Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Mars Hill, Duggars, Purity Culture, and the Hatred toward Biblical Patriarchy and Christian Ethics

 Just to be really clear from the start, I'm was never a fan of Gothardism, Mars Hill, or the evangelical version of Purity Culture. Gothardism is a cult that sets up all sorts of legalistic rules based on speculative theories, Mark Driscoll was too young and unqualified to have been in ministry (something I said long before he fell out of the graces of Big Eva), and the evangelical version of Purity Culture was simply the health and wealth gospel applied to sexuality (e.g., if you remain a virgin, your marriage will be great because God will give you a great spouse and a great sex life). 

But let's be really clear. Fake Christians and the rest of those who have the mark of the beast written across their wicked domes are going after all of these because they hate the biblical theology and ethics that these groups try to implement within their bad theology, inexperienced ministries, and self-inflicted social scandals. 

The new trailer for the hit piece, Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, is simply the newest attack upon the horrible biblical teachings like kids obeying parents, wife obeying husbands, parents educating their own children, teaching that boys and girls shouldn't be promiscuous, that Christians should try to influence government or spread Christianity throughout the world, etc. 

And what is the ammo against all of these biblical ideas? Well, of course, they're all bad because there are scandals like Mark Driscoll being a hot-headed jerk to people and using bad language, crazy cult behavior like spanking adults in a cult, and child porn addictions and pedophilia with that one kid belonging to the Duggars family.

In other words, the proof that all of that biblical stuff is bad is the fact that all of the unbiblical stuff that was produced by the world is bad. Did you catch that? Where in the Bible does it teach young men that they have sexual freedom to explore their own preferences even if they are anticreational? Where in the Bible does it teach that people should be their authentic selves and speak their truth in the way they desire and should not be restrained by patience and self control? Where in the Bible does it lift people up so high that they should use force if necessary in order to get others in line? Answer: It doesn't. This is all stuff the world teaches. 

And that's the gaslighting irony of all of this. It is the world that the Bible speaks against that teaches all of these things, so if anyone in these movements ever adopts any of these things in their ideology or practices, it is because of the world, not because of the Bible. So what we should really be hearing is tons and tons of documentaries about how the world is bad because it produces such horrific things even among people who are trying to counter it. That's how wicked the world is. That's how sinful the sinful nature that belongs to this world is. 

These documentaries exposing this horrible culture of these movements remind me of children who get their classmates to steal an apple from the teacher's desk and then tell on them to the teacher in order to make themselves look like model students. Yet, the persuasion to steal the apple came from them. They're actually the culprits. It's quite evil. It wasn't evil enough to assume autonomy is what makes us human and then argue that everyone should have it in doing whatever they want. They had to go above and beyond by indoctrinating our culture with this absolutely antichrist ideology and then have the audacity to act like it came from implementing biblical principles of patriarchy, telling kids to obey their parents, telling wives to submit to their husbands, taking biblical commands to instruct children with the things of God and not in the godless secularism that cheers on the bad behavior of our sin natures, etc. 

If these documentaries wanted to be honest, they'd critique these worldly ideas when they are taught everywhere in the world, but they don't. Do pedophiles come from biblical cultures or are they far more numerous in unbiblical cultures? It's the latter, My Friends. Biblical culture fights against these evils but that's because it fights against the evils of the world that push the assumptions that underly these things. 

I have no problem critiquing movements for their unbiblical teachings but I am in no way going to sit back and say nothing when these fake authorities who know nothing about the Bible and Christianity tell us that Christianity is egalitarian and wouldn't have any issues sending their children to be brainwashed by the modern school system or remain private and not try to stop the Leftist agenda in government. PaaaaLeeeeaassee.

I have never seen such manipulation and slanderous attempts to win the culture wars via highschool mean girl powwows. Nice try but that only works on people who want to be in with the world and are ashamed of Jesus, not on real Christians.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Tyrants, Tyrants Everywhere but Not the Ones You Think

 A note on our Enlightenment-oriented, egalitarian assumptions and how it influences our view of the world and the actions of others. If I must know the truth through myself for myself and I must therefore have a voice in my destiny and government of life, then autonomy makes me human and anyone who limits or restricts my autonomy is an oppressor of my humanity. An oppressor is a tyrant who must be overthrown, violently if necessary. He must be called the worst of names, thrown out of social circles that would accept him, lose his ability to function in society, and even imprisoned or executed if such power is given to those who are oppressed by him. Oppressors are monsters, not human beings, so they must be addressed with any weapon possible, whether it is fair to use such things against them or not. 

Even Christians have assumed this in their conversations with one another. If you make an exclusive claim with authority, you are an arrogant jerk and disrespectful toward others because you are not allowing their views to be true as well. This sort of speak is the neo-evangelical version of the oppressor. No one cares if you have your views and hold them as authoritative only for yourself. It's when you claim that these things are true over others that the demons of the Enlightenment come out to defend their autonomy. Because the Enlightenment eventually leads to the Post-Enlightenment (i.e., the Enlightenment on crack) everything is about power since no one can know the truth, particularly spiritual truth, that excludes the claimed beliefs of another with any sort of absolute authority, it must be that to do so is tyranny. 

This is why a person who presents ideas in a modern Christian context that has been affected by this religion is acceptable only if he presents those ideas in an inclusive manner. They can be presented as just someone's individual truth or conviction or offered up as a possible truth for the person to consider for themselves; but it cannot be presented as having absolute claim to the other person's life. The person has to decide if they want to accept that truth that you merely offer up in a similar fashion to offering people dinner options. They choose so that their autonomy is never disrupted. The decide if it is true for them. They get a voice in whether it is true. And when you take away that voice and tell them that something is true and has authority over them, that their views are wrong and they are not in favor with God with their falsehoods? That's when the mob forms. That's when names fly. That's when the crosses come out. 

It is clear that the prophets, apostles, teachers throughout history, and Christ Himself did not present truth to others in an inclusive way. No one would have ever cared. They would be chalked up to the status of rabbi and simply put into the pantheon of opinions and human wisdom from which all autonomous human beings may draw, only if they want to of course.

This is why the false religion of the Enlightenment is not something that other people believe. It is has been driven deeply into our unconscious assumptions about how truth should be presented, who is godly in their tone and who is not, who is respectful and humble and who is not, all in accordance with whether one presents what he says as optional rather than mandatory. 

In this regard, and ironically, those influenced by the Enlightenment religion are the only tyrants around. They do not allow truth to be absolute, and therefore, do not really allow truth to be truth. It is oppressed, and anyone who speaks it in accordance with its own true nature, rather than respected for speaking reality, is exiled in one way or another, for not obeying each and every human being as his lord.

Feminism, Egalitarianism, Complementarianism, and Why Only Biblical Patriarchy Is True

Does ontology beget function? It seems to be a basic question but one that our society has become completely confused about, largely because it is embroiled in the heresy of Enlightenment religion and all of its gnostic assumptions.

I've been engaging a supposed Reformed group on FB lately concerning gender roles. It's a self-described Reformed Marriage site where people can supposedly go and get marital advice from a Reformed perspective. As you can imagine, as many FB groups, all sorts of people belong to the group and most of them think they are Reformed. Part of this is that one's views of gender roles are secondary to the Reformed faith because they are secondary to orthodox Christianity. As I've said many times before, I don't think sanctification is a secondary matter, and a different view of gender roles than that of the Bible will produce, not the image of Christ, but an image of the devil. 

What is worse, however, is that I have had countless women on that page now tell me how they believe in patriarchy and then proceed to give me egalitarian and complementarian views of gender roles in both argument and attitude. Obviously, there is some confusion here. So, without further ado, let us look for a definition of each term, all while understanding that categorization isn’t as nuanced as it possibly can be and that there will be overlap between them. 

Feminism - feminism comes is such a variety of forms that it is impossible to nail down with a single definition. However, I do think it is often misunderstood by Christians when they present it in terms of a more radical third wave feminism that looks to raise women up in powerful positions by taking men out of them. Feminism, at its root, is simply egalitarianism. It wasn't necessarily a movement that looked to exalt women over men but rather to exalt women to equality with men. People are offended when they are called feminist but most people in our culture, including many conservative Reformed women, are still influenced by its core anthropology, which is by nature a gnostic one (more on that in a minute).

Egalitarianism - As stated above, egalitarianism is simply the assumptions of common feminism, as opposed to the more radical types. We might even just call it soft-feminism, although, again, soft feminism is probably just feminism. Egalitarianism, although seeing some differences in biology between men and women, assumes an essential sameness to the core humanity of both. Because of this core humanity, men and women should be allowed to do the same things and given the opportunity to do whatever the other can do within their respective biological limitations of course. Egalitarians don't believe men can have babies and whatnot, but they do believe that they should be able to hold the same jobs, trade off making decisions since no one is in the lead by virtue of their gender. At its core assumption, egalitarianism shares the gnostic assumptions of feminism because it does not think that biological gender should limit one's role in family, church, or society. We are all the same on the inside seems to be the assumption. It's just these bodies that trap us in certain positions and if men are good men they will not allow the flesh prisons of a particular gender to limit what roles a person can play in these spheres. Society, the church, the family should be open to a woman's leadership just the same as a man's since we are essentially spirit creatures in flesh bags rather than being so essentially different in the types of humans we are that our roles be defined by our biology. Egalitarians love to quote verses like Ephesians 5:21, "Submit to one another out of the fear of Christ." "See," they'll say, "Scripture wants everyone to submit to one another. So we take turns. He leads this time. I lead next time. Or we just try to come to a mutual decision before one of us has to yield to the other." Of course, that is not what the verse means. The Greek word ἀλλήλων is not always reciprocal, and in fact, when it can be understood as distributive in the context, it should be. Here the "one another" does not mean "all groups to all groups," or "all genders to all genders," but instead, "this group (i.e., women, children, slaves) to this group (i.e., husbands, parents, masters). Another example of this distributive use is in Revelation 6:4, where men kill ἀλλήλων "one another." That does not mean they all stood in front of each other and shoved swords into one another simultaneously. It just means that this guy killed that guy and some other guy killed yet another guy, etc. 

In any case, egalitarianism misreads texts this way because they see gender roles as an effect of the fall that trapped women in an oppressive relationship under the man simply because she has the weaker meat bag than he does. Now that Jesus has come, she can ascend to her true self in the spirit and should not be limited by her biologically fallen prison, and any men who still assert their physical superiority in order to display their authority are evil. It's just sheer jerkiness to use your biology to lord over another when we are all the same thing underneath. Again, this is all pure gnosticism. Men and women are only different on the outside, in their flesh, but their true selves are spirit and the same as the spirits of men. In essence, if egalitarians really thought about it, there is no good distinction in gender unless its a distinction without a difference. All gender distinction either has only to do with physical limitations of a fallen body or is merely a societal construct made by wicked men who seek to oppress women. 

Complementarianism - This is the one I actually wanted to get to. This is the one that will stir the pot. Complementarianism, as it is often expressed today in its soft form, is simply egalitarianism and feminism in its assumptions but wants to be faithful to the technical teaching of Scripture so that it adopts the idea of roles. The problem is that these roles have no basis in a differentiation of ontology. Men and women are essentially the same things in the spirit, their true selves, but since they have a limited body given to them, and since God says so, we must limit them where Scripture says we have to, but only there and nowhere else. We don't need to see roles in everything like serving in governmental roles, careers, even teaching in church as long as she isn't a head pastor. Complementarians often don't realize that they have adopted egalitarian assumptions about gender until there is a split among them and the harder complementarians that I would categorize as patriarchal are cast in horrible lights by those they thought as allies.

Patriarchy - patriarchy is the idea that fathers, i.e., mature men, rule. Notice, I did not say that they should rule but that they do. It is simply a biological fact that men have power due to their superior strength alone. That means that any power they give, even if we become a completely feminist culture, is them allowing feminists to rule. And they would have to allow it because they have the power. If I let my kid boss all the other kids around, including me, I'm still exercising my authority because I am the one who allows it or can stop it at any moment. There is no way to escape patriarchy. The question instead is which patriarchy is a good one, and I would argue that the Bible should be the rule of that. Biblical patriarchy looks like some others we can see throughout time, but obviously with a different emphasis. Fathers have the final say, but if they are wise and just, they will accept input in order to be informed and seek to protect and provide in the best way they can for all of those under them. They will be guided by the Bible and be accountable to it. They should use their power for the benefit of those under them and never for harm ("harm" being defined by the Bible, not our psychologically manipulative culture). 

But this is the important distinction between patriarchy and these other three: Biological gender distinction is not only a good, it determines roles even in a prelapsarian world because a male and female are two different kinds of humans, not the same kind of human in two different bodies. A woman should not rule over men because it is fundamentally contrary to her nature as a female human, and if she ignores this, she will become a distorted human being, a golem rather than one who is conformed to the image of Christ in her respective gender. The same goes for the man. The man isn't just some lucky spirit who got the jackpot of being put in a male body. He is a male human by nature, spirit and body, through and through. He is made to rule because he is made to protect and to provide for. That's who he is. She is made to come under his leadership as his helper in childbearing and childrearing because she is made to be a wife and mother. It is who she is. Her God-given biology is a mirror image of her God-given spirituality. In other words, the spirit and the body are one, not separate things where one is true humanity and the other the shell that imprisons it and its potential. The bodies of men and women enable their potentials as they are the tools created specifically by God to express who God wants them to be in their spirits. 

As you can probably tell, I think biblical patriarchy has a biblical anthropology and the other views above have an heretical one. I, therefore, do not think this is some secondary issue. It is heresy and sin to advocate any view but the biblical one above. 

In fact, the distance between the three views of feminism, egalitarianism, and complementarianism can easily be seen by posting numerous statements by Church Fathers and Reformers on the subject. And that is what I did in the group. And the complementarians, who said they believe in the roles, hated them. All of these great theologians, acknowledged even by these people, were seen as primitive and disgusting in their biblical views of patriarchy that roots the roles in the creation of the man and woman and not simply in the fall or even in some good divine plan that has little to do with the actual eternal nature of the man and woman. 

Now, you may say, "That doesn't sound like what I believe and I'm a complementarian, etc." But I would ask you this. Can women be as good at counseling men as men? Can they be as good at teaching men as men? Can they lead men as good as men? Can they protect, teach, lead children and other women as good as men? If you think so, you've assumed what I've stated above, and I say that knowing that women can teach, protect, and lead children and other women. They just can't do it as good as men can because their natures aren't male, which is the nature made specifically to do those things. She can still do these things in her own way, in her femaleness, but it will not be as good. A woman can protect a child from an intruder in the home, but a male would be able to do so much better. A man may be able to feed a baby or pattern nurturing behaviors in his children, but a woman can do it better. That's because their roles aren't assigned because of the fall. They're not assigned simply because God just wanted to take two of the same human beings and make them do different things. They're assigned in accordance to what a male human and a female human actually are in their essential nature. That is the anthropology of patriarchy. Women are weaker in things that the man is stronger in and vice versa. Hence, a woman shouldn't be a leader of men in any sphere, not just the specific ones God mentions. She shouldn't do the things that men do in any walk of life, not just inside a church building or behind a pulpit. Likewise, a man should not do what a woman should be doing, although it is more difficult to take on her biological assignment when it comes to childbearing because it is so obvious that he is not made in any possible way to fulfill it. But don't worry. I'm sure technology will come along and do it for him so that he believes that he can do her role just as it came along and gave her all sorts of aids to create the delusion that she can fulfill his.

And that is what proves that the three first options are false and only the patriarchal view is reality. Women either need a man to give them his power or they need technology to function in the man's role. Whether a gun, or birth control, a machine, etc., the woman needs something to be added onto her nature, something unnatural to her, whether a man or technology, in order to function in that role. That proves that it is not her role because it is not a natural outworking of her ontology. 

This doesn't mean women aren't as smart as men or as valuable as men, etc. What it means as they aren't as smart and valuable as men for the tasks of men in the same way that men aren't as smart and valuable as women for the tasks of women. And it should be that way. Now, of course, we live in a fallen world where both men and women are fools and sinners in their own tasks. But we are talking about the goal for the Christian marriage and not looking to accommodate the fallen state as our standard.

In any case, although the above analysis lacks nuance and I'm sure more could be clarified, it serves as a general commentary concerning the hidden assumptions of these groups and as a reason as to why the three first groups will quickly band together as one in order to attack the latter. Peace and righteousness, however, are found in becoming what God has made each person to be, and that cannot be found apart from one's ontology, physical and spiritual, but in embracing it as who we truly are.

"I want to be a flower," the oak tree said.

"As yellow as the sun and cardinal red."

"But flowers are not oaks," said God to the tree.

"If you were a flower, you simply wouldn't be."

"You'd be another you, and would never really see

That if you were you and a flower, you'd want to be a tree."

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Butterflies, Ants, and the False Religion of the Enlightenment

 The Alcon Blue Butterfly has an interesting technic to preserve its offspring. The caterpillars give off a scent that at first smells like food to the ants. The ants, therefore, take it back to their nests. Once there, however, they begin to give off a scent that mimics that of antlings. The worker ants cannot tell the difference and so begin to nurse them and leave them in the place where their antlings are nurtured. The caterpillars begin to devour the antlings because of it. Afterward they form a cocoon, and once breaking out of it, fly off home free and full of baby ants. The ants have no defense from it because they are bound by their own personal experiences through their senses, which have utterly failed to communicate reality to them. This sense experience is too deficient a means to evaluate reality to save their offspring.

The ancient Graeco-Roman world is one of democracy and republics. These political structures were those of inclusivism in the sense that lesser voices than the king still had a say in the commonwealth of the people. When Graeco-Roman ideas were once again adopted in the Renaissance, political organizations that once existed to inform the king now wanted more participation in his power, and even wanted his power altogether.

In the Reformation, the individual’s importance was rediscovered in that each man had to have faith in Christ and know Him personally. Salvation was not obtained by just being a part of the larger collective church. Each man had to give his say, his consent to follow Christ.

The merits of each of these applications of individualism can be debated. Certainly, the Reformation’s balanced view of both the collective church and the individual’s responsibility is biblical.

However, the inclusion of the individual would soon turn away from the bounds of its orthodox Christian parameters and adopt both a radical version of inclusivism along with the egalitarianism that is produced by it and the heresy of Pelagianism in order to feed it.

Thus was born the religion of the Enlightenment. In this religion, every human (eventually) must have a say in his own government. He must, therefore, decide what religion is true, where the Church could and could not dictate theology and morals to him, what the Bible could and could not dictate to him, what government could and could not dictate to him. Each person had his own experience and reason to come to his own conclusions concerning what was true and good for himself.

Science, man’s personal experience of the natural world, and philosophy, man’s reason applied to his personal experience, replaced the Bible as the vehicle through which knowledge of reality was obtained. God’s revelation to man, if there was one, was natural revelation. The Bible was simply one of many expressions of man’s experience of God, since to say otherwise would be to exclude rather than include the experience of other individuals in other religions and worldviews.

Therefore, Deism was an accommodation to the Enlightenment religion as the later comparative religions movement would be. God is just a generic God who belongs to everyone, not just a limited religion.

Eventually, a generic religion needed a generic origins story, so pagan myths that presented creation as a process of evolution was demythologized and applied to the natural world without the polytheistic elements.

Not only were religions studied as different expressions of the same God so that all were included, but since individual experience was the means to know the divine, spiritualism and the occult, ecstatic experiences like tongues, shaking, going into trances and prophesying new prophecies, began to take root as the common means of religious knowledge.

Governments were overthrown in bloody revolutions because people would no longer tolerate submission to powers with whom they had no inclusion. Regicide corresponded with the murder of orthodox Christianity in the West, and it all hinged on a Pelagianism that disbelieved the Bible when it warned that the mind is depraved above all things and desperately sick and should not be trusted over the Lord, who’s Word instead was to be trusted over our own understanding. According to the Bible, men suppress the truth in unrighteousness. They are always seeking to recreate the original sin by throwing off the authority of God that is exclusive and restricting of the wayward desires of human beings who look to autonomy rather than to be guided by God’s Word.

Liberalism was an accommodation to all of this that held the same Pelagian assumptions. It is the Enlightenment religion with a Christian husk made up of Christianese. It tore the Bible apart through evolutionary theories, like those found in Hegel, of Source/Form Criticism, which argued that the Bible was just a human creation that evolved over time and was pieced together and redacted numerous times. It adopted a comparative religions approach that attempted to give authority to those aspects of all religions that were similar and less or no authority to those things that made Christianity, or even other religions from one another, exclusive from the rest.

Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism was essentially this argument: that Liberalism, what is now called Progressivism (which should be a key word since this is the Enlightenment idea that man is getting better through his gaining better knowledge through his individual experience) is not a form of Christianity at all. It is an accommodation to modernity. I would argue, however, that it is not merely an accommodation. It is modernity. It is the Enlightenment religion. Enlightenment inclusivism is at its core, and anything else that does not conflict with that inclusivism can be syncretized with it.

Egalitarianism, which is nothing more than inclusivism applied to relationships, is also, therefore, not an orthodox Christian idea. It is part of the syncretism of the Enlightenment religion that has gone back into the Bible in order to reinterpret patriarchal texts in such a way so that they can now throw out the exclusiveness of various roles assigned by God through position or gender and replace them with a generic inclusivism that flattens out authority to all people. Relationships must be democratic or at least a republic, but that cannot be a dictatorship. “We have no king but Caesar,” once falling off the lips of those who rejected Christ’s authority, has now become, “I have no king but me.”

But what this means is that egalitarianism is not Christian. It’s not one flavor of it. It’s a different ethic from a different religion, one that is the opposite of Christianity. In essence, it’s the ethic of a giant cult that has engulfed our culture. It is far more dangerous than any other cult that has ever existed because those who are in it don’t even realize how religious it is. They just think it’s reality. But those aren’t antlings in the nest no matter how much the delusional experience tells us otherwise. There are predators in the house, and if we don’t identify them, we will surely pay the price for it.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Always Nit-Picking Rather Than Always Reforming

 There is a certain exhaustion that comes with debating online or in person that I think everyone feels. I want to discuss why I think this is. 

1. I think that people are exhausted by the avalanche of voices all giving their opinions without any sort of genuine direction from historic theology or the Bible so that it seems that when someone does come in with those it's just more of the same thing. Going back and forth is exhausting. It's tiring. It's annoying. It seems futile, and that is likely the source of this type of exhaustion in these dialogues. The problem simply is that everyone has an opinion but so few people have a good biblical reason for it. Since the Bible is viewed as an inkblot and all views are seen as valid because personal experience is seen as valid and something to affirm in others as a sign of love and friendship, the opposite of this, i.e., when the Bible is viewed as clear and is spoken with authority rather than an optional opinion among many, it can annoy people to hear, especially over and over again.

2. I think many people today are critical of everything. I'm actually being critical of those being critical right now. It's impossible to get away from being critical. But it is possible to be critical about what is important and let things that are not important go. It can be exhausting if someone makes everything important because then it's like living in constant negativity and judgment. That's exhausting. But what is also exhausting is that if everyone is critical of everything, it can (a) go unnoticed that everyone is actually critical of everything and therefore the exhaustion wrongly identified as being rooted in criticism of something itself and (b) the criticism of important things often just blend in with the unimportant things and get an eyeroll when discussed as well. In the first, we need to realize that what is exhausting is not critically assessing something but rather critically assessing less worthwhile things. In the second case, we need to realize that there are important things to assess, and they are worthy of debate in an effort to make straight Christ's paths to sanctify His people.

3. I think the final aspect of exhaustion is when people, either on purpose or just by lack of practice, don't use logic and/or knowledge of the Bible in their discussions with one another, and so it can be a host of conversations that talk past one another, caricature the other position, lack listening or reading comprehension, or simply just wanting to win a debate with any means possible. The worst of all it's just arguing with people with a completely different worldview and think the biblical worldview is weird and repulsive. These are exhausting because its somewhat like running around in circles when you're late for a destination. Lots of energy spent but not much progress.

I think the important thing to remember is that we are looking to use our critical thinking skills to always reform, not to always nit-pick or get an opinion across because we want to say something. We need to make sure that what we are arguing about is actually important and not the devil wasting our time so that we don't talk about the really important things. Likewise, the purpose of any conversation should be to love God's people, not just win an argument at the expense of logic and the Bible. All work is exhausting, but if it is done right, it builds good things. Let us strive to be exhausted for eternal rewards and not for those things that have no lasting value.

How Do You Know Everyone Who Says They Are Married Really Are?

 This may sound completely strange to some but I don't think that everyone who claims to be married actually is. This sentiment stems from the biblical theology of covenants. The covenant parameters in the Bible are based on what is called a suzerain-vassal treaty. This is where a more powerful group/state makes an agreement with a lesser powerful group/state that if the latter group will gives its submission and tribute (usually money, livestock, produce, servants, etc.) to the former group then the former group will come over them and protect them, even provide for them in times of great need. 

This is how a biblical marriage covenant functions. If an agreement is made that a woman will come under the authority of a man in submission to him and offer him up the bed in order to increase his family upon the earth, whether God ultimately gives them any children or not in accordance with His divine will, then he agrees to enter into a covenant with her where he will protect and provide for her. When this agreement is made and he ends up going back on it after being married to her for some time, he is viewed as having divorced her because he has broken the covenant he made to protect and provide for her. She is free to leave, not because she is divorcing him, but because he has divorced her and she has no more obligations to him until he should reconcile to her. This can be seen Exodus 21:9-11.

If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

Now, this law is about a slave girl who is then married by the son of the man who bought her. Notice, however, the elements in the covenant are the same as one would expect in a marriage covenant: food, clothing (we might say "shelter" in terms of that which protects from the environment), and sexual relations. The last statement in the Bible would not be merely access to the marital bed for pleasure but for children. Children increased the man's family and extended his existence upon the earth through his children. Likewise, having children increased the woman's status from a barren woman to mother, which apparently was what most women sought in the culture.

Think of Jephthah's daughter weeping because she would die without having a child, or Hannah weeping over not having a child, etc. It is an injustice to make a covenant that includes the giving of a child and then refuse to give that child. However, the person may have not even made a marriage covenant at all if this was never included. 

But this is the very question at hand. If a woman agrees to get married in the modern sense of the term, meaning she agrees to sign a piece of paper, wear a ring, and live with a guy with the official title "husband and wife" does that really make them a husband and wife or is that simply some other covenant that is made but is not a biblical one of marriage? In other words, if a biblical covenant of marriage is not made, is it really the same thing we are calling marriage today? And if it is not the same thing as marriage today then is it a biblical marriage? And if it is not a biblical marriage, is it a marriage at all?

This came up in a FB group today that there is a young guy who recently "married" a young woman who will neither submit to him nor have his children, nor ever do so, nor has she ever agreed to do so apparently. She's demanding that he either have his tubes tied or she gets to stay on birth control. She has no interest in going to the church or sit under the elders he has decided they should, so right now they are going to no church at all since they cannot agree and she will not submit to him in anything. We've said many times that the covenant of marriage is sealed by the one flesh union but the one flesh union itself is not a marriage, which is why one can become one flesh with a prostitute (1 Cor 6:16). It seems that such a couple, biblically speaking, would not really be married until an actual biblical covenant is made where he agrees to protect and provide for her as well as open the marriage bed for her to have children and she agrees to submit to him and open the marriage bed for children. I would certainly encourage them to get married by making a biblical covenant, but if the woman (or man) continued to refuse to do so and never did agree to it, I'd be inclined to argue that this is not a legitimate marriage. I say "biblical covenant" even though this is the covenant of marriage in almost every time and place; but it is the one that the Bible recognizes as a legitimate marriage. 

Keep in mind, I'm talking about a situation where these have never been a part of the covenant made, not one in which the covenant has been made and consummated. If someone suddenly changed his or her mind after making a biblical covenant of marriage, that would constitute a divorce and is subject to the wrath of God for breaking the covenant and those individuals would have to work toward reconciliation and fulfilling the biblical covenant. They would not be free to remarry. 

Sunday, April 30, 2023

From Whence Does Our Bad Behavior Come?

 "He's acting like a brat because he's tired."

"I responded to you disrespectfully because of how I perceived you speaking to me."

"I wouldn't have done that had you not done what you did."

"I yelled at you because I'm just having a bad day."

I hear these statements from Christians all of the time. These are statements of the practical outworking of heresy. Read this description below and tell me which of these statements belong with what theology.

Augustinian anthropology and Pelagian anthropology have different views on human nature and its relationship to sin, which can have implications for how individuals view sin as a response to their environment.

Augustinian anthropology views human nature as fundamentally flawed and fallen due to the original sin of Adam and Eve. As a result, all humans are born with a sin nature and are inherently prone to evil. From this perspective, sin is not solely a response to the environment but is rooted in human nature itself. The environment may serve as a trigger or a temptation, but ultimately it is the inherent sinfulness of human nature that leads to sinful behavior.

On the other hand, Pelagian anthropology views human nature as essentially good and capable of making moral choices. Sin, from this perspective, is seen as a response to the environment, rather than an inherent flaw in human nature. According to this view, individuals have the power to choose good or evil based on their environment and upbringing. Therefore, the environment plays a significant role in shaping an individual's behavior and choices.

In summary, Augustinian anthropology sees sin as a natural response of the flawed human nature to the environment, while Pelagian anthropology sees sin as a learned response to the environment by an individual with an otherwise good nature.

If man were good, his response to adversity in the environment would be good. If he is evil, his response will be evil. If I press on a tube of toothpaste, toothpaste will come out. I don't create the toothpaste. I'm just the external force that presses upon the tube that causes what is inside to come out of it. Environmental circumstances are not the cause of good or evil. They are the catalyst that presses upon us to reveal what is inside. Evil exists in the world because adversity in a fallen creation presses upon fallen mankind to show what he is. It does not make him do evil but rather creates the circumstances that allow him to display what he is inside. Hence, if man were good, the world would be good, even with the greatest of adversities. Instead, however, the world is filled with wickedness because man is evil. His remedy, therefore, must be a transformation of his nature from evil to good. Christianity teaches what no other religion does. That man must be and can be transformed through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit that gives the believer a new nature and unification with Jesus Christ that enables and motivates him to live in accordance with His Lord's good nature.

If the problem were sleep, then the kid just needs a nap. In other words, we just need to change the situation. If the problem were being disrespected then we just all need to be respected and change their words. In other words, we need to change other people's speech. If the problem were other people's actions then we need to change their actions. In other words, we just need to change other people's behavior.

In every instance of the Pelagian assumption, it is not a change of the nature of the person that is needed but a change of something outside of himself. In the orthodox view, the Augustinian view, what needs to be changed is the person himself. God works toward utopia from the inside-out rather than by changing the outside world. The Christian doesn't need for the world to change in order to do what is right. He has what he needs for that already. The apostate needs to change everyone else and the world around him. He just needs a vacation, a new environment to move to, a new wife, a new church, to get some rest, to lobby government against the group that's triggering him, etc.

What needs to be corrected instead is the individual who must take responsibility for his actions and not blame them on the world around him or his circumstances. Only then can the correct solution to the problem be applied. Your kid is acting bratty because he is a brat. All kids are brats. We're all brats. What a bratty child or a disrespectful wife or a rebellious person needs is a rebuke which consists of a call to repentance and the gospel. If we persist in telling them and others that it is their environment or situation that is the problem, we will not only misidentify the solution but continue to advocate and perpetuate a false religion that undermines the gospel of Jesus Christ.