Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Rise of the West

“…the rise of the West was based on four primary victories of reason.  The first was the development of faith in progress within Christian theology.  The second victory was the way that faith in progress translated into technical and organizational innovations, many of them fostered by monastic estates.  The third was that, thanks to Christian theology, reason informed both political philosophy and practice to the extent that responsive states, sustaining a substantial degree of personal freedom, appeared in medieval Europe.  The final victory involved the application of reason to commerce, resulting in the development of capitalism within the safe havens provided by responsive states.  These were the victories by which the West won.” Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason , P. xiii

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Whence Capitalism?

“…capitalism developed in only some places. Why not in all? Because in some European societies, as in most of the rest of the world, it was prevented from happening by greedy despots: freedom was also essential for the development of capitalism. This raises another matter: why has freedom so seldom existed in most of the world, and how was it nurtured in some medieval European states? This too was a victory of reason. Before any medieval European state actually attempted rule by an electoral council, Christian theologians had long been theorizing about the nature of equality and individual rights—indeed, the later work of such ‘secular’ eighteenth-century political theorists as John Locke explicitly rested on egalitarian axioms derived by church scholars.” Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason , P. xiii
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Christianity Versus the Rest

“While the other world religions emphasized mystery and intuition, Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guide to religious truth. Christian faith in reason was influenced by Greek philosophy. But the more important fact is that Greek philosophy had little impact on Greek religions. These remained typical mystery cults, in which ambiguity and logical contradictions were taken as hallmarks of sacred origins. Similar assumptions concerning the fundamental inexplicability of the gods and the intellectual superiority of introspection dominated all of the other major world religions. But from early days, the church fathers taught that reason was the supreme gift from God and the means to progressively increase their understanding of scripture and revelation. Consequently, Christianity was oriented to the future, while the other major religions asserted the superiority of the past. At least in principle, if not always in fact, Christian doctrines could always be modified in the name of progress as demonstrated by reason. Encouraged by the Scholastics and embodied in the great medieval universities founded by the church, faith in the power of reason infused Western culture, stimulating the pursuit of science and the evolution of democratic theory and practice. The rise of capitalism was also a victory for church-inspired reason, since capitalism is in essence the systematic and sustained application of reason to commerce—something that first took place within the great monastic estates.” Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason, p. x-xi
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Friday, October 08, 2010

Marketing Christianity

“Whenever a promising movement of the Holy Spirit begins nowadays, one of the first things that happens is that the agents, businessmen, and other assorted handlers move in so that they might straighten out certain unmarketable ‘blemishes’ in order to take the show on the road.  And when a promising ministry hits the big time, the unfortunate people in it are made twice as much sons of hell as their promoters.  It is therefore our resolve to stay as unmarketable as we can.  If we ever get invited to the Great Black Tie Banquet of Evangelicalism, we want everyone there to be braced for the moment when we, on a prearranged signal, throw our dinner rolls at Pat Robertson.  Thus far this strategy appears to have worked and has thinned out the invitations.  This, in our view, is not a bad thing.  We are not quenching the Spirit.  We want spiritual words—which have that serrated edge—to quench the gospel-mongers.” Doug Wilson, A Serrated Edge p. 112-113
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The Guardians of the Academy

“Why should we care that the guardians of the academy believe that we are not intellectually respectable?  They believe that the moose, the sperm whale and the meadowlark are all blood relations.  Why do we want their seal of approval on our intellectual abilities?  It is like asking Fidel Castro to comment on the economic viability of Microsoft.” Doug Wilson, A Serrated Edge p. 109
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Beasts and Antichrists

“…precisely because the Church is the household of the faithful, the enemy outside hates it. One of the ways he expresses that hatred is by various attempts at subversion, corrupting the Church from within. It is simply na├»ve to maintain that all assaults on the faith come from persecuting tyrants. Most of the threats to biblical integrity come from men who went to seminary. The beast in Scripture is a civil ruler, persecuting from outside. There have been many such beasts in the history of the Church, from Nero to Stalin. But the antichrist in Scripture is a spirit of corruption from within the body. Who is the antichrist but the one who denies that Jesus came in the flesh? (1 Jn. 4:3). A beast is a persecutor; an antichrist is a false teacher. In the scriptural categories, Hitler was a beast, but to find our modern antichrists we have to look for liberal Methodist bishops and the lesbians who love them. Now the Bible requires that the Word be brought against both kinds of threats, which is just what the apostle John did. He brought the Word against the beast in Revelation and against the antichrist in I John. And when that Word comes, it does not do so as an invitation to dialogue.” Doug Wilson, A Serrated Edge p. 99-100
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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Reformation, Not Revival

“So before there can be any kind of restoration of national dignity in the civil realm, there must be absolutely be a reformation in the Church—top to bottom, stem to stern, from the front of the face to the back of the head. Modern evangelicalism is not the solution to America’s problems, modern evangelicalism is America’s problem. None of our general cultural malaise will be mitigated in the least degree unless and until a thorough work of God sweeps through the church.

Many evangelicals think they acknowledge this, and they call what they yearn for revival. But as A.W. Tozer put it, if revival means more of what we have now, we most emphatically do not need a revival. A reformation is necessary—a reformation that is in the first place liturgical, in the second place familial, in the third place doctrinal, and in the fourth place, cultural. We need to be shaken badly so that what cannot be shaken may remain. In this reformation, we will—with tears of repentance—throw away the vast machinery of parachurch organizations, our glossy magazines edited by snakes, our engineered revivalism, our holy hucksterism, our trivialization of the gospel through dumb tracts, our attempts to save America through politics, our corrupt youth miniseries, and our gold-painted thrones on TBN. There are more things that could be mentioned, but a repentant mind can get the drift. In an evangelical world filled to the brim with such things, it is astonishing that some people think that satire is a problem and might invoke the displeasure of God.” Doug Wilson, A Serrated Edge p. 76-77

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The Tipping Point

“Put bluntly, disrespect of God is all right as long as you don’t want the kind of Supreme Court justices that the Democratic candidate would appoint. If that is not a good working summary of humanism, I do not know what is.” Doug Wilson, A Serrated Edge p. 74-75
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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

As Honest as an Evangelical

“At the time of the Reformation, one proverbial phrase in France was ‘as honest as a Hugeunot.’ The hard working and conscientious French Calvinists found that their honesty became a byword among the unbelievers. Does anyone seriously believe that unbelieving Americans are about to coin a similar phrase any time soon? ‘As honest as an evangelical.’ It would fit on a bumpersticker, but it doesn’t have the same self-justifying ring of ‘Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.’” Doug Wilson, A Serrated Edge p. 74
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Public Prayer

“Jesus even makes fun of how men pray. Jesus, the One in whose name we pray, during His incarnate ministry, leveled the guns of satire at those who sought to ‘have a witness’ by praying openly in restaurants so that people could see how holy they were. Jesus told us not to pray so that men could see us, which we have interpreted as a call to hold public prayer vigils on the Capitol steps so that Congress will stop disobeying what Jesus said to do.” Doug Wilson, A Serrated Edge p. 42
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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Righteous Prophet

“There is no answer that can be give to the righteous prophet. Because he is righteous, he is right. Because he is a prophet, he won’t shut up. He has fire in his bones. And so it is good that he perish—of course, for the public good. He was a trouble-maker anyway, and his language frequently went outside the boundaries of respectable academic discourse.” Doug Wilson, A Serrated Edge p. 41
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Muddled Legacies

“American history is by no means sacred history, but it does provide us with very funny illustrations of this same mentality. Washington D.C. is filled with monuments and statues to people whose civic convictions would get them lynched if they came back today by some time machine fluke to occupy public office. George Washington comes to mind. Not to mention Madison, Jefferson, and Adams.

As the Lord established earlier, the scribes and Pharisees were tombs themselves, and this is why they liked to decorate the tombs of righteous men. In doing this, they proved to Jesus that they were actually the children of those who had killed the prophets. Their concern for the prophets’ tombs testified against them. In a similar way, modern evangelicals really like names such as Wycliffe and Tyndale. Our forebearers! But one edifying thought experiment (there are many such) consists of William Tyndale paying a tumultuous visit to Tyndale House, publishers of the inane Left Behind series. One pictures broken windows, crying secretaries, sirens, a major scene, an arrest, and a board meeting the next day with the suits and haircuts trying to decide if they should press charges against this very troubled man. At the end they decide to just make him pay for the damage he did to the sign out front—the sign that had his name on it. This is an obvious point, but a certain kind of mind still misses it. This is because a certain kind of mind couldn’t hit a bull on the ass with a banjo.” Doug Wilson, A Serrated Edge, p. 40

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Monday, October 04, 2010

Indicting the Church

“No greater indictment of the contemporary church than this can be found: the secular state is operating on all cylinders, and yet for the most part, the Christian pulpit remains a safe place to be.

More pastors ought to wonder about this. Shouldn’t ministers and churches be more concerned than they are about the lack of opposition they are facing? And shouldn’t they be willing to consider if it isn’t the result of diluting the message? It is possible to talk about the final judgment and the lordship of Jesus Christ in such a way that makes it clear that He is only lord over those areas that secularists are frankly happy to let Him have—the afterlife, for example. Who cares if Jesus is Lord in ways that never make any difference at all?

This is not the way it should be. The worship of the Christian church is the New Jerusalem, descending down out of heaven. As churches are built and faithful worship is established, as converts are baptized and taught, as parents raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, as the nations are brought into the faith, they are being incorporated into the New Jerusalem, the city of the new humanity.” Doug Wilson, Heaven Misplaced p. 118-119

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God's Vietnam

“Most Christians believe in one way or another that the history of our planet is going to go from bad to worse, accelerating as we get near the end. At the same time, all Christians believe that after human history is over, and the day of resurrection is past, our experience will be one of glory replaced by a greater glory, one after the other, world without end. No Christian is pessimistic about final glory. But most Christians are pessimistic about the course of history prior to the Second Coming of Christ. In this view, the world is God's Vietnam, and the return of Christ consists of the few lucky ones helicoptered off a roof during the fall of Saigon. When we get out of here, then there will be good times—but not before.” Doug Wilson, Heaven Misplaced p. 9-10
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Friday, October 01, 2010

Absurdity: Acting the Part

“In both the East and the West, however, there are attempts to relive the tension of seeming to be nothing, while in fact being something very real—a person in a real world which has a definite form. On the materialist side, Sir Julian Huxley (1887-1975) has clarified the dilemma by acknowledging, though he is an atheist, that somehow or other—against all that one might expect—a person functions better if he acts as though God exists. ‘So,’ the argument goes, ‘God does not in fact exist, but act as if He does!’ As observed by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) in The Wild Duck: ‘Rob the average man of his life-illusion, and you rob him of his happiness at the same stroke.’ In other words, according to Huxley, you can function properly only if you live your whole life upon a lie. You act as if God exists, which to the materialist is false. At first this sounds like a feasible solution for relieving the tension produced by a materialistic world view. However, a moment’s reflection shows what a terrible solution it is. You will find no deeper despair than this for a sensitive person. This is no optimistic, happy, reasonable, brilliant answer. It is darkness and death.” Whatever Happened to the Human Race? P. 139-140
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Foreclosure Fraud

Congressman Alan Grayson is perhaps one of the most controversial men in Washington.  He is frequently at the center of controversy.  He was one of the first Democratic co-sponsors of Ron Paul's Audit the Fed bill, he's aggressively questioned Ben Bernanke in congressional testimony, argued that the Republican health bill is 'die quickly' and more recently ridiculed his Republican opponent in his home district for his Taliban-like views on the role of women.

So while he is wrong on many issues including abortion and health care, he understands the destruction the Federal Reserve is waging upon our nation, and in the video below, he exposes the fraud rampant in home foreclosures.  The video is appalling and demonstrates the sort of thing that goes on in a nation when it has abandoned the rule of law.



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The Wedge Principle

“Do not dismiss contemptuously our concern about the wedge principle. When the camel gets his nose in the tent, he will soon be in bed with you! Historians and jurists are well aware of what we say. The first step is followed by the second. It is easy to see that if the first step is immoral, whatever follows it must be immoral. But even if the first step is moral, it does not necessarily follow that the second step will also be moral. We have to be consciously aware with each step as to what the next step is likely to be.” Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Whatever Happened to the Human Race? p. 109
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