Cultivating Chastity – Part 3

Why have churches in America been teaching celibacy instead of chastity? Why are we so focused on abstinence from sex rather than entering into godly marriages? It’s not because of anything the Bible teaches, but because of everything our culture teaches. There are many reasons Scripture warns us against worldliness–substituting cultural values for Godly values. The broken dreams of would-be husbands and wives are most certainly among those reasons.

Previous Installments:
Introduction –
Part 2 – The Church’s Failure

What Losing My Virginity Taught Me About Faith:

Evangelical Abstinence Culture is a Bust, but the Answer isn’t a Sexual Free-For-All:

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Answering Some Objections About Christian Nationalism

The nice part about having something up on the Federalist is all the feedback you get.  The bad part, of course, is the nature of 90% of that feedback.  But as per my custom, here are my responses to the objections that I found the most amusing, common, and/or personally interesting.

Is a Christian nation going to execute or imprison Bill Nye to prevent him from continuing to debunk Christian apologists?

Yeah, someone actually said this.  Suffice to say, I don’t know a single Christian apologist who is even remotely threatened by Bill Nye. “Village idiot” is normally a social designation rather than a legal one, so he should be safe in a Christian nation.

You want a theocracy! Which denomination will you impose as the state church? Etc.

See, stuff like this is how everyone knows you didn’t actually read the article. There have been Christian nations with state churches, but it’s not a necessity and not what I’m suggesting. Particularly since the subject is y’know, American Christian nationalism.

 The government shouldn’t be making converts!

Mostly more non-readers with this one, but… I do bear some of the blame here as well. I noted the Christian distinction between Church and civil government, but never really explained it. So I’ll briefly sum up the Lutheran version here. The Church’s job is to proclaim God’s Word and administer His Sacraments (Matt 28). Civil government’s job is to punish wrongdoers and commend those who do good (Romans 13). A Christian nation doesn’t have to conflate those two responsibilities within its government, and in the Lutheran view, they mustn’t conflate them. America, in particular, specifically refused to conflate them, and writing that refusal into our Constitution was a good idea.

Nevertheless, the Christian identity of a nation is going to affect the way government responsibilities are viewed regardless of whether they conflate the two kingdoms. After all, it cannot help but inform our discernment between wrongdoers and right-doers as well as our views of what properly constitutes punishment and commendation. And looking at America today, I think we desperately need better discernment on these matters–not for the sake of making converts, but for the sake of better civil government.

Christianity doesn’t need government support! In fact, it’s better off without it.

True, but I never suggested otherwise. You’ve missed the point of Christian nationalism. The point isn’t government making Christianity better but rather Christians making their own government better. The Church doesn’t need government support and certainly not government management. It’s rather the government which needs the Church–not in the sense that the Church manages civil affairs but that the Church feeds the consciences of those individuals whose job it is to manage civil affairs. It’s a matter of providing things like wisdom and identity to the nation which, in turn, makes the nation’s civil government more just and more faithful to those for whom it is responsible.

But this would make non-Christians feel left out of our national culture!

Believe it or not, I’m not particularly concerned about how it makes people feel–not that I have no sympathy, but it doesn’t affect my argument or the reality of the situation. The flip-side of any and every identity is that it excludes the people who don’t share it. That exclusion can take many forms–anywhere from deliberate persecution to simply feeling left out–but it always exists so long as identity exists. Getting upset that it makes some people sad makes about as much sense as getting upset that cloudy days make some people sad. It is what it is. The only alternative is to expunge human identity altogether, and the cost of doing that should make anyone shudder.

When feeling left out is the predominant form that exclusion takes, you’ve arrived at the best-case-scenario this side of heaven.

The governing philosophy of the United States is actually more Jewish than Christian!

Uh, not so much. Jews have been around and made their marks, but this assessment is as transparent an attempt to take credit for Christian accomplishments as Ben Shapiro calling Notre Dame–Notre Dame!a monument built on a Judeo-Christian heritage.

Despite modern bloviating about the West being Judeo-Christian, Judaism is an explicitly tribal religion–inextricably tied to the blood and heritage of the Jewish people. We’re considering a community with very powerful in-group preferences and, often, low regard for outsiders. Now, don’t misunderstand that observation as an indictment. Given what they’ve gone through together, that sense of tribal identity is understandable; I’m not faulting them for it. Nevertheless, there’s no use pretending that it provided our foundation for religious freedom either. On the contrary, the overall tendency of Jews in the West has been to push for the removal of Christian religious expression from the public square because they believe that makes them safer. At present, the Jewish legacy in America has much more to do with the removal of free expression than the establishment of religious liberty.

Your view of Christian nationalism isn’t neutral with respect to the Church of Rome vs other Christian denominations.

This is true, but it’s not so much a error in my argument as an uncomfortable implication for some. America’s heritage is indeed mainly protestant, and my own argument is rooted in Lutheranism (as is my reframing of the question to heavily imply that the Church or Rome is just another denomination.)  While Roman theology distinguishes Church from state, it also makes the latter a subsidiary of the former–civil government is ultimately considered subject to the Pope. Protestants, in contrast, tend to arrange them into different spheres of life that overlap to various degrees. So neutrality on this question is also untenable. If Christian theology is going to inform the way we see government, then the different specifics of those theologies will lead to differences in our view of government and our execution thereof. But again, since neutrality isn’t possible, we shouldn’t really be treating it as though it’s some kind of alternative.

So where does that leave papists and protestants? Well, we’re both going to follow our respective theologies in the public square–that’s a given, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Can we both have religious freedom despite that? It’s certainly possible. We can under some protestant understandings of government, as America has demonstrated. What about a government informed primarily by Roman understandings? Honestly, I’m not the best person to answer this one, since I’m Lutheran, but… well, it’s my blog, so here goes.

I believe it’s possible, so long as such a government refrains from exercising in practice some of the prerogatives that Rome grants it in principle. For example, it would need to refrain from having civil government execute church discipline or from deploying church discipline for the purpose of political coercion (even though political coercion may be an unavoidable side-effect when it comes to things like withholding communion from enablers of abortion.)

Could it show such restraint? Again, I believe its possible–at least I don’t know of anything which would make such restraint an explicit violation of Roman theology. Would it show such restraint? It depends on the people–the specific nation. Contrary to popular perception, the Church of Rome is by no means monolithic in its beliefs and practices. Would such restraint last? I don’t think this is a good question to ask because every government becomes corrupt over time. Nothing “lasts” in that manner. And I will say in Rome’s favor that their theology is less susceptible to the neutrality lie that’s infecting America, even if its more susceptible to other failings.

In any case, I’ll be rigorously pursuing my involvement in civil government according to a Lutheran understanding, and I believe that’s to the benefit of American papists and protestants alike. And it’s also worth pointing out that the smaller government is, the less one side’s privilege is going to burden the other.

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Can Government Be Religiously Neutral?

I take on that question in a new piece at The Federalist today:

The First Amendment forbids the establishment of a state church in the United States, but it in no way imposes the incoherent burden of religious neutrality on our civic institutions, nor demands that the right to free exercise of religion end when one crosses from private life into the public sphere. We are already experiencing the erosion of religious liberties that these erroneous presumptions have caused, with Christian business owners and officials forced to promulgate ideas they abhor and facilitate celebrations that are incompatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Today, when the American left speaks about religious freedom at all, it speaks in terms of “freedom of worship” rather than of free exercise. But freedom of worship is nothing more than the right to go into a private building and follow one’s preferred liturgy on any day of the week so long as it is out of the public view.

The right of free exercise of religion cannot end there, for no religion on earth ends there. Life is a series of choices in which we each decide what’s most important to us. As we order these priorities, every knee eventually bows to something more important than the rest—the “god” we consider to be the Most Important Thing. Whatever the specific details of one’s god, the very nature of a god is that it is supreme—it lays claim to one’s entire life rather than merely one’s private life.

This is true regardless of whether one follows a traditional religion or even refers to one’s highest value as a “god” at all. Even the hedonist, whose god is personal pleasure, does not leave his worship of pleasure behind when he enters the public sphere. If he refrains from certain pursuits in the public eye, it is only because such restraint will net him more pleasure in the long run. Pleasure therefore remains the god that dictates his public activities.

So it is also with the Christian, the Muslim, the secular humanist, and the utilitarian. So when the follower of a god enters into civic life—as anything from a simple voter all the way up to president—he does not and cannot cease following that god. He will instead look to what that god demands of someone who holds the positions he occupies.

Different gods make different demands. One of the reasons theological liberals are so blind on this issue is their ignorant presumption that, at their root, all religions are basically the same—that they all worship the same God, proclaim the same general values and ideals, and merely have different cultural trappings or modes of expression. In such a fantasy, a neutral pluralism is conceivable, but reality is a different matter.

Although there is only one God, there are many gods (i.e., idols) in this world. The extent to which a person will support or even accept things like secular democracy and religious pluralism depends on that person’s god.

What then does that mean for American democracy and religious freedom? It means neither can ever be religiously neutral. Some gods demand such things; some gods merely tolerate them; and other gods abhor them. To embrace these things as worthy of our support and protection and prioritize them over other concerns is to favor some gods and therefore some religions above others.

Read the whole thing here.

Also, for those of you coming here from The Federalist, you might be interested in this blog post regarding the theological rationale for nationalism:  Babel is  Feature, Not a Bug

Posted in Culture, Natural Law, Politics, Tradition | 2 Comments

Cultivating Chastity – Part 2

To say that Christians’ responses to the sexual revolution have been inadequate would be an understatement. Despite all the words spoken and ink spilled on the subject over the past few generations, most Christians look an awful lot like the unbelievers around them. Perhaps that’s because we’ve echoed the false beliefs of our culture more than you might think.

Previous Installments:
Introduction –

Whose Morality Have We Been Teaching?

You can find more of my material at…
The 96th Thesis:
The Federalist:

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Embarrassed by Christ

Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
-Matt 25:40

“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
-Matt 12:48b-50

When you’re a Christian and you spend a lot of time among other Christians, it’s only natural that you’ll be embarrassed by them from time to time. We’re all sinners, we all make mistakes, and we’ve all been on the wrong side of Scripture at some point or another. I confess that I’ve rolled my eyes at my brothers and sisters in Christ at times. I weakly try to reserve that reaction for the kinds of errors and foolishness that Scripture instructs us to resist, but as in all things, I can only rely on Christ’s mercy.

But there is another kind of embarrassment of Christians. It’s an embarrassment which leads one to set oneself apart from faithful believers. It’s an embarrassment you find in popular phrases like “Lord, save me from your followers!” or famous quotes like “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.” In short, it’s an embarrassment that offers lip service to respecting to Christ, but is used primarily to cleave oneself from the very Body of Christ–His Church.

I recently encountered this attitude in a piece by Russ Dean which echoes these popular sentiments, “I’m embarrassed by American Christianity. I’m just not ready to give up on Jesus.” What sets this type of embarrassment apart from others is always a lack of familiarity with the actual Jesus Christ.

After all, much of what Dean complains about are actually Jesus’ teachings.

I hear anti-education views that are dishearteningly narrow. I hear views about women that are shockingly antiquated and reflect distorted interpretations of Scripture. I hear opinions about “homosexuals” that sound as if we’re still living in an Old Testament world (or that we ought to be). I hear evangelistic proclamations that exclude and divide, tone deaf exclusivism in a pluralistic world.

“Narrow,” “anti-education views” could mean just about anything, so I’ll pass over that. But “shockingly antiquated” views about women are essentially belief in America’s most hated Bible verses and the Biblical proscriptions on women preaching. And, of course, his embarrassment over the Old Testament view of homosexuals (which, curiously enough, are taught in the New Testament as well) gives his game away entirely. So does his disdain for the Biblical teaching of exclusivity in favor of the worldly teaching of pluralism.

We also embarrass Dean because we fail to embrace his political program as the Gospel.

I hear support for torture and detention and deportation and preemptive war, and I wonder where the heart of Jesus is in all of that aggression. I hear celebration for The Wall without the slightest irony that the whole movement of God is to unite us, that Jesus showed us that Way “by breaking down the wall of hatred that separated us” (Ephesians 2.14).

As to the bloviating about open borders, as I’ve written and spoken about before, Scripture tells us that God established the nations, and the Biblical doctrine of vocation instructs us that we have special responsibilities to our own nation that we do not always have to others. But the most blatant error Dean makes is his contention that the movement of God is to unite us politically rather than uniting us in Christ as the unquoted part of the verse he references makes absolutely explicit.

It is, unfortunately, not the foibles and sins of believers which embarrass Dean–it is the Jesus Christ of Scripture. It is this Jesus who promised his Apostles who wrote the New Testament that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth and tell them only what He hears from Christ. It is this same Jesus who said of the supposedly antiquated Old Testament that “until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”  The Jesus whom Dean has not yet given up on bears little resemblance to the Jesus proclaimed by His own Apostles and given to us through His own inerrant Word. And I fear that it is only an idol designed to be palatable to which he still clings.

All those who finds themselves embarrassed by the teachings of Jesus Christ which are held to by his disciples and would condemn those disciples for their belief would do well to consider Jesus’ warning: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” From whom, therefore, are they trying to distance themselves?

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Cultivating Chastity

Caught between the sexual anarchy of contemporary America and the utter failure of Evangelical purity culture, how are Christians supposed to teach Biblical sexual morality? We may have complaining about it down to an art, but believers need more than that in a world where “no sex outside of marriage” seems antiquated at best and repressive at worst..

Join us as we cut through some of our most beloved nonsense and learn how we can begin to cultivate the virtue of chastity.


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Desperately Seeking Feminism in the Bible

Sometimes, if you let a room get messy enough, it’s hard to know where to even begin cleaning it up. When the enormity of the disarray is such that you can see no clear path from start to finish, the whole thing can become overwhelming. Its tempting to just ignore the mess a little longer.

I had much the same feeling when someone recently alerted me to this blog post: Because Christian Patriarchy Isn’t Christian by Beth Allison Barr. It’s precisely the kind of mental chaos one would expect from an author who considers Beth Moore, of all people, to be “one of the greatest students of biblical text and teachers of biblical truth in the modern church.” When so many problems abound, the same question presents itself: Where do I even begin?

Well, with messes like this, the best thing to do is usually to just start picking out specific problems, make a list, and focus on each one in turn, trusting that eventually you’ll see a path to the finish line. So without further ado, here are seven enormous errors in “Because Christian Patriarchy Isn’t Christian”

 1. Looking for ways to get rid of the parts of the Bible you don’t like.

The post begins with a brief history of some gender-related politicking in pagan Rome. It highlights elements that run against the grain of the feminist sensibilities of the contemporary West before framing the whole package as a summary on pagan views of women. Next, it relegates Paul’s explicit prohibition on women pastors in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 to an echo of these pagan ideas–projecting onto the Apostle the author’s own concerns about “subjecting” women to such pagan ideas.

It is only after poisoning the well in this manner that Barr actually considers the text of Scripture–and this only to try and turn Paul’s instruction on its head by imagining it as a quote which he himself is trying to condemn. It is a transparent attempt to dictate what Scripture is allowed to say before trying to discern what it actually says. This is not what honest exegesis looks like. The entire post amounts to a woman who hates Paul’s instructions finding an excuse to go on hating them.

Grammatically speaking, could the verses be rendered the way she’d like? In all honesty, I can’t say for certain. I unfortunately did not study Greek when I had the chance. Nevertheless, its telling that A) I don’t know of any significant translation that actually renders it as a quote, and B) apart from prejudice, she hangs her case entirely on an interjection of indignation that does absolutely nothing to imply that a quotation is taking place. She presumes that Paul’s indignation is directed at the supposed quotation (because that’s the direction of her own indignation), but it could just as easily be directed at women who were usurping the pastoral office or at all the people introducing chaos into the congregation at Corinth.

But even if it could be read the way she wants, why should it be read that way? Particularly when such a reading would put it into conflict with other verses like 1 Timothy 2 and with the whole of Church history? That, of course, leads to the next error…

2. Ignoring the Church Fathers

A quick way to double-check whether you’re imposing your own philosophies onto the text is to try and see whether your interpretation is novel. If it took nearly two millenia for anyone to actually read Paul’s words here as though he were condemning a quote, then that’s probably not what he was doing. This is not to say that the Fathers were never in error–they were. However, it should make us skeptical of ourselves when we have to contend that every last one was oblivious to the true meaning of a text which–doubly so when its only “discovered” to support a peculiar anachronistic ideology by those who themselves support that peculiar ideology.

So where are all the Church Fathers who read 1 Corinthians the way Barr does? She passes by this facet of the issue without comment or acknowledgment, but if there were any Fathers in her corner, I suspect she would have mentioned them.

3. Conflating natural law with worldliness

If the pagan world was patriarchal, does that mean that Scripture must therefore oppose patriarchy? By no means. As Paul describes in Romans 1 & 2, even the pagans have a grasp of what Godliness looks like, for God wrote his law on our hearts, and the order of creation is readily observable. You can, for example, find variations on the Golden Rule in all sorts of non-Christian religions, cultures, and traditions. It doesn’t therefore follow that Jesus was quoting the idea in order to condemn it.

Scripture is right to warn us not to be conformed to the thinking of this world. There is a great deal of evil which the Prince of this World would mire every one of us in. However, this does not mean we are to therefore defy divine ordinance and first article gifts–even ones which the pagans recognized. When we don’t view Scripture through the jaundiced lens of feminism, it becomes quite clear that God ordered both the family and His Church in a way that is, quite frankly, patriarchal.

4. Using one part of the Bible against another

Barr speaks out of both sides of her mouth here. She pays lip service to taking Scripture as a whole–quoting Beth Moore as saying “What I plead for Is to grapple with the entire text from Mt 1 thru Rev 22 on ever [sic] matter concerning women. To grapple with Paul’s words in 1 Tim/! For 14 [sic] as authoritative, God-breathed!- alongside other words Paul wrote, equally inspired & make sense of the many women he served alongside.” But like Moore (more on that in the next point,) she immediately goes on to find excuses for setting aside the parts of God’s Word that she doesn’t like.

“Which seems more like Jesus,” she asks, 1 Corinthians 14 or Galatians 3? Surely, if we were accepting both as God-breathed, then we wouldn’t even be asking that question because we would know that they both seem completely like Jesus. Surely, if we were accepting both as God-breathed, then we would not be giving Galatians 3 precedence simply because it’s more “radical.” Instead, we would be trying to find out how both can be true at the same time. And, of course, the answer is quite simple: Christ died for the sins of the whole world and everyone who believes in him is wholly forgiven–male, female, Jew, Greek, slave, free, etc has no bearing on that blessed assurance. God also orders his Church and his creation in ways which calls men to some roles and women to others.

It is quite possible to reconcile these verses with one another without dismissing either–the Church has been doing so for millennia. It is quite impossible to reconcile both of these verses with feminism. It’s that latter impossibility under which false teachers like this chafe, and their burden will not be lifted until they stop trying to submit God’s word to false ideologies.

5. Trying to invent “Attitudes” of Christ to obscure the actual text of Scripture.

Barr picks this error up from Moore. In the previous quote, immediately after giving lip service to learning from the whole of Scripture (or at least the NT), Moore instructs that “Above all else,” (which in this context means above Scriptural considerations), “we must search the attitudes of Christ Jesus himself toward women.” Notice how obviously backwards that is. How are we to know Jesus’ attitudes towards women (or anything else) from somewhere above the text of Scripture? Christ’s teachings (ALL of Christ’s teachings) are precisely where we ought to discover his “attitudes,” not vice versa.

But that’s not how the game is played. Instead, it goes something like this: It starts innocently enough–by observing that that Christ loved women, taught them, counted them among his devoted followers, was supported by them in his ministry, and so forth (all of which are true.) Next are included other NT observations that women were involved in the activity of the early Church, as we can see from Acts and the Epistles. So far, so good, but it is here that the sleight-of-hand usually occurs: They distill the “attitude” of Christ as holding women in high regard and including them in the Church’s ministry, which is true in a certain sense. But from this attitude, they erroneously conclude that women are therefore just as qualified and called as men to be pastors and included identically in every facet of the Church’s work.  Women must be regarded as functional equals and included in all the same vocations–thus sayeth the attitudes of Christ!

But notice how feminist and egalitarian standards of “regard” and “inclusion” were just substituted for Biblical ones. After all, if we were to use Biblical standards, we could not help but number “I do not permit a woman to teach and have authority over a man” and “women should keep silent in the churches” among Jesus’ attitudes toward women. And if we were to really take Scripture as a whole, then we would accept those attitudes alongside those of inclusion and high regard in the Biblical sense. In other words, we would look at the fact that God does not call women to the pastoral office as being wholly compatible with Christ’s inclusion and high regard. For women are included in other essential and unique work in the church and esteemed for that service–God is not misogynistic for doing so.

Of course, that doesn’t mesh with Western feminist sensibilities, but why should it have to? God isn’t compelled to conform his Word to worldly philosophies. Those are our attitudes, not Jesus’. To try and reinterpret the Bible in light of Jesus’ attitudes is simply to project one’s own prejudices and ideologies onto the text.

Speaking of which…

6. Projecting one’s own prejudices and ideologies onto the text

This is the common thread that just keeps coming up in all the different errors so far–the push to find feminism in God’s Word. Of course, you can’t actually find it there. It is alien to Scripture. It is alien to the Church’s heritage and ancient tradition. It is even alien to natural law– built as it is on a mountain range of broken families and tiny corpses.

But if you are unwilling to submit your own ideologies to the judgment of Holy Scripture, then the only recourse of someone who identifies herself as a Bible-believing Christian is to try to plant those ideologies there–whether deliberately or not. You can recognize this dynamic by seeing how Christianity becomes reoriented away from the Gospel and towards advancing particular social & political causes–the very causes which are held regardless of anything they may have learned from Christ.

Christianity cannot help but change cultures because it cannot help but change the Christians who enflesh those cultures. At the same time, however, cultural change is in no way its purpose. The Church is there to proclaim God’s Word and administer the Sacraments.  Once you start making Christianity a means to a political end, you find yourself in the final error of the bunch…

7. Saying the Most Radical thing about the New Testament is anything other than the Gospel

Here, we find the terminal state of these errors. Barr writes,

The most difficult passage in the New Testament to explain, historically speaking, is the end of Galatians 3:

“For you are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

This is what is radical. This is what makes Christianity so different from the rest of human history. This is what sets both men and women free……

This could have been a true assessment–provided Barr was actually speaking about freedom from sin, death, and the power of the devil. But she’s not. This is all part of a program on “Disrupting Christian Patriarchy.”  As she immediately goes on to write,

I find it ironic that we spend so much time today fighting to make Christianity look like the things of this world instead of fighting to make it like the world Jesus showed us was possible. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Instead of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 as God’s dream for humanity, doesn’t the world of Galatians 3 seem more like Jesus?

Patriarchy may be a part of Christian history, but that doesn’t make it Christian.

It is not freedom from patriarchy that makes Christianity so different from the rest of human history. It’s the forgiveness of sins we receive through Baptism. It’s the fact that the One who invented blood shed his own so that his creatures would live. It’s the fact that even while we were still sinners, God sent his Son to die for us. It’s the fact that we are saved by that grace through faith alone rather than through our own works.

That Gospel is the what makes Christianity different. The moment you start believing that the most radical thing about Christianity is anything other than God becoming man and dying for the sins of His creation, you have altogether failed to understand the religion.

Posted in Feminism, Gospel, Heresy, Natural Law, Paganism, The Modern Church, Theology | Leave a comment

Zombie Heresies – Modalism Part 3

From shallow popular religious fiction like The Shack to everyday attitudes about religious pluralism, Modalism can be found creeping all over America’s spiritual-but-not-religious culture–most among folks who have probably never heard of the term.

We conclude our discussion of modalism by targeting the heresy as we find it today with the same ancient Biblical wisdom employed the first time around.

Previous Installments
Introduction to Zombie Heresies:
Modalism Part 1:
Modalism Part 2:

You can find more of my material at…
The 96th Thesis:
The Federalist:

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Zombie Heresies – Modalism Part 2

If we’re going to understand the modalism we see today, we first need to understand the heresy in its original context. Where did modalism come from? Why did Christians find it compelling? How did the Church respond? We’ll cover those questions and more in a brief look at the history of modalism.

Previous Installments
Introduction to Zombie Heresies:
Modalism Part 1:

You can find more of my material at…
The 96th Thesis:
The Federalist:

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The Obsolescence of Racism

My high school days are far enough in the past that they still assigned Shakespeare to students back then. I read Romeo & Juliet freshman year, and remember laughing with my friends about the whole “do you bite your thumb at us” conversation. After all, insults and shaming tactics have a shelf-life of sorts, and the biting of thumbs is archaic to say the least.

I bring it up because America is rapidly approaching the point when cries of “racist” will become similarly archaic.

I was raised at a time when racism was the ultimate sin, and, of course, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia have all been added alongside racism to form the four pillars of thoughtcrime. Regardless of what one’s actions may entail, having discriminatory attitudes is taught as the original sin. Admittedly, this sense of proportion still dominates most American institutions today. Most public figures and institutions still scramble to defend themselves when anyone insults them by applying these labels.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that an enormous change is upon us with respect to these indictments. I was reminded of this in the aftermath of President Trump’s tweets about how certain Congresswomen should try pulling the plank out of their original countries’ eyes before worrying about the speck in America’s. Naturally, the usual cries of racism were raised in response, but this time… nothing happened. An impeachment attempt failed spectacularly , his support actually rose, and he even got a bunch of people chanting “send her back” regarding Congresswoman Omar. Our dying institutions may still get the vapors when the whatever-ist labels are bandied about, but the people simply care less and less.

This shouldn’t be surprising. I’ve written before about how the left has been rigorously destigmatizing racism. We are much likely to encounter the label in response to innocuous microaggressions rather than any real prejudice (the Betsy Ross flag being the most recent kerfuffle.) We all see the blatant hypocrisy where charges of racism only stick when applied to conservatives. What’s more, when academics redefined racism as a matter of structures of privilege in order to make sure only white people could be guilty, they also removed it from the moral realm altogether. After all, there’s nothing immoral about being born into a particular place in society. Likewise, teaching a man to fish instead of giving him a fish is the epitome of privilege, and far from being a sin, it’s actually a genuine responsibility of parents and society.

The same is quickly going to become the case for the others–sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. Racism may have become ridiculous, but these others always have been. The amount of reality-denying that’s required for these charges to be taken seriously is entirely unsustainable–a prospect which no doubt terrifies the people who have built their power and cultural significance on these labels. I suspect the increasingly forced outrage we encounter today has more to do with that than it does with actually helping anyone.

In the long run, racism as the ultimate evil will be just another cultural fad–a term that was truly shaming for a time before becoming as obscure as biting your thumb at someone. And its ok to let it go. We have better words to describe the genuine evils that were originally covered by ‘racism’ umbrella, and we’re all better off without the political bludgeon that the term has become. As for the people and institutions that insist on tying themselves to these sinking ships? Well, they’re effictively deciding to become just as archaic.

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