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It’s morally wrong to say “It’s morally wrong for a Christian school to arm faculty”

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Pantego Christian Academy, a private Christian school in Texas, has announced that, in order to protect the students entrusted to the school’s care each day, several administrators will now be packing heat. Each administrator “who double as a school marshal will carry a concealed handgun, will have extensive weapons and scenario-training from the state and undergo a psychiatric evaluation” (foxnews.com).

Dr. Jeff Potts, the school’s president, stated:

We are arming select individuals who meet certain criteria. And they are administrative type people who are in close proximity to all of our classrooms.

It’s not Florida. It’s the culture today, and it’s something we felt led to do.

One former Pantego Christian Academy student did not welcome this news. Ryan Waller is an assistant rector at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, TX. Waller authored a March 2nd, 2018, article at the Dallas Morning News entitled, “It’s morally wrong for a Christian school to arm faculty.”

According to Waller, “Pantego’s decision to arm administrators with guns is not only ill-advised, it is morally reprehensible,” (emphasis mine).

 

Waller begins by presenting his own, secular arguments.

“It is the job of law enforcement and other security professionals to keep us safe,” he stated. Using a firearm is “problematic and complicated, even for professionals.”

For this reason, rather than allowing trained administrators to carry a firearm on school grounds in case of an emergency, Waller pleaded:

This is a time to trust the system and allow it to adjust. Let’s change gun laws. Let’s support police. Let’s praise companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods for stopping the sale of weapons meant only for war… Let’s not put more guns in schools.

The assistant rector did not attempt to reconcile the incongruity of relying upon law enforcement for protection while insisting on the prohibition of firearms; a firearm being a necessary feature of every law enforcement officer’s ensemble.

He also did not address the massive system-wide failure that enabled the school shooting in Florida to take place.

 

Waller then entered the theological realm:

I make one final appeal as a Christian priest. There’s nothing safe about being a Christian. Jesus Christ himself said that if we are to follow him we must pick up our cross and deny ourselves. When violence came for Jesus, he offered no defense of himself and instructed those around him to also resist a defense.

I’m not a true pacifist. I wish I was but I’m not. I believe there’s a time for fighting and for war. I support not only the police but also the armed forces. But as Christians we must allow those trained in the art of warfare to engage in war. Our role is to do what Jesus called us to do. Be his hands and feet. Feed the poor. Care for the widow and orphan.

Waller concluded his article with one final exhortation: “And may God bless America as it decides what kind of nation it hopes to be.”

 

My take:

Here’s my take, summed up into a single sentence: It’s morally wrong to say that “it’s morally wrong for a Christian school to arm faculty.”

Ryan Waller might be a lovely man. Unfortunately, I’d never know it from reading his article. Waller’s ease and confidence in twisting scripture and omitting context mirrors the deceptive acts of the most notorious profiteering, sleazy TV evangelists.

I take no issue with the assistant rector voicing his opinion – his opinion.

I do, however, object to Waller’s abuse of Holy Scripture and Waller’s exploitation of his own religious title in order to disguise his personal, political agenda by concealing it beneath the cloak of religion.

 

There are several issues regarding Waller’s theological arguments that must be unpacked…

First, Ryan Waller is correct to state that the world is unsafe for Christians. Christ specifically said that those who follow him will be hated by those who rebel against God (John 15:18). We should expect this hatred to manifest in various forms of religious persecution, including martyrdom.

However, the fact that Christians live in a hostile world is in no way an excuse for nor a directive to refrain from the defense of self or from the defense of children entrusted to one’s care.

Second, Waller correctly stated that Christians are to deny the self and carry one’s cross. In Luke 9:23, Christ stated, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily.” With these words, Jesus explained that to be His followers we must commit daily to faith and obedience, “even to the point of being shamed and persecuted by the world” (Orthodox Study Bible).

However, neither denying one’s selfish plans and desires nor the daily bearing of one’s own cross are in any way an excuse for nor a directive to refrain from the defense of self or from the defense of children entrusted to one’s care.

Third, Waller’s statement that, “When violence came for Jesus, he offered no defense of himself and instructed those around him to also resist a defense,” is wholly misleading.

Let’s examine the actual Scriptures (John 18:3-11):

3Judas led some soldiers and some men who had been sent by the head religious leaders of the Jews and the proud religious law-keepers to the garden. They carried lamps and sticks that were burning and swords.

4Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him. He went out and asked them, “Who are you looking for?”

5The soldiers answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Jesus said, “I am Jesus.” Judas, who was handing Him over, was with them also.

6When He said to them, “I am Jesus,” they stepped back and fell to the ground.

7He asked them again, “Who are you looking for?”

They said again, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

8He said, “I have told you that I am Jesus. If you are looking for Me, let these men go their way.” 9He said this so the words he spoke might happen, “I have not lost one of those You gave Me.”

10Simon Peter had a sword. He took it and hit a servant who was owned by the head religious leader and cut off his right ear. 11Then Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back where it belongs. Am I not to go through what My Father has given Me to go through?”

Here, Jesus interrupts Peter’s physical defense, because it interfered with the completion of Christ’s mission to lay down His life so that Christians may have salvation, life everlasting. Jesus’s words to Simon Peter that night in the Garden of Gethsemane were in no way an infinite command to all future generations.

Christ’s words were not an excuse for nor a directive upon humanus infinitum to refrain from the defense of self or from the defense of children entrusted to one’s care.

In fact, “the idea that one is required to surrender his life – or the lives of his family, neighbors, or even strangers – in the face of armed attack is alien to scripture” (David French, National Review).

Does caring for the widow and for the orphan not entail the preservation of life?

Jesus is not a new, separate “god,” one at war with His Father or with the Old Testament scriptures. The Old Testament’s rests great emphasis upon the value of life, including the right to defend oneself and others from bodily harm (Nehemiah 4:14 is just one example). This reverence for life is present in the New Testament as well. For instance, it was at the Last Super when Christ instructed His disciples, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one,” (Luke 22:36) (emphasis mine).

This brings me to my fourth and final point: Waller never presents theological evidence to support his thesis that it is immoral for faculty and administrators to be armed in defense of students. Christ’s disciples were themselves teachers of the Word and good news. This thought appears to have escaped the assistant rector altogether.

Ryan Waller is quick to launch the barb of moral reprehensibility at Pantego Christian Academy, and by default, at all Christian schools who choose to follow Pantego’s lead.

Yet, to read Waller’s article one may be led to believe that Christ was a pacifist – He wasn’t – and that Christians should simply do nothing in the event of a school shooting, but passively accept our demise and the demise of countless children via the bullets of a madman…  as the minutes pass by before the first law enforcement officer arrives.

To use Waller’s own words: His decision to twist scripture and omit context in order to lend credence to his personal, political opinion, draping non-theological sentiments in the cloak of religion, “is not only ill-advised, it is morally reprehensible.”

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Democrats turn Mexican Independence Day celebration in Chicago into political statement against Trump

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Democrats turn Mexican Independence Day celebration in Chicago into political statement against Trum

The long-standing tradition of cruising in Chicago streets for Mexican Independence Day had a double meaning this year as hundreds of revelers circled Trump Tower in Chicago waving Mexican flags and honking in celebration and protest.

The change in venue from the normal “cruising” in Hispanic neighborhoods was prompted by law enforcement’s decision to block off roads normally used for the occasion. The disruptive and sometimes violent celebrations were relocated after 10th district police blocked 26th St. in the Mexican neighborhood of Little Village.

The motivation behind the blocked streets in Hispanic neighborhoods was clear: To move the celebration downtown where it could become a protest. We know this because the official police statement declared their reasoning was for cleanup following a parade… but there was no parade scheduled for the streets in question. This was clearly a political move orchestrated by leftists in the Mayor’s office.

Cars and trucks with Mexican flags have been cruising Hispanic neighborhoods for Mexican Independence Day since the mid-80s. It wasn’t until far-left Mayor Lori Lightfoot sought to weaponize and politicize the celebration that the venue was changed to the streets right in front of Trump Tower.

Expression of cultural pride is one thing. Waving Mexican flags defiantly at Trump Tower has turned the celebration of Mexican Independence Day into a political statement, just as Democrats want it to be.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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The non-existent Evangelical Dark Web

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The non-existent Evangelical Dark Web

There’s lot of talk about there being an Evangelical Dark Web. This is supposedly the “Christian” version of the Intellectual Dark Web, which comprises of secular thought leaders like Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Joe Rogan, Dave Rubin, The Weinstein brothers, Sam Harris and several others. They all come from different backgrounds, have different political ideologies and disagree on most issues. Their unifying factor, however, is that they believe in freedom of speech and want to engage in open and honest conversation about their differences.

What the IDW does that’s different than virtually anyone else is that they embrace the discussions. They are okay with disagreement. They enjoy the intellectual exercise of talking though philosophical differences of opinion. They’ll engage honestly with those that they disagree with. Podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience, The Rubin Report and Ben Shapiro’s Sunday Special all exemplify exactly that: Just talk to people.

When I launched my podcast, Conversations with Jeff, this was my inspiration. I thoroughly enjoy Dave Rubin and Joe Rogan, especially, because they are curious, will talk to anybody and they enjoy the intellectual exercise of talking things out in a long-form conversation. You can look through my guest list for CWJ, and you’ll see a wide range of people who I’ve had on. I’m a Cessationist Calvinist, theologically. However, I’ve hardly had any Calvinists on my show… Steve Camp is the only one that comes to mind. I’ve had on Brannon Howse and Andy Woods who are both strongly opposed to Calvinism. I’ve had on charismatics like Dr Michael Brown, Stephen Black and Ken Peters. I’ve even had on a non-Christian like Trevor Loudon. I enjoy the process of just talking to people. This is what the IDW is all about.

Earlier this year, I began talking to a small group of people about launching our own version of the IDW, even naming it the Evangelical Dark Web. Some feelers were put out, and then all of a sudden a big polemics blog started running with the terminology. Which is fine by me… I care more about fixing things than getting credit for anything or any form of self-promotion.
However, what ended up happening is that the EDW turned out to be nothing like the IDW. The group that identifies as the EDW are just a bunch of people who agree with each other. There’s no engaging in differing opinions. There’s no open dialogue. It’s literally a bunch of anti-SJWs who’ve hijacked the name Evangelical Dark Web and redefined it into something that bears NO resemblance of the Intellectual Dark Web. Sure, there may be some differing theology, but that’s ignored and not dealt with. They don’t want to talk about they disagreements, they only want to talk about what they agree on.

You see, these guys aren’t engaging with those they disagree with. They’re only talking trash about people with differing opinions… and sometimes they’re just talking trash about people they don’t consider to be in their little group, even if they agree on virtually everything! Sounds more like a clique to me.

Let me share some anecdotal evidence for you.

First, take a look at the EDW’s podcasts. Who are they talking to? People that agree with them on virtually everything. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a podcast with any of these guys that engages in a non-hostile way with anyone they disagree with.

Second, when I had Dr Michael Brown on CWJ, I strongly opposed his charismatic beliefs throughout the entire podcast. However, it wasn’t hostile and we engaged with each other’s arguments. I then got a text message from a guy who runs one of the supposed EDW podcast networks that said, “Your support of Dr Brown is the death of any claim of discernment on your platform.” I never said that I support him. I only had him on my podcast, and we spent an hour of the show going back and forth on our disagreements! THAT is the DEFINITION of the EDW/IDW mentality. Engage with each other’s arguments! The simple fact of discussion does not mean endorsement. However, this is the problem with those that claim to be a part of the EDW. They don’t want to engage with those they disagree with. They’ve turned the EDW into something that’s the complete opposite of what it’s supposed to be.

And third, I’ve invited so many people on my show Conversations with Jeff. The funny thing is, the majority of the men that would be considered a part of the EDW (or in that theological tribe) have turned me down or sometimes even put unrealistic conditions on them coming on my show.

Here are a few examples of some of the responses I’ve received from these supposed EDWers:

“As long as you are friends with *******, Jeff, I cannot come onto your program.”

“Being on your broadcast would be contingent upon you taking down those negative articles you have about me.“

After publicly criticizing me for not having anyone from his “camp” on my podcast that I’ve publicly disagreed with, I invited this next person on my show. He responded with:

“So no, I cannot possibly, in good conscience betray those good men by participating in a debate/discussion/podcast hosted by a person whose sole reputation is of a trollish controversialist known entirely for sowing discord among brethren and blasting fire upon their Gospel efforts.”

And the examples go on and on. This is not how things are supposed to be in a supposed EDW.

So here’s the deal, there is no such thing as the Evangelical Dark Web. People can claim to be a part of it, but it’s non-existent. The supposed EDW is nothing more than a theological tribe that continually preaches to the choir and doesn’t allow their positions to be critiqued. They don’t welcome disagreement, they avoid it all cost… unless it’s them disagreeing with someone else.

So where do we go from here? Let’s create an ACTUAL Evangelical Dark Web. One which engages with each other, even if we disagree. Understand that talking to someone does not equate an endorsement. Be honest. Stop playing these behind the scenes games of manipulation. Be a part of the conversation, instead of just yelling at each other from a crowd of a like-minded individuals.

So let me take the lead on this one… My podcast Conversations with Jeff is open to anyone who is a part of the greater conversation in evangelicalism. Whether we agree or disagree, I’d be happy to have you on. Whether we are friends or on different teams, I’d be happy to engage with your positions. And on the flip side, if you’d like to have me on your podcast, I’d be happy to come on and discuss anything you’d like. You can ask me whatever you want. This is how the EDW is supposed to go. So I can only hold myself to that standard. I hope the rest of you follow suit.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Culture and Religion

The Evangelical Dark Web

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The Evangelical Dark Web

The battle for the soul of the evangelical church in the United States spans across the remaining denominations that have not openly fallen into apostasy. The United Methodist Church was saved by the African delegations from rejecting biblical ministry standards. The Southern Baptist Convention struggles to reject critical race theory. Many denominations have split over the encroachment of liberal or progressive theology such as the PCA. This constant fight to maintain the doctrine of the church from false teachers is never ending, dating back to the divinely inspired writings of Paul. The Evangelical Dark Web is the latest decentralized movement in the fight against false teachers infiltrating the church.

As I enter the fray to defend the church, it is important to recognize that, in defending the church from the false doctrines and heretics, the stakes are eternal. We live in a Romans 1 era.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

The country’s descent into decadence, it’s rejection of truth, is evident in seemingly every area, and the church is unimmune. The attack on the church is one that seeks to pacify the gospel with worldly ideas. I identify three false gospels, in which, the Evangelical Dark Web combats that seek to subvert Christianity. Note: these do not include cults that identify as Christian.

The Prosperity Gospel

The word of faith heresy reduces the God of the universe to a vending machine with a “name it and claim it” philosophy. It conforms the gospel to a self-help ritual so that the practitioners can get rich and stay healthy. In short, the Prosperity Gospel is about using God to achieve worldly desires.

The Social Justice Gospel

The Social Justice Gospel can be briefly summarized as antinomianism combined with postmodernism. This heresy reduces God by denying the Word. Sanctification is discouraged. Its Jesus is a brown skinned Palestinian. Its evangelism is affirming the world. Its sacrament is abortion. Its charity is entitlement programs. Belief in the Resurrection is optional, and Muslims worship the same god. The Social Justice Gospel is the troll to the Bride of Christ. It’s how the world wants Christianity to be, if people are to identify as Christian and those who practice the Social Justice Gospel always feel the need to call out Christians who hold to orthodox doctrine.

This doctrine is a parasite. Churches who partake in the parasite dwindle, and so the parasite must find a new church to infiltrate, for the Social Justice Gospel cannot survive in the world it wants to create.

The Popularity Gospel

The Popularity Gospel is most difficult to explain. It reduces Jesus to the popular kid in high school. It’s hard to describe a heresy that creates an idol out of the living God, but this phenomenon is prophesied in scripture:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NASB

The Popularity Gospel is an artificial image of Jesus that appeals to the masses. It’s often identifiable in those who employ a worldly definition of love when talking about a savior whose kingdom is not of this world. God is all “love” and no wrath. Its favorite verses poll extremely well. We aren’t being saved from sin; we are trusting in Jesus to protect, lead, and bless us. You are good. Jesus makes you better. This diluted gospel accepts worldly premises on goodness, judgment, love, and Christianity as a whole. Its church organizations are mass growth marketing mechanisms. Its sermons are elementary. Its commission is to baptize believers, nevermind discipleship. Discipleship requires critically thinking. With the Popularity Gospel, one just has to sit back, enjoy the entertainment, ambiance, and childcare.

Unlike the Social Justice Gospel, the Popularity Gospel is self-sustaining because marketing works, and the masses enjoy being entertained. What I described was the megachurch motif.

The Movement

A number of Christians are waking up to the spiritual battle that is going on within the Church, realizing, how many leaders are perpetuating or capitulating to the corrupting forces of the three aforementioned heresies. Just as academia in this country has largely been corrupted, our seminaries, likewise, are under attack. If the institutions that train the pastorate in this country fail, churches will struggle to find pastors worthy of the calling.

In the last few years, church leaders have responded with faith statements such as the Nashville Statement and the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel to redress such pressing issues. But these faith statements, while a commendable effort, are insufficient in rooting out false teachers by themselves. For the Bible says:

10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:10-11 ESV

Christianity needs a united front against such heresies mentioned above as they would, in modern times, be united against the teachings of Arian. Orthodoxy must be enforced even if it means powerful figures in Big Eva get cast out in the process.

In championing the disparaging title Brian Auten and Jake Meador over at Mere Orthodoxy, this platform seeks to be theologically sound, historically literate, and culturally relevant, as called in facing the most pressing threat Christianity is facing in America today.

If you are feeling called to learn more about this important battle, join the Evangelical Dark Web

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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