Sunday, October 26, 2008

America the Good

Pastor John Piper has written a couple of reminders that Christians are not of this world:

One is from a few years ago:
Taking the Swagger out of Christian Cultural Influence.

While conceding the truth of what he says, I want to add that Piper is perhaps a bit hard on us Christian lovers of America. He's right of course that there should be no swagger or triumphalism or crankiness or self-righteousness in any of our doings. The world is fallen and we are to be conforming ourselves to another model. But surely overall we admire America for the right reasons.

We often do feel that America belongs to us, and ultimately we have to let go of that. We can quote the Christian underpinnings of our institutions, the Christian sentiments of our founders and leaders down the years, Christian practices of our government, besides the predominantly Christian identity of American citizens until recently at least. Even if the founders and many leaders were not Christian per se, the culture of America, the laws of America, were founded on culture developed over centuries of Christian influence in Europe and then brought to fine expression in the American concept. We were raised to be patriotic citizens most of us and the anti-patriotism of the Marxist Leftists who started attacking the country in earnest in the 60s is like a blow to ourselves.

Yes, of course Piper is right that ultimately it is not about left versus right; the right has no better claim to righteousness than the left, because we're all sinners. But I think it needs to be recognized that the fact that we're all sinners is exactly what the American concept was brilliantly designed to manage to the best possible outcome. In a fallen world the American concept is the best possible form of government, allowing the most freedom to its citizens while at the same time establishing the strongest protections against the corruption of that freedom and the tyranny of fallen rulers.

It wasn't perfect though (of course). It required a vigilance and a citizenry educated in the true purposes of its Constitution beyond the capacity of a nation of sinners, and was in the end vulnerable to determined forces of evil. Although of course Piper is right that neither Left and Right has a special claim to righteousness, it really does have to be acknowledged that it has been the Left's concerted attacks on the foundations of America over the last few decades that have been bringing the nation down. The Left is aggressive in their repudiation of everything God requires of us. Ultimately the Constitution itself has been made to serve purposes the opposite to its original conception. The Left has redefined its concept of freedom to be a freedom for sin and even for crime, calling evil good and good evil. Calling abortion a "right," calling the publication of pornography a "right," flirting with calling capital punishment for crime an evil, redefining marriage against God's own definition of the making of one flesh out of male and female, treating marriage as not a God-defined institution but a matter of human contracts that are easily broken, calling God's Word and God's Law "hate speech" -- These are all projects of the Left since it went Marxist in the 60s, some not yet completely installed in the legal machinery but getting there. These are not the projects of the Right, even if some on the Right have capitulated to them.

But as things are progressing perhaps it's getting clearer that it's only because most Christians have gathered on the Right that it maintains any semblance of righteousness over the Left. In the end of course there will be no political party at all where Christians can find a home. Then we will surely know that our citizenship is not of this world at all and will be weaned from our emotional attachment to America.

We should always have held that attachment lightly as Christians of course, but I felt that a good word does have to be put in for this nation as a great blessing from God and as a great protector of His mercies toward the fallen human race.

I also want to put in a word here about the conspiracy thinking that seems to find no good whatever in this nation, finds it established on the Masonic satanic mysteries rather than the true God, for instance, finds all its leaders to be corrupted by evil designs and hidden evil motives, and so on. These conspiracy thinkers are lacking in judgment of what this nation has actually accomplished in this world in the way of freedom for the worship of the true God and the fulfillment of His purposes throughout the world as a result. We should be thanking God for this nation despite its flaws, because overall it has been a great blessing, to its citizens and to the world. This isn't to say that there aren't evil forces hovering in the background, and even now coming into their day, but the cynical sardonic tone of denunciation of America that is found in those discussions is undeserved, and it unfortunately sounds more like the false Marxist slams of America as "imperialist" and so on that rang throughout the sixties -- anything to call good evil. The Marxist goal was to bring down America because they recognized it as good, as a promoter of human worth, even as the instrument of the true God, and they could not bear that. They wanted the One World Order that will be America's downfall. Well, they're going to get it. Soon I'm afraid. Meanwhile, the conspiracy people need to recognize that in a world of good AND evil very little is completely one or the other and they are giving a false judgment of America.

Meanwhile, yes, Christians should hold all our loves in this world lightly, even the best loves, the most righteous loves, because our citizenship and our greater love is in heaven, but let's not call bad what has been in fact a great good, while remembering that no good in this world is going to last, but the Kingdom of God is forever.

Another from Piper:
Let Christians Vote As Though They Were Not Voting.

I think I can say I did that. I voted what I thought was the best vote under the circumstances, even considering that as a Christian I'd rather not have had to vote for McCain whose record isn't quite what it should be, and I did it without a lot of stake in the outcome. I really think Obama is going to win. I had to vote against him no matter what. Whatever the outcome my citizenship is in heaven and I want to vote as salt to an increasingly rotting world.

I agree with Piper overall so I believe we must ask the Lord to wean us off our attachment to America, which is part of the world we are to be in but not of. And I can add now because it has become reality for me recently, that we may be more easily aided in this effort by an appreciation of how far down the road to ruin the nation has gone in a short time, with its anti-God laws and now God's judgment in the economic collapse among other disasters of recent years.

The more I see the degeneration of the nation and the world the more I long for the Kingdom of God, the more fervently I pray His Kingdom come, His will be done. Maranatha, Lord Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Point of No Return for America?

Friend sent me Mark Steyn's latest this morning, Point of No Return, and who can disagree, if Obama gets the Presidency it will certainly be that point of no return, from which America will no doubt not ever recover. If McCain gets in we'll still get there but more slowly. Thanks to the fantastic emptyheaded idealism of the Left and its arrogant aggressive hatred of the Right, we're inexorably headed for the One World Order and the dissolution of the wonderful experiment in freedom that was America.

Some quotes from Steyn:

McCain vs Obama is not the choice many of us would have liked in an ideal world. But then it’s not an “ideal world”, and the belief that it can be made so is one of the things that separates those who think Obama will “heal the planet” and those of us who support McCain faute de mieux.* I agree with Thomas Sowell that an Obama-Pelosi supermajority will mark what he calls “a point of no return”. It would not be, as some naysayers scoff, “Jimmy Carter’s second term”, but something far more transformative. The new president would front the fourth great wave of liberal annexation — the first being FDR’s New Deal, the second LBJ’s Great Society, and the third the incremental but remorseless cultural advance when Reagan conservatives began winning victories at the ballot box and liberals turned their attention to the other levers of the society, from grade school up. The terrorist educator William Ayers, Obama’s patron in Chicago, is an exemplar of the last model: forty years ago, he was in favor of blowing up public buildings; then he figured out it was easier to get inside and undermine them from within.
It's been working.

“People of the world,” declared Senator Obama sonorously at his self-worship service in Germany, “look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.”

No, sorry. History proved no such thing. In the Cold War, the world did not stand as one. One half of Europe was a prison, and in the other half far too many people — the Barack Obamas of the day — were happy to go along with that division in perpetuity.

And the wall came down not because “the world stood as one” but because a few courageous people stood against the conventional wisdom of the day. Had Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan been like Helmut Schmidt and Francois Mitterand and Pierre Trudeau and Jimmy Carter, the Soviet empire (notwithstanding its own incompetence) would have survived and the wall would still be standing.

Senator Obama’s feeble passivity will get you a big round of applause precisely because it’s the easy option: Do nothing but hold hands and sing the easy listening anthems of one-worldism, and the planet will heal.
Obama has been running for savior of the world from the beginning. I think that's apparent now. He now regularly talks about changing not only America but the world. But he also says it's WE who are going to change the world. WE must all work together, WE must be united. "United in what?" you might ask. Well, in his fuzzyheaded agenda for changing the world for starters, at least in holding hands and singing those anthems, and then in whatever causes he gets around to defining eventually. We know it starts with redistributing the wealth.

I don't know about you but that gives me the impression of an army of true believers all in lockstep with the Fuhrer who is calling the moves. The Fuhrer at first will talk in soothing lulling tones with a look of sweet serenity permanently stamped on his face and the worshipers will hold hands and sway to his tune.

Any dissident, anyone who resists being "united" is going to become the enemy of the state (and the enemy of the world-state as well).

To govern is to choose. And sometimes the choices are tough ones. When has Barack Obama chosen to take a stand? When he got along to get along with the Chicago machine? When he sat for 20 years in the pews listening to an ugly neo-segregationist, race-baiting, grievance-monger? When he voted to deny the surviving “fetuses” of botched abortions medical treatment? When in his short time in national politics he racked up the most liberal – ie, the most doctrinaire, the most orthodox, the most reflex — voting record in the Senate? Or when, on those many occasions the questions got complex and required a choice, he dodged it and voted merely “present”?

... Peggy Noonan thinks a President Obama will be like the dog who chases the car and finally catches it: Now what? I think Obama will be content to be King Barack the Benign, Spreader of Wealth and Healer of Planets. His rise is, in many ways, testament to the persistence of the monarchical urge even in a two-century old republic. So the “Now what?” questions will be answered by others, beginning with the liberal supermajority in Congress. And as he has done all his life he will take the path of least resistance. An Obama Administration will pitch America toward EU domestic policy and UN foreign policy. Thomas Sowell is right: It would be a “point of no return”, the most explicit repudiation of the animating principles of America. For a vigilant republic of limited government and self-reliant citizens, it would be a Declaration of Dependence.

If a majority of Americans want that, we holdouts must respect their choice.
I think we can be sure that we holdouts will respect their choice, because most conservatives believe in the fundamental principles of America which have always allowed us to give way peaceably to opposing viewpoints and opposing administrations, but if instead McCain and Palin win, their opponents are not likely to respect the voice of the other half of America as they have not done so for quite a long time already, and the aggression is going to get louder and perhaps physical.

I have my reservations about the idea that Obama would be content to be a benign monarch for his appointed term, though. I think all that taking of the easy path is a symptom of his refusal to declare himself on specifics, including his own history. It's possibly even a strategy, designed to leave him free to define himself and his administration when he has the power to back it up. I think when the time comes the empty suit will be channeling some pretty potent versions of the One-World "We Are the Children" type sweettalk, backed up by reprisals against those who will not go along with it.

Which of course means us Christians, and I hope there will be many others who will yet wake up and join us. The cost will be great but nothing compared to the reward.

* Faute de mieux means "For lack of something better."