Posts Tagged cross

Biblical Justice vs. Worldly Justice: Avoiding the Scapegoat Mechanism

Job's accusers were well aware of his innocence.

I am currently reading Douglas Wilson’s Heaven Misplaced: Christ’s Kingdom on Earth, and I was particularly struck by a chapter that focuses on what Wilson calls Christ’s “inexorable love.” The chapter’s fundamental argument is that Christ’s love is widely available to humanity and cannot be suppressed by natural forces.

Wilson begins by discussing the common approach that paganism has taken to achieving justice, namely scapegoating murder to achieve serenity:

Pagan civilizations have always been built on the bedrock of scapegoating murder — this kind of turmoil is managed until it gets to a crisis point, and then everyone wheels on the designated victim. After the murder of this victim, everything becomes tranquil again…For the carnal man, this is the most natural thing in the world. Accusation equals guilt, and condemnation for him equals salvation for us. (emphasis added)

But Christianity also has its fair share of scapegoating, so what’s the difference?

From beginning to end, the Scriptures stand squarely against this pagan mentality — the mentality that is always serene and self-confident about the guilt of the designated victim. Think of Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused. Think of Job, falsely accused by Satan in the heavenly courts and by his so-called comforters here on earth. Think of all the prophets, from Abel to Zechariah, son of Berechiah.

As we can see, Christianity is told from the perspective of the victim rather than the accuser. In addition to this, the victims are almost always innocent and are understood to be so by their accusers — a significant departure from paganism. On this point, many of Wilson’s arguments echo those of René Girard (see The Scapegoat). As we all know, Christianity’s history of scapegoating climaxes with the ultimate (and finally redeeming) murder of Read the rest of this entry »

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Milton Friedman on Greed: Where In the World Do You Find These Angels?

This classic Milton Friedman interview has now been seen by many on the Web, but since it deals with topics commonly discussed on this blog I thought I’d post it for your weekend enjoyment.

Watch the video here:

Donahue’s first question is this:

Did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism, and whether greed is a good idea to run on?

Friedman responds with this:

Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? …The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus.

Friedman goes on to point out a few of these achievements (e.g. Einstein’s theory of relativity, Henry Ford’s automobile), and emphasizes that Read the rest of this entry »

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Phil Wickham on Radical Individualism: Lose Your Life Just So You Can Find It

Last week I wrote two posts dealing with the connection between self-denial and self-interest (or what I like to call the “upside-down economics of Christianity”).

Today I just wanted to share a song by Phil Wickham that conveys the concept pretty well.

Watch a live performance of the “True Love” here:

In the chorus, Wickham explains how Jesus’ sacrifice gave us freedom of sin:

When blood and water hit the ground, walls we couldn’t move came crashing down. We were free and made alive, the day that True Love died, the day that True Love died.

He then points out what is required to experience such freedom, namely faith in God and a rejection ofworldly (i.e. irrational) self-interest:

Search your heart; you know you can’t deny it. Come on, lose your Read the rest of this entry »

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Trusting God Through the Storm: A Review of Pete Wilson’s Plan B

Plan B by Pete Wilson

What do you do when God doesn’t show up the way you thought he would?

Whether it’s job loss, miscarriage, divorce, cancer, or any number of unfulfilled dreams, we all have situations in which we want to challenge God and say, “This isn’t what I had planned.”

Pete Wilson addresses these situations and the questions that arise from them in his new book Plan B.

When I started reading the book, I was expecting a layman’s spin on conventional suffering theology, but for the most part, Wilson doesn’t even go there. Instead, Plan B is more of a Bible-based manual for coping with unexpected situations than it is a complicated theology for understanding them.

When it comes to the coping component of the book, Wilson offers the following advice for times of crisis (and I summarize):

  • Lean toward God. Don’t run from your situation.
  • Give God room to work. Don’t pretend you have total control.
  • Be ready and waiting for God’s signal. Don’t hesitate when God provides opportunities.
  • Trust and fear the Lord. Don’t be paralyzed by earthly concerns.
  • Base your faith on God’s identity. Don’t base it on His activity.
  • Align your desires to God’s. Don’t be selfish.
  • Find light in the darkness. Don’t forget that God can turn evil for good.
  • Stay in close community. Don’t allow yourself to become isolated.

These points dominate most of the book, and Wilson backs each with examples from the Bible and his pastoral experiences. But he doesn’t completely end it there. He goes on to emphasize that even with our best efforts to navigate these situations effectively, many times we will Read the rest of this entry »

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