Check out a great summary and update of the book by Chalmers Johnson, found here.
It is no surprise that this story happened in Los Angeles.
I have a great deal of sympathy for illegal immigrants. Some of my best friends are illegal immigrants.
No, not really. I actually don’t know any. But that doesn’t change the fact that I do indeed sympathize. To have the promise of a real, living wage and living conditions that are sanitary and safe just over the sinking invisible line must be a tremendous temptation. I’m sure that, while they are indeed breaking the law, most illegal immigrants are good, law-abiding people. I’m not personally so worried about amnesty as I am worried about fixing the problem now.
But our current immigration set-up is unworkable. As it now stands, you have a tremendous number of illegal aliens in places like Los Angeles. Certain services, e.g. public schools, housing assistance, welfare, hospitals, fire and police services are provided free of charge, and the cost of those services is directly tied to the number of people utilizing those services. The cost of maintaining all of those things is tremendous – everything from city hospitals to city parks. You get more crowds, more demands, more wear-and-tear, more needs.
At the same time, the ratio of # people paying for those things to # of people using those things is decreasing… to be fair, illegal aliens pay property taxes (either through their rent or directly) and sales tax. However, they do not pay federal or state income taxes, which is a huge chunk of money in a state like California. So… what happens?
Services deteriorate. Schools get too crowded. Neighborhoods get too violent. People vomit blood and get left for dead IN EMERGENCY ROOMS.
Even if every illegal immigrant paid all the taxes they ought to, I don’t know if that would cover it. You have to deal with the issue of expected standard of living.
Americans expect a certain standard. We expect kids to be able to read at a certain level. We expect a certain standard of treatment in hospitals. We expect certain food.
A great example of this is in US aid – a few years ago, we were giving out higher-quality meals to Bosnians while Sudan and whatever backwood African nation needed food got something like wheat. (You get the idea.) Why not give Bosnians the same thing the Sudaneese get?
The short answer is that they don’t expect it.
So when you have a hospital that serves more people than it has funding or space to serve, and a huge number of its clients have a much lower standard than Americans consider acceptable?
Well, get used to it.
I’m sorry they accepted the report and booted FV out of the Presbyterian Church in America.
What are the issues involved? Essentially, nobody can really figure it out. It’s about the nature of the Covenant, the standing of children born and baptized into the covenant, and a few other things.
It’s not about the Trinitarian nature of God. It’s not (Dr. Sproul…) about justification by faith. It’s not about almost anything that makes a huge difference to most people. It’s certainly not about evangelism, truth, or repentance of the Islamic world. It’s a little in-house battle, and it should have stayed that way. It should have been thought about, written about, and discussed for the next 10 years.
I’ve noted that among Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists (especially the latter) there is a clever technique which draws any kind of connection between the current theological debate and something important that it can. So, FV comes to = justification by faith. Eschatology = acceptance of the Bible. Calvinism = God’s Lordship. etc. These people know that they’re supposed to be unified with other believers. They also know that they can break with other believers if the “others” are heretics. So what to do when a brother has a theology you disagree with? Make it an issue of pure heresy and then get rid of him.
Like most other Presbyterian denominations in American history, the PCA seems to have peaked.
Doug Wilson wrote,
Those who go by the nickname TR are actually curators of the Reformed mausoleum, and not scholars in the Reformed tradition… when someone actually stands up against the living and breathing ecclesiastical Mitred Ones, they haul this argument out as shamelessly as a theologian who thinks he is supposed to have an infallible magisterium. And they do this against people who they say are trying to “lead them to down the road Rome.” But how can you lead people to Rome when they are already there?
I think he’s on to something.
You probably want to view the videos first.
Here’s my response:
I can see where you’re trying to say: we’re not the same old church that you’re sick of. We don’t fit the (sometimes well deserved) stereotypes of “church.” You might have had a bad experience somewhere else but we’re not like that.
And perhaps that is effective for some people. I’m sure you will have dozens of new people who come to church and tell you that they are there because of the ads. So good.
But I worry for what those people may someday become. I hope they come to faith. I hope they believe with all their hearts. And this ad will pass out of memory. But what you’re setting up for is a whole group of second-class Christians… the “Christians.” They read their Bibles. They wear suits. They listen to cheesy Christian music. They think you should wear suits and read Bibles and listen to Christian music too.
What is being implied? That at CCC, we REALLY love Jesus. We really follow him. We got past shallow a long time ago. We’re cool. We’re savvy to ipods and we listen to… predictibly… U2. And we are certainly better than those guys with the suits.
At some point, I think that you will discover that your marketing and humor goes only so far towards actually knowing Jesus… because the contempt that is conveyed is what will keep you away from Him.
A final note: I think Joel Hunter mentioned that the two men are more similar than they might think. But the difference is that “Christian” has created his own culture, and “Christ-follower” has grazed from white, pop, american sub-culture AND Christian American sub-culture. So it’s U2 but not Nine Inch Nails, or John Lee Hooker, or Glen Miller, or Bach. It’s a loose sweatshirt but not a track suit or a plain button down shirt. (Did anyone else predict that the Christ-follower would be listening to the universally-acceptable U2?)
In trying to be unique and clever, you have only copied (as Christians are so apt to do) a good idea from the world, cite U2, and thank God that you’re not like that Pharisee.
Dan Phillips wrote a post last week on the “Team Pyro” blog Pyromaniacs, which in my opinion, represents the very best and the very worst of what that blog, its authors, and the general John MacArthur mindset.
In some ways, the problem is actually the strength. MacArthur has rightly inspired a veritable legion of Reformed Baptists (given that their sense of history usually doesn’t extend much earlier than C.H. Spurgeon, AND given that you will almost never see a reference to a Reformed non-Baptist, we might be better off to refer to them as “Calvinistic Baptists,” but… well, whatever) toward greater learning, works, and Biblical reliance. Although I wasn’t alive for his early ministry, and I wasn’t a Christian for most of his ministry, I have to go with what people have told me, but “they” say that MacArthur was extremely important in calling the church back to exegetical preaching and Biblical reliance. Evangelicals in America, and probably the world over, owe John MacArthur gratitude and respect.
However, the very strength of force of his exegetical preaching seems sometimes to overstep its boundaries, and Dan Phillips seems to embody that strength/weakness in his contributions to their “team blog.”
Dan presents marital counseling – quite fairly – as a difficult task. And he presents Biblical truth as important and effective for people who are suffering different difficulties. Without a doubt, all pastors and marital counselors should look at the verses he mentions, study them, and apply them.
What concerns me is the manner in which he advocates the application of these principles. His method is, in essence:
1: Make sure they have the right answers about Jesus, their “personal relationship with Jesus, God’s holiness, total depravity… basically, get the 5 Sola’s right.
2. Get the doctrine of submission to God right.
4. Read some Bible verses and study them.
5. Get the doctrine of marriage right. (Interestingly, he says marriage is a covenant, not a dispensation. Ha! Just kidding.)
6. Review marriage vows.
7. Have them work hard and get more Bible verses.
8. Do what the Bible says.
RESULT: If you do that, how could your marriage be anything but happy?
Sounds good, right? So what is missing?
Let’s see what the apostle says:
2 Cor 3:2 – You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.
2 Cor 11:2 – I feel a divine jealousy for you
Phil 1:3 – I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine…
What about Jesus?
Matthew 9:36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.
John 11:35-36 Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!”
It’s not what Dan is saying that is troubling. He’s right on. It’s what he isn’t saying that leads to trouble. We don’t just drop Bible verses on hurting people… we minister to them. This is where “Nouthetic” counseling is a welcome correction, but ultimately, a failure. It’s where the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation has done well where Jay Adams dropped the ball. As ministers of the Gospel, in whatever formal or informal roles we may have, our job is to press our lives up against the lives of those to whom we minister, not just hit them with Bible verses.
This is why The Master’s College is marked by overwhelming legalism. It’s why most of the sermons I’ve ever heard from Grace Community Church are as informative as any college classroom, and as interesting as the sound of a power drill.
While offering a Bible-centered view, MacArthur, Jay Adams, Phil Johnson and “team pyro” have replaced the image of God applying the Word of God like a healing ointment to hurting people, and have instead created a do-it-yourself kit out of the Bible, and have reduced the minister/pastor to that of an instructor.
They will always be strong in Scripture, but without a communal application of the Word from broken hearted people to other broken hearted people, we will have a stunted ministry. That’s not who we are, and its not who we want to be. We need to enter into the suffering of those to whom we minister, not just give them verses to study.
And when we talk about what we’re doing, we need to emphasize that, not just assume it.
What we don’t teach people actually teaches people as much as what we do teach.
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Tony Campolo at RTS part 4: The Church Faces her Tendency Toward Idolatry
Idolatry: The most fascinating thing in sociology is where people get their concepts of God. There is a universal belief in God, but God is defined differently in all different places. Now, why is this?
A certain researcher observed Australian aborigines who were inventing a new religion. He observed that:
1. A new collection of people developed collective traits and values.
2. The tribe comes up with an animal, or totem, that represents the traits and values. The animal represents the tribe. We do the same thing: wise as an owl, strong as an ox, angry as a hornet.
3. The people begin to worship the animal (which is nothing more than a symbolic representation of their own values.)
When people begin to worship, they are worshipping a representative of their collective selves.
This begs the questions: is the Jesus we worship a symbolic representation of US, or are we worshipping the Biblical Jesus?
The apostle Paul says, in Romans 1, that they try to transform the incorruptible God, and they end up worshipping the creature, not the creator.
Making God in our image is useful, because anyone who opposes our God opposes America, and vice versa. We can go to war, because God is always on our side.
I see many flags draped over crosses – that is frightening. And it reminds me that just because you put Jesus’ name on the front of a building, doesn’t mean that Jesus is actually being worshipped.
My friend is writing a book called, How Jesus Wrecked my life. The author grew up hearing testimonies of messed-up people who became well-heeled middle class Americans. The author grew up middle class, and he began to get messed up by following the Jesus of Scripture. He felt alienated because he was following Jesus in a radical manner. But what does the real Jesus say? What does the Scripture say?
I used to talk long and hard with my graduate students, and it wasn’t long before 4 of them came to faith. One of them was a Jewish man who had never read the New Testament. He went to a new church, but after a while, he said, “If you asked people to create a religion that looked exactly opposite to the Sermon on the Mount, it would look like this church.”
I’m worried for this country. I grew up in a church, the American Baptist church. And they were married to the Democrats. I am afraid that we now do this with the Republican party: to be a Christian is to be Republican. And when the values of a political party become the values of Christianity, we are idolaters. And if you always side with one party or another, you probably need to take a good, long look at yourself.
A researcher said that love and power cannot be simultaneously expressed. Power is contingent on a lack of love. The more you love, the weaker you become. Love makes you vulnerable, it puts you in a place where you can be hurt. This is why men are lousy lovers. They cannot be loving and powerful at the same time.
2,000 years ago, the God who has all the power and created the universe decided to express His full love. Jesus emptied Himself, and took the form of a slave, even to the point of death. The scandal of the Gospel is that the all powerful God puts aside his power to show love. But he chooses not to show power. On the cross, Jesus could have come down, or called down a legion of angels. He didn’t need to be mocked, he could have stopped it all through and expression of power. But he doesn’t use His power. Love keeps Him there.
Salvidore Dali’s painting of the Crucifixion doesn’t have nails, because it wasn’t the nails that kept him there.
We have a God who comes without power to express love. Don’t be mistaken. Jesus will come again, and he’s coming again in power. At some point, he will bring judgment and power, not love. If you become a Christian, it’s because you choose to, because love must be freely chosen. Love cannot be coerced.
Christians now think that, if we can have power, we can fix the country. We just need the right power, we need to elect the right people. And you should understand that I love power as much as anyone.
[Flat tire story]
Satan wanted to see power. Pharisees said that they would believe if they could see some power. Power evangelism won’t do it. The world isn’t looking for an expression of power. They are looking for love. Power doesn’t work anymore.
(Campolo says) that I had an atheist friend who said I should build an alter and call down fire just like Elijah. I said, what if it did? He told me, honestly, I would assume there was another explanation. Power won’t do it.
Jesus said don’t be sad that I’m leaving. You need me to leave. You will do greater works that I. Jesus walked on water, he raised the dead, and my pastor (when I was a kid) told me that I didn’t have enough faith to do the miracles. It was a cop-out. The miracles didn’t stick! Except for the Resurrection, the miracles didn’t have any lasting affect. The 5,000 fed people were hungry the next day. Lazarus still died. But at the wedding at Cana, Jesus looks around and sees an upset bride, a distraught groom, and a father who thought he had enough wine and would be facing a lifetime of humiliation. And Jesus sees all of this, and he keeps a secret. He doesn’t make wine to impress his friends. He does it out of love.
That’s not my theology, that’s Paul’s theology. If you don’t have love, you have nothing. Understand, love is the essence of the faith. The ultimate expression of love is laying down the his life for us at the Cross.
I am for Christians going into politics. But I fear when Christians wed faith to power… when they think that they can bring about a greater Christianity through politics. Why didn’t Jesus go to Caesar? Why didn’t He impose His will on everybody? Jesus draws all men to Himself.
Power and authority are different – authority is earned through sacrifice… power is imposed. My little Italian mother didn’t have any power – I could have kicked her down the stairs. But when she told me to jump, I asked how high? because she had sacrificed so much for me.
God has highly exalted the name of Jesus, and his authority is built on the Cross at Calvary… at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of the Father.
[Story of two Vietnam vets: one lost his leg, and the other got shrapnel in his chest. Twice the Vietcong came across us, and saw that we were so pathetic they just let us go… because he was carrying me in excruciating pain. So years later, when he got epilepsy, I sold everything and came here to be with him, because he carried me.]
Someday, all evil will yield. That which did not yield to His love will yield to His power. Who is this Christ we worship? What does He require?
The accumulation of wealth has implications. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Suppose we had done what the Bible says. What if we didn’t have an embargo for 10 years, that killed half a million children. What if the church… not the Government, but the church… bought a bunch of stuff, and for 10 years, shipped it to Jordan, and then went to Iraq with it? What if we had done that? Do you think our soldiers would have been viewed as heroes.
“It’s not that we have tried Christianity and it failed… it’s that he have tried, and it was hard, so we gave up.” -Chesterston.
Our Christianity is located within a tremendous superpower. How do we use the power that we have as Christians?
My Pastor always says, “Title or Testimony?” Pharaoh, Darius, Jezebel all had good titles. But Moses, Daniel, and Elijah all had the testimony. Some day they will throw dirt on your body, and then they will cry, and then they will go back and eat potato salad.
If you can get a title and a testimony, go ahead, get both. But if you have to make a choice, choose a testimony. Your testimony lasts forever, and your title goes with you to the grave.
Quotes (actually, general paraphrases) from the Q and A:
I worry that men are threatened by women in leadership; its not their deep Biblical convictions; it’s their desire to hold on to power.
The Good News is that the Kingdom will not go limping into eternity, battered and bruised. The Church will walk triumphant into the new millennium.
America is the best Babylon in the world. But Babylon is a whore. Whores seduce. Babylon consumes all the resources on the earth, and eats up the souls of men (Rev 18). Babylon wants worship. Babylon falls, and those who have invested in Babylon weep, and the angels rejoice. One day this Babylon will fall. No society lasts forever, only God’s Kingdom. When Babylon falls, where will you be? Will you be singing with the angels, or will you weep with the traders? Lay not up for yourselves treasures in Babylon, but in heaven. It will fall, and everything you were looking to for security will be gone. If you have invested in the Kingdom, you won’t weep to see it go.
Dr. Tony Campolo, March 7th 2006.
Kistemaker Lecture series at RTS Orlando
The Church Faces Post-Modernity
[Introduction and prayer by Dr. Mark Futato]
Today’s lecture is on Post-Modernity. It’s difficult to define Post-Modernity (PM). In fact, all we can really say is that it’s not modern.
Christianity has not fared will in the “modern world.” The modern world is characterized by these ideas:
1. The only existence is in the moment. Nothing is eternal, things have a beginning and end. You were not, you are, you will cease to be.
2. You can explain everything in terms of natural causes. Contingency.
3. Relativity. Values and ideas and truth are all relative. Modern anthropology is teaching us this. Values change, thus, what is true actually changes. Each society has the right to define for itself what is right and wrong. We can’t judge cross-culturally. If a society says that something is right, it’s right for that society.
4. Relativity. It was the Greeks who believed that we lived in a world of archetypes. Before you were ever born, you were an idealized entity. But then, tragically, you were born. So your task is to “know thyself.” Implying that there is an a priori self who is waiting to be discovered. “My son has to find himself.” “Doc, I need to take a semester off to find myself.” And it always leads to the same place: Boulder, Colorado. [Laughter]. Kids feel like they need to come to grips with the “essence of my selfhood.” Kinda makes you want to puke, doesn’t it? [Laughter] What if you peel yourself away to find out that you’re in the end, nothing? What if you’re an onion with just more onion inside. Existentialists would say that the self is not some secret person inside, the self is defined by our commitments. The existentialists would say that there is no a priori means of existence. You are born into uncertainty, and you create your meaning. This isn’t far off from Christianity – you are what you do. Your meaning must be created, although you are born into a pre-ordained universe.
In the modern age, science and reason were on the throne.
When I went to Christian summer camp as a kid, I went to these lectures on Christianity and science. They assumed that if science and Christianity conflicted, science would win out. Science was on the throne. They assumed that Science did win out over faith. That’s why I don’t worry about Post-Modernity like some others do. Maybe they’re right. But I have to say, modernity created an environment where it became almost impossible to believe in God. Modernity creates a world where faith becomes impossible. You need myth. In France and Germany, they’re too modern for the Gospel. In Africa, they understand the spiritual dimension, and the Gospel bears great fruit there. It looked like modernity would prevail. “The increasing tendency toward modernity is irreversible.” “Modernity is the final truth.”
But into this modern view comes… post modernity.
Ironically, the seeds of PM were sewn by modernity. Einstein got it… he knew that gravity would not work in an infinite universe. Carl Sagan said the universe went on and on. Einstein came up with the concept of the expanding universe… the universe is huge but not infinite, because otherwise gravity wouldn’t work.
Imagine a balloon. Put little dots all over it. As you blow the balloon up, the dots will appear to move further from one another. The Hubble telescope has shown us that, yes, indeed, the universe is expanding. But what is the context into which the universe is expanding? Into nothing? Space is a universe which is expanding into nothing? How could that expand if there’s nothing to expand into? If smoke is spreading throughout the room, what is the nature of the room?
Bultmann said that the Biblical universe is a 3 tiered universe. There is time, space, and matter, on the skin of the balloon, and then there is what is inside the balloon, and then there is the nothing into which the universe is expanding. So the universe has come around to be scientifically described as a 3 tiered universe, just like the Bible said. It wasn’t infinite. So post modernity has brought science to a Biblical universe view.
We now know that there are 4 dimensions of the universe, the 4th being time. A Russian mathematician said that there are at least 16 dimensions. So what is impossible in our dimension is totally reasonable within a 4 or 16 dimension universe.
Now, Einstein really speaks to theology. He says that the faster we travel, the more time compresses. The theory of relativity. At 180 miles per second, our 20 years would be a single minute to you. At the speed of light, everything is happening at once – an “eternal now.” This has theological implications. Augustine knew this, and Einstein taught us about.
Think about the doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement. I believe in Substitutionary Atonement. There are many theories of salvation, but there are many which would. There are two things I believe about Jesus. He is fully God, and he is fully man. God was not partially revealed in Jesus, He was fully revealed in Jesus. So when Jesus was on the cross, two things were happening – a man was dying for other man. But at the same time, Jesus is simultaneous with all of history. That is why Jesus could say “Before Abraham was, I Am.” Or “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” What does that mean? It means that when Jesus was on the Cross, at the speed of light, that moment is happening now. Yes, the work on the Cross was finished. But in God’s “eternal now,” you were saved 2,000 years ago, and from Calvary, God will connect with you right now, and your sin of right now will be connected to Jesus on the Cross of 2,000 years ago. Jesus cried in Gethsemane because he was about to absorb every single sin throughout all of time that everyone would do – as you are sinning, Jesus is absorbing your own filth into His own body. Jesus didn’t just die 2,000 years ago, He is eternally dying now.
We say, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” You were forgiven 2000 years ago, but you need to be cleansed right now, you need your sin absorbed by Jesus right now.
You don’t need more Holy Spirit – the HS is in you now. It is the Spirit of God within you that brought you to God in the first place. The sin in your life can quench the Spirit, but you need to confess your sins and be cleansed of your sins – it’s a Holy Spirit, and to be possessed by the Holy Spirit in His fullness, you need to be cleansed.
About predestination: does God know what is going to happen? Yes and no. Because for God, the beginning of time and right now are the same moment. So does God know what is going to happen? Yes. But is it happening right now for God? Yes. You can enter into a reality, into a relationship with God. SO are you going to go to sleep, and wait for God after you die, and wait until the trumpets sound? Yes. But at the same time, you enter into God’s universe and God’s time. So the Bible teaches the immortality of the soul, AND the resurrection of the body. Jesus wasn’t spiritually resurrected from the dead, the tomb was empty. This mortal body will put on immortal flesh. Heaven will not be a bunch of disembodied spirits floating around. It will be flesh.
The science of Einstein is shattering the science of Newton, and who knows what quantum physics will do? We don’t get that stuff. Is there no order to the universe? Einstein said that the whole world is beyond reason, but the Bible says that in Him do all things exist. What God can govern every electron in the whole universe? If you believe that all things have a cause and contingency, then please explain the motion of electrons. You can’t. Science has found so much reality that only a theologian can explain it.
The Hegelian era made everything explainable. A unified world view? Hegel made it. And Kierkegaard and Nietzsche dismissed him entirely. Nietzsche said that there were two different approaches to truth. The rational and the emotional. Philosophy is people who are studying life because they’re too afraid to live it. But how to we apprehend truth? The philosophical way, the way of philosophers, said Nietzsche. The Golden Age of Greek philosophy wasn’t philosophy, it was Greek drama.
To totally understand it, you have to see Star Trek 5. The Enterprise is invaded by aliens. (Why haven’t they put an alarm system on the Enterprise, after all these alien invasions?) Spock’s brother says, Spock, you went the way of science and modernity. Emotion doesn’t affect Spock. His brother asks, “Did it ever occur to you that you can’t think your way to the truth? But some of the most stupid people I’ve met know the truth, and some of the most brilliant people don’t have any truth at all?”
How does that guy with an IQ of 90 love Jesus? He knows truth, because truth isn’t a proposition, truth is a man. When Pilate says “What is truth,” Jesus didn’t answer. Socrates and Plato would have had an answer. Only God was wise enough to remain silent, because truth is an encounter with the Living God. And if you don’t encounter Jesus and know Him in the NOW, you don’t know him. The next half of a second is not NOW… NOW is now. I’m not fast enough to tell you what I’m thinking about NOW… I can only tell you what I was Truth cannot be articulated, it must be experienced. Your theology is good, but it’s only a description of what you’ve experienced.
PM says that you can’t think your way to the truth. Spock’s brother said that you have to LOVE your way to God. Who are the ones who know God? The ones who love Him. At the judgment day, you’re not going to have a theological exam. He is going to ask you, “Do you love me?” PM raises questions, not about the validity of reason or theology… it suggests that there is something beyond the categories of truth, there is an actual relationship with truth. The PM world is tearing us out of the modern view… our theology is nothing more than a tool for evangelism. We are simply trying to explain to people what we have seen and experienced. The way we talk about Christ in the PM world may be different from that of a modern world. We’re not out of the modern world yet, but we will be… and we need to be ready for it.