9 years ago: Breaking noses

March 23, 2004, on this blog: Breaking noses

Nothing quite as winsome and Christlike as spreading the good news through “heated argument.” And if that doesn’t work, gang up on the would-be convert and force them to accept Christ’s love by beating the snot out of them.

Evangelism, as I’ve written before is an invitation, not an imposition. It is a form of hospitality. Hospitality never involves ganging up on the outsider and bloodying their nose. (Violently ganging up on the outsider is, in fact, what got Sodom and Gomorrah in so much trouble.)

So what were these little Sodomite twerps thinking? What the hell kind of church were they attending that taught them that this was acceptable behavior?

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  • This kind of thing? Is proof that contrary to the wailing and gnashing of teeth by fundamentalists who rail on about the degeneration of Western culture, there are plenty more than enough Christians to go around.

    It’s also proof that for all that Jesus supposedly taught about kindness and decency towards others, the kids in that school seem to have not been taught that. Whose fault is that? Their parents.

    Oh I’m sorry, where are the cries for parents to step up and be responsible for their own kids now?

  • RJ (TO)

    I would also consider forcing their biblical beliefs into public policy to be “ganging up on”. They’ll tell you god gives us all free will to choose whether we follow him. Then they turn around and try to force us–via legislation–to follow him when god himself will not, in effect saying god’s notion of giving us a choice isn’t adequate.

  • Ah, but they don’t care about evangelism. It’s all about forcing the rules on the unwilling sheep. Gotta do it for their own good, don’t ya know. God’s love can be cruel, so being cruel is loving.

  • Hey Fred, the link in that article to “evangelism is an invitation” points to the old Typepad site and is a broken link. Since that’s one of my favorite pieces to link and share, I’d love it if you updated the link.

  • I think that only applies when parents let their kids play video games. At least, that seemed to be the point on Christian radio yesterday.

  • Edo

    It’s not about the Basileia; it’s about the Imperium.

  • It’s worth noting that, when it comes to morality, role models matter more than rules.

    Sure, Jesus talks about some different rules (though not different kinds of rules, really.) But, he never really invalidated the rolemodel of the old testament “Do what I say or else very bad things will happen” style of morality.

    Imagine a prince goes to live with the peasants and says some good things about how the peasants should treat each other, but never a bad thing about how the King treats the peasants. And, said King has a record of some real whoppers of, were it not for his Kingship, criminality.

    Soddom, Gomoreah, the Canaanites, the Amalekites, whatever their own sins, God acts in like to those doing the beatings when he kills them himself (in the cases of Soddom and Gomoreah), commands that they all be killed down to the infants (in the case of the Amalekites), or commands that most of them be killed with a small subsection being coerced with threats of homelessness and starvation into “wifely duties”.

    The one thing the Prince really needs to do, if he really wants the peasants to play nice with each other, is admit that it isn’t good when the King hurts people either.

  • SkyknightXi

    It’s arguably worse than that. See this “gem” from Vincent Cheung’s “Author of Sin”:

    Faith comes only as God’s sovereign gift, and God has immutably decided to withhold this gift from the non-elect, but rather to actively harden them; therefore, to sincerely offer salvation to the non-elect as if God desires them to be saved and as if it is possible for them to be saved would be to lie to them in God’s name. There is no real or sincere offer of salvation to the non-elect, but only a real and serious command that they can never obey, and one that God will enforce against them with hellfire.

    Again, this does not prevent us from indiscriminately preaching the gospel to all men, since it is neither our right nor duty to pick out the elect and preach only to them, or to pick out the non-elect and exclude them. The point is that we must not present the gospel as a sincere offer to all, as if God’s “desire” can differ from his decree, as if God could or would decree against his “desire,” and as if it is possible for even the non-elect to be saved. Rather, we must present the gospel as a serious command to all, as if it is required of all to believe (Acts 17:30), and as if God intends to summon the elect and harden the non-elect by the same preaching of the gospel (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

    In other words, the content and the preaching of the gospel could be and should be completely consistent with the doctrines of election and reprobation, as well as all other related doctrines. For many people, to affirm the “sincere offer” is merely an excuse to believe like a Calvinist, but preach like an Arminian.

    It follows that, when preaching the gospel (when we are dealing with the grace that saves), we should not tell our hearers that God loves all of them, but we should boldly declare that God loves only the elect and desires (and thus has decreed) their salvation, and that he hates the reprobates and desires (and thus has decreed) their damnation
    (Romans 9:13).

    (http://www.vincentcheung.com/books/authorsin.pdf for the full nightmare)

    The determinism is bad enough, but Cheung tops that by casting grace not as an offer of gift, but a dictatorial decree–the elect are being ORDERED to ally with the Christ. Of course, this is Vincent Cheung we’re talking about. To him, natural laws and processes don’t really exist in and of themselves–they’re just God’s usual habits of manipulating the universe. Every shifting grain of sand, every noble or baleful thought any human has–all directly activated by God. As Cheung puts it, even sin is properly seen as enslaved to God and his glory, the reprobates given existence expressly so the elect can properly witness–and thus glorify–his wrath and power.

  • MaryKaye

    Wow. That’s pretty much the reducto ad absurdum; no role for any human agency at all. If you sincerely believed this you would have a religion that gave you no cause whatsoever to do anything (including “present the gospel rightly”) as (a) it doesn’t matter, and (b) you can’t actually do anything anyway.

    I think essentially this is God the Solipsist, playing with shadows on the wall to which he does not actually grant any form of personhood. Also he’s the kind of guy whose fantasy life involves creating people purely for the purpose of torturing them eternally. But if they are not persons perhaps it doesn’t matter.

    How can such a doctrine endure even one generation? How could such a belief give life or motivate action?

  • The logic in that argument was so circular it made my head spin. My read of it was something like, “We must do this because God has told us to do this because we must do this because God has told us to do this,” etc.

    Hey, Vincent Cheung, we really do not care. If God is such a deterministic jackass, then I am happier being a hopeless reprobate.

  • “βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ” is just a wonderful phrase to write longhand.

  • SkyknightXi

    They’ll probably swear up and down that they WERE responsible and did as God needed. Either they’ll claim that Belial somehow found an even more powerful incentive, or (depending on what the unkindness and ignominy were aimed at) the lack of civility was necessary for genuine holiness.

    (By the way…dissection of the The End series? LaHaye and Parshall are already on the third book…{wonders where he hid his Red Dragon Scale Mail [30, +27]})

  • Well said.

  • Reading this, after my evening, now I know I will never be allowed to sleep again.

  • In Calvinism you do things because it’s the script God wrote there is no agency at all.

  • The_L1985

    …Which, in effect, denies the perfection of God that they so commonly argue.