Political Worldview of Scripture

In the 19th Century, Postmillennialism dominated the American mind simply because life was going well: The New World was expanding. It was good overall. Social well-being became more comfortable. Reform and growth was prevalent in life.

Scripture was viewed through the lens of political optimism.

When the turn of the century came along, Scripture came alive regarding wars and rumors of wars, nations and kingdoms rising up against kingdoms, famine, and earthquakes in various places, life waxing worse and worse (Matthew 24:6-8; 2 Timothy 3:13).

Pessimistic eschatologies began pushing optimistic worldviews from view.

Scripture was viewed through the lens of political pessimism.

Scripture falls prey to the echo-chamber of the prevailing political worldview.

Let me connect this discussion back to my initial point in my previous two posts: People view Scripture from within the echo-chamber of political standpoints. However, the political expressions have roots within the exact same thinking (although expressed differently)–i.e. Marxist ideology. Marxism has dominated our thinking. We do not understand nor realize the extent to which we think within Marxist thought.

In his systematic theology, Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction, Michael Bird explains the thinking and problem Charles Hodge (December 27, 1797 – June 19, 1878) had in his approach to theology:

Establish theology as science.

-> Show that theology has a scientific method.

->Define theology and show its necessity.

->Criticize competing options.

-> Establish bases for beliefs.

Bird writes, “Hodge imbibes several modernist impulses even when his theology is defined over and against Modernity. … The problem is, that they allowed Modernity to define the rules of the game. They enabled Modernity to set the agenda for theology, including its beginnings, task, and method. They also ran the risk that the failings of Modernity with its claim to unbridled access to absolute truth could also become the failings of Christian theology. By showing that the Word of God aligned with ‘reason,’ they were in the end subjecting the Word of God beneath reason.”

Now, let me reword Bird’s explanation and apply it to our current political ideology.

Non-Marxists imbibe several Marxist impulses even when their politics are defined over and against Marxism. … The problem is, they allow Marxism to define the rules of the game. They enabled Marxism to set the agenda for politics, including its beginnings, task, and method. They also run the risk that the failings of Marxism with its claim to unbridled utopia could also become the failings of any political camp in the linear political spectrum. By showing that their non-Marxist ideology is aligned with non-Marxist thought, they were in the end subjecting their political position beneath Marxism–because they still think within the Marxist ideology of a linear political spectrum.

The Gospel steps in and shatters the political spectrum in pieces, and the next parts of this series will explore this in more detail.


Scripture and Politics

We live in a hyper-political world — a Marxist world.

As I tried to point out previously, even when we rightly point out the errors of Critical Race Theory and Marxism, we need to be careful we are not still thinking within Marxist ideology. Marxist ideology has far reaching implications than simply Communism and Socialism. It is a holistic way of thinking which includes politics, namely, our linear thought: Left vs Right, Communism vs Free. The fact we think in these terms, proves we are thinking within Marxist ideology.

When we are conditioned to think within Marxist ideology (and we are simply by the fact of our linear approach to politics), it is difficult to shift into a biblical paradigm of thought.

Let’s switch gears a moment and talk about Autism.

What do you think about when you consider the Autism Spectrum?

Do you think in a linear fashion?

On the left: Not Autistic.

On the right: Very Autistic

This image is from The Art of Autism which has been very helpful in understanding Autism.

Back to Politics

This is what I want to extrapolate from the Autism Spectrum and into the Political Spectrum but shaped and formed through a biblical viewpoint.

Political views do not hold a monopoly on the principles upon which the views are built, yet we treat the foundational principles in isolation. In other words, when someone shares, “I believe X,” we assume that person is Conservative or that person is Liberal. We hear a part of their view and assume the part for the whole. This is the Fallacy of Composition.

But further, we do not allow for shades of a view. We do not allow for nuance or levels of emphasis.

Viewing politics as a nuanced system of thought is more advantageous and allows freedom of thought and promotes discussion. Think in terms of the Autism Spectrum circle shown above–unlike our linear approach which promotes separation, distinction, and hard & fast rules which promote echo-chamber thinking and self-congratulatory “achievement” of thought.

This leads us back to my main point: Marxism has infiltrated our thinking in many (most? every?) spheres of life. We fail to recognize to what extent we think in Marxist ideology even though we rightly call out the failings of a political view: We still think within the Marxist system of thought.

We will explore more of this in future articles.


Scripture and Marxism

What do you think of when you consider politics?

When you think of politics do you think of Left vs Right? Liberal vs Conservative? Communism vs Freedom?

*This image was borrowed from Voting Mad.

More and more Christians are pointing out Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Marxism when discussing certain topics such as Black Lives Matter (and not necessarily black lives matter). (You can watch this video which explains Critical Race Theory here).

In the chapter, Marxism and the Marxism Tradition, the author writes,

Horkheimer (1895-1973) developed the discipline within philosophy known as critical theory, that is, critical analysis set toward the practical end of liberating and emancipating human beings from conditions of enslavement. Marxist critical theory would express special interest in democratic and egalitarian justice for those who had been oppressed throughout history because of their gender, race, and disability. It also applied a critical analysis to a broad spectrum of disciplines: Law, history, sociology, psychology/politics, economics, and aesthetics.

Karl Marx (Great Thinkers) by William D. Dennison (p. 12).

One significant goal of Marxism is to make everyone free from oppression, establishing justice as the end of the means. These are good and right goals.

However, much of what Marx espoused is unbiblical with kernels of truth.

We should seek justice, mercy, and freedom within all spheres of life. These are good and right and necessary. But Marx desired these to be implemented in a compulsory fashion.

Within Marxist theory, Marx presents ideas which assume humankind is inherently good. And when it suits him, he presents ideas which assume humankind is inherently sinful. There’s conflict within the philosophy. (This idea is beyond the scope of this article).

In order to establish the ends to his theory, he devised a segmented view of politics. Marx wanted everything to be political: Marriage. Education. Theology. Family. Church.

Marx wanted a distinction between each segment of political thought. He wanted sharp separation between social classes.

Marx devised a plan which produces conflict: And we are left with our linear form of thought–Left vs Right.

The point I want to make extremely clear: Those who denounce CRT and Marxism still think within Marxist theory. Here is what I am not saying: Do not denounce CRT and Marxism. And here is what I am saying: Denounce CRT and Marxism.

Marxist theory promotes an “Us vs Them” mentality. Christianity, however, says, “Us, come join us.”

However, Marxist thought so permeates our collective thinking, even though Marxism and CRT are denounced (as rightly they should be!), people still think in terms of Marxist thought.

Let’s say we are flying in a plane from East to West. You and I are standing in the front of the plane. You say, “I want to go East.” And you begin running down the aisle to the back of the plane–going East.

Are you truly going East?

The plane is Marxist theory, specifically the linear political thinking. No matter how much effort you take to head East, you end up going West.

Scripture demonstrates something utterly different.

I don’t like politics, and I do not intend to make this a political site.

I am addressing the Marxist ideology in which many (most?) people think rather than biblical thinking. By all means, call out the issues with Marxist theory and CRT. Just make sure to think biblically in these matters.

Biblical love is sacrificial love. Jesus is our prime example of this. Yes, he is our Savior–the Savior of the world, in fact–but he is our example of giving up his rights for a little time for the sake of the people he loves (Philippians 2; Hebrews 2).

Biblical sacrifice is voluntary, not as Marx devised–as compulsory. We are to defer to another, loving one another like we like to be loved. And so, there are aspects of what Scripture teaches which, when understood wrongly, can appear to promote compulsory confiscation of rights, when in reality, it is out of love and deference from which we give from the storehouse we have been entrusted and are stewards of in a sacrificial way because Jesus made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.

And to this, we say, “Amen.” Lord, Jesus, make us more like you.

In the next article, I would like to explore what Christian thinking should look like within politics.


Pray (even more) for your Pastors

We live in uncertain times. We need to pray for our Pastors.

Pastors can experience deep valleys of loneliness. Of pressures from those whom they counsel. Of thoughts, “Did I do enough?”

I have heard from many Pastors as of late. One theme? Pastors hear from people (even from within their own congregation) on opposite sides of all kinds of subjects; the subject which is having the greatest impact right now is Covid.

Let me get straight to the point: Whatever decision a Pastor makes, he is being confronted for his “wrong”, “poor,” or “bad” decision.

These decisions are not sin issues. These decisions are in the areas in which we hope and pray will make a bad situation (at least) somewhat better.

Yet Pastors are confronted as if these are sin issues.

My mind is brought to 1 Corinthians 8 where the Apostle Paul discusses food being offered to idols. Idols are nothing. So it doesn’t matter that food was offered to idols. We know the truth. “We know that an idol has no real existence, and that ‘there is no God but one.’ Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.”

Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, no better if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. Please read this passage (1 Corinthians 8).

There is not a one-for-one parallel between “food offered to idols” and Covid.

What remains, though, is: Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

Are we building up in love? Are we sacrificing our energy in love? Are we acting in selfless love for others?

Your Pastor is striving to build up everyone for whom he will give an account to God.

Worship of God (corporately) is a preeminent privilege and responsibility of God’s people. The goal is to establish a situation in which the vast majority of members (if not every member) will feel confident in their conscience to physically join the corporate worship.

This is a weighty responsibility Pastors take seriously.

Your Pastor needs even more prayer. We need to pray for our Pastors.

If at the very least, pray for your Pastor and text him that you have just prayed for him. Let him know he is not alone. Let him know you will support him in his decisions because when it comes down to it, he is not making them to make everyone happy–Nor are his decisions a matter of sin. He’s making these decisions so that the people for whom he will give an account will be able to join in one accord as many of the others who desire to worship God in Spirit and Truth.

Pray even more for your Pastors.


Pray for your Pastors

Pray for your Pastors.

I grieve at the loss of Darrin Patrick. He was a man of God who God used greatly.

Pastors carry a weighty load. Not only do Pastors carry their own weighty loads, they carry the weighty loads of the people under whom God has placed in their care.

Sharing. Listening. Counseling. Laughing. Grieving. Preaching. Rebuking. Caring. Loving. Leading. Guiding. Sympathizing. Helping.

Much of the time, these things are not easy. Multiply your situation times the number of people in your church, plus others who randomly stop by for help, and you have a part of what a Pastor carries.

Pastors can be very lonely. They need others to help carry their loads.

When you disagree with your Pastor, please disagree in a spirit of humility and gentleness: Not because he can’t handle it, but he is already discouraged with a situation you know nothing about.

There is always something a Pastor is dealing with.

Listen to your Pastor. Take heed his counsel. He cares deeply for you.

Hebrews 13:17

[17] Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (ESV)

This is not an absolute, “obey your Pastor!” It is a joyful submission under their leadership. (If you cannot listen to your Pastor’s advice, why are you submitting yourself under their leadership? Is it because of your hardness of heart? Granted, it could be your Pastor is difficult. I believe that is the exception). My point is more, Pastors know they will have to give an account for how they shepherd God’s people.

Did you know that? Pastors will give an account for how they shepherd God’s people.

That’s weighty.

And sometimes Pastors struggle through the challenges set before them. Weighty challenges.

Pray for your Pastors.

Pray your Pastors will be fortified in the inner-man so they may be an example to the flock God has given them.

Pray your Pastors do not give up hope. Pray your Pastors will stand firm upon the Gospel for which they have been called to preach.

And right now, pray for Darrin Patrick’s family. They also carry a heavy weight of loss.

Above all, pray.


God Still Works

We read in Genesis 2:3, “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”

Did God rest? Yes. Was his rest a complete rest? Well, his rest from creation, yes.

I suggest, God kept working just not on creation.

Jesus said in John 5:17, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

This work is God working to glorify himself in creation and covering the earth with his glory like the seas cover the earth by the saving of souls.


Be Followers of Me

“This habit that modern people often have of thinking and speaking of the new birth as if it could be perceived in the soul and is something to be possessed in themselves is a great snare to many humble and earnest believers; it drives them to despair or turns them into hypocrites, for though they try to live up to “born-again and converted” lives, they know secretly how sinful they are, and that considered in their deepest selves they are not new creatures. That is not the way of Jesus but the way of the Pharisees. Just as it is not in ourselves that we have to seek our righteousness but in Christ, so it is not in ourselves that we have to seek our new birth but in Christ alone. The animal is made to have its life in its own carnal experience, but man is made to find his life in God and not in himself. The Christian who lives out of his own experience of new birth is a carnal Christian, and has not yet learned to know that new birth is from above, and is of the Spirit, and therefore that it cannot be discerned below but only discerned above in Christ.

….Nicodemus was a deeply religious man, but it was precisely to him that Jesus spoke so strongly of the need for new birth and birth from above. There was another Pharisee of whom we know much more than Nicodemus, Saul of Tarsus, who had an outstanding conversion which changed his whole life and who, as born again and baptized in Christ, was known by a new name, Paul. But Paul never spoke of new birth or of conversion as a psychological experience; from beginning to end it was of “the new man in Christ” that he spoke, because it is in Christ that we are given to share in the new life of the new creation. It is in St. Paul that we find the perfect fulfillment of what Jesus Christ taught to Nicodemus, and it was St. Paul who said,’Be ye followers of me, as I am of Christ.'”

T.F. Torrance, pg 74-75 “When Christ Comes and Comes Again”

Lamentations lamentations 3 Uncategorized

The Mercies of God

21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

  • God is faithful to everyone that is His
  • God’s mercies are new every morning
  • There is not a moment on earth when morning is not breaking

Help My Unbelief

Words: John Newton (1725-1807), Music: Clint Wells (2005)
From the album “Help My Unbelief”

I know the Lord is nigh,
and would but cannot pray,
for Satan meets me when I try
and frights my soul away.
And frights my soul away.

I would but can’t repent,
though I endeavor oft;
This stony heart can ne’er relent
till Jesus makes it soft.
Till Jesus makes it soft.

Help my unbelief.
Help my unbelief.
Help my unbelief.
My help must come from Thee.

I would but cannot love,
though wooed by love divine;
No arguments have pow’r to move
a soul as base as mine.
A soul as base as mine.

I would but cannot rest
in God’s most holy will;
I know what he appoints is best
and murmur at it still.
I murmur at it still.

Help my unbelief.
Help my unbelief.
Help my unbelief.
My help must come from Thee.