Reconstructing History: Gary North’s Speech on War Revisionism

On Oct. 26th, Dr. Gary North gave a speech at the 30th anniversary conference of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

The topic he spoke on was “war revisionism’.  Specifically, World War II and how the official story as to what prompted America to become involved in the war–an unprovoked, “surprise” attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese–needs to be revised.  That is, the Establishment’s version of things runs counter to the actual facts surrounding the events, and therefore a more honest, “contrarian” perspective needs to be developed and presented to the reading public by trained, revisionist-minded historians, ASAP.

What does this have to do with Christian Reconstruction?

Mainly, this: just as there is a need for a new generation of historians (and students of history) to rise up and challenge the status quo offered by the Establishment in its presentation of certain facts of history, there is a similar need for a new generation of theologians, pastors, teachers (and rank-and-file believers–students of theology, if you will) to rise up and challenge the status quo offered by the ecclesiastical Establishment in its presentation of certain facts of history and theology.

Also (let us not forget), that, while Gary spoke as a historian, scholar, theologian, economist, researcher and author at the conference, he is, first and foremost, a Christian reconstructionist.

The larger issue at hand was captured in a quote read by Gary from fellow Austrian economist Murray Rothbard:

The noble task of revisionism is to de-bamboozle–to penetrate the fog of lies and deception of the state and its court intellectuals, and to present to the public the true history of the motivation, the nature and the consequences of state activity.

Historical revisionism is simply historical reconstructionism.  Not a “new and improved” way of interpreting the facts, but a more honest, more comprehensive, more historically accurate and less ideologically encumbered way that is free of the normal political and statist biases and pressures that are ordinarily brought to bear on the “official” version to be presented to the public at the appropriate time in the appropriate way by the state, for the benefit of the state.

As you watch this, think of the possible theological, biblical and ecclesiastical parallels that might exist!

Watch Gary’s speech here:

“The Foundations of Social Order: Studies in the Creeds and Councils of the Early Church,” by R. J. Rushdoony

The Chalcedon Foundation has made a number of R. J. Rushdoony’s books available online for free.

Several of them are considered classics in the annals of Christian Reconstruction.

The Foundations of Social Order is one of them.  It was published in 1968.

From the preface he wrote for the third edition, Rushdoony said:

Christianity cannot be reduced to the level of a pagan mystery religion, basically concerned with life after death, and with things personal here.  The foundations of social order are indeed in the here and now, but in our faith and life, in what we believe concerning things ultimate.  As men have turned from the Christian gospel, they have constructed a social gospel, and as they have surrendered God’s law for antinomianism, they have supplanted God’s law-word and they have turned to man’s word, pietism, and pious gush.  Church music now often celebrates man’s feelings rather than the Holy Trinity.

This is the way of decline and death, and it must give way, and present indications tell us so, to a restoration of God’s sovereignty, grace and undiluted word.  The foundation of true social order can only be in the triune God and His enscripturated truth and word.

Here is the online version:

A paperback edition is available for purchase from Chalcedon: click here.

Halloween (or, ‘All Hallows Even’): Through New Eyes

Rev. James B. Jordan gives what is probably the best, brief, evangelical rebuttal against well-meaning Christians who categorically object to the observance/celebration of Halloween on the basis that it is pagan, ungodly and thoroughly unChristian.

I personally used to count myself in that number, and right(eously) so.  Not anymore.  I have spiritually outgrown that worn-out fundamentalist meme.  Unfortunately, I realized and “reformed” my error a little too late.

My kids will tell you, “Daddy did NOT like Halloween when we were growing up.”  “In fact, he HATED it!”  (Actually, my kids don’t call me daddy anymore, but, that’s what they would have told you had you asked them.)

I regarded Halloween as the Devil’s Holiday.  A celebration unfit for Christian consumption. (And the candy’s no good for you anyway.)

But, now, as a Reconstructionist, I have come to see that, yes, in a perfect world–which won’t be for quite a while yet–there is no Halloween, there will be no Halloween.  Because, in a perfect world, there is no and there will be no evil, no Devil, no witches, no ghouls, no ghosts, no goblins, or demons, etc.

But, in this world–the one we currently live in–we still have remnants and tokens of the Fall and of the existence and temporary influences of all these, and it is helpful to have–albeit an imperfect one–an annual reminder such as Halloween that all true evil has been definitively and ultimately conquered, defeated and vanquished through the death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And we can now safely, and confidently, make fun–and let our children, the children of the covenant of the Most High God–make fun of him as the wicked FOOL that he is, who will suffer everlastingly in hellfire for his outrageous rebellion and consummate and supreme foolishness and utter spiritual stupidity.

Satan is gradually losing his power.  And he knows it.  What power he has left is being displaced and diminished inexorably over time as the leaven of the Gospel and the power of God’s truth replaces his lies and deceit.  No more does he hold sway as he did in the ancient world.  Now, he is the laughingstock of the universe.  The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ.  Satan is the defeated foe.  Time is running out for him.  We now see behind his mask.  The one he used to trick and deceive us with.  He is an impostor and pretender.  So, let’s take every opportunity that God (and sometimes, man) gives us to mock and ridicule him and celebrate his slowly eroding power and greatly reduced, dwindling spiritual authority that he once held over mankind’s sin-enslaved, formerly unredeemed race.

The Savior is in charge now.

Trick or treat, Devil.

*****************************************

Concerning Halloween

Posted By James B. Jordan On August 1, 1996 @ 12:00 am In Open Book Newsletter | Comments Disabled

OPEN BOOK, Views & Reviews, No. 28
Copyright (c) 1996 Biblical Horizons
August, 1996

It has become routine in October for some Christian schools to send out letters warning parents about the evils of Halloween, and it has become equally routine for me to be asked questions about this matter.

“Halloween” is simply a contraction for All Hallows’ Eve. The word “hallow” means “saint,” in that “hallow” is just an alternative form of the word “holy” (“hallowed be Thy name”). All Saints’ Day is November 1. It is the celebration of the victory of the saints in union with Christ. The observance of various celebrations of All Saints arose in the late 300s, and these were united and fixed on November 1 in the late 700s. The origin of All Saints Day and of All Saints Eve in Mediterranean Christianity had nothing to do with Celtic Druidism or the Church’s fight against Druidism (assuming there ever even was any such thing as Druidism, which is actually a myth concocted in the 19th century by neo-pagans.)

In the First Covenant, the war between God’s people and God’s enemies was fought on the human level against Egyptians, Assyrians, etc. With the coming of the New Covenant, however, we are told that our primary battle is against principalities and powers, against fallen angels who bind the hearts and minds of men in ignorance and fear. We are assured that through faith, prayer, and obedience, the saints will be victorious in our battle against these demonic forces. The Spirit assures us: “The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20).

The Festival of All Saints reminds us that though Jesus has finished His work, we have not finished ours. He has struck the decisive blow, but we have the privilege of working in the mopping up operation. Thus, century by century the Christian faith has rolled back the demonic realm of ignorance, fear, and superstition. Though things look bad in the Western world today, this work continues to make progress in Asia and Africa and Latin America.

The Biblical day begins in the preceding evening, and thus in the Church calendar, the eve of a day is the actual beginning of the festive day. Christmas Eve is most familiar to us, but there is also the Vigil of Holy Saturday that precedes Easter Morn. Similarly, All Saints’ Eve precedes All Saints’ Day.

The concept, as dramatized in Christian custom, is quite simple: On October 31, the demonic realm tries one last time to achieve victory, but is banished by the joy of the Kingdom.

What is the means by which the demonic realm is vanquished? In a word: mockery. Satan’s great sin (and our great sin) is pride. Thus, to drive Satan from us we ridicule him. This is why the custom arose of portraying Satan in a ridiculous red suit with horns and a tail. Nobody thinks the devil really looks like this; the Bible teaches that he is the fallen Arch-Cherub. Rather, the idea is to ridicule him because he has lost the battle with Jesus and he no longer has power over us.

(The tradition of mocking Satan and defeating him through joy and laughter plays a large role in Ray Bradbury’s classic novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes, which is a Halloween novel.)

The gargoyles that were placed on the churches of old had the same meaning. They symbolized the Church ridiculing the enemy. They stick out their tongues and make faces at those who would assault the Church. Gargoyles are not demonic; they are believers ridiculing the defeated demonic army.

Thus, the defeat of evil and of demonic powers is associated with Halloween. For this reason, Martin Luther posted his 95 challenges to the wicked practices of the Church to the bulletin board on the door of the Wittenberg chapel on Halloween. He picked his day with care, and ever since Halloween has also been Reformation Day.

Similarly, on All Hallows’ Eve (Hallow-Even – Hallow-E’en – Halloween), the custom arose of mocking the demonic realm by dressing children in costumes. Because the power of Satan has been broken once and for all, our children can mock him by dressing up like ghosts, goblins, and witches. The fact that we can dress our children this way shows our supreme confidence in the utter defeat of Satan by Jesus Christ – we have NO FEAR!

I don’t have the resources to check the historical origins of all Halloween customs, and doubtless they have varied from time to time and from Christian land to Christian land. “Trick or treat” doubtless originated simply enough: something fun for kids to do. Like anything else, this custom can be perverted, and there have been times when “tricking” involved really mean actions by teenagers and was banned from some localities.

We can hardly object, however, to children collecting candy from friends and neighbors. This might not mean much to us today, because we are so prosperous that we have candy whenever we want, but in earlier generations people were not so well o_, and obtaining some candy or other treats was something special. There is no reason to pour cold water on an innocent custom like this.

Similarly, the jack-o’-lantern’s origins are unknown. Hollowing out a gourd or some other vegetable, carving a face, and putting a lamp inside of it is something that no doubt has occurred quite independently to tens of thousands of ordinary people in hundreds of cultures worldwide over the centuries. Since people lit their homes with candles, decorating the candles and the candle-holders was a routine part of life designed to make the home pretty or interesting. Potatoes, turnips, beets, and any number of other items were used.

Wynn Parks writes of an incident he observed: “An English friend had managed to remove the skin of a tangerine in two intact halves. After carving eyes and nose in one hemisphere and a mouth in the other, he poured cooking oil over the pith sticking up in the lower half and lit the readymade wick. With its upper half on, the tangerine skin formed a miniature jack-o’-lantern. But my friend seemed puzzled that I should call it by that name. `What would I call it? Why a “tangerine head,” I suppose.’” (Parks, “The Head of the Dead,” The World & I, November 1994, p. 270.)

In the New World, people soon learned that pumpkins were admirably suited for this purpose. The jack-o’-lantern is nothing but a decoration; and the leftover pumpkin can be scraped again, roasted, and turned into pies and muffins.

In some cultures, what we call a jack-o’-lantern represented the face of a dead person, whose soul continued to have a presence in the fruit or vegetable used. But this has no particular relevance to Halloween customs. Did your mother tell you, while she carved the pumpkin, that this represented the head of a dead person and with his soul trapped inside? Of course not. Symbols and decorations, like words, mean different things in different cultures, in different languages, and in different periods of history. The only relevant question is what does it mean now, and nowadays it is only a decoration.

And even if some earlier generations did associate the jack-o’-lantern with a soul in a head, so what? They did not take it seriously. It was just part of the joking mockery of heathendom by Christian people.

This is a good place to note that many articles in books, magazines, and encyclopedias are written by secular humanists or even the pop-pagans of the so-called “New Age” movement. (An example is the article by Wynn Parks cited above.) These people actively suppress the Christian associations of historic customs, and try to magnify the pagan associations. They do this to try and make paganism acceptable and to downplay Christianity. Thus, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc., are said to have pagan origins. Not true.

Oddly, some fundamentalists have been influenced by these slanted views of history. These fundamentalists do not accept the humanist and pagan rewriting of Western history, American history, and science, but sometimes they do accept the humanist and pagan rewriting of the origins of Halloween and Christmas, the Christmas tree, etc. We can hope that in time these brethren will reexamine these matters as well. We ought not to let the pagans do our thinking for us.

Nowadays, children often dress up as superheroes, and the original Christian meaning of Halloween has been absorbed into popular culture. Also, with the present fad of “designer paganism” in the so-called New Age movement, some Christians are uneasy with dressing their children as spooks. So be it. But we should not forget that originally Halloween was a Christian custom, and there is no solid reason why Christians cannot enjoy it as such even today.

“He who sits in the heavens laughs; Yahweh ridicules them” says Psalm 2. Let us join in His holy laughter, and mock the enemies of Christ on October 31.


Article printed from Biblical Horizons: http://www.biblicalhorizons.com

URL to article: http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/open-book/no-28-concerning-halloween/

There is “Good” Preterism–Biblical–and There is BAD Preterism–Heretical.

Joel McDurmon in his American Vision article today writes about the unusual decision by Criswell College, an academic bastion of the Southern Baptist church, to invite well-known, fringe-heretical, hyper-preterist Don Preston to its campus in order to participate in a one-day conference on eschatology that it was holding today, representing the generic “preterist” position.

Joel wonders why they would choose someone like Mr. Preston, with such an extreme minority position that is outside the circle of Christian orthodoxy, to come and speak on behalf of a biblical viewpoint that is actually quite orthodox and historic and increasingly embraced by more and more students and laymen and churchmen, including those who attend Criswell College and belong to Southern Baptist churches.

He says this:

Southern Baptistdom is largely a dispenational and premillennial world. Criswell is a Southern Baptist haven. The reassertion of the preteristic view of Revelation and Matthew 24, among others, in this century, has led to the virtual collapse of dispensationalism in anything close to academic circles. It lives on in a couple of Bible colleges, but mainly persists only in popular fiction. Especially after the publication of Ken Gentry’s definitive work on the early dating of the book of Revelation (Before Jerusalem Fell), there has been an exodus from premillennial and dispensational thinking into the camps of preterism. Students are now asking Southern Baptist professors tough questions about eschatology. They are adopting preterism, and the SBC old guard doesn’t like it.

Joel smells a rat.  Actually, he smells a gorilla.  A large “900-lb. gorilla.”

The “full” preterism of Don Preston does not at all represent the “partial” preterism of a growing number of evangelical Christians who are abandoning premillennialism and dispensationalism’s untenable prophetic and hermeneutic positions in favor of something a little more cohesive and a lot less theologically schizophrenic.

So why invite an extremist like Preston?

Joel can think of only two reasons why they would do this: either the scholars at Criswell were bought off, or else they have an agenda. (He rules out incompetence–they’re scholars, after all, who should know better.)

I don’t know about you but I just love Christian conspiracy theories!

Read the entire article here.

http://americanvision.org/6464/is-criswell-college-poisoning-the-well-of-preterism/