Public School Gulag (Preliminary Discussions)

I owe the credit for most of my bad character traits to a public school education.

To this day, I am trying to undo what was done to me.

I had a bundle of psychological and emotional issues develop during that time, many of which I’m just now noticing.  (All of these issues are in addition to my complete lack of an actual education. I’m having to re-learn politics, philosophy, theology, etc.)

You can imagine the rage I felt when I learned that perhaps this sort of thing was planned. That, perhaps this was exactly the sort of result the designers of the system were looking for.

Humiliation was a big factor in my “education.” The shame of what I was subjected to affects me and my personal relationships to this day.

I’m currently reading Solzhenitsyn, and at some point during my illustrative flight through communist Russia, the idea struck me that someone should write a survival guide for the Christian children that are being forced into the public school system.

Someone should provide them with a practical and ethical guide. A way to survive the never ending onslaught of the American educational “Gulag.”

It will be hard for me to articulate much of my experience to people. Perhaps if I write this book, and include a confession of the horrible things that happened to me, It will, in essence be as if I’m setting these things to rest once and for all.

While I ponder various aspects of the book, I’d like to present some ethical issues to you guys.  Perhaps in the resulting discussion I can come to some conclusions and relay them to the Christian student out there, sitting through lunch time in the school library…wishing for someone to plead his case…(if he even realizes that he has a case to plead).  I can see him, with all the clarity that memory offers, asking God for someone to appeal to.  It’s for him or her…that I’ll be writing.

So, my first ethical question is this:

Should we fight for our own pride?

At first glance this question doesn’t seem too difficult, but before you answer, I should remind you of the soul quenching power of humiliation. When the pride and honor of an individual are trampled on and made a spectacle of…should the individual sit idly by, secure in his ivory tower of idealism?

Or should he defy the prevailing thought of both school board, and emasculated “youth ministry?”

Should a man fight for abstract ideas like honor?

I could posit a good many specific cases, but in the end, it all comes down to that one question.

The new heart in me cries out for an answer; an answer that will demand the right to have honor in a society that seeks to destroy it.

What do you guy’s think?

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31 Responses to Public School Gulag (Preliminary Discussions)

  1. littlereb says:

    Well, I was waitin’ around to see what others would have to say, but as no one has commented as of thus, I reckon I’ll go ahead and put my bent penny’s worth of sense into the subject…as usual. lol

    I can’t answer those questions straight out…most definitely not for another person.

    I’ve struggled with those questions many times. Fought them to no avail.

    It’s such an *EXTREMELY* touchy subject, that has to be thought through *EXTREMELY* carefully.

    The questions posed cannot be answered definitely. You must first consider…
    To what extent do we defend ourselves?
    Should we defend ourselves, or is it Christ that matters?
    Will defending yourself, defend Christ?
    Will it bring Him honour and glory?
    What are your motives behind your defence? Exactly what will it accomplish?

    It all depends. Nothing definite.

    So there’s my thoughts. Anyone else?

  2. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Thanks a lot.

    I actually posted this at a facebook forum that is frequented by some Christian ethicists.

    They didn’t have any answers either.

    I love the way you articulated the real issues involved though.

    Someone over there pointed out the fact that this issue does involve aspects of a “Just War Theory” as well as theological issues like, “What it means to be created in the image of God.”

    I’m working on this idea. Perhaps a strike against a man’s honor, is similar to a strike against the image of God in man…and while it may be inappropriate to fight for selfish reasons, it is just to stand up for someone weaker in this instance?

    If we…(learned Christians that we are) have difficulty with this question…then God help the poor Christian high-schooler who is having to deal with this on a daily basis.

  3. Cathy says:

    Uh, just a caveat: you know I tend to R-U-N L-O-N-G. No exception here . . .

    And before I begin, have you ever read the book, “The Power of One,” by Bryce Courtenay? You’ll like it, I think. The DVD is excellent, too.

    And don’t forget “The End of the Spear” and the behind the scenes stuff, and its companion DVD, “Through Gates of Splendor.”

    Dear Shotgun,

    Just for the record, I’d never advise anyone to simply go AWOL, but to apply for Conscientious Objector discharge, or simply to not re-up when your tour is done would be the best routes to go, I think.

    Sorry for seeming to advocate AWOL. Never.

    And I am flattered by your request, and I’ll do my best to honor you; however, I think if you simply take with a grain of salt anything I offer, maybe the damage I am afforded the opportunity to do will be minimized! ;-)

    First, what do you know of “Just War Theory”? Can you state/enumerate it per Augustine and/or Aquinas?

    Second, though I understand completely the seething need for some sort of vengeance on the system that betrayed you — and betrays every one of us, and has since the mid-1800s — I’d sit down and make a “pros-and-cons” list of everything eating at me that seems to be a result of that time and that betrayal.

    Then I’d tally all the pros up and all the cons, and then go through the Bible and see what Scripture has to say about these things and things related to them.

    For crying out to the Lord in agonized outrage and frustration, I find Psalms 35, 55, 109, 102, 73 to be expressions of my inner feelings, and 102; 37, 51, 19 for climbing back up out of that black hole, and for extended devotion and meditation, Psalm 119.

    The object is to recognize and cry out to God about all the injustice you’ve experienced and that seems to have a free reign in the world, piling up victims of hell as it rolls along. But it’s dangerous to simply curse others. You can’t get stuck there. You must move on to recognize God’s remedies, temper your outrage and grief and need for revenge with the realization that this is against God’s purpose, and that He is ultimately in control, and to confess our own complicity in sin. Submission to Him in all things is the cardinal MUST DO before you can move on.

    Finally, to recognize that since He is in control, our responsibility is to learn Him, commit Him to our heart, to ask Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit, TO BE ABLE TO TEACH OTHERS through His Holy Spirit. Turn that grief and outrage — justified — to His purposes, to overcome evil with good, patience, self-control, love, joy, gentleness, kindness, all the fruits of the Holy Spirit. (I have personally experienced how you personally excel here!)

    If you’d like a good way to read the Bible through in a little less than a year, and have it make sense and comment on itself without “outside interference,” here’s my method, which I’ve used for over 20 years now:
    1.Begin at Genesis 1:1 and read five chapters; day two, the next five chapters, and so on. On the back flap of your Bible, begin a list of complete read-throughs, recording the date you start and the date you finish; you can do that for each section, and/or the whole Bible.
    2.Following Gen. 1:1-5:32, begin at Psalm 1 and read through Psalm 5.
    3.Following Psalm 5, read Proverbs 1. There is a chapter of Proverbs per day for a 31-day month; on 30-day months, either read chapter 31 also, or begin the cycle again with Chapter 31, reading it and Chapter 1. For February, do either of these as well according to the number of days. I usually split the “left-over” chapters between the end and the next beginning.
    4.Following Proverbs 1, begin the New Testament with Matthew 1:1 – 5:48.
    5.When you finish the Psalms and the New Testament, begin again in each; don’t wait to finish the OT.
    6.When you finish the OT, you can either just continue on, just going back to the beginning of the OT and not adjusting where you are in the rest, or begin the whole Bible again at each chapter one.

    Keep a set of highlighters and a good soft-lead pencil (I use a mechanical 0.5 mm with HB or B or 2B lead; I prefer 2B as it is kindest to Bible paper; HB is harder and lighter, sometimes harder to see, and if you put any pressure on the Bible paper when you’re writing, it will tear it) for highlighting passages and doing your own cross-referencing and taking notes. You’ll be amazed at how much retention you develop. And you’ll begin to understand things you WON’T get from most anywhere else. Keep a notebook you can write down passages of importance to you, that strike you with any information you hadn’t known before; insights you get, prayers, etc.

    My highlighter system is usually:
    Green for every mention of God and who He is and His actions, “emotions,” etc. (Emerald/green is the color of the rainbow surrounding the throne in Revelation 4:3, and green is the color of life, and life comes from God.)
    Blue for curses, warnings, consequences of sin, etc. (It’s a dark color.)
    Yellow for blessings, wisdom, glorification of God, etc. (Gold, the sun, the LIGHT.)
    Pink for deliverances, future glorified state, etc. (New clean dawn, refreshing, innocence, dewy, freshness.)
    Purple for violence and warnings against it, etc. (Again, dark color, plus it’s a combination of red — anger, rage, vengeance — and blue — darkness, death, loss.)
    Orange for damnation, sheol, hell, Hades, Gehennah, Lake of Fire, abyss, etc. (Color of fire; seems fairly obvious to me. ;-) )

    Makes it easy to follow related themes through the Bible.

    Your Bible is yours; you should feel free to mark it up any way you want to. Buy extra ones, if you can afford it; sooner or later, you’ll need a new one to start fresh, and better to pay today’s prices than pay more in the future.

    For my focused study, I use an NIV study Bible; buy as many other kinds/versions of Bibles and translations as you can; I even have the Mormon KJV and Book of Mormon, and a JW New World Translation. Parallel Bibles are very useful, but I so far haven’t used one for my focused read-through studies. More for references to check on various interpretations. There’s a new chronological Bible coming out in the next few weeks; it should be very good, as it’s not supposed to be committed to a particular eschatology.

    The more and varied resources you have to compare with one another, the less chance you have of going astray into Heresy Land. Also, online now you can find the works of Calvin, Luther, Augustine, the Early Church Fathers (Antenicene), the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, and a host of others.

    Get resources on church history, creeds, background on biblical times, especially New Testament. Lots of people recommend Josephus, but it’s a bit much to plow through, IMHO, and for things pertinent to most arguments that reference him, you can get the relevant passages and quotes in other sources and online. Get the “Evangelical Dictionary of Theology,” by Elwell, and the “Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics.” Great for quick but fairly comprehensive reference.

    Of course a Strong’s Concordance, and a Young’s; Bible dictionary(ies); Hebrew, Greek lexicons (though the concordances have good basic ones in the back), the Greek Septuagint and a good Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek interlinear or two; good commentaries.

    But always keep your heart and mind open to what His Holy Spirit is teaching and telling you, not what some commentator has said. While there are many very good commentaries, still they’re written by fallible human beings, and sometimes tend to contradict one another on the very same passage, and so must not be accepted totally at face value. If your reading of Scripture seems to conflict with something someone else teaches, opt to let it lie for a year or more, to let the Holy Spirit teach you completely as you pursue reading and learning His Word.

    As you can see, this is NOT a mnemonic method of memorizing Scriptures. This is strictly a method of learning Scripture from itself, IN CONTEXT, not memorizing passages stripped of context. I think more damage has been done to Christ in Christ’s name by people ripping Scriptures out of context than almost anything else. This method, I hope, teaches to respect the whole context, and thus facilitates true understanding of Scripture. Understanding is the key and the goal. Without understanding, we are no more than moving lips and robotic rigidity with a facade of godliness.

    This is where I’d begin, given your desire to reach young people. You cannot lead where you have not been. You cannot prepare where you have no provisions. Being in the military, you know this.

    Other than a generalized, amorphous anger at a general betrayal, I do not know what exactly you’re talking about. However, for generalized help, I would recommend:

    J. Budziszewski; plug in his name on Amazon and you’ll see he’s written a couple of books especially aimed at college students; I think they could just as well address high schoolers. You’d do well to read both of those, and his “What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide.” He’s not “Reformed,” but he’s not dispensationalist, either, and is solidly orthodox, and an excellent logician, whose specialty is philosophy. He came to the Lord from an atheist position after following the arguments to their logical conclusions. He can be found online here:

    Did you investigate Greg Koukle’s site? Try it, and I’d advise bookmarking it:

    Also, if I were you, I’d wait until I got out of the service before I tried to get anything off the ground. I’d spend the time researching and brainstorming, looking at what’s already being done, and how successful it is. Critique these approaches, find what works and what doesn’t.

    You would also do well to get the great little nuggets in the AV Defeating Atheism set: “The Deluded Atheist: A Response to Richard Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’;” “God Is. How Christianity Explains Everything: A Reply to Christopher Hitchiens’ ‘God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything’;” “Letter from a Christian Citizen: A Response to ‘Letter to a Christian Nation,’ by Sam Harris,” all by Douglas Wilson, and all fairly small books, about 110 pages or less each, but PACKED with EXCELLENT refutations of atheist arguments. Companion to these is “The Return of the Village Atheist,” by AV’s own Joel McDurmon.

    If you already know/have all this, pardon me for appearing to condescend to you. Please know that is not my intent. I do not know what you’ve read or not, or really anything about you. You asked for my input, and “knowing” what I “know,” this is what I offer. Please understand.

    And so, pressing on . . .

    For me, knowing that most kids today can barely read to fifth-grade level and sign their names (how to account for their great proficiency in online chat rooms and texting so much, though? I think there’s a key to reaching them here, one that educators and our society/culture at large simply do not see because they just don’t “get it”!), let alone actually UNDERSTAND and take to heart to apply anything in written form, I’d think long and hard about making DVDs of things you’d like high schoolers to know instead of writing books or curricula. Even look into making video games directed specifically at them. And since you’re young, and a guy, for heaven’s sake, don’t make them sappy and silly! Go for that inborn yearning for nobility in boys — the very thing eating at you to do this! I think that’s the reason most such efforts to date have fallen flat on their faces. Go out and look at what’s selling, and perhaps buy some and play them and find out what the draw is; analyze them carefully. Join a gamer’s club, even.

    The Devil can use nothing apart from what God’s provided. There’s NOTHING intrinsically wrong with video games, only with their aim and content. If you can crack that, I think you can begin to help turn around our young people and future generations.

    Kids especially at that age love mystery and intrigue and action, and to actually have to use their brains — and BE THE HERO, have VALUE; the violence comes from an inherent need to lash out at the things WRONG with the world, even when the game is ostensibly ABOUT being the bad guy! Hence the really sophisticated games out there. The kids/gamers are being challenged, but not in the right direction. That’s what’s needed.

    (An aside: most Christians are appalled that I enjoy such authors as Stephen King and Dean Koontz and James Patterson — his series, “Maximum Ride” are just great, and great fun, AND they deal with the evil and corruption in our schools and science right now; you may appreciate them, too. The Christians who object are so falsely prudish they do not recognize that these guys are MORALISTS. Their stories are MORALITY PLAYS, and ALWAYS about good VS. EVIL, and often even thinly disguised as paralleling the Jesus story. Good, however grisly, powerful and bad the evil is, ALWAYS wins. And interestingly, most of the heroes, the defeaters of evil, are innocents, usually somehow handicapped. One of King’s favorites is using Down’s syndrome children as the hero holding the key to righting the wrongs and delivering the world from the evil that seeks to consume. Koontz uses a lot of crippled children. Patterson’s Maximum Ride and her “siblings” are the results of secret genetic experiments who break free and want to smash the evil research before the Mengellas can recapture them. People read these things because we ALL want good, and we all want evil vanquished, and in the face of real, MONSTROUS evil, we all feel inadequate, even handicapped. But the church has made such a preachy, moralizing, condemnatory, milquetoast, superstitious and silly mishmash of it that Christian efforts to imitate this phenomena fall on their faces, Peretti and LaHaye/Jensen notwithstanding, and looking like now even they’re over, for better or worse. Because though they may arguably understand Christianity, they do not really understand their fellows, let alone how real evil affects our psyche. Where are the Christian authors, screenwriters, movie makers, video game creators who can be real enough to write for real people and God speak to their hearts and even save them through those means? Be one!)

    You might also look into the Mennonites. They have lots of good material for helping a committed Christian come out of the world and live what Jesus commands. (Though I doubt they’d recommend Stephen King or Dungeons and Dragons! ;-))|You+Are+Welcome

    As to “honor:” Whose honor? But first, what exactly is “honor”? I found the dictionary to be profoundly illuminating. Everyone, I think, could benefit by looking it up and pondering its true and legitimate meanings.

    Then, ask again, “Whose honor?”

    Two other books I think no one should not have read and taken to heart and apply daily (and if they would, I think we’d see a real change in society, ESPECIALLY in those who call themselves Christian, or they’d be relegated to have to begin to claim Him only among those who don’t know any better): “Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed: The Story of the Village of Le Chambon and how Goodness Happened There,” by Philip Hallie, and a timeless little book, “The Practice of the Presence of God,” by Brother Lawrence. Nothing there a “Reformed” believer should find offensive or unorthodox. But very profound, and deceptively simple.

    Other than all this hot air, that’s all I have to offer you, dear Shotgun.

    Sorry if I disappoint. But if you do find anything of value, and you have further questions I might help with, please let me know. I’m crotchety and prickly and egotistical and grumpy and self-centered, but you may afford me an opportunity to either rise above it, to His glory, or apply it to positive good, for His glory.

    I can dream, can’t I? ;-)

    You’re in my prayers. May our great God and Lord Jesus Christ keep you close to His heart and grant you peace.

    All my love in Him,

  4. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Thanks for writing all this. I can’t respond to everything.

    I will say that I have been studying philosophy, theology, apologetics, and related fields for about three years now, keeping my eyes open for tid-bits that would help me formulate a consistent just war theory.

    One day, if I have the freedom, I’ll write the definitive work on the issue, using the actions of David as a foundational guide. (Not forgetting Samson or the other “mighty men” of the OT either.)

    I’m reading / studying works like LEX REX by Rutherford, and Dabney’s “Defense of Virginia and the South.” I’m also reading / studying contemporary works by generals and evaluating how their philosophy of ethics informs their theory of warfare.

    Obviously you can tell that I disagree with your non-violent stance alhough I’d prefer not to hammar that out in this blog.

    As it now stands, I couldn’t council the young public school male to fight for his own honor, although I would highly recommend that he fight for the honor of one of his friends. Defending the weak is a noble usage of violence.

    That said, I think we should be very careful in constructing a Just War theory. Very careful indeed.

    Thanks for the comments, I especially appreciate your recommendation of “The Power of One.” It sounds like a very interesting book.

  5. Cathy says:

    Dear Shotgun,

    Consider: David was explicitly prevented by God, forbidden by God, to build His Temple, because of the blood on his hands.

    God used David, yes. But that doesn’t mean God approved of the “necessary” violence and war.

    What was the Great Flood about, again? ;-)

  6. Shotgun says:

    Well, God didn’t choose me to build His temple either.

    Maybe He’s got something else in mind?

  7. Cathy says:

    So you like violence and hope God wants you to exercise it?

  8. Cathy says:

    Because, Shotgun, if you are truly born again, a true Christian, YOU ARE HIS TEMPLE.

    HE built His Temple in you — if you are truly regenerate.

    He is holy, and He commands us to be holy, as He is. No wiggle room. You either want to obey Him, or not.

  9. Shotgun says:

    Oh I am submitting my life to Him in the best way I know how to do at the moment.

    I tend to side with Van Til when it comes to a system of ethics.

    It’s hard to box Christianity into a set of “do’s and don’ts.”

    The Christian, when fully matured, finds a certain spontaneity in life…we begin thinking God’s thoughts after Him, and acting as His vice regents here on Earth.

    I just finished reading Rushdoony’s book “By What Standard” and there was a great quote on this topic there. I’m thinking of writing a blog about it, so I’ll save the quote for the blog.

    And no, I don’t like needless violence, but I do love God’s glory in all of its aspects, and sometimes He glorifies Himself through violence.

    I suppose I’m glad that some people will be going to Hell…in the end, we have to admit that it is a glorious thing.

  10. Cathy says:

    Oh, Shotgun! Even when God Himself weeps at the death of sinners? Even when He said He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked? Even though the sole purpose for God coming to earth in Jesus Christ was not to destroy the world, but to seek and to save that which is lost?

    When was the last time God glorified Himself through violence?

  11. Cathy says:

    What was the Great Flood about, again? ;-)

  12. Cathy says:

    Shotgun, will there be violence in heaven/on the renewed earth where He will reign, and wipe away each tear, and where no sun or moon will be necessary because He will be the sole Light?

    If God’s glory has an aspect of violence, there must be, yah?

  13. Cathy says:

    Who judges when a Christian is fully matured?

    Which of those thoughts are God’s thoughts after Him?

    What qualifies someone to be His vice regent on earth?

    Was God’s commandment to Adam in the Garden of Eden a set of dos and don’ts?

    Are the Ten Commandments a set of dos and don’ts?

    How about the rest of the Mosaic Laws, per Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus?

    Were the Beatitudes a set of dos and don’ts?

    Did Jesus say elsewhere any dos and don’ts?

    How about Paul? James? John? Peter?

  14. Cathy says:

    Dear Shotgun,

    Forgive me, please, but it sounds like you are trying to formulate a “just war” theory using war as the foundation. Is that a Christian endeavor?

    And you’d be attempting to re-invent the wheel, as it were. A Christian Just War Theory has been around since St. Augustine, and argued and refined down to Thomas Aquinas, and this is it (with credit to Robert Brimlow, “What About Hitler? Wrestling with Jesus’s Call to Nonviolence in an Evil World” [Brazos Press, 2006], and Laurence M. Vance, “Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State,” Second Edition [Vance Publications, 2005, 2008]):

    1.Must only be fought to restore peace and to obtain justice: there must be a just cause for resorting to violence.
    2.Must always be under the direction of the legitimate ruler and be motivated by Christian love: a state must have the right intention. That is, a state must intend to fight the war only for the reasons established by the just cause elucidates under (1.).
    3.Only the competent and designated authorities of a state may declare war; subgroups (such as ethnic minorities) or individuals in a state may not declare war since they are not tasked with maintaining order.
    4.War is justifiable only if it is the last resort. All other plausible and possible options for resolving the issue(s) of the just cause must be exhausted before warfare commences.
    5.As far as possible, a state must ascertain that engaging in warfare assures a high probability of success. War or resistance must not be a futile endeavor.
    6.The overall good to be achieved by engaging in warfare must be proportionately greater than the death, damage, and economic costs that are integral to warfare itself.

    Once a state has satisfied all the requirements outlined by jus ad bellum, it must adhere to the two requirements of jus in bello for the actual prosecution of the war. In brief, these two conditions outline the constraints on the means a country at war may employ to reach its justified end or goal, especially since a state’s justified end must include proportionality (condition 6 above). The two rules for the conduct of war, therefore, require that:

    1.The force that nations employ must be proportionate to the specific ends or goals they are pursuing. This rule is directly related to (6) of jus ad bellum and can be seen as the application of that criterion to the battlefield, so to speak.
    a)Must be conducted in an honorable manner, and faith is to be kept with the enemy.
    b)Only those who hold a public office or position in the army that demanded such activity are to engage in violence.
    c)Those in Christian service, such as priests and monks, must not take part in warfare.
    2.The armed forces of nations should discriminate between the innocent civilian population, which shall remain immune from direct and intentional attack, and those legitimate targets of military action, such as enemy combatants.
    a)Must be no unnecessary violence, massacres, burning or looting.
    b)Non-combatants must not be harmed.

    It must be apparent that for Christians, warfare is untenable.

    1.Just war theory is untenable because it is difficult to know with sufficient confidence whether all of its conditions have been met.
    a)It is not always easy to determine when a just cause for war exists or what criteria a state may use in reaching the determination that a just cause is operative.
    b)It is not very clear when the conditions of just cause and last resort have been satisfied.
    c)As soon as just war theory adapts to accommodate and allow preemptive attacks by a threatened state, it is no longer clear either how much solid evidence is required or how much discussion or negotiation would be prudent.
    2.It is impossible to conduct a war without harming some innocents. It is the very nature of war that innocents will die.
    3.Just war criteria seem to be able to justify almost all wars rather than to provide a means to limit the number of wars that would be considered just.
    a)It is the state that decides to go to war, not the people. The state always claims it is acting defensively, has the right intention, has the proper authority, is undertaking war as a last resort, has a high probability of success, and its war will achieve good that is proportionally greater than the damage to life, limb, and property that it will cause, and that it will cost economically.
    4.The criteria set out by just war theory are simply too flaccid and flexible to yield an outlawing of some of the most immoral and heinous activities.
    5.Just war theory, among other things, contradicts itself in that it sanctions the killing of innocents, which it at the same time prohibits.
    6.Just war theory is used effectively to justify all wars, hence has resulted in the logical conclusion manifest in our war policies today: Karl von Clausewitz’s “total war” theory.

    I’d recommend these books specific to your quest in addition to the two mentioned above:

    War: Four Christian Views, new edition. Edited by Robert C. Clouse, with contributions by Herman A. Hoyt, Myron S. Augsburger, Arthur F. Holmes, and Harold O.J. Brown. Intervarsity Press, 1981, 1991. There may be a newer edition out by now.

    Handling Problems of Peace and War: An Evangelical Debate. Edited by Andrew Kirk, with contributions by John Stott, Jerram Barrs, Alan Kreider, and others. Marshall Pickering, 1988.

    The bibliographies in these volumes are extensive; shouldn’t have any trouble tracking down prime references and arguments.

    And here’s also a good place to get much information:

    I would still plead, however, that you let the Bible itself be your final and binding arbiter, as testified to by the Early Christians, much closer to their Lord and His teachings than we are, 1,700 years and half a world away. Else, why bother with it at all?

  15. Cathy says:

    Shotgun, the greatest temptation to evil a man faces is his own ability to rationalize, to justify his desires and actions (James 1:13-27; 2:8-13; 3:13-18).

    That is what caused The Fall.

    An ancient Greek philosopher, Demosthenes, said (paraphrase), “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

    Paul called it “itching ears.”

    You may be justly angry, but you must turn that anger into good; you must strive to overcome evil with good, not indulge the evil, otherwise, you join the enemy against our Lord.

    Proverbs 24:17-22.

  16. Cathy says:

    Dear Shotgun, you are in my prayers. Keep on; persevere in your self-education; let your education never cease.

    And consider this: the only truly mature Christian is one who is called away Home, his work of maturing here done.

    I’ll leave you alone now. May our Lord grant you His peace that surpasses understanding, and alone comforts. John 13 – 15; 1 John.

  17. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Shotgun, will there be violence in heaven/on the renewed earth where He will reign, and wipe away each tear, and where no sun or moon will be necessary because He will be the sole Light?

    If God’s glory has an aspect of violence, there must be, yah?

    Your implied conclusion here is a non sequiter.

    There are many aspects of God’s glory, like his wrath and justice. These will all be ultimately glorified.

    By the way…I specifically said that I’d prefer not to hammar out any differences over our view of violence here.

    I can’t state anything definitive on the issue at the moment, nor do I think I’ll ever be able to. I’m wary of anyone who claims to have an “end-all” Just War Theory.

    These issues are more involved than a few highlighted verses in our Bible will rectify.

  18. shotgunwildatheart says:

    By the way…as a quick biographical note (since certain things were implied about my character…)

    I loved violence growing up. I cut my teeth on He-Man and Thundercats.

    All I wanted was to be a hero. I reveled in thoughts of the brow-beaten hero, slowly climbing to his feet and fighting off the enemy on nothing but sheer will alone.

    I became delusioned with these ideas of heroism a long time ago.

    I dont’ WANT to fight…I don’t WANT a war…I don’t WANT to have to make stands in awkward situations.

    I hate it. I hate what it does to men. I hate the hurt and pain caused to the innocent. I hate watching gentlehearted people bully their passions into patriotic frenzies while spouting warlike and forceful rhetoric!

    I hate it!

    But it’s a historical fact Ms. Cathy that the city of Man DOES come knockin.

    When it does…I’ll be here.

  19. shotgun says:


    And the Great Flood was about God glorifying His own Justice through the righteous violent act of massive execution.

  20. Cathy says:

    Dear Shotgun,

    While it is true that His righteous wrath at unrighteousness — everything thought and done against Him — and the consequent justice He exercises against it are aspects of God, it does not follow that violence is an aspect of God’s glory. His wrath and justice will finally be exercised. Once for all, as His sacrifice on the cross was once for all, at the final judgment. They have no place in the Christian’s final state with Him.

    The glory is that evil will FINALLY be destroyed, once for all. With it will go violence, condemned by His wrath and justice.

    Isn’t that what the Great Flood was about? I asked that question twice and you didn’t answer it. ;-)

    As to just war theory, if you had taken the time to read what I wrote, you’d not have made that statement, I believe. If you will pursue the very deliberate, thoughtful, agonized efforts of those great men who have gone before you, “wary” as you care to be, you will find nothing they produced was done hastily or in ignorance, nor was it done ignoring “more involved issues,” and using just “a few highlighted verses in our Bible.”

    But striving to maintain the Bible’s perspective as against all those “more involved issues” was always their aim.

    None of them claimed to have an “end-all” just war theory. What would that actually be, anyway?

    You may find this article pertinent to our discussion interesting; see if you don’t agree. Especially note the quote from van Til at the end.

    Dear Shotgun, you’re always in my prayers. May our great God hold you to His heart, and teach you all His Word.

  21. Cathy says:


    Dear Shotgun, our cyber messages crossed in cyber space!

    So now you have answered my Great Flood question. Thank you.

    Another question about that: since the Great Flood was, as you say, “about God glorifying His own Justice through the righteous violent act of massive execution,” wouldn’t that tend to prove Jesus’ axiom that those who live by the sword will die by the sword?

    God’s justice is pretty much proportionate to the sin, so turning their violence against violent men is logical, yah?

    What did God say about that Flood afterwards?

    It wasn’t violence that was glorified, was it? Therefore, how can violence be an aspect of God’s glory? Their own sinful violence was turned against them, and as you said, used to “glorify” His JUSTICE.

    And truly gentle-hearted people could never be stirred to violence in the name of “patriotism” or anything else. As God said, violence, as an outworking and expression of sin against God, is in the very heart of man.

    And only a truly regenerate heart, truly submitted to Christ the Lord, can discern that sin nature and call on God’s Holy Spirit to check it and even destroy it.

    That’s why there’s no account anywhere of any Apostle of Christ even raising a hand against anyone, and that example was followed for the first three centuries after Christ.

    It is not an easy path to follow. He warned us it wouldn’t be.

    All my love in Him, always.

  22. Cathy says:

    Dear Shotgun, there was nothing wrong with your youthful desire to be a hero!

    That’s what I was trying to say earlier. In the heart of every one of us, but especially little boys, is a desire to be a hero, to be noble, to be the personification of good, to rescue others from evil.

    That’s why I urged you, as a young man who knows these wonderful God-given, inborn desires first-hand, to study that impulse and seek to capitalize on it for God’s glory, to steer youth into HIS good, for HIS glory.

    You have the first-hand experience, and are still close enough in years to yet be able to feel it in its godly purity. You have the mental maturity now to be able to understand how to channel that impulse to partner with God (for that is what it can ultimately be) in a godly direction rather than in sin’s distorted direction.

    And yes, the fact that the City of Man does come knockin’ means you — we ALL — should “be here.” But as one of them, vying for power over ourselves, or as one of His, ready to show them the power of His Way?

    May our Father wrap you in His loving arms and keep you close to His heart, always.

  23. shotgun says:

    Well, since this discussion seems unavoidable, maybe you could answer a question for me?

    Why do you arbitrarily distinguish between the pounding of keys on a keyboard and the pounding of a mans face with your fists?

    Do not both actions adequately convey the intended message?

    You have an entire philosophy of ethics that you believe arise from a strict reading of the scriptures.

    So do I.

    It just so happens that my ethical system is right.

  24. Cathy says:

    So reading the Word of God and applying it — the teachings of Jesus as He corrected and modeled the Mosaic Law — through a keyboard is analogous to pounding a man’s face with your fists?

    I don’t think so. One is much more effective, and for the right reasons, than the other. Nothing arbitrary about it. Hebrews 4:12-13.

    I’m sorry I seem to convey “disapproval” of you, personally, if that is what you mean. That is not the intent of anything I wrote, is it, really? You mentioned that I “implied” some things about your character, and I would like to know exactly what you think I did, please. I never intended to impugn your character.

    Rather, I think the awareness of the influences of your past is making you a better and stronger Christian as you seem willing to wrestle with these issues. Most “Christians” in our society would rather not be bothered with what is true and what is not. I think that’s one of the most wonderful things about you!

    I’d simply appreciate knowing where in the Bible it says — or even implies! — we Christians are to be the avenging, punishing, wrathful, violent hand of God?

    And if you cannot show that, then what makes your ethical system right, and “mine,” by factual proof, wrong?

    You said you’d “love” to hear my “unique” take on your premise. You invited me to this discussion. I tried to honor the evident approval of what you implied you knew would be my response. I’m sorry that somehow I have insulted you. Please forgive me.

    May our Lord Jesus Christ Almighty God be with you and in your heart, always.

  25. shotgun says:

    Well then, allow me to return the focus to the original question.

    Your advice to a highschool Christian is to read the Bible, as well as some of the books you’ve mentioned, and allow himself to be humilated on a daily basis?

    You see, it is this sort of situation that I want to address.

    This issue needs to be hammered out for the sake of the children.

  26. Cathy says:

    Dear Shotgun,

    Humiliated in what way? But don’t answer that; it’s not really relevant. The real question is, why should any of us not be humiliated, seeing that Jesus was — on a daily basis, as He was slandered and challenged constantly by those who thought they were superior, even leading ultimately to the cross?

    Is He our example, or not?

    Didn’t He say to take up our cross and follow Him if we would be worthy of Him? If that doesn’t mean to follow Him as He allowed Himself to be humiliated by sinners in order to be worthy of Him, what does it mean?

    The key IS found in the Bible: Do as Jesus did, not as our tormentors do. That takes real courage, and matures a Christian, to be able to take all that and say with Christ on the cross, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

    Is He our example, or not?

    Is it important to teach our youth His Way, or teach them to “defend their honor,” to return insults in kind?

    Jesus corrected the out-of-control vengeance teachings of the Pharisees, which had distorted God’s specific plan of justice, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth — and NO MORE. It is a proportionate justice. It specifically boxes up all options and limits them specifically. It is a box of “do onlys” and “don’t do any more.”

    But then, Jesus said, “BUT, I SAY TO YOU . . .”

    As God, the Author of the Mosaic Law, He was expounding His REAL intent, and correcting the license that had been taken with His original law. Just as He said that MOSES — NOT HE — had allowed divorce BECAUSE OF THE HARDNESS OF THE PEOPLE’S HEARTS, BUT God NEVER intended it to be so, and in fact, in Malachi 2 God declares emphatically that HE HATES DIVORCE, so with the Beatitudes and the rest of His teachings “against” the Mosaic Law.

    He fulfilled all the Law and the Prophets. He did not strike back, and He was humiliated yet loved in return, and allowed Himself to be ultimately humiliated, for that was the only way to redeem us from our daily attempts to humiliate God by our insolence and violence toward each other. God says that all sin is sin against Him. And that as He is merciful, so we are to be merciful, as mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:8-13).

    Got this little nugget today, from the pen of Rushdoony:

    Yes, for the sake of the children. Jesus said anyone who led the children astray would be punished more severely than anyone else; remember the millstone and being thrown into the sea?

    It is of utmost importance that the children be loved and taught correctly. That they be given the weapons of God, righteousness, salvation, His Word, and His love, mercy, and forgiveness in the face of hatred.

    If all Christian children were taught this instead of the “righteous violence in the name of God” we teach them, think how the Kingdom of God could finally and really be advanced!

    I knew a son of a Jehovah’s Witness who took more humiliation in a day than anyone should ever get. Yet he did return only love, and eventually, he became at least respected, if not followed. He was a witness to Christ as few “true” Christians ever are. It is to our shame.

    There are worse things than schoolyard bullies. Let us not teach our children erroneously to be other than witnesses to Christ, in season and out.

    My advice to parents and mentors is to read, learn, and know their Bible, to be able to model Christ to their children and those who look up to them. Children learn what they live.

    I advised YOU to read the books I’ve mentioned; a couple of the Budziszewski books are written for college students, but I see no reason, if the high schooler is able to read and understand beyond a fifth grade level, they cannot benefit by them, too.

    Regardless, YOU can read and understand them, and teach their principles. That is my advice. You can be their hero, their example, modeling Christ, modeling the true courage it takes to follow Him.

    We need our children — our future society — to love the cross of Christ, not the hammer of Thor.

    One is easy; the other, not so much.

  27. Shotgun says:

    So…we need to ride up into the high-schools on white horses and slaughter all the God-haters?

    Cause…that’s what Jesus will do…

  28. Cathy says:

    Ahh . . . read Revelation 19 VERY carefully!

    Who is leading the charge?

    What weapon does He have?

    Do any of the host following Him have weapons of any kind?

    Who is slaughtered?

    And who is it that finally actually lays hands on . . . whom?

  29. Cathy says:

    And, uh, I seem to be confused about when the final judgment is . . .

    Is it today?

    If not, how could anyone ride up on white horses and slaughter all the God-haters?

    I thought the tense was important . . . “will do,” . . . as in the (unknown) future?

    And isn’t it Jesus Himself doing the doing . . .?

    Did I miss something here? ;-)

  30. Cathy says:

    Brings me back to one of the most important questions: where in the Bible it says — or even implies! — we Christians are to be the avenging, punishing, wrathful, violent hand of God?

  31. Shotgun says:

    I think you’ve contributed enough to my blog.

    I appreciate your input, but this is the final word on the matter.

    I would love to discuss this further, just not here. I’d like for this blog to stay devoted to the issue at hand, which is a definite pragmatic advice for young kids.

    I appreciate your enthusiasm though Ms. Cathy, I really do.

    Our discussion has caused me to at least consider many things.

    I’d love to continue this over at the AV forums under a more appropriate thread. Perhaps there I can give your statements the required time they each deserve.

    But, please, don’t post here anymore unless it is directly related to the blog.


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