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Theological Comedy

Steve Brown cuts to the chase and summarizes my thesis for past projects and future ones:

Power really does corrupt. And absolute power does corrupt absolutely. It’s one of the reasons that I don’t want to see the Religious Right get power. Because, you see, they honestly believe that whereas human nature may be sinful, theirs isn’t (20:34+). . . .

Later on I watched pastors sell out for power. I watched pastors that I trusted say things that they never would have said if it had not been for the power. And I began to realize that there are two views of human beings but the second — which is the biblical view — is certainly true of me also. The reason I don’t want the Religious Right to get power is because they don’t understand what I just taught you. And that is, that human beings are basically evil — that includes Jerry Falwell, it includes Jim Dobson, it includes me and it includes you — but we have a proclivity for good (23:31+).

Reformed Theological Seminary lecture, “Grace in the Church

4 thoughts on “Theological Comedy

  1. Just playing devil’s advocate here….

    We’d all pretty much agree that Brown’s statement is correct: all human beings are sinful. If we assume that a particular candidate from the Religious Right does indeed know God, then given the choice between him — a fallible man with a regenerate spirit — and a fallible man with an unregenerate spirit, why would someone intentionally choose the latter? Brown’s answer would no doubt be a reiteration of what’s in the first paragraph. He would not choose for someone in the Religious Right to have power because members of the Religious Right do not acknowledge their sinful nature. But that assumption leaves God’s Sovereignty out of the picture. IF a person is regenerate, then the power of God is in operation in his life. That candidate, even with his mistaken assumptions about his own nature, would seem to be the safer choice.

    I also think Brown’s on thin ice when he says that “power really does corrupt absolutely.” Can such a thing really be true when a person, no matter how “green,” is a child of God?

    Again, devil’s advocate. The fact of the matter is that none of us can know which candidate is a sheep and which is a goat. I only bring the argument up because this doesn’t seem to be entirely sound thinking on Brown’s part.

    It seems to me that leaving religion out of the equation is wiser. None of us should have a knee-jerk to any candidate, Christian or not. We should evaluate individuals’ character, abilities, experience, etc. The heart of the king is in God’s hand, Christian or not.

  2. Grant and I talked about this for awhile yesterday, so I don’ t know if I need to respond here again. But I will. 😉

    I think that I must have done Brown’s quotation a disservice by cutting out too much. He was lecturing on biblical “anthropology” — how we approach our theory of humanity. And he whittled it down to the two standards — basically good with a propensity to evil or basically bad with a propensity to good.

    I understand that this is old news in theological conservatism. I’m wondering if Schaeffer made it popular (since this is around the time in the lecture that Brown references Francis Schaeffer). I find this an overly bifurcated view — overly modern — and Brown’s bent toward pessimism comes through here. Like his saying that were it not for the Fall, we wouldn’t need garbage collectors (I would agree with that) or . . . teachers. Is he kidding with that one? As a teacher? Does he think he just does garbage collecting of the mind? REALLY? REEEEALLY?

    Pastor Lewis asked us last week to imagine the Kingdom of God this week. One of the things that *I* can imagine doing in the Kingdom of God — and I’m not kidding with this one — is seeking out a lady to teach me how to make bobbin lace. I know that’s lame, but I would love to know how and to weave some celestial curtains. Because to *me* that’s how they’d be done in Heaven.

    I’d need a teacher, of course. It has nothing to with the Fall. Teaching is a positive. Wholly positive.

    Anyway, I say all that to say that I think that Grant, you may be hitting on some of the disagreements we might be having with Brown in general. But that the Religious Right as an ideology is way too self-righteous to be trusted *right now*. There’s something *worse* about religion and power. Way worse. Way, way.

    1. Religion and politics seem to become toxic. After studying / researching the religiou Right in america a few years ago, i saw the ugly finger print of sin, selfishness, greed, and morally wrong and unethical attitudes, practices, behaviour, and outright lying. i was shocked. The American Constitution amendments, were put there to ‘protect’ people’from’ that very thing. Religious Right people, want to go back to the so called’ christian America good ole days???? Which ones? Salem witch trial burnings, or the tyranny of major protestant denoms running the whole town until the secular government finally stepped in, and ‘took’ the political rights away from them so they couldn’t abuse the power any longer? People who do not know how to ‘serve’ and who are secretly ‘insecure’ cannot seem to handle the ‘power’ when they ‘have’ it. They usually end up abusing it. It’s a human problem and is not restricted to religion. But the Religious Right get power? That’s the ‘last thing’ America needs. The religious right ‘needs’ the good people who are liberally minded, and reasonable thinkers, to balance the ship called American Politics, lest the ship end up on the rocks of ‘damage done by power hungry’ people! We both voted for a good Sikh candidate two elections ago,, mainly because he was a good leader, honest, and willing to stand up for protection of the unborn, when a nominal Catholic candidate would’nt even do that! I’m not kidding. The non christian had ‘more’ good morals and ethics about taking a stand for truth, than did the Catholic. The Sikh got voted out last federal election, but he was a good man. He showed up for John Fisher Church Parish’s fortieth anniversary to celebrate with us in the church hall. I mean that man was a good guy. He respected his constituents. So the religious Right get power? God is too merciful to let that happen to America.

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