Sunday, December 30, 2007

Charles A. Coulombe on Empire

Okay, one more then off to bed...

Catholic Monarchist Charles Coulombe has written an interesting piece for Taki Theodoracopulos' paleoconservative journal entitled "America: An Empire?". Here, Coulombe examines four questions:

1) are Empires invariably evil?
2) is the acquisition of an Empire an inherent betrayal of American principles?
3) what we would be required to do to make a go of it?
4) are we, as a people, suited to the job?

To the first two questions, Coulombe answers "no." This corroborates what I wrote in my last post on American grand strategy and the Iraq war. After discussing the cost/benefits analyses of various imperial strategies (question 3), Coulombe answers the fourth question in the negative. In his judgment, in this time and place, U.S. leadership lacks the requisite fortitude to implement what is necessary to achieve the outcomes we want in the Middle East.

I fear he may be right. What do you think?

Happy Sixth Day of Christmas!

Just like the song says, there are twelve days in the Christmastide season. So, you can still send those greeting cards you didn't have time to send two weeks ago. But hurry! Time's running out... ;-)

MP3's are Great

Now that I've got a fancy new phone Dick Tracy could've only dreamed about, I can listen to mp3's all day long.

There are all kinds of great free sermons & lectures online. One of the first things I listened to was this fantastic series of lectures on baptism by Norman Shepherd available from Trinity Presbyterian's (Birmingham, Alabama) Norman Shepherd Project:

1982 Baptism Lectures

1. The Baptism of Noah and His Household
2. The Baptism of Moses and the Children of Israel
3. The Circumcision of Abraham and His Descendants
4. The Circumcision and Baptism of Jesus
5. The Efficacy of Christian Baptism

Fantastic Stuff!

Also good is Vishal Mangalwadi's Heretics Series, available from the MacLaurin Institute. (Thanks for the hook-up, Russ!)

I would be remiss to mention the man himself, Dennis Prager. All of his radio programs of the last few years are available on podcast, also for free.

Here are hundreds of hours of spiritually edifying and informative listening. And this is only the tip of the iceberg! It's mindboggling to think about the possibilities the Internet holds for disseminating quality information on such an unprecedented (virtually limitless) scale. Sure, there's a lot of junk out there, but at least the good stuff is there for people who look for it.

Facts about Israel

In her Amazon.com review of Big Lies: Demolishing the Myths of the Propaganda War Against Israel, Alyssa A. Lappen writes:

"This terrific 56-page booklet explains the myths that have tarnished Israel's name and falsified the historical record over the last several decades. It is based on more than 60 references cited in a bibliography.

"The book is divided into three sections, discussing the origins of the refugee problems, the stages through which the problem was created, and the questions surrounding the "occupation" and the "settlements."

"As has so often been explained, in 1947, the United Nations mandated the creation of two states in the 20 percent that remained of Palestine following its first illegal division by Britain. The Jewish people accepted the partition, but eight Arab nations initiated a war against them to obliterate Israel. As a result of the aggressive war, Israel acquired more land, and hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled. After the war, Israel offered the right to return so long as Arabs swore their allegiance to Israel and renounced violence. Only 150,000 Arabs took advantage.

"Meanwhile, from 1948 through 1954, more than 800,000 Jewish people were forced to flee their homes in Arab and Muslim states in the Middle East. Most settled in Israel.

"Arabs began leaving Israel of their own free will even before the partition plan was announced in November 1947. Even before that, 70,000 Arabs fled. Another 100,000 or so left after hostilities began in November 1947. Then the Arab leadership began announcing their intention to annihilate the Jewish people, and still more people fled. In March 1948, an Iraqi brigade had entered the village of Deir Yassin, in an attempt to cut off the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"On April 9, 1948, Jewish troops entered the village, intending to capture it and drive out the Iraqi belligerents. The Iraqis disguised themselves as women, however, and fired from among the women. Naturally, as a result of the reckless endangerment of civilians, Arab women were killed along with many armed and disguised Arabs. A recent study by Beir-Zayyit university on Ramallah showed there was no massacre--only a military conflict in which civilians were killed in the crossfire. But Arab leaders, who had told Arabs to flee, also used the incident to shame Arab nations into more forceful fighting. Their plan backfired when Arabs panicked and fled by the thousands.

"Despite Israel's offer in February 1949 to return Arab lands occupied as a result of their war on Israel, the Arabs refused to sign a peace treaty on which the offer was conditioned.

"Finally, the booklet covers settlement. As noted, Zionist pioneers from the 1840s onward immigrated to Israel from all over the Arab world and Europe to join the local Jewish community to rebuild the Jewish homeland. They bought land from the Turkish crown (which had conquered and ruled the land for 400 years) and Arab landowners. There was no theft, and no one was driven from their land. A 1990 demographic study of Palestine by Columbia University showed the Arab population grew tremendously as a result of Jewish economic development. An Arab population that was static at 340,000, from 1514 to about 1840, suddenly began increasing in 1855 and by 1947 had almost quadrupled.

"The booklet also covers the unsuccessful proposed Peel Partition plan, the UN partition, pre-1967 terrorism, (which resulted in more than 9,000 attacks from 1949 to 1956 from the Gaza strip alone), the the belated emergence of Palestinian nationalism in 1967.

"As the article explains, "Israel is the only known country in all of history to come into existence via legal and beneficial land development (as opposed to the almost universal method of conquest)." Israel has the right, by virtue of Arab aggression in 1948 and 1967, to maintain sovereignty over its newly won territories and to develop them in any way "that is not prejudicial to the well-being" of civilians.

"This excellent booklet sets the record straight."

The truth is out there. Download Big Lies for free from FRONTPAGEMAG.com.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Bible and the British Throne

The association of the British monarchy with the Bible is nowhere better demonstrated than in the coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II more than 50 years ago. The queen placed her hand on a Bible as she knelt and promised before God to perform her solemn oath. She then kissed the book and signed the oath.

The ceremony continued as these words were spoken to her: “Our gracious Queen: To keep your Majesty ever mindful of the Law and the Gospel of God as the Rule for the whole life and government of Christian princes, we present you with this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is Wisdom; this is the Royal Law; these are the lively Oracles of God.”

Click here for the rest of David F. Lloyd's excellent article.

Party seeks to restore monarchy

Koruna Ćeská would rebuild the ancient Czech Kingdom

By Markéta Hulpachová
Staff Writer, The Prague Post
December 19th, 2007 issue

Click on the picture below for the article.

The ancient coats of arms of Moravia, Bohemia and Silesia.

Thanks to J.K. Baltzersen at Wilson Revolution Unplugged for finding this article.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mark P. Balok Against "Fencing" the Table

My beloved brother (in the Lord) Mark has written a challenging post against the denominational practice of restricting communicant privelege to those who hold a particular view on the mode of Christ's presence in the Sacrament.

I wish I could go into the subject in more detail, but I was raised in a "church" that made a very big deal about who could or could not partake of the Supper. The Plymouth Brethren began in the early 1800's originally as merely informal meetings of Christians from various ecclesial affiliations to "break bread" together and rejoice in a common faith and salvation that transcended organizational boundaries.

This original ecumenical principle began to fade as the Brethren movement evolved into the Brethren Ekklesia or "Gathered Assembly." In order to justify the creation of a new denomination (in fact--if not in name), John Nelson Darby (JND) argued that any group that separated itself from the contaminations of "moral evil" (i.e., immorality) and "ecclesiastical evil" (i.e., doctrinal error) had been ipso facto gathered by the Spirit unto Christ alone. This, as I understand it, is the theoretical origin of non-denominationalism.

Obviously, JND thought his party (one of many Brethren groups that remained after several schisms in his lifetime and beyond) had sufficiently purified itself from moral and ecclesiastical evil. This Gathered Assembly is still understood by strict Brethren today to constitute THE TESTIMONY to the truth of the "one body" of Christ on earth. Of course, they all differ among themselves as to which Brethren sect actually testifies to this Truth, but they are all certain such a Testimony exists!

My response to all this pablum is that the Lord Jesus Christ is perfectly capable of purifying his own Supper so that unbelievers and sinners will not defile God's people if perchance they unworthily partake of the blessed sacrament.

For more info on JND & the Brethren, readers can check out William Blair Neatby's A History of the Plymouth Brethren.

All I can say is...

wow.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Delving a little deeper into the "Paul" controversies

The faculty at Westminster Seminary California have written a book defending the Reformational doctrine of justification from its "enemies," Norman Shepherd, FV and NPP.

A fellow named Mark Garcia wrote a review of this work, and his review has elicited a response from Drs. Godfrey and Vandrunen. Here is a clarification Mr. Garcia wrote anticipating some of the challenges in the Godfrey/Vandrunen rebuttal.

Lee Irons offers some thoughtful considerations of the issues involved here. And here, Mr. Irons sheds light on the theological similarities between Norman Shepherd and N.T. Wright.

The Shepherd/FV side has now published a response to Westminster, which I intend to get as soon as possible.

In the interest of fairness...


...I have provided a link to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's blog under my "News and Intelligence Analysis" links.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Classic Statement of the Theory of Divine Right

In the following excerpt from his third lecture on Unbelief and Revolution, Groen van Prinsterer demonstrates from Romans 13:1 that St.Paul possessed an understanding that authority bearers hold authority by divine right.

To distinguish my own opinions from GVP's, the reader should understand that while I consider all government to be grounded in God's own authority and to be granted by him as GVP does, I also believe that certain offices and institutions more perfectly represent the divine authority than others. For example, I believe manhood represents God's authority in a fuller sense than womanhood does. Also, kings represent this authority to a fuller degree than Presidents or CEO's of corporations. I hope the reader can see that this opinion does not necessarily entail denying legitimacy to these other offices and institutions.

GVP's statement is here presented to supplement my own argument that OT kingship and priesthood derived from Adam's headship and NT kingship and priesthood derive from Christ's own royal priesthood. The heritage possessed by the Church universal is both royal and sacerdotal, and the inheritance of every baptized man is that he is a priestly-king and every baptized woman that she is a priestly-queen. This is a very high truth and my desire is to joyfully emrace it. But, this Doctrine of the royal-priesthood of all believers should not be construed in such a way as to deny that various members of Christ's body participate in Christ's authority in special ways to different degrees.

The numbers within {...} represent page numbers from the Van Dyke edition of GVP's work.
______________________________________

{50} What, then, is the meaning of divine right?

Although we could also appeal to classical antiquity, the simple and plain answer is found in Scripture: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God."[1]

All power is ordained of God. {51} It is not permissible, whenever something seems too strong to us, to water it down by means of some insipid interpretation that conforms to what we consider acceptable. Therefore, we may in no wise try to evade the intention of these words, for example by pointing to the care of Providence which brings forth good out of the evil that it tolerates. The powers that be are not just tolerated. They are willed, instituted, sanctified by God himself. This is the only plausible meaning of ordained.

We must be equally on our guard against a distortion of Scripture invited by miscomprehension or inspired by base design. All power must be understood as referring to every kind of legitimate power, in the sound sense demanded in the context by the reminder of God's righteousness and holiness. Power here is not synonymous with might or force. To be sure, I realize that when Paul wrote this, Nero was in power; I also admit that the Christian is not always called to enter into disputes concerning the legitimacy of existing powers; and I am quite willing to allow that the expression "also to the froward,"[2] used in connection with masters over slaves, also applies, by analogy, to the injustices of civil authorities. Nevertheless, I will not subscribe to any interpretation that would oblige us to be obedient to the villain who holds a dagger under our nose, or to hail today as a power ordained of God the crowned robber who yesterday banished our legitimate prince.[3]

Furthermore, {52} it is plain that the nature of the submission required of us depends upon the nature of the power granted by God. In The Hague I am not obliged to submit to the type of authority that is lawfully exercised in Constantinople or St. Petersburg. Similarly, as a Netherlander I am not entitled to the liberties and privileges enjoyed by the subjects and citizens of London or Paris.

Every kind of lawful power. Divine right is not the trademark of Monarchy. It applies to all forms of government. Thus, whatever we might want to hold against John de Witt and his fellow oligarchs, we would not fault them for their strenuous efforts, given their insistence on the sovereignty of the States of Holland, to defend their authority in that Republic by appealing to the divine origin of their rights to sovereignty.

All power is of God. A civil power is God’s lieutenant and God’s minister. In this duality of the relation (its twofold direction, upwards and downwards) lies the whole theory of divine right. We are to obey the higher power for the Lord’s sake; he is to be obedient to God. "For he is the minister of God to thee for good," writes the apostle.[4] The supreme power {53} is a gift of God which must be employed in His service, for the benefit of others, and to His honor.

But (someone will object) this is true of any gift of God. To be a lieutenant, minister, and steward of God is the calling of everybody, each in his own sphere. In every rank, in every relation, man has been given a talent, which is at his free disposal: on the understanding that God will call him to account concerning its use. A sovereign bears God's image on earth, but—thus runs the objection—so does a father with respect to his child, and a judge with respect to the accused. In fact, so does the possessor of any goods and talents whatsoever, since each talent is a gift and every possession is a loan. All men, therefore, are to walk in the Name and after the commandment of God in the good works which He has ordained for us.[5] The principle is the same for all, in the rights it confers, in the duties it imposes, and in the norm it implies. To what, then, are we to ascribe the strange and extraordinary position that is always so pompously granted to government?

I welcome this objection. I agree with everything said. For it seems to me that the very simplicity of the case reveals its incontestability. So far from being peculiar or extraordinary, divine right is but the most natural application of a universal truth. The objection raises the very point that has been such a fatal source of misunderstanding: those who appealed to divine right from self-interest considered it an exceptional right, those who opposed it out of resentment regarded it as an odious privilege. Away with this arbitrary restriction! The truth that a violation of rights is a violation of the divine right holds for no one or it holds for all. All have an interest in its observance. It gives stability to the entire structure of society. The promise, "War to the castles, peace to the huts," is deceitful, for the same reasoning which demolishes the palace of the prince will not spare the counting-house of the merchant {54} or the humble roof of the peasant or the lowly hut of a day-laborer. By contrast, the doctrine of divine right protects both the throne and the property of the least of its subjects.

Viewed in this light, the ancient institution of anointing kings and the use of the formula Sovereign by the grace of God need give no offence. The ceremony of anointment, to be sure, was but a foolish superstition if some mysterious power was ascribed to it without any sincere invocation of God’s name; and it was a cunning trick if its purpose was to place the clergy above the king, or the king above the law. But it was anything but an empty show if done in accordance with its original purpose: namely, to have the people acknowledge their Sovereign as an agent and ambassador of the Most High; to remind the prince of his need for divine assistance; to teach him to realize his own unworthiness and to ask for a wise and understanding heart;[6] to add solemnity to his vow to uphold the laws of charity and justice; to add power to the pledges made on this occasion. In the same way the title “Sovereign by the grace of God” {55} admonished a ruler to show his gratitude for the gift received by grace by performing his duty with humility. As such, the formula sums up the whole theory of divine right.

1. [Rom. 13:1]
2. [I Peter 2:18]
3. Cf. Otto von Gerlach, Das Neue Testament, nach Luthers Uebersetzung, mit erklärenden Anmerkungen (Berlin, 1840).
4. [Rom. 13:4]
5. [Cf. Micah 4:5; Eph. 2:10]
6. [Cf. I Kings 3:8-12]

Groen van Prinsterer, Unbelief and revolution: A series of Lectures in History, Abridged and translated by Harry Van Dyke © 1989, 2000 (Jordan Station, ON: Wedge) pp. 50-55.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Introducing Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer

Must reading for counterrevolutionaries: Unbelief and revolution: A series of Lectures in History. Abridged and translated by Harry Van Dyke © 1989, 2000 (Jordan Station, ON: Wedge)

Lecture I: Introduction
Lecture II: The Wisdom of the Ages
Lecture III: The Anti-Revolutionary Principles
Lecture IV: Historical Governments
Lecture V: Abuses
Lecture VI: The Perversion of Constitutional Law
Lecture VII: The Reformation
Lecture VIII: Unbelief
Lecture IX: Unbelief (continued)
Lecture X: The Conflict with Nature and Law
Lecture XI: First Phase - Preparation (till 1789)
Lecture XII: Second Phase - Development (1789-94)
Lecture XIII: The Reign of Terror
Lecture XIV: Overview - 1794-1845
Lecture XV: Conclusion
See this resource page.

A Great Film


In Ben Affleck's impressive directorial debut, we are presented a stark vision of the plight of the urban underclass. We see the ravages of the drug culture and are brought to feel keen frustration with the misery that too often results from the natural course of events. Adapted from Dennis Lehane's bestselling novel, Gone Baby Gone is probably the best film I've seen all year. Affleck masterfully brings us step by step to a carefully framed moral dilemma that compels us to render judgment. While I disagree with Patrick Kenzie's (the main character played by Casey Affleck) ultimate decision, I respect it. Kenzie shows willingness to live with the consequences of his decision. Gone Baby Gone achieves what the medium at its best should do: it arouses moral indignation about real problems and contributes to the cultural discussion.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Heresy of Adolescence

R. Cort Kirkwood adds another piece to the puzzle of why Western Civilization is in decline. Great article!

From the High Office

My dear friend Mark Balok has a blog: JonesSaid. Mark has been a constant support through good times and bad, and I thank the Lord daily for his inspiration and companionship. May all who read this have the blessing of experiencing such friendship at some point in their lives.

Make sure you read this wonderful letter he has written to "All Rulers of People in Whatever Land."

Blessings,

Andrew Matthews