A Meditation for Reformation Day

In his newest book To Change the World, James Davison Hunter begins by pointing out all the various programs and regimes of modern American religionists to bring about change in the wider culture and world. From the political theories of Neo-Anabaptists to high profile evangelical leaders like Charles Colson to Jim Wallis and Stanley Hauerwas, Hunter seriously questions the not only the tactics employed but also the underlying presuppositions which seem to animate them. One criticism is of particular interest: that certain single figures are almost solely responsible for those changes. He writes:

If there is an exemplar whose life mission touches all of these themes and strategies—and who is celebrated as such—it is William Wilberforce (1757-1833). Wilberforce was a member of the British House of Commons and spent over forty years seeking to end slavery and “reform the manners” of his society. He was a devout Christian who believed that true personal change came through salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, and his ideals were fed by his deep faith. As an activist, he led a social movement committed to the moral reform of British society and against much opposition eventually prevailed in abolishing the legalized slave trade. Wilberforce was indeed, a great man and a model of what one courageous person willing to step into the fray can do.

At the end of the day, the message is clear: even if not in the lofty realms of political life that he was called to, you too can be a Wilberforce. In your own sphere of influence, you too can be an Edwards, a Dwight, a Booth, a Lincoln, a Churchill, a Dorothy Day, a Martin Luther King, a Mandela, a Mother Teresa, a Vaclav Havel, a John Paul II, and so on. If you have the courage and hold to the right values and if you think Christianly with an adequate Christian worldview, you too can change the world.

This account is almost entirely mistaken.

Thus ends chapter two. Hunter then goes on to explain what one might hope would be quite obvious to the sane and sober mind. In a word, the real world works in a much more complicated way than certain wistful hearts might imagine. In another word, “Culture…is a knotty, difficult, complex, perhaps impossible puzzle.” If that is fundamentally understood it trends to cast a less-than-enthusiastic reception of ubiquitous calls to transform the world. In chapter four he suggests an alternative view of culture and cultural change in eleven propositions (which is actually the title of the chapter). He begins with one alternative assumption that “one cannot merely change worldviews or question one’s own very easily” and suggests that “Most of what really counts, in terms of what shapes and directs us, we are not aware of; it operates far below what most of us are capable of consciously grasping.” From there a handful of others follow, among which are: culture is a product of history (“It is better to think of culture as a thing, if you will, manufactured not by lone individuals but rather by institutions and the elites who lead them”); ideas only sometimes have consequences (“Weaver’s statement [that ideas have consequences] would be truer if it were reworded as: ‘Under specific conditions and circumstances ideas can have consequences’”); and cultures change from the top down, rarely is ever from the bottom up (“In other words, the work of world-making and world-changing are, by and large, the work of elites; gatekeepers who provide creative direction and management within spheres of social life…In a very crude formulation, the process begins with theorists who generate ideas and knowledge; moves to researchers who explore, revise, expand, and validate ideas; moves on to teachers and educators who pass those ideas on to others, then passes on to popularizes who simplify ideas and practitioners who apply those ideas”).

In keeping with the spirit of the others, Proposition Six is that culture is generated within networks. Here Hunter begins with what he cites as “the great man (or person) view of history.”

It is a Hegelian idea of leadership and history, popularized by the nineteenth-century Scottish historian, Thomas Carlyle…For Carlyle, heroes shaped history through the vision of their leadership, the power of their intellect, the beauty and delight of their aesthetic, and animating it all a certain inspiration from above…[from Moses to Jesus to Buddha to Aristotle to Julius Caesar to Napoleon to Aquinas to Luther to Darwin to Freud to Monet and Degas] All form an aristocracy of knowledge, talent, ability, ambition, and virtue, and so endowed have stood like switchmen on the train tracks of history; it is their genius and the genius of other heroic individuals that have guided the evolution of civilization this way or that; for better or for worse.

The only problem with this perspective is that it is mostly wrong. Against this great-man view of history and culture, I would argue (along with many others) that the key actor in history is not individual genius but rather the network and the new institutions that are created out of those networks. And the more “dense” the network—that is, the more active and interactive the network—the more influential it could be. This is where the stuff of culture and cultural change is produced…My point is simply that charisma and genius and their cultural consequences do not exist outside of networks of similarly oriented people and similarly aligned institutions.

Hunter’s analysis thus far is relatively halting for those who would have it that culture is a fairly simple affair. But it might also have an edifying effect on those inclined to think in similar ways about their own ecclesiastical history and inheritance, as well as their future. Reformation Day is upon us. There is a host of ways to think about it. One way is as a sanctified alternative to Halloween, which seems to require the dubious prior assumption that Halloween is something more than an innocuous, secularized fright fest. Another is to take the theonomic cue and manipulate our collective western history in such a way that dressing up as goblins and spooks is really a way to mock Satan. (Sorry, Pastor Jordan, but I’d rather mock evil by God’s ordained means of grace than with a silly suit. But I’ll keep the suit for the office party.) Still another is the more romantic take, one that first cites a historical reality and then constructs the Reformation in such a way that it not only made bad people good and good people better but also suffers from the Great Man syndrome. By the way, it seems to me that Calvin may have anticipated the folly of the Great Man syndrome by being buried in an unmarked grave.

Then there’s perhaps the least popular way, which is usually the best way and one which embodies the outlook Hunter is trying to get across:

Reformation Day, as we know it, is misleading. It creates the impression that the Reformation was about “cleaning up” the church. It wasn’t. There were moral reform movements about in the late middle ages and early 16th century but the Reformation wasn’t one of them. The Reformation was a theological event that was intended to have moral consequences, but it wasn’t first of all about moral self-improvement and tidying the ecclesiastical house. Beware all the various “reform” movements in our churches today that want to turn the Reformation into moral renewal (and that’s most of them). Beware when folk invoke a “new” Reformation who don’t understand the old one. Beware when folk call for a Reformation that requires a repudiation of the first Reformation. Those movements abound.

Reformation Day, as we know it, perpetuates the pietist myth that the Reformation happened suddenly and in one-fell-swoop of religious experience (the so-called Turmerlebnis). It wasn’t and it didn’t. The Reformation doctrines developed gradually between 1513-21. In succession, and with fits and starts, Luther gradually realized the great Reformation solas. There are some Reformation solas with which we’re not all familiar. Luther’s first breakthrough happened during his lectures on the Psalms when he realized that Scripture teaches that we’re not just a little sinful but that we’re completely sinful, i.e., that the effects of sin are radical and affect every faculty. We’re not able to “do our part” or to “do what lies within us” toward justification because, as a consequence of the fall, all that lies “within us” is sin and death. Therefore the first Reformation sola was “solely unable.” This is the essential assumption behind sola gratia, the claim that justification is by grace alone.  Grace is no longer to be reckoned a sort of medicinal stuff with which we are injected, with which we cooperate toward eventual justification. Luther came to understand that grace is God’s attitude of favor toward sinners. Grace isn’t something with which we are infused. Rather, God is gracious toward us. He shows us favor. He gives to us what we do not deserve: righteousness and life.

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35 Responses to A Meditation for Reformation Day

  1. RubeRad says:

    So I’m confused; culture change is not accomplished by Wilberforces (which would seem to be top down), nor is it accomplished bottom up, but it is accomplished by elites, top down?

  2. Zrim says:

    Rube, culture change is effected much more by the broader structures individuals inhabit than by the individuals themselves.

    So, to the extent that Wilberforce was at the top of the proverbial food chain, Wilberforce-ism tends to only get it half right: his eschelon had more to do with certain changes than him. And because of the Great Man hermeneutic, he gets all the inspirational press.

  3. sean says:

    I’ve always kinda tracked along the line that the larger cultural changes were technologically driven. Printing press, gun powder, bronze, iron, steam engine, combustion engine, assembly line production, TV etc.

  4. Jed Paschall says:

    Sean, I think to a large degree you are correct. However, it’s hard to say that abolition was a cultural change driven by technology. In fact, the invention of the cotton gin only strengthened slavery in the south. I’m no expert on abolition history, but it seems to be one of those radical cultural changes that actually stood apart from technological influences.

    As far as the great man theory vs the social elite theory, I am not qualified to give a great answer here. However, if we investigate the great, innovative figures in history closely, they all seem to be operating from a larger set of associations or some sort of powerful inner-circle to promote cultural change.

  5. sean says:

    I think at the end of the day, the forces at work are not only often unknown to us, but also the results were often unintended by those who were trying to affect a certain outcome. Part of being a human is a lack of ability to be God. We don’t know things exhaustively, we’re not in control of human history and we fail more often than we succeed in our particular aims. We can look back and see what happened, but we’re fairly incompetent when looking forward and dictating the future. I’m good with all that, I’m happy to defer to God’s sovereign will in matters of human history.

  6. Chris Donato says:

    “Faithful presence,” he said, waving his hand.

    “What. you think you’re some kind of Jedi?”

  7. Richard says:

    The Hunter book is excellent, and devastating in its critique of transformationalism. One way to read his recommendation of “faithful presence” I think is to return to the Lutheran/Reformed doctrine of vocation and to emphasize its importance the way Luther and Calvin did.

  8. Zrim says:

    Chris, what I am looking for I still haven’t found.

    Richard, ironic I did find it that endorsed was the book by uber-transformer Tim Keller. But, yeah, old school participation beats new school transformation.

  9. Jed Paschall says:

    Sean, well said. Sometimes it is failures that change history more than success, but that isn’t going to get much play in circles that want to advance a heroic understanding of history.

  10. John Yeazel says:

    So, what are the institutions and who are the elites that contain the most power and ability to bring about change in the American culture today? Do these institutions overlap internationally? Should it be a concern of the Church to become aware of what these institutions are and who are the elites that hold the most power and influence in these institutions? Should Christians consciously try to steer their vocational interests into directions so that they become part of these institutions? The book generates questions like these in my mind. Does Hunter go into this at all in the book?

    Are we better off just minding our own business, faithfully attending our local Churches each Sunday, developing a good theology and then faithfully fulfilling our duties in our vocational callings?

  11. Zrim says:

    John, my reading has been slow for various reasons, so I am not sure yet. Those are questions I have as well, but given Hunter’s realistic assessments and critiques of broad evangelical and Reformed transformationism in the first part of the book, my guess is that he will not be offering up the advice “to become aware of what these institutions are and who are the elites that hold the most power and influence in these institutions.”

    However, he has suggested that a virtue of worldviewism is its rejection of dualism: “Dualism is, in fact, pervasive and toxic.” Harrumph. But he suggests that the idealism inherent in worldviewism is an ironic manifestation of dualism that ignores the institutional nature of culture. So, two steps forward, one step back here, I think.

  12. John Yeazel says:

    Zrim,

    I take it the dualism Hunter is talking about is the type that 2K theology advocates,ie., the distinction between our lives in the kingdom of man and the Kingdom of God. I’m not sure I understand the statement “the idealism inherent in worlviewism is an ironic manifestation of dualism that ignores the institutional nature of culture.” What type of dualism does worldviewism advocate and how is different than the dualism of 2K theology?

    I am intrigued by this idea of power and the ability to change culture resides in institutions and the network of “like thinking people” who run these institutions. It seems to me that much of the hidden power resides in particular business industries who are very influential in electing certain politicians who just may be puppets in their hands. I’m also intrigued by the idea of how terrorist networks and those involved in intelligence agencies influence world events. There also seems to be an awful lot of power influence in the Federal Reserve Banking System and some Scientific Research institutions. Perhaps I have been inordinately influenced by T.V. shows like Rubicon and 24 and certain conspiracy theory movies from Hollywood though. The reality may be much more complex and the power players involved may not even understand the rubric of it all,ie., God is inexorably moving things according to his preordained purposes

  13. todd says:

    Plato noted that our poets shape culture much more than our politicians. American Christians tend to be obsessed with politcs because there is at least an illusion of real power in it. But that which tends to really shape culture; sexual mores, parental discipline, etc… cannot be changed by legislation.

  14. John Yeazel says:

    Todd,

    That is probably true but highly difficult to empirically verify. That was the reason for my remark in my first post about minding our own business and fulfilling our duties in the 2 realms of our lives. It seems to me though that Political, Economic and Educational Institutions posses more power and influence in Modern Societies than they did in Plato’s time. Power is more concentrated in Modern Societies which some argue is the big problem that needs to be dealt with in creative ways.

  15. John Yeazel says:

    My remark above is wrong in respect to the concentration of power. The power in modern societies is spread over different areas and Institutions and is more complex than in was in Greece and Rome. But power always seems to want to consolidate and merge to the benefit of the few over the many. My point being is that I am not sure the Plato analogy is a good one in respect to the Modern Societies we have today.

  16. John Yeazel says:

    Zrim,

    I was just reading Paul Helm’s blog where he critiques VanDrunen’s NL and 2K book and explains the dualism of nature and grace and how Kuyper, Dooyeewaard and VanTil tried to merge nature and grace more than 2K is comfortable with. In other words, special revelation (grace) trumps and interprets general revelation (nature) so that there is no common ground in cultural endeavors with unbelievers. Because of the special insight those with special revelation have they should take this into the culture and transform it. This was a subtle and slow process in the thinking of some of the major reformed thinkers. According to the 2K advocates the nature and grace dualism should not be merged but general revelation (nature) is the ground of common grace we have with unbelievers in special revelation.

    I still have a question of what dualism you are talking about with worldviewers. That is what is not clear to me.

  17. RubeRad says:

    Todd, did you mean for “Plato noted that our poets shape culture much more than our politicians.” as a comment on “Perhaps I have been inordinately influenced by T.V. shows like Rubicon and 24 and certain conspiracy theory movies from Hollywood though”?

  18. todd says:

    John,

    It always comes down to the family as to the chief influence that shapes society. Respect for authority, sexual mores and shame, discipline, work ethic, etc… are all shaped at home regardless of economic policy of government. This is not to say laws have no influence over culture, but minimal in comparison. You can have good laws and a bad society.

  19. Zrim says:

    I take it the dualism Hunter is talking about is the type that 2K theology advocates,ie., the distinction between our lives in the kingdom of man and the Kingdom of God. I’m not sure I understand the statement “the idealism inherent in worlviewism is an ironic manifestation of dualism that ignores the institutional nature of culture.” What type of dualism does worldviewism advocate and how is different than the dualism of 2K theology?

    John, here is what Hunter says of dualism: “One of the great virtues of the ‘worldview’ approach to culture is its rejection of ‘dualism’—the division between the secular and sacred, public and private, objective and subjective; the idea that the truth of Christianity is really only religious truth, relevant to one’s personal life but mostly irrelevant to other spheres of life.”

    So, yes, I would say that, to the extent that he understands it, Hunter is firmly rejecting the sort of dualism 2k affirms.

    Re nature and grace, here is RSC:

    Even more fundamental to this whole discussion is the question of the relation of nature to grace. There is much confusion surrounding this topic. There are four basic views:

    1) Rome says that grace perfects nature. This is the “scale of being” view already described. In this scheme nature, as such, is thought to be defective.

    Among the mainstream Protestants (Reformed and Lutheran) there was a general consensus against the medieval doctrine of the donum superadditum (superadded gift) i.e., that man was created with a certain deficiency in grace which was remedied before the fall with a “superadded gift” of grace. According to most medieval theologians, this “superadded gift” was lost in the fall. In such a scheme, the fall becomes not a primarily a violtion of God’s law but a fall from grace. They held this doctrine because they assumed the existence of a sort of chain of being between God and humanity with God at the top and us at the bottom. They conceived of the fundamental human problem not as a legal problem but as a lack of being or even a lack of divinity. Thomas Aquinas spoke of salvation as “divinization” and the Roman Church today (Catechism, 1994) teaches that God and humans both participate in “being.” The “chain of being” lives on in Roman theology. In the medieval (and Roman) view, human beings, by virtue of being human and finite, are in need of this grace. Hence Aquinas taught the “grace perfects nature.”

    Scripture, however, knows nothing of such a “chain of being” or of the sort of “grace” before the fall. The medieval view makes sin an ontological or metaphysical (i.e., our ‘being’ or creation) problem rather than a moral-legal problem. [See s.v. donum super additum, Richard A. Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985).] In contrast, the Belgic affirmed the paradox of man’s high state at creation, his free will and his mutability (posse peccare, posse non peccare), which made the fall a possibility .

    2) The Anabaptists (and many evangelicals) say that grace obliterates nature. Like Rome, these folk regard nature, as such, as inherently defective, but unlike Rome, they expect grace to utterly replace creation altogether. Various forms of perfectionism and the higher life/second blessing doctrine.

    3) Pantheists and liberals equate grace with nature. In this scheme there is no distinction whatever between nature and grace. In this scheme there is no distinction the Creator and the creature. There can be no doctrine of sin and redemption except to reduce everything to metaphor and figure. “Sin” can be a lack of awareness of one’s potential (or state) and “redemption” becomes realization of one’s state.

    4) The confessional Protestant view is that grace renews nature, that the latter was created good (and was, therefore, not defective) and has been corrupted or is put to corrupt use by virtue of sin. All human faculties (e.g., the intellect, the will, and the affections) are radically corrupted by sin. Because of the fall, by inclination, we think wrongly, we choose wrongly, and we love wrongly. It is only by grace that we ever come to think, will, or love rightly.

    There is no question that humans are fallen and sinful. Rom 1-3 and Eph 1-2 (among other places) is abundantly clear about that. It is less clear to me that creation per se is fallen or sinful nor is it clear to me that creation or creational enterprises need to be redeemed, though evangelicals and transformationalists speak this way routinely. Creation is subject to futility (Rom 8:19-23) and is groaning to be released from the bondage to decay and to enter into the consummate state, but that is not quite the same thing as to say that creation is “fallen.” Rocks don’t have any faculties. They don’t sin. I doubt that dogs sin — my Scottish Terrier is stubborn, but we wouldn’t expect any less from a proper Scotsman would we? Certainly he suffers from the consequences of the fall, but whatever we say in that regard, nothing about the fall makes creation, as such, evil or even something that needs to be “redeemed.” I worry about the effect of equivocating about sin and redemption by applying the same terms to humans and creationally generally. The effect is to broaden thus weakening the ideas of sin and redemption.

    Nature generally may need to be renewed, but certainly human nature (it was humans who sinned and they who are redeemed) must be renewed by grace. Humanity, however, remains humanity even in a state of grace. Humans shall ever and only be human, even in glorification.

  20. Jed Paschall says:

    Todd,

    You are absolutely right. That is why we need more Christians in rock music – where’s the next Christian Bob Dylan (who won’t lay an egg like Dylan’s “Saved” and then convert to Mormonism). You know, not Christian bands, but Christians who happen to be in a band, or at least some Christian crossovers onto the pop charts. We need more culture shaping artists like Stryper, Amy Grant (pre-divorce), and the uber-relevant Switchfoot to get out there and wield their U2-esque influence. Seriously who wouldn’t mind seeing a Stryper benefit to bring awareness to the tragic decline of glam rock since the advent of grunge?

    Sorry man I just couldn’t resist.

  21. todd says:

    Jed,

    You don’t look as old as that post made you sound.

  22. Jed Paschall says:

    Todd,

    Thanks man. I was subjected to a lot of Christian music in the 80’s when I was a kid, and I acquired a taste for Dylan later in life. But I am in my 30’s so I can definitely claim some direct familiarity with these artists in their prime, with an exception of Dylan.

  23. John Yeazel says:

    Zrim and Todd,

    Thanks for the responses- they both were helpful. We easily distort the distinctions between nature and grace which makes for some poor theology and confusion in working out the details of our lives (where we should put our priorities).

    Could it be said that Gnosticism also confuses nature and grace and thinks of redemption in terms of ontology rather than the moral/legal?, ie., they equate redemption with a gradual divination. Could it also be said that most of the Church, when you analyze its theology, is saying this very same thing?

  24. Zrim says:

    John, it seems to me that Paul was so at odds with Gnosticism precisely because it didn’t think in his eschateological terms (i.e. this age/next age, temporal/eternal, etc.) but rather ontological or experiential terms. I would think that the super-apostles didn’t have much time for Paul’s “toxic dualism.” I don’t know if that means all Gnostics think of redemption in terms of gradual divination (as opposed to instant glorification), but it does seem to me that all those who oppose Paul’s eschatelogical dualism run the risk of something other than being Protestant.

    And, yes, I am of the mind that the church by and large is more Gnostic than Pauline. I think Christian Smith’s research that characterizes Christian youth, as well as youths of other traditions, as adhering to something more akin to “moralistic-therapeutic deism” than an institutional expression of faith is one way to prove it. Another, more anecdotal way, is to suggest to the average Christian that the principle and supreme good work of any believer, individual and corporate, is Word and sacrament worship.

  25. Lacie says:

    Machen didn’t agree you. He was outspoken in testifying to Congress against a federal department of education. He opposed the Child Labor Amendment. Let’s face it: the father of the OPC was a political activist. He was a states rights Southerner.

  26. Zrim says:

    Lacie, as long as you’re channeling him, could you ask him what is it exactly he disagrees with? While you’re at it, ask him what political activism has to do with the post. Reformation Day may have coincided with Halloween, but that doesn’t mean dearly departed saints can’t be clearer when being divined by living ones.

  27. Richard says:

    For what it’s worth, the “Weekly Standard” recently did an excellent joint review of Van Drunen’s book on the two kingdoms and Hunter’s work. The reviewer was mystified at Hunter’s rejection of 2 K thought since it seems to fit in Hunter’s paradigm.

  28. Richard says:

    These were part of Terry Eastland’s comments in “The Weekly Standard”: “Oddly, To Change the World has little to say about two kingdoms, notwithstanding its rooting in a millennium and a half of Christian reflection. And what the book does say is a caricature: According to Hunter, the doctrine leads its adherents “to increasingly withdraw into their own communities with less and less interest in any engagement with the larger world.” Hunter fails to consider such evidence as VanDrunen has weighed and which supports the proposition that two-kingdoms doctrine encompasses the idea of promoting the welfare of society, or as Hunter himself might say, its “overall flourishing.”

    That James Davison Hunter has no affinity for two kingdoms would seem surprising, since it is a doctrine that offers no support to the world changers he challenges at every turn. On the other hand, there is an ambiguity in To Change the World that makes one wonder whether Hunter’s dismissal of two kingdoms is a product of his sympathy for, yes, world changing. The ambiguity arises in his discussion of faithful presence, and it concerns the critical issue of redemption. For while Hunter emphasizes that “culture-making .  .  . is not, strictly speaking, redemptive or salvific in character,” and that “world building” is not to be confused with “building the Kingdom of God,” he also says that the church should “offer an alternative vision and direction” for prevailing cultural institutions and seek “to retrieve the good to which modern institutions and ideas implicitly or explicitly aspire.” Putting aside whether the church is even capable of offering such vision and direction, or of retrieving such goods, it would seem without authority to do so—unless it is now being charged with (to borrow a phrase) “redeeming the culture.”

    Such is the allure of transformationalism that one of its most vigorous critics seems unable to abandon it. Even so, Hunter’s book is not without its redeeming features, notably a critique of the modern world that strikingly illumines the challenges that “difference” and “dissolution” pose for Christian engagement. Difference, meaning pluralism, “creates social conditions in which God is no longer an inevitability,” a development that renders “God-talk” with “little or no resonance” outside the church. Dissolution, meaning “the deconstruction of the most basic assumptions about reality,” makes it more difficult to “imagine that there is a spiritual reality more real than the material world we live in.”

  29. Zrim says:

    Richard, thanks. I have found Hunter’s unaffection for 2k very curious as well. His strident words against dualism hit like a brick wall after so much trenchant and brilliant critique of wider transformationalism. And the accusation of withdrawalism never ceases to befuddle me: 2k is built on a world-affirming doctrine in stark contrast to the world-flight piety that undergirds so much of worldviewism.

    And I think you’re right on about the siren song of transformationalism. Even some otherwise good 2k proponents seem prone to assuming that living quiet, but no less particpatory lives is the way to transform the world.

  30. Jed Paschall says:

    There’s nothing wrong with political activism Lacie, but I think you are going to be hard pressed to see Machen confusing his churchly duties with his political preferences.

  31. Lacie says:

    Z: Are you feeling OK? Too much Halloween candy or something?
    Obviously I responded to JY’s suggestion that we just go to church and do our vocations and develop good theology. I don’t have to channel Machen to “divine” what he believed. His actions showed that he believed that even as a Princeton professor he could get politically involved. Somehow this offends you. Are you maybe not states’ rights? (JK)

  32. Zrim says:

    Lacie, you forgot JY’s suggestion about fulfilling our duties in our vocational callings. I know activism likes to gloss over this 2k point because it sounds more active than activist (which is to say weaker as opposed to stronger). But for a great lot of us political activism just isn’t part of our vocational calling. It is for others, like Machen perhaps. Even so, something tells me his activism wasn’t of the same breed as the large swath of evangelicals who themselves ape activist culture. And if it was then I humbly demur. Sorry, I’m not much for the good old boy way of reasoning: if Paul can get in Peter’s face about seating arrangements, and if Kuyper could disagree with Calvin on the theocratic nature of the Belgic, then I don’t think I am obliged to Machen’s political actions, or better, your interpretation of his political actions.

  33. John Yeazel says:

    Zrim says: “Another, more anecdotal way, is to suggest to the average Christian that the principle and supreme good work of any believer, individual and corporate, is Word and sacrament worship.”

    I am with you 100% on that one and those who disagree with this will use every ounce of their pelagian, semi-pelagian and noetic influence of sin thinking to deny and suppress this truth. It is almost comical and absurd!!

  34. moinkhan says:

    the reformation

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