More from Myers

Although generally I consider business travel to be a necessary evil, one benefit is time to read. On the plane, I was finally able to digest Ken Myer’s more-than-just-an-article (51 pp!), “Christianity, Culture, and Common Grace,” which I had been wanting to read ever since Zrim dropped some awesome quotes on us. I have to admit, Z did a good job picking out the best of the best, but I was inspired to offer you some more choice tidbits (the second best of the best?):

Offering a fascinating contrast between opposing prophetic texts Isaiah 2 (“beat swords into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks”) and Joel 3 (“beat plowshares into swords, and pruning hooks into spears”), Myers concludes that using scripture to justify policy is a two-edged plowshare:

If it is legitimate for the American Friends Service Committee or Physicians for Social Responsibility to cite Isaiah 2 for its cause, then it is legitimate for Ollie North or the Defense Department to cite Joel 3 for its cause. Both applications of the text are equally bad.

Citing Isaiah 2 to advise American foreign policy is just as problematic as citing the book of Leviticus to guide American domestic policy, as the Reconstructionists do. Both sides eliminate the context of the Scriptures in an attempt to have a Christian perspective on a cultural matter.

Some of my favorite quotes were very short, such as “Meredith Kline observes,” “Kline writes elsewhere,” “As Kline puts it,” “Kline notes,” etc., etc. You can tell that Myers is a big fan of Kingdom Prologue. One detail of KP that Myers endorses, is the concept that the “cultural mandate” changed in nature due to the Fall:

For man as originally created, there was no separation between his culture and his loving worship of his Lord. Culture and religious duty were one. All cultural activity was self-consciously pursued as an act of loving obedience. Not only the internal attitude of man in these activities, but the invention of the very cultural structures themselves was bound to be a deliberate act of service to the Creator. Just as God’s will and creative word called real planets and trees and birds and fish into being, so man’s will and intellect would effect the establishment of real art and science and agriculture and social structures. This was the sort of wholism and unity many of us long for: no shadow between culture and devotion.

But then the Fall occurred.

…With the fall and the curse, culture no longer had the holy quality it had in the garden. … It is most certainly not the mandate for all humanity to be struggling to build a holy community or commonwealth. Not even the people of God in our epoch of redemptive history are called to create a holy culture. The gospel is no longer bound to a particular culture or to a geopolitical institution.

There’s much, much more; I think I’ll continue this as a series with one or two more posts. In the meantime, just in case you’re confused about Myers’ position on Christian Reconstructionism, I’ll leave you with this:

As you should have guessed by now, I am in extreme disagreement, for biblical reasons, with those who believe there are biblical blueprints for everything from monetary standards to foreign policy to welfare reform to music.

Continue on to part 2…

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to More from Myers

  1. kazooless says:

    am in extreme disagreement, for biblical reasons, with those who believe there are biblical blueprints for everything from monetary standards to foreign policy to welfare reform to music.

    Funny, I can totally confirm for Rube that Myers is rejecting true reformed teaching commonly referred to as “Christian Reconstructionism,” just by his use of the term: “Biblical Blueprints.” I have a ten book ‘set’ by I.C.E. called the “Biblical
    Blueprints Series,” that is now downloadable for free at the following link. Take a look and you’ll see the under the column “Subject/Series” what I am referring to.

    http://www.entrewave.com/freebooks/sidefrm2.htm

    Kazoo

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Funny, I can totally confirm for Rube that Myers is rejecting true reformed teaching”

    Yawn. There’s an old story of a boy who cried wolf…………………………………………………….

  3. sean says:

    Anonymous would be me

  4. RubeRad says:

    Sean: again, I don’t get the joke.

    K: I don’t know if “funny” is the right word. For someone as unbelievably knowledgeable and thoughtful as Myers, I think the best course of action is to always assume that he knows exactly what he is talking about; or at least that he knows what he is talking about better than you (or I) do.

  5. Greg says:

    Years ago I came upon Gary North & Co. while not Reformed in my theology. In fact, having been raised in fundamentalist, conservative, Bible believing, preach-the-law-every-Sunday churches (in retrospect), I can say that I still knew little (true/accurate) theology. However, having witnessed the rise of the Moral Majority and having applauded its efforts to restore America to its Christian heritage, and after having heard the law preached for thirty-some years (I sure wished that “he/she/they” would have taken that message on pride/anger/unrepentance/etc. to heart”), when I encountered the writings (at times rants) of North et al, I was open to their teachings and was excited by their efforts.

    As time passed, the excitement waned and eventually my dedication to “the cause” gave way to the responsibilities of being a husband and father. While my children were infants I began to experience chronic, and now even life-long health problems. What motivation was there for me to stay in the movement? Perhaps to preserve/restore the freedoms I’ve enjoyed in this country so that my children and grandchildren could someday enjoy them? While noble, why does it necessitate being Christian? (Perhaps I subconsciously thought I was getting enough law at church on Sunday.)

    But then for sake of argument, what if we could accomplish all the high and mighty ideals of putting an end to the “worst of sin” in America or even the world, e.g., homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, pornography, murder, prostitution, sales and use of illegal drugs, unjust war, hate, intolerance, pride, cursing, etc.? What if every one was in church every Sunday to hear of our responsibilities to our God and culture under the law? This would certainly appeal to many within Evangelicalism. Wouldn’t it be great?

    No.

    NO! It would not be Christianity. Under this scenario the cure is worse than the disease; the church is left polluted and Christless. Or would we then, after we’d won, preach nothing but Christ and him crucified? (Years ago, I’d watch DJ Kennedy. Many years later I learned the truth of the Gospel and found (much to my surprise) via a certain Amazing Grace DVD that he too embraced the Gospel. Of the many times I’d seen him on TV I recall that he most commonly tacked on the Gospel as an appendage at the end of his message. Despite his knowledge and acceptance of the creeds and confessions, Christ and him crucified was not at the center; redeeming the culture was the focus.)

    What stands out in my mind the most about all those books and articles I read from Gary North & Co. was the absence of a Christ-centered, cross-centered theology. I had shelves of Reconstructionalism dogma I’d read, but none ever FOCUSED on God’s redemptive work. There was no salvation by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. It left me still living under the false premise that “I was saved” because of a decision I had made, despite all that I was reading from those claiming to be Reformed.

    The teaching that we love God and neighbor out of gratitude and thanksgiving would have been received (by me) with “huh?” because there was no true law slaying me and laying me naked and exposed before a righteous and holy God who was ready to execute judgment on a hopelessly guilty sinner. There was no transcendent God who condescended to save a wretched man who hated God, was an enemy of God, who was even dead in his trespasses and sins. There was no sovereign Lord and Savior who knew me before the foundation of the world; no God who chose me in Christ despite who I was in Adam and what I would do (evil) in this life. There was no thrilling and uncontainable doxology of praise following the understanding of the greatness of God’s salvation which lead to offer, “Please, please, please grant me the privilege of being used for your glory, Lord” in response. There was plenty of cold hard law with which to redeem my culture, but no Good News with which I could escape the bad.

    After all, once we were saved, wasn’t the law all we had and all we needed? We certainly acted as though it were true. All the law we needed to sanctify ourselves and save the culture. (ALN: the All Law Network. All the law. All the time.) But then, didn’t we learn that the law couldn’t justify us? That it can’t sanctify us? But somehow, some way, we believe that the law can change– even will change the world. What the law was powerless to do for us, it can do for the world? Do we think: “Apparently, having been born with knowledge of law and having persisted in being sinful, the world just needs more law; a larger and more concentrated dose; perhaps, if I may be so bold in the Outhouse, a law enema that would clean out all the sin from the bowels of the world.”

    How then, can Christian Reconstuctionalism while claiming to be Reformed in its doctrine offer so much that detracts, distracts, diminishes, ignores or just assumes Christ, and him crucified? Please don’t show us your doctrinal statements, creeds and confessions that seem to be buried beneath your ICE books and say, “See! We believe this, too!” If you chose to persist in CR, at least move Christ and him crucified to the top of the stack so that those who were like I was might see the Light. (Now, more than ever, we all need to take Mike Horton’s “Christless Christianity” to heart (and mind, of course).)

    (While I by no means would diminish the importance or validity of other arguments against CR, is not its treatment of the Gospel that which is most glaring?)

  6. Zrim says:

    Rube,

    I think Sean means that Kazoo keeps trying to tell us there is a danger in our W2K midst and that he can easily prove it; and when we come to see what all the fuss is, well, Greg pipes up.

    Greg,

    Word.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Rube,

    You’re not alone. I’m just not very witty. I’m just trying to work with what little I’ve been given.

    Sean

  8. sean says:

    See. I can’t even remember to log in.

  9. mboss says:

    I have only a superficial knowledge of “CR.” Does this camp include Rushdoony and Doug Phillips?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Greg,

    Very well done. I’ve always contended that theonomist’s never would land where Paul lands had Christ not risen from the dead. We would still find the theonomist arguing for the continuing normative validity of mosaic law, sans any NT abrogation or altering because, well, this is the eternal moral will of God. Funny how Paul doesn’t give that sort of reverance to the ethical application of the law, regardless of it’s “eternal” grounding, nah, he just says if the dead (namely Christ) do not rise from the dead than let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die. Paul’s fallback position isn’t; “we still have Moses” It is instead; “why bother, pass the bottle.”

    This is just part of the reason Kline’s overarching analysis was; “It’s a misreading of the scriptures on a massive scale.”

    Sean

  11. sean says:

    Can I just go ahead and change my name to anonymous?

  12. Greg says:

    Wait! I’ve had a change of heart. Let’s give Christian Reconstructionalism a chance. As representative democracy was called the Great American Experiment, this might be called the Great Reconstuctionalism Experiment. As an experiment, I would seriously encourage those who whole-heartedly support this most worthy project to petition our government for the opportunity to institute the experimental implementation of, enforcement of, and punishment of offenders of Christian Law –within the congregation of their local reconstructionalist churches, of course.

    Would this not be the penultimate opportunity to not only show the great benefits of implementing strict Christian Law, but to also be a shining example to the world?

    Perhaps the laws could be implemented in phases…

    THE EXPERIMENT:

    1st Reconstructionalist Reformed Church, Rev. M. Oses: (To his congregation) “It’s brief; only two laws, but shall we proceed with Phase I anyway?”

    Congregation: (in unison) “All these things we will do!”

    Phase I:

    Ex 21:15
    Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.

    Ex 21:17
    Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.

    …later that year, Judge “Calvin” N. Hobbes in Christian Law court:

    (Shaking his head) “Liz and Jordan, you’re the last two children in our church, and now you’ve gone and violated the second law! How many times do you two have to hear the law and feel its threats before you start doing it as required every time? We’ve gone to a great bother, so that we could have a better Christ honoring society. That’s a fine bit of thanks you show for us teaching you God’s holy law! How do you think this makes your church look?

    Liz and Jordan: (weakly) “Smaller?”

    Judge Hobbes:

    (A brief glare at the guilty pair before turning his gaze to their parents) “You must understand Mr. and Mrs. South that it’s not the hearers of the law that live; it’s the doers. Take the guilty prisoners out back to the rock pile for execution of sentence! Oh, and don’t go anywhere Mr. and Mrs. Smith. There’s a little matter I’d like to discuss with you concerning what you said last night at that restaurant concerning your parents’ “interest and involvement” in your personal affairs!

    (Later) “Thanks to our wonderful technological age we’ve been able to perfectly monitor everyone’s deeds and words in this church. I’ve also noted that over time it’s taken much less man power to monitor enforcement. Is there anyone left in this church so we can implement Phase II?”

    Judge “Calvin” N. Hobbes interpretation of the law:

    “God commands all those to be exterminated who have laid violent hands on their parents or addressed them in abusive language. For to smite does not only mean to kill, but refers to any violence, although no wound may have been inflicted. If, then, any one had struck his father or mother with his fist, or with a stick, the punishment of such an act of madness was the same as for murder. And, assuredly, it is an abominable and monstrous thing for a son not to hesitate to assault those from whom he has received his life; nor can it be but that impunity accorded to so foul a crime must straightway produce cruel barbarism.

    “The second law avenges not only violence done to parents, but also, abusive words, which soon proceed to grosser insults and atrocious contempt. Still, if any one should have lightly let drop some slight reproach, as is often the case ill a quarrel, this severe punishment was not to be inflicted upon such, all inconsiderate piece of impertinence: and the [Hebrew] word kalal, from which the participle used by Moses is derived, not only means to reproach, but also to curse, as well as to esteem lightly, and to despise. Whilst, therefore, not every insult, whereby the reverence due to parents was violated, received the punishment of death, still God would have that impious pride, which would subvert the first principles of nature, held in abhorrence. But, inasmuch as it might seem hard that a word, however unworthy of a dutiful son, should be the cause of death; this objection is met, by what is added by God in Leviticus, “his blood shall be upon him, because he hath cursed his father or mother:” as if He would put a stop to what men might otherwise presume to allege in mitigation of the severity of the punishment.”

  13. kazooless says:

    Now wait a minute! 🙂

    I can totally confirm for Rube that Myers is rejecting true reformed teaching commonly referred to as “Christian Reconstructionism,

    I am quite familiar with the humor here, the satire and sarcasm, the “jibs and jabs” as zrim put it. The only thing you pulled out of my statement was *my* attempt at humor. I was just elbowing all of you who obviously disagree with me. Gee Whizz.

    Anyway, the real point of what I wrote was to support my good friend Rube and confirm that what he says of Myers is true. I confirmed it by my word and the supported that with a link to show you exactly what Myers must have been referring to. *That* was the real point, and positive one at that on behalf of Rube.

    Sometimes I get the feeling that Sean and Zrim would be offended at what I say, even if I said “Sean and Zrim, I love your writing and think you guys are great!”

    Just keeping it light fellas. Keep the smile on. 🙂

    kazoo

  14. kazooless says:

    Oops, that blockquote was supposed to end at the first paragraph. At least I remembered to log in.

    k

  15. RubeRad says:

    Exactamundo. Jibs & Jabs aplenty. That’s how I originally interpreted K’s comment; as a playful admission that the Myers quotes are actually a “strike” against his camp.

    Maybe that’s because I know him better, and can hear his actual voice when I read bare ASCII.

  16. kazooless says:

    Hey, that gives me an idea. Let’s setup a teleconference or a video chat conference between those of us that are common so we can have some fun and hear each others voices and attitudes, etc. 🙂

    k

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s