Capturing Our Culture Without Compromising Our Convictions Conference
Living Hope Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Vineland. Pastor: Tristan Emmanuel http://www.TristanEmmanuel.com
Guest Speaker: Andrew Sandlin, President of the Center for Cultural Leadership, Writer and Publisher,
Christ and Culture 4
Q1: Request from Audience: Briefly the separate roles of civil government, family and state.
I hold basically Kuyper's view of sphere sovereignty. Independent governments (family, church, state) cannot overrule each other; each is under God's authority; each exercises ministry toward others.
Role of Christian family as basic institution, raise children, work with church, maintain property, provide health, education and welfare. This is family obligation. This is biblical family, including grandpa, husband wife, children.
We have very strong state, weak church, very weak family. Biblically the state should be very weak, church stronger, family very strong.
Church is to protect orthodoxy. Church should disciple the nations. Responsibility of civil government is to suppress external evil doing. Most sins in the Bible are not crimes. Most lying is not criminal for example. Biblically the state is an agent of coercion. Particularly among Calvinists we agree that the state should be chained down. The state should not attempt to make the people virtuous. Role of state is not to provide for material well-being. State should not protect national industry.
How does the state get money? Only tax the state could levy is a head tax. Graduated taxation is wrong. People who are wealthy should not pay more.
State is a predator. If it doesn't have a lot of money it can't do a lot. It's properly very poor. If individuals don't pay tax, they have more money for health and education and welfare. Currently the Church and family don't take care of their responsibilities, so the state has inefficiently implemented health care, education and welfare. State is spending YOUR money, so bureaucrats not careful, efficient.
Ideally, these are cooperative, but separate, independent institutions. One of the best ways to reduce a messianic state is for Christians to start fulfilling biblical roles that the state has monopolized. Let's take back the free market? Should the police employ police officers. Yes? Court system? Yes. Private courts are also useful. Beyond legit civil governments' role, everything belongs to voluntary sector. Now the taxes which remain in your pocket can be used to fund voluntary, efficiently run social infastructure.
Illegitimate domination of family by church: danger in home churches. When home church is cut off, and dad's not qualified, he may begin to go off into some heresy. A real problem is that the church may dominate family, such that family head may lose his authority. Church is comprised of families. One of the best things you can do is to use you preaching and teaching to build ministries. If your goal is to make a strong denomination, it may recede. But strong families last. Elders may take authority in individual lives which is not really their authority. In some churches, the elders may decide who the daughter may marry. But this is not primarily their business. So long as the father is leading the family, and there is no sin, the elders should not try to make everybody in the church a good Christian after their personal tastes. You also have the danger of autonomous families. The problem with independents is that they can be autonomous. To whom is your denomination accountable. Denominations should be accountable to the entire (small C) catholic tradition of the historic Christian church. You can't force people to do what you want to do. There needs to be church government and accountability, but any form of church government has problems.
Q2: If you were elders wouldn't you want dad to teach the children? Yes. This is dad's role, and elders should guard against any teaching of heresy.
Q3: Why do pulpits remain silent about moral issues? There's a false distinction between public and private. Public sphere increases in the mind Of Christians, so their private sphere decreases.
Q4: Too many Calvinist's don't have power in their preaching. We need the intelligence and power of Calvinists into the enthusiasm of the evangelicals. On this issue, seminaries are failing, as they do not teach men to teach the full council. We need a school of the prophets. Need to train strong preachers. I get ticked off by weenie preachers. Too many little mice in the preacher's role. We need sound powerful, authoritative preaching.
Lecture 4 (briefly stated due to questions) - Sandlin
I've advocated a radical form of Christianity. We need radical disciples for Jesus Christ. We need people to influence culture for Jesus Christ. We're not under intense persecution. Classical book on democracy speaks of tyranny of the majority. A dissenting minority rules, but we the middle majority avoid speaking out for fear of appearing radical. The common standard is that nobody should hold anything too strongly, except that nobody should believe anything too strongly. A secular believer in postmodern culture, hates the Christianity of the Bible because it involves a radical willingness to die for Jesus. The dangerous person is a true believers. After all 911 was the result of radical Islamic true believers. Opposition to strong belief is itself a strong belief. When the world health organization fails to advocate abstinence for the prevention of AIDS we see that there is a radical commitment to tolerating radical behaviour. They refuse to racially profile young, male, Arabs; instead they show their radical tolerance in profiling old ladies and children. When pro-choice is spear-headed by the argument that women have a right to kill their babies, what they are really advocating in intolerance toward morality. There is always radicalism. What will it be? Christianity offers a peaceful radicalism. Under the power of the sword of the Spirit. We can have a benevolent radicalism by western powers. Radicalism is a relative thing. Scripture reveals an absolute radicalism. We want to practice that kind of radicalism. Press Christianity in all areas of thought and life. We can expect in our lifetime for society to go down hill. If you keep running the same play that continues to be unsuccessful. We need to take territory. We need to take back institutions. Prepare for the third generation.
Legitimacy of sports?
Role of fringe political parties?
Role of political lobbying, education?