Sunday, February 06, 2011

Muzzling the word of God

Although I haven’t made a formal tally, it’s my impression that Darryl Hart and Steve Zrimec are the two most voluble proponents of 2k commenting at Green Baggins. A problem with the general level of the discussion is that it stays safely at a purely theoretical level. All very abstract.

So it’s useful to see how their 2k position plays out in practice. The business end of 2k. Let’s quote a few statements by Zrimec from his own blog.

The responses were varied and interesting and involved a lot of language about “caution and slippery slopes,” etc. But part of Hart’s response was to point out the crucial matter of jurisdiction. He made reference to his own OPC’s efforts in issuing statements on abortion. The church may and should really only make certain stipulations for those over whom she is ordained. The upshot here is that if a member of the church either has or performs such a procedure the idea would be that she or he could be subject to discipline, which got me thinking in another direction not necessarily intended by the discussion but one I have wondered about before.
The point of jurisdiction is absolutely crucial to any two-kingdom theology and is thus well taken. But while there is place for the matter of jurisdiction, I still have my own set of hesitations as to the wisdom of such official statements as those against abortion. Is what is going on in these formulations really about jurisdiction or a clever way to join in the fray of cultural influence?
Also, intermingling with more proper religious concerns, the statements against abortion co-exist with statements about women in combat and homosexuals in the military. Again, is there a plethora of homosexuals in the OPC who are demanding they be allowed to serve in the armed forces which needs to be beat back? Something tells me that there probably even less homosexuals railing for military rights in the OPC than there are religious women of means who have committed either fornication or adultery scattering left and right to obtain abortions. And if the reasoning for the abortion statement is to convey that discipline will result for those who participate, are we seriously to understand that any OPC females who fly fighter jets over Iraq will face the same sanction?
To be blunt, ecclesiastical statements against abortion seem more a way to circumvent the spirituality of the church than wisely govern one’s own. In every doctrine there is both a letter and spirit. Pastors may very well not be reading prescribed sermons from Operation Rescue or the Family Research Council, thereby innocent of not violating the letter of the law. But since the wisdom of such statements seems quite wanting, I can only conclude that these are creative ways to engage in the so-called culture wars without actually doing it.
You seem to be starting with the assumption that all killing is equal and no distinction can be made from an abortion to shoving people into ovens. Yes, I’d rather have my bank account drained than my daughter murdered because they are two very different things, but my ex vitro daughter murdered on the street at the hands of a thug is very different from my in vitro grand-daughter dying in clinic at the hands of my ex vitro daughter and her doctor.
But the basic effect of your argument is this: “do you want to side with baby-killers or not? If you disagree with me then you are making the world safe for nothing short of holocausting.” You start at decibel 10 and suggest that if someone claims the music is too loud he’s got a hearing problem and probably hates music.
And I’m not saying abortions aren’t happening in our midst, rather that I’m not sold they are happening at fantastic levels. I know your cause relies on the idea that it’s ubiquitous in every circle and by-passing certain realities that would suggest it’s higher in one place than in another (’cause we just gotta stop this thing). But this only seems to be an extension of the refusal to distinguish between kinds of killing.
I’m not sure what “exactly” the difference is. Maybe it’s the same one that causes most people to celebrate a birthday based upon the literal birthday and not the moment of conception? But it seems to me that if your assumptions are right then I should tell my two daughters, who just celebrated their 7th and 11th birthdays, they are really closer to 8 and 12? I suppose in some sense that’s true, but I’ll stick with conventional wisdom about all this.
As I have said to you elsewhere, the only way to justify the church speaking formally or informally to a political issue like abortion is to fudge on 2K or behave as if the last 35+ years of political history (i.e. Roe) hasn’t really happened. When you say the word “abortion” in 21st century America you are trafficking in politics, whether you like it or not. The rules don’t change just because one feels strongly about a certain issue. (In fact, one’s 2K mettle is actually tested. There are staunch pro-lifers–although I am not one of them–who are pretty staunch and consistent 2Kers, so it is quite possible.)
In a word, I don’t think you’re making much 2K sense at all when it comes to all this abortion business. It’s not wise, but “legalizing murder” is a spiritual issue, the OPC should never have spoken on abortion, yet the Bible speaks to it. I can’t tell if you’re coming or going.


  1. So it’s useful to see how their 2k position plays out in practice.

    R2K plays out very badly under Zrim.

  2. Fascinating piece.

    The overall point of how the Word speaks into our lives and governs/directs us is worthy of much consideration.