Monday, January 06, 2020

Christianity and Nationalism: Take Two

"When a supranational common good is clearly identified, it is necessary to have a special authority that is legally and concordantly constituted and capable of facilitating its implementation."~~Pope Francis

“American nationalism...flies right in the face of the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the command of Christ given in the Great Commission~~Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"When evangelicals embrace an America-first nationalism, the gospel is co-opted and betrayed."~~Mark Labberton, president of Fuller Seminary

"Populism is evil and ends badly as the past century showed.”~~Pope Francis 

Around the globe, nationalist parties have made great strides in recent years.  From Japan to the Indian subcontinent, from the Middle East to Europe and the Americas, the global political divide is increasingly defined by the chasm separating corporate global elites from a rising tide of traditionalism and nationalism expressed via the means of populism.  

By its nature, globalism has sown the seeds of opposition and resistance to it.  Everywhere the institutions of the “post national” WWII liberal order are failing.  Who would pledge loyalty to the EU, IMF, UN or other organs of the New World Order?  

Globalization hollows out and eviscerates the traditions, customs, and religions of a people creating conditions of economic, border, and cultural insecurity threatening the very existence of discrete and separate nations and people groups.  Thomas Hylland Eriksen describes the process, which he calls “disembedding”:
“When something is disembedded, it is moved from a concrete, tangible, local context to an abstract or virtual state… For globalization to integrate people all over the world into a shared system of communication, production and exchange, some disembedding common denominators are necessary.“
The desire of elites to create a homogeneous market with homogeneous consumers and “citizens of the world” faces resistance from the hoi palloi who hold on to the old ways and traditions--or cling to their God and guns as Barack Obama said.  One aspect of the resistance to globalization is the process of what has been called re-traditionalization.  
As globalization steamrolls traditional customs and even threatens the existence of discrete nations in pursuit of a multicultural vision, people resist by asserting traditional religiosity, kinship and grasping for national and local symbols that serve as resistance to the globalist hegemon.
One challenge to the globalist consensus has come in the form of a resurgence of traditional religion.  Despite claims routinely made by proponents of the “secularization thesis” there is in fact a surging tide of religion around the world.  According to findings from the Gallup Organization, four out of every five people claim to belong to an organized faith, and many of the rest say they attend worship services.  Members of this demographic are generally younger and produce more children than those who have no religious affiliation, so the world is getting more religious, not less – although there are significant geographical variations (see Rodney Stark’s “The Triumph of the Faith,” Eric Kauffman’s “Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?”).  
Nationalism and religion are married in many non-Western cultures.  Christians caught in the yolk of the politics of guilt and infected by the Wokenss of the age often cast a wary glance at nationalism.  But nationalism, rightly defined, is not inconsistent with either the bible or the historic teaching of the church. For now, let us begin with the former.  
What is a Nation?
Where do nations come from?  Like most questions, for the Christian the answer of origins lies in the book of Genesis.
Far from being a product of God’s judgment, national differences and other forms of separation, segregation and distinction were baked into the cake of creation which is a reflection of God himself.  Creation is spoken into being by a trinitarian God who creates by a process of separation. God builds a house--complete with walls. 
Scripture begins with these words: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The Hebrew word used here for God is Elloohiym, the word used to imply divine plurality.  The Chrisitan God is trinititarian, there are three distinct and separate persons sharing the same essence. There are distinct, recognizable and indestructible differences between the three persons.  The Christian God is both one and many, unity and diversity. Attempts to minimize or eradicate distinctions within the Godhead are blasphemous. Moreover, God creates man in the Imago Dei, the image of God himself.  As there are differences within the godhead we expect there to be differences within the created order. 
God looked into his new creation which was desolate and empty as darkness and chaos enveloped everything.  The Spirit and God looked into the chaos and by his initiative spoke creation into existence. By a process of separation and division--a form of death--he brought forth life, a process played out throughout scripture with the pre-eminent example being the death and resurrection of Christ.  The multiplicity of creation is a product of divine power, will and sovereignty. 
The great variety of stars and planets, plants and trees, fish and birds exist within the unity of a universe.  The same holds true of “man” where we see two sexes, multiple personalities, colors and nationalities which point to the diversity of God’s good creation.  
On the first day, “God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night” (Gen. 1: 4-5).  On the second day he separated the waters above and those below putting the sky or firmament between earth and heaven.  On the third day he separates the waters from dry land.
This first set of days is matched by filling the heavens with sun, moon and stars (day 4); the waters and skies are filled with fish and birds (day 5); and earth is filled with land animals and man.  At the end of six days, God has created a three story house with a curtain of blue sky, dry land, and waters “beneath” the earth (Ex. 20:4). 
God also created family--the genesis of nations--in the Garden.  Again, he begins with the process of separation. “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:21).  
God’s creation is not uniform and monochromatic but beautiful in its range.  In the creation narrative that unfolds in Genesis, the phrase “according to its kind kind” is repeated.  God creates different types of plants and fruit trees. He creates different kinds of sea creatures, birds, and land animals.  And he creates male and female. 
In the creation of Adam and Eve it is clear that humanity derives from a common ancestor but diversity springs from that same fountainhead.  In Genesis 1, God gives Adam and Eve a mandate: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28).  The same task is given to Noah and his sons (Gen. 9:1, 7). The family is given the task of dominion by God. As God’s vice-regent they incarnate divine image bearers via procreation and spread the glory of God. 
But as families grow they become tribes, clans and nations.  The word for “families” shows up repeatedly in Genesis 10, most often translated “clans” (Gen. 10:5, 20, 31, and 10:18, 32).  From families, God creates tribes and nations with borders and boundaries separating them. And here we see that according to a biblical definition nations are in principle just extended families.  
The Revolt Against Nations 
The Tower of Babel incident recounted in Genesis 11 demonstrates that the desire for a total oneness of humanity—the revolt against nationality and ethnicity--stems from pride and rebellion. In verse 4, man attempts to build a city and tower to "make a name for ourselves." 
Genesis 11:5-8 provides God’s response: "And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.’ So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth."
It was God who "confuse[d] their language" and "dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth." But Babel is being rebuilt today by globalists, eco-freaks, and mushy multiculturalists--including many who claim to follow Christ. Such Christians adopt a Unitarian anthropology and spout half-truths such as, "There is only one race--the human race."
Nations or ethnic groups are not merely arbitrary human creations or social constructs, but divinely ordained entities that reflect the good purpose and glory of God. In the opening chapters of Genesis and throughout the scriptures culminating in Revelation with the procession of the Kings of Men and their cultural treasures, we see the development of something very much akin to the modern definition a nationhood defined by a collective identity, common ancestry, shared common historical memories an attachment to a specific territory, a shared culture based on common language, religion, traditions, customs and laws as well as an awareness of the ethnicity.  In short, laying the dictates of popes and professors aside, scripture defines nations as ethno-cultural entities and the bible presupposes the goodness of nationalism. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

To Pay For a Wall, Tax Remittances

Without fail, Donald Trump’s biggest applause line during the 2016 election cycle was his promise to erect a wall along America’s southern border and make Mexico pay for it.  During his successful White House bid, Trump did not produce a slew of wonkish policy proposals, but how Mexico would pay for the wall was addressed with specificity. 

Trump promised that if elected on day 1 his administration would amend regulations requiring proof of lawful residence before allowing outgoing wire transfers to Mexico.  The calculation was that threatening to restrict remittances would “encourage” Mexico to make a one-time payment of $10 billion to pay for the wall’s construction.

Hitting Mexico in the wallet would ostensibly provide the leverage needed to fulfill his most audacious—and popular—campaign promise.  In 2013, $22 billion were remitted to Mexico from the U. S. Total remittances to Mexico topped $31 billion in 2018.  “It’s an easy decision for Mexico,” said Trump in 2016.  “Make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year.”

Trump could have imposed these policies by Executive Order, but for reasons that remain mysterious the changes were not implemented.  Legislation to tax remittances also stalled in the Republican-controlled Congress.  In 2017, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) introduced the Border Wall Funding Act, which would have imposed a 2% tax on all person-to-person wire transfers to Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean.  An earlier proposal in the Senate, which never made it out of committee, would have imposed a 7% fine on remittances if the sender could not prove that they are in the U. S. legally.

Because of the great migration of recent years, remittances are increasingly vital to many Third World countries.  According to the World Bank, remittances to low- and middle-income countries reached a record high in 2018, up nearly 10% from 2017.  In the United States alone, an estimated $148 billion was wired to individuals in other countries.  While Mexico is the largest beneficiary, China receives $16.1 billion while India tips the scale at $11.7 billion.  Remittances are also a significant source of wealth for Central America, ranging from 21.1% of El Salvador’s GDP to 12.1% of Guatemala’s.  One wonders why these regimes would work to thwart migration to the United States.  

That raises the question of why remittances are not taxed.  How often do politicians ignore a $150 billion dollar pile of cash?  Why the U. S. government does not tax remittances and why it does not prohibit foreign nationals on public assistance from sending cash home is one of the oddest phenomena in the immigration discussion.  Money flowing from the United States, whether to Mexico, China or the Philippines, does not support American truck drivers or waitresses and provides no benefit to local governments that frequently bear the cost of illegal immigration.

The state of Oklahoma provides an object lesson for how such a tax might work.  All out-going, out-of-state, person-to-person transfers of money are charged a 1% fee.  Technically this is not a tax but a deduction.  If the transmitter pays state income taxes, they can use these deductions as tax credits, effectively refunding the fee.  But according to state tax officials, 96% of the wire transfer fees are not used as income tax credits meaning that the revenue is taken from people who do not pay state income taxes. 

In a dismissive piece posted by the Cato Institute, Alex Nowrasteh says the fee raises a mere $133.65 per illegal immigrant.  But is this an insignificant sum as Nowrasteh implies?  A team of Yale and MIT researchers led by Mohammad M. Fazel-Zarandi produced a study estimating that there are 22.1 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.  According to the report, the number of illegal aliens could be as low as 16.5 million or as high as 29.1 million. 

Assuming that remittances from those outside of Oklahoma are similar to Oklahoma residents and assuming 22.1 million illegal immigrants, such a tax would yield nearly $3 billion in revenue.  Doubling the tax to a mere 2% increases the take to $6 billion. 

For decades, the federal government has failed to protect the border.  Politicians and business interests have turned a blind eye, thwarting the will of a majority of Americans who demand secure borders.  Taxing remittances is a means of accomplishing the goal that also shifts the costs to immigrants, including those here illegally.  Not only can a wall be built, but a stream of money to pay for border security and enhanced internal enforcement will have been established.  What’s not to like?

Saturday, August 03, 2019

The Roman Precedent

The combination of massive immigration from the Third World and a birth dearth among peoples of European descent is leading to what Pat Buchanan has called the “Death of the West.” The nations of the West have turned from their Christian heritage to worship at the twin altars of multiculturalism and economism, the myth that man is merely an economic animal and that free markets in and of themselves produce peace, prosperity and happiness.

 How did this come about? The short answer is that Christianity has lost its grip on our people. Feminism has liberated women from the “narrow” roles of wife and mother. Meanwhile, the siren song of the marketplace drowns out God’s command to be fruitful and multiply.

The Psalmist says that without a vision, the people die. Christianity provides adherents with a framework that encourages the consideration of others and produces a concern for the future. If history is the outworking of divine providence in time and space then Christians will be future-oriented rather than obsessed with the present, laboring for the expansion of God’s kingdom like leaven working through a loaf of bread. As Christianity has lost influence that future-looking perspective has been replaced by consumerism and self-indulgence.

With their new status in the work world, fewer women marry and those that do opt to marry later. In 1960, the median age of a woman’s first marriage was 20. By 2018, that had climbed to 28. In 1976, just 43% of women ages twenty to twenty-four had never been married. By 2014, 83% were in the “never married” category according to the Census Bureau.

Women are not just waiting longer to have children, but are conceiving fewer of them as well. In 1960, the fertility rate was 3.65 births per woman. By 2018, it had declined to 1.72 births per woman, a record low. The remaining children are increasingly shaped by institutions other than the family. In 1950, 88% of women with children under six stayed in the home. Today, 65% of American women with children under six are in the labor force.

Since the mid-1960’s cohabitation has risen dramatically while marriage and fertility rates have dropped precipitously. More than sixty million abortions have also occurred since its legalization in 1973. With women having children at a rate below the replacement level, policy-makers and business interests have sought another source of cheap labor and tax dollars and found it in a ready stream of immigrants. Between 1965 and 2015, immigrants—and their children and grandchildren—added 72 million to the nation’s population, accounting for 55% of population growth.

The flood of newcomers has reshaped American institutions, politics, and culture in ways unimaginable to our grandparents. No culture can absorb and assimilate endless numbers of outsiders who are unfamiliar with the customs, mores and traditions of the receiving nation. Santayana said, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” Unfortunately, thanks to public education, many of us never learned anything to forget. Read what Will Durant had to say about the fall of Rome. Does it sound familiar? Durant said that “biological factors” were “fundamental” to Rome’s collapse. Durant continues:
A serous decline of population appears in the West after Hadrian. It has been questioned, but the mass importation of barbarians into the Empire…leaves little room for doubt…A law of Septimius Severus speaks of a penuria hominum—a shortage of men. In Greece, the depopulation had been going on for centuries. In Alexandria, which had boasted of its numbers, Bishop Dinysius calculated that the population had in his time been halved. He mourned to “see the human race diminishing and constantly wasting away.” Only the barbarians and the Orientals were increasing, outside the Empire and within.
Durant adds that “infanticide flourished” and “sexual excesses may have reduced human fertility” while the “avoidance or deferment of marriage had a like effect.” Durant concludes:
The population of Italy had long since been mingled with Oriental strains physically inferior, though perhaps mentally superior, to the Roman type. The rapidly breeding Germans could not understand the classic culture, did not accept it, did not transmit it; the rapidly breeding Orientals were mostly of a mind to destroy that culture; the Romans, possessing it, sacrificed it to the comforts of sterility. Rome was conquered not by barbarian invasion from without, but by barbarian multiplication within.
With the Roman precedent clearly in view will we have the wisdom to turn back from the brink? Our Christian ancestors living in the ruinous culture of ancient Rome did not succumb to the culture of death that enveloped their pagan neighbors and we ought to follow their example.

Durant writes that, “Abortion and infanticide which were decimating pagan society, were forbidden to Christians as the equivalents to murder; in many instances Christians rescued exposed infants, baptized them, and brought them up with the aid of the community fund.”

Today the post-Christian West, like ancient Rome, is committing suicide. As Christians, what can we do to reverse the trend, win the war and reclaim the culture for Christ? Simply, we can live as counter-revolutionaries by marrying young, having many children and shaping their loves and affections by catechizing them in the Christian faith and traditions of their people.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Joel McDurmon Should Shave

In the wake of public discussion over the recent Gillette ad, Joel McDurmon unbosomed himself with a typically turgid piece of prose directed at Gillette’s critics. The drift of American Vision has been ongoing and precipitous, sadly picking up speed with every essay churned out by its contributors. One can only assume that Joel will be running to the local Wal-Mart today in search of a razor to publicly shave that beard, presumably in repentance for the sins of ancestors. Perhaps he can also swing by the tattoo parlor on the way home and paint an icon of Rosie the Riveter on his torso to demonstrate solidarity with oppressed Womyn everywhere.

One hopes vainly that leaders of “Christian Worldview” ministries will bring the bible or even the pretense of natural law to questions about sex roles and the ongoing cultural tumult unfurled by the #MeToo movement. Instead, McDurmon leads his essay with a quotation from….wait for it!!....Reason Magazine. And to think I’ve been accused of going overboard when I claim that modern theonomy has simply baptized the worst forms of libertarianism. (By the way, friend, have you asked John Locke into your heart?).

“The ad simply calls men to be men, and to be good men. Step up, take action, be a force for good,” says Joel. In truth what the ad shows is wicked white men harassing women and being corrected by non-whites thereby reinforcing a particular narrative about the wickedness and “privilege” not merely of men but specifically white men.

But how does this work out practically? How specifically do we act? Tell us, Joel, what then shall we do? “We are great at tolerating wrongs, especially those we perceive to be less severe, like mansplaining or minor bullying.” Mansplaining? Unfortunately, my concordance does not have an entry for “mansplaining.” Vainly I searched the Internet to see if it had been censured at one of the ecumenical church councils. Hmm, nothing. Perhaps it was condemned as sinful in the Gospel of Lilith or condemned as heresy at the Seneca Falls Convention.

McDurmon spends most of the essay mocking critics of the ad who, he says, are behaving like hysterical women, looking for safe spaces, launching “man-cotts,” etc.

The problem is that McDurmon is ignoring the broader context and is oblivious to the assumptions that are being reinforced within the culture. As an ostensible presuppositionalist, Joel should be looking for the foundational issues instead of swallowing gnats—such as “mansplaining.”

Just days ago the American Psychological association offered up a report which, said, among other things, that “traditional masculinity….is, on the whole, harmful.” On the heels of this “research”, Gillette’s ad begins with this question: “Bullying, the Me Too movement, and masculinity—is this the best a man can get?”

The assumptions behind even real problems (e.g., bullying and sexual harassment) raised in the ad are questionable. Rough play, which is healthy and necessary for boys, is now defined as “bullying” and boys are expected to suppress natural impulses and become feminized.

Likewise, everything a man does sexually is assumed to be predatorial. Flirtation, pursuit, male initiation, etc., are all suspect because of the underlying assumption, reinforced by advertisers and psychologists—the priests of the new religion—that men’s motives are abusive.

But there is a larger issue as well. The gist of the current orthodoxy is that traditional characteristics of manhood are the root of abusive behavior rather than, oh I don’t know—sin! Instead of locating sin in the human heart our “preachers” place sin in the context of patriarchy and seek a sacrifice of atonement. As with the Old Testament sacrifices a scapegoat must be found. That scapegoat for sin is men and it is masculinity that is to be driven from the camp as a propitiation for sin.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Tucker Carlson Vs. The Mini Cons Or Godzilla Vs. Bambi

On Wednesday evening, Tucker Carlson delivered a blistering indictment of America’s Ruling Class.  If you have not done so, please give it a listen.  Carlson ties together several strands into a cohesive and robust Paleo-Populist critique of the ossified and disconnected elite that currently rules what remains of Western nations.  It is heartening to see perhaps the most prominent voice on cable news sounding like Pat Buchanan, echoing traditionalist sentiments not merely when discussing economics but also foreign policy. 

Not surprisingly the Never Trump conservatives, increasingly a rump party with no constituency, are not pleased.  Over at National Review David French found Carlson’s stem-winder troubling, offering “perhaps the worst possible response” to our current predicament.  Carlson, claims French, is offering “victimhood populism.” 

French chides Tucker for offering up a view of politics that, while identifying a host of cultural and political maladies, offers truncated solutions that focus on political rather than personal solutions.  According to French, populism offers a false narrative which encourages Americans to see themselves as victims of an uncaring elite that worships Mammon, unconcerned about the hoi palloi from whom it increasingly segregates itself. 

Carlson,” writes French, “is advancing a form of victim-politics populism that takes a series of tectonic cultural changes — civil rights, women’s rights, a technological revolution as significant as the industrial revolution, the mass-scale loss of religious faith, the sexual revolution, etc. — and turns the negative or challenging aspects of those changes into an angry tale of what they are doing to you.”

Meanwhile Kosher Con Ben Shapiro, trying to get a glimpse of the landscape, ascended his perch at the Daily Wire to belch forth a reply to Carlson, offering up incense to the Golden Calf of the “invisible hand” and providing a conventional libertarian defense of free men, free minds, free markets and the “pursuit of happiness.”  Shapiro is so quintessentially American, is he not?

In his piece, Shapiro defends capitalism on moral grounds.  Carlson, both on his Fox show and new book, argues that markets exist to serve men rather than the other way around.  Free markets are certainly beneficial but rest on a set of cultural prerequisites and assumptions, a variety of meta-market phenomena that must be tended rightly to produce good rather than rotten fruit. 

Market capitalism is a tool, like a staple gun or a toaster,” says Carlson.  “You’d have to be a fool to worship it. Our system was created by human beings for the benefit of human beings. We do not exist to serve markets. Just the opposite. Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having.” 

Such perfectly reasonable observations constitute heresy to the guardians of the smelly orthodoxies of modern conservatism.  “This is a complete misread of market capitalism,” spouts Little Ben.  “Market capitalism,” which incidentally is not defined by Shapiro, is “not a value neutral proposition.”  Markets “allow us to act in liberty.”  

According to Shapiro “market capitalism” has not undermined the social fabric.  “The fault lies not in the invisible hand, but in us,” says Shapiro.  “The sooner we realize that, the sooner we’ll start taking the steps to rebuild the institutions that undergirded our free and prosperous society in the first place.”

The critiques of Carlson unfurled by Shapiro and French are disconnected from reality and ignore elements of the conservative tradition.  Building relationships and broader institutions requires time, resources, stability, social trust and security.  The globalization of the marketplace—and culture more broadly—has undermined all of these necessary ingredients.  The populist rebellion, which is now taking on a global character, is not a rebellion against the “free market,” rightly defined.  Rather it is the natural response to a globalization that disembeds traditional institutions, customs, and mores.  

By its very character globalization produces instability and insecurity.  Clearly globalization produces some benefits, particularly to the transnational elite that created its architecture and institutions.  But is also creates economic, border, and cultural (or existential) uncertainty for the unwashed masses who are left to entertain themselves with the modern Bread and Circuses of Netflix and X-Box.

Political institutions are in part shaped by economic structures.  The integration of European economies, to take one example, went hand-in-glove with the growth of broader “European” political institutions.  Similarly, a common American market over time produced national political institutions and the consequent diminishing of sub-national political structures.  In short, the desire of elites to foment the myth of Home Economicus and create a global market of homogeneous consumers fits quite nicely with the ideology that we are “citizens of the world.”  A globalized economy begets globalized political and cultural infrastructure.  Free market mania and multicultural platitudes are two sides of the coin, more similar than different.  

Consider, too, the changes wrought by technological advances and the imposition of drastic cultural and demographic changes.  The tectonic cultural changes that French enumerates were largely imposed by judges, bureaucrats, “newsmen,” and culture-shaping Cultural Marxists who captured the institutions of cultural dissemination.  The widespread acceptance of homosexuality and “gay marriage”, for example, were foisted upon Middle America by urbanized/globalized elites and propagated by Big Media, Big Business, and anti-democratic judges.  In our age it has become impossible to properly define “men” and “women” let alone have an honest discussion relating to characteristics defining a nation or what it means to be an American.  These are existential changes to the body politic and whether French or Shapiro admit it or not they have been imposed by an elite.   

Contra French and Shapiro, the levers of political and cultural power are not controlled by benevolent freedom seekers but by immoral corporate globalists—Democrats and Republicans, conservative, liberals and libertarians.  Their loyalties are international rather than national or local.  They are anti-traditionalist and their ideology is the heresy of Babel.  

As globalization steamrolls traditional customs and even threatens the existence of discrete nations in pursuit of a multicultural vision, opposition to the Zeitgeist will entail asserting traditional religiosity, kinship and grasping for national and local symbols that serve as resistance to the globalist hegemon
.  Part and parcel of this resistance must be the rejection of doctrinaire “free trade,” an adjunct of the ideology of Enlightenment Classical liberalism and 19th Century scribblers.

French, Shapiro and their ilk misunderstand and misdiagnose the times.  Globalism is sowing the seeds of its own destruction.  Carlson is merely identifying the birth pangs of the coming storm. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Trolling Doug Wilson

Doug Wilson casts himself as a man standing on the authority of scripture, battling mightily against wrong-headed bible teachers who have wandered to the right and to the left.  Wilson is a verbally-gifted writer and has demonstrated a willingness to pen controversial material, often challenging the dominant socio-political narratives of Neo-Calvinists and conservative Evangelicals.  In a landscape filled with pastors lacking in backbone, Wilson often writes with verve.  Nevertheless, when discussing ethnicity and race Wilson frequently misrepresents his opponents, relies upon logical fallacies, and peddles Gnostic arguments.  It is a curious form of triangulation that could be termed Clintonian. 

Wilson propounds a series of half-truths and outright fallacies.  He believes that race is a social construct.  He believes that God’s judgment at Babel alone dispersed mankind and has been reversed by the blessing of Pentecost in Acts 2.  He believes that Israel and the Gentiles were once separated but now Gentiles have been adopted into the covenant, erasing and dissolving race and nation. 

“White and black cannot get along because their blood is red in common, but they can get along because Christ’s blood was red and uncommon, and was shed for the express purpose of making one new man out of the two, and in addition to make one new man out of the seventy. God is building a new humanity in Christ, and there is no new humanity outside of Him,” writes Wilson.

But this is rhetorical sleight of hand.  Wilson is applying to race and nation passages that are intended for the covenant community.  Paul is clear in his letter to the church at Rome that Israel is not saved by her DNA.  Far from boasting in lineage, Israel can only be saved through repentance and faith in Christ, just as the Gentiles.  “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him” (Romans 10:12), writes the apostle.

While there is no covenantal distinction between Israelites and Gentiles that does not imply that the differences between them cease to exist.  Would Wilson argue that family ceases to exist as a result of faith?  May it never be.  But nations are mere extensions of families and kinship groups and surely do not cease to exist as discrete entities with powers, purposes, destinies and a right to protect themselves and their posterity.  Wilson’s argument here devolves to a form of Gnosticism. 
Why does this matter?  Cultures are created when religion is poured over a people. Therefore, part of the attempt to delegitimize any faith system is by undermining it through the debasement and subversion of its culture.  The Cultural Marxist attack on Christianity launched in the 20th Century was an attack on distinctions that have been shaped by Christian culture.  Cultural Marxism attacks the church by subverting other forms of attachment and institutions that make legitimate claims on our devotion and wield countervailing cultural power. Attachments—familial, ethnic, racial, national, denominational, etc.--have been systematically undermined in our age as a means of creating a (John) Lennonesque utopia. Radicals have been given aid and comfort by the church, particularly liberal denominations but increasingly in recent decades by “conservatives” as well, who are serving unwittingly as handmaidens and midwives of revolution. 

The offensive against the church and Christendom is an attack on God-ordained differences and distinctions in the name of egalitarianism.  That assault is not always aimed directly at the church but focuses instead on the institutions, mores, traditions, and PEOPLES that have carried the faith to the four corners of the earth.  Because the Christian worldview is total egalitarianism and revolution in one sphere of life migrates to other areas. When Wilson grabs verses regarding God's promises to his covenant people and applies them to races and nations, undermining and destroying God ordained boundaries (Acts 17:26), he unwittingly serves as an agent of cultural revolution and destruction. The same people engineering the assault on nations and national identity are also crusading on behalf of abortion, gay marriage and transgenderism in the name of equality.   

The elimination of God-ordained distinctions is rooted in rebellion against God’s order and grounded upon envy.  Egalitarianism denies the very principle of order and attempts to arrange creation on its own terms. Equality thus becomes a philosophical and religious faith that demands the fidelity of every individual and institution.   In this way, when Wilson and other Christian leaders work to undermine biblical nationalism they lay a foundation for the spread of egalitarianism and pave the way for a "new man"--only it's a Marxist New Man rather than a Christian version.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Pastors Fear Rise of Robot Elders

Technology has always been one of the great drivers of the U.S. economy, constantly creating jobs and eliminating some in the process.  But now technological advances, especially in the field of robotics, are threatening to put America’s pastors on the unemployment line.

Touchbionics, a Silicon Valley robotics firm, recently announced the creation of a prototype "Pastorbot.”  “The Pastorbot will perform the typical functions of a pastor, only more quickly and efficiently” said Hyman Goldberg, CEO of Touchbionics.  “Need to dig into a passage that requires specialized knowledge of Hebrew?  We can upload a limitless number of lexicons and commentaries.  The Pastorbot can write a sermon, plan the church pastor’s conference and still have time for home visits.  When was the last time you saw a pastor doing that,” added Goldberg.  

The potential conseqences of robot elders have many pastors worried.  "Technology was great when it removed the burden of carrying bibles to church, helped us eliminate hymnals, or allowed for the collection of tithes from kiosks instead of passing the collection plate," said Clatyon Johnson, pastor of Greater Second Baptist Church of Denver.  "I even used an I-Pad to play music at a funeral, but this is getting out of hand," added Johnson.  

Johnson worries that after six years of study and toil, his services will no longer be necessary.  "I attended seminary for six years and accumulated seventy-five thousand dollars of student loan debt even though my wife worked full time all through school while I stayed home with the kids.  But now these Pastorbots are walking around quoting John Piper and Wayne Grudem.  They seem to know more about racial reconciliation than Russ Moore and even have 'Robert's Rules of Order' memorized.  How can I compete?"