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Christian Counter-Culture

Seventhly, one way to build an alternative to the present Humanist culture is to establish dominion over specific locales. Right now Christians are spread out in many different areas, in many different communities. Thus our voices are mixed into the larger population. But what if Christians targeted certain specific geographical areas and began moving there with the intention of establishing a long-term (i.e., generational) commitment to that specific community? Then, as we go about our normal business, work hard, raise large families, educate our children, etc., within just a few generations, Christians would find themselves in the majority. We could eradicate the local school system, get rid of burdensome property taxes, elect Christian officials for mayor, alderman, country sheriff, etc. Then as we have dominion in one geographical area, our large families will have to spread out into the next county, and the next.

Buying land in a common locale, perhaps even living simply for the first generation until the blessings of hard, diligent, conscientious work begin to flow would allow our children and grandchildren to grow up in a Christian culture, avoiding the mistakes and sins that some of us made.

Our goal, according to Matthew 28:19-20 is not just to win a few converts to Christ from around the world, but rather disciple the nations that they might obey their lawful King, the Lord Jesus.

 

http://covenant-reformed.org/essays/christian-culture/creating-a-distinctly-christian-counter-culture/

Family Economy

During the post industrial stage the family as an economic unit changed.The family transformed from being a unit of production to being a unit of consumption. This new era of industrialization brought changes where farming can be done with less persons, therefore children were no longer to be viewed as economic assets but rather as liabilities. Industrialization further contributed to the demise of the family economy where the capitalist market encouraged production in large scale factories, farms and mines. Wage labor became common and family members no longer worked together but rather used the wages they had earned to buy goods which they consumed as a family unit.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_economy

 

Societal collapse: declining fertility rates

The Greek historian Polybius largely blamed the decline of the Hellenistic world on low fertility rates,[6] writing his work The Histories that:

“In our time all Greece was visited by a dearth of children and generally a decay of population, owing to which the cities were denuded of inhabitants, and a failure of productiveness resulted, though there were no long-continued wars or serious pestilences among us…. For this evil grew upon us rapidly, and without attracting attention, by our men becoming perverted to a passion for show and money and the pleasures of an idle life, and accordingly either not marrying at all, or, if they did marry, refusing to rear the children that were born, or at most one or two out of a great number, for the sake of leaving them well off or bringing them up in extravagant luxury.”[7]

In a speech to Roman nobles, the Emperor Augustus commented on the low birthrates of the Roman elite:[8]

“How otherwise shall families continue? How can the commonwealth be preserved if we neither marry nor produce children? Surely you are not expecting some to spring up from the earth to succeed to your goods and to public affairs, as myths describe. It is neither pleasing to Heaven nor creditable that our race should cease and the name of Romans meet extinguishment in us, and the city be given up to foreigners,—Greek or even barbarians. We liberate slaves chiefly for the purpose of making out of them as many citizens as possible; we give our allies a share in the government that our numbers may increase: yet you, Romans of the original stock, including Quintii, Valerii, Iulli, are eager that your families and names at once shall perish with you.”[9]

Upon the establishment of the Roman Empire, Emperor Augustus would introduce legislation to increase the birthrates of the Roman nobility.[10]

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Societal_collapse

Some believe that not only the Great Recession, but the Great Depression, may have been the result of a decline in birthrates overall. Clarence L. Barber, an economist at the University of Manitoba, pointed out how demand for housing in the US, for example, began to decline in 1926, due to a decline in ‘household formation’ (marriage), due, he believed, to the effects of World War I upon society. In early 1929, US housing demand declined precipitously. And, of course, the stock market crash followed in October of that same year.[21]

Even though the overall world population continues to increase, it is more at the ‘back end’ than the ‘front end’ that this is occurring. That is, more people are kept alive than in the past due to improved nutrition, more refrigeration and better sanitation worldwide, as well as health care advances, from vaccines to antibiotics, and many other advances in medications and in different improvements in health care. Certainly, in advanced nations, few groups would be considered to be “breeding like rabbits”. The ‘baby boom’ (1946–1964) in the US, was likely, if Barber’s contentions are correct, more of a return to birthrates closer to historical norms, like those of the first decade of the 20th century (but the ‘baby boom’ of 1946–1964 were still lower than the 1900–1910 period), with birth dearths both before and since making the so-called “baby boom” appear so big.

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-replacement_fertility#Historical_effects

A BIBLICAL RESPONSE TO THOSE WHO SAY WE SHOULD DISARM; TO THOSE WHO TEACH PACIFISM; TO THOSE WHO THINK THE BIBLE HAS NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT ARMS

Genesis 4:8-12: In this passage, Scripture records the first murder wherein Cain killed Abel. That Cain must have used some sort of weapon to kill Abel is evidenced by the fact Abel was bleeding (he was not strangled). Notice how God responded to the killing. He did not institute some sort of weapon-control, rather, He punished the one who committed the crime.

Exodus 20 and following: In God’s holy law, which He decreed at Sinai, nowhere do you see God outlawing weapons in response to the various crimes which He prohibited in His legislation. He always punishes the perpetrator. He never disarms the citizenry.

Exodus 22:2: In this verse, God declares that if someone breaks into your house at night and you kill him, you are not guilty of murder. This verse makes clear that you have a God-given right to defend yourself and to defend your family.

Deuteronomy 22:23-27: This passage deals with rape. Notice that verse 27 ends with the words “but there was no one to save her.” What is the implication of such a statement? The implication is that had someone been around to hear her cry out, they had a moral duty to intervene and protect her from being raped. To stand by would be immoral. We have a God-given right to defend not only ourselves, but also others.

Numbers 1: In God’s economy, He instituted an armed citizenry, not a standing army, in order to deal with the affairs of war regarding Israel. This is what the Founding Fathers of America envisioned for our nation. Even in Switzerland today, every home is furnished with a machine gun (one of the reasons Hitler chose not to invade Switzerland).

1 Samuel 13:19-22: The Philistines disarmed the Israelites. Weapon-control was instituted. No blacksmiths were allowed lest the Israelites arm themselves. A disarmed people is the sign of a conquered people. A disarmed people is the sign of an enslaved people.

Isaiah 2:1-5: Many, including the United Nations, take the latter part of verse 4 in this passage, which states “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks,” and try to say that God wants us to disarm. The context makes clear, however, that “swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks” when God rules, not when the United Nations or any other government of man rules.

Matthew 5:38-39: In this passage, Jesus is not denigrating the law of God in regards to one’s right to defend himself and others, rather He is repudiating the lex talionis – the law of retaliation, which said, “if someone messes you up today, you go back and mess him up five times worse tomorrow.” The Pharisees were even using the law of God to justify this mindset. Jesus is repudiating this personal vengeance which some sought to justify and participate in. He is not saying we cannot defend ourselves or others.
Vengeance belongs to God (Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35; Proverbs 20:22). We are not to avenge ourselves. If we see someone who needs our help during the commission of a crime, we have a God-given right and duty to intervene. If, however, the crime has been committed (past tense), we have no God-given right or duty to go and execute judgment upon the perpetrator. God will avenge. God will judge.
God has given the sword (a symbol of judgment) to the civil magistrate (Romans 13:4). If a crime has been committed, it is to be reported to the civil authorities and they have a God-given right and duty before God to execute judgment.

Matthew 26:51-52: Some try to say that this passage proves that Jesus was a pacifist and against guns. Quite the contrary. Where does Jesus tell Peter to put his sword? “In its place.” John makes it clearer: Jesus didn’t tell him to melt it down into a plowshare, rather he told him to put it “into the sheath.” The sword has its proper place. It is not evil. But Peter wanted to use it in an improper situation. Jesus came to earth to die. Peter would be abrogating the purposes of God if he intervened with the sword. As Jesus goes on to say in verse 11 of John chapter 18, “Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” Jesus was trying to teach His disciples that His Kingdom is not expanded through the use of force, rather it is expanded through the preaching of the Gospel and the discipling of the nations.
If someone wants to live by the sword, they will die by the sword, as Jesus says. In other words, he who uses the sword for improper purposes will die by it. It was improper for Peter to have used it in that situation. A criminal or a tyrant who uses the sword improperly will rightly die by it. But the use of the sword in a proper fashion, to defend one’s person or one’s family or one’s country, is not condemned by Scripture, rather Scripture upholds it.

God is not a pacifist. Jesus is not a pacifist. As Jesus said in the very next verse, verse 53, “Or do you think I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” Jesus could have used force. The use of force; the use of swords was simply improper for the situation in which Christ was involved. He was supposed to die. He and the Father are not pacifists. He did not use force because he hat to drink the cup of the Father.

Exodus 15:3: This verse of Scripture declares the Lord to be a “man of war.” That God is not a pacifist is evidenced throughout Scripture. Even Jesus Himself, who is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person, and who has declared all that God is (Hebrews 1:3; John 1:18), drove the moneychangers out of the temple with a whip and overturned their tables (John 2:15). The book of Revelation defines Him as a King who does what? “Judges and makes war” (Revelation 19:11). The Scripture declares that Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). God’s character does not change. God is not a pacifist.
In closing, there are some who say that “we should not have guns; we should just trust God.” My response to those who say this is – “Let me ask you, do you have a lock on your front door?” They always say “yes.” I then ask, “Do you lock it when you leave or go to bed at night?” Those who live in the city always say “yes.” I then ask, “Why do you have a lock on your door? Why don’t you just trust God?”

Just because we have a lock on our door or a gun in our closet does not mean we are trusting in them to protect us with the same trust with which we’re to trust the Lord.

Rather, we simply see the wisdom and prudence of having such things in order to be good stewards in protecting our belongings and our families.

The psalmist understood that there was no contradiction. David said in verse one of Psalm 144: “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” He then said in verse two: “My lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the one in whom I take refuge.”

The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates, Matthew J. Trewhella

Timothy Keller

More nonsense from Tim Keller.

“One of the signs that you may not grasp the unique, radical nature of the gospel is that you are certain that you do.”
– Tim Keller.

Reply: if you are not certain that you grasp the unique, radical nature of the gospel… You don’t grasp it! And you most certainly have no business preaching what you do not grasp. If you do not grasp the gospel, you are not saved.

You cannot be saved unless you believe the gospel, and you cannot believe what you do not grasp/understand.


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Workers of the Church, Unite!: The Radical Marxist Foundation of Tim Keller’s Social Gospel

http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=301
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Social Justice with a Spiritual Jacket, March 19, 2011
This review is from: Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just (Hardcover)

In any literary undertaking, the premise of the book must be set out fairly soon, perhaps within the first dozen or so pages. True to this format, Keller satisfies our curiosities. He does so in the introduction to the book, where he begins by answering the questions that his friends and associates have asked him, “Who are you writing this for?” and, “How did you come to be interested in the subject of justice?” (pg x) It is these questions that become the main subject of the book, and on which this review will consider.

As is the case with the church today, there has been much concern over the subject of social justice throughout her history. Keller does an admirable job in showing us, through the Bible, how God’s people were to render justice, most specifically to the disadvantaged of their own nation. However, he quickly takes those verses to bring us into the controversy that the church has reached in the debate over the concept of “Social Justice.”

And, indeed, there is a controversy over this subject between conservatives on the one side, and the more liberal wing of the church on the other side. Almost immediately, many will jump to Keller’s defense as a modern-day conservative, evangelical. Yet, in spite of Keller’s more conservative position on a host of subjects, Keller takes the side of the more liberal wing of the church, and defends THEIR view of social justice. So, while he may have a collage of conservative credentials in his portfolio, it is clear that he speaks for the liberal wing regarding this subject.

It is toward this end that Keller seeks to influence minds to move toward the more liberal view of social justice. It is incumbent upon conservatives to acknowledge and understand that this is Keller’s main purpose in writing this book – his intentions are to promote social justice. If you don’t know what that means, or understand the argument on both sides regarding how social justice impacts the gospel message, then you probably won’t appreciate this review. But, suffice it to say that this view which Keller promotes is antithetical to the historical, conservative, and evangelical position held today.

According to Keller, a key moment in the development of his social justice views came from his involvement in a discussion he had during the 1960’s. Though Keller is not forthcoming in details, we are led to believe that he was extremely sympathetic toward the plight of blacks, and that this was the time when he first came to realize “that most older white adults in my life were telling me things that were dead wrong.” (pg.xvi)

On pg. xvii he relates his experience that he had with a black person (Elward Ellis) whom he met during his years at seminary. Keller was flatly told by Ellis that he was a racist. Like most of us today, Keller was initially taken aback by such an accusation. Not one to offend, Keller allowed his guest to explain further:

“Oh, you don’t mean to be, and you don’t want to be, but you are. You can’t really help it….When black people do things in a certain way, you say, `Well, that’s your culture.’ But when white people do things in a certain way, you say, `That’s just the right way to do things.’ You don’t realize you really have a culture. You are blind to how many of your beliefs and practices are cultural.”

This is a very serious accusation and one that is often repeated even today, therefore we need to examine it most carefully, and because it is the main thesis which Keller bases his book upon. Is what Ellis told Keller a true statement? Is his comparison accurate, or is it an apples-to-oranges type of comparison?

To begin with, this accusation is centered on a key premise that cultures are nothing more than “a way of doing things.” You know: “You go this way, I’m gonna go that way, and we will meet at Peoria, Illinois. The path that you take will be different, but your path is not evil or wrong, and neither is my path righteous or correct. It is simply a path.” But is this an accurate analogy of what is happening between two cultures?

Inherent in that question is the assumption that cultures are nothing more than a way of “doing things”, and the accusation is that “doing things” is a result of culture. But the truth is that culture is not just an accumulation of “things that we do.” In addition to the accumulation of the “things that we do”, culture is developed by what is predominantly viewed as “the right thing to do”, with emphasis being placed on the word, “right.”

In other words, culture takes into account those things that are right, and also those things that are wrong. In a very real sense, then, culture is not only what we wear, and what forms of entertainment we engage in, but they also are the accumulation of what a society values, and how the members of that society have agreed to live between each other, by placing those things that are valued highly as “good”, and supported and practiced; and those things that are viewed as wrong and immoral, as “bad”, and being shunned and suppressed within that culture.

I’d like to take a moment here to characterize those who share similar views to Keller’s. I speak only in general terms, because we all recognize that while Conservatives tend toward Fundamentalism, not all Conservatives are Fundamentalists. The same can be said when viewing those on the more Liberal side of the spiritual spectrum.

Keller belongs to a rising group of Christians that are typically referred to as “Emergent.” Now, Keller would most likely reject that label, and with good cause. However, just as Autism is not defined as a specific disease, but is more accurately understood as a syndrome that slides the scale from Asperger’s on up to full-blown Autism, so too can Emergent be viewed on a scale from “Missional” to full-blown Emergent.

What this means is that in order to discuss and critique books written by those in the Emergent spectrum, it is important to understand that their world-views do not embrace the same ideals that those outside of that spectrum embrace. It’s difficult to understand someone coming from a differing world-view, and I’ve heard it argued that you only waste your time when you do so. However, there are always many that stand on the sides, trying to understand which way to lay anchor, and it is toward that end that people like me and Keller write what we do, in order to sway those individuals to our way of thinking.

Because Keller comes from a differing world-view, he will certainly understand and interpret the Bible differently than you or I might, and how you understand the Bible is a key aspect of what you will emphasize in your life and in your actions. And, of course, Keller’s book is about actions – more specifically, the actions of social justice.

People tend to skew events to reflect their own world-views, and this is something that all people must guard against, even me. What it ultimately comes down to is, how you view the subject of social justice will have a lot to do with how you view the Bible, and also what it is that you believe should be emphasized. Keller emphasizes those things in the Bible that speak about social issues, because he believes that Christ’s purpose for coming was to bring balance and relief to life’s difficulties and that is accomplished by His people valuing the same things that He did – the relief of the downtrodden.

And so, to get back to Keller’s experience with Ellis, you should notice that what Ellis told Keller is not correct. If we examine such cultural differences as how black men, in great numbers, abandon their families and children; or why it is that our jails are disproportionately filled with black men; or why does the Chinese government promote abortion of females, or suppress their citizens’ rights; then it becomes more apparent that there is a wide gulf between cultures on these specific issues, and that that gulf is not independent of our moral beliefs.

This is not to say that Black Americans, or Chinese people, are any more immoral than White Americans are (indeed, they are no worse, nor better), but that these are simply areas of morality that have been shown to exist within those cultures that are different than that in the White culture, and cannot be simply laid down to “Well, that’s your culture.” But it is to say that Ellis’ claim that cultural differences are simply differences in “how we do things” is just plain foolish.

So then, it must be remembered that there are differing components to culture – some that deal with matters of no moral concern, such as what you eat, or the spices you use, or the utensils that you employ in your eating, or the way that you dance, or the type of music you listen to. When Ellis told Keller that the main differences between two cultures have nothing to do with moral concerns, he was just plain wrong. This means that Keller blurred the issue of culture by confusing those components, or he was woefully ignorant of the various component parts of culture.

Why do I emphasize this distinction in the differing components of culture? Firstly, because Keller blurred that distinction; secondly, because Keller has attempted to build this scenario for white people (which, ironically, will be the majority of his readership) that portrays whites as living in a post-racial era where they are all still racist. Imagine that! You thought that White America had moved beyond racism, and had come into an era where Whites and Blacks were seeking reconciliation and coming to terms? Not in Keller and Ellis’ world. As a matter of fact, even if you THINK you aren’t racist, you are!

Equally, you’ll notice that Keller fails to acknowledge that Black people, or Chinese, or any other ethnic group can be racist. This is a common practice of those on the left spectrum, to portray White people as the singular source of all social inequalities. If minorities act evilly, it’s only in reaction to the evil that Whites have done to them.

We should really make no mistake about it, Keller’s thesis in this book is a promotion of social justice, but in order to do that, Keller must advance the notion on two fronts:

1. The Biblical front – God commands us to in His Word, and,
2. The Secular front – We are all still racist, and need to rectify this by making amends. We make amends by delivering social justice (redistribution of the wealth).

By removing this distinction regarding the notion of culture having a moral component, Keller seeks to sway people into action by accepting the idea that minorities are in an inferior social position solely, or primarily, because of a lack of equal justice.

Another clue to where Keller stands on this issue is to consider his reading list. All too often, we are finding a new suite of Christian authors who are promoting false concepts which they learned from the authors whom they personally read and quote from; and they in turn then recommend those same authors to their readership. As Keller mentions this author, or the next, most people will not feel compelled to examine the author, or the book, but simply to take his word for it that the author is a Christian who walks the mainstream. If all of those authors are mainstream Christians, then it ought to be evident that Keller’s argument carries much more authority and validity. At least that is the purpose of citing other’s works – to give your own work more validity.

As it stands, those whom he quotes typically agree with him philosophically on this issue (as we should expect), such as Walter Rauschenbusch’s book, “The Social Gospel and the Atonement.” Some of the works that he cites seem a shock, because they are not even written by Christian writers, and are written from a philosophy and world-view which is decidedly secular and antithetical to Christian thinking, such as Elaine Scarry’s little book, “On Beauty and Being Just”. Scarry, not being Christian, writes from a purely anti-God position.

Take for example, his citation of Craig Blomberg’s survey of the Mosaic laws of gleaning. How much stock should real conservatives place in a man who would allow the gospel to be co-opted by a Mormon, when he wrote the book, How Wide the Divide? An Evangelical and a Mormon in Conversation. Are conservatives getting an honest assessment by someone who would otherwise be considered a false teacher?

To be sure, the Bible is quoted often. In Keller’s case, either the word “justice” is used, or the concept of justice is displayed in the verse. However, as you examine the scripture texts that Keller utilizes for his argument, and when you consider the context of the admonitions upon which those Biblical texts are issued under, you begin to realize that the context which the Bible uses is much different than the context upon which Keller has based his argument.

The context which Keller presents in his argument is that Israel was commanded to perform “Social Justice” to the entire world. Yet that is NOT the context of the Bible. Any honest reading of the Bible shows that Israel is only commanded to perform justice toward her own people, within their own political borders. God is not commanding Israel to go outside of her borders to other people and nations, and establish social equity with them.

It should also be noted that Keller actually admits in a couple of places that those Biblical commands are only meant for Israel to conduct social justice toward those within the political borders of the nation (on pages 21, 22, 23, 29, and 57).

He fully acknowledges the differences in that context on page 23, where he says,

“Israel was a nation-state in which every citizen was bound to obey the whole law of God and also was required to give God wholehearted worship. This is not the situation in our society today.”

The context of the Bible in regards to this question cannot be denied. Yet Keller insists that the context can be expanded to include the whole world. But, the reader should clearly note that Keller gives no Biblical justification for this expansion. If anything, it becomes abundantly clear that this book is the result of Keller’s personal feelings regarding this issue, and has nothing to do with any Biblical mandate regarding social justice to the world.

In Keller’s mind, when the Bible says, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every person” (Mark 16:15), what it REALLY means is, to “go into all the world, and provide for everyone’s immediate felt needs, and then you earn the right to preach the gospel to every person.” Oh, but if you preach the gospel, don’t offend anyone with controversial messages, like “homosexuality is a sin”, or “you’re going to hell if you don’t repent.”

Throughout this book, Keller repeatedly fails to recognize that all of the commands to God’s people to practice Justice and Mercy are always intended to be directed solely toward God’s people, and only within their immediate sphere of influence within those political borders. In other words, God instructs His people to practice Justice and Mercy solely toward God’s people – not to the whole world.

More specifically, the command is made in order to show God’s people that among the people of the world, there are none that are any more important to God than His own people. This was the manner in which God chose to promote His image to the world; as God presented Israel, and the values and morals she practiced, as a picture to the world of who He was. Israel was God’s mirror, intended to reflect God’s character to the world.

So then, Keller takes a commandment of God which forms a key aspect of Jewish life and instruction, and is intended to promote God’s character to the world, and he confounds the teaching of this commandment to today’s Christians by reinterpreting its application and scope. Let me give you an example of how this is accomplished. On pg. 13 of his book, he states that one way of practicing what he calls, “primary justice” is to be like Job, and to be a “father to the needy.”

Keller reinterprets this to mean that today’s church is commanded to care for the needs of all the poor that are in AND OUT of their sphere of influence. In other words, whereas the traditional application is that the Church should care for her own, in order to promote God and His gospel to the world, Keller takes it to mean that the church should reach OUTSIDE of the church to the community and care for their physical needs.

The traditional approach has always been to understand that those commands to care for the underprivileged were to be seen as “benefits of membership” to those outside of the nation. In other words, as other nations viewed Israel’s internal workings, they would become envious because of the care that God’s people had for their own people.

So, let’s notice that in the Biblical context, Job’s sphere of influence was those people who were part of the Israelite nation, and more specifically, his close neighbors. Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that Job was reaching out to other nations and areas outside of the political borders of Israel. But also notice that Keller does not take that context and attempt to show Christians how to help other Christians in their own church community (as we see examples in the New Testament Church which cared for their own). Instead, he expands it to teach that we must help all others OUTSIDE of the Church community. This is THE central focus of his book.

What greatness could we achieve if we truly helped our Christian brothers and sisters, widows and orphans FIRST and foremost? Jesus said that this was how others would come to know who He was, because they (the world) would see the love we had toward one another (John 13:34-35); not toward the whole world. It was in the formative days of the Church that people sold their possessions in order that all Christians might share and not have any need; not so that the entire world might share and not have any need. This was a clear picture of “primary justice”, and it was an excellent example to the world of how Christians loved one another. This in turn caused the Church to grow mightily in those days. (Acts 4:4; 2:41; 2:47)

Another argument that Keller uses to justify his reinterpretation is where he uses Amos 1:3-2:3 as his example text. Keller states that in this text, it shows where other nations were judged for the manner in which they treated the disadvantaged. Yet a concise study of this passage will reveal that God’s judgment upon those nations was not because they ill-treated the down-trodden, but specifically for how they treated HIS PEOPLE who were down-trodden. Even if we take this as a commandment that the whole world was expected to follow the same system that Israel followed, it doesn’t show that Israel was commanded to show social justice to the rest of the world.

Keller’s conclusion that “It is clearly God’s will that all societies reflect his concern for justice of the weak and vulnerable,” is not held up by the context of any Biblical text that he presents. The context clearly shows that those nations were not being judged because they failed to have concern for the weak and vulnerable, but because they acted evilly against HIS PEOPLE.

Not to necessarily bash Keller for his views, but more to give an example of where he stands in the political/spiritual spectrum, we can see him on page 30 sharing with us his socialist vision for corporate America:

“How can business owners follow the same principles [Old Testament laws regarding redistribution of the wealth] today? They should not squeeze every penny of profit out of their businesses for themselves by charging the highest possible fees and prices to customers and paying the lowest possible wages to workers. Instead, they should be willing to pay higher wages and charge lower prices that in effect share the corporate profits with employees and customers, with the community around them.”

If I didn’t know any better, I might think this statement came straight out of Karl Marx’ manifesto. To be sure, Keller (along with Craig Blomberg) understands that democratic capitalism is not conducive to the format of what he is proposing for redistribution of the wealth. (cf, page 32, 2nd paragraph)

Another concern I have is how Keller exploits racial tensions to promote his concepts of social justice. For example, on pages 122 and following, he attempts to use the Bible to show racism. On page 123, he makes the bold claim that racism was the driving factor for Miriam and Aaron to speak against Moses regarding his marriage to an Ethiopian woman. Instead, the alternative interpretation is that Miriam and Aaron were speaking out against Moses based upon their historical practice of only marrying within their nation. Not because Moses’ wife was black, but that she was an Ethiopian.

Again, on page 124, Keller claims that Peter’s refusal to eat with Gentiles was based upon racism, and not upon religious justifications as the Bible states. Keller even goes so far as to suggest that there is a question about whether or not “white Americans today need to repent for the sins of ancestors and acknowledge the white privilege they have today.” (note 111, pg.211)

In the end, Keller’s book is an attempt to promote redistribution of social advantages to those who are less advantaged by instituting social programs, initially at the church level, and then by virtue of her (supposed) growing influence, at the community level and beyond. He gives such an example on page 126 where he tells of “an effort like the TenPoint Coalition.” Among other tactics, they “sought to stem the tide of gang killings in Boston….[by] bridging between institutions that previously had not worked together or that had even worked against one another.”

So what was the end result of this coalition of religious leaders? Are gang killings no more? Did the coalition produce any marked change in gang killings, or gang activity? Just what is it about Keller’s suggestion that is supposed to have been so miraculous that we need to jump on this bandwagon? Why did Keller not further develop this understanding that he so wishes to promote?

Some other pertinent questions to ask regarding TenPoint is: Why are all the staff of TenPoint black, if Keller’s point is to show how White America needs to give to their community through the church? Why the name of God (or Jesus) is not mentioned in TenPoints ten points? Out of all the things that could/should be emphasized, doesn’t God get a simple mention?

Another point of contention with Keller is his tendency to erroneously state the opposition’s case, as he does on page 138, where he claims that “Some have argued that Christians should only do justice as a means to the end of evangelism.” But this is only a half-truth. The chief end of any church is evangelism, which Keller refuses to acknowledge. Any church program which fails to include this aspect in their outreach has failed to keep that in mind.

To close out this review, I would sum up Keller’s chief error by pointing out what he states on page 135 with the querying assumption that “if it is true that justice and mercy to the poor are the inevitable signs of justifying faith…” But what of secular philanthropists who spend millions of their money aiding the poor, and attempting to restructure social forces in underdeveloped neighborhoods where resources are scarce? If it is true that practicing justice and mercy is an “inevitable sign of…faith”, does this mean that Bill Gates and Donald Trump are born again believers?

http://www.amazon.com/review/R2T3IH96TII49R/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0525951903#wasThisHelpful

Civil Taxes for the Church

This is a great quote about imposing civil taxes for the needs of the Church, from John Wilson, in Mr. Schwertley’s book, National Covenanting, on p. 285:

There will be still something earthly in the church, as long as she is upon the earth. Seeing then there is still something earthly, and which needeth early supports, even in the gospel-church, I would fain know, why she is not capable of receiving favour and assistance from the Magistrate, with respect to that earthly part, as well as the church of Israel? Have not her ministers bodies and families, which need meat, drink, sleep, clothing, lodging, and protection, as well as the Jewish priests? Hath she not external ordinances, which need outward accommodations, communion elements and utensils, with houses, tables and seats for her assemblies? Does she not need schools for educating the youth, with maintenance to these schools? Now, if the magistrate, as a kind of nursing-father [Isaiah 49:23], shall contribute his assistance to provide these necessaries for the gospel-church; is it not a strange imagination, to fancy that this doth change her nature, or turn her to an earthly church, or kingdom of this world?…Will any man say, that this kind assistance doth lessen her spirituality? Nay, doth it not rather add thereto, in regard that spiritual instruction and gospel-preaching is hereby increased and spread over all the land…Again, is not a stipend contributed by private hands as much a worldly encouragement as one appointed by the Magistrate? Nay, sometimes the one may be a far greater worldly encouragement than the other. (A Defence of National Churches).