Joshua and Mary discuss: The recent Paris attacks, the problem of evil and the law and gospel through the lens of oneism and twoism. Special guest: Dr. Rev. Gabe Fluhrer.Read More
Jihadi John, the beheader, otherwise known as Mohammad Emwazi, at the age of six was brought to the UK in 1994 by Kuwaiti parents. He attended St Mary Magdalene Church of England primary school, and in 2009 graduated with honors from the University of Westminster. He then worked for an IT company in Kuwait and was considered “the best employee the company ever had.”
A short five years later, in the fall of 2014, in front of a camera, with obvious delight, and in cold blood, Emwazi beheaded two American journalists, a volunteer social worker, and two British aid workers. Apparently there was a four-person execution cell, all with British accents (!), whom the prisoners call the “Beatles.” Naturally, the leader, Emwazi, got the name “John.”
A year later, November 12, 2015, an American drone blasted Jihadi John into eternity. He was 27.
How should we respond to this news?
BOMBS or BIBLES: Most people in the West doubtless experienced this event with a sense of moral approval. The justified outrage about Jihadi John’s actions is the same as the one that has just arisen about the butchering of 129 people in Paris in the name of Allah. Seeing young men with Kalashnikovs firing point blank at other young people in cold blood produces understandable outrage. We are instinctively relieved at the determination of French Prime Minister Hollande, in response to unthinkable cruelty, to declare war on Isis and bomb to smithereens their installations in Syria—justice oblige.
But Christians are conflicted, as was Jonah in the Bible. Last Sunday, I heard a sermon on Jonah’s refusal to take the message of God’s forgiveness to the godless and cruel Assyrians of Nineveh. When the preacher described the Assyrians as the ISIS of the ancient world, I realized I could no longer stand simplistically in judgment of Jonah’s seemingly selfish attitude. This clear comparison provoked a number of questions in my mind, and a few things began to fall into place.
What should Christians desire for the Jihadist terrorists, BOMBS or BIBLES?
BIBLES: Of course I do not mean Jihadi John being taken out by a fully-annotated hard-backed Geneva Study Bible, shot like a bullet at great velocity from a swooping American drone.
Christians are conflicted because the great commission commands us to take the biblical Gospel to the ends of the earth, to all the nations, including members of ISIS. Killing sinners removes them from any possibility of hearing the good news of the forgiveness Jesus purchased through his atoning death two thousand years ago. How we can reconcile justice and grace, deserved punishment and undeserved forgiveness? It may be a question of timing, which in the ultimate scheme of things remains mysterious. We do not control history. God does.
In terms of timing, we need to get the Gospel to jihadists before they become jihadists. Was the young Emwazi clearly confronted with the Gospel during the years he attended St Mary Magdalene Church of England primary school? Did the Christian groups at the University of Westminster in central London, reach out to him? Did the university that claims to “embrace global engagement in every arena of institutional activity” give any serious moral and spiritual guidance” to this confused young man? There doubtless came a time when the door of opportunity shut, when Jihadi John consciously closed his mind to anything but hateful, radical Islam. At that point, other historical and moral factors take over.
Certainly, it is the job of the church to take the Gospel to every creature and thus we should redouble our effort before it is too late and the door of opportunity closes, whether individually or nationally.
BOMBS: It is always the responsibility of the State to maintain social justice and, helped by the church, to seek to administer a valid understanding of a just society. Non-Christians in our office building today are asking about political justice! The Christian answer is that the “magistrate” is charged by God to maintain “the good” and punish “the bad,” as that pertains to the good, livable social order (Romans 13:3). This includes “respect” and “honor” between citizens (12:7). For that, the State “bears the sword” and “carries out God’s just wrath on the wrongdoer” (12:4), especially those massacring fellow citizens.
BOMBS or BIBLES? The dilemma is resolved in God, who is sovereignly in charge both of the fate of individuals and of the overseeing of the State throughout history. Thus, as the State applies laws in a just manner, via the sword, eventually including BOMBS, people are brought face to face with the ethical character of the universe, so that, as Paul says, the moral law, including that of the State, eventually drives us to the Christ of the BIBLE and to his forgiving grace.Read More
One supporter believes Donald Trump articulates voter frustration well because he doesn’t worry about being politically correct. “…that’s the nerve that Trump is hitting.”
Nowhere does politically-correct speech grate more on the nerves of people’s sensibilities than in the socially-volatile conflict over sexuality. Even the once politically-correct feminist opponents of anything patriarchal are becoming victims of the new PC speech police.
Germaine Greer, the radical feminist of yesteryear, lambasts Glamour Magazine for honoring a 65-year-old man, Bruce/Caitlin Jenner, as “Woman of the Year.” “Jenner isn’t a woman,” affirms Greer, who is not the buying latest form of pc ideology, because Jenner has not endured “the real suffering of women.”
But now the boot is on the other foot.
“For decades,” says a social observer, “feminists have skillfully wielded their victimhood status as a weapon, striking public figures who fail to follow their obscure, but strictly enforced, rules. Use the word ‘bossy,’ ‘silly,’ ‘hysterical,’ ‘shrill,’ or mention that women bear children…and you might face the wrath of the PC feminist police.”
Presently, however, my alma mater, Cardiff University in Wales (UK), plans to disinvite Germaine Greer because in a lecture on “Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century,” Greer opposes transgender “diversity.”
Nevertheless, Greer would have doubtless supported Williams College students who recently disinvited Suzanne Venker, a longtime critic of feminism. Venker had been scheduled to speak on the subject, “One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back: Why Feminism Fails.” One of the reasons given at the very liberal, upper-class Williams College, established in 1793, was: “When you bring a misogynistic, white supremacist, men’s rights activist to campus in the name of ‘dialogue,’ you are not only causing actual mental, social, psychological and physical harm to students, but you are also paying for the continued dispersal of violent ideologies that kill our black and brown (trans) femme sisters … you are dipping your hands in their blood.” All Venker had planned to say was, “how feminism had failed because it denies the existence of biology and teaches that equality means sameness, which is a losing proposition when it comes to a life that includes marriage and family.”
If you did not get into Williams you could possibly get into the all-women’s Wellesley College—as long as you were sure of your female gender. Wellesley, founded in 1870, is a member of the original Seven Sisters Colleges and happens to be my wife’s and my two oldest daughters’ alma mater. The college that graduated Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton and Madame Chiang Kai Shek, recently had to redefine what a woman is, in order to remain a bona fide women’s college. Here is the fruit of their deliberations for contemporary society:
if you are a trans-woman (a person with a male body who thinks he is a woman) you are admitted; if you are a trans-man (a biological woman who thinks she is a man) you will not be admitted.
It’s all in the mind!
Little wonder toy manufacturers and fashion designers are playing it safe, creating gender-neutral products and androgynous clothing lines, thus adding to the present gender confusion.
In a public lecture, “Busting the Binaries,” I attempt to show that the surface war of words masks a much deeper conflict between the only two worldviews on offer—Oneism or Twoism.
Oneism, the worship of creation and the belief in the oneness of everything, seeks to “join the opposites” to destroy distinctions, so colleges in their student accommodations reject “the traditional gender binary.” But if there are no longer any gender distinctions, it is because there are no spiritual and theological distinctions. In Oneist spirituality, one goes within to meet one’s higher, divine self. In Oneist theology, there is no Creator God; matter creates itself because it is divine, and so we create in our autonomous minds who we want to be. The logical extension is Oneist sexuality that joins the opposites and destroys sexual and gender distinctions so essential to human survival.
The political war of words thus comes down to a theological war with the original founding words that have always defined who we are:
God said, “Let us make man in our image,…so God created man in his own image; male and female he created them…and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:26, 31).
A contemporary journalist naively opines: “We are opening up to the idea that classic binary conceptions of gender are unnecessarily rigid.” He fails to see that in this Oneist world a deep identity crisis is arising for our children and their eventual inability to understand the “binary” truth about the God of the Gospel, where via the picture of heterosexual marriage Christ comes to redeem his bride, a Savior who is distinct from us but whose intentions for us both in creation and redemption are “very good.”Read More