For Shame

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Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

–St. Peter

The life of Senator Kennedy, lived very much in public view, was a life that was badly lived.

–Douglas Wilson

 

Long, brief, ham-fistedly uncouth or silver-tongued, relevant-Christianity-with-a-conservative-bent blogdom is filled with postings like Wilson’s.

It is very hard to grasp just what sort of outlook must inform the latter statement by Doug Wilson, nor how one imagines it aligns with the former from 1 Peter 2. What is it that drives those commanded to seek the peace and be humble servants of the city to speak so deridingly and to undermine instead of honor kings? It is quite beyond me how those who utter such obnoxious things seem to be so absent any sense of shame. And while I am not particularly given to it as a general rule, I do wonder where the moral outrage might be when professing Christians mutter such dishonorable tripe.

But when one takes into account the context of such statements it really seems to be yet another function of how western religionists have confused, quite badly, things political with things moral. Many lament the mixing of politics and religion, but fewer seem to realize that the politicizing of religion tends very often to go hand-in-hand with the moralizing of politics. Both are cause for concern. Whatever else this sort of wrong-headed disposition yields, it certainly does exactly nothing to fulfill Peter’s command to show proper respect to everyone. Peter goes on to suggest that it is no credit to a slave to endure a beating for bad behavior, rather it is to his merit that he endure being kicked in the teeth for doing good. If the ham-fisted railings of certain professing Christians is any measure, do we really imagine that they would be anything but three-sheets-to-the-wind should that sort of adversity come their way?

It is one thing to disagree politically with a king, it is another to suggest a moral degeneracy and a “life badly lived” because of it. One is reminded of the theological row revivalists had with confessionalists over the questions surrounding of revivalism (and one that, to greater or lesser degrees, prevails yet today between their respective heirs). Not seeing eye-to-eye, the revivalists went toe-to-toe with the confessionalists and, kicking them in the shins, played the same theological card Wilson ideologically plays here. They charged their confessionalist interlocutors with being unregenerate. As some have rightly asked, how exactly does one argue against such a suggestion? It is as enormously frustrating and maddening as when one might be told he is a mere contrarian for dissenting or seeing something from another angle. It is the verbal equivalent of being roundly kicked in the groin by a rather desperate opponent. But if Peter has anything to say about it, it would seem our public comportment is held to a vastly higher standard than the likes of Wilson exhibit. True, living up to high standards is just plain tough and really isn’t a thing for the faint of heart. But, like my mama always said, that’s no good excuse not to.

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55 Responses to For Shame

  1. Danny Hyde says:

    Zrim,

    It seems your assumption is that every American is subject to every elected official. As a Californian, 1 Peter calls me to submit to my Senators, etc. here, not everywhere else, else I would be required to submit to the King of Syria, etc.

  2. Zrim says:

    Rev.,

    That’s an interesting point of polity.

    But my point here is that I don’t quite see how “show proper respect to everyone and honor the king” translates into “show disrespect to those with whom you disagree and openly trash senators you don’t like.”

    It’s bad behavior on Wilson’s part. I don’t think that simple truth is very well served by parsing the particulars of polity, interesting as they may be. After all, isn’t there a difference between the spirit of a law and its letter?

  3. John Yeazel says:

    You bring up an important issue on how Christians should comport themselves in the public square. Our moral outrage is often exhibited in the most innappropriate of occasions. We need to be taught more clearly in this regard. I suppose if you analyze it- it simply is an expression of theological beliefs. You really cannot expect someone who adheres to a Federal Vision theology to say anything differently can you? The same goes for the theonomists- they were advocates of expressing moral outrage in the public square and it revealed your big cahuna’s if you did so.

  4. Zrim says:

    John,

    Yes, it seems to me quite odd that we are given to public outrage when it comes to the flashier or more extraordinary issues the Bible is silent on (Vermont just made it legal, folks, hut! hut!), yet curiously quiet when it comes to things it is quite explicit about.

    Why do we abide the public undermining of leaders when the Scripture seems rife with a code of ethics against it?

    (I’m not sure I see anything in the FV proper that leads to this. However, to the extent that the FV has cross-pollinization with theonomy, etc., I agree, it seems to become something of a twofer.)

  5. Anonymous says:

    John the Baptist had no problem blasting the king.

  6. Bruce S. says:

    I can’t do any fact checking at the moment, but didn’t he do that to his face, in private, when he (the king) was alive, as part of the drama of redemption?

  7. Zrim says:

    Anon,

    As Bruce suggests, I take the view that John the Baptizer’s act was indicative of bringing the next age to bear on this one, not picking a fight within this age. Reformed hermeneutics demands that we make the various pieces of Scripture harmonize. So, we have to read this act in view of things like 1 Peter 2 and Mark 12 (“Render unto Caesar…”) which suggest more civil obedience than civil disobedience.

    If we go with “a fight within this age” instead of “the next age coming to bear on this one,” the potential scuffles are endless, to say nothing of contradictory. I mean, if the Lion of Massachusetts can be morally derided for his politics then the Son of Texas should be also for his. But it seems to me that son of Jonah is calling us to the standard of the Lion of Judah and the Son of God.

  8. Paul says:

    let me be the good 2K advocate here ;-)

    Issues of Wilson’s timing aside, we must note that Peter wrote an occassional letter to Christians under a certain kind of government where certain actions brought persecution and accusations on the believers.

    However, Peter’s admonishing plays out differently in different societies under different types of government. The government Peter was under was Roman. It is true that his statements here can be generalized to all authorities and to all Christians under them, but the particularities of the time and place permit different behavior. There’s no cookie cutter approach here. What might be unsubmissive and rude under some regimes and at some times may not be so under others.

    Christians have different rights and duties and expectations under different forms of government. At times these rights permit Christians to act in certain ways (Luke 18:3) toward their government. These rights may be built-in to the system of government these Christians live under. Taking advantage of them is direspectful or rebellious.

    Many commentators of 1 Peter 2 are quick to point out that Peter isn’t being absolutest and that certain forms of civil disobedience might be permitted or allowed for. For example, I wouldn’t turn over a Jew to the Nazis even if that meant I wasn’t being as submissive as Zrim, who might turn over 5 a day (j/k)! (Oh shoot, did I drop the Hitler bomb?! Doh! :-)

    I guess I just find it odd that 2kers seem like theonomists here, applying the Bible and its commands so they can tell people what a good Christian should do to be a proper “Christian” citizen, but then turn around and tell us that we shouldn’t expect a Christian neighbor to be a pro-life advocate if she just wants to plant flowers.

    All this to say, submission and respect play-out differently under differnet governments and times. We should be careful to act as if Peter was offering us timless principles here whereby a Christian in America should act like a Christian in communist China. The former has a bit more freedom to voice opposition and make his thoughts known.

    I don’t know, what do you think?

  9. Paul says:

    I wrote:

    Taking advantage of them is direspectful or rebellious.

    I meant:

    Taking advantage of them _isn’t_ direspectful or rebellious.

  10. Zrim says:

    Paul,

    I guess I just find it odd that 2kers seem like theonomists here, applying the Bible and its commands so they can tell people what a good Christian should do to be a proper “Christian” citizen, but then turn around and tell us that we shouldn’t expect a Christian neighbor to be a pro-life advocate if she just wants to plant flowers.

    Yes, that would be ironic if one accepted the usual theonomic saw that 2Kers are antinomian and all that jazz about neutrality. But it’s all fubar. Both special and general revelation have ethics. I’m just pointing them out.

    As a pro-local magistrate, I don’t mind those fellow believers who are pro-life. I just wish they’d be way more willing to abide criticism of their premises and conclusions, as well as less willing to imply that a truer piety has their politics. Just because the Holy Spirit indwells doesn’t mean it sanctifies certain civil views.

    And I’m just not sold that biblical exhortations are relative to time and place (that would be like saying Terry DeBoer’s weather forecast this morning is different for you in Kentwood than it is for me in Grandville, but something tells me you had a pretty day just like I did). To render unto Caesar and honor to everyone, just like don’t steal or kill, applies to everyone everywhere in every place and in every time. So much for not having any ethics.

  11. Wayne says:

    As a 2k Registered Libertarian I don’t think being subject to civil magistrates means they are not to be criticized for poor performance especially as elected officials. They run for office under certain platforms and are expected to rule accordingly. For those public officials who rule in a way which harms or in the case of abortion permits the murder of unborn children they should be held responsible.

    Even a 2ker Libertarian like myself sees Government as restraining lawlessness and protecting its citizens from harm. Politicians like Ted Kennedy failed in that regard.

  12. Renee says:

    Hey Zrim,

    I know we disagree on many things involving Christians and government, but I thought you may be interested in reading a letter Ted Kennedy wrote to the Pope and the Vatican’s response.

    http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2009/08/29/3206600-excerpts-of-kennedy-letter-to-pope-and-response

    Also during the Funeral Mass for Senator Kennedy, his Pastor remarked that he had spent his last days at the side of the the Senator and his Faith had become more important than his politics. Impending death has a funny way of doing that to people. I do not want to speculate on the State of the Senators soul at the time of his death, but I am sure it has caused more then a few people to relate to the Prodigal son’s brother.

  13. Zrim says:

    Wayne,

    As a 2k Registered Libertarian I don’t think being subject to civil magistrates means they are not to be criticized for poor performance especially as elected officials. They run for office under certain platforms and are expected to rule accordingly.

    I don’t disagree with you. But I do think there is a fine line and wide gap between “holding leaders accountable” and “disparaging their character.” Moreover, I think our American polity actually may do more to confuse us here than help.

    Re abortion policy specifically, I disagree with Kennedy’s choice politics as much as I disagree with life politics. But I don’t think I’d go so far as to say “he failed to protect citizens from harm.” I think that may be as much an overstatement as saying Dubya “raped American citizens of their rights to privacy and murdered hundreds of innocent Iraqi children.” I know what both sentiments are trying to say, but it’s too much.

  14. Zrim says:

    Renee,

    Thanks for the link. I hope I get some time to check it out.

    But while I have you on the line, I am going to a funeral Thursday for beloved Catholic co-worker and friend with another close Catholic co-worker and friend. I’ll try to keep inquiries about Mary’s bones to a minimum.

  15. Renee says:

    Thanks, I sure would appreciate that. Jeez…..
    :)

    Also, I have no animosity towards Senator Kennedy, It is my hope that he is resting in peace. My prayers are with Senator Kennedy and his family and also your friend Zrim.

    Peace.

  16. Paul says:

    Zrim,

    I mostly agree with you. I should point out that your re-phrasing of my point makes it a bit vague. I tried to say that the *principle* was not relative but that *how it is worked out* looks different. What might be considered unsubmissive in 1st century Rome, for instance, does not need to be in 21st century America. Or, what might be considered unsibmissive in Hitler’s Germany might not be what Peter was getting at (i.e., handing over Jews to death squads). My comment isn’t that radical as it is the point made by most commentators on 1 Peter 2.

    As far as the theonomy thing…yes, that’s what they say too :-) All I’m saying is that it might seem inconsistent to some when you tell people how they are to interact in the public square when engaging in politicing. I gues I’m just saying that putting aside the loads of problems with Wilson, I’m not sure he was violating 1 Pet. 2. Was his timing bad? Perhaps. Was he demonstrating incivility and Western rules of “niceness”? Maybe. I just don’t think doing what your government says you can do is unsubmissive. In fact, one could argue that he was just submitting to the first amendment ;-)

  17. Zrim says:

    Paul,

    So you mostly agree with me, but not really? Isn’t that what Old Life is for, straining finer points of argument at the expense of simple points of conversation? If Wilson’s words aren’t an example of violating the imperatives of something like 1 Peter 2, I’m not sure what is. Here is where you are supposed to offer extraodinary examples like blowing up abortion clinics and rifling down presidents.

    But as far as how Christian piety might stack up with American polity, see here:

    http://confessionalouthouse.wordpress.com/2009/07/29/american-polity-versus-christian-piety/

  18. John Yeazel says:

    Speaking of Ted Kennedy and the Catholic faith- I just heard on the morning news here in Chicago that someone in Catholicdome wrote a booklet for newly married couples on how to enjoy their sex life more. You are exhorted to say a little prayer before the act to purify your motives so it will not be a purely hedonistic or self-satisfying endevour. Now there is an example of relevance for you. I hope no Catholics who tune in to the outhouse will be offended by that- us Protestants who abide in evangelicaldome have to endure those kind of pronouncements all the time except they are telling us how to make it more of a hedonistic act. And they are trying to be relevant.

  19. Paul says:

    Zrim,

    I mostly agree with you in a broad way but also disagree over details. Hence, I can have my cake and eat it too! :-)

    I have tried show how Wilson’s words weren’t violation sof I Peter 2, and tried to hint that by arguing against the 1st amendment you might turn out to be the one guilty of violating 1 Pet 2. Ironic.

    If you’re not sure what is, you could read some commentaries on 1 Pet. 2. When reading the epistles one must keep in mind what exegetes Fee and Stuart taught us:

    “…[T]his is the crucial thing to note in reading and interpreting [the Epistles]: They are all what are technically called occasional documents (i.e., arising out of and intended for a specific occasion), and they are all from the first century. Although insoired by the Holy Spirit and thus belonging to all time, they were first written out of the context of the author to the context of the original recipients. It is precicely these factors—that they are occasional and that they belong to the first century—that make their interpretation difficult at times.

    Above all else, their occasional nature must be taken seriously. This means that they were occasioned, or called forth, by some special circumstance, either from the reader’s side or the author’s. Almost all of the New Testament letters were occasioned from the reader’s side (Philemon and perhaps James and Romans are exceptions). Usually the occasion was some kind of behavior that needed correcting, or doctrinal error that needed setting right, or a misuderstanding that needed further light.

    Most of our problems i interpreting episteles are due to this fact of their being occasional. We have the answers, but we do not always kow what the questions or problems were—or even if there was a problem . . .

    [...]

    Thus one will go to the Epistles again ad again for Christian theology; they are loaded with it. But one must always keep in mind that they were not written to expoud Christian theology. It is always theology applied to or directed toward a particular need…”

    (Fee & Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, 58-59, emphasis original)

    I guess what I’m trying to “converse” is that I have no problem with you critiquing Wilson according to certain standards, I just disagree that you’re applying the verse correctly to the situation. Indeed, our government gives</I. Wilson the right to free speech. So he's not being unsubmissive. Our political system works through means like this. Popular opinion is a major political force and means in our country. So I just don't think this verse is a blueprint to the exact things you can say and can't say under any and all forms of regimes a Christian might find himself under.

    I'm not here to win any argument or focus on finer points of argumentation. I've voiced my opinion on the matter and just think you're application of the text to the case of Wilson is a bit strained, that's all. Just my 2¢ FWIW.

  20. RubeRad says:

    You are exhorted to say a little prayer before the act to purify your motives so it will not be a purely hedonistic or self-satisfying endevour.

    Reminds me of Augustine, who swung back a little too far after his libertine early years…

  21. Paul says:

    Oh, let me also add that I’d like to see a post where politically liberal 2k advocates are used for fodder; or, those who didn’t like Bush. For example, how about using Irons for fodder? How about drawing our attention to those who condemned the approach to terrorist information gathering, or the war in Iraq. They apparently could keep their politics separate from bible blueprints. They apparently didn’t think mentioning the immoralities and atrocities of the Bush admininstration (whether it be militarily or environmentally) off-limits from (sometimes severe) condemnation. If Wilson falls under your rubric so do they. I, on the other hand, allow both sides to voice their approval or disapproval of those who work for them.

  22. Zrim says:

    John,

    Ew. No accounting for modesty and decency in the quest for relevance, I suppose.

    Paul,

    I think your point, by way of Fee and Stuart, about the occassional nature of the epistles is quite fair. Knowing the occassional nature of any piece of Scripture is a good thing. But I don’t see how that finally diminishes the fact that imperatives are imperatives are imperatives. What does “show proper respect to everyone and honor the king” mean? Or maybe we may “occassion” away the Decalogue?

    Nor do I quite understand why the First Amendment outpaces First Peter (did you read the post about piety and polity?). I understand that Wilson has a right, even a certain amount of cultural reward, under our polity to undermine the character of a civil magistrate. But it seems to me he has a superior imperative not to.

  23. Zrim says:

    Paul,

    It wasn’t a calculated smack, I just happened to flipping through the pages of Wilson’s blog, that’s all.

    As soon as I see Wallis or Sider say that Dubya’s “life was a life badly lived,” same thing applies.

    As far as using Irons for fodder, how’s this:

    http://confessionalouthouse.wordpress.com/2009/02/01/heavens-to-murgatroyd-2/

  24. Paul says:

    Zrim,

    Word to your 9:36 am post.

    To your 9:28 post: it doesn’t diminish it. Fee and Stuart said as much. I struggled (twice) to make the same point.

    And I also don’t think we should “occasion away the decalogue.” In fact, I don’t quite see how you think that’s even remotely a proper reductio rather than an improper dig.

    So, you’re not saying that he was unsubmissive just that he didn’t “show proper respect.” But the same argument could be made WRT “submission.” And I don’t know of many commentators who do not allow that Peter would have allowed some forms of civil disobedience. In Rome you couldn’t go around publicly disagreeing with Ceasar’s decrees. That would be considered unsubmissive. That brought persecution on the Church. Peter didn’t want that. But that was then this is now. I have no reason to think that Peter wouldn’t allow Christians to voice their concerns if he wrote today. Apparently ero didn’t work for Peter &c. :-) We need to know *what* it was that was going on that occasioned the letter.

    As for disrespect, I guess you can make an argument for that. I don’t quite see how it was disrespectful. I mean, maybe it is in the Zrim household, but that would be to eisogete Zrim’s household rules into 1 Peter 2! Or perhaps Western Michigan. But it’s just as bad to eisogete the West Coast’s ethics into Peter as it is Zrim’s household rules for civility. Speaking for myself, though, I’m sure I’d like Zrim’s household rules better than what I find in West Michigan. So at least we have that comon groud :-)

  25. Bruce S. says:

    I have no animosity towards Senator Kennedy, It is my hope that he is resting in peace.

    How could he be resting in peace or in any other way if he’s in purgatory purging his soul of his crimes against God etc.? Did I miss a memo that the Vatican has called off purgatory? He’s not gettin’ out till he has repaid every last farthing.

  26. Zrim says:

    Paul,

    Mi casa es tu casa. But your protests against my sense of civility sound like my kids’ (forgive the unintended slight there), but, sorry, I calls them likes I sees them. Dissin’ be dissin’.

    So, you’re not saying that he was unsubmissive just that he didn’t “show proper respect.”

    Correct.

    And I don’t know of many commentators who do not allow that Peter would have allowed some forms of civil disobedience.

    I distinguish between cultic disobedience and civil. Whatever some commentators might say, I simply don’t see much room, if any, in the NT for the latter. I see plenty for the former, as in Acts 5:29. Typically, the “we must obey God rather than men” verse is employed to prop up the alleged virtues of civil disobedience. But when 29 is read in context (esp. verse 30), it seems pretty clear that this is cultic disobedience. Fear God, honor the king.

  27. Paul says:

    Zrim,

    But your protests against *my* sense of civility sound like *my* kids’. So, nee ner nee ner. :-)

    I distinguish same as you. But I rather doubt Wilson was beig civically disobedient. Indeed, that’s what’s in question!

    I don’t see how your view works out. If I vote against who is in power am I being unsubmissive and disobedient? Do I need to agree with the policies of each and every president? I just wonder how we got to “be unsubmissive to the American experiemt” from “be submissive to the all authorities”.

    But I’ll just leave it at that,

    Paul

    P.S. And it is *most* (not “some”) commentators. :-)

    P.P.S Since it says respect *everyone*, I guess you’d say that it is disrespectful for *anyone* to say of someone, say, Mr. Smith: “The life of Mr. Smith, lived very much in public view, was a life that was badly lived,” is “disrespectful. I dunno. Seems a bit radical. In fact, if *that’s disrepsectful, how is *this* not:

    “Long, brief, ham-fistedly uncouth or silver-tongued, relevant-Christianity-with-a-conservative-bent blogdom is filled with postings like Wilson’s.”

    Thus given the more pedantic exegesis, you may have wound up hoisting yourself by your own petard!

    Okay, I’m done. It’s your place and you can have the last word.

  28. Paul says:

    edit: just switch disrespectfull for unsubmissive in my post.

    Saw that you said you were only talking about “respect.”

    So, this paragrapsh:

    “I don’t see how your view works out. If I vote against who is in power am I being unsubmissive and disobedient? Do I need to agree with the policies of each and every president? I just wonder how we got to “be unsubmissive to the American experiemt” from “be submissive to the all authorities”.

    Should be different in-light of what you said. But the point is still the same. Since it is *everyone* Peter says to show respect to then statements like this:

    “It is quite beyond me how those who utter such obnoxious things seem to be so absent any sense of shame. And while I am not particularly given to it as a general rule, I do wonder where the moral outrage might be when professing Christians mutter such dishonorable tripe.

    Could be read as disrespectful.

    Sorry, now I’m done. Just had to correct my post.

  29. Zrim says:

    Paul,

    …statements like this:

    “It is quite beyond me how those who utter such obnoxious things seem to be so absent any sense of shame. And while I am not particularly given to it as a general rule, I do wonder where the moral outrage might be when professing Christians mutter such dishonorable tripe.”

    Could be read as disrespectful.

    Yes, they could. But they could also be read as being unapologetically forthright about what is right, true and good, despite however much they might smart. That was my original point to you about having ethics contra the theonomic saw of being some derivation of antinomian. After all, if John Piper can publically chide the President for his abortion policies (an issue no where clearly revealed in Scripture), why can’t I chide Wilson for dishonoring a magistrate (which is)?

    And voting against someone isn’t being subversive. It’s a version of civil disagreement (versus civil disobedience). Heck, I still view my 2004 presidential vote as “against Dubya” much more than it was “for X” (sorry, as a private citizen I don’t reveal my public voting record).

  30. Renee says:

    Hi Bruce,

    “Did I miss a memo that the Vatican has called off purgatory? He’s not gettin’ out till he has repaid every last farthing.”

    You missed a memo but not the one you think. Purgatory still exists. Except it is NOT a place, it is a STATE of being. There is no human time frame for a STATE OF BEING, but there is a God time line and it is up to God who enters that state and who does not and how long that state exists.

    I am kinda worn at the moment of apologetics so forgive me if I do not elaborate any further. Everything on Catholicism can be searched and found on the net if one is interested.

    But…. since this seems to be a place were humor is incorporated with doctrines, I can not help sharing this clip on witnessing the concept of Election to others. :)

    Zrim,

    Thanks for the conversations, I have to admit it was never my intention to “fish” as you would say any converts here or anywhere else for that matter. I sincerely thought the Reformed had the best intellectual arguments against Catholicism when compared to other Protestants. It was through these arguments of the Reform that I would research the Catholic positions and in the process further educate myself on Catholicism and the Reformation in regards to subjects, doctrines and history which I may not have otherwise not investigated on my own.

    You have always been honest, fair and stated your beliefs and opinions without using the “Catholics are Evil stay away”rhetoric , medieval accusations or the need to attack in order to defend your position. You simply state your position and that is that. It is okay to disagree to disagree. I like that way best.

    Out of all the reformed folks I have encountered in the great cyberspace you were and are the most charitable and confident in your stance and positions. I respect that and I respect you.

    Peace to you….

  31. Zrim says:

    Renee,

    I appreciate your kind words. Here’s to taking our beliefs more seriously than ourselves.

    The Outhouse is always open.

  32. Ron Smith says:

    Great post…. by Wilson. I read it “as being unapologetically forthright about what is right, true and good, despite however much they might smart.” :)

    Should we censor scripture when we come to parts that are “disrespectful” of political figures? You know Pharisees were political figures, right (whether they ought to have postured themselves as such is irrelevant to the argument)? Would you pit the exhortation of St. Peter against the actions of the Lord Jesus?

  33. Zrim says:

    Would you pit the exhortation of St. Peter against the actions of the Lord Jesus?

    No, I’d try to see how they harmonize. On theonomy, Jesus should’ve put Pilate in his place instead of suffering under him. But what does Scripture say? He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. His cultic disobedience was to confess that it was as Pilate said, that he was the King of the Jews, not tell Pilate his life was lived very much in public view and was a life that was badly lived. The former language saved us, the latter would just have ticked Pilate off.

  34. Ron Smith says:

    Nice red herring.

    We know why humbled Himself under Pilate, but why didn’t Jesus humble himself under the Pharisees? Look at Paul. Paul, just like Jesus, was being falsely accused by the Jews. Under the non-theonomic view, Paul should have just humbled himself under King Festus like Christ did Pilate rather than appealing to Caesar.

    If the kings are bad, the Bible says they are bad. If they are good, the Bible says they are good. Should we a different standard of political speech?

  35. RubeRad says:

    I sincerely thought the Reformed had the best intellectual arguments against Catholicism when compared to other Protestants.

    The First, and still the Best…

  36. RubeRad says:

    why didn’t Jesus humble himself under the Pharisees?

    Because he had authority over them.

    If the kings are bad, the Bible says they are bad. If they are good, the Bible says they are good.

    I don’t see anything about bad or good in Rom 13 or 1 Pet 2. And I wonder what “lie” Ahab the son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah were prophesying to Israel? Could they have been preaching insurrection against Nebuchadnezzar?

  37. Ron Smith says:

    First, non sequitur. Jesus had authority over Pilate too, and yet He submitted to him. Thus, Jesus’ authority over the Pharisees did not on its own necessitate resistance. Jesus’ submission to Pilate was suggested as a paradigm for all Christian interaction with the State, while Jesus’ interaction (as well as Paul’s) with other authorities was ignored. You still haven’t accounted for Paul’s “rebellious” appeal to Caesar.

    Second, Rom 13 and 1 Pet 2 aren’t all the Bible says about kings. But, it doesn’t matter, since Romans 13 certainly does speak of good and evil:

    Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
    4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

    You can see here that Paul presupposes the lawfulness of the civil magistrate. The WCF confirms this when it cites Romans 13:6 to support that “It is the duty of people to … obey [magistrates]‘ lawful commands…” (23.4) Thus, submission to the magistrate, according to the scriptures and the confession, is contingent upon the lawfulness of his commands.

    The *Unlawfulness* of lying or remaining silent RE: Ted Kennedy.

    Back to the original post of Wilson’s:

    When it comes to speaking beside an open grave, or speaking about those who have departed this life, the pressure to be disingenuous is enormous.

    It is not lawful for us to be disingenuous, nor is it lawful for us to be passive with regard to wickedness (“where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded” WLC 99). Ted Kennedy was a wicked man. It is neither lawful to lie and say he was a great man, nor is it lawful to remain quiet about his wickedness and not speak out against it.

    The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are… concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others… WLC 145

    So from the perspective of the WCF, Wilson’s post concerning Ted Kennedy did no violence to the requirement of civil submission found in Romans 13, and was actually obedience to the 9th commandment.

  38. Zrim says:

    So from the perspective of the WCF, Wilson’s post concerning Ted Kennedy did no violence to the requirement of civil submission found in Romans 13, and was actually obedience to the 9th commandment.

    The point of my post, as was fleshed out with (commenter) Paul, was not that Wilson was guilty of insubordination, rather guilty of showing disrespect and dishonor in light of imperatives to show respect to everyone and honor the magistrate. These latter things incite insurrection, at which point the imperatives like those in Romans 13 to submit become specially relevant.

    Disrespect isn’t insubordination, just like influencing isn’t making. Oops, there I go again making distinctions between things.

  39. Ron Smith says:

    Zrim, you need to make up your mind where you want the argument to go. If it wasn’t about submission, then why bring Jesus’ submission to Pilate into the argument?

    Anyway, your accusation of disrespect still doesn’t stand up against the requirements of the ninth commandment. Should Paul have just respected the authority of the Jewish leaders accusing him falsely and the authority of Festus rather than pointing out the those Jews were lying and demanding an appeal to Caesar? He called the Jewish leaders “liars”. How disrespectful…

    I suggest taking another look at WLC 144-5. The 9th commandment demands some contradictory things if one attempts to apply all of it to every person in every situation (eg 1. preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and 2. the good name of our neighbor. Sometimes the truth isn’t good.)

  40. Zrim says:

    Ron,

    This sure is a lot of straining and toiling to not have to make the very simple admission that 1) Wilson’s words are appalling to general civility and biblical imperatives and 2) it’s a convoluted way to make a political statement. You guys don’t like the current abortion policies. We get it, turn the page already; and pull up your socks, tuck in that shirt and wipe your mouth while you’re at it.

  41. Ron Smith says:

    Translation: “I have no logical reply to your argument.” I wish I would have known that this was the standard of discussion here. I could have saved some time. I could have simply said:

    Zrim,

    This sure is a lot of straining and toiling to not have to make the very simple admission that 1) you generally dislike Wilson and thus find pretty much anything he says appalling and 2) Killing babies doesn’t bother you too much. 50 million dead and you say, “Turn the page?” Wow…

  42. Renee says:

    Guys,

    In my opinion in regards to the original post, if St. Peter (a Catholic in my world) would say that statement to Ted Kennedy (a Catholic), Ted would have to examine his (Catholic) conscience, and most definitely his position on Abortion, that is if Ted had a properly informed (Catholic) conscience, in which case this statement below could not be ignored.

    “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil”

    Did Ted have a responsibility to form everyone’s consciences into Catholic consciences, No. But he did have a responsibility as a Catholic to act and make decisions which would effect others (society)precisely because of our responsibly to follow Peters instructions above, in accord with his Catholic conscience .

    Did Ted live his life badly? Who is to judge and one what grounds?

    Did Ted live his life badly as a Christian? Depends on who you ask.

    Did Ted live his life badly as a Catholic? In regards to Abortion, yes. In regards to everything else, not so sure.

    This is where God comes in.

  43. Zrim says:

    Renee,

    I’ll by-pass the first half (and last part) of your last response, skip to the more conservative posture on whether anyone outside a man’s immediate perimeter has even the remotest right to speak on the moral quality his life and say I’ll settle for that for now.

    Look at that, I got more love from my Catholic readers than my Protestant ones.

  44. Renee says:

    Zrim,

    That is weird is isn’t it…. seriously though, I have been doing some thinking lately regarding the up roar old Ted is causing in the Catholic world lately and the secular world also because of his religious beliefs conflicting with his political beliefs in many ways.

    A few weeks back at Mass, my Pastor during a homily made this statement.

    “We do not form our morals or determine the sinfulness of something based upon how many people approve of it, or how many people practice it.”

    Since I personally do not have the knowledge of what motivates an individuals actions, thoughts or beliefs, I personally can not pronounce culpability of sin on them. But….and the reason I specifically referenced Catholicism above is that as Catholics, we do have a list of mortal sins and our taught our culpability if we partake of them. Basically if we profess to be Catholics, then we must take personal responsibility for disobeying Church teachings and authority and this would include Catholic politicians taking personal responsibility for acting against Church teachings but for those who are not Catholic they determine these things for themselves based upon their own personal religious beliefs.

  45. John Yeazel says:

    Nobody mentioned anything about Renee’s Calvinist witnessing video. Even though it revealed a rather shallow understanding of the reformed faith it still was kind of humorous. We are supposed to be able to laugh at ourselves- right? I did not quite get the hand and arm waving when he mentioned monergism though. What was that all about? I guess that is the directors way of showing how he thinks a Calvinist shows his emotion.

  46. Zrim says:

    Renee,

    I have miles more respect for the Catholic culture of life than the Protestant pro-lifery. But I still have even more Calvinist skepticism for the assumptions (ahem) of both worldviews.

    The Lion of Massachusetts may not have been a consistent Catholic, but, as you know, my Protestantism has a fundamental beef with the standard anyway. And I would hope good Catholics would be able to understand that being a bad Catholic is not the same as being a bad person.

  47. John Yeazel says:

    Thinking about that video more it was probably done by a revivalistic Arminian who has caricatured Calvinists as book smart nerdy types who have no emotional responses to anything. That is quite the opposite of the truth. It is more a caricature of a hyper-Calvinist than those minus the hyper. I mean check out the photo of Zrim- he looks like a bearded existentialist sitting in a cafe in Paris. He could be having a conversation with John Paul Sarte or Martin Heidegger about the philosophical problems of ontology. Luther and Calvin both were extremely passionate about their faith and the caricutures by evangelics are often miscontrued. They sought to keep their emotions in check by the power of the Holy Spirit but they did have very emotional responses in a lot of their writings (especially Luther).

  48. John Yeazel says:

    I mean the Catholics caricatured Luther with the following image right after they excommunicated him- “a wild boar has been loosed on the church”

  49. John Yeazel says:

    “A wild boar has been loosed on the church.” That image of Luther has been carried on throughout the generations. I wonder how accurate it is since one of the ongoing debates about Luther is whether he was a reluctant reformer or radical revolutionary that caused havoc during the middle ages? Who was the first to utter that phrase and was it calculated by the Catholic leadership to discredit Luther and the movement he started?

    I know both Luther and Calvin stated that they both were drunk on the Pope’s authority and would not allow themselves to think of speaking against the pope’s authority before their gradual conversions to a more “reformational” faith. Anyone well versed in reformational history want to pipe in here?

  50. Renee says:

    “Often reaching 300 pounds with tusks up to 12 inches long, boars have a fierce disposition, a long mobile snout, a heavy, relatively short-legged body, a thick bristly hide, and a small tail. “

    http://www.chow.com/ingredients/173

    Maybe Luther was a short obese man with a bad attitude, because he had dreadlocks, a big nose , no butt and needed braces.

    That’s my guess. :)

  51. John Yeazel says:

    Renee,

    Your committing an ad hominem fallacy in your remark. I was just trying to get feedback on what actually happened between Luther and the Catholic brass back then. It had huge ramifications for what happened in the historical Church and who has a legitimate argument to actually call themselves the true Catholic church and faith. The argument has never been settled and more heat than light has been the result. In fact, a lot of bloodshed has occured over the years. It certainly is something we all should be struggling with in our consciences and trying to determine who is telling the truth.

  52. Renee says:

    John,

    I apologize to you and others for not taking your previous remark seriously. I thought that most here were comfortable in their shoes so to speak and really not interested in debating Catholicism vs Protestants or Church history.

    I will refrain from commenting on posts where as determining who is telling the “truth” is the subject, since for me I believe I have found that “truth” in the Catholic Church. I do agree with you it is very important and there are those who are struggling to find the “truth” and I am sorry if I appeared to mock an important aspect of their quest.

    I personally find the articles written and posted here interesting as they relate to society and beliefs and I also find the various opinions on these subjects interesting, not in a condescending way but in a intellectual way . I am just one of those people who prefer to actually learn the other side on my own, rather then just take someone’s word about it. I have been accused of not being able to step out of my box on occassion, but actually I have always been the type of person to do just that. I enjoy learning how other’s Faith’s influence and are incorporated into their lives, or not.

    I have nothing against Luther. I know that the Church was in need of reform in his day. I do not agree with everything that he deemed corrupt and neither does my Church, but I and my Church do acknowledge some human wrongs (sins, if you will) that needed to be righted. I just think reform should come from within the Church as it eventually did and schism along with heresy was not the answer, but just another blemish in the history of Christ’s Church for non-believers.

  53. John Yeazel says:

    Renee,

    I was not sure of your state of mind when making that remark so I chose to answer it that way. I was not offended in the least. It is a good thing that you can laugh about it and not take yourself seriously. It is rare to get a thoughtful and humorous Catholic point of view on these confessional websites so I hope you continue to tune in. There are many things we all can learn from the Catholic Church- among them their keeping their theology and politics separate. They have a much better history of this in the USA than us Protestants. A lot of discussion on this website has to do with Two-kingdom theology and the separation of church and state. Catholics are always good at cultural commentary also. I have drawn and learned from many Catholic commentators.

  54. John Yeazel says:

    Renee,

    One more comment. You probably would enjoy reading D.G. Hart. Many on this website draw a lot from him. May I suggest A Secular Faith and The Lost Soul of American Protestantism. Us confessionalists, on many issues, have more in common with Catholics then we do with mainstream evangelicals. You have probably figured that out by now.

  55. Wayne says:

    Interesting you mention that as I am a Member of Pastor Todd’s congregation who comments here every so often. And my Uncle who is staunchly Roman Catholic and attends seminars each year at Steubenville and who has always sought to persuade me to return to the Church is temporarily assigned in NE Arizona as a PA and has attended our OPC church twice. He has said to me on more than one occasion that he has much more in common with me than he does with many Roman Catholics he associates with at some of the Parishes.

    Of course upon departing he had to hand me a copy of the “Catechism of The Catholic Church” to read over in my spare time. I said thanks and assured him that I’ll be obtaining a copy of Calvin’s “Institutes of the Christian Religion” for his perusal soon. I’ve already given him a copy of the WCF.

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