America’s exceptional arrogance in the bin Laden killing?

While we Americans tend to embrace our “exceptionalism,”  people from other countries often see that as a bad thing.  Britain’s prominent Christian author N. T. Wright excoriates America for our presumption in the bin Laden assassination:

Popular author and New Testament scholar N.T. Wright has accused the world of giving America a free pass for violating Pakistan’s sovereignty and killing an unarmed man during the recent attack that killed Osama bin Laden.

The former bishop of Durham sent a short statement to The Times’ religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill in which he pointed out that Americans would be “furious” if Great Britain’s military had staged an unannounced raid against hypothetical Irish Republican Army terrorists and killed them, unarmed, in a Boston suburb.

The only difference, Wright says, is “American exceptionalism.”

“America is allowed to do it, but the rest of us are not,” said Wright, who is now the research professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. “By what right? Who says?”

President Obama, Wright says, has “enacted one of America’s most powerful myths,” the vigilante hero going outside the law to execute “redemptive violence” against an enemy who has rendered the legitimate authorities impotent. “This is the plot of a thousand movies, comic-book strips, and TV shows: Captain America, the Lone Ranger, and (upgraded to hi-tech) Superman. The masked hero saves the world.”

While this myth may have been a necessary dimension of life in the Wild West, Wright says, it also “legitimizes a form of vigilantism, of taking the law into one’s own hands, which provides ‘justice’ only of the crudest sort.”

“What will we do when new superpowers arise and try the same trick on us?” he asks. “And what has any of this to do with something most Americans also believe, that the God of ultimate justice and truth was fully and finally revealed in the crucified Jesus of Nazareth, who taught people to love their enemies, and warned that those who take the sword will perish by the sword?”

via N.T. Wright Slams ‘American Exceptionalism’ in Osama bin Laden Mission | Politics | Christianity Today.

How would you answer him?   Would we, as he says, object if British commandos killed an IRA operative in Boston?  If so, how can we justify what we did in Pakistan?

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.

  • SKPeterson

    Britain does not kill IRA terrorists in Boston – they do it in Spain and Gibraltar.

    While I have my many misgivings about our overseas adventurism, what would Bp. Wright’s response be to an America that largely supported the IRA, provided the majority of its funding, designated vast swathes of New England as a protected space for IRA operatives, and had an intelligence service that may have elements in cahoots with these same terrorists?

    Does Bp. Wright give France a free pass when they gratuitously invade, set up, and topple regimes in their former African possessions? What about the operations of the U.S. navy in combating piracy – allowable, or not? What about the Malaysian navy operating in the Gulf of Aden and attacking pirate vessels in or out of Yemeni and Somali territorial waters? Should they have called the government in Mogadishu and asked permission?

    Perhaps the U.S. needs to be held to the same standard as the rest of the world, but maybe the rest of the world needs to be held to the same standard as the U.S.

  • SKPeterson

    Britain does not kill IRA terrorists in Boston – they do it in Spain and Gibraltar.

    While I have my many misgivings about our overseas adventurism, what would Bp. Wright’s response be to an America that largely supported the IRA, provided the majority of its funding, designated vast swathes of New England as a protected space for IRA operatives, and had an intelligence service that may have elements in cahoots with these same terrorists?

    Does Bp. Wright give France a free pass when they gratuitously invade, set up, and topple regimes in their former African possessions? What about the operations of the U.S. navy in combating piracy – allowable, or not? What about the Malaysian navy operating in the Gulf of Aden and attacking pirate vessels in or out of Yemeni and Somali territorial waters? Should they have called the government in Mogadishu and asked permission?

    Perhaps the U.S. needs to be held to the same standard as the rest of the world, but maybe the rest of the world needs to be held to the same standard as the U.S.

  • Pete

    1) Bin Laden took the sword and, per Jesus’ prediction, perished by the sword.

    2) As concerns the hypothetical British commando scenario, the difference is that we would be actively involved in finding them together with our British counterparts – not aiding and abetting the bad guys as may very well have been the case with Pakistan.

    3) In any event, the hypothetical is a poor one as an IRA terrorist would know better than to try to hide in the US. Bin Laden knew exactly where the best place in the world for him to hide was and he was proven correct by his ten year post 9/11 survival.

  • Pete

    1) Bin Laden took the sword and, per Jesus’ prediction, perished by the sword.

    2) As concerns the hypothetical British commando scenario, the difference is that we would be actively involved in finding them together with our British counterparts – not aiding and abetting the bad guys as may very well have been the case with Pakistan.

    3) In any event, the hypothetical is a poor one as an IRA terrorist would know better than to try to hide in the US. Bin Laden knew exactly where the best place in the world for him to hide was and he was proven correct by his ten year post 9/11 survival.

  • Porcell

    N.T. Wright basically argues that America tries to get away with what he terms “Lone Ranger” exceptionalism; he is correct, America exceptionally contributed to helping Britain win WW I & II and the Cold War against the Soviet Union. Just now we are taking the lead in defeating the Islamic militants who whether he knows it or not seriously threaten Britain

    As to savagery in wartime, nothing we have done comes close to the British bombing of German cities during WW II.

    N.T. Wright for all his claimed biblical insight turns out to be a rather ordinary moralist. He is an embarrassment to the nation that produced Churchill.

  • Porcell

    N.T. Wright basically argues that America tries to get away with what he terms “Lone Ranger” exceptionalism; he is correct, America exceptionally contributed to helping Britain win WW I & II and the Cold War against the Soviet Union. Just now we are taking the lead in defeating the Islamic militants who whether he knows it or not seriously threaten Britain

    As to savagery in wartime, nothing we have done comes close to the British bombing of German cities during WW II.

    N.T. Wright for all his claimed biblical insight turns out to be a rather ordinary moralist. He is an embarrassment to the nation that produced Churchill.

  • Pete

    SK @1

    “Perhaps the U.S. needs to be held to the same standard as the rest of the world, but maybe the rest of the world needs to be held to the same standard as the U.S.”

    Well put.

  • Pete

    SK @1

    “Perhaps the U.S. needs to be held to the same standard as the rest of the world, but maybe the rest of the world needs to be held to the same standard as the U.S.”

    Well put.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Doesn’t N.T. Wright have an unbiblical view of justification by faith as well?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Doesn’t N.T. Wright have an unbiblical view of justification by faith as well?

  • Tony

    Bishop Wright not only has a confused understanding of justification, but also of the two kingdoms. On the right hand, Jesus directed His Church not to use the sword. On the left hand, Romans 13 affirms that the governing authorities are ministers of God’s wrath, who do not bear the sword in vain. Unless, of course, the good Bishop would set Jesus against Paul, that hawkish misogynist.

  • Tony

    Bishop Wright not only has a confused understanding of justification, but also of the two kingdoms. On the right hand, Jesus directed His Church not to use the sword. On the left hand, Romans 13 affirms that the governing authorities are ministers of God’s wrath, who do not bear the sword in vain. Unless, of course, the good Bishop would set Jesus against Paul, that hawkish misogynist.

  • Joe

    It is hard to take this supposed love of sovereignty seriously from a Brit. Last I checked they are still refusing to end their occupation of Ireland.

    But he is correct in one point. We did violate Pakistan’s sovereignty. He asks by what right we did so. The answer is by the right of self defense. We can argue about whether what we did actually was necessary for our continued safety. But the pro argument goes like this:

    Bin Laden heads a terror organization that attacked American interests abroad and mainland America in 1993 and 2001 and continues to plot additional attacks. We have been attempting to work with Pakistan to find him and other operatives. We learned he was living in Pakistan under conditions that made the US beleive it was not possible to share that information with the Pakistani gov’t (i.e. it looks like there may have been Bin Laden sympathizers and enablers in the Paki – gov’t). Thus, to ensure our own continued safety we violated Pakistani sovereignty in the least intrusive manner that allowed us to achieve our goal.

    Personally, I beleive that some within the Pakistani gov’t new what we were doing. I just think our circle of friends within that gov’t is limited and that the information was not shared with many. I also think it is likely that we have agreed to allow the Pakistani gov’t to claim ignorance because it would destabilize the country along pro and anti Al-Qaeda lines if the Pakistani gov’t had actively participated in the killing of Osama.

  • Joe

    It is hard to take this supposed love of sovereignty seriously from a Brit. Last I checked they are still refusing to end their occupation of Ireland.

    But he is correct in one point. We did violate Pakistan’s sovereignty. He asks by what right we did so. The answer is by the right of self defense. We can argue about whether what we did actually was necessary for our continued safety. But the pro argument goes like this:

    Bin Laden heads a terror organization that attacked American interests abroad and mainland America in 1993 and 2001 and continues to plot additional attacks. We have been attempting to work with Pakistan to find him and other operatives. We learned he was living in Pakistan under conditions that made the US beleive it was not possible to share that information with the Pakistani gov’t (i.e. it looks like there may have been Bin Laden sympathizers and enablers in the Paki – gov’t). Thus, to ensure our own continued safety we violated Pakistani sovereignty in the least intrusive manner that allowed us to achieve our goal.

    Personally, I beleive that some within the Pakistani gov’t new what we were doing. I just think our circle of friends within that gov’t is limited and that the information was not shared with many. I also think it is likely that we have agreed to allow the Pakistani gov’t to claim ignorance because it would destabilize the country along pro and anti Al-Qaeda lines if the Pakistani gov’t had actively participated in the killing of Osama.

  • Arfies

    In the United States we pride ourselves on being a nation of law. The stealth raid into Pakistan and the execution of an unarmed terrorist provided a sense of satisfaction (we like to call it “closure,” but I don’t think that’s usually a good description) to many, but it belies our vaunted adherence to operating within the law. To my mind it would have been much better, and a much better example, had we at least brought bin Laden out of Pakistan alive and put him on trial before the world–perhaps even in an international court.

  • Arfies

    In the United States we pride ourselves on being a nation of law. The stealth raid into Pakistan and the execution of an unarmed terrorist provided a sense of satisfaction (we like to call it “closure,” but I don’t think that’s usually a good description) to many, but it belies our vaunted adherence to operating within the law. To my mind it would have been much better, and a much better example, had we at least brought bin Laden out of Pakistan alive and put him on trial before the world–perhaps even in an international court.

  • Trey

    Wright misunderstands the Two Kingdoms and the politics in Pakistan. Pakistan is the wild west! Hence, the US government had to act as the one to execute the rule of law. Is the US comparable to Pakistan in his analogy where the military does its own thing? I think not.

  • Trey

    Wright misunderstands the Two Kingdoms and the politics in Pakistan. Pakistan is the wild west! Hence, the US government had to act as the one to execute the rule of law. Is the US comparable to Pakistan in his analogy where the military does its own thing? I think not.

  • Porcell

    Joe: Personally, I beleive that some within the Pakistani gov’t new what we were doing.

    That’s probably right. The Guardian, a very liberal British paper, wrote yesterday of a secret agreement between the US and Pakistan ten-years ago that allowed the US to deal with Bin Laden on its own while Pakistan would publicly criticize the US. should we do so. Same with the drone strikes within Pakistan.

  • Porcell

    Joe: Personally, I beleive that some within the Pakistani gov’t new what we were doing.

    That’s probably right. The Guardian, a very liberal British paper, wrote yesterday of a secret agreement between the US and Pakistan ten-years ago that allowed the US to deal with Bin Laden on its own while Pakistan would publicly criticize the US. should we do so. Same with the drone strikes within Pakistan.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    While I, as I have made known here, abhor Exceptionalism, I have little fault to find with the killing of Bin Laden. Bringing him to trail, as Arfies said at #8, would not work, and would have placed thousands in mortal danger, and would have neccessitated permament protective custody for all involved (judge, jury,….).

    As to the good bishop – the world is often very messy, and we would do well to recognise it. That doesn’t mean that chest thumpoing and jungle law should triumph, no, but there might arise from time to time situations with no good solution. I believe the killing of Bin Laden was one of these. But this is an argument that should no be employed all that often, and we should not make “exceptions to the rule” the rule, as some has been wont to do.

    Joe, you should brush up on both history and geography: Ireland is an independant Republic. Northern Ireland, having a large Protestant population, was kept as part of the UK, and this was the result of negotiations. It is not an “occupation”, unless you are some kind of IRA-splinter group. Or, to put it otherwise, if it is an occupation, why is the US occupying Mexican California… :)

    SKP@1 – Gibraltar is UK territory, btw…

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    While I, as I have made known here, abhor Exceptionalism, I have little fault to find with the killing of Bin Laden. Bringing him to trail, as Arfies said at #8, would not work, and would have placed thousands in mortal danger, and would have neccessitated permament protective custody for all involved (judge, jury,….).

    As to the good bishop – the world is often very messy, and we would do well to recognise it. That doesn’t mean that chest thumpoing and jungle law should triumph, no, but there might arise from time to time situations with no good solution. I believe the killing of Bin Laden was one of these. But this is an argument that should no be employed all that often, and we should not make “exceptions to the rule” the rule, as some has been wont to do.

    Joe, you should brush up on both history and geography: Ireland is an independant Republic. Northern Ireland, having a large Protestant population, was kept as part of the UK, and this was the result of negotiations. It is not an “occupation”, unless you are some kind of IRA-splinter group. Or, to put it otherwise, if it is an occupation, why is the US occupying Mexican California… :)

    SKP@1 – Gibraltar is UK territory, btw…

  • Steve Billingsley

    One of Bishop Wright’s analogies struck me is a bit off as well. The U.S. as the “gunfighter” and Pakistan (or other countries) as “the hapless sheriff”. A more apt analogy might be Pakistan as “the corrupt sheriff on the take and in cahoots with the bad guys”.

    Bishop Wright’s biblical theology is incredibly rigorous and well done (wade through “The New Testament and the People of God” or “Jesus and the Victory of God”) and no, his vision of justification isn’t heretical or off (read “Justification” his book-long response to John Piper). But his tendency in political statements is to make broad, unsupported statements that just reflect his own opinion without any real rigorous analysis of the situation. I wish he would do his homework a bit better before making these pronouncements.

  • Steve Billingsley

    One of Bishop Wright’s analogies struck me is a bit off as well. The U.S. as the “gunfighter” and Pakistan (or other countries) as “the hapless sheriff”. A more apt analogy might be Pakistan as “the corrupt sheriff on the take and in cahoots with the bad guys”.

    Bishop Wright’s biblical theology is incredibly rigorous and well done (wade through “The New Testament and the People of God” or “Jesus and the Victory of God”) and no, his vision of justification isn’t heretical or off (read “Justification” his book-long response to John Piper). But his tendency in political statements is to make broad, unsupported statements that just reflect his own opinion without any real rigorous analysis of the situation. I wish he would do his homework a bit better before making these pronouncements.

  • Steve

    Wright’s comparison would be correct if, say, the local Boston government or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or some sector of the federal government was in collusion with the IRA. And while there have been for quite some time private elements who are sympathetic to the IRA’s cause in America (and have even tried to support them financially), this is a far cry–a very, very far cry–from Pakastani collusion, no doubt in large part through its ISI, with al Qaeda and bin Laden. Therefore, the comparison falls apart.

    Wright, a brilliant man no doubt, is wrong.

  • Steve

    Wright’s comparison would be correct if, say, the local Boston government or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or some sector of the federal government was in collusion with the IRA. And while there have been for quite some time private elements who are sympathetic to the IRA’s cause in America (and have even tried to support them financially), this is a far cry–a very, very far cry–from Pakastani collusion, no doubt in large part through its ISI, with al Qaeda and bin Laden. Therefore, the comparison falls apart.

    Wright, a brilliant man no doubt, is wrong.

  • Joe

    Louis – I intended that comment as sarcasm. I thought that was obvious enough to not need an emoticon.

  • Joe

    Louis – I intended that comment as sarcasm. I thought that was obvious enough to not need an emoticon.

  • SKPeterson

    Louis @11 – yes, Gibraltar is British territory, but Britain has also interfered in Spanish possessions just outside Gibraltar in order to take out IRA operatives in the 1980′s. I don’t know if Spain ever protested – it was in the aftermath of Franco and democracy was still getting on its feet, so it may not have wanted to alienate the British, especially when it was beginning to have its own fracas with ETA. Anyhow, Britain did go after IRA members in Spain who were targeting British facilities in Gibraltar.

    I’d also bring up Israel, but I suspect that Bp. Wright is already on record opposing their actions. Maybe he’s more sympathetic to the Iranian regime which has sought to assassinate regime opponents in mainland Europe and Britain.

  • SKPeterson

    Louis @11 – yes, Gibraltar is British territory, but Britain has also interfered in Spanish possessions just outside Gibraltar in order to take out IRA operatives in the 1980′s. I don’t know if Spain ever protested – it was in the aftermath of Franco and democracy was still getting on its feet, so it may not have wanted to alienate the British, especially when it was beginning to have its own fracas with ETA. Anyhow, Britain did go after IRA members in Spain who were targeting British facilities in Gibraltar.

    I’d also bring up Israel, but I suspect that Bp. Wright is already on record opposing their actions. Maybe he’s more sympathetic to the Iranian regime which has sought to assassinate regime opponents in mainland Europe and Britain.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    My only comment is very simple; when you’re going after a guy whose actions have gotten thousands of innocents killed, and you’ve got a good idea that the nation where he lives will help him escape, you can ignore conventional qualms about national sovereignty and extradition law.

    Though I must admit that I’d have loved to see Osama go to Club Gitmo and make acquaintance with Mr. Waterboard. The things he might have said could help destroy his cause.

    Like the new format, BTW.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    My only comment is very simple; when you’re going after a guy whose actions have gotten thousands of innocents killed, and you’ve got a good idea that the nation where he lives will help him escape, you can ignore conventional qualms about national sovereignty and extradition law.

    Though I must admit that I’d have loved to see Osama go to Club Gitmo and make acquaintance with Mr. Waterboard. The things he might have said could help destroy his cause.

    Like the new format, BTW.

  • Louis

    Joe that’s fine, but you never know in these threads – hence my response….

  • Louis

    Joe that’s fine, but you never know in these threads – hence my response….

  • CRB

    Here is a military historian’s perspective on the matter:
    http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson051011.html

  • CRB

    Here is a military historian’s perspective on the matter:
    http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson051011.html

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Maybe it would have been better (more Christian) to just let him go.

    And when he killed again (maybe thousands, or tens of thousands more), N.T. Wright could condemn us for making this man so angry.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Maybe it would have been better (more Christian) to just let him go.

    And when he killed again (maybe thousands, or tens of thousands more), N.T. Wright could condemn us for making this man so angry.

  • The Jones

    The principle of national sovereignty is legitimate only as far as national sovereignty supports justice.

    Nobody was screaming about national sovereignty when during WWII, and for good reason: the respectability of a country determines how far national sovereignty is respected. Did anyone complain about Grenada? Exactly. Same principle.

    Now, the question is whether or not the respect given by the U.S. to Pakistani National Sovereignty was equal to what they deserved. I think it was. We only stayed for 38 minutes, we’ve been doing this kind of thing with drones in more remote areas for months with their implicit support, and we took a dangerous risk with a Seal team instead of a missile which kept civilian casualties low. Those are all pluses.

    It’s also notable that there has been growing suspicious between the U.S. and Pakistan. Pakistan likes to tout that we have caught dozens if not hundreds of high value targets in Pakistan. Well, yes. That’s because those targets are IN Pakistan. Does the fact that we have caught few targets in Britain mean that Britain is NOT supporting us? These people are in Pakistan because elements of Pakistan (not necessarily the government) support these people. Pakistan’s evidence for cooperation with the U.S. could be turned into evidence for harm for the U.S.

    Also, the fact that he was only 40ish miles from the capital and only about a 5 min. walk from the Pakistani West-Point shows how our suspicions were not out of the ballpark. Yet even now, there is no public denunciation of Pakistan; there is still support for our “ally in the War on Terror;” we just did what we had to do and kept a happy face on it. I think that’s all the respect we owe Pakistan. Maybe even a little more.

    If Pakistan’s mad about this, they’re mad because they were just shown to be weak and, at best, inadvertently complicit with Al Qaeda. If I were the Pakistani president, I’d throw a big hissy fit about national sovereignty, too. It would be the only way to save face. After the hissy fit, though, I’d go on with business as usual.

  • The Jones

    The principle of national sovereignty is legitimate only as far as national sovereignty supports justice.

    Nobody was screaming about national sovereignty when during WWII, and for good reason: the respectability of a country determines how far national sovereignty is respected. Did anyone complain about Grenada? Exactly. Same principle.

    Now, the question is whether or not the respect given by the U.S. to Pakistani National Sovereignty was equal to what they deserved. I think it was. We only stayed for 38 minutes, we’ve been doing this kind of thing with drones in more remote areas for months with their implicit support, and we took a dangerous risk with a Seal team instead of a missile which kept civilian casualties low. Those are all pluses.

    It’s also notable that there has been growing suspicious between the U.S. and Pakistan. Pakistan likes to tout that we have caught dozens if not hundreds of high value targets in Pakistan. Well, yes. That’s because those targets are IN Pakistan. Does the fact that we have caught few targets in Britain mean that Britain is NOT supporting us? These people are in Pakistan because elements of Pakistan (not necessarily the government) support these people. Pakistan’s evidence for cooperation with the U.S. could be turned into evidence for harm for the U.S.

    Also, the fact that he was only 40ish miles from the capital and only about a 5 min. walk from the Pakistani West-Point shows how our suspicions were not out of the ballpark. Yet even now, there is no public denunciation of Pakistan; there is still support for our “ally in the War on Terror;” we just did what we had to do and kept a happy face on it. I think that’s all the respect we owe Pakistan. Maybe even a little more.

    If Pakistan’s mad about this, they’re mad because they were just shown to be weak and, at best, inadvertently complicit with Al Qaeda. If I were the Pakistani president, I’d throw a big hissy fit about national sovereignty, too. It would be the only way to save face. After the hissy fit, though, I’d go on with business as usual.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “If Pakistan’s mad about this, they’re mad because they were just shown to be weak and, at best, inadvertently complicit with Al Qaeda. If I were the Pakistani president, I’d throw a big hissy fit about national sovereignty, too. It would be the only way to save face. After the hissy fit, though, I’d go on with business as usual.”

    Yup.

    The principle here is a leader performing CYA maneuvers because his public is not united in its repudiation of Bin Laden and like minded sorts. This principle is not exclusive to Pakistan. It is alive and well here, too. Not in regards to Bin Laden but on other issues.

    The demand that America be morally perfect in the eyes of every individual on the planet is an impossible standard and not the one we set for ourselves anyway. Our citizens organized this country for the benefit of “ourselves and our posterity”. Is that exceptional? It doesn’t sound like it, but maybe it is. Killing Bin Laden seems to fit with our national interest and our national interest is more important to us than Pakistan’s sovereignty in this particular instance. It is just a matter of priority.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “If Pakistan’s mad about this, they’re mad because they were just shown to be weak and, at best, inadvertently complicit with Al Qaeda. If I were the Pakistani president, I’d throw a big hissy fit about national sovereignty, too. It would be the only way to save face. After the hissy fit, though, I’d go on with business as usual.”

    Yup.

    The principle here is a leader performing CYA maneuvers because his public is not united in its repudiation of Bin Laden and like minded sorts. This principle is not exclusive to Pakistan. It is alive and well here, too. Not in regards to Bin Laden but on other issues.

    The demand that America be morally perfect in the eyes of every individual on the planet is an impossible standard and not the one we set for ourselves anyway. Our citizens organized this country for the benefit of “ourselves and our posterity”. Is that exceptional? It doesn’t sound like it, but maybe it is. Killing Bin Laden seems to fit with our national interest and our national interest is more important to us than Pakistan’s sovereignty in this particular instance. It is just a matter of priority.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Steve Billingsley @ 12,

    Check this link which details Wright’s view of justification, using his own words: http://onceuponacross.blogspot.com/2010/02/why-nt-wright-is-wrong.html

    If it is true that Wright denies imputation (a doctrine shared by both Lutherans and Reformed), then there’s a serious problem here.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Steve Billingsley @ 12,

    Check this link which details Wright’s view of justification, using his own words: http://onceuponacross.blogspot.com/2010/02/why-nt-wright-is-wrong.html

    If it is true that Wright denies imputation (a doctrine shared by both Lutherans and Reformed), then there’s a serious problem here.

  • Steve Billingsley

    J. Dean,

    The link you provided is a very cursory treatment of a topic that Wright deals with in detail over the course of an entire book. Read his book before you take this surface view as gospel truth.

    I don’t agree entirely with Wright on justification either, but he fits very well within the historic mainstream of orthodoxy (particularly within the more Evangelical wing of Anglicanism and the broad Reformed tradition of that wing). He is definitely not a heretic or heterodox.

  • Steve Billingsley

    J. Dean,

    The link you provided is a very cursory treatment of a topic that Wright deals with in detail over the course of an entire book. Read his book before you take this surface view as gospel truth.

    I don’t agree entirely with Wright on justification either, but he fits very well within the historic mainstream of orthodoxy (particularly within the more Evangelical wing of Anglicanism and the broad Reformed tradition of that wing). He is definitely not a heretic or heterodox.

  • DonS

    The ultimate act of “presumption” was the invasion by bin Laden’s men of our soil, and the taking in cold blood of more than 3,000 civilian lives.

    Wright’s analogy to Britain executing a raid in Boston in ridiculous. America is a country of laws, with extradition treaties with Britain. If Britain knows that a terrorist cell wanted by it is operating in Boston, it can alert U.S. authorities who will be glad to execute that raid and, after due process of law, extradite the terrorists back to Britain. Pakistan is in no such condition to do that. Moreover, he knows nothing of the actual arrangement between the U.S. and relevant elements of the Pakistani government regarding this raid. How does he know it was not permitted? Just because one Pakistani government official said so, off the record? In such a segmented and disorganized government, that means nothing other than that the particular official making the statement didn’t know of the raid and didn’t give permission for it.

    An ignorant and ill considered statement, made by someone who should be a lot more circumspect, is what this is.

  • DonS

    The ultimate act of “presumption” was the invasion by bin Laden’s men of our soil, and the taking in cold blood of more than 3,000 civilian lives.

    Wright’s analogy to Britain executing a raid in Boston in ridiculous. America is a country of laws, with extradition treaties with Britain. If Britain knows that a terrorist cell wanted by it is operating in Boston, it can alert U.S. authorities who will be glad to execute that raid and, after due process of law, extradite the terrorists back to Britain. Pakistan is in no such condition to do that. Moreover, he knows nothing of the actual arrangement between the U.S. and relevant elements of the Pakistani government regarding this raid. How does he know it was not permitted? Just because one Pakistani government official said so, off the record? In such a segmented and disorganized government, that means nothing other than that the particular official making the statement didn’t know of the raid and didn’t give permission for it.

    An ignorant and ill considered statement, made by someone who should be a lot more circumspect, is what this is.

  • Kirk

    @Steve:

    Don’t bother, man. These are LCMS and Wright is not. If he isn’t heretical for his views on justification, he’s heretical for something else. ;-)

  • Kirk

    @Steve:

    Don’t bother, man. These are LCMS and Wright is not. If he isn’t heretical for his views on justification, he’s heretical for something else. ;-)

  • Pradeep Ninan

    Hey, nice discussion. However, it seems to me that most of you are missing the point…….

    I am an Indian, and my country has suffered, probably more than any other country in the world, from the effects of terrorism. (Remember the attack on the Indian parliament, the Mumbai attacks of 26/11, etc). We have lost more lives at the hands of terrorists than the US.

    Would you support us if we flew a couple of helicopters over to Karachi to execute Dawood Ibrahim, the well known terrorist leader who lives in open comfort there, even though he is the second most wanted man on Interpol’s list. Suppose we were to send over a group of assasins to kill the leaders of the Lashkar e Taiba, the well known terrorist organisation responsible for the deaths of countless Indians.

    As Wright puts it “America is allowed to do it, but the rest of us are not”

  • Pradeep Ninan

    Hey, nice discussion. However, it seems to me that most of you are missing the point…….

    I am an Indian, and my country has suffered, probably more than any other country in the world, from the effects of terrorism. (Remember the attack on the Indian parliament, the Mumbai attacks of 26/11, etc). We have lost more lives at the hands of terrorists than the US.

    Would you support us if we flew a couple of helicopters over to Karachi to execute Dawood Ibrahim, the well known terrorist leader who lives in open comfort there, even though he is the second most wanted man on Interpol’s list. Suppose we were to send over a group of assasins to kill the leaders of the Lashkar e Taiba, the well known terrorist organisation responsible for the deaths of countless Indians.

    As Wright puts it “America is allowed to do it, but the rest of us are not”

  • DonS

    Pradeep @ 26: I wouldn’t oppose that action. It’s between India and Pakistan, and not particularly a concern of the U.S.

  • DonS

    Pradeep @ 26: I wouldn’t oppose that action. It’s between India and Pakistan, and not particularly a concern of the U.S.

  • Joe

    Pradeep @ 26. From a self-defense standpoint I say you would be completely justified. From regional stability standpoint, I would hope you would not do it. The U.S. taking out Bin Laden under circumstances that allow the Paki’s to claim ignorance does not destabilize Pakistan or the region.

  • Joe

    Pradeep @ 26. From a self-defense standpoint I say you would be completely justified. From regional stability standpoint, I would hope you would not do it. The U.S. taking out Bin Laden under circumstances that allow the Paki’s to claim ignorance does not destabilize Pakistan or the region.

  • Porcell

    Pradeep, India might take a look at the ability of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, which has a superb capability of dealing with such characters as Dawood Ibrahim. Any nation has a right to so deal with serious enemies, notwithstanding the hand-wringing moralists.

  • Porcell

    Pradeep, India might take a look at the ability of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, which has a superb capability of dealing with such characters as Dawood Ibrahim. Any nation has a right to so deal with serious enemies, notwithstanding the hand-wringing moralists.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Would you support us if we flew a couple of helicopters over to Karachi to execute Dawood Ibrahim,”

    Yes.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Would you support us if we flew a couple of helicopters over to Karachi to execute Dawood Ibrahim,”

    Yes.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Carol-Christian Soldier

    Are you letting the Dark Side (Lucifer’s Kids-liberal – socialist communists) to set your agenda-and use of words?
    Arrogance –
    Hmmmm
    Our BEST did their job-no fan-fare is bestowed on them-nor do they want any! We do not even know their names-yet-
    USA-USA-USA-
    Carol-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Carol-Christian Soldier

    Are you letting the Dark Side (Lucifer’s Kids-liberal – socialist communists) to set your agenda-and use of words?
    Arrogance –
    Hmmmm
    Our BEST did their job-no fan-fare is bestowed on them-nor do they want any! We do not even know their names-yet-
    USA-USA-USA-
    Carol-CS

  • Kirk

    @31

    lawl

  • Kirk

    @31

    lawl

  • The Jones

    Pradeep Ninan @26,

    What would I do in that situation? Well, let’s pretend that I’m the American President and you’re the Indian President. My response to a Karachi raid against Darwood Ibrahim depends on how bad it angers Pakistan. Let’s pretend that it angers Pakistan to the point of reigniting the whole Kashmir thing and lobbing some artillery shells. Let’s also pretend that the USA still needs Pakistan for troop supply purposes.

    Since I am supplying troops in Afghanistan through Pakistan, I would come forth with a strongly worded statement about the importance of Pakistani national sovereignty and general restraint on all sides. I would never directly condemn your actions, but I would publicly show my uneasiness with the action. My Press Pool would be told that I had a long conversation with you over the phone on this subject. I’m sure a speech about wisdom and restraint between angry nuclear powers would be thrown in there somewhere, too.

    Next, I would either invite your ambassador to the White House or send an official over to your embassy for the purpose of exchanging official and covert high fives behind closed doors. We also might discuss things that would look serious on the outside (like postponing joint naval exercises or something) but which really wouldn’t substantively do much that we could have in our pockets if Pakistan gets madder. Those would be implemented as the needs arise.

    I would probably have a separate script like this for the Pakistani side, but the entire operation would be focused on American goals and interests being furthered and everything else coming around to serve that purpose. If your raid would hurt some American goal or interest, then we’d have a different script, but as long as your killing terrorists, it’s hard to really hurt an American interest, except with sloppy execution or something.

    All that to say, I do not think America is the only one who can do these things. We just seem to be the ones who do it the most.

  • The Jones

    Pradeep Ninan @26,

    What would I do in that situation? Well, let’s pretend that I’m the American President and you’re the Indian President. My response to a Karachi raid against Darwood Ibrahim depends on how bad it angers Pakistan. Let’s pretend that it angers Pakistan to the point of reigniting the whole Kashmir thing and lobbing some artillery shells. Let’s also pretend that the USA still needs Pakistan for troop supply purposes.

    Since I am supplying troops in Afghanistan through Pakistan, I would come forth with a strongly worded statement about the importance of Pakistani national sovereignty and general restraint on all sides. I would never directly condemn your actions, but I would publicly show my uneasiness with the action. My Press Pool would be told that I had a long conversation with you over the phone on this subject. I’m sure a speech about wisdom and restraint between angry nuclear powers would be thrown in there somewhere, too.

    Next, I would either invite your ambassador to the White House or send an official over to your embassy for the purpose of exchanging official and covert high fives behind closed doors. We also might discuss things that would look serious on the outside (like postponing joint naval exercises or something) but which really wouldn’t substantively do much that we could have in our pockets if Pakistan gets madder. Those would be implemented as the needs arise.

    I would probably have a separate script like this for the Pakistani side, but the entire operation would be focused on American goals and interests being furthered and everything else coming around to serve that purpose. If your raid would hurt some American goal or interest, then we’d have a different script, but as long as your killing terrorists, it’s hard to really hurt an American interest, except with sloppy execution or something.

    All that to say, I do not think America is the only one who can do these things. We just seem to be the ones who do it the most.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Sorry if this has already been noted, I haven’t had time to scroll through all the responses, but the UK ‘Guardian’ newspaper has reported that ten years ago Pakistan, under then leader Mushareff, agreed that the US could instigate an incursion into Pakistani territory in order to arrest bin Laden, but that afterwards Pakistan would vigorously protest such incursion.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Sorry if this has already been noted, I haven’t had time to scroll through all the responses, but the UK ‘Guardian’ newspaper has reported that ten years ago Pakistan, under then leader Mushareff, agreed that the US could instigate an incursion into Pakistani territory in order to arrest bin Laden, but that afterwards Pakistan would vigorously protest such incursion.

  • Suzanne

    What is exceptionalism to some is just plain narcissism to others. God doesn’t love the US any more than anyone else. Were we right in killing Bin Ladin? I don’t know, but it makes me sick to hear it justified by saying we had to because we are that wonderful.

  • Suzanne

    What is exceptionalism to some is just plain narcissism to others. God doesn’t love the US any more than anyone else. Were we right in killing Bin Ladin? I don’t know, but it makes me sick to hear it justified by saying we had to because we are that wonderful.

  • Porcell

    Suzanne, no serious American justifies killing Bin Laden because we are “wonderful,” nor do we imagine that the God loves the U.S. more than anyone else. That’s a crude straw-man.

    We targeted BinLaden because he was the leader of al Qaeda who admitted to planning the events of 9/11 and continued to be involved in planning other savage terrorist attacks on the U.S. The technical justification has to do with a 14 September 2001 House of Representatives vote, 420 to 1, to give the president power to retaliate against the terrorist attacks on America.

  • Porcell

    Suzanne, no serious American justifies killing Bin Laden because we are “wonderful,” nor do we imagine that the God loves the U.S. more than anyone else. That’s a crude straw-man.

    We targeted BinLaden because he was the leader of al Qaeda who admitted to planning the events of 9/11 and continued to be involved in planning other savage terrorist attacks on the U.S. The technical justification has to do with a 14 September 2001 House of Representatives vote, 420 to 1, to give the president power to retaliate against the terrorist attacks on America.

  • Suzanne

    Porcell,
    Maybe no serious American thinks God loves the US more than others, but believe me, I’ve heard just that spouted in conjunction with the idea of American exceptionalism. Sadly so. I understand that Bin Laden was targeted because of his role in the 9/11 attacks, but to tie that in with the notion of exceptionalism is, in my mind, just wrong.

  • Suzanne

    Porcell,
    Maybe no serious American thinks God loves the US more than others, but believe me, I’ve heard just that spouted in conjunction with the idea of American exceptionalism. Sadly so. I understand that Bin Laden was targeted because of his role in the 9/11 attacks, but to tie that in with the notion of exceptionalism is, in my mind, just wrong.

  • steve

    If it is as it seems, and Pakistan really did not know, then part of it is the Obama administration’s fault. We should have done like we did in the good ol’ days. Sure, we still unilaterally move in and kill OBL, but we then inform the Pakistani government what we did and tell them that if they don’t want to look like incompetent fools–at best, and terrorist supporters at worst–then they go along with the program when we announce to the world that, in a joint operation, the United States and Pakistan found and killed OBL.

    If the president is true to his word and doesn’t care about “spiking the football” he shouldn’t care if Pakistan shares some of the credit they don’t deserve.

  • steve

    If it is as it seems, and Pakistan really did not know, then part of it is the Obama administration’s fault. We should have done like we did in the good ol’ days. Sure, we still unilaterally move in and kill OBL, but we then inform the Pakistani government what we did and tell them that if they don’t want to look like incompetent fools–at best, and terrorist supporters at worst–then they go along with the program when we announce to the world that, in a joint operation, the United States and Pakistan found and killed OBL.

    If the president is true to his word and doesn’t care about “spiking the football” he shouldn’t care if Pakistan shares some of the credit they don’t deserve.

  • Porcell

    For an excellent aricle by a Brit who defends the US decision to take out Bin Laden see Britain Goes Wobbly on Terror The foul outpouring of sneering anti-Americanism and concern for bin Laden’s human rights has left me deeply ashamed. including:

    From Britain’s pathetic and ignoble reaction to the death of our greatest ally’s No.1 foe, I fear for our fortitude in the continuing war against terror. The British government in London and the British Army in Afghanistan are magnificent, but if the people themselves are shot through with what Winston Churchill called “the long, drawling, dismal tides of drift and surrender,” I wonder whether we can be counted upon for much longer.

  • Porcell

    For an excellent aricle by a Brit who defends the US decision to take out Bin Laden see Britain Goes Wobbly on Terror The foul outpouring of sneering anti-Americanism and concern for bin Laden’s human rights has left me deeply ashamed. including:

    From Britain’s pathetic and ignoble reaction to the death of our greatest ally’s No.1 foe, I fear for our fortitude in the continuing war against terror. The British government in London and the British Army in Afghanistan are magnificent, but if the people themselves are shot through with what Winston Churchill called “the long, drawling, dismal tides of drift and surrender,” I wonder whether we can be counted upon for much longer.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Perhaps we should define the phrase “American exceptionalism” better, so as to be clear about what we mean.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Perhaps we should define the phrase “American exceptionalism” better, so as to be clear about what we mean.

  • Trey

    Wright’s view on the Doctrine of Justification is heretical because he believes in hybrid form of synergism that is that our good works assist us getting to heaven. Scripture teaches Jesus alone saves us (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-10), but that good works naturally flow from this liberation of sin, death and hell. Good works are a description of the Christian. However, they do not present us to God as holy as we are evil due to the old Adam. Wright is taking parcels of Paul to form his “new perspective”, yet taking in totality, Paul does not advocate faith and works for salvation, but faith clinging to the promise of forgiveness of sins wholly and completely (Romans 11:6).

  • Trey

    Wright’s view on the Doctrine of Justification is heretical because he believes in hybrid form of synergism that is that our good works assist us getting to heaven. Scripture teaches Jesus alone saves us (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-10), but that good works naturally flow from this liberation of sin, death and hell. Good works are a description of the Christian. However, they do not present us to God as holy as we are evil due to the old Adam. Wright is taking parcels of Paul to form his “new perspective”, yet taking in totality, Paul does not advocate faith and works for salvation, but faith clinging to the promise of forgiveness of sins wholly and completely (Romans 11:6).

  • david perrie

    America has not extradited one single IRA terrorist to the U.K. Contrast this with the unswerving support to America following 9/11.from the U.K. Americans continued to fund the IRA – a cowardly, degenerate enemy-even while they were murdering English children with bombs, and being supplied by Libya.

  • david perrie

    America has not extradited one single IRA terrorist to the U.K. Contrast this with the unswerving support to America following 9/11.from the U.K. Americans continued to fund the IRA – a cowardly, degenerate enemy-even while they were murdering English children with bombs, and being supplied by Libya.


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