Insights and Ideas to Enlighten and/or Offend Everyone…

Stephen J. Drain's picture
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At the very least, I hope these columns challenge Christians to think. You can disagree with me and my opinions. You can disagree with my approach. I’m certainly fallible. But for your own sake think, study, seek understanding and pray for wisdom (Proverbs 3:13, James 1:5). After all, all truth is God’s truth.

Having said that, I think this column will be challenging.

In my last column, a general review/overview of Carl W. Wilson’s book Our Dance Has Turned to Death, I wrote: “[Be] forewarned—men, women, Christian, secularist, leftwing, and right wing—you will probably be offended in some way; no matter what group you identify with, Carl W. Wilson will confront and challenge your conventional wisdom.”

Of course, talking about the specific roles which God has ordained for men and women is offensive and controversial in this day and age, but Wilson’s book launches some even more controversial topics for conversation: Christianity and Capitalism, are they compatible? Is there anything wrong with putting children in Sunday School? Is abandonment of the death sentence for crimes, abandonment of Christianity? Have the feminists considered how their agenda has completely backfired on women? These are some of the topics that I touch on below. Topics to get your synapses firing, your blood boiling, and hopefully topics to get your fingers flipping through the pages of your Bible.

But [as always] examine all things; hold fast to what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

Examine the following statements and ideas from Our Dance Has Turned to Death (with some of my own thoughts riding on the author’s coattails):

  • Capitalism, according to Carl W. Wilson, is not the Christian view of economics. Wilson thinks it unfortunate that many Christians have been taught this. “Capitalism teaches that every man has a right to own and pile up as much wealth as he wishes for himself. The emphasis is on the right of private ownership. [But here we] have shown that greed is idolatry.”[1] Wilson reminds us that the biblical view of economics is as follows: God tells men that they are to work if they plan to eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Anyone who does not provide for their own family “has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). We are then called to use our resources to bless those in the wider community, beginning first with our Christian brothers and sisters (Galatians 6:10). We are not to forget Christians in need in other parts of the world (2 Corinthians chapters 8-9). We are even called to save for our grandchildren (Proverbs 13:22).
  • Wilson writes, “Electing wealthy men to offices of the church because they are rich and influential is one way the church has sinned…. The church has also erred in giving prominence to and leadership to men who have selfishly amassed great wealth, many neglecting their wives and children in the process.”[2] He believes that the appointment of the wealthy to positions of influence in the churches and universities caused these institutions to turn away from a proper God-centered worldview toward a materialistic one.
  • Sunday School. (Uh oh! Don’t touch any sacred cows!) Is this another place where the church has sinned? The advent of the Sunday School movement demonstrated that parents were willing to abandon their God-given responsibilities; although commanded to teach and train their children about God (Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Proverbs 4, Ephesians 6:4), parents began handing the biblical training of their children over to others, even over to complete strangers.
  • Carl W. Wilson also makes the following great observation: “If a law is passed ruling out the death sentence for crime, the whole legal system could then become anti-Christian. The heart of the Christian message is based on the justice of the death sentence.”[3]

Here I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’ essay entitled Delinquents in the Snow where he writes of some hooligans not properly being punished for their crime. He writes, “According to the classical political theory of this country we surrendered our right of self-protection to the State on condition that the State would protect us. Roughly, you promised not to stab your daughter’s murderer on the understanding that the State would catch him and hang him…”[4] but since laws and judges (sans moral-compass) no longer always punish crime or protect citizens properly, the social deal is crumbling. “Criminal law increasingly protects the criminal and ceases to protect the victim.”[5] And thus “the State protects us less and less because it is unwilling to protect us against criminals at home and [thus it also] manifestly grows less and less able to protect us against foreign enemies. At the same time it demands from us more and more.” He asks whether the State’s refusal to hold up its end of the bargain does not, in essence, return people to barbarism. When the State reneges, people revert back to individualism and self-rule, as in if the state or law won’t do something about this, I will. But, of course, the State then must crack down on everyone who feels that the State has abdicated its responsibilities. The State will certainly have to crack down as individualism causes conflict between factions and disorder in the streets.

  • In a chapter entitled Americaon the Brink of Anarchy and Dictatorship?,in which Wilson discusses economics based on greed, the book remains timely: Greed leads to dangerous and irresponsible fiscal policies. Can we say greed, debt, envy, selfish individualism, and a completely subjective non-existent “right to happiness”[6] leads to irresponsible fiscal policies? As per Wilson, selfish materialism eventually leads to a destruction of all rights, the steps of society being Theistic, Deistic, Democratic, Collective, and finally Dictatorial.
  • Within the moral realm, he writes: Homosexuality is the “ultimate in exalting the individual over social order.”[7]
  • Biblically “to try to feminize God or to remove authority from men weakens the concept of His moral government and is satanic.”[8]
  • And how about this: “Male selfishness… is the chief cause of the feminist movement…”[9]
  • Feminism has backfired on women and given them twice the burden: “The vision of freedom for women as advocated by the feminists is not working out as they planned. Women envisioned being freed from their ‘menial’ work in the home… so they could spend most of their time in making a lot of money in the market place... [Unfortunately] women have instead ended up with two jobs—with the home responsibilities as well as their job earning money. This happened because the male ego does not respond to assuming ‘women’s work’ and also because women do not want to give up the job in the home…”[10]

By the way, feminism also backfired by allowing men to back away from commitment. There was a day and age when a man with natural sexual desire, in order to have his needs met long term, had to win a woman (even win her father’s approval), court her, and then enter into a life-long marriage covenant with her. He might have needed to demonstrate some skills or goals before winning her hand. He might have needed a plot of ground, needed to be building a house, or needed to be apprenticing on some career path. No matter what, he did not receive his reward at the beginning, but worked hard toward the goal: marriage. Regular expression of sexuality required commitment in marriage. Not so anymore. Today a man can be a bum without a job, lacking even the most basic social skills which would help him secure a job. He might even proudly advertise that he has no long term goals, even that he has no long term interest in the woman. Still, the “liberated” woman will often be willing and available to him. And what is earned with little or no effort is often taken for granted, treated with little respect, or treated with contempt. Here I am reminded of Proverbs 20:21 which says, “An inheritance gained easily… will not be blessed in the end.

So today’s liberated and promiscuous women have given men the upper hand; men now can have sex without having to commit, provide, or marry. There’s no more moral guilt, no more social pressures or obligations. Add to these the financial support of irresponsible parents by the government, the constant feminist drumbeat that women no longer need men, and the non-stop selling of women as sex objects—by the media and by some women themselves—, and we get, ironically, a feminist society that pushes women forward for man’s use and pleasure. Woman’s “freedom” becomes man’s free lunch; in a do what you feel society, man “benefits” and woman pays the price.[11] It wasn’t God who created it this way; mankind’s rebellion brought us here.[12]

Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you” (Genesis 3:16, NKJV).

Combine these points about the feminine backfire and we find men doubly “free” and women doubly burdened. Think about it. In modern America at least, we now have the “perpetually adolescent male[13] who thinks only of sex, beer, sports, and video games. He spends his life playing and shirking responsibility while she balances job, house, home, babies, and, of course, her love life. (There are many articles out on the web that discuss these ideas: See “Where Have the Good Men Gone?”,[14]Why Men Won’t Grow Up”,[15] and “Manning Up[16] as other examples.)

Well, that’s enough to chew on for now. By the grace of God, all debate will spur us on toward being more fully devoted to the truth, more fully devoted to being true followers of Christ. Let us be Bereans, “examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things [are] so” (Acts 17:11) After all, “we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).

Let us be reminded that our hope is not in this life, it is in God. Our hope should not be in government, or in people, or some coming earthly Utopia, but in Christ. We are not to follow the ways of this world (1 Corinthians 3:19, Colossians 2:8, James 4:4, 1 John 2:16-17, 1 John 5:4-5, etc.). We are not to follow the dictates of our own sinful nature, becoming lazy, lustful, greedy, or envious. We are not to become arrogant or puffed up, looking down on others, viewing ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3). We are to follow Christ as His disciples, to be salt and light in this dark world (Matthew 5:13-16, Philippians 2:14-15).

 

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17, NIV).

 

 

 

Feel free to read my other columns at http://www.examiner.com/christian-perspectives-in-philadelphia/stephen-j...

______________________


[1]
Carl W. Wilson,Our Dance Has Turned to Death, copyright 1979, Tyndale House Publishers Living Books (paperback) edition copyright 1981, page 153.

[2] Carl W. Wilson,Our Dance Has Turned to Death, copyright 1979, Tyndale House Publishers Living Books (paperback) edition copyright 1981, pages 154.

[3] Ibid, page 103, emphasis his.

[4] C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, copyright1970 by The Trustees of the Estate of C.S. Lewis, published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, pages 308. It is important to note that Lewis follows that statement with this one: “Of course this was never true as a historical account of the genesis of the State. The power of the group over the individual is by nature unlimited and the individual submits because he has to” (page 308).

[5] Ibid.

[6] See my column entitled The Declaration, the ambiguity of “the pursuit of Happiness”, and its results located at http://www.examiner.com/article/the-declaration-the-ambiguity-of-the-pur...

[7] Carl W. Wilson,Our Dance Has Turned to Death, copyright 1979, Tyndale House Publishers Living Books (paperback) edition copyright 1981, page 69.

[8] Ibid, page 140.

[9] Ibid, page 108.

[10] Ibid, page 111.

[11] See the column “Women Should Stop Sleeping With George Clooney Types, Says Author” found at http://www.christianpost.com/news/women-should-stop-sleeping-with-george...

[12] To follow up on this, I highly recommend reading the Relationships section of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind.

[13] http://www.salon.com/2011/03/05/manning_up/

[14] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870440900457614632172588944...

[15] http://www.wnd.com/2011/03/272173/

[16] http://www.amazon.com/Manning-Up-Rise-Women-Turned/dp/0465018424

Comments

Excellent article!  Very apropos!

Firstly, I'll say I haven't read the book so I am reacting only to the comments quoted in this article. God-willing, I will find some time to read the book at some point in the future.

I have a problem with Carl Wilson's remarks on Capitalism quoted in the article and it is a common problem I find with people, Christians included, who don't really understand what Capitalism is and the scope it is intended to cover.

Capitalism is a system of economics, not morality. It attempts to define an economic system that both works and facilitates liberty. A capitalist is by no means encouraged by capitalism to "pile up as much wealth as he wishes" - just that he is free to do so, or not, or donate it all to charity. People are expected to apply their own moral principles to their own lives and not have the system try to force them to adhere to one. Now a Christian capitalist will pursue wealth and be generous with it, just as God has commanded. A selfish, greedy capitalist will not, but it is not the economic system's job to force him to do otherwise, but the moral people within a society to shame him, or persuade him he is wrong, perhaps through switching demand to other products and services.

Socialism, on the other hand, tries to intertwine morality with economics. This, of course, to most moral people sounds great until you consider that it empowers the state to decide what is moral and what isn't. However, what if the state is immoral? What if your morals don't match mine and your views have greater representation at the state level? Where did socialism first arise - was it not in the mind of the atheist Karl Marx? Do you - should you - be entrusting your wealth to a socialist government to redistribute it to causes you do not agree with or vehemently object to?

Wilson's remarks on Capitalism are not logical. They consists of faulty premises and non-sequiturs. Capitalism is not "Christian" and nor is "socialism". If I may utilize a tautology: only Christianity is Christian. But only capitalism (in its purest sense, not necessarily as practiced by all "capitalists") allows me the freedom to be Christian in what I do with my wealth. Socialism restricts my activity to whatever are the prevailing belief system and causes of the government of today - and it will be yours and my money they will be using to do it.

For these reasons, I am a free-market, libertarian, Capitalist politically/economically, and a Christian personally. I find this an effective and complementary combination -  not at all incompatible. In my view, they work best together (when properly understood) than any other combination of political and moral theory. Sadly, neither are practiced very much today anywhere in the world, even in ostensibly "Christian" and "capitalist" countries (which are usually not much of either).

Nice article Brother. Now I know more about Carl W. Wilson’s opinions than I care to ever recount. So I’ll keep my own opinions about the bullet points short; and in accordance to my Biblical interpretation.

CAPITALISM: The worldly system in which the believer lives is irrelevant to it’s adherence to a Christian standard. In other words, living the Christian life in any financial system remains the same; does said Christian honor God with his or her living.

ELECTING WEALTHY MEN TO OFFICES: Church leadership is a matter of shepparding the flock in the Spirit of love (Spirit filled). Monetary class should have no bearing on the choice; wealthy or poor.

SUNDAY SCHOOL: Many children have come to know the love of Christ within various church systems/programs. The system is not the enemy. They are there to help or augment what the child should be learning at home in the first place. Also, there are children that have led their parents to Christ afterward.  

IF A LAW IS PASSED RULING OUT THE DEATH SENTENCE: No matter what our opinion is concerning those which govern us, we are to submit to the authorities within reason. Whether or not our government is Godly in appearance or tyrannical; God is the one we answer to. Our government doesn’t determine our godliness.

GREED: Yes, greed should be avoided like a disease.

HOMOSEXUALITY: Social order is not God’s agenda; seeking and saving the lost is!

TO TRY TO FEMINIZE GOD: God doesn’t need us to defend His nature. It is ours to teach of God’s nature to those who have ears to hear.  

MALE SELFISHNESS: Blaming men for woman’s weakness and women for men’s goes back to the blame game in the garden. All are guilty of our own problems (all sin).

FEMINISM HAS BACKFIRED: We all have issues and fruit streaming from them… Christ reached out to women and gave healing and hope… No stones were thrown. In one instance, when Jesus confronted a woman that had five husbands, he didn’t blame the failed Feminist movement…

Personally, studying the weaving of sin in this world should not be the Believer’s first priority; abiding in the love of Christ should. Very little is accomplished by condemning the sin that Jesus already condemned - Romans 8:3-4. True Righteousness comes from heaven and is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Lifting Christ up in this world that He may draw people to Himself is our spiritual duty and pleasure. Let’s be about reaching a broken world for Christ through the GOOD DEEDS we have been saved to do.

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