Exorcising America

A group of Roman Catholic clerics in Mexico recently conducted an exorcism designed to cast the demons out of the whole country.  Now there are calls for an exorcism to cast the demons out of America.

Do you consider this (1) a good idea (2) something that couldn’t hurt (3) papist superstition (4) questionable theology?

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Government approved churches?

Conservative churches are troubled with the gay marriage decision and feel threatened lest the government punish them for teaching that homosexuality is sinful.  But liberal churches are celebrating the ruling and will have no problem with discrimination statutes.  If conservative congregations lose their tax exempt status, liberal congregations wouldn’t.  Indeed, some denominations would presumably include conservative congregations that would and liberal congregations that would not.

So you have GOT to read Anthony Sacramone’s post Do You Worship in a State-Approved Church?  Read especially “the talk” that he says conservative pastors must give to their congregations.   I’ll excerpt the first part after the jump, but you really need to read the whole thing.

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“Conscientious objection against the state”?

LCMS president Matthew Harrison has issued a response to the Supreme Court marriage ruling.  It’s a strong statement, but what’s most striking and surprising, coming from a Lutheran with a Two Kingdoms theology, is his quotation of the anti-Nazi theologian Hermann Sasse on signs that the state has lost its Romans 13 legitimacy.  President Harrison concludes that “Christians will now begin to learn what it means to be in a state of solemn conscientious objection against the state.”

Is he saying that the United States government is no longer legitimate?  Wouldn’t that mean we don’t have to follow any of the laws it passes?  The Lutheran theology of culture, the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, has sometimes been interpreted to mean that God rules through the state, so that we need to submit to the secular authorities no matter what.  But I think the Two Kingdoms offers a mechanism for critiquing the state.  If God is the King, hidden in secular institutions and vocations but working through them with His moral law, then states and rulers who repudiate that moral law are in rebellion against His kingship.  Right?  But presumably He would still be working through them, despite themselves, in other ways, so that Christians would still be obliged to submit to their authority where it doesn’t conflict with God’s Word.

How else might a Two Kingdoms approach to the gay marriage decision help us navigate these controversies?  Read President Harrison’s statement, after the jump.  What do you think about it?  What else might be said?

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If you embrace nature, embrace natural law

The Pope’s encyclical “Laudato Si” is winning fulsome praise from the left for its embrace of environmentalism.  But, as the editors of The Stream point out, those folks aren’t saying anything about 11 other teachings in that document that don’t accord so well with the spirit of the times.  These include the condemnation of abortion, a rejection of sexual immorality, and a tempering of feminism.  (See the 11 after the jump.)

The Pope is indeed advocating environmentalism, but he is doing so in the context of a larger theological perspective on matter, the physical universe, and objective reality.  Let me sum it up this way:  Embrace nature, but that means also embracing the natural purpose of sex (conceiving children), the natural body (so no transgenderism), the natural difference between men and women (so feminism will have its limits), and natural law in general (the connection of moral truth to objective reality).

We can still quarrel with the Pope’s environmentalism and his theology, but he is working from a worldview that flies in the face of most postmodernists who, in believing that there is no objective reality they are subject to, reject the very concept of nature.  That number includes, ironically, many environmentalists. [Read more...]

Vipers in Diapers?

An online discussion has been going on about whether Christian parents should view their children as unbelievers.  Principles are emerging such as the way you know your child has faith is to see “fruit they have never produced before.”  After the jump, a Lutheran pastor, Rev. Jordan Cooper, responds.

Read the whole thing, including the comments, which includes someone recalling the term “vipers in diapers.”  Rev. Cooper also includes this anecdote:

I’m reminded of a time in which I saw a woman with her five year old daughter who was in a conversation about her Christian faith. This little girl said to her mom: “I love Jesus,” and the mother replied: “No you don’t. You’re not old enough.”

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The pope’s “seismic shift” in theology

Jay Michaelson says that the most important aspect of the Pope’s encyclical on the environment is that it represents a “seismic shift” in Christian theology and Western thought:

  • It says that human beings have a relationship with the earth, on a par with their relationship with God and with their neighbors;
  • It says that the Genesis account is “symbolic and narrative,” not literal;
  • It rejects the notion that human beings have “dominion” over nature;
  • It advocates a “mystical nature panentheism.” [Read more...]


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