Protestants, Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox might regard each other as different religions (then again, they might not), but our enemies certainly don’t. For liberals, Moslems, homosexualists, feminists, radical environmentalists, et al, the three versions of Christianity are just slightly different flavors of the same poison. Or, to switch metaphors, our common enemies see Christians of all sorts as essentially the same pack of rats who deserve to be exterminated. Continue reading
While the situation of Christianity in The West is dire, whichever way you look at it, there are places in Africa, Asia (especially China) and in some Arabian countries where Christianity is growing fast and Christians are active, devout, energetic – to the point that the numerical decline of The West is approximately balanced by expansion elsewhere.
This is a litmus test issue, because of the nature of the churches that are growing – on the whole this massive growth is among what is termed ‘Renewalist’ churches – that it to say Pentecostal and Charismatic churches…
Is this growth of Christianity something to be celebrated by Western Christians, despite that it is happening among churches and people who – if they were located in the West – would be regarded with dismay, and indeed strongly disapproved of, by most Christian commentators from most of the major Western denominations?
In a phrase: is the actual worldwide growth of Christianity A Good Thing, or not? …
My impression is that people distinguish between a type of Christianity that is appropriate for African or Chinese in their own nations – and what is appropriate for the West, so they can celebrate growth of types of Christianity in other places that they would argue vehemently against in the West. But with unprecedented world population movements this attitude may not be viable – aside from the fact that it seems evasive to the point of dishonesty.
The question Western Christians need to ask themselves – from their perspective as devout and serious Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, Anglicans, Orthodox, or from being a Jehovah’s Witness, a Mormon or whatever – is whether they personally would approve of a Western Christian revival IF it was of the same type as actual recent and current Christian growth in other parts of the world?
If Pentecostal and Charismatic churches of many shapes and sizes began to spring up in The West with a focus on personal supernatural experiences – if these churches changed people’s lives, lent them enthusiasm, courage, energy… would you be pleased, or dismayed?
Because such a phenomenon could not be a matter of indifference. Sooner or later you, like everyone, would need to take sides and decide: Are such Christian churches to be encouraged, or suppressed?
Two of three parts of my essay on “Lewis Spence, True Myth, and Modernity” have appeared at Angel Millar’s People of Shambhala website. Part I is “The Atlantis Myth – Its Pedigree.” Part II is “Will Europe Follow Atlantis?” Part III, “The Table Round of Atlantean Eccentrics,” will appear next Saturday. The essay explores Scotsman Lewis Spence’s lifelong meditation on the meaning and probability of Plato’s Atlantis Myth.
I offer an extract:
Spence resembles William Blake, William Butler Yeats, perhaps even Arnold Toynbee, a bit staid in style but hardly so in content, in his visionary proclivity to see local events in the largest possible context, as participating in the cycles of a Platonic Great Year, or something like it; and as boasting always and everywhere a metaphysical-eternal as well as a physical-temporal meaning. So too Spence resembles Joseph de Maistre on the French Revolution, who grasped the Jacobin uprising as an ultimately self-punishing recrudescence of idolatry and human sacrifice, as both insufferable profanation and sanguine atonement all at once. Spence, who referred to himself as a ‘British traditionalist,’ prefigures later Traditionalist figures like John Michell (1933 – 2009) and Geoffrey Ashe (born 1923), whose thought goes perpendicular to anything established. Michell’s View over Atlantis (1969) and Ashe’s Camelot and the Vision of Albion (1975) follow in the eccentric path first trail-blazed by Spence. Their eccentricity – and Spence’s – likens itself to the fortuitous topography of the Nile Delta according to the Egyptian priests in Plato’s Timaeus, sheltering the adytum of insight-in-eccentricity from the deluge of opinion in conformity. The discussion must return to this topic of eccentricity, closely related as it is to the opposition of myth and poetry to economics, and to the much-underrated value of eccentric people and their views under a conformist regime; but for the time being let Spence’s marvelous tome be to the fore.
PS. I would like to thank the thoughtful and charitable party who sent me the set of beer-mug coasters. Any other gift that I might receive during the Christmas Season will pale, I fear, next to them.
As with any other resilient heretical or erroneous doctrine, there is a kernel of truth at the heart of Gnosticism: namely, that if you are *merely* worldly, then the world is indeed truly evil, and with it the whole of our existence in it. By itself the world cannot but redound to its own corruption and eventual certain dissolution, rendering all creaturely suffering endured along the way completely pointless, base, and stupid. Mere worldliness is no more than ugly death.
The world and our life in it can be good only insofar as we approach it sub specie aeternitatis. In the world, but not of it; that’s the ticket.
Short answer: In one sense, no. In another sense, maybe. In yet another sense, definitely yes.
Mark Citadel, at his blog, posts an excellent essay Parallel Blueprint to Victory. In it he points to the successful colonization of parts of Western Europe by Muslims who reject their host societies, and he urges Christians to learn from their success. This post is not an evaluation of Mr. Citadel’s entire essay, but a meditation on part of it: Are unbelievers our enemies?
Some quotes from Mr. Citadel:
The solution for us [traditionalists] is not much different from the solution that Muslim immigrants to Europe have exemplified.
We call this the ‘parallel society’. This is not the creation of a hermit kingdom, it is the creation of [an] entirely separate and hostile social system that runs alongside the main culture.
…this approach is much more openly hostile than the one which [Rod] Dreher espoused, and I would argue it is this aggressive nature that determines long-term stagnation or long-term victory.
Christians primarily need to start raising their children on two essential doctrines of this struggle.
1) You are Christian, you were born Christian, you will die Christian.
2) The world is not Christian. The world is your enemy.
[Emphasis in original.]
The key word for the present discussion is hostile. Since we are Christians, says Mr. Citadel, we should be hostile to those who are hostile to us. But to what extent are unbelievers our enemies? Continue reading
It’s called “Confessional Protestantism.” It’s small, and mostly unknown, but it’s solid.
The problem with contemporary Christianity is its liberalism. Trying to be popular with the masses, the church generally accepts the thinking of the contemporary world, feminism included. Being Christian, it adds to this mix a belief in Jesus Christ. But when the teachings of Christ conflict with liberalism, today’s church generally sides with the world, even if it tries to dress up worldly thinking in Christian clothing.
Today, many conservative Christians are theologically Christian but philosophically liberal. They believe in the Holy Trinity, and also in multiculturalism. They affirm that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and that we must stop making homosexuals feel excluded. They receive holy communion, and they protest for more rights for immigrants.
The way to stop this nonsense is first to identify that your highest authority is the written word of God, the Bible. Other authorities can be corrupted, but the Word of God is a matter of public record. Continue reading
The Manosphere criticizes Christendom, and it partly deserves it. But there are Christian and non-Christian ways to criticize.
The Manosphere’s basic critique of Western Christendom is that it panders to feminism. Enamored of the world, the church often propagates the worldly, feminist idea that the man is to blame and the woman is justified in rebellion. Instead of affirming biblical and historical Christian teaching that the man is to be the head of the family and that the wife is to submit to her husband’s leadership, many Evangelical churches, while giving an occasional nod to biblical teaching, present a de facto doctrine that gives the woman veto power. Without acknowledging it, they often pander to the wife’s right to feel offended, and sometimes even to divorce, if she feels that her man is mistreating her or not meeting her needs.
Broadly speaking, I agree with the Manosphere’s critique. When they err, it is usually an exaggeration of a valid point rather than a fundamental untruth. But something important is missing.
To understand what’s missing, consider the notion of law versus gospel: Continue reading
The liberal revolution has smashed tradition and authority. Throughout our nation the children are running amok. We need the fathers to step in and reestablish order.
The church is polluted by heresy like never before. Never before have heresies been so varied, so popular, and so powerful. These are not the “classical” heresies such as Arianism or Pelagianism, although these beliefs still have influence. Today’s popular heresies were created no more than a hundred years ago and they have no official heretical status. It’s time officially to stigmatize them as the dangerous heresies that they are.
We’ll define some of these heresies later but observe first that heretics such as Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland and Rob Bell are—from a worldly viewpoint—highly successful and influential. The smog they generate is polluting not only the church, but the cultures of entire nations. Although these heresies all originated in the United States, and within Protestantism, America’s powerful worldwide influence has spread them to all corners of the globe.
Therefore Catholics and the Orthodox should take note: the cultural smog emitted by the contemporary heretics affects you too. Heresy is an ecumenical menace.
And non-Christians should also take note. The contemporary heresies promise this-worldly peace and prosperity and Christians under their influence will not oppose the liberal jihad ravaging Western Civilization. They may even join it, seeking peace with the world so they can enjoy their lives. Heretical pseudo-Christianity is part of the problem, not the solution. By opposing these heresies we don’t just build up Christendom. We also oppose liberalism and help work toward a sane, traditionalist society.
These heresies originated within Protestantism and although it currently has no authorities that seem capable of enforcing a proper order (and this is apparently also true of Catholicism), Protestantism generally recognizes the authority of the Bible. There are pastors and teachers who would command widespread respect were they to issue an unambiguous statement, based on the authority of the Bible, opposing contemporary heresies.
We therefore put forward the idea of an ecumenical council of leaders of biblically-faithful Protestant congregations, denominations, and seminaries which would craft an official response to contemporary heresy. Such a council would have no power actually to defrock heretical pastors, but its unofficial influence could potentially be great. Heretics would be taken aback, and Bible-believing Christians would have an official response from the fathers of Protestantism giving them comfort and support in their battles with heresy. Continue reading
I’ve been trying to explain the reasonableness of the biblical doctrine of predestination (more accurately, divine election), the biblical teaching that God chose us before the creation of the world to come to Christ in faith. [Cf. Ephesians chapter 1.] I’m not satisfied with my previous presentations, so here goes again:
Picture someone who hates Christ. The head of ISIS, for example. Or the village atheist who trolls Christian websites. Anybody who hates Christianity.
Such people sometimes change their minds and come to faith in Christ. At one time they hated Christ, but later they changed their minds.
Question: What caused this change?
The answer that most quickly comes to mind is the following: The former Christ-hater gradually began to notice that Christianity is good and makes sense. He began to sense his own sin and his inability to atone for his sins by good deeds. He began to see that Christ, as reported in the New Testament, is an intelligent, compassionate and powerful figure. He began to understand that the eyewitnesses could not have been fabricating their account of the life of Christ. And so on. He gradually began to be attracted to Christ.
But this answer is obviously false. People who hate Christianity don’t begin to notice that it’s good. The moment someone begins to notice that Christianity is good, his mind has already changed. So the above is no explanation of the cause of the change. Continue reading
When he finished his setting of the Credo, Stravinsky remarked to a friend that, “it is much to believe.” Indeed. If you start with the banquet of the Creed, you hardly know how to begin, and the whole mass of doctrines it encodes can be pretty hard to swallow at one bite. But there are only about thirty steps, more or less, from complete agnosticism to a profession of Christianity. Many are truisms, that if understood could hardly be denied by anyone; those that depend on knowledge of facts might require a fair bit of (absolutely fascinating) background research (e.g., especially, the Shroud). Each step is of course open to quibble, but such quibbles as I have so far encountered at each step are easily settled. Taken seriatim and in the proper order, none of the steps are as incredible as all of them seem taken at once.