Tuesday, April 27, 2004

An open letter to Mort Kondracke

Dear Mr. Kondracke,

I heard you today (8/9/03) on the Beltway Boys sticking up for elevation of Gene Robinson to the episcopate on the grounds that the Church has changed her interpretation on other issues, such as slavery and holy war. There are several things amiss with this appeal:

1. This is a standard tactic. A liberal finds something in the Bible that the average churchgoer is uncomfortable with or confused over or disagrees with. He then uses this as a wedge to drive through his own pet cause. There are two things wrong with this ploy:

i) Even if the Church or churchgoer were inconsistent in this respect, a point of inconsistency can be relieved in either of two opposing directions. One can become more consistently unscriptural, or one can become more consistently scriptural.

ii) Tearing down the Bible to justify a homosexual bishop is an act of logical as well as theological suicide. The only reason for having a Christian ministry in the first place is if we believe that the Christian church is a divine institution, and the only reason for believing the Church to be a divine institution is if we believe in the witness of Scripture to the foundation of the Church. But if you're going to deny the divine inspiration of Scripture, then the logical consequence is not the expansion of the Christian ministry to include women or homosexuals, but the abolition of the Christian ministry.

As to your two specific counterexamples:

1. How is the issue of holy war an issue of interpretation? You indicated that, according to the OT, the Israelites were commanded to execute the Canaanites. So you yourself are taking these commands quite literally. You are endorsing the traditional interpretation.

2. The reason Christians don't wage holy war in the OT sense is not that we have reinterpreted the OT. Rather, the reason is quite obvious. The OT gave the Israelites specific orders to execute the Canaanites. But the NT does not give Christians any specific orders to do likewise. It's as simple as that.

OT Jews did what they did because they were told to do it; Christians don't do the same thing because we were never told to do the same thing. It has nothing to do with reinterpreting the Bible.

3. As to slavery, what else should St. Paul have said under the circumstances? Do you think he should have told Christian slaves to follow the example of Spartacus and foment a violent and futile revolt against the Roman authorities? Remember what happened? Spartacus and his followers were all crucified by the Roman army. Is that Mort Koncracke's brilliant alternative?

Paul instead offers a bit of practical advice. If you can buy your freedom, do so; but if you can't, this life is not all there is—so make the best of your situation (1 Cor 7:20-24).

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