Monday, November 5, 2007

Cool Stuff on Christendom - Part I

Loconte's essay critiquing N.T. Wright's views about America was the occasion for a long, productive discussion among some friends on a private discussion list. I've asked some of he contributors for permission to post some of their comments and they have graciously consented. I'll give just a bit of context for each item, but I believe most of them can stand on their own.

A lot of people want to dump on Christendom and forget that the extension of the rule of Christ brought great benefits even if there were problems. Christendom is not the source of our current problems. Questions about the secularization of Christendom's ideals were discussed. And we spent a great deal of time talking about whether all of America's problems mean that we can say that we are no better than Islamic cultures. Weston Hicks made some telling comments:
We don't live in the world of ideas, hence "secular capitalism" doesn't actually exist. What exists is a Christianized Western Civilization that grew up in the church and when she went off to college she was seduced by pagan professors named Descartes and Marx.

So she thinks she's a "secular democrat". And if she doesn't return to her loyalty to Jesus, she'll eventually be destroyed. You can see her getting wrinkles beyond her age already.

But what she really is is an apostatized Christian kid who has no idea how much she is shaped by the Bible, and how much that training benefits her. Her Christian training and inheritance provide the strength and stability in her life, which she uses to live in all kinds of sin. That's sad.

But her invisible Christian inheritence also make her far more civil and human than she would otherwise be if she were a standard world-pagan, where a human life is worth about $.10 when the market is good.

And it seems to me that those enjoying the humanity that the gospel has brought to western civilization should be less flippant about denigrating it.

Just because our dads aren't all they could have been, is it okay for us to go around saying he's as much of a deadbeat as the worst dad we've ever seen?

The third way, as I see it, is work for something better and be thankful for what we've been given. That includes being realistic about the superiority of America to the Muslim world, however much that offends our cosmopolitan sensibilities.
James Jordan says
By siding with the thugocracies of the UN, N.T. Wright continues to blow it. If we offered free passage to anyone in the world who wanted to come to America, there would be a giant sucking sound as 95% of the world's population instantly moved here, leaving the thugs and the "nations" (that we "imperialize") and their Pharisee/Sadducee rulers (whom NTW seems to want to grant legitimacy to) with nothing to rule. You see, the Common People heard Jesus gladly, and the Common People hear America gladly also. We see all our faults; they still see something wonderful.

All over Eastern Europe, they waited for American to come save them. We failed, but still they hoped.

When American planes flew over Liberia a few years ago, the people cheered: The Marines were coming to save them. We didn't, but we might have. Of course, NTW would have said we are "imperialists." But a lot of Little People who are DEAD right now would be ALIVE if the US government had had the cojones to do what is right instead of what is PC.

All those people were much better off under Western imperialism. What's wrong with imperialism? God set up an empire. It's a legitimate phase of history. Western imperialism ended wife-murder in India (it's back now, of course); brought medicine, Jesus, and clean water to Africa (medicine and clean water are now gone, of course); and moved thugs and murderers and rapists out of power. In fact, when Europeans ruled Africa, PIGMIES WERE NO LONGER ON THE MENU, as they are once again, of course.

When God gives you strength, He expects you to use it to help the poor and the helpless.

The West failed the "third world" by giving up its colonies to the worst kinds of people.

NTW should learn to care about common, poor, helpless people, and stop caring about UN bureaucrats.
More to come. Stay tuned.


Unknown said...

Though saddened by NTW comments, I am not shocked. He is, politically, a English socialist. Jim Jordan is right NTW continues to blow it by siding with the UN bureaucrats rather than those who seek liberty.

It is fashionable to put down the 19th century missionary movement as imperialism. Yet it brought blessings to those who came under the spread of the gospel.

Jim said...

No disagreement on the merits. The problem is when the church identifies herself with the powers that be, and then is reckoned as an apologist for those powers.

The anti-clericalism of much of 19th Century Europe sprung from that source, and we're still living with the remnants of that reaction, via Wright and others, in their perceived need to distance themselves from the world's greatest civil power, even when that power does some good.

Bobber said...

Didn't we invade Iraq in order to start a democracy in the middle east? It isn't looking too good at this point is it?

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the N.T. piece yet. I'll try to when I can get to it.

David's comments about the 19th century movement are right on target. Those who came to Lebanon during that time started institutions such as the American University of Beirut. AUB was started by a Presbyterian missionary. Today AUB has gone the way of so many universities that started out so well.

There is a lot I could say about Bobber's question. Suffice it to say, it is a VERY good question!

Ed P

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone,
I am really enjoying this discussion, so thanks. As to Bobber's question, that is something I have been wondering for several years now. Let me first qualify what I am going to say by stating that I know my family and I are very blessed to be living in America, with all of the freedoms we have, in this time. But as a conservative Christian in America I have had serious concerns about the state of affairs in the church, government, and society. So the question is are we really doing anyone in the world a huge favor by giving them the "great gift" of democracy as it exists in America today? I just don't believe that is what is going to solve the world's problems.

Now, establishing a "beachhead" for the church to do the work of the Gospel in those places is what is important. To the extent that any military expedition by our country makes it easier to establish that beachhead, then maybe it is a good thing. But, has that, or is that happening? If it is great, it would be something that I am ignorant to.

Just my thoughts,