God in the public square

In the course of our discussion of Glenn Beck, Mormonism, and civil religion, Another Kerner raised a question that is worth our consideration:

A sincere question or two may be called for here:

What groups and/or events, of a semi-political or political nature may Christians attend in order to bring about the return to a constitutional republic without demanding doctrinal purity or spiritual accord with all others in attendance?

May we recite the Pledge to the flag with others not of our own Confession?

I am well aware of the profound differences between some Christian denominations and others….. and certainly am conscious of the origins of Mormonism and know what must be rejected….and my family also has a considerable working acquaintanceship with the American “civil religion”, so called.

If the two kingdoms are confused, tyranny often results…no argument from me.

But folks, what political action committees, ad hoc committees, and/or organizations (aside from the two primary political parties), and what rally or event may Christians join or attend in order to gather together with others who are working to preserve freedom?

As mentioned elsewhere, it is going to take more than confessional Lutherans in the body politic to secure continuned religious freedom: and it is certainly going to take more than confessional Lutherans to hold back the onslaught of the Turks.

She alludes, quite learnedly, to the invasion of the Turks during the Reformation, something Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and the Reformed worked together–putting their own disputes on temporary hold–to turn back.

The doctrine of the Two Kingdoms teaches that God is the King of both realms.  Is there a way to acknowledge His reign in the earthly sphere without lapsing into a “civil religion” that usurps the revealed faith in His spiritual kingdom?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Winston Smith

    It depends on what the meaning of “acknowledge His reign” is. (Nothing like starting off the day with a Clintonian reference.)

    Civic duties are one more vocation to which the believer is called. Some “are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing [governing],” Romans 13:6. Others can contribute by voting, working to elect candidates, serving in paid and voluntary capacities in citizens’ associations, advocacy groups, etc., etc. By working to make his community a better place, in these works, as in all others, the Christian ought to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things,” Titus 2:10

    All fine and dandy. A problem that can arise is when Christians adopt the Dominionist mindset that they are to “bring America back to God” or to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth by using the secular state to Christianize the unregenerate public. (Only the Spirit of God, making the preached Word of God real in mens’ hearts, can cause real, abiding change.) In the past this has taken on the form of temperance crusades and Prohibition, as well as the War on (Some) Drugs, and the attempts by the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition to return our country to a perceived Christian past. It also includes legal action to preserve the rights of public school students to pray and express their faith on school grounds, and many other good works.

    If you believe that the United States has some sort of divine mission to fulfil (and apparently the Mormons believe exactly that), then activities in the civic sphere can take on the feel of a crusade. One can easily see how Christian believers with that mindset could make common cause with someone like Glenn Beck.

    To answer the question: Christians can, and should be involved in civic good works. Christians should beware of trying to do through the ballot box what only God can do through the Word and the Spirit.

  • Winston Smith

    It depends on what the meaning of “acknowledge His reign” is. (Nothing like starting off the day with a Clintonian reference.)

    Civic duties are one more vocation to which the believer is called. Some “are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing [governing],” Romans 13:6. Others can contribute by voting, working to elect candidates, serving in paid and voluntary capacities in citizens’ associations, advocacy groups, etc., etc. By working to make his community a better place, in these works, as in all others, the Christian ought to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things,” Titus 2:10

    All fine and dandy. A problem that can arise is when Christians adopt the Dominionist mindset that they are to “bring America back to God” or to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth by using the secular state to Christianize the unregenerate public. (Only the Spirit of God, making the preached Word of God real in mens’ hearts, can cause real, abiding change.) In the past this has taken on the form of temperance crusades and Prohibition, as well as the War on (Some) Drugs, and the attempts by the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition to return our country to a perceived Christian past. It also includes legal action to preserve the rights of public school students to pray and express their faith on school grounds, and many other good works.

    If you believe that the United States has some sort of divine mission to fulfil (and apparently the Mormons believe exactly that), then activities in the civic sphere can take on the feel of a crusade. One can easily see how Christian believers with that mindset could make common cause with someone like Glenn Beck.

    To answer the question: Christians can, and should be involved in civic good works. Christians should beware of trying to do through the ballot box what only God can do through the Word and the Spirit.

  • Daniel Gorman

    “May we recite the Pledge to the flag with others not of our own Confession?”

    Confessional Lutherans may not recite the Pledge of Allegiance at all. To do so would violate the laws of both kingdoms (establishment of religion, having other gods).

    “The doctrine of the Two Kingdoms teaches that God is the King of both realms. Is there a way to acknowledge His reign in the earthly sphere without lapsing into a ‘civil religion’ that usurps the revealed faith in His spiritual kingdom?”

    Not in America. If the state acknowledges it is “under god” (even if that god is God), it is establishing a “civil religion.”

    Confessional Lutherans obey the Constitution and the Supreme Court as the powers that be ordained by God (AC XVI, Rom. 13). The Constitution forbids the establishment of a “civil religion.”

    Congress and POTUS are in rebellion against the Constitution. Under the authority the National Day of Prayer Act, Congress and POTUS urge Americans to pray to the Christian God, the Islam god, and the Judaism god.

    Congress and POTUS urge Americans to pledge allegiance to the flag under their civic religious gods. No doubt, at the behest of Glenn Beck and others, the Mormon gods will be added to the pantheon of civic gods.

  • Daniel Gorman

    “May we recite the Pledge to the flag with others not of our own Confession?”

    Confessional Lutherans may not recite the Pledge of Allegiance at all. To do so would violate the laws of both kingdoms (establishment of religion, having other gods).

    “The doctrine of the Two Kingdoms teaches that God is the King of both realms. Is there a way to acknowledge His reign in the earthly sphere without lapsing into a ‘civil religion’ that usurps the revealed faith in His spiritual kingdom?”

    Not in America. If the state acknowledges it is “under god” (even if that god is God), it is establishing a “civil religion.”

    Confessional Lutherans obey the Constitution and the Supreme Court as the powers that be ordained by God (AC XVI, Rom. 13). The Constitution forbids the establishment of a “civil religion.”

    Congress and POTUS are in rebellion against the Constitution. Under the authority the National Day of Prayer Act, Congress and POTUS urge Americans to pray to the Christian God, the Islam god, and the Judaism god.

    Congress and POTUS urge Americans to pledge allegiance to the flag under their civic religious gods. No doubt, at the behest of Glenn Beck and others, the Mormon gods will be added to the pantheon of civic gods.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    I think Winston makes a good point. The warning claxon blaring in my brain is not so much related to any inter-faith call to a return to the ideals of this country (whatever that might even mean), but rather because of Beck’s religiousness and call to a national return to God. It seems I’ve seen this sort of thing before, maybe in the 1930s…

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    I think Winston makes a good point. The warning claxon blaring in my brain is not so much related to any inter-faith call to a return to the ideals of this country (whatever that might even mean), but rather because of Beck’s religiousness and call to a national return to God. It seems I’ve seen this sort of thing before, maybe in the 1930s…

  • Joe

    I appreciate the question, but based on the accounts I read, the Beck rally was not about returning to a constitutional republic – it was about reestablishing America;s generic civil (and false) religion. I would not attend this rally or anything like it.

    No if you want to hold a rally about small gov’t, lower taxes and a return of federalism, sign me up.

  • Joe

    I appreciate the question, but based on the accounts I read, the Beck rally was not about returning to a constitutional republic – it was about reestablishing America;s generic civil (and false) religion. I would not attend this rally or anything like it.

    No if you want to hold a rally about small gov’t, lower taxes and a return of federalism, sign me up.

  • Dan Kempin

    Daniel Gorman, #2,

    “Confessional Lutherans may not recite the Pledge of Allegiance at all.”

    That’s a novel take. I’m not sure confessional lutheranism would agree with you, or how allegiance to one’s nation (kingdom of the left, under God) would violate the distinction of the two kingdoms, but perhaps you could explain it more fully.

    John, #3,
    “It seems I’ve seen this sort of thing before, maybe in the 1930s…”

    You must be older than you look if you remember the 1930s.

  • Dan Kempin

    Daniel Gorman, #2,

    “Confessional Lutherans may not recite the Pledge of Allegiance at all.”

    That’s a novel take. I’m not sure confessional lutheranism would agree with you, or how allegiance to one’s nation (kingdom of the left, under God) would violate the distinction of the two kingdoms, but perhaps you could explain it more fully.

    John, #3,
    “It seems I’ve seen this sort of thing before, maybe in the 1930s…”

    You must be older than you look if you remember the 1930s.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I think you could attend almost any political rally. You might even suffer through a heterodox prayer or two in many cases without at all compromising your faith or witness. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, prayers at the beginnings of these things have become a formality, and no one thinks everyone else in the crowd believes what the appointed chaplain believes or vice versa.
    However, when the political rally is one designed to promote the idea that we all believe in the same god etc. and making it about national repentance not to fellow man, but to the false god of “civic religion” well I get uneasy.
    I do find it peculiar that the only people that have ever asked me to open their political meeting with prayer, has been the local Democratic Party. Well they asked me to do an invocation. I did a short devotion on Romans 13.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I think you could attend almost any political rally. You might even suffer through a heterodox prayer or two in many cases without at all compromising your faith or witness. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, prayers at the beginnings of these things have become a formality, and no one thinks everyone else in the crowd believes what the appointed chaplain believes or vice versa.
    However, when the political rally is one designed to promote the idea that we all believe in the same god etc. and making it about national repentance not to fellow man, but to the false god of “civic religion” well I get uneasy.
    I do find it peculiar that the only people that have ever asked me to open their political meeting with prayer, has been the local Democratic Party. Well they asked me to do an invocation. I did a short devotion on Romans 13.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Dan Kempin #5,
    According to the Lutheran Confessions, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having an established religion. The Preface to the Small Catechism suggests that, although no one should be forced to believe, the government could exile people who will not learn the catechism.
    If America had Confessional Lutheranism as its established religion, confessional Lutherans could pray with the President during the National Prayer Day and they could recite the Pledge of Allegiance. “Under God” would mean under the God of the Book of Concord. However, until the Constitution is amended to permit an established religion, the establishment of Confessional Lutheranism in America is rebellion against powers ordained by God. Until established religion is legalized, no Confessional Lutheran could pray with the president or say the Pledge of Allegiance even if Confessional Lutheranism was the established religion.
    IMO, Congress and the President have rebelled against powers ordained by God in establishing the civic religions and gods of the National Prayer Day and the Pledge of Allegiance. Confessional Lutherans can’t participate in these activities. They violate the laws of both kingdoms (First Amendment and First Commandment).

  • Daniel Gorman

    Dan Kempin #5,
    According to the Lutheran Confessions, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having an established religion. The Preface to the Small Catechism suggests that, although no one should be forced to believe, the government could exile people who will not learn the catechism.
    If America had Confessional Lutheranism as its established religion, confessional Lutherans could pray with the President during the National Prayer Day and they could recite the Pledge of Allegiance. “Under God” would mean under the God of the Book of Concord. However, until the Constitution is amended to permit an established religion, the establishment of Confessional Lutheranism in America is rebellion against powers ordained by God. Until established religion is legalized, no Confessional Lutheran could pray with the president or say the Pledge of Allegiance even if Confessional Lutheranism was the established religion.
    IMO, Congress and the President have rebelled against powers ordained by God in establishing the civic religions and gods of the National Prayer Day and the Pledge of Allegiance. Confessional Lutherans can’t participate in these activities. They violate the laws of both kingdoms (First Amendment and First Commandment).

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Daniel Gorman,
    It is an interesting take you have. And by interesting I by no means mean wrong. I’m sympathetic to it. I’m not sure if I quite agree yet, but I am sympathetic to it. I detest the national day of prayer, and refuse to participate. I did try to participate once, but my conscience wouldn’t let me.
    However with the pledge of allegiance etc. I’m not sure. I mean I grew up pledging that almost every morning, and watching Red Dawn or Rambo in the evening! How could that be wrong?
    I jest. Just because children might have been mislead doesn’t mean that it isn’t wrong. But there are questions. I mean the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence refers to a creator. I am not so naive as to think Jefferson believed in God, but a god. Am I then breaking the first commandment for cherishing that document? Is intelligent design wrong for arguing the existence of the creator but not naming him?
    I do wonder at times if we don’t take it too far.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Daniel Gorman,
    It is an interesting take you have. And by interesting I by no means mean wrong. I’m sympathetic to it. I’m not sure if I quite agree yet, but I am sympathetic to it. I detest the national day of prayer, and refuse to participate. I did try to participate once, but my conscience wouldn’t let me.
    However with the pledge of allegiance etc. I’m not sure. I mean I grew up pledging that almost every morning, and watching Red Dawn or Rambo in the evening! How could that be wrong?
    I jest. Just because children might have been mislead doesn’t mean that it isn’t wrong. But there are questions. I mean the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence refers to a creator. I am not so naive as to think Jefferson believed in God, but a god. Am I then breaking the first commandment for cherishing that document? Is intelligent design wrong for arguing the existence of the creator but not naming him?
    I do wonder at times if we don’t take it too far.

  • Dan Kempin

    Daniel Gorman, #7,

    I’m really not sure I’m following your point. You speak of established religion–I presume you are talking of a state sponsored religion–and of praying with the president. You mention that the establishment of confessional lutheranism in America is a “rebellion against powers ordained by God.” I frankly don’t know what you are talking about.

    Nor, to return to the point, do I understand what that discussion would have to do with the pledge of allegiance. You have read it, right? It is neither a prayer, nor a religious vow. It is, well, a pledge of allegiance to the republic in which someone dwells. It is a citizen’s pledge. This republic is, according to Christian theology and your own words, a power “ordained by God.” Or perhaps more succinctly, “under God.”

    What again is the problem that a confessional lutheran would have with that?

  • Dan Kempin

    Daniel Gorman, #7,

    I’m really not sure I’m following your point. You speak of established religion–I presume you are talking of a state sponsored religion–and of praying with the president. You mention that the establishment of confessional lutheranism in America is a “rebellion against powers ordained by God.” I frankly don’t know what you are talking about.

    Nor, to return to the point, do I understand what that discussion would have to do with the pledge of allegiance. You have read it, right? It is neither a prayer, nor a religious vow. It is, well, a pledge of allegiance to the republic in which someone dwells. It is a citizen’s pledge. This republic is, according to Christian theology and your own words, a power “ordained by God.” Or perhaps more succinctly, “under God.”

    What again is the problem that a confessional lutheran would have with that?

  • Louis

    Bror – actually, a fairly young vociferous Lutheran I know on the Net, (and he is not a Democrat/ “Liberal” by any, absolutely any, stretch of the imagination) was fairly strong worded in his rejection of both the Pledge as well as the Decleration of Independance, but was strong in his support of the US Constitution. Of course, as a non-American, it is easy to have opinions myself (and therefore I’m not sharing them here). But these issues can be difficult. One thing I would say is that national flags do not belong in Churches, with the possible exception of Coronations, Royal weddings etc – which is where the Church has a role to play OVER the State. Those are of course irrelevant in the US context.

  • Louis

    Bror – actually, a fairly young vociferous Lutheran I know on the Net, (and he is not a Democrat/ “Liberal” by any, absolutely any, stretch of the imagination) was fairly strong worded in his rejection of both the Pledge as well as the Decleration of Independance, but was strong in his support of the US Constitution. Of course, as a non-American, it is easy to have opinions myself (and therefore I’m not sharing them here). But these issues can be difficult. One thing I would say is that national flags do not belong in Churches, with the possible exception of Coronations, Royal weddings etc – which is where the Church has a role to play OVER the State. Those are of course irrelevant in the US context.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I have successfully removed the flags from two church chancels without offending the pieties of the church members. Sometimes it pays to be a veteran.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I have successfully removed the flags from two church chancels without offending the pieties of the church members. Sometimes it pays to be a veteran.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Bror Erickson #8 opines, “I mean the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence refers to a creator. I am not so naive as to think Jefferson believed in God, but a god. Am I then breaking the first commandment for cherishing that document?”

    Yes! The creator god of the Declaration of Independence is a false god. The true Creator does not endow men with the right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.

    Men are conceived in bondage to sin, death, and the devil (Formula of Concord, SD, Original Sin). Men have no endowed right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. Fortunately, the false religion and god of the Declaration of Independence was disestablished by the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Bror Erickson #8 opines, “I mean the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence refers to a creator. I am not so naive as to think Jefferson believed in God, but a god. Am I then breaking the first commandment for cherishing that document?”

    Yes! The creator god of the Declaration of Independence is a false god. The true Creator does not endow men with the right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.

    Men are conceived in bondage to sin, death, and the devil (Formula of Concord, SD, Original Sin). Men have no endowed right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. Fortunately, the false religion and god of the Declaration of Independence was disestablished by the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Dan Kempin #9 opines, “I’m really not sure I’m following your point. You speak of established religion–I presume you are talking of a state sponsored religion–and of praying with the president. You mention that the establishment of confessional lutheranism in America is a “rebellion against powers ordained by God.” I frankly don’t know what you are talking about.”

    I was speaking hypothetically regarding the establishment of confessional Lutheranism. Lutherans are a tiny fraction of the population. It’s far more likely that Papism will be the established religion if constitutional restraints are over-turned by activist Justices. There are 5 Roman and no Lutheran Justices.

    Dan Kempin #9 opines, “Nor, to return to the point, do I understand what that discussion would have to do with the pledge of allegiance. You have read it, right? It is neither a prayer, nor a religious vow. It is, well, a pledge of allegiance to the republic in which someone dwells. It is a citizen’s pledge. This republic is, according to Christian theology and your own words, a power “ordained by God.” Or perhaps more succinctly, “under God.”
    What again is the problem that a confessional lutheran would have with that?”

    It’s not a citizen’s pledge. It’s an official pledge mandated by congress. The government has sought to punish individuals who refuse to take the pledge.
    One nation under what god? Which of the many gods that Congress and POTUS have told us to pray to is the god of the Pledge of Allegiance? Sycretism is contrary to Christian theology.
    “Moreover, by such yielding and conformity in external things, where there has not been previously Christian union in doctrine, idolaters are confirmed in their idolatry; on the other hand, the true believers are grieved, offended, and weakened in their faith; both of which every Christian for the sake of his soul’s welfare and salvation is bound to avoid, as it is written: Woe unto the world because of offenses!” Formula of Concord, SD, Adiaphora

  • Daniel Gorman

    Dan Kempin #9 opines, “I’m really not sure I’m following your point. You speak of established religion–I presume you are talking of a state sponsored religion–and of praying with the president. You mention that the establishment of confessional lutheranism in America is a “rebellion against powers ordained by God.” I frankly don’t know what you are talking about.”

    I was speaking hypothetically regarding the establishment of confessional Lutheranism. Lutherans are a tiny fraction of the population. It’s far more likely that Papism will be the established religion if constitutional restraints are over-turned by activist Justices. There are 5 Roman and no Lutheran Justices.

    Dan Kempin #9 opines, “Nor, to return to the point, do I understand what that discussion would have to do with the pledge of allegiance. You have read it, right? It is neither a prayer, nor a religious vow. It is, well, a pledge of allegiance to the republic in which someone dwells. It is a citizen’s pledge. This republic is, according to Christian theology and your own words, a power “ordained by God.” Or perhaps more succinctly, “under God.”
    What again is the problem that a confessional lutheran would have with that?”

    It’s not a citizen’s pledge. It’s an official pledge mandated by congress. The government has sought to punish individuals who refuse to take the pledge.
    One nation under what god? Which of the many gods that Congress and POTUS have told us to pray to is the god of the Pledge of Allegiance? Sycretism is contrary to Christian theology.
    “Moreover, by such yielding and conformity in external things, where there has not been previously Christian union in doctrine, idolaters are confirmed in their idolatry; on the other hand, the true believers are grieved, offended, and weakened in their faith; both of which every Christian for the sake of his soul’s welfare and salvation is bound to avoid, as it is written: Woe unto the world because of offenses!” Formula of Concord, SD, Adiaphora

  • http://www.Toddstadler.Com tODD

    I’m glad Veith brought this back up, as I’d wanted to reply to this question, but had forgotten to.

    If I may edit out the parts of Another Kerner’s question that I believe are irrelevant, it becomes: “What groups and/or events … may Christians attend … without demanding doctrinal purity or spiritual accord with all others in attendance?” This makes it clear that we are discussing nothing other than the doctrine of fellowship, and politics has no bearing on our answer. (If I may make an aside, this is an area LCMS types struggle with.)

    While I will not attempt a full answer, it seems clear that either the explicit intent or the apparent nature of the group or event should be a Christian’s main concern. If Beck’s rally was presented as a political one, a Christian’s conscience shouldn’t be bothered in planning to attend.

    But nor should we be naive. If the rally roster is mainly or all religious leaders, all agreeing on basic points, not merely presenting their beliefs, what does that look like to you? Seems like a religious service — and a heterodox one, to boot! Even if you still think it’s not religious per se, you still have to ask what it looks like to your weaker brethren, or to unbelievers.

  • http://www.Toddstadler.Com tODD

    I’m glad Veith brought this back up, as I’d wanted to reply to this question, but had forgotten to.

    If I may edit out the parts of Another Kerner’s question that I believe are irrelevant, it becomes: “What groups and/or events … may Christians attend … without demanding doctrinal purity or spiritual accord with all others in attendance?” This makes it clear that we are discussing nothing other than the doctrine of fellowship, and politics has no bearing on our answer. (If I may make an aside, this is an area LCMS types struggle with.)

    While I will not attempt a full answer, it seems clear that either the explicit intent or the apparent nature of the group or event should be a Christian’s main concern. If Beck’s rally was presented as a political one, a Christian’s conscience shouldn’t be bothered in planning to attend.

    But nor should we be naive. If the rally roster is mainly or all religious leaders, all agreeing on basic points, not merely presenting their beliefs, what does that look like to you? Seems like a religious service — and a heterodox one, to boot! Even if you still think it’s not religious per se, you still have to ask what it looks like to your weaker brethren, or to unbelievers.

  • Porcell

    Gorman: .Men have no endowed right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness….Men are conceived in bondage to sin, death, and the devil This view that men are nothing and God is everything is rather a Muslim one that belies the fact that men were created in God’s image including with the faculty of reason.

    Thi righteous provincialism is rather too much. One can understand the reality of fallenness and still ascribe to fundamental rights to life, liberty, and property. America for all its faults has proven that free men given an opportunity are capable of exercising their rights to life, liberty, and property.

    This fellow, Gorman, who righteously declares the God of the Declaration as false is a provincial Lutheran who doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  • Porcell

    Gorman: .Men have no endowed right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness….Men are conceived in bondage to sin, death, and the devil This view that men are nothing and God is everything is rather a Muslim one that belies the fact that men were created in God’s image including with the faculty of reason.

    Thi righteous provincialism is rather too much. One can understand the reality of fallenness and still ascribe to fundamental rights to life, liberty, and property. America for all its faults has proven that free men given an opportunity are capable of exercising their rights to life, liberty, and property.

    This fellow, Gorman, who righteously declares the God of the Declaration as false is a provincial Lutheran who doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  • Another Kerner

    Whoa there, Daniel at #12.
    Say what????

    “Men have no endowed right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” ( It reads “property” in the original.)

    Man is not entitled to life as a gift from God ?

    Wouldn’t that rule out the right of “self defense” to protect and preserve life as something precious and God created? Life for the infant in the womb to the aged and infirm and all the years in between? God created human beings in His own image and likeness, no?
    All people are significant.
    Sinful and fallen, yes, but significant because we all are composed of body and soul.
    (As recited in both Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms as regards the positive side of the 5th Commandment.)

    Man is not entitled to the “pursuit of property” as gifts of possessions from God in order to support his family and give to his neighbor ???

    (See the aforementioned Catechisms as regards the positive side of the 7th commandment. “It (the 7th Commandment) distinguishes rights of ownership and commands each one to hold what is his own.” So says the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XVI.

    And if these “rights” and/or gifts do not come from God, from where do they come, I wonder ??

    If the natural law is written in man’s heart, and we know it is, is it not sensible that civilizations who tend to value the “rights” of others would establish laws in the left hand kingdom which reflect the Decalogue.

    “The natural law agrees with the Law of Moses”: see Article IV. (II).

    The doctrine of the two kingdoms is true.
    God rules in both.

    Let’s review Amendment 1 to the US Constitution again.
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”

    That is the US Congress which is prohibited….

    Now another question: If it is wrong to co-mingle the two kingdoms as some do, such as a congress or a king (The Prussian Union) or sharia law, isn’t it also possible for Christians to sometimes try to wrongly apply “fellowship” restraints/restrictions in the left hand kingdom at some civil events??

    Citizens in this country have freedom of association, and are able to unite in a committee, join an organization, or attend a rally for a singular purpose agreed upon in a charter or with no charter at all, for purposes of achieving a stated goal (The American Legion, The National Rifle Association, The German Shepherd Dog Club of America, Right To Life Committee, etc.).

    All those organizations and more have not much in common except one issue or two….

    Do you suppose that insisting that all the folks in these kinds of groups in the left hand kingdom need to be in “fellowship” with one another as they do in the right hand kingdom ??

    Maybe you would like to clarify a little bit for us….

    Might that be just a bit off the mark…. and also getting the kingdoms mixed up?

  • Another Kerner

    Whoa there, Daniel at #12.
    Say what????

    “Men have no endowed right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” ( It reads “property” in the original.)

    Man is not entitled to life as a gift from God ?

    Wouldn’t that rule out the right of “self defense” to protect and preserve life as something precious and God created? Life for the infant in the womb to the aged and infirm and all the years in between? God created human beings in His own image and likeness, no?
    All people are significant.
    Sinful and fallen, yes, but significant because we all are composed of body and soul.
    (As recited in both Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms as regards the positive side of the 5th Commandment.)

    Man is not entitled to the “pursuit of property” as gifts of possessions from God in order to support his family and give to his neighbor ???

    (See the aforementioned Catechisms as regards the positive side of the 7th commandment. “It (the 7th Commandment) distinguishes rights of ownership and commands each one to hold what is his own.” So says the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XVI.

    And if these “rights” and/or gifts do not come from God, from where do they come, I wonder ??

    If the natural law is written in man’s heart, and we know it is, is it not sensible that civilizations who tend to value the “rights” of others would establish laws in the left hand kingdom which reflect the Decalogue.

    “The natural law agrees with the Law of Moses”: see Article IV. (II).

    The doctrine of the two kingdoms is true.
    God rules in both.

    Let’s review Amendment 1 to the US Constitution again.
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”

    That is the US Congress which is prohibited….

    Now another question: If it is wrong to co-mingle the two kingdoms as some do, such as a congress or a king (The Prussian Union) or sharia law, isn’t it also possible for Christians to sometimes try to wrongly apply “fellowship” restraints/restrictions in the left hand kingdom at some civil events??

    Citizens in this country have freedom of association, and are able to unite in a committee, join an organization, or attend a rally for a singular purpose agreed upon in a charter or with no charter at all, for purposes of achieving a stated goal (The American Legion, The National Rifle Association, The German Shepherd Dog Club of America, Right To Life Committee, etc.).

    All those organizations and more have not much in common except one issue or two….

    Do you suppose that insisting that all the folks in these kinds of groups in the left hand kingdom need to be in “fellowship” with one another as they do in the right hand kingdom ??

    Maybe you would like to clarify a little bit for us….

    Might that be just a bit off the mark…. and also getting the kingdoms mixed up?

  • Porcell

    Gorman: There are 5 Roman and no Lutheran Justices. Thank God for that, as it would be a shame if some Lutheran on the court followed Gorman and viewed the God of the Declaration as false and that none of us vastly fallen souls have the right to life, liberty, and property.

    Actually, any Lutheran who might get a shot at the Supreme Court would correctly regard Gorman’s peculiar views as extreme and rather silly. Luther himself, and Melanchthon, understood that fallen men at their best have the capacity of reason and decent judgment. Gorman: There are 5 Roman and no Lutheran Justices. Thank God for that, as it would be a shame if some Lutheran on the court followed Gorman and viewed the God of the Declaration as false and that none of us vastly fallen souls have the right to life, liberty, and property.

    Actually, any Lutheran who might get a shot at the Supreme Court would correctly regard Gorman’s peculiar views as extreme and rather silly. Luther himself, and Melanchthon, understood that fallen men at their best have the capacity of reason and decent judgment.

  • Porcell

    Gorman: There are 5 Roman and no Lutheran Justices. Thank God for that, as it would be a shame if some Lutheran on the court followed Gorman and viewed the God of the Declaration as false and that none of us vastly fallen souls have the right to life, liberty, and property.

    Actually, any Lutheran who might get a shot at the Supreme Court would correctly regard Gorman’s peculiar views as extreme and rather silly. Luther himself, and Melanchthon, understood that fallen men at their best have the capacity of reason and decent judgment. Gorman: There are 5 Roman and no Lutheran Justices. Thank God for that, as it would be a shame if some Lutheran on the court followed Gorman and viewed the God of the Declaration as false and that none of us vastly fallen souls have the right to life, liberty, and property.

    Actually, any Lutheran who might get a shot at the Supreme Court would correctly regard Gorman’s peculiar views as extreme and rather silly. Luther himself, and Melanchthon, understood that fallen men at their best have the capacity of reason and decent judgment.

  • Another Kerner

    Addendum:

    Daniel, all serving in the US military take an oath to uphold, protect and defend the US Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic….”so help me God”.

    They have the “ministry of the sword”. (Romans 13)

    Is there a problem with that in your mind??

  • Another Kerner

    Addendum:

    Daniel, all serving in the US military take an oath to uphold, protect and defend the US Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic….”so help me God”.

    They have the “ministry of the sword”. (Romans 13)

    Is there a problem with that in your mind??

  • Dan Kempin

    Gorman, #13,

    Good quote from the Formula. It is talking about the kingdom of the right, though–within the church.

  • Dan Kempin

    Gorman, #13,

    Good quote from the Formula. It is talking about the kingdom of the right, though–within the church.

  • Philip Larson

    Just wondering if the Two Kingdoms also implies that science and religion should stay out of each other’s way. Seems like it might be a fit.

  • Philip Larson

    Just wondering if the Two Kingdoms also implies that science and religion should stay out of each other’s way. Seems like it might be a fit.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, so this has become a discussion on the Pledge of Allegiance and the Declaration of Independence, owing mainly to the stridency of Daniel Gorman. Daniel (G, that is), what is your denominational affiliation? I’m not sure I agree with Mr. Gorman’s black-and-white conclusions, but I have to say I at least share concerns about the religious nature of those two statements.

    As for the Pledge, it seems clear that we here don’t even agree on what it means, especially the phrase, “one nation, under God.” Is it simply observing that God exists? Is it prescribing something about our legal system and how it should relate to God’s Law? Is it a desire for national religious unity? And, regardless of which of those interpretations we take, which God is it that our one nation is under? If I pledge that we’re one nation under God, understanding that to mean the Christian Trinity as revealed in the Bible, and a Muslim and Mormon compatriot take it to refer to their respective gods, then what does the phrase actually mean? Are we one nation under each of those gods? One nation only under my God, and they’re just wrong? Or what?

    For these reasons, I’m not a fan of the Pledge of Allegiance. Not that I’ve recently found myself in situations where I had to act on my thoughts.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, so this has become a discussion on the Pledge of Allegiance and the Declaration of Independence, owing mainly to the stridency of Daniel Gorman. Daniel (G, that is), what is your denominational affiliation? I’m not sure I agree with Mr. Gorman’s black-and-white conclusions, but I have to say I at least share concerns about the religious nature of those two statements.

    As for the Pledge, it seems clear that we here don’t even agree on what it means, especially the phrase, “one nation, under God.” Is it simply observing that God exists? Is it prescribing something about our legal system and how it should relate to God’s Law? Is it a desire for national religious unity? And, regardless of which of those interpretations we take, which God is it that our one nation is under? If I pledge that we’re one nation under God, understanding that to mean the Christian Trinity as revealed in the Bible, and a Muslim and Mormon compatriot take it to refer to their respective gods, then what does the phrase actually mean? Are we one nation under each of those gods? One nation only under my God, and they’re just wrong? Or what?

    For these reasons, I’m not a fan of the Pledge of Allegiance. Not that I’ve recently found myself in situations where I had to act on my thoughts.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to the Declaration of Independence, hoo-boy. I don’t know how any Confessional Lutheran can agree with the theology in that one, no matter how much they agree with the rest of it. It flies in the face of Romans 13 time and again. Compare the flowery “it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another” with the more blunt “he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Or compare the idea that “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them” to a “separate and equal station” with Romans’ “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” Or, again, compare the idea that governments “deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed” and not, as Paul says, because God established them. Continuing, we see the Declaration claim that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”, but once again, “he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” I could go on, but the same problems keep showing up.

    I’m not sure if I’m the “young vociferous Lutheran” to which Louis referred earlier (@10) — I’m not all that young — but if that’s not me, then I, too, stand behind the Constitution. But then, the Constitution lacks the religious baggage of either the Declaration or the Pledge.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to the Declaration of Independence, hoo-boy. I don’t know how any Confessional Lutheran can agree with the theology in that one, no matter how much they agree with the rest of it. It flies in the face of Romans 13 time and again. Compare the flowery “it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another” with the more blunt “he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Or compare the idea that “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them” to a “separate and equal station” with Romans’ “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” Or, again, compare the idea that governments “deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed” and not, as Paul says, because God established them. Continuing, we see the Declaration claim that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”, but once again, “he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” I could go on, but the same problems keep showing up.

    I’m not sure if I’m the “young vociferous Lutheran” to which Louis referred earlier (@10) — I’m not all that young — but if that’s not me, then I, too, stand behind the Constitution. But then, the Constitution lacks the religious baggage of either the Declaration or the Pledge.

  • helen

    The phrase “under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance under Eisenhower, I believe.
    America wished to clearly differentiate itself from ‘godless communism’ at that time.
    (Now, not so much!)
    I would say that it only recognizes that there is a God, and IMHO, it’s not a prayer.

    [But of course, the men in my family are Eagle Scouts. Daniel Gorman does not approve of that, either,
    if I remember correctly (and have not mistaken him for someone else).]

  • helen

    The phrase “under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance under Eisenhower, I believe.
    America wished to clearly differentiate itself from ‘godless communism’ at that time.
    (Now, not so much!)
    I would say that it only recognizes that there is a God, and IMHO, it’s not a prayer.

    [But of course, the men in my family are Eagle Scouts. Daniel Gorman does not approve of that, either,
    if I remember correctly (and have not mistaken him for someone else).]

  • Daniel Gorman

    Another Kerner #15 asks a series of questions:

    “Man is not entitled to life as a gift from God?”

    Man is entitled only to death (Rom. 6:23). The gift of God is eternal life but only through Jesus Christ not through some mythical god-endowed right.

    “Wouldn’t that rule out the right of “self defense” to protect and preserve life as something precious and God created?”

    In self-defense, the individual becomes an agent of the state bearing the sword for the punishment of evil-doers (Rom 13:4). Self-defense isn’t a right; it’s a duty (4th Commandment).

    “God created human beings in His own image and likeness, no?”

    No! The image of God in man is lost along with his right to life and liberty (Gen. 5:3).

    “Man is not entitled to the “pursuit of property” as gifts of possessions from God in order to support his family and give to his neighbor ???”

    Man is entitled to none of these gifts of God. The Father gives men these gifts purely out of divine goodness and mercy not because of man’s entitlement to them (Small Catechism, Creed, 1st Article).

    “And if these “rights” and/or gifts do not come from God, from where do they come, I wonder ??”

    If men have good government and civil “rights” ensue, it is another gift of God not an endowed right of men.

    “Now another question: If it is wrong to co-mingle the two kingdoms as some do, such as a congress or a king (The Prussian Union) or sharia law, isn’t it also possible for Christians to sometimes try to wrongly apply “fellowship” restraints/restrictions in the left hand kingdom at some civil events??”

    Having an established religion does not necessarily mingle the two kingdoms. However, in this country, having an established religion is prohibited by law. Politicians urging people to pray to idols at civil events violates the laws of both kingdoms. Prayers at civil events should be declared unconstitutional and eliminated.

    “Do you suppose that insisting that all the folks in these kinds of groups in the left hand kingdom need to be in “fellowship” with one another as they do in the right hand kingdom ??”

    Why do people in these left hand kingdom groups feel the need to have prayers offered up to their various gods? Unless all the members of the left hand kingdom group are in fellowship with each other, the invocation is a tradition that is best honored in the breech rather than the observance.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Another Kerner #15 asks a series of questions:

    “Man is not entitled to life as a gift from God?”

    Man is entitled only to death (Rom. 6:23). The gift of God is eternal life but only through Jesus Christ not through some mythical god-endowed right.

    “Wouldn’t that rule out the right of “self defense” to protect and preserve life as something precious and God created?”

    In self-defense, the individual becomes an agent of the state bearing the sword for the punishment of evil-doers (Rom 13:4). Self-defense isn’t a right; it’s a duty (4th Commandment).

    “God created human beings in His own image and likeness, no?”

    No! The image of God in man is lost along with his right to life and liberty (Gen. 5:3).

    “Man is not entitled to the “pursuit of property” as gifts of possessions from God in order to support his family and give to his neighbor ???”

    Man is entitled to none of these gifts of God. The Father gives men these gifts purely out of divine goodness and mercy not because of man’s entitlement to them (Small Catechism, Creed, 1st Article).

    “And if these “rights” and/or gifts do not come from God, from where do they come, I wonder ??”

    If men have good government and civil “rights” ensue, it is another gift of God not an endowed right of men.

    “Now another question: If it is wrong to co-mingle the two kingdoms as some do, such as a congress or a king (The Prussian Union) or sharia law, isn’t it also possible for Christians to sometimes try to wrongly apply “fellowship” restraints/restrictions in the left hand kingdom at some civil events??”

    Having an established religion does not necessarily mingle the two kingdoms. However, in this country, having an established religion is prohibited by law. Politicians urging people to pray to idols at civil events violates the laws of both kingdoms. Prayers at civil events should be declared unconstitutional and eliminated.

    “Do you suppose that insisting that all the folks in these kinds of groups in the left hand kingdom need to be in “fellowship” with one another as they do in the right hand kingdom ??”

    Why do people in these left hand kingdom groups feel the need to have prayers offered up to their various gods? Unless all the members of the left hand kingdom group are in fellowship with each other, the invocation is a tradition that is best honored in the breech rather than the observance.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Another Kerner, “Daniel, all serving in the US military take an oath to uphold, protect and defend the US Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic….”so help me God”.
    They have the “ministry of the sword”. (Romans 13)
    Is there a problem with that in your mind??”

    My understanding is that “so help me God” is strictly voluntary. So no serviceman is required to take an oath to the false gods established by congress and POTUS.

    To TODD, I’m LCMS, for now.

    Dan Kempin,
    The formula is addressing the same situation then as now. Government promoting idolatry.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Another Kerner, “Daniel, all serving in the US military take an oath to uphold, protect and defend the US Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic….”so help me God”.
    They have the “ministry of the sword”. (Romans 13)
    Is there a problem with that in your mind??”

    My understanding is that “so help me God” is strictly voluntary. So no serviceman is required to take an oath to the false gods established by congress and POTUS.

    To TODD, I’m LCMS, for now.

    Dan Kempin,
    The formula is addressing the same situation then as now. Government promoting idolatry.

  • Porcell

    Gorman: Why do people in these left hand kingdom groups feel the need to have prayers offered up to their various gods? Unless all the members of the left hand kingdom group are in fellowship with each other, the invocation is a tradition that is best honored in the breech rather than the observance.

    Americans of various faiths in assembly traditionally pray to the one God that for most Americans is the monotheistic Judeo-Christian one. Your statement that Americans pray to various gods is absurd.

    You draw a rigid distinction between the left and right hand kingdoms that are both under the rule of God. Dietrich Bonhoeffer gets to the essence of this issue with the following:

    The division of the total reality into the sacred and a profane sphere, a Christian and a secular sphere, creates the possibility of existence in a single one of those spheres, a spiritual existence which has no part in secular existence, and a secular existence which can claim autonomy for itself and can exercise this right of autonomy in its dealings with the spiritual sphere……….
It may be difficult to break the spell of this thinking in terms of two spheres, but it is nevertheless quite certain that it is in profound contradiction to the thought of the Bible and to the thought of the Reformation, and that consequently it aims wide of reality. There are not tow realities, but only one reality, and that is the reality of God, which has become manifest in Christ in the reality of the world…

    Only some provincial Lutheran hung up on a false separation of the two kingdoms would subscribe to your radical position.

  • Porcell

    Gorman: Why do people in these left hand kingdom groups feel the need to have prayers offered up to their various gods? Unless all the members of the left hand kingdom group are in fellowship with each other, the invocation is a tradition that is best honored in the breech rather than the observance.

    Americans of various faiths in assembly traditionally pray to the one God that for most Americans is the monotheistic Judeo-Christian one. Your statement that Americans pray to various gods is absurd.

    You draw a rigid distinction between the left and right hand kingdoms that are both under the rule of God. Dietrich Bonhoeffer gets to the essence of this issue with the following:

    The division of the total reality into the sacred and a profane sphere, a Christian and a secular sphere, creates the possibility of existence in a single one of those spheres, a spiritual existence which has no part in secular existence, and a secular existence which can claim autonomy for itself and can exercise this right of autonomy in its dealings with the spiritual sphere……….
It may be difficult to break the spell of this thinking in terms of two spheres, but it is nevertheless quite certain that it is in profound contradiction to the thought of the Bible and to the thought of the Reformation, and that consequently it aims wide of reality. There are not tow realities, but only one reality, and that is the reality of God, which has become manifest in Christ in the reality of the world…

    Only some provincial Lutheran hung up on a false separation of the two kingdoms would subscribe to your radical position.

  • Dan Kempin

    Gorman, # 24,

    Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, Article 10. The articular heading is: “CHURCH Rites.” [emphasis mine, of course, throughout.]

    The article begins, “Concerning ceremonies and CHURCH rites which are neither commanded nor forbidden in God’s Word, but are introduced into the CHURCH . . .”

    Jumping ahead to the sentences just before your quote, “For as soon as . . . the ordinances of men are forced upon the CHURCH . . .”

    So I think I’m going to stick with my initial assesment that this is talking about the church. The kingdom of the right as distinguished from the civil authority.

    Look. Let’s clarify this. I really don’t want to argue for or against the American pledge of allegiance. Like tODD, I have my opinions and if you want to challenge assumptions and generate discussion, that’s great. It’s why I’m here, actually. Disagree with me so that I might become sharper.

    But when you start speaking for all confessional lutherans, saying, “Confessional Lutherans may not recite the Pledge of Allegiance at all,” I have an obligation to call you out. When you insist that an excerpt from the Formula forbids a civil pledge, in defiance of the clear context and article heading, I have to say that if you are right, you haven’t made your case.

    Might I suggest that if you want to carry on this discussion, you go back and clarify what you mean so that we can meaningfully respond, rather than just issuing assertions. I still don’t know what you mean by “established religion.” What is your understanding of civil religion? What is your understanding of the two kingdoms? When has the US government “sought to punish those who refused to take the pledge?” How can I agree or disagree when I still don’t really know what you mean?

    If you wish to “opine” on these things, that’s fine. Your opinion is as valuable as anyone elses. If, however, you wish to attempt to speak for confessional lutheranism, then please show us the courtesy of explaining the reasoning and sources behind your assertions.

    “Confessional lutherans” do that.

  • Dan Kempin

    Gorman, # 24,

    Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, Article 10. The articular heading is: “CHURCH Rites.” [emphasis mine, of course, throughout.]

    The article begins, “Concerning ceremonies and CHURCH rites which are neither commanded nor forbidden in God’s Word, but are introduced into the CHURCH . . .”

    Jumping ahead to the sentences just before your quote, “For as soon as . . . the ordinances of men are forced upon the CHURCH . . .”

    So I think I’m going to stick with my initial assesment that this is talking about the church. The kingdom of the right as distinguished from the civil authority.

    Look. Let’s clarify this. I really don’t want to argue for or against the American pledge of allegiance. Like tODD, I have my opinions and if you want to challenge assumptions and generate discussion, that’s great. It’s why I’m here, actually. Disagree with me so that I might become sharper.

    But when you start speaking for all confessional lutherans, saying, “Confessional Lutherans may not recite the Pledge of Allegiance at all,” I have an obligation to call you out. When you insist that an excerpt from the Formula forbids a civil pledge, in defiance of the clear context and article heading, I have to say that if you are right, you haven’t made your case.

    Might I suggest that if you want to carry on this discussion, you go back and clarify what you mean so that we can meaningfully respond, rather than just issuing assertions. I still don’t know what you mean by “established religion.” What is your understanding of civil religion? What is your understanding of the two kingdoms? When has the US government “sought to punish those who refused to take the pledge?” How can I agree or disagree when I still don’t really know what you mean?

    If you wish to “opine” on these things, that’s fine. Your opinion is as valuable as anyone elses. If, however, you wish to attempt to speak for confessional lutheranism, then please show us the courtesy of explaining the reasoning and sources behind your assertions.

    “Confessional lutherans” do that.

  • kerner

    OK, so now this is a discussion about oaths. In the United States, one is entitled to give an affirmation instead of an oath, and it is equally binding. So if taking an oath is a big hang-up for anyone, there is that option.

    Now, I am NOT trying to make some kind of ad hominem attack on anybody that doesn’t want to take an oath to an ambiguous god, but the people who have traditionally demanded affirmations have been Quakers and Jehovah’s witnesses and other fringe groups. Lutherans have always been OK with taking the oaths in the United States. Now maybe Lutherans have been misguided all these years, or maybe conditions have changed. But if Lutherans are going to change our position, the reasons for it should be clearly articulated.

  • kerner

    OK, so now this is a discussion about oaths. In the United States, one is entitled to give an affirmation instead of an oath, and it is equally binding. So if taking an oath is a big hang-up for anyone, there is that option.

    Now, I am NOT trying to make some kind of ad hominem attack on anybody that doesn’t want to take an oath to an ambiguous god, but the people who have traditionally demanded affirmations have been Quakers and Jehovah’s witnesses and other fringe groups. Lutherans have always been OK with taking the oaths in the United States. Now maybe Lutherans have been misguided all these years, or maybe conditions have changed. But if Lutherans are going to change our position, the reasons for it should be clearly articulated.

  • Another Kerner

    Gorman @ # 24.

    Perhaps a better choice of words on my part would clarify matters:

    If the word “Endowed” is used instead of “entitiled”, would that alter your opinion any ?

    An endowment is a gift, no?
    And God gifts all men with life, no?

    And what kind of civil righteousness and justice system would you propose in the left hand kingdom?

  • Another Kerner

    Gorman @ # 24.

    Perhaps a better choice of words on my part would clarify matters:

    If the word “Endowed” is used instead of “entitiled”, would that alter your opinion any ?

    An endowment is a gift, no?
    And God gifts all men with life, no?

    And what kind of civil righteousness and justice system would you propose in the left hand kingdom?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Daniel Gorman,
    I am a confessional Lutheran. And I don’t think I can agree with all your assertions. For one I think it is you that ipmroperly distinguish between the two kingdoms. I’ll probably respond more one this monday. However a christian is perfectly capable of vowing to the true god no matter what “god” is meant in an oath of office, and do so with good conscience.
    tODD,
    Read tyranny and resistance by Mark Whitford. He makes a good confessional Lutheran argument for the declaration of independence. I. On a BB right now so soorry I don’t have time for more.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Daniel Gorman,
    I am a confessional Lutheran. And I don’t think I can agree with all your assertions. For one I think it is you that ipmroperly distinguish between the two kingdoms. I’ll probably respond more one this monday. However a christian is perfectly capable of vowing to the true god no matter what “god” is meant in an oath of office, and do so with good conscience.
    tODD,
    Read tyranny and resistance by Mark Whitford. He makes a good confessional Lutheran argument for the declaration of independence. I. On a BB right now so soorry I don’t have time for more.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Porcell #25, “Americans of various faiths in assembly traditionally pray to the one God that for most Americans is the monotheistic Judeo-Christian one. Your statement that Americans pray to various gods is absurd.”

    Jesus Christ is the one true God. American Judaism, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, JWs, etc. pray to various gods who are not God.

    Dan Kempin #26 “When you insist that an excerpt from the Formula forbids a civil pledge, in defiance of the clear context and article heading, I have to say that if you are right, you haven’t made your case.”

    Let’s see if I can connect the dots for you:
    1. The church develops rites which are neither commanded nor forbidden by scripture.
    2. A public confession of essential attributes of God is an example of a church rite (e.g., Athanasian Creed).
    3. Congress passes a Pledge of Allegiance Act mandating a public confession of loyalty to the concept of “one nation under god.”
    4. The Pledge of Allegiance is the public confession of an essential attribute of god (i.e., he is above the nation).
    5. The public confession of an essential attribute of God is a church rite.
    6. When congress mandated a public confession of an essential attribute of God, the government established a church and its first church rite.
    6. Congress passes the National Day of Prayer Act authorizing POTUS to urge Americans to pray to whatever god(s) he selects.
    7. POTUS selects the Christian God, the Judaism god, and the Muslim god for prayer (i.e., another church rite for the government’s established church).
    8. The Pledge of Allegiance is a public confession that the Christian, Judaism, and Muslim gods of Congress and POTUS are above the nation.
    9. The Judaism and Muslim gods are idols.
    10. The government’s church rites are promoting idolatry.
    11. The condemnations of the Formula of Concord, SD, Adiaphora, apply to the National Day of Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Another Kerner #28,
    OK, if you wish to define endow as gift; however, the tempory gift of life is not an inalienable right to life. Man deserves neither life nor liberty but only eternal death, punishments, and bondage.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Porcell #25, “Americans of various faiths in assembly traditionally pray to the one God that for most Americans is the monotheistic Judeo-Christian one. Your statement that Americans pray to various gods is absurd.”

    Jesus Christ is the one true God. American Judaism, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, JWs, etc. pray to various gods who are not God.

    Dan Kempin #26 “When you insist that an excerpt from the Formula forbids a civil pledge, in defiance of the clear context and article heading, I have to say that if you are right, you haven’t made your case.”

    Let’s see if I can connect the dots for you:
    1. The church develops rites which are neither commanded nor forbidden by scripture.
    2. A public confession of essential attributes of God is an example of a church rite (e.g., Athanasian Creed).
    3. Congress passes a Pledge of Allegiance Act mandating a public confession of loyalty to the concept of “one nation under god.”
    4. The Pledge of Allegiance is the public confession of an essential attribute of god (i.e., he is above the nation).
    5. The public confession of an essential attribute of God is a church rite.
    6. When congress mandated a public confession of an essential attribute of God, the government established a church and its first church rite.
    6. Congress passes the National Day of Prayer Act authorizing POTUS to urge Americans to pray to whatever god(s) he selects.
    7. POTUS selects the Christian God, the Judaism god, and the Muslim god for prayer (i.e., another church rite for the government’s established church).
    8. The Pledge of Allegiance is a public confession that the Christian, Judaism, and Muslim gods of Congress and POTUS are above the nation.
    9. The Judaism and Muslim gods are idols.
    10. The government’s church rites are promoting idolatry.
    11. The condemnations of the Formula of Concord, SD, Adiaphora, apply to the National Day of Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Another Kerner #28,
    OK, if you wish to define endow as gift; however, the tempory gift of life is not an inalienable right to life. Man deserves neither life nor liberty but only eternal death, punishments, and bondage.

  • Porcell

    Daniel Gorman at 30: That exercise in “connecting” of the dots is legalistic codswallop.

    The Augsburg Confession states the following:

    …the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike.

    You might reflect on the classic statement regarding adiaphora:

    “unity in necessary things; liberty in doubtful things; charity in all things” [In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas]

  • Porcell

    Daniel Gorman at 30: That exercise in “connecting” of the dots is legalistic codswallop.

    The Augsburg Confession states the following:

    …the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike.

    You might reflect on the classic statement regarding adiaphora:

    “unity in necessary things; liberty in doubtful things; charity in all things” [In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas]

  • Just Learning

    “The Glenn Beck rally is confusing people.

    Why?

    He is aiming far beyond what most people consider to be the goalposts.

    Using Boyd’s continuum for war: Material, Intellectual, Moral.

    Analogously for political change: Elections, Institutions, Culture.

    Beck sees correctly that the Conservative movement had only limited success because it was good at level 1, for a while, weak on level 2, and barely touched level 3. Talk Radio and the Tea Party are level 3 phenomena, popular outbreaks, which are blowing back into politics.

    Someone who asks what the rally has to do with the 2010 election is missing the point.

    Beck is building solidarity and cultural confidence in America, its Constitution, its military heritage, its freedom. This is a vision that is despised by the people who have long held the commanding heights of the culture. But is obviously alive and kicking.

    Beck is creating positive themes of unity and patriotism and freedom and independence which are above mere political or policy choices, but not irrelevant to them. Political and policy choices rest on a foundation of philosophy, culture, self-image, ideals, religion. Change the foundation, and the rest will flow from that. Defeat the enemy on that plane, and any merely tactical defeat will always be reversible.

    Beck is unabashed that God can be invoked in public places by citizens, who vote and assemble and speak and freely exercise their religion. They are supposed to be too browbeaten to do this. Gathering hundreds of thousands of them to peaceably assemble shows they are not. But showing that the people who believe in God and practice their religion are fellow-citizens who share political and economic values with majorities of Americans is a critical step. The idea that these people are an American Taliban is laughable, but showing that fact to the world — and to potential political allies who are not religious — is critical.

    Beck is attacking the enemy at the foundations of their power, their claim to race as a permanent trump card, their claim to the Civil Rights movement as a permanent model to constantly be transforming a perpetually unjust society.

    He is nuking out the foundations of the opposition’s moral preeminence, the very thing I proposed in this post.

    Ronald Reagan said we would not defeat Communism, we would transcend it.

    Beck is aiming to have America do the same thing to its decaying class of Overlords, transcend them.

    Beck is prepping the battlefield for a generation-long battle.

    He is that very American thing: A practical visionary.

    See, simple.

    Restore pride and confidence to your own side, and win the long game.

    As Ronald Reagan also said, there are simple solutions, just no easy solutions.

    God bless America.”

    http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/15295.html#more-15295

  • Just Learning

    “The Glenn Beck rally is confusing people.

    Why?

    He is aiming far beyond what most people consider to be the goalposts.

    Using Boyd’s continuum for war: Material, Intellectual, Moral.

    Analogously for political change: Elections, Institutions, Culture.

    Beck sees correctly that the Conservative movement had only limited success because it was good at level 1, for a while, weak on level 2, and barely touched level 3. Talk Radio and the Tea Party are level 3 phenomena, popular outbreaks, which are blowing back into politics.

    Someone who asks what the rally has to do with the 2010 election is missing the point.

    Beck is building solidarity and cultural confidence in America, its Constitution, its military heritage, its freedom. This is a vision that is despised by the people who have long held the commanding heights of the culture. But is obviously alive and kicking.

    Beck is creating positive themes of unity and patriotism and freedom and independence which are above mere political or policy choices, but not irrelevant to them. Political and policy choices rest on a foundation of philosophy, culture, self-image, ideals, religion. Change the foundation, and the rest will flow from that. Defeat the enemy on that plane, and any merely tactical defeat will always be reversible.

    Beck is unabashed that God can be invoked in public places by citizens, who vote and assemble and speak and freely exercise their religion. They are supposed to be too browbeaten to do this. Gathering hundreds of thousands of them to peaceably assemble shows they are not. But showing that the people who believe in God and practice their religion are fellow-citizens who share political and economic values with majorities of Americans is a critical step. The idea that these people are an American Taliban is laughable, but showing that fact to the world — and to potential political allies who are not religious — is critical.

    Beck is attacking the enemy at the foundations of their power, their claim to race as a permanent trump card, their claim to the Civil Rights movement as a permanent model to constantly be transforming a perpetually unjust society.

    He is nuking out the foundations of the opposition’s moral preeminence, the very thing I proposed in this post.

    Ronald Reagan said we would not defeat Communism, we would transcend it.

    Beck is aiming to have America do the same thing to its decaying class of Overlords, transcend them.

    Beck is prepping the battlefield for a generation-long battle.

    He is that very American thing: A practical visionary.

    See, simple.

    Restore pride and confidence to your own side, and win the long game.

    As Ronald Reagan also said, there are simple solutions, just no easy solutions.

    God bless America.”

    http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/15295.html#more-15295

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Clarification from the Lutheran Confessions and Martin Luther.

    The doctrine of the two kingdoms is exactly and only another way of expressing the distinction between law and gospel.

    It is nothing at all more than that.

    And so it is really about vocation (works) , that is, earthly righteousness that pleases God and is providenced by him through unbelievers and christians alike, versus faith. alone.

    It is not some Luther-an theory of the christian´s proper relationship to civil authority, although it does fully encompass that.

    Luther:

    “The forgiveness of sins…. is the one article that makes one a christian….. but we will lose this teaching if we do not know that there are two kinds of righteousness that are pleasing to God and willed by him…. one is the righteousness of the earthly kingdom….. the sum total of the righteousness God wants here is for each to mind to his own business and not meddle in the personal life , property or business of others…. this earthly kingdom righteousness includes everything we can do in our bodies.

    Then there is that other invisible Heavenly Kingdom. It includes invisible faith alone. This heavenly righteousness is meaningless and useless in the earthly kingdom except to God and a troubled conscience….. this heavenly righteousness does not include anything at all that we can do in our bodies. How could it? Those things are already all included in the earthly righteousness of the earthly kingdom. ”

    the complete text is here…

    http://www.thirduse.com

    I quote Luther because the confessions reference this sermon as the context of FC article VI.

    In the apology we luthers believe, teach and confess something rather amazing that a calvinist could never confess. Dr Veith fully confesses this, so his writings must be understood in this context. The context is this:

    “Nothing can be added to the virtue ethics of Aristotle”. We Lutherans confess that christians cannot improve upon an ethical system of a pagan. Think of the ramifications of this Lutheran belief.

    As I said, a Calvinist (and many “Lutherans”) would NEVER agree with this. They would say that God and revealed law are necessary for true ( ie God pleasing) earthly righteousness to happen.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Clarification from the Lutheran Confessions and Martin Luther.

    The doctrine of the two kingdoms is exactly and only another way of expressing the distinction between law and gospel.

    It is nothing at all more than that.

    And so it is really about vocation (works) , that is, earthly righteousness that pleases God and is providenced by him through unbelievers and christians alike, versus faith. alone.

    It is not some Luther-an theory of the christian´s proper relationship to civil authority, although it does fully encompass that.

    Luther:

    “The forgiveness of sins…. is the one article that makes one a christian….. but we will lose this teaching if we do not know that there are two kinds of righteousness that are pleasing to God and willed by him…. one is the righteousness of the earthly kingdom….. the sum total of the righteousness God wants here is for each to mind to his own business and not meddle in the personal life , property or business of others…. this earthly kingdom righteousness includes everything we can do in our bodies.

    Then there is that other invisible Heavenly Kingdom. It includes invisible faith alone. This heavenly righteousness is meaningless and useless in the earthly kingdom except to God and a troubled conscience….. this heavenly righteousness does not include anything at all that we can do in our bodies. How could it? Those things are already all included in the earthly righteousness of the earthly kingdom. ”

    the complete text is here…

    http://www.thirduse.com

    I quote Luther because the confessions reference this sermon as the context of FC article VI.

    In the apology we luthers believe, teach and confess something rather amazing that a calvinist could never confess. Dr Veith fully confesses this, so his writings must be understood in this context. The context is this:

    “Nothing can be added to the virtue ethics of Aristotle”. We Lutherans confess that christians cannot improve upon an ethical system of a pagan. Think of the ramifications of this Lutheran belief.

    As I said, a Calvinist (and many “Lutherans”) would NEVER agree with this. They would say that God and revealed law are necessary for true ( ie God pleasing) earthly righteousness to happen.

  • Tom Hering

    “[Beck] is nuking out the foundations of the opposition’s moral preeminence …” – Just Learning @ 33.

    Beck represents a better morality? The guy who – live on the air – called the wife of a competing DJ to ask her if she had a miscarriage a couple of days ago? And when she said yes, proceeded to joke about how her husband can’t do anything right – including making babies?

  • Tom Hering

    “[Beck] is nuking out the foundations of the opposition’s moral preeminence …” – Just Learning @ 33.

    Beck represents a better morality? The guy who – live on the air – called the wife of a competing DJ to ask her if she had a miscarriage a couple of days ago? And when she said yes, proceeded to joke about how her husband can’t do anything right – including making babies?

  • Porcell

    Tom, I agree with you that Beck is essentially a sleazy character, though his emphasis on religion and the Constitution is appropriate. In the long run Beck will end up as an opportunistic cipher , though, we may hope, religion and the Constitution will prevail over the sentimental
    nostrums of the liberals.

  • Porcell

    Tom, I agree with you that Beck is essentially a sleazy character, though his emphasis on religion and the Constitution is appropriate. In the long run Beck will end up as an opportunistic cipher , though, we may hope, religion and the Constitution will prevail over the sentimental
    nostrums of the liberals.

  • Tom Hering

    But Porcell, he’s mainly promoting himself as the (unwilling! ha!) leader of a moral revival. (Cue the tears, the martyrdom shtick, the bulletproof vest.) Not as a religious leader, or a champion of the Constitution.

  • Tom Hering

    But Porcell, he’s mainly promoting himself as the (unwilling! ha!) leader of a moral revival. (Cue the tears, the martyrdom shtick, the bulletproof vest.) Not as a religious leader, or a champion of the Constitution.

  • Just Learning

    Tom Hering, “Beck represents a better morality? The guy who – live on the air – called the wife of a competing DJ to ask her if she had a miscarriage a couple of days ago? And when she said yes, proceeded to joke about how her husband can’t do anything right – including making babies?”

    The author was not refering to BECK’S morality.

    From an earlier post:

    “This is a conundrum I have been brooding about.

    Why does the Ruling Class, using Codevilla’s term, have such strong cultural confidence?

    And what can we do to undermine it?

    If I had to pick an ultimate target for activism and action by Conservatives, Libertarians, Tea Partiers, and common-sense Conservatives, it would be strengthening to diamond-hardness the cultural confidence of those who believe in the American way of life –free enterprise, limited government, personal freedom — and nuking out the foundations of the cultural confidence of our opponents. That is, long term, the most important thing. Many things in the short and medium term have to come first, but that is the long term goal.

    John Boyd said that war is waged on the material, intellectual and moral plane, and the moral plane is the the most important.

    Winning elections would be the material plane, winning arguments among people who read about and care about policy would be the intellectual plane, but getting people to be proud of the American way of life, and making its enemies embarrassed and ashamed to hold their views and to come to despise and mock their own signs and symbols of class solidarity, that would be bringing the conflict to a victorious conclusion on the moral plane.

    We want to do all three. And they are interactive and feed back on each other.

    But I go back to my initial question. Why does an elite that is actually not admirable in what it does, and not effective or productive, that has added little or nothing of value to the civilizational stock, that cannot possibly do the things it claims it can do, that services rent-seekers and the well-connected, that believes in an incoherent mishmash of politically correct platitudes, that is parasitic, have such an elevated view of itself?

    The old British aristocracy could at least truthfully say that they had physical courage and patriotism and cared for their shires and neighborhoods and served for free as justices of the peace. The old French aristocracy could at least truthfully say that had refinement and manners and a love for art and literature and sophistication and beautiful things. The old Yankee elite could truthfully say that it was enterprising and public spirited and willing to rough it and do hard work when necessary. This lot have little or nothing to be proud of, but they are arrogant as Hell.

    Why aren’t these people laughed out of the room? (This is a start.)

    Why are people who should know better so desperate to be accepted by this self-appointed ruling class?

    It seems to me this group is vulnerable to strategic, permanent defeat if the conversation and the spot-light can be relentlessly focused on their deficiencies and the ludicrous nature of much of their behavior and their beliefs.

    What concrete steps can be taken to do this? Your comments are solicited.”

    http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/14446.html

  • Just Learning

    Tom Hering, “Beck represents a better morality? The guy who – live on the air – called the wife of a competing DJ to ask her if she had a miscarriage a couple of days ago? And when she said yes, proceeded to joke about how her husband can’t do anything right – including making babies?”

    The author was not refering to BECK’S morality.

    From an earlier post:

    “This is a conundrum I have been brooding about.

    Why does the Ruling Class, using Codevilla’s term, have such strong cultural confidence?

    And what can we do to undermine it?

    If I had to pick an ultimate target for activism and action by Conservatives, Libertarians, Tea Partiers, and common-sense Conservatives, it would be strengthening to diamond-hardness the cultural confidence of those who believe in the American way of life –free enterprise, limited government, personal freedom — and nuking out the foundations of the cultural confidence of our opponents. That is, long term, the most important thing. Many things in the short and medium term have to come first, but that is the long term goal.

    John Boyd said that war is waged on the material, intellectual and moral plane, and the moral plane is the the most important.

    Winning elections would be the material plane, winning arguments among people who read about and care about policy would be the intellectual plane, but getting people to be proud of the American way of life, and making its enemies embarrassed and ashamed to hold their views and to come to despise and mock their own signs and symbols of class solidarity, that would be bringing the conflict to a victorious conclusion on the moral plane.

    We want to do all three. And they are interactive and feed back on each other.

    But I go back to my initial question. Why does an elite that is actually not admirable in what it does, and not effective or productive, that has added little or nothing of value to the civilizational stock, that cannot possibly do the things it claims it can do, that services rent-seekers and the well-connected, that believes in an incoherent mishmash of politically correct platitudes, that is parasitic, have such an elevated view of itself?

    The old British aristocracy could at least truthfully say that they had physical courage and patriotism and cared for their shires and neighborhoods and served for free as justices of the peace. The old French aristocracy could at least truthfully say that had refinement and manners and a love for art and literature and sophistication and beautiful things. The old Yankee elite could truthfully say that it was enterprising and public spirited and willing to rough it and do hard work when necessary. This lot have little or nothing to be proud of, but they are arrogant as Hell.

    Why aren’t these people laughed out of the room? (This is a start.)

    Why are people who should know better so desperate to be accepted by this self-appointed ruling class?

    It seems to me this group is vulnerable to strategic, permanent defeat if the conversation and the spot-light can be relentlessly focused on their deficiencies and the ludicrous nature of much of their behavior and their beliefs.

    What concrete steps can be taken to do this? Your comments are solicited.”

    http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/14446.html

  • Just Learning

    “Tom Hering, “Beck represents a better morality? The guy who – live on the air – called the wife of a competing DJ to ask her if she had a miscarriage a couple of days ago? And when she said yes, proceeded to joke about how her husband can’t do anything right – including making babies?”

    BTW: This incident took place when Beck was 19 years old. A time when he admitted to being a drunk as well as a horrible person.

  • Just Learning

    “Tom Hering, “Beck represents a better morality? The guy who – live on the air – called the wife of a competing DJ to ask her if she had a miscarriage a couple of days ago? And when she said yes, proceeded to joke about how her husband can’t do anything right – including making babies?”

    BTW: This incident took place when Beck was 19 years old. A time when he admitted to being a drunk as well as a horrible person.

  • Tom Hering

    “A time when he admitted to being a drunk as well as a horrible person.”

    I’m glad to hear he’s not a drunk anymore. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    “A time when he admitted to being a drunk as well as a horrible person.”

    I’m glad to hear he’s not a drunk anymore. ;-)

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #35, #37, #40,

    Your harsh words seem a bit out of character for you. Let us fair in our criticism be.

    OK, Beck is a Mormon, and so you have no religious commonality.

    You may abhor his political views as well, and that’s fine, and you may find him to be abraisive and annoying. That’s perfectly reasonable. Question his motives and his sincerity if you think you should.

    There is no denying, though, that he is a public example of personal rehabilitation. (One reason, I think, for his credibility with many.) He has been very forthright and open in acknowledging that he used to be an alcoholic and not a very nice person. He bottomed out, and regularly warns against the path he foolishly took. (I’m going to put the best construction and assume you didn’t know that.)

    So disagree, criticize, and persuade. But throwing 25 year old sins back at someone–particularly when those sins have been publicly acknowledged and credibly repudiated by his actions–well, that seems rather off the point.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #35, #37, #40,

    Your harsh words seem a bit out of character for you. Let us fair in our criticism be.

    OK, Beck is a Mormon, and so you have no religious commonality.

    You may abhor his political views as well, and that’s fine, and you may find him to be abraisive and annoying. That’s perfectly reasonable. Question his motives and his sincerity if you think you should.

    There is no denying, though, that he is a public example of personal rehabilitation. (One reason, I think, for his credibility with many.) He has been very forthright and open in acknowledging that he used to be an alcoholic and not a very nice person. He bottomed out, and regularly warns against the path he foolishly took. (I’m going to put the best construction and assume you didn’t know that.)

    So disagree, criticize, and persuade. But throwing 25 year old sins back at someone–particularly when those sins have been publicly acknowledged and credibly repudiated by his actions–well, that seems rather off the point.

  • Tom Hering

    Dan, a person’s past can help us to understand their character. (I’ve often heard that “character matters” when it comes to leaders.) Especially if the character they display in the present reflects the character they displayed in the past. Now, I assume that Beck – being a moral leader – does unto others as he would have others do unto him. And I’m happy to oblige. But only up to a point. I won’t reciprocate by telling lies about him, or claiming he and those who think like him are “out to kill you.” We progressives can just suck that one up.

  • Tom Hering

    Dan, a person’s past can help us to understand their character. (I’ve often heard that “character matters” when it comes to leaders.) Especially if the character they display in the present reflects the character they displayed in the past. Now, I assume that Beck – being a moral leader – does unto others as he would have others do unto him. And I’m happy to oblige. But only up to a point. I won’t reciprocate by telling lies about him, or claiming he and those who think like him are “out to kill you.” We progressives can just suck that one up.

  • kerner

    Dan Gorman @ 31:

    OK, I see your logic on the pledge of allegiance. So, does that mean that if the pledge didn’t include the word’s “Under God” it would be ok with you?

    But if the omission of “under God” solves your problem, it creates another one. I could be wrong, but I believe that the addition of the words, “under God” was supposed to help religious people make the pledge. Because, my allegiance to my country is secondary to my allegiance to God. That being the case, any pledge of allegiance to the USA should contain some language to the effect that my allegiance to God is superior.

    But, since this pledge was designed to be taken by all Americans, the idea is that adherents to religions other than Christianity would have the same concern and want to subordinate their allegiance to the USA to whatever god they worship. So, I guess I see the words “under God”, as kind of an escape clause for people like me, as well as for serious Jews or Muslims, or Mormons, or whatever. I don’t really understand it to be an attempt to say anything in particular about the characteristics of God/god, but rather an attempt to allow the religious to subordinate their allegiance to the USA to whatever God/god they worship.

    Which brings me to another point. Another Kerner was trying to identify the basis on which Americans can Unite as a people in this nation. Since this country is not populated universally by confessional Lutherans, our unity with our fellow Americans will be necessarily limited. Another was trying to get a better grip on where the limits are.

    Getting back to Glen Beck, the Mormon with whom I have little or nothing in common with theologically. If Glen Beck want’s to legally restrict abortion, and if the Pope and James Dobson want to do the same thing, is it not acceptable for you and I to band together with these people politically to achieve that end? I think that it is. But I don’t think it is surprising that Glen Beck and the Pope and Dr. Dobson want to call for people to seek the help and guidance of God/god in their efforts. When they do, I have to seek the help and guidance of the real, triune, God, who died for my sins so that I could come to Him by faith, not by works, and who is really present in His sacraments. But I does that mean I have to leave the rally?

    And on the issue of whether people have a “right” to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is possible to have a “right” enforceable against one person that is not enforceable against another. As God’s creations we have no rights against God. He made us and can do what He wants with us. As you point out, relative to God, we have a right to nothing but death, and humiliation. But as against other people, that is something else again. If, as you say, I have no right to life as against other people, then other people should be able to kill me, and the law should not seek to prevent it or punish someone who kills me. If I have no “right” to live, then someone who takes my life has not done “wrong”. But God’s law says that people ARE generally wrong to take other people’s lives. So if God’s Word says it is “wrong” to kill me, then God has given me a “right” to life, at least as against other people. In questions like this, context is important.

  • kerner

    Dan Gorman @ 31:

    OK, I see your logic on the pledge of allegiance. So, does that mean that if the pledge didn’t include the word’s “Under God” it would be ok with you?

    But if the omission of “under God” solves your problem, it creates another one. I could be wrong, but I believe that the addition of the words, “under God” was supposed to help religious people make the pledge. Because, my allegiance to my country is secondary to my allegiance to God. That being the case, any pledge of allegiance to the USA should contain some language to the effect that my allegiance to God is superior.

    But, since this pledge was designed to be taken by all Americans, the idea is that adherents to religions other than Christianity would have the same concern and want to subordinate their allegiance to the USA to whatever god they worship. So, I guess I see the words “under God”, as kind of an escape clause for people like me, as well as for serious Jews or Muslims, or Mormons, or whatever. I don’t really understand it to be an attempt to say anything in particular about the characteristics of God/god, but rather an attempt to allow the religious to subordinate their allegiance to the USA to whatever God/god they worship.

    Which brings me to another point. Another Kerner was trying to identify the basis on which Americans can Unite as a people in this nation. Since this country is not populated universally by confessional Lutherans, our unity with our fellow Americans will be necessarily limited. Another was trying to get a better grip on where the limits are.

    Getting back to Glen Beck, the Mormon with whom I have little or nothing in common with theologically. If Glen Beck want’s to legally restrict abortion, and if the Pope and James Dobson want to do the same thing, is it not acceptable for you and I to band together with these people politically to achieve that end? I think that it is. But I don’t think it is surprising that Glen Beck and the Pope and Dr. Dobson want to call for people to seek the help and guidance of God/god in their efforts. When they do, I have to seek the help and guidance of the real, triune, God, who died for my sins so that I could come to Him by faith, not by works, and who is really present in His sacraments. But I does that mean I have to leave the rally?

    And on the issue of whether people have a “right” to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is possible to have a “right” enforceable against one person that is not enforceable against another. As God’s creations we have no rights against God. He made us and can do what He wants with us. As you point out, relative to God, we have a right to nothing but death, and humiliation. But as against other people, that is something else again. If, as you say, I have no right to life as against other people, then other people should be able to kill me, and the law should not seek to prevent it or punish someone who kills me. If I have no “right” to live, then someone who takes my life has not done “wrong”. But God’s law says that people ARE generally wrong to take other people’s lives. So if God’s Word says it is “wrong” to kill me, then God has given me a “right” to life, at least as against other people. In questions like this, context is important.

  • Daniel Gorman

    kerner #43, “OK, I see your logic on the pledge of allegiance. So, does that mean that if the pledge didn’t include the word’s “Under God” it would be ok with you?”

    My problem is with congress establishing a pagan religion in direct violation of the laws of both kingdoms. If congress removed “under god” from the pledge, I could take the pledge with “under God” at meetings of confessional Lutherans or without “under god” at secular meetings. Right now, I cannot say the pledge at all.

    kerner #43, “If Glen Beck want’s to legally restrict abortion, and if the Pope and James Dobson want to do the same thing, is it not acceptable for you and I to band together with these people politically to achieve that end? I think that it is. But I don’t think it is surprising that Glen Beck and the Pope and Dr. Dobson want to call for people to seek the help and guidance of God/god in their efforts. When they do, I have to seek the help and guidance of the real, triune, God, who died for my sins so that I could come to Him by faith, not by works, and who is really present in His sacraments. But I does that mean I have to leave the rally?”

    Glen Beck and the Pope and Dr. Dobson improperly mix the two kingdoms. There are many political and religious figures in America who oppose abortion without promoting a false doctrine of religious fellowship. Why not attend their rallies?

    kerner #43, “If, as you say, I have no right to life as against other people, then other people should be able to kill me, and the law should not seek to prevent it or punish someone who kills me. If I have no “right” to live, then someone who takes my life has not done “wrong”. But God’s law says that people ARE generally wrong to take other people’s lives. So if God’s Word says it is “wrong” to kill me, then God has given me a “right” to life, at least as against other people. In questions like this, context is important.”

    If a right to life against other people exists, it is conditional at best (not inalienable). God gives us the law to restrain and punish murderers but murders still occur.

  • Daniel Gorman

    kerner #43, “OK, I see your logic on the pledge of allegiance. So, does that mean that if the pledge didn’t include the word’s “Under God” it would be ok with you?”

    My problem is with congress establishing a pagan religion in direct violation of the laws of both kingdoms. If congress removed “under god” from the pledge, I could take the pledge with “under God” at meetings of confessional Lutherans or without “under god” at secular meetings. Right now, I cannot say the pledge at all.

    kerner #43, “If Glen Beck want’s to legally restrict abortion, and if the Pope and James Dobson want to do the same thing, is it not acceptable for you and I to band together with these people politically to achieve that end? I think that it is. But I don’t think it is surprising that Glen Beck and the Pope and Dr. Dobson want to call for people to seek the help and guidance of God/god in their efforts. When they do, I have to seek the help and guidance of the real, triune, God, who died for my sins so that I could come to Him by faith, not by works, and who is really present in His sacraments. But I does that mean I have to leave the rally?”

    Glen Beck and the Pope and Dr. Dobson improperly mix the two kingdoms. There are many political and religious figures in America who oppose abortion without promoting a false doctrine of religious fellowship. Why not attend their rallies?

    kerner #43, “If, as you say, I have no right to life as against other people, then other people should be able to kill me, and the law should not seek to prevent it or punish someone who kills me. If I have no “right” to live, then someone who takes my life has not done “wrong”. But God’s law says that people ARE generally wrong to take other people’s lives. So if God’s Word says it is “wrong” to kill me, then God has given me a “right” to life, at least as against other people. In questions like this, context is important.”

    If a right to life against other people exists, it is conditional at best (not inalienable). God gives us the law to restrain and punish murderers but murders still occur.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    daniel gorman @ 44

    “y problem is with congress establishing a pagan religion in direct violation of the laws of both kingdoms.”

    Dan gorman, you are understanding Luther and the confessions on two kingdoms in a law and therefore calvinistic way.

    read luther´s sermon on the two kingdoms that is referred to by the lutheran confessions to see what I mean when I say Luther´s ideas of two kingdoms is entirely different than yours is.

    http://www.thirduse.com

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    daniel gorman @ 44

    “y problem is with congress establishing a pagan religion in direct violation of the laws of both kingdoms.”

    Dan gorman, you are understanding Luther and the confessions on two kingdoms in a law and therefore calvinistic way.

    read luther´s sermon on the two kingdoms that is referred to by the lutheran confessions to see what I mean when I say Luther´s ideas of two kingdoms is entirely different than yours is.

    http://www.thirduse.com

  • mark

    I agree that Beck is focusing on culture. I think he is right about that. The libs have sought to change culture in this country. My problem is that culture is downstream from religion. Different religions produce different cultures. Western civilization is a byproduct for Christianity. Different ideas about God produce different cultures. For example, Christians believe that all human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. This serves as the basis of all human rights. I don’t believe that Islam shares this view which allows them see non believers as less than human. Or, the liberal view that fathers are unimportant to families with the resultant devastation to families and our cities.

    I don’t believe that Beck, when he says God, means the same thing that the Bible does. I think that is the problem. But I do agree that he is aiming at culture and I would agree with him that we need to reclaim culture. But, I am not at all sure that a belief in Mormon God would produce a culture that I would agree with.

  • mark

    I agree that Beck is focusing on culture. I think he is right about that. The libs have sought to change culture in this country. My problem is that culture is downstream from religion. Different religions produce different cultures. Western civilization is a byproduct for Christianity. Different ideas about God produce different cultures. For example, Christians believe that all human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. This serves as the basis of all human rights. I don’t believe that Islam shares this view which allows them see non believers as less than human. Or, the liberal view that fathers are unimportant to families with the resultant devastation to families and our cities.

    I don’t believe that Beck, when he says God, means the same thing that the Bible does. I think that is the problem. But I do agree that he is aiming at culture and I would agree with him that we need to reclaim culture. But, I am not at all sure that a belief in Mormon God would produce a culture that I would agree with.

  • Another Kerner

    It is a terrible thing to mix up the two kingdoms….

    Kempin @27 is right.
    Article X refers to church “rites” and belongs in the right hand kingdom.
    It is really important not to get this matter confused.

    Thank you, fws at #45.

    To apply the restraints/restrictions which come with confessional fellowship to the left hand kingdom leaves each confessional Christian
    standing with only those in their own Synod/Congregation in the political arena (and somtimes not all of them).

    When we attend political rallies and unite with others to affect a just civic outcome, it certainly is not necessary to be “in fellowship”:
    only to be agreed on the (not neccessarily all) announced purposes of the gathering.

    Gorman @24

    If the Catechisms and the Commandments direct us to action on the positive sides as well as to the negative sides, then who, pray tell, is to be counted our “neighbor”?

    Our unbelieving neighbors have the gift of life, precious and protected:
    They are not excluded in the positive side of the 5th Commandment.

    That all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God and are living in a fallen world is not in dispute here.

    And, just imagine folks, I thought I was the only one who retired to the attic on occasion, because I could not work with others who did not agree with me on all points in the kingdom of the left hand.

  • Another Kerner

    It is a terrible thing to mix up the two kingdoms….

    Kempin @27 is right.
    Article X refers to church “rites” and belongs in the right hand kingdom.
    It is really important not to get this matter confused.

    Thank you, fws at #45.

    To apply the restraints/restrictions which come with confessional fellowship to the left hand kingdom leaves each confessional Christian
    standing with only those in their own Synod/Congregation in the political arena (and somtimes not all of them).

    When we attend political rallies and unite with others to affect a just civic outcome, it certainly is not necessary to be “in fellowship”:
    only to be agreed on the (not neccessarily all) announced purposes of the gathering.

    Gorman @24

    If the Catechisms and the Commandments direct us to action on the positive sides as well as to the negative sides, then who, pray tell, is to be counted our “neighbor”?

    Our unbelieving neighbors have the gift of life, precious and protected:
    They are not excluded in the positive side of the 5th Commandment.

    That all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God and are living in a fallen world is not in dispute here.

    And, just imagine folks, I thought I was the only one who retired to the attic on occasion, because I could not work with others who did not agree with me on all points in the kingdom of the left hand.


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