Calvin: “Ambiguity is the stronghold of heretics.”
By J. Jeff Toler, for Shenandoah Christian Alliance
Doug Wilson recently said, “Now consistent Christians are not anarchists, and are not doctrinaire libertarians. They know that liberty can only flourish within a system of structured order.”
For any Christian to shrink from the confrontation of resisting anarchy, tyranny, or cultural revolution, will necessarily mean to abandon the supreme cultural blueprint that God left us as chronicled throughout The Bible. We are not to work from ideological blueprints to build a new cultural order—“from scratch”—by bomb-throwing anti-establishment rhetoric. Our rhetoric is to be all about anti-corrupt establishment rhetoric.
If we really want to understand the rationale for most all of the upheaval in our culture today, we will only need to investigate the motives behind the movements. For instance, if we want to see just how sincere Patrisse Cullors’ motives were for the formation of Black Lives Matter, we need look no further than her real estate investments in the last year or so. She is now a very wealthy and powerful woman. If we want to understand why major corporations donated so heavily to her organization, we need only examine the power these same corporations have in influencing how they are regulated, and how they calculate their popularity—and their profits—will increase accordingly.
Clear-thinking people—particularly people of The Faith, must admit that this unholy alliance of oligarch and iconoclast will certainly have terrible consequences for anyone who benefits from law and liberty. These very same protections benefit everyone. The corrupt will suffer too. They will just be the last to be eaten.
It is a serious problem—indeed the worst problem—for any ruling class to “rule” in such a way as to foster contempt for the law. By doing so they will only manage to make it risible and not worth obeying anything. Do they not know it is the law that supports them, and their position? If the law becomes no more than a joke, how can we then expect people to continue policing themselves? The Bible warns of the consequences when people do only what is right in their own eyes. It rarely ends well.
When judges are immoral and corrupt, speeding on an open stretch of empty highway is not that big of an issue. But if “The Ruler” decides that forcing people to surrender their rights, as protected under The Constitution as an example, it is another matter altogether. If thinking such a thing is a stretch, think again. It is already being openly discussed and debated inside and outside the halls of congress to authorize the surrender through buy-back programs of our firearms. Of course Law-abiding citizens will be willing to do so if they can depend on the law for protection. Can that be true for the “law-abiding citizens” of places like Portland, Seattle, or Minneapolis? Places where the police have been defunded and condemned—under the accusation of systemic racism.
If the last fourteen months of government mandates, restrictions, and forced behavior has shown us anything, it is this: people will comply if they are sufficiently concerned, and certainly if they are afraid. The irony is that people must be able to rely on authority to provide protection. All that is necessary to encourage this reliance is to trust the media and politicians to be truthful in what they tell us. But what happens when can see they are not? What do our “lying eyes” actually see?
In a republic, the rule of law is the most necessary social contract for maintaining the peace. This is why we refer to the police as law enforcement officers.
There is yet another reason to be very concerned when the dominant narrative in our culture is that systemic racism is still the major defining characteristic of America. We prefer to believe this in spite of the undeniable advances made since the passage of The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Does it seem ironic today that The Voting Rights Act that passed the following year was in response to the abuses by politicians in disenfranchising minority voters. America was very far along the road to recovering from the history of systemic racism—particularly as practiced in the American south.
So, what does this have to do with ambiguity and heresy?
SCA finds it very troubling that church leaders, including those within the Southern Baptist Convention, have adopted the rhetoric of enemies of the rule of law—namely Marxist ideologues—who use systemic racism, social justice, and critical theory to disrupt and distort our comprehension of the Gospel.
Perhaps John Calvin couldn’t foresee progressive Christianity as practiced today. If he could he might well have added, “Deviance is the refuge of heterodoxy.” If we are remotely honest, promoters of social justice, and critical theories are at once altering and ignoring the decrees and truth claims found in scripture.
Christians must know God demands justice. In God’s economy justice doesn’t require an adjective. MacArthur says, “Social justice is just another word for socialism.”
Social justice, like most Marxist ideology is distributive. It applies not necessarily to the person, but to people groups. This is the way of power dynamics. To work, something must be taken away from some, to be given to someone else to achieve equity outcomes. Even within evangelical circles today, the cultural hegemony claims the image-bearers of God with white skin have oppressed the image-bearers of God with black skin. There is no presumption of innocence when a person is among the cultural hegemony.
One of the 45 Tenets of Communism is this: “Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with social religion.” There is nothing ambiguous about this.