Justice and RighteousnessTweet
Posted 12/22/13 at 10:30 PM | Craig Vincent Mitchell, PhD
This time of the year we sing all of those Christmas carols, but I think that too often it is done out of rote memory rather than conviction. There is often a syrupy sentimentality about a baby, born in a manger, without really understanding the full significance of what Christmas is about. So it seems appropriate to take into account a few important perspectives that will help us to fully appreciate what is going on here.
The baby that we sing about is a king. This is why Herod tried to kill him and all of the male children that were about two years old in Bethlehem (Matthew 2: 16-18). In other words, Herod realized something that many Christians do not realize today. Specifically, that because Jesus is the true King of the Jews, that He would command the loyalty and obedience of all of His subjects. Herod did not want anyone else around who might have a claim to the throne. Herod did not want to submit to anyone else. In much the same way as Herod, many who call themselves Christian today will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the king, but they will not submit to Him. We are called to be like Christ, but too often we are like Herod. To the degree that we do not submit to Christ, we are like Herod. FULL POST
Posted 11/6/13 at 6:43 PM | Craig Vincent Mitchell, PhD
I am sure that most people reading this title will wonder what the two ideas have in common. When I was a PhD student, under Edward Earle Ellis I learned that in Judaism and in the early Church was the view that fallen angelic powers were involved in the affairs of state, and government, or political economy. This is why angelic powers have levels that are associated with political terms. They are known as authorities, rulers, dominions, and principalities.
According to Andrew Lincoln, “In Judaism there was the belief that God had delegated authority over the nations to angelic beings. The notion that what happens among these beings in heaven affects what happens among the nations on earth is reflected in Daniel 10:13, 20.[i]
These angelic beings have rebelled against God and seek to destroy man or keep him in bondage. This is why they fight against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel brings not only freedom from individual sin, but as it transforms society. The Gospel transforms society by providing religious, political and economic liberty. These liberties cannot exist apart from an objective biblical morality for long.
The rebellious, fallen angelic beings move government away from God and His people. The result is big government. The first of these big governments is represented in the tower of Babel. When sinful men get together in big government they naturally will do things that are contrary to the will and purpose of God. Consequently, God confused their language so that they separated into smaller countries with smaller governments. FULL POST
Posted 11/3/13 at 6:16 PM | Craig Vincent Mitchell, PhD
In Luke 12:13-15 we read, “Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’, but he said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you? And He said to them, ‘Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Throughout the rest of this section of scripture, Jesus makes it clear that we should be concerned with the kingdom of God and not the treasures or the necessities of this world.
Nonetheless, liberal theologians and political liberals are quick to drag Jesus into their arguments for the redistribution of wealth. This is because they merely want some kind of theological justification for their socialist schemes. By so doing, they have changed the nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from something that is eternal, spiritual, and individual to something that is temporal, material, and societal. What liberals actually offer is the gospel of big government. Big government is the kind of god that they can depend on, because it takes care of the poor by providing them with a life that is not dependent on merit, hard work, or morality. In fact, it is the kind of god that welcomes immorality of all sorts. Consequently, the god of big government does everything to make sure that people have a right to abortions, homosexuality (and other alternative sexualities) and more importantly, big government treats everyone equally (as a number). The god of big government offers safety (at the cost of freedom), but he is not a good god. FULL POST
Posted 10/25/13 at 11:44 AM | Craig Vincent Mitchell, PhD
In Luke 16: 1-8 we find the parable of the dishonest steward. In this parable there is a man who was given the authority and responsibility to manage the resources of another man. Ultimately, this steward unjustly takes the resources of owner and gives them to others who did not earn them. Jesus refers to this man as the “dishonest steward,” because he acted in an immoral way. The steward took what did not belong to him and essentially gave it to others. It does not matter what his reasons were, anyone would rightly call this stealing.
The parable in Luke 16:1-8 parallels another situation that is happening today. There is a man, who is a steward that is busy at not only mismanaging the assets of his charge, but he is giving away assets that do not belong to him. The owner of the assets are the American citizens, the dishonest steward is the president of the United States, Barack Obama. It must be granted that he is not the first president to take this kind of action, but there is no doubt that he is the worst of those who did so.
In July 2011 Charles Rangel suggested that Jesus was for the redistribution of wealth. Those who argue for a New Testament basis of wealth redistribution will generally refer to Acts 5-6. It is amazing to me how often they can draw all of the wrong conclusions about this section of scripture. According to New Testament ethicist, Wolfgang Schrage: FULL POST
Posted 10/22/13 at 12:21 AM | Craig Vincent Mitchell, PhD
As one reads the works of Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas he will eventually realize that economics and politics are sub-disciplines of moral theology/philosophy. Despite all of the mathematics in contemporary economics, there is no getting away from the fact that it is still moral philosophy. Consequently, every economic decision is value laden. This is not to say that economics is an arbiter of morality, but it is to say that a good economic decision reflects the use of phronesis (or practical wisdom), which is both a moral and intellectual virtue. The man of character is one who normally acts in accordance with virtue. Consequently, one who is a good man will generally not allow himself to make many bad economic decisions.
Aristotle believed that one can have the political virtues without having the moral virtues because there are different kinds of government. Consequently, for Aristotle, one can be a good statesman without being a good man. Neither Augustine nor Thomas Aquinas would agree with Aristotle on this point. Because of Christianity’s influence on our country, it was just understood that to be a good statesman, one had to be a good man. At least, until Bill Clinton came along. He argued that character does not matter. Most of the electorate bought this argument until Monica Lewinski became an embarrassment that they could not ignore. FULL POST
Posted 10/13/13 at 11:09 PM | Craig Vincent Mitchell, PhD
On February 22, 2012 I appeared on the Martin Bashir Show. The previous week, I testified before the Congressional House Oversight Committee on the religious liberty implications of Obamacare. NBC worked hard to get me on one of their shows and I somehow assumed that they would at least ask me about my position on religious liberty. I also assumed that I would be treated fairly. I was wrong on both counts. I had never heard of Martin Bashir and was not aware of his tactics to make an interviewee look stupid. Bashir asked no questions about anything that I expected. Instead, he wanted me to tell the world that I knew that President Obama was a Christian. I told him that I had no way of knowing if the president is a Christian since I have never met him.
For Bashir, my lack of knowledge about the president’s spiritual condition was no excuse for my not being able to verify the president’s Christianity. He pressed me for another five minutes, but I kept explaining that I had no way of knowing the president’s spiritual state. I could only say that the president claimed that he was a Christian, so I have to take him at his word. Bashir was frustrated by my response, but I gave the only answer that an Evangelical could.
I still find it interesting that those on the left are so upset when people question whether or not president Obama is a Christian. If president Obama is a Christian, then why does he provide so many indications that he is not? Given the mixed signals, one is only rational to question Obama’s spiritual state. If the president is not a Christian, then that would explain a lot of his behavior. Proverbs 20:11 tells su that ”Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.” Matthew 7:16-20 explains that a tree is known by its fruit. FULL POST
Posted 10/6/13 at 12:37 PM | Craig Vincent Mitchell, PhD
The Romans crucified Jesus Christ because He was a King. The Romans crucified the apostle Paul, because he served another king other than Caesar. In many countries, the state is tied to some false religious system and thus at odds with the followers of Jesus Christ. In the book of the Revelation of John, we find the state at war with the followers of Christ. In fact, Revelation 11:15 says, “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet and there were loud voices saying ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.’” It always comes down to this. In his City of God, Augustine points to the fact that either you are worshipping the true God, and serving His kingdom or you are worshipping at the altar of some false god and serving the kingdom of man.
Today, in America, we find this situation being played out in the left’s war with Christianity. The leftists are the Marxist, progressivist, liberals in the Democratic Party. In opposition to the leftists are the traditional conservatives. You will note, that I did not say the Republican Party. Unfortunately, the Republican politicians are not always conservative. While not every Democrat is an atheist, they vote in lock step with their party, which makes them practicing atheists. Make no mistake about it, the Democratic Party leadership is at war with Christianity. You will recall, that last year the Democratic Party voted God off of their platform. Why would this be? According to John 15: 18 “If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hayed you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” FULL POST
Posted 9/29/13 at 7:00 AM | Craig Vincent Mitchell, PhD
Mark Twain, explained that you don’t want to know what goes into either laws or sausages. If he were alive today, I suspect he would add at least one more thing. Climate Change. When I was in college the first time, in the late 1970s, the world was headed for global cooling. Then, by the early 1980s the world was headed for global warming. With such wild swings in what is supposed to be happening, any rational person should be a little suspicious of the claims of the IPCC. When confronted by this, they will begin all of their hand waving, but to anyone who is used to doing any kind of science, something will not seem quite right.
I had intended to write about Obamacare this week, but I had two people question the validity of my assertions. It seems that they did not know that in science, there should be free and open debate until all of the data is in and everyone agrees on the analysis. One went on to say that no informed person that he knew was a climate change skeptic. Further, he suggested that all of this should be left to the “experts.” Another person suggested that because my degrees are not in climate science that I am unqualified to make any comments on the subject. My response to both is that I don’t have to be an expert to read the concerns of those who are. Unfortunately, most people do not even bother to find out if there are any scientists or any legitimate reasons to doubt if there is climate change of the kind that the IPCC is suggesting. To this end, I will now provide just a few of many reasons to be skeptical about climate change. FULL POST
Posted 9/22/13 at 6:14 PM | Craig Vincent Mitchell, PhD
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is coming out with their fifth assessment report on climate change this Monday. There have been leaks as to the content of this document and they provide an inconvenient truth for the left. Remember when Al Gore came out with his documentary by the same name (An Inconvenient Truth)? Global warming was certain and we were all doomed. It turns out that all of those who were alarming the rest of us yokels were wrong. In fact, the preliminary reports indicate that the climate may warm up by just a few degrees over the next eight decades. According to reporter Robert Mendick, of the UK Telegraph “One scenario suggests an average temperature rise of as little as 1.8 F by 2100 while at the most alarming end of the scale temperatures may rise by as much as 8.6 F, according to the draft version.” So much for the “science” that all of us on the right have supposedly been at war with.
In 2005, Chris Mooney wrote a whole book on this “so called” war, titled The Republican War on Science. Ever since, liberals have used this argument with more rhetoric than reason. According to Paul Krugman, “the odds are that one of these years the world’s greatest nation will find itself ruled by a party that is aggressively anti- science, indeed anti-knowledge. And in time of severe challenges, environmental, economic and more- that’s a terrifying prospect.” The party that he was referring to, was of course, the Republican party. I am quite critical of the Republican party myself, but not for being either conservative or unscientific. Not to be outdone by Krugman, Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote “Republicans have become proudly and unquestionably anti-science. (It is their litmus test, though they would probably reject the science behind litmus paper.)” Recently, Ronald Dixon told his readers, “The Republican Party is known for its war against science; whether the war involves ignorance on global warming, evolution or same sex rights. Some conservatives have a difficult time attempting to justify their laughable misconceptions of reality.” FULL POST
Posted 9/14/13 at 6:28 PM | Craig Vincent Mitchell, PhD
In the 1940s comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello did one of their best known skits “Who’s on First?” In this skit, there is much confusion about what baseball player is doing what because of a confusion in names. In many ways, this is the problem that many people who vote for Republican have. After all, a Republican is a Republican, right? Unfortunately, this answer is wrong.
I remember when I was a young USAF second lieutenant in the early 1980s. I believed that all Republicans were conservatives. So I was confused on many an occasion when I saw elected members of the Republican party doing and voting for all sorts of things that I thought were inconsistent with being a Republican. Little did I know that there are many types of conservatives and unfortunately, many types of Republicans.
There are at least four different type of conservatives. Most of us, when we think of conservatives, think of the traditional conservative who Russell Kirk described as having: 1. A belief in a transcendent order, which is based in tradition, divine revelation, or natural law; 2. An affection for the "variety and mystery" of human existence; 3. A conviction that society requires orders and classes that emphasize "natural" distinctions; 4. A belief that property and freedom are closely linked; 5. A faith in custom, convention, and prescription, and 6. A recognition that innovation must be tied to existing traditions and customs, which entails a respect for the political value of prudence.
For Kirk Christianity and Western culture are inseparable. Unfortunately, there are a number of conservatives who have departed from these ideals. For example, there are the: Fiscal conservatives- will frequently call themselves libertarians. These conservatives are really just classical liberals. Classical liberals have a great deal in common with conservatives, but they are not bound the natural law, objective morality, or God. For them, everything is reducible to economics. Consequently, they are for small government. Social Conservatives- are generally from a religious (Christian more often than not) orientation. These are the defenders of traditional moral values. They generally favor a powerful military and otherwise smaller government. Neo-Conservatives- are a form of conservatism that supports a more assertive, interventionist foreign policy, aimed at promoting democracy abroad. It is supportive of supply side economics and is tolerant of an activist government at home, but is focused mostly on international affairs. University of Chicago political philosopher, Leo Strauss and journalist Irving Kristol, were the founders of this movement. Kristol defined a neoconservative as "a liberal who was mugged by reality." Paleo Conservatives- are in part a rejection of the neo- conservatives. They stress a Judeo-Christian tradition and the importance to society of the traditional family.
These are just the main groups. Sometimes they work together and sometimes they do not. More often than not, they are affiliated with the Republican party. Only on a rare occasion, you will find some of these within the Democratic party. What makes matters even worse are the Republican politicians who are only interested in personal power. In Tom Delay’s No Surrender (Sentinel Books, 2007), we find that many elected Republican officials are only interested in maintaining their own power and accepting whatever crumbs the Democratic Party will throw their way. For this group, the Golden Rule is the median- voter theory- "a majority rule voting system will select the outcome most preferred by the median voter," or a politician close to the middle of the road is the likely winner of an election. We generally think of these people as the RINOs (Republican In Name Only), but the truth of the matter is that since Teddy Roosevelt, the Republican Party has not been a Conservative party. It is only more conservative than the Democratic party. In fact, the Grand Old Party (GOP) has become the GNP (Good for Nothing Party). The traditional conservative is now the RINO, who the Republican establishment will call a “wacko bird.” Angelo Codevilla’s The Ruling Class makes it clear that the average Republican official has more in common with his Democratic counterpart than he does with those who elected him.
What all of this means is that we cannot count on the Republican party to defund Obamacare, which will become a disaster for all of us who voted for Republican politicians. It also means that they will keep putting up ineffectual, and weak and candidates for president like John McCain and Mitt Romney. There are few Republican politicians like Senator Ted Cruz, who means what he says and says what he means. Unfortunately, there are not enough of them to get the job done.
All of this means that we have to pray for our government and those in leadership, if this country is to have a chance. 1 Timothy 2:1- 2 says, “First of all, then I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for Kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (ESV).” The old hymn says that “the arm of flesh will fail you, you dare not trust your own.” For Christians, it is Jesus Christ who is first and on first. He is the only way to justice and righteousness.