Monday, November 30, 2015

Ben Carson Thinks You Should Tone It Down

*Editorial Note: Pulpit & Pen continues in unrepentant sin and enabling of the ongoing sin of Jordan Hall. While it is my understanding that P&P does not plan to take down the content I contributed, any role I can play in reducing their traffic until they repent, I will. Thus I migrate this article here. 

[[WARNING: This post contains graphic images of violence against human beings.]]

Because, you know, obviously when a guy who lives in the woods by himself, self-identifies as a woman despite sporting a neck beard that would put JD Hall to shame, and goes to some random location to shoot up an abortion facility and yet somehow doesn’t specifically hunt down the people who actually commit legalised murder every single day, it’s the fault of “pro-life rhetoric” in the USA:
Talk about media mismanagement on Dr Carson’s part. The man is being fed high lobs down the middle by this talking head, and all he can say is that there is “hateful rhetoric” on both sides? Has Dr Carson forgotten that the race to the middle is supposed to happen after one has nailed down his party’s nomination?
So let’s talk about that “rhetoric”, otherwise known as stating the facts of the matter. Planned Parenthood and other child sacrifice centers rip tiny human beings limb from limb.

They dismember them. They crush their skulls and then suck out their brain tissue so as to pull their bodies forcefully from their mothers’ wombs. They suction them out with hoses into jars, and then they piece their bodies back together in a steel tray to make sure no body parts have been left within. The ones they don’t murder with physical trauma, they poison to death with chemical weaponry like this. This happens thousands of times, every single day in our country. It is sin. It is not a stretch to say that it is our national sin, the evil of our age. It is a desecration of the image of God in humanity, and it is a direct attack on the image of God in the place of the Incarnation of the Son of God.

Credit: The Grantham Collection

Dr Carson believes that this sort of rhetoric exacerbates the situation. What situation? If I’m not mistaken, opponents of child sacrifice have been using language like this to a greater or lesser degree for 42+ years. To take one example, how many aborticians have died at the hands of “pro-life zealots” in those 42 years? Eight. Out of hundreds and hundreds of murderers-for-hire, who live by the sword; eight of them have died by the sword in this country so far. I’d say they’ve lived on the edge and largely gotten away with it, so far in American history (of course, it goes without saying that they will drink the full cup of God’s wrath when they stand before Him with hands drenched in the blood of babies). Of course there have been other acts of violence here and there against abortion facilities and whatnot. Yet most of them operate, most of the time, completely unmolested by any violent opposition*. The degree of violence they have sustained is nothing compared to the violence they deal out every day.

So we are left asking: To what situation does Dr Carson refer, that this rhetoric exacerbates?

Moreover, the claim was made: Dr Carson, the pro-aborts say that anti-abortion rhetoric has made this all worse. What does he think?

It would not be fitting for national TV to guffaw in contempt, I admit, though that’s my first reaction. My second reaction is: Prove it. Where is the evidence? Of course they have little to none. Meanwhile, all this focus on violence done against abortion providers overshadows the infinitely greater legalised violence they continually perpetrate, day after day. Where is Dr Carson’s retort that upholds the image of God? Would not a man who loves the truth and the image of God call attention to the real problem, without ceasing and over and over again?

Why in the world are you people talking about violence done against those who lie in wait to shed innocent blood? Where was your concern for human life the day before this woman discharged her his own abortion tools against post-birth fetuses?

From the ludicrous to the ridiculous, Dr Carson disguises his obvious discomfort with and inability to answer the question: The strength of our country is in its unity. The founders of the country certainly didn’t think so, which is why the federal government was much smaller when they were in charge than it is today when generations of compromisers like Dr Carson have upheld the oligarchy. And what is the virtue of unity anyway, when the country’s unity comes in its widespread support for iniquitous decrees?

Credit: The Grantham Collection

Dr Carson thinks we are hateful to each other in our rhetoric. That’s nothing compared to the hate that takes physical form in the violent oppression carried out against 3000 children per day. Dr Carson is worried about words when right in front of his face, child sacrifice is openly carried out by people who don’t even bother to hide it. He is worried about divisiveness, as if we should all just carry on and say “Peace, peace” where there is no peace, when the country is not under the lordship of Jesus Christ, when the churches, to say nothing of the government skuuls, nightclubs, brothels, and crack houses, are filled with people who have paid an assassin to scrape their offspring to pieces so they could continue to live their sinful lifestyle with no disruption.

The Bible has news for Dr Carson – the Gospel is divisive.

Matthew 10:24-28
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!
Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

John 15:24-28
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “A slave is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, “THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.”

Wake up, Christian!

Abortion is sin. The answer for sin is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not toning down rhetoric, not neglecting to call sin what it is – sin. Woe to those who do that, says the prophet Isaiah. Of course, if Dr Carson or anyone else is looking for intelligent and civil discussion, are not biblical Christians more than able to provide answers to every single objection, to refute their evil, irrational, and sin-stained “reasoning”, and to destroy speculations and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ? Of course. Just give us the chance. The pro-aborts don’t want that, for every time the debate is raised, the pro-death people either retreat into suppression of speech or name-calling or they lose the debate badly.
Dr Carson is dead wrong. The intelligent and civil discussion is there, but only one side wants it. The other side wants to avoid it and keep murdering babies and blowing smokescreens. Sadly, those smokescreens have had their desired effect on national- and state-level politicians all over the nation, and Dr Ben Carson is no exception.

*OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER: Yes, of course, vigilante violence is bad and wrong. See here for more. It is possible for someone to respond to evil in an evil fashion.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Using your language

So there's this:

Then there's this:

And then there's this:
Facebook search for #bethedocumentary

Twitter search for #bethedocumentary

Yet it's Shane Dodson and Marcus Pittman who are changing the conversation? Some movie that 30,000 people, most of whom apparently ignored or forgot what it was trying to communicate, have seen?

But Pittman's main point probably isn't wrong. It's just funny who he thinks is winning.

Friday, November 13, 2015

15 defenses of open air preaching

One Daniel Courney wrote the following on Facebook. I heartily endorse almost all of this defense of that which needs no defense and so reproduce it here.

Though there are many more reasons, here are 15 defenses of street/open-air preaching I wrote out this morning in response to a brother's request:
1. Street preaching is the foremost method God has used throughout the Bible to communicate His Word (our Lord and all the apostles and prophets were street/OA preachers; probably all five of our Lord's sermons recorded in Matthew were in the open-air (at very least the Sermon on the Mount in 5-7, the Sermon on the Parables of the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven in 13, and the Sermon on the Mount of Olives, 23-25, which are explicitly said to have occurred in the open air), most of the recorded sermons of the prophets and apostles were open-air sermons.

2. Street preaching turns the world upside down; it makes the church's presence felt by the world and demands a response. It is the most controversial form of evangelism and thus cannot be simply ignored by the world. It is, by its very nature, a publicity stunt.

3. Street preaching is one of the greatest antidotes to lukewarmness; it challenges our faith like no other spiritual exercise.

4. Street preaching is the form of evangelism most consistent with the definitions of the Hebrew and Greek words for "preach" (קרא; κηρύσσω), "evangelize" (בּשׂר; εὐαγγελίζω) and "boldness" (παῤῥησία) in the Bible.

5. Street preaching, because it is the bravest, boldest, and most intrepid form of glorifying the Lord and spreading His Word, is thus the greatest antidote to being ashamed of the Gospel or confessing His Name before men. It literally glorifies the Name of the Lord the most, in the most rigid sense of this concept -- God's glories and Name being trumpeted on the rooftops.

6. Street preaching invites the opportunity for faith-refining persecution like no other form of ministry.

7. Street preaching is the most aggressive, most militant, and fastest method of world evangelism and thus hastens the return of our Lord; whereas preaching in a church house can reach a 100 in a year, street preaching travels a 100 souls per hour.
I will add to this that, biblically speaking, when you are talking inside a "church house" (or a house church), that's not preaching, no matter how loud you talk or how much "authority" you project. Preaching is, biblically speaking, what is done out in the culture to lost people. So I would edit Point #7 to "whereas teaching in a church house" or "whereas lecturing", as well as fleshing out the very real differences between "reaching" someone with a lecture among Christians vs reaching someone with the Gospel in an open air preaching context.

8. Street preaching is more authoritative than one-on-one evangelism; its sermonic and rhetorical nature ensures that those who refuse to listen the gospel in a dialogue must hear it from the monologue of street preacher.

This is not a great point, as it trades on a dubious definition of the word "authoritative". Take that way, though, and it's a good point.
9. Street preaching is the form of evangelism most complementary to the doctrines of grace; only a true Calvinist with a high view of God recognizes the win-win scenario of God being glorified in the salvation of the elect and in the hardening of the reprobate to the vindication of His justice.

10. Street preaching makes the presence and power of the church known in the community like no other form of outreach, as it is most literally fulfilling the commands to set our light upon a lampstand, being a city set on a hill, and proclaiming from the rooftops what He has whispered in our ear.

11. Street preaching is the most inspirational form of evangelism; it is a double-edged sword in that it not only saves the elect outside the fold but greatly motivates and inflames the esprit de corps and morale of the army of God, the church. Many a lukewarm Laodicean Christian has been motivated to commit themselves to Christ, personal holiness, and world evangelism more seriously due to a street sermon more directly intended for the lost.

12. Street preaching is the most superabundantly fruitful form of evangelism. Ask any veteran field preacher.

13. Street preaching is the most manly form of evangelism; it takes most literally the command to "take dominion". Western culture has been emasculated, and sadly it seems as if the church has not been spared the effects of this neutering it seems. Now is the time for men of God to arise and to fulfill the command "Stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13).

14. Street preaching is the most angelic form of evangelism (the root word of evangelism being aggelos or angel); see Rev. 14:6.

15. Street preaching is safeguard against the erosion of freedom of speech; the day may soon come when America becomes a totalitarian state when the luxury of the constitutional right of freedom of speech is overturned by the SCOTUS. While you have the freedom to preach openly without the possibility of criminal prosecution or any life-threatening violent persecution may you seize the initiative!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

By the authority vested in me by the State...

The ceremony of my marriage was carried out inside a building that most people refer to as a "church".
The ceremony mostly occurred on the same platform from which the pastor man usually lectures the same people every Sunday morning and evening.
The ceremony was officiated by a clergyman who had also performed premarital counseling for my fiancée and me, who had told us early on that if were engaging in any hanky-panky beforehand, he would not officiate our wedding.

At the end of our ceremony, our covenant of marriage made and vows expressed, this officiating clergyman pronounced us married by the authority vested in him by God and by the State of Oklahoma. Then he signed his name to a document that my wife and I had obtained from the governmental office that manages such affairs, affirming in the eyes of the State that we were legally married.

What did these various words, spoken and written, spoken by the various participants, accomplish?

Did not the vows spoken in the sight of God (and, in our case, other witnesses) actually bring the marriage covenant into being? Given that, what role did the "officiating" clergyman play in the true substance of that day, which was to join two people in marriage? None that I can see.

When the clergyman "pronounce(d)" us husband and wife, who would argue that his pronouncement was anything more than a recognition of the covenant already brought into being? (Not that he said anything wrong or false that day other than that.) This raises some questions, though, as to why he prefaced his not-pronouncement pronouncement with the statement "by the authority vested in me by God and the state of Oklahoma":
-Where did God grant this authority to this man or this class of man, to create marriage covenants? (Obviously, if he simply meant that he had authority to understand and acknowledge a covenant of marriage, it barely merits saying such a thing; anyone can understand and acknowledge a marriage exists.)
-Does this not implicate the clergyman in any sin that may surround the couple (as in a recent incident involving Doug Wilson)?
-Does this not give all concerned the wrong idea of what marriage is - something to be conferred and (if we were to take it to the logical conclusion) which can be dissolved by a man?
-Does this not give all concerned the wrong idea of what marriage is - something to be conferred and (if we were to take it to the logical conclusion) which can be dissolved by the State?
-Why did he, an ostensible servant of Jesus, take onto himself the power of creating marriages in the eyes of the State? (And on what biblical reasoning would this sort of arrangement be based?)

It seems to me that this clergyman, like all others who take on the role of State-marriage-makers, is opening himself up to a significant danger from that State. If he opens his church and his clergy role to creating marriage relationships that the State also recognises as legally binding, does this not mean that he must create marriages in accord with the State's commands?

Thus, what if he were told by the State to marry whomever the State says should be able to marry? Would this man not be obviously exposed to charges of discrimination for marrying the people he deems fit to marry inside "his" church (though the church is not his, but rather belongs to God, and a church is not a building but rather a gathering of people who belong to God, and the building does not really belong to him ultimately but rather to the State if his church organisation is legally a 501c3 entity)?

Given all of these considerations, and given that the Bible specifically and repeatedly says things like "What God has joined together, let no man separate" of marriage covenants, would it not be by far the best course of action for clergy all over the country to stop officiating weddings, or at least to cease any cooperation with the State in creating legally binding marriage arrangements?

Would this not push responsibility back to the husband and wife?
Would this not remind all what a real covenant is? Who creates them? Who joins people together in marriage?
Would this not also allow clergy to more plausibly escape certain Statist ramifications when they push other definitions of marriage? If the clergyman were to renounce his licenses as an agent of the State, he would be under no obligation to marry people whom he does not want to marry, for he does not marry anyone!