Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Will You Abandon the Cross?" Ja, You Betcha

Apparently there’s a cross at the Mount Soledad Veterans’ Memorial in California that the feds want to rip down. I just heard about it in this e-mail:
 Dear Henry,
California’s 9th Circuit is at it again.
But this time they’re not forcing homosexual “marriage” on the people of California.
They’ve now launched an all-out war on ALL Christians by ordering the Mount Soledad Memorial Cross be ripped up and torn down.
Henry, I’m going to stand up and DEFEND the cross.
And I’m counting on you to stand with me and defend the cross by signing your Mount Soledad Cross Statement of Support to Chief Justice John Roberts IMMEDIATELY.
As you’ll see, your Statement of Support -- which cc’s the ENTIRE U.S. Supreme Court -- urges John Roberts to review the 9th Circuit’s outrageous decision and overrule this blatant attack on our Christian faith.
But before I give you the link to sign your Statement of Support, let me explain why this fight is so important -- and how you and I can stop the Mount Soledad Cross from being torn down.
For nearly 60 years, this 29 foot cross has stood as the centerpiece of the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego.
Surrounded by nearly 3,000 granite plaques honoring war heroes from every war in American history, this cross casts a peaceful shadow upon those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
But after 24 years of litigation, California’s 9th Circuit Court recently ruled the famous Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross violates the U.S. Constitution -- and ordered the cross be TORN DOWN.
Henry, this is outrageous to say the least.
But it’s not surprising.
After all, the God-hating liberals have been attacking our Christian values for more than four decades now.
And that’s four decades too long.
If you’re as fed up with these attacks on our faith as I am, please sign your Mount Soledad Cross Statement of Support right away!
You and I cannot allow this assault on Christianity to go on any longer.
The anti-religious Left has attempted to BAN prayer, along with all symbols of Christianity, in public schools across the nation.
Dozens of Christian entrepreneurs and business owners are facing lawsuits, government investigations, court orders, fines, and even jail time for their religious convictions.
They’re persecuting Christians in the military by FORCING soldiers to announce support for homosexual “marriage” -- even if it directly contradicts their religious views.
And they’ve banned Military Chaplains from praying in Jesus’ name and quoting scripture in their classes.
If you and I allow California’s 9th Circuit to get away with this blatant attack on Christianity, what’s next?
Forced removal of the crosses at Arlington National Cemetery?
Outlawing crosses on headstones marking a loved one’s grave?
BANNING Christian religious symbols from churches, homes, schools, and private property?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to sit around and find out.
If the 9th Circuit’s outrageous decision isn’t reversed, the Left is sure to use it as precedent to STOMP all public expressions of Christianity out of society for good.
You and I can’t allow that to happen.
That’s why I’m counting on you to sign your Mount Soledad Cross Statement of Support right away.
The good news is, you and I have a real shot at stopping the radical Left from tearing down the Mount Soledad Cross.
And that’s by urging Chief Justice John Roberts to take up this case and overturn this outrageous ruling by the 9th Circuit Court.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up the case because the lower courts hadn’t reached a final decision yet.
But Justice Samuel Alito issued a statement saying the Supreme Court would consider taking up the case should the lower courts not reach a favorable decision.
So please sign your Mount Soledad Cross Statement of Support to help encourage Chief Justice John Roberts and the Supreme Court to review and reverse the 9th Circuit’s ruling.
For more than thirty years as the president of Public Advocate of the U.S., I’ve led the fight in Washington against the anti-Family forces’ attacks on Christianity.
As a result, my family’s been stalked, I’ve been threatened, assaulted and called every manner of vile name.
Even my little children became targets.
The threats were unspeakable.
But God called me to this place, and I’ve stood my ground. Not just my ground or my family’s ground -- OUR ground.
But today I’m coming to you, asking for help like never before.
I’m asking you to put it on the line for what we believe in. I’m asking you to stand with me for Christ and DEFEND the cross.
If you’re willing to stand up for the cross, please sign your Mount Soledad Cross Statement of Support IMMEDIATELY.
My hope is to generate a FLOOD of Statements from good folks like you all over the country to help urge Chief Justice John Roberts to do what’s right and reverse the 9th Circuit’s outrageous ruling.
But to help generate a massive outpouring of support for the Mount Soledad Cross, I’m going to have to ramp up all of Public Advocate’s efforts.
In the next few weeks, my hope is to contact up to eight million Americans nationwide via mail and email, work the blogs and the talk radio lines, write op-eds, and run hard-hitting newspaper, radio, internet and TV ads designed to mobilize millions of Christians to stand up and defend the cross.
Of course, such a massive grassroots mobilization program isn’t easy -- nor cheap.
But I’m afraid it’s the only way to save the Mount Soledad Cross from being torn down.
So please -- in addition to your signed Statement of Support -- I must ask you to make your most generous contribution TODAY to help me FIGHT BACK against the Radical Left’s attack on our Christian faith.
I don’t know what you can afford. Perhaps you can give $20. Perhaps all you can do is chip in $5 or $10.
Whatever you can do, it will make a tremendous difference.
I believe you and I do have the numbers to beat back the left-wing attempt to deal a massive blow to Christianity by TEARING DOWN the Mount Soledad Cross -- if we can mobilize in time.
But that depends on you.
So please sign your Statement of Support and chip in $10 or $20 TODAY.
Please don’t let this email sit in your inbox. Please don’t tell yourself “I’ll just get to it later.” Please act at once and DEFEND the cross!
For the Family,
HON. EUGENE DELGAUDIO
President, Public Advocate of the U.S.
P.S. The war on Christianity has reached a new fever pitch.
My  response:
Dear Mr. Delgaudio,
Actually, yes, I will abandon the cross. The Mount Soledad Cross is not the cross of Jesus. It’s the cross of an entire nation of Christians fooled into thinking that their government was interested in their freedom.
If you think California’s 9th circuit court is evil, and in the light of the other examples you give of government hostility to Christians and our message, consider the possibility that our government is no more our friend than Pilate’s was to Jesus or Herod’s was to the apostles.
Two examples of Christians being deceived en masse should suffice (1 Tim 5:19).
There was no reason for Christians to fight the Progressive Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s war in 1917. The Germans had no desire to invade even England, let alone the US. The Lusitania was carrying everything the Germans said they would sink ships carrying. That the passengers didn’t know about the cargo is Wilson’s fault, not Germany’s. The Christian church should have stood against Wilson’s policy of conscription, if on no other basis than 2 Cor 6:14.
The second example is Vietnam: this was sold to the US public by the Progressive Democrat Lyndon Johnson on the lie that our freedoms were in danger from the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese. While it is true that we have been losing our freedoms ever since the fall of Saigon, we have been losing them not to the Vietnamese (who, if you will remember, were the ones who stopped the murderous rampage of Pol Pot), but to those who sent my neighbors to fight and die there. These are the same people now behind our current wars whose commander-in-chief is the liberal Democrat Barack Obama.
The evidence is plain to me that the power elite in our country cares less for US soldiers than sex traffickers care for their slaves -- that they arguably treat them better is more a testimony to their access to other people’s money and their knowledge that willing slaves are more profitable than captives than to any concern for justice. Furthermore, the rise of Naziism, the captivity of Eastern Europe to the Communists, the ongoing stalemate in Korea, our current ability to trade with Vietnam, and the flourishing of al-Qaeda (in Syria and God knows where else with the support of US taxes) tell me that World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War (never called such by the Pentagon), and the Global War on Terror have been Satanic plots to distract US Christians from the Great Commission. Add that to the slaughter of the American Indians, the imperialist war against the Confederacy (which was itself an evil empire, but no threat to the North), and the conquests of Hawai’i and the Philippines, and I have to say that the US military is nothing any serious Christian should associate himself with.
May the dissociation of the cross of Christ with the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial be immediate and final.
Sincerely in Christ,
Henry Whitney

Monday, April 14, 2014

Taxes: The Downside of Being Smarter than God



If you don’t believe Uncle Sam is smarter than God, just ask him.
The Bible, at least as most people read it, dates the beginning of life on earth at a few thousand years ago. Uncle Sam knows better. The Bible deals with theft through restitution. Uncle Sam knows better and puts thieves in cages. God tells us to care for the poor through voluntary actions. Uncle Sam in his superior knowledge (and morals, don’t forget) has created agencies to take care of every concern the poor might have: health, education, food, entertainment–you name it.
How nice to be free from all those nasty strictures in the Old Testament: resting on Saturday, not wearing mixed fabrics, not eating pigs, having sex only with one’s spouse, and that only for the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle.
And what a small price we pay: Uncle Sam and his state and local cohorts take close to forty percent of our income, plus we need dozens of hours to keep track of every dollar. For family this year that meant we had to keep track down to the .002% (that’s two-thousandths of a percent or two one-hundred-thousandths) of our income. If I had been a millionaire, I would have needed to account for the millionth part of my income. What fun!
Does it bother you that other people consider it their business to force you to account for every dollar you handle and reserve the right to go through your records?
The Mosaic system told the people to keep track of the tenth part of their goods. There’s debate whether they could keep nine-tenths or seven-tenths or whether the amount changed year by year, but in the end there was no IRS coming through to check on them. God commanded his people to be truthful with him and open handed with the poor. If they chose to challenge him, “‘Vengeance is mine,’ says the Lord, ‘I will repay.’”
Is that really worse than IRS agents whose job is to make those they audit look as bad as possible? (Let me know if you can name anyone whose audit showed they had given too much money to the IRS.)
If you’re still resentful of Uncle Sam’s prying into your private life so he can extract as much wealth as he can before you revolt, consider the possibility that God promises his people a society in which people deal honestly and generously with their neighbors because they are convinced from the inside out that that’s the best way to live. Consider the possibility that such a society might be something to hold out to unbelievers as a city on a hill, a light in a dark place, rest for the weary, a serious reason to consider the claims of Christ.
Then again, if the tax man is just Jesus’ boots on the ground, maybe not.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Who were Jesus’ Good Soldiers?


You must not follow a crowd in doing evil things. (Exod 23:2)
Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Tim 2:3)
You will recognize them by their fruit. (Matt 7:6)
I have been involved in a discussion with Christians I otherwise highly respect in regard to the defense given by the soldiers who killed the Jews in the concentration camps. After forty years of believing that “I was just following orders” was morally invalid, I find myself listening to seminary-trained Christian leaders saying that the only people guilty of the Holocaust were those at the top who issued the orders – the people who actually did the killing were innocent because they were indeed just following orders.
I can’t just dismiss their argument out of hand. I have recently read Treblinka, the autobiography of Chil Rajchman, one of the few Jews to escape the Treblinka death camp. He was able to survive by deceiving the Germans into thinking he was a barber, and so spent his days of captivity shearing naked women before they were stuffed into the gas chambers. When there were no women to shear, he helped dispose of corpses. While the physical and emotional agony drove most of Rajchman’s co-workers to suicide, he lasted months, escaped during the revolt, and managed to stay hidden until the war was over.
If I consider it OK for Rajchman to become a barber to survive the Holocaust, why should I condemn Calvinists and other German evangelicals for donning the uniform of the Reich as a survival strategy? After all, Rajchman was just following orders. And if I don’t condemn Rajchman, why do I hassle US evangelicals for joining Uncle Sam’s army and fighting his wars?
The best I can do is to say that the soldiers were being paid; Rajchman was running as fast as he could to escape the Grim Reaper, so he incurred no guilt. Therefore, to the degree the soldiers were conscripts, they were also staying out of range of the Reaper.
But I don’t find even that satisfactory. There were non-Jewish Germans who refused to join the Wehrmacht: Jehovah’s Witnesses. Rather than following the crowd to do evil, they were suffering for what they would call their Christian faith. Maybe there were Calvinist guards who treated the doomed Jews with some sort of unusual courtesy – I can’t even imagine what that would mean – but I can’t imagine Rajchman saying that he regarded them more highly than he did the Witnesses who were interned.
So I ask you: is Jesus more pleased with those who endured suffering rather than participating in evil, or is he more pleased with those who were “just following orders”?
“Well,” I hear you say, “to the degree that the Calvinists truly trusted Christ they were saved, and Jehovah’s Witnesses are lost because they don’t believe that Jesus is God, so yes, he was more pleased with the Calvinists. They were obeying Romans 13 by just following orders. You don’t believe that Rajchman was saved, do you?”
OK, you’ve got me there: salvation, reconciliation with God, comes through Christ alone. So if Rajchman has rejected Jesus, he is not saved; his sins against God are worse than the Nazis’ sins against him, and even the suffering he endured at Treblinka cannot wash those sins away. While I seriously question the wholesale writing off of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I’ll assume for the sake of argument here that they are not saved either. Whether guilty or not, God’s people are instrumental in the progress of evil while his enemies suffer it. Are you happy now?
For that matter, given that paradigm, should we even call the Holocaust evil? I’ve never yet heard a Christian deny that God was working out his eternal purposes through the Holocaust, so if God is working out his purposes, is it really evil? If “the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord like channels of water; he turns it wherever he wants” (Prov 21:1), then government leaders are themselves “just following orders,” are they not? If the soldiers who actually did the dirty work have not incurred guilt because they were “just following orders,” how can even the government leaders have incurred guilt? If there is no human guilt, and God is by definition good and therefore innocent of guilt, then who is guilty? If no one is guilty, then how can the Holocaust be evil? Can we not only say that it just was, like the death of krill eaten by a whale?
Maybe you can live in that kind of universe, but I can’t.
On the other hand, if every person is always a moral agent who will “be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Cor 5:10), we cannot follow the crowd to do evil and then claim innocence because we were “just following orders.” We have to evaluate the morality of every decree of those with power over us and decide whether or not we need to “obey God rather than people” (Acts 5:29).
The only government decree I remember hearing any Christians say they could not obey is some variant of “deny Jesus,” like “say, ‘Caesar is lord’” or “don’t preach Christ.” But according to my seminary-trained interlocutors stuffing naked Jews into gas chambers is OK for soldiers because doing so is “just following orders.” It wouldn’t be OK for private citizens to do this, of course, but following the order of a lawful authority is OK.
My response is that if God has not commanded us in the Bible to kill people – that is, the likes of murderers and kidnappers (let’s pass on the question of sexual deviants for now) – we incur guilt by killing them. It’s that simple. Nowhere in Scripture are we admonished to round up Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or anyone else who otherwise respects their neighbors’ bodies and property and imprison them, let alone kill them. To do so is to disobey God to obey man – to proclaim Hitler as lord more loudly than by uttering the words. It would be better to suffer with the oppressed, as Corrie ten Boom’s family did. If our first priority is the spread of the gospel, it is to such as they – not to the thousands (I’m guessing here) of Calvinist Wehrmacht soldiers – we can point today as evidence that our God is good.
When it comes to today’s evangelical church in the US, to whom will our grandchildren point to support their claims that God is good? Will they point to the thousands of soldiers who put themselves at the beck and call of a man who called the Constitution he swore to uphold “a piece of g*dd*m paper”? Who appointed the Supreme Court Chief Justice who gave us ObamaCare? Who bailed out the richest people in the world at the expense of the rest of us? And another who arrogated to himself the task of killing his own subjects with no judicial oversight? Will they look back and be glad that today’s Calvinists not only followed the orders issued by these men but prayed for them as well (see Rom 1:32)?
Or will they wonder why there were so few Micaiahs and Jeremiahs who questioned the morality of the policies those men promoted and warned the church to stay away from them?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Opium Furthers the Kingdom of God


Bernie and Daphne Stresspool (not their real names) sit a few rows behind us at church every Sunday. Bernie holds two doctorates and has been a highly respected theologian since at least 1992, when I first heard his name. He was the first link in the chain that took me to becoming an editor years ago.
Daphne was a missionary in Taiwan before marrying Bernie. Though she has been stateside for two decades, her passion for missions never waned, and she was finally able to convince Bernie to join her on a trip to Asia over the Christmas break to see what he could do to help the believers there (as he currently helps more mature believers who attend the seminary he teaches at here). Relevant to what follows, she is also a Fox News conservative, the daughter of a still-feisty nintety-something Fox News conservative.
A few days ago, when I gave a talk at Bernie’s seminary, my asthma flared up and I was barely able to finish my remarks, having to stop dozens of times for coughing spells. Afterwards I was conversing with Daphne, who related a story the essence of which is this:
While Bernie and I were in Asia, we both got horrible colds that really slowed us down and that wouldn’t go away. We were staying with an elderly Chinese Christian man who told me he had just the thing to fix my cold. He went into the back room of his house and came out with a little bottle with a label that said, “Brown Liquid.” That was the name of it: Brown Liquid. Well, I took some of it, and three days later, Bam! Cold gone. So I told Bernie to try it. Same thing: Bam! Cold gone.
So I looked at the label to see what was in it. The first ingredient was trans-something-or-other, I don’t know. The second ingredient, in equal proportion to the first, was opium! [Exclamation in original.]
...
They have some really great medicines there that we can’t get here.
I also found out that restaurants in China put opium in their soups to keep the customers coming back.
Ya don’t say! Bingo twice.
Now you know why I’ve changed the names: they wouldn’t dare tell their story on Fox News. Actually, I shouldn’t say that: they are people of character, so they probably would dare, but Fox News probably either wouldn’t allow them to or would make sure their viewers didn’t draw the same conclusion I’m drawing from it.
I was castigated by Fox News conservatives for this post because I asked if local policemen use words I hear on the street every day I’m in Philadelphia; a member of our congregation is also a member of our local police department, and I had apparently besmirched his reputation. While I would tell the keeper of the Bridge of Death that the congregant in question does not use bad language or mistreat people from ethnic minorities when in uniform, I have also heard that he is not to be messed with when on duty, so I would also tell the bridgekeeper that said congregant would without hesitation arrest anyone he found in possession of opium.
So opium enables a world-class theologian to serve believers in Asia, but US evangelicals (almost all of whom that I know are either Fox News conservatives or Obama liberals) have no compunction about caging people who would sell it here. So what?
As I write, I am still almost incapacitated by my asthma. The only way I can get a medicine that I know works on it is either to go to the emergency room and pay emergency room rates or to wait until tomorrow morning, call my doctor, wait until he decides to phone in the prescription (assuming he doesn’t need to see me first, which will be impossible until the afternoon), and get it then. I could be wrong about what ails me and so what would relieve my symptoms, but given the option between trying something on my own and waiting another day or two to get the doctor, I’d prefer the former. It’s my body – shouldn’t it be my choice?
I hear two objections. First, “My body, my choice” is the mantra of pro-abortion mothers. My response is, I can’t stop abortions in China or Japan or Sweden; they’re not my people, it’s not my problem. In the same way, the kind of people in the US who would abort their children are not my people. (One exception, a married couple who will remain anonymous, aborted a child because “the mother’s life was in danger”; they are most assuredly my people.) The world doesn’t need more Democrats. If they want to kill their children, I say let ’em – they’ll only grow up to be looters. (Though if they ask me, which they won’t, I’ll give them every reason I can think of to have the baby.)
Second, self-diagnosis is risky: people die from it. That is also correct, methinks. But I also coughed my way through an advertisement last night that claimed that every 39 minutes or something someone dies from prescription drugs. See here (and yes, the Monitor’s objectivity on this subject would be suspect). You can’t eliminate stupidity just by making a law against it. Most importantly, the Bible nowhere tells us to cage people for stupidity.
I came to Christ in part because the House of Shalom in North Bend, Oregon, gave me a place to sleep on a rainy evening in 1972. They allowed me to read a passage from my copy of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures at their Bible study, and while their response was unenthusiastic to say the least, they didn’t try to take it away by force, and they certainly didn’t call the police. In short, they made me feel welcome and safe, and they were the first link in the chain that led me to my first prayer of repentance a week or so later.
The War on Drugs is evil. Evil, evil, evil, evil, evil. However well intended it is, it is evil. That the evangelical church in the US is behind it, proudly sending its youth to fight it, is – along with her admiration for those who drop bombs on women and children from miles, sometimes thousands of miles, away, and who cage desperate women – an indication of how far she is from the heart of God.
If we really want to see people come to Christ, we need to stop threatening stupid and desperate people (whom, let it be said yet again, the Bible nowhere tells us to threaten) and begin offering them the water of life that Jesus Christ has so freely given us often, and certainly in my case despite  our own stupidity.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

“Compliant Victims” of Human Trafficking


In an ongoing discussion I’m having with a good friend about police crackdowns on prostitution in our area, The question is asked: What about “compliant victims,” those who “seemingly willingly enter into trafficking”? After all, “in these instances, it is difficult to determine whether a victim is being trafficked, or entering into their circumstances of their own volition.”
The question pretty much gives away the answer. If you can’t tell whether a person is being trafficked, it’s not clear what to do, is it? Shouldn’t the first question be, Is this person being trafficked? If so, the first priority is to set that person free from captivity; only after that – but I would want to see it immediately after that – should action be taken against the trafficker.
Governing the entire process should be the ethos that people are innocent until proven guilty and that innocent people’s lives and property – even those of people in professions we wish there were no market for – are sacred. The idea that we can stop trafficking by going after those who (as far as we know) would patronize only legal merchants if given the chance is just wrong.
For one thing, the Bible nowhere tells us to put prostitutes and those involved with intoxicants in cages. If you think it even allows us to do so, tell me this: how long does the Bible tell us a 17-year-old first-time prostitute should spend in jail? Should she also have her name in the paper? Should she also be mutilated so she is no longer a desirable product?
Consider, please, the possibility that the lack of biblical guidance on the subject, far from being a license for libertine social planner wannabes to do what is right in their own eyes, is an indication that this is an instance of “‘Vengeance is mine,’ says the Lord, ‘I will repay.’”
The introduction of “compliant victims” doesn't change the basic situation: either people are being coerced or they aren’t. One of the articles linked to above tells of a bunch of do-gooder thugs who raided a brothel in Nicaragua and afterward admitted that they couldn’t tell the difference between “compliant victims of human trafficking and legal prostitutes.” They hassled each equally, disrupting legal business, but without necessarily rescuing victims of trafficking, since they didn’t know who they were! This is madness.
I asked my friend where, if he wanted to traffic a prostitute, he would do it. Would he do it in Elko, Nevada, or Bangkok, where prostitution is legal, or would he do it in Philadelphia, where it’s not? He replied Philadelphia – there would be no market for slaves in the other places. If you want to know why, after trillions of dollars and countless lives have gone down the drain, trafficking of drugs and prostitutes is worse than ever, you need look no further than the unbiblical laws against them. Repeal the laws against them, and they won’t go away, but we can stop wasting money dealing with the symptoms of man’s rebellion against God and get down to the root.
One good way to do that would be to take the resources we currently spend on hassling druggies and prostitutes and equip them to make decent livings in ways we approve of.
Again: if we Christians want to do effective work in Jesus' name to make disciples of all nations, we need to stop doing things he hasn't commanded us to do – like caging women so desperate they resort to prostitution and people who grow plants God planted in Eden – and start doing what he has most definitely charged us to do, specifically securing the release of those unjustly imprisoned (Matt 25:36) by kidnappers – and by governments.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Discipling Nations

Youth With A Mission is one of the most influential missions organizations in the world. It has enabled thousands of God’s people to build his kingdom. So when YWAM’s founder and chairman Loren Cunningham commissions a book to explain what YWAM is about and challenge the church to move in the same direction, one can be sure that the result will be a book that reflects the thinking of some of the best minds and hearts in evangelicaldom. To write this book Cunningham chose Darrow Miller, whom he says
is not an intellectual; he is a Christian who is busy making a difference worldwide, and committed seeing the minds of Christians renewed by God’s truth in order to more correctly and effectively reflect and initiate His truth into every realm of society, and thereby “disciple the nations” – which is the key to solving the world’s problems.
So Brother Miller is a heart, a mind, and two hands passionately engaged in furthering the kingdom of God on earth. He makes many good points in the book: ideas do have consequences, one’s view of God will indeed dictate how one treats one’s neighbor, Christ alone can save us from sin, and God has commanded us not only to call individuals to repentance but also to build godly communities. I was especially impressed by his point that when the Bible says that God is by nature love (1 John 4:8), it necessarily follows that God be both unity and diversity: three in one and one in three. But for whatever reason, when Brother Miller describes the community he thinks the church should be building, he pours gasoline on the fire he’s trying to extinguish and shuts off the water and fire retardant foam.
One justly relegated to nobodyhood like me needs to think twice before accusing a man of his stature of grievous error, but I think the job needs to be done, so here goes.
The following charts are taken with cosmetic modification from “One, Yet Many: The Nature of Community,” the chapter of Discipling Nations (Seattle: YWAM, 2001) in which Brother Miller applies the doctrine of the Trinity to human interaction at all levels. His thesis is that because God is both one God and three persons, human society must balance the individual component and the relational component. To emphasize the many to the exclusion of the one is to fall into polytheism, pantheism, and postmodernism, all of which go hand-in-hand with the idea that there is no objective truth, everyone has to come up with his own construct and supporting narrative, and the individual is swallowed up in the family, tribal, or national collective. So far, so good, methinks. He runs into trouble when he says that to emphasize the one at the expense of the many is to fall into libertarianism and anarchy.
If he had said libertinism and chaos, respectively, this post would be much shorter. But I think he has chosen his labels carefully; if so, he totally misunderstands libertarianism and anarchism, and he places entirely too much faith in 1990s-style conservatism and democracy, which had failed miserably before he first wrote the book and have failed spectacularly in the almost two decades since. These misconceptions still plague evangelicalism, so while I will leave it to others to critique his view of the dangers of viewing God and society in terms of “The Many,” I will give a shot at clearing up those under the other two headings.
Take a look at the first chart.
Community

The Many
The One and Many
The One

Egalitarianism
Community
Individualism
Synonyms
Communalism
Fellowship
Libertarianism
Root
Envy
Contentment
Greed
Focus
Status
Responsibility
Rights
Time Frame
Past
Future
Present
Concept of Equality
Numerical
Equitable
To the conqueror the spoils
Examples
USA welfare socialism
The Body of Christ
Western consumerism
Fruit
Enslavement to envy
Service to God and man
Enslavement to Self
Values
Equality
Justice
Privilege

To start with, I defy anyone to read the writings of respected libertarian authors – whether agnostics like Eric Peters and Butler Shaffer, or even overt atheists like Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Walter Block, and Ayn Rand, to say nothing of Christians like Catholics Joseph Sobran, Lew Rockwell, and Thomas Woods, or Protestants Gary North, William Anderson, John Whitehead, Becky Akers, William Grigg, and Laurence Vance (yes, I realize I’m taking all the merchandise from one shelf) – and build a successful case that all or even any of them base their view of community on greed, which I define as the desire to acquire by means of violence or deceit what belongs to another.
While the libertarian focus is indeed on rights, because we view the community as having no identity apart from that of each individual who comprises that community, we conclude that the community has only those rights that inhere to the individuals that comprise it. That is, the community, the tribe, and the state per se have no rights that supersede the rights of its individual members. William Grigg and Eric Peters in particular attack the idea that agents of the community have rights and privileges the rest of us lack, reiterating that police and other government agents grievously abuse “Mundanes” solely “because they can.”
Because most individuals cannot live at a decent material level without interaction with others, and because libertarian ethics preclude violence and deceit against people and their property, the only way libertarians see anyone making a decent living is through serving their neighbors. A Christian would add that this can truly flow only from love for and service to God, but bereaved survivors of “collateral damage” inflicted by Christians in the US military and their sympathizers hier im Heimat might dispute that point.
At any rate, the libertarian ideal that people and their property (i.e., what is properly theirs, having been acquired through peaceful means) is a far cry from “to the conqueror go the spoils,” a term overtly associated with the democracy Brother Miller equates with liberty.
Liberty
The Many
The One and Many
The One
Totalitarianism
Liberty
Anarchy
Compulsion
Freedom within limits
Unrestrained freedom
No freedom
Freedom based on the rule of law
No law
Serfdom
Moral freedom
Natural freedom
Fascism (right)
Marxism (left)
Democracy
Free markets
Anarchism
Libertarianism

The first problem with this chart is the red herring of “unrestrained freedom.” If I am free to take your property through violence or deceit, your freedom to enjoy your property is ipso facto restrained, so it is impossible for a society of totally unrestrained freedom to exist, and the claim that this is what we are after is thus false. The same is true of a society with “no law.” A person who wants unrestrained freedom for himself at the expense of others’ freedom – or who wants laws to restrain others but not him – is, as noted before, a libertine, not a libertarian.
 As for the “anarchy” and “anarchism” entries, this is simply the pro-“democracy” pot calling the kettle black. As noted earlier, the “spoils system” is an integral part of democracy: if you can get fifty percent of the vote plus one, you can make anything the law. It is democracies (Israel, the US, and Sweden, among others) that spend tax money on abortions, prohibit parents from educating their children at home (Germany and Singapore), and forbid the propagation of the gospel (Israel again). As anyone from farmers to doctors to holistic practitioners to educators to wannabe lemonade stand proprietors can tell you, the US is a democracy, but it is not a free market: further, it is precisely because it is a democracy that it is not a free market.
Libertarianism is different from democracy precisely because it defines moral freedom as freedom based on the rule of law, freedom within the limits of the non-aggression principle that forbids violation of people or their property through either violence or deceit. Is that really less biblical than the “three wolves and a deer planning lunch” principle of democracy? Given the tendency for those with the privilege of enforcing democratic law to abuse that privilege, is the idea of no one having such privileges – i.e., anarchy – really unjust?
Justice
The Many
The One and Many
The One
Injustice
Justice
Chaos
Class
Individuals in community
Individual
Economic equality (numerical)
Equality before God and the law
Maximum personal freedom
Group advancement
Responsibility
My individual rights
No personal responsibility
Victimization
(Class responsibility)
Personal responsibilities to myself and my community
Limited personal responsibility and NO social responsibility
“Liberal”
“Progressive”
“Conservative”
Internationalist
Welfarist
Incarnationalist
Nationalist
Isolationist

I’m not sure what this last chart is supposed to show. I know of no libertarian or anarchist who is a nationalist. Because we do not believe that any community of any size has any identity apart from the sum of the identities of its members, and in view of the evils done by all nations at all times, we tend to identify ourselves more with those who share our ethical system than with those who send their taxes to the same address. While most US Christians are proud to fly the flag of Barack Obama, which is to say the flag of HealthCare.gov, Planned Parenthood, the Super Bowl, General Motors, the United Nations, extrajudicial lethal drone strikes, helicopter gunship diplomacy, Big Pharma, and the War on Drugs, every libertarian anarchist I know considers it the flag of chaos, not justice. These are people who want to be responsible for their own lives and of those with whom they choose to interact; they have no desire to be a burden to the community, though they are willing to help out those less fortunate than they. Unlike “conservatives” and Progressives, they want to mind their own affairs and leave others in peace.
Not every good thing in the world originates from the church. In Genesis 4:19–24 we see that it is the sons of the wicked Lamech who become the “father of all those who play the lyre and pipe,” which God commands us to use in worship (Ps 33:2; 150:4), and “the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron,” also associated with worship (Josh 6:19). God promised to give his people “great and good cities that [they] did not build,  and houses full of all good things that [they] did not fill, and cisterns that [they] did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that [they] did not plant” (Deut 6:10–11). I’m uneasy that the libertarian anarchist view of society comes from the writings of non- and sometimes anti-Christians. But I find the idea so compatible with the greatest commands in Scripture – to love our neighbors as ourselves, to do for others what we would have them do for us, to honor those who benefit us, to treat all people’s tangible and intangible assets as sacred – that I cannot understand why Christians react to it with such hostility, unless it be that they consider themselves privileged to dispose of their neighbors’ assets as they see fit, whether to educate their own children, lower their own transportation expenses, or keep their neighbors from defiling themselves.
Jesus does call us to disciple the nations, to bring them into conformity with the message that God entered a world in rebellion against him in the person of Jesus Christ, who paid for the sins of his people and commands those whose sins he has forgiven to repent, believe the good news, and live lives worthy of his name. Only Jesus has the words of eternal life, and no ethical system that excludes Jesus can give eternal life. While there are instances of God sending those known as notorious sinners out with the good news (Mark 5; John 4), he did so after their lives could be expected to reflect a radical change in their hearts. Our lives will affect our audience’s reaction to our message (1 Cor 14:23). If we proclaim and live out a democratic society based on power and privilege, rational observers will consider our message nonsense at best. On the other hand, if we build a community of mutual service to others and regard all others as sacred, I think the world, or at least the men of peace who will become important to our mission (Luke 10:5–9), will want to listen.