Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Life As a Talking Head

Since it's come up, yes, I was a "talking head," or more accurately, "walking out of shape professor", for a show on Mongolia this summer, Josh Bernstein's "Digging for the Truth: Lost Empire of Genghis Khaan." You can see the trailer here and showtimes and series intro here.

Picture one is Josh Bernstein and the two camera men planning out a shot. The camera men were from Egypt -- Josh had worked with them on shows on the pharaohs so they came along.

Picture two is me being "wired" for our scene at the ruins of Qara-Qorum. (Actually the German excavators covered the site back up with debris on the off season, so there wasn't much to see.)

Picture three is me, the whole crew, and the Mongolian family who hosted us. The director was Peter Chinn (in the black "Crocodile Dundee" hat).

Good times, good times.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Dates in the Prophets and Who Are the Poor?

In the last two weeks, I noted two things in the Bible. I thought I 'd throw them both out and try to keep it brief (hah!)

First of all, while reading the two minor prophets Haggai and Zechariah, I had long noticed how carefully they are dated to so and so year and so and month and day of King Darius. Suddenly, however, it occurred to me that that is more than just specifying the date. Rather it says something important about political leigitmacy. We tend to forget, but years and lordship are intimately connected. In China, for example, years are dated by reign years proclaimed by the emperor. But what if there were two dynasties dividing "all under heaven" and someone in one dynasty referred to something happening in another dynasty? Well, they might use the other other dynasty's dating system, but insert the word wei "bogus" before it. "In the bogus Tranquil Peace years of the bogus Jin dynasty, this or that happened." In the Roman empire, the use of dating to the emperorship of Jesus was contrasted to the dating by the Roman emperor, as we see explicitly in the martyrdom of Polycarp:

Now the blessed Polycarp was martyred on the second day of the first half of the month of Xanthicus, the seventh day before the kalends of March, a great sabbath, at the eighth hour. And he was arrested by Herod, when Philip of Tralles was High Priest, when Statius Quadratus was Pro-Consul, but Jesus Christ was reigning for ever, to whom be glory, honour, majesty and an eternal throne, from generation to generation, Amen.

After the confessionalization of Western Eurasia, the three religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) had their own dating systems -- which one you used depended on which one you believed in.* Recently, Jewish authors began using the Christian system (which unlike the Jewish one has the benefit of not being tied to an impossibly recent date of the creation of the world), but in an unconscious imitation of Chinese practice, they change AD to CE and BC to BCE. They might have just as well have written "In year 1954 of the wei (bogus) Messiah." This usage has spread widely among those writing on topics outside Christendom, in a futile attempt to create a dating system that is neutral.

So then, what does it mean that Haggai begins:

In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying . . .

And Zechariah:

In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying . . .

Well it means that these prophets recognize the legitimate authority of king Darius, that this Persian king is not an evil emperor, like the Babylonians or Assyrians, but a legitimate king. It is thus one more part of the strongly pro-Persian slant of the later Old Testament (more on that here).

And who are "the poor" in Jesus's first sermon?

And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

We all know the two "standard" interpretations: the poor are low-income groups (social gospel), or the poor are the poor in spirit, i.e. those under conviction of sin (evangelical).

But going back to where this passage came from, i.e. from Isaiah's prophetic preaching to exiled Judah, it struck me that not just the second, but the first as well, is distorted by unintended individualism. To whom was Isaiah preaching? Not to the statistically lower 20% of the Babylonian population, nor to all those in Babylonia suffering pangs of conscience, but to a specific ethno-religious group, the Jews, who were despised for their corporate identity. He was promising that their hour of liberation, in which they would be freed of their bonds and strangerhood, was nigh. If a Jew did well in Babylonia and put a little money by (like Daniel), he was still part of a subject nation. He may be rich personally, but if he identifies with the despised community, then he longs for liberation as well -- indeed all the more as he moves out of the Jewish villages along the canal of Khebar and into the mainstream of Babylonian life, and faces head-on the assumptions and prejudices of the average successful Babylonian.

God's deliverance from this in time came about through the Persian armies of Cyrus. And as I've shown, the Jews were properly grateful to their liberators.

But what about sin? Surely there is a Gospel message here? Well, why were the Jews in exile in Babylon in the first place? Because they were sinners and couldn't help sinning and had no free will in the matter, and if given the same kingdom would do exactly the same as their fathers before them. That is bondage. Corporate bondage as a people, as a church. And that bondage was, as prophets like Isaiah kept telling them, the reason for the first bondage.

So if he is announcing the message of Isaiah, Jesus is saying: you of my people are indeed despised and thought to be stupid and backwards. You are poor, even if you have some money saved ( -- unless of course you decide to no longer identify with this despised religion and instead join the Greeks, in which case this sermon and this promise is not addressed to you). But your moment of liberation is coming. But God has also seen your failure to be the people of God. He knows that you have not and cannot live the kingdom life of the people of God. And He will liberate you from this as well, all through His own working.

This is indeed Gospel, a collective and apocalyptic good news of redemption from sin and its justified punishment, delivered to His people, and coming soon in the end of days.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ouyang Xiu and One-Pointed Concentration

Given the overwhelming response I got for my previous post about Shusun Tong, I know you are all waiting with bated breath to hear Ouyang Xiu 歐陽修 (also spelled Ou-yang Hsiu, pronounced "Oh-yahng she-oh") give another side of the Eastern Classicist ethos in his biography of Feng Dao. (Seriously, my blog is now the tops for English-language references to Shusun Tong on Google. Pretty impressive, eh?)

Well, here it is -- and I'll even make a point about Lutheranism at the end . . .

Feng Dao 馮道 was a Confucian official of the tenth century. This was a time when North China ran through five dynasties in as many decades, while ten kingdoms divided up the southern half of the country.* While the generals were fighting for the throne, the Confucian officials were trying to maintain some kind of order. Ouyang Xiu (that's a page from his collected works in the picture) was writing a century later when the Heartland, China, had been almost all unified under the Northern Song. From the chaos of ruptured family relations and shattered dynasties he wanted to learn something about how for over a half-century men had been incapable of escaping this nightmare and returning to the Way set forth in the Classics.

As Ouyang Xiu begins his biography -- and I cite here Richard Davis's distinguished translation, pp. 438-443 -- Feng Dao appears to be the exemplary official writers of his own time had taken him to be. Ouyang Xiu writes:

Dao*** could be frugal to the point of severe self-deprivation. When the princes of Jinn and Liang [rival commanders, one a Shatuo Turk and the other a renegade peasant rebel, fighting over the corpse of the defunct Tang dynasty] faced off from opposite sides of the Yellow River, Dao lived in a thatched hut within the military compound and slept simply on bundles of straw, rather than on a sleeping mat. And whenever receiving a salary, he found quiet contentment in lavishing it on servants, permitting them to enjoy the same food and wine as he. Commanders then given to abducting the beautiful girls of the vanquished often presented some to Dao, who could not well reject them, so he would furnish a separate room as accommodation while inquiring about their original father or husband, discreetly returning the women.

Taking leave as academician to mourn for his father, he found his native Jingcheng plagued for years with famine, so Dao relinquished all his possessions to relieve the villagers, retreating to the wilderness to till the land and haul his own firewood. When others let their own lands grow wild or lacked the strength to till themselves, he would quietly proceed at nighttime to till for them. Such persons might later express embarrassed gratitude, yet Dao saw nothing particularly noble in his deeds.

But as Ouyang Xiu goes on, we notice Feng seems to be lacking something:

Dao served Emperor Mingzong [ethnically, a Shatuo Turk, and emperor of the Latter Tang dynasty] as minister for more than ten years, and after Mingzong expired, he ministered to Emperor Min. In the wake of the Prince of Liu's rebellion at Fengxiangfu, and Emperor Min's flight to Weizhou, Dao led official multitudes in welcoming the usurping Prince to the capital. The Prince became Emperor Fei, Dao ministering to him. Emperor Min was still alive and at Weizhou at the time of Fei's accession, but perished in an act of regicide three days later. Emperor Fei subsequently transferred Dao locally as governor of Tongzhou, extending honors as duke a year later. Dao likewise served the the Latter Jinn** after its conquest of the previous Latter Tang** dynasty, the Jinn monarch, Gaozu, naming him dignitary for public works with ministerial powers, honorary dignitary of education, and concurrent director of the Secretariat, while elevating his noble status to Duke of Lu. He ministered to Emperor Chu once Gaozu passed away, receiving honors as grand marshal and Duke of Yan as noble rank; reassignment to the Kuanggguo and later Weisheng governorships later ensued.

Feng Dao even served the Kitans [a Mongolic people who had invaded from the northeast] after they had annihilated the Jinn, meeting [their ruler] Yelü Deguang for an audience in the capital . . . Dao followed Deguang upon his return north, as far as Changshan then reverted to the new Latter Han** dynasty upon the accession of its Emperor Gaozu, serving as grand preceptor with the prestige-rank of fengchaoqing. He further served the Zhou Dynasty when it conquered the Han, Emperor Taizu of Zhou** honoring him as grand preceptor and concurrent palace secretary.

Now after this recital, the historian thinks it justified to tip his hand and draw some conclusions:

A youthful Feng Dao succeeding in making a name for himself by dint of contrived manners, and as high official, strove to impress others with his staid demeanor. Having served four royal houses and ten sovereigns, he increasingly presumed upon bygone merits to glorify himself. Yet courtiers of the age, the wise and witless alike, all celebrated Dao as senior statesman and heaped praises on him. Yelü Deguang once asked of him, "How are we to render assistance to the commoners throughout the world?" Dao responded with a riddle, "Times like ours would be hard to salvage even for the Buddha, should he appear. Only a man like Your Majesty will do." The Kitan decision not to exterminate the commoners of the Heartland [that is, North China] is uniformly attributed to the goodwill fostered by Dao through such deeds -- deeds of flattery.

To do Feng Dao justice, Ouyang Xiu explains how he discouraged at least for a few months the Zhou dynasty's founder, a successful general, from usurping the throne and deposing his Han dynasty predecessor.

Having once thwarted Taizu in his ambitions, Dao tends by observers to be exonerated of complicity in the demise of the Jinn and Han dynasties. Yet he never seemed especially upset at witnessing the death of rulers or the dissolution of empires.

Then Ouyang cites Feng Dao's own words to draw a portrait of him that makes him the true Lutheran living out the doctrine of vocation, doing his duty while recognizing that the good things of this world were created for our enjoyment. He draws this picture -- and shudders with revulsion:

In a world beleaguered by the universal chaos and alien invasion that gravely imperiled the fates of all living souls, Dao adopted "Old Man of Eternal Joy" as his pen name. He even composed a letter of several hundred words celebrating service to four different houses, plus the Kitans, only to find glory in the offices and titles acquired. "I have been filial to family and loyal to dynasty" he proclaims, "and experienced being a son, brother, official, teacher, husband, and father, as well as a begetter of sons and grandsons. In occasionally opening a tome or drinking a draft, but also in consuming food, savoring songs, or enjoying human beauty, I have always found contentment with the times. And with age, I found contentment within. What joy could be greater?" And so goes the language of his autobiography!

A spirit naturally Lutheran! Enjoying the good things of life, trying to help out where he can, and bending with the times. Whichever general murders the emperor, he will find Feng Dao, the truly conscientious civil servant doing his best to administer government in a fair and humane fashion. But whether the dynasty lasts or not, whether one general kills the emperor and takes his place -- that's not my department!

To Ouyang Xiu, Feng Dao had everything but principle. Feng Dao was proud that he had survived and even thrived in an age of chaos, without losing his own rectitude -- to Ouyang Xiu it was too much flexible bending with the times that made the chaos. Looking back from the stable Song dynasty, he saw men of the Five Dynasties had allowed chaos to happen because they refused to follow the principle of loyalty:

Without integrity everything is acceptable, without shame anything is done. When ordinary men are so disposed every sort of catastrophic turmoil and devastating defeat can occur. Worse yet, when high officials will accept or do anything, chaos for the world and peril to empire can scarcely be eluded.

Indeed to his shame the generals and vigilantes were more principled than the scholars, whom the classics should have trained:

For the entire Five Dynasties era, I found three officials of complete virtue and fifteen to die honorably in service -- rather than serve the enemy of their lord. It is perplexing that a great many literati presented themselves as Confucians and claimed to study antiquity, enjoyed the remuneration of mankind -- by receiving a public salary -- and served its empire. However, inasmuch as those to act on principles of righteous loyalty hailed solely from the ranks of military leaders and warriors, it only affirms the total absence of peers within Confucian ranks. Did literati of less lofty virtue so disdain the times that they dared not surface, their revulsion for the prevailing tumult notwithstanding? Or were monarchs then too undeserving to reach them?

To illustrate his point, Ouyang Xiu presents a story of the widow of an official returning home from a distant assignment of her husband's where she had been when he died. She travelled with her son and the corpse of her husband to bury at their home town. If one woman can evince such moral girth, he argued, then surely the age produced others gone unnoticed by history:

Heading eastward, she passed through Kaifengfu and stopped at an inn, where the keeper refused her lodging owing to the suspicious spectacle of an unaccompanied woman with child in hand. [Was she a prostitute? perhaps he was thinking]. The sun had already set and Woman Li refused to leave, so the innkeeper grabbed her arm to evict her. The woman now let out a long wail of protest in peering at the heavens, declaring, "How have I, the wife of another man, failed to protect my chastity by allowing this arm to be touched by another? And surely, I cannot permit a single arm to defile my entire body!" So, drawing an axe, she lopped off her own arm. [In a twisted kind of way, this reminds you of something, doesn't it? See here and here] Roadside observers then surrounded and comforted her, some pointing their fingers accusingly at the innkeeper as others wept. Upon learning of the matter, the custodian of Kaifengfu informed the court and tapped official funds to provide medicines to cover the wound. He extended generous relief to the Woman Li, and had the inkeeper flogged with a light rod.

Ouyang Xiu comments:
We lament: Literati lacking similar regard for their moral repute, men suffering shame for the simple sake of survival should be considerably ashamed to learn of this woman's integrity.

A while ago, I present two portraits, of a Lutheran champ and a Lutheran chump. What I was hoping one of my commenters would point out is that the Lutheran chump seemed, well, much more Lutheran. Fond of the good life, genuinely kind and humanitarian, aiming for peace, wary of pressing his opinion on things above his pay grade, Elector John George was a wonderful person and a complete failure either as a defender of German rights or of Lutheran existence. As for the champ, Gustavus Adolphus, with all his activity, his combination of soaring rhetoric and willingness to see blood shed in rivers, his intensity and restlessness -- in general it strikes me, as it did his contemporaries, as vaguely Reformed, in temperament, if not in doctrine.

The temperament advocated by Lutheran leaders savors powerfully of Feng Dao. Uwe Siemon-Netto has been calling for Lutheran political leaders in America. He has set before us a portrait of an exemplary Lutheran:

There is no Lutheran law – no Christian law – against earning a decent wage. We are not called to asceticism. We are not called to eschew a good glass of wine, a tasty meal, the blessings of a lovely home and an excellent car.

You can be rich and still heed your calling out of love for your neighbor, centering on the You rather than the Me. One of those was my former boss, the German newspaper magnate Axel Springer, a confessional Lutheran. He was a self-made billionaire.

He owned a villa in the best section of Hamburg, a castle in northern Germany, a manor house in Berlin, a sumptuous property on Sylt Island in the North Sea, an island in Greece, a ski lodge in St. Moritz and a town house in London. Se he was no pauper.

Still, Axel Springer bore a heavy cross. In the 1960s and 1970s he was subjected to terrorist attacks, and constant demonstrations by extreme left-wingers, not because of his ample bank account but for the unfashionable things he did for the wellbeing of his readers, his staff, and his fellow Germans, and the world community.

Then the world thought Berlin was lost, he moved his company headquarters from Hamburg right to the Berlin Wall. When all others seemed prepared to write off 17 million East Germans, he set himself up for public ridicule by campaigning relentlessly for Germany’s reunification.

When others paid no more than lip service to the reconciliation between Germans and Jews, he pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into this cause.

He donated huge amounts of money to Israel and made every one of his journalists sign a covenant promising to work for this reconciliation – and for a transatlantic partnership with the United States, a partnership the German left tried to undermine since 1968.

Axel Springer was clearly a Lutheran with a sense of calling, working out of love for his fellow man.

As far as personality goes, I was born to be, at my best, a John George, a Feng Dao. I look at Woman Li and see an escapee from the insane asylum. On this question, I have long ago recognized that I don't have freedom of the will.

But maybe it's my "hard Puritan" ancestry, but somehow I can't get it out of my head that people who make other people uncomfortable, who cut off their hands and put out their right eyes, and do justice and let the heavens fall (so often on the heads of people who had nothing to do with the matter at all), who seem to be afflicted by principles the rest of us have only a nodding acquaintance with, that such people are the kind who can actually listen to Jesus and do what He says.

At least, that is, when they're not actually insane.

*Curious sidelight: three of those dynasties were founded by commanders of the Shatuo Turks whose descendants later converted to Christianity in the eleventh century, a story I've written about here and here.

** Tang, Jinn (Tsin or Chin) Han, Zhou (or Chou): if you know a little of Chinese history, you may recognize these as names of great dynasties -- but in fact these are all pathetic epigones, who adopted the dynasty names of glorious predecessors to catch a gleam of their reflected glory.

***Dao by the way is his given name. Chinese put the family name first, but then use only a person's given name for abbreviation in writing.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Reformed and Roman Catholic doctrine as compromise platforms

What is the difference between the Reformed and the (Ausburg) Evangelicals on the Lord's Supper and Baptism? I'm not going to talk about the actual issues, except to say that I think some of the Reformed -- maybe not a majority, but not a tiny minority either -- actually in their hearts agree with us. I know because I used to be one; I spent about a year in a PCA church, finding nothing in Luther's Small Catechism or Babylonian Captivity of the Church to be other than what I believe about baptism and the Lord's Supper, and only vaguely suspected that others would disagree. The Dutch Reformed theologian and politician Abraham Kuyper famously said that he would rather worship with Lutherans than in a church that demanded Zwinglianism.
So why doesn't union happen, at least with such as Abraham Kuyper? Because most of the Reformed are not on our page, are in fact Zwinglians. And the crypto-(Augsburg) Evangelicals among them don't agree with us on one crucial principle: that rejecting Zwinglianism is a necessary part of affirming the Evangelical faith. And in fact it is; you can't do one without the other.

That's why the language of Calvinism is so complex -- it has to give a formula which explicit Zwinglians and inconsistent, crypto-Lutherans can both agree upon so as to remain in fellowship. Nor can Calvinist language really nourish Eucharistic devotion the way Lutheran language does -- it is always lamed and crippled.

I have the impression that the same is true of Tridentine Catholicism -- it is a compromise formula so that those with real evangelical faith can continue in the same church with those who believe in Jesus (and even all the supernatural things about him asserted in the creeds) as a mere historical fact, and who then (as a separate matter) try really hard to be good people.

I was reminded of this by a blog commenter at "All Too Common" (to whom Bill Tighe directed a bunch of his correspondents for his actual defense of Luther and Evangelicals from misrepresentation.) The Common Anglican wrote:

[Luther] did define faith as a complete trust (fiduciary), such that this is a knowledge and reliance upon Christ alone for salvation. It is much more than knowing about Christ, for Luther. As the Catholic Encyclopedia records (on Justification),

According to Luther (and Calvin also), the faith that justifies is not, as the Catholic Church teaches, a firm belief in God’s revealed truths and promises (fides theoretica, dogmatica), but is the infallible conviction (fides fiducialis, fiducia) that God for the sake of Christ will no longer impute to us our sins, but will consider and treat us, as if we were really just and holy, although in our inner selves we remain the same sinners as before. (CE, Just.)

Another commenter added:

The question I have, is how is Lutheranism -- like other forms of Protestantism -- not gnostic? Regardless of whether or not there is a complete separation between justification and sanctification in Lutheranism, it still depends on fiduciary faith, does it not? Or I should say, Whom you know?

Well, innocent as charged. Yes, Evangelical faith depends on fiduciary trust in Christ. Simply knowing Christ -- in the sense of resting on Him and His work as offered to you in Word and Sacrament -- makes you different, transforms you. That's the experience of my life, that's the faith I was baptized in and, God willing, the faith I will die and go to heaven in. Yes, that's "gnosticism" if you will, but only in the sense that not being such a gnostic makes you a Judaizer. Gnosticism found haven in Christian churches precisely because compared to Phariseeism and conventional morality, Christian truth is gnostic -- a knowledge that once you believe it, changes you.

So apparently, educated and theologically-minded Catholics have ample warrant to construe their teaching to say that those are justified who merely believe, as a set of facts that has nothing essentially to do with their lives, the church's creed, as long as they sincerely try to be a good person (as defined by Christian moral teachings) and avoid mortal sin.* Such people we all know (and they are not uncommon in Evangelical churches either, sad to say, despite the vast efforts of the church and faithful pastors to disabuse them of any saving results from a purely historical faith).

Yet it is likewise obvious that there are many Catholics who actually have fiduciary faith, who actually rest on Christ for salvation and whose works flow out of that fiduciary faith.

So just as with Calvinism on the sacraments, the Tridentine formulas on justification are compromises intended to keep in one communion those who are (from the Evangelical point of view) fundamentally non-Christian and those who are fundamentally Christian. Again, as with Calvinism, that's why it has to be so complicated, compared to the simplicity and directness of (Augsburg) Evangelicalism. And that complexity can't help but have baleful effects on fiduciary faith among the congregation, just as Calvinism damages the Eucharistic faith even of those who truly believe in the Real Presence.

*UPDATE: Fr. Al Kimel in the comment box disagreed with the phrasing here; I've made a small change, but I don't think it makes a material difference in my point.

*FURTHER UPDATE: More objections by Dave Armstrong to this phrasing which can be seen in the comment box. Let me just stipulate that this "sincerely try to be a good person (as defined by Christian moral teachings) and avoid mortal sin" is indeed seen, as the Catholic Encyclopedia says, "not, like good habits in general, the outcome of repeated acts or the product of our own industry" but rather is "directly implanted in the soul by Almighty God," "outstrips the limits of the created order," and "transforms of a faculty for the performance of functions essentially outside its natural sphere of activity." But the key point is that this faith, love, and hope are all three defined as relating to God in general: faith in the entire content of the revealed truth, love of God for all of His being and works, and hope because all of the means of grace placed at our disposal. I guess from one perspective this can look like so much more than the limited Evangelical idea of faith as being fiducia -- trust in Christ's death for me -- but from another perspective, it can look like crucially less than Evangelical faith, love, and hope.

*FURTHER, FURTHER UPDATE: I've rephrased the offending phrase from "Catholic teaching explicitly says" to "educated and theologically-minded Catholics have ample warrant to construe their teaching to say." This is clearly true, and emphasizes again precisely how traditional Catholic teachings for all their dogmatic subtlety leave open a very wide variety of attitudes, and is also in a way more alarming: that you can have people who seemingly glory in the fact that their church teaches "we don't need or want fiduciary faith."

In my comments I added some documentation:

1) I think the way I stated is clear enough, but let me just repeat:

I know that justification in traditional Catholic teaching demands not just faith (=assent) but also love and hope.

I also know that these are seen as being all three given by God's infused charity, and that without all three no one is justified.

Let me repeat, I know those two points, I knew them before, and I certainly know them now.

But what I am asserting is that in traditional Catholic teaching faith is assent, not fiducia (trust in the forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake). And here I'm still going to stick to the Catholic encyclopedia, because it is a great resource, and because it's part of the ordinary magisterium. In the words of Thomas Aquinas: faith (scroll down to "definition of faith") is defined as "the act of the intellect assenting to a Divine truth owing to the movement of the will, which is itself moved by the grace of God."

Note: that faith refers to ANY divine truth, not specifically the death of Christ on the Cross.

2) Now what is love? Well, I read here:

"a divinely infused habit, inclining the human will to cherish God for his own sake above all things, and man for the sake of God."

I find no reference to the death of Christ on the cross in the lengthy description of love in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

3) Hope is "a Divine virtue by which we confidently expect, with God's help, to reach eternal felicity as well as to have at our disposal the means of securing it." Again no specific reference to Christ's death on the cross.

As Fr. Kimel says, this definition of Hope is the closest you're going to get to Evangelical fiducia -- reliance and trust that Christ died for YOUR salvation and will ensure it. The closest, yes, but it's still not the same.

Now, it is true that the THEOLOGICAL virtues of faith, love, and hope are distinguished from the mere human, habitual virtues, e.g. "Hope, such as we are here contemplating, is an infused virtue; ie., it is not, like good habits in general, the outcome of repeated acts or the product of our own industry." To that extent, my picture of Catholic justification could be objected to as being superficial. But as a practical pastoral matter the distinction of the two is hard to see in any given parishioner. As I made clear, this is of course equally a problem in Evangelical churches. If someone wants to say "Evangelicals believe that you are saved just because you think Christ died for you personally, and then show your sincerity by living a decent life" I would recognize that as a valid outsider's description.

But the difference is, justification in the traditional Catholic teaching consists of assent to general divine truths, love of God (not specifically as revealed in Christ) and man, and hope in eternal felicity through the variety of means placed at our disposal by God -- no essential priority is given to faith in Christ's death on the cross.

Again my original point was that fiducia can actually be sort of shoe-horned in here. If you have faith -- and particularly in Christ's death, love God and man -- and particularly because Christ died for you, and hope for salvation -- particularly because you know Christ died for you -- well you've got a Catholic version of Evangelical fiducia. But such a fiducia is NOT demanded for justification, and you can write long canons and articles about justification and its component parts without ever once mentioning the death of Christ on the cross for you (as Dave just cited for justification, and you can see by following my citations for love and hope).

That's the difference. It's real.


As for my statement that in traditional Catholic teaching, the faith that is part (just part!) of justification is not fiduciary faith, but assent:

Could you please present me with an authoritative pre-Vatican II statement that I'm wrong? I've give you a quotation from Thomas Aquinas that defines faith as: "the act of the intellect assenting to a Divine truth owing to the movement of the will, which is itself moved by the grace of God." You can't seriously be saying that Aquinas is not authoritative enough to define traditional Catholic doctrine!

I looked for a similarly clear and precise definition of "faith" as it is understood in Catholic teaching in the Council of Trent, but couldn't find it. If you can, I'd love to see it.

Now, as the Catholic Encyclopedia discusses, this assent is not an easy thing, because it is about a supernatural truth. The discussion is quite interesting and helpful, about how because such assent is to something beyond our fallen natures it is difficult and always subject to challenge by the flesh -- hence such assent must be supernatural in origin.

However, even such supernaturally infused assent is not fiducia -- and the article notes and discusses fiducia precisely in the course of saying "that's not exactly what we mean". Evangelical fiducia assumes Aquinas's assent and then adds to it

1) that the assent is in particular to the forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake, and

2) that one believes this forgiveness is for me personally.

Again presenting material on how faith plays a part in justification does not tell us what is actually meant by faith.


The Pontificator concludes thus:

"I do not know how many Catholic preachers preach faith in this way. Perhaps only a minority. But what is important is that this preaching is possible and permissible within the Catholic Church. No dogma excludes it. No Pope prohibits it. This is the freedom of Catholicism."

Have I ever said otherwise? People insist on reading what I wrote as saying that "Trent dogmatically excludes real faith." No, that's not what I wrote. Josh S so far seems to be the only person who actually understood that point.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

(Part of) Where I Was Coming From on the Last Post

So what was I trying to say here about the execution of Saddam Hussein? At the most general, that the objectors have no sense of the importance of time in judging political actions. That ways and means which work wonderfully in one time will lead to disaster if applied at another, and that the maxims that must be internalized to maintain a state are fatal to those attempting to establish a state.

Sima Qian 司馬遷 ( also written Ssu-ma Ch'ien, pronounced roughly suh-mah chih-yen) said this in a hundred different ways in his wonderful Records of the Grand Historian, and he did it with a light touch; none of my heavy breathing and straining for effect.

In his chapter 99, he is telling the story of Shusun Tong 叔孫通, who served Liu Bang 劉邦 (the emperor Gaozu 漢高祖), who in the chaos and rebellions that marked the end of the Qin dynasty found his way from being a peasant to being the founder of the Han dynasty.

When Shusun Tong surrendered to the king of Han [the future Emperor Gaozu of China's first imperial dynasty], he was accompanied by over 100 Classicists* who had been studying under him. However, he did not recommend any of them to the king, but instead spent his time recommending all sorts of men who had originally been outlaws or ruffians. His disciples began to curse him behind his back, saying "Here we have served the master for a number of years until at last we are lucky enough to surrender and join the forces of the king of Han. But now, instead of recommending us for positions, he spends all his time recommending a bunch of gangsters! What sort of behavior is this?"

Shusun Tong got word of what they were saying, and told them, "The king of Han is at the moment busy dodging arrows and missiles in a struggle for control of the world. What could a lot of scholars like you do in such a fight? Therefore I have first recommended the sort of men who can cut off the heads of enemy generals and seize their pennants. Wait a while! I won't forget you!

The king of Han made Shusun Tong an erudite and awarded him the title of lord of Jisi. In the fifth year of the Han dynasty, after the entire empire had been conquered, the nobles joined at Dingdao in conferring upon the king of Han the title of Supreme Emperor, and Shusun Tong arranged the ceremony and titles to be used. [Early Chinese Classicists saw public ritual and decorum as both vital to government and the area in which they were the experts.] The emperor completely did away with the elaborate and irksome ritual which the Qin [the previous tyrannical dynasty] had followed and greatly simplified the rules of the court. His followers and ministers, however, were given to drinking and wrangling over their respective achievements, some shouting wildly in their drunkenness, others drawing their swords and hacking at the pillars of the palace, so that Emperor Gaozu worried about their behavior. Shusun Tong knew that the emperor was becoming increasingly disgusted by the situation, and so he spoke to him about it. "Classicists" he said, "are not much use when one is marching to conquest, but they can be of help in keeping what has already been won. I beg to summon some of the scholars of Lu [the homeland of Confucius, which still had the best reputation in Classical studies] who can join with my disciples in drawing up a ritual for the court. . . .

"You may try and see what you can do," replied the emperor. "But make it easy to learn! Keep in mind that it must be the sort of thing I can learn!"

Shusun Tong accordingly went as an envoy to summon some thirty or more scholars of Lu. Two of the Lu scholars, however, refused to come. "You have served close to ten different masters," they replied, "and with each of them you have gained trust and honor simply by flattering them to their faces. Now the world has justbeen set at peace, the dead have not been properly buried, and the wounded have not risen from their beds, and yet you wish to set up rites and music for the new dynasty. But rites and musci can only be set up after a dynasty has accumulated virtue for a period of a hundred years. We could never bring ourselves to take part in what you are doing, for what you are doing is not in accord with the ways of antiquity. We will never go! Now go away and do not defile us any longer!"

"True pig-headed Classicists you are, indeed!" said Shusun Tong, laughing. "You do not know that the times have changed!"

After a month of practice the ceremonies were conducted, with the officials drawn up in strict ranks, the emperor arriving on a litter, blessings from the nobles, ritual wine, and toasts:

Anyone who did not perform the ceremony correctly was promptly pulled out of line and expelled from the hall. During the drinking which followed the formal audience there was no one who dared to quarrel or misbehave in the least. [Imagine that!] With this, Emperor Gaozu announced, "Today for the first time I realize how exalted a thing it is to be an emperor!" He appointed Shusun Tong his master of ritual and awarded him 500 catties of gold.

(from Sima Qian, trans. Burton Watson, Records of the Grand Historian: Han Dynasty I: pp. 241-244.)

Of course the "pig-headed Classicists" had their own eloquent spokesmen, such as Ouyang Xiu, writing a 1,000 years later who in making his biography of the figure of Feng Dao eloquently denounced a man quite like Shusun Tong as a lubricious hypocrite. But I'll present Ouyang Xiu and Feng Dao another time . . .

*This is my preferred rendition for Watson's "Confucian scholars." At least at this time, they were students not so much of the works of Confucius himself, but of the five Classics held to date from well before Confucius's time. Think of these works as the Torah, Confucius and Mencius as Rabbis Hillel and Akiva, and the "Classicists" as Chinese-style Talmudists and you've basically got it. The main difference was that because China remained politically independent, the Chinese Classicists still read their Classics as basically political, state-building documents. So these "Talmudists" were supposed to actually help build a real empire and bring order to the real world.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Iraq's Charles I Moment

There has been much discussion about the execution of Saddam not exemplifying the properly impartial and majestic operations of blind justice. To the contrary, this whole debate is an illustration of blindness -- the blindness of us Americans as to what we have wrought in Iraq.

We have two models for what the execution should have been: 1) A routine execution of a serial killer, kind of like giving Jeffrey Dahmer a lethal injection; 2) A Nuremberg trial where the international community exercises the impartial standards of international human rights law.

But of course the execution was not and could not have been either of these things.

Let's just dispose of the second fantasy first. Door no.2 ignores the obvious, overwhelming fact that the "international community" never wanted to try Saddam Hussein in the first place, indeed they never wanted to overthrow him; in fact, if it was up to human rights lawyers and the United Nations, he would still be in power. And even when he was overthrown, the international human rights community washed their hands of the trial from the beginning. So a trial and execution was not conducted in ways that those who would sooner die than participate in it preferred. Hardly news.

But why could not the execution have been a neo-liberal/neo-conservative "exercise in democratic values"? Because it was an expression not of democratic values, but of REVOLUTIONARY values: like King Charles on the scaffold, Marie Antoinette on the guillotine, Nicholas II and his wife and children up against the wall in the Ekaterinburg cellar, Jezebel's blood being licked by the dogs.

The whole idea between an autocratic system is that the head of state is responsible only to God. The King may not be above the law in a theoretical sense, but he is most certainly above an earthly judge and jury, as Charles I rightly point out to the kangaroo court that tried him. See A Coffin for King Charles.

And a king rules by means of a nobility, a privileged class. What was Saddam's nobility? His Tikrit landsmen. And what was Saddam's gentry? The Sunni Arabs as a whole. An attack on the king is an attack on the whole system of hereditary privilege. And such an attack cannot be conducted legally, because law flows from the constitution and in a revolution the constitution itself is in dispute.

Revolutions are by nature illegal, partisan, and undecorous. The enemy must be tarred and feathered and dispatched to Nova Scotia, slaughtered in Drogheda, guillotined, banished to Siberia, or butchered in the temple of Baal. Only when the opponents have been purged then may it happen that the new political community sees the wisdom of routinizing their rule and protect the rights of all the remaining citizens. If the country is lucky, then they will then see the wisdom of creating the impartial laws of state machinery that can dispatch serial killers and other malefactors with the impartiality. Until that day, however, like God in relation to His creation, the head of state is never and nowhere subject to those laws.

Judging from the written descriptions (I have not seen the video and certainly have no plans to), Saddam's Shi'ite execution seem to have been no more vengeful and rude than the Puritans, Jacobins, and Bolshevik executioners before them. And the Sunni demonstrators seem no less blind and hardened in obstinacy than the Cavaliers and Irish, aristocrats and Catholics of Vendee, and Kolchakists and kulaks before them. Make no mistake, the Sunni demonstrators are not offended by the nature of the execution -- at most that's an insult topping up the already unforgivable injury -- but they are offended that the vulgar Shi'ite mob has laid its hands on God's annointed, and in doing violence to his person dared make it clear that they will no longer accept that they are inferior.

"I tell you we will cut off his head with the crown upon it" -- Oliver Cromwell

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" -- Thomas Jefferson

"One cannot reign innocently" -- St. Juste

"Pick him up and throw him on the field that belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite" -- Jehu

"Moqtada, Moqtada, Moqtada!" -- Shi'ite militiamen

And another unvarying part of the script is the quiet and devout prayers and serene confidence in divine favor shown on the day of execution by Charles I, Louis XVI and his queen, Nicholas II and his whole family, and Saddam Hussein. And the shock and outrage of the emigres exiled by a ugly, vengeful, and vulgar revolutionary regime.

It is certainly consistent and legitimate to be revolted by all four executions -- or to support them all as the rising up of people unquestionably oppressed for centuries. It is also legitimate to pick and chose based on your ideology which one you support and which one you oppose. (Although why all the supporters of Cromwell and Robespierre's revolutions, not to speak of Lenin's, have suddenly acquired an interest in canonizing the saintly martyr, the pious tyrant of Sunni Arab revanchism is a mystery to me.) But all are an illustration of the same fact that revolutions are not dinner parties, nor are they objective trials and impartial applications of law, but in their nature they are an exercise of raw dictatorship by one formerly subjugated part of society over their ci-devant subjugators, a dictatorship that lasts until the formally ruling class accepts its dispossession. (Which as the Iraq events show, is not going to happen there anytime soon.)

But it is unlikely that the Americans will be around for when civil peace is reestablished in Arab Iraq. We don't understand the Iraqi events, because we no longer understand revolutions, and like all post-revolutionary people assume that a revolution is just an election, albeit a rather bitterly contested one, kind of like Florida 2000. And the American policy makers are now trying to work up the courage to use our forces to suppress (legally and constitutionally, of course) the Jacobins, Bolsheviks, and Independents and keep in charge the Girondins, the Kerenskyites and Cadets, and the anxious Presbyterians of the Shi'ite Islamic Revolution. But they, and the rest of world public opinion will be suprised to discover that having had his name chanted in Saddam's face by his executioners, and thus in the face of the revanchist suicide bombers killing them by the scores every day, is a recommendation of Moqtada al-Sadr to the harried and terrified Shi'ites of Iraq, not an embarrassment. (Abdul Aziz Hakim is undoubtedly this moment wishing they had chanted "Hakim, Hakim, Hakim!".)

We have made a revolution in Iraq, one which we cannot control and should not try. It is a day of the oppressed masses rising up against centuries of deprivation and humilition, of drowning Pharoah and his chariots in the Red Sea, and so of course we are therefore terrified and perplexed by a phenomenon which we insist has never had any place in our sanitized faith and history. By all means get out now while we still have time.

Of course in the short run it will look pretty ghastly. Revolutions almost always do. As Jezebel quietly reminded the arrogant new master sporting his prophetic commission to wreck vengeance on the wicked: "Did Zimri have peace, who murdered his master?" And if the Shiite revolution does win, a spell of (cautious, limited) counter-revolution will still be necessary if Iraq is to get any kind of decent government. But all those deploring the ugly, vengeful, and vulgar death of Saddam had better start getting used to the fact that in the end they will have to make a "regicide peace" with Iraq's new masters who will no more repudiate this deed than Putin will rebury Lenin in a common grave. When Saddam was sent to the gallows, one name was entered into the pantheon of Iraq, and I fear it was "Moqtada!"

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Why Two Common Biblical Arguments against the Death Penalty Don't Work

John H has recently posted his rethinking of the death penalty, stressing the importance of the passages in Genesis 4 and John 8, where God/Jesus foregoes applying the death penalty to a person definitely guilty of a capital crime.

I made some snarky comment in his comment box, and now I feel I should pay for it by doing him the courtesy of a reasoned argument why I believe his exegetical case doesn't stand up.

Now, I'm not going to try to convince anybody one way or the other about the death penalty, but I do think both of his Biblical arguments are flawed.

For Genesis 4, I would argue for a more dispensational reading. (Even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day, right?) .

In Genesis 4, Cain is worried about being killed by a passer-by (not by the state, which doesn't exist). God gives him a mark of immunity. In fact God was simply letting Cain get away with murder. In Genesis 3-6 we have a situation in which God has not given anyone the right to shed blood -- blood of animals or blood of men. Yet the world is divided into those righteous in their generation, who obey God (the line of Seth to Enoch to Noah), and the wicked (all the rest).

So we have a world in which violence and righteousness are completely sundered. Those who obey won't kill, those who don't obey -- will. The only form of killing is murder, and only the righteous are subject to it. We see the result -- the Flood.

After the Flood, the broken post-paradisiacal situation is explicitly revoked and reversed by Genesis 9, and men -- even those righteous in their generation, who obey God -- are given the right to kill: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man." And they are also given the right to kill animals: "The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything." The two go together, blood vengeance and meat eating.

Together these commandments establish a world in which violence and righteousness are no longer completely sundered -- and hence God will preserve the world from any future Flood.

About John 8, I think it is completely irrelevant to any question of the death penalty -- not for it or against it, but just irrelevant. Too little attention is paid to verse 6:

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

The bolded verse should instantly recall for the reader the other episodes of the Pharisees violating their very own laws in order to attack Jesus. For example, in Mark 3:4-6, Jesus heals on the Sabbath, asks the Pharisees "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" and they respond by breaking the Sabbath rest themselves -- to do evil!: Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

So is there anything in the context that suggests this whole thing is a set up, that the Pharisees and scribes are not even obeying the letter of the Mosaic law, that the whole thing is a stupid, odious trap? Yes, there is. They "brought in a woman caught in adultery." Caught in the act. Alright, so where's the man? By definition, if she was caught in the act, a man was caught with her. The law of Moses is clear: If a man commits adultery with another man's wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death (Lev. 20:10). No exceptions for the adulterer allowed. So where is he? And how convenient that someone was caught in adultery just when the Pharisees need a cleft stick to put Jesus in. One would almost think that the adulterer might have been one of them who arranged the convenient "caught in the act" deal with some po' Judean trash he'd been seeing since who knows when to give them one.

If He says "Let her go" He's breaking the Law of Moses, if He says "Stone her" He's party to what the people know is an injustice -- that's the basis for the accusation they want to make against him.

Without the adulterer the whole thing stinks of a set-up. It's a politically motivated prosecution, prosecutorial misconduct, pulling a Nifong, using the justice system as a partisan plaything -- call it what you will. What it is obviously not is a good-faith effort to apply the law of Moses fairly. And just as when Jesus is presented with other "heads I win, tails you lose" accusations, he turns it around on them.

"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her": this is not some generalized statement about "judge not lest ye be judged" -- this is a specific reading of the hearts of the Pharisees who couldn't give a d**** about the Law of Moses and are simply trying to find a way to do in Jesus and don't care how much damage they do to everyone around them in the process.

If I was on a jury, and a Republican prosecutor brought in a case alleging that some Democratic politician was caught in a kickback scheme, and then it come out in the course of the trial that another, Republican, politician was just as deep or deeper in on the crime, and the prosecutor declined to charge him because, well after all, he's on our side -- well, I would vote to acquit no matter how plain the evidence against the Democratic politician was. And my doing so would say nothing about what I feel is the proper legal penalty for taking bribes.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Can you be Evangelical without being Lutheran?

That might sound a strange question, but it's not. I am not asking "Can you be a Bible-believing, born-again, Spirit-empowerd Christian without going to a Lutheran church?" -- the answer to that is obviously "Sure, but why would you want to be?"

What I am asking is can you believe in Evangelical theology, that is, the doctrines characteristic of the (Augsburg) Evangelical Reformation, without being tied by human history and traditions to the churches of Scandinavian and German origin that in America we call Lutheran?

What are these doctrines? 1) Justification by faith alone; 2) baptismal regeneration; 3) the real and substantial presence of Christ's body and blood in Holy Communion; 4) the relative indifference of polity as defining the being of the church; 5) Scripture as the only binding norm of faith and practice.

This is of course a very minimal list, but the funny thing is, these five alone perfectly define not just Augsburg Evangelicalism, but Lutheranism as well. In other words, in practice, every congregation which affirms these five also affirms the whole kit and kaboodle of the Lutheran tradition, from the Book of Concord to Law and Gospel sermons to Waltherian congregationalism to Reformation Sundays to Concordia Press to beer. As far as the Book of Concord goes, I think this is because pretty much everything in it, despite its great length, can be related to these central points. But the further we go down the list of specifically Lutheran religious culture the less that is obvious. The question I'm asking is, what would/should the Lutheran attitude to Evangelical congregations of the above sort be -- assuming they were to exist? (I'm assuming further of course that these Evangelical congregations would also be orthodox both on the pre-Reformation controversies -- the Trinity and Christology -- and also on the post-Reformation controversies -- sexual morality, male-female roles, and inerrancy.)

The reason I think the question is worth asking right now is because of the on-going Anglican shipwreck. Among all the churches trying to survive this disaster (a summary is here), one would think that some of them might be open to affirming with us Evangelical theology. I know that it is precisely the more Protestant Anglicans who are likely to disagree on items 2-3, tending in a more Calvinistic direction. But surely there are some Anglican congregations with evangelical tendencies who would be interested in exploring the possibility of a fuller understanding of baptism and the Lord's Supper. And on question 4, if they insist on apostolic succession of bishops as part of the bene esse of the church, surely we can accept that as a legitimate option, as long as they accept the legitimacy of our ministry as well? Given that our worship and liturgy are pretty similar, isn't there room for real discussion aiming at full altar fellowship?

What would the benefits be? First, the imperative of unity with all who profess the Gospel rightly taught and sacraments rightly administered (again assuming that there is unity on the big issues of 2-4 and the points dependent on them). Second, non-Lutheran Augsburg Evangelicalism, even if small in scale, could be an important way to illustrate a point that the two (Lutheranism as a tradition/culture and Augsburg Evangelicalism as a teaching and practice of the Gospel) are not the same thing, despite being present in the same place. And from the point of view of the Anglican communities the larger resources of the LCMS and other confessional Lutheran bodies would presumably be beneficial. Again, much would need to be worked out, especially on the question of orders, but the Church of England has a long and well documented tradition of respecting the ministry of non-episcopal churches on the Continent. Disagreement on 2-3 is much more likely to be the real sticking point.

Are any such discussions happening? Does anyone sense this as an opportunity?

UPDATES: John Fenton of Conversio ad Dominum has made some comments about this proposal, seeing it as "Least Common Denominator Confessionalism". He takes particular exception to my reading of the polity question. I would only say that what the Augustana has to say about the church has to be read firstly in the context of the Catechisms and then of the Smalcald Articles:

I believe that there is upon earth a little holy group and congregation of pure saints, under one head, even Christ, called together by the Holy Ghost in one faith, one mind, and understanding, with manifold gifts, yet agreeing in love, without sects or schisms. I am also a part and member of the same, a sharer and joint owner of all the goods it possesses, brought to it and incorporated into it by the Holy Ghost by having heard and continuing to hear the Word of God, which is the beginning of entering it. For formerly, before we had attained to this, we were altogether of the devil, knowing nothing of God and of Christ. Thus, until the last day, the Holy Ghost abides with the holy congregation or Christendom, by means of which He fetches us to Christ and which He employs to teach and preach to us the Word, whereby He works and promotes sanctification, causing this community daily to grow and become strong in the faith and its fruits which He produces.

For, thank God, to-day a child seven years old knows what the Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd. For the children pray thus: I believe in one holy catholic/Christian Church. This holiness does not consist in albs, tonsures, long gowns, and other of their ceremonies devised by them beyond Holy Scripture, but in the Word of God and true faith.

There is the call of the congregation and there is laying on of hands and there is the office of the steward of the mysteries of God, all mentioned in the Scriptures, but anything beyond that is merely for the convenience of the church.

Secondly, Thomas Adams at "Without Authority" has a must read about Prussia and the "generic Protestantism." He bases it on a new book Iron Kingdom, which I really wish I'd gotten for Christmas (although what I did get is great too). Short version: Prussia originated "generic Protestantism" because her Reformed monarchs wished to transform a Lutheran people. We LCMS-ers have heard the story before, but what makes it interesting this time, is not how this affected us, but how central this experience was to building the idea of Prussia as Prussia -- the land of order, of public, of the universal over the particular.

Let me add also that another point of the book (I read large chunks of it in Barnes and Nobles) is that the Prussian ideal was by no means all reactionary junkers in pointy helmets, but one of planning, of peace and order, and of the common good above individual choices that form one of the mainspring of present-day European social democracy. The notorious Austrian corporal who got his political start in the rowdy beer-halls of Bavaria had only a most ambiguous relation to what made Prussia Prussia.

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