Archives For Karl Barth

Weiss’ resignation last week raised eyebrows, ruffled feathers, and furthered speculation about the existence of an internal war being waged between the traditional Left and radical Leftists within modern liberalism.

This “civil war” isn’t new.

What has been emerging from a series of high-profile defections and protests over the past decade, is evidence of an unstable hegemonic power purging itself of the rational in order to exalt the radical.

Wiess’s protest exit adds to a growing list of intellectuals walking away from Leftism and its corrosive “convert, pay a tax or else” culture. The late Roger Scruton was exiled for not towing the party line, as was ex-Guardian journalist, Melanie Phillips. The rise of black conservatives, disingenuously called Uncle Toms by Leftists, also find themselves in a similar social position. Add to this the growing number of professionals calling out Apocalyptic Climate Change.

All of which is reminiscent of Jean-Paul Sartre’s disdain (and that of his French Communist intellectual clique) for Albert Camus’ critique of the Soviet Union, epitomized in Camus’, 1950 book ‘The Rebel.’ Cancelling people, they don’t like, or who disagree with them is what the radical left does.

Just as Sartre disowned Camus for questioning the new normal, for being applauded by the Right, and ‘refusing to call himself a Marxist’, Weiss has found herself in her own clash with ‘upstarts of the revolutionary spirit, nouveau riche and Pharisees of justice.’ (Camus)

For example, The New York Times ran a petty article snidely listing an array of Weiss’ “wrong think” misdemeanors. The list included Weiss ‘questioning aspects of [recent] social justice movements’ and expressing concerns about the “believe all women” witch hunt applied to Trump Supreme Court Justice nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

They made no mention of Weiss’ allegations about being called a “Nazi and a racist” by staff members. No real surprise. Many on the Left genuinely believe those who aren’t ideologically aligned or marked on the forehead in exactly the same way are Nazis’ and racists. It’s also the manipulative fallback for any Leftist not willing to engage in an intelligent debate, or the thought process in an honest way, generally.

As if to prove my point, the NYT gave special attention to Weiss’ comments on Twitter. Specifically, those made about “staff unrest” over James Bennett deciding to run the now infamous opinion piece from Senator Tom Cotton ‘calling for military response’ to extremists hijacking civil protests in response to the killing of George Floyd.

The Left’s response to Wiess has been somewhat more of a laugh it off, arrogant “meh”. They’re both dismissive and indifferent. Despite the restrained tone, the NYT couldn’t hide its contempt for her. They may as well have just said: “Weiss was never really one of us, so don’t take anything she has to say seriously.”

Odd, since Weiss is Jewish, a (lower case) liberal, and is staunchly anti-Trump.

Set the smug NYT piece alongside Wiess’ resignation letter, and it’s pretty clear why the Leftist activists in the NYT, who self-identify as journalists, are happy for her to move on. It’s better for the brand. There’s no effort required in having to remove her, nor defend against the very Nazified image of the New York Times “canceling” a Jewish woman’s livelihood because she wasn’t welcome within the culture, or didn’t fit its ideological mold.

In true intersectional inquisition fashion, The Guardian published a bizarre academic rant mocking Weiss. Her allegations were discounted and the author declined to call her a victim of ‘illiberal liberalism.’ According to the Guardian, the culprit wasn’t Leftism, it was “right wingers”. The piece strongly insinuated that Weiss was a ‘professionally cancelled pundit; a genre of primarily center-right contrarian who makes their living by deliberately provoking outrage online.’

The reaction from the Left solidifies Weiss’ her overall claim about experiencing hostility in the workplace simply for having, and voicing a different opinion. The fact the Guardian so easily discounted her accusations, and that NYT seemed happy enough to see the back of someone who thinks for themselves, instead of following herd thinking, speaks volumes.

In line with Weiss’ resignation, Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic, resigned from the New York Magazine saying the reasons were “self-evident”.

Sullivan’s support of Weiss seems to have triggered his own departure from a Mainstream media organization dominated by the Leftist cult of modern liberalism.

Sullivan wrote:

“Mainstream Media seems to believe, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space. Actually attacking, and even mocking, critical theory’s ideas and methods, as I have done continually in this space, is therefore out of sync with the values of Vox Media.’

Despite Weiss and Sullivan being staunchly anti-Trump. Weiss won huge support from Conservatives.

Donald Trump Jnr responded to the news on Twitter saying: “NYT editor Bari Weiss resigns in STUNNING fashion & exposes the Times’ rampant attacks on anyone who breaks from the far-left narrative.”

Rita Panahi tweeted: “Bari Weiss isn’t a conservative, far from it, and they still made her life unbearable because she challenged aspects of Leftist orthodoxy. The modern Left is ruled by its fanatics & poses the greatest threat to free expression.”

Miranda Divine added,

“What an indictment of the NY Times. Rational leftie Bari Weiss driven out by the “illiberal environment” governed by trends on Twitter and workplace “bullying.” Appalling what Weiss endured. Kudos to her integrity.”

To be anti-leftist is not the same as being anti-Liberal (big “L” Classical Liberal). An anti-leftist, refuses to join the Leftist cult, an anti-Liberal is someone who tries to cancel those who refuse to join the Leftist cult.

It’s pretty simple math.

Weiss is another reminder that radicals on the Left are taking a form of theocracy; superiority. Where to be “sinless” is to be a Leftist.

I agree with Weiss. The Left has a serious problem.

Those who’ve pandered to the new normal, fanning the flames of cancel culture, shouldn’t wonder at why it’s so pervasive.  They are Frankenstein, and cancel culture is their monster. Literati on the Left shouldn’t be one bit surprised that they cannot control it, nor that they are finding themselves being cancelled by it.

Here, Hannah Arendt’s ‘revolutions devour’ its own, joins Karl Barth’s analysis of revolution: ‘far more than the conservative, the revolutionary is overcome of evil, because with his or her “No” they stand so strangely near to God. This is the tragedy of revolution. Evil is not the true answer to evil… Order and not disorder is the meaning of Divine revolt. The real revolt comes from God, not human revolution.’ (The Epistle to the Romans, XIII)

For Weiss there’s also the impossible-to-overstate irony of her signing an open letter that boldly claims Donald Trump ‘is a powerful ally of illiberalism’; that he’s a ‘threat to democracy,’ yet says nothing about the “illiberal” Leftist dominated Mainstream Media, and it’s repression of ‘the free exchange of information and ideas.’

Which is odd, since Donald Trump supports Classical Liberal freedoms, and is himself hounded by the Mainstream Media, Big Tech and American liberal elites. Some who have openly voiced how much they themselves want to cancel him, if not his Presidency.

Weiss’ resignation is a protest against the increasingly fascist Leftist hegemony. Her negative experiences provide the perfect reason for a Trump 2020 win. They also give reasons for why The Daily Wire, PragerU, and Caldron Pool (among others) are essential grass roots media service providers.


First published on Caldron Pool, 21st July 2020.

Photo by Marco Lenti on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020

If the facts cannot be squeezed into a meme the level of attention those facts receive is reduced. Attention to detail is overlooked for what will best attract a view, a like, a follow or a share. Information is seen purely as a commodity.

The problem is that when information is seen purely as a commodity, truth is easily compromised.

We don’t need to look any further than the internet. It’s now common place to log on and find someone accusing someone else of being a Nazi or a racist. This may have reached the status of cliché, and as such is easily dismissed. Nevertheless real concern should be given to it. Especially, when we’re bombarded with celebrity endorsed outrage, and articles written by professionals, (often falsely) equating their opponents with the National Socialists of the 1930’s, without qualification.

For example: in August 2016, a lecturer from Sydney University,  compared fair-minded conservative opposition to same-sex marriage, with the Nazi treatment of homosexuals. In addition, a student was reported to have been disallowed from presenting a case, linking examples of how anti-Israel sentiment, is linked to anti-Semitism. [source]

Historical comparisons made between present and past, should be measured for accuracy. Responsible self-criticism leads us to ask ourselves whether or not our opponent has a point. However, measuring the accuracy of our opponents claim shouldn’t stop with us. For it to be completely fair, the enquiry must also include the consideration of whether or not our opponents, are themselves guilty of doing the very things they’re accusing others of doing.

One good practice, when being likened to the Nazis, is reading material from those who’ve studied the historical context; the history of and the history associated with Nazism. Read those who’ve engaged with the primary sources, and who understand not just what the Nazis did, but how, and why, they did it.

It’s here that Thomas Doherty’s insightful and well researched 2013 book, ‘Hollywood & Hitler‘ shines:

Page 9, citing a PCA[i] report on the prohibition of the movie ‘All Quiet on The Western Front‘, Dec, 18, 1930:
“There is no doubt that this wave of intense national prejudice, which is for now going on, will continue and that any pictures, particularly foreign pictures, which offend the sensibilities of the National Socialists will be a signal for riots and demonstrations.’ [i]
Page 21: ‘Even before Goebbels laid down the law, the Nazi rhetoric on race was being implemented by pumped-up S.A. thugs and zealous party bureaucrats. From Berlin radiating outward, the iron grip tightened over all aspects of film-related culture – artists and technicians, film content and style, trade periodicals and reviewer bylines, theatre ownership and ticket buyers.’ [ii]
Page 97: ‘The Nazis, said Prince Hubertus Lowenstein [an early critic of Nazism], had annihilated all that was good in German culture.”Everything that had made for the glory of Germany has been destroyed in the past three years. The best actors and artists have been expelled.
Approximately 1100 scholars and scientists have had to leave, only because they believed in freedom of art, of thought, and of religion.” Jews were forbidden to buy milk for their children, and Catholics were jailed for keeping the faith.
The jackboot crushing Jews and Catholics, he predicted, was but a preview of oppressions to come. All those speaking that night urged a united front against Hitler. “We must organise to fight the Nazi invasion before Americans lose their constitutional liberties”‘[iii]

Doherty helps to shine a light on where, and if, Nazism or fascists are active today. When matched against current events descriptions such as, “intense prejudice, the iron grip, that which offends the sensibilities is a signal for riots and demonstrations; rhetoric on race by pumped-up thugs and zealous party bureaucrats”, all show that those pointing their finger and crying wolf about Nazism and fascism, reflect it the most.

The radical Left is already becomes suspect when its adherents use its political platforms to denounce all opposition as Nazism, without any real qualification. It’s already suspect when those same adherents ignore questions, make false claims and turn all fair criticism into “hate speech”. It’s already suspect when this very same ideology backs policies that undermine the humanity of the unborn, democratic debate, diversity of thought, reasoned opinion, expression and faith.

It’s already suspect when some of its most fervent adherents remain silent about the current events in Turkey, or Islamism in general, and yet continue to promote the BDS academic boycott movement against Israel. [source] The radical Left is more than worthy of our suspicions when we only hear the sound of crickets chirping to the tune of double standards, hypocrisy, selective outrage, suppression of faith and reason, political evasion, and propaganda.

As Theodore Kupfer asked, ‘Where are the Academic Boycotts of Turkey?’ It’s tragically ironic that anti-Israel protesters are loud and proud, yet they remain silent about Turkey:

“The response of Western academia has thus far been limited to expressions of grave concern for the fate of individual academics who have been subject to the purge [in Turkey].
No organised boycott effort has surfaced on any level. Mere proclamations of solidarity are supposed to suffice in the case of Turkey, while the same organisations agitate for nothing short of a blanket institutional boycott in the case of Israel.
Mind you, academic conditions in Israel are far superior to those in Turkey. Even attempts to portray Israel as hostile to academic freedom are evidence for this.” [iv]

The irony feeds suspicion of the radical Left. All that’s missing from the trajectory of this ideological radicalism is a figure-head with the power to influence enough people to fanatically fall in line behind them. With what’s happened in opposition to Donald Trump’s election in the United States, such suspicions should be weighed carefully.

Whether we like it or not, we’re being forced into categories by those who want to define us, determine what we think, and turn our freedoms into a carrot on a stick. The agenda isn’t about equality, it’s about dominance. The agenda isn’t about rights, it’s about power. The agenda isn’t about progress, it’s about pride.

It’s ironic that a people’s court stands ready to condemn those who don’t align, agree or pledge allegiance to the Left. The oppressor presents themselves as the oppressed, and no one is allowed to have an opposing view. It’s at this point that we’re not far from Gene Edward Veith, in his underrated 1993, book ‘Modern Fascism’, rightly suggested that there is a link between Heidegger’s revisionist/deconstructionism and fascism.

For example:

“What is the deconstructive basis for condemning Nazism? Would it not be in keeping with the in keeping with the logic of deconstruction, the deconstructive basis for condemning Nazism, reverses a claim like “the Nazis oppressed the Jews,” showing instead that the Jew cooked in a Nazi oven was really the Nazis’ oppressor.
The real-world endpoint of Heideggerian (and now Derridean and de Manian) deconstructionism [and its elimination of] the logocentric (Judeo-Christian) tradition is Auschwitz […]” [v]

This is why theology is important. As Timothy Gorringe states, ‘[Judeo-Christian] theology stands as a critique of ideology,’ [vi] but if it’s to remain authentic theology, it will have to navigate society’s obsession with the Left/Right metaphor. This is partly why I’m not big on the Right/Left metaphor in regards to describing factions within the State or the Church. Throughout history, the meaning has shifted. The metaphor is inadequate. We cannot rely on it entirely.

Another reason for why theology is important is because faith seeks understanding. To confess that Jesus Christ is Lord necessarily means to admit that Jesus Christ is no human pawn. Whether they be, deconstructionists, modernists, futuristic, archaic, primitive, progressive, communist, fascist, conservative, material or spiritual; Any Christian theology worthy of its name-sake, is and always will stand as a critique of all human centered strongholds that claim godlikeness; a challenge to all towers of Bable.

Genuine Christianity is, as Karl Barth duly noted, ‘the protest against all the high places which human beings build for themselves’ (Karl Barth C.D IV/II p.524).

To say that history is being repeated is not overstating the current zeitgeist. History is not, however, being repeated in the same way that the Left often sells it. Based on what is presented by Doherty, Kupfer, Vieth and Hirsch above, it’s those who recklessly cry wolf about Fascists, and subsequently point to the Right, who have more in common with the Nazis, than they do the victims of Nazism.

May we continue to be free, and well informed enough to differentiate between the real and the wrongly labelled.


References:

[i]  Doherty,T. 2013 Hollywood & Hitler: 1933-1939 Columbia University Press

[ii] ibid, 2013

[iii] ibid, 2013

[iv] Kupfer, T. 2016 Where Are the Academic Boycotts of Turkey? sourced 24th August 2016 from nationalreview.com

[v] Hirsch, D. 1991. The Deconstruction of Literature: Criticism after Auschwitz (p.87) Cited by Gene E. Veith, Modern Fascism, 1993. Concordia Publishing House.

[vi] Gorringe, T.J 1999 Karl Barth: Against Hegemony Christian theology in context Oxford University Press New York

[Updated and edited from an article posted in August, 2016, called, The Usurping of Things To Come?’ Also published at The Caldron Pool, 13th November, 2018 under the heading, ‘Who are the real fascists?’]

Photo credit:  Taton Moïse on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2018.

Like you, I’m wrestling with the COVID-19 changes imposed upon us. We’re adapting, steady, and we’re focused. We’re still homeschooling. We’re still reading the news in one hand, and reading the Bible with the other. We’re engaged, determined not to let the bad news sneak past us, or our prayers. We’re also determined not to let the barrage of repetitive, useless speculative analysis paralyze us.

In 1939, Karl Barth, who had long since been exiled by the Nazis for refusing to sign the Hitler Oath, and for opposing the deification of the State, wrote,

‘the Church prefers to suffer persecution at the hands of the State, which has become a “beast out of the pit of the abyss,” rather than take part in the deification of Caesar.’[i]

It’s in the vein of this context that we’re determined to not give in to fear and its consistent demand for absolute fealty. We’re steadfast in our commitment to the current treatment plan, but defiant in our “no” to this silent freedom killer. The virus, its source, and the exercise of political power – through a centralisation of government ruling by fiat, without the limitation of existing checks and balances – require a line in the sand drawn between us, and the totalitarianism attached to it.

Despite fear and powerlessness Good Friday remains Good News.

Its events do not show the clash of two kingdoms, and two kings, they show the affirmation of one King and His kingdom. Pilate asks, “are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus replies, “You have said so.” (Mark 15:2) And yet, Jesus ‘confirms Pilate’s claim to “power” over Him, as power given from above.’ (Barth) Pilate does not release Jesus. He crucifies Him. The confirmation of Christ as King is affirmed by Pilate’s mockery and Jesus Christ’s death sentence: here hangs, pierced, beaten, spat on, speared and abused, ‘Jesus, the King of the Jews.’ (Matthew 27:37).

The place where God makes His stand before all humanity is on a cross for all humanity. There is no greater line in the sand between humanity and sin – the corruption of absolute power, and the rejection of true freedom, than God’s revelation in Jesus Christ – Christ crucified and resurrected. Whether that absolute be a seemingly unbeatable microscopic parasite or seemingly unbreakable bloated bureaucracy.

Barth writes that Jesus and Pilate (Caesar’s proxy in Judea) confronted one another. What we see is the ‘homelessness of the Church in this age’, and ‘in its demonic form, the State’s authority as the “power of the present age.”

In yielding the Gospel the Church brings to the State a theological critique against all superstition, ideas, imaginations and ideologies, and therefore judgement on any manifestation of an imbalance of power. It can do this because ‘judgement begins with God’s household’ (1 Peter 4:17).

The Church is as a watchman, ‘knowing that it is responsible for the State and for Caesar, and it finally manifests this responsibility, through “the prophetic service of the Church as Watchman,” in its highest form by praying for the State and for its officials in all circumstances.’ (Barth) Both the Church and the State are under the Lordship of Christ.

There was no false dichotomy between secular and sacred. Civic duty for Christians is, as it has always been, holding themselves as individuals, and the Government to its role, function and purpose, accountable, under the Divine Lordship of Christ.

Right through the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’ Kingship is at work. Healing and exorcism, announce His kingdom drawn near, His kingdom to come; his actions calling us to rethink and repent – for ‘the Kingdom of God is near.’

As Ethan the Ezrahite wrote, ‘God rules over the surging seas; waves rise, He stills them.’ (Psalm 89:9). The shock-waves of Christ’s kingship confirmed by the events of Good Friday, dark Saturday and Resurrection Sunday, spread His authority like a slow tsunami over the Pax Romana, past Rome’s powerful legions, liberating the hearts of the wounded, lame, repentant and humble. Christ’s just rule breaks like a wave over Church and State permeating both. The just who was judged becomes our just judge.

As things currently stand, we’ve had no reassurance from prominent politicians about how civil liberties will be safeguarded during the Coronavirus counter measures. We, the people, seem to be on a Shakespearean rodeo, living as Romeo, liberty as Juliet. There seem to be powerful forces at work to keep both separated, perhaps even on a permanent basis. But Shakespeare’s work isn’t just a tale of woe about oppressive forces that seek to keep man from woman, and woman from man, it’s a warning telling us not to give up hope.

Regardless of how dead liberty might appear to be, or how pathetically silent our leaders choose to remain. Regardless of how intimidated we are by the state flexing its muscles, prancing its ferocious might in our faces. Regardless of how we may suffer under the hands of those who make themselves the enemy of civil liberties, it’s because of Good Friday, we, who are raised in Christ, can say Good Friday, is still Good News.

Liberty may have been crucified, but liberty was liberated and lives yet still!

Though the state may flap and dance about, howl, breathe fire and brandish the sword, in a political thrust and parry against liberty, they cannot win. For although ‘it’s true that Jesus told His disciples to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. It [shouldn’t be forgotten that it] is God who declares what belongs to Caesar.’ [iii]

May God’s wisdom guide us, may His strength empower us, and with defiant humility, may we gratefully embrace the Light from which all true freedom breaks. For the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).

Happy Easter, folks!

Jesus is Victor!


References:

[i] Barth, K. Community, State, and Church, Wipf & Stock Publishers.

[ii] Barth, K. The Theology of John Calvin, Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[iii] Bell, G, 1940. Christianity & World Order, Penguin Classics.

First published on Caldron Pool, 10th April, 2020.

© Rod Lampard, 2020

An anti-Christian LGBT group from Spokane, Washington, have reenacted an ante-bellum, chattel slavery auction, using cut-outs of outspoken Christian leaders, who are actively opposed to abortion and Drag Queen Story Time.

The LGBT group, Spokane United Against Religious Extremism and the Church, targeted 500 Mom Strong founder, Anna Bohach and pastors from ‘The Church at Planned Parenthood’ in an October fundraising event for the industrial abortion platform, Planned Parenthood.

According to Anna Bohach  (an activist against the sexualization and exploitation of children), the black slavery-era mock auction took place during an ‘Halloween themed drag show.’

Recounting the event in an article for Activist Mommy, Bohach said,

‘it started with Tiranny Hex lip-syncing and gyrating around the stage. She [He] was then followed by three back up dancers wearing effigies of Anna, Pastor Ken Peters, and Pastor Afshin Yaghtin…The main fundraiser of the evening which was billed as a fun surprise turned out to be a slave style auction. Drag Queens held up effigies of 6 prominent local Christians and auctioned them off to the highest bidder. The Christian effigies were lined up on a high stage and displayed in a fashion akin to the slave market auctions of America’s darkest past.’

Mocking the reports, the LGBT group dismissed the news on their Facebook page, with a typical juvenile, “l.o.l, it wasn’t us” defense, using the Breitbart article from Dr. Susan Berry, stating that the person used for the cover image “has nothing to do with them.”

The hashtag: “best counter protest ever”, the accusation: “they had no idea what really went on” and the threat: “we still have a surprise in store”, suggest otherwise.

Despite the dismissive, shrug of the shoulders response. The LGBT group’s poorly reasoned counter-claim doesn’t address Bohach’s original article. Neither has the group made any attempt to respond to photographs featured in the Activist Mommy article. All of which back Bohach’s recount of the event.

In commenting on why the group’s mock slavery auction of Christians, hasn’t headlined mainstream news media, Monica Showalter, for American Thinker referred readers back to  Bolach’s own powerful response:

‘Christians are the biggest threat to their agendas. We are the only ones standing in their way and telling them: ‘No, you will not abort babies; no, you will not exploit vulnerable women; and no, you will not expose our children to sexual deviancy and gender confusion.

Using effigies and a slave auction style fundraiser to raise money for an organization whose existence is based upon the extermination of black Americans is in very poor taste…But again, not surprising given drag itself is rooted in the blackface minstrel shows of the last century.”

As with many of this kind of blatant anti-Christian hate, the venomous intersectional dragon, and its head-spinning confusion about when woke social justice, becomes intolerance, prejudice and racism, is an intellectual quagmire many in the MSM aren’t yet brave enough to attempt to wrangle.

In latter estimates, Christian Post reported that the LGBT group’s mock chattel slavery auctioning off of Christians raised $1,865 dollars for Planned Parenthood.

The October slavery auction wasn’t an isolated case. It’s since been followed by a drag queen who performed a mock abortion,pulling a plastic doll out of his fake distended stomach in a Zombie Cannibal Performance,’ in early November.

Without any widespread condemnation of these events, they’re bound to increase. Silence will be interpreted as a free license for hostile LGBT groups to abdicate responsibility for their own hate, for more indifferent juvenile dismissals, and anti-Christian bigotry; obediently carried out in absolute allegiance to the LGBT flag, and deceptively waved about as counter-protest.

The mock chattel slavery auctioning off of Christians by members of the LGBT community, proves that many on the Left don’t fear theocratic rule, they see Christians as a direct threat to their own quest for a theocracy, driven by the ravenous lust of the LGBT religion, in worship to a false god, who rules under one of the greatest lies every perpetrated on the hearts of humanity, love is love.

As Karl Barth noted in 1921:

‘Eros deceives. As a biological function it is now hot, then cold. Eros does not merely deceive: it is also uncritical. Agape on the other hand, consistently accepts and rejects. Only the love which is strong enough to abhor that which is evil can cleave to that which is good. Agape is therefore both sweet and bitter [involving a Yes & a No]. It can preserve peace; but it can also engage in conflict.’ [i]

References:

[i] Barth, K. 1922, Epistle to the Romans, 12:9; Oxford University Press, assembled from pp.453 & 454 (See also Barth, CD.3:2 pp.280-285)

First published on Caldron Pool, 14th November, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

On December 1st, 2018 the state owned Church of Sweden, which claims to have 6.1 million members, boldly proclaimed on Twitter that Greta Thunberg was the appointed successor of Jesus Christ.

The Church of Sweden isn’t alone.

American Comedian, leading anti-Trump figure and Leftist Twitterarti celebrity, Sarah Silverman revived the idea of Greta being a second revelation of God, proclaiming as recently as September this year,

Proclamations like these are dangerous because the world has been down this road once before.

Karl Barth was a reformed Swiss theologian, and opponent of Nazism. In 1934, he helped pen the Barmen Declaration. The declaration was a protest against aggressive policies of the state forcing people into allegiance with its ideology; and a stand against compromising Church authorities, who were keen to maintain a place at the table of power, merging theology with ideology.

The Barmen Declaration was part of a larger revolt among German Confessing Church Pastors, who refused to take an oath of allegiance to the state, unless newly added direct references to Adolf Hitler were removed.

The oath of allegiance had been changed to include “unconditional obedience to the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, Supreme commander of the Wehrmacht”, earning the updated oath of allegiance the term, ‘The Fuehrer Oath’ (or Hitler Oath).

As a consequence, Barth was removed from his teaching position at the University of Bonn and forced out of Germany.

Barth’s no to Nazism coincided with his famous “nein” to natural theology. For Barth, the starting point of faith is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Natural theology, which seeks God’s revelation in nature, is a road fraught with peril. This is no more powerfully evidenced than in the spiritual, emotional and psychological vice-grip the Nazis were able to slowly close around the German people, with their consent.

Hitler stood on the podium of natural theology, and was falsely raised up as the second revelation of God.

Leni Riefenstahl’s well known Nazi propaganda film ‘Triumph of the Will’ portrayed him as omnipotent; powerful, transcendent. The film concluding with Hitler declaring the Nazi party to be “unchangeable in its doctrine, hard as steel in its organization, supple and adaptable in its tactics, and in its entity, like that of a religious order…”

Responding in 2018 to the Swedish Church’s proclamation, Danny Bloom of The Times of Israel, said it best: “Jesus Christ is now a 15 year old autistic “climate activist” who speeches are written by her parents and other adults for her?’ Bloom called the proclamation of the Church of Sweden, and the media’s obsession with Greta, ‘child exploitation.’ He then asked, ‘is Greta to be called an “oracle” or a “savior” all of her teenage years, then what? What happens to her in her 20s and 30s?”

Bloom’s point is valid. What are the long term consequences of telling a 16 year old girl, who suffers from mental health issues, that she is a victim of injustices on par with the Versailles Treaty? What are the long term consequences of telling her that she is the answer to those perceived injustices; that she is, like Hitler was before her, the second revelation of God?

As presented to the world last week, the apocalyptic climate change narrative is the mein kampf of activists. Greta’s grief, anxiety, frustration and anger, is induced by an hypothesis turned dogma. All of which is justified, not by science, but by an interpretation of the scientific data.

Bill Muehlenberg’s criticism of Leftist activists exploiting Greta is the same for any church denomination who chooses to surrender Christ to climate change histrionics. Those who, under the dubious banner of natural theology choose to lead that child, and others, to believe that she is the Messiah.

It’s imperative that we say “no” to this surrender. Instead of raising Greta to god-like status, we remind her and the world of the cost and necessity of the Theological Declaration of Barmen, with its “no” to Nazism, and natural theology, in our “no” to child exploitation, and hysterical apocalyptic climate change histrionics:

8.11 Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death.

8.12 We reject the false doctrine, as though the church could and would have to acknowledge as a source of its proclamation, apart from and besides this one Word of God, still other events and powers, figures and truths, as God’s revelation.

Karl Barth wrote that ‘Christianity is the protest against all the high places which human beings build for themselves’ [i]

Lutheran theologian, Gene Veith brilliantly expands on this stating,

‘Nazism was a calculated crusade to deny the transcendence of God and usurp Christianity’.
Without theology being free and independent of ideology there is nothing to challenge ‘the ideas that led to Auschwitz with special scrutiny. This is especially true when those ideas, often adopted uncritically, are still in vogue today.’ [ii]

Karl Barth’s punishment for not following the party line and refusing to pledge ‘unconditional obedience’ to the state and its Fuhrer, is an eerie precedent, and it’s being repeated in society today.

The Barmen Declaration is still relevant. It’s a source of encouragement for anyone who wants to take a stand against the exploitation of Greta and children like her. It’s a light for theologians and pastors who are still determined to push against the tide of compromise.

Not compromise in a diplomatic sense, where an exchange of understandings is metered out in order to establish mutual respect, but in the perilous decision to abandon discernment and theological critique as unscientific, intolerant, anachronistic and therefore ultimately irrelevant.

In our own “no” to hysteria, and the resurgence of tyranny via natural theology, may we find the strength to graciously echo the stand taken at Barmen, and the “no” of those same Confessing Church pastors, some of whom paid for that “no” with their lives.


References (not otherwise linked):

[i] Barth, C.D IV/II p.524

[ii]  Veith Jnr, G.E. 1993 modern fascism: the threat to the Judeo-Christian worldview Kindle for P.C. Ed.

Brave German Pastors Defy Nazi Control: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/10953135?fbclid=IwAR3J3hIcZGpBkfl2r5hdx9nAkL-xUdH3FT7Rg99h5dKRvB7Isdyl3RwJ50A

First published on Caldron Pool, 1st October 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Here’s a copy of my recent letter to Melinda Pavey asking for her to consider voting against the abortion bill currently before the NSW parliament.

To the Hon. Melinda Pavey, MP,

I am a member of your Oxley electorate. As such I encourage you to vote “no” to the current abortion bill before the NSW state parliament.

The popular ideology behind abortion leads advocates of abortion to convince society that conceiving a child is the same as contracting a sexually transmitted disease. A “yes” vote would see the dehumanizing of an unborn human child by lending legitimacy to this ideology. Therefore, reducing an unborn child to a treatable ailment.

This bill, will, by all appearances, wrongfully legitimize this vile misconception, and industrialize the violent disruption of an unborn child’s life, denying them their right to life. No amount of ideological arguments from fanatics and the false doctrines spawned from them in favour of abortion, change the biological fact that abortion is the deliberate violent interruption of pregnancy. This is where women (and some men on behalf of women) demand the kind of freedom only God should own; the ability for an expectant mother to judge who is worthy of life and who isn’t. The God-like ability to decide who lives or dies, by encouraging the killing of an unborn child through ”miscarrying on demand”.

Under this shadow, abortion is as a matter of fact, another manifestation of lebensunwertes leben (The Nazi ideology of life [deemed] unworthy of life).
Although advocates of abortion use a healthcare pretence, may I remind you that “the Nazi group in charge of the actual killing in the gas chambers was called the General Welfare Foundation for Institutional Care…’ (Dean Stroud, 2013 ‘Preaching in Hitler’s Shadow: Sermons of Resistance’ Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing pp.132 & 136)

As summed up by anti-Nazi theologian Karl Barth:

‘he who destroys germinating life kills a man and thus ventures the monstrous thing of decreeing concerning the life and death of a fellow-man whose life is given by God and therefore, like his own, belongs to Him. He desires to discharge a divine office, or, even if not, he accepts responsibility for such discharge, by daring to have the last word on at least the temporal form of the life of his fellow-man. Those directly or indirectly involved cannot escape this responsibility.’ (CD.3:4:416)

Despite the claims of radical activists, particularly extreme feminists, children are not a parasite or a hindrance. Children are a gift. Give them the chance to live and become part of the future of our country.

These are strong, valid reasons for why I reject abortion. I humbly ask that you consider doing the same.

Sincerely,

Mr. Rod Lampard
########, NSW


©Rod Lampard, 2019

“Love is love” is slogan that assuages all sexual sin.

If “love is love” is the new moral standard, then adultery, promiscuity, bestiality, and number of other sexual sins are not only justifiable, they are permissible.

This is because “love is love” falsely elevates sexual sin to a morally superior position, where anyone who stands opposed to the assumed “love is love” standard, is belittled as “unloving and immoral”.

Heterosexuals who spout “love is love” know that in the current climate, “love is love” covers a multitude of sexual sin, so why not jump on the bandwagon? Especially when embracing the slogan, enables them to pursue an anything goes ethos.

In the light of this, it’s easy enough to see how the widespread support and use of the “love is love” slogan, isn’t as altruistic or as selfless as it seems. From this perspective, heterosexual support for SSM, and homosexuality, in general, is pure self-centeredness.*

In the words of psychiatrist Karl Menninger, ‘the lure of profit exceeds the prestige of prophet.’ [i]

Pornography also contributes. Many a breakup and the continuing dysfunction of marriages can be attributed to the mythic, false and distorted view that pornography creates in men, about women and sex.

What’s more, these points uncover just how asinine the “love is love” slogan is.

Love cannot define itself.  Love is defined by God. Love comes from who God is. He cannot be anything, or anyone other than who He is.

The very fact that God is love means we cannot say in reverse that love is God. The noun precedes the verb, not the reverse.

Love is defined by the One who exists outside of humanity. His love enters time and space, and graciously seeks out relationship with us.

Love is defined by the One who comes to humanity from outside itself, as both grace and command. God is love and He presents knowledge about Himself to humanity, through His covenant with Israel, and by His revelation in Jesus Christ.

Love is defined by the One who seeks human response, the One who builds life, and gives order to creation; the One who doesn’t abandon His creation to its own inclinations, or the terror of the abyss. In the words of John, ‘we love because He first loved us.’ (1 John 4:19, ESV).

This is the ‘sovereignty of His love’, which doesn’t ‘exercise mechanical force, to move the immobile from without, [or] to rule over puppets or slaves, but rather to triumph in faithful servants and friends, not in their overthrow, but in their obedience, in their own free decision for Him.’ [i]

The ‘sovereignty of God’s love’ liberates humanity from subjective, abstract and artificial alternatives. We are emancipated from the burden of the oppressor, who defines love by whatever he or she decides it should or could be.

To borrow from G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy, those who seek to define love by itself, seek the moon, and its morbid light. Then in confusion, ponder about why it doesn’t produce life. Leading G.K.C to conclude: hence, ‘the moon is the mother of lunatics and has given them all her name.’

The individual who jettisons the ‘the sovereignty of God’s love’ from love inevitably asserts a definition of love made in their own image and desires.

Under the “love is love” slogan, no one is allowed to challenge this definition. Any reasoned disagreement outside this abstract idea of love, is measured as an act of hatred, betrayal and treachery – anti-love.

Therefore, to assert that God is love is to enter into a revolt against it.

As a revolt it asserts that love is not Lordless. Love is not meaningless or without purpose. Love is defined by what God does, and what God does comes from who God is [ii].

Love cannot define itself any more than the slave or abused child can define freedom. The sin of others has distorted their view of the world. Lies replace truth. They’re been taught to believe the abuse he or she receives at the hands of their oppressor is normal. In this way, “love is love” fails the oppressed and gives legitimacy to the oppressor. Love that defines itself negates itself.

Alternatively, the ‘sovereignty of God’s love’ encompasses both His “yes” and “no”. God’s “yes” to the genuinely oppressed, raises humanity up to challenge the claims of the oppressor. In this way, God’s firm “yes” and loving “no” to the oppressed and the oppressor are an outworking of His sovereignty. Love is not Lordless.

That, God is love, means love cannot be love without God at its center.

Likewise, human freedom grounded in love cannot be true freedom without the One who loves in freedom. It cannot be true freedom without the ‘God who frees man and woman to be free for Him and free for each other.’ [iii]

Without God, love becomes a cheap commodity, whose meaning is traded and swapped for whatever sells best. Love is downgraded to emotion, sex, money and the satisfying of an individual’s selfish desires.

“Love is love” is newspeak; a tool used to uphold human claims to ownership of what love is. Love is then determined to be anything the oppressor wants it to be.

Roger Scruton helps to brings this into clearer focus, noting the Communist practice of controlling language and meaning, under ‘the communist conviction that you could change reality by changing words […]The purpose of communist Newspeak, has been to protect ideology from the malicious attacks of real things.’ [iv]

For example, if the slogan “love is love” is taken to its logical end, aren’t the obscenely wealthy, or the national socialists justified in their love for money, nation or race, and to hell with the consequences?

If “love is love” justifies lifestyle choices, such as its promotion as a legitimate argument for same-sex marriage. Then doesn’t “love is love” justify servitude to a Führer, the State, and his/her ‘ism, and the reign of terror that often follows?

In light of this, aren’t “love is love” advocates, especially those who protest crony capitalists, who love their money, in the end just hypocrites selling something no one should ever want to buy?

Under this shadow, “love is love” is lordless, abstract, confused and empty. “Love is love” is a cover-up, and like all self-justification, “love is love” is proven to be a lie. [v] It cannot sustain a working definition of what love actually is.

The first cause of change in attitudes towards homosexuality and same-sex marriage is the erosion of heterosexual marriage. This erosion includes the downgrade, and dismissal of Biblical theology which asserts that God is love, and that under ‘the sovereignty of His love’, ‘woman is free for man, man is free for woman, and together both are free for God’. This comes by way of the covenant fulfilled in The Gospel, where, in His costly reconciling of humanity to Himself in Jesus Christ, God proves who and what love is.

“Love is love” is no substitute for this. It is no substitute for the One who was, and is, and is to come.

Maranatha.


References:

[i] Menninger, K. 1973. Whatever Became of Sin? Hawthorn Books Inc.

[ii] Barth, K.1942 CD II/II: The Election of Jesus Christ  Hendrickson Publishers p.178

[ii] ibid.

[iii] Barth, K. 1951 CD III.IV The doctrine of creation Hendrickson Publishers pp.170-180

[iv] Scruton, R. 2015. Fools, Frauds & Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left Bloomsbury Publishing, (p.8)

[v] Torrance, T.F. 2008. Incarnation: The Person & Life of Christ, IVP Academic

* I don’t doubt that there are sincere believers in the slogan, the evidence provided by James, however, suggests that such believers might be few and far between.

(Originally published on The Caldron Pool, 12th July, 2019)

Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019