Friday, February 19, 2010

Choose You This Day: God vs Socialism (Book Review)

Socialism is a buzz word today. Opponents of the President and the Democrat-controlled Congress are quick to shout, “Socialism” in opposition to many of the administration’s initiatives. Are they right? And if they are right, is socialism a bad thing?

Joel McDurmon has done a wonderful job in answering both those questions and many more you may not even realize needed to be asked in his book, God vs Socialism. The new Social Gospel is permeating our churches and it is vital that Christians know what it is and what the Bible has to say about it.

I write often on political matters and sometimes wonder if I should. McDurmon has been asked why he writes so much about “politics”. Here is his answer (which in the future will be mine):

“The answer goes far beyond the simple idea that we should apply God’s Word to every area of life. The answer must include the fact that if we don’t apply God’s Word to every area of life, the forces of darkness will push their word in the neglected areas. There is no neutrality. Either God reigns and His law is honored, or the enemy rules and humanists carry out their will in law, politics, and ethics. The reason for Christians in politics – and all other areas – begins with the answer to the question, “Who is King?”

Political decisions are ethical decisions. Scripture has much to say about just scales, contracts and monetary policy. Ownership is one of the main issues. McDurmon offers an abundance of scripture passages affirming private property. Socialism is the belief that individual private property and free-markets are bad ideas.

“Under this view, the individual has no protection from his neighbor if his neighbor is in the majority, or if the State somehow deems his neighbor is needful in some way, the State simply uses force to take that individual’s property and give it to someone else.” Thou shalt not steal doesn’t apply if a majority of representatives vote to do so in Congress. “Socialism is the belief that armed robbery is okay as long as you do it through the proxy of the government’s gun.”

Most Americans probably “wouldn’t walk over to their neighbor’s house and steal from him directly, but they have absolutely no problem with taking that money if a politician signs it their way...It is theft...”

Is it just hyperbolic language when conservatives warn of socialist or Marxist legislation? Not when you consider two tenets of the Communist Manifesto were (1) a heavy progressive or graduated income tax and (2) abolition of all right of inheritance. Sound familiar? The graduated income tax is envy based. Pure and simple. God commands all to give a tithe – 10%. He doesn’t command the rich to give more or the poor to give less. 10% across the board. To do otherwise is to favor or punish a segment of society which Scripture forbids. You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. – Leviticus 19:15.

The so-called Social Gospel of Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and Ron Sider is much more socialism than it is Gospel. While each maintain a nonpartisan stance, their positions line up with liberal ideology time and again. Each is more interested in promoting political agendas than spreading the Gospel. Look no further than the issue of abortion. Rather than decrying it as immoral or, specifically, murder, Wallis urges Democrats to relax their language on abortion to accommodate pro-life views. In his book, God’s Politics, he says:

Such a respect of conscience on abortion and a less dismissive approach to conscientious dissenters to Democratic orthodoxy would allow many pro-life and progressive Christians the ‘permission’ they need to vote Democratic. Again, there are millions of votes at stake here.

Wallis isn’t concerned with the millions of unborn lives at stake – just the millions of votes. His message is not one of conviction but of political expediency.

Even atheist activist Edward Tabash understands the need for this “baptized” socialism. Speaking before the Atheist Alliance International conference in 2007, he said of liberal leaders going out of their way to speak in religious overtones:

We don’t care what they say in look to the rhetoric they need to pander to, remember what country they’re running in. I don’t care what kind order to get elected in this religious country. We care about what kind of judges they give us on the Supreme Court, because only the Supreme Court determines if we’ll have secular government…Don’t of verbal obeisance they pay to religion if that’s what it takes to get a person in the White House who will give us church-state separationists on the Supreme Court.

Na├»ve and unfortunately many times simple-minded, Christians are being duped into accepting an atheistic system presented in religious clothing. Quite appropriate when one considers the early American socialists, called Fabians, had as one of their symbols a wolf in sheep’s clothing!

McDurmon also interacts with liberal theologians, Tony Campolo and Ron Sider. Sometime between 1989 and 1991, the singles group at my home church went on an organized trip to hear Tony Campolo speak. Something about the man bothered me, but at the time I couldn’t put my finger on it. I now know what that something was – socialism wrapped in the language of the Gospel.

Over 20 years have passed, but instead of being exposed as a false teacher Mr. Campolo and his ilk, including Jim Wallis and Ron Sider, continue to promote so-called Christian socialism. [It must be noted that Jim Wallis is a “spiritual advisor” to President Obama who said Americans shouldn’t be concerned about Obama’s lack of a church as he provides the president with a devotion delivered to Obama’s Blackberry on a daily basis.]

Campolo’s recent book, Red Letter Christians, gives special importance to the “red letter” sections of Scripture, the words of Jesus, as the key to Christian social justice and political action. Curious how Campolo’s presentation always lines up point-by-point with the Democrat party platform. He stresses the Sermon on the Mount, but somehow neglects this section: Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Matthew 5:17-18. Seems Jesus put a premium on the black-letter words as well.

However, it’s in his reflection on Matthew 25 that Campolo’s political agenda is laid bare. He writes that on judgment day the Lord

“…will ask whether or not we fed the hungry, clothed the naked, received and cared for aliens, and brought deliverance to captive people…

Most important, when we reflect on all Jesus had to say about caring for the poor and oppressed, committing ourselves to His red-letter message just might drive us to see what we can do politically to help those he called, ‘the least of these’ (see Matthew 25:31-46).”

McDurmon asks, “Where in any of these passages about helping the poor or judgment day, or any other verse period, does it “drive us” to ask what we can do politically? Jesus’ message involves a commitment to help the poor, yes, but it has nothing to do with using government force to redistribute wealth from some people in order to help other people . . . The truth is Campolo couldn’t care less about the Evangel – that is, the Gospel – unless it advances his liberal agenda.”

This is quite evident in an interview Campolo did with Bill Moyers. Mr. Moyers questioned him about the issue of proselytizing (particularly of Jews) and Campolo essentially denied the uniqueness and power of the Gospel:

I am not about to pronounce who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. That is not within the realm of any of us. We are not here to declare who’s out and who’s in. All we’re here to do is to saw what is meaningful in our own lives, what has been significant in our own personal experiences with God. I have come to know God through Jesus Christ. He is the only way that I know God. And so I preach Jesus. I am not about to make judgments about my Jewish brothers, my Muslim brothers and sisters; I’m just not about to make those kinds of statements. I think that we ought to leave judgments up to God, and we ought to call people to obedient faith within their own traditions, even as we faithfully preach our own faith to others…I learn about Jesus from other religions. They speak to me about Christ as well.

Seems Mr. Campolo doesn’t put importance on this red-letter verse: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6).

Campolo, like Wallis and Sider, loves to point out how “there are more than 2,000 verses of Scripture that call us to express love and justice for those who are poor and oppressed…” But he immediately makes the unwarranted jump from the Bible’s mandate for personal compassion to socialistic government action. [Campolo writes] “we promote legislation that turns biblical imperatives into social policy.”

It is an abdication of personal responsibility. One that is not unexpected from a liberal. Arthur C. Brooks, author of Who Really Cares, discovered and proved statistically and undeniably what the Bible promotes – the solution to poverty is organized voluntary giving. This book documented what many of us instinctively knew – religious conservatives give far more to private charity than liberals, no matter how the stats are tallied or how you divide the pie charts. Catholic author Richard John Neuhaus noted, “This remarkable book documents the dramatic gap between those who talk about caring and those who actually do it.”

While McDurmon interacts with Ron Sider, author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, he really needn’t to have bothered. David Chilton devastated Sider’s class-envy driven book in his response, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators. Sider has never acknowledged or interacted with Chilton’s book, but he has revised his book in response many, many times since its publication in 1977 as a result.

McDurmon sites one of the passages Sider uses in his argumentation, Jeremiah 22:13-19. Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim is condemned for building himself a luxurious palace without compensating his workers (as commanded in Leviticus 19:3). The prophet contrasts this oppression and injustice with the proper justice shown by King Josiah. “ ‘He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; Then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?’ Declares the Lord.” Sider says this passage proves governmental power should deliver the weak and guarantee the rights of the poor. True, if he means providing justice according to the law. If he means this to justify welfare and unemployment redistribution schemes, the passage says nothing about it. In fact, the real injustice here is the king breaking the law. The passage highlights a government that grew too powerful and began to oppress the people!

McDurmon sums up the purpose of his book thusly:

The Bible teaches about salvation. Yes, but what is salvation? Does salvation only concern the soul? To answer in this pietistic way is to ignore too much of Scripture. It ignores topics this book and many more deal with - very practical, down-to-earth matters of politics, property, money, reproduction, education, and inheritance that affect all of us. God vs Socialism has tried to show, Christians ignore these matters to their own peril, and to their children’s greater peril. As we neglect them, we destroy the foundations of a free society, and thus undermine the peace and prosperity of the nation our children will inherit…If the book of Judges teaches us anything, it teaches that the process of decline begins when Christians refuse to apply God’s laws to the very real and practical issues of social life. The negative results should ignite our souls to passionate action.

Monday, February 15, 2010

End of Global Warming Hysteria In Sight?

Admissions are coming slowly but surely from the global warming "scientists" that their "science" wasn't all it was cracked up to be. For the truth of the climate-gate fiasco one must head to the papers of jolly ol' England. Here's the Daily Express' coverage of the admission. The London Times ran another. The Daily Mail wasn't to be outdone and carried the same story here. Now if only a U.S. paper would man-up and admit it's a hoax.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Canadian Official comes to the US for surgery!

Newfoundland's Premier has headed south for his heart surgery. Makes you wonder what other Canadians would do if they could afford it! And we want to be like Canada?!?! Here's the story.