All Posts Matter: Observations on Both Sides
Our political culture in the US has poisoned the minds of Christians on both ‘sides’ of some issues. As a result, both ‘sides’ abandon biblical authority and replace with with either a conservative or liberal political worldview.
You’ll see many folks who care about justice issues eventually (it’s a slow car wreck) abandon biblical orthodoxy or downplay it to not mattering beyond your personal faith (while abandoning the bible on sexual ethics, creation, inerrancy and infallibility). The political worldview they’ve adopted tells them so. On the other side, you’ll see folks on the “biblical Christianity” side abandon empathy, kindness, tenderheartedness, grace and so forth because the political worldview they’ve adopted tells them so. This is how men like Dabney could write great systematic theologies and pick out younger slaves because they were easier to whip.
Both ‘sides’ embrace the need to never say anything is “right” about the other side and if they do, it’s in as derisive a fashion as possible; this political worldview – whether it be a secular-religious (“I’m spiritual”) one or a conservative American churchianity one (holds up American flag, eagle flies overhead, fireworks explode) tell all of its’ adherents that there’s only TWO choices and no in-between. Both ‘sides’ will ignore the blatantly unbiblical things on their side or downplay them in order to keep up “the fight” and have their “side” win.
The most dangerous thing out of all of the pitfalls of holding a political worldview is the abandoning of biblical authority by both groups. This entails an abandoning of biblical ethics and morality on some level in both parties. For the conservative, it becomes a failure (primarily) to uphold Lev. 19:18. For the liberal, it becomes a failure to uphold Deut. 6:5 and 1 Tim. 4:16.
You can see the results of it in the fact that conservative folks are willing to take their cues from secular atheist conservatives like Thomas Sowell and James Lindsay and when confronted with their lack of love, folks go through long Matthew 15-esque explanations to get around Love your Brother, Love Your Neighbor and Love Your Enemy. At the same time, they enshrine anonymous trolling, jerkiness, profanity against those they disagree with and vitriol as ‘contending for the faith’. No, you’re being contentious. You’re also acting contrary to a number of passages in scripture (2 Tim. 2:14-16). Many of you are also breaking the 9th commandment based on stuff you claim regarding Eric Mason and a few other folks, even when corrected about it and shown to be wrong.
This ‘brand’ of Christianity (Cultural American Patriotic Churchianity – CAPC) is the same brand that created the ‘spirituality of the church’ as an excuse to continue slavery and segregation (both of which are failures to honor the Imago Dei).
For the liberal, the downgrade is much more gradual. First, there will be a redefinition of language. Then obfuscation of clear language to plant seeds of doubt and make those holding to orthodoxy ‘less sure’. Sometimes it is as direct as “Did God really say that ?” Other times, it will be subtle and present itself as a conversation to reconsider some aspect of doctrine. At some point, there will be an abandonment – whether public or private (usually private, then public) – of biblical authority; either a denial of inerrancy, a denial of inspiration or some combination of both. Attempts and arguments are built in the background to justify the move to the ‘new paradigm’ and eventually old views are abandoned for new ones. The line separating those outside of the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10) becomes blurred, vague and eventually gets ignored completely because doctrine doesn’t matter as much anymore. The liberal version of love (which is mostly sentimentalism and emotional attachment) are raised up as virtues and become the driving paradigm for rejecting what they once considered orthodoxy. Leaving orthodoxy (either privately or publicly) leaves them open to working alongside of people and organizations whose values blatantly contradict scripture, but because they fit the political worldview, space is made for them. This is why you will have personally opposed to abortion believers voting democrat and working with Planned Parenthood/NARAL and others who blatantly push abortion. Lev. 19:18 can be ignored when needed (e.g. when talking about abortion) as can almost any other doctrine; the key is that the politics take precedence.
Pay attention carefully. You’ll see it.
Some folks have (slanderously) called me ‘woke’ and a number of different related names because I tend to critique conservatives much more harshly than liberals. They assumed that since I was not ‘one of them’, I must be on the ‘other’ side. There’s a simple reason for that; liberal-leaning professing Christian folk tend to (when discussing racism), appeal correctly to the scriptures regarding the Imago Dei. They also reference Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Micah, Isaiah and Proverbs in context on the issues of justice in the social order. They reference Romans 12:15-17 and other NT passages correctly. In many cases, they rightly indict those on the conservative side of the discussions as failing to consistently apply the scriptures they claim to hold to. They use this basis to point out ‘uneven scales’ like redlining and its’ results down to the present time, discriminatory laws and practices in society that target black communities and so on. They rightly call out hypocrisy on the part of many conservatives who mocked the deaths of Ahmaud Arberry and others as a failure of allowing corrupt communication to be their calling card. They also call out the hypocrisy of conservative folks on political and social issues when they inconsistently go to ‘just preach the gospel’ when it comes to racism, but will go full out on voting for supposedly pro-life candidates and actually doing something (e.g. adoption, pregnancy centers, etc…) when it comes to abortion.
You get the idea. They are right on this point.
I don’t go in as ‘hard’ on liberal folks because I expect them to head away from orthodoxy (and in many cases, demonstrate by their beliefs and actions that they were never Christians at all – 1 John 2:19). Liberal gon’ lib. I expect non-Christians to act like non-Christians. The apostle Paul did too:
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”1 Corinthians 5:9-13, ESV
Right now, Twitter and other social media are filled with revilers claiming to be Christians who spend their time attacking Christians in the name of politics. This is a general failure of Acts 6 and Romans 12:15 from these folks. It needs to stop. The very people claiming to contend for the unity and purity of the church are destroying the witness of Church, causing division and giving non-Christians opportunity and cause to blaspheme.
On the other hand, conservatives are absolutely correct on the issues of gender and sexuality. They rightly use 1 Cor. 6:9-11, 1 Thess. 4:3-8, Matthew 18, Genesis 1-2, Hebrews 13:4 and other passages when discussing human sexuality, manhood and womanhood. They rightly recognize from Psalm 139 that human life begins at conception and should be protected. They rightly recognize that marriage – man and woman in a monogamous bond ordained by God and recognized by the state – is God’s plan for building family and encouraging human progress and flourishing. Some social critiques by conservatives are deadly accurate; conservatives foresaw the ‘culture of death’ and ‘uncreation’ that no-fault divorce, 2nd wave feminism and abortion on demand would bring about back in the 70’s. They were/are correct.
Unfortunately, these good things were mixed with greed, racism, Jim Crow, domestic terrorism, obfuscation, denialism, lies/historical revisionism, deceit, redlining, COINTELPRO, the war on drugs, lying police and wrongful convictions, laws and policies targeted at black communities and was consumed whole by people who should’ve had the proper (biblical) filter in place to sort through it. But they, like their liberal counterparts, were taught to or chose to accept these things as part of what it means to be a good Patriotic American Christian.
Other believers (especially those visiting from overseas) saw it and called it out. Some like J.O. Buswell and Carl F.H. Henry called it out as well.
Still, I remain hopeful. God is sovereign. All of the “exposure” happening to conservative circles right now – from sexual abuse scandals in supposedly bible-believing congregations to outright racism being found out – is happening because He has ordained it to be so. One thing I have learned in my 33 years as a Christian is that God will bring the rod of discipline down on you and expose your mess for all to see as part of the process of sanctification. He does it with His children both individually and corporately.
Ultimately, it’s a good thing. I have been blessed to see many conservative believers confront these topics and issues biblically and not politically. While some have chosen to go the road previously travelled (finding some boogeyman to blame it on – eventually leading to large numbers of book sales), there are more conservative believers responding with grace and understanding this time around. And these folks are rejecting Americanism as a basis for discussing these issues and engaging from scripture.
For that, I am glad.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year in 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles and Proverbs. Last year and years prior, I’ve said repeatedly that “The fix is in Acts 6”, but there are many more passages in scripture that can (and should) shape our response to these issues Biblically. We don’t need Lindsay or Kendi. We have the Holy Scriptures. We have creeds and confessions. It’s past time that we started using them again.
To be continued….