Corporate Social Justice Warriors at War with America – Part 2 – Juicy Ecumenism

Corporate Social Justice Warriors at War with America – Part 2 – Juicy Ecumenism:

The practical effect for society is that money is being put to work, and business activity is generated. However, the Left’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria for investing directs capital to purposes other than the business pursuit of profits. This “strikes at the heart of our capitalist system,” because it “reduces the focus on profit, and in doing so reduces the incentive to invest,” with the result of “fewer jobs, and lower paying jobs.”

Guts

I am sixty-eight years old and I have a terminal illness. I have studied the Bible all my adult life and I have led hundreds of group Bible studies, if not thousands. I have taught Sunday school classes and have led church small groups. I have educated myself beyond the average church teacher. I have written study guides that have been used by others in far places.

All that.

Now I am realizing that I know something about studying the Bible, but little about reading it. I may not have much time left, but this will be my focus for the next while.

Not everything in the text is reducible to points of proposition. Not everything in the text is written with a view toward the reader gathering in the meaning and internalizing it.

I want to learn to read with my guts. Watch this space.

The Antichrist

2 John 7–11 (NRSV)

7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! 8 Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward. 9 Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; 11 for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.

This is my study passage for today. I’ll make a few observations:

  • The letters of John are the only biblical documents that use the term “antichrist”. Most people envision something like the beast of Revelation when they hear “antichrist”, but John has in mind something much less obvious and much more insidious.
  • The antichrist is any false teacher, more specifically, any false teacher who denies the true humanity of the Messiah. Read it for yourself.
  • Christians are susceptible today to the antichrist just as Christians were 2000 years ago. The varieties of heresy have only increased. We need to guard against false teachers who are continually infiltrating the church. Most of these false teachers began in the church, but somehow decided to go beyond the traditional teachings of and about Jesus.
  • There is no such thing as secret teachings or advanced content or the key to Christianity. There is only the teaching that has been handed down. We must reject any teaching that goes beyond that and claims to be super spiritual. Therein lies the antichrist.
  • These false teachers are not to be received in the church, even in these days of tolerance. This is not about little things that we disagree on, but it is about the very truths of Christianity. People who exceed the speed limit are to be shunned.
  • This is a very real threat. We must take it seriously. As a church, we rise and fall together. The work we have done (someday I must write a post about redeeming the reputation of “work”) will be wasted if we allow the antichrist to come to the front.
  • If we allow the false teachers a base of operation, we are participating in their deception.

Rather harsh? I suppose. John said it, so I feel comfortable going with it.

God help his church!

Fear, Ye Fiends!

Though the sons of night blaspheme,
More there are with us than them;
God with us, we cannot fear;
Fear, ye fiends, for Christ is here!

Lo! to faith’s enlightened sight,
All the mountain flames with light;
Hell is nigh, but God is nigher,
Circling us with hosts of fire.

Charles Wesley, “Earth, rejoice, our Lord is King,” The Methodist Hymnbook, No. 246.

Find me a praise chorus that has that kind of power and theology. Good luck.

Do I Want to Understand the Bible?

From the beginning, you’ll have to ask yourself, Do I want to understand the Bible? This might seem like a disingenuous question, but it’s a question we should all seriously ask ourselves. After all, if you come to understand the Bible better, consider the implications for how you live, think, and speak. Understanding the Bible better may very well unsettle you; it may estrange you from yourself as you try to grow into someone who loves the Scriptures better. If this line of thought seems abstract, think of it like this: Have you ever shared a favorite song, movie, or GIF with a friend, only to have them not be quite as enthusiastic about it as you are? What’s your first thought? If you’re like me, you’re inclined to think concerning your friend, She doesn’t really get it. Why do I have that thought? Well, because I have been so affected by the thing that the only imaginable response is the kind of enthusiasm I experienced. If my friend really understood, she would feel the same way, right? If you come to understand the Bible better, you will be the kind of person who is moved by it and who wants others to be moved as well. Is that something you truly want?

Matthew Mullins, Enjoying the Bible: Literary Approaches to Loving the Scriptures (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2021), 46–47.

How Badly do we Really Want Community?

In the twenty-first-century West, the watering down of “love” has turned John’s radical confession into a bumper sticker. John does not talk of “love” as we do; he goes out of his way to define agapic love as the radical self-emptying, self-giving love that finds true and perfect expression only in the sacrificial sending of the Son. Because we have so elasticized the semantic range of “love,” we are in danger of supposing that the divine life is being experienced among those who hold each other in great affection or kindness. Great affection and kindness are no doubt present in agapic community, but they are augmented or fleshed out by sacrificial self-giving. Agapic community hurts; it is uncomfortable. “Living in love” involves a commitment to pouring oneself out and trusting that others will do likewise. Such relationships are fragile because even though the true light already shines, the darkness yet holds sway. Believers who wish to live in love must take care; antichrists may try to come in and take advantage of agapic lovers, abusing and cannibalizing with little regard for the cross from which such love emanates. [emphasis mine]

Thomas Andrew Bennett, 1-3 John, The Two Horizons New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2021), 83–84.