Sunday, July 14, 2013

Impressions from My Visit with ELDoNA at their 2013 Colloquium and Synod – PART V.5 (FINAL)

(Continued from PART V.4)

This is the final installment of my Impressions from My Visit with ELDoNA at their 2013 Colloquium and Synod. It requires a bit of an auto-biographical preamble before getting to the two remaining reviews.

Born and raised in a Christian home, with what I would say was an essentially sound Christian training, including six years of Christian day-school, I finally graduated from a public high-school, and was released to the world (many readers may be interested to know, as I was happy to learn nearly twenty years after the fact, that my high-school principal was a WELS man. Principal John Wyatt. He left a couple years after I graduated to become either a Principal or Superintendent of another school, in the La Crosse, WI, area, I think. It may have been a private school, but I don't remember knowing for sure).

After graduation, my mother wanted me to go to a Lutheran Bible school before going to college, and to set my sights on becoming a paster. There are many missionaries and pastors on her side of the family, and she had worked for Lutheran Bible Institute (LBI) in Golden Valley, MN, before it had converted to a Junior College in the late 1960's. The only Lutheran Bible school left in the country when I graduated high-school (and today, I believe), was the Association Free Lutheran Bible School (AFLBS), in Medicine Lake, MN. I wanted to go, too. I knew that, before going into the world (“before being returned to the parish to assist in the ministry of the congregation,” as Augsburg Seminary Professors Sverdrup and Oftedahl put it in their congregation-centric theory of Christian Education – yes, there were lots of other Lutherans in America during the 19th Century, other than General Synod, Norwegian Synod, and various German Lutherans), two years of studying only the Bible would be an invaluable capstone to my secondary education experience. But I was also interested in science. And philosophy. And law. I thought about it, and gave serious consideration to my mother's advice and wishes. But decided to go to University, instead. I was not prepared.

Even though I knew Whose side I was on, for nearly the first four years of University (at which I spent ten-and-a-half years through the 1990's – eight years of full course-load including all but one summer, plus another full year of teaching practicum), I literally played the part of the lone soldier, separated from his unit, trying to survive on his own in enemy territory. Though I had also become aware that there were other Christians around, I wasn't so much looking for them as I was looking out for the enemy. Over time, as I lurked in the shadows, I discovered the various places where the enemy had encamped itself, and became very familiar with the fires around which they congregated – the light of which became ever more alluring over time. An episode of galvanizing personal crisis, however, jolted me out of this frame of mind, and I quickly came to realize that it was not enough to be a Christian who is secure in his “faith” if that also means that he remain secure in his “silence.” If there is a lion prowling in the bushes, you have to warn people. When a bear attacks, you must face him – both for your own sake and for the sake of those around you.

Having this conviction, it is nevertheless true, a lone soldier cannot face a machine-gun nest on his own: without comrades, it is most assuredly an act of permanent sacrifice having no benefit. There is no sense in casting one's pearls before swine, especially if it also means getting trampled and devoured by them. So I set out to find comrades, who would fight beside me; and it didn't take me long. What I discovered was that, far from being alone, God had placed me in the midst of Christians – I had found the enemy, but completely looked past my allies. They were all around me, both professors and fellow students, in the sciences and in the humanities. And many of them had organized already. The pentecostals had their own organization. So did the Catholics. There was a Lutheran organization on campus that sequestered itself from everyone else – I didn't even know who they were, just that it apparently existed. The local, liberal, LCMS congregation had some kind of college youth thing going on, but the conservative Lutherans (as I later found out) were to be found at the top of the Evangelical organization I had found – InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). It was a nothing-group a few years prior, with only a handful of people associated with it, when a young well-catechized Missouri Synod man from Minnesota became involved; he was selected to lead the group. He did so, as if by instinct insisting that Scripture, and only Scripture, be the foundation of the Chapter's study and efforts on campus, and with men taking the helm of the organization. Within a couple years, it had grown to a weekly attendance of nearly 100 students, with over sixty or so meeting in smaller groups through the week to study the Scriptures together. Yes, I know, “Pietists!!! Cell Groups!!!! Eeeek!!!” – but there weren't any Pastors. And, as it turns out, this is probably a good thing.

You see, pastors, as shepherds, are usually not interested in teaching their sheep how to fight wolves, but, if anything, how to avoid them and run from them. But that was not at all our reality. Our reality on a secular college campus was that we were encircled by snarling wolves each and every day – and this just isn't the challenge of dealing with immorality, but dealing with seriously heavy and damaging ideas. The problem for us, and for most Christians, is that from childhood onward, if we were taught anything at all, we were taught to use our Swords to parry an attack just long enough to allow us to escape with our faith intact. Worse, most Christian college freshmen were fresh out of pizza-party youth groups that served as little more than dating clubs. But parry-and-run was not an option for us – the attackers, bent on the full defeat of Christianity, would continue to advance on us in pursuit of total victory. We needed to know how to stop the attack, and put the enemy on the defense. We needed to know how to use our Swords to parry-and-lunge. But there was no one, really, to teach us how. So, we taught ourselves.

There were two problems. FIRST, most young adults entering college were totally unequipped to think about their faith in complex or abstract terms – in the same types of terms in which they were absorbing ideas from their college professors, textbooks and other coursework. This was a language problem – and it included students who were raised in conservative Christian homes, who studied their Bibles on a regular basis. They certainly had the raw ability to think about their faith in such terms – they just had no training or practice. But not everyone was so ill-equipped. There was one major difference between those of us who were practiced at thinking about our faith in complex or abstract terms, and those who were not: for the most part, we had been reared on Bibles having a faithfully complex grammar and vocabulary.


I was a little boy when my father started teaching me how to shoot. He refused to put a “child's gun” in my hands: “A gun is a man's tool. It is not a cute child's toy, but a tool that requires the utmost responsibility, a man's responsibility, to use safely and effectively.” He put a man's shotgun in my hands, never allowing me to think of a gun as anything other than something for adults. It was heavy, at first. I could hardly hold it up, and when I fired it I entirely missed, and my shoulder hurt. But over time, with practice and maturity, I grew into it. By the time I had entered adulthood, I was proficient in its use, ready to independently take on the adult responsibilities that go along with the use of a tool meant for a grown man. It was never a toy in my mind, it was always very serious business. The same was true of my Bible. When I became a proficient reader, I was given an adult's Bible – the NASB. It was too big for me. Too heavy. I didn't know how to use it right. But with practice and maturity, I grew into it, and by the time I had entered adulthood I was proficient in its use. I was able to reason alongside the author as he developed his point, and, understanding a given teaching from the standpoint of the various nuances that went into its development (many of which are grammatical), I was able to apply it, or aspects of it, to challenges that faced me, and to use the form of reasoning taught me by the inspired authors to engage in more complex patterns of thought on my own. My parents, in choosing to put an adult Bible in my hands, preserved me from a lifetime of Christian pedologia. The majority of Christians I met while at college (and since) have not been spared this fate.


That was the case with most of us who were practiced at thinking about our faith in complex or abstract terms. Most used the NASB or the NKJV, some used the RSV, and only a couple still used the KJV. But many of us knew that when someone showed up to Bible study with an NIV or with a Living Bible, they were much more likely to struggle with Biblical concepts, and were going to have greater difficulty using their Bibles to respond to the complex challenges hurled at them by the secular World that surrounded us. This was because, reading the NIV or the Living Bible, they never had the opportunity to struggle through the text to understand the nuanced teachings of Scripture – they had no practice at it; they had never learned to follow the complex reasoning of the inspired authors, and to think alongside them. All that the text offered was simplistic prose, stripped of nuance, reduced for readers of the sixth grade level. Let me tell you, there isn't a single translation of Hegel, Marx, Darwin, Kant, Hume, Descartes or any of the other great thinkers of World history, that has been reduced for a sixth grade reader! And when a college student sets his NIV or Living Bible next to one of these authors, or even next to one of his recently published textbooks – which also aren't rendered for sixth graders! – he sees that his Bible is just what his classmates and professors tell him it is: a book of children's stories invented to scare people into submission. Bibles like the NIV or the Living Bible certainly aren't a books for adults – not like the books they are reading in college, which, instead of the Bible, are the books that are teaching them to think and reason for the first time.

And so this is the problem with equipping children with children's Bibles, instead of adult Bibles. I know. I witnessed it. I was there. For over ten years. When the enemy is swinging a two-handed Claymore over your head, you better have something more substantial than a butter knife to parry it with! If you don't, you are left with two alternatives: (a) surrender, or (b) turn tail and run. And the NIV, along with the Living Bible, has – in the heat of battle when it really counts – shown itself to be little more than a butter knife. I was never so thankful for having been trained in my faith, from childhood, using an adult Bible, than when I was in college and had to use it to combat complex false ideas and defend the simple truth. I even tried using the NIV for awhile in college, but threw it away fearing that my mind would get flabby from using it. Many fellow students switched to adult-grade Bibles, too – mostly on their own, after studying their Bibles, but we did have a couple of Bible study methods that I think provided some indirect encouragement toward that decision, as well.

The SECOND problem was that we had little exposure to the ideas we were forced to deal with. True, many had factoid defenses against Evolution, but we were not prepared for the deluge of ideas which militated against the Christian faith. This left many college students vulnerable to the element of surprise – a new idea, new information, a new way of thinking thrust upon them, left them stymied and, for the brief period it took them to figure it out, left them vulnerable. I was a little older than most of the other students involved, and, as I mentioned had spied out the enemy encampments. I had a good idea of what was there, and a basic idea of where defensible ground lie in relation to them – which was helpful as far as that went – but I did not really have a thorough grasp of the enemy himself. And I knew that, too.


As anyone trained in martial arts can tell you – as anyone who has even briefly studied military history can tell you – the vulnerability created by the element of surprise is devastating. Generally, at least in a martial arts scenario, the rule of thumb is to tactically retreat, or back out, as swiftly as possible, though without completely disengaging, to give oneself a little more time to figure out what his opponent is up to, and to give his opponent more time to reveal it. In public debate, however, this is not always practical – the verbal combat is not merely personal, the outcome impacts everyone present, and establishes their regard for the merits of each argument.

But there is more to it than move and counter move, or in debate, idea versus counter idea. In physical combat, there is a physical language spoken between opponents, that both have been trained to understand, which indicates the intention of one to the other. Both know the language, and use it to convince the other of his false intentions, to fool his opponent and take advantage of the vulnerability it creates; each knows this and seeks to convince the other that he has been fooled by his opponent's false intentions, in order that such would create a vulnerability in his opponent; both know this, as well. Thus, the language spoken in the heat of physical combat is an exchange of lies, until the final blow.


One would hope that conflict – i.e., debate – between Christians would be completely honest, as both parties earnestly seek the truth, together. But when a Christian meets an unbeliever in debate, what is he to expect? That his opponent will maneuver for superior position through deceit. Does this mean that the Christian ought to do the same? No. Rather, never deceitful, he must simply be twice the warrior that his opponent is. He must understand the parler of ideas well enough to see when his opponent is being dishonest, and through honesty outmaneuver him. He must be twice as knowledgeable as his opponent in secular wisdom and in Biblical Truth, and not only expose the falsehoods of his opponent and vaunt the Truth, but drive the issue back to a positive preachment of the Gospel. It is these very challenges which have driven Christians to the heights of academic and cultural achievement through the ages.

Christian college students on today's secular campuses, if they are going to stand firm and defend their faith at all, must be prepared for the reality that they will work two to three times as hard as their unregenerate peers, that they will thus learn five times as much, but at best only get three-quarters the grade that the top-performing parrots in the class will attain. That is what we did. Using the ideas we were confronted with as a starting point, we collaborated and began to research in our spare time. One of the first books I remember studying with a couple close friends of mine was John Whitehead's Religious Apartheid. A second was Hank Hanegraaff's Christianity in Crisis. Others of us began to look into the writings of Rev. Dr. Francis Schaeffer, others still Rev. Dr. John Warwick Montgomery and Dr. Os Guinness. Not all of us studied all of these eminent Christians, but they all became familiar names to us as we shared, here and there, what we had been learning. It became apparent to us that in order to understand the challenges we were currently facing in academia and in society, we had to come to grips with the forces that had formed them over time. The big three that emerged from our collaboration were the 19th Century figures, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, and Friedrich Nietzsche. And so, in addition to our coursework and Bible studies, we investigated The Big Three.

As we studied Karl Marx (and his associate, Frederick Engels), we realized that his theories spanned political, social and economic spectra, that he was responding to a context in which he found himself. Investigating that context, at least as far as we were concerned, as Americans, meant not only taking in the Federalist Papers, but also the writings of de toqueville, John Stuart Mill, Adam Smith and John Locke, each of which demonstrated a pattern of reasoning that was not hostile, but rather, depended upon the moral institutions of Christianity, and the legal and social institutions that descended from it. Marxist Communism, on the other hand, an economic, social and political philosophy planted on the foundations of Materialism, depended on an outright rejection of Christianity in not only its basic acknowledgement of Divine Reality, but in its historical claims and its moral teachings.

Understanding Charles Darwin, meant understanding the nature of the theories of Evolutionary science, today, and the true limitations of the scientific method, and the distinction between science, philosophy, theory, ideology and theology. In the former case, Philip Johnson's seminal works from the 1990's (which significantly undermined the ideological foundations of Evolutionary science and opened the door to the academic viability of alternate scientific theories, like Intelligent Design), Darwin on Trial and Reason in the Balance: The Case against Naturalism in Science, Law and Education were indispensable, along with Behe's Darwin's Black Box. But it also helped to realize that Darwin had a context, that he was responding to influences; and one of the prime influences of his time was Georg Hegel's progressivistic philosophy of Transcendental Idealism. Helping to becoming acquainted with the impact of Hegel, we also investigated the writings of the American transcendentalists – Thoreau, Emerson, Ripley, Hedge, Brownson, etc.

These authors were also eminently useful in coming to grips with the human transcendency of Friedrich Nietzsche (i.e., Zarathustra and the Ideal of the Übermenschen). But, these authors had a context, too. They were responding to prior ideas. And so we worked our way back through the Great Thinkers of Western Civilization – Hegel, Kant, Hume, Descartes, Anselm, Aquinas and Aristotle, Augustine and Plato – where finally we found ourselves, not just at the genesis of human thought, but also at the center of human history – that point in time to which all pre-history looked in anticipation, and to which the rest has looked back in confidence as its foundation: the incarnation, perfect life, innocent death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And so, from that point in time, we began to move forward, not through the Great Thinkers, but through the Great Events of history, understanding how not only ideas but events have formed the past, and have given our present the context that it has. In the process, we not only learned how ideas and events are connected, but how they are developed and learned, and specifically, the many elements and processes that have contributed to the development of particular ideas and movements of history. This equipped us in our defense of Christianity, to recognize when an opponent was beginning to move in one direction or another, toward one idea or another, and how to respond in a way that would recenter the discussion on the Truth of the Gospel. We didn't know it at first, because we really didn't know what we were doing, but there is a name for what we were doing: it is called Apologetics. It was the Apologetical/Evangelical use of God's Word, together, that equipped us to parry-and-lunge rather than parry-and-run, or just simply drop-and-run.

So, it is with this foregoing context that I found the two papers highlighted below, to be of exceptional value.

Rev. Dr. Kent Heimbigner:
Nietzsche on Christianity: A baptismally Informed Analysis

The paper delivered by Rev. Heimbigner, was his Ph.D. Dissertation, authored in 2003. Although I'd had a brief acquaintance with Nietzsche as I wrestled with him through the final decade of last century, my acquaintance was, relative to what I learned in this paper, minimal. I review it briefly, especially with reference to topics that have come up frequently in Intrepid Lutherans, particularly those concerning pop-culture, post-Modernism, Biblical hermeneutics and Bible translations.

Friedrich Nietzsche was raised a Lutheran, in a fatherless home, surrounded by women (his mother and sisters). At one point in the presentation, Rev. Heimbigner submitted that perhaps the smothering effeminacy with which Lutheranism was reinforced in his childhood home, was partly to blame for his fundamental disdain for Christianity, his rejection of even the concept of Truth, and his forceful advocacy of a “life affirming human freedom” which transcends the notions of “good” and “evil” and in their place embraces the whim of natural human impulse. He regarded Christianity as weak, as a system of slave morality, beyond which humanity must progress – into an “‘extra-moral’ epoch.” Rev. Heimbigner's suggestion seemed to have been a reasonable one.

Regarding Truth, Rev. Heimbigner uses the well-known event of Christ's trial and Pilate's cynical question, “What is truth?,” to draw the a stark contrast between the foundation of Christ's doctrine and Nietzsche's philosophy:
    “Jesus answered, ‘...for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’ ‘What is truth?’ Pilate asked...

    For Jesus and the religion He established, truth is the issue... For Pilate... truth is not the issue. Pilate's words... constitute a statement in question form rather than a genuine inquiry. Truth is irrelevant. Truth is something one uses, massages, manipulates, corrupts and falsifies in order to acquire and retain power...”
Nietzsche treats the same question:
    “[quoting Nietzsche, On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense, 1873] ‘What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms – in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and no matter only as metal, no longer as coins.’

    “...For Nietzsche, truth is not only irrelevant, it is a mere illusion.
But Truth is an illusion only because human language is too vulgar to express it. Rev. Heimbigner quotes Nietzsche thus:
    “‘Reason’ in language – oh, what an old deceptive female she is! I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar” (Twilight of the Idols: Or, How One Philosophizes with a Hammer [1888], “The Problem of Socrates,” pg. 5)

    “Our true experiences... could not communicate themselves even if they tried. That is because they lack the right word. Whatever we have words for, that we have already got beyond. In all talk there is a grain of contempt. Language, it seems, was invented only for what is average, medium, communicable. With language the speaker immediately vulgarizes himself. (Twilight of the Idols: Or, How One Philosophizes with a Hammer [1888], “Skirmishes of an Untimely Man,” pg. 26)
Thus, according to Nietzsche, human experiences are essentially not communicable, they are beyond communicable. But human experience is what constitutes human life. A “slave morality” is that system of morality, codified in human language, which restricts human experience to that which is communicable. Transcending, or moving beyond such a morality is to embrace one's full humanity, to freely live a “life-affirming” or “life-promoting” human life, to live according to a “master morality.”


Nietzsche, Marx, Darwin and America Today:
A Very Brief Look at the Tip of the Iceberg

And here we shall pause for a moment. It would be a mistake of dramatic proportion for the reader to think that the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche has no relation to the challenges faced by Christianity in our contemporary times. A blind fool can see the connection of such sentiments to the blissful, self-absorbed and entirely self-referential “spirituality” and intentional amorality of our times. This kind of Materialistic Experientialism (as I have been calling it, though the term “Epicureanism” may work just as well, as long as one understands by its use the later hedonistic terminus of Epicureanism, not the earlier, and idealistic ascetic variety) has become fundamental to secular notions of Human Rights. One can see in the connection of Nietzsche's amoral “master morality” a driving motivation behind the development of post-Modernism to liberate humanity from the tyranny of language (of which we have frequently written on this blog). Christians see the product of this motivation in the near continuous turnover of new Bible translations, as they are in a state of continuous amendment to accommodate changes in popular language patterns consistent with a Human Rights system that descends from a “life-affirming master morality” of indifferent self-gratification. Thus, even Christians are subtly called upon to be Übermenschen.

But it would be an equally monumental mistake to think that Nietzsche was alone in advancing such notions, or that philosophers and social critics alone are responsible for advocating them, that they have been freely and objectively accepted, that there has been no “program” responsible for moving them forward against the otherwise better judgment of society. The reality is, Human Rights systems informed by a morality of “Materialistic Experientialism” lie at the foundation of Communism and Socialism.

Last November, we ran a series of articles reprinting the lectures of Rev. Dr. Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther on the topic of Communism and Socialism. Many quietists ignored or dismissed them, I'm sure, but in so doing they also missed the moral foundation evident in nearly each one of the Communistic movements recounted by Walther in Lecture Two. The reader should take note of the fate of the family according to the Communistic theories recounted by Walther; indeed, he should take special note of the recurring Communistic institution of the Community of Wives. In that Lecture, the moral foundation of Communism was epitomized by the pre-Marxian French philosopher and communist, François Marie Charles Fourier, who Walther quotes as follows:
    Man's destiny is happiness. This he can attain only by harmoniously satisfying all his inclinations... Means are necessary to this end, wealth is accordingly the source of all happiness. Wealth is attained by means of labor. But in order that labor may produce happiness, an order of things must be introduced according to which all work together, and in such a manner that each one engages in the work in which he delights. In order that this may be accomplished, the individual must be persuaded to give his possessions into the hands of the society, for which he would then have a proportionate claim on the income of the whole; and these persons, thus united, will then also give up their separate homes, families, and training... They form clubs or phalanxes... consisting of 1800 to 2000 persons, who are collected in a large house, the phalanstery, where everyone finds work according to his inclination. (emphasis mine)
What we find here is a social and political order in which a Christian could not be a participant – a society founded upon self-gratification as the primary ordering principle, with self-gratification as a fundamental Human Right to which each member of society is guaranteed equal access, at the cost of his neighbor. For in Fourier's words, we find that:
  1. Happiness is attained only through gratification,
  2. Gratification requires wealth,
  3. The equal pursuit of gratification requires equal distribution of wealth,
  4. To equalize maximum access to gratifying experiences, possessions, because they are wealth, become the property of society, including:
    1. a person's home
    2. a person's family
    3. a person's education
  5. Thus
    1. the institution of marriage is abolished,
    2. family is abolished
    3. children become an asset of the state.
  6. Meanwhile, each individual is expected to entirely dissipate his share of public wealth on his own sensual gratification, in the satisfaction of all his inclinations.
Marx and Engels, continued the tradition of wedding Materialism and Experientialism in the development of their social, political and economic theory of Marxism, heralding Materialism by name in the face of the claims of Christianity, defining individuality and social existence as the foundation of human conscience, regarding the unequal distribution of wealth as a violation of Human Rights and thus abolishing the private ownership of property and subjecting earnings to heavy taxation, and undermining the fundamental role of the family in the ordering of society by abolishing the natural rights of inheritance:
    “Has God made the world or is this world from eternity? As this question was answered this way or that the philosophers were divided into two great camps. The one party which placed the origin of the spirit before that of nature, and therefore in the last instance accepted creation in some form or other... made the camp of idealism. The others, who recognized nature as the source, belong to the various schools of materialism. Then came Fuerbach's “Wesen des Christenthums.” With one blow it cut the contradiction, in that it placed materialism on the throne again without any circumlocution. Nature exists independently of all philosophies. It is the foundation upon which we, ourselves products of nature, are built. Outside man and nature nothing exists, and the higher beings which our religious phantasies have created are only the fantastic reflections of our individuality.” (Engels, Fuerbach, The Roots of the Socialist Philosophy, quoted in Simon Greenleaf Law Review, Vol. III. J.W. Montgomery, “The Marxist Approach to Human Rights: Analysis and Review”, pp. 20-21 [emphasis mine])

    Just as Darwin discovered the law of evolution in organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of evolution in human history; he discovered the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat and drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, religion, art, etc.; and that therefore the production of the immediate material means of subsistence and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch, form the foundation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, the art and even the religious ideas of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which these things must therefore be explained, instead of vice versa as had hitherto been the case. (Engels, Speech at the Graveside of Karl Marx, quoted in Simon Greenleaf Law Review, Vol. III. J.W. Montgomery, “The Marxist Approach to Human Rights: Analysis and Review”, pg. 20 [emphasis mine])

    “The mode of production of the material means of existence conditions the the whole process of social, political and social life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, it is their social existence that determines their consciousness.” (Marx, Preface to Critique of Political Economy, quoted in Simon Greenleaf Law Review, Vol. III. J.W. Montgomery, “The Marxist Approach to Human Rights: Analysis and Review”, pg. 19 [emphasis mine])

    “[The “Ten Planks of Communism” from Marx & Engels Communist Manifestoemphasis mine]
    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
    3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
    5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
    6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.”
But is it fair to lump Marx and Engels in with prior Communists, like Fourier, who dismantled the family – as we understand it in the Christian West – and advocated a Community of Wives and a common “community responsibility” for children? After all, we see an apparent concern for children in the Ten Planks of Communism, above, that they would be given an education (albeit, a laborer's education – artes servilis), and that they would be spared the rigours of hard labor. Indeed, even Engels decried capitalist practice of sending children into the factories to work, as it undermined the integrity of “family”:
    “The last vestige of common interests, the community of possessions constituted by the family, is being undermined by the factory-system and – at least here in England – is already in the process of dissolution. It is a common practice for children, as soon as they are capable of work (i.e., as soon as they reach the age of nine), to spend their wages themselves, to look upon their parental home as a mere boarding house, as to make their parents an allowance of a certain sum for food and lodging. How can it be otherwise? What else can result from the separation of interests, such as forms the basis of the free-trade system?” (Engels, Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy[emphasis mine] )
Yet, to fail to suspect that Engels is working here from a different definition of family than is common in the Christian West, is to be inattentive to his words and the argument he is developing. He is not concerned about the children, but the “community of possessions” – in which the “family” shares. In point of fact, the anthropological defense for Communism posited by Marx and Engels was a Natural Law defense which observed of pre-Christian (unregenerate) primitive and barbarian cultures that all things – including wives and children – were held in common. Engels makes this point ever so clearly in his positive portrayal of these cultures found in the book Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State – a work which is still passed around by Communist sympathizers as an apologetic for militant feminism – wherein he argues, based on anthropological evidence, that man, in his natural (unregenerate) state, will order himself in small self-sufficient communities in which labour is equitably divided among its members to meet the necessities of subsistence, the product of which is thus equally enjoyed by everyone in the community. Subsistence was the purpose and limit of labour, not the accumulation of possession, wealth and power, leaving man the luxury of time to pursue “happiness,” through ‘life-affirming’ experiences. Among these primitives and barbarians, the Community was literally the Family – wives, husbands and children were shared by all, and cared for as such by all. What we today would call polyamory, polygamy, polyandry, pederosis and incest, was normative; even homosexuality and pederasty had its uses, and was an accepted form of sexuality falling under the umbrella of “the family.” Those who worked more than others, however, are to blame for destroying this blissful state of existence: they who accumulated more for themselves than their subsistence required – wealth, and with it, power – used the leisure that it purchased to devise and set about its distribution in a way, and under conditions calculated to perpetually indenture others to their service, protect their holdings, and increase their wealth and power. Thus capitalism, according to Engels, destroyed the natural and favored state of man. Engels writes:
    “In thus constructing retrospectively the history of the family, Morgan, in agreement with the majority of his colleagues, arrived at a primitive stage at which promiscuous intercourse prevailed within a tribe, so that every woman belonged equally to every man and, similarly, every man to every woman. There had been talk about such a primitive condition ever since the last century, but only in a most general way; Bachofen was the first — and this was one of his great services — to take this condition seriously and to search for traces of it in historical and religious traditions. We know today that the traces he discovered do not at all lead back to a social stage of sexual promiscuity, but to a much later form, group marriage. That primitive social stage, if it really existed, belongs to so remote an epoch that we can scarcely expect to find direct evidence of its former existence in social fossils, among backward savages. It is precisely to Bachofen's credit that he placed this question in the forefront of investigation.” (pg. 47)

    “What, then, does promiscuous sexual intercourse mean? That the restrictions in force at present or in earlier times did not exist. We have already witnessed the collapse of the barrier of jealousy. If anything is certain, it is that jealousy is an emotion of comparatively late development. The same applies to the conception of incest. Not only did brother and sister live as man and wife originally, but sexual relations between parents and children are permitted among many peoples to this day... Prior to the invention of incest (and it is an invention, and one of the utmost value), sexual intercourse between parents and children could be no more disgusting than between other persons belonging to different generations — such as indeed occurs today even in the most Philistine countries without exciting great horror.... However, if we eliminate from the most primitive forms of the family known to us the conceptions of incest that are associated with them — conceptions totally different from our own and often in direct contradiction to them — we arrive at a form of sexual intercourse which can only be described as promiscuous — promiscuous in so far as the restrictions later established by custom did not yet exist. It by no means necessarily follows from this that a higgledy-piggledy promiscuity was in daily practice. Separate pairings for a limited time are by no means excluded; in fact, even in group marriage they now constitute the majority of cases. And if Westermarck, the latest to deny this original state, defines as marriage every case where the two sexes remain mated until the birth of offspring, then it may be said that this kind of marriage could very well occur under the conditions of promiscuous sexual intercourse, without in any way contradicting promiscuity, that is, the absence of barriers to sexual intercourse set up by custom. Westermarck, to be sure, starts out from the viewpoint that ‘promiscuity involves a suppression of individual inclinations’, so that ‘prostitution is its most genuine form’.” (pp. 50-51)

    “A certain pairing for longer or shorter periods took place already under group marriage, or even earlier. Among his numerous wives, the man had a principal wife (one can scarcely yet call her his favourite wife) and he was her principal husband, among the others. This situation contributed in no small degree to the confusion among the missionaries, who see in group marriage, now promiscuous community of wives, now wanton adultery... The pairing family, itself too weak and unstable to make an independent household necessary, or even desirable, did not by any means dissolve the communistic household transmitted from earlier times. But the communistic household implies the supremacy of women in the house, just as the exclusive recognition of a natural mother, because of the impossibility of determining the natural father with certainty, signifies high esteem for the women, that is, for the mothers. That woman was the slave of man at the commencement of society is one of the most absurd notions that have come down to us from the period of Enlightenment of the 18th century. Woman occupied not only a free but also a highly respected position among all savages and all barbarians of the lower and middle stages and partly even of the upper stage.” (pp. 58-60)

    “Bachofen is again absolutely right when he contends throughout that the transition from what he terms ‘hetaerism’ or ‘Sumpfzeugung’ to monogamy was brought about essentially by the women. The more the old traditional sexual relations lost their naïve, primitive jungle character, as a result of the development of the economic conditions of life, that is, with the undermining of the old communism and the growing density of the population, the more degrading and oppressive must they have appeared to the women; the more fervently must they have longed for the right to chastity, to temporary or permanent marriage with one man only, as a deliverance. This advance could not have originated from the men, if only for the reason that they have never — not even to the present day — dreamed of renouncing the pleasures of actual group marriage. Only after the transition to pairing marriage had been effected by the women could the men introduce strict monogamy — for the women only, of course.” (pp. 63-64)
There is a great deal to investigate in the connections between Marxism, Communism, Materialism, Experientialism, and the post-Modern world in which today's Western Christian finds himself contending. But already we can see that the foundation for militant Feminism lay in Communistic ideology, that it calls for a return to a primitive and barbarian social order in which the woman was just as free as the man to gratify her sexual desires, with no personal consequence outside that which was shared equally by everyone – since the community (the “family”) would care for her offspring.

We also see why it is that the television and motion picture venues of entertainment pop-culture – a stronghold of Communist sympathizers since the McCarthy era – has reduced the depiction of fathers to the level of useless buffoons and replaced them with strong intelligent women who lead in the family and in the workplace.

We see clearly how the “Right to Abortion” is tied to the moral foundation of Communism – the primacy of the fundamental Human Right to an equal pursuit of self-gratification: if “life” is defined only by that which is experienced, what “life” has the unborn child affirmatively lived? Not much. Thus, the relative value of its lived-life, as an aggregation of inarticulable human experiences, subordinates the unborn to the quantitatively and qualitatively greater value of the “life-affirming” pursuits of its natural mother.

And we see with abundant clarity a very real political motivation behind the advocacy and celebration of loosening moral standards in America, particularly in the “entertainment” media, which is incrementally growing more hedonistic, both in its nature and in the message it overtly preaches: to introduce Westerners to the delights of wanton self-gratification, make them psychologically and physically dependent upon its pursuits, and thus elevate its necessity to the vaulted heights of fundamental Human Right.

To our astonished amazement, we can understand how it can be much more than a curious coincidence that post-Modern linguistics and pedagogics, along with entertainment pop-culture, work together to reduce the relevance of human language, elevate the meaning of inarticulable experience in its place, and then claim that human experiences shared in common ought to be the basis of social order, rather than long held principles revealed to mankind and articulated in language.

And to our trembling horror, we are finally able to regard the prospect of gay marriage as the Hammer of Lucifer it truly is, quivering in the air over the Christian West. It is a key political and legal victory virtually guaranteeing the collapse of the Judeo-Christian family, and with it the rights of parents, the rights of inheritance, and ultimately the rights of property ownership. How? Simple. The legal and social apparatus surrounding the institution of marriage (i.e., monogamy, the accountability of children to parents, and parents to children, the principles of legacy and inheritance, the traditions and laws of probate, etc.), all find their locus in the procreative element of marriage. Thus marriage, through which children are produced and legacy is passed, was always defined in the West by that which it produced – children, heirs to whom property (and thus ownership) was bequeathed – necessarily recognizing this procreative element as fundamental. From the Judeo-Christian institution of family descends the principles of ownership and the ordering of Western Society. A read through John Locke's Treatises on Government – the writings of political philosophy on which our form of government was principally based – centers on this very point. A couple of brief excerpts on this point ought to be sufficient to demonstrate it, and supply the reader with encouragement to study Locke for himself:
    [near the end of a long critique of Sir Robert Filmer's Natural Law defense of Monarchy and the hereditary right of Sovereignty, Locke, in his First Treatise, affirms the hereditary nature of individual Sovereignty, assigns it to all men equally (since it is in the Natural Order for all men to beget children, to whom property is bequeathed), but limits Sovereignty to property only, restricting Sovereignty from exercise over other men]

    “Property, whose Original is from the Right a Man has to use any of the Inferior Creatures, for the Subsistence and Comfort of his Life, is for the benefit and sole Advantage of the Proprietor, so that he may even destroy the thing, that he has Property in by his use of it, where need requires: but Government being for the Preservation of every Man's Right and Property, by preserving him from the Violence or Injury of others, is for the good of the Governed. For the Magistrates Sword being for a Terror of Evil Doers, and by that Terror to enforce Men to observe the positive Laws of the Society, made conformable to the Laws of Nature, for the public good... the Sword is not given to the Magistrate for his own good alone.

    “Children, therefore, as has been showed, by the dependence they have on their Parents for Subsistence, have a Right of Inheritance to their Father's Property, as that which belongs to them for their proper good and behoof, and therefore are fitly termed Goods, wherein the First Born has not a sole or peculiar Right by any Law of God and Nature, the younger Children having an equal Title with him founded on that Right they all have to maintenance, support and comfort from their Parents, and nothing else.” (Two Treatises of Government [Christ's College Edition, 1698] “First Treatise,” , §92-93)

    [and this is precisely where the “Second Treatise” begins, and which occupies a central position in his development of who, in principle, has the Right to Political Power]

    “To this purpose, I think it might not be amiss, to set down what I take to be Political Power. That the Power of the Magistrate over a Subject, may be distinguished from that of a Father over his Children, a Master over his Servant, a Husbandover his Wife, and a Lordover his Slave. All which distinct Powers happening sometimes together in the same Man, if he be considered under these different Relations, it may help us to distinguish these Powers one from another, and shew the difference betwixt a Ruler of a Common-wealth, a Father of a Family, and a Captain of a Galley.

    Political Power I take to be a Right of making Laws with Penalties of Death, and consequently all less Penalties, for the Regulating and Preserving of Property, and of employing the force of the Community, in the Execution of such Laws, and in the defense of the Common-wealth from Foreign Injury, and all this only for the Public Good. (Two Treatises of Government [Christ's College Edition, 1698] “Second Treatise,” , §2-3)
That we may speak of family and property as pre-political Judeo-Christian social institutions is given by the facts (a) that God's Moral Law (that is, “His Holy and immutable Will for all people of all times”) institutes both family and property by name, especially in the Ten Commandments – those Laws written by the very finger of God in tablets of stone – and (b) that Locke and other political philosophers who developed the foundations of our society appealed directly to God's Revealed Law, alongside that evidence which He has placed in Natural Law, as authority for their conclusions. Regarding Property and Family, the Decalogue (according to the catholic ordering of them) states:
    Establishment of Family and Heterosexual Monogamy
      Fourth Commandment: “Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother...” (Ex. 20:12)
      Sixth Commandment: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Ex. 20:14)
      Tenth Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is thy neighbor's.” (Ex. 20:17b)

    Establishment of Property Ownership
      Seventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not steal.” (Ex. 20:15)
      Ninth Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house.” (Ex. 20:17a) [where “The House of thy Neighbor” is not just the building he lives in, but is understood as his entire household – his land, possessions and capital, his family, and his reputation – all that which constitutes his legacy.]
The communist critique of Christianity, including the Decalogue, is that it elevates individuals over others, institutes inequity, and destroys community. But this critique is false and misleading, betraying a fundamental misunderstanding of them: these Commandments are found in the Second Table of the Law (fourth through tenth commandments) – which is summarized in Leviticus 19:18b as “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” and is ratified as such by Jesus Christ, Who repeats this summary verbatim (Mat.22:39; Mark 12:31) – and define the individual's obligations to his neighbors – i.e., his community. The Scriptures DO NOT abrogate community by recognizing the ownership of private property and the traditional family, but strike balance between individual and community.

But such balance is not the desire of those who have romanticized pre-Christian and unregenerate civilizations, who wish to reiinstitute the social order of primitive and barbarian cultures as the basis of world society today, who would use gay marriage as a means of moving in that direction.

The legal recognition of gay marriage introduces insurmountable legal difficulties for gay marriage, if the procreative element of marriage continues to be recognized as a relevant legal element. For such makes it impossible for homosexual and heterosexual marriages to be treated equitably under the law. If the procreative element continues to be recognized, there will always be two classes of marriage and two classes of family – a condition which cannot be legally maintained, especially given the fact that the removal of such distinctions, and the alleged inequities which follow, was the reason for the legal recognition of gay marriage to begin with.

No, in order to ensure equitable treatment of homosexual and heterosexual marriages under the law, the least common denominator between them must be established as the only legal foundation for the law – that is, they must both be reduced to a common set of legal elements. Since there can be absolutely no procreative element in homosexual marriage (as a natural impossibility), the procreative element of marriage heretofore recognized in the West as pre-political pillars of Society, established in the Holy and immutable Will of God, and fundamental to Western social and legal order, can no longer be considered as relevant foundation for laws establishing and regulating marriage. Family, inheritance and sovereignty over property, not to mention the Will of the Living God, have no basis for the laws man now arbitrarily invents to govern them. What happens to the family? Since marriage is no longer legally recognized as a natural social institution, but as a synthetic legal construction of the State, what it produces is also a creation of the State and fully under its jurisdiction. Children become the legal wards of the State, and natural parents, just like all adoptive parents, whether homosexual or heterosexual, are relegated to the role of surrogacy for the State's children – that is, for the community's children. And legacy? Inheritance becomes the property of, and is disposed by, the State. All this, just as the ideologies of Communism desire they should become.

This isn't just bluster, this is already happening in countries where gay marriage has been recognized for years – like Canada:
    “[S]ame-sex marriage, as courts in North America have made clear, is predicated on a denial of procreation or child-rearing as a definitive interest. Marriage is about adult bonding, and adult bonding is all there is to marriage... By excising sexual difference, with its generative power, [same-sex marriage] deprives itself of any direct connection to nature. The unit it creates rests on human choice, as does that created by marriage. But whether monogamous, polygamous, or polyamorous, it is a closed unit that reduces to human choice, rather than engaging choice with nature; and its lack of a generative dimension means that it cannot be construed as a fundamental building block. Institutionally, then, [same-sex marriage] is nothing more than a legal construct. Its roots run no deeper than positive law. It therefore cannot present itself to the state as the bearer of independent rights and responsibilities, as older or more basic than the state itself. Indeed, it is a creature of the state, generated by the state's assumption of the power of invention or re-definition. Which changes everything...

    “Six years ago, when same-sex marriage became law in Canada, the new legislation quietly acknowledged this. In its consequential amendments section, Bill C-38 struck out the language of ‘natural parent,’ ‘blood relationship,’ etc., from all Canadian laws. Wherever they were found, these expressions were replaced with ‘legal parent,’ ‘legal relationship,’ and so forth. That was strictly necessary. ‘Marriage’ was now a legal fiction, a tool of the state, not a natural and pre-political institution recognized and in certain respects (age, consanguinity, consent, exclusivity) regulated by the state. And the state’s goal, as directed by its courts, was to assure absolute equality for same-sex couples. The problem? Same-sex couples could be parents, but not parents of common children. Granting them adoption rights could not fully address the difference. Where natural equality was impossible, however, formal or legal equality was required. To achieve it, ‘heterosexual marriages’ had to be conformed in law to ‘homosexual marriages.’ The latter produced non-reproductive units, constituted not by nature but by law; the former had therefore to be put on the same footing, and were.

    “The aim of such legislation, as F. C. DeCoste has observed in ‘Courting Leviathan’ (Alberta Law Review, 2005),

      is to de-naturalize the family by rendering familial relationships, in their entirety, expressions of law. But relationships of that sort—bled as they are of the stuff of social tradition and experience—are no longer family relationships at all. They are rather policy relationships, defined and imposed by the state.

    Here we have what is perhaps the most pressing reason why same-sex marriage should be fought, and fought vigorously. It is a reason that neither the proponents nor the opponents of same-sex marriage have properly debated or thought through. In attacking ‘heterosexual monogamy,’ same-sex marriage does away with the very institution — the only institution we have — that exists precisely in order to support the natural family and to affirm its independence from the state. In doing so, it effectively makes every citizen a ward of the state, by turning his or her most fundamental human connections into legal constructs at the state's gift and disposal.

    Douglas Farrow, (2012). Why Fight Same-Sex Marriage? Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, 25(1)
Lest one consider the analysis of Professor Farrow merely the polemic of an unfoundedly suspicious homophobe, perhaps the candid admission of journalist and lesbian activist Masha Gessen, offered during the proceedings of panel discussion at the 2012 Sydney Writers Festival, will put his comments into greater perspective:
    “It’s a no-brainer that we should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist.

    “That causes my brain some trouble. And part of why it causes me trouble is because fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there—because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie. The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist. And I don't like taking part in creating fictions about my life. That's sort of not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago. I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally…

    “[After my divorce,] I met my new partner, and she had just had a baby, and that baby’s biological father is my brother, and my daughter’s biological father is a man who lives in Russia, and my adopted son also considers him his father. So the five parents break down into two groups of three…. And really, I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality. And I don’t think that's compatible with the institution of marriage.”

    (text quoted from Amy Hall's “Stand to Reason” post, Same-Sex Marriage Won't Be Enough. Audio of panel discussion available here)
In these words, we have the clearly and honestly stated intention to drive Western Society through cultural retrograde leading to the adoption of a social order preferred by primitive and barbarian societies.

There can be no denying the fact that Communist “Materialistic Experientialism” is mutually exclusive of a Christian Worldview. The two cannot peaceably co-exist in the same society. Committed Communists know this, and they know that if their ideologies are to gain a foothold in the Christian West, they must war against Christianity itself, demolish its foundations, turn believers against their religion and steal away their progeny to the abode of openly self-referential and self-serving hedonism. And this is precisely the manner of war they have engaged in the West for a century and more.

Only the Christian quietist – a fool – can maintain that political and social order is fully separate from the doctrine and practice of the Christian Religion, or even more stupefyingly, require that Christians eliminate all religious convictions from any political or social activism. Only the Christian quietist can remain willfully blind (and harangue all others to copy him) to the fact that Christians of genuine conscience simply cannot participate in a society ordered by the principles of Materialism and Experientialsm – such as Communism is. Such principles are mutually exclusive of his eternal convictions – convictions from which he speaks and acts in all aspects of his life, including his vocation as Christian citizen.

“The Big Three” – Fredrick Nietzsche, Charles Darwin and Karl Marx – are all connected, and together form the modern nexus from which extends the political, social and religious ideologies we contend with today. These are very serious challenges, with potential consequences that are very real. Separately, they openly defy the fundamentals of Christianity – especially those upon which Western Society was constructed – but together represent a formidable foe, of the type Christians are adjured to, not figuratively, but actually wrestle against, as if in a fight to the death:
    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Eph. 6:10-13)
Satan attacks Christ's Church, not just by leading people into sin, but also by poisoning their minds with false ideas, which Christians are clearly called to stand and wrestle against. Many – like Christian quietists – would rather not. Many others, through lack of preparation, simply cannot. Many others still, through inattentiveness, simply do not recognize the enemy. And so the minority, a “Remnant,” are all that's left. But where are they?


Rev. Dr. Kent Heimbigner takes Nietzsche head on. Already interspersed throughout his paper are references to Nietzsche's falsehoods, both as they defy sound reason and as they stand in direct conflict with Christian teaching. But the final pages of his paper are dedicated to criticism and a final rejection of Nietzsche's philosophy.
    “This conclusion therefore presents itself: reason alone, without appeal to Scripture, should be sufficient to suggest that one would want to have a ‘moral’ society, rather than a ‘pre-moral’ or an ‘extra-moral’ one. In a society where I will not kill you and you will not kill me (at least not arbitrarily), both of our lives are affirmed. Something along the order of ‘you shall not murder’ makes sense from the standpoint of being ‘life affirming’ for everybody, if both parties will co-operate. An ‘every-man-for-himself’ extra-moral framework for the evaluation of actions is a recipe for everyone to have a violent and relatively short life. Ultimately, pursuit of corporate life affirmation will produce the maximum good for individual life affirmation as well. Similar arguments could be advanced for sexual morality, for respecting the possessions and reputations of others, etc.
But, an appeal to the Scriptures is necessary, as Nietzsche invents various fictions, and hurling them at the the teachings of Christ, maligns the Gospel. For example, Nietzsche would have us believe that “no God inspired the Holy Scriptures,” that “the Gospels are valuable as a testimony to the irresistible corruption within the first community,” that “one cannot read the Gospels cautiously enough,” that “every word of the Bible should be heard with extreme skepticism,” and that even so (like post-Modernists today) “all words are a kind of fiction” anyway, that therefore language is not only insufficient to communicate Truth, but not even of the same nature as Truth. To this, Rev. Heimbigner responds:
    “By taking biblical words out of context and using them as a pretext for imposing meanings new and alien to their original context, Nietzsche's writings provide a veritable monument to abusiveness... [his hermeneutical method is] a thinly (if at all) veiled superimposing of his own prejudices on what Jesus should have been like... Nietzsche lumps the words of Holy Scripture together with all merely human words; it is his position that the Holy Scriptures are indeed nothing more that that. The Jesus of Holy Scripture,in whom Christians place their faith, declares ‘The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life’ (John 6:63). The meaning of the words with which a Nietzschean and an orthodox Christian would attempt to converse are even in dispute... [nevertheless, the orthodox Christian] would pray that the Holy Spirit would use such words miraculously to produce faith in the heart of the Nietzschean.
The meaning of the words with which a Nietzschean and an orthodox Christian would attempt to converse are even in dispute...” The fundamental error of Christians today, who would advocate for cyclically amended Bibles, like the NIV2011, that would supposedly be “more effective” at communicating in an egalitarian and sexually permissive post-Modern world, is found in this, Rev. Heimbigner's retort to Nietzsche. The words used in a post-Modern world have no meaning that is as strong as the inarticulable life-affirming experience; words are, by comparison, merely “mundane playthings.” Christians who take post-Modern language games so seriously that they would torture their Christian brothers, and everyone else, with cyclically amended Bibles are the suckers in this game – they are being increasingly played as fools by a post-Modern world that ultimately couldn't care less what the words are to begin with.

Another example is Nietzsche's assertion that a Christian “slave-morality” is weak and inferior because it is a morality having reference to others:
    “The initial reference point for slaves is not themselves but their overlords. Because their overlords are thought to exploit and dominate them, the slaves view the character traits of the masters as ‘evil,’ i.e., not just undesirable, but morally wrong. In ‘slave-morality,’ ‘good’ is effectively defined as ‘non-threatening,’ hence to be bold and dominating or to exert power over another is deemed to be ‘evil,’ while to be humble and self-effacing is deemed to be ‘good.’ This morality is ‘other’ oriented, thus ‘reactive’ and supposedly inferior...

    “‘Master-morality’ [on the other hand], is supposedly superior because it is ‘active.’ The moral agent is not ‘reacting’ to anything. The only point of moral reference is the moral agent's own will.”
It is the “master-morality” – the life lived without moral reference to others – which is, according to Nietzsche, the truly “life-affirming” morality, solely within the context of which a person can live within his full humanity. Lived without moral reference to others, it is a blissfully and empoweringly guiltless life. Rev. Heimbigner responds:
    “The whole point of being a Christian is the promise given in Baptism of the complete restoration of the imago dei... i.e. the return of fallen people to a condition of full humanity... The Baptized faithful seethe issue entirely differently. They assume that the reason people feel guilty is, most often, because they are guilty. Their consciences warn them that there is an objective ‘right and wrong’... and that the objectivity of this right and wrong is to be found in the Designer of humanity, who build this basic sense of right and wrong into all people (Rom. 2:15). People's consciences condemn them,and where revealed religion is either unavailable [unproclaimed]... or rejected, they concoct all kinds of human religious systems to alleviate their sense of guilt. Revealed religion, however, proclaims that Jesus Christ is ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’(John 1:29). By Jesus' death on the cross, He made atonement for sin (Heb. 2:10-18; Rom. 3:22-26). This atonement was necessary in order to maintain the integrity of divine justice, i.e., because God, being holy and perfect, could not ‘compromise’ on the principle of justice. Though faith in Jesus' vicarious sacrifice, guilt is taken away.

    ...Christians can at best commit an act of open condescension and play the philosopher's game for awhile, but the minute they really agree to be bound by rational rules of inquiry they are apostate; they have committed themselves to a form of reasoning that falls under the species of unbelief. Christians, particularly orthodox Lutheran Christians, must take God's revelation of Himself in Christ Jesus to be the supreme reality.
With this, Rev. Heimbigner begins his conclusion, the introduction to which quotes Rev. Dr. C.F.W Walther. A suitable quote with which to end this review:
    “Consider that the word of Sirach, Chapter 3, 33: ‘Even unto death defend the truth, and God the Lord will fight for you,’ will come true in our case too. May that be your motto! Fight unto death in behalf of the truth, and God the Lord will fight for you!”

Rev. John S. Rutowicz:
Social Identity in the New Testament and Today: Does Christianity Negate all other Identity?

Rev. John Rutowicz offered in this paper what he readily admitted at the outset was a “work in progress,” his as-yet incomplete research and development of what may be a larger publication project. And this was okay, as far as I was concerned – papers of these types are often more interesting than finished works, since their very nature of incompleteness invites thought and discussion about those aspects of the presentation which are not settled. I found this paper to be both thought provoking, and based on a refreshingly honest appraisal of the cultural state of the West, and of America in particular.

The prima facie cultural observation is that of an increasingly ‘fierce individualism’ which is inculcated in Americans and drives them from a community-dependent orientation, or self-identity. This lack of community identity represents some challenges for the local congregation, which is, as Hebrews 10:25 enjoins us, “an assembling of [believers] together,” or a community of believers. An increasingly individualistic society militates equally against both the local community and the local community of believers. Compounding this problem is the growth of the internet as a nearly exclusive platform for establishing and maintaining social connections; the opportunity for developing any kind of “community identity” is increasingly limited to non-real, or “virtual” communities, rather than those that are real and have tangible impact on the individual – like local, State or even National identity.

Rev. Rutowicz therefore begins his investigation with a light overview of Social Identity Theory – a sociological theory which attempts to explain the process individuals undergo resulting in the assignment of themselves, in their mind, as members of a given group as distinct from another group, and the process forming a relative value of such membership. Citing Kuecker's The Spirit and the “Other”, Rev. Rutowicz explains that, according to the theory, “Social identity is formed in three stages: categorization, identification and comparison.” While within a given individual various identities can be formed, often in relation to each other, the one identity of interest is termed the “terminal identity:
    “This social identity orients other lower-level identities and can be conceived as the answer to the question, “Who are my people? ...All people have multiple social identities which are oriented by the terminal identity.”
The stages of Categorization and Identification seem to be sufficient to establish a “terminal identity,” but the third stage, Comparison, assigns a relative value to that identity with respect to other groups – a “positive group identity” otherwise known as “in-group bias.”

From here, Rev. Rutowicz proceeded to adduce examples from the anecdotal sections of Scripture to which Social Identity Theory could be applied, to determine if and to what degree Social Identity may be evident, what its sources may have been (i.e., ascriptive, cultural, territorial, political, economic, social, etc.), and whether any guidance can be drawn from such observations. Many citations from Scripture were adduced, displaying a clear ethnically oriented Jewish social identity, which even Jesus famously displayed in his encounter with the Canaanite woman, whose daughter was possessed by a demon (Mat. 15:21-26), and which seemed to be adopted by the early Christians, as evidenced in St.Paul's characterization of Cretans (Titus 1:12-13). Yet, to judge such evidences on their face would be superficial, incomplete and wrong. As, Rev. Rutowicz points out, the vicarious atonement of Jesus Christ and the promises of the Gospel created a new identity which transcends other sources of social identity, such as ethnicity or economic status, which, while not invalidating these other identities results in an allocentric terminal identity in Christ.

Up to this point in his paper, Rev. Rutowicz expressed a satisfaction with the foundation in research he had laid, but admitted that what followed – his attempt at application – was rough and needed further development. I found this interesting, because this is the point where the operative cultural observation came to the fore, and the true impetus behind the research: the observation that Western Civilization is in steep and accelerating decline, and that this reality will soon have profound, practical implications for the local congregation.

This is, indeed true. One can point to many factors contributing to the fall of the Roman Empire, which are contributing to the rapid decline of the West, today – in America in particular: the unchecked migration of peoples, the continuing devaluation and imminent collapse of currency, growing frequency of marauding gangs along the borders and in populated areas, growing political cynicism and disunity, and the disappearance of religious solidarity.

In our era, this means not only the loss of economic and political stability, but the growth of dangerous physical hostility toward Christians. And the very real danger this hostility represents simply cannot be ignored – think of the deluge of noxious effluent poured down upon the American people by the U.S. Supreme Court last June, or the hoards of degenerate abortion activists, who, in a demonstration of pure evil cried out before the Texas Legislature as they considered restrictions on the practice of abortion, “HAIL SATAN!! HAIL SATAN!!!” Indeed, Rev. Rutowicz sees various forces in American society as being “very successful in instilling an anti-collective social identity bias” among American citizens, and sees “diversity as a primary weapon that will be used to destroy the church.”

So, Rev. Rutowicz asks, as a basic pragmatic question, How does the local congregation, continue to be “Church,” continue to be faithfully orthodox in its doctrine and practice, in an individualistic society that is physically hostile to Christianity, while essentially cut off from other groups of Christians? These are important questions to ask, as the portending inevitability draws closer. Where do Christians go, what do they do? Christians haven't had to deal with these issues in the West very much since the time of the Ten Primitive Persecutions – consideration of them in advance might be a good way to prepare.

In Rome, the early Christians hid in the catacombs, and established an underground parallel society. They catechized and educated one another, nursed one another's illnesses, and protected and encouraged one another. But we don't have catacombs in America. Rev. Rutowicz closes his paper with the following opinions, suggestions and encouragement:
    “The goal is to break down loyalty to any other sources of identity, be they ascriptive or cultural or even geographic so that there is nothing left but isolated individuals who find their only identity in the state. Isolated, deracinated individuals are easier to control. It is simply my opinion but I believe we are watching the collapse of Western Civilization... We may live to see it. In what comes afterward, I believe Christianity will be much different. Christian communities will have to create parallel societies to the dominant society. And I believe that the foundations of those parallel societies will be and should be much closer to Christian orthodoxy, a return to nature, and social identity that is much more ascriptive and local. This will actually be a great advantage and opportunity for us. Many of us are already practicing elements of these parallel societies. Some of us homeschool. Some hunt and grow their own food. All of us already have the most important element of this new social identity. We have an orthodox faith in Jesus Christ.
Whether Western Civilization collapses or not, one thing seems certain: orthodox Christians are in for some very difficult times.


Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

This final post got a little long. I had a much shorter version ready to post as scheduled on Wednesday, but it needed some touching up. Work priorities prevented me from getting to it on time, and when I did get to it, my mind had been grinding away on other things related to it. This post turned out to be use the reviews of Rev. Dr. Heimbigner's and Rev. Rutowicz' papers as pretense for discussing some highly important issues that were very closely related to the content of their papers. So I hope they don't mind. Primary among those matters is the advent of homosexual marriage and its relationship to Communistic ideologies, and the portending collapse of Western Civilization -- which, IMHO, we are staring straight in the eye. That is a "sub-essay" that I sneaked into the middle of the main post, to which I supplied a hypertext tag, in case that section is of enough interest that one may wish to pass it around. It covers some pretty important, politically incorrect material that no one ever talks about. Here is the link: Nietzsche, Marx, Darwin and America Today: A Very Brief Look at the Tip of the Iceberg.

That "sub-essay" however, does rely on most of what precedes it. Most of what follows alludes back to it.

Anyway, sorry about the length. I probably could have split this one into five more parts, as well, but since I will be traveling all next week, I figured Intrepid readers could wade through it, given that they will have a whole week to read through and absorb it.

Lord's Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lindee, Thank you for all your hard work on writing these posts. I found it all very interesting... I'm wondering why the ELDoNA isn't larger than it is.

Rhonda Martinez

Arthur said...

Good article thank you.

I think that the emphasis on children as the "cause" of marriage ignores the Genesis 2 (:24) lesson, that a man and a woman together cause/create something new (a new flesh). Given the effects of sin on people, that relationship needs regulating - thus the government overseeing of marriage. I would like to see this also referred to in the context of homosexual "marriage".

The coverage of socialism in its origins and therefore fundamental assumptions and goals I find to be very useful. Thanks again.

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