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Christian Ethics Have Been Abstracted

The abstraction of Christian ethics

I would like to expose a problem. It’s been germinating in the Church since the election of Donald Trump. Unfortunately, it’s one that’s been en vogue for pastors to contribute. Namely, the problem is the rejection of the reality of the Christian way of life for the empty substitute of neo-Puritan, neo-Platonic ideology. The Kavanaugh hearing has revealed that Christian ethics have been abstracted.

For a while, there has been the idea that Christianity needs to divorce itself from traditionalism, conservativism, and any political position that resembles these things. Beginning in metropolitan churches where America looks different than it does in rural America, it has become ‘cool’ to rub elbows with baby killing, marriage destroying, Marxists who demand that traditional Americans surrender the entire culture. I’m not talking about mainline denomination pastors. I’m talking about those who would confess that they hold to the Fundamentals of the Faith.

Who’s to blame?

Now, I have become acutely aware of the danger of making broad based claims and speaking in general. So as not to offend allof my Reformed friends, I’ll limit my specifics to one man…Russell Moore. This disciple of dissention, propagator of progress, has been integral in changing the landscape of what it means to be Evangelical. Besides blocking me on Twitter instead of answering my question, Moore has ironically used the ethics division (ERLC) of the SBA to remove ethics from theology. Let me explain.

How big a boy is ethics, anyway?

Ethics are those things logically derived from what is right, morality. The Dictionary of Theological Terms quotes Cornelius Van Til, ““All ethics then deals with these three questions: (a) What is the motive for human action? (b) What is the standard of human action? (c) What is the end or purpose of human action?”[1]The same book defines Christian Ethics: Christian ethics may be defined as a branch of theological science that seeks to establish moral behaviour on the basis of revealed religion, or more particularly, of covenant grace and of faith in Christ. It is the government of moral decision and action by the revelation of God’s person, attributes, and will in Scripture. It particularly focuses on the Creator-creature relationship and on the requirements and implications of God’s law and gospel.[2]What do ethics do?

Ethics guide us in our daily decisions. Ethics doesn’t replace the virtue of prudence, but it goes hand in hand with it. We also use ethics to make bigger decisions. The way we vote, legislation we promote, and governmental principles are a product of ethics. For Christians, these are a product of our understanding of God’s Law and his grace.

Most of our judicial system is based on Christian ethics. The rights to face an accuser, have a speedy trial, presumption of innocence, and preponderance of evidence are based on biblical principles. Furthermore, the right to bear arms, private property, and free speech and assembly are all foundational principles derived from Christian doctrine.

Their Kavanaugh Conundrum

The Judicial Committee hearings on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation should be a wakeup call to us. We are losing more than just the right to own machine guns and defend Confederate statues. The very idea behind the hearing and the presumptions that undergird it are a signal that foundational building blocks are cracking. It turns out, arguments do matter. They have consequences!

We have recently watched the breakdown of American ethics. The foundational principles of the Constitution, much of our legislation, and our elections are based on Christian ethics. They are Lockean principles derived from God’s law and his grace. One of those foundational principles is the understanding of presumption of innocence. We have seen those on the left attempt to destroy that principle this week and although he hasn’t necessarily supported this specific turn, Russell Moore has implicitly participated in the logical outcome by asserting that we (traditional Christians) ought to separate ourselves from conservative politics.

Here are some examples of Moore’s illogic…

“I hold my Second Amendment views for different reasons and with different conviction than I hold my First or Second Commandment views. My views on the issue are informed, I hope, by my conscience as a Christian, which is to be shaped by Scripture and the church. But it is not a “Thus saith the Lord” command with the authority of scripture.”

“If you call people to repentance for drunkenness, or for adultery, or for any number of personal sins, but you don’t say anything about slaveholding or about lynching,” he says, “you’re just baptizing the status quo.” 

This is a gospel issue. First of all, our Lord Jesus himself was a so-called “illegal immigrant.”

The plethora of platitudes

There are thousands more quotes like these that litter Moore’s (and his progressive compatriot’s) ethical ethos in which all I can say is “bless his heart”.

Of course, the Second Amendment isn’t in the Bible. Who says it is? But, the principle behind it is. God gives life. Our duty is to protect it, even if it is ours!

Is there any pastor out there preaching that slavery and lynching are biblical? Of course not. Moore loves to deflect onto his golden calf (dead horse) so he can win points with progressives.

Jesus was never an illegal immigrant! To be so, he would’ve had to break the law. Thus the term “illegal”! Duh… He never broke the law. He never sinned. Ole Russ’s rhetoric is heretic.

Get to it!

This is only an example of the spin coming out of progressive Evangelical circles. It’s eating away at important founding principles derived from Christian ethics, the kind of things that lead to anarchy and chaos…not a new heaven or new earth. Don’t let them tell you that anymore!

Here’s my point. If you hear someone say that we (Christians) ought not be so excited about traditional or foundational principles, ask that person where in the Bible they get that? They’ll go on about “it’s a gospel issue” or something and you can then point to the disintegration of Western (synonym for Christian) Civilization. Blame Russell Moore and move on. In short, ignore them.

Better yet, challenge them. Ask about Kavanaugh. Why does your leadership think people won’t presume his innocence? Question where we get that idea? Ask if it’s biblical? Ask if we ought to promote (politically) these kinds of principles? I promise, it’ll make for a good Sunday School. It may not make America great again, but it’ll make a better church.

[1]Cairns, Alan

2002

Dictionary of Theological Terms. Belfast; Greenville, SC: Ambassador Emerald International.

[2]Cairns, Alan

2002

Dictionary of Theological Terms. Belfast; Greenville, SC: Ambassador Emerald International.

Donnie
I was born in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, born again at a very young age, married a beautiful and likeminded woman, moved to Tennessee, and raised two children in the Southern traditions of loving God and neighbor, exercising manners, and being stewards of the land and its bounty. After becoming involved in youth ministry in our local church, the need of teaching people "what they believe and why they believe it" became painfully apparent, especially in my immediate context (rural Southern churches). We began an apologetics/theology ministry there but have since moved on. After serving in church leadership and being called to faithfulness and duty to protect our congregation from a rogue pastor under church discipline of his previous church, my experiences in this biblical process shape much of what I believe about how churches in the South have become weak and why nominal Christianity is prevalent. I love the Church and Southern culture so you can expect to read about apologetics and theology as well as church and culture here, written southern style, by the grace of God. Deo Vindice
http://www.southernbyhisgrace.com

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