The Kuyperian Commentary

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

Archive for the month “June, 2013”

Should Muslims Try To Legislate Their Morality?

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by Mark Horne

Should Muslims Try to Legislate Their Morality? | Old Life Theological Society.

Daryl Hart’s agenda is to turn Christians into secularists in the public square. He thinks asking the above question makes his case.

I don’t see how.

The answer has different levels.

On the one hand, we can look at it from a Constitutionalist point of view. I have seen Muslim girls in my local public school wearing traditional dress. Hopefully, their classmates are respectful and kind. But there are indecency laws all over this country and there is no reason in the world why they shouldn’t lobby to have their definitions of decency used as the standard for what counts as public indecency.

Why shouldn’t they try to do this? Why should they have the values of other people, which they find plainly indecent, imposed on them? If they are citizens of the United States it is plainly their right to influence legislation according to their values. Some may want to legalize polygamy for up to four wives, for example. While the First Amendment would limit what they can do to some extent, it still gives them space to make many changes if they ever succeed in becoming the “moral majority” of a future time.

So from an American, Constitutionalist, perspective, of course they should try to legislate their morality. Read more…

On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius

by Adam McIntosh

It didn’t hurt that at the time of writing Pope Francis and Redeemed Atheists I had been reading through On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius. Naturally, my thoughts have been focused on the incarnation and the resurrection of the dead for the last several weeks. I decided it would be fitting to post a review of the book.

Athanasius begins by setting forth the deity and pre-existence of Christ. Jesus is the Word of the Father and it was through the Word that all things were made. This is important to incarnational theology because it means that the creator of humanity is the same one who re-creates humanity. Athanasius eloquently explains:

The renewal of creation has been wrought by the self-same Word who made it in the beginning. There is thus no inconsistency between creation and salvation for the one Father has employed the same agent for both works, effecting the salvation of the world through the same Word who made it in the beginning.”

But why does man need saving? Athanasius summarizes man’s nature in the Garden of Eden as being subject to corruption, but shielded from corruption because of their union with the incorruptible God. When Adam and Eve sinned, however, their union with God was broken and they became the cause of their corruption. At that point man began to die just as God had warned if unfaithful to his Word. Athanasius goes on to describe the level of wickedness man continued to involve himself: adultery, theft, murder, rape, war, and homosexuality. This is why humanity needed saving. The image of God on earth was “disappearing” and God’s work of creation was being “undone.” Read more…

Jesus Gave the Ten Commandments To Moses

by Mark Horne

Yesterday I wrote “it was Jesus who met Moses on Mount Sinai.”

Since I’ve been asked about that, I thought I should elaborate a bit.

First of all, I didn’t originate the idea. I learned it from the Christmas carol:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of Might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times didst give the law,
In cloud, and majesty, and awe.

Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

So, is the hymn right or should we revise it? Read more…

Chesterton on Courage

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by Marc Hays

G. K. Chesterton thrived on the unexpected turn: that twist in the story that set all that seemed normal on its head, thus showing that true north may sometimes be upside down because we were facing south to begin with, but didn’t know it.  It comes as no surprise then, that Christianity’s paradoxes would bring him comfort and reassurance, rather than instilling angst and doubt. The following passage is from his book, Orthodoxy, Chapter VI, entitled “The Paradoxes of Christianity.”

“Granted that we all have to keep a balance, the real question comes in with the question of how that balance can be kept. That was the problem which Paganism tried to solve: that was the problem which I think Christianity has solved and solved in a strange way.

Paganism declared that virtue was in a balance; Christianity declared it was in a conflict: the collision of two passions apparently opposite. Of course they were not really inconsistent; but they were such that it was hard to hold simultaneously. Let us follow for a moment the clue of the martyr and the suicide; and take the case of courage. Read more…

The Wrathful God of the Old Testament Needs To Die

sodom angelsby Mark Horne

Why? Because he is fictional.

If you are afraid of wrathful, you should be running away from Jesus as much as from anyone you meet in the Old Testament.

Of course, even that comparison is fraught with falsehoods. To begin with, the Old Testament is not about “the Father” who gets supplemented by his much nicer Son in the New Testament.

(Oh, another falsehood is me using the terms “Old Testament” and “New Testament,” but I don’t have the energy to include another issue in this post, so I’m just going to sin boldly.)

Quite the contrary, it was Jesus who met Moses on Mount Sinai. The New Testament is new more because it reveals the Father. Jesus declaring himself the Son doesn’t mean he’s a new character being introduced now. It means we learn more clearly that someone had sent Him from the beginning. He introduces His Father. All divisions of history that go from an age of the Father to an age of the Son are clearly backwards.

So it is Jesus who killed all those unfaithful Israelites in the wilderness. Read more…

What’s In a Name?

by Peter Jones

Naming is an essential part of the human experience. We all place names on things around us. That is a car. That is a Toyota Sienna minivan. That is a 2001 tan Toyota Sienna minivan with three dents in the hatch. And on and on it goes. We follow after our Creator who named the night, the day, the sun, the moon, and man. But he did not just name things as nouns, he also declared them to be good or very good. After the fall he named things good or bad, righteous or unrighteous. The Scriptures explicitly forbid us from calling good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20). The Christian life is one of naming things correctly.

In our postmodern era, it is hard to hold this line. Our world is a complicated one. Things were simple once, back in the day. But now we have become more aware of the overwhelming complexity of this world. Names used to be so obvious. But we were deceived then. There used to be truth that we could name, but now there are only truths, socially constructed ideas that help us name our various realities.  We used to know a woman from a man. Now is it a woman or man? Who knows? Read more…

Why Americans Always Choose the Wrong President

By Luke Welch

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The United States Suggestitution

We seem not to know who we are, and we do not know who we are looking for. We have been surprised to find out whom we have already chosen. Most of us are under the impression that we can correctly identify political candidates and the promise they hold by an old idea we had about their parties.

I know many democrats who are supportive of their party, because they believe it will aid Americans. Despite their misgivings about abortion, they don’t think anyone will get out of poverty without assistance. If this were true that the choice were between assistance and exploitation, then it would be understandable that people would swallow the bitter democrat pill.

I also know many republicans who are supportive of their party, because they believe it will aid Americans. Despite their misgivings about the weak promise keeping of past candidates, they keep on voting (R), becuase they think America will never be free of hard times with all the enforced social assistance. If this were true that the choice were between a meddling government and freedom, then it would be understandable that people swallow the giant rotten elephant.

One of the most pressing problems when facing the future of America under the weight of her own political machine is the problem of the continuous stream of Statism. Read more…

I Cried Out In My Distress

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by Marc Hays

I have a friend named Gary, whom everyone calls “Bubba”.  Someone from somewhere else may snicker at the stereotypical baggage of this nickname, but around here it is not altogether uncommon for this childhood nickname to stick and become your “handle” for life. Bubba was born 29 years ago and born again 3 years ago. When he was born the first time, he was born with spina bifida. It has negatively affected his gait, his speech, his balance, his sight, his height, and a myriad other less obvious things.  When he was born the second time, Bubba gave all his broken parts to Jesus Christ, his faithful Savior redeemed them, and has been building a kingdom with every one of those broken parts ever since.

So, what do you do when your friend, who is already afflicted with spina bifida, develops a tumor on his pituitary gland that could have severe, adverse effects on his already partially crippled body? What do you do when you find out that the surgery can create as many problems as it solves? What do you do when you’re overwhelmed by your inability to do anything to help? Read more…

Founder’s Note

By Uri Brito

Kuyperian Commentary exists to provide what Abraham Kuyper referred to as the principle of antithesis. Those in his day who opposed the mixing of religion and politics were his natural ideological enemies. Kuyper is considered the father of Neo-Calvinism. His influence has shaped the minds of many of the greatest thinkers in this last century, including Herman Dooyeweerd. Others that have been influenced by Kuyper include Francis SchaefferCornelius Van TilAlvin PlantingaNicholas Wolterstorff.

We do not claim that Kuyper’s sphere sovereignty took the correct direction at every stage, nor that his political endeavors were always successful, but we do claim that his theology of antithesis is the clearest philosophical basis for rejecting political neutrality. For this reason and many others, we dedicate these articles to his name and legacy.

 

Gospel Explosion in the World

By Uri Brito

It appears that God always delights in bringing good news to his children. In whatever season, in whatever phase of human history, God is always actively changing, transforming, re-creating the world by His word. And good news is here. Since the Ascension of our blessed Lord God has taken the few and the humble and transformed them into a multitude. This is the trajectory of the kingdom.

C.Peter Wagner reports that the five gospel hot spots in the world are China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Nigeria. “Starting with China,” observes Wagner,  the largest nation in the world reports “the greatest national harvest of souls ever recorded in history, beginning in 1976. Although figures differ, I personally am comfortable agreeing with those who claim that 10 percent of the population is Christian, which would mean that there are around 140 million Christians in that country.” The numbers are staggering. The fields are being harvested.

KC contributor, Thomas Kidd, pointed me to a Christianity Today article detailing how despite persecution, the Iranian church marches on. Claiming 0.5% of Christians, the church has not given in to the political dark forces. Melissa Stefan observes:

Yet, there are two bright lights for Christians in the otherwise-dark Iranian context: Elam Ministries reported in its Summer 2013 magazine that 246 Iranian Christians were baptized on April 17—”probably the largest baptism service on record in the Iranian church since the fourth century.” In addition, Iran’s underground house churches—where freedom to attend Persian-language worship services is more likely to be found—do appear to be growing.

The Gospel presses on. After darkness, light.

Uri Brito is the Senior Pastor of Providence Church in Pensacola, Fl.

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