Living in a (Western) Corpse

Although Theonomists are generally derided for their minority viewpoint on biblical law, their cultural analysis often provides clarity where other Protestants tend to live in murky gray areas.

fire

In his 1991 critique of the faculty of Westminster Seminary, Gary North gave a scathing rebuke of the Enlightenment.

In his view, everything blessed and glorious about the Calvinistic Reformation was forfeited by the 17th-18th centuries:

From 1660 to 1789, the humanists took the fundamental doctrines of Calvinism and secularized them. They stripped
these ideas of all biblical theological content and produced a
new man-centered worldview, which became dominant in the
West.

First, they took the doctrine of the sovereignty of God
and made it the sovereignty of nature and nature’s finest product,
autonomous man. The twin idols of nature and history
again became the idols of man, as they have been throughout
pagan history.

Second, the Calvinist doctrine of the priesthood
of all believers became the foundation of modern democratic
theory, beginning with the Levellers in the Cromwell period.
Calvinism’s concept of the right of the laity to vote in church
elections became the model for politics.

Third, the Calvinist view of God’s law and man’s God-given ability to recognize it and apply it to this world became the foundation of modern
science and technology.

Fourth, Calvinism’s doctrine of God’s sanctions in history – blessings and cursings – became, in the writings of the anti-Calvinist Scottish common sense rationalists, the concept of the impersonal market forces of supply
and demand.

Fifth, Puritanism’s unique concept of the triumph of the kingdom of God in history became the foundation of the Enlightenment idea of mankind’s inevitable progress. [1]

Rotten Fruit

Although I am not a scholar of the Enlightenment, I know enough of what came about throughout that period to know how we got to where we are today. Man is always attempting to set himself above the throne of God. The present visible breakdown of Western civilization is the inevitable result of our tower-building autonomy; our idolatry of technology over humanity, our idolatry of progress over preservation, our idolatry of markets over justice. We are reaping what was sown centuries ago, decades ago, and yesterday.

Humanity may not replace the law of God with itself without deadly consequences – and yet the only institution equipped to deal with brazen idolatry is the Church of Jesus Christ.

Ed Young Jr

And what is she now experiencing in the West? The rotten fruits of compromise with the world. In the hour of clear need for an unequivocal call to repentance and grace in Jesus Christ, the churches are busy preaching about… well, themselves.

Perhaps Calvin’s Christendom was also a misapplication of (Old Testament) biblical law, but could we have ended up much worse off going down that road? Yes, modern life has its amenities and perks, but even those things are the product of the Christian worldview in motion – the Christian worldview presupposed by every single scientist, doctor, and engineer who puts pen to paper in search of a better world.

But the Church sinks deeper and deeper into irrelevance as the professionals attempt to construct terribly relevant sermons, and the culture turns toward us with sharper teeth and bloodier claws, sickened by pastel church clothes barely covering up our shameful bigotries and hypocrisies.

They are going to subdue the Christian remnant in the West, if it’s the last thing they do. Our only strength is the gospel truth of Jesus Christ the King – and as we capitulate our precious treasure to the politically correct censors of godless media, we are left with impotent, pagan mouthpieces to speak for us (hello Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter).

As Dr. R. Scott Clark put it:

We may well be coming back to a time like that [with persecutions against the church]. The Enlightenment was not so much really an Enlightenment as it was a repudiation of Christian theism and an elevation of rebellion against God. It took time for the effect of that rebellion to sink it and work out its principle but it has happened. We’re there. We don’t live in Israel. We live in Babylon.

And Babylon was a time for God to cleanse the ranks of His people from idolatry.

Are you trusting more in your money and status than in the Lord of glory? I know I struggle with that – and may God have mercy as the pagan culture overthrows the last remnants of the Protestant heritage in the West, completing the revolution of the counterfeit Enlightenment.

Must it be inevitable?

Thanks for reading,

-Adam

[1] Gary North, Westminster’s Confession: The Abandonment of Van Til’s Legacy (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991), x-xi.

Categories: Humankind in Distress, Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Living in a (Western) Corpse

  1. stan schmunk

    You’re quoting Gary North? I don’t even think Rushdoony was a Christian. Do you really want to put the U.S. under OT Law?

    • Stan stan stan. It’s so nice to see you again! Yes, I’m quoting Gary North. Does someone have to be perfect in all ways to produce useful, instructive ideas? I’m not a theonomist, so just relax.

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