follow Jon on Parler: https://parler.com/profile/JonHarris/posts Follow Jon on Twitter https://twitter.com/worldviewconvos Follow Us on Gab: https://gab.ai/worldiewconversation Subscribe on Minds https://www.minds.com/worldviewconversation More Ways to Listen: https://anchor.fm/worldviewconversation Neil Shenvi Tweets: Shenvi is a member at J.D. Greear's Church: https://twitter.com/jdgreear/status/1290681921761087489?s=20 Shenvi defending Greear as a conservative: https://twitter.com/NeilShenvi/status/1244701748083785729?s=20 Shenvi supporting Resolution 9: https://twitter.com/NeilShenvi/status/1138841042818686976?s=20 Shenvi stating CRT is Not Marxism: https://twitter.com/NeilShenvi/status/1244756851490578432?s=20 Shenvi supporting CRT/I as analytical tools: https://twitter.com/NeilShenvi/status/1162331994073784321?s=20 https://twitter.com/NeilShenvi/status/1162363671282167808?s=20 Shenvi defending the use of the term "social justice" as potentially meaning "biblical justice:" https://twitter.com/NeilShenvi/status/1232045828560314371?s=20 Shenvi misrepresenting Tom Ascol's position on Res 9 (I asked Tom about this, and he verified it was a misrepresentation): https://twitter.com/worldviewconvos/status/1244706429153533953?s=20 Shenvi defending Jarvis William's use of critical theory: https://twitter.com/NeilShenvi/status/1233125854856781825?s=20 Shenvi confusing the relationship of postmodernism and critical theory: https://twitter.com/NeilShenvi/status/1248972378899611651 Shenvi conflating culture and ethnicity: https://twitter.com/NeilShenvi/status/1248380307192991749?s=20 Shenvi misunderstanding standpoint epistemology: https://twitter.com/NeilShenvi/status/1248323924351430658 Danny Akin Standpoint Epistemology Clip: https://youtu.be/7uyCAz4hS0s?t=1818 HR 7608 Information: Sections 441, 442 and 443: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/7608/text#H48858D6434614926ADF7982AB7B6F9E6 Section 130. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/7608/text#H45BFCAB6A6C14620A7AAA760B5BC6A84 To contact Senators: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm Russel Fuller's Theology Classroom: http://russellfuller.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/?#/

8/5/20

Danny Akin, Ed Stetzer, and Tim Keller Oh My!

First, some analysis of Danny Akin's attempt to save #BlackLivesMatter from the organization that created the slogan. Then, what's Ed Stetzer doing analyzing "White Fragility" at Christianity Today? Finally, an analysis of Tim Keller's latest blog on justice.
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8/4/20

When Logic Replaces Exposition: An Observation of Jonathan Leeman’s Response



By: Grant Kolko

Whatever one thinks of John MacArthur and the elders at Grace Community Church (GCC) leading a charge in civil disobedience concerning coronavirus mandates, they did provide a biblical explanation or exposition before sailing into these waters.[1]  How refreshing!  You may disagree, but at least you know the premise of their decision-making.  Jonathan Leeman takes exception to their conclusion,[2] as does Mark Dever in a subsequent 9Marks podcast.  When the Bereans heard the Apostle Paul preach, their reaction was to examine the Scripture to see if it was so (Acts 17:11).  Sadly, this is not the direction of Leeman’s response; rather it favors logic over exposition.

Frankly, we may miss this approach because we can easily be guilty of the same.  Logic seems to be the weapon of choice among evangelicals whether it is social media or elsewhere.  Often it finds popularity to help with uncomfortable expositional conclusions. 

After initial friendly affirmations, Leeman gets to thrust of his concern: “[Civil] disobedience may not be the only legitimate or moral course of action at this moment.”  His exception could have legitimacy.  It demands substantiation; something his post provides as it continues.  Yet here is the problem.  Leeman critiques a statement written in a unique genre: biblical exposition.  Here only one form of argumentation becomes plausible.  Exposition—granted, the interpretation must be accurate—is synonymous with divine authority.  Now the only acceptable refutation is stronger or more accurate interpretation.  The nature of biblical exposition is such that it insists upon an obedient response!  “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).  Exposition rules when it comes to argumentation in the lives of believers.  True, churches may need more time to study this issue; but logic is a poor substitute in the refutation of sound exposition.   

A couple of preliminary remarks are necessary.  One, no one believes MacArthur’s expositions are infallible.  With that stated comes a word of advice.  If you willingly step into an arena against an expositor with a distinguished expositional ministry who stands alongside of his elders not shying from controversy for the sake of biblical truth, you may want to ensure your expositional sword is extra sharp that day!  Leeman comes to battle with a keen mind but a dull blade.

And two, a response that merely mentions biblical references isn’t a serious attempt at exposition.
  It requires hard work, but work worth the effort so that one may know what God thinks about a given issue.  Leeman’s article displays a weak hermeneutic since it appeals to a particular verse or passage only to discover a general principle which then receives broad application.  While a careful use of this practice is appropriate, it should never apply where the Bible speaks specifically.  Otherwise it serves only to undermine exposition itself.  Such is the case here when it nails a thin veneer over exposition in order to advance a narrative that this is nothing more than “judgment calls” or debate over what is “beneficial” or merely “[passing] judgment on one another.”  Wow!  Suddenly ecclesiastical doctrine (e.g. “not forsaking our own assembling together” [Hebrews 10:25] or separation of civil and religious authority [Mark 12:27]) relegates to nothing more than personal preference.

Notice logical primacy of logic over exposition in each of Leeman’s four major points:

“First, it’s true that MacArthur’s church cannot meet, but Christ’s church can meet.”  In other words, if MacArthur’s church is too large to meet, then it can still break into smaller groups.  Plus, GCC still has an option of meeting together outdoors as one body because California government says so.  The strength of Leeman’s first point appears charitable and Christian-like, but unmistakably its essence is still logical.  The overall expositional thrust of the statement he is critiquing declares: “[It] has never been the prerogative of civil government to order, modify, forbid, or mandate worship.”  Yes, GCC has options as does other churches; but where does the Bible teach that churches must accommodate government when it comes to the corporate worship of Christ?  The simple reality is churches are exerting so much time, energy, and effort in compliance that ministry is suffering greatly. 

“Second, Christians have long worked to accommodate government restrictions on gatherings, both when those requirements have seemed fair and when they don’t.”
  Again, exposition must surrender to logic; this time in the form of anecdotalism.  Since churches have submitted to fair governmental demands (i.e. World War Two blackouts) and unfair (i.e. persecuted churches in China) in the past, then reasonable expectation exists for modern churches to do the same.  While anecdotes have a place even despite its polemically weak propensity toward subjectivity, it simply fails to compare to exposition.  As Romans 3:4 declares, “[Let] God be found true, though every man be found a liar.”  Doesn’t MacArthur use anecdotes in his statement (e.g. “Calvin’s Geneva”)?  Yes he does but in a subservient manner whereby the high ground of scriptural authority suffers no compromise.  The intent of Leeman is quite different; it becomes a chisel to challenge the expositional statement he critiques.

Before leaving this second point, consider the following: “In other words, just because you think God will ultimately vindicate your decision to disobey the government on the last day doesn’t mean it’s wise. You might have other options that avoid undue attention.”
  Either Leeman writes with uncharacteristic clumsiness or invites danger from a practical theology standpoint.  Certainly decisions must consider both present and future ramifications, but Leeman goes too far in making this point.  If you truly believe God will vindicate your decision to disobey the government on the last day, where else can your decision go?  God’s vindication is always the right decision!  His counsel seems to give credence in accepting biblical exposition and a God-given conscience as being somewhat negotiable.

“Third, addressing this matter of what’s wise or “beneficial” (see 1 Cor. 6:12), I personally wonder if defying government orders for the sake of a pandemic is the most judicious opportunity to exercise those muscles.”
  Logic again thwarts exposition; this time in the form of jurisprudence.  MacArthur refuses to appeal for support elsewhere, even if it could include the weight of the U.S. Constitution and First Amendment.  Why?  He would tear the fabric his carefully woven statement consists of.  “[Freedom] of worship is a command of God,” he writes, “not a privilege granted by the state.”  Such conviction agrees with the practice of the Apostles (see Acts 4:19; 5:27-29).  

Due to providence, the States enjoy certain privileges other countries do not; a process of legislation being one.  But this doesn’t change the fact that churches remain indifferent when it comes to verdicts of the court or decisions of the government in ecclesiastical matters regardless of geographical location and governmental form. 

And finally, “Fourth, and this is my most wonky point, MacArthur draws a strict line between the jurisdictions of state, church, and family.”
  Once more logic is called upon to do the impossible of overturning exposition.  The response to a helpful section explaining biblically established boundaries of authority is to blur those distinctions with contradictory examples: parental authority/abuse, fire codes, building codes, zoning restrictions, and even pandemics.  Has exposition finally met its match being forced to cry out, “Uncle!”? 

The opening line of GCC’s addendum brings clarity, “The elders of Grace Church considered and independently consented to the original government order, not because we believed the state has a right to tell churches when, whether, or how to worship.”
  Well stated; consent doesn’t imply abnegation of church oversight.

A weakness of logic is that it tends to implode if not careful.
  For example, Leeman would probably be the first to advocate a strict line in jurisdiction—and rightfully so—if believers took the law into their own hands to protects babies from the unconscionable abortion industry.

The critique tends to overlook the simple fact that the Scripture deems biblically qualified church leaders are in a superior position in making church decisions rather than government officials.
  They—as all believers—have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  They grasp the vast gulf between human wisdom and divine wisdom (Isaiah 55:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16).  They take their shepherding responsibilities seriously (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4).  They are a blessing to the communities they live in (e.g. consent to World War Two black-outs is an easy call).  They realize no issue, including a pandemic, ranks above furtherance of the Gospel (Matthew 16:26).  And they have discernment to recognize when a health issue becomes infected with political germs!

Logic has a valuable place in argumentation.
  Yet it always fails miserably when it seeks to usurp authority from biblical exposition; it makes a great servant but a terrible master.  Pastor MacArthur and the elders of Grace Community Church have provided churches a blessing in the form of a definitive statement regarding a tough issue.  It stands until a stronger exposition takes its place.

Grant Kolkow pastors at Orland Evangelical Free Church in California.  He received his M.Div and D.Min from the Master’s Seminary.



[1] See www.gracechurch.org/news/posts/1988, “Christ, Not Caesar, Is the Head of the Church,” July 24. 2020.

[2] See 9marks.org, “A Time for Civil Disobedience?  A Response to Grace Community Church’s Elders” (July 25, 2020).


8/3/20

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Goes Woke

Iljin Cho shares about his experience at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

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Mentioned in this Episode:

Iljin Cho's TEDS Experience: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15vxnTyixwDt-j6od-nB4ySo0ajuAJO1k/view?usp=sharing

Iljin Cho's Email: iljincho@gmail.com

Unbiblical White Guilt: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bd3I-27v1njAl-OI5NwpIL1oZJ5tF2rq/view?usp=sharing

Commonly Misused Bible Passages on Social Justice: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bd3I-27v1njAl-OI5NwpIL1oZJ5tF2rq/view?usp=sharing

7/26/20

9 Marks Reacts to John MacArthur's Church Reopen Statement

John MacArthur wrote "A Biblical Case for the Church’s Duty to Remain Open." Jonathan Leeman and Mark Dever, from 9 Marks ministries, responded. Jon analyzes the underlying issues involved and warns about the direction 9 Marks is heading in. Video: Audio:

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7/24/20

Why Are Young Evangelicals Really Leaving the Church?

A few announcements and then at 13:00 Jon talks about an article and Facebook post trying to explain why young evangelicals are leaving the church.
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7/23/20

On Specialization and Social Justice in the Pulpit

By: Jon Harris

One of the more confusing circumstances for laymen to navigate is when their personal pastor goes “woke.” How could this happen? This is the man they shared so many personal moments with and never saw a trace of white/straight/male guilt, collectivism, retributive justice, etc. This is the man who went to seminary for three years (or more if Bible college and doctoral work is added) to become an expert on what the Bible says. This is the man who portrays himself as a pious follower of the Lord. How could he fall for such an anti-biblical and worldly philosophy?

Though every situation is different, “specialization” is one factor that may help many make sense, in general, of why this might be the case.

Richard Weaver warned in 1949 that “specialization develops only part of a man.” David Wells warned against its effects again in 1982. Both saw this modern phenomena as a step toward the undermining of transcendent values. Professionals bond with other professionals in a narrow guild. Function is prized above wisdom. Developing the character of the whole man, for the purpose of achieving eternal ends, is no longer the purpose of education.

The seminary model has fallen into the same trap the academy has. It is often the case that a man with more seminary education feels less of a connection with his own congregants. His preaching is less accessible to the very working class people he is supposed to serve. In the context of the church, a barrier exists between the common people and the guild of those with aspiration, position, or degree.

Even men from humble beginnings can cut themselves off from the wisdom of those outside their field of discipline in order to glean the teachings of theological experts. This is why many pastors are thoroughly unequipped to recognize and react to Marxism couched in social justice. It comes from regressive developments in other fields. Namely, sociology, history, and economics.

The academy also fosters a new kind of hierarchy summed up in the phrase “follow the leader.” Respect for the godliest men in a church, whether they be lawyers, businessmen, or mechanics, is replaced with respect for academic elites, conference headliners, and popular authors. In short, the “experts” set the agenda. If social justice is on the menu, it is very hard for pastors steeped for years in the academic model to break free from the assumption that their heroes necessarily know what they’re talking about. In short, specialization does not foster thinking for oneself.

The assumption of expertise, even on matters outside of their specialized field, is almost always given to those highest on the ladder of institutional respectability. Questioning the absolute legitimacy of such an artificial hierarchy is likely to get one brought up on charges of unofficial treason. In other words, looked down upon by the rest of the guild. This is enough for many pastors to not only second guess themselves, if they have suspicions, but completely keep their mouths shut if they think there’s a problem. The risk to personal reputation is too great.

Because most education is slanted toward the left anyway, most prospective pastors already enter seminary with certain assumptions about what constitutes the “common good.” Once in seminary, these assumptions are often reinforced under the label “theology,” instead of “sociology.” This is why many pastors push Marxist concepts without realizing they come from New Left ideas antithetical to Christianity itself. This is also why a hodgepodge of often irrelevant scriptures, with hidden anti-Christian philosophical assumptions behind them, are used by pastors to forward the cause of the left. Diversity, equity, tolerance, and inclusion are not the fruit of the Spirit, but they are the chief virtues taught at many seminaries, whether students realize it or not.

To summarize, if one is not careful, specialization can often subversively lead someone to reject the model for wisdom found in proverbs, the importance of being a Berean, Jesus’ teaching on pharisaical pride, and the basic assumptions that make for proper hermeneutics.

7/22/20

Eric Muldrow on Police Reform and the Future of Policing

Eric Muldrow, from Code Red Conversations on YouTube, talks about the war on the police, why people want to defund the police, and the future of policing. Plus Jon shares his own police story you've probably never heard! Video:
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