“Mohler argues that the civil law, which has been dechristianized by secularization, needs to be rechristianized”

"He ought to know that he is playing with fire. When he demands we rechristianize the civil laws, he owes us an account of why our Christian ancestors were wrong for almost a thousand years as they built Western civilization on a natural law tradition that culminated, and logically must culminate, in political liberalism." - Law & Liberty

1444 reads

There are 13 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I’m not sure Forster is being entirely fair to Mohler here, but it’s a very interesting debate… and one that has a potentially huge impact on what life is like for our children and grand children in the U.S., if we don’t see the return of Christ first.

At present, I lean toward this view: rechristianizing might well be the ideal, but we really can’t put that toothpaste back in the tube. Forster…

Is it possible to share our country by building moral consensus among people of different faiths—to have a common good without a common god?

These are hard questions. No one has easy answers. I’ll be first in line to admit I don’t. 

But I’m more optimistic than Forster about what’s possible. For me, it’s rooted in the unity of truth. As Christians, we know that God’s view of human nature, society, and life on planet earth is “true” in that it fits reality. And what fits reality works better. And what fits reality tends to thrive where false ideologies fail. So can there be a consensus on “common good without a common god”? Well, there can be more or less of a consensus, and the current lack of consensus can be improved… a lot. Enough to improve the cultural and political situation in the West for a couple generations.

I don’t know why Forster pays so little attention to the difference between government power and the power of civil society/culture. In this piece, Forster ignores civil society entirely. I hope Mohler doesn’t do so in his book…. which is going on my reading list.

I’m pleased to see the book is available in audio. (orders via the link route some pocket change to SI)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Joeb's picture

I have had a number of Christian Righties say to my face that the Federal Government's  Highest Priority is Preaching The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I kid you not.  When I pointed out to them that the Church was responsible for that and their position violated the first amendment in Spades they responded that it didn't.  Sadly in my opinion this is what some Christians believe and want a Christian Saudi Arabia.  I kid you not.  That's why they see Donald Trump as a direct instrument of God to accomplish this.   
 

Some even go as far as rewriting history by saying Thomas Jefferson was a Baptist and not a Theist.  When you bring up the argument that he was possibly a rapist they go crazy.  I guess you call these people Dominionists.  
 

Very very scary.   I'd be honest if that ever happened to our Country which I doubt would  I'd side with my Muslim Jewish Hindu True Christian or whatever American Brothers in an armed rebellion against that. That would be outright Tyranny and violate everything this Country stands for.   It kind of gets down to what Patrick Henry said Give Me Liberty or Give me death.  

T Howard's picture

Joeb wrote:
Very very scary.   I'd be honest if that ever happened to our Country which I doubt would  I'd side with my Muslim Jewish Hindu True Christian or whatever American Brothers in an armed rebellion against that. That would be outright Tyranny and violate everything this Country stands for.   It kind of gets down to what Patrick Henry said Give Me Liberty or Give me death.  

While I am thankful for my freedoms in America, liberty / freedom without the restraint of morality (or virtue) leads to the disintegration of society and the collapse of the nation. This was true in ancient Greece, this was true for Rome, this was true for the various monarchies that controlled Europe throughout the middle ages, this was true during the French Revolution, etc., etc. The American founders knew this to be true as well. Thus, George Washington's famous quote: "Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society."

 

Mark_Smith's picture

Joeb wrote:

I have had a number of Christian Righties say to my face that the Federal Government's  Highest Priority is Preaching The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I kid you not. 

Well, I am not sure what the "Christian Right" is, but I can say I know no one that thinks what you say "a number" think. So, it seems the group you know is not as pervasive as you think.

Joeb's picture

Agreed with what your saying T Howard mostly but the Founders also went out of their way to make sure there was never a STATE RELIGION OR RELIGIOUS TEST TO SERVE IN GOVERNMENT.  Thomas Jefferson was a Theist not Baptist as some NUTS try to argue and the same familial DNA science solving these old murder and rape cases indicates Jefferson was a Rapist by all definitions. 

Our government and laws were founded on Judeo Christian Ethics yes but no one religion takes a lead over another as a State Religion.  Now we as believers know that only Christ is the one true way but others must have their hearts and minds changed through Christ.  That  is the mission of the church not Uncle Sam.  I also disagree with what Mark says.  I think there is a lot more Republican Christian Righties who hold to a total Christianization of our government by force or by legislation than Mark says.  You can't legislate morals as far as the length of a woman's dresses in public who is fornicating or who is committing adultery. That's legalism which some Christians are very good at and want that instilled in our society just as the Puritans did.  That is where I draw the line.  It is totally unamerican and totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL.  
 

Mark if you say no why has Ted Cruz father during political speeches and preaching at Republican gatherings talk about doing what they did during the Revolutionary war at least by his beliefs and forming armed militias with each Pastor ahead of his Militia in  Churches nationwide.  Ted Cruz's father clearly says its for the express purpose of taking back our Country for Christ. I heard him say it myself on You Tube.  A few Mark I say NO.  More than a few have this  as a rally cry at a number of these type Republican gatherings.  What Ted Cruz's father is saying is sedition and treason.
 

 Also I don't care if these supposed believers hate gays.  An unsaved gay has every right to pursue his life as far as working and living in our society as they do.  Not be hung from the closest good tree limb as the Roy Moore types want.  They are sinners like anyone else.  Plus Trump's appointee Gorsuch took a question about overruling gay marriage from a Senator and Gorsuch essentially told the Senator go ahead send a case like that to me and I'll send it back with a big fat no.  Meaning don't waste your time.  CHANGE HEARTS AND MINDS THROUGH CHRIST NOT LEGISLATION. Now I'm totally against gay marriage but even TRUMP supports it.  Unfortunately it's the law of the land.  
 

Mark the Gothardites had the same rallying cry and supported the same Christianization of our Government.  Paige Patterson and Dr Thomas White were and are Gothardites.  Not many huh. Look  at the disgusting things and changes they did at Cedarville.  Patriarchy and purity movement garbage.   Right out of the Bill Gothard playbook.  
 

Paige Patterson and Bannon formed a number of Conservative Groups together and were best of buddies. Not widespread Mark.  More then you say.  

G. N. Barkman's picture

joeb seems very passionate about his perspective.  I've been in conservative Christian circles all my life, and have seldom, if ever, heard the positions he believes are prevalent among conservative Christians.  Obviously there must be someone somewhere who espouses these views, but they're mighty scarce in my orbit of many decades.  These supposed extreme positions sound more like the scare tactics of those on the left then actual views of real people.  For example, I have never in my life heard anyone say that the government should be responsible to propagate the gospel of Christ.  Never.

G. N. Barkman

Joel Shaffer's picture

Obviously there must be someone somewhere who espouses these views, but they're mighty scarce in my orbit of many decades.  These supposed extreme positions sound more like the scare tactics of those on the left then actual views of real people.  For example, I have never in my life heard anyone say that the government should be responsible to propagate the gospel of Christ.  Never.

There is a small and growing movement that advocates for a public religion within many of the First Things crowd.  

https://newrepublic.com/article/154608/first-things-magazine-american-theocracy-religious-state

https://reason.com/2019/06/03/the-new-theocrats-are-neither-conservative-nor-christian/ 

https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-political-scene/david-french-sohrab-ahmari-and-the-battle-for-the-future-of-conservatism

I debated a conservative Christian businessman two months ago who told me if the founding fathers had been around to see the cultural slide towards progressive liberalism, they never would've embraced the first amendment. He felt that establishing more of a State Religion (Christianity) and curtailing Free speech (the press) was necessary to win the culture war so that America would prosper in the future.  

TylerR's picture

Editor

I don't plan to read Mohler's book, but maybe I should. Mohler's books remind me of the things you'll find in Goodwill in 10 years. If you listen to The Briefing, do you really need to read his books? Do you NOT know what he's going to say?

I'm asking an honest question. I was disappointed in his book about leadership. I've skimmed another two or so books of his, and found nothing I haven't heard him say in his podcast. In short, I don't know why I should buy his book. If he really is all for creating some kind of Christian nationalism, I'd be very, very surprised.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

G. N. Barkman's picture

Thanks for the information.  Obviously my experiences over the years do not include people of this persuasion.  It's sad to see people galloping off in every direction when things seem to be getting out of hand.  Ignorance of Biblical truth on the Right is equally dangerous to absence of Biblical truth on the Left.

G. N. Barkman

T Howard's picture

Joeb wrote:
Agreed with what your saying T Howard mostly but the Founders also went out of their way to make sure there was never a STATE RELIGION OR RELIGIOUS TEST TO SERVE IN GOVERNMENT.  Thomas Jefferson was a Theist not Baptist as some NUTS try to argue and the same familial DNA science solving these old murder and rape cases indicates Jefferson was a Rapist by all definitions. 

I'm certainly not advocating for a state religion or a religious test to serve in government. From what I understand, though, some on the left have instituted a quasi-religious test and refuse to approve nominees who hold to biblical morality (i.e. religiously conservative Catholics or protestants) on the grounds that they are intolerant and bigoted.

Which leads me back to the founders of our nation. After reading several biographies of guys like Franklin and Jefferson, it's no secret that some of our founders were immoral degenerates. However, judeo-christian ethics heavily influenced the moral context in which they lived. This was true up until the 1960s.

Joeb's picture

T Howard I understand what your saying but Trump's statements regarding Muslims certainly equal to what you say the Left is saying.  Trump certainly makes it clear what he thinks of African Countries ie ###?? Hole Countries.  Plus throw in Congressman King and his racist and stupid statements Thank God Iowa Voters dumped that nut job.  I'd say both sides are about even.  Would not you.  
 

Plus telling the squad who are total idiots to go home if they don't like America. Only one would qualify as going home if they don't like America.  The other three are born and raised Americans.  I think Puerto Rico has been part of the US for 125 years and Muslims have been up by Detroit since the early 1900s.  Yes.  
 

Trump's statements has even caused his Trumpeteers in the US to attack Chinese Americans due to this Covid 19 crisis. My son in law is a Chinese American and was born in communist China and is a Believer along with his Parents.  My son in law and his Parents greatly appreciate and relish the freedoms they obtained by coming to the US. They even spent a year in prison once for trying to escape Communist China.  However my Son In Law served in the United States Marines.  Something Draft Dodging Trump never did with Daddy Dearest arranging for a false Doctors report for BONE SPURS to keep him out of harms way. Yet Trump can blow his dog whistles causing his base to attack Chinese Americans because he is looking for someone to blame for his mistakes in handling the Covid 19 crisis.   Again T. Howard I'd say the left and right are about even.  

T Howard looks like you think as a Country we were moral and  more Godly prior to the 1960s.  I have heard that statement before.  Did not half our Country and State and Local Govs practice apartheid right up into 1968 and lynching and killing of innocents and racism toward people of color was done openly and quite common   I'd say again NO unless under Christian and Judeo Ethics those things were okay.  
 

    

 

T Howard's picture

Joeb wrote:
T Howard looks like you think as a Country we were moral and  more Godly prior to the 1960s.  I have heard that statement before.  Did not half our Country and State and Local Govs practice apartheid right up into 1968 and lynching and killing of innocents and racism toward people of color was done openly and quite common   I'd say again NO unless under Christian and Judeo Ethics those things were okay.  

Joeb,

First, I'm not a fan of Trump. I didn't vote for him in 2016, and I won't vote for him in November.

Second, by writing --- "Judeo-christian ethics heavily influenced the moral context in which they lived. This was true up until the 1960s"--- I was not implying that our country was more moral or godly prior to the 1960s. However, before the 60s, our country for the most part shared a similar Judeo-Christian ethic/moral context. People understood the Judeo-Christian concepts of sin, God, morality, etc. The same cannot be said today. Our society, for the most part, has rejected most of the Judeo-Christian ethic / moral context of the past. There is some good to this -- i.e. less cultural Christianity. But, there is less moral restraint in our society. It's now not only okay but lauded when someone flouts biblical morality.

Similar to the commentary at the book of Judges, everyone is doing what is right in his own eyes.

Proverbs 29:18 is proving prophetic! "Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law."

Joeb's picture

Sadly T Howard other Evangelical Christians did and still do.  It's a common statement in certain circles of Fundy/Evangelicals.  They don't even take into consideration of when and where they say it.  I have seen it said in front of African American Brothers is Christ.  My response to the person saying at the time was yeah it was Godly and great if you were white.  So when Molar says we need to rechristisnize  the laws to some that has painful memories especially some of federal drug laws.  We are still dealing with repercussions of racism today.  
 

Just read an article on the GA Shooter who used the N word right after her shot the African American Man and the White Guy exposed shooting Ns on his internet account. Then the locals sat on the case for 2 plus months.  
 

In regards to the federal laws just one racist example.  When Possession and Sale of Heroin was made a federal criminal act in the early 1900s the push and reasoning came a lot from the Godly south.  They wanted it outlawed because they felt it hoped up the blacks into raping their young white women and girls.  
 

Interesting now that the truth is out about all Church To incidents  have been found in Evangelical churches going back decades it's not the Black men raping the young white women it's more like the church going WHITE MEN to include Pastors and Elders.  That Southern Baptist Convention Houston Chronicle article only covered 20 years.  Just figure it was about the same or worse over the last 60 years. It's the Whitemen in the Southern Baptist Church  the white gals needed to fear.