The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the month “March, 2013”

In Memory of Edith Schaeffer (1914-2013)

Francis and Edith Schaeffer are now together in paradise with their Lord and Savior, Jesus.  Edith died today and you can read the details here: Edith Schaeffer 1914-2013.

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

Pastor John Stoos of Church of the King Sacramento had the following to say,
“As most of you know, her husband Francis had a tremendous influence on my life as a young Christian and I have benefited from his discipleship down through these many years.  The writings and teaching of Edith were especially important and dear to my wife Linda!  We are now blessed to see her influence in the second and third generations of our family.  We miss them both very much and yet rejoice that they are now together with their Lord in paradise!”
Her work will continue to bless generation after generation of Christians who, like her, find shelter (French: l’abri) in the Lord.
Francis and Edith Schaeffer
I’ve posted a few quotes that you should share around on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, and in conversations to memorialize the life of a true Proverbs 31 woman.
Tradition as the Best Gift:

“There is something about saying, ‘We always do this,’ which helps keep the years together. Time is such an elusive thing that if we keep on meaning to do something interesting, but never do it, year would follow year with no special thoughtfulness being expressed in making gifts, surprises, charming table settings, and familiar, favorite food. Tradition is a good gift intended to guard the best gifts.”
The Homemaker:
“There needs to be a homemaker exercising some measure of skill, imagination, creativity, desire to fulfill needs and give pleasure to others in the family. How precious a thing is the human family. It it not worth some sacrifice in time, energy, safety, discomfort, work? Does anything come forth without work?”

From What is Family?

Made In the Image of God

“A Christian, who realizes he has been made in the image of the Creator God and is therefore meant to be creative on a finite level, should certainly have more understanding of his responsibility to treat God’s creation with sensitivity, and should develop his talents to do something to beautify his little spot on the earth’s surface.”

From The Hidden Art of Homemaking

On Prayer:

“We need to remind ourselves that although prayer is a very personal and private communication with God, pouring out our repentance and sorrow for sin, it is also to be a constant connection with God, an unbroken communication, a means of receiving assurance as to how to go on in this next hour in our work, and our means of receiving guidance. Prayer is also to be our means of receiving sufficient grace and strength to do what we are being guided to do. This reality is to be handed to the next generation, not to end when we die.”

From The Life Of Prayer

On Marriage:

“There is a mystical oneness God has made possible in the sexual relationship which belongs not to promiscuousness, but to a continuity in marriage, because it parallels the eternal oneness we have when we are united with the Lord.”

From A Celebration Of Marriage

God’s Children:

“God does not promise to treat each of his children the same in this life. God does not say that each one of his children will have the same pattern of living or follow the same plan. God is a God of diversity. God can make trees—but among the trees are hundreds of kinds of trees. God can make apples trees, but among the apples on that tree no two look identically alike. God is able to make snowflakes, and make each snowflake differently. God has a different plan for each of his children—but it all fits together.”

From Everyone Can Know: Family Devotions from the Gospel of Luke

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Jesus, Thief on Easter

Recently, I have seen two conflicting, yet equally helpful discussions of the use of the word “Easter” to celebrate Resurrection Sunday.

Dr. Tim LeCroy’s post argues that Easter, counter to common pronouncement, is not pagan in origin, but is a reference to the vernal equinox and the change of the sunlight in Spring, this change coming in the East. Tim also sees this as part of God’s design that the Lord should be raised at the vernal equinox, bringing the light to the world. This is more normal to the Bible than you might realize, since the Hebrew festivals are actually set according to things like moons and equinoxes…. Take a read of Tim’s work; it is high quality and worthy of a gander.

Doug Wilson’s CanonWired video takes the usual line of saying the name comes from a Germanic Fertility Goddess, and I don’t fault someone for thinking it is the same as everyone always says it is. (Tim provides good evidence to the contrary). Doug’s argument however, is that paganism is made void and we have seen the victory of Christ over this paganism. He cites Hosea 2.17. I like that Doug takes this approach, and while I favor Tim’s etymology, I know that Tim also values the reasoning that follows Doug’s initial assumption.

So I think both are helpful. And in the vein of etymology, and with the spirit of Doug’s acceptance of the word, Easter, I want to add the following note. Read more…

Bring Out Your Dead!

church graveyard, cemetery

How often do you see cemeteries? Do you know, off hand, where the closest one is? Do your children? It is a sad state of affairs when we can’t answer these questions with certainty and, if you’ll allow me to indulge in a few preliminary comments, I’ll tell you why.

One of the best ways to engage literature is to pick a work you want to be shaped by and to read it again and again. I was recently rereading G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy with that end in mind, and the following passage struck me:

“But if it comes to clear ideas and the intelligent meaning of things, then there is much more rational philosophical truth in the burial at the crossroads and the stake driven through the body…there is a meaning in burying the suicide apart.”
“….And then I remembered the stake and the crossroads, and the queer fact that Christianity had shown this weird harshness to the suicide. For Christianity had shown a wild encouragement of the martyr. Historic Christianity was accused, not entirely without reason, of carrying martyrdom and asceticism to a point, desolate and pessimistic. The early Christian martyrs talked of death with a horrible happiness. They blasphemed the beautiful duties of the body: they smelt the grave afar off like a field of flowers. All this has seemed to many the very poetry of pessimism. Yet there is the stake at the crossroads to show what Christianity thought of the pessimist.”

It struck me not because of the particular topic but of the more general implication. Regardless of your convictions about the burial of suicides, these remarks demonstrate something powerful, and something contemporary Protestantism (at least in my circles) has begun to forget—our treatment of the dead translates into a meaningful theological statement. Read more…

Slavery, Polygamy, and the Bible

Guest Post by Tim Gallant
Non-Christians (and increasingly, those who self-identify as “Christians”) frequently dismiss biblical ethical norms with a quick “Oh, but the Bible condones slavery and polygamy!”

With, of course, the obvious implication that the Bible’s morals are awfully unreliable. Because it “condoned” things that we find offensive, and that even Christians seem embarrassed about. (We Christians, after all, seem agreed by now that both polygamy and slavery are bad.)

And then, having cast aside the Bible as a reliable guide, we enlightened moderns can take on that role of deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong.

Now, there are several answers to that line of argument, one of which is that the Bible does not simply condone either slavery or polygamy; it regulates them, which is not the same thing.

Moreover, the slavery the Bible countenanced was never based on kidnapping, an offense which in fact carried with the death penalty under the Mosaic law (Exodus 21:16). “Slavery” among fellow Israelites was a form of indentured servitude, and “perpetual slavery” was only countenanced in connection with prisoners of war. Even in their case, the Mosaic law did regulate things to avoid their mistreatment. If a slave ran away, other Israelites were forbidden from assisting in his return (Deuteronomy 23:15); and if a slave’s master seriously harmed him, the slave was automatically authorized to go free (Exodus 21:26). Even a slave wife (concubine) was to be granted freedom if her husband ever diminished her marital rights (Exodus 21:10-11).

But there is much more involved in understanding the Bible’s position regarding both slavery and polygamy than scouring the Mosaic law and ensuring a balanced and proper interpretation of these situations through its case laws—as important an exercise as that indeed is. Read more…

Holy Saturday (Blessed Sabbath)

The Passion Week provides vast theological emotions for the people of God. Palm Sunday commences with the entrance of a divine King riding on a donkey. He comes in ancient royal transportation. That royal procession concludes with a Crucified Messiah exalted on a tree.

The Church also celebrates Maundy Thursday as our Messiah’s commandment to love one another just as He loved us. We then proceed to sing of the anguish of that Good Friday as our blessed Lord is humiliated by soldiers and scolded by the unsavory words of the religious leaders of the day. As he walks to the Mount his pain testifies to Paul’s words that he suffered even to the point of death. But hidden in this glaringly distasteful mixture of blood, vinegar, and bruised flesh is the calmness of the day after our Lord’s crucifixion.

After fulfilling the great Davidic promise in Psalm 22, our Lord rests from his labors in the tomb. Whatever may have happened in those days prior to his resurrection, we know that Christ’s work was finished.

The Church calls this day Blessed Sabbath or more commonly Holy Saturday. On this day our Lord reposed (rested) from his accomplishments. Many throughout history also believe that Holy Saturday is a fulfillment of Moses’ words:

God blessed the seventh day. This is the blessed Sabbath. This is the day of rest, on which the only-begotten Son of God rested from all His works . . .(Gen. 2:2)

The Church links this day with the creation account. On day seven Yahweh rested and enjoyed the fruit of his creation. Jesus Christ also rested in the rest given to him by the Father and enjoyed the fruits of the New Creation he began to establish and would be brought to light on the next day.

As Alexander Schmemann observed:

Now Christ, the Son of God through whom all things were created, has come to restore man to communion with God. He thereby completes creation. All things are again as they should be. His mission is consummated. On the Blessed Sabbath He rests from all His works.

Holy Saturday is a day of rest for God’s people; a foretaste of the true Rest that comes in the Risen Christ. The calmness of Holy Saturday makes room for the explosion of Easter Sunday. On this day, we remember that that darkness of the grave and the resting of the Son was only temporary for when a New Creation bursts into the scene the risen Lord of glory cannot contain his joy, and so he gives it to us.

Prostitution, Chaos, and Christian Art

The newest theatrical release of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel “Les Miserables” was released on Christmas, but many Christians are refusing to see the movie. The reason simple — the movie briefly portrays the licentious activities of Fantine, a prostitute. Before her fall into prostitution, Fantine and her child Cosette are abandoned by Cossette’s father. Her reputation makes it increasingly impossible for her to keep a job, and her desperation in caring for her daughter forces her to the streets. First selling her hair, her teeth, and finally her body, she sends nearly everything to support her daughter.

Fantine - Steve Macias

Fantine – Les Miserables

A Prostitute’s Sex Scene

Focus on the Family’s “Plugged In” offered this description of the scene:

“Then the camera takes a bit longer watching Fantine—dressed in a hiked-up, bare-shouldered petticoat—as she and her first sexual customer consummate their transaction with realistic sexual movements. Her pain and despair over what she feels she’s forced to do is so palpable here that it’s nearly as smothering as the grimness of her surroundings and the crudeness of the act itself.”

Hugo’s prostitute is overwhelmingly repugnant. We are given an image of a bald, toothless woman stricken with tuberculosis covered in filth. There is nothing sensual about this sexual experience; she’s not even shown in the nude. In the Broadway versions of “Les Miserables,” a more likable Fantine is stripped on stage and then ushered off.

Which is more appropriate? Read more…

Is All Taxation Theft?

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

In chapter two of For A New Liberty, Murray Rothbard writes:

…The State habitually commits mass murder, which it calls ‘war,’ or sometimes ‘suppression of subversion’; the State engages in enslavement into its military forces, which it calls ‘conscription’; and it lives and has its being in the practice of forcible theft, which it calls ‘taxation.’”

While all of these accusations may be true, they don’t always have to be.

Read more…

Maundy Thursday Homily

People of God, this is Maundy Thursday. The word “Maundy” is derived from the Latin mandatum which refers to the “commandment” that our Lord gave to His disciples“to love one another.”

This short section in John’s Gospel is right in between some gigantic events in the life of Jesus, but ultimately there is truth to the idea that this short narrative is perhaps one of the most important of Jesus’ discourses. Read more…

“Easter” Is Not a Bad Word

It is once again the time of year that folks begin to ramp up for Easter. Easter bunnies, Easter egg hunts, and other various trappings are beginning to be ubiquitous. Now, I will be the first to recognize that the secular (and especially corporate) focus on fluffy bunnies, eggs, and the like is an attempt to sterilize the explicit Christian content of Easter, specifically that of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Yet, I would also argue that Christians who wish to push back against that sterilized (if not secularized) view should not abandon these traditional symbols of Easter, but should fully embrace them and refill them with their Christian meaning.

The same can be said of Christmas. The traditional symbols of Christmas- St. Nick, trees, gifts, feasts- may have been sterilized, secularized, commercialized, and paganized, but that does not change the fact that St. Nick is a real Christian saint, that the Wise Men really offered gifts to the baby Jesus, and that trees and feasts also have their origin in biblical theology. No more should we as Christians abandon these symbols of Christmas than we should abandon the traditional symbols of Easter.

Yet, while I have asserted that the traditional symbols for Easter, including the word “Easter” itself, are Christian in origin, I have not yet substantiated that claim. What is my claim exactly? Well you may have heard that the word “Easter” is of German pagan origin. As a result we Christians sometimes get a little uneasy about using that word. In this post I set out to argue that the word “Easter” is not of pagan origins, and that the word “Easter” itself is actually a Christian metonym for the word “resurrection.”

German Easter Tree Read more…

Why traditional conservatism is for children, not adults


Public thought among Christians right now is headed toward a perfect storm of confusion. We are asked to choose between “libertarianism” and “conservatism” as if those were two indivisible, pure, political positions. Libertarianism, as far as it is a secular philosophy built on a non-aggression ethical imperative, does come closer to this description. (Of course, in the ancient world, adultery would be considered an act of aggression; Libertarians often seem to build more assumptions into their words than they account for.) But, for better and/or worse, conservatism has never been anything so coherent.

Yet somehow, in order to not sound or look libertarian, every demeaning novelty in legislation can get recommended as Christian wisdom. Thus a defense of regulating the size of sodas

This is local government, not the federal government, which in America is rightly one of enumerated powers, and so may do only what the Constitution says it can do. Government so far removed from the people should be correspondingly limited in its scope of action.

But state and local governments have what is called “police power,” the authority to rule broadly on matters of health, safety, and public morals. It is not libertarian to recognize this power, but it is indisputably conservative. Society is not a mere economic alliance, a trading bloc, or a mutual defense pact. It is also a moral bond between people who share a common life. So it is fair for government to protect not only public health but also the health of public morals and citizen character.

via WORLD | Why government belongs in our soda cups | D.C. Innes | March 25, 2013.

I responded to this column briefly, here. Now I’d like to add a few thoughts.


I don’t find the reasoning from “federalism” that convincing. New York City is hardly local government in any real sense. Much less are Read more…

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