Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blogspotting with Bro. Phil

Phil Johnson has done me the honor of expressing a public point of disagreement. Let me say at the outset that Bro. Phil is performing a magnificent service to the Christian community as an information clearing house for men like John MacArthur, Charles Spurgeon, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones, among others.

Needless to say, all these men, Bro. Phil included, have done far more good for the cause of the kingdom than I’ll ever do. I’m a Lilliputian, craning my neck to behold their Olympian exploits!

Still, there’s room in the kingdom for Lilliputians as well as Gullivers, so I’ll continue to do my little best for the cause.

In the current debate over political activism and cobelligerence, I have not directed any of my comments to Bro. Phil. Since, however, he has now interacted with something of mine on this particular issue, I think I ought to make an effort to be responsive to his concerns.

And the rationale for mobilizing the church to political activism is extremely muddy and without any clear biblical warrant. Even Steve Hays has not been very convincing on this issue.

The problem I have with this statement is that he doesn’t say what would count, in his eyes, as clear biblical warrant.

I have written a recent essay (“Cobelligerence”) in which I discuss, at a general level, what I think would count as Biblical warrant for what we do.

In addition, Jus Divinum posted on my blog a comment which I thought was very germane to this whole question:

I think the argument for ECB is a common-sense argument from general ethical duties, like love for your neighbor, combined with an understanding of the purpose of government, and of law in general.

So I’m more than happy, to the best of my limited ability, to accommodate Bro. Phil’s request if he could accommodate me by spelling out his own criteria, or explaining what, exactly, he did not find convincing in my discussion thus far.

At first glance, I don’t agree with the way he has cast the issue here. I don’t see the ECBers as mobilizing “the church.” What I see them doing is to mobilize Christians.

Now, since most Christians are church-goers, and since church is where they all come together at one time and place, if you want to mobilize Christians, you naturally reach out to them where you can find them—just as if you want to evangelize teenagers, you go to where teenagers hangout, such as a shopping mall or video arcade or high school or sunny beach.

Is Campus Crusade mobilizing the university to do evangelism? I don’t think so. It is simply making use of its facilities or going to where the students go.

In fact, the church is often used as an information-clearing house to disseminate information. The pastor will use the occasion of the worship service to make announcements about various extra-curricular activities involving church members.

Likewise, many church bulletin boards and websites are used to advertise various community events, such as a gospel concert or Christian speaker at some offsite location.

In the meantime, let’s take a parallel example. Indeed, let’s lift our examples directly from Bro. Phil’s playbook:

It depends, of course, on how much of your message or your testimony you have to stifle in order to "team up." If your allies are Jewish and you hold back from declaring the exclusivity of Christ in order to hold your coalition together; or if your allies are Roman Catholic and you carefully avoid any discussion of sola fide or sola Scriptura—then you are sacrificing your distinctives for a lesser cause than the proclamation of the gospel. It happens all the time.

The pattern has been that those who invest the most in "the culture war stuff" are often the last ones to press the actual claims of the gospel, declare the truth of redemption through Christ's atoning work, proclaim the exclusivity of Christ, and preach the full and unadulterated gospel.

By the way, if you want to see this principle in action, tune into "Focus on the Family" for six months and keep a record of how many times the gospel is clearly affirmed on that broadcast, compared to the number times you are exhorted to write your senator or participate in this or that boycott, campaign, or protest.

I am convinced that the kind of political activism they were involved with is incompatible with the true calling and priorities of the gospel ministry.

The unspoken, but operating assumption here seems to be every-member evangelism. The priority for every Christian is to be engaged in some form of evangelism, whether mass evangelism or friendship evangelism.

Now, I’m all for personal witnessing. But one question I’d respectfully pose to Bro. Phil is where he finds clear biblical warrant for every-member evangelism—as well as how the biblical warrant for every-member evangelism is any more direct than the biblical warrant for Evangelical cobelligerence.

In fact, one could just as well make a biblical case against every-member evangelism. One could argue that the whole point of the church as a body of believers consisting of different members with different talents is that every Christian does not have the same calling in life—every Christian is not an evangelist or minister of the gospel.

Indeed, wasn’t that a basic principle of the Reformation? Catholicism had, and still has, this two-tier piety between the laity and the religious. To be a family man or wife and mother is second-best.

But the Protestant Reformers repudiated this monkish, split-level piety. A Christian could serve God outside the priestly vocation.

What is more, in Presbyterian polity and ecclesiology, it would be considered out of order for a man who is not a church officer to be preaching the gospel as if he were an ordained minister of the gospel. When Bro. Phil and others are criticizing Dr. Dobson for not doing, many Presbyterians would criticize Dr. Dobson were he to do that very thing on a regular basis. They would say that this activity belongs to the regular ministry of the church. Indeed, they regard any parachurch ministry as usurping the prerogatives of the church. Where Bro. Phil comes down on this, I don’t know.

One final observation and comment:

They become obsessed with issues like getting prayer back in schools, ignoring the fact that any prayer ever sanctioned by the American government would have to be a prayer that implicitly denies Christ's rightful lordship.

I happen to agree with Bro. Phil about this. But I’d say two things:

i) The reason we don’t have more astute leadership in ECB is that those who are more astute are attacking ECB rather than taking the lead and making it better.

ii) It is quite true that ECB can get detoured into token issues like school prayer. However, it’s my impression that those who criticize ECB for getting detoured into token issues continue criticize ECB when it redirects its efforts to causes rather than symptoms.

Why would the only gov’t-sanctioned prayer be a non-sectarian prayer? Because that is how the Supreme Court has twisted the Establishment Clause. But when ECBers lobby for nominees whom, they hope, will exercise judicial restraint and respect original intent, they come in for the same criticism. And when someone like Judge Moore gets really radical and says that the whole point of the Establishment Clause was to prohibit the Federal gov’t from meddling in the religious autonomy of the states, he, too, comes in for the same criticism.

That, then, is my Lilliputian contribution to this phase of the debate.


  1. Steve,

    When you began your interaction with Steve Camp, I had a suspicion that Phil would eventually weigh in - especially since Steve Camp wasn't expressing anything that John MacArthur hasn't already publicly promoted (see especially John's book "Why Government Can't Save You" - and it wouldn't surprise me if Phil was the editorial hand that took and converted John's original preached messages on this subject into the text of that book).

    If you are interested in a fuller presentation of where John MacArthur (and his theological proxies) is/are coming from on the current topic under consideration, I'd recommend that you take a look at that book, if you haven't already. Phil alluded to the fact that he will have much more to say in the coming weeks about Christian political activism. I suspect that the content of those posts will have a strong affinity with the content of that book.

    And, btw, I appreciate your site - one of the best!

  2. FWIW, I've responded to some of Phil's comments, here:

    ... at the "11:36 AM, July 27, 2005" comment.

  3. One of the things that I find when I entertain a sort of political passivity is that, in the end, I'm relying on those with whom I would disagree and consider errant to do the heavy lifting as far as my freedoms and such.

  4. Steve: "The problem I have with this statement is that he doesn’t say what would count, in his eyes, as clear biblical warrant."

    An apostolic command or example would be a start. Or, since you prefer the OT on these sorts of issues, explain away the implications of the biblical condemnation of Jehoshaphat's unholy alliance with Ahab, and all other such politicially-motivated alliances in the OT.

    Incidentally, here's what I meant in that one-line remark that prompted your lengthy reply: You seem to deduce from your theonomic beliefs an implicit imperative for political activism and aggressive, formal co-belligerence (where evangelicals join cartels and forge yokes with anti-Christian religions to campaign for moral causes). Your line of argument isn't going to convince me, since 1. I don't share your convictions about the continuance of the OT civil law; and 2. I am not going to have time to read a series of lengthy blogposts in the patented Purple-Hays® style on that subject.

    I've already read Bahnsen's two books on the law, read selectively from Rushdoony, endured multiple volumes from the pens of Drs. DeMar and North, Participated for 2 years in a Theonomists' forum on the Internet, and followed pretty closely the illustrious career of Mr. Sandlin. And yet, amazingly, I remain unconvinced that Christian Reconstruction is a really good thing (as opposed to one of those slowly-dying fads I described.)

    As much as I love the meticulous care and lucidity with which you normally pick apart arguments, my interest in CR is no longer sufficiently keen to motivate me to read through that kind of discussion about it.

    So if you could home in on the issue of political activism per se; and especially if you could show me where any of the apostles or early church leaders—or Jesus Himself—advocated or participated in the pursuit of strictly political remedies for the moral decline and persecution that affected the early church; or if you could demonstrate how the early church adapted the tactics of Jewish Zealotry for the cause of Christ, that might do it for me.

  5. Over in the comments section of:

    ... several individuals have replied to my comments about ECB. The following are replies to Chris Pixley, genembridges, and Phil Johnson.

    Chris Pixley wrote:

    > I appears to me that you have errected a straw man with whom
    > you are now arguing. As I read things, Phil has
    > consistently expressed concerns about evangelicalism as a
    > movement, not individuals per se. That being the case, your
    > arguments based on the examples of Christian doctors,
    > mechanics, etc. are simply comparing apples to oranges.

    Perhaps you misunderstood, but all of my examples were not of individuals _per se_, but of individuals _cooperating with_ other individuals to bring about social goods. And what I am saying is that there is nothing wrong with these kinds of _cooperative activities_. ECB is another cooperative activity. So, the question is why the other kinds of cooperative activities with non-Christians are permissible for the Christian to be a part of, but specifically political activity is not.

    Genembridges wrote:

    > The very name that is being used, "ECB" must be redefined in
    > order to accomodate Catholics, Word of Faith teachers, and
    > Sabellians. We know what "co-belligerent" means, but what
    > about "evangelical?" What about some consistency here?

    Perhaps you missed it, but as long as we're talking about the acronym "ECB" specifically (which was coined by Mr. Camp), evangelical co-belligerence is not evangelical belligerence. ECB is not EB. It is evangelical _co_-belligerence, that is belligerence on political issues _in cooperation with non-Christians_. Evangelical co-belligerence is evangelicals cooperating with non-evangelicals for various purposes. It is not evangelicals merely cooperating with evangelicals.

    The position that I am defending _just is_ cooperation with Catholics, Word of Faith teachers, etc. I don't care about the term. Why should I? It is an anti-ECB person who coined it. If you want a defense of the terminology, ask those who invented it. You might as well ask a Puritan to defend the term "Puritan" :-)

    > Dental hygiene isn't doctrine.

    And working to ban partial-birth abortion is?

    The challenge is to define 'doctrine' broadly enough so that it excludes ECB, but narrowly enough so that it includes these other forms of cooperation that we agree are legitimate. I don't think you can do it in a non-arbitrary manner. But you're welcome to try.

    > Christians and non-Christians working together as mechanics
    > or doctors, etc. isn't the issue. These people aren't trying
    > to change the value system of the US.

    So let's see if this amounts to a principled difference. Apparently, the pursuit of some social goods is acceptable while the pursuit of others is not. Specifically, cooperating with non-Christians to bring about the social goods that doctors, mechanics, dentists, etc. do is perfectly acceptable, but cooperating with non-Christians to bring about the social goods involved in having moral laws on the books is unacceptable. What was the reason for this judgment again? Perhaps I missed it. I freely concede that you've noted a distinction (between what doctors, mechanics, and dentists do, and what lobbyists do). But you haven't explained why it's relevant.

    > The issue is whether or not the church is called to this
    > kind of activism at the expense of the gospel in some cases,
    > that is to say, in a manner in which the E in evangelical
    > means nothing at all.

    No, the church is not called to _anything_ "at the expense of the gospel". And if this has happened in some cases, then it needs to be condemned. I'm not interested in defending the foibles or theological shortcomings of particular ECBers, or the idolatrous priorities of some. I'm defending the legitimacy of a particular activity, in principle. No more and no less.

    Many students study systematic theology books "at the expense of the gospel in some cases". Many fathers work at their jobs "at the expense of the gospel in some cases". But that is no argument, in principle, for the illegitimacy of these activities. You're already on record as saying that you're "not altogether opposed to ECB". Rather, you deplore the theological and practical shortcomings of many involved in that activity. So do I. So perhaps we agree here more than we disagree. My defense in the end has a very limited focus: the legitimacy of ECB activity, in principle. No more and no less. And it's an important point to make. However, it's not the only point to be made. In that respect, you've made some good ones.

    > But nobody ever actually defines what that "something else"
    > is for us from anything that these organizations have produced
    > to tell us, from Scripture.

    If you want a resource, here's one:

    Of course it's a defense of EB, and not ECB, but since I see no reason why Christians cannot engage in these activities with non-Christians, I think it's sufficient. If someone thinks such cooperation constitutes being "unequally yoked," then it's up to them to _argue_ for that conclusion, in a way that doesn't rule out other forms of cooperation that we entirely accept.

    But if you want my own view on what that "something else" is, I'll take a shot at it. It is using all lawful and providentially-provided means to hold the state accountable, as "the minister of God," for fulfilling the duties God himself prescribes for it. These duties involve, at the very least, the state restraining the evildoer, not for the sake of the evildoer, but for the sake of those who would be harmed by him in various ways. Part of our motivation for this activity also involves recognizing the biblical basis for what Calvin called 'the civil use of the law', which is compatible with but is distinct from the other uses of the law found in Scripture. The law, properly enacted and enforced, is both a witness to society and a deterrent to evil. Christians are never to pursue these duties toward the state in a way that compromises their gospel witness. Whether such witness has been compromised comes down to particular actions in particular situations. In particular, gospel witness, and prayer for the individuals who compose the state, always takes priority over reforming the state legislatively and judicially. Nevertheless, attempting to do the latter _is_ a legitimate activity for Christians, and they can pursue this social good in cooperation with non-Christians, just like they similarly pursue many other social goods as citizens of society.

    How's that? On God's own description of the purpose of the state, cf. Ro 13. On the civil use of the law and its deterrent value, cf. 1Ti 1:8-11 and Ecc 8:11. Both Luther and Calvin would be subsidiary resources here. The different uses of the law in the Reformed tradition are well-known, and surely need no introduction to this astute theological community.

    > Wilberforce did not fail to highlight the actual problem in
    > Britain. He said that all the spiritual and practical errors
    > of the nominal Christians of his day "result from the mistaken
    > conception entertained of the fundamental principles of
    > Christianity"

    This is all interesting, but not to the point. I'm not talking about "the spiritual and practical errors of the nominal Christians" of my day. These will _never_ be satisfactorily addressed through civil law. That's not the point of civil law, or of the state. What have I written that makes you think I believe otherwise?

    > Opposing gay rights and gay marriage does nothing about
    > homosexuality itself.

    Of course. And opposing murder does nothing about murder itself, in the sense of converting the heart of murderers. That is not its purpose. Again, so what? You seem to be imputing to ECB a purpose it does not set for itself.

    > Passing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage
    > does nothing if we're not planting churches in gay ghettos.

    So why not do _both_? Why think that activity directed to the former precludes activity directed to the latter? If this has happened in many cases, that is deplorable, but not any _more_ deplorable than _any_ false dichotomy the church erects for itself.

    I'm afraid I can't comment on the radio station / music concert story you told, because I don't have the details. If I assume that this concert was some sort of Christian worship event, then of course I deplore the involvement of modalists. But that's neither here nor there, with respect to the idea of ECB in principle. But perhaps I've missed something.

    > Where is there conviction of sin as sin apart from
    > special revelation?

    Err, general revelation? Cf. Ro 1-2 for details.

    > ECB is also making us potential enemies to the gospel
    > itself in the long run. Many of the folks on the other
    > side of the political aisle, particularly in the gay
    > community are unregenerate. Granted, they're already in
    > rebellion against God and find the gospel foolish, but do
    > we really want to give them further reason to turn away?

    This just begs the question against the legitimacy of ECB. Is it _legitimate_ or _illegitimate_ for the unregenerate to hate Christians because of the expression of God's law in society? If the latter, then why should it give Christians pause?

    If the unregenerate "find the gospel foolish," then it stands to reason that they're going to find any expression of God's law in society as equally foolish. That's no reason for Christians to turn away from latter, even as it's no reason to turn away from the former.

    You cite Hendryx:

    > I think it is clear that Scripture does not conceive of
    > the church's primary role in the world as one of
    > opposing public immorality through political means.

    Neither do I. And if you catch me saying that ECB is "the church's primary role in the world," feel free to rebuke me :-)

    You cite Hendryx, with emphasis:

    > The ultimate effect of merely attempting to focus on legal
    > change might very well be to impede the hearing of the Gospel
    > by those who need it most.

    Thank goodness, then, that we should not be _merely_ attempting to focus on legal change. Thank goodness that most Christians are able to do more than one thing at a time :-)

    Phil Johnson wrote:

    > 1. "Christian mechanics working with non-Christian
    > mechanics" don't call it "ministry" and aggressively
    > raise money from evangelical donors to support it. More
    > importantly, they don't try to make the case that it is
    > every Christian's duty to support their work financially
    > and make car-mechanic work one of our own personal
    > priorities.

    First, let me agree with you that ECBers should stop calling their work 'ministry'. It would probably make many people think that the work of ECB is some form of gospel ministry, which is misleading.

    However, I think this is a judgment call, and I won't insist on it. After all, Paul calls the state the _minister_ of God. Would you have a problem with calling government officials ministers of God, in some significant sense? Hmm, how did Tony Blair get his title anyway? ;-)

    Beyond this, you've noted several other differences between ECB and the examples of legitimate social cooperation I noted. I concede these differences. What, exactly, is their significance? In particular, how do they show that ECB is illegitimate while these other activities are not?

    All that to say, it doesn't look like your pt. 1 above has forwarded your argument in any significant respect.

    > 2. You, not me, applied my statements about Dobson's
    > "culture war" strategy to all forms of "evangelical
    > co-belligerence" and dragged Al Mohler's name into it
    > into it (while conveniently leaving Dobson's name out,
    > I noticed).

    First, the spirit of your parenthetical statement isn't true. I explicitly addressed your claims about Focus on the Family, at the end of my remarks.

    Second, you were the one who was initially speaking in generalities, namely, that certain forms of 'doctrinal compromise' happen in virtue of the fact that evangelicals cooperate with various kinds of theological compromisers in the context of political activism. Again, I'm interested in defending ECB in principle, and it sure looked to me like you were saying that, _in principle_, Christian political activism was an objectionable 'fad,' for various reasons. I was simply presenting Dr. Mohler as a counterexample to your more general claims.

    Third, I join you in deploring both Dobson's and Colson's attitude toward Rome. But again, I don't have to sign on to their theological compromise to join them in their political efforts. Again, you've given me no reason to think that there's a principled and _relevant_ distinction between this kind of cooperation, and the other kinds I've noted.

    > It was clever of you to defend what Al Mohler is doing,
    > because it's certainly easier to defend than Colson's or
    > Dobson's agendas, but in point of fact, I made no criticism
    > of (not even a reference to) Mohler.

    Let's get something straight. _If_ what Dr. Mohler is doing is legitimate, then it's legitimate for _anyone_ right? So the question you have to ask is: is it legitimate for Dr. Mohler to cooperate with the likes of Colson and Dobson, even if he disagrees with Dobson's and Colson's deplorable stance on the Christian status of Rome? If so, then why would it be illegitimate for _any evangelical_ to do the same? The _whole point_ of ECB is that people with _different_ and _conflicting_ theological positions (on the Trinity, on Rome, etc.) come together for the sake of pursuing change at the government level. So pointing out that some people involved in ECB have deplorable theological commitments doesn't seem too relevant to me. I deplore the theological views of the non-Christian health professional or car mechanic. That doesn't mean I can't cooperate with them in various endeavors.

    What, would you really say to someone, "It was clever of you to defend what Mr. Reformed sola fide car mechanic is doing, because it's certainly easier to defend than Mr. I'm-married-to-a-Roman-Catholic-and-I'm-so-wishy-washy car mechanic, or Mr. Let's-call-the-Pope-a-Christian car mechanic"? Why are the theological views of the non-Christian or compromising-Christian partners in ECB at all _relevant_ in judging the legitimacy of ECB? Is this not a conclusion in search of an argument? The question is _whether or not_ such mixed coalitions are legitimate. Just pointing out that the coalition is, indeed, mixed doesn't seem to do a whole lot in answering the question.

    So, I agree with your personal criticisms of Colson's and Dobson's stance on Roman Catholics. I just don't see what bearing those criticisms have on _ECB_. I _thought_ you were arguing that participation in ECB destroys evangelical distinctives. If so, Dr. Mohler is a clear counterexample to this.

    > 3. Morality is a spiritual issue.

    Yes, but this statement is so general, it's hard to see what relevance it has to ECB. For instance, "Morality is a spiritual issue, so since laws against murder don't solve the spiritual problem of murder, therefore Christians shouldn't seek to support laws against various forms of murder." Nope, that's a bad inference. Since I have little idea what you're trying to _infer_ from the above statement, it's hard for me to assess its significance. Sorry.

    > 4. Laws passed by a government not committed to the lordship
    > of Christ will never accomplish what is needed to reverse
    > moral decline in our society.

    Agreed. Relevance?

    > 5. I did _not_ "speculat[e] about what ECBers do or not do
    > with respect to their non-Christian friends." I observed
    > what _has_ happened in several evangelical ministries, and
    > what several evangelical leaders, starting with Colson,
    > have expressly advocated, and what Dobson practices in
    > his "ministry" (which is _not_ dentistry or brake-pad
    > replacement).

    Here's why I said what I said. You made a very _general_ claim. Here it is:

    >>> If your allies are Jewish and you hold back from declaring
    >>> the exclusivity of Christ in order to hold your coalition
    >>> together; or if your allies are Roman Catholic and you
    >>> carefully avoid any discussion of sola fide or sola
    >>> Scriptura—then you are sacrificing your distinctives for
    >>> a lesser cause than the proclamation of the gospel.

    Again, this is a very general claim: if you do X, Y, or Z, then you are "sacrificing your distinctives for a lesser cause than the proclamation of the gospel." I offered Dr. Mohler as someone concerning whom we have no reason to think the antecedent applies. If you _did_ have reason to think it applies, then you'd have to have access to his private letters or conversations, in which he "holds back" or "avoids any discussion" of the matters you mentioned.

    But OK, I'm sorry if I focused on him in a way that wasn't relevant. You wish to apply your statement to Colson and Dobson. I continue to hold that you actually have no reason to pin ECB-inspired compromise on them in particular, despite the facts you've shared. Here's why: what reason do you have to think that Colson and Dobson _used to think_ that Rome was an abomination of the devil, but _in order to pursue ECB_ they've changed their theological commitments, or held back on what they really believe? As it stands, I think that Colson and Dobson are being totally sincere in their theological convictions, erroneous as they are. They _do_ believe the things they say about "Romanism as authentic Christianity". So you haven't pointed to a case of "theological compromise" that results from ECB. For all you know. Colson and Dobson have held this view of Roman Catholics all along.

    What evidence do you have to support the notion that at one time, C&D rejected Romanists as apostate, and then at a later time decided to jump on the political activism bandwagon, and so as a result of that they _changed or modified their theological views_ in order to pursue that activism more effectively? If you can't supply such evidence, then you really haven't given us a case of "theological compromise," have you? You might as well say that the Roman Catholics involved in ECB are also theological compromisers. But they're not. Their theological views are _deficient_, just like those of C&D. But we already knew that. What relevance does this have to ECB?

    To summarize, while many theological deficient persons enter into ECB, this does not support the idea that ECB produces theological compromise.

    > But for now, I'll let you have the last word, if you
    > want to post once more. I have only one request: be brief
    > and succinct.

    Since I find it impossible to comply with such a request, in an adult conversation about significant issues that ought not to be trivialized, I've decided to post these comments here at Triablogue. You're free to interact with them if you'd like.

    > I don't see where you have refuted any point I was
    > making.

    Well, we certainly disagree on that one. As far as I can tell, I refuted your points about ECB destroying evangelical distinctives, your imputing of various nefarious motives to those involved in ECB, your claim about 'sacrificing' distinctives, the merits of your inclusion of ECB in a list of 'fads', and your confusion of Focus on the Family with gospel ministry. But again, we'll have to disagree, I guess.

    > You'd actually do better with me if you could stay with
    > the point I actually made, and stop arguing against what
    > Steve Camp posted on his blog two weeks ago. :-)

    Umm, you mean _continues to post about_, right? :-)

    Again, I've reviewed my remarks and I don't think there was anything irrelevant in them. I tried to cite you verbatim and then give a relevant response to each of your posted points. I don't believe I cited or even alluded to Mr. Camp's blog once.

    Again, I brought in Dr. Mohler, not because Mr. Camp posts against him specifically (although he does), but because I think Dr. Mohler provides a model of how anyone committed to sola fide, etc., should go about this. If that's the case, it's pretty irrelevant (to me, at least) that others along with him are compromisers.

  6. Phil Johnson writes:

    > Your line of argument isn't going to convince me, since
    > 1. I don't share your convictions about the continuance of
    > the OT civil law; and 2. I am not going to have time to
    > read a series of lengthy blogposts in the patented Purple-
    > Hays® style on that subject.

    Then I think you and Steve have reached a genuine impasse.

  7. Phil Johnson said:

    So if you could home in on the issue of political activism per se; and especially if you could show me where any of the apostles or early church leaders—or Jesus Himself—advocated or participated in the pursuit of strictly political remedies for the moral decline and persecution that affected the early church; or if you could demonstrate how the early church adapted the tactics of Jewish Zealotry for the cause of Christ, that might do it for me.

    Yeah. Yeah. What he said.


  8. Good to see you back in the game, Frank. You're always welcome to my Jack Daniels!