VIDEO: How to Understand Greg Bahnsen

GregBahnsenportraitIn 1985, the Great Debate on “Does God Exist” was held at the University of California-Irvine campus.  Defending the atheist position was Dr. Gordon Stein.  Defending the Christian/theist position was Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen.

It was historic.  Like Ali-Frazier.  “The Thrilla in Southern Californilla.”  To say that Bahnsen cleaned Stein’s non-intelligently-designed clock is to put it mildly.  He took Stein to school and put on a debate clinic for the audience.

You can watch (listen to) the entire debate here:

This was vintage Bahnsen.  An intellectual-academic heavyweight delivering philosophical and apologetic knock-out punches in rapid-fire succession against any and all non-Christian, non-biblical worldviews and arguments against God, the Bible and the doctrines of the Bible.

He was a world champion/gold-medalist in the arena of Christian apologetics.  Nobody could beat him.  (Only complications from a heart-valve surgery in 1995 would finally end his brief and brilliant but turbulent career as a pastor and academic superstar.)  Nobody could beat him on the debate stage.  So his real enemies — fellow Reformed Christian ministers and academics — simply kicked him out of their confessionally-conflicted, ethically-challenged clubs

Bahnsen embraced Van Til’s apologetics.  Unfortunately for his academic and ministerial career, he also embraced theonomy.  And his peers in the denominational world — which was his “first love” (as a good friend of his eulogized on the 20th anniversary of his death) — made sure that he paid dearly for this unpardonable sin.

He was betrayed both by his church brethren–the Orthodox Presbyterian Church–and by his scholastic brethren–Reformed Seminary and Westminster Seminary.  Joel McDurmon has compiled a collection of documents having to do with Bahnsen’s unfounded termination from Reformed Seminary.  Gary North wrote a book (Westminster’s Confession) that was occasioned by Westminster’s fateful decision to abandon Van Til’s legacy by refusing to hire Dr. Van Til’s hand-picked replacement — Dr. Greg Bahnsen — to head up the apologetics department there, on the unofficial grounds that Bahnsen was now a theonomic powerhouse, a forceful proponent of what Dr. North called “a positive judicial alternative to natural law theory,” and Westminster’s president Edmund Clowney would have none of that, especially with so formidable an advocate as Bahnsen.  So in the end nepotism won out over God’s law, and Clowney hired his uniquely underqualified (and non-Van Tillian) son to take over Van Til’s chair.

Bahnsen’s road through life was no primrose path.  The champ took a beating.  But he kept on defeating, apologetically speaking.  He remained undefeated.  He “fought the good fight,” and he kept the faith.

His legacy lives on through the Bahnsen Conferences, Covenant Media Foundation, and through his numerous books and articles.  In early 2016, Kenneth Samples gave a brief vignette of Dr. Bahnsen in this talk that was recorded at Branch of Hope Church in Torrance California.

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VIDEO: How to Understand Rousas John Rushdoony

Well, you can start by getting his name right!

That’s what the late R. J. Rushdoony’s son, Mark R. Rushdoony, wanted you to know right from the get-go when he gave this talk about his dad earlier this year.

It’s hard to believe that the movement begun by his dad — after he had coined the term “Christian Reconstruction” to refer to the rebuilding task Christians have in this world — is now in its 6th decade of existence.

Here, Mark Rushdoony offers a unique perspective on the man: the perspective of a son growing up under his father’s ministry from its earliest days.  He speaks of the men who shaped his thinking, and the experiences that formed his approach to applying the Bible to all areas of life.

This was the first of several very interesting and insightful lectures given at Branch of Hope Church (OPC) in Torrance, California.

I plan on posting more of these.  Stay tuned!

How to Be a Reconstructionist in a Non-Reconstructionist Church

So maybe you’ve finally bought into the basic tenets of “Christian Reconstructionism.”  You’re a Calvinist in your understanding of God’s sovereignty and salvation.  You are covenantal in your theology.  Your eschatology has lost its fear of the future.  (And for that matter, fear of the present.)  You believe Jesus Christ is reigning as king over all the earth NOW and is gradually subduing and conquering His enemies even as we speak (although he seems to be taking an awfully long time to do that).  You’re a presuppositionalist in your apologetics (and you intend to prove that by naming your next male child Cornelius).

Worst of all, you are convinced that the ethical standards of God’s law are alive and well and still govern the planet — while the rest of your family and friends and practically everyone else you know, including Christians, are convinced that they do not.

This presents a problem.

How do you now find a church that preaches and teaches and believes like you do?

In other words, where and how do you find a “Reconstructionist-friendly” church to attend?

Answer: you do one of two things.

  1. Pray that you live within reasonable driving distance of such a church.  And you ask around within the circle of people whom you hope might know where one of those churches might be.  Or,
  2. Resign yourself to the fact that, (a), no such church exists within a Sabbath’s day journey from where you live, and so, therefore, (b), you learn to become a resident Reconstructionist worshipping and fellowshipping in a congregation of non-like-minded-but-probably-just-as-committed-to-the-Gospel-of-Jesus-Christ-as-you-are believers.  You may feel like a fresh-water fish in a salt water pond.  Things could be worse.  At least there’s water.

Option #1.

If #1 applies to you–that is, you do find that there is a Reconstructionist church in your neck of the woods–then rejoice, your search is over.  Perhaps.

That church is going to be small.  Very small.  Tiny, in fact.  Just like the denomination that probably ordained the pastor who ministers there.  Fact: the more well-defined (and out of the mainstream of evangelicalism, even Reformed evangelicalism) the theological distinctives of a particular church are, the smaller its size.  It is in the minority of the minority.  You will be part of a remnant of the remnant.  You will be an outlier.

If you’re okay with that, again, your search is over.  Just remember, your church will be its own “small group!”

Option #2.

This is the more likely outcome.  You’re a theological (and eschatological) oddity.  You’re Reformed with respect to the Gospel, but you’re un-Reformed with respect to the Law.  Some will call you hermeneutically confused.  Some will call you heterodox.  Ignore them.  You are better informed than most as far as what the Bible says about God’s authority over us.

So, where should you worship?

Answer: wherever there is a church that has (a), preaching you can tolerate, (b), music you can tolerate, and, (c), people you can tolerate.  It’s that simple.  You’ve got your doctrine down cold.  (Or hot.)  You’ve got the Holy Spirit dwelling in you and available 24/7 as a lifetime counselor/comforter.  You’ve got the Savior.  You’ve got God as your infinitely generous and loving Father.  You’ve got His enscripturated Word as your infallible field guide, training and service manual.  So, beyond that, you’ll just have to be liberal (biblically charitable) when it comes to assessing the fitness of a particular church to be graced on a regular basis by your humble, eschatologically-upbeat presence.  Thankfully, Calvinism is now cool.  More Christians, young and old, have become, at least to some degree, “Reformed.”  Hipsters and oldsters united in a common bond of TULIPs.  This makes your job a little bit easier.

Bloom (and grow) where you’re planted.

It might not be the ideal greenhouse or garden.  But as long as you get sunlight, food and water to sustain you (and there aren’t too many locusts and aphids) be content with that.

Be prepared to be a closet contrarian.   No need to be strident about it, though, needlessly pontificating your superior positions on various scriptural dogmas.  Be prepared, as Peter says, “to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (I Peter 3:15)  “Study to show yourself approved”–someone who “does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)  Do this faithfully, and people will wonder at your unsinkable optimism and winsome attitude about the inevitable victory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and successful evangelization of the whole world in time and in history prior to the Lord’s return.  Make ’em want what you’ve got!

Don’t make folks irritated or exasperated with your apparent confessional peculiarities.  But don’t be ashamed of your Reconstructionist leanings, either.  Remember, the people who oppose you will do so because they are either ignorant or else misinformed about the biblical and historical and hermeneutical basis for the theological “distinctives” and perspectives of Christian Reconstruction.  So, don’t be “sorry” for embracing these perspectives.

Remember, theonomy means never having to say you’re sorry.

The New Sound of Dominion: Reconstructionist Radio

Reconstructionist Radio iconIf you have not come across this excellent online resource yet, it’s time for you to take a look.

The massive cache of books produced by Christian Reconstructionists over the past 50 years have been a treasure trove of theological, historical, practical, epistemological and philosophical works in and of themselves.  Now, many of these mostly forgotten and out-of-print-yet-still-invaluable books are being reproduced and republished as free audio books available to anyone online, thanks to the visionary hard work and inspiration of a dominion-minded truck driver by the name of Jason Sanchez.

Jason has started an ambitious project called Reconstructionist Radio.

I call it music to my ears!

Jason has assembled a team of narrators — growing and they are asking for more — to do the following: take an existing printed or electronic edition of selected titles from amongst the various authors and leading figures of the CR movement past and present, such as Dr. Gary North, R.J. Rushdoony, Dr. Kenneth Gentry, Dr. Greg Bahnsen, Gary Demar, David Chilton and others, and then convert them, painstakingly, into digital audio format.

The resulting audiobooks and downloadable podcasts are being made available to anyone who wants to listen to them, at no charge, since they are produced from books which have been available online for years to anyone who wants to read them, in electronic or PDF format, at no charge.  (They are NOT public domain.  But they are freely available.)

This is similar in concept to Pocket College, which is a massive online collection of lectures and recordings by the late R.J. Rushdoony.  Except that these are original, derivative works rather than mere digital copies of existing works.  Anyway, to date, no one else has ventured to convert any of these books into audio format.  Jason is blazing a new trail here.  Or rather, he is paving a new highway — for truck drivers and everyone else to drive on!

There is a lot of work to be done.  Lots of book titles to be recorded and published.  Many hours and much labor and patience.  But it looks like Jason and his crew of volunteers are in it for the long haul! 

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

In any event, this is a worthwhile project that deserves our prayers and support.  These are important works and now they will find a new audience.  Sounds good to me.

“Let him who has ears to hear, click here”:  Reconstructionist Radio

Aren’t All Christians Supposed to Be ‘Reconstructionists’?

CorneliusVanTilThis past week there has been some discussion about Van Til and his worldview and whether it was more in line with Christian Reconstructionism and theonomy than previously thought, or (more to the point) whether his privately held views were a true reflection of his stated positions of amillennialism and an apolitical Christianity.

Joel McDurmon talks about this in his two articles:

Cornelius Van Til’s ‘Spirit of Reconstruction’

When Van Til Got Crazy Political

‘Spirit of Van Tillianism”

Lots of Reformed Christians consider themselves spiritual heirs of Van Til.  The Reformed world and evangelical Christianity owe him an enormous debt for his path-breaking work that established the philosophical framework for what would later become “presuppositional apologetics.”

Likewise, the philosophical and exegetical framework for Christian Reconstruction would never have gotten off the ground without his pioneering efforts.

So, why is it that Reformed Christians who embrace the philosophical and epistemological views of Van Til are loathe to embrace similarly held views when they are expressed by Christian Reconstructionists?

By Which Double Standard?

At their core, are they really that much different?  In their expression, yes, perhaps.  But not in their presuppositions.

Christian Reconstruction as espoused and promulgated by Rushdoony, North, Bahnsen, Chilton, et al., was a radical departure from conventional Christian thought — even Reformed Christian thought — at the time (mid-1960s).  But it was based squarely on the philosophical foundations of Van Til.

To paraphrase the old adage from the Reformation:

Rushdoony and North hatched the egg that Van Til laid.

The Greatness of the Great Commission

The title of Dr. Kenneth Gentry’s excellent book leads us to the larger issue at hand, and really puts our mandate as believers and followers of Christ into perspective: our commission as the body of Christ in the world is to take the Gospel to all peoples and all nations and to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever Christ has commanded.

Modern evangelical Christians until the 1980s have sought to keep this a personal, private, home-based matter.  Fundamentalism institutionalized the thinking: “Save souls, not cultures!”  That is beginning to change.

But “making disciples” doesn’t simply mean making more church-goers and Bible-readers.

It means a Holy-Spirit-caused radical transformation that begins at the bottom and works its way up.  It starts out individually, privately, but it ends up collectively, publicly.  Transformed lives leading to transformed families.  Transformed families leading to transformed communities and transformed societies.  Then, transformed cultures, transformed nations and, ultimately, a transformed world.

Isn’t this what we are supposed to be striving for and praying for (“thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven”) (“Go ye into all the world…”)?  Should that not be the earnest desire of our Christ-loving, Holy-Spirit-converted hearts for our fallen race, a humanity comprised of many of our fellow sinners yet-to-be-saved by grace?

You would think so.

Theonomy and Reconstruction: A Reformed Response

R. C. Sproul, Jr. has weighed in on this topic of Christian Reconstruction vs. biblical Reformation and the Great Commission before:

Let’s begin with what we all ought to agree on- that discipling the nations and teaching them to obey whatsoever Christ commanded should include some understanding of the Lordship of Christ over the cultural and political spheres. Jesus is bringing every enemy under captivity, causing every knee to bow, including the knees of princes, judges and kings who will not kiss Him, who will not acknowledge Him as Lord.

No argument there.  He then asks:

So how do we make known the reign of Christ over all things? We begin by bringing our own sinful natures under submission.

No argument there. That is where all true ‘reconstruction’ must begin.

He concludes with this:

What we are called to is neither to huddle in the corner because Jesus is coming back tomorrow, nor to hang out in back rooms cutting deals to hurry His return. Instead we ought to be about our own callings, raising up godly seed, voting for and supporting honest and honorable candidates that submit to the Lordship of Christ. Is this reconstruction, or is this faithful stewardship of our time? Is this reconstruction, or is this seeking first the kingdom of God? Is this reconstruction, or is this making visible the invisible reign of Christ over all things? In the end, it doesn’t much matter what you call it. We are to obey Christ, to train up our children to do the same. This is loving your neighbor and this will change the world. (emphasis added)

Amen, brother.

Nine days after posting that, he reposted another article that had been published two years prior, which was even more amicable to Christian Reconstruction.  It ended with this kind word of solidarity:

Theonomists, like the rest of us, long to see justice in the political realm. They long to see the nations discipled. They long to see the kingdom made manifest. They long to see every knee bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Who, within His kingdom, could ever argue with that?

Who, indeed?

Sproul 2.0 (“Did I Really Say That?”)

More recently, however, Sproul seems to have lost his spirit of solidarity with theonomists and reconstructionists in a podcast and an accompanying article.

It is chock-full of back-handed compliments, like these:

These good folks have the wisdom to not be embarrassed by the Law of God. Every time somebody tries to discredit the Bible stance on sodomy, based on its stance on slavery, unlike the rest of the Christians, these guys don’t blush. They’re perfectly comfortable with slavery because they aren’t slaves to popular opinion. This movement, sometimes called Theonomy, sometimes called Reconstructionism, is the stuff of nightmares to the liberal left. These guys are well-educated, articulate, and medieval.

I see.  Well-educated, articulate, and medieval.

No matter.  What Sproul said in his previous two articles stands as sufficient testimony to the general agreement that exists between what “Christian Reconstructionists” want for the world and what other Bible-believing Christians want.

“WHAT DO WE WANT?”  A redeemed and reformed world.  If not for ourselves, at least for our children and their children and their childrens’ children.

“WHEN DO WE WANT IT?”  Later!  (After Jesus comes back bodily to fulfill the responsibilities of His church–right after we are air-lifted out of the global mess we left behind!)

This is where premillennialists and postmillennialists part company.

They’re looking for the lifeboats.  We’re building a whole new shipping company!

But Sproul sounds far more in congruence with the latter group in his eschatology than the former.  For that we are grateful.

This, friends, is the very progress of history, the making of God’s enemies into his footstool. And this is the very trajectory of history. Here we are told, not that things must get really bad before He comes again, but that they must get really good. He is now at the right hand of the Father, there He will stay until all His enemies are defeated. I confess that I don’t know exactly what this will look like, it won’t mean that everyone on the planet will serve Christ. It won’t mean that there will be no more sin and no more death. That will await his final return. But it does mean this, that every pretender to the throne of Christ will be brought low.

At least he is laboring — grudgingly alongside his theonomist provocateurs — toward the same worthy goal.

Is Biblical Christianity ‘Reconstructionist’?

Let’s take the familiar critics’ question and turn it around.

It is a fair question: “Is Christian Reconstruction ‘Biblical’?”

So we ask the converse of it: “Is Biblical Christianity ‘Reconstructionist’?”

An equally fair question.

Let’s wrap up this article by asking and answering it.

Does biblical Christianity see history as the progress of Christ’s kingdom on earth advancing before He returns? In other words, is it optimistic about the future before His Second Advent?

Do fish swim?

Does biblical Christianity see all of Scripture as self-authenticating and the inviolable basis for presupposing that ALL of its utterances and pronouncements are true, and that it is the authoritative rule and standard over ALL of life and ALL people and places at ALL times, by which ALL things are judged?

Do birds have feathers?

Does biblical Christianity see the Gospel as a comprehensive message of salvation to be preached to ALL the world, so that MANY souls (collectively and individually) may be saved and many cultures redeemed, to the glory of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

Do cows give milk?

Is biblical Christianity a faith that is intended to affect everything in our lives and in our world, for good and for God’s glory?

Are these questions obviously rhetorical (and the answers self-evident)?

Yes!

An Informed Response

So, the next time somebody asks you, “Is Christian Reconstruction ‘biblical’?”, or they tell you that it isn’t biblical, ask them if they know what reconstructionists really want.

Tell them they want the same thing that all Bible-believing Christians around the world want.

A world won for Christ, the redemption of Adam’s fallen race, and the coming (and growth and advancement and ultimate victory) of His Kingdom!

How to ‘Reconstruct’ Medicine: Healing the Healing Arts, Part I

EarlyCancerTreatmentLOLLately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the idea of the “Christian reconstruction” of medicine.

Namely, what does that mean and what does that look like (or what would it or should it look like)?

Now, to those of us who subscribe to the theology of applying our faith to every area of life, it doesn’t seem strange at all to apply the same comprehensive biblical world-and-life-view that we apply to religion, education, business, politics and economics (to name a few), to the practice of medicine — a field that at first blush seems far removed from the philosophical, theological and ideological turbulence that usually goes along with any discussion of faith, morality and (therefore) ethics in those areas.  After all, “medicine” is scientific, isn’t it?  A purely rational, objective, “evidence-based,” empirically-driven discipline, right?  And it attracts only the most caring, compassionate, empathetic, highly intelligent individuals who love humanity and wish to direct their formidable talents, skills and training towards the practice of medicine in order to serve and help (and to heal) their fellow man and visit him in his physical affliction, right?

If only.

If there is one kind of medicine that is NOT characterized by the idyllic characterization described above, it is the type of “western” (specifically American), allopathic, corporately-driven, technologically-sophisticated, mainstream “modern” medicine that is practiced today in the United States, the most historically and culturally (but not covenantally) “Christian” nation on earth.

Medicine and Morality

Yet how can we, as Christians, deny that the comprehensiveness of our faith, and the biblically-informed system of morality and ethics that flows from it, constrains us to give it a very prominent and decisive role in our understanding, interpretation and implementation of that great body of knowledge and empirical evidence and experience that we’ve garnered through the centuries in those areas of natural science — biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology — that have a direct bearing on our theory and practice of medicine, an area that deals intimately with the highly personal issues of a man’s health and the treatment of his diseases?

It is actually pretty easy to see the disconnect that exists today between faith and medicine.  The most visible evidence is the absence of — or at least the steady erosion of — a universal or “standard” code of ethics and morality to guide healing professionals in their respective capacities as they make inherently ethical and moral decisions regarding their patients, and interact with them on the express notion (or the notion implied by the relationship) that the “healer” is there to help his patients in any way that he can, and, if possible, to heal them.

Physician, Heal Thyself

In doing some background reading for this article, I came across a rather fascinating and helpful academic paper published in the Journal of Medical Humanities in 1987 and republished in the American Journal of Bioethics in 2006: “Toward a Reconstruction of Medical Morality.”  It deals philosophically with the ethical and moral issues that inevitably arise in the practice of medicine, touching only briefly on the theological aspect of it — and not at all on the ethical or moral validity or invalidity of certain approaches or methods.  But it is a good place to start the discussion.

The author, Edmund D. Pellegrino, MD, was a leading bioethicist and professor of medicine and humanities at Georgetown University before he died in 2013 at the age of 92.  (Georgetown posthumously named its Center for Clinical Bioethics after him.)  His paper deals with what he views as the root causes of the ethical and moral dilemmas which face healthcare professionals today, owing to the fact that, (a), there is no longer a unified, common understanding of what is “moral” and “immoral” in the practice of medicine as well as what is “ethical” and “unethical” — not just among physicians and other healthcare professionals but also between the professionals and their patients — and, (b), a “fracturing” has taken place of the traditional Hippocratic image of the physician as “a benign, benevolent, all-knowing, authoritarian figure who decides what is best for his patients,” being replaced by one or more of the following competing medical models: the “John Locke” philosophical model that pits doctor and patient as “two autonomous individuals entering a contract for service”; the overtly commercial, for-profit model favored by so many of his colleagues, where “medical knowledge is held to be a proprietary possession of the physician” and he makes it available “as the baker would make bread available” to the public, “when he pleases, in what manner he pleases,” “purveying it for a price on his own terms” — “for those who can purchase it if they please” — and if they don’t like the bread he is selling, “they can go to another baker.”  Lastly, there is the purely transactional model, where your dealings with your doctor are considered to be no different than your dealings with your auto mechanic.

Regarding this model, Pellegrino says:

To those who argue for the auto mechanic version of the healing relationship, I would suggest that, as distressed as we may be with the carburetor and the perverse things automobiles do to us in cold weather, the illness of our autos doesn’t have the impact on our very existence that illness does.

Indeed it doesn’t!

Pellegrino rejects all of the above and proposes instead a solution to this hodge-podge of disparate medical models: a return to a more “holistic” understanding of the true nature of the “healing relationship” that exists (or should exist) between doctor and patient — one that, historically speaking, according to the author, dates back to antiquity: First Century A.D. physician to the Emperor Claudius, Scribonius Largus, who said that the true nature of medicine can be summed up in two words: humanitas and misericordia.  “Humanity” (love of mankind) and “mercy” or compassion.  These, Scribonius Largus said, were supposed to be the aim of the physician “in the same way that justice was the end and aim of the judge and the lawyer.”

Hmmm…  Humanity (love of mankind) and mercy (compassion).

Sounds like a good CHRISTIAN model for medicine to me!

He goes further.  The emphasis in this healing relationship is to be on obligations and responsibilities that are “mutually incurred by both physician and patient,” not on mutual rights.  In this relationship, a duty is owed by both.  The physician must first possess the knowledge necessary to help his patient, and then he must use that knowledge and the scope of his competence wholly “in the patient’s interest and not his own, for the patient’s good.”   And the patient, though he is the more “vulnerable” party in this unequal relationship (due to his state of illness) and in spite of his obvious disadvantages, is as much a responsible “moral agent” as the physician is.

Pellegrino, in fact, starts his essay by saying that medicine is a moral enterprise, having been conducted as such since Hippocratic times “in accordance with a definite set of beliefs about what is right and wrong medical behavior.”  Ethics, being a branch of philosophy and “a formal, rational, systematic examination of the rightness and wrongness of human actions” comes into play here as a “code” of medical ethics or bioethics.   But, medical ethics, as a distinct area of study, he says, was practically unknown in medical schools as late as 1963, and still remained untaught at about a dozen schools by the time of his writing 24 years later.  By the way, Pellegrino is considered not only a pioneer in medical ethics, he is viewed as the preeminent authority on it.

A couple of other points.  He talks about the need for a fully-informed consent on the part of the patient, acknowledging that “one of the realities of illness is the gap of information that separates the patient and the physician.  Certainly one of the physician’s obligations is to close that gap…”  This, he says, is a “moral imperative” that enhances the patient’s “moral agency” and his capacity “to make his own moral and value decisions based on a knowledge of the alternatives.”

At the end of the essay, Pellegrino deals briefly with how we can find moral and ethical agreement on “specific medical moral dilemmas” such as abortion, euthanasia, prolonging of life, birth defects, genetic engineering, etc., stating flatly that we can have NO agreement on these kinds of dilemmas until we can have agreement on the following:

  1. What we believe about the nature of man.
  2. What we believe about God.

In our pluralistic society, Pellegrino says, Good luck with that!

Still, he is hopeful that we can begin (in 1987) to “reconstruct” our ethics and morality of medicine by returning to the historically understood “true nature” of medicine as being a holistic healing relationship that is based on compassion and a love of mankind, with a clear conception of what the roles and responsibilities are of “those who profess to heal.”

His paper is worth reading.  In fact it is worth downloading, printing and reading.

You can do that here: “Toward a Reconstruction of Medical Morality.”

Toward a Christian Reconstruction of Medicine

Now let me give you some of my initial thoughts on this.

I think the “Christian reconstruction” of medicine goes way beyond merely getting everybody to agree (good luck with that!) on a common system of ethics and morals by which to examine actions in the practice and pursuit of it.

It goes beyond merely populating the medical schools and hospitals and clinics of America (and, while we’re at it, of the world) with “Bible-believing,” theonomically-minded, eschatologically-informed, Kingdom-of-God-driven, Christian doctors, nurses, chiropractors, therapists, practitioners, veterinarians, lab technicians, etc..

What is required in order to “remake” the present medical system (in America, primarily, since ours is the most egregious example of ethical and moral — and medical — failure) is the same thing that is required to remake, reconstruct and “recreate” every other human institution and system that we wish to remake and recreate, be it in education, government, economics or business.

We do it from the ground up, from the grass-roots, bottom-to-top reform, one person at a time, in an organized but decentralized, thoughtful, informed and deliberate fashion.

And we do it like any good Reconstructionist worth his presuppositions would do it.  We apply the five-point biblical covenant model to our study, and we thereby discover and learn: how we got where we are today, how we ended up with the outrageously expensive, inept-but-superficially-successful, bureaucratically-controlled, self-protecting, self-enriching, monopolistic, corrupt and ineffectual system that we have, and how we can replace it, and what with.

That’s definitely a tall order, so I will expand on it further in Part II.  Stay tuned!

Martin Luther King, Civil Rights and ‘Christian Resistance’

Martin-Luther-KingToday’s observance of Martin Luther King Day seems like a good time to compare the racial and political ideologies that gave rise to the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 60s — and the creation of the national holiday honoring King in the 1980s — with the biblical and historical motivations that undergird the theology and tactics of Christian Resistance.

King’s prominent role in the civil rights movement as an ordained Christian minister — and liberal Baptist preacher — certainly gave the movement its religious, righteously indignant tone and flavor in the media.  But it was always a political movement, first to last.  And the goal was always a political one: equal rights under the law. Which was another way of saying blacks had a right to the same unequal and unfair treatment under the same bureaucratic and corrupt system of tyranny and excessive taxation that whites enjoyed.  “Now, that’s worth marching for!”

The civil rights movement and especially the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were originally championed on the right, believe it or not, by conservatives and Republicans.  But, of course, once its political potential as a catalyst for the justifiable expansion in the role of government — meaning the expansion in the role and power and enrichment and career enhancement of government-paid employees: politicians — to intrude into the lives and wallets of private citizens for the sake of “equality” became apparent, the movement was co-opted by members of the Left and adopted as their own cause, and a new ideological banner was created to wave in their opponents’ faces and cast in the teeth of conservatives.  “Take that, you bigoted, civil rights proponents, originators and pioneers!”

It was not “Christian resistance” per se.  At best, you could say it was baptized political activism.  Sort of like “liberation theology,” but without all the guns and Marxist trappings.

Christian resistance, as defined and presented in the following two books, is quite different.

Rather than providing a blueprint to seize and utilize the levers of tyrannical power and political mobilization to right wrongs and correct injustices, it offers a grassroots, theologically- and biblically-motivated, broad-based effort that begins with this: resisting the tyranny lawfully and peacefully while exposing and opposing the erroneous, unbiblical and ungodly theories and ideologies that caused the problem in the first place.  It then moves to providing Bible-based alternatives and solutions that will, in the long run, fix what is broken.

But first, as you will see, the nature of the problem — how we got here — has to be stated and understood, along with the principles and doctrines and biblical examples that validate and warrant, and even mandate, the proffering and strategic implementation of a “Christian” solution.

Let’s look at the backdrop.  In the 1970s, the civil rights movement nationally had pretty much run its course and faded from the public consciousness as a political force and nightly news-maker.  Now, war, military escalations, economic unrest, social and cultural turmoil that began in the decade before and continued as a thriving counter-culture, the spread of a militant atheism and secular humanism using the tax-funded institutions of government and public education to spread its poison and consolidate and expand its power, the erosion of traditional morality and values, etc., all combined to expose the obvious void and very noticeable absence of a self-consciously biblical, systematic Christian strategy and game plan to combat these problems and address these issues.

By the early 1980s, the nascent school of historic, orthodox, Calvinistic, eschatologically optimistic, theological school of thought known as Christian Reconstruction, was coming into its own and beginning to make its presence felt — a very unwelcome presence as far as many conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists were concerned!

Newsletters gave birth to books, which gave birth to more books.  Volumes and volumes of literary “blueprints” written explicitly for Christians to begin getting a theological and intellectual grip and handle on things.  Not a moment too soon.  Conservatives, especially Christians, having rediscovered political activism, were lulled into a false sense of victory in 1980 thinking they had “won” the grand prize when they got Ronald Reagan into the White House.  Wrong!   The battle was only escalating and intensifying.

For this reason, in 1983, the following two volumes were published in the Christianity and Civilization series of the Geneva Divinity School:

The Theology of Christian ResistanceTactics of Christian Resistance

Edited by Dr. Gary North and Rev. James B. Jordan, these two books were meant to be handbooks and manuals for Christians to read and understand, (a), what it is we are facing — and have been facing for quite some time! — and, (b), what it is we can, and must, do about it.

Their content and message are no less relevant and no less required reading for us today.

And so, on the occasion of Martin Luther King Day 2014, and in light of the growing liberty movement and slow but steady political awakening of the public to the across-the-globe problem of tyranny, it seems like an awfully wise and timely thing to do to embark on (for some) a new reading of these now-thirty-year-old books!  For those of us who are not waiting around biding our time hoping for a certain imminent cataclysmic event to deliver us instantly and mercifully from the exigencies and weighty and urgent responsibilities of building Christ’s kingdom by first deconstructing Satan’s counterfeit kingdom and its corrupt influences, the task of taking the time to identify the nature and causes and history of the problem, and then systematically and patiently but proactively and confidently addressing and dealing with them and ultimately, by God’s grace, power and wisdom, solving them once and for all, is not such a tall order.

Both of these books are free and can be downloaded right here:

The Theology of Christian Resistance

Tactics of Christian Resistance

Multiple authors contributed numerous articles and essays that comprise these two very informative and insightful volumes. But their individual viewpoints do share one common theme:

Crown rights, not civil rights!

I suppose if we had to think of a composite title for these, we could call them, Rules for Christian Radicals!

Happy reading and Happy MLK Day! 🙂