I stand with the Apostle Paul, not Cliven Bundy

24 Apr

I don’t stand with Cliven Bundy, who refused to pay his taxes after two court case defeats, who has joined with others in taking up arms against the governing authorities, and who in word and deed has disrespected and dishonored civil government.  That is, I don’t stand with Cliven Bundy because I’m a Christian and the Apostle Paul tells me not to:

Romans 13:1-7.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

If his actions and statements can be squared with this passage, I’d sure like to know how. Submit, be subject to, pay taxes, respect, honor, Clive Bundy? Yes, there are biblical limits to government obedience (Acts 5:27-29, when obedience to civil government involves disobedience to Christ). But has that happened here? Bundy may find those who agree with him, but I doubt you could count the Apostle Paul among them.

Oh, and then there’s this: http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2014/04/24/cliven-bundy-just-ruined-his-cause/

The closing of the Academic Mind – The Federalist

23 Apr

Scathing…

Harvard student Sandra Y.L. Korn recently proposed in The Harvard Crimson that academics should be stopped if their research is deemed oppressive. Arguing that “academic justice” should replace “academic freedom,” she writes: “If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of ‘academic freedom’?”

In other words, Korn would have the university cease to be a forum for open debate and free inquiry in the name of justice, as defined by mainstream liberal academia.

Unfortunately, this is already a reality in most universities across America, where academics and university administrators alike are trying, often successfully, to discredit and prohibit certain ideas and ways of thinking. Particularly in the humanities, many ideas are no longer considered legitimate, and debate over them is de facto non-existent. In order to delegitimize researchers who are out of line, academics brand them with one of several terms that have emerged from social science theory.

Most people outside academia are unaware that being called ‘hegemonic’ is the insult du jour.

The first term, “hegemonic,” is frequently used in history courses, literary criticism, and gender studies. Hegemony, of course, is a legitimate word that is often useful in describing consistency and uniformity. However, most people outside academia are unaware that being called ‘hegemonic’ is the insult du jour. It strongly implies that you are close-minded and perhaps even bigoted. This term may be applied to offences ranging from referencing the habits or dress of a cultural group to discussing the views held by a religion (and daring to question them—so long as the religion in question is not Christianity).

To do these things is to “essentialize” those people by speaking about them broadly and being so bold as to imply that they may share a practice or belief in a general sense. It is the insult of those who would have every department in academia broken down into sub-departments ad infinitum in order to avoid saying anything general about anything, resulting in verbal and intellectual paralysis.

This strategy of labeling has been particularly successful in its application to middle-eastern and Islamic studies. Any author, or student, who does not join in the liberal narrative about Islamic culture—which includes unwavering support for Palestinians, the absolute equality of men and women in Islam, and an insistence on the peaceful nature of the religion despite any violent tendencies in its foundation— will find themselves labeled an “orientalist.”

Write anything else and you will find yourself labeled an orientalist and no graduate course will touch your work with a ten-foot pole.

Edward Said popularized this term in his 1978 post-colonial work Orientalism. According to many of my colleagues, an orientalist is a person who writes about the Middle East from a “western perspective,” which is when one does not unquestioningly support and affirm Middle Eastern and Islamic culture. This does not mean that westerners are excluded from writing about the Middle East and Islam. A westerner can do so successfully so long as their research is void of criticism. Write anything else and you will find yourself labeled an orientalist and no graduate course will touch your work with a ten-foot pole.

Sadly, this is precisely what has happened to the work of Bernard Lewis, one of the world’s most renowned Middle East scholars. Because he has written about clashes between Islam and the West, and is willing to look at the Middle East outside the utopian academic optic, Lewis has been “dis-credited” and replaced with authors like Tariq Ramadan in college or graduate course syllabi. Similarly, Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States and visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown universities, has been dismissed as “not a historian” by some academics, presumably because of his pro-Israeli stance. Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, an associate professor at Reed College, strips the scholar Daniel Pipes of his status as a historian, writing that he is a “historian of Islam turned pro-Israel activist,” implying that the two are mutually exclusive.

The effect of discrediting one’s opponents in this way—rather than engaging and debating their ideas—is to create an academia where there is only one right way to think. If you dissent, you will be blackballed and labeled as hegemonic or orientalist.

The effect of discrediting one’s opponents in this way—rather than engaging and debating their ideas—is to create an academia where there is only one right way to think.

Nowhere has this been more evident than in Brandeis University’s withdrawal of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali recently because of her “controversial” stance on women’s rights in Muslim society, which mostly consists of objecting to things like female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and honor killings. Rather than defending Hirsi Ali, or at the very least welcoming the debate that her presence would bring, Brandeis chose to shut her out. This was done at the behest of Brandeis faculty, students, and the Council of American-Islamic Relations, all of whom claim she is Islamaphobic.

The censorial climate of academia extends beyond tenured professors and touches the students, both in undergraduate and graduate school. They are being taught what is and is not an “acceptable” way of thinking rather than being encouraged to think through difficult questions on their own.

(I recently met a fellow graduate student from a Muslim-majority country who confessed that she is disgusted with the way women are treated in her home country. She finds the inequality unacceptable. However, she felt the need to make a caveat: “I know as an academic and a Muslim I shouldn’t say this…”)

The trouble is, very few in academia will even engage supposedly orientalist and hegemonic views. How can one argue against a room full of graduate students—and a professor—who dismiss such views out of hand and label dissenters with epithets that are tantamount to “racist” in academic parlance?

Korn’s dream of a “just” academic utopia is already being realized. But like many utopian visions, there is a dark underbelly.

Korn’s dream of a “just” academic utopia is already being realized. But like many utopian visions, there is a dark underbelly. Anyone who does not ascribe to the dogma of “academic justice” can expect to be shunned and muzzled—as Brandeis demonstrated recently. The irony is that in its effort to eliminate allegedly close-minded and bigoted views, the university itself has become illiberal, dogmatic, and intellectually hegemonic.

If we shut the doors on academic freedom, the acceptable territory of research and discourse will continue to shrink over time, and the self-censorial dogma of the academy will inevitably trickle out beyond the boundaries of the university campus, threatening freedom of speech—and thought—in society at large.

M.G. Oprea is a PhD candidate in French linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin.

Summary notes for Carl Henry’s classic on Modern Fundamentalism

23 Apr

If you don’t have time to read this book, here are the summary points (with full quotations) from Matt Perman:

I recently took notes over Carl F.H. Henry’s The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. Written in 1947 (when “fundamentalism” and “evangelicalism” were equivalent terms), Henry’s call was for a theologically informed and socially engaged evangelicalism. Henry was concerned that, through its separatist mentality and tendency to separate social action from the concern of the Christian, modern evangelicalism was becoming irrelevant — and, more than that, unbiblical.

Henry’s call is just as relevant today as it was then, though evangelicalism has made immense progress. There is still a tendency to over spiritualize, to focus on the “spiritual” side of things in a way that tends to diminish and demean physical and social needs. And, on the other hand, when being rightly practical and concerned about social action, there is a tendency to do this apart from the important doctrinal foundations on which the Bible places these concerns. We need to continue increasing in our concern for social issues and addressing large global problems, while at the same time doing so on a theological foundation, recognizing that classical Christian doctrines are actually the best foundation for diligent social action.

In order to do this, however, we need to understand how Christianity and culture relate. Henry’s book is one of the best expositions of that issue. It is not only a call to action, but also gives the basic fundamentals for thinking about the relationship between Christianity and culture and how Christians can effectively partner with those who do not share our faith but do share our concern for confronting large global problems head on.

Russ Moore recently had a good post on Carl Henry, writing about this book that:

Henry’s “Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism” is perhaps the most important evangelical book of the twentieth-century. It is just as relevant as it was in 1947, and should be read again by all those with a serious commitment to applying a kingdom vision to every aspect of life. The kingdom Jesus inaugurated spoke to the whole person, to spiritual lostness, to physical sickness, to material poverty, to the need for community. A church that joins Jesus in preaching the kingdom will too. We need that reminder every generation, perhaps especially now. The evangelical conscience is, after all, still uneasy after all these years.

It turns out that today would be Carl Henry’s 100th birthday. So, in honor of his 100th birthday, and in light of the call to us as Christians to care about all suffering and be intelligently and helpfully engaged in social issues for the good of the world and glory of God, here are my notes on perhaps his most important book, which is just as relevant today as ever.

Introduction

“This book is both a detailed complaint about evangelical failures and a call to renewal.”

In the late 40s, Henry and other evangelical leaders were concerned that evangelicals were ill-equipped to address the crucial issues of the day.

Evangelical and fundamentalist were equivalent terms at that time.

Henry and Ockenga saw this book as setting an agenda for Fuller, which was established the same year it was published. The elements of a founding vision are all here.

  • “a deep commitment to a new kind of evangelical scholarship that would wrestle seriously with the important issues being raised in the large world of the mind”
  • “a hope for a more open evangelicalism that would transcend the barriers that had been erected by a separatistic mentality”
  • “a profound desire to engage culture in all of its created complexity”

We need to engage culture!

The evangelicalism of the first fifty years of the twentieth century failed in its intellectual and cultural obligations.

It is possible to promote an intellectually and culturally engaged evangelicalism. Further, a worldview “based solidly on biblical authority” is “desperately needed.” Currently theological options have in their own ways failed to “provide satisfying answers to the deepest questions of the human spirit.”

They named specific issues evangelicals were on the wrong side of.

Henry called “for an evangelical activism that recognizes the need for broad cultural involvement.”

Henry’s call was “an invitation to an evangelical cultural involvement that was based solidly on the kind of profound theological reflection that could only be sustained by a social program that was closely linked to a systematic commitment to the nurturing of the life of the mind.”

“There is often a considerable disconnect between grassroots evangelical activism and carefully reasoned theological orthodoxy.”

Tendencies in all sectors of evangelical life to “dilute the proclamation of the gospel.” Also to negotiate too-easy settlements between evangelical thought and various manifestations of postmodern culture.

We must articulate our cultural involvement within a supernaturalistic framework.

Constant assault on the evangelical position. “One of the things which modern man most needs to be saved from, is a moral sense which is outraged at a divine provision of redemption.”

“What concerns me more is that we have needlessly invited criticism and even ridicule, by a tendency in some quarters to parade secondary and sometimes even obscure aspects of our position as necessary front phases of our view.”

To that extent, “we have failed to oppose the full genius of the Hebrew-Christian outlook to its modern competitors.”

“We have not applied the genius of our position constructively to those problems which press most for solution in a social way. Unless we do this, I am unsure that we shall get another world hearing for the Gospel.”

“If we would press redemptive Christianity as the obvious solution of world problems, we had better busy ourselves with explicating the solution.”

The great biblical doctrines are “the only outlook capable of resolving our problems.”

The “uneasy conscience” is “one distressed by the frequent failure to apply them effectively to crucial problems confronting the modern mind.” He is pleading not for a revolt against the fundamentals of the faith, but an application of them to the large cultural issues before us.

Many seem “blissfully unaware” of the new demands upon us.

Seeks to provoke a united effort.

While we are pilgrims here, we are also ambassadors.

The church needs a progressive evangelicalism with a social message.

We are not to be fatalistic on ethical problems. Yet, most evangelicalism is precisely that. We need a “growing revolt in evangelical circles on ethical indifferentism.” “It is impossible to shut the Jesus of pity, healing, service, and human interest from a Biblical theology. The higher morality of redemption does not invalidate moral consistency.”

“A Christian world- and life-view embracing world questions, societal needs, personal education ought to arise out of Matt. 28:18-21 as much as evangelism does. Culture depends on such a view.” Evangelicalism is dissipating the Christian culture accretion of centuries, “a serious sin.”

We are not to abandon social fields to the secularist.

This book is “a healthy antidote to Fundamentalist aloofness in a distraught world.”

 Chapter 1: The Evaporation of Fundamentalist Humanitarianism

The charge against evangelicalism from non-evangelicals: it has no social program calling for a practical attack on acknowledged world evils. “On this evaluation, Fundamentalism is the modern priest and Levite, by-passing suffering humanity” (2).

Read the rest

The disaster of the federalization and “freeing” of America’s severely mentally ill

22 Apr

Wow. Fascinating story. Sad too. The failure of the federal takeover (and subsequent dismantling) of mental health institutions, the naivety and short-sightedness of 1960s Civil Rights activists, the indifference and ignorance of the American public, all led to greater suffering and neglect of our severely brain-diseased neighbors. Excellent interview and very revealing. Something needs to be done (he offers solutions).

“When you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto Me.” Matt. 25:45

An American Psychosis? – A Conversation with Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey

http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/04/21/an-american-psychosis-a-conversation-with-psychiatrist-e-fuller-torrey/

When the left ignores single-parenthood, it’s hard to take them seriously about social problems

21 Apr

From the WSJ:

Suppose a scientific conference on cancer prevention never addressed smoking, on the grounds that in a free society you can’t change private behavior, and anyway, maybe the statistical relationships between smoking and cancer are really caused by some other third variable. Wouldn’t some suspect that the scientists who raised these claims were driven by something—ideology, tobacco money—other than science?

Yet in the current discussions about increased inequality, few researchers, fewer reporters, and no one in the executive branch of government directly addresses what seems to be the strongest statistical correlate of inequality in the United States: the rise of single-parent families during the past half century.

The two-parent family has declined rapidly in recent decades. In 1960, more than 76% of African-Americans and nearly 97% of whites were born to married couples. Today the percentage is 30% for blacks and 70% for whites. The out-of-wedlock birthrate for Hispanics surpassed 50% in 2006. This trend, coupled with high divorce rates, means that roughly 25% of American children now live in single-parent homes, twice the percentage in Europe (12%). Roughly a third of American children live apart from their fathers.

Does it matter? Yes, it does. From economist Susan Mayer’s 1997 book “What Money Can’t Buy” to Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” in 2012, clear-eyed studies of the modern family affirm the conventional wisdom that two parents work better than one.

“Americans have always thought that growing up with only one parent is bad for children,” Ms. Mayer wrote. “The rapid spread of single-parent families over the past generation does not seem to have altered this consensus much.”

Read the rest

The history and meaning if the resurrection

20 Apr

From JC RYLE:

MATTHEW 28:1-10

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky, and came and rolled away the stone from the door, and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him, the guards shook, and became like dead men. The angel answered the women, “Don’t be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who has been crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, just like he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was lying. Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead, and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you.”

They departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring his disciples word. As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!”

They came and took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.

Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go tell my brothers that they should go into Galilee, and there they will see me.”

The principal subject of these verses is the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. It is one of those truths which lie at the very foundation of Christianity, and has therefore received special attention in the four Gospels. All four evangelists describe minutely how our Lord was crucified. All four relate with no less clearness, that He rose again.

We need not wonder that so much importance is attached to our Lord’s resurrection. It is the seal and headstone of the great work of redemption, which He came to do. It is the crowning proof that He has paid the debt which He undertook to pay on our behalf, won the battle which He fought to deliver us from hell, and is accepted as our Surety and our Substitute by our Father in heaven. Had He never come forth from the prison of the grave, how could we ever have been sure that our ransom had been fully paid? (1 Cor. 15:17.) Had He never risen from His conflict with the last enemy, how could we have felt confident, that He has overcome death, and him that had the power of death, that is the devil? (Heb. 2:14.) But thanks be unto God, we are not left in doubt. The Lord Jesus really “rose again for our justification.” True Christians are “begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” They may boldly say with Paul, “Who is he that condemns–it is Christ that died, yes rather that is risen again.” (Rom. 8:34. Rom. 4:25. 1 Peter 1:3.)

We have reason to be very thankful, that this wonderful truth of our religion is so clearly and fully proved. It is a striking circumstance, that of all the facts of out Lord’s earthly ministry, none are so incontrovertibly established as the fact that He rose again. The wisdom of God, who knows the unbelief of human nature, has provided a great cloud of witnesses on the subject. Never was there a fact which the friends of God were so slow to believe, as the resurrection of Christ. Never was there a fact which the enemies of God were so anxious to disprove. And yet, in spite of the unbelief of professed friends, and the enmity of foes, the fact was thoroughly established. Its evidences will always appear to a fair and impartial mind unanswerable. It would be impossible to prove anything in the world, if we refuse to believe that Jesus rose again.

Let us notice in these verses, the glory and majesty with which Christ rose from the dead. We are told that “there was a great earthquake.” We are told that “the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door of the sepulcher, and sat upon it.” We need not suppose that our blessed Lord needed the help of any angel, when He came forth from the grave. We need not for a moment doubt that He rose again by His own power. But it pleased God, that His resurrection should be accompanied and followed by signs and wonders. It seemed good that the earth should shake, and a glorious angel appear, when the Son of God arose from the dead as a conqueror.

Let us not fail to see in the manner of our Lord’s resurrection, a type and pledge of the resurrection of His believing people. The grave could not hold Him beyond the appointed time, and it shall not be able to hold them. A glorious angel was a witness of His rising, and glorious angels shall be the messengers who shall gather believers when they rise again. He rose with a renewed body, and yet a body, real, true, and material, and so also shall His people have a glorious body, and be like their Head. “When we see Him we shall be like Him.” (1 John 3:2.)

Let us take comfort in this thought. Trial, sorrow, and persecution are often the portion of God’s people. Sickness, weakness, and pain often hurt and wear their poor earthly body. But their good time is yet to come. Let them wait patiently, and they shall have a glorious resurrection. When we die, and where we are buried, and what kind of a funeral we have, matters little. The great question to be asked is this, “How shall we rise again?”

Let us notice in the next place, the terror which Christ’s enemies felt at the period of His resurrection. We are told that at the sight of the angel, “the guards shook and became as dead men.” Those hardy Roman soldiers, though not unused to dreadful sights, saw a sight which made them quail. Their courage melted at once at the appearance of one angel of God.

Let us again see in this fact, a type and emblem of things yet to come. What will the ungodly and the wicked do at the last day, when the trumpet shall sound, and Christ shall come in glory to judge the world? What will they do, when they see all the dead, both small and great, coming forth from their graves, and all the angels of God assembled round the great white throne? What fears and terrors will possess their souls, when they find they can no longer avoid God’s presence, and must at length meet Him face to face? Oh! that men were wise, and would consider their latter end! Oh! that they would remember that there is a resurrection and a judgment, and that there is such a thing as the wrath of the Lamb!

Let us notice in the next place, the words of comfort which the angel addressed to the friends of Christ. We read that he said, “Fear not–for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified.”

These words were spoken with a deep meaning. They were meant to cheer the hearts of believers in every age, in the prospect of the resurrection. They were intended to remind us, that true Christians have no cause for alarm, whatever may come on the world. The Lord shall appear in the clouds of heaven, and the earth be burned up. The graves shall give up the dead that are in them, and the last day come. The judgment shall be set, and the books shall be opened. The angels shall sift the wheat from the chaff, and divide between the good fish and the bad. But in all this there is nothing that need make believers afraid. Clothed in the righteousness of Christ, they shall be found without spot and blameless. Safe in the one true ark, they shall not be hurt when the flood of God’s wrath breaks on the earth. Then shall the words of the Lord receive their complete fulfillment–”when these things begin to come to pass, lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near.” Then shall the wicked and unbelieving see how true was that word, “blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33:12.)

Let us notice, finally, the gracious message which the Lord sent to the disciples after His resurrection. He appeared in person to the women who had come to do honor to His body. Last at the cross and first at the tomb, they were the first privileged to see Him after He rose. And to them He gives commission to carry tidings to His disciples. His first thought is for His little scattered flock. “Go, tell my brethren.”

There is something deeply touching in those simple words, “my brethren.” They deserve a thousand thoughts. Weak, frail, erring as the disciples were, Jesus still calls them His “brethren.” He comforts them, as Joseph did his brethren who had sold him, saying, “I am your brother Joseph.” Much as they had come short of their profession–sadly as they had yielded to the fear of man, they are still His “brethren.” Glorious as He was in Himself–a conqueror over death, and hell, and the grave, the Son of God is still “meek and lowly of heart.” He calls His disciples “brethren.”

Let us turn from the passage with comfortable thoughts, if we know anything of true religion. Let us see in these words of Christ, an encouragement to trust and not be afraid. Our Savior is one who never forgets His people. He pities their infirmities. He does not despise them. He knows their weakness, and yet does not cast them away. Our great High Priest is also our elder brother.

What the resurrection means for Christian political theology

19 Apr

From Dr. William Edgar

From the beginning of Christendom and through the end of the Middle Ages, most theologians put considerable distance between the rule of Christ and human institutions. This was an unintentional result of the attempt to have Christ rule directly, but only through the church. In his great masterpiece The City of God (c.422), Saint Augustine (354-430) began a tradition which saw the heavenly city as the ultimate goal, echoed only poorly by life on this earth; the “city of man” is only a shadow of the full reign of Jesus Christ in the “city of God.” Much later, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) divided reality into the natural and the supernatural (nature vs. grace). Christ lives in the supernatural realm, and politics exists in the natural realm.

Such approaches often led to a confusion of realms. Many of the so-called “Imperial Cities” were ruled by a bishop who was in effect a governing prince. Attempting to free the church from such earthly entanglements, the Reformers tried to see Christ ruling his church directly, but the realms outside the church indirectly. Martin Luther (1483-1546) advanced the view sometimes called “Two Kingdoms,” wherein Christ rules his church directly by the Word and the Spirit, but rules the world outside the church by his providence and the use of force. A modern version of the “Two Kingdoms” vision is alive and well in parts of the church today.[1]

Many approaches developed after Christendom to deal with a world in which the church was no longer directly in control of the other sectors of society. In his excellent book The Good of Politics, James Skillen enumerates some of them: “Believing that Christ’s kingdom is spiritual, or not of this world, or only ecclesiastical, or only future, Christians have turned to nationalism, civil religion, liberalism, Marxism, and various forms of quietism … as guides to their engagement or non-engagement in earthly politics.”[2] I might add the temptation to “theonomy,” wherein the law of Moses is pretty much directly applied to government, including sanctions against adultery, blasphemy, or homosexuality.

The basic weakness of all these views is that Christ really does not govern either his church or the other spheres of life as the true king of the entire world. These views lack a solid understanding of the integrity of the original creation. Though indeed fallen, the world still has a fullness over which Christ is Lord (Psalms 24:1; 50:12). In its fullness, it contains numerous spheres and institutions. It was never God’s intention to rule those institutions through any one particular body. That was true in the order of creation and remains true in the order of redemption.

To put it in Kuyperian terms, Christ rules each institution in the world with the norms appropriate to each. The government should not run the church, nor should the church run the government. But both are governed in appropriate ways by the rule of Christ whose single purpose is to redeem the entire creation. Colossians 1:15-20 tells us that the Second Person of the Trinity is both “firstborn of all creation” who rules over every part of the world, including “principalities and powers,” and also “head of his body, the church.” The problem with so many views we encounter is that they do not begin with creation, but rather with the fall. Paul’s teaching never separates realms into sacred and secular (or natural). Christ has come to “reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven…” (v. 20a)

Here is the important piece: Christ is empowered so to rule not only because he is the great mediator of creation, but because he became human, subject to death, “making peace by the blood of his cross.” (v. 20b) The Second Person was incarnate, “and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8) Without his atoning death, he could not reconcile all things to himself. But he did die and was raised from the dead, and he now sits at the right hand of God from which he rules the world.

The message of Good Friday is that Christ is fully empowered to lead the new humanity and the entire creation to redemption because he is the new Adam who takes up where the first Adam failed. Because of Christ’s perfect obedience and humiliation, “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (vv. 9-10)
Christ has become the true ruler over all creation because he died on Calvary’s cross. He rules each sphere in the appropriate way: the church through preaching, sacraments, and discipline; the government through magistrates who enact just legislation; the family through parents who raise children with loving care. Indeed, nothing is outside his control. Though we do not see this reign clearly, it is real and active because we do see Christ. Every kind of distance is now breached because of his incarnation, his death, and his resurrection. Alleluia!
- William Edgar is Professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

- See more at: http://www.capitalcommentary.com/creation/good-friday-and-politics#sthash.Dh4UTIyh.dpuf

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