Why The Church Should Be More Like South Park

From yesterday’s Fresh Air,

GROSS: … Now, people are always confused about whether you’re liberal or conservative, since you mock all political sides.

PARKER: Yeah, we’re confused, too.

STONE: We’re working out our confusion on the air.

PARKER: We’re really jealous of all these people that have it really – seem to have figured it out because we’re pretty confused.

STONE: Yeah.

GROSS: Seriously, are you political?

PARKER: Well, we talk about it. I mean, it’s interesting, and it becomes we’re, you know, adults that live in the world. But I don’t think we’re not very overtly – we’re not really overtly political.

STONE: Like, I guess our political attitude is “South Park” is bigger than both the Republicans and the Democrats. And, of course, that’s a ridiculous statement to everyone in the world but me and Trey, it’s just, it’s more like our show is more important than and we would hate the show to feel like, oh, this is where we put our politics in because we want this side to win.

You know, we like working out our stuff on you know, in the show, and we like talking about those issues and talking about the emotions behind the issues, especially, because that’s where a lot of the fodder comes from, but we would never want people to think that this show is a Democrat show or a Republican show and vote this way because of this. That’s just, like, it feels dishonest to the show, you know.

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63 Responses to Why The Church Should Be More Like South Park

  1. RubeRad says:

    So if South Park can be “bigger than both the Republicans and the Democrats,” and understand what it means to remain honest to the mission of their cartoon, why is it so hard for the church?

    (Nobody ever criticized South Park for being irrelevant…)

  2. Zrim says:

    2K: Kyle and Kenny.

    SOTC: the spirituality of the cartoon (or the Cartman?).

  3. RubeRad says:

    Nice. I like that SP2K!

  4. Paul says:

    why critique just to critique? what if one side is right about something? watching cartoons can be fun ‘n all, but I heard it affects critical thinking abilities.

  5. Todd says:

    I’m just glad our public officials haven’t bought into the R2K virus and are attempting to apply the Bible to public policy, as in:

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/nancy-pelosi-says-the-word-guides-her-politics-95328969.html

  6. RubeRad says:

    It’s a classic lesser-to-greater argument — if an “institution” as banal ass South Park [I’ll leave that providental typo ass is…] can understand this principle, why not the church, which (should be) so much higher?

  7. RubeRad says:

    That’s funny! Is it possible for language to say any less than that, especially when the topic is “Word”?

  8. renee says:

    OMG!!!!

    She is a goof.

  9. Paul says:

    if the church is busy critiquing dems and repubs, how are they preaching the gospel and serving the weary saints? it’s a case of logical conjunction. if a pastor shouldn’t stand up and critique the dem party on sundy, and if he shouldn’t stand up and critique the repub party, then he shouldn’t critique the dem and repub parties. south park didn’t get it right, they just smashed together two things 2kers says they don’t like. but, ass you say, it’s just a cartoon. 🙂

  10. Paul says:

    i meant to put an “n’t” at the end of two of those “shoulds” there.

  11. Zrim says:

    if a pastor should stand up and critique the dem party on sundy, and if he shouldn’t stand up and critique the repub party, then he should critique the dem and repub parties.

    Paul,

    Instead of giving equal opportunity critiques, I think 2K wants to say he should be giving consistent silence. I know, that sounds “retreatist,” etc. But think about it. Not only does your logic assume the notion that there are only two political points of view(!), if it were it more honest, it would demand a critique of all the other political points of view. When does it end?

    I know you haven’t much use for it, but whatever else the spirituality of the church protects, it keeps extraordinary/ordained members from having to do anything other than their appointed tasks. And aren’t their hands already plenty full with that without having to keep score on whose favorite politico got it in the neck last week?

  12. RubeRad says:

    Paul, I added “n’t”s where I think you intended; let me know if I missed. This change might make Z’s response moot.

    But I think part of the point is, South Park is not interested in taking sides (aligning or critiquing Repub/Dem), but they are interested in addressing issues. In fact, I think what Parker/Stone are saying (and what SP is doing) is merely raising questions about issues, without attempting to provide answers.

    In a somewhat similar vein, the preaching of the gospel does involve declaration that sin is sin, so occasionally a pastor might have something to say about issues of the day. But it is not his job to come up with solutions, endorse solutions offered by political parties, tell politicians or governments what to do, tell the saints how to vote. Just as South Parks primary mission of humor limits its “engagement” with politics, even more so the Church’s primary mission of preaching the gospel.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “Instead of giving equal opportunity critiques, I think 2K wants to say he should be giving consistent silence.”

    Ummmm, that rather undercuts the cartoon, which was my point.

    “Not only does your logic assume the notion that there are only two political points of view(!), if it were it more honest, it would demand a critique of all the other political points of view.”

    Besides the fact that you loathe logic, I did not assume that there were only two points of view (you’re being a nast pedant, and if you checked my facebook intrest pasge, for example, you’d note I am aware of more than two political views; or, you can come over and see who’s library on political theology and philosophy is bigger :-), and I did not say that anyone should critique anyone. You’re doing that lazy thing again where you refuse to read and understand. Other than that, if you think “logic” warrants your inferences, lay out the derivation.

    “I know you haven’t much use for it, but whatever else the spirituality of the church protects”

    Is this that thing again? You know, where you try to move quickly to useing 2k buzz words so that you don’t have to be an intellectually honest interlocutor.

    Kids, here’s your brain . . .

    Here’s your brain on 2k . . .

    any questions 😉

    “And aren’t their hands already plenty full with that without having to keep score on whose favorite politico got it in the neck last week?”

    Ummmm, which contradicts the cartoon; which was, again, my point. Thanks. Feel free to make my arguments for me any time you wish.

    Rube,

    “But I think part of the point is, South Park is not interested in taking sides (aligning or critiquing Repub/Dem), but they are interested in addressing issues. In fact, I think what Parker/Stone are saying (and what SP is doing) is merely raising questions about issues, without attempting to provide answers.

    That’s positively stupid. Not only isn’t “addressing issues” equivalent to “merely raising questions about issues,” people who only ask questions and have nothing useful to say are lame. In fact, what if one side is CORRECT about something? This method would keep us from having as many true beliefs as possible, a desiderata of our noetic lives.

    “In a somewhat similar vein, the preaching of the gospel does involve declaration that sin is sin, so occasionally a pastor might have something to say about issues of the day.”

    That’s not retreatist enough, didn’t you read your co-blogger’s response?

    “But it is not his job to come up with solutions, endorse solutions offered by political parties, tell politicians or governments what to do, tell the saints how to vote. “

    Not according to Michael Horton, ahem.

    At any rate, this is just fantasy land. Isn’t murdering a baby a sin? Isn’t a solution that abortion should be illegal. Why do you want dumb pastors who can’t even make a common sense judgment like that??? I mean, even the Bible wasn’t this radical, read Revelation.

  14. Paul says:

    ^^ That was me 🙂

    Rube, did you notice the blunder? Pastors can call some political positions/ laws/ etc., sinful, but then they don’t say a word on whether to vote for it???

    Even 2k Jonathan Goundry doesn’t think this. Why are you guys so “radical?” Zrim was a pot smoker in high school, wasn’t he?

  15. RubeRad says:

    That’s not retreatist enough, didn’t you read your co-blogger’s response?

    Yeah, well he’s way out there at Z2K, I’m just at W2K

    people who only ask questions and have nothing useful to say are lame

    I try to make a habit of avoiding giving answers to questions that I’m not authorized to answer — does that make me lame?

    Isn’t murdering a baby a sin? Isn’t a solution that abortion should be illegal.

    Depends. If the law specifies that abortion is punishable by a fine of $500, then no, that would not be a solution (and would not yield any practical change from our current situation). Here’s another answer your question: yes, it’s a solution. Here’s another solution; the government pays a $1,000,000 bounty for every live birth. Here’s another solution: mandatory, reversible sterilization at puberty (every 12-year old girl gets an IUD?); anybody who wants a baby fills out a government application to temporarily refertilize. If something is a solution, does that mean a pastor is required to endorse it? Here’s another solution, actually offered by very many well-meaning people (no doubt some of whom are genuine Christians): free and easy access to condoms for everyone. Is it the pastor’s job to sort this all out, or can he just admonish his congregation (when the preaching of the sin & salvation happens to raise the issue of abortion or civic duty) “As full citizens of the Kingdom of Man, it is your duty to God to strive for justice”?

  16. RubeRad says:

    Rube, did you notice the blunder? Pastors can call some political positions/ laws/ etc., sinful, but then they don’t say a word on whether to vote for it???

    I didn’t say (or didn’t mean to say) pastors can/should call out political positions/laws/politicians as sinful; but they certainly can/should call out sins as sinful. And I’m not sure the pastor has too much business pointing the congregation to “those sins out there”. The most important thing, of course, is to point the congregation to their own sins, and God’s solution for it.

    As a case in point, in Nov 08, one of my elders in the prayer of the church called to repentance any who might have committed the “sin” of voting for Obama. I was horrified (and had a talk with him about it). Where does that fit in your framework?

    Zrim was a pot smoker in high school, wasn’t he?

    I’m sure I don’t know. But it looks like CA is about to legalize pot, in which case, who knows, I may become a pot smoker myself! (Would that be a sin? Would it be a sin for me to vote for such a law? Should my pastor preach for or against such a law?)

  17. Paul says:

    Rube,

    “I try to make a habit of avoiding giving answers to questions that I’m not authorized to answer — does that make me lame?”

    Apparently you’re authorized to give me answers on these issues, what stops you from giving answers on other issues? Also, you run H&S and almost everyone you get to debate isn’t authorized to answer; besides, now that I think about ti, what does it mean to be authorized to give an answer?

    “Depends. If the law specifies that abortion is punishable by a fine of $500, then no, that would not be a solution (and would not yield any practical change from our current situation).”

    I think you can think of appropriate qualifications to get around your pedantry. Besides that, that move would be better than legalizing murder.

    “Here’s another answer your question:”

    Well lookee who’s authorized to answer questions now 🙂

    Now, none of your solutions are acceptable, surely you can see this. I mean, people murder people, right? What if we leagalized murder? Shouldn’t a pastor call for it to be illegal? For it to carry a crime? I mean, what kind of natural law theorist are you??? Of course, no one is stupid enough to think that there is a solution that would permanently end all of this, I didn’t think you were being that thick-headed. The pastor should recommend that it be classifies as murder, no? Receive the same penalty, no? This seems like common sense, why do you want seminaries turning out mentally handicapped pastors?

    “I’m sure I don’t know. But it looks like CA is about to legalize pot, in which case, who knows, I may become a pot smoker myself! (Would that be a sin? Would it be a sin for me to vote for such a law? Should my pastor preach for or against such a law?)”

    Of course not.

    “I didn’t say (or didn’t mean to say) pastors can/should call out political positions/laws/politicians as sinful; but they certainly can/should call out sins as sinful. And I’m not sure the pastor has too much business pointing the congregation to “those sins out there”. The most important thing, of course, is to point the congregation to their own sins, and God’s solution for it.”

    So you’re more radical than Horton, I see.

    Why was the early church and the church fathers well known for pointing out that abortion was sinful?

    Anyway, what if a political law is sinful? Then can they call out sins as sinful? Horton said in CC that the church should have stood against slavery, even punishing slaveholders. Why do every-man minister bloggers think they know more than the experts in their field?

    “As a case in point, in Nov 08, one of my elders in the prayer of the church called to repentance any who might have committed the “sin” of voting for Obama. I was horrified (and had a talk with him about it). Where does that fit in your framework?”

    Hmmmm, tell me, Rube, did you rip out those parts in your Bible where political leaders of the day are referred to as anti-Christs as well as other political criticisms. Read your O’Donovan and your Baukham.

    At any rate, you keep refusing the deal with the tough questions: what if it *was* a sin to vote for Obama? Are you “authorized” enough to know that it wasn’t? What if you lived in Germany during Hitler’s time. What if you knew what he was doing and what his plans were? Would it be sinful to vote for him? Dude, are you sure you haven’t already started smoking the mota? 🙂

  18. Durell Flood says:

    Zrim.
    “Instead of giving equal opportunity critiques, I think 2K wants to say he should be giving consistent silence. ”

    -How about a minister attacking political hi-jacking of religion?

  19. Zrim says:

    Paul,

    As usual, I’m not able to make heads nor tails of what you’re driving at, except to say that you absolutely hate (what you think you understand about) 2K. My response to you, it seems, may have been based on you’re initially not using the right contractions or something. I may be a bad reader, but it sure would help this dunce if you’d take a breath and make an effort to write better.

    So let’s back up. I’m guessing, per Rube’s edit, you meant to say, “If a pastor shouldn’t stand up and critique the dem party on sundy, and if he shouldn’t stand up and critique the repub party, then he shouldn’t critique the dem and repub parties.” If that is correct, and if I understand its meaning, then fine.

    But, interestingly, you’ve also wandered into that oh-so-predictable arena known as the Third Reich (surrounded with more predictable talk about abortion and Obama). What is your implication here? Are you saying that being a member of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party was actually a sin? If so, don’t you think there is a difference between persecuting an ideology and discipling a Christian? What’s so sinful about being a member of a certain political party? Are you suggesting that, using our 20/20 hindsight, not to mention our superior 21st century American views, that maybe we go back across time and place and find some Christians who were members of the party and sort of retro-discipline them? If you’re really serious about saying political outlooks and practices are potentially sinful then I’d expect a rousing affirmation of this suggestion. If not, then I highly doubt just how serious you are and it’s a lot of bloviating about how stupid (what you think you understand about) 2K is.

    For my part, I think there is a significant difference between violating the moral law of God in one’s own person and having a political outlook that is disagreeable, even very disagreeable, to someone else. If you don’t understand that then it isn’t clear what keeps anyone from being politically tyrranized and ecclesiastically bullied the way Nancy Pelosi was by her church (and I say that as one with staunch anti-abortion views, which is different from pro-life views, mind you).

  20. Anonymous says:

    you’ve also wandered into that oh-so-predictable arena known as the Third Reich

    That’s a logical technique called reductio ad Nazium. (one of my favorite puns)

  21. Zrim says:

    Ah. Clever turn of phrase. But, from what I recall in high school debate it was considered lazy, second-rate debating to make the Third Reich appeal against one’s opponent. Which is what always happens in 2K discussions, or in pulpits on Sanctity of Life Sunday (as in, “choice politics is the same as being pro-slavery”).

  22. Paul says:

    Zrim, if you can understand Hart’s cumbersome and confusing writing style, then you can get mine.

    >>”except to say that you absolutely hate (what you think you understand about) 2K.”<<

    Actually, I don't. In fact, I agree with the basics. I comment on things that are not entailed by 2k.

    >>My response to you, it seems, may have been based on you’re initially not using the right contractions or something. <<

    Which were corrected before you responded. Note the caveat I posted immediately following my post.

    ..”So let’s back up. I’m guessing, per Rube’s edit, you meant to say, “If a pastor shouldn’t stand up and critique the dem party on sundy, and if he shouldn’t stand up and critique the repub party, then he shouldn’t critique the dem and repub parties.” If that is correct, and if I understand its meaning, then fine.”<>But, interestingly, you’ve also wandered into that oh-so-predictable arena known as the Third Reich (surrounded with more predictable talk about abortion and Obama). <<

    Oh yawn; another rabit trail. I take paradigm cases and test your beliefs against them. This is called particularism and is pretty much the accepted stance in epistemology, ethics, etc. Much better than Methodism, which suffers from serious problems. All you can do is deflect arguments and try to change the discussion to areas you find familiar and comfortable.

    >>What is your implication here? Are you saying that being a member of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party was actually a sin?<<

    Please include everything I said, Steve-o. Yes, that would be sin. Hey, I'm with Michael Horton here and his comments about slavery. So, as I said, it must not be that your particular spin here is an entailment of 2k theory.

    >>If you’re really serious about saying political outlooks and practices are potentially sinful then I’d expect a rousing affirmation of this suggestion.<<

    We had this debate before, you lost. Political theory, politics, etc., is an ETHICAL matter. I quoted you not only top political philosophers of the day, but also Darryl Hart! he said it was a normative field and he also claimed that certain regimes were morally better than others.

    >>If not, then I highly doubt just how serious you are and it’s a lot of bloviating about how stupid (what you think you understand about) 2K is.<<

    You keep confusing your position on every matter with what is explicitly 2k or is entailed by 2k. When I read 2kers like DvD, I see him contradict claims like your all over the place. When I listen to 2k bloggers, like Jonathan Goundry, I see him disagree with you. So, don’t try and hide behind 2k. For starters, if you’re really serious about Nat Law (of which you know nothing about but is simply a buzz word for you to deflect criticisms), then you’d not make some of the rather ignorant comments you make. So are you the bloviator?

    >>For my part, I think there is a significant difference between violating the moral law of God in one’s own person and having a political outlook that is disagreeable, even very disagreeable, to someone else.<<

    This is just a symptom of your ingorance, an ignorance not even the most R2k, like Hart, share. Political theories can be evaluated moraly, they are normative claims. You think picking a political theory is like picking a hat. You think it’s a matter of taste, like vanilla vs. chocolate. Are you seriously suggesting that such a benighted and childish view is an entailment of 2k? if it is, then 2k is indeed false. Thankfully for the theory, it isn’t an entailment.

  23. Zrim says:

    Paul,

    If being a member of the German Socialist Workers Party was a sin in 20th century Germany, then what would be an example of its equivalent in 21st century America?

    No, I understand that, as opposed to picking a hat, political outlooks have moral dimensions to them. I’m just not convinced that the moral dimensions rise to the level you want to ascribe. For example, I am morally and politically opposed to abortion. I don’t understand how some can claim to be morally opposed but not politically opposed. But I also don’t understand how those who share my moral and political opposition can claim that those who are morally opposed but not politically opposed are also being immoral. It seems to me that what this latter group is doing is (and I know you hate this) moralizing politics, which seems different from saying politics have moral dimensions, kind of like saying there is a difference between a moral man and a moralist. But politics, while having a moral dimension, are also not only and ever about morality. So, I see how a political theory can be morally superior to another. But I don’t see how that means one is sinful and the other isn’t. I mean, all sin is morally inferior, but is all moral inferiority really sin?

    As to Horton’s words on slavery, I suppose I don’t find it very wise as a general principle to reach back across time and place and confidently declare what should’ve happened. I know it plays well to contemporary socio-political mores to retro-condemn. But if one can easily condemn in the past then he should be willing to find its contemporary political counterpart and say the same thing. And since pro-lifers are eager to say it’s the same as being pro-slavery, then maybe those who condemn pro-slavery politics then should say that to have pro-choice politics should be condemned now. At least that would be consistent. But as it is, I don’t see any who are eager to retro-condemn slavery politics also making great efforts to round up choicers under their jurisdiction. (I wonder, Paul, if you and I were elders who had a member with choice politics, and I refused to discipline, would you seek to have me disciplined?)

    All that to say that, as a 2Ker, I disagree with another 2Ker on this one (which is an entailment of 2K, to be able to disagree about these things). It’s not because I’m not opposed to something like man-stealing, etc., but more a matter of careful speech and consideration of these things. I know that might make me the scrawny pimpled kid on your muscle beach of logic, philosophy and ethics, but I’m used to sand in my eyes by now. Kick away, Paul.

  24. RubeRad says:

    Agreed. It does get tiresome, but once in a while it is an appropriate tactic.

  25. todd says:

    Not responding to Paul in particular, but the Hitler argument actually hurts the case of those who oppose 2k. The emperors of Rome were not much different from Hitler – they were bloody tyrants who regularly killed wives and children (even babies) of those men thought to be against the emporer, evidence or not. It was these emporers that Paul told Christians to subject themselves to in Rom 13, and it was these emporers that Peter told Christians to honor in I Peter. The problem many have is actually with the Apostles, so they qualify the Apostles’ words to death to make them less difficult to swallow.

  26. Zrim says:

    Good point, Todd. But Paul seems to think this is the crux of the matter:

    At any rate, you keep refusing the deal with the tough questions: what if it *was* a sin to vote for Obama? Are you “authorized” enough to know that it wasn’t? What if you lived in Germany during Hitler’s time. What if you knew what he was doing and what his plans were? Would it be sinful to vote for him?

    Aside from his suggesting one can have some sort of crystal ball into the plans of a political tyrant, the question seems to imply that when St. Paul commands obedience to tyrants (following Jesus in Mark 12 as well) he probably had his fingers crossed when it came to those 21st century Americans don’t like.

    So, you’re right, Paul, this is the tough question to deal with. You seem to be suggesting that voting for a tyrant (are tyrants voted for?) is sin. But obedience is way more serious than merely voting, and both Jesus and Paul command it. If Jesus and Paul command obedience to tyrants, what’s the big deal about voting for one? And since Obama is no tyrant, how could merely voting (less than obeying) for a candidate (less than a tyrant) ever be construed as sin? And let’s allow for your crystal ball: if I look into it and see what Adolf has planned, it doesn’t change Jesus and Paul commanding my obedience to him. Do you understand that the true test of obedience is to render it to the one you despise?

    Sometimes I marvel at Joseph being put into second-in-command over Egypt. It’s hard to imagine modern believers, who seem to think obeying tyrants and voting for candidates is sin, ascending to that level in a pagan culture. Joe was one rad 2Ker.

  27. Paul says:

    Actually, Todd is historically wrong, as most commentators and historians point out. Also, it is almost universally recognized that Paul was not arguing for submission no matter what. There is nothing in 2k thought that entails that any form of civil disobedience or revolution is unacceptable. Even R.S. Clark has said as much. He says they’re “tough questions.” So Todd’s appeal to Romans 13 really adds nothing. It’s not like I deny Romans 13. Anyway, Rome had not reached that level until later. Schreiner also makes this point in his commentary on 1 Pet. At any rate, is Todd seriously suggesting that the apostles would have had no problem with Christians putting to death other Christians, or systematically murdering the Jews if that is what the Roman gvt. had been doing at the time? What if they were doing early scientific experiments on Christians and Jews. Perhaps seeing how long they could stay aloive while skinning them. Is Todd seriously suggesting that he and other apostles would have had no qualms with a Christian doing this?

    Next, is Zrim suggesting that no one living in Germany, no one working for Hitler, knew what he was doing??? You didn’t need a crystal ball, a trup to Auschwitz would seem to work just fine. Is Zrim seriously suggesting that a Christian could join hands and “participate” with Joseph Mengele, the Angle of Death? Experiments like seeing how long Jewish children could go without food and water so he could study Noma? How about a Christian “participating” whith Mengele’s experiments on twins. For example, attempts to change eye color, amputate limbs and put them on other twins, sterilization experiments, or sewing twins together to create conjoined twins. How about “participating” on the hypothermia experiments?

    So ironically we have Romans 13 being appealed to but simultaneously denied. As Dr. Davis at Gordon-Conwell points out: “Human life is sacred, made in the image of God, and the government authority has the moral obligation to protect the citizens from murder and violence from both domestic and foreign sources (Romans 13:3, 4).” Yeah, that includes unborn babies.

    Of course, according to Zrim, Christians could participate if ordered to do so by the tyrant Hitler. Otherwise, that means Paul and Jesus had fingers crossed. But what is left out is all the 2k complaints about “torture” from the Bush administration. Lee Irons ripped Bush all over the place and thought he should be voted out for this. Would Irons have “tortured” Muslims? It seems not. So why does this sophisticated 2ker (more than you guys) not see what you see? Why does Horton not see it? Sure, you can disagree, but that’s not the point. The point is that you’re not letting me disagree! Nothing I have said is at odds with 2k. I am addressing what I take to be personal idiosyncracies, not anything explictly 2k or entailed by 2k premises.

    Furthermore, it is logically fallacious to reason that if a tyrant or any leader is to be submitted to that means it isn’t a sin to vote for one. What logical rules warrant that inference? I mean, he says submit to them. Now, the times are different. Paul wasn’t writing to a democratic society like ours. If he had been, he’d probably have said different things. There are many common sense reasons we don’t see the small 1c church doing things we can do today. For starters, if they had tried to revolt they would have been wiped out. Why act like a New Atheist and treat the disciples as stupid morons who couldn’t think. So, there were prudential and common sense reasons why the apostles don’t say or commend certain things.

  28. Zrim says:

    Paul,

    The point about submitting to tyrants isn’t really to say that’s the same as murdering or torturing people in one’s own person. It’s to say that it seems much more complex to say on the one hand that we are to obey magistrates, even tyrannical ones who thought they were actual gods (I don’t think Hitler even had delusions of deity), and also not violate the moral law of God. I’m not sure how to solve that tension, but I don’t think the point is to solve it but to live with it somehow. Jesus and Paul both said to obey magistrates who thought they were gods (like Joseph’s and Daniel’s Pharaoh, btw). My guess is that modern Christians would think they were fully within their God-given rights to disobey such a one based on that trait alone.

    But Paul says to disobey the magistrate is to disobey God. So, when the large majority of Christian people seem to think of Bonheoffer as a hero for trying to assassinate Hitler, it seems odd, since to plot to kill is a weird way to obey. I don’t think most modern Christians think very carefully about what it means to obey; we don’t know how to live in tension with NT ethics that don’t give one inch for civil disobedience. We solve it by running straight to that template for political evil, the Third Reich, and saying, like you: “You’re saying that we should kill Jews and torture Muslims.” No, what I’m saying is that they were amazed in Mark 12 for good reason. When Jesus said to render Caesar his due, he wasn’t just talking about filing taxes correctly and on time. Is that really such an amazing thing to say? He was saying to submit to a magistrate that had delusions of deity and trampled the people of God. They wanted, like we moderns, carved out room to disobey what they considered magistrates unfit to hold authority.

    So, Paul, show me just one place in NT ethics that allows for civil disobedience and I’ll concede. Until then, my point is that we are called to obey and submit to the powers that be because they are God’s own servants. I say that knowing there are magistrates worthy of loathing. That’s tension. And I don’t see any place the NT allows me to relieve that tension by disobedience. The fact is that Christians living in Nazi Germany still had Romans 13 (and other texts) demanding they obey their magistrate–not plot to kill him, or otherwise disobey. (And, btw, do you really think that to be a loyal and obedient member of the Bush Administration means you had to actually torture or kill Muslims with your own two hands? That’s pretty silly. In the same way, the Third Reich interlocution seems to assume that to obey Hitler is the same thing as killing people, but it doesn’t seem to realize that most people did not kill innocents or have attics of Jews to turn over, etc., which is what makes the interlocution dicier than first assumed.)

  29. todd says:

    “Actually, Todd is historically wrong, as most commentators and historians point out…Anyway, Rome had not reached that level until later. ”

    While I didn’t want to respond to you directly because of your arrogant and childish manner of debating, but for those reading I will, and I look forward to your sources on the statement above.

    Meanwhile, you may want to read about Tiberius, who ordered the executions of all the relatives of Sejanus, how young children among Sejanus’ relatives were executed, their bodies thrown down the Gemonian stairs, how Junilla was publicly raped in the presence of many before her execution by Tiberius’ approval, how he executed any suspected of treason, evidence be damned. If your cheer is, “he wasn’t as bad as Hitler,” well, fine, and yes, he wasn’t as bad as later emperors either, but a tyrant he was, and no dared publicly to criticize him – the people lived in fear of his wrath.

    Next there is Caligula, who proclaimed himself a god, who Philo described as insane, who was known for his lust and cruelty, who according to sources ordered his guards to throw hundreds in a crowd in the coliseum into the arena to be mauled and eaten by the wild animals because he was bored.

    And next was Nero, who killed his own mother, and any he considered a rival to his power. Read up about Nero, for Romans was likely written during Nero’s reign.

    It was the backdrop of these emperor-tyrants that Paul wrote Rom 13 and Peter instructed us to honor the emperor. The “they weren’t so bad” argument just doesn’t fly. Actually, they make Obama look like a Boy Scout.

    And as Zrim said, submitting to a tyrant (or voting for a pro-choice Democrat) is not the same as being morally responsible for their sins. If it is a sin to vote for Obama it is you who have to prove it from Scripture. If you seek to bind the consciences of believers, you cannot turn around and demand proof that it is not a sin, you’ve made the new law up for the rest of us, now prove it.

  30. Paul says:

    Zrim,

    There is no place because the NT wasn’t written to speak about that. For example, why would an occasional letter speak about that? Indeed, why would Paul or anyone recommend it when the church would have been crushed. Stomped out before it started. Paul had common sense, Zrim.

    Also, your own argument leads to the conclusion that the NT allows for civil dosobedience. If a Gub’mint allows for it, or even commands it in a constitution, then per your argument, the NT would allow for it.

    Anyway, it is well know that men like Calvin allowed for revolutions. He recognized that God’s law stood over the king. Read David Hall’s _Calvin in the Public Square_.

    As Hall writes of Calvin: After beginning with a historical review his The Rights of Magistrates argued for a circumscribed resistance to tyrannical rulers. Organizing his work around ten questions, he affirmed that scriptural obedience did not categorically deny revolution in some cases. Toward the end of this tract, he articulated three “axioms” to clarify conditions warranting armed resistance: “(1) That the tyranny must be undisguised and notorious; (2) That the recourse should not be had to arms before all other remedies have been tried; (3) Nor yet before the question has been thoroughly examined, not only as to what is permissible, but also as to what is expedient, lest the remedies prove more hazardous than the very disease.”

    He goes on to state :

    Following Calvin’s teaching but predating the final edition of the Institutes, in good Calvinistic style, John Ponet delineated when tyrannicide itself would be legitimate: either if the tyrant was an overt criminal or when lower-level political officials became involved. With a passionate style, Ponet’s Short Treatise (1556) argued for the following:

    · The people could hold a ruler, who was to be viewed as the servant of citizens, accountable.

    · Overthrow, even if forceful, was permitted under certain conditions.

    · The basis for just governance was transcendental as well as universal.

    · Government was to be limited in scope and in force.

    · Authority was to be diffused among various spheres, not concentrated in one office.

    · Checks and balances, via ephors or tribunes, were necessary.

    These and other tenets of Calvinism would become standard fare in lands where the Reformed faith spread. The ideas (1) that God is the Superior Governor, (2) that man is a fallen sinner, and (3) that law, fixed constitutions, and decentralization of power are all necessary to limit human aggression became the signature of Calvinism in political forums. Later Hotman, Daneau and Althusius expanded these themes as the tradition developed.

    Most knowledgeable historians spot a definite evolution in political theology from Calvin’s early disciples (Knox, Goodman, Ponet) to his later disciples (Beza, Hotman, Danaeus). Two major lynchpins, however, changed after the 1570s: (a) submission was limited and (b) representation was absolute. These dynamics began to be publicized from pulpits and academies.

    And of course, many verses support civil disobedience:

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Dan.%203,%206,%20Acts%204:18-20,%205:27-32,%2040-42&version=NIV

    Other than that, “it seems odd” isn’t an argument.

  31. Paul says:

    Now for Todd, and then Rom 13

    Don’t confuse confidence for arroagance. Also, know your opponent before getting in the ring. Second, knock off the self-righteous matyr tone (“I do this for the benefit of others”).

    Let’s see:

    “I look forward to your sources on the statement above.”

    I gave one of them. Moo’s commentary is another. Same with history books in general.

    Okay, so you said the backdrop of Romans 13 was:

    Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero. Okay, knock off Nero. He started right when Paul wrote Romans. Now, no one argued that these guys were perfect, but compared to other governments, they were. Anyway, Tiberius got into a political squabble with Sejanus, hardly a blip on the 1st century radar screen. As Moo says, “Paul was writing Romans during the early years of Nero’s reign, A PERIOD OF ROMAN STABILITY AND GOOD GOVERNMENT (quite in contrast to Nero’s later bizarre and anti-Christian behavior)(Moo, Romans 807). Funny thing too, he contrasts that with Hitler’s regime where he says that even Paul would not have said to submit to that regime! Likewise, Schreiner could note that “nor is there any evidence that Christians were being persecuted [by the Roman government] during this time” (Schreiner, Romans 678). Both these guys are closer to new covenant theology, which is closer to Kline and 2k than in is theonomy, by miles and miles.

    Yeah, these guys weren’t perfect, but NO HISTORIAN would claim that they were basically the same as Hitler. That was Todd’s claim. He needs to prove it. Life wasn’t that bad then. Rome hardly ever bothered with their subjects. They gave regions to certain Roman citizens and basically let them run on their own. All they cared for was if they got their taxes. After Octavian, Rome went downhill in terms of administration. They kept expanding and this made it harder and harder to keep an eye on the provinces. So, while there may have been outbreaks, people lived life much like before.

    Anyway, Rom 13:

    Paul was countering belief that Christians were part of a kingdom and served a king so they didn’t need to subit to earthly kings. Paul was correcting this view, not entering into a treatise on 2k ethics.

    Paul calls on believers to “submit” rather than “obey” (Moo, 797). To submit is to recognize one’s place in the hierarchy, to recognize as a general rule that certain people/institutions have authority over us (ibid). To say that Paul approves of all Gub’mints, or wouldn’t call it sinful is just dumb. Paul tells slaves to submit to masters. However, no one thinks Paul thought slavery wasn’t sinfu; Even Horton wouldn’t say that.

    Now, of course, submission does mean obey in many contexts, but “it is also compatible with disobedience to governments in certain excpetional circumstances” (ibid). As Moo notes, there “is some truth” to the point that Romans was not “a universally applicable norm for Christians’ attitude toward government”, that attitude “is simply an overinterpretation that fails to take into account the specific local nature of the text” (808)

    Moreover, Moo points out that Paul means to say that submission to government is submission to how government should be (808). And “strict, universal submission to government [is not]: strict and universal obedience” (809). If you could NEVER disobey government, then no sense could be made of the claim “we must obey God rather than men.”

    Schreiner makes similar observations. “The text is misunderstood . . .if it is used as an absolute word so that Christians uncritically comply with the state no matter what is being demanded. What we have here is a GENERAL exhortation that deliniates what is USUALLY the case” (Schreiner 687). Contrary to Zrim and Todd, “the test is not meant as a full blown treatise on Church and State” (687).

    One also wonders if Zrim and Todd would tell unbelievers that they must submit to the state. The text says “everyone” and commentators are agreed that it means Christians and non-Christians. Do we have theonomists then who use Romans 13 to craft the relationship between governments and all citizens? Or is this a natural law principle? If so, the natural law tradition has storngly argued for the right to disobey or revolt.

    So, yeah, like I said . . .

  32. Zrim says:

    Paul,

    There is no place because the NT wasn’t written to speak about that. For example, why would an occasional letter speak about that? Indeed, why would Paul or anyone recommend it when the church would have been crushed. Stomped out before it started. Paul had common sense, Zrim.

    If the Bible wasn’t written to speak about civil disobedience, isn’t that a clue, as in where the Bible is silent so are we? If Paul doesn’t write to recommend civil disobedience then what biblical warrant do you have to call for it? And don’t you think the church would be crushed by disobeying the prohibition of preaching the gospel (Acts 5:29-30)? If fear of crushing were real, why preach a message that hitherto got everyone killed?

    Also, your own argument leads to the conclusion that the NT allows for civil dosobedience. If a Gub’mint allows for it, or even commands it in a constitution, then per your argument, the NT would allow for it.

    No, the Bible doesn’t allow for civil disobedience. In fact, it forbids it. Our very existence is the result of rebellion. We are nurtured on the virtues of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, warnings to “not tread on me” and entreat to bestow liberty or (gulp) death. We have a polity that invites, encourages, even rewards, dissent. This is the point, and you’re missing it entirely: Christian piety and American polity seem to be at odds. Arguably, American polity is unsafe to Christian piety.

    The problem with all the reasoning you offer from Hall/Calvin is that I don’t see any biblical argumentation.

    You might charge me with disagreeing with Calvin, but I’m with Kuyper when he wanted to revise Belgic 36:

    We oppose this Confession out of complete conviction, prepared to bear the consequences of our convictions, even when we will be denounced and mocked on that account as unReformed.

    We would rather be considered not Reformed and insist that men ought not to kill heretics, than that we are left with the Reformed name as the prize for assisting in the shedding of the blood of heretics.

    It is our conviction: 1) that the examples which are found in the Old Testament are of no force for us because the infallible indication of what was or was not heretical which was present at that time is now lacking.

    2) That the Lord and the Apostles never called upon the help of the magistrate to kill with the sword the one who deviated from the truth. Even in connection with such horrible heretics as defiled the congregation in Corinth, Paul mentions nothing of this idea. And it cannot be concluded from any particular word in the New Testament, that in the days when particular revelation should cease, that the rooting out of heretics with the sword is the obligation of magistrates.

    3) That our fathers have not developed this monstrous proposition out of principle, but have taken it over from Romish practice.

    4) That the acceptance and carrying out of this principle almost always has returned upon the heads of non-heretics and not the truth but heresy has been honored by the magistrate.

    5) That this proposition opposes the Spirit and the Christian faith.

    6) That this proposition supposed that the magistrate is in a position to judge the difference between truth and heresy, an office of grace which, as appears from the history of eighteen centuries, is not granted by the Holy Spirit, but is withheld.

    We do not at all hide the fact that we disagree with Calvin, our Confessions, and our Reformed theologians.

    As for Daniel, he drew the line at worship or whatever entailed false worship. He disobeyed cultically, not civilly. What you’re not distinguishing between is the difference between worship and obedience. All worship is obedience, but not all obedience is worship.

  33. Zrim says:

    One also wonders if Zrim and Todd would tell unbelievers that they must submit to the state.

    Absolutely. (Even those states who claim deity.) Otherwise, I don’t know how I can serve on a jury and help convict and sentence an unbeliver guilty of a crime.

    If so, the natural law tradition has storngly argued for the right to disobey or revolt.

    Again, where is the biblical argument to disobey or revolt? That’s what Christians need to ask. I know Americans have constitutional warrant to disobey, but what bibical warrant do Christians have? I realize American-Christians necessarily live in this tension, but at the end of the day we are Christians before Americans who confess the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice, not the constitution.

  34. Paul says:

    >>Again, where is the biblical argument to disobey or revolt?<<

    Gave it to you. Read the post again. Stop being lazy.

  35. Paul says:

    >>Again, where is the biblical argument to disobey or revolt? That’s what Christians need to ask. I know Americans have constitutional warrant to disobey, but what bibical warrant do Christians have?<>No, the Bible doesn’t allow for civil disobedience. In fact, it forbids it.<<

    Are you really this dumb, or are you just playing dumb? You just said that the Bible FORBIDS civil disobedience. Well, not only do the vast majority of commentators (experts, Zrim, you every man theologian you) claim that's not what Paul meant, if the Bible forbids it, and we are to obey God rather than men, then there is no warrant to disobey, period. So Wilberforce and Marin Luther King were SINFUL for their civil disobedience.

    Second, you said that the Bible COMMANDS us to obey the government, or to keep in step with its laws. Right? Now, you also JUST SAID that Americans have "constitutional warrant to disobey." Ergo, the BIBLE allows them to since the BIBLE tells them to submit to the laws of their land. If the laws of their land allow that, then the BIBLE warrants it for them.

    Sheesh.

  36. Paul says:

    Zrim, c’mon guy, don’t be down with stupid, homie. I never argued that the state should kill heretics. You can at least try to understand the argument before quoting something totally off track.

  37. Paul says:

    As your 2k outhouse saint Jason Stellman has said: To tip my hat to the just-deceased Howard Zinn, I would respectfully disagree here. While I do think a Christian should never resist religious persecution but rather endure it as an example of Christ-like cross-bearing, I do think it… See More’s legitimate for the believer to fight against injustices that arise for non-religious reasons (such as during the civil rights movement), as long as such resistance (1) is non-violent, and (2) doesn’t violate the Westminster Confession and invoke our spiritual liberty as a reason to resist civil oppression (I wrote about this topic here, here, and here).”

  38. Paul says:

    One also wonders if Zrim and Todd would tell unbelievers that they must submit to the state.

    Absolutely.

    What argument would you give a sophisticated anarchist, say, Noam Chomsky?

  39. Zrim says:

    You just said that the Bible FORBIDS civil disobedience…if the Bible forbids it, and we are to obey God rather than men, then there is no warrant to disobey, period. So Wilberforce and Marin Luther King were SINFUL for their civil disobedience.

    I understand the tactic to make it look like I’m saying I have something against abolition and civil rights (or at least that my argument leads us to into the modern dark ages and away from enlightenment). It’s closely related to the tactic to make it look like I am saying Christians should put bullets in the heads of Jews and perform torture on twins when ordered to by megalomaniac tyrants. I don’t. I’m as 20th century Yank as the next guy. But I recognize these to be the mores of my time and place that must contend with the biblical witness. Tension. I’m not trying to turn significant socio-political movements and phenomenon on their heads, Paul, and I’m not interested in calling the likes of Wilberforce or King willful sinners. I’m simply asking those of us who share certain cultural mores, those raised and nurtured on the idea that civil disobedience is a virtue, to wrestle with what appears to be a biblical suggestion that it’s closer to vice.

    Second, you said that the Bible COMMANDS us to obey the government, or to keep in step with its laws. Right? Now, you also JUST SAID that Americans have “constitutional warrant to disobey.” Ergo, the BIBLE allows them to since the BIBLE tells them to submit to the laws of their land. If the laws of their land allow that, then the BIBLE warrants it for them.

    You’re (still) being much too wooden and missing the point for logical trees. First, when we are allowed to disobey that is not the same as being commanded to disobey—just like being allowed to abort isn’t the same as being commanded to abort. Second, on the one hand, we have the Bible, and it forbids disobeying the magistrate. On the other, we have a constitution, and it allows disobeying the magistrate (as well as a culture that nurtures and rewards it). Just because our magistrate says we can disobey him it doesn’t mean that his God-given authority makes that ok. It’s like a husband who says his wife may have a boyfriend. His God-given authority doesn’t mean she is free to do this. Right?

    If Chomsky disobeys the magistrate I’d tell him to get in line, same as I’d tell my unbelieving neighbor who shoplifted or adulterated to make amends. I know you crave sophistication, Paul, but it really is that simple. That’s what St. Paul’s point is in Romans, that the law is written on the human heart, everyone knows it, and nobody has any excuse for their law-breaking.

    Re Stellman, I’ve always disagreed with his sympathy for certain forms of activism that seem to nurture civil disobedience. But this is part of the point of 2K, to disagree with another about how best to do earth or the left hand kingdom. It’s a case of two reasonable (2Kers) disagreeing with each other. With you it is a case of a logician who wants everything philosophically and ethically sealed up nice and tidy pouncing all over a 2Ker with whom he disagrees. And rudely at that. Which leads me to this: if you’d like to continue this discussion I’m happy to do so. But I’d appreciate more decorum and less adolescent behavior on your part. Otherwise, it may be more law than gospel for you.

  40. Paul says:

    Zrim,

    i) Telling Chomsky to “get in line” isn’t an *argument*. Now, you seem to not like that word, but I merely mean it in its technical sense. In orther words, you’r eprovided no persuasive, or compelling *reason* to accept your conclusion. When you say A, presumably you think A is true. Since other people don’t normally want to believe falsehoods, then they want to believe the truth. It is helpful to those like me who, if I don’t believe A to be the case, would like to see the *reason* I should accept A rather than taking it on the authority of your command e.g., “get in line.”

    ii) I am not reading too wodden or playing games, Zrim. You can pain t me with that brush if you’d like, but I am seriously trying to get at your position. Here’s one principle I use to see if I should accept a belief or not:

    Any belief which entails that which is false, is itself false.

    So, it doesn’t matter how extraordinary of an example I use, if it is false, then if a belief entailed it, the belief itself is false. This is a sound method, perfectly valid.

    Now, my interloctutor (you, for example), can reply a few ways:

    1. Bite the bullet and admit it does entail what I claim it does, but then argue that the entailed proposition is not itself false.

    2. Show that there is no entailment (i.e., show that your belief does not entail what I claim it does, this would require appeals to logical rules of implication).

    3. Clarify or qualify your original claim.

    Those are the options. This one isn’t:

    4. Berate your interlocutor (me, for example) for being (a) wooden or (b) logical.

    Why is (4) bad? Well, (b) suffers from the above method of deciding erronious beliefs, i.e., it is subject to a reduction ad absurdem. (a) is improper unless you are using common, everday hyperbole (e.g., “Dude, everyone was at the party last night”, which usually means “Anyone who is anyone in our circle was at last night’s party). Clearly, in these debates, you’re not using hyperbole like in example (a). Indeed, the impropriety of using (4) to respond to me is even more evident when I bring up what you refer to as “extraordinary examples” and you don’t immediately qualify and clarify, but you go on to defend the non-hyperbolic way I took your claim.

    Furthermore, these are debates or searchings for truth. In discussions like this it is prudent to be clear and avoid confusing or misleading parties to the debate. I am under the assumption that we are at best seeking to “win” the other side to our view, and at “worse” to foster understanding so the other side doesn’t habor false views of your position.

    In light of that:

    >>First, when we are allowed to disobey that is not the same as being commanded to disobey—just like being allowed to abort isn’t the same as being commanded to abort.<> Second, on the one hand, we have the Bible, and it forbids disobeying the magistrate. On the other, we have a constitution, and it allows disobeying the magistrate (as well as a culture that nurtures and rewards it).<<

    If this is your view, then you must, by force of logic, think Stellmen promulgates a sinful view. So it’s not just a matter of disagreement between two 2K brothers

    Second, I must be failing to make myself clear. Your view here is contradictory. Let me try to explain again:

    You claim that the Bible commands us to submit to the laws of our governments. You claim that the Bible will not call one sinful for submitting to those laws (since it commands you to). This means that the Bible cannot forbid you not submit to those laws (we’ll stipulate that the only exceptions are laws against preaching the gospel and worshiping God or violating God’s moral law). This means that the Bible permits you to obey those laws. This means that if those laws permit you to do X, then the Bible permits you to do X. For example, if the laws permit you represent yourself at a trial, the Bible so permits you to. Now, if these laws permit you to engage in civil disobedience, or even revolution, then the Bible so permits. If the Bible permits you to do X, then it cannot at the same time forbid X. Thus, your arguments leads to a contradiction.

    Show me where the logic is wrong in that chain of inference?

    >>It’s like a husband who says his wife may have a boyfriend. His God-given authority doesn’t mean she is free to do this. Right?<<

    And here's another example of what I mean. You're assuming a false premise. The husband does not have this right. He only has authority to do certain things. His authority is not absolute, and neither is the state’s. The authority is fenced in, it operates within limits. So, see what I did? You tried to do a reductio. I argued that your claim did not entail what you said it did. Now, you can do the same. You can argue that the Bible says that the state does not have the right to include in its constitution the permission to disobey or revolt in certain situations; i.e., that the state does not have a right to protect itself against being turned into another kind of government from that which those who freely consented to live under one kind of government, A, rather than another kind, B. Now, perhaps you have an argument for something like that, but it seems highly dubious that you have an argument for something like that. Without that argument, not only is your husband analogy flawed (i.e., it’s an argument from analogy minus the analogy), but my argument that your 2K interp of Romans 13 is at odds with itself, leading to a contradiction.

  41. Zrim says:

    Telling Chomsky to “get in line” isn’t an *argument*. Now, you seem to not like that word, but I merely mean it in its technical sense. In orther words, you’r eprovided no persuasive, or compelling *reason* to accept your conclusion. When you say A, presumably you think A is true. Since other people don’t normally want to believe falsehoods, then they want to believe the truth. It is helpful to those like me who, if I don’t believe A to be the case, would like to see the *reason* I should accept A rather than taking it on the authority of your command e.g., “get in line.”

    Wouldn’t you admit that sometimes a sophisticated argument isn’t called for? Sometimes it is a simple matter of right and wrong. Sometimes it isn’t about proving to someone why he should do this and not that. It’s not too unlike dealing with children. Sometimes there needs to be didactic instruction, sometimes plain exhortation. And when the exhortation (“Quit hitting your sister, it’s wrong”) doesn’t land (“But she started it”) it is still not acceptable to say, “Now, Dad, you need to convince me philosophically and ethically why I should stop hitting my sister, because as it is, you simply haven’t made your case.” Fubar. You know how to behave, so do it. I have found that women like to reason and philsophize with children about their ill behavior more than men—are you suggesting a more feminized approach to these matters? (That’s a bit of snark and sarcasm. See how I did snotty without being insulting or rude?)

    I am not reading too wodden or playing games, Zrim. You can pain t me with that brush if you’d like, but I am seriously trying to get at your position. Here’s one principle I use to see if I should accept a belief or not:

    Any belief which entails that which is false, is itself false.

    So, it doesn’t matter how extraordinary of an example I use, if it is false, then if a belief entailed it, the belief itself is false. This is a sound method, perfectly valid.

    Here is what you are saying: to obey a magistrate like Hitler means that one must kill or otherwise morally harm certain people. That’s very well true for some people (extraordinary), but not for most (ordinary). Since for most people to obey doesn’t mean to sin, your whole point seems sort of moot. But for those for whom to obey means to sin, then it would seem that the answer is obvious: disobey. I understand you think I’m being absolutist here about what it means to obey, to the point of saying that obedience means to sin. But, really, all I’m trying to say is that I think moderns (especially we Americans) don’t put very much premium on (civil) obedience, we think it’s a four-letter word. And so to protect our rights to disobey, etc., we talk a lot about Adolf, conflate worship with obedience, and suggest that all this talk about heeding the biblical call to obey magistrate’s means one day we’ll end up killing and torturing ethnic groups, blahblahblah. It’s an emotional tactic, playing off all sorts of fears, and in the end nobody really deals very well, I think, with what it means to take the biblical call to civil obedience very seriously. The long and short of being obedient is a rather elementary appeal to Mark 12, saying that because I pay my taxes on time and don’t shoot people and am generally decent then I’ve met the biblical call to obedience. But maybe biblical obedience is more than the minimal expectation? I mean, you still haven’t told me what civil obedience means for an ordinary believer in 1938 Germany. I think we agree that it doesn’t mean killing or torturing Jews, but does it also mean no plotting to kill one’s magistrate (Bonheoffer)?

    You claim that the Bible commands us to submit to the laws of our governments. You claim that the Bible will not call one sinful for submitting to those laws (since it commands you to). This means that the Bible cannot forbid you not submit to those laws (we’ll stipulate that the only exceptions are laws against preaching the gospel and worshiping God or violating God’s moral law). This means that the Bible permits you to obey those laws. This means that if those laws permit you to do X, then the Bible permits you to do X. For example, if the laws permit you represent yourself at a trial, the Bible so permits you to. Now, if these laws permit you to engage in civil disobedience, or even revolution, then the Bible so permits. If the Bible permits you to do X, then it cannot at the same time forbid X. Thus, your arguments leads to a contradiction.. Show me where the logic is wrong in that chain of inference?

    The logic seems fine. But, like I keep trying to say, logic doesn’t solve everything, Paul. I know that’s like fingernails down a chalkboard to you, but consider that the Gospel itself is pretty illogical. That’s a big part of what makes good news so good. Or are you one of those guys who, when the newspaper reads “War Over!” says, “Oh, well, of course, it logically follows”? I’m not a fan at all of religious enthusiasm, but I’m equally not wild about making the mysterious make sense. That said, my argument doesn’t lead to a contradiction, it presents us with a paradox. Now, you might feel compelled to solve the paradox, but I’m not. I think the point of paradox is less to solve it than it is to live in its tension.

    And here’s another example of what I mean. You’re assuming a false premise. The husband does not have this right. He only has authority to do certain things. His authority is not absolute, and neither is the state’s. The authority is fenced in, it operates within limits. So, see what I did? You tried to do a reductio. I argued that your claim did not entail what you said it did. Now, you can do the same. You can argue that the Bible says that the state does not have the right to include in its constitution the permission to disobey or revolt in certain situations; i.e., that the state does not have a right to protect itself against being turned into another kind of government from that which those who freely consented to live under one kind of government, A, rather than another kind, B. Now, perhaps you have an argument for something like that, but it seems highly dubious that you have an argument for something like that. Without that argument, not only is your husband analogy flawed (i.e., it’s an argument from analogy minus the analogy), but my argument that your 2K interp of Romans 13 is at odds with itself, leading to a contradiction.

    So if a husband has no right to invite his wife to commit adultery, why does a magistrate have the right to invite his subjects to disobedience? I agree that neither a husband nor a magistrate has absolute authority, but why does it seem like you’re giving a magistrate more rope than a husband? I won’t argue that the Bible says “that the state does not have the right to include in its constitution the permission to disobey or revolt in certain situations,” because that sounds too close to suggesting that the Bible teaches a form of government. All I am asking for anyone to consider is that the Bible forbids Christians from disobeying their magistrates. So if you as a Christian think you should sit at a lunch counter when the magistrate says you mayn’t how do you get around the biblical command not to break laws?

  42. Paul says:

    Zrim, I guess we can’t even discuss the matter. There’s no common ground. You reject logical inferences and arguments where you say “the logic is fine.” This just tells me that you don’t know enough to know how much you don’t know or how uninformed you are. There’s really no point to discuss anything with such a person (and I’d hope other outhousers would call you on your comments (Rube?). And by the way, the gospel is not illogical. The word you’re stuggling for is probably better expressed as “counter-intuitive”. You don’t even know how to use these terms. You don’t seem to understand the nature of logic and the role it plays.

    However, you have made debate with you very easy: This is a simple matter of right or wrong, and you’re wrong, and don’t ask me to give you reasons for it. (BTW, you might not want to treat unbelievers as little children who just need to be told what to do by daddy Zrim.)

  43. Paul says:

    One more thing:

    >>That said, my argument doesn’t lead to a contradiction, it presents us with a paradox.<<

    of course, I am certainly a fan of paradox, as my review of _Paradox in Christian Theology_ shows; however, this staement by you doesn't even begin to resolve te problem.

    A paradox is a merely apparent contradiction ("merely" because real contradictions also appear</i. contradictory).

    A contradiction between two or more propositions means that they cannot be true all at once. Now, normally, proper function would call for one to drop the set of beliefs they believe appear contradictory, since it is irrational to believe what you take to appear contradictory. That is, you can't consistently believe all the propositions of the set.

    However, you can present a case for the rational propriety of believing a paradox. James Anderson, author of the above book, makes such a case. But you can't appeal to his case since it wouldn't work for you. You need to develop another model, which is going to be hard work.

    At any event, let's assume you can make it rational (rationality is a desiderata for Christians, to bask in irrationality is dishonoring to the Lord and exemplar of rationality, God) to believe a paradox. This means that you believe all thre members of the alleged inconsistent set.

    So for example, with the trinity (a real paradox), I believe alll the propositions the conjunction of which lead to the apparent paradox. So it is both true that, say, the father and Christ are numerically identical to God and not identical to eachother (since this appears to contradict a pretty solid logical law, the transitivity of identity, it is a paradox). But apparently you’re not doing that since I don’t think you want to affirm both that the Bible forbids civil disobedience and the Bible does not forbit civil disobedience. If you do want to affirm both of those as true, then you don’t have an argument with me, for I am stating the truth. If you do not want to affirm both as true, then one is left scratching his head at what you mean by “the logic is fine” with my argument, but it does not lead to a real contradiction but a merely apparent contradiction. So, even your resolution, confusing and ad hoc as it was, doesn’t do the work you want it to.

  44. Paul says:

    >>Wouldn’t you admit that sometimes a sophisticated argument isn’t called for?<<

    Then give me an unsophisticated one, but give me one. "Get in line, I'm right, you're wrong, neenerneener" isn't an argument at all, sophisticated or unsophisticated.

  45. Zrim says:

    I thought you were done?

    Counter-intuitive is better than illogical, you’re right. But the larger (read: less pedantic) point was simply that, good as it is, logic or intuition, isn’t the modus operandi of heaven. I know, that sounds awfully gnostic to the ears of a logician, but Paul contended with both philosophers as well as super-apostles. Super-apostle gnostics want an experience, philosophers want an argument (and Jews want signs). Experiences and arguments (and signs) have their place, but that place isn’t everywhere. I’ve tried my arguments with you, but they aren’t good enough for you. Sort of like the gnostic who demands I point to a subjective experience, and when I give him a history he’s equally indignant.

    My mistake, I should’ve said that sometimes an argument isn’t called for. Would you agree to that? Or do you really indulge children who demand an un/sophisticated argument every night for why they should do their homework, heed their mother, floss/brush, put the puppy down during catechism and go to bed? If so, that’s gotta be exhausting.

  46. Todd says:

    Now for Todd, and then Rom 13

    “Don’t confuse confidence for arroagance.”

    And don’t confuse matyrdom with a statement of purpose after witnessing your debate tactics.

    “Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero. Okay, knock off Nero. He started right when Paul wrote Romans. Now, no one argued that these guys were perfect, but compared to other governments, they were.”

    Caligula was perfect compared to what? I guess declaring yourself a god and expecting worship was no bid deal to the Christians?

    “Anyway, Tiberius got into a political squabble with Sejanus, hardly a blip on the 1st century radar screen.”

    Executing as many women and children among Sejanus’ relatives as he could a political squabble? Remind me not to vote for you if you run for office.

    “Funny thing too, he contrasts that with Hitler’s regime where he says that even Paul would not have said to submit to that regime!”

    Actually, Moo is making our argument. He begins with the statement “It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the history of the interpretation of Rom 13:1-7 is a history of attempts to avoid its plain meaning” (pg. 806) which was my point at the beginning. He then goes on to give all the proposed answers to the problem of these verses, answers which he rejects, among them:

    1. “Paul is naive about the evil governments might do or demand.” But Moo rejects this because Paul was well aware of the evil rulers do, including putting to death the Messiah (pg. 807)

    2. Paul demands submissions to only those authorities who themselves submit to Christ.
    This he rejects also.

    3. Paul is demanding submission only in the immediate situation the Roman Christians were facing. Moo argues this command applies to all governments “Paul here goes out of his way to emphasize the univesal scope of his demand; `every soul is to submit; there is no authority except appointed by God” (pg. 808)

    4. Paul demands submission to government only as long as the government functions as Paul says it should in vv. 3-4. This he rejects also. He also adds as a footnote that whether governments can become so demonic that the Christian has the right to refuse to obey but also seek its overthrow is a matter he cannot go into here (pg. 809). So you were too confident to assume Moo agrees with you there when he refused to comment.

    “Likewise, Schreiner could note that “nor is there any evidence that Christians were being persecuted”

    I never claimed Christians were persecuted at that time. I said emperors ruled through tyranny, and I note that you skipped Caligula. For an emperor to be worshiped, which they were, regardless of what the people thought of him, was what made the Jewish zealots teach that the Jews should not submit to Rome.

    “Yeah, these guys weren’t perfect, but NO HISTORIAN would claim that they were basically the same as Hitler. That was Todd’s claim. He needs to prove it.”

    Now you are just playing lawyers’ games. I never said they were exactly like Hitler, but the point was that like Hitler they ruled through tyranny – their word was the Law – if they wanted people they did not like killed, they were killed, and though they did good things at times, they ruled to consolidate their own power.

    The point was that when Peter instructed us to honor the emperor, he was not saying only those in your opinion that were good emperors, or when Paul said to submit to government he was not saying only to the good rulers.

    “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme…Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the unjust.” (I Peter 2:13 & 15)

    “To say that Paul approves of all Gub’mints, or wouldn’t call it sinful is just dumb.”

    No one said that. You are knocking down straw men.

    “Paul tells slaves to submit to masters. However, no one thinks Paul thought slavery wasn’t sinful;

    Obviously. Another straw man

    As Moo notes, there “is some truth” to the point that Romans was not “a universally applicable norm for Christians’ attitude toward government”, that attitude “is simply an overinterpretation that fails to take into account the specific local nature of the text” (808)”

    Read the rest of that paragraph

    “Moreover, Moo points out that Paul means to say that submission to government is submission to how government should be (808). ”

    You ignored the context again. He rejects that view. Read the rest of the paragraph.

    “And “strict, universal submission to government [is not]: strict and universal obedience” (809). If you could NEVER disobey government, then no sense could be made of the claim “we must obey God rather than men.”

    No one suggested there were not times when we must disobey government. That wasn’t the question. The question was whether Paul was calling for submission to governments that were even tyrannical, and our argument was yes. Of course when the government, or parent, or pastor, or husband, demands that you sin against God, we obey God rather than men. That is not the question.

    “Contrary to Zrim and Todd, “the test is not meant as a full blown treatise on Church and State” (687).”

    It is a command. If it is to be disobeyed, that must be proved by you.

    I’m still waiting for evidence that it is a sin to vote for Obama.

  47. Paul says:

    Zrim: (Todd below)

    >>Counter-intuitive is better than illogical, you’re right. But the larger (read: less pedantic)<>point was simply that, good as it is, logic or intuition, isn’t the modus operandi of heaven.<>but Paul contended with both philosophers as well as super-apostles. Super-apostle gnostics want an experience, philosophers want an argument (and Jews want signs).<>Experiences and arguments (and signs) have their place, but that place isn’t everywhere.<<

    I don't get this. Are you saying there is a place where the conclusion of a valid deductive argument doesn't follow of necessity? Where is it? Cukooland?

    >>My mistake, I should’ve said that sometimes an argument isn’t called for. Would you agree to that?<<

    i. You'd need to argue for where that is.

    ii. Then you’d need to argue that it’s not in trying to get someone to follow a debatable and unobvious position, such as yours.

    iii. And I would not agree that it is at this juncture, no. But it sure is convenient for you to place it there. It’s always tough to have to argue for you views rather than dogmatically asserting them as if they were as obvious as the nose on your face.

    iv. I don’t think Noam Chomskey is in an analogous position to children needing to brush their teeth. And, eventually, the children grow up. They see the reasons to brush their teeth. Other things you tell them they will discard because they don’t find either your mere sya-so or subsaquent reasons to do so, persuasive. You’re not thinking things through, Zrim.

    Todd:

    >>”And don’t confuse matyrdom with a statement of purpose after witnessing your debate tactics.”<>Caligula was perfect compared to what?<>Executing as many women and children among Sejanus’ relatives as he could a political squabble? Remind me not to vote for you if you run for office. <>Actually, Moo is making our argument.<<

    No he's not. My quotes were sufficient to disprove that. As Moo said, “it is also compatible with disobedience to governments in certain excpetional circumstances” . That is THE MAIN contention Zrim was arguing for. Pay attention.

    >>He then goes on to give all the proposed answers to the problem of these verses, answers which he rejects, among them:<<

    Right, I own the commentary, thanks though. I notice you didn't point out that he doesn't disagree with the points that support my argument. I know he disagrees with (1) – (4), I do too.

    >>Now you are just playing lawyers’ games. I never said they were exactly like Hitler,<<

    Now you're being dishonest. First off, I did not say you said "exactly the same"; but, rather, I said your position was that they were "basically the same". When we look at what you read, we see I correctly interpreted you, to wit:

    “The emperors of Rome were not much different from Hitler”.

    But indeed they were! Different by miles. It is disgusting that you have to downplay Hitler’s regime just to make your 2K argument work.

    As far as Caligula: (i) who cares if he “thought he was a God.” That doesn’t entail brutality. Indeed, thousands of leaders have thought they were gods. (ii) it is historically debatable whether he did think he was a god, some historicans think it was a political tactic as many point out he was very intelligent, very savvy. (iv) Though we actually don’t have much evidence of his life, he wasn’t nearly as bad as the film (from which it appears you draw much of your data) portrays him. Read this, for example:

    http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300074291

    (v) If you’re basing your info off the 110 writing by Suetonius, even that shows he wasn’t in the same ball park as Hitler; but not only that, historians have pointed out that that document is full of errors and his a vulgar political hit piece.

    vi) Of his role as moral moster, Dr. Anthony Barrett says in _Caligula: Corruption of Power_ (Routledge), that “that is patently untrue”. He says that actually, under Caligula, Rome “enjoyed stable and orderly government”. He says that many of the senators “doctor[ed] the records after [Caligula’s assassination].” Indeed, “even the most die-hard critics must admit that do not add up to out picture about our picture of his reign” (xvi). About his killing of Sejanus and his family, Barrett notes, “Certainly the inevitable repression that followed the series of plots against his life is presented with a vividness and gusto that creates the impression of a blood-bath. Yet the public reaction to his assassination was actually anger. Morever, the list of his named victims is actually not a long one [uh, didn’t Hitler have MILLIONS, DOH!], and many of them on it do seem, on prima facie evidence, to have been plotting against him” (xvii).

    For more, read Barrett’s assessment of the claims about Caligula’s claims to divinity (ibid, ch.9, Divine Honours).

    Anyway, let’s move on from Caligula.

    >>“Paul tells slaves to submit to masters. However, no one thinks Paul thought slavery wasn’t sinful;

    Obviously. Another straw man
    <>No one suggested there were not times when we must disobey government.<>I’m still waiting for evidence that it is a sin to vote for Obama.<<

    You are a dishonest debater. You twist and distort things in your own favor. Your are ignorant of the historical record. You play the self-righteous card, the martyr for the people. If you were an honest debater, you;d actally take care to note what I claimed. I quote myself again:

    At any rate, you keep refusing the deal with the tough questions: what if it *was* a sin to vote for Obama?

    See that, Todd? I NEVER SAID IT WAS A SIN TO VOTE FOR OBAMA.

    Sheesh.

    Rube took issue with his elder’s statement. He is of the 2K opinon that you can NEVER say that it was a sin to vote for a man no matter what that man was like. i brought up Hitler, and we’ve went down from there. Logic has been denied, arrogant people have made claims about the historical record that they can’t back up, and important distinctions have been called pedantic. Even Jesus got upset at his opponents when they acted like sophists.

  48. Paul says:

    My first paragraph got messed up, here it is again:

    >>Counter-intuitive is better than illogical, you’re right. But the larger (read: less pedantic)<>point was simply that, good as it is, logic or intuition, isn’t the modus operandi of heaven.<>but Paul contended with both philosophers as well as super-apostles. Super-apostle gnostics want an experience, philosophers want an argument (and Jews want signs).<>Experiences and arguments (and signs) have their place, but that place isn’t everywhere.<<

    I don't get this. Are you saying there is a place where the conclusion of a valid deductive argument doesn't follow of necessity? Where is it? Cukooland?

    >>My mistake, I should’ve said that sometimes an argument isn’t called for. Would you agree to that?<<

  49. Paul says:

    I don’t know why it does that (guess I can’t break paragraphs like I do

    Anyway, I’m sure some sense can be made of it

  50. Paul says:

    Okay, here’s a redone version, please delete the above:

    Zrim: (Todd below)

    “Counter-intuitive is better than illogical, you’re right. But the larger (read: less pedantic)”

    Important distinctions are not pedantic. That’s a diversionary tactic.

    “point was simply that, good as it is, logic or intuition, isn’t the modus operandi of heaven.”

    I have no clue what that means. Are you suggesting with a straight face that valid arguments won’t be valid in heaven? Do you even know what a valid argument is, Zrim. I doubt it.

    “but Paul contended with both philosophers as well as super-apostles. Super-apostle gnostics want an experience, philosophers want an argument (and Jews want signs).”

    Hint: Paul was making an ARGUMENT there, Zrim. God is a God who says “let us REASON together.”

    “Experiences and arguments (and signs) have their place, but that place isn’t everywhere.”

    I don’t get this. Are you saying there is a place where the conclusion of a valid deductive argument doesn’t follow of necessity? Where is it? Cukooland?

    “My mistake, I should’ve said that sometimes an argument isn’t called for. Would you agree to that?”

    i. You’d need to argue for where that is.

    ii. Then you’d need to argue that it’s not in trying to get someone to follow a debatable and unobvious position, such as yours.

    iii. And I would not agree that it is at this juncture, no. But it sure is convenient for you to place it there. It’s always tough to have to argue for you views rather than dogmatically asserting them as if they were as obvious as the nose on your face.

    iv. I don’t think Noam Chomskey is in an analogous position to children needing to brush their teeth. And, eventually, the children grow up. They see the reasons to brush their teeth. Other things you tell them they will discard because they don’t find either your mere sya-so or subsaquent reasons to do so, persuasive. You’re not thinking things through, Zrim.

    Todd:

    “And don’t confuse matyrdom with a statement of purpose after witnessing your debate tactics.”

    Well, debating dishonest debaters are sometimes times for those “tactics.” At any rate, I’ve witnessed your arrogant and flippant attitude, as if whatever you say can’t be challenged. Should I play the self-righteous card? Or will you justify yourself? Don’t confuse your culturally-given sensibilities or matters of taste with anything objective.

    “Caligula was perfect compared to what?”

    I forgot to finish the sentence. ” . . .they were light years better than them.”

    “Executing as many women and children among Sejanus’ relatives as he could a political squabble? Remind me not to vote for you if you run for office.”

    Yes, if you were aware of the mindset back then. The notion of pater familias, for starters. This is one reason Jews wiped out all the woman and children too. Family was different then from today, would we all have that kind of loyalty. Anyway, I don;t think you’d vote for me anyway, I’m not a lefty pro-health care bleeding heart.

    “Actually, Moo is making our argument.”

    No he’s not. My quotes were sufficient to disprove that. As Moo said, “it is also compatible with disobedience to governments in certain excpetional circumstances” . That is THE MAIN contention Zrim was arguing for. Pay attention.

    “He then goes on to give all the proposed answers to the problem of these verses, answers which he rejects, among them:”

    Right, I own the commentary, thanks though. I notice you didn’t point out that he doesn’t disagree with the points that support my argument. I know he disagrees with (1) – (4), I do too.

    “Now you are just playing lawyers’ games. I never said they were exactly like Hitler,”

    Now you’re being dishonest. First off, I did not say you said “exactly the same”; but, rather, I said your position was that they were “basically the same”. When we look at what you read, we see I correctly interpreted you, to wit:

    “The emperors of Rome were not much different from Hitler”.

    But indeed they were! Different by miles. It is disgusting that you have to downplay Hitler’s regime just to make your 2K argument work.

    As far as Caligula: (i) who cares if he “thought he was a God.” That doesn’t entail brutality. Indeed, thousands of leaders have thought they were gods. (ii) it is historically debatable whether he did think he was a god, some historicans think it was a political tactic as many point out he was very intelligent, very savvy. (iv) Though we actually don’t have much evidence of his life, he wasn’t nearly as bad as the film (from which it appears you draw much of your data) portrays him. Read this, for example:

    http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300074291

    (v) If you’re basing your info off the 110 writing by Suetonius, even that shows he wasn’t in the same ball park as Hitler; but not only that, historians have pointed out that that document is full of errors and his a vulgar political hit piece.

    vi) Of his role as moral moster, Dr. Anthony Barrett says in _Caligula: Corruption of Power_ (Routledge), that “that is patently untrue”. He says that actually, under Caligula, Rome “enjoyed stable and orderly government”. He says that many of the senators “doctor[ed] the records after [Caligula’s assassination].” Indeed, “even the most die-hard critics must admit that do not add up to out picture about our picture of his reign” (xvi). About his killing of Sejanus and his family, Barrett notes, “Certainly the inevitable repression that followed the series of plots against his life is presented with a vividness and gusto that creates the impression of a blood-bath. Yet the public reaction to his assassination was actually anger. Morever, the list of his named victims is actually not a long one [uh, didn’t Hitler have MILLIONS, DOH!], and many of them on it do seem, on prima facie evidence, to have been plotting against him” (xvii).

    For more, read Barrett’s assessment of the claims about Caligula’s claims to divinity (ibid, ch.9, Divine Honours).

    Anyway, let’s move on from Caligula.

    “As Moo notes, there “is some truth” to the point that Romans was not “a universally applicable norm for Christians’ attitude toward government”, that attitude “is simply an overinterpretation that fails to take into account the specific local nature of the text” (808)”

    Read the rest of that paragraph”

    I did read the rest of the praagraph

    “Paul tells slaves to submit to masters. However, no one thinks Paul thought slavery wasn’t sinful;

    Obviously. Another straw man”

    Well, no it’s not. Submitting obviously doesn’t mean “you can never overthrow the institution.” You’re not thinking through the logical implications.

    Not according to Zrim’s argument, see below:

    “No one suggested there were not times when we must disobey government.”

    Yes, Zrim is. He said: “The Bible FORBIDS Christians to disobey the government”.

    “I’m still waiting for evidence that it is a sin to vote for Obama.”

    You are a dishonest debater. You twist and distort things in your own favor. Your are ignorant of the historical record. You play the self-righteous card, the martyr for the people. If you were an honest debater, you;d actally take care to note what I claimed. I quote myself again:

    At any rate, you keep refusing the deal with the tough questions: what if it *was* a sin to vote for Obama?

    See that, Todd? I NEVER SAID IT WAS A SIN TO VOTE FOR OBAMA.

    Sheesh.

    Rube took issue with his elder’s statement. He is of the 2K opinon that you can NEVER say that it was a sin to vote for a man no matter what that man was like. i brought up Hitler, and we’ve went down from there. Logic has been denied, arrogant people have made claims about the historical record that they can’t back up, and important distinctions have been called pedantic. Even Jesus got upset at his opponents when they acted like sophists.

  51. Zrim says:

    1. Ok, Paul, how about you lay your cards out and say what are you getting at with, “What if it was a sin to vote for Obama?”

    To my mind, you seem to be suggesting that there is some semblance of conditions wherein it would be sinful to vote for a certain candidate. Maybe you aren’t saying that, but then I don’t follow the point of the original question. You say, “He [Rube] is of the 2K opinon that you can NEVER say that it was a sin to vote for a man no matter what that man was like.” Yeah, so? You sound like you’re saying voting for someone could conceivably be a sin. Explain.

    2. And let me try to clear up something. I think I have done this somewhere along the line, but I’m not sure. When I say the Bible forbids disobedience I mean it forbids civil disobedience, but commands cultic disobedience. So when Caesar demands taxes for things we don’t like or makes laws we don’t like, we obey. But when he demands his worship, we disobey.

    Paul, to the point about civil obedience, you have decided to push things to the extreme and bring up Hitler. This never goes well. But the point is that Romans 13 is just as in effect for 1938 German believers as it is for 2003 Americans. I can conceive of believers from middle eastern nations not understanding how pious Christians could submit to a magistrate that recklessly invaded Iraq and killed hosts of civilians and violated American citizens’ rights, etc. In other words, without diminishing the weight of Hitler’s own regime, everyone can come up with lots of reasons the other guy’s magistrate doesn’t fall under Romans 13. Unless I have missed it, I have asked you repeatedly what you think Romans 13 means for 1938 German believers. It can’t just be dismissed simply because you, like me, loathe Adolf. It has to mean something between “Don’t murder Jews” and “Don’t murder Hitler.” You have made the predictable (and soooo played)argument that when I say obey it means murder Jews.

  52. Paul says:

    Ad 1. Right, and that’s my Hitler argument. I took you (and Rube?) to be arguing the contradictory of what you rightly claim my view is. So, is it your position that there are no cases where voting for a political candidate would be sinful?

    Ad 2. Right, I included the exception in my reductio ad absurdem argument (though I added violations of the moral law, which I’m sure you’d agree, viz., the state can’t (doesn’t have the right) command you to commit adultery on your wife, say.

    Ad 3. I have defended what you call “pushing to the extreme” both here and on facebook. This is a simple matter of logic and I cannot imagine any of your outhouse saints disagreeing with my tactic. I am arguing from both conditional proof and reductio ad absurdem.

    I provided commentators to the effect that there are exceptions to Romans 13, and I would hope you can at least admit that Romans 13 is debatable on that point. You can’t just spoof text it without exegesis. That’s a baptist thing. So, I am not allowing your unexegeted assertion of what Romans 13 says (esp. in light of both my commentators; and I have dozens of more scholars I can pull off the shelf when the time calls for it) to go through. Now, you may think this is a dirty word, but you’re gonna actually need to role up your sleeves and argue for your position. 🙂

    When you speak about “everyone can come up with reasons,” you’re being lazy (don’t take that wrong). I mean, it’s not enough to point that descriptive fact out. What we need to do is to judge the merits of those reasons. Look a the arguments for those beliefs. I don’t want to think this, but you’re giving me the impression that you’re a skeptic and a relativist. Ethical relativists do the same thing (i.e., pointing out disagreement). Alethic relativists do the same thing, same with aesthetic relativists. That move doesn’t impress me, nor most realists. So, it is not enough for you to make that claim, in other words, that move is not a defeater to my argument (on defeaters see Sudduth’s online article, Episetmology Defeaters, at the IEP site).

    I think a lot of things about Romans 13 and Hitler’s Germany. Here’s one: If after 4 years of Hitler’s reign, if it were put to a vote whether to keep him in office it would be sinful for a Christian to vote “Four more years.” Here’s another: “I think it would be sinful to obey commands to turn in Jews (per the general equity of the 6th commandment). Here’s another: I think it could be permissible for a Christian to take part in an assassination plot to kill Hitler. I’m unsure if they should pay taxes to a war effort and a jewish extermination effort. I could keep going. I could make similar arguments from Stalinist Russia. I could make arguments from natural law. I believe natural law places constraints on government and natural law gives citizens various rights. In some rare cases, this might include the right to rebel. R.S. Clark has said that the issue of the American Revolution is tricky. He sees the good arguments on both sides. Things are not as simple as you’d like. When things are simple you can play your dad role and tell the kiddies to “get in line.” When maters get more complicated, and premises don’t seem to yield automatic assent to conclusions, that’s when arguing for views comes in handy. When you’re asking people to assent to controversial views, especially when they don’t agree, you need to provide them reasons to do so.

    The argument I made was not the “predictable and played” argument, it was an argument based off the careless words you’ve used. It is unfair of you to expect me to guess at what you might mean. I have been stupefied a number of times by some things you have said, so it is not a stretch for me to question other things. I mean, the very first time you and I ever converses at Rube’s blog, I was not a theonomist but defended theonomy against what I took to be some bad arguments against it. You came in and said I denied the gospel. I thought you were pretty extreme. Pretty radical, dude.

    P.S. can you erase my messed up posts?

    P.P.S. How’d you like that stuff on Caligula? 😉 (sorry Todd)

  53. Todd says:

    “Well, debating dishonest debaters are sometimes times for those “tactics.”

    Actually, the tactics I was referring to were your responses to Zrim – your bad form in coming onto a blog as a guest and telling the host how ignorant and dumb he is. That is the arrogance and childishness I was referring to.

    “At any rate, I’ve witnessed your arrogant and flippant attitude, as if whatever you say can’t be challenged.”

    I just get this way with guys like you actually.

    “Yes, if you were aware of the mindset back then. The notion of pater familias, for starters. This is one reason Jews wiped out all the woman and children too. Family was different then from today, would we all have that kind of loyalty.”

    Huh? Children being killed is not so bad? Sounds like tyranny to me. Webster’s definition of tyranny: : oppressive power exerted by government…a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler

    “Anyway, I don;t think you’d vote for me anyway, I’m not a lefty pro-health care bleeding heart.”

    This reveals much. It usually is about politics. You have no idea of my political views by the way.

    “Now you’re being dishonest. First off, I did not say you said “exactly the same”; but, rather, I said your position was that they were “basically the same”.

    The same is that they both ruled by tyranny. You know that is the point. The point is not how many were murdered, obviously Hitler murdered millions – the point is that tyrants kill who they want. They rule by fear. When Peter wrote to honor the emperor, he was not saying that because the emperors were essentially good guys. I have said this enough times now for you to stop misconstruing my words about Hitler.

    “But indeed they were! Different by miles. It is disgusting that you have to downplay Hitler’s regime just to make your 2K argument work.”

    Oh please, nice rhetorical flourish. Somehow I doubt you are genuinely disgusted.

    “As far as Caligula:”

    I guess we can pick which sources are more accurate, but that he was an evil man (incest with his sisters – murders of rivals, etc…, cruelty)
    is well-documented. If you want to argue he wasn’t so bad, fine, but if Caligula wasn’t so bad, you must think Obama is a saint.

    “About his killing of Sejanus and his family,”

    Do you mean Tiberius?

    “As Moo notes, there “is some truth” to the point that Romans was not “a universally applicable norm for Christians’ attitude toward government”, that attitude “is simply an overinterpretation that fails to take into account the specific local nature of the text” (808)”

    Each of us thinks the other is being dishonest. I think you have twisted Moo’s words. The readers can read the commentary and judge for themselves.

    “Submitting obviously doesn’t mean “you can never overthrow the institution.” You’re not thinking through the logical implications.”

    What I am asking for is Biblical evidence that we can overthrow the institution of government.

    “No one suggested there were not times when we must disobey government. Yes, Zrim is. He said: “The Bible FORBIDS Christians to disobey the government”.

    To disobey is not the same as overthrow.

    “I’m still waiting for evidence that it is a sin to vote for Obama.”

    “If you were an honest debater, you;d actally take care to note what I claimed.”

    Funny how that works. See Hitler comment

    “I quote myself again: At any rate, you keep refusing the deal with the tough questions: what if it *was* a sin to vote for Obama? See that, Todd? I NEVER SAID IT WAS A SIN TO VOTE FOR OBAMA.”

    Okay, the statement gives the impression that it might be a sin. Maybe I jumped to the wrong conclusion. But just to be clear, are you saying it is not wrong for a Christian to vote for Obama?

    Rube took issue with his elder’s statement. He is of the 2K opinon that you can NEVER say that it was a sin to vote for a man no matter what that man was like. i brought up Hitler, and we’ve went down from there. Logic has been denied, arrogant people have made claims about the historical record that they can’t back up, and important distinctions have been called pedantic. Even Jesus got upset at his opponents when they acted like sophists.

  54. Paul says:

    Todd

    “I just get this way with guys like you actually. “

    Ah, I see. Right, with people you agree with and who don’t bother to challenge 2K orthodoxy, it’s all back slapping. When someone dares to challenge you, demand you argue for what you take for granted behind uncritical closed doors, doesn’t let you get away with ignorant statements, then you get all upset. Understandable.

    “Huh? Children being killed is not so bad? Sounds like tyranny to me. Webster’s definition of tyranny: : oppressive power exerted by government…a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler”

    It was a comparative statement, try not to be so dense. Also, I quoted scholars on it, where are you getting your info. Quote your sources. As Barrett states, “the list of victims is quite small.” And, how ’bout this: “happy shall be the one who dashes the little ones upon the rocks.” God also commanded the Israelites to kill children. All of a sudden killing children gets just peachy? No, in the ANE tougher measures were called for. What Israel did can’t al be spiritualized. There practical reasons. Reasons that fit into the ANE context.

    “The same is that they both ruled by tyranny. You know that is the point.”

    No I didn’t know that’s the point. Qhuit acting so arrogant and assuming that you are just stating the obvious. I thought is was about the *moral character* of the ruler. Indeed, that’s why you cited Caligula, Nero and Tiberius. You said of them ” The emperors of Rome were not much different from Hitler – they were bloody tyrants who regularly killed wives and children (even babies) of those men thought to be against the emporer, evidence or not.” The parralel is clear, try to be honest.

    “Oh please, nice rhetorical flourish. Somehow I doubt you are genuinely disgusted.”

    Pretty much reveals it.

    ““As far as Caligula:”

    I guess we can pick which sources are more accurate, but that he was an evil man (incest with his sisters – murders of rivals, etc…, cruelty)
    is well-documented. If you want to argue he wasn’t so bad, fine, but if Caligula wasn’t so bad, you must think Obama is a saint.

    I accept your tacit admission of defeat.

    And I don’t think Obama is a saint. But neither do I think Caligula was. Try and make real arguments instead of childish neeenerneeners.

    “Each of us thinks the other is being dishonest. I think you have twisted Moo’s words. The readers can read the commentary and judge for themselves.”

    Except you didn’t argue for it. You did the Zrim argument, “Get in line.” Anyay, here’s yet another top-notch exegete:

    Here’s Jewett on Rom 13 (yet another top notch scholar who disagrees with you guys:

    “the interpretation of this pericope has swung from abject subservience to political authorities as virtually divine to critical submission on the basis of their advancement of justice. The endless stream of studies has been marked by advocacy of various appraisals of the role of government shaped by denominational traditions and modern ethical considerations,” R. Jewett, Romans: A Commentary (Fortress Press 2007), 785.

    Jewett goes on to register a key qualification in Paul’s argument:

    “The form of the final lines in this pericope is compressed, succinct, and correlative. In each of four examples, governmental obligations are paid to those who qualify. Helmut Merklein aptly refers to the ‘conditionality’ of this formulation. Instead of absolute subservience, obligations are to be met if they prove legitimate. The formulation leaves space for assessments of appropriateness made by the community,” ibid. 802.

    “’Respect’ in this sense is the acknowledgement of legitimate jurisdiction…In contrast, τιμη (‘honor’) is a matter not of acknowledging jurisdiction but of recognizing superior status and good performance…Honor was earned by ‘virtue, kingship, public service,’ according to Plutarch…” ibid. 802-03.

    ““Submitting obviously doesn’t mean “you can never overthrow the institution.” You’re not thinking through the logical implications.”

    What I am asking for is Biblical evidence that we can overthrow the institution of government. “

    You sound like a baptist. There is no spoof text on that. Anyway, the Bible no where forbids it. In fact, I presented a reductio ad absurdem argument for it, based on Zrim (and your) interpretation of the Bible. Then if you guys are nat law guys, then I’d appeal to the nat law arguments used (or does nat law all of a sudden become relativistic, a wax nose to shape however you want. See, it’s as I thought. “Nat Law” is a filler. It’s a boiler plate for 2Kers who need to appear to avoid relativism. Are you familar with the nat law arguments for revolutions a la Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, et al.

    I said: If you were an honest debater, you;d actally take care to note what I claimed

    “Funny how that works. See Hitler comment”

    Huh?

    “Okay, the statement gives the impression that it might be a sin. Maybe I jumped to the wrong conclusion. But just to be clear, are you saying it is not wrong for a Christian to vote for Obama?

    No, at best it gives the impression that it possibly could be. I am arguing counter-facturally. So, the only way that one could argue against my claim, against my general argument, is to make an argument that it is impossible that it could be a sin to vote for any politcal leader. Zrim has (finally) cought on to this. I argue in noose tightening fashion. Start with outer, paradigm cases, then once I get a consession there, tighten the noose until it gets nice and comfy.

    I am not discussing Obama right now. Right now I’m arguing against the incredulity expressed by Rube at his elder’s statements. I don’t think Rube voted for Obama. I just think Rube took his 2K too far. I think he was operating off the premise that it would never be wrong to say that it was a sin to vote for some politician. I think there are cases where that it correct. What say you?

  55. Todd says:

    “Ah, I see. Right, with people you agree with and who don’t bother to challenge 2K orthodoxy, it’s all back slapping. When someone dares to challenge you,”

    You obviously consider yourself a great debater and intellect that none of us can handle, but again, as I stated, the tone has to do with your rudeness to the host, not to your positions.

    “And, how ’bout this: “happy shall be the one who dashes the little ones upon the rocks.” God also commanded the Israelites to kill children. All of a sudden killing children gets just peachy? No, in the ANE tougher measures were called for. What Israel did can’t al be spiritualized.”

    Now you are really scaring me. Yes it can, and must be spiritualized. It is called a preview and warning of final judgment. It is an ethic only allowed because it was authorized by God for a specific, typological purpose and time in redemptive history. The killing of children is horrifying in other contexts.

    “I thought is was about the *moral character* of the ruler. Indeed, that’s why you cited Caligula, Nero and Tiberius.”

    I cited them because they were the emperors before and during the writing of Romans. Their moral character was one aspect of their sinfulness. I also mentioned their deeds.

    “You said of them ” The emperors of Rome were not much different from Hitler – they were bloody tyrants who regularly killed wives and children (even babies) of those men thought to be against the emporer, evidence or not.” The parralel is clear, try to be honest.”

    Yes, I still stand by the statement – all were tryants. All killed at will. That is the parralel. Don’t know how many times I can say it.

    “You sound like a baptist. There is no spoof text on that.”

    I didn’t ask for one proof text, I asked for Biblical evidence.

    “I am not discussing Obama right now. Right now I’m arguing against the incredulity expressed by Rube at his elder’s statements. I don’t think Rube voted for Obama. I just think Rube took his 2K too far. I think he was operating off the premise that it would never be wrong to say that it was a sin to vote for some politician. I think there are cases where that it correct. What say you?”

    Will I play the game? No. You could save a lot of time by simply answering the question. Anyway, last word, you. Insult at will.

  56. Zrim says:

    So, is it your position that there are no cases where voting for a political candidate would be sinful?

    If Jesus and Paul say that it is pious to obey a tyrant then I cannot conceive of any condition wherein it would be sinful to vote for a candidate. Unless you want to go with some measure of absurdity…

    I think a lot of things about Romans 13 and Hitler’s Germany. Here’s one: If after 4 years of Hitler’s reign, if it were put to a vote whether to keep him in office it would be sinful for a Christian to vote “Four more years.”

    And it we go with absurdity. A tyrannical dictator actually depending on votes from the people to hold power? Ridiculous. But let’s grant this fantasy actually happened. If obeying him for however long is pious, why is it a sin to vote for Hitler in 1946? It might be inconceivable for an American, but how is it a sin for a Christian?

    Here’s another: “I think it would be sinful to obey commands to turn in Jews (per the general equity of the 6th commandment).

    Again, most people weren’t sitting in houses 24/7 waiting for wraps at the front door in order to turn in attics of Jews. You read too many novels and watch too many movies. So, while I agree that when obedience does mean taking part in murder it is sinful, I don’t think this sort of thing actually helps the discussion. But turning people over didn’t always result in murder, by the way. Before you pull the church discipline trigger, Paul, don’t you think you’d have to prove that what someone did actually entailed actual murder, especially since it wasn’t done directly in their person but by somebody else? Until then, it still seems like you’re persecuting an ideology more than disciplining a Christian.

    Here’s another: I think it could be permissible for a Christian to take part in an assassination plot to kill Hitler..

    Yeow. On the one hand you say that turning people over for something that may or may not result in murder in sinful, on the other you say that it is permissible to collude in the death of another could be ok. Now, I’m saying that both could be sinful but actual murder has to take place. Until then, we haven’t crossed the line from really bad judgment into actual, actionable sin. (You do understand that difference, don’t you? A man meeting secretly but non-sexually with a woman other than his wife is really bad judgment—it’s not actionable sin or adultery until he commits an illicit sexual act with her.) But my more immediate point is that I don’t understand how “obey your magistrate” tolerates plots to assassinate your magistrate. Like Tina Fey says, “What the what?!?”

    R.S. Clark has said that the issue of the American Revolution is tricky. He sees the good arguments on both sides. Things are not as simple as you’d like. When things are simple you can play your dad role and tell the kiddies to “get in line.” When maters get more complicated, and premises don’t seem to yield automatic assent to conclusions, that’s when arguing for views comes in handy. When you’re asking people to assent to controversial views, especially when they don’t agree, you need to provide them reasons to do so.

    I understand there are complexities to these questions and that there are good arguments on either side, etc., etc. But at some point everyone has to take a side, right? At some point you say that rebelling against a magistrate is ok or it isn’t. While I see all sorts of sensible, historical, philosophical and ethical arguments for it, I just don’t see any biblical argument for civil rebellion. I see the precise opposite, as in “he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” That seems pretty clear, and all the good arguments for rebellion seem like sophisticated ways to circumvent a clear teaching.

  57. Paul says:

    Todd, then St. Zrimeski:

    “You obviously consider yourself a great debater and intellect that none of us can handle, but again, as I stated, the tone has to do with your rudeness to the host, not to your positions.”

    No, I simply noted your behavior towards those who don’t agree with you. It’s not a particularly compelling argument to point to how virtuous you are with those who share the same POV as you.

    “Now you are really scaring me. Yes it can, and must be spiritualized. It is called a preview and warning of final judgment. It is an ethic only allowed because it was authorized by God for a specific, typological purpose and time in redemptive history. The killing of children is horrifying in other contexts.”

    Yes, this is similar to how baptists argue for credo-baptism.

    The Mosaic laws of warfare aren’t purely ceremonial. Israel was a nation-state, like any nation-state, she needed to defend herself against external enemies.

    Given her status as nation-stae, national-state, many of her laws were laws regarding social conduct, of the sort every nation-statement must legislate.

    It is certainly true that the laws had typological elements, but that’s not the whole picture. Like it or not, Israel was actually real. They could die if stabbed. There would be no Messiah if Israel was wiped out. And, Israel’s God is a God who uses means. Given the historical context of the ANE, the context of ANE harem warefare (which you might be interested to note was practiced by the surrounding nations, even using similar language to what we see in the Bible). This context included total destruction of enemies. If you left survivors they would rise up against you to avenge their families. Israel didn’t need to defend herself merely because she was a holy nation. Rather, a national which happened to be holy needed to defend itself.

    Moroever, no less an OT scholar as Christopher Wright has argued on exegetical grounds that the calls to total destruction may have been the common ANE hyperbole used in harem warefare. This exegetical conclusion is debatable, but one cannot dismiss it on a priori grounds, that’s eisogesis. So, if his argument has merrit, that would undercut the typological argument of an intrusion of final judgment; unless you believe that not all of God’s enemies will enter hell.

    So, your assertions are far from obvious.

    “I cited them because they were the emperors before and during the writing of Romans. Their moral character was one aspect of their sinfulness. I also mentioned their deeds.

    Right, so my comments regarding your overstating the case were apropos. You did not merely try to argue that they were both “tyrants.”

    “Yes, I still stand by the statement – all were tryants. All killed at will. That is the parralel. Don’t know how many times I can say it.”

    And my argument was that the backdrop Paul wrote against was not as bleak as you painted it. I never once argued they were saimts. So, the statement you “stand by” is irrelevant to the argument at hand. I took issue with your initial claim, pointing out that you were ignorant of the historical record, I have shown that.

    “I didn’t ask for one proof text, I asked for Biblical evidence. “

    I gave and have given it. I even made an argument your your interpretation of Romans 13 for it. Zrim didn’t dispute it, he just called it “a paradox.” So, quit acting like nothing has been said. That’s deflecting rather than arguing.

    “Will I play the game? No. You could save a lot of time by simply answering the question. Anyway, last word, you. Insult at will.

    Again, I accept your tacit admission of defeat.

    St. Zriminski

    “If Jesus and Paul say that it is pious to obey a tyrant then I cannot conceive of any condition wherein it would be sinful to vote for a candidate. Unless you want to go with some measure of absurdity…”

    1. I deny your reading of the text. Argumentum ad assertion doesn’t work on me, Zrim. Guess you actuallyu have to engage in arguing and exegesis; sorry, I know that sounds like finger nails on a chalk board to you.

    2. It’s not “an absurdity.” I’ve explained this valid argumetation tactic numerous times for you, you just don’t want to get it. But being ignorant then basking in it isn’t cool, it’s lame. Machen faught against fundamentalism of that sort.

    “But let’s grant this fantasy actually happened. If obeying him for however long is pious, why is it a sin to vote for Hitler in 1946? It might be inconceivable for an American, but how is it a sin for a Christian?

    Well, I’ve made this argument with you before, Mr. Confessionalist. To begin with, per the confession, it would be a violation of the general equity of the 6th commandment. 2Kers are to the confession what theonomists are to the 2nd commandment and sabaath.

    “Again, most people weren’t sitting in houses 24/7 waiting for wraps at the front door in order to turn in attics of Jews. You read too many novels and watch too many movies.”

    Of course, I don’t remember seeing any movies on, except maybe Sound of Music and Indiana Jones III. I definately haven’t read any novels on it. You’re confusing me for Todd. Speaking for myself, however, I have read several histories on the subject. Thus, I know people were not waiting in their house 24/7. But, it did happen. And it would be a sin for a Christian to turn over the Jew. The majority of Christians have considered this to be a violation of the 6th commandment. Murray, for example, argued that there were several options available that did not involve lying or violating the 6th commandment (and I don’t agree with Murray on his interpretation/application of the 9th commandment). So, if ordered to rat out the Jews, the Christian should disobey. Which disproves your thesis.

    “But turning people over didn’t always result in murder, by the way. Before you pull the church discipline trigger, Paul, don’t you think you’d have to prove that what someone did actually entailed actual murder, especially since it wasn’t done directly in their person but by somebody else?”

    Of course that’s ridiculous. What are you, Descartes reincarnated? You need a mathematical argument that yields the conclusion with certainty? No, probabilistic inferences are rational and warranted too. Given the odds, the Jew would likely be murdered. Moreover, they knew they were sent to concentration camps. They knew what went on their. Even if murder wasn’t committed (though it was per the general equity of the 6th commandment, with is broader than the heart stopping), violations of all kinds of commandments were. I have read biogrpahies of concentration camp survivors, as well as watched documentaries. Your argument is make in ignorance, and ignorance is bliss.

    “Yeow. On the one hand you say that turning people over for something that may or may not result in murder in sinful, on the other you say that it is permissible to collude in the death of another could be ok.”

    That’s right, even you made the morally relevant distinction. It would not be murdering Hitler. Try and think through these things and anticipate objections.

    “Now, I’m saying that both could be sinful but actual murder has to take place. Until then, we haven’t crossed the line from really bad judgment into actual, actionable sin. (You do understand that difference, don’t you? A man meeting secretly but non-sexually with a woman other than his wife is really bad judgment—it’s not actionable sin or adultery until he commits an illicit sexual act with her.)”

    I guess Jesus had his fingers crossed when he spoke about murder and adultery of the heart. I guess the cathechism is irrelevant, Mr. Confessionalist [sic]. And, are you just dumb, or heartless. You don’t think you would have violated your marriage vows to do that? What about watching porn? You must not think that is actionable sin or adultery. This is where your 2K ethic has led you, and it is precisely what I have a problem with in 2K.

    “But my more immediate point is that I don’t understand how “obey your magistrate” tolerates plots to assassinate your magistrate. Like Tina Fey says, “What the what?!?”

    Again, I gave reasons to suppose this is false, you have not engaged them. I have also denied your interpretation of Rom 13, you have not offered any exegesis. I have cited 3 top commentators on Rom 13, all disagree with you. Lastly, on your view, slavery should have never been abolished since Paul told “slaves to obey and submit to their masters.”

    “I understand there are complexities to these questions and that there are good arguments on either side, etc., etc. But at some point everyone has to take a side, right?”

    Your personal idiosyncracies are fine, but you act as those who disagree with you disagree with 2K. That’s my deal.

    Moreoever, I gave you biblical arguments, many of them. One of them deduced the conclusion you seek from premises you accept. You called it a “paradox.” i responded to that rejoinder and you have been silent in return. Thus, you have an undefeated-defeater hanging over your head. This means you cannot know that your position is true (cf. Michael Sudduth, Epistemology Defeaters, on the IEP site). I find it funny that you have no problem mocking 6 dayers for denying the “obvious” scientific evidence for an old earth yet you get all toothless and fundy on the obvious and accepted philosophical errors you are committing. What a QIRCer.

  58. Paul says:

    ““But my more immediate point is that I don’t understand how “obey your magistrate” tolerates plots to assassinate your magistrate. Like Tina Fey says, “What the what?!?”

    Zrim, it’s a paradox, buddy. it’s just the counterintuitive nature of the theology of the cross, buddy. Yeah, it may not sound logical too your rationalist ears, but logic isn’t everything. In heaven, who needs logic.

    See Zrimster, the more you try to hammer logic, the more it hammers you. So put that in your pipe and smoke it. Either you have to accept that I gave you a valid answer, or you need a redo on your answer to me.

    😀

  59. Paul says:

    Zrim, here’s another one for you:

    1. Abraham came from the land of Ur of the chaldeans.

    _________________

    2. Therefore, the Bible permits revolutions.

    Now, don’t go faulting me for not giving you good reasons to believe my conclusion and from arguing in a non-logically persuasive way. And, it is confusing because it is an argument that relies on the theology of the cross.

    Or, are you the only one who gets to use logic and dismiss views when they don’t “make sense” to you? When your view gets attacked, however, well, no worry, the confusing parts get chalked up to your pious theology of the cross and the illogical parts get chalked up to “logic isn’t everything,” not only that, you don’t need to argue for your view, you just tell people to “get in line.”

    Furthermore, yes, *you* may see things a certain way, and *you* may just “come down on a side,” and *you* may read the Bible a certain way. I don’t deny that. However, when you tell *other* people they *they* are wrong, then that’s when you have to actually use logic and make arguments.

  60. Zrim says:

    Given the odds, the Jew would likely be murdered. Moreover, they knew they were sent to concentration camps. They knew what went on their. Even if murder wasn’t committed (though it was per the general equity of the 6th commandment, with is broader than the heart stopping), violations of all kinds of commandments were…I guess Jesus had his fingers crossed when he spoke about murder and adultery of the heart. I guess the cathechism is irrelevant, Mr. Confessionalist [sic]. And, are you just dumb, or heartless. You don’t think you would have violated your marriage vows to do that? What about watching porn? You must not think that is actionable sin or adultery. This is where your 2K ethic has led you, and it is precisely what I have a problem with in 2K.

    Watch the insults, please. I know they only mean you’re very frustrated, but law is law. You know how to behave, so do it (parenting is never-ending it appears).

    Like I have pointed out to you before, private sin is impossible to discipline, so it is public sin that is actionable. Private sin is what exhortation exists for, public sin is what discipline is for. And, what you are saying is that it doesn’t matter what actually was the result of any behavior, what matters is what is likely to happen. So since what is likely to follow poor judgment in unwise male/female relations is sinful adultery (which is why a sober exhortation fits better than discipline), we shouldn’t wait for actual sin to take place, we should pre-empt it. (Is that like pre-emptive war, pre-emptive discipline? Don’t you know that has a really bad track record?)

    The problem you continue to have is to conflate poor judgment and sin. All sin is poor judgment, but not all poor judgment is sin. And the result is to punish people for being really stupid instead of sinful. That makes sense, given the way you interact with a hayseed like me. But in the Reformed tradition, at least in its superior form, there is a system in place that maximizes great patience with dummy heads. Moreover, to have great patience with sinners. The point of discipline is restoration. Given your over-eager and harsh treatment of dummies, I’d hate to see what you’d do to actual sinners.

    I find it funny that you have no problem mocking 6 dayers for denying the “obvious” scientific evidence for an old earth yet you get all toothless and fundy on the obvious and accepted philosophical errors you are committing. What a QIRCer.

    What in thee heck are you talking about, I’ve never entered young-old earth debates? I tend to prefer Machen’s caution when it comes to this one, emphasizing our destination over our origin.

  61. Paul says:

    Zrim said: “Watch the insults, please. I know they only mean you’re very frustrated, but law is law. You know how to behave, so do it (parenting is never-ending it appears).”

    He also said:

    “I know you haven’t much use for it, but whatever else the spirituality of the church protects,”

    and

    “I may be a bad reader, but it sure would help this dunce if you’d take a breath and make an effort to write better.”

    and

    “If not, then I highly doubt just how serious you are and it’s a lot of bloviating”

    and

    “Fubar.”

    and

    “I have found that women like to reason and philsophize with children about their ill behavior more than men—are you suggesting a more feminized approach to these matters?” (and yes, I read the paranthetical self-justification after this)

    and

    “But the larger (read: less pedantic) point”

    Hypocrisy is never-ending it appears. Furthermore, I read where you claimed that thinking that putting bullets in peoples’ heads and experimenting on twins were “the mores of your time.” A fortiori, is your dissaproval of my behavior. Likewise, since you are not the standard of what is offensive, and since you cannot present a compelling argument for that self-justifies your own statements, then I don’t see how you can escape the charge of hypocrisy. For example, how is telling me to write better different than me telling you to think better? How is telling me that I’m bloviating different than me wondering if you’re dumb or playing dumb?

    Moving on

    “Like I have pointed out to you before, private sin is impossible to discipline, so it is public sin that is actionable.”

    There you go again, pointing something out isn’t an argument, Zrim. I gave you an actual argument that you never responded to. A pastor sure can discipline you for private sins. Moreover, a pastor can discipline you if you are meeting with another woman behind your wife’s back. A man who lusts in his heart after woman and refuses to repent for this, or refuses to call it a sin, can be disciplined.

    “And, what you are saying is that it doesn’t matter what actually was the result of any behavior, what matters is what is likely to happen. “

    That’s not my argument at all. Being uncharitable with another’s argument isn’t nice. But this is “your house” and “you’re the man” and you can “act how you want” (I once was in a house like that, very unattractive; the man asked for respect from his wife and kids and walked around belching and shoving his hand down his pants, scratching then eating out of the common potato chip bowl with the same hand).

    “So since what is likely to follow poor judgment in unwise male/female relations is sinful adultery (which is why a sober exhortation fits better than discipline), we shouldn’t wait for actual sin to take place, we should pre-empt it. (Is that like pre-emptive war, pre-emptive discipline? Don’t you know that has a really bad track record?)”

    This is just false, and you are pastorally wrong. I would love for you to find a couple reputable pastors who say this, particularly in a scholarly book on church discipline, but quoting, say, some WSCAL trained pastors will be enough. I knwo the head guys for pastoring there. I also have been at more than one orthodox Reformed church, churches wich had WSCAL profs as elders, and they disciplied members for precisely what you they shouldn’t have.

    “The problem you continue to have is to conflate poor judgment and sin.”

    Poor judgment can indeed be sinful, Zrim (cf. Proverbs 1, Proverbs 4, Proverbs 5, etc). Moreover, I don’t agree with your ethical theory. Many Christians are behokden to Kantian deontologism. I hold to biblical ethics that judges acts in a triperspectival way, e.g., motive, goal, standard. To avoid one doesn’t mean the other have been avoided.

    “And the result is to punish people for being really stupid instead of sinful. That makes sense, given the way you interact with a hayseed like me.

    Of course that’s not my view. You’re simply caricaturing it so you don’t have to deal with it. You know how you said I represented 2K satisfactorally? Well, I have never got that impression about how you handle my views. I try to understand my interlocutors, Steve. You trade in beating down straw men.

    “Given your over-eager and harsh treatment of dummies, I’d hate to see what you’d do to actual sinners.”

    Misrepresenting my view like that is actually a violation of the 9th commandment.

    “What in thee heck are you talking about, I’ve never entered young-old earth debates? I tend to prefer Machen’s caution when it comes to this one, emphasizing our destination over our origin.”

    Besides the irony that Rom 13 is “so clear” on our responsibility that you don’t even need to exegete it because it is so “obvious on its face”, yet you seem to not take a stand on 6 day, which is more prima facie obvious that your interpreation of Romans 13; and besides the irony that Rube isn’t ripping you for being a fundy like he ripped 6 dayers, is the problem of lauding R.S. Clark’s book and his comments on 6 day, which are at odds with the backwoods approach you’re taking here. Clark and Hart argue for their positions and would never claim that an argument against their view was “logically fine” yet still hold to their position. That’s called an undefeated defeater to your view and the consensus of all trained epistemologists (both internalists and externalists; don’t worry what that means, just note that that’s big) would be that you don’t know your claim about revolutions and civil disobedience. It’s hard to debate someone who doesn’t grant things like that. It’s kind of like you asking me to shwo that your view about the apple on the table is wrong, and when I take you to the table and show you the apple, you say, “the senses seem fine, but that’s not everything.”

  62. Zrim says:

    Re hypocrisy, mine are all ways of strongly wording my disagreement with you, tinged with a bit of sarcasm. But it’s all respectful enough. Yours lacks all manner of comportment, is ham-fisted and just plain bare-kuckled rude. Is that really so hard to see?

    Re the rest, we disagree. I will let you have the last word if you want.

  63. Paul says:

    Re Hypocrisy: But I didn’t see it that way. But good to see you admit that it’s simply a matter of your personal tastes, so there’s no call for law. My sarcasm is different than yours. My strongly worded disagreements are different than yours. Some of them had “smilies” attached. Yours isn’t the gold-plated standard, is that really so hard to see? However, I will give you that a couple times I passed the asshole barrier.

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