Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. He holds a BS from the University of Maryland in Political Science/History and a MA in Apologetics & Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary. Frederick holds a Doctor of Practical Theology through the Master's Graduate School Of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. Dr. Meekins is pursuing a Ph.D. in Apologetics through Newburgh Theological Seminary.

Tuesday, July 10

Should Those Bucking Public Opinion Be Banished Unto Utter Desolation?

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Acolytes of tolerance and inclusion are applauding one Indiana town where these values are not to be extended to a congregation daring to exercise its First Amendment rights with a sign simply reading “LGBTQ is a hate crime against God.”

For nothing more than summarizing a basic Christian doctrine or moral presupposition, the congregation has been kicked out of the structure in which its services were convened.

Those holding to an absolutist libertarianism will likely respond that the individual should be able to evict any tenant that advances values with which they do not agree.

Perhaps so.

So should landlords be able to remove from their premises leasees that are practicing coupled homosexuals or heterosexual shackups that romp in the sack without benefit of matrimony?

In response to this message, one activist little better than a graffiti vandal rearranged the letters to read “Stay open minded”.

If private property is now to be upheld as the inviolate standard, will there be as much hue and cry over this particular individual imposing their preferred morality upon a means of public expression that does not belong to them.

For unless we have indeed descended into mob rule, property rights are not predicated upon compliance with the herd mentality.

By Frederick Meekins

Friday, July 6

Fundamentalist Attends Baseball & Auto Races But Not Ministerial Association

In the 8/12/16 edition of the Sword Of The Lord, the publication's editor Shelton Smith composed an article titled “The Fellowship Thing: A Clearly Defined New Testament Concept”.

In the column, the minister concluded that, even if someone professes to be a born again believer, you really ought not have much to do with the individual unless they pretty much march lockstep with you in agreement on a comprehensive litany of secondary matters.

One wonders how Smith feels regarding other denominations as leery of those wild-eyed Fundamentalists.

As evidence of his hardline position, Shelton Smith referenced a ministerial association he had been pressured into attending as a young pastor and seminary student.

To justify the fact that he never went back, Smith mentions seeing so-called ministers of the Gospel caught smoking cigars and hearing others engaged in “off color conversations”.

Some might have even remarked how good a lady might have looked in tight-fitting jeans and a short haircut (ha ha).

As shocking as that might have been, can he really insist that what he might have been exposed to at such a meeting in the 1970's was really worse than what he was in the vicinity of during the NASCAR races and baseball games he is on the record of having attended in the pages of the Sword of the Lord, a publication that at one time published an article explicitly stating viewers of Stat Trek were not fit to teach school?

By Frederick Meekins

Wednesday, June 27

More Off Target With Moonie Offshoot Than Firearms

On an episode of A&E’s “Cults and Extreme Belief”, correspondent Elizabeth Vargas profiled an offshoot of the Unification Church called the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary.

Instead of detailing how the sect’s theology differed from that of orthodox interpretations of Christianity or even the questionable recruitment techniques utilized by Moonie organizations, the episode spent an inordinate amount of time harping upon the sect’s admittedly idiosyncratic incorporation of firearms into certain aspects of its liturgy.

While such might not be a normal part of spiritual practice, such is not without historic precedent.

As such does Elizabeth Vargas intend to broadcast similar exposes with accompanying ominous voice over narration asking do Sikhs really need those ceremonial daggers and just why does a sword play a role in certain Masonic rituals?

Not once do I recall anything said as to the legality of the guns depicted which had been deliberately emptied of ammunition.

Instead, a lengthy reflection dwelt upon the tragedy that could result should the firearm end up being misused by a less rational adherent of this theology.

For as you know, the line of argumentation continued, anyone that doesn't embrace the transgender movement and believes that legitimate marriage can only be between a man and a woman is by definition well on their way to being diagnosed as mentally deficient.

As proof, the plight is followed of a former Unification member whose mother was paralyzed when she was accidentally shot by his brother because the youths in the sect enjoyed recreational shooting.

One cannot help but sympathize with a family that has experienced such a tragedy.

But isn't it the fault of the one that shot her, her own child?

Off all of the abridgments of human decency perpetrated over the years by the Unification Church and now apparently its offshoots, this incident really isn't one for which these parties bear responsibility.

Elizabeth Vargas has been open regarding her struggles with alcoholism.

As such, because some people can't control themselves around alcohol to the point that they are a danger to themselves and others, does that mean no one should be allowed to utilize the substance in ways otherwise considered legal?

If not, then why this journalistic production where one constitutional liberty is invoked for the purposes of subverting another?

By Frederick Meekins

Saturday, June 16

The Perdition Declension

The disorienting light swept over me unexpectedly. The pain and nausea was overwhelming for a moment, but subsided nearly as quickly as it had arrived. My mind was a bit slower to recompose itself. I slowly lifted my head and opened my eyes. I looked around in the attempt to figure out where I was.

“Where, where am I?” I asked.

One of the gathered nearby responded, “I don't know.”

My head continued to clear. “I...I think there was some kind of explosion.”

We looked at one another.

Another added, “I was in a hospital room.” I supposed that would have made sense. She was, after all, adorned in what looked like light-blue scrubs of some sort.

But we were no longer obviously in a hospital or any other kind of medical facility.

We appeared to be outside.

The realization swept over me in a renewed wave of nausea. I solemnly informed the gathered,. “I think we are dead.”

The eyes of those closest to me widened.

“Dead?” they mumbled in considerable yet hushed silence.

We took stock of our situation. We looked up the verdant clover and grass-covered path that sloped continually upward. One could not avoid feeling drawn towards it.

We realized that was one of two possible directions. However, reluctance began to build to view what laid in the other. Yet there was a greater cosmic compulsion regarding each person to view it nonetheless.

Before us, we could see charred and burned trees. Not a single leaf clung to the lifeless limbs of the trees lined along the dry rocky path that sloped downward.

Beyond what were once vibrant trees in the distance, dark smoke billowed slowly into the sky. Its ascent seemed as reluctant to reach for the sky as had been our reluctance to gaze it its direction.

The smoke lingered to form what could be described as nothing but a warped, sinister halo. At the center one could glimpse at briefly before having to look away an intense flaming orange and yellow. It made a blazing sun seem cool and refreshing in comparison.

“That must be Hell,” I said to clarify things as much to myself as anyone else around me.

By deduction, someone else concluded, “Then that way must be Heaven.” They pointed in the direction for added emphasis.

The reality of where everyone was continued to sink in. Still, no one was really all that eager to make a choice.

Hesitation continued to grip me. But I knew I had to say something. It seemed that no one else would.

“I guess we go in the direction dependent on whether or not we want to see Jesus.”

“Jesus?” someone responded in a tone mixed with both surprise and disgust.

Murmuring spread amongst the group. One of the particularly more vocal enunciated,. “Well, I certainly don't want to see him.” A few nodded in agreement.

Another lamented, “But I've been so bad he won't let me near him.”

“Hold on, “ someone tried to comfort, “all you've got to do is to want to see him and be sorry about what you've done.”

Parties began to form. We found ourselves with one last chance at a choice in light of the evidence with which we were confronted staring us in the face. Despite being on the very boundaries of the Afterlife, the larger group still did not want anything to do with Jesus. Perhaps one or two changed their minds, but not many.

Most were convinced that they had never done anything wrong. Some were eager to flip Christ off for even the bare minimum of a requirement to avoid the Hellfire blazing before their very eyes. Their disgust and contempt overrode even the primal instinct to avoid the fire and billows of smoke at the end of the decimated path strewn with jagged rubble. They did not want to commence their perambulation into perdition, but through the stubbornness of their own wills, they conscientiously began the descent nevertheless.

The remainder of us looked on stunned in silence, aware of the torment and suffering that awaited them at the end of the journey. Despite pleading, they went in that direction anyway.

We watched for a while. Morbidly, one supposes, our own lamentation and regret for them subsided as they passed out of sight into an eternity of their own choosing.

Nothing could be done for them. Even with the evidence of the two paths set before their very eyes and what was required to avoid the less desirous destination, they had set out in that direction anyway.

After much solemn contemplation and awkward silence, the remaining began to look one another in the eye again. Smiles crossed our faces.

By deduction we concluded that if those that wanted nothing to do with Jesus went down towards that fiery pit, then Heaven must be in the opposite direction up the verdant hilly path.

Many laughed joyously in celebration. This was what, after all, each of us hoped would be awaiting us at the conclusions of our earthly lives. Some had been expecting it for decades; others not quite so long.

“Well, I suppose this is it. We'd best get started,” some suggested. Nearly every one smiled and cheered. We were, after all, on our way to Heaven.

No one seemed to mind the inclined perambulation at first. Surely Heaven was worth an uphill but otherwise even walk. Some a little ways off were singing hymns.

Joy filled the air.

Despite the anticipation of the destination, minds --- even if no longer alive in the terrestrial sense --- could not help but wander.

The ease of the ascent did not exactly channel one's thoughts into the task at hand.

Thoughts of family began to fill my head. How would they get along without me?

Sure, I'd be more than fine in Heaven. However, they'd be stuck in misery for now back on Earth.

I stopped for a moment to catch my breath. It seemed that, with each additional thought regarding my family, the following steps up the leisurely slope grew increasingly difficult to take. I tried to put thoughts of the mortal life and world out of my mind.

As I did so, the pace would become easier. There was much to look forward to at the end of this easy and gentle ascent.

The path was certainly much more pleasant than the jagged crags selected by the majority for no other reason than that they did not want to see Jesus. Besides, not only would we see Jesus, but I would also be reunited with loved ones that passed away earlier. Others would be there that I had never met but loved anyway. Possibly cherished pets might even be there as well in eager anticipation. Speculation about that question alone and curiosity to see it resolved once and for all imbued me with renewed vigor to continue.

Yet family, to the mortal mind at least to one transitioning from one realm to the next, exist as an interconnected whole. As much as my mind focused on grandparents, departed uncles and even buried dogs and cats, I couldn't block out images of those still on Earth.

Once again, movement forward grew exceedingly difficult. It seemed as if I slid a few steps back down the hill.

“What the....?” I caught myself mentally from completing the thought. There was no need to be nearing the Gates of Heaven quite literally with such verbal formulations on my mind and tongue. Furthermore, having seen some march willingly towards the infernal destination just a short time prior dissipated any of the psychological relief one might under terrestrial circumstances experience verbalizing such profanities of metaphysical reference.

I turned to the other perambulating pilgrims. “Did you see that?', I asked as they walked by as I slid back. They smiled kindly enough with sincere reassurance but continued with their singing and walking forward.

The more that I felt I was not worthy to number among the happy throng assured of their beatific triumph, the more I thought about family back on Earth, the further back down the hill I slid.

I elevated my head in realization at the extent of my declension. I was back to where I started.

I looked over to my right. It seemed that I was back on Earth. My family was so close that I could have touched touched them if I possessed corporeality.

My finger touched the translucent barrier separating the realms. Ripples cascaded across it like soft shock waves skipping across a pond.

I placed my hand against what I concluded must be some kind of energy barrier. It could not be consciously seen, but one could sense it nonetheless. The sensation was not unlike that of pushing together the same poles of two magnets.

I pushed my hand against the barrier a little harder, eventually making a fist so to concentrate the pressure of my efforts at a single point on the barrier. Maybe I could find a weak spot.

For what purpose, I did not know. After all, I was dead, right? I couldn't go back.

It seemed at this very point where the material world and what, for lack of a better term, one might term the spirit world weren't even converging in a cemetery. If I somehow broke through, I wouldn't even have my body to inhabit.

Despite logic insisting I start back up the hill towards Heaven, I still couldn't resist the urge to poke a little more at the ethereal barrier. I pressed my fist against it once more.

A cone began to extend through to the other side. My hand disappeared altogether into the funnel.

I stopped. If my entire hand could slide in without too much effort, how much more of me could fit into it?

I extended my arm in up to the elbow. Other than a slight repulsion similar to a light magnetic field, there was very little in the way of sensation or resistance.

I wondered if anyone on the other side could see what I was doing. Maybe my efforts were manifesting there in the physical world in the form of some kind of paranormal phenomena.

I looked down at my arm. From my perspective, the appendage had disappeared.

I stopped for a moment. Should I pull it back out? Maybe I should push against the barrier with my other hand as well. Perhaps I should try to push again at it with my entire body, or at least with what I perceived of as a body.

I braced myself, pushing my hands against and then into the nebulous barrier. I kept walking forward. My nose tingled as my proboscis rubbed up against it. But I did not stop.

As the field approached my eyes, everything blurred. At first, the image was out of focus but eventually everything turned a translucent cream color not unlike looking through a teardrop.

My body tingled as it passed through the barrier. Dizziness and nausea swept over me.

The distortions grew overwhelming. My consciousness began to fade.

Instead of reaching either of the Afterlife's eternal destinations, would my own existence now dissipate into nothingness? I clung to any sliver of awareness for as long as I could.

Fading.

Fading.

Fading....

The Nothingness. It lasted only a brief second.

Whereas before my vision was distorted by an illuminated blur, that brightness was now replaced by a distinctive darkness.

My heart was racing, the fear causing my tympanic membrane to pound.

Consciousness washed over my eroded mind. Slowly I realized I was not dead. From the weight of the blankets draped over me, I concluded it had all been a dream. A very intense one, but still nothing more than a dream.

My heart slowed. Fear dissipated. Whether right nor wrong would be an issue for theologians with too much time on their hands, but at the moment I was relieved to consider this world my home.

By Frederick Meekins

Tuesday, April 10

Ingraham Insufficiently Deviant For Leftists To Defend Her Speech

The world has about come unhinged over Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham for daring to poke a little fun at a petulant youth known to excoriate with the vilest of profanities those reluctant to embrace his policy proposals demanding the abandonment of centuries of constitutional theory deemed fouler than his acute potty mouth.

The font of deliberative political contemplation, GQ Magazine, has posted a column in support of the Ingraham boycott titled “Boycotting Ingraham Is Patriotic”.

Yet those assenting to this sentiment are the very sorts of thinkers that would condemn the Census for tabulating how many within the boundaries of the United States are actually citizens.

But if it is inappropriate to classify who is and is not of a particular jurisdiction --- the most basic of functions in establishing the foundations of a nation/state --- isn't the concept of patriotism --- the idea that a set of principles in large part derived from a particular geography inhabited by a specific sort of people is superior to all others --- even more verboten?

GQ is celebrating the decentralized justice inherent to a boycott as about the purest form of free expression imaginable.

After all, consumers are not obligated to bestow their funds upon someone advocating a set of values that they find abhorrent.

Likewise, Ingraham is not entitled to be lavished with these funds.

Interesting, though, how amongst postmodernist hordes this realization is a one way street.

For would the editorial staff of GQ Magazine as eagerly applaud a boycott organized by a Christian cabal seeking to impose their particular ethical idiosyncrasies in a way that would implement comprehensive revolutionary change across the entire culture even if a significant percentage was still not amenable to such a fundamental alteration of the social compact.

After all, those now threatening social upheaval are the children of many who denounced Pat Buchanan's culture war oration at the 1992 Republican convention.

At the time, opponents of the pious populist insisted that absolute objective values did not exist and, even if they did, it was not the place of cultural institutions to advocate on behalf of or to enforce a hegemony of values.

Of Lady Ingraham's status within the ongoing civic discussion, the enlightened archons of GQ assure the unsettled of weak mind, “Laura Ingraham remains as empowered as ever to impart her bad takes, whether to viewers on Fox News or to passer-bys on the street, without fear of being arrested by agents of the state.” But for how long?

Already the right of free expression --- deliberately enshrined among the first protections of the Bill of Rights --- is restricted in the presence of those seeking an abortion --- a procedure that honest jurists are compelled to admit cannot be found clearly delineated anywhere in this charter document but rather only in interpretative penumbras of it.

In the case of Lara Ingraham still enjoying her innate liberties as a free citizen despite being economically inconvenienced, how is that less of an outrage than the gay couple denied the wedding cake by the Christian baker?

In the transaction dragged before the judicial system, no one prevented the couple from the state granting its official recognition of their unnatural liaison.

The only thing they would have had to have endured was the search for a baker willing to provide it, which would have cost considerably less that the advertising revenue rescinded from Fox News.

So why are some forms of speech worthy of protection and some not the part of the most vociferously insistent that the most egregious imposition imaginable is to somehow insist that someone else's truth might not be quite as true as initially suspected?

By Frederick Meekins

Sunday, March 18

Southern Baptist Convention Undermined By Russell Moore's Propensity Towards Compromise

Granted, in response to what was seen as encroaching apostasy and unbelief eroding both strong moral and sound doctrine, Fundamentalism at times presented a militant brand of conservative Protestantism that could could occasionally be construed as a bit gruff around the edges. In such circles, a soft answer was not necessarily perceived as turning away wrath as admonished by Proverbs 15:1 but rather as a sign of spiritual weakness and, even worse, possible compromise.

In what is categorized as the nation's largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention serves as an interesting sociological barometer in terms of what direction ideological winds tend to be blowing. For example early in the twentieth century, the ecclesiastical association nearly succumbed to the temptations of liberalism and modernism only to be pulled back from this brink by a conservative resurgence that coincided with the ascent of Reaganism on through the Republican Party taking both houses of Congress in the 1990's.

Now it seems the tide might once again be receding. Those that have in a sense grown up in an environment characterized as overwhelmingly religious are tempted to surrender the ground gained as a form of repentance in their minds for certain admitted excesses and as a way to promote the peace and toleration always being yelled about in one's ear.

In his early 40's as of this writing in late 2017, Dr. Russell Moore of Southern Theological Seminary and now the Ethics and Public Policy Commission is often fawned over as a prominent young leader who could very likely shape the Southern Baptist Convention throughout the course of much of the twenty-first century. If that is the case, conservative Baptists mind end up finding themselves betrayed on what could very well be a sinking ship.

Without a doubt, Russell Moore professes those fundamentals of the faith necessary to assure the individual of salvation in Christ and eternity in Heaven. But it is in those areas where it is easy to compromise for broad approval and applause that Dr. Moore presents the greater spiritual danger.

I Corinthians 9:22 counsels to be all things to all men. By this, it is believed that the Gospel message can be adapted within certain parameters or presented in such a way that addresses individuals in the particular circumstances in which they find themselves.

The problem with Russell Moore and an increasing number within Evangelical Christianity in general and the Southern Baptist Convention in particular is the growing conviction that, in order to appeal to what is perceived as untapped demographics, professional religionists must go out of there way to publicly denigrate those expected to financially sponsor these outreach efforts. And in so doing, one is expected to turn one's back on much of the foundation that was laid as the foundation that got us to where we are today.

This is particularly evident in Russell Moore's response to the Trayvon Martin incident. As someone that presents himself not only as a clergyman but as someone that also makes his comfortable living as such, one might think Russell Moore would have endeavored to remain above the fray in regards to such an issue by calling for cooler heads to prevail or to point out how quickly individual lives can be lost.

Instead, Moore came out quite publicly in favor of Trayvon Martin and against George Zimmerman. The mouthpiece of Southern Baptist public policy is quoted in the 7/16/13 edition of the Washington Post as saying, “Regardless of what Trayvon Martin was doing or not doing, you have someone who was taking upon himself some sort of vigilante justice, even by getting out of the car. Regardless of what the legal verdict was, this was wrong.

Perhaps we really should consider what transpired and especially what it was that Trayvon Martin was doing the moment his life ended.

From what the judicial process has been able to establish, Trayvon Martin was beating George Zimmerman and delivering blows to the head that could have resulted in permanent injury and even death. Why does the criteria Moore invokes to defend Martin not apply to protect Zimmerman in this incident as well?

For example, according to Moore, the chain of events began when Zimmerman disembarked from the vehicle. That may or may not have been the wisest course of action. However, that was probably more legal and less suspicious than Martin zig-zagging late at night in and out of people's yards like a drunk or reefer addict up to no good.

So if Zimmerman committed a great wrong by laying his hands on Martin, why should Martin be exonerated for attacking Zimmerman who was doing nothing worse than perambulating over a public thoroughfare? However, it is apparently not enough for Moore to simply side perhaps with the party that did not have access to a fire arm in this altercation.

One can barely find a piece of direct mail promotional newsletter propaganda these days that does not go out of its way to denigrate White people for simply being white. A considerable number of these ecclesiastical functionaries have adopted a rhetoric of White guilt more typically emanating from the likes of Phil Donahue and Woody Allen that from behind a Dixie pulpit. One of the foremost practitioners of this victimization narrative is none other than Russell Moore.

To the analysis of the Trayvon Martin issue, Russell Moore added, “And when you add this to the larger context of racial profiling and a legal system that does seem to have systemic injustices as it related to African Americans with arrests and sentencing, I think makes for a huge crisis.” Moore further observes, “Most white evangelicals...are seeing [the Martin case] microscopically and most African Americans are seeing it macroscopically. Most white Americans say we don't know what happened that night and they are missing the point.”

As dumb as Whites are depicted now by the hierarchs of the Southern Baptist Convention, it's a wonder they are able to drop their tithe into the collection plate. But perhaps it is because of such stupidity that Whites so flagrantly mocked don't take their religious dollars elsewhere.

Notice that nowhere in those comments did Moore ponder that Trayvon Martin might have been as high as a kite or that George Zimmerman might have taken the only course of action that would have preserved his own life. If Moore is going to be this discombobulated over matters of race and ethnicty to the point where in matters of law enforcement and civil adjudication that the primary concern is not so much that of an individual's guilt or innocence in terms of committing a certain act but rather on the basis of the individual's membership in certain demographic categories, Russell Moore should be asked just what is he himself willing to sacrifice in terms of comprehensive social equity.

For example, if Russell Moore on a proverbial dark and stormy night found himself confronted by a Black assailant that proceeds to perpetrate violence against this seminarian naive to how the world actually exists, is he going to do what he expected of George Zimmerman and allow himself to be pummeled either to death or into a state of permanent mental imbecility as a result of brain damage received for the good of the cause? More importantly, is Dr. Moore willing for his wife or daughters to be raped in order to balance out what Southern Baptist functionaries such as himself now consider the scales of ethnic justice?

Just as important, should these kinds of tragedies befall Rev. Moore or his ecclesiastical allies and the scumbag is apprehended by law enforcement, are these theologians then going to parrot the fashionable liberal drivel about disparities in sentencing should the perpetrator of the crimes against them be one of the minorities the denomination has come to coddle and fawn over these past few years? For in his praise of Trayvon Martin and condemnation of George Zimmerman, Moore went out of his way to emphasize this issue.

In 2013, the Convention went out of its way to enact a resolution condemning incarceration with little mention as to whether or not those tossed in the slammer might actually deserve to be there. Perhaps the denomination would instead prefer to come out in favor of more explicitly Old Testament punishments such as floggings and public executions.

The Convention also condemned former chairman of the Ethics and Policy Commission and eventually forced into retirement Richard Land for merely verbalizing what it was that the vast majority of Americans were already thinking that President Obama was “trying to gin up the black vote” and that allied racemongers “need the Trayvon Martins to continue perpetuating their central myth --- America is a racist and evil nation.”

It is not only in the area of race relations where Russell Moore falls pitifully short of the kind of leadership Baptists need if the denomination and that particular theological perspective is to not only ride out the waves of the looming cultural collapse but possibly even rescue the nation from drowning in these overwhelming historical tides.

In coverage of the 2013 convention in which Russell Moore was installed as the chairman of the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission, an observer gushed in one press account that his election brought a more moderate tone. As it was explained, “The new generation is less ideologically motivated.” However, is it that the new generation is “less ideologically motivated” or simply that it decided to collaborate in implementing a more leftist ideology?

It seems Brother Moore is quite adept at implementing a don't do as I do, do as I say mentality. For on an episode of the Albert Mohler Program broadcast sometimes around 2006 probably around the first time I had ever even heard of Russell Moore, he confessed that, while thoroughly enjoying Halloween himself as a youth, it is now wrong for contemporary Christian children to participate in Halloween. And the point of raising this issue, some are probably asking with perplexity? After all, such a viewpoint is no doubt common among a variety of theologies found among Independent Baptist, conservative Southern Baptist, and even Pentecostal or Charismatic churches.

Indeed it is. However, the example is brought up to point out that Russell Moore and the young Turks advocating his style of social engagement are not quite of the live and let live mindset those unaccustomed to fully parsing phrases such as “less ideologically motivated” might be led to believe. If anything, it would seem Russell Moore has something of a tendency to crackdown in those areas where individual preference should be allowed to flourish while allowing things to get a bit out of line where, if one slacks an inch, assorted subversives will take a proverbial mile.

How does this represent a more moderate wind being blown into Baptist sails? I can assure you, I know first hand the sort of message has been pounded into the minds of Christian youth for nearly thirty years.

I remember back in my day that, along with whether or not you watched “The Simpsons”, you would speak in hushed tones about celebrating Halloween for fear of bringing the wrath of the more religiously fanatical teachers in Christian day school down upon you. It often seemed that some would even go out of their way to assign extra homework or schedule a test for the next day as a way to punish those that might succumb to the temptation of masquerading for prepackaged nocturnal confections.

This hypocrisy aside, it is not the only issue regarding which this new breed of seemingly less ideological Southern Baptist leader may actually be more ideological than ever before. Baptists might be mocked with the mantra of “Don't drink, don't chew, and don't go with girls who do” in terms of the rigorous behavioral codes many adhere to in the attempt to differentiate themselves from those considered worldly and in an effort to adhere to a lifestyle that they believe would be pleasing to God. However, if there is one area in which Baptists are noted for a spirit of liberation it is in the area of food.

However, Russell Moore and his allies would likely impose an additional set of regulations upon those in their congregations and within their respective spheres of homiletical influence in regards to this aspect of existence in no way derived from Biblical principles such as those regarding booze.

On 1/2/2006, Russell Moore posted an entry on the blog of the Henry Institute at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary titled “Crunchy Cons and Veggie Tales”. The brief essay is a review and elaboration of an emerging ideology known as crunchy conservatism coined by Moore's “Touchstone Magazine” colleague Rod Dreher.

In the post, Moore describes crunchy cons as, “...conservatives who are religious traditionalists and political conservatives but who are deeply suspicious of the materialism and consumerist assumptions of the reigning culture.” However, the materialism denounced here goes beyond that requiring the latest iteration of the I-Phone when the one acquired last year still works perfectly fine or having to acquire an entirely new wardrobe every year irrespective of whether or not the duds from the previous season have worn out

Rather, it is of the variety of how we mere working slobs are expected to willingly embrace with deliberation and aforethought a harsher and less convenient lifestyle because doing so makes detached intellectuals like Russell Moore that have not gotten their hands dirty in years or even decades feel so much more satisfied with themselves because they know more about how you ought to spend your miserable existence better than you do.

In the TimesOnline article referenced by Moore titled “Mr. And Mrs. Crunchy”, his “Touchstone Magazine” colleague Rod Dreher begins, “We had come to believe that the family, not the individual, is the basic building block of our society.” It depends upon what the writer means by that.

Bravo if by that he is expressing a realization that, upon having children, his wellbeing and that of his wife takes a backseat and their needs play second fiddle to those of the children. However, to those such as Rod Dreher and Russell Moore, the notion likely goes considerably beyond that.

For example, often those of this mentality having procreated believe that they are entitled to an ever-increasing percentage of the income and accumulated resources of those that do not have children, especially if such people are single. This confiscatory compensation can take on a number of forms.

The first is in the form of traditional taxation. Those of a communalist mindset believe that each additional child that they parent into the world should grant them a larger piece of the economic pie to be siphoned off as form of punishment from those not having produced children or not having produced by what in their standard is an acceptable number. One radical homeschooler has even insinuated that those not having at least four (the particular number he just happens to have) of harboring an insufficient love of children. It is about time to end manipulation of the tax code as a kind of mind game to trick supposedly free people into engaging in predetermined behavior of any kind.

In expanding that the family and not the individual is the building block of society, Rod Dreher expounded, “I heretically came to realize that Hillary Clinton was right: it really does take a village to raise a child. We conservatives, with our exaltation of consumer choice and the sovereign individual, were dismantling the village as effectively as the statist libertines we opposed.”

This notion of the village goes beyond simply perhaps curtailing the amount of smut broadcast on television. Rather, it allows for the COMMUNITY often in the guise of government authorities to have final say over decisions regarding your existence that might not really be based upon any principle clearly delineated in the pages of Scripture.

Dreher further elaborates regarding free market principles, “But they were based on fundamentally materialist assumptions about human nature which conservatives ought to have known were inaccurate and which would lead to a loss of purpose, of community, or idealism.”

But is it really the place of government (because that is ultimately what is meant by COMMUNITY to these neo-beatnik types) to police these matters in the lives of individuals and families? For what if these are at variance with what communal elites decide constitutes prevailing values and acceptable citizenship (for lack of a better term for those advocating for the elimination of traditional borders).

For example, what ought to happen when the COMMUNITY decides you as a professional baker you will provide your particular goods and services for gay weddings? Better yet, in such circumstances, what happens when the COMMUNITY decides that its vision of marriage not being limited between a single pair of heterosexual partners but rather open to any combination of consenting adult partners is the view to be taught to your children?

Granted, it is doubtful that a good Baptist like Russell Moore would applaud such social decay. In fact, overall the Southern Baptist Convention has stood for the God-ordained traditional heterosexual family even if a number of the association's spokesfolk have been hoodwinked into public forums and dialogs where the attendees mired in that specific inclination are not so much looking to be delivered spiritually from that particular sin but are instead attempting to lure the well-intentioned but somewhat naïve Baptist into a state of ever-increasing compromise.

Russell Moore could be one of the most prominent Baptist leaders of the twenty-first century with the possibility as many as five additional decades of theological productivity before him if he is blessed with mental vitality and a long life. As such, American Evangelicals need to be cognizant where his accumulating compromises undermine what little remains of the nation's conservative values and influence upon America's cultural institutions.

Most would agree that a progressive licentiousness pervades much of the Western world's media landscape. However, one of the few remaining areas in which conservatives of varying stripes have been able to hold their own has been talk radio.

Yet, if Russell Moore had his way, conservatives ---- particularly of the Evangelical variety --- would relinquish the ground that they hold in the media or at least moderate their tone to the extent that such voices would be indistinguishable from any other variety of broadcaster.

At the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention's 2014 Leadership Summit, as that body's president, Moore said that if all he knew about Christianity was what he heard on Christian radio in the Nashville area while driving to that particular conference, he would hate Christianity too. Such an allegation, in and of itself, might have merit. The thing of it is that, since then, Moore has been disturbingly vague and elusive regarding the nature of these criticisms.

In this particular tirade, Moore said, “There are some people who believe that fidelity to the gospel simply means speaking 'you kids get off my lawn'. That is not the message of the gospel. If the call to repentance does not end with an invitation that is grounded ...in the cross and the empty tomb of Jesus we are speaking a different word than the Word that has been given.”

Such a statement is accurate if the venue and/or media under consideration is the pulpit on Sunday morning. However, talk radio (even Christian talk radio) can have a slightly different methodology dependent upon the particular program under consideration.

For example, in his tirade Russell Moore said, “If all you and I are doing is standing and speaking a word, including a truthful word, about sexual immorality...the world does not need us for that. The devil is able to do that on his own. We have not been called simply to condemn. We have been called to reconcile.”

It seems that increasingly in Dr. Moore's homiletical repertoire that “reconcile” has become a euphemism for capitulation and pandering. There is indeed more to repentance than condemnation. But in order for someone to admit that they are wrong and want to do something about that situation, doesn't the individual need to informed that they have done something wrong?

Apparently in his attempt to garner the approval of religious leftists, Russell Moore insists that the world does not need us to stand and speak against sexual immorality. But if not Christians and conservatives of various persuasions, who will be left to do so. In light of the Duggar and Bill Gothard scandals most prominently and to a lesser extent R.C. Sproul Jr's confession to his own carnal temptation, it seems this variety of compromise is even coming to grip those uplifted among us as supposedly the best that Evangelicalism has to offer.

For how long did Russell Moore listen to talk radio during the day in question? Shouldn't he be required to listen to a station's entire weekly program rotation before rendering a somewhat objective verdict that the complete Gospel message is not being presented?

Russell Moore dismisses Christian talk radio as little more than the rhetorical equivalent of “you kids get off my lawn”. But if certain people are deliberately somewhere they ought not to be doing something they definitely shouldn't be, why shouldn't they be told about it? Professional religionists and clergy such as Moore certainly don't mind letting this be known when the tithes and offering slack off.

In the effort to protect their stations and privileges placing them on a rung on the social ladder higher than that of the average pewfiller, a number of ministers like to emphasize the passage found in Ephesians 4:11 stipulating that some are called to be teachers, some pastors, and other evangelists.

So why cant this also apply to the various ministries and programs features on an average Christian radio station? Some shows might emphasize family life and personal relationships. Others such as Moore seem to prefer, according to his remarks, to focus upon explicitly evangelistic outreach. Others might be a bit more hard hitting (in a way that seems to turn off Dr. Moore) by exposing the doctrinal deficiencies in systems in competition with Christianity or the moral controversies eating away at the heart of American society or Western civilization.

Russell Moore is partially correct in that if all we know of Christianity came from the assorted radio programs broadcast in the faith's name one might very well not want anything to do with this particular religion. Does the theologian articulating such scathing remarks intend to repent of the role he has played in such a development surprisingly not always so much the result of an excess of conservatism but often times as a result of his desire to curry favor with religious leftists?

For example, as previously stated, where in the pages of Scripture is the pastor or evangelist instructed to berate the Christian for acquiring provisions from large chain retailers such as Target or Walmart? Likewise, what self-respecting White person is going to want anything to do with your religion when you rhetorically flog them for things that happened nearly half a century ago when it is often the minorities that these self-loathing Caucasians go out of their way to pander towards destroying property and threatening the innocent in the blighted urban areas?

It might be one thing to strive for the Biblical admonition to be all things to all men. However, in the way in which they attempt to do so, Southern Baptist functionaries such as Russell Moore would do well to remember that those having been loyal members all along are just as much worthy of respect and admiration as those attempting to be brought into the fold.

By Frederick Meekins

Monday, January 8

You Wouldn't Want To Live At The Time Of Christ's Birth

A line of narrative in a Christmas cantata described the time in which Christ was born as “simpler”.

One could legitimately say that era in question was certainly less technologically advanced.

However, a case could be made that life then was actually much more complex and complicated to navigate.

Most today might want to get away from the ubiquitousness of their gadgets for a time.

However, would anyone from today really want to remain in such a setting?

It's doubtful most of us would survive for very long, but that is nothing to be ashamed of as we were not meant to be in that time.

The infrastructure of Bethlehem, and probably even the most advanced cities of that day such as Rome or Athens, was so lacking at the time that Mary had to give birth in a barn.

Statistically, just think how many other women had children that night traveling to fulfill the requirements of the census with less of a guarantee that the child was going to survive until adulthood.

Most of the discerning distrust the government now.

But despite the shortcomings of these agencies, have any of us faced the military or law enforcement deliberately killing all of the babies of a particular town just for spite?

IRS requirements to file taxes are burdensome and frustrating enough; however, at least we are not required to return to our respective hometowns in order to do so.

The celebrations of Christmas beautifully announce to the world that the Savior entered into it so that we might be redeemed from the consequences of our sin.

However, we also need a reminder that the world into which the Messiah willingly entered ultimately to die at the time was neither all that joyful or beautiful.

By Frederick Meekins