Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hear My Media Appearance

Jim Babka has uploaded my media appearance on the show he hosted where I discuss the Christian origins of America with Herb Titus. You can listen to it here. You might have to turn the volume WAY up on my first segment (that lasted for a few minutes). Whether I was speaking too softly or the producers didn't have my volume turned up (or both) I don't know. But the volume issue was taken care of after the first few minute segment during the break.

Babka also provided critical feedback on the debate which you can read here.

I know Babka, as an evangelical Christian, disagrees with the view I often explicate on Romans 13. I'm not a Christian or a believer in the infallibility of the Bible so my understanding is more "academic" or "scholarly." But, evangelicals/fundamentalists/orthodox Christians -- devout believers in the Bible as the infallible Word of God -- throughout history and currently today do believe in this understanding that demands something close to unlimited submission to civil authorities. And if this interpretation of Romans 13 is correct, the American Revolution was a sin.

I’m actually must less passionately wedded to the position that Romans 13 teaches unlimited submission to government than I might seem. I tried to make clear I thought the position that, Herb, Jim, and the many Christians throughout history who argued for the right to resist tyrannical magistrates is a “reasonable” interpretation. I just want folks to be aware that what was central to the American Revolution is not so “clearly” biblical but rather a matter of debate within orthodox Christendom.


Brad Hart said...


I think Mr. Titus needs to get his biblical references strait. He stated that Locke cited Judges 9:27 as proof that the Supreme Judge was somehow Christian. I'm not seeing it. Maybe someone else can clarify here. This is what Judges 9:27 says:

"And they went out unto the fields, and gathered their vinyards, and trode the grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink and cursed Abimelech."

Maybe I am missing something here, but did Mr. Titus possibly misquote here? Did he mean to mention a different verse?

Also, I loved how you nailed him on the Baptist preachers "persuading" Jefferson and Madison to establish religious liberty.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Thanks Brad. I'm a bit disappointed in my voice volume level but my parents assured me that listening live they could better hear me than what is reproduced above.

Maybe it was "Providence" that gave Mr. Titus a better speaking channel. LOL.

But in any event, I'm going to blog more about this, Mr. Titus' vision of "Christian Statesmanship" is, it seems to me, not at all what David Barton and the "Christian America" crowd believe. More on that later.

If Jefferson can pass a Christian statesman test, well I have no problem with the vision of such a system!

Raven said...

You kicked his stupid ass, Rowe!

bpabbott said...

I must admit I look out for comments my Raven. They are always direct, blunt, and proportionately accurate.

That said, I'm not used to them being complementary ... as i must infer major kudos to Jon, I'll have to listen the discussion as time permits!

bpabbott said...

Titus' supreme judge looks remarkably like "causality" ... by which I imply that the physics of the universe will necessarily determine the outcome of all events.

That there exists a Christian perspective that is compatible with "causality" does not make causality a uniquely Christian concept. Thus, I find this argument wanting. There are many ideologies that can argue the same arguemnt, even non-theistic ones.

Titus' claim that the DOI's "creator" language is uniquely Christian is spacious. Most all religions incorporate a creator, and non-creator ones can look at the wording as metaphorical, or as an intent to insult colonial England.

My view is that the founders looked for and embraced a middle ground that was as inclusive to as many as possible, and that we should honor that spirit today and include as many of our citizens perspective as possible. Which would be largely served by avoiding ideological language.

By doing such there is no threat to material liberty, much less to spiritual liberty.

Regarding the submission to government authority, Titus' claim that Christian doctrine only requires submission to tyranny, in the event that we have no power to overcome it, is incompatible with Jesus' example.

In any event, I don't think individuals like Titus are any significant threat to individual liberty, but am concerned that there are others willing to superficially align themselves with such to do so. The problem comes down to what is uniquely and objectively Christian, what is uniquely not Christian, and what of our Nation's founding principles qualify as either, or as neither.

As a final thought, Titus' closing statement inferred to me that Christian principles negate Christian qualifications for our nation's leaders, and that Christians should not enter politics from the perspective "they are going to church" ... if such were the case, there would be no debate. That so many Christians insist our leaders be Christian and that they indoctrinate our citizens as well is the center of this debate.

What did I miss? ... or is this guy a poor choice for defending the claim ours is a "Christian Nation"?