Christian Appropriation

by Deana Chadwell1/4/19
This mess at our southern border is stirring up the Sunday school wannabes again, and as a Christian and a conservative I am getting tired of being schooled by liberal Christians and non-believers about what my opinions should be, about what Jesus would do.  This needs to stop; we Christians need to stand up for our Savior and put an end to the appropriation of our Scripture and misunderstandings of Christ’s commandments. In order to do this we must first establish a couple of principles that are often ignored in this era of super-sloppy thinking:

In the first place, God quite clearly differentiates between individuals and national entities. When Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, implores his listeners to “turn the other cheek” He wasn’t speaking to the leaders of armies or to kings and emperors. (He, Himself, is often referred to as “The Lord of Hosts” – i.e. the Commander of the Armies and His behavior predicted in Revelation doesn’t look very love-your-neighbor.). In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ is giving us excellent advice for handling personal disputes of a low-impact variety. He is not saying not to fight back if someone pulls a knife on us. He’s talking about being insulted, which is what was implied by a slap across the face. He’s telling us not to escalate acrimonious situations, not to be so full of ourselves that we let a little – or a lot – of humiliation back us into a worse mess.

He is not advocating a pacifist national stance. At one point when taxation came up He said, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s,” making a clear distinction between that which is national and that which is personal. So, let’s not muddy that water.

One ought not quote Jesus if one doesn’t know Him or believe Him. That’s like me quoting Mohammed to prove some moral point. Talk about cultural appropriation!

Secondly, the Bible is not a catalog of verses to grab willy-nilly when we want to brow-beat someone into agreeing with us. Both legalistic and liberal Christians are often guilty of doing that. Yes, okay, a proof-text is sometimes necessary, but it should never be taken out of its immediate context, nor out of the context of the entire Bible. Nor should it be used without careful consideration of the historical background against which the verse is set; neither should it be applied without checking the correctness of the translation being quoted.

When a person who only knows the Book by reputation (from movies, or cheap novels, or anti-Christian professors)  throws a Bible verse at me, I find it very trying. Some of that is pride, which is my fault, but much of it is ire at hearing this astounding Book handled so cavalierly, so belligerently, and so ignorantly.

For instance, one shouldn’t quote the Golden Rule to defend socialism, when the first thing a socialist country does is outlaw the Bible – don’t liberals know the history here? One ought not quote Jesus if one doesn’t know Him or believe Him. That’s like me quoting Mohammed to prove some moral point. Talk about cultural appropriation! If one knows nothing about the true Christian ethos, one should avoid telling a Christian what he or she should think.

My support of Trump’s early move to cut back on immigration from mostly Muslim countries drew the ire of people I love dearly —  Are we not to open our arms to one and all? Are we not to love our neighbors as ourselves?  (This from those who find conservatives reprehensible.) But are these not biblical mandates? Yes, but in a sense limited by context.

Therefore we cannot take the Golden Rule, which speaks of individual attitudes and behaviors, and apply it to national policy. How do we know it is for individuals only?

1.Jesus was speaking in this sermon to a crowd made up of Jews, Samaritans, and Roman soldiers – a group of different nationalities. And, He wasn’t speaking to Pontius Pilate or to the Pharisees, the political leaders of the time.

2. Nations don’t “love.” They can make policies that are fair, but that is different. Jesus didn’t say, “Make nice laws.” Nor did he demand that a nation allow some people to disobey the laws of the land.

We can’t ignore the dangers of groups who scream, “Death to America!” We are not commanded to do so. From the Tower of Babel on, God has organized the world into separate nations. The prophecies of Revelation paint a terrifying picture of what a one-world, no-borders government would look like. The 20th century showed us a glimpse of that with both Stalin and Hitler.

Biblically speaking, the blending of cultures is pictured as risky at best. In fact, during the movement of the Jews into the land God had promised them, they were sometimes told to annihilate an entire nation, including its women, children, and livestock.  There was no “Love thy neighbor” in that because these lands contained cultures of incredible evil, cultures that celebrated throwing their babies into the fires of the idols they worshipped. There is no loving a neighbor like that and there is no loving Islam, either. There is no loving MS13. No loving child predators and human trafficking. No loving the poisoning of youth with drugs.

The left seems hell-bent (pun intended) on supporting all things the Bible denounces and then, true to the liberal inconsistency, wants us to follow closely what they, erroneously, think the Bible says.

This caravan mess and the illegal immigration issue in general brings out the hand-wringers all over again. Aren’t we to be hospitable? Shouldn’t we care about the plight of these poor people? Of course, but caring and allowing them to swarm our borders, overloading our educational and health and law-enforcement systems, putting our citizens in danger are two different things.

I’m sure that non-Christians have no idea how practical true, biblical Christianity is. When Jesus was giving His disciples instructions about going out into the world to spread the Gospel, He urged them to sell whatever they needed to sell in order to purchase a sword for protection. Yes, we are to rely on God for our wellbeing, but that doesn’t require us to be stupid.  We care about the poor in this country and a huge influx of cheap labor will hurt them. We care about the people who cannot find affordable housing. How will thousands and thousands of unskilled immigrants help that situation? Both Christians and conservatives just want things to work. We don’t hate immigrants; we hate evil, whether it resides in a neighboring country or in our own back yards. Of course, the left denies the existence of evil, which must be most confusing.

And the left hates the rich – Christ didn’t. He noted that they, being dependent on their own power, would have trouble relying on Him for salvation, but Joseph of Arimathea followed Him anyway. The left seems hell-bent (pun intended) on supporting all things the Bible denounces and then, true to the liberal inconsistency, wants us to follow closely what they, erroneously, think the Bible says.

Enough.


Deana Chadwell blogs at ASingleWindow.com. She is also an adjunct professor at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. She teaches writing and public speaking.
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Deana Chadwell

About Deana Chadwell

I have spent my life teaching young people how to read and write and appreciate the wonder of words. I have worked with high school students and currently teach writing at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. I have spent more than forty years studying the Bible, theology, and apologetics and that finds its way into my writing whether I'm blogging about my experiences or my opinions. I have two and a half moldering novels, stacks of essays, hundreds of poems, some which have won state and national prizes. All that writing -- and more keeps popping up -- needs a home with a big plate glass window; it needs air; it needs a conversation. I am also an artist who works with cloth, yarn, beads, gourds, polymer clay, paint, and photography. And I make soap.
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14 Responses to Christian Appropriation

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I really good, well thought-out article, Deana.

    “Love your neighbor” is completely consistent with caring about those living in Central and South America. But I want to say to all the fake Christians out there (those using the Bible for their Leftist political agenda), “If you care so damn much about the poor, go help them.”

    To the credit of some, that’s exactly what they do. To what good effect, that’s debatable. But only a deluded or evil person thinks “Loving your neighbor” consists of “To the extent I can get other people to pay for it.” And that’s exactly what all this “open borders” tripe is about. This kind of “virtue” costs nothing. It’s everyone else who must pay for it.

    If you really care for these people — and the people in your own country — dispensing with the notion of borders might fill you with self-righteous glee, but is it actually helping anyone? Is it the best way to help anyone? And isn’t it possible (and evidence suggest this strongly) that your virtue signaling is actually harming people?

    But if your smug sense of self-righteousness is more important than practical and effective help, then reality doesn’t matter. All that matters is your emotions, your inward-pointing narcissism.

    How to help some of these shit-hole countries out of their misery is a good question. As (currently) the most powerful country in the world (and the one with the best set of ideals, most of the best in the real Bible), we should address this. But simply flooding the country with so many third-worlders that it turns part of our country into the third-world is no answer. That’s just spreading the problem, not dealing with it.

    One option would be to take over a large piece of Mexico (by force, if necessary) and set up some kind of free enterprise protectorate where all the do-gooders (and they do exist) and corporate hand-wringers can put their money where their mouths are. They can give of their skill, time, and money to set up a place of safety, opportunity, and enterprise.

    And yet these same do-gooders can’t do the same thing in Detroit. Their policies simply make things worse. And that brings us to the essence of this. We must look beyond the do-gooderism and supposed higher virtue of the “love thy neighbor” frauds and see what is actually helping. And we know from the track record of these Communist types that they only ever make things worse for everyone.

    What would Jesus do? It’s seems very likely he would not be wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt.

    • David Ray says:

      He wouldn’t be wearing a “Osama Bin Ladin” shirt either.
      Some thankless shit sported one during the 2004 tsunami. He was happy to receive the navy’s charity in the aftermath.
      The left celebrated it.
      They celebrate the MAGA hats by throwing drinks anyone wearing ’em. (Gotta love their selective tolerance.)

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Oh, goodness yes. He would not be wearing an OBL shirt either. LOL. Good point, David.

        Timothy had a post over in the forums sections about the many inherent logical contradictions on the Left. Homosexuality, for instance, is said to be hard-wired. And yet they also say that gender is “fluid.”

        The commonality (and I’m not telling Timothy anything he doesn’t know) in this is to do your own thing as long as it is at least slightly subversive to Western, white, male, and/or Christian values.

        In Tucker Carlson’s monologue the other day he noted that we are a nation governed by angry children. We could add to that we are also governed by people so “nice” that they have lost the ability to say “no” to nonsense.

        We have evil and craziness wafting throughout our society masquerading as some sort of revolutionary virtue. Look at the Catholic Church, for instance. I’m no Catholic hater. Far from it. But they have Voldemort (several of them) in their midst and yet basically the situation is being treated as He Who Must Not Be Named (homosexuality).

        Trump, for all his faults, gets one thing right: This is a battle. Most of the Republican pre-surrender on various points. They won’t engage in the battle. I expect Trump to eventually cave on his wall. He never meant it and because it was the promise of a demagogue. But he is willing to battle. And you can never win unless you are willing to confront the enemy.

        I know that amongst the Romney Republicans, thinking of the Left as your enemy is a no-no. But one would have to be either short-sighted or a coward not to understand what Communism is and where it leads.

        Dennis Prager notes the ideology of most Jews is Leftism, not the values of the Torah. It’s getting to the point where this is true of Christians as well. Paul’s admonition of “that if any would not work, neither should he eat” is foreign to their ears. Christianity has devolved not to a soul-saving program but a run-of-the-mill poverty program — welfare with stained glass and candles.

        And although there is a vital place for charity, the Christian perspective has always been that it is a poverty of morals that leads to degradation and that simply filling people’s mouths with food (while good and necessarily in many cases) not only doesn’t get to the root of the problem, it just facilitates people basting in their bad habits and sin.

        All of the above used to be common sense. Now I’m sure it would likely be considered “hate speech,” at worst, or “uncaring,” at best.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          The connection between working and eating has been made in so many places. St. Paul said it. The Soviet Constitution said it. Samuel Johnson noted that freedom is the choice between working and starving. Pseudolus made a similar observation in his paean to freedom in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. (“I’m just a slave, and everything is free. If I were free, then nothing would be free. And if I’m beaten now and then, what does it matter?” But he still wants to be free.)

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            The connection between working and eating has been made in so many places. …. The Soviet Constitution said it.

            This is something too many people do not know. There was no free lunch in the USSR in the sense our leftists believe. Of course, many millions died of starvation and diseases resultant from malnutrition even when they did work. But what are a few million deaths on the road to building Utopia? Just a down-payment.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Mr. Kung, one of the things I gain from my reading and observation of the culture is that the natural state of humanity seems to be ignoble. We are a predatory being. We will lie, cheat, and steal as a matter of course. It takes volumes of convincing and pressure to simply do the right thing. A kind and honest act for many is like asking them to climb a mountain while the small, ignoble acts are as simple as popping a LifeSavers® into your mouth. (I prefer cherry.)

              I do think, in a general sense, that the Christian religion is best summed up by Paul:

              When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, darkly, but then face to face.

              I readily admit my own stunted growth. I think being single I don’t gain the inherent maturation process of having a ball-and-chain or children to care for. Even then, that’s not the only route out of our childhood and toward adulthood.

              If we can say anything about this current age it is that people long to remain in childhood and therefor reject adulthood. There are various reasons for this and I won’t get into them. I just want to say that I think it’s obvious that in terms of the Christian religion that even adulthood is meant to be a transitory stage. There is something past that which we are meant to strive for.

              We can be fairly sure that Paul was not writing these words to 12-year-olds. He was writing them to adults. Same problem, different time. Even 2000 years difference makes little difference. Our problems are the same.

  2. Steve Lancaster says:

    In the late days of the 19th and early 20th century Jane Adams Hull House was the model for private charities. Support came from ultra-rich like Carnegie and others. One of the rules for Hull house was no work, no food.

    Then, because it was successful it was decided that Hull House should be government funded, after all it was a “social good” a part of the “safety net”. Thus, an organization that actually did good became perverted into a method to transfer wealth from the people, bless their hearts, to the impoverished and nothing good happened again. Nothing has changed in the last 120 years, except the growth of the entitlement generations.

    We no longer teach basic economics, at any level, in our schools leading to the belief that money actually does grow on trees. Uncle Milt Friedman is considered, when he is considered at all, some sort of Libertarian nut. If history has one thing to teach us about economics it is that everything has a cost, including sin. There is no such thing as a free lunch, (TINSTAAFL) anyone who suggests otherwise is is a fool.

    Jesus, applied the same rule to the people of his time. His entire ministry was aimed to bring Jews back to the basics of a very Jewish religion. Moses had 10 pretty good suggestions for how people, of any faith, could live together peacefully in a community. And, to a remarkable extent they worked then and work now.

    Some 30 years after Jesus death the Jews rebelled against the greatest power the world had ever seen. Nero sent Vespasian and his son Titus to put it down with the largest Roman army ever assembled. It took the better part of 7 years, hundreds of thousands sold into slavery and dead. The rebels came from every group of Jews, including followers of Christ. The idea of a non-violent Christian was a non-starter when the alternative is extermination.

    Yet, the progressives, in their new religion, would deny self-defense to anyone they disagree. We owe that to Woodrow Wilson, may his name be cursed in hell, and all his followers.

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    A crucial failure of the left, as you note, has long been their inability to differentiate between private charity (which Jesus urged) and public relief. Rome had a grain dole for the poor by then, and I never heard that Jesus cited it as a model for charity.

    I seem to recall that Luke listed many women, including the former madwoman Mary of Magdala (Jesus cast 7 devils out of her), as followers, and I got the impression that they provided a lot of the money to keep the group going. For all of the Bible criticisms of the rich, Jesus certainly had a lot of rich friends of both sexes.

  4. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    There you go again Deana confusing things by using facts.

    God quite clearly differentiates between individuals and national entities

    I have often wondered how some Christians could not understand this. Nations, groups, clubs or even genders are not saved. Individuals are saved one at a time and one individual cannot save another by wishing it to be so. Personal choice and action are at the heart of it. Simply feeling sorry for someone means little except for the person who doing the feeling. “I’m such a good person because I feel for others” would seem to be the main product of such feeling.

    He is not saying not to fight back if someone pulls a knife on us. He’s talking about being insulted, which is what was implied by a slap across the face. He’s telling us not to escalate acrimonious situations, not to be so full of ourselves that we let a little – or a lot – of humiliation back us into a worse mess.

    I couldn’t agree more. Leftists and others who know next to nothing about the Bible often use this “Turn the other cheek” meme, but have no understanding about it. I also believe that the message is one regarding the need for humility, not one about defending oneself when necessary.

    There should be no doubt that the party of Intellectuals and Idiots will lie, misrepresent, misunderstand any and everything about the Bible if it suits their momentary aims. They are presently waging a political and racial war against the United States of America which was based on the ideas developed by Western Civilization, particularly Anglo-Saxon civilization.

    These people must be continuously fought.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I have often wondered how some Christians could not understand this.

      Liberal Christians are not Christians any more than liberal Jews are Jewish (in faith). It’s time we talked frank about that.

      It’s an honest and difficult question regarding what to do to help poorer nations. But just opening our borders is not the answer. But it does satisfy the built-in hatred the Left has for America which they believe is a racist, sexist, homophobic white state that needs to be fundamentally transformed. And that means the more “people of color,” the better.

      I’m not a racist, but let me state this plainly: It’s unlikely any kind of modern civilization with prosperity and human rights is possible without white people. I’m not talking about Asians. They’re pretty good about doing their own thing. But the same applies to them. If any prosperous Asian country starting importing third-worlders and made it easy for them not to assimilate, soon it would be the end of their prosperity.

      Let us teach third-world countries how to prosper. And that will mean them giving up many of their primitive ways. But that is an impossible concept for the anti-white racists of the Left who see whiteness as an inherent despoiler. They believe third-world countries have nothing to learn from us.

      And there’s the basic problem. Delusion.

  5. pst4usa says:

    Very good article Deanna!

    Leviticus 19:34
    The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

    I just listened to a book called This Precarious Moment by James L. Garlow and David Barton. They discuss the very thing that Deanna is talking about. The quote from above is one example of where the left missuses a quote from the bible, to justify its perversion of the Bible.

    This seems to clearly state that we should love the immigrant, legal or illegal. But these authors point out that in Hebrew there are several words that are all translated in English to foreigner but have completely different meanings. In the first case according to these authors, foreigner means the equivalent of legal immigrant, a person who moved to Israel with the intent of becoming a Jew. They had to take up all the rules, customs and requirements to become a Jewish citizen.

    The latter was a different word more closely aligned with what we would call a foreigner but not necessarily an illegal immigrant. They were slaves because they were non Egyptians, foreigners, and that they should remember that.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks for those distinctions, Pat. Clearly there are many non-Christians using Alinsky tactics (use their own rules against them) as well of legions of semi-Christians (basically liberals) who are useful idiots.

  6. Dr. Gregory G. Wolak says:

    Dear Deana,
    Thank you so much for this fine article. It was truly well reasoned and thought out and was most necessary for those of us – Christians who struggle trying to make sense of most things in our Post-Truth culture. There are way too many nominal Christians spouting what they believe to be God’s Word yet who are totally ignorant of what the Bible really teaches. Much of the blame needs to be placed upon pastors who are too timid to preach Gospel truths so the sheep remain lost and then pass this tripe onto others just as ignorant.

  7. David Ray says:

    Good insight Deana.
    Same leftist fools demanding we let this thankless rioting hoard in never had a word of protest for the Romeike family asking asylum. (To be fair, the press never bothered to report on it.)

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