Friday, August 15, 2008

Everready Apologetics

I just don't understand this attitude of retreat from secular or even Christian culture. In "The Twilight of American Culture," Berman says that retreat from the degrading culture like the monastics did might be one way of surviving posmodernism. I think it's safe to say that Berman is not an Evangelical Christian. Rousas J. Rushdooney stated on some of his armchair tapes that he had concern that the homeschooling movement might actually end up doing something like this in a reactionary withdrawal from culture. (This was definitely NOT something he believed to be desirable!) This concept was brought to mind by Karen Campbell's August 8th "thatmom" podcast where she quotes several Evangelicals who promote "outbreeding the competition" over evangelism of the unbeliever. We are to retreat into little monastic communities and withdraw from culture, partly through fear and partly through piety.

(Don't forget to listen to "thatmom's" Part II on Militant Fecundity, with 2 more podcasts to follow.)

Jesus did not call us to survive but to go forth into the whole world, making disciples of the nations. If God is who He says He is and who we then declare, then what on earth do we have to fear? I think it's naive to think it's a picnic, but if God is for us and we seek to take dominion as many of these groups profess, why on earth or in heaven's name would we want to abandon our culture? And if family is such a virtuous and powerful force with God's blessing, then why should families live in fear?

There are also hints of this fear mongering in Randy Stinson's recent blog post at CBMW, discussed here by Cheryl Schatz. A friend of mine jokingly called this post "They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Complemenarianism," a play on the Words of Jesus stating that we will be known as Christians by our love for one another. But there seems to be little to no love lost for egalitarians or "compromising complemenarians" in the eyes of those who are driven by hierarchical gender agendas. The message that I've heard in other Stinson commentaries conveys this same message: the Gospel actually becomes threatened because of an intramural issue. (???) I don't get any of this, either.

My view of dominion is very different, some of which comes from my epistemology (how I validate truth). I believe that truth is transcendent and will ultimately and eventually reveal and establish itself. The Holy Spirit convicts us of the truth and about our own error -- it is our work to declare the truth and model it. But deception cannot stand in the face of truth just as darkness is dispelled by light. The Holy Spirit leads and guides people into faith and truth, revealing the nature of deception. God's Word does not return to Him void but always accomplishes that which He sends it to do.

In that sermon by Walter Martin recently mentioned here, he talks about how bankers identify counterfeit bills. They don't go and study the counterfeits but they study the genuine article. Identifying the counterfeit comes through intimate knowledge of the truth and the true representative. Present the real thing, and the everything else will fade into insignificance. The genuine article proves to be transcendent to those who know it and recognize it.

So when people discuss these odd interpretations of taking dominion that involve withdrawal from culture, I just don't get it. Back when I was a kid, Robert Conrad did a series of Everready Battery commercials, a man known for serious brawls on "Wild Wild West" and his portrayal of "Pappy" Boyington on "Baa Baa Blacksheep." (Talk about manliness! Men today should take notes.) I couldn't find the particular commercial that I have in mind where Conrad stands with a battery on his shoulder, all bulked up wearing a white t-shirt, saying "Go ahead and knock it off. I dare you." (I did find this earlier version of the series of commercials, however. What can't you find on You Tube?)

And that is how I think of the Christian faith. If we are Christ's ambassadors, we've got the very Word of God Himself on our shoulders. Who on earth or in heaven knock the genuine article off of our shoulder or away from us? In some sense, it's saying that our human efforts can knock God's Will off of His Own Shoulder. It seems as silly as any fool who would decide to challenge Robert Conrad, as we know from years of watching him on TV, they would likely land in the hospital.

Christians have the truth of the Word of God, our spiritual swords. We have the full armor of God. And we have the power of the Holy Spirit. And that surely makes us a heck of a lot tougher than even Robert Conrad! We have eternally lasting energy from the Source of Sources!

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
John 13:35