A group blog to promote discussion, debate and insight into the history, particularly religious, of America's founding. Any observations, questions, or comments relating to the blog's theme are welcomed.
Where is Frazer? He said he wanted me to answer him?
King of Ireland,I haven't responded to your post for two reasons:First, my father is deathly ill and I've been trying to be productive on the work I need to do this summer before I go to visit him. I may have to fly to Washington at any time to say a final goodbye to him.Second, I was waiting for you to answer all 7 of my questions because whenever I respond to what you write, we end up going down rabbit trails and never get to my questions or arguments -- and I end up doing all of the answering.But, having seen your "answer" to my first question, I think I can save us both a lot of time and effort by releasing you from your promise to answer my questions.In my opinion, you did not even address most of my question -- and the part you did address was "answered" by more questions for me (MOST OF WHICH I'VE ALREADY ANSWERED -- SOME MORE THAN ONCE) and anecdotes from your personal experiences. Since I find the ignoring of what I've already said to be annoying and frustrating and since I do not find anecdotal evidence to be a satisfactory response, once again I suggest that we go our separate ways and stop wasting one another's time.The question was pretty straightforward and required only a very simple answer which was never given in the long response: do you question the legitimacy of the United States, German, and Japanese governments (governments established by "bigger guns")? If not, why is my position unreasonable in this regard?You wrote (by my count) 27 paragraphs, but never answered the question. The closest you came was to say that you question the legitimacy of the U.S. over the Navajos -- a question I did not ask.I already specifically answered your question about tribal leaders versus Montezuma and who the average Aztec should submit to. If you're really interested in my answer, please go back and look it up. I'm tired of duplicating answers which are ignored or somehow missed.I already answered what constitutes authority and how we know who really is an authority. If you're really interested, go back and look it up.
King (cont.):It's fine with me if you want to call "legitimate authorities" "ordained authorities" -- they're both the same, according to Romans 13. According to the text, all authorities are ordained by God -- at least, "those which exist" (I won't speak for imaginary ones).You persist in saying that I assume judgment by God "due to some perceived evil of the conquered people" -- but I've never said that. That idea exists only in your own mind and your projections onto me. It may or may not be God's judgment, but it is God's plan, either way. You are correct that we often cannot know when or against whom God is executing judgment -- but that has no bearing on the question at hand. Whether God is judging an authority or not, it is not for us to take it upon ourselves to rebel. (I've made this point in response to you before, too.)You ask another question I've already answered several times when you ask the basis for my statement that the fact that these authorities emerged proves their legitimacy; or that they are "appointed authority" (using your preferred term). The answer, very simply and for the umpteenth time, is that Romans 13 says that all authorities which "exist" are ordained (your term) by God and that "there is no authority except from God." So, if an authority exists, it gets its authority from God. There is no authority except from God -- no exceptions. I don't know how it could be clearer or how you could ask me: "based on what?"I do not assume that it is God's will (and never said so). I assume that it is God's PLAN, however, because nothing happens apart from His plan. Many things happen which are not God's will, but nothing happens that is outside of His plan. I've already said this and given you ignored Scriptural support -- and it's the core of another of my 7 previously ignored questions (about God's sovereignty or "control").Your notion that I "disdain" the pagan is another creation of your own mind and unrelated to anything I've said. The fact that pagans do not seek God (as I HAVE said) does not reflect disdain for them because I said (as per Rom. 3) that NO ONE seeks God -- me included. As for being worthy of judgment, we're ALL worthy of God's judgment (including me) -- it is only by His grace that we or any nations continue to exist.AGAIN: the Aztecs were not under Cortez's authority until his jurisdiction over them was established and he was able to exert authority over them -- and, yes, that authority was established by having the "bigger guns" (just like the authority of the United States over EVERYONE within its jurisdiction -- including the Navajos and you and me -- and the authority of the German and Japanese governments over their people). Each of these governments was established by force and that is the crux of the question that you dodged for 27 paragraphs.Please do not do the second post on this subject for my benefit. If you want to do it for others, go ahead; but do not do it for me. Given what you've said about how you view the Bible, I have no interest in what you would consider a "biblical" point of view. And given the fact that you consider what you've written here an "answer" to my question, I have no interest in continuing this exchange.As I said, let's just give it up and quit frustrating each other. I need to devote my time to other things.
Response to your second comment.Frazer stated:"I do not assume that it is God's will (and never said so). I assume that it is God's PLAN, however, because nothing happens apart from His plan"and:"Please do not do the second post on this subject for my benefit. If you want to do it for others, go ahead; but do not do it for me. Given what you've said about how you view the Bible, I have no interest in what you would consider a "biblical" point of view. Your first quote is the "assumption" that your whole world view is based on and colors your reading of the Bible. This includes Romans 13.Your second quote is the only reason I engaged you in this discussion. I am no longer trying to reform the "church". Like Rush Limbaugh, I am honest enough to say that I so disagree with what is going on and the assumption behind it so much that I hope it fails. I do have an interest in providing another informed voice to counter to blaring trumpet of "American Evangelicalism" so people can see a difference.As far as the subject of this blog, Romans 13 is key to it so I think the back and forth is relevant. But is you feel like it is wasting your time then do not respond. I am going to continue to answer the questions on my blog because I think they are good questions that make me think. They are also some of the same conversations that people had back then. For the record:If God planned for millions of Aztecs to die then He is a the "genocidal maniac" that Ed Brayton said He is. I respond to you for guys like Ed to see that not all Christians are the same.
Frazer stated:"First, my father is deathly ill and I've been trying to be productive on the work I need to do this summer before I go to visit him. I may have to fly to Washington at any time to say a final goodbye to him."Sorry, I lost my Mom years ago and know how it feels. Frazer also stated:"Second, I was waiting for you to answer all 7 of my questions because whenever I respond to what you write, we end up going down rabbit trails and never get to my questions or arguments -- and I end up doing all of the answering."Not true I have responded to many of your questions. I prefer the Socratic method and often my answer is another question. Other times I definetly answered.You wrote a PHD on this subject and want people to answer 7 questions that require understanding the overall context of the Bible, History, Philosophy.... in a few sentences? This is unreasonable.As far as the question you asked me:It was in response to a question I asked you. You have assumptions that everything is God's plan so all governments are. I challenge your assumption. I answered that I do not assume this.As far as all authorities that exist being "the appointed authority sent by God for a people to submit to" just because they exist, this is impossible. How can tribal person submit to the conqueror(bigger guns) and the tribal leader at the same time? Both claim authority. The German and American situations are the same as the Navajo in many respects. I answered what I believed and why. You may not agree but I did answer. The bottom line is that you have done the same thing that almost all evangelicals I know have done when challenged by someone who knows the Bible as well or better than they do:Say the discussion is a waste of time and move on. I had higher hopes for you as far as being able to back up what you were saying.
Dr. Frazer,I think you are missing my point about "legimate, appointed, ordained...." authorities. You state that all authorities that exist are appointed. Maybe this could be true. My point is that not all authorities that exist are appointed to every person on earth. The German is subject to a different authority than the Japanese even though the United States helped establish both governments. My principal was my authority until I just quit my job. I do not question that the United States is an authority and that it is thus possibly established by God. I do question whether the Navajo(or Native Americans in general so you cannot say I dodged your question) have to submit to it even if we concede your point about all that governments that exist are appointed.(Which I do not concede to but just for arguments sake)We have not even gotten into the verses beyond 1 and 2 which I was saving for your second and third question as to when it is permissible to revolt against tyranny and about how much evil it takes.Finally, I have to wonder what is the difference between God's will and God's plan? Does He plan out and execute something he does not want to happen?
King,Darn! You've uncovered my secret: with my degree in Bible and 21 years of teaching at a Christian college, I am intimidated by your superior knowledge of the Bible. I thought I had covered up my feelings of inadequacy by answering every question and argument you made for about a month (something like 50 posts on my part) instead of doing serious work I needed to get done. But you saw through me. Congratulations! You can claim victory and feel really good about yourself.You're also right (of course) that it was unreasonable of me to expect you to actually answer a question after promising to do so.I don't remember saying you had to do it "in a few sentences," but, since you say so, I must have. I've looked back at what I asked you and I didn't actually say that -- but with your hermeneutic, we can just have words mean whatever we want them to mean, right? Or we can simply insert words into what is actually said in order to make it fit better with what we prefer -- so we'll just assume that I actually asked you to do it "in a few sentences." Oh, and based on your hermeneutic, I can see how promising to answer 5-7 questions could actually mean asking more questions instead of answering any.I now see that it was unreasonable of me to expect that you could fit in an answer to one question in 27 paragraphs of writing; so, again, I apologize.In my ignorance, I also did not know that you needed to understand "the overall context of the Bible, History, Philosophy" in order to answer whether you personally question the legitimacy of the U.S., German, and Japanese governments. At least as far as the U.S. government goes, it seems to me that you'd need to know that just in order to live here. I, for example, know right away whether I consider those governments to be legitimate or not. Please excuse my inferior mind.I also apologize for disappointing you by not "being able to back up" what I say. Unlike you, I feel myself constrained by what the Bible says (irrespective of my own experience or preference), by actual history, and by logic. Since I deal in that language, I've been unable to find a way to translate my views into your language -- I confess that defect.I also confess that I'm confused that you feel the need to counter my "American Evangelicalism," since other contributors to this blog complain that I don't give enough credit to Christianity and that I'm a tool of atheists. If only I had your wisdom, I could navigate properly and be a glowing representative of Christianity who: a) uses profanity unless not allowed to do so, b) ignores whatever biblical passages are inconvenient, and c) celebrates being free from attachment to a church. But then, because I have that defect of taking the Bible seriously, I'd have problems with Ephesians 4:29, II Timothy 3:16, and Hebrews 10:25, respectively.One thing I still can't figure out is why your superior intellect kept asking me questions about Cortez and the Aztecs and authority and the tribal leaders and Montezuma and how we know who's an authority and on and on -- only to refuse to read the answers given multiple times. I'm sure there is a cosmic reason which is just beyond my capabilities to grasp.YOU WIN! Now that I've been exposed as unworthy to spar with you, I'll take my cowardly leave.
Dr. Frazer,You prove my point about Evangelicalism in America with these comments. Take your ball and go home like all the people you teach in Bible school when they get challenged. 80 percent fall away! Why should anyone listen to the people who teach them? The Ed Brayton's of the world certainly do not. Why? He knows the Bible better than they do.
KOI,Did you really think you were going to convince Gregg to change his opinion on Romans 13? We've argued over what is the proper definition of "Christianity"; certain things seem non-negotiable like Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, Virgin Birth, Resurrection. I think things like eternal damnation, original sin, proper understand of Romans 13, TULIP, whether evolution is compatible with Christianity, and even whether the Bible is inerrant/infallible are matters of sectarian disputes. But Gregg is well representing the evangelical/fundamentalist tradition. It's not my cup of tea; but I don't expect to be able to convince them to change their views on any of the subjects that they've thought long and hard about. I've met some who make logical errors or bad arguments and I point them out. However, I don't see Gregg doing that here.
Jon,I gave up trying to change "Evangelical Christians" minds a long time ago. I engage these discussions to learn more in that when I am challenged it forces me to defend my positions which allows me to see things I originally did not see. I also engage in them because someone has to counter balance this point of view.He is consistent in his belief system but that does not make him right. While there is almost no chance of changing his mind, there is the chance of representing a different view of God to others. I so stand by what I said about the whole lot of them slinking away when challenged. I see it all the time on Ed's blog. Good questions are asked, vague answers are given, and when these are challenged the person gets mad and goes away. I have no respect for it. Neither do most atheists/agnostics. He wrote a PHD on this subject and goes around and speaks on it as an expert. He should be challenged and should have to back it up. He is better than most about though I will say that.
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