Left vs. Liberal; Right vs. Conservatism.

(In preparation for the upcoming election cycle – with an eye toward “where faith and politics intersect.”

when I discuss the “contraception mandate” or the “gay agenda”, I specifically use the term “leftist” instead of “liberal.”

I’ve heard the question asked again and again, “why can’t we reach a compromise?”

I believe the answer lies in the “rise of the wings” – classic liberalism and classic conservatism had much in common. When the “wings” – right wing and left wing – move further and further apart, compromise becomes more difficult.

Classic conservatism and classic liberalism had, more or less, the same goals. Left wing politics and right wing politics do not.

One problem is that modern politics don’t use Biblical meanings. Christianity stresses personal responsibility, while the following thoughts on political conservatism stress societal responsibility. Liberal politics stress individual rights, but not responsibility.

A couple of basic definitions:

Conservative: A traditional conservative will support any social institution (public or private) that promotes and maintains social order and public good. A traditional conservative will emphasize the social/societal (both social responsibility and social benefit) over the isolated individual. (link)

Liberal: When the term “liberalism” (from the Latin word liberalis, meaning “pertaining to a free man”) first emerged in the early 1800s, it was founded on an unwavering belief in individual rights, the rule of law, limited government, private property, and laissez faire economics. These would remain the defining characteristics of liberalism throughout the liberal epoch, generally identified as the period from 1815-1914.

I’m looking for a simple comparison between “conservative” and “right wing” – which will be useful. But for time being, here is a short comparison between “liberal” and “leftist:”

Similarly, a liberal believes in and defends our Western heritage, while desiring to make it more egalitarian. A leftist is instinctively hostile to the Western heritage, regarding it as fundamentally unequal and therefore bad, and only redeemable through radical change. link

we are seeing it more and more, most publicly in both the “gay marriage” debate (you WILL celebrate the gay, or be sued) and the Hobby Lobby decision (Leftists are getting ever more open about wanting to eradicate religious liberty.)

And so it begins.

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Isaiah 53:3-7

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

This time around, one line stood out: “Upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace.

Peace is a big word.

In this passage, “peace” is peace with God.

God is a God of love; He is also a God of justice. That’s not contradictory: perfect love demands perfect justice, and that doesn’t mean justice for me, it means justice for everybody.

Justice doesn’t mean that the person who wronged “me” gets what they deserve: it means that the God of justice demands payment for each sin committed.

Only when justice is satisfied, can peace begin.

Jesus was pierced for our transgression; THAT chastisement brought the elect peace with the Father.

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Music…

As I transition churches, preparing for my move, I want to take the time to say what New City Church is doing right.

1) it’s not about the style, it’s about the substance. There are old hymns that are not good, there is new music that is wonderful. Both old and new, take the good, leave the bad.

2) what is good – songs that point to Jesus. Those that point us upward, not to within ourselves.

3) (from “Worship by the Book”) What is the most important instrument of worship? The congregation. What is right, is making the congregation the most important instrument of worship. That means not disrupting worship with the band, not drowning out the congregation with the band.

4) A vital skill to have is knowing the difference between performance music and corporate worship music. There’s a place for performance music; but it’s not necessarily corporate worship music.

Corporate worship music is not performance music where the audience sings along.

I have been blessed by my time at New City. They’ve got it together, in a lot of ways.

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Music…

As I transition churches, preparing for my move, I want to take the time to say what New City Church is doing right.

1) it’s not about the style, it’s about the substance. There are old hymns that are not good, there is new music that is wonderful. Both old and new, take the good, leave the bad.

2) what is good – songs that point to Jesus. Those that point us upward, not to within ourselves.

3) (from “Worship by the Book”) What is the most important instrument of worship? The congregation. What is right, is making the congregation the most important instrument of worship. That means not disrupting worship with the band, not drowning out the congregation with the band.

4) A vital skill to have is knowing the difference between performance music and corporate worship music. There’s a place for performance music; but it’s not necessarily corporate worship music.

Corporate worship music is not performance music where the audience sings along.

I have been blessed by my time at New City. They’ve got it together, in a lot of ways.

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QOTD – Wedding Vows

Wedding vows are not a declaration of present love but a mutually binding promise of future love. A wedding should not be primarily a celebration of how loving you feel now—that can be safely assumed. Rather, in a wedding you stand up before God, your family, and all the main institutions of society, and you promise to be loving, faithful, and true to the other person in the future, regardless of undulating internal feelings or external circumstances.

~~Tim Keller, “The Meaning of Marriage”

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The Soul of Marriage – 1

The “soul of marriage” is a mystery. The apostle Paul wrote: ‘“ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.’

Satan, and the world as his helper, is striking at the soul of marriage – in (at least) a two-pronged offensive.

Both of these are an attempt to strike at the very image of God.  If we have a warped view of marriage, we will also have a warped view of God.

If we have a warped view of God, we will end up making Him in our own image…which is no god at all.

The first way I see involves striking at the image of Christ and His bride.

The second way I see involves striking at the image of God in creation.

One aspect of the “soul of marriage” is reflection of Christ and His bride.  The beautiful wedding dance of headship and submission shows Christians what their marriages should look like, and Christian marriages should show the world what Christ and His bride look like.

Egalitarianism teaches that there are no gender roles in marriage – since Scripture tells us that Christian marriages reflect Christ and His bride, no gender roles in marriage = no leadership, stewardship, or headship of Christ over His bride.

This assault on the soul of marriage leads to a warped view of Jesus.

The second front of the battle is “4SR” (State Sanctioned Same Sex Relationships.)

The  onslaught of the world against marriage, to force the recognition 4SR as “marriage,” is stunning in its swiftness.  Even five years ago, we would not be having this conversation.

While I fully believe that God the Father is beyond gender (is a spirit,) He DOES get to pick what gender He wishes to be recognized as.  God chose “Father” – so that’s what we know Him by.

That said, since He is beyond gender, the Bible makes sense:

 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

It  seems that God – in His own image, created male and female.  Together, they form a “oneness” that reflects the image of God.

There is more, and I want to expand, but in a nutshell, these two points are the main offensives, with various strategies within those offenses, where Satan is attacking the institution of marriage.

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The Four Vedas – “More than 100 things”

Next in the “More than 100 things every religious liberal should know

The “Four Vedas” are sort of like the holy books of Hinduism…only more like an “order of worship” or “common book of prayer.”  Like Christianity, Hinduism has sects (denominations, as a parallel) and like Christianity, the Vedas are considered by different sects has having different levels of authority.

The Sanskrit word “veda” means “knowledge” or “to know” – like our Bible, the Vedas contain the knowledge needed to follow that religion.  Each “Veda” contains a different type of knowledge.

“Rigveda” – “praise or verse” + “knowledge.”  Some of the verses have been recited in worship since they were written, and are still being used today, making it one of the longest running religious texts in history (although not the oldest.)  Unlike Christianity, these Hindu texts are dedicated to various deities, each reflecting the beliefs of what that god has done and how Hindus honor that particular god.

“Yajurveda” – “sacrificial formula” + “knowledge.”  These writings are the “liturgy” or mantras used during sacrificial rituals.

“Samaveda”– “melody” + “knowledge” are the hymns that are sung.  Half (75) are from the Rigveda, the other half are specifically to be sung by priests in rituals were the juice of the soma plant (along with other ingredients) is offered to various deities.

The last Veda, Atharvaveda, is a combination of writings.  Spells and magic, hymns and poetry, rules and regulations.  This work includes healing (physical and spiritual, including diseases via demon possession,) writings on the nature of the universe and humanity, “household codes” (rules for running a smooth home,) marriage and funeral rituals, and more.  This seems to be the “how then shall we live” book of Hinduism.

I’m learning that all religions have a few things in common, yet all are different, and they cannot all be “true.”

C.S.Lewis said (paraphrased) – all truth is God’s truth.  We should be able to see what is right with other religions, and reject what is wrong with them, in order to embrace our own.

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“Fierce Women” – Book Review

I finished “Fierce Women” (by Kimberly Wagner) this past week and was really encouraged to learn from my own past behavior (in my first marriage.)  When a marriage breaks down, there is rarely an “innocent” party – even if it’s a bad reaction to a bad situation.

Women (welcome to the human race) have an insecurity (as most human beings) and feel a need to be in control.

Written from a Complementarian viewpoint, Wagner writes from the painful spot of a woman who has been there, done that – and who, as a couple, brought their marriage from a painful union, to a joyful communion.

Teaching that women have a different role in a marriage than their husbands have, the point of the book is to help women recognize that role, how to step out of trying to fill their husband’s shoes, and how to gracefully and joyfully submit to the will of God in marriage.

Whether or not you realize it, you are in a battle, and God has placed strengths within you to be used in powerful ways. When you enter the marriage relationship, you are entering the sacred metaphor God designed to explain Himself to a watching world. Marriage is the great mystery, the glorious platform God created to display His love relationship with His bride. This is why marriage is a flashpoint for Satan’s attacks; he seeks to destroy the beauty and effectiveness of God’s model. In light of this, we must strive for the Great Story to be lived out in our marriages.

I hope as you read, you will take moments to pause, ponder, and pray. May you encounter the Lord of Battles within these pages and receive insight and instruction for serving Him as a soft warrior—the Fierce Woman who is empowered by the Spirit and softened by His grace.(1)

Wagner uses examples from her own life, as well as examples from women that she knows or has known, to show how women can use their strength to either help or hurt their marriages.

Being a Complementarian does not exclude a woman to having a pastoral tone to other women, and Wagner excels.  Her “I’ve done this, don’t follow me down that path” plea a wonderful tone to a world of women who are at once frustrated with the state of their marriage, and frustrated with the way they are dealing with it.

With these women as her audience, Wagner is uniquely qualified because she HAS been there.

My “book review template” asks at this point: What does the book promise? What is the problem the book promises to solve?

In the author’s words:

I hope as you read, you will take moments to pause, ponder, and pray. May you encounter the Lord of Battles within these pages and receive insight and instruction for serving Him as a soft warrior—the Fierce Woman who is empowered by the Spirit and softened by His grace.(2)
.

And yes, the book delivers.

As a woman who will be entering a marriage covenant in a few months, with Christ at the center, and Complementarianism as the framework, “Fierce Women” is a playbook of how to relate to your husband in a way that is fitting for a woman who loves Christ.

What does “respect” look like?  Submission?  Do I need to be a “doormat?”

This matters because Satan wants nothing more than to strike at the soul of marriage.  If marriage reflects Christ and His bride, turning those roles upside down in a marriage leaves us with a distorted view of Christ and His church.  How should the church submit to Christ – wives should be able to reflect that.

I really like this book.  I printed out a couple of things and put them in my planner.  If you have a power struggle in your marriage and want to be part of the solution, read this book.

If you want to be a Biblically submissive wife, read this book.

If you want to build your husband up, instead of tearing him down, read this book.

I’ve read a lot of books on how to be a submissive wife.  This book is, at the end of the day, not how to make yourself more submissive, but how to build your husband up, to better help him to be the husband God wants him to be.

~~~

(1)Wagner, Kimberly (2012-08-24). Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior (True Woman) (pp. 10-12). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

(2)Wagner, Kimberly (2012-08-24). Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior (True Woman) (p. 12). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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lunes linkage – 4/28/2014

It’s been a couple of weeks (TWO trips to California – one northern, one southern)

From Good Friday – Ordinary Pastor -

How would you like to be a liberal “preacher” tomorrow? Some of these guys will moralize, emotionalize, sensationalize, or trivialize the work of Christ. They gloss over the wrath, sacrifice, blood, sin and guilt. Instead the focus is on us and the hopefulness of humanity.

~~~

Well, here’s one of my own!  I highlighted this in my Kindle book, “Fierce Women.”

“It was as if they were not making marriage, but being made by it, and, while it held them, time and their lives flowed over them, like swift water over stones, rubbing them together, grinding off their edges, making them fit together, fit to be together, in the only way that fragments can be rejoined.” —WENDELL BARRY1

~~~

This is timely for me, from Resurgence

7 Prayers for Jesus’ Church -

Jesus has been building his church, is building his church, and will continue to build his church (Matt. 16:18) until he returns in glory to redeem his bride. And absolutely nothing and no one can get in his way.

~~~

Why I Will Keep Talking About Biblical Womanhood -

2 excellent takeways:

Because as long as the culture feeds us an image of women that is contrary to God’s word, I will keep talking about biblical womanhood.

and

Because at the end of the day it’s not about biblical womanhood at all. It is about the authority of God’s word. Do we believe it to be true? Do we believe God has really spoken and we can take him at his word? Or do we need a new interpretation or a new vision for a new day?

~~~

Friday I linked to a blog post by Karen Campbell on “Patriarchy on Trial” – which included

At one time I can remember reading articles from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood that were edifying; now their website is a scary place if you are a woman.

Scary.

I read Manhood Marred: Is Male Supremacy Biblical?

Unfortunately, all too many Christian men act or behave in a male chauvinistic fashion. Some would even go so far as to say that the bible speaks to the supremacy of the male gender. This, of course, requires scriptural ignorance or an intentional twisting of biblical manhood from a position of self-sacrificial authority into a mechanism for the diminishing of women and the magnification of men. Frankly, the Lord has not instituted a gender bias. Using scripture to justify a sense of male supremacy is exploiting or confusing position for power.

Is that so scary?

~~~

Long, but useful – Al Mohler’s “God and the Gay Christian?“It’s a PDF, and it’s easier for you all just to read it.~~~Rethinking Spiritual Growth -

For me, the elusiveness of measuring spiritual growth occurs because the focus has always been on the individual Christian in the individual church. It’s a bedrock principle that what we’re measuring is how a lone Christian in a lone Church grows.

But I wonder if we’re getting this all wrong from the first step.

~~~

 

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Double Imputation

Ponderings courtesy of C. Michael Patton.

Double Imputation means that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us.

imputed: To pass into one’s account.  I can think I have $10,000 in my account, but until it’s imputed to my account, it’s in my imagination.

If the doctrine of “Double Imputation” meant that my sin is imputed to Christ and His righteousness is imputed to me, I’d be good.

But “Double Imputation” means that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to me…and so is the sin of Adam.

I am not only guilty of my sin…I’m “accounted guilty” for eating the fruit in the garden.

I know a person who looks at a certain doctrine and “just can’t believe that.” and I’m in the same boat here.  I try to “get it” and just can’t.

I’m going to cite Patten’s article, and respond with my thoughts…

Most particularly, the doctrine of imputation is being questioned. This is quit understandable.

It’s important to MY thoughts that I make the distinction that it’s not “imputation” – it’s “DOUBLE imputation I struggle with.

Perhaps John Calvin defines Original Sin most concisely as “The deprivation of a nature formerly good and pure.” More specifically, from a Reformed Evangelical perspective, it refers to the fall of humanity from its original state of innocence and purity to a state of corruption and guilt (distinguished later). It is the cause of man’s translation from a state of unbroken communion before God to one of spiritual death and condemnation.

I’m in full agreement.  Because of Adam, sin entered into the world and we are all sinners – in our own right.  We are sinners, and it’s because of our nature that we inherited from Adam.

We inherit the nature, not the sin.

Patten refers to Romans 5:18 and says

Romans 5:18 states that the transgression of Adam resulted in our condemnation. So then, we are not only destined to die physically because of Adam’s sin, but we are also condemned to eternal death.

But he doesn’t quote it, or verse 19.

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousnessleads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners

The “for” at the beginning is there for a reason.

Because of Adam’s sin we were MADE SINNERS – it doesn’t say we were made guilty of Adam’s sin.

At the end of the day, I just don’t see it.

We inherit the nature, not the sin.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to buy into the doctrine.  But not this day.

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