Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Gospel According to St. Campi

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What Every Evangelical Co-Belligerents Should Be Doing
...and then some

The "C-Bees," as they are now being referred to, don't know what to do with me and other biblical pro-church; pro-gospel; pro-preaching of God's Word; pro-living out your faith, pro-trusting in the Sovereignty of God when it comes to governmental authority, and pro-love thy neighbor Christians these days.
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It would be preferable if Mr. Camp were to scale back the spiritual pride and self-congratulatory back-patting. “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Prov 27:2, ESV).

For someone who likes to quote 2 Cor 4:5, Camp seems to be preaching himself these days. “Hey, look at me. I’m so biblical, pro-church, pro-gospel, pro-preaching God’s word, pro-living out my faith, pro-trusting in God, pro-neighbor love.”

BTW, who supplies the point of contrast here? Is Mr. Camp charging that men like the Rev. Dr. Mohler or the Rev. Dr. Lamb are unscriptural, anti-church, anti-gospel, anti-preaching God’s word, anti-living out your faith, anti-divine sovereignty, anti-neighbor love?

And while we’re on the subject, in what sense is Camp especially pro-church? Isn’t CampOnThis a classic example of a parachurch ministry? I know plenty of Christians who regard parachurch ministry as anti-church.

In addition, if Camp seriously thinks that the C-Bees are infringing on divine sovereignty, then he clearly has a fatally compromised notion of divine sovereignty. Is God hamstrung by the actions of the C-Bees? Have they succeeded in thwarting his will?

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Some want to adopt the ever dying-out, irrelevant, and "screaming for a voice" Theonomy/Reconstructionist view (I think I saw three of them the other day singing on a street corner in downtown Nashville, "We Are the Champions of the World" holding up signs chanting, "postmillennialism rules!").
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Notice, once again, how he substitutes a label for an argument (“theonomy/reconstructionism”).

When men don’t use arguments, it’s because they don’t have arguments.

Actually, Camp’s position amounts to an eccentric Anabaptist or fundamentalist version of postmillennialism. If you just keep on preaching the gospel and do nothing else, that will pan into a golden age in which everyone is regenerate, which is the true solution to all our social-ills.

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And others, thinking if they can get their kind of judges and congressional leaders elected/reelected the course of moral decline will be reversed in our nation.
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Perhaps Mr. Camp would like to back up this charge with some direct quotes.

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Whatever extreme you might find yourself, one thing is for certain, I haven't seen people get their dire up like this in a long time over political issues. I understand their angst, for ECBers are emotionally charged, politically motivated, but desperately trying to find a Scriptural foundation for their existence and efforts. The problem is... none exists. They are deafening silent when it comes to "Biblical Belligerence" (BB's).
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Now Mr. Camp indulges in mind-reading. Maybe he should change the name of his blog from CampOnThis to Dial-a-Psychic.

BTW, do we really need to indulge in mind-reading to divine what the motives of a Christian child psychologist and pediatrician like Dr. Dobson might be?

Perhaps if Mr. Camp spent less time belittling men like Mohler and Land and Dobson and spent some time interviewing victims of child rape or kiddy porn, he wouldn’t be quite so flip about their efforts.

Again, he keeps charging them with “desperately trying to find a Scriptural foundation for their existence and efforts.” Surely he’s in a position to question the Rev. Dr. Land or the Rev. Dr. Mohler directly. Has he ever done so? How did they answer?

If he has never asked them to their face, although I assume that he has the connections to do so, then what right does he have to smear them?

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I can honestly say, to all of those who are on the opposite side of the biblical fence on this issue, if these "Justice Sunday" little gatherings were to have a biblical objective of informing the body of Christ across our land on the following I would be affirming you and not challenging your quest for cultural relevance and change.
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If Mr. Camp is so concerned with elementary honesty, why doesn’t he have an honest conversation with the Rev. Dr. Land and the Rev. Dr. Mohler?

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Here is my ECB olive-branch:

1.) define and explain the role of government, Scripturally;

2.) define and explain the role of the church, Scripturally;

3.) define and explain the role of the individual believer and the role of the church in a pagan society and to government, Scripturally;

4.) define and explain civil obedience, Scripturally;

5.) define and explain civil disobedience, Scripturally (how we are to engage society and/or government when we disagree with its practices and moorings)

6.) define and explain the key issues facing our culture from a biblical worldview, Scripturally;

7.) define and explain why the body of Christ should be praying for our government officials in those matters, Scripturally; and then lead them in a time of collective prayer;

8.) define and explain ways in which we can bring the gospel into that arena so that we can fulfill the Lord's clear command for the church in the Great Commission, Scripturally;

9.) define and explain how God's sovereignty and man's responsibility, as regenerated beings in Christ through the Holy Spirit, practically unfold itself in this arena, Scripturally;

10.) and lastly, define and explain what kind of actions as citizens of this earth, upholding the laws of the land, but yet faithful first and foremost to the Lord and His Word, can practically engage themselves in these issues without compromising their testimony, the gospel, or the standard of God's Word? Scripturally.
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I have an even better idea. Suppose we hold Mr. Camp to his own doctrinal standards. He calls himself a Reformed Baptist. At his blog he has a link to the LBCF (1689).

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Chapter 19: Of the Law of God

1. God gave to Adam a law of universal obedience written in his heart…

2. The same law that was first written in the heart of man continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness after the fall, and was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables, the four first containing our duty towards God, and the other six, our duty to man.

3.Besides this law, commonly called moral…

5. The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it; neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.

Chapter 24: Of the Civil Magistrate

1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and to this end hath armed them with the power of the sword, for defence and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers.

2. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called there unto; in the management whereof, as they ought especially to maintain justice and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each kingdom and commonwealth, so for that end they may lawfully now, under the New Testament wage war upon just and necessary occasions.
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Just compare the above with the following statement by Steve Camp and ask yourself whose position is out of step here— Dr. Mohler’s, or Mr. Camp’s?

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Where ECB comes in (a term I coined) is that they are trying to fight spiritual battles with carnal weaponry (2 Cor. 10:1-4). Abortion, Gay marriage, etc. are not political problems, but are issues of the heart and are spiritual ones. They need the gospel; not legislation.

We don't have the right biblically to go around holding unsaved people to that same standard (1 Cor. 5; Rom. 6:20) as they do in many of their writings and radio broadcasts (Being constantly critical of non-believers for living like non-believers.)
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Moving on:

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If the C-Bees purpose and practice for gathering were anything resembling the above, I would support them. But with one important exception clause: we would still need to work through the unbiblical practice of co-belligerence (making allies in the cultural wars with nonbelievers violating 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1) that they currently and naively embrace.
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Anyone can quote Scripture. T.D. Jakes, Brian McLaren, Benny Hinn, and Benedict XVI can all quote Scripture. It’s one thing to quote Scripture, quite another to understand what it means.

Camp is fond of citing 2 Cor 6:14-7:1. But where’s the exegesis?

There are two basic interpretive issues in this passage of Scripture, centering on v14--since the rest is epexegetical: (i) who are the “unbelievers,” and (ii) what does it mean to be unequally “yoked”?

In answer to the first question, this is what a couple of the major commentators have to say:

***QUOTE***

Historically, the meaning of “unbelievers” has often been taken as a call for separation of Christian from Christian…On this interpretation, “unbelievers” are seen as false believers, apostates…But nothing in the passage suggests that “unbelievers” are false believers are false believers; the OT quotations are used in a way analogous to the call for Israel’s separation from the idolatry of Babylon. Care must be taken not to press the exegesis of these OT citations beyond their original intention.
Rather, the meaning of “unbelievers” must be determined by other uses of that word where it chiefly occurs, namely, within Paul’s two Corinthian letters. Such uses make it clear that “unbelievers” are unconverted Gentiles.

P. Barnett, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Eerdmans 1997), 344-45.

The option which makes the most sense in the context understands the apistoi to be non-Christians. Paul uses the word consistently in the Corinthian correspondence to refer to outsiders (see 1 Cor 6:6; 7:12-15; 10:27; 14:22-24; 2 Cor 4:4). The references to idols, the terms associated with separation from foreign gods, and the sharp antitheses that permit no compromise all indicate that “unbelievers” do not refer to false brothers who claim allegiance to Christ, however misguided, but to non-Christians who espouse values, beliefs, and practices that are antithetical to the Christian faith. The “unbelievers” are therefore the “unconverted Gentiles.”

D. Garland, 2 Corinthians (Broadman 1999), 332.

***END-QUOTE***

In answer to the second question, W. J. Webb offers no fewer than eight different possible interpretations. Cf. Returning Home: New Covenant and Second Exodus as the context for 2 Cor 6:14-7:1 (JSOT 1993), 203-12.

Not surprisingly, Thrall concludes that the reference is “unspecific” (ICC 1994, 473) while Harris says that “we must remain uncertain” (NIGTC 2005, 501).

Among the possibilities, Harris proposes the following:

***QUOTE***

Paul may be calling the Corinthians believers to withdraw from “the cultic life of the city” in general, or, more specifically, from any participation in pagan religious practices or ceremonies associated with local temples or cults. Either way, he would be demanding withdrawal from (at least) membership in local pagan cults and attendance at the lavish banquets held in temples under the auspices of a god. But the entreaty may be broader…Examples would include the contracting of mixed marriages and initiating litigation before unbelievers in cases involving believers.

Ibid. 501.

***END-QUOTE***

Garland’s interpretation is similar. Cf. Ibid. 333. So, based on what the major commentators have to say, Camp has simply misappropriated the text.

Let us also keep in mind that any valid interpretation of 2 Cor 6:14-7:1 needs to be consistent with 1 Cor 5:9-11.

And let us hope that Mr. Camp can do better than quote a footnote from a popular study Bible.

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Read the Apostle Peter's instruction to the dispersed and persecuted under Nero's ruthless reign. They didn't picket; they didn't boycott; they didn't lead protests or petition drives. They didn't using politics to solve the moral ills of our nation, partnering with nonbelievers, and letting Romanists, who deny sola fide, share time behind the "sacred desk" in Bible believing Baptist churches on the Lord's Day because they're against the demise of family values. And they didn't make family values a cultural moral cause. They evangelized (Titus 3:1-8)!
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Observe, once again, that Camp is simply assuming, without benefit of argument, that 1 Peter was written during or after the Neronian persecution. But as one scholar says:

***QUOTE***

There are good grounds for thinking that Peter would have mentioned the Neronian persecution if it had started, so that he could remind believers in Asia Minor of the intensity of suffering experienced by roman Christians. Therefore I would date the letter around AD 62-63 before the onset of the Neronian persecution.

T. Schreiner, 1,2 Peter, Jude (Broadman 2003), 36-37.

***END-QUOTE***

Speaking for myself, I’ve never had much respect for Christians who pay lip-service to the authority of Scripture, but don’t bother to do serious exegesis. Their token deference to the authority of Scripture is an empty show unless they care enough to crack the books and found out what it really means. But that’s just me.

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