Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Manly Women & The Girly-men Behind Them

Today, every American can be proud that our military will grow even stronger with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love. ~President Barack Obama

As an American man, I can’t imagine being less proud of anything, than sending my mom, wife, or daughter into harm’s way to protect me. (If I hear something go “bump in the night” and I enlist my wife or daughter to check it out, in what sense is this a proud moment? I wouldn’t do this personally, so why would I desire this nationally?)  

Granted, if in some bizarre, alternate universe I was confronted with physical danger and needed help in a fight—without hesitation—I’d take Mrs. Obama over Mr. Obama any day. Wouldn’t you? (You know you would!) 

But this is the real world and we’re not dealing with hypotheticals. Do we really want to live in an America where the official policy is to purposefully send our wives, daughters, and mothers into combat? I don’t. 

Some interject at this point that women are already in combat situations and have been for years. I don’t dispute this. Yet what does this have to do with whether or not it is morally right for them to be there? Yes, they’re there. But should they be? 

Please understand: I’m not speaking of capabilities. I’m talking about the ethical, not the physical. Just because a woman can do something doesn’t mean she should.  

Call me old-fashioned but I fail to see how hurling our women into battle is good for the country. How is resolutely marching our females into situations where they will be undoubtedly killed, captured, and mutilated—in the name of “equality”—good for women?  

It certainly doesn’t seem good for the men who’ve done this since the beginning of time. Does anybody take the position that war is good for men? (I’m talking about the men who actually fight the wars, not the warmongers who profit from them.) 

Some argue that allowing women to serve in combat is good for the advancement of women. Obviously, they are referring to “career” advancement. (It is inconceivable how any other kind of “advancement” can be found by warring women.) 

As combat duty is usually regarded as necessary for promotion to senior officer positions, denying female personnel this experience ensures that very few will ever reach the highest reaches of the military and so further entrenches sexism.

When exactly did it become the military’s responsibility to wage war on sexism? (Did I miss an Executive Order or something?) 

The proper role of the military has nothing to do with advancing the cause of women, and the proper role of women has nothing to do with the forward advances of the military. Nowhere in scripture do we find women enlisting as soldiers for war.  

Some, in their misguided feminist notions, appeal to Judges 4 as examples of women “serving in combat;” but nothing could be further from the truth.  

In this chapter we see Deborah acting as a judge of Israel, not a warrior of Israel. She accompanies Barak but she does not fight for him. The same goes for Jael. Jael is a heroine to be sure, but she’s no military woman. 

Women warriors are foreign to scripture. Rather, men biblically and naturally view themselves as protectors of women and children. Women biblically and naturally see men this way as well. No amount of feminist propaganda can change this. 

You may be thinking: “Aren’t you concerned that all this talk of ‘feminist propaganda’ will enrage the feminists?” No, not at all. One cannot make a feminist angry. Feminists are angry. “Angry feminist” is a tautology. “Angry feminist” is a lot like “wet water” or “indignant liberal.” But I digress. 

I’ve often thought: Feminism is killing women. Thanks to Leon Panetta and our Commander-in-Chief, this is now literally true. As the President observed, 

Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, including more than 150 women who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan -- patriots whose sacrifices show that valor knows no gender.

Indeed. Valor knows no gender. And feminism knows no shame. So let’s send our valorous mothers, wives, daughters and sisters to engage in more unnecessary wars. We’ll call them patriots and tell them it’s for their own good. 

God help us. 

As I consider the horrors of war and the differences between men and women, the God-given gender roles clearly displayed in the Bible and in nature, my mind goes to the manly oration of Nehemiah: “Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Nehemiah 4:14). 

This was a man leading men. 

We need more Nehemiahs, not GI Janes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

His Majesty, Mr. President

Since 1789, US presidents ("the executive") have issued directives that are now known as executive orders. These are legally binding directives to federal administrative agencies. Executive orders are generally used to direct federal agencies and officials as their agencies implement congressionally-established law. However, executive orders may be controversial if the President is acting counter to real or perceived legislative intent.

A President who abuses his executive order authority undermines the constitutional separation of powers and may even violate it. . . . The constitutional separation of powers . . . reinforces a President's right or duty to issue a decree, order, or proclamation to carry out a particular power that truly is committed to his discretion by the Constitution or by a lawful statute passed by Congress. On the other hand, the constitutional separation of powers cuts the other way if the President attempts to issue an order regarding a matter that is expressly committed to another branch of government; it might even render the presidential action void.

I'm against having a king. I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress — that's someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch. ~Rand Paul

President Barack Obama’s twenty-three “executive orders” or “executive actions” regarding gun control have set off a firestorm of controversy concerning the Constitutional bounds of Presidential authority. But Barack Obama is by no means the first American President to behave like a king.  

President Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War; President Roosevelt established internment camps during World War II; and President Truman mandated equal treatment of all members of the armed forces — all through executive orders . . . [FDR] issued 3,728 orders between 1933 and 1945 . . . Obama has issued 167 orders so far in his first term. His predecessor, President George W. Bush, issued 291 orders over eight years, while President Bill Clinton had 364 executive orders during his two terms in office.

According to the Constitution, the Legislative branch is to be the most powerful, followed by the Executive and then the Judicial. This is hardly the case. Contra the Constitution’s original intent, America's Presidents are rarely presidential but commonly kingly. Thus, we live in a “Constitutional Republic” in theory, but not in practice. 

This was entirely predictable.
A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

We’ve not kept what was given. What have we done? What have “we the people of the United States” done?  

We have jettisoned the true “blessings of liberty” for the illusory trappings of tyranny. We want our government—nay our king—to house, heal, feed, clothe, enlighten, and protect us from cradle to grave. At what cost?  

Such coddling comes at a great price. For the nanny-police-state knows only one currency: Liberty. We purchase perceived security with precious freedom, and it’s never what we bargain for. 

Even so, Obama’s loyal subjects have won him a second term. After his conquest, Pravda (a Russian newspaper) observed,  
They will continue to follow him like those fools who still praise Lenin and Stalin in Russia. Obama’s fools and Stalin’s fools share the same drink of illusion. . . . The question is how long will the once “Land of the Free” remain the United Socialist States of America? Their suffering has only begun.
Their suffering has only begun—chilling words. In closing I think of God's judgment promise to Israel,

And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day. (1Samuel 8:18)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

America The Sinful

A month or so ago a friend and I agreed that it seems that America is experiencing, to some degree or another, the judgment of God.  

A Christian woman interjected, “God no longer judges nations. Yes, God judged nations in the Old Testament, but Jesus said nothing about God judging nations in the New Testament. Plus, Jesus died on the Cross for the sins of the world. So, why would God continue to judge nations? 

To begin, her assertion reveals a categorical mistake. We were speaking of the providence or governance of God in the world and she was talking about soteriology. True, Jesus died to save His people from their sin, but Jesus certainly did not die so that America—or any nation—could sin with impunity.  

Thinking that God does not judge America for celebrating homosexuality, legally murdering pre and partially born babies, waging unnecessary wars, and so forth—because Jesus died on the Cross for the sins of the world—betrays a near total confusion of categories. It’s tantamount to contemplating what good music tastes like.  

Furthermore, nothing in the New Testament even remotely suggests that God's judging of the nations, is now obsolete. Correlatively, it is invalid to argue that since Jesus never said anything about God judging nations (which I think is an erroneous assertion); then God doesn't judge nations. 

As I’ve asked many times before: Should we base doctrine on what Jesus DIDN'T say? (Jesus never said a lot of things!) 

If the theory is correct (that subsequent to the Cross, God no longer judges nations) then we must say that for the last 2000 years no nation, empire, or state has been judged by God! Can this be true? 

Think of all the nations and empires which have come and gone--God had nothing to do with it! If God does not judge nations, then nations are not in any sense accountable to Him. (I suppose Thomas Jefferson’s “trembling for his country” was unwarranted.) 

Now, I would ask this: If God no longer judges nations, how is it that He blesses nations? It would seem to me that if God no longer deals with or judges nations (after the Cross), then He cannot bless them.  

How could it be that God can bless a nation but not judge it? The notion that God can only bless America but not judge her is logically and biblically indefensible. 

This notion of God's un-involvement with the rise (blessing) and fall (judging) of nations walls God out of history. God has nothing to do with judging nations? This is Deism, not Christian theism. 

The universal testimony of scripture is that God is sovereign in the affairs of men. He raises up kings and He pulls down kings. This is but another way of saying that God blesses and judges nations. 

God has not been inactive in world history for the past 2000 years. God is sovereign over the nations. He did not cease to orchestrate history after the Advent of Christ. Quite the contrary.  

Christ is the Lord of history. Whether we acknowledge it or not, our nation, as are all nations, is "under God."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pacifists Up In Arms, pt. 2

Last week I wrote, “Make no mistake, dear reader: being murdered for no good reason is not at all the same thing as dying for the sake of Christ and His Gospel.” 

In other words, I distinguish between being killed because one is Christian and being killed because one is hapless. This distinction prompted a dialogue concerning whether or not a Christian may defend himself when being persecuted for Christ. 

My friend’s words appear bold and italicized. May God add His blessing to your reading. 


“In your opinion is it ok for a Christian who is being persecuted to defend himself?” 

This would depend on the nature of the persecution, and who is doing the persecuting.

That being said, I make a distinction between being persecuted for the Gospel and a criminal breaking into my home for no other reason than to steal and/or kill.

“Why is being murdered for Christ the exception to the rule and what passages does one appeal to for this? I am interested to hear your thoughts when you have time.” 

If you're speaking of being murdered for the Gospel, I'm not so sure there is an "exception." (Persecution comes to the Christian in many different forms and thus defending oneself should be appropriate to the situation.) 

I don't think there are didactic passages of scripture which teach that a Christian should passively allow himself to be murdered for the sake of the Gospel. 

Now, there are narrative portions of scripture which describe martyrdom. But what are we to learn from them? (We must be cautious when reading narratives to not wrongly base doctrines upon them.) 

James was killed by the State. Stephen was killed by the Sanhedrin mob. Paul was often physically abused by local authorities or mobs. It's difficult to see how these men could've physically defended themselves in such situations. 

Hence, I don't think we should extract a moralism from the above narratives (all from the book of Acts) that the Christian should not defend his person (for whatever the reason) if the Christian can reasonably do so.  

Furthermore, I see nothing in the didactic offerings of the Gospels or the epistles (or any other books of the Bible) which indicate that a Christian should not defend himself from physical harm (for whatever the reason) if he can reasonably do so. 

For instance, a pastor imprisoned by the government in Iran for his faith can’t do much about it. However, if that same pastor is released by the government and then three weeks later is accosted by two men on the street because they know he's a Christian—I see no biblical reason why this man of God should not defend himself to the very best of his ability. 

Let me give another example of what I mean by not "reading too much into" narratives: Jesus was silent before Pilate and Herod. He said next to nothing in His own defense during His "trial." 

Does this mean the Christian must not defend himself in court? 

Certainly not! Paul the Apostle defended himself in court on several occasions. He was anything but silent! 

Was Paul "wrong" for not "following Jesus' example"? I don't think so. Paul was defending himself in a reasonable and appropriate manner. Christians today have the same biblical right, and I would go so far as to say the same biblical duty, to do as the Apostle Paul.  

We should defend ourselves—in all circumstances—in a reasonable and appropriate manner.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Pacifists Up In Arms

He who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. (Luke 22:36) 

As the national debate over gun control rages, there is another “in house” conversation taking place between Christians: Are Christians permitted to engage in self-defense? As you can imagine, such discussions are often quite passionate.  

(It is astounding how vicious pacifists can be! If the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, these raging peacemakers, in their quest for non-violence, leave mind-numbing carnage in their wake.) 

But are the pacifists biblically correct in assaulting those who believe in self-defense? Did Jesus advocate pacifism? Clearly, He didn’t. God is no pacifist. 

In fact, in the scripture above we read Jesus commanding His apostles to arm themselves. “He who has no sword let him . . . buy one.” If Jesus was pacifistic why would He instruct His follower to purchase a sword? And of what does Jesus speak if not self-defense? 

Did Jesus desire His follower to arm himself so that he may attack others—an offensive weapon? Hardly! This is no “call to arms.” Were the apostles in need of an instrument to clear away the dense jungle vegetation around Judea? How silly.  

No, Christ desired His follower to arm himself so that he could protect himself against criminal violence. This is the unambiguous import of the text. Jesus wants His follower to live in preparedness. Part of the preparedness of which He speaks is a weapon sufficient for the preservation of life. 

Some, because of their pre commitment to the principles of pacifism, interpret “sword” in Luke 22:36 metaphorically. That is, they hold that Jesus intends “sword” in a non-literal, non-physical way.  

But please understand, such an interpretation rests not on textual grounds, but on philosophical grounds. Nothing in the text itself suggests Jesus is speaking metaphorically. Notice, in addition to a sword, Jesus also speaks of a “money bag,” a “knapsack,” and a “garment.” Are we to understand these things symbolically? No. 

Jesus is speaking of literal, physical objects. How can one sell a physical garment for literal money in effort to purchase a symbolic sword? Such hermeneutical gymnastics defy logic.  

The Apostles certainly understood Jesus to be speaking of a physical sword. (Yes, it can be argued that the Apostles often misunderstood Jesus. But there’s absolutely no basis to say that they always misunderstood Him; much less that they were misunderstanding Him here.)  

They respond to Christ’s command thus: “Lord, look, here are two swords” (Luke 22:38). To be sure, these were two physical weapons. Jesus didn’t say, “Come on, guys! I’m not talking about that kind of sword.” What did He say? Jesus said, “It is enough” (Luke 22:38). 

Some offer that Jesus’ “It is enough,” is a gentle rebuke. Again, there is no textual reason to suggest this. And we mustn’t overlook this one important fact: Our Lord and His Apostles were traveling armed. Does anyone honestly believe that Jesus was unaware of these two weapons? 

Recognizing the illegitimacy of interpreting “sword” symbolically, other pacifists leave Luke 22 and run to Matthew 26:52. “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” 

In combining Luke 22 with Matthew 26, the pacifist leaves us with this: “If you don’t have a sword and you lack the funds to purchase one, sell your garment in order to buy a weapon. Now, having bought the weapon, sheathe it and never use it for any reason.” 

Such Bible interpretation is at best untenable. Was Jesus’ very specific instruction to Peter—to put away his sword (a physical weapon)—meant to be universalized? Of course not. But Peter will be killed if he doesn’t immediately cease and desist fighting.  

Furthermore, Jesus does not require Peter or his sword to defend Himself. Jesus has more formidable weapons at His disposal (Matthew 26:53)! But it’s not the will of the Father for Jesus to defend His person at this time. 

At this particular time, it is the will of the Father that Jesus purposefully lay down His life for His people. This is why He came. 

It is highly inappropriate for the pacifist to allege that because Jesus did not resist the Cross Christians today should not resist the criminal. Jesus’ mission, as the sacrificial Lamb of God, was the redemption of God’s people.  

You and I are not called to such a mission. If an intruder invades our home and seeks to rape and murder our family, we are not called by God to passively allow him to do so. Rather, because our life and our family’s lives are sacred, we are called by God to protect and defend our life and theirs. 

Make no mistake, dear reader: being murdered for no good reason is not at all the same thing as dying for the sake of Christ and His Gospel.  

There are men who wouldn’t lift a finger to protect themselves or their wife and children. Should their wife be molested their attitude seems to be: “Well, honey, this is your cross to bear.” 

Others take a more “spiritual” approach: “God is our protector. I have no need of weapons or violence.” It’s true. God is our protector. He is also our provider and our healer. Do we therefore have no need of jobs or doctors and medicines?  

In the final analysis, we should not, in the “name of Christ,” passively allow aggression against our family and person. We must not confuse passivity with piety, cowardice with virtue. 

However, if your conscience disallows you to defend yourself and your loved ones, then by all means follow your conscience; but do not conflate your conscience with scripture.