"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Spurgeon on the Difference Between a Political Liberal and a Political Conservative

With the national elections just a month away, I wondered if Charles Spurgeon ever commented on politics while serving as pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England during the 19th Century. I found this quote from Spurgeon regarding the differences between liberals and conservatives.

"I have long ago found out that pretty things on paper had better be kept there. I knew a man with a plan for growing plum trees in hedges as they do in Kent, but he never looked to see whether the soil would suit, and so he lost the trees which he put in, and there was an end of his dreams. The wise voter will examine the politician, and consider the veracity of his hopes by passing new bills and spending more of your money.
Someone recently told me that at a table of people trying to solve a problem, the Liberal will make a proposal that sounds good, but the Conservative will ask, 'Will it work?'"


From John Ploughman's Pictures by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

A description of the Liberal Party in England at the time of
Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon
(June 19, 1834 – January 31, 1892)


"During the 19th century the Liberal Party was broadly in favour of what would today be called classical liberalism:
supporting laissez-faire economic policies such as free trade and minimal government interference in the economy (this doctrine was usually termed 'Gladstonian Liberalism' after the Victorian Liberal Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone). The Liberal Party favoured social reform, personal liberty, reducing the powers of the Crown and the Church of England (many of them were Nonconformists) and an extension of the franchise (right to vote).


"Gladstonian Liberalism consisted of limited government expenditure and low taxation whilst making sure government had balanced budgets. Gladstonian Liberalism also emphasised free trade, little government intervention in the economy and equality of opportunity through institutional reform. It is referred to as Classical Liberalism or Laissez Faire liberalism in the UK."

Good to know that 'liberal' then was not defined the same as 'liberal' today.

Anonymous said...

C.H. Spurgeon was active in the Liberal party of 19th century UK.
He worked hard against the Conservative (Tory) party.

The Tory party supported the established church of England.

Lynn Gray
Shawnee, OK

Steven Stark said...

Yes, liberal and conservative are highly fluid terms - particularly in America. Much of what we call conservative is historically called liberal across the pond - emphasis on the individual over the community, free trade, etc.

But it sounds like Spurgeon was pointing out the need for both anyway.

One description of 20th century politics, painted with a BROAD brush, is that America likes the programs of Democrats, but prefers them to be run by Republicans. I kind of like that.

Big Daddy Weave said...

I examined Spurgeon's views on war and peace in a paper which I plan to present at a conference and have published at some point.

I found Spurgeon to be extremely anti-war and a harsh critic of British foreign policy. He railed against British imperialism in many of his sermons.

As to the Liberal Party vs. Conservative Party: Spurgeon was an ally of the Gladstone-led Liberal Party. One Spurgeon scholar (David Nelson Duke) wrote that Spurgeon understood the Liberal Party "to be most in keeping with the New Testament principle of equality."

Spurgeon was a recognized leader among the Evangelical Nonconformists (see David Bebbington's classic works on this subject). The Evangelical Nonconformist vote was essential to the electoral success of the Liberal Party and Spurgeon helped deliver the evangelical vote for the Liberal Party in the general elections of 1880 and 1886.

Spurgeon chose to get very deeply involved in the 1880 election because he was particularly disgusted with British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli's aggressive imperialist foreign policy in Afghanistan, the Balkans and South Africa. He spoke out against Disraeli and the Conservative Party in his sermons and in THe Sword and the Trowel. He even did a bit of grassroots campaigning by distributing pro-Liberal Party "leaflets" (voter guides) to Londoners.

After the 1880 election, one political observer in London described Spurgeon as "the greatest single influence in South London in favour of Liberalism, upon whose every word, thousands and thousands hang, as if it were the very bread of life."

Spurgeon was also a champion of public education. He backed the Education Act of 1870 which would establish a state-financed public education system. Spurgeon did so because he wanted to improve society and knew that education could help lift the working class out of poverty. This education system that he called for was to be a "purely secular system" or "undenominational."

The life and ministry of Spurgeon seems to demonstrate that one can be both theological conservative and politically progressive or liberal.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
I was all set to say ‘Amen’, but after reading the comments of two ‘Anonymousness’, Steven Stark, and Big Daddy Weave, I guess you’ll say like Digger-O-Dell: “What a revolting development that turned out to be.”

So “Liberal’ then has switched places with ‘Conservative’ now.

Hey! That’s exactly what has happened today in the ‘religious field’ – the Liberals or C/R have ‘stolen’ the name ‘Conservative’ and painted the real Conservatives as Liberals/Moderates.

Anonymous said...

Dear Pastor Burleson,

FYI

I sent an email to you this morning via your church web site contact function.

Lynn Gray

Anonymous said...

Kind of like those yellow-dog Democrats in East Texas. What a Democrat was back then isn't what a Democrat is today.

Blake said...

I think more important than what Spurgeon, Mullins, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, MLK Jr, Donald Duck, etc. think is who would Jesus vote for if he would vote? The if he would vote is probably the trickier of the two questions. It should take most people til mid November to figure that one out. ;)

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blake said...

@ Joe Blackmon - And pro-life means pro-all life, so I could equally assert that whoever voted for any president who sent troops to kill people ("innocent" or "guilty") or backed the death penalty or supports economic and social systems that let people die from easily preventable causes is equally guilty of their deaths. Before you comfort yourself with the "they had their chance but the unborn are innocent" line remember you either believe in original sin or don't. Original sin is still sin and God is under no obligation to save them any more than he would us. God doesn't save people to comfort and assure us that He shares OUR morals. God is just, holy and gracious and will save who He will and it will define His justice, holiness and mercy. Who we think He should save does not define His justice, holiness and mercy. Hedge your bets however you want, but the only way I see out of this for Christians is to not vote and be the Church. Being what God has called us to be is a far more powerful witness than anything we could ever do politically and yes cooperation with the state does hurt the Church however innocent or well-intentioned it may seem.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the aborting of unborn life and the elimination of the death penalty spring from the same well:

sanctity of life from conception until natural death

Anonymous said...

The Victorians were involved in class struggles, but we are much more involved in those struggles.

Some say that the 'class war' in our country is over, and the middle class has been defeated:

loss of income over time

jobs sent overseas
factories closed down

retirement accounts 'disappearing'

continuing tax cuts for the rich, backed up by huge amounts of money borrowed and growth to the national debt

difficulties getting funding for an education for your children increasing sharply

housing bubble bursting

bailed-out banks don't support the middle class needs

social security under attack

public education under massive attack from all fronts: unfunded mandates, some school boards into political indoctrination of students,
services to special needs children attacked by political candidates

'militia' forming to attack local law enforcement officers

too many more to continue rant . . .

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Daddy Weave said...

Hey Wade,

It's not my place to tell you how to run your blog.

But, in case you don't know, Joe Blackmon has in recent weeks written hateful e-mails to one of your church members. About a month ago, he made what came across as a clear threat of physical harm to the same member over at SBCVoices.

I went to law school long enough to know that in some states his pattern of abusive and harassing online language would be considered a crime.

Regrettably SBCVoices continues to tolerate Joe Blackmon. I hope this blog will not. It's downright sick to see him call a Christian a "pile of filth" and openly wish pain harm on another.

Anonymous said...

YOUR REPUBLICAN CONSERVATIVES
at work:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QkgUkM0o6Q&NR=1


"All the incentives are toward less medical care, because—the less care they give them, the more money they make."
Ehrlichman: "Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit."
Mr. John D. Erlichman quoting Edgar Kaiser to President Nixon on February 17, 1971

the rest is history . . .

Anonymous said...

BDW:

Thanks for the good information about Spurgeon. I suspect that your summary is correct on all points.

The problem for me, however, is the leap from what may have made sense for Baptists in Protestant England in 1880 is what we should do now.

We see much of the same types of questions related to Luther and his political opinions years earlier. I would not want to adopt, for example, Luther's views of the Jews as part of my theolgoical or political belief system.

Since 1880, we have seen the rise of Marxism and other collective approaches (and their failures) which leave many people to question the efficiacy and wisdom of unbridled public expenditures. It appears from Wade's quote that despite Spurgeon's overall orientation and allegiances, that he harbored suspicions about whether what looks good on paper will actually work.

The USSR and China and others have taken the collective approach as far as it will go, and have ended up with less freedom and humanity. They lost decades and millions of people with that approach.

So, somewhere along the curve, the positive effects of collectivism become a liablity, wouldn't you say?

To that, also courtesy of Marx, we have also seen a hostility to religion, not mere neutrality, that can be and has been present in modern collective endeavors. Is that something that exists inherently in such movements, or have they just developed that way? I don't know. Working in the field of law, however, (and having spent many late night hours with people of all types in law review bull sessions) I clearly see the hostiltiy toward religion coming from a good number of people who promote and want to design such projects. I do not want such people "designing" a society for me and my family.

On the question of war, that is a tough one. There is no clear answer. The extreme cases may be easy calls. But life doesn't always present us with easy cases. That is a struggle.

Spurgeon doesn't sound to different from William Jennings Bryan with regard to war. Sort of like applying Jesus' teaching on personal relationships to national relationships. Turn the other cheek, pray for your enemies etc.

Where in intervention of realpolitick enters and how the Christian is to relate to that is a tough call.

Reflecting on what Augustine had to say about Rome and his love for Rome also gives us some perspective.

The best we can do, I think, is first realize that we have a higher allegiance - to God, rather than nation or family (not the topic of this post, but an even worse problem, in my opinion for many people). The NT makes that abundantly clear.

What the NT does not make abundantly clear is how the Christian who lives in a democratic nation is supposed to exercise his franchise and express his opinions.

It is 1) to impose (by vote or otherwise) on the rest of the people by policy the teachings and ethics of Jesus - as to war, economics, slavery, family and sexaulity (when and if Jesus spoke to such things), 2) to not impose Christian teaching in any area in any way, or 3) to pick and choose.

It's clear that 3 has won out over time, and probably is the right answer. What to pick and choose is not clear, however. So, we discuss. Much of that is determined by the nature of the times one lives in, the experience of other nations and persons in history and other factors.

Louis

Anonymous said...

BDW:

Thanks for the good information about Spurgeon. I suspect that your summary is correct on all points.

The problem for me, however, is the leap from what may have made sense for Baptists in Protestant England in 1880 is what we should do now.

We see much of the same types of questions related to Luther and his political opinions years earlier. I would not want to adopt, for example, Luther's views of the Jews as part of my theolgoical or political belief system.

Since 1880, we have seen the rise of Marxism and other collective approaches (and their failures) which leave many people to question the efficiacy and wisdom of unbridled public expenditures. It appears from Wade's quote that despite Spurgeon's overall orientation and allegiances, that he harbored suspicions about whether what looks good on paper will actually work.

The USSR and China and others have taken the collective approach as far as it will go, and have ended up with less freedom and humanity. They lost decades and millions of people with that approach.

So, somewhere along the curve, the positive effects of collectivism become a liablity, wouldn't you say?

To that, also courtesy of Marx, we have also seen a hostility to religion, not mere neutrality, that can be and has been present in modern collective endeavors. Is that something that exists inherently in such movements, or have they just developed that way? I don't know. Working in the field of law, however, (and having spent many late night hours with people of all types in law review bull sessions) I clearly see the hostiltiy toward religion coming from a good number of people who promote and want to design such projects. I do not want such people "designing" a society for me and my family.

On the question of war, that is a tough one. There is no clear answer. The extreme cases may be easy calls. But life doesn't always present us with easy cases. That is a struggle.

Spurgeon doesn't sound to different from William Jennings Bryan with regard to war. Sort of like applying Jesus' teaching on personal relationships to national relationships. Turn the other cheek, pray for your enemies etc.

Where in intervention of realpolitick enters and how the Christian is to relate to that is a tough call.

Reflecting on what Augustine had to say about Rome and his love for Rome also gives us some perspective.

The best we can do, I think, is first realize that we have a higher allegiance - to God, rather than nation or family (not the topic of this post, but an even worse problem, in my opinion for many people). The NT makes that abundantly clear.

What the NT does not make abundantly clear is how the Christian who lives in a democratic nation is supposed to exercise his franchise and express his opinions.

It is 1) to impose (by vote or otherwise) on the rest of the people by policy the teachings and ethics of Jesus - as to war, economics, slavery, family and sexaulity (when and if Jesus spoke to such things), 2) to not impose Christian teaching in any area in any way, or 3) to pick and choose.

It's clear that 3 has won out over time, and probably is the right answer. What to pick and choose is not clear, however. So, we discuss. Much of that is determined by the nature of the times one lives in, the experience of other nations and persons in history and other factors.

Louis

Darrell said...

A friend once told me "I am so conservative I squeek when I walk, but the crazies came along and took over the right so I became the conservative middle. while there I noticed crazies took over the left. Now the middle is full of normal conservative people. It seems any, left or right of conservative center, are getting worse so I guess I am a LIBERATED FUNDALMENTALIST WHO LOVES JESUS AND A COMMON SENSE CONSERVATIVE TRYING TO NOT BE CRAZY LIKE BOTH SIDES."

yep!

Wade Burleson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Burleson said...

Big Daddy Weave,

I am aware of Joe Blackmon's vitriol toward my church member Debbie Kaufman.

I also am absolutely confident in Debbie Kaufman's ability to handle the situation for herself. Her abilities far surpass mine.

Joe's comment here is devoid of any physical threats or denigrating personal remarks. It will be allowed to remain.

Anonymous said...

I am an American.

I don't think government should protect the 'rich' while slamming the middle class.

I don't think anyone has the right to run a company where the government is not allowed to come in and protect the company's workers from harm,
or protect the public from harmful products.

I don't think that our tax code should enable a private company to benefit while sending my job overseas.

I paid for my social security, all my working years. I don't want to see it 'privatized' so that the next economic crisis wipes it out.
The right wing should keep its hands off of the people's social security.

I want my doctor to be my medical supervisor, not some clerk counting beans at an HMO.

I don't want the person I elect receiving 'contributions' to vote against the public's interests in favor of special interests.

THROW THE BUMS OUT. whether conservative or liberal, yes.
but don't replace them with witches, uneducated liars, people on the take, and wing-nuts . . .

we have a good country here . . .
let's keep it that way

Steven Stark said...

Rex Ray,

It is important to make sure we know what we are talking about. Words like "liberal' and "conservative" are fluid and have changed meanings at times. Labels can be tricky business!

Joe Blackmon,

I do not know of any pro-choice folks who are pro "baby murder" or even "pro-abortion". They are pro-choice, usually within the limits set by Roe v. Wade. No blastocyst, embryo, or early fetus has the capacity for sentience early in pregnancy, so the decision to terminate, while right or wrong, is morally benign enough to keep the government out of it.

Lydia said...

It is almost impossible to compare 19th and even 20th Century British government or politics to the American flavor.

For one thing, definitions are not static and they certainly do not match our definitions of the same at any point in our young history.

The difference is a long and bloody history of Monarchy and the often changing sides, even within the Hanoverian dynasty, and allegiances up to around the time of Victoria. (They changed their German name to Windsor! That gives us an idea of how strange the idea of Monarchy and British politics really is)

England, even with their civil equality laws, was an economic and political caste society. In the 19th century there were still large swaths of the tenet system. To understand the deeper problems of that society one should read a bio of George Mueller for a glimpse. The emerging merchantile class was striving for respectability not equality. One could get rich in trade but don't expect to be invited to dine with a Duke.

There are remnants of that in their national psyche. Remember Diana?

In the early 20th century we see Churchill who was a conumdrum wrapped in an enigma. He was a big liberal in some ways (National Health care, etc) who was also a staunch Imperialist and totally committed to maintaining the Crown in all it's pomp. (He wept over losing India and he sided with Edward over Mrs. Simpson and was his emissary for a Morganic marriage.)

England is not like us. They had thousand years of royal bloody baggage to work through not to mention a church state mentality. (Remember High Church/Low Church)

But I agree with what Spurgeon said about ideas looking good on paper but not working in reality.

Our "anti personal choice" Liberals always think they can control our "response" to their pet big government policies. But, Americans are different. We have never had a king on site or a House of Lords so we are not used to being told we must obey government. We always find ways around it.

What is interesting is that England, Germany and France are figuring out their socialism is not working and their most recent elections show this. Yet we, the great experiment in individual freedom, are going in the opposite direction.

Blake said...

@ Joe Blackmon - You could save yourself from judgment by conforming to scripture rather than allowing worldly reason to determine your habits. I wasn't complaining about what the state does (war, criminal prosecution, abortion, supporting social injustice). I am arguing against the Christian support of the state whether through voting, political backing or pledging allegiance to it. When Romans 12 says we should feed our enemies and in turn reap burning coals upon their heads. I believe that God did not say that in vain and that we ought to do everything in our power to make that our witness to the world. You might not have noticed but this comes right before Romans 13. The state has its orders and we have ours. How can we be commanded to return evil for good, claim to follow it and then actively support SECULAR entities (and unfortunately even Christian ones) that do the opposite. That is a contradiction in action and guilt by association. Do you believe the entire word of God is to be followed or don't you? Do you believe that God means it when he inspires it or not? For all the complaining the world does about fundamentalists, fundamentalists wouldn't be too bad if they actually took their Bibles as seriously as they claim to.

Pege' said...

Winston Churchill~ If you are not a liberal when you are young you have no heart. If you are no a conservative when you are older you have no brain.

Lydia said...

Pege, I love that quote by Churchill. The only problem with it is that his definitions of what is "liberal" and what is "conservative" are a bit different than what we might think. We would not want to "conserve" the Monarchy or "conserve" colonialism.

Churchill is one of my all time favorite historical hero's. But like I said, he is a conumdrum wrapped in an enigma. He also had a great love and respect for America as his mother was American.

"I am arguing against the Christian support of the state whether through voting, political backing or pledging allegiance to it. When Romans 12 says we should feed our enemies and in turn reap burning coals upon their heads."


Blake, Do you have a little girl? would you seriously hand her over to Islamic terrorists for forced conversion without a fight if it ever came to that? Or would you think of yourself as more biblical because you handed her over without a fight that would involve government.

Protecting innocent life whether it is from terrorist attacks here or Nazi's abroad is not part of Christianity? Are we to hand over our children to evil in order to not sin by cooperating with government?

I think it might get more complicated one day than you think.

I am aware that at one time Jesus told His disciples to take their swords on a journey. Another time He told them NOT to take them.

Wonder what that was all about?

35Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?"
"Nothing," they answered.

36He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
Luke 22

foxofbama said...

The Spurgeon quote is cute but would it have gotten MLKing over the Selma Bridge.
Wade, I hope you will make an announcement in your church Sunday as well as a promotional blog here at your website to join the whole country and watch the PBS Frontline three night 6hrs total God in America beginning October 11. Google the trailer. First voice over in the trailer is my friend Randall Balmer who once called Richard Land a "counterfeit" Baptist. It was his friend MarkNoll who with Clark Pinnock had a dissenting opinion at Ridgecrest 87 the CR leacers of the SBC have yet to counter.
Better, updated and more insightful than Spurgeon's soundbyte is the thicket Billy Graham biographer Steven Miller explores in a recent review of God's OWn Party, easily googled as well. Miller has a lot of insight that can not only enlighten you and me, but Ben Cole as well.
Hope you will engage some of these resources; and do take a look at HowellScott's provocative Blog on the CP and GCTR report up today at SBCVoices.

Blake said...

@ Lydia - I believe that the Jesus models throughout his life an ethic nonviolence and nonresistance. This ethic is upheld by his disciples in their writings and consistently upheld by the early church fathers. I believe this ethic has its roots in the old testament and I'm regularly baffled the more I read the Bible how I missed seeing this when I was younger and how many people claim to be Christians and don't see it now.

Much has been written on the passage about the swords and the Mount of Olive in Luke 22, Mark 14, Matthew 26 and John 18. There are numerous ways to interpret why Christ might have had them bring swords (I once wrote a seminary paper on this exact topic), but the end result is the same in every passage. Whatever reason it was Jesus clearly never had in mind that they should use them to attack or defend. That is made clear in each passage. I should also note that this is one of the rare stories that John shares with the synoptic gospels and that should further emphasize its importance.

I believe that God is faithful and greater than anything in this world. Many Christians have encountered their enemies and reacted nonviolently. Some of them paid for it with their lives and their family's lives. Others have seen their enemies become Christians because of the witness of their response. I would recommend reading John Howard Yoder's "What Would You Do?" It's very short. A slow reader can read it cover to cover in four hours. It addresses your very concerns and is very thought provoking.

Wade Burleson said...

Fox,

"The Spurgeon quote is cute but would it have gotten MLKing over the Selma Bridge."

That, Fox, is pretty insightful. You have just out-Spurgeoned Spurgeon.

Smiling.

Lydia said...

Blake,

So basically, my Christian Uncles who helped stop Hitler, who murdered 6 million innocents, were really sin for doing such a thing?

Did it ever occur to you the sword communicated something even if it were not used? After all, He said to sell their cloak and buy one if they did not own one. Walk softly but carry a big stick? :o)

Anonymous said...

Big difference between 'defending' your country;
and treating minorities in your country poorly.

Examples:
abuse of Native Americans
abuse of interred Japanese Americans
abuse of African American civil rights
Islamophobia's resulting hate crimes
Homophobia's resulting hate crimes
Anti-Semitism's resulting hate crimes

Rex Ray said...

Off topic, or on topic?

By Frosty Wooldridge (born 1947) is a US journalist, writer, environmentalist, traveler)

For 15 years, from the mid 1970's to 1990, I worked in Detroit , Michigan I watched it descend into the abyss of crime, debauchery, gun play, drugs, school truancy, car-jacking, gangs, and human depravity. I watched entire city blocks burned out. I watched graffiti explode on buildings, cars, trucks, buses, and school yards. Trash everywhere!

Detroiters walked through it, tossed more into it, and ignored it. Tens of thousands, and then hundreds of thousands today exist on federal welfare, free housing, and food stamps!

With Aid to Dependent Children, minority women birthed 8 to10, and in one case, one woman birthed 24 children as reported by the Detroit Free Press, all on American taxpayer dollars.

A new child meant a new car payment, new TV, and whatever mom wanted. I saw Lyndon Baines Johnson's "Great Society" flourish in Detroit. If you give money for doing nothing, you will get more hands out taking money for doing nothing.

Mayor Coleman Young, perhaps the most corrupt mayor in America, outside of Richard Daley in Chicago, rode Detroit down to its knees. He set the benchmark for cronyism, incompetence, and arrogance. As a black man, he said, "I am the MFIC." The IC meant "in charge".
You can figure out the rest. Detroit became a majority black city with 67 percent African-Americans.

As a United Van Lines truck driver for my summer job from teaching math and science, I loaded hundreds of American families into my van for a new life in another city or state.

Detroit plummeted from 1.8 million citizens to 912,000 today. At the same time, legal and illegal immigrants converged on the city, so much so, that Muslims number over 300,000. Mexicans number 400,000 throughout Michigan, but most work in Detroit. As the whites moved out, the Muslims moved in.

Rex Ray said...

Continued

As the crimes became more violent, the whites fled. Finally, unlawful Mexicans moved in at a torrid pace. Detroit suffers so much shoplifting that grocery stores no longer operate in many inner city locations. You could cut the racial tension in the air with a knife!

Detroit may be one of our best examples of multiculturalism: pure dislike, and total separation from America

Today, you hear Muslim calls to worship over the city like a new American Baghdad with hundreds of Islamic mosques in Michigan , paid for by Saudi Arabia oil money. High school flunk out rates reached 76 percent last June, according to NBC's Brian Williams. Classrooms resemble more foreign countries than America. English? Few speak it! The city features a 50 percent illiteracy rate and growing.
Unemployment hit 28.9 percent in 2009 as the auto industry vacated the city. In this week's Time Magazine October 4, 2009, "The Tragedy of Detroit: How a great city fell, and how it can rise again," I choked on the writer's description of what happened. "If Detroit had been ravaged by a hurricane, and submerged by a ravenous flood, we'd know a lot more about it," said Daniel Okrent. "If drought and carelessness had spread brush fires across the city, we'd see it on the evening news every night.
Earthquake, tornadoes, you name it, if natural disaster had devastated the city that was once the living proof of American prosperity, the rest of the country might take notice.

But Detroit, once our fourth largest city, now 11th, and slipping rapidly, has had no such luck. Its disaster has long been a slow unwinding that seemed to remove it from the rest of the country. Even the death rattle that in the past year emanated from its signature industry brought more attention to the auto executives than to the people of the city, who had for so long been victimized by their dreadful decision making."

As Coleman Young's corruption brought the city to its knees, no amount of federal dollars could save the incredible payoffs, kick backs, and illegality permeating his administration. I witnessed the city's death from the seat of my 18-wheeler tractor trailer because I moved people out of every sector of decaying Detroit. “By any quantifiable standard, the city is on life support. Detroit’s treasury is $300 million short of the funds needed to provide the barest municipal services," Okrent said. "The school system, which six years ago was compelled by the teachers' union to reject a philanthropist's offer of $200 million to build 15 small, independent charter high schools, is in receivership. The murder rate is soaring, and 7 out of 10 remain unsolved. Three years after Katrina devastated New Orleans, unemployment in that city hit a peak of 11%. In Detroit, the unemployment rate is 28.9%.

Rex Ray said...

continued

That's worth spelling out: twenty-eight point nine percent." At the end of Okrent's report, and he will write a dozen more about Detroit , he said, "That's because the story of Detroit is not simply one of a great city's collapse, it's also about the erosion of the industries that helped build the country we know today. The ultimate fate of Detroit will reveal much about the character of America in the 21st century. If what was once the most prosperous manufacturing city in the nation has been brought to its knees, what does that say about our recent past? And if it can't find a way to get up, what does that say about our future?"

As you read in my book review of Chris Steiner's book, "$20 Per Gallon", the auto industry won't come back. Immigration will keep pouring more, and more uneducated third world immigrants from the Middle East into Detroit, thus creating a beachhead for Islamic hegemony in America. If 50 percent illiteracy continues, we will see more homegrown terrorists spawned out of the Muslim ghettos of Detroit . Illiteracy plus Islam equals walking human bombs.

You have already seen it in Madrid, Spain; London, England; and Paris, France with train bombings, subway bombings, and riots. As their numbers grow, so will their power to enact their barbaric Sharia Law that negates republican forms of government, first amendment rights, and subjugates women to the lowest rungs on the human ladder. We will see more honor killings by upset husbands, fathers, and brothers that demand subjugation by their daughters, sisters and wives. Muslims prefer beheadings of women to scare the hell out of any other members of their sect from straying. Multiculturalism: what a perfect method to kill our language, culture, country, and way of life.

I PRAY EVERYONE THAT READS THIS REALIZES THAT IF WE DONT STAND UP, AND SCREAM AT WASHINGTON , AND OUR STATE, CITY , AND LOCAL LEADERS THIS IS WHAT AWAITS THE REST OF AMERICA . IF YOU FOLLOW THE NEWS AT ALL YOU KNOW THIS HAS HAPPENED IN ENGLAND, FRANCE, AND SPAIN.

IF YOU THINK THIS IS JUST A BUNCH OF HOOEY AND YOU FEEL NO DUTY TO FIGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY, THEN I'M SORRY, I DONT KNOW WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR YOU TO STAND AND FIGHT.

Blake said...

@ Lydia - The Germans were "Christians" too. On top of the groups Anonymous mentioned, their were many small towns and cities in the midwest with sizable German populations before WW1. Many of those towns were actually bilingual in every facet of life. When the wars began the Germans became embarrassed and assimilated as best they could to avoid ridicule and persecution from their neighbors despite the fact they had sons in the war too. War is not Christian and there is no Christian way to fight a war.

When Teddy Roosevelt made his famous saying about carrying big sticks he didn't just carry it, he used it. The fact of the matter is no Christian can read their Bible and come away from it saying they honestly believe Jesus Christ would have killed people himself in a war. Read 2 Kings 6:8-23. God blinds an army in their search for Elisha. Elisha leads them into the middle of the Israelite army before they are unblinded. When the king of Israel asks if he should kill them Elisha tells them they didn't capture the army, God did. Israel fed the army that was invading them and sent them back home. That army never invaded again. Later on in ch. 8: 7-15 Elisha comes face to face with one who God reveals to him will slaughter Israelites. The passage describes the slaughter in graphic detail. Elisha doesn't ask God to strike him down nor does he seek to strike him down himself. God regularly throughout the OT tries to teach Israel that God is their protector. The culmination of this revelation gets no clearer than in the life of Christ himself who clearly lived nonviolently and nonresistantly.

You can try to dignify and moralize all you want for your uncles but a simple truth always remains that the waging of war is not, never was and never will be Christlike. I've got family that have fought in wars too and are in the military now. None of this changes the scripture we have in front of us. The question ever before us is who is our Lord? The world reasons by an eye for an eye, but my Lord said and lived to respond differently. If I am to walk in the footsteps of my Lord I must try to do likewise.

Lydia said...

"@ Lydia - The Germans were "Christians" too."

Blake, You have to be kidding. You cannot be serious. Bonhoeffer and a few others prove you wrong that the "Germans" as a nation were Christians.

(Personally, I think centuries of a state church effectively killed true Christianity for the masses in Europe. It goes back to whole idea of following man as authority instead of Christ)

Pege' said...

Lydia, I may be misunderstanding your post... are you saying Christians are not to vote or be a part of the political system? Please clarify.

Blake said...

@ Lydia - There were plenty of German soldiers that were every bit as Christian as your uncles. Most Mennonite men in Germany at that time were given the ultimatum to fight or die. Many chose to fight rather than have their families killed and many died for not compromising their convictions. None of them were members of the Nazi party (willingly anyway) and all of them that lived were glad when the war ended. Many that fought lost their faith and whether they lost their faith or not many were excommunicated from families, friends and communities.

That's just one example. God is too creative to create comic book heroes and villains to fill the pages of our history books. WW2 wasn't as black and white as everyone would like to paint it. Even for Bonhoeffer to get involved in the assassination plot he had to be employed by the Nazis and help their war effort. His choice tormented his conscience to the very end of his life and he believed that God could judge him for his choice. Bonhoeffer hoped for grace but was not sure he would receive it because he knew what he was doing was an affront to God's revealed will.

@ Pege' - Not Lydia, me.

Lydia said...

"Lydia, I may be misunderstanding your post... are you saying Christians are not to vote or be a part of the political system? Please clarify."


Not in the least! I am a bit concerned that you came away from my comments with that impression. Yikes. I had best better learn to communicate better. Can you possibly tell me what I said that gave you that impression?

Lydia said...

"@ Lydia - There were plenty of German soldiers that were every bit as Christian as your uncles. Most Mennonite men in Germany at that time were given the ultimatum to fight or die. Many chose to fight rather than have their families killed and many died for not compromising their convictions. None of them were members of the Nazi party (willingly anyway) and all of them that lived were glad when the war ended. Many that fought lost their faith and whether they lost their faith or not many were excommunicated from families, friends and communities."

All 200 of the German Mennonites men in Germany at the time? :o)

You seem not to understand that Germany had a long history as a military warrior authoritarian culture. Jewish Germans made up quite a percentage of the soliders in WW1 as a group. Many thought their service would count for something with the Nazi's.

But let's look at your view on a micro level. According to you, no Christian can be a police officer or FBI agent, for example. Because violence may be necessary to defend the peace. On an even more micro level, it means you would not be able to defend your family against those who might try to harm them in your home because you might hurt the criminal. Better to hand over the kids, eh?

But I thought about this last night and was trying to figure out where guys like Cornelius in Acts 10 fit into your view. One would think somewhere in that narrative we would be told that Cornelius repudiated his violent and sinful career as a centurion. Because now that he was saved, he could not possibly be a Centurion anymore.

God does not call us to be foolish but wise.

Blake said...

@ Lydia - I'm aware of Germany's history and aware that not everyone was on board with all their wars, especially many varieties of Christians. Don't make the mistake of painting an entire people by their history.

Up to this point I admit that my rhetoric has been on the strong side. That's because I'm incredibly frustrated with fundamentalists disinterest or lack of ability to see a very clear peace witness in their Bibles. However, I'm still Baptist and not Mennonite.

I admit that the policing issue is very complicated and has only recently (in the last decade or so) become a big deal within Mennonite scholarship. Where the debate stands I don't know and haven't had time to explore fully (did you expect me to lay out a systematic theology answering all your questions ;) ). I do, however, appreciate your sticking with the debate. I remain Baptist because I believe in a level of soul liberty in the process of discipleship. I would want to reign in the level of liberty more than has been in Baptist history but that's beside the point. Few realize Cornelius as a centurion in his time and place functioned more as a chief of police than the general or whatever of an army. The distinction between policing and soldiering is also very different and important for Christians to understand. Soldiers are trained to respond to violence with deadly violence and are put in situations where that is a regular reality. Police are trained to use deadly force as a last resort. What counts as a last resort is very subjective within policing and police get bad reputations for racism and sexism because of the inconsistent use of violent force among races and sexes. We don't know much about Cornelius and his career after his conversion. If the early church was consistent with scripture it is very unlikely he remained a centurion because the evidence is clear from the writings of the early church that they didn't allow soldiers (or "police") in their congregations. The doctrine of penance was in part developed to bring soldiers willing to give up their careers to be believers into communion with the local body. But, as Baptists we're not concerned so much with how the Bible was interpreted by early Christians as we are in interpreting it ourselves. That's fine and that's why where I stand right now is to assert that nonviolence and nonresistance is clearly expected of those who call themselves Christians, but since no soldier (read police officer) was ever called to drop their career as a prerequisite to faith, nonviolence and nonresistance remain Christian ideals within our reach. It is the responsibility of the Church to disciple believers into as the fruit of the spirit called peace which culminates in a nonviolent and nonresistant life loving our enemies.

Lydia, I've tried to regularly answer your objections and there are plenty of people who have argued these positions better than I have. Are you wrestling with the passages I've pointed out while having this discussion or do you continue to try to find loopholes by pointing out passages that are a minority compared to passages exhorting peaceableness in scripture? Peace is a very big deal in the Bible and there was no greater model of it than Jesus Christ who all Christians claim to strive to live like. I think it's high past time Southern Baptists start taking the consequences of their inerrancy seriously. There are things in the Bible that will challenge our national and political convictions if we open our eyes to see them instead of thinking that Christianity is as easy and comfortable as our American affluence.

absonjourney said...

@Blake
While I commend you for your position on non-violence as an individual and your consistency in applying that ethic across the board, I would wonder why if your position of non-violence is scriptural neither Jesus nor John the Baptist instructed soldiers to leave their military careers as a part of repentance?

Both had the opportunity- John in Luke 3:14 and Jesus in Matthew 8:3-13. Further, you cite OT examples of God's deliverance of the Israelites through non-violent supernatural means but you overlook passages that have the people of God fighting- including an entire the chapter of Deuteronomy 20 which is dedicated to the rules of godly warfare.

Further, I would propose that you overlook the biblical mandate to seek to do justice as laid out in Micah 6:8. Doing justice requires action and sometimes that action must be offensive in nature. Even Ecclesiastes says there is a time for war (3:8) Please think about the end result of your ethic if applied on a national or international scale. There is more to turning the other cheek than being a doormat for evil.

Lydia said...

"Peace is a very big deal in the Bible and there was no greater model of it than Jesus Christ who all Christians claim to strive to live like. "

I disagree about the peace part even though I do not think the following is about war:

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’[a] 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

And interestingly enough:

"If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men."

IF it is possible...war or protecting innocents is not about vengence. It is about protecting.

And I would like to see a reference that no soliders were allowed in the NT Body of Christ.

Blake, I do not think there is anything Christlike about sacrificing your daughter to a criminal because you think it is a sin to hurt the criminal.

We will just have to agree to disagree.

I agree with absonjourney that you have left out significant parts of the OT. As I said on another thread, our family is studying Samuel. My daughter is always amazed when God says to kill everything: Women, babies, sheep, cattle, etc. We talk a lot about what that means and why.

And I am not saying that means we are God. But I think you take your view way too far to the point that there is no justice at all. And we know the civil government is instituted for that purpose. to suggest that Christians are not to be a part and it is a sin for them to do so is well....bizarre.

It seems you are saying it is a sin for Christians to be a part of protecting innocents whether it is stopping a tyrant who is murdering 6 million Jews or a criminal that breaks into your house to rape your wife. I simply disagree.

Blake said...

@absonjourney -
Response to paragraph 1: Because to create a prerequisite for salvation would be to fall back on the Law. Jesus came to offer a new covenant based on grace. People accept grace then begin the process of discipleship. The process of discipleship is never described explicitly in the gospels, but it seems safe to assume that Christ modeled what He expected of His disciples and corrected their violent behavior (often associated with a lack of faith). As I mentioned in an earlier comment considering the position of the early church it wouldn't be much of a leap to expect that they did leave their positions and that it wasn't recorded (along with so many other things).

Response to 2: Deuteronomy 20 is actually a great passage to give evidence to my position. The point of the passage is that God is the one who fights, not Israel. Israel shows up (sometimes armed and sometimes not), but God delivers. This is very consistent with the rest of the OT. The rules contained within Deuteronomy make not a lick of sense coming from a worldly perspective on military strategy. Deuteronomy has troops being sent home for about any excuse they can muster. What is always left is a small, hopelessly outnumbered but faithful remnant. God uses these against all human odds and demonstrates who HE is. Israel's wars are never about Israel or the men fighting, rather it's always about God and His power and faithfulness.

Some further notes about war and politics in the OT. Israel was originally expected to be a group of faithful people descended from Abraham lead by priests and judges. They went against God's wishes when they demanded a king. That is to say they went against God's wishes when they resorted to worldly political wisdom. Remember that King David wasn't allowed to build God's temple because he was a warrior. That's no small point that God would not allow a warrior to build his temple and wanted it built in a time of peace. Israel was setup by God to witness to God's power and mercy through their alternative political methods. Much about what Israel did was absurd from a worldly standpoint. Not just how they fought, but the year of Jubilee described in Leviticus 25 has people returning land and houses, cancelling debts and freeing slaves. Everywhere we see God acting contrary to the prevailing wisdom of the world. Remember Elijah soaking his sacrifice and altar in the contest with the followers of Baal?

All of these things we see in the OT are a foreshadowing pointing to Christ and what Christ reveals to us in His own life in the NT. Do we realize that not only did he voluntarily give up his life, but that He paid taxes that paid for the soldiers to do what they did to Him? Yet in death and humiliation He is triumphant over the world, death, sin and Caesar. Whether or not we agree with how the early church practiced their own pacifism in relation to their faith it is not difficult at all to see where they got it from. Remember also that for awhile the church relied more on the OT to demonstrate the truth of Christ and His work than what became the NT.

Response to 3: You are wrongly associating nonviolence and nonresistance with inaction. Israel was not inactive, neither was Christ, the disciples nor the early church. The Mennonites, as small and sectarian as they are, have not been inactive (See Mennonites, Politics, and Peoplehood by James Urry). The Church by nature of being filled with people is a political entity and like Israel we are called to be separate from the world but engage the world (since we are in it) in a way the world will find counterintuitive. I'm not asking for inaction or to dismiss evil. To the contrary I'm asking that we take seriously what we've been given in the Bible and awaken our imaginations to engaging with the world differently like we see throughout scripture. We should be a body that charts an alternate course in the world and that course will testify to the Savior we serve.

Blake said...

@ Lydia - I'm not suggesting peace is the underlying theme of the whole Bible like some may, but it is nevertheless a big deal. If you look to see how often it's talked about you'll be amazed how much more often it appears than you probably hear from your pulpit.

You quote the first passage assuming a worldly definition of peace that is more about harmony and tolerance than the shalom of the Bible. Maybe when you finish Samuel you should do a word study on shalom and its NT equivalents.

You assumed a "therefore" if the conditional could not be met. That's adding to the Bible. Just because it may not be possible to live peaceably with some people doesn't mean we get a license to strike back. It may mean we just have to tolerate. The emphasis in the verse is actually on the believer doing what they can to be peaceable, not on an imaginary alternative if it doesn't work.

I don't understand how Christians can read the Beatitudes, Romans 12, the life of Christ and so much more and think I'll give Christ everything except for my right to protect myself. We're all His or not. Not that we don't ever stumble, but you're not talking about stumbling you're defending an area of our lives that simply can not be Christ's by virtue of your own worldly reasoning.

"But I think you take your view way too far to the point that there is no justice at all. And we know the civil government is instituted for that purpose. to suggest that Christians are not to be a part and it is a sin for them to do so is well....bizarre."

Christ is ultimate recipient of unjust treatment. What justice exists in the world is flawed by sin and is not God's justice. The only real justice in this universe is judgement by God. I don't disagree that the state is instituted for the purpose of doing something with its sword. I just don't believe in saying God is more on the side of one government over another or that the state always exercises its authority well. I also don't believe that Christians can change the Fallen by engaging the world on its terms. Christians becoming police officers and politicians is not a solution to the world's ills nor a corrective to a lack of justice in the world. I'm not saying one can't be a Christian and be in the military or police or government. I'm saying one will find irreconcilable contradictions between the actions of being a Christian growing in the fruits of the Spirit and one's occupation in the government, police force or military. I think those contradictions need to not be brushed off by Christians in those positions.

I think the Church should support those who leave and stay in those jobs. Those who stay in those jobs need to realize they are in essentially the same position Bonhoeffer was in and need to be ready to be judged for it by God. Baptists have historically supported the separation of Church and State the coming together of the two in the life of an individual will be full of conflict and contradiction and extra care must be taken to live in fear and trembling because their Christian convictions will be pushed to the very edge and maybe over if they're not careful.

Blake said...

"And I would like to see a reference that no soliders were allowed in the NT Body of Christ."

Forgot to address this. The most comprehensive treatment of the subject I'm aware of was done by Jean-Michel Hornus in his book It Is Not Lawful For Me To Fight: Early Christian Attitudes Toward War, Violence, and the State. Some broader treatments of Christian attitudes to war and peace throughout all history have been done by John Howard Yoder (Christian Attitudes to War, Peace, and Revolution) and Roland H. Bainton (Christian Attitudes to War and Peace: A Historical Survey and Critical Re-evaluation). If you would be satisfied with a few quotes then I can provide that as well.

"But now inquiry is made about this point, whether the military may be admitted unto the faith... One soul cannot be due to two masters—God and Caesar...But how will a Christian man war, nay, how will he serve in peace, without a sword, which the Lord has taken away? For albeit soldiers had come unto John, and had received the formula of their rule; albeit likewise, the centurion had believed; still the Lord afterward, in disarming Peter, unbelted every soldier...."
-Tertullian (ca. 160-220), On Idolatry §19

"A soldier under authority shall not kill a man. If he is ordered to, he shall not carry out the order, nor shall he take the oath. If he is unwilling, let him be rejected. He who has the power of the sword, or is a magistrate of a city who wears purple, let him cease or be rejected. A catechumen or believer who want to become soldiers should be rejected, because they have despised God."
-Hippolytus (ca. 210-240), The Apostolic Tradition (Note: This is a church order, which is a document telling elders and groups of believers how to run/order their churches. This particular quote demands the excommunication of soldiers and politicians.)

"So, neither will it be permitted a just man, whose service is justice herself, to enter military service, to enter military service, nor can he accuse anyone of a capital crime, because there is no difference whether you kill a man with a sword or a word, since the killing itself is prohibited. Therefore, in this command of God, no exception whatsoever must be made. It is always wrong to kill a man whom God has intended to be a sacrosanct creature."
-Lactantius (240-320), Divine Institutes Book 6 Chapter 20

There's plenty more quotes and people than that from the first ~300 years of the Church. And you thought I was bizarre.

Rex Ray said...

Anybody,
I’m disappointed that no one has made a reply to the message that Frosty Wooldridge made.

His last statement (IF YOU THINK THIS IS JUST A BUNCH OF HOOEY AND YOU FEEL NO DUTY TO FIGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY, THEN I'M SORRY, I DONT KNOW WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR YOU TO STAND AND FIGHT) makes me think the impending doom of America will be like the French that gave up without a fight.

If you think politics is off topic, read the Wade’s post. It says, “VOTE” – With the national elections just a month away…”

Do you not realize Muslims/Islam/Sharia Law is the greatest Trojan Horse that’s ever existed?

THEY DO NOT COME HERE TO BE AMERICANS; THEY COME HERE TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY; STARTING WITH THEIR PRESIDENT OF AMERICA.